I don’t tend to blog a lot about my sword fighting. The main reason is that one of my instructors is a writer and often goes to conventions to demonstrate and give talks. Sword fighting is her thing and it feels like I would be muscling in should I make it some ‘writer USP’ (Unique Selling Point) and start writing about it regularly. Plus, she’d kick my arse.
But it’s something I’ve very much enjoyed since I took it up some 18 months ago. Whilst I’m sure I could train harder, I do work hard at it and over those 18 months have seen considerable progress in both Sword & Buckler and Rapier. I’m lucky that I’ve found a world-reknowned school and whilst I don’t consider myself particularly brilliant, that’s when I measuring myself against people who have won championships all over the world. I do pretty decently and for the most part I’m happy with that. What I lack in natural talent I make up for with dedication.
So I realise things have been a little quiet on the blog the last couple of weeks. As twitter followers might be aware, I’ve been busy with moving to Wiltshire after buying a house in the county. I’d not planned to buy for another year or two but I found a great property at a bargain price that I fell in love with.
It needs a bit of cosmetic work but has a ridiculous number of rooms (especially as it is just a normal house). But the real star is at the bottom of the huge garden. I think calling it a shed, den or an outbuilding is slightly understating it, so I’ve nicknamed it the batcave. In a year or two, when I can afford all the work it needs doing to it, it will be my office. In the meantime, I’ve got the office set up temporarily in another room.
However, after taking all my stuff out of storage, I’ve still got a mountain of work to do to make the house habitable – or at least if I want the use of my living room back!
So after a ridiculous amount of work, the updated website has gone live. In terms of what has updated, it’s mostly the look of the site and to push the focus of the front page onto the novel rather than just the blog (although I intend to continue to blog just as regularly as before). However, this format will allow me to launch a few new bonus features in the coming weeks.
Whilst I’m sure it won’t be to everyone’s taste I’m really pleased with the results. However, with that said, I’m glad to get it out the way so I can focus purely on the writing. Enjoy!
The day job took me to a disaster recovery site yesterday, the idea being that if something happened to a main site, staff could up and migrate to the disaster recovery site and carry on working. But until that happens the place is almost empty. It’s a fantastic site and incredibly eerie. I went into the toilets and had to switch on the lights, the fluorescent bulbs flashing and clicking a few times before coming on fully. It felt like it was taken directly from a horror movie. It’s like a real equivalent of the prison from The Walking Dead comics.
We’ve all seen those landscape paintings in charity shops. Those ones that look like they’ve escaped some 1970s living room. There’s no denying that the art is well done, but there’s something about the tone or the palette that just makes them feel tired and old.
A friend linked me to this article on Twisted Sifter on a couple of artists who are buying these old landscape paintings and adding monsters to them. I love the whole art clash going on here, the idea of taking something as old and tired as a landscape painting and giving it new life and making it into something fresh.
I’d had an idea for this post long before I moved. A proclamation of a new start coupled with a picture of the rising sun. Yes, not so much a new me, but a new era of my life.
Except that lives are complicated things and rarely clear cut. I have no doubt this is a new start, a new era and all those good buzzwords, but that won’t be evident the moment I move. I need a little time to adjust, to settle in. Change will become evident over time.
I had a writing project I planned to start on April 1st but the ideas though developed and advanced during the move, aren’t yet fully cooked. I suspect the next week will be spent with Excel planning both plot and character.
For now, my overall feeling is one of relief. Whilst there is still a mountain of work to do relating to the move, the hard bit is over, and I can relax a little.
So I’m going to be moving in… little over a week. I really should be packing. I really should be having a clear out. I should be arranging storage and separating things that should go into storage from things that I need to move with me. I really should be… you know… doing things.
I have done nothing and today the crashing reality of it all is hammering down on me. I want to bury my head in the sand, stick my fingers in my ears and go “la la la, I can’t hear you”.
I’m not sad at moving, I’m actually looking forward to a new stage in my life. But still… I’ll be glad when it’s over. On the plus side, Eastercon is the weekend after, and now with new job, and money, attending is a possibility.
I shall focus on that, and not stare at everything around me and go “take with me, throw, or put in storage?” Maybe the packing will do itself if I ignore it long enough?
A couple of years ago my extended family decided that instead of token presents, it would be a lot more fun to make things for each other. It proved to be a great success. It didn’t matter how well the final product turned out, the time and effort put into it was greatly appreciated by all.
For Xmas 2010 I produced a custom anthology, using Print on Demand to create unique covers for each book. They turned out pretty well and one of the stories still gives my aunt nightmares.
I’ve made some upgrades to the blog to integrate it better with Facebook and it’s got me thinking about how I use Facebook as a writer and the current mess mine is in. You can now comment on blog posts with your Facebook profile, or if you follow me on Facebook, comments you post on links over there get automatically copied to the blog. I’ve tried very hard to ensure that I’m not violating anyone’s privacy in the process but as it’s Facebook there’s probably some God-awful loophole. So if your FB profile privacy is a major concern, probably best to comment in the blog’s native comment system rather than use the Facebook bit.
My main motive was one of laziness. I keep forgetting to link my posts there and this upgrade will do it for me. And plus, if comments are replicated, it helps me look popular with lots of comments 😉
I’m also aware that as part of the larger picture, as a writer I need to get out there and publicise myself through engagement (rather than just shilling) but whilst I’m comfortable with other forms of social media such as Twitter, I’m really unsure how I should proceed when it comes to Facebook.
I’m becoming a real sucker for these extreme sports music-style videos that have been cropping up on Youtube of late. I’m no BMXer but Danny MacAskill shows some serious skills. And even if you don’t appreciate the athleticism on display, the Scottish scenery on display makes it worth a watch.