Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Travel Series: ITALY

Last time in my Globetrotters series, I talked about my travels through Switzerland in 1998. This time I'll talk about the next stop, Italy, in which we spent little time but saw quite a lot. Italy isn't a huge country, particularly when you're coming from a place like Australia, but it's still got a heck of a lot of detail to it. During my time in Italy I saw:

Suburban roadside ruins.
  • gondolas
  • a Dali exhibit
  • a replica of the statue of David (sadly didn't see the real deal, but with only an hour or two to spare the lines were just too long)
  • real Italian pizza
  • real greasy Italian dudes trying to seduce me on the street
  • the Coliseum (from the outside, anyway)
  • ancient ruins just sitting in the middle of suburban Roman streets
  • the leaning tower of Pisa (a.k.a. "the tower of Pizza" according to Dad)
  • tiny Italian towns you weren't meant to drive in - which we, of course, drove in.

Me outside the Coliseum in Roma - we didn't go in.

We crossed into Italy from Switzerland in a hire car, and drove through Milan (not stopping) to Venice. Venice was kind of smelly (algae), and I was grumpy (we didn't go on a gondola). From Venice we drove on to Florence, where I saw a Dali exhibition. Dad wasn't as impressed with Florence as he had been with Venice, but in my book at least it smelled better (and there was Dali!).

Venezia, 1998.

Also in Florence, I saw a procession of Beetles (no, really, look:

Italian beetles!

) going through the streets honking. I tried to visit the real statue of David but settled for a still-pretty-massive replica. And plus, Daaaali:

Some Dali magic in Firenze.

Rome was next, and there I saw ruins, including the Coliseum. We got a coffee from McDonald's one day, and were surprised to receive a tiny "shot" cup with about an inch of strong black coffee in the bottom. After we left Rome, we headed north via numerous towns, including Pisa with its famous leaning tower - we didn't go closer than this, I think because it was closed to the public:

The leaning tower, on a definite slant.

We also drove through Livorno, a little Italian town my uncle had lived in and taught in for 8 years.

Well, folks, that about sums up the Italian leg - and almost the entire 1998 trip too. Next time I'll cover the very last part of the trip, and then it'll be time to move onto other travels I've done. :)

Friday, 26 July 2013

Cephalopod Coffeehouse - book club! (+ my birthday)

This month I'm going to cheat a little, since I haven't read any books in the last month that I have not already reviewed on my blog. So I will mention a book that I read back in June, that I never reviewed, instead (I need to learn to not include all my read books in my "mini-reviews" posts, or at the very least I need to learn to finish a new book in time for each month's Cephalopod Coffeehouse. ;) ) The book I'm going to mention today is Ali Cross's "Become" (Desolation #1), which I read and did really enjoy.

I thought this was a great read, and I will definitely pick up the next book in the series. I have to say I'm not hugely into angels and the teachings of the Bible, and this book obviously has a fair bit to do with both. Well, the Bible stuff isn't really that obvious but there's just a lot about sin and all that. I really do hate the idea that people who really don't do things that are all that bad (i.e. being alcoholic - yes, it's bad but it's not like it's murder or something) are candidates for a life in Hell. But that is really MOSTLY beside the point, and despite my aversion to all things Christianity-related when it comes to fiction, I was able to immensely enjoy this book. Particularly as it wasn't just Christianity but Norse myth as well that came into it. I do enjoy a bit of myth, as my history of university study will indicate. ;) 

The story moved nice and quickly, and there was action around every corner. Desi is a kick-arse character and I definitely could envision breathtaking action scenes from a movie version of the story. I loved Michael and thought he was pretty hawt, all things considered. *waggle* And the supporting characters - Desi's version of the "Scooby-gang" as she referred to them - were cool to read about as well. I did think it was a bit funny that Buffy was referenced in a few places. The idea of Satan's daughter being pretty familiar with that TV series amused me. To be honest, when I read that part I actually went, "HUH?" and remembered that a while back I started re-watching Buffy and want to pick that up again.

Anyway, I would definitely recommend this book if you like kick-arse action with a fantasy/paranormal/whatever slant, and I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.

In other news, yesterday I turned 33, and because I am a rabid Smashing Pumpkins fan and have for many years daydreamed of being able to say "Hey, I'm 33 too!" (no, really, I have), I thought I'd share this beautiful video that still makes me ache with its beauty (as does the beautiful song itself, which is featured on my favourite album of all time, incidentally), all these years later:

Sunday, 21 July 2013

I've written 10 books and 1 novella

So, yeah, I've been aware of this little "issue" for a few years now - I'm excellent at spewing out those first drafts and I even enjoy the revision process. But despite having written ten (10!) novels and one novella so far, and having many more rough drafts waiting to be completed, you'd think I might've got at least one publishable by now. Even if I had to publish it myself, which I am definitely open to.

I'm definitely guilty of being seized by that shiny new idea and running with it. This happens at least twice a year, actually, since I participate in NaNoWriMo and BuNoWriMo each year (November and June). So, basically, it's inevitable that I will write two new novels every year, or at least one and work on other projects during June, which leaves a little less time for revision of existing drafts (not to mention completing all my unfinished novels). I think last year I planned to have a year of revision, and it was the same this year. And I must say I have done a fair bit of revision, including a total rewrite of one novel. And yet I don't feel that I'm in a much different position now than I was two years ago. Except I have more rough drafts in need of editing. ;)

So, in short my problem has never really been
writer's block.

And I'm certainly not complaining about the fact that I seem to have never-ending inspiration. But I have to say I do actually want to publish something, and this does not appear to be the way to do it. ;)

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

I should mention ... my album is out & you can listen for free

That right there is the album cover. The album was released on July 12th, and you should be able to listen to the audio for free over HERE. There are a few different ways you can buy it as well, which you can read about HERE.

The first single from the album is a song called "Yes, New Loving", which you can download for free HERE.

Quotes from the band about the album's first single, "Yes, New Loving": 

" 'Yes, New Loving' is a song about a long, drawn out love saga coming to a well-overdue end. The title comes from something a friend told me once: "You need new loving!" This is also the first song Billy B. ever requested tabs for (along with 'Ten Times Ten')." - Trisha

" 'Yes, New Loving' was the first song that really stood out to me in the Woody's a Girl catalogue that I just felt compelled to record. It had this great vibe and melody that I thought would work perfectly as a big, loud rock track, and I think works great as a first single. While the main music was the first thing recorded for the album, the guitar solo was done very last, and remains one of my personal favorite musical parts I've ever written and played." - Billy

And HERE is a little interview Billy and I did about our musical partnership and the making of the album.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Recently read books [medium-size reviews]

 Dizzy - Nyrae Dawn & Jolene Perry

I think there should be a GoodReads star for "I loved it" that falls in between "really liked it" and "it was amazing". If there was I would give this book that star! I really did love it, and I will enjoy re-reading it someday as well. I think Dylan was definitely a hot character, and I really loved Ziah's personality. It was sweet to see the romance unfolding between them, and I tell ya what, there were some hot kissing scenes! The scene in the tunnel is particularly a favourite of mine. ;) So if you're a fan of contemp YA romance, I'd highly recommend this one. Thanks ladies :)

Riversong - Tess Thompson (free from Amazon)

Well, this technically is a romance I guess, 'cause it has a happy ending. But not just between the romantic pair - it's also between our main character and the entire town she returns to. I really loved this book. I enjoyed the often poetic writing style. The read was sadly marred by some formatting issues, mostly typos but also entire words missed out here and there. Thankfully they weren't all through the book, and Thompson knows how to use apostrophes. All the book really needs is a good proof read to be made almost perfect, I think. As for plot, I think the resolution of the Zac / Von issue was rushed a little bit, and I think Zac could have been portrayed as more angry/dangerous. Re: the religious aspect, I didn't realise this was meant to be a Christian book in part. Thankfully it wasn't preachy, and the one character who is overtly religious sort of makes sense, considering his background and so on. Also, the way he talked about God was nice because he found God inside himself.

Wicked Games - Jessica Clare (free from Amazon)

Before I started this one, I'd tried starting a few other freebies that just didn't grip me. But I started this and pretty quickly found myself bursting into snorting laughter and basically hooked on the story. It's definitely fluff in the sense that it doesn't try to tackle serious issues or bring about world peace. And yet I really had a good time reading it. I will say that the "happily ever after" was delivered extremely quickly - like, within 3 sentences at the end! But other than that, the storyline was amusing, and I loved main character Abby's sense of humour - and her sarcasm and bitterness too. In the end that bitterness wasn't portrayed as a flattering thing, but it sure made for great ratings (the book is set on a Survivor-esque reality TV show). The sexy scenes definitely grabbed my attention, and were well written and enjoyable. The early fights between Abby and Dean were classic. And I liked the take on this type of reality show. It was amusing to experience the POV of an extremely unwilling participant in such a show. So, to summarise = it's fluff but it's FUNNN-AY, and sexy/romantic too. :)

War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells

Yeah, I fiiiinally finished this, but don't let the extremely slow pace of reading fool ya. I loved this book. I did see the Tom Cruise movie of this story when it came out, and I am pretty sure I enjoyed it (though can't really remember much of it now), but somebody mentioned that they'd like to see a movie version that is set in the era the book was written in. i.e. NOT a modern-day take. And this was actually what I thought myself on occasion while reading the book for the first time. This book is set in an era where there are hardly any cars, and most people ride bicycles. There aren't mass-murdering weapons of war that humans can bring to bear on the invading aliens, and so there are slaughters of humans who are as puny ants in the path of the fearsome Martians. I definitely agree that a movie set in the era the book describes would have potential to be awesome. This is the first of H.G. Wells's works that I've read, and having read it I can say I would love to read more of his work.

Monday, 8 July 2013

[O&AM] I'm a grumpy granny on the roads

I have always been opposed to road rage and dangerous driving in general, and while I was learning to drive I was the "careful" one, while my best friend was the "maniac you'd never want to drive you anywhere". She was a speed demon who jerked into the next lane and I was the calm, collected one who gently merged and took my time about it. I'm still a safe driver, and yet I guess a few things have changed since those early days. For one thing, I love to take off really fast from lights and stop signs, even if I'm not actually making tyres squeal. But something else has changed as well. I'm much less patient and way more grumpy with other drivers!

Don't get me wrong, I don't tailgate people and flash my lights at them if they're doing something I hate. But I mutter angrily at them and say very bad words and wish them many traffic infringements. Oh, yes, many times I've been heard to say (to myself, at least, while driving), "You dick head! I hope you get a ticket!" I hate it when people go too slow, and I really hate it when they go too fast and tailgate me. So I guess you could say that unless someone's going just the right speed for the zone they're in, they really can't win with me.

I'm not sure if I'm becoming an old, grumpy granny or if I'm just getting fed up with the idiots out there on the roads. Either way, I do feel a bit of road rage nowadays, even if I don't do anything reckless about it.

What are you like on the roads?

P.S. I'm almost 100% moving house this week. 
Did I mention that??
I. cannot. wait.

Friday, 5 July 2013

A writing/goal update

(thank you everyone for the comments on the last post :) It is pretty exciting, but also weird! :) )

I feel that I have totally lost the plot (no pun intended, got plenty o' plot!) when it comes to 2013's goals. These are goals I set myself before the year even began, and as usual I was feeling all pumped and determined and capable. I guess I still feel perfectly capable, but I keep thinking that I'm going to get everything I want to achieve done "after I've moved house" or "after I've done those songs for Billy" or "after I've fed the damn cats".

I can say that I've achieved some things already:

  • Written at least 52 weeks' worth of new words - my goal was 1k a week, but I've stuffed all those words into June and the beginning of July with my BuNoWriMo project
  • Made the blog over - including a change of URL that some people still haven't found :)
  • Won BuNoWriMo 2013 with my story lamely titled SMALL TOWN.

I'm also well on track with these goals:

  • Reading at least 30 books in the year - I've read 25 so far
  • Sorting out all my papers and so on to be digitised - done a fair bit of this, though totally abandoned it at the moment while I gear up to move house.

But with things like these, I'm either not on track at all, or have already failed completely:

  • Writing once a week (at least) in the blog, including "Out & About Me", book reviews and Globetrotter posts - I've done all these, but forgot about the video clips! Oh well, maybe my A-Z challenge theme this year can count here??
  • NaNoEdMo!! Once again, I forgot all about it
  • Creating one new piece of art per week - I did a few but this is one of those goals I'm "putting off until [insert good time of year to stop putting it off here] ..."
  • Attending one body balance/yoga class per week. Haven't been for months now.

I'm not that depressed about any of it, though. And next year I am looking forward to adopting a different approach to achieving what I want to. :)

How are you faring with your goals so far this year?

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

10 days before MY/our album is out!

So, yeah. I do music, and there's an album coming out. It's coming out soooon. Like, ten days sort of soon. And we have a little promo video to show off, which is here (sorry if it starts automatically, I personally can't stand when that happens on blogs and it's been happening to me lately. New setting??. If you know how to stop it, let me know! ;) ) ANYWAY, here is the video:

And here is the official press release:

Published on 1 Jul 2013 
Official Press Release 

New album "Into the Red" by International band Woody's a Girl to be released in digital and limited edition physical formats on Friday 12 July, 2013. Containing a mixture of dark and heavy rock, psychedelic pop, whimsical acoustic, and choir like vocals, "Into the Red" is a diverse palette of 12 catchy tunes presented by two people from two different hemispheres. Written and sung by Trisha Farnan from Perth, Australia, and musically performed by Billy Bedard from Bakersfield, CA, "Into the Red" marks the first release from the international duo. Be sure to check out "Into the Red" when it becomes available through CDBaby, iTunes, and the band's Facebook, as well as directly from the band members themselves (contact them directly through the band Facebook). More details to be announced as the release date nears. Meanwhile, check out the band's promo video for the album for a taste of several tracks. Full album tracklist is as follows: 

1. Yes, New Loving 
2. Ten Times Ten 
3. Fall on Death 
4. Debutantes 
5. Adventures 
6. Back Flip 
7. Rock Face 
8. Beyond Pale and Ageless 
9. Red 
10. Glossary Head 
11. The Obituary 
12. Song

So there you go! In case you haven't detected this already, I am soooo not good at promoting my 'wares', so this is weird and awkward for me. But I know it has to be done! And it's good practice for when I do finally release a book in some format, someday. So here I am! In related news, I'm pretty sure the DHL dude tried to deliver my copies of the CDs today - MAN that was quick! - but of course I wasn't home 'cause I work full time. So I'm going to see if I can get them delivered to work! ;)

And yeah, that's my surname. Everyone gets it wrong. All the time. Sometimes even I get it wrong, but that's more a typo thing. ;)