Friday, December 30, 2011

Good News All Around

Well, to start off, I thought I'd let you all know about my other article which came out right before the holidays about handing a long-distance relationship while apart for the season. I've had a few people thank me already for it, which makes a gal feel good. Having been in those shoes, I wouldn't wish them on anyone.

Having said that, one big celebration for me this Christmas was getting engaged! My fiancee surprised me with a ring in my stocking. Props go to the fine jewellers at JP Miers, who designed the ring for him.He made sure to get an Australian sapphire and diamonds, too, which I was glad for on a ethical level.

I hope you all have a happy holidays! I've started diving into my writing again, so I suspect I won't be coming up for air much.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Pause Before the Storm

This December is vastly different from last years. I'm writing full-time, working part-time, I'm enjoying summer(!) in Australia (!!), and I think my book draft, as much as I love it, will give me an asscramp by the end of it all.

But since I'm still in my little interim period of vacation between drafts, I thought I'd take a moment to point out my latest article has come out about finding a home overseas. I've got another one expected to come out soon as well.

I've read 4 books this week, and I'm finishing up a beta read for my friend's first half of her epic fantasy. Seeing her work makes me feel like a lazy poop for having a novel that's 'only 90k'. Although then I don't have the big draft issues, so there's that, I suppose. :o)

Then there's the company Christmas party tomorrow at my fave Thai place, and prepping for our quite little Christmas here. It may not be filled with tons of people, but I love it.

Of course, I've not yet dived into my draft, so ask me in a few days how I feel.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Draft Completion Afterglow

I should have posted this the day I finished, but it was pretty late into the night, and I was too tired to do so. I've finished draft two of my book, yay! I'm having a delicious week off from it while I catch up on other things (hello, overdue articles, emails, and blog posts).

The past six weeks where I did nothing but focus on my draft has been hard, but worth the effort. The results are really good, and I'm looking forward to editing it after my week off.

Onward and upward.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Of Course I'm Writing!

And we can all pretend like I'm not avoiding editing, for just a few minutes, yes? Ok then.

For the past two months, I've buckled down on finishing my current draft. I'm pleased to say the end is near.

At least for this draft.

What, you think a book is done in only 2-3 drafts? Oh, no, gentle reader, it is not. A book takes as many drafts as you, your agent, the publisher, and the vampire hamsters chasing you demand.

I'll have this draft finished in just over a week. Then it's out to a friend of mine to read for story inconsistencies.

Then, the next round of editing - fixing any story errors (which shouldn't have any, I hope), and editing for word usage. That should take about another month, and if I'm really lucky, less.

Then agent hunting, which will culminate in more edits.

If/when the book sells, more edits.

Then the vampire hamsters demand their share of the plot. Let's just say there are a lot of steps.

Funny Australianisms

When you live in a culture different from what you grew up in, it's not big things you realize are different, but subtle differences which come up and bang you on the face, leaving an expression that generally leaves the natives shaking their heads.

In my case, I find the differences to be generally amusing.

For example, living here is like living three years in the past. Technology isn't cutting-edge. The Kindle debuted in August and it was a Big Deal. Most Australians will never know what the white, first gen ones were like, because the ones being advertised are the second gen. And supposedly the current, third gen Kindles are here, but I haven't seen them, so my source may be misinformed.

I bought the new Kindle for cheaper than buying here would cost me, even with shipping.

Another funny thing - watching TV shows which are a season or two behind the US. Now to be fair, many are current (such as Big Bang Theory), but the ones which are a season behind are amusing. I feel like a time traveler who can't tell her culture the secrets of the future. 

Experiencing November as summer is unsettling, especially since the Christmas decorations are up. Tinsel everywhere, and no arguing about the propriety of baby Jesus on public buildings.

Sometimes the differences are quite annoying, such as paying out the nose for internet. Blazing fast speed here is ADSL2, which reaches a whopping 1.2meg download speed.

*twirls finger*

At some point, I'm going to write a post about actual Australianisms, which is the slang used here, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kindle, NoooOOoooOOOoo!

As of two days ago, my Kindle hath broken.

It was an accident, and although I was lucky enough to receive it as a gift (and didn't have to pay for it), I'm wondering if getting the new one, which'll be so much smaller, will be weird, as I'm now used to having a 9-inch screen to read off of rather than 6 inch. I'm going to head down to Dick Smith's at the end of the week to pick up a new one. It's my reward for finishing all of my new scenes, and since I have one new scene left to write, and then it's rewrite time.

I'm so excited, out of all of my book left, I've got about 8 scenes I need to do some fiddling with, then I'll be printing out my book to do a full pass at it. Yay!

Agent hunting commences at the end of this month. I refuse to be late to that deadline.

It's funny how once something becomes serious to you, how willing you can be to make it work. And build a routine. It's been a long, hard road to get back to a place where I'm ok sitting down and writing every day, due to so many personal issues coming to fruition at once, but I'm so glad I'm here.

In unrelated news, holy heck it's getting hot here. I've never had a warm, let alone hot Christmas, so this is going to be one weird set of holidays for me. In some ways, my brain doesn't fully comprehend that I should be awaiting Thanksgiving. Turkey day isn't celebrated in Australia - they don't even have their own version, but the plethora of other parties they have makes up for it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Writing Successes and Goals

Last week was filled with many writing successes as I pounded out a hefty 10k new words for my novel. I'm working to finish the major edits, which includes adding a few scenes, before the end of the month.

Currently, I'm mostly on schedule. Flogs will ensue if I go off. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I moved!

One of the joys of living here in Australia has been finding my own place. It took almost two months to find a place as the first rental company we tried to work with never came back to us with anything. It was horrible, I can't imagine them actually managing property. So we switched companies, found a place, and actually received responses and a confirmation within two weeks.

Lo and behold, we've moved to a lovely two bedroom unit that's newly renovated.

I won't get into the internet saga, but let's just say it took over two weeks to get the phone connected and then another week to get internet. Ugh. We were charged over $400 for the privilege in total. I almost went into shock at the connection fees. Australians can never see what Americans pay for their stuff, or they'll all rebel. :P

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Great Writing Advice and Update

My latest article is out on I hope you enjoy it!

Also, my friend sent me this video advice for writing. It's great, everyone who wants to write should watch it:

This is the sort of stuff that gets repeated time and again, yet no one listens. So often, new writers assume there's some sort of magic secret where those of us who have published sit down, magically flow out 3000 words in an hour, then head off to our book clubs. It's not like that. It's butt in the seat, staring at the screen, and typing it out no matter how terrible it sounds. And then editing as much as it takes for it to shine.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Let's Get Personal

I've now lived in Australia for two months, and things are going well, if a bit crazy. In that time, I've travelled along New South Wales's coast, enjoyed eating Australian style food, and learned that kangaroos are kamikazes around cars. I've started a part-time job, worked on my book with an eye towards being done in August, and I've been setting up my life here. I've read about a dozen books since getting here, and I'm working on plenty of others.

Oh, and I've been writing these nifty articles - and yet another one is out.

Sometimes when I give myself grief for not having enough done, I realize I've done more than I realize. Yes, I wish I had more writing done, but not having a writer space and still working means I'm overcoming my obstacles, one bit at a time.

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Article out and Some Chit-Chat

Business first: my article about long-distance relationships and figuring out how to close the distance came out on Sunday.

I've been getting good feedback, but here's hoping more people will keep reading and responding with enthusiasm or sending the articles on to people they know - this pleases my editor, who in turn is happy with me. We like a happy circle.

Second of all, I know I haven't been chatty much lately, and certainly not as much as I'd like to be. Ever since I landed here in Australia, it's been a whirlwind of setting up my life and making myself get into a writing routine - which has been a struggle, since everything is still a tad chaotic. In a good way, but still chaotic.

A good writer who wants to get published gets their bum in the seat and writes what will be sent off to agents. Writing also requires a good amount of reading - not just for the obvious assistance in writing, but also to check out the competition, and for fun and relaxation when you can get the writer mind to stop critiquing every sentence. Ha!

My big find this year is the Fever series by Karen Moning. It's an urban fantasy set in Dublin, and is all about a girl who goes through this amazing personal journey as she rises up to save the world from an evil Unseelie (read: fairy) artifact. I'm partway through the fifth and final book, and I just have to gush for a moment about how much I love this series.

When I read the first book, I almost put it down, which is the kiss of death for my reading. There was a lot of repetitive back and forth with the primary characters as they attempted to figure one another out, and it was - well, annoying. But I kept reading past those chapters because the world hooked me, and I'm so glad I did. The characters grew into people and breathed life into a complex, yet easily understandable world. There's so much going on here.

Suffice to say this is my series recommendation of the year for someone looking for an excellent urban fantasy to get sunk into, who likes a more thriller-esque, dark tension with fairies, strong sexuality (not softcore sex scenes, just plenty of tension), a story that's not all rainbows and kittens, and yet manages to give us the happiness amongst the horrific happenings.

I can't wait to finish the last book.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My first long-distance relationship article is out!

It's a good feeling, writing about a topic near and dear to my heart.

Here is the article link for anyone interested.

I would write more, but alas, I just came back from a lovely drive along Australia's Southern coast, and have nothing to show for it except a full tummy (the best cafe I've ever been to), a pile of chores and a happiness that winter includes many 70 F days.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Writing Gig

Starting this month, I'll be writing regularly for a blog about international long distance relationships. As some of you know, I recently moved to Australia to live with my boyfriend. I'll be posting links soon!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Book Challenge/Kindle Lovin'

I took a challenge this year to read 100 books. As a voracious reader, I felt it was a goal that was challenging but manageable. And I've learned all about making sure goals are manageable. Shooting for the stars is great, but really, the rest of your goals should be ones you can accomplish rather than scurrying towards them will due force until burnout forces you to stop.

There's no point in that.

This week I knocked three books out of my list - 10-12, respectively. Although I've previously only put my review on Facebook for my friends, the Book of Faces isn't very good for going back to see what one has read. It's nice to be able to help friends find books, and I enjoy the challenge of helping people find that next beloved story, so maybe these reviews will help someone else. Or at least I can find them when I need to recommend a book next time for someone.

I have a confession about this book - I've read it before. In fact, it's one of my favorite books, and I've read it every year since it came out. Between my reading and other people's borrowing of it (hey, it's a great story!), I've worn out two copies of it in paperback. So this time, I thank the Kindle Gods as I downloaded one of my beloved stories, and reread it.

This is the type of story where the mix of fantasy, with a nice little romance and a healthy dose of amusement all roll into the best take on fairy tales I've ever read. Don't mistake it for a fairy tale rewrite - this isn't the type of book where Snow White is conceptualized in a 'new and fascinating way." No, what this book (and the series) is about is why fairy tales are shaped the way they are - and how how fairy godmothers use this power to help shape the stories, bringing out the good and trying to avoid the bad. It is, simply put, the best way of rediscovering fairy tales and thinking how they work I've ever read. And the delightful mishmash of these tales is just hilarious.

If you ever enjoyed fairy tales, this is the book for you.

I originally grabbed this book last summer, and due to my insanely huge book pile, I simply didn't get a chance to read it until now. This book is an urban fantasy thriller/mystery, and it focuses on the Fae rather than werewolves or vampires (although vampires supposedly exist, but since I'm on book one, I can't verify that). Out of the faery urban crush of the past few years, this one's had one of the better story ideas behind it, and I applaud the author for using the traditional wide variety of Faekin as mentioned by the ancient Celts. The story is interesting. The world-building is very good.

The writing - well, it's not terrible, but it has a few definite bad habits that I found distracting.

Overall, if you can get past a few writing issues, and some of the lukewarm characters (they start to grow on you by midbook, and become much better by the end), and you enjoy fantasy, then this is a book for you.

So, this is the third book in the Dresden Files series. I wasn't a fan of the first two. Book one was ok, and book two stank, but the third possessed all the potential I saw from book one realized. This fantasy/mystery series possesses a healthy dose of sarcasm to lighten the tension and a plot that's fun to follow along, although occasionally his leaps of logic feel just like that - a tad incomprehensible, but mostly, a solid mystery read that leaves you wanting more.

And having read two of these books on my Kindle, and started two others, I am officially hooked. It's so convenient! My poor money - now I can get easy access to the books I crave... dun dun dun.

Sunday, March 27, 2011



Ok, I was originally skeptical, but I am sold on my new-to-me Kindle. Thank you, my friends, who generously donated their Kindle to me. I think this means I'll be giving them free book copies for awhile. :)

Being able to purchase things from the American store and keep up with the latest releases stateside is a big relief. No ungodly shipping, whoo.

Except for those that aren't ebooks, but I can work those out. No worries, eh?

One week until I am self-employed!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


When people tell me they want to or can write a book, I always want to reply "Do you have any idea how much preparation goes into that?"

But then I'd sound like my mom, so I don't.

Seriously, though - nothing drives home this point more than one of my pending projects. As I prepare to go into full-time writing mode in May, I've dug up one of my favorite projects I've had to put on hold for almost two years due to the extensive amount of research I need to do.

I'd actually had difficulty digging up source material for this particular piece - there are a lot of facts I need about the historical setting, and I just couldn't find the raw data I needed to make it accurate. And I didn't want to pull it outta thin air. It's a surefire way to get people grumbling.

This morning, however, using the connections I made, I finally made serious headway into finding the sources I need to get the work done.

I can't wait to write this book. It's just as interesting as my fantasy/mystery writing has been, and I'm prepared for yet another long haul filled with reading, notes, and charts before I can write this story down.

Don't kid yourself, I had to do the exact same thing with my personal series, only it was tougher because I had to make everything up in a way that makes logical sense. Yes, magic can make logical sense - it just requires a lot of forethought.

I can't wait for May - so much to do!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Backing Up Data

This past Monday, my computer video card failed. Because I've been planning to move, however, I'd purchased an external harddrive and placed all of my files, from writing to pictures to music, on it.

Never forget to back up your files! You never know when something's going to explode.

As it is, I've plugged my external drive into my laptop and carried on with writing like nobody's business. :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Big News!

It is officially official - I will be spending the next year working on my writing career in Australia. Whoo!