here, there and everywhere

This week’s post is a lazy one, just a heads up to a couple of other things I’ve written in the last few weeks. (I’m on my holidays this week, in Devon with the family).

Firstly, my monthly newsletter has got some ramblings about where I am with work and dachshunds, plus a link to some free LGBTQ+ books on Bookfunnel and new releases by Elizabeth Noble and Julie Bozza. You don’t have to sign up to look at it, because I am a positively amazing technical wizard and have worked out how to link to the web version from here. (If you want to though, that would be lovely! There’s a sign-up form here).

And secondly, I’ve committed to writing a few posts for Scott over at Queeromance Ink and this month I’ve introduced myself and talked about being semi-closeted in rural England. I’m taking suggestions for future topics, so please do let me know if you have any ideas or questions. I love QRI – it’s one of the places I go to find new LGBTQ+ reads and they are a lovely bunch of people. Also, Queer Sci-Fi. What’s not to like?

That’s it! I told you I was being lazy.

(I’ve experimented with iFrames to embed those posts here and if it’s rubbish for whatever device you’re reading on, please let me know and I will find another way if I do it again)

works in progress: progressing, and that’s about all

I’ve done a load over the last month, but not much of it actual writing.

Because of the shenanigans with MailChimp pricing levels, I’ve ported my newsletter over to MailerLite, which I think will be a good thing long term, but was a pain in the neck to do at the time. And I’ve done the same for Mr AL, who has a much more complex set-up than I do, so it took ages. That done, I’ve also set myself up a proper Ko-fi page that will act as a sort of combination of things I blog here and exclusive content that first goes out to newsletter subscribers.

I’ve also committed to doing some posts for the Queeromance Ink Blog, about author-life in general rather than more bookish things. This involves me sitting down and actually writing them, but they’re coming together in my head.

Which brings me to actual writing! Inheritance of Shadows has another three thousand words, which went out yesterday – newsletter usually goes out on the first Tuesday of the month, barring disaster. If you’d like to get the monthly installments of Matty and Rob’s adventures, just hop on here. You will also be able to follow on Ko-fi as a supporter if you’d rather do it that way. I’m reading Secret Warriors: key scientists, code-breakers and propagandists of the great war by Taylor Downing as background, because Rob needs to know some stuff and I need to know the stuff before he can know the stuff. It’s fascinating.

Flowers of Time has had another few thousand words, but I’m still sidetracked by Katie Hickman’s She-Merchants, Buccaneers and Gentlewomen and feel like I need to get that under my belt before I write any more. I’m writing completely outside both my historical period and my geographical area and I don’t want to mess either up.

This month promises to be more of the same, hopefully with less opportunities for prevarication. Watch this space!

 

 

York: Roman, Medieval, Viking. And geese.

I lived in York for three years during college. It’s a beautiful city, small and full of history. My degree was a joint effort in history and archaeology and it was a privilege to just be able to wander round and soak up all the different eras.

I kept a narrow focus on medieval Britain in my studies and retrospectively I wish I’d been more open to learning about other parts of the world. There seemed so much to learn about my own country though – and I wanted to know it all.

I have very little interest in Kings-and-Queen type history, or even political history. It’s the day to day minutiae that interests me. What did people eat for breakfast? How did they repair their shoes? How did you keep warm in winter? How long did it take to walk from one place to another? York is chock-full of museums, you can’t chuck a rock without hitting one. And they’re all fascinating. But the things that fascinate me most are the little things. The faces on the gargoyles and grotesques in the Minster – are they carved in anyone’s likeness? How long did each one take to make? Or taking a walk along the walls or down The Shambles and thinking about all the people over the last couple of thousand years who have done the same. What were they thinking? Where were they going?

Pondering these questions in part has led me to where I am writing today. I like writing about people, rather than situations. Yes, my stories have situations in them, because doh, that’s life. But it’s how my characters work things out, how they deal with the day to day minutiae of living that drives me forward.

Despite all its grandeur and all its opportunity for historical and archaeological research, my main memory of York is of the waterfowl on the university campus grounds.

That’s social history for you. Forget the cathedral. It’s too big to carry with me. Let me take away my pictures of the geese.

travelling writer

We are hanging out at the Children’s Hospice this week. As you do. We are able to come every ten-ish weeks, usually for three or four nights at a time. We have been looking forward to this week, because we’re both shattered.

I was hoping to capture a lot of words whilst we were here, but so far I have only got about two thousand down on paper. I am within about ten thousand of finishing the first draft of the sequel to Lost In Time and I am desperate to get it done with. I know exactly what is going to happen, but finding the time to get that down on paper seems to be almost impossible at the moment.

In the meantime, Mr AL and I have made a commitment to be less hard on ourselves and try to spend a bit more time together. With that in mind, we have accepted an offer from the hospice to have our younger child for nearly a week in mid-July and we are looking to book a trip somewhere with our older child, just the three of us, with no wheelchair ramps necessary.

You have no idea how peculiar this makes me feel. On the one hand I am incredibly excited to be going away for a few nights. To Paris. PARIS! On the other hand I am wracked with guilt about leaving Child Two at the hospice.

She loves it here. There is the jacuzzi, messy play, the Narnia garden, the music room, lots of television and iPad opportunities, soft play and all the lovely people to talk to and play with. But leaving her still makes me feel like hell.

There have been two other families here this week with us and we have been chatting. I don’t think this is an unusual thing for ‘families like ours’ to feel. I put that in quotes because that is how a lot of the professionals who surround us describe us. Not here at the hospice, though; here, we are talked of as ‘our families’, which is lovely.

Anyway. The top and the bottom of it is that instead of writing this afternoon, I have been on the phone to Railbookers and I have a quote. And Mr AL is currently organising an appointment with the passport office; everyone else’s has run out and mine makes me look like Myra Hindley.

It’s very easy to bang out four hundred words of rambling like this. But poor Alec and Lew are stuck in Max’s office having an emotional altercation and I’m probably not going to be able to get them out of there before the dinner bell goes.

For today, that is all.

#WritersLife

I had a bit of a panic attack this morning when I realised I hadn’t updated my blog for ages. And then another bout of anxiety over what to write. What should a Writers Life blog actually cover?

Alex Beecroft pondered that perhaps I could write about managing stress as a writer? But I’m so, so, sooooo bad at doing that, that I think it would be a lesson in how not to do it, rather than at all helpful.

Instead, I think I am going to chatter about my life generally. That’s complicated in itself because my kids are nine and ten now; and I don’t want to expose their lives too much on Teh Interwebs… but on the other hand a lot of my comedy chaos comes from having high-need children and a stressful family. So it’s going to be a bit of a two-steps forward, one step back effort as I feel my way.

I blogged for about a decade about smallholding and family things, years and years ago now at the dawn of time, and I enjoyed it. So perhaps using this space for something similar rather than just rather pushy posts about my writing will be good for me.

At the moment I’m sat in the garden for a rare couple of hours with no-one else about. It’s sunny and I’m watching the rabbits make friends (VERY GOOD FRIENDS) and listening to the hens grumble that it’s nearly feeding time and the dog whinging that he wants to go and murder the pheasant that’s cracking in the field over the hedge. It’s all very bucolic and English Country Garden-ish and really I should have a cup of tea beside me.

Watch this space. It’s a blank page, about to be filled.