Musings

And so another year has passed…

Happy New Year

Yes, 2015 has drawn to a close, and 2016 is here.

In the spirit of all things fresh and new, I thought I might try something different on my blog this year. Instead of simply focusing on writing – which I also address on The Print Posse blog – I thought I might write about some of my favourite things. Things that inspire me, things that motivate me, things that make me smile. Some of these things may be movies and books, others, recipes and songs. There’ll probably be a few web pages and poems too, maybe some art.

Spending time in Tassie every year – away from the hustle and bustle of city life – always stokes a flame of reflection and contemplation in my heart. I love going for long walks and dreaming of faraway places I’d love to live one day, places I could steal myself away to and write all the stories percolating inside my mind.

Just like this gorgeous stone house in Ontario...

Just like this gorgeous stone house in Ontario…

I’m generally a happy person and I think the reason for this is because I cling to goals and dreams – goals and dreams that keep me motivated and working hard even when working hard is the last things I want to do, when the days seem to drag on endlessly, when I feel chained to my seat in front of the keyboard with no release in sight. Simply knowing I’m working my way towards something wonderful is enough for me. I don’t have to have it now – I just need to know one day I might be able to make it a reality. Patience, that’s my motto, and persistence – because I know time always flies by, and before I know it, the years will have passed and I’ll be living that future I’m working so hard right now to create. Barring any unforeseen calamities, that is – but I don’t like to dwell on such things, not for too long anyway 😀

So, here’s to a brand new year – a year of dreams and wishes.

snowfall

And maybe while reading about mine, you’ll find a few of your own…

 

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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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Viva la Resolution!

Viva la Resolution

Woohoo! 2015 is upon us 😀

Well, to be precise, 2015 has been upon us for a few weeks now, but I only got back from Tasmania last night so it officially started for me today 😛

I thought I would write a little post about what I have planned for this year, and what I want to achieve. The list will no doubt grow and change as the year progresses, but I think it’s always good to have a jumping off point.

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

I wrote a 1 page synopsis when I first started querying. But since then, my novel has undergone significant change, dropping from a whopping 105K to a nice, svelte 88.5 K. As such, my original synopsis doesn’t quite match any longer. I also need a 2-5 page synopsis to go with my 1 page synopsis. So off to the rewriting trenches I go.

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

Last year I participated in a pitch-writing workshop hosted by The Australian Writers Marketplace, and was fortunate enough to befriend 3 lovely ladies: Fiona Stevens, Gabrielle Stroud and Karen Evers. We’ve decided to set up a website together where we will post regularly about our writing journeys and perhaps even showcase some of our writing 😀 I’m very excited to be a part of this! Watch this space for more info as this progresses…

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

Currently, I’m just past half way.

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

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.

Inspiration for a novel I’m not even close to starting – my modern adaptation of Knut Hamsun’s Victoria – has been whispering to me lately, particularly in the music sense. This is something I’m going to have to submit to – even if it means simply compiling a playlist and collating images.

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

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

On the topic of TV series, I’m really looking forward to season five of Teen Wolf and catching up on the last season of Revenge. And seeing Outlander, of course. When I was in Tassie, I also started re-watching The Lying Game – I absolutely love that show (and watching Blair Redford is definitely a treat 😉 ) Shame it never got a third season.

Hello, Mr Redford… 😉

Anyways, that’s about it for now. Fingers crossed every one of these goals gets the tick of completion 😀

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Killing My Darlings…

I watched Kill Your Darlings over the weekend – you know, the one where Harry Potter gets to kiss Dane DeHaan? Now, I wouldn’t say it’s the best film ever (it was okay) but it has officially inspired me.

I’m not sure if any other writers will identify, but for me coming up with ideas for novels takes a long time – and when I say long, I mean l-o-n-g. Usually the full concept, plot and cast of characters is a culmination of many ideas over many years. I’ll start with a basic type of story I’d like to write (eg. a vampire romance or a fantasy with Norwegian folklore) and an idea of the kind of themes I’d like to explore (eg. drug addiction, obsessive love, the love/hate dichotomy of female relationships). But that’s about it.

seize the moment

For example, I always wanted to write a vampire novel. I’ve loved vampires since forever, and although I cannot say who the first vampire was that I came across (well, unless Sesame Street counts), I do remember reading Le Fanu’s Carmilla as a young teen and being fascinated by the relationship between Laura and Carmilla. Then of course I discovered Buffy Anne Rice and Bram Stoker through film (namely Interview With The Vampire in 1994 and Dracula in 1992). Oh, and The Lost Boys! How can I forget The Lost Boys? (It came out in the 80s but I wouldn’t have seen it until the 90s, given my age). Throughout my teens I was also an avid Buffy LJ Smith and Christopher Pike fan. Have I mentioned Buffy yet?

If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m a vampire child of the 1990s 🙂 But they were my teen years – some of my most formative years (well, that’s my excuse anyway). 

As I was saying, I always wanted to write a vampire novel, but it took about ten years for me to come up with the right story. I guess it had something to do with the fact that I hadn’t really lived life yet. In my opinion, life is the best inspiration there is – the good stuff and the bad (maybe especially the bad). And finally at the age of 28 (after completing two degrees, having a beautiful baby boy, stepping out into the workforce, and having lots of those pesky life experiences) everything clicked into place. I had a story – and not just any story, a story that could span several centuries and several books, complete with love, loss, obsession, betrayal, and a really, really destructive ending – woohoo! Book 1 (the book I currently have on submission) is only the beginning of what will one day be an amazing series (I hope). But still it took me a long time to even get to the point where I could start writing it.

Step in Kill Your Darlings

Anyone who knows me would know from the trailer that I’d be drawn to this movie…

It’s got:
– an Ivy League college in the 1940s;
– Obsessed professors;
– Self-destructive writers and poets;
– Jazz; and
– Murder.

What an awesome combination!

It’s also got Dane DeHaan (think David Bowie meets Leonardo DiCaprio). Yes, Daniel Radcliffe is in it but in my opinion DeHaan outshines him every second of every minute – all 104 of them. But then again I am biased – I’ve always had a soft spot for the preppy blonde hell-raiser (Sebastian Flyte, h-e-l-l-o… and not to mention Dickie Greenleaf, my dah-lings).

Oh my, those blue, blue eyes…
soldier-brnes.tumblr.com

The movie itself was so-so, but — and this is a big but — it was the catalyst for the final pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, that has been slowly assembling in the recesses of my psyche for years, to fall into place. Finally – yes finally – I have the plot for the most awesome story ever – a story I was born to write (at least I like to think so).

And what story could this be, perchance? Let me explain…

The Secret DiariesMy favourite YA trilogy of all time is The Secret Diaries by Janice Harrell. I discovered the first book in the series, Temptation, back in 1995. I was living at Kangaroo Point at the time and I remember reading it of a morning while I rode the ferry to school.

It’s about a girl named Joanna who transfers to a new school and is drawn into a mysterious group of kids who have a dark secret. Just before Joanna arrived, another member of the group – a girl – mysteriously went missing. Some say she ran away. Others speculate something more sinister. As Joanna is drawn deeper into the group she gradually learns the truth.

It was (and is) awesome – I’ve read it many times since. And even though the writing is simple and unadorned, the story and characters captivate me every time. It’s a shame Scholastic don’t re-release the trilogy like they re-released The Vampire Diaries and The Last Vampire series (by the way – there are no vampires in The Secret Diaries – it’s a basic contemporary girl-meets-boy-and-his-circle-of-friends, boy-and-his-circle-of-friends-have-a-deadly-secret type of story). In fact, it’s actually very similar to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History – except set in high school.

In case you are interested, there is a great review of The Secret Diaries HERE.

Anyway, why do I bring up this story? Well, ever since it touched my life I’ve wanted to write something just as riveting. Something that was a little bit The Secret Diaries, a little bit Brideshead Revisited. Something that was a little bit The Talented Mr Ripley, and a little bit Poison Ivy and Mad Love (yes, I love Drew).

And now, thanks to Kill My Darlings, I’ve finally got it!!! The final piece of my puzzle. And I’m very excited 😀

I wish I could tell you more, but at this stage it’s all gotta stay hush-hush. Unfortunately due to the intricacies of the plot, I think this novel will take me a long time to write . But it will be worth every painstaking moment of toil toiled, and every drop of blood, sweat and tears dripped.

Man, I can’t wait to get started…

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