Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Litha and Christmas are over for the year, and like a lot of other people, I've eating too much, drunk too much and suffered the side effects; all in the name of a good time.

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

Season's Greetings

I'm a leedle hung over from the festivities, and I've only just begun... sigh.

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


Thanks to Smart Bitches for the link. You may now address me as:

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


Your results:
You are Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)

Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)
Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
River (Stowaway)
Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)
Derrial Book (Shepherd)
Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)
Inara Serra (Companion)
Wash (Ship Pilot)
A Reaver (Cannibal)
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

Windows 2007

Features you may need

I know I'd feel better with these; how about you?

Monday, December 18, 2006


Yar!! The Ashes are back in Australia's hands! Hah! Cricket's Holy Grail is coming home after a year in English hands. Needless to say the English aren't happy. Words like surrender and crushed and ruthless are being bandied about... mwahaha!

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

Winding up

Halfway through December and things are winding up. Now, you can take that two ways: winding up, as in finishing, or winding up as in getting ready for the big finale.

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

Still at it....

Still flat out like a lizard drinkin'!

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

Busy here, busy there...

I'm so busy even my unbusy bits are busy!

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

New Short...

... is over at The Takeaway should you be interested.

There'll be another one at the end of the month; after that, I'll be looking at whether the site is worthwhile or if I'll take it down.

Summer Smoke

The land of Oztralya is known for it's harsh weather. This early in the season, it's worse than usual. The ongoing drought, Central Australia's Heat Engine firing up early, the Spring wind season longer than usual have all resulted in a wicked fire season.

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.

Before evacuation:
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


I'm a minion. I like being a minion. I've been a boss, a supervisor, an instructor, and I didn't like it very much - too much stress and too many demands made of me that would have compromised my ethics.

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


I've got to feel sorry for the English Cricket Team. At 9 dec 551 runs, you'd figure they were in the box seat at the Adelaide Oval in the Second Test match.

Sadly, no.

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


Over at Holly Lisle's Pocket Full of Words, the author once again slams us with how difficult, nay, impossible it to succeed as a writer, and explains why this is so. If you'd like to be depressed and give up this writing gig all together, go and have a read of How to kill a career in three easy books.

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


I managed to spend one whole day away from writing, editing and other writerly stuff before I was lured back to it.

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

NaNo done

Across the world, writers are muttering under their breath "thank (insert prefered deity) that's over!"

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!