Thursday, 31 January 2013

ABNA, other & Inspiring Sounds #1

ABNA & other

  • I entered ABNA with SUNDOWN II (latest revision), but with new title. The story was set during the Sundown Music Festival, a fictional festival, but now the setting has changed, so I need a new title. But a permanent title is a dilemma for another day.
  • Next project (decided on a slight whim) = revise DAPHNE II. It's NA, but I'm not sure what else. Not romance, but with romantic elements. Women's fiction? It seems more like...general contemp. "General" though feels like a bit of a cop-out.
  • I always struggle with genre labelling. Is this because I don't know my stories well enough? I thought so, but maybe I just don't understand genres. Do I need to attend genre school?
  • The is a year of revision (I hope). I'm already committed to BuNo and NaNo for writing new stuff (though possibly I will do rewrites). The ludicrous thought of working on RAGEWATER has occurred to me. But...I dunno. DauntingBut I do love this vast realm of possibility!

Inspiring Sounds

In other news, here is the first bit of music I want to share this year:

Kauan is a band I found on Of unknown origin (except that I'm pretty sure they're from Earth), they are currently Anton Belov (guitar, vocals, keys and programming) and Lyubov Mushnikova (violin). Somebody on asked, "Are they Russians that sing Finnish?" You can download "Föhn" for free, courtesy of the band. So what is it that I love about this music? Well, I guess it makes me think of some magical land where all sorts of haunting things are happening. I also saw someone on YouTube mention they were listening to it while watching a snowfall outside (jealous! we never have snow where I live!). It's interesting, too, because I don't understand the lyrics, so I can't dwell on them. Usually for me, meaningful lyrics are a must, so this is a different experience.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Lunar Lovin' hop & Reintroduce Yourself blogfest

For the Lunar Lovin' blogfest, we had to go outside on January 27th and take pics of the full moon. Below are the results of my experiments with my "even more crap than most crap point-and-shoot cameras" camera:

With flash
No flash
Through the tree branches
Through the tree with flash

Now onto the and Reintroduce Yourself blogfest, and here are the basic guidelines:

Simply take a moment and tell us something interesting about yourself. Anything. It can be about writing. Or blogging. Or a hidden talent. Perhaps you’re in the Witness Protection Program.
For my post I thought I'd just expand on what's already visible on my blogger profile description:

  • I'm a Western Australian writer - yep, been writing since I was a little kid, and I've got the archive of hand-written stories to prove it
  • , singer-songwriter - singing also runs in my family, which is notorious for harmonising. I grew up singing, and in my mid-20s started songwriting
  • , fine artist - another thing I've done since I was a kid, and for longer even than I've been writing. One of my goals this year is to get back into my fine art
  • and traveller - I've travelled since before exiting the womb, and either it was in my blood to begin with or was a gene I inherited from my dad. ;) I've travelled a lot, including 2 world trips, but I still have a lot more to do!
  • . I'm also a cat lover - indeed I am a cat person, maybe because I grew up with them. I also claim it's 'cause I'm a Leo, but I know Leos who aren't cat fans. I think I'm becoming allergic, but I persist 'cause j'adore ze kittehs
  • and a rabid music fan. - as a non-religious person, I had to have something to cling to - ha - and I guess it turned out to be music. Music is my religion, it's my oxygen and I spend quality time with it every single day.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Travel Series: U.S.A. part 3 - Washington

It's been a while since I posted part 2 of my U.S.A. travel story from 1998. In fact, the last post was back in May 2012! But here I am to continue the story.

Last time, we had reached Philadelphia, and you can read about that here. We checked out the steps Sylvester Stallone ran up - or was it down? - then headed off to find ourselves a truck stop for the night. The next morning we headed for Washington D.C., passing through Arlington, VA. You'll be intrigued to know that we stopped at a laundromat at 10:57 pm (these are the sorts of details I recorded, while skipping out on the more massive general details. Go me).

On our first day in D.C., we visited the Museum of Natural History, and I nearly got us hit by a bus while driving. Woo!

I really loved Washington, and would love to go back!
We met a guy called Ed Segal who was a photographer like Dad. Well, okay, not like Dad. Ed used tripods to capture well-arranged images. Dad was more into finding natural tripods, i.e. resting his camera on stone, or a bench, or against a tree.

Ed kindly offered us a parking spot at his home (since parking was a bit of a nightmare in D.C., according to him). So we parked at his place and went off to explore more of D.C. We visited the Jefferson, Lincoln and Washington memorials. I glimpsed numerous groups of school kids on outings around the city. I went to the post office and spent a fortune sending stuff back home.

Washington D.C. - distant blossom trees.
Ed and his wife Louise invited us to stay the night at his place - yes, I was forever surprised at the kindnesses of strangers. They took us out to dinner for Mexican food. The next morning, we were set to depart. Ed roused us early (basically before the sun was up, which was horribly early to seventeen-year-old me) to head down to the water and check out the cherry blossoms. Ed took a photo of the cherry blossoms. Dad took a photo of the cherry blossoms.  I wasn't sure if I had too, but one particular photo told me I did - not that you can tell at this resolution! ;)

After the cherry blossoms, it was time to move on. We bid Ed and Louise farewell and got back on the road, beginning our trek back across the U.S.A.

"Back on the road again..."

Tune in next time for more travel adventures. ;)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Elizabeth Seckman's HEALING SUMMER - a blog tour stop

It's an exciting day for Elizabeth Seckman, whose book HEALING SUMMER is being released. To celebrate she's hosting a blog tour, and my blog is one of the stops! Today she's here at my blog today to talk about where her story ideas come from.

Hi Trisha! 
Thanks for having me over. And for taking it easy on me. I mean where do I get my story ideas from? That’s a piece of cake! 
I get them out of thin air. I mean ideas are EVERYWHERE! To catch them all, I carry a purse size notebook with me everywhere I go. If I think of an idea, I jot it down. I have blog ideas, book ideas, and cool colors for my basement in there. And I keep them all. I have looked back over things I have scribbled years ago and I’ve been amazed…sometimes at my genius; sometimes at my stupidity. But out of every pile of trash, there is bound to be a treasure. 
See, my problem isn’t the ideas. My problem is reigning them in and forcing them to be still long enough to set them in any sort of sequential order that might resemble a plot. It’s like going from lightning strike to brain storm to setting out sand bags to reinforce the brain levees and prevent flooding. 
I have to use a narrowing down process, and I do this mainly while I’m working on mundane tasks. Mowing the lawn is my favorite place. I need time with my thoughts without interruption. A quiet room, I go to sleep. Doing dishes, someone asks for food. Take a walk and people stop to say hi. Yard work is the perfect escape. No one interrupts a lawn mower. You might give him the job! 
Other good places are: driving in the car (alone); waiting on the sandman; waiting on the doctor; waiting on the dentist; waiting in line at the DMV…or just anywhere that daydreaming is allowed. 
That’s pretty much all writing is. Daydreaming. 
Imagine it. Write it. Edit it. You’re done. 
Hope that helps ;)

It sure does! Thanks so much Elizabeth for stopping by - it was great to hear more about where you get your inspiration for your lovely lurve stories. Thanks for having me as a blog tour host!

Maybe love, not time, heals all wounds

Ditched at the altar…biopsied for cancer… Mollie Hinkle is having a bona fide bitch of a summer. When life sucks so hard it takes your breath away, what's a girl to do?

Pack a bag, grab a few friends, and leave the past and the worry in the rear view mirror.

What wounds can’t be healed by a drive across the Heartland, where quarter flips at cross roads determine the route and the future?

All roads lead to Craig, the second son and bad boy of the haughty Coulter line. Has fate brought her to the miniscule Montana town to find happily ever after or will it just break her heart?
Author Elizabeth Seckman.

“Healing Summer” is the second book in the Coulter Men Series.

Healing Summer blog tour

Enter the contest by earning points in the Rafflecopter below - there are great prizes up for grabs, namely a GoodReads copy of Healing Summer and a grand prize of $100!!! In short, brilliant!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 21 January 2013

My Favourite Martian - a bloghop

This blog hop is hosted by the Geek Twins, L.K. Hill, Jay and Just A Dash of Geek (none of whom I'd ever heard of before hearing about this blog hop! Hi guys *waves*). The requirements of this blog hop are as follows:

How Do I Participate? 
Sign up below. That's it! On January 14th 21st, post about your favorite alien and visit as many of the blogs in the list that you can. If you like a blog, then follow them using their preferred method (ex. Twitter, Google Friend Connect, Email) and let them know you're following them.  
My Favorite Martian bloghop 
Share your all time favorite alien individual (Martian or not), and why you love them. Find like-minded blogs, get new visitors and make new friends!
Alf: Super-cheesy.

So, who is my favourite alien? To be honest I don't really have one, but I could mention a few that have meant a lot to me in my life. For one, as a kid I used to watch Alf, and looking back I think he's just about the cheesiest thing ever to grace the television screen.

Then there's the classic creepy/evil alien guessed it...the Alien movies.

Can it get more creepy than this?

Totally cute!
Of course, E.T. was a special dude, and I loved him when I was a kid.

But probably my favourite aliens of recent times (recent for me, anyway) are the kids of Roswell. I know, this probably seems so very tame and boring to most of you, but I finally saw this series in the last year and I. was. obsessed.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

[O&AM] - I don't like mornings

This year, one of my goals is to do a monthly post that tells you guys a bit more about me. You've probably learned a fair few things about me already, but this year I'll be focusing specifically on getting myself out there more. Some of the things I'll post about in this series are of a more sensitive nature, for e.g.:

  • Atheism
  • Introversion
  • Crappy ailments I inherited from my lovely family
  • Thoughts on death
  • The abomination that is pineapple on pizza

For today though I'm going to ease into this whole thing with a pretty harmless topic: how much I hate mornings.

Ever since I was a baby I've been a night owl. As a toddler I stayed up so late my mum had to stagger off to bed and leave me awake. School days were a real nightmare, having to get up that early. I somehow managed it, albeit in something of a daze. Then I finished high school, spent a year travelling/competing in the Couch Potato Olympics, and enrolled in...wait for it...a Humanities degree.

The great thing about Humanities degrees (which we often refer to as Arts degrees) is that you have minimal contact hours and maximum opportunity to laze about being a complete bum. I did that bum thing really well. It's no surprise that by the time I finished my fourth - honours - year (2002), I was the heaviest weight I've ever been in my life. I spent that whole honours year eating, when I wasn't struggling to get essays and a thesis finished. But anyway, I'm talking about how I hate mornings, right?

I still do, most of the time, but nowadays I can't really sleep in to save my life. I guess I've had enough years of working full time that I'm just used to early rises now. I still stay up way past bedtime if given half the chance, but knowing I'll be waking up early no matter how late I go to sleep is a real deterrent  I'm just not willing to put up with the torturous sleep deprivation anymore. So I try to do the right thing and get to bed on time. It's boring, but necessary.

I still love the night, especially gazing up at a blanket of stars, and find mornings quite ordinary. I guess I was just born this way.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Review: GONE by Jennifer Mills

This book is the second I've read from the library this year, and I think it's gonna stick with me for a while to come.

A young man is released from a Sydney prison after 15 years, with no money and very few possessions. He doesn't even know his name. His history, both distant and recent, has left his psyche shattered. He takes on the name "Frank", and quickly hits the road, knowing the general direction in which he needs to go to get home (far north Western Australia). He hitchhikes, relying on the kindness of a succession of colourful strangers along the way.

Each of these strangers has their own story to tell. They ask Frank for his story too, but he doesn't have much to say, and he finds it pretty stressful being around inquisitive strangers so much. Slowly he adjusts to being out in the world again, and even learns some points of etiquette - to wave, smile, and even say thank you sometimes. But as he draws closer to his home, he comes increasingly undone. The old ghosts of his past are swarming around him, and one ghost in particular refuses to leave him alone.

The story ends still clouded in some mystery. Why was Frank in jail in the first place? Did he really live where he thought he lived? What happened after he walked away from the smoking house at age fourteen? (Mills intersperses flashbacks to Frank's boyhood in the narrative) We do have some hints, but nothing is ever really confirmed (unless I'm totally dense and missed it all). I did some speculating about what I think happened in my spoilerific GoodReads review, but I won't do it here in public. ;)

I finished the book a little torn about how I should feel. Sad, or hopeful? I was left with the question, "What now?" because the ending is really Frank's new beginning. His past is gone and irretrievable, it seems, so he's got a clean slate. What's he going to do with it? I've got no clue, but I suppose it's enough just to have hope.

Jennifer Mills is an amazing writer, and I do recommend this book...but only if you're not looking just for a fluffy, chirpy good time.

Some of my fave quotes:

"Shit, I don't touch that stuff now. I'm all clean living these days, been sober nine years. Have to be, you turn into a blob otherwise in this job. On your arse all day like a fucken koala." He pats his small stomach. - p.144

The country is definitely desert now, and it's a relief to see the real thing after so much practice. Purple hills hang in the distance, the ground thin and crackled, rust-coloured like the roof of the van. From the air, the highway must look like it's barely a scratch on the country's paintwork. They pass broken windmills, a shot-up Welcome sign to a long-dead tourist attraction, an abandoned car sticking up out of the saltbush like the shell of a giant beetle. - p.162

They pass a sea of saltbush frozen still, spotted with fat merinos like grey clouds that have shrivelled tight and come down to earth. - p.171

"Where are you headed?" The truckie is forty-odd, cheerful. An encouraging smile.
"Up north," Frank says.
"Where, pacifically? Darwin or what?"
"Where've you come from?" the truckie says.
"Sydney," Frank says. He hopes the trucker won't ask where, pacifically. - p.215

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Beginnings blogfest

It's January 9th and therefore time for L.G. Keltner's Beginnings blogfest - for me, the first blogfest of the year! The idea behind this blogfest is to write about some sort of beginning in your life. It doesn't have to be about you, but the way I see it, it should be something meaningful to you. For a better idea of L.G.'s concept, check out her post over at Writing Off the Edge.

As for my beginning? Well, I really do love the story of how my SQUEAKY story got started, so here it is:

It was 2007, and I was at work, wrestling with the library management system. After yet another thing went wrong, I made a litte squeaking sound - the faint chitter of impassioned consternation, I assure you. At that very moment, my colleague turned to me with raised brows and spoke these fateful words:
"What are ya, a mouse?" 
My immediate response: "Yeah, I was a mouse in a former life. And my name was Squeaky McLean." 
And so mouse detective Squeaky McLean was born. And he was just the beginning of a wacko crazy ride (which is still far from over). With the invaluable assistance of my colleague, I began to jot down silly little Squeaky plot points, mostly ludicrous names for characters we didn't even know, and lines they might utter in plotlines that didn't yet exist. We had a lot of notes even before we had a first sentence.
But then things got serious, 'cause NaNoWriMo 2007 was rolling around. It seemed only natural that I should attempt to write Squeaky during that month of madness and mayhem. And that's exactly what I did. The result was a complete Book 1.
Fast forward to November 2008, and the Squeaky universe was still alive and very well in my heart. On November 1st I kicked off book 2, and by November's end I had hit 50k once again. I haven't finished book 2, but I will, and someday soon. Because even now, 6 years later, I still love the Squeaky-verse. To absolute furry little bits.
Thank you for reading my "Beginnings" story. I can't wait to read all of yours as well!

On another topic, I got a couple of comments relating to my blog's current background image, and I wanted to show you exactly where it came from:

I took this photo on the walk back to my car from work one day, and I used bits of it (flipped, cropped and mirrored) to form the background image. Unfortunately this kind of thing takes me way longer than it should, because I rely on Paintbrush to get things done. Still, it does the trick in the end.

Monday, 7 January 2013

One week down, 51 to go

It's amazing how quickly it happens, isn't it? Already, the first week of January is over! I went back to work on January 2, so I'm mostly back in the swing of things. But I guess you could say I'm making slow and steady progress, intentionally.

I'm on track with week 1's goals, and I have:

  • Reviewed a Grimm story (so easy with the ones that are only 2 pages long!)
  • Created a new piece of art
  • Wrote 1k of new material (working on IVY NIGHT)
  • Revised a chapter (from SUNDOWN II)
  • Sorted out some crap in my spare room, the room where I put the crap I have nowhere else to put
  • Did a blog post, and
  • Sorted 100 photos.

I didn't attend a body balance class, because my usual class fell on New Year's Day, but as of this week I'll be getting right back into that.

Then there are the goals on my "main goals" page.

  • I changed my blog's style a bit, but what you currently see is a temporary style while I play around with other potential designs. I had another one that was a LOT bolder, but I was a bit fearful it would break people's brains. Still, I think I'll eventually put up a poll and ask people to vote on their preferences :)
  • I read my first new book of 2013 (a library book, no less!)
  • I scanned a bunch of photos from my 1998 trip.

So I think that sums up my first week.

How has your first week of 2013 gone?

Thursday, 3 January 2013

This year, I joined a library!

Before I talk about joining the library, I want to mention that right this moment my friend Michael Atkinson's book CATRINA IN SPACE, which I read, loved and reviewed here, is available in eBook format free. If you want very silly yet clever entertainment in a sci-fi sort of way, check out this link to get your free e-copy on Amazon!

Right, now moving on to the point of this post: "This year, I joined a library!" This may seem a strange statement coming from a librarian, but there you have it. I joined a public library out of the desperate need to stop buying so many books, and here's why I am so desperate:

A rather old bookshelf literally sags under the weight of (some of) my TBR list.

A rather new bookshelf harbours books I read in 2012, 2011, and some books read years ago...and also at the top is my "TBRRN" shelf - i.e. "to be read right now"

This third bookcase, also rather old (i.e. from the late 80s or early 90s) harbours yet more books I've read in the far distant past (or in some cases, re-read quite recently)

So yes, I joined a library, not just 'cause I wanted a break from breaking the bank on Book Depository (which really I should refer to as my preccciouuuuussss 'cause it is rather addictive!), but also because I have no room for new books!

It's shameful, really, that it's taken me this long (though I did belong to the public library I worked at back in 2008 for a couple of months). But maybe it's the same as how this hairdresser chick I met recently sometimes doesn't wash her own hair for two weeks at a time