Geeking by in June 2021
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Maybe I should just give up trying to aim for the start of the month and just go with the flow? My monthly updates happen mid-month. That’s just the way my life goes 😀 Time for a mid-year monthly update as I tell you all about how I was getting by and geeking by in June 2021!

Geeking By in June 2021

At the start of the month, I was feeling pretty crappy, to be honest. I’d just had a rough week where I’d had my second covid vaccine and had to deal with people for the first time in ages, and came up against some invisible accessibility barriers. The whole experience triggered my anxiety and I just froze. I should have asked for help and I couldn’t, and I ended up in an immense amount of pain because there was no support already in place. When I finally got to the nurse after 15-20 minutes of queuing and she asked how I was doing, I very bluntly said “I feel like utter crap, to be honest”.

Thankfully I lucked out and got a really nice one (that was two for two) and she listened to me, chatted with me and let me sit with her until the pain eased enough that I could get up again. She was amazing. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop me from having flashbacks later that night and crying myself to sleep because shame hit me hard. I knew I should and could have asked for a chair. That’s what I would have told anyone else in that situation, but I couldn’t. I froze. I had literally just walked into my first vaccine with one person in front of me and an empty room. I had not been prepared in any way for forty-odd people, especially people who did NOT know how to social distance. I watched as a couple in front of me were walking up the back of an old woman the entire time, edging closer and closer. When a supervisor finally came out and told everyone to spread out they walked back straight into me. When I asked them to watch where they were going the woman turned around with this quirky look on her face that told me she was amused as she said “Oh sorry!”

I socially distanced as soon as I got there and the guy behind me followed suit. It was like watching sheep, everyone followed by my example. When I used the hand sanitiser, they did. The girl sitting at the sanitiser who is supposed to ensure people used it was hungover as hell and thanked ME for using it. Five minutes later some guy flirted with her by telling her she had an easy job. I bit my tongue and rolled my eyes; she wasn’t even doing her job.

I’m not sure I would have gotten over how that day and an event that followed shortly after it, would have made me feel if I had not been told by someone that when they went for their vaccine at the same hub that the issues I had were addressed. When there is a heatwave people always remember to hand out water; what they don’t ever think about is CHAIRS.  She told me that the staff were ensuring people had water and chairs if they were waiting. I don’t know if my talking to the nurse made a difference or not, or a tweet I sent to our local MSP was noticed (I never got a reply) but it doesn’t matter. Someone actually DID SOMETHING for a change. It didn’t make what I went through ok, but it gave me the tools to work through it.

Geeking by in June 2021 - I got my second covid vaccine

Things got better as the month went on. I was feeling well enough to push myself a bit and gently start to test my boundaries. I was able to do some things that months ago I wasn’t able to even consider doing! You can find out more about what I got up to later in this post 😉

Geeking By in June 2021

June was not a very busy month in terms of blog content, it was however, a lot more streamlined. Instead of trying to rush out content I started to properly plan things and that’s because I also started working on my creative writing again. I’ll tell you more about that next month, for now here’s June’s posts:

Geeking By in June 2021

As you can see from the name of one of June’s posts I stopped playing World of Warcraft. I did mention this in my last monthly update as well so I’m not going to go over it again. There were only a few weeks left in June at that point and I actually managed to time my quitting well; right at the start of another Steam Gaming festival!

Due to horrible pain for the last few weeks I’ve fallen behind with posts (hence the delay with this update, again) and so I’ve not got a review of the demos I played up yet. I played demos for three games; The Inheritance of Crimson Manor, Adam The Storyteller and Swords of Legends Online. The last of these is an MMORPG that blew me away and is going to need its own extensive review which will probably be me rambling about how gorgeous it is.

Geeking by in June 2021 - Swords of Legend Online
Screenshot from the Demo

After the games festival, I returned to Bioshock Infinite and on the 29th of June 2021, I finally finished it!

It’s been sitting in my Steam library since December 2013 and I’ve finally finished it. It’s also the first video game I’ve finished in quite a while. I had somehow managed to avoid spoilers until this playthrough so I knew Booker’s identity thanks to memes on Steam, but I had no idea how the game ended. OMG. I was speechless.

Geeking by in June 2021 - I've been watching S.W.A.T. Season 4. A black man in a police officers uniform stands against a backdrop of an American City. The image reads: CBS Original S.W.A.T
What I've been watching this month

Actual TV shows have finally arrived in the UK!

I started watching:

I finished:

  • NCIS: Los Angeles Season 12 – I was honestly relieved to be glad of the two cast members that left at the end of this season. One of them was barely there and their character had changed dramatically, they were like an annoying housefly buzzing around. The other one just could not make up their damn mind about anything, and literally had to be told “sorry but you’ve actually been doing the job you’re avoiding for 6 months now”. I really love Fatima and Roundtree and they have such great chemistry together.
  • NCIS Season 18 – I was not as upset at seeing this character go as I probably should be? I liked her but I think the way she left and left things made me really dislike her. At that point, I was like “please just go…” and also Katrina Law! I really like her character and how genuine she is (the scene with the stapler was brilliant) that I’m just super excited for her. The way the episode ended made me laugh so much, but apparently, people were freaking out or something? Did they not realise what was happening? Eighteen seasons and they still don’t realise that Gibbs’ is 20 steps ahead of everyone.
  • Lucifer Season 5– Oh my goodness. Where to start?! MUSICAL EPISODE. I laughed until I cried.
Geeking By in June 2021

I had a full plate of reviews in June so I didn’t get much personal reading done, but I didn’t mind because I had some fabulous books to review! Some of my favourite books of the year so far have been from this month.

Wayward by Becca N. Drake

Wayward

A powerful Enchantress gone astray, drawn to dark, wicked magicks; a faithful Wizard sworn to uphold both the Enchantress and the kingdom she seeks to destroy; the High Kings fading into ruin. After the first Enchantress’s demise, the peoples of Caeradin determined that no such creature could be allowed to rise to power again. The surviving nobles devised a solution—the Witch Hunt. Seven centuries later, Master Rhys Claytherdon decides it is time the most prestigious household in Caeradin makes a few changes. Soon to inherit his father’s realm as Lord of Gildio and Master of the Hunt, Rhys is determined to see the Witch Hunt ended. All that stands in his way is his tutor and household advisor, Lord Mage Vespar—renowned as the greatest mage in Caeradin. Rhys makes his ultimate choice by rescuing a six-year-old witch from her inevitable death sentence, and must face the consequences. What he can’t imagine is how this child, granted with tremendous magical gifts, could prove to be the salvation or ruin of all of Caeradin.
Read my review
The Wolf and the Woodsman

The Wolf and the Woodsman

Author:
In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered. But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother. As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.
Read my review
The Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie Liu

The Tangleroot Palace

New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel, Monstress, Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut story collection, dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women. Briar, bodyguard for a -stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously-plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods. Concluding with a gorgeous full-length novella, Marjorie Liu’s first short fiction collection is an unflinching sojourn into her thorny tales of love, revenge, and new beginnings.
Read my review
Devolution by Max Brooks

Devolution

Author:
Publisher:
As the ash and chaos from Mount Rainier’s eruption swirled and finally settled, the story of the Greenloop massacre has passed unnoticed, unexamined . . . until now. But the journals of resident Kate Holland, recovered from the town’s bloody wreckage, capture a tale too harrowing – and too earth-shattering in its implications – to be forgotten. In these pages, Max Brooks brings Kate’s extraordinary account to light for the first time, faithfully reproducing her words alongside his own extensive investigations into the massacre and the beasts behind it, once thought legendary but now known to be terrifyingly real. Kate’s is a tale of unexpected strength and resilience, of humanity’s defiance in the face of a terrible predator’s gaze, and inevitably, of savagery and death. Yet it is also far more than that. Because if what Kate Holland saw in those days is real, then we must accept the impossible. We must accept that the creature known as Bigfoot walks among us – and that it is a beast of terrible strength and ferocity. Part survival narrative, part bloody tale, part scientific journey into the boundaries between truth and fiction, this is a Bigfoot story as only Max Brooks could chronicle it – and like none you’ve ever read before.
Read my review
Peace Talks By Jim Butcher

Peace Talks

Author:
Publisher:
When the Supernatural nations of the world meet up to negotiate an end to ongoing hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, joins the White Council's security team to make sure the talks stay civil. But can he succeed, when dark political manipulations threaten the very existence of Chicago--and all he holds dear?
Read my review
Questland by Carrie Vaughn

Questland

YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A MAZE FULL OF TWISTY PASSAGES... Literature professor Dr. Addie Cox is living a happy, if sheltered, life in her ivory tower when Harris Lang, the famously eccentric billionaire tech genius, offers her an unusual job. He wants her to guide a mercenary strike team sent to infiltrate his island retreat off the northwest coast of the United States. Addie is puzzled by her role on the mission until she understands what Lang has built: Insula Mirabilis, an isolated resort where tourists will one day pay big bucks for a convincing, high-tech-powered fantasy-world experience, complete with dragons, unicorns, and, yes, magic. Unfortunately, one of the island's employees has gone rogue and activated an invisible force shield that has cut off all outside communication. A Coast Guard cutter attempting to pass through the shield has been destroyed. Suspicion rests on Dominic Brand, the project’s head designer— and Addie Cox's ex-boyfriend. Lang has tasked Addie and the mercenary team with taking back control of the island at any cost. But Addie is wrestling demons of her own—and not the fantastical kind. Now, she must navigate the deadly traps of Insula Mirabilis as well as her own past trauma. And no d20, however lucky, can help Addie make this saving throw.
Read my review
Witchshadow by Susan Dennard

Witchshadow

Publisher:
War has come to the Witchlands . . . and nothing will be the same again. Iseult has found her heartsister Safi at last, but their reunion is brief. For Iseult to stay alive, she must flee Cartorra while Safi remains. And though Iseult has plans to save her friend, they will require her to summon magic more dangerous than anything she has ever faced before. Meanwhile, the Bloodwitch Aeduan is beset by forces he cannot understand. And Vivia—rightful queen of Nubrevna—finds herself without a crown or home. As villains from legend reawaken across the Witchlands, only the mythical Cahr Awen can stop the gathering war. Iseult could embrace this power and heal the land, but first she must choose on which side of the shadows her destiny will lie.
Read my review
Book Review: Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose

Murder on Black Swan Lane

In Regency London, an unconventional scientist and a fearless female artist form an unlikely alliance to expose unspeakable evil . . . The Earl of Wrexford possesses a brilliant scientific mind, but boredom and pride lead him to reckless behavior. He does not suffer fools gladly. So when pompous, pious Reverend Josiah Holworthy publicly condemns him for debauchery, Wrexford unsheathes his rapier-sharp wit and strikes back. As their war of words escalates, London’s most popular satirical cartoonist, A.J. Quill, skewers them both. But then the clergyman is found slain in a church—his face burned by chemicals, his throat slashed ear to ear—and Wrexford finds himself the chief suspect
Read my review
A Universe of Wishes - A We Need Diverse Books Anthology

A Universe of Wishes

Publisher:
Fifteen diverse stories from the leading voices in YA. Anything is possible. From We Need Diverse Books fifteen award-winning and celebrated diverse authors deliver stories about a princess without need of a prince, a monster long misunderstood, that vanish with a spell, and voices that refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice. Alucard and Prince Rhy’s relationship in V.E. Schwab’s series is finally revealed, Anna-Marie McLemore gives “Cinderella” a trans retelling, while letters supernaturally cross borders between Gaza and California in Tochi Onyebuchi’s “Habibi”. Close your eyes. Make a wish. The universe is yours for the taking.
Read my review
Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

Witches Steeped in Gold

Publisher:
Trust no witch . . . Iraya Adair has spent her life in a cell. Heir of an overthrown and magically-gifted dynasty, she was exiled from her home on the island nation of Aiyca when she was just a child. But every day brings her closer to freedom - and vengeance. Jazmyne Cariot grew up dressed in gold, with stolen magic at her fingertips. Daughter of the self-crowned doyenne, her existence is a threat to her mother's rule. But unlike her sister, Jazmyne has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother's power. Sworn enemies, the two witches enter a deadly alliance to take down the woman who threatens both their worlds. But revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain - except the lengths Iraya and Jazmyne will go to win this game. Two witches. One motive. And a very untrustworthy alliance.
Read my review
What I've been doing this month

I spent most of June doing the same as the previous months, spending my life inside and away from people but now I was beginning to think about life with people in it again. Way back before the pandemic even happened I had signed up for group therapy as a way to put myself out there, to start being social again without throwing myself in the deep end. My therapist had explained that the groups they ran were a step in between, a way for people with anxiety to adjust and find their way – to me it sounded perfect.

Then all hell broke loose and instead of meeting people face to face it ended up on Zoom. I admit I was a little disappointed; how could I move forward when I was still stuck IN my house? But it’s worked! And as the months went on my confidence began to build and when the opportunity presented itself to apply for a press pass for a book festival that I have been longing to go to for years I only slightly hesitated – and that was because I’m not a “proper” book blog. It wasn’t anxiety or lack of confidence holding me back!

Geeking by in June 2021 - I went to the Cymera 2021 Book Festival. In the center of a royal blue background a white rectangle logo reads "Cymera, Scotland’s Festival of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Writing"

The Cymera Book festival is Scotland’s Festival of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Writing and it’s only an hour and 30 ish minutes away from me in Edinburgh! Considering I’ve gone halfway across the UK for a convention for a couple of years now that’s lovely and close 😀 This year it was held online which made it even easier for me to attend. From the safety and comfort of my living room, I was able to attend the convention I’ve been dreaming about since I found out about Cymera a few years ago… and it did not disappoint.

I immediately felt at home chatting away in the chat with the panellists and staff, and the panels themselves were amazing. I’m not going to say anymore because my write up (which has unfortunately been delayed by horrible pain levels the last few weeks) will be coming shortly and I’ll dish all the details then. What I did want to share today is that I went one step further… I went along to meet up for the Genre Writing Groups Get Together featuring the Edinburgh Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers, Edinburgh Genre Writers, and Glasgow Science Fiction Writer’s Circle (GSFWC), which was terribly scary for someone with anxiety and I am so glad I did! They were a wonderful group of people and I was actually almost in tears as one of the members of GSFWC introduced their group, describing how welcoming it was to diversity. When she mentioned spoons I knew I’d found a place to belong.

Geeking by in June 2021 - I have started writing again. A computer screen sits on a cluttered desk. On the screen is an open word document, the blurred out text signifying the start of a work in process.

I’ve been a member of their discords ever since and it’s been great. I’ve not applied for the waiting list for GSFWC yet because until I’m able to start going out and build myself up physically I don’t know if I’m going to be able to manage to travel into Glasgow for their meetings. I’d love to, but I don’t want to take up space that is limited until I know for sure what I can manage.

And yes, this does mean that I have officially started writing again. I’ve had a couple of ideas for novels bumbling around in my head and I’d been writing down scraps of ideas for months. After being told at Cymera to get writing I did just that and that very night I knocked out the start of my new novel. I’m now at 2061 words and I’m planning to apply for a mentorship program for breakthrough disabled writers as well. I’d planned to write before ME/CFS came along and derailed all my plans, and it’s a slow process; some weeks I can’t write anything at all. But there are other disabled writers doing it, even people with ME/CFS so there is no reason why I can’t manage it too! I am lucky to have a fantastic support network to keep me going through my dark times. All I need to do is have that little bit of confidence and belief in myself…

Geeking By in June 2021 - Join me for a mid-year monthly update as I tell you how I was getting by & Geeking By in June 2021, chatting about my covid vaccine, a book festival & writing.
Monthly Update: Over to You

Thanks for joining me for another monthly update! I’m not going to make any promises about the timing of the next one. What I am going to say is that if you’re not already following me on Twitter then you should because I have some big announcements coming this month!

What did you get up to in June?

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