Tuesday, November 29, 2005

lunch breaks...

well, it is that time of year. You know, the time when everything stops for Christmas parties and lunch breaks.

what do you mean, it isn't December yet?


given the above, you might be able to guess I haven't done a whole lot of writing in the past few days. But I did have several very yummy lunchs :) The waistline is not thanking me, neither is the scales, but what the hell. Christmas only comes once a year (even if we celebrate it for the four or five weeks beforehand)

I did buckle down a little and write five pages today. This story continues to go its own way--Rhoan and Riley discovered they were being followed, and had a little fun roughing up their followers. So totally not what I was planning to happen next, but that's what happens when you're a seat-of-the-pantzer. At least writing is never dull--it might be difficult, but it's never dull.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

another day, another 6 pages

I've actually had a couple of good days of writing. Of course, I need to, because I've joined the custard tarts (I did not pick the name...but I like it!) on their fifty thousand words or bust challenge. Of course, I'm not actally planning to write 50 000 words, just get this book finished by Christmas, and get at least the third chapter of the stalled Loch Ness story done. Which will mean I'll have to do about 40 000 words by Christmas, so that's definitely challenge enough. Anyway, just so my fellow custard tarts know my page count and know I'm not cheating, I'm currently sitting on 306 pages completed. ;)

In other writing news, my agent liked the romantic suspense I sent, and is planning to start sending that out next week. It'll be interesting to see what happens there--see whether the market likes or not. I plan on using a pseudonym if it does get picked up, just to keep my fantasy and paranormal novels seperate from my straighter romance ones. It'd be nice if it did get picked up...I might then have a chance of selling some of my other 'straight' romances I have sitting here. And hey, for those princesses hanging around waiting to see what happens with the Robbie story, it might even prompt me to finish it! :D

Thursday, November 24, 2005

another day, another page

Well, I didn't manage to get the five pages done on Wednesday. I was mostly too busy transfering files and programs from my old computer to my new one. It's a long process, and I've still got all my email files to go, so if you're waiting on an email response from me--I'm getting there! I think I managed a whole page and a half on Wednesday, but yesterday I wrote eight, so I have actually rolled over the 290 page mark and I'm racing towards the 300.

But this story is continually taking a different track to what I plan--and I just love that. Every writer writes a different way, and there's absolutely no right or wrong way to write, but I just can't ever imagine plotting a story. Fully plotting, I mean. Half the joy in writing (for me) is the journey of discovery--I love seeing where the story goes, what the characters do. Sure, I have a general overall plan, and I have certain threads I want drawn into the story (particularily this one, as it's the fourth in a series and has to contain certain elements from the previous novels) but it's a truly amazing experience to just write, allowing the words and the characters and the plot to go where they will, and then reach the end and realise it really does all make sense.

You know, this writing gig is a pretty damn amazing job--when the muse isn't stressing out over storylines or panicking over whether we're ever going to be good enough ;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

give me action any day

Remember how I said yesterday I was going to write more than five pages? Well, I did, but only just. I managed a whole total of six pages. The trouble, you see, was that I was writing an emotional scene rather than an action one. I love action scenes--they're easy to figure out. You don't have to work out what people are thinking, just how they're physcially reacting. Emotional scenes are a whole different ballgame--especially in first person. You not only have to make sense of the main character's thoughts and emotions, but you have to show the second character's reactions, without ever having the benefit of flipping into their pov and getting some introspection happening. It's tough. Yesterday I spent more time getting up from the computer and walking around than I did sitting down and actually writing. But in scenes like this--a scene where Riley is finally confronting Quinn over his actions--I think it's better to take whatever time the scene needs and get it right, rather than producing something that doesn't ring true. Right now, I think I have the basics of a really powerful scene--even if it's one that needs a little more thinking time, and a little more work.

Anyway, I'm back to attempting five pages today. If I get them done, I'll have reached the 290 page mark. With a bit of luck, I'll roll over the magic 300 page mark by the weekend. I'm not sure why, but hitting 300 pages is always a bit of a relief. Until I get to that point, I'm never entirely sure that the novel has enough 'oomph' in it to stretch to 400 pages. Reaching 300 is usually a sure sign that there is. And there's so much in this novel that has yet to happen--I just love it when that happens! It usually means the end bit is a truly exciting ride, and that's all good :)

Monday, November 21, 2005

having a bludge

didn't actually do anything this weekend--writing related, anyway. I did finally complete the update of my website and transfer all the new pages across. And I did complete several new levels of Soldier of Fortune :) Oh, and I decided to upgrade my computer, so Pete and I trundled down to the computer swap-meet yesterday to get all the new bits and pieces (so handy having a hubby who's into building computers)

I'm going to try and write more than five pages today, just to make up for my slack over the weekend. How much more? Not a whole lot--if I get close to ten pages, I'll be happy with that.

Oh, and for those who were wondering what the leaping lab looks like, here's a pic :)

she's a big girl, even if she doesn't look it in the pic

Saturday, November 19, 2005

First Review!

Full Moon Rising has its first review! And it's a good one -- 9 out of 10. I'm amazed you didn't here me whooping all over the internet. (actually, that sounds mildly...disturbing :)

Anyway, the reviewer, J.M. Cornwell, says in part:

"Arthur never fails to deliver, keeping the fires stoked, the cliffs high, and the emotions dancing on a razor’s edge in this edgy, hormone-filled mystery."


"Arthur sets the bar very high in her first novel in this new series, but there is no doubt she will deliver. Full Moon Rising is a shocking and sensual read, so keep the ice handy."


If you want to check out the entire review, head here

Friday, November 18, 2005

more muse musings

You know, it occured to me yesterday, while I was gadding about reading emails, playing games, and generally avoiding writing a big fight scene, that maybe the reason the muse is refusing the buckle down is because I'm writing the fourth book of a series no one has seen yet. The first three books are untested--I have no idea whether people are going to love or hate these books and these characters, and the muse is reacting to this.

Of course, being unsure about your writing and your books is a normal state for most writers (tho I'm sure the stars of the various genres--Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Laurell K Hamilton, Clive Cussler, Dick Francis etc, don't spend a whole lot of their writing time worrying about whether their audience is going to love or hate their next book). But most of us never get to those stellar heights, and most of us do worry. Let's be honest--most writers write not just because they love it, but because they want to make a living out of it, and to do that, writers have to sell books. But if ever there is one thing that can stop a muse in its tracks, it's fear. And it comes in all different forms. Fear of rejections stops some from ever submitting, as does fear of becoming a success and not being able to keep up with the pace. Then there's the fear of never being good enough--something I've struggled with my whole writing life. Of course, this particular fear wasn't helped by the fact that I was writing paranormal romance and urban fantasy well before Christine Feehan or Laurell K Hamilton proved there was a market for such books. And in some ways, it also wasn't helped by the fact that I'm in a crit group that has some bloody brilliant writers. Writers who have struggled, just like me, to get published. And the little demon of doubt was always there on my shoulder, always prodding me and reminding me that if those brilliant people couldn't get published, why the hell should I?

Of course, actually getting published didn't shut the little doubter up. She just found new avenues to exploit. Which is where I'm at now. Worrying that I'm writing a book no one will ever see. Which hasn't actually stopped me from writing it. Despite all the attempts of avoidence yesterday, I did actually write--and finish--the big fight scene. I ended up completing ten pages overall, which helped make up for the pages I didn't write the day before. I also got a clearer idea of how this book is going to get to the ending, and it should be a humdinger. I'm learning, however slowly, that I simply can't allow fear to get the better of me anymore. No writer who wants to make a living out of this gig can. And it is a wonderful gig. Despite all the fears and doubts, there's nothing else I'd rather be doing right now.

Although if I could make a living eating chocolate and not put on weight while doing so, I might just consider a career jump :D

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

excuses and reluctant muses

It's amazing how many ways there are to avoid writing when you don't really feel like it. There's emails to answer, background information to check, new monsters to kill and harder levels to master in unreal or soldier of fortune (the only two games on my computer--mainly because it's not powerful enough to run the more modern shoot-em-ups. Which is probably a blessing in disguise even if it is frustrating). Hell, there's even this blog to ramble in :)

Being deadline free is good in one sense--I can write what I want, unrestricted by said deadlines and expectations. Which is an excellent place to be considering the trouble my muse has been giving me over the last year with books that were contracted but not yet written.

The trouble comes when the muse wants to play rather than work.

Over the years, I've fought this. In many respects, I still do--in as much as I feel horribly guilty when I'm sitting at the computer playing shoot-em-ups rather than writing. But the truth is, I can afford to give my muse time off now. I quit Essendon to become a full time writer, and while it's taken me a while to get used to the freedom, I've got more than enough time on my hands now to do anything I want. Within reason, of course. I have a target of five pages a day. Most days I make that, even if, like today, the pages are written at night rather than during the day. It's no longer important when it's written, as long as it is written. It's a good place to be, and probably the reason why the muse is starting to come good again (fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all that).

But sometimes I think we put too much pressure on ourselves. To get published, we have to write, we have to finish books, we have to submit, and submit, and resubmit--all inbetween a regular life and family and work. It's never easy, and yet for some reason, we often feel it should be. Why? I don't know. Writing isn't a hobby for most of us, it's a job. Which means, in many respects, most of us are actually juggling two or three jobs while trying to avoid being total hermits. Is it any wonder the muse sometimes plants her feet and says no?

For all the stress we writers put ourselves under, it's actually a wonder the muse performs at all.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A New Baby

Congrats to my friend, Diane, whose mare gave birth to the cutest little buckskin filly yesterday. It's her first one this season, and they're always special :)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

My first spam

I feel so special...I just got my first spam comment :D

To stop this becoming a regular event, I've had to turn on the moderate function. Before you can post a comment, you'll now have to type in a word. Sorry about the inconvenience, but I figure it's the only way to stop those automated spamming pests.

The beast is completed

I've finally finished the Penumbra galley, and boy, am I ever glad to see the back of this story. Don't get me wrong--despite all the frustration Penumbra caused, what with the reluctant muse and a plot line that refused to go where originally intended, I think I've ended up turning out one of my better stories. It's just that this story seems to have been with me forever. It's the only story that's ever taken me a year and a half to write (well, aside from the novels I wrote when I was first getting into writing seriously, and they will never see the light of day unless they have a complete and utter rewrite). Add to that the edits, line edits and galley, and I've read this novel so often I can just about recite the thing out loud. And that's a huge problem when you're supposed to be checking a galley for mistakes--it's hard to find said mistakes when you're reading what should be there rather than what is there. I actually had to edit the galley in small chunks--it took longer, but at least it kept my sight from glazing over and the words from melding together. I know proofreading is all part of the business of writing--but honestly, it's just so easy to let mistake slip through without ever intending it. People always complain about the mistakes in books--and yeah, in the end, it does come down to the author being responsible--but sometimes I wish those complainers could just sit in our shoes for a while, and see that proofreading isn't always as easy as it looks. Especially when you've read the book a gadzillion times.

Anyway, my next goal in my writing life is to try and get Dangerous Games--the fourth Riley book--finished. I'm actually hoping to get it done by the end of December, and to this end, have decided to join Freya's 50 000 words or bust December challange. There's a booze up at the end (always a good thing!) and the loser has to sing celine dion karaoke (not something anyone wants to hear me sing.) I may not get the whole 50 000 words done, but if I can finish Dangerous Games-- which only has about 150 pages to go--and get a chunk of the Lockness book done, that'll be an excellent way to start the new year.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I've arrived!

Well, I resisted the temptation for a long, long time, but I've finally given in and joined the blogging ranks. I actually thought it would be fun to read occassional comments about the junk I journal about, and of course, I can't do that with my website journal. Of course, this journal is still a work in progress, as I'm still learning how to do these things, so expect things to change about a bit as the penny drops and it all begins to make sense

So, what have I been doing since my last journal ramble? Not a lot, actually. I've been proof reading Penumbra, and working on the fourth of the Guardian books when I get bored with proof reading. I've crawled up to 260 completed on Dangerous Games, and I'm just about to write a big fight scene with Riley and a demon. Should be interesting--especially with Quinn stuck outside the house and unable to cross the threshold to help.

On the leaping lab front--we knew she was a clever girl (any dog that can get over a 7 foot fence without zapping herself on two strands of electric wire is damn brainy), but we got official confirmation on Sunday. She came second overall in her dog obedience class. Not a bad effort considering she barked her head off at the judge when she first walked into the ring!