Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Year I Turned 18 - Cally Jackson's blogfest

Firstly, HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone!! Now down to business!

"The Big Smoke"
by Cally Jackson
Between October 29th and November 2nd Cally Jackson is hosting the "The Year I turned 18" blogfest. There's a $20 Amazon gift card as a prize, so you may want to sneak in an entry of your own! There is also a coupon for all entries to download Cally Jackson's new adult novel THE BIG SMOKE for the bargain price of $0.99. Totally cool! Click on the link up there for more info on the requirements of participation!

1998: the year of travel and couch potato-ing.
This is such a fun idea for a blogfest, and I'm excited to share with you what I did during the year I turned 18. That year was 1998, and I was fresh outta high school. Most of my classmates were either getting jobs or starting their first year of university. But while I had my acceptance letters from various universities, and had chosen one to call home, I'd also decided to defer my studies for all of 1998. For me, 1998 was to be the year of the post-high school comedown, a chance to gather some reserves in preparation for "real life", and...a chance to travel!

My Dad and I had been planning an 8-stop trip around the world for a while. For Dad, it was a driving-themed journey - as a driving instructor and what I'd venture to call a "road scientist", he wanted to prove that age didn't matter, and that 17-year-olds could drive around the world just like adults. His plan was to have me drive in New York City, on the German autobahn, around the Arc d'Triomphe and through London's Hyde Park Corner, etc.. My plan, meanwhile, was just to see a whole heap of the world in one go and have a serious adventure.

17-year-old me in Switzerland, 1998.
We left home on February 2nd, 1998, and drove across Australia. Next we moved onto the North Island of New Zealand. From Auckland we flew to Los Angeles, and from there crisscrossed the U.S.A. and had all sorts of adventures (see parts 1 & 2 of this commentary). Flying back out of Los Angeles we headed for England, then onto France, Luxbembourg (I think), Germany, Switzerland, and Italy (with some repeats).

The journey was meant to last a total of 6 or so months, and for Dad it did, but after a "slight" emotional breakdown in Europe I decided to cut my journey short. I do partly regret this, but then, I really was homesick and bone-weary, and I felt much happier knowing I was heading back home. I missed my Mummy. :)

Dad and I in Paris, 1998.
In hindsight I can say that this was the most amazing journey I've ever been on. Sure, I did a 15-stop world trip on my own a few years later, which was truly incredible, but this 1998 trip was a special journey - I travelled with my Dad, saw some truly phenomenal sights, and drove all over the world at just 17.

I did actually turn 18 during this year, in case you're wondering, but by that point I was at home again and participating with great success in the Couch Potato Olympics. I knew after all that as of 1999 I'd be studying again, so this was my last chance to really vegetate. For me, 1998 was an awesome year.

Me in Switzerland, 1998 (yes, I've always been a face puller).

Friday, 26 October 2012

Spooktoberfest is here! (feat. flash fiction)

Woohoo!! Fun times are afoot today, because it's the start of the Spooktoberfest blogfest, hosted by Jackie Felger and Dani Bertrand. The aim of this game is to write a piece of flash fiction (300 words or less) that contains the following 5 words:

cobweb(s), cauldron(s), jack-o-latern(s), ghost(s), razor(s)

For more info, check out the link above! There is a really cool prize for the winner, too, and it's international!

Anyway, here is my entry, which according to Microsoft Word is 296 words long:

Ghosts of annoying lovers past assault me as I step out into the steamy cauldron of a spring day in Perth, head pounding with a nauseating hangover. Puffy white clouds leer at me like jack-o-lanterns from overhead and I glower to show the world just what I think. 
Why is it always me who has to do the walk of shame? Why don’t these one night stands ever happen at my place? And why must I always be the ultimate cliché and lose a shoe somewhere along the way? 
I hobble gingerly along a weedy garden path to the front gate and push through it, crying out in pain as a stray bit of wire digs its razor-blade sharpness into my right love handle. I take a moment, closing my eyes and drawing deep breaths to clear the cobwebs from my mind. And to try to unclench this damn jaw. ‘Cause this is no way to start off a day. 
Suddenly a high-pitched voice calls out from a short distance away—a horribly familiar voice: “Martha? Is that you?!” 
I open my eyes and no, I haven’t imagined it—that really is my mother across the street, squinting at me in confusion then disbelief. Frantically I look around for a street sign and find one. Dread flowers inside me as I realise why last night’s conquest looked so familiar. Mum’s best friend’s son really has grown into a hottie. But now I know he lives across the road from his mother—directly across the road—and if his bad morning breath wasn’t a deal breaker, this totally is. 
“Martha! I don’t believe it.” Mum’s completely scandalised. “Why are you— How— Where is your shoe?” 
Fitting, really, that today is October 31st. Halloween has never been scarier.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Kyra Lennon's "Letting Go" bloghop

Today is the "Letting Go" bloghop, hosted by Kyra Lennon in celebration of the release of her novella If I Let You Go. Originally this little story was going to be released today, but because she and the rest of us couldn't wait, she brought the release date forward a bit. You can read more about Kyra's writing over at her blog on the "My Books" page.

Here are the rules for this bloghop:

"On October 22nd, I invite you to share some stories about letting go. Was there a time when you had to let go of someone or something? How did it make you feel? How did you handle it? Or if that's too personal - which I completely understand - how about writing a piece of flash fiction?  
The only rules are - obviously - it has to be related to letting go, and please keep it to a maximum of 500 words." - Kyra Lennon

And here's my contribution:

Your wind-down windows RSI-d me
Just like that ‘old skool’ steering wheel
In cursed summer we boiled together
And climbing hills was pretty tough

I called you Little One, ‘so tiny!’
My first car that I bought myself
You did me proud, my little bubby
And only with a tear did I let you go

That was a day I said hello
To a brand spankin’ new Yaris, yo
In 2009, yes, a while ago now
A truly emotional moment in time!

And though I love my auto windows
My awesome air-con/power steering
I often think of you and wonder
Just what you are doing now

Maybe you are all around me
On scrap heaps near and far, but
I like to think you’re doing better
My blue-green friend out in the world

In closing, yes, this poem’s crappy
But I know you don’t care!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Did I Notice Your Book? - blogfest

Today is the Did I Notice Your Book? blogfest hosted by Ciara Knight, the mastermind behind the DINYB series, and Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. The idea is to pick a book that isn't yet on the New York Times bestsellers list, and advertise it on our blogs. We're not supposed to contact the author directly to let them know what we're doing, but wait and see if they find out on their own!

My reasons for choosing this book:
  • The title
  • The cover (and yeah, I hate summer, and already live by a beach, but still, I was enticed)
  • The blurb!
Aaaand the book I've chosen is: Honeymoon for One by Beth Orsoff.

Being ditched at the altar is the least of Lizzie Mancini’s problems. Sitting in a Caribbean jail cell accused of murdering her “pretend” husband, however, is at the top of the list.

After her real groom jilts her, Lizzie decides to go solo on their Belize honeymoon and meets handsome Michael Garcia, who is nursing his own heartache. To avoid the bleakness of dining and sightseeing alone, as well as questions from nosy, if well-meaning, fellow guests at the couples-only resort, the two agree to pose as newlyweds for the week—no strings (or sex) attached.

The plan runs smoothly until Lizzie enjoys the attentions of the local scuba instructor and Michael’s body washes ashore. Suddenly the “Mrs.” is mistakenly ID’d as suspect numero uno. With the Polizia Nationale ready to close the case and cook her goose, Lizzie will have to solve the crime herself.

Unexpected romance and international intrigue are center stage in Beth Orsoff’s mystery caper that takes “’til death do us part” to a whole new level.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Tagged: the 'Be Inspired' meme

My NaNo profile.
Recently I got tagged by Chris over at the Kelworth Files with this "Be Inspired" meme thingy. Thanks, Chris, for thinking of me! Basically how it works is that I answer some questions about "my novel", and then tag 5 lucky bloggers. ;) Since I have many, many novels, I guess I should just close my eyes and throw a dart at a list of them, right? Actually, that's an idea... Seriously, I think I'll talk about the novel I'm going to work on during November this year.

1. What is the name of your book?
The original title was MEET DAPHNE STUART, back in the day, but that was back then. Now it's called simply DAPHNE. Naturally that's just a result of my "can't think of a title so I'll just name it after the MC's first name" habit. Someday, the book will have an actual proper title.

2. Where did the idea for your book come from?
I started this story back in 1999, during my first year of university. I had hardly any friends and hardly any life, so I started writing about a girl whose friends/boyfriend were her life. Somehow, though, this poor girl got lumped with a horrible family. I'm rewriting DAPHNE during November, and the rewrite, though still giving her plenty of crap to deal with, will at least give her some happiness in the end. Largely unlike the original draft.

3. In what genre would you classify your book?
Back then, there was no such thing as "New Adult" fiction, at least not that I'd ever heard of. This story is New Adult, but as for genre? Probably just general fiction. New Adult contemporary fits, too, I guess.

4. If you had to pick actors to play your characters in a movie rendition, who would you choose?
I used to cut out pictures from magazines to fit my characters, but they were never actors, so...yeah, got no clue. ;) There's also the fact that there will be new characters and possibly a lack of some old ones after my NaNo rewrite.

5. Give us a one-sentence synopsis of your book.
As Daphne's life descends steadily into chaos, she clings to one goal: getting through her first year of university.

6. Is your book already published?
Far from it!

7. How long did it take you to write your book?
It took me...*blush*...10 years. But this time around, as I rewrite, it will take me heaps less time than that. I'm a different animal these days. ;)

8. What other books within your genre would you compare it to? Or, readers of which books would enjoy yours?
To be honest, I don't know. I think I've taken inspiration from many different places, for e.g. in my plans for my rewrite I have a character partly inspired by Michael from Roswell (LOVE that show and that character). I also recently read TULLY for the first time, and the main character Tully has a crappy childhood and a frustrating adult life. But unlike Tully, Daphne's got many siblings to worry about, so again, their lives are different. Plus, my story will only focus on a year in a life, not decades.

9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?
Honestly, I can't remember what was inspiring me back in 1999. That was when I still read mostly fantasy, so...yeah. This story is different. Maybe there is a proper answer to this, but if so, I can't conjure it. ;)

10. Tell us anything that might pique our interest in your book.
Don't worry, it won't be totally miserable? hehe. And there will be a hot bad boy in it! Plus some nice lurve.

11. Tag five people!
I think I may be past the era of tagging specific people. From here on in I may have to do the cop-out thing other people do and just say "if you want it, take it!" Better that than inflicting it on people who just aren't interested, I figure.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Review : IF I LET YOU GO (Kyra Lennon)

I was one of the lucky folks who won an ARC of Kyra Lennon’s debut novella, IF I LET YOU GO. I finished reading it about a week ago, and loved it!

In my book (pun intended) this story had everything a girl could want: romance, humour and a steamy love scene. I loved the way the ‘accident’ between Madison and Dominic happened, and the immediate awkwardness of the aftermath. Kyra writes awkwardness really well, but she also does a mean job of writing steaminess. ;) I enjoyed her use of British slang throughout the novel. I also really appreciated that none of the characters were perfect, in fact far from it!

This is definitely a story with a happily ever after ending, but more one that I think of has “happily ever after for now at least”. Personally, I’m a big fan of those kinds of endings, which are far less cheesy than the other kind. I guess you could say I’m not really into the whole “every single little end was tied up and they got married and she was preggers by the last line” endings. I like a more realistic (yet still romantic) ending.

All in all, I thought this was a good great read! Kyra’s writing style is highly entertaining, and I really love her characters. I’ll leave you with some of my personal favourite quotes from this novella, which yes, I have already added to GoodReads:

Erica had asked me a million times. Madison, are you sure you’re just the child minder? He pays you a lot of money for doing hardly anything. Pushing aside the blatant insinuation that I was his weekend whore, I’d always told her the absolute truth. He’d never so much as looked at me inappropriately, let alone anything more.

I focused, rather embarrassingly, on his chest which was rising and falling slowly.
I left teeth marks!

His jaw was set, telling me I should back off. Unfortunately, being a gobby cow meant I couldn’t.

Monday, 8 October 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - gulp, I've committed

My NaNo profile.
As usual, I've signed up for NaNoWriMo in November. Not quite as usual, I'm feeling a bit nervous about this year's challenge. I'm going to rewrite a novel I refer to simply as DAPHNE, or at least that's what I tell myself...and everyone else on the NaNoWriMo website. But I'm not all that familiar with doing rewrites. It's not my usual "thing".

This year, I did complete a rewrite and was very happy with the result. I am also currently working on a partial rewrite of that rewrite. So I know I can do it. I'm just nervous that I will start on this year's NaNo and lose my way.

Despite my decent track record with NaNoWriMo, I have been known to fail in the past. Twice. There was a third year when I didn't even participate at all, knowing that if I tried, I would fail miserably. But other than that, I've succeeded with NaNo every year since 2002. It's a tradition I fully intend to keep up, if I can help it.

Why am I nervous? Well, the first time I wrote DAPHNE, it took me 10 years!! I started it back in 1999, during my first year of university, and only finished it at the start of 2009, after a whole lot of years had passed and my life had changed drastically. I was a different person by the time I finally got it done.

Luckily, I do have a good, meaty general plan for my character Daphne. I'm just not sure how successful I'm going to be at writing out her revamped story. But I'll sure be giving it a good shot!

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this November?

Friday, 5 October 2012

What's in a name?

Two things.

1. I've said it before (elsewhere, probably not here) and I shall say it again: I find it interesting that I can introduce myself as "Trisha" to a perfect stranger, and the very next thing they say to me includes some shortening or alteration of my name that they've taken it upon themselves to give me. In one great example, I was out at a pub one night and met some guy, and here was our very first conversation:

This is what I do when you call me Pat.
Me: I'm Trisha.
Him: Trish.
Me: Trisha.
Him. Trish.
Yes, that is what he said to me. And while he was saying that last line, he was smiling like I was being the dick head.

Have any of you gone through this sort of thing?

Don't get me wrong - most people in my life do call me Trish, and I'm perfectly fine with it if I actually at least know these people from a bar of soap. But I like to think they'll at least wait a whole day (maybe even a whole ten minutes) after meeting me before having their way with my name.

2. I just call myself Trisha on this blog, but I do in fact have a surname (fancy that!). I haven't got it plastered all over this thing, because for some reason I would feel weird about announcing myself that openly to the world. I think it's all part of the whole "I'm not an author, I'm just a writer" thing, and how I'm not really sure whether I will ever rely on pen names or just go with my real name. It's something I think about a hell of a lot, but I haven't come up with any good solutions to the conundrum yet. And just for the record, the idea of using a pen name doesn't sit too well with me either. I'd feel almost presumptuous, like I'm trying to be more important than I am. And yet when my fellow blogger writer people do it, it's totally fine and normal in my opinion!

So my friends... have you any thoughts? feelings? observations? on the above points?