The Exclamation! Issue!
Sorry for the ! points everywhere.
This newsletter is the first of at least two this month — perhaps three, if I get a year-end message crafted in time. Time, these days, is weird. I recently gave this some thought, how new parents talk about not having any time — in some ways, I find this to be true, I’m not getting things done as I would like, and I rarely have the time needed to get into that deep work zone which benefits my brain so very much.
However, I also find time has been elongated too, stretched and pulled in odd directions. I like this. The past seven and a bit weeks since Ailsa arrived in the world have been fast and slow, full of things noticed and thoughts strange and wonderful. Would I like more time to get things done and remove that level of stress? Of course I would, but at the same time I’m more than happy to sneak downstairs from where I work and go to see our daughter — after all, these moments are not going to come back and, as much as I long to reply to messages and emails, finish bits of work, move on with others, I also know that my ability to have these moments is not to be ignored. Too many people don’t have that chance, and I am very grateful I do.
Which is a long way of saying, this newsletter will mostly be brief news and snippets.
Firstly, A Sale!
The ebook of Death In Harmony was published for Kindle nearly three months ago. From today, the 7th of December, until the 14th of December, there is a huge reduction on the cover price at amazon.com and amazon.co.uk (sorry that I can’t do this in the other amazon markets, but the kindle direct system presently only allows the sale in those two).
Instead of paying $5.99 or £4.99, you can get this for a tiny, tiny $0.99 or £0.99. Which is really not much at all. Buy one! Tell your friends, enemies, etc. — I’m really not the best at selling my things, am I (the marketing element of this business is firmly set to increase early next year, and I know I’ll have to overcome my ridiculous Britishness of “I’m terribly sorry, but I wrote a book I think you might like, it’s rather good, perhaps buy one, but only if you want to…?!” It’s going to be tough for me.)?
Secondly, Free Books!
If you use Kindle Unlimited, you can also get Death In Harmony there, available for free. Find it here, in a group promotion entitled The Fantastic Kindle Universe, along with forty other books. All available to those of you with KU. This promo runs until the end of the year.
Only One Death, my tale of mountains and coming winter, dangers, death, and a twist on the standard fantasy quest, is available here, as part of a giveaway called Sci-fi Fantastic : Free Science Fiction and Fantasy eBooks. This, as the name should tell you, includes both sci-fi and fantasy, and there’s a blinding array of stories to choose from, all for free. Have a look, there’s bound to be something for you.
There’ll be more offers and exciting giveaways in my next newsletter!
Thirdly, a Sneaky Mention of a New Project!
At some point in the first three or four months of next year, along with finishing the final novel/novella (I suspect the former) of The Tales of The Lesser Evil introductory series, moving house, and getting married, I have another exciting project due to be released.
Keen readers, or those with exceptional memories, may remember that I studied Archaeology and Prehistory at university, with a special interest in the hunter-fisher-gatherers of the Mesolithic and Early Neolithic, especially in what is now Europe but also examining the ethnographic record for examples. If you’ve ever read just one of these newsletters, you’re almost certainly aware of how much I love and value nature. I’ve also mentioned my keen interest in bushcraft — the subject of being able to live in nature, with it, using knowledge and skills to ensure you are not merely surviving, but thriving.
For a long time now, I’ve been considering how best to share my love of these subjects and to do so in such a way as to make it engaging, unique and also — especially, for me — sustainable. By this, I mean I do not want to start a new project which takes time away from other things, and which does not bring in an income (or has the potential to do so).
Recently, in one of those oh! lightbulb flashing above my head moments, I managed to put all the pieces together and come up with a plan which ticks all the above boxes, and more. I am still planning and working on this, and have drafted a more substantial newsletter piece about this I will share soon but, if you are interested in bushcraft, the Mesolithic, nature, and story — or even just some of those things — then I know this will be of interest to you (there will also be a free component to this project). Watch this space…
I told you this would not be much more than brief snippets.
Don’t forget — if you have £0.99 or $0.99 spare, and want to read Death In Harmony, head over to the amazon.co.uk or amazon.com site and grab it before it goes back up to full price (depending on when you read this, it might not yet be live at that price on .com, but it will be soon…). You don’t have to have read the other Tales of The Lesser Evil. There is also a link in there for a further story, which features a monster-of-sorts beginning with the letter V. Death in Harmony itself also has monsters. And peril. Lots of peril.
This week, I have realised I’ve stopped listening to music. Which is NOT a good thing. As such, I have been pushing back against that, and playing a number of albums whilst I work. Currently, that is The Rough Guide to Cumbia, which is rather toe-tappingly good. I do love the Rough Guide series — there’s so many different styles of music to discover out there, so many wonders and gems.
It is the season of merriment and celebration, across a range of religions and regions. Midwinter is always a time when I have to focus on remaining happy in my brain, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be tough, tricking me into feeling lower than I should be, and I know it is the same for many others. Christmas, or winter in general, can be a time when difficult memories surface, or the darker days (in the northern hemisphere — I don’t forget you readers the other side of the equator!) push us into darker places in our own heads.
The secret, or what works for me, is to be aware of this, to look forward to the middle of winter and know that by the time Christmas is passing the daylight is returning, the nights getting shorter. And to get outside as much as possible (which is not always possible, I know). Tracking and noting feelings and simple day-to-day happenings is also vastly useful, for me at least. Awareness is all. Don’t slip into the darkness.
As such, I just wanted to say let’s keep an eye out for one another and ourselves. If you see someone stumble, pick them up, carefully and without much fuss. Perhaps recommend a good book, or an album you love which is full of toe-tapping summery joy. Remember how to build a snowman or to throw snowballs. Feed the birds. Create, mend and repair. Watch your favourite comedies, laugh more. Look at the trees and see the tight buds waiting to unfurl in the spring. All sleeps, all waits — and the greening is a mere whisper away.
More soon. Take care of yourselves and others, my friends.
As nearly-always, the photos are mine. This time, I’ve taken them from an album I’ve put together for the forthcoming new project I mentioned earlier. You might have seen some of them before, as they are amongst my favourites, but perhaps not all of them. I apologise for the sometimes strained captions…!