Busy doing nothing ….

Keukenhof Flower Gardens

Once upon a time, I blogged weekly. Back then, I was in regular contact with a lot of like-minded people, visiting blogs about writing, dragons, artwork, poetry, reviewing, and myriad other topics. I’m pleased to say that I achieved recognition with ‘awards’ for my blogging, but creative writing was about much more for me.

As the urge for storytelling increased, I slowly let go of the social aspect of blogging. My posts veered more towards my personal projects and dreams of producing a catalogue of work. In honesty, I was keen to achieve success because I tend not to go into things half-heartedly. I’d enjoyed several promotions in my long military career, and I’d proved myself in retail management, my equally long second ‘career’.

How strange it is that while we’re continually pushing ourselves, we fail to recognise how to relax.

I don’t mean sit back and read a book, or take a break and go somewhere. I mean, stop, and simply make an effort to enjoy being a human.

As I said in my latest author website News, ‘at the end of last year, I set out my stall regarding my Work in Progress but as the new year dawned, I was having difficulty maintaining the flow in my primary projects.’

A few months ago, after much deliberation, I decided (with my better half) that it was time to rejoin the caravanning fraternity. It was a self-catering holiday lifestyle that we’d enjoyed twice for long periods in the past. Following plenty of research, we chose a suitable, modern, but pre-owned caravan, and we exchanged our economy-sized car for something capable of towing.

Short trips to the Scottish Highlands, the Yorkshire Moors, and a forest in Norfolk were all pre-cursors to our first proper adventure in a while. A campsite north of Amsterdam was next up, and we were happy knowing that there would be no wi-fi, no TV, and no on-site attractions, apart from tranquility, and a pleasant view.

During our ten days in Landsmeer, we truly relaxed. We paid visits to our son, his partner, and our five-month-old grandson in the city, and they visited us. Pleasant walks locally, and trips to places of interest were all done without a hint of urgency or specific timetable. We didn’t listen to the news or allow the world to break the spell, and it was blissful to spend time at the site which was never busy.

After the first couple of days, on occasion, while my wife was enjoying one of several pastimes, I brought out my Mac, finding the inspiration to continue with my primary Work in Progress. It was as I continued the story of Selena: Sea Nymph that it hit home how ‘constant’ my output had been for months. I had spent so long feeling a need to write, read, review, and support others, and it wasn’t until I stopped that I realised how much self-imposed pressure I’d applied.

I finally recognised how much I needed a rest when I was busy doing nothing.

*

What have I been doing for a couple of months when not producing novels?

A couple of years ago, I created Katya Cumming, (complete with website and author profile) to write erotica. The pseudonym was an experiment to see if a woman might sell the genre better than a man, and I opted to make her a single, Scottish, thirty-something.

While my brand has been resting, Katya has been producing stories. This is not to say that they are treated any less seriously than my mainstream work, because unlike some of her contemporaries, Katya creates a ‘story’ as a vehicle for the sexual adventures. Above all else, the tales are fun to write.

Following my break from reality for a while, I’m now revitalised, and working on Selena: Sea Nymph. I will, of course, be planning regular short breaks for my wife and me to get away from it all, but I believe it will encourage my imagination and creativity.

Thank you as always for reading my thoughts, and, of course, for any comments.

Beyond the story

 

Inspiration comes to authors in many ways and from countless sources. It may be that phrase overheard while out shopping, how another driver has misbehaved, or a special location on holiday. For most people, a walk, run, cycle, drive or any other outing is simply a means of     getting from Point A to Point B.

To a writer, each trip holds golden opportunities.

I’ve written poetry and short stories which feature the Scottish Highlands and the region makes an appearance in several of my novels.     Indeed, most of my erotica series, Highland Games is based there in a remote glen.

Light at The End had been a story idea for a few months but I needed more than what I’d conjured up in my imagination. I didn’t want an entirely fictional tale, I wanted to include something   substantial from the real world … a piece of reality which could not be denied.

Perhaps it’s not so surprising that when I eventually went on a tour of Cruachan Hydro-Electric Power Station my imagination went into hyperdrive. The installation is   colloquially known as The Hollow Mountain because the   entire enterprise is inside a mountain. The only visual   indication that the place is established is the dam between two lochs.

I’d considered a story in which the ‘Hollow Mountain’ was a feature but my visit became absorbing research. I went on the tour inside the mountain which for me meant photographs, notes, sketches and a host of questions for three of the members of staff.

My new story, at last, had a foundation and my characters evolved. Over the past few months, it has become my top-selling title. It may not have many reviews but I blame that on rules regarding reviewer eligibility.

From the feedback I’ve had in comments, emails and the handful of reviews the book has received, I’ve been emboldened to get working on a sequel.

Light to Dark will take over where Light at The End left off and we shall see just how my survivors have fared in their brave new world;      inside a mountain.

 

Unlike the first book, the research for the sequel has been conducted over many years. I’ve walked, climbed, canoed, abseiled, camped and enjoyed being reminded of man’s insignificance amidst mountains, rivers and forests which existed before us and will outlive us.

 

My aim is to show how the apocalypse survivors sense the need to move forward and the difficulties they encounter on their new adventures to save mankind from extinction.

***