I have shared this photo of ridgelines in Highland Perthshire before, in my essay “Trees, A Brief Personal History.” It is a favourite of mine, illustrating how Scottish weather, so oft-derided, can actually increase the beauty of a photograph.
Being able to stand on a hillside or, as I do here in the far north, on the riverbank, watching clouds approaching, predominantly from the west or a span of degrees north or south of this point, is to gaze into the future. You know that this cloud means rain, that cloud means snow. Those clouds offer shade and that cloud will disappear before it arrives, ridgelines in the sky, whole shifting landscapes.
Future-gazing, knowing the winds and the weathers of this world, plays a large role in the novels I have been working on for my own span of time. The first of these, still tentatively entitled The Care Industry, is at that irritating almost-done point. I shall soon be querying agents and beginning the Dance of Traditional Publishing.
Which leads me neatly to this photograph:
I am not placing all my eggs in one basket, however. Instead I have a plan. Or perhaps A Plan. I should have been sharing these ideas here on this site, in my 39 Steps series, but that has stuttered for a wee while (if you want something to blame for this stutter, you can look no further than the current political situation and an alarming swing to politics other famous far-right parties and individuals would have felt comfortable with in the past in, I don’t know, maybe 1930s Germany? This has been an unwelcome distraction and detraction).
I have ridgelines beyond ridgelines, ideas and different streams of income, each arriving before another, each still visible from the next, each climbing that tiny bit higher into a range of my own making. This metaphor is perhaps getting a touch stretched…
In short, I am hoping to pursue a hybrid author model, and here’s one of those ridgelines I need to climb and cross to achieve this. This photo is the one I (finally) chose as the basis for the cover to my first self-published novella.
Entitled “Only One Death”, it is a fantasy story with some subtle differences. It is both a homage and a slightly alternative take on the standard fantasy quest. Indeed, “Standard Fantasy Quest” was the working title for this piece. I shall write a longer, more specific post on this but, for now, if you fancy having a peek, it can be found here.