Out of the tunnel

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Last year at this time I was sick with untreated hypothyroidism, my father in law was dying, I was preparing for my nerve-wracking defense, I had severe back-ache and knew I’d probably have to (reluctantly!) change jobs.

Not a good time. I felt like a ghost in my own life.

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And yet I made this video (with a cold!) to explain the phenomenon of Swedish Lucia that always falls on December 13. (And which will have to suffice this year too because I’ve been too busy to make a new one.)

My year since then has been… interesting. January was a complete disaster in every respect, and each month that followed it brought a fresh new twist (of the knife). My back got better, then worse, then better, then worse, etc etc ad nauseam. I got diagnosed with hypothyroidism and got medication. Other stuff happened. I got my good job back again. It was fun and hard and a little bit frightening.

And in the end, it seems I’m destined to survive 2017. Maybe in hindsight, it’ll be the best thing that ever happened. Because now I’m here, soon a one-year-old in academic terms, and I’m not the same person I was then. I’ve even made peace with a certain TV series that broke my heart the very first day of January and then proceeded to royally fuck with my head for longer than I care to admit.

And as we enter the darkest week of the year, I see more light than ever before.

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Oh my God, finally! We’ve only had clouds, clouds, and more clouds for longer than I care to count. And okay, yes, we need clouds if we want snow, but come on. The sun is only up for four and a half hours this time of year, so a sun that’s actually visible is very much appreciated.

And today it was. I headed out before lunch to catch some rays before they disappeared behind the mountains. I chased the sun up snowy forest hillsides and got all wet and cold and snowy, but lord was it worth it. Everything was so beautiful.

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Frozen droplets in the trees.

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Yellow rays on the bluish snow.

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Mist over the snowy lake.

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Fluffy clusters of ice crystals in the trees.

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Clouds turning pink as the sun disappeared behind the tree tops at one o’clock.

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And on the subject of ‘the things we do for a photo’…

But it was a wonderful day that really wiped my soul clean of all the weariness I was carrying around. Now I’m tired in a more physical way, which is better. Time for some mulled wine and Christmas decorating!

The Seventh Flower locations pt 2

This post and the links in it contain advertisements for my books.

Better late than never! I recorded these video clips in May, and I’ve only now got round to editing theSeventhFlower[The]FS_v1m. Ahem.

Oh… by the way, while I’m on the subject, um… it seems it’s being nominated by my publisher Dreamspinner for a LAMBDA AWARD, which… I… uh… haven’t really processed yet. When I got the email I was convinced it was some kind of phishing scam, so I meant to delete it, haha!

But then the day after, when I was a little more, shall we say, present? I took another look and saw that the email address was legit, so I replied and asked if it was real, and it was! 😀 So yeah. Um. Nominated for a Lambda award. For a novella. I mean… It feels slightly surreal, so I guess I’ll just wait for details? I don’t know how these things work!

Anyway, here’s another look at the scenery where The Seventh Flower takes place: this time the stream.

Rediscovering watercolour

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You may have noticed that I’m a creature of obsessions. What can I say, it’s my auxiliary Ne that throws these wonderful spanners in the works. 🙂 Anyway, my latest obsession came from nowhere and ripped through my life like a tornado. I’ve mentioned that Facebook targeted me with a relevant ad for once: Little Coffee Fox. I was so inspired by her blog, and if all her tips and tricks and cheering on weren’t enough, she started a watercolour planner at about the time I started following her.

Now, I didn’t think I liked watercolours. I have trouble maneuvering with a brush, and I didn’t like the finality of it: that you need to know what you’re doing before you start. But Little Coffee Fox’s Month in Color showed me that you didn’t really need to know! You could just doodle and add linework and white gel pen highlights and basically do what you liked. So that’s why my November cover page turned out a riot of mixed media!

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So I dug out my old watercolour pencils and rediscovered a childhood passion. They’re the perfect compromise: the nib of a pen that gives you some control, and then the water soluble colour that blends and makes beautiful gradients.

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And as I continued working with a lot of watercolour on my spreads, I discovered that they were an excellent way of entering diary elements as well – like this little doodle of hubby playing the piano late one night after we watched a movie.

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And as if she’s read my mind, Little Coffee Fox has a giveaway this week: a watercolour kit with a Moleskine Watercolor Album, a Finetec gold palette, a set of three Pentel Aquash Water Brush Pens and a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. Wow… I mean, just those metallic colours has me all itching to start a new weekly spread! Or imagine painting a January cover page with silver and black…

Yes, you get it. You need this thing. Follow this link to enter the giveaway too! And while you’re at it, if you like bullet journalling, you need to follow her. 🙂 It’s a veritable rabbit hole, but so prettily decorated that you won’t notice when your life goes up in flames. 😀

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I was gonna go to bed…

Best laid plans of mice and men. Just as I was reaching to switch off the light, hubby hollers from the kitchen that there’s aurora borealis in the sky.

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And what a spectacle it was! First row seats on the balcony. Unfortunately it took me a few minutes to find my camera, so I missed the brightest lights, but I’m telling you – it was like when I was a child! Pink and mint green and bright as day.

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And mist! As if some god or other just couldn’t help themselves: “Look at all the prettiness I can create!”

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What a lovely end to a lovely day.