I’m about as far from a domestic goddess as one can get. I am neither organised at it, nor enjoy it. Cleaning is simply one of life’s necessary evils. I find it to be such a frustrating endeavor as well, as it’s difficult to see any progress. Yes, my room might be clean for an hour or so (at best, with a toddler around), but it will soon be back to needing yet another clean.
When writing, it’s different. You can write a little every day, and you see improvement. Your word count goes up. There’s no imp following behind you ten minutes later erasing the words you just typed. It’s so much more rewarding to do something where you can see that you’re moving forward.
Cleaning? Cleaning is a never-ending circle of tidying up – it gets messy again – you tidy it up – it gets messy again. It does my head in. Having a dog, a cat and a toddler admittedly doesn’t help. Some days it feels like they’re having some sort of contest on who can mess things up the quickest. Or a combined effort to get mummy to lose her sanity in the shortest time possible.
I’m trying to follow “The Organised Mum Method”, with varying results. If I wasn’t as exhausted as I am, I think it’s a really good method. It’s just that there are days when I can’t actually bring myself to do it. Still, even following it halfheartedly has my home in better shape than it was before I did.
What do you do to keep your home tidy? Are you a domestic goddess?
Apparently, this is the only thing I post recently. I won’t pretend that I was a prolific poster before lockdown, but I was doing marginally better than now. So, I apologise. Or something.
The UK is still partially in lockdown, even though they’re easing us out of it. Cases are starting to pick back up again though, so we’ll see what happens. Still not allowed to properly hang out with family. We’re allowed indoors, but keeping 2m distance. I think this is the same as last month. They opened up pubs and restaurants. I personally think pubs maybe wasn’t the best idea, because once you’ve had a few beers, social distancing might not be the first thing you think of. Hopefully, it won’t backfire.
I think everyone has lockdown fatigue by now. I can’t wait until the Imp is allowed to spend a few hours alone with her grandparents. Both for her sake, theirs and mine. (Definitely mine. Love the tiny tyrant, but I think after 4+ months we could do with a few hours break from each other!)
So, I did Camp NaNo in July, so my numbers are pretty good this month. (For me, I know there are writers out there who can write a lot more.)
Total words/work for July Damask & Deception: Chapters 2-6 (7437 words) ongoing WIP: Chapters 1-14 (21 160 words) ongoing, not published anywhere A Midsummer Night’s Kiss: Revised and published chapters 6-8 (12 491 words) ongoing
It’s been a busy month, but I got a fair bit done. I’m hoping to keep some semblance of this pace. We’ll see.
I might slow down in August since I’m debating getting back to and revising Bowstrings & Velvet. I’m debating between getting a few more first drafts of Spellbound stories done and then revise them. Or get a couple of them sorted now. I currently have two finished ones that need expanding/editing and I’m working on two more. I have ideas for at least a handful more.
Still no luck on the brownie baking. I think I’m just not cut out to be a brownie baker.
Life is still fairly slow in the half-lockdown world. I don’t want to go anywhere too exposed to masses of people so we’re hanging out at home and in our garden a lot. There are a few places I’m happy to go where I know we have large spaces to move around. I might be extra cautious, but I’m rather safe than sorry at this point.
I finished watching Community. I breezed through the second season of Dead to Me and am working on the latest season on Working Moms. I watched the movie Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga and probably found it funnier than it deserves. The music is quite catchy as well.
What’s everyone else been up to? Watched anything good?
Despite the year being one of the strangest I’ve ever experienced, we’re suddenly halfway through it. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
The UK is still in partial lockdown. In June they’ve tentatively opened up non-essential shops, some children have gone back to school, and they allow up to 6 people to meet outside as long as they stay 2m from anyone not in their household. We’re all waiting with bated breath to see if the easing of the lockdown will result in cases rising again.
On Saturday they will re-open pubs and restaurants, as long as people still social distance inside. You will also be allowed to visit another household indoors, as long as you stay 2m apart from each other. Not always easy in someone’s home, so I’m not sure how reasonable this is. We’re continuing to be cautious, so I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the indoor visits yet. I’m definitely staying away from pubs and restaurants for now.
Total work/words for June Bowstrings & Velvet: Chapter 18 (2110 words) complete Damask & Deception: Published Chapter 1 (1521 words) ongoing A Midsummer Night’s Kiss: Revised and published chapters 4-5 (7854 words) ongoing
It’s not my best month, but I admittedly took some time off after finishing Bowstrings at the beginning of the month. I still need to go back to edit and flesh out both Bowstrings and Shadows. However, that will have to wait until the end of the summer as I decided to join Camp NaNo for July, meaning I’ll need to spend my free time writing. I set myself an achievable goal of 20k words in a month, but it’s still more than I’ve done in a single month before! According to my calculations, I should manage if I average 1k words a day 5 days a week. It should be possible.
I can’t say that I have any other news. Our lives are pretty slow with most of our time spent at home these days. I’m slowly watching Community on Netflix as I never watched it back in the day. We also enjoyed the second season of After Life. When I have a little longer to sit down I try to watch an episode of the third season of The Sinner.
Other than that I’ve been trying – and failing – to bake brownies several times during lockdown. I can bake a lot of things, but apparently not brownies. I will give it one last try this weekend, and if I still can’t get them to become the nice, fudgy kind I want – I will truly give up.
Are you watching anything good at the moment? How are you passing the time in lockdown? Or has it been eased where you live?
At the start of the month I made myself a To-Do List, and I wanted to check in now as the month is coming to an end to see how I’ve managed.
Research Kindle self-publishing ongoing
Write the next Spellbound novella (probably Silk & Steel) ongoing (Damask & Deception)
Edit Bowstrings & Velvet
Edit Shadows & Lace
Edit and publish on Wattpad (later Kindle) A Midsummer Night’s Kiss ongoing
Work out the details of a few more Spellbound ideas (find a story for Baudwin) ongoing (D&D is Baudwin’s story)
Write the sequel to A White Rose
Re-make covers into Kindle sizing (maybe change cover images?) Complete!
Research marketing of self-published books ongoing
I’ve just started putting the latest Spellbound novella on Wattpad, titled Damask & Deception. I also changed the colour scheme of the series to a black bar at the bottom, with a golden ampersand in the titles and golden author name. Bowstrings & Velvet also got a new cover image.
A lot of the To-Do list items will be on an ongoing basis. There’s a lot of research to figure out the best strategy for a Kindle release. I do need to get started on the editing of the novellas though, or I’ll never have anything to put on Kindle!
I finished my second novella of the year! 2020 might be a shit year, but at least I seem to be back to writing somewhat consistently again, so that’s something.
Both of the finished novellas so far have been ones in the Spellbound series, so that seems to be what I’m focusing on now. That said, I still want to edit and finish my Regency romance novel as well. It’s just difficult to find the time for everything.
Now I have to decide which of all my ideas for Spellbound stories will be my next one. There are so many I want to write, it’s hard to pick!
In an effort to plan out what I want to do with the writing, I’m starting a new To-Do List to keep track. I realise this is mainly interesting for yours truly, but somehow publishing it makes me feel more accountable, so here we go!
Research Kindle self-publishing
Write the next Spellbound novella (probably Silk & Steel)
Edit Bowstrings & Velvet
Edit Shadows & Lace
Edit and publish on Wattpad (later Kindle) A Midsummer Night’s Kiss
Work out the details of a few more Spellbound ideas (find a story for Baudwin)
Write the sequel to A White Rose
Re-make covers into Kindle sizing (maybe change cover images?)
Research marketing of self-published books
Probably a lot more things I just haven’t thought of yet…
Well, that’s it for the To-Do List, though I suspect there are a lot more things to be added to it. And this is only for writing! I have a lot of things I’d like to do outside of writing too. Ugh, too much to do – too little time!
So, the world sort of stopped for all of us, and now it’s suddenly June. I completely lost the plot there for a while, and to be honest with you I’m still kind of floundering. Motivation to do anything is low, and I’m feeling pretty down.
About a week or two after my last post the UK went into full lockdown. We were only allowed outside once a day for exercise (1-hour max), and for essential food and medication shopping. That was pretty much it. No seeing other family members not in your household. Everything was shut other than grocery stores pretty much.
As I’m writing this, we’re just starting to ease lockdown, but it’s still fairly strict. As of today (1 June) some children – not all – are going back to school. We’re allowed to visit the beach or park (no playgrounds) or see family (max 6 people total) outside in a park or garden – but only if we keep 2 metres apart. I personally can’t wait until we’re allowed to leave the Imp with her grandparents for an afternoon.
Entertaining a toddler at home is not easy. I don’t envy people with multiple children, I’ve struggled with just the one!
I worry about what the future holds, but I’m hoping things will improve. I just hope there’s not a second spike after lockdown starts easing (feels like it will be difficult to avoid though). My trip to visit family in Sweden is postponed indefinitely for now until it feels safe to travel, which makes me sad.
My writing has been up and down during the last three months, partly because of my mood in lockdown, partly because the Imp’s sleep varies greatly, and partly because I’m honestly just lazy and want to watch Netflix some evenings.
I finished my novella for the ONC, and made it through three rounds and onto the Longlist – but didn’t then make it onto the Shortlist. However, I’m quite pleased having made it that far as I never thought I’d make it to the Longlist even.
In actual words written, this will now be for the last three months. Let’s have a look!
Total work/words for March-April-May Bowstrings & Velvet: Chapters 9-17 (16 697 words) ongoing Shadows & Lace: Chapters 5-20 (27 883 words) complete A Midsummer Night’s Kiss: Revised and published chapter 2+3 (4633 words) ongoing One-shot scene for Bowstrings & Velvet: 3039 words
While Shadows & Lace is technically finished – I do want to go back and flesh it out a bit more since it was rushed to hit the contest deadline. When I do that, I will probably also do the editing.
I also made a collection book for the whole Spellbound universe where I’ve added the one-shot scene, character lists, world history etc. I’ve not bothered adding the words for that, since most of it is just lists and such anyway, so not exactly fiction writing.
So in a moment of stupidity, I managed to delete the blog for a while. Fortunately, my host was able to retrieve it from a backup – but I did lose a lot of links to old photos. I don’t think a lot of people look back at old posts, so shouldn’t be too bad. Still frustrating though.
When I got it back, I decided to change the colour scheme slightly. If you can’t remember, this was the old one – compared to what you see now. Minor changes, but it feels a bit happier and cheerier which is what I need.
I also updated the Writing section slightly, mainly with images – which I hope won’t load too slowly! But it now has all of the most recent covers and blurbs for the stories.
The website in general is giving me some weird problems where it locks me out for a few days now and then. Not as in, I can’t login, but rather that I can’t even access it. Almost as if the host is blacklisting my ip from time to time. Very strange. (This is also the reason this post is a few days late, as I’ve only just now been able to get back on after the last lockout.)
What has everyone else been up to the last three months?
I honestly couldn’t tell you if it’s being in lock-down or just missing the game after 18 months, but I suddenly had the urge to activate my World of Warcraft subscription again. So I did.
After year and a half of not playing… It’s rather confusing. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do after having missed several content patches. At least, things are fairly quiet since we’re in that period before a new expansion when there’s nothing new coming. So I have a chance to catch up.
I haven’t decided yet if I will keep playing. I’ve given myself one month to get a feel for it. With a toddler and trying to write regularly, my free time is definitely limited – and WoW is definitely a time sink! But, I will play around a bit and see how my time management ends up. As long as my writing doesn’t suffer, I wouldn’t mind playing at least a little, casually.
Has anyone else picked up something new (or old?!) during lock-down?
Ps. I realise there hasn’t been a Monthly Update for… a while. I will do one on June 1st for the last three months instead. It will basically say “was in lock-down” anyway, right?
I don’t really want to write about it, because I’m so over-saturated by the constant bad/terrifying news of what’s going on in the world, but at the same time, I don’t want to ignore it.
What is happening in the world right now feels so surreal. I keep wondering if I will wake up soon and find it’s all some weird nightmare, but sadly I know that’s not the case.
We’re practising social distancing as much as possible. The boyfriend is working from home, the Imp and I have cancelled any play dates and are staying away from soft plays and any public places with a lot of people as much as we can. Obviously, we still need groceries, but I try not to have to bring the Imp anymore since I just don’t want her touching trolleys and things, then putting her hands in her mouth.
The hardest part is staying away from her (and my) friends. I wish we could have still met up just our three families, but at this point in the trajectory, it’s too risky. If one family caught it from somewhere, we’d spread it between all of us.
I feel cut off from my family. The plan was to go see them in June, and now I don’t know if that will happen. Part of me wishes I was back in Sweden rather than in the UK. Not because I think we’d necessarily be any safer there (even if it’s a small village out in nowhere, so at least there’d be plenty of space!), but because you want to be close to your family. Then again, if you’re not allowed to hang out with them anyway, I guess it doesn’t matter.
I’m sorry, I don’t know what my aim is with this post. I think I just wanted to put my feelings into words somehow. I hope you’re all staying safe wherever you are, and remember to wash your hands!
(I don’t know if people use a feedreader and how it works if I back-date posts, so just fyi I’ve just back-dated two for the first couple of days of March.)
It’s that time of the week when I share a little snippet of what I’m currently working on! I’m wondering if it’s getting too repetitive though? Should I maybe change it to once every other week, or maybe even just once a month?
At least, this time I’ve chosen something that’s not Bowstrings & Velvet! Today, I’m sharing the first couple of paragraphs from my Historical Romance (Regency): A Midsummer Night’s Kiss. I will also show you the updated blurb. I’m still not loving it, but I think I improved on it since my whinge about it last month.
And here’s the first page of the story…
Dear Diary, It was as if a dark angel had lain down amongst the crisp, white sheets of the bed. A very wicked angel.
London, England May 14, 1812
Angelique Grafton had imagined her unexpected arrival at her brother’s house in London in several ways, but she had not predicted finding a stranger sleeping in her bed. Moving thoughtfully from one foot to the other, she pondered her options. The best course of action would be to find her brother or the butler. Yet she wasn’t moving. Biting her lower lip, she glanced across the room to her bed again. Hovering in the doorway she could only see very little of the man, but it intrigued her. Who would her brother have allowed the use of her room?
It was highly improper for her to be alone with a man, even if he was fast asleep. Yet she couldn’t make herself turn around and leave. The sight of a man in her bed was so out of place. To think his naked body shared the same space where she normally slept. She shivered slightly at the thought.
The stranger was lying on his back with the sheets pulled up over his chest, a bare arm flung across his face. Little as it was, it was more bare skin than she had ever seen on a man. A quiet life in the country provided no sights like this. The thought made her smile slightly. Overcome by curiosity, she took a few hesitant steps closer. This was madness, but she just wanted a better look. Ignoring the fluttering of her nerves, she walked up to the bed, fully aware that she was doing something she shouldn’t be.
She could very well imagine her aunt’s disapproval if she was to find out. Angel, what were you thinking? Entering a room with a naked man inside! Are you trying to get yourself ruined? Even the thought of the possible censure from Aunt Christine wasn’t enough to deter her.
Standing by the bedside, she tried to lean over to see more of the stranger, but his arm blocked most of his face. His skin looked smooth and tanned, much darker than her own pale complexion. It looked utterly touchable. Throwing a glance towards the open door, she made sure no one was in the area before using her teeth to loosen her gloves at the fingertips. Pulling them off, she quietly put them on the nightstand by the bed. She just wanted to touch that exposed skin. Just once.
Reaching her hand out, she pulled it back quickly when the stranger let out a small sigh. What was she doing? She must have lost her wits. You didn’t just walk into a room and touch someone simply because their skin looked warm and inviting – even if they happened to be sleeping in your bed. Smiling ruefully, she shook her head and retreated a few steps.
She almost bit her tongue in surprise when the man suddenly reached out and grabbed her bare arm. Before she had time to react she was pulled down onto the bed.
“Not leaving so soon, sweetheart?” the stranger mumbled, the hoarse quality of his sleepy voice sending shivers down her back.
Today is a very special day – it’s the Imp’s birthday!
I can’t believe she’s 2 years old already! How did that happen!?
A few tidbits about our favourite imp…
She spent the first three months of her life refusing to sleep unless she was on my chest. When there she slept amazingly well. Me? Not so much.
Even after that, she wasn’t exactly a great napper/sleeper. She still isn’t. I’ve kind of given up hope of getting more than 4 hours of sleep until she’s a teenager.
She walked at 11 months and 3 weeks after spending a couple of months happily cruising along furniture.
She’s been such a boob-monster I swear her first word was the Swedish one for “boob”. (Tutte, if anyone is curious.) It’s possible that she was saying some bastardised version of mamma and daddy before that, but I’m fairly certain boob was her actual first word. I’m not quite sure what to make of that…
She came into the world tiny (2060 grams or ~4 lbs 8 oz) and 44 cm long. She’s still tiny. To the point where the health visitors are now reacting as she’s dropped off the lowest curve. She was steadily following the 0.4th centile for height but has now dropped below it, which is potentially concerning, I guess. She looks proportionate though. At 2 years old she’s now 75.5 cm tall and weighed in at 9660 grams (~21 lbs 4 oz). She’s still wearing the clothing size 9-12 months.
We celebrated her birthday mainly the day before on the Sunday with a little birthday party, inviting her little friends (and their parents). I made a train cake, and we had a little bit of a dinosaur theme (the second carriage of the train is transporting candy dinosaurs!).