Friday, December 28, 2012

So what did Santa bring you?

This year, Santa brought me: 

A sleep in. Thanks, Santa! Best present ever! 

A half hour conversation with a guy called JP in an Indian call centre. We talked about how my internet wasn't working, how confusing it was when you can't remember any of your passwords, and how it sucked to work on Christmas Day. 

Work. Which it turned out didn't suck at all. Because my entire extended family is holidaying in New Zealand, my work friends had to stand in for my Christmas family. And, I have to say, they did a damn fine job of it! 

Rain. We haven't had much of it yet this wet season, so it was lovely. Also, it meant I got the day off from watering my mum's plants. I mean, come on, when I promised I wouldn't let them die, I figured it'd be monsoonal by now. 

Carollers. Seriously. At first I thought the scary neighbours had hit the alcohol earlier in the day than usual, but no! Carollers! Well, a bunch of kids repeatedly singing "Deck the Halls" in shorts and bare feet. Very tropical! 

And a few cute little presents, left by my mum before she went on holidays, because even though we're doing Christmas in January when everyone gets home, mums think of things like that, don't they? They're the best. 

What did Santa bring you? 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dear Agent

Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for my novel, The Nativity, a 75 000 word paranormal romance.

When Mary is visited by an angel telling her that she is to become magically impregnated with the child foretold by ancient prophesy, she is stunned, but not as stunned as her boyfriend Joseph. Ordered to travel to Jerusalem by their Roman overlords to take part in the census, Mary and Joseph set out on a borrowed donkey on the difficult journey. Upon their arrival in Jerusalem, the only accommodation they can afford is in a stable.

Meanwhile, three wise kings, seeking to pay homage to the as yet unborn child, make the mistake of alerting evil King Herod to the imminent birth. Herod, mad with the desire to retain his power, orders the massacre of every male child born in Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph are forced to flee their homeland in an attempt to save their newborn son from what even the angels believe is his destiny: death in Jerusalem. With angels and kings and heaven itself set against them, Mary and Joseph struggle not only to protect their son, but also their own burgeoning relationship.

The Nativity is an epic tale of love and betrayal, set against the vivid backdrop of Roman-occupied Judea. I believe that it would appeal to readers who loved the Twilight saga and Hush, Hush.


Okay, so it was night work and I was tired, but it's still a good story, right? 

Whatever your beliefs, I hope you have a great Christmas and get the chance to spend time with the people you love. Happy holidays! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Avoid Romans

Lazy post today! Yay! 

And it's all thanks to MC, who sent me a link to this: The Digital Story of the Nativity

Have a great week everyone, and -- for those of you lucky enough to have them -- enjoy your holidays! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Me-Writing VS Her-Writing

I haven’t got as much me-writing done this year.

Me-writing is what I call the stuff that you guys know about: Slightly Weird Untitled Project, Eleven, and whatever other generally-YA plot bunnies catch my attention.

But I’ve got a lot of her-writing done. Her-writing is the stuff my pseudonym does. And it brings in actual money, so, you know…yay!

It’s a balance I hope to redress in the New Year, because I love my YA stuff. In some ways it’s a lot grittier than erotic romance (look, I can write the words now without giggling!), and that’s coming from someone who is already establishing a bit of a reputation for writing fairly gritty erotic romance.

No twoo wub on my watch, bitches. Okay, there has to be a Happily Ever After — publisher stipulation — but where would be the fun in that if I didn’t get to seriously put my characters through the wringer first? No, there would be no fun at all.

Sidenote: if I started a Sadistic Writers Group, who would be with me?

Anyway. One thing I’ve discovered from talking with other writers of erotica is that there are more than a few of us trying to write other genres as well. And I think there’s a kind of weird double standard out there because sex is involved. Like you can’t possibly go from writing about adults in what I will euphemistically call “grown-up situations” (and no, I don’t mean co-signing for a mortgage), to writing about teenagers, who might think a lot about co-signing for mortgages but don’t have the requisite paperwork to take to the bank.

Might have got carried away with my metaphor there….

Writing is writing, I think, and I’m not going to make any apologies for writing what I do. I’ve said before, I see it like an apprenticeship, and I’ll bet nobody looks sideways are the guy who started off making shoes and then branched out into belts. 

I mean, you can be an artist or an artisan. But who ever heard of a starving artisan?

What do you guys think? 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

Got my first Christmas card today: 

When your first Christmas card is from your vet, not your family, you have to wonder where your priorities lay. Also, I think I deserve more than a card since I'm pretty sure I'm putting her kids through private school. But it's a cute card. 

Christmas in the southern hemisphere is weird. It's like we haven't property figured out how to do it for ourselves. There's nothing stranger than being in a shopping centre humming away to Winter Wonderland, then stepping outside into sweltering humidity and a UV index factor so high you should probably be wearing a space suit. 

I mean, we've got a workaround. We figured out a long time ago that a seafood, sunlight, and a day at the beach are a pretty good substitute for snow and fireplaces, but that's still how Christmas is sold. As this: 

Not this: 


And I gotta tell you, the second option looks a lot less hassle-free. Just look at the amount of gear you have to put on to get out into the snow. Whereas you know the guy in the second picture just rolled out of bed. "Pants? Yep. Santa hat? Yep, let's go." 

Okay, that stereotypical Northern Christmas is probably nothing like the real thing anyway, right? So let's do this thing. I'll tell you what makes it feel like Christmas where I am, and you tell me as well. 

1. The smell of mangos in the house. I bought some yesterday off a bloke at the side of the road. When the mango sellers come out, it must be nearly Christmas. 

2. Rain. Warm, monsoonal stuff, that makes everything damp, and the colours on Christmas wrapping paper run. No rain yet this year, but it can't be far away. 

3. Mosquitos. None so far because of the lack of rain. See above. 

4. The scent of frangipani blossoms in the air.  

5. Late summer afternoons when the sun is big and low, just before it disappears below the horizon, and it turns everything gold. 

So, over to you. What makes it feel like Christmas? 

Friday, December 7, 2012

An open letter to the Queensland Government

Dear Queensland Government, 

Yes, all of you, from the Premier himself down to the lowliest government minion, slaving away in her little windowless office dreaming of mutiny...hey, that's me! 

Dear Queensland Government including me, 

What the hell is this, and how much money did it cost the hard working taxpayer of this formerly great state of ours? 

And yes, I said formerly great state. Because you know what we are now? We're Chamberlain. No, this is beyond appeasement. We're Vichy. We're full on collaborating with the enemy. And yes, I've already broken Godwin's law. But I'll tell you what law you've broken: the law of nature! 

This odd but seemingly harmless structure is located on the Bruce Highway, between Townsville and Cairns, north of Cardwell. And yes, Marg was kind enough to stop the car so I could take photos... But it's not some random piece of modern art. It's not even anything to do with power lines. It's this: 

But no, not just any fauna. You won't see a cassowary doing a high wire act up there, or a crocodile wishing he had opposable thumbs right about now. Do you know what this is for? Possums. Bloody possums. Evolution gave us one advantage against the rampaging hordes of bastard possums -- traffic. And what have you done? You've used our own money and resources to take that advantage away from us. 

And it's apparently not enough that we're helping them launch their invasion force across the highway, we also don't want them to hurt their delicate little paws on the prickly ground, so we've attached a complex system of ropes to the bridge that lead directly into the trees. 

When the possum army comes, I hope they kill you first. 

Hang your heads in shame, Queensland Government (and me), hang your heads in shame. 

NB: This post may be exaggerated, inaccurate, and highly spurious. The bridge is for a possum species called the mahogany glider, and they are awesomely cute, very endangered (they were thought to be extinct for over a century), and have never, to my knowledge, broken into my house to steal bananas. Although I am naturally suspicious of any possum that has developed flight ability. Missile technology can't be too far behind. 


Monday, December 3, 2012

Editing: Now with Technicolor

When my pseudonym first got published, it was a steep learning curve. 

Fill out how many forms? 
Sign and initial where? 
Wait, how many round of edits? 

But even all the paperwork was exciting, because this was me being a real writer. Hell, who am I kidding? It still is exciting. 

But never having worked with a professional editor before, when I got my first round of edits back it was all a bit of a comment-filled rainbowy mess:
Not Alco-vision, but intentionally blurry. 
And let me tell you, when you're looking at 250 pages of that, intimidating is not the first word that comes to mind. The f-word is. But you know what? The only way to avoid getting something back with all that colour is to turn in a better manuscript in the beginning

I know, crazy, right? 

But it's possible. My last submission came back with not much to do at all. At first I figured the editorial team was slacking off, because the only other explanation was that I was -- gasp -- getting better, and surely that couldn't be right? Apparently so. Yes, I was learning from my mistakes. I was shocked as well. But not as shocked as my mum, who has been praying for this since my early teens. 

So here's my Editing 101 advice to you: say goodbye to your red pens, and get out the highlighters instead. And then go through your manuscript and do this: 

Make echoes and repeated words blue. Yes, even down to the 'he said's. You'll be surprised how many you can cut. 

If actions are happening simultaneously that are physically impossible, make it red. I'm good at doing these. Falling to his knees, he reached for the knife. Actually, first he fell to his knees and then he reached for the knife, right?  

Green is for independently acting body parts. His hands moved across the table. No, they didn't. He moved his hands across the table. 

Pink is for all those unnecessary words that creep in. That. Very. Really. Please note that this is for editing manuscripts only, not blog posts. Because otherwise a good 75% of my blog posts would be pink. 

And do that yourself before you send your manuscript away, and you'll be surprised at the difference you can make. 


And I am off to Cairns today. Just because! If I am late posting next time, I promise to make it up to you with a picture of the most outrageous and possibly dangerous waste of tax payer money I have ever seen in my life. Oh yes -- it's possum-related. 

Furry little bastards. 


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