Friday, October 30, 2009

Well, finally!

So I made my self-imposed deadline with about twenty minutes to spare for posting a book on 30 October.

Autumn's Fall is now posted on Scribd. I had a few problems with the upload, but it's there now, all nice and cozy and free. And since it's nearing midnight, it's time to tuck li'l ole me into bed.

Tomorrow is housework day, and then... and then... posts will become rare as I battle for the Aussie Nano word count crown.

Fortunately, I'll have Lorenzo hanging around; everyone should have a Lorenzo for inspiration.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Only a few days to go to Nano and the nerves are tightening. I'm finding the ideas, the dialogue, the scenes are beginning to flow. I also have the twist for the first book. All stuffed into my head, waiting to emerge.

I don't have any music selected because it won't matter - I rarely hear it. In fact, it's the silence of the music ending that breaks my concentration.

I also have a book coming out on Scribd tomorrow. With Winter's Heart doing so well, I'm hoping Autumn's Fall will be equally as popular. I mean the numbers aren't best seller levels, far, far-in-a-distant-galaxy from it, but to me the statistics are surprising - good, but surprising.

I think I'll call it 'writer's anxiety syndrome', or WAS. I'm not the first to suffer, I'm guessing every single author who's put some work out there gets it. I expect it to pass by December 1.

All I need do is relax and choose a reward for finishing... Leave the panic until first thing Sunday morning.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New in town

This is post number 900. Who knew a whole lotta nuthin' could take so many posts?

Anyway, Australia's own Macquarie Dictionary is releasing it's fifth edition this week and the latest edition has added another 5,000 words.

New words include: acid shock, baby bump, toxic debt, celeblog, bioenthanol, flashpacker.

The English language is constantly evolving, usually via the culture of the younger generation. Twitter, texting and other communications devices all conspire to abbreviate the language and find euphemisms for legitimate words. Fortunately, text words haven't made it... yet. Maybe another dictionary can be created for the likes of WTF, LOL, ROFL, L8, WYSIWYG.

I guess the most interesting evolution of the language is that it's predicated on social and cultural changes. The most talked about issue is climate change and words encompassing theories are more prevalent in modern language than ever before. Whether you agree with Climate Change or not, it has had an impact on language.

So too has the so-called Global Financial Crisis and America's arm wrestle over health issues. Toxic debt, death panels, golden parachutes, Ponzi, sub-prime, may not be new words, but they've come to international attention.

But the evolution has a down side: raise your hands if you understand Chaucer or Shakespeare, without study notes? Or appreciate Dickensian language as moralistically beguiling? How about Bronte or Austen? Who of the younger generation appreciate the subtleness of the prose? These authors represented the culture and language of the time. Occasionally difficult to comprehend, but magic once deciphered.

What will future generations think of our language. What will the 22nd century teenager think of his/her 21st century counterparts? Will English be recognisable? It makes an interesting premise for book, don't you think?

Monday, October 26, 2009

On track

Woo hoo! I finally finished the edits on Autumn's Fall last night, so I get a day off!

This also means I'm on schedule. I need to do a final read through on Wednesday and Thursday, post on Friday, then do some research, make some notes and I'll be ready for Sunday's Nano start.

Oh, wait... there's that other stuff, what's it called? Right. Real life. I'll need to do some housework, get in some food in that I can toss together quickly - note to self: get chocolate, popcorn and coffee. (Better get some healthy nibblies too, nuts, carrots, celery...)

In the meantime, I get to watch the 'merican football guilt free and wallow in some DVDs that I've missed over the past few months.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hello Lorenzo!

This time next week, I shall be busy scribbling away for Nano. This past week I've had trouble sleeping for all the ideas, dialogue, possible scenes and conclusions... Bring it on, please!

We've had a staff change around here, too:

Sven and Oleg have decided to move in together, damn them. Apparently, while my back was turned (for a massage, you understand) they were eyeing each other off and giving each other another sort of massage. If you know what I mean, and I think you do!

But all is not lost. Lorenzo turned up. Who? That was my very question!

As you can imagine, he's a broad-shouldered, narrow-hipped, dusky-skinned Italian, well-muscled with dark wavy hair, a patrician nose, dark eyes and long, sweeping lashes and a mouth... sigh He also has some interesting scars, but won't tell me about them. Instead, he says he's 'an international man of mystery', his words, not mine, but he smiles secretively when he says that.

He wears a white shirt, open to the waist to display some smooth flesh, but no gold chains. "Cara, chains are too easy to grab." Man, what a voice; like rich coffee, low, seductive and only for my ears. He wears black pants, not tight at all, though with a butt like that... Um... all the better to run, I understand, but I'm guessing he goes commando. He's just the sort.

So, why has this tasty little knee-trembler come to visit?

He's my new source of inspiration. He figured that Sven and Oleg did their job in getting rid of the internal critic and were a little bored. So he made them an offer and decided to take their place.

Whenever I get stuck on a scene or a dialogue, Lorenzo will tell me a relevant story or scenario to help me get past the block. He's so good to me...

I wonder what else he can do for me? Oops, did I say that out loud? My bad.

Anyway... he's moving in for November and he says he brought the equipment to 'keep the discipline going'. Mmm... whatever do you mean, Lorenzo?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Another Challenge

Well then. Is this the ultimate challenge for golfers?

The Nullarbor Links opened yesterday. What's so special about this golf course? Here are some stats:

First hole: Ceduna, South Australia.
Last hole: Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.
Distance: 1365 KILOMETRES
Time allowed: 5 Days.
Par: 72
Green fees: $50

The Nullarbor Plain is flat, dry and the name comes from the Latin for 'no trees'. Twelve hundred kilometres of empty desert and a straight road. Sure, there are small towns along the way but they're few and far between.

For some, it's an adventure to drive the distant - boring, but an adventure. Now, travellers can stop off and play a hole or two to ease the long journey.

But somehow, I don't think we'll be seeing Tiger playing a round any time soon...

* * *

I picked some plants yesterday and this weekend I'm sticking 'em in the ground. The plan is that in a few weeks, we'll be munching on tomatoes, snow peas and zucchinis. The apple cucumbers weren't in yet, so they'll go in next week.

If this works, I'll be out in the garden more often - as long as the spiders stay away... not a fan of spiders, nope, I am most certainly not a fan of spiders.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back up, back up, back up...

Since my computer went on the fritz some time ago, I've been near obsessive about backing up my work. The loss of seventeen or so manuscripts is the stuff of nightmares, so I back it all up - at every stage of development on different media.

I shall never be in danger of losing the work again. Except for one, annoying problem.

I've been happily editing away, when it struck me that I was editing the wrong version. Yep. The hard copy didn't match the on-screen text. Cue the hair yanking. I checked the file date and it seemed accurate, but obviously it didn't match.

So I had to hunt down the correct version: four thumb drives, a few disks and a check of the desktop (I've been working with the laptop), I finally found it. I had no idea I had so many copies of the work, not just in one folder in each location, but two, under different names.

I'll have to do something about that. It's fine to have one or two back ups, but a dozen seems just a wee bit too obsessive. I'll fix it after Nano.

For now, it's back to the work. Ten days until Nano, nine days for the book. But no pressure...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On hold

Dear Sir/Madam,

I know I must be important to you because you've called me twice: once during dinner and once while I was caring for my mother. Do you know how hard it was to track down every damn pea that got tossed in the air because the ringing startled me? As for Mother, well, she never lets a call go unanswered no matter what... predicament she might be in.

The only reason I dashed to the telephone to answer was that maybe, just maybe, I'd won Lotto and someone was calling to let me know. Oh, the visions of what I could do with 25 million dollars.

So I answered your urgent call, "Hello?" There was a click, as if I was being put through to someone equally as important and I cleared my throat, ready to squeal like a fan-girl. Only... I heard muzak. YOU PUT ME ON F***ING HOLD!!!

How many ways can I put this? Um... No. YOU called ME; YOU do NOT put me on HOLD! YOU explain what the hell you want, or I'm hanging up!

Now, I understand you're probably busy people, with numerous calls going through at the same time, but please understand: my time is valuable, to me and I'll not be hanging around watching my dinner cool or my mother... um, let's not go there and say we did... for an important person such as yourself to get back to me. I don't give a rat's bladder that you're busy, you do not treat me - or anyone - with such contempt and expect a pleasant conversation.

And if you ringing to say I've won another damn free mobile phone, let me reiterate: I DON'T NEED ONE! Especially if it's a part of a special package of only $50 a month for a two year contract. That's not free.

I'm just sayin'. Now, if you'd like to leave me your number... I'll get back to you.



Monday, October 19, 2009


I find statistics a curious thing. They're easily manipulated for a positive spin, can be fudged for the same result, can be dissected to the nth degree. It's all about number crunching and sadly, my maths skills are woeful - tragic since my Dad taught university level maths; I missed out on that one at the gene bank.

Authors are supposed to love numbers: books sold, revenue, where they are on the lists, how many written, etc. For me, it's about 'reads' over on Scribd. I've had a lot of activity in the past month, over a thousand reads; cue the happy dance. But I'm not entirely sure why.

Winter's Heart was posted on 3 October and scored some excellent numbers, but the first in the series, Summer's Rule appears to have tanked: WH - 677, SR - 185. I don't get that. SR has been out for two months, WI for one, logic dictates the first should have more than the second. I don't know why SR sank, no-one's written to say 'this sucks'. Okay, I have some thoughts but I'm not sayin'.

The other works were boosted by WI, with an extra 400 reads spread across the books. The monthly average is at 63 per day, which I'm not only happy about, but hope it continues.

With Nano less than two weeks away, I'd better get a wriggle on and finish Autumn's Fall; I'll be interested in the numbers when I post it.

(Now see? While writing this post, the average went up to 67. Gotta love statistics.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Timed distractions

Two weeks to go until Nano. It seems far away, two weeks, and yet it's only 14 days. I mean it's 336 hours which is plenty of time to do other stuff.

The closer 1 November gets, the higher my stress levels until I don't get much sleep on 31 October, for all the description, the characters, the dialogue, etc., running through my head.

I used to stress out about whether the story would be strong enough, or even long enough, whether I had enough characters and plot, wonder what the end would be. That still holds true of any new work, but this year I'm doing two sequels and newbie. The latter still being an amorphous, 20 second film clip in my head containing an argument, an accident and burning resentment. I don't know how much of it will get written given the second sequel has to be more than 100k.

To keep from worrying about it all, I need distractions. Something other than writing to keep my active mind busy, and my subconscious mind working on the story lines.

So, I've been up the family tree again. The thing about this type of research is the hurry up and wait; wait for the documents to come online. Of course, I have enough rellos to be going on with. If I hit a dead end with one, there are a dozen or more to look up.

I'm also planning a veggie patch. Being botanically-challenged, I need to start from scratch... like what the seasonal vegetables are and when I should put them in. Oh, and whether I like them or not; no point in growing stuff you hate. We're moving into Summer and I'm sure there are buckets of stuff I could grow. The compost is nearly ready for me to spread largesse, and gardening, I believe, is an excellent de-stressor.

Now, I shall sneak off and do some research... got to have research...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Challenge yourself

Starting edits today. This manuscript is full of green and orange stickies, plus at least one completely re-written page.

Why the different colours? Well, for no other reason than that colour was the closest.

Some authors colour code, for example, blue for dialogue, green for description, red for characters, etc.; I don't.

With Nano coming up, I've read a few posts over on the board from newbies who growing increasingly panic-stricken over what to write, how to write it, whether they should outline and plot, or not, how do they know it will be a complete story. The answer is scary: you don't until you try it out. But remember: there is no right way of writing, only your way.

That's what makes Nano so useful. It's great for writing exercises. For me, the first year was whether I could do it - yes; the second year, how much I could write: 164040; year three, to write in a totally different genre - finished, but not impressed; year four, can I write a trilogy - yep; year five, start during a particular time in history without using passive sentences - yes-um, mostly; and last year, write a trilogy and keep the word count crown - yes, to both.

This year's challenge is to write three books in three different genres and attempt to keep the crown (the Aussie one, that is. I shan't go off on a rant about the cheaterz.)

The thing is, whether you're a newbie or an experienced hack like me, is to challenge yourself. Don't be worrying about anyone else. It's your 50,000 words, your work and in the end, your success or failure.

Discipline, focus and imagination will see you through it. Oh, and lots of coffee and chocolate - can't do without coffee and chocolate - or your beverage and snackage of choice, but coffee and chocolate...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jungle fever

I've been running around the internet searching for the Amazon. Plenty of stuff out there and a lot of it is pro-green environmentalist stuff. I have no problem with it, though it does get tiresome. The Amazon is an important part of the world, 'lungs of the planet' if you will.

Constant de-forestation by foreign and domestic corporations for farmland, for wood pulp, have decimated the jungle in the name of profits, and this is an important part of my upcoming book for Nano.

What a lot of the sites do not address are the poverty-stricken populations who have no choice but to sell off their land or allow for these corporations to come in and give them jobs - for most, it's a matter of survival.

And it is singularly unhelpful for 'wealthy' people (tourists, environmentalists, foreign politicians) to lecture the local community on the evils of deforestation, when they don't live there and have yet to come up with a viable solution to bring them out of poverty.

I do believe deforestation should desist, that foreign companies have no right to rape the natural resources of another country for its' own profit. I also believe the governments ruling the Amazon should punish their corrupt officials and find an appropriate alternative, to protect what's left of the Amazon basin, even re-plant vegetation. Discussions with those who live within the jungle and on the edges would be a good start. But I'm not there, I don't live there and I cannot understand the situation the local communities find themselves in.

On the environmental issue, I was interested in the report that Al Gore refused to debate the issue of polar bears. Al says they're endangered, the Irishman claims the population is increasing. If Al is so assured of his position on climate change, why did he have the Irish documentary maker's microphone turned off and say 'this is not a debate'?

I'm not a climate change sceptic, I'm a 'man-made' climate change sceptic; that is, I don't believe climate change is caused by the Industrial Revolution. Climate change is Mother Nature all on her own - I think scientist should stop trying to find the proof that fits the theory, and try finding the theory that fits the proof.

I'll continue to recycle, to compost, to turn lights/appliances off when not it use - purely because it makes sense to reduce energy costs, to return organics to the garden and to reduce the landfill.

It all looks good for the veggie patch I'm putting in and for the Nano book. Both will take patience.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I'm having a mooch day. No writing (except for this, of course), no editing, just mooching.

It's raining, again. For the eighth day in a row. Yesterday, following work, I got down on my hands and knees and cleaned out the frelling street drain. Chockers, it was, of leaves, sticks, gravel and earthworms. Pulled a gor'amed muscle, too.

So, today, it's mooch day. My TBR pile is getting out of control. Time to cut it down by one or two.

* * *

Oh, a little rant:

Okay, under what criteria does President Obama deserve the Nobel Peace Prize? Where are the long-term examples of peace-making?

"for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" Nobel cites, and yet, he's done nothing to stop North Korea or Iran from their aims at gaining nuclear technology. Empty rhetoric and lecturing the rest of the world as if we're naughty children doesn't count in my book. Let's not forget the inaction on Afghanistan, the failure to support Iranian protesters, the ill-informed judgement on Honduras, the arm-twisting on 'global stimulus initiatives', lecturing Israel, the naive flitting off to Copenhagen, the acting like a popstar in foreign countries and apologising for America's past indiscretions.

Was there no-one with more visible impact? Morgan Tsvangerai for trying to rebuild his country with peaceful reconciliation in Zimbabwe for example? Doctors sans Frontiers?

Is this a popularist vote? He's been President for eight months and I've seen nothing to warrant this kind of award. If anything, he's reduced America's global influence. You don't get a peace prize for continuing conflicts, you get it for ending them.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Weeks to go

There's something strangely satisfying about scribbling red all over a manuscript and slapping sticky notes on half the pages.

Autumn's Fall doesn't lie flat any more, it's got green or orange Post-Its bulging out of it and I'm rather pleased about that. It makes for a better story if I've picked up most, if not all, the plot problems.

I have to let it sit now. Not because I want to, but for another reason: NaNo.

You see, I'm writing the final Season book during Nano, but also the sequel to Huntress. I wrote Huntress for the 2003 Nano, edited it last year and posted it to Scribd. But I need to re-read to get back into the mind set.

As you can imagine, there's a serious conflict here. I could finish the Season book and plunge into Nano for the fourth, but I'd have to take time out to read Huntress for the sequel, thus loosing writing time. Or, I could let the current book sit, read Huntress for informational familiarity, do the Season edits, then leap into NaNo. That sounds like the preferred option here.

I'm starting to wonder why I thought it was a good idea to write number four. Oh, right, that's how many seasons there are.

I have a myriad of thoughts wandering around about the three books I plan to write. All are in different genres, so they shouldn't cross-pollinate - weird if they did.

Now, all I have to do is calmly wait three weeks for the first of November...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


I don't know why I bother to monitor weather reports. Today is supposed to be worse than yesterday, storms, gale force wind, heavy rain, hail... yet here I sit looking out an absolutely gorgeous still, but chilly, morning with nary a cloud in the powder-blue sky. sigh Maybe it's going to be a 'Melbourne' day - four seasons in twenty-four hours.

So. I'm editing and researching at the same time: American prisons, muscle anatomy, fire-arms, genetics, Asian culture, time zones... and that's the first thirty-odd pages.

I'm the kind of person who is easily distracted by information. I'll be looking up one thing and bam! an hour later I'm reading stuff that has nothing to do with the original question. The encyclopedia is my best friend, and my worst enemy.

There I am, reading up on relative and subjective time and the next thing, I'm reading stuff on the Woollamai Pine. Or searching for prison locations and I find cool stuff on the forests of Romania. What's up with that?

It's a wide and interesting world. Who knows what I'll find as I research the Amazon rain forests. Art? Mechanics? Politics?

Time to get to it; a deadline awaits.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Wet Stuff

It's been raining. Did I mention that? Raining. A lot.

We usually get maybe... 60mm (average) during a normal October, much less during El Nino. (Aussies take note of La Nina/El Nino because rain is not an ongoing event here. We might get weeks without a drop, then a light drizzle, then weeks without a drop.

When the road guttering went in, the nice engineer put in two drains out the front of our house because we suffer from down flow flooding. That is, when they built the houses beside and behind us, the idiots diverted the natural drainage channel from the street behind the construction site straight through our back yard!

Cue the year we had well over 120 mm of rain in two hours. Cue major flood incident through the house.

Anyway. Rain. New drains. Not working! Sure, we've had just under 100mm since Saturday. See? It's been raining. Today, it bucketed; as in I decided to go downstairs and check the drains. Out the back, the household drain had stopped emptying. A right little heart starter, because there's only me. During the Great Flood, I had family here to help.

Fortunately, the teeming skies eased and the broad yard broom is a wonderful thing for sweeping water around the side of the house. Once I was happy with the draining water, I went into the street.

And lo, both drains were overflowing. No suction there, nup, nuh uh, zip. Water rushed by the drains and continued down the street.

So, since the household drain wasn't functioning too well, it meant only one thing: flooding in the back room. Yuh huh. Not too much, but wet just the same.

I've been busy cleaning up. It's amazing how much energy being pissed off provides.

And, oh, look, more heavy, dark clouds, ready to squat over the house and dump their load.

Now I know how an ant feels when an elephant lifts its tail above them...

Monday, October 05, 2009


No one mentioned Daylight Savings. Nope. Of course, I wasn't watching any of the news channels either.

I've been so busy focusing on other things, I didn't give it thought. I mean, Summer? It's bucketing with rain and cool. Who's thinking of Summer time? Not me. I'm not done with Winter or Spring yet.

Now my early rising - around six thirty-ish - isn't so early, and I'm lying awake at night until the standard time kicks in. It takes me a while to change over.

Once upon a time, Daylight Savings didn't start until the end of October, which, granted, made getting up to start Nano early a little difficult. But no one asked me if I'd like DST extended. It used to be November to March. Now it's October to April. I don't need Summer to be that long - I'm a cold weather kid.

There's only been one other time when I've missed the changeover - when my sister and I landed in Los Angeles. The pilot didn't mention anything about it and S. and I wandered through the day oblivious, like in a time warp. Everyone was an hour ahead of us. Weird. There's got to be a story in that somewhere...

Anyway. This morning is NFL and I'm off to watch it - then, work.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Umm... yeah, so I wasn't quite with it yesterday - too much David Tennant, I suspect, so I forgot to post the damned title!

The book is Winter's Heart, the sequel to Summer's Rule which is also available as a free e-book.

Autumn's Fall, the third book, is scheduled for 30/31 October with the final book to be written during Nano. No posting date yet, but probably sometime in January.

From there, well, I've got a number of other titles I need to get off my computer and I'm still deciding which to edit and post.

Work, work, work... Since Nano is closing in, I'd better get to it.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Up, down and posted

So Thursday, the temp peaks at about 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit). Today, the temp didn't rise above 12 C (or 53 F). I think the buckets of rain contributed...

A good day to settle down, curl up and watch the Dr Who Season Four marathon on UK TV. Cor... that David Tennant's a hottie!

Anyway, I've worked hard this week to get the book done but it's now posted with all the other works (okay, five other pieces).

I now have a month to get the third book done before Nano, but I think I'll take a couple of days off first. If I can. I've already got a prologue in mind - I think I'll just go write it down, then a have a day off...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A little frantic

Still working hard on the edits, but in between visits with family. Gotta love school holidays...

I dunno, what is it about the deadlines I'm setting that seem so unachievable? Family don't leave until lunchtime tomorrow and then work at the museum for the afternoon.

Saturday, I'm guessing. I have about sixty pages to go, so Saturday for Winter's Heart... but don't quote me.