Thursday, May 31, 2007

The End

I’ve just finished the last of thirty-one stories for the Forward Motion story-a-day marathon and it comes as a relief.

Some of the stories are pretty cool, some fall into the ‘meh’ category and some, well… I’d just as soon as forget them for one reason or another.

The bottom line is I have another crop of shorts to work on. I think with most of them the ideas are sound; it’s the execution that might be poor (I haven’t re-read any of them yet, but I will).

At least three, however, are precursors to book length works; I didn’t use a generator for them, just the ol’ imagination and the muse.

Last year, the majority were ungenerated and turned out rather well, though it was pointed out to me that most were supposed to be generated. My bad.

At least the stories are done. And as a challenge, this year not one of them uses passive voice – and let me tell you something, that was hard; especially at the end of the day when all I wanted was to have the damn thing done! But, no. I forced my self to go back and restructure.

Not using passive voice is a major style all writers should strive to avoid. Yes, it makes writing back story a bitch, but it’s worth it. I’m more aware of my own style now, and certainly more aware of action sequences, even in passive situations. Yay, me, I’ve learned – and practiced - something new!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Lush in name; lush in nature.

Sasha White’s new book Lush is not for the faint-hearted or easily offended. This is a book of three linked erotic stories and has some raw language. But, that’s not all it has.

Lush is the story of three couples who find in each other what they need even if they don’t necessarily know it.

Ms White transcends today’s social restrictions to bring to the reader situations they may have thought of, but were too afraid to ask; living fantasies, if you will, that can be acted out in the comfort of the home, should you dare. Her easy style of writing without resorting to euphemisms is a breath of fresh air for those who are tired of writers not saying what they mean.

The stories of an erotic art gallery owner who thinks she's in control meets her match in a carpenter, a jewellery designer who's shy of relationships finds a man dedicated to her pleasure, and some sexual healing by a massage therapist on an embittered photographer, all hold an element of intrigue that lures the reader to explore the characters and their surroundings without lurid expectations. Each scene is just long enough to keep the reader turning the pages, just to find out what's next...

This isn’t a book with gratuitous sex in it, it’s about connection on a very intimate level; a connection through mind and body. It is an exploration of the sensual nature in all of us. But don’t think it’s one sex scene after another. Each story is built around the characters and the difficulties they face, but as with other stories, they have resolution and a happy ending.

In a clever trick, Ms White’s second story is written from both Mia’s and Dominick’s point of view – just so we can understand how they think, how they react, and how intimacy feels. It’s a difficult way to write a story, but Ms White pulls it off nicely with Dominick’s view especially of interest.

Each of these stories brings to us different characters with different problems to be solved; problems that the reader can identify with.

The stories in Lush are a quick read, but the characters will linger in your mind long after you’ve finished.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Rugby Union

Sorry to those who aren’t interested, but I gotta vent my spleen.

I have a hierarchy when it comes to Union: ACT Brumbies against anyone; Australia vs the southern hemisphere; Australia, New Zealand and South Africa versus the northern hemisphere.

Usually, this works fine, but the bullshit going on within Australian Rugby is appalling. Last night, we were lucky to steal a win against the Welsh 29-23 with a converted try after the siren. Dropped balls, poor passing, lack of co-ordination and sluggish play weren’t the only faux pas.

No Gregan or Smith until halfway into the second half, no Tiquiri, Paul, Hewatt, Larkham, Latham or Rathbone at all; Giteau playing in an unfamiliar role and the backs all from the Waratahs who finished stone motherless last. The game sucked like a lemon.

And all because of the childish stupidity of the coach John Connelly and the selectors. This September is the World Cup and it’s going to be ugly for the Wallabies; they’ll be lucky to reach the quarters.

Against that, the South African versus England match. The Springboks were marvellous in the 58-10 slaughter: passes that shouldn’t have been caught stuck in the hands, Montgomery’s boot on target, Habana and Willemese bolting through the line and the rucking, brilliant. England had no answer and were lucky to score ten.

I tell you, with the tri-nations coming up next month, the Wallabies will be lucky to win a game. The Springboks and All Blacks are playing to well and any mistake by the Wallabies will be punished. And I’m going to hate watching that.

Maybe the ARU will stop with the petty power games and do something; but I doubt it and we shall be covered with embarrassment instead.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Day Out

I went of to a Celtic Fair today in a nearby community. My eldest sister came with me.

The sky was blue, the sun was warm and I’ve never seen so many kilted men in one spot before. Oh, yes, indeedy… fabulous, muscular men showing off pecs and strength and legs. Cor, cop this:

They were competing the Rights of Manhood competition: tossing the caber, carrying two one hundred kilo bars, ninety metres, lifting hundred plus sandstone balls onto barrels and tossing a fifty-five kilo weight over a bar that was raised. The guy with his hands on his hips won the comp. Yep, gotta love a man in a kilt!

There were also Scottish and Irish pipe bands, dancers, food and stalls. I picked up some jewellery for my twin sister and her daughter for their birthdays; had a bit of a ‘moment’ with the seller. He indicated the three intersecting circles of the piece I liked represented Celtic life: the current life, the next life and future life. He then went on to say it could also represent the Christian Trinity of… I held up my hand. “No Christian symbolism please.” And he got all thing about it, as if the two were hand-in-hand. They're not and never the twain should be confused.

I went to another stall which had a silver Y Draig Goch – the Welsh Dragon - symbolising strength. While trying to decide whether to buy it, two young girls, teenagers, came up on either side of me and one picked up the leather bound Book of Shadows.

“Oh, look at this!” One said reverently.

“It’s from Charmed.” The other said knowingly.

I thought for a moment – you know, that moment when you wonder if you should interject or not?

“It’s not.” I replied. “It’s a Book of Shadows, spellcraft is written down in it and handed from mother to daughter; a book of knowledge if you will.”

“Oh,” they both murmured.

“Paganism is over three thousand years old; it pre-dates Christianity.”


I stepped back and they got their heads together over the book. I shook mine at the assumptions people make of TV programs. Maybe they’ll now invest some time in researching the subject.

But… on with my day. I have to say, that line dancing and Celtic music, do not go together; in any way, shape or form. Sorry ladies, but… no. the only line dancing in Celtic heritage is this kind:

The skill and timing were perfect - though I'm no judge of Irish dance. It was brilliant. The sun sparkled off the outfits and the dancers looked as if they'd go on as long as the music played. I even had the stray thought that I'd like to learn how to do it.

For my sister, it was the bagpipes, the pipe bands; for me, it's Celtic Harps or a good jig/reel. There's something about Irish music that definitely rings my bells; I find it so relaxing, so... joyous, as if there is nothing out there that can hurt you if you steep yourself in the magic of the music. I spend a lot of time writing to Celtic music, and I write some of my best work during that time, so I think there's something to finding music your muse loves. Might also have something to do with the ancestors, too.

I also picked up a number of items dealing with my ancestral name. In a couple of weeks, the local family history society is having a fair. I’ll go, but I wonder how much information they’ll have for me. I’ve already traced the part of the family back five hundred years; but maybe I’ll get some clues on the rest of the family. Objective: all sides back to the Doomsday Book.

I really had fun today, but it plum tuckered me out! I'll study the rest of the photographs I took and see what I can do with them. In the meantime, the Aussie Wallabies are playing the Welsh in Rugby Union - can't miss that!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Info dumps

I'm plowing through David Weber's Shadow of Saganami.

Yes, I know it's been on the tbr list for a while, but if you've ever read any of Mr Weber's recent books in the Honor Harrington universe, you'll know he spends a lot of time writing about the political stuff as much as the action; and those books are big.

The Shadow of Saganami is nine-hundred plus pages, and while that doesn't faze me, I approached it with trepidation because of the 'info dumps'.

As writers, we know that is a no-no and to avoid it as much as possible because it pulls the reader from the story. Not so Mr Weber. He has his info dumps written in the form of conversations. One character explaining to another about the geo-political landscape of the Talbott Cluster, for example, took pages.

It's daunting and requires concentration and, sadly, reminds me too much of Tom Clancy. I recall one Clancy book I read went into the minutia of how a nuclear device works. It went on and on and on, so much so that I skipped a page and continued reading, not realising that at the very end of that info dump, was the reason the bomb didn't go off. I got really confused.

To me, that is a fault that lies with the author, not the reader. You cannot bore your readers stupid and expect them to continue to read your work.

David Weber is different. I love his work and the info dumps are well written and intelligent, though like I said, you have to concentrate. You could skip parts of them and still know what's going on; and that's what is important.

Personally, I try to avoid mass info dumps, but I have nowhere near the skill or the readership of Mr Weber (I can dream, though; you gotta have a dream). Instead, I break up the information into bite sized pieces so the reader absorbs the information virtually without knowing - at least, I hope that's the way it works - using... conversations. I think it's the best way to communicate information to the reader without the long and tedious process of 'explaining'.

I suspect that with Mr Weber, it's simply a case of his universe being extremely large. This is the first book in which I've noticed repeat first or surnames - he's got to have a database of thousands of names, and I don't blame him for re-using names - it would be ludicrous for him not to.

I'm near the end of the book and so far, it lives up to my expectations; all I have to do now, is wait for At All Costs to come out in paperback - and the waiting is killing me!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It was an accident

Honestly! I didn’t mean to kill the mouse! It just… happened!

How many times have we heard that on television programs and thought ‘yeah, right’?

We reason it all out: if you hadn’t been drinking and driving; if you’d been paying attention to how frayed the wires were; if you’d controlled your temper and walked away; if you’d not bought the gun in the first place…

But accidents do happen, even to small furry creatures too cute to kill as soon as you see them.

You’ll recall the mouse, filled with bravado crawling around my desk, into and out of a container and later, over my keyboard and then ducked into the computer to hide under the spare fan bracket. I said I would close up the computer to stop it from doing any damage.

I didn’t put the cover on until I’d finished for the day; gave the mouse enough time to scamper off to its home – wherever that might be.

This morning, there was an awful stink and I knew something had died – in particular, a mouse. A couple of years ago, I laid out some poison upstairs and down.

Later that night, a grey mouse came out from behind the television unit upstairs. It glared at me with accusation deep in its small eyes and staggered off. I should have picked it up then, but the guilt… oh, the guilt of murdering the little beast kept me motionless.

The next morning, I found it behind the couch, cold and stiff; I buried it in the front yard and collected the bodies of four mice downstairs. The karma load felt heavy on my shoulders as I disposed of their mortal remains.

I should point out that mice often come into houses for the winter; no matter what I do, I can’t keep them out, and can only do something after they’re inside.

Tragically, the mouse didn’t scamper off to its home and was locked inside the computer; I found it this morning, still under the fan bracket. I have no idea what killed it – too short a time has passed for starvation. Heat maybe? It was on the cold metal of the computer shell. Maybe it was already sick? It gobbled down a peanut I left for it. I don’t know, but it’s dead, and I feel responsible.

I think it was already sick and was looking for a comfortable, safe place to die; chose my computer. I’ll console myself with that.

Monday, May 21, 2007


If you lived in a misty valley…

Actually, as you know, I don’t, but this is a picture of the swamp behind where I live. Mist is rare here, but the high humidity and the rain created interesting thoughts. I don’t let a little leaking from the sky interfere with my walkabout and some days, it’s absolutely worth it. Swamp + mist + approaching storm = ideas for stories.

The good thing about the rain is that few people are out and about. I like the solitude; and I’m not a fan of the ‘good morning’ chirpy joggers and walkers always say in passing, as if sunny weather equates to sunny dispositions. For me, I wear headphones for a reason.

Anyway. On the way back, an Osprey winged past, but I was too late to take a shot. In the distance, he was joined by his mate and they had a little ‘to do’ in the air. That means diving and turning to present claws. Amazing, but I could not get a picture: they came out blurry and I missed the claw grabbing… damn it!

May is the beginning of their breeding season, so I figured they were courting. This couple has been around for a few years, and it’s always a pleasure to see them. Getting a photograph is difficult… but, here’s one of them:

He - or she - was drifting on the wind, which was increasing. They eat seafood and there's plenty of fish out there in the Bay. I didn't see them catch any; the sky darkened and I made it through the front door, just before it began bucketing with rain.

Sometimes if you ask nicely, nature will oblige.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

How to

Lynn Viehl’s John and Marcia: The Novel Crash Test Dummies is a work in progress; a very entertaining work in progress.

For those of us who have followed the chronicle… er, saga of these two lexiconologically-challenged… ah, word-crossed lovers, this book revisits their problems.

Lynn deals with verbosity (otherwise known as thesauritis), euphemisms and censorship disguised as advice with flare and humour.

It’s an e-book every aspiring writer, and indeed every writer, should read.

I’ve said before that writing is an evolving craft and how-to books are everywhere. Dry texts that teach grammar, characterizations, world-building, dialogue… the list seems endless and it is a brave fiction writer who plunges into the icy waters of academic prose. Eventually, the water warms you and you nod off, drowning from exposure to imponderables…

Every how to book has its own kernels of knowledge that will help you – I have a couple that I occasionally plunge into; every writer has their own style, their own way of transcribing what’s in their head onto paper. It’s up to each writer to find their own voice, because there’s no right or wrong way. There are no absolutes; you have to find your own way.

John and Marcia is the first one I’ve read from beginning to end, simply because it mixes lessons with over-the-top examples, and that’s what writers need. It’s only fifty pages, a quick read, and worthy of reading again and again, if only for the giggles.

There are books out there that provide practical knowledge rather than just the theory involved. This book is one; Holly Lisle’s Mugging the Muse is another. And, as an added bonus, both books are free from the authors’ website.

For sheer fun and entertainment while you learn, Lynn Viehl’s John and Marcia series steps hard on euphemisms, fillets thesauritis, and kicks censorship to the curb. This is a laugh out loud how to, and it’s priceless in its knowledge.

Go get your copy. Go on.

Friday, May 18, 2007


There's a mouse in the house and I'm looking at it. How can it be so cute when I know it can be destructive? It's barely two inches long (without the tail) and is looking at me, whiskers a'twitching, big dark eyes staring back.

I have a tower unit for my computer and during the Summer, the innards heated up so I took the side cover off, rested against the unit. This mouse - mouse-ette? mouseling? mini-mouse? - crept along the gap at the bottom to sit, quite patiently, at the entrance less than five inches away to watch me; brave little beggar.

Once assured I wasn't going to grab it, out it came, crawled into my empty nut/dried fruit container, then out again. It walked slowly back into the computer and ducked under the empty, second fan unit where, I suppose, it's a lot warmer than outside the computer.

What to do? What to do?

Well. Nothing. The guilt I felt a couple of years ago killing half a dozen of it's brethren still lurks. I just can't do it. Instead, I'll close up the computer and if it decides to visit again... I just watch it; but if I see any damage around the house, sigh, I'll have to do something drastic... like catch them and put them outside somewhere.

I don't want a mouse plague, but I don't want to kill them, either; it's bad for my karma.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Problem solved

In regards to my research gap, the problem is solved.

I took myself off to a second hand bookstore and picked up the only book they had on South American pre-history. Okay, it's Central American, but it's close - not for my needs, but it fills a gap. Mayans, Toltec, Aztec, all that good stuff.

I also picked up a natty little reader on Arms and Armour in England. It's a quick read; there's nothing more distracting than wading through an epic tome of history to find the kernal of information you were looking for (although... yeah, I'm easily sucked in by information and those tomes would keep me away from what I want.) I also picked up an interesting book on 'alternative' history.

What Might Have Been, edited by Andrew Roberts, is a book of twelve chapters dealing with various hypotheses of history. For example, what if King Charles I won the Civil War; The Gunpowder Plot succeeded; the Japanese didn't attack Pearl Harbour; or that Archduke Ferdinand survived Sarajevo.

I'm looking forward to reading this: where would be if these things had happened rather than what did happen?

Yes, alternative history is a current trend in fiction, and some of the books are interesting, but this book is written by historians who've made careers in history; and to me, it's also a research tool as well as fascinating.

If nothing else, it will teach me how to view history from a different perspective; always good when trying to write fiction from a different angle.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Reference Texts

I've been trolling through my vast collection of books looking for information on the Incas. I figured I'd be all too clever for the Story-a-day marathon over at Forward Motion.

The Incas rose and fell during the Middle Ages and I thought it would be a nice change on the usual English or French Medieval times.

Turns out, I'm too clever for my own good: I don't have a book on the Incas. It's now on my list of texts to acquire. Encyclopediae are okay, but only give a brief history. I should note that I have three sets: Colliers, Arthur Mees and The New Book of Knowledge; the two latter encyclopediae were bought by my parents when I was a child, but still hold fascinating information.

Those two sets were used as babysitting tools when my parents had visitors. They'd sit all six of us in the 'book room' and close the door. Eventually, we all chose a book - encyclopedia for me - and sat quietly for hours entranced by the pictures or the words or both.

The guests never believed it when the folks said we were all reading; they had to see for themselves.

We all grew up with a love of books, and this is where it started.

For those interested, there's another story over at The Takeaway.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Most days, I go out for a morning constitutional; that is, I go off for a walk to get the blood going for the day.

It also serves as thinking time; there is, after all, a world of possibilities out there.

I've started to take my camera with me, since I'm constantly seeing things I'd like to have a photograph of.

This young fellow is a juvenile kookaburra (Kookaburras are the largest of the kingfisher family). I know he's a young'un because he's all fluffed up and his colours don't have the vibrancy of adult birds. He's out on his own, though, and he's got is eye on some juicy worms. It kind of looks a little cliche, with the gum trees in the background, but, it's on my travels. But enough of wildlife, how about a seascape?

I think across the world in villages and coastal towns, people are righteously smug about how beautiful their corner of the world is. I'm no different:

This is closer to home; about thirty metres from my house actually.

The headland with the light house is (in the Australian way of stating the bleedin' obvious) Point Perpendicular. In the middle is Plantation Point and I'm standing just above Collingwood Beach, though you can't see the white sand. The water is amazingly flat, waves barely reached over ankles, but it's nice.

Living in such an area, in the quiet of the morning, gives me plenty of ideas for stories; it sure beats the noise and pollution of the city. No way do I want to go back, not when I have this.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Yo, Mama

Today is Mother’s Day here in Oz.

So, have a happy day to every mother out there.

Oh, hey, I mean that in nicest possible way! It can’t be easy to raise children, no matter how cute they are as babies. And the Goddess knows, my own mother had six children, a rarity these days.

Her mother, my grandmother, had four kids. Raising them in Lancashire during the war must have been a challenge, especially with a disabled husband – he lost a leg during the First World War.

When the bombing proved too much, my grandparents decided Australia was a safer bet. Unfortunately, my youngest uncle – a baby then - kicked up a stink and they missed the ship. That ship was later torpedoed by U-boats. On hearing the news, Patrick and Ethel decided to wait until after the war, determined to start a new life in a new place.

Tragically, Australia wouldn’t take a disabled man and it wasn’t until 1948 that Patrick died. Two years later, my widowed grandmother and four kids arrived in Western Australia. On landing, Ethel turned to the sky and said: “I kept my promise, Patrick, we’re here.”

Ethel worked hard at two, sometimes three jobs, but it wasn’t enough, so my mother – the eldest – left school to work at the telephone exchange. Unhappy with that, she joined the Navy.

Yep, my mother was a Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Navy. She worked in the Signal Corps. Her job was to count the fighter planes coming back from missions in Korea and report who failed to return. Yes, she admits, she knew some of the men who didn’t return. Like most veterans, it’s something she doesn’t talk about much.

She met my dad while in uniform – he was a teacher at the Naval College in Victoria and engaged to someone else at the time. He was also in the Naval Reserve, but my mother outranked him – heh, heh.

Eventually, my dad, much to his parents’ dismay, broke off the engagement and started escorting my mother around. His mother was particular pissed off because a) my mother was the daughter of an immigrant; b) daughter of a widow and apparently c) spoke her mind, when she was supposed to agree with her future mother-in-law. Hah! As if. There’s also a suspicion that it was also because Mum was the daughter of an enlisted man, not an officer even though she was an officer herself. Simply put, my mother wasn’t good enough for my paternal grandmother’s eldest son.

As luck would have it, my dad didn’t listen, and ignored all the… more suitable women his mother paraded in front of him – good lad.

At their wedding, their Naval friends lined up outside the church, raised and crossed their ceremonial swords for my future parents to walk under. Some of those men would go on to become Captains, Commodores and Admirals and one, a Governor of New South Wales; not bad for the daughter of a poor, widowed immigrant.

I now look after my mother and I’m proud to do so. She’s full of the most amazing stories about England and the people she knows or knew. She’s extremely intelligent and sprouts all sorts of facts. I don’t think there’s one subject that she doesn’t have some fact about. If she’d had the opportunity, she could have gone to any University in Australia, or risen through the ranks (women weren’t allowed to serve if married during the fifties).

It is from both parents we kids got our love of reading, but it was she who encouraged us, read to us as children, gave us the opportunity to explore her library of books.

I know she’ll be thrilled for me to take it one step further: for her to have one of my books on her shelf – all I have to do make it happen.

No matter that sometimes, my mother can be difficult; most mother’s are in their daughters’ eyes – it’s a generational thing – but I’m at an age where I don’t lose my temper with that and work my way around the issue/s.

To every daughter out there whose mother still lives – give her your love, not only today, but for all the days ahead; she won’t be there forever and regrets can last a lifetime if not healed. If your mother has passed on, light a candle for her, buy her roses to place where she rests, or simply find a quiet spot in the garden or park where you can talk to her; guaranteed, she’s listening.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Up and Down

Sunsets can be spectacular here. To wit:

This photo I took from my balcony. No, that white line isn’t a meteor or a comet, it’s probably a flight from Melbourne to Sydney – and the passengers, I’ll bet, had a good, long view of the sunset from up there.

That I could imagine what they were seeing, reminded me of flying from Sydney to Bangkok. I had no real idea of how large this country is until that flight. For literally hours we followed the sunset over Australia; the airplane in the sunlight, the ground shadowy but not dark. It was amazing.

It also brings to mind what we writers try to do: have the obvious showing, but the true nature of the story hidden, or partially hidden.

It’s all about perspective.

What I could see from thousands of feet up in the air was totally different to what those on the ground could see. They may have seen something like this photo: A bright white contrail and the glorious colours of the sunset. While I saw the yellow orb of the sun and shadows beneath me, all at the same time.

Both images are true, yet different.

Anyone can have an idea for a book; two people can have the same idea at the same time, but the perspective, how that story is written, is different. The basic premise may be identical, the characters familiar, but with two authors, the tone is changed.

Each author brings something different to their work. It’s why writers get so pissed off when compared to another, because each author is unique. Oh, they can be influenced by other works, but in the end, when pen is put to paper, the author brings a unique set of influences to the work.

You can either take the view from airplane, or from the ground; your story can be written from the sky and from solid earth. The trick is combining the two: what you want your readers to see, and what you want to hide in plain sight from them.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


There are a number of great things about Forward Motion’s story-a-day-marathon.

First and foremost is that by the end of the month, you will have a nice little cache of stories to work on for publication.

The second is the research involved in the writing. Most of the stories are done via a prompt. For example: The protagonist is male and an historian. A spoon is significant. The story is set in a council chamber in the present. The story is about doubt.

Who knew that ‘spoon’ meant ‘chip of wood’ in old English? Not me; not until I began researching spoons.

The prompts are random and come up with some out there ideas to get a writer to think. For example, diamonds and ancient times. Romans knew diamonds as Adamas. Or a suitcase and ancient times. No suitcases then, but you can always send one from the future. Or a fence underwater in the future? I used the metaphor, rather than an actual fence. How about a storyteller and a book in a fight ring? Or a princess in a cave in ancient times? The idea of royalty didn’t come until centuries later.

It’s also about creativity. Authors like to think their stories are originals, but it takes a lot of effort to make it so. Thinking outside the box, putting a new twist on an old idea is a lot more difficult than readers know.

This marathon and the generators that can be found on the internet, however, teaches us that the obvious, is not always the best way to a great story.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

All done

I had my stitches out today; all seven of them.

It’s still painful; the cut is just at the edge of my eye socket, so any pressure hurts. Note to self: don’t poke it and it won’t hurt.

Good news though: all of the cancerous cells are gone. All that concerns the doctor now is the scarring. Me, I’m not that fussed really, but I’ll use Vitamin E and bio-oil – when I find it – to lessen the scar.

I’m just relieved that, in covering the wound for the night, I won’t be sticking my lower eyelashes to the plaster any more and it won’t stand out like dog’s balls when I’m out in public.

Though I still have to wear a plaster at night, it won’t be bulky. During the day, with stitches bared to all, I looked like I’d come off second best in a brawl. Hah, hah. As if.

If nothing else, the curved scar will make an interesting conversation piece.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Jail time for fool

The announcement that Paris Hilton - the living blonde joke - is to serve jail time has to be applauded.

If you read this - and I did check it against the sourced Associated Press site - then for sheer arrogance alone and stupidity she should spend time in jail.

I don't think she'll learn anything - her attitude alone castes doubt on any sign of intelligence - and when she comes out, her behaviour will continue.

Having buckets of money and staff to 'open her mail' is no excuse for drink-driving or reckless driving. And her publicists? Should do time for their manipulations as well.

She's gonna be off the streets for 45 days; if she runs true to course, it won't be long before she's back in the big house for a longer stint. Is there any hope for this drug-taking, partying, empty-headed rich kid, or will she take her lifestyle too far and not reach thirty?

Instead of being outraged, perhaps her parents should stop being so bloody indulgent and try to talk sense into their daughter.

Money is not immunity to the stupid actions of Paris - and if she'd killed someone the punishment would have been worse.

What's it going to take for this idiot to take responsibility?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Caught up

I managed to write two stories yesterday and visit with two of my sisters and one sister-in-law (with kids). Not bad going.

It turned out easier than I expected: My Canberra sister doesn't see my local sister and in-law as often as I do, so I let them visit; the kids were set up with a DVD and happily spent a couple of hours entranced by Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (the animated version) and the always entertaining, Monsters, Inc.

Yes, they're my DVDs. I see nothing wrong with getting in touch with my inner child - temper tanties excluded.

This gave me a few hours to happily write away without feeling of guilt, as if I was neglecting family. Of course, I put in an appearance to make the obligitory coffee and tea, but on the whole, they were happy to sit on the balcony and enjoy the fabulous Autumn day and each other's company.

For now, it's back to the grindstone - the aforementioned rellos having left this afternoon.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Not Happy

Pretty pissed off, actually.

I got tagged by that nasty, invasive, irritating as a fruit fly in your redwine, pain-in-the-ass, Spylocked!

Spylocked, for those of you who haven't had the dubious pleasure, is a spyware virus that automatically loads onto your computer and constantly gives you a message that spyware is getting in through the back door of your security system. And if you don't buy this Spylocked software, you'll be doomed. Doomed it tells you.

Not willing to be sucked in, I went to one of the so-called 'testimonials' from PC Weekly. It actually says Spylocked is spyware and to download a spyware killer.

And I did. SpyHunter first. It did an excellent job of identifying the spyware - and others - but I had to buy the software before it could be removed. My Search & Destroy software came up with SpyHunter being Spyware itself. No thank you.

Next, I tried Stopzilla. Downloaded the software, allegedly free like SpyHunter, with the same result. Found the nasties but I had to pay for the privilege of getting rid of it.

The worst thing is that this shitty stuff got past my Windows firewall and Trend Micro PC-cillin - I shan't be renewing.

Over at C-net, I found what I was looking for: CyberDefender. It's freeware, 11.5mb, and so far, has killed SpyLocked and has a warning system for viruses, spyware and spam, and it monitors my system, which is working much better, thank you very much.

I am fed up with this shit, and I have to wonder if some companies produce spy-and ad-ware simply so they can sell the software to kill it.

Of course, I could be seeing conspiracy where none lie, but damn, I have spent enough time and money on downloading empty solutions.

Insert grumble here: and it's put me behind on the marathon. Ass wipes.

I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Off and running...

No swelling, not much of a black eye and only a little discomfort today, so I started the May Marathon.

Usually, the first story just appears in my head, this time it was tougher and took me all day.

Because of the time difference, I'm also a story behind. Since I feel better - ice packs are a wonderful thing - I'll try and write two tomorrow.

I need to find my creative place; some of the generator prompts are really out there. They should be the easier because ideas simply pop into my head, but not this time. I'll chose two prompts and let them stew overnight, that will make the writing go smoother.

I'm determined to have another thirty-one stories by the end of the month. It's not just about the amount of stories, it's also about the quality and I'd better be on my game for this challenge. No weiner stories.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Without Ruth

As in 'ruthless'.

I had the misfortune to have a BCC removed from under my left eye today. If you're gonna get skin cancer, this is the most benign. It's a Basal Cell Carcinoma and just that last word scared the tripe out of me.

You see, I come from the generation of Aussie kids who just about spent every day over Summer down the beach without a hat, without a t-shirt, without sunscreen. We got toasted regularly and looked healthy because of it.

From the age of about sixteen, though, I got sunburned once too often and haven't, deliberately, gone out to sunbathe since. I'm always covered up and if I played sport, out came the factor 15+.

Alas, it's too late. Just over a decade ago, my father - who loved the sun - had the same carcinoma removed from his lower lip. My mother had one removed a couple of years ago.

Today, was my turn. And I can tell you, right at this particular juncture in time, it hurts like a mother. I feel like I've been punched, really hard. I don't know how many stitches were put in, but it felt like a lot. Credit to the doctor though, he explained he would do everything to reduce the scarring, but it would scar. Luckily - he said with a straight face - the cut would be aligned with a wrinkle I already had (so much for moisturising every day with an expensive cream.)

The local he gave me felt like spikes; I didn't watch, oh no, indeedy not! And I'll tell you this for nothing: if that's what it's like to get Botox injections, I'll be happy to wrinkle up as nature intended (all that jab, jab, jab!).

I'm not a vain person. Never have been. The scarring doesn't bother me. And, once I found my happy place and ignored all the tugging, it occured to me that going through this, I can use the experience in my writing.

Not too soon though: I have the Story-a-day-marathon on over at Forward Motion. I'll start tomorrow. I'll feel better then. For now, I'm taking the painkillers; no point in suffering when I don't have to.