Dog days

It’s been a while. Longer than I realised, to be perfectly honest. Where does the time go?

I haven’t been doing nothing, although the frenzy of writing, editing, cover design perfecting, book blurb fretting, wrangling with new stuff such as ordering ISBNs, setting up my first ever KDP account for publishing on Amazon and all that jazz has passed.

Now is the season of dog days. As I wait for my ARC readers to read. As every now and again I receive a comment or question from one or two of them. As I think ‘hell, reviews will be happening soon’ and ‘I really hope I haven’t oversold and under-delivered on Instagram’… you know, the usual doubts that creatives indulge in when there’s nothing else to distract them.

But – here we are. The last day of July. Only a few weeks until I publish. I’m not convinced past me ever thought I would get to this point. Actually, I’m convinced that past me thought I wouldn’t get to this point. It’s been a long old road, with life throwing a fair few spanners in the works. You know how life is, right?

I was going to redesign my blog into more of a website today, but having thought about it and taken a look at a few other authors’ websites. I’ve decided to wait until Anti-Virus is published. More for the sake of efficiency than anything else. I don’t want to revamp it now and then have to revamp it again once my novel is out. That seems like a waste of time to me. And time is precious.

Anyhoo… I am now set up on Goodreads as a Goodreads Author and Anti-Virus is on there, marked as ‘to be published’ – do look me up, Freya McMillan is the name! That’s exciting, because my ARC readers can post reviews on there before publication, which is great from a marketing point of view! Goodreads also kindly linked me to Jessica, for which I was one of the contributing authors back in 2014. I hadn’t forgotten about that, but it hadn’t occurred to me I would be linked to it on Goodreads, so that was a lovely surprise. I am still proud of the piece I wrote for Jessica, called The Magpie’s Tongue. It’s dark. There’s death. And destruction. No surprises there.

It’s time for me to have some lunch. I’ll sign off now and leave you with the cover of Anti-Virus, created with the design skills of the fabulous Platform House Publishing – thank you James!

The waiting game

My partner has said on more than one occasion that she would hate to be inside my head. Frankly, I don’t blame her.

I find it incredibly difficult to properly relax. I used to think that this was normal, that everyone felt this way, but apparently, this is not true. Go figure.

Take this time right now, the fallow period, if you will. My precious gem of a book baby, Anti-Virus, is with my much-valued ARC readers. I am giving them time to read it, at their own pace. Because we all have lives and commitments, the summer is basically theirs. There isn’t a great deal for me to do for the next couple of months.

My brain is making me feel guilty. For not doing something. God knows, I have no idea what that nebulous something is, but it’s poking at me very regularly for not ‘working’. As if a demanding day job isn’t enough.

‘Do more.’

‘DO MORE.’

‘DO MORE.’

DO MORE.’

I have a small list of things I will need/would like to do before publishing, but it’s small and manageable and…

I DON’T NEED TO DO THEM NOW!

As you can imagine, that only pacifies my brain (which is behaving like a demanding two year old to be fair) for a short while.

I do have a draft of a fantasy novel that is the first in a trilogy (this is how I have always envisaged it). So I’ve printed it out and am about half way through reading it. I’m quite impressed by past Freya. She had some good plot and characterisation going on. It’s definitely got legs. Will it be a trilogy? Do I have the ability to commit to that?

Time will tell.

Pssst… time’s running out! Better get on with it NOW!

Oh, good grief…

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

If there’s one certainty in life, it is that things are constantly changing.

And yet I am being consistently inconsistent by not posting every weekend, like I had planned to do, and like I had probably written somewhere on here that I was going to do.

I know, because I know roughly how social media works, that if you aren’t consistent in your presence, it negatively impacts The Algorithm and The Metrics. You know what else I know? Life is way, way too short and my mental health is way, way too important, to get myself tied up in knots over that stuff.

To be perfectly, bluntly honest with you, I get overwhelmed by the accounts on the tiny number of social media platforms that I use that are unfailingly, Swiss watch consistent in their output and/or have an aesthetic that makes their posts instantly recognisable. Maybe it’s just me who feels like that, maybe there’s something wrong with my attitude to the whole social media bandwagon. (I’ll just add a little side note here – I admire the people who have the ability to ride the wave of social media and have the energy to be so consistent, polished and professional. I don’t have the resources to be always ‘on’ in that way, sadly).

Despite my somewhat lackadaisical approach to the social media aspect of self-publishing, I have reached the point where Anti-Virus is now with my lovely ARC readers, or as I somehow managed to name them ‘Team AV’ (sometimes I can be down with the kids and get a tiny little bit social media savvy). Other authors are reading my work – gulp!

All joking aside and all social media ambivalence aside, I am damned proud I I have got this far. Sometimes I have wanted to tear my hair out, sometimes I have given my manuscript the side-eye and hated it with a burning passion that has been breathtaking (often when I have got up from my working from home computer after a long hard day and then sat down at my own laptop), but now, now all is forgiven. It has all been worth it.

I’ll be firming up my publication date and announcing it to the world in the next few weeks.

And I can introduce you all to Callie Hannigan. She’s been waiting so long. So have I.

Welcome to the world of Anti-Virus.