Sunday, January 28, 2007

My Saturday

What a day! Minding my business, driving to my writer's meeting, I had a tyre blowout. Of course it happened on a bad stretch of the highway with very little room to pull over. And my shoulder has been hurting for the last couple of days, so I couldn't even lift the spare tyre out of the boot. Luckily for me, a knight in shining armour stopped, helped me nurse the car up the road to a stopping bay, and helped me change the tyre. It's one thing to know the theory, but another to have to do it, especially when you don't have the strength.

So I spent last night doing some calculations on how much I need to spend on my car to get it back up to scratch as my registration is due at the end of next month. Time to get a loan application in but still the cost is very good considering I'm driving a 25 year old car and have had no mechanical repairs required. The costs have all been or will be for tyres and cosmetics. The car should be good for at least another couple of years once I get a new bonnet on it, and a paint job.

The writer's group meeting was really good and inspiring. Five new members - a great start to the new year. And I read my Cinderella story and received good feedback. Encouraged by this, I finished the extended version (i.e over 3000 words instead of 1800 words) today so that I can mail it to the competition this week. Somehow in the melee of yesterday I lost the entry form, so when I get to work tomorrow, I'll send out an emergency email to see if anyone can provide me with the relevant magazine.

L to R: Diane, Jennifer, Carrolline, Roby, Sue

This photo was taken at the farewell luncheon for Jennifer (second from the left). Jen was our president but has now moved to Melbourne so Carrolline has stepped up to the plate to become president.

We also did a 10 minute writing exercise in which we had to include all of the following words: luckily, cultural, eggplant, client and overhead. It's amazing the different ideas that people came up with.

Here's mine:

Sheila trudged through her market garden to her prize eggplants. She eyed them with pride. Surely she'd be in with a chance to knock Hilda McGeachin off her pedestal with these beauties. Bloody Hilda, if she wasn't taking out gold cups and blue ribbons with her steroid-filled tomatoes, she was boasting about the circumference of her zucchinis or the purple hue of her aubergine.

Overhead the clouds grumbled as a rainstorm threatened. Luckily, Sheila had finished her chores for the day, and could take refuge inside with a nice cup of tea. But she'd pull the shade cloth over the stakes just in case. She hadn't been doing a raindance half an hour earlier. No way - she'd been dancing up a hail storm to fall down on Hilda's crop just as she was ready to harvest.

She smiled to herself as the hail stones plonked on her tin roof. That would put a big dent on Hilda's plans to dominate the only cultural event in town. And the tea tasted damn good -- a new herbal mix from her newest massage client. Bit of a looker he was too, could have had some Apache Indian in him. Something like that. She owed him a massage on the house for that hail dance lesson.

I borrowed the character of Hilda McGeachin from Bilby Creek, the setting of Making the Cut.

I have also come up with a few ideas for a monologue. Finally! As this is our big group project, I didn't want to let everyone down by not coming up with something. So I will let my subconscious toss it around a while longer before I start to write.
The house is quiet again. Not so much fighting over the internet or the remote because the teenager has gone back home to the big smoke. (Hee, hee - it's back to school on Tuesday) Here she is avoiding the camera (delayed shutters can be a real pain sometimes) and securely attached to her mobile phone. The contraption will have to be surgically removed one day.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hanging out at the carnival

I had a few hours to kill in town the other night so I wandered down to the Jetty and took some photos of the Carnival.

I've never been one for wild rides, but it was interesting watching other people on the rides. The expressions change as the ride moved faster or in an unexpected direction.

In this photo on the left hand side, the monster's hand is between the two exit doors. He kept poking his head out to entice the kids to enter The Temple of Doom. It was great watching the little's kids faces when they came out of the ride. So many young kids I noticed at the carnival were covering their ears, blocking out the loud music and loudspeakers. And I've noticed this reaction with young kids in my own family. So I wonder when they reach the point that loud noise is suddenly okay for their eardrums, and they stick earphones right in their ear, and turn the music up to '11'.

Diary of the Future is now uploaded to so I can have a copy to stick on my bookshelf and inspire me to finish the editing and send it to a publisher. The editing isn't done as yet. So much other stuff going on, including training for the new role at work -which I'm going to love. But I managed a copy edit so there should at least be no typo's left in the book. Things like typing 'head in his pocket' instead of 'hand in his pocket' and 'chickout check' instead of 'check out chick.' I still want to rewrite the beginning of the story to change how Nicky acquires the diary.

It took until 2.30 in the morning to upload it all to - I probably should not have converted the document to a PDF myself, because it kept reformating it to a larger size, meaning the text was going to be smaller when I changed it back on the lulu site to novel size. And then the cover took 20 minutes to upload by itself. Meanwhile, my eyes were falling out of my head, and I was wondering how I was going to function at work the next day. But I perservered and went to bed at 2.30am, knowing it was done.

I've been receiving great feedback on the Cinderella story, so I'm pumping it up with another 1200 words to bring it to the 3000 word minimum for a major short story comp which is closing at the beginning of February. Cinderella now has a major shoe fetish - wonder where she developed that?
We watched Candy last night with Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish. It was interesting seeing the movie after hearing Luke Davies talking about it at the Byron Bay Writers Festival. And I can't imagine how long it took to set up the scene where Candy writes her story all over the walls of the house.
I'm also catching up with the second season of Love My Way. But today I need to do some writing/editing.
Why do the weekends go so fast?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Diary of the Future cover

The editing is happening, although not as fast as I would like. By 3pm yesterday afternoon, I was exhausted (post Nano, post holiday exhaustion perhaps), I laid down and woke up three hours later. Then this morning I slept in again. Guess I needed the extra sleep.

I have designed the cover for the lulu copy. I'm not going to be releasing the book for sale. At this point, the lulu copy is just for my bookshelf to inspire me. A real novel with my name on it. Goal: a real novel with my name on it and a major publisher's insignia on the spine.

I had been looking at diaries on ebay, but a lot of the more unusual diaries looked a bit on the evil side and I didn't want Nicky's diary to be that obvious. So I ditched the sculpted diaries with monsters, dragons and pentagrams and pulled out a trusted journal from my collection, added the 'bag of words' that Nicky refers to in the story, scissors, pen and a glue stick, and matched the title font to the gold on the 'diary'. I love digital cameras, and photoshop - so cool.

I added a back cover blurb and there you have it: a cover for my 'novel'.

Now to finish editing the stuff that will go in between the covers.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Another fog

Saturday morning and another fog.

So as promised, I got up early (7.30 is early for me on a Saturday morning), hopped in my car, and took some photos of the valley.

Can someone remind the weatherman that this is summer?

It's the 6th January, I live on the East Coast of Australia - it's supposed to be hot.

Now its time for me to get off the net and do some editing.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Finally, the weekend arrives

Why is it that the four days at work following a public holiday seem to go longer than any five day week? Yes, I've been hanging out for the weekend. And finally it is here.

The work week had its ups and downs. The up was a request for me to take on a new role, something I have been working towards for a while, so that was very welcome news. The downs - well, the usual downs that occur in working in a bureaucracy with fixed ways of working. Enough said. It's the weekend and I enter a fantasy world for the duration.

I wish I'd had my camera on the way to work this morning. The fog was incredible, low lying in the valley, a thick blanket covering all the trees. Beautiful! But what the -? We're supposed to be in the middle of summer!
If I wake up tomorrow and it's the same, I'll go out and take pictures. But judging by the weather this afternoon, I doubt we'll have another fog in the morning.

So I've been in a bit of dilemma the last few days. My original plan was to edit Making the Cut and polish up for submission. But as I'm working on Diary of the Future in preparation for the Nanowrimo winner offer from, I'm thinking that perhaps I should concentrate my energy on that. So that's now the plan. And I'll be spending my weekend immersed in the landscape of Diary, editing, rewriting, preparing a cover. I need to make the most of the weekend as my partner is away so I won't have any interruptions. Plus he's bringing his 16 year old sister back for the remainder of the school holidays - she can be my beta reader as she is the same age as the main character.

So my draft copy is printing now. 196 pages. I don't know how many scenes that will be but I'm ready to immerse myself into Nicky's world.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

So, it's 2007 and I'm awake.

A quiet celebration last night. Dinner at the local pub. Listening to a local singer. And then home in time to watch the fireworks on Sydney Harbour on television.
No New Year resolutions. They will only be broken and forgotten.

Seriously, I think the last time I wrote down resolutions on New Years Day was 1984. And the final one was 'to expand my horizons, form new friendships, renew old and precious friendships and have a completely fulfilling, rewarding and successful year in everything I do...'

Ah! The idealism of youth.

The dreams of a 16 year old.

And I must add, that for the previous resolutions written in that diary, I've added 'HA!' in red pen following each of them.

I'm thinking about writing a Things to Do before I'm 40 list. Up the ante on the 'Things to do before I die' because the clock is ticking.
Can you believe it's 2007? No. Neither can I. It seems like only yesterday I was running around in a millenium bug costume, New Year's Eve 1999. Sorry, I don't think I have any photos of the bug moment.
But apparently it's now 2007. The clock is ticking.
So, a few time specific goals for 2007.

By January 16, I will have done a simple edit on Diary of the Future, designed a cover and uploaded to to take advantage of the free printed copy.

By January 27, I will have written an essay for my writers' group's annual competition. (I don't really want to hand that trophy back).

By February 28th, I will have completed editing Making the Cut, and sent out a cover letter, synopsis and three chapters to an Australian publisher.
That's enough for now! I can't think beyond the first two months of the year. I need to leave some room in the calendar for new creations, revision and submission and the ongoing updating of the Chickollage shop.

Speaking of Chickollage, we have added the Baby Boutique, which features cute collage designs by Jennifer Gordon on bibs, bodysuits and kid's t-shirts.

And the clock is ticking on the Ransom Notes Collage Poetry 2007 Diary ebay auctions. Less than 24 hours to go: black and green.

Here is a leaf from the diary, an attitude for the New Year, my collage poem, New Beginning.

I hope 2007 will be your Best Year Ever too.