Today was Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day as I prefer to call it. So I made me a nice stack of pancakes this evening. A year ago I started using soy milk as I realised I was lactose intolerant (and was sick of the constant stomach aches) and today for the first time I made pancakes with soy milk and found they were a bit different, but still nice. My pancakes are more like crepes, so I’m used to rolling them up once I’ve put a topping on them, but these ones didn’t roll up so well as the soy milk tended to make them more stiff, and of course the flavour was different.
While making the mixture I suddenly realised I had no baking powder, and so for first time since I moved in here I actually met my neighbours, while asking them for baking powder….
It wasn’t a bad way to spend the night making and eating pancakes, though I was rather full and sticky afterwards 😋
I was planning to write a story this evening, but the pancakes took up a lot of my time in the end.
I want to say at the outset that it’s been such a horrible year I’m just planning to focus mostly on my blog and writing here. Many others (it seems) are posting more detailed analysis of 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic, so check those out if that’s what you’re looking for.
All I wish to say about Covid-19 is that I feel very fortunate that I live in New Zealand. When the community transmission was still only beginning here, the government declared a lockdown and closed the borders. To date we’ve only lost 25 people due to Covid and there’s been no community transmission for some time. The only current cases are people that have recently returned to this country and all are in quarantine. It does help my country is a group of relatively remote islands… Here we can attend events and go to bars and restaurants without worrying about being infected. That said, seeing what is happening overseas is horrifying with over 1.8 million dead, so far, and a new strain that is far easier to transmit. The good news is that there are vaccines now, but it will take some time before large enough numbers of people are vaccinated to have any dent in the transmission and death rates… Still at least we’re going in the right direction.
It was a strange year for me. I never really felt that settled until towards the end of the year. I had to move twice, was homeless for a little while, and there were several other dramas that I don’t wish to mention. I wrote a lot, but as I completed two novels the previous year, I felt like I did nothing substantial this year, aside from getting My Life In Darkness ready to send off to a publisher, if ever requested. The Sky-Pirates of Durn is still mostly unedited.
It was a year of growth for my blog. At the start of the year until around April the viewing rates of my blog were in steady decline, but as the year wore on the blog views began to increase again. October was the first month my blog had over 2000 views. My goals of getting to 900 followers was achieved in November, and my other goal of getting to 17,500 views for the year was achieved on the very last day of the year. Pretty amazing timing really.
Here are some figures:
Views 17,513 (+2,113 from 2019)
Likes 10,266 (+1,498)
Comments 2,217 (+196)
Posts 264 (-6)
I was surprised to find out I had done less posts than the previous year. I thought it would be more.
The top countries viewing my blog were from the United States (39.4%), India (18.5%), and the United Kingdom (10.5%). The views from my own country continue to slide downwards. In 2018 there were 388 views from New Zealand (8.8%), in 2019 it had gone down to 238 (1.5%), and now in 2020 it was down to 141 views (0.8%). I find that really disappointing.
I think my biggest highlight of the year for me was doing the 13 Days of Samhain in October. I did 13 days of continuous posts based on a prompt. I had never done anything like that before. In fact I did 17 posts over those 13 days as I was also doing my usual other prompt responses as well. Out of those posts, my two favourites were the The Dead Dance (which was a bit cruel I guess) and The Thinning of the Veil (which I think ended them well).
This year I want to do another weekly ongoing story like I did in 2019. At the moment I’m undecided whether to do Journey of the Sorcerer (set 1000 years before The Sky-Pirates of Durn, and is a sort of prequel) or Oracle (a science fiction story). If you have any preferences let me know.
I also left Dumb Vampires unfinished, so I plan to do the last four parts of that at some point.
I want to send My Life In Darkness to a publisher at some stage this year and also get the Sky-Pirates of Durn edited.
Goals for my blog this year include getting to 1400 followers, and getting over 20,000 views.
I want to thank everyone who reads, comments, or likes my posts. Thanks also to those who have given me advice or support during the year. I would also like to thank Charli Mills, Crispina Kemp, and Sammi Cox for all the wonderful writing prompts they’ve provided all year.
I was feeling a little down today, so to cheer myself up I decided to make pizza. I didn’t have much in terms of ingredients, just half an onion (which I chopped up finely), a few cloves of garlic, tomato paste, a red pepper, some salami, and of course cheese.
I started making the dough fairly late (after 5 pm), and as I let it prove I then got the toppings ready (I took a photo but it turned out blurry). When I kneaded the dough a second time I was really pleased how it felt as it had that nice silky smooth texture to it that dough should have.
As I’ve only moved here recently, I’m still getting used to the oven, and it tends to get hotter then I’m expecting. The oven was on the usual temperature I use to cook pizzas and within 15 minutes it had slightly burnt the first one. I was lucky I checked it when I did. I think I’m still going to have to experiment further with using this oven. I lowered the temperature and the second one came out looking quite good (see first picture). In both pizzas I was pleased how the pizza base turned out. It had a good texture to it.
Since my previous post The Hunt Begins has utterly failed I thought, after three years of blogging, I would take this time to ask a couple of questions I still have.
How come some people can do posts that appear on my feed multiple times over several days? Do you have to upgrade your membership to do this?
I have 860+followers, so how come my posts only average around 40-60 views?
How come you can’t properly block people here? I tried blocking someone a couple of years ago and I found, though I couldn’t see their posts anymore, they could still see mine and still comment on my posts, which wasn’t what I was aiming for…
Why bring in this clumsy and annoying new Block Editor? The previous editor had nothing wrong with it and was fairly user friendly. I’m still having difficulty with new one and can’t seem to do line spacing like I used to. If I put a poem up, it merges all the stanzas together and I have tried to fix that, but to no avail. Why fix something that isn’t broken WordPress?
Earlier today I got word that an application I had made for a flat had been accepted. All going well I should be moving in during the weekend. This has ended several weeks of homelessness for me, and it will be great to finally have a place with all my stuff again that I can call home.
Once I’m settled, I plan to resume to work on the longer pieces, such as Dumb Vampires, that I stopped writing during my homelessness. I also plan to work on the e-book of Aalen’s Saga, and begin work on a science fiction novel about colonising new worlds and how it leads to first contact with another intelligent species…
I’m currently participating in #PitMad and have a tweet pitching my novel My Life in Darkness.
#PitMad is where writers pitch an unpublished novel to agents or editors who make requests to see the work by liking the tweet. So please don’t like the tweet, as that is for agents and editors to do. You can read more about it here: PitMad
If you wish to help me and you’re on Twitter, please consider retweeting my tweet to help signal boost it. My Twitter is @joannefisher63.
I’ve got many things I want to work on, but as it’s quite noisy where I live at the moment I’m having difficulty concentrating, so I thought I would share some pics of Comet Neowise I’ve found.
I love astronomy, so things like comets are of great interest to me, though I’m rather miffed that I couldn’t see it here since I live in the southern hemisphere, and sadly it could only be seen in the northern hemisphere. Neowise was first discovered in March 27, 2020. By July it became one of the brightest comets seen in the northern hemisphere since Hale-Bopp in 1997 with a magnitude of 3.5. This means it could be observed by the unaided eye, though people in urban areas might have needed binoculars.
Here are some photos of it I’ve come across on the web:
To be honest I’ve been in a dark mood lately. I was thinking about starting with a quote and what is above is the first thing that came into my mind, and since I’m being honest here these are the sort of posts I really hate to read, so I’ll understand if you choose to avoid this post too. Just go and make a cup of tea or something…
For the record I really love the creative posts on WordPress, whether it is poetry, fiction, art, photography, satire, etc. I’m not as interested in reading people’s thoughts, opinions, or reflections. I mean it’s okay if I agree with it, but what if I don’t? What if I find it too simplistic, or flawed, objectionable, or full of conjecture? I tend not to argue with people I disagree with online, instead I just try to ignore it and not let it get to me. Arguing online is a huge waste of time. It doesn’t change anything. Both sides will still believe what they want to believe, but they will now be angry with each other. Facts will always be ignored if they contradict people’s belief systems or tribal affiliations, that’s how people work. Also we live in very polarising times, which makes it harder to have any sort of reasoned political debate.
Anyway to get back on topic… My birthday was a couple of days ago now. On the eve of my birthday I managed to put my lower back out, which is not unusual for me, though the timing really sucked. The next day I had a booking at a restaurant in the evening where I was going to meet a few friends. When I woke up on my birthday, I found my back felt a lot better and I was able to move freely. Hooray! I thought. Then one of my friends messaged me. He had noticed the restaurant was now closed for a private function in the evening. I messaged the restaurant and eventually they got back to tell me that they hadn’t realised the restaurant had already been booked out for a private function that evening when I had made my booking. Okay, I can forgive that mistake, but they made no attempt to tell me. If my friend hadn’t noticed it, we would have turned up to find the place unavailable, despite the booking. Later that afternoon my back then seized up again and I spent the rest of the day in a lot of pain. Maybe having to cancel the dinner was a good thing, because there was no way I would have been able to attend it anyway, as it turned out. Later in the evening a friend came round with goodies and we watched episodes of The Mandalorian while eating Thai food. I also ended up drinking some of my flatmate’s Jack Daniels as I was out of painkillers. At least that part of the day was enjoyable. I couldn’t say I was surprised by the turn of events as this sort of crap seems to happen quite regularly in my life, in fact these days I almost expect things to go wrong…
Since my birthday I’ve spent the last couple of days in a lot of pain, though my back does appear to be getting better slowly. All that said, I have been in a dark mood due to this (though I was in this dark mood in the week prior to my birthday as well). I have had lower back problems since I was 18. Constant back pain just wears you down in the end, at least that’s what I’ve found. At times, I have thought about ending my life just so the pain will definitively come to an end. The one thing that has kept me alive on this planet is hope. Hope that tomorrow will be a good day. Hope that things will be better in the future. If I ever lose this hope, I’m not sure what will happen.