Warning: a lot of waffle lies ahead. Skip to the last few paragraphs if you just want to know my plans. (No, not plans, I don’t make plans any more. Vague intentions? Nebulous thoughts? Hopes? Yeah, probably hopes.)
Hello, everyone, I hope you’re doing well.
It’s been a while since I last did one of these. Sorry about that, but life, as I’m sure we’re all feeling, has been pretty rough lately. These last two and a half years have been particularly tough, dealing with depression, losing my grandmother, helping deal with her house, battling some legal things and then losing my dad suddenly at the end of last year. To top it all off, I have ME/CFS (I’ve had it since I was 11) and it’s been hitting my really hard of late.
As it’s the last day in October, normally I’d be gearing up for NaNoWriMo. Sadly, I won’t be taking part this year. I really wanted to and I had so many plans, but I’m just not going to have time or, quite frankly, the energy.
My grandmother passed away at the end of September, after a short illness, so life has been full of sadness, upheaval and far too much organising and legal stuff. And it still is, to be honest, so most of my time of late has been helping my mum make sense of it all. My mum also broke her wrist along the way, so I’ve been driving her around, taking her to hospital appointments and writing down everything she needs, which hasn’t left much time for writing – or even thinking about writing. She’s hoping to start working part-time again soon, which will require more chauffeuring and eat up even more time, so alas, no NaNo for me this year.
I might try and work something out for January instead, but in the meantime, to all the other NaNo participants this year, good luck and happy writing!
Hey, everyone, I’m so sorry there haven’t been any updates this weekend. Unfortunately I’m dealing with a serious illness in the family and will be for the foreseeable future.
I wanted to get the latest chapters ready for you, but time has sadly not been on my side lately. I’ve been flat out all week and simply haven’t had time to edit anything. (My poor writing laptop hasn’t been switched on for about a month. I’m sure it’s forgotten what power feels like.)
I’m hoping to get a little time over the next week to edit a bunch of chapters and schedule them for release, but lots of things keep breaking alongside all the other stresses, so I’m not making any promises.
However, if you don’t mind reading the unedited version, you can find the newest chapters every week on my Patreon. My paid Patrons are already two months ahead, but I’ve been unlocking chapters in time with all the other free updates, so you can always read them over there if I fail to update here. (Don’t worry about the stars. They’re all scheduled to unlock whether I update the links page or not, so click about and see where it gets you ;).
Thanks, as always for reading, and sorry again for falling behind.
I thought it was time for a little catch-up, and since most of the UK is hunkering down under the Beast from the East, today seemed as good a time as any.
Well, since my last catch up post in mid-January I have not done much. Not for want of trying. I started World’s End and was edging close to getting into the swing of things, until my left shoulder went wrong. I didn’t actually do anything to it, but it hurt, a lot, and meant I couldn’t do most of what I needed to. It’s something that tends to flare up whenever I get really fatigued and there isn’t much I can do about it until it goes away. Typing becomes impossible because I can’t get comfortable enough to think, let alone put words in decent sentences. Once I’ve forced myself to do the things that need doing, all I’m really good for is reading. With many cushions.
Three and a good weeks on, it’s finally settled down, so maybe I can get back to writing. Ha! We’ll see…
So February was pretty much a write off. I didn’t get anything written, but I did skim an edit through Wingborn again. This will hopefully be for the first Wingborn Collection (1-3), which is the next thing on my release list. I’ve decided to push Cloud Cursed back again, because I have a feeling I need to finish the Wingborn series before I do any more work on the Dragonlands, and I’d really like to get book 4 written before releasing book 3.
It’s complicated, I know, but it makes sense to me. Sort of. So if you’re waiting for the next Dragonlands book, sorry! But right now it’s the Wingborn books that people seem to want, so I’d like to focus on those for a few more months and maybe even get some print editions in the works.
Away from the writing and imaginary worlds… look at my puppy! Hasn’t he grown? Still only six months, but rapidly transforming into a monster. Keeping him entertained probably hasn’t helped my shoulder and fatigue issues, but he’s worth it.
But enough of me and mine, how be you fine people? Ready for March to march on in? Got any exciting plans in the works? Whatever is ahead, I hope the year is treating you well.
I think it’s time I finally admitted that plans and me this year just aren’t working. It’s only taken me ten months, but still, it’s progress. Of a sort.
Since my last update and discussion of plans in August’s progress report, I have released Storm Rising, finished the Dragongift serial and… done nothing much else. This is not for want of trying, but real life keeps intruding. Like having the new bathroom fitted and it taking two weeks(!). It’s a very nice bathroom and I’m happy with it, but the disruption was not great.
However, the really big change came in mid-September when I sadly lost my collie, Beren. He was fourteen years old and he’d been sick on and off since Christmas, but it was still awful when I had to choose to let him go. All his life he’d been really healthy and hadn’t shown his age. In fact, he looked great and was still bouncing around like a puppy. But in early December, my little lab x had a stroke and had to be put to sleep. Thyme and Beren had been lifelong companions and partners in crime, and not barely two weeks later Beren was at the vets and I really thought that was it.
He pulled through that time, but he was changed. He was an old dog now, finally showing his age. He was still bright eyed and affectionate, loving his walks and playing, but he was stiffer and slower, his walks got shorter and shorter, and he started falling sick. We muddled through together right up until his fourteenth birthday, then he could no longer keep any food down and stopped trying to eat altogether. I didn’t want to lose him, but I wasn’t going to let him suffer. And, since I was convinced he wasn’t going to make it at Christmas, at least I got nine more months with him.
The next few weeks were a struggle. I’ve lost three dogs over the last eighteen months, because they were all getting old at the same time, and I really, really miss them. I still have two, but Willow is fifteen and I have no idea what is still keeping her going since her back legs are so wobbly you’d think she was going to fall over any second. But she doesn’t and her appetite is enormous. Still, she can’t last forever and I didn’t want my other dog, Mushu, to be alone. So I started looking for a puppy.
Not being at all sure how Mushu would react to a new dog, I wanted something young that she could get used to, which ruled out rehoming – most of which weren’t suitable anyway because they needed to be only dogs. I wanted a male, because I miss Beren and Woody. I preferably wanted something with either collie or lab in it, but I really didn’t want a pedigree because the only dogs I’ve had with life long health issues have all been pedigrees. I knew what I didn’t want, but was open to any interesting ideas as long as it would be quite big. Yet, despite there being ridiculous amounts of pugs and French bulldogs, chihuahuas and spaniels, labs and various doodles (all crossed with mini poodles) available, nothing was suitable.
I looked and I looked and I looked, growing mildly obsessed and wishing I lived with my sister in South Wales because there were some amazing sounding puppies up there, but I didn’t want to spend more than two hours in the car bringing the puppy home – for its sake as much as anyone else’s. Although, after three weeks, I was starting to get desperate and contemplating searching much further afield.
But there was one litter I’d seen advertised a few times. Border collie x New Zealand Huntaway. I’d never heard of a huntaway, so I looked it up and was intrigued. They’re sheepdogs that herd by barking, which could be a worry although they can be trained when not to bark, and I wasn’t sure I wanted anything that lively anyway, despite Beren having been no trouble at all. It was a farm litter too, which can have their behavioural quirks – sometimes for the good, occasionally for the bad. They were a curious looking bunch, with a couple of blue merle puppies that looked like little snow leopards, a couple with blue merle coats and tan patches, one brown and tan and one black and white. But I put them out of my mind, because I was sure something else would come up.
It didn’t. The collie/huntaways were updated with newer photos. I dithered, then said no, because crazy collies need so much exercise and there’s the barking thing and they probably didn’t have that much huntaway in them anyway.
But it had been three weeks and there was a more recent photo and the black and white puppy was just calling me…
His name is Bruin and he’s half collie, half huntaway and pure mischief. His favourite things are playing with Mushu, eating my shoes (preferably when still on my feet), chewing rocks and sticks and furniture, and barking at Willow.
He’s ridiculously cute and so much fun. At first he wasn’t toilet trained at all, but he’s getting there, and best of all he’s slept through the night without any crying, barking or whining since day one. He kicks up a ridiculous fuss during the day when I leave him downstairs, but I can cope with that.
He’s growing so fast. He’s not even twelve weeks old yet and already as tall as Mushu, although it’ll be a while before he’s as long as her mutant Bassett body. He can sit on command and does a fantastically flamboyant flounce when asked to lie down – one leg up and flump!
He fits in perfectly.
And although there are still moments and days when I miss Beren and Thyme so much it makes my heart hurt and things hard to get through, I love my newest little monster and I already can’t imagine life without him. And I don’t think I’m the only one.
More chatter about books and NaNo and stuff to come soon. For now, I hope you’re all well, my lovelies. Merry Monday!