In which I explain how I spend my time, and share an except from Blaize and the Maven which is currently free to download (11-14 October 2015).
I live a strange life. I have three separate ‘job’ related activities.
I’m a psychologist, and I work in businesses around the world to help them with talent measurement and talent management.
What does that actually mean, you ask? Yeah, my family have been asking that for years.
I do stuff with people in the workplace, basically, helping get the right person in the right job, and helping to develop those people once they’re in the job. It takes about a third of my time.
So that’s one activity. Then I also run a personal development and blog which offers actionable advice to people around their work and life so they can make incremental but significant improvements. It’s non-fiction writing that draws on my psychology background, and tries to be compassionate and kind. Oh, and I was lucky enough this very week to have one of my pieces of writing included in the TinyBuddha book ‘365 Tiny Love Challenges.’ That’s another third of my life.
And then there’s this.
The last third of my life, fiction writing. But up until now, this hasn’t been very visible. I haven’t shared anything concrete with people.
The fact that Blaize and the Maven is now available for purchase is therefore terrifying.
But it’s also thrilling, exhilarating and wonderful.
On the surface, these three activities might seem very different. But in fact, there are some things that run deeply through all of them.
At the heart of them all is a fascination and love of people. Being a psychologist has taught me a great deal about human behaviour, which working in business and with clients has given me the opportunity to see in practice. I’ve been able to share many of those learnings with the readership on my personal development blog. That fascination is just as present in my fiction writing.
What I found with the fiction is that I became once more an enthralled observer of human nature – sitting in the cafes where I write watching people interact and live their lives, and even observing my own reactions to situations in infinite detail.
What happens in my body when I feel an emotion? What are my thought processes? What do I do in response?
Each experience builds on the others, and I become a better writer of fiction and non-fiction, a better psychologist and perhaps even a better human being.
A little taste of Blaize
Blaize and the Maven is now available, so I thought you might enjoy a little excerpt to whet your appetite if you haven’t got your copy yet.
In this section, Blaize is going through her Chakra trial to become a Manipura Practitioner.
The next attack came before she had centred herself after the first. This was from Serafina, the Italian Master whose auxiliary Chakra was Anahata, the Chakra of air.
Wind whipped around Blaize, and her hair snapped against her face. The wind aimed to drive her fire out of control, and out of the circle. The fire’s wild flames danced, and part of Blaize wanted to dance with it, to lose herself to the power and the energy. She exulted as Serafina’s air fed the fire more oxygen, and it rose and rose.
Blaize stopped herself just before the fire crept over the edges of the circle. She was now at the centre of a furnace, and she delighted in the heat on her skin. She forced the flames in towards her and lowered them to neck height, so that she stood in a much smaller circle of flames, a witch burning at the stake. But she wasn’t burning. The opposite in fact. The more she drew on the power, the better she felt.
The air continued to dance around her, but it could no longer find a way into her tight circle of flames. Fire and air licked at each other, each darting around the other energy, deadlocked. Blaize sighed in pleasure and drew energy through, feeding her flames. A weaker fire energetic might find this air attack a challenge, but for Blaize, air was just fuel for her fire.
After an indeterminable time, the dust and sand that had been caught up in the air drifted back to the floor, and the wind calmed. Her fire was still strong, and sweat ran down the sides of her face and her back from effort and the hot sun.
The next attack surprised her. It was from Huo, whose auxiliary Chakra was Ajna—the Chakra of the mind. Rather than attack the fire itself, he spoke inside her mind, an unusual power even among Ajnas.
“That’s enough Blaize. You’ve passed. You’ve done well. It’s time to rest.”
His tone was soft, persuasive. Blaize frowned. She was sure an hour hadn’t passed yet. The trial wasn’t over. This must be a trick. She kept her fire burning.
His voice was insistent. “Relax. Let go of the energy. Sit down. Rest…”
She shook her head involuntarily and tried to block his voice out. Her flames wavered as she heard the voice persist.
“You don’t need to prove anything to us. You’re strong, proud. You know your powers are as good as a Practitioner; why do you need our approval?”
Her eyebrows drew together, a crease forming between her eyes. That sounded like a thought she’d had once or twice. Had he taken it from her mind? His powers were an exact match for hers—his dominant energy Manipura, and his auxiliary Ajna, the energy of the mind. Did that connection make it easier or harder for him to speak in her mind? Blaize was a bit murky on what Ajna could and couldn’t do, despite it being her own auxiliary power.
“Rest Blaize. Let the flames die down.”
The insidious voice became harder and harder to block out. For the first time in the trial, she opened her eyes to check her fire. Her eyes widened as she realised it was suffocating. The other two Mavens had joined the assault, creating an environment of damp air in which it was hard to sustain the flame.
Want to know if Blaize makes it through her Chakra trial in one piece? Go grab Blaize and the Maven, available now!