I realised I forgot to write an update on how things went with my query after PitMad. After sending my query to the literary agent, I got a response within a few hours for the full manuscript!
I still can’t believe it! While I’m not having high hopes of it going any further than this, I’m so excited that I even made it this far. My story premise was interesting enough to request the full book – that’s something! I’ve sent the full manuscript to her, but from what I understand the wait for a reply to that can be months, so I’m just sitting tight now.
Even if it’s a no (which I’m expecting), I still consider my first ever PitMad event a success. This was way more than I ever expected and I’m stoked.
Now, I just need to perfect those manuscripts to be able to actually land an agent. Or potentially self-publish. Another possibility.
Will 2021 be better than 2020? I sincerely hope so, but I have my doubts. Here in England, we’re in something very akin to lockdown (again) as our cases are rising rapidly with a new strain of the virus. Different areas are in different tiers, but most are in tier 4, which we were put into on New Year’s Eve in my area. It’s basically a “stay at home”-order, with all non-essential retail closed, limit public transport, work from home if possible. Only leave home to work, exercise or go food shopping. I feel like it will be harder this time of year compared to spring when we could spend time in the garden without freezing our socks off.
In any case: Happy New Year!
2020 did have some positive things; I got back into writing! And I found a wonderful group of fellow writers that I chat with daily on Discord. Having found that makes writing a lot easier somehow. It’s amazing to be able to speak to others and compare notes. I never had that in the past, and it’s helped me immensely.
So, what did I accomplish in 2020, writing wise?
I wrote around 140k words and edited a further 100k. That’s not a lot for a lot of writers out there, but it is for me as someone with chronic fatigue. I’d love to find ways for me to increase my throughput, and I will work on that in 2021.
What are my writing plans for 2021?
I want to increase how much writing I get done. Ideally, I want to push 20k a month. It should be doable as long as I can reliably sit down and write every day. I also want to edit and rewrite the first books of my Spellbound series and then publish them on Amazon. I’m hoping I can do this alongside the writing without losing too much writing time.
Other plans for 2021…
I am hoping (very very much) that we will get to a point where it’s safe (or relatively safe) to travel again so I can see my family. It’s now been over a year, and it sucks.
What are your plans for 2021? Whether for writing or other things?
I don’t think Christmas 2020 was the way any of us had expected or planned.
We were supposed to be in Sweden, celebrating with my family. Instead, we’re in not quite lockdown, but not quite normal life either. Indoor gatherings are banned, but we were allowed to meet family indoors for one day (Christmas Day). So, rather than a trip to Sweden, we took a ten-minute car trip to my partner’s parents’ house.
It was still a lovely day, and the tiny tyrant has had so much fun and been very spoiled with all the presents. To the point where we are currently overwhelmed with new toys littered throughout the living room until I can do a purge of some old ones to find them some space.
Even while enjoying ourselves, I think there was a shadow hanging over the day. It’s almost impossible for there not to be. We were meant to be somewhere else. The world was meant to be different. This wasn’t meant to happen. When I read or watch news about the pandemic, it still feels surreal at times; that this is the world we live in now. It reminds me of the flashes of “old news footage” you see in dystopian or horror movies of how the world ended. Only it’s happening now. Here. In the real world. Our world.
Some days I can somewhat ignore it, other days it hits me and it makes my mood plummet. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen my family, and I have no idea when I will be able to see them. It’s hard.
I don’t know if it’s the light depression from the pandemic and lack of seeing other people and missing my family or just a bad time for my CFS… but I’m so tired lately. I’m having a hard time doing anything, and I feel like our home is falling to pieces around us.
There is so much I wanted to do for Christmas; baking and more decorations, cooking the yummy things I miss from Sweden and whatnot… but I’m struggling to even keep up with basic housework like dishes, hoovering and tidying up after the tiny tyrant. Honestly, how much of a mess can one small child make? (A lot.) I don’t know why she’s adamant everything has to be on the floor…
This is what I hate the most. I can handle the fibromyalgia pain okay (I’m aware mine isn’t as bad as some), but this lack of energy destroys me. I hate a messy house, and I can never keep up, always playing catch-up, and never get the chance to do any of the extra stuff that also needs doing. The time is there, the energy just isn’t. (Though there are some things that I can’t do with the tiny tyrant around. She may think she’s helping, but I think we can all agree that toddlers helping is anything but helpful.)
I apologise for this post. I’m really just having a whinge. I get so tired of myself and my inability to get past the tiredness to get what needs to be done… well, done.
Okay, I think I’m finished whinging for this time. I’d say I won’t do it again, but I suspect I will… We all need a good whinge now and again!
What would you like to whinge about? The state of the world? Your messy home? (Please tell me I’m not alone.)
There’s a quarterly event on Twitter called PitMad, where hopeful writers such as myself can throw their book pitches out into the void in the hopes of catching a like. Basically, some agents and sometimes publishers will look through the feed, and if you’re lucky enough they might come across yours in the sea of pitches. If they then hit LIKE, it’s an invitation to query them.
I entered the December PitMad on a whim.
I’ll be honest. I was not prepared.
It was my first ever PitMad, and I’m excited to say that I ended up with three likes: 2 agents and 1 publisher.
I’m hoping to query one of those. Unfortunately, I’m flailing because, as mentioned above, I am not prepared. I’m trying to quickly throw together a query letter and synopsis. I have old ones from when I first wrote the book, years ago, but couldn’t find the synopsis and the query letter was pretty terrible. I find both of these things incredibly difficult to write… So I may not be able to in time. But if nothing else, I’m excited that someone liked my pitches. And maybe kicking myself a little for entering PitMad before being fully ready. I should have made sure I had a query and synopsis and THEN entered PitMad.
Hindsight is 20/20.
I wrote three different pitches for PitMad:
After finding a devilishly handsome marquess sleeping in her bed, Angelique Grafton is torn between fulfilling her late parents’ wish for an arranged marriage, and her own desire.
Angel has: – An intended fiancé – An evil cousin who hates her – A brother who can’t explain the birds and the bees without fleeing And a handsome marquess in her bed, who is NOT the intended fiancé.
Painfully shy debutante Angel is already resigned to an arranged marriage when she finds a devilishly handsome marquess sleeping in her bed. She has to choose between fulfilling her late parents’ wish, or her own.
The top one had two agent likes, and the middle one had a publisher like it. Sadly, the publisher’s submission guidelines don’t match my story. (Their word count limit would mean I’d have to remove 1/3 of the story, which is a lot.) The third one didn’t get any likes, but was also sent out towards the end of the 12-hour window when things seem to have slowed down a lot.
Has anyone else ever tried PitMad or anything similar?
The tiny tyrant was given some stickers by her nonna recently. Apparently, she had stashed a couple somewhere in the flat without me realising, and one morning came running up to me:
“Mummy! Owl in my nose!!”
I look inside her nose, and sure enough – there’s a bloody sticker stuck up there! Wedged good and well. I tried getting it out with a few tricks, including the “Mother’s Kiss” maneuver. (Which nearly got it! But then she inhaled it again and it ended up even further in!) In the end, I ended up having to call 111 to ask what we should do. They called us back a few hours later and said to take her to A&E. So off we went.
At A&E she was being really good, letting Dr Will check her nose. But when Dr Will brought out the little tiny hoover they use to suck things out of the noses of tiny tyrants, she wasn’t quite so compliant anymore. We had to wrap her snugly in a blanket and I had to hold her down as she was screaming and crying at the top of her lungs. Harrowing experience, I’ll tell you now. Despite his best efforts, Dr Will couldn’t get the persistent little owl sticker out. Because the tyrant was so upset, she kept inhaling it again as soon as he moved it.
An agreement was reached that we’d go home and return the next day for another attempt. If the attempt failed she would have to be put under general anesthetic to get it out. All for a bloody sticker the size of my nail!
The next morning I checked her nose and thought I saw it. (By the time we left the hospital the previous evening it was so far up her nose you could only glimpse it in certain angles when shining a light.) Once in the hospital we are met by a surgical team, ready to intervene. But a last attempt at getting it out manually is to be made.
The doctor looks and looks… and cannot find the sticker!
Most likely she inhaled completely in the end and it ended up in her tummy. There’s a small chance/risk it’s still in there, but so far in we can’t see it (she is itching her nose a bit now and then). If we notice discharge or a weird smell from her nose we’re meant to go back.
So… That was our adventure with the owl sticker. I never want to see another owl sticker in my life.
I have a few works in progress currently, with a plan of releasing the first few of a series of shorter novels next year. I’m hoping that it will spur me on to keep writing. To get there, I still have a fair bit of work to do though, and I thought I’d make a list here. If nothing else, it will make it a bit easier for myself to get an overview of where I’m at!
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency) Planned: A series of four books, all stand-alone, but connected by all being about the same family. Hoping to publish the first book in 2021. Status:
Book 1: A Midsummer Night’s Kiss
Written. ~95-100k Will need a proper edit before publication.
Book 2: Kissing the Rake
Written. ~95k Needs full edit/proofread.
Book 3 & 4 are yet to be written, but they have a basic plot, the third also semi-plotted.
The Spellbound Series
Genre: Fantasy Romance Planned: A series of X number of books all set in the same fantasy world, each with its own love story. Sort of stand-alone, but beneficial to read in order due to overarching plot spanning the series. Status:
Prequel: Shadows & Lace
Written, but needs to be extended and edited/proofread. New scenes/additional details. (Currently 33k)
Book 1: Bowstrings & Velvet
Written, but is having a rather large rewrite, adding dual POV (from single) and extending with several new scenes. (Currently 33k)
Book 2: Damask & Deception
In progress, nearly finished. Will hopefully only need editing/proofreading. (Currently 56k)
Book 3: Silk & Steel
In progress, but on hold since I can only write one at a time. (Currently 21k)
Book 4 onwards: Ideas only so far. I will most likely switch the order slightly, making D&D book 3 or 4 and Silk & Steel a little further down the line as well.
I’m really excited about both of my series, and I really hope I can find the time and energy to pull this together and actually publish something next year. I’d like to try to release the first four or so Spellbound books on a somewhat regular schedule, hopefully giving myself time to prepare more stories while doing that. It’s why I want to have a few of them ready before I start releasing. I also want to release the first Howerty novel next year. So a lot to do to get ready. Wish me luck!
As of yesterday, Thursday 5 November, England is in lockdown again due to rising numbers of the Coronavirus. I’m kicking myself for not taking the chance to visit my family in Sweden in August when the cases were relatively low. I doubt I will see them for quite a few more months now, and it’s already been a year since I last did. It makes me sad since they miss out on a lot not seeing the tiny tyrant for such a long time.
The lockdown is meant to last for four weeks, but I’m not convinced it won’t continue longer than that. I’m not sure how I feel about it, if I’m honest. I know it’s needed, but I hate not being able to see family and friends. It’s not as severe as the first part of the last lockdown when there was no seeing anyone anywhere. At least we’re allowed to see one person outdoors. But that’s it. Two people total, you and one other person. And with winter approaching, outdoor meetings aren’t always ideal.
It also means having to entertain the tiny tyrant without meeting up with her friends. We can meet one set of friends now and then, as preschoolers don’t count. So I and one other parent can meet up outside with our young children. Which is a blessing, really. As much as I wish they had kept the rule where six people were allowed to meet outdoors, I’m happy that at least we can see someone.
Everything about this pandemic depresses me though. Some days I feel like it’s the end of life as we know it. Some days I think it will be the thing that kills me. Some days I think I will never again see my family.
My mind likes to paint up the worst case scenarios, and it’s up to me to tear them down. But when something like this happens, it’s difficult to find the ability to do so. Because things do look dark, and every day you read news that are far from positive. (I should probably stop reading the news.)
Writing helps. It allows me to focus on something else. Binging Netflix does too. And hugs from the tiny tyrant.
I suffer from chronic fatigue (CFS) and fibromyalgia and have for quite a few years now. In that time I’ve had to learn my new limits and to try not to compare myself to others who don’t have these issues. Which is easier said than done.
Still, since moving to England I’ve managed my conditions fairly well. My chronic fatigue is ever-present, and I honestly don’t remember what the feeling of waking up well-rested feels like. (Is it even a thing? I don’t know anymore.) But I handled the fatigue well enough that I could hold down a full-time job, even if I was exhausted outside of work hours and managed little else. As for the pain, I have learned my limits. I know how far I can walk without it resulting in excruciating pain, and I know which activities just don’t work for me.
On occasion, I still over-do it of course. It’s impossible not to. I had to go to London last week to visit the Embassy and apply for a new passport. I wore a pair of boots that aren’t my usual well-walked shoes, and we did a lot of walking for several hours. That evening and the next two days I could barely move. For the most part, I do manage not to get into that situation.
In general, I feel like I have a better handle on the pain than the fatigue. The pain is endurable, while the fatigue is what really gets me.* It’s what keeps me from doing a lot of things. I just can’t find the energy a lot of the time. And I hate it.
I hated it before. I hate it even more now that I have the tiny tyrant. Mum guilt is a thing that all mothers struggle with, I think, and I definitely suffer with it. I feel like I really have things to feel guilty about.
There are times when we don’t make it out of the house for a few days, because I just cannot muster the energy. And I feel like the worst mum ever.
There are times when she wants me to sit with her on the floor and build blocks, legos, trains… and I can only do a short while before my pain makes it impossible and I have to get up. And I feel like the worst mum ever.
There are times when I’m so exhausted I just want to sit in a corner and cry because I can’t find the energy to give my child everything I wish I could. And I feel like the worst mum ever.
There are times when there are toys all over the floor and the laundry pile is bigger than the clean pile, and the dishes cover the kitchen counter, and I just can’t bring myself to tidy up. And I feel like the worst mum ever.
There are times when I visit my friends with kids, and I see their spotless homes, I see all the things they do with their kids every day, I see them do all the things I wish I could. And I feel like the worst mum ever.
I think every mum probably feels inadequate in one way or another, and I’m in no way trying to downplay those feelings for other mums. This is really just a post for me to get my own feelings out, trying to sort them through in my head. A lot of the times I just feel like such a useless waste of space, and it’s not a great feeling. People telling me I’m not, while I appreciate their sentiments… it just doesn’t make me feel any better. It doesn’t change the facts. I try not to compare myself to people who don’t have my conditions, but it’s hard. And some days I think even people with my conditions probably manage better than I do.
Still, I have a happy child (for the most part) who is hitting all her milestones (except height/weight!) and can entertain herself for stretches of time since she’s had to when mummy just isn’t able to play with her for a while. And that’s what I need to remind myself of. Every day.
What’s your worst mum guilt?
*This is purely my personal experience, and I’m fully aware that there are others out there whose fibromyalgia pains are a lot worse than mine.