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Archive for the ‘distractions’ Category

I was bright eyed and bushy tailed yesterday.

This morning not so much.

Of course there are a number of reasons for this. Yesterday afternoon I sent off Ungiven Land (The Silverlands Book 3) for proofreading after quite a while working through the toughest edits yet. It was going to take me a lot longer but on Sunday I hit of spot of chapters that had light edits and I pushed through them and built up some momentum. That left yesterday morning to finish it off. I had some family obligations during the day, but after that I did some more tinkering and sent the book off. It’s a bloody long book at 145,000 words.

Then yesterday evening, I picked up the revision I was doing of Bloodstorm (Dragon Wine Part 4) without much recollection of how much more I had to do. Well, I was further along than I thought so I pushed through and sent that book off to the editor last night. It’s a shorter novel at just under 90,000 words. I think I have more work to do on a battle scene but the edit will help with that I think. It gives me a month to think about it and make notes. I needed to push it off my plate as I have important PhD stuff to do.

So you would think after an excellent sleep that I’d be ready to roll and full of vim and vigour. Obviously my stories are still in my head. I was thinking about both of them while driving and drove right past two turns offs to my university and didn’t realise until I made a t-junction. Oops! So I had to go to another entry and park in a different spot. Then I realised I hadn’t brushed my hair. This called for emergency coffee and I hope  it kicks in soon.

After having these deadlines I don’t think I like them. I had listed Ungiven Land for pre-order on Amazon. For some strange reason beknownst only to my back brain I put down 31 May 2017 as the delivery date. However, I had not allowed enough time for processing proofreading changes so I had to push it back by two weeks. Amazon lock you out of the file about 3-4 days before release btw. I have had now had my pre-order privileges revoked for one year because I pushed back the date. Thank god for that. I can’t be tempted to put in hard dates that give me stress. I don’t want to do that again because that deadline plus the ones I had with the editors really put the pressure on.

As I don’t have more fiction planned other than putting up books of which I have the rights back, I’m going to give deadlines a miss for a while. I have my PhD novel to think about.

Fingers crossed I get some covers this week because Shatterwing and Skywatcher are ready to go. Deathwings and Bloodstorm the next two parts of the Dragon Wine series are coming soon.

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Wow, just wow!

I took to Supanova like a duck to water. I embraced it like it was a once in a life time experience and enjoyed it immensely. I’ll have to split this post though. This one will be about Sydney and the next about Perth.

Firstly, it was fabulous to be in a place with so many geeks. The cosplay was amazing and some of the people spend ages designing and making their costumes. So much creativity there. Others like dressing up. It’s all good!

In Sydney we stayed at the Rocks and it was rainy and cold. Rainy view of Sydney Harbour

This is the view from the window. Me with the umbrella. Yes those are size 8 jeans!

Donna in size 8 jeans, The Rocks

Donna in size 8 jeans, The Rocks

Me, with attitude and umbrella at The Rocks

Me, with attitude and umbrella at The Rocks

Some more pics of The Rocks, which is a very historic part of Sydney.

This original house is now a museum, The Rocks

This original house is now a museum, The Rocks

Convict hewn step, The Rocks

Convict hewn step, The Rocks

The whole being a guest thing was wonderful and new. Matthew went with me and he spent all his time in artist alley and going to seminars. I was between the Green Room and the author signing tables so we only caught up in the afternoons.

I had a fly!

I had a fly!

My Supanova Guest Pass

My Supanova Guest Pass

I met some lovely people who bought Shatterwing and  Skywatcher or who took away post cards for my ebooks. Thank you so much people!

Jack Dann dropped around after launching his book.

Jack Dann, Supanova Sydney, 2015

Jack Dann, Supanova Sydney, 2015

I was partnered with Keri Arthur mostly as she is an old hand and I was a newbie. Keri has lots of dedicated fans.

Keri Arthur, Supanova Sydney 2015

Keri Arthur, Supanova Sydney 2015

Keri Arthur signing, Supanova Sydney 2015

Keri Arthur signing, Supanova Sydney 2015

On day two the weather cleared somewhat. We had a lovely view of the harbour from the hotel. It’s not often I get to do five star! It was nice.

more sydney

I did get to chat to the other guests and got a meet a great bunch of people. The guests had a lovely vibe. I did put my foot in it but calling Kristen Bauer, Pam! during afternoon tea. She was pretty cool about it. I had my squee moments. Some actors we didn’t know by sight so we were checking the Supanova brochure putting names to faces. Without name dropping, I’ll just say that they were all fabulous and welcoming. We teased Graham McTavish about his kilt! For a Dwarf he is very tall, handsome and has good knees btw). (As an aside there were quite a number of tall people among the guests–impressive!) ( I think that counts as a name drop. Sorry!)

At the start of the tour (Sydney and Perth) the other authors were virtual strangers. By the end of the tour, they were bosom buddies who are hard to part from. Sniff!

Starting out I knew Keri Arthur and Karen Miller. I got to know Kevin Hearne, CS Pecat, Wanda Wiltshire and David Henley in Sydney as well as a re acquaintance with Kevin J Anderson and Rebecca Moesta.

Here is a shot I grabbed of Kevin Hearne. He does this author bomb shots and they are cool. So is he and so is his Iron Druids series.

Kevin Hearne, Supanova Sydney 2015

Kevin Hearne, Supanova Sydney 2015

I did a panel with Kevin and Rebecca. It was slightly scary in that Kevin has published 130 books and me…well…not that many yet.

Here are some highlights of the cosplay. There are too many wonderful shots to do them justice.

Red Skull

Red Skull

Female Loki, Sydney Supanova

Female Loki, Sydney Supanova

Boba, Supanova Sydney

Boba, Supanova Sydney

Overall it was a great vibe. I signed books, gaped, talked, drank and ate. We were looked after most admirably by Ineke and the Supanova volunteers and crew. Thank you guys.

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Before Swancon I went to stay with the lovely and interesting Glenda Larke and her husband Ramly in Mandurah. It had been a while since I had caught up with Glenda in Mandurah so it was great to see her, catch up on all that had been happening and just to relax. Funny, but Glenda kept saying ‘wait to you get to my age and you forget things.’ I forget stuff now. When she said that I was thinking…oh no…it’s going to get worse.

For those of you who know Glenda, you understand her interest in bird watching, in politics, her amazing life living in Malaysia and in other exciting places around the world. I could just chat to Glenda and listen for hours and hours. Once when I visited her in Kuala Lumpur we talked and laughed until my face was numb!

Anyway, this post is mostly photos of the trip we did to some interesting places south of Mandurah, Lake Clifton, Harvey, Pinjarra, Ravenwood and the drive home. While with Glenda I started beta reading the third book in her Forsaken Lands Trilogy. Yes I am being smug! I am cruel like that.

The first photo is a dwarf banksia near Glenda’s house and that Ramly took a fancy to. We ended up getting one for Ramly to plant in the garden on the way to the airport.

Birthday candle banksia

Birthday candle banksia

The next photo is a shot of the Peel Inlet. imageAnd there was a pelican on a light.

imageGlenda thought it was a good idea to see the sun setting over the ocean, something that is peculiar to the west. Unfortunately, it was cloudy, but this shot was quite interesting with the sun reflecting off the wet sand.

Sunset Halls Head Beach. WA

Sunset Halls Head Beach. WA

Eroded rocks at Halls Head Beach

Eroded rocks at Halls Head Beach

Edit: I’ve since been told that these rocks are fossilised trees. I thought they looked tree-like.

Eroded rocks at Halls Head Beach

Eroded rocks at Halls Head Beach

Eroded rocks at Halls Head Beach

Eroded rocks at Halls Head Beach

Here is a shot of Glenda at Halls Head Beach.

image

imageThen we went to Lake Clifton to look at the thrombolites, which was quite fascinating.

image

Thrombilites Lake Clifton

Thrombilites Lake Clifton

Lake Clifton

Lake Clifton

The colour in this Lake Clifton shot is spectacular.

After Lake Clifton we drove to Harvey, then Pinjarra and then stopped at Ravenwood and had a drink by the river.

We looked at this bridge with old Jarrah timber supports, a sort of meshing of old and new. I believe this was in Harvey.

Jarrah supports under bridge in Harvey

Jarrah supports under bridge in Harvey

Jarrah supports under bridge in Harvey.

Jarrah supports under bridge in Harvey.

We had some lunch/snack at Stirling Cottage. Here is a shot of a Kookaburra in a tree. I wonder if you can see him.

image

Shot of the river at Ravenwood

Shot of the river at Ravenwood

After we did the tripping around, we came into Perth for Swancon, starting with the Guest of Honour dinner where we got to meet John Scalzi, Kylie Chan and Anthony Peacey. That’s the subject of the next post.

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It’s been a month now since Skywatcher was released so I guess it’s time I calmed down and stopped looking at what people are saying about both Shatterwing and Skywatcher. It’s time to develop some composure, some sense of being a writer. What does that even mean?

You put to work out there in the world and people are going to like it, think it’s ‘meh’ or that it stinks. As a writer you are not meant to care, and you’re definitely not meant to engage, unless people actually ask questions, which they usually don’t. (BTW I’m happy to answer questions about the story. However, I won’t be giving out spoilers for future installments.)

It’s creates a big jumble of emotion and intellect seeing what people say about your work. There have been highs (amazing and exciting highs) and there have been cutting lows, especially negative comments from people who you know and respect. I was tempted to respond, to explain myself, but that’s not on. That’s not how it goes. I have to live with it. There comes a point where you have to step back from that. You have to develop as Zen sense of calm. (I’m searching around here for some incense and quiet space, bother there are none.)

It’s also very distracting getting excited, then upset. It could be hormones (they are a bit crazy at the moment) but I’m sure other writers struggle with the same thing. That initial roller coaster ride of being published.  Maybe it’s childish to think of my story as my baby. The novel is a form on entertainment. You write for people to read. If they love what you do that’s great. If not it’s tough luck-tough love!

Although I appear to be whinging don’t I? I’m not really whinging, I’m struggling to adjust, to reorganise my mindset. I’m so happy with the reception of the Dragonwine series. I love what Momentum Books have done, the covers, the promotion. I am amazed at the thoughtful, respectful reviews, even those that have taken issue with what I’ve done. I am inspired and awed by that. It must be a good thing if people get upset and angry about what happens to the characters or the twist in the plot. I know why things happen and I guess I know how it all ends up, although I’ve not written the ending yet.

I’m amazed people around the world are reading Shatterwing and Skywatcher and talking about it in another language, even though they read the book in English. I didn’t expect it to be like this. I didn’t really expect anything. I’m just starting out. I need all the help I can get to get noticed. I’m humbled. I’m grateful and I’m tantalised that people are reading about Salinda, Brill, Danton, Nils, Laidan and Garan and reacting. I have to say a big thank you to those reviewers and readers. THANK YOU!

And to give you something to look at, here is the Tower of London and the ww1 remembrance day installation. It was an amazing sight. So many people died. These poppies represent the British soldiers.

Tower of London, WW1 remembrance day installation

Tower of London, WW1 remembrance day installation

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I am usually a focussed person who gets things done. But I seem now that I’m on holidays to see time just fly past without me achieving anything. I thought these holidays would be spent industriously writing up a storm, churning out novels and revisions, but I must be a lunatic.

We moved house. Still not settled either. We have tradesmen doing repairs, which can be disruptive.

I was reading for the Aurealis Awards and had a hard slog at the end.

I’ve started weaving. Trudi Canavan came up for the weekend to give me lessons on my table loom. I love it. Here is some sample shots. The first is a log cabin pattern Trudi got me to do on my knitters loom or ‘fixed heddle’. It was so much fun.

log cabinOnce Trudi had me reading the pattern we set about to work on the table loom (after she and Paul meticulously rejuvenated it-the loom was given to me and it’s pretty old).

sample scarfBecause this table loom has four heddles, I can do twill patterns. Trudi set me up to do a sample scarf with different patterns. Cough, it’s riddled with mistakes, but the colours work well together.

loomThis one is a shot of the loom. It’s all quite new and exciting for me. I only do short sessions on the loom. I use it as thinking time (which is probably why I’m making mistakes). However, I am starting to understand the workings of it.

I bought a table from the recycle shop at the tip and am currently fixing it up. Photos below.

the beginningThis is what I bought for $50. It took almost all day to fetch a trailer, drive back, then find help to unload it and take the trailer back. No wonder I was knackered. Anyway it’s nice and solid.

Next thing you know I have to sand it.

the start of sandingsandingmid

And today I bought some stain. It’s not a perfect match. I was tossing up whether it was maple or cedar stain, but as it is quite old and varnish darkens over time. You see I don’t want to redo the legs. However, I believe the match is not quite there but I’m in the I don’t care phase. I’m not a perfectionist, obviously. Now I will wait to see if I leave it as it is or I sand it back and try a different stain or sand and restain the legs. Eep!

sanded

I went to Sydney to see some friends for a few days. However, I did read some Georgette Heyer.

I’ve been babysitting one day, doctor’s appointments for ear and now knee. These are passion killers for creativity.

Oh and I bought Season 1 and 2 of The Paradise, which I tried to keep to one or two episodes a day, but um…can’t. All done now. I can resume my normal life.

I forgot about the heat. The office is almost set up, but during the heat wave it was unbearable and I don’t want to run two aircons at the same time and I was too floored by the heat to come upstairs and bring my lap top down.

Enough excuses. But honestly I don’t know why time is flying. I think it may be a fatigue thing. If I was truly inspired I’d be writing a way like a mad woman.

I thought I got rid of my distractions, but today I’m going to an information session on millinery. Sigh. This is meant to be my writing year, but I’m planning a course to do.

Anyway, I’ve spent probably two hours revising a manuscript. And I’m here again ready to start. Well, gee, look at that. It’s lunch time.

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