Decisions for 2022

Yes, I’m still around. Yet 2022 is proving to be difficult, different, tiring.

As we enter our third year of COVID-19, I can feel the exhaustion seeping into my bones and I can see anger and frustration on the faces of complete strangers as they pass by me. From my point of view, I believe a majority of people wanted to do the right thing and did. But now, as the weeks turn into years, people are starting to get irritated by the rules and the separation from their family and friends.

Honestly, my husband and I have lived a quiet, isolated life during this time. We shop online, we walk in a reserve where there are few people, our family gatherings (if they can be called that) are done by video calls or, on the odd occasion, meeting in an isolated place for a quick walk and chat. I feel as if I’m withdrawing from life and as I grow older, that frustrates me and scares me at the same time.

During all these months of being at home, not seeing people, or going places, you would think I would be writing like crazy and reading every book in sight. But… that is NOT the case! I can’t explain why, except to say that I feel unmotivated to do most things right now.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel. And this is the main problem for me. I can’t tell myself it’s only for a few more months, it’s only to the end of this year, it’s only until…?

In the future, will I be writing a post stating “we are entering our tenth year of COVID-19”? I hope not. I truly do. But it’s a possibility.

Anyway, I’ve decided that for now I will not accept any more books for review. I still have a couple and I feel torrents of guilt over the length of time it has taken me to read them so far. To those authors, I am truly sorry, my lack of motivation has nothing to do with your words, your characters, your stories. It is simply the world has been turned upside down and I’m struggling to find my place in it. I will read the books and I will write the reviews as promised. I assure you.

Having said that, I will accept audiobooks for review. On week days, I spend at least 20 minutes on the treadmill each day, and listen to audiobooks while I exercise. So, if you have an audio version of your book, then you are welcome to contact me. I have discovered that I will listen to genres that I listed as not acceptable on my book review page, i.e. thrillers, suspense, crime. Books I can’t read, I enjoy listening to.

I will update the book review page shortly.

As for writing, I make no promises. My latest project swirls in my mind often. I want to return to that world and complete what I started. I know exactly what needs to happen, so my lack of motivation has nothing to do with writer’s block.

Same goes for working on my family tree. Here’s something else that I’ve invested many, many hours (three decades) into, and just turned away from altogether. I have leads that I have ignored. People send me documents that I cannot make myself investigate.

This has to stop! I must start living life again … and soon. I don’t want to write that post in 10 years time saying I’ve wasted a decade of my life due to COVID-19. No, that cannot happen and steps must be taken now.

From 1 March, I believe we (in Australia) will put masks and QR codes aside and return to the office, and start living life around COVID. It’s a scary thought, and I know we will not return to how it used to be. But what the new normal will be like is uncertain, and I guess that’s part of my issue.

A Free eBook for Easter

Journey to Freedom cover
A mini fantasy collection

Journey to Freedom – free download for 5 days only.

A mini fantasy collection consisting of four short stories with common themes of oppression and struggle. The main characters crave freedom, but can they find what they are looking for?

This is an exclusive offer to the readers of my blog only. I’m offering you an Easter present, being any ebook format of “Journey to Freedom” for free.

The offer expires on 6 April 2021, so download your copy now. Available as an epub, mobi or PDF.

Use the coupon code Easter at the checkout.

Crafty Musings

2020 was meant to be put aside for that mystery project I mentioned at the end of last year or beginning of this year. Can’t remember which. And I did dedicate a lot of time to editing/rewriting that project in the first half of the year, which I’m extremely happy with.

However, with the return of ET (it’s a medical issue I have), I’ve had to dump all previous plans and find new hobbies. It’s only short term, I hope.

Once I started back on the injections I found I was unable to read for long period of times. Fifteen or twenty minutes is it for me. But even that isn’t whenever I want to read. I have to pick and chose depending on how I’m feeling on the day. Some days, reading is out of the question. And to be honest, I don’t want to fluff my way through several chapters only to discover later that I wrecked the whole thing and have to redo those chapters. I prefer to wait until I’m feeling better and then pick up where I left off.

So no writing, very little reading, what else can I feel my time with. I feel weak and get light headed quickly, so walking is out too. All my favourite things. I needed to find new favourite things. Even if it is temporarily.

I still manage a little bit of gardening, as long as I’m not on my feet for too long. Again, depending on the day it can vary between five minutes and about thirty minutes (mostly the former). I enjoy gardening because of the vibrant colours, the fresh air, and it’s satisfying. But it’s quite tiring.

My days have become filled with knitting, watching Netflix (I just finished Season 4 of The Last Kingdom), and playing easy games on my iPad. After five weeks of this, I have to admit that I’m starting to get a bit … stir crazy. Or maybe I could say I have Cabin Fever. Of course, COVID-19 hasn’t helped.

Anyway, I’ll stop rambling now. But, be warned, I might post some photos of my crafty musings for you to roll your eyes at.

Resources for Writing a Mystery

I’ve been researching mystery writing for the Cat and Mouse Adventure series (mainly because I am totally unhappy and unimpressed with the draft of Ghost at the Cemetery that I’ve written). I’ve discovered three websites that I want to add to my website. For two reasons, I want to be able to find the websites again, in the future, and because visitors to my website might benefit from them.

Frank Gruber’s “Fool-proof” 11 Point Formula for Mystery Short Stories

Classic 12-Chapter Murder Mystery Formula

Motives for Murder

The Fantasy Novel History

The planning for The Fantasy Novel is going well. Extremely well, in fact.

The world history I developed some years ago is thorough and will not be discarded. I know how our world and the fantasy world are connected. The characters don’t and the reader won’t either. Not in this book, anyway. Maybe in the sequel, if there is one (and there’s no guarantee). Of course, I see gaps in places I never saw before. Those gaps leave questions that I need to answer. Some of the things I’ve been researching over the last few weeks are herbal medicine, how to find edible food, different types of religion and politics, what is needed to make ink, and magic. It’s been interesting.

However, the characters are a different matter. They lack substance. I know these characters well, but I realise that the reader does not. With this in mind, I see characters without a past, without deep motivations. They are going through the actions, but that’s not enough. Currently, I am working on the character profiles; writing voice journals and finding out what makes them who they are today. It’s interesting to see these journals take shape. Knowing why they act the way they do is important for me to know, and for the reader to discover along the way.

The research phase will continue until I feel I have everything covered. I’m in no rush and I want to do this right. Besides, this book is my main commitment this year.

Finally, I am pleased to say that I have dedicated on average at least two hours every day (except one day when I was unwell with a stomach bug) to The Fantasy Novel. I feel excited because my focus is real and complete, but more importantly, fresh and eager. I feel no pressure, no uncertainty, which only confirms that now is the right time for this book.

New Year Writing Update

Yes, it is a New Year. 2020 is going to be great. This is positive thinking on my part. And no, I am not making a New Year Resolution, because resolutions are promises we never keep.

At the end of last year, I made a big decision. After many years of subscribing at Ancestry.com and building a large family tree, for my family and for my husband’s, I have decided to cancel the subscription.

Why?

There are two reasons:

  1. The cost is getting so high, it’s ridiculous.
  2. I don’t need the distraction.

Why? You may ask again.

This leads to another decision I made last year. A writing decision. In 2020 I intend to work on and publish an adult fantasy novel. In fact, the original manuscript was written 30 years ago when my boys were very young. I used to sit up late at night, tapping away at a typewriter, and later my first computer. The computer was nothing like today’s computers. The only working software was a word processor. There were no distractions and that time of my life was when I was most productive.

The manuscript I am referring to had a word count of just under 200,000 words. That is an epic tale, but I always knew it was too long.

There have been numerous rewrites, but none that I felt happy with. Eventually, I lost confidence in myself and my writing.

But I love the characters and the original storyline. So, I have made the decision to dig out the original manuscript and rework the history and the characters and rewrite/edit the plot into the (shorter) story I have always envisioned.

Over the past six days, I have been sorting through my research and world-building. To help sort all this out, I am using a locally installed wiki. Decisions are being made regarding which names and profiles I want to use for the characters. I am also in the process of adding new research material to the old stuff that I decide to keep. And, no, I am not keeping everything.

Thirty years is a long time, but I have grown as a person, as a writer, and in life experience during this time. I am not afraid to look at the original manuscript and point out the errors I made, add the information I overlooked, and delete the stuff that needs to be gone.

Now is the time for this book. I feel a renewed excitement to be working on it again. This time, I will not lose faith.

The title of the book is yet to be decided. In the meantime, I intend to refer to this project as The Fantasy Novel.

New Year Freebies

Welcome to 2020. It feels impossible that another year has gone by, but it has. Let us hope that 2020 is a year filled with health and happiness, and lots of laughter. I believe if we are happy we don’t actually need anything else.

Reading is one of the things that makes me happy. Free books also makes me happy. So I’m offering all my ebooks for free until 11.59pm on 3 January 2020.

This offer has expired.

To get the free books, just add the ones you want to the cart and use the following coupon code:

newyearfreebies

You will pay exactly nothing for the ebooks you want. But remember, the free stuff is only free for a very short time.

Happy New Year.

Free ebook for Christmas

These offers have expired.

Everyone loves free stuff, right? Of course, they do. With only 10 days to go until Christmas, I have decided to offer two special deals between now and Christmas Day.

Deal 1:

Effective immediately, Journey to Freedom is FREE! This offer is only available on this website and will end in three days. Be quick or miss out.

Take me to the free ebook now



Deal 2:

Starting on 18 December 2019 and ending 25 December 2019, all three books in the Land of Miu series can be downloaded for free. Simply add each of the books to the cart when you see the sale notice on books 2 and 3 (Book 1 has always been free to download). The titles are The Land of Miu (Book 1), The King’s Riddle (Book 2) and The Lion Gods (Book 3).

Take me to the shop for free stuff



Be warned: If the red “Sale!” notice is not showing, the sale has not started yet or has finished.