20 days to go …

Screenshot 2014-10-18 12.35.00As a highly-strung person, I should really know not to go and do things like Kickstarter by this point. I stopped going on roller coasters for a reason but the platform has so many bonuses that I, given my social-economic situation and disabilities, find it’s worth it in the end.

Yesterday I put The Changing of the Sun free on Amazon Kindle (you can get it here if you’ve not already got a copy, but on until Monday). I had an allotment of days and I though, if I used a couple of them, I could give people a sample of the final product and what I hope to achieve with The Parting of the Waters. I wasn’t quite prepared for how many flew out into the world and some kind soul even came back and bought Whispers. I heart that person more than the rest.


Now though things haven quietened down. Pledges have slowed and while I have at least seven people who have promised me they will do it, that means nothing until the completion of the act. Actually it makes me more anxious as you should never promise me anything unless you intend to deliver. It’s one of my quirks and really doesn’t help my anxiety. Other people, though, they seem more confident, not only at the amount I’ve raised so far (which is impressive) but also that I’ve raised anything at all. That I’ve been in the paper and on TV in the space of two weeks also stuns them but it’s not generated anywhere as near as much financial backing as I had hoped it would.

This particular Kickstarter, it’s about the book but it’s also about me. This isn’t some laptop stand or dog bed, this a book and, like art, books are strange beasts. Not everyone likes them, not everyone reads, and I’m asking for a lot compared to similar projects (though most of those seem to fund happily enough).

There’s not actually much else I can do, aside from wave the link around in front of Twitter and remind people, who don’t seem aware at all, that Kickstarter doesn’t take the funds instantly. I’m encouraging people to pledge now because that’s the only way this will work, there’s little point waiting until November 7th as that will be too late. The domino effect is what will see me fund and for that I need more pledges right now, even if they’re of small amounts.

So if you can, think of me and my anxiety levels, and go take a look at my little project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lesleysmith/the-parting-of-the-waters-the-changing-of-the-sun

Launch week is here!


Next week is about two things: the official publication of The Changing of the Sun and the launch of the Kickstarter campaign for The Parting of the Waters. I’m going to have to raise £100 a day to meet my target funding goal of £3000 by the end of the campaign on 7th November. It’s achievable, I think, but I’m going to need a lot of help. I’m also still attempting to get Parting done by NaNoWriMo though it’s looking increasingly apparent that I might have to just keep plowing through and give Hanna her time in the spotlight early next year. We shall have to see how it goes.

The good news is I have a blog tour (cross-promotion FTW) lined up for next week and will be hosted by some excellent people including Steve McHughElayne GriffithStefan Bolz, my editor Ellen CampbellJim C. Hines and Mary Robinette Kowal!

This weekend is all about chilling out and prep work. The campaign video is uploading to Kickstarter, I am in the process of lining up an interview with local media outlets next week and it’s archery too (my favourite activity but also a good opportunity to go, hey look what I did to a collection of my peers).  I’m also starting to give serious thought to my first Ashteraiverse anthology, Beyond the Stars Beneath the Sea, including commissioning a star chart and getting in the right mindset for writing by watching Alien. The next couple of weeks are going to be stupidly busy so I’m keen to use my time as wisely as possible, especially when it comes to inspiration striking.

Keeping busy is good. It stops me focusing on the terror.

For now, all I can ask is that if you want to read Changing, consider pledging to my Kickstarter campaign rather than buying or pre-ordering the book. I get backers/funding, you guys get print editions, post cards and other shiny things. If you’ve read Whispers and Changing, then review them on Amazon, ideally before launch day. Thanks very much.

I’ll be over here chilling out for the rest of week.

Isis needs her teeth doing …

Anyone who has a black cat will tell you they get gingivitis, it’s like saying that fairer skinned people will burn more easily. Both D and Isis get their yearly vet summons around the time and, partly because he’s easier to summon and wrangle, D got to go first. He’s still not forgiven me for that one.

Today was Isis’ turn. We now have a vet who has met the entire 10690254_10152766069521449_7967199414067478192_nfamily bar Ceri and it’s gotten to the point where Isis needs her teeth cleaning kinda now. She still eats dry food but I’ve noticed her relishing the tomato sauce on the tuna more than the fish itself. The good thing (trying to look at the positives here) is that it’s a minor procedure and, thanks to the Healthy Pet Club I use to pay off cat related expenses over a year, will only cost £200.

I don’t have £200 but it’s something I’m still going to get done this week (thank the gods for credit cards. Seriously.). At this point, and given it’s an Isis-related expense, I don’t care about cost. The stress of isolating her tomorrow night, of her crying and hammering on the door to be let out is what I’m not looking forward too. I know I anthropomorphise my cats, I know I treat them like my children but they’re the closest thing I have to kids and Isis, especially after her trials, remains my favourite for very good reason.

So, hopefully, she’ll be in and out Wednesday. Also I now have to get the cat flap fixed as D managed to destroy the locking mechanism. Gee thanks D.

Wish me luck because this week I think I’m going to need it.

Guide Dogs Flag Day 2014

A GDO friend of mine rang me last week needing a favour. She was supposed to be collecting for Guide Dogs (they usually2014-09-27 10.05.41 have a week of fundraising in September) but couldn’t make it and would Uni and I take her spot?

I wanted to say no but there were extenuating circumstances and I won’t say no if someone asks. I try to, sometimes, but this wasn’t one of those situations. This was a thing which would help my friend, would get me outside (argh) and help raise money for the charity which gave me a £65k monster my friend Sophie has nicknamed ‘the woofit’.

I said yes, mainly because she’s a friend and she was in a pickle even as my brain screamed obscenities. I’m hardly sociable at the best of times and talking to strangers on the street … well I’d rather have a root canal. But she was in a bind and I am nice, plus I could understand why I’d been thought of. Uni has something of a reputation locally, and not just with the other GDOs, as something of a tart.

What better than one of those when you want people to give you money for a good cause?


Actually it wasn’t too bad. I thought I was going to have another migraine and I was so glad when I didn’t, though I’m still extra sensitive to sunlight. A grande Reverse Mocha and chatter with my sighted companion (a requirement of the collections) soon woke me up. It turns out we share a mutual acquaintance which was nice, if not surprising giving everyone seems to know everyone else in the City of Dragons. Uni got to meet some new dogs she didn’t know and I got to make a total fuss of Pebbles, one of my favourite local working dogs. She belongs to an acquaintance of mine and is definitely from a similar mould to Uni.

That’s the nice thing about being around other Guide Dogs. I get to fuss them and experience the love that Uni dolls out on other people. I’m her staff, I’m boring, but to other dogs I’m a human who likes them and wants to spoil them. This is why I love going to archery to see Bramble, Gissy and Una so much, because part of the fun is getting to have a dog sit on my foot and tell me I am beloved. In terms of a counter for depression, it’s nearly as good as a hug from my niece.

We had a fine day for it, even if it was a Saturday morning in Norwich (a special circle of Hell if there ever is one) but Uni was a hit. Actually so was I. We quickly discovered that I was getting a lot more money in my tin than my sighted companion and, of course, everyone wanted to pet Uni. She drank up the attention, even wandering off at one point to get fuss from some folks sitting next to us. We were supposed to do an hour on/an hour off and, on our way back from Starbucks, we ended up tag teaming it with M and Pebbles. Two guide dogs work so much better than one, to the point where we must have gotten an extra tin’s worth just by having more than one dog (both of whom are as bad as each other) demanding love and looking so adorable.

I admit that by lunchtime I was done. My feet hurt, Uni was knackered but it was a good experience. People gave what they could, no one told me I was ‘inspirational’ (which is a plus in my book; calling me that will normally lead to assault) although everyone loved Uni. She’s just the right mix of noble and friendly which meant we had a constant stream of delighted children pressing pound coins into the tin and asking for badges (which are in that blue guide dogs pouch under Uni’s head).

Doing Flag Day reminded me there’s quite a community of us in Norwich. We’re all different, some of us have had three dogs, others one, but we’re all linked by the organisation and our canine companions. Now, if I could just train Uni to bring me the post (which is what 95% of the people I spoke too seemed to think she did) then we can consider it a bonus.

Migraines ahoy!


Well that was fun. Not.

I used to get migraines, triggered by light, as a kid which would see me crying/passing out in agony as regular as clockwork on Monday afternoons. My mother, a nurse, blamed sinusitis (yes because her medical training makes her A DOCTOR, not). She was a great one for guessing … shoving tablets down my throat as she tried to guess the ailment. That, boys and girls, is how I discovered an allergy to coproxomol. My mother decided to give it to me for toothache, twice, and it taught me that sometimes one kind of agony can be blocked out by another. Also I don’t touch anything in the co-family, just in case.

Then, during uni, I get some right shockers. This was blamed by all, including my mother, on me eating too much sugar/fat which is ‘known’ to trigger horrific headaches in those souls who have had gastric surgery. Except I, now, remembering the mind numbing agony, am pretty sure they were just really bad migraines, triggered by noise, light and stress. My last ‘proper’ one was set off by a medical photographer two years ago and a flashbulb. I now avoid most forms of strobe liking and am obviously sensitive to light.

Uni and I were coming back from Norwich on Monday when the first migraine hit. It was set off by light and probably stress too. On the trip back I suddenly realised I had a ‘hole’ in my central vision which wasn’t normally their. Like when you look into a bright light for too long. I was convinced my retina was detaching (I leave the hilarity of trying to Google ‘retinal detachment’ (which I have some experience of and do not recommend) on the bus with an iPad and a gap in your central vision for later). I took some ibuprofen and waited, and waited … and went in search of my Sumatriptan which I asked my doctor for in the spring and was never so glad to see.

Pwople who know me will realise I don’t go to bed for anything. Bed is for sleeping, my sickbed is my chair and the iMac and I will sit on the sofa before I end up in bed. Monday afternoon I had no choice but to do that and ‘nap’ for four hours. Then I woke up, felt better, and went to Morrisons for food. The sun was setting and it was still bright but I felt okay.

I researched migraines and my own knowledge told me sometimes they pass but aren’t gone. My friend Karen has them more regularly than anyone should and she saw how bad I was, as well as being one of my regular social outlets. I made a mental note of my symptoms and waited. Last time it felt like sinusitis until the white hot pain started behind my left eye.

This morning I felt okay but then started feeling nauseous. That weird kind of sickness where you’re not going to throw up but the idea of food makes you feel bleach. I ate breakfast and it tasted bad, it just felt wrong and all I could smell was tuna (which I fed the cats two days ago). I got my books come through and started signing them …. which was when my central vision went again. I should have gone to bed, instead my inner aspire was demanding a trip to the post office. I took more ibruprofen, dragged my bag of books to Dereham on the bus and waited for the headache to pass. It didn’t. Then there was that weird sense of my eyes needing to explode out their sockets so I gave up the ghost, apologised to the universe and went willingly to bed.

Repeat of Monday. Except this time I downed the sumatriptan and my zopiclone and slept.

I’m still sensitive to light, sound not so much, but I’m making an effort to take it easy. I do not want a third one of these, not again, not this week. Ow.

The annoying thing is this has killed my productivity. I’m lying in bed with my MBA but I know anything more complex than noting down my symptoms in this post. That’s it. I’m not even tired anymore which will present even more of an issue in ten minutes. I’m messed up my rhythms and there’s a reason I don’t nap. Insomnia makes me cranky as …

Still hyped for P.T. and Silent Hills

I can’t stop watching the walkthroughs for P.T. (the Playable Teaser for Silent Hills). In particular I came across the talking paper bag and the teaser for the teaser with a beautifully eerie Yamaoka Akira piano piece as the soundtrack. I’m really excited for this game, for Silent Hills and the depths found in such a short game. Those words … they’re important. I know this and my inner obsessive is loving reading subtext into it. I love Lisa. Also Norman Reedus! I’ve compiled a playlist with the trailers, some in-depths analysis and a walkthrough for those who have no idea what I’m on about. But, oh, this is going to be an amazing game.