Sounds like the opening words of a board meeting or something...
But, no, haven't been my usual sparkling self *G*. Minor medical probs, which are minor in the scheme of things, but enough to leave me desperately tired, so that I couldn't find the energy to both work and write.
I am hoping now, having been to the docs and changing a few things, that I shall soon regain my energy.
However, sometimes it isn't a bad thing to take a break. My brain gets overfull with 'stuff' and I've certainly been thinking lots about "Vicadia" to the point of bursting. But sometimes the brain simply says whoa! Hang on a bit and sit back and think about it, instead of rushing in the like the proverbial bull in a china shop.
So this week I have one more day at the day job and then four days off. Let's see about the word count then.
Yes, that was a threat.

The odd thing about writers is that while they can articulate perfectly on a page, when someone bluntly says to them: Well, what is the book about? No matter how passionate you are you often either mumble incoherently or launch into a half hour spiel that bores the pants off everyone. So I was thinking about that today and came up with this"

Since I asked the question, I'll start off. Imagine you are at a convention and either the agent of your dreams is standing right in front of you, or a room full of readers just waiting to read. You have five minutes.
The first question anyone asks is: What is your book about?
My answer would be:
"Games of Adversaries" is about contrasts. The story opens with two men, one fighting a brutal snow storm outside a castle, the second dancing to his god on a distant world of wealth and advancement.
Two men from different worlds brought together by tragedy and need against a common threat.
Complex men who grow to understand one another through pain and war and why
sometimes it is necessary to fight.
The underlying theme of PTSD runs through the story and how that affects people.
But there is also the fun of writing a story with spaceships and castles in the same context. The confusion of different ideologies. The stench of medieval life versus modern conveniences.
There is arrogance of strength versus mysticism and arrogance of, I have the
strength to take your world, try stopping me.
And since I have it available, a quote from a reader: (Thank you Tali Spencer)
This is a clear-eyed book that does not flinch from a difficult subject and it also has a large overarching plot with the fates of planets hanging on the outcome. Marcus and Yiahan, especially, provide some wonderful character moments, as do the mostly male supporting cast. But Games of Adversaries managed to do what few books do: it satisfied my love of philosophical underpinnings. Much as I sometimes love simple, fluffy books because I need the lightness, few things make me as happy as a deep, complex book that gives me a few things to think about. Five stars for that and for
taking me on an exciting journey between worlds.

Very recently I received a package from the lady who drew Richard's picture, which is on my timeline on FB. She is also a teacher and did a project about soldiers. Some of the grade 10-ers chose Rich as a subject.
Broke my heart in a good way. They drew pictures and wrote us letters.

I will quote from one of them and remember this is a young kid.
"I feel it is very important that we remember all those who have passed fighting for freedom of our country. I know that Richard worked hard to train to become the best soldier and representative of Canada that he could be. I feel for you and I want to tell I'm very sorry." M
Plus, he drew a beautiful picture of Rich.

I am so glad there are teachers out there who ask kids to think.

Writing is a bit like creating a recipe. If you don't get all the ingredients just right you can go from bland to rocket-hot in minutes.
There are 'fusses' on the internets right now because some folk, like a Mr.Howey, think self-publishing is the only way to go and others say, oh no, it must be traditional. But there is no 'must' about it. It is whatever suits you, the author. At the moment there isn't a right or a wrong way because publishing is changing.
For me, I see nothing wrong with self-publishing at all, if you have the time and drive to do it. I don't have the hours or dedication needed to sit on the internet and promote and I notice such promotional 'companies' springing up like Easter bunnies. For sure there is a definite need for them, but finding a good one is a bit like finding that wonderful editor.
As for traditional. Many people still find it the way to go, simply because it still holds the clout behind it. When you are trying to poke your head above the grass to get noticed between all the other blades, then, yes, you could certainly wish for a publisher's marketing budget and your book in a store.
My own story is a little different. I was asked for my novel by a small press, but, as I have said before, small means small and it is often like being self-published except that I had a wonderful editor who also did all the formatting, which would have probably sent me screaming to Hell asking for entry rather than press another goddamned button. TechnophobesRus.
All I can say is that money isn't everything. It helps enormously and I wish I could give up my day job, but I have a hungry horse who, you know, likes his noms and his shoes and his worming paste and his jabs....
At the same time, like every author, I want to be read. So I am always left with this conundrum of how much I should shout and how much I should just lets things mosey along.
Yet I still say that good writing *is* the recipe for success. Getting that balance between tension, conflict, plot, characters and especially sentence structure. it is all a balance.
What kind of experiences do you have?

Today's picture - somewhere in Afghanistan -  Richard Curnow.

Brief scene from Vicadia

"I can't do this," he says as his arms encircle me.
I pause, because this is not a man who says anything lightly. I know his body cries out for the release, yet his mind does not. I've never lost someone like he has. I was too young when my parents passed. I've seen into his mind, know how deeply he feels. So I don't pull away, but I don't push either.
"Tell me about her," I say, though it hurts, because I can't compete with a ghost. There are tears in his eyes as he holds me tight.
"I'm sorry."
  "For what? For caring? For loving someone that much? If you hadn't cared, what would make you?"
"Sorry for hurting you."
    I shift in his arms and lay my head on his chest. The beat of his heart sings against my cheek. My fingertips play with a bead in his hair. I don't know what I feel for him, whether it is love or he is the rock that I cling to in all this insanity around me. I only know I want to be here. I want to be held, to be wanted.
"Have you ever wept for her--truly wept?"
His heart skipped a beat as he drew in breath. "Don't," he said, before the floodgates opened.
That strength he had born all this time, held it in as we battled. All those thoughts and images we'd shared, but never this. And I knew that wherever she was, his wife, she watched and she applauded and if I achieved nothing else it was her blessing.
No, it wasn't that cold today. Quite the opposite. That day was -30c, today it was +12c. Which meant the shedding rake came out, and, drumroll, Merlin got ridden. That's been about six months for various reasons and I wasn't sure the girth would go around his tubby belly, but it did, just.
Only had one fly back from him that I quickly curtailed. Otherwise he was a really good boy. I wasn't sure if *I* could get on since I am having huge probs with one hip right now, but last year I trained him to stand still to be mounted, because he wasn't too good at that. He hadn't forgotten as I climbed onto a metal and noisy upturned waterer. My legs were shaky though. Not nerves, just, boy, unfit. So I kept it to ten minutes, let him see what was what around the farm and brought him back happy.

Now Easter is over I hope to get back into the swing of writing. Am still working on Vicadia and edits of "Discovering of Demons".

It's a difficult time of year for me. I get very down about Rich but Merlin cheered me up, and I also wrote to Canadian Heroes because Rich's picture and info should be on their page and it is not. I am getting very ansty about things which have not happened, like A's silver cross medal, and the Board of Inquiry report. There are going to be phone calls soon.

Hope to have a post soon about my publisher and perhaps an interview or two. Sales for "Voice of the Land" are going steadily and lots of people have marked it to read and maybe win a copy in the Goodreads giveaway.