Saturday, 31 March 2012

This picture looks better upside down!

Just an ordinary poseur...
or a pissed off drag queen?
In the past, whenever I came across awful pictures of myself (which happens often; I'm not photogenic for the most part), I had a way to make them useful - by colouring them in and making them into 'art' (see the picture on the right):

Killarney, Ireland...
or some alien planet?
I didn't realise until today that sometimes, if you have a really boring, ordinary photo, and have decided to throw it in the can perhaps be salvaged too! The one on the left, taken in Killarney, Ireland yesterday, is pretty boring when it's up the right way. But upside down it becomes (to me, at least) some kind of magical alien landscape that could inspire all sorts of cool fantasy/sci-fi stories.

What do you think? Got any boring photos you could save by flipping upside down?

Thursday, 29 March 2012

And now I am IN Ireland...!

But only just.

To fill you in, I posted a while back for the Got Green? Blog Hop and talked about my expectations for a then upcoming trip to Ireland. I'm now in Ireland, have been for a few hours and it's way past bedtime, but I just wanted to drop in and say hi again. Free internet access is fleeting in this part of the world and the amount they expect you to pay for a mere 20 minutes of access is at times mindboggling.

Anyway, I don't have any Ireland pics off my camera yet, but I'll share some from Wales instead. This was also my first visit to Wales, and while I didn't see a huge amount of the place, I did get to check out a tiny slice of Cardiff (don't really have any useful photographs to speak of from there, I don't think) and the gorgeous seaside town of Tenby. The photos in this post are of Tenby. It was really cool 'cause we were in the town for two hours, and as we were leaving the tide went out and boats were left dripping and stranded (obviously the town has planned for that, 'cause the boats are suspended off the sand).

I'm going to leave this post here and take care of other online business, but I will mention that I am participating in the A-Z challenge this year, and the first half of April's posts are scheduled. Because my internet access is sketchy at best, I probably won't be able to be my usual perfectionist self and fix any typos that I've overlooked. But because I am a perfectionist, I promise I'll go back through the posts later and fix anything that's wrong! ;) I won't be doing that for anyone but me. My sleep goes better if typos aren't nagging at the back of my mind, you see. haha

Tomorrow we go to Blarney (to kiss the Blarney Stone!).

Monday, 26 March 2012

London and then the other stuff

Hi everyone. I can't add pictures to this post because I'm on a public computer and can't access my pictures, so it will have to be bare bones wordage today! We've just finished our last day in London, and tomorrow we head off on our tour of the UK. I know there are some bloggers near Plymouth, at least one of whom I was maybe going to be able to meet up with - I'm fairly certain Plymouth is where we're staying tomorrow night, so maybe I'll see you there! Anyway, I'll email you!

We've had a great time in London, even if sometimes our plans went a bit awry and we couldn't get everything done that we wanted to. We've walked (and walked, and walked), floated on a boat and seen lots of sights. I've been to London a few times now, so it almost feels like an extra home. Anyway, I'll end this now, as my internet time is limited, but I just wanted to stop in and say hi to all my blogger friends. I hope all of you are doing well and that exciting writerly (and other) things are happening in your lives! Feel free to tell me about it all in comments as I do keep up with those via email!

Until next time, bubbye now! ;)

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Walking in Paris

Hi everyone! Just stopping in to give a brief update on how the travels are going! We're in Paris, as indicated by the picture over there! <<< That was taken yesterday. We explored Notre Dame, then headed for the Louvre. From there after hours of wandering around taking in the wonders, we sat near the little Arc d'Triomphe, Carrousel (as I have taken to calling it...or maybe we can say the "baby"?), and finally walked off down "the strip" toward the Place de la Concorde, in the general direction of the "grown up" Arc d'Triomphe, Etoile.

We walked along the Seine on the way there and on the way back. Sometimes we walked right by the water, where Parisians were out soaking the sun up (they were out and about everywhere). Yes, the weather had started out a bit overcast, but while we were Louvreing the sun emerged. I am not a fan of the sun, as you may have gathered from past rants about Australian summers, and I would have been quite happy for the clouds to stay. But we did get some pretty photos with that blue sky.

Today we're heading to la Tour d'Eiffel to get up close and personal. We'll probably hang around in that general vicinity. We've done a lot of walking and our feet get sore, but it's definitely the best way to take in the finer details of a place.

Anyway...I'm going to post this now. I won't be able to check out many of your blogs while I'm away, but I'll try my best to at least visit a bit! For now, it's time to head out to breakfast, and then get on with my day! I hope you are all having a great day too!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

"Got Green?" Blog Hop - stories of Ireland

Today is the "Got Green?" Blog Hop, hosted by the very persuasive Mark Koopmans, who convinced me to participate in this O'Hop even though I didn't really think I had any Irish stories. This O'Hop is based around St. Patrick's Day, of course, so the following question is a general theme:

What does St. Paddy's Day mean to you?

But participants are also encouraged to share any Irish stories they may have.

When I claimed to have nothing Irish to talk about, Mark suggested I should talk about the fact that I'm visiting Ireland this year for the first time. Why did this not occur to me before? I have no idea! Anyway, here goes:

I've been to the U.K. before (the first time being when I was born there; I've also visited twice in the years since), but this will be my first Irish visit.

What am I expecting of Ireland?
  • Cold(er) weather
  • Lush green landscapes
  • Possibly some depressing dinginess, but also cool medieval-ness
  • Guinness!
  • A lot of old history
  • Groovy little old Irish pubs with hot stew...and potatoes.

Upon my return to gross, hot, brown Australia, I will update you all on how my Irish experience really went (don't get me wrong, I love where I live...just not in the summer months! I have been cursing the much-abhorred sun today, which I tend to do most summer days 'round here).

P.S. I'm going to Wales for the first time, too! And further north in Scotland than in previous visits - right up to Inverness! Oh, and we're starting in Paris, where I first went at age 17, but which I will be exploring in much nicer style this time around.

Okay, I better go now, as I have to drop my kitties off at the place they're boarding. I feel like a horrible mother!! But a friend pointed out that I'd be a very horrible mother if I just left them to run loose and become strays. haha.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

"I barfly knew what I was doing"... and my tour of the UK

The quote above is not actually a sentence from one of my stories, but it does show an example of a typo that I make quite regularly while typing. Instead of typing 'barely', I will type 'barfly'! It doesn't happen every time, but it definitely happens often enough to warrant a mention! There are a lot of barflies in my stories, apparently.

Makes sense, as I'm a bit of a lush myself. haha

Seriously, now - what typos do you make most often?

In other news, below is the map of the UK tour we are doing:

I confess I'm not much of a tour person - in fact, this will be my first time going on a major tour while travelling. I've done the minor kind - like a walking tour of Prague, some organised trips to distant places in Turkey (after which you could wander about the sites at will)...oh, and I did a pirate tour in Bristol too! The friend I was with has always claimed that the pirate dude was a bit tipsy. The point I'm making here is that this trip's tour will be a very different beast.

There are a lot of stops to be excited about, of course. But the ones I can't get out of my head are the pass through the Lake District, and the visit to Robin Hood's Sherwood Forest. hehe. (I'm hoping to see at least some men in tights!) I'm also fascinated by Culloden (hello Jamie Fraser!) and Inverness. But that's just for a start.

Anyway, I'll end this post here, because I'll be talking a bit more about my upcoming travels in Mark Koopmans's "Got Green?" blog hop on Saturday. Check out Mark's blog if you don't know what I'm on about. And in the meantime, tell me this:

What travels have you done;
will you be doing in future;
do you want to do someday?

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Weekly goals update, and some music

Some dot points, to start:

  • With my goals this week, I've focused largely on revision, in order to try and catch up with NaNoEdMo. As a result, I've pulled really far ahead with my WIP revision, as you can see on my "task chart".
  • My current WIP word count is 130,132, down from a ludicrous starting figure of about 146k. I'm finding it easy to cut out words (and by "words" I tend to mean "fluff I don't need in the least"), which this novel desperately needs. So I'm content with that.
  • Many people would see this particular WIP revision as a bit of a time waster, since I'm not even sure I will ever try getting this thing published. But I'm not really doing it for that purpose; rather I'm doing it to tick an item off my very long creative to-do list.
  • In just under a week's time, I leave for Paris and the U.K. and I'll be gone about a month. I will be updating during that time, mostly for the A-Z Challenge which is being pre-written and scheduled. But I'm not sure how much impromptu blog posting I'll get done.
  • I haven't kept up very well with commenting on your blogs lately, but I fully intend to get better at that...starting tomorrow! Thank you for all your comments lately.
  • I'm going to go and watch a bit of a movie after posting this. I will also enjoy an icy cold bottle of water (we're in the midst of a heat wave here at present, and I've never been a fan of those).

In other news, since it's Sunday (Session #9) I'm going to share with you the music I've listened to most in the past week. The songs on the list this week are:

  • Foo Fighters, "Headwires"- one of my all-time favourite Foo songs and definitely a favourite from the There Is Nothing Left To Lose album.
  • Boston, "More Than A Feeling" - timeless classic, what more need a girl say?
  • Goo Goo Dolls, "Lazy Eye" - I'm not familiar with many Goo Goo Dolls songs, but I really love this one! I believe it's from a Batman soundtrack or something. I could find out more but I'm too lazy right now.
  • The Cult, "Fire Woman" - yet more Cult, but I'm not sure one can ever have enough! This is a song that grew slowly on me. I now love it to bits.
  • Roxy Music, "All I Want Is You" - this isn't a particular favourite out of all the songs I could've chosen by these guys, but oh well, it turned up!
  • Zwan, "Glorious (Live)" - love this song, despite the fact that there's only a live version released so far!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Rachel Morgan on "Writing A Series"

As part of Rachel Morgan's blog tour for her recently-released novella GUARDIAN, I am thrilled to be hosting Rachel today as a guest speaker/writer/poster person on my blog - my first ever guest blogger!! But that's enough from me. I'm stepping aside so that Rachel can get a word (well, more than just one word!) in edgewise.

Writing A Series

I still remember the first book I read that very clearly ended in a cliffhanger and implied there was more to come: Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass. My twelve-year-old jaw just about hit the floor as I read the last few lines. What? How can you leave it like that? YOU CAN’T DO THAT! And so I discovered the glorious torture of The Series.

Yes. Glorious. Because despite the fact that it’s torture, I love book series. I love, love, love a story that is too complex, detailed, and just plain epic to fit into a single book. And while it super sucks to have to wait for The Next One, it is always worth it . . .

Some favorite book series:
His Dark Materials
Harry Potter
The Mortal Instruments
The Hunger Games

I always knew I would write series. I loved reading them too much not to end up writing them. But the Creepy Hollow series isn’t quite what I envisioned any of my series to be when I first started writing. I was planning to write novels. So how did a series of novelettes (which, of course, are far shorter than novels) come about? Well, that’s where my other series love comes in:

Some favorite TV series:
The Vampire Diaries
Modern Family
Flash Forward
Dawson’s Creek
Dark Angel
Brothers and Sisters

Yup, I’ve always loved the TV series idea (who hasn’t?). Watching characters and relationships develop over multiple interlinked stories is fun, not to mention, uh, kind of addictive! So I decided to try combining these two ideas: a series of episode-length stories in book form. And that’s what Creepy Hollow is :-) A number of people have asked how many books there will be in total. Honestly, I don't know. I know what the overall story is and how it will end, but I’m not entirely sure how many novelettes it will take to get there. It’s unlikely it’ll be as many as a 20-something-episode TV series, though!

What are your favorite book and TV series?

~  ~  ~

Rachel Morgan is the author of Guardian, the first novelette in the Creepy Hollow series. She was born in South Africa and spent a large portion of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. These days, in between teaching mathematics to high school children, she writes fiction for young adults.

Buy Guardian from

The Creepy Hollow Series

Author Info

Thank you so much for stopping by today, Rachel! I have to say that I love that you mentioned the Dark Angel TV series. That was (and still is) one of my all-time favourite shows, perhaps not least because it got cut off too soon and never went to crap! As for writing series, well I've written at least one of those myself, and have another endlessly in the works, so I can relate to the joy of it! I must say though that I really love your idea of writing a novelette series! That's a new concept to me!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Rachel Morgan's GUARDIAN (Creepy Hollow #1) - review

I'm not much of a book reviewer, though I do occasionally throw together a bunch of words to try and describe what a book means to me. This time I'm writing a review as part of a book tour - the very first I've ever participated in! It's exciting, especially because I got to review an awesome book (well, novelette) that I absolutely adored and would give 50 million stars to if I could. ;) That novelette is by Rachel Morgan and is the first in her Creepy Hollow series. To learn what the story's about, check out the Creepy Hollow website.

When I agreed to be part of Rachel's book tour, I didn't really know what I could expect. I'm not too familiar with Rachel's writing, except through her blog, so I was going in blindly (though the blurb had got my attention and interest!). Starting to read GUARDIAN, I was drawn in and delighted pretty much from the first word. First off, I'm a huge fan of first person present tense, which is how this story is told. I love Rachel's beautiful descriptions of the fae world (Can I please visit? Maybe stay a while?), and as I was reading I could already imagine the story as a gorgeously lush movie. Or maybe even a captivating TV show episode!

Not only is the writing beautiful, it's cute and quirky and funny too. Tora, Violet's boss (or mentor, maybe?), has an office lit by a squirming glow-worm on her ceiling! I want to go and pat the little wormy. After Vi leaves Tora's office (post lecture for breaking the two big rules), she finds Nate hanging out with a little tree sprite who giggles and pokes him in the face before fluttering away (CUTE!). People receive "fae text messages" (as I like to think of them) on little amber tablets instead of mobile phones. There are just endless moments of cuteness - the story is littered with them. But they're mentioned in passing, as a matter of course, so they don't draw you out of the story, they just kind of make it sparkle. The writing flows effortlessly, making for a quick and captivating read.

The dialogue is entertaining and realistic, two things I value highly in any story. For example, on page 6, Nate is surprised to learn that Violet's a faerie:

Nate: Aren't faeries supposed to be, like, really tiny? With wings and a wand and faerie dust?
Violet: I'm not Tinkerbell!
And as for plot, well, that part's just cool. It moves fast, drawing us swiftly into the action (and the romance. Which was another very very cute aspect of this story. I basically squeed when...ohh, well, why don't you read it and find out?), and we don't have any moments when we're rolling our eyes going, “Come on, get on with it already!” In short, this was a delightful read and I want to read more. NOW.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

First goal victory of the year!

I finished one of the year's tasks last night (or was it the night before?), that being a rough draft of last year's NaNoWriMo novel, DANNA. That tentative title comes from the name of the main female character, Danna Karlsson. That often seems to be the way I title my novels-in-progress.

Now that DANNA is done and dusted, it's time to move onto completing my second NaNo 2012 novel, VICTORIOUS. Nope, there are no actual people in that one called Victorious. Rather it's the name of the space ship in the story. Do you think space ships count as "people"?

I've also started a casual-ish rewrite of SUNDOWN, cleverly referred to as SUNDOWN II. I'm really enjoying the writing so far, and while I couldn't help myself and had to jot down some notes for a plan (this from me, a notorious pantser from way back!), I don't feel 'hemmed in' yet. Maybe it's because I've already written the damn novel once, and feel quite at home in the world.

Elsewhere, somebody (argh, I can't remember who it was...I know I left a comment on their blog post though!)  (it was Ruthie!!) mentioned that NaNoEdMo has begun, and...I'm meant to be doing it! Today I see that the NaNoEdMo site has been attacked, and is down. Boo to that! I can still report on my revision status for the year, though - I'm working on FIRE, and so far I have got the word count down from 146k to 138k. It needs to be 95k.

Now, to are you? How are your goals coming along? Feeling inspired? Needing chocolate? I can tell you I'm having at least a glass of full strength champers this weekend.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Creepy Hollow - GUARDIAN - book launch tour!

I am very excited. Why? Because I get to be part of a book launch tour for the first time evarrrr, and it just so happens to be for a book I really, really adore!

Today, Rachel Morgan's Creepy Hollow series kicks off with the release of the first story, GUARDIAN!!
GUARDIAN introduces readers to the magical world of Creepy Hollow, a realm where fae creatures both safe and definitely-not-so-safe dwell. Things are cool as long the fae stick to their own realm. It's when they find their way into the human world that things start going wrong...

1. Receive assignment.
2. Save a life.
3. Sleep.
4. Repeat.

Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until one of her assignments—a human boy who shouldn’t even be able to see her—follows her into the fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion.

The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he’s discovered of the fae realm. Easy, right? But Nate and Vi are about to land themselves in even bigger trouble—and it’ll take all Vi’s training to get them out alive.

Buy from Amazon US
Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Smashwords

The Creepy Hollow Series

Author Info

To find out more about the series, the author, and the characters, check out the blog tour that’s happening over the next two weeks.

Just so you know, I'll be posting a review of GUARDIAN later in March, and I can't wait to share with all of you (and with Rachel, who hasn't see the review yet) what I thought of this story.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

My laptop aims to misbehave

She likes my laptop too.
I've had this little laptop since just before NaNoWriMo 2008. I bought it just in time to start writing my second Squeaky McLean novel. Which, ahem, I have yet to complete. But none of that is the point. The point is that my laptop has been through many trials and tribulations with me. It's given me much joy and, lately, a fair bit of pain(-in-the-butt-ness). It has been with me while I recorded many a song, it's been with me while I wrote many a novel and short story and the odd poem too. It was with me when I made my first post in this blog! It's also travelled the world with me. Basically, we've shared good times.

And he's all, "This thing's niiiice.
Think I'll make it mine."
Either it needs a new battery, or it's planning on dying sometime soon. It's not even that old, and it's a beautiful Mac, and Macs aren't crap right? Maybe it's just trying to tell me, "Enough! You have worked me into the ground, this is slave labour, my joints ache and I'm old and damn it it's my time to go!" But I'm not giving up on this little baby just yet.

Ordinarily I'd have a Sunday Session and maybe some other random thing for ya today, but instead I'm going to whine about my stupid (lovely, I love you, don't die!!) laptop and call it a day. I hope your laptops are behaving better than mine!!

P.S. I watched HOUSESITTER (Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn) again last night, and it was cracking me up all the way through. It's been ages since I saw that movie. Also, I'm reading BROTHER OF THE MORE FAMOUS JACK by Barbara Trapido, and loving it!

Friday, 2 March 2012

On rough seas - where the heck's Wilson?!

Yep, I love Wilson from CAST AWAY. Who's with me? I promise one day I will stop talking about Wilson.

I definitely will for now, because I have something else to talk about: the amazing advice I got recently about my "closest to being ready" novel, SUNDOWN. Turns out, it's not quite so ready! The advice was worded in a very nice way, i.e. a way that didn't even make me want to cry and give up my writing dream forever more. But it amounted to this: 1) My main character is so annoying readers may well be hoping she'll die at the end, and 2) I need to rewrite my novel.

I've never done a complete rewrite before. Not of a novel, or of a short story. Or even a poem. So, you can imagine that this is quite the daunting prospect!

So what's the problem with my novel, other than the fact that my MC may well get murdered if I don't do her a favour and rewrite her? Well, let's start with this: I've long had a problem with identifying my MC's main goal, her burning desire, in life. Way back when I was first attempting to create a query for this story (ha, how utterly premature that idea seems now!), people would ask me, "What does she really want?" and though I was sure I was really thinking hard about it and coming up with good answers...I guess I wasn't.

That's what I've done now. I've given my MC a purpose, a great burning passion, and with that, the means to stop being passive and melodramatic (yep, this too was a revelation! My MC's a drama queen! Oh. The. Horror.). With this new purpose, I have high hopes that the main weak spot in my story will be eradicated. The story will emerge strong and shiny and awesome. As will my MC.

I'm excited. I really am. Even if it means scrapping what I have (it's up to Draft #5, people!!) and starting fresh. I'm not the rewriting type. I'm the edit what you've got till you drop type. But in this case, there would just be no point in editing.

I know lots of you have been in this position before. Maybe all of you! Right?!?!!? (I'm going off to find Wilson now, I need a volleyball hug. hehe)