Category Archives: Ramblings

Anything that comes to mind

Trying to squeeze blood from a stone, a Blackstone, to be precise.

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If you have not read the Blackstone Trilogy, and intend to do so in the future, please do not read any further. This blog post is intended for those readers who have finished reading, Blackstone Resurrection, the final book in the Blackstone Trilogy.

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So after I published Blackstone Resurrection, I received an enquiry from a reader as to whether there would be more added to the story about Aidan and Lily, a type of epilogue, to tie up loose ends, much like I had done with the Driftwood Trilogy, where I wrote an epilogue of how the characters were doing ten years later. In that case it felt necessary, to give peace to all the characters, and to show them in more normal circumstances, and more content. It felt right.

In the case of the Blackstone Trilogy, I attempted to do the same, as I’m always keen to please my readers, and if they wanted an epilogue, well, then I would write one. But I came up against a brick wall, again and again, bashing my fists bloody as I tried to break through. My creativity fled as I tried to invent a story where, quite frankly, there was no longer a story. It was finished, even though I had not been certain of that when I had agreed to do an epilogue or short novelette.

I hate to disappoint even one reader, but in the past months I have grown tired of trying to squeeze blood from a stone. It influenced my love of writing to the point where I began to avoid my laptop, and sometimes weeks would go by without me writing a single word. At first I thought something would come to me, and I would find a way to continue the story, but nothing came. And because I was keeping Aidan and Lily in my imagination, it prevented other characters from moving in, and prevented me from starting the standalone book I had been so keen on writing after I had completed Blackstone Resurrection.

So basically I have had around six months of barely writing. That’s not to say that I’ve been sitting around staring out the window. My life has become incredibly busy, as my 12 year old niece started coming to my house in the afternoon so that I could look after her and help her with homework. This was something that I had asked for so it was important to me to make time for her. Also the person who had been helping out with my shelter left my employ, and I have not been able to find a replacement. So in the morning it was doing my shelter work, sorting out 38 cats every morning, releasing them into the garden so that I could clean out and sweep their rooms and wooden huts, and clean around 22 sandboxes that had been used during the night. So it was cats in the morning, kid in the afternoon, and in the evening I was cooking supper for my two aged parents.

Yes, so hardly a minute spare to do anything, especially as initially my energy levels were so low after my second thyroid operation. But I can feel I’m back to normal now, and I can get the cats done in two hours in the morning, mainly because I’m moving faster now. And my niece has improved her marks, so she no longer requires such close attention from me. So now suddenly I have a few hours a day available to write, but what to write?

I want to outline the reasons why I feel that it isn’t possible to do an epilogue of Blackstone Resurrection. Let’s start with Suzy. Should there be some kind of resolution to her relationship with Lily, after all they had been friends for a few years, and she had been so concerned for Lily and the baby. Yes, to the point that she had betrayed Lily, and by extension, Aidan, almost costing Lily her life, and Aidan his freedom. Aidan endured months of terrible living conditions and beatings, but the worst was not knowing if Lily was alive or dead. Lily too, even though her living circumstances were better, had suffered great anguish not knowing what had happened to Aidan. One can say that Suzy didn’t know any better, that she had done what she thought was best under the circumstances, but I think we can all agree that Charles’ story of being the father of Lily’s child was fishy at best, and Suzy should’ve known that Lily would have taken her into her confidence if that had been the case. But Suzy had been so emotionally involved and caught up in her ‘hatred’ of Aidan that she was no longer thinking rationally. All of this is up for debate, of course, but consider the following. Would Lily be able to forgive Suzy for what she had done, even if it had been done in ignorance? Would Lily ever be able to trust Suzy again, knowing how easily she had been manipulated by Charles? How would Lily protect Suzy from Aidan, who would surely vaporize Suzy if he ever set eyes on her again? I think it’s obvious that their friendship cannot be rekindled, aside from the fact that Lily and Aidan are using different names until Aidan destroys the last of the Order of St. Lucian. The last thing they need is someone who knows them under their previous identities.

Then we come to James, who had been in Aidan’s employ for several years, and who had posed as Lily’s father during the time that they had been on the run from the Order of St. Lucian. I think it would be dangerous for James to be in Lily and Aidan’s lives. Remember when Lily left James to go and find Aidan, she waited until the bus had travelled quite some distance before attempting to draw money from her account. She had not wanted to lead the Order of St. Lucian to James and his new family, wanting him to enjoy his new found happiness in peace. After she had found Aidan again, she had sent James an email to tell him she was safe and had found Aidan. I believe that it should end there. There is no way that they could remain anything more than old friends who occasionally communicate via email, as anything more than that would put James at risk. And how would they explain the fact that they were not getting any older to James? Let’s face it, due to their immortality they would have to live an existence that involved moving frequently, living quietly, and avoiding long term friendships. Sounds like a lonely existence, and that was how Aidan had lived before meeting Lily, but now at least they had each other, forever. Sounds like a dream come true.

So then I thought, couldn’t I explore that a little further, how Aidan teaches Lily to use her powers, and how she experiences life as an immortal. But then I thought that’s far too much like Twilight, after Bella became a vampire, and she and Edward romped through the woods and he taught her to hunt, and she developed her powers. Yeah, that’s been done, and I had no interest in going down that avenue. So that was that then. For the sake of showing how awkward a meeting between Lily and Suzy would’ve been, what follows is a scene I had reworked over and over, and had eventually given up on. It’s not fully edited, nor complete, but you will see what I mean.

Copyright 2018 Niki Savage
This publication is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from Niki Savage.

“Lily!”

Lily froze as she heard her name. She knew that voice. For a moment, she considered ignoring the cry and disappearing into one of the many fashion shops lining London’s Bond Street. But then she paused. Aidan wasn’t with her, so what could be the harm?

She turned and saw Suzy rushing towards her with outstretched arms and joy on her face, her aura displaying nothing but love and happiness. Lily couldn’t help but to respond with a smile, despite everything that had happened.

Suzy slammed into her a second later and hugged her hard. “I can’t believe it, here you are,” she said, releasing Lily but still keeping a hold on her arm, as if she was worried she might disappear. “You guys just vanished, and nobody could tell me where you had gone. Lily, it’s been three years.”

“Hi Suzy, how have you been?” Lily asked, shrugging lightly to remove Suzy’s hand from her arm.

“I’ll tell you everything,” Suzy said, excitement in her tone, “but not here. Let’s go to that coffee shop over there and get something to drink, then we can talk in peace and quiet.”

Lily wasn’t sure if she was up to that kind of in-depth conversation, but then decided that Suzy would probably talk mostly about herself, and all she had to do was listen. “That sounds like a great plan,” she said, injecting a note of enthusiasm in her voice.

Suzy hooked her arm into Lily’s arm and headed for the café at a brisk walk. Soon they were settled at a table, steaming cups of coffee in front of them, and Suzy finally seemed to relax. She smiled happily. “Can you believe it, halfway across the world, and we run into each other. I mean, what are the odds of that?”

Lily didn’t know, but was sure that fate had caused their paths to cross. She had wanted to contact Suzy so many times, but Aidan had advised against it, saying that Suzy couldn’t be trusted, and that it was only out of respect for their friendship that he had allowed her to escape unpunished after causing them such misery. But this was different, surely. A chance meeting in London. Really, what were the odds?

“Well, clearly this was meant to be,” Lily said with a smile. “So tell me, what have you been up to since I last saw you.”

Suzy beamed happily, holding her left hand towards Lily. “I’m married. Benji popped the question after I graduated. I missed you so much at my wedding. One of my cousins stood in as my matron of honor, but I so wanted it to be you. I’m so sorry that you couldn’t be there.”

Lily shrugged and shut her lips tight against the words of accusation that threatened to burst forth. Better to play it cool. She couldn’t confront Suzy with the facts because how would she explain knowing exactly what had happened. This had been a mistake. She should’ve shrugged Suzy off while they had been on the street.

“How’s Aidan?” Suzy asked. “And your baby. He must be around three by now.”

“Aidan is fine, thank you,” Lily said, taking a big sip of her scalding cappuccino. That was a mistake, she thought wryly as her violated skin instantly healed and the pain faded. But the pain of the burn had at least distracted her from her anger. She put her cup down with exaggerated care and looked up at Suzy. “There is no baby.”

“Hah, I knew it,” Suzy said loudly, causing a few of the other customers to glance at them curiously. She hunched her shoulders and sank down in her chair. “Sorry.”

“What did you know, Suzy,” Lily asked in a measured tone.

“Aidan made you get rid of it, just as I predicted. Were you even still pregnant that time when we spoke on the phone?”

“I was highly pregnant, actually.”

“So where’s the baby?”

Lily took a deep breath. She wanted to punish Suzy for what she had done, and the misery she had caused them, but she could never tell her the truth. But perhaps she could tell her a sanitized version of the truth. “Men invaded our property and tried to harm me and Aidan. We managed to escape into our panic room, but the shock of what had happened sent me into early labor. The baby didn’t survive.”

Suzy sat frozen, staring at her with wide eyes, and her aura showed guilt warring with intense sadness and shock.

“The birth nearly killed me,” Lily continued, “but we were trapped in the panic room and couldn’t get help, because the men were searching the property, still looking for us. Aidan tried everything to keep me alive but I eventually lost consciousness. When I woke, I was in hospital. They told me I had been in a coma for three months. I spent many more months in hospital after that, trying to recover my health.”

“And where was Aidan?” Suzy asked softly, dread in her eyes.

“He was there when I woke up,” Lily said, forcing the lie past tight lips, knowing she could never tell Suzy the truth of Aidan’s captivity at the hands of Charles’ father, Senator Logan.

Suzy’s freckles stood in stark contrast against her pale skin as she stared at Lily, consternation on her face. “I don’t understand. We went back, but the police wouldn’t give us any information. I searched for you, Lily. I phoned all the hospitals in New York, but I couldn’t find you.”

Lily clenched her teeth as she feigned ignorance. “What are you talking about, Suzy?”

Suzy dropped her gaze and stared at her coffee cup without answering.

“I asked you a question,” Lily said, determined to get her to confess. Aidan had suffered so much because of Suzy’s meddling. She should just have stayed out of their affairs.

Suzy let out a small cry and covered her downturned face with trembling hands, but tears dripped copiously from between her fingers. “I’m so sorry, Charles fooled me. I was so stupid,” she mumbled in a thick voice. Her shoulders shook as muffled sobs escaped from behind her hands.

Lily couldn’t keep it up. The revenge had soured in her mouth. She stared at the rich red of Suzy’s hair, gathered in a ponytail of riotous curls, and she knew she could never hold her actions against her. She and Aidan had travelled into the past to the time before the attack on the mansion and had seen how Charles had fooled Suzy, and how Benji and Suzy had called the police in an attempt to stop Charles when they had realized their mistake. At least the gunfight between the St. Lucians and the police had warned her and Aidan of impending danger, giving them time to get to the shelter, so even though Suzy had betrayed them, she and Benji had also tried to save them from harm.

The waiter appeared next to their table, ready to take their food order. His eyes stretched when he saw Suzy crying. “We’re alright,” Lily said, waving him away.

“Suzy, dry your tears,” Lily said gently as she manipulated Suzy’s aura, calming her so that they could talk without more dramatics.

Suzy kept her face downturned at as she rummaged in her handbag and found a handful of tissues. She pressed the tissues to her face, noticeably calmer. “Sorry for making such a scene,” she whispered in a raw voice. “For the last three years I’ve been trying to make peace with what I had done. The guilt was killing me, but I consoled myself that you and Aidan had to be happy somewhere in the world. Now I find out that it was even worse than I imagined. I’m so sorry.”

* * * *

And really, where does the conversation go from there. Lily can never be truthful. She already hates herself for every lie she is being forced to tell. And Suzy will remember how she had betrayed Lily every time they speak. So this friendship can never be rekindled, because it will cause pain and discomfort to Lily and to Suzy. Not forgetting the fact that Lily would then be going against Aidan’s wishes, as he had advised her not to contact Suzy.

To answer the question about Aidan’s stolen antique furniture, yes, of course he recovered all his furniture, and Charles died horribly. Again, there seemed to be little point in writing a scene where Aidan put an end to Charles, because the main question would have been, does he boil him in his own juices, or does he set him on fire. And I think we’ve had enough scenes where Aidan has done that to his enemies. It would have read like a rerun if I had attempted to write such a scene. So there it is. I guess that’s all I can say. I hope that I’ll be able to start on my new manuscript soon.

Final Notes on the Crossfire Trilogy

A little while ago, while feeling nostalgic for my favorite characters, I reread the Crossfire Trilogy and also the Driftwood Trilogy, and an interesting thought occurred to me. Is the Driftwood Trilogy really a spinoff of the Crossfire Trilogy, or is it just a continuation of the story, with the prequel, in the form of Crossfire: Driftwood thrown in somewhere in the middle. And I wondered to myself if I shouldn’t rather rebrand and market the six books as the Crossfire Series instead. But then I wondered whether Crossfire: Driftwood shouldn’t then be the first book in the series. After all, chronologically Driftwood happened many years before Crossfire.

But then I remembered that I wrote Driftwood after finishing the Crossfire Trilogy, and that Driftwood demonstrated some of the fears and problems that Marcelle had carried over to the first Crossfire book. And I realized that Driftwood needed to be read with the knowledge of the Crossfire Trilogy already in mind. I think it heightens the tension a bit more that the reader can easily guess who the strange man is that Nancy finds on the beach, simply by his description, and it lends a particular note to the story that the reader has information that the main protagonist, Nancy does not have.

So in the end I decided that the order is correct, and that Driftwood should be the fourth book in the series, because it also answers a question that is posed in Crossfire: Hearts on Fire, which is why is Karl so bitter and twisted about Nancy?

So yes, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering about this, mainly because when I look at sales figures, it is obvious to me that the Driftwood Trilogy has not had the same sales numbers as the Crossfire Trilogy. Not that it has sold badly at all, but what I mean is it is obvious to me that many people who read and enjoyed the Crossfire Trilogy didn’t go on to read the Driftwood Trilogy. It makes me wonder if I failed in my marketing of the two trilogies, and didn’t make it obvious enough that the two are connected?

This returns me to my first question, whether I shouldn’t rather rebrand the six books as one series. I would love some input on this, if anyone has an opinion. I don’t know if an author is allowed to love their own books, but I love the saga of Marcelle, Stefan, Kris, Karl and Nancy and their trials though the years. Those characters have been with me for a long time, because I wrote the Crossfire Trilogy way back in the nineties! And I realized upon reading it again that the Crossfire and Driftwood trilogies are primarily about betrayal and forgiveness. And whether love, whether romantic or familial love, can really overcome all.

And I really hope in real life that it can overcome all, because in this past year our family has experienced the lows of betrayal and anger as we were forced to go to court to protect a minor child from a predator. I can’t say too much about it, save to speak hypothetically. Let’s just say that there are predators who like to target single, sometimes desperate, women with a child or children of a certain age. Do you see where I’m going with this? And sometimes this woman is blind to what is happening, or what could potentially happen, and no amount of talking or reasoning will help, leaving her family no choice but to resort to the highest court in the country to keep this child safe, and keep this predator away from her.

We have provisionally succeeded, but the case is still on going, and the threats and abuse from the respondent in the case has been on going for this entire year. The cost to our family has been enormous, both financial and emotional, and our relationship with the respondent has been destroyed, which means we stand to lose everything, including our relationship with the child in question, if we should fail in our endeavor to protect her.

But I’ve always believed that the only way that evil can succeed in the world is if good people do nothing. And when I look at this beautiful child with her whole life still ahead of her, I know it will all be worth it in the end, knowing that we have prevented her childhood from being stolen from her. One day I will be able to face her and say to her that I did everything in my power to protect her. But the cost has been great, not the least in my productivity as a writer. I’ve been trying to get the third Blackstone book written, but all too often have found myself staring out of the window, my thoughts far away as I try to find a way to settle this whole affair peacefully, and try to heal the rift in our family at the same time.

And sometimes I have to wonder when things are going to improve. I mean 2015 was a pretty crap year health wise as I wrote in this blog post and this one . But still I managed to bring out Crossfire: Broken earlier this year, which I believe, and which some reviews have also mentioned, is one of my best books to date, in terms of the conflict and tension, and I must say that I loved writing it, because even though my body was hurting, it was an escape for me, and more importantly, I was fully immersed in my characters.

But now, my mind is restless and my soul is tortured. What do you say when your godchild says to you with tears in her eyes that sometimes she pinches herself to check if she isn’t a ghost, because her mother, (the respondent in this case) barely talks to her, and pushes her away when she wants to hug her. She is in agony, our family is in agony. I am in agony. But the child’s mother is filled with revenge and rage and hatred because she feels she has been wronged, and that we shouldn’t have interfered. It is monstrous, and unbelievable that in today’s times it should be so difficult to protect a child.

I must apologise for such a morbid post, but I felt that you guys deserve to hear the truth about why the third Blackstone book won’t be ready in December. I will do my best to complete it as soon as I can. I know that many of you are waiting to see what happens next, and I’m sorry to disappoint you. I’m hoping that I might have it done by March at the latest. If I manage to finish it earlier, I will always announce it here first. 🙂

 

 

The joys of sleeping on a recliner

Some of the best naps I’ve enjoyed have been on a recliner, specifically the one I normally use when I write. A few years ago, after the second operation on my right knee, my orthopaedic surgeon suggested to me that sitting at a desk with my knees bent at ninety degrees might not be the best option for me. Being a writer, which normally would involve sitting at a desk, I thought about this for a while, and came up with a great solution, which resulted in me buying my first recliner. Of course I wasn’t trying to write while in a reclined position. What I was really interested in was the front part of the recliner that elevated my feet, which kept my knees in a slightly flexed position, just as my doctor suggested.

I also bought one of those laptop stands with the cooling fans built in, so that I could rest my laptop on my thighs. And that’s how I’ve been writing the past couple of years. Of course the best benefit of writing like that, is that even with the backrest of the recliner in the upright position, it’s really comfortable. This can present a problem at times, because sometimes, when I’m really thinking deeply about what’s going to happen next, and I get into a bit of a dreamy state, I drop off to sleep.

The advantage of that is that it allows my subconscious to come to the rescue and supply me with the next part of the story, and it’s really great when that happens. If not, I’ve lost an hour or two of the day, oops. I think that part of the reason why I fall asleep is that I’m constantly running in the red when it comes to sleep, so any time I get too comfortable I run the risk of dropping off.

Why am I running in the red, you might ask. Well, to summarize, somewhere around the age of thirty five I developed a fear of sleeping. That was when, for some inexplicable reason, I started waking up at three in the morning, in the middle of a fight or flight reaction. Medically it’s called a panic attack, or an anxiety attack, but basically it’s the result of a massive release of adrenalin while asleep, and boy is that a nasty way to wake up. You’re filled with intense fear, except that there nothing there to be afraid of, your heart is hammering, you’re hyperventilating and shivering and consumed with an insane desire to go outside and just run. From what? There’s nothing there. But try telling your body that.

Of course all medical technology could offer was sedation, which didn’t work, mainly because I found that while it could dull your senses, it didn’t take care of the panic, and I hated not being in control, so I gave that up after a short while.

Sleeping became a problem, but by resisting my body’s desire to sleep, I inadvertently stumbled onto the solution. By going to bed at three in the morning, I avoided the panic attack and normally slept through until eight, by which time the house was normally so noisy that it was difficult for me to continue sleeping. So that’s five hours at least. Certainly better than nothing, but an hour in the afternoon is often irresistible.

And what do I normally do until three in the morning? I watch TV, read, work on my latest manuscript, or just wander around the house. Being a bit of an introvert (more than just a bit), I’ve grown to relish the silence in the house while my family is sleeping, and quite frankly, after ten years it has become a habit.

But let’s get back to the fact that I’ve had some of my best naps on a recliner. Just an update to my post, “Disappointed“, I did finally have my knee operation on February 18, when all my blood levels were back to normal. I then had to wait a few months for my knee to heal before I could have my shoulder fixed up. And all that from one misstep off a ladder? Freakin’ unbelievable. Anyway, before I went to hospital on May 28 for the operation on my left shoulder, I wondered to myself how I would sleep for the six weeks that my arm would be in a sling. And then I remembered about my recliner, and how it would probably be a great idea to sleep on my back in a slightly raised position.

My mind made up, a few days before my operation I bought a new recliner for my bedroom. Of course my kitties all had to test drive it first, but when they realized that I was giving them my bed, with the electric blanket permanently switched on, they decided I could have my recliner.

We got here first!

We got here first!

And wow, I wish I had realized before how comfortable this would be. I used to wake up in the morning feeling as if I was broken, mainly due to five heavy kitties piling onto me the minute I got horizontal, twisting my body into all kinds of unnatural positions. Just try to imagine having traction that’s pulling in five different directions all at the same time.

I found there are two advantages to sleeping on a recliner. Firstly I’m held in position very securely, so no chance of turning onto my side by accident and hurting my shoulder. And because I’m sleeping on my back, no sleep wrinkles from mashing my face into a pillow. What a bonus, I look younger already. 😉 I’m seriously considering continuing to sleep this way even once my shoulder is healed, which could take a while. Even though I can stop using the sling in about two weeks time, I’m still looking at a few months of physiotherapy before this arm will be anything close to fully functional.

But I know the burning question here is whether I’m able to work on the next Blackstone book while my shoulder is healing. Well, for the first two weeks after the operation my left arm was completely out of action, and I spent my time watching TV and listening to music and reading and trying anything that kept me from going out of my mind. Yep, I hate being helpless and the truth of the matter is you need two hands for just about everything.

Accepting help from my family for things that I took for granted was difficult for me. One weekend we went to my brother’s house for a barbeque, after my sister had helped me dress, my mother had tied up my hair and my father had laced up my boots. And at the barbecue my sister casually leaned over and cut my meat into small little blocks that I could just pick up with a fork. Yes, that’s love and I felt about five years old. Ugh.

Anyway, those of you who want to know what was wrong with my shoulder. In the fall that I described in the post, “Disappointed”, what had actually happened was that I had torn my bicep tendon and injured my AC joint, which is a little joint on the top of the shoulder that helps with the rotation of your shoulder. Anytime you reach across your body, let’s say to put on your safety belt, you’ve used your AC joint. And if you reach up for something above your head, your AC joint is at work again.

So anyway, after the operation my doc said that he had managed to repair the tendon successfully, but he’d had to shave away a lot of bone to get my AC joint functional again, which in fact had already been compromised even before I fell. According to him it was one of the worst cases of shoulder impingement he had ever seen, which explained why my left arm had been practically useless before the operation. Basically the narrowing of my AC joint, combined with the injury sustained in the fall had trapped the tendons of my shoulder resulting in pain and reduced mobility.

I remember even while finishing Somali Sunrise that I had been in intense pain from my shoulder, and had to take regular breaks because my chest muscles kept cramping. Oh, the pain of creation. 😉

The good news is that by the third week after my shoulder operation I was able to get back into a regular schedule of writing. I managed that by propping my elbow up on the arm of my new recliner, thereby supporting my shoulder, and then releasing the clip of my sling so that I could rest the heel of my hand on the palm rest of my laptop. From there it was easy for me to reach the keys of my laptop and type quite comfortably without straining my shoulder or upper arm at all. I include a photo for illustration.

Yoda keeping watch and editing as I write. LOL.

Yoda keeping watch and editing as I write. LOL.

Of course, Yoda, one of my kitties, decided that she would help to keep my arm steady by providing support. She’s such a little darling and guards me day and night. I think she senses that I need a little extra help at the moment. And of course we enjoy wonderful naps together.

But I’m quite confident that I’m on schedule to publish the third Blackstone book by December. And as always, I’ll announce it here first.

Disappointed

I have been meaning to write a blog post regarding the release of Somali Sunrise, but I kept putting it off, hoping to be able to give better news.
The end result of that is that I’m now writing this blog post from my hospital bed on my iPhone 6.
Yep, it sucks big time. But let me give a little background first. The photo you’re seeing is of the back of a factory where I feed feral cats. I’ve been taking care of the feral cats at that factory for eleven years. And for eleven years I’ve been climbing up on that wall to fill up the two auto feeders that are on top of that container but underneath the carport. It’s a great sheltered location and I can put up to a week’s supply of food in the auto feeders there, and know that it’s safe from rain, ants , rats and birds. Problem is it’s quite high up. There where you see the food container is where I normally stand. So yes, better not to look down.
So I’ve been doing this safely for 11 years but on the last Sunday of November my odds ran out. Not too badly though. I mean, it could’ve been worse. I fell off the ladder, not the wall. Didn’t really fall, but stumbled on the second last step, landed awkwardly on my right leg, at which point it gave way with a funny click and I hit the ground like a ton of bricks, but not before bouncing off that big blue garbage container.
But having been a competitive cyclist for many years, I’m used to hitting the deck so I got up and dusted myself off. My knee was hurting and my shoulder was bruised but I didn’t have time to be injured so I just carried on.
Big mistake. By the time I went to my orthopedic surgeon (two weeks later) and had an MRI done I was on crutches. And the MRI showed I had twisted my  knee and torn something which had now become wedged inside my knee joint. Yes that sounds as painful as it is.
Anyway so an operation was needed except that because it was by now the middle of December, my doc was going on leave until 7 January 2015. Bummer. But he’s been my knee doc for twenty years so I didn’t want to use another doc. And everyone else was going on leave too anyway.
Entirely my own fault that this happened. I had been so obsessed with finishing my manuscript that I refused to let life get in the way. Except that then life came and took a big bite out of my ass.
Approx three days after my doc went on leave my knee blew up and from there it was antibiotics and cortisone and anti inflammatories as my general practitioner tried to deal with something that wasn’t his speciality.
And through this haze of medication I was still trying to finish Somali Sunrise, but to be honest, I was losing the battle.
It’s really difficult to get into the ‘zone’ if a throbbing leg keeps pulling you back to reality.
Anyway, I prevailed and then finally was booked for my operation for 14 Jan 2015, which is this Wednesday. Except that on Saturday morning I woke up with my entire lower right leg swollen and very red.
Of course I rushed to hospital, mainly worried that I might have developed a blood clot in my leg from sitting with it elevated all the time.
Anyway, I was promptly booked into hospital and put on blood thinners and megadoses of antibiotics.
The blood thinners was until a DVT (blood clot) could be ruled out and the antibiotics was to treat the cellulitis that I had developed in my lower leg.
Tests revealed that I had picked up some kind of ‘bug’ in my bloodstream and of course it had gone for the weakest part of my body, mainly my wonky knee.
It’s now Monday and I’m pleased to report that I’ve just been for a sonar of my right leg and it showed zero blood clots. Phew! I am relieved.
But the cellulitis and leg swelling is still ongoing and being treated. So for the time being I’m still in hospital but hoping I might be discharged tomorrow.
Of course my knee op has been postponed yet again because I’ve been on blood thinners and doc won’t operate while I’m ‘septic’ which is wise, I agree. He only has my best interests at heart.
What does all this mean for Somali Sunrise?
Good news is that through all this I’ve actually finished the manuscript. The bad news is that because I couldn’t work at my normal pace, it hasn’t yet been edited.
So I’m asking for a little indulgence here, please. As soon as I’m discharged I’ll get cracking on the editing. For a manuscript this size (110000 words) I’ll need four to six weeks to edit and polish. And in between all this I still have to have my knee operation. Ja, before another bug gets hold of me.
It seems that with working with feral cats and getting scratched and occasionally bitten I’m a prime candidate for things like this. But I plan to be more careful in future. Promise.

This photo following is of the space above the container and shows one of the feral cats ‘posing’ for a photo.

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Roasted Nuts, anyone?

This is a photo of one of my kitties, Rocky. He was brought to me in a state of complete starvation at the end of December 2010. He was three months old, but looked like a 6 week old kitten, and weighed just 600g. He was hours from death and nobody held much hope for him. For the first 5 days I hardly slept, expecting each breath to be his last. He pulled through, and three months ago I took him for his standard FIV (feline aids) and FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) tests before he could come out of quarantine. Alas, he tested positive for Leukemia so his life expectancy is limited, at best. Due to the extremely contagious nature of the disease, Rocky will be in quarantine for life, however long or short it may be. For now he appears healthy, though his blood tests tell a different story. He’s a bit of a silly clown as you can see in the photo. We can learn from him, I think. Like most animals he doesn’t know how to feel sorry for himself.

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Too much editing can make you ill

I’ve never planned to have a blog, despite the fact that apparently every self respecting writer or wanna be writer should have one. I followed a link from Twitter for someone else’s blog and there was a link that said Install WordPress for iOS. Since I own an iphone and being naturally curious, I clicked on the link. Voila! And WordPress was installed on my phone.

A day later, I clicked on the icon, just to see what it was about, and they offered me a free blog. Cool, I thought, particularly since I would be able to blog straight from my iphone. Easy as pie, surely. So that is how I came to have a blog, quite by accident. I certainly cannot guarantee that I will have something to say every day, as most of my days are hectic, to say the least. Unlike other writers, I probably won’t be dispensing too much advice on how to write a novel, or how to… anything like that. I believe that I still have plenty to learn and I subscribe to many blogs to get as much advice as I can. Until now, the blog from Nathan Bransford (ex agent) has taught me so much, and I enjoy Eric from Pimp my Novel. They are definitely worth checking out.

Now to the subject of this post, “Too much editing can make you sick”. To give you a little background, I have been busy with the final edit of my 100 000 word manuscript, Crossfire, which I plan to publish on Kindle as soon as it is perfect. Yes, unfortunately I’m an August baby, and a perfectionist. No errors allowed! Yes, even if it kills me. Of course, like many unpublished writers, I have a day job, and though I love my job (who doesn’t love being the boss?); it leaves me with evenings only to dedicate to my writing career.

For the past ten days, I have been busy until one in the morning most days and it has taken its toll. I have developed conjunctivitis in both eyes from staring at the screen too long, and a sore back and shoulders from my incorrect sitting posture. But wait, there’s more! In the early hours of this morning, I fell asleep at the keyboard, and woke up this morning with a crick in my neck that is threatening to disable me permanently. Why not go to sleep when you are tired, you may ask. Well, I don’t like sleeping, and pretty much consider it a waste of time. Normally I just carry on until my body calls a halt and I’m ready to drop. Sometimes I make it to bed on time, other times I might sleep in an odd place for an hour or so before I wake up and go to bed. Ja, I know that’s odd, but I’m probably not the only person in the world who does that. To bring me back to the subject, that’s why I say, “Too much editing can make you sick”, particularly if you fall asleep. Right now, I am relaxing on the couch, a warm electric pad on my upper spine, and a box of chocolates on the armrest. I have taken enough painkillers and muscle relaxants to drop an elephant, so please forgive me if my spelling or grammar is less than perfect. I have given myself the day off to relax and to ramble on a bit on my new blog.

There, that wasn’t so difficult.