Sometimes, when we need a blast of fresh air but don't want to drive too far from the house, we just head to Portland Bill for a quick walk.
Yesterday, we noticed some new (and most welcome!) occupants in one of the fields just before you get to the Bill: a lively herd of woolly alpacas! They were very curious and incredibly comical...
We'll go back to see them over the holidays as we do need a lot of cheering up in these gloomy times!
Over the next three weeks, I will be trying to complete an important section of The Right Place, before having to put the book on ice for a while whilst I earn some much needed money.
I hope to pick up my pen - or rather keyboard - in late February for a bit, but because of the pandemic I have now accepted that I will not publish in early 2022 as planned... Such is life...
I am putting Arcane into hibernation until at least late February/early March whilst I try and find some funding for the imprint...
Over the next three weeks, I will carry on working on The Right Place and hope to make some progress.
I will post a few updates on here.
My partner in crime Matt ArtPix will carry on selling vintage items and art from the unit at The Customs House, but there won't be any Arcane stock in there anymore. I am working on some new plans which hopefully will come to fruition in the next year or so, but this will depend on the Covid situation and Brexit...
Try and have a rest over the holidays and stay safe!
There is some serious work going on in the countryside around Martinstown in Dorset, apparently to remove the pylons you can see in the picture. This is a monumental job as 22 pylons are to be removed to be replaced by a new underground cable system!
Yesterday, we encountered a pedestrian crossing in the middle of our walk!
Last month, I posted a picture of a particular little corner of the West Dorset countryside above Abbotsbury (the location of my third novel and seemingly never-ending-work-in-progress The Right Place (which I hope to complete and publish before I get to the age of 100), thus starting a series of pictures I will be taking of the very same place over the next year.
The picture above was taken yesterday, 27/11/2020. Granted, it doesn't look that different from the October one, but I can confirm that we noticed a few subtle differences standing there looking over the green valley... It's very difficult to pinpoint, but it felt decidedly more wintery despite the sunshine, and the air bit ever so slightly.
We then moved on to West Bexington and walked along the beach for 30mn or so; I breathed in the sea air deeper than usual as I hadn't been out and about in nature for a while, having been stuck inside poorly ventilated buildings with several hundred kids...
I have tried to research which house in the nearby village of Puncknowle the sculpture below refers to but cannot find anything online...
We stumbled across on bit of driftwood which looked more like the weathered skull of some prehistoric horned animal...
And also the remains of a beach barbecue... I still struggle to understand how people can just leave their stuff like that... If you blink, it would be an iron-age archaeological find...
I'm going to try and get out in nature as much as possible in the next few weeks as I will be doing a full-time assignment over January/February and won't be able to indulge in walks - or anything else bar work for that matter... Hopefully I will emerge on the other side roaring to go, as I do have a lot of work to do on The Right Place and the plotting of the Arcane online bookshop.
My goal over the next two weeks is to stay virus-free before I stop for the December break...
I still hope that a little bit more progress can be made on The Right Place before January...
Probably wishful thinking...
I have finally managed to source a second-hand printer, and therefore have been able to read through all the new writing I have completed over the summer. What a delight! For some reason, I cannot edit properly if I do not have a printed copy of the manuscript with me.
I did struggle to get going during the first lockdown, and it took me about two months before I was able to sit down and add a few words to the first draft of my third novel, The Right Place.
I now have about 30,000 words, and we are almost at the end of the month of November, which means that there is absolutely no way I will finish off that first draft for 31 December; as a result, I've had to scrap my whole publishing schedule, and I have no idea when I will be able to publish the book as I need to try and earn a living at the same time, and even that hasn't been that easy over the past few months...
The COVID crisis has really put a spanner in the works and I've had to accept that things would take much, much longer to happen over the next few years.
Yesterday, I had a read through of those 60-odd pages of manuscript I've managed to squeeze out of myself so far for this book, and I was actually - and surprisingly - rather pleased; there is much, much editing and correcting work to do on it, but I have found quite a lot of aspects of the story to be exactly as I'd want them to be, and the characters have really started to come to life.
So today, I'll be doing a little bit of editing and I'm hoping to add a few hundred words to the manuscript before I start my full-time work assignment in January.
I have put a lot of lovely books for sale on the Facebook marketplace, and you can find them listed on the Arcane Publishing blog HERE.
I sincerely hope that the winter weather will allow me to spend some time in the beautiful Dorset countryside over the December holidays, and I will try and post a few pictures on here...
Finally, we at Arcane/ArtPix towers are preparing for the re-opening of The Customs House in West Bay where our little unit is located. Do pay us a visit if you're around when all non-essential shops reopen next week!
We are now in the middle of the second lockdown, and things are very busy here at the Arcane/ArtPix's quarters.
I have spent quite some time away from The Right Place as I try and raise funds for Arcane, but I will be going back to the first draft this week.
I try and find inspiration and solace in the beauty of the Dorset landscape.
Here is Long Bredy in the beautiful Bride Valley.
I'll admit it, in our house, every day is Halloween...
Here's the acoustic version of Ministry's "Every day is Halloween".
Ministry is one of my all-time favourite bands...
When I write my novels, I have a whole movie in my head. I can "see" the locations, the settings, the people. I have a extremely precise idea of what my characters should look like - I'd be a nightmare to deal with if someone wanted to turn one of my books into a film or TV series...
The other day, I was researching some images for one of the main characters in The Right Place, Katharine "Kat" Moorhouse, and I stumbled across pictures of a young woman who looked exactly as Kat would look 6 years on from the action of the book. In the novel, Kat is 14, and I guess this young lady must be around 20...
So here she is: Kat at 20...
Please accept my apologies for the watermarks...
As we are slowly entering a particularly challenging and dark winter, I find myself turning even more than usual to books, music, writing and the Dorset landscape. You wouldn't believe the size of my "books to buy" list.
The week ahead is looking particularly wet and windy, and I intend on concentrating on my work-in-progress The Right Place; I am also finding myself more and more involved in the planning of my fourth novel, the vintage-tinged detective/supernatural story Hell Lane: a Barton Stacey mystery.
We managed to escape the rain yesterday for a couple of hours, and we found a new starting point for some forthcoming winter walks relatively close to our house; the well-established walking routes of the Jubilee Trail and the South Dorset Ridgeway cross paths at this point. There's plenty to explore on the edges of Weymouth, and I will of course post about those wintery excursions on here.
Yesterday, our walk took us along the Dorchester-Weymouth relief road which was built in 2012 for the Olympics.
It is already proving to be a problem as traffic is heavy most of the time, and as the population of both towns grows, the local authorities' woeful lack of planning comes to light.
The relief road cuts deep into the ancestral landscape which keeps on inspiring me and giving me some kind of perspective on the current national and international situation; the echoes of the county's ancient past are all around us as we walk its old ways. The Dorset countryside is sprinkled with Iron Age forts, tumuli, heritage buildings, ruins and patches of land scorched by the violent struggles of the previous centuries.
We found ourselves standing at the site of the Ridgeway Hill Burial, where the heads and bodies of 51 decapitated Vikings were found in 2009 during the construction of the relief road; it did send shivers down our spine...
A surprisingly bright wildflower meadow has sprung up here on the Ridgeway!
I think therefore I write.
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