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Village people III

Part IPart II

…and after all this fun and games I sort of broke.

Living with an invisible chronic illness that limits your energy means that there are limits to your energy. (In)conveniently, I never remember that until the red lamp is not even blinking in a warning, but is the only part of my body and mind that remains functioning. I can’t rest in advance and I can’t just “push myself”, I know it never ends well when I try, that I must take a break. I even know the definition of insanity. I always do the same thing. I am yet to gain any benefits from that.

Surprisingly, this time was not an exception. I pushed and pushed until I reached the absolute, unbreakable limit, then broke it too. That was it for my participation in the move, as I became a near-literal deadweight. Husby took care of the rest whilst I was plopped on our new sofa, staring melancholically at the garden outside our window. But I did get an unexpected benefit. A magical one.

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Village people II

Part one

I kind of lost track of chronology due to sheer exhaustion, so this instalment won’t be neatly divided into days of the week.

My dear friend G arrived on Saturday and ensured that I will remain grateful forever by offering to paint ceilings. My spine makes various things impossible – painting ceilings is one of those things. So I spent the first few hours tearing off the remaining wallpaper in the living room. Finishing the task coincided with G and Husby beginning to sand various parts of the room, which created so much noise that I ran upstairs and made sure not to get any rest anytime soon. Some wallpaper there was coming off, so I grabbed a corner, thinking about nothing in particular, and pulled at it.

Old Vumman, as it soon transpired, had three hobbies. One was placing motivational texts along the lines of “If you dribble when you piddle, be a sweetie and wipe the seetie” (yes, SEETIE) everywhere. Those are gone by now. Another was putting nails in every wall, at random spots and random angles. Those are mostly gone. The third hobby, however, was wallpapering. The living room had one layer. The gym room and my future office had six. Using the steamer helped only partly, because the last layer was something between plastic and paper, just thick enough to refuse to come off, and just paper-y enough to tear off some of the wall, which is made of something that may or may not be cardboard. If I had known, I wouldn’t have pulled at that corner, just tried to glue it and told myself that I adore Old Vumman’s wallpaper choices… but… well. See the picture above to get an idea how far I got after two days of doing this. Layer four was actually quite pretty, looking as if some graffiti artists came over, sprayed paint in the air, then sneezed (many times), but all of the many wallpapers formed a semi-whole that would neither come off all at once nor one layer after the other.

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Real life is happening

I’ve been quiet. I haven’t been posting quality content which could go viral and make me Internet-famous, possibly an influencer, advertising… uh… trips to Iceland at €1 million per sentence. Husby and I were busy with real life. In a nice way.

Surgery Battle of the month!

It looks like my fifth (I couldn’t figure out whether it was fourth or fifth until I counted the anaesthetic injections – you don’t forget injections in your eye socket easily) plastic surgery might be a success! Knock on wood. Hopefully I can do a visual newsletter again in a month or so. My modelling days are behind me – although never say never – so I only have to worry about never forgetting to wear sunglasses when in public. Also, I’m not sure why I tell people the truth when they ask me whether I was in a fight… Wait. YES. I forgot. It was an epic battle. I have slain dragons, then eaten their still beating hearts. I sat on the Iron Throne and shook hands with the Gods. (And with Cersei Lannister.) So much blood was spilled that I could extract iron from it, then forge a sword out of it. And I only got one wound!

The depression calmed down. Possibly because I was too busy. Since we also bought a house.

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Spooning around

First things first: the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources is now over, it went swimmingly, and I recommend Rachel’s services to everyone who needs to get thoroughly blog toured. Thanks so much to everyone involved for giving me your time and space on your blogs!

A blog tour in itself is a very strange experience. Thirty people – three a day – reviewed the book, posted excerpts, there was a giveaway (congratulations if you’ve won!), interviewed me. Even though I mostly retweeted and shared other people’s articles, I actually felt like I was really touring, unsure where I was on the given day, have I remembered to thank the blogger yet, copying links, worrying that I’ll oversaturate the internet with myself… I wonder if Kim Kardashian ever feels this way?

I can’t figure out why I can absolutely imagine appearing on Graham Norton (with Travis Fimmel and Jason Momoa, I’m sitting in the middle, thanks Graham bae xx), but being asked “what is your favourite book and why” throws me into a slight breakdown. It’s The Hours by Michael Cunningham, but whyyyyyyy other than “it’s sooooooooo good”?! How do I answer this in a sufficiently intellectual way? Where is my coffee? Who are those people? Is that a light I see? Mum?

And now I need a break.

 

Spoonie life

The things I wrote about in the previous post got resolved, mostly, but they took their toll.

I did not get surgimacated. We went to see the doctor, who looked, harrumphed, confirmed that indeed it looks like I might need surgery, then tried to schedule me for November. I pride myself on being infallibly polite, but for once I didn’t manage and let out through clenched teeth that this means I can celebrate the second anniversary of the first failed surgery on September 6. Now I am getting surgimacated on July 30.

The electricity is back and oh boy, I did not know that I could feel a twang of excitement when I press the light switch and the lights in the kitchen switch ON. And! They switch OFF when I press again! What kind of luxury?!

That draft of Children that I was finishing at breakneck pace before the end of June broke me somewhat. I’ve written myself into a semi-burnout. Now that the tour is over and our electricity functions life doubled up. We will be moving within a few months, which means that a lot of the things I’ve planned to do must go on hold. I withdrew from an anthology, I will not be working on the Storytellers audiobook anytime soon, I will hopefully probably maybe finish the soundtrack for the novel sometime in the future… We don’t even have that house yet, we’re not packing anything, the most exhausting thing right now is waiting and trying to decide how to set up the furniture in the living room. I still took weeks to write this blog post, even though it is neither particularly informative nor life-enhancing. Because in addition to being incredibly attractive and an Artistè, I am also a spoonie.

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Gods laugh at plans of mice and men

Tomorrow is the first day of the Storytellers blog tour, which means that for ten days, every day, three book bloggers will be posting their reviews and or excerpts from the book, interviews, plus two guest posts written by yours truly. The goal of a tour is to increase the visibility both of my book’s and me (the downside of being a new writer is that few people are aware of my existence) – and the bloggers’ work. Which means tweeting, retweeting, facebooking, refacebooking, standing on the nearest corner with a megaphone and so on.

I happen to be friends with a book blogger. (No disclaimer needed, since she has not reviewed my book.) Since we started chatting I found out how much work and time is really needed to maintain a book blog. Some of them are group efforts, like Rosie Amber’s Rosie’s Book Review Team, but most are the work of one person. A person who is expected to read, review, read, review, read, review regularly, no matter what life is up to. I have no idea what reviews Storytellers will get, good or bad, long or short, but I am already thankful to everybody who agreed to read my book, then write about it. In the last three weeks I managed to read 17% of Angela Boord’s Fortune’s Fool which is a wonderful book, but I just wasn’t really in a reading mood. A book blogger can’t just “not be in a reading mood” once a blog tour is planned and advertised.

Aaaaanyway, there I was, doing a nice flexy-flexy, stretchy-stretchy of my specially dedicated Share Button Finger, when all of a sudden life started to happen all over the place. Do you know this feeling when you discover one little problem? Really little, like a buzzing fly. Then another one arrives. And another, at which point you start getting a tad grumpy. Then one more, and another one…

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A Special Communication from Bjørnheimr

It’s not you, it’s me.

I know I’ve been quiet. I’m going to do my best to improve communication between us from now on, ‘k? I’ve been going to therapy and I feel I’m almost ready to…you know? You don’t know? Communication, Bjørn… well… yeah, I’m almost ready to commit to posting on the blog again. Don’t leave me! We can work it out!

I fought the law and I won!

Some of you know I was stuck in a legal case for a very long time. It didn’t seem so bad at first, except for the fact that I am allergic to officials and lawyers, but I had #faith that I would simply win. That didn’t happen. The appeal took forever and a day, and my allergy got worse. Then finally I got the letter, found out that I won the case, and realised how little else I actually accomplished in those last months. I mean, apart from finishing, designing, then publishing a book, promoting it as well as I could, working on its soundtrack, dealing with legal stuff and with health issues both mine and those of my family members, working on the next book(s) about which in a moment, accidentally networking (I am allergic to the word “networking”, but it transpires that being nice to people on social media and interacting with them is also called “networking”, even if I am not wearing a suit), preparing a large online contest (I am, uh, just about to start working on it, but I’ve done a lot of thinking, OK?), and I just got tired typing this…

*a brief nap follows*

….yaaaaaawnyway, now that the case is over I am experiencing a strange empty feeling. I got so busy with it that I forgot what I was even fighting for, until I got it. In my head the upcoming decades were a parade of lawyers and hearings. I was keeping myself busy half-heartedly rewriting the same work in progress, then in the last weeks things slightly escalated, and now I am writing four books at once.

*awkward silence*

New Ásgard, who dis?

The first and second are two parts of the same story, but each of the books is a different genre. The first part is historically accurate fantasy, the second – historical fiction with fantasy elements. (This translates to “less Gods and worlds, more mortals and discoveries of Iceland”.) For the first part I took certain Norse myths and sagas and decided to expand them into a novel, as the way they were originally written tends to be a bit like this:

The troll stole my mead
So I killed him
And his hamster
The end.

My take is a bit more of…literary fantasy, if that even exists. I’m less interested in the troll-killing part and more in motivations (what’s so damn special about this mead?), personalities (are trolls nice and fluffy?), side characters (how did the hamster feel about the whole ordeal?). Still, fantasy is fantasy, and while I have a tendency to describe the battles as “once everything was over…”, some readers might not appreciate that.

The second part largely concerns itself with the discovery of the new Ásgard, also known as Iceland, by Hrafna-Flóki. This is where the historical accuracy becomes really important. On one hand, the research will help with the worldbuilding thanks to the fact that Earth already exists and so do the maps. On the other, there are currently ten books staring at me menacingly from the side table. I’m…just about to start on them very soon…

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A month in the life of a book

Storytellers was officially released on March 28, 2019. Today it’s exactly one month old. Once I’m on my tenth novel I probably won’t even notice this sort of thing, too busy signing contracts with Hollywood and buying mansions. But this is my first book-baby and every morning I wake up excited to see what’s going to happen.

Here’s what happened so far…

Writing

I’ve rewritten the entire book twenty-one times.

In September 2017 I believed the book to be finished and ready to go. I asked an editor to go through the text and correct my grammar and spelling – I am painfully aware that I’m not a native speaker. She returned the book just in time for my 40th birthday (poetic, right?), mentioning in passing that perhaps a few things could do with another look, not too much, just a lick of polish. The most shocking thing she said to me was that she felt that the female characters seemed slightly flat.

Those who know me are aware that I’m an avid feminist. Almost all of my favourite books feature amazing female characters so full of life that I feel like we are BFFs. I could have dismissed Megan’s remarks, and almost have, but two of them overlapped with my beta readers’ remarks. When one person doesn’t like a detail, it’s generally not a problem. Two, though – one of them a professional – should make you think. So I did a bit of rewriting here and there. Eighteen times. Seventeen months. The total: twenty-one times over twenty-six months. Lads and ladies, here’s my book-baby, a result of an extremely overdrawn pregnancy.

The #PubDay

Also known as the day when you can actually purchase the book.

GOOD GODS. First of all, I didn’t realise that Amazon paperbacks did not feature the preorder option, accidentally publishing an unfinished version on February 27, giving scammers a chance to “offer” the book that didn’t exist yet, meaning you could “buy” it from the scammer – but not from me. The hardcovers came with two dates: publication date and on-sale date, which technically is a preorder, but in practice the book showed up on Amazon on March 28th, declaring that it was released on March 7th. At least the e-book did come out on the day it was supposed to be released. There were, excitingly, some preorders. The super deluxe boxed sets sold out within less than three days since I announced them, way before I even put one paragraph online.

This was the simple bit.

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Cover reveal and more: Storytellers

One of the many reasons why I decided to self-publish Storytellers rather than go the traditional agent > editor > publisher route are my control issues is my love for the art of cover design. When you have a traditional publisher, you have very little say as to how your book will be promoted, marketed… and how it is going to look. I don’t mind the first two, but the cover is my baby. Which means I am revealing my baby to you. Hey, at least there was no gender reveal party!

Here’s the cover – click through to read more about the design process, upcoming audiobook, and all other formats.

 

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The book is finished

Exactly as the title suggests, the twenty-first and final draft of Storytellers arrived from my editor this morning.

The dream I had many years ago inspired the first draft. I was somewhat sick, but not too sick to type, so I wrote it down within the first two weeks of January 2017. At the end of September 2017 I sent what was in my head the final version to the editor, asking only for grammar and spelling corrections. Sixteen months later we both declared the book ready. January 1, 2017 – January 28, 2019. Exactly two years and twenty-eight days.

Obviously, I didn’t spend every single day working on those drafts. When the book was with the editor, I busied myself writing an outline for another book that didn’t work, two drafts for God of Fire which is now in my “perhaps one day in the far future” folder, and recently started rewriting the Norse mythology as a character-driven epic fantasy series. I don’t mind revealing that, because the idea is the easiest part of writing a book…

Idea

It all starts with the idea. Many people say they have no ideas. I believe this, generally, to not be true. If you ever looked at your ex and thought “I wish you’d fall into a sewer during the first walk with your new girlfriend”, you came up with an idea you could elaborate on. You, or rather your heroine who would definitely not be you at all, could curse the ex – every time he went on a date, something awful would happen to him. Instead of a werewolf, he could be a wererat or a werecockroach. If you had a conversation and came up with the perfect answer half an hour earlier, you came up with an idea you could write down. Once you had enough of those mini-ideas, you could start writing.

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I\’ll be back right after this break

A young (ahem) writer reads about promotion, building a brand, social media presence, regularly updated blog/website. The young writer makes a list of things he is able to do on top of the actual writing. And then the young writer gets really, really ill and everything goes to hell.

As you may have heard, I have a book coming out soon. I’ve prepared a marketing plan, started work on the soundtrack, the final – hopefully – version is still with my editor and should be here soon so that I can send it to the proofreader. (By the way, I will be writing about the whole process soon.) The cover is ready. The text is almost ready.

I am not ready.

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