The Covid-19 pandemic sure threw a spanner in the works for all of those singletons out there who were going out on dates and looking for the next Mr/Miss Right. Overnight everyone had to isolate and give up any hope of amorous adventures for the foreseeable future.
Recently I found a big box of old letters from my younger days, some of which are from friends detailing their romantic lives at the time. We all took it for granted we could go out and meet whoever we wanted. Oh, how we complained and revelled in the ups and downs of our youthful adventures, no clue of what the future might hold. In one letter a friend says her boyfriend complained about having to wear a condom, if only he had known that by 2020 a condom would be the least of his concerns!
Fast forward quite a few years (no, I am not going to say how many) and suddenly single people found themselves having to not only date online but having to have virtual dates rather than real ones. Previously, those home alone were used to online dating sites like Tinder and Grinder, they knew that they could meet the dates in real time if they wanted to. Covid-19 changed all that. While they might find someone they liked online, now they could only see and talk to them online. No meeting up at a restaurant or bar. No first kiss. No one nightstands. No holding hands on romantic walks, no weekends away.
The whole conversation about ‘protection’ came with a new aspect to it. Not only are sexual diseases an issue; The Virus is a major problem too. We are all wearing masks and keeping our distance, all physical intimacy quashed. It’s all very bizarre and lonely for the singletons right now.
One of the stories in my new book The Isolation Sex Stories takes an older couple on a first date via Zoom, it is a fun story but I can imagine all the lonely people who have been in need of companionship. It’s an exciting date for the lady in the story but will she be thrilled to find a new companion? There’s only one way to find out…
All of the stories in my new book are quirky and different, let me know which one(s) you like best.
My blog has been quiet for the past week as I have been making final preparations for the launch of my new short story book.
Writing a book is, in a way, the easy bit. I’ve been agonising over the cover design, proof checking (with the help of a great proofreader), creating illustrations for marketing, and recording audio and video clips.
It is fun and interesting but nerve wracking too!
This book is very different to The Eight of Swords and The Putsi. I wrote those stories nearly ten years ago. The new stories are born out of the times we are in. I’ve injected my usual humour and quirkiness so I hope you will enjoy them.
The launch will be on Sunday 14th February at 9pm when I will do a live reading of one of the stories via my Facebook page. So in addition to all of the above, I am now practising my ‘reading out loud’ skills.
It’s not enough to simply be a writer when you are an indie author. I’m having to learn a whole lot of new skills. Luckily I love social media so that’s not such a trial, but for many years I’ve been self-conscious about my voice. There was a period when I lost my voice and had to go for speech therapy, then to a voice lab in Nottingham where a group of specialists diagnosed me as having a condition known as Spasmodic Dysphonia. This condition causes the voice to break and have a strained or strangled sound. It can make me sound croaky or nervous, when I don’t feel nervous. They told me it would get worse, not improve. Apparently only botox injections into the throat, could improve it, yikes! I opted out.
The suggested condition has, over the years, been a blessing and a curse. I’ve struggled to make myself understood on the telephone many times. People want to know if I’m upset or if I have a cold. The plus side with this is that whenever I have needed a GP appointment, the receptionists have been very sympathetic!
Fortunately with patience and care my voice has improved. You probably won’t notice the occasional straining around vowels. I’ve learned to breathe better, take my time and not get too hung up on it. Public speaking may not ever be my thing but maybe one day I will be forced to face that too. For now I am practising with the videos and reading so I feel at last, anything is achievable.
It’s good to remember that however easy anything looks for anyone, you never know what they’ve had to go through to achieve it. The voice thing has been my bugbear for nearly twenty years. You never know how important something is to you, until you are under threat of losing it altogether. I imagined myself mute by now (which may have pleased a lot of people) but thank goodness with quite a bit of work, I’ve been lucky enough to improve.
Come join me on Sunday 14th February at 9pm. Whether you are loved up on St Valentine’s Day or on your own, please tune in and have a glass of something you enjoy while you listen.
Right, back to reading practise!
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Note: There are affliliate links wihtin this blog to Amazon products that I recommend. This means I receive a small percentage of sales with no extra cost to you. I only recommend books I personally have read and enjoyed or written.
Good evening and welcome to today’s blog post. If I sound a little like the late David Frost I make no apology!
Jack Frost (completely different character) has been nipping at us all for the last few days and while I enjoy being out on frosty bright days, I’m not so sure about the aches the cold brings.
During the first lockdown I disciplined myself into daily yoga sessions via YouTube (I can recommend Adrienne) but that was summer and now the mornings are colder and darker so I have to fight with myself to get up. At the moment I am winning again but that is after a couple of months of lagging in the exercise stakes.
Happily I live in an apartment that has very impressive sound proofing so if I want to dance to loud music, no one complains. Exercise has been incredibly important in keeping my mind focused, as has meditation. If you haven’t tried meditation before I heartily recommend it. During the more stressful times in lockdown (like when my mum ended up in a Covid ward for a week although thankfully she wasn’t suffering from it, just displaying symptoms), I relied on daily meditations to get me through. I don’t do them so often now but I should, it especially helps when writing and your mind is jam packed with ideas.
My daily blog posts are going to be a mixture of how my self publishing is going and day to day writing, publishing, photography and sketching adventures. Of course I am going to be mentioning the pandemic but I will try to focus on the lighter side of everyday living with Covid-19 floating around us in its weird and threatening invisible aura. We all know the dark side, so I don’t need to dwell on that.
You see I mentioned photography and sketching as well as the writing and publishing above. I am also a photographer and I like to sketch when I can. My Grandfather, who was a far superior artist to me in every way, used to love to sketch everyday folk and I have picked that up genetically from him I guess. As it happens, the sketches will work well with my new book of short stories so I will use them to illustrate them.
My blog posts will also feature some of my photography, street photography is what I suppose some would call ‘a guilty pleasure,’ which it is in some ways but capturing people unawares is the only way to make sure their expressions are completely natural. I think I am a kind shooter, I don’t take advantage, I simply document characters and life on the street as I see it. There you go, this is only my second blog post and I am already letting out my dark secrets. Check out my images via @ZingleEye on Instagram.
My characters are completely fictional. I’m lucky in that I have had many jobs and the varied businesses I have worked in have featured all sorts of different characters so while none of my characters are ever based on anyone in particular, I suppose my subconscious computes personality traits and behaviours which then go on to become fully formed fictional beings who you can empathize or identify with in some way. At least I hope so.
I’ll write more about how my characters evolve another time.
Like most creative types I guess, I easily get distracted. I can be walking along thinking about a story and the next minute I am transfixed by a scene that I want to photograph or I might see someone who would make a good sketch or I see through a window and imagine the lives of the people within. Ideas come all the time and one of the big problems I have in life is filtering them and trying to choose which to pursue. Having so many ideas can be both a blessing and on occasion a curse.
The other side of me is that I am pretty practical. My head may be full of ideas and imaginings but I am able to do a bit of plumbing when it’s needed, cut hair, change the oil in a car, cook, bake or create a piece of jewellery – all a bit random but that’s me. If I don’t know how to do something I’m all for finding out how to do it rather than relying on someone else (which of course has to happen from time to time). In fact, I should pass more jobs on to others but my curiosity usually gets the better of me. I don’t see myself as a Jack of all trades and master of none but more a curious human.
This is what happened in the summer. When I had an idea for a book (as it happens not the short stories this time) I decided to learn a publishing program and I am still learning as I go.
My blog post tomorrow will focus (hey get me, I’m going to focus on something) on character creation and I will tell you how The Eight of Swords and The Putsi came about.