Trading One Hell For Another

My wife and I are looking at selling our home and moving out to somewhere that closely resembles the country. We’re at the stage of prettying up our home to make it more appealing to potential buyers. And you know what? It is very much like editing a manuscript.

Furniture that doesn’t belong? Delete it.

Damaged doors or appliances? Replace them.

Things that you love but don’t have room for? Put them in storage.

And everything that’s left you polish polish polish, and hope that it comes out as a decent approximation of what you wanted in the first place.

You can even get professionals to help, give it a fresh coat of paint or polish the floorboards, taking something familiar but make it feel new and inviting.

The same core elements apply. You need a solid foundation to start with. It takes a lot of bloody effort. You have moments of doubt, and you ask the same questions; “What the hell am I doing?” “Am I even qualified?” “What if they don’t like it?” “Why do I even bother.” But as you keep going, you see it transform in front of you from an utter dumpster to something you can be proud of. Maybe not perfect, or as good as you hoped. You will always see the imperfections, the minor flaws, but hopefully whoever is inspecting it won’t see them, and hopefully they’ll find something they love.

Aside from looking at moving, it has been a crazy last few months. My debut novella ‘Submerged City’ was published via Deadset Press in November, and (briefly) made it to #2 in the Sea Adventure Fiction New Release category on Amazon, and I have received so many wonderful reviews. It has been a wonderful experience, but it isn’t over. Submerged City is part of the Drowned Earth series, where eight Australian authors have written a novella set in a shared world, an Australia changed forever by a watery apocalypse. While the novellas are set in the one shared world, they are all stand-alone stories, so you can pick up any one and dive straight in. (If you want to check out Submerged City or the other Drowned Earth novellas, click here. Or you can buy it from amazon.com.au or amazon.com).

I am working on a sci-fi novella right now, tentatively called ‘The Lifeboat’ which focuses on the crew of a small transport vessel as they escape the destruction of a colony planet at the hands of an unknown invader, their cargo hold full of refugee children. And when I’m not working on that, I have stories for Aussie Speculative Fiction’s Zodiac-inspired anthologies to put together.

Oh, I am also working on another project, writing a children’s book for my niece and nephew. Or maybe it’s middle grade? I’ve never been good at those. But the book it a lot of fun, (at their request) it features leprechauns and unicorns, so it’s something different again to what I usually write.

On the reading front, I’m trying to read 40 books this year through Goodreads. I’ve just finished Becky Chambers’ ‘A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet’ which was really fun. If you like sci-fi, I strongly suggest you check it out. I haven’t read nearly enough sci-fi written in the last five years, but a lot of the more modern stuff I had read felt sterile, and had painted a picture of space that was bleak and empty. Chambers’ universe, on the other hand, is full of other sentient species – all wonderfully described – and it seems the crew of the Wayfarer can’t go a couple of days without visiting a space station or colony or encountering another vessel out there.

And I’m doing two things that I’ve never done before. Well, three. I have tried to organise my TBR pile, so I am alternating between new books by Aussie and Kiwi authors and books by international authors, I’m curious to see how long that will last. And I have started reading e-books. I’m really missing holding an actual paperback, and I’m not enjoying reading from a screen, but I’m doing it. And this means that I’ve actually started buying e-books from Amazon, so I can leave reviews on Amazon. Authors with indie publishers or who are self-published need as many reviews as they can get, and as much as I don’t like giving Amazon money (I would much rather buy direct from the author), they are one of the most visible and helpful places to leave reviews.

Well, thanks for reading my blog! I hope everything in your world is peachy!

  • Originally published February 2020

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