First Draft: The Lion Gods is Finished

Over recent weeks I’ve been doing some tweaks to the website and I saw a notification saying that The Lion Gods was due for release in 2014. Here we are in 2018 and that still hasn’t happened.

In my own defense, a lot has happened since I wrote that notification — my father passed away, my mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I took on the primary carer role for my mum and moved house and job location, my own house flooded leaving damage that made the house uninhabitable (it had to be sold), G’s dad passed away, his mum was diagnosed with dementia, he moved in with her and became her primary carer, G had a burst aneurysm and a stroke and lost his memory for three months, mum went into permanent care, I moved and relocated my job again, and I took on the primary role of carer for G. During that time I moved house three times and I had to clear out my mother’s home of 40 years and G’s mum’s home as well. As you can see the list is all major, stressful stuff, not little things. I’m glad to report now that G is doing well and is improving each month, mum is extremely happy in residential care and wishes she went there earlier and G’s mum is now living with his sister and also doing well. G and I have our own place at last, and we are now married. All good.

Over the last few months, since everything has settled down to a more normal way of living, I have been writing again. And I am so happy right now, because I can finally say that The Lions Gods has been completed. It might only be the first draft, but that is beside the point. I rediscovered the urge to write and the story has been written. I’m ecstatic.

I would dance on my desk if it wasn’t totally covered with my writing stuff (and if I were 100% sure it wouldn’t collapse). 😀

I intend to put the manuscript aside for a few days and then start the editing stage. I’ve decided that for the first round, I am going to use a generated voice read it to me as I take notes and make minor corrections. I’ve never done this before but feel it might be useful. I’ll let you know what I get from it after that phase is done.

Right now it’s time to party…or at least go make myself a cuppa!

Update from My Writing Desk

It’s the second month of the year already. Time flies when you’re having fun … or just when you’re older. Not sure which is truer these days.

Today, I’m glad to say that during the month of January, I averaged about 800 words per day. It may not sound inspiring to you, but to me that is one hell of a job well done. I am super proud of myself.

I’ve been working on Book 3 of The Land of Miu series, The Lion Gods. And, I might add, I am very close to writing those magic words “The End”. I should finish the first draft by the end of February. In fact, if I continue with my current average, I should finish it by mid-February. Then the editing stage begins. Without putting pressure on myself, I feel as if I will meet my goal.

In other writing news, the consistent writing has also awakened my mind to thinking about other ideas. I’ve written them down, but refuse to allow them to distract me from my goal. However, the ideas are quite vivid and I find myself thinking about how I might expand the ideas into another series for young readers. But this set of ideas will remain just that for the time being. Perhaps I will do something about writing these ideas when I’m in editing mode to give myself a break. I’m not sure yet. All I know for certain is that I do not want to lose the consistency of writing every day. So maybe writing 800 words for this idea and editing for an hour or so each day may be the way for me to go. I’ll see.

Lastly, I’m super excited to say that I purchased a cover for another of my manuscripts, known here as Mirror Image, but will be published with the title “Domino Effect”. The first draft of the manuscript is complete. This one is NOT for kids. It’s a very dark novel for adults. Totally the opposite to the stuff I write for kids. I have done a read through and corrected obvious errors, but that was in 2015 and my plan is to work on this one after The Lion Gods has been published.

Question: Do you like to write one project while editing another?

The Tortoise and the Hare

The Tortoise and the Hare is one of Aesop’s Fables. To me, it’s about a hare that is a bit big headed and a determined tortoise, who is slow but due to his determination wins the race. The reason I mention this fable is because it is the way I currently refer to my writing. Yes, I’m writing. After a very, VERY long break. I am actually writing. I’m so pleased with myself.

Anyway, back to what I was saying. I currently refer to myself as the tortoise when I write. I have written probably five days out of seven (on average) over the last two months. At the beginning of September I wrote about my future writing space and then the software I planned to use, but then I went quiet. There were no more posts. You probably thought I was on another long hiatus, when in fact I have placed bum on chair and have started writing again.

Despite what I wrote in September, I presently only use one piece of software – yWriter. I honestly think it’s great. I use yWriter6 on my laptop and I also purchased the iPad version. Now, I can sit in a quiet room and write on my laptop or, at night, I can sit in the lounge room and continue to write (or I can go over what I wrote earlier in the day and make corrections). I use Dropbox to save my work.

This is working brilliantly for me.

As for the tortoise remark. I am only writing around 500 to 600 words a day. Or roughly 2,500 a week. But, for me, that is a no stress, no pressure method of getting the job done. If I start to feel overwhelmed, I stop writing and come back to it the next day. No matter what anyone else things, this method is working wonders for me. The story is getting written. I feel enthused and find myself looking for ideas in what I do and see the rest of the day.

Whatever blocked me, is behind me. I’m writing and it feels good. And my plan is to just go with the flow and write like a tortoise, knowing that eventually I’ll stumble over the finish line.

Still Getting Back into the Swing of Writing

I notice my last post was written in April this year — five months ago. Seems a lot longer to me. Things continue to be difficult, draining, and I continued to not write.

However, thoughts of writing remain with me. I find myself looking at book covers and wondering if The Lion Gods or Domino Effect would suit them. Scenes of their plots play out in my mind. Character faces (how I imagined them when I wrote about them) pop up unexpectedly for a fleeting moment. Difficult scenes I need to write twirl around and fly away. I’ve even found myself on Pinterest reading writing tips and saving them to my writing board.

The urge to write is growing. I feel it will happen soon. It makes me happy to think and believe this to be true.

October will be the start of (another) new chapter for me. Between now and then I will move (again). When I unpack my belongings, which have been boxed up and stored away for over three years, I will hopefully be living in my forever home.

I intend to set up a writing space for myself. I have promised myself that when I get that space, I will write.

I will write!

Yes, I will write. My plan is to start with a short period of time, or a low word count. 10 minutes a day sounds good to start with. No pressure. Then I will allow myself to increase that to half an hour and eventually to an hour a day. The promise I made to myself does not go beyond that. One hour a day. No pressure. I want to write because I want to, because I have a story to share. Not because I have to.

Roll on October. 😀

Writing Update

It’s been a long, long time since I wrote an update for this website that didn’t consist of a book review. I wouldn’t blame you for thinking the blog is dead. But it’s not. I’m here as always. I check in often but don’t feel there’s anything worth saying, that hasn’t been said before. That’s one of the problems with having a blog for many years. The blogger runs out of things to say. Or, maybe the importance of what’s being said changes with time.

Anyway, after the stroke 18 months ago, I spent many months recovering. I did little else except sleep, work and read. 2012 was a complete write-off for me.

2013 has been different. There are on-going medical issues and will be forever, from what I’m told, but I’m not going to focus on any of that. This post is about achievements. Despite the set-backs, I have had achievements.

I completed the editing course and received my diploma. You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face when that happened.

I have edited and published two anthologies — Night Terrors and Tomorrow — under the name Karen Henderson.

And in recent months, I have started writing again. I have written half a manuscript for younger readers, which has a working title of Haunted House and I have written four chapters of book 3 of The Land of Miu series — The Lion Gods.

At present, I am averaging about 800 words a day, which (to me) is brilliant. It is important not to pressure myself into a corner, so I made the decision to write 450 words a day. And, if I do miss a day (which is rare) I don’t beat myself up over it.

Writing, for me, used to be a way of spending every spare moment. I would think about writing while at work or on the train. I would dream about writing at night. I would sit long into the night and lose myself in worlds of my own making. But then, I started to feel pressured and writing became a chore. When that happened, I lost the joy and stopped writing.

I’m not interested in going back to that. Not ever!

So, when I write, I do it to relax. I want to enjoy what I’m doing and never want to feel pressured in any way. If I write 200 words and it’s just not coming together, then I’ll stop and try again tomorrow (when I’ll probably scrap those words and start again). However, I’m finding that the words flow if I don’t over commit myself and I’m pleased about that. I’ll go with it until both the manuscripts I’ve mentioned above are completed.

The Mythology Behind the Land of Miu

Until now, the mythology behind the Land of Miu has not been shared with anyone. It wasn’t a secret, but I enjoyed writing the first two books without ever mentioning that the Land of Miu was built around Ancient Egyptian mythology.

Book 2, The King’s Riddle, does have a clear reference to the myth. Book 3, The Lion Gods, will be where all is revealed.

However, today, I am going to reveal the myth behind the Land of Miu.

For those of you who are familiar with the original publication of the first book (soon to be released with the title The Land of Miu, but originally published as “Cat’s Eyes”) you will recognise the image above as a similar version to what was used on the front cover.

This was not something I made up. It is a real Ancient Egyptian myth called Aker, also referred to as Akeru and Akerui. Aker was an ancient earth-god in Egypt. It is said that the two lions are guarding the entrance to the underworld to ensure evil spirits cannot escape when the sun entered the tunnels at dusk, travelled through the underworld during the night and exited the tunnels at dawn.

The image itself depicts two lions seated back to back with the symbol for the horizon on their shoulders with the rising sun. The lions themselves represent the sun setting in the west and the sun rising in the east. They were named Sef (Yesterday) and Duau (Today). The strip at the top is the sky, which is held up by the two peaks of Djew.

Now we get to the bit that involves the Land of Miu. The Egyptians believed there was a cosmic mountain range that held up the heavens. The western peak was called Manu while the eastern peak was called Bakhu. It was on these two peaks that the heavens rested and these are the two cities found in Miu.

We have the lions protecting the entrances to the underworld and we have the two peaks of the mountain supporting heaven. I found this to be a fascinating combination and the Land of Miu was built entirely around the image and the mythology associated with it.

How the Land of Miu Began

On 29 July 2005 I wrote in a post, “Cat’s Eyes. What mysterious land is hidden within their depths?”

I was talking about the eyes of my female cat, Sophie (on the right in the photo above). She would (and still does) sit and stare at me with a knowledgeable look. I often wondered what she was thinking. And she always came across as a being that is older and wiser than her years. She is an aloof cat and she expects obedience from her human slaves … for that is how she makes us feel. For instance, she’s too good to use a cat flap; a cat of her status has door men or women to do her bidding. She acts like royalty.

On the other hand, there is also her brother, Jasper (on the left). He’s always been a loving cat and it’s not unusual for him to walk into the room, straight up to where you are sitting, jump onto your lap and pat your face with his paw. He wants totals focus from us. He wants lots of patting and loving. He’s bigger than his sister and he portrays a fearless leader. However, he’s not as courageous as he would like us to believe. On numerous occasions his sister was the one that killed a rat, but he would snatch it from her and pretend he was victorious in the hunt. And in a scuffle, we’ve seen Jasper hiding in the bushes while his sister exerts her authority in the cat kingdom.

Somewhere around this time in 2005 I had a dream. The exact date is not noted anywhere, but I still remember the dream clearly … mainly because it was referred to in the book.

I dreamt that a little girl went butterfly hunting in her large, secluded back yard. At the very back of the yard (and this really doesn’t make sense, but remember, it was a dream) there was a large rock that overhung a secluded spot below. There was a bit of a drop involved. Anyway, the girl rested on the rock and presently heard voices. When she gazed over the edge of this large rock she discovered two cats sitting together, talking about a mysterious underground world. The girl listened as the cats spoke of the trouble they were in, about another cat who was trying to kill them and what they intended to do to outsmart their pursuer.

I believe I woke up around this time. If not, I remember no more than this.

The dream and my two cats gave me the first glimpse of the Land of Miu. I wondered how I could make a story from these scant ideas and very soon had the basics of a world and at least two of the characters. Of course, I didn’t want the story to be about cats so I decided that the Miuan people could shape shift. Sophie and Jasper made a cameo appearance in the beginning of the first book (which at that time was titled “Cat’s Eyes”) as did a reference to the dream itself.

When the cats changed back to their Miuan form, they insisted they be called by their Miuan names which are Alara and Siptah. These two characters are joined by Kate and Emma, two human girls.

On 13 September 2005 I began writing the first chapter of the first book. It would be five years before the first book was published with the original name “Cat’s Eyes”. That was in December 2010. This month the second edition will be published with a new name, The Land of Miu.

Together, the four characters go on one adventure after the other. So you can expect to see more of them in the future. Apart from that no one can say what the future holds for the series, but where it came from is now quite clear.

The Land of Miu Series – New Titles

The Land of Miu series is changing, as announced in my post “Cat’s Eyes” to be Renamed. Yet it’s more than just the first book to be renamed and republished … and it’s all very exciting.

Regardless of my statement, “The cover for this book will remain the same…”, I have once again changed my mind and there will be a new cover too. It is in the process of being designed by a third party and I simply cannot wait to receive it and start promoting it to the world! That will happen by the end of next week, I think.

Besides the above, books two and three will also undergo a radical change. Both books have received new titles and I will commission new covers for them as well, once the first cover has been finalised.

The series name is unchanged. It has been and will remain The Land of Miu series. The three planned books are as follows:

The Land of Miu (Book 1), previously published with the name “Cat’s Eyes”, the second edition will be released on 25 November 2011.

The King’s Riddle (Book 2) will be released on 25 January 2012.

The Lion Gods (Book 3) will be released in late 2012 or early 2013.