Sunday, 25 January 2015

It's the Australia Day long weekend

There are many more nations than just 'One Nation' here. Source
I'm not particularly patriotic, I have to say - and when people get all aggro about how awesome their country is, somehow implying other countries are just not so awesome - it rubs me the wrong way. I guess for me, having Kiwi parents, having been born in England, and living in Australia, it's also not so simple deciding where "my home" is - though whenever I'm asked, I do say Australia, and I definitely wouldn't consider England or NZ home.

I am happy to live where I live, even though it's one of the sunniest places on earth and I am prone to skin cancers, so I like to hide away from the sun. ;) I'm lucky to live in this country, not because it's SO AWESOME but because I am SO PRIVILEGED to be able to live without fear of persecution, oppression, etc.

It's not a perfect country, but then no country is - though I think some northern European places do come pretty close. But I'm still lucky to live here - and it is a beautiful place to live. Even if I sort of wish we had some decent hills and mountains here on the West Coast. And some snow, damn it!

The point? Monday is Australia Day, which is a 'celebration' of the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. Many people see this day as the anniversary of the birth of the nation, but of course for the indigenous people it was the birth of a nightmare that is still ongoing today. It was the aim of white Australians in those early years to basically wipe out everything to do with indigenous culture - and to wipe them out as a physical people, too. In some cases irreparable damage was done, but White Australia did fail in their goal to destroy a people. At least there's that.

There is an offensive attitude amongst many white Australians - "get over it!" Whenever I hear someone say this, I want to ask, "So how did you get over genocide when your people went through it?" Anyway, I don't know quite what I wanted to say with this post. I guess I just wanted to give you an idea of the sorts of things I think about whenever Australia Day rolls around.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Farewell, sweet bookshelf

First I want to say thanks to those who responded to my call for beta readers in my previous post. It was great to get some volunteers who I could put in touch with my writer friend. :)

But now, onto the point of tonight's post. I'm happy to say I've achieved some goals already during January.

Goal 1: finish my NaNo novel
Yes, I finally did it! I finished my NaNo 2014 novel! It did take me a while to get back into it, even after just 1.5 months away from it, and I had to read back through earlier chapters to remind myself where I was up to. But I got it done, and it's a relief to be able to say that.

Goal 2: Sorting out what's in my garage
I've also done quite a bit of work, especially today, on clearing out my garage. The verge collection happens this coming week, so I've put a lot of big rubbish out on the lawn. My garage is looking a lot emptier. I feel a bit sorry for the poor foster kitties in there, who have fewer places to hide. But I'll make them some good cubby holes so they can feel more at home again.

My bookshelf (one of many, and just the latest to be wrenched from my reluctant hands)

It was especially difficult wheeling my bookcase out to the verge, a bookcase I've had since high school. A whole lot of different books and other things have been on that bookshelf. It also used to be lime green, but was painted purple. There is a patch of green still inside it.

*Sniffle* I'll miss youuuuu!

Part of me hopes someone will collect it from the verge so it can continue to service a booklover's needs in future. But most of me is a pessimist and knows that bookshelf is probably destined for the tip. ;)

Monday, 12 January 2015

A request for beta readers ... NOT for me ;)

I am pretty sure I mentioned on this blog sometime recently that I've been beta reading a novel for someone. The writer doesn't currently have an online presence, but will be looking into that. For now, she is seeking a beta reader or two to feast their fresh eyeballs on her work in progress. :)

Her initial description of the book:

"I have either a romance with suspense elements or a thriller with romantic elements.  Kind of stuck in between."

So I wound up reading it, and became mildly addicted. She only sent me bits at a time as she edited a few steps ahead of my reading, so I was always eagerly awaiting the next installment. She is currently going through her next round of edits, and asked me if I knew anyone who might be interested in reading through the next incarnation of the book.

I thought I'd share some quotes from emails I sent her while reading, to give you an idea of whether the book might be your cup of tea or not:

"I'm reading [your chapters] now and enjoying them - already had a laugh out loud moment, and am intrigued. And also chilled by the 'bad guy' of the story!"

"I finished the chapters, and really enjoyed them! I definitely want to read more, if you're happy to send them over. :) I found myself laughing loudly at a lot of the scenes, but it's also scary and suspenseful with the <character name redacted> factor.
I also am *very* interested in the developing romance element."

"I have finished all your chapters & am really eager to read on ;)My feeling so far is you have a really great story, and the chapters can use polishing ... but otherwise the story is great."

"Hey, finished reading this as well - definitely a game changer!!"

"I got up to the bit where <character name redacted>'s being confronted by the psycho - you're killing me with the suspense!! LOL."

Soooo, all that said, if you'd be interested in reading the novel after the current round of edits, please let me know and I will get you in touch with the writer. :)

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

IWSG #12 - Striking a balance

It's a new year, and so far I've done very little in terms of creative goals.

I seem to have no motivation to get things done that should be relatively easy to achieve. I really want to achieve them, but I'm being lazy. And I hate it!

I'm still completely stalled on my SQUEAKY project, which really annoys me. But someday I'm going to get that done! I also hope to finish last year's NaNo novel before I go back to work next week. In fact, I might get started on it sometime today. I only have one chapter to write, so it shouldn't be a big deal.

Basically, it's frustrating having such small goals hanging over me that I just never get around to achieving.

I really do think that my heavy involvement with animal rescue is a big drain on my resources. But I wouldn't change my involvement there for anything. So I'm going to have to figure out how to strike a good balance between rescue 'work' and stuff I need to get done creatively.

And, of course, my full time money-paying job.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year! (+ GOALS update)

Happy New Year everyone! I had a relatively quiet night with two friends - we even finished off the night with a cup of tea. ;)
Though we didn't party hard, I was with two of the best people in the world, and I daresay we are all feeling pretty good today, unlike many.

Now that it's 2015, I guess I should be deciding what I'm going to do with this year in terms of goals. But right now I am just going to focus on non-creative goals I want to achieve before I go back to work on Jan 12th.

These are my current goals:

  1. Sort out what's in my garage ... other than 2 foster cats who are in there. ;) Don't need to sort them out just yet!
  2. Buy a new pair of sneakers ... so I can start up my beach walks again.
  3. Get emotionally prepared to sell my car.

Those will do for now. :)