On Depression

Today, the world is in mourning. Depression and addiction, two insidious evils, have conspired to take the life of actor and comedian Robin Williams. I cried when I read the news, my heart aching for what he must have been feeling, for the family he left behind. Then I got angry. I am going to stand on my desk and cry out.


Depression is a real thing. It does not discriminate against those it attacks. Rich and poor, white and black, male, female, whatever you choose to identify as – it can hit you. And you cannot just shake it off. Because often there is no reason for it. It is like a mental cancer that gets inside and eats away at your happiness, at your hopes and dreams. But it is not sudden. It is usually a slow slide into darkness – so slow that sometimes you’ve no idea how deep you were in the shadows until you come stumbling out into the light.

The sad thing about Robin Williams is that the things he turned to in order to escape are things that just help drag you down further. This is not a condemnation, just a statement of fact. Alcohol and recreational drugs do not help against depression. Sometimes prescribed drugs do not help.

Sometimes therapy does not help.

Nor does the love of family and friends.

Sometimes the darkness is just too dark.

However I want to shine a light for everyone in the shadows right now. There are numbers you can ring, websites you can go on. This is the list I have:

Samaritans – 08457 90 90 90

Rethink Mental Illness – 0300 5000 927

Sane – 0845 767 8000

Childline – 0800 1111

YoungMinds – 0808 802 5544 (parents’ helpline)

Black Dog Tribe

Depression Alliance

Inspirited Minds




If you know of any support, list it/them in the comments. Let’s stand together.

The SFR Brigade Presents #02

Welcome back to my blog and SFR Brigade Presents snippets!

I’m continuing to share from GENESIS DUSK. Last week, Sue Ann asked about whether Ella and Corin had acknowledged their attraction. I’m going to let this snippet answer that question. :D

His grin was white in the darkness, then it tempered to a searching look. “Did it matter?”

I couldn’t speak for the lump in my throat. Closing my eyes, I rested my forehead against his chest, and waited for the pain to pass. “Yes,” I managed, voice horse. “I didn’t think it being over would, until I believed it was a possibility. Stars, Corin, I don’t… I can’t.” I gripped his shirt tighter, pressed in closer. My throat ached, my eyes stung, and I hated him as much as I loved him.

I told him as much, and he laughed. Then he tilted my head up and his gaze bored into mine. “You love me?”

Caught by those brown eyes that seemed to see so much, I couldn’t lie. Didn’t even want to. “Yes,” I breathed. His pupils flared and a hungry look flashed across his face. My body responded, nipples pebbling and my sex throbbing. I curled one arm around his neck and breathed his name against his lips.

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A Little Further Along

August started on a rather random note – accompanying hubs and his friend to a motorcycle shop, I managed to fall in love with a little 125cc. I made some inquiries and, half an hour later, walked out the shop in a daze, having part-exchanged my heavy Hyosung and passed the finance for a Honley. I’ve another ten days or so before I can pick it up, the bike being so new that it needs registering, but I’m a very happy bunny.

ROW80On to the writing.

I’m not doing loads, but rather making steady progress. I’ve deleted the now unnecessary scenes from GENESIS DUSK and marked the ones that need rewriting. The novel is now plotted all the way to the end.

So to put that into the goals I specified last time:

  • finish the scene on Parcae – I’ve done one and am now writing the alien attack
  • write the scenes where Corin takes command – still to do
  • go through the outline and fill out the half-finished scenes – have gone through the outline and identified the ones that need rewriting

My word goal for August is 20,000 words, reflecting the fact I’m mostly editing and rewriting, and I’ve got 2,233 towards that. It’s more important (to me) that I whip GENESIS DUSK into some semblance of order, though.

On Community

communityWhen I first ventured online in 1999, I was living in North Manchester with two young children. My husband was doing 12 hour shifts; four days on, four days off. As I wasn’t terribly sociable, I tended to stay inside and on the computer. I found a Stargate group and joined. That was the first community I became a part of, one that I still remember with great fondness.

Over the years, I’ve joined (and left) groups that reflected my interests. In 2007, I tried and failed NaNo, but in doing so found out about a similar challenge running in January. I joined the JanNo forum, won the contest, and made some very good friends. Together we built our own community – Stringing Words.

Online communities are extremely important to me. I’m not sociable, though if you met me at a con, you might struggle to believe that. But I’m a different person when I’m with people who share my passions. Online I can be that person every day. I can be completely myself. The communities I’ve found have encouraged me in my writing and grown me as a person. I’ve made friends who are very dear to me, some of whom I consider like family.

#Amwriting was the first Twitter community I joined. It’s now five years old, which is a huge achievement and one I’m honoured to have been a part of. I’d like to thank Johanna for creating a community that is so welcoming, to all the amwriters for being so supportive. I know that the website is now in archive, but the hashtag continues. I hope it always will do.

The SFR Brigade Presents #01

Welcome back to my blog and SFR Brigade Presents snippets!

I’m sharing from space opera novel-in-progress GENESIS DUSK. My heroine, Ellandra, has been included on an away team in order to fix a failing mining system. In this snippet, she and the team are going into the mine – something that Captain Corin Arrack isn’t all that happy about…

The mine was on the other side of the town; an open wound on the landscape edged by a high orange fence to stop anyone stumbling into the sheer drop. Despite the failure of one of their systems – I still wasn’t clear on what that was – hover carts flew in and out of the abyss, transporting the mined ore to the factories, so work was still under way. I hoped no one was being put at risk by that fact.

Human access into the mine was by several lift shafts. I didn’t expect Corin to accompany us down, but he squeezed in beside me. I threw him a quelling look. He just smiled and leaned back against the grating. Then the thing rattled into motion and his composure fled.
If it were any other officer, I would have smirked at his discomfort, but it wasn’t and I touched the back of his hand. “It’ll be okay. Just like going into the engine coolers, and you’ve done that.”

“They have a bottom,” he replied through clenched teeth.

“So does the mine.”

He turned his head and looked at me. “Gee, thanks for the reminder.”

I bit my lip to stop from laughing. I brushed his hand again, wishing I could take it, but there were too many eyes and I didn’t dare. He forced a smile, abet a rather grim one, then breathed out hard. I marveled as his control – he’d been trained for combat and leadership, and not going into dark, tight spaces. But I knew he was stubborn, and supposed he wanted to prove that he could, even if it was just to himself.

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Once More Unto the Breach


ROW80Even I contemplated a reasonable Camp NaNo win, my mind was on the many unfinished projects clogging up my hard drive, not least the ever-problematic GENESIS DUSK.

I want this novel done. I need this novel done. I’ve managed to come up with a solution that I believe solves one of my major plot holes – namely how to get Ella and Corin from the planet to the space station – but this does involve a massive cut of scenes. My outline now has large Xs over whole paragraphs, and I feel like I’m bleeding words. I’ve not added them up. I think I’d be too disheartened if I did that.

And yet, I now feel I’m starting to win the battle. I am bloodied and bruised, but turning the tide. Hence the post title and the picture of Henry V. Any murmurs that it was merely an excuse to slap up a photo of Tom Hiddleston should be ignored as gossip. Absolutely. ;)

However, the war against the novel is not over yet. I’m signing up to A Round Of Words in the hope that some support will see me through. The rounds are for 80 days each. It’s 44 days until my birthday. My lofty aim is to have a single, workable draft by 11th September.

So my ROW80 goals are very simple:

  • to finish the scene on Parcae
  • to write the scenes where Corin takes command, and
  • to go through the outline and fill out the half-finished scenes

Encouragement would be greatly appreciated. :)

Three Years On

Ironhaven-200x300Three years ago today, my novella IRONHAVEN was released into the wild. As my contract was for three years, it should start disappearing from sites soon. I have mixed feelings about this.

It was my first release, the first story I finished that wasn’t fanfic. Its release took me from aspiring author to a published one. And yes, the learning curve that occurred over the following days was damned steep, but I hardened up and took on board some of the criticisms it got. I also reveled in the good reviews.

IRONHAVEN was not a perfect book. Now its rights have returned to me, I’m going to rewrite it, get a developmental editor to check it, and make it better. Then I’m going to write the other two books in the series. They aren’t sequels in the usual fashion, but rather related stories set in the same ‘verse.

My plan is to have all three done and edited, then to self-publish them about six months apart. I’ve no idea when that will be, since the other two aren’t written and I’m still working on Draft Bazillion of GENESIS DUSK, but they’ll happen eventually.

Just don’t hold your breath. ;)