Thursday, 31 July 2014

2 kittens down, 2 to go ;)


Back on May 15th I posted about one of my foster kittens being rehomed.
At the time it was 1 down and 3 to go.
Now I've rehomed two, and have two to go!

I'm pleased to say that Batman's sister, the super-awesome Champers,
has now been rehomed as well. :) A lovely young guy secretly
arranged to adopt Champers for his girlfriend's birthday
(she had spotted Champers and said "I want that one!",
so no fear that he was making a mistake).
Apparently the girlfriend shed happy tears
when she and the kitty met for the first time. ;)

One of the admin ladies from the rescue I work with
made this picture up for Champers:

Anyway, I have to say that my house is very quiet without Champers,
and I miss her extreme wackiness. But it's good to get the
boisterous kitties rehomed, so I can concentrate on
socialising my remaining scaredy fosters.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Cephalopod Coffeehouse & Do You Have Goals? - a day late

I did miss this post yesterday, but for once I have a fair excuse, or I think I do. Yesterday was my birthday!! So I was busy doing other things, like going to work for the whole day, and then going out to dinner and drinking a lot of champagne. Anyway, it's Saturday now and I am here to post ... at last!

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse

I read multiple books that I enjoyed during July (so far), but the one book I want to talk about is Rachel Morgan's The Trouble With Flying. The review will possibly sound vague, to avoid spoilers. ;)

The characters in this book were great - I loved seeing Sarah's transformation from a bit of a doormat to a strong-minded individual determined to follow her own path. It was a slow journey for the reader, becoming privy to the reality of Sarah's relationship with her partner. But I think this slow revelation echoed Sarah's own slow awakening - because as we all know, sometimes in relationships it takes a long time to realise something that, after you've realised it, seems obvious.

I was glad when Sarah finally stood up for herself and asserted her own will. It had been a long time coming. I was very proud of her in that moment, for not backing down. I think any book that makes the reader go, "Yeah! You go girl!" has a lot going for it.

Since I have never visited South Africa, or any part of Africa before, I really enjoyed the descriptions of the landscape. It definitely made me want to visit the place and see it for myself. But the main thing that makes me hesitate is the weather ;) I really, really hate hot weather. But if, as the story suggests, South Africans usually get a magnificent storm after each revoltingly hot moment, I guess I could tolerate the gross hot moments ... for a while anyway.

All in all, I really enjoyed this read, and look forward to reading more of Rachel's work in future.

Do I Have Goals? Yes, I do!

July has probably been my best month this year for achieving goals. Sadly, the goals I achieved weren't anything to do with my writing, but they were still goals related to creative stuff. So I count that as a major win!

I guess I can thank my bandmate Billy for spurring me on this month, since I actually did have a deadline not set by me - heeyyy, maybe I do work well under someone else's pressure after all? Not that he actually pressured me - not at all. But knowing he was counting on me, after we both agreed to an end-of-July deadline, certainly did get me moving faster than I have all year.

Following on from my last goal update, I can say that I have now sent copies of all the songs that were due to Billy, and now I'm waiting on his word that the last song is good to go. Then I can send him the raw files. But obviously if it's not ready to go, I will do whatever vocal adjustments are necessary, and then send the new version to him in .mp3 format for assessment.

But July is nearly at an end, so now the pressure's on Billy to let me know what I need to do, if anything. ;)

P.S. I turned 34. ;)

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Write ... Edit ... Publish ~ PICTURE x 1k wrds (Jul.)

It's time for an other WEP challenge post.

The WEP is hosted by Denise Covey over at L'Aussie Writing, and it's a fun challenge to participate in once per month.

Here are the details for this month:

  1. SUBMIT your name to the Inlinkz list below NOW if you wish to participate, or direct link on the due date - July 23 - 25.
  2. CREATE your entry for the monthly theme - July - A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words - 1,000 word limit. 
  3. EDIT your entry until it sparkles, then PUBLISH.
  4. POST your entry on your blog on the dates shown - state feedback preferences.
  5. READ other entries, giving feedback as requested

I'm going to share a photo which amuses me every time I see it:

My mum took this photo of me when I was moving out of my first ever home away from home, into my first ever share house away from home.

I lived in a triplex, and the guy you see out the door lived at the other end. There was a lady with a straying eye (one eye) that lived in the middle unit. Anyway, this picture sums up my time in this place - going about my business, and with my nosy neighbour always hovering nearby, watching all the happenings.

My mum got really annoyed by this guy as whenever she popped over to see me, he was there watching. ;)

Sunday, 20 July 2014

How I'm tracking in July

I figured it's time for a goal update! Last time I updated, I was approximately halfway through July's goals, or possibly less than halfway. Now here is where I'm at:

So far in July, I've:

  • reviewed three songs with previously completed vox and sent them to Billy in raw format for him to mix for the album - one of them I added some harmonies to;
  • recorded vocals for one of the new songs, titled "The Shade of My Day", and sent an .mp3 version to Billy for approval or ... disapproval ;) - update - Billy approved it and I sent the raw files through;
  • got halfway through recording rough vocals for an 8-minute track, then later finished it off and sent it in .mp3 format to Billy for dis/approval - update - after recording some additional vocal harmonies at Billy's request, I then sent the file back ... and it's now approved! :).

So now all I have left to do in July is:
  • send the raw files for "Your Love Won't Change" to Billy ;
  • go back to the song I've been avoiding for months now, which I have to record new vocals (to new lyrics and, I believe, an entirely new melody) for, and ... do it!!

There are in fact two options for melodies for that last song, so I have to figure out which one I should go with. I hope to get some of this done today, but I had a family event on earlier, and later on a friend is visiting. So, we'll see how I go ...

How are your Julys coming along?

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Kyra Lennon's SIDELINED blog tour ~ book excerpt

Today I'm thrilled to welcome Kyra Lennon to my blog as part of her blog tour for SIDELINED, her latest release.

Thanks so much to Trisha for having me over!

This excerpt from Sidelined comes from Chapter 4, when Bree starts to figure out what is missing in her life – and she’s faced with some unexpected opposition. (I hope you don’t judge her too harshly for her behaviour here, there’s a lot going on in Bree’s world!)

For the first time ever, I couldn’t wait to end the visit with Jesse so I could go home and do some research. Leah had lit a fire under me. Maybe this would be my “thing” to help me find out who I wanted to be, without being defined only as Jude Collinson’s wife.
Perhaps make-up artist sounded like the kind of air-headed profession a girl like me would get into. I didn’t care about that. I cared about finding a way to stop the boredom, and having something interesting to tell people beyond, ‘Today I made Jude spaghetti bolognese for dinner, and before that I bought some shoes’.
I spent more than an hour online, searching for make-up courses in Los Angeles. There were so many. The job seemed real competitive, though. In this city there’s no point trying anything unless you’re sure you’ll be the best, or damn close. I can do this. I made Kayla look gorgeous, and did so in a super sort time, too. What if I’d had longer to play around? What kind of awesome might happen if I had hours to work instead of minutes?
Excitement took over me. This was it. Something I could be enthusiastic about. Something I’d enjoy. I didn’t mean to sound ungrateful for what I already had. I wasn’t. Not at all. But I hadn’t contributed. I hadn’t earned the big house with the swimming pool. I hadn’t paid for any of the state-of-the-art gym equipment or the plush furniture. Any money I had came from Jude's bank account and I was tired of it. I wanted to bring something into our household besides mindless chatter. Mostly I wanted to chase away the feeling of being destined to spend the rest of my life rattling around the house, living for the weekends; the weekends Jude wasn’t playing soccer in a different city.

By the time Jude got home I'd decided on a course and written down all the information I needed to give to Jude.
I pounced on him the second he walked into the living room, where I'd been bouncing around, desperate to tell him my idea.
“Easy, Bree.” He laughed as he caught me in his arms. “Was I gone that long?”
“Well, yes you were but that's not why I'm jumping on you.”
Jude kissed me, long and sweet, and my heart swelled. Life was about to get perfect.
“So, what's going on?” He set me down on the sofa and sat beside me, pulling me close. Mmmm cuddles. Well, I would have enjoyed the cuddles more if I could have contained my enthusiasm enough to sit still.
“I went to Jesse's today and helped his sister to get ready for a party. We had fun, and then Leah had this idea that maybe I should do a make-up course!”
Jude pulled away a little, frowning. “Are you serious?”
Not the reaction I expected or wanted.
“Yeah, I'm serious. Why? Don't you think it's a good idea?”
He shrugged. “You've never mentioned anything about wanting to learn before.”
“I know. I only just realised this is what I want.”
“Because Leah suggested it?”
My eyebrows rose. Jude’s prejudice strikes again. “You're really asking me that?”
“It's a fair question, Bree. Be sure it's what you want, not what someone else wants for you.”
The fact he hadn't spotted my recent unhappiness kinda pissed me off. Leah pinpointed my mood right away. I hadn’t done a good job of hiding the way I felt. How had he not noticed? Why hadn't he?
“What do you want for me, Jude?” I asked in a tone I hadn't used in years. Cold. Un-me.
Jude backed away a little farther, his eyebrows drawn in confusion. “What's this about?”
“This is about you not listening to me,” I told him, standing up. “I said I want to learn a new skill, not fly to the moon. You're making a make-up qualification sound like the worst thing ever.”
“No.” Jude stood up too, reaching for my hand. “I'm sorry. This has come out of nowhere so I'm just asking you if you've really thought about it. I know how you get when you have a new idea in your head.”
I snatched my hand away. “Forget it. I'll carry on being your little housewife and making sure your dinner's on the table when you come home.”

Blurb: At the age of twenty-one, Bree Collinson has more than she ever dreamed of. A handsome husband, a fancy house, and more shoes than Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos combined. But having everything handed to her isn’t the way Bree wants to live the rest of her life. When an idea to better herself pops into her head, she doesn’t expect her husband to question her, and keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.

Isolated and unsure who to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, and developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. Torn between her loyalty to her husband and her attraction to a man who has the perfect family she always wanted, she has some tough choices to make.

While Bree tries to figure out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.

Buy Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US / B&N / iBookstore

About the Author:

Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go.

Find Kyra online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Goodreads / Join My Mailing List

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Friday, 11 July 2014

Songs of Summer blog hop ~ my 5(+1) summer songs

Welcome to the Songs of Summer bloghop, hosted by the Armchair SquidCygnus and Suze.  On Friday, July 11, 2014, please join us by posting 5 of your favourite summer songs and sharing some memories about them.  Maybe between us, we can build the perfect soundtrack to accompany us over the next few months.  If possible, include links so we can hear these gems.  And, if you're in the southern hemisphere, join us to dance those winter blues away! 
- the Armchair Squid

I am indeed in the southern hemisphere, but unlike most people on the planet, I prefer winter to summer. ;) That doesn't mean I can't appreciate a bloody good summer tune. I actually seem to have particular artists that make me think of summer, not just particular songs. Anyway, here are five songs in my playlist that make me think of summer:

The Ataris - Boys of Summer (Don Henley cover)
Why a summer song? I guess partly 'cause it has the word 'summer' in the title. It's also a song that is "set" in summertime.

John Farnham - Touch of Paradise
Why a summer song? Well, the video clip has someone swimming in a pool. And some of the lyrics talk about flamingos. And there's mention of the sun, even if the sun is hiding. ;)

The Smashing Pumpkins - Sunkissed
Why a summer song? Well, it talks about the sun, and when I listen to this song I can totally imagine sitting on a beach with my headphones plugged in, or driving along with the song blasting from my speakers, or ... going on an epic road trip down the coast.

Unwritten Law - California Sky
Why a summer song? Well, it's about a sky in California. Seriously! Also, Unwritten Law happen to be the one band that reminds me most of summer. So yeah.

Everclear - Santa Monica
Why a summer song? Again, it mentions a place in California. It mentions palm trees. It all reminds me of summer. I also live on the west coast, though in Australia, not America, so I can relate to dreaming of the west coast. ;)

Now, just in case you can't see the Farnsy clip (since it's Australian and sometimes you people seem to have trouble seeing Aussie vid clips), I thought I'd just tack on one more song because ... yes, I like to cheat, and I hate leaving out awesome songs. :D So anyway, this is another song that just reminds me of the molten ocean in summer, so I thought I'd share it too:

Catherine Wheel - Salt
Why a summer song? It just sounds magical and beautiful and mysterious to me - like the ocean is. And it takes my breath away and brings tears to my eyes - like the ocean at sunset does!

Monday, 7 July 2014

July's goals ~ an update

So far in July, I've:
  • reviewed three songs with previously completed vox and sent them to Billy in raw format for him to mix for the album - one of them I added some harmonies to ;
  • recorded vocals for one of the new songs, titled "The Shade of My Day", and sent an .mp3 version to Billy for approval or ... disapproval ;) ;
  • got halfway through recording rough vocals for an 8-minute track.

For the rest of July, I need to:

  • finish off the 8-minute track and send in .mp3 format to Billy for dis/approval ;
  • go back to the song I've been avoiding for months now, which I have to record new vocals (to new lyrics and, I believe, an entirely new melody) for, and ... do it!!

I hope you are having a great July so far.
Happy belated 4th of July to all my American friends out there! :)

Oh, oh, oh - a P.S. is in order.
This Friday is the Songs of Summer blog hop:

You can sign up here!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

IWSG #6 - I am so forgetful!

I've ever so slightly lost the plot lately, when it comes to posting for things I've committed to posting for.

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is just one commitment I've been shaky with sticking to. The last time I posted for it was Wednesday, 2 April, 2014. Other times I've forgotten to post until the day after (like I am right now).

It's not just IWSG, though. I've missed a few Write ... Edit ... Publish posts here and there, and it's usually been a mad scramble to get a post up for Big Goals and Cephalopod on the last Friday of each month.

In other news, I am going at a snail's pace with editing, and I have taken months and months to try to get just one song's vocals finished for my bandmate.

This is a far cry from where I was at in 2011, achieving a ridiculous amount with my creative goals while working full time (which I still am).

It's enough to give a girl an insecurity complex!! ;)

Sorry I'm posting late, dudes. But I figure it's still July 2nd somewhere in the world.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

BuNoWriMo report card ...

June is over, and so is BuNoWriMo. This year I was a BuNoRebel (hence the image above), and edited instead of writing fresh new words never written before.

I didn't do the best during June - but I did something, at least. I started out the month still working on the very pesky Chapter 13 from SQUEAKY. I ended the month still stalled on an equally pesky Chapter 16. That's progress, sure, but it's the usual hard slog.

This month I am going to be concentrating on music as my number one priority. I sort of have a deadline of July's end to get a bunch of vocals done for my bandmate Billy's debut album (we are in my band together, and I contribute a lot to his band's songs as well).

There is one song that I've been wrestling with for months now, trying to get the vocals right. I really can't wait to get that one done. There are three songs I need to revisit one last time to add any last-minute vocal harmonies if I feel like it. And there are still more songs I haven't even started on yet.

I haven't really had much inspiration this year for any of my creative projects, music included. So everything has been a bit of a struggle. But I am getting things done, still, and that's what matters.

Now I just have to speed things up and get things done ... faster!

Sometimes it helps to have someone else's expectations pushing you along. ;)