Saturday, 28 June 2014

Saturday 28th June

Today I wrote enough words to be 55 words short of my 70,000 word goal for the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) 50/30 challenge which is a challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I surpassed that and set my goal at 60k then 70k and today I upped it again to 75k so I have 5055 words to write in two days.

I gave up on meeting my WOW NonFicPic goals of writing 7 non fiction first drafts for children. I had the seven ideas from MiniWOW but I could not dedicate the time to writing a good first draft while I was so immersed in my new novel (or novels) and also trying to meet an art deadline.

The 52 week art challenge has grown to 1900 participants from around the world and watching the art go up each week it a complete joy. Tania McCartney asked us to tell her how many pieces of art we had done since joining the challenge and three words for what it means to us. The words were things like Inspiring, Hope, Alive, Joy, Meditative, Love, rediscovery and so many more. For all the participants the art challenge has become a way to rediscover their art skills and the joy of creating art. It is also a safe and supportive environment to challenge ourselves to try new art medium and to inspire each other to look at the world in a different way.
I counted up mine thinking I had created about 60 art pieces for the challenge when in fact I have done more than 170.

This week the theme is Clouds. Here is my latest cloud. A revisit to cross hatching.

I have signed up for next month's Camp NaNoWriMo and intend to continue the novel I started this month in RWA 50/30. I feel a series happening or a very big single title. I shall keep you posted. 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Wild and Windy Warrnambool

Firstly I am freezing. I will gain no sympathy I suppose from those in the northern hemisphere where cold is a way of life but here in Australia there are not too many places that get very cold or experience snow. Today the wind chill factor was minus 6 and there is a cloud formation similar to a cyclone over the Tasman sea sending winds of over 122km/hr onto the coast. Windows have been blown out of houses, aerials flying around the town and landing in my back yard. Plants uprooted and trees over the road. (video on youtube of the breakwater today)

Port Fairy and Region Visitor Information Centre's photo. Port Fairy and Region Visitor Information Centre's photo.Martins Point Carpark and Ocean Drive at The Passage are currently closed to traffic.
CRIKEY! Check this out... The 986hpa Low which looks like a cyclone in Bass Strait. It is delivering cyclonic wind gusts up to 122km hr to South West parts of Victoria. The 986hpa Low which looks like a cyclone in Bass Strait. It is delivering cyclonic wind gusts up to 122km hr to South West parts of Victoria.
 Warrnambool breakwater - Dan AtkinsonThere have been some truly awe-inspiring shots from the storms this morning, including these two from Dan Atkinson, who was at the Warrnambool breakwater at just the right moment. Wow. We are sure it is just a matter of time until these start appearing as posters for sale, and so they should! Well done Dan!

Warrnambool breakwater - Dan Atkinson and 38 pictuers on our local newspaper website Take a look. 

Life has been busy. I passed  61000 words on my tally with the Romance Writers of Australia 50/30 challenge and have reset my tally to 70k. I am very excited about this new story. It has all sorts of mischief and mayhem not to mention magic and mystery.

This week on the 52 week challenge, several participants found themselves winners of awards in a competition for children's literature illustrators. Very exciting for them. The theme this week was dots and I put up my pictures of the Iris several days ago but I also did three other pictures and here they are. The daffodils are a present for my sister.

I quite enjoyed this week's theme and found using dots to be a very therapeutic activity.
Next week (starting tomorrow) the theme is clouds. That should be fun.I quite like clouds however I do have a commision to produce art for another writer and I have a deadline to meet so my clouds may have to wait until I have completed the other art first.

Speaking of art, I used my piece from the architechture week to put on my new business cards. They arrived in the post this morning and I am very pleased with them.

I was so excited to make them and have them arrive. I have found recently that business cards would have made interacting and networking a sight more professional if I had had them to hand  around. Now I have them and I can. No more need to scramble around in hand bags for pen and paper and then try to spell out the email and name four times.

I submitted another novel to a publishing house and am trying not to be nervous about it. keeping busy helps. I keep a tally of my submissions through a facebook group called sub six. it is predominantly for picture book writers but I use it to keep a track of how ofen I am sending work into the world.

I vowed no more anthology pieces though. I have made a gargantuan effort to send work out to anthologies this past year but they don't seem to be generating the kind of interest or feedback that I had hoped. They have added to a portfolio of published work for me to speak of and they have given me an opportunity to find outlets to try different genres so I have written Christmas stories, mermaid stories, fairy stories, stories of hope, horror, humour, romance and fantasy, science fiction and non fiction. Picture books, adults and teens. I have enjoyed writing every story. I have won some competitions and plenty of little prizes that make me smile but now I am settling down and thoroughly enjoying the longer pieces, the novels that really let me explore a world and plot and characters. I am engaged in the kidlit world through monthly challenges, SCBWI, 12x12 and  WOWNonFicPic, Chapter Book Challenge, 14:14, Feb Picture book marathon, Revision Month, start the year off write, Rhyming picture book month and so much more, there is a plethora of challenges for anyone who really wants to dive in head first into the world of story writing and I have tried so many things and studied up on all sorts of aspects of writing and publishing. I have also had my fingers burned by vanity publishers, dodgy small press and some shonky characters and thank goodness I am not young and impressionable or so desperate for other people's approval that I would fall into the glib trap of the grooming techniques they play.

There are some lovely people running quite legitimate small press because they love books and writers and want to be there but it is always important to look before leaping and do some research before signing on the dotted lines. Double check those contracts and get advice. Don't take the first offer because of the excitement of being published the first time.

It has been a wonderful 18 months of exploration and I am anticipating a good long career ahead.

I joined the local Warrnambool Writers Group and I volunteered to put a FB group together for them. They are also doing an anthology with will be the last one I contribute to.

My blog has had to take a back seat to the novel but i will be here a couple of times a week.
Anything else exciting to tell you? I am sure there are some things and I will pop them on the next blog entry. Keep safe and warm or safe and cool depending on where you are. Love and hugs.

Friday, 20 June 2014

WOW Non Fiction Picture book week

Get ready for WOW 2014!

Join Us- June 21-27, 2014

 seven drafts in seven days.

they don't have to be 'pullet surprise' drafts just good skeletons to hang all those facts on in a creative way.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

not quite a whole week but a busy one- launch pending

Monday: I attended the Warrnambool Writers Group which I had found through the FAW website. It has taken me months to find a day to go and say hi and finally I did. At 1pm in the Archie Graham Centre in Timor street on the first Monday of the month usually unless a public holiday falls as it did this month. I paid $2 to the centre to cover insurance and from next meeting will pay $2 to the group to fund events such as a book launch. The group is preparing an anthology titled "Mixed Grill" to denote the mix of stories and styles already being submitted although they hoped to have a maritime theme running through the stories. A face book group is in the planning stage and should push the group to a wider audience. I also write several thousand words on my new WIP and sprinted in the RWA sprint room and put my word tallies in the 50/30 forum on the RWA website and some encouraging words for others.

Tuesday was quite busy. Enrolling darling daughter in Distance Education and taking her to the eisteddfodd so she could play her sax with the school band to compete against the other contenders.
I also had morning tea with friends, gooed and chatted in a high pitch to a cute baby, ordered a blanket for another baby to be, took the washing to the laundromat to get it dry, organised for the sheep to find a new home with more grass and wrote several thousand more words on my new WIP. I also looked at options for submitting my novels and contract details, potential for a shorter story which needs another 10k to be submitted to a new home and cooked dinner for the kidlings.

Wednesday Missed my public speaking night looking for a book I didn't have :( enrolled daughter in distance ed and had a phone call confirming her choices. Visited and had visitors. Wrote another 2.5k on my older wip needing upgrades.

Thursday: Daughter to band. She is allowed to stay with the band even though she has transferred to distance ed. Did a pointillism piece of art titled: Iris for the 52 week challenge week 25 Dot
 I had to photograph the canvas because it was too big to scan.

 This is the detail of on of the Iris. I used copic markers on primed canvas.

 Another of the details.



and of course there is another release party for an anthology in which I have two pieces of work. The following is code stuff made by Catherine and I hope it works when I publish this bit. If not I will come back and edit...oooh I just learned where to put code in future so it works. Thanks guru net nerd techie person.

Step into the realm of the fairies, where darkness and light come together to create a world full of mischief and magic. A place where pixie dust and brownie favors are often counter balanced by the sinister temptations and mad schemes of the darker side. Here, you can choose to walk with the heroes or be carried away by the fairy lover of your dreams. Just be careful not to fall too deeply, you may never come home.
In this collection, ten talented authors have come together to bring you sixteen fantastical stories of the lighter and darker sides of the fae. The product of this collaboration is an incredible journey into a world that will whisk the reader away on gilded wings, but might not let them go

Fairy Rules by Lexi Ostrow: Sometimes the rules are meant to be broken.

Darkness Rules by Lexi Ostrow: Darkness starts in the soul.

Bellafina by Shannon Eckrich: Love is the key to unlocking the magic inside our hearts

Soul Seeker by Shannon Eckrich: His soul wasn't for the taking, but his heart was

Wings of a Butterfly by Zoe Adams: Falling in love is a punishable offence...

FM by Andrea L. Staum: We all Need a Little FM

Keeper of the First Book by Andrea L. Staum: One word can change one's destiny

A Bird in Hand by Shebat Legion: A Fairy Tale

Saltwater by Shebat Legion: Am I adopted?

Don't Let Go by Katherine Wilburn: Keep your friends close...

Champion of the Forest by Lillie J. Roberts: One will answer the call...

Bringer of Light by Cecilia Clark: Revenge and love cannot share the same place.

Finding Us by Cecilia Clark: Be warned—If you push too hard, the family will push back.

Broken by Catherine Stovall: Sometimes it takes being broken to heal.

We Danced by Catherine Stovall: Every night we danced, and every day I wasted away.

Purchase Link: Amazon

Don't miss out on the great Facebook Release Party happening today at 7:00pm CDT! Click here to join!

About the Authors:

Shannon Eckrich ~ Born and raised in Delaware, Shannon Eckrich lives with her husband, two children, and chocolate lab, Chewy, along with her newest addition, Taylor, a spunky little kitty who loves to terrorize her while she’s writing. Shannon’s second love is the paranormal. Ghosts, angels, vampires, aliens, immortals, it doesn't matter, she’s obsessed with it all, which is why she’s compelled to write stories in the paranormal genre.

Cecilia Clark ~ Cecilia Clark has had a number of short stories and flash fiction published over the last year along with numerous art works. She writes everything from mild horror to children's tales and is especially fond of fractured fairy tales. Her recent works can be found on her Goodreads and Amazon author profiles and her daily ramblings can be seen on her blog Cecilia has previously had one story and one piece of art published with Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly.

Shebat Legion ~ Shebat Legion's many stories include "Dree, On Wednesday," for Hoblin Goblin; Sha'Daa Facets: I Am Anastasia's Bracelet, written in collaboration with Michael H. Hanson; "Ophie and The Undertaker," for Dreamers in Hell, the latest volume in the award-winning Heroes in Hell series and "The Cast Iron Skillet" published by CHBB. She is the author of Vampire Therapy: Chronicles of The Cat's Ass Boutique, which includes "A Cat's Ass Christmas," "A Cat's Ass Valentine," and "Lilly Brings Home A Leprechaun." She is the producer of the anthology Klarissa Dreams: The Art of Klarissa Kocsis. Shebat Legion is the author of Vampire Therapy: Jackson and Eva, and is presently at work on book two of the Vampire Therapy series called "Elizabetta."

Catherine Stovall ~ Catherine Stovall is the author of Faire Eve, The Requiem of Humanity Series, Arcana: The Maiden, and the short stories, Fearful Day, Bloody Freedom (Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds Anthology), Condemned to Die, and The Freak (Cirque D'Obscure anthology). She also has the privilege of being the editor and a contributor to the Cogs in Time Anthology--where you can find her short story, Wren City, and a poem entitled The Cogs in Time, and the Rise of the Goddess Anthology--where you can find her story, A Goddess's Revenge. Catherine is a fearless creature who surrounds herself with the joys of life both in and out of her fictional worlds. She lives in Southeast Missouri with her husband, three children, and pets. When not writing, she spends her time riding motorcycles, wearing elaborate hats, and genuinely enjoying the oddities in life.

Mariana Thorn ~ Fueled by Coffee, Mariana Thorn creates worlds that are action packed and full of snark. With her little dog, Tony Stark, by her side she tortures her characters. Fur, Fangs, and Fairies is her first published series. It’s filled with everything that goes bump in the night and then some. Urban fantasy is Mariana’s main genre but she also dabbles in fantasy and mystery. She looks at her story and goes, well how can I make this worse for my characters. Mariana’s love of writing hit at a young age. She was always writing stories and never dreamed of publishing them. Then one day not long ago, she looked at her books and went: I need to share these with the world.

Lillie J. Roberts ~ Lillie J. Roberts is a multi-published author who loves to read as much as she does to write. You can most often find her lost in her favorite genre or maybe she's writing one. She writes Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Chillers/Thrillers, Suspense from Modern Contemporary to New Adult and YA. She lives in central Illinois with her husband, three children, one wild Westie, and a wicked cat. She loves movies and listens to them while she writes, as well as all kinds of music. Some of her favorites are mentioned in her books.

Andrea L. Staum ~ Andrea L. Staum is author of the Dragonchild Lore Series, The Attic's Secret and contributor to several anthologies. She holds an Associates in Supervisory Management, is a certified motorcycle technician, and an amateur house renovator. She lives in Southwest Wisconsin with her husband and three 'unique' cats.

Lexi Ostrow ~ Lexi Ostrow has been in love with the written word since second grade when her librarian started a writing club. Born in sunny southern California she's spent time in various places across the country and can't wait to settle down somewhere in the French Quarter when she's able too. Lexi has been a writer ever since the second grade in some form or another. Getting her degree in creative writing and her master's in journalism she couldn't wait to get a chance to put her fantasies down on paper. Her debut novel, Torn Between Two Worlds is something that was simmering in her mind since middle school and she's so grateful to put it out into the literary world. From paranormal romance to thriller there isn't a genre she doesn't love to spend her time reading or writing. Reading and writing are her first loves but her passion for shopping, love for yummy food and her love for all her many pets. She hopes to one day help other readers fall in love with writing as she did.

Zoe Adams ~ Zoe Adams hails from a seaside town on the east coast of England. Books and writing are her passions, and this has led to her gaining a degree in Professional Writing. Zoe takes inspiration from different cultures and their rich mythology. This is evident in the Shōjō series, beginning with Best Served Chilled. When not reading or writing, Zoe indulges in a healthy obsession with anime, spending time with her family, and listening to a wide variety of influential music. Amongst other things anyway. With her alternative mind, who knows what she will write next?
K.R. Wilburn ~ KR Wilburn has traveled the world with her family but currently calls Fairbanks Alaska home. When she isn't writing, she is reading everything she can get her hands on. She is the mother of six crazy, creative and hilarious children and married to her childhood best friend and hero Ben. When she isn't busy with family you can find her counting down the moments until she can find inspiration capturing the perfect Aurora through the lens of her camera.
— with Catherine Stovall.

Monday, 16 June 2014

I am a winner and so are you!

5% of profits go to Kids Helpline to Help kids in Crisis.

Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800

Thanks everyone for supporting empowering children’s bully prevention novel, STOP the Bully with 5 Star Reviews & support from teachers, school counselors,  mental health organizations, Mums & authors HERE
perf5.000x8.000.inddSPECIAL thanks to all the hosts and entrants to the June 3-16 Blog Tour
See Giveaway  HERE

YAY!! I’m announcing the WINNERS…

Drum Roll…
Winner of the signed book at Goodreads … Sam Bake
Winner of the signed book of STOP the Bully  is … Cecilia Clark
Winners of the digital copies are …  Dale Harcombe, Diane Carlisle,
Kellie R. Stone, Ashley Love, Alex Fairhill, Melanie Hill, HP Fanatic, Alison
Stegert, Moala, Brenda Perlin, Maureen Robb.

I supported this because bullying is in epidemic proportions across all walks of life and if we can help kids be more resistant to bullying then they can grow up more resilient and we can reduce bullying. This book has a great message from a woman who has been on the receiving end and survived to stand up for others. Also it supports kids helpline so that is a worthy cause I wish didn't have to exist.

Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Sunday rolls around again

two weeks ago I had four sheep put in my thigh deep lush green grassy back yard. After one week the grass was a neatly clipped lawn and this week it is time for the sheep to find a new back yard.
 The two older sheep are in need of sheering. They climbed the wood pile for the grass tips peeping through.
 They leave an awful lot of pellets which will be good for the garden once I sweep them all back into the decimated grass
 This is all that is left of my parsley even when I had it protected by a heavy wooden chair they managed to push it aside and chomp  it down
They are eating the sharp hard leaves of the date palm too and my climbing rose is no more than bare sticks. They did at least trim the hated ivy from the fence and I almost wish they could climb a bit higher.
I nicknamed the sheep Roast, Chops, Barley Soup and Shanks.

It is moments like these that I realise how much resources go into my carnivorous eating habits.

Thanks sheep.

I haven't blogged so often since my word count for WIPs has grown higher. 16 months ago I was writing an average 500 words per day and now I am writing 5000 to 7000 daily. The numbers have grown with diligent application.   My art unfortunately has also had diminished attention and I need to redress that negligence. My art is important to me on a whole lot of levels. I was explaining to someone about the progress of my writing career this past twelve months and thought 'why do I not put this kind of organisation into my fitness and health?' and of course I haven't because I haven't given it a priority status. So talking with my sister this morning I came to realise if I want to be fit enough for the rigours of a writing career I need to think of my health as integral to that.
Several times I have had people make a comparison between myself and Collen McCullogh. She was a good writer with excellent research skills who wrote historical romances. She should have been written about in terms of her accuracy to detail and her depth of her characterisations but at the peak of her popularity the general media went on and on about her weight, her hair and her relationships. George  Martin (Game of thrones) is a large man, with grey hair and a daggy cap but the media discusses his characters and his plots and when is the next book coming out. I don't see scathing dissertations about his weight, his clothes and his hair. So when people compare me to Colleen McCullogh though I write in a similar vein to George Martin I respond with either "Why because I am middle aged, fat and have no relation ship?" Or "Why, didn't you read her work either?" And no they usually haven't read hers or mine they just compare body, clothes and hair instead of the writing.
I want my writing taken seriously not my physical attributes. I wonder why no one discusses the men in terms of their outer appearance?
SCBWI Australia East & New Zealand Blog

Onward and upward. I went to a writers conference of the SCBWI of which I have been a member since last November. At the Melbourne gathering at  DiMattina’s restaurant in Lygon street Carlton I listened to some interesting speakers.

Chris Bell Chris Bell

Historical fiction, Children's & YA Author  Melbourne, AustraliaWriting and Editing 

Our first member speaker was YA author (and SCBWI VIC committee member) Chris Bell.  Chris has written thirty-five published books for children, including picture story, chapter and YA. Currently she is working on a YA historical novel, a project for which she was awarded a 2014 Varuna Retreat Fellowship. Chris spoke about her recent Varuna writer's retreat residency in the NSW Blue Ranges and the value of such stepping stones and validations on the way to publication. She  also spoke about keeping faith in the writing dream and shared some insider tips on the Varuna selection process gathered especially for SCBWI in a one-on-one chat with CEO, Jansis O’Hanlon. 
Sherryl Clark

Sherryl Clark

Teacher at Victoria University
"I'm a writing coach, focusing on mentoring and critiques. I write children's and YA fiction, poetry and adult mysteries. I also teach creative writing."
Our second member speaker was Sherryl Clark.  Sherryl has more than 60 books published by traditional publishers such as Penguin, UQP and Working Title Press.  She has also published or co-published around the same number of other projects.  These range from oral histories and community anthologies to 40 issues of Poetrix magazine, Australasia’s only journal of women’s poetry.  In 1997, Hale & Iremonger published her book, ‘Successful Self-Publishing’, which came out of the classes Sherryl was teaching at the time.
In this new era of digital publishing, where doing it yourself is trendy rather than stigmatised, the same issues and problems arise that were challenges in the 1990s.  Despite all the advantages of e-book publishing, Sherryl chose to publish ‘Dying to Tell Me’ as a print book.  She explained all of the challenges and decisions, and managed to fit it into 20 minutes.
During Afternoon tea: 
From 3pm-4pm I managed to meet and greet with several other writers and unfortunately hogged the conversation with one group and generated enthusiasm for my novella with another.
The urn was broken so the only water for tea was in jugs - not good for tea at all. 
The meet and greet was a valuable lesson in making sure I have business cards in future so this morning I designed and paid for 250 cards without my street address, which I consider unnecessary for my purposes in a digital focus industry.

Susannah ChambersSusannah Chambers

Senior Editor at Allen & Unwin   Melbourne, AustraliaPublishing
 – Commissioning Editor, Allen & Unwin

At 4pm, we heard from guest speaker, Susannah Chambers.  Susannah is a Commissioning Editor of Books for Children and Young Adults at Allen and Unwin. For the last ten years she has worked with some of Australia's best, and best-loved authors, including Maureen McCarthy, Andrew McGahan, Kate Constable, Nathan Jurevicious, Chris McKimmie, Penni Russon, Laura Buzo and Lian Tanner. As the Beatrice Davis Editorial Fellow 2013-14,(which means she was awarded on of Australia's most prestigious awards for editors)  she has just spent 10 weeks in New York, talking to editors and publishers about Young Adult books. 

Susannah spoke about what Allen and Unwin are looking for and publishing, and shared her observations of the children's books scene in the US - editing, publishing, trends, and the Australian books that sell in the US market. 
She spoke about the six figure advances authors can earn in the American market and the collective indrawn breath of the gathering was amazing to hear. The average new writer may expect 10k but the industry over there looks for 'blockbusters' that can become stories in other media such as film and they spend equal amounts on marketing and promotion so they recoup their outlay and make the big profits. 

She said that Young Adult is a very popular space in the reading market and publishers are very focussed on it. 

Susanna also went to Bologna for the book fair and said that in spite of Australia being small "we hold our own'. Australian writers are well represented across genres and age appropriate reading material in the overseas markets.
the rights place for children's content
from Monday March 30 to Thursday April 2, 2015

I have an art deadline. I am pleased to have an art deadline or I would be putting it off as I write more anthology pieces and add to my MS. It is almost time for the WOW challenge of 7 first draft non fiction PBs in 7 days. I have some research done but need to do more and I also need to find my seven ideas I put in a folder. Best get organised for that so I can also have my stories for 12 x 12

 One of the big things for me at recent workshops is my unpreparedness with business cards or post cards of my work so here is the card I designed this morning. This is the back with my architect piece from the 52 week challenge.
 and here is the front with a picture of me and my online contact details.
 This is the new banner for the up and coming anthology through Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly called Tales of the Fairy. I asked the lovely artist to please change the date to Australian and she very kindly did. The stories are based around the concept of the seelie and unseelie courts of the Fey and I have two pieces in this anthology; one for each court.

Walking through Melbourne yesterday gave me some painful blisters. Three of them in fact. Time for new shoes I am thinking. Two of the blister are at the base of my big toes and so ouchy and I am walking around with my toes pointed in the air - very odd. 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

I am so excited

even when my x key is reluctant to work first time around.

It is only the 12th day of the month and I have managed to write around 36000 words so far this. I completed one novel and sent it out to my beta readers and I sent out a novella which appears to have met approval with the editors and I have begun a new story in the Fantasy genre.

I am not blogging as frequently and I have eased out of most of my little challenges because they are not adding to my word count. I will write a few more short pieces over the next few days so I can move the little project to the completed file.

I still have art to make and have even neglected that this week which is not good.

I am going to review a few books too just as a palette cleanser.

I am eminently satisfied with finishing that novel because it symbolises something important about my life and gives me a sense that I am moving into a new phase of my life now. I completed it. From start to finish, one page at a time, I finished it. It may need tweaks and clean ups, it may need slight rewrites, it may need a dedication page but the story is complete. This for me feels mightier than completing a university degree.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

satisfactory finish

Last night I completed the manuscript for a novel that has taken more than four years from first idea to the 80693 words that ended up on the page by the end of the epilogue.   It was an incredible feeling and I was buzzing as I sent it out to my wonderful team of beta readers. Beta readers are the people who first get to read a manuscript and their job is to encourage and support and yell that the writer has messed up with some serious continuity issues or just plain wow statements. Sometimes the Beta's give critiques or grammar and spell checks but mostly they read it through and say yuck or yay.  I wrote the first 50k of it last November during NaNoWriMo  but it started much earlier over cuppas and cake cuddled up cozy with my cousin as I told her my idea and we threw the idea around for hours. Every few months she would ask me if I had "written that story yet?" and I began to tell other people about the idea. I researched things like transport and telephones, jobs and wages, ultrasounds and accents. There is not one thing technical in the story that I made up, I consulted experts on everything from hypothermia to search and rescue at house fires and all that research gurgled around in my head and began to formulate the story. This month I wrote the other 28,000 words which works out to about 3000 a day and I hardly noticed it flying by. I did sprints in the RWA sprint and support room  where the ladies were there to cheer me on and ask me questions and compete just a little bit for word counts.

My sister asked me why this story has given me such a huge sense of satisfaction and after thinking about it I explained that when I write a flash fiction it is like opening a packet of biscuits and having it with a cup of tea made with a tea bag. Pleasant and quick. Writing a short story like all the ones I put in anthologies over the last year is like baking a cake and making a pot of tea, setting the table with all the nice things and having afternoon tea with a friend. Writing a novella feels like inviting friends over for lunch and pulling out my favourite soup recipes and cooking up  a nourishing meal for two or three people and spending time in their company. This novel is a four year plan to have dinner with a dozen friends. The menu is planned and anticipated and there is a huge build up and when it all comes together it is a gastronomic delight and I feel completely sated and have a huge smile on my face.

I have another epic novel in the planning. That one will be a banquet with a thousand people in attendance and I haven't done that kind of catering for a long while. It is in its early stages even though I already have 75k of it, I expect it to be monumental and I don't want to rush the planning.

 The 52 week challenge has an art swap going on at the moment. Those of us who participated were given a secret recipient to send a piece of original art to. I received this wonderful frog from Kelly Artist (nom de plume) and I am so excited. The post man came very late in the afternoon so I wasn't expecting any mail and what a delightful surprise.

My art is packaged ready to send in a few days. I sure hope my recipient likes this piece too.

All of my other smaller writing challenges have been on hold while I finished the novel so I need to get back and complete a few anthology pieces and certainly some art.

This week the theme in 52 week art challenge is Octopus. That could be fun. I have also promised some spooky pictures for an anthology so I might be on the blog for a day or two.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Strangely productive Saturday

I woke up made a mango protein smoothie hung my washing on the line and fell asleep again. I dreamed I was in a house I had rented or bought sight unseen. it was multistory and old, solid brick but I cam in at the lower level and the first three rooms were dreadful, very old. The first room I entered had a couple of pipes sticking out of the wall which was sticky yellow paint over brick and an uneven concrete floor. There was a a door at the far side which had a step down into a room with a toilet with a wooden seat and an old raised cistern with a chain. I went into the next room that was also bare except for an old stove shoved into a painted over chimney niche. I was beginning to think desperate thoughts of 'what have I done?' when I opened the door of the third room nearest the back door. The floor was made of what was left of wooden floorboards barely held together with a sticky lacework that might have been spider webbing. I put one foot on the floor and it sagged and I began to doubt we could live in such a dreadfully neglected place with a floor that would collapse if anyone so much as stepped on it. I went upstairs and found an enormous room that had multiple doors across the far wall. The windows if there were any were covered so the light was dim. I grabbed the first door handle and found that I had swung out a shoulder height wooden wall that had a row of coat hooks across the back. I put it back then slid open the next door that turned out to be a dumb waiter. Light shone down in a circle in the centre and the whole was filled with lint and dust and of course spider webs. All the doors on that wall proved to be dark and decrepit. Then I head my son call and I turned around to find corridors/hallways made of glass and rows of white cupboards that had things left behind by the previous tenants. I thought maybe a church group had had the place before me because the things were all kinds of art and craft with theology themes. My youngest son called out that he had found a kitchen and I began to feel more hopeful and optimistic. It was a weird dream and very very realisitic.

Okay so I took some photos of the last three days themes which I neglected to upload yesterday.
Today, day 7 is Pattern
one of my sons is attempting to coach me into solving a cube. I have only once in my life been able to do so with the slow and deliberate use of the instruction manual. My son finds me a very frustrating student. The stripy cup is a good pattern simply because it adorns a cup filled with tea. There are other patterns in this picture, a pattern of pop culture items, timber grain, wood panels on the little beach house, a pattern of knots in the ropes, even a pattern in the order of doctors. If I had expanded the scope I would have the pattern of a dr who scarf further along the shelf.
This was my ELEVEN picture a little past eleven o'clock is my steam punk watch hanging on my bedside chandelier.

these are my adventure pictures, one is the ocean from a travelling car near Phillip Island on my 1500 trek around Victoria to go to a writers weekend and the other is my time turner, well it helps me work out the time differences between here and the rest of the world so I can coordinate my conversations. International interactions are always an adventure even from the comfort of my very own desk chair.

Today I wrote a 3000 word short story for an anthology of ghostly tales for younger readers. I had already submitted one but some of my story was too much like another so I withdrew it. I am quite pleased with this one. I also wrote another 1500 words on my WIP and have had an altercation that ended in bloodshed between some major characters leaving my MC vulnerable and alone. All a bit worrisome. I am off to do some more as I did promise to complete it this weekend.

Oh I did some more art. I used a set of cheap oil pastels and they are horrid. They don't blend or go on smoothly and they were very frustrating to manipulate so the end result was quite BLAH however I am going to inflict my horrid piece on you so you know never to use cruddy cheap oil pastels.

On the theme of Feast of course and this time my interpretation of feast was books, music, art, stars, trees, maps and learning. Brain feast.

That is it for me for tonight I am going to write some more and then have a visual feast of dwarves and a hobbit and a deliciously scaly dragon.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Thursday and Friday blending

I received a gift in the mail yesterday. My friend Kristy-Lyn who is a mad keen cat person and horsewoman of some skill and renown, as well as a marvelous business woman and maker of exquisite shawls, made me a shawl.  She had been crocheting one in purples and thought "No this isn't right, it doesn't feel right for her(me)" and she went on the hunt for a colour more suitable to how she sees me and settled on a wool called Carnival and we both agree it was so much more suitable to my personality. I met Kristy-Lyn a long time ago. I had just started as the chef in a tiny restaurant attached to a Motel and she was the waitress. She was still in her teens then and she walked to the door unheard by me and backed out very quickly to tell our then boss "She's talking to a scallop? Is it safe?" and he replied "Don't worry she was talking to the oven earlier." We became a fabulous team and many times in the years after, when I was cooking in other venues or catering and I needed  a particularly reliable and intelligent side kick I would call her in. Everything runs smoother when she is around. As a mad keen cat lady she now manages a business established by her family called Catnip which builds and installs modular cat parks. (in case you are curious)Catnip Cat Enclosures Australia 

The thing about Kristy-Lyn that I admire most is her attention to detail. She can wrap a present so beautifully the recipient would be reluctant to open it because the wrapping is so gorgeous. She colour co-ordinates her decorations at special occasions and her presentation of a meal is enough to enhance the experience of the food ten fold. She is a beautiful woman on every level and I am proud to know her. 
She certainly does create things with love.

I will be very warm when I am out and about during the wintery evenings to come.

It is odd how the days fly past so quickly. On Wednesday evening at my public speaking club we had a round robin impromptu speech on 'time flies'. Each member spoke for a minute or two on how time speeds past. I spoke about time being malleable and how a minute of speech seems like an hour until the bell rings and yet a month of sunshine on a tropical beach flies by in minutes.

Yesterday I was going to take a photo of my favourite clock at 11 o'clock because my clock is a back to front clock. So will have to wait until 11pm to do that and put it up here as my 5th photo. The theme fits right in with the speeches because it was 11 o'clock. The next topic for the picture a day challenge is ADVENTURE and I wonder what would be a good representation of adventure? Hmmm I will come back and upload the photos.

 I submitted a story at 2.30am. I had sent it off to an agent who never responded so I was thinking about where next to send it when a friend said "Why not the publisher I am with?" I was a little puzzled because for some reason I had it in my head that they only produced anthologies even though my friend had said on several occasions that his novels were with them. I am making the excuse that it was because he writes horror and I wasn't writing horror so I took a look and lo and behold they don't JUST produce anthologies or publish horror. pfffft I am a silly willy walnut head as another friend would say. So at 2.30 I submitted my novel after reformatting it to their submission guidelines.
Paul Flewitt by the way is an awesome writer and I am proud to say I was one of his earliest (non family or close friends) supporters. He is currently an author with CHBB/Vamptasy    and is writing the sequels in his story line about Poor Jeffrey. This the the tale of teenagers learning  the occult actions they take to overcome the grief and loss of their friend Jeffrey have  sinister outcomes, especially for Jeffrey. Here's a review in the UK HOrror scene

I attended a fabulous seminar yesterday morning at 6am. It ran for an hour and fourty minutes and had some excellent tips and ideas about my writing journey and how to become more professional in my approach to writing. The host  Jeff Goins had a very clear presentation with key points and used all the best training techniques to emphasise the suggestions he was offering.
Unlike many other seminars I have attended recently, Jeff gave one hour and twenty minutes of top quality training and spent ten minutes answering questions and ten hawking his courses and products. I really appreciated this and was very pleased with the wealth of information I came away with without feeling pressured to join his for fee group. If I had the where-with-all I would sign up happily because if his seminar is a taste of the greater course it would be worth every cent. 

On a crazy note. I spent fifteen frantic minutes looking for my glasses last night. I need my glasses more and more often at the computer because I am writing thousands of words a day and it puts a strain on my eyes. I gave up and went to make a cup of tea and my very tall son informed me I had hidden my glasses on top of my head and no wonder I couldn't find them.
Today I was so engrossed in my word smithing that I forgot I had put the kettle on. My computer nerdy boys finally sensed the hot metal glowing red empty kettle and turned it off then came to inform me I had burnt water.  I am building my reputation as an eccentric crazy creative. I am a writer and artist after all. 
Now I really need to go and put my main character MC through a really hideous climactic event and finish this work in progress WIP by the end of the weekend. I really don't want to finish it because I love my characters but all good things must come to the last page and I promised my beta readers I would finish this weekend.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

diversity, anti bullying and ordinary things

STOP the BULLY Blog Tour June 2-11

2 June STOP the Bully Release Party & REVIEWS           http://
Sally Odgers Interview
3 June Jill Smith Review
Charmaine Clancy Interview

4 June Sally Murphy 10 QUICK Qs

5 June Melissa Wray Interview
Yvonne Mes Interview

6 June Ali Stegert Counsellor Interview

7 June Kids Book Review CURLY Questions

9 June Bug in a Book Review
Jackie Hosking Interview

10 June June Perkins Interview
Robyn Parnell Interview

11 June Nicky Johnson Review 

ktyrrell-stopbully-cover-webpromo-3Dbook (2)Karen Tyrell has organised a blog tour and give away of her fabulous book Stop the Bully. the links above are all the people hosting the blog tour and I strongly recommend you take a look and share the sentiment of stopping bullying.

STOP the Bully is well-paced and energetic aimed at mid-grade readers. The character's are kids we can relate to and the message is more than the issue of bullying.  

FMS Photo A Day
Okay my picture for  ORDINARY  caused me to think a lot about what makes a thing ordinary.
  1. 1.
    with no special or distinctive features; normal.
    "he sets out to depict ordinary people"
    synonyms:usual, normal, standard, typical, stock, common, customary, habitual, accustomed, expected, wonted, everyday, regular, routine, day-to-day, daily, established, settled, set, fixed, traditional, quotidian, prevailing More
    "the ordinary course of events"

noun: the ordinary; noun: ordinary; plural noun: ordinaries; noun: Ordinary; noun: the Ordinary; plural noun: Ordinaries
  1. 1.
    what is commonplace or standard.
    "their clichés were vested with enough emotion to elevate them above the ordinary

I walked around my house looking for things that are ordinary parts of our life. The dishwasher was my first thought because we have to wash the dishes every day but my dishwasher is a new thing. I purchased it last year after saving for it and it was something I had resisted for a long time thinking the battle lines over the dishes had to be crossed and a victory of some sort needed to happen. I gave up the battle and achieved my victory. We use so much less water now but more electricity, so it wasn't really ordinary. So I thought about the grassy back lawn currently being chomped by sheep and thought but in a drought stricken country, green grass is not ordinary and it is certainly not ordinary to have sheep mowing it in an urban back yard. So to the laundry then. My washing machine, the daily chores of washing the clothes and i said yes that is definitely ordinary but then it isn't because my washing machine is covered in language labels and there is a whole story behind my owning it and it was part of the independence training of my children who took over their own washing as they grew and it has all its own little foibles that make it a little bit unique.  I settled on the washing machine but I am now thinking there are not that many things that are totally ordinary. I am so grateful that i have both a working dishwasher and a working washing machine and i can afford to run both. That is not ordinary, that is wonderful.