Thursday, July 27, 2006

and the lesson for the day is...

always keep the house is tip top shape, because you just never know when the real estate guy is going to ring and say he's bringing a buyer around--in an hour! I got such a call yesterday, and had to run around like a blue-arsed fly to tidy up the little bits and pieces. Then I had to grab the dogs and disappear. The leaping lab is not new buyer friendly (though Finn would love them to death).

Anyway, I didn't get any writing done yesterday, but I did finish reading the Kissing Sin proofs and finally got the corrections off to Bantam. There wasn't a whole lot of mistakes to find, just some silly typos. (well, that's all I could find, anyways.) I'm hoping to get down to some serious writing today, with the aim of getting at least five pages done. Unless, of course, I get another phone call and have to disappear with the dogs :)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

no writing, just lots of house stuff...

Man, did we ever have some crap in this house. Seriously. How can three people collect so much junk in the space of 12 years? Beats me, but we sure as hell did. We've spent the last four days cleaning up, and after numerous trips to the storage locker, as well as several car and trailer loads to the tip, we finally have achieved the impossible--a tidy house. Just don't go looking in the kitchen cupboards, because I have not got that far yet. But you know you've done a great job when the real estate guy walks into the study and goes, "whoa! this is a big room!" :)

The house officially goes on the market next week, but we have our first house viewing this Thursday. Hopefully, that's a good sign, and the house will sell fast. Don't want to be paying the bank more interest on the bridging loan than we need to. :P

Of course, with all the cleaning that's been going on, absolutely nothing has happened on the writing front. I'm hoping to finish proof reading Kissing Sin some time in the next day or so, and maybe get a bit more of Riley 5 done. But until we totally finish the clean-up, writing time is a bit up in the air.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

house stuff and writing...

I actually wrote yesterday. Yes, I'm surprised. With all the mess going on at the moment with house contracts, arranging pest and building inspections, cleaning, and chasing banks that appear to have lost cheques (bastards!), it's really amazing that I could actually sit down and concentrate enough to write. And today will probably be no better. I have to go into the bank to chase the above mention missing cheque, as well as get the deposit cheque for the new house. And I hate having to go into banks at the best of times--it's like stepping through a time warp and going back to school. They make us stand in orderly little lines, and we can only go up to the teller when the number is called. Customer service? I'm sure most banks have no idea what that is these days. It's all about money and them making loads of it (which I have no problem with until they start lose mine!) Amazingly enough, I also had time to read through some more of the Kissing Sin proofs, and I'm currently about a quarter of the way through that. With any sort of luck, I'll get the majority of that finished this week, meaning I can send off any corrections next week, and get back to writing Destiny as well as the fifth Riley. Until the next lot of edits or proofs come in, anyway.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

new goals, and a new house...

as I said in my blog a few days ago, Bantam mentioned the possibility of getting the fifth Riley (which currently has the working title of Dead Man's Revenge) out before Destiny. Well, the possibility has become a reality, and I really do have to sit bum in chair and start writing. So I've set myself new targets--5 pages a day on Riley, then the remainder of the day (or night) on either Destiny, or whatever edits or proofs are in at the time. Of course, this goal flew out the window today, because yesterday we put an offer in on a pretty house, and we learned today that it had been accepted! So, now we have to organise our current place, and get that ready for sale. A tough task considering all the junk I seem to have collected over the 12 years we've been here. You think I kid? No. I can barely move in my study because of all the junk that has gathered and bred over the years. Not to mention all the computer bits and pieces Pete has to keep because they might just come in handy one day. Yep, we're both magpies, and now we're paying for it. Anyway, here's a couple of pics of our new house!

the view of the house as you're driving in

end of house, looking towards the entertainment area. Look at all the trees!

Friday, July 14, 2006


everyone for the congrats and the wonderful comments on my covers. I'm as chuffed as hell about them, but it's nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks they're great. I'll have to find out the name of the cover artist, so I can send her (or him) a great big thank you.

In writing news, well, there's not a whole lot to say. I wrote 4 pages yesterday on Destiny, and in the afternoon, read the Kissing Sin proofs, and right now, feel like I'm spinning wheels and not getting anywhere. The proof pages pile doesn't seem to be going down and the 400 page mark for Destiny still seems like a lifetime away. And it seems the split day may continue after I finish reading the proofs, too, as Bantam are discussing the possibility of getting Riley 5 out before they release Destiny. Of course, Riley 5 is only in the baby stages, so it means I may have to keep my butt on this chair and start doing some long hours in front of my computer. Fun days ahead, I think.

Oh, and while I remember, if you're a writer looking for an agent, then head on over to Rachel's blog. She's having a week long question and answer session with Miriam Kriss from the Irene Goodman agency--our wonderful agent :) The Q&A hasn't started yet, but Rachel has some great comments about what an agent can do for you up at the moment. Well worth a visit, folks!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

covers, proofs, and writing...

As I mentioned over on my website, I got my covers in for Kissing Sin, Tempting Evil and Dangerous Games and I love them! So naturally, I intend to share (if blogger will play nicely, that is):

cool, huh?

In other writing news, I received the 1st pass proofs for Kissing Sin, so now I have to sit down and go through them. Because I've got a little bit more leeway time-wise with the proofs this time, I'm actually planning to split my days. Write in the morning, correct in the afternoon. I actually can't afford to lose too many more days, otherwise this story is never going to be completed on time. But at least I have had a couple of reasonable writing days. I managed ten pages Monday, and five yesterday, so I'm well on my way to reaching my goal of 35 pages this week. If I can managed to keep that rate up, this book will actually be finished in three weeks. Woohoo!

Monday, July 10, 2006

impossible targets...

the problem with setting yourself impossible targets is that you know from the beginning they're impossible. Therefore, you're basically setting yourself up for defeat from the word go. I did that this past week. I decided I was going to write nearly 50 pages, with the aim of hitting the 300 page mark by this morning. Now, logically speaking, the target was more than doable. 50 pages was only ten pages a day, and I have done that in the past. I just haven't done it recently, and that's the problem. Plus, the scene I was writing towards was the death scene with Destiny's dad, and I wasn't sure how I was going to handle it. I mean, I didn't want it too sappy, but it's a death scene, you know? Sappy and teary tends to go with these things.

So, I didn't hit my impossible target. I did manage 30 pages, which is the figure I try and hit most weeks. It's also one I haven't reached for a while, so I guess that's something. I've just finished the death scene with her dad, and now have to get her and Trae (our hero) to Scotland to rescue her mum. Which means I also have to find someway to connect up to the end scenes I've already written. Could be interesting!

In doggie news this week, the fluffy one (aka Finn) has had the chop and is currently not speaking to me. At all. Very unimpressed with the whole process, he is. Of course, it doesn't help that he's wearing a bucket around his head for the next eight days to stop him tearing at his stitches. (Because his boy bits were up in his tummy rather than on the outside where they should have been, his operation was somewhat more complicated) He can't get through the dog door thanks to the bucket, so we're having to either leave a door open or constantly get up and down to open it when he wants to go out. And he wants to go in and out a lot. I think it's his revenge for the snip and the bucket.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

another comment on stuff...

Some time ago I blogged about reviews and fan comments, and how I took the stance that 'the customer is always right' even when I know they're wrong. It's a hangover from my days as a cook. I'm not sure how it works in America, but in Australia (in most good to top restaurants) there's no back-chatting the customer. To their face, anyway. Much bitching and moaning is done behind the scenes, but you never, ever say anything to the customer's face. If the customer is being particularly vile (and there are plenty of customers who seem to think that because the wait staff are waiting on them, they can be treated as trash), then you call in the manager and let he/she deal with the problem. Even then, confrontation rarely happens. The problem with confrontation, you see, is that the restaurant rarely wins. The other people in the restaurant are witnesses and, for good or for bad, will judge you on the incident--and while many will side with the restaurant, there will always be some who side with the customer. Plus, the customer will go on bad mouthing you to all and sundry regardless.

Writers may not be providing a service, but they are putting product out for public consumption. No writer in their right mind expects everyone to like--let alone love--their stuff, and bad reviews come as no surprise to any of us. It's par for the course, really. What isn't par for the course is personal attacks on the author--but in this day and age, with the internet and blogging being such big business, that seems to be happening more and more.

Take the recent incident with Mary Janice Davidson (she discusses this nasty little event on her blog). No author should have to put up with being called vile names like C***, and I admire MJD's courage for standing up for herself and speaking out as she did. But, by the same token, what did she gain by hitting back? For as many people who were cheering on her response, there would have been those who sat back and went whoa. It's a no win situation for an author to get involved in. Would MJD's response have changed the poster's vitriol in any way? No. Most likely, it would only serve to harden her opinion and will probably lead to her venting her particular brand of nastiness in a whole lot of other places.

The perfect example of this is what has happened over on Laurell K Hamilton's board. Anyone who been there knows there's a huge split in the fandom, and that it can get particularly nasty. And that nastiness was not helped when LKH's assistant came on line and had a very hateful little rant. I know it's natural to want to protect your employer, but really, when the people you're attacking are the ones buying the product that pays for your wage, aren't you basically biting the hand that feeds? And what did it gain? It certainly didn't help the situation--just inflamed it a whole lot more. The attacks on LKH did get personal and by no way can that ever be justified. But by the same token, she holds some responsibilty for this herself. If you don't want people to comment on your family and your sex life, then don't mention them in your blog--no matter how off-the-cuff that mention is. Authors should always remember that comments made in a blog become public domain property, and people will use them--for good or for evil. ;)

The problem with the net is the fact that it allows people to be anonymous, and gives them the opportunity to say things that they would never say face to face. But the net isn't going to go away and, unfortuately, neither will the phenomenon of people attacking others on various forums. I just don't think speaking out against this sort behaviour will gain anything. It's one thing to confront fan disatisfaction and answer their questions--that's a common sense thing to do, and most fans appreciate honesty and having their concerns answered (even if they're not the answers they may have wanted) In fact, ignoring concerns and disatisfaction can actually lead to a raising in hostilities, as LKH and her people have discovered. But confronting the sort of hateful rant that MJD faced? That's a no-win situation.

But maybe I am the odd one out here in thinking that the customer is always right. That we, as authors, should bitch in private rather than public, because no matter what we say, we just won't win.

I don't know. You tell me.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

writing continues...

It was an odd day, yesterday--writing wise, at least. Most of my morning was spent catching up on a whole lot of emails, and then I updated both mine and RWAust's websites. After lunch, I took the dogs for their usual walk, and Finn decided to do a runner--he spotted another dog across the paddock, and she smelled like fun. Of course, he still has all his boy bits and was rather excited about her appearance. It took me ten minutes to catch the bugger and drag him away. He didn't care at all that she was fixed. Well, as of Friday, he will be minus said bits! That's the second time in a week he's run off on me, and enough is enough (we've delayed this long on advice from the vet because his boy bits haven't actually dropped. They're still tucked up).

Anyway, it was when we were walking home that inspiration struck--but not for the scene I was working on. Oh no, my muse just doesn't play nice like that. It hits me with the end confrontation scene instead. Of course, I had to write it all down once I got home, and ended up with three pages of notes. So, I now know how the big battle at the end will all happen. I'm just not quite sure how I'm going to get to that point. Today I got back down to writing the current scene, and it's been a bit of a drag. I've never been to Lake Superior, so I'm having to constantly stop and check the little things--like what are the common types of trees for the area, what sort of birds there are, what sort of shrubs grow, stuff like that. I actually found a really cool house in the real estate section that's become my heroine's home, though I doubt a whole lot of the actual description will make it into the story--she doesn't stay there long enough. But I've managed to do four pages overall today, which I'm quite happy about given the amount of stops for research. Hopefully, I'll make up some extra pages tomorrow, because ideally, I'd like to get 30 or 40 pages done this week. That would put me within sniffing distance of the end (300 pages). But considering this novel is due in September, it's going to be a close call. Fingers crossed no more edits come in for the next few weeks!

Monday, July 03, 2006

edits away...

well, I finally got the edits finished and off to Bantam on Thursday, and received the teaser scenes to check over the same day. (Bantam's decided to put teaser scenes of the other three Riley books in each book released next year. Which is a very cool idea, I think). I haven't had a chance to look them over yet, simply because we've had too much to do. And yesterday, when I did have a little time to spare, I actually sat down and wrote most of the paranormal workshop I'm doing for RWAust's Gold Coast conference in August. So, that's one more thing I can just about tick off the list and stop worrying about. Hopefully, sometime today I'll get the chance to sit down and write some more of Destiny!