Monday, April 30, 2007

Tired and emotional

It has a nice ring to it, don't you think? 'Tired and emotional'. Beats the hell out of saying you're really, really hungover. (No sympathy for hangovers, it's your own fault, no matter how much you suffer for it.)

My sister came around on Saturday night and we watched the Canberra Brumbies take on the Canterbury Crusaders in Rugby Union. Just like boys around a keg, we had a rather nice De Bortoli Cabernet Merlot... too much of it, apparently.

So Sunday dawned painfully bright and too damned early. The dogs needed to go out and I'm not one to refuse an increasingly urgent request like that.

Gak! I still felt three sheets to the wind, even though it wasn't a late night. Teeth cleaning didn't help, but the Coke I had did, although I made a note to myself: FYI, do not drink Coke immediately after cleaning teeth - it tastes awful.

I spent the rest of the day away from the computer and mooching about feeling sorry for myself. Paracetemol helped, and a nana nap would have been even better, but there was World Cup cricket to watch, then a couple of movies on cable and before you know it, the day's virtually gone.

I'm back at it today and discovered a major plot flaw. If I'd worked on it yesterday, I'd have missed it - being fuzzy-headed an' all - but I think I have a solution that adds to the tension.

I'd like to say "never again", but that would be a lie, so I'll say, "not for a long time" instead.

Good news is the Brumbies won, bad news... ah, it may not be enough to get them into the finals. I'll still watch, though I'll be a little more circumspect in how many beverages I consume!

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Or 'slanguage' as SMS text is now called.

I saw an interesting item on slanguage this morning and its effects on modern day language. One woman - I can't remember her name - said it was interesting that, for all the abbreviations, kids using text language had a good grasp of grammar.

A college English teacher said he'd yet to see the language in his class, but it would be unacceptable. But some high school papers were being turned in with the abbreviated language.

For those of who are... not of the text era, deciphering text can be laborious:

cul8r is simple: see you later.
whatru ^2?: what are you up to? starts to get complicated.
wru? tmbtam: where are you? Text me back tomorrow morning. Well, you can see the increasing difficulty. Whole conversations are carried on like this.

Do I like this stuff? Um... it takes a while to decipher, but it's here to stay and it serves a purpose given telcos charge by the letter or word. The English language is an ever evolving one, but will it take over the world?

Can you imagine picking up a book written totally in slanguage? The next two or three generations may think nothing of it; the generation I belong to would be horrified, and only read a book like that with an sms dictionary beside them.

I can see it coming; but only in a minor, alternative fiction way. After that who knows?

poahf, icbw, knim?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Weird News

People are interested in the weirdest things. To wit:

Reuters report on a camel beauty contest. Yes, indeed. In Saudi Arabia, according to the report, the islamic law makes it virtually impossible for a human beauty pageant. This beauty contest is being held by a tribe in western Saudi Arabia, the Qahtani. Go figure.

Apparently, some people - more than a million - have nothing better to do than watch cheese mature. The English Cheddar has attracted attention from 119 countries. The site, should you be interested is: Cheddar Vision. Personally, I like Brie, or Gloucester, or Red Leicester or...

Ah, finally! The Chinese are showing good sense with Women's Town. Men who disobey get punished. Though still in the planning stages, at least someone has the good sense to know the way the world should be run!

Just in case too much Simpsons is never enough, Universal Studios is planning a Theme Park Ride in honour of the yellow skinned television stars. Can't wait for that one.

Dolly Parton has refused to ride the new rollercoaster at Dollywood. She said - and I quote with a snicker: "I have too much to lose by getting on this ride," the entertainer told the opening day crowd. "My hair, my eyelashes, my fingernails, Lord knows what else will spill out." Gotta admire a woman who knows her limitations!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Anzac Day

Today is Anzac Day. It is a day when diggers, old and young, gather to march down the streets of major cities to the cheers of a grateful nation.

It is a day when those diggers reunite with soldiers from their battalions to reminisce, to play two-up, to mourn the loss of comrades, to toast victories and defeats. It is a day of sadness and joy.

On this day, in 1915, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp joined the British, Canadians, Indians and others to storm the beaches at Gallipoli in Turkey.

The landing and subsequent fighting proved disasterous to the allied troops, but in that mud and blood and death an Australian legend was born. It was the first major confrontation for the Australian Infantry Force (AIF).

Yes, Australian troops had fought in the Boer War, but it was a purely volunteer group and before Federation.

This year is special to this family because we found an ancestor who was at Gallipoli.

Growing up, one of my best friend's great uncle was there and Quinn's Post was named after him - a fact that we were smugly reminded of every Anzac Day. As far as I knew, my grandfathers fought in France, not at Gallipoli. Somehow, it seemed... not as important, though as an adult, I know well the contributions they made were no different to those at Gallipoli.

The conditions were just as bad, the waste of lives just as great and the heroic actions just as astonishing as those on the Gallipoli Penisula.

So, tonight I'm raising my glass to all those who fought bravely during all the wars this country has engaged in - from the Boer War to Iraq and Afghanistan; and I give my thanks they were there to defend this nation and the ideals on which it was founded.

* * *

FYI, there's another story up over at The Takeaway, should you be interested.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

400 and Procrastination

Yep, this is post number 400. Who knew I had so much to bitch about or pontificate over? Okay, I did. The world is an amazing place with the good, the bad and the definately ugly. There's lots to talk about, to see, to read, to react to.

Anyway. Procrastination. The bane of every writer. When you don't feel like writing and there's plenty of other things to do: housework, shopping, family stuff, reading, sleeping, watching the teev...

We can all think of things to do other than writing, re-writing, editing, researching, character and world building.

But should we feel guilty about it? Aren't we wasting time? Shouldn't we be more professional and just get on with it? To break through that malaise and simply write?


It might be stating the bleedin' obvious, but writing is a creative process. Our minds are constantly thinking up scenarios, worlds, characters, dialogue, grammar (at a pinch), lengths, chapters, scenes; even while where doing other things.

We've all put off sitting down and writing, but it's all in a good cause. If the brewing story isn't ready to be written, it isn't ready. It needs to steep a little more in the jungle of our imaginations. It needs you not to focus on it while it develops.

Trust your instincts. The story glimpses you get while you're vacuuming, cooking, shopping, whatever, will grow, will solidify into something worth working on.

So don't feel guilty you're not at the computer all the time - the story is simply evolving, nurtured by a free-thinking while you're doing something else.

You're not procrastinating, you're feeding your imagination.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Bun fight!

Well, wow. That's all I can say. I don't think I like being called a 'scab' by anyone, especially a luddite.

The Science Fiction Writers of America forums are ablaze once again because of Howard V. Hendrix, the current V.P. of the organisation.

After a 'kiss me, I'm brilliant' list of accomplishments, we find this little nugget:

I'm also opposed to the increasing presence in our organization of webscabs, who post their creations on the net for free. A scab is someone who works for less than union wages or on non-union terms; more broadly, a scab is someone who feathers his own nest and advances his own career by undercutting the efforts of his fellow workers to gain better pay and working conditions for all. Webscabs claim they're just posting their books for free in an attempt to market and publicize them, but to my mind they're undercutting those of us who aren't giving it away for free and are trying to get publishers to pay a better wage for our hard work.

So, the V.P. of an organisation that deals with futuristic works thinks authors who give their work away for free on the net are scabs.

There are plenty of comments about this, so I can't say much more. I'm not a member, thankfully, and there are plenty of authors who are opting out of this organisation - for good reason, it seems if this is the calibre of ranting.

All I can say to this is: PICK ME!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Woe is I

Along with reading fiction, I'm currently reading Woe is I: the grammarphobe's guide to better English in plain English, by Patricia T. O'Conner.

I'm not a fan of grammar books, or, indeed, the how-to-write books. I have them, but I do not consume them from cover-to-cover. I prefer to dip into the books to find what I need.

This one, though, is excellent.

We all know from school that the technical aspect of grammar is boring as hell. How many of us faded out as the teacher told us about verbs, nouns, pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, (yawning yet?), participles - dangling or otherwise, clauses, infinitives, split infinitives, possessives, cliches, onomatopeia and so on.

Woe is I takes grammar and shakes it up, makes it entertaining in an amusing way. Chapters like: Woe is I: therapy for pronoun anxiety, Comma Sutra: the joy of punctuation and The Living Dead: Let bygone rules be gone for example, give us the whys and wherefores written in entertaining prose.

This is not a dry dissertation on grammar, but a writer's best friend: fun, factual and useful with little poems. For example, the problem I have is when to use 'which' or 'that'. Ms O'Conner has a nifty poem:

Commas, which cut out the fat,
go with which, never with that.

Meaning, if you can take out the clause, use which, if not, use that.

The house, which had one an architectural award, sagged like an old man. You can take out the clause and it will still make sense: The house sagged like an old man.

The house that sagged like an old man won an architectural award. Take out the 'that' clause, and you change the emphasis and meaning of the sentence: The house won an architectural award.

So, now I know and can cut out the guess work and use the appropriate term. I could have found this elsewhere, and probably did. The difference is this book presented the solution in a manner I'm not likely to forget - and that makes it worthwhile.

I don't know if you can still get it. The book was published in 1996 by Riverhead Books, but look for it. I think you'll enjoy it. I did.

Friday, April 20, 2007


I've been slacking off the past two days. But I'm not hanging my head in shame.

I finally got to see Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex from beginning to end. Yep, I've been glued to the couch watching one DVD after another.

What a series! Even the opening sequence is special; just like Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy VII and my personal favourite, Appleseed. 3D computer animation is, I think, the way of the future for Manga. It will be a while before we see more series in 3D CGI - perfection takes a hell of a lot of time to create.

But I'm looking forward to more of it.

Yes, there's Shrek, The Incredibles, Monster House and Meet the Robinsons but there's more depth to the talents of anime artists. They're not obvious and require you to think, where with the Disneyesque types, it's all laid out for the viewer and very little thought required. There isn't the ubiquitous happy ending, either though the endings are just what they're supposed to be.

Damn, but I love Anime!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Outside and inside the house:

This little sweetie is an Eastern Rosella - the male. As usual, the blokes get fabulous plumage while the females blend into the background. The girls are a green to hide in the foliage.
They landed on this shrub - the name of which I have no clue - but it has tiny red berries. Aboriginal legend says the more red berries, the harsher the winter; it seems to hold true, though these parrots haven't got much to chew on... yet. He was joined not long after by a mate and together, they rummaged through the leaves in search of those elusive berries. Too soon in the season, though.

This is a female Huntsman. Go ahead and shudder; I did.
She came out from behind the cedar chest while I was vacuuming. They don't usually come out during the cooler months; in fact, they're more prevalent in the warm summer, coming inside to hunt down flies, spiders and other insects. Which is another reason I leave them alone.

I'm glad I have a zoom function on the camera. I don't like getting too close as these beasties can jump! Can you imagine? Or is that too nightmarish? It doesn't look to big? Okay, check this out:

They live in pine bark and behind the bark of trees, happily making more. But occasionally, they'll come into the house if it's too wet outside. Since we've been drought-ridden, I haven't seen too many. And in no way do I want to. I've seen bigger, this one, with her legs stretched out, is probably the size of a tea saucer.

By the following day, she was gone - probably back behind the chest - I'm not going to find out. Oh, the males, thankfully, are smaller, with longer legs.

I leave them in peace: fly spray just makes them angry and they are really, really fast, that long-term stuff doesn't work either, nor is our spider catcher big enough. They're not poisonous and I try to ignore them, but I'm oh, so aware of where they are.

As a kid of about nine, I woke up with one of them on my bed covers by my feet: no wonder spiders - as a species - scare the tripe out of me. Just thought I'd share...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


"Be careful what you wish for."

We all know that one, and a lot of people avoid making wishes because of the unexpected consequences. Wish for more money? A favourite maiden aunt dies and there's your money. Wish to pass an exam? A friend gives you the answers and is caught cheating; names you as the thief. Wish someone would die and they do?

We've been taught to 'be careful' when asking for a favour of the god/s. Call it a prayer, call it a wish, in any mythology the fundamental principle remains the same: ask for a boon, but it will come with a price attached. Usually, it's an emotional toll, for we are emotional beings.

I wished that the expected visitors wouldn't stay, but I prepared for them anyway; my mother made the same wish. They didn't stay.

Arriving mid-morning, I gave them morning tea and lunch; then mid-afternoon, they were on their way back to the hotel, even though my mother urged them to stay.

The day was long enough. I had to escape twice from the raucous laughs, spiteful comments, and 'me, me, me' attitude.

I spent my weekend preparing the house, cleaning from top to bottom, including the garden - though I gave up on that when I saw too many eight-legged beasties. We planned meals, entertainment and a few outings. All for naught. Oh, okay, I now have a spotless house and the aching muscles to prove it.

But this wish of ours was granted without cost and I had the added benefit of studying the interaction again between father and daughter - and also of their relatives second hand. I was flooded with thoughts on behavioural patterns, familial interactions, personality disorders and genetic theory.

People constantly intrigue me with their idiosyncrasies and psychological blindness. We all have them, but seeing them in action... no writer could ask for more.

I think it was a one-shot deal, a karmic balancing if you will, and it's up to me to use what I learned. And yes, I'm making notes...

Sunday, April 15, 2007


A juggernaut is heading our way, arriving tomorrow at 10.00am. I call this woman a juggernaut because she will eat anything and everything. There is no such thing as a 'left over' in her vocabulary.

I recall the last time she and her father visited. It was winter and I made a thick and hearty beef stew, with mashed potatoes and peas. R finished off one plateful and asked if there was any bread. She filled her plate again while I fetched the bread and butter. Once she'd demolished another plateful and half a loaf of bread, she had the sheer audacity to ask: "What's for dessert?"

I quickly made a microwave dessert of which she had a bowlful with ice cream, then another. Her father, G., declined dessert, but watched his daughter with affectionate indulgence. The following morning, the big bowl with the dessert in it was in the sink, unsoaked, with one of our larger spoons carelessly tossed in.

I had to reassess the food stocks for the menu I'd set - and get in more Coke. When not eating, she was busily deriding her father, her students (she's a teacher), asking about my mother's antiques, stuff that was in no way any of her business, checking the silverware and the housecleaning.

As an example of conversations:

G.: "You've got the Limage in your flat, don't you?"

R.: "Yep. It'll come to me when you're dead anyway, so why wait?"

For two days this went on. When they left, I cleaned the guest room and found empty chip packets and empty biscuit bags and crumbs everywhere. Worse, the springs in the bed were, shall we say, stretched a little? I don't think I ever been more appalled at someone's behaviour.

Of whom do I speak? Relatives from distance lands? Wealthy family members, perhaps, who indulge their bad behaviour because of The Will? No. They are, believe it or not, former neighbours.

Neighbours who moved to Sydney some fifteen years ago.

G. had called a week ago to arrange coming down, but my mother got to the phone first - and she's going deaf (refuses to get a hearing aid, too). She's telling him to speak up, and he's obviously replied that he'll call later, but he wanted to stay four days or so.

The conversation on the phone this time?

Me: "Hello?"

R: "It's R, we'll be down on Monday."

Me, trying to be polite: "Oh, great, how long will you be staying?"

R: "Shall we arrive morning or afternoon?"

Me, mentally swearing and cursing at the lack of a length-of-stay: "Morning would be good."

R: "We'll see you at ten, then."

Me, depressed, but with feigned politeness: "Look forward to it."

With family, they don't mind if there are magazines scattered, a few unwashed cups and unmade beds. But my mother? She's English, with the English need to have everything in tip-top shape so guests will have no reason to complain. To keep her happy, I've been scrubbing floors and walls, vacuuming carpets, mowing the lawns and finally managed to wash the dog. You'd think it was spring instead of autumn.

At the moment, I feel like a slave; both to having a tidy, sparkling clean two-storey house and to the social mores of another era. I'll also be in the kitchen a lot, cooking up a storm (for that, I'm grateful - I like to cook). It will be up to my mother to entertain them, they were her neighbours, not mine.

Me, I'm heading to my desk to work - and, by the Goddess, if R. bothers me... the result will be... unpleasant.

It's a shame I can't abandon them. Four days. Four f***ing days! I'll just keep telling myself: This too, shall pass. Maybe it won't seem like torture.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


I received a package in the mail yesterday: a signed copy of Command Decision by Elizabeth Moon. (And had a little fan-girl squee moment, too - but don't tell anyone, 'kay?)

I'm reading Kim Harrison at the moment, but Kylara is definitely next.

This is the second signed book copy I've got from Ms Moon; the first is Sporting Chance. She signed it at the World Science Fiction Convention, held in Melbourne, way back in 1999 and I had the opportunity to chat for a while. It was a thrill for me because so few international sci-fi authors land on our shores for book tours. People like Robert Silverberg, Jody Lynn Nye, Gregory Benford, Michael J. Strazynski and Terry Pratchett - to name a few - all made the week a memorable one for me.

Terry Prachett loves to tour the country, but I don't like his work - too Monty Pythonesque for my taste - but he's a wonderfully erudite and entertaining speaker. I'm sure there have been others, but they still stick to the major cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. Even cities like Canberra and Hobart miss out, so there is little hope for the provincial towns.

Ms Moon signed this for me in Sydney and the staff sent it on. I have to wonder how many other fans rang in their orders because they couldn't get to the Galaxy Bookstore?

It's just a little pout, the advent of the internet and author webpages/blogs means fans have a closer connection to authors and most will send signed copies.

Our own authors travel vast distances to conventions and bookstores - only a few make a living writing full time - to sign copies and chat with fans. That's probably the problem: Australia is such a large country and so very far away from America and Europe. It's a major outlay of funds to get to.

Although, that does bring to mind the convention I went to last year in Canberra. Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury were there virtually - that is, via satellite. It could be an idea for international authors to send pre-signed copies of their work to sell and also do the via satellite bit; almost as good as being there, I think.

I wonder how many authors would be open to the idea?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Not much

Montezuma's Revenge. That's it. A few rounds with that puppy and I'm not fit for anything. Maybe tomorrow... eep! Gotta go!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


The questions I asked yesterday are important if you’re to be an author, and here is why:

The first question: How many unfinished manuscripts do you have? If you’re still working on the first one, you have to ask yourself how long you’ve spent on it and how much longer you’re willing to spend. If you’ve half a dozen or more, that’s great. You’re slowly working through what needs to be done to finish one. You’re realising that with unfinished manuscripts, there is something wrong with them. When you find the problem, those ms’s will be ready for you.

Second question: How long did it take you to finish the first draft of your first book? Some authors spend years for that perfect manuscript. More power to them, but do you really have that time to waste? Yes, some of those books are published, but more aren’t. I’ve heard ‘Oh, I’ve been working on it for ten years’. To which I replied ‘Why?’ Answer? ‘I don’t have a lot of time to spend on it.’ Ten years for a book? A cop-out as far as I’m concerned. There are many, many authors who have a family, who have a full time job and still manage to publish at least once a year. No excuses, people. You want to write? Then write! Don’t search for reasons why you can’t; know the reasons why you can!

Third question: What is your first novel about? It matters not, only that you’re able to describe it in as fewer words as possible. It’s good practice for future novels and you’re in a situation with an editor or agent and they ask ‘Oh? A novel? What’s it about?’ You’ve got to be ready.

Fourth question: How long did it take you to do the first edit? Trick question. Most first-time authors will whizz through and call it done. Sadly, this is not the way. You have to let it sit for a couple of months. Let it stew and work on something else, even if it is absorbing technical books – grammar, structure, characterization, method, motivation. But. Read fiction, too. You’ll be surprised but what you’ll learn and what you already know. When you return, you’ll be better equipped to see the problems.

Fifth question: Short stories or novels? As I said yesterday, short stories help me to stay concise – no extraneous words. Some authors stick with shorts and are exceptionally good at it; some authors stick with the longer version because it’s what they know, and they, too are terrific at it. Practice both. Each length has something to teach.

Sixth question: Organic or Structured? Writers are usually one or the other, not both. The only right way is your way. I’ve tried the structured method and failed – and I tried really hard. It just wasn’t for me. Organic, to me, is simply more exciting, more action-oriented and full of surprises. I can’t keep myself to a plan; I’m always moving on from that point towards a different direction than when I started. So, organic writing is for me.

Seventh question: Genre? This is also something you’ll have to find out for yourself. But read widely. Read a lot of genres; write a lot of genres until you find one you’re comfortable with. I haven’t settled on one because I don’t work that way (or, I should say, my muse doesn’t work that way). No doubt when I finally do publish, it will be under a few names.

Now you have a better insight into your writer-self. It’s another facet to you, and if you really think about your answers, even if you’re working on your first novel, you’ll find a way to finish.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


There are a lot of sites out there with advice on writing. I've struck upon a few more from Australian writers:

Jennifer Fallon Books: Hythrun Trilogy, Demon Child Trilogy, Second Sons Trilogy, Tide Lords Trilogy, Gods of Amyrantha.

Glenda Larke Books: Isles of Glory Trilogy, Mirage Makers Trilogy, Songs of the Silver Barrens.

Trudi Canavan Books: Black Magician Series, Age of the Five Series.

Simon Haynes Books: whatelse but the Hal Spacejock series!

Sara Douglass Books: Wayfarer Redemption Trilogy, Axis Trilogy, Crucible Trilogy, Troy Game Series, Darkglass Mountain Trilogy, Threshold, Beyond the Hanging Wall

All author sites who have advice say the same thing. Writers write. Writers write right.

One important aspect of the advice is not to worry about how many books you write before you think you're ready for publication. Writing is a craft like any other, and the more you practice, the better you'll get at it. You'll not only gain more confidence in what you're writing, but be assured of writing better in the next book.

Answer these questions:

How many unfinished manuscripts do you have? There are currently 11 in my files, and a dozen or so one line ideas for future works.

How long did it take you to finish the first draft of your first book? It took me three weeks; I just went for it. After years of trying and failing, it felt good to get the first one done. Celebrated a lot, too, once it was done.

What is your first novel about? Mumble, mumble, soldier of fortune saves chemist geek and holds him hostage...

How long did it take you to do the first edit? Mmm... a week before I realised it was tripe and to never let anyone else see it. (Sad and embarrassing story there, I'm afraid.)

Short stories or novels? Both. Short stories help me to stay concise. Novels demand to be written no matter what. I once thought I couldn't write short stories; they were too... short. Then I did the Foward Motion's Story-a-day-marathon. I can't resist a challenge like that and I'll be doing my fifth year this May, so make note of it.

Organic or Structured? Organic. Believe it or not, I like mental schedules for real life and get really pissy when they go awry, but when it comes to writing, I cannot stick to outlines. I get an idea... and run with it; okay, I think about the book for a week or so before I'm ready to put fingers to keyboard.

Genre? Mixed. I'll mix science fiction with magic, romance with supernatural, fantasy with history. Whatever comes to mind at the time.

Did you answer honestly? All of them? I'll tell you why it's important tomorrow!

Sunday, April 08, 2007


One of a writer's worst enemies is distraction; friends calling/dropping by, something good on TV, housework, family, sleep, keeping the aforementioned family fed, watered, homeworked, happy, other works of fiction... the list can be endless to keep you away from your work.

And I have to confess, I've been distracted this weekend. As you know, the plan was to have another excerpt posted this weekend. I was, in truth, working on Demon's Gate which was the... ah, second book I wrote. I haven't looked at this book for some years and I thought I'd revisit the first three chapters.

I checked the page length and decided to add another chapter. And then I got distracted: by the book itself. Instead of restricting myself to the set chapters, I had to read more. And then more, until it was late at night and I had to finish it.

The writing is fast and loose, as if I couldn't wait to get to the good bits - the action - with obvious pauses for the emotional parts, info-dumps and explanations of motive, and a surprising amount of humour. At least I laughed, even though the scenes were do or die stuff.

I could also remember writing some of those scenes and they upset me; they still do. I'll never delete those scenes because they pack an emotional punch, even now.

I know it's a tantalising comment to make: authors are a curious breed of why, but Demon's Gate is nowhere near ready for public consumption, though I hope it soon will be.

Overall, a good distraction. The book is an insight into how I wrote seven or so years ago as compared to how I write now. It will take work, but it has a solid base, if lacking in description, smooth scene changes and more integrated information dissemination.

On the whole, I'm pleased with it and now I know how to fix what's needed. I don't think it's arrogant to say I'm constantly surprised by what I wrote in years past. There's hope yet for them all and I'm going to try harder not to be distracted and to share pieces of my fiction with you.

Hopefully, the full list will be done in good time for a free e-book in the coming months.

Friday, April 06, 2007


I've had a busy day: I went over to my sister's place to help with her renovations. There are now two coats of undercoat slapped on the floor, the lawn has been mown and preperation work done for the veggie patch.

A little physical activity is good for the soul; a lot of physical activity is great for a solid night's sleep.

Better yet, I came home and finished off a story for The Takeaway. If all goes well, I'll be dumping myself into the finishing the first three chapters of Teardrops of War to post on the website.

I'm feeling positive and ready to go - of course, that is subject to change at any time - but it will be done, dammit!

I love the cold weather, it gets the creative juices flowing.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Hot blooded

Nothing makes my blood boil faster than smug governments and naive politicians.

This morning, Iran decided to make a 'gift' of the 15 British marines and sailors to the British people; Syria - Iran's satellite country - also laid claim to helping and therefore, Nancy Pelosi can claim some credit, too.

How is it that the British Navy's GPS navigation shows the group in Iraqi waters and the personal GPS navigation of the the people involved shows them in Iranian waters? How is it that Syria is asked by Pelosi to use its influence with Iran to free the hostages and Iran obliges?

How is it that Iran can steal foreign armed forces off the high seas and still come out the good guys?

It infuriates me that the West allowed this to happen. HMS Cornwall was close enough to fire across a few bows, warning the Iranians off. Yes, it would have caused a diplomatic incident, but instead, the Brits have been humiliated and the Iranians gained valuable kudos within the region. It's something they've done before, in 2004.

If Iran is looking for the affirmation of allies in a coming stand-off, they succeeded. If the West was looking to obtain a reasonable solution, they succeeded in the short term, and failed in the long term. And that's the difference.

Arabic countries have long memories; they actively seek long term plans. The West does not; it seeks short term solutions to immediate problems. The West also has a 'sophisticated' outlook - read 'sympathetic, politically correct appeasement' policy that is going to bite them in the butt big time.

It sickens me to think that Pelosi will now return to America, surfing the wave of success when the earthquake that caused the wave is still rumbling behind her. By telling the Syrians there's a new power in America - the Democrats - Pelosi has undermined American power and policy, turning it into a milquetoast; wanting everyone to like the Americans no matter what, or why.

She appears to be the kind of politician who will bend over backwards not to engage in any military enterprises and she, and the West, are gonna get f***** while the Democrats aren't looking. It's admirable to have such flexibility, but eventually... something's going to break. I can only hope it's not American fortitude.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Apologies and stuff

I must apologise for yesterday's post. At the time, I had no idea that 22 people had been killed in the Solomon Islands and it was facetious of me to downplay such a tragedy. Rescue efforts are underway and the death toll is sure to rise.

* * *

I'm busily writing up a job application. My current employment will end on Thursday and I have no doubt I won't be called back; not because of any performance indiscretions, but simply because I'm no longer needed.

I had thought to delay the application, but three things happened to change my mind. Enter now, the Twilight Zone:

The first dream was of beautiful alien ships, similar to those in Stargate - the shuttles, yet in a cream colour - flying through a hazy sky overhead. I duly checked my dream dictionary which mentioned a change in career.

The following night, it was the invasion of a gang after something behind the bullet proof glass. The room was done in blacks and reds. The invaders had guns; I had a hockey stick and proceed to beat the tripe out of one of them. The dictionary again mentioned the career change.

Today, I read the daily horoscope that's sent to me. You guessed it: the end of the line and the beginning of something new because of influences beyond my control.

Sometimes, you have to listen to what the Fates are trying to tell you and go with it; to resist will only cause stress and worry. I'll just wait to see the results.

In the meantime, I'll continue to try and carve out some time for the writing and the editing and the imagining...

Monday, April 02, 2007


Nope. Can't think of anything to post. Zip on the writing; haven't done any. Ditto on the editing. I've been busily working or doing that care thing.

The only vaguely exciting thing was the Tsunami alert the east coast of Australia had today. Ten centimetres of pure, muscled Mother Nature from an earthquake off the Solomon Islands steaming towards Queensland. (That's a few thousand kilometres from here.)

The media, as usual, took those ten centimetres and advised people to head for higher ground. If they'd studied the anatomy of a Tsunami, I doubt they would have been such scare mongers; but that wouldn't make a good story.

Maybe there'll be something tomorrow.