Category: Writing


 

In-Love-with-a-Fictional-Character.pngThis is something I have done since I first began to devour books. When I was younger I wanted to be George from the Famous Five.

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When I was about twelve I had a huge crush on Atreyu from The Never Ending Story, I balled my eyes out when Artax died in the Swamp of Sorrows.

0133735_42657_MC_Tx360.jpgLater various characters from Feist’s Midkemia filled my imagination. And who wouldn’t want Reilly’s Scarecrow to be their significant other or at least friend. I was never the sort to be swept off my feet by Mr Darcy and the love I felt for characters was mostly familial. I wanted them to be my friends. When I lacked friends in the real world I never lacked for them in my imagination. I would retreat from the teasing and hurt by venturing into other worlds;

Narnia, Crabapple Farm, River Heights, Kirrin Island, Ancient Egypt and the list goes on. I went on adventures with Pug and Thomas, Reepicheep, Tasslehoff Burfoot, solved mysteries with Nancy and Trixie.

Nancy-Drew-vintage-image.jpgAs I got older my tastes changed, but how I read and why I read didn’t. Mother would be a great laugh to hang with, in fact an afternoon spent with Eve and Roarke, Mother, Mercy, Adam and various surrounding players would be my idea of wonderful. On another day, Beka Cooper, Keladry, Annabeth, Caroline and I could all sit down over a civilised cheesecake and chocolate and right all the wrongs in the world, what a glorious day that would be.

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It’s okay if you don’t know a lot of these names that’s your loss, but then you may have a list of names I wouldn’t recognise and that is fine too. Just like in real life we all like different people, so we are all drawn to different characters and stories.

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Characters fill my head, mine and others. I often find them easier to relate to, less likely to cause me grief in any way. It was in these characters that I found acceptance to be me, as silly as it may sound. If girls, and women, such as these, who don’t comfortably fit into a mould, can have friends, family and success, then maybe I could as well. I never felt I fit, not really, but I did with my fictional friends.

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Writing my own stories in some ways has been an extension of this love affair. I never set out to write Evayn as she is now, as the character she is becoming (see what I did there?) She started in fact as what my husband lovingly, or laughingly, referred to as, my naked amnesia chick. Holy heck she has come a long way. (There may be spoilers ahead but only little ones.) Now I know her so well I know when she will roll her eyes, bite her lip or bottle up all that is bothering her. I know that holding steel in her hand calms her and helps her think. I know the dragon in her confuses her and she struggles to embrace that fully, in a way she never struggled with that she inherited from her father. I know her dark places. I’ve been there with her and want nothing more than to be with her at the end of this adventure we are going on.

There are many characters in this world I’ve created whom I’ve become attached to. Some I’ve shed tears over and others I want to slap, I hope that means I’ve done a good job with them because those are the feelings I get when I deal with real people.

Reading led me to writing. Reading has always been a central part of who I am. For me it is something that provides a break to life and all the crap that can be found in it. I willingly say I rarely read non-fiction or literary work. I read to escape not to be reminded of that which actually surround me. Reading has given me people to love and despise without the need to actually interact with people, (and I am a person that a sometimes struggles with being around people). It is also a refuge and that is part of the end result of falling in love with a world and its characters. I have read some books over and over and yes even over (sometimes to the point of the book falling apart). Those books are my safe place to go. There are times when I want to close out the rest of the world and curl up with an old friend, it is like a safety blanket, warm, cuddly and comfortable. Safe.

As a writer I want to write a story people like, a character people love and if I can create a world that people want to return to then that would be my idea of success.

Though lots of book sales would also be an acceptable definition.

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And We Are Live.

So today is the big day. I have been so nervous about this, I’m not going to lie. Writing a book is one thing. Putting it out there for others to read, like, love, hate is totally another – it is so nerve wracking.

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Book one is done, it is out there and people can buy it through Amazon – you can go to different country sites as well, (also my surname has no D in it, remember that)

I never really wanted to self publish, I still like the idea of a physical book in my hand, and maybe one day I will go down the print on demand path. For the moment though, this is what I think will work best for me.

Letting go of that part of the dream was hard. I worked for so long on making it happen. It was even within my grasp. A tough pill to swallow when something you’ve put so much into is ripped away from you. Still you just go on, what else can you do? Well you could give up but why would you. Once upon a time with limited access to money that would have been your only option, write for yourself and give up on the dream. Anyone who is not famous and has tried to get a book published will know it isn’t the easiest thing. Like all things it happens easily or miraculously for a few, for the majority it is a hard slog.

I am now obsessively staring at my computer for updates and comments, which is a fallout of the nerves. I think it would be the best for me to walk away from it for a while. Good thing there is always the next book to work on, and some short stories. A writer’s passion is never really completed I don’t think. There is always something else to write.

Also, I’m taking someone to the theatre for a matinee showing this afternoon, that will be a good way to distract myself.

So to sum it up. My book is out, go to Amazon and buy it, support the nervous wreck I am. Then join my author page on Facebook and let’s talk, but keep it civil, us authors tend to get depressed you know.

Thank you for your support.

Cover Reveal

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I am so stoked today as I get to show you all the cover for my first book. I am so thankful for the artistic people in my life whose talents have made this possible. The artwork was done by Rob S who by the way is an awesome tattoo artist, and the cover was put together by Peter B, who put all the elements together way better than I ever could have.

I have also started an author page on Facebook, look it up and follow my antics. I will also shortly be uploading some short stories to Wattpad.

The game is totally afoot now.

Countdown

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So here is the way things are.

The contract I signed didn’t amount to much in the end because a couple of weeks after telling me editing was starting on my book, the publisher announced he was closing up shop. No heads up, nothing. In fact just before the general email went out I’d been messaging him about cover design.

That was a bitter pill to swallow. It is hard when something you’ve worked so hard for falls apart in your hands.

images.jpegThen I had to decide what I was going to do. Getting an agent is damn near impossible, getting a publisher as difficult. So then there is a third option, one that is much easier these days and a great deal more profitable than it used to be.

The last option is the one I have settled on. So I’ve taken steps to ensure I do this as well as I can. I swallowed my fear and paid for a professional edit. I had someone doing some art for me and I decided that was going to be my cover art.

Stage one then complete with those decisions made.

Stage two, the editor got back to me in a more than timely manner and the feed back was pretty good all things considered.

Stage three, work on the edits from my end. This is turning into a series of levels. A few big edits and then a few smaller ones. The big ones have been done and now it is just some final tweaking. I have also picked up the art I’m using and it is now in the hands of a graphic designer who’s putting the other touches on for me.

I have it planned. Really I do, or at least that is what I keep telling myself. I will do the final edits. Use the art to get promotional stuff printed up. Contribute to a website where people discover new authors and then get up the courage to hit send on the publishing site.

I want this to work. I really want this to work. Despite that hunger it’s still a scary thought.

Stay tuned.

A Little Break

So, writing is a slow process, unless I suppose you are a well known and already published author. A contract has 12 to 18 months on it and that’s if things go smoothly. Sometimes things don’t go smoothly.

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They haven’t for me. I wish they had. More than anything I wish they had. My life is busy and rough enough. There are times I just get tired of pushing, pressing and moving forward. Sometimes I just want to give up.

Thing is I know well enough that I can’t walk away. I’ve been a writer, an unpublished one, for a very long time. I used to sit at my parents dining room table with an old typewriter when I was about 13 or 14 and write up my first stories. Mostly they were mystery/adventure because thats what I read. When I got older I tried my hand at bad high school romance, with characters unlike any I read because I always identified with rougher girls, more troubled girls than I read about.

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I have always written. Writing is my outlet. Sometimes there are so many ideas that I can’t keep up. If I develop even half of those ideas I am going toe busy for a very long time. Problem is I write because I have to write but there is still part of me that really wants to share my stories but I’m not willing to give all those stories away. I did start publishing a couple of stories on line years ago, but I didn’t see it through and no one seemed to care.

Publishing is a difficult mistress. Writing is a cruel bitch to be enslaved to. But I am and I find I don’t mind it much, mostly. Sometimes though the frustration. You try to hold onto the highs but the time between them is so far it can be disheartening.

During one of those lows, when my publisher had things to work through, (life interferes most inconveniently at times) I had to walk away. I was getting irritated and frustrated because nothing was moving forward.

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Creatives can’t just stop being creative though, so I walked back to the theatre. I put on another persons clothes, hair and damn four inch heels and played make believe for a little while.

It was fun and exhausting. See a writer is in many ways a homebody, this writer particularly. Oh I love being on stage, it is an amazing, adrenaline filled experience. Some of those nights though, getting myself off my couch and out of my house was a drag. The reward though… the laughter, the camaraderie, the total shedding of self to play dress up as someone totally differently.

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I love being on stage. The wonderful side effect is now I feel energised and ready to write again. I’ve been able to put pen to paper on a couple of things and feel ready to push in to the bigger ones.

Sometimes you need to step away and reinvigorate the core of you.

No News is…

Writing is a fickle mistress at times. Mistress? Why mistress? Anyway, that little pondering is not for now.

So, no news is good news right? I don’t know, regardless, waiting is hard. I had hopes but I’ve managed to let go of those by now. What I haven’t let go of is my belief in myself. I believe my writing is good enough to sell. I believe my story is good enough that people will want to read it.

All of which is great, but that really isn’t why I write. I’ve already talked about this though. I write because I have to write. If I go for a longish period of time without writing I feel out of sorts. It may not make sense to anyone who isn’t a writer but it is something that just is and I’m good with that.

The problem with creative arts is that for all it is an isolating task, it also needs other people. I need people who can keep me focused, people who are happy for me to use them as sounding boards for some ideas. People who are prepared to read my work and be honest with me about it.

Also in my case I need a publisher, because for me I don’t know that I have the time to wade through the intricacies of self-publishing. I could never do anything without doing it properly and that takes time. The thing with a publisher is they have all these other things going on with them as well. It would be a wonderful thing for me if I could have someone focussed entirely on helping me achieve my goal but this is the real world. So things happen according to other people’s time frames.

I guess this is part of what being a grown up is, understanding that some things take time, and a little, or a lot, of patience. In the meantime I will keep writing, reading and creating.

 

Still Writing

Okay so book one is finished, with beta readers and hopefully my publisher, I’d like to say these things are set in stone but unfortunately I’ve been around various aspects of the creative industries to know that nothing is certain until it is actually out there in the hands of the consumers.

Oh believe me I want it to be done, I want the book published, I want people to buy it, read it and hopefully like it. I also want to get paid for it. Selfish of me I know. I write because I have to write. If I don’t write things feel out of whack. I will probably always write regardless. Is is too much to ask though to be paid for it? I hope not.

I had an argument with a young chap once about not paying for books, just reading pirated versions. I told him he was an arrogant, selfish toad (possibly in more colourful language) for expecting others to entertain him with no compensation. Problem is many feel that way. They don’t see the creative process for what it is, someone’s hard spent time for which they should be compensated.

I am not here today to get into a rant about this. Today is a brief update. Book one is finished, book two has a complete rough first draft and book three has elements to it already complete. For now that series is being walked away from as a delve into another idea. Oh I am so excited about this idea but that is all I can say at the moment. I have been involved in this industry long enough to know sometimes you are just better off not saying anything because so many don’t understand and the heartbreak of rejection is terrible. For now this will be my secret work in progress. I know the first series will likely be finished first, before this second one is properly given it’s wings.

Still I write because I must write.

Oh My Glob!!!

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Wow! I totally had no idea that I’d neglected this page for so long. That is simply terrible. For myself not so much for anyone else. This is my writing blog. The one that details my journey and, let’s be honest, my geeky stuff as well. If I can’t regularly add to this how am I going to manage when I’m published and needing to keep a profile as an author. Of course that is the hopefully vain part of me that dreams that someone will care. A girl has to dream right.

So.

Where did I leave things?

June Nova and a signed contract. Both great things. Now six months have passed and what has changed? Nothing and a whole heap. November bought another Nova tour. Yay!!! These events are my stress relief. They give me the chance to catch up with friends from around the country and shmoose with people I admire from various reactive pursuits and pretend they will remember me the following day. It’s okay I know they won’t but I’m a writer I spend a large amount of time living in a fantasy land.

12279208_10208499849113168_8893095336609938655_nYou may wonder though, how the chaos and busyness of a weekend convention, where I barely get to eat sometimes and grab pee breaks when I can find a minute, can be considered stress relief. Well when you have a day job that many would consider one of the most stressful out there, any kind of change is a relief. Plus I get fun stories and sometimes ever funner (it is a thing now) pics.

12305998_896270337135300_2107145663_nWriting takes up a chunk of my spare time. I have finished my first run though of book two. Even though my intention had been to step away from Evayn and her story for a while and work on something different. The story it seemed had other ideas. It simply would not let me go. I’m not sure whether that was because it was the most unformed part of the whole thing and I had a whole heap of world building to do, or because the characters weren’t ready for a holiday yet. Whatever the reason, the second act is now loosely formed and I’m happy with it.

Now I’ve finally been released to step away from them and have completed three short stories for a friend who wanted to collaborate on a project. The worst part of it all is I’ve written them and sent them off and now I’m waiting for a response. That as we all know is the worst part. What if he doesn’t like them? What if they really don’t fit his interpretation of the very loose parameters he gave me? What if?

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I’m not sure how much that matters though. Well it does and it doesn’t. See writing is really very complicated in it’s simplicity. Full of double meaning and both sides of coins. It matters in that I really do want him to like them. I want him to feel they are useful for the project. On the other hand though, I am really happy with the stories and have a special place in my heart for the characters I created. So yes,it does matter if he likes them, but also it doesn’t.

Confused yet? I probably am, but that is pretty normal for me.

Now those stories are doing what they will in the ether I have begun working on a different project. I’m finding it fun and interesting and not at all sure where it will take me story wise. I have an overall view of it in my head but it is very unformed. How it all shakes out in the end will, hopefully be a very interesting journey for me.

So I have finally done another post, hopefully with this new year, all its potential and all my plans (and a book launch baby!) I will maintain this page in a better manner than last year. That is about as close as I have come to any kind of New Years resolution.

Take care peeps. Enjoy your journey.

I Haven’t Left

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Not really, though with the time that has lapsed between posts it probably seems like it. There is a reason though. I think it’s pretty good but I’m not sure if others will.
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June was my SupaNova month. Mid year con time and I just love it. Sometimes the experience you get from a con is so very different to what you think it might me. Some of the guests will be everything you expect, other far more and some, not at all. It all goes together to make one awesome melting pot of experience. I always love my time at con, I love my con family. For me it is a world so removed from my everyday job they should allow it be a tax deduction under stress relief.
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However that is only part of why I’ve been so absent from this page. I informed my munchkins that due to their materialism Christmas presents were going to be made this year. Sounds great in theory but in practice that means I have to make stuff. Argghhh! That’s not because I can’t but because it is another time consuming thing I’ve added to my list of time consuming activities. Still I have made progress on that front I’m already well into gift three and I’ve found it not a bad counterpoint to my work day. Also I can do it whilst I’m binge watching shows so all good, two birds one stone and all that.

However that is still only part of the story. The biggest part of the story is… I’ve just signed my very first publishing contract!!!! You have no idea how much I’d like to type that in all caps, but then I’d be shouting at you, ah to hell with it…I SIGNED MY FIRST PUBLISHING CONTRACT!!!!
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You have no idea how happy that makes me. Or maybe you do. I know there are plenty of dreamers out there with the same dream as me. What kept me busy though was I went back on the finished manuscript to check a few details and, as always with something you’ve put away for a while I saw things I could tweak. So I tweaked the whole 100 000+ words. Then sent it off and joy of joys got a contract back to sign.

The problem is I know that is just another step on a long road but others think that means the book will be out in a couple of months, so I’ve had to explain that no it will take a bit longer than that. Still not even that takes the shine off my news. So now I’m motoring along through book two so it will be in a really good spot by the time book one is set for release. So all in all my writing journey is progressing well and I hope to make it back here more often from now on.

The Creative

So I am still writing. In fact the writing is going pretty well for the most part. Ideas are coming together, the big picture is falling into place and I really love some of my characters.
But I’m still waiting and it is hard.
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I have however roped in a couple of friends to mock me up book covers. Why you may ask. The answer is simple, visualisation. I want to be able to visualise what my own book may look like. Sure it may look nothing like what they come up with for me but still it gives me something to hold onto.
Also I want to use them as props for a photo shoot I have coming up.
Things at the moment though are busy. There is work, the thing I have to do to pay the bills, whilst I dream of the day that writing will at least help with some of that and I can stop doing OT.
I still network because I believe the day will come when that will really pay off. Of course everyone that knows me will have to buy a book, I’ve told them I don’t even care if they read it, as far as I care once they’ve bought it they can use it to prop up a table if they want.
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On other writing news I’ve been invited into a world and asked to collaborate. That in itself is all sorts of exciting and a little daunting. When writing for yourself you only have to please yourself with the story. When entering someone else’s world and collaborating you also have to please them. Arggghhhh! What if they don’t like the idea that seemed so very cool to me?
Self doubt, such a bitch. I’m sure most authors experience it to varying degrees. Though I can really only speak for myself.
Then, yesterday, my little miss hands me the start of a story she had just spent the last hour typing on a typewriter (yes you read that right – she has in her room an old typewriter I salvaged from when my dad died). The thing is, it was… well I know I’m her mother but it was good, really good and so far above what I’d expect a 7 year old to come up with. She handed it to me and all I could see was potential. And the need to find out what the heck happened next. Yeah the hook was that good. So now, I am determined to find the time to help her develop this as far as she wants.
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There just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes.
The problem with being so busy is finding down time.
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Or more specifically when I do, when I’m flaked on the couch in front of the tv binge watching some series, I feel guilty for wasting time. The thing is though it’s not wasting time. Not really. It is easy to think it is but truthfully we all need to find time away from our projects to decompress. To just step away because if you don’t know it yet, stepping away from your own work can bring a clarity to it. You can see what has been holding you back, what isn’t working, or how to get past that thing that has helps you up for a week. Investing time in the work of other creatives can have the very effect of reinvigorating your own juices.
The other thing I like to do is walk. Running often just clears my mind, sometimes it does more but often walking gives me the chance to clear and pick at story ideas.
Sometimes you just need to do something very different, go and play a game with your kids, have coffee with friends, connect with family.
Writing can be a time demanding mistress but it does us well to remember that sometimes the best use of our time is to walk away.
Keep writing, keep believing.