September’s a milestone month for me. The weather’s warming and spring is blooming. My birthday’s in a couple of days, I’m turning 41; make of that what you will. 41 doesn’t seem as bad as 40 did, but it’s a still a higher number than last year!
Our stage 4 lockdown here in Melbourne’s been extended an extra fortnight, but at last, our Premier has published a roadmap to COVID-19 normal. Many people are unhappy, but I’m not one of them — or at least I don’t think I am. Being housebound sucks, homeschooling sucks — doubly so when your children are special needs as mine are. Still, I think this lockdown is the right thing, and the science used to justify its continuation and gradual easing is sound. I feel a lot of empathy for those doing it tougher than I, be it for financial or mental health issues.
New site design
In the spirit of seasonal change, I’ve refreshed the design of my website, which I last did back in February. As you can see, the new skin is rather different.
As before, not much has changed under the hood — I’m still using the same static-site generator. What’s changed is the theme, which I’ve replaced with ones based on designs created by HTML5UP.
Even using Bootstrap and then UI-Kit, I’ve never been 100% happy with the look of my site. They are good CSS frameworks, but turning them into something that looks great requires more design skill and patience than I possess. This time I figured I would start with something I liked out-of-the-box, then customise it to suit my needs. So, far I’m pleased with the results.
Doubtless, there’s something I’ve forgotten to add and update to the new theme, and work will progress in coming days. I’ve stripped out the podcast sections (more on that below), and I’ve boiled down the books section to their barest essentials until I decide how I want to flesh them out.
It’s been more than a year since I last released a podcast episode. There’s lots of reasons for this — surgery on my jaw, procrastination, COVID-19.
I’m very close to rebooting it, and with the relaunch comes changes to the tone, format, content as well the hosting solution. This time, I hope to be more consistent, both in terms of quality and my schedule.
When I reboot, I’ve not yet decided if I’ll keep the old episodes. Thinking back, and they were rough. Maybe it’s best I make a clean break. I don't know…I’ll think about it.
I’ve been quietly working on a membership site since the early months of the year. This is a private site, free of advertising, sponsorship and other cruft. Currently, I’ve opened it to testing to a half-dozen of my most trusted and engaged readers.
Essentially, the site’s is my chance to reward those readers engaged enough to give me their email address. In many respects I see it as a better way of creating my newsletter, and rewarding subscribers with content I don’t make public on this site.
The site will be free to join, and members will get a lot for free, however I’ll also have a paid tier for those who want to go the extra distance and support my writing. In this respect the site will kind of work like Patreon. The money I make from it will go to paying for my editorial costs for my books.
Speaking of books, the writing is coming along well, considering the extra burdens COVID-19 lockdown has placed on my time.
The Weaver’s Boy is sitting at over 90,000 words and I’ve still got more to write. I think the final draft will weigh in at 150k, putting me back in epic fantasy territory after writing two novellas. I feel good about that because it’s a better fit for the genre.
Redrafting the story as a full-length novel is also letting me explore much more of my world. I’m weaving threads of a much larger narrative into the story and I’m now effectively writing a six-book grimdark series. You heard it here first.
So, lots on, and lots of change coming. I hope you tag along for the ride!
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