Houses, My Favourite Things, Uncategorized

My favourite things #2: The “Marley and Me” Stone House

My second favourite movie house of all time is the stone house from “Marley and Me”. There’s just something alluring about that house covered in snow – a real home ready to be filled with love 🙂

Here are some pictures from the movie:

Turning into the driveway…

Coming home…

Looking out across the yard…

Welcome home!

At the base of the stairs…

the loungeroom

The lounge room.

in the kitchen

The kitchen.

window seat

A window seat in the bedroom…

snowy day

The view on a snowy day…

snow angels

Making snow angels in the garden…

And here are some shots of the real life house:

outside

dining rustic_kitchen  fireplace

barn

main bedroom bathroom bedroom sitting room

side of the house

downstairs loungeporch

I can just imagine myself baking cookies in that kitchen with my boys, or sitting on the enclosed verandah reading a book…

The house was for sale recently:

I also found the property on Google Maps – and some gorgeous shots of it from the street:

aerial view

A bird’s eye view…

street view 4

Driving up Historic Route 100…

street view 5

Look! There’s Meetinghouse Road 🙂

street view 1

And there she is…

street view 3

The view when driving to the house along Meetinghouse Road…

After scouring the net (as I do) I found this really gorgeous stone house for sale in Ontario Canada:

stone-home-ontario

Ah… a girl can only dream 🙂

Some links of interest:

And if you know of any other gorgeous stone houses, please be sure to share below…

snowing

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As 2015 draws to a close…

Old alarm clock showing five to midnight

Five to midnight…

I’m sad to say I’ve been rather quiet on this blog this year – what with a new thriving business monopolising my time and my adventures on The Print Posse Blog.

For those of you who haven’t been following my Print Posse escapades, you can read about them HERE. Gabbie, Fiona, Karen and I take turns blogging every month about topics near and dear to our hearts. Each of us are at different stages of our writing journeys and have different perspectives, experiences and advice to share. Be sure to check it out 😀

I thought today, though, I might revisit my resolutions for 2015, before 2016 rolls around and a whole new set of goals must be set.

The things I wanted to achieve in 2015 (as detailed HERE) were …

1. Rewrite my synopsis for The Mark of the Cagairáin – to be completed by the end of January.

Not only did I achieve this I also revised 1 more time AND then wrote another synopsis !!!

2. Work with my Pitching Posse to set up our new website and maintain throughout the year – website to go live sometime in February.

DONE! And I never shut up about it :p

brilliant

3. Finish the first draft of my fantasy novel – hopefully by end of April.

DONE! And earlier than planned – I typed my last 1071 words on 12 March 2015.

4. Write a significant proportion of the second draft of my fantasy novel by the close of 2015.

Well, this one not so much – but I’ve almost finished chapter 2.

5. I’m also thinking of compiling a few playlists and setting up some individual web pages for each of my novels. Oh, and posting more novel-related material on Pinterest.

Sort of. I did compile playlists and create web pages for my fantasy novel (which you can find HERE and HERE). But that’s about it. I guess I’ll get to this once I finish the second draft of my fantasy novel and start plotting and planning Victoria 2.0. I can’t wait!

6. On a personal note, attend my high school graduation 20 year reunion on August 22.

DONE!

2

That’s me in the red!

7. Finish watching Buffy and Angel with my eldest. And then maybe move onto Twin Peaks.

Well, this fell to the wayside – finding time to watch TV became increasingly difficult as the year went on. But Cole and I did get to season 5 of Buffy and the equivalent of Angel (Season 2). I haven’t seen the last seasons of Revenge or Teen Wolf. Neither have we watched Twin Peaks. But we did, here and there, treat ourselves to an episode or two of The Walking Dead – we are currently up to season 4.

booyah

So there you go!

Apart from not getting as far along in my rewrite of A Nightmare’s Betrayal, I think I’ve done pretty well. Here’s hoping next year is just as productive, if not more so.

And definitely as much fun  😀

goodbye2015.jpg

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Some exciting news…

Hi all! I have something cool to tell you 🙂 

teen wolf dancingI was selected as one of 24/250 entries in a contest called ON THE BLOCK hosted by Miss Snark’s First Victim. On Tuesday, agents will bid on our manuscripts, but until then, our entries have been posted for feedback, critique and support.

My entry is #3 THE MARK OF THE CAGAIRÁIN (you can view it HERE). I would really appreciate any comments/feedback you would be willing to offer.

BONUS to any writers out there – when you post a critique, you go into the draw to win a critique of your own work AND there is also a Twitter giveaway happening (details can be found HERE).

Thanks in advance!

stiles

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I’m ba-ack!

I'm back!

Last night I wrote 300 words on my fantasy novel – the first time in four months I’ve worked on the project. But the break was totally worth it. Finally I fixed the issues plaguing the beginning of The Mark of the Cagairáin (issues I wrote about in an earlier post HERE) and have a version I feel proud of 100%. It’s such an awesome feeling – and so freeing. I can move forward and finish my second novel knowing my first is the best it can be 😀

I’m so in love with my second novel – an adventure about friendship and accepting oneself, fears and foibles and all. And it’s full of creatures from Scandinavian folklore – creatures I’ve longed to write about for years. It’s so different from The Mark of the Cagairáin – there’s no romance, it’s dual pov, and I get to play with a new style of writing (more direct, less descriptive) for half the story.

You can follow my progress at the top of my blog (there is a progress bar in the header: A Nightmare’s Betrayal – Second Draft) as well as on Twitter. I will try to write a bit each night, and update after every session.

I will also try to post a bit more regularly on here, now that I am back in writing land.

Oh, and if you’ve missed any of my posts on The Print Posse over the past few months, you can also find links to them in the header (bottom right corner).

Hasta la vista, baby 😛

I'll be back

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Where I’ve been…

Just a quick note to let you know where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing for the last few weeks since I’ve been absent … working, working, working AND writing over at The Print Posse blog 🙂

IMG_1188

Yes, The Print Posse blog is up and running! You can find it HERE. Each of us ladies posts once every four weeks… so you not only get to read about my writing journey, but also the journeys of three other fab Aussie lasses 😀 And double yes – the law firm is going great guns. So much so, I’m pretty much living and breathing contracts and settlements day-in, day-out (and all night, every night too – which is time usually reserved for writing).

So for the moment, writing is taking a back seat. But it’s all for a good cause so I can’t complain 😀

Anyways, I’ll try and check in again soon. Until then, I’ll still be interacting on Facebook and Twitter, and of course posting on The Print Posse blog.

Be sure to drop by and say hello!

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If a picture paints a thousand words… then I’ve met my writing quota for the month!

It’s time for another graphics post, folks.

Inspired by my new WIP, I have created some more pages for my website: one for The Changeling Chronicles duology, and one for the first book in the duology – A Nightmare’s Betrayal (the book I’m working on right now).

I know this gif has nothing to do with webpage graphics... but I needed to post something here and Blair Redford is definitely SOMETHING ;)

I know this gif has nothing to do with webpage graphics… but I needed to post something here and Blair Redford is definitely SOMETHING 😉

But before I share my web addresses, I want to give a shout out to the exceptionally talented Heather Bruton for allowing me to use her gorgeous sketch of a polar bear. Thank you, Heather!

I would also like to make special mention of Carrissa, over at TheSilverDiva on Etsy, whose beautiful hand-stamped heart keyring features on my webpage and book cover. I purchased one of the keyrings myself and can only say wonderful things about Carrissa’s service and craftsmanship. Definitely check out her shop HERE – Carrissa has so many beautiful pieces to choose from, and she ships worldwide too.

I also used a variety of fonts, textures and brushes:

Okay, so with all my thankyous and credit given, I would like to reveal to you my two new web pages:

The Changeling Chronicles

A Nightmare’s Betrayal

They also link from my novels page – you just need to click on the Changeling tarot card. Sometime in the near future, I will add a more obvious link on this page.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, I’ve also created a book cover for A Nightmare’s Betrayal, the front of which appears on my new web pages.

A Nightmares Betrayal Cover

Once again, I’d like to stress that these are just fun book covers and web pages I’ve created for my own enjoyment and inspiration. Of course, I hope you enjoy them too 😀

Now (again) I just have to get the book finished :p

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That moment you realise you’ve revised all wrong…

Last week I had an epiphany…

lol not quite like this :p

lol not quite like this 😛

For those of you unaware of my writing journey, I completed my first novel about a year ago – and by complete I mean I’d written a first draft, second draft, revised and polished to submission quality, with each process taking about 8 months (I’ve written other things before, but I’ve never taken them so far).

Anyways, the final product was a wieldy 105,000 words – way too much for a debut novel. Usually for Young Adult fiction, a new writer should aim for anywhere between 50,000 and 80,000 words – definitely no more than 90,000. So I knew I would be pushing it with agents and publishers submitting the novel as is.

In my gut, I knew the issue rested with the start of my novel.

A third of the way through, my story really took off and kept going great guns all the way to the end. It was the first third that was the problem – I had a lot of setting up squished into the first 100 pages – or, as Blake Snyder calls it in Save the Cat, lots of piping.

And I didn’t know how to fix it.

Then finally, I received some amazing feedback from an editor who acknowledged my issue and suggested a fix might be to bring one of the key incidents (that takes place about 150 pages in) forward.

So I thought about this and thought about this, discussed it with my beta readers, and finally came up with a new way of structuring my novel. It only took me about two months to rework everything, and when I was done I had a new and improved version – with the incident in question now taking place within the first 50 pages and my total word count standing at a svelte 88,500.

Phew!

Finally I was ready to take on the world of submissions…

cheerleader

or so I thought.

After getting my novel out there and receiving some more feedback, I realised – just last week – I’d revised my novel ALL WRONG!

Yes, the word count is right where it needs to be… but now I fear I have too many conflicts/motivations crammed into the beginning. In my first version, it is very clear what my main character wants – to run away with her childhood sweetheart (this is the entire premise of the first third of the novel). Then in the second third of the novel, the obstacles start piling up in her way, one after the other.

But by bringing one of the obstacles to the start of the novel, what I’ve done is muddy the waters. It’s no longer as clear what my main character wants or what her main conflict is – she’s effectively running around like a chicken with her head cut off. Well, maybe it’s not that bad… but still, it’s an issue.

I have more scotch

Now believe me, I was not too keen on realising this. But, as is typical Yani fashion, I just couldn’t let this lie. I love this story – I have to get it right (or at least as right as I can get it). So I thought, “Hey, let’s look at a few other stories of like genre and see how they lay the foundations in the first few scenes. Maybe I can learn a few things.”

And I did – as I said, I had an epiphany.

I started my novel TOO SOON!!!!

Yes, you read that right! I committed one of the simplest and most well-known errors a writer can make. You might not believe this, but I actually had contemplated it before – and ruled it out – as in my original version of Boudica’s story I started writing in 2009 (back before she had super powers and she was just a simple lass), I had included seven chapters about their childhood, which I omitted in my later drafts. “I have started just right, now,” I thought, as I typed the scene of Aiden’s return.

Pfft… I was soooo wrong.

No, instead of starting when Aiden returns, I need to start several months later, when they’ve already spent time together and fallen in love, and Aiden is asking her to run away with him. Then – BAM! – obstacle number one raises its ugly head, and then – BAM – obstacle number two soon after. And so on, and so on.

And you’ll never guess where in the 105K version of this novel this new starting point sits… right at the end of that pesky first third!

Blah!

Squint

I see it so clearly now – and it’s such an easy fix. All I need to do is lop of the first third of the novel, rework anything from that first third that is integral to the plot into the last two thirds, and then smooth the changes throughout the novel. Not only will my word count be within the right range, all my original and carefully worked out character motivations and conflicts will prevail exactly the way they were supposed to.

Woohoo!

Now I’ve just got to do it 🙂

Fortunately, I’ve almost finished writing the first draft of my second novel – my YA portal fantasy inspired by Norwegian folklore. As of last night, I officially have only five scenes left to draft. So once I sign off “The End”, I can throw myself back into my Whisperer novel and get the damn thing right, once and for all…

Yay!

Oh, and by the way – the Buffy/Angel rewatch is going great! Cole and I are halfway through Season 4 and loving every moment of it :p

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