Archive for the ‘General excitment’ Category

What a fun day it was yesterday. It was launch day and all seemed right with the world. After gym, I met with Rydges to discuss Conflux 9 arrangements. That went really well and you know April isn’t that far away. I needed to sort a few things so we can finalise the program. I know we had this idea of it being nice and compact and well shit that doesn’t cut it. The program is so jampacked, it’s splitting its packaging. BTW to find out more check out the Conflux website, which is now http://www.conflux.org.au

Then after a bit of work at home, I drove to Young, which is about 2.5 hours away by car. I’d never been there before but I wanted to have coffee with Valerie Parv (the amazing romance author). Valerie used to live in Canberra and used to be  handy. However, she abandoned us for the lovely town of Young. I must say I was very impressed with the place. Valerie is now also writing science fiction. I’ll tell you a secret. In her younger days, Valerie was an SF fan. I found her name in some old fan stuff a few years ago. So I thought I’d let her know about Conflux natcon because she has a book out called, Birthright. Here is the link to Amazon. Some great reviews there. http://www.amazon.com/Birthright-ebook/dp/B00A0C07BK/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1357853906&sr=8-13&keywords=birthright

And both Nicole and I thought that Conflux is the place for her to come and shout out about her book.

Anyway we had a great natter together for a couple of hours and then I came home. I love driving and I love seeing new places.

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Life has been busy is chez Donna. Nicole and I spent nearly 6 hours working on the Conflux program today (not counting all the other hours we spent). This is getting the whole weekend down on paper, checking the balance, adding extra panels, shifting them around etc.

I started before she got here so technically it was 7 hours. It was intense but hey, we have a working draft of the program and it’s awesome! Some of the panels made us squee.  It’s so not fair that we’ll be so busy with running the convention that we’ll be lucky to get to the panels at all.

We even talked Matthew Farrer into to panels. (If you knew Matthew you know what a feat this is). He also helped us with ideas when we came unstuck, such as realising that we should have a topic about x but didn’t. We were texting people, checking emails that came in with suggestions, going over emails people already sent.

We’d come up with names of panelists to add to the topics and I loved it when Nicole did a little wiggly in her seat and said. I so want to go to that panel session.

We have a lot of workshops and a lot of the writing craft stuff is covered in those, so the program  has lots of other interesting stuff!

The Conflux 9 program is jam packed. It really is and in a few weeks we’ll share. Right now, I have to type it up and then pass it on to the lovely Maxine McArthur who is doing the logistics of emailing the proposed panelists to see if they want to do the panels etc. (My joke to Nicole is: I so want to give this to Maxine and say “Make is so.” We both laughed but we’re geeks!). The logistical part a lot of work, but for Nicole and I, getting the program down on paper is a major hurdle. It’s not like we can sit on our assess and swill champagne  until the convention starts, but for the both of us the core of the convention is the program. Get that right and everything else hangs together.

Then after a quick nap and very good steak, I had to write some guest blog posts for lovely people who are inviting me around to talk about Rayessa and the Space Pirates. That’s on top of some Conflux emails and various other bits. I’m going to have a cuppa now and rest up with a book. I’m currently reading Twilight. My lecturer suggested the class do it and I was lucky that Trudi Canavan had given me a copy. After two sweeps of my book shelves I found it.


For the record I have very sore hands. So we did the work in my A3 sketch book by hand. It now has to be transcribed. It was better for me to do it that way than try to sit at the computer all day. I’m hoping the hand thing is the heat. I have sore feet too. Please god, do not let it be RSI.

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I’ve sent the first draft of Bespelled out to two beta readers. I’m very happy and doing a happy dance!

I had a tough time with my hands over the last few days. They were swollen and achy. They are much better today. I had to resort to anti-imflammatories and voltaren cream. My feet are sore too, so I’m not sure if it is the RSI or the heat and arthritis. Who knows. (It’s done though. Yay!)

This means that in 2012, I finished first drafts of two novels- The Sorcerer’s Spell at 80,000 words and Bespelled at nearly 50,000 words (both paranormal romance). That means I’ll have two more books to shop around in 2013. This brings a smile to my face. I have to revise them, of course. I have comments on The Sorcerer’s Spell to start on with, which should keep me busy.

In 2012, I revised Ruby Heart and it’s ready to head out into the world and so is Dragon Wine. I feel like I’m ready for 2013.

I have a national science fiction convention to run with Nicole Murphy, but after that, I’m head down on the writing side. There is a degree in there somewhere.

I have some outlining to do. After I finished Bespelled, I started getting ideas for two more stories in the same setting, using different characters. I shake my head at myself. I think I’m addicted to being in the worlds I create. I haven’t yet thought up ideas for more stories in The Sorcerer’s Spell and I have yet to write down the ideas for a sequel to Rayessa and the Space Pirates. I have had ideas for Rayessa since I first wrote the book (nearly 9 years ago), but I haven’t written them down and have to drag them from my subconscious.

It’s been a fabulous first day of the year. Quiet, warm and relaxed. Matthew’s been doing stuff on his PC and I’ve been hooked into mine. I had a lovely visit from Ella and her son, Oliver and we had date scones and a lovely catch up. Something about having a young child in the house on the first day of the year. If felt very nice. He’s very cute too.

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We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, with a really big meal, all the family and present opening etc. Usually, Christmas Day is spent lying around, marshalling left overs into unsuspecting stomachs and generally vegging, like watching the DVD haul or reading books. However, in recent years things have evolved. My sister likes us to come over for Christmas lunch and then I go to Matt’s parents in the afternoon. This makes for a lot of food in a 24 hour period and the push out by one day of the lying around, munching on leftovers and doing the stuff I used to do on Christmas Day.

Today I was so exhausted I didn’t want to get out of bed. But I did get out of bed and after a coffee (very weak one) some ham and some chocolate I managed to rustle up enough strength to put away the presents and sit at the PC.

I had this really fab idea of writing very diligently today but I’m afraid that’s been pushed out too. I think I’ll go to the gym tomorrow and restart the fitness regime that has been stalled for two weeks. I know I will never be trim again, but I do need to keep fit so the RSI doesn’t reappear. Then I’ll get serious about finishing Bespelled and either revising or starting something else. I do need to think about Rayessa’s next adventure too.

In a few days, my Iphone 5 will arrive and I will launch myself into the future with Siri, the voice activated software that will answer my phone, make appointments and other fantastic stuff. Just to think when I was growing up there weren’t even PCs, now I have a smart phone.

I had this idea for a novel (SF romance) that had a cute little personal planner, but the rate things are going, it won’t be fiction at all.

Happy holidays to one and all.

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Now I have a cover and a release date (10 Jan 2013) I can plan what promotion (mostly celebration) is going to happen. Today the lovely Nicole Murphy (http://nicolermurphy.com/) came over to do some Conflux organising and launch party brain storming.

For those of you who don’t know, Nicole and I are running the National Science Fiction Convention next year in Canberra over the Anzac Day period. Today we were scheduling the 20 diverse workshops we will be running as part of the convention. We are very excited about it. After we had settled that, we got down to brainstorming my launch party.

The launch party planning became a big thing. Here I was thinking I would have a themed party with people dressing up as space pirates or slaves. You can tell from the title there are space pirates and there is also a Centauri Slave Market featured. The lovely Matthew Farrer (http://matterfarrer.wordpress.com/)  also piped in with his ideas and now I’m doing a ‘Welcome to AllEarth Corp induction pack’ including a few novelties I will have to create or supply. (this means I have some work to do). We discussed props/house decorating stuff, food (including meatball asteroids and chocolate crackle asteroids), a purple coloured punch served out of haz chem bucket (Matt’s brilliant idea). I was thinking it would be a punch bowl and have been told a bucket with a haz chem symbol is what I need. There is going to be a lucky door prize, a pass the parcel prize, a trailer viewing, a reading (apparently I can’t outsource that part).

Because I have no physical book to display, I’ve been thinking hard about what I can do to let people take away something. My idea was a book mark thingy, with space on the back for an autograph. So I have that ball rolling. I’m just hoping Nicole doesn’t tell me my design is sucky, because it’s TOO LATE , Nicole! Also, as Conflux is coming up, the bookmarks can go into conbags. I’m sure I’ll get a discount, Hey Nicole? I’ll possibly have enough for another convention I’m going to in June.

While I was at the supermarket after Nicole went home, I also had the idea to make a cake in the shape of a space ship, my version of a space ship. So that’s all happening on the 19th of January and now I have to put my thinking cap on about the invites. As the launch party is at my house I have limited space. As it is in January a lot of people will be away so maybe it will work out.

I’ve already been on http://www.thinkgeek.com to get a few things I’ll need. The trouble with to do lists is that they give you things to do.

Also, promoting your work in this digital age is a new and exciting frontier. Will it work? I have no idea.

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So my earlier post mentioned that I was waiting for the cover and then I flicked back over to my email and it had snuck in.

You can imagine first cover and high anticipation levels.

So its romance and science fiction, a light-hearted escapade.


Rayessa and the Space Pirates_cvr

PS there are no man titties (thank goodness or Smart Bitches Trashy Books would be onto it).

PSS. To be published by Harlequin’s new digital imprint, Escape Publishing, January 10 Here.

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So over on Nicole Murphy’s blog, I’m being interviewed about how I got a publishing deal as part of Nicole’s ‘The Call’ series.

The blog interview is here.


In other news, my son, Taamati, came over to take some author shots. He’s pretty busy at the moment but he has to do things to them, including cropping and colour correction etc. So I could only choose 3 author shots.

Here is one that didn’t take the shot. I like it because it is out there.

Me in my not author shot

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Sorry this is a bit overdue. Genrecon was at the beginning of November and now it is nearly the end of November. It’s really scary how I seem to be on a roller coaster heading smack into Christmas. My head is still firmly in fiction writing land and I picked up the paranormal romance I started in New Zealand and it’s like I’m obsessed. I want to find out how it ends. I have the outline I wrote on the way back from the Romance Writers of Australia conference, but I’m quite ready to toss it as the characters have taken off. I think perhaps I had too much plot but we’ll see.

Now back to Genrecon. What an amazing convention that turned out to be. It was a convention aimed at developing writers from crime, romance, speculative fiction, including horror writers, held in Parramatta. I’m not sure how many people were there. I’d say around 200.

We were late for the opening cocktail party as we had to drive up from Canberra after work. It was still going strong by the time we arrived. Matthew took refuge in our suite and I headed for the bar. Two panels sessions started, which I didn’t realise until I was ensconced in the bar. I caught up with people I new from SF cons, Jason Nahrung, Peter Ball , Chris McMahon, Jodi Cleghorn and others.

Breakfast was included in our room rate and when we went down, we found out it was combined with the conrate as well. (I’d booked too late to get the con rate so I got a priority awards rate instead). So the restaurant contained plenty of people we knew. Jane Virgo, Chris Andrews, Nicky Strickland and Damien Cavalchini.

My memory is a little frayed after a few weeks had passed. I remember it all worked really well. The mixture of genre writers created a new kind of tribe. Many were new to cons and others not. I caught up with Jodi Cleghorn, Abigail (@BothersomeWords) and met new people, such as the lovely Rebekah Turner @RbkhTurner, whose debut urban fantasy was released by Escape Publishing last week. To get the book ready for launch both Escape Publishing and the authors worked hard. Rebekah told me on her very quick turn around on edits and proofs. Her cover looks amazing. I met up with Kate Cuthbert (who I can now say is my publisher), Alex Adsett wonder person who gives advice on publishing contracts and is now an agent and I scored at pitching session with Ginger Clark, editor from Curtis & Brown NY.

I introduced myself to Dan O’Malley at breakfast. I’d written to him about Conflux 8 and 9 and I was hoping he would honour us with his presence. He was really nice and very popular as a panellist and the spontaneous kiss (Kate Eltham) during the debate knocked everyone’s socks off. If you caught the twitter feed people were saying he was pure gold.

At lunch I caught up with people. Here is a shot of Alan Baxter and Andrew McKeirnan.

Alan Baxter and Andrew McKeirnan


And Jodi Cleghorn and Alan Baxter

Jodi Cleghorn and Alan Baxter

There were three streams of panels during the day with main sessions combining all rooms. Genrecon had a lovely format for community partners to talk about what they  had to offer, Sisters in Crime, Australian Horror Writers Association, Romance Writers Association and Conflux. We all had 15 minutes to strut our stuff. The Conflux session was on Saturday afternoon and we had a prize draw. A stack of books, which I put together from our authors and from Angry Robot. That went off like a charm because the first person drawn preferred books to a membership. And luckily the second name was Amanda Bridgeman, who is a writer coming out with Momentum next year, won a membership. She was waiting in the wings to talk to me about coming along and wouldn’t you know she won a prize.

Later I had a pitch session with Ginger Clark. She was awesome but threw me a bit by telling me to sending her 50 pages and I’d only been there a minute. So I chatted to her about the Air NZ Hobbit themed safety video and blah, blah until the hook came to drag me off stage.

I went to the Pistols and Parasols banquet. I went to NZ so had to rush my bustle dress but I was pleased with the result. I also had a very pretty parasol. See picture that Matthew took below. I totally wanted to do ‘bustle punk’.

Me in my bustle dress

The food at the banquet was very good. The entertainment was awesome. First up Kim Wilkins, who was the MC, interview Kate Cuthbert about Harlequin’s new digital imprint Escape. Kate is awesome. She is an editor who likes to dress up!

Here is a shot of Kate Cuthbert and author Daniel O’Malley

Daniel (Fez) O’Malley and Kate (Cut throat) Cuthbert.

A shot of Alex Adsett and Dan O’Malley. Life is pretty awesome when even agents like dressing up.

Alex Adsett and Daniel O’Malley

Then Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books did an amazing talk including a cover snark of how Australia is depicted in US romance books. Absolutely awesome.

As I was leaving the banquet, I had to admire this dress. The lovely lady works for the Queensland Writers’ Centre and I think her name is Aimee (correct me if I’m wrong).

Aimee in her Edwardian gown

What was amazing about the gown, as well as looking fab, was that Aimee saw the dress in 1915 magazine and drew the pattern herself and then made it. How talented and patient. She said it took a month for her to get the pattern drawn well.


Here is a shot of Chris McMahon and one of Chris Andrews and Matthew Farrer (my Dweeb!).

Chris McMahon, author


Chris Andrews and Matthew Farrer both from Canberra

After the banquet we were moved on to the bar, except the normal people, (people from Rosehill Racecouse) were still occupying the bar. Apparently, it gets nasty and there are security guards etc. We had a letter and a pass delivered to our rooms in the morning to advise if we left the hotel we’d need a pass to get back in, because they tried to keep people out. It was very educational watching the drunk normal people behave very oddly. Eventually we got back in the bar.

While we waited I caught up with Cat Sparks.

Me and Cat Sparks

And I got to meet author, Charlotte Nash, who wore this Firefly inspired number.

Charlotte Nash

Matthew and I had to duck out because our room deal came with wine and a chocolate fondue. So we ducked up to our room and then I went back to the bar.

I snaffled a shot (a selfie) of me and Rose from @Fangbooks in the bar.

Rosie and me

Sunday it was one of the nerve wracking things were there were three panels I wanted to go to but could only get to one. I went to Sarah Wendell’s one about social media and blogs and marketing. I also went to a session on planning your writing career and copyright and contracts, which was a double header with Alex Adsett and Peter Ball. I haven’t written my plan yet but I’m onto it. Joe Abercrombie was interesting to listen to. I totally lost my smooze mojo when I spoke to him. I happened to mention that his first novel had very little romance. Things sort of dived from there and he choofed off quick and proper.

So overall a great atmosphere. It was totally catered, which I didn’t realise and I had bitched about the price so felt a tad stupid, particularly when Peter Ball told me it was all over the registration page. You don’t get that with cons normally and I wish we had enough $$$ to do at least one meal at Conflux 9. Conflux 8 did a lunch on the Saturday and it went down so well.

So thank you Genrecon for a great time. I totally enjoyed myself and thought it was very well done. The hotel was fab and the logistics of opening and shutting concertina doors was spot on. If I’m in Australia during the next one, I’ll be there. The next Genrecon will be held in Brisbane, backed once again by theQueensland Writer’s Centre and the Australian Writers’ Marketplace. Genecon you rocked.


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I received my edits for my YA space opera novella on Tuesday night. I had a stinking headache so couldn’t even glance at them. Wednesday being my writing day, I flexed by fingers in the morning and charged right in. I read the document through first to get a feel for what I was up against and I was pleasantly surprised.

I’m happy to say the edits were rather light. There was no taking out Australian idioms. Apparently I over used ellipses in this particular piece. I don’t normally over use them so I was surprised. I had to cut up a few chapters to make them similar lengths to the rest, which included new chapter titles and dovetailing the ends and the beginnings of those. Some very minor tweakage and I was done.

It’s short, 30,000 words so I finished the edits in the day. However, I printed it out to have a read over, which I did last night.

I do feel pressured so lucky for me my first time was only 30,000 words. I will probably freak when I get edits for a larger work.

The edits came in track changes, which I really hate mostly because of the RSI. However, I had something up my sleeve and also made the edits go rather quickly. My dictation software has a macro so that all I have to do is highlight the correction with the cursor and say
‘Accept change’ or ‘Reject change’. However, in my case I had just to say ‘Accept change’.

So last night, I emailed them off.
Time to go to work now.

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