Sunday, December 16, 2007

Up, up and away, I'm off on holiday.

Today's the day. I'm going on the A380 to Sydney tonight arriving in Sydney in the morning. Not how long it'll be before I get back online so I'm checking in now to let everyone know just in case I drop off the face of the earth. (At least I'm warning you before I disappear this time.)

I got myself a new toy to play with. It's a My Space page. I'm still learning how it all works over there, it's very confusing and I'm still have some trouble finding my way around but you can pop over and check me out. (I've put a link on the side of the blog.)

Go on over there and check out who some of my friends are. You'll notice lots of changes as I get the hang of it over there and play around.
Well, off to check every thing is packed.
'See' you all soon.

Wishing everyone a safe, happy and bountiful Christmas and New Year.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Spring Cleaning!

Out with the old, in with the new.
I know it's winter where I live and it's summer where I'm going for the next month but I've had a spring anyway. What do you think? I'm not sure. I had a few complaints about the old look hurting the eyes so I thought I'd see how this went. Who knows, I'll probably change it again anyway.

Change is as good as a holiday, everyone should have one!

Rachel C

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Getting into the spirit of giving.

I visited the Naughty and Spice Blog today and found Amie Stuart's blog very interesting. She's blogging about another author, Colleen Gleason, who runs an unusual contest. Pay It Forward. For anyone that's seen the movie you'll know what I'm talking about, well the idea anyway. So Colleen sets a challenge, pay it forward, do something nice for someone else this holiday season, then make a comment about it on her blog and on the 20th Dec she'll pick some winners. I didn't check out the prizes but I'm sure they're cool. And Amie, 'good' girl that she is, is running a parallel contest. That's right, she's spreading the word and adding incentive. She's giving a free critique or course to the winning author and a half dozen books to the winning reader of her contest. But it's not the prizes that get me it's the things people do for nothing, I mean really, the prizes aren't that fantastic. So I checked out some of the comments and the things people are talking about are so small, just seconds out of our day or, as in one case, change out of our pocket. Then I got to thinking what's the one thing we can all give, everyday, that costs nothing? (picture light bulb moment here) A smile. Yep, costs nothing and yet we have the power to give it to everyone we meet, even if it is just in the line while waiting to use the bathroom at the local shopping mall. Think about a smile for a minute. How good does it make you feel to see someone smiling? How good do you feel when you're smiling? I know they say that laughter is the best kind of medicine so wouldn't it stand to reason that a smile is a small dose? Imagine how much better you're day would be if everyone you past had a smile on their face. I know that after our move to Singapore the kids didn't smile at all for quite a while, then as life began to settle and they got more comfortable the smiles came back, and there's nothing better in this world than a grinning child. If you give nothing else this Christmas give the gift that's free at every opportunity. The best bit is that it's a gift that gives back. Not many people can resist smiling back.
Naughty and Spice Blog
Colleen Gleason Blog
Visit both blogs and check out some of the things people are doing. Enter the contests if you want. I'm entering Amie's because I think it's cool the way she's riding Colleen's coat tails. I only wish I had something to give away in a contest as well. Maybe next year, until then I'll just pass the word along.

Sometimes your joy is the sauce of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the sauce of your joy.
Thich Nhat Hanh.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Karin Tabke One Line Comp.

I've said it before I'll say it again, I can't work it out, how do I keep staying in? Round 9 was posted today, and yes there was my entry, still in. This boggles the mind, well either that or the fact that I'm hyperventilating with excitement. Probably the breathing, I did nearly fall out of the hot seat. Not that I was writing, no reading and reviewing are the order of the day. It's only five days till I board the plane to Oz and I've got nothing ready. Plus I wanted the books out of the way. Not going to happen. Can't sit still now.
That's more than halfway. (I think, well I can't think so who knows.) We started with, oh God! I can't remember how many, 70? 75? Not sure anymore. If my maths is good it was 70. So, yeah, over halfway. (Excuse me while I do a happy dance around the room.)
Ahh... back again. Where was I? Yes, that's right, more than halfway through and I'm still there! Okay, I know I'm bragging but really, it's my horn and if I want to blow the damn thing I will. Are you deaf yet? No, seriously, oh who am I kidding? I can't be serious right now! I don't want to be serious right now. I want to laugh and yell and generally enjoy it. It doesn't happen very often. I've said before a writer's life is full of rejection, so any form of acceptance is going to be grabbed with both hands, (might wrap the legs around to hold it down too) and thrown up for the world to see. Can you see?? Okay, no more bragging. I leave you all in peace and quiet.

I've just done spellcheck and re-read the post and it occurs to me that I sound just a tad insane. So that's what all the people in my head are about. I see now, I'm not a writer, I've insane. Well that makes me feel better. There a drug for this, right? Right? Anyone?
No! Did someone say no?
What? The cure is writing everything they say and do down? But that's being a writer....... and they get rejected......
What? Not all the time? Really? Some times they get accepted? I should look at what? Oh, the Karin Tabke One Line Comp.

Okay, going now to add my next line.

Happiness.... it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy Season????? Silly Season!!!!!

Who said this was 'happy' season? More like here's a years load of stress, she what you can do with it. Silly Season is far closer. Christmas is always a busy time, what with getting every one's presents, kids end of school activities, preparing for some time off, working out where you need to be on what day's, the list is endless. Try doing all that plus getting organised to be away from home for 4 weeks. Not just away from home but out of country. First you need to sort out what has to be taken with you, eg: chrissie presents, clothes, chargers, any work you might need to do while away. Then there's what needs to be done before you leave the house for four weeks (for me that's proving a little easy, Melma will be here), are the animals organised? Snickers is looking forward to having Melma's undivided attention. As the mother I've got to make sure the kids have got everything they need before I can even start getting my own stuff together. Then there's the little things you want to do before going, hair cuts, nails done (girls), de-fur if you're off to a sunny climate (we're live in one so that's up to date), purchase those last minute things to take with you, get the last dentist appointment in before going. Make sure all work is handed in before you leave. This one is hard, I might not get paid for reviewing but it's an everyday job, I need to read and review all the time. I try to be reading a book everyday, some of them I can read in one day, others take longer, once they're read I like to 'sit' on it for a few hours at least before doing the review, so I'm 'working' every day. This requires internet access. I have 24/7 access here but when we're in Sydney I won't have that, so I've been working like a madman to get as many reviews in before end of month as I can. That way it won't matter too much if I can only get a couple done while we're away. Last week I did six reviews bringing my total for the month to 14 (our month ends on the 25th), so I'm well ahead there. But that's meant no writing. I have jotted quite a few notes though, this latest story has me branching out in the paranormal/fantasy genre, and for a first attempt it's not that bad. I've also had another look at my ms that has given me nothing but grief for over a year now. I made a change that, well let's say it wasn't the best change, and when I'd been through the whole thing I realised I'd pretty much destroyed the story. Sooooo.... back I went to remove the change and stand all those domino's back up. Now, I'm back to square one with it and don't really want to talk about it, never mind look at it. So Devon's doing that. Isn't she wonderful! Yep, she's been kind enough to offer and I'm not stupid, so off it went. Now I just get to sit here biting my nails until she's finished with the red pen. (cringe) So there's a good chance that it'll be ready to send out in the new year, (more cringing) which is scary, not the being ready part, the sending out part. the writers life is full with fear of rejection but you can't get accepted without putting yourself up for rejection so it's just a matter of sucking it up and sticking you head on the chopping block. I'm trying to get my head around that, and I will but in the mean time I've got to get back on the keyboard, drag the muse out of the cupboard and start writing again. I need to be more disciplined, I know I lost a lot of it when I got sick and I'm finally back on my feet again so I'll be pulling that into line too. But I got to say it's really hard to do when you've got so much going on. It's only six days til I fly to Sydney and it'll be a month before we're back, that's an awful long time away from home. I'm looking forward to spending time with friends and family, some we haven't seen in 8 months or more, catching up with what's been going on and who's been doing what. I'm also looking forward to not getting up at 6am to get the kids on the bus by 7:20am, they're even happier about that. With every thing we've got planned for while we're down in Sydney it'll be interesting to see if I can get any writing done. I will be doing reviews because there's no way I'm not going to read. Plus I've stocked up on a few e-books, ready for lying in the sun with a cold drink. I will update before we go and while we're there, I'm just not sure how much access I'll have but I promise to be on once a week at least. Even if I have to drive to the library.
Okay, off to check the shopping list to see what needs to be bought today.
'See' you soon.

Happy holidays this Silly Season.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Girl Power!

Today was a day off. Well not really, I did do a review and about 6 review edits with the help of Dana the trusty review editor. Then I went out for a girls day. Now you may recall the girls from a previous blog about our girls weekend in Vietnam, this time it was just the three of us that live here in Singapore. Jody the birthday girl had some how got hold of three freebies for a spa and Danielle the goddess of pampering had her hand in the air volunteering before Jody finished reading the fine print. So off we went to enjoy a morning of self indulgence. Now I have to say I learnt something today. Something as a writer I should have known. It's all in how you say it. Yep, what words you use to describe something is the most important thing. Let me explain.
45 minute de-stress and relaxation massage.
Translation - 45 minutes of me sticking my fingers in the tight muscles on you back until it hurts and the relaxation part is the end when I stop with the torture.
10 minute back scrub to exfoliate the dead skin and leave you with smooth, refreshed skin.
Translation - 10 minutes where I rub stuff into your back that feels and acts like sand paper, therefore removing the top three layers of skin to the barely formed layer beneath.
15 minute steam bath.
Translation - 15 minutes where I lock you in a room full of steam so you sweat your ass off and can't breath properly.
See? It's all in the words.
For instance, that last one, I swear it's what I know as a sauna but call it a steam bath and you can charge more money. And lets face it, would any of be lining up for these things if they were describe the second way? No, nope, no way.
So anyway, this got me thinking. What else could I describe in a different way that would make something that was appealing not, or vice versa? Mmmm.... Sounds like a good exercise to me.
Tomorrow, not today cause this is girls day, I'm going to sit down and try my new exercise. It might even be fun. Think about, for those of us that write it should be easy, how could you describe something differently and come up with two different feelings. Here's an example, sex. Think about the way you've written a sex scene in your wip, now re-write it. Use different words to give it a whole new feeling. You could have a scene that was soft and tender originally but with a few changes it could be hard and rough. See where I'm going with this?
Here's the challenge. Who can come up with the best one. There's no price. Not unless you want me to send you which ever kid is annoying me this week. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with.
Back to my girls day. After our time in the spa, free time remember, we were nice and relaxed and ready for some lunch. Jody suggested a short walk to a place she knows on the river that serves great sandwiches. Short walk? I'd hate to go on a long one with her. But I have to say, she knew what she was talking about. Fresh bread and fresh fillings, the shop even smelt yummy. I had a BLT, which I haven't had in years, which Melma is now going to learn to make. And if she picks this up as quick as everything else we've taught her I could be in trouble. I'm already putting the weight on again but if I get Melma making me BLT's every day..... (shudder)
We're planning our next girls day but with Christmas, me heading back to Sydney for four weeks, Jody going to Perth and Danielle off to Phuket it'll be the end of January before we can indulge ourselves again. I got a real boost out of today and the dreaded Ms. D and Ms. G seemed to have moved on to greener pastures. It's amazing what a little girl power can do.

I am woman! Hear me roar! (If you stroke me the right way I might purr)


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The 'D' word!

Okay, so everyone knows I'm a fan of the three P's and I hate the fourth one. Well now I'm getting to know the D one. Depressed! And let me tell you she's huge. Sitting up there on my shoulders giving me a hard time, all because I blew out of Nano. But that's not all, oh no, she didn't just come on her own, no sir, she's brought a friend. Everyone knows the more the merrier, right? So who'd she bring I hear you ask. Guilt! Yet, she bought the biggest guilt she could find and they're up there having a grand old time at my expense. So here I am feeling depressed and guilty as hell because I didn't get done what I wanted. I can't get motivated and I'm having a party of my own. Yet, it's the good old pity party. I've got the big trip back to Australia, which just quietly is going to put a definite crimp in my online life, but for one month I'll be scrabbling to get online when I can and write when I can. In between all the Christmas events and catching up with friends I'm beginning to think I'm not going to get anything done. So other than the wonderful Devon screaming at from the US, to send her the second chapter of On A Wing And A Prayer, I've only got myself pushing me at the moment. And I can't hear me over Depressed and Guilty partying away on my shoulder. So here's what I did. I signed up for Sven. For those out of the loop on this one it's 70 days of sweat. You have to write between 60,000 and 100,000 words in the 70 days. You have 93 days to the whole event, so for 23 days you can rest, have a meltdown, visit family, whatever you're required to do in your everyday life. There is a whole network of authors doing this. Newbies, like me, and published authors. It has author sponsors who cheer us on and give little inspirational talks, or kick our butts, whatever we need they provide. Except the story, that's up to us. Sounds great, the authors life is a very solitary one after all, so if we can have some buddies online going through the same thing as us, at the same time we won't feel so alone. And with all those people talking they just might drown out Ms. D and Ms. G. The catch? I signed up today. Sven finishes on January 15th, it started on October 15th. I'm late! Very late. But as they say, better late than never. So, I'm writing the rest of On A Wing And A Prayer and I'm not going to be too hard on myself over not finishing Nano or, heaven forbid, not finishing it during Sven. I'm doing it for the moral boost, the friendship of other authors and best of all 'meeting' new people. I even noticed when I signed up that a couple of the authors I've 'met' since I started reviewing are in this. And of course my good buddy Sandie Hudson is doing it, in fact she's been raving about it since before Nano and it's kind of her fault I signed up. I was on her blog and she's got the Sven logo on there and well, I couldn't help it, I clicked and off I went. I read the whole blog site for Sven and was hooked. It probably didn't help that the author sponsors are ones I've been reading for years. I'm such a sucker for a recognisable name. As of tomorrow I'm kicking Ms. D and Ms. G to the curb and getting back in the hot seat. It also helped that when I logged on to check out the latest round for the Karin Tabke One Line Comp my entry was still there. Yep, round 8 and going strong. Now if I could just figure out why..... I really don't know. I'm convinced that the other entries are better than mine, so I've got to be missing something. I don't see why it works and the other ones that get bumped out don't. If someone has the answer I'd love to know what it is. Come on, share. Fine! Don't share, leave me sitting here in the dark biting my nails till next week when round 9 gets announced.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Make it count.


Monday, December 3, 2007

My Baby?

I wouldn't normally post family pix on here but I had to share these with you. This is my 'baby' Timothy and his girl, Tamara, yes they're TimTam. Anyway, they're on the way to their Year 12 Formal. Hubby was in Sydney that week for work so he was lucky enough to go see them. They both looked so gorgeous, Tim scrubbed up rather well and Tam looked soooo pretty. It was a really cold and windy afternoon but we still managed to get some good pix. In the car with them are Tam's bestmate Rachel and her boyfriend Ben. The different colours the girls picked actually look great together. I can't believe how quick they grow up. Tim turned 18 at the beginning of November and I can remember the day he was born like it was yesterday.

Love them for what they are, not what you expect them to be.


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Nano Update.

Nano is officially over. I'm pleased because now I don't have to spend every day feeling guilty about not having the energy to type. I've managed to get 22,143 words done. No quite half way. Oh well, better luck next year. I figure I've done about 15 hours solid writing in the whole 30 days, which is really disappointing but what can you do when everything conspires against you? Anyway, the show must go on, and is. A Wing And A Prayer is moving along nicely and will be finished, if not before Christmas then in the first weeks of January. The bonus to all of this is that the piece is still in the one line comp. We're down to 35 entries and of those there's about 6 or so Aussie's, me being one of them. I'm looking forward to tomorrow with excitement and trepidation, the results are posted on Monday evening each week but as we're ahead over here it's Tuesday my time.

Remember to smile. It costs nothing.