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So this is my first attempt at an author’s website, so I’ll ask you all to be patient with me.

I have finished the alpha (hopefully, beta) versions of Consequences and have sent them to beta readers to have a look over. I am hoping to send one of them to the editor (the wonderful Jeanne) by the end of the month (I can see Jeanne’s face now!).

Now that I am in waiting mode, I have returned to Dark Reign, the sequel to Dark Dimensions. I have a page exclusively for Dark Reign and will pop some information in it there.

I do hope to have Consequences out soon for all to read. In the meantime, please keep the word going about Dark Dimensions and, just as importantly, KCEditions, my publisher.

Eight lessons down

Wow! I’ve already done eight lessons in my editing course. Now this may not be one of those super-dooper courses that give you a certificate, but it is, indeed, helping me with my writing and my own editing.

I used to go through my works in whatever writing program I was using – Scrivener or yWriter – and then put the first-edited version into word and throw that one one screen with the Scrivener or yWriter version on the other screen and minimise every other page on both screens. Then I would take every sentence and turn them around in notepad to see if I could get them to sound better. Once that was complete, I would then put it into a tablet computer, and, coupled with the work’s notebook (usually one with a beautiful cover) and sit somewhere and go through the work page by page noting down errors and where a new scene was needed.

What I am trialling now is to open the work in word, save it as a different version and use track changes on the file itself along with a style sheet to keep track of names, spellings, how I’m noting any trademarks I might use (yes, it does happen, sometimes) and how I want numbers handled – when I switch them to numericals rather than write them out. I also keep names of places in that style sheet, too.

Now, I’m pretty sure that Scrivener can keep track of all that for me, but this is great practice for me because I’m a plantser. Let me explain that in another post.

But now I have an issue. Yesterday I started a new DnD game with a group of new people. And I’ve told myself that I need to write up a background to my new character – even though, like my characters in my stories, my DnD character evolve as we go. Because this is good practice for me in my character creation in my novels. Although I don’t necessarily have to have their background already created (after all, my characters don’t usually exist until they’re suddenly in the book) when I first mention them, I do, at some point, need to write down some information relating to them.

So, excuse me while I go and write a background to my new DnD character.

Doors – open or closed?

Okay, so this week was a spectacular week work-wise. One door closed and another has opened. New adventures to come.

On the editing side of things, I’ve decided to edit Consequences 3 using track changes in word rather than just reading through scrivener. What an eye opener that is. I thoroughly recommend it for those who are just starting to edit their own work or for those who struggle with editing. I even found things I hadn’t realised I’d done wrong.

It’s still not the same as writing completely new work, but it is a task that is part and parcel of being a writer and I’m determined to polish my own work as much as possible before it goes to an editor.

On the other side of things, it appears I have sprained the joint where the thumb joins the hand. It’s okay for typing but writing is currently a major chore. So, I’m concentrating on using the keyboard to update.

New Posting Day

First of all, let me apologise for the tardiness of this post. Friday swung past me sooooo quickly that the day was over before I realised it. And, of course, yesterday was our trip to Quairading.

But, before I go any farther, I also have to let you all know that I am changing my posting day to Saturday. It might be early, it might be late, but Saturday it will be. The reason will become clear in a few weeks.

So, today is about an editing course I have been doing over the last couple of weeks. Wow! What an eye opener.

If any of my friends who are writers have not heard of a style sheet, I suggest looking them up and trialling them. I will be using them from now on. Especially with my sci fi and fantasy books. Yes, I’m talking about Delta Recoveries and Killion as well as my story about dragons and the Gold Coast.

Even if you keep lists of names, etc., which I do, using a style sheet puts them altogether along with how you want to work with certain words, when a number stops being written as a word and is a number only and things like that. Oh, and what you want to do with trademarks and other words like that.

Like, how many of you know that Windsurfer is a trademark but the generic term is sailboard? Not many people realise that. I’m not too sure myself about smartphones but I use it in the Consequences trilogy, Dark Dimension’s sequel and in both Delta Recoveries and the dragon book. So I’ll probably check some references and make sure that’s a generic term. Because I don’t care what brand is in use — if my readers see an “iPhone” or a “Samsung”, that’s fine. They’re pretty similar to each other these days.

So take a look at style sheets — they may even help those of you who create worlds to game in.

Upskilling

So, as you all know, I have been editing quite a lot lately and my editors will tell you I sometimes just don’t get the right thing happening.

Therefore, I have commenced an editing course (how formal is that? ‘commenced’!). This, I hope, will give me that insight on how I can write better and tweak my writing so that it appeals to most people. It’s a hard thing to do when all you want to do is write new words and sentences but editing is a large chunk of a writer/author’s daily grind. We need to polish our works. We need to make sure they follow their own paths and that their characters are polished and three dimensional. We need to make sure our plots are solid with no holes and come to a natural conclusion. Mind you, those conclusions may take more than one book to pan out but as long as they do, then we’re on the right track.

Oh, and we have to learn not to repeat words or phrases too much unless it’s in dialogue and the speaker is intentionally repeating someone else’s words.

But editing usually picks that up – although I did learn in the first lesson that typos sometimes get missed, so luckily I have a friend with the eye of a hawk who usually does a last minute proof read of my work before I finalise it.

So hopefully by this time next week I will have more skills to share and be able to tell you how I have utilised them in my own work.

Late

Well, last week went so fast I ran out of time!

But, things are going well. I have got back into working on Consequences 3 (editing, that is) and did get asked what category the plot would come into. Well, since Consequences 3 is almost a stand-alone book, I haven’t quite figured that side out. When I have finished, then I will take the time for it.

It’s funny how the weather plays a part in typing. We’re going through an icy snap here (for Perth, at least) and it does make typing a bit harder. Then again, I am in the room with the fire. Just have to talk to the boys about lighting the fire!

I was going to apply for a writer-in-residence for a local organisation that I have joined, but they want me to run a workshop and I’m stuck on that. I’d love to get it but that one little bit of information I don’t have. I could use balancing writing and a working life, but when it came to ‘how are you going to run it?’ I couldn’t think of an answer. So I’ve pulled out of that.

But I do have my editing course starting on Friday so I think that will help me with editing. My secret to editing is to turn every sentence around until I get the one that sounds the best. Whether that’s the appropriate method or not, I don’t know.

So, being a plantser, I have to write down the fresh ideas that are screaming at me, then sit and work out a plot, a synopsis and outline. Only then do I really know where I’m going. I have written a few outlines at work but I have quite a few to go – including one for Dark Reign. Then I might get back into finishing Dark Reign. So, I’m sorry for all those waiting on the sequel to Dark Dimensions but it may take a little longer to get Dark Reign out there. I have proven I can write 3 books in less than 2 years but that was at the cost of Dark Reign.

Investing in yourself

So I’ve decided to invest in myself. I have signed up for an editing course. It’s something I struggle with, I don’t know any other writer who doesn’t, but I decided to do something about it.

It’s an online course and although it’s through an American education company, it’s endorsed by the Australian Medical Association. I know, I know. Weird. But it seems quite comprehensive and I just have to remember when I’m doing the course to think like an American and then when I’m applying the learning to my own work, to think like an Australian. Easy to do?

I’m not really sure. I will find out sometime after I start the course. I could have taken the course that started on 17 June, but I thought that would be difficult to catch up with, so I’ve signed up for the next one – 15 July. That’ll give me time to prepare for it. I am looking forward to it because it should up my skills and hopefully expand my working life to something in the editing industry.

For now, I can ask all to wish me luck! I’m probably going to need it!

Road Trip

So I’m a little late this week but it was a good move. Because yesterday, after those annoying annual blood tests, we decided to get out of the city for the first time in 12 weeks. So, the weather wasn’t the greatest, but it was a great yet tiring day!

We had thought to have breakfast in the Swan Valley but couldn’t decide on which cafe to use so by this time we’d decided to visit Toodyay (and our friends) so Gidgegannup Bakery was chosen. Up we go to Gidgegannup, past Red Hill and other points to call in at the Bakery only to find they were busy and a group of cyclists had rocked up just before we did. Now, this is not against the cyclists, it was just a matter of timing as we’ve become provincial and don’t really like to visit crowded places and there were quite a few cyclists – and if they’re anything like me, after a ride like that I would have wanted to sit down for a few minutes at least to regain strength and rest the legs.

So on we headed to Toodyay. Which put our plans a little out of whack. After all, I’d been going to call our friends from Gidgegannup. Now I had to call them from Toodyay. Well and good.

We got to Toodyay about 9.45am and took the first quiet cafe we got to – the Coca-cola Museum. Fascinating place if you haven’t been there before, great food if you have. Still remember that day in 2017 when they agreed to open just for Swan River Rovers for our Christmas in July evening meal. Again, great food.

Our friends were pleasantly surprised – especially when I told them we’d be there after brekkie and they replied with ‘oh, 1pm, then’ and I said ‘no, we’re at the coke museum. See you when we’ve finished!’ What a crack up.

We ended up going to IGA, ’cause the Toodyay Bakery didn’t have big pies or cakes, and picked up lunch to take with us. Of course, Pat didn’t answer the phone so we couldn’t say we were bringing lunch. But it was well-received and we had a great time with her and her husband. And, we even commandeered another type of succulent to add to our front garden. Another pink one! Hope it’s a different shade.

From Toodyay, we headed towards Bindoon, ’cause we have this thing about new roads and the latest extension of one of our highways had finally been finished and ended close to Bindoon. What a magical, quick trip home. It was such an easy drive, it’ll make visiting our friend in Clarkson a lot easier – when we get the time, that is!

All in all, we had a great day and the cats looked at us when we got home as though we were strangers. After all, they knew it was Saturday which meant it was their day with us. Think again, kitties!

Warmer Weather

Wow, this is a strange winter, so far. Contrary to what they predicted, we’re a week into June and it’s been fine. Apparently supposed to rain either today or tomorrow but who knows.

The days have been beautiful and slowly warming. What? Warming? 26 degrees C in June? What is happening? Actually, pondering on it, I think it’s been a trend of the last few years.

I remember when I had my first winter in Perth. May days were beautiful and sunny but the mornings were like 2 and 3 degrees. I lived in Balcatta in those days and wow, was it cold! June was much like May but added some rain to it.

Now, coming from Melbourne, I was used to May, June and July being full of sleet and wind and rain. Perth didn’t get any really heavy rain until July and then it bucketed down. I was working for Land Tax in those days, in the old Vic Centre building and I used to watch daily as it used to rain horizontal rain down St Georges Terrace.

Ah, those were the days – I used to walk from Perth Central station, down through the arcades all the way to St Georges Terrace and then along St Georges Terrace to the Vic Centre. Because in those days, there wasn’t a Cat that would take me that close at that time.

Then when I moved to the Valuer General’s Office I still got off at Perth and experimented with the Red Cat up to the office, but still most days ended up walking because the Red Cat was stand up only. I had that enough in Melbourne on buses between the city and Sunshine. So I used to walk from Perth station, through the mall to Hay St, then along Hay St to Cloisters Square, then cross St Georges Terrace and up there to Spring St and into the office.

Those days are long gone. I used to walk almost from the corner of Wellington Rd and Morley Drive to the Morley bus station between Morley Markets and what is now the Galleria. I even walked sometimes home from Landgate to Stratton. I can’t do that any more. But each day is still a learning curve and that’s what I keep doing. Learning.

Easing

Well, it’s nice to see things are easing off. Thursday, we got to have more than 2 people in the lifts on our floor but the signs are still on the other floors. They’ll get around to moving them.

It’s been an interesting experience this part of the year – the trains have been quiet and people are keeping their distance. There are now more jobs available to do from home, which is interesting in itself.

And I’m finally at the end of my 4 days at work a week. Hopefully this time it will turn permanent to 3 days a week. Doc has said for the foreseeable future. That, to my words, is indefinite….

Anyway, that’s a small part of a big picture called life. We have up days and we have down days. It’s being able to manage both with the same ease where we excel. My thoughts go out to everyone who is struggling with something today. I hope you resolve it positively and that your life improves after it.

So here’s the funny part. Simon listens to 1080 6IX and at 6.50am they have “Shona Nova” on to give us the horoscopes for the day. We only listen to it for her vocal patterns. We had a friend in the car yesterday that had never heard Shona and she was in hysterics at the end of it. She’s on the digital version of their radio, so if you feel like streaming it, I do recommend it. I have never known her horoscopes to come true, but they are really very funny – just to listen to her vocal patterns.

Shona, if you’re reading this, don’t stop, you are great to listen to and bring a bright moment to our drive to work!

covid19

Okay, so I had a sore throat and blocked/sniffly nose (yeah, go figure – blocked in the morning, sniffly in the arvo). But, having that in this environment means a teleconference call with a doc. So, doc calls me back before the appointed time (some of these work well, but I don’t like it) and we discuss my symptoms. He says it doesn’t sound like I have covid19 but protocols now are that I have to be tested.

So, Stu comes home from work and we head down to the local covid19 clinic. Wow! That was an interesting test – doesn’t help if you have a broken nose. But test came back all clear. No covid19. Phew!

So you ask, what have I been doing with my non-covid19 but probably coronavirus flu? Watching a bit of tv and sleeping – often at the same time. Hmm, must go back and watch season one of Supergirl again. I think I missed some episodes.

But back to work on Monday. And to think – I actually had a cake to take in last Monday!