Thursday, March 28, 2013

Long weekend

So, it's a long Easter weekend.  The kids get Tuesday off school as well, so it's essentially a 5 day holiday for them.

For me?  Not so much.  I get Friday and Monday off, but have to work the rest of the days.  But that should be okay because at least it should be busyish....  There's nothing I hate more than working when it's quiet.  I get really resentful about being there instead of doing something more productive.  Like writing or revising.

I have several things planned for this long weekend as well as working.  We're going up the coast to visit my good friend on Friday, and I've promised the kids we'll make hot cross buns at some point.  Which reminds me - I need to buy dried fruit to put in them.....  I also just got a new pretzel recipe I want to try out, plus one for a giant, skillet-sized chocolate chip cookie that you serve in slices with ice cream.

Hmmm....  Better hope the gym's open this weekend.  I'm going to need to work out!  Especially since I'm revising and spending a lot of time with my butt planted in my chair.

What are your plans for the long weekend?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Where I'm At....

The last few weeks have been a little chaotic.  Not quite sure why, but between my day-job being crazy busy and a number of social engagements, I've struggled to keep to my regular routine.  And that's not just with writing.  My gym-going has been spotty to say the least....

But this week I feel like things are beginning to get back to normal (apart from Easter of course, but that doesn't make a huge difference in my life) and I'm setting myself a plan to get everything done that I need to.

Firstly, I'm about 2K away from finishing the first draft of Between Paradise and Nowhere.  So that's going to get knocked out tonight.  Then I need to go back and fix the three or four funky chapters in the middle.  I hope to get through all of that by the end of the week so I can dive back into Stumped, armed with notes from two new beta readers.

The things that need to be done to Stumped aren't huge.  Having Laura read it as I wrote it was terrifically helpful in that regard, since she reined me in before I went on any wild tangents.  In fact, I feel like this one needs far less revision than anything I've ever written before.  So I'm hoping I can get through that one in about 3 or 4 weeks.

Then there's the new idea I've been mulling on....  But I'm not going near that one until I've finished with the other two.  Having so many projects in various stages of completion is making me snaky.  I like to finish things and have them going out before I dive into a new one.  The way this is going, I'm going to wind up having two new books to query at the same time.  Which isn't ideal...

And as for querying, I still haven't done much with Sidewalks and I really should get onto that.  I'm really not sure why I'm still loathe to send that out....  It's not like I'm a query virgin.  I've been doing this for 5 years now.  If my skin got any thicker, it'd be an exo-skeleton.

Have you ever felt that way about a project?  What did you do?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bad blogger....

For over two years I've been really good about keeping to my every two days blogging schedule.  But this year, I'm really struggling to think of things to blog about.  I feel like I've said everything I have to say about everything, but that's not even remotely true.  There are a million things I haven't even touched on here.

So I'm looking forward to April and the A - Z blogging challenge.  That's going to kick my butt, but hopefully it will reignite my blogging to the point where I can get back to blogging more regularly.  I usually don't theme my A-Z posts, but this year I've decided to do an A - Z of film reviews.  Just for a change, y'know?

I'll do a mix of older films and newer films, and will try and post a mixture of good and bad reviews.  Hopefully you'll find them interesting, and that you might want to go out and watch some of them.

Are you blogging A - Z in April?   Do you have a theme?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Why I Like My Job

While I occasionally have vivid fantasies about being a full-time writer and spending my days hunched over my computer in my pajamas, I actually like my day job.  Most of the time, anyway.

I run an art house movie theatre, but it's so much more than just a movie theatre.

This week alone we have a live children's theatre show, a French film festival, a funeral and a public lecture from an Icelandic economist.  Not to mention our permanent bookings like the Film Society and Opera Society.

So every day is different.  There's always something new and exciting to look forward to, and different challenges associated with every event.  I get to meet fascinating people and get exposed to new ideas all the time.  And these things all fuel my writing.

For a very recent example, the idea for Stumped came to me after we hosted the premiere of Scarlet Road and I had a chance to speak to the subject of the documentary.  Until that moment it would never have crossed my mind to write a book about sex and disability.  But after meeting Rachel, the idea wouldn't leave me alone.

So while some days I bitch and moan about not having enough time to write, and hate crawling out of bed at 5:30am to do it, I don't think I'd be the writer I am without the stimulation I get from working outside my own room.

What's your day job?  Do you like it?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A little shameless self-promotion

Yesterday I found out that I've made it through to the quarter-final round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.  To say I was surprised would be an understatement!  I almost didn't enter this year because I was away at the beach when the submission window was open, and I don't have internet access down there.  But on the spur of the moment I decided it wouldn't hurt to enter, and drove into town to use the internet at the library.

Looks like it paid off.

It's the first time in three years I've made it past the pitch round after being a semi-finalist in 2010.  So that's exciting, in a small way.  I entered The Boyfriend Plague, which is a book I no longer feel all that invested in because I've written 3 more since.  The difference this year is that I have a Kindle now, and can read the excerpts.  It was quite exciting to download my own and read it the way I read books all the time now.  It made it feel quite different.

Anyway, if you'd like to read the excerpt and comment (I love comments), the link is here.  I'd love to hear your thought!

Did any of you enter ABNA this year?  Did you make it through?

Monday, March 11, 2013

What's Goin' On?

So, just to update you on what I'm actually doing at the moment....  I've managed to pull myself out of my post-Melbourne funk and am back to work.

I polished up my query for The Sidewalk's Regrets and sent off a first batch last week.  We'll see where that leads.

I did a quick, first round edit on Stumped because I won a 50K MS edit and wanted to make sure I got the most out of it.  I'm hoping the editorial comments will be helpful and will be able to guide me through the next round of revision.  Because while there are parts of the book I really like, it needs some big picture work to help focus it better.

And finally, I dug out the MS of Between Paradise and Nowhere, the NaNo novel I never finished last year, and am trying to make it to the end.  I'm at the climax now, so should finish by the end of the week.  Then I need to go back and fix a major problem I have in the middle before I go back to the beginning and revise.

So I have plenty to move ahead with.  What are you working on right now?

Friday, March 8, 2013

A little bit random

I occurred to me the other night, I have 200+ followers on this blog, and what do they really know about me?  That I'm a writer and that I work in film.  That I have kids, maybe.  That I'm a huge music fan.  But other than that, probably not much.

So I thought I'd give you a few random facts about me.  To kind of flesh out the caricature you might be carrying around in your head.

1. I used to be a chef and I still love to cook.  I have shelves and shelves of recipe books, but I never look at them.  Once I've read through them, I make dishes like the ones I've seen in the book, but I never follow the recipe to the letter.

2. I cry in movies all the time.  At the drop of a hat.  But I don't cry much in other parts of my life.  So maybe my movie crying is the catharsis I need.

3. I once locked my sister in a wardrobe and tried to suck the air out with a vacuum cleaner.  It didn't work....

4. I change the color of my hair the way other people change their socks.  Right now it's kind of a dark purple/burgundy on the top, and the ends are orange.  But I think I'll change that soon.

5. Talking of socks...  I very rarely ever wear a matched pair.  I can never find two the same when I sort the laundry, so I pair up two of the same style, even if one's green and one's pink.

So there you are.  Can each of you tell me something random about yourself?

Monday, March 4, 2013


I have two kids, both boys, and they have the most amazing imaginations.  Everything they see or do feeds into their imaginations and fuels their play.

For example, my older son has a video game he likes to play (are they still called video games these days???  I think I'm showing my age) on my phone.  It's one of those games where you build a civilization and go to war against other civilizations to gain the things you need to strengthen your village.

Both my kids have become quite obsessed with this game and I've had to limit the amount of time they spend on my phone or I'd never have any battery left.  But it doesn't matter because the stories they create within the game have spilled into their everyday life, and my younger one re-creates scenarios using Lego.  The older one plays at the game with his friends, pretending to be enemy armies invading.

My front yard is a war zone of half destroyed villages and barracks for training troops.  All the bricks I had piled up from where our chimney was taken down have been brought into play and most have been smashed.  I guess it's better than the house getting smashed though....

I'm happy that they're getting so much fun out of this, and that they're using their imaginations to create characters and worlds to play in, even if they were sparked by a game.  But I do wish every game didn't involve fighting....  Guess it's a boy thing.

Do your kids use media to fuel their play?  What fuels your imagination?