Through the big breaking surf to blue water ahead

Photo by Kira Auf der HeideAt the end of last week I sent off my proposal to Rhonda Merwarth, my editor at Carina Press. 15 chapters (that’s 41k written and polished, which will probably constitute about 45% of the finished ms) and a 16-page synopsis. 16 pages might sound extreme, but it’s a 1-page galactic settings brief, a 9-page Book 1 synopsis, and a 4-page series outline.

Changed up the series name to make it stronger. Sky Train is now Space Train. And my proposed book titles are: Freedom in Space; Invasion from Space; Betrayal in Space; and Lovers from Space.

I’m excited about this series, and about the possibility of working with Rhonda again.

Wish me luck! 🙂

I really had to get this sub off then, because I knew our house would be Chaos City over the weekend – and it was.

D2 moved out on Friday, so two removals men were in and out all that afternoon and she, my wife, and D3 were back and forth between our place and her new one all evening after they came home from work until late. Our poor old hound dog Elvis was quietly freaked. There’s been a lot of upheaval recently from his point of view and he’s feeling very insecure. So my job was to give him lots of love and attention all that day and into the night until D3 got home properly to take over.

Yesterday, Monday, the decorators were scheduled to start work here. It’s a big job, wallpapering and/or painting the ceilings and walls and all woodwork in our big open plan living room and up the very high stairway and the landing at the top. So all weekend my wife and D3 moved furniture around to facilitate that, and then D3 also stripped the walls in the back double bedroom that D2’s two little children have shared for three years, while my wife deep washed the walls and skirting boards and now-bare floor in the other back room that has been D2’s bedroom for those three years but now going to be my study again, before those decorators arrived.

And as well as that, my wife and D3 were back and forth to D2’s new place again, because it’s lovely but had been left utterly filthy by its outgoing inhabitants.

Oh, and new carpets are bought and booked to be fitted in those two back rooms of ours as soon as the decorators finish, so the floors have to be prepared. My wife and D3 were doing that at the weekend too.

And, breathe.

Meanwhile, I caught some hideous viral thing (I think) in the week that made all my joints screech in agony. 72 hours in by Saturday evening and it was still crippling me. The stairs were impossible. I slept (yeah, right) in an armchair in the living room.

So I was bloody glad I followed my strong instinct and got that proposal done and off to Rhonda when I did!

Sunday was unpleasant. My wife and D3 emptied our big living room of everything, my mac and desk and chair into one room at the back of the house and everything else into the other. I had my study back, but only temporarily. Can close the door on paint fumes and whatever this week until the decorators are done, then will have to vacate it again while my wife prepares the room properly for the carpet fitters. The other room next door to me is just a cube of the furniture and everything else from our living room. Like a big storage container.

I tried to stay out of their way all weekend as best I could. The virus – or, at least, the BIG pain that was its only symptom I was aware of – finally retreated on Sunday, just in time for me to trip over something outside the study that hadn’t been there five minutes earlier when I passed that way, and wrench my right hip. Agony. It’s still impossibly painful and totally immobilising now, on Tuesday morning.

Anyway, I’m happy to be back in my study. It’s looking tired, but I wrote seven of my nine books in this room and it feels like home for my creative brain.

The decorators started yesterday. The entire house is upside down and getting around it with The Hip is impossible. They should finish on Friday evening. It’s just something we have to get through.

I’m shut in my (new, old) study today with two heavy doors closed between me and the paint they’ll start using on all the woodwork this afternoon. Getting on with Space Train. My wife is supplying me with food and coffee at sensible intervals.

It’s fine. I’m only crying because of my hip. 😀

Big changes afoot in Bridger Hollow

Photo by Bryan MinearWe’re home from our week in the lovely English Riviera. I enjoyed every internet-free minute of it and will cherish the memory of our peaceful time. I spent every morning planning three sequels for my half-written space opera Sky Train, slept every afternoon in the sweet seaside air through an open window, made it out for dinner with my family every evening, and slept well every night too. The quaint Dartmouth steam train chuffed past our berth five or six times a day, and everyone we met was pleasant. It was a good holiday. I’ve come home happy and refreshed, and ready to rock Sky Train.

Yesterday was a day of significant change in my home life. Three significant changes, in fact.

The day started with our final Full English holiday breakfast in Torbay, followed by a pleasant journey home, with worrying reports on the radio of a traffic stopping accident on the southbound A38 but that proved to be north of where we joined it. So we sailed through, me in D2’s big red estate with her kids in their childseats behind us and her dashboard talking quietly like something off the starship Enterprise, and my wife and our hound dog Elvis in D3’s sporty white zoom machine, D1 having driven her (definitely not snoozing) kids home the previous evening.

I loved walking into our plane tree-shadowed living room, touching the solidity of it, stretching into the space within it, saying hello quietly because its silence said it had been waiting for us to come home.

D2 bathed her two and delivered them to her ex-husband, their dad, for a fortnight. And that’s the last time they will be here living with us, because next Friday, while they’re still away, their mum will be taking possession of their new home. That’s the first big change.

It’s a nice flat just a five minute walk up the valley from our place, where they’ve lived with us since D2’s youngest was born, so we will still see them all the time. In fact my wife will still be childminding the youngest here for the two-and-a-half days every week when she isn’t at play school.

But I’ll miss them so much. Already am. I stood in their bedroom this morning and had a quiet cry. They’re delightful kids and our home will be a very different place in the evenings without them here. I love D1’s kids too, and they’ll still be coming round to see us just like D2’s will, but it’s going to be a very quiet household with only us three adults here in the evenings.

So last night my wife, D2, D3, and I had a takeaway: various Chinese dishes for them, and for me my Indian favourite, a hotter than medium lamb madras with garlic fried rice. Then we watched the third Hobbit film, and fell into our beds just before midnight for long deep zonks all round.

No writing for me. I put a real productive week of it in on holiday, and last night I needed to take a break. Today as well. This evening or tomorrow I’ll dive right back into it because there’s a notebook filled with space opera series plans waiting to be transferred to the Sky Train folder on my mac, and a big proposal package to put together because I’m going to sub this one to Carina Press.

That’s the second big change. Having believed all through that horribly long deep ME relapse that I would never again be healthy enough to work to deadline dates with a publisher, I now find myself in a position where I can. Which is wonderful and very exciting!

The third big change is that we’re now discussing which of our soon-to-be vacant-again ground floor rooms I will take for my study, and which one D3 will take for her craft room. After three years of writing in our big noisy family living room with a big noisy tv right behind me, it’s going to be a good culture shock to do it in my own quiet room again with all my books on shelves around me instead of boxed up in the attic.


Photo by Benjamin LambertI’m going on holiday tomorrow to a beautiful, peaceful  green place that I know in advance is a deadzone for my mobile provider. So I will be not only offline, but off the entire grid. Scary shit, eh? I’m taking lots of novels to read, and my notebook and pen to jot down any ideas that occur for my WIP and its sequels.

See you when I get back. Be good. 🙂

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