Last night an incredible woman won her last battle against pain and the mortal realm. My dear friend and mentor, Aiki Flinthart flew to Valhalla for a beer and a song.
I met Aiki three years ago when I showed up to my local writing group with no idea what the next three years would look like. With her friendship, guidance, encouragement, and overall belief in me, I find myself doing things I thought only others did. Braver, smarter, more incredible people. She would scoff to read that, I can almost see her shaking her head and telling me emphatically that I am these things, that I can be braver. And I have been so much braver.
I feel extremely lucky, and incredibly honored to have gotten to know this incredible writer and woman. As a writer, Aiki was phenomenal. As a human being, she was so much more.
No words seem to be able to portray just how much I adored her, and how much light she cast, but in her honor I will write, I will be brave, and I will continue to do the things she always believed I could.
My heart goes out to her beautiful husband, who opened his arms to me, and her amazing son, who I can’t even imagine his pain.
Vale Aiki, your light will be missed. Save me a seat in Valhalla.
I’m not sure anyone really expected life to suddenly become perfect but I’m almost certain no one thought 2020 was a shocking calm before the storm. And perhaps it is neither extreme but this first week of 2021 has certainly thrown a spanned in the works.
I don’t want to go into the world at large thing, because we all know the dumpster fire has followed us into the New Year. Locally, we are in a sudden 3 day lockdown, which sounds minimal but I’m not delusional enough to think that after three days life will be great again. Nor will I be shocked if the lockdown is extended, again and again.
On a personal note, things have been a bit rough as well.
Three of the most influential and important women in my life are in dire situations with their health (mum if you are reading this, you are NOT allowed to get sick) one has even been given the devastating prognosis of approximately 6 weeks.
Last night when I learned this I sobbed into my partners shoulder and felt a crushing pain in my chest. I cried myself to sleep and have woken sadden but aware that if I were to let this stop me grabbing everyday and doing what I can with it, she would not only kick my arse but damn what a disrespect that would be. The sadness remains but along with that, I have the memories and light of her being in my life.
So what has 2021 offered so far to help light the rough days ahead. I have finally got this blog up and running properly and have my website good to go. I am working on finally getting my newsletter happening, and I’m so excited about it. I have a short story I am itching to give away to all subscribers and have the most beautiful cover made by the incredibly talented Pamela Jeffs. Her writing is mind blowing and her cover designs (a hobby she says) are truly stunning.
Reading: I’ve embarked on a very optimistic goodreads reading challenge for 2021 of 100 books. Last year I managed 61 in the end and thought that incredible, but what’s a challenge if you aren’t pushing yourself beyond what you already know you can do. In these 100 books I’m also working on the Sapphic Reading Challenge 2021 created by the incredibly awesome and talented Jae.
I’m aiming for the dragon level 1 badge (1 book from each 50 categories) AND the bonus unicorn badge (10 of the 12 category). If you want to up your reading challenge and embark on some sapphic reading, and perhaps find new authors and categories then go take a look. There are many levels of badges, for all levels of readers.
I finished my first book The Queen’s Blade by Natasha Rose and am almost half way through Hotel Queens by Lee Winter. Both books are featured on the Les Fiction Book Club Facebook group this month. There will be author interviews, Q&A’s, and discussion at the end of the month. I’m also hoping to get some quick video reviews done as well.
Writing: I finished my first full draft rewrite of Gargoyles, a dystopian novella I’m hoping to submit to a publisher by the end of February. I’ve almost finished my last read through of The Void for the Publishers deadline of the end of the month. I have also, with the help of my lovely partner, set up a writing space in our office. It’s so pretty and exciting.
So I hope you are all staying safe, and I’d love to hear if you’re doing any reading challenges this year, or any other challenges you are embarking on in 2021.
While sometimes I push against posts that seem to be ‘obligatory’ I’ve always appreciated the gratitude and fresh start posts of the New year.
While I doubt anyone can deny that 2020 was indeed a dumpster fire of a year, I am well aware of how lucky I am and have been throughout the year. Yes, bad stuff happened. Yes, I ended up in tears, Yes, my anxiety spiked. Yes, I could focus on all the bad stuff. But I don’t want to focus solely on that. I want to make sure I remember the things I have smiled about, the happy tears, the connections I’ve made, and the overcoming of real hurdles – emotional, physical, psychological .. the whole shebang.
To my family – extended, immediate, blood, and beyond blood – thank you so much for all the love and support you have given me this year. To the help you have all so willingly offered; to pursue my dreams, to have a break, to remind me what I am already doing, when I let those dreaded ‘I can’t do this’ words slip from my lips.
To my writing tribes (many of you who have also become family) thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, skills, life, and writing lessons with such generosity and kindness.
This New Year coming is already looking to be a big one, which is both a little overwhelming and a lot exciting. After 6 months of pneumonia this past past, I am also focusing on positive health for the new year … fingers crossed. I have 8 writing projects planned so far for 20201 – all at different stages, some small and others rather larger. I’m excited about each and everyone of them and while it seems like a lot (it is), with the help of my ever patient and supportive partner we have started renovating the office and taking my writing career to an excitingly serious level.
There are some priority goals I want to work on for next year, not so much with an end line but a progress and improvement for myself.
Improving my writers craft – this is an eternal goal. I never want to stop working on this craft. There is always something more to learn, something I can improve on.
Braving videos with more ease and comfort. In 2020 I did less than a handful but I am proud of having done any … all live videos – 2 author chats, and one book review … which leads me to the third goal ….
Becoming a more detailed and confident book reviewer (and doing regular video reviews)