My debut fantasy novel, The Archguardians of Laceria, is now available in paperback, and in all ebookstores!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Draft 1, Complete!

   Oh yes, yes, yes, that's right, last night I finished the first draft of my next book! Well, actually, my second draft, too, I suppose. Every time I finished writing a chapter I went back and redrafted it to squeeze in another opportunity to improve it. But the point is that last night I finished the final chapter!
   I started it back in March 2016, and it's taken a lot of work, but I've finally finished the first book. Unlike the last, which really should have been split into two (it sort of got away from me), this time I had a more solid technical plan and knew from the start that it would be two. It seems to have worked out very well that way, and is a much, much better story than The Archguardians of Laceria. I'm so proud of it!
   But if I'm honest, I don't feel quite right celebrating. I'm well aware that there's still a lot of work ahead for this book - it will need more redrafting and editing - and the story is far from finished because I still have the second book to write. But at the same time...I can't help smiling every time I think about the fact that I've reached a big milestone. I even allowed myself a couple of chocolates in celebration last night (yeah, that whole 'sick to death of chocolate' thing didn't last very long).

   Tonight I start the third draft, which means going right back to chapter 1. I've already taken a look at it, and while I was happy with it 13 months and 8 days ago, I am not now. But the first few chapters are so important, and also often some of the worst written because they're the first you do - you have to get your mind out of planning and bullet-point mode and into prose, which is difficult, and why that first chapter has - now I think about it - been through probably five drafts already. But it takes what it takes, and I really do love doing it, so my writing never feels like work.
   I also have to design my book cover, but I've got that planned out: summer's coming, apparently, and that means that the field behind my house will get a lot noisier, and on a night teenagers go out there and play their god-awful music. With my synaesthesia, it's impossible for me to write or read when I can hear music, but that gives me the perfect opportunity to turn my hand to other creative outlets - such as digital art. So I'm hoping to get the cover design in July/August, and hopefully do some character portraits, too. I wanted to do that for Archguardians but I'm more interested in writing than in drawing, and when I eventually had the opportunity last summer I was working on this book instead and lost all interest in drawing previous characters who may or may not be dead.
   So I'd like to embrace the opportunity when it comes around this time!

   You can be sure I'll update you when I...have something to share I suppose. This is another long process, but one with another milestone at the end. And I will, again, be rewarded in chocolate.





Thursday, 20 April 2017

Thursday Obsessions

Ahh, Easter has passed. Like I said yesterday, I'm kind of pleased. I ate so much chocolate that I got sick to death of it. It's very strange. Seeg makes a double take any time I turn it down.
And so this week I've been obsessing over healthier eating, and after getting my first Tribe box, I rather love their '10' bars - a good balance of protein, fat, carbs and fibre - the stuff you really need, all from natural ingredients. Yay! Also, Pukka's ginseng matcha tea. Yum.
And like I also said yesterday, we recently started Mass Effect: Andromeda, and I've been really focused on my writing - so close to finished!


Mass Effect: Andromeda    ♥    Tribe 10 bars
Writing    ♥    Ginseng matcha tea by Pukka



Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Lately

   Oh thank goodness Easter has passed! I'd been looking forward to it for so long - you know I'm a chocolate fiend - and managed to get in some amazing workouts and ate well on the run-up, but over just Sunday and Monday I managed to make myself sick of the stuff. Which is a peculiar feeling...

   In short, I had a wonderful weekend with few but epic eggs, including Hotel Chocolat's Rocky Road to Caramel extra thick egg, and a 70% dark Green & Black's collection, Seeg and I rewatched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and we had two roast dinners. Happy Kim.
   Seeg also finished Breath of the Wild on the Friday, which was a wonderful game, so cute and whimsical, and on Easter Sunday he started Mass Effect Andromeda. Mass Effect has always been one of my favourites, but with everything we'd seen of the new installment's development, we both had quite low expectations. I'm not actually someone who is too concerned with the quality of graphics, but for a game as grand as Mass Effect, and in the age of digital development we're currently in, it has actually been an issue because the detail affected is really quite hard to miss: the faces. They're not expressive, the eyes are totally empty and sometimes, no joke, seem to spin around in their heads. It's difficult to follow a character's reaction to situations or to other people, and in a game where relations between characters is essential, it's quite a disappointment. Fortunately everything else has been pretty good, and I'm still really really really looking forward to watching him play it again, but that detail - hard to miss, like I said - is undeniably dragging it down and you'll no doubt hear other actual fans (ie. not 'fanboys') saying the same. And I'm not 'spoilt' either - for the past few weeks I've seen little beyond Legend of Zelda or World of Warcraft, neither of which are ground-breaking. Mass Effect should have blown them both out of the water without an argument.

   Anyway. As for what I spent the weekend doing: I'm writing the final chapter of my book. Once that's done, it goes through another draft, and once that's done, I have to go all the way back to the beginning and redraft the entire thing all over again.
   In all sincerity, I can't wait. But it's still too soon to celebrate. Even though I want to. Then comes planning out the next book - the second half of the story - and working on a cover for the first. I was planning on holding the first book back until the second was totally finished and the story completed, but now I'm not so sure. But, if I do decide to submit the first before the second is finished, it's still going to be a way off from now, and there's a lot to do in between. At the very least, I want to make sure I have a solid start on the second...
   But still--No. Too soon to celebrate. Too soon...

   But my ankle's doing better! Which has meant that I've been able to really dive into this workout, post-Easter when it counts the most, and shed any guilt and chocolate before it gets the chance to make itself comfy. I've also got next month's workout figured out - it's totally different, but while I'm intrigued, I also admit that I'm not convinced. But after a month this intense, and what I have planned for June, an easier month in between isn't so bad an idea. So we'll stick to the optimism!

   So I've really enjoyed this Easter, which makes a change from last year when I felt so guilty for eating any chocolate at all that I spent most of Sunday doing Pilates just so that I couldn't add 'sitting still' to my list of disgraces. I was such an idiot. This time I learned to breathe and have fun, and I've come out of it much happier. Except for knowing that now I won't be able to get any more Galaxy golden eggs until next year...

   How has everyone's Easter weekend been?!



Thursday, 13 April 2017

Thursday Obsessions

Easter is nearly heeere! So I'm feeling very springy!
Seeg and I caught Fantastic Beasts in the cinema for our joint birthday - we were going to see Assassin's Creed but we weren't sure it was going to be worth it after all the reviews, because we are huge fans of the games, so we decided to leave that until it came out on DVD and saw Fantastic Beasts instead. We knew nothing about it, which shows how unsure we were about Assassin's Creed, but we both loved it, and have been saving the first re-watch for Easter Sunday <3 This, and chocolate, are presently my main obsessions.




Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them    ♥    Sacred Lotus bath bomb by Lush
Woolliam speckled praline eggs by Hotel Chocolat    ♥    Floral jersey dress by H&M



I Can Move Nearly Now The Sprain Has Gone

   I know, right? I'm full of them.

   So, as you may remember, I managed to sprain my ankle on my last session of Kelta Fit, right before I wanted to revisit Killer Buns & Thighs for April. I wanted to do a high-impact workout as a pre- and post-Easter burner, but an injury like that isn't very good for jumping lunges, you know?
   Well, it wasn't an extreme sprain, and as a few days ago I started to feel just fine again, I took the chance and gave it a shot yesterday.
   My ankle was fine, though I paid close attention to how I was moving it and I replaced side lunges with sumo squats - not exactly the same thing, but, given the circumstances, more than good enough.

   But I have to say: it was so hard. And I mean in my quads. Ouch. It's really strange, because there's no reason that a small injury in one ankle and taking care over it while moving could have such an impact on both thighs. I struggled with everything - or, rather, everything was a challenge. I could do it all - I've done this workout before - but my goodness it was as if I hadn't ever done a thing like it!
   I'm so used to doing this kind of workout. I find it maintainable, and I can use the intermediate and advanced mods. But last month I made a change and used Kelta Fit - a cardio dance workout with minimal resistance - and I really do think that that is responsible. Taking a month away from resistance, as much as I love it, seems to have reset my body and all of a sudden, beginner modifications on level 1 are challenging. It was ridiculous!
   But it made me happy.


   This 'body reset' seems to have made my old favourites - workouts I used to find so easy - a challenge again, and that means that they will yield great results. My flexibility hasn't reduced, it's purely the strength and power in my legs. I can perform the movements for the full duration, for the most part, but it really burns, and I find myself struggling sooner than usual, and some sets I did have to stop half way through. Only for like, 2 seconds, but still.
   Everyone is different, and I love lower body workouts so my lower body is quite strong thanks to the effort and time I've put in, so for me to be struggling on this workout is strange. But, as I said: results.

   I'm not going to push too hard because I don't want to aggravate my ankle, but I'm actually quite pleased by how challenging it is. I'm going to take a month every now and then to do a low-impact workout and break up the intensity - I've already found one for next month - and I'm going to see if that really is what has made a difference.
   Time will tell!