Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Write ... Edit ... Publish ~ HAUNTED for Halloween!

Hey everyone! It's that time again, when we post for Denise Covey's Write ... Edit ... Publish monthly blog hop. This month's WEP is a little different though, as Denise explains:

Welcome to creepy Halloween! There are many blogfests vying for attention. I am combining the Write...Edit...Publish blogfest with Francine Howarth's Trick or Treat Blogfest where you either give or receive free books. (In comments, say if you want your name to go into a hat to win a free book - say TREAT!)
Those who participate in the WEP blogfest will be competing for a $10 Amazon Gift card from yours truly (for the entry that catches my , and Francine is donating a free e-book to a participant.

So, with all that said, here's my post (all 970 words) for October's hop.

In the days immediately after Brian Walters drowned, his wife Jeanna existed in a strange sort of limbo. She could neither believe the accident had really happened nor say definitively that it hadn’t. She had seen it with her own eyes—him standing up at the wrong angle, teetering for one endless moment, and finally sailing overboard. She’d seen it, yes, but she found it hard to trust her own mind. 
After the news broke, friends and family flooded in around her, opening their arms and hearts and, unfortunately, their mouths as well. “She won’t talk about it,” and “The poor woman,” and “Such a tragedy!” were all the things she heard and wished she hadnt. She craved peace and quiet—mostly, the quiet—but with a missing husband who was an important member of the community, she had certain obligations to meet. 
Organising the funeral and the wake were the first on a long list. 
So Jeanna called in favours, she used her very best business voice and she made all the necessary arrangements. She pulled it all together at a dizzying speed, and finally the day arrived when she would say goodbye.
The service passed quickly but lasted a lifetime. As Jeanna stepped out into the harsh, sweltering air of mid-February, she felt more sapped of energy than she ever had in her life before. Faces swam all around, turning their sympathy on her, and voices pecked at her from every angle. She was quite convinced they drew blood. 
Her focus narrowed and the sounds faded away. She drew a breath that echoed, climbed into the backseat of the limousine, and slammed the door behind her, shutting out the chaos of a world that never stopped shaking.
Up on a miraculously verdant slope, with the hot air of a full-blown summer’s day leaching life from everything, Brian Walters’ coffin sank into the ground. It didn’t have him in it, but it was still his. A wide-eyed Jeanna watched it go down, and when it finally came to rest her lips moved in a silent farewell. 
But she didn’t feel that she was really saying goodbye. Because he wasn’t in there. All they were burying was a wooden box, with nothing but mementos inside. And hours later, when the last of the dirt had been flung back in, sealing the deal once and for all, Jeanna still didn’t believe he was really gone.
Time passed, and Jeanna felt warm and watched over. She never really felt widowed, though she missed Brian’s ridiculous laugh, his dancing green eyes, his reassuring presence. She never really felt alone, and she couldn’t explain it. But while people kept a close eye on her, always expecting her to finally have the breakdown they all presumed was simply delayed, she managed to get through each day without shedding a single tear. 
It didn’t really seem strange to her until the second year was halfway through, and she realised she didn’t so much feel watched over anymore as she felt watched.
Over the months, the ‘watched’ feeling persisted. When at home, Jeanna took to drawing all the blinds and keeping all the curtains closed. It didn’t make her feel better. No matter what she did, the surveilled feeling remained. 
Was Brian here in ghost-form, haunting her? She’d never really believed in any of that, but the watched feeling was making her think twice. 
One night, she got the feeling so strongly that she spoke aloud without meaning to: “Brian? Are you there? She waited, but got no response. “If you’re there … please tell me.” 
What she really meant was, Please leave me alone. 
She was ready to move on, and wished he would let her.
She worked with a man called Jake Reynolds, who was interested in her. He’d asked her out a few times, but each time she’d declined. He respected her boundaries, but also assured her with a gentle smile that he wouldn’t give up until she told him to. 
She hadn’t told him to yet. 
Nor had she told him she was being stalked by her dead husband. 
When she saw him at work next, he hinted once more that they should make a dinner date. As usual, she said no, but this time it was more a knee-jerk reaction than the old reluctance. So she quickly added more words to the mix. “But ask me again and I’ll say yes.” 
“When should I ask?” he wanted to know. 
She hesitated. “When you think the time is right.” 
H asked her out a week later, and she said yes.
Their date went beautifully and Jeanna spent almost the entirety of it forgetting all about her dead, ghostly husband. At the end of the night the truth came rushing back in a dismaying wave as Jake walked her to her front door, his arm linked with hers. 
“I had a wonderful night,” he said softly as they came to a halt in front of her doormat.
Something fluttered in her chest as she gazed up at him, admiring his chiselled jaw and bright blue eyes. 
“So did I,” she whispered, and on a whim decided to kiss him. Just as she was stretching up on tip-toes, the front door to her house opened and Brian’s voice sounded out, loud and clear.
“I didn’t expect you to give up so soon.” 
She turned to the doorway, fear seizing her throat, and realised he wasn’t dead at all. That man was very much alive, and wearing a seriously grave expression. 
“Who’s this?” Jake murmured from beside her, his arm tightening on hers, but Jeanna barely heard him, because her attention was all on the thing Brian held in his hands. 
It was a shiny, metallic thing.
It was a gun.

© 2013, Trisha Farnan. 

Friday, 25 October 2013

Cephalopod Coffeehouse & Do You Have Goals?

Cephalopod Coffeehouse time! This monthly blog hop is hosted by The Armchair Squid, and is a fair bit of fun. :) The idea is to post about your favourite book read in the last month.

So far this month I've only finished reading two books (yep, I'm having flashbacks to approx. a month ago). But of those I read, the one I preferred was The Trial of Dr. Kate, which I received from Netgalley. Here is a little review (less little than last month's):

Story: This book is set in the early 1950s. Shenandoah Coleman, an ex-fighter pilot who has become a successful reporter in Memphis, returns to the town where she grew up in poverty. She's there to do research for a book she's writing, but also to speak with an old friend, Dr. Kate, who has been arrested and imprisoned on suspicion of murder. After talking to Kate, Shenandoah becomes convinced the doctor isn't guilty. Determined to help clear Kate's name, she starts investigating. At the same time, she's being stalked by the driver of a Dodge Pickup who is apparently set on running her off the road - and killing her. And she's fending off the advances of sweet-talker Bobby who gives her plenty of butterflies.
My thoughts: I quite enjoyed this book for the setting, because I don't really know anything about American history or Tennessee (I'm Australian and when I was at school we really didn't learn any American history except as it related to the World Wars, etc.). Sometimes I found that problems were resolved a little too quickly, like when we finally learned the identity of the Dodge driver. This character harboured hatred toward Shenandoah that had built up over many years (like, fifteen years), but in a matter of minutes Shenandoah managed to diffuse the situation and make everything "okay" again. There was also the fact that at one point, a fair few people died on the same day for unrelated reasons, and some of the deaths were really ... unexpected. :) Not that that doesn't happen in reality. It just seemed a bit strange in this case.
The truth that came out in the end about the murder victim was quite a surprise to me, as was the trial verdict. All in all, I found this a slightly strange read, but I did enjoy "visiting" that part of America (I have in fact visited Tennessee, but only to drive through it). And I was glad when the book ended so I could go back to the cooler weather we were enjoying here in Western Australia at that time. (Sadly, it's starting to heat up now)

I've been participating in this monthly blog hop hosted by Misha Gericke and, as I've neglected to mention before purely because I didn't even realise it, Beth Fred. :) It's a hop where participants reporton how their "big dream" goals are coming along. My goal isn't really the biggest I could have gone for, nor the biggest that I have in my head, but it's the one I really, desperately want to achieve for right now, so that's why I chose it. Anyway, my goal is to:

And how have I gone with it since last month?

Back then, I'd received great feedback from my awesome CP Damyanti, but hadn't done anything about it yet. Since then I've managed a rewrite of chapter 1, and now I've received feedback from Damyanti on the rewrite. It was encouraging feedback, as it gave me the impression I'm headed in the right direction. For now I'm going to let the feedback settle, and move onto rewriting the next few chapters.

I don't know that I'll have all this done before year's end, given that November will be NaNo month. I honestly can't see publishing my novella by year's end. But I'm not giving up hope yet. The above will be my goal until the year is over and done.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Exploring THE 13th FLOOR with Christine Rains

EXPLORING THE 13th FLOOR ... a guest post from Christine Rains
If you're lucky enough, you may discover a secret floor that few others know exist. There's no number 13 on the elevator's pad. You'll have to go up through the stairwell to a landing where the light bulb always fizzles out. It's an old building; almost 100 years old. If the owners had any sense of pride, they could fix up the place and earn historical status. Thus the stairwell has a creepy old house feeling rather than the sterility of modern ones.

Likely the door to the 13th floor will be open. And if you're not paying attention, it'll open a bit more with a squeak. The corridor is warmly lit with fancy brass scones. No flourescent lights here. The carpet with its dark reds, blues, and greens reminds you of a ritzy hotel. Green is your favorite color. Is there more green in the carpet now? The walls are a rich hunter green too. 

There are six apartments on this floor, but you don't hear anything. Perhaps no one is home. You shiver as a cold breeze brushes over you. Glancing behind you, you notice the stairwell door is closed, and when you turn around again, all the apartment doors are open. It can't hurt to take a peek, right? 

The first thing you notice about #1301 is the coffee smell. You breathe in deeply as you poke your had inside. An old couch and a huge recliner dominate the living room area. There's a television, but not much else. No decorations or personal mementos. There's a flannel shirt draped over the back of the couch. Whomever lives there is a big guy. 

College students probably live in #1302. Art students. There are paintings stacked everywhere. It's more than a bit messy. The second-hand furniture is mismatched, and there's a stack of comic books beside the couch. 

#1303 is definitely a man's apartment. Modern with a color scheme of black, gray, and white. There are medieval banners on the walls. Interesting hobby for someone who's likely a professional of some sort. 

You gasp as you peek at #1304. It's lushly decorated with a Victorian flair. The couch likely cost more than your car. Nevermind some of the art pieces. Someone left a light on in one of the bedrooms. Not a bedroom, a gigantic closet? It's full of shoes. 

Two cats glare at you as you peer into #1305. It's a cozy place. Full bookshelves and comfy furniture with a patchwork quilt folded on one end of the couch. There's a pleasant herbal scent accompanying the feeling that you're visiting your grandmother's house. 

#1306 is the last apartment, and strangely, the only one with no windows. Perhaps it was a storage room before it was rented out. It's small and colorless. There's a black leather chair and couch. Nothing else. Maybe it's still used to store stuff. 

Weird how each of the apartment have different layouts. Stranger yet, you think you keep hearing a girl whispering nearby. Not willing to get caught poking around in people's apartments, you hurry down the corridor and back into the stairwell. The door shuts quietly behind you.

Title: The 13th Floor Complete Collection
Author: Christine Rains
Genre: paranormal romance

Release date: October 13th, 2013

Six supernatural tenants
Living in a haunted apartment building
On a floor that doesn't exist.

Six novellas telling their tales.

A retired demon acquires a price on his head.
A werewolf is hunted by her pack.
A modern day dragonslayer misses his target.
A harpy challenges Zeus for the soul of the man she loves.
A vampire is obsessed with a young woman he can't find.
A banshee falls in love with someone who's death she has seen in a vision.
And a sweet ghost must battle a primal monster to save them all.

All the stories take place at the same time intertwining their lives together on the 13th Floor.

Includes “The Shadow,” a bonus short story.

Buy The 13th Floor eBook at:
Buy The 13th Floor print book at:

Author Bio:
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not writing or reading, she having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She has eight novellas and twenty-one short stories published.

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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Reading my own books on the Kindle

I am fairly new to Kindle, so I'm learning things all the time. One thing I learned recently was that I could send my novels as rtf documents to my Kindle email, and they would soon show up on my Kindle. Not only this, but they actually looked good.

This is probably old news to you guys, but to me it was a revelation. I had no idea it could be so easy to get your novel on your Kindle - that you didn't need .mobi format. And I only found out this simple truth after a friend and I swapped novels, and she sent me this in an email:

I want to ask if you do anything special to make the documents so easy to read on the kindle? Is it just saved as rtf and nothing else special? 

My response was as follows:

I had no idea you could read just a document like the ones I sent you on Kindle, so I'm not the one to ask. haha. Maybe .rtf is the trick? I just use that format because it's supposed to be universally readable on different machines, i.e. Mac and PC.

Since then, I have in fact been gleefully sending my own novels to Kindle, and dancing around waiting for them to appear on my little screen. Also for the last few days, I've been foregoing reading all of your books and the mountain of others I should be reading, just so I can read my own. ;)

I feel almost silly staying awake way past lights out for this purpose, and dragging my carcass to work the next day, sleep deprived and longing for my pillow. But I can't help myself! Not only is reading my work on the Kindle a great motivator to dive back into editing - some of those dodgy lines have needed editing for years now - but I'm also hooked because I think my stories are cool (yes, I'm biased, and I'm fine with it). And seeing them on a Kindle, even my own Kindle, makes me feel quite special!

So yeah, this Kindle thing is pretty cool. Even if I do still prefer paperbacks.

Saturday, 12 October 2013


Here we are for another Globetrotters post, and this time we're bringing the 1998 world trip to a close at last. Before I get on with that, just one quick little note - I started this series back on September 1st, 2011. For the most part I've managed to post a travel "snippet" once a month since then, but next year posts may become a little more sparse. Then again, maybe they won't!

Okay, let's get on with today's post.

Luxembourg & Germany

I'm completely serious when I say these are the only two photos I appear to have from this leg of the journey. Either I lost a film somewhere (highly likely), or I was just too over it all to take more than two photos (unlikely, despite the fact that I was very over it all). I do have a travel journal entry or two from this time, so I thought I'd share some of that writing:

We travelled to Germany overland from France and via Luxembourg. Dad and I spent about ten minutes in that little country [Luxembourg], just so we could say when asked that we’d been there. Then we moved on, Germany in our sights.
We travelled beside the great river, heading steadily north. It was wine country and we tried to find out where we could sample some wines, but nothing was free, so we forgot about it.
Germany struck me as being very green and lush. I guess that’s what generally colder weather will do for a nation. I was no longer used to the browns, reds, yellows and dead grasses of Australia, since I had just travelled through America in the tail-end of winter — places like Oregon and Washington State were what I had in mind as I looked around me [in Germany] — but I still took note of the landscape as decidedly German.

I must tell you now, in hindsight, that I really don't know what a "decidedly German" landscape is like. I guess when I wrote that, I just felt influenced by the knowledge of where I was or something.

Anyway, I am going to wrap this post up now, and admit that I'm feeling a little bit bittersweet about the 1998 trip reminiscence ending! But I have plenty more travel stories to tell, and I will be moving onto those sometime, somehow. Maybe even next month? I'm going to leave you with a couple of photos my dad took during our trip in 1998. They're less landscape and more us (okay, mostly me):

Not sure where this was, but I like the look of dry amusement on my face.

New Zealand - North Island. It really is beautiful. You should go!

In the middle of nowhere, in Australia, trying to figure out where to go next.

With family in New Zealand - I'm on the far left.

This was after my breakdown in Europe, once I had decided to go home early.

Me and a glacier, I'm pretty sure. Probably Switzerland.

Italy, I think. There was an art exhibition with free wine and snacks (of course we were there), a bridge over water, and this photo.

Airport, early on in the trip. Probably Sydney, on our way to NZ.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Thinking about 2014

Near the end of last year, I did a "Goals 2012" reflection post, where I talked about my various failures and achievements of the year. A few days later, I talked about my plans for 2013. Of the four things I mentioned in that latter post, I've done three of them. One of those three things was releasing a physical CD full of my music. The others were less of a big deal, but I'm glad I did achieve some things. Still, there are plenty of things I haven't done so far this year that I wanted to do. While I'm not quite ready to look at my Goals 2013 page and evaluate failures/achievements yet, I will be doing that sometime in December.

Actually, though, I'm already looking to next year. In 2014, I really want to change how I approach achieving goals. I want to focus on novel revision (that has been the plan the last 2 years, but other stuff has often got in the way of me actually achieving much there). I want to make it a goal not necessarily to get a particular number of projects revised, but to at least try to do, say, one chapter a night (this could be unrealistic). I have so many projects to my name that I will definitely not run out of work. I'd also like to schedule in some breaks from writing/blogging. I've never done that before. So, I guess you can see that I'm not entirely clear on what I'll be doing next year, but I do want things to change. I've tended to be quite regimented in my goal-achieving plans, and it did work at first, but it's no longer quite as effective.

One thing I can say is that I'd dearly love to finally get that Grimm Brothers book off my "currently reading" shelf at GoodReads. But that does require me doing up little reviews of each story. I just really want to get that done.

Anyway ... I'll write more about my 2014 plans as they slowly solidify. For now, I just wanted to say that I'm thinking about it. And umm, considering I've written 11 novels so far, and all of them need revision, I do have plenty of work to be going on with. ;)

Friday, 4 October 2013

Wahoo, it's NaNoWriMo time! (nearly)

The most exciting thing about NaNoWriMo 2013 so far is what I just found on their site moments ago - awesome 2013 graphics, which I shall scatter throughout this blog post.

I particularly love the 1980s videogame-style ones. :)

Are you participating in NaNo '13? I am, and my username remains the same as it has always been - yoghurtelf. There's actually no reason at all for me to have that username, since even back in 2002 when I first "enrolled" in NaNo, I wasn't a huge fan of yoghurt. I can say that I'm a fan of elves, but I haven't read any books with elves for well over a decade now (I used to be all about the fantasy, but I've branched out a lot since then). Let's just say that I love Terry Brooks's Shannara series, though I have yet to read any of Lord of the Rings (I did read The Hobbit as both a kid and an adult, and I loved it every time).

Anyway, dairy and me don't mix too well, but I am still overly fond of my NaNo name, and so I plan to keep it forever.

This year for NaNo, I'm writing a YA contemporary with "darkish" themes. I wrote the same sort of book this June for BuNoWriMo, and this was the other idea I was throwing around. It was either that, or this, and since I wrote that back then, I'm writing this now. Well, not now, but in November.

Will I see you guys typing away madly (or scribbling, as some people still prefer to do) during November?

P.S. If you're a long-term participant in NaNo and think this idea is cool, vote for it!! It appears to be leading the charge and the more votes it gets, the more quickly it should be implemented. Yay!

Yup, I'm a NaNo nerd. And proud.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

[O&AM] Cats vs. dogs

This month I'm going to talk about something very near (literally and figuratively both) to my heart: CATS! More specifically I'm addressing that age-old question: do you prefer cats or dogs? All I can do is answer for myself, but I definitely look forward to seeing what you guys think on the matter (I already know what some of you out there think). So, let's get down to the matter at hand:

Cats vs. dogs

Some people are dog people, and some people are cat people. Sometimes people are just general animal people, with no clear "winner". And of course there are people who just don't like animals at all (I don't understand these people). I guess I don't really understand the universal creature lovers, either, because how can you love a two-inch-long flying cockroach as it zooms straight at your face ready to scuttle around in your hair? EW. But anyway ... moving on.

I'm mostly an animal lover in that I care about the welfare of all animals (I even feel sorry for theose scuttly disgusting cockroaches as they die very slow deaths in my vicinity). But there is one type of animal I love most of all: CATS! Not only do I love cats, but I have a slight aversion to dogs, even though I have known a few that I actually liked. In the contest of cat vs. dog, cats definitely are the winners in my world. And here are some reasons I love cats:

  • they are totally weird (okay, dogs are weird too)
  • they don't smell (well, sometimes my boy cat smells after he's done a stressed-out poo in his carrier after a vet trip)
  • they're not completely needy (welllll, yeah, my boy cat craves attention and walks around the house meowing if something's not quite to his liking)
  • they purr. ha! dogs don't purr! (at least I haven't heard of a dog purring)
  • they don't sniff crotches
  • they don't eat their own poo or spew, or anybody else's
  • they are generally very neat and tidy when it comes to toilet time, i.e. you don't need to carry a poo bag around with you to clean up after them
  • you don't have to bathe them (until they get really old and can't bathe themselves)

I think you get the picture here. I love cats, and while I can admire dogs for their silliness, their cute personalities, and their very cute faces, I definitely prefer them not to be near me. The two dogs I've loved most in the world are dogs that are incredibly well-behaved and placid. And yet there have been dogs associated with my family that were the naughtiest dogs ever to live, and I loved them too. But that's more a case of "you can't choose your family, but you still have to love 'em." :P

Are you a cat person, a dog person, both, or neither?