Friday, December 29, 2006

another Christmas gone...

another year almost over. This year seemed to have zipped by so fast I swear my head is still spinning. Although I can't say I'm sorry to leave Christmas behind--there's just way too much food involved with Christmas (and half of it is still in my fridge). For someone who's constantly on a diet, that's not good news. Although I haven't actually put on any weight this time around, so I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself (although, of course, there's still all that food--and cakes--in my fridge :) )

I scored a digital camera from old Mr. Clause this year, so expect some piccies to start appearing on the blog soon. I took some nice ones yesterday of the rosella's and green parrots (I think they're called King parrots) at the new bird feeder, so I'll shove those up as soon as I work out how to transfer from camera to computer (it's probably easy, but I haven't gotten around to reading the instructions yet). Pete scored a 20inch flat screen for his computer, and Kasey got a whole mess of stuff. This year our relly visiting was spread out over three days, and while it was tiring, it also meant we spent a good deal of time at home on Christmas day. That was nice for a change. Anyway, I hope Christmas was good to you all!

Writing wise, I've begun the edits on Embraced by Darkness, and though I've barely waded through 100 pages, I've already added 6 whole pages to the overall page count. If that rate continues, this could be the biggest books yet. I've also begun thinking of plots for the sixth book. I already have the starting pages, but I don't really have the main murder plot yet. I do have a subplot--one that involved Liander and a killer going after gay men, but I need something else as well. Pete gave me an idea the other day about bodies being found at the zoo, and that caught the attention of my muse, so that's what were working around at the moment. Although anything could happen--the plot I'd intended to used for Embraced certainly isn't the one that actually appeared.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

it's finished...!

Destiny Kills has finally reached the end...yaaayyyyyyy! mucho happy dancing was done on this side of the pond, I can tell you. It's only 390 pages, but considering I'd begun to fear it might be a whole lot lower than that, I'm not going to bitch. It is only 10 pages short of the 400 mark, after all, and edits might add some pages anyway. But it's finished!

As you can tell, there's a whole lot of relief happening here.

Of course, now I have to swing around and immediately start the massive edits on Embraced by Darkness, so I'm not out of the writing woods yet. But at least I have something to work with once I do finish Riley's edits. I'm not totally convinced the ending is as powerful as I want it to be, nor am I sure that the last few chapters--the chapters I wrote after working on Embraced for so long--even match the previous sections in mood and voice. But I finally have words on page and as they say, words can be fixed, whatever state they're in. Blank pages can not.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

still a-burning...

there's still 16 fires burning out of control throughout the high country and in Gippsland, and one of those was a fresh one, lit by teenage fire bugs. Honestly, if they catch those two idiots, I think they should drag them by the scruff of the neck up to where the damage is, and make them face all the people whose homes and lives have been destroyed. Make them help rebuild the places their stupidity has destroyed. But no, the courts will probably give them a light rap over the knuckles and let them go to destroy another day.

So far, there's been 20 houses destroyed, over 500 000 hectares burnt out, and one life lost--that of a man who had gone to help his neighbours protect their property. When you see the footage of the flames on the TV, it's truly amazing there hasn't been more lives lost. My heart goes out to the family and friends of the dead man, as well as to all those who have loved ones still out there battling. Let's hope the rain that has been missing for months finally decides to come, and helps put out these fires. If not, they're saying these fires could burn unchecked for weeks--if not months--and that would be hell indeed.

Writing news...well, there's still none. It's been a hectic week, what with emptying Roxy and Christmas shopping, so that took most of my time. I did receive the edits for Embraced by Darkness, and oh boy, is there some work to do. Not that I expected anything else, given I'd really had no time to let the book sit so I could then go back to edit it myself. There's something like 13 pages of major edits for this book, and that's almost triple what I normally get. And I haven't even gotten the manauscript yet, and have no doubt that'll be full of niggles as well. Looks like I'm really going to have to pull my finger out once Christmas is over.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

googling myself...

that title just sounds...odd. :D But have you ever googled yourself? I have to say, I do it all the time. It's fascinating just where mentions of me pop up. For instance, I discovered Kissing Sin was a recommended read on Tanzy Talk (Fresh Fiction) and that Harriet Klaunsner has already written a review of Kissing Sin, and says "KISSING SIN is a fast paced action packed romantic fantasy that takes place on an earth so descriptive readers will feel they must have visited it." Of course, she also says "Keri Arthur is one of the best authors of paranormal romances writing today and fans of her works will compare her to Laurel K. Hamilton, and Kelly Armstrong." I wouldn't go that far, but it's still nice to be placed in that sort of illustrious company. And LKH's early Anita books are still some of my favs.

Of course, I don't just look at the good stuff, but the bad as well. It all makes for interesting reading. Actually, I think the bad stuff is more interesting, simply because it's good from an author POV to know and understand just what people hated.

But I always forget that people can actually track me, and yesterday I got sprung. *waves to Brianna's mom*. Love the blog :)

So, writing...not a lot of that has been happening. The handover of the old house in Roxy happens next Monday, so we're actually running out of time to get all of our junk out of there. Yesterday was clean up day, and after two trailer runs to the tip, a run to the Salvos, and another home, we've managed to get rid of most of the stuff we had there. All that's left is the dog pen (which will now become a rather large budgie pen) and the trampoline--both of which are taken apart and ready to load onto the trailer. But through all that, the muse was working, and I think I've struck part of the reason why this part of Destiny's story is dragging. It makes no logical sense. My hero has proven throughout this story that he's not one to sit around. If something needs to be done, he'd do it, regardless of the consequences. So, would he really sit around waiting while the heroine steps into a dangerous situation? The answer, of course, is no. So, now I have to go back and insert a fresh plot path in everything I've written over the last week. Luckily, it won't actually mean I'll have to delete much. Once I do that, I'm hoping it'll flow better to the end. I mean, there's only 30 or so pages left to do. It surely can't drag that much more!

Monday, December 11, 2006

damn, it's been hot...

we didn't get the predicted high heat and winds on Saturday, but we got it yesterday. When I woke up at 6, it was already 30 degrees C (86F) and it climbed steadily to a high of 42 C (107 F). Our hottest December day for something like 50 years. So of course, the heat made the hellish job of fighting all the fires that much harder, even without the winds (which came later anyway). Australia is a tinder dry country at the best of times, but with a drought that has stretched for years, and Government green-based policies that restrict any sort of clearing, the miles and miles of bush has been a firehazard waiting to happen. Don't get me wrong--I'm all for green policy and conservation, but I'm also a believer that we have to strike a balance between what is good for the earth and the animals, and what is good for the people. Whether the greenies like it or not, people aren't just going to up and go away. We're here to stay. So, when greeny-believing governments enforce stupid rules like not allowing residents in high-danger bushfire country to clear their properties of potentially dangerous material, therefore putting the trees before lives and property, then something is seriously wrong with our decision makers. Of course, these are the same people who decided (under greenie urging) to flush millions of litres of water down the rivers so that the fish could have fresh water--while we humans are ever more restricted in what we can use water for, and many of the State's dams are empty or near empty. Madness.

Anyway, enough of that. I had a really good day of writing yesterday. I'm still worried that these scenes are dragging a little, but I am getting into the action now that I'm nearing the end, so I'm hoping it'll make up for the slightly slower pace of the previous chapters. Time will tell, I guess. I've hit 357 pages completed, with 12 pages done yesterday. I still don't think this book will hit my target of 400 pages, but I'm hoping it'll go close. But the planned ending has changed slightly (thanks to what I wrote yesterday--sometimes it's really frustrating to have a muse that works as she goes), which means the first chapter ending I'd planned for the second book has to change too. That's what I get for getting ahead of myself.

Friday, December 08, 2006

a weird light...

I'm sitting here in my office, looking out the window, and I can tell you, it's really weird. The light is yellow and I can't see the blue of the sky. It's not clouds, it's not a storm brewing, it's the smoke from all the bushfires. There's something like 35 fires raging out of control across the alpine regions at the moment, and they're predicting that by tomorrow, one fifth of the state will ablaze. They're also saying that if we get the predicted 37c (98f) with the hot northerlys, these fires could end up being worse than the massive Ash Wednesday fires, which in 1983 killed 75 people, destroyed thousands of homes, and burned out over 300,000 hectares across Victoria and South Australia.

Here's hoping the weather bureau has it wrong--or that Melbourne does another of its famous weather flips. All the thousands of fireman and CFA volunteers up in the mountains at the moment do not need another day like Ash Wednesday. No one does.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

something new...

Bantam's planning a big publicity push for the Riley's series, and this will include an advertising campaign on the sci-fi channel website. It'll have essays on each of the books, character profiles, recipes (me being an ex-chef and all) and a podcast. Now, I've never done a podcast before, so recording it was a totally new experience for me. Add to that the fact that I am basically the shy type, and generally very uncomfortable talking about myself or my work for any great length of time (at least without being asked direct questions, anyway), and you have one nerve-wracking experience. I'm told I should actually join toast-masters to learn how to speak in front of people, but just the thought of that gives me hives. :)

And the event didn't start off well at all. They were planning to ring at nine my time (five NY time) and as the clock ticked over to ten past nine, I was beginning to wonder what had happened--or that maybe I'd gotten the date wrong. So I checked all my emails and discovered that the actual problem was the fact I'd given them the wrong phone number! You see, a few years ago, the main telephone company in Victoria put a 9 in front of all city numbers, and a 5 in front of all country numbers. Something to do with them running out of numbers in the near future or some crap like that. Anyway, I've always been a 9 girl, even when we had 15 acres out the back of Sunbury. But our move to Wallan has shifted us into 5 territory. So, when I gave the number to the podcast people, I unthinkingly gave them both the 9 and the 5 prefix. Naturally enough, they couldn't get through.

Once that was sorted, the podcast recording could begin. I had to intro myself and Full Moon Rising, then start to ramble on and sound like I knew what I was talking about. Or at least, try to sound interesting. I ended up asking them to prompt me, because I just couldn't think of enough things to say about the book by myself. As I said, I'd rather answer direct questions than ramble on unaided.

It took about 15 minutes to record. Originally, they were planning to do a podcast about Dangerous Games, but either they ran out of time, or I seriously sucked lemons. Me, I'm betting on the latter :D But they can work magic with all the editing tools they have now days, and I have no doubt they'll end up making me sound more brilliant--and less nervous--than I was. I'll let you know when the podcast goes up, so that we can all have a listen and a giggle ;)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

lunch, and zip writing...

Went out for lunch with the Melbourne mob yesterday. The mobbers are bunch of Melbourne-based writers (natch) who are primarily romance writers. I'm the odd one out (as usual) because I write mainly urban fantasy these days--and even the romance I do write tends to be a little more graphic in the blood and gore ratio than what is deemed generally acceptable in the romance field ;) Lots of good food and excellent gossip was shared, and a fun time was had by all. Writing is such a solitary pursuit and, for me at least, it's an absolute must to get out there and mingle with other writers. I love the daily email contact with my crit group (even though we tend to gossip more than talk about writing), as well as the regular meets with the mobbers. It just makes me feel less cut off from the rest of the world (esp now that I'm a full time writer.) Lets face it, most of the time we writers are stuck in front of a computer screen, battling characters and plots who just don't seem to go where we want them to. Or prose that sucks a whole lot more than we want it to. It's nice to know that we're not alone, that every other writer out there has gone through--or is going through--the same problems. Whatever that problem is.

Right now, my problem is text that sucks. And a story that still seems to be on a 'go-slow'. Part of the problem is the fact I was forced to stop writing Destiny Kills when Bantam bought the hand-in date for Embraced by Darkness forward five months. I've spent the last 3 months in Riley's thoughts and world, and I'm finding it difficult to make the switch back to Destiny. The momentum has been lost, and it's hard to keep going. But I will, of course. Deadlines are a wonderful thing when it comes to reluctant muses. And as the old saying goes, sucky words on a page can be fixed. Blank pages can not :)

BTW, I now have a live journal page. It's basically just an echo of what's written here, but lots of people seem to prefer LJ, so I thought I'd better set a page up over there. Plus, lots of my friends have LJ pages, so joining up makes it easier for me to keep in contact with them. So, if you prefer LJ, you can now keep up with the latest gossip on my books over there. The address is