Musings on coronavirus
How quickly life can change. Last weekend, I was eating lunch with family, and now I'm in self-isolation with coronavirus symptoms. All the things we take for granted have been suddenly stripped away from us - family gatherings, sport fixtures, evenings out, a quick coffee with a friend, a gym session.
It's both comforting and overwhelming that the entire world is under these same conditions. I don't have to explain what's happening to someone in the US or Greece or Budapest, because they're experiencing it for themselves.
I haven't got my head around it at all. In a way, being ill has helped because I haven't wanted to go out, but my complete isolation will end on Friday, and after that I'll be navigating social distancing instead.
When I was younger, I wanted to be a recluse. I may have mentioned it before, if you catch up with me on social media. But I now know I would be really bad at it! I need people, I need conversation with random people in the street. I need hugs.
As it stands at the moment, the launch of Grace & Serenity is still on schedule, but the signings I was planning to organise have been stalled. The places I wanted to approach are all closed, for one thing!
So far, this week:
What are you doing with all this extra time? Whatever it is, I hope you're staying safe, following the guidelines for whichever country you're in, and that we all come out of this stronger, calmer, and more peaceful. This might be the reset we need x
Yep, only 20 weeks until Grace & Serenity is out in the world. The manuscript is currently with the copy-editor, and I'm starting to work on a new book - something I've had hanging around for the last year which had to be set aside when all the work on Grace started.
Obviously, with a book due out and another in the early stages, I've got plenty of time on my hands 😉, So it was serendipitous that an email plonked itself into my in-box last week from Crisis, a charity which aims to end homelessness here in the UK. They were advertising their latest fundraising event, and I signed up.
I will be walking 620,000 steps during March!
It seemed like a good solid number, until I started telling friends and they looked upon me with horror. But I think I can do it. I walk a lot, because I don't drive, so I chose a number that would be an actual challenge. Plus, I work in a gym, so if I'm struggling, I can walk on the treadmill or simply round in circles. A friend sent me this article about how walking helps you think, so it might even aid me in the writing of the next book!
After a flurry of excitement over the past couple of days, I'm finally settled - and coherent - enough to share my latest news...
My novel, Grace and Serenity, is going to be published in July 2020 by Vine Leaves Press!
This is me signing the actual contract!! I look a lot more calm and composed than I felt.
Vine Leaves published my short story collection, You. I. Us., and I'm delighted to be working with them again - and especially to acquire another of Jessica Bell's amazing covers.
If you want to keep updated on the book's progress, use the box at the top right of this page to sign up for my newsletter - I'll be sharing snippets from the book, offering early review copies, and having a celebratory giveaway in the near future (chocolate, it'll be chocolate 😋) The next newsletter will be out on the 12th August.
The first weird thing writers do is get so caught up with NaNoWriMo that November disappears, winter weather comes as a surprise and Christmas is a myth until it's already the 12th and decorations are being put up around them.
For my non-writer readers, NaNoWriMo takes place throughout the whole of November where writers commit to writing at least 50,000 words - novices and experienced writers alike. If you have a normally gregarious friend who was suddenly quiet and a bit spaced out in Novemnber, they may just have been involved. Give them a coffee and a hug and run through anything they may have missed in November!
Another weird thing writers do is gather as many writers around them as possible. This year a wonderful writer called Raimey Gallant organised 404 writers and got them to share their social media links. So, for the past few days, I've been working through that list - following people on Twitter, Facebook (grr, Facebook has serious issues about people using their site!), their blogs, Goodreads and more.
All of this means I haven't been writing. But, at the moment, I don't mind. It's fun. I've been chatting with some fun people, and hopefully that'll continue once the list-following flurry has faded.
In case you're wondering, I didn't complete my 50k during November, I reached 38,006 words, and then another 4k in the subsequent few days. I'm currently letting it breathe, before printing it out so I can mutilate it (I love a good old-fashoned cut-and-paste with scissors and sticky tape!) and turn it into the story I realised I was telling at about the two-thirds mark.
Just a note to the #nanohop-ers: the only sign up I have is a newsletter, or Bloglovin button - so it's possible you'll never see my posts, unless I get myself a little more organised on the newsleter front. I'm still wondering how to best engage with my new followers. Bear with me!
UPDATED NOTE TO #NANOHOP-ERS: I have created a WordPress blog which will be my main blog from now on.
Life since my last update has been a flurry of polishing some short stories to submit, and - sadly - rejections. Those little beasts always come in pairs, or worse. Never mind... Onward and upward. I'm looking at a novel that came back with its tail between its legs and wondering whether there's a way to completely flip the story on it's head. Maybe I need to listen to some music?
Here are a couple of links to guest posts I've written recently:
Although I don't update this site often, I've noticed this absence more than usual - although you may not have!
During my last post, I was deep in my blog tour to promote You. I. Us., as well as finishing edits of a new book so I could submit it to my editor. There's going to be a little delay hearing back from her, so I'm trying to ignore that for now.
Almost as soon as I pressed Send on that submission, my laptop had to go for a bit of TLC with a nice computer guy. So, here are some things a writer does when they don't have computer access:
Here are a few photos from my trip: