Well, November felt like it took several years, but I’vecome out the other side with another NaNoWriMo successfully under my belt.
For this year’s project I rewrote a story I started in 2014. I had done a full manuscript, 78k words with rewrites, but I didn’t like it; it was in several different points of view and my style has improved since then. I thought why not rewrite it from scratch?
Now I’m hurriedly trying to finish reading a book for book club which was neglected in favour of NaNo. Once I’ve had a few days off writing, I need to start on edits.
I’m planning to release my new book on 1 February, 2021. It’s a stand alone ubran fantasy/paranormal romance. I got it back from my editor in late October and I have final edits and proof reading to go, then it will be ready for sale. Keep your eyes on this space for my launch.
I haven’t written here for a while, what with work, the pandemic, and everything else, I’m busy but not interesting.
Earlier today, going for my government sactioned daily walk to a local coffee shop, I was listening to Josh Earl’s ‘Dont You Know Who I am?’ podcast and they were walking about crappy housemate stories.
I have several but one I thought I’d share was the time I came home from an overseas trip to find a stranger sleeping in my bed.
Let’s back up a little. I had given notice I was moving out; six weeks as I was going on a trip I’d already planned and paid for to India, and didn’t want to have to rush to move out in the days after I got back.
I did some packing before I left, but had a lot still do to. I let my housemates know I was happy for them to show my room while I was away, and when I’d be back.
During my trip, I didn’t hear anything from any of them. There were three; an Australian, a German, and a Chilean (plus the Australian’s Italian boyfriend who stayed over a lot).
I arrived home, get lagged, at nine on a Sunday morning. My flight had been delayed by 24 hours because of a missed connection, and I’d eaten something which didn’t agree with me in the hotel I stayed in while waiting for the flight home. I was in a foul mood and just wanted to shower and relax at home.
When I walked into my bedroom to find a person sleeping in my bed I was livid. I told her she needed to collect her stuff and leave immediately. The poor young woman in my room was deeply shocked. I can’t blame her, my housemates had told her I wasn’t coming back and now she was homeless.
My mum had picked me up from the airport and brought me home, because she’s a legend. Mum was more rational than me, having not just been on a long haul flight, and suggested we give her half an hour to collect herself and we go for coffee down the road.
I felt violated. All my stuff was still in my room, some of it in boxes. I was also still paying rent. I moved out of there as quickly as possible and into the new place but I was so angry.
The thing is, of the three housemates (plus one pseudohousemate) only the Chilean seemed to want to speak to me about the situation. His story was they had believed I’d already moved out and had left all my stuff there.
They have phone service and internet in India, so they could easily have called or texted or emailed or Facebooked me to ask what was happening to all my belongings and furniture. They did not. They also were not charging this unsuspecting back packer to stay in my room while I was paying rent, which makes me believe they knew I was coming back and thought they could get away with it.
After I moved out, I worked out how much they owed me for the share of the rent when the backpacker was staying in my room, along with some miscelaneous other expenses, and made the decision not to pay any further bills until I had recouped my expenses.
I felt this way fair. The housemates apparently did not. The Chilean tried to call me 27 times over the space of half an hour once to try to get me to speak to him about it. I wasn’t able to answer the phone at the time and given he hadn’t left a message I didn’t call back.
The whole thing left me with a very bad taste in my mouth. Everyone I’ve told has been on my side, agreeing my housemates were in the wrong for having someone stay in my room without my knowledge or consent. I’m sure everyone who hears the story from their side will believe I was in the wrong.
It has led me to conclude human beings don’t like to be the bad person in a situation. No one wants to be the asshole. I wrote a whole novel based on this idea later that year. I might rewrite it as my NaNoWriMo project this year, that’s still TBC.
Despite the subjectivity of ‘being in the right’ I don’t think I was the asshole in this particular situation.
I bumped into a real estate agent in the supermarket yesterday who I had some dealings with about eighteen months ago; she recognised me behind my mask from my earrings.
‘How are you? Are you working from home?’ I asked.
‘Yes, I’m getting used to it now after a couple of weeks.’
‘A couple of weeks? I’ve been working from home since March.’ I laughed. She was pretty blown away. I didn’t even tell her my work life is now least 30% video conferencing.
I’ve mostly settled into the restricted lifestyle we have here in Melbourne although I do get a bit stir crazy every so often. Trying to find a balance at the moment is tough.
Last week I took a few days annual leave from the day job to attend the Romance Writers of Australia virtual conference. It ran Wednesday to Sunday, some of the sessions were great, others less relevant to me. I struggled to give my attention to my screen all day, especially in the pre-recorded sessions.
In a virtual conference some death by powerpoint is inevitable but I came out of the week feeling pumped about writing and more confident in describing my current work in progress.
The writing community is so encouraging and warm, I am hugely thankful to be a part of it. I’m glad the conference was able to go ahead in the face of a pandemic, hats off to the organising committee. I was disappointed not to be able to see Perth, or meet everyone in person. I guess I’ll have to wait till next year on the Gold Coast (fingers crossed).
I can only hope we come out the other end of this period of history wiser, kinder, safe and healthy. Breathe deeply, drink more water, get some sunlight, and remember you’re a like plant with complicated emotions.
Global pandemics, like grief, affects each person differently. Some people in my circle have been able to produce a lot of work during the pandemic, others have produced almost none at all. I completed a survey last night on the effect of the pandemic on mental health which included an array of psychological test scales.
As seen in Spongebob Squarepants
One scale measured body dysmorphia* which tapped into a few thought patterns I hadn’t been aware of. It’s just over six months since my accident and I’m still attending physio several times a week. My ankle is strong enough to walk to the local coffee shop and back, about 30min round trip, but not much further. The mobility of the joint is still compromised, especially after sitting for a while or getting up in the morning. It’s also much bigger than the other ankle.
Part of me has always known my left ankle will never be the same, but another part of me thought if I tried hard enough it would recover. I’ve had my final surgical review, and finally got to see the x-rays (I think they were hiding them in case I was upset) and I have a couple of pieces of metal in my ankle which will stay there permanently. The surgeons also informed me that in ten to twenty years I would be arthritic, so I have that to look forward to.
The coronavirus has affected people in very different ways. I remind myself I’m doing well in comparison to some – I still have a job, my income is stable, my housing is stable and safe, and I’m not unwell (injury not withstanding) – but I can’t help feeling down at the idea of repeated waves of increased transmission, going into and out of lock-down, and being worried every time I go out into the world until we find a vaccine.
I live in Melbourne, our city and state has been doing much worse than the rest of our country lately and it doesn’t look like it’s improving. Days blur into one another. The view of my terrace/balcony is lovely, but I’m getting sick of it.
I’m tired. It feels like I’ve been tired for a while and it’s hard to know whether it’s really tiredness or just boredom, or stress. I worry we’re going to come out of this period of human history and all be total weirdos.
What have I been up to during lockdown v2? I am working the day job (from home), editing a manuscript, attending physio rehab, doing trivia with friends on Zoom, baking sourdough bread, reading, watching a lot of streamed TV, procrastinating doing work on the mural in my hallway**, yoga and other exercise at home. I try to keep myself busy but it often feels like an uphill battle.
I hope you’re staying safe and keeping up your mental health routines as much as possible. It is comforting to know that everyone is in the same boat, but it’s also okay to acknowledge a hard time to be alive.
** The mural is quite large and quite complicated, based on this image by Christian Waller, and whenever I think about doing a bit of work on it I become overwhelmed and do other things, like writing blog posts.
It’s been nearly four months since I was hit by a car. Some of you may be surprised to know that I’m still hobbling around on crutches, although I am rid of the moon boot as of last week. I need one further surgery to get all the metal taken out, it was supposed to be last week but then I had a bit of a sore throat and the hospital told me I couldn’t go in until after I’d had a test for COVID-19.
The test was unpleasant but tolerable, much in the same way as a pap smear test is unpleasant but tolerable. I don’t have it, thankfully, just some other unrelated sore throat issue. The whole saga reminded me of how weird the world has become. Things which would have been totally normal this time last year just don’t happen anymore, and things that would never have happened last year are common place – like having nothing scheduled every night this week. Lots of people are out of jobs, though thankfully in Australia we haven’t had huge numbers of deaths.
The whole world reminds me of a sketch I saw once, I’m pretty sure it was Bill Bailey but of course I can’t find the clip anymore. He described an East-German sitcom he’d made up entitled ‘Das ist verboten’ (translated it can mean variously: it’s illegal, it’s forbidden or it’s not allowed).
Everything I used to do feels like it’s illegal, forbidden, not allowed. Going to see a band, modelling for an art class, catching up with more than five people. I went to the supermarket on Saturday to get supplies for my isobaking and isocooking and there were so many people there. It was stressful. I didn’t feel as though I could get far enough away from people and I was wearing a big jacket because it was cold outside, but it was not cold inside so I was overheating which made everything worse.
Time is moving both extremely slowly and dizzyingly fast. I was released from hospital exactly a month before lock down started, but I wasn’t very mobile then. Now I’m more mobile, I have more energy, I’m even back up to my regular hours at the day job, but there is no where to go. Since being in partial isolation I’ve forgotten how to socialise. People exhaust me. Life exhausts me. I guess that’s kind of par for the course – everyone is exhausted or stir crazy or both.
I announced a while ago that I would publish my third novel on 1 June 2020, that’s only a week away. I blame the weird action of time for this. I’ll be hosting a virtual book launch on Facebook next Monday evening (Melbourne time) and I’d love you all to come. I haven’t entirely worked out what I’m going to do but it should be fun none the less.
If you don’t fancy the book launch or you live in a time zone where it will be awkward, you can always purchase your copy of My Mother’s Secret on Amazon and all good online book retailers. There might be a recording of the launch too.
One day we might look back at this time and think of all the things we learned, all the bread we baked, and all the government deficits we accumulated and smile, but it will be a long time from now. Until then, just try to be excellent to each other I guess.
Many poems were about isolation and the weirdness that is the global environment at the moment, which I guess isn’t surprising, it takes up a lot of everyone’s brain-space at the moment.
I’ve increased my hours at the day job, working from home of course, and doing rehab for the broken ankle four days a week. And I’ve become obsessed with baking sourdough bread (haven’t we all).
Sourdough rye/wholemeal bread by me (now that I have got the technique under control)
So keeping myself very busy!
I’ve organised a virtual book launch for my new novel, ‘My Mother’s Secret’, due for release 1 June 2020. I’m still figuring out exactly what a virtual book launch involves, but feel free to come long and join me!
Pre-orders of the book are available on Amazon in e-book and paperback, and other good online book sellers.
Now we’re all staying home and not leaving the house for reals, I would like to invite you all to join me doing National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo).
I’ve done it a couple of times before and while some days are harder than others to produce a poem per day, I’ve come out the month with a number of good first drafts. Maureen Thorson, the founder and host, supplies prompts and inspiration for your daily poem.
I’ve been coming up with creative ways to fill my time now I can’t go out for coffee and I’m still not really allowed to walk (I was upgraded to 25% weight-bearing last week which was amazing, we we still have a way to go). I have set myself up with all the materials to paint a mural and I’ve spent a fair amount of time doing semi-intricate nail art projects.
My cover reveal should be ready soon for my upcoming novel, My Mother’s Secret, to be released on 1 June. I’ve done some of the background work and I’m excited to get my third book-baby out there.
Take care of yourselves during this difficult time, keep your mind and body active if you can, keep in touch with friends online, access support when you need it. I’m doing okay financially – my main job can be done from home and TAC is still paying me – but I know a lot of people are struggling with that as well as health and lock-in stress.
…doing my own thing, 1.5m away from any other people.
So we’re all totally over-loaded with COVID-19 pandemic content, so I’m going to try not to talk about that too much, but it’s changed everything for everyone for the foreseeable future.
One of the things that has changed for me is what I want to do with my next manuscript. I had planned to wait for responses from traditional publishers but I suspect taking new authors from the slush pile is not going to be high on their radars for the next [indeterminate period of time]. In light of the whole situation I’m planning to release my third novel independently on 1 June 2020.
The novel is called My Mother’s Secret, it’s a full length contemporary romance novel. I haven’t written a blurb or done a cover but I’ll publish those here and on my FaceBook author page when they’re done.
I’ve made the decision on a whim, I’m still on some of the opioid medication so maybe that has contributed to this slightly impulsive announcement.
I hope you all have enough to eat, somewhere to hide away from the world, and enough to read. Hit me up if you want e-copies of my previous novels for free, I’ll do a promo code for isolation.
PS: I’m using the rubber duckies wearing scrubs again because it’s still relevant…
I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about this for a while. How much to say, what I want the world to know – my friends and family have already heard about it.
On January 27 of this year I was hit by a car while riding my bike. The driver failed to stop at at give way sign at a T-intersection. I will probably be fine in time, but at the moment I feel shitty and I’ve only been out of hospital for a day.
As far as physical injuries go, I have a broken leg. It could have been a lot worse but I’ve had two sets of surgery on it. I was admitted to a rehab hospital to help with recovery, but I really wanted to get home so I could start getting back to a semblance of normality.
I’m off work for the next while, the doctors gave me three months, but I hope it won’t take that long. I’ve been able to keep in touch with work mainly to make sure they can find stuff that I was working on. I’ll have to sort out a proper return to work plan with the doctors and physios etc. depending on how things progress.
I haven’t been able to do much writing since the incident. It feels like I should be making the most of my time, but it’s hard to write when you’re in pain and just want to sleep. It’s tough because I’m bored and restless but also tired, resentful and sore.
So, my life is kind of on hold for a while. I can’t walk on the left leg for another four weeks, and who knows how long after that it will take to get back to full strength. I’ll just have to take things slowly for the next few months.