May 31, 2009

Pink power

Pink rocked the house last night. I've seen her before and would see her again. In fact I'd pay a lot to see her in a smaller setting doing more acoustic/bluesy stuff because she really does have a blow the roof off voice.

She's very popular here in Australia and I think it's because she's got that "let's not get too serious about ourselves", self deprecating irreverent sense of humour that Aussies like. Personally I like her because she's talented, she's fearless, she's sexy and she does things whatever the hell way she wants to do them.

Once again she did some jawdropping aerial acrobatics during the concert (and sang beautifully while upside down or spinning around and no, she wasn't miming).

She always reminds me to just go for it.

In other news, Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book won an Audie for Audiobook of the Year, so woot! to Neil. I've heard him read at a signing, I have the audiobook and have watched the free videos of him reading online and I can only say well deserved. He has a lovely voice, he reads well and from what I've seen is a model of how to do "best selling author" with grace and charm at signings. Plus he has beautiful old cats. Hopefully I'll get to do signings one day and hopefully I can channel him.

And in also other news, I present my first very wonky granny square lol. Though actually I added another round after this one. I'm actually learning to crochet to try amigurumi like my vampire which I think are mostly single crochet but it can't hurt to learn a classic. You never know when you might get the urge to make an afghan after all. And it's shaping up to be a cold winter here.

And now, given I'm kind of tired after the late night (though the cold seems to have retreated a little again), it's back to the couch for another relaxing day of tv, naps, crochet and knitting (I am my grandmother when sick apparently : ) ). Maybe the girls will kick up some story stuff if I wake up a bit more, they seemed quite taken with Pink's creepy carnival/fun house stage set. Then there's the first of the four last (why oh why oh why, sob sob sob) David Tennant Doctor Who's on tonight.

May 30, 2009


I've got one of those bugs that won't quite go away. Had it for over a month now. Just a cold-ish type thing. Bit of a sore throat, bit of a cough, snuffly. Makes me feel average for a couple of days then disappears. It came back Thursday and I was wrecked yesterday and did very little. Bit better today but I can still feel it lurking despite the drugs and vitamins.

So I'm prescribing a lot of couch time (apart from the Pink concert tonight because I've forked out good money already and Pink rocks) for the rest of the weekend because I cannot be sick on Monday (three presentations to give at work). I doubt there'll be much writing progress to report unless I get inspired with the netbook. Brain function is more at the knitting, staring at the TV, sleeping level.

May 26, 2009

In brief

Progress - Lily

New pages - Two
Intriguing things - No intrigue
Annoyances - brain iz still tired
Linear/non-linear - Non
Music - Soundtrack
Location - The desk. Word.
Taking care of Mel - Soon to be couch time.
Muse food - Trying to learn to crochet again. Maybe not a good idea when brain iz tired but it's a start.

May 25, 2009

Words words words

Which implies more than there actually was.

I'm settling for two pages tonight. Enough to kick my word count up to the next number and still give me some time to veg on the couch a bit.

Progress - Lily

New pages - Two
Intriguing things - When in doubt, skip ahead to the love scene
Annoyances - brain iz tired
Linear/non-linear - Non
Music - Soundtrack
Location - The desk. Word.
Taking care of Mel - Soon to be couch time.
Muse food - Debating the relative merits of Sam and Dean or Derek and Meredith as muse food tonight.

Hopefully tomorrow will be more productive.

On a more positive note, my gloves are comfy to type in!

Filling the well

I don't get to do a lot of non-writing related travel due to time and budget constraints. But this weekend I zoomed off to Adelaide (the capital of South Australia for the non-Aussies) to visit my brother and sister in law and the furry niece dog.

It was a nicely laid back weekend of pottering around and doing a few touristy things. Adelaide is a pretty little city and quite laid back (though home to some excellent doughnuts and, of course, Haighs chocolate - I love the dark peppermint frogs best).

Big brother was somewhat under the weather with a nasty cold so Melissa and I (yes, two Mel Scotts, it's confusing...and that's before you add in Mum being Merilyn lol) left him at home and did the girly browse and shop thing. We did the city on Friday and Saturday headed out to Woodside and Lobethal.

I know a lot of writers like to do various crafty things. I've traditionally preferred sewing and embroidery to knitting (and never really learned how to crochet) but Melissa is a knitting savant and these days also makes beeeeyootiful hand painted yarns (specialising in eco friendly fibres), so there were a few fabric and fibre related shops visited. I may have come home with some more quilting fabrics.

I did come home with this little dude:

He's an amigurumi (amigurumi apparently being a japanese crochet craze) from this book, and he and his creepy cute friends were so cute I think I need to learn to crochet properly and make some.

On Sunday Melissa has a stall at the Fisherman's Wharf market in Port Adelaide (so SA knitters are in luck), so I hung out with her there. And the wools and silks and everything looked so pretty all piled up (really, I think the thing that I really love about fabric and yarn is the colour aspect of it) that I decided to dust off my very rusty knitting needle skills and make some fingerless gloves (Melissa made up the pattern on the spot!). I even managed to finish them in a few hours. Which is about right when it comes to my patience for knitting and project. Apart from quilting I like things that I can complete reasonably fast. I think it's because novels take so damned long to write that the girls like things they can finish when it comes to other creative outlets). I even got some extra wool to make a scarf over the next few weeks.

Anyway, here are some pics of Melissa's gorgeous yarns to whet the appetite of any fibre addicts out there. Her website is

Banana silk and recycled sari silk

Hemp and wool

All sorts of wool (sheep and alpaca, sadly I didn't get a pic of the perfectly camel brown baby camel wool!)

(my scarf wool is from the blues on the top of the pile above)

So pretty! You just want to stroke them and possibly eat them. I'd have baskets full piled up just as decoration.

This is what I did with some lovely soft merino she'd dyed in gorgeous deep ocean shades (she's under instruction to do more in this colourway).

I'm hoping all this gorgeousness and play will result in some brilliant words tonight after four days off. Of course, feeding the well may be offset by being slightly wrecked after day job but we'll see. I guess I'll report back later!

May 19, 2009

Open for business

Every writer has themes and issues and things that attract them to the ideas they have. Ways they execute those ideas. With my paranormal/urban fantasy hat on, I'm finding that I'm drawn to open worlds far more than closed ones. (An open world, for my purposes being one where the supernatural element isn't a secret and closed one where it is. Harry Potter is a closed world, the muggles don't know about the wizards. Something like X-Men is open, everyone knows there are mutants). As a sweeping generalisation, I'd say that until a few years ago, a lot of paranormal romance dealt with closed worlds but as urban fantasy has really taken off, open worlds are becoming more common.

There's nothing wrong with one or the other but I prefer the tensions in "what happens when you throw x and y and z together and they have to deal" to the tensions in "we have to remain hidden". Maybe it's because I read so much fantasy growing up but I like the "what ifs" and "how does that change things" of warping our world by throwing various critters and powers into the mix. It's more interesting to me than "we're a big mysterious secret and have to keep it that way". YMMV : )

I do have a couple of closed world ideas but I was thinking about it the other day and I think part of the reason they're still in the idea pile, even the one with the completely killer opening scene that I adore, is because they're closed worlds and that just doesn't make the girls prick up their ears quite as much. Hopefully I'll figure out how to change that at some point. Because they're both cool ideas.

And now, here's tonight's progress report.

Progress - Lily

New pages - Five (I've hit 90 pages, woohoo. Closing in on that first hundred and probably about a quarter done with my draft)
Intriguing things - Sneakiness
Annoyances - Low annoyance factor tonight
Linear/non-linear - Non
Music - Soundtrack
Location - The desk. Word and Think.
Taking care of Mel - Post work catnap to restore the brain.
Muse food - Reading about gorgeous messed up red headed boys in Corambis and Julie Anne Long's The Perils of Pleasure.

May 18, 2009

Just another

manic Monday as the song goes. Day job sort of went by in a blur though stuff got done so that was good. Came home with a weird urge to bake bread which is something I'd never usually attempt on a work night as my brain tends to think it takes forever. But it doesn't and now I have lovely home made rolls for lunches the rest of the week. Mmmm, fresh bread.

There were also pages.

Progress - Lily

New pages - Four
Intriguing things - Gatecrashers
Annoyances - Taking forever to think up said gatecrashers and get the scene moving
Linear/non-linear - Non
Music - Nothing.
Location - The desk. Word and Think.
Taking care of Mel - Made bread.
Muse food - About to check out the lovely Nathan Fillion in Castle.

May 17, 2009

Still moving

So I realised yesterday that I was a bit stuck on Witch so I'm going with the talking book for now. Still aiming for four pages a day, six days a week. Though I'm going away this weekend, so I might just give myself a few days off for that.

Not much else news around here. I saw Angels and Demons last night and didn't mind it. I've never been able to watch all of the Da Vinci Code for some reason (I didn't mind the book, it's a good yarn), so wasn't sure if I'd like A&D. I liked the book of A&D better than Da Vinci and turns out, liked the movie better too. It's still a bit heavy on exposition and problems being instantly figured out but that's what happens when you chop down a thick book to a movie I guess.

And now, it's Sunday night chill out time.

Progress - Lily

New pages - 6 plus 2 yesterday. Witch 2 needs some pondering.
Intriguing things - Redemption. Blind vampires
Annoyances - Wandering conversations
Linear/non-linear - Non
Music - Soundtrack yesterday. Nothing today.
Location - The desk. Word and Think. Then the netbook.
Taking care of Mel - Nia yesterday. Sleeping in.
Muse food - Lazy day. Still re-reading

May 15, 2009


Today was a good writing day, all grey and cold and gloomy outside. But between writing and housework, there's not exactly a lot of scintillating news to report.

Progress - Witch 2

New pages - 4 plus 1 yesterday. Plus about 8 today on the other book. I think at some point soon there might have to be an executive decision that this one is the one that wants to play right now. I have a good solid start on Witch 2 now and I need to figure out some stuff before it's going to hit it's stride completely. However, we'll continue on the current program for a bit.
Intriguing things - Bespectacled assistants. Bar fights.
Annoyances - Still need to figure out how to get to the crunchy idea bit.
Linear/non-linear - Linear for Witch. Non for the other but I think I've now plugged all the gaps I had so the next bit might be more in order.
Music - Futzed more with the soundtrack for Witch. Cut some stuff. Added the new Placebo song which I heard on the radio last night and made the heroine go "oh yeah, THAT". Silence for the first other stint then soundtrack since then.
Location - The desk. Word.
Taking care of Mel - Nia yesterday. Sleeping in.
Muse food - Re-reading Corambis. House.

May 12, 2009

Checking in

Reporting in. I did have a deep thought about writing open vs closed worlds but I think I will wait until another time when I have brain power to formulate my thoughts with something resembling coherence.

Progress - Witch 2

New pages - 5 pages
Intriguing things - Random making out
Annoyances - Fingers stuck in slow typing mode
Linear/non-linear - very non. so non I have no idea where it is in the book.
Music - All over the shop trying to find something that didn't make me itchy. Bounced from Kelly Clarkson (beautiful disaster), the Killers (Mr Brightside), Robbie Williams (Sin Sin Sin) and David Gray (This Year's Love) before hit the groove with Dido (Who makes you feel) which works well for my reluctant couple.
Location - The desk. Word. Though I did resort to typing with my eyes closed at one point.
Taking care of Mel - I think a salad sandwich for lunch is the best I can do.
Muse food - Not much. We'll see what I feel like watching.

May 11, 2009


Woohoo! I've hit fifty pages! Go me. And that's about the only intelligent comment I can come up with right now.

Progress - Witch 2

New pages - 6 pages
Intriguing things - Not much
Annoyances - The matchsticks required to prop my eyes open?
Linear/non-linear - non.
Music - Dixie chicks.
Location - The desk. Word.
Taking care of Mel - Er, I remembered to eat?
Muse food - Maybe a quick dose of the proper Top Gear before sleeping.

May 10, 2009


Happy Mother's Day to all the mum's out there (especially mine but I'm biased).

I didn't actually get my four pages today, reached a bit where I need to figure some stuff out and once I got back from Mother's Day lunch, my brain decided it had had enough for the week. I did do two pages of the other before lunch. And on the drive to and from lunch, I think I got a vague idea of what happens next.

All up I still wrote 20 pages of Witch 2 this week and probably 12+ of the other book, and I actually wrote seven days in a row so I'm happy with that. So we'll keep the goal the same for next week. Four pages of Witch 6 days a week and play with the other as it demands.

May 09, 2009

Out of order

I've talked before about the fact that I'm generally a pantser and a little bit about the fact that I can write out of order (aka when I'm stuck on a scene the easiest remedy for me is generally to jump ahead to the next part I "know" in the book). When it comes to writing, everyone does it differently and while your process will morph a little over time and yes, vary from book to book, I tend to be in the camp of you've got to learn to work with the hand you're given. Which means trying to accept your process whatever it is and also working with the stories/themes/ideas that your brain is going to want you to write (I have a perfect genius for coming up with plot elements that involve complicated stuff I know nothing about).

The last six months or so have hardly been a gushing well of productivity, writing wise for me. More than the writing of scenes has been out of order. I have written nothing like my usual output and what I have written, apart from the odd random burst, has been completely painful and felt lame and flat and boring with every word. I've kept trying to write but it was hard. And it's not something that's easy to talk about. Saying "the words won't co-operate" feels lame. After all, aren't they just words? How hard is it to sit in front of a keyboard and wriggle your fingers? And also feels like you're tempting fate for more of the same. But not talking about it doesn't help. It just makes you think that you're the only one with the problem. I've done a few classes that deal with keeping creativity flowing (most with Barbara-the-goddess) and I know that sharing with others this stuff is a good thing. So maybe someone will read this and feel better.

I know some of the reasons for being blocked. I don't know all of it. And I don't know why this was the week that I was finally able to push through and put my foot down and start making progress again. Because I'm not published, I've had the luxury of being able to pull back a little and sew and do other things to try and refill the well. I'm well aware that if I was facing deadlines, I would've had to suck it up and crack the whip on myself long before this point and fill the pages with writing that felt as comfortable as walking over broken glass. In a way, I'm lucky this has happened before then, so if it happens again I can try some of the stuff that's helped this time. I know my process well enough now to know that I always have a bit of a slow patch after I finish a book and another in December/January. I know how to work with those. Working my way through a longer spell when I couldn't really pinpoint why has been hard. I know I feel better when I write. The books were talking in bits and snippets in my head but I just couldn't get it down on paper consistently. Which makes me cranky and makes me feel guilty and stressed and that's hardly a recipe for happy writing or happy Mel.

Because I have been writing in snippets and bursts, a lot of the work I've done this week on Witch 2 has been stitching those snippets I'd managed to put together. Inevitably when I leap ahead, I'll write something in the scene that changes something or tells me something that lets me go back and fill in the gaps. Sometimes it's not in the scene itself, it's just that the girls finally let me in on the secret when I'm not trying to force them to give up the info I need. It's a handy technique but I'm not sure it's any faster in the end. Amongst my crit buddies there are plotter and pantsers and those like me who grudgingly write down very vague snippets of outlines when they get stuck after pantsing for a bit. Some of us write fast messy first drafts and then spend a lot of time revising and really changing the story around. Some of us can't move on to the next bit until they've got the piece they're working on right and get to the end of the book more slowly but with something pretty clean. Some of us write first drafts where the story structure is there but there's a lot of laying and tweaking needed. We all get there in the end and we all whine equally about our individual processes. We all forget that our way is our way and try and fight it or forget how to work with our processes at times.

Like I said, I'm a jump around all over the place kind of writer (even though when I'm motoring things become more linear, then again, when I'm motoring that means the girls are co-operating and I'm not getting stuck). But even though I'm used to this, I still don't get it right all the time. Like today when I sat down and re-read a little of what I'd written yesterday, I realised that I'd added something to an earlier scene where my heroine finds out something that another characters has done which confuses her and somewhat pisses her off. Yesterday I'd worked on the scene where she next sees that other character (with a gap of maybe two hours) and yet had completely failed to work in anything that dealt with with her anger and confusion. *head desk*. I think that a lot people think that writers just sit down and brilliance flows from their fingertips over a couple of days and a book is born. As a writer I know this isn't the case but it's still hard not to think that this is how it works for everyone else for me when I'm struggling. There is a point somewhere in this long rambling post. Writing is hard work. It can drive you a little nutty. But even in the bad times it's still what I spend hours thinking about and doing and what I need and what brings me more pleasure than most other things in the world. Writing is hard. That's why God invented chocolate. (Which is a whole 'nother post about balance and how out of whack my exercise and eating routine is right now.....)

Heading in the right direction

So Thursday I took as the day off the four pages a day on Witch 2 for the week. But I still managed to write about eight pages of another wip which has been silent for an age but decided to suddenly jump up and down on my brain with great vigour late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. I really like this story so I'm very happy that it is talking to me again. And I'm starting to feel a little in the rhythm with Witch 2 as well (and hey, I've cracked 10k. Possibly the longest time ever taken for me to write 10k but it's cracked now). So we will keep on doing what we've been doing as my head is a much happier place when the words are being put down on paper instead of bouncing around inside my skull with no way out.

Today I did my four pages on Witch 2, then re-read what I had of the other wip to refresh my memory and futzed with it a bit. Mostly though, I mainlined a lot of Studio 60 and really enjoyed it. I like Sorkin in quixotic romantic mode. If only he got to do it for longer than a season on this one. Anyhoo, it's late and my fingers are starting to tangle when I type, so off to bed we go.

Progress - Witch 2

New pages - 4 pages
Intriguing things - A reason for something to happen that I didn't foresee.
Annoyances - Still much prior book world fact checking. This is what happens when you write fantasy. It happens with contemporaries too but less annoyingly.
Linear/non-linear - non.
Music - Dixie chicks.
Location - The desk. Word and think.
Taking care of Mel - Long walk to fetch the little silver car from it's visit to the car spa
Muse food - SEP. Sorkin. Aforementioned walk.

More later today after the appropriate amount of sleepings.

May 06, 2009

Wednesday's child is full of,er make that *empty* of brain

Another four pages despite my very borked state of brain fatigue. Any zombies attacking me now would be sorely disappointed in the quality of brains they scored. And would probably starve to death.

Progress - Witch 2

New pages - 4 pages
Intriguing things - Too tired for intriguing. Words on page is enough.
Annoyances - Dire need of world bible from previous book. Much xxx and check this.
Linear/non-linear - non.
Music - Silence.
Location - The desk. Word and think.
Taking care of Mel - Dark chocolate peppermint Haigh's frogs. Hey, sometimes self care requires chocolate.
Muse food - Soon there will be Sorkin. And then sleep.

Tomorrow is the last day of day job for the week. This = good.

May 05, 2009

Over and over

Wiktory! Four pages done, wordcount first digit increased by one. Very slow four pages but they're done. Now we just have to lather, rinse and repeat about 82 more times and I'll have a draft.

Speaking of lather, rinse and repeat, I've been watching the Aussie version of Masterchef, and I know lots of reality shows do this but I find the practice of spending the first half a minute or so after each ad break recapping what just happened before the ads extremely annoying. I mean, I get that they're trying to catch you up if you've just tuned in but normal TV shows don't do it, so why does reality TV need to? Do they think their viewers are dumb? Or perhaps goldfish who can't remember what happened three minutes ago? I'm hoping they'll ease off now that they're down to the regular half hour shows rather than one hour eps that they have to fill out somehow. Because apart from re-cap-itis (which really makes me want to change the channel) I'm quite enjoying it.

I was going to start my metrics again tonight but I shall leave that for another evening. Have to go sit on the couch and resist chocolate cravings now.

May 04, 2009

May day

Right. I'm imposing a new goal. There's been a lot of circling and thinking about this damn wip (and, yes, there are distractions with babies and sewing and big old work projects) but at some point there's just got to be some serious BICHOK. Last time I checked no-one had invented the "put this on your forehead and sheer brilliance shall be sucked onto the page" machine. So time to suck it up and just work.

So my May goal is to keep that word count climbing. I want the number before the comma to keep going up by one at least six days a week. So that means four pages a day (well, unless i did more than four the day before). It's do-able. It's easily do-able. So let's see what happens. Today I went from six to seven. Tomorrow we're aiming for eight.

Also, about to suck it up and climb back on the ET. The stomach bug in March threw my exercise routine completely out the window but BICHOK needs some form of physical exercise to occur or it will be EIBICHOK.

PS: Dear Universe, to facilitate the above, I am graciously accepting donations of housework fairies, lottery wins, miraculously restocking refrigerators etc etc. 'kthnxbye.

May 03, 2009

Sugar and spice

Two of my best friends have had babies this year. So I decided to make them cot quilts for presents.

But because the second of the two bubs only arrived on Friday and the first was back in Feb, I've didn't blog about the first in case my other friend guessed I might make her one too.

But now that both little cuties are safely here and both quilts have been safely handed over to their new owners, I can reveal the sekrit projects.


We didn't know what flavour Jethro was so I had to make a quilt that could work for a boy or a girl.

I figured I'd start with green and see what happens, then I found the very cute frog print (Alexander Henry I think) and things went from there. Jethro's mum has always been an outdoorsy, sunny type so the colours seemed right for her.

This was the first quilt I'd actually finished to the quilted and bound stage, so I went with easy grid quilting. One day I'll do a machine quilting class and learn to stipple but not sure I'm ever going to be keen on trying it on a large scale unless I one day have space and money for a long arm machine (they look like fun).

This is the finished spicy orange and green quilt and it worked out well that he's a boy as I think it's more boy-ish. Especially with the tadpole border.


We knew that the lastest bub (who shall remain nameless as I haven't asked her mum about blogging her) was a girl which made life easier. I wanted to try a disappearing 9 patch pattern and knew I wanted to use pinks with a bit of green and blue and had a lovely time picking out these fabrics which were just divinely pretty together and made me think of sugared almonds or candy or fairy floss.

The disappearing 9 patch went together quickly (I guess you'd call this a colour co-ordinated scrappy version, each 9 patch block has eight pinks (four dark, four light) then the blue/green/floral in the middle) and you can do lots of cool things to form patterns with the blocks. You can also do three colour blocks to wind up with something like this, which I also really like the look of and might have to do one at some point. I did a triple border to set off the pinks. So here's my sugar plum quilt.

Once again I kept the quilting pretty easy by stitching in the ditch around each of the squares in the final four square blocks and doing an every other block small square of quilting in the big squares.

Now I have to finish my own big quilt which just needs the borders and a backing before I can send it off to be quilted.