The Week Covid Hit

Went out to a friend’s 50th Birthday last Saturday night, it was fabulous, got to catch up with some other friends I hadn’t seen in a while.

Woke up Sunday morning feeling sick, and it wasn’t alcohol – I’d had 1 cider the entire night. I battled through the day, sore throat, slight cough, nose blocking up.

Woke up Monday morning, not feeling much better. I was going to go to work, but then I thought, perhaps, just maybe, I should do a covid test. (I work at lifestyle villages – you know, retirement homes).

And I did, and it was positive!

It’s a year since I last had covid, so it was quite funny really, that one year later I had it again. And I got it from my son, who had been off work since the Friday feeling sick.

OK, so I let my boss know, let my big boss know, then filled in a leave form for sick leave for 5 days (we have 5 days isolation here in NZ – but it’s no longer subsidised by Government, so I had to take sick leave.)

Ok, so a free week at home… what to do.

Last time I had covid, I could get out of bed and do stuff, but by lunchtime I was back in bed regretting getting up. My partner couldn’t lift his head off the couch, and my son was just coughing every now and again, and still going about his daily routine.

This time, my partner – who was conveniently away on Sunday night – was covid free, so he stayed with his son for the week, and it was only me and Bill.

So, I was surprised when on Tuesday, I felt okay. It was like a head cold, nothing in my chest, just all nasal. Nasal irrigations helped, and I didn’t feel too bad at all. I got some writing done, some editing done, and I finished editing one story, and started on another!

I also got out in my garden, planted some potatoes, some more seeds for the vegetable garden, I did a little bit of weeding, cleaned a couple of little bits of the house, and read. And read and read and read. Man, I was sick of looking at books and screens by Thursday afternoon. But there wasn’t much else I could do. I wanted to conserve my energy, because I didn’t know if Covid was going to bite me in the butt after a couple of days, or not.

But it turns out not. I tested negative on Saturday – which is the shortest period for me. Last time, I was testing positive 9 days later, 6 days this time.

So, I got stuff done, and I rested, and read some books. What else is there to do when you have covid?

I officially finished writing Carol’s Christmas, finished editing Whiskey Rose on Wednesday, and started second round of editing on Secondhand Daughter, all on Wednesday. And I did some plotting on Dragon’s Lore. I hope to crack on and get some editing done on Secondhand Daughter finished by the end of the month, because November is NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – and while I’m not sure I’ll write an entire novel in that time, because I don’t write a lot in any one day, I want to get some writing done on Dragon’s Lore.

I hope you had a better week than I did.

Kia kaha

Catherine.

And Onto Something New

I’ve finished writing Carol’s Christmas, well, almost, there isn’t a lot more to write. So, what am I up to next?

I have editing to do on a project, a super-secret project that will be revealed in December, and I have three books that need editing, and a third that needs writing. Decisions, decisions.

As I have already started editing, I will finish that, it’s a short Historical romance based in 1920s United States. It is a present for my newsletter subscribers, and I’m excited to get it finished, because its been rattling around in my laptop for about ten years.

I also have a super-secret project; I’m getting together with some other authors to do a Christmas giveaway. I’ll give you more details nearer the time but suffice to say that I have a small bit of writing to do for this. It wasn’t hard to choose which book to promote, but its proving to be a little harder to come up with the secret project. It will come together though, I hope.

Two books that need editing – Secondhand Daughter, Compromising Positions and Finding Sam Healey (aka Finding Sams Family) all need a round of edits. But, I hear you say, you’ve already editing Secondhand Daughter and Compromising Positions. Yes, I have, but I often self-edit a few times before I pass it onto an actual editor, because I want to send the most polished version I can. And I like to take a break from each book before editing / drafting, because I can look at it with fresh eyes.

And I also have Dragon’s Lore, which is shaping up to be rather…Epic. I have at least five stories for the series all rolling around inside my head, and on my laptop and notebooks in various places, so I am happy to start with writing that. But I think I’ll do some editing first.

So, I’ll dive into Secondhand Daughter again, and I have my editor booked for the end of January, so I have a deadline to work to, although I hope to have it finished well before then.

What plans do you have for this week?

Kia kaha everyone.

Catherine.

Phew!

Yesterday, I managed to spill some wine on my laptop, and I was scared as hell, that I had damaged it, but it seems I may have got away with it. It wasn’t a lot, and I immediately turned it upside down on a towel, then turned it off. The last thing, as a writer, I need is to lose my means of writing. Fortunately, everything is backed up, to the web and onto a hard drive as well, so I have everything, but its still scary. I’ve lost 30,000 words in a manuscript once, and that was hard enough. Remember people, always back up your information on your computer!

Other than that, I have spent some of this week reading up about breast cancer in preparation for my Carol’s Christmas story, and also done a little more planning and sorting out my Dragon series. I have copious notes and names and all sorts of things all coming together nicely.

I spent most of this weekend in my garden. I have a plan for what I would like to do, and I pruned back some hydrangeas, removed some agapanthus and pruned back a cypress tree. I’m shattered, but happily so, I am slowly accomplishing everything I wanted to do.

My mental health is doing okay. I normally don’t cope well over winter, but having Friday’s off, and having a plan for the year, has really helped me to keep going, and I have purpose over the winter period. Long may it continue. And having a plan for writing this year, has made the year really tick along. It isn’t flying, it is actually moving at a comfortable pace.

Planning and Plotting

It’s been a week. Work, Monday to Thursday. Friday was Matariki, which is Maori New Year, an opportunity to remember those who have left us, plan ahead for the future, and celebrate those who are around us. My Partner, Mr H and I took his daughter back to Christchurch. He brought her up two weeks ago. She was supposed to drive herself, but she broke her collarbone, and so Mr H went down and picked her up.

It was a lovely drive, and a great opportunity to get some photographs for inspiration around the Murchison / Maruia area. I won’t share them here, but I did share a photo of the Maruia falls on my instagram page.

So, writing / planning / editing wise – I am slowly working through a second edit of Second Hand Daughter. I’m taking my time on this, which I probably shouldn’t be but I’m enjoying reading this again, plus I didn’t really plan to edit this month, it was a planning month.

And planning I have been. I have planned out most of Carol’s Christmas, and have 4 main characters, Carol Sawyer the main character, Emma Thornton, her daughter, Noah Thornton, her ex husband and Iona who is her best friend and business manager. I like the story plan I have in place for this, and will start writing next month.

I’m also still ticking along on my Dragon series. I have a couple of ideas that I can work with. The original plan is to write 5 stories relating to the series, however with a major idea I’ve had, this could expand. I can’t wait to introduce you to some of the characters in this series. Keep an eye out on my facebook page for some introductions.

I’ll keep working on the dragon series for now, and see what else develops. I started writing one of the stories a couple of years ago, so I will have a read through and work out what I want to keep and what I don’t, and I hope to use November to write this novel – or at least complete it.

Anyhoo – I hope you’ve had a good week, and I’ll catch up with you next week.

Kia kaha peeps

Down the Rabbit Hole of Research

It’s amazing what a difference a week makes. I struggled last week, but this week has been much more positive. And I can’t really explain why. I still plodded along. I guess, just being excited about a project helps.

So, I’m doing research for two projects at the moment. Research for Dragons Lore, and for Carol’s Christmas, a modern take on the Christmas Carol. As part of the story, my character is going to discover she has breast cancer.

And I jumped onto the Breast Cancer New Zealand Website – wow, what a resource. I have learnt a lot about breast cancer, and there isn’t actually just one type of breast cancer. It all depends on if it is hormone receptiveness, invasiveness as to whether it is Stage I or Stage IV, stage IV being the worst type.

I also have two very lovely ladies who have been sharing their breast cancer journey with me, so I have a more personal feel for what the character will be going through. To call these two women brave, really is an understatement. The mental and emotional stress, not to mention the physical pain they went through makes them superheroes in my eyes. I am so proud to be friends with them as they share how important it is to examine your breasts regularly and to get any irregularities checked immediately.

As for Dragons Lore, I have been slowly building up some character profiles and a brief outline of the stories that I want to write. At this stage there are five stories, with an overarching story of the battle that is building and needs to be resolved. However, I am flexible, especially is another character pops up and insists on having their story told. I already have one character who has had a wife who was murdered, but he still communes with his dead wife…not sure if he does this through his mind, or if he actually can communicate with the dead. That could add a totally new spin on the story. Hmmm…

The weather is more settled around the country, and hopefully the remainder of winter will be dry, so we can actually do some work out there. Hopefully the weather is being kind in your part of the world too.

Kia Kaha everyone.

Next on the List…

Hello! It’s been a week! Lots going on, in respect to my mental health. Some days are good, some are bad, and its winter, so it means I am struggling. However, I discovered that increasing my heart rate does help.

So anyway, July is now in full swing, and I plan on going over Second Hand Daughter for another read through, because I like to edit my stories several times before I actually start looking for an editor, or start shipping it out. And while I have left it to stew in its own juices for a couple of months, I realised that I could really amp up the story by including the seven stages of grieving – Shock (at hearing the news), Denial (avoiding the inevitable), Anger (outpouring of bottled up emotions), Bargaining (looking for a way out), Depression (final acceptance), Testing (seeking a solution) and Acceptance (finding a way to keep going). I have most of these elements in the story, but I think I can make the story more by showing this more.

I’m also planning to write in August, so doing a little bit of research for that – it’s my modern twist on A Christmas Carol. It won’t be ready for Christmas this year, but definitely next year.

And I have my Friday’s free from work until the end of August, so really working on getting my stories sorted, as I am also planning my Dragon series, so pretty busy with the writing thing at the moment, which is good. I’m really pleased with my progress to date, and hope I can keep up the pace as the year progresses.

Anyway, take care everyone.

Kia kaha

Enter July

And like that, poof, half of the year has gone. And I have edited two books and written one. Phew, that was pretty awesome way to start the year.

I have finished my current Organic course, and passed, I have signed up for the next paper, which starts in July, but again, if I pace myself, then I will be able to finish it on time and with some time to spare.

In writing news, I started working on worldbuilding for my fantasy novel series. I have parts of the storyline coming together, some characters developing, I have the setting (West Coast of the South Island) and I am tossing up some ideas regarding the storyline – such as the five elements. However, I am in two minds, because it feels like its over done. So I am thinking more along the lines of the five continents. That way I can have a racially diverse story too, which means studying customs and cultures of those countries.

I have been exploring lots of different software to keep my series bible – which is where all the information about the story is kept. In the end I decided to go back to a tried and true favourite that I haven’t used in a long time – Evernote. I haven’t jused this for years, and was delightfully surprised when I signed in to discover that all of my previous notes have been kept. Which included character and story ideas, including the “Inception” of the world. I knew this had been written down somewhere but couldn’t find it in all of the places I had looked. So that is one less thing to worry about.

But the world building will take some time, and I now have Fridays off work over the winter months to enable to me to spend some time on this. Last weekend was my first weekend off, and I spent it at Mum’s having a well earned break, away from the computer. Instead I read for the entire time I was away – apart from when Mum and I went shopping. I now feel more refreshed and ready to get going with my planning.

Anyway, how is your week going? Hope you have survived the weather hitting the country, and the world at the moment.

Kia kaha

Catherine x

What’s Next?

I haven’t done a lot this week, apart from catch up on my study. My final assignment is due on 19th June, so need to get my backside organised. I took a whole heap of photos today to use in my assignment, so now it’s mostly the written work that needs to be done.

But what next for my writing? Well, I plan on doing some Worldbuilding. What is that? I hear you ask, let me tell you. Worldbuilding is where you create a world in which your story will take place. Most worldbuilding is simple, it’s getting to know the setting of your story. Most of my stories are based locally, so not a lot of world building is required. But my series, which is a dragon shifter series, has a little bit more going on.

For a start, it is a hidden world, so they need off the beaten track places to live, work and fight. I’ve decided to base my story on the west coast of the South Island, particularly the Buller Gorge. I’ve printed out some maps, and have some interesting places that work well with the story. Places like Newton Flats, Lyell, Inangahua, Maruia will all feature in the story. But also places that don’t exist, so I have to create some of those places.

Not only that, but there is a huge part of the story that won’t be told in the story, it’s how the creation of animal shifters began, so that is also part of the worldbuilding and what their purpose is in the world. They are apart from the world, so human’s don’t know they exist, even though they interact with the human world.

Also the characters, most are considered animal shifters – if you’re not sure what I’m talking about, think werewolf, except these animals shift when they want to, not on a full moon. In this world though, these characters don’t shift into their animals, they fight like them, and only special people can see their animal self.

It’s a rather exciting part of creating the series, because I have a lot of this already sorted out, I just need to work on how I plan on writing at least five novels about this world, then plot the novel with the overarching story arc coming to a conclusion in the final book.

So you already know that there is a dragon shifter, there are also vampyrs who are the enemy of the animal shifters, but they are part of the same world. And the vampyrs want to take over the human world, but to do that, they need certain things, like shifter blood.

But that is about as far as I have got, so far, so you’ll have to keep posted to find out more as I plan these books. I have already started writing the first book, but that was a couple of years ago. I need to revise that story, and work out how that will fit into the storyline. I don’t plan writing this story until next year, as I have one more story to write this year, plus 3 and a half books to edit / publish.

I hope you guys are all doing okay, coping with the Winter / Summer wherever you are.

Take care, Kia kaha