A I write we are BACK in lockdown. For anyone not in Australia, we are currently having a cold war between the EVIL NORTH and their rampant disease spreading furniture removalists who don't wear masks and the VIRTUOUS SOUTH who are apparently vindicated for locking down and thereby saving the country from getting overrun by Covid all the other times we locked down.
I missed my trip to Tasmania. I did get to go to Philip Island with my family, and sit on a cold beach and watch penguins come in. (This bit of the country is famous because the entire suburb - was bulldozed to make it safer for the penguins) Two days after we left, it became a Covid hot-spot. It's like a big game of whack-a-mole at the moment.
YIKES: I almost forgot, Deepwater King (Monstrous Heart Book 2) was released on the 24th June, last month. I did an Instagram Interview with editor Vicky which might still be up somewhere. Jen from the publicity team (YES I have someone from the publicity team now!) wanted me to do a 5 minute video... and of course I couldn't do one and completely failed my first invitation at doing any sort of online book publicity for my publisher. *Sad French Horn Noise*. It's REALLY hard to do, and I don't have anything new to add to the book writing discourse so in the end I had to pack it in. I have to give mad props to anyone who can do those Masterclass things though.
We will be doing the edits to Book 3 very soon.
Anyway, I'm technically about a third of the way through Book 1 of New Epic Project, although depending on how many books long it is, it could be half. But I want to be finished before Summer (or northern hemisphere Winter)
I'm trying to grab writing time when I can. I've got so many projects on the go, including important things like going through the last of my late Dad's stuff. When he was well he had a thing about telephones the way I have a thing about keyboards. So many telephones! Some of them quite old! I want to sell them off bit by bit and not in a bulk lot, but that's so much work. They might have to sit in storage for a few more months.
What I'm Reading: I think FIRST BLOOD by David Morrell ended up in the occasional reading pile and something "phoned in" by Wilbur Smith: RIVER GOD, I think. One of the Gods. Every few months I keep telling myself I'll try and finish BLOOD MERIDIAN, I should have another go at it shortly.
What I'm Watching: We finished LOKI - far too short a series for how enjoyable it was, and clearly a set-up for Dr Strange/Marvel's WHAT IF.
Book 3 is finished and handed in. (Big tick)
We did manage our Murray River trip! One week before all the Covid cases started coming up, there was a window where I could pick up Helen Stubbs from the airport and drive out to Gunbower. We had dinner in the pub as by 7PM it was almost too dark to even consider *cooking food on a fire* despite Steve Gleeson saying that it was FINE and all part of the experience. We camped out at Masters Landing, an old boat launching site from 100 years ago - and sadly a local indigenous people mass murder site as well - (huge sigh) most of these places usually are. I was PEER PRESSURED into cooking Irish soda bread on the campfire (flour, buttermilk, baking soda, bit of salt). It was great. I'm even going to post photos of the river, the bread, Steve and Ellen Gregory poking the fire.
On less good news we are back in lockdown as I write this. I TRIED to get vaccinated last week, but at the time nobody under 50 could get the Astra Zeneca vaccine (and you still have to ring up for Pfizer... everyone in Melbourne was ringing up for it! Cue hour on phone.)
So anyway, still alive. This month will mostly be promoting Deepwater King, as much to the joy of the folks at the publishing concerned with marketing it I'm stuck at home and cannot be distracted by other things...
Am Reading: Finished the Murderbot Diaries! So good!
Am Watching: Nothing regular at the moment, I think The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was the last thing on rotation at Chateau McKenna. Tried to watch Tintin (the mocap movie) but it was a story from another time (when alcoholism was seen as a little bit of a laugh, for instance.) I loved the Tintin books when I was little, he was always a bit of a gender-neutral character who had a big drunken sea-captain boyfriend. I mean, they lived together in Marlinspike Mansion in a polycule with Professor Calculus, did they not? Loki is probably the next thing coming up. Wouldn't mind catching up with Venom 2 purely as the first was an ordinary movie that gained traction when fans re-envisioned it as an "alien romance" movie... the watching experience goes up 1000%.
A quick post, as it's been months since I posted here, and it's just A) Writing and B) Work
I'm currently knee deep in the middle of Book 3 at the moment, so my life until the end of May will be Finishing The Book, which as given me little chance to do anything else. Trying to grab some time for exercise and "family" in between it all has been a challenge and a half. I shall be so glad its over! With Covid having passed into the clean-up phase, there are conventions to go to, people to see. I miss my friends. We are finally having a get-together in May on the banks of the Murray River which is like the WORST time in terms of finishing this manuscript.... I might have to dip into (whispers) long service leave.
Has a couple of great Urban exploring jaunts for this first quarter, I've posted most of the pictures in my Facebook Author Page (which has become more of an exploring journal than a writerly one):
I had a really odd experience too, when I went to meet up, a...newish... guy who looked about forty approached me and said, "Oh <explorer name> I've been wanting to talk to you for ages about <event in 1995>"
He - his name is Warp - then explains that during this event we had been raided by the police (I remember this night VERY well) and where everyone had fled into the waiting arms of the police kettle I had gone the other way with some kid ("How the fuck old were you?" I asked in horror for this guy was at least 10 years my junior and he said with a giggle "Fifteen" and I restrained my tut-tuttinng on vagrant kids in questionable gatherings because although I hadn't realized it at the time - being a bit feral, the next thirty or so years has been random men remembering me from back then when they too were feral kids.)
Warp had recognized me at once. I had to admit I didn't recognize him at all, haha. I mean, there were a LOT of people back in the feverish heyday, but being a girl and a little older had made me stand out a bit back then.
Anyway what had haunted him for thirty years was how I'd gotten away, because I had literally disappeared like Batman.
"When you weren't looking Ed and Predator came past in Ed's Suzuki Sierra and I jumped in the back!" I said, and he went, "I've been waiting thirty years to find that out!"
Warp told me he had hidden in the bushes under the Chapel St Bridge while police reinforcements turned up and then he'd taken a taxi home. We reminisced about some of the people at the time - he'd been friends with my "sort-of-boyfriend", the one PC Plod gave a deserved thumping to on the night, and a group called the Guinea Pigs who I believe might have been old enough to drive, for one of their members had a car. There was a lot of crossover between urban explorers and graffiti gangs back then.... they were strange and fun times.
Apart from that, I have a hundred electronics projects I need to finish off (or start - even). I managed to get strip lights installed in the bathroom, but the difficulty was hiding all the wires in the wall and having a lovely ring-light switch. Fortunately the boys were away camping with friends, so I stayed at home and drilled so many holes into the plasterboard and made an entire disaster area that would have been impossible to navigate emotionally if I'd also have to deal with 48hrs of my partner giving me the stink eye about the general ruination (until I polly-filla'd everything back up again.) But the lights are great and the boys come back to a lovely, well-lit bathroom!
Christmas is already upon us, how can that be?
DEEPWATER KING has been announced as ready for pre-order! The link seems to be Amazon UK, I'm certain if one fiddles around with the URL you can get something more local. Yes, it still says Monstrous Heart Trilogy, that was a placeholder while everything else gets updated.
Spent this month selling my Dad's house to fund the Old Folk's Hilton he's moved in to. The cost to spend one's twilight years in a fairly non-depressing place turns out to be well over half a million Aussie dollarydoos, so the family home had to go. It sold VERY quick, the real estate agent says that nobody is selling anything right now so the market is running very hot, (however not so hot that there is much money left over afterwards, much to the despair of one of the ladies from work who cried: "your inheritance is gone!" when I told her about it.)
Am Reading: Several 10 year old copies of EMPIRE in the bathroom (i sincerely have had no time this month)
Am Watching: THE MANDALORIAN. Waiting for Wandavision and the Captain America/Winter Solder one. All the Marvels, actually
Am Playing: No time for that, either. My PC can probably handle Cyberpunk 2077 but my time-poor self cannot.
Music: No time, really.
Am Writing: Had to put everything on hold. I will fire up the engines in the new year.
Yeah, we're out of lockdown now, it was a hard 100 days but we're all good and down to ZERO.
Still wearing masks though. I'm a bit naughty and pop it under my chin if I'm outside and nobody is around. I've been tested for Covid twice since the last time I posted. If anyone turns up to work with the slightest sniffle it's off to the drive-through test tent, which tends to keep moving around to a different location each time I go. They've got it set up in the local hospital at the moment, which is not ideal due to the car parknot being sealed and the dust flying around.
I'm getting over a shocker of a cold which I caught off my kid, who brought it home from school. I suspect if we hadn't spent all those months remote schooling, the Covid spread would have been through school kids. The school Facebook is full of impassioned parents cursing the child who brought the sniffles past the gates
I found out that my favourite writing place was demolished last week, I'm so upset. It was beautiful, an old boating clubhouse, with a massive wooden mermaid in the foyer, that gorgeous Hamptons-style decor with the white wood and exposed beams. Boathouse Cafe, RIP. (They're going to put apartments there.) I haven't been able to write from anywhere except the spare room in the house since March... most of the places have time limits and restricted seating, still. Roll on the vaccine!
Since the last post I bought a couple of keyboards... By a couple I mean they pair of them with switches and keysets were (phew) quite a bit of dollars. I might put the brakes on for now until they come in, or my "holy grail" keysets show up, ie: MT3 Godspeed. My future self wants to design a keyset eventually, maybe when this trilogy is finished I'll take care of it.
Also trying to manage my obsessions. I can see myself getting sucked in to A) Electronics and B) Valve radios C) Anything with Valves in it Actually, which is both a meditative joy but an extreme time suck and I have some urban exploring to catch up on as the combination of Covid/Winter has really eaten into that particular hobby. (Got some photos on my Facebook page if anyone is interested. It's just 25 years of poor fashion choices)
Am Reading: I just finished a book that is currently Politica Non Grata so I won't say what it is. Also have Thomas Keneally's TOWARDS ASMARA in the bathroom so I guess I'm reading that?
Am Watching: Just finished RAISED BY WOLVES (great sci-fi! I could almost imagine it being in the same "universe" as Aliens and Prometheus) and onto THE MANDALORIAN
Am Playing: AMONG US. I named myself "Karl Marx" and addressed everyone as Comrade! until my kid complained it wasn't clever or funny enough and made me look "suss", so have changed my name to "The Chonk" to account for my current lockdown aesthetic.
Music: Downloaded Yazz's "The Only Way Is Up" off Spotify
Am Writing: Book 3, with the occasional forays into Unnamed Next Project
So, here at home we're in the last few weeks of EXTREME LOCKDOWN (the papers keep trying to add EXTREME with added commentary about Dan Andrews (our State Premier) being a Big Meanie for keeping everyone Locked Up and Alive and for Fixing a Problem that He Started instead of Quitting In Shame which is apparently the Australian Way.
I've spent most of the Lockdown doing the major revisions for Monstrous Heart #2.
But at least most of the heavy lifting between the covers has been done, so that is that. I did get to have some cover and title input this time, and I got to suggest "can I have some pipes".
I really do want pipes though...
Media Consumption: the Gen Z in the house has introduced me to "Among Us" https://among-us.fandom.com/wiki/Among_Us
The YouTube algorithm was very keen to push this song "LIONHEART" by Of Monsters and Men on me and it's such a cool little fantasy video THAT IS SO INCREDIBLY SAD https://youtu.be/A76a_LNIYwE
TV Watching in those minutes we can grab them have been divided between THE BOYS - SEASON 2 and JAMES CAMERON'S THE STORY OF SCIENCE FICTION
To much dismay I was meant to be in New Zealand right now!
Instead I am here. My state has gone into lockdown, and there are mutterings of a harder one happening soon.
Hugos are on Twitter at the moment. Even though I bought a membership I have not participated, as I cannot abide by anything online right now.
Played Recently: INSIDE and LIMBO, both available on Steam. The concept of platformers got totally turned on its head, and I'm such an FPS gamer, but I've struggled to find anything that has really grabbed me until these two came along!
So although we've been on Level 3 Restrictions here in #Ronaville there's more of a sense that this is going to drag on forever (Remember a hundred years ago in April, when the vaccine was just around the corner? Well nobody thinks that now...)
But there was some good news, the advance cheque for acceptance of Book 2 landed in the puddle that lives permanently inside my letterbox, and it dried out on the back of a chair. So it Book 2 is GO.
Read Recently: Mia Walsch's MONEY FOR SOMETHING
Watched Recently: TOTAL RECALL and CONSTANTINE, BATMAN: DARK KNIGHT (on account of there being no TV shows airing at the moment) and BIRDS OF PREY (was good, had room to go darker though)
GROAN, as I type we are back under lockdown in my state, or at least, some suburbs are. Fortunately the gym has re-opened, but to 10 people per session.
A day before the restrictions came back down again I went to a rather large party of old urban exploring friends (a lot of them have their birthday's in May and there was a sense we might not see each other again for ages... its been 14 days and I haven't come down with the 'Rona yet so that's a positive.
I'm thinking about moving all my keyboard and maker stuff to another page! I have a few PCB/Raspberry Pi/MCU projects I want to do shortly and in terms of branding this might not appeal to everyone but I think they're ace so I'll talk less here and more there. I've gained soldering iron burns on my hands. It's like one of those Fantasy stories where people recognise each other by the injuries of their profession.
That's pretty much it! I've got some days off, so I'll be writing, soldering, and (painfully) working out.
As I type I'm on a very nice set of Dolch keycaps with DSS tooling from Signature Plastics. Thankfully after all the buying up of last month, all my keycaps and keyboard bits came in weeks later when I needed the pick-me-up of nice things.
Australia has lifted its lock-down in increments. Some of the things are still closed, like gyms (boo) but coffee shops should be opening soon, and kids will be all back at school after the Queens Birthday in June.
Also, another damn year is halfway done without me publishing a short story. I have to pull my finger out for that.