What to do when you’re not writing

Worry about not writing.

Dream up impossible-to-achieve-self-imposed deadlines for publishing your novel.

Catastrophise how you will feel when you read your editor’s comments once they return your manuscript.

Indulge in self-flagellation as if you are an adherent to the Catholic doctrine of mortification of the flesh, for all and any reason whatsoever, but mostly because you didn’t write X, Y or Z into your plot and it’s too late now.

ALTERNATIVELY…

You can enjoy the fact that you have some time to yourself where you don’t have to focus on the (let’s face it) hard work of publishing a novel (why do we do this, why?!) and either totally kick back and put your feet up (I don’t have that gene, sorry!), or turn your gaze to something else that you enjoy creating.

Oh, you’re asking me what I’ve been doing? No, no, that’s not how this works… that’s for me to know and for you to just guess about.

(Ahem… I may have been going down the dark road. And then I may have thrown myself into other creative pursuits and created self-imposed obligations out of them too).

But that’s just between us, okay?


Mission (im)possible – and some promos

Dear Reader, I have achieved.

It’s quite amusing really. This time last year I was within touching distance of completing my first draft of Anti-Virus and in my pre-2020 mind I believed that 2020 was going to be my publishing year.

Ahhh, bless the past innocent version of me.

Anyway, after several false starts at editing between January and early March, a complete hiatus from mid-March to end-August and then a laser focused editing stint from September to mid-December, I have finally managed to achieve the Big Edit. Honestly, I feel like I’ve won something. I’m not sure what, but you can be damned sure that I’m collecting my figurative gold medal. Let’s face it, working on anything during a pandemic year that has a theme (kind of) related to a pandemic is somewhat… challenging.

To celebrate my achievement, I’m doing a few things. One – relishing the ‘free’ time. Not that editing was a burden, I (mostly) enjoyed it, but it was a thing that I had to do, and I do love to beat myself about these ‘things’. Unless I’ve completed my task, I can’t rest and relax and float around without a care in the world (I wrote about being a workaholic before, so you already know this about me). Two – catching up on reading. It feels like a luxury! I can also treat it like research and feed my literary hunger at the same time. To write better, to learn, you need to read. So therefore, I’m reading. Three – having a good sort out of my ‘stuff’. I find it cathartic. When I next have the opportunity to go to a charity shop (maybe sometime in 2021?!), they’ll be receiving some of my no longer needed items.

Finally, and it’s been on my mind for a while, I’d like to promote a few indie authors I’ve met on the lovely writing community on Instagram. If you want to support an indie author and enjoy dystopia/sci-fi/dark reads, these could be right up your alley! In the order that I’ve read them:

Nicholas Crivac – Apotheosis ‘People don’t just die any more. They endure. They stay young. Thanks to Rejuvenation, a miraculous medical advancement from the Extended Life Corporation. Yet, not all of humanity believes the procedure is a good thing.

Simon Crowe is caught in the middle–voluntarily abstaining from Rejuvenation and living alongside his Rejuvenite girlfriend, Maggie. But when he’s framed for the murder of his EXLI-scientist neighbor, Simon is forced to flee, hunted by the authorities and even deadlier, unknown forces. Even more troubling is the puzzling message left by the murdered scientist–a cryptic set of clues alluding to a larger conspiracy.

Now, on the run for their lives, Simon and Maggie must forge dangerous alliances if they hope to decipher the mysterious message, expose the truth, and clear their names. But they soon discover there’s much more buried in the truth they seek, shrouded by the youthful faces and long life bestowed by Rejuvenation. An unimaginable secret that threatens the future of the entire human race.’

T.J. Swackhammer – City of Immortal Shadows ‘The dawn of revolution approaches. We will not look away…

Something is rotting in the city of Emaldin. Those outside of the Pod could tell you that, if they weren’t too exhausted to open their eyes. Citizens spend their days slaving away under the brutal, all-seeing eye of the Council for a chance to get closer to the towering structure at the centre of the city, and the safety and utopia it promises.

Valencia was supposed to be one of the lucky ones. Plucked from a life of crime, the Institute promised her a ticket to an easier life inside of the Pod, if only she could make it to graduation. Or so they claimed. Instead, she found herself reawakening at the bottom of a polluted river, back from the dead with a lethal touch.For years,

Valencia has kept her identity secret, slipping under the radar of the Council as the deadly shadow of one of Emaldin’s most dangerous, always believing that what happened to her was an accident to be made the best of. A weapon, for her to wield.Until she realizes she hasn’t been the one wielding it. Until the wrong life, at the wrong time, gets cut short.

On the run, she is reunited with Eli- a ghost from her past with the most nebulous of loyalties. She must work to untangle the web of deceit surrounding the Institute and find the truth of Emaldin… even if it means letting go of every truth she’s ever known.’

Tara A. Lake – Age of the Almek – ‘They are taught that desertion is death and loyalty is life – The Almek must look to the future and ignite change if they are to cure the water and save humanity.

Man-made pollution has altered Earth’s water making it too toxic for human consumption – with the exception of a single underground, uncontaminated spring in Michigan. The last living humans cultivate the land and manage survival. Together they have formed The Almek civilization.

The Almek live in confinement, forced to operate according to the inhumane laws and barbaric control of their corrupt rulers. For eighteen years they have survived. But The Almek’s way of life now faces it’s greatest tribulation yet: their natural spring is depleting and they must find a cure for the Earth’s most precious resource or face absolute extinction.

Age of The Almek is a disturbing reality that explores the possible repercussions of man-made pollution. This novel is the first of its series, and will appeal to readers who enjoy suspenseful, exciting reads. Contains graphic violence and thoughts of suicide.’

Enjoy! In a dark, dystopian way, naturally…

Engagement and supporting indie authors

This week, I have had a week off work. Not that it has changed my surroundings much because in this old-new working from home world, I am still at home, just not at my ‘office’ desk.

It has been productive. My plan was to get some good editing of my work in progress novel done, and sitting here at just after 10.30am on a Sunday morning, I can say that I achieved that.

In particular, I tackled a really knotty plot issue that had been bothering me for a long time. I had the epiphany a short while ago and the wise part of past me (I do have one) wrote it all down in my notebook that I keep here on my writing desk, ready for the day when I would need to refer to it. I also tagged it with sticky notes on which I’d written

PLOT RESOLUTION

Future me patted past me on the back for not thinking ‘oh, I’ll remember that’ because you know what, future me never does!

Present me (OK, I’ll stop now) is feeling satisfied, but I know that I still have a lot of work to do. I’m about two thirds of the way through my editing, so the bulk of that stage (words wise) is done. The next hill or mountain that I’ve started to tackle is engagement. Engagement with the writing community on Twitter for a start. I’ve had an account on there for a few years but wasn’t really that clear on how to make it work. Over the past few days, because I’ve had the time, I’ve worked it out a little bit more and got involved in a few conversations and gained followers. I shall stick with it. Instagram is less of an issue because that is the one thing that I’ve stuck with over the past few months, as you know. I think it’s going to involve some hard work to gain a decent following in the Twitter-verse, but I shall stick with it.

The future of my book is at stake.

Well, the future of my book being read by lots of people, that is. It’s not a pandemic after all (or is it?).

Talking of books – I bought and have started reading a novel that was recently published by a fellow author I have met through Instagram, City of Immortal Shadows by T.J. Swackhammer.

It. Is. Really. Good.

Take a look at her website, get a feel for the world of Emaldin and if dark, foreboding and endlessly strange is up your dystopian alley, do buy a copy.

Well that’s me for the week. See you on Halloween!