Anyway, my first positive thing is that I at last have the paperback of my latest book to get published. Consort to the Shadows, Part Two - in the flesh! Feast your eyes. Ruth Germon and Tristan Fisher did an amazing job on all those covers. I love looking at my books and feeling that sense of joy that I did it, I got them published and made it through all the hard rejections. God is still good, even when times are tough.
And oh the irony. I was flicking through the book, and of course, Rafen has this terrible spreading skin disease that the Lashki has cursed him with - and it causes eventual suffocation if it's not checked. So he spends a lot of the book coughing, etc... anyway, spoiler alert, he survives and makes it through even the worst days. Not only that, but he achieves the freeing of numerous slaves and does much good along the way.
Just a little hint to those reading this blog post - this might be a good year to get some reading done. And the ebook of Rafen is still $0.99 USD as an ebook, and it doesn't mention the coronavirus once. You heard that right. You could spend some happy hours away from the media in an entirely different world and have an adventure. So for a dollar, consider enjoying an escape from this world's problems. Take a brain break, become a hero with a sword, and battle the odds. It's book one of the series, and I've never had anyone hate it properly unless they're a fantasy book burner anyway. So have a go!
Coronavirus is said to cause trouble breathing, and boy, can I feel it already. All the restrictions in place - all the social isolation - I can feel that stranglehold getting its grip firmly on Australia day by day. I did some research, and I couldn't find any information on the last time social distancing measures were used to this extent globally in response to a disease. Does that mean the disease is bad? Well, yes. But it's not as bad as other diseases that have spread across the globe before. Humanity has survived worse. So what's going on?
My honest answer is that I don't have a clue. I don't one hundred percent trust the media, and haven't for some time. Fear motivating is a common factor in times of political change. We've seen it with the War on Terror, and we've seen it with climate change. Just because someone published it in the news doesn't mean it's true. I've been in numerous news stories due to my books and not one of them was one hundred percent accurate. In fact, with most of them it would be difficult to find one 70% accurate. One of us stuffed up the information, and it wasn't me. And that's on a story that doesn't have global significance or the ability to influence mass decision making. If you had that kind of power - if I had that kind of power - what might we write?
So guys, I'm begging you in this time: do not believe every word the media says. Don't believe every dire prediction, don't take every story as gospel. They have falsely reported the "facts" on large stories before and they'll do it again. We might all be losing our jobs and our contacts in life, but there are people out there who are furthering their agendas through this. Someone will always capitalise on a disaster. I know the media, like any industry that relies heavily on the written word, has struggled to keep journalists in a job. But you can sell a lot of subscriptions through fear, for example. It's not right, but the temptation is there, and I don't think many large news corporations (and small news corporations) can resist it. Lastly, take it from a writer - I can see sensationalist story writing techniques a mile off. I studied journalism in uni too. And as a fantasy fiction author of a large series, I know when a writer is leaving space for cliffhangers and more dire predictions to keep people reading. I know how to mount the tension through words and leave people hanging. And that's precisely what the news media is doing constantly at the moment. We are not getting "just" the facts. We might not even be getting all the facts.
It looks like - thanks to our governments - that we will not have any option soon but to stay inside for the long term. And we're not getting any solid predictions on how long this might last. Because everyone is trying to preempt a disaster, we're making decisions based on fear and not one hundred percent on evidence. However, there are things we can do inside. Make music. Read books. Write books. Paint pictures. Sing. Play board games. Watch Lord of the Rings for the four hundredth time. Take up pilates or a new exercise routine. Eat lunch outside in the Queensland sunshine every day, if you're lucky enough to live here.
Of course, I have a baby due this year, mid June. I don't even know if I'll be able to birth in a hospital. I'm hoping I will but there's no guarantee of anything at the moment. Even shopping for things for my baby has become hard, because more and more shops are closing. And grocery stores frequently sell out of stuff like baby wipes, because people are out of toilet paper. Crazy times. I'll find a way to take care of my baby somehow. But this is the cost of needless panic. People lose a great deal more than their ability to breathe, due to coronavirus. People use jobs, friends, refreshing activities that are good for mental health, freedom, joy, and hope. That's the price we're paying to prevent the disease from spreading. People say: "It's just for a little while, just to flatten the curve." But we don't know how long it will be. The government isn't saying, and we have yet to see a free western country come out of complete lock down. And we don't even know if it will be effective. You can show me all the graphs in the world, but it doesn't convince me that the virus won't spread somehow. Take flies for instance. A fly lands on someone's eye, flies off, and lands on someone else. They're not going to socially distance. Our governments think they can control this, but they can't even control the movements of flies. So is it all worth the price we're paying? Take it from an immuno-compromised person - I don't think so. And if I do get sick, I'm not going to lie in a hospital bed and make a video to be shared virally on the net, blaming everyone who didn't stay home. Because that's life. Diseases spread, and we are in control of far less than we think.
So those are my thoughts on all of this so far. I'm doing my best to stay off fear mongering news sites, like the ABC, like the Daily Mail (which is often very unreliable in terms of facts anyway). I'm going to do my best to stay true to myself in all of this - keep my faith, keep writing exciting stories, and keep singing my songs. And God willing, in June I'll be singing to my dear little one, who'll be born in a time of confusion that they won't know or care about. And I hope my baby will just be able to sleep in my arms, knowing my love and feeling the peace that distance from the media and panic buyers can bring.