Friday, 29 August 2014

Cephalopod Coffeehouse & Do You Have Goals? [Aug.]

This month for Cephalopod, I've chosen a book that I've wanted to read for a long time now, but because I bought book #2 long before I bought book #1, it was an experience long delayed. I've read it now, and it's definitely book of the month for me. It's Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett. My full Goodreads review is here, but I will try to summarise for the purposes of this blog hop below.

I seem to be going against the trend in giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. But I did stay up late a few nights to get it read, and on the last night I just HAD to finish it, or I would have been awake all night. For me, that's the mark of a 5-star read.
I've read some reviews on GR by people who hated Rose and wanted to punch her (the way she wants to punch many of the people she encounters in her life ;)).  But I didn't hate Rose, even if sometimes she was very far from perfect. She's one of those flawed characters, and I don't mean in the stereotypical "deep, dark, mysterious & damaged" way. I mean that she can be annoying, immature, and even outright mean, but she also comes to regret it. She's also not always physically perfect, like when she has a "zit crop" throbbing on her face. ;)
Even though I'm 34 and Rose is 14, going on 15, I could relate to her character in many ways. In high school, you could definitely say I was very "straight" and maybe a bit of a stick in the mud sometimes. I found it very hard to apologise when I had done something wrong, because it upset me so much to know I had hurt someone else. I also happened to have a friend just like Rose's bff Tracy. It was odd for me to read about the thoughtless things Tracy did, because THOSE THINGS HAPPENED TO ME! Right down to how Tracy makes Rose take one of her handbags out because her own bag is way too lame.
Anyway, those are some reasons why I loved this book. Another is that it has a totally hot dude in it. Which always helps me give a book at least one extra star. ;)

Last time I posted for this hop, I was finishing up a very productive July, but only musically productive. Since August began, I've been trying to get back into revision for SQUEAKY. And while I am experiencing another of those seriously pesky chapters that needs to be edited about a million times before I'm happy with it, I am getting those edits done.
Right now I am at the point where I want to edit the current chapter on the screen, and then print it out for one last proofing. The screen edit is key, because if I just print it out without doing that, I am pretty sure I'll end up with a printed chapter scribbled nearly to death once again. So that is my plan for this weekend - get the screen edit done, print it out, and hopefully after one last read-through, shove this chapter in the DONE file.
I already have the next chapter printed out (admittedly I've had it printed out for a long while now, gathering dust), so I want to get this one done so I can finally get to that.

P.S. On the topic of music, I created a bandcamp page for
my band Woody's A Girl, and you can check it out HERE.
The usual 4 songs (singles we released) are downloadable
for free, as the minimum cost is $0.00. They are
"Yes, New Loving", "Fall on Death", "Adventures" and "Song".

Friday, 22 August 2014

Write ... Edit ... Publish ~ TAKING CHANCES (Aug.)

My excerpt for today's WEP challenge post is 695 words, according to an online word counter. It's an excerpt from my novel NAUSICAA, which I have edited and whittled down, but which naturally I'm still nowhere near happy with. But it's the best I can do for now! Critique is welcome.

They sat at the edge of a dry riverbed, gazing out across the sandy expanse to the plains beyond. Overhead, the weak morning sun hung in a washed out blue sky, bathing them in its pale light.

A breeze rustling through fallen leaves was all the sound that broke the silence.

Nausicaa studied the bent trees far out on the plain, sticking up through hardened soil. They reminded her of herself and the other rebels--scorched, wizened, and stripped of all leaves, but not yet quite broken.

They had spent the night out here, since manor rules prevented them from sharing a room, and neither had wanted to be alone. It was a beautiful night, with a fat, full moon illuminating the landscape. It had reminded Nausicaa of the artful backdrop in a video game she and her friends had played in high school. Gazing at it, she had fallen into a reverie about her past life, and for the first time in a long time, she had actually enjoyed reminiscing, instead of fixating on the present.

Their night had passed in silence, a meditative vigil before the dawn. But now that the sun had risen, the urge to speak overwhelmed her.

Studying the distant mountains, she said, “Part of me wants to run. Just run all the way to the horizon."

Jonathan nodded his understanding.

“But another part knows… I'd have to keep on running. Forever. And never look back."

He watched her for a moment, saying nothing. Then he sighed and murmured, “We cannot run from this, can we?"


In truth, they both knew that they would be running--backwards, not forwards. Their job in Persas was not done. The city still needed them to make one last stand. And that stand would be their last.

Jonathan folded his hands. “Where will we aim first?”

She answered, though he already knew the answer well enough. “We need to aim for the heart. We need…” She drew a deep breath and closed her eyes. “We need to kill them once and for all. Forget all the incidentals…all the limbs, so to speak. Cut off the head.”

“No easy task, that,” he said. But he didn’t argue. “You and I alone…I’m not sure how far we’d get.” To her surprise, he sounded bleakly amused. She smiled and rested a hand on his arm.

“We would have help,” she said. “We will call upon the Artemis.”


“Not what. Who. Anna Vander. The Artemis, we called her. Did I ever tell you I saw her?”

“Yes, you did,” he said. “In the prisons, wasn't it?”

“Yes. She was like…like an apparition. But she spoke to me.” Shame filled Nausicaa, as it had done back then when she'd first heard the legend's warning. “Stay back…it isn’t safe,” the Artemis had said, as if even she knew that Nausicaa couldn’t take care of herself.

But no, it hadn’t been that. It was more that the Artemis was accustomed to being legendary, and so naturally thought more highly of her own ability than of anyone else's. She had started young, while Nausicaa had spent her formative years confined indoors, never gaining experience on outside missions. There were fathoms between them in terms of experience. Still, it had stung to hear her own insecurities echoed back at her from such a mythic figure.

“She is formidable,” Jonathan said. “But an excellent choice in ally.”

“And perhaps…” Nausicaa lowered her gaze. “…Perhaps Actaeon will show up?”

“I have no doubt that he will,” Jonathan said. “If he is able.”

She didn't want to think about if he was not.

What about Ganza? she mused. Will they be fighting? And if so…on which side? She sensed everything coming to a head, Persas’s fate waiting to be decided once and for all. And she felt a rush of exhilaration, a desperation to see it happen quickly. She had had enough of her city being held captive.

It must be set free.

“When do we leave?” Jonathan asked, another unnecessary question.

“On the next train,” she answered, speaking words that would become famous in time.

With those four words, Nausicaa sealed the fate of Persas.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

I paid off my student loans!

I'm going to post about my creative goals later this month, for the Do You Have Goals? monthly hop. So I won't go into too much detail today. I will say that while I haven't done nothing in terms of editing this month, I do hope to achieve a bit more before August 29th.

Today, though, I want to talk about another goal I've achieved this month ... a goal that I've been striving for since around about October 2007!

I fiiiiinally paid off my student loans!

In Australia, you can study for "free", but of course you do have to pay for it eventually. You get a discount if you can pay up front, but those who can't possibly afford that will have to pay the full amount, plus indexation each year.

You only have to start paying your loans back after you earn a certain amount of money per annum. In October 2007, I got a promotion at work, and this bumped me into the next tax bracket. A student loan-paying bracket!

I was more than happy to get started on paying off my loans - and I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible. I probably could have done it quicker, if not for various travels and other things I spent money on (like chocolate and wine!). But as it is, I'm quite proud of this achievement.

So now I am student loan free, and I look forward to moving onto achieving my next "life" goal!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Robin Williams

Like everyone I was shocked and saddened to hear of Robin Williams's passing yesterday.

He was definitely a one-of-a-kind talent, and starred in some of my favourite movies.

The favourites I can think of off the top of my head are Disney's Aladdin, and Good Will Hunting, both of which are in my DVD collection.

Anyway, it was a sad day, and it's going to be a sorrier world in his wake.

Rest in peace, R.W.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

IWSG #7 - To quit or not to quit

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and so it's time to post for the IWSG again. I didn't forget this time, see?!

Now that July is over, and I've finished all my vocal work for the album, it's time to get back to my other creative stuff. Namely, the editing I dumped prior to July in order to work on music. But you may notice that it's already August 6th. Since August began, I haven't yet picked the editing work back up.

Well, that's not quite true - I did literally pick up the chapter I was previously editing. It's in paper format, and has my scribbles all over it. It was on my coffee table for the entire month of July, gathering dust. I'm pretty sure the foster kittens trampled on it a bit, but thankfully nothing too damaging happened to it.

So anyway, I did pick it up off the coffee table, and I carried it over to my "workstation" (in case you missed it back in June, I was featured on Nutschell's blog for Wednesday Writer's Workspace). This is progress, in my opinion. But in the last few days I have to admit I've considered giving up on this particular edit job. So many times, it has just felt like such a struggle.

I'm not going to give up on it, though. I just can't bring myself to cave. ;) I won't be doing any work on this tonight, as I have to go out. I probably won't do any tomorrow night either, as I will be home from work late. But I definitely hope this week to get back into the swing of things.

Happy August, everyone! :)