OK… NOW I’m back…

Y’know what they say about the best laid plans and all the other sayings about making plans, and them exploding in your face?
Yeah…that.

I wish I actually had a good reason for it, but, it’s actually a set of reasons. Predominantly, discovering that I have anameia so severe that I need to go for infusions, which has cut my effective working time down to a fraction of what I’m used to, cause I’m so absolutely exhausted, constantly.
(at the time of writing this, I’ve been for one of two infusions, which, I’ll be honest, I’m pretty sure I’m feeling a little better, but not much. Tomorrow night, at the time of writing this, I have a full torso CT. I’m very lucky to live where I do – not only am I UK, but we’ve been a county that has a moderate increase but not a massive bump in our CV19 infections, touch wood. We do have BOTH mutations locally though, so that may change, but so far, it’s looking like we’ll be ok to get my CT done, and that’ll leave me with autoimmune as the issue with my stomach, or maybe finally the endometriosis has caught up to the point that it now hurts monthly instead of being ignorable. But we’ll find out tomorrow, or just after, with any luck.)

If that wasn’t enough….


Add to that, I’ve had shingles, had to postpone Uni till next year, and a few other bits and pieces, I’m just kinda feeling like I’m on the hop. And then, we had to 180 degree from Christmas plans – there’s no physical way for us to travel over one day to get home, with all the well-meaning ideas in the world – we live six hours from where we grew up, without traffic accidents, roadworks and other delays. And, both of us have grandparents still alive, and we want to keep it that way.
I’d like to put everything behind me though. So, Mondays should see a post here. Starting, later tonight, with my calendar for the year, and how I plan on working on everything. Things change over the years, but this year, I’m actually going to work through some of the changes I’ve been putting off and taking them forward, finally.
I hope, on this updated adventure, you’ll join me! There will be news on writing groups, projects you can join me on, and I’ll even be talking Nanowrimo, because I don’t think I’ll be home for one of the Camp Nanos this year, and that’ll be an adventure all it’s own in a new world. ūüôā
All will be revealed…along with news on where to check out my newsletters, books, and more, cause that’s all coming too!

Kai Viola logo. dragonflies and wood

I’m….back?

Yeah…. I’m *well* aware that this blog has been quiet for years. And actually, because of a slightly fault, I actually went dormat in 2018, not 2016, but still…

So… for those of you that knew this blog (and go digging in the archives, this was my mostly author blog, and I’m going back to doing that, though I’m looking into a couple of things, including how I merge down as much as I can.

Books….

Firstly though, I wanted to let you know that I’m bringing back some stuff. Glass Block and some other books, but firstly, Sabby.
(so…grab a giveaway or sign up to hear when we re-release Memento and announce a game….where you can win….your own place in my horror town….Your business, your books, yourself. Also, I might let you name some victims…as long as it doesn’t get me sued). There’s other fun giveaways, such as Zox bands, and some other stuff, but hey, come move into my horror town.
I’ll be blogging more in the next few days – including catching everyone up on the massive amount of changes in my life since the blog stopped a while back. And….there’s a lot.
I mean….A LOT.

So….join me tomorrow, but till then I just thought I’d pop my head up, say hi, and start cleaning up. Cleanup might take me a while ūüôā
And how are you?

Nanowrimo Wheeeeee!

It’s my most favorite time of the year – Nanowrimo! ¬†For those of you who don’t know what it is, Nanowrimo is the National Novel Writer’s month. ¬† It’s great fun – a chance to try to write without your inner critic nipping at you because you won’t have time to stop and think about what it’s saying if you want to make 50,000 words in the month.

To be fair, that’s 1667 words a day. ¬†And while a lot of naysayers claim that this is the reason there’s a lot of drek out there in the writing world, I like to think that Nanowrimo is the creative spirit in us all.

And it’s ok if you don’t want to do it – it’s just a lot of fun if you do. ¬†This year, I’m scaling back a little. ¬†The last couple of years I’ve tried to write as much as I can – this year I’m trying something different.

I’m writing four¬†books – but I don’t have covers. ¬†Two non-fiction, two¬†fiction.

I’m writing “I don’t want to wear…” – which is a book about dealing with heavy periods and everything you haven’t been told about managing them without ruining your clothes, your social life and your tolerance to medication. ¬†It’s a humourous non-fiction.

The other non-fiction book I’m writing is a bit wierd. ¬†It’s about mindfulness and dealing with anxiety when you find it difficult to connect with that stuff. ¬†I dunno if it’s semi-autobiographical, but I’m also currently talking about the miscarraiges and the other issues I’ve had since this severe anxiety bout started. ¬†It doesn’t have a title.

And the fiction I’m writing –¬†Cherry lips is the stories a sex addict tells at her sex addiction therapy – all of the adventures she’s had. ¬†It’s funny, and very erotic, so that’ll be a change because I’ve not written proper erotica in about eight years.

Midnight is a fantasy/magic realism novel about a girl and the two worlds she sees and believes she’s living in. ¬†The real world, and every so often, she slips into the other one, and though she’s there for a while, seconds pass in the real world. ¬†It’s a bit like Mirrormask right now, but there will be dragons and swordfights and all sorts. ¬†It’ll be an allegory for her dealing with bullies and other stuff – some of the things she does while she’s daydreaming changes the world around her sort of thing. ¬†I really don’t like it right now, but I’m going to see it through.

Unlike the last couple of years, I’m not aiming to get 50k on all of them – just a solid start so I can finish them in the coming year.

I can’t believe I’ve been doing this every year since 2003. That makes this my 14th Nanowrimo! Woot! ¬†How about you guys? ¬†How many have you done? ¬†What are you writing?

 

Books, therapy and blues

So our big Disney adventure starts in two weeks, which I’m quite excited about, as is someone coming to housesit and get some painting done, so that’s also awesome. The eldest is on holiday with his girlfriend right now, the youngest leaves tomorrow for two weeks with her dad, and all that leaves me is reading, getting used to writing again (which I’m really struggling with), books, art, and therapy.

I wanted to talk for a sec about my therapy and my reading, though.

Therapy – compassion is thy name

I’ve been going to a type of therapy called ‘Compassion focused therapy’. ¬†It’s to teach me – and those that do it – to be slightly more self-compassionate. ¬†I struggle quite a bit with that, and it’s just something my brain just doesn’t get. ¬†It’s nothing anyone’s done to me as a child – I had a good life, compared to some – it’s just something that I wasn’t emotionally ready to learn, so I’m struggling to deal with it now. ¬†My later experiences compounded that – being bullied, bad relationships, losing friends in traumatic ways – it’s all shaped me into quite a little ball of neuroses, and though I absolutely stick to ‘they were kids they didn’t know what they were doing’ about my childhood bullies, there are some things I shouldn’t have put up with. ¬†But we learn and we grow, and that’s how we become, right?

Well, my ‘become’ has stalled. ¬†I have no drive, no self-soothing, just fear/fight/freeze/anger. ¬†It’s a pretty bad place to be, but I’m…enjoying isn’t the right word for what you do with therapy, but I find myself appreciating what I’m learning and doing as much work as possible to extend on it. ¬†It’s hard work, but I think it’s worthwhile.

One of the things that it did teach me though is that I don’t have any interest in writing right now and I’m struggling to even settle long enough to read. ¬†So, that’s what I wanted to talk about today.
I’m trying to decide whether I want to review books or not – I’m not saying I’ll open the reviews up to requests, but would people be interested in reading about the books I’m enjoying?

Answers on a postcard…..

Whatcha – let’s talk turkey….

ūüôā
Ok. So, as many of you can probably see, the blog is undergoing another design overhaul, and as many of you are coming over from Kaiberie.com, I did promise in my freebie, that I’d talk a bit about books.

Before I do though – my professional life is a completely different shape than it was several years ago. There are some areas that are still the same – I still help out at Nanowrimo, I still write, I still live with the man I love, I still run the server, but a lot of what I used to do isn’t the same. I format now, but not unless you know to ask me (but I’ll be changing that soon!) but I stopped editing for all but a very special few cases. I run an app company too, but we’re still setting up.

But y’all don’t really come here to hear me talk about that stuff. Instead, you expect me to talk about books. So book chatter it is!
I’m even really excited for the first time to offer my beta list signup form to the ‘wild’ as it were, so I’m going to rattle through everything really quick (much like the video I recored at Kaiberie.com) and then over the next few weeks we’ll talk about the new stuff a bit slower so you can decide if it’s something you really want to see – beta lists is open to the public as of this evening though, as is the mailing list. ¬†You do have to be a member of the mailing list to get the first part of approval for the beta team, and my beta team sort of comes onto my street team, so if accepted, you do need to be able to check out the Facebook Group, or skip winning the prizes bit (because we do that for activity on the group, rather than beta reading specifically). ¬†Please also note, signing up on my beta group will not mean I beta for you, though I often do. ¬†It’s just not promised nor offered right now, so if you’re hoping for reciprocal exchanges, please contact me separately. ¬†I will also basically say that I’ve got no room to beta for now, so I won’t answer straight away ūüôā

All that out of the way…awesome.

Let’s talk about my books.

So, when we last left off, I’d had a run with my non-fiction and we stopped midway to work out what ¬†massive change was doing to the advice I was giving, Glass Block was just out too. ¬†And then, unfortunately, I got really sick. ¬†I mean, epic levels of really sick. ¬†This time a year ago, I damaged my back falling down the stairs. Then, shingles again, then an ear infection that very quickly morphed into cellulitis, then…well…then, then then, basically. ¬†It’s been that way for about three years. ¬†So let’s look forward, not backwards.

By now I had hoped to be releasing a book every three to six months, in the two split universes I write in. ¬†I’ve done Elliot’s, so now I have to talk about the other ones.

It’s a bit disingenuous to tell you that they’re split universes, but it’s ever so slightly spoilery for now to explain why, so please believe me when I say they’re completely apart, in terms of timelines, but maybe not as far apart, technology wise as people might have thought, when I first started talking about it.

Black MondayBlack Monday is the first of five books in one series and the primary lead in to one of my other favourite characters, Farran, who first appears later, in Salvagers. ¬†Black Monday, as you know, has a cover already. ¬†It’s this beauty. ¬†Black Monday is about a colony ship launch, and talks about how Farran goes from lauded first officer to disgraced genocidal and vilified character in the press of a few buttons.

Salvagers picks up where that left off for Farran. ¬†After being cryogenically frozen for his crimes, until a suitable punishment and use for him could be found, he now leads up a rag tag crew of other criminals and is stunned to discover it’s been 102 years since they left Earth. ¬†Gedren, who was Farran’s commanding officer isn’t dead either though, so Farran has to contend with that too. ¬†So that’s all fun and games until someone puts an eye out ūüėČ

I also promised news on a couple of other things. ¬†I mentioned Subway Prophets and what next for Elliot, as well as ‘at the end of the world there are dragons’, ¬†all of which I do promise I’m going to talk about but this is rapidly hitting the point where it’s a huge post, so I’ll split that off onto tomorrow’s announcement, and tell you where next from there too.

Let me know what you think so far though!

Oh, schedules. ¬† Scheduling wise, I’ll announce tomorrow, but I’m shifting (I hope) to bi-annual publishing for book sets (and each series will get one book a year, so obviously, it’ll be two books every six months really) and seasonly minimum for my non-fiction. ¬†Which I’ll also talk about tomorrow. ¬†Or maybe Thursday. ¬†See you then?

Back? Maybe not, maybe just more vocal…

So.

I went my quietest that I’ve ever been in the last few years on social media. ¬†I’ve cut back massively on Facebook, I’m not on Twitter at all really, I’m rarely posting photos to Instagram. ¬†I’ve become slightly more active on Goodreads, but only because I pledged to read 500 books this year. ¬†I’m well on track, I just need to record that, but I’ve spent the last few days…weeks…months really, hiding in my room. ¬†Sleeping. ¬†Watching TV. ¬†No games on my computer, but I did spend a lot of time on my Kindle fire. ¬†I did also do a lot of work – the piece work anyway. ¬†I’m catching up slowly, but I thought I’d pop up and say hiya and explain what’s been going on.

Not a lot to be honest.

My mental health has been on quite a solid downward swing for a while now. I’ve talked about it often on the blog, but I’ve spent the last few…since before December really, hiding in our room. ¬†We went home this Christmas, but we came back and I began basically living up there. ¬†We’ve had a couple of really serious issues with my health these last few months too, starting with a nasty caustic soda burn on my hand. ¬†I did it the middle of December, and it meant, for three days, I basically watched my skin deteriorate on the back of my hand. ¬†It really hurt to be honest – I ended up on quite strong meds, antibiotics and all sorts. ¬†I’d already been put on antibiotics for an ear infection, and so, there I was, rattling from all of the physical issues I had. ¬†Add to that, I finally got to stop my seroquel. ¬†I’ll talk about that a bit more in depth elsewhere, later, but it meant that i was out of sorts, off anything that was really helping me cope with all of the anxiety. ¬†And though I felt the meds weren’t working, I guess there was a portion of them working, because dropping them was like dropping off a cliff.

I’ve been plunging for weeks now. ¬†It’s been an awful freefall, punctuated by medical issues, puking blood (again), becoming so dehydrated that my veins collapsed as people tried to get me IV’d, a left hand with some quite impressive scar tissue on it – I had full thickness burns from the caustic soda, in the end (and did you know, the burns can sometimes take up to a week or more to develop? ¬†I didn’t.), and I’ve finally been told I have something wrong with my esophagus – four years of testing, and they’ve found grade one damage. ¬†I did that camera test unsedated and I was so unhappy – it scared the life out of me to do it, and to be honest, I kinda wish I’d come back another time and done it with sedation. ¬†I’ve also had several hospital stays mixed in with all of this – I mean, don’t get me wrong, I seem to spend a lot of time in hospital yearly – up to two weeks I’d guess if we include the overnights, but if that grade 1 scar tissue inside my throat is healing instead of being there permanently, that could be where the blood came from when being ill. ¬†So it’s been a lot to take in, overall.

I’m not promising I’m back – I can’t promise that, but I’m going to try and be a bit more vocal. ¬†I have to try and be more vocal.

The end… #Nanowrimo 2015 after action report

One of the things I’ve been working hard at lately is making myself more present and accountable – instead of living in the past and trying to get past things I can’t change, I am instead working on accepting and understanding why I feel the way I do, while living with my limitations, and working around the issues my mental health presents.

One of the major things I had to accept this month is that there’s no way I’m going to be able to work out of the house full-time, any time in the near future. ¬†So I threw (and I really mean THREW) myself into Nanowrimo, and wrote my butt off. ¬†I wrote reports for Blueshifted Apps, I edited for two friends, I wrote fiction and non-fiction, and started a poetry book. ¬†Insomnia at the beginning of the month meant that I wasn’t really sleeping, so I wrote. ¬†I ran meets (though, I’ve never been out on my own, something else I’m working on) and kept the chatrooms up and running. ¬†I made sure that everything I was doing fed back into what was important to me.

And so, I thought I’d talk about Nanowrimo today, which ended yesterday. ¬†The other stuff, I’ll touch on later, but Nanowrimo was awesome for me this year on a personal level. ¬†I wrote over 350k on all of my projects combined, and though there’s a road ahead to release them, the hard bit is done – hard for me anyway. ¬†I’ve completed four projects, and made a strong start on a further 13 – some of them are serials, so are pretty much designed to keep going and going – others…I don’t know. ¬†And I will talk about them in the coming days, weeks and months, but mostly, I’m just proud I made it again this year. ¬†I didn’t think I’d see my birthday, let alone Nanowrimo at one point this year – my mental health has been on a quite sharp downturn for the last 16 months or so, and at the bottom of that pit, I was barely sleeping, finding it hard to eat and had no interest in anything. ¬†The bottom of that pit was August of this year, so it’s been tough to motivate myself this month, enough to get anything done properly at least.

But, I did.
The next few months will basically hold a lot more of the same – a few of us are continuing with daily prompts and wordcount threads outside of Nanowrimo, where people can drop in and out and report as they go, and that’ll be cool. ¬†And if not, well, I’ll see you, hopefully, for #Nanowrimo2016.

Review: Meritorium by Joel Ohman

Welcome to the Meritorium Tour

Author Joel Ohman

Meritorium

Review – Meritorium

It seems to be the year ¬†of the dystopian novel, and Meritorium is one of the finest. ¬†The characters follow on from the events in Meritropolis. The same characters are around to develop more, and to be honest, I’m very satisfied with it. ¬†Charlie seems to try to lead people – and it’s not easy for him. ¬†I think of all the elements though, that satisfied me the most. ¬†I mean, it worked, but it wasn’t quite in the personality – but that imperfect feeling that he was uncomfortable, that subtle idea that it wasn’t what he wanted. ¬†Well conveyed and enjoyable, though I did feel sorry for him several times while reading the book. ¬†Sandy was also a nuanced character, who, along with Charlie races against killer plants and animal hybrids, close (Gladatorial) combat and more.

I really enjoyed this as a follow on from Meritropolis, and liked that there were actual consequences for the System being brought down. ¬†It felt…right, without pushing too hard. ¬†And there’s the overall question in the blurb – after seeing the world after ‘the Event’ and the ruler standing between Charlie and his answers, the question of what one person will do to get the answers they seek is a strong theme, ever present in the skillful followup to a masterful first book.

TL:DR summary – if you like the Hunger Games, Divergent and other books of that¬†caliber, you’ll enjoy¬†this book. ¬†This is the second in the series though, so please do read Meritropolis first.

Four and a half stars.

About the Book

Under the System everyone is assigned a numerical Score that decides their worth to society and whether they live or die.

Charley has escaped from Meritropolis…

but in his quest to take down the System that has taken his brother from him, he must go through Meritorium, a city where gladiatorial games of life or death combat are waged between High Scores and Low Scores, man and beast.

Charley and Sandy must face man-eating plants, religious zealots, slave traders, and the ever present mutant animal combinations that roam a dystopian Coliseum presided over by Emperor Titus, the one man standing between Charley and the answers he seeks. Man is not an animal, but if they are to make it through Meritorium, will they even be able to tell the difference?

The lines between man and beast, friend and foe, will blur in Meritorium, the riveting sequel to the best selling Meritropolis.

About the Author

Joel Ohman is the author of Meritropolis–“The Hunger Games meets The Village with a young Jack Reacher as a protagonist”. He lives in Tampa, FL with his wife Angela and their three kids. His writing companion is Caesar, a slightly overweight Bull Mastiff who loves to eat the tops off of strawberries.

Learn more about Joel here:
JoelOhman.com

Get notified of new books here:
Meritropolis.com

Follow Joel on Twitter here:
Twitter.com/JoelOhman

Connect with Joel on Facebook here:
Facebook.com/joeljonathan

About the Prizes

Don’t forget to check out the rafflecopter for this tour here! The tour prize is a $75.00 gift card to Amazon! Think of all the books you can buy with that!

Rafflecoter embed code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nanowrimo 2015 and what I’m writing

Nanowrimo 2015 posterI’ve been trying to write this post since October 1st, so I’m doing my level best to get this up and out before the end of the month, so here it is.

I’m currently planning five books, though I’m not sure whether I’m still doing those five when I finish isn’t exactly clear. ¬†What I do need to do in the next 48 hours is generate the maps out and post them here for Dungeon Bashers.

Which leads me rather neatly into ‘Dungeon Bashers’ – it’s going to be a set of novellas about gamers. ¬†Current plan is each dungeon half takes one book to finish, then there’s a book of downtime and ‘relationship stuff’ then they go bashing the next dungeon. ¬†I’m rendering it out either with Warhammer Quest or Dungeon Saga tiles, depending on my mood. ¬†I’m building the first couple, but the next sets will be generated from decks.

Next up is ‘Specials’ – I’m looking at putting super heroes in different places. ¬†First one is going to have been made ‘super’ by an explosion of some sort, and scattered throughout time. ¬†As I get through the books, I’m going to talk about the others, but as she went the furthest back and is the later narrator, I thought I’d start with her.

And then. ¬†“Seeking Her Happily Ever After” – after Jenna realizes her whole life has been based around the lie of someone loving her when it was possible he didn’t, she sets out to change her life, her world and her outlook. ¬†It doesn’t always go right, but she’s sure she’ll find her happily ever after. ¬†The second book in this series will be called ‘That was then, this is now’ . ¬†These are going out under Kai Viola, because what’s that name if not a romance writer?

And then, Epoch Z and the redo on ‘At the end of the world, there are dragons’. ¬†Epoch Z is zombie stories, following the alphabet, while ‘Dragons’ is about people that are psychic as the world ends. ¬†Both are going to be a lot of fun.

I’m aiming for something this year, but I can’t really say I’m entirely feeling it yet. ¬†But, tomorrow is our Kick-off party, so maybe I’ll feel better then.

Aside

Chatrooms and fun

This year, we’re running our chatrooms again. ¬†We had hoped to get it all moved over onto Gloucestershire Writers, but never mind!

We have several chatrooms right now, depending on your project, but the main Nanowrimo Gloucestershire rooms are linked here while the IAGNanowrimo one is here

We have some commands here.

I’ll be running the chatrooms daily, from November 1st, though, this year will be the first year I WILL NOT be in the chatrooms during meets. ¬†It’s just too much to manage.

We are currently working on setting up timers for sprints – once I work it all out I’ll announce them here too!

Please note – there is a connection limit on the server that we got very close to last year. ¬†Please do let me know if you see it, though I would also like to highlight that messaging me when the server resets doesn’t change the server resetting, and it’s really not personal.