Singular Purpose available to read in two weeks!

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Singular Purpose, the sequel to my 2021 book, Singular Focus, is available to buy in two weeks! I’m very excited for you to read what’s been happening with Freya, Jacob and Dinah and what new trouble they’ve been dragged into.

You can preorder ebook copies through all the usual places using the link here.

Hard copy orders can also be made through me directly, email me here to find out how.

You don’t have to have read the first one, but it will definitely help. I hope you’re ready for some exciting urban fantasy adventures; you’re going to love it.

Welcome to 2023!

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The last days of 2022 have been really rough – Mum wasn’t well at Christmas and wasn’t able to participate in the family event, plus my back pain issue has been really fared up for some reason. I’m ready to welcome in a new year with hopefully a few less challenges.

As usual, I’m setting some goals for the next year.

  • Publish Singular Purpose
  • Finish manuscript for horror short story collection and/or another novel
  • NaPoWriMo 2022 (April)
  • Keep up the blog
  • Craft projects, including crochet, painting, etc.
  • Read 5 books
  • Music performance
  • Travel/holiday

This list is shorter and more vague than some of my other lists. I’m trying to keep things a bit looser to cater to the various obstacles that might come up in the year that require my time and attention.

The horror short story collection is in progress, I have one quite short and one that might be about 20k already drafted. I also have a manuscript for a rom com that I wrote a while ago and have been rewriting that might be ready to publish for 2024.

NaPoWriMo has been a good exercise to keep my poetry practice going. To be honest I don’t do much poetry outside of April so I think that will be good. Plus it’s a smaller commitment than NaNoWriMo (which could take 2 hrs per day); it only takes about 30min per day.

In terms of craft and painting, these are mostly just for myself. I’ve been crocheting a little to keep my hands busy when watchin TV to stop myself scrolling through FaceBook endlessly. It does rely a bit on having some energy and not being in too much pain, so this might be up and down depending on how other things are going in my life.

I’ve added reading to the list, I noticed this year that I haven’t been doing much reading. I read three or four as part of my judging for the Romance Writers of Australia book of the year awards, but otherwise onle one or two. I have a huge ‘to read’ pile, including a few that were gifts that I haven’t gotten, it might be nice to get through some of them.

Music performance I’m keeping vague, I’m not sure the fate of Wasted Monday at the moment, and if it falls over I may or may not have time to another band or group. I also plan to continue with my piano lessons and the teacher likes to have twice yearly concerts with her students, so I’ll have that to fall back on.

I added a travel/holiday item. The last time I really went anywhere on a holiday was 2019, when I visited Morocco. It was pre-pandemic, and pre-car accident, so it will be different travelling now, but I hope it will be enjoyable (and doable) in 2023. I visited Brisbane briefly for a wedding in 2022 but it was just for the weekend; a fairly low-key dipping my toe back into the travel waters.

I will continue to experiment with cooking and pottering in my small garden. It’s looking a bit overgrown after a big burst this summer; my berries are producing a lot so that’s fun, though the fruit trees have yet to produce anything, maybe next year.

May you all have a beautiful 2023 in whatever form that takes for you. I look forward to seeing some of you in person and I hope you’ll enjoy keeping up with my work here and in publication.

End of year round up 2022

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This year has felt very long. I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s felt like 2022 has been going for a while. In comparison to 2020, it’s been pretty good but there have been plenty of challenges to work through.

I changed jobs, or more accurately I changed employers for my day job; the job itself performs the same function. After almost six years with the previous day job, I took an opportunity with a similar, but much larger organisation. I’ve got to know most of my key stakeholders, and people have started coming to me directly with questions.

So back to the wrap-up. In my 2022 goals post from January, I had a few things I wanted to achieve; some I’ve done, some I haven’t.

  • Publish two manuscripts (titles and covers coming soon)
  • Finish manuscript for Singular Focus 2 (working title)
  • NaPoWriMo 2022 (April)
  • NaNoWriMo 2022 (November)
  • Keep up the blog
  • Painting projects, including a proposal for a mural in my apartment building hallway
  • Wasted Monday performances*
  • Piano open mic performance*

The first two I can tick off; Sins of the Father and The Mother’s Fault were published early in the year. And I’m finalising edits on my sequel to Singular Focus, now available for pre-order: Singular Purpose. I have a few changes still to be done, then a final proofread, and it will be ready to go live 1 February 2023.

NaPoWriMo went well, I managed my goal of one poem for every day in April. Some of them were excellent, and have been workshopped with my poetry group, and some others will stay in the vault not to be read by the general public.

After that, my goals were harder to keep. The new job is more hours than the previous job, in addition to which I’ve had some chronic pain issues and other stuff that have hindered my ability to do projects.

I decided not to do NaNoWriMo this year, I’ve done a fair amount of writing over the year and November turned out to be a hectic month.

I kept up entries on the blog, perhaps not as many as I would have liked, but I’m counting that one.

My painting projects did not happen either, though I spent some time learning how to crochet instead. The mural project for my apartment building didn’t happen. It’s a big project, and I don’t have capacity to do all that planning and painting and everything that goes along with it. Especially given that the hallway is a public space, I would feel pressure to get it done quickly which would be an added level of difficulty.

As for music, I’ve still been having piano lessons with a local teacher every week, but I haven’t managed to do any open mics. I’m not ready to play piano in front of strangers, plus I don’t know enough songs well enough for a whole 15-minute set. My piano teacher arranges small concerts with her students every six months or so, and I played in those.

The band is on a bit of a hiatus, we’re all busy and one of our members is moving back overseas soon. Maybe I’ll have time for more performance stuff next year, but maybe not. Since the pandemic I’ve been more of a home body than I used to be. It could be that the the world has changed, and of course the lingering threat of catching the plague, but it might just be that I’m getting older, and more tired.

I’ve had a number of challenging situations in the last few months, some interpersonal conflict in my volunteer work, and a family member involved in an accident and caring duties associated with that. I’ve been feeling a distinct kinship with Bilbo when he describes feeling ‘thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.’

I’ve enjoyed being able to go out and socialise with people, I’ve seen a couple of gigs, had some excellent gatherings, and caught up with friends. On the other hand, I’ve had a couple of colds which didn’t happen when I was stuck inside not seeing anyone, I guess there are drawbacks to interacting with other people.

I’m not much good at resting, I hope next year I’ll be able to balance things more effectively. I haven’t decided what to put on my 2023 goals list yet; I’ll think about it over the next few days and post my goals in my first post of the new year. I hope to see you there.

Disconnect

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We’re always looking for contact, scrolling
But never quite connecting, separate

We never quite connect, separated
By a bubble, a wall around ourselves

Create a wall, a place to hide ourselves
And always longing, yearning to be seen

A longing, yearning for someone to see
Who we are, instead of who we present

To be who we are, not who we present
Terrified to be that real, that naked

Terror of being that real, that naked
Stops us from forming deep relationships

Unable to form deep relationships
We’re always looking for contact, scrolling.

If I only could: or leaving things behind

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Tuesday was the first day of November and for the first time since 2012 I’m not going to undertake NaNoWriMo. I started doing this marathon drafting challenge when I didn’t yet know how to write novels.

A little over a year after I started this blog, the same time that I left a job I resented in favour of going back to uni. I did my first 50,000 words in a month, and since then I’ve done NaNoWriMo ten times, each time I reached my target. Cumulatively I’ve got 500,000 words from these sprints.

This year, I finished editing a manuscript in the last couple of days of October, and I thought about NaNo. I could have worked on a manuscript I started earlier in the year which is a little under 50k words, for Nano, or I could have started a new project. But instead I decided to start working on fun, possibly a novella or short novel. It’s a story a friend and I came up with for a film, one day we might make it, but novels are my bread and butter, so it seemed easiest to get my thoughts and ideas into a shape by writing it as narrative fiction.

The habits and skills I’ve developed over my years doing NaNo will never leave me. I am so glad I have learned to write first (and fast) and edit later–I find it so much easier to shape something when it’s all there, with an ending, than going over what you did last session, fiddling with it, then switching to write something new. I can sprint now, in half an hour I can get up to 1000 words, something I would never have been able to do before.

It feels strange to leave behind something that has been such a prominent feature in my calendar. I put it in my goals for 2022, but now November is here, I don’t have the energy or the determination to make it work. Last year’s version I aimed for 30k instead of the traditional 50k, and it was still tough. It feels right to let this go.

I’ll probably keep NaPoWriMo, the poem a day challenge in April, as I don’t write much poetry outside of that month. I enjoy the prompts, even when I ignore them, and it’s a good boost to my poetic productivity. For fiction, I don’t need it. I am producing at least one novel a year, which is my aim, and it looks like I’ll be able to continue that for the foreseeable future. There might be a time later where staying inside writing every day seems like a good idea, but it’s not going to happen this year. Post-covid restlessness maybe?

I think it shows growth that I’m not cramming all my output into one month, and instead am able to get 100k or more over spread through the year. Or it might just be that, after ten times, my competitive urge has faded. I also can’t rule out that I got old and tired.

Whatever the reason, I have a fun horror story brewing, perhaps I’ll make a collection, and a half-finished romantic comedy novel to keep my readers entertained after Singular Purpose. What good is being a writer if I’m not entertaining myself first? Comment below if you have any creepy pasta stories rattling around that might make a good addition to my horror collection.

Stay safe, and if you’re in Melbourne try to stay warm and dry until the weather sorts itself out and we get to have a summer of some kind.

Cover Reveal – Singular Purpose

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I’m very excited to reveal the cover for my new novel, Singular Purpose! It’s due for release in February 2023, you can pre-order it here.

Front cover of a book titled Singular purpose, the cover has a woman with two ravens, and is magenta 
Text reads releasing feb 2023

Freya and Jacob thought their powers were gone for good after they saved the world, they were happy with that. Then one chilly spring morning Odin’s ravens reappear outside their Melbourne apartment.

A power-hungry wannabe-God is luring women to his compound in the country. Freya and Jacob’s magical abilities have been restored but will it be enough to stop this new threat?

Or will one man with a god complex trigger the end of the world?

This novel is a sequel to my 2021 novel, Singular Focus, available now in ebook and paperback.

Long Drive Together

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Today was dress/tech rehearsal time for the show ‘Long Drive Together’ a new two person play by Neptune Henriksen.

I first met Neptune at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2015, I had been recommended their work. This new work is a tender, complex look at grief and chanages in friendships. My role is doing the lighting and sound cues from a little booth up the back. I haven’t done this type of role before, but when they asked if I knew anyone who could do it I put my hand up. I hope it’s straight forward and the rehearsals today have laid a solid foundation. I’m cautiously confident.

I’ve done my own fringe shows a couple of times, and it was a lot of work. I have intended to do it again but I’m not sure I’ll be able to fit it in with all my other projects. This is almost like having my own show.

I’d love for you to come along and see the show, you can find tickets here. It’s only a short run, and only in Melbourne/Naarm, so better get in quick.

Enquiries for Neptune can be directed to their email.

All the New Projects

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The last few weeks I’ve been reading The Artist’s Way. A friend of mine suggested a group of us go through the book and support one another in doing the activities. I’ve found the book quite interesting, some of the attitude challenges have been insightful, some of the activities have been fun. I decided some were too much bother and didn’t do them, others I meant to do but haven’t yet.

One of the things I’m exploring as part of the journey is blocking activities, namely scrolling endlessly through social media while watching TV, and have taken up crochet. The first couple of test patches I was making mistakes I couldn’t yet identify, but the third one was pretty good. I’m psyching myself up to try an actual pattern, something that will be a thing, a scarf or hat perhaps to start.

The images above a sample of crochet, and two collages I put together from activities in the Artist’s Way. The book has its drawbacks, and it’s very dated in certain aspects, but overall it has been a positive experience.

I’m also continuing work on various writing projects, a sequel to a previous novel, as yet not titled, and a rewrite of a novel I wrote a few years ago. I have a friend who I’m trying to convince to co-write a screen-play, so far it’s only at the pitch stage, and I am regularly working on my poetry.

The course, as described in the book, seems to be opening up a bunch of new and interesting avenues. It will be interesting to see how long they stick around, but on the other hand I suppose it doesn’t matter. The idea of play in my art practices has been a hard one to get my head around. I’ll persevere in trying to be playful and aim for a child-like glee. I hear it’s enjoyable.

Dawn Chorus

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A cry rang out in the night
‘Damn it to Hades,’ he said, hopping
Ares had stubbed his toe on the
corner of the four-poster bed

The god of war, all powerful
in some situations, but still fallible
in the half-light of the
very early morning

Aphrodite raised her golden head from the
pillow, ‘why don’t use a light, my darling?
You know how clumsy you are.’
Sighing, she laid her head back down

The heavenly goddess dreamed of a bed
partner who does not snore quite so loudly
or exclaim in pain every time he shuffles
to the privy in the night. Even gods

suffer from small bladders. Eros wandered
past the door, on his way home from a
party, and heard the conversation for the
seventh time, at least.

In his bedroom, Eros flicked his mesh shirt
into the laundry basket and peeled off
his leather pants, before admiring his sweat
slicked body in the mirror.

Vanity was a weakness of his, perhaps
lustiness for himself also. A toilet
flushed down the hall, another cry
rang out as Ares kicked the bed again.

Maintenance

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I’ve been trying to come up with a blog post for about three weeks and so far, nothing good has come to mind, so I thought I would talk about maintenance.

Maintenance is the not at all sexy stuff we do to keep things running – it’s brushing your teeth, or eating healthy or exercising (for the body), cleaning the toilet or mopping the floors, it’s practicing scales and exercises (for music), it’s showing up to write even if you don’t feel like it.

There is an argument to be made that motivation follows action, and not the other way around. One must start doing something to feel like doing it. In a way it helps, because you don’t have to wait until you feel like something to get started, but it also means I have to start before I even feel like it, which can be hard sometimes, especially if things are tough for any reason.

This week I’ve worked on my manuscript a couple of times, I’ve done piano practice most days, I’ve done yoga or a walk or the gym and in most cases I didn’t feel like it. I’m not sure if it’s winter inertia, or I’m having a particularly low energy week, but life feels hard. Getting up for work when it’s under 10˚ C is probably not helping.

Is being an adult progressively adding more maintenance tasks to your list to feel vaguely normal? In my memory I didn’t worry so much about stuff when I was younger, but maybe I’m misremembering. I feel much less fun and spontaneous – my back pain, and ankle injury and the whole pandemic thing didn’t help with that either. Maybe I’ll get back to feeling spontaneous. Maybe I’ll want to create more, rather than relying on starting an activity and hoping I’ll get into it once I’ve begun.

I had coffee with a former work colleague earlier today, though more correctly my former boss, and we had a lovely chat about life, the universe and everything (with a long detour to cults started because I recently read the Book of Revelation and wow, was that a trip, I digress). As I went back to my car to head to my exercise physiology appointment, I found I had a parking ticket. I was in a zone where I had to pay for a ticket, but I had misread the sign and assumed it was two-hour free parking, not two-hour paid parking. I was annoyed because it’s another in a long line of expenses (let’s not even get into the cost of vegetables or petrol at the moment) I have and it would have been avoidable if I’d been more careful about reading the sign. The annoyance spread through the rest of the day, something I feel might not have happened when I was younger.

I guess I’m worried I’m becoming boring and curmudgeonly and I’m not even that old! On the other hand, the world has objectively been through a very bad last couple of years, so perhaps I should give myself a bit more time to get over the trauma (and ongoing stress) of the COVID-years.

I’ve had this blog for over a decade, and I have been posting semi-regularly to it so I think I can say I’m maintaining it. Here’s to trying to find more joy in maintenance.