Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Blech. Had to have a Nana nap on Christmas afternoon because she kept filling my glass. Ah, yes: blame someone else. I didn't have to drink it all (yes, I did).
I didn't have to eat all that I did; left overs are fine (yeah, right). Or stayed up late watching LOTR EE (uh huh - you're on holidays aren't you?).
Needless to say, I've taken a bit of a beating - but, I slept well, unlike the weeks leading up to these festivities.
The espresso machine has also taken a bit of a beating as I work out how to use it. It makes fabulous coffee and I'm eager to go on the coffee course offered by a local business. It doesn't start until February, but I'll be off contract and free to indulge.
Then came post-Christmas. The Sales. (Breath, now, come on, you can do it.) And gave my cards an absolute flogging. Good thing tomorrow's payday. But for now, I have a couple of sets of new sheets, some software for the computer, a new one gig thumb-drive, a cast iron griddle pan and other stuff. This is the first year in a long time I've actually had not only the money, but the time and inclination to fight the screaming hordes searching for a bargain.
Actually, it was all quite civilised, until tired, grumpy people started to go home. Damn. There are some truly obnoxious drivers out there; oh, and stupid, too. Just watching them zip into narrow spaces between cars without looking, made me shake my head.
Tis the season though. Now, I'm off to play with the new camera. Oh. I didn't mention that? Um, well, I gotta work out how it functions, and if it doesn't do what I mean it to do (as opposed to what I've told it to do), then..... I'll read the instructions!
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Still, it's worth it. For the next couple of days there's going to be drinking and merriment. Of course, there are also going to be two Pagans and two Christians in the house. The best way to avoid conflict, is not to mention this. That's not to say either side - and there are sides (anyone who doesn't think so, doesn't know history) - is apt to compromise on their beliefs and nor should they.
It's simply a matter of shifting the Yule celebration to Sunday night, with blessings on the Solstice and a prayer on the Monday. And remembering that: no matter what your beliefs, this is a time for reflection, for patience and for tolerance. It is not a time to be disappointed, depressed, pissed off or any other negative feeling. Be grateful for the gift, be thankful you live in a wonderful, beautiful world and that things will improve - the world is a better place for your being in it, be patient with those who seek to provoke you and above all, find the place within that gives you peace.
What doesn't change is the trashing of the prezzos! And I'm lookin' forward to it. I'm not one of those 'adults' who know exactly what they're getting. Oh, no, I like surprises and I love fondling gifts. I make no excuse for it; that's just me staying in touch with my inner child.
Oh, yes, I'm cooking too; new recipes. Dangerous, yes, but success or... less than perfect, it's my treat to myself. I have the time, the inclination and the need to do something special for those I love without question. What could be better?
(Okay, a masseur called Sven, a couple of buff cabana boys and cool weather, but I'll survive without them - someone else's need is greater than mine.)
To all, I wish you the best of the Festive Season, no matter what your belief system.
Oh, and just to irritate you: Thanks!
Friday, December 22, 2006
| My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is: |
Lady Madame Jaye the Splendid of Middle Witchampton
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title
And for Christmas, this is what I'm getting:
|For the twelve days of Christmas, your true love will send you:|
Twelve robots drumming
Eleven carolers a-caroling
Ten elves a-leaping
Nine ladies knitting
Eight sheep a-milking
Seven rumballs a-drunkening
Six drunks a-drinking
Five golden toe rings
Four calling bill collectors
Three French berets
Two stale fruit cakes
And a owl in a pine tree
Except I'm a Pagan and I don't have a true love!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
You are Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
|Honest and a defender of the innocent.|
You sometimes make mistakes in judgment
but you are generally good and
would protect your crew from harm.
Click here to take the Serenity Personality Quiz
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
Prior to the loss last year, Australia had held the tiny trophy for eighteen years; we consider it ours, yet the true trophy remains in English hands. We have a replica.
Our Sheik of Tweak, the King of Spin, Shane Warne, is one wicket short of the 700 mark. He'll be the first cricketer ever to take that many test wickets when he takes the ball in hand in Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test. And when he does, it will reverberate around the cricket world.
Elsewhere, like most Manchester United fans, I was shocked, shocked, I tell you, at their 1-0 loss to West Ham. I still can't believe it. I shall grieve if the Red Devils lose the trophy over this.
Happily, the Dallas Cowboys dumped on the Atlanta Falcons. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the game; maybe my 'boys can go all the way to the Superbowl on Feb 4. Of course the favourites at this stage have to be the Chicago Bears and San Diego Chargers at 12 wins and 2 losses where the Cowboys are 9-5.
Sigh. I love my sport...
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Finishing up: Solstice preparations and Christmas preparations for those who celebrate the festivities. Prezzies are bought wrapped and under the tree, food is purchased, but some I need to pick up next weekend. Getting through the TBR pile, though I'm doubting I'll finish it all. Never mind, I'll have some to start off the new list. Sweeping out the 'old', too, and trying to be more organised for the New Year; that's not a 'resolution', simply a practicality. For Feng Shui purposes, it's also good luck to have cleared spaces to live, work and sleep in.
Winding up: to celebrate the Solstice next week. Got the fruits and nuts and blessings done. No parties though, this year it's a private celebration for my own good fortunes of friends and family. Preparing for a big edit month in January and website upgrade with more samples of work. Visitors are turning up after the 25th and 1st of January so it will be busy time. I'll also be in the last month of my contract and trying to get as much work done as possible to ease the transition.
Got plenty of party invites, too; all but one I've declined. I don't sing the carols, they're Christian, and I'd rather not explain to the hardline religious types that I'm Pagan, not Christian - I get strange or aggressive looks, as if I'm a filthy heathen witch in need of savin' or burnin'. Nup, it's the other way around, but that's an argument for a later time.
So, one lunch, for the admin staff without the trappings of Yulle; one I'm happy to attend, rather than be required to because my area bought and served the food to the local indigenous community. (Not a word of thanks from those we hosted it for, either, but I understand their motivations even if they, as individuals, don't.)
The week between Christmas and New Year, we have a shut down at work, and I so need the week off. I need to be away from the people and personalities I have to deal with. My equanamity and patience are running dry and I need to recharge before I do or say something that will cause the Karma Fairy to dump all over me. Five days. That's all. Five long days and then I can toast Mother Earth and Father Sky, ask for the Blessings of the new season. Sigh. I have patience yet, and then I can enjoy myself.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Tuesday was the Christmas party for the community; had to go and collect all the food for a five o'clock start, then cut the bread rolls - 250 in all; then had to serve the people. Didn't finish until after 7pm and that made for a twelve hour day, sans overtime.
Yesterday, I had to start a monster database of residences and other stuff for budget purposes that has to be done by next week, on top of everything else I do. I'm making it nicely coloured.
Today was court. Yep, we were dealing with a large list of miscreants; I've still got to read some electricity meters, work on the above database and finish the court documents - though they might wait until tomorrow. It depends on when and if my colleagues come back from the Christmas lunch organised for the bosses and court staff. Someone had to mind the store, so I'm here on my lonesome and starting to feel a little beleagued. (Bloody customers!)
We had hoped that with Christmas so soon, things would ease off, instead it's been like a madhouse around here. I don't suppose tomorrow will be any better.
Damn, there's another one! Don't these people know I'm on the 'net?
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I suppose it is the season, but I sure hope that it eases off soon.
Out there in blog land, the shite is hitting the fan over a number of things:
Holly Lisle has got herself into a pissing match with those less than mature commentators at Dear Author. Holly's right in this fight; being misrepresented, misinterpreted and misquoted is a serious thing, but not, in this instance, worth legal action. Just say 'sorry', for Pete's Sake!
Smart Bitches are having a discussion on plagiarism. The question on everyone's lips is why is it the victim who gets slammed in the media for accusing the plagiarist. It's worthwhile, so go have a read.
Tess Gerritsen is having some confidence issues. If you think eventually the nerves will go away, think again. J A Konrath has some pointers on that which may help.
Vanessa Jaye has an interesting post called Beancounters Rule the World, and ain't it the truth!
On a more positive note, Paperback Writer and Alison Kent and the Writeminded Writers are hosting give aways for Christmas. There are other competitions out there as well, if you have the time and energy to find them... which I don't, at the moment.
Ah... the internet. It so full of life and people and problems and hope and happiness and generosity and snarkiness and the list goes on. No wonder people are addicted...
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Two super fire cells are burning out of control in the Gippsland area of Victoria. That is 650 kilometres away. The ferocity of the fires can be seen from satellites and we, here on the coast of New South Wales, have had some spectacular sunsets with a blood-red sun and haze.
Melbourne, too, has felt the effects with a thick pall over the city. Ninety fire alarms have gone off in office buildings due to the smoke. Then there those who suffer from respiratory illness who are feeling the effects.
To the north, it looks like the Wet season has arrived. Last year, it didn't turn up until mid-January and was fairly weak. This is early arrival is good news. With the heat engine churning away, that moisture is dragged down through central Oz to the lower south-east and results in rain, rain, glorious rain. Of course, it's also accompanied by a lot of dry storms, lightening strikes and more fires for the dust dry forests and grasslands.
Is it a result of global warming? Partially. It's also a part of the El Nino effect and a twenty-thirty year weather cycle which most people are either unaware of, or ignore. You always hear about records. "It hasn't been this dry since..."; "it hasn't been this hot since..."; "we haven't had a fire season like this since..."
What all this means is that we're in for another diabolical season; and like the hurricane seasons of North America, people should get their act and their emergency kits together.
Clear the gutters and any debris from around the house;
Make sure you know where your hoses are and that they are in good condition;
If you're staying to defend:
Close all windows and doors;
Fill buckets and bathtubs and soak towels in them;
Have an escape route;
Be aware of the weather conditions and where the fire service is;
Wear protective clothing - it might be hot, but shorts, t-shirt and thongs will not protect you against embers.
When ordered to leave: do so; a house can be rebuilt, people cannot.
Once the fire is gone, make sure you have your kit: a radio, spare batteries, first aid kit, food, small stove, water bottles, blankets, torch, also with spare batteries, toilet paper. If the power goes out, you'll need to be aware of how long it will take to be fixed.
For us a couple of Christmases ago, it was five days, so be prepared, but stay safe.
Friday, December 08, 2006
So, I'm a minion. I file, I build databases, I help customers by taking their money (I'm generous like that, you know), I do financial reconciliations... I do minion work. And I'm doing it in an absolutely stunning area, the National Park where I grew up. I know a lot of the people who live here, went to school with them, played and fought with them, grieved when their folks died. It's a kind of spiritual home to me; where I had some of the most happiest times of my life.
Minions, unfortunately, are also expendable and so I've been told that there ain't no more money for contractors; it's all about staffing levels - regardless of work loads - and I am superfluous, as of the end of January.
I'm fortunate in that a number of my bosses up the chain of command are unhappy with that proposal and are working to change the bean-counters minds. Whether they'll be successful or not, I don't know.
I can only hold on to the idea that when one door closes, another opens. I don't want to leave, to be forced to go, but it looks like that's going to happen.
Sometimes, the Fates force us to accept changes. I understand that, but Hell, why couldn't the big boss mention this after the Solstice? Merry fucking Christmas, ma'am.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Australia piled on the runs to be 38 behind and it simply broke the Poms hearts. After a terrific start to their second innings, they went from 1/69 to be all out for 129, leaving Ponting's men 168 runs to get in three hours to claim the test.
Yep, they swung the willow and won the test match with six wickets to spare!
Gotta love the ruthlessness of the Aussies, but I do feel for the English; they did everything right in their first innings, but let the home side back into the game.
Next up, Perth. The English have to win there; if not, the Ashes return to Australia - and I can't be unhappy about that!
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I don't know whether this is a scare campaign or a reality check. I suspect both. It's a hard job we do, made worse by the amalgamation of the big publishing houses who care little for the struggles of an author's private existence, and more about the bottom line.
The thing is, eventually that line is going to break because the publishing houses did not nurture the up and coming writers and those writers are with small, independent publishers who do care.
The future may well be via online orders and print-on-demand. Agents may well shift their focus to POD. After all, there have been some spectacular disasters recently in the publishing world where those houses have lost buckets of money. I don't blame them for being shy about taking a chance on a new author, given the large advances waved around, but that's what you get when accountants run the show rather than those who actually read the manuscripts and are in touch with what's selling (as opposed to what we should be reading because the publishing houses say so).
If those large houses don't want to upgrade their writers stock, those authors determined enough will find an outlet: smaller printing presses who have a large presence on the Internet and through viral advertising. Let's not forget word of mouth - also courtesy of the Internet - that can boosts sales. There's a lot of free advertising out there, and it's growing.
Writers have always had to work hard to get their books out there and known, like JA Konrath's epic journey. But people, nothing has changed - we're simply more aware of the problems. We're creative writers, it's up to us to find creative solutions.
We will survive (yeah, yeah, a great name for a song); the public will always want their fiction, the difference may be the format in which we deliver it.
Now, then, enough ranting. Check this out and win yourself something for the Solstice, Christmas, End of The Year, whatever.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Nano might be over, but the work and the imagination goes on. I have another book in the works and I'm thinking about how it all fits together, thinking on the major weakness my protag must have. It will come to me, as will the title... eventually.
I had planned to take more time off, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.
Coming up is putting excerpts of my books onto the web page - and to try and tidy it up - looks like shit at the moment.
Now that November is over, I've posted another story over at The Takeaway. It's the story from where Demonesque and Day Strider came, so head on over and have a read.
Next week, I'll be posting another story, since none went up in November. I'll have to hunt up something entirely different. Hmm... and I have just the one.
Friday, December 01, 2006
No more frantic writing to reach the daily word counts, no more excuses for not making it, no more worrying if you've got a double superlative or your particples are dangling, whether you need to put in a gratuitous sex/action scene to make up the numbers... until next year, anyway.
For me, well, I'm just as relieved. I get just as manic to write as much as I can; I planned weekends around it, put off housework, the garden, proper meals, sleep, to reach my impossible target of three books. But. I did it.
NaNo to me isn't about making the 50,000 words - I knew I could do it and it's not, by my definition, a book. So I set my own challenge: a challenge that would not be easy to accomplish. I managed it with three days to spare. (Sook that I am, I stopped once my reward turned up instead of diving into the editing phase.)
Here, then, are the stats:
Thirty available writing days (used 27): 186682 total word count; average of 6022 per day over 30 days (6667 over 27); four 10k+ days, three 9k days, one 8k day, eight 7k days, two 6k days, three 5k days, three 4k days, four 3k days and the rest are zero days. Highest daily count: 10463, lowest: 3264. Page count: 794 (double spaced) 379 (single spaced).
Other stats like scenes - and their type, chapters, characters will have to wait for editing. And, do you know what? I'm not going to do that until January. I'm taking a time out to work on other stuff; let the books settle (not that I can remember much of what I've written!) then I'll savage them all, turn them into somethng readable.
For now, thank the Goddess that's over!
Thursday, November 30, 2006
From the moment the first convict set foot on this land, sent here by a British penal system overloaded with prisoners, the rivalry between the two nations began.
Australia was the dumping ground for all sorts of convicts, from those who stole bread in an effort to feed the family of Industrial England to prostitutes, con men/women, fraudsters, minor criminals. A good number of them were ex-soldiers, convicted of mutiny, desertion and insubordination. A lot of the Irish, however, were political prisoners.
Needless to say, a lot of Australians are descended from these people, and are proud of it; kind of like Mayflower descendents - though for different reasons.
A lot of piss and vinegar has been thrown backwards and forwards, most of it name calling. We call them 'Poms, bloody Poms and whinging Poms'; they call us 'convicts, sheep-shaggers and skips (short for Skippy the Bush Kangaroo). It's usually good natured, in the same way we call the French 'frogs', Americans 'yanks', Japanese 'nips' and New Zealanders 'kiwis' just to name a few.
It's an Australian thing to find a nickname appropriate to culture, social status, sporting team or person.
Now, though, there is the BPARD; the British People Against Racial Discrimination who are trying to get a beer ad banned because it views the phrase 'cold enough to scare a Pom' as a racial slur.
The story quotes BPARD spokesman David Thomason as saying: "The Oxford Dictionary classes Pom as being derogatory just like wog, wop, dink, dago, coon and abo, it's every bit as bad as the term nigger."
As far as I know, the term ‘nigger’ was representative of a culture of slavery and oppression that the British have never suffered at the hands of Australians, quite the reverse given the origins of Australians.
But comparing being called a 'pom' - a term of affection - to something as repulsive as 'nigger'?
BPARD should suck it up and move on. The word ain't going away as longs as there is an Aussie who knows this country's history and why we call 'em 'whinging Poms'. Perhaps we'll now call the stuffed shirts of BPARD 'Girls' Blouse Poms'.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
It's a terrific read in the Darkyn series, but it comes with two bonuses: The first is an extract from Night Lost due out May 2007 and the second is an extract from A Plague of Memory, the next eagerly awaited Stardoc novel, due in January 2007.
Midnight Blues is the tale of Detective Adam Raphael Suarez, a Darkyn, and a nun, plus the evil, psychotic and twisted Darkyn who wants them both for his sick games. It's a quick read, but no less satisfying. It fits neatly into the Darkyn world and the best part is that it has a slight coninuation of Dark Need, the current book in the series.
Go, read it! And, as a final plug, read some of the other entrants in PBW's Challenge, there is something there for everyone and they are all FREE!
Monday, November 27, 2006
Muslim outrage huh. OK ... let's do a little historical review. Just some low lights:
• Muslims fly commercial airliners into buildings in New York City. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslim officials block the exit where school girls are trying to escape a burning building because their faces were exposed. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims cut off the heads of three teenaged girls on their way to school in Indonesia. A Christian school. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims murder teachers trying to teach Muslim children in Iraq. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims murder over 80 tourists with car bombs outside cafes and hotels in Egypt. No Muslim outrage.
• A Muslim attacks a missionary children's school in India. Kill six. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims slaughter hundreds of children and teachers in Beslan, Russia. Muslims shoot children in the back. No Muslim outrage.
• Let's go way back. Muslims kidnap and kill athletes at the Munich Summer Olympics. No Muslim outrage.
* Muslims fire rocket-propelled grenades into schools full of children in Israel. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims murder more than 50 commuters in attacks on London subways and buses. Over 700 are injured. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims massacre dozens of innocents at a Passover Seder. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims murder innocent vacationers in Bali. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslim newspapers publish anti-Semitic cartoons. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims are involved, on one side or the other, in almost every one of the 125+ shooting wars around the world. No Muslim outrage.
• Muslims beat the charred bodies of Western civilians with their shoes, then hang them from a bridge. No Muslim outrage.
• Newspapers in Denmark and Norway publish cartoons depicting Mohammed. Muslims are outraged.
Dead children. Dead tourists. Dead teachers. Dead doctors and nurses. Death, destruction and mayhem around the world at the hands of Muslims ... no Muslim outrage ... but publish a cartoon depicting Mohammed with a bomb in his turban and all hell breaks loose.
Come on, is this really about cartoons? They're rampaging and burning flags. They're looking for Europeans to kidnap. They're threatening innkeepers and generally raising holy Muslim hell not because of any outrage over a cartoon. They're outraged because it is part of the Islamic jihadist culture to be outraged. You don't really need a reason. You just need an excuse. Wandering around, destroying property, murdering children, firing guns into the air and feigning outrage over the slightest perceived insult is to a jihadist what tailgating is to a Steeler's fan.
I know and understand that these bloodthirsty murderers do not represent the majority of the world's Muslims. When, though, do they become outraged? When do they take to the streets to express their outrage at the radicals who are making their religion the object of worldwide hatred and ridicule? Islamic writer Salman Rushdie wrote of these silent Muslims in a New York Times article three years ago. "As their ancient, deeply civilized culture of love, art and philosophical reflection is hijacked by paranoiacs, racists, liars, male supremacists, tyrants, fanatics and violence junkies, why are they not screaming?"
Indeed. Why not?
It just about says it all really, except that for evil to triumph, good men need only do nothing.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Still, five days to go and I'm powering along nicely. I'm still wondering whether I'll get to my own personal goal; it matters not if I don't make it, of course, but it would be nice to wake up on Friday morning and think, 'hey, I wrote three books in a month, how about that' then go back to sleep.
Hah! It'll be more like, 'thank the Goddess that's over with, now get your sorry butt outta bed and to work!'. I should have planned for a nice day off, but no, I didn't.
My rewards have yet to turn up, but I'm hoping they will next week so I can spend the weekend catching up and indulging myself. The lawn needs mowing, I need a hair cut, the house work needs doing... and a list of neglected chores as long as my arm.
No wonder my eye's a'twitchin'
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Of course, I don't really have that luxury if I want to make my target.
There would be no shame if I missed the goal, I've done really well in this challenge and late in Nano, I begin to wonder if it's all been worth it, why I do this to myself, and why don't I take a damned day off?
The answers are: yes, because I can't resist a challenge, and if I want to become a professional at this, and I'm going to come up against almost impossible deadlines.
Today hasn't been a complete loss. I've done nigh on 3,000 words and managed to read some of the free e-books from PBW's Challenge. Reading those works have left me a little shy about my own work, because the ones I've read are so damned good. Risque, adult, intriguing and wanting more.
There is one I've hesitated at reading: I'm not a fan of Christian inspirationals. However, I made a promise to read them all and so I will. If it's squiky, I won't list it.
And that's the plan: to list all those that are terrific; my favourite choices, though be warned, some of them are erotica.
Okay, then. I was meant to post a short story over at The Takeaway, but this close to the end of NaNo, I'm going to beg off. But I'll be posting two stories in two weeks, so that will be a bonus.
I'll try not to be seduced by the Sci-Fi Channel which starts here next Friday... but I can't guarantee anything...
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
You are The Moon
Hope, expectation, Bright promises.
The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.
The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.
What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.
Isn't that card beautiful? Then there was this quiz:
|You Belong in Winter|
Quiet, calm, and totally at peace...
You're happy to be at home, wrapped in a blanket, completely snowed in
Whether you're lighting a fire or having a snowball fight, you always feel best in the winter.
Yep, I do love my Winters. Of course, the wonderful thing about Blogthings, is that it can keep you amused for hours!
|You Are From Pluto|
You are a dark, mysterious soul, full of magic and the secrets of the universe.
You can get the scoop on anything, but you keep your own secrets locked in your heart.
You love change and you use it to your advantage, whether by choice or chance.
You don't like to compromise, to the point of being self-destructive with your stubborness.
Live life with love, and your deep powers will open the world to you.
Whether any of them are true of not, depends on your mood, doesn't it? Still, it's a highly effective way to avoid working.
Monday, November 20, 2006
I've never been a diary or journal keeper; it took time and what I wanted to write was the prey of nosy and sometimes cruel siblings. That much I did learn. Instead, I kept what I wanted to say to myself, certain that no one was interested and if they were, I would be subject to derision and I-already-knew-thats, as I'd already experienced.
Once out of the familial home, that attitude never changed, until the advent of blogging. Even this I resisted; I ummed and ahhed over what the hell I could possibly talk about that anyone would be interested in.
And then it occurred to me: What did it matter?
In this place, I had an open forum to say whatever I wanted. I could wax lyrical on whatever took my fancy and if someone took me to task about it, that was their right as much as it is mine to put it here in the first place. There are, allegedly, millions of blogs, and mine can hide amongst them, stumbled upon by accident, or deliberately visited, it's here, hopefully to stay a while.
Freedom of speech, means just that: I am free to make a speech, which is more than I had as a kid.
So. Three hundred posts later, and I'm still going. It matters not whether people read it or not, post comments or not, because this is where I come to vent my spleen, share a joke, some information, or just rant. Because I can.
I hope I have enough to say for another 300 posts, and another 300. Who knows? One day, I may very well button my lip - but I don't think so; I spent too many years doing that.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Yes, my name is Jaye and I abuse keyboards.
But back to the temptations - please, don't sing! The siren's call of PBW's challenge book and the challengers, the latest JD Robb, Artemis Fowl, the fact that I really, really need to get some exercise before my butt is too large for the chair..., cable tv, the new mobile phone I want to play with, are all vying for my attention.
Unfortunately for them, the writing of the third book is going damn well. So well, I'm resenting having to turn the computer off to go and sleep, or work, or shop, or whatever.
Should my reward for this month's work turn up, I know I shall be doomed. All those anime dvds? Gah... I hope they don't arrive until December 1.
When I'm in this mood, it's best to stop writing in the middle of a sentence, so it's easier to pick up where I left off. And that is another tip on how to keep going when you're a) not sure you want to and b)get stuck.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
It's a more well-rounded book with humour as well as action; and I like the characters more. That makes a difference. So does writing when I'm tired - there's less wondering if it is right and more control by the characters themselves.
Sure, they looked at me sideways with the motocross bike, but, they shrugged and carried on. (I think Justin liked the idea, and Winter just went with it as a new experience.)
No such fun in the first book, and I doubt there'll be much humour in the second; it doesn't suit either main character. Perhaps some droll humour from Nathan.
Humour is one of the tenets of the Lord of the screenplay, Joss Whedon, and we all know how well it works for him.
I guess I'm going to have to let the characters find their own way; it's always best during NaNo, otherwise you write yourself into all sorts of things the characters simply wouldn't do.
Twelve days to go and 70k to write; 5833 words a day to make that. Hmmm... doable, if I want it to be. And I want it.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
From Astrology for Writers, Editors and Filmmakers:
Gemini: Wordsmiths all, Gems have great creative bursts this month. Write everything down. Carry a notebook or index cards... SOMETHING to capture the brilliance before you get sidetracked. How's that ADHD?
Hah! Pretty close to the mark wouldn't you say?
Over at Fiction Factor, Deanna Mascle has the secret to successful writing.
JA Konrath has a post on the question of how you're doing as a writer.
Gabriele over at The Lost Fort has a translation of a poem that marked a really interesting period in British Army History (and is covered in most books on military disasters).
And Balls and Walnuts has a post about the War on Christmas. (Ya gotta shake your head at that one.)
Had to post this, too. Do you remember when?
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
It's not a very old keyboard, I've yet to change the batteries for the first time, but already the 'n' is wearing away and there's a smooth spot on the space bar from the constant battering. Yes, I'm hell on keyboards.
Totally unrelated, and it's been a slow day on the NaNo. I ran into a plot stop. That's the stop where you think, "and then what?" but can't come up with anything reasonable. Other authors call it 'writing yourself into a corner', and that's true.
To me, it's the opportunity to pause in the mad rush that is November. And so I did.
Which leads me to another tip, and that is: when you are stuck, walk away. Do something totally, and I do mean totally unrelated to writing.
I changed the blog over to the new beta version; spent time fiddling with it. By the time I was done, my mind had worked through the writing problem and come up with a solution. Better yet, it came up with an ending. On the downside, I still have to fill in another twenty to thirty thousand words before I get to that ending.
I think that's a fundamental difference between organic and non-organic writers: non-organic writers have plotted out everything, they know what's going to happen; organic writers have a vague idea and find - or at least I do - that various unconnected scenes are popping out all over the place! Talk about multi-tasking!
Anyway, a slow-ish day with 5300 words done, and that's okay, because I'm at an impending action scene and it will take a few thousand to get through. To me, that's the ideal spot to finish up for the day. Tomorrow is a day off for me and I can throw myself into it. Yay!
Sunday, November 12, 2006
The house benefitted from my puzzling out problems, so that's a plus. I also had a reasonable word count, but I'm far from satisfied.
I'm back at work tomorrow and I don't want the word count to drop; then again, maybe I should stop putting pressure on myself.
The other side of the argument just stepped up to the plate: I love what I'm writing and resent any interruption.
But... the books will get written whether I do it in November or December. Alternatively, I have the wherewithal to finish them this month if I stick to the loose schedule I've made! Of course, we all know what happened to the outline, so who's to say I'll stick with the schedule?
It's a good thing I'm a Gemini; I can explain away the schzophrenia! Or I can simply blame the muse, who's just got up from the corner and is coming out fighting. She's already got book three in mind, with a post-script for the fourth person.
Sometimes, I exhaust myself.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
This one feels more cohesive; probably because the major points from the first book are still fresh in mind.
The difficulty comes with the reversing of a personality. It’s hard to take a bust-your-chops, rebellious, aggressive post-teenager and turn her into to a shy, fearful and hesitant woman; then build them back up to that same kick ass personality slowly.
Deconstructing the character from the first book to the second where more vulnerability is needed. There is such a thing as being too independent, too strong and tough. How do you get around that? By taking it all away. You’ve got to have a good reason, and an effective method.
I have to say, it’s fun. Poor Winter. So much power and no idea how to use it.
At the other end of the candle is time. Writing sucks it up and I’ve been spending long hours sitting at the computer. I’m still focusing well on the story line, still taking caffeine intravenously, but I will crash sooner or later. I’m working on the later. I want three books and I want them by the end of the month.
The current schedules dictates I finish this one by November 18 at the latest, the third by November 27, leaving me three days to build the first up to its preferred total of 70-75k.
Then I can collapse into a heap and sleep it off. Oh, joy.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Thank the Goddess I tossed the outline. It's very liberating for me do so; I find structured writing constricting and I promise to try never to be lured into writing an outline again.
Trying to conform isn't my way, I understand that now, and yes, I can be as thick as two bricks about it.
Each author must find their own way in this creative world, and mine is as an organic writer. I want to find out what happens next as much as the characters do, and I'm blessed with the characters coming to me fully formed before I even start to put finger to keyboard. I've also practiced very hard to have fast typing fingers. If I didn't, I'd never keep up with what's happening in my worlds!
Tomorrow begins the second book for Nano, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to be pissy at work until I can get at least a couple of thousand words down. Since it's Friday, I'm hoping the boss will turn a blind eye to the manic typing coming from the next room. At least I'll be appearing to be busy to the customers that drop by!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
To me, they’ve only done a part of the job. Yes, the criteria is for 50,000 words in 30 days, and yes, they’ve done that. But what is the worth of their work? Is there a market out there for 50k? Probably, and for some, it’s the first step in a long career as a writer, especially for those for whom this year is their first NaNo.
When I did my first Nano in 2003, I was dripping in smug at completing the task, yea, I wallowed, for a day, at least. Then it occurred to me that the job was not yet done. If I wanted to be a writer, half a book wouldn’t cut it.
I sat myself down and damn well finished the book, within the month. It certainly wasn’t my best work, though I still think about it as having some truly exceptional parts to it; as in: who knew that could come out of my head.
NaNo is hard enough, but if you’re focused enough, determined enough, you’ll get through it. At the end, if you plan to be a writer, you’ll not just have the 50,000 words, but real, honest-to-Goddess, book.
And then, why you can edit it, re-work it, re-write parts of it and maybe, maybe you’ll be able to share it with the rest of us who toiled along side you.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Currently, I get the feeling that the NaNo characters aren’t quite sure about what they should be doing, are a little hesitant. This is not a good thing, because what they eventually do or say won’t seem genuine.
I suspect they know what’s coming up and aren’t entirely sure it’s appropriate. My job, then, it is to make it so. To set them up and direct them to the ending that needs to be.
Why? Because the ending of the first book is the precursor to the beginning of the second book. I have to have a reason for the first book to end a particular way otherwise the beginning of the next will be an eye-rolling one.
I don’t want that; I want people to wonder what happened. A cliff hanger without being a cliff hanger. Difficult writing to be sure, but have I ever resisted a writing challenge?
Sunday, November 05, 2006
I wasn't going to post today, but I thought, 'what the hell'.
My focus wasn't what it should have been, but I was up late last night working on this. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I let my characters have their heads and they didn't disappoint.
In fact, at one stage, my fingers are flickering across the keyboard and I'm reading what's appearing on screen. It was so sad I ended up with tears in my eyes. (I'll admit right now that I had some sappy music on, so that'll be part of it.)
One of the most important aspects of writing is that you feel the emotion. If you can feel it, the reader will too - or should if you've written it properly. That's not always the case because the reader can't see into your head.
For me, it was a pivotal, tragic moment of cruel misunderstanding. I'll have to wait until December before I know if it works, though. I don't edit as I go, I simply get the words down.
And now, I'm done.
Tip No.5 Scene work: To complete your mission of 50k words, there are some scenes that are essential: sex, fights, arguments and make-ups. For the first two, you have the lead up, the action, and the follow up recriminations and justifications. For the second two, you can just jump right in and have at it. Then it's a repeat - but remember to keep in mind your finale. You don't want your characters to be so disillusioned that the ending won't work.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
I've done just over 9,000 words today on Nano, and my thoughts are somewhat scattered. Why? Well not just because of the effort involved... okay, it is actually, and it's the schedule I've set for myself.
Last month, I wrote a 20k novelette for PBW's challenge, and outlines for the Nano challenge, and a short story for the takeaway. This month, I've set myself a challenge of writing two books and a short story for the takeaway.
And for those people who don't think that's a lot of work, well, it is.
Too much? I'll have to see, but the reward is the result: two books, two short stories, an e-book boosted by the fabulous Sheila Kelly, otherwise known as S.L. Viehl, Jessica Hall and Lynn Viehl, and the knowledge that I can meet deadlines and do challenges at the same time. All that adds up to demonstrating to prospective agents, editors and publishers that I can do the work when asked.
As for any tips I might have?
Tip No. 3: Don't take on more than you can manage. Nano isn't a sprint, it's a marathon and like any other marathon, you need to pace yourself. Set a particular amount every day. 1666 is fine for achieving 50,000, but if you want a book set your goal higher: 2,500 a day will give you a 75,000 word book and that's great. And remember: never give up on your dream to be a writer.
Did this post make sense? I hope so, otherwise, when I read it tomorrow, I'll be coloured embarrassment!
Friday, November 03, 2006
The 3 Bears: A far more accurate account of the events of that fateful morning:
Baby bear goes downstairs, sits in his small chair at the table, and he looks into his small bowl.
It is empty. "Who's been eating my porridge?" He squeaks.
Daddy Bear arrives at the big table and sits in his big chair. He looks into his big bowl and it is also empty. "Who's been eating my porridge?!?" He roars.
Mummy Bear puts her head through the serving hatch from the kitchen and yells: "For God's sake, how many times do I have to go through this with you idiots?
“It was Mummy Bear who got up first.
“It was Mummy Bear who woke everyone in the house.
“It was Mummy Bear who made the coffee.
“It was Mummy Bear who unloaded the dishwasher from last night and put everything away.
“It was Mummy Bear who went out in the cold early morning air to fetch the newspaper and croissants.
“It was Mummy Bear who set the damn table.
“It was Mummy Bear who put the bloody cats out, cleaned the litter boxes, gave the cats their food, and refilled their water.
“And now that you've decided to drag your sorry bear- asses downstairs and grace Mummy Bear with your grumpy presence, listen carefully, because I'm only going to say this once:
“I HAVEN'T MADE THE F***ING PORRIDGE YET!!!"
Yep, knew it would happen, but not so quickly. Actually, I was trying hard to keep to the outline; after all, I spent some significant time working on it.
The first chapter, I thought, went well and I took it as a good sign. But, no. It was not to be. I am, undoubtedly, an organic writer. I simply cannot stick to an outline, no matter how well-crafted and information driven. It's just not me.
I found myself writing about stuff that was supposed to happen in chapter five, in the third chapter. I'm hoping that when it comes time to do the rewrite and editing, I can fix that - for the time line if nothing else.
For now, I'm going to use the outline as a guide, as sign posts to what I want in the books, so all that work isn't wasted.
Tip No.2: Find your comfort zone and stay there. I know it's said that a writer should be able to write anywhere, but amidst screaming children, a barking dog fighting neighbours, that is a lie. Writers do need to turn off the noise to concentrate, but it's better if there's a space for them somewhere in the house; away from noise, away from demands, away from the real world. Simply tell people you are taking a time out for two hours. Let them know that this two hour time out will happen every day, for a month. Get the household used to this idea, and even when NaNo is over, you'll still have that time reserved for yourself. Keep it, do not let anyone take that time from you, it can't be regained.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
To make my challenge, I need 4666 and a bit (can't forget the bit) every day; to have a chance of finishing, I'll need to do more than that so I have a buffer zone.
Now to something encouraging: Over at Rachel Caine's live journal, Rachel has prizes going, including a critique of the first 50,000 words completed and other prizes. Go and have a look.
For those who are struggling with NaNo, I'm going to post tips on most days.
Tip No. 1: Make sure you have set up a daily update sheet. On this sheet, have these rows - days numbered from 1 to 30; then columns word count, ongoing total and less 50,000 (if you need the formulae, let me know). Each time you finish a paragraph, do a word count and put it in the column, then do another paragraph. You'll be surprised at how quickly the less column reduces every single day.
Time for me to do my own writing... coz this don't count!
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
They are there for your entertainment. There are also a number of genres so you're assured of something you can enjoy. I, for one, will be looking closely at the whole list whether it is in my genre or not.
I'll need a break during NaNo and there is nothing better I'd like to be doing than reading these pieces written as a challenge.
Sheila's challenge has forced wannabe writers to put up or shut up; this list is the fruits of their labours.
Go, enjoy, make positive comments.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Tried to link with the sidebar to the website with the freebie, you know, to make it easier to find the site. I can tell you that the cold splash of fear across my skin was icy! I had obviously done something and now the website was giving me a hotlink message everytime I tried to download Daystrider! WTF??! Self-flagellation was happening, too. I shouldn't have touched it, I shouldn't have done that, or this, I should have left the damn thing alone! But, noooo I had to fiddle with it; try to lower the banner a bit so it doesn't cover the ads, maybe add a counter, pretty it up...
Once I took the link away from this site, the download on the website returned. Colour me relieved! It's working now.
I do fear that it will all go pearshaped once PBW puts up a link to the website - then again, if it's in the text of the post, I don't think it will screw up. I could be wrong and overly paranoid, but the website is here:
Yes, it looks dweebie and amateurish, but, hey, I am dweebish and an amateur at webdesign. I'm leaving it alone now, stepping away from the HTML editor...
One day, when I grow up and get over this 'writing' fetish...
I think I'm ready; there are plenty of factors involved like a full-time job, caring for an aged parent, visits by family, whether the outlines are strong enough and I stick to them, or whether I'll simply chuck it all and simply write whatever pops into my head.
Weekends are going to be of absolute importance. If I can't do much during the week, I'll be relying on 20-30k word counts each weekend to catch up.
I feel more relaxed this year, too. Previous years, I wrote on the verge of panic, trying to get the words out, but I feel as if everything is well in hand (of course, that can change in a moment).
Once underway, I'll post progress reports and extracts from the WIPs.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Not my usual story, but there you go. A writer, any writer, should be flexible in their creativity; it opens the field for them and, if nothing else, demonstrates what they need practice on. Me, I need lots of practice!
I was expecting a delivery of furniture yesterday and spent most of it disassembling and shifting furniture from upstairs to the garage, from downstairs to up and generally making room. As you can guess, no delivery. The delivery guys were supposed to call me, instead, it was explained, I was supposed to call them - Friday's conversation letting me know of the arrival of said furniture did not include a phone number, merely the comment that someone would contact me with the delivery time. No, they've gone for the day, no, they don't work on Sunday, nor Monday, given them a bell on Tuesday or they'll call you. Riii-ght.
Today, I did some more furniture shifting, decided to hell with it and sat down to watch a DVD. Nup. The player wouldn't recognise the DVD. Get back to housework.
Sister turns up - as she does every Sunday - to do her laundry. One and a half loads later, the washing machine stops; normal service, I think, ain't resuming anytime soon. No clicking, no buzzing, nothing but a malevolent orange light telling me that electricity is, indeed, getting through. I've had the beast for fifteen years, so it's obviously time for a new one.
I'm not going to ask "What's next?" Coz, I don't wanna know. I'm not going to rant and rave because shit invariably happens.
It's irritating, frustrating and... nothing to get stressed about. Yet. I shall do my calming exercises and hope for the best.
In the meantime, short story to be posted tomorrow, if, of course, the stars align just right to offset Mercury...
Saturday, October 28, 2006
PBW's Challenge is done: written, edited and posted over at my somewhat simple website, called, strangely enough Jaye Patrick.
You can read the novella, long short story, Daystrider. Yep, it's there now.
And, as I write this, I realise I've not posted a link to my e-mail address for any comments, critiques or gasp positive notes!
All I can say is that Mercury is in Retrograde and as such, screws up my life. Mercury is not only the God of Messengers, but also of Mischief and my ruling planet. Which means I'm gonna have pissy little senior moments and misunderstandings until about 17 November. This, of course, does not bode well for NaNo.
Sigh, such is life.
I've just added the e-mail address to the website. Interestingly enough, now that I've gone through hell to get the site up and running, adding stuff doesn't seem so hard.
I think after the challenge - give me a month or so - and I'll have excerpts up of the books I've written. Hmmm... I wonder what else I can do?
Friday, October 27, 2006
The first, I didn't receive the password, the second wouldn't link the pages I wanted, screwed up my coding and was generally unhelpful - scratch Zero Catch - and the third, I'm still waiting for the password.
I know I live at the bottom of the world, or near enough to it, but, jeez, waiting a week for a password is little over the top, don't you think? We do have broadband down here, you know. Scratch Topcities.
I've resent the request for a password to another site... and... nothing. Nada. Zip. Empty inbox.
All I want is a simple, free web site to post my challenge work. In the future, I'd like to post extracts of my work, maybe upgrade to an ad-free site - you know, actually pay for it. So far, my faith in these freebies is definitely shakey.
I'm going to try one more time with this site; should I not get what I want, it's history, too...
Nope, not getting anywhere with Free Web Services, either.
I have a list, and I'm checking it twice. It will take a while but I'm determined to have the challenge up and free!
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Not entirely sure what to do about that, but it's good to have a couple of back up plans. Of course, if I mention them here, it will all go pear-shaped and I'll be buggered.
I want a website, if only to be able to post excerpts and linkages. Not much good having a writer's blog if you can show off your longer wares; short ones, yeah, okay. I worked long and hard on my books and I want to share some of that effort.
I'm going to explore the options. Somewhere, out there, is a simple web-hosting site I can upload my HTML to. All I've got to do is find it... before Monday.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
It will be at jayepatrick.0catch.com - at least that's the plan.
The good news is that I've done basic coding before; the bad news is that it was six years ago. The simple stuff came back quickly, but I'll have to hunt down the more complex stuff.
It's going okay, and I think I'll make the deadline; not easily, I imagine. The end result maybe extremely basic - probably will be - but it will be done.
What will I do with it afterwards? Hmm, I don't actually know. Be a central point for excerpts and Blogs, I suppose. Whatever.
I'd actually forgotten how much I enjoy coding - ain't that a kicker? I think coding tapes into my logical side where writing tapes into my creative side; a nice balance.
So, right now, I'm hunting up coding sights and putting in a few things. Cool!
Sunday, October 22, 2006
I say almost, because family biz got in the way and left me eleven scenes short of completion. sigh
No big. I've got the names of everybody and titles popped up too: Summer's Rule and Winter's Reign - better than the original titles of Sucks like a drain and What were you thinking??? don't you think?
Tomorrow, I'll finish the outlines and let them stew in their own juices for a while, then re-look at the timeline, add more description to the characters, world build (though there are only... maybe five? locations). Later on in the week, I'll build the web page and by the weekend, I'll be set.
Paperback writer will have the link to the site - it will be here, too - everything I need to have done for NaNo will be done, and I might, for a change, get the weekend off. That's the plan, at least, and we all know what happens to plans, don't we?
* * *
And there you go: plan disrupted already: another story is due up over at the the takeaway this weekend, so I'll have tht ready, too.
Sometimes, I wonder if I've taken too much on - especially this time of year...
Saturday, October 21, 2006
I think. No, I'm pretty sure it's done.
I'm working on the cover and putting it all together. I've still got to put up a website - which I'm rather excited about, because that means I can finally post excerpts from everything else I've written. Books, that is.
Gives me chills just thinking about it.
Now that this project is almost at an end, I can get to the NaNo stuff. I'll be writing like a fiend to get some plot points down, but that's for tomorrow.
For now, I'm happy the novella is done. Came in at 20k, which is about what I expected. Cool!
Look for it soon...
Friday, October 20, 2006
Anee-waayy, moving on...
The scenes are appearing in an ad hoc way, the characters are forming up nicely, have a couple of names, conflicts, mwahaha moments, background info, all still in my head.
But, this is it so far:
Bio-engineered twins, sold as children by their drug-addicted, alcoholic mother to a man whose motives are less than pure, discover they're about to be 'rescued' by a couple of alpha heroes. Kept in isolation in a mountain fortress, the twins know nothing of the outside world except what their 'father' allows them to know.
The - so far - unnamed heroes have no idea what they are walking into and are captured, their squads killed, by the twins and fortress guards. Their father stopped the twins from killing them all; he has a plan and it's one that will prove catastrophic. The twins are now unsure as to who the enemy is: Men who want to save them, but admit the twins will be imprisoned because they are so dangerous, or the man who raised them, but who wants to use them as for his own immortality.
Each book will deal with each twin: Winter and Summer (named because one is emotionally distant and the other... isn't).
As the books develop, I'll post more, including excerpts once a week when Nano truly gets under way.
For now, I'm waiting for the heroes, villain and other character names turn up, and the titles of the books to appear. I can wait, but not for too long.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
So I'm warming up for NaNo via the outline challenge over at the Forward Motion Community.
Yep, I know, I know, I've said that outlining doesn't work for me; I'm an organic writer. But I thought I'd give it another go. Not because I can't resist a challenge... um... okay, got me there, but I think that outlining, even briefly, is good for any book. If nothing else, it's made me focus more clearly on the direction I want to take.
This year's Nano challenge will be two partnered books; both will start at the same point, but separate at a critical juncture, then come back together at the end of the second book. As you can see, the only way I can do this and not repeat myself too much, is to have two outlines; at the very least, plot points which will serve as guideposts rather than the guidebook.
The limitations will be that each book cannot be anymore than 75k each; that gives me a total of 150k, achievable if I knuckle down like last year.
I'm still creating my characters and world building, but by Sunday, I'll have just about everything sorted, I think... Tomorrow, I'll let you know more about the works.
Oh, hmm... still have to edit the novella... better get the can opener and prise out some extra time for that...
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
1. The bigger the hat, the smaller the farm.
2. The shorter the nickname, the more they like you.
3. Whether it's the opening of Parliament or the launch of a new art gallery, there is no Australian event that cannot be improved by a sausage sizzle.
4. There is no food that cannot be improved by the application of tomato sauce.
5. On the beach, all Australians hide their keys and wallets by placing them inside their sandshoes. No thief has ever worked this out.
6. Industrial design knows of no article more useful than the plastic milk crate.
7. All our best heroes, are losers.
8. The alpha male in any group is he who takes the barbecue tongs from the hands of the host and blithely begins turning the snags.
9. It's not summer until the steering wheel is to hot to hold.
10. It is proper to refer to your best friend as "a total bastard". By contrast, your worst enemy is "a bit of a bastard".
11. A thong is not a piece of scanty swimwear, but a fine example of Australian footwear. A group of sheilas wearing black rubber thongs may not be as exciting as you had hoped.
So, there you have it: Aussies in the wild.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
The editing may make it larger or smaller; larger would be better, smaller would suck. I could already see, in my brief overlook of it the work, that some areas need some adjusting because of what comes after.
It's always difficult to plunge yourself into a story while real life happens around you and the past week has been difficult. Those difficulties were reflected in what I wrote on those particular days. It didn't detract from the overall story line, but it did change a few things. Things I'll have to go back and look at closely.
I could see a bit of confusion there as well which will have to be sorted.
Still, I'm happy it's done and I can take a break. Not for too long though, I have to distract myself with plotting and mulling over the two books I plan to write for NaNo.
The challenge this year is not to write an epic of 150+k, but to write to a word limit on each of 70-85k and no more.
I suspect my journalist training will come in handy for this, but I'll have to balance it out with my creative side so I don't skimp on the descriptions.
For the moment, I'm going to relax with a book.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Maybe not just rain, but a storm, which means I'll have to get off the computer, dammit. Just when I'm up to the end game with the novella. She is going off to kill the villain while he stays behind to wait for the police, or so she thinks... but you knew that. What you don't know is the how of it, heh, heh.
So, while the weather remains, er, somewhat clear of lightning, I'm off to kill a creature in an expectedly gruesome manner. Hah! That's what I love about writing! You talk about such things to people who don't write and they think you're a little strange... okay, a lot strange, but there you go.
Friday, October 13, 2006
I mean it's early October and already the temperature has bumped over 30 degrees. There is nothing worse than having a busy day and being roasted by the sun at the same time. Oh, sure, air-conditioning is wonderful thing, but only if you're inside enjoying it, and only if people keep the damn doors shut.
Again, today, was nigh on 35 degrees celcius. Bad ju-ju for me. I spent all day in town; the car needed a long and involved service. I'm not the kind of woman who enjoys shopping. I'm a hunter/gatherer. That is, I make a list of things to hunt and I go out and gather it. I don't spend time browsing or umming and ahhing, I go git the varmints, and I'm outta there.
With school holidays, it makes the job that much more worse. Squealing, hot kids, tired, disgruntled parents; what an awful way to spend a hot and sticky day.
I did get some Christmas shopping done, though. Nearly done, in fact, and the car goes great now. There's a slight breeze here on the coast which makes it bearable.
I'd love to go to the beach tomorrow, bare my chubbiness paleness to those sun worshippers, but I don't want to cause any heart-failures and fainting (that would be the sharks, not the people). I still have to finish this novella, too.
I think this summer is going to be atrocious and now is the time for me to take some measures in case the bush fire season returns. Partly done, of course: I've got my Bushfire Fighter Certificate, and I'll be running around tomorrow morning clearing gutters and any debris around the house. Next weekend, I'll shop for a generator - in case of power failure - and a barbeque kit should the power fail for a few days like it did a couple of years ago.
Maybe I should move to Tasmania; nice and cool down there almost all year around. Sigh.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
It would be nice if there were.
Given that Kim Jong-il is a petulant, childish, ignorant, meglo-maniac, and that Venezuala now has closer ties with the oppressive Stalinist nation, it seems certain Heads of State want to create discord because they can, not for any other reason. America is too good an excuse. Say the words in a cranky tone and every nut job in the world will sympathise.
Of course then there are those people who will not listen:
No matter how many times you explain the geo-political climate and what various countries may or may not do and their consequences, some leaders don't get it. If they don't get it, then why the hell did you vote them in anyway? And if you whisper 'America' in a tiny voice, others will look knowingly at you.
It's like shouting English at someone who's never learned the language.
And there are some truly ugly people (not just men) out there, inside and out. Not because of any genetic predisposition, but because of their ego-centric ideologies. The idea that a leader cannot be wrong, merely misguided, ill-informed, or wrongly advised is a crock o' shite so stinky, everyone knows you're standing in it.
When was the last time you heard a leader stand up and say, "I'm sorry, I was wrong, I accept responsibility for this. Should charges be brought, I shall not resist." Huh? Never. Presidents, Prime Ministers, whomever, never accept responsibility any more and that makes them ugly inside and out.
I think I'll go and do some work now...
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
North Korea, that bastion of absolute dictatorship, is under the impression that it has the right to scare the tripe out of the region by exploding a nuclear device. As a sovereign nation, you understand; a caring, sharing, have-to-defend-ourselves-against-everybody country.
Japan is, understandably, nervous; and if they are nervous, it raises the possiblity of Japan acquiring nuclear technology, which will make China extremely nervous. If China gets nervous, well, that will make the U.S. nervous, and so on...
Worse, that dickhead Kim Jong-il has embarrassed long time supporter China with this test.
Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, called the North Korean Ambassador in and laid it on the line:
"I said it was one thing to be offensive to the United States and Britain and Australia and their allies, but it's another thing to treat the Chinese, who have been such stalwart supporters of North Korea for such a long time, in this way," he said.
"North Korea have humiliated the Chinese government.
"The Chinese government had been working intensely to try to stop this testing taking place."
Mr Downer said China provided 80 per cent of North Korea's humanitarian aid and half of the reclusive Stalinist state's trade was with China.
"The North Koreans have treated China extremely shabbily in this particular situation," Mr Downer said.
Sanctions, in this case, will not work unless China sanctions NK. And given that the United Nations has turned into Pussyville, I doubt sanctions will be enacted anyway.
In reply to the U.S.'s proposed sanctions, the NK Ambassador to the UN Pak Gil Yon told reporters that "the test would help "the maintenance and guarantee of peace and security in the (Korean) peninsula and the region."
Instead of pursuing "reckless" statements or resolutions, Pak said the Security Council should congratulate North Korea's scientists and researchers. And if you believe that those scientists managed to create a nuclear bomb all by themselves, then I know of a large sand pit in the middle of Australia you might want to buy.
This all sounds like sabre-rattling by the head idiot in North Korea, except for a few minor historical incidents:
The discovery of four incursion tunnels under the DMZ large enough for mass troop movements into South Korea;
It launched seven missiles into the Sea of Japan in July 2006;
In August, the regime announced that the 1953 Armistice was 'null and void', and last Saturday, South Korean troops fired warning shots at North Korean troops who had crossed a boundary in the Demilitarized Zone separating the two country's forces. If that doesn't give you the shivers, this should.
While any information coming out of the north should be taken with a grain of salt or six, it should be remembered that inside North Korea the populace believe the propaganda as gospel.
What all this suggests is that North Korea is preparing to fulfil its dream and goal of reunification with South Korea, no matter what the cost.
The questions remain: will North Korea demand South Korea rejoin it under threat of nuclear action? And if the South refuses, will the North use its arsenal anyway to punish its southern neighbour? With a paranoic madman in charge and in command of the world's fifth largest standing army, who the hell knows?
Monday, October 09, 2006
It is our perception of time that makes the difference. For kids, Christmas Eve is the longest night; for a dentist's appointment, time passes all too quickly.
Yea, verily, do I know the last!
There are only three weeks left for PBW's Challenge, and, only three weeks left until the beginning of NaNoWriMo.
Both are of equal importance to me. The first because of the potential to be one of twenty to have work read by a master, and the second because it guarantees me one or two books written.
For the first challenge, I've hit a major snag. For one of my short stories to be expanded into a novella (simply posting a short story, to my mind, is cheating - even though it would give me room to focus on NaNo), I've had to do a re-write. Oh, I've taken sections from the original, but there wasn't enough in it. So, I've introduced a new character, done a bit more on the world building and presented a different aspect to the tale.
Day Strider has been rejected for publication on a few occasions; not for bad writing, but for bad magazine selection on my part. Twice it got the 'not quite right for our publication' speil. I call that a good rejection.
I figured it would make a terrific novella - a variation has already been written as a full-length novel.
Until yesterday, I was feeling more than a little stressed about how I would manage both projects, but after writing 8k of words - some new, some pasted - I felt much better.
Why, if I've got another 20k to go would this please me? Because the extra writing time I've carved out is good practice for NaNo. One project has fed the next, and now is the time for that practice.
Most people who are participating in NaNo, indeed, most writers have a day job so scheduling NaNo is, I suppose, time manipulation; time management at it's best.
So, using Holly Lisle's time schedule, I have twenty days to get it written and posted (two days set aside for disasters or life, whichever pops up first) and twenty thousand words to write = a thousand words a day. Since I type at about 95 wpm, that's a gimmee and given I have three weekends, I have plenty of time to complete the first challenge. Add in focusing on NaNo and it doesn't seem that much.
Even if I only do 500 words every weeknight (7000) that still leaves me with 13k over three weekends. And while doing this, I'm practicing for NaNo, which requires 1666 words a day, which is good practice for anyone who wants/needs to be a writer.
If these calculations sound a little panicked, well, that's easing, because I know I can do this. I'll have this done within a week and then do the edits.
The best part is that if the story doesn't lend itself to 20k, I'll still have a completed novelette by the end of it; of course, then I have to have a book prepared should I win...
Damn, I'm so running out of time...
Sunday, October 08, 2006
What? Is there such a thing? I hear you cry with outrage.
Yes, there is. I have no more room in my favourites bookcases (2), nor in my reference bookcase (1 + four shelves over my desk) - and we're talking seven foot tall bookcases here. Add to that two more seven footers (one double stacked) and two four foot bookcases and we're talking a lot of books. Oh, and the ones still packed in... hmm... three boxes. There just mine. In the rest of the house there are three seven foot, one eight foot, one three foot, a seven foot break front and five width-of-the-house fitted shelves. All filled with books.
When I think about it, it's a what the...? moment, who reads this much?
Answer: my family.
My mother jokes that we have someting on everything, and she's not far wrong. I don't think I have ever wanted for information on something, no matter how obscure. As for fiction, we have an author (or more) representing the complete alphabet. From Asimov to Zorkoczy and more genres than you can shake a Whippy Stick at.
My books are my pride and joy; without them, I'd never considered being a writer. The problem is, I'm running out of space. And, no, buying yet another bookcase is not the answer. The answer is to trade in some of the books I've not read for ten years or more and have no urge to.
So, I traded a seven-book set of fantasy (author to remain nameless) for a couple of reference texts: one on astronomy and one on birds.
Now I have room to put my next re-readables: Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series. The first four now sit with my David Webers, Elizabeth Moons, Laurel K. Hamiltons, Eoin Colfers, Terry Brooks, S.L. Viehls, Holly Lisles, Anne McCaffreys, Tara K. Harpers, J.K. Rowlings, J.R.R. Tolkiens and Andre Nortons - yeah, just my sci-fi and fantasy favourites bookcase.
It's been a long time since I felt the need to add a series to the favourites, but I love this one. Jim Butcher's comment, You'll never watch the Weather Channel the same way again, is wonderfully accurate.
Too bad I don't have time to finish the next book in the series. I'll just have to leave it until my deadlines are over: a reward for hard work. Then again, I still have time yet...
Saturday, October 07, 2006
I'm looking at something around 20-30k. I've yet to work out how to actually post it, cover and all, in a pdf format, but I'm sure some kind soul will let me know. Eventually.
After doing that, I'll have to mull over the two book ideas I have for NaNo and should Sheila be generous enough to select me, get my shit together and have fully completed edit done on one of two books.
Is it any wonder I'm feeling a little squeezed?
I had to let go the idea to send something to an agent by October, which peeves me greatly, but it's better I focus on getting the work done, writing and editing to the best of my ability rather than sending something off that I wasn't - quite - happy with.
A simple matter of too many projects and not enough time to do them all in. I'm going to have to manage my time better.
Okay, enough. I'm getting back to work.
Friday, October 06, 2006
While offline, I felt a little, er, disconnected. It's really, really odd. I've had the internet long enough that it's now apart of my writing.
It is a simple thing, when writing, to access Google or Yahoo or whatever to find that piece of information you need, or variations of the information. It's all too easy, and I think I'm spoiled; no, I know I'm spoiled. The internet is my own personal wellspring of information. Anything I want to know about, the internet can provide. It has not failed me, nor do I expect it to.
On the downside, there is too much information out there and I am of the personality type easily distracted by interesting stuff, while searching for something specific. I can spend hours looking at pages that have nothing to do with the current WIP. I know I'm not the only writer out here who does the same; writers are curious people who want to know things. Not just for our work, but because the world is a damn interesting place and the internet has brought it that much closer to us.
You don't need to go to China, to Siberia, to Alaska, to Brazil for research (although it would be nice...) you can look up the web pages and all the info you need is there, including stats and photos. As a writer you can imagine the rest: the smells, the light, the feel of the place.
The internet can show you everything from the exotic to the everyday, the naughty and the nice, the simple and complex, the past, present and future, the bland and the disturbing; it's all there at your fingertips, virtually anything you need to know, see or hear, the internet, in all it's evil, compelling glory, can provide.
But. That one blip and it was taken away from me. I felt lost, as if my information sense had been amputated. I like information pouring into my head every day, and for the last thirteen days I haven't had that, or not as much as I'm used to. It's... weird.
For nearly a fortnight, I've had to look up my reference books instead. Yep, look at the spines, pick the right book off the shelf, open to the index and hunt for what I need, then read the appropriate paragraph or chapter. Physical, distracting work, but exactly what I did before the internet came along and lured me away.
It all reminded me how much I love books: the smells, the texture, the new world inside waiting to be discovered, the information written in black on white that has been checked, confirmed and copyrighted.
My reference library is a Grand Dame: sophisticated, well-mannered, patient, educated, quiet. She knows her facts; none of the books would have been published if there was a... *gasp* lie within the pages.
The internet is a tramp: flashy, cheap, accessible, distracting and loose with the truth. Everything must be corroborated via another source, like checking in with the pimp and other customers.
My trouble, of course, is that I'm tempted by both. I'm fortunate to have the choice between the two.
Now that I'm online again, I feel more relaxed. This weekend, I'm determined to get some work done - and I'm belligerent enough to be rude to any mere mortal who presumes to interrupt me. Hah!
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
The public at large seem to be at a loss to explain heinous acts, but I think I have the answer. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it's because they have no or a limited understanding of consequences. And that understanding should have been learnt at school.
If you are not forced to face failure, how can you accept the consequences? How can you do better? If, for example, you are told that spelling incorrectly is no big deal as long as you can express yourself, why wouldn't you be pissed off when you don't get that job? Why wouldn't you assume a more personal reason? After all, you passed everything at school, so it can't be that.
The recent stoush between the NSW Department of Education and Training and The NSW Teachers Federation is heating up as the Government tries to reign in delinquency and illiteracy in the young and the Teachers defend the poor sensitive petals who can't possible cope with rejection or failure because they're to young to understand and it might scar them for life.
Oh, yes. The touchy-feely revisionists are at it again. So far, they've managed to teach Aussie kids that Captain James Cook 'invaded' Australia and 'stole' the land from the indigenous population; that the father of the Australian wool industry, John MacArthur was a murderer and wife beater, that the discoverers of the inland, Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth were also thieves, and other revisionist theories.
Now, though, they're rejecting the Governments proposal to return to the A-E grading system. Nope, they're perfectly happy with: Outstanding Achievement, High Achievement, Sound Achievement, Basic Achievement and Limited Achievement. Otherwise known as 'positive reinforcement'; that is, to promote the positves and not the negatives.
What a load of bullshit! First, kids are more resilient that these idiot teachers give them credit for. While they might be happy with a Basic Achievement and feel content to maintain that, you can bet your bottom dollar their attitude would be different if it was a 'D'. Parents, too, would have a better understanding of their child's failing and take remedial steps.
Second, it does the kids no favours once they leave primary or high school. It is a growing trend among university students who have yet to master basic English. More and more universities are introducing Remedial English classes to teach natural born speakers of the language how to write it. And these students are joing English as a Second Language students - way to embarrass a teenager!
Third, kids are going to come up against failures and rejections. It's a simple fact of life. If you teach them the consequences of failure, they will try harder not to and have a more satisfying life because they can cope with it. Failing isn't the end of the world, but if you don't understand the nature of failure, it becomes everybody elses responsibility and not the child's.
Kids are great at blaming everyone else, but they're expected to accept responsibility as adults. How are they going to do that if not confronted with the consequences of their own actions?
Instead of trying to make excuses for kids academic successes or failures, why not try looking at what the kid is good at and positively reinforce that talent? Look at what the kid is less capable at and find the reason why. Sometimes, it's simply that the kid has no aptitude for it. No shame there, and the apologists should just butt out and let them succeed or fail on their own merits.