G’day from Halls Gap,
Welcome to Issue #3 of The Order of Chaos newsletter, where I discuss the philosophical issues that underpin my books and that I’m wrestling with myself. The title takes its name from the ancient brotherhood in my new historical mystery/thriller series. They weave their way through history, bringing order where there is too much chaos, and injecting a little chaos where there is too much order.
Their mission, like mine, is balance.
A little business first up…
Broken Chariots is going to be released May 15. You can pre-order it here at your favourite retailer (Google Play Books coming soon).
I’m really proud of the book; it’s my favourite thing I’ve written so far, and I can’t wait for you to read it.
When the book goes live, the price will go up. By pre-ordering now, you lock in the earlybird discount.
Pre-orders are really important for authors, especially indie authors like me. They “set the temperature” of a book, and indicate to the retailer whether this is something they should recommend to other readers.
By pre-ordering, you will really help me kick this series off with a bang.
The issue this week is moving on.
Earlier this week, I drove north from Port Fairy to Halls Gap, the central hub of the Grampians National Park. I did this while listening to James Horner’s score for The Perfect Storm, which is how I recommend everyone drive everywhere.
The mountain range is truly awe-inspiring. Surrounded by mostly flat, treeless farmland, the forested sandstone peaks jut up over a kilometre in height in some places. They never cease to take my breath away.
I’ve been to the Grampians a number of times before, but I’ve never come at it from the south; always the east. Perhaps the different angle of approach prompted a different vantage point on myself. Maybe not. But it occurred to me as I was driving into Halls Gap earlier this week that my previous four visits have come at crucial junctures in my life. More specifically, my romantic life.
The first of these four visits must have happened around 2016 or 2017, when I came out to camp at an unpowered site with my then-girlfriend of seven or eight years.
The second visit happened in mid-2019, a few months after the breakup, when I tagged along with my friend, James, and his dad and sister (who I drove north to meet this time).
The third visit took place in early 2020, before the pandemic hit, when me, my parents, my seven siblings, and a few of their partners booked a cabin for the week. At this time, I was having a brief fling with someone I’d reconnected with over the Christmas break. Of course, I didn’t know it was going to be a brief fling at the time. I thought I was moving on.
As of this visit, the fourth visit, I feel a strange kind of calm settling over me. I feel the need (though not the want) for companionship fading, the worry of not meeting social expectations ebbing away, the knowledge that I am approaching 30 as a single man living a fairly solitary life not seeming to matter as much (and, in fact, being surprisingly liberating).
What I have are the important things.
My family, my friends, a philosophy to process the world in a practical way, and work that I find meaningful.
I can’t really ask for more than that.
After a few false starts, it does finally feel like moving on. But, of course, I’ve been wrong before.
What else is new?
After finishing the edit on Broken Chariots and setting up the preorder, it was good to have a couple of days off. I went hiking, went out for dinner, had coffee, and generally allowed myself to unwind a bit.
It was nice to eat food that didn’t come out of a can, to drink coffee that was hot, to see human faces and hear human voices directed at me. My throat was sore after the first day and it took me a while to realise it’s because I wasn’t used to talking so much.
Of course, this had to be forced upon me. In the absence of James and his family coming up to visit me, I’m not sure if I would have taken any time off, or at least not a full day (let alone the day and a half I ended up taking). I’m not sure I’d know what to do with myself.
This is supposed to be where the language learning and poetry memorisation comes in, or some other hobby for me graft myself onto, like a vine that seeks a structure to wrap itself around because it can’t bear up under its own weight.
It’s hard for me to totally disdain my addiction to productivity, because, well… it makes me productive. It’s the reason I was able to write two novels in the last five months, while I was also going out a lot over the summer, selling a business, adjusting to caravan life, and re-learning the self-publishing industry.
It’s why I’m going to be able to release a novel every two months starting May 15th.
I wrote and edited Empty Casket in 37 non-consecutive days, and Broken Chariots in 33 (though it is a shorter novel, it took longer because I went back to the start halfway through the edit to create the audiobook).
I know in my heart the answer isn’t one or the other. It isn’t “work yourself to the bone” and it isn’t “disengage completely”, because I can’t do either for any serious length of time. Like so many things, the answer lies somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between those extremities.
It’s a balancing act.
In other news…
Tomorrow, I’ll be starting Book 2 in the Order of Chaos series. It’s going to be called Autophage on the Antonine. I could go into detail, but I’m actually curious to see what you think it’s about, based on that title. Write in and let me know.
Remember to pre-order Broken Chariots.
It’s the best thing I’ve written so far – leaner, funnier, deeper, with more twists and turns, and more fully fleshed-out characters – so if you’ve enjoyed anything in my Starter Library, you’ll definitely like Broken Chariots.
As I mentioned above, pre-orders are really important for new authors coming out of the gate. I hope you’ll check it out.
Until next time…