I enjoyed my birthday yesterday. It was quiet compared to previous years, but that was okay. I wasn’t at all sure over the winter that I’d make my 58th birthday, so doing it is an achievement in itself. Feels like now the year can begin, despite the fact that I’m no better physically than I was on my last day of being 57.

Which brings me to The Honesty of Tigers. I’ve read its existing 20k through, polished it…

(again – that’s what I kept doing when I got too ill to write new material last year, so it’s polished to a high gleam while the rest is unwritten, which isn’t an ideal situation but it is what it is)

…and, most significantly, rewritten its POV narration from all 1st person past and past perfect tenses to mostly first person historical present with smatters of 2nd person past, present and future. Which has taken it gently but firmly out of mainstream and into literary fiction.

So what I have is the first quarter of an expected 80k ready – really, really ready – to face the world, and the other three quarters shaped in big 20k blocks in my head. I know what’s going to happen and what the shape will be, but that’s as much planning as I’ve done. Which again is a big departure from routine for me.

Today, sometime today when the kids will allow it, although not now at 6.30am when they’re just starting their excited day, so probably this evening, I will sketch a single sentence skeleton plan for the next 10k. Then I will start writing it, in whatever bite-sized chunks I can manage, and we shall see where we go from there.

Which is a longwinded way of saying that not only am I still around, but apparently I’m still a writer too.

Same old health but a brand new contract!

My 2015 has started the same way 2014 finished, with the same old double lung infection and the same old double ear infection trapping me inside couching wheezing bubbling deafness, plus the all singing all dancing new conjunctivitis trapping me inside my blurry head even more efficiently. Just started another course of antibiotics to try and kill it all off. And I’m sure you can imagine the knock-on effect these three or four months of bugs and infections have had on my already deep relapsing ME.

So today started like any other day. I was persuaded out of bed and downstairs finally at 4.30am by my third bedding-soaked sweat of the night, and by a choking bubble in my windpipe that proved to be un-dislodgeable while I remained horizontal, and by the fact that I’d unplugged the wifi from the living room wall socket during the thunder and lightning storm yesterday evening so couldn’t perch on the edge of my bed reading my tablet.

Never mind. My first red berry tea of the day was steaming hot and tasty even through the crud, and there was better to come.

My overnight emails included a new contract from Georgia Woods at Hartwood Publishing for my YA steampunk novel A Flight of Thieves to be released in PRINT this year.

So that’s a yay, right there. :)


I’ve been trying to make this post for about a month. Bear with me, okay? :)

There have been some big changes here in Bridger Hollow recently. In brief: one of our daughters separated from her husband and has come here with their two little children to live with us; another of our daughters was rushed into hospital for emergency surgery to remove her appendix; and my wife slipped several discs all at once while moving heavy furniture.

My health fell off its already low plateau at the end of my latest steroid reduction. Hardly surprising, considering the tiny dosage I’m on now and everything else we’ve had going on this year. Pretty much bed bound. Up for an hour to get a bath every morning, and that’s me done for the day. No reading. Definitely no writing. Basically, I’m buggered at the moment. And I’m letting crit partners down, which I hate doing.

That’s the downside. The upside is that it appears my hideously painful steroid reduction has done what we hoped for and lifted me out of the diabetic range. Or soon will do, at least.

The only good effect I’ve been aware of is the 3-stone weight loss that’s accompanied the managed steroid reduction over the past 3 years, but when I had my annual eye test the optician told me my sight has improved suddenly, and the only thing that could have caused that is a marked improvement in what he called my “diabetes management” – although there’s been no lifestyle change and nothing else has altered other than my steroid intake.

I knew things had changed because I had to wear my TV glasses on the end of my nose and tilt my head back to squint in order to focus properly, but I wasn’t thinking of that as an improvement until the optician labelled it as such.

Anyway, the next steroid reduction will be to zero. I’ll do that sometime after Christmas. Getting there. Just wish it didn’t hammer me in every other respect every time.

It’s taken me an hour to write this post and I’ve used up all my strength for the day. Physical strength sitting upright and mental energy thinking and typing. Please send  spoons. :)

Remember not to trust the people who profit from war

Medal Melting

My sword has tasted blood
for causes of variable worth.
My blood has tasted battle.

My flesh has tasted metal
for men of dubious credentials.
My mettle has been tested.

I am only the latest in a long line of names
in ragged step with our strident forebears,
and my blood seethes with their fury.

Harps sing silently in my ears.
Dark tartan colours my inner eye.
Pipes mourn low within my heart.

Their battles rage within me.
The knowledge of their wars
shames me.

My blood mocks me for a mercenary,
for who else have I served
if not the inheritors of my freedom?

My marrow is sick of my service.
I bear my aging wounds stiffly,
but I will wear their coin no more.