Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Nano is only an hour and a half away

One hour and twenty minutes to go until Nano kicks off for me but I'm not going to be able to stay up to start writing at midnight. Shame November 1st doesn't fall on a weekend, but it's a weekday and a work day and I need to be awake tomorrow so I can churn out as many words as humanly possible during my tea breaks, lunch break etc.

I have my Nano report card thanks to Cameron Matthews and I have a copy of No Plot, No Problem. And I'm ready to go. I did it last year, so I can do it this year. 1667 words a day. Easy. I've just got to keep the momentum going.

The neighbourhood monsters have been around asking for treats and I've gone through a block of chocolate keeping them happy. When I heard the firecrackers going off, I thought it would be wise to put my car in the shed, away from the little monsters.

Anyway, before I start lying and have to start counting blog posts as Nano words, I'm going to sleep!

Check in tomorrow night with a progress report.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ebay profiling

It's 8.45 in the morning, so they say. I don't believe them. I stayed up very late last night and now daylight savings has stolen an hour of my life and won't give it back until next March.

4 days until Nanowrimo begins. I've decided this year to have a go at writing young adult, as I can finish that in just over 50,000 words and not lose momentum when December rolls around and still be trying to finish a year later. And I have an idea. Finally. And a title. The title is Diary of the Future. I think I can have a lot of fun with this one, and include a lot of teenage angst.

But I've also signed up for the Revision Hell workshop, so somehow I'm going to be turning the internal editor on and off. Letting her out of the cupboard for daily outings so I can finish off Making the Cut and submit it. And submit I will. Yesterday at my writers meeting, I held a contract from the publisher I want to submit to. It was my friend's contract, but it's the first time I have seen a bona fide publishing contract, and not just a sample or a mock-up. Very exciting and very motivating.

When Roby was told that she would be published, I sent her a special congratulations card. On the front it said 'The Writer's Mantra: "I will be a published author" over and over. On the inside it said, 'It's no longer just a fantasy.' because Roby is a fantasy writer. I now have the cards on sale at the Chickollage shop at cafepress.com as well as a romance writer's version, which has red print, and says inside 'It's no longer just a romantic dream.' In addition, I have put 'The Writer's Mantra' on mousepads, mugs, fridge magnets - any product that might help a writer affirm their goal.
(I tried to post a pic but Blogger doesn't want to play that game)

I am bidding on some fabulous stuff on ebay at the moment. A couple of items which will be very useful to get the world of 'I'm with the Band' right. An inside look into the music industry. No more details as I want to win these items, and lately I've been competing against fanatics who have a lot more money than me. Last weekend I had a maximum bid of $25 on a magazine, and my bid was sitting at $22. In the last 8 seconds two bidders swooped and the magazine sold for $57. Way beyond my budget. I hate that. At least in a real auction room, you can see the competition, and the body language gives a clue as to how badly they want the item.

Sometimes, you can see that on ebay as well if your opposition starts bidding early in the game. I knew I was unlikely to win another music magazine when someone outbid me - I checked out their feedback and the items they'd bought, and they were a Keith Richards nut, and the magazine we were bidding on had Keith Richards on the cover. And they did win. But I didn't keep pursuing it. Because I knew they had a passion for it, and the money to spend. Man, I only wanted probably one article out of the magazine!

Another person was bidding against me early on for the magazine that went for $57. I did some quick 'ebay profiling' on her. She is a Countdown fan who buys a lot of boots and faux fur, so immediately I have a picture of a 30 something year old turning up to the Countdown spectacular in her knee-length fur coat. Maybe ebay profiling is a way to turn up some interesting characters for novel fodder.

But I did score a book on Australian rock photography, published in 1991. That will be cool, and I'm sure it will trigger a few more memories.

This week, I've got the place to myself. Friday just gone to Sunday next, as my partner has gone away. Good timing for the beginning of Nanowrimo. So hopefully by the time he comes home, my head will be so far into the alternate realities of Diary of the Future and I'm with the Band, that I won't be distracted.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

13 Concerts or Gigs

Thirteen Concerts or Gigs I loved

1. BLACK SABBATH/ROSE TATTOO Capitol Theatre, Sydney
This is the first rock concert I ever attended. My uncle took me as a 13th birthday present and I think my ears are still ringing. But the light show was amazing!


I conned my father to take me to this one because I was underage. My friend and I ran down to the front of the stage, and Alex Smith jumped off the stage, and leaped onto the table that dad was sitting at, and sang. Dad complained later that he was sweating all over his beer.

3. SON OF SUNDAY, Birkenhead Point

Dynamic Hepnotics, QED (with Jenny Morris), Uncanny X-Men, Moving Pictures.
Aah! The days of free outdoor concerts put on by radio stations as a promotion. Great weather, great friends, great music and great photos including the one I had taken with Alex Smith to the left, 22 years ago.

4. SWEETHEARTS - this rates a mention as a venue itself

Downtown Cabramatta, one of the grottiest venues around. When you finished your drink, you just dropped the perspex glass to the floor, packed from wall to wall - often I only heard the band and glimpsed them briefly over people's shoulders. But the acts were great - Jon English, Swanee, Moving Pictures, Ian Moss, Jimmy Barnes.

The night that Jimmy Barnes played, someone was stabbed. My mother was very relieved when she heard the news the next morning, and found me sleeping soundly in my own bed.

5. k d lang Sydney Opera House (Sexuality tour)

Beautiful voice for a beautiful venue. And with seats only ten rows back (it helps to know someone in box office), the show and k.d.'s performance was magic, especially 'crying'

6. EURYTHMICS Sydney Entertainment Centre Revenge Tour

I lined up for these tickets at 6am (not exactly hard-core) but I picked the ticket outlet strategically and was 7th in line. And I was rewarded. Annie Lennox has an incredible voice and a fabulous stage presence. And the arrangement of the songs in concert are always different to the albums so I feel like I get extra value for money. She ripped her top off in the encore and stood on the speakers above us in her lacy red bra.

At the time, I was having a fling with an older man and he came to the concert with me (along with my uni pals). Almost every song on the Revenge album reminds me of him.

I could easily let the Eurythmics steal another two spots off my 13, as I saw the 'We Too are One' tour twice! and then the Peace tour. Waiting for the next one!


Sometimes you go to see a band and you get a pleasant surprise when you discover a fanastic support act. This was the case when I went to see Tiddas at the Metro Theatre in 1992. Chris Wilson was performing with guitarist Shane O'Mara, and his harmonica transported me to another world. He prowled the stage like a caged tiger and he mesmerised me with his stage presence. I could not take my eyes off him. And his voice...the whole range between a seductive whisper, and a sexy growl. I could listen to Chris Wilson sing the blues, country or gospel. Doesn't matter. Hey, he could even sing me the phone book if he wanted!

8. TRANSVISION VAMP Hordern Pavillion

A fun band and sexy stage show at the Hordern Pavillion. The twelve inch version of Sex Kick was stretched out to many many more inches as Wendy James had an aural orgasm on stage. OMG! It's a shame I lost my 12 inch mix when I loaned the imported CD to my DJ partner.

9. PRINCE Sydney Entertainment Centre

Memorable but scary. Somehow we had ended up with back row seats in the Entertainment Centre and had a view of a tiny little purple thing on stage, the video screens and the whole audience. Everything that Prince said to do, the audience followed. Lucky he is not evil because he had an army of fans, willing to do his bidding.

10. THE ANGELS The Princess Theatre, Brisbane

Doc Neeson - so cool. This concert rocked.

11. JANE SIBERRY Metro Theatre

I only saw the last half of this concert because I was working box office in the venue and had to reconcile the money etc. It wasn't a straight concert because she showed her video clips as well as singing but I loved her voice and immediately went and bought the album, When I was a Boy.

12. DEBORAH CONWAY & WILLY ZYGIER Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay

The friends were getting restless, they couldn't believe that it was 10 o'clock and the main act still wasn't on. But then the duo appeared and soothed the savage beast with their melodies. First, a straight through rendition of the album Summertown, and then Deborah took requests. 'Oh, you want to hear the hit, do you?'

13. JON ENGLISH, Flashez

I could name several venues that I saw Jon English, but this was one of the most inappropriate. A venue that usually attracted an ethnic crowd, one more used to breakdancing than rock 'n' roll. So Jon came along in his tight leather pants, accompanied by the Foster Brothers, and rocked out. He had a go at breakdancing and cracked jokes - my friends and I enjoyed the humour, but the usual Flashez crowd were bemused.

So, tell me about your favourite concerts or gigs:

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

13 Things no longer on the menu

I was racking my brain today trying to work out what to write for my Thursday Thirteen. I thought about telling you about my favourite TV shows over the years, or the thirteen characters from my works in progress. But then I thought about what has been occupying for the last couple of days...and even since the diagnosis in May.

My partner has diabetes. And it's not just typical adult onset diabetes. He has a lot of complications to go with it, so yesterday I was summoned to see the specialist and he gave us the bad news. Very directly, straight to the point. It seems that my partner's body cannot cope with sugar at all. Now he had cut out a lot of the refined sugars and stopped drinking soft drinks but now we've been told that we have to go low-carb and exercise, exercise exercise. If he doesn't lose the stomach, he is f***ed!

So here are 13 things no longer (or rarely) on the menu:

1. Bread
2. Potato
3. Pasta
4. Sweet potato
5. Pizza
6. Tortillas
7. Biscuits
8. Corn cobs
9. Fruit (in excess)
10. Fruit juice (in excess)
11. Chips
12. Sausage rolls
13. Hamburgers

Shopping took twice the time tonight, and I bought less than half the normal groceries. It takes a long time to get around the store when you are reading all the labels.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chickollage 2007 calendar now available

So in my 13 things to do before I die, I said I wanted to publish an anthology of my collage poetry.

Well, 12 poems does not an anthology make - but it does make a gorgeous full colour Chickollage calendar, now available from my Chickollage store at cafepress.

So not only is it a kind of anthology, the calendar is also a practical tool with chick lit attitude for the whole of 2007.

And soon I will start working on poems for the anthology. As colour printing costs are huge, (the reason why I haven't done a colour anthology), I will design in black and white to begin with. Stark and full of contrast, black and white typeface makes a statement all of its own.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

13 things to do before I die

In 'I'm with the Band', Kat makes a list of things to do before she dies, and sets about achieving them in the story, taking her completely out of her comfort zone.

After yesterday's post about my mum, it's probably appropriate to list what I want to do before I die. Live Journal has a complete blog space dedicated to Life Lists. It makes interesting reading, and can certainly trigger an idea or two.

13 Things to do before I die.

1. Be published by a major publishing house

2. Visit the Grand Canyon

3. Learn to bellydance

4. Visit Tasmania

5. Publish an anthology of collage poetry

6. visit Stonehenge

7. visit Frida Kahlo's museum in Mexico

8. go on an Arts Festival crawl around the world

9. visit the Hay-on-Why book festival

10. Have a bidding war over my manuscript

11. Learn to create a web site

12. visit the Salvadore Dali Museum

13. ride the Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

In memory of my mum

Mum cried when I got back from Egypt. She picked me up from the airport and started crying. 'You're supposed to cry when I leave, not when I come back,' I said. And that's when she told me about the lump she'd found in her breast. They did a quadradectomy and then they discovered that the cancer was in most of her lymph nodes. So the chemo started. She jokingly called it Blue Loo, and my Aunt Brenda bought her a Sharpei dog soft toy, who she called Chemo, and took to the sessions with her.

Mum nicknamed the cancer 'Rotten Rodney' and was determined that she would beat it. I sat up late one night on the computer and made a comic book of Tommy Toxall beating Rotten Rodney to a pulp, so that life returned to normal.

Unfortunately, despite mum's positivity and determination, the cancer won out.
18 months after the diagnosis, mum passed away and my brother, my sister, my father her sister, her nephew and I, were all with her.

I lost my best friend that day. The one I could always talk to, no matter what, and who never judged me. The one who always saw the good in people, always was smiling and laughing, and never let anyone get her down. The one who cooked the best roast chook in the world, excelled in chinese banquets and ran a 'cake decorating factory' in the dining room. The one who could rock a row of cinema seats with her belly laugh. The one who loved Stallone, Scharznegger and Australian movies with equal passion. The one who stopped and talked to everyone, and would embarras me (as a teenager) by telling my life story to check out chicks.

There isn't a day that goes by when I don't want to ring her, have a natter, get some sage advice and laugh. But I guess she's still around.

There have been signs. A couple of days after her passing, we talked about giving everyone a mouse from her ornamental mice collection. As I walked past the collection, a piece of icing lace that she had been working on, jumped off the tray onto the ground and shattered. I took that as a 'no'. Then when I returned to my own home, I was telling a friend about mum, when I heard a crash. A light fitting had fallen off the ceiling in the stairwell. And then there was her funeral - the minister had a car accident on the way, one of mum's friends who was waiting on the funeral was on call as a paramedic and attended the accident, and the minister went ahead with his arm in a sling. And then there was the guy who looked like Fabio at the funeral. Nobody knew him. We joked he was mum's secret boyfriend. He'd probably just wandered into the wrong chapel.

And I still dream of her. Vibrant dreams that make me feel I have spent some time with her. It's hard to believe that it's been almost nine years since Mum died and I love her dearly.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Writing Mojo

The story of I'm with the Band is moving along nicely and as I suspected, I have been writing more now that I am back at work. Tea breaks and lunch breaks are really useful, although I may start going to sit in the park to write for lunch, as someone will invariably come and sit with me in the tea room and start chatting.

I went hunting for second hand bookcases today. We had many in the garage of the last house, but by the time we tried to move them the bookcases were falling apart so they were broken up instead. I have a full three meters of space in the wall behind me where we can put some low bookcases. I put silent bids on three today - I'll find out tonight if I get them. My books need a home, and I'm tired of my writing room looking like a bomb has hit it. Yet there is no motivation to sort until I have somewhere to put the books and magazines, and various paraphernalia.

I spent yesterday collating the collage diaries with the fellow members of my writers group. We had a big turn out with many hands making light work - however they are not quite finished - there will be still be more work during the week. Doesn't matter, the launch is still six weeks away.

The diary has week to a page openings, 12 full colour collage poems, flash fiction, haiku, poetry and ransom notes. These will retail for $20 Australian and have been printed as a limited edition - 150 copies only.

There is time to enter the Ransom Notes competition to win your own copy of the 2007 diary. For full details visit Chickollage. Entries close 31st October 2006.

Today I treated myself to two episodes of Love My Way. Haven't seen before as we don't subscribe to cable but I received the DVD's as part of my Quickflix subscription. I'm looking forward to more episodes.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about DIANE


1…. Slow Train to Mexico Chris Wilson

Let your friends know you want to go down in Mexico.'

Woah, what a sexy song. I could keep hitting repeat on this one ALL NIGHT

2. Wings Moving Pictures

'I've heard that angels all had wings...you must have checked yours at the door.

What time does heaven shut its gate? Do you have to be home by twelve?'

Rock and forbidden love, great mixture - just what a teenager dreams about.

3. Sex Kick Transvision Vamp

Wendy James performing this live on stage at the Hordern Pavillion - talk about pumped up. Unfortunately my CD of 12" mixes including this was stolen.

4. Like Wow Wipeout Hoodoo Gurus

"I love the way you talk, you walk, your smile, your style..."

This one reminds of blond spunk I had a brief fling with when I was a teenager. The song still makes me smile.

5. Damn I Wish I was your Lover Sophie B Hawkins.

Another song, another crush. Although it's probably a good thing that I didn't send him a copy of the single because it wasn't reciprocated.

6. Stay on Track Deborah Conway

One of the best female vocalists in Australia. Privileged to see her live at Byron Bay last year, sad to miss her gig in May in Adelaide.

7. Bow River Cold Chisel

'Listen now to the wind babe, listen now to the rain'

With the beautiful vocals of Ian Moss.

8. Last Name the Bluehouse

Beautiful vocals from a lovely duo. First saw these gals years ago on a New Year's Eve at the Cat and Fiddle Hotel in Balmain

9. The Angel and the Madman Moving Pictures

'Did you see the Angel and the Madman? Did you see them as they went by?

...I heard someone saying they were high...just a little bit...not so you'd notice...but enough....enough!'

10. Here we are Tania Bowra

Beautiful love song

11. You Have Placed a Chill in My Heart Eurythmics

'Don't cut me down when I'm talking to you...

Because I'm much too tall to feel that small...'

So hard to pick a Eurythmics song because I love so many of them.

12. Dirty Names Rebecca's Empire

13. You Will Surely Love Again Chris Wilson

And I round off the list with another Chris Wilson song, one of the first I heard him sing, and it gave me hope that I would surely love again.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Why do I want to write when I have to do something else?

The bad news is: I go back to work tomorrow.
The good news is: I go back to work tomorrow.

So why is this a double-edged sword?

I'm always motivated to write when I have to do something else. When I've got nothing else to do, and I'm at home, I can find many many ways to not write, including working on my Chickollage products, hanging out at BlogExplosion, Blog Mad, Blog Advance, reading writers' forums etc. But at the point where I have to work on something else i.e. the day job, or working on my father's accounts - that's when my brain decides it would rather work on my novel.

Case in point today: I drove two hours to work on my father's accounts (glad this is a monthly, not a daily commute) and my brain acted like a food processor: chopping up all the possibilities, rearranging, imagining the missing scenes from the novel. And out of the mixture, there were some interesting results.

So tomorrow at work: I will spend morning tea and lunch writing. And then when I got home, I will have to type it into the computer and keep typing. Good things are about to happen.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Nanowrimo open for sign-ups

So Nanowrimo is now open for sign-ups. Every year I seem to have to reset my password - that's the trouble when you get the computer to remember a password for you, and then change computers!

And at the moment I'm still trying to finish last year's Nano novel, after an extended break. I spent too much time on the collage poetry instead of playing in my character's reality. But that's okay because last year I finished the first draft of Making the Cut a couple of days into November, and then ploughed straight into I'm with the Band for Nano.

I've been trying to put some order into this blog, so I can see where I am with each and every writing project but the zokutou word meter doesn't want to cooperate tonight - you will notice there is no meter to measure the progress of Kissing Toads. So I googled 'word meter' and found this very funny one (below) at Writertopia. It gives you the ability to change the mood, as well as the wordcount. Think I might use this one for Nano, although it will have to be in the main body of my blog, as it won't fit in my sidebar.

I've started a Blogroll for Nanowrimo participants. Drop me a comment with your blog if you will be Nano'ing and I'll add you to the honour roll.

I'm blushing for a good cause

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in honour of the month, this blog has turned pink, along with numerous other websites: see Pink for October.

It's a good excuse this month to eat strawberry filled tim-tams, pink and white M&M's, drink the Mount Franklin water with the pink caps and buy a pink ribbon because it all helps funding research for breast cancer.

I lost both my mum and my grandmother to breast cancer, and my aunt is a survivor. With our support for this cause, there will be many more survivors.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Countdown Spectacular

I couldn't make it to the Countdown Spectacular. The trouble with living halfway between Sydney and Brisbane means that the cost of attending a concert in either city (or even Newcastle) is much more than just the ticket price. And much as I would've loved to have seen Alex Smith perform again, I knew he was only singing 'What about Me?' and I would've been yearning for 'The Angel and the Madman' or 'Wings.'

Yes, it would've been great to see all the other acts wheel themselves out from the vault and sing their hits, but I wasn't able to take time off work, let alone rustle up the money to go. But the good news is, a DVD of the concert will be released for Christmas. I know it's not the same as being there, but still I can put Alex on repeat, for a fraction of the price.

Anyway, Karina went to the Countdown concert in Perth and took these photos, and has kindly allowed me to post them on my blog. You can read her review of the concert on Karina's BajaClub. If you are a fan of Uncanny X-Men, you can also find a link to her fansite.

Now I should be writing my novel, not updating my blog. But I'm facing that triple-headed monster: procrastination, avoidance and fear.
So I'm off to slay the triple-headed monster.

Meantime, talk amongst yourselves. Did you go to the Countdown Spectacular? And what did you think?