Friday, December 30, 2005

no hope and time wasters

well, it's the 30th December, and I've officially given up any attempt to finish the 4th Riley book by the 31st. I've managed to do 43 pages this month--not bad considering it's the silly season (as we say here in Oz), but not the 100 odd, finish the book I was hoping for. The thing is, I really haven't got that much more to write--but it's the big finale, were lots of horrible things happen, and I guess the muse is dragging her heels a little. It's hard to write horrible stuff when the season of fun is here.

speaking of fun, I'd like to introduce you to my latest little time waster;

His name is Finn, and he's a purebred sheltie. The leaping lab is not exactly sure what she's supposed to do with this little fluffball that nips at her heels. She tried to play with it, but she's a little bit too boisterous for our little boy yet. But we're hoping they become really good friends--with the end aim that the leaping lab no longer feels inclined to leap the fences :)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

merry christmas!

It's Christmas Day here in Oz, so just popping in to say a quick 'Merry Christmas, everyone!' Hope the day is a safe and happy one for you all :)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

essays and knife wounds

the things you research in the name of a story...

Now, I do know a bit about knife wounds. I worked as a cook for too many years, and as a cook, you not only get to play with fire and hot fat, but great big sharp knives. I have more cuts on me than you can shake a stick at. I even managed to stab my left shin (a long story involving much stupidity on my part) and ended up with seven stitches. So, I can tell you with some authority that getting stabbed with a knife (at least in that part of the body) doesn't actually hurt, no matter how far the knife point goes in. In the case of my shin, I could feel the knife go in, feel the cold metal inside my skin, and while there was a whole lot of blood coming out (I'm a 'good bleeder', according to the doctor), there was no pain. I basically bandaged myself up, hopped into the car, and drove myself to the doctor. At which point, the quack said, 'gee that's deep, you'd better get a specialist to patch that up...can you drive yourself to hospital?' Which I did. The pain didn't hit until about an hour later. But of course, while some of that background helped me understand the mechanics of a knife wound, I had no idea how a knife wound to a heart would stack up against it. Which is what I was actually writing last night--Riley is about to stab someone--slowly and deliberately--and I didn't want that person to die straight away. Thing is, the heart is a major organ, and if that packs up, we're dead meat. Could one stab wound to the heart kill instantly? It does in the movies, but we all know movies ain't exactly real life :)

So, I went searching. I love the net--you can find all sorts of weird of information on it. Anyway, I found this site that went into great detail about 'the dubious quick kill', and guess what? It was all about stab wounds. The upshot is, it is actually possible for someone to live for minutes, hours or even days after a fatel stab wound to the heart. It just depends where the knife stabs. And their doesn't even have to be a lot of blood, though of course, there will be in this case. Gotta make Riley gross out when she comes out of the 'killing zone' and actually feels all the blood on her skin...

Okay, grossing myself out now, so we'll move on. I've never written an essay before--not one on myself, anyway. So when my editor mentioned that Bantam were going to feature Full Moon Rising as their February pick for SpectraPulse (Bantam's online newsletter),and then asked if I could write a brief essay discussing the book, the writing process, or how I got the idea for the series, I was more than a little...well, scared, to be honest. I mean, I'm not that good about talking about me. Not on a professional level. This blog is about as professional as I get, and I can't exactly blurt out just any old thing in an official essay like I do here. So, I did what I usually do when stuck--contacted Anne Gracie, a great Aussie author who has probably forgotten more about writing than I will ever know. And if she doesn't know it, she probably knows someone who does. (That's the great thing about being involved with the romance community here in Oz--even if you don't exactly write standard romance. Everyone is always willing to help out, no matter what the problem.) Anyway, Anne pulled out some links to some essays, offered some suggestions, and is currently reading my efforts just to see that it does all make sense. So, an official yay Anne, and thankyou from me. :) The essay, by the way, ended up being a ramble on how I got the idea for the series. Check out the SpectraPulse newsletter in Feb if you want to read it :)

Monday, December 19, 2005

christmas shopping and other crap

well, I believe I've finally finished it--the Christmas shopping, that is. Please note that there is still six days left until Christmas, which means that for the first time in years, I will not be doing my usual mad dash around on Christmas Eve (which is actually just as well, because Pete's family are having their Christmas Do on Christmas Eve this year.)

See, family, I can get organised. :D

Of course, the big difference this year is the fact that for the first time in seven years, I'm not working. (I can spend Christmas Day home with Pete and Kasey for a change--yay!) Which means, I actually have had the time to shop. Mind you, I'm not sure that's a good thing. When you haven't the time, you skim around, grab the first thing that seems suitable, and get the hell out. When you have the time to cruise, you do so, and usually end up buying the first thing that came to mind anyway. Plus, you have the added bonus of battling the crowds for longer. Which is one of the things I hate about Christmas--the goddamn masses packed into the shopping centres. At least I don't have to battling them anymore this year :D

Writing wise...well, the less said about that the better. I've added a whole page (if I'm lucky) since my last blog, but I'm still planning to get the fourth Guardian book finished by the end of December. I'm hoping the muse will kick into gear once I get my shoulder looked at today. For those who don't know the tale, I've been putting up with a serious ache in my shoulder for well over a year, thinking it was tendonitis--a common complaint for chefs, and not one much can be done about (other than quitting work and resting, which is something I couldn't afford to do until recently). Of course, once I did stop working and the ache didn't go away, I thought I'd better get it checked out. Turns out, it's not tendonitis, but a torn muscle and bursitis. Yeah, yeah, I'm an idiot for ignoring it for so long. Anyway, I'm off to the specialist today, and hopefully, he'll tell me it's not too late to fix the problem. The good thing is, ache fixed or not, I've still got 2 weeks until the end of December, and only about 100 pages to write, so if I do concentrate, it's more than possible to finish this baby. I just have to concentrate--something the brain finds hard to do at this time of year.

Maybe it's all the chocolate :D

Monday, December 12, 2005

Harry Potter and other stuff

Well, I trundled along with Pete and Kasey to see the latest Harry Potter the other day. I have to say, the graphics were incrediable. The dragon was simply amazing--and actually looked real. Unlike that stupid werewolf from the last movie.

But I'm one of the few people left on the planet who hasn't actually read the books. Yes, I know, I'm slack, but I just have too many other books I need to read, and the thought of picking up a series that is not only not yet finished, but weighs a ton, just makes my wrists ache (tendonitis, you know ;) But because I haven't read the books, I became totally lost in this movie. I know the main characters, but all the side characters, all the pass-off mentions of other threads that were obviously meant to mean something just went over my head. Pete did explain who was who in some areas, but he could hardly do that the whole movie. Which led me to another problem I had--the producers obviously expected you to know the books, and the characters. There was no attempt at background material, no hints for those few who haven't read the books. As Pete said, it's almost as if the characters are cardboard cutouts, because there's no depth to any of the characterisation now. And that's coming from someone who actually loves the books, so things have to be bad if he's noticing it.

But the one good thing about the movie was the previews beforehand. King Kong and Narnia simply look smashing, and I can't wait to see them. And what looks to be a spoof horror called Slither looks damn funny, too. It has the delightfully yummy Nathan Fillian (the captian guy from Firefly) in it, so that makes it a must-see anyway. :)

In writing news, well, there isn't any. I spent the weekend visiting a friend in the hills, Christmas shopping (have I meantioned the fact that I hate Christmas shopping? And the fact that everything goes up pricewise this time of year is just so annoying...but that's another rant...), and working in the garden, planting some trees and shrubs so everything looks pretty come Christmas time. Today will probably be a bust writing wise--it's supposed to be 35 degrees celsius here, and that's just too darn hot for this time of the year. The brain refuses to think in those sort of temps, I'm telling you.

But as ever, I'll let you know what happens :)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

and another one...

I got another review for Full Moon Rising today--this one from Harriet Klausner (and a big thankyou to Vicki White for finding it and passing it on!)

Harriet says:

Keri Arthur is one of the best supernatural romance writers in the world and the best to come out of Australia. After the audience reads this book, they will want to read her backlist (see because they are as good as FULL MOON RISING. There is enough romance, action and intrigue to
satiate the most discerning reader.. Character development is incredible making readers want to read future books starring Riley, an incredible person who will do what is necessary to keep her loved ones safe. There are several loose threads dangling so readers can be assured of at least one sequel and this reviewer can hardly wait.

How cool is that? Talk about an affirmation--I think I'll print out "one of the best supernatural writers, and the best to come out of Australia" and stick it up on my wall for those days every writer has--the days when you think every word sucks, that you can't write to save yourself, and that the book is just plain terrible. I can look at that, and say, hey, rack-off doubt, someone out there does think I can write.

Of course, I'm not about to start believing that sort of press--there's way too many brilliant authors out there, authors who sell way more than me, authors whose footsteps I'd love to follow--but I have a ways yet before I'd ever class myself every bit as good as those ladies.

And of course, it doesn't matter what I think anyway. It never matters what an author thinks--the only person that matters is the reader. There's is the only opinion that counts, because they shell out the bucks.

So I'll just sit here plugging away, and hoping like hell you do like Full Moon Rising enough to want the sequels.

Monday, December 05, 2005

good times and good reviews

Having a Lulu crit session and a christmas dinner celebration all in the one day seems to have unglued my muse--at least when it comes to the Loch Ness story. I'd been stuck in chapter two for weeks--I knew how I wanted the chapter to end, but I just wasn't sure how to get there--or if what I'd done so far made sense or was complete and utter crap. I'm glad to report that according to the lulu's, it isn't crap :) Last night, the muse got its act together, and we wrote 7 pages in a couple of hours, and have rolled into chapter three. Not a bad effort of all. Maybe I need to ply my muse with champagne and cocktails a little bit more often--she seems to like it :)

In other news, Penumbra has picked up a couple of good reviews. Kathy Samuals, from Romance Reviews Today, had this is say:

Shapeshifters, murders, and mysteries abound as Sam tries to come to terms with her psychic gifts. What was the nature of the military project Penumbra, and was Sam a part of it? Secondary characters add to the plot by providing clues to Sam's past, even as they paint a bleak picture of a possible future. To understand the characters and the back story, readers should definitely check out the first two books in the series before starting this one. PENUMBRA is probably my favorite of the three, as the action, which was never bad, has picked up even more, along with the relationship between Sam and Gabriel. I can't wait for the next book to see where these two go.

and Amanda from The Eternal Night had this to say:

The world Ms. Arthur has created is as complex as any urban fantasy setting out there. Something for everyone is in this book; a touch of romance, action, mystery, suspense, a warm family setting that provides intriguing secondary characters, and incredible beings who are not strictly human. This series has not lost its strength yet, and shows no sign of doing so.

now I've just got to figure out the next book--and find the time to write it.