Hi friends. NightDocs on YouTube has curated a 90 minute documentary on the attempted coup at the US Capitol Jan 6, 2021, made entirely of live YouTube/Instagram/FB live/news footage, showing a “minute-by-minute accounting of the events leading up to and on January 6, 2021 when Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to stop the counting of the electoral votes cast by the states to certify Joe Biden as the next president of the United States.” YouTube has made this video age-restricted, non-searchable, and non-sharable. which is a crying shame, at it’s excellent.
Video cannot be embedded due to those sharing restrictions, but if you click on the “Watch on YouTube” link below it will take you to the site to see it. Watch and share. NightDocs states “this video is not intended to be political commentary, rather it is meant to lay out a factual accounting of the important events of the day.” Time codes for key events are in the description.
PS This is totally how the setting for The Arroyo starts.
But Colt’s shipped in to be Sponsored by Hank Fisher, the local Company rep. Five years with Hank and Colt will make contacts, learn how the Company works, and more importantly, pay off his debts so he can live free. Stars, I want Colt for mine, but I can’t offer him what Hank can. I’m no-one.
I run Caffeine Savior, a coffee shop on Demeter, an icy rock in the Carina Constellation, serving indie miners and gas rig workers escaping the close confines of their two-month shifts, with millions burning a hole in their cred chips.
Once I see Colt, I know I’ll wait for him, no matter how long it takes. But when Hank proves himself unworthy of Colt, I have to step in. Colt needs to be treasured and kept safe, no matter what it takes.
Savior is a 33,000 word m/m romance novella with insta-love, very mild hurt and a whole lot of comfort, hand-feeding, and coffee. You can buy Savior here or read it on Kindle Unlimited.
Caffeine Savior. That’s what started it.
Over lockdown I missed my local coffee shop the most. I’m an introvert, and I work 4pm to midnight, so I don’t have a big night-time social life, and I don’t like shopping in physical stores, and I don’t play sport, and I don’t have many friends here to miss seeing. What I did miss was going to the coffee shop each day to write. Here in NZ we were so, so lucky in 2020. We entered lockdown on 25 March, and it was the most restrictive in the world. Only a few national chains of supermarkets were allowed to open, and pharmacies, and medical care providers. No takeaway foods were allowed, and no online shopping, except essential supplies. But because it was a comprehensive lockdown, it was short. From April 28 we were allowed to buy takeaway coffee, ordered by app only, and on June 9, when we went back to level 1, we could go to a coffee shop again. Or brunch.
When I was writing Home there was originally a whole section where Vic and Ryan turned the pub into a coffee shop. Thematically it didn’t work and I cut it out, but the idea lingered. This year I’ve also been thinking about Mars colonization, and this had me wondering exactly how much rich people would be prepared to pay for real coffee, in space.
Home is dark, and I after I finished writing it I needed something floofy and light, with insta-love and snuggling and coffee, so naturally I wrote a Space Coffee Shop.
That book is Savior and it’s out now.
Savior is not an M. Caspian book. It’s not dark. This is a comfort read, where two men fall in love and get together to have kisses and sex and the bad guy loses. So it’s under my A.L. Anderson pen name, because with A.L Anderson you know no-one’s going to get eaten alive by ants.
I did something incredible last night. I drove to my local indie cinema, stood in a queue, bought tickets, filed into a theatre, sat beside a stranger, and watched France McDormand hold us all spellbound in Nomadland.
We ate ice cream. No-one wore a mask. There was no social distancing.
Because there is zero community transmission of COVID in New Zealand.
The vaccine is tantalizingly close yet I’m already horrified by noises of doubt, scepticism, and hesitancy coming from my co-workers. My throat closes with despair at the thought of having a vaccine people refuse. I don’t know how we solve this.
My fervent wish for 2021 is by this time in twelve months everyone in the world can stand in a queue, buy a movie ticket, eat ice cream and wonder at the perfection that is Frances McDormand.
To relax I watch a lot of videos of South Korean street food vendors, and small specialty shops making exquisite treats. I can’t get over how spotless everything is compared to indie NZ food stores, and how much love and care and time is put into the food. And I marvel people can cover rent and food costs and OMG the labour costs, and still make money making small batches by hand.
It really only crossed my mind this weekend, when I was watching a documentary on growing household debt in South Korea, that maybe they’re not actually making money.
At 27:15 there’s a snack shop owner talking about his financial ruin, and mentions his machine for trendy ice creams cost US$9700, which he funded borrowing from third-party lenders at 28%. (The subtitles say ‘stick’ ice cream, but whoever wrote those wasn’t hooked on YouTube food porn, as these were actually Jipangyi, or ‘cane’ ice creams, popular around 2015-2017.)
Here’s the machine that makes the cones, which explains why he spent US$9700. (Well, not why, but you can see this kind of food engineering is spendy).
He says he “couldn’t use” the machine after a month and I have questions. Because cane ice cream was no longer fashionable? Because it broke down? Because his business has gone under by then? I vote it broke down, because that equipment looks like Finicky Trouble
Exactly how many ice creams was he expecting to sell, and at what price, to make enough to cover that kind of investment for a fad product, in an industrial city that might on paper have a high GDP per-capita, but that figure is generated by the world’s largest ship-building yard, the world’s largest car assembly plant, and the world’s third-largest oil refinery?
Because the vendors on the street food-porn channels I watch make the food service industry look idyllic, I want to believe they make a prosperous living for their owners and workers: enough for a happy, peaceful life. Watching the debt documentary brought home to me that’s very likely not true. That instead, the workers are underpaid and exploited the same way they are everywhere in the world, and the owners lie awake at 2am stressing about overheads and negative gearing. And although this is a weird way to get there, it makes it so happy I have a basic call-centre job that covers my living costs and makes me enough to commission a book cover now and then, and lets me write books I want to write, and I don’t have to worry about those books making any money. I have a tiny, happy, peaceful life, which is a gigantic privilege. It means so much to be able to put the stories in my head out into the world. Thank you so much to everyone who bought Home. And who pre-ordered it, even! You’re incredibly kind, and I just hope you enjoyed reading it.
My daughter used to work at a pub, and her colleague said there was a ghost in the pub, stuck there, hanging around, and immediately Ethan popped into my head, and I knew I had to write Home. Although Home will never fund the repairs to my leaking roof, it’s out there in the world, and if even one person likes it, that’s enough. And I didn’t have to borrow $9700 from loan sharks to see my vision turn into reality. Wooo!
May you all experience happy, peaceful lives this week, friends, especially those of you in the United States. Be kind to yourselves, and stay safe.
Hi, friends. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.
I am so goddamn happy to announce October 23 2020 is the release date of my novel, Home. You can preorder on Amazon at this link.
One week. Just one week, and Ryan will be out of his backwater hometown for good. Sell the farm his grandmother bequeathed him, clear his debts, and start fresh with his high-flying boyfriend. That’s that plan.
What’s not the plan? Brooding bar owner and high-school crush Vic Ward, community hostility, and mysterious reminders of perfect Ethan. Ethan, who had everything Ryan ever wanted. Ethan, who fled Stockyard Point to pursue his dreams. Ethan, whose memory now dogs Ryan’s every step.
The longer Ryan stays in the Point, the more demons of his past surface, and the more Ryan is haunted by the life he could have forged.
Will Ryan stick to his plan? Or will the siren song of his past draw him home?
This is a dark gothic m/m romance of 84,500 words.
In March I announced this book with a May release and then COVID happened. But despite 2020’s best efforts, my book is here!
I cannot tell you how happy I am to release this story. Two and a half years ago my greatest fear was there would be no more time to write books. But there will be time. I am doing awesome. My tumor markers are down from the beginning of the year. I have zero tumor growth since March, and no change to my lymph nodes. Fuck you, cancer: not this year. There will be time for more stories. I’m so damned lucky to have the chance to share Home with you. And thank you, everyone who took the time to comment on my blog with your kind words of encouragement. I almost always felt it would be better to quit rather than continue, and only through the support of all you amazing humans out there was I able to press on.
It means “stand strong”. I’m healthy, and dear universe, I hope you are all healthy too. I’m an essential worker so I’m still heading into the office every day although I’ve been seconded from my usual work to do governmental COVID-19 response stuff. What a fucking month, huh? We will get through this to the other side, however changed that may look from our previous normal. *giant contact-less hugs*
I did not achieve 30 hours of writing this week, only 26.5, mostly because since midday today I lay on the sofa and ate an entire pack of Oreos and watched a tranche of Netflix and YouTube documentaries on SARS and H1N1 because I am a moron. But still, I am about to send my story to my beta reader, universe bless her wonderful brain.
I bought my ticket yesterday to Gay Lit Oz in Sydney in March 2021 (Australia’s own dedicated LGBTQ+ genre author event) so I can go and squeal at amazing authors and buy many books and generally fangirl with windmilling arms all over the show. Tickets are an incredibly reasonable AUD$20 per day so if you’re in Aussie (or NZ) consider going along .
I was working overtime yesterday when Jacinda announced everyone – everyone – entering NZ must self-isolate for 14 days on arrival. I came home exhausted and experiencing other people’s generalized crushing anxiety. Fucking mirror neurons. My gut clenches and my brain circles around “what if,” “what next” all without any input from my logic circuits and I’m ridiculous. I haven’t been this glued to news websites since September 2001. Going forward I am allowing myself 2 x 10 min news updates per day and that’s it.
I understand the reasoning. I understand we need to flatten the curve. But I have people in my cancer support group saying they won’t be going to their oncologist appointment this week because it’s “too dangerous” to expose themselves.
This is a long-haul journey. An effective globally available vaccine is reportedly a couple of years away. Australia is making noises that their copycat travel restrictions will be in place for at least 6 months, so I guess ours will be about the same. We can’t put life on hold for 6 months. And yet I grok the reflex jerk.
Goal for the week:
Acknowledge anxiety and release it. Let it drift past as the universe flows on.
I am thrilled beyond words this week: I finally – for the first time in over 2 years – made my writing goal this week of at least 3 hours per day. Fuck, it’s so little, isn’t it? One hundred-and-sixty-eight 60-minute blocks in every week, but nevertheless, I am delighted this week I managed to get my ass in a chair in front of my keyboard for a solid 27 of them, making 101 hours worked so far in 2020, and 63,995 words written (probably just as many deleted, but screw it.) Pick your glass up, my friends, and make a toast with me for I am fucking jubilant.
Next goal is to make a steady 30 hours per week minimum for a solid month. I can do it. Wish me well.
In that 30 hours per week, I will be working on my draft.
Holy shit, I have a draft.
It’s crappy, it’s way too big (96K), but it exists. It going to be the best I can make it with what I have, and that’s going to be enough. I release into the universe my stupid ingrained beliefs that nothing I do is ever good enough because that is why I have a bushel of unreleased and/or unfinished books on my hard drive. This sucker is going out into the world. All that matters is getting another goddam book out and then another and then another and I will not stop.
I have a cover. Thank you Natasha Snow. Look! It’s all brooding and lovely.
I plan to have the book out in May, depending on the availability of my proofreader who I haven’t even contacted yet because I am still working on the draft and it’s still got to go to a beta-reader and I’m still pulling the extra overtime to pay for the proofreading. But it is coming and I am ecstatic and I will keep you updated.
In other news, I did not win $50 million last weekend, but if you needed more proof the Cosmic Joker isn’t just a theory, NZ’s second coronavirus patient visited my town the day she returned from Northern Italy, and so the chances of me getting COVID-19 turned out to be not so small after all. I’m fine though! *waves* Daily life feels weird though. Half the night shift took Friday off work and hand sanitizer is sold out across the whole region. I got Dominos pizza for dinner tonight and the usually bustling car park was empty, and they only had two orders on the whole board, one of which was mine. It was the best Dominos I’ve ever had. Now I know how good Dominos could be if it wasn’t fast food.
Be well, friends, and do what makes you happy this week. I am leaving you with Lady Gaga because this video has burrowed into my brain this week, exactly like a ludicrously neon pink Borrelia burgdorferi infection, and I am transmitting it to you. You’re welcome.
I am proud to report there are no apocalyptic queues for hand sanitizer and tissues in Palmy. Instead, we’re apocalyptically queueing for Lotto, which tonight reaches NZ$50 million (just over $30 million USD) aka what Jeff Bezos earns in 3.5 hours.
In NZ $50 million is the largest jackpot the prize pool is allowed to reach. This means it will go tonight to whoever has the closest numbers, which will probably end up being about 12 people splitting the pool.*
Still, I am not complaining! I shall be benevolent with my 50 million. Odds of me catching SARS-CoV-2? Well, it has an estimated Ro of 2.8, so . . . too slim to count. Odds of me winning Lotto tonight? 1 in 38,000,000. Comparatively, that’s a sure thing. Hell yes, I have a ticket!
*At least in NZ you don’t have to pay taxes on your win!