Thursday, August 31, 2006


Because it's that kind of a day.

And I'm tired of hearing and seeing the American President and his sociopathic carelessness... Taking full responsibility, Mr President, doesn't mean you give 'lip service' to apologies and go on your merry way back to D.C., it means you take responsibility and resign for gross negligence and incompetence! Too often politicians are getting away with murder - because that's what the inaction after Katrina was - with a smile, a 'sincere' and public apology, a promise to do better and that's it. Nup, sorry, not good enough.

Of course, then there's the United Nations. What a bunch of self-serving psychopaths! Kofi Annan is concerned that not enough European countries are offering cannon fodder... um, troops to patrol southern Lebanon. Gee, I wonder if it has anything to do with, like Srebrenica, the UN troops will only be observers and can only shoot back if they come under direct fire - read: unarmed. I wonder if it's anything to do with the promise that Israeli soldiers will kill anyone who gets in their way of trying to destroy Hezbollah? I wonder if it's a case of those nations understanding how futile a mission Kofi wants them to undertake, because there is nothing they can do if unarmed. Wake up and smell the bloodshed, Kofi. Force, not more human targets, is needed.

Those who support Warren Jeffs, I can only think, also support child abuse. Why? What else is it when this dick marries underage girls off to older men? Ten thousand of them? He's a 'prophet'? Why didn't he see his arrest coming? And if he was such a good guy, why did he go into hiding. I'm thankful this sick fuck is now off the street; and the government knows where a lot of other pedophiles can be found, now don't they.
It is also the height of STUPIDITY for the US Government to carry out a subcritical nuclear test while bitching at Iran and North Korea to abandon their own programs. Can you now understand why some countries and people loathe the US? If you're gonna do this shit, don't publicise it!

Yep, it's that kind of a day...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Words of the Year

How flexible is the English language? Lots, apparently.

A news story from Reuters on the announcement of the TV words of the year, truthiness and Wikiality, by Steven Colbert on his program The Colbert Report.

Here's a quote from the article: Global Language Monitor [who monitor language trends in an annual survey] defined "truthiness" as used by Colbert as meaning "truth unencumbered by the facts." "Wikiality," derived from the user-compiled Wikipedia information Web site, was defined as "reality as determined by majority vote," as when astronomers voted Pluto off their list of planets last week. (I would point out here that Pluto never fit the parameters of what defined a planet and I would also, cynically, say that the reason for it's planethood is that it was the only planet discovered by an American... but that's a whole t'other argument.)

A quick trip to has a list of the some of the new words that have been entered into the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary.

Words like:

aerobicized or aerobicised
adj. (of a person's body) toned by aerobic exercise: aerobicized Hollywood women.
n. 2. chiefly US the unintended adverse results of a political action or situation.
n. a celebrity who is well known in fashionable society.
– origin 1930s: blend of celebrity and debutante.
n. chiefly US the man-made features used in landscape architecture, e.g. paths or walls, as contrasted with vegetation.
– derivatives
hardscaping n.
hoody (also hoodie)
n. informal a person, especially a youth, wearing a hooded top.
– origin 1960s: of unknown origin.
n. a person who is advised, trained, or counselled by a mentor.
n. a new term created from an existing word in order to distinguish the original referent of the existing word from a later one that is the product of progress or technological development (e.g. acoustic guitar for guitar).
– origin 1980s: blend of retro- and -onym.
n. informal guitar riffs, especially in rock music.
n. the practice of spying on the user of a cash-dispensing machine or other electronic device in order to obtain their personal identification number, password, etc.
– derivatives
shoulder-surfer n.
v. [often as noun upskilling] teach (an employee) additional skills.
of an employee) learn additional skills.
wedge issue
n. US a very divisive political issue, regarded as a basis for drawing voters away from an opposing party whose supporters have diverging opinions on it.
Yogalates (also trademark Yogilates)
n. a fitness routine that combines Pilates exercises with the postures and breathing techniques of yoga.
– origin 1990s: blend of yoga and Pilates.

For the latest additions, go here; for an explanation on how words get into the OED, go here.

See? This language of ours is a dynamic one. I've got to wonder though, what kind of language will we be speaking in fifty years if the one we're speaking now is changing so rapidly?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Slave to Sensation

I'm the kind of person who likes to answer surveys or polls and enter contests.

Here's one that might help an emerging New Zealand author. You can download all the code from the dearauthor site:

I am participating in a blogging experiment hosted at To enter the contest, put up this blurb, image, and trackback and you are entered to win the following prize package.

  • $200 Amazon gift certificate

  • Signed copy of Slave to Sensation

  • New Zealand goodies chosen by Singh

  • ARC of Christine Feehan's October 31 release: Conspiracy Game

You can read about the experiment here and you can download the code that you need to participate here.


Nalini Singh

Berkley / September 2006

Slave to Sensation

Welcome to a future where emotion is a crime and powers of the mind clash brutally against those of the heart.

Sascha Duncan is one of the Psy, a psychic race that has cut off its emotions in an effort to prevent murderous insanity. Those who feel are punished by having their brains wiped clean, their personalities and memories destroyed.

Lucas Hunter is a Changeling, a shapeshifter who craves sensation, lives for touch. When their separate worlds collide in the serial murders of Changeling women, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities…or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.


It all sounds rather interesting. The question, of course, is how effective this experiment in viral advertising is going to be.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Natural Inspiration

Writing science fiction or fantasy is a tough ask. Other genres have the benefit of life and society around them, or events that have been recorded. The sci-fi/fantasy writer doesn’t have that.

What they write is pure imagination; from the creatures created to the mock science behind starship propulsion.

It is no easy task to sit and think of a creature that could be real if the right environment is present – of course a writer has to create that environment, too. To make that environment, other factors have to come into play, like cosmology. Where you place your planet and how close to what kind of sun dictates what kind of animal is going to exist, what kind of weather systems and land masses, what kind of atmosphere and how the biology of the animals works or what kind of flora.

It takes a lot of work and it is no surprise that many authors veer away from that and simply place have a solar system similar to our own and recreate evolution or to take our own planet to it’s extremes for human existence and leave it at that.

But there is much more to this Earth of ours than most realise.

The use of mythology, for example, can give an author an extraordinary palette from which to draw creatures. Not just the well-known gods and goddesses of known ancient civilisations like Rome, Greece and Egypt, but the Mayan, Aztec, Japanese, Celtic and African mythologies.

In the book, The Expedition Journey of Pliny the Elder: Inventorum Natura, artist Una Woodruff details how ordinary animals become mythological: unicorns, which are rhinoceros or antelope; the Amphisbaena (two headed snake) which are two snakes entwined; carnivorous plants; the butterfly fish which is the flying fish.

Dougal Dixon takes a different route in The New Dinosaurs: an alternative evolution. It explores the evolution of dinosaurs if the great extinction had never happened and climate change was slow. The drawings are beautiful and the science, precise.

These ‘what if’ books are fascinating, however writers need not look any further than the nearest jungle for astonishing fauna: flying lizards (with extended ribs and skin between arms and legs allowing them to glide) and frogs (skin between the toes), moon-walking birds (their feet move so fast it, they are the Michael Jackson of the bird world), murderous chimps (have a political system that allows them to hunt down and murder rivals), mimicking birds (the Lyre bird that can sound like a camera winder, or the magpie that can imitate a kookaburra or mudlark), microbes that live in extreme cold, heat, water depth or even salt or sulphurous water.

It’s not just camouflage that makes the animal kingdom so interesting it’s their habitats, their societies, family groups and lifestyles.

There is so much we don’t know about our own planet, but with each new discovery, we authors can create a lot more, all we need do is look around and look closely and the new words we create can come ready made with its own flora and fauna.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I've posted a new story over at the Takeaway. Now I can get on with the various editing projects, creating covers, converting chapters to pdf and the general busy-ness that comes with writing.

Other than that, there's not much going on. The weather is slowly easing from winter to spring - from cold to hayfever season - and I'm thinking it's going to be a bitch of a summer; hotter than Hades, in fact. Industry is gonna have to modify the way they do business or this global warming thing is going to to turn into global hotting!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

New Project

I've been considering an idea that relies on my... er... questionable art skills.

On the side bar are the books that I've written, but yet to publish, so far. My idea is to create covers for those books and post the first chapter or two in a .pdf format for people to read, and if they feel it necessary, critque.

Of course, what I have in mind for each book will, no doubt, be light years away from what is actually posted, but as I've said before, I'm a writer, not an artist. Simplicity is the way to go.

I'm not afraid that others will nick my ideas, those are a dime a dozen and no-one can deal with the idea in the same way as I do; nick the concept yes, but write the book I've written? No. Weblogland is all about getting out there, and that's what I'm going to do.

Look for the previews in the next few weeks. (And yes, that includes my very first, wincable effort.) You've got to be brave in this business, and I'm learning how to be just that: brave.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tom and Jerry up in smoke

It's unbelievable, yet true.

Tom and Jerry is to be edited because of episodes where the characters are smoking. Apparently it's a big no-no because it alledgedly 'glamorises' the habit. Some poor schmuck has to go through all of the episodes and take out those scenes.

The BBC is running this story on a viewer's complaint that the vintage animations were not appropriate for young viewers.

Yes, punters, that's right: one viewer, one complaint. About smoking.

I agree smoking is nasty and it sets a bad example but... Holy Shit! What About the Violence??? Cartoons are synonymous with over-the-top violence. Characters are killed and maimed in the most heinous of ways, yet it takes only one viewer complaint and the least offensive aspect is edited out. The online resource, Wikipedia has more information on the savaging Tom and Jerry has recieved over the years.

Build that bridge, viewer, move over it and move on; there are more important things being shown in the media that need your attention.

It's from these 'small' complaints that larger, stupeyfingly silly things grow. Does 'happy holidays' ring a bell? Why can't a Christian country celebrate Christmas? Why do those of alternative religions have to ruin it? Christians have yet to ruin their holiday season.

I'm a Pagan, but I'm not offended by Christmas, or Hannukah, or Ramadan or any other religious holiday celebrations. These kinds of celebrations are about peace and harmony and a pagan cannot be unhappy with that. Not so with some bitter and twisted religious nutjobs. Here, for example, it took the threat of one law suit by a Jewish father to stop a school from performing a Nativity play. One fuckwit sucked all the joy and excitement out of those confused children at a time when they should have been looking forward to Christmas while learning what it was all about.

My question is this: why is it that minority opinions have a larger sway than majority opinion?

If you find Tom and Jerry offensive, don't watch it! If you find Christmas, Hannukah or Ramadan offensive don't celebrate it! If you find Enid Blyton's Noddy books offensive don't read them! If you find Gangsta Rap offensive, don't listen to it. Isn't it simple? What ever offends you, you have a choice not to engage in it without denying the rights of others to indulge themselves.

For an ostensibly sophisticated and civilised society, we are increasingly allowing fringe-dwelling mutts to dictate anything historical, cultural, religious, political or societal that reflects their own twisted agenda. And yeah, sure, within this society they have the right to bitch and moan and complain, but not - hear me? - NOT at the expense of the majority and we should never give in to their hysterics. Individual rights do not outweigh the needs of the community.

As for Tom and Jerry? I didn't like them when I was I child, I still don't as an adult. But I object to anyone changing the cartoon. It is a slice of history, a commentary on society, a precursor to modern animation and, it is entertainment; for the legions of fans.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

New Story

I'll have a new story posted over at the Takeaway on the weekend. Something from this year, I think.

I still have to decide where to put the free .pdf novella. Maybe here, maybe there. I'll at least put the blurb here with a link to there.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Query Letters and other stuff

Over on Pub Rants, agent Kristen has a whole stack of replies to queries.

The best thing about the replies is they are broken up between the paragraphs. If you want to know what's goes into a query letter, and what is unnecessary, go and have a look, inwardly digest, and practice. There is no better source for how to write a letter of inquiry than an agent.

On another topic, it seems the RWA is hitting blogworld again, but for entirely different reasons. Check out: Smart Bitches, and a commentary by Selah March. I wonder if this whole debacle has had any affect on TTQ's career?

Anyway, the conference has been summed at All About Romance by Laurie Likes Books.

And, for the shining light of self-marketing, courage under fire on the road and incredible stamina, go over and congratulate JA Konrath. He has done his 500th bookstore! A sterling effort.

If you're wondering whether you measure up, try reading this, (the woman's got four names - none of which go together - and she's this narcissistic?) then go over to here where the post is mocked with a wonderful biting edge. The comments are pretty snicker-worthy, too.

Finally, Maya Reynolds has an interesting post on storyboarding. Storyboarding, for those who don't know, is a way of plotting a novel, via the use of a board and different coloured sticky notes. Find out how one author does it at Maya's blog.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Happy Anniversary

A day late (and a dollar short), heh, heh, but it's the first anniversary of this blog.

When I started this blog, I figured it would be a good place to diffuse some inner angst and to bitch about stuff that burned my wick; stuff that may not be politically correct, stuff that others around me would be shocked about, stuff that I feel deeply about and bugger everybody else.

I've done that, and I'll continue to do that.

Some posts, I've winced at later and wondered if it's too much information, too nasty, too opinionated, too sappy, too squick or too confrontational.

I've decided that it matters not. Sometimes, there are like-minded lurkers; sometimes, there are not, but they are polite enough not to say so.

This is a diary for me; I've never really written in a diary, it was too easy for others to find and snigger over. This blog, however, means I have to think more carefully about what I write. I like that.

And I have no plans to delete it any time soon. What blogging has taught me, is that no matter how I might get smacked by the Karma Fairy, I can always ease my way by writing about whatever takes my fancy. I like that; I'll continue.

Cover Me

Apropos Paperback Writer's challenge, Sheila has put up a cover for the novella she's posting for us; free of charge.

Of course, this sent a few challengees into a bit of panic. Did we have to do covers, too? Gaaahhh...

I'd like to say: "But I'm a writer, not an artist!!". I can't. I did a few years as a desktop publisher and designer. Sigh

My loins girded, I set to in creating an appropriate cover. It took me about three hours to do two. They turned out okay, but not really what I wanted. I decided that I would talk to one of my artistic sisters. Hah! S. is going to read the story I'm planning to enlarge by about 20k and she will create a couple of covers for me to choose from.

I'm such a squib, but... whatever works! I'm looking forward to seeing her visions of my work. It's exciting for both of us.

I might even post a couple of examples when they're done.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Thylacoleo carnifex

I like old stuff, especially palaeontological stuff. And the discovery of a complete skeleton of a Thylacoleo carnifex simply amazes me.

Scientists have known about thylacoleo carnifex or Marsupial Lion, for some time, but never has a complete skeleton been found. Now, four years after the discovery, scientists from the Western Australian Museum have announced what their research has produced.

The story of the discover of the Marsupial Lion can be found here and here.

This is what the Beast of the Nullabor could look like:

This little fella could stand on his back legs, balanced by a tail, just like a kangaroo. (Probably a good thing given that kangeroos were about three metres tall and wombats were the size of small cars.) He could climb, stalk his prey, slash at his victims with sharp claws, use his long incisor teeth to kill; yet became extinct.

Within that cave in the middle of nowhere were other discoveries; some of unidentified species. I'm rather excited to learn about those creatures, too.

It's nice to know that we, as humans, still haven't catelogued all those species who died millenia ago; that there is something new under the sun (or desert sands).

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Every now and then...

A cartoon! I love these and thought I would... share...

Okay, another one then...

One more Maxine? Sure:

Monday, August 14, 2006

Oh, dear...

I spent some quality time with the... d.e.n.t.i.s.t. today. For me, it's a special kind of torture and no amount of talking to myself would lower the anxiety levels.

It took four injections of... stuff... and there was still a sting when he drilled (why can't someone invent a drill that doesn't whine like that!).

He's a great dentist; you get cool sunglasses to wear and there's an LCD television screen stuck to the ceiling... ah, he's also very professional, compassionate and focused on the task.

There was a time when I thought: I can't do this. Stop... Please? But, of course, it had to be done.

Me, I can appreciate a good slap of irony. Mr Bean episodes were playing in a loop and yes, you guessed it: the 'Mr Bean visits the dentist' episode played.

Do you know how hard it is not to laugh with a mouth full of fingers and instruments? It's actually one of the few episodes I really like.

Just shows that while fate is torturing you, there'll be something to chuckle at. Works in books, too. I believe Joss Whedon has said that if you're going to dump your characters into a desperate situation, throw in some humour to ease the stress.

It works - however temporarily. The rest of the treatment didn't seem like such a burden. A couple of hours later, and the skin on my face still feels as if to slide off; then it will ache something chronic. Ever tried to hold your mouth open for an hour and a half?

Well, he recommended a glass of vino or two, so, being the good patient that I am, I can't go against his recommendations, now can I? If nothing else, it will give me Dutch courage to turn up again on Thursday...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Edits're done

I've finally finished the red pen mark up on Deception. I didn't find any significant problems, but that will probably change once I go through scene by scene. It's good to give the brain a rest and go on to something else.

Which just happened to be the family tree. My niece rang and asked for a copy because she's doing a project on family trees in Italian! So I duly e-mailed her a modified copy.

My brother in Qatar then asked if there was an update, so I've spent all day putting it together in a format that I can e-mail him. It's only twenty pages, but, jeez, it took some serious time.

The good thing is that everything is now in a format that I can look at and research the head names. Not yet though, I've got the editing, I want to read a damn book without having to stop and tomorrow... oy... another visit to the dentist. Shame I can't take a book with me while he... you know... uses that high-pitched whiny drill on me.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Word Cloud

Finally got around to doing the cloud that a lot of other bloggers have, and here it is:

I've got no idea what to make of it. Anyone? Anyone at all?

You can get your own here.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Affirmative Action

We all know how difficult it is to get published. For some, it's not an issue, preferring to remain happy that the books are written for themselves, family and friends. For others, it is a cruel and heartbreaking process. Just about every published author will have a horror story or two to tell the neophytes.

The consistency of 'doom and gloom' comments on the world wide web makes you wonder if publishers are interested in any new author, or any new spin on an old tale. This, of course, simply scares the newbie and makes them wonder if it's all worth while.

If you're shy about your work, forget it - you'll never take the criticism. If your certain your work is fresh and new, you might not understand why it keeps getting rejected. And even published authors are receiving rejections. It's all so depressing.

There are support groups, but finding them is difficult, as are finding an appropriate writer's circle or critiquing group. So what do you do?

First, never, ever give up the dream of becoming published. Writing, as I've said before, is an ongoing learning process and no book is ever perfect.

Second, find some pithy aphorisms. Something that will lift your spirits and keep you at it. Here are some that I have spread out around my work station:

If you don't write it, who will?

There is no book fairy; what you want will not magically appear.

You can't edit what you haven't written.

And my personal favourite, although I don't know who said it first:

You have no right to keep your imagination to yourself.

It sums up what we all need to hear: that someone out there wants to hear all about the strange worlds that live in our writer's head; and hell, why not share them? Every other published author out there is sharing theirs.

(I also have a roundtuit, for, you know...)

What are some of your affirmations?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Yeah, those idiots.

I'm not going to write about them, because over at Lydia Teh's, she has an excellent article on oxymorons.

People, for whom English is a second language, sometimes have a better grasp of English than those born to it. Check it out, it demonstrates what is an oxymoron quite eloquently.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Remember when...

It's been an interesting day. Every time I turn the radio on, there is something on about the seventies or eighties.

This was the era I grew up in.

Here in Australia, in the summer, it still meant things like backyard cricket with the neighbourhood kids, or touch footy. It meant staying out until the sun went down, sometimes eight o'clock or later. It was going to the beach, sans sunscreen, and staying there until lunch, racing home for salad sandwiches and being collared for an hour by the parents. ("You'll get cramps if you go in so soon after eating! So sit there quietly!") Hah! Six kids sitting quietly for an hour?, not in your wildest fantasies. It would be back to the beach until hunger set in again. We'd come home absolutely barbequed and Mum would wipe cucumber or cold tea all over us, admonishing us, while she stroked the cool stuff over fiery, reddened skin, that too much sun was bad for you.

Summer also meant the Southerly Buster. On some days, we'd sit out on the verandah at about five o'clock and wait for it. The breeze would pick up and lower the temperature, the sky would be filled with rapidly racing white clouds and the day would darken. Sometimes, there'd be rain, sometimes Mother Nature would clap her hands - those were some wicked storms - and sometimes, there'd be nothing but wind and a cooler temperature. As a family we'd head indoors for dinner then an evening watching television or playing board games.

The next day, we'd poke our sunburn to see how bad it was. If not, down to the beach we'd go. If it was still painful, we'd be reading, watching the cricket on the telly, out riding the pushbikes, climbing trees, or fooling around elsewhere.

Those days were excellent. We would swim from the October long weekend (the first weekend) until Anzac Day (in the last week of April). We were outside most of the time getting exercise. We were falling out trees, getting branded by cricket balls, laying skin on roads when we crashed the bikes, stung by blue bottles, cut by oysters... we were also brimming with good health, fit, tanned, relaxed and happy.

The computer wasn't freely available, no Playstation - although we did get that ping-pong game - no VCR or DVD or CD player, had a radio, though, and a kid's best friend: imagination.

The point is that we weren't afraid of going outside to play; not like kids today. Parents have worried and protected their kids right into obesity and indifference.

Parents should be letting Rupert, Milly and Socrates out into the backyard to explore, out to climb trees, ride bikes, swim at the beach, watering hole, pool, play backyard cricket or touch footy, not threatening law suits should the little lambs hurt themselves.

Life is about hurts; it's about learning to pick yourself up and move on. It used to be if you tripped and fell, you'd jump up and check to see if anyone saw your humiliation; now people jump up and check for witnesses for their lawsuit.

Where has personal responsibility gone? Has it disappeared along with body shirts, flares and long hair? Sucked under by the 'greed is good' generation?

I remember my youth as being a fun time; when I learned all sorts of things, like don't step on a dead stick when you're ten feet off the ground in a tree, start to slow down at least fifty feet before the ninety degree corner comes up and you only have back breaks, cricket on television isn't as interesting as playing it, the beach is an astonishing playground, I look good with a tan, storms are scary, my family makes up a volleyball team, half a cricket/football team and together, we were unbeatable, and so much more.

Damn, today's kids are wusses, and their parents are pussies who are denying their children the sheer joy of being a kid. Gotta feel sorry for them and future generations, because they're surely missing out.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I gotta focus more...

I'm editing at the moment. Deception is one of last year's NaNo books and one that I don't expect to be edited easily. It's 118k, with more scenes than you can poke a stick at.

Nano, for me, is a 'go' competition. Yes, my inner athelete starts revving on the 1st of November and doesn't stop until the end. If I finish one book, I'll start another. I'll not have an idea, really, until I put fingers to keyboard and go for it. Hell of a way to write, but the challenge works for me.

It's the aftermath that's the problem. I let the books sit. Sometimes for a month, sometimes two. This one has sat for nine (hmm... symbolic?).

Today, I decided it was time to get to it. As well as reading/editing, I do a plot outline. Eh? I hear you say. Shouldn't I have done the plotting before the writing?

Well, no. Pre-planning, plotting or outlining doesn't work for me: I get bored with the book and it never gets written; I've tried it. Post-plotting, on the other hand, works splendidly. I can see as I go what works and what doesn't.

My first rule of editing is that you can't edit what you haven't written. (Some might say 'you can write what you haven't plotted', and I would disagree.) Free-writing, unstructured writing or writing without plot, liberates the instinctive creativity within. You can't not write a truthful story. There's no doubt, no wondering if it works, no how does this fit, no 'my character wouldn't do that, the chart says so', just the flowing of words onto a page.

It is also a method of truly getting into your character without the 'interviews'. You must be that character to write from their point of view, to write what that character would do and so on. It makes your characters live because there is no direction in the back of your mind that the characters must take; they take themselves. With NaNo, it also forces you to bust through that doubt barrier; the one where you're wondering if what is going on is true to form. It is. With practice, you become more aware, more focused on what you're doing.

I've gone through about thirty pages of the book. I had to stop - it was, after all, nigh on eight o'clock in the pm. I hadn't fed me or the aged parent. With the story still firmly at my forebrain, I raced up stairs and grabbed the easiest for dinner: gnocchi with Parmesan cheese.

Of course, I wasn't entirely focusing when I dropped those suckers into boiling water. Now, I have a squillion tiny burns on the inside of my forearms from splashing, bubbling water. Sigh, had to be the most sensitive part of my skin - Murphy will do that to you.

Lesson learned, but it made me smile. The story, brought to life in the rush of a challenge, is engrossing, which can only be a good thing. Hopefully, I'll continue to be distracted by the book. All I have to do now is find a more appropriate title and send it out.

I love this writing business, minor accidents and all...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Challenge within a challenge

Further to Paperback Writer: PBW's E-book Challenge, I visited PDFOnline for a look at the .pdf freeware.

It's good, terrific, in fact. I uploaded a file and the software converted it to .pdf and sent it to my e-mail account. I opened the file and read the story without any problem whatsoever.

Next, I downloaded the freeware and tried it out. If you have Word, there will be a PDF icon on the bar, click on that and the whole process is done for you.

The document came up easily.

So, come All Hallow's Eve, I'll be posting a story, or, indeed, a novella free of charge for those who wish to read it. I've not yet decided on what to post - be it old or new.

For those of you who visit, you can challenge me. You choose what genre the work will be in; you choose how long (though I'll time to write it if it's too long) and what it will be about. How's that?

If there's no comment by the end of August, then I'll chose something.

Post your suggestions in either the comments or e-mail me.

Another story will be up over at Jaye Patrick's Takeaway sometime over the weekend.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Oh... so that's why...

I get it now: I'm supposed to go out into the world not the other way around! *slaps forehead* What was I thinking? Anyway, here is my latest horoscope from Astrology for Writers, Editors and Filmmakers:

Gemini: All systems "go" as of Aug. 10th. Construct a website if you haven't one already. You simply MUST become a publicity beast if your career is to take off as you deserve, or think you do. Truth is you've waited far too long for the world to come to you.

I guess it's time to put up another story over on Jaye Patrick's Takeaway. Actually, I've already posted that I have the takeaway blog on PBW's site. Sheila has posted a challenge to authors/writers to post a freebie on their sites. Since mine's already up, I'm going to take another approach and try to figure out how to post something in a PDF format.

Now, I've just got to write something new for the challenge...

Done for the year

The RWA Convention is over for the year, and from reading a number of posts, a fun time was had by all. Various commentaries can be read at Blogging National and at Anna-Louise Genoese and at Avon Romance Blogand at Write Minded Blog and, Pub Rants.

In fact, there are a lot of blogs on the convention, most complete with pictures of famous authors. I understand this year's award ceremony was a fun event, which is what awards ceremonies are supposed to be; not boring, long-winded affairs.

Congrats to all the winners (most of whom I've never heard of) and to all those attendees. Now, get back to work!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Last week, you'll recall, I mentioned a wicked toothache.

Today was visit the dentist day (after getting some lignocaine from the chemist - drugstore to the northerners).

I don't know which was worse the actual work done or the skyrocketing anxiety levels. To give you an idea of my anxiety levels, let me tell you a true story.

When I was still a teenager, I had major surgery done. On what doesn't matter, but the significance is that the anethestist failed to use enough stuff and I ended up conscious during the procedure; conscious, but paralysed. "Pain? Let me tell you about pain!" Under general anesthetic, there is no painkiller and there ain't nuthin' you can do - at least back then.

Anyway, what it left me was a psychological resistence to even local anesthetics, not to mention a capacity for going into shock when general is used (made getting my wisdom teeth out a real treat for the hospital staff).

Before this visit to the dentist, my previous toothcare professional used three injections and it was still a painful experience. With the whiny drill and the dentist suggesting I hold still because he couldn't give me anymore, you can imagine what a devastating time I had of it.

Since then, visiting a doctor or a dentist, or anyone who inadvertantly inflicts pain on me, is a traumatic event. I now find getting stitches without a painkiller to be a non-event.

The dentist, who is charming, gentle and careful whacked two injections into my mouth and went to work. If not for the above unfortunate event, I would have had clenched fists and tensed muscles; instead, I was the picture of calm - on the outside. Inside, my heart was beating so hard I was sure he and the nurse could hear it, I had occasional shivers, a tight neck and surges of heat through my body, that drained away to leave me cold depending on what he was doing.

When he was done, I felt completely wrung out. Then, he gave me the bad news. Yep, I gotta have root canal work done. Twice. The shaking didn't start until I stepped out of the surgery and into the golden late afternoon.

Four hours later, I still have a bit of numbness, but it's not over. I'll have to go back a few times before he's done with me. Like the surgery I had done as a teenager to save my life, all I can do is tough it out.

A lot of people don't see a big deal in going to a dentist or a doctor, and more power to them. For me, it's a test of endurance. The phrase "this, too, shall pass" is more than a pithy aphorism, it's a lifeline, because I know damn well that, no matter how long I live, physical pain will be visited upon me - on us all - and there naught to do but endure.