Today is the 5th day I’ve spent at home in social isolation. I am an introvert – I have been training for this my entire life! Therefore, I have been undertaking a few different projects that have been on my to-do list for some time.
First up – if you haven’t already, check out the Queerantine Reads list I have compiled. I have seen a few lists like this floating around on social media, but they have mostly been cishet and trad published. So why not have a queer indie list?
Second – I have just finished rewriting the first 6 chapters on The Darkest Realm. Progress is a little slower for this book seeing as it was never planned, but that’s ok! I have a lot of time to spend on it in the upcoming weeks, so I shall keep you posted.
Third – I have some reading to do. I have received an ARC (advanced reader copy) of Clyde Andrew’s newest book, so I want to read this without any distractions and write a decent review – yeah most of my reviews suck haha. I have also been promising myself to read Browatzke’s A Fluid State, so I will definitely indulge in this as well.
And fourthly, I am somewhat behind in my studies, oops! Given that my degree is all online, there have been no changes to my schedule. I am off work, so I really have no excuse to fall so far behind. In all fairness, I usually binge one module in a few hours, so it shouldn’t take long to catch up 😉
In between all of this, I have been charged with doing the housework (yuk!), so I have been trying to balance this with going for a quick walk each day. Remember, health is kind of important. I want to be able to rejoin society much slimmer and healthier than I was when I was locked away.
So, just because I don’t have anything else exciting to share, here is a video of our pet yabbie eating nomming on a piece of carrot.
Take care everyone xox
Hello all you amazing people ❤
Once again I don’t want to be the one who posts more about the “bug”, but I will say that we are facing unprecedented times. I’ve just been stood down from my retail job in a large company, along with 9,000 others.
I have been expecting this for weeks now, and I have mentally prepared for this very moment. I am (amongst other things) an academic and consider myself to be intellectual, therefore I have been addressing these challenges with logic while sifting through what is fact and fiction in the media.
So! I have roughly 4 weeks to get stuck into my studies, and to focus on fixing the problems in The Darkest Realm (to be honest, I am hating a few of the chapters, and am working to fix the abomination).
I was very careful in what I wrote for my last post, seeing as my mother reads this blog like a newspaper. Fave Being and I packed up the car and headed down to Central Victoria, where we surprised my parents with an unexpected visit.
Most of the visit was spent relaxing at home, watching the news, and spending time with the fam. I also took Fave Being around the area and showed him a lot of historic places.
Tarnagulla – This tiny historical town is a part of the Golden Triangle, and is home of so much history, especially from the gold rush days. This beautiful church was built in 1864, and has stood watching over the town for 156 years. Back before 2000, the church was purchased by a chap who filled it with second hand goods supposedly to sell (I remember people calling him a hoarder), Sadly in 2000, it burnt down. I remember being devastated as I loved that church.
Timor – This tiny town doesn’t have many buildings left, except for the general store / jail cell, school, and the remnants of the Grand Duke Mine. The town was mostly tents and temporary housing during the gold rush days, though there are a few houses there now.
St Arnaud – This town is a bit further from the Golden Triangle, but is another historic town with some amazing old buildings. This cellblock sits hidden behind the current police station, and the court house. The prisoners would be held here awaiting their court case.
St Arnaud – the railway station reminded me in many ways of Dunolly station. The towns folk are collecting donations to get their silos painted (a lot of the country towns have been commissioning an artist to paint giant murals on their silos to help entice tourists to the towns). The silo in the final image is the Colbinabbin silos, which is a work in progress.
I love that I grew up in Central Vic and got to explore a lot of these places as I grew up. This could be where my love of community histories and archives has stemmed from.
My inspirational bank as been replenished, and hopefully I get to work on The Darkest Realm.
Stay safe out there everyone – more importantly, unless you are working, please stay home. The sooner we get through these hard times, the better.
Take care ❤
Disclaimer: The decision to travel at this time was not take lightly. At the time of leaving, there were no cases in our area, and we had been taking extra measures at work including wearing gloves, social distancing and spraying everything with Glen20 etc. I spoke to my GP before leaving and asked him if we should postpone our trip, and he advised us that we would be alright to travel.
I’ve been counting down the days til I’m on annual leave, and finally that day has come! Work has been busy with post-back to school cleaning, product launches and maintenance, so I have been looking forward to this break.
Obviously there is a lot of talk about that “bug in the air”, so I don’t want to talk about THAT. I feel like that’s all we are hearing about at the moment on TV, Facebook and Twitter, so I thought I would just ramble on about some positive things 🙂
So, what have I been up to?
I’ve become fantastic at procrastinating when it comes to writing. I think because I’ve been so run down at work, I’ve been turning to the games on my phone as a distraction, which means I haven’t been as focused. Uni has also started, which I’m a little behind in. I’ll catch up over the next 10 days I’m sure.
I’ve been trying to get a little bit more active outside of work, and have switched my diet to be a little bit healthier. Therefore, the fave human and I have been going for a walk to the wetlands at the end of our street (he is a wildlife photographer). Now, keep in mind, this IS Australia, so there are creatures that try to kill us on a daily basis!
This little guy (little as in 1.5 – 1.75 meters / 5.75 feet) is an Eastern brown snake, one of the deadliest in Aus. As we were walking towards home, we watched as a cyclist rode past us, then screeched to a halt just up the track. Mr Snakey casually slid across the path and disappeared into the grass as though it was slurped up like a noodle.
We also checked in on our friend, a black shouldered kite who hunts in this area; it was hunting time so we got to watch him do his thing. The local swamp harrier, dubbed Swampy, also paid us a visit. We get to see so much wildlife in this tiny escape from the sprawling metropolis known as Sydney.
Yabbie Dabbie Doo started behaving a little off the past few days, and had stopped eating. I noticed that his tail had separated from his torso, which means that he’s due to shed. Sure enough, I got home yesterday to find that he has shed his exoskeleton! He is extra aggressive and back to his territorial self.
I am still writing chapter 6 of The Darkest Realm, book 2 of the Miscreant. I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on the terrain for Lorendia, as my heros travel from Loren Point to Sepheren. I have based this terrain on country Victoria, Australia. In my world, this area is very hot and leads to a dessert, so I felt that this would be appropriate.
This is the country I grew up in. Hard ground strewn with rocks and dried golden grass; the land is occasionally accented with a random box or iron bark tree, and ancient bone dry creek beds that flow once every 10-20 years after a heavy downpour. It is a harsh and unforgiving land, but those of us who grow up there, learn to respect the land and nature.
On the rare chance that I get to go back and visit, I feel like I become one with my home again, and I can understand why Indigenous people are so connected to their land. Australia is a beautiful country.
Here is a sneak peek at the map for Lorrendia:
I will aim to do another post towards the end of my week and a half off and share what I got up to. I hope I can get some writing done, and finally get this book written. Thanks for your patience xox.
On Sunday I went to my very first Fair Day, which is a part of the Sydney Gay Lesbian Mardi Gras. I had a stall there with a friend who is a fellow writer / film director, and together we sold our wares to the masses.
I didn’t get to walk around much, except to use the loo, but I saw so many fabulous people. The vibe was amazing, I’ve never been a part of such a diverse and inclusive crowd before.
I was lucky to break even on the stall (just), and was happy with the number of books that I sold. Of course I would have liked to sell my entire stock, but one can dream.
I just wanted to say a huge thankyou to everyone who came over and supported me. It was so lovely to chat to you all – if all goes well, and the parking situation is improved, I’ll hopefully be back next year 🙂
It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update. The busy time at work is finally over, but that means we have lots of cleaning and straightening up o do. We’re slowly getting the store back to normality.
The fires were all declared as extinguished just a few days ago, as we received torrential rainfall. We have literally gone from fires to floods, it’s crazy!
I live 5 or 6 houses up from the edge of a wetlands. There is a tiny creek that runs through the middle that is usually little more than a trickle. The rains flooded the entire wetlands; it even breached a small section of the road.
Just up the road is a wide floodway which captures the runoff from the new housing developments in the area. I’ve seen it flow before when we’ve had heavy rain, but nothing on this scale before.
Image 3 in the above gallery was taken at a flood retention wall about 30 minutes from here. The dry image was taken 2 years ago on a warm day. The wet image was taken 24 hours after the rains, it was still flowing steadily. The below video is not mine.
So yeah, it has been crazy in Sydney !
In other news, I now have two new pets. A mussel and another mystery snail. What weirdo critter will I bring home next!
I would like to introduce Yger (pronounced Yerrr), one of the supporting characters in Book 2, The Darkest Realm.
Yger is very close to my heart. She has her own deep ingrained motivations for joining with our heroes (yes there’s some past trauma, but hey, which character doesn’t have past trauma these days?), but she is a very strong-willed woman.
She is deadly with a crossbow, and has long deep purple hair. Her character is heavily inspired by Domitia, a hero in the game Empires & Puzzles which I play.
Yger is my first ever transgendered character. As with my other diverse characters, I don’t write that she’s trans. I leave that up to the reader to figure out; when we first meet her in the hands of the bad guys, they misgender her as ‘he’, which will probably be confusing at first but will begin to make sense a little further on.
I have seen some less-open-minded people ask on Twitter:
Why do you even need to include gay/trans characters?
I counter that with another question:
Why wouldn’t I?
Gender diverse people, including trans, enby, gender fluid etc, are all valid. I want to help to normalise gender diverse characters in literature; I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want to read about a straight man and woman falling in love and living happily ever after. I want to read about characters which represent our world today.
Forty years ago today, my parents said their vows and were married. They got married on Australia Day – “so that your father will never forget our anniversary.”
So a big shout out to Mum and Dad, for putting up with each other for so long!
It has been 2020 for 26 days now. In that time, we have had raging bushfires, flooding in some parts of Aus, a downed C130-J, a virus outbreak, an erupting volcano in the Philippines, and an earthquake in Turkey. Trump is on the verge of being impeached, and so far no tour has been announced for Mumford and Sons to visit Australia (yet).
I feel like 2020 is the start of book 5 in a series, opening with loads of drama and action, readying the reader for the finale of the story. I don’t mean this in a dooms day way; I’m sure there will be a sequel and spin off stories 😉
Speaking of sequels and series, Book 2 – The Darkest Realm is coming along nicely. I’m almost at 18,500 words.
I’ve been a bit challenged in the first 5-6 chapters of book 2. I don’t like the term writer’s block, but it was a form of bloc nonetheless. It turns out I had not sufficiently planned some of the background stuff, which is usually what causes block in the first place.
I spent some time jotting down notes, and I came up with a whole new ‘old magic system’ that will explain the underlying function of how my cult operates without being unbelievable. It also answered questions on how my villain can control his cult in the first place, without using the same form of mancery as Nika and Freyne.
I have two major scenes that I can’t wait to write – I don’t write out of sequence though, so my reward for powering forward will be to write these scenes. I get excited just thinking about them!
My heroes are about to meet my trans woman character Yger, and I’m so excited about this. I have been asked by some people why I’m including a trans character, and my response is:
“Why wouldn’t I? They are people too; if I don’t represent them in literature, who will?”
There is so much nasty, negative stuff out there, I want to break that and show folks that trans people are people, and deserve as much respect as everyone else. The only way to normalise it is by talking about it.
And finally, just a reminder that I’ll be having a stall at the Sydney Gay Lesbian Mardi Gras Fair Day. If you are in Sydney, come along and say hi! I’ll have plenty of copies of books available to purchase, and I’ll happily sign them on request.
16th Feb 2020! Hopefully see you there!
My #AuthorsForFireys auction has closed at a total of $100. Every little bit helps, I’m stoked that it went for that much. The winning bidder has transferred the amount to me, and on the 31st I’ll transfer the donation PLUS the portions of my royalties to the CFA.
Progress on book 2 is going a bit slower than I had hoped. It is still busy time at work until Feb, so I just have to take each day as it comes. I’m up to just over 17,000 words, so that’s not too bad.
More recently, I commissioned one of my Twitter friends (Morgan Wright) to animate the cover of The Lowest Realm, and I am not disappointed.
The next thing on the cards for this writer is Fair Day 2020, which is a part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. I’m having a stall with one of my friends , and will be looking forward to meeting folks, and hopefully selling some books!
I’f you’re in Sydney, come along and say hi! Our stall is called Queer Queatives.