In order to work on my books properly, I need to be inspired and in some kind of "zone" - not for me the "writing in a cafe or at the kitchen table" set-up (I don't have a kitchen table anyway!).
I have to admit that anxiety is making it quite difficult to concentrate these days: our income has (hopefully) temporarily disappeared, we are all being stalked by a silent and often invisible killer, and any hope of wandering around the glorious Dorset countryside in spring has all but vanished.
I have now come to terms with quite a few things this week and now need to concentrate on my own projects which had been neglected lately. My calculation is that I have at least three to four months to dedicate to my books before I have to start thinking about working again...
I am trying to nail the narrative for The Right Place and have been jotting down quite a few ideas for my fourth novel, Hell Lane.
I will post more about my progress in the next few weeks... Just don't expect to see many pictures of the Dorset countryside in bloom, as I had planned to do.
Oh, and one more thing... The Arcane Publishing online shop, which will be rebuilt at some point late this year, is now closed until the lockdown is lifted for admin reasons...
I work in education via an agency and schools are now closed, which is good, as I had decided to stop working anyway - I really, really don't fancy catching any virus, thank very much.
Meanwhile, all the events I was going to attend with Matt ArtPix (some of them incredibly exciting) have all been cancelled and therefore, we will not be going anywhere in the foreseeable future.
Therefore, it looks like both Matt ArtPix and I will be spending a lot of time at the ArtPix/Arcane Publishing towers over the next few weeks/months.
I will be resuming writing my third novel, The Right Place.
On Monday, not knowing that this would be the last day in a while we would be able to admire the stunning Dorset countryside, we went to Abbotsbury, where most of the action in The Right Place is set.
I had promised to post pictures of lambs - the fields around the chapel are usually teeming with them at this time of year. It looks like we might have been too early: NOT ONE LAMB IN SIGHT ANYWHERE!
Every year, it is just a joy to walk in the Dorset countryside as you are bound to bump into a few herds made up of of bouncy lambs and protective ewes. I feel crestfallen that I won't get to see any this year...
Look: no lambs... :-(
I am reading a lot these days... Even more than usual...
Two reasons for this:
1. I didn't read anything for four months because of a day job which I have now ditched!
2. I have a bout of writer's block, and the best way to get inspiration is to read work by other writers...
In other news: if you want to know about plans and events, please go to the Arcane Publishing blog HERE as we have been posting about what we hope is going to happen over the next few months!
Quite a few announcements to come over the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled!
The new pub date for my third novel, The Right Place, is late 2021...
I am still in my "recuperation" period - getting as much inspiration from other writers as possible.
I am a huge fan of Christopher Fowler's Bryant and May detective series which will be a big inspiration for what would be my fifth novel, the London-based Anti (working title).
They are clever, fascinating, hilarious... Basically, unputdownable.
I am still a few volumes behind...
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go and make some tea and resume "Strange Tide".
After four months of 60-hour weeks, finally, over the past two weeks, I have been reminded of why I moved to Dorset three years ago...
Yesterday, I spent a few hours at Kimmeridge Bay - I regularly go back to my (many) favourite spots along the Jurassic Coast as they always look and feel different...
Tomorrow, work resumes on my third novel, The Right Place.
For inspiration, after having finished Amy Liptrot's stunning The Outrun, I have picked up Roger Deakin's delicious Notes From Walnut Tree Farm. I am immersing myself in the story of landscape and nature...
I was reminded recently that Nine Inch Nails' album The Fragile was 20 years old.
When it was released, I had just arrived in London from Cornwall and hadn't even started my "career" as a music journalist. I just wanted to go to gigs, write and, well, have a life. London was still the "old" London, where everything was possible for anyone, even if you didn't have any money (I didn't).
Nine Inch Nails has been one of the most important bands ever in my life and I regularly come back to Trent Reznor's early works - I am not enamoured of his most recent output and acceptance by the mainstream. I remember when you could just go and see NIN at the Astoria...
My own copy of The Fragile (which I personally consider a masterpiece) is very bashed but still playing. It has survived over 16 moves, most of those around North London - and a series of dilapidated flat shares and tiny single-occupation studio flats...
The Fragile has been part of the soundtrack to my new life in the capital and for many reasons, it still resonates today as I haven't really changed and hold the same values and goals as 20 years ago.
The track We're In This Together is especially important for me - this is a song that is about to become even more relevant in 2020...
I am not one for birthdays and anniversaries, but as everyone is talking about the past decade and as my 2020 plans include further developing my Arcane Publishing venture, I thought I'd go back over one of the most important moments of the past decade for me as a writer and book lover...
Exactly ten years ago, I starting working on my first novel, I Am a Muse. As stated in the FIRST EVER BLOG I wrote on this website back in the summer of 2010, the plot for I Am a Muse came to me almost overnight and perfectly formed, and I remember explaining it for the very first time to my partner whilst sitting in a cafe somewhere on the Essex coast overlooking a very grey sea...
In December 2009, I had resigned my full-time publishing job in Oxford and left the tiny London flat I had been living in for two years or so (extreme commuting anyone?) - I was moving to Southend-on-Sea and starting a self-employed "career" (not a career, a stint at freedom!). This was a momentous move: I was leaving London after ten years of crazy metropolitan living, with all its elating ups and crushing downs...
I had been writing for a long time (actually since I was a child, but in London, I had been a music journalist for a decade by then) but I had decided that enough was enough - reviewing other people's work was indeed exciting and rewarding (free gigs and CDs!) but I was going to have a go at what I thought was the best (non-paying) job in the world: being a fiction writer!
First came I Am a Muse. I wrote it then spent a whole year editing it and sending it to agents...
Which led to nothing.
And then, in 2013, Arcane Publishing was created - I registered Arcane as a proper publishing imprint and published my first novel!
When Arcane was officially created, I had already started working on my second novel, The Book of Thoth, which was published by Arcane in early 2015.
And since then?
Since then, I have found it difficult to work on my third novel, The Right Place. "Real Life" has a knack of taking over and distracting you on your path to publication... Unfortunately, writing and publishing books doesn't bring in any money - indeed, Arcane Publishing's budget is very, very tiny indeed, and I use my own money to get the books published... Therefore, other - mostly boring - things have taken priority over writing.
In January 2017, I moved Arcane Publishing's towers even further from my beloved London: to Dorset, for its inspiring landscape (and the opportunity to acquire a much bigger-sized HQ!).
It's been quite a ride, and in 2020, I hope to make things change a bit: the second-hand books side of the Arcane Publishing business will hopefully develop further with an online presence by the end of the year, and I am determined to finish the first draft of The Right Place - which will demand some sacrifices along the way, but I feel that I cannot wait any longer to finish this project, especially as I have two more really exciting books planned already - I genuinely cannot wait to get started on Hell Lane: A Barton Stacey Mystery.
I will be posting both on here and on the Arcane Publishing website more regularly in 2020...
Watch this space!
Here's my reading shelf for the next few weeks... It includes a few non-fiction books, as I carry on my love affair with nature writing. Before that, I never read non-fiction books (I read a lot of articles in magazines and newspapers if I want non-fiction).
I have already started Wild Places, The Outrun, Notes from Walnut Tree Farm and Wildwood, and pick them up whenever the mood takes me... They are all enchanting and thought-provoking - and of course a massive source of inspiration for my own writing.
My early 2020 list of "to buy" books is VERY, VERY long. After four months during which I haven't been able to read at all, this is paradise on earth...
I am taking a break to find my writing feet again and then will resume writing The Right Place. I hope to finish it by 2021. Wish me luck...
I think therefore I write.
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