General

Is Half A Year Really Gone?

My last post on this blog is from January 2020.

I was all excited and looking ahead at things. Planning a year’s worth of activities and posting about all the exciting places I was wanting to finally go.

To borrow from the musical Six:

“Yeah, that didn’t work out.”

Still, I’m luckier than most. Despite the isolation of the seven weeks of level four, I came out the other side doing pretty okay. Our country is as safe as a place can get in this whole situation. My job (library assistant) is extremely busy, and at times you’d think a swam of book-eating locusts had swept through the children’s section. There used to be board books and comics, I promise.

Anyway, here’s a few things that happened, did not happen, and that I thought about.

Video Games

I’m a gamer, that’s just a fact. Since January I have moved up from silver border to gold in Overwatch (that’s an XP thing, not a skill ranking by the way – I don’t play competitive), and played through both Batman: Arkham Knight and Jedi: Fallen Order.

I really loved Fallen Order: its graphics are beautiful, the story and characters are great, and it really felt cinematic unlike so many games that try and claim that word. Only downside is the ponchos aren’t that great. Need better poncho DLC.

Arkham Knight was… okay. I’d probably have enjoyed it more if there were less driving involved. It was just hard to believe Batman when he insisted that he did not kill anyone, it was against his code, when I had just run over a dozen people on my way there. As I’d just finished reading White Knight I had the social and financial cost of Batman to Gotham on the brain.

(Don’t try and use the old electrified cow catcher thing on the front as an explanation for not killing. I saw how hard people hit the walls of buildings as I knocked them aside.)

WorldCon and RWNZ Conference

2020 was to be the year of conventions and conferences. I’d never been to a WorldCon before (too far away and thus too expensive) so the news that the 78th Worldcon was going to be held in New Zealand – in my city, no less – was exciting. I’d finally get to go!

It’s all online now, but I have to admit I was imagining something a little more than taking a week off only to sit in front of my computer screen the entire time. Still, I hope to “meet” people and make friends, not to mention learn a lot of stuff from all the panels that they’ll be having.

I’d also managed to save enough money to make going to the Romance Writers of New Zealand Conference a reality. Last year I applied for Nalini Singh’s generous scholarship (you know, the one where one place was taken by a “journalist” who then proceeded to write Yet Another Condescending Article About Romance Writers) but was unsuccessful – so I made sure to start saving early on, joined the RWNZ fully, booked flights and hotels, and even planned for a few extra nights so I could actually see the city as I’ve not been anywhere in ten years.

Well, now I have a few extra extra days in Auckland so I can see more of the city. That’s something positive.

In other news, Vampfest: The International Vampire Film and Arts Festival, is now going to be online and completely free. As it is usually held in Sighișoara, Transylvania (the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler), this means I can actually attend.

Writing

So I’m back to writing, having scrapped my first draft of the dark fantasy romance/vampire novel with no working title and only the file name “Howl’s Moving Castlevania”. Having realised I had started in the wrong place for the novel, I took a step back and did a whole lot of outlining instead of trying to pants my way through it again. Specifically I’ve been using Save the Cat beat sheets (and the book Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody) and so far so good.

Also I made my novel’s comp titles/influences into a cake.

From icing down to first layer: Castlevania, The Historian, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Tanz der Vampire.

I’m very fortunate, I know, that the worst thing to happen to me is two months stuck inside my house and then a lot of work. My health is okay (chronic pain aside) and while some of my plans are not going ahead, I can still keep planning for when they can. Maybe that means Voyages with Vampires posts take on new meaning, or I find new ways to get involved with things and meet people.

For now though, I’m going to try and post regularly again, and with entries more exciting than this one.

About Author

Catherine is a writer of stories about dead things and hidden folk, a teller of tales of of strange romances and wild places, and still insists that if given the chance would run away to the vampire's castle for the ball - if she was invited, of course.

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