“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.” – Ferris Bueller
A good quote from a fun movie. It’s especially applicable at the moment, because lately I’ve been looking around at my life and thinking “Wow, I got here in a hurry” and “This isn’t remotely where I intended to be or really want to be”.
Life moves faster and faster as you get older. School flows into college, which flows into university, which flows into a graduate job. With the latter two I was just so grateful that they wanted me that I didn’t deeply consider whether I really wanted them.
Going to uni and getting the job I did seemed like correct steps along the path to… something. Meanwhile I was dreaming dreams and using phrases like ‘when I grow up’ or ‘when I start my real life’.
Now I’m almost 30 and I’ve realised that every step I’ve progressed through my life so far has been, if not accidental, haphazard. I’ve accidentally ended up in a career that I have no investment in. Of course, now that I’ve realised this, remaining in the job I hate ceases to be an accident. If I stay it becomes a choice.
Time to make a change. Time to start again, to retrain, to rediscover what excites me and pursue it. Life moves pretty fast, but I’ve got the will and the moves to chase down and capture the life I want.
My mind is a greedy, hungry beast and it craves knowledge about all sorts of things. I can get obsessed with learning about certain things and can spend months just hunting down books and webpages on a single subject.
Nominally these research obsessions are in service of books yet unwritten: ideas in the formative stage that need to be fed on the genuine texture of peoples and places and times in order to come to fruition. However this excuse doesn’t justify the myriad and varied tangents that by research takes me down. In truth I love knowledge for its own sake. I’m an addict.
My current research obsession is 1930s Paris. The city of lights in a dark, dark time – between the Wall Street Crash and the Second World War. It is a time and place filled with interesting (and controversial) people, and a lot of them are women: Elsa Schiaparelli, Wallis Simpson, Coco Chanel, Anais Nin, Josephine Baker. I get the feeling that this current obsession will last quite a bit longer.
My debut novel, Heartweed, was released on the Kindle last week. If you got a Kindle for Christmas, check it out – only £0.99.
Buy it from Amazon.co.uk
Buy it from Amazon.com
This week was a good week. I went from being an unpublished author to being twice published (OK – the second of these was self publishing, but still exciting).
More exciting is having been chosen to be published alongside many other talented fiction writers in Etched Offerings, an anthology of pagan-flavoured fiction.
The anthology is available on Amazon.com and Smashwords.
There are some awesome stories in this collection. Read as a group it is interesting to see the threads and themes that run between stories. One theme that I noticed in quite a few of the stories was the theme of ‘searching’, most often for answers, sometimes for love or for a killer. In most cases the search is rewarded, though not always in the way you’d expect.
My favourite stories in the anthology are the two that lean most heavily towards a specific genre.
Wolves, by Cory Thomas Hutcheson, is an out and out ghost story. The lights go out, a blizzard closes in, strange things start to happen.
Worst Place to Be, by Trevor Curtis, feels like pure noir. The hard-drinking paranormal PI is recruited onto a case by an ice-cold, well-dressed dame – he just knows it’s going to mean trouble.
My own story, Empty Places, is a story of a contemporary family going through a sad time, but it ends with hope.
Hurry to Smashwords and get yourself a copy. It’s worth the price to sample all of those talented writers.
This is the beta version of my novel. If you are a new reader – welcome. You can read from the start here.
New sections are released every Tuesday and Friday. Please let me know your opinion in the comments section. Thank you for reading.
Artie shuddered and pulled the blanket closer around her. The sun’s pale fingers were creeping into the sky, but it seemed to be getting colder not warmer. The hard back of the patio chair dug in between two of her vertebrae. She shifted again, knowing that it would make no difference. Every bit of her hurt.
There was a brushing sound of feet through dewed grass, then the gate creaked. Artie looked up to see a very awake Alex.
“Thank god you’re alright.” Artie leaped up and ran towards her brother. She thumped into him in a relieved hug. Her stomach complained, sending pointed reminders of where March’s foot had landed. Artie winced away and put a hand to her belly.
“Hey.” Alex’s face was creased with concern. “What’s the matter?”
Artie shook her head. “I was worried about you.”
Alex spread his arms wide. “Well here I am, safe and sound.”
“Well I woke up in the woods in my underpants feeling like a pillock.” He laughed. “I had to dodge the early morning dog walkers on the way back. Avoid getting arrested for indecent exposure.”
Alex perched on the edge of the garden table and swung his left leg. Artie sunk her teeth into her lower lip.
“What? It wasn’t that unfunny.”
Artie stared at him bleakly. “What do you remember about last night?”
“Nothing.“ Alex shrugged. “I went to sleep. I woke up this morning standing next to a tree.” He jumped up from the table. “Let’s go indoors. I don’t want Mum and Dad to get worried.”
Artie reached out. “Alex, wait. You… There was… You were..” The words fled from Artie’s mouth. What could she say that didn’t sound insane? She passed a hand through her short hair. “You don’t remember anything?”
Alex shook his head, pursed his lips.
“Nothing weird or odd or like a dream?”
A shadow fluttered through Alex’s eyes. He turned away from her. Artie plunged on.
“It’s just I saw you. With someone. With the same someone I saw you with before.”
Alex snapped. “You’re talking nonsense.”
Artie recoiled from the sudden anger in Alex’s face. His voice had hit her like a slap.
“I am not.”
Alex shook his head vigorously. “There was no one.”
He stomped to the back door and yanked it open. Artie grabbed his arm. He let her turn him face her. She looked into his eyes, behind the anger they were haunted.
“There was. You remember.” Artie said. “They aren’t human, you know. They’re monsters. She is not human-”
Alex shoved her and she landed on the floor hard. A bolt of fire passed through her as the impact jolted through her already injured ribs and stomach.
“Don’t talk about her like that.”
Alex slammed the door behind him so hard that the glass panes in it rattled.