Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Yes, I've been busily beavering away and finally, finally have posted a short story on the Scribd page. And weirdly enough, I posted eighteen minutes ago and Bleak Town has had nine reads already. Maybe there's a glitch in the counting or something...

Anyway, it's there; a little late, like nearly a week, but with Christmas stuff and football and then cricket and having some 'quiet' time with the family in Canberra - hah! - taking the wrong thumb drive with me and oh, so many other excuses I could come up with, it didn't get done. Bad Jaye, no chocolate for you!

Now I can get on with editing a coupla novels for the end of January or February, I haven't decide which. Then, it's choosing a book to edit carefully for sending out; you know, to an agent. But that's for next week.

I'm going to listen to Lily Allen, a favourite prezzo I got - she's so ba-ad!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas excess

I hope everyone had an excellent Christmas. I did.

It bucketed with rain, on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Canberra needed the rain and it's been years since it is rained on the Big Day.

I have two new books to read: Dean Koontz's Reckless and Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet's Nest. I can read them while listening to Lily Allen.

I had planned to work on a short story to post for Christmas, but... as luck would have it, I took the wrong thumb drives - no stories on either, or on the laptop hard drive. So, it will have to wait for later this week.

This year, I drank too much and ate too much - to the extent that I felt like Geraldine Grainger in The Vicar of Dibley Christmas Special. If you don't know it, the vicar has to eat three full Christmas lunches, much to her regret - and mine.

Thankfully, it only happens once a year and it was great to have a Christmas away.

I'll hunt up the story I have in mind and post it. Now, it's time for a nap - way too much good cheer...

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Here I am in heat-soaked Canberra for Christmas. We haven't been away from home for the season in a decade or more, peeps come to us - might have something to do with living next to the beach and the lovely onshore breeze to cool the day down.

Today, hopefully while most people are out doing their final mad dash for Christmas presents, seafood and Christmas cheer, I shall be watching 'Avatar'. In 3D. In the air conditioned theatre. A yes, a right wallowing.

So. Time to collect the niece and wander off to Borders and then the movies. WOOT!

I wish everyone a happy and safe Christmas tomorrow. And look, really, when it comes to the usual fights between rellos? How important is it? Life or death? Move on, let it go... Until Boxing Day, then hammer them!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Summer fare

There are certain times of the year when writing or editing are virtually impossible. When visitors come, big birthdays, Easter and... Christmas.

I have decided I cannot catch up on my reading pile, edit, do housework and everything associated with Christmas all at the same time; so I'm not going to try.

The tree is up, the prezzos bought, wrapped and the delivery near completed, hypocras made and distributed. I also whipped up a batch of Chocolate Crackles. For the first time. Like Vegemite, Australians grow up with Chocolate Crackles, they're an icon of home for those living and working overseas.

They're made with Rice Bubbles, cocoa (or melted chocolate), coconut and Copha. Only in Australia can you get Copha - it is made from hydrogenated coconut oil, 100% fat. Not so good.

It's used as the solidifying agent in Chocolate Crackles, but... I didn't have any and couldn't be bothered going up the street to get some. Surfing the 'net provided a solution: melted chocolate with butter with added caster sugar. It all worked so beautifully...

But next time, I think I'll use unsalted butter.

* * *

So Summer here brings out buzzing bush flies, whining mosquitoes, creaking cicadas and oblivious tourists sizzling under the sun. The flies, no problem. The cicadas, not much you can do about their noise. The tourists, well, nothing I can say will deter them from deep frying themselves. But... I've just encountered a near indestructible mosquito.

They make 'em tough these days. Twice I slapped that sucker between my hands and twice it looked at me as if to say, "Is that the best you can do?" And continued to dive bomb. I even smacked it when it landed. It snickered contemptuously and took off. I thought that, if nothing else, the shock wave of slapping a mozzy would kill the bugger. A hard hand and soft target usually does the trick - maybe I had around the other way.

It's dead now. Smeared on a rolled up newspaper. All twisted out of shape.

I expect the Mafia mozzies to call any time now for revenge: Probably Long-Nose Mo and Legs Malone.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cool Yule

I was going to write a post on what's happening - or not happening - over in Copenhagen... but I decided it makes me too angry to write a cohesive and reasoned blog.

So, instead, a friend sent me this:

Once again, I was disqualified from my neighborhoods "Best Decorated House" contest due to my bad attitude!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just a small problem

Ah, research.

Writers who plot do the research first, before putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. Definitely an advantage.

Me, I do it after; I'm so easily distracted, it delays the actual writing process because there's so much interesting stuff out there. Sure, it can mean re-writes, but re-writes are a part of producing a book - it's a matter of degree.

So I discovered Brazil is much bigger than I thought. Or should I say, that getting around the countryside is much more difficult than I expected and there are more airports than I expected.

I'll have to be more creative in explaining stuff that I assumed was right from brief readings. For a while there - after the read through and thinking about Brazilian transport - I thought I'd have to virtually delete eighty percent of the novel. Fortunately, I slept on the problem and it's not as bad as I feared.

And what is this near overwhelming problem with transport? The choices of vehicle to get from a major city to a minor one up the Amazon river. By car and ferry, it can take a week or more. But flying? Meh. Nowhere near long enough for a relationship to develop.

More thought is needed...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Adding words

Added about two thousand words today. I'm looking at Spring's Reign as a 0th draft and I'm working to turn it into the first draft.

I'm making notations for more research, inserting skipped words - bummer, Hal, the word count could have been larger - and correcting the spelling as I go. Not so much the grammar; I've deliberately messed some of it up for personality and context, and no-one speaks perfectly these days (unless you're a Shakespearean actor, that is).

I have a plan to finish the 0th draft by the end of December and let it rest for a week or so, then get to the first and second drafts. Maybe even a third draft (which will really be a fourth).

And during the 'away' time, I'll be looking at Hunted and the 0th draft for that. I'm going to have to change things, take out a... particular aspect because it's too similar to something else I wrote.

Time to get back to it.

Oh, one last thing to mutter about. Two words: bloody Cowboys!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Who Dat?

Every year, we have the Santa Ride and every year, more Santas turn up. Over two hundred this time. Because of environmental concerns, the reindeer have to stay at home - can you imagine two thousand plus reindeer and their...er... emissions on the street?

Nope. Santas leave them at home but collect donations for worthy causes on their way to the local pub. There, the Santas can slake the thirst of a four kilometre ride and chat about Santary things. In particular, which Santa is going to which country to drop off the loot.

And you thought Santa lived at the north pole...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The backyard

I'm back at the desk and keyboard, sorting out both computers and the external drive in anticipation of lots of editing.

Outside the sliding door is a juvenile Kookaburra, all fluffy feathers and curious gleam in its eyes. I think it's having problems though. It came flying in a picked up a skink. No worries there, but for the last ten minutes, the little lizard has been dropping between the kookaburra's beak, the bird's eyes firmly focused on it.

The kookaburra managed to choke it down, but is now standing up straight with it's beak wide swallowing hard. Makes me want to step out and say, "That's what you get for swallowing your food whole".

I like our native wildlife - well, it's not as if there's any other sort - but the kookaburras only turned up after I put in the veggie patch.

This all started a few years ago when a friend of mine gave me a Blue-Tongue lizard to look after, because her dog kept going for it. I set it free in the back yard. Sometime later, we noticed the slugs and snails were disappearing. Then I saw four blue tongues in the back yard and an abundance of skinks.

Following the efforts of the gardener we hired, I figured it was time for a veggie patch and duly planted it with my own brewed up compost. No snails, no slugs, and few bugs thanks to the blue-tongues and the skinks. Now, the kookaburras have arrived to keep the population of skinks down.

A nice ecosystem. The zucchinis are great, as are the snow peas. Lots of green tomatoes waiting to ripen under the summer sun and the apple cucumbers and butternut pumpkins have flowers.

And not a chemical to be seen anywhere. Ah, nature. Gotta love it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

You want it... when?

I'm feeling more than a little beleaguered. It's as if the fates let me put everything on hold for November, and then dumped everything into December.

Housework, Christmas shopping, research for work, a meeting 280k away, car service, grocery shopping... the list goes on.

So far, I've managed to print out the first manuscript for editing but not had time to start the actual process.

Yeah, okay, I was stuffing around for the first week, reading books, catching up on movies and the weekend newspapers; you know, real life thingies.

But I'm hopefully for the weekend, I've just got to, well, wrap prezzos, do housework, do some research for the Museum, the NFL, college football...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tis the season

Editing is underway... kind of.

I don't know whether you know this but... it's not long to Christmas. I've been running around searching for prezzos - big family - and I've made this year's batch of hypocras (spiced wine) in both white and red. Hypocras allegedly gets its name from Hippocrates and various versions have been around since. Romans drank it. It was King Henry VIII's favourite beverage, although he had gold leaf mixed into his. At the time, it was thought gold leaf helped digestion (and his main meal took two hours).

I love the stuff. Various grape types give hypocras a different flavour, so there's no standard taste.

Anyway. Today, I'm off to Canberra for a meeting tomorrow. I can indulge in some shopping in Da Big Smoke, too. I won't be back until Wednesday night and that means, first edits will have to wait for Thursday. True to form, lots of ideas are arriving to improve the book and I don't have time to put them in.

Now, I have to go pack...

Saturday, December 05, 2009


I'm not a squealie fan girl, but I've followed Tess Gerritsen since her days at Harlequin writing romance.

Gerritsen isn't a romance writer. Not anymore. If you've read The Surgeon and the books that follow, you'll know it's all about murder; gruesome, wicked murder. I love all the books, probably because happy endings aren't necessarily guaranteed. And the intricacies of the medical side of it (Gerritsen's a doctor) which reads much better than Cornwell's Scarpetta.

Now, the Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles series is about to make it to the TV screen. Wheee! The pilot Rizzoli is being made by TNT.

Angie Harmon (Women's Murder Club, Law & Order)is Jane Rizzoli;
Sasha Alexander (NCIS) is Maura Isles;
Bruce McGill (Wolf Lake) is Vincent Korsak;
Lorraine Bracco (The Sopranos) is Rizzoli's mother, Angela; and
Billy Burke (Twilight, 24, Wonderland) is Gabriel Dean.

The cast sounds great and I hope they do justice to the books. Fingers crossed.

Friday, December 04, 2009

More WriMos?

So... you haven't had enough of abusing the keyboard? Suffering from NaNoWriMo hangover? Don't want to let go yet? Do you want more?

Here it is:

National Novel Finishing Month - your goal is to finish the novel, write the extra 30,000 words during December.

And coming up:

National Novel Editing Month - March 2010. Your goal is to commit to 50 hours of editing.

The Southern Cross Novel Challenge - June 2010. A NaNoWriMo for the southern hemisphere. Fifty thousand words goal.

Write a Damn Novel in June - A NaNoWriMo for the middle of the year. Write a novel.

July Novel Writing Month - A NaNoWriMo for July. Fifty thousand words goal.

August Novel Writing Month - A NaNoWriMo for August. Write a novel.

September Novel Writing Month Set a word-count goal and edit, write, or edit and write throughout the month of September

Want something with more intensity? Try the Book in a Week challenge. Yep, write your book in seven days. Begins on the Monday of the first full week of each month, lasts one week.

Phew. It looks like Nano has taken off in a big way. Me, I'll think about June, but nothing else. Writing six books a year would take the shine off, and the editing would be brutal.

Then again... the challenges, people, the challenges!