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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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.


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's not really that much odder than the Flying Spaghetti Monster. And thank to the VT for the artwork : )

September 01, 2007


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.