It’s not every day you get a compliment and especially about your writing.

I think my first compliment from someone who wasn’t familiar with my work was from my dentist. It was two years ago and I was having a crown done. The first week was pulling the old filling from the tooth and while we were waiting for the anaesthetic to take effect, I happened to mention I had published a book. After asking me its name and what the author name was, I was sitting in the chair and I heard his keyboard pecking. I said, “Are you googling it now?”

He said, “Of course I am.” I thought ‘wow! My dentist is reading my book!’

So a week later I go in for the other bit of work and as I walk into the workroom he says “I bought your book. I read all the samples and couldn’t put it down so I bought it.” I was gob-smacked.

Six months later, when we brought out the hard cover, I let him know. Six months after that, I signed that book for him.

A few months after that, a friend I had known for a very long time got a copy. He texted me in tears and told me “you’re not supposed to kill off major characters. And why him?” I was speechless. He told me when he’d finished that the book had him running the full gammutt of every emotion possible. My heart swelled.

Just last week, this friend and I were talking and he told me his daughter hadn’t yet read it and he was disappointed “because yours is so much better than that Twilight stuff.” Again, speechless. Now waiting for movie offers! Just kidding.

My whole point of writing is to entertain people. To take them out of our drudgery world of ‘work, sleep, eat, study, maybe play if there’s time’. If they enjoy the book at the same time, then I have truly done my job. Of course, the fact I enjoy writing has nothing to do with it.

Australia's Heat Continues

So we’re well into January, now and Perth has now started climbing back up. Well, it did on Wednesday and Thursday, but today is a much cooler day – almost mild at 30-ish.

The fires still go on in NSW and Victoria, however, and my heart goes out to those affected. At work I spoke to someone who’d been allowed back to the their house only to tell me that they’d just had a warning the fire had turned and was heading for them again.

I don’t think, even with the years I spent in the Swan Communications Brigade, I can even imagine how horrific it must be to live through something like those fires. Everything I’ve seen through social media and through Ch 24 (Australia’s ABC) are devastating enough to watch. To experience must be far worse.

I will say I am quite disgusted at those scammers who have created donation platforms to scam people out of money and cause money to be diverted from the Bushfire victims.

I will also say that I am officially astounded at the outpouring of support – including monetary – being sent our way. We are a tinderbox and the world is noticing. I just wish certain people in Australia would put aside greed and realise that something needs to be done. As a meme on social media implies – if we clean everything up and nothing happens, we don’t have egg on our faces, we have a beautiful world to live on. If we don’t clean everything up and climate change is allowed to continue, we – well, we might not be here.

I just hope that our amazingly diverse state does not experience the hell that NSW and Vic have and are still living through.

I noted that a photo that talked about the vegetation regrowth was from a fire in Kulnura. I checked the fire map and found that Kulnura had not been impacted last year. I kept watching this month and noticed the fire keep heading towards Kulnura, then by yesterday it had backed off. I was pleased to see that an area I’d been following was safe.

On a different note, I have again been invited to sit on a panel in GenghisCon. As the panel does not start until 6pm, we’ve decided to stay at the hotel that night and enjoy luxury for a change – in other words, going down early tomorrow to sit by the pool all afternoon, then go to the panel, then tea. Ah. Not sure if I’ll even take the laptop!

So next week, I will do my best to impart the fun I had on the panel! Escapism Teaches us how to Escape. Like I don’t write that?

2020 is here

So we are now a 3rd of the way through January 2020, which, to me, means 2020 has arrived. Along with it, it has brought dry weather in Perth, our first “dangerous” fire for the city but more importantly, it has brought wet weather to Melbourne. I’m not sure about whether rain has hit any of the fires, but at least some of the country has rain. Oh and it’s also brought the first Cyclone for Western Australia.

Cyclone Blake landed and was immediately downgraded. But for a while there, we were totally cut off by road from the rest of Australia. I hear there was panic buying as trucks were stranded on either side of the Nullabor. I’m glad we buy fresh vegies because we were still able to buy them. Apparently some of the supermarkets were running out.

Is 2020 the year of songs? I’m not sure – for the whole week I’ve had Smashmouth’s All Star singing to me, then today a friend shared an article calling the fires of NSW “The Ring of Fire” – need I say more – and apparently the Canberra Times had an article titled “The Heat is On”. I’ll let you all decide if it’s a music year or not!

For writing? Everything is coming together nicely and I’ve even had some ideas for the 4th Clans in Conflict book. Which is a relief ’cause I wasn’t sure what the plot was going to be. But, no spoilers here!

Hello 2020

Hello to 2020! Wow! That rolls off the tongue. And to think – 100 years ago it would have been called the start of the flappers!

We’ve got 5 years to go before it’s 100 years since Art Deco got its name. And we’re 6 years behind when Art Nouveau was around. Maybe I should have mentioned that sort of thing? Oh well, this is not going to be a “what happened 100 years ago” post.

No, this post is going to include a shout out to all those emergency service personnel across Australia and the defence force who are dealing with fires and supporting infrastructure. Gods, what I’ve seen makes the eastern states look like a scene from an apocalypse movie. To think – some of those fires have been raging since August 2019 – that’s 4 months roughly. So thank you all for doing what you’re doing. You are our lifeblood and I wish I was in someone else’s place so I could say “Stuff everything else – throw money at the emergency services!”

On a different subject, I am writing an interview between Troy and a journalist. Now some scenes roll off the tongue, so to speak, so easily that they write themselves. Not this. This thing is being pulled out, fighting and screaming and I have to fight the impulse to write something easier. But I have to get this out as this will tie in a lot of things and present important information to you all – my audience/readers.

And finally, on a third subject, Happy New Year and I hope 2020 gets better. I hope that these fires can be extinguished soon so that the year can improve. For everyone I know, I hope your year to shine is this year! Especially the kids! Again, Happy New Year!

Christmas/New Year

Well, it’s a little late but Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

And I’ve done it. I’ve written the bare bones of Consequences 3. It’s taken probably a week or so to get the basics down but I just couldn’t let it go. And the only way it’ll produce another book is probably in the series’ future – roughly 20 years time. In reality? I’m not sure. I must be having fun with the characters and the setting because I tried my darnedest to go back to Delta Recoveries but Albermarle just took over all my thoughts.

It’s probably got a lot of changes to be made – I’m not sure if the main plot line is strong enough, but that’s easily fixed. Because there’s a helluvalot more to write. Currently, it’s not even a novella at less than 20k but there’s so much info missing that there’s no way it’ll be a short story. Not with me, it won’t.

So eventually you will get a 3rd Consequences and hopefully everyone will enjoy it – actually I hope people enjoy the first one, let alone the 3rd one!

Heat Wave

Well, Sydney can have their heatwaves, Melbourne can have their 42 degree days with their northerly, but I think a week of 41 degrees in December is something none of us were planning on.

It has been scorching here for the last week or so with a couple of days of relief. We are so grateful that we have not had the catastrophic fires that New South Wales and Queensland have had. I’m not going to even speculate on why that is. After all, we still have the rest of summer to get there.

Just to make it clear, in the 31 years I have been in WA, we have never had days in December this hot. It’s always been January, February or March. This is completely unseasonable weather.

As far as writing goes, I did finish NaNoWriMo, putting lots more words into Delta Recoveries and even writing a background story for that. Yes, I do realise it’s against the rules, but NaNoWriMo rules are meant to be bent – if not broken.

In this heat I have imported Souvenirs of a Serial Killer and Dragons Abound into Scrivener. When I get an opportunity, I will do some more work on those. Dark Reign and the Consequences books come first.

On a brief note, I have been asked once again to sit on a panel in GenghisCon and I have been assured that Dark Dimensions will be available online again before that date. Fingers are crossed and the usual “Watch this space”.

I hope to have the links up again very soon so everyone has access to Dark Dimensions.

Until then – “that’s all, folks”!

Done for another year

Yay! National Novel Writing Month is done for yet another year. (I know one day they’ll call it the International Novel Writing Month.)

There are probably people out there who wonder why I do it since I only get a certificate and no money prize at all. Well, it’s not about the prize. It’s about the fact that I have written 50101 NEW words in 30 days. So I had a few days where I couldn’t write, but I got them all done within the time. I like to think Angie was with me for the last couple of weeks, but she was probably really busy herself.

As usual, with NaNoWriMo, there are the rule followers and the rule breakers, the planners, the pantsers and the plantsers. I think I touch on something between the pantsers and the plantsers. For those who don’t know this jargon – and yes, it is jargon – a pantser is a writer who writes by the seat of their pants – without planning or anything and I do that most of the time. I have now learnt that I can do a lot more with just an extremely loose plan – hence plantser.

Sometimes, this does lead to problems with “hello, characters, where are you taking the story next?” with no clear avenue of movement. Sometimes I’m able to swap scenes to pick up something else while waiting for a character to give me that direction. (Did I tell you? It’s perfectly normal for a writer to talk to their characters? Others would call us schitzophrenic or split-personalities. We just call them characters in our novels!)

But it also leads us to finding out how far a character can take a story. Oh, that’s right. I was talking about those who follow rules and those who don’t. I didn’t this year. Again. I started with one story, didn’t have enough to go on (and it was starting to head towards someone else’s story) so swapped. Which is how we got The Sefindarfin Accords. But that ended really quickly (in NaNo I want to write fast, not try and figure out boring scenes) so I sat at work for a day figuring out what else to do. Yep, got it. Ended up writing about Delta Recoveries in its first years.

It didn’t help that Andrew told me he had some great feedback for Dark Reign and we had to get together. No, that didn’t help at all. For a few days after that I found myself thinking about Troy and his misfortunes instead of what I was supposed to be focussing on. It’s called shake oneself and get on with the main job. Stop daydreaming!

Comes along today and I had 1800-odd words to write. What am I going to end on? What is a great ending for Nano? Oh, that’s right. I haven’t killed off a main character in this one. Oops, click, click on the keyboard, CEO of Delta no longer lives. And up goes the word count. I’m such a nasty person to my characters (shut up, Marek, I can see you nodding from here!).