Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Interview with Marie Flynn

This week I'm delighted to introduce Stephanie Flynn, who writes urban fantasy under the name Marie Flynn. Her latest book, Demon Curse is out right now, and I was able to grab an interview with her about it.

Tell me more about your book?

At the heart, it’s about a man from a spiteful home trying his best to impress his family, and in his desperation, he makes a mistake that destroys everything he loves. The rest of the series is him learning from his past mistakes and rectifying them the best he can with very limited resources.

What prompted you to write it?

I had images in my head of a woman bickering with a stray cat, and the cat complaining about being a cat. The story filled in from there, with the woman being the protag. But after editing the blurb over and over, I realized the cat was the most interesting character. So the cat, iKat, became the star.

What are you working on at the moment? Are there already plans for the next book after this one?

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Plastic free updates

For a while now, I've been trying to reduce the amount of plastic I buy. Sometimes this is easy; sometimes it feels impossible. I will not buy new clothes that have any non-biodegradable fibres in them, and I'm cutting out as much other plastic as I can.

Let me give you my latest updates...

Hair conditioner:

In my last update in May, I was about to try a solid hair conditioner and promised to report back to you all.

Well, I can tell you that it's not bad! It leaves a bit of a waxy feel when it's wet (though this goes when it dries) and adds thickness (something my hair really doesn't need, but I'm happy to put up with). There's plenty of shine and it smells fresh and clean. I would recommend it.

I'm using the Gruum nourishing shampoo and the shine enhancing conditioner (though I may try out others and see what the difference is). I've used other shampoo bars in the past and they've left my hair feeling like straw, so I'm delighted to have found this range which is actually working!

Toothbrush/toothpaste:

This is still largely a failure, though I saw in a supermarket that Colgate have brought out a wooden toothbrush, so change appears to be afoot! My two main issues are that the wooden toothbrush head is too big (research done/product tested on men rather than both sexes?) and this makes it hard to get to my back teeth. The toothpaste tablets... I seem to need to use two to feel as if they're actually cleaning my teeth, which does make the whole system a lot more pricey. I will persevere. If anyone has any recommendations, hit me up!

Still winning with...

Toilet paper! (and tissues and kitchen roll)

We get ours from Who Gives a Crap. If you use that link, you can get £5 off your first order. We use them not just because the paper is great, but because 50% of their profits go to charities that help build toilets and improve sanitation around the world.

Soap:

We tend to buy from Friendly Soap, because their soaps are competitively priced and smell wonderful. They also partner with charities working on hygiene, and tree/hedge restoration projects.

Deodorant:

This has had to work hard over the last few days! It's a deodorant not an antiperspirant, so there's still some sweat, but I don't stink! I use Cosy Cottage's solid deodorant in a tin. There are two fragrances and I have both of them. I think I prefer the geranium and lavender version, but the other (sandalwood and tea tree) is also very lovely. There's still free delivery on all orders and if you sign up for their newsletter you can get 10% off. In the hot weather, I keep mine in the fridge, otherwise it can be too soft, bordering on liquid!

What other plastic-free wins would people recommend?



Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Slow progress...

I'm hypermobile. As in many of my joints bend the wrong way. When I was a kid, this was fun and I used to revel in being able to gross people out with it.

Fast forward a few decades and I have major issues as a result of unstable joints. In order to maintain even a modicum of stability, I have muscle issues around many joints (shoulders, hips, knees, ankles). In my hands, it hasn't been possible to maintain joint stability and so I now have very bad arthritis in my thumb joints.

How does this link to progress (or lack of it)? Well, although typing is unaffected by my thumbs screaming at me, holding a pen is. And we all know how much I need to write by hand when I'm planning/writing a book.

Currently, I can manage about 1 side of A4 before my right thumb is too sore for me to hold a pen/pencil. Luckily, I can write left-handed 😃 (and indeed wrote exclusively left-handed during my PhD due to my right wrist having a prolonged unstable/painful few years).

The problem is, although I can write left-handed, I can't write left-handed as fast as I can (on pain-free days) write right-handed. And I'm still needing to plan both Realm #5 and Shiny New Thing. Which means a lot of writing. What would normally be taking me about an hour to write, is currently taking me a morning.

"So, just type then, if typing is unaffected."

Hm. I wish my brain worked like that, but it never seems to work to type my planning notes (though I am trying to do that more, to save my thumb).

Ah well. I'll keep on plodding on.