Monday, 26 November 2012

NaNo '12 winner - now to finish the story!

I passed the 50k mark in NaNo back on day 15, and currently I'm at 88,329 words. I made a wild stab and guessed I might have 20k more to go in the story, but quite honestly I don't really know where I'll finish up at. What I'm pretty sure I do know is that my story will, as usual, be bloated and in need of some slash 'n burn. But at least I don't think it'll get anywhere near my most bloated efforts of the past, which have been known to hit in the region of 150k. Yikes!

Ideally I'd like this story to be 85-95k at most, but to be honest I don't even know what the "recommended" wordcounts are for NA novels. Anybody got any thoughts on that? I know that people have always told me, "It should be as long as it needs to be", but honestly, a 200k YA romance is probably going to raise a few eyebrows for the wrong reasons...right? ;)

Anyway, my new goal is to finish the story itself by November's end. This way I will achieve one of my other 2012 goals, which is to rewrite my DAPHNE novel completely. Overall I can say I'm pretty happy with how I've gone, though there have been moments during November when I've been rather appalled at the absolute crap I've been writing. It's okay, though - that stuff will be fixed in revisions!

How have you gone during November with whatever you've been working on?

P.S. I read my first Jolene Perry novel
(that link is to my review which contains spoilers, beware!)
over the weekend,
and now I want more. MOOOOORE! :)

P.P.S. "Baby Faces Blogfest" sign-ups below (for info on this blogfest, check here).

Friday, 23 November 2012

Today is my mummy's birthday!

Little mummy.
Today we are celebrating my mum's 58th birthday, though she is currently away from home at her DIDO (drive in-drive out) job. She will be here for the weekend and we're gathering on Sunday to celebrate. But enough about that - I want to just talk about my mother.

70s (I think) mummy.
She is one of the best mothers the planet has ever seen. In high school all my friends were envious that I had such a cool mum (no curfew, no rules at all really, and definitely never any smacking). People say that kids need corporal discipline to stay on the straight and narrow. I say different, at least when I'm taking my bro and myself as evidence of how well un-spanked kids can behave. ;)

Mum was a single parent for much of my young life, and times were often tough, but we were pretty much always happy. As a small business owner, Mum worked from home, and she worked damn hard. I've heard it said that people who have lots of money work really hard. Well, my mum was proof that people who have no money work just as hard or even harder.
Me and mummy - I think I was in my teens here.

My mum grew up in a very happy family, and I always remember her saying that she was shocked to realise as she grew up that her family was abnormal rather than normal, because of how happy they were. She's the youngest of four kids, the baby, and growing up she found it hard to get a word in edgewise. Sometimes that's still the case today when we're hanging with her raucous sisters (who just happen to be awesome aunties as well)! The only boy in the family is definitely the most placid. :)

Me and mummy on my 25th b'day (7.5 years ago).
I got my mother's green eyes and it's possible I got her curly hair too, though it's equally possible I got my dad's curly hair (they both have similar-looking hair, even down to having the same type of curl). Some people say I look very like Dad, and others say I look very like Mum. I think I look a fair bit like both at particular moments (though I am basically an identical twin to my dad's little sister, but that's a story for another time).

I guess what I really wanted to say was happy birthday Mummy!

P.S. Don't forget to check out my Baby Faces Blogfest and sign up if you want! :)

Monday, 19 November 2012

Coming up: a blogfest and a blogiversary

WEIRD NEWS: I, yes I, have decided to host my first ever blogfest. I'm calling it the Baby Faces Blogfest, and I'm a little worried I will end up being the only participant, but I figure it's time I bit the bullet and put myself out there, even at risk of public humiliation.

Re: the theme for this blogfest, I know my blog isn't a baby anymore - it's more like a toddler! Here's hoping the terrible twos aren't too bad around here, but I guess it depends on my mood as the new year starts. ;)

What are the requirements?
  1. Between December 2nd and 3rd, post a pic of yourself as a baby, and/or;
  2. Tell us a story about when you were a baby (no doubt you can't quite remember it yourself, but you've probably heard some stories from other members of your family).
You can choose to do one or the other or both, depending on your mood on the day(s). ;)

What the heck's in it for you?
  1. The sheer enjoyment of bragging about how cute you were as a baby?
Also note that on December 2nd when I post for my blogiversary, I will be giving away a little prize (your choice of a book I've selected, or some other book, from the Book Depository). More details about that on the day though.

For now, I leave you with the linky tool on which you can sign up for this awesome blogfest. :)

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Krystal Wade's "Wildest Moments" blogfest

Krystal Wade is hosting the "Wildest Moments" blogfest from November 12th to November 23rd, in celebration of the release of her novel WILDE'S MEADOW (released on November 5th! Congrats Krystal!!).

Prizes are a Kindle Fire (!), Kindle skins or a $15.00 Amazon gift card. In short, this is a pretty cool contest. But more than that, the blogfest itself is a really cool idea, so I had to join!

What are the requirements of this blogfest?

"All you have to do is blog about a time you did something wild, something life changing. Jumped from a perfectly good airplane? Quit your job to write full time? I’m looking for fun, heart-pumping, or inspirational stories that you have experienced. “Wilde” things you’ve completed on your quest to grow up or move on." - Krystal Wade

San Francisco, 1998

My story is about the night 17-year-old me slept in a homeless shelter in San Francisco. The story does involve some mouldy cheese, but I'll leave that part for another time. ;) Back in 1998 I was travelling the world with my Dad, and on this particular day we arrived on the outskirts of San Francisco near sundown. We used some of our last dollars to get a train downtown, and went to the police station to find out about shelters we could stay in. The first one couldn't accept us due to my age, but they did advise us on how to get into another shelter nearby:

"You need to tell them you've had a drink today. Just make sure you say that."

At this second shelter, the manager sat us down and asked a series of questions, which I shall now paraphrase (along with my answers):

Q: So, what are you addicted to?
A: Um...nothing.
Q: Well, what are you doing here?
A: I've had a drink today
(pretty sure this wasn't true as we couldn't afford a drink that day!)  
Q: Well, I can't just let you stay here if you're not addicted to anything...

Eventually, the guy did begrudgingly let us stay the night. And what a thrilling night that was for me, sleeping on a paper-thin mattress next to some poor woman hacking up her lungs, and listening to the shouts of folks out on the street who sounded in danger of killing each other. But it sure did make me appreciate my own life a lot more. At least, the life I led when not travelling with Dad.

The next morning, we had a family wedding to attend. It was a fair way from where we'd spent the night, and we got part of the way there by bus, but wound up at the bottom of a very large hill when we needed to be at the top. This was when I did my last bit of hitch-hiking for 1998, when a very kind stranger picked us up and drove us all the way to the wedding venue. Here is an excerpt of an email I sent home to my mother after all this had gone down:

-only just made it to <cousin's> wedding, arrived in a Jag with a guy who picked us up hitching, who tooted the horn in front of the guests and then, as a joke, got out and opened our door for us—a very nice man!

It was particularly amusing to have this well-dressed, spiffy-looking guy pretend to be our chauffeur when we were looking so incredibly scruffy. Oh, and as a nice ending to this particular story, our very generous relatives put us up in the Radisson that night.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

NaNoWriMo home stretch

I'm on the home stretch with NaNo, but I'm really slowing down. I think parts of this weekend had some responsibility for that. I did pretty well on Friday night, but much of Saturday was a write-off. I had a busy day, true, but it wasn't just that - it was also the first signs of real procrastination creeping in. Today, Sunday, is my day at home where I don't have to go out or do anything. And of course I'm using that day to avoid writing.

It's 1:53 pm and I've written about 1500 words. I've also watched a few episodes of Supernatural (s7), and now I'm going to watch 27 Dresses, mostly because I was reminded of it last night when I saw Elton John open the Perth Arena (which venue I call "Smurf Arena" because it's almost entirely BLUE in colour!), and he played "Bennie and the Jets". In other news, I am loving food today (nothing new - I love food every day). I have different snacky foods to eat and they are hard to resist, especially when I'm watching DVDs on my beautiful new TV (I haven't had a TV in years, and I finally bought one a few weekends back). In short, I guess you could say I'm now in near-full procrastination mode. With a word count of 40,410, maybe I'm feeling that I can afford to slow down.

I don't want to, though. I want to hit that 50k mark as soon as possible. I want to get through this stage of writing complete crap, and I want to do it at more than a snail's pace. Speaking of snails, I've watched them on my driveway before and thought, These guys are actually moving faster than you'd expect! Let's put it this way - snails move faster than grass grows, so if you want to use a cliché that implies slowness, the grass growth thing is probably more effective. Then again, sometimes after a heavy rain it does seem to me that grass in my backyard grows to knee-height overnight!

Yes, that's an illustration of procrastination in action. Going to watch that movie. ;)

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Resurrection Blogfest - Mina Lobo's blogiversary celebration

Greetings everyone on U.S. Election Day (here in Aus it's the day after, but whatever)! I sit here in Australia wishing you the best of luck for an un-nauseating outcome. I'll come right out and say bring on some more Obamarama!! But anyway, moving on...!

There's this groovy chick called Mina Lobo who is sometimes naughty (at least we are warned of this when clicking through to her blog) and always nice, and today she is celebrating her first blogiversary with what she is calling the:


For this blogfest, participants must do the following:

"On November 7, 2012, your blog post should prominently feature the blogfest badge as well as something from your first year of blogging that you believe deserves some TLC, or that you're especially proud of and wish to showcase, or simply has sentimental value for you." - Mina Lobo

They must also do other things if they want to be a winner, and you can read all about those things here. For my entry I decided to just link back to my first-ever post on this blog, which I wrote mere days after finishing NaNoWriMo in 2010. I'm not going to re-post it, just link to it. But why am I choosing this post in particular? Well, no reason except that I'm doing NaNo right now, so that old post is meaningful for that reason. Also there's the mere fact that it was my first ever post, and I am coming up on my own 2-year blogiversary (I'll talk more about that in December!).

Right, then, I'm done! At least after I've said to Mina, "Congrats on your blogiversary and I'm glad to have met you!"

What was your first-ever blog post about?

Monday, 5 November 2012

Why Book Depository rocks Australia

Book Depository - why it's awesome
If I lived in America I'd probably make huge use of Amazon, because the postage appears to be so damn cheap! Living in Australia, though, those Amazon bargains aren't quite so bargainy, since postage is at least $8 per item. Even if you buy more than one item from the same seller, you'll still be paying at least $8 postage for each item. Compared with Book Depository, which provides us with free postage, this really can add up to quite a large amount. I tell ya, if Book Depository sold CDs and DVDs as well, it'd be my one-stop shop for pretty much everything I neeeed/want/musthave.

I'm waiting for you!
The downside for other buyers
Cherie Reich recently pointed out to me that self-published authors wanting to sell their books on Book Depository have to put up the price of their books. Since I know the world doesn't revolve around me, I completely agree that book prices should stay affordable for the majority of buyers, at least for a while. But eventually I would hope that you guys will add your books to the Book Depository just so I can buy them without breaking the bank. ;) And yes, I do prefer a paperback copy. Don't worry, though, I can wait my turn.

Aaaand, in other news:

It's day 5, but I haven't written anything for today yet (pesky full time job getting in the way!). Days 1-4 brought my wordcount up to 18,290, and I'm pretty happy with my progress there. The writing has come fairly effortlessly so far, though I've had to pause now and then to get my facts straight. It does help that I'm basing my character's uni studies on my own from 1999, but I'm going to have to update a few things, i.e. there shall be more iPads out and about, even if my characters rely on a clunky laptop and an old-fashioned notebook for writing.

Friday, 2 November 2012

NaNoWriMo post-day #1 report

My NaNo profile.
Day #1 of NaNoWriMo is over and my word count is around about 3,897. This is a sort of average amount for me. In the past I've won NaNo within the first 9 days, or else I've won it on the very last day. I can see ending this one somewhere in the middle, but I won't project too far forward 'cause I don't feel the need to put any sort of extra pressure on myself. Ironically I don't feel the pressure that a lot of other people probably feel with NaNo, perhaps 'cause I know I can do it.

But how am I going with my story so far? Well, I'm enjoying the rewrite. The writing seems to flow pretty effortlessly. There are already moments of mildly excessive waffling, but naturally those will be chipped away at in revisions at a later date. I'm more excited about where my story will end up than where it is at present, but I've enjoyed the introductory parts. I'm just starting to put Daphne's life into its tailspin, but she's only getting her first taste of it so far. Poor lady. I really do feel sorry for my tortured characters.

How are you going with NaNo,
if you're doing it?
And if you aren't,
what are you doing instead? :)