Last time I checked in there was a pandemic. Still going! It's like a Dr Who episode where he was on a ship that never seemed to go anywhere. Book launch date came and went with no launch event, as such things do in these days of social distancing. Oh well, it is done. I got to do an interview with another writer who had been lurking on the edges of the community. (Mate, if you've written a book, you are more than welcome into the inner sanctum!)
Work and school has devolved into weird punctuated virtual conversations with long lag times in between people speaking. I bought a (new-ish) laptop and it went straight into home schooling. I bought another laptop to put aside in case my current one and its gorgeous pre-2013 keyboard dies... now I have 2 replacements and the horror of switching out may be averted for a few more years.
My current obsession is currently mechanical keyboards, on account of me moving my working space to the kitchen table (rather than my local... shut... cafe). Its a whole new world of beautiful things.
So how about this apocalypse, huh? Who knew it would be so fraught with pasta and toilet roll buying. I only panic-shopped once, when I was given a list for 4 families of elderly people and 1 family of mine last week (mine, my partners, friends of my late mother's), and then had to sleep for 12 hours. So exhausting.
So, dreams must be deferred via quarantine. All the wonderful things one imagines upon releasing one's book must be bundled up and put back in the glory box. There shall be no signings, no launch, no bookshop visits, no trips around the country, no overseas jaunt to Worlddcon where I would have been a Person Of Some Standing and not an un-person. Two conventions here already cancelled: Swancon and Continuum, the latter which was to be my hard-launch. This is the case for a lot of people. My 2020 Debuts Facebook group is a shambles of people missing out on dream tours.
Oh well, to sally forth. Stay well everyone! Until next week!
Nope, not being intentionally depressing, its just after a sunny streak its raining outside again! Melbourne is getting some of the downpour that Tasmania is copping. So long Summer, we hardly knew you and your choking, poisonous air. Roll on flu season and toilet-paper hoarding.
We recently finished watching Chernobyl (the HBO mini-series) in Chateau McKenna, and I have never been so genuinely terrified by a TV show as I was during that first episode. That combination of foreknowledge and people's insistent stupidity and inability to accept that they were wrong... I then consumed every bit of wikipedia about Chernobyl and nuclear power in general before being glad we are on track to just do some wind and solar, and the "scare event" consists of a vane flying off the turbine and landing in a field. (Heart palpitations return to normal.)
I bought a new typing chair. It's very 70's looking IKEA Alefjall. It was highly expensive, but the only comfortable one in the showroom so I girded my loins and clutched my purse and bought the bloody thing. Ow, my credit card.
2019 was A Lot.
Most of the things that happened were carry-overs from 2018, so it just felt like a lot of mopping up another year's party. Apart from my mother passing away in January--another 2018 thing that found its end early, the rest was pretty low-key. Nothing new was started creatively, so my only credit for the year was a Highly Commended at the Scarlet Stiletto Awards for a story I might work on a little more. The short story collection met a most inglorious end: I was going to do it as a publishing venture with people I've worked with before, but one of the folks involved had a public falling out drama with another editor they'd worked with and nasty personal stuff was aired on social media and well... so it goes.
I made some new friends in June, during the Rotorua Geysercon convention, Convergence the next week and through other various writerly things, although most of those were instances of people circling in the social group for ages and FINALLY we meet with proper introductions rather than stink-eye and nodding from opposite sides of the room.
This year's writer's retreat was on a boat to Kangaroo Island (10/10 will go there again), which was possibly far too emotionally ambitious for me given I'd only had my mum's funeral a fortnight before. But when you've spent a year organising something for (16?) people it begins to get larger than pesky things like life and death.
Fortunately the retreat was buffered by spending the Australia Day long weekend in Canberra with some old urban exploring friends on some of the hottest days of the year. I had a sudden premonition of great horror and decided to stay in a genuine Roach Motel over the border, and even then it was a palace compared to the one-star caravan park lodge I'd previously volunteered to bunk in: I took a wrong turn looking for their cabin while in the compound and ended up in the long-term accommodation section, which bore not a dissimilar appearance to the post-apocalyptic Bartertown from Mad Max.
The Trip Advisor link is here. It was definitely... something. https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Hotel_Review-g255057-d1410557-Reviews-or25-Southside_Village-Canberra_Australian_Capital_Territory.html#REVIEWS
Finally, the volcano I had visited with my mother back in '09 after her cancer diagnosis and whilst I was pregnant with my son, and visited again just prior to Geysercon, the one used as a location for my book's sequel, erupted in December. It was definitely A Lot seeing places I knew well suddenly blanketed in ash. I had several days of "There But For The Grace Of God..." anxieties afterwards. I had planned on bringing my Mum's ashes to White Island and had reconsidered at the last minute. She still sits on my bookshelf in a Keep Calm And Carry On" tea-box. I'm not sure what it would have meant for her to be in a deadly volcano instead.
(Photos to come)
New Year's Eve had me exchanging my labour this year. The building where I sometimes work was having renovations so there was no water except for the hot poison out of the century-old tap that tasted like nuclear waste, so I spent most of the night trying to hunt down enough slabs of bottled water for 50 people. Also the lights in the ladies toilets weren't working so we had to go with phone-lights and the incidental illumination of the laser-light show outside.
Someone suggested we steal the water from the police who were set up in the equally Blade-Runner Tears-In-Rain rotting-room across from us but they didn't even have a functional tap. One of my staff got food poisoning and had to be taken to hospital. It was A Night.
(More photos coming as irrefutable proof)
That was it, though I might add more as I remember. I finished the decade crawling in to bed exhausted from 8 hours of pushing through crowds. 2019, in the bin. We will see how the next one goes...
The final cover of Monstrous Heart was revealed a couple of days ago in the Harper Voyager UK Twitter feed. The pre-order link is here: