Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Nekkid Harry Potter

Definitely an OMG moment, but check this out:

and this one:

Damn, he's growing up fine.

Daniel is starring in the controversial Peter Shaffer play, Equus at London's Gielgud Theatre from next month.

Here's the story from the Sydney Morning Herald and it links to more photos... if you dare!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I've been reading through Huntress, my 2003 NaNo piece.

It's the story of a World Council Senator's research assistant who is 'disappeared' by a corrupt Judicar to a prison planet and her fight, not only to survive, but to return.

There's sex in it. Oh, yes, indeedy, but then there'd have to be, would there? One of the keys to finishing Nano is to put in sex scenes; they take up a couple of pages and an hour or so of writing. That's not to say you should fill your book with rompy-pompy. It still has to serve a purpose. (Unless you're writing porn and then, who cares about plot?)

My indecision is not on how many scenes there are, but how descriptive it should be.

I mentioned in another post that to write intimate scenes comfortably, a writer has to practice. As in, write the most explicit scene you can imagine, keep doing it until you're comfortable with those types of scenes. It works for violence, too.

But that's all about how to write scenes without grabbing a passerby (spouse, partner, stranger) and having your way with them (which is good; if your writing affects you, it will affect the reader), or simply weaselling out at the closed door (Barbara Cartland you are not!).

I guess it comes down to a number of things. The target audience. How comfortable are sci-fi readers with the explicit intimacy between characters? S.L. Viehl isn't shy when it comes to anatomically correct parts in Stardoc; nor is Laurell K. Hamilton in The Killing Dance. Hard sci-fi readers don't like it and throw the books into the romance bin. Sci-fi isn't about smut, apparently, it's about the future and all the wonderful techo stuff.

Plot: Does the scene progress the plot or, if you cut it out, would the story continue? Sex is always a nice interlude for the writer and the characters (theraputic for the writer; a breather from all the fire and brimstone for the characters), but it has to be appropriate to the motivations of the characters.

Characters: is this something they would do? A sequestered virginal nun let loose on the world would either be curious and cautious or willing and able or refuse point blank as it's a 'sin'. A prostitute might be in the business, but away from that business would she? Just because it's her trade, doesn't mean she'll put out for everyone. A soldier, back from a six month tour of duty, what would he do?

Time: Do your characters need time to get to know each other first, or doesn't it matter because it's an opportunity to celebrate life? Is it a mistake that will need sorting out throughout the book?

Motivation: is it done to betray someone else? To further a career, to manipulate someone, to compromise them, to punish? Is it the resolution to the sensual itch the characters have been feeling?

So many things to consider, but I think I have it almost right. I'll have to go back and re-read those scenes.

Once done, I'm posting the first couple of chapters.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Time Management

Not when I'm writing - that is too anal for me.

Work. The day job. The stuff I get paid for, if only for another two weeks.

Time management. Gaaahhh! I've got to write down everything I do, how long it takes and what, if any, money is involved. Of course, it takes time to write all this shit down. And I'll have to do this up until the day I leave.

How could they do this too me? When can I get some gnarly surfing done?

Trying to balance how many minutes against punching in and out is a nightmare for someone who's mathematically challenged like I am; it's why I write rather than do sums.

Twenty seconds for this phone call, an hour for that banking run, thirty minutes for a particularly curly customer problem; it's all too much I tell you... and it's only just started. I've already put on the log sheet more hours and minutes than I was actually there, according to my timesheet...

Damn, I work hard. All that multi-skilling and being in two places at once. Who knew? I'd like to say it couldn't get any worse, but the auditors might be reading this.

Doomed. I am so doomed. I think I'll do what the bank clerk suggested and fill in five, ten, fifteen minute blocks rather than the seconds. I've never had to do this before and seconds seems a little unreasonable.

Yeah, that's the way to carve out surfing time. I knew you were good for an idea... Thanks!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

What's out there now

I found a new weblog that will prove interesting to writers, both new and experienced.

The Rantings of a Literary Diva has more insights into the publishing world. It joins a number of sites that authors can visit for information and gripes on this schizophrenic world we've chosen to be in.

Chesya also has an anthology coming up. The requirement is that the protagonist must be a prostitute. Go on over and have a look. It will be an interesting anthology. are looking for reviews, art and short fiction to publish, so check them out.

I subscribe to the e-magazine Fiction Factor which has all sorts of information for the writer. Like Ralan's Webstravaganza, Fiction Factor has a markets page you might like to look at. It's not as large as Ralan's, but it's also in bite size, so you're not overwhelmed by the amount of opportunities out there.


I'm doing some editing today, so sometime this week, I'll have more excerpt links to my webpage. I'll also have an extra chapter or two on Masquerade. (I'm really annoyed at the pop-ups and the some time failure to launch on this site; I may have to find another host - free or otherwise).

Next up will be either Demonesque or Teardrops of War (and I really have to find another title for that one - it's a little sucky, I think).

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Your beloved... WHAT?

I don't get it. Truly. Is my e-mail a scam magnet or what?

In the past few of weeks I've won the Spanish lottery (twice), the Dutch lottery, some British lottery (because apparently, I was entered by some anonymous benefactor or my e-mail was automatically entered) and now I'm being offered a chance to handle an investment of $17.8 million dollars from the Cote d'Ivoire. How lucky can I get?

It's last one I find truly offensive. It starts off: Beloved brethren in the Lord,
Divine call from God!
and ends: Yours beloved sister in Christ, Mrs. Faith Isaiah.

This 'poor' chicky is suffering from Leukemia; worse, she lost her husband and son. It even has a web address - the BBC, no less - for me to comfirm this sad and tragic story. Here's the text:

Beloved brethren in the Lord,

Divine call from God!

In brief introduction, my name is Mrs. Faith Isaiah from Northern of Cote d'Ivoire, married to Mr. Isaiah who was a business man (Cocoa Merchant). We married for 11 years with a child (Kofi). My late husband (Mr. Isaiah) and our only son were killed during the WAR (Abidjan - Bouake) Crisis some years back, in Cote d'Ivoire, take a look below for your confirmation of the WAR.

My dear, since my doctor have confirmed that I will not live long because of Cancer of Blood (Leukaemia), my condition is now critical and I might not survive but I believe in the world of God because he is able to make impossibility to be possible. Since my only son (Kofi and his father) my beloved husband have died, there is nothing again I can do than to donate this $17.8 million which my late husband deposited with a financial company for security reasons before his death, which he intentionally deposited for building of Orphanage Home and Hospital, all the documents concerning the fund are in the custody of my late husband's lawyer whom I will forward his contact to you for further communicating. Confirm urgently to me your full readiness to handle the investment of this donation for the benefit of orphans, widows and other brethrens in Christ that are suffering facially in your country with honest and faithfulness to our God, all your work in this donation will be reward back to you in millions by our living Almighty God. I will be looking seriously forward to read your immediate reply after going through this message from your sister.

Yours beloved sister in Christ,

Mrs. Faith Isaiah

Gosh. Someone is trying to appeal to my Christian nature. And, as we all know, Christians can't possibly resist widows, orphans and those who are 'suffering facially'.

Let's bend our heads for a moment's silence of the appalling grammar, spelling and stupidity.

Why would these people possibly think I'm that greedy or that idiotic to believe such bullshit? I'm aware of people who lose thousands to these scammers; it appeals to those who don't see what it's all about.

So, Mrs Faith Isaiah, you've struck out on a number of levels: I'm pagan, not Christian; people who are 'suffering facially' have the best of care in Australia ( my uncle was facial and dental surgeon; the two news stories have exactly the same date, time and sidebars; and... I can't get past all the 'God' business, it pisses me off. I know who my sisters and brothers are, they are all personal to me (not necessarily family) and not some amorphous since-we-all-belong-to-the-same-religion, we're-related crap.

It's sad to think people will see this as an opportunity to fast wealth and only lose their own hard earned cash. But there you have it.

Not this little black duck. And... try a different scam, pin-head, this one has been done to death!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Yay! Us!

It's Australia Day - and a public holiday. The weather is warm and humid, with a little breeze, the tourists are down the beach, people are having barbeques and enjoying the great outdoors for which this country is famous for.

Cars have Aussie flags flying, as do the flag poles and it's draped across balconies. There are concerts being held, citizenship ceremonies and more sport than you can shake a whippy stick at.

In 1770, Captain James Cook 'discovered' Australia and it is that landing we celebrate today. I say 'discovered' because the New Guinea and indigenous peoples had been plying the Timor sea for thousands of years. And the Dutch had dropped in, too - William Dampier and Abel Tasman - but they found the Northwest a dry, arid and inhospitable land.

There are, of course, those who don't celebrate today. Certain politically motivated indigenous groups who call it 'Invasion Day'; when a military expansionist invaded native land and declared it 'Nullis Australis' or empty land.

Today, land titles have been given back to the indigenous population, agreements on land use have been signed and cultural heritage protected. For those minority agitators, all I'm going to say is 'suck it up, build that bridge and move over it!'

As the song goes: We are, you are, we are Australian.

And it's a day for celebration.

Oh, and I've put up another story over at The Takeaway should you feel the need for a quick read.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Spleen venting!

Blowing your top, popping your cork or venting your spleen. We all get pissed off at industry (meaning the writing/publishing industry).

It's so hard sometimes to remain calm, in control and polite to those idiots who don't know a damn thing, and-isn't-this-the-best-damn-manuscript-you've-ever-read-because-it's-the-best-damn-piece-I've-written; whaddaya-mean-it-needs-more-work?-It's-perfect!

For agents, it's a similar story of ego-soothing rejected clients, making sure the manuscript is the best it can possibly be and working their rings off shopping for the best deal; while the publishers want to limit any outlay because there's no guarantee the book will make a profit.

Bottom line: everyone's trying to make a living. There are the good, the bad, the indifferent and the downright ugly in this industry, like any other.

Thanks to JA Konrath you now have a place to vent your spleen, or see other spleenectomies. The Anonymous Publishing Vent Club is up and running.

Hosted by JA, the vent club is where anyone from the industry can... vent... without naming names, or jeopardising their careers.

(You'll also note some adverts for Mr Konrath's books - I'm not sure that's appropriate, but it is his site. Then again, read Rule Number 5. I wonder if that will cause some spleening? And yes, this comment is tongue-in-cheek.)

I think the site is great and a fabulous idea, so why not promote yourself and your books? I'll be linking to it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Because I'm bored....

Shamelessly filched from Reality Doesn't Live Here, because all newbie sci-fi writers need to know:

I am:
Arthur C. Clarke
Well known for nonfiction science writing and for early promotion of the effort toward space travel, his fiction was often grand and visionary.

Which science fiction writer are you?

Oh, man... this is one quiz maybe I shouldn't have done, but... aren't I... *gasp of horror* cute??? No one would dare describe me as such in real life:
Star Wars Horoscope for Gemini

Like most Geminis, you are a playful little creature.
You tend to be extremely curious, craving knowledge but sometimes having a short attention span.
For the most part, you are charming and loveable.
But at times, you can seem scattered and high-strung.

Star wars character you are most like: Ewoks

See? Here is the depths of that boredom and I'm sure you really needed to know:

Your Personality Is Like Acid

A bit wacky, you're very difficult to predict.
One moment you're in your own little happy universe...
And the next, you're on a bad trip to your own personal hell!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Hands Off Our Colours \,,/(-_-)\,,/

Is there no end to the touchy-touchy, feely-feely apologists?

One of the biggest events during January is the Big Day Out, where top Aussie bands perform in a day-long smorgasbord of music. It is held on or near Australia Day when we are filled with pride for this great nation of ours; when we welcome new citizens, get down to the beach, have barbeques with friends and family. It's our day of celebration.

Yet, as a result of racial and nationalistic unrest, the organisers want to ban the flag from the event! I'm sorry, but WHAT? Worse, Andrew Robb, Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration wants to cancel the whole event and the Returned Services League supports that suggestions.

NSW Premier Morris Iemma (pronounced: Yemma) disagrees: "Our flag ought not to be used to be making political points like this. It is a still an outrageous decision and one that needs to be reversed and reversed immediately."

NSW Opposition Leader, Peter Debnam, is equally pissed off: "The message to the organisers has got to be straightforward: Embrace the Australian flag or move your event off State Government property."

All this came about by a comment by one of the organisers, Ken West, who said that fans' behaviour last year in the wake of the Cronulla riots and the recent ethnic confrontation at the Australian Open tennis tournament had forced his hand. "The Australian flag was being used as gang colours. It was racism disguised as patriotism and I'm not going to tolerate it."

The Australian flag? Used as a symbol of tribalism? Used to identify national pride? Waved about as if to say, "Hey, look at moyee, look at moyee, I'm an Aussie. Like any other nation?

Well. I am shocked. Truly, deeply, shocked that Australians would want to wallow in the nationalistic pride of being an Aussie. That the identifyer everyone uses, be they American, French, British, Hezbollah, Russian, Chilean, North Korean, South African, or whatever, should be described as 'gang colours' and be condemned as being unworthy of unfurling.

Every nation has a gang colour - some are similar, for example, British, America, France, New Zealand, Australia, Russia are red, white and blue. Austria, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, Japan, Turkey are red and white.

We all stand beneath our own 'colour' and are proud of it; will fight and die under our banner. These people who are spouting apologist rhetoric or merely using this for their political agenda (State election in two months) should get over themselves and stop being so bloody sensitive.

The solution to the drama is simply to have the Big Day Out in a different week, or month even. Not cancel it to stop people bringing gang colours, not banning the National Flag, but postponing the event to another time where it cannot influenced by the celebrations of Australia Day.

Why can't these idiots see that? Must it always be a media beat-up when the flag is at issue? Move on, children, the gang colours are here to stay.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Starstruck- out

Damn clouds again. Hid the comet as we stood in the cool nor'easterly. The kids thought it fun, though. They explored the surrounds, down the track. (Story: when I took the sunset photo, a blonde guy and his family stopped. "Whatcha lookin' at?" He asked. "A comet." Someone replied. His expression brightened. "Cool! I'm gonna have a closer look!" He promptly drove the car down the track!!) Closer look. Riiight.

Anyway, it was one of those 'let's pull off the side of the road' things; you know, you travel a road so often but never stop. It's a fabulous view I pass every morning, every afternoon, glance at the mountains and move on.

I should do it more often, though this time of year there's enough road-kill, baking under the summer sun to make stew for a battalion - or did you not need that imagery? You can, I'm sure, imagine the smell. Hah!

We were the only car that had stopped, though others continued to drive by, ignoring the scenery, the wonderful sky and dark grey clouds on the horizon.

For me, the time wasn't wasted. The evening star came out, and junior niece jumped up and down excitedly, decided that it was the comet. Her mother and I exchanged glances, then looked at kidlet's elder sister. She sighed as only a new teenager can.

"Is that the comet?" She asked her little sister. Junior smugly said it was, and she'd seen it first. Satisfied, junior handed senior the binoculars. "It's pretty." She declared with the deep knowledge of a five-year-old.

We all trooped home, junior chattering away and senior rolling her eyes but saying nothing. It was a moment. And why I enjoy them so much.

Friday, January 19, 2007


It's been overcast the last couple of nights; actually they've been storms that block the horizon and then evaporate before reaching the coast... so no comet sightings.

Tonight's forecast is clearer. My sister's kids are arriving soon and I hope to show them the comet. It will be exciting for them both; their first comet sightings. One is thirteen, the other is five.

I also think I've sorted the camera problem; it's amazing what you can find in the how-to booklet that came with it!

As for the rest of what I wanted to post, it just made me tired. The arguments about Iraq and extra troops (won't solve the problem), the accusation that Russia has sent anti-missile batteries to Iran (just re-name Russia, Contrary-land) will boost Iran's arrogance and may provoke more confrontations, the pillock, Sheikh Feiz Mohammed and his hate messages (stay in Lebanon, you evil little prick)... all require more effort than I want to expend on a Friday.

So, I'm ignoring it all for the chance at something spectacular in the skies above this wide, drought-stricken land... McNaught's Comet.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I went out last night to try and view the Comet McNaught.

It's only visible for a few nights, so I braved a cool North-easterly and stood waiting for the event. Others had picked the same spot to try and see this once only event. (Discovered by an Aussie, the comet will never be seen again.)

My photos aren't as good as these - I'm still trying to learn how to use the camera and it came out a little faint - but, the sunset was spectacular.

This is towards the mountains; my normal view is towards the sea, and while the comet is, apparently, visible just before sunrise, there's no way I'm getting up that early for more shots.

Monday, January 15, 2007

History of War

This is shamelessly filched from Holly Lisle who shamelessly filched it from Tamboblog but it is well worth looking at for a comparison on the Middle East and European theatres of domination.

Here is the link to five thousand years of history in ninety seconds. Times change, no matter who is kicking the snot out of whom.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I don't have a lot of time on my weekends for the stuff I want to do, like writing, like editing, like catching up on blogs or researching the family tree. My time, like everyone else's is precious and how I fill it is no one's business but mine.

I set aside Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings for me. That's right me time. It is sacrosanct; the time I've carved out to do what I want, and not what others want me to do - I've already set aside time for that.

So. When visiting, it is common courtesy to call on the phone to see if the visitee is free for an hour or so. (It also means the visitee can run around and pick up things so the house doesn't look so much like a bomb has gone off!)

Yesterday, and old friend of my mother's dropped in. Yea, just turned up. No call, no letter, nothing. She drove down from Queensland for a visit to the local Naval base where her son was having a reunion. It is also where my family and her kids grew up. I mention Queensland because it is far enough away and the reunion known of well in advance that a letter would have been appropriate.

The visit went on for nearly two hours. (And yes, I could have excused myself, but that, to me, is bad manners.) Then she left, happy as a clam, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I could get back to writing. Nope. I'd barely sat down, fired up the computer, opened the file I wanted, when the doorbell rang. WTF?

The daughter had turned up with two of her own children in tow. Sure, we grew up together, but where was the phone call saying they were on their way? Why the fuck didn't the mother say the daughter would be calling on us, too?

The kids had no interest - I sure as shit wouldn't - and the boy had his headphones stuck in his ears for the whole visit. The girl sat with bored politeness, poor chick, while her mother and I reminisced and tried to work out where our old school pals were.

Gods Almighty, what a chore! I had no interest, I've never had an interest. We knew each other as children in an isolated environment; that does not make us friends. And having them turn up out of the blue merely reminded me of why: the lack of courtesy and self-serving nature of that family.

As for my own work, the whole afternoon was shot to pieces. Some time ago, I would have stressed out about that; now, I'm simply aggrieved and will readjust my schedule. Yeah, okay, I'm pissy about it; it will pass.


On another subject, I've posted an excerpt of Masquerade. If the initial link doesn't work, try refreshing it - I have no idea why it does that, but I'm working on it.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Don't bother...

...coming back to Australia if that's what you think!

Sheik Taj el-Din Al-Hilaly, the stupid, ignorant, bigot who likened 'immodestly' dressed Australian women to uncovered meat, is at it again, the hateful little man.

On Egyptian television, he suggested that "Anglo-Saxons came to Australia in chains, while we paid our way and came in freedom."

He also said the English people were the most unjust and dishonest, that thieves were forced to commit crimes by greedy women, that women deceived men and that scantily clad women were responsible for rape.

Taj felt free to express his opinion because he's not in Australia and felt safe amongst those with similar opinions, but the program is seen here via satellite. Appearing smug and at ease with the questions, Al-Halaly condemned the media for his troubles back in Australia and repeated his aversion to how western women dressed.

al-Hilaly apologised for his initial 'meat'remarks back in October, but obviously felt no regret. Obviously, Taj paid lip-service to apology because under the Qu'ran, a lie told to a non-believer doesn't matter and a believer would have to agree with him, so where's this fuss coming from? (Actually, when he publically apologised, he looked supremely pissed at having to do so, rather than apologetic. A political move, no doubt, to save his miserable ass.)

The evil prick has been inciting hatred in Australia for twenty years, ever since he overstayed his tourist visa and was allowed to stay by the Hawke Government.

I can't even say that the majority of other muslims in this country do not feel the same because he was named "Muslim Man of the Year" for 2005 at the first Australian Moslem Achievement Awards by Mission of Hope (Muslim Community Solutions for Health and Well-being) on Friday 8th July, 2005.

Next month, the Council of Imams decides his fate, and I can hope that not only does Taj get stripped of his Muftiness, the fucker gets kicked out of a country he should never have been allowed to stay in, let alone be granted citizenship of.

Anyone interested in how this creature got here should read this expose. I'd like to know the justifications behind allowing this miserable wretch to stay.

One more immigration Disaster the fuckwit Hawke is responsible for.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I've been tagged by that Madman Scribbler for a meme on five little known facts.

1. I grew up on a Navy base; the base was a college for training Navy cadets to be officers, and is now still a college but for advanced training in seamanship.

2. I still struggle with the stiff-backed discipline from those days that urge me to work until a project is done ("if it's worth doing, it's worth doing well", to the extreme). Stress is, therefore, a major problem for me.

3. I once graded vegetables in England - I can now tell you what the perfect carrot, potato, beetroot... looks like.

4. As a six-year-old, I was dressed up like a garage for the end of year play. My twin sister was dressed up like a red car.

5. The one and only time I smoked marijuana at university, it gave me a migraine.

There you have it. Anyone else who wishes to participate in this tag, is... tagged.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hunting the ancestors

I've got a day off today, so I decided to do more research on the tree.

So far, I can trace the family back to about 1601. I say about because obviously records are hard to come by and I have to rely on other peoples' trees to match with mine.

Four hundred years of history. It's a lot to think about.

For me to be, various ancestors had to survive the English Civil War, the Restoration, the Black Plague, various wars against the Scots and Irish, the Industrial Revolution, various wars against France, sailing halfway around the world in sailing ships, the First and Second World Wars and probably a lot of other stuff, just so I could be here.

I can still do more: there is a family tree I so want to connect to. It will take my tree back to about 700 AD, and wouldn't that be a blast! Gosh, only 900 years of tracking to do!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The boss returns

For two and a half glorious months, the boss has been away - surgery to her ankle - and we've had some of the bigger bosses down from Canberra to make sure we don't get up to anything.

Sadly, the boss has returned and we have to make an effort to look busy (as opposed to looking busy but surfing the 'net).

I don't suppose it will be too bad: she has an office on the next level and has to be careful when using the stairs.

What is wrong with the boss? She's a chatter, that's what. She can chat to anyone -doesn't matter what deadline the victim might have, she'll be oblivious - for an amazing amount of time. It wouldn't be so bad if the gossip was interesting, but it's not; it's stuff I have no interest in. At all. Ever.

I'll suck it up now and move on:

I have exactly one month left at this job; after that, who knows. Will the aforementioned boss be able to save my job? Dunno. Not caring much at the moment either. It either happens or it doesn't and I still have the rest of the contract to fulfill.

Ack! Thankfully, I have a day off tomorrow; I think I need it (feeling totally off since the Dallas Cowboys managed to throw away certain victory!!! I couldn't believe it! Really! Of all the times to fumble!)

Not happy...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A new tale...

... is over at The Takeaway.

Now I'm off to see how long it's gonna take me to create a link to the web page and to upload excerpts of my works. If nothing else, it should start out as fun and descend into frustration. Can't get more entertaining than that!

Oh, and I took a photo of a Huntsman spider - see post below - but somethings gone squirrelly with the camera, so I have to sort that out too...

Friday, January 05, 2007


I was up at the local supermarket yesterday, sneering at the tourists, lamenting the lack of goods on the shelves with the locals, chatting to the exhausted shelf-stockers when I saw them...

Easter Eggs!

I'm sorry, but WTF?

The year is but a pup! Four days old! And some marketing schmuck thinks it's a good idea to get on with the next big holiday season? No. Absolutely nuh-uh!

I'm still trying to work out how many ways I can cook with New Year's ham! There are still hidden areas of festive wrapping paper to find (kids are sooo cunning when it comes to hiding good lookin' paper - and busted toys). There are empty beer bottles/wine glasses to find (why do people put them in places where you won't find them until All Hallows Eve?).

Sure, it's chocolate and there's no such thing as bad chocolate.

I'm still in shock. Easter Eggs. In January - mid-summer - with nary an Autumn leaf to behold. It's just not right.


Got another shock walking home. This:

dropped out of the tree right in front of me. It's a Greengrocer; a type of Cicada. It may not look like much, but it's head had been scythed off - very neatly. It's legs were still in the process of crossing over in death. I didn't see the creature who did it, but wow! It was so neatly done. Not a bird, I think, but something else. (Of course, the imagination took off and images of a giant Praying Mantis slashing away, or a Huntsman spider - bigger than the hand - going thwack; you get the picture.)

It's supposed to look like this (pikkie from the Australian Museum site:

The head has been taken off just above the wings. Pretty awesome; a straight line that could have been done with a knife it was so neatly done. And yeah, I could have found one of my other photos to post, but this was just so amazing, I couldn't help myself.

This is Mother Nature at her most brutal: a quick decapitation, a body falling to earth and a creature becomes food for the ants. By morning, the body was gone, except for a delicate, iridescent wing.

I love the colour of the cicada; there's also a Yellow Monday which is, as expected, a golden colour.

This new camera is gonna get a work out, I just know it...

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I've got some photos from my new camera that I'm going to post here; but not until the weekend.

I think I've got it worked out... mostly... kind of... I'll get to reading the destructions eventually. I'm still having fun with it; sigh a new toy.

And that's the thing, isn't it? You get a new toy, you gotta play with it. I don't care how old you are, or what gender, you've gotta play until something goes awry and then out comes the instruction manual.

It's no longer the sole domain of men (where not asking for directions is) to play with nifty electronic or electric devices.

I know many women who secretly love their electric drills, power saws, screwdriver sets, hammers. Men have held sway over repairs and building for too long, I say, and women have finally found out why: it is fun! Over-the-top, what-can-I-drill/saw/screw/bash-next fu-uu-un!

Um... yeah, cool, but back to the point. On other blogs, the authors have posted pikkies of pets, work spaces, sunsets/rises, family members, themselves, just about anything you can point a camera at.

I'm going to as well. This place where I work, where I live, has some stunning wildlife and scenery, so I'm gonna share.

Look for them tomorrow or on Saturday; look for a new story, too, over at the The Takeaway.

I am going to post one story every month, rather than every three weeks, and it will be up the first weekend of the month. I gotta get back into the writing rhythm - these breaks suck...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Slap fest!

There have been grumblings for a few years about the direction Laurel K. Hamilton has taken her Anita Blake character. There has been a lot of criticism that LKH has failed to address.

Now she has.

In a rant of particular venom, LKH accuses negative readers of lacking intelligence and not understanding the characters. Her blog entry of 29 December deserves reading - if you can tolerate the light blue text on a black background long enough - if only for the first couple of paragraphs. Then it descends into a patronizing diatribe of why you shouldn't read the books if you don't like them. Fine, okay, but to insult the negative comments, to dismiss them as being inconsequential, is inexcusable.

If fans can see something wrong with the writing, the writer should pay attention. Yes, the sales maybe going up (the quality of the fan maybe going down though), but apparently, "I have the sales figures to prove it. Each book’s sales are more than the last." Laurel says on the site. "The vast majority of people standing in line love the books, love the series, and tell us so. Some people even ask for more police procedural. I want more, too. If the person asks nicely, not rudely, or in that tone that seems to imply if I don't do what they want the series is doomed to failure, I listen."

Apparently, 'hearing' and 'listening' are two separate things, because fans have been asking for more police procedurals ever since Obsidian Butterfly and less sex since Narcissus in Chains.

The next post on 31 December is the cooing, "I'm okay" reply to the rabid fan base who will see no criticism unflamed. LKH's blog has degenerated from an interesting weblog of the process of writing to the twee "What we did on New Year's Eve", and only a cyber-stalker would be interested.

If you think this is a one off, go to The Smart Bitches site and read the comments.

One last comment: LKH should never have written this piece, it leads to more talk, more sniping, more criticism. But if you are going to defend your characters, do so in a respectful manner, without criticising critics. It's a tough business and this post came off as childish, patronizing and smug.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Fortune Cookie!

My Fortune Cookie told me:
Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defense.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

A New You

The New Year brings all sorts of easily broken promise. We all do it: out with the old attitude and in with the new. "This year, I'm gonna...", "My New Year's resolution is:...", and so on.

I don't have the energy. Really. By year's end, I'm tired and looking for a break, not making more plans, creating extra obligations and making promises I won't keep. I only make promise I can keep; that's what integrity is about.

The end of January - the end of school holidays - is when I start making plans. Living in a tourist town, we locals are constantly battling with arrogant, traffic-blind, drop-the-trash-in-the-street, strip-the-shops, whinging, whiney, loud, obnoxious, tourists!

I don't get it. They (and yes, I'm generalising) seem to leave their manners and brains at home. The crime rate lifts by 500%; prank phone calls every bloody week, litter, drunkeness, fights... They don't do it at home, so why here in this pristine environment?

Come February, they're mostly gone and we can get back to the quiet life. Those tourists who remain are polite and blend in; they enjoy the sun, the surf, the peaceful existence and plan to retire here. And we welcome them.

I'm in a bit of a pissy mood, as you've guessed. My week off from work has been... well, work, with various family members plus children turning up. It's been like a hotel around here and Saxon - my elderly sixteen-year-old dog - is exhausted from avoiding small, grasping hands and the loud squealings of excited children. Oy.

I love my family. I do. I enjoy their company, enjoy catching up, seeing the kids growing up, the laughter, the glee, the... life in them; but not all at once. It's a lot of catering, cleaning, entertaining, shopping for more food...

I've done no writing, as I'd planned: being a favoured aunt is tough work. Kids follow you everywhere - even to the bathroom, depending on the age of the aforementioned child. What's up with that?

They've all had a wonderful time, though, with the beach and each other. That's the most important part, no matter how much I want to escape. I have no energy left to make plans for a new me; that can wait until I recharge the batteries.

Tomorrow, it's back to the day job and it's going to be busy. The last of the relatives leave then too. From Christmas Eve to tomorrow, we've had family here; a constant barrage of noise and family-work for me. Finding a quiet place has been impossible, whether physically or in my head.

That's what life is all about - the sensory overloads; it makes you appreciate the quiet times all the more.

Happy New Year to one and all