It’s been a while since I’ve written an update; so I thought I’d share some of the photos of the rusks my mum made yesterday as I give you all the news.
For those of you who are wondering what rusks are, find your nearest South African and ask them.
Oh, OK, I’ll just tell you.
Rusks are a kind of dried cake which are painful to eat if you have soft gums…but rusks are really quite delicious.
Most of us grew up on Oumas Rusks, but they’ve gotten very expensive of late. My mum kind of loves rusks, and had always been hankering to make them. So, yesterday morning, she put on the oven, dug out a recipe she’d gotten from family and began the rather long process of making rusks.
First you bake a cakey-thing which looks like this.
This takes less than two hours, then the really long process starts. You stick them in back into the oven/warmer to dry for eight hours!
Me, I like eating them before they get all dehydrated, because I’m not a dunker. That’s how most people eat them (sometimes rusks turn into real mini-dwarf bread); you dunk them in your tea or coffee, and get the dunked bits into your mouth before the rusk gets sodden and collapses into mush that disappears into the dark depths of your mug like some carbohydrate iceberg…
Oh, and some people like to have rusks with butter/marg and jam.
And now that you know what rusks are, you may be wondering what I’ve been up to, besides interviewing dogs.
I haven’t been stuck in NanoWriMo; I decided that wasn’t for me last year, cue terrible guilt every time I get a glimpse of The Incident at Wolfe Creek (incomplete). It’s a guilt I can try hard to deal with, knowing that not completing that story just now is quite justified. This book might well be the biggest story I’ve started. I felt its hugeness in mid-November 2014 and decided to stop. It’s not that I don’t know what’s next, it’s more that I don’t yet have the scientific knowledge and other research which would allow me to complete it this year, or in 2016. I’m going to let this manuscript rest whilst I acquire the skills to do it justice.
And how have I been doing that?
That’s where the Splitting the Infinite bit comes in. Rest assured grammar purists, that wasn’t a typo—I’m just being flashy.
I’ve been experimenting with Flash Fiction. That’s what I’ve been up to since September, and why I been neglecting all your wonderful posts (which I hope to catch up on soon).
I’ve entered the Quantum Shorts Challenge, where an aspect of quantum theory had to be vital to the story. I wrote two pieces: Switch Twitch and Split Infinite. My brother really liked Switch Twitch, and since he’s been reading sci-fi ever since he discovered Twig of the Dump in First Grade, I took his word for it, and sent it in first. I’ve been told by one reader that it reminds him of Sliders in some ways. My brother knows otherwise: it’s more a nod to my favorite Rat—The Stainless Steel Rat. I’ll let you decide on that. If you’re scooting over to Quantum Shorts, be sure to dive in deep. There are some really good stories over there.
I’ve sent off some other pieces too. Kangaroos have been hopping up a lot in my work recently, so much so that I’ll have to bring out a novella on them soon. They’ve been inspiring me to greater bounds:-D
I’m even attempting Penny Fiction (The Haunted Waters Press) Trying to condense a coherent story into just 16 words is a real challenge, but a fun one.
I’ve gone back to short stories too. Attempting new prompts has been great—I get to flex my creativity, and build confidence.
Building confidence has probably been the best part.
That, and feeling that I’m getting things done. Getting a short story all set to go, submitting it, and sometimes getting a response within two weeks feels wonderfully productive!
On to novels.
I haven’t been working too much on new novels, or getting all the starts I made in China onto a word document yet.
Instead, I’ve been working on getting the LTSP Holiday Bumper Book Box set and out there. I’ve also started a design website for book covers and other marketing graphics: www.leennascreativebox.wordpress.com. I’ll be doing unsolicited book reviews there, mostly from Smashwords because I still feel very strongly that there’s more I could do to make books there visible. I’m not an affiliate though. I’m debating whether to become one. I prefer to see myself as a Smashwords Authors cheerleader.
I’ll also be displaying my designs and artwork; a creative box is what I envision that blog space to be foremost.
So now you know what I’ve been up to, and hopefully you’ll see more of my work out there from 2016.
But more on that later in the month, as it’s time for a rusk.
‘Til then, let me know what you’ve been up to…and happy dunking!