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Archive for the ‘Free book’ Category

This morning I went to the dentist to get my chipped tooth fixed. I now have my smile back. It was a small chip to my front tooth, but it happened just after I gave up my extras health cover. Anyway, the damage wasn’t too bad financially. I will have to be careful about what I eat in future. Given my weight gain, I could probably stand no eating!

I’m at the stage of my PhD where the more I read the more stupid I feel. There is so much to know about the world and I know I haven’t even touched a 0.000001 per cent of it. I feel like if I open my mouth something stupid is going to come out. Or does come out. I know this is untrue of course! I’m not entirely stupid! (just marginally or slightly stupid, lol) It’s just that I’m dwelling in some emotional gutter where PhD candidates fall after the first splurge of excitement. I want to know everything about my topic! I can only do a small portion of what I’m aiming for. Live with it!

Writing/drafting an academic paper was like sliding a stiletto around my insides while singing the national anthem. A relief when it is over. I will be getting comments from my supervisor to get it to the next stage so I’ll just put the stiletto over here so it’s ready for when I need it.

I had a wonderful long series of dreams/thoughts about my creative piece for the PhD. It was the most rounded piece of imagination in relation to it, that I might even draft a rough outline. Today, I’ve printed out an article that the lovely Russell Kirkpatrick recommended to me after I was whining about how hard Gender Trouble by Judith Butler was to understand, particularly when she starts dissecting the psychoanalysts. Butler’s book inspired lots of creative thoughts for my fiction piece. I may not get it all into my head, but it was thought provoking. The article is Taking Butler elsewhere: performativities, spatialities and subjectivities by Gregson, N and Rose, G, 199. It’s right here in front of me.

Another issue I find is that I have to reread articles and books. I take notes, of course, but then on rereading I see other things that I’d missed before. This is because the reading expands your understanding and then you read something else and make further connections until you get an ‘aha’ moment.  I have a lot of reading done, heaps more to do but the thought I may have to read it again. Eep! Add to the that the suspicion that my reading mojo is not quite up to par yet. Retention is difficult at times. I need to find the right balance of stress and relaxation so that my retention is better.

I have a few retro romances waiting for me to read them. I find I am developing preferences and dislikes. I don’t think movie star love stories thrill me much. The lifestyles of the uber rich likewise, unless written by Roberta Leigh because she excels at that stuff. The stories with  a young, ignorant nanny employed in the Bahamas doesn’t do it for me either, but there might be exceptions. I don’t mind the cowboy romances. Usually the dude is not a rich guy, machoing over someone. This is based on only limited number of books so far. Marriage of convenience stories are usually not bad. A lot of my selection appears to be Australian and New Zealand romances (funny that) and they are usually different from the English ones. It appears I have no Helen Bianchin so I’ll have to get some of those.

In other news, I went to listen to Dan O’Malley being interviewed by Colin Steele last night about his new book, Stiletto. The theatre was packed. Dan was amusing (as ever) and the signing queue long.

The Goodreads giveaway for Argenterra is progressing well. I’ve not ever done one before. I will post back here and let you know how it goes and what it means in the wash.

The link to the Giveaway is here.

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Phew! What an amazing ride! A big thank you to my many hosts. I could not have done it without you. Thank you for the amazing array of questions and article topics. I count 24 separate posts!!!! The blog tour took place from 16 December 2015 to 8 January 2016. The draw for the books will take place on 15 January. You are welcome to leave a comment here to be in the draw. Meanwhile I’ll be trawling through social media shares etc and blog comments to compile the draw list.

Below I list and link blog posts from the blog tour. If you press the link it will open a new page in your browser.  If you are planning one of these blog tours be prepared for a lot of work and a little bit of organisation. I love how this whole process was so collegiate–other writers helping other writers! I don’t think I’ve ever pushed myself so hard and talked about so many things.

  1. Amanda Bridgeman over in Perth. You should check out her SF Aurora series. This post was an excerpt from Shatterwing. A nice way to ease me into the flow. Here.
  2. Alan Baxter in the ‘Gong, who asked me to talk about the inspiration to the world building for Dragon Wine. Here.
  3. With Matthew over on Smash Dragons. I believe Matthew is in Bathurst. I wrote a short article on what makes fantasy dark. Here.
  4. Alis Franklin also from Canberra asked me for five pieces of advice to the younger writer me. Here.
  5. This one was fun! Matthew Farrer my partner and I in conversation where I’m trying to get him to host me on his blog. The Dweeb and the Dweebette. Here.
  6. This in-depth interview is two-pronged. Ian McHugh (Canberra)  interviewed me and it appeared on his blog and the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild’s (CSFG blog). Ian did an amazing job, a follow up to his in-depth interview last year. Here and Here.
  7. Over in Canada with Liz Munro,  West Coast Book Reviews, who asked me some quick quirky questions and has been a great supporter since she review both Dragon Wine books. Liz is a spec fic author too. Here.
  8. Glenda Larke in Western Australia. If you haven’t read Glenda then you should right now! Glenda interviewed me with some probing questions. Here.
  9.  David McDonald (Melbourne) included me in his Paying for our Passion series. Here
  10. A Christmas post by me. Here.
  11. Keith Stevenson, also from the ‘Gong, asked me a few questions about the inspiration behind the world and story of Dragon Wine. Here.
  12. Fellow Canberran, Chris Andrews asked me to talk about my darkest hour (writing). Here.
  13. Sydneysider, Joanne Anderton, asked me about my work life balance or lack there of. Here.
  14. Patty Jansen, also from Sydney, asked me to talk about romance in speculative fiction. Here.
  15. Leife Shallcross, fellow Canberran, asked me about my research habits or my own personal research rabbit hole. Here.
  16. Dawn Meredith who is a fellow CSFGer, but lives in the Blue Mountains, let me talk about how reading helps my writing. Here.
  17. Me again for my New Year’s Post. Here.
  18. Romance author, Maggie Mundy, had me talking about romance in Dragon Wine. Now I consider Dragon Wine to be unromantic because it’s dark and nasty, but I did find that I had two love triangles. Who knew?  Here.
  19. Allan Walsh from Queensland had me talk about world building. Here.
  20. DL Richardson had me over for a wonderful and fun coffee chat. Such a fab idea. Love it! Here.
  21. Kim Cleary had me on her blog to talk about why sweet little ol’ me wrote such a nasty story. Here.
  22. Nalini from Dark Matter Ezine had me over to talk about Female Heroes. I’d like to extend this blog post at a latter time as I was quite knackered when I wrote it and there’s so much more to say. Here.
  23. Last stop was MJ Oliver, currently resident in Indonesia, where I talk about how writing is not all about the writing. You know that promo stuff. Here.
  24. This probably went out first. It was an article in Scott Robinson’s newsletter- some writing advice . His website is here.  I’ll put the text of the article here. Writing in the zone. One of the best things about writing is finding the zone. I used to call it the zen zone-the frame of mind where I’m into the story, I’m creating stuff and I’m getting a buzz. Often I’d only get into the zone on a writing retreat. The peak time for the zen zone would be Wednesday of week two. These days I can’t rely on retreats to get me into the zen zone. I need the portacot type of zen zone. One I can assemble and set up and use anytime.I think that is doable, but finding out how to do that requires some self reflection and understanding of what inspires one to write.

    I don’t think I have met a writer who hasn’t had a crisis of faith in their writing, or their writing career. This can be brought about from lack of success in getting anything published, or lack of achievement in finishing the novel or even after being published and having that novel they have worked on for ten years not selling. All of these things can be detrimental to the mind set of putting your head down, believing in yourself and writing.

    Now I don’t have a one size fits all solution to this. I have some suggestions for finding out how to tap into your own zen zone, mostly from my experiences.

    1. Don’t buy into the self-doubt talk down.

    This is where you obsess about not being good enough. For example, you’ve just read the best book ever and you feel that it’s all over, you’ll never be that good and why should you even try. Bollocks. There’s always going to be someone, no matter how good you are, that’s done something more interesting, more popular or award winning than you. It’s not about them it’s about you. Writing what you love, what you enjoy and doing it to the best of your ability. Don’t listen to that voice in your head that tells you to give up. Not if you really want to succeed. If you’re not the best you can be yet, then keep at it, keep practicing. You’ll get there if you really want it.

    1. Figure out how you work best.

    I heard an interview with a writer recently who studied when she was the most productive. Although she was a morning person, she found she actually wrote more at certain times in the afternoon. Some people like writing to music. Or they have to be in a certain space in a certain chair. Others like writing in coffee shops. The thing is to actually think about what contributes to writing well for you. If you stop writing and spend all your time on the internet then think about leaving your phone off, and disconnecting from the internet. If you watch tv instead of writing, think about not watching television at all. Whatever distracts you or makes you feel out of frame, you need to identify it and address it. That will help you get into the zone.

    1. Be kind to your body.

    As a person who has developed RSI and spinal issues over time then I am all for looking after yourself. Take breaks. Use a timer. Take a walk or do something physical. We weren’t built to be on the computer all day. Writing requires that. Unless, of course, you try dictation software or standing up or both. Whatever you do balance the physical with the mental. That way you can enjoy your zen zone to the max.

    1. Read widely and often.

    Reading teaches and it also opens your mind up to possibilities whether you are reading fiction or non-fiction you are shoving stuff in your head that’s going to come out in your writing either the next week or the next year or five years from now. You can learn from other fiction writers about techniques, taking risks or just opening up your mind to possibilities. This is like fertiliser for the zen zone. You have built up enough fuel to give your zen zone blast off.

    1. Try to do the best you can do.

    My motto here and it’s only recently adapted into my approach: Enough isn’t good enough. I am trying to put some perfection into my writing. Maybe this is because I’m pretty sorted with story and plot and world building, although I think I can do better with characters all around. But I don’t want to be just competent or good, I want to go for more. For me that might be patience and subtlety in my story telling. It might mean one day aspiring to write the literary genre masterpiece. All I know is that writing is a continuum and I want to climb up that line of achievement and explore what I can be as a writer. Seeing a goal also gives meaning to my zen zone. When I’m there it’s so right and good and sigh…I just want to be there always.

And here is the exhausted me!

Exhausted me on 8 January 2016

Exhausted me on 8 January 2016

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I’ve joined Patty Jansen’s free book promo for first in a series. There are 66 books up there for free in the SF and F genres. Shatterwing is up there too.

book promo

Dragonwine

Dragon Wine Series

I’ll be back with a review post of the Ai Weiwei/Warhol exhibition!

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Happy New year! 2015 is done and 2016 is here. Yipee!

2015 was a tough year for me on many fronts. My mother passed away on the 4th of January and then my health was a bit up and down. (Looks like it’s thyroid issues). Work became a bit of struggle and then I injured myself, resulting in a diagnosis of some thoracic disc protrusions. That diagnosis sent me on a downer. Not only was it (is it) painful it curtailed my writing in a big way. The bigger thing that diagnosis it did was make me look at my life at what I was doing with my work and what I wanted to do with my productive time. You see, I can only see this arthritic spine of mine getting worse over time and so doing things like craft, writing  etc becomes more precious to me. I love making things. It’s my life blood.

I lost my friend Sonia to scleroderma and other close friends have had some health scares. My eldest son moved to China for work. He loves it. I miss him.

On the bright side, and there is one (or many), I’m generally healthy, so is my partner, Matthew, my children and my grandchildren.

2015 me and dweeb

Me (the Dweebette) and Matthew (the Dweeb!)

So apart from some chronic pain I’m really happy on in the inside. That makes a big difference. We love our house. Our deck got built and it’s amazing.

deck 2015

The long awaited deck and a peak at the views.

I also got to see some Koalas when I took some visiting Indonesians out to Tidbinbilla.

2015 koala

As I wasn’t able to write, I had to do other things to keep me sane so I did some craft-weaving, sewing and millinery. I try to use a timer to alternate through different things so I don’t injure myself. Millinery can be done standing up. I also discovered Audible and have been listening to some fab books. I’m going to continue that.

I also did a few cakes. Like this one for my daughter. Totero and this one for my boss’s farewell, a vintage Kombi.

So what is in store for me in 2016? As previously mentioned on this blog, I am commencing candidature for a higher research degree (PHD). That starts in February. I have lots of reading to do and some papers to write. The topic is Feminism in Popular Romance.

I’ve got a bit of organising to do to get ready for that. I need to clear the decks of some writing tasks. The reason I’ve taken January off work. I also need to do some practical things like reorganise my office in readiness for study. I wouldn’t call it organised now…but that needs to be improved. I had a message from my daughter. Mum: junk attracts junk. I get the message.

I’m hoping some books will also come out in 2016. I may experiment with self-publishing. Sometimes it can take too long to flog a book and it gets dated. In that case, I may as well get it out there and experiment.

Appearances wise, I’m hoping to get to Contact in Brisbane over Easter and to the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Adelaide later in the year. I’m very tempted by Supanova!

With regards to hats, I’m working on doing more of those and setting up a website to sell them. Bring on the steampunk hats!

I’ll be finishing up on the day job in the first part of the year. Losing the good income is a scary prospect, but you know I’m going to take the leap and see where it gets me.

Happy New year! Hopefully you will pop back again.

2015 hat by cat

Me in one of my hats. Photo by Cat Sparks.

Oh and Dragon Wine Part 1 is on promotion. It’s free in ebook. I’m also doing a blog tour and a give away of a hard copy. To be in the draw to win a print copy of Shatterwing leave a comment.

Dragonwine

Dragon Wine Series

Blurb

Dragon wine could save them. Or bring about their destruction.

Since the moon shattered, the once peaceful and plentiful world has become a desolate wasteland. Factions fight for ownership of the remaining resources as pieces of the broken moon rain down, bringing chaos, destruction and death.

The most precious of these resources is dragon wine – a life-giving drink made from the essence of dragons. But the making of the wine is perilous and so is undertaken by prisoners. Perhaps even more dangerous than the wine production is the Inspector, the sadistic ruler of the prison vineyard who plans to use the precious drink to rule the world.

There are only two people that stand in his way. Brill, a young royal rebel who seeks to bring about revolution, and Salinda, the prison’s best vintner and possessor of a powerful and ancient gift that she is only beginning to understand. To stop the Inspector, Salinda must learn to harness her power so that she and Brill can escape, and stop the dragon wine from falling into the wrong hands.

Dragon Wine Book 2 :Skywatcher, the follow on book is also available in ebook and print.

http://momentumbooks.com.au/books/shatterwing-dragon-wine-1/

 

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So the blog tour begins with the lovely Amanda Bridgeman author of a great SF series Aurora.

Over on Amanda’s blog, I have shared an excerpt from Dragon Wine Book 1:Shatterwing. It’s not the normal first chapter excerpt as you can access that at most retailers. This is from further in the book and it introduces the moment when Brill sees his first dragons.

Here is the link!

Amanda’s blog is on her website http://www.amandabridgeman.com.au

Next up is Alan Baxter. I’ll be back with that link.

If the site doesn’t allow comments to be in the draw for a print copy, leave a comment here or share the link on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll collect the names.

 

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Organising this blog tour took a lot of work but it  has been fun and interesting to boot. Many thanks to my generous hosts and for the ideas, questions and interesting topics to discuss.

The blog tour starts tomorrow 16 December, 2015.

Why am I doing a blog tour?

My dark fantasy novel, Dragon Wine Book 1: Shatterwing, is free on promotion during December and into January. Doing a blog tour is supposed to help me get the word out and I thought I’d also have a give away of the print version for people who leave comments. Leaving a comment on this post lets you enter the giveaway too.

Also, Dragon Wine Book 2: Skywatcher is available for purchase.

Dragonwine

Dragon Wine Series

Here is a link to the Momentum Books website where you can get your free copy. It has links to all the retailers there too.

Here.

This is a schedule of the blog tour and the topics/interviews etc. I’ll be popping back to leave the links as they come up.

Amanda Bridgeman 16 December
Alan Baxter 17 December
Matthew Summers 18 December
Alis Franklin 19 December
Matthew Farrer 20 December
CSFG interview with Ian McHugh 21 December
Liz Munro 22 December
Glenda Larke 23 December
David McDonald 24 December
Christmas post by me 25 December
Keith Stevenson 26 December
Chris Andrews 27 December
Joanne Anderton 28 December
Patty Jansen 29 December
Leife Shallcross. 30 December
Dawn Meredith 31 December
New year post by me 1 January
Magie Mundy 2 January
Kim Cleary 3 January
Allan Walsh 4 January

Also, Scott Robinson has included an article by me on writing in his newsletter.

Because I wasn’t able to undo the cut and paste on that list, I don’t have room to put the topics so I’m going to give you a few hints and you’ll have to look for the ones that interest you. Some maybe obvious! Like The Dweeb and the Dweebette interview. I also have articles on writing romance in speculative fiction, research habits, an in depth interview about Dragon Wine (totally cool), I have interviews about what I gave up to write, my darkest hour, world building, about my choices in writing versus a well-paying career and my dark past. I also did an article on what makes dark fantasy dark, five things I’d tell the younger writer me, work life balance and how reading helps your writing. Phew! Now wonder I haven’t been near my manuscript since 30 November!

I hope you will check out some of the posts. If you don’t have a copy of Shatterwing and you like dark, nasty fantasy then please help yourself to a free copy. If you liked Shatterwing then please spread the word!  Leave a comment if you want to be in the draw for a print version of the book.

And there is more the story.

And now my not so official photo!

IMG_0932

Me in my not author shot

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In the lead up to Christmas and the end of year, it’s crazy season. There are farewell lunches, end of year parties, and things that need to be done.

I’ve not got serious about my Christmas present shopping yet and gee not even a morsel of food for Christmas dinner. I was going to bake a pudding and cake. Oh dear. Life seems out of control.

I’m sure it will all come together. It’s Matthew’s birthday on Saturday. We are going to the theatre tomorrow night and then to Star Wars on Saturday night. It seems a perfectly dweebish thing to do. Then the countdown begins.

My son is coming back from China on Christmas eve and that’s when we celebrate. In the meantime there are medical appointments to fit in, a blog tour to organise and the house to get ready. Not much time in there for writing (or much else)

However, I do have the bulk of my blog content sorted so the next post will be the schedule. It’s an exciting array of blogs and content. There are a couple of interviews, one really in depth and deep and then there are some articles by me on topics requested by my hosts. Hopefully there will be something for everybody and also enough temptation for people to want to download a free copy of Shatterwing and also enter the draw for a print copy.

So check back soon.

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