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I really should blog more. That way I don’t cram up important posts with all the things I’ve been up to.

I’m currently marking for Uni so that’s something I have to do. It’s going okay and I’ll finish in time. Yesterday was a fasting day so not a good time to be reading lots of stories that I have to grade without the aid of chocolate and chips. However, I have survived so far.

My partner and I just finished a film making workshop with Dan Sanguineti from Sanguineti Media. We had three nights 6-9pm, to plan a two to three minute movie, including brainstorming ideas, come up with a script, actors (Dan supplied those), storyboard and plan the shots and lighting and so on. Then we filmed the movie on Saturday night 6- to 11.30pm with cold temperatures etc. Then on Sunday, we edited the film and did the sound. High five to Shauna O’Meara and Craig Cooper and to Josh and Dan. Just under two minutes! The Key now exists. Later on in the year I’ll share it. Right now it will be doing festival rounds etc.

Doing the workshop was amazing. It is a really hard thing to come up with a story that has a beginning, middle and end in two and a half pages of script. Writing a script was on my bucket list– so tick. I want to thank my partner, Matthew, who basically found the workshop, paid the fees and encouraged others to come along. I did not think I’d have a short film to my credit until now. I didn’t have much idea of how the workshop would pan out but it was great. I learned so much. I have heaps more to learn obviously and more scripts to write.

That brings me to now. Last year I drafted a novella in the Silverlands Series while I was in Perth. Recently, I polished it up and had it proofread and found an amazing cover. Vorn and the First Comers is available now in most large eretailers and it’s free. Yes, that’s right…free!

The novella is a few things. It’s part of a larger collections of stories from Argenterra. One of the characters in Argenterra is Kushlan Silvertongue and he’s a storyteller. If you are familiar with Argenterra, the first book, you know that tales from the past are very important to the narrative and important to the people of Argenterra. I had the idea that Kushlan would be tasked with writing these down. Vorn and the First Comers is the first of these. There will be others…such as Goslien of the Valley, Faruni’s Triplets, Shabra’s Curse and so on.

I’ll be releasing each of these tales before combining them into a collection.

This then is part of a gift to my readers. You get Vorn and the First Comers for free.

The other function of the novella is for readers to get a taste of Argenterra and then get the rest of the series if it interests them.

Here is the Amazon link.

Here is the Apple Books link.

Here is the Kobo link

Here is the Barnes and Noble link

Here is the Googleplay link.

My next task is to get this novella in My Books section.

Blurb and cover (from Patty Jansen)

A choice between life or death…

Kushlan Silvertongue has been commissioned to write the Tales of the First Comers, Tales of Argenterra.

This novella is the story of Vorn and the First Comers and their journey from violence and death to the beautiful magical land of Argenterra, the Silverland.

Mighty warrior, Vorn, leads the survivors to a new land and sets in motion a civilisation that lasts for over one thousand years.

Discover the origins of the given magic and how the first comers made the oaths that secured that magic forever.

 

Currently I am living with my partner and his father.

I am pretty much an on the go person, except when I’m not. Recently I have been on the go. Baking bread, trying to weave (both fixed heddle and four shaft), write, bake, teach, study…

I fear I probably need a sedative as I am interesting to watch apparently. Maybe I don’t know how to relax.

Meanwhile, I am finding it hard to focus on the PhD novel. This post is probably an example.

It is just that there is so much to do and life is so short and I know I’ll never get to do all the things…and it makes me anxious!

Maybe I should just take a pill or meditate on what is important and reasonable.

Here is a picture of my 100 per cent Rye bread, first time ever. It’s all gone too. So yummy.

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I’ll be posting about my new novella next.

 

It’s been a long time between posts and I really don’t have an excuse. Life if just hectic at times. I’ve also decided that my daughter and her new baby will come first this year. That decision requires refoccusing. And I’ve been baking bread, particularly sour dough. It’s therapeutic!

Still on the writing front things have been plodding on. At times, I do not understand this industry. I love writing and making up stories but at times it is hard to be positive about the longer term. Selling a book a day is not sustainable. I will try though to keep positive!

Emerald Fire, Cry Havoc Book Two was free on Amazon for five days and people downloaded a lot of it (635). I was shocked. Ruby Heart , Cry Havoc Book One, hardly had any downloads in comparison and that was the book one (about 120). I umed and ahed about putting a book 2 on for free but I did and I’m not sure what it all means. I think my newsletter subscribers are waiting for Ruby Heart to be discounted again so they can have the set. I love writing this series so much. So much fun and research. I will be discounting Ruby Heart in May, which Emerald Fire goes wide.

Meanwhile, Argenterra, Silverlands Book one, has been 99 cents on all platforms for the whole of April. The sale ends on April 30. I even had a paid promotion and I’ve only shifted like 25 copies all up. That’s with newsletter shares and so on. The weird thing is the sell through on Argenterra appears pretty good. People do buy the next books in the series. I love the new covers. I’ll put links below in case you are tempted to sample.

I love the Silverlands series. Argenterra was the first fantasy I tried to write. My second novel ever, rewritten many times before it was ever published. I love the Argenterra world and the characters and the stories of the history.

You have until April 30 to get your 99 cent copy.

Buy links

amazon ibooks Kobo Google Nook

I have a collection of stories from Argenterra planned, ostensibly told from Kushlan Silvertongue’s point of view as commissioned by King Oakheart. A bit of a literary conceit there, having a story teller tell the story.

I’ll be releasing the stories one by one, at first, to introduce readers to the world of Argenterra and an extra for fans of the series. When they are done I will release them as a collection in one volume. They will be free or 99 cents.

The first one of these will be released in a couple of weeks as it is with the proofreader right now. That tale is Vorn and the First Comers, an appropriate place to start. I have thought about writing Vorn’s story as a prequel novel so the novella doesn’t cover the war, just the trip to Argenterra and early settlement. Here is the cover below. It’s from Patty Jansen’s premade cover store and I’ve been eyeing it off for ages.

It is stunning. It is a generic fantasy cover, I know, but evocative and beautiful.

Over the Easter break I did some writing, well technically revision as this novel was drafted years ago and I’m still working on it. I had feedback that meant I needed to change the title and confirmation of my thoughts on this SF romance of mine.

It’s a story that wants to be just SF without the romance, or it’s an SF romance that wants to be romance. In the end, I’ve decided to make it SF with romance on the side. You might think there is no difference, but there is.

Anyway I spied this cover on Patty’s site and I had been eyeing it off. My partner, Matthew, thinks Deleen’s pose is too sexy, but I think the cover is deliciously retro looking and reminds me some 80s’ covers of books say from Lois McMaster Bujold.

My great author buddy, Nicole Murphy, asked for the draft and she read it in one day. I’m gobsmacked! She gave me some great feedback and came up with the new title. The old one was ‘Cold Soldier’.

Patty was really good about retitling this cover many times. I haven’t got a blurb for this yet. They usually come last. I’m still working on the story too. This book having an identity crisis borked me from getting very far into the rewrites over the years. Now, I’m two thirds in and I’ll need to revise it again, but I feel I have better direction. It is also part of a planned series but not a trilogy. The stories should work on their own. Awakening should come out later this year. After I’ve done a few things like this blog post, I will return to it today.

No blurb as I said, but a bit of a teaser.

On peaceful Colony Five there is a coup in progress. The administrator is mysteriously replaced and security advisor, Deleen is sent on forced leave.  Previously unknown cryo soldiers are being taken out of people’s basements and burned in the city parks. People hiding the cold soldiers are being taken away and charged with treason. Disturbing as this is for Deleen, she senses danger as a kind of martial law is being enforced in the city. Then she starts having dreams of a man asleep in a glass case-a suppressed memory that is forcing its way out. She escapes the city her abandoned homestead to confront the past and save the present.

It’s mid-semester break. I have a new granddaughter so it’s off to New Zealand for a quick visit to family and friends. It is also a good test run for my daughter and me and the baby as we are heading to the UK and Ireland in June for a couple of months.

Yesterday, my daughter bought a nifty little stroller that is 6.5 kilos and breaks down to fit into the overhead locker on the plane. I admit to being exited by this. Because once you check your bags you still have to get around the airport. I think airlines have loan strollers but I figure this is the best thing since sliced bread.

I’m taking my new Dreamstation with me and I have managed to get the Dreammapper app to work and download data. I am doing very well with the ACAP machine. My AHI is down to 1.6 which is normal and basically I feel energetic and alert which is great. This will be my first travel run with it.

I am hoping to get to the Jane Austen festival in Canberra next month but I have not sewn anything and that’s quite normal for me but I usually start sewing in the week before. As I’m going to busy I got stuck in yesterday. I took apart an old dress that I love but didn’t fit and made a new bodice with the scraps I found. Even then I didn’t quite get it right and had to put a band between the bodice and skirt. I will also change how it is fastened at the back as the hooks were crap. So it’s either lacing or buttons and I’m probably going to go buttons. At Ikea I bought some curtains that look like fine muslin with sew white stripes and I have cut out a dress out of it. That worked out to be $29.99 for the fabric and I think that’s quite reasonable.

Here is a snap of the remade dress I made maybe 14 years ago. I’ve grown outwards by at least 2 inches. Don’t mind the stuff around it. We are having the carpets cleaned so all the movables have been deposited around the house.

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And, finally, my publishing news. Argenterra, the first book in the Silverlands series is currently 99 cents/pence. Argenterra-1000x1500

Buy links

amazon ibooks Kobo Google Nook

Ruby Heart is now wide so you can grab a copy in Apple books, Kobo, Google, B&N as well as Amazon. The sequel Emerald Fire is still in Kindle Unlimited but I am going to have a free period and let my newsletter subscribers know about that.

RubyHeart-2

Ruby Heart is available from major retailers

Nook
ibooks  Kobo Google amazon

For a while now I have had this thing that I thought was old age creeping up on me. Tiredness, fatigue, headaches on waking and feeling generally slow. Feeling like I couldn’t drive for more than half and hour. Really struggling with everything. I was tested for mysterious diseases and as I have Hashimoto’s disease, my thyroid (which is mostly good on its own atm) and zero. Nothing in the blood work to explain it.

We had suspected sleep apnoea as I snore and it’s been getting worse. My partner noticed choking in the night and I had too.  I was put on the waitlist at the Canberra Hospital to see the sleep clinic people. I was told by the hospital that I had been triaged to a six month appointment. It’s been 14 months and I still haven’t got an appointment date.

So there is a wait list for the wait list for a sleep study. I guess the ACT government doesn’t advertise the first wait list just the one when you get on the waitlist.

I get insomnia and restlessness and I had been sleeping less and less.  I put this down to getting older.

Anyway, the chemist had a 50 per cent off deal on sleep studies. You take a machine home and wear it for the night. It measures your oxygen levels, your breathing etc. I had the worst night’s sleep that night and had some insights into my sleep besides the suspected apnoea. I was staying up later and later watching Netflix. I played with my phone and if I woke up I’d pick up my phone until I felt tired again and I was drinking caffeine before bed. I realised that these were bad habits that were affecting what little sleep I was allowing myself.

Then I got the results back. I thought there would be none due to the appalling sleep but there were. I had sleep apnoea. Moderate but considering how badly I had the machine on, I was surprised that there were any readings at all. My oxygen lows were into the 80 per cent and I had around 20 obstructions and narrowing of airways per hour. Now wonder I was feeling mentally and physically low.

I’m still waiting for my appointment at the hospital as I have a range of sleep issues and the chemist tests don’t pick up the neural issues-when your brain forgets to tell you to breathe.

I decided to trial the ACAP machine. This is a new generation machine apparently as it doesn’t blow constant air, but ramps up the pressure when it feels a narrowing or stop breathing thing.  I am trialling this machine. I don’t find it obtrusive. It’s not noisy at all. I have a nose only mask and it’s a soft silicone so no hard bits. At times I think I forgot to put it on but when I touch my face it is there. Sometimes I think it’s not working and lift the mask off and air blows all over me. Anyway, I manage to wear it for 7.5 hours on average. Apparently that’s good. My obstructions have dropped to 4 to 5 per hour.

Before I started the trial I changed a few habits that I had developed. Only decaf tea after about six in the evening or a milo/hot chocolate. I turn Netflix/DVD watching off before 10.30. I don’t look at my phone in bed and I try to read a paper based book for half an hour before I sleep. This has worked for me too, mostly. I still get some insomnia and go for a walk around the house. I suspect the waking up is me choking at night and the machine has woken me when it is blasting me with air to open a blockage or to make me breathe. I’m hoping the sleep specialist if I ever get to see one will know more about that.

But best of all, I feel great. I am so energetic and mentally alert. It’s like I’ve dropped ten years in a week. I feel so much better I feel that I can cope better with the bad knees (also wait listed for an appointment for them!) and the other dramas life throws at us. Just getting more air at night has made such a difference.

I really, really can’t believe how good I feel.

I’m so happy with the result. Now if I could tackle the insomnia (which has improved) and the restlessness (mmm) my sleep would be great.

Now I just have to find the money to buy the machine when the trial is up.

It is now the 1st of March 2019. What happened to two months? I know I’ve been occupied with the new granddaughter, but really? I’ve let my blogging lapse and and have really slowed down on other things.

However, I will focus on the good things. I’ve been baking. Yeah, I know weird.

I am fascinated by yeast breads cooked in pans so I tried crumpets (delicious) and English Muffins. I also made hot cross buns (oven). The English muffins, though, were a winner! None were left for freezing or toasting.

Here are some pictures of the muffins and the crumpets.

These are the crumpets.

 

I’m not sure what’s happening with my display options on WordPress. Sorry about that.

Yesterday, I had a ‘me’ day and I tried sourdough bread (oven based). I’d been working on the starter for about five days and tried out a recipe. It takes a long time to make sourdough bread according to the recipe I used. It’s an American method — long and complicated. I’m going to try it again as I ended up with two smallish loaves. I’ll make one big one instead.  Delicious by the way. I probably stuffed it up somewhere but so delicious. Worth the effort. The first picture is of the loose dough, which has to be folded every 30 minutes, six times. The second shows the dough getting tougher as it is folded and the last is my first loaf, which was a bit small and pancake like. I had an issue transferring the dough to the hot dutch oven. I tried a smaller casserole for the second loaf and it turned out great.

I also subscribed to a You Tube channel on sourdough bread making and I might try that method too. I’ll put the links below in case you are interested.

I’ve been playing around with the 100 day goal approach to things. My insights so far is that I have way too many goals. I think it is useful though, I’m just not good at doing a little bit each day. And having a newborn baby around certainly kept me distracted. I’m more like–today I will do X and only do that. Sort of binge goals!

Other things I’ve managed to do so far. I finished my Kimono quilt, which was one of my goals. I had another quilting goal that I have not moved, but I did do some sewing. Baby hats to be specific. The shops did not have new born sizes.

The house is a little tidier and I’m working on the motto of a place for everything. At present everything that doesn’t fit goes in the garage and that’s now full of guff!

My phd progress is slow. I won’t say zero but close to. I’m on a break so that’s okay. I was planning on keeping the fires burning and the novel ticking over. I’m also tutoring again. Just a few hours over two days.

I managed to get Ruby Heart in print and Emerald Fire published and also in print. I have one more book to do in the Silverlands series and I can get them printed, too. I am doing a book signing in Sydney in March so time is going well. My job for the next few months is just to keep the indie publishing stuff ticking over as I need to focus on the PhD novel–the next draft. Then I’m free to write what I want. Yay! Or polish something I’ve already written.

I tried the Kindle Unlimited route with Ruby Heart and Emerald Fire. I did all the things, advertising and cross promotion but I don’t think it’s worth keeping the series in Kindle Unlimited only. I will be putting the books out on other platforms when time has expired.

I recently had a promotion of Argenterra (England, Canada and Australia) with the new covers and I’m pleased to report that a good percentage of people are buying the rest of the series. That’s such a good feeling. I love the Silverlands series but I was beginning to think I was the only one.

I am also trying a ACAP machine for sleep apnea. It appears to be working. I don’t feel as tired and my cognitive ability has improved. I am also getting longer periods of undisturbed sleep. It’s only been a few days. Apparently in another couple of days I will feel the full benefits.

I had a lot of other things to blog about but a can’t think of them right now.

Here are the links.

I love cooking (Ireland)

The Kitchn- sourdough starter recipe

Sourdough bread recipe

Many thanks to Emma from Kitchn.

I also used this recipe for English Muffins for the Thermomix!

English Muffins using the Thermomix

And the crumpets using the Thermomix

Crumpets using the Thermomix

And if you are interested in Ruby Heart or Emerald Fire, they are steampunk themed, with gothic horror and a bit of romance. Think-manners, magic and mayhem.

Currently only on Amazon.

Ruby Heart

Emerald Fire

 

I mentioned last time that I had Emerald Fire up on pre-order. For those of you who have grabbed a copy of Ruby Heart, don’t miss out on the next book. If you like steampunk fantasy and cups of tea then this book is for you. Emerald Fire, a tad more manners, magic and mayhem!

I think Emerald Fire is better than Ruby Heart. I had so much fun with it. I’ve taken the characters and given them a big workout. I’m so excited to know what you think.

Frauke at Croco Designs did a great job on the cover as well. I am so pleased.

 

The series is Amazon only for the moment. I’ll let you know when it is with other retailers.

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