February 24, 2008


No, that wordcount is not a mistake. Today was what is known in the writing world as a GOOD day. I've hit 100 pages. Not bad. And it means that I've reached my goal for the month, so even if writing is scarce next week due to travel etc, anything from this point in is gravy.

It's hard to remember when you're having the unflow-y, tooth pulling times, that there are days like this when the words come. But sometimes you just have to hang in there until they do.


The last few days have been hunker down and write days. Um, allowing for the odd interruption like a very good massage on Friday and catching up with a friend and a parent drop in yesterday. Still, I'm only four pages away from my 20k! Yay. Though I'd like to do more than four pages today...Tuesday I'm off to Tasmania for a wedding and won't be back until Saturday evening and I don't think I'll get much done apart from maybe a few pages handwritten.

I'd like to be at 100 pages by the end of the month, which given I've rewritten everything I already, and some of it several times, had barring one chunk that comes later in the book is officially close enough to my actual 100 page goal for the month. But to get there I need probably closer to 10 pages today and more of the same Monday and Tuesday morning before I go. We shall see. The main thing is that it's flowing okay.

Just as well that the weather here has turned properly cold today. Yesterday it was cool, thursday/friday is was warmer again with added mugginess. But today I think I'll be reaching for the heater button at some point. Which is nuts in summer but there you go. Maybe Melbourne is just preparing me for Tasmanian weather next week : )

February 20, 2008


Today I found out I won Karin Tabke's First line comp! Woot!!

Also, the fabulous Deb, came second.

Other cheerful making things:

It's cooler, so hopefully there will be sleeping.

House is on tonight (though I'm starting to wonder how on earth the producers managed to get whassernames who play Chase and Cameron to accept such slashed roles, I'm willing to keep watching to find out if things turn around and also, of course, Hugh is hot).

Tomorrow night I'm going to Spamalot.

My Circa is bought and shortly to be in the mail.

All is good. Now if only someone would magic me up some dinner...

February 19, 2008


Look! Actual upwards progress of the progress meter. Two days in a row. Yay!

Was hoping for a few more pages tonight but got phone called and now I'm declaring that it's the better part of valour to stop now when I know what the next bit is so I can jump right back in tomorrow.

I'm setting a tentative goal of 20k by the end of the week. Another 27 pages. Which is doable. Fingers crossed!

And, if things are going to plan, my Circa is currently (or shortly to be) being acquired and sent on it's little journey to Oz. Double yay!!

I think I should celebrate with some Captain Jack of the cardiff alien variety.

February 18, 2008

I can live with this...

Snitched from Alyson....

Take the Quiz

McDreamy, mine all mine. I knew it!! Though she apparently got Brad and George. Greedy! Maybe I need more than one too.....hmmmm.

February 17, 2008


Well after three days of slashing and burning and rewriting I can proudly report that while my word count has remained exactly the same, my story has now actually progressed and stuff is happening. Not quite sure how much I wrote this weekend but I'm happy with where it's gotten me to story-wise.

Now we can start moving that word count upwards again.

And I can watch McDreamy guilt free!


I love having dinner with my high school buddies. I love that we're still friends and that we're a bunch of happy, clever, strong, successful women. I love that in some ways we haven't changed much since we met apart from being older and wiser and no longer required to wear hideous green and grey uniforms or abide by eighties fashion rules.

However, two things are unavoidable when you get together with people you've known since year seven:

1. Mental arithmetic regarding just how long it's been since we met as twelve and thirteen year olds (with resultant 'oh god, we're old' and 'man, we've known each other two thirds of our lives).

2. Even further "oh god, we're soooo old and something is wrong with time" when we realise that the oldest of the offspring produced by the group is now thirteen and in year seven just like we were when we met!!!!

I hope she's meeting some gals she'll still be hanging out with many, many years after and who'll stick by her.

February 16, 2008

Critical mass

Things have improved a bit. My monitor came back all fixed yesterday (though with no notice from the service people that it was on it's way and no explanation of what the issue was), so I am happily back in the land of mac with my iTunes and Scrivener and Curio and all mac goodness. Plus nice big screen again. Laptop screens are just too dang small.

I got a reasonable amount of writing down yesterday, still mostly reworking my first chapter. I don't usually rework this much before moving on but I have changed the concept of the book and need to get the tone and feel of it right before I move on. But yesterday I got to a draft that I felt comfortable giving to some folks for comments and it would seem the world works and one of them helped me out somewhat with the still elusive hero and what the two of them should be butting heads about at this point (which means I've just started another rewrite but this will be the last one). So I'm about to proceed to new scenes where things will start moving and hopefully wackiness of a good spooky paranormal kind will ensue. Hopefully the pages will start to progress forwards again. I can feel story piling up in my head which is hard to explain but is usally a Good Sign.

I also found out that Steven Brust, writer of the excellent Taltos novels amongst other things, has written a Firefly novel which you can download for free (squee of frabjous joy) so now I am reading that. Shiny.

My Torchwood dvds also arrived. Mmmm Captain Jack (of the non pirate variety). Though weirdly, the second dvd player in the bedroom has decided it does not like the format. It's happily played other US and UK dvds so no idea why. Luckily number one dvd likes it just fine.

Tonight I'm off to teppenyaki with the girls. Luckily our restaurant is not one where the chefs feel the need to fling food at the patrons. Given the way the week has been, it would likely mean I'd end up with teriyaki down my cleavage or something : )

February 14, 2008


I have been awol and I blame Mercury and it’s annoying retrogradiness. I wish the damned planet would just face the right way all the time. There have been suicidal computer monitors and parking tickets and sickness and broken-into cars.

I am basically cranky and not fit to blog. So I’ll be the one staying in bed until the 17th when the stupid planet stops its contrariness. Most likely sucking down Loretta Chase and Crusie and Bujold and all my cheer-yourself books. After I finish The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne which is most excellent (go buy it if you love good historicals).

And now I shall sign off before something else blows up.

February 07, 2008

Good and bad

Good things:

* It's Thursday night (no more day job this week).

* RWA committee meeting this weekend so I get to hang out with some of my out of town writing buds and have general silliness amongst lots of hard work. And possibly alcohol.

* My big fat Nelson Munz of a project is pretty much finished!!! Of course what happens after it's implemented is anyone's guess but for now I bask in the glory of completed-ness and no more testing! And declare that I deserve aforementioned alcohol.

* I have worked out one cool thing about my book plot.

Bad things:

* It's kind of cold and wet. Surely there is a happy medium between freaking hot and pretty much winter that would constitute pleasant summer weather. Oh right, this is Melbourne.

* My hero remains annoyingly slippery and foglike and secretive. And the rest of what constitutes my vague sense of the plot is um, somewhat in need of refining. So much so I'm expecting the VT's response to my last brain-dump-does-this-make-sense-at-all email to be "hmmm, have you started drinking already?" Sadly, the answer is no.

* In the past few days of wrangling with said elusive hero and gunked up plot, not much progress has been made of the piling up words variety.

Still I guess four good to three bad is workable ratio. Hope everyone else's scales are tipping in their favour. Blogging shall be scarce until Sunday-ish.

February 03, 2008


The problem with having moved all the stuff OFF the carpet is having to put it all back.

I've been trying to figure out whether I can move anything around as a bit of change but keep coming to the frustrating conclusion that small house and my current furniture needs = no real opportunity for change. I am a frustrated furniture arranger.

The room with the most scope for moving stuff around is the spare room (well, cats' room). But given it IS the cats' room and is mainly storage, there isn't a lot of point. It can never be an office (cat fur and computers don't mix) or a bedroom while I need a room to keep the cats in at night (the orange cat will not just accept a closed cat door - he will scratch and wail at it all night which equals cranky Mel), so it will stay mostly a junk room. Hopefully it can be a tidied out junk room sometime in the next few months but I see no point in shifting furniture around in there until I start buying bookcases (with doors so I don't have cat fur covered books) and need somewhere to put them.

So all I can do is sort a bit and throw some stuff away and put everything back where it was. Dust free and somewhat tidier but the same otherwise. Gah.

Much like my current wip. It's going slowly so I keep thinking maybe I have to move stuff around or bring stuff forward. But given I don't have that much detail yet, can't do that. Just have to keep slogging away. Which seems to be the answer to most things.

February 01, 2008


Sadly it seems I have no mould and therefore no new carpet courtesy of my insurance company. But at least my carpet is relaid and is as clean as aging cheap carpet can be. At least until one of the cats decides it really would look better with cat barf.

Now all I need is for it to dry so everything can go back where it belongs.

All this cleaning and piling has turned the virgo brain, naturally, to organisation in general. As far as the house goes, this largely means the annual attack of decluttering and finagling storage space.

But, more to the point, I've been thinking about my notebooks. Like most writers, I'm a bit of stationery fan and tend to accumulate notebooks at an alarming rate and am generally carting around at least an A5 sized one for writing. I also have a filofax, a palm and, at the moment, another notebook I've been using for my online course. Which all ends up to notes and bits and pieces everywhere. And a bag that weighs a tonne.

So today, while my carpet was being cleaned, I've been noodling online looking at organisational ideas. And I keep coming back to a Circa notebook. I've known about them for a while and have been trying to resist. But they're starting to make more and more sense, not least because, unlike Moleskines which I always look at but never buy, they're effectively spiral bound. I like spiral bound.

I need a flexible all-in-one type solution. I don't use my filofax a lot but I do use the monthly planners and birthdays and addresses in it (I don't have all my addresses in my Palm because that syncs with my dayjob Outlook and I don't want all my personal addresses in that plus I don't carry my Palm much on weekends). Phone numbers are mostly in my mobile phone except for the more seldom used numbers. Appointments are largely in the Palm courtesy of outlook. But I tend to forget things like birthdays because I don't use weekly or monthly views in Outlook). So I don't really need the whole filofax but I have nowhere else to carry the stuff I do use.

But the Circa would solve that. I could have some monthly planners and then have various sections that would let me do my to-do lists and what ifs and goals and story ideas as well as sections for long hand writing. Better still because you can take pages out and move them around, I can move things relating to particular wips together (helpful when you tend to work on multiple htings like me). I'm thinking a Junior sized for day to day and a Letter sized mainly for weekends when I'm out writing. It would let me do the virgo brain stuff that keeps me slightly saner without necessitating much searching through multiple notebooks to find things I've written (I tend to grab whichever notebook is closest rather than using them in any order) and carrying of many heavy books around.

The only downside is no-one seems to stock them here downunder (man, the US just has cooler stuff sometimes. though we have tim tams and twisties and no tornadoes) so I'll have to fork out for the always a slight rip-off postage. The good thing is that you can get a punch and customise your own pages once you have the basics, so that will make ongoing expenses a minimum. Plus I also discovered the very cool DIY Planner today where you can get all sorts of cunning templates etc for just this sort of thing. And next year, RWA National is in Washington where there is a Levenger store so I could stock up (or get someone to stock up if I don't go). And hmm, I do believe I know someone who lives in Chicago where there are also stores (Alyson, I'm looking at you : ) ).

All in all, I'm leaning towards acquiring one...any of you US types use one?

The carpet man cometh

Things you learn while tidying up your house in preparation for having carpets cleaned:

1. My cats can shed an infinite amount of hair. Mostly the grey one. I mean I vacuum often and yet there's still cat hair, cat hair, cat hair, especially in the squirrelly, hard to get to places. In fact, my cats can shed hair under objects that lie flat on the carpet, have no gaps and are not moved very often.

2. If there was a market for cat hair, I would be rich.

3. I need more bookcases. Why don't I have more bookcases (oh yeah, I keep spending money on other stuff).

4. My spare room closet is apparently the Tardis of junk.

5. It's impossible to have a very neat house with cats and lots of books. Unless you're way more anal than me. Or possibly have cleaning minions.

6. I would like a cleaning minion. Unfortunately see point 3 and also I want to go to San Francisco for RWA national.

7. Someone keeps putting stuff in my house. Must be those cats.

8. You can stack a LOT of stuff in a bathtub.

9. Cleaning is annoying and mostly pointless (yes, I know I know, we don't want to die of exotic diseases or drown in cat fur but you clean and then 2.3 seconds later the house is unclean unclean again).

10. If I can't have a cleaning minion, a roomba would be good. Though I suspect it might suffer death by cat fur....and give the orange cat a nervous breakdown. And I'm not sure they sell them here. Also, alas, also see points 3 and 6.

11. Where's whassername from Enchanted and the magic cockroaches when you need 'em?

PS The most annoying thing about all of the above is that I don't even know what carpet guy is going to do today. He might clean. He might just look and pronounce that stuff needs replacing (which would be yay but mean nothing happens today). He might look and not have time to clean. Which means I get to do this all AGAIN at a later date. And if the bookcases need to be moved then I'm in BIG trouble.

PPS I need to win the lottery. Then I could just move to a new house. One with less carpet : ) Of course, the fact I rarely remember to buy a ticket is a flaw in this cunning plan.