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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.

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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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I am happy to report that Ruby Heart is currently free on Amazon until February 4.

A book of manners, magic and mayhem.

I have also put Emerald Fire up for preorder, with a release date of 28 February. I am slightly behind schedule but it’s worth it.

I am helping my daughter with her new baby and have been distracted. So pop on over to Amazon and get your free copy.

Ruby Heart for free                                                                               Emerald Fire for preorder

 

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Hi there!

Guess what?

I have put Ruby Heart, Cry Havoc Book 1 up for preorder on Amazon.  It is in Kindle Unlimited so it will be free to those who subscribe to that service. I will publish this book to other retailers in 2019. It will also be available in print.

This has been a long time coming. Ruby Heart had an agent. We thought this would sell but alas it did not. After five years waiting, I’m publishing myself.  I love it and I’m so excited to share Jemima Hardcastle’s story with you.

Frauke from http://www.crocodesigns.com did the covers. I love what she has done.

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Here is the blurb. It is currently being edited so it’s not perfect, but you will get the gist.

Blurb

Paranormal Victorian steampunk fantasy, with Gothic horror and romance.

A book of manners, magic and mayhem.

Jemima Hardcastle has a sad history. After her father was murdered by a secret society of magicians, her guardian and new heir to Willow Park, Edward Huntington, packed her off to boarding school. In the four years she was there, she never saw him again until she escaped from school to a house party and there he was. He did not recognise her and he even flirted with her.

A disastrous kiss, a murder and a stolen jewel herald dire happenings. Jemima is shipped off to Willow Park in the care of Fulton, Edward’s man, to be under the chaperonage of the odious Aunt Prudence and the meek cousin, Milly. While avoiding stitching in the evenings, she discovers Edward’s scientific genius and the artificial leg he made for Fulton. Her esteem for Edward rises and she is actually looking forward to seeing him again when he does not arrive as planned.

When they realise Edward is abducted, Jemima schemes to go in rescue. She has cunning and she has money and with these she plunges herself and her companions into the world of dark sorcery and London shopping.

In London, Jemima and Fulton lead a double life as they search for Edward in the slums, manufactureys and even a bawdy house. When she final discovers Edward, her life is on the line.

While a vicious and bloody fight for survival is going on around him, Edward has to choose between saving her life or unleashing the unholy, vampiric beast Geneck on an unsuspecting London.

Ruamazonby Heart is currently on preorder for $1.99 with a release date of December 22nd. It will be $1.99 until Boxing Day.

Here is the cover of the sequel, due to be published end January 2019. It’s currently with the editor. I can’t tell you how much fun I had with this story. I’ve even got another idea and maybe another, but it depends on how well it goes. If it doesn’t take off I’ll have to work on something else. Anyway I appreciate your support.

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While I have you here, Argenterra is currently $0.99 cents until the 20th of December. A must for epic fantasy lovers.

Check out the new cover from Frauke at Croco Designs.

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Here is a link to more information and buy links.

 

Another author interview for you. I have had Amanda Bridgeman on my blog before. However, something new and exciting happening in her publishing life fired my imagination with questions. Thank you Amanda for dropping by to talk about your new release The Subjugate, published by Angry Robot.

But first, the blurb so we know about the book!

In a small religious community rocked by a spree of shocking murders, Detectives Salvi Brentt and Mitch Grenville find themselves surrounded by suspects. The Children of Christ have a tight grip on their people, and the Solme Complex neurally edit violent criminals – Subjugates – into placid servants called Serenes. In a town where purity and sin, temptation and repression live side by side, everyone has a motive. But as the bodies mount up, the frustrated detectives begin to crack under the pressure: their demons are coming to light, and who knows where that blurred line between man and monster truly lies.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Pure & Savage | Hard Boiled | Bright Spark | Finding Serenity ]

Amanda Bridgeman

 

Can you tell us a bit about the book and how you came to write it?

I’d been wanting to write a female cop protagonist for some time. I can’t recall how the idea for the Solme Complex came to me, but I suspect it was partly my fascination/abhorrence of violence and violent men, and the desire to see equality in the world. The religious aspect comes from my upbringing – I was raised a Catholic but haven’t continued with the religion since high school, and naturally I have ‘feels’ about that. So the book formed from a culmination of my own life experiences, natural intrigue and research.

 How did you get picked up by Angry Robot?

I actually met Marc Gascoigne at Conflux in Canberra back in 2013 (and I won that conference ticket from you at Genrecon in Sydney in 2012!). I did a panel with Marc and at some point over the convention he bought me a cup of tea and we had a chat about my books – at the time it was the Aurora series. I guess we followed each other at a distance over the years and then when The Subjugate was finished I got my agent, Alex Adsett to pitch it to him. Voila! Here we are.

(Wow! that is so fab. I know from talking to Marc at the time that he was interested in your work. And, yes, lots of opportunities through Genrecon and Conflux!)

How did you fit writing it in around your massive Aurora series?

I had written 5 Aurora books before the first one was published, so my previous publisher was able to release them relatively quickly – the five books over three years – so I look more prolific than I actually am. After I had written the 5 and had spent a little time learning about the publishing process, I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing something different. A result of this was my novel The Time of the Stripes, and then The Subjugate. It was important for me to take a break from the Aurora world and try some different flavours of science fiction – being an alien contact story and the sci-fi crime thriller. I think they’ve made me a better writer. It’s always been my goal to be a versatile writer and not be pigeon-holed into any one genre or sub-genre. Plus I love a good thriller, so it was always my plan to branch into thrillers at some point.

Was there any new challenges in writing The Subjugate?

Absolutely! The biggest challenge was predicting law enforcement in the future. Let’s face it, with the improvements in technology and forensics, it’s going to be harder and harder for people to commit crimes and get away with them. For me, it helped that the crimes in my novel were committed in a community that shuns technology…

 Is there any more books of yours coming out from Angry Robot?

Not as yet – I need to finish writing my next book/s. I’m not going to rush anything out, though. The Subjugate has been so well received that it’s important my next book is just as good, if not better! I do have a follow-up planned for The Subjugate (a whole series in fact, centred around Detective Salvi Brentt), and I’ve started researching a new book (and potential series) separate from The Subjugate, but set in the near future, involving a female police detective and time travel! And, of course, I have the final Aurora books to work on. And if time permits, a sequel to The Time of the Stripes. And that’s not including any of the other ideas I wish to develop into novels or screenplays. If only I had more time!

What’s ahead for you in the publishing world? More traditional, more Indie?

I’m keen to pursue more traditional possibilities if I can. If publishers don’t want my new work, then I’ll happily self-publish and continue on the hybrid path. I’ve built up a strong and loyal readership over the years, so that makes things easier! There are pros and cons to both sides of the publishing fence, but right now I value the extra eyes (namely mainstream media eyes) a good publisher can help get your book.

 

Thank you Amanda. That is truly amazing. You write so long, too so it is mind boggling that you write so much. Matthew and I are both fans of your Aurora series. I think Matthew has read more than me. We have the print copy on order and Matthew already has the ebook on his Kobo! I love how there is such a buzz about this one. I wish you great success with it and more.

You can get The Subjugate in print or ebook.

About Amanda from her webpage/blog http://www.amandabridgeman.com.au

Amanda is an Aurealis Award finalist and author of 7 science fiction novels, including the best-selling space opera Aurora series and apocalyptic drama The Time of the Stripes.

Born in the seaside/country town of Geraldton, Western Australia, she moved to Perth (Western Australia) to study film & television/creative writing at Murdoch University, earning her a BA in Communication Studies. Perth has been her home ever since, aside from a nineteen-month stint in London (England) where she dabbled in Film & TV ‘Extra’ work.

When she’s not writing/reading books, you can find her indulging in films/tv/art or jumping up and down at rock concerts.