Tag Archives: writing

My writing plans

How many novels am I working on?

I try to focus on about three at a time mostly, the same three, but I have more on the go than I admit.

Nobody will believe me if I said I have approximately one hundred and fifty unfinished works and about forty works stewing because I am pernickety and a perfectionist that just can’t seem to decide on the plot or another version of it.

It has been some months since I last said this, that when I whine about not finishing the project in time for my deadline, it is that one specific novel I am on about – project AD.

When I say I haven’t written anything I often mean to say towards the main project specifically – because in all honesty, even on my hardest of days, I am still writing something; be it poetry, songs, short stories, snippets of ideas or other novels, you can bet your bottom dollar I am still producing roughly three thousand words a day elsewhere.  But for me, it’s the main project that counts.

Along with my approximate 3k words on other works and approximately 3k words toward my main project on a good day, I am also in working mode whenever I watch YouTube, socialise on twitter and read books – which means all in all I work longer than anyone should!

There isn’t a time in my day where I am not working, unless of course I am eating, because I usually use meal times as a way to socialise with my nearest and dearest and all focus is on them.

When I read a book, it’s usually educational for me in some way.  I rarely read fiction books, but that is a habit that’s slowly changing.

I was asked on twitter recently, what would I call my writing niche?  It got me thinking, because I couldn’t answer straight away without thinking about it for about ten minutes and when I thought of what it might be, I had to google it to see if it was a thing and it is; abstract fantasy.

I suppose it is abstract fantasy because a lot of my works have a lot of abstract ideas, such as anthropomorphism, breaking down the boundaries of what is stereotypical of fantasy creatures and even breaking down the boundaries of societal norms as there is a lot of gender fluidity in some of my works.

Often whenever people ask me what I mostly write I give them a long list as a reply, something akin to; I write dark fantasy, or things of a dark theme such as descent into madness survival, anthropomorphism, dystopia and a bit of steampunk and vampires.  Those are my usual go to replies – however, it says nothing really of the giants and dragons I write about and it totally bypasses the fact that it is an abstract idea not the general run of the mill fantasy everyone is cosy with.

For example, I might have dragons who dress in regency clothing having afternoon tea picnics discussing the barbarism of humanity; or beautiful faeries with butterfly wings, heavily tattooed with shaved sides of their heads in intricate patterns getting ready to wrestle a badger as a ride to go to the summer solstice party.  You get what I mean here, though lovely and fantastical it can be a little dark in the way I write things, but still not too dark for family entertainment, that’s important to me!

So I have grown comfortable in understanding I am an abstract fantasy author with mild horror thrown in here and there.

Abstract fantasy is more doable than you think – although most people would consider Douglas Adams work “Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy” as a comedy sci-fi it is often marketed as abstract fantasy. 

Terry Pratchett, Diana Wynne Jones, Clive Barker and Garth Nix are also considered abstract fantasy authors, to name but a few.

My current project AD is definitely abstract fantasy but it does have some steampunk elements to it too, so the marketing here can be difficult unless I decide which niche it’s actually going to be and personally – I think it’s going to be marketed as a YA science fiction because I think the steampunk elements are quite big, the anthropomorphism is due to genetic mutations, the animals are building a world out of the scraps of junk humans have left behind and they are building weapons to fight each new rising faction that is occurring out of the dust. 

I think this project screams Tank Girl, Mad Max and The Fly so this is why I have chosen to market it as YA Science Fiction rather than abstract fantasy, because science is quite a large theme in the series and yes, this is going to be a series of books and eventually I plan to make them into a graphic novel, but at the moment I am not confident in doing that – so they are novels right now.

I have also changed the species of a rival group, which is why I am falling behind on the project, because I had to rewrite four chapters depicting the new species which set me back about a week, I am happier with the idea that this rival clan is sheep rather than rats as I felt that rats are overdone as bad guys.

Also the main character has a disability, which I felt is often underrepresented in literature, so I am proud of that and it really makes the story, it really works well.

This story has bought back the fun in writing for me, which is something I haven’t felt since 2015, it has a lot of wacky ideas which work and I am so proud of.

But Project AD is definitely not my only project, no worries there.

This is part of a series, but it is not my only series I am working on and there are plenty of standalone novels too.

I have a vampire saga I am working, this is probably going to be my longest series of all my books and again I would market them as science fiction because of the fact that my vampires are not originally from Earth and they do space travel from time to time.

Another series I am working on has twelve defined stories and there will absolutely never be more than twelve books in this series because it would defy the plot, there is a specific reason why the number twelve is important to this series.  I have mentioned this story before as Steampunk 1 and this story will be marketed under steampunk because it’s quite rigid in that genre.  It is a lesbian romance of travel companions who explore new cultures and debunk science together.

Another is a dark fantasy about ghost children, this is a standalone book and I won’t say much else about the plot just yet.

There is another dark fantasy about a haunted teddy bear, which I’ve vaguely mentioned two years ago approximately.

There is a dragon trilogy I am working on.

A series of stories about giants in the same world, but all different characters, with their own stories, but it is a specific world; so far there are five planned, two half written.

A werewolf novel, which is a standalone – the plot isn’t exciting enough yet and needs a lot of work!

There is so much more than this, there is no need to worry about me being a one trick pony, honestly!

I can’t focus on one thing for too long it triggers my ADD really bad and I am always juggling ideas, some for years being remastered time and time again – but there is more to me than just anthropomorphic mutant warriors having gang warfare and vampires flying around in spaceships and lesbian balloon riders debunking science… much, much more!

I am also working on a series of books based on angels and demons and the bible etc., there is just so much fighting to get out of my head!

In my next post, I am going to be talking about how I structure my stories and how long my ideas can take to write on average.

Thanks for reading!

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Push or die?

I will not be participating in Inktober this year due to lack of supplies and lack of money to buy new supplies.

I will not ask for a crowdfund for Inktober, I have had friends online suggest I do this, but I am uncomfortable with that.  Also, I don’t think I’d have the time between now and my deadline to do four hours of artwork per day on top of it all.

I am having a hard time emotionally in the last few weeks, lots of bad news in the family, near and far. 

Really, instead of sticking to my deadline I should take a couple of weeks off everything but housework and child rearing to recuperate; but I set this goal and I won’t forgive myself unless it is accomplished, even if I don’t get an agent like I want to, at least I can say I did try on my set timeframe.

I will miss doing Inktober, I enjoy this event every year and I tend to do my best artwork during those times (autumn theme is the best), but this year I just can’t manage the time to do it.

I am juggling my own mental health problems along with my son’s problems and Paul’s stress about the heat or eat crisis here in the UK as well as general family grief over the diagnosis of cancer of two relations, the death of a cousin and the loss of a child friend who recently broke her back horse-riding and has to live for several months in a hospital fifty miles away and my own yet to be diagnosed neurological issue.

Henry’s issues are existential, he is having gender crisis issues and is suicidal because he wants to be both genders at the same time, but is being severely bullied at school over it as well as his very elaborate fashion tastes, a penchant for pink, faux fur and glitter as well as tailored clothing; it isn’t so bad, but he is being picked on because of his surname and the fact that he speaks excellent King’s English – in other words he is quite posh for the area.

The bullies threw sticks and stones at the house at the start of the year, the police had to deal with it.

It is hard to manage his behaviour at times, because he is constantly punishing himself physically and it is exhausting to constantly be his sentinel to watch him and physically stop him harming himself.  Paul blames Dobby from Harry Potter for him starting this, because before Henry got into Harry Potter, he’d never harm himself.  Although people find Dobby funny, living with a child who is re-enacting what Dobby does is far from humorous, it’s downright blooming scary, especially when the child starts punching himself in the chest during dinner and forgetting he has a knife and fork in his hands!

This is not the reason however, that Paul and Henry often argues with each other over, on the contrary, it’s almost everything, they see eye to eye on very little.

For me it is mostly mental exhaustion, because Henry is particularly challenging lately.  I am also exhausted because I have no social life and the only person I have to talk to is exhausted both physically and mentally to the extent we hardly talk more than twenty minutes per day together alone anymore – Paul.

I haven’t written towards my novel since the 20th September 2022, hopefully by this posts scheduled date I’d have written more towards it, but it is difficult. 

I am trying to keep myself active in some kind of creativity though, mostly poems and scheduling blog posts, reading about how to structure different kinds of poetry and learning about screenwriting, just to keep doing something to keep me sane.

But I have to say, I am struggling to make sense about anything and I am pretty sure in a couple of months’ time, when things have calmed down a bit more and I re-read this month’s posts, I will wonder where the heck my mind was all through these weeks?

A couple of friends of mine have DM me who are already published authors, they believe because of my stressful time and because it is generally a bad time of the year for finding representation, that I should hold off until February – but I am debating this.

You see, I fully want to approach an agent before Christmas, because I’ve planned it for so long.  January I will start my YouTube channel and I will look into affiliate programs and my blog will become more focused too, with photographs of me and my artwork etc.

I am determined that life starts at forty and I am forty on the 3rd October 2022.

Paul is super stressed out by my proclamation of starting a new life in October, because he sees his cup as half empty and doesn’t see how I am able to do all my plans for a new life, when we can’t pay our heating bills and our food budget is going to be halved from next month. Remember I’ve said in the past I don’t go to doctor appointments anymore, because we can’t afford the taxi fare, well, whether I am sick or not from next month or onwards, I can only go now in a life or death situation, meaning I am neglecting myself medically all the more!

It’s that or food, or it used to be like that – now its the doctor, food or heating and we’re choosing food right now, we’ve stocked up on hot water bottles and over the years we’ve bought fleece blankets, thank goodness!

But I say, financially our lives will improve from January, because I am stubborn and I will make something happen, I am not like Paul – I don’t like making do and I don’t like making excuses for being in poverty, I don’t whine and sit back hoping for someone to give me a leg up.

I was bedbound sick for years, but I eventually got a little better and now able to do more around the house – but still not strong enough for my January plans – but still, I am going to force it, because I can’t stand this life!

I refuse to tolerate it any longer!

Paul has convinced himself our relationship is over once I get published, because he doesn’t see why I would want to stick around, it’s almost like he is pushing me away these days.

My choice is to push myself out of the mud no matter what the pain or the embarrassment or commit suicide; one or the other and I chose life!

Happy reading…

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I am exhausted

For the past few weeks it has been a mentally exhausting time for me and my whole family; Some people from my past have been trying to contact me again and I have learned recently that two relatives on my side of the family have cancer, and understanding that more distant relations are also suffering loss; along with this I have been trying to manage my sons increasing anxieties and screaming matches between him and his father amongst other things, such as the house falling apart, quite literally due to storm damage and damp.

All of it has taken its toll on my physical health and unusually I have been sleeping eleven to thirteen hours a day and still unsatisfied with the rest.  Consequently for the past five days in particular, I have not written a word towards any novel and this is going to severely affect my chosen deadline.

Paul would like me to stick to my deadline but also understands that I should not push myself to do it by the deadline, because my mental health and mental growth is more important – however, I have people waiting for my work and that gives me a sort of pressure.

Also my perfectionism drives me to the point of insanity and if I make a statement about doing something by some self-imposed deadline, I am merciless even to myself if I fail it.

What is frustrating about all of this is the mental bashing has come at a time when physically I was showing big signs of improvement because of the high protein diet and small activities I have been doing as well as giving up the caffeine. 

It is almost like bad luck is queuing up, waiting their turn.

I told Paul recently that I feel like I am cursed, or that I have somehow cursed him because he had a wonderful family and a sort of happy life before he met me and slowly his life is going the downward spiral I have.

It’s like I am an unlucky penny.

I have to say, it’s one of the many reasons I don’t like to get close to new people, because I really do think I bring them bad luck.  However, take me to a casino and you wouldn’t believe it, I have been used as a good luck trophy at those places in the past for good reason!

My grandma in particular loved me tagging along with her at bingo and casinos, because she would regularly win large prizes and a couple of exes owe big wins to me too; but in everything else though, I seem to doom people who live with me to a hard life.

I noticed it only affects people I live with if the people are happy with stagnation, so maybe it’s not me after all?  I noticed people with an ambitious drive for life etc; seem to do better around me than those who are happy as they are.  I don’t know, but it does affect my confidence somewhat.

I need people in my life who is energised by positivity and excitement on a consistent basis, that the more positive energy and drive the person they live with has, the more they have – but I noticed some people are different, some people get the energy from me for a short time, love being around me, but to live with me drains them and then consequently they drain me.

It’s a strange phenomenon.

Paul is convinced I am an anomaly, that there are very few people like me who can have consistent positive energy without falling apart eventually.

I am drained by stagnation and people who make do.

Gosh I sound bad.

Well in any case, at the moment I am drained and I am finding it hard to keep my positive outlook and that is affecting productivity.

I am beginning to think that October 21st was a bad idea, I should have kept with my instinct of the 23rd of January, but I believe I got a little cocky, thinking that being firm with everyone in my household would make people back off each other and I could be more productive.  Instead, some people have used this against me in order to become worse. 

Henry in particular openly confessed to me he doesn’t want me to be successful and potentially famous because that would mean he would become famous too and he doesn’t want that.  This is a major reason why Henry has been trying to be sick from school a lot, even becoming bulimic in the process to be sent home from school because of the vomiting factor, and so he understands whilst he is at home I cannot write because of the screaming matches between him and his father, who is home all day too.

Often I try to diffuse the screaming matches to no avail, because it just seems to make things worse, no matter how calm and collective I try to be.  The both of them are as bad as each other and so often I sit there just watching them scream at each other, because most of the time they don’t hear me anyway.

It did work, me being in the bedroom writing on my laptop for a couple of days, but Henry started to scream louder to the extent he nearly lost his voice, just because he wanted to disturb me.  He then started to sit outside the bedroom whilst I wrote, in order to play his robot wars with the loudest commentary he could muster.  This is what I am trying to work around; I have little support from Paul who seems to be falling apart at the seams in every single way right now.

It’s exhausting because it is almost constant now.

I have learned to write when they go to Tesco’s forty five minute bursts every three days, not enough.

I am trying to get a handle on my physical health so I can go to a café to write, because really, even the nosiest café in town is quieter than here and this house is getting a reputation in the street in being the mad house, because neighbours can clearly hear what the yelling is exactly about, it’s that bad!

They’ve even asked if I still live there as they noticed I am the quietest person here and they rarely hear me!

I can’t afford to sit in a café daily, but even if it’s twice a week I’d get more work done there than I would here, but I need to walk there and I need a while to get strength back into my legs.  Because I have been bedbound and housebound sick for years, it has taken me nearly three months of small exercises to be able to stand in the kitchen for fifteen minutes, whilst preparing a fruit salad for myself.  So it will be at least another three to six months before I can walk to Tesco café.

I am not putting off the deadline that long.

But it does mean I have to do unsociable habits; sleeping during the day, so I can write at night.  Waking 11am sometimes 1pm to sleep by 2am only gives me ninety minutes a day, but it’s something.  But it does depend on how exhausting that evening has been.

I am trying hard to pull Henry away from the laptop and robots in order to do something with him that won’t provoke screaming matches between his father and him, but it’s a task to get the boy doing anything else.

I am thinking about going into credit again to buy a shed/office for the garden, but honestly I can’t think about doing that until one debt is completely paid off in March.  If I am still struggling by March, I would have to consider it strongly, so I can work on my novels.

It drives me nuts not being able to write as fast as I want to, even resorting to taking hearing aids out and sitting with cotton wool in my ears, they still manage to penetrate that and I am completely deaf in one ear and 30% hearing in the other; but as I said, they scream loud enough for the street to hear the conversations.

I really don’t say it lightly.

I am knackered.

Happy reading!

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Writers that influenced me Part 3

Roald Dahl was one of the first two authors I first discovered and loved throughout my childhood and got me into the habit of reading because of how much I enjoyed their works; the other author was Eric Hill, I was a major fan of Spot the dog.  But Roald Dahl really knew how to identify with children and think like them.

Roald Dahl was one of the first authors I experienced who actually understood how children think and how children might behave in certain circumstances and I enjoyed and respected that about him.

All too easily adult authors try to avoid the snotty nose kids covered in mud aspect of childhood and try to portray children as mini adults and it isn’t accurate!  Many people try to show that children can be brave too, but Roald Dahl fully understands that a growing person often feels fear; especially when they are alone in the world dealing with some pretty big stuff going on around them, how often children are disregarded and ignored by their elders, often in reality children are made to feel inconvenient even by those that care and love them.

He did all of this whilst never deviating from the fact that although some children can rebel and do nasty things to their elders, they still have a certain amount of innocence about them and I admire the balance he had in his stories.

Christopher Moore’s books are hilarious and I read them whenever I am having a hard time, because he is just so funny!  I love how he plays with ideas and makes fun of the aspects of society which seem to be the most serious.

Although most of his books is all about humour he never deviates from excellent high quality storytelling and never forgets the real seriousness of the lives he is writing about, because although he is a light hearted absurdist he is also very dark. 

Again I believe his books have shown me how to write in a balanced kind of way.

Ransom Riggs books are absolutely wonderful, when I first read “Tales of the peculiar” my first book I ever read from him, I actually thought he was an old European storyteller from the times of the brothers Grimm or something and was actually genuinely surprised to find out he is a contemporary writer. 

Reading his books gave me the confidence to realise that the way he wrote the stories is not outdated and it has a certain charm that contemporary readers still enjoy, I always liked this style of storytelling. 

Again I loved the darkness in his books and he sometimes portray the ickiest things with light-heartedness, he has an excellent imagination which shows me that anything you can dream up can be accepted by readers, because he has done it.  There has been times where I felt my own works were too light about the dark aspects of my own stories, where I felt I should think about reader sensitivities, but in doing so I lose myself and my readers will lose too as there are many out there who likes this kind of stuff – I am not alone.

Ransom Riggs is very good at showing how different cultures view things, that not everybody thinks and feels the same and that if magic was part of our reality there are many things we must consider about how magical cultures will be so much different to our own, in such fantastic ways.

Happy reading.

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The airheads future

I don’t want my blog to become too predictable, so I thought I would spread out my influence posts over a couple of weeks – Paul felt that perhaps I should do them every day for a week, but I felt that would bore people; let me know if I was wrong, please.

I will be discussing a lot more about how I think and feel about many artists and writers works in the future of this blog, whilst still maintaining poetry, writing updates and maybe the odd short story now and again to entertain you.

I am preparing myself for two things over the next coming months; my deadline of October 21st or thereabouts as my first step into contacting an author’s agent to look for representation for my series project AD and the other thing is learning how to start a YouTube channel for just after Christmas.

I have been planning a YouTube channel for nearly three years now and to be perfectly honest I am more than a little nervous about it, because I am not very body confident.

Paul said there are lots of YouTube channels where you don’t see the person videoing, but I know it wouldn’t work for me in what I want to do though. 

My blog is just about me, my life, my hobbies and my journey into becoming a fulltime successful creative, either as a writer or artist or if I am really lucky – both!  I have even thought about doing an occasional review of the books I like and maybe even shopping hauls once I get a bit more confident.

Why so much for one channel?  I am easily bored and it will help me find out more about what people enjoy about me, then I may open up more channels to be more specific with each different thing.

I am very new to all of this and I am not technologically savvy, I have had a very sheltered and socially isolated life, so one of my main concerns is coming across as an air head who is all over the place… although me being an air head that is all over the place is true, I don’t want to be known for it, if you get me? 

I am laughing at the irony of what I have just said, but there you go, maybe I should just relax and be happy about being an air head, eh?

Happy reading!

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Who influenced my writing Part 2

Susan Hill’s books taught me how to effectively write spooky narrative but also how to convey the fear and the confusion that occurs in people when they are unsure of both their sanity and the reality around them.

She is very good at portraying self-denial of the senses whenever supernatural events occur and is very effective at sudden and fantastic twists in plot.

Susan Hill also taught me through her book “I’m the king of the castle” that you never know what is really going on in a characters mind, that sometimes things are just on the surface and the events that come through her books are often a shock even to the reader.

George MacDonald’s books taught me that you can play with uncomfortable ideas and he can do so in such a gentle way, that readers almost forgets what it is he is writing about subject wise.  I remember reading his book Lilith and was surprised at how well he skirted around the religious sensitivities and turned this character almost into a fairy tale, he wrote about the dream state and life and death as though it was a beautiful journey and in some cases it can be.

Edgar Allen Poe is one of the main reasons why I love horror and poetry.  I really love gothic culture and the macabre and he really explores the depths of human emotion really well, he was beyond his time.  He didn’t portray the human condition in airs and graces, he put down the most rotten of all of humanity down on paper in all its rawness and left you feeling either numb or depressed right after you have read his works – but nonetheless it left you feeling in awe of his creativity.

He really showed me how to reel in my reader’s emotions and play to their hopes, dreams, dreads and fears.

He really knew how to play in the dark.

Happy reading!

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Who influenced my writing? Part 1

Over the next few days I will be choosing three authors who has influenced me the most in writing and why; what did I learn from them by reading their books and so on? There will be eighteen in total and they will be placed in alphabetical order each day. Enjoy my first three;

Suzanne Collins showed me that writing about politics is necessary, particularly fictional politics, because politics is a major factor in every bodies lives whether they are interested in it or not.  Nobody can escape the politics of their country or their culture and their lives are influenced by it more than they realise!

She showed me that the government can eventually become anything and do anything and that it is our job as writers to think of all possibilities that could occur to arm the public with the knowledge to understand political trickeries. 

Her books showed me how to write characters that are trying to survive dense political control and how to overcome them in ways which inspire others, rather than just being a rebel without any real cause outside of themselves. 

She has also taught me through her writing, that even the most disgusting creatures deserve love and respect, because she is certainly the only writer I have ever read that actually made me feel sorry for and cry over the death of a cockroach!

Neil Gaiman showed me that writing has to be fun and you should play with ideas no matter how silly they appear, all ideas are worthy and all ideas will find people who love them! 

He showed me not to be afraid of my own sense of humour or my sense of darkness either and that everything about the worlds you build should have some kind of balance to them. 

He showed me to find sense of humour in dark things and to find dark things in the light!  He is very clever at this in all his works! 

Also no matter who the character is, their position in society, their outward personality, everybody has a hidden side, a fun side and he shows this well in his works too! 

Stephen King showed me not to make my writing too pretty because it doesn’t help your readers identify with your world.  In order to make a realistic world you need to put in some of the bad nitty gritty stuff occasionally.  People aren’t perfect, people falter and have flaws and every character you write about must show their flaws as much as anything else.

If you are writing horror, you have to get over yourself and your own sensitivities in order to write it more effectively, because if you are uncomfortable and squeamish and give yourself nightmares over what you are writing, then congratulations you are a horror writer that is going to succeed!

I’ve learned that you can find the most fearful or disgusting thing about anything if you put your mind to it, even a gentle walk in a flower meadow will have its horrors!  A dead rabbit lying amongst the flora rotting away with maggots and flies, or an earwig hunting aphids on a bellflower:

Thank you for reading! 

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Rekindled love

I am really very excited today, so excited in fact, that I have decided to write a second post for today that has been written today!

I am reeling over the work I have done for project AD; never before have I trusted my instincts to write a story like a pantzer, project AD was definitely planned, but it’s being pantzed a lot as I am going on, I am not sticking to my normal rigid formula and its working, it’s working wonders!

I am so happy, for the first time since 2015 I am beginning to love writing again!

I was scared that I might have to announce an extra month for the project deadline, but I am pretty sure that now I know what I am doing and what the characters want from me, the faster this story is going to be finished. 

My deadline is still October but maybe not Friday the 21st October as I didn’t realise when I randomly chose the date that it’s the end of the week – so I may post it a couple of days later for the Monday or perhaps even a few days earlier, who knows?

All I know is, that this story is making me feel energised and happy again – I no longer dread the process of writing, just to silence the muse, I am now loving it again.  It’s an amazing feeling I can tell you.

I believe 100% that the love for writing has come about because there are vampires in the subplot and it is those vampires that are making me love writing again.

Now does that mean all my stories will have a vampire subplots?  No, but there is more to me than just vampires, I love most dark mythology and this project was always intended to have some of those.  I never planned for dark fae in this storyline nor did I plan to have children which the protagonist is protecting, but it is all coming together and it is doing so, very nicely!

Thanks for reading!

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100 things of joy

This post exists because I am trying very hard to buck myself up, heal myself mentally and find a purpose in life other than just what other people tell me my purpose is.

Since becoming bedbound and housebound sick around eight or nine years ago, I slowly fell into a depression that lead to suicidal thoughts and I forgot how to feel happy; even certain hobbies I used to love, no longer bought me joy and because of lack of space and money, those things diminished more and more to the point that I no longer had a way in feeling even the slightest bit of joy.

A majority of the things that bought me happiness was physical activity, I love sport, I love exercise, but my illness made me slow down to the point of stagnation.

Slowly I am rebuilding my health, I have a new diet which is helping me get there halfway but I am out of practise in moving my body in general and so I am starting the slow process to get my mobility back – it’s going to take months, if not a couple of years to get to the level I would like!

I have been watching a lot of Mel Robbins videos lately, instead of honing my writing skills and learning about graphic novels like I said I was going to; because I felt I couldn’t market myself or do things confidently unless I was actually feeling confident and capable.  Mel Robbin’s videos on YouTube are helping me find my capabilities in baby steps.

One of the things was to learn to find ten things that bring me joy or excitement and try to do three of them about once a week each; instead I decided I like a lot more variety so I spent three hours last night just sitting down thinking about one hundred things that bring me joy, happiness and excitement and wrote them down, with the goal of trying to do three a week.

Although Paul was disappointed I didn’t add any word count to any of my current projects whilst I did this, he did agree that this list needed to exist too and that my mental health is just as important as my writing, if not more so!

So here is my list, unfortunately many of the below cannot be done until either finances improve for me to travel, get a dog or get the fitness level I need to do them, but there are plenty things in my list that work well for a sedentary impoverished life, it was just my task to try and find them!

Now these things below really do make me happy, relaxed, confident, excited and I can spend hours doing any of these activities below – ironically you won’t find much about writing down there, because I lost my joy of writing a few years back and I have been trying very hard to get it back!

Writing is literally a job now, or it will be once I start getting paid for it, but it is not something I would say brings me joy these days and I know why!  Writing bought me joy when I was brainstorming my ideas with friends and family, but there is no one available to me in recent years to do that with other than Paul and Paul lacks the enthusiasm I used to get from people of my past.

An asterisk in the list means there is an obstacle for me at the moment for the thing I wrote down. 

Some of the things with asterisks are things I used to do before there were obstacles and I miss them.

So let’s show you the list…

  1. Writing vampire stories even though the world hates them! One of the major reasons why I don’t get much other writing done in my other genres and projects, spending too much time with my vampires.
  2. Gardening * I have a really obnoxious neighbour who is abusive so I don’t do it anymore
  3. Reading in the garden on a swing hammock or by a pond *same as above
  4. Playing with dogs and training them * don’t have a dog anymore but working on getting one when finances improve
  5. Painting
  6. Carboot sales * can’t travel to them, they are out of a bus route
  7. Watching vampire, demon and mafia movies
  8. Watching aquarium or pond fish * don’t have either of those things yet
  9. Cooking for people * Paul worries too much about me not coping that I find it difficult to cook without interference, we argue about it frequently
  10. Board and card games with 3+ people
  11. Drama classes and amateur theatre * at the moment there are other things I need to work on before taking this hobby back up again!
  12. Practising musical instruments
  13. Shopping * finances need improvement can even be daring with an extra £2.50 these days! 
  14. Visiting libraries
  15. Visiting garden centres * none within a bus ride even if I just window shopped
  16. Going to parks, gardens and woods
  17. Going to museums * none in bus ride I haven’t exhausted
  18. Brainstorming my creative ideas with a group * don’t have a trustworthy group again yet
  19. Swimming  & diving * can’t afford the fee for the local centre
  20. Doing tarot readings for people
  21. Having picnics
  22. Rowing on lakes * no rowing lakes nearby, no one to row with and I can’t be the only rower, because sometimes my carpal tunnel syndrome or my arthritis flares up, my arthritis is worse in my left shoulder than anywhere else! 
  23. Rock pooling * nowhere local to my knowledge to do it
  24. Playing with sand
  25. Painting stones and pebbles
  26. Making prisms
  27. Watching horse racing * no one likes to do this with me yet
  28. Watching cruft’s and other dog sport events
  29. Watching gymnastics
  30. Watching rugby
  31. Watching wrestling * can’t afford subscription tv to see them and it’s on too late here in the UK so often miss it
  32. Halloween preparations and parties
  33. Firework displays and parties
  34. BBQ parties
  35. Going to the Severn Valley steam railway * finances need improvement
  36. Whipsnade zoo & picnics * can’t get there easily and I like large picnics with lots of people
  37. Zip wires – the longer the better!
  38. Trampolining * need more fitness first
  39. Netball * same as above
  40. Arcades * financial improvement needed first
  41. Pub lunches * same as above
  42. Going to musical theatres * same as above, also a willing companion needed! 
  43. Going to circuses * same as above
  44. Going to fetes, country fairs and fairgrounds * same as above
  45. Learning new languages
  46. Giving and receiving massages
  47. Research for my stories
  48. Upcycling things * same as above
  49. Playing darts * don’t have a dart board anymore
  50. Snuggling with people and pets * not even my rabbit likes to snuggle cries*
  51. Building cushion forts * no room, not enough cushions for fort making
  52. Playing Ovipets online
  53. Playing console games * TV broke and the ones we have don’t have the thingys according to Paul
  54. Word games, particularly with other people
  55. Tae Bo workouts * need to get fit again first to do the proper 45 minute work out
  56. Singing * people complain too much in this house
  57. Belly dancing and watching belly dancers * I’d love to try and dance them someday too, if I ever become a published author or famous enough, I’d like to be invited to come dancing, one of my fantasies! 
  58. Watching tango, paso doble and flamenco dances
  59. Reading books on culture, religion and mythology
  60. Charity work and volunteering * can’t get to places lately
  61. Daydreaming on long car journeys * – I don’t talk on long car journeys, sorry! Also we don’t have a car and there is no one to take me for a ride! 
  62. Long over ground train journeys – again I don’t talk much on those, unless it’s about the scenery or if its urban sceneries then I’d have my nose in a book!
  63. Blowing bubbles for myself but it is more fun with dogs and babies! 
  64. Hand making things with children
  65. Organising children’s parties
  66. 1000 piece or bigger jigsaw puzzles – like to have one set up all the time!
  67. Watching the RHS show
  68. Reading gardening and fashion magazines * had to give up four subscriptions recently, can’t afford them anymore
  69. Looking for hag stones and other things in nature
  70. Being inside the darkness of dense mossy woodlands, meditating * the local place is too dangerous now as there are too many avalanches into the lake it’s sealed off!  Need to find another dense mossy woodland elsewhere! 
  71. Playing swing ball * don’t have one anymore and not doing it with that neighbour around – found out recently that they aren’t leaving after all because he spent the deposit money to move behind his wife’s back!  I think the whole neighbourhood heard that screaming match!
  72. Walks on frosty mornings – weather permitting
  73. Walks particularly at the top of hills at dawn or dusk taking pictures!  * Can’t get up the hill in Quarry Park since 2015, working on trying to get fit for it again
  74. Moon bathing… yes it’s a thing!
  75. Watching the local bats flying around
  76. Midnight walks at full moons especially but never alone! *
  77. Photographing wildlife and plants
  78. Baking
  79. Sugar crafting
  80. Making soups and casseroles for people
  81. Making seasonal decorations
  82. Running and jogging with dogs * don’t have a dog currently and not fit enough anymore, but trying to get it all back!
  83. Watching short movies and art movies
  84. Whittling or carving art into wood with knives
  85. Designing clothes, especially ball gowns
  86. Playing marbles
  87. Playing jacks
  88. Flower arranging and making elaborate arrangements especially for formal occasions!
  89. Making puppets or soft toys for kids
  90. Having an Indian head massage
  91. Motivating others
  92. Walking in the summer light rain
  93. Writing in cafes *
  94. Making wands, staffs and homemade natural weapons
  95. Learning new skills, that are fun
  96. Playing the discus
  97. Playing Frisbee with dogs and children
  98. Strategic war games
  99. Collecting specific things – buttons, dragons, seeds, books, trump cards & crystals
  100. Knitting for people * brings on my carpal tunnel syndrome if I knit more than fifteen minutes a time

Happy reading everyone!

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Big Magic of Roger Zelazny

I have never picked up a book by Roger Zelazny before last week, I wished I had years ago, The Chronicles of Amber is amazing and it is a great learning curve for any writer who wants to learn how to write descriptive battle scenes cohesively.

I at least, learned a new word through this book “parried” which is something I find useful since I am a fantasy and adventure author myself!

I have never found a book that wrote battle and fight scenes as good as this before, I highly recommend it to any author who wishes to write adventure or war stories!

I can see why Neil Gaiman has been inspired by this author, I can see a little bit of Stardust in the book, but I can also see that J.K Rowling might have been influenced by him too, the tarot cards for instance.

Though both might be exactly like me that it seems rather a strange fluke that some parts of these chronicles are so much alike to two of my novels, one finished and the other part finished.  In fact one of them is so much alike to this story, I have to make a few adjustments, because it could almost be a direct copy and what is rather strange about it is that the main character in my novel is called Amber.

I know in the chronicles Amber is a place, rather than a person’s name, but you get my drift? 

It’s weird, I have never read these novels before, nor heard many reviews about it, yet one of my novels is so alike it’s amazing and I have only got one hundred and ten pages into the first novel at the moment, what else will I discover about the chronicles in the next nine books?

This really makes me believe in Elizabeth Gilbert’s concept that ideas are alive, that they have souls and they find people who will bring them to life – you’ll find more about this in her book “Big Magic”, it’s a highly recommended read.

Are the Amber chronicles truly finished?  If ideas are alive and have a soul of their own, then they must have chosen me to continue their story a little – that’s scary and this is why I have to change so much!  Because I honestly was completely unaware about these chronicles until I picked up the book a couple of weeks ago!

Though I loved the story I was writing and though Paul kept pushing me to send it away to an agent, there was something nagging me in my instincts not to send it out, because there was something I needed do or something I needed to learn first.  It’s very strange.

I picked this book up because a friend online who knew a small amount about my plot grew concerned I was copying too much of one of her favourite novels from Roger Zelazny, I told her I have never heard of him nor the chronicles and that was true – I am so grateful to have such kind friends who tell me these things!  Imagine if I had published this book?

It has been an eye opening experience.

I actually though some of my story seemed reminiscent of Highlander by Gregory Widen and perhaps a little bit like the stories of Merlin and Edmund Spenser’s fairy queen with a little bit of time travelling thrown in, but I thought it was original enough. 

It might still be original enough, but I am not sure, hence why I won’t delete what I have done to the story, but I will copy my story and adjust things and keep all of the drafts, so one day, when I make friends I can trust with sharing unpublished works, I will show them and ask them which draft they prefer and see just how much of the Amber chronicles are really in them. 

Because I am a nervous creature and I hate coming across as a fraud, so it’s important to me to try and be unique; see the try there, it’s virtually impossible to be unique anyway as everything has been done, but ultimately it hasn’t been done by me.  So maybe, just maybe my work is far enough removed not to cause eyebrows to become raised?

This isn’t the first time a piece of work has been very close to my own and I found out after I wrote them and I doubt it will be the last.

Happy reading!

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