Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday Favourites - Being a Daddy's Girl

Today’s Friday Favourite is all about my Dad, because it’s his birthday today – his 70th birthday. When he was a young man, Dad was quite the debonair man-about-town. Just take a look at this for proof:

According to my family legend, he snared my Mum with a fancy car and smooth talking, and the rest, as they say, is history.

We’re having a big family party this weekend, and people have travelled all kinds of distance to be here. That’s the kind of man my Dad is – he inspires people to want to be there to celebrate. For all of his life, whenever there’s been a big party, it’s never really started until Ken gets there.

Just yesterday, at Part One of the party weekend, someone asked me about my writing and they said, “So how did you get into that?”. Dad overheard and said, “It’s all thanks to me. See this bad back of mine? These broken fingers?” (Note: He doesn’t have broken fingers. But he does have a bad back.) “That’s all from the hard work I did to send her to university. Seven days a week, I worked, all so she could go to school.”

Because my Dad likes a laugh.

But also because he’s kind of right.

Thanks, Dad. And Happy Birthday.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Favourites

Happy Friday everyone! Today is a particularly lovely Friday in my part of the world. This what I found on my way to the gym this morning:

So with some lovely sunshine, after what has felt like a very grey and miserable winter, it's time for uplifting, Spring-like music. Anthems. Songs about feeling good. Songs that make you feel good.

One of my favourites is Mr E's Beautiful Blues by The Eels, which despite its name -- and the band's usual sombre repertoire -- is incredibly cheerful. It never fails to make me smile.

Another favourite is You Are My Joy by The Reindeer Section -- and it has a rather sweet and uplifting video that I've only just discovered by posting it here for you. This Scottish band was formed by members of lots of other famous Scottish bands like some of my favourites - Belle and Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub. (And also some band called Snow Patrol - no idea what happened to them... ;))

But the winning song for me today, mostly because it's new to me (I was late to the party on this one) is Elbow's One Day Like This. It's definitely a day to "throw the curtains wide". And this is an awesome, live version of the song. Enjoy! And, if you feel like staying in front of your computer long enough, leave me a comment and tell me your favourite uplifting anthem.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Morten

It's Morten Harket's birthday today. He's 52 years old. Seriously. How good does the guy still look?
Some of you might be wondering, who on earth is Morten Harket? I give you:

Now, do you remember?

As my family and many of my friends know, I had a crush on a-ha for years. Years and years. I never got to see them live when they toured Australia in 1986, because my parents said I was too young to go to Melbourne for the concert (we lived in the country). So in 2005 I flew to London to see them live on stage at Wembley. Best. Concert. Ever.

I also went to London again in 2010 to see them perform in their farewell concert at Wembley, because, you see, a-ha is no more. They went splitsville after 25 years together. *pouts*

The power of my teenage crush is such that my brain still retains the birth dates of all three members. And when I looked at the date today - 14 September - my first thought was, Happy Birthday, Morten.

Oh, and my second thought was: today's the day I'm blogging on the SuperRomance Authors Blog. So I did that. Go there and check it out.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Making my brain play nicely

As an unpublished author I never really thought too much about juggling stories. I tended to write a story, revise it, type 'the end' and then move on to the next one. But now that I have proper deadlines to meet I'm finding myself in the situation with three books on the go -- a new one just started, the next book for SuperRomance which I'm in the midst of writing, and another that I've finished but not revised. It means having three sets of characters and their conversations in my head. It's a little noisy in there, to be honest.

It makes the soundtrack I play in my office all the more critical. What I'm listening to -- even when I'm so subsumed by my story that a truck could hit the building and I wouldn't notice -- seems to make a big difference to me. Even just subliminally, I guess the tone, lyrics and 'heart' of a song make their impact on the melting pot inside me.

This past week or so, I've been playing British Band Elbow on high rotation. (You must have a play on their website home page with the twinkly little noises the letters make when you scroll over them.) I've also been listening a lot to Aussie band Seeker Lover Keeper who have this awesome song, Even Though I'm a Woman:

Hope you enjoy! Do you find music inspiring or do you need silence to concentrate? Let me know!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Favourites

I figured it'd be a good idea to have something that makes me blog at least once a week. This is not an original idea. There's the luscious Man Candy Mondays that my lovely and talented critique partner Robin Covington takes part in. There's Blaze author Meg Maguire's equally luscious Thrusty Thursdays that are just as often hilarious as hawt. Then there's things like Six Sentence Sunday which I might well join in with at some point.

But I want flexibility. I don't want to have to wait until Monday to post a photo of a gorgeous bloke. (See Jensen Ackles post below as case in point. (Or click on that link I just put in to the ridiculously named 'The Hunkies', in case you need more, like I did...))

So I came up with Friday Favourites. It just means that on Fridays, I'm going to talk about, link to, and/or feature photos of, things I like. They could be any thing. At this point in time you'll be lucky if it's not just Supernatural, Nerada Organics Rooibos and Vanilla tea and ridiculously expensive side tables, as they seem to be the key things keeping my tiny mind spinning right now.

Today's Friday Favourite is my favourite blog discovery of recent months. The Blogess came to my attention (and lots of other people's) with her post about buying a six-foot-tall metal chicken that she named Beyonce. It is, seriously, the most hilarious thing I've read. Probably ever. (Aside from a couple of entries on 'Damn You Autocorrect', but that's for another Friday.) I have read it several times, and still, when I re-read it, I chuckle all over again. And then my writer's brain tries to work out what makes it so funny.

Since Beyonce, the Blogess has continued to impress me with her bizarre take on the world and its people. She was an instant add to my 'fun stuff' category in my Google Reader. It is borderline NSFW, depending on how strict your policies are with swearing (there's quite a bit of that). But I get a thrill when I see there's a new post to read. For those of you new to Blogess, please go, discover. For those of you who already worship, I have two words for you: 'Knock, knock'.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Learning the ropes

There's so much to learn when you become published! I don't mean to whine, because let me tell you, it's still so incredibly awesome to have a real book out there (well, in a few months I will, anyway!). But I don't think I realised there would be so much to learn and do and a whole new set of things to think about once it happened.

It's not like I really thought it would be my very own HEA. But I have to admit I probably hadn't given much thought to what would happen after I got 'the call'. When you work for years to get published, getting that call is everything you dream of and the 'what comes next' is remote and shrouded in the mists of possibility.

Now I feel a little like Cinderella the day after the ball. I might have won the prince, but now I have to make the marriage work!

I have had to do a little mind-set adjusting to work in this new reality. Basically, I have a new job and like any new job, there's lots to learn, new things to consider, new issues, challenges and delights. I've had to do some re-prioritising in my life: I still have a full-time job that I can't afford to let go as yet (and actually really enjoy), so finding a balance between having two jobs, spending time with family and friends, having a life and trying to stay healthy and do some occasional exercise to make up for spending hours on end at the computer is, well, a little tricky.

But I'm not complaining. :)

PS - In a spooky bit of coincidence, I just received an email invitation to attend a meditation session, the subject of which is 'creating more balance in your life'. I think I might need to attend!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Research is so important...

...although it probably doesn't justify the amount of time I've spent watching Supernatural in the past couple of weeks.

This, on the other hand, absolutely does:

The joy of starting a new book

This morning I started working on a new story. I only typed 'The End' on my last manuscript on Saturday, and I'd normally take a little break, but the characters in this story were banging on my brain, waiting to be let out!

I'm definitely a pantser, at least when it comes to the first few chapters of a new book. I need to write a little way in to get my head around the characters, who they are, what they want and where they're headed. This can mean that I sometimes need to go back and re-write or edit, but then I don't think this is much different than time spent on planning writing character outlines/profiles, etc.

I do end up doing a little plotting as the book progresses, in that I start seeing the direction we're headed and what's going to need to happen in order to get us there. I don't have a structured approach to this, it's just something that seems to happen - lucky for me!

The best thing though, is when I surprise myself - when something I wrote back in chapter 2 suddenly becomes vitally important in chapter 11. It's both awesome and a little scary - I love that my brain works in ways I'm not even conscious of, although I do worry about what else might be going on in there that I don't know about!

I'll tell you more about the new story as I get my head around it...