Friday, October 03, 2008

Moving blogs

I have a new home.

That's right.

My new blog home is here

So why the move?

I had already set up a wordpress blog because it allows me to add static pages, which means I can excerpt my writing and my writing blurbs. (Hold the Anchovies and Beyond Happily Ever After already excerpted)

Once my critique partner, Kiki, advised me that I could import all my old blog posts, it didn't take much more convincing.

Besides, it's much prettier than the standard blogger themes we have available, and I didn't want to mess around looking for new templates and have photobucket logos all over my blog, because the bandwith had been exceeded.

So if you're visiting here, come to my new blog and say hello!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Having my butt kicked

I really like the warmer weather of spring, but I hate the hayfever. And this year, my allergies seem to be more ferocious than usual. I went to Melbourne with a cold, I came back with a cold and then spring made its debut. Robbie brought a blanket back from Sydney, put it on our bed without a second thought, and that set off a whole different set of allergic reactions. There have been times in the last two weeks where I've felt as if I couldn't breath. And being at work and talking on the phone all day has exacerbated the situation, until I can barely talk without choking up. I tell work I'm allergic to the place but they just laugh at me.
So this afternoon, I'm going back to the doctor. Maybe she can confirm my theory.

While I've been plagued by coughing, sneezing and a stuffed up nose, my head has remained mostly clear, which has been very helpful to keep me on track with the editing to get my partial complete, and my STALI entry finished.

My cp, Kiki, has been living up to her name and KICKING my butt (in a very nice and encouraging way). It's good to be held accountable. Otherwise, I could get lost on the internet, surfing the waves, but never actually making it back to shore.

So after working on Making the Cut for the majority of the weekend, I sent it back to Kiki for another critique.

The workshop by Margie Lawson at the RWA conference was also very very useful. Without a doubt, it is the best editing workshop, I have ever participated in, and I look forward to completing some of her online courses.

I realise I haven't done a collage of Making the Cut. Time to find some suitable pictures.

I'm reading New Moon again. This time a lot slower. The first time, I was so distressed that Edward had left that I rushed through it until he came back. It's better slower. But then again, a lot of things are!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Beyond Happily Ever After appears in Wet Ink magazine OUT NOW!

Okay, so I'm just a teensy weensy bit excited.

A couple of months ago my short story, Beyond Happily Ever After, was accepted for publication by Wet Ink magazine, and now its on the shelves. This is my first sale!

If you have come to my blog looking for a summary of Cinderella, this is not the place to be. However, if you want to know what happened to Cinderella after she married her Prince 'Charming' and you are an adult, then read on:

Here is an excerpt:

Beyond Happily Ever After

And they all lived happily ever after.
That’s what Prince Edward had promised on their wedding night, but Cinderella found that the reality of life in the palace was far removed from any fairytale.

Twelve months after the dream wedding, Cindy showed no signs of producing the expected heir to the throne. Each evening a dozen chefs would concoct a feast containing all manner of aphrodisiacs, but Cindy often felt nauseous and bloated by the rich food. After dessert, the Prince would grunt and grind away, shouting commands to his sperm as if leading his troops into battle. Cindy opened her legs, laid back and thought of the kingdom she now served. Occasionally she wondered if her husband’s sperm had gone AWOL.

Each month as her stomach retained water and she menstruated, the newspaper hounds and gossip magazines published pictures of her ‘baby bump’, and expectation flew around the countryside like clucky hens. Cindy cried as she confessed to her husband that she was still without child.
To read more, go to the Wet Ink website and purchase the magazine...

I had so much fun with Cinderella and her friends, that I expanded the short story into a stay tuned.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Spellbound on Southbank

And now the Romance Writers Conference.... Spellbound on Southbank.

I had an amazing time at the conference. Although I didn't splurge on a room at the Langham Hotel, I was just across the road at the Travelodge so there was no travel time, and I had the delights of Melbourne on my doorstep.

On the Friday, I attended Margie Lawson's workshop, which included the EDITs system (my manuscript is now full of colour, highlighting different aspects) and powering up the emotions. I left the workshop feeling as if I'd learned so much new, amazing stuff that would inform my editing and my future writing.

Friday night was the 'One Enchanted Century' cocktail party, and inspired by Twilight, I went as a vamp with bat wings. (I love my wings, I think every girl should have a pair)

Of course, I wasn't the only vampire in the room: Nikki also looked very cool.

And the devil made and appearance, right next to Nicki the angel:

Kiki was wired for sound and took out a prize for her unique costume.

There was many gorgeous fairies at the party: it was as if 'wings' were the must-have accessory of the night.

But Drinkerbell (Tinkerbells booze hag sister) also made an appearance with a carefully crafted tiara with champagne bottles and cigarettes:

A homage to Lizzie Gardiner's Gold Amex dress, was the Harlequin cover skirt:

And the Harlequin ladies themselves:

One of the highlights of the conference for me was meeting Kiki, my fabulous critique partner, in person.

The weekend was filled with workshops and fabulous conversation. It was lovely being able to put faces to names of the online friends I've made through the 50ks in 30 days challenge, and from the Romaus group. I came back from Melbourne with a request for a partial, and my head swimming with new writing craft information, and my veins coursing with writing mojo!

Bring on the Hot August nights - next year's Gold Coast conference.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wicked the Musical

Seeing Wicked was a huge priority of my Melbourne trip so Jen and I went to the show the first night that I was in Melbourne.

Generally, I am not a musical fan (well except Rocky Horror and Little Shop of Horrors). I usually find the story is only stringed together, an excuse to carry together a bunch of songs.

Wicked is different. Firstly, it's based on the book by Gregory Maguire so it has a substantial story, exploring themes of nature vs nurture, good vs. bad, popular vs freak.

Melbourne, priding itself on being a cultural city, has thoroughly embraced the musical. When we had walked down the wrong end of Collins St, and stopped to ask a policeman where the Regent Theatre was, he could have told us to follow the yellow brick road. (I'm surprised there wasn't one!). But he told us to head back in the direction we'd come, and look for the green lights. It seems that Melbourne has turned Emerald. I didn't manage to get a photo of the Wicked tram but I did spot it (along with the Kylie tram).

We left the theatre absolutely thrilled with the production - it was so spectacular especially the flying monkeys which, to my disappointment, are not featured in the program. Both Lucy Durack and Amanda Harrison (playing Galinda and Elphaba) had fabulous voices and carried the emotional heart of the show, and the storyline of Dorothy's intrusion into Oz worked its way into the story well. I loved the twist at the end, though I suspect that the twist is not part of the original novel. (It's going to the top of my to be read pile).

I took my chances in the Wicked lottery on the Saturday night. Line up 2 & 1/2 hours before the show for your name to go in the little green barrel. As I reached the top of the queue to enter, another woman by herself was writing her name on the slip so we agreed to both tick that we wanted 2 tix so if either of our names were drawn we would get in. Over 100 people turned up to take their chances and as each name was drawn, there were cheers of excitement from the lucky few. Finally, the guy said he only had one single ticket left, and he would keep drawing until someone wanted it. Guess what? The lady I'd made the pact with was drawn out - guess I just wasn't lucky enough!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Looking for vampires

As you know, I've been fairy obsessed with the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer over the last few weeks. I've now read the whole series and have read the first book Twilight twice. And I'm sure it's not going to end there.

Before I left for Melbourne, I packed my bat wings,
and I figured if I was going to find Edward Cullen anywhere, it would be Melbourne - often overcast and raining, full of dark brooding figures in black.
And all that Gothic architecture.
If he needed a holiday anywhere away from Forks but offering the same type of weather patterns, then Melbourne would be perfect. Not much chance of sparkling in the sunshine there.

It seems I wasn't the only one looking:

When I spotted these signs on the drive to the hotel on the first day, I knew I must be onto something. With such first class facilities available, Edward wouldn't even need to hunt. He'd just make a withdrawal. So on my last day to Melbourne, I went back there. But alas, it looks like Edward was still in Forks. Might have something to do with the fact that the sun was actually shining that morning.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Byron Bay Writers Festival Day 2

Day 2 and we were relieved to wake up to blue sky and sunshine.

I began the day by dropping into the Kids Tent and watched Danny Katz and Mitch Vane in action. Danny read from their new book 'The Little Lunch Games' while Mitch illustrated the story on butcher paper. Kids in the audience were then invited to draw their own characters.

Next I noticed the line-up for a fix, as the caffeine addicts stood patiently waiting to get their morning hit. (I'm a reformed caffeine addict although my poison was Coca-Cola)

I attended a session called First Writes: the Path to Publication. In this session Annette Hughes said 'the hardest thing about memoir is there's no end, you're not dead yet' which is how I felt when I was writing the pizza delivery girl tales - trying to work out where it should end! (these publicaion sessions always get me in because I'm still on that first path).

Afterwards I talked to Lollie Barr, who wrote the young adult novel The Mag Hags. and whose by-line I see every week in the paper.

And I couldn't resist asking Aussie Idol Damien Leith for a photo opportunity as I'm a sucker for an Irish accent.

Morris Gleitzman always draws a crowd and the queue in the background of this photo are his young fans eager for an autograph. Perhaps you don't have to be an Aussie Idol after all?

Next session I attended was 'Talking the Talk: Getting the dialogue right' with Max Barry, Virginia Duigan, Michael Gow and Judy Nunn. Max said 'You are writing a story that is taking place in the mind of the readers' summing up that we need to give our readers space to bring their own experiences to the story.

I bought Max's book Company following the session and told him I was nominated him for Foxy Author of the Week on my friend Natalie's blog. So - of course, had to get a photo with Foxy Max!

Next, I dropped by the kids tents again to see the talented and very young William Kostakis exercising excellent crowd control on the youngsters.

It seems that William has been writing about the same character (Courtney) since 6th grade. That's a long long obsession. You can read the results in his young adult novel Loathing Lola.

The next session was We'll Always Have Paris: celebrity versus literary publishing with the heads of Penguin Australia, Pan MacMillan along with the editor of Wet Ink magazine. I introduced myself to Phillip Edmunds as my story Beyond Happily Ever After will be published in Wet Ink next month.

Back at the cabin after a long and full day, we debated a mystery. How did our cabin key end up on our doormat? Well, it seems that the bush turkey was the culprit.

Saturday night dinner options were difficult and after much searching we ended up with two tables at opposite ends of the balcony at Hogs Breath Cafe. After a group near one vacated, we managed to make it one large table and ended up having an interesting conversation about men. But mostly we were exhausted...ready to retire and prepare for another exciting day at the Byron Bay Writers Festival.