A Long Road

The end of July, when I published my last update, seems like such a long time ago. And, in so many ways, it really is. I have travelled a difficult road—one I actually never could have imagined would work its way into my realitybut, now, I find myself in February of a new year and, although the harsh twists and turns are nowhere near over, I can see a beautiful landscape waiting at the horizon.

My work has suffered, without question. Writing not only has been placed on the back-burner, but has ceased completely with the exception of one short story (a form of expression I have never before considered). My day-to-day work, notably in the editing and publishing arena, has been a struggle as an understatement; mental exhaustion has taken a huge toll on my ability to focus. Hobbies and reading have become a thing of the past when, once upon a time, they were what kept me feeling most alive. However, with that said, the days are not nearly as difficult as once they were, and I find myself better able to focus on other things—things that used to bring me happiness. Writing. Reading. Working. Setting and achieving goals. The fundamentals that underpin my personality and nature. The sun now seems to shine for longer each day.

With this renewed positivity and ambition—something I used to have in abundance!—comes the recognition that, although I am sad to have wasted time being counterproductive and doing nothing more than focusing on putting one foot in front of another, the present is all that matters, and to continue where I left off is a case of better late than never. I can’t afford to give myself a hard time for not achieving goals when life hit me out of the blue and demanded that I direct my attention to weathering the storm; there was no other option. Now, however, there is a choice.

So, onwards and upwards. Back to adopting the usual work drive and passion, back to writing, back to reading, back to pursuing more than the bog-standard. Back to me.

A Book’s Words

There is so much more to a book than mere words. Of course, the pages and the ink, the individual characters and their profiles, the twists and turns, and plot overall, are some of the most obvious elements, but, essentially, each one of these needs to be written. In terms of more tangible aspects, there is cover design. Then there is the inclusion, fashioning of and consideration to countless other factors, such as marketing and advertising, and the overall brand image of the author. Today, however, I have directed my attention towards one of the more obvious aspects of book writing and publication—that of cover design.

The decision to halt work on my up-and-coming work was a difficult one, but ultimately it was necessary—although, in some way, I had no choice: at this time, at this point on my path, there is no way forward; it’s almost like there is a barrier, with no access granted either side, nor above or beneath. But sometimes, the best thing is not to fight against what can’t be or what isn’t possible in that moment, but rather accept it and direct attention to another sphere.

This afternoon, I have asked my graphics designer—whom I have worked alongside for several years—to begin work on the cover for the G72 project. Terminating all progress on this work was painful—is painful—and so it makes sense perhaps to continue with the elements that require attention but that don’t conflict with where I am in my life. Cover design and other more marketing- and PR-related elements all deserve to be a focus. Just because writing can’t be a part of my world for now, that doesn’t mean I should neglect my writing career completely.

And so today brings me to a brighter place—a place where G72 is still a part of my immediate future, and not so far away it sits in darkness. Hopefully soon I will see my work take on a more tangible, real-life form through cover design, and even if it does little more than reassure me that all of my efforts up until this point weren’t in vain, maybe that’s enough. A little progress in one small aspect of the whole picture surely is better than nothing, and so I’ll try, from now, to adopt that perspective, rather than thinking that G72 has had so much of my love, heart, passion and dedication, only to be discarded.

The G72 Project will sit in a little cupboard, filed away in a secret compartment in my Writer’s Mind. There is a light on, so I won’t forget it’s there. And my wonderful, amazingly talented graphics designer will keep me on this rocky path towards G72, steering me back in the right direction with each design he devises and each tweak he implements. It is my hope that, as these snippets of wonder reach me—and, in turn, are communicated to my social media audience—that we’ll gain more momentum and more companions on our journey. G72, without question, will become a reality. It isn’t even a question of When? because already I know: When the right time presents itself.

Setbacks and the Importance of Timing

The months have flown since my last update, with my efforts and attention focused on finalising my up-and-coming work of fiction (as discussed in my previous entry). Never before have I felt so excited by a project whilst also fearful and wary; each chapter and the unfoldings of the story have all been so unfamiliar and so unlike anything I’ve ever undertaken before, and I have found myself uncertain and in unknown territory throughout the process. But nonetheless, I allowed myself to become immersed in every single stage; I have valued the individual moments spent crafting the spells and allowing the manuscript to work its magic, and not at any point have I felt less than completely passionate and dedicated.

And all of this is only thus far… The journey is far from over.

However, there have been circumstances that have arisen in recent weeks that have meant a halt in my progress, and, due to the genre and twists of the book, which are too closely aligned with my personal life and create the most significant, deeply painful conflict, I am having to cast aside the idea of completing this work—at least for now. To continue on with this feels like an impossibility in this moment, if only from an emotional perspective, and I can’t see that I could do any justice to the ideas I have stored away and nurtured for so long. If I were to continue, the end result would be a half-effort, and publication would hurt my heart when I reflect on what is happening in my life. But ultimately, I can’t see that writing even another word is possible; my stomach twists at the thought.

The G72 project is something I have been desperate to undertake and complete for more than a year; it deeply saddens me to realise it will remain a half-form until my mind is strong enough to venture back to dark places. But timing is pivotal and all-important, and although it pains me to admit it, perhaps now just isn’t the right time.

Everything happens for a reason. Life unfolds and turns and spins, and we can’t predict what’s waiting around the corner. And, although we have to take control and seize the moment, sometimes we also need to go with the flow of a situation and not try to swim against the tide. For now, I’m just going to give myself up to where the current decides to take me.

I know a rainbow will follow the storm. And perhaps then I’ll feel able to pick up my pen and continue on with what I am sure will be a better version of itself after being permitted to take the necessary time to grow.

Months In Ink

The past three months have passed by in a blur of professional tasks and activities, centred on my everyday roles as editor and publishing consultant, whilst also devising and filming courses in my new role as a lecturer for one of the world’s largest learning organisations. Beyond this busyness in my schedule, however, I also have been directing my efforts towards the latest in my literary works.

This in-progress musing—which is all it qualifies as, so far!—will be released for pre-order at the height of Summer 2016, with publication to follow late-Autumn, and is, without question, one of my most exciting works so far in that it is an entirely new genre, and therefore carries an altogether different tone when compared with my past publications. I find myself treading an unfamiliar path that is both exhilarating and frightening, yet I find myself strangely at home with something so far away from the fantastical work of Alice. Perhaps I love to mix my two worlds; to dip my toes in and out of reality and fantasy, and then back to reality once again; to take differently coloured droplets of oil and add them to a globe of water, and rock them back and forth like a hypnotising self-made lava lamp.

The details of my next publication are bursting to be shared, but the secrecy must remain—at least for now. I do, however, very much look forward to releasing details of its title, the cover and blurb, and receiving feedback from my reading audience. This is always one of the most exciting processes!

For now, however, it is back to the profiling of characters and the tying up of loose ends and the unweaving of woven tapestries. Soon, I am sure, all will become clear…

P.S. Wishing those of my readers who celebrate a very Happy Easter! Who doesn’t love to see a bunny hatching from an egg?!

A Period of Indulgence

Christmastime and New Year have been and gone, passing by in a flurry of mulled wine, light dustings of snow and a mass of ribbons and decorative wrapping. This magical time for family, indulgence and decadence is over for another year, but with the return back to routine and work, commutes and responsibilities, there also are the first steps down a new, glittering pathway. It is the start of a new year; an opportunity for new beginnings and fresh projects. We are only the first few pages into what could prove to be a very exciting first chapter in this 366-day book of 2016.

In my own little world, the beginning of 2016 has marked itself with a return to copy editing and publishing, with brainstorming here and there for the sequel of Alice: Queen of Hearts, the second in The Book Creatives series (much later than originally planned!), and my most exciting fiction for the year (to be referred to as G72). I also have a number of other business-related tasks and opportunities ahead of me, all waiting to be explored and eager to move their way up my huge and ever-growing To Do list, and so I am excited to throw myself into 2016.

In amongst the hard work and the inked pages, the ticked-off tasks and the inclusion of more, however, I am determined to spend the year building more beautiful memories with my daughters, sisters and friends, and laying the stepping stones of a solid foundation for a happy, fulfilling life. I feel more driven, excited, enthusiastic and ambitious than ever before, and so I am determined this will be the most incredible period.

Already 5 days have flown, leaving 361 remaining. Every single one of these need to be decorated with glitter and flashes of pink and bursts of starlight. And if any of these fall onto published pages, I will feel all the more blessed.

Happy New Year!

‘Alice: Queen of Hearts’ Now Available for Preorder

Alice Cover Final

Past articles published on my website have spoken of the passion I have for ‘Alice: Queen of Hearts’—passion that never has dwindled in the years since I first imagined taking my favourite fairytale and completing a dark, fantastical reworking. This project has been unlike any other endeavour in my professional life. But now, the hard work, years of worry and countless hours writing deep into the candle-lit night (literally speaking!) have reached their conclusion…

Alice: Queen of Hearts is now available for pre-order, with November 22, 2015 marking its official publication!

No words can ever describe how it feels to reach such an incredible stage in this journey; it is overwhelming, with emotions ranging across all points in the positive–negative spectrum. I am, of course, over the moon to see what was once just a seedling of an idea burst to life and become a physical, tangible product, soon to line bookshelves in my favourite stores. But conversely, I will miss Alice—at least until it is time for me to tackle the sequel!

From Sunday, Alice will be free to wander across the globe and venture into the hands of her fans everywhere. I am sure she will be made to spend her hours held long into the night… Maybe some will choose to enjoy her on a train, on a plane, in a car or maybe even just on a soft sofa, cuddled into a corner as the fire blazes. Regardless of where she is taken, however, I have only one hope: that she keeps you turning her pages.

I know nerves will follow me like dark shadows every step of the way as I find myself far from the safety of my own writing retreat and out there in the vast world, where my words will be put under the microscope, examined and  analysed. But nonetheless, I will look forward to people’s comments and reviews.

I’ll see you in Wonderland…

[The first in the Lost in Wonderland series, ‘Alice: Queen of Hearts‘, can be ordered here.]

‘Alice: Queen of Hearts’: Cover Revealed

One of the most exciting and exhilarating milestones to reach in the writing and publication of a book is the moment the book cover, in its final detail and glory, is revealed. That moment of seeing your work spring to life—something that has, up until that point, been intangible—is indescribable. It inspires a wave of emotions and the recognition that, in some small way, you are fast on your way to leaving your mark on the world.

As discussed in the revealing of Alice: Queen of Hearts, this work has been the most important and passionate undertaking of my life. For years it has been at the very core and heart of my life’s aspirations, and so the cover coming together and laying yet another stepping stone towards the conclusion of this journey is both overwhelming and humbling. It is around Alice that my writing life currently pivots, and so I am taking time to bask in the moment.

Sharing the cover with my reading audience is another exciting but also nerve-racking part of the process, and so I present, admittedly with slight anxiety but mainly overwhelming passion and adoration, the book cover for the first in what will be a two-part series:

Dark and enticing fantasy… All I have wanted Alice: Queen of Hearts to be. I am so beyond thrilled.