Come Join The Fun!

Soooo, oops, I did a Thing.

What Thing, I hear you asking?

A Patreon. I made a Patreon.

Now, in case you have no idea what Patreon is, a quick explanation: It’s basically like Kickstarter, but on an on-going basis. People can sign up for a small amount per month (some creators make it per Thing, but mine is per month) and depending on the level of commitment, get certain rewards.

For me, this is a way to prioritise writing against the many competing demands on my time. I can do it as a hobby no worries, but in order to get books out at a decent pace so you’re not left hanging between instalments, I need to write faster, and that means writing has to pay its way.

So why Patreon? Because it’s a shiny, awesome, on-going way to give you guys super awesome patron-only content!

Everyone on my Patreon will get access to the Patron-only feed, where I discuss stories I’m working on, put out casting calls for people to donate names for characters or places (there’s a call out at the moment to name some restaurants in my current work-in-progress), and over time, it will build into a lovely, happy lil community of like-minded people where we can just generally hang out and talk cool books together, whee! There will also be occasional bonus scenes for everyone, random sketches, and generally fun Amy-themed stuff (ah ha ha).

Head over! Check it out! 

This is what’s currently available, though if you check out the goals section, you’ll see I have a lot more shenanigans fun in the pipeline for you 😉

Unicorns

$1 or more per month
It’s never been easier to be a unicorn! For just $1 a month, you get a special welcome unicorn (digital) and a thank you on the supporters page of any books I write while you’re here 🙂

Storm Foxes

$2 or more per month
Do you wish you could sweep through the skies on the wings of storms, causing chaos and destruction wherever you go?…No? Oh. Well. Okay then.

How about everything from the Unicorns level, plus my favourite line/s from every writing session I do? Yes? Better? Okay, good. Welcome to Storm Foxery.

 

Space Witches

$5 or more per month
Ever felt like deep down inside, there was something super special about you? Ever just WANTED to feel like this? Do you see BLUE everywhere you go? You might just be a space witch!For just $5 a month, you too can soar through space on the back of a space whale (or shark*)!

…Wait, I probably shouldn’t promise things I can’t deliver, should I.

Okay, how does everything from the Storm Foxes level PLUS final ebook copies of any books I write while you’re a supporter sound? Better? Good.

* No liability taken for accidental injury, up to and including imploding in space vacuums.

Evil Overlords

$10 or more per month
You are suave, you are in control, you rule the world with glitter and an iron fist: you are the supreme Evil Overlord!Congratulations. Your attainment of certified Evil Overlording status entitles you to everything from the Space Witches level (including ebooks!), plus paperback copies of any books published while you’re a supporter (though you need to support at this level for at least two months per paperback; Evil Overlording takes COMMITMENT, Y’ALL).

Things to be added when certain milestones are hit include regular bonus material like deleted scenes, sketches, maps, character profiles, Q&A sessions, and more; more sketches of random mythological creatures for everyone; thank you videos; regular writing updates; and eventually, if we make it all the way to the top of the goals, Patreon-only editions of every new book, both ebook AND print, with special Patron-only content. I’d LOVE to get to this level, you guys.
So! Go read the official descriptionand join the fun! And let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see (including, idk, cake recipes/tutorials or a recorded writing session or me singing ridiculous songs to you, or whatever it is you’d like :)) :3

I’m Not Posting Today

Because the only things I can think of to talk about are the fact that I made a Patreon and all the craptastic garbage fire of sexual assault exposes going on both in media and social media rn, and I’m not peppy enough for a sales pitch, and I’m way too ragey to write anything useful on the other.

Enough is enough. Be kind to people. Believe survivors. Everyone deserves respect. This is not complicated.

#EpicWorldFail.

Two New Free Stories on Darkness & Good

I forgot to post about last week’s one because I’d scheduled it as a filler, not in my regular week – so if you haven’t seen it yet, that means you get two for the price of one (click) today! Woot woo!

Today’s new addition is part 8 of the League of Absolutely Ordinary Superheroes (parts 1 – 7 are linked to at the top).

Last week’s was a contemporary short story called The Remarkable Insight of Jellybeans. If you ever read my short story collection Cherry Blossom before it was out of print (though I do have a very limited number of paperbacks left), you’ll recognise this one, but if not, then awesome! Now you get to read it for free! 🙂

Hope you have a fabulous day 🙂

Darkness & Good button with red text on a white background, with shadowed, dark grey leaves in the background. The leaves have red ribs and stems. Link goes to http://darknessandgood.blogspot.com.

Made It Monday: Cake The Fourth

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

Cake four, tonight, because that’s the order I made it in in the epic line-up of cakes this quarter 🙂 This one was a white chocolate mud cake with (obviously) blackberry buttercream, filled with white chocolate ganache and lemon buttercream because I had one serving of each stashed in the freezer and figured I might as well use them! 😀 Also, if you’ve been following along on twitter/insta, this is the cake I bought the alyssum flowers for. A few flowered in time, enough that the cake looked kind of decorated (:P), but OF COURSE they all popped out like the day after *eyeroll*.

Anyway, the cake was super tasty. The lemon/blackberry/white chocolate combo is one of my favourites yet 🙂

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

Why Ambition Isn’t Evil, and Neither Is Slytherin

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that I am a pretty big fan of Harry Potter – world, series, characters, all of it. And, probably like many readers, I empathised with Harry, and also Hermione, and fancied myself a bit of a Gryffindor. So when Pottermore came out and I could finally get that One Definitive Answer about what house I was supposed to be in* (because we all know fan-made ones are only as right or as wrong as they confirm your own initial bias :D), I was SUPER excited.

* Yes, yes, I know the sorting hat takes your choices into consideration 😛

And then I was in Slytherin.

I was a little crushed initially, but when I told my family and friends (my sisters are both Potter fans too), without exception they were all, Yeah, of course you are, duh!!

o.O

It took me a while to really learn to love my house, but all the fan-created paraphernalia that supports the house, and the explanations – they helped a lot. To the point that when the new Pottermore was released and I had to set up a new account and retake the sorting test and OH MY GOSH IT PUT ME IN RAVENCLAW, I was Not Okay with this.**

** Like my original sorting, however, I have learned to live with this one, and I think it’s actually extremely accurate to call me a Slytherclaw.

Because, you see, Slytherins aren’t all evil. In fact, we’re actually quite adorably loveable, and I stand firmly by my twitter motto of ‘nicest Slytherin you’ll ever meet’ 😀 (And then I discovered this Tumblr, and oh my gosh, YES, like 98% of those observations-about-Slytherins are MEEEEEE.)

Yes, Slytherins are driven by ambition, but ambition in and of itself isn’t evil. It’s what you’re ambitious for that makes the difference.

Derek Murphy, YA author and professional cover designer, sent out a newsletter recently that said this: “Ambition is seeing something you want to change in the world and making it a reality through the strength of your own will … changing what is into what can be.” (original emphasis).

Heck yes, I am ambitious. Always have been. My grades at school reflect that, as does the fact that I currently work full time, am making significant in-roads into being a professional writing, am running my own mini-publishing company, have a burgeoning cake business, and run a baby-things small business with my husband. Oh yeah, and I parent occasionally in there too O:)

But I was never that kid who cried when I didn’t get an A. I never felt good when I beat my equally-high achieving friends. I was, dare I say it, really relieved when I didn’t get the highest university entrance score in our friendship group. Because I’ve never wanted to beat other people. I’ve never wanted to use others as a stepping stone to make myself feel better. I just want to be the best human being I can possibly be – and that includes being a decent, moral human being, too, and it comes tied with a sense of duty to make the world as good as it can possibly be.

Ambition, yo. If no one had it, we’d still be living in the dark ages.

So here’s to all my fellow Slythies: Be proud of your house affiliation, and let that ambition drive you onwards to great and wonderful things.

Here’s to Slytherin.

Here’s to ambition.

Here’s to making the world great.

Confirmation: Amines Are Like Drugs :P

Had to go out for dinner on Sat night to a wood-fired pizza restaurant. Dinner was delicious, as expected – and the food reactions were awful, as expected. *sigh*. It didn’t help that I made the mistake of eating a GIANT BOWL of rocket salad before realising that oops, yeah, rocket =/= lettuce and while lettuce is pretty fine for me in moderate amounts, rocket is on the DEATH DIE DO NOT EAT list >.< Urgh.

So, two extremely sleepless nights (less than 4 hours each, I think) on Sat and Sun, and then Monday evening I was just hyper as anything, feeling like I’d been drugged 😛

Interestingly, amines seem to amplify the function of my critical brain while diminishing my creative brain; I definitely can’t write while reacting to them. Sat down to try and it was all like, This sucks, This is stupid, That word is horrible, I hate this book, etc. I really just *couldn’t* get into the character’s voice, and this is a character who’s usually dead easy for me to voice. Super mega frustration.

And also interesting, part of the anxiety was amplified. Not the fear-of-the-dark, that’s separate to regular anxiety and seems to be triggered partly by a huge amount of salicylates, and partly by sustained low mood (i.e. feeling flat, tired, or otherwise negative for several days in a row – something that can be triggered by lack of sleep, which is triggered by amines, so the amines can be partly responsible for the fear-of-dark, but not directly, and certainly not after only one meal, even though it was a GIANT amine-heavy dose), but the regular, plain-old variety that’s the precursor to depression: feeling like I suck, second-guessing everything I do and especially say, and running old conversations/highly-negative moments on repeat obsessively.

It wasn’t *bad* this week, only just enough to notice it was happening, so I’m totes fine, but it IS definitely interesting. Because a lot of that kind of thinking is fear-of-judgement based, which is uber-critical brain, right?

ALSO interesting was that I powered through my marking at hitherto-unheard of speeds: I marked an entire class set in a couple of hours on Sat night + Sunday, and then another entire class set just on Monday alone – AND I didn’t even stay up late to do so, I finished it all by 8 o’clock.

You guys. That was weird. 

I am NOT a fast marker. It’s usually laborious and slow and tedious, and getting through two sets in essentially two days? I have NEVER done that before.

And guess what marking involves? Yep. Uber critical-brain oriented.

So it seems like amines basically affect me like a stimulant for my critical brain. For marking, that can be a great thing. For shutting up the critical brain and letting me sleep, write, or not be anxious? Not so great.

And now I want to go to a bunch of research about possible links between depression/anxiety and critical-brain activity.

Related but random other observations:

  • Writers are more neurotic as a group than other creatives. Why? What specifically is it about writing that makes our mental health vulnerable?
  • My critical brain seems to throw tantrums when it thinks I’m ignoring it. If I’ve done a lot of creative work and regular work but no hard-thinking work lately, I’m a LOT more susceptible to anxiety/self-doubt.
  • Could this type of anxiety be critical-brain overload, such as I seem to be getting when eating amines? Could writers combat critical-brain tantrums (anxiety, self-doubt) by letting the critical brain out to play, exercising it by doing, say, some soduko or something hard and thinky??

Where’s a good researcher? I need to pay someone to investigate this for me.

So anyway, to give this some semblance of a conclusion… Amines: Not For Amy! Unless I want to stay up really, really late and get some marking done 😛

MadeItMonday: Cake the Fifth

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

Yes, I’m posting these out of order, because I only just realised that I hadn’t posted Cake 4 from the holidays yet. So why am I not just posting it today? Because I promised you the Star Wars cake this week! 😀 So, this week Star Wars, next week Cake The Fourth 😉

This one’s a gluten-free chocolate cake, filled and covered with raspberry meringue-buttercream, topped with white chocolate ganache, and wrapped with a white chocolate collar that I painted a la Star Wars 🙂 The brief was pretty + light blue + Star Wars, so yeah. This was my eventual interpretation! Wrah.

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂