Tuesday, 18 January 2022


"Realm 5" finally has a name (and a cover... but more on that another day)... it's Chaos.

I've started on the edits and I'm hoping to have got them done and back to Fiona (my editor) by the middle of February, ready for her to do a copyedit. It may well take me less time than that to finish them, but at the moment I'm trying to be kind to myself and accept that some days I just don't have the mental strength to tackle the book. There's no point pushing myself and ending up tired and upset (and not doing the best job with the edits, either). The publishing deadline is set by me!

I've talked of this before, but I must have a deeply ingrained work-ethic, as most days, the idea of choosing not to edit, but to read or knit or (gasp!) do nothing is just beyond me. Which is why I hit burn-out and almost had a breakdown before I left working at the uni. Let's not get to that state again! I left work to protect my mental health and to try to enjoy life. It would be madness to work myself into another crisis, especially given that it's entirely avoidable.

I don't really set New Year's Resolutions, though in the dead week between Christmas and New Year, I usually take stock and reflect on the past year. After that, I tend to have a few things I'd like to do differently in the coming year. In 2022, I really do want to try to be kinder to myself; take more days off; not feel that I have to work every day. It's a work in progress. I have decades of habit to break.

I guess the upshot is that Chaos might not be dropping quite as soon as I'd hoped, but I'll keep you all posted on progress.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

I'm back...

 ... although still finding it hard to concentrate.

The end of 2021 was a bit of a blur with Dad dying, the funeral and so on. Fiona (my editor) sent "Realm #5" back to me just before Christmas and we chatted about the edits last week. We have another Skype meeting scheduled for today, and then I'll be cracking on with the editing.

It's not been easy, to be honest, as one of the main themes of the book involves losing a father too soon and never having enough time to ask them about everything. That theme developed as I was writing the book and slowly losing my own father - mostly to failing health and dementia, then (after the draft went off to Fiona) actually losing him. I've wanted to talk to him about so much over the last few months, and it hasn't been possible. When he was more able to follow conversations, we were restricted in visits because of covid. Then when restrictions eased, he was so often tired or unable to talk about things. And so I never did say all the things to him I wanted to say. Not when I was sure he could understand them, anyway.

I miss him every day. I miss telling him things - things from the news like the Roman mosaic found in Rutland, or the huge dinosaur (also found in Rutland... for a tiny county, it's punching above its weight!). I miss laughing with him. I miss showing him my latest knitting project. I just miss him.

I suspect that editing "Realm #5" will be a slower process than it has been for other books, partly because my concentration is shot to pieces, but mostly because the theme of loss is so very raw.

Bear with me? I am getting there. Just very slowly.