Tagged: writing

A fresh start to 2023 – how about we *don’t* claim it as our own?

2022 was a bit of an ongoing horror story for me, with this volume of the trilogy reboot starting in 2019 (see what I did there?). In all seriousness, I went into 2022 saying it was going to be my year.  I was so gung ho.
It was a huge mistake.
This year I promised myself and others I’d write more articles (here being a prime example.  I’ve written a dozen.  I’ve posted…this one?), that I’d publish more books, I’d launch my podcast.  I had a huge list of things that I could have done. Could being the operative point.

Could is a difficult one too, because I’m looking back now and I’m miserable because I didn’t get everything I wanted to do, done.  And quite honestly, the later I got in the year the less I got done, the more I felt guilty, and the less motivated I was.  It was like a self-fulfilling loop. Get less done, feel guilty, lowering what I could get done, slower work, more guilt. Repeat.

October 2021: Tarot Cards for Writing Inspiration


Happy Preptober for those of you doing NaNoWriMo and break a…pen…in November!

So, as part of your prep, get ready to scare the wits out of your readers with this month’s “writer’s inspiration” tarot card reading!


Photo courtesy of Canva.com

Setting: King of Wands. A world in flames, torn apart by warring factions. Hate and rage fuel this martial society, and there will never be a winner, yet the fighting seems like it will continue until there is nothing left but a destroyed, blood-soaked landscape.


Photo courtesy of Canva.com

Character: The Chariot. Ruling over this world is the penultimate Queen of War. She will not yield until her cause is won. But her real end goal is unknown to the cadre of warriors she leads into battle. She has dual roles to play in the future of the world. She sees the infinite threads of fate and the universe with her powerful eyes, and knows that this planet has been distorted by a time fault. She is both an actor and a director in the flow of space and time, and, while her warriors are united to a their cause, she is using them as a sacrifice to create the world anew–to bring it back into the harmony of the universe over which she rules.


Photo courtesy of Canva.com

Theme/Development: Four of Cups. Although martial in character and on the battlefield, even the Queen of War has to yield to the balance and order of the universe. To ignore that is to also bring about her own demise. Which, being the immortal essence of the universe, is not really a demise, but a purgatory. And even though centuries have passed while the opposing sides continue their warfare, even she is tiring of the constant battle. The flames of hate and rage are now threatening to extend out into the universe, as the planet’s inhabitants have built better technology. If they manage to make it off the planet, the balance of all time and space will be disrupted. She has to stop it.


Photo courtesy of Canva.com

Conflict/Climax: Four of Coins. However, the queen has gotten too accustomed to life on this planet. She’s finding it hard to give up the comforts of living a life within a concrete physical form–the entertainment, food, warmth, and security her castle provides. Not to mention she’s fearing the more quiet, dull life that awaits her once the universe regains its necessary balance. But the world she inhabits in physical form has begun to decay with the deleterious effect of the technology the planet’s inhabitants continue to invent. Soon, she won’t have a world under her feet, and the decay will spread throughout the universe. She has to make a choice; to create a world within which all life can live, or she can die with her soldiers.


Happy New Year – Coming back from burnout

Hi.  Long time no write.
When Stuart asked us all to write a blog about the New Year and share advice, the only thing I could think of was ‘why would anyone care what I had to say, it’s not as if I’ve written in the last year.  Between Uni, my adult children, my own illness, and all of the other stuff I’m doing, and honestly, I don’t think horror readers would care about what I’m doing with infosec’.  And then I realized, you just might, because one of the things I did this year, finally found my way back from burnout.

Burnout city, population….variable?

The last few years are probably the sort of years many can relate to though, possibly not all in one burst.  In the last three years, since my last fiction book was published, I’ve had to close parts of my company, discovered that my mental health is anything but straightforward, and actually, probably the weirdest combination known to man (aspie+a form of issues with language processing that goes the other way from normal (fussiness about definition to the point of pedantry, CPTSD and bipolar disorder.  I’m just a bundle of fun 🙂 ), and I’ve been doing therapy to train me out of my automatic reactions to upset and worry/fear/panic which has taken up a lot of my time.  I also got involved in the information security (Cyber-sec) community and started a degree.  And while I’ve always been involved in Nanowrimo, this year was actually really quite nice, because by November, the stories were whispering again!  Admittedly, the stories had to, we ended up with so much more going on in our world (the word three kidneys and my son feature quite prominently, to be honest), so my time is spent, most of the time, in waiting rooms, and I’m learning my way around an Android tablet, and actually, finding joy in my writing.

And that’s what hit me the hardest.  For so long, I’ve worked very hard to ‘work’ at my writing.  It’s been a chore and often ends up being something I avoid. I commit to stuff, and then end up being overwhelmed, and then get into a loop, and I finally learned this year how to avoid that.

My three tips for the New Year

So, with that in mind, here are my three tips for the New Year, and new decade.

  1. Self-care is not a bad word, and neither is no: I’m not very good at saying no, and I’m even worse at knowing when to stop, and it’s a very common thing in creatives.  So…while you’re slogging it at everything else, remember it’s ok to say no, and make time for yourself.
  2. Write every day – edit when you’re happy – this might seem a bit of a weird one, but I’m pretty sure that if I just write and not worry about it, I’ll find it far easier to edit when I feel less pressure over it.  I’m not saying ignore deadlines – far from it. But I am saying that editing isn’t something I always need to be in the mindset for and honestly, that’s ok.
  3. Read, read, read.  My Goodreads listing, which doesn’t include most audiobooks I listened to, has me at 120+ books. I’m really delighted with that because reading was hard this year.  And so, I’m upping my goal.  I’m doing 150 next year.  I’ll be reviewing some on Netgalley (and maybe bringing horror ones over here), and working on other books as time permits.

Did I say threePhoenix Kai?  Well, here’s a bonus.  If you’re really looking to give yourself a kick in the pants, shoot for the moon.  Make a big pledge, and make it in front of as many people as possible. So.  Gulp.  Here’s mine.
I’m going to write a million words, I’m going to publish at least 12 books and 8 novellas.  I’m doing some boxed sets and anthologies and entering as many short story projects as catch my attention.  I’m taking this year, and beginning this decade and I’m hoping to do it and do my degree, but if I don’t, that’s ok.  I’m going for it, but it’s a lofty goal, so though I’m sharing it loudly, if I miss, I’ll have things to talk about.

What are your plans for the new year, and are you coming off burnout, or trying to avoid it (I’ll write about that later in the year).  Whatever it is, good luck, and I hope you keep visiting the site for markets, advice, and information.