It has been busy. We have our home on the market at the moment. We love our home, but over the last seven years what we want from a home has changed, so it’s time to move. My next novel will be about the perpetual cleaning and show homing, anticipation, disappointment, compromise, frustration, pressure, rejection, loss and general stress of home hunting and home selling. It will be a horror. Blood everywhere.
The biggest thing that has happened to me this year is that through my addiction to podcasts I stumbled across a show called the Creative Penn all about the indie writing and self-publishing scene by Joanna Penn. There are about 400 episodes, so I am very late to the party, but there was one on writing successful horror with the guest horror author Iain Rob Wright. It blew me away, and has influenced the shift in how I think about my writing, and how I am going to approach it. It’s made me face up to the fact that I have written my writing off as a hobby due to the lack of sales, reads and reviews, when what I have always known is that I should be marketing my work and giving it the time and energy it needs and deserves to get seen to stand a chance of succeeding.
I am no longer going to treat writing like a hobby, I am going to treat it like a business, and potentially my job. Don’t worry, this isn’t some feverish mid-life crisis where I quite my day job and live off toast–I’m going to save up to have some capital, and then I am going to invest in my writing. Possibly pro covers, further editing, advertising, print editions and audio. Listening to the Creative Penn has made me realise how I have let the self-publishing changes and advances pass me by, and I now know so much is possible for indie authors. Inspiration and motivation does not guarantee success, of course, but it’s better that my write and upload actions so far. It’s a saturated market, and as a self-publishing writer I need to be publisher, manager, marketer and accountant.
The first change has been to focus this blog. It is now going to be writing centred, with two posts a month. A writing update post on the first weekend of the month and this post about life and the inspiration around me on the third weekend of the month.
I love board games. It’s another reason I lament my introversion and difficulties making time for people in my life, but thankfully there are plenty of games out there that can be two-player for me and my husband. ‘Azul’ and ‘Sagrada’ have been two standout games in our collection that I really enjoy. Both of them are abstract, short, and very thinky. Both games are about selecting elements to fit your own personal puzzle–‘Azul’ is collecting and placing mosaic tiles, while ‘Sagrada’ is about collecting and placing dice, with the respective patterns and facings and where you place them and how scoring you points. Old gamer or new, these games are a must for any collection–but if you’re an old-gamer who knows only Monolopy and it’s like then you have to try these. Modern board games will blow away your dusty old perception of what board games are like. So much fun!
Juggling time–a theme of this blog and my life–means I don’t always get to do everything that I want to do, such as game, bake, walk, ride my bike for fun, make games, paint miniatures, and catch up with family. But making and eating cake–well, I can fit that in around my writing, and is a much needed tea break treat. I recently made a banana cake with icing and it was epic.
300gms of bananas smooshed into puree, add 140 ml of non-dairy milk (if you can read this, you don’t need to be breast-feeding–just sayin’), then 110 gms of cane sugar and 320 gms of all-purpose/plain flour, 15 gms of baking powder (rise baby rise!), 1 tbsp cinnamon and 1 cup of sultanas or dried-fruit mix, and mix it all up and slap in a loaf tin. Shove in the oven on 170 degrees, bake for 70 minutes, rotating every 10 minutes–covered in foil for the last 40. Cool and throw on lashings of water icing and crushed walnuts. Slice and serve. So nice! Great way of using up bananas. Or buy extra bananas so you always have some to use up like we do… Any excuse for cake. (Adapted from the Vegan Corner).
Cake is novel fuel.
I have recently watched ‘The Umbrella Academy’, about children with powers raised by a wealthy eccentric set on making them into heroes. I was a little uncertain at first, but it got me at the talking chimpanzee butler. It was a quirky show, full of violent action and humour, and some great characters. Klaus was my favourite: I liked how they showed him as a waster druggie always in search of his next high, then showed you why he lived that way, and then gave a tragic story-arc that got me in the feels. The show reminded me that my next contemporary novel ‘Sigils’ is a dark ‘powers’ horror, and I’m looking forward to getting going with that in 2020.
I also watched the documentary ‘Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th’, which was a really interesting 5 and a half hours. Yes, really. I didn’t watch it in one sitting! Lots of interviews, and deleted scenes–which made me realise how neutered those films were–and some great backstories on filming them and the plot directions not taken. I ended up having a really weird dream, which I can only think was influenced by this documentary. Darkwood, from my series ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’, is having dinner at a stately home on a stormy night, when the party is interrupted by a window smashing under a severed head being thrown at it–and then bouncing down the middle of the dinner table. The door of the house has been daubed with a symbol marking all the occupants for death by this seemingly unstoppable brute. So, I now have a new story for ‘The Darkwood Mysteries’ and the dream even gave me a title–‘The Night of the Executioner’. Clearly my writer brain cells work overtime while I’m sleeping! I wonder how many other cool story ideas I have forgotten…
Anyway, that’s April. I hope you have a taste of what this blog will offer from now on, and that you’ll follow along as I take a more determined approach to writing and self-publishing.