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5 ways to rest

I’ve been in my house on Covid lockdown for two weeks. First Anna tested positive and then after a few days of looking after them, and sleeping in separate rooms, I started to feel like I had cold symptoms. I tested negative with a RAT two days before the third one came in positive.

It’s the first time I’ve been sick with a cold/flu since early 2020, but most of my tips and tricks for caring for a cold had been revisited already for looking after Anna. Anna’s covid case was thankfully relatively mild, mine wasn’t so much. It moved into my chest after two days and breathing started to be pretty difficult. Thankfully I had proactive advice from my doctor’s office and had a turbuhaler prescribed, which Anna was well enough to go and collect for me. This is all context for the meat of this post, which is that I have had an entire week of careful rest, so as to get better and to avoid Long Covid if I can.

A lot of my friends have expressed a difficulty with giving themselves time to rest, and then when they do have time, not knowing how to approach it. I get it, there’s always other things we could be doing. Chores, side-hustles, catching up on the ever-present to do list and so on. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t rest. So, here’s some of the things I do which allow my body and my mind to let go of all the ‘should’s and just rest.

  1. Sit and read. Best on a comfy chair with a soft, warm blanket and a cup of something hot – tea, coffee, hot chocolate, whatever you prefer, and a nice snack. If it feels too hard to give yourself the time to read, you can timebox it – just 30 minutes. You can spare that much, and if at the end of the 30 mins you want to keep reading, do it.
  2. Video games. I bought Mario Kart as soon as Anna tested positive, basically. We both have Nintendo Switches and this has been a great game for us to learn and play together, trying out the different characters and vehicles and just having a little fun. It engages the mind but it’s not taxing, and your body is resting. Plus, laughter is healing!
  3. Comfort watching. Now this could be old movies that you’ve loved in the past (I hit up Moulin Rouge and Titanic lately), it could be a beloved show that you’ve seen a thousand times before or it could be aesthetically pleasing Youtubers. Anna and I have watched an awful lot of Study for Success this week – it’s so beautiful to look at, and who doesn’t love to gaze at stationery?

5. Go take a nap. Here’s my trick with napping. I don’t stress about actually sleeping. I get comfortable, I make sure I’m warm in bed, and I put on something soothing to listen to. Maybe it’s my favourite acoustic album (Alt-J an Awesome Wave), or maybe it’s a podcast that I’ve heard before (Welcome to Night Vale, or Overdue are good options for me, personally). Then I close my eyes and just listen, and if I drift off well, that’s great, but if not, I’ve given my body some downtime.

That’s just 5 of the things I do to ensure I’m getting rest, and this last week I’ve been doing them all a lot. I hope it helped!

What do you do to rest?

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KiwiRPG Week and my new game

This week is KiwiRPG Week! An excellent collective of Aotearoa based game designers, players and podcasters have teamed up to do some excellent things this week. If you’re interested in Tabletop RPGs and want to learn about my newest game, read on!

What’s KiwiRPG all about?

We have a sampler bundle on Itch and DriveThru (my game High School Princess and a small LARP called Quiet Day in the Library are included).

We’ve had some cool international attention as well, including an article on Gizmodo and a mention on GeekNative

The biggest excitement for me is today I launched my new game: Trading Places

Before I get into that, a shout out. My game isn’t the only one launching today, the esteemed Simon Carryer has released a D&D fan edit called Pyramid of the Undying which you should also check out!

Trading Places is a journaling game. It’s an introspective game about ordinary and extraordinary lives, and I’m very proud of it.

It’s about swapping bodies, a la Freaky Friday or the brilliant book The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. What if one day, you woke up in a body and a life that isn’t your own?

It’s run beautifully in playtests, with one game running full Hallmark Christmas movie, and another game going a lot more poetical and introspective about the nature of life. It’s a game which you can do a lot with, and I expect is only the first of many journaling games from me…

Buy Trading Places on Itch

Or on DriveThruRPG

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Witchy Fiction 99c sale

click for the sale website

The Witchy Fiction project is celebrating the month of May with a 99c sale! A selection of books from four different authors (including me!) is up for cheap on multiple ebook platforms.

Click here to get some cheap urban fantasy from Aotearoa! More about the included books if you read on…

Riverwitch

2021 Sir Julius Vogel Award Finalist for Best Novella

Self-taught witch Ashley Robinson considers it her duty to protect her hometown Hamilton. She spends her time doing community work and picking up litter by the Waikato River.

But something is badly wrong with the river, a sickness deeper than mere pollution can explain. Magic must be the cause, but is it a curse or something else entirely? Ash has to get to the bottom of it, armed with nothing more than the support of her best friend Mikaere and a pocketful of crystals.

Then there’s Bryony Manu, the town’s only other witch. A charismatic practitioner of dark magic, Bryony is infuriating … and captivating. Ash needs their help to track down the source of the spell draining life from the river. Can she balance her work with her attraction to Bryony, and master her magic along the way?

Brand of Magic

An empath witch should be able to keep everyone happy, right?

Hazel has put magic and men out of her mind. A break-up meant her own thoughts were bad enough, without sensing everyone else’s emotions too. The ghost in the attic and her sarcastic dog familiar would be way too much to explain to any partner.

Instead, Hazel put all her energy into her job promoting the city she loves – Dunedin, New Zealand. And she is pretty good at it, too. When her neighbour, Joel, needs her expertise to save his woodworking business and stop the sale of his family land, she can’t resist getting involved. But the more time they spend together, the more stubbornly locked away his thoughts are.

Then her powerful aunt is attacked, and Hazel has to find a way to get through to her and discover who or what is behind it. It seems as if her psychic powers are the key to everything.

Can she bear to let magic – and love – back in?

Succulents and Spells

Laurel Windflower is a witch from a family of magic workers – but her own life is going nowhere. Living in the damp, sunless side of Aro Valley, she works in a café, unable to produce anything more powerful than the most basic herbal potions. Until, one winter morning, Marigold Nightfield knocks on her door. Marigold is a scientist, but she knows plenty about magic. There are strange things happening in her house, and her future discoveries require careful negotiation with monsters. Laurel can’t walk away from a mystery – and she can’t walk away from Marigold either. But what lies ahead could reveal all of her shortcomings to the woman she’s trying to impress… or uncover the true nature of her power.

Microscopes and Magic

Some magical problems take spells and potions to solve… but others can only be understood through the lenses of a microscope.

Marigold Nightfield’s life changed when she absorbed the magic stored in a family heirloom. Now, she’s part of a growing network of magic-working scientists who are trying to change the world for the better, and has a girlfriend from a sprawling, powerful, witchy family.

Things should be coming together perfectly for her… but her magic has a time limit. It’s not hers for keeps and one day, she’ll lose it for good.

When her girlfriend’s work is destroyed by possible sabotage, and strange things start appearing in Wellington’s green belt, Marigold’s amazing new life starts to unravel. With unknown motives and dubious players at work, she faces a destructive force spreading through the city and beyond. She’ll have to not only draw on her scientific background and magical abilities, but make new connections and grow in confidence to face this new threat.

Overdues and Occultism

A witch in the broom closet probably shouldn’t be so interested in a ghost hunter, right?

When Sebastian, a paranormal investigator filming a web series starts snooping around Basil’s library, he stirs up more than just Basil’s heart. Between Basil’s own self-doubt, a ghost who steals books and Sebastian, an enthusiastic extrovert bent on uncovering secrets, Basil’s life is about to get a lot more complicated. 

That Basil is a librarian comes as no surprise to his Mt Eden community. That he’s a witch? Yeah. That might raise more than a few eyebrows.

Monsters and Manuscripts

One Witch
One Paranormal Investigator
Something that went bump in the night…

Library witch Basil and YouTuber Sebastian have settled into life together in the sleepy suburb of Mt Eden.

Basil is overjoyed to have a handsome boyfriend to come home to and he is connecting deeper with his magic. But when strange books start to turn up at his library and an uninvited guest makes noises in their attic, it’s up to them to investigate.

As a paranormal YouTuber, Sebastian can’t resist a new mystery. Especially since he’s been in one place for far too long… Is his enthusiasm for the next story going to ruin everything?

Onesies and Ouijaboards

Be careful what you wish for…

Arrow is fifteen, non-binary, and bored.

It’s one thing to read about magic, or watch ghost hunting shows. But Arrow yearns for something more. When they try out a prosperity spell from a magical library book, things start to go very very right.

Until they don’t.

Arrow’s good luck seems to be affecting a lot of the people around them. From A students suddenly failing quizzes to freak accidents, their good luck seems to be double-sided to say the least. Arrow’s best friend Ren knows not to mess with the unknown, but Arrow’s spell might just affect him all the same.

Arrow’s got to learn about how to wield their magic fast when the power they’ve drawn down proves to be beautiful, but dangerous as well.

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Reading log journal

I updated my reading log journal, and ordered myself some copies. They arrived recently and I’m really stoked with how cute they look and how nice the quality is. These are print-on-demand from Amazon which means you can order them from Amazon yourself!

But let’s take a look inside…

There’s a 60 book reading challenge that you can use or not as you choose – it includes different formats of books as well as options that may put you out of your comfort reading zone. There are checkboxes so you can keep track of the ones you’ve done.

Then lots of review pages, with space for various details including dates started and read and why you chose this particular book.

The review pages are broken up with colouring pages every here and there so you can reward yourself for reading and updating the journal and have a little fun. Here’s one example:

Then the back half of the book is dot gridded pages so you can continue to review books, make lists of books to read, draw or do whatever you like, really.

If you’re in New Zealand you can also order direct from my Payhip store.

Get it on US Amazon or on Australian Amazon

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Reading log notebook giveaway

One of the things I’m experimenting with this year is designing my own notebooks. I have so far uploaded two to Amazon. One is a reading log journal, and one’s a plain dot grid journal with a funky cover.

I ordered a few of the reading log journals to kind of sense check how it looks. I’m not a graphic designer, and there were some weird things about the way I’d put the book together. So with that in mind, I’ve taken it down off Amazon so I can fix it up and make it a little prettier and easier to read.

But I ordered five copies of this, and I only need one to look through, so that’s where the giveaway comes in.

I’m giving away four of the prototype reading log journals, and you can enter the draw here. They look like this on the outside:

Inside there are lots of pages for recording what you’ve read, and also a 60 book reading challenge you can use or not. I put some cute design elements inside, and I’m generally pretty proud of them for a first try, although as I said, there’s some weirdness when you’re actually flicking through them.

My plan is to update the innards, and possibly the cover as well, and let you know when the better version is up for sale. Amazon do print on demand, so you’ll be able to order direct from them. Then I have some other ideas for other journals with fun prompts, so watch this space!

In the mean time if you want a dot grid paperback notebook with a funky cover, grab it here!