Monday, 5 December 2016

NaNo reflection post

Here are my NaNo 2016 results, in a series of images.

I iz a winner!

My final word tally for 2016.
This 50k consisted of approximately 33,000 for my novella,
then bits & pieces of other novels to bump up the
word count to 50k.

My Author Bio on the NaNo site.
In attempting to reach 50k, I managed to finish two of my other
unfinished novels, THE PHOTOGRAPH and TURKEY BOURKE,
so all in all I am very happy with this year's NaNo effort.
I also wrote some more on two of my RAGEWATER novels,
which I have not done in quite a few years. Yay for that!

So that's that for another year. Now my list of "finished novels that are definitely not ready for publication" is even longer. :)

I should probably use every NaNo month from here on out to actually edit novels, not write new ones. It's good to get WIPs finished though. Less loose ends hanging around waving in the wind.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

7 days of NaNo to go

Since my last update when I reported that I'd finished my novella for this year's NaNo, I've also finished another of my unfinished novels - THE PHOTOGRAPH. I then worked on IVY NIGHT for a while, before the slog got a bit too difficult, so I moved to working on TURKEY BOURKE.

My wordcount is currently 41,255, though I haven't written any of today's words yet, as you can see from the chart. I'll continue to work on TURKEY until I feel that familiar "argggghhh" feeling. Hopefully that won't be until I'm finished the novel! It would be great to finish three works this time around. :) I'd also have liked to finish IVY NIGHT, but that one has quite a bit of writing still to do, so it's a longer-term project.

Once November's over, I need to get cracking on the last three songs for our next album. Billy has posted an update saying there is a new WAG album (ours), and a new Rotting Apples album (his) coming out next year. Eek! No pressure or anything! Sometimes he gets me to do some of his vocals for him, but I'm not sure what his plan is for the next RA album.

So that's my update for now! I hope you are all doing really well. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

NaNo 2016 update - so many stories

It's sort of midway through November, so I thought I'd do a quick update on how I'm doing.

  1. I've finished my "novel", DIE BEACHSIDE, which turned out to be a novella at just on 30k. It's fairly basic, more a sketch I guess, and will need fleshing out, so it will get longer. I don't know how much longer - it may still be a novella when I'm done with it, someday.
  2. I'm now working on finishing off a previous NaNo novel I wrote named THE PHOTOGRAPH,  to help with the journey to 50k.
  3. Once I'm finished with this novel, which I only have one chapter left to finish for, I will move onto working on another of my unfinished novels, IVY NIGHT, and see how much I can finish off that. That one has a lot more writing that needs to be done, so it should get me to 50k.
  4. On the off chance that it doesn't, I also have the second novel in the SQUEAKY-verse, which has been gathering dust for years now.

So I should end up with at least two finished works, if not three. I doubt I will finish all four, but you never know. :)

My NaNo playlist for DIE BEACHSIDE features some post hardcore / screamo bands like Story of the Year (Page Avenue) and Young Guns (All Our Kings Are Dead and Bones), as well as Blink-182 (Dude Ranch and Enema of the State mostly) and Kings of Leon (Come Around Sundown). It also has a few other songs here and there that are sprinkled in from Seam, Lacuna Coil, and others.

And that's my update for now! I hope those of you doing NaNo are doing well. :) I will report in later in the month, I hope, for the Coffee House and Goals post.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Missed post, and NaNoWriMo 2016

Oops! I fully intended to participate in the "Do You Have Goals?" and Cephalopod Coffeehouse traditions on Friday. But I have been so busy and distracted that the blog post was one thing that slipped. However, in keeping with my current "tradition" of posting at least once a month, I'm lucky to still have the last day of October (today!) to at least give some sort of update.

This isn't a proper post like I would have done on Friday if I had my wits about me, but I do have updates to share, so here they are:
    Halloween-ready - including cutlass
    created last-minute
  1. Music - only three songs left to work on for the next album! I submitted two within the last month. Slowly but surely, we're getting there.
  2. Study - second-last assignment for the year is submitted, so now just one to go  and I'll be home free.
  3. Halloween - went to a Halloween party, and spent way more time than usual putting my outfit together - including home-made cutlass. ;)
  4. Cats - we've had a few events lately for the cat rescue, and we're all looking forward to a break. This coming Saturday we have a huge event on that goes all day. I also have two other events that day. Gahhhh. When will it end?
  5. Reading - reading Poldark book #7 now - the last book in the "main series", before we start reading more about their children's stories in the next books.
  6. Writing - in a moment of sheer madness I decided to do NaNoWriMo 2016. Let me explain...

I don't know why I'm doing NaNo, but apparently I am. I thought I could try to work on finishing off some of my unfinished novels, but I also looked through my "novel ideas" and picked one to work on, just in case working on the unfinished novels doesn't get me enough words. I'll probably start the new idea first, because I'm like that. Then if I run out of steam I'll work on some of the other novels.

So my novel for this year is titled "Die Beachside", and was inspired by a dream (a very scary dream!) I once had. This is very much a pantsing scenario in which I have no idea how things are going to go, and had to quickly work out some details of plot in the few days leading up to November. Here is a link to my novel.

Are you doing NaNo?
If not, what else are you up to?

Friday, 30 September 2016

[SEPT UPDATE] Cephalopod Book Club & Goals [OH, AND NETFLIX!]

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!! Two months in a row - this is a record (at least in the new incarnation of my blog where I've been lucky to update every 2 months ;) ). Maybe it's a sign that things are picking up and I'm finding a bit more balance? Ha. One can only hope!

I'm now reading Book #6 of Poldark, which means I have finished Book #5 (the only Sept book finished so far!). Naturally my review is going to be about Book #5.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any more dramatic and shocking... This is what I wrote the very night I finished this read:

"I shouldn't have finished this book tonight because how am I going to sleep?!? Many emotions are swirling around... but mostly sadness and, the main one, FURY! I had no idea I would end up abhorring three different characters in this one book. George Warleggan, damn you to hell. But not before you get damned, most putrid Whitworth. You are the scummiest scum the pond ever saw. Oh, and Elizabeth. Congrats, lady, you finally made my sh*t list.

     Heartbreaking end to this book in so many ways. I must read on fast to get some good news to make up for this!"

This is the blurb from GoodReads:
"Cornwall 1794. The birth of a son to Elizabeth and George Warleggan serves only to accentuate the rift between the Poldark and Warleggan families. And when Morwenna Chynoweth, now governess to Elizabeth's eldest son, grows to love Drake Carne, Demelza's brother, the enduring rivalry between George and Ross finds a new focus for bitter enmity and conflict."

Currently Reading: Winston Graham's The Four Swans (Poldark, #6)

I do. But nothing's happening with them! Therefore, nothing to see here. Moving along.

NETFLIX list: September Edition ~

I thought I'd add one little "segment" to this post, because I have been spending my time watching some shows on Netflix - quite a few shows, actually. I know, I know, this is not creatively productive. But at least I'm somehow involved in something creative, even if it is as a spectator at this time. ;)

Soooo, these are some of my favourites watched on Netflix lately (some I'm still in the midst of watching):

I got particularly addicted to The Good Wife and have watched all seven seasons. It was so hard to say goodbye, wahhhhh. But I really loved how they did the last episode, with "he who shall not be named (due to spoilers)" returning for that episode. This definitely wasn't a "happy" series, but it was excellent and despite the criticisms of the last one or two seasons, I think they did it very well. I was sort of hoping for a really bleak outcome for one of the main characters, though - guess I'm a bit twisted that way.

Oh, and Marcella?? Eight episodes of pure genius, and my heart practically stopped in that very last scene. Wonderful show.

Friday, 26 August 2016

[AUGUST UPDATE] Cephalopod Book Club & Goals

Once again it's been two months since my last update. I'm okay with that. I have to be. ;)

Last time I talked about a book I'd read, I mentioned the first in the Poldark series. I'm now on book five, which was written a long time after the first four novels. So far in August I've only finished one book, so I will have to discuss book #4 of the Poldark series.

This is the most controversial of the books to date, and you'll have to read and find out why. It's the book where we learn that Ross is far from perfect, and in my case, the book where Ross made me incredibly angry. The popular statement people seem to make while reading Warleggan is: "Ross, how could you!!"

It's good to read about imperfect characters - we know Demelza is imperfect and we have known from previous novels that Ross is as well. The two are in a frequent state of misunderstanding each other, and with some of the more heartbreaking things that have happened to them so far, the misunderstandings only grow deeper. The way this novel ended was heartening, however it's a fact that things will never be the same again. In so many ways during this and the previous novel, the damage has been irrevocably done.

The character of Elizabeth gets a bad wrap - yes, she's never been willing to let Ross go, but it's not her fault that he refuses to let go of her either. There is controversy due to the fact that many readers truly hate Elizabeth and seem to want to blame her for the ongoing attachment. But truly, it takes two to tango, so to speak. All in all I found this book to be super compelling and to me, the true hero(ine) of the story is Demelza. What a legendary character!

This is the blurb from GoodReads:
"Ross Poldark plunges into a speculative mining venture which threatens his financial security and his stormy marriage to Demelza. When the old attraction between Ross and Elizabeth begins to rekindle itself, Demelza retaliates by becoming dangerously involved with a Scottish cavalry officer."

Currently Reading: Winston Graham's The Black Moon (Poldark, #5)

Last time I had a relatively bleak update. Same this time. I'm keeping up with my reading, though this semester my studies are really trying to mess with that. I've also done a bit more work on my music, but not nearly as much as I wish I had (due to studies). I'm nearly at the point where I've got another song finished, I just need to work a bit more on the backing vocals. Then I can send the GB file to my bandmate for mixing, etc.

I think this year may be filled with disappointments when it comes to most of my goals - except the reading one! I'm doing better than I expected at the start of the year in that regard.

Friday, 24 June 2016

[JUNE UPDATE] Cephalopod Book Club & Goals

Updating every 2 months...well, it's better than never updating at all, right?!?!

~ The Cephalopod Coffeehouse Book Club : June Edition ~

I don't think I had heard about the Poldark series (which consists of 11 books or something!) prior to seeing this book for 50% off on Book Depository in the "bargain bin" section. Apparently my mum is familiar with a miniseries from years ago that was on telly, but I haven't seen either series (there are 2 apparently) myself. Reading the description of this book though, I decided I must buy it, and not just because it was at its bargain price.

This is the blurb from GoodReads:

"Cornwall in the 1780s - when powerful forces of revolution and reaction are at large in the world.
Tired from a grim war in America, Ross Poldark returns to his land and his family. But the joyful homecoming he has anticipated turns sour, for his father is dead, his estate is derelict and the girl he loves is engaged to his cousin.
But his sympathy for the destitute miners and farmers of the district leads him to rescue a half-starved urchin girl from a fairground brawl and take her home - an act which alters the whole course of his life..."

So I bought the book, as well as books 2 & 3, and started reading. I was delighted by what I read. This book made me laugh and also made me swoon. The supporting characters are a great strength of this book, though of course Ross and Demelza provided more than enough intrigue to keep me hooked. But I love the quirkiness of the supporting characters, like Prudie and her "craw'ers" (lice), and Jud and his "tedn right, tedn fair, tedn British" (to paraphrase).

Just from reading book #1, and what little I've read of book #2 so far, I'd definitely recommend this series.

Currently Reading: Winston Graham's Demelza (Poldark, #2)

Ugggghhhh, not this again.

The only updates I really have are that I'm doing well with my reading goal...and I paid for some of the chosen artwork for Woody's A Girl's next album, titled OBLIVION, which has an outer space theme (both my bandmate and I are in love with the awesome artwork by this artist named April - you can view this artwork HERE.

I hope to get at least one more song done and sent to Billy this evening. So there's that...

Friday, 29 April 2016

[APRIL UPDATE] Cephalopod Book Club & Goals

I'm still alive, I swear! (see? here I am)

~ The Cephalopod Coffeehouse Book Club : April Edition ~

This series was recommended by a friend, who said she devoured them over a short week-long stay in a holiday resort. I was quite eager to get started on book #1, as a result.

It's been quite a wait between finishing this book and writing up the review. So I'm not entirely clear on what I was feeling when I did finish it. I do know that at the time, the next two books in the series had not yet arrived at my place from Book Depository, so I had to read something else in the meantime. I'm still reading that "something else" (book #3 in a trilogy), but soon I'll be ready to jump into the next book in the Selection series.

Back on point, perhaps? I did enjoy this read, however I'm not the biggest fan of love triangles, so I guess I was maybe bordering on 'bored' when it came to America and her lurve woes. It doesn't help that I'm not particularly sold on either America's love from back home, or the Prince. I don't seem to have any feels either way. So maybe I need to read on, and figure out whose team I'm on!

The writing was good and I did find myself gripped (a little bit) by the bitchy drama of a post-apocalyptic reality show. But you might say I wasn't totally enthralled and engrossed. I think one thing that might be bothering me slightly is that there doesn't seem to be much romantic struggle for America, except that she is into two guys and they're both into her (woe is her). Anyway, maybe book #2 is what it will take to get me really sucked in. Time will tell!

Since this was the only book I finished during April so far (except for two re-reads that don't count, according to my rules), I had to choose this book.

Currently Reading: Rachel Hawkins's Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3)

DO I HAVE GOALS? Why yes, I do. But most of them aren't going anywhere. :(

I feel like it's all I can do to get my study done, get my work week done, and feed all the cats (and myself too). This may be why I haven't posted anything since Feb, and missed last month's update. Sorry, booo.

Anyway, I did achieve ONE thing since I last updated. I sent off not one, not two, not three, but SIX songs to my bandmate, considering them "finished" and ready for the final mixes and so on. In truth, I hardly ever consider a song finished, and I am hardly ever happy with the final take I send off to my bandmate. Thankfully he knows how to make them sound epic, and we also pay to get them professionally mastered, which makes them sound mindblowingly awesome (by comparison). So there's that. But being a perfectionist, it can be hard to admit defeat and send off a song "as is".

In one case, I told my bandmate that I couldn't imagine being able to improve on what I had already done, even though I wasn't particularly happy with what I had done. And one of the songs I like the vocals for least, he considers one of his favourites. So I guess it's a matter of opinion! That one I haven't yet sent off to him.

SO, that's where I'm at with my goals. Don't even ask about my novels.

I hope you're all doing well. :)

P.S. Well done to anyone who's got through the A to Z!
Most years I have participated, but no way was it happening this year.
I admire everyone who has done it this year. :)
I'm gonna have to go and visit some blogs!

P.P.S. Our new album is tentatively titled "Oblivion".
We both came up with the same idea separately,
so I feel like it's meant to be!

Friday, 26 February 2016

[FEB UPDATE] Cephalopod Book Club & Goals

I'm on time this time!! Woo!

~ The Cephalopod Coffeehouse Book Club : February Edition ~

This is definitely one of my fave books read in the last few years - which was a surprise, because I'm not religious, so not particularly into the romantic notion of angels, etc. However, these angels weren't romantic - they were jerks!

After reading Book #1, I wasn't entirely sure whether Raffe was a jerk or not, because what did he really think of the invasion of the angels? We didn't have much insight into his opinion by the end of this book - he always went silent whenever Penryn showed any distress over the state of the world she once lived in, a world largely destroyed by angels.

I quickly moved on to reading Book #2, and I enjoyed it as well. I did notice some unflattering reviews of Books #2 and particularly #3. And I have since read them both - thankfully I enjoyed them all. I must say though, that of all the books, Book #1 was the most incredible - fast-paced, action-packed, horrifying, and all in all a real page-turner. Generally, any book that makes me feel compelled to keep reading it, is a winner.

Currently Reading: Sarah Maas's Throne of Glass

Last time I posted about my goals, I mentioned that I was working on preliminary edits for ON THE OUTSIDE. Since then, I have updated my blog mentioning that I cut out a large number of words from Chapter 1, a very troublesome chapter (same old story). Well, I haven't done much since then. I've been grappling with the other things in my life, and the editing as fallen away. However, I still have the burning desire to keep going with it.

My studies began this week, so I have to factor them in (which I'm not doing too well at so far). I'm also still busy with kitty rescue stuff, but am trying to pull back from that a little. It so happens it's the busiest time of year for Aussie cat rescues, with lots of kittens being born during the summer months, and lots of people going on holiday and dumping their cats at the pound as they were too disorganised to find / pay for holiday care well ahead of time. We are all eager for this year's "kitten season" to end, though many in rescue say that kitten season never really ends.

So with all that, the editing has fallen away again. But I hope to at least get a little bit of it done this weekend. I'm still pleased about cutting out 8 pages of Chapter 1, though, even if I do have to add some of it back in for the remains to make sense.

Friday, 12 February 2016

First chapter update

Thank you to everyone who left a note on my IWSG post - it's great to get thoughts / encouragement from this awesome bloggy-writey community when working on a writing project. That's another thing I've been missing during my "I can't bring myself to write one single word or edit one single sentence" slump of the last few ... years.

I wanted to give a quick update on how Chapter 1 of ON THE OUTSIDE is shaping up. I haven't done much work on it, except that I cut a significant portion of the chapter - the first 8 pages, to be precise. I know I'm going to have to take a few snippets from those 8 pages and stick them somewhere in the remainder, because otherwise things aren't making sense. But I feel really good about the new point I've chosen to start the story at.

I really appreciate the offers from you guys to beta read my chapter for me. I am actually wondering if it might be a good idea to tidy up this new version of Chapter 1, then send both versions along to some betas & see what they think of the "before" and "after". But I wouldn't want to get anyone bogged down in 8 useless pages of writing bloat. :) Still, you could skim read!

Anyway...I'll post another update sometime soon. It feels SO GOOD to be motivated and actually doing something significant to one of my novels, again.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

IWSG #18 - First chapter editing

It's IWSG day, so I thought I'd edit this and include the badge. I think my post fits the overall "insecure" theme, because I know often first chapters can be the most challenging in novels, and the most demoralising. In my case, I almost always have to edit the crap out of them to make them passable. But it can take a while for me to get to the point of being daring enough to take big steps.

* * *

Last time I posted, I mentioned that I had switched editing projects. I mistakenly said I was working on LOST & FOUND, when in fact I'm working on ON THE OUTSIDE. Maybe this goes to show that I have a stupid amount of novels to choose from when it comes to editing, and easily get confused between them all? ;)

Anyway, yes, I'm editing ON THE OUTSIDE. I sort of jump around a bit when editing, as there are so many bits I have wanted to edit, for so long (same with all my novels). This is the result of many skims / reads of the novel draft on my Kindle, where I put all drafts for convenient reading. But the bit that most troubles me about this novel appears to be the first chapter. It's a little bloated and boring, and I've already cut a bit out of it. But the other day I was thinking maybe I should just totally condense it down, and start off with the main point of the chapter - Livia (formerly named Nora...but it was too confusing having a Nora and her best friend Nina) is about to be abandoned by her bestie. Instead of a chapter that wafts around, slowly getting to the point, why not get straight to the point?

It's funny how editing can work - sometimes you'll tweak a chapter over and over, rewrite sentences, chop out a word here & there. And then one night when you're trying to get to sleep, you'll stare into the dark and wonder if maybe you shouldn't just chop out most of the pages in that first chapter. Your chapter is feeling bloated, it's suffocating you, and it's in severe need of a good hacking.

Well, that's what happened to me the other night. I haven't got my axe out yet, but I will be reading the chapter and considering how best to wield that axe.

It feels good to be in editing mode again.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

[JAN UPDATE] Cephalopod Book Club & Goals

I am posting this a day late, but I really wanted to post it because I think the last time I posted one of these was in October last year!! I want to be better at keeping up with the few blog hops I actually still participate in, in 2016.

~ The Cephalopod Coffeehouse Book Club : January Edition ~

I wasn't really sure what to expect from this read, but what I got was something different to what I sort of-maybe-kinda expected. It was a really enjoyable and engrossing read, even though I sometimes don't like books that skip around a lot with time, which this did.

What I found impressive about this book was that I was interested in every character I was reading about, which when there are a lot of characters in a book, sometimes fails to happen. I found the whole story haunting but beautifully written. As I read along, I was constantly wondering who would survive and who wouldn't. The story managed to frequently surprise me, too.

It really made me think about all the things in this world we all take for granted, like electricity, planes flying in the air, etc. Imagine if all that went away!

Currently Reading: Susan Ee's Angelfall

Oh, gosh. Do I have goals? Last time I wrote about this, I was working on SUNDOWN III. Slowly, but still, I was working on it! Since then, I wrote 50k during NaNo, we had Christmas, I went to hospital with a cat bite, and I've now gone back to work.

I'm no longer working on SUNDOWN III. Yep, once again I've abandoned an editing project only to move onto another one. I am now looking at ON THE OUTSIDE. I want to try to get large edits done (this involves rewriting some scenes, removing other scenes, and general polishing).

I've also done a bit of recording for my next album, which my bandmate Billy is now back at work on, making new sounds and tweaking old ones like a madman. We have all the songs done in terms of music, but he has redone a few guitar parts and most of the drums, and has a bit more to do. It's largely up to me to get on with vocals. Some of the songs I'm already happy with, and others not so much. Some are only in rough 'draft' form.

So those are my two major goals at this time. Getting vocals done for "WAG Album #2" as I refer to it, and getting major editing stuff done for ON THE OUTSIDE.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

IWSG #17 - I need a day / week / month / year plan

I feel like it's been a while since I posted for ISWG - and it has! The last time was in early November. So I'm back to kick off a new year, and I hope I will remember to post each month for IWSG this year. However, I'm not really feeling all that positive about my chances of meeting every goal I want to meet in 2016.

I have been accepted into a course of study at the university I work at, which should be good professionally, but which has me nervous because I haven't studied (in a proper university course) since 2006, and if I'm honest, I don't miss having homework. ;) So I'm not sure how I'll go, but I am determined to get as much out of the opportunity as I can.

My tentative plan is to do up a chart that I have to tick tasks off of each day. I thought I could use stickers, like shiny stars or something, as motivation - because dumbly enough that would actually motivate me! This chart would cover everything from eating the right foods (2 fruit & 5 veg, right? or something), doing my daily stretches to prevent my spine from fusing into one long column, fitting in study time, and fitting in creative work.

This plan isn't in place yet, so currently I am feeling insecure in my capacity to manage everything - my diet and general wellbeing, my up and coming studies, my kitty rescue work, and ... what's that other thing I like to do? Oh yeah, creative stuff! This includes creating music, creating stories, and creating art. Most of which I am not working on at all.

Wish me luck in getting a good routine going!

I hope you are all feeling very secure today. :)

Monday, 4 January 2016

Hello, new year!

I kept meaning to post something during December, but I never got around to it! For my family and I, the last part of 2015 really wasn't too great - we had too many funerals to attend between us, and lost too many family members / friends. We are all glad to see the back of 2015, and hope that 2016 will be a lot brighter!

In the meantime, I didn't really achieve many of my goals last year, but I did manage to achieve my GoodReads goal for the year! Here is my widget:

2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Trisha has read 0 books toward her goal of 42 books.

So I was glad to at least achieve one thing, even if it was tough at times. In 2016 I will also be setting myself a reading goal, but it's going to be much smaller than last year's. I will be undertaking some study during this year, and will need to use much of my spare time for that. I'm going to miss reading voraciously, but I at least hope to read a few books this year. I've also moved to the 'dark side' (or rather, the only side there really should be when it comes to reading!) and from now on I intend to not pursue any book I'm reading that I can't stand, or that is hard work to get through. So I have created a new shelf on GoodReads, "did not finish", and will just put any books I am not very into on that shelf. As people have said to me many times, "Life is too short!"

I did achieve some other things last year, but not as much as I would have liked. However, things will be changing around here - I need to strike a balance in my life, between work, volunteering with my rescue group, and having time for me / my creative pursuits.

I'm hoping 2016 will be the year I start to get more of a balance.

Happy New Year everyone!