Friday, April 3, 2020

Celebrate the Small Things 3-4-20

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

We made it through the first week of lockdown and I've survived two full weeks of working from home.  Still don't like it much, but since another colleague of mine has now tested positive for COVID-19, I'm grateful that we can work from home.  Just how transmittable this virus is frightening...  Thankfully my colleague has had pretty mild symptoms.

I braved the supermarket earlier in the week, and found that to be a rather unpleasant experience.  Hoping not to have to go again until next Wednesday or Thursday....

The anthology my story is in, Just Me, has a release date: 17 April.  So if you're a fan of queer love stories, you might want to pick yourself up a copy!

And that's about it for me this week.  What's going on in your world that you can celebrate?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

IWSG - April

It's April, so it's time for the Insecure Writers' Support Group. In this weird old world we find ourselves living in, this month's question is a goodie!

The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?

How are things in my world?

Well, they're different.  A week ago our Prime Minister put the entire country into lockdown for 4 weeks.  Suddenly my 15-year-old son was the only member of our household still considered "essential", so he is the only one who can leave the house and go to work (he works at a supermarket).

Both kids were doing school online last week, but the Ministry of Education moved the school holidays up a couple of weeks so now they're on vacation.  I think my younger son is going to spend the entire time on his device, gaming or watching stupid videos on You-Tube...  My older one bought himself a guitar the day before the lockdown and has been teaching himself to play.  He's quite surprisingly good, considering he's never had a lesson.

I'm working at home, something I've done before only when I've had major projects that needed focus and no interruptions.  And it's hard.  And much more tiring than I would have expected.  I don't think I ever realized quite how much we feed off the energy of other people in the workplace, but working alone at home is far more tiring than being in the office.

This is our new normal.  For four weeks.   But I suspect it will be longer than that.  The number of cases of Covid-19 are still rising, and yesterday the first person died from it in our country.  Things are going to get worse before they get better.

But to look on the bright side, I'm not sick, I'm still employed, unlike many other people and our house is big enough to accommodate four people working at home.  There are plenty of beautiful places to walk when going out for exercise and even beaches within easy walking distance.  We have technology to keep in close contact with friends and family so being locked down doesn't mean being isolated.

Who knows?  I may even manage to do some writing...

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Weekly Goals 30-3-20

Another week swings by so what are my goals?

You know what?  I haven't thought that much about it.  With the world so crazy, just getting through each day is enough.

But here goes...

My goals this week are to exercise every day and to get out of the house to walk at least three times during the day, even if it is just around the block.  I will also ensure my younger son goes out for a walk at least once a day.  Otherwise he'll just spend his entire day in bed, glued to his tablet.

I will also try to write.  I've been struggling with it the last coupe of weeks because what's going on in the world is so huge and overwhelming, my little stories seem pointless and trivial.  But even if I can't work on any of the novel projects I have on the go, my goal is to write a little piece of short fiction each day.

And that's about it for goals.  It's hard to plan for the future when you don't know what bombshell the world is going to drop on you next.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, March 27, 2020

Celebrate the Small Things 27-3-20

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

I'm feeling lucky this week, so I'm celebrating that.

On Wednesday at midnight the country went into lockdown to try and stop the spread of COVID-19.  So for four weeks the entire county, apart from a limited number of people considered essential workers have to stay at home.

Then we were told the CEO of our business had tested positive for the virus.  She worked in the office with us for two and a half days last week during the period she would have been infectious, so all of a sudden everyone who was in the office during that time is considered a close contact.

And then another person who works with me also tested positive.

So I'm feeling lucky.  It's been 10 days since I last saw the CEO since she went home sick, and then we all tested out remote working capabilities for a couple of days (which has now become indefinite) and I have no symptoms.  Apparently if you're going to get it, symptoms generally show up within 4-7 days of contact, but it can be as much as 11 days.  If I'm not sick by tomorrow night, I think I can probably consider myself safe.

For now.

The weird thing about this situation is that my 15-year-old son is now considered an essential worker because he works in a supermarket.  Which means that once my 14-day isolation period is over, he can go back to work.  And once he does that, he'll be at risk of contracting the virus and bringing it home to all of us.  I know they are taking a lot of extra safety precautions at supermarkets, but that doesn't change that there are a lot of idiots out there.  And not everyone seems to be taking this lockdown as seriously as they should be.

But I guess we'll deal with it.  The school holidays started early, so as of today the kids have no school for two weeks, not even the online school they've been doing this week.  I'd rather have him out there being useful in the world, making a difference, than mooching around his room playing video games.

Welcome to our new normal, people!

How are you dealing with the lockdown (assuming wherever you are is locked down)?  Does it get any easier?  It's only been three days and I'm already very over being stuck in the house...

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Books I've Read: Sparrow

There was a lot I liked about this book, but probably an equal amount I didn't like.

It's about a girl called Sparrow, a talented dancer in a small town who is haunted by her past to a degree that threatens her future.  She gets into a relationship with a handsome player who treats her like crap and starts trying to alienate her from her friends.

In a second POV we get Lucas's story.  Lucas is Sparrow's dance partner and all-around nice guy.  He's also in love with her, so his jealousy and suspicion of the above-mentioned handsome player starts off feeling like sour grapes.

I didn't feel like this was a book that really needed a second POV character, especially since each time Lucas stepped into the story, we were taken back in time so we could see the events of the previous section through his eyes.  This really slowed the book down and seeing the same events again didn't really add much to the story.  And Lucas is far too much the good-guy to be truly interesting.  Even when he gave in to his temper and let his rage out, he still came across as a nice guy.

The other thing I really didn't like about the book was how quickly Sparrow's relationship with Tristan developed.  It didn't really develop,  She met him, they went out, and suddenly they were in a relationship and in love.  I never understood the connection or what made her think he loved her or why she loved him.  Nothing in any of his actions made me believe that.  The thing with abusive relationships is that before they become manipulative and dangerous, there has to be something real and powerful there.  Otherwise no one would stay in one.  Staying is hoping things will go back to being the perfect thing that existed to begin with.

While ballet is obviously important to Sparrow and Lucas, it isn't really a huge part of the book, so if you're looking for a story that delves deep into the ballet world, this isn't the book for you.  This is much more a delve into the psyche of a young woman whose traumatic past has her confused about what love actually looks and feels like.

And as that, it does work on many levels.  There are just a few too many distractions around this core plot, and not enough realistic set up in the early part of the book to sustain the later parts.

Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this one in advance.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Weekly Goals 23-3-20

It's kind of difficult to make goals when every day the world seems to shift further into an Orwellian nightmare.  But we must keep going, so I'm going to try to set some goals that may or may not be achievable in the current climate.

I got edits on my novella for the anthology over the weekend, so my first goal this week is to turn those around and get them turned in before the deadline.

My second goal is to try and get myself settled into working from home.  It's not something I'm used to doing except the odd day here or there when I had a specific project I had to focus on intensely.  So being here on my own every day (assuming we don't go back into the office tomorrow as anticipated) is going to take some getting used to.

My third goal is to keep using the time I usually commute to work to exercise.  The gym is unlikely to stay open much longer, so I can't count on being able to go there, and the classes aren't at times that are convenient if I'm working at home.

And my final goal is to try to get some writing done.  I've been struggling with this over the last week because it seems so irrelevant to write about the world before this happened.  Yet it's impossible to write about the world as it is now because we have no idea what is going to happen next...

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Celebrate the Small Things 20-3-20

This post is part of Lexa Cain's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to sign up!

What am I celebrating this week?

Well, not a lot actually.  The world seems to be getting crazier by the day.  Just last week I was celebrating that life here didn't seem to be changing too much, but all that is different now.  The borders to my country are closed.  Gatherings of 100 people or more are banned and this number is likely to get smaller and smaller.

We're working at home today and Monday, to test that we actually can.  Supposedly we're going back to the office on Tuesday, but when we left last night, it felt very much like we were leaving for much longer than just a few days.

I don't have a problem with working from home.  In fact, when I need to write something big and important, I find I can focus much better at home without all the noise and chatter from my colleagues.  But that's usually a single day away from the office and all the little things you pick up on by just being there amongst people.  If this turns out to be a long-term thing, I'm not sure how much I'm going to like it.

So far the schools are still open, so at least I don't have to try and supervise the kids doing online school at the same time as trying to manage my workload.  But for how long, I'm not sure.

If I'm looking for something to celebrate, I guess it's that I'm not sick.

And I still have a job, unlike many others people in the creative community who suddenly find themselves unable to make a living.   If you do one thing this weekend, do something to support the arts.  Buy an album from a musician whose tour has been cancelled.  Support comedians and actors whose shows have been suspended or postponed. A lot of performers are making material available online.  Watch it.  And please, if you can, pay for it.  If you can still go to the movies, go to the movies and support an independent cinema.  Even if there is nothing on you REALLY want to see.

What are you celebrating this week?