Poetry

Smooth

The prints have eroded. Valleys once so telling

broken, worn to anonymity.

Gloves have more soul than they do

and can still be hurt by the constant wash of disinfectant

and bleach, the routine so well rehearsed

that the very ground has become a giant record,

one that needs no needle to sound its ghosts.

Poetry

This winged emotion

The darkness swoops down, unfurls its wings and roars.

Chest heavy with the ache only grief can name,

it sets sap to everything, forcing the moment

to solidify: amber for the night, amber for the dawn.

Granted silence at last, it hunkers into itself,

waiting for the deep gashes in its scales to heal.

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Another update on The Origin Stone (and other books)

Hi everyone, I received an exciting email today from my publisher Next Chapter, which was a publishing contract for The Origin Stone! I’m really happy they’ve taken it on, and I’m also impressed with how quickly they got back to me about it, as it’s only been a few weeks between the publisher who had it before, Nuff Said, closing down, and submitting it to Next Chapter.

Now, I don’t have any idea when it’ll be out again, as the email simply contained the offer, but as the book has already been edited and proofed, there shouldn’t be too much work to do on it, which hopefully means a speedy publication. Regardless, I’ll keep you all updated with how it’s going.

What was also exciting is that Next Chapter also accepted the two new poetry collections I submitted to them a few months ago, as well as my upper middle grade/ young adult fantasy crossover book, Nekromancer’s Cage, which I sent to them just after The Origin Stone. Nekromancer’s Cage has been on submission for a long time and though it garnered lots of interest, no one took it further than that, so it really is a relief to haveĀ  a publisher for it at last. I’d say it’s quite a dark read, while still containing lots of humour – if I had to compare the tone of it to one of my other books, it’s probably closest to my third Half-Wizard Thordric book, Unseasoned Adventurer. I know that’s somewhat vague, so I’ll also mention that it contains magical post-it notes, musical bandits and a talking cat.

I know that having so many books accepted at once will mean lots of revision, so this year is likely to be full of editing various projects and juggling things around, but revision is something I enjoy (I think because quite a lot of it is puzzle solving).

Overall, I’m really pleased that I have a home for these books, and it’s a most encouraging start to the year.

 

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Thoughts on the past year

Hi everyone, as it’s that time of year when many people take a moment of reflection on the past year and think about the future, I thought I’d take a moment to do the same.

Last year was a mix of good and bad. On the personal side, I had a long bout of depression and autistic burnout, had frequent meltdowns and shutdowns, and suffered from intense imposter syndrome regarding my work. But I also learnt a lot about my neurology, began implementing coping strategies to reduce meltdowns and shutdowns (like using ear defenders, sunglasses and fidget toys to help with sensory overload and not doing too many tasks in one day) and celebrated a year and a half with my partner and, in November, actually moved in with him.

I also realised that I’ve achieved an awful lot with my writing, too:

  • I did my first edit of my YA sci-fi, Unsung.
  • I put together my short story collection, When The Bard Came Visiting, which comes out this February.
  • I re-edited my Half-Wizard Thordric trilogy to catch all the continuity errors that had slipped through.
  • I wrote a middle grade fantasy involving time travel.
  • I edited two poetry collections and submitted them to my publisher.
  • I did my first author visit at a school.
  • I did another edit on Unsung, and prepared a query and synopsis for submission to literary agents.
  • I put together a poetry pamphlet and a children’s poetry collection for submission to an independent press.
  • I wrote (and illustrated) a bespoke story that the client had won at a local school fair.

Writing it all down in a list like this gives it a lot of substance that I can’t ignore, because it wasn’t until I started writing this post that it fully hit me how much work I completed. When I think about how unmotivated I felt for most of the year, it’s incredible that I managed to do so much. I suppose it does make sense though, because no matter how hard writing can be, it’s the one thing I’ve always known I’ve wanted to do, and is the way in which I express myself best. I know a lot of the poetry I wrote released a lot of frustration and helped me to accept who I am, and writing fiction let me live an adventure I’d otherwise never know.

For this year, I haven’t made any strict resolutions. I simply intend to keep the same goals I always have: to keep writing, appreciate the small things and (this one is slightly newer) ask for help when I need it. I’m sure there will be times when I get distracted, overwhelmed and stubborn, but as long as it’s not too often, I know that’s all okay.

So, here’s to a new year full of self-care, appreciation for those who support us, and determination for whatever it is that we wish to achieve.

Poetry

Mother Cosmos

Her skin is made of stars

and swirls of cosmic dust,

her hair as dark as the dark side of the moon.

 

The burning amber of her eyes

gives out the sun’s warm rays,

and her tongue whispers the galaxy’s mysteries

and the history of many a forgotten age.

 

During the day you cannot see her,

for she walks among the clouds,

holding council with Mother Earth,

but at night she rests and lets her gown

sprawl out across the sky.

Poetry

Iron filings

The Kingdom has fallen silent,

doors bolted and keys buried.

The queen took her heart and locked it away

to save the cracks from spreading.

Her child was taken and turned,

puppetry at its finest,

made to dance to the tune of war

and march across the border.

Blood ran back and drank the water.

The people bathed in it,

they had nothing else —

and fell to the sharpness of the iron within.

 

 

 

Poetry

Bandages

I can fix this

I tell myself every time,

afraid that inaction will guilt me harder,

panicking because I’m sure I can do something – anything –

to help.

But my intentions never turn out how I imagine,

the end is always the end

and I do nothing to delay it.

Sometimes I speed it up.

I can never be sure,

and so as they drift away in my hands

I feel as cold

as if I’d stood still.