Night at the Plantation Published

Night at the Plantation Published
Night at The Plantation - A Halloween Story” has been released, just in time for a Halloween street date.

The hottest ticket in town is an invitation to The Plantation for the annual Halloween event. Lauren is lucky enough to be invited, only to find that things aren’t as they seem, and definitely not as she expected.

Her plan to find a man a the party is thrown into disarray when she encounters two brothers, who share a terrible secret between them — the secret of The Plantation itself.

For a story that came out of nowhere, and was looking like it wasn’t going to make the Halloween street date, it has shaped up into a good release.

It was warmly received by both Alpha and Beta readers, and it seems to have hit the spot for people who are looking for something a little special at Halloween. It’s available now, across most stores.

Night at the Plantation Out Soon

Network Solution
I had the basic idea for what I wanted to write as a Halloween story a couple of months ago and had started working on it where an when I could. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t seem to get it going anywhere and it just stagnated. With Halloween only a few days away I could really feel the pressure (mostly self-imposed) of what I was trying to achieve.

Something unlocked over the weekend, and I managed to write what ended up being 2/3 of the final book in the space of one sitting. “Night at The Plantation - A Halloween Story” will be released on Halloween (perhaps even the day before), and is going through its last couple of quality checks before I prepare it for release.

All of the self-doubt about having lost the touch faded away as the story just flowed from my fingers. I found it going in directions that I didn’t expect, directions that I hadn’t considered, and finding that my muse was still waiting for me.

In the end, all I had to do was to stop trying so hard, and just let the stories flow. The more I placed deadlines and pressure on myself to achieve something, the worse it got.

This is a problem that has plagued my writing this year, as I have struggled against some of the additional workload I took on, and against events that were outside of my control. The books that resulted from that process weren’t my strongest and, when looking at them, I can see which ones were written while I was in a bad place.

My other books released this year, including the experience of both ends of the spectrum with this one, show me that I do still have my muse, and I can be very prolific when the moment strikes me.

Here’s to a happy Halloween for my readers who celebrate it, and to a good PNRe which will be available on Halloween.

A Chaotic Week

A Chaotic Week
I’ve spent a lot less time writing over the last few days than I really wanted to. I’ve also spent a lot less time looking after my releases and the interaction with my readers than I really wanted to.

Life continues to get in the way of everything else, and I am beginning to consider strongly whether I should take a short sabbatical from everything, just to let my batteries recharge.

Every time that I push forward with something, there always seems to be something to take my attention away. And, it always seems to be something more important.

This last week a few things were put into perspective when I found myself in the teeth of one of the bush fires that is currently burning in NSW. On Thursday, the day that the fires started, I found myself cut off from the main highway between Sydney and Canberra while trying to get home from Sydney. I was then given directions to try and get around the back of the fire, only to find myself squarely in its path. Backtracking to the closed-off highway, I then found that the only other reliable path back to the highway below the cut-off was also closed. My outlandish consideration of driving back into Sydney and then the long way back via the Blue Mountains and Bathurst was shut down rather quick by the fires at Lithgow and surrounding area.

The photo accompanying this post was taken on the road back to the coast to hunt for a way out of danger. Of note, this road is now closed thanks to this fire, three days after the photo was taken. With the gale force winds pushing the fire at my back, and with no one having a clear idea of just where the fire was at that point, it was causing concern for a lot of people. As luck would have it, the only time that people rang to see how I was doing was when I was mid-escape and in a location where mobile coverage was poor. I know that a few people who were concerned about me were not able to get the news they were after until much later than they should have.

Getting back to the coast gave some good news -- the alternate route to the highway was re-opened, but no one knew how long it would stay open. It also gave bad news -- the entire coastal city I had just driven into was given a bushfire alert, something that really made the situation difficult as it wasn’t really the sort of place to normally received things like that and I was even less willing to spend the night there if I couldn’t get back to Canberra.

There was one other possible route back home, but it was also affected by fire, and no one was saying whether that road was open or closed.

I managed to take the re-opened route, but it became apparent that everyone else was trying the same idea, and I found myself in a 3 km traffic jam, halfway up a set of switchbacks on a very narrow road (technically a highway, but it isn’t really even single lane at this particular pass). With the smoke and uncertainty about how long the pass was going to stay open, being stuck in a jam with nowhere to go and no escape was not the most fun experience.

After a lot of careful driving and navigating by feel, I made it to the highway, and eventually home. In the end, I was only 3-4 hours later than I had conservatively forecast, so it wasn’t too bad an outcome for me. For those who lost lives and property in the ongoing carnage, things are much, much worse, and it’s going to be a rough few days coming up.

Looking at the trouble I’ve had getting to write, it just all seems to be small potatoes. I’ve got a Halloween short, and another novella that I want to have ready by the end of the month (it’s at the editing stage), but I am questioning whether it’s worth pushing too hard at the moment.

Having one of my titles scrubbed from the active list by Amazon, presumably due to the presence of certain words in the title, has also caused some pause for thought about what outcomes are really important. It’s back in the list, but the hassle of sorting it out came at the wrong time.

Back in the Saddle

Back in the Saddle
Things have been a little more disrupted than I would have liked over the last couple of weeks, but it looks like the life issues which got in the way of writing are settling down again. From car accidents, to broken computers, what I’d planned as being a nice couple of weeks of writing was anything but.

My family and I are still dealing with the outcome of a car accident from a couple of weeks ago which has the potential to cause some chaos for another couple of weeks. Fortunately everyone is okay, so that is a major blessing.

The planned time without my computer became something much worse than originally expected (a 2 day repair took 10+ days), and it’s still not quite right. At least I think I’ve managed to track down what the issue is, now. Or, at least I think I have. Fortunately the next step is an overnight fix.

With those issues crowding me out, I was amazed that I actually managed to sit down and get some writing done. I went old-school and attacked it with pen and paper. After the first semi-successful session I had remembered how to write and think at the speed of my handwriting. Some of the story elements that I had been struggling with when writing on the computer became really clear and flowed together nicely when written on the page.

I will probably finish off the current short story by hand, and transcribe it slowly, but it should make for a much more useful and workable story.

The other thing that I missed out on really keeping an eye on was the release of “A Proper Consummation”, which I think is one of my stronger books. It’s out, now, if you haven’t picked up your copy, yet.