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Archive for the ‘A writer’s life’ Category

I always forget all the things you have to do when you travel and all the costs involved that you don’t think about when you book that fateful ticket!

I had a big score today. My travel insurance is through my credit card and I don’t have to pay extra for coverage. Big win. I did, however, need to pay for a new passport.

I am not quite excited yet. I leave on Thursday morning from Canberra, fly to Sydney, then Sydney to Dallas and a late fright from Dallas to Indianapolis. I leave and arrive on the same day. It’s a weird kind of time travel. On my way home, I lose two days.

The other weird thing is that I booked to go earlier  so I could get a cheap flight. Hahahaha! Then I spend $1000 for accommodation for that week that I’m there earlier. That’s just stupid. I put up my hand. Yes, I’m stupid.

Being a writer, however, I can make use of that week, exploring the city, observing the culture, the food, putting all that experience to good use.

The reason I’m going is for the PCA conference where I’m giving a paper on my research. This is the first foray into the research results from the romance writers and readers. A good test run because when I get back I must start on the exegesis, which is an in depth look at the research. Even then, I probably won’t cover all of it as there’s just so much. People are talking about a book. Oh well, if I get funding I suppose I can write the book. I can relax a bit better now that I have the first cut of the presentation done.

I wanted to try to catch an SF convention while I was in the US but the PCA runs into Easter so I can’t. I have a couple of days after and they are hard to fill, mostly because I’m finding it hard to decide. Should I go to Chicago and check that place out. I have some stories set there so I could research the location. Or should I hang around Indiana and go up north to check out the Amish museum and stuff. Should I go or should I stay??? Argh. Then I had a thought to go to Nashville, or just fly to Dallas early and check out that city. Man oh man. Decisions. Decisions. DECISIONS!

I’ve sent Skyfire off to a beta reader for comments. My other beta readers are reading Sihe, my phd novel. I might have mentioned my editor for Dragon Wine Series went back to work at Pan Macmillan so I had to find someone else. That was good. All booked in for early May. That means a lot of hard work in April to get it ready. Yesterday I started on the tidy up of Moonfall, as that has to go to beta readers by the end of April if it’s to get to the editor in June. Who says there aren’t deadlines when you indy publish? You can’t muck people about. If you book something in it has to be ready. If the editor smashes it and tells me it needs more work that’s on me.

Also, while I’m away the Aurealis Awards will be announced. I have finally got Beneath the Floating City in Print. Here is a link to Amazon.

 

 

So the upshot is that I can safely say that Skyfire, Dragon Wine Part Five and Moonfall, Dragon Wine Part Six are coming soon.

A stay tuned for Donna’s travel blogs from Indianapolis, Indiana, USA>

 

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…and now I beg you to help me make sense of my life…

Haha. That’s what it feels like at the moment…chaos!

No, not really, but it’s a bit of a bumpy ride.

I was looking back on My Plans for 2018 post to see if I could get some perspective.

On the PhD front. I have finished the first draft of the PhD novel and it’s currently being read by writer friends before it goes to my supervisor. This certainly helps me sleep better. (TICK)

The data analysis is okay…sort of…we transferred the data in IBM SPSS, in layman’s terms, a program for social science related data. All was going well, but then something went wrong with a couple of questions. I’m still waiting on the person helping me to see what the problem is. This means the my presentation for the end of the month at the PCA in Indianapolis is not written yet. This has caused me to freak out a tad. I mean I still have all the data and I have Survey Monkey and I have looked at bits of it and to tell the truth I have started the presentation. Yet, I look at the date! Yikes and go into meltdown to freakout mode.

At the present time the Exegesis can go play with itself. I’ll think about it when I get back. My supervisor says I have plenty of time. (NO TICK)

The other thing is that I’ve taken on tutoring in two subjects at uni. This is positive excitement and stress. At first it was taking up the whole present mind thing. I’m a bit calmer about it now. I even did one better than I was expecting, I wrote and delivered a lecture on The Protean Career and I’ve written one more that I’m giving when I get back from the US. They were a lot of work. I’m talking days of work, but I am not sure but I think I feel good about the experience. (NO COMMENT)

My physical issues are better. My left foot went ow but now it has calmed down. I’ve had some treatment on my neck and back and I’m functional. I’m working on the diet. (OKAY)

On the Dragon Wine series side of things. I lost my editor. I mean I know where she is and all that…she just went back to full time work. Her timelines were so far out that you wouldn’t seen the last two books until early next year and that wasn’t acceptable. However, I have found another brilliant editor and things are back on track. Now, I have editor deadlines. I have to get Skyfire ready for the editor by the end of April! I’m about a third of the way through. Moonfall will follow after that. I think I must be craycray! I finished drafting Moonfall in January. (RIPPER TICK!)

Craft

I have started some new pieces for a quilt. I’m working on hand quilting the Japanese kimono pattern quilt. These last few weeks though I haven’t had the energy. (BLAH)

Reading and general stuff

Because I am tutoring in a literature studies course, I had a mad impulse to read the books so I have read

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence (Loved it)

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (The first part was difficult for me. Lots of triggers. But an amazing fantasy story and retelling of Snow White and Rose Red and a little sad)

Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (The voice was annoying but I could see the beauty of this story).

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (traumatised but an amazing book)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood (so beautifully rendered)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Phillip K Dick (so different to the movie. Different stories but as always -thought provoking)

Currently nearing the end of American Psyco Brett Ellis (an amazing book but the violence is ‘look away’ extreme)

On Audible I listened to Downbelow Station by CJ Cherryh. This took me a long time to get into. I also found it tense and hard but by the end I was a bit gobsmacked. A complex and emotionally draining and thrilling (I’ll admit) ride. I think the issues with refugees in the story is really topical in the world right now. The situation for them in this book was horrible. If you became a refugee in Cherryh’s world then you had nothing. I can’t begin to tell you how that affected me.

I’m currently listening to Uprooted by Naomi Novik and I can’t stop listening. I find it gripping. You know I looked at some reviews on Goodreads and wow, some people really get a thrill out of pulling people down and rubbishing their work. I mean the really rip them apart one star reviewers who have their own following and they all get together and feed off each other like frenzied fish. (ROCKING THE READING THING)

I saw this happen to another book I listed as read. I don’t think I’ve seen it that extreme before this. Maybe I’m just naive.

And other than the above, I’ve done zilch on the Indie publishing front other than sending a newsletter, apply for a Bookbub once a month for Argenterra (and get rejected) and try to get Beneath the Floating City into print. I keep finding little typos. It’s so annoying really. I’ve been meaning to lower the price of Argenterra and I probably will for a short time. (MINUS TICK)

And this morning I have finally booked some accommodation in Indianapolis. My trip to Chicago is a bit up in the air for after the conference so I’m looking at doing something local. (HALF TICK)

 

 

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I’ve been trying to get Beneath the Floating City into print. With generous help from friends I have lodged the files with Createspace. However, Createspace threw a spanner in the works and I haven’t been able to proof the file until I can prove I own the copyright of my stories. I understand the precautions, I really do. But I was kinda in hurry because post takes ages from the USA when you can’t afford express international etc. So the odds of the book being here in time for the awards is fast disappearing. Oh well.

I received my first pay from tutoring. A small amount this pay, but it paid me back for the uni fees I had to pay out last week. Next pay I have probably already spent too. Just a whiff of money and I go cray cray!

My draft of Sihe continues. I was going to say apace but nah that’s not true. Although I hope to get the MS to 60,000 words today. I’ve skipped ahead and am writing the ending without having written the crisis. It seemed like a good idea because the ending was pushing against my mind and so on.

Today I have to work on the analysis of my surveys. We have transferred the responses to the Uni’s IBM SPSS program. That means a lot of manual stuff from me to get the files ready for showing me stuff. So I’ll do that today. I had to wait to get the program installed on this Mac and the Mac randomly freezes still. I have no idea but I’m over it. It’s been so unreliable. Different things get blamed. The updates. The Endnote. I have PC native files. Or something else goes bang. Picture me rolling my eyes and being very unimpressed.

I’ve been reading up for one of the tutorials I’m doing. So far in the last few weeks I’ve read, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger, Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence, Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan and I’m currently reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip K Dick (very different from Blade Runner). I’ve also started on American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I have more books to read, but I feel a lot calmer now about teaching. None of this reading is for my PhD, just for teaching.

Teaching is a bit distracting. I hope I calm down a bit. Lots of little things to do and being across things. You get paid like an hour to prepare which is nice but it takes a lot more. I’m also delivering a lecture next week and that took ages, like 6-8 hours to prepare. Although money is good to have, it will all get spent. Hopefully I will do something useful with the money like pay for the cat run.

I have stockpiled book earnings to pay for edits of Skyfire and Moonfall.

I saw Black Panther last night and had nice cosy dreams about Chadwick Boseman. I have no idea what they were but  they were pleasant. The movie didn’t finish until after midnight so no time to wind down. I loved so many things about that movie. I wished that Wakanda was a true place. It’s a really lovely fantasy. I also liked the Africaness of the place and the movie was so owned by African -descent peoples. I also loved the women. Proud, strong, capable women. All of them were my favourites. Just awesome. Michael B Jordan was really something to see as the villain, great performance and well as Winston Duke-totally cool. Well done Ryan Coogler. Awesome movie. I hope to see many more like this. I’m also hanging out big time for Avengers Infinity Wars that I hope Matthew takes me to see for my birthday in the premium lounge (hint! hint!)

In other Dweebish news, Star Trek Discovery kept me thrilled to the end. Some great performances and favourite roles and great writing in places. I loved that I was shocked and awed and kept on the seat of my pants. My youngest daughter checked online and apparently we will see more of Lorca and  Ash Tyler in the next series which doesn’t drop until 2019!

I’ve also started on Altered Carbon. It helped that I finished the audio book. There’s a lot of action in the second half of the novel that will probably be better visually. It’s the second time I’ve seen Purefoy’s member and I was equally stunned and impressed as I was when he played Mark Anthony in Rome.

The Good Place is really a good mood lifter and I started on IT Crowd which I had heard of but had never binged watched before.

I’ve run out of detective series (not really) but I binged watched Wallander-loved it. Finished Shetland (first two seasons), watch River twice. Finished Whitechapel ages ago. I found Luther excellent but way too intense for me. I may go back to it. I had tapped out the Hinterland series on Netflix but I’m hoping for more. With the second season of The Crown consumed and Victoria I need more recommends.

Anyway, back to the novel. I’ve been procrastinating enough.

 

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On the bus this morning my Twitter and Facebook feed started going a bit wild. I was wondering why people were congratulating me. When I relaxed enough on the bus I started checking the phone. I had no book with me either.

OMG! I was short listed for an Aurealis Award from my short story collection, Beneath the Floating City.

So many friends are in the short lists. Some have been nominated many times and a number of those have won. Here I am little old me, getting a short listing for my self-published collection. The collection is mostly previously published works of science fiction, from early stories back in 2003, such as ‘Other’ to my later stories. I also published a new story in the collection called ‘Lake Absence’ that was inspired by Lake George when I was taking the bus to Sydney to head to the Denver Worldcon many years ago. I just couldn’t get that story published, though I came close with the Aurealis Magazine with one of the previous editors.

In previous years I would never have thought about publishing a collection of my own stories. Although it make sense to gather them up into one book because they are just there instead of scattered around. This was my first attempt and I gathered together SF stories. I have at least two others in mind. A magic realism collection called Through These Eyes and a fantasy collection, name not conceived yet. Since I’m also Indie publishing these days, the collection was something else I could publish.

I realise now that I just put this out there and I didn’t advertise it widely. I know this because the image for the cover was not in my WordPress archive.So I didn’t even blog about it. I think it was because it was just before I went to Europe.

So here it is. The wonderful cover was produced by Patty Jansen. I give this book away free to newsletter subscribers and it’s for sale in ebook everywhere for $2.99 USD. If you want a free copy, the link to sign up to my newsletter is here.

What does this mean for me?

Well heaps actually. To get this kind of acknowledgement is lovely. I had thought that my short story writing days were over. That there wasn’t any point because you know…well. Authors can sometimes have serious downward mind speak that squashes them down. I have mentioned this before but the whole “I’m not worthy thing” is difficult to control at times. That’s why it is so nice to get feedback, of the nice kind, and to be acknowledged with a short listing or an award or a review. It’s like being patted on the head and told keep going, you’ll get there.

I threw this in for the Aurealis Award without expectation. As someone who has researched Australian speculative fiction in the past I know how much the eligible works lists mean to the researcher, how useful. And I wanted to make sure that the work I put out was in the bigger lists. I wasn’t expecting a short listing.

Now I shall not give up writing short stories. I shall write those ideas that bash around inside my brain eventually.

Many thanks to the judges for their hard work. Congratulations to all the other nominees.

My name appears on a list with such amazing writers, I am over the moon, chuffed. Margo Lanagan, Kate Forsyth, Kim Wilkins, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Peter Ball.  Here is the link. 

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We can call them goals for want of a better word but goals seem like a things that make you feel down if you don’t meet them. Whereas, plans are things that can change and can be added to and things can be taken away. I think plans are more strategic.

First and foremost is my Ph.D.This is my last full year run at things. I have to analyse my data and do that soon, because I’m delivering a paper on my analysis in March in Indiana,USA.

I have to finish my Ph.D. novel, Sihe. By finish I mean finish the draft, have it beta read by people, revise it and polish it, get my supervisor to read it and take up my supervisor’s comments and polish it again, again.

I also have to draft my exegesis. This relies mainly on the analysis of the two surveys that I undertook of readers and writers of romance fiction. That kind of sounds easy and kind of doesn’t. Time will tell. I’ve done my literature review but I have to keep it current until I submit. The literature review is like a chapter of my exegesis.

I am also delivering two to three papers at academic conferences in 2018. I haven’t written them yet. I also need to get a couple of academic journal articles written and published.

There are things that I can do if my plans don’t go well. I can switch to part-time study. But that means I won’t finish for another two years or year and a half. I’m not sure I want to keep on doing this. Because just as soon as I started my Ph.D. I wanted you to do other things as well. And even though I don’t have any other job besides the Ph.D. and writing there is only many so many hours in a day. And there’s just not enough hours for me to do everything I want to do. Also, I have a growing list of physical issues that impact on my ability to work (see previous post).

On the personal side, I really want to manage my physical issues better so that I can maximise what I can do without incapacitating myself. At the moment, I’m waiting on a bunch of results from blood tests to make sure that I don’t have some horrible autoimmune disease. Fingers crossed!

I’d like to do some tutoring at University this year. I was offered some opportunities in the second semester in 2017 but because I was in Europe for two months of the semester I couldn’t do it. My trip to Indiana in March is short and in a semester break so if I do get any tutoring I’ll be able to take up the opportunity.

Writing/publishing

My plan is to finish the draft of Moonfall as soon as possible in January. I’m nearly at 35,000 words today and if I keep working at this pace I might achieve that. The first cut of Moonfall should be 80,000 words, maybe a little bit less. I tend to increase my word count when I’m doing my revisions and polishing before sending to beta readers because there are scenes that I have not fully explored  and/or atmosphere settings that I’ve missed out. It’s where I really start crafting the story. My aim when drafting is to get the story down and make sure the plot works. This means that in 2018 I will have both Skyfire and Moonfall to revise and edit and publish. I aim to do this in the first half of the year and work around my Ph.D. at the same time. I think it’s doable.

All other new work  has to take a back seat to the Ph.D. I’ve got some ideas and I have some previously drafted work that I could revise and polish on the backburner so that there might be new work later in the year. I have a sci-fi romance drafted. I have a Regency romance drafted and I have a two steampunk series that are close. And I have a lot of ideas for more stories in the Silverlands world, the Dragon wine world and in the space pirate world as well a completely new stories and some old stuff that I started but never completed. That all might need to wait until 2019.

Craft

I’d also like to do some craft projects. I’ve got some lots of unfinished craft projects but I’d really like to make a quilt as well is finish off some of those unfinished projects. I’m attending the Jane Austen Festival in April and usually make something for that. I’m almost finished making my Regency corset. And I’ve got a bonnet workshop in January.

Reading and general

I’d also like to get a lot more reading done. Not only romance but in other genres and the academic reading. I’d also like to create time. Ha ha!

I would also like to keep up my social activities and enjoy time with my friends and family. My son is going to pay for me to go to China to visit him in Shanghai. I just have to find an appropriate date.

On the indie publishing side of things I would like to learn more about marketing and book formatting and the industry in general but as said above I can’t really commit to a lot of new work until the Ph.D. is done. Yet a think providing the last two instalments of the Dragon wine series will please fans of that series and that’s very important to me.

House projects include developing a cat run so that Gin, the cat, can get outside. Generally, I’d like to see that we keep our garden in better order. We’ve hired cleaners once a fortnight for inside the house and that has helped a lot and I hope to continue that. We have to be tidier to get the full benefit of the cleaner but I can’t see anything wrong with that. However, Matthew likes a bit of chaos around the house.

Most of all I hope I am resilient enough to cope with what life throws my way this year.

I wish you well in your 2018 endeavours.

 

 

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2017 was interesting year for me. I feel like I achieved a whole lot of things and dropped the ball on a couple of important ones.

Personal stuff

The big carryover from 2016 was a legal issue with the government’s workers compensation agency. Comcare wrote to me in September 2016 to tell me that a report that I had done on my neck was being used by them reverse their decision to accept liability for any injury to my thoracic spine. I was informed on the phone that I would then have a debt of $96,000. You can imagine that as I’d retired and had started a Ph.D. that this sent me into a stress coma. I couldn’t focus on my Ph.D. for a couple of weeks. I couldn’t get Comcare to listen to anything I said nor did they listen to my e-mails. I was advised to get a lawyer. I cried. I’d never been litigious. I only ever received treatment costs and time off work associated with that. It was a nightmare.

With a hanging over my head I started 2017. There was an appeal hearing set for January, which was then postponed to March. I just wanted it over. When the official debt notification arrived from Comcare the debt was $16,000 not $96,000 as I had been informed over the phone. (Note I have redacted this post-sorry).

I was very lucky that my daughter Beanie took away all the documents Comcare had sent to me from my file and went through them. It was very frustrating and dehumanising not to be listened to. I’ve audited in government for nearly twenty years and I’d never come up against anything like that. Luckily I had the skills to audit the documents and found a lot of issues with Comcare’s decision.

During early 2018 I took a least one month off my Ph.D. I was on stress leave although it was hard to focus at all for the whole six months. This whole business from September 2016 had derailed my Ph.D. as well is affecting my health and my mental state.

This isn’t the place to talk about the details but needless to say I won my appeal in that from the first hearing Comcare agreed to talk to me and asked me to put in a proposal to them.

So this six months out of my life didn’t earn me any great compensation payout or anything like that. All I gained was Comcare undoing their decision to undo their decision. The psychological trauma that they put me through needlessly in the time wasted I’ll never get back.

The upside to all of this is that one of the strategies for dealing with stress is doing tasks, like craft, or writing and editing too. So to forgot about all that crap that was going on in my life, I buried myself in edits and getting books ready to publish. it wasn’t my PhD but it was something. A lot of this I had put in train the previous year and stuff I had written years ago.

So what was good about 2017?

PhD

Despite everything above, I managed to get confirmed for my PhD. I had put in so much work when I started the PhD that it helped immensely here. This means I presented a paper on my research and it was found to be worthy of continuing. Big tick for me. That was in March, just after the hearing.

Fannish stuff

The day Comcare and I agreed on a proposal was the same day I heard I had won the GUFF. The Get Up Fan Fun which would send me to Helsinki and Worldcon 75. I had such a headache from all the stress I went straight to bed and it took a few days for it to sink in. As I only had a short time and needed to get the cheapest fares I had to start planning the trip. As I blogged this trip I won’t go into detail here. It was amazing and a once in a lifetime thing.

I also got to meet Paul Weimer and hosted him as DUFF delegate in June for a night. The highlight was feeding him roast lamb, pavlova and taking him out to meet kangaroos.

Publishing

I republished books that I had the rights returned to me.

Shatterwing, Dragon Wine Part One

Skywatcher, Dragon Wine Part Two,

The Sorcerer’s Spell by Dani Kristoff.

New works

I wrote Opi Battles the Space Pirates in November #NaNoWriMo. Great stress avoider! And that was published in April.

Oathbound, Silverlands Book Two was published, and

Ungiven Land, Book Three.

Oathbound had been previously drafted way back in 2002-2004 so only needed revision. Ungiven Land had 50,000 written but they were almost all rewritten during 2016. The edit for this was delayed while my editor moved house and then took time to deal with issues.

Deathwings, Dragon Wine Part Three and

Bloodstrom, Dragon Wine Part Four were published.

These books had been written way back when too but not really looked at. In 2016, I got some beta reader feedback, cut out 10,000 words from the beginning and started polishing them. I then had them edited and they were out.

That’s eight Indie Published books. I have blogged about that process during the year.

That took me up to July and then I was off for two months overseas. So technically no new writing at all except for the PhD.

Writing

Sihe is my PhD novel. I started working on it after the Comcare thing was sorted and my PhD was confirmed. I have about 30,000 words of fairly polished words because I keep going back over it rather than writing forward. I didn’t write much while I was overseas. I got one day in Bergen to write. I tried a bit when I got home but got stuck on a technical issue. I think that’s sorted. I worked on Sihe in October, thinking if I got the draft down I could work on something else during NaNoWriMo in November but I had an acute sciatica attack that put me out of action for two weeks. I would not wish this thing on anyone. I had not experienced pain like it. It was like extreme labour pains but it wasn’t giving me a baby at the end. I writhed and cried and moaned. My four lumbar discs are all bulging. The foraminal spaces have been narrowed, which causes the pain down the leg and my sacroiliac joint had degenerated. For godsake! What the hell!

So it was a Chinese medicine doctor that helped me and hydrotherapy that helped get me functional. I’m still deciding on how to manage this condition in 2018. Most of my spine is now stuffed. I am using a standing desk all the time now. I have degeneration in my left foot too so that’s not always fun.

But in November, I started writing Skyfire, Dragon Wine, Part Five, and it was so liberating to be writing again. My goal was to get that first draft down by New Year’s Eve. Guess what? I did. I’m now working on Moonfall, Dragon Wine, Part Six.

I’ll have to do the revision and edits of these around the PhD as that has to take priority this year. This is my last year. But I think that’s doable! So two books in the works for publication in 2018.

Academic activities

On the PhD side I presented two papers. One at PoPCAANZ in Wellington. I blogged about the weather /airport lock out saga in June. I also went to Adelaide at the end of November to deliver a paper on Penny Jordan’s Man-hater, 1984 Mills and Boon book. I haven’t published the paper. That’s on the to do list.

Family

Over Easter, Matthew’s mum came to live with us. This has meant some adjustment to our lives. I think it is all going along reasonably well. We are lucky enough to have a room and bathroom downstairs so she has her own space.

My immediate family are all well. I lost my younger brother in November to liver cancer. He was 52.

World in general

While we live in a Donald Trump world uncertainty continues. Personally, I think Trump heralds a decline in the USA in world politics. He’s trying to make America great but OMGerd!

My use of social media is less. This is mainly because my Twitter stream is left, Twitter doesn’t let me see the tweets as they come and everyone appears to be Trump depressed. I’m still on Twitter it just doesn’t do it for me as it used to.

Entertainment

Netflix (and streaming generally I suppose) has brought joy into our lives. At first we didn’t’ think we would have time for watching stuff because we both write. However, with Matthew’s mum in the house-she’s grown to like it. Me being incapacitated with my back and having to take lots of breaks from everything including housework, Netflix has been great. It has some really good content.

Matthew’s mum went through five seasons of House of Cards. I haven’t watched that myself. The Kevin Spacey controversy happened when she’d finished and she was so upset because she admired him as actor.

My favs for the year on Netflix. The Expanse, Star Trek Discovery, The Crown (both seasons), Victoria, Anne with an E, River, Lucifer, The Good Place, Continuum and Jane the Virgin (although I didn’t get too far). I like that there is some cool SF on there, but also shows that can lighten your mood. The Crown was gripping by the way. I don’t know how they did it. Great tension throughout, great acting, immaculate sets. Well done! And they released the whole season in on go.

Non Netflix viewing. We just finished Game of Thrones Season 7. Technically we did that in 2018, but hey I have to wait another two years to see the last season, maybe longer as we buy the DVD sets. I thought Season 7 was brilliant. I feel so vindicated and I’m not saying why.

Movies. The Last Jedi, Thor Ragnorok, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and I can’t recall the others. I’ll have to consult with Matthew because he has a mind and he can remember things. I also saw Pride Prejudice and Zombie on DVD. I borrowed the disc from Robert Hood. I liked the movie so much he gave to me. Isn’t that sweet! Best proposal scene ever. Much better than the book! Truly!

Books

I find this hard to remember as I didn’t keep a spreadsheet in 2017 so forgive me if I read your book and didn’t list it here. On Audible the Expanse series rocked. I have listened to the first two books and the writing is amazing. Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown, fan bloody tastic, regency fantasy. Right up my alley. That lead me to Mary Robinnette Kowal.

I got stuck into Stephen King’s Dark Tower series on Audible too. Totally mind blown. I’m about four books in.

I picked up The Dispatcher by John Scalzi for free on Audible. Great idea and wonderful execution.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline…not bad. Geeky! The movie should be interesting.

I also listened to all of the Miles Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold(also last year as well I think).

I read some Australian authors. Cat Sparks’s debut novel, Blue Lotus, Thoraiya Dyer’s Crossroads of Canopy, Jodi McAlister’s Valentine, Angela Slater’s Vigil and Corpselight, Keri Arthur’s Blood Kissed. I also listened to some of Keri’s audio books.

I read the first fourteen of JD Robb’s in death series and set about getting the whole set. I need to pick it up again. Very interesting. Also useful for the PhD perspective.

I also read some Mills & Boon of course. I’ve been interested in Penny Jordan’s work and Amanda Carpenter ( have all but one of her books) also Charlotte Lamb (She managed to surprise me with some feminist content!).

I’ve also been close reading, Reading the Romance by Janice A Radway (the 1990s version). I haven’t finished that because I go into flights of rage but I will. Also other stuff. Too much to recall here.

I have rabbited on long enough. Just have a great 2018 everyone. I have to come back to you about goals if I have any. I think I do.

I have the first two books of Dragon Wine on discount in a box set. Amazon.com only for $2.99. Click the link if you are interested. Warning. It’s dark, nasty fantasy so don’t read it if that’s not your thing. I mean really!

PS this blog was mostly dictated. It appears that my RSI has kicked off, just because I wrote 24,000 words in five days! I will conquer the world…ehem…maybe I’ll just dictate more words.

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This is not the Mama Mia… (dot, dot, dot) this is life getting in the way and fatigue. It’s bloody hot I tell you and that makes writing a chore.

I’m about to head out to a granddaughter’s 11th birthday party. I mean really 11. What the hell happened! She’s not meant to be so grown up. I’m not meant to be so old. Okay. I’m not old. Ageism is the mindkiller. I’m with Judy Dench on that. I wish my body would get on side. I have arthritis generally and for the last few weeks some weird as swelling, numbness, tingling in my hands and arms. I must admit it freaks me a bit. But I’m not blogging to be a downer.

I have family here at the moment. My son is visiting from Shanghai and it’s great to have him around. I mean I scored cookies!

I’ve been writing too and that has to be a good thing. After the 52,000 words I wrote in November as part of #NaNoWriMo I picked up the ball again and am currently at 73,000 words. I’m hoping to get more in this arvo and I’m hoping to finish the first rough draft of Skyfire by New Year’s Eve because….I’m going straight on to Moonfall in January, Part Six of the Dragon Wine series and the end of the current story arc. I say this because I have other ideas but they will have to wait until after the PHD studies.

In 2018 I really have to knuckle down and get the bugger done! However, I am taking some time in January to do a mini writer retreat and write Moonfall until I drop. Then it’s back to the Phd novel which is still sitting at a pitiful 30,000 words.

Even while I plan to have both books drafted by the end of January, I’m not sending Skyfire and Moonfall out to be published for a little while.

I have to revise them first. I tend to get the story arc done and then go back and work on scenes and add atmosphere. It also gives me time to add stuff in that I missed out and tweak stuff.

Then I will send it to beta readers and get feedback. Then I act on that feedback and revise again.

Then I send it to the editor if I think it’s ready. Then she flings it back to me, usually with some homework which can take anywhere from two weeks to a month to do and then it goes to the proofreader.

It’s a bit of a team effort getting a book ready.

Sometimes it takes a while to take up the proofreader changes but within a month of getting it back from the proofreader I usually publish it. The print version takes longer as it has to be formatted.

If I succeed in my plans with the draft and revision I’ll have a better idea of timetable. I think my Amazon pre order ban might be lifted by then. hahahaha!

So if I don’t come back with a year in review blog post or my plans for 2018 before New year. Happy New Year!

I

 

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