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The Not-so-Peculiar Life of Emily

My Month in Bullet Points (February 2022)

What I’ve been up to in February. In bullet points.

In February, I:

  • Watched the entire first season of Reacher on Amazon Prime. (Okay, it’s only eight episodes, so it was fairly quick…) I really enjoyed it!
  • Coughed. Still.
  • Went back to our favourite farm park hangout for the first time since before Christmas (we have an annual pass as it’s only twenty minutes away).
Hahaha her shoes are a size too big and they look massive!
  • Wrote, but never as much as I wish I could. Did hit the monthly target, at least.
  • Realised it has been one year since my grandma died (the last of my grandparents). They all hit me hard, but this one was the hardest as she was like a second mum to me. One of these days I might be able to write about it.
  • Finally saw my friends (and their little ones) for a playdate. We hadn’t met up since probably November as we’ve all had Covid or bad colds more or less consecutively (and I was away for a month). Was great seeing them. I miss adult conversations at times. (Though the amount you manage with a bunch of kids running around is… up for discussion.)
  • Received this absolutely amazing (late) Christmas present from our friends. It’s a drawing of my dog Bailey. He will be fifteen years old tomorrow, and is my old boi. ♥
My handsome boy
  • Total words written in February: 22 764

Idle Thoughts

Happy New Year!

I know I say this e v e r y year, but… how is it 2022 already???

On 2021…

Despite the pandemic and lockdowns and whatnot, it still feels like the year has gone really fast. (While at times going incredibly slow, too… It’s a paradox.)

Like 2020, 2021 was an… interesting year. The pandemic was still going strong, and in England, we spent the first months of the year in a national lockdown. Restrictions eventually eased to allow you to meet a handful of people outdoors, then a handful of people indoors, then most restrictions ended. Then of course we got the Delta variant… and now the Omicron variant, so restrictions may return at any moment (some of them have, but no lockdowns yet).

Despite this, in the summer I managed to go see my family abroad for the first time in 20 months, which felt amazing. I had really missed them, and they had missed so much of the tiny tyrant’s life. As I’m writing this, I’m visiting them again over the Christmas period, though it was a bit touch and go for a while as they were reintroducing travel restrictions.

On Writing…

Writing went fairly well in 2021. I set myself a goal to write 240 000 words, and in the end, hit nearly 250k (248 966 to be exact). I think I would have had a little bit more if I hadn’t got sick for most of December.

I finished two novellas, one novel, and started a second novel and a third novella. (And finished up another novel that I started in December 2020, so most of it was written in 2021.)

I’d like to hit 240k again this year, but as I have a lot of revisions and editing to do, I’m not sure that will be possible.

On Goals…

I don’t like to make New Year’s Resolutions, but I will try to set myself some goals for the year. I failed on some of my goals for last year, so let’s see if I can do them this year.

  • Release first book in Howerty series (and all the things that entails)
  • Write more on the blog.
  • Be more active on social media. I will chose one or two platforms and focus on those. Instagram is a favourite of mine, but what should the second one be? A lot of people are saying TikTok is good these days because of #booktok but I don’t know if I have it in me for that one. Any suggestions?
  • Keep up with my ko-fi page.
  • Continue writing, hopefully hitting 240k again for the year.
  • Get the tiny tyrant’s room done. (Painting and some fixing of the room and setup in general).
  • Declutter our home in general.
  • More exercise and better eating. (The pandemic has not been good for my mental or physical health.)

What are your goals for 2022?

Idle Thoughts

The World’s Longest Writer’s Block

Once upon a time… I had the world’s longest writer’s block. As a child and teenager, I wrote a lot. So many (crappy) stories in so many notebooks. Then I paused as I got busy moving to another country and starting my career. After a little while, I started again. More seriously this time, and I wrote two novels.

I started my third and… I stalled. Not just a little bit, but I couldn’t seem to find the words to write at all. I wrote fourteen different drafts of the first chapter, and none of them worked for me. Nothing else came to me either. I was a writer without words.

Around the same time, and quite possibly related, I had a massive burnout and suffered from my first depression. I had time off my job in a UN Organisation, and once I realised I wasn’t getting better any time soon, I made the difficult decision to resign and move back to my home country. I definitely didn’t feel great.

Eventually, after many tests and meetings, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. While it didn’t fix me, knowing why I felt the way I did, helped. But I still couldn’t write. I couldn’t even read more than a few pages without needing a nap. Brain fog was a thing.

A few years in, I played the game Dragon Age, and for the first time in ages, I felt inspired. I started a fanfiction story. Then another. I didn’t finish either of them but just writing–no matter how little, felt amazing. I moved countries again, and writing fell to the wayside as I started working full-time again for the first time in ten years (I had only managed part-time up until that point since I was diagnosed). With limited energy, I could only do one thing; work or enjoy life in my spare time. I worked and did little but sleep once I was home.

Then I had a child. A little tiny tyrant who never slept. (Her sleep still isn’t good, but at least it’s better than it was.) In early 2020 I heard about Wattpad, a writing platform where writers could put their stories and hopefully find readers who liked it. Finally having the odd evening here and there free (or semi-free), I decided it was time to get back to writing. I always missed it and it has always been something I’d like to be doing professionally.

So I signed up to Wattpad.

I released my first few chapters to crickets. Then I joined a writing group on the forums (that have since been removed), and I met like-minded writers. It was probably the best thing I could ever have done. Not only did some of them read my story, but we clicked really well and we’re all still in contact on Discord where we have a server.

Since those early days in 2020, I’ve written consistently. I finished the first round of revisions on the two novels from back in the day, and I’ve written one novel and four novellas. I’m currently working on my fourth novel.

If it wasn’t for Wattpad and the group of amazing writers I met through it, I don’t know that I would have broken my writer’s block. I’m so grateful to them. They’re an amazing bunch of people.

So, how long was my writer’s block? If I ignore the random bits of fanfiction (which was rare with long times between updates), the time between finishing my second novel and when I started writing on Wattpad was… 13 years.

Yes, you read that right. I had writer’s block for 13 years. Hopefully, that’s enough to fulfil my quota for a lifetime and I will never suffer from it again!

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? How did you get past it?

Scribbles

Corresponding with your Characters (4/4)

(A bit of silliness I wrote during a writer’s block when working on book two of the Howerty series. Part 1 can be found here, part 2 here and part 3 here.)

Dear Writer,

Understood and complied.

Yours (ever so faithfully),
{list of characters}

*complete silence*

1 minute has passed…

2 minutes…

3…

Jacob (in a theatrical whisper), “Why hasn’t she started writing yet?”

Bonk… Bonk… Bonk… (<— writer banging head against desk in frustration)

Scribbles

Corresponding with your Characters (3/4)

(A bit of silliness I wrote when I had a writer’s block when working on book two of the Howerty series. Part 1 can be found here, and part 2 here.)

Dear Characters,

As the writer, I would like to believe that it is my prerogative whether I’m writing or not. At the current time, I am not writing since I have had other things to deal with, and I am also trying to decide on the best course of action to get this particular story finished.

However, I am having troubles concentrating because I have all these annoying characters inside my head—who all want their own story told—and I have therefore been busy writing these ideas down before they disappear. I think you should know though, that it is giving me a headache. I feel you should learn to be quiet when I’m not asking you for your help, and you should keep your noses from where they don’t belong (the actual planning process of the writing).

When I have several characters whining about their stories, I cannot get anything done, so I would highly appreciate it if you would all just shut up for some time and mind your own business. Then I can get back to writing and everything will be well.

Signed,
A very tired writer

Behind the Scenes

Did You Know I’m on Ko-fi?

I took the plunge recently and signed up to Ko-fi. It’s something of a simpler version of Patreon, which was the other option I looked at. Out of the two I went for Ko-fi since it offers the possibility for supporters to just do a one-off show of support by buying me a cup of coffee.

Patreon does have the advantage of the tiers where you can explain exactly what you offer for each one. Like, I would love to offer copies of my books once they are published to supporters, but Ko-fi doesn’t really have an easy way to do that. However, Patreon has other parts I don’t like, so for now, at least – I’m on Ko-fi.

I’m offering weekly chapters of my current WIP to supporters; a historical romance that is the third in my Howerty series. There will also be sneak peeks for other stories, and maybe some deleted scenes and similar. If anyone has any suggestions for what they’d like to see, I’m all ears!

If you’d like to check out my Ko-fi page, it’s here:

http://ko-fi.com/emilymorgans

Have you ever tried Ko-fi, Patreon or any of those sites? What do you think about them?

Scribbles

Corresponding with your Characters (2/4)

(A bit of silliness I wrote while having a little writer’s block writing book two of the Howerty series. Part 1 can be found here.)

Dear Writer,

We have become aware as of late that you are not effectively working on the story of Jessica and Jacob, and we feel we must express our concern in this regard. The story is so close to being done, you must only re-write some of the scenes and do revisions and proofreading. We cannot understand what is causing this delay in your efforts. The longer it takes the more difficult it will become, and we are worried about your commitment to our cause.

Also, we would like to make you aware of the discord between ourselves this is creating. You cannot imagine the bickering this is causing about the reasons for your delay. We understand you are busy writing down ideas for other stories, but would very much appreciate your immediate attention to the story at hand, after which you will be able to start the next one. We believe this is a solution that would suit everyone’s needs.

Yours Sincerely,

Lady Jessica Howerty

on behalf of
Nathaniel Howerty, the Marquess of Pensington (who wants Jacob to pay for what he did)
Jacob Hurst, the Earl of Wortham (who wants Nathaniel off his back)
Lady Miranda Howerty (who wants Nick to shut up about getting her story)
Lady Nicola Howerty (who won’t stop talking about getting her story – partly just to annoy Rain)

Behind the Scenes

Mini Introduction

I saw this somewhere and decided to steal it. Because apparently I’m a thief?

1. What I write: Romance all the way! Fantasy Romance, and Historical Romance (Regency). Sometimes I try something different, and I have a contemporary novella.

2. My go-to genre to read/write: Romance in multiple sub-genres, but I also enjoy a good horror or thriller. And some general fiction?

3. Favorite characters: All of them! I try to vary the type I write. My favourites are probably the broody and sarcastic ones though.

4. Happily ever after ending: In my writing, always. But I generally prefer it in most of what I read. There’s enough gloominess in the real world.

5. Plotter or pantser: I’m a plantser? Probably more of a pantser than plotter though.

6. Writing tools: I write mainly in Scrivener these days. Love it!

7. What readers can expect from my stories: Humour, sparks flying and a happily ever after (eventually).

8. Publishing goals: Most likely self-publishing on Amazon. Hopefully, the first book will come out this year!

9. Fave authors: Julia Quinn, Teresa Medeiros, Lisa Kleypas, Torey Hayden, Dean Koontz, Stephen King

10. Writing personality: Not quite disciplined enough… Organised chaos, basically. Like the rest of my life.

Scribbles

Corresponding with your Characters (1/4)

(A bit of silliness I wrote when having a little writer’s block when writing the second Howerty book…)

“What do you think she’s doing?”

Nathaniel gave Jacob an irritated look. “How am I supposed to know?”

His friend smiled blandly. “Well, you usually act as if you know everything. I thought you knew this too.”

Arching his eyebrows, Nathaniel asked sardonically, “Aren’t you confusing me for yourself now?”

Jacob chuckled. “Perhaps. But the question remains. I don’t understand what’s taking her so long. We should be much further along than this.”

“Maybe you scared her off,” Nick supplied helpfully from where she was sitting by the window petting one of Rain’s kittens.

“I did not!” Jacob scoffed. “I’ve been on my best behaviour.”

“Even your best behaviour leaves much to be desired,” Nathaniel muttered. “I’ve not forgotten what you did to my sister.”

“Are we back to that again?” Jacob sighed, looking bored.

Nathaniel looked as if he was going to boil over, so Jessica quickly stepped in. “Nathaniel, it’s fine. Let’s not argue. What’s done is done.”

“Fine,” Nathaniel bit off with an angry glance at Jacob who was now smiling blithely. “Let’s concentrate on the issue at hand. But he better wipe that smug look off his face before I punch him.”

Nick stood up and walked over to the group gathered at the table. “So, why isn’t she writing? She should be working on finishing Jacob and Jessica’s story, shouldn’t she?”

Everyone nodded. “That’s what we’re talking about.”

“Maybe she’s tired of them?” Nathaniel pondered.

“Hardly.” Jacob scoffed. “It’s more likely she knows that our story is much better than yours. If she finishes, it’ll just prove this fact and make yours seem so much worse. You couldn’t handle that.”

“There is nothing wrong with my story!” Nathaniel snapped.

“So you think,” Jacob mumbled, his eyes glittering with suppressed mirth from having been able to poke Nathaniel’s temper once again.

“She needs to get back to writing. The story has to finish so that she can start on mine,” Nick complained. “I want to be a grown-up and have my own fun!”

“Just because you’re a grown-up doesn’t mean you’ll actually act like one,” Rain called from where she was sitting on the floor, surrounded by a litter of kittens.

“But I’ll have fun,” Nick said. “And that’s what matters. Besides, she’s going to write my story before yours, even though I’m younger,” she added as she stuck her tongue out at her older sister.

“That’s just because mine is much more important and she needs more time to plan it,” Rain grumbled. “I’m going to be the Incomparable during my London season. Everyone knows that. Then I’ll meet a handsome man and we’ll fall in love instantly and live happily ever after.”

“Hardly,” Nick said with a big smile. “You’ll be miserable, else there will be no story to tell.”

“We’re digressing,” Nathaniel cut off their bickering. “We need to find a way to sort this out. How can we get the writer to start writing again?”

“Let’s send her a letter?” Jacob suggested with a grin.

“Well,” Jessica said slowly as she was thinking. “To be honest I can’t really think of another way. So let’s do that. Who will write it?” She looked at the others and then sighed when she noticed that they were all looking expectantly at her. “Fine!” she muttered. “I’ll do it.”

“Very well,” Nathaniel said, satisfied. “Maybe you can finally get your happily ever after now, Jessica.”

“I sure hope so,” Jacob muttered. “Maybe then people will get off my back…”

(Part 2 can be found here.)

The Howertys

Sneak Peek: Nick’s Story

A sneak peek from my current WIP, the third book in the Howerty series.

“Are you planning to seduce me?”

He almost choked on his drink. Turning around he gave Nick a questioning look. “I beg your pardon?”

She raised a dainty shoulder in a shrug. “I’ve heard that bachelors usually try to seduce young ladies when they bring them into their bedchambers.”

Smiling wryly, he set his glass down and raised a sardonic eyebrow. “Well, these are not what I would call normal circumstances.”

“So you’re not planning to seduce me, then?”

“No.”

“Under normal circumstances, would you have?”

He gave her a suspicious look. “Did you want me to?”

Nick grinned widely. “No, I’m just curious.”

Running a hand through his hair, he sighed. “No, most definitely not.”

“Why not?” she asked, her lower lip pouting now. “Don’t you find me attractive?”

If he’d still had his drink, he was certain he would have choked for real at that moment. “You’re very attractive,” he said slowly. “But I don’t seduce innocent, young women.”

“Oh, I see.” She gave him a long look and then grinned mischievously. “So I have nothing to worry about then.”

“No, you’re quite safe.”