Archive for the ‘Masters of Creative Writing studies’ Category

I’ve done it!

I’ve collected my degree in a graduation ceremony.


What a hectic day it was. So crowded and so long, but it was awesome just the same. It was held in the Great Hall at Parliament House and there was a string quartet playing and all the pomp you’d expect.

I think I was a bit teary when I was putting the robes on. I remember what a big achievement it was for me to graduate in Economics at Sydney University in 1992. Something that I thought I’d never achieve at all.

Now twenty or so years later with a Masters in Creative Writing I’m so pleased and excited and wowed out.

I was accompanied by my daughter Shireen and my partner Matthew.


Here are my graduation buddies. Jennifer Curry and Wendy Banham.

Then I met up with Tony Eaton, the course convener and all round nice guy (He’s tall). I figured if a lecturer can wear Tardis Damask T-shirt, he had to be ace (and he is).



Here is a distance shot of Matthew and Shireen in the main foyer of Parliament House. Love all that marble.


I have official photos but I’ve just looked them up. OMG! I’ll have to sell my soul for them and I already paid a sitting fee. I will consult with Matthew and see what I can afford. Expensive business graduating.

Edit. And here is me tossing my hat. The camera was too slow so we filmed it.


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It’s amazing how absorbed you can be in stuff and you lift your head up and realise you’ve been absent (smack, smack) from your blog for an unforgivable time. The main culprit has been the activity and effort involved in preparing my house for sale. Long nights after days at work. Weekends spent painting, packing, cleaning. Then when it’s ready there’s house hunting. My partner, Matthew Farrer, and I are moving into together. It’s a big commitment and a lot of work. Finding a house is difficult. We were gazumped on the first house, just a day or two before were were to exchange contracts. Right now we are biting nails to see if the current deal goes through. I was so active during the last couple of months that I lost 5 kilos (without the gym).  Go me. Mind you now that I’m not so active I have to watch the weight. I’m also addicted to a clean and tidy house. Imagine that. (it’s tidy because half my possessions are in storage and my study is naked of books).

I’m in the last four weeks of my Masters so I’m pretty flat out there and also in the last and important stages of my work project. At least my masters involves some writing and that story is coming along nicely. We have an intensive class tomorrow. I need to work on my presentation tonight and I have to go to work in the morning after all, beforehand.

Due to illness in the family, we’ve had to call off our trip to World Fantasy Convention in Brighton. I’m sad about that as I had been planning it for two years, but it also didn’t go well with buying and selling houses. So early Saturday morning I’m heading off to Genrecon in Brisbane. I’m looking forward to showing off my under bust corset at the Cutlass and Kimonos banquet. We hope to rebook our trip next year. There is a World SF convention on in London in late August 2014.

In writing news, I sent off the sequel to Rayessa and the Space Pirates to the editor. I guess I’ll hear in due course. This weekend I’ll be signing a contract with Alex Adsett Publishing Services. Alex is very lovely and is going to represent a few of my manuscripts. I also signed a contract with Escape for one of the paranormal romances I’ve been working on. That will be coming out under another name next year. I’ll keep you posted. It’s going under another name because my young adult stuff is under my name and the sexy paranormal has, you know, sex in it.
All in all everything is busy but positive.

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I have been shamefully absent. This means I have been absent from my blog and I’m shameful about it.

I have excuses though. Good ones!

I was up in the Torres Strait for work for nearly two weeks before Easter. It was beautiful and so very humid that I nearly expired with the heat. Once back, I’ve been on leave and I had an intensive manuscript writing workshop at uni and a test and I’ve been plodding along with my two masters’ subjects. Eek! So in the next four weeks, I have a national science fiction convention to run (with Nicole and the team), two uni assignments to complete and a writers’ retreat. Doesn’t sound like much when I put it like that but there’s heaps to do on all levels. Then it’s back to work to report writing.

As well as the above I had to revise and resubmit a manuscript to a publisher and hopefully I’ll hear back about that soon. I guess I have a new outlook on crazy busy. Oh yeah, I forgot. I’m making some new outfits for Conflux 9. A new Victorian bustle dress and a new Regency dress and last night I dreamed of making a cake. (I need to be sedated. Pronto!)

Last night I had my first Conflux inspired insomnia episode.

Conflux 9 is going to be great. There’s a great positive vibe, a good swag of people coming (over 200) and fantastic guests and panelists. We have cool events. And some creative people designing and managing the things like the Junkyard Cathedral Masquerade and the Ditmar Awards on Saturday.

I used to  enjoy doing this stuff, but I realise that I don’t have the youth and vigour I did 9 years ago when I chaired the last Natcon in Canberra. Thank god I’m doing this gig with the powerhouse Nicole Murphy. She is awesome, brilliant and visionary. However, I shall be hanging up my con running hat after this. It’s time to truly concentrate on the writing. The best part about organising a convention and choosing the guests. We have fab guests, Marc Gascoigne from Angry Robot Books, Nalo Hopkinson, Jamacian/Canadian award winning author, Karen Miller, who is too prolific to list her titles, Kaaron Warren, a very talented and award winning horror writer and Rose Mitchell our Fan Guest of Honour. Rose has a long history with Conflux. I couldn’t name all the highlights and favs of this convention, but it is thrilling to be able to bring workshops and pitching opportunities to the writers among us. We have some top class panelists and some very cool topics to discuss.

Hopefully, after I put the house back in order after the carpet cleaning today. (so mundane! so necessary) I may blog again when my head is less full.

Cheers D

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Last post I talked about how I hadn’t completed an outline but that I used key questions to work out aspects of the plot for this paranormal romance I’m working on. This seems to be working. I have revised the first part to add additional characters and I find that the questions give me greater clarity with the broader story and world-building, something that I had been a bit sloppy on. Perhaps I never took this story seriously before, even though I think it is a cool idea. Although I like reading paranormal novels, this is my first attempt at one. I have managed a couple of short stories, which were published. I find them an interesting flex of the writing muscles, a chance to dance in the moonlight and let my hair down.

I read the first Dark Brotherhood book, Dark Lover by JR Ward. It was a pretty cool book for a number of reasons. Nowhere near as hot as I expected, but I’m told the series gets hotter. I was a bit taken about by the glossary up front. However, I could see why Ward wanted to differentiate her vampires from the common tropes. She has an interesting world setting, which sets it apart. I thought her approach was clever too. I’m on the second Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson book, Blood Bound. I’m still trying to figure out how she does it. If there is romance then at this stage it is very low key, just a kind of attraction with a very slow build. With two potential lovers, I’m not sure who I’m backing at this stage. I think it is because Briggs’ world-building is so interesting and immersive and the story is also very pacy. I find this book unputdownable.

Speaking of flexing my writing muscles, I’ve had the first lecture in Writing for Young People yesterday. I’m scared witless. It is an intensive writing course so basically I have to produce product, a kiddie book, a poem based story etc every week. I’m excited by learning something new and exploring new things and I’m also anxious about it. I guess I want to be good at it. I didn’t realise that I had this competitive streak, that I really want to do things well, when I choose to do them. Perhaps that will rub off on my generally because I have been a lazy writer in the past, accepting what I had written without really seeing that I could improve it (not always but I had/have bad habits).

Along with work (I’m writing issues papers again), gym, cake decorating classes (actually I’d call it an expensive addiction), organising Conflux 9 (2013) Natcon with Nicole and life generally, I’m pretty full up. However, I find that being busy makes me productive. Somewhere I have to fit in making a Victorian costume in the next month.

Tomorrow, I explore yet another frontier by heading to the Australian Romance Writers Conference in the Gold Coast. The link to Diamonds are Forever is here. I’m quite excited about going. I don’t know much about the industry but I know I have a number of romance novels in me so yet again I’m flexing those writing muscles by exploring new territory.

Also, it is a bit of a holiday for me.  I’m staying an extra day to hang with Matthew in Brisbane. It is so much warmer there than here.
Below is a picture of my first cake. This one has butter cream. The next one will be covered in fondant.

My first cake decorating attempt. The green icing was lime flavoured.

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