December 31, 2007

Another year in books

It's going to be 42 here in Melbourne for the last day of the year. That is what is officially known as hot, hot, hot, hotty, hot. Not the weather for doing anything much other than floating in a well shaded pool or staying inside with the aircon on and reading. So as my second year of blogging draws to a hot close, I'm continuing the tradition I started last year and finishing the year with books.

This year my read list (being the books I read for the first time and remembered to add to the list and liked) is sitting at 160 odd, which is more than last year. That surprised me because I would've said I'd read a bit less, mainly because I think I took the train less to work, thus cutting down on reading time. So maybe I re-read less. But I'd still guess I'd re-read at least one book for every new book, so I'm still around 300 for the year. It's been a big year for fantasy and urban fantasy, so next year I'd like to find some new great contemporary romance authors. I've got some faves who are newish in category but not in Single Title contemps. And while I read more male authors this year, I'd like to read more again next year. So many books, so little time : )

So what were the favourites this year amongst these books? Again, no particular order...

Sunshine - Robin McKinley (I was actually surprised when I saw this on this year's list...I thought I'd read it last year but apparently not. And I've re-read this book at least three times this year, that's how much I liked it).

Working for the Devil - Lilith Saintcrow (in fact, I've really liked all four in this series and am waiting impatiently for the final book to arrive from overseas as we speak)

Agnes and the Hitman - Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

Blood and Iron - Elizabeth Bear (I've read most of Elizabeth's books this year and all were intriguing.)

Sleeping Partner - Kelly Hunter (and Priceless was great too)

Melusine - Sarah Monette (another book I'd picked up a few times in bookstores and never bought prior to receiving it for Christmas where I gulped it down and now really want the next two)

Twilight - Stephanie Meyer

Natural Born Charmer - Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Black Ice - Anne Stuart

Billionaire on her doorstep - Ally Blake

Ysabel - Guy Gavriel Kay

Kushiel's Justice - Jacqueline Carey

The Raven Prince - Elizabeth Hoyt

Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews

The Sharing Knife: Legacy - Lois McMaster Bujold

I hope 2007 gave you some fabulous stories and 2008 brings many more!


And here's this year's list in full:

The Boss's Christmas Baby - Trish Morey
Melusine - Sarah Monette
Devlin's Luck - Patricia Bray
Millionaire to the Rescue - Ally Blake
Rose Daughter - Robin McKinley
Worldwired - Elizabeth Bear
Scandal's Daughter - Christine Wells
Mine Until Midnight - Lisa Kleypas
Scardown - Elizabeth Bear
An Affair Before Christmas - Eloisa James
Hammered - Elizabeth Bear
Valiant - Holly Black
New Amsterdam - Elizabeth Bear
Water Elementals - Peter Dickinson & Robin McKinley
Spindles End - Robin McKinley
Succubus Blues - Richelle Mead
The Margarets - Sheri S Tepper
Saint City Sinners - Lilith Saintcrow
Stripped - Julie Elizabeth Leto
One Forbidden Evening - Jo Goodman
Forgotten Marriage - Paula Roe
Undertow - Elizabeth Bear
Steamy Surrender - Ally Blake
On the Loose - Tara Janzen
Billionaire on Her Doorstep - Ally Blake
Sizzle, Seduce, Simmer - Lots of cool aussie romance authors
The Pinhoe Egg - Diana Wynne Jones
Lover Unbound - JR Ward
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
Wired - Liz Maverick
Cafe du Jour - Lilian Darcy
Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch - Haywood Smith
The Hindi-Bindi Club - Monica Pradhan
Sleeping Partner - Kelly Hunter
Eat Cake - Jeanne Ray
The Sharing Knife: Legacy - Lois McMaster Bujold
The Thirteenth House - Sharon Shinn
If His Kiss was Wicked - Jo Goodman
Making Money - Terry Pratchett
Unshapely Things - Mark Del Franco
The Devil's Waltz - Anne Stuart
The Serpent Prince - Elizabeth Hoyt
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade - Diana Gabaldon
Shakespeare - Bill Bryson
Bloodlines - Eileen Wilks
Spellbinder - Melanie Rawn
The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch
Mortal Danger - Eileen Wilks
The Devil's Right Hand - Lilith Saintcrow
Warlord - Elizabeth Vaughan
Tempting Danger - Eileen Wilks
Sight Unseen - Samantha Graves
Vicious Circle - Mike Carey
Ice Blue - Anne Stuart
Agnes and the Hitman - Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
Embraced by Darkness - Keri Arthur
New Moon - Stephanie Meyer
Hot for Him - Sarah Mayberry
The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever - Julia Quinn
Carnival - Elizabeth Bear
Stardust - Neil Gaiman
Bite Me if You Can - Lyndsay Sands
Queen of Babble in the Big City - Meg Cabot
Harry Potter and the Deathly Harrows - JK Rowling
Lean Mean Thirteen - Janet Evanovich
Candy Apple Red - Nancy Bush
The Prince's Outback Bride - Marion Lennox
Sugar Daddy - Lisa Kleypas
Stray - Rachel Vincent
Sex as a Second Language - Jamie Sobrato
Bad Behavior - Kristin Hardy
An Unladylike Offer - Christine Merrill
All Over You - Sarah Mayberry
Gabriel's Ghost - Linnea Sinclair
The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes - Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer and Anne Stuart
The Hero and the Crown - Robin McKinley
Nightlife - Rob Thurman
Desperate Duchesses - Eloisa James
The Hob's Bargain - Patricia Briggs
Talyn - Holly Lisle
Kushiel's Justice - Jacqueline Carey
Magic Lost, Trouble Found - Lisa Shearin
Magic Study - Maria V Snyder
The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell - Samantha James
The Blue Sword - Robin McKinley
The Leopard Prince - Elizabeth Hoyt
Deerskin - Robin McKinley
Talk Gertie to Me - Lois Winston
Lover Revealed - JR Ward
Out of Sight - Cherry Adair
Big Shot Bachelor - Nicola Marsh
Hellspark - Janet Kagan
Belladonna - Anne Bishop
Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews
Santa Baby - Jennifer Crusie, Lori Foster, Carly Phillips
The Secret to Seduction - Julie Anne Long
Beauty and the Spy - Julie Anne Long
The Raven Prince - Elizabeth Hoyt
The Scent of Shadows - Vicki Pettersson
Natural Born Charmer - Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Code Noir - Marianne de Pierres
Blood and Iron - Elizabeth Bear
Mystic and Rider - Sharon Shinn
Ysabel - Guy Gavriel Kay
Path of Fate - Diana Pharaoh Francis
Nylon Angel - Marianne de Pierres
Seducing the Spy - Celeste Bradley
Claiming the Courtesan - Anna Campbell
A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray
Dangerous Games - Keri Arthur
These Three Remain - Pamela Aidan
The Devil You Know - Mike Carey
Duty and Desire - Pamela Aidan
Blood Bound - Patricia Briggs
An Assembly Such As This - Pamela Aidan
The Last Bachelor - Betina Krahn
Cold as Ice - Anne Stuart
Sunshine - Robin McKinley
Priceless - Kelly Hunter
Murder at the Pleasure Gardens - Rosemary Stevens
The Greek's Virgin - Trish Morey
The Devil Wears Prada - Laura Weisberger
Black Ice - Anne Stuart
To Love and To Cherish - Patricia Gaffney
Tempting Evil - Keri Arthur
Kissing Sin - Keri Arthur
Eyes of Crow - Jeri Smith-Ready
The Hidden Heart - Laura Kinsale
The Perfect Kiss - Anne Gracie
The Shadow and the Star - Laura Kinsale
Desire Never Dies - Jenna Petersen
The Dark Side of the Moon - Sherrilyn Kenyon
The Husband Test - Betina Krahn
Matriarch - Karen Traviss
The Wife Test - Betina Krahn
The Book of True Desires - Betina Krahn
Dead Man Rising - Lilith Saintcrow
Circle of the Moon - Barbara Hambly
Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
Witchling - Yasmine Galenorn
The Rest Falls Away - Colleen Gleason
Awaken Me Darkly - Gena Showalter
Twilight - Stephanie Meyer
The Thunderbolt Kid - Bill Bryson
The Kitchen Witch - Annette Blair
The Husband Test - Betina Krahn
Angel Rogue - Mary Jo Putney
Born in Death - Nora Roberts
Cagebird - Karen Lowachee
Working for the Devil - Lilith Saintcrow
Charming Grace - Deb Smith

December 30, 2007

Resolving

It's the day before New Year's Eve...how did that happen?

I'm reserving my actual New Year's Eve post for the "I'm making it a tradition year in books post", so I guess today has to be the resolution post. This week has been all about doing whatever I felt like which apparently included chopping off my hair - an urge I've been trying to resist for about six months now but finally figured what the heck. My theory with hair is 'it grows', so I tend to change my style fairly often and it's been various degrees of long for about three to four years now. Which for me is a long time to stave off hair boredom. At least I've kept it longer around the face which makes the inevitable growing out process less painful (I hope). Now I just have to stave off the "hmmm, perhaps I should change the colour too" urges.

Next week I'm still on holiday but it will be back to the writing/exercising etc. I needed this chill week after a very, very busy year full of exciting and not so exciting things, topped off by the pre-Christmas flood. After six days of lazing around, watching dvd's, reading and doing whatever I feel like (go see Enchanted by the way, it's very cute and happy making), I can feel my brain actually starting to function again, which is nice after several months of feeling like it was about to explode : ).

So what do I want to do in 2008, apart from keeping up the indulgences to ward off the imminent brain exploding sensation?

1. Write and have fun writing. We do our writing goals for the year at our Christmas crit group meeting, so they're all set.
2. Lose more weight and keep up the exercise
3. Have a long holiday (combining this with RWA National).
4. Enjoy life!

Short and sweet but there you go. I don't have any too terrible habits to kick (well, apart from diet coke but a girl's allowed one vice and I refuse to do working and writing with no caffeine).

What about everyone else? Any resolutions? Plans? Challenges? Whatever they are, may 2008 be fabulous for all!

December 29, 2007

Indulgences again

I'm not sure this list will be greatly different from last year but let's see....

My list of stuff to indulge in for 2008 to ensure my mood resembles the orange cat in this picture!



1. Live music and music generally
2. Pilates classes (I love them and therefore deserve to indulge even if they're not the cheapest thing on earth).
3. Dancing of some sort...I keep thinking about it and have two wips with dancers as protags so I need to do some again myself.
4. The girly things...facials and makeup and sparkly nail polish and hanging out with the gals
5. Relaxation - meditation, massages and naps and feeding myself stories in various forms
6. Quilting - learn some more, do some more
7. Scents - especially roses
8. Learning something for fun
9. Food adventures - both out and at home

PS The orange cat insists all you really need is carpet that conveniently forms pillows for you but he's a cat...I'm trying my list first!

December 27, 2007

Indulging

For those paying attention, ooops. I wrote my last post on Christmas Eve but for some reason it didn't post, so I posted it last night but in my post turkey fest stupour, forgot to change the title. Hope you all had a fabulous celebration of whatever holiday you were celebrating.

So anyway, this time last year (though I swear it feels like maybe a few months ago), I did a Jenny Crusie inspired list of indulgences for 2007. I thought it would be a good idea to see how I did before working out a 2008 list.

Indulgence number 1:

Things that smell good. Aromatherapy, perfume, flowers, lotions and potions. I find scent can really lift my mood so daily applications of yummy aromas.

I'm giving myself a tick on this one. I've been using my burner a lot, bought new perfumes and yummy smelling soaps (helped by the fact that no more construction at work means my mould allergy is back to the odd itch when I garden).

Indulgence number 2:

Relaxation. More massages (I think I managed a whole 1 in 2006 so topping that shouldn't be hard lol). More meditation. More naps or couching with my story fix in whatever form when I need it.

Half a tick. I upped my massage quota to a massive 2 (which is double the previous year) but more would've been better. Meditation was patchy at best. Napping, however, was high on the agenda. One day I will learn to remember that when I'm most stressed, I'm most resistant to things that will undo the stress and just do them anyway. I did kick back into the exercise but that's not really an indulgence.

Indulgence number 3:

Girly stuff. More facials, manicures, pedicures, spa days, makeovers and pampering whether at home or elsewhere. If it includes hanging out with the gals, even better. If we can also add pink champagne, perfection!

A tick. I had facials and manicures, a couple of makeovers, even a wardrobe makeover with Mum. I did masks and manicures/pedicures at home too. More would be better, of course, but I did them.

Indulgence number 4:

More music, particularly live music. Every time I go to a concert I remember how much I love the sensation of loud live music, basses vibrating through your chest, singers pouring their hearts into songs and the energy of the crowd. And it doesn't have to be the ginormous stadium variety. More musical adventures in general but some more live stuff in particular. If there's dancing involved even better. Singing along goes without saying.

Hmmm, I'll pass this too. I definitely bought a decent amount of new music on iTunes this year. I went to see Pink, the Indigo Girls (in a smaller venue so that counts), Rent at the movies (not live but my fave musical anyway), the War of the Worlds, the Producers and I'm sure there must've been some other stuff in there too. Music is good. Next month is Bon Jovi (hawt rock dudes! yay!).

Indulgence number 5

Do some fun short courses or whatever that have nothing to do with writing. Something weird and wonderful just because it sounds cool. Rope some of the gals into trying them too!

No tick for me : ( I did a few writing courses but nothing else that falls into this category. I did start pilates reformer classes which was a change from mat but that's not quite the same. One for next year. Oh, wait a minute. I did do a quilting class (only a half day but still) and did some quilting stuff. Maybe a quarter of a tick?

Indulgence number 6

Cook more. Try new recipes, both healthy and indulgent. 3 or 4 a month. Traipse around some markets and experiment.

Half a tick. Cooking in general was very up and down this year, depending on how busy I was. I did try some new things out but not as much cooking for fun as I'd like.

Indulgence number 7

A real vacation even if it's a long weekend or something. Most of my leave tends to be writing related these days...so a trip somewhere that isn't.

Another nope. The lulu weekend away was writing related, so that doesn't count. And going to Dallas ate my annual leave. But in 2008 there will be trips to Tassie for weddings, some non-writing related travel around Nationals and, hopefully, a trip to see the brother and sil at some point.

Hmmm, I'm thinking that's about a 50% success rate. Not terrible but not great. More indulging needed in 2008. So I need to think about what that should be. More later!

December 24, 2007

'Twas the night before Christmas

And all through the house
The carpets were less soggy! : )

The jetblower thingy has been blowing and blowing. It is loud. Imagine being on a plane trip for over two days and not getting anywhere. But it seems to be helping dry things out. Not sure what happens next, guess that depends on what the insurance assessor says.

Apart from last minute Christmas preparations and hanging around my house wearing earplugs and or noise cancelling headphones (I am the fashion queen!), not much to report. I've learned how to rip up carpet and stack a lot of my possessions on the few teeny tiled surfaces in my house. I managed to pour cereal over my keyboard (yes, I know, I know, don't have liquids near the keyboard but seriously, writers need to eat and drink while typing). The grey cat gets her stitches out shortly, the big bro is arriving for Christmas and then it's off to the folks.

Merry Christmas and stay dry everyone!

December 21, 2007

A day in highlights

Promised phone calls from insurance - 1
Actual phone call from insurance - 0
Promised visits from council - 1
Actual visits from council - 0
Promised visits by carpet rescue - 1
Actual visits - 1
No. of cats freaked out by very noisy jetblower drying carpet - 2
Hours spent waiting around for visits - 10
Planned activities missed - 2
Hours spent in pouring rain bailing out path in backyard and unblocking drains to ensure carpets get no soggier - 1 so far
Fun had - 0

Number of Mel's over the whole thing - 1

December 20, 2007

Rain, rain go away

I know we NEED the rain. I know we're having a drought. But we do not need several weeks rain in several hours and I do NOT need soggy from underneath carpets.

Just when I was all happy to be finally finished work and on holiday, I drive home (which took forever thanks to the RAIN), walk into my house and think, hmmm, what are those weird dark patches on my carpet?

Sogginess, that's what. I know there are people with much worse damage and hey, I don't really like my carpet but still, I didn't want to spend Christmas dealing with insurance and the council. I wanted relaxing. And writing. Sigh. And grumble. And where's the wine?

PS At least the books are all dry and the computer works!

December 14, 2007

Relieved

So the grey cat has come through her operation okay, though she is currently in post-operative hide-in-the-wardrobe-and-glare-reproachfully mode. She has also escaped the indignity of bucket head so far but has an impressively naked chest, which looked pretty funny given she's a fluffball. So all is good, or will be when she forgives me.

The orange cat has spent the day alternating between yowling to go into the cat room (where the grey cat is incarcerated as she's not allowed out for a day or so), yowling to be let out and yowling at the front door to be let back in. I'm thinking it might be a good night for ear plugs.

I spent the day tidying my house which had been viciously attacked by mess fairies yet again. Pesky critters those mess fairies. Someone should make a spray. But at least I've excavated to a reasonable level that a last minute run around in the morning before the lulus arrive for our christmas get together should take care of.

It's an exciting life. But four more working days to go and then it's Christmas. I've mostly done my Christmas shopping and mostly written my cards so I'm feeling semi-organised for once. I've even scored cheap plane fares for the wedding I'm off to in February. That's extra organised!

And now I have to go see if the grumpy grey girl will eat some dinner.

December 09, 2007

Cats and catnaps

Thursday the orange cat was at the vet having his annual jabs and quarterly arthritis drugs. He did not appreciate them. Friday morning the grey cat had to go and have her blood test (she did not appreciate missing breakfast and I did not appreciate getting up early on my day off). She expressed her annoyance by hiding under the lavender bush all day and I had a nap. Anyway, turns out the tablets aren't quite cutting it for her thyroid anymore so she has to have her thyroid out next week. In the mean time we are shovelling pills down her throat to see if her levels will lower before the surgery to make it safer. I was offered the choice of her being irradiated but that involves her being at a special vet for up to 10 days after the irraditation (as she'd be too radioactive to be out and about!!!) so I figured let's try surgery first.

So apparently what was on my list of things I want for Christmas was "stonking big vet bills". Note to self, next year, pick something cheaper. Of course, to get over the sticker shock, I did what any sensible gal would do and went and had a makeover at Bobbi Brown. They made me look un-sleep deprived and not like I was suffering from sticker shock, so that was fun. Yesterday, the VT and I had brunch in Maling Road and went wandering around the shops in search of Christmas gift. Net total things purchased...one book each (at least mine was a gift). We proved that there is such a thing as gift shop overload (a condition that can be rectified by applying scones apparently). So there is still more christmas shopping to come.

Brunch was followed by more napping (self diagnosis - I am tired...I even slept until 10 this morning which is something I rarely do anymore). Then watched The Fountain (which made me wonder if I was perhaps still asleep...all I can say is pretty but odd). Today there will be some writing and some doing of chores. It's a whirlwind of excitement round here!

November 30, 2007

Whoops

Okay, who put the world on fast forward? Another week just flew by. Make that almost two weeks. I suppose when you throw in a weekend at the beach, parental birthdays, lots of work, christmas cake and pudding concocting (christmas - that can't be right, surely) and general running around, things fly past fast.

Of course, the fact that the suppliers of dvd crack have ponied up both Battlestar Galactica Series 3 and Gilmore Girls Series 7 and the muse wanted to rewatch Band of Brothers, means mucho quality couch time in between things. Though, sadly, I have not yet had time to re-watch POTC 3. And that is seriously wrong. Maybe I need a pirates marathon in between all the other marathons.

I'm not sure what the girls are cooking up but they keep giving me flashes and snippets. Still not that interested in letting me translate said snippets into work but at some point all of this refilling the well has to reach critical mass. Or else my brain will explode. And then I will not be able to do any christmas shopping and all will be bad. The only good thing about world fast forwarding is that I only have 10 work days left before lovely lovely holidays.

And now, because my brain probably can't come up with anything else coherent you should go check out Jenny Crusie's awesomely cute new dogs while I give myself a stern talking to about how I cannot have a puppy.

November 23, 2007

Thankful

Happy Turkey Day to those in places who celebrate such things (it's still Turkey Day there). Eat pie for me : )

I'm thankful because I'm off to the beach for the weekend with the lovely lulus, where there will not be pie but will be lots of other yummy things and naps and writing and general silliness....so catch you later!

November 17, 2007

Biking on down the highway

So. The pants, they eez less cranky. Not completely uncranky but improved. Maybe the endorphins have helped after all. Exercise is weird. I enjoy it, I enjoy the feeling after doing it and yet, over and over again, I have the mental battle with myself to get started. Sheesh. My inner athlete gets drowned out by my not so inner couch potato. My inner athlete needs assertiveness training. I've never been able to figure this out. But much like the writing at the moment, I am gritting my teeth and making like Nike. Except this morning when I woke up with the intention of a ride just after breakfast only to find it was 28 degrees already at 9am! Luckily it cooled down so I went at midday. Only to bike through four seasons in one day in true Melbourne fashion. But I did an hour and that's not so bad when I've only just started riding again. And my butt does not seem to be sore so far!

In other news, making like Nike is helping terribly much, writing wise. The muse still continues to have the attention span of a hummingbird with ADD and the ejector button on my writing chair (you didn't know that writing chairs had ejector buttons, did you) is working just fine. I've resorted to scribbling snippets in long hand so have no idea how much I've done but it's easier than sitting down in my chair only to find myself up and wandering after two point three minutes. Times like these you just have to keep trying and something will stick eventually and it will stop being so painful. I know this. I've been here before. I just have to, like with the exercise, keep reminding myself. I think something is getting closer. The muse is perking up her ears at strange songs on the radio and making me watch weird movies, so something is definitely brewing. I just hope it's cooked soon.

And now, I have to indulge my inner revhead and go and watch Top Gear. If someone could explain to me why I, who have very little interest in cars other than to occasionally think "pretty but why would you spend that much money on a car" and less than zero interest in car racing, find this show so entertaining, I would be grateful. Maybe I'm just strangely drawn to British men with a sense of humour. Either way, excuse me while I go watch a show about cars and driving fast and brake horsepower and other stuff that goes straight over my head.

November 13, 2007

Cranky again

This is not my favourite time of year. It's the time of year where I start needing a holiday. The day job has been busy, busy, busy for the last few months - and it usually just gets crazier before Christmas - and the muse is still refusing to settle down and write something consistent. I get trickles - like the other night - but none of that satisfying flowing stuff which writers kind of need to keep their brains on an even keel. Or at least this writer needs that. Which is making me frustrated and irritable.

So I'm cranky. Grumpy. Snarly. Generally charming, you get the picture. Of course, I don't get to be grumpy and cranky and snarly at work, so it's my poor cats and others who get grumped at.

I'm even exercising to try and shake off the mood and seriously, either the endorphins need to kick in soon or my legs will fall off.

If I was in a sports movie there'd be a montage of me pounding punching bags and running up and down hills and snarling at my trainer. Of course, if I was in a sports movie I wouldn't be a frustrated writer so there wouldn't be a need for me to do any of the above.

Right now I'd love about a month on a desert island with me, some music, great food, great books, some good dvds and my computer. And nothing else. Serious hermit time. Then I might be fit for civilisation again. Instead I get six more weeks until Christmas holidays.

So, what does one do to shake off the crankies? Suggestions, oh wise internet? Other than chocolate. Because if I'm going to be wearing cranky pants, at least the exercise has to make them looser!

November 11, 2007

Here we go again

All right. It's official. My muse has ADD. I had a plan for this month. I'd decided to work on a particular book just to kick something (anything) along after a couple of slow months. So of course, all week I was getting ideas for Wolf 2 (not the book I'd picked).

And then last night a title popped into my head. Which I reacted to by thinking "okay cool, that could be a couple of things, let's write it down".

And then tonight, at midnight (freaking midnight...I was asleep) I wake up with a first line which is rapidly followed with the idea for a whole first scene. The sort of idea that you think "man, that's pretty good" and really can't risk just going back to sleep and waking up with only fog and wisps and it's lost forever.

So I just started a whole 'nother book. One that I have absolutely no idea where it might be going or plot or conflict or any of those useful kinds of things. I don't even know the heroine's name yet. But the muse is happy. And I've even gotten snippets of the next scene. But I so did not need to start another book right now.

Much like I so did not need the diet coke I just downed to wake up enough to get the scene down. Something tells me I'm going to be up a while longer. So much for getting up early in the morning. Writing, I tell you, is not a straightforward thing at all.

November 08, 2007

And now for something nice

I hear via Nic's blog that the gorgeous and talented Ally Blake has had a baby girl!

Congrats, new mama!

A note to the orange cat and the grey cat

My first point: You are both too OLD to be catching mice. Neither of you missed catching mice for the last seven years or so. One of you has nearly no teeth. The other tends to be scared of shadows. What does this suggest to you? Right, too OLD.

My second point: If you persist in the delusion that you are not too old to be catching mice then the rules are that you either;

(a) Eat the damn thing and give it a decent burial in your digestive tract; OR
(b) Leave the corpse outside somewhere. Preferably in the neighbour's yard under a bush or something where no-one (particularly not me) has to deal with it.

My third point: Any mouse either of you can catch must be pretty near death anyway given that you are both no longer spring kittens as discussed above. This means diseased, old or possibly poisoned. You don't want to be having with any germ-infested, stringy or strychnine-laced mice. You have been warned.

PS Corpsified mice are gross. Don't gross out the person who wields the can opener. Just sayin'.

November 07, 2007

Anyhoo

Five days went by and I didn't really blog. Bad me. On the plus side, I am one day into my gruelling two day week, this week. On the minus side, being back at work means my five day mini-vacation is all over. Wah.

The weekend in brief would go something like, exercise, housework, reading, HT folding, sleeping, reading, exercise, catch up with friends, eat lamb shanks, sleeping, reading, think about book, watch DVDs, have massage and facial, do RWA stuff, nap, think about book some more, exercise, sleeping, go for bike ride (discover you live in very hilly area and puff a lot), nap, write a little, reading, sleeping, coffee at borders with VT, shop a bit, write a bit, realise it's back to work tomorrow and say WAH.

So that was that. Today I tried a pilates reformer class for the first time and had fun...though I think my thigh muscles might disagree with me tomorrow. Good to try something new though and I'd like to keep doing it. Slowly getting back on the eat right, exercise regularly wagon so every thing helps.

And now, it's almost time for House, Wednesday night being TV night.

PS Body still not convinced re whole getting up hour earlier daylight savings thing but on a very mild late spring evening with lots of sun, I'm kind of starting to remember the good side to the whole idea : )

November 01, 2007

Score

Yay, I officially have five days off work. Five days of writing, reading (stocked up on books at the launch of Sizzle, Seduce and Simmer tonight) and trying to convince my body that yes, this daylight savings thing is here to stay for a few months.

More news as it breaks....

October 29, 2007

To Nano or not?

I can't make up my mind whether I should Nano or not. I have three books I could work on. On the other hand, I need to do the Wolf 2 revision pass. Nothing is really leaping up and down and saying "write ME, write ME" at the moment, so maybe trying to nano might kick the girls into gear. Then again, the other couple of times I've done it, I've written nothing in December afterwards.

So I'm torn. I'd like to kick the productivity up a notch. But don't wanna burn out.

Two more days to decide I guess....

October 28, 2007

Even the weekends are going fast

So Friday there was a visit to the chiropractor which made me verrrrry sleeepppy the rest of the day and I ended up veging and napping before going to see the Indigo Girls (who rock) with the VT.

Yesterday there was shopping with the Mum which was fun but expensive.

Today I need to do my tax return. Which involves sorting the paperwork that hasn't been sorted in um, awhile. Plus daylight savings started today which means I'm running an hour later than I thought I was. Sigh. And also means I'll be tired and bumping into things at work. I'm not good with the first week of daylight savings (as evidenced by the fact that I got up when my bedside clock said 8.30, sat down at the computer to check email, checked the clock on the computer a little time later, say it said 9.47 and thought "man, that hour went fast" rather than "man, I forgot to put my alarm clock forward an hour".

Captain Mal rules

Yay. My favourite spaceship is mine all mine....





Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in with? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Serenity (Firefly)

You like to live your own way and don't enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.




October 24, 2007

Back

from Sydney. Sleepy. Proved I shouldn't get up at 5am by tripping on my one front step on the way out the door on Monday and kind of spraining my ankle. But laughing at this:

You Should Be A Virgo

What's good about you: you have a quiet determination and aren't swayed by emotions

What's bad about you: you are an insane perfectionist and easily find faults in others

In love: you are obsessed with making your partner happy

In friendship, you're: helpful and giving - eager to be a true friend

Your ideal job: poet, flight attendant, or natural healer

Your sense of fashion: casual, upscale, revealing, conservative - you look good in all of it

You like to pig out on: a well prepared five course meal


I guess I was born at the right time of year. Though the thought of being a flight attendant or natural healer gives me the heebie jeebies.

October 20, 2007

Wheels turning

Lunch was cancelled yesterday : ( due to lurgyness of friend : ((. So instead I went to Patchwork on Central and used their design wall to lay out my quilt (with thanks for the advice of the lovely ladies who were sewing there and Lynn). Then I sewed it up, the girls not wanting to do much writing. My brain needs some decompression time from the busy, busy, busy of work lately.

So now we have this:



I've also done lots of washing and grocery shopping, off to Sydney for work for three days at the start of the week, so need to be organised.

Melbourne is turning on some glorious weather, so this morning the VT and I went for a spin along one of the bike paths nearish to my house which was fun and pretty and we shall do more of it once our out of shape butts and thighs recover. Still, we managed an hour easily enough. And I'm very happy to report my new bike is much more comfy than the old one, so there's less soreness than otherwise could be expected.

This afternoon there has been thinking about the revision (which involves muttering to myself and squinting at the manuscript). Hopefully typing will follow.

October 19, 2007

Zoom

Wow, that week went by FAST. I don't even remember what happened except for weird changeable weather and lots of working. Oh and I bought a new bike. To replace my old, never very comfortable bike with the cunning plan of actually going for the odd ride because it's not painful. Just to give ourselves another exercise option. We shall see.

Today it's a beautiful spring day, sunny, mild. Am off to lunch with a friend down by the beach, so I need to do some writing first...sorry, this is possibly the world's most boring blog post.

Given the week has flown by I haven't achieved much actual writing but I've been thinking about my book and even found my antagonist first person brain dump telling her backstory I did ages ago which is helpful given there's not enough of that in the draft at the moment. Now it's time to start hacking and slashing.

October 14, 2007

What I did on the weekend.

Mostly this:



I like it. And I learned stuff from it, which is good. It's s ice and summery for napping. Though I'm thinking a darker border might be good to give some space around all that pattern. Will have to wait until I get a chance to take it into a fabric store and try some things. And I've cut the strips for the quilt I originally wanted to make (well, the main part of it) so progress (only 9 months or so since I decided I wanted to try it lol). Of course I still have to do backing and get it quilted and do binding etc but it's a step.

Thanks to the VT for the gentle nudge : )

Plus all that sewing time cleared the head and let the subconscious work away on the revision so I'm hoping some stuff will have sorted itself out when I tackle that this week.

October 12, 2007

Structural defects

All the hail the speedy beta reader. For she has returned Wolf 2 with comments that confirmed a lot of the things I was thinking already. In response the girls have shoved that book back into front and centre of my brain (I'm dreaming about it, they're talking in my head a lot, I'm getting snippets of the next book), so it looks like I'm taking another pass before I get to play on anything new. And then really, really, really, I have to leave it alone because there's still the possibility that stuff will need to change if someone buys Wolf 1 and wants changes.

This pass I want to look at structure (which, for me, is a change - I'm a very pantser/instinctive writer and that applies to how I structure things too). Ever since the always brilliant Jenny Crusie spoke at the RWAus conf in August about four act structure, I've been wanting to try some of her ideas. Not sure why the four act idea appeals to me more than any other structural stuff I've read before but it does. The girls are interested. And given that usually the thought of revising and structuring stuff sends them screaming into the night, I'm just going with it.

So over the last day or so I've been working out what I think my turning points and Acts are and this morning used the wonder of Scrivener to compare the lengths of said Acts to Jenny's guidelines (basically Act One should be around a third of the book and then each Act gets shorter from there).

Now this book has always felt "long" at the start to me. So I was expecting to see that it was taking me too long to get to the first turning point and maybe even the second. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. My first two acts are roughly 27k, the third is closer to 37 (though it feels faster) and the last is really short. And yes, my last six chapters are still talking head-o-rama so that will fix some of the length of the resolution somewhat but will also bloat Act 3 more. D'oh.

Which makes me think either I haven't quite got the turning points right (I think this is also called wishful thinking because I'm pretty sure I have), or else we've got some filling out to do at the start and some chopping and changing later on. Thank goodness for Scrivener. And Curio.

I know the act length is somewhat flexible and that rules are, to quote a pirate, really more like guidelines (in a segue I found that line in a Pratchett today, one written well before POTC), but I want to give it a go and see what happens. Which makes me wonder whether one of the girls has a secret inner accountant or whether I'm just in uber-virgo mode. Either way, it's going to be interesting...

October 08, 2007

Tiptoes

The quick first revision pass of Wolf 2 which was meant to take a week or so took somewhat longer. I finally had to take the muse to one side and give her a swift smack and re-explain the concept of quick polish to get it into first read shape which she was interpreting as "nitpick every line to death". But it is done now and in the hands of the trusty first reader. Which means I have to play with something else.

Choosing something should be fairly straightforward, particularly as I was planning to play with a particular scary book. But when I did an inventory I have something like eight wips in various stages of first draft, revising and thinking about. That's books that have all been worked on this year. Gah. I'm not counting very messy first drafts of at least three other short contemps I have lying around somewhere. Eight. How did that happen? That's the problem with ADD muses. And trying to write more than one thing. You freak out occasionally when you count up the wips...and then have to convince yourself that freaking out is probably another way of avoiding the scary book.

So for the next few weeks I'm trying to limit myself to mainly the scary book with digressions to my next Blaze idea and my other urban fantasy idea when things get to scary. I have the soundtrack...which is weird for me. Lots of instrumental stuff amongst the songs. And lots of world/new age/vaguely middle eastern/oriental sounding stuff. Dead Can Dance and Vas and even Secret Garden. Plus some drone and cello courtesy of Adam Hurst and Sarah McLachlan, David Gray, Robbie Williams and Rufus Wainwright. That should confuse the muse nicely. I'm not quite ready to collage it yet. I have the pictures - or the start of them. Some placeholders which are in the ballpark but no real urge to do much more than shift them around the page a bit. More avoidance.

When you're trying something new and you've been thinking about it for a long time and have a big shiny thing in your head, sometimes it feels like standing on the edge of cliff. And the rocks down below are big and sharp. And somebody forgot the net and safety harness. There will no doubt be whining but I'm going to do it anyway.

Letitsuk, hear my prayer : )

October 07, 2007

Also

Everyone in Australia who loves great romance should dash out and buy Kelly Hunter's latest book Sleeping Partner.

Because it rocks. Much like Kelly herself!

October 06, 2007

A digression

I think I've mentioned before that I have a small thing for musical guys. And just because I just caught the tale end of The Sideshow on the ABC and heard Paul McDermott singing and was reminded all over again what a beautiful voice he has (plus the man, imho is hawt...not in the classically handsome way but he has the wicked twinkle)
here's a little treat.

Paul and the other two Doug Anthony Allstars singing one of my fave songs, Throw Your Arms Around Me by The Hunters and Collectors. And given that that setence may mean little to the non aussies...the DAAS were a hilarious comedy, cabaret trio in Australia in the early nineties. I was lucky enough to see them live a few times. Their stock in trade was slightly subversive, always wicked musical humour but every so often they'd stop and sing something straight and inevitably bring the house down because they were so damn good. Sadly DAAS broke up and since then I've never understood why Paul hasn't recorded albums but luckily he pops up on TV and in theatre fairly regularly here and has another group GUD.

Still, we don't get to hear him often enough, so thank you YouTube!

Saturday

Saturday is always a good day. There has been washing and exercise achieved. Before 9.30 am!! And I'm off to lulus at Chris's house, which also involves a trip to the tarot reader so we can all find out what's coming up in the year ahead. I'm hoping for Nathan Fillion (sorry, been on a firefly jag) and maybe a book sale or too but we shall see : ))

I wonder if she would've foreseen my sudden urge for a haircut. Maybe I shouldn't wander around the mall when I'm bored on a Friday night and am feeling a little over my old hairdresser. Net result, I've lost about four inches of hair (and my hair was only mid shoulder blade sort of length), gained some quite short layers and my head is much lighter due to the hairdresser employing the time honoured technique for dealing with my fine but helluva-lot-of-it, sometimes wavy, temperamental hair, namely texturising the crap out it. I have successfully employed the product this morning and now have flippy, kicky, piece-y hair. Slightly too short perhaps but that will rectify itself.

Last night I dreamed about one of my wips, so maybe all that hair was weighing down the girls....

October 02, 2007

Slogging

Sometimes everything feels like hard work. Revising. The day job. Exercising. Keeping all the balls in the air.

Sometimes the only thing to do is keep your head down and keep slogging and try and remember that at some point it will feel easier again.

One damn foot in front of the other.

September 29, 2007

Maybe not completely broken

Apparently my machine still works and I can still sew. This is not perfect and the cutting is mostly to blame but hey, I think it would make a nice cushion front or something.....or I could do it again and have a back...




The colours are prettier in real life...the green is brighter, somewhere between lime and granny smith with a pale green background rather than white as it appears here. And the darkest squares are a very deep pink rather than red.

Warning - likely randomness

Brain status - still pretty much broken. So this may be a little scattered.

But first a big WOOOOHOOOOOOOO!! to the uber-talented Bron for selling her GH winning manuscript. She is clever! You must all buy her book when it comes out next year.

Other good things:

Not having to watch the Grand Final this afternoon (due to interest, none)!
It is the weekend!
Miss Doxie (funny, funny, funny).
Lemon cheesecake chocolate (though now that my mother has signed me up for some sort of wardrobe advice/style makeover thingy jiggy at the end of October chocolate consumption needs to cease and desist to give Operation Make Pants Less Tight a fighting chance).

Other things (may be symptoms of brain brokeness):

My hand is bruised. Method of bruising, you ask? Why, I stuck my hand in my letterbox to grab mail, then started to walk towards front door without performing essential step of removing hand from slot before moving feet. Net result, whack hand good on metal mailbox rim. Owie.

Losing ability to identify objects correctly. Proof - yesterday told orange cat quite sternly to stop sniffing the washing machine. Which would be fine except he was sniffing the sewing machine. Apparently they both do something with cloth and that is good enough for my brain.

Misinterpreting the word "September" as "Spend spend spend like a spendy thing-tember". Thank goodness for credit cards (this tune will likely change when I get my statements next month). I have increasingly demonstrated my unfailing ability to pick the most expensive variant of a thing at fifty paces and fall in love with it by acquiring a Pandora habit (I'm blaming Gwen for this one and the fact that I have already proven myself able to lose normal charms from normal charm bracelets with mysterious ease), new Jo Malone perfume (Red Roses, me smell pwetty) and er more fabric for quilts (more on this later). I did manage not to buy any of the three handbags I spotted in DJs and adored (the cheapest of these was $1935!!! so apparently even my spendiness has it's limits).

The quilt thing: I think I may have blogged about quilting (or my desire to someday have a go at the non-teeny tiny pieces and stitching variety) before. Because I like colour and pattern and quilting seems to require enjoying that sort of stuff. As I have pointed out my brain is broken and I cannot be expected to find the relevant posts. You may search if you wish.

Anyway, earlier this year I finally (as part of an artist's date) when to a quilting store and bought some fabric (demonstrating my expensive picking expertise nicely). Sadly things did not progress very far due to, you know, me trying to have a day job, write books and be treasurer for RWAus and occasionally prove to friends and relatives that I am still alive by seeing them in person. Not much spare time for coming to grips with quilting.

But seeing as I am now no longer treasurer, I theoretically have some time for some other creative outlets and so I pulled out the fabric and tried to cut some up (after Chris demonstrating how easy it was to do so). Let us just say it was not so easy for me and I may have whined to the VT about not knowing what I was doing (virgos do not like this). She, being brilliant and virgo-y promptly presented me with a gift voucher from the quilt shop as part of my birthday present, pointing out that they, duh, had classes. Who knew?

So yesterday I toddled off and signed up for a class, thinking I would do something simple as a class project then come back to my other quilt. So I explained this to the nice quilt lady and she helped me buy still more fabric (spendy, spendy, spendy, most expensive fabric in store picked withing five minutes, spendy, spendy, go me) for a squares quilt. Then she managed not to laugh too hard at me when I told her which quilt I was planning to make which she pronounced just as easy and I could practice on that. But no, practice quilt is smaller and will be done first. It is the Virgo Way.

Then she mentioned I needed to test my sewing machine before class (good point, said machine has lived in my wardrobe for several years since I inherited it from my mother. My sewing activities over this period have been limited to handstitching hems and buttons and the odd cross stitch. But I can sew. I used to make clothes and all). Then it occurred to me that, to test the machine I need more fabric, (as of course one cannot waste the expensive stuff on practice sewing). So I bought yet more fabric, pins and a rotary cutter so I can return Chris's spare at Spotlight. So now I have practice squares to practice on for my practice quilt. It's like a never ending spiral of fabric. And spendiness. And apparently after learning to machine piece I can do more classes in hand quilting (hmmm, maybe. I do hear tell that - ssssshhhhh- you can pay people to machine quilt for you), binding and I'm sure it just goes on from there. Go me.

Just in case that was all confusing I have:

Practice material to test machine.....




Practice quilt material (we shall dub thee Mel's soothing blue and white nap quilt)....




And original quilt we coveted material (Mel's quilt of brightness)



(Sorry, bad photos. Light not great today. Plus my camera isn't fab at close up.)

And I saw plenty of pretty fabrics in further quilt shop investigations with Chris yesterday and this morning when I was sleeping in and dozing in and out I kept seeing fabric patterns in my head and colour combos. Not even patterns I had seen in the stores. Help! The girls are obsessed. I'm assuming it's all story food and creativity fertiliser so let's see.

PS Apologies for long-and-ramblingness. You were warned. And now off to iron practice practice fabric as it has been washed. I don't even like ironing! Then there will cutting and sewing. Should be entertaining.

September 27, 2007

blurred

Whuh? Huh? Four days go by. Busy. Brain broken now. Must sleep.

To summarise: Pratchett good. Bujold good. Jo Malone perfume good (roses - smell pwetty!). IT projects bad. Melbourne spring weather crazy.

More when coher-er, brain unbrokeness is back.

September 23, 2007

Entertained

Okay, so Friday night there were giant martians.

Yesterday there was a giant flying goose and a truly beautiful production of the Nutcracker.

Today there was Stardust. Ah, Stardust. Happy sigh. If you like fantasy and the Princess Bride and adventure and romance, then go see it.

Hopefully now the girls will settle down to some revising

September 22, 2007

Springy

War of the Worlds was cool. Giant monster martian fighting machines! Heat rays! Shannon Noll! (seriously, he was great).

And today it's a beautiful sunny morning so all my crystally dangly ornamenty things are shooting little rainbow beams everywhere. Pretty. I was just futzing with my LJ (which I really only have to keep up with friends who have LJs rather than blogger etc so no-one is missing out) and did the writer's block question which was "what is one crazy thing you'd like to learn to do" and the first thing that popped into my head was 'learn to tango". So huh. Should do something about that one day.

And now, the Nutcracker. Which I think will be lacking in Giant monster martian fighting machines but should have other cool stuff (plus cake at lunch!)

September 21, 2007

Still reading

Apparently my appetite for Pratchett was trumped last night by my body deciding "OMG-busy-week-tired-must-sleep-now-'kay-thanks-zzzzzzzz".

So today (having already schlepped grey cat to the vet for blood tests (earning myself glares and grumpiness in the process)) I plan to finish my book, do some revising and do some of that housework stuff. It's an exciting life. Though I am going to the War of the Worlds musical tonight. And the Nutcracker tomorrow. So all is good.

PS Anyone know why my RSS feeds keep barfing up everyone's back entries at random intervals?

September 20, 2007

Happiness is...

Thursday night with no more day job for the week and brand spanking new Terry Pratchett to read.



I promise to do some revising tonight but I shall be mostly on the couch, turning pages.

So entertain yourselves! : )

September 18, 2007

Tweaky

I did manage to finish my hardcopy revision pass last week. But since then it's taken me several sessions to get through the first fifty pages in soft copy. Granted, I had a mostly socialising weekend but still, this is meant to be a high level pass and the girls have turned anal on me and are being nitpicky and tweaky to an annoying degree.

Revisions. Apparently some people like doing them. Right now, I'm not one of them. I can only hope they'll get faster as they go along but given that the last third of the book is far more talking-head-o-rama than the start, I'm not so sure. I'd bribe myself with chocolate but given I ate enough on the weekend to fuel a small army, calorie free birthday weekend aside, that's probably not such a good idea. We want to get smaller, not larger. The reverse of the book really.

So it's once more into the fray for me. Listen for the snarls if you want to find me.

PS While I'm cranky, can I just say the next time someone says Britney looked fat at the MTV awards, they're going to get smacked. Yes, she's not as ridiculously buff as she once was, and the performance (or so I gather) had problems but for Pete's sake, the girl has had two children quickly and is obviously having some issues but still has a body that I think 90% of the female population of the world would love to have. She might not be a size zero (and don't get me going on what the hell is size zero) but SHE IS NOT FAT. And people saying frankly ridiculous things like that are the reason so many women (and men) are screwed up about body image. Sheesh. I think I need to go watch some Dove ads. They at least seem to have a vague notion of what real women look like and respond to.

September 15, 2007

A year in review

Tomorrow is my birthday (yay!). However it seems that, sadly, I am not going to get the call before said birthday, so I've spent another year on the unpubbed roundabout. Things move slowly in publishing and sometimes it feels like you're not getting anywhere. So, in order to remind myself of what's been great in the past year, I thought I'd look back and see exactly what I have done.

In my 35th year I have:

1. Finished my first single title length book (also my first paranormal).

2. Seen U2 in concert again.

3. Helped one of my best friends bring her beautiful baby into the world.


4. Found an agent.

5. Finished my second single title length book (I think that I've probably written around 270-300k this year between actual books and revising and snippets of other things. Not bad with a day job).

6. Done two fabulous online courses with one of my favorite writers and writing teachers, Barbara Samuel.

7. Got to party with another of my beautiful friends, Keri, when she hit the NYT list MULTIPLE times!



8. Finalled in every competition I entered that first ST book in.

9. Celebrated other friends doing cool things like having babies, getting requests, finishing books, selling books, and many, many real estate shenanigans.

10. Finalled in the Golden Heart (TM) twice.

11. Won a few of the comps I finalled in (alas not the GH but I did get to see one of my friends win).

12. Went to RWA nationals for the first time, met some fabulous people, caught up with other fabulous people, had a wonderful time and bought some kickass cowboy boots. Jetlag from hell was small price to pay.

13. Kept the cats happy and paid their vet bills : )

14. Switched to a four day week at work.

15. Met Jenny Crusie, another of my favorite writers at the RWAustralia conference, heard her talk and had a fab Cherry lunch (with the lovely Anne Stuart as a bonus!).

16. Paid homage to the great goddess Letitsuk.

17. Am about to drink pineapple margaritas with friends to celebrate all of the above plus there might be cake. There will be nachos.

Sounds like a pretty cool year to me! The only thing I haven't achieved that I want to (apart from the obvious sell a book thing and convincing Hugh Jackman or Johnny Depp or Nathan Fillion that I am the woman of their dreams) is the losing of a few more kilos. In fact I've slid a little backwards on that and need to refocus if I want to be a fabulous 80 year old (see previous post). But there's still three and a bit months to the end of the actual year, so there's still time.

I'm hoping next year can be even cooler. With added fabulousness. What are my high level goals for the 36th year?

1. Keep writing.
2. Get fitter.
3. Go to RWA national again.
4. Have fun!

September 12, 2007

To the future

Well, I might have mentioned that I'm doing an online course at the moment. Anyway, it's a voice class with Barbara Samuel. Actually it's my second time round on this course, that' s how much I love Barbara's classes. But I digress.

One of the exercises we do is to picture your 80th birthday party and how you want it to be and what your 80 year old self would tell you to do. Which all the fabulously talented gals in my course have duly done and I was trying to come up with some comments but really, they all sounded fantastic, and all our 80 year old selves are brilliant and wise and I really want to get to go to some of those parties, so all I could come up with was this, which is my distillation of what everyone said and a reminder of what we have to do if we want to live to be grand old broads at 80. And with apologies to SARK, who's 'How to be' posters are fabulous and kind of inspired me.

HOW TO BE A FABULOUS EIGHTY YEAR OLD

1. Stop worrying so much about stuff (no, seriously, stop worrying). You will survive and conquer anything.

2. Love hard, play hard, write hard. Go for it.

3. Life is better near the beach (or near a mountain, your choice).

4. Remember you are gorgeous all the time (and can definitely be gorgeous at 80). Wear what makes you feel special and to hell with what 'they' think.

5. Don't put things off. Don't be afraid. Don't save the good stuff for 'later'.

6. Trust yourself.

7. Keep learning. Be curious.

8. Have adventures (skydiving optional).

9. Exercise (yoga, pilates, sex, whatever).

10. Eat well but don't forget we all need treats.

11. Forgive. Life is too short.

12. Have pets.

13. Cherish love in all its forms. Family, friends, the universe.

14. Singing and dancing are good for the soul. So is laughter.

15. Remember this list : )

September 10, 2007

Ow

Apparently, if you don't go to pilates for *cough* weeks, you lose a bit of fitness. Who knew? Stupid muscles. Having vowed to halt my travel and flu inspired slippage off the fitness wagon, I took myself back to class today at lunchtime. On the plus side my back and neck are much happier than they were all weekend and I feel about an inch taller. On the minus side, the rest of me feels like I've been worked over by tap-dancing elephants wearing hobnailed boots.

If I had to guess how old I might be on my forthcoming birthday, based on my current level of aching muscles, I'd have to say about eighty six. Wah. And I haven't even reached the 24 hour point where it's usually worst. Unfortunately the only cure is more of the same. I'll say it again. Stupid muscles.

In other news, I've started my first revision pass on Wolf 2. This is really just a spit and polish, get it into good enough shape that I can give it to a crit buddy to read. Fill in the gaps, reduce the talking-head factor. I'm not paying too much attention to structure yet, other than to try and form some rough impressions which hopefully the critiquer can confirm or deny. So far my most common note to myself is "more physical reaction". Closely followed by "expression". I did mention that I'm big on talking head first drafts? I'm hoping I can knock this pass over in a week. Then I'm going to play on something different.

The other negative about today was I finished my last new book. So now I either have to go to the library or hope that people think book vouchers make good presents for eight six year olds lol. In the meantime, I might just have to do some re-reading. I can probably manage to turn pages without it hurting too much.

September 08, 2007

Hmmm

So I just saw the Bourne Ultimatum. I loved the first two movies. Great action, great story, great protagonist. This one, well, not so much. I still think Matt rocks and the character of Bourne is interesting and I'll even spot them the constant motion cinematography given that I have an inner ear that is far wimpier than most when it comes to spinny whirly things making me feel sick (but most movies don't give me a headache). But I will not spot them plot holes the size of small continents. And I can suspend my disbelief with the best of them. Yes, Bourne is good, yes he's the black ops operative par excellence but if you want me to buy him getting into some pretty high security places let alone multiple countries when the entire CIA seems to be looking for him then you'd better explain how he pulls at least some of it off, rather than assuming we'll take it on faith. When I'm sitting back and analysing why something doesn't make sense rather than carried along for the ride like I was with the first two, then you're doing something wrong.

So if they make Bourne 4, please let them buy steadicam and a little bit of internal logic.

Sad

Madeleine L'Engle has passed away. I adored A Wrinkle in Time when I read it as a kid (and indeed through many re-readings). Sadness. Vale Madeleine, I hope whatever is on the other side of your wrinkle in time is wonderful.

September 07, 2007

Eight hours or so later

I did go back to bed. Ha! But did not really nap long. Boo!

However, I have gotten up again, I have cleared the ottoman (becoming astounded at how much stuff can live on an ottoman in the process), I have moved stuff from the ottoman to other spots to be cleared up when I do those spots : ), I have tossed stuff out, I have written pages (both for class and you know, actual book stuff) and I have done some exercise (proving to myself in the process that my cardio capacity after *cough cough* weeks off closely resembles that of a 90 year old one legged life time smoker with half a lung - le sigh). So go me.

Somewhere in there there may have been a leetle watching of Captain Jack Harkness videos on youTube but only because he is HAWT and both he and Doctor No. 10 (rightly named the first Time Phwoarrrrr by the UK press) are doing a good job of being all heartbroken and hunky lately. A mood I'm trying to capture in a wip, so it must be RESEARCH. Cross my heart and everything.

Now I must go and find the second half of a certain VT's birthday present, because I hear rumours that tomorrow she will be older than me!!

Mess wrangling

I've recently finished up a volunteer position. Which should mean a few more spare hours every week for myself. Combine that with spring fever and I have the urge to tidy the few pockets of mess that are bugging me. The desk. The spare room. The book mountain that has grown on my bedroom floor. The pile of mysterious stuff on my ottoman that serves as a coffee table. My garden (though I think that one is more than just a mess, it might be a full scale rescue project). Getting my financial program up to date so I can do taxes.

Obviously I can't do it all at once (oh for a magic wand), so I'm going to tackle bits and pieces. Today the ottoman.

But I think all of this sudden housework obsession might be a symptom of trying to avoid freaking out about the other mess I need to wrangle. The book I've promised myself I'll spend a month playing with just to see what happens. The one that I have bits and pieces that are all over the place for (neatly organised bits and pieces now, thanks to Scrivener).

And none of these urges are helped by the fact I'm still feeling pretty tired and washed out post flu. I need to get back to the exercise routine I think but it's always hard to do that first session when you feel exhausted. Maybe first I'll just go back to bed : ) The evil beasts formerly known as my cats decided last night (a night when I was tired and looking forward to sacking out and not having to get up with an alarm) was a 'yowl for no reason and scratch at the door endlessly' night. Pets. Supposedly good for your health but today, not so much.

September 04, 2007

And now for something completely random

So today the VT made a very amusing comment about how being a pantser sometimes feels like flying into the mists blindfolded with your head stuck in a turkey.

My brain, being in a quirky state, then decided that if Anubis is a god with the head of a jackal, then the god of pantsers must have the head of a turkey.

And then somehow, I would up with this (and I promise, no cold medication was involved - but you know, writers have brains that are strange at times ):

"And yea, we shall worship the Great Goddess "Letitsuk" and she shall deliver us from the darkest plot hole, the valley of wooden characters, the despair of cliches and the wandering in the mists until lo there is a draft, not yet the mightiest shining thing but a draft from which great things are made. A draft where she shall let us rest and succour us until we wander in her name once more to draw closer to the light of the great story.

The great Goddess hath the figure of a woman but the head of a Turkey of rich appearance. She has wings like the fires of creation that carry her into the mists, though yea, sometimes they do sputter and leave her still. Because she does not see through earthly eyes, she is attended by mysterious figures, who bear her forth. Their robes are many coloured but all are
known by her mark of "GITB". The followers of Letitsuk are wise to ensure they do not cross or rile these mysterious ones but do ye treat them with respect as befits those who attend goddesses.

The ancient rites of Letitsuk are mysterious but she is most fond of those who open to her will. Her followers worship her by consumption of ground cocoa beans amixed with sugar and the holey DoNut and ancient cordials of kaffeen. She looks favourably on offerings of bravery and dedication, of images of comely men and by those who know the fruits of their fellow followers be they in paper, pictures both moving and still or music."




See, I told you it was completely random! But hey, feel free to join in a new religion...it's not really that much odder than the Flying Spaghetti Monster. And thank to the VT for the artwork : )

September 01, 2007

Re-bugged

Apparently what I was meant to do this week when I started feeling like I'd recovered and had, you know, energy again, was actually realise I hadn't quite and take it easy. Because it seems rushing around actually DOING stuff this week has let the bug take a second swipe at me and I am back to feeling wobbly if I try and do much beyond toddle from bed to couch.

Boo hiss to the bug.

And thank goodness for the aforementioned book binge which is providing entertainment during my more awake moments.

But about all the writing I'm managing is the exercises for my online course and a few shaky paragraphs attempted yesterday which I have a horrible feeling might be the start of Wolf 3. Which I am NOT yet ready to write.

Contrary writer brain.

August 30, 2007

To sleep perchance to, um, sleep

So the aforementioned frabjous Japhrimel joy (see yesterday) meant that this little bookworm was up to late reading last night. And possibly will be up too late tonight as we have not yet finished the book of Japhrimel goodness.

Which means in between reading bouts, we have been all sleepified and in need of naps. Though somewhat jolted awake by our monitor throwing fits this morning (though it appears to have recovered I am eyeing it with suspicion). Unfortunately the day job does not believe in naps, so all I can say is YAY IT IS MY DAY OFF TOMORROW!

I can sleep in (but not much because the weekend is one of those busy, busy, rush, rush kinds). Writing and ballet and dinners and housework and treasurer-ing for the last time and general plethoras of stuff. No wonder I'm tired already.

I shall also point out that for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere tomorrow is the last day of winter and that means Spring (the best time of year ever) is upon us. More yay.

And because I cannot come up with anything more than that I urge you to go make yourself giggle and look at this (as found by the fabulous Freya). All I can say is he can stand for election around here any day.

Night!

August 29, 2007

Oh and apparently that last one was my 200th post

Which means I've sped up considerably given I think I hit one hundred around January this year after a year of blogging. Apparently I can waffle on with the best of them.

Anyway, to continue the story of today's muse (now with added 'must have now')....this is the other thing she insisted on us coming home with today...I tried to walk past several times but kept getting drawn back.



Sorry, I know it's a bit blurry, but apparently she's a little camera shy.

I like her, she's a little mysterious and elusive and intriguingly imperfect.

Apparently she's one of these so she's an aussie but I don't care about the backstory...she caught my eye so now she'll join the other muse friendly bits and pieces on the writing altar. Let's see what magic she can weave.

PS If Char is reading, no, not exactly a sparkly blue fairy but hopefully one of those will cross my path too at some point!

Book binge

Ah books, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

Otherwise known as why my credit card is slightly singed...I swear I went out today to buy presents for father's day and other imminent celebrations and with firm resolve not to spend much else but somehow my brain interpreted that as "hell, buy a book or four for yourself while you're there".

And I'd already bought a couple on Sunday. Of course, I'm almost done with all three of them. The muse, apparently, wants new stories and wants them NOW (plus there are just lots of cool books out at the moment). I'm not sure why the sudden booklust. After all, I brought a swag home from Dallas just over a month ago and collected quite a few more at the RWAus conference a few weeks ago. Face it, I'm a story addict.

So now I have Lilith Saintcrow's The Devil's Right Hand (oh frabjous Japhrimel joy), the second in Eileen Wilk's werewolf series (the first being one of the books I bought on the weekend and have devoured already - the other two were Samantha Grave's Sight Unseen and Warlord by Elizabeth Vaughan), the new Melanie Rawn (I shall try not to pout that it isn't the third Exiles book) and The Lies of Locke Lamora on the recommendation of the lovely Jonathon who runs Of Science and Swords. Plus there is Bujold and Pratchett on order! Excuse me while I wipe off the drool.

I love the feeling of having lots of books just waiting for me to sink into. Is there anything nicer (apart from maybe Captain's Jack and Mal and John appearing on your doorstep ; 0 )?

And hey, it's my birthday soonish so I must deserve presents!

PS On another note - Lilith Saintcrow's series has been redesigned - here's the new look:



Here's the old cover for Working for the Devil (which I really liked)



The new black white and red thing I've seen in a few urban fantasy books lately, so I'm wondering if it's the new trend. It's certainly eye-catching but to me (and a bookseller I spoke to today agrees) it says "suspense" not "urban fantasy". I don't think it's particularly appealing to a female (and maybe that's the point - to grab the guys who might not want the chick's-butt-in-leather-pants/chick in leather/chick from behind/chick with tattoos look we've been getting in UF for while to be what they're seen reading) and it doesn't set an expectation of the type of book it is. It does say tough gal heroine, which is certainly Dante. But hmmmmm. Jenny Crusie has done a few great posts on covers on Argh Ink...I'm not sure these meet her criteria. But hey, I'm not in a publishers marketing department. Thoughts? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Would you expect this to be urban fantasy (particularly when dark urban fantasy is often shelved in horror in Australia in non SF/F bookstores)? If you saw it from a distance and couldn't read the tag line that is.

I love her stuff so I'll still buy it regardless of the cover (and so should you) but the new look surprised me when I first saw it.

August 26, 2007

Not right

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny spring (though technically it's still winter) day. The kind that fills you with righteous spring cleaning fever (because apparently what happens when you have flu for a week and then spend the next week with no energy at night once you've made it through work is that your house turns into some sort of toxic waste dump crossed with landfill).

But the cleaning did not happen, because other too sad things did (i will miss you little gorgeous, fluffy, wriggling, couch-sitting, barking up a storm pupster).

And now today, it's all grey and gloomy. Which is not good cleaning weather (don't ask me why). It will be, however, begood, eat a lot of yum cha for Freya's birthday weather.

But first I have to write. And hopefully it will be something fun to chase away the weird dreams about demons I was having all night (which included such gems as someone being hit by a truck and being in pieces - but still talking which should've been a big 'she's a demon' clue - and then while we watched growing black stringy things that connected all the bits back up and climbing up and trying to catch us all once she was back to full demon strength. Ick. And others who the wizards (my dreams are nothing if not adventure packed and strange - Jack Sparrow was one of the wizards) had contained kept pulling lame tricks to try and get us to set them free and then when thwarted would scream and spit fire and stuff. Gross. If the demons in the book I'm thinking about are like that then I'm not sure I want to meet them.

August 23, 2007

Quiet

It's been a slow week, still getting over flu. So here's a random distraction.



You are The High Priestess


Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.


The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

August 19, 2007

Things you learn when you have the flu

1. You still know all the words to every song in the Rocky Horror Picture Show even if you haven't watched it for years. And Frank's entrance and opening song in the movie is still fabulous aka Tim Curry rocks.

2. Even when you start to think you're feeling better, a thirty minute slow walk around the grocery store will make you feel exhausted.

3. Your body doesn't understand "I'm sick, eat healthy." It wants carbs. Plain white sugary carbs. Lemonade and white toast.

4. Sleep is your friend.

5. The girls will not let you write the wild one night stand scene while your brain is goop.

6. You need more books.

7. Polar fleece dressing gowns are wonderful.

8. Watching Mansfield Park will confused you and make you think "I'm not sure I remember that in the story". You will then discover Mansfield Park is the one Jane Austen you don't own so you will not be able to read it again to check.

9. Sleep is still your friend.

10. You will not be able to think of a tenth thing for your list because your brain is goop.

August 17, 2007

Still bugged

Starting to feel a little better but the last few days have largely featured sleeping, coughing and reading in bed before falling asleep yet again. When I'm sick I tend to re-read things, so I've been visiting with Fast Women (Jenny Crusie), Monstrous Regiment (Terry Pratchett), The Perfect Kiss (Anne Gracie) and Desperate Duchesses (Eloisa James). All good books for when you're sick.

This morning I've managed to stagger out of bed to take the grey cat to get more blood siphoned to check her thyroid levels and put some washing on but now I'm getting that washed-out, more sleep required virusy feeling again. So I think it's back to bed for me.

Though Quickflix did just deliver a few more episodes of Rome...so maybe I can compromise and lie on the couch instead. I'm loving Rome (which I didn't watch the first time round because it was shown, in typical Australian commercial TV this-is-different-and-possibly-requires-thinking-so-let's-mess-with-it fashion, all over the place at seemingly random times. And while the story is entertaining enough, what I'm really enjoying is the world. All the little touches, the odd religious rituals, the household icons, the graffiti on the walls, the differences between rich and poor. All stuff I knew about Rome in that time period but they've evoked a whole world beautifully. I can see why they couldn't afford to keep making it. Luckily, as writers, it doesn't cost us anything but time and effort to find those little details that can wake up a scene and make a created world seem real to the reader.

August 15, 2007

Bugged

It seems there is a cost to a surfeit of fabulousness...there's a lurgy doing the rounds of attendees, the usual conference crud type thing and while I managed to avoid such things in Dallas, I haven't this time. So I'll be the one over there, sleeping and coughing and taking drugs.

Talk amongst yourselves.

It was still worth it!

August 13, 2007

And a few more pics

Because it was just a fantastic time, and I wish I could do it all over again...

The now traditional pic of Keri and I at the awards dinner.



Another of the VT and me at the same...proving my one handed photo technique works better when I'm on the left of the other person! Bad photographer! Bad!



Me with two all round fabulous writers and women who've taught me a lot and cheered me on a lot - Anne Gracie and Valerie Parv.

A good weekend in words and pictures...

It started like this....aka Thursday night



Then Jenny Crusie gave a brilliant workshop which will hopefully help me whip Wolf 2 into some semblance of shape.

Then we progressed to this....aka Friday night (that's me in black, Trish Morey in red)



Photo courtesy of the fabulous Fiona Lowe

Then there were wonderful keynotes and workshops on Saturday.

Then this (yay! and congrats to Rachel Robinson who won the category category of the same award)...aka Saturday night





Photo courtesy of the fabulous Keziah Hill

And then there was a brilliant workshop by Anne Stuart on writing dark contemporaries (Anne has been added to my official pantheon of writing goddesses).

Then there was the Cherry lunch on Sunday where Anne and Jenny were unanimously voted honourary Aussies and we tried to convince them they should move here and come to conference every year...



(from left to right: Erica, me, Jenny, Amy Andrews, Anne, Robyn and Roben)

And then, I decided to spend part of my winnings on a new toy...pwetty! (and yes, I need one, it means my big iPod will no longer risk life and limb when I exercise : )...which I need to do).



And now I'm home...luckily I'm doing an online course to stave off the post conference blues.

August 12, 2007

Conference, cake and competitions

Well, the conference so far has been fabulous. The weather is fabulous, the hotel is right on Darling Harbour, Jenny Crusie is fabulous, Anne Stuart is fabulous, hell, pretty much everyone here is fabulous (and a great writer).

The conference is doing a bang up job of stuffing us full of fabulous foods which are leaning heavily to the cake variety. I need to spend about fifty hours working out but that's next week's problem.

Today I'm having lunch with Jenny with some of the other Aussie cherries and last night I won the single title category of the Emerald Award (which is the Australian equivalent of the Golden Heart). Life is fabulous. My speech was less fabulous because I didn't write one in advance because I didn't expect to win. So apologies for babbling and if I forgot anyone fabulous who deserved to be mentioned!

August 08, 2007

Leaving on a jet plane (again)

Well, I'm off to the RWAust conference, where our guests include the fabulous Jenny Crusie and Anne Stuart and there shall be drinkies, fun and even some learning going on.

Talk amongst yourselves...hopefully I'll be online now and then with an update!

August 06, 2007

It never rains...

I got another story idea last night. Now I have several books prowling around in my head. I'm not sure about this one though...need to do some research but oh dear, maybe I'm heading for another bout of multiple book talkiness. Always fun.

In good news, my blaze partial is about to wing its way to my fabbo agent, so crossing of extremities can commence.

And only two more work days until RWAus conference and (hopefully) sunny Sydney...party time!

August 05, 2007

So little time

Two day weekends just aren't long enough. I mean, it's Sunday already and all I got done yesterday was:

Take the orange cat to the vet for his anti-inflammatory jab;
Organise a birthday present for the sil;
Post sil's birthday card;
See my mum;
Buy a corded phone;
Use said corded phone to figure out that my cordless phone, which keeps dropping the signal is probably dying because the corded phone works just fine;
In the above process also figure out that maybe I had my adsl filter set up wrong which makes me wonder exactly what the filter does if everything was working fine;
Have a nap;
Do some grocery shopping;
Read some feedback on my revision;
Make a cake for lulus;
Watch Dr Who and Thank you for smoking (both good);
Worked out what to take for critting.

Which is quite a bit I guess but doesn't really progress the actual housework type chores and today is lulus and a trek way out to the country aka Keri's house : ).

On the plus side I have done all of the above while not stuffing up my french manicure (which I got done in a rare fit of girlyness on friday night). Of course it would be more sensible to get it done just before conference but hey, the person who does my nails is on holiday now. And I ordered a free sample of some of this which looks great (I've tried one mineral foundation and quite liked it but this has a bigger range and is easier on the wallet). More girlyness.

And now, I have to hustle, the countryside is calling