Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Monday, May 31, 2010

Too Much Water in My Porridge Again

I love porridge. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Well, it's been an interesting weekend. The first week of dog-sitting is now over. I have to say, I love that pooch, but I really, really, really miss the kitties. I miss having them cuddle up on my bed. I miss Sephy saying good night with a long 'walk on stomach, knead and purr and lick to death' session in the evenings. It's odd how much I miss my kitties.... le sigh.

I told you about my story being selected for an anthology to be published as a free eBook, yes? Well, of course the editors of the anthology sent it to me last week with a few edits. The problem was, they sent it in .docx format. I can't open a .docx file. I do not have the technology. SO, I thought that opening the attachment as an html would be the same.

Yeah.... no. It wasn't. It didn't show all of the comments.... at all. So, editing off that was like trying to transcribe a bible with every second word missing.

I will admit, I was surprised with how few edits there were.... but I just shrugged and made the suggested changes... only to receive an email from the editors about how few edits I had actually done. It was a very lengthy email that described in some detail why edits were necessary and for me to try and not feel upset by the proposed changes. Riiiiiight.

I was a little taken aback at first. Say what? But, I made all the changes you indicated.... oooooooh! I did get them all. So I explained what a great fool I was and asked the editors to send the document back in plain ol' .doc format, and they did. Excellent. Now I can go through and make the changes necessary!

Guess what I'll be doing the rest of today?

Yesterday was fun. Ahem.

I was to meet my father at 3:25pm to go see Robin Hood. So I rocked up at the cinema at 3:00pm and waited. And waited, and waited, and waited, and waited... I ran to a nearby cinema in case he thought we were to meet there.... but he wasn't there. I ran back. Still not there. So, at last, I decided to call him.

Well, turns out that he thought the email I sent him Friday afternoon I had sent after he called that very afternoon to reschedule. Thus, he thought we were to meet at 6:00pm for the 6:40pm showing. Le sigh! It all worked out though. We ended up going to the 6:40pm showing. Robin Hood was actually pretty entertaining. Though, I wouldn't have put Russell Crowe in as Robin. I might have watched too much BBC, though....

All in all, a pretty good flick, though the ending was tres corny!. Right, I have to get editing, so, everyone have a great day!

Friday, May 28, 2010

If Only

Do you ever think of me?
Have you ever wondered what could be?
If only you could truly see me.
Only. Only. If only.

Have you ever known the pain of life alone?
The soulless aching drone
Of being alone, so very alone.
Only. Only. If only.

A life where love is a dream,
An impossibility, it would seem.
Love a dream, only ever a dream.
Only. Only. If only.

I know you've given me your answer.
Silence, the lover's cancer.
Silence, ever a cruel answer.
Only. Only. If only.

I have always been invisible to you.
Even though you knew. You knew
What it is I feel for you.
Only. Only. If only.

The thousands of tears I've cried,
Trying to say goodbye; I've tried,
And tried, and tried, and cried.
Only. Only. If only.

And even thought it can never be,
I still dream of you and me; a 'we.'
Though it can never, will never be.
Only. Gods, if only.

Edit to add: Yes, I was having an emo moment, alright. I needed to get this out. Don't judge me.

Thick Skins Are Important

This is actually a post about the writing process. Shock. Horror.

Anyway, the point is that thick skins are really, really important. The thing ever writer must remember is that their work is not perfect. It is not infallible. And, most importantly, there is always, always room for improvement. This post came upon me this morning when I received back honest criticisms for my titular short story The Dying God that is to be included in my anthology.

I was very proud of this short story. It was very dear to me (more so than the others, in any case). I loved the characters. I thought the storyline was awesome. This story was the bomb! Turns out, not so much. There were glaring plot holes and character inconsistencies that no one else picked up.... or at least wanted to tell me about.

My friend did however, and he pointed them out to me. At first, I found it quite affronting. I won't lie. The defensive poisoned dragon in me reared its head for a moment. Then I told myself that I had asked him for the critiques, and I had told him to be honest, and not to spare me my feelings. I believed I used the line 'if it's utter crap, then say so.'

Yeah, if you don't want a reality check, don't use that line.

I should note that in no way did he say my story was crap, in fact, it was a fairly positive critique but for the plot hole and character issues. After I got in control of my immediate (and ingrained) defensive reaction (now why can't I do that all the time?), I re-read the critiques and, you know what? He was absolutely right. The plot hole he mentioned is pretty odd. I should change that. Oh, and that inconsistency with the way the main character behaves, that needs to be changed too.

Moral of the story? If you want to be the best writer you can, you must, must, must be open to criticism, and to use that criticism to your advantage. If you can't do that, forget being a writer.

Understand this: a critique is more than correcting spelling and grammar, and it is absolutely vital if you want your story and your craft to be the best it possibly can.

That is to say, you need a thick skin. There are really only three things you can do when faced with a critique that is unexpectedly severe. You can:
a) despair, curl up into a foetal position and never face the world again,
b) argue the point (and never improve), get into a screaming match, call the critic names and lose a good friend, or,
c) take a deep breath, think about what was said and be honest with yourself.

Options a and b are actually the easier ones. Trust me!

There are several ways to develop a thick skin. You can:
a) ignore the world and charge forward regardless, horns lowered, heeding not the slightest sting from any critic... uh, bee....
b) win an Oscar for best actor by smiling and laughing at the world while inside and in private you're a mess of tears and suicidal thoughts.
c) be humble. Accept that you are not perfect, your writing is not perfect, and that there is room for improvement whether you're Steven King or a little no-name beginner trying to get published (read here: me).

Option a has its uses, to a point. If you charge forward without listening to what's being said about your craft, you're never going to improve, and you'll be charging forward to nowhere for a very, very long time. However, if someone is just being plain mean, it is best to ignore them, charging passed their petty complaints buffalo style.

Option b is the one I practice the most often in life (less the suicidal thoughts), truth be told, but not really for my writing. Though, I'm sure it will come in handy if ever I read a review by a really, really unimpressed reader.

Option c is by far the best way to cope, and I used it this morning when I received my friend's critiques. By humbling myself and not getting all angry-defensive like I usually get (I'll provide a list of my character faults one day), I am better able to accept, and cope, with the critique. By accepting the critique for what it was (an honest review of my work), I am able to take in the suggestions, understand that they were, in fact, extremely valid, and implement changes, thus making my story the best thing it can be.

So instead of slapping this guy in the face, I owe him one giant hug (next time I see you, M.F.)! He is helping me become a better writer.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Right, there is nothing to talk about but the weather. It's been hot. I mean really hot here in Ottawa for the last three days. It felt like the mother of all storms was building... only, there was no storm. The weather man promised thunderstorms, and it just never happened.

I will admit to being a little disappointed. I love thunderstorms.

A couple of searches:

Visitor Location: London, United Kingdom
Date: May 20, 2010
Time: 11:31 AM EST

Visitor Location: North Hills, CA
Date: May 21, 2010
Time: 4:04 PM EST

Visitor Location: Danvers, MA
Date: May 22, 2010
Time: 6:48 PM EST

Visitor Location: Flower Mound, TX
Date: May 25, 2010
Time: 11:39 AM EST

OK, more than a couple. The scary thing is, they all used my first name, so I'm thinking they're all looking for that other one.

I've put too much water in my porridge and am thus eating gruel for breakfast.

And that is all the news I have. Must try and recover that short story idea the heat fried out of my head yesterday. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Forgotten No More

With everyone involved in the Goodreads Unlocked anthology doing their first round of edits, and no email with edits for me, I thought that I had been forgotten. Turns out I was, sort of. The editors thought they sent me an email last week with the edits, but didn't and so sent it to me last night with an apology.

No worries guys!

So, today will be spent editing my short story for publication. Not entirely sure I want to see the red marks scrawled all over it, but there's nothing for it now....

It's a good thing I have this editing to do because I have a colossal headache from the heat (dehydration, I think. Yes Mum, I'm drinking plenty of water), and I won't be able to come up with new stuff... although I did have a good idea.... I've forgotten it. The heat evaporated it..... Damn it....

Right, must get editing!

Have a lovely Wednesday everyone.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Some Major Catch-up Required, or, Why I Should Never Be Allowed Near an Elbow

Good morning world. How was your long weekend? Good I hope. Mine was alright. I have started dog-sitting and will be for the next fortnight. I love the pooch to pieces, but I really do miss my kitties.

The temperature outside is bordering on tropical. I love it! It is making me a little homesick, though. That's alright, my sister is coming up for a visit next month. That's almost as good as going home. Trying to organise some adventures with her. Can't wait!

My knee is the foulest colour of purple-ish-black that anyone might hope to witness. Like how I just slipped that in there? In any case, I have no one to blame but myself. I was trying to block a round-house (for those not in the know, that's done by raising the knee and lowering the elbow to just inside the knee and bracing for impact). Instead of placing my elbow on the inside of my knee, I smashed it right down onto my knee. It hurt a little bit at the time. However, the pain to bruising ratio is completely off. It didn't hurt so badly that it warrants a bruise that spreads over my entire knee-cap. It's taking it's sweet time to go away too. Luckily, I don't normally wear shorts, so no major wardrobe change is necessary. Also luckily, I don't have any doctor's appointments in the near future. I swear, if one more doctor hands me a card for a counsellor, I'll scream!

In other news, because I took the long weekend off to do things like play with the dog and take myself out to the movies, I didn't do any writing whatsoever. I have some major catching up to do. Luckily, the break provided me with a really neat short story idea. If I can get myself into gear, I might have it all down today. As it is, my project is coming along pretty well. You can see my progress on the right hand side of this blog, if you're really keen on it.

More on the writing news, another rejection came through yesterday afternoon. I'm going to spend some time waxing lyrical on why rejections bug me so much. I know it's nothing personal, and I know it's all a matter of opinion, and I know all authors went through this before being picked up by a publisher. I know all that, and though I understand that you mean well, I do not need to be reminded of that. Any rejection hurts, even when you try to brush it off, and even if you pretend it doesn't, it still hurts. And here's why:

I'm not a great beauty. I never was. I'm not saying I'm ugly, mind, but I'm not especially beautiful (keep the pity compliments to yourself, if you please. They make me suspicious). Though I might pretend otherwise, I'm not especially intelligent either. Sure I can understand and use big words, but an expansive vocabulary is not a sign of intelligence. Don't worry, many people make that mistake.

The one thing I do possess is imagination, and the ability to translate the bizarre goings-on in my head into prose on paper.

When the one thing you feel you have to offer the world is continually turned aside, whatever the reason, it hurts. It hurts no matter how much you brace yourself.

I have a mountain of armour wrapped around my heart, but all that does is prevent the barbs from drawing blood. There is still a fair amount of bruising.... and it seems I've been taking a beating of late.

Don't worry, I haven't given up. I'm excessively stubborn and sometimes childishly spiteful (I'm working on improving my temperament... sort of). I'll stubbornly keep at it even if my belief in my ability crumbles into a smoking pile of rubble, if only out of spite. As it is now, I still believe that I can write and that I should write. It was an unexpected career choice for me, but one I am too passionate about to give away easily.

On that note, I have breakfast that needs eating and writing that needs doing.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Am I Sad?

This might bring some of you down, so if you were hoping for a cheery me this morning, stop reading .... now.

I almost burst into tears on my way to work this morning. I'm not quite sure why. It's a beautiful day out - bright sun, warm, with a cool breeze. Absolutely gorgeous. I slept well last night. I cuddled the kitties this morning. I went to training last night, which usually lifts my spirits.

Even so, today I am feeling really down. Might it have something to do with another rejection I received yesterday? Oh, that bothers me a little, and I'm frustrated as hell, but it shouldn't be enough to dissolve me into a puddle of tears. The straw that broke the donkey's back, perhaps?

My flatmate's birthday party is this evening, and we're expecting all sorts of great company. The prospect of a social gathering involving copious amounts of laughter usually cheers me, but all I want to do is curl up in bed and hide from everyone right now.

Right, this is unacceptable! What the hell is wrong with me? I shouldn't be moping around like this. It's stupid. Operation 'cheer myself up' is now in effect:

1. I have a really cool university degree.
2. I have a really awesome job that lets me pursue my dreams.
3. I have a really awesome flatmate.
4. I have two really adorable, if destructive, kitties.
5. I've written 6 full length novels in the span of 3 years.
6. Strangers everywhere have been so kindly offering their time and expertise to help me out.
7. Everyone I know who has read my stuff loved it... (I'm not even going to let the thought that they just might have said they loved it to spare my feelings enter my head).
8. I have an amazingly supportive family whom I adore.
9. I have really amazing friends who are wonderfully kind and generous.
10. I train Kung Fu and Kick-boxing, and that is pretty darn cool.
11. Chemical burns aside, I am NOT a loser.
12. I am pursuing my dreams!
13. I WILL be published!

There, I have no reason to be sad. I'm going to pin this list up on my computer. That ought to remind me just how lucky I am, and help keep the blues away! Have a wonderful long weekend everyone. It is along weekend, so I probably won't post Monday. Back as usual on Tuesday.

Bye now!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Why I Could Never be Anorexic, or, a Slow News Day

There really isn't much to report today. I received another rejection via email yesterday. It made me very sad. I sulked all day... and even cried a little bit.

It can be so disheartening to read rejection after rejection after rejection. More so since this story is very dear to me. I know it's not personal. How could it be? All the same, I'm feeling very downcast. Perhaps one day soon there'll be happier news.

Yesterday was generally a good day, actually. Despite the rejection and the tears. Though, the evening was terrible. I developed a stomach ache that was quite mild while I was walking to training, but by the time weapons class started, it was excruciating. I've never felt pain quite like it before. It was as if my stomach was simultaneously cramping, exploding and eating itself, and I was nauseous.

I though it might be because of what I had eaten for lunch. A chick pea salad.... giving the world's worst stomach ache.... really? After having spoken to Sifu I thought that perhaps it was hunger. He thought much the same.

You see, normally I eat an apple about a hour before training to tide me over for the three hours of work until I can have a proper (but small) dinner. I had forgotten my apple yesterday, and so didn't have my afternoon snack. Then, after just two hours of training, my stomach protested so much, it was crippling. I did not train Kung Fu that night, I was in so much pain.

My Kung Fu sister A.H. showed up for the first time this semester, so afterwards the pack of usual suspects (A.H., K.C. and myself) went out for Pho. I didn't think I'd want to eat with my stomach being the way it was. But I did eat. And I felt better. The pain slowly subsided and the nausea vanished. By the time I was driven home (thanks K.C., by the by) I felt much, much better.

So, I must conclude that it was hunger that had done these things to me. All I can say is this, starvation must be a terribly painful way to die. By the by, I don't quite understand how hunger could been so painful for me. It's not like there aren't plenty of, uh, reserves to take from.

In other, less interesting news, a search came through from London (U.K., not Ontario). They used my first name, so I think they were after that other Carrier... spelt C-a-r-r-e-r-e, people. Get it right!


So that is everything for the moment. I have a new short story idea I am pursuing, so I have to go and get on it. Hopefully I'll be finished the short story today. If so, then I am almost half-way done on my self-publication project! Go me!

Have a wonderful Thursday everyone.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

You Pack of Bloody Idiots

Pardon the title of the post today. I'm in shock a little bit. The Royal Bank of Canada branch that is just a few blocks away from work was fire-bombed last night. Right here, in Ottawa, in one of the most affluent neighbourhoods of Ottawa. I walked passed it this morning on my way to work... then stopped and stared... then had a bizarre flash-back to metro Manilla during the civil unrest there and felt slightly nauseous.

Fire-bombed. An anarchist group has claimed responsibility and even went so far as to video it and post the video on the internet. You pack of bloody idiots.

Let me make something perfectly clear to you. Destroying stuff isn't going to make people sympathetic to your cause. And way to prove exactly the opposite of what you are setting out to prove. Isn't the whole idea of anarchy that people do not need governments to govern them... that they are perfectly capable of governing themselves.... that utter chaos will not ensue without government there to stop it?

Congratulations you bunch of morons. You've just proven that people cannot behave themselves if left to their own devices, that you, at least, are not capable of governing yourselves in a civilised manner, and that chaos is precisely what's going to happen if you are let off your leashes. Stupid, bloody, idiotic, half wits. Well done.

People are bloody idiots, honestly.

So, now that I've gotten that out of my system, I have some writing news:

This made for a pleasant change. Last week I had sent off my titular short story for the anthology I am working on. I received the feedback from both of my volunteer editors (both of whom are owed many, many pints for their time and efforts), and both were very positive.

g had this to say:

Storyline was strong. Characters were interesting and I cared about them. Description of setting was vivid. I really enjoyed this piece!

And Lord N. wrote this:

I thought [it] was really very good and you have a natural talent which you must pursue irrespective of how many set backs you get. [Bunch of suggestions for changes] You obviously have a fertive imagination and overall I was extremely impressed.

I am happy now.

There are some searches that need to be cleared from my inbox this morning. So, hello to:

Visitor Location: Milan, Italy
Date: May 12, 2010
Time: 11:40 AM EST

Visitor Location: Fürth, Germany
Date: May 13, 2010
Time: 6:57 PM EST
(though, I reckon this one was looking for the other Sonia as the search term used was 'sonia carriere free ones')

Visitor Location: N/A
Date: May 14, 2010
Time: 4:22 PM EST

Visitor Location: Silvalde, Portugal
Date: May 17, 2010
Time: 11:17 AM EST

Visitor Location: N/A
Date: May 17, 2010
Time: 8:32 PM EST

Visitor Location: Oakland, CA
Date: May 18, 2010
Time: 5:21 AM EST

Visitor Location: Frederikshavn, Denmark
Date: May 18, 2010
Time: 5:36 PM EST

Right, that's it from me. Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Checking In With The Morning Report

I'd start quoting Lion King lines right about now, but I think I'll spare you all that part of my lunacy.

There really isn't much to report. I had another rejection yesterday, but what's new?

Last night was the first night in a long while that my flatmate and I were both home, and the same time, doing nothing in particular. To celebrate the momentous occasion, I bought some bubbly and raspberries and a chocolate cheesecake. We sat down and had the bubbly, with raspberries floating in it, and chocolate cheesecake and watched The Fellowship of the Ring. About halfway through, I got a call from family in Australia and ended up chatting with them for the length of the film. My flatmate didn't, and when the end credits rolled, all I heard was this:

*sniff... sniff....

Then I started laughing. Don't worry Jazz. I'd have cried too if I had been paying any attention.

And that is everything I have to report. No, seriously. Aren't you lucky - a short post today! Have a great Tuesday everyone. Hopefully I'll have heard from an agent sooner or later.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Newsy Weekend

I apologise for the fact that this post was late, once again. The computer decided that an hour would be the appropriate load time... then Firefox froze halfway through the first writing of today's post. My blood pressure is currently through the roof.

But I digress. This post is actually supposed to be about my weekend, not a tirade about stupid old computers that stress me out.

Thus, my weekend. It started off well. Kicked off Friday night by teaching a private kick-boxing lesson. That went well. Then my student (and good friend) T.H. and her boyfriend and I all went out for all you can eat sushi, and ice-cream after that. Yummy!

That was not to last, however. Lion Dance practice was on Saturday morning, and I was up and dressed on time. I had to run a few errands before I went, so I decided to take the bus rather than walk once the errands were complete to give myself some time. Big mistake. I went to the bus stop and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, fully a half hour late, the bus showed up, with the other bus (the one whose scheduled time it was). Half an hour late! I was furious as I boarded the bus. There was nothing to be done about it however, I would just be a half hour late for Lion Dance, that's all.

As it turned out, the guy with the key forgot his key, so I wasn't late at all, everyone just having been let into the building as soon as the key master (ahem) returned with the keys. Lucky break.

We went out for a Dim Sum lunch (which was brunch for me, as I hadn't eaten breakfast) and I went to teach my Kunf Fu class - the second last class of the season. It went well. My students are fun to teach, and I enjoy myself there.

Then it was off to the bus stop to catch the bus that would take me to meet my Dad for a movie. So, I stood at the bus stop and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, fifteen minutes late, and arriving at the same time as the next scheduled bus, the bus arrived. I asked the driver (as I didn't see the second bus) what happened to the bus that was to have arrived fifteen minutes earlier. He smiled and said, 'you're lookin' at it. I'm late.' as if it were perfectly excusable that he would be fifteen minutes late. I was unimpressed.

I arrived twenty minutes after I was supposed to. Thank-goodness Dad had waited for me. I missed the movie, too, and the next showing was three hours away. We went and saw the movie at 6:30, and killed time by having drinks and a few snacks, and a very quick walk through the Byward Market.

(Insert appropriate expletive here)

Look, OC Transpo, I've said it before and I'll say it again. You are absolute shite! You are by far the single worst public transport system I have ever had the misfortune of having to rely on. You really pissed me off this weekend. If you are going to charge $100.00 a month for a bus pass, you damned well better make sure that your service is worth the money. That means running on time, and having courteous, helpful and knowledgeable staff (ie - not the foul-tempered, selfish, miserable ingrates that are often at the wheel). Get your act together you bunch of moronic trained apes!

Right, done my tirade. The movie Dad and I saw was Iron Man 2. It was fun. Not as good as the first (they never are), but fun and entertaining. It was good to go to the cinema again. I missed these special weekends I have with Dad.

I spent the weekend at Dad's place, and it was great. I felt nice and relaxed when I returned home.... to the home that's been sold off. The apartment sold this weekend. So now I have a new landlord (don't know who yet). And I have to say, I have never been so thoroughly unimpressed with a real estate agency or a landlord in my life.

There is no excuse for the gross invasion of privacy that took place in the days prior to the selling. You must, must, must give 24 hours notice before showing an apartment. You must show up when you say you are going to show up, not an hour beforehand. What if I had been prancing around naked when you used your key to open my locked door without warning? It's my apartment, you jerks. Mine. I paid for it for the month. That means all month, it is mine, and no one may come and go without my permission. Otherwise it's called trespassing. And that's illegal. Even if you have a key. Jerks.

As for the landlord, you took full advantage of the good will of your tenants, and abused it. If you had been more fair about the renovations (like not renovating in our bathroom when my flatmate is asleep after a colossal 17 hour work day, or when she's trying to have a shower, and cleaning up the mess your workmen made so I don't have to spend an hour late at night doing it just so I can have a shower. Jerk), I'd have been willing to bend over backwards ... if you had just been courteous about our rights, our needs and our desires. Jerk.

These are all legal issues. Tenants have rights, and you are quite lucky I was away most of the weekend, because there would have been war. I am VERY unimpressed.

In any case, it's all over, and my vexations over the mishandled selling can now rest, unless the buyer backs out of the sale. Let's hope the new landlord is not such an ass.


Right, I'm feeling normal again. I am off now to review some edits of one of my short stories. Have a lovely Monday all!

Friday, May 14, 2010

An Interesting Night

It felt so good to be back at training. I had missed two days this week as I was quite ill (severe fatigue and a fever). I'm blaming the weather. Up and down, and up and down, and up and way, way, way down. Ugh! I wish it would make up its mind! In any case, I was back at it last night, and it felt good.

I arrived in a pretty foul mood. Yesterday I broke my all-time high record for number of rejections in a day. There were 4. FOUR! It still smarts! I put on my boxers wraps, couldn't be bothered with the gloves, and went to the last heavy bag the facility had hanging and pounded the crap out of it. Sure I scraped three knuckles until they were bleeding and managed to twist an ankle (not severely, just a short-lived twinge, really) in the process, but it felt gooooooood!

The first class of the night was Kung Fu. During warm-ups I managed to tear the muscles on my inner thigh, just a little. Not so I couldn't do anything, just so that it aches a little. And during the class, I accidentally punched my training partner, switched out to another training partner (who scares me just a little bit) and was punching the mouth (Karmic payback. I'm OK with that). He, during the kick-boxing class that followed was, in turn, punch in the forehead by our instructor. It evened out rather nicely.

My bruised lip, torn muscles, and scraped up knuckles were all nothing compared to what happened to my Kung Fu brother A.P. Poor A.P. During the warm-ups for Kung Fu, A.P.'s left patella (knee cap) dislocated and swung around to the side of his leg. It was revolting to look at... yet oddly fascinating.

They had to call an ambulance for him, and they doped him up on painkillers before lifting him onto the bed. I overheard one of the ambulance drivers giving him a couple of choices and none of them seemed appetising. Poor A.P.

So, here's to A.P. May he recover soon!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Epic Fail

In order for you to understand the Epic Fail I experienced last night, I'm going to have fill you in with some back story.

I was never a girly girl. In fact, I hated being a girl when I was younger. All the girls I knew seemed to be the wrong type. You know, more interested in nail polish than their friendships, more concerned about the size of their breasts and flirting with boys than with their present grades or future careers. They were social-climbers more intent on backstabbing and hurtful gossip than on making secure and true connections. I knew so many girls of that nature (though, to be fair, in my later teens, I started meeting awesome girls who weren't like that at all), I assumed that being a girl meant being like that, and I despised that. So, I deliberately shunned all the girly stuff my entire childhood. I shunned it the way a medieval noble would shun a leper.

Let's face it, I just wasn't interested in flirting with boys. They were morons and treated me funny ('cause I was a girl). I didn't watch pointless cartoons. I watched the cool stuff, like old-school Gen 1 Transformers (Optimus Prime is still my favourite autobot), He-Man, The Incredible Hulk and the Amazing Spiderman, and so on and so forth.

I wasn't interested in make-up or dresses, really. Sure, I'd occasionally like to dress up, but my appearance was never a top priority for me. I'd run around barefoot as often as not (how I never got bitten by a snake while I was running feral through the scrub is beyond me), as I despised shoes. Still do. When my sister was pouring over the latest edition of 'Cosmo' or some other piece of rubbish, I was in the backyard, up in the mango tree dreaming of other worlds, and other people.

I often found myself wishing that I were, in fact, a boy. Sure, I would have been gay (presenting a whole other series of issues), but my interests were much more boyish than other girls I knew. Action movies were the bomb, and movies like Titanic really irritated me. I cheered when Jack died. They sometimes still do, but I've gotten used to the whole tear-jerker genre. I still cannot stand Romantic Comedies, though (except for Wimbledon and for two reasons only: Paul Bettany and Tennis).

I loved swords (and still do) and swordplay. While other girls were painting their nails and brushing their hair, I be in the yard playing imaginary games where I was a warrior, and I was defending the homestead against attacking Orcs, or some such evil creature. I would make bows out of flexible branches, and use the dried, leafless spokes of an Umbrella Tree as the arrows. They never flew straight, if they flew at all. But that was beside the point. I was an archer, damn it!

I remember once at the town fair buying one of those loot bags they sell. My little brother made off with a spy kit one. I wanted the Robin Hood one. It had a bow in it, with arrows that had suction cups at the end of it. How cool was that? When the vendor handed it to me, he unthinkingly said, "aaaaand here you go little boy." And then he looked to whom he was speaking and gave a start. A memory that gives me a good chuckle every now and again.

I did, rather girlishly, develop an obsession with horses, but not the dainty breeds. I liked big horses. Horses that were thick of limb and broad of back. Sure, they weren't very fast, and sometimes not very pretty, but they could carry an knight in full armour, and were therefore the coolest horses to be found anywhere. Ever. I still prefer stockier horses. Arabs don't do it for me. Belgian Blacks (Freisians) do. Clydesdales do. Big horses. Love 'em.

As I got older and looked more and more like a girl, as girls are wont to do as they grow, people started treating me more and more like a girl, and it really, really irked me. Another memory I have is that during a rehearsal for the stage production 'Oliver,' they were casting some of the girls as the orphan boys. I dearly wanted to be one too, but I developed early, and for obvious reasons, I couldn't play a boy. I didn't understand it at the time, and spent some time sulking about it, as I recall.

My sister used to read a fair amount of Mills & Boons (the Australian version of Harlequin) romance novels. I read one once, and was unimpressed. It felt as if my brain had shrunk several sizes. There are so many heaving bosoms one can take, you know. I never read one again. My reading repertoire was almost exclusively Fantasy and Sci Fi. Now, not many girls my age were reading that, they preferring less adventurous stories. I was reading Lord of the Rings and Dune and (when I needed something light) Xanth. The Xanth series always gave me a good giggle. I think that was when I decided to start writing little stories of my own.

My mother had mentioned to the director of the afore-mentioned 'Oliver' musical that I was writing. He looked at me with my really long wavy hair ('cause I couldn't be bothered to go get it cut), and said 'Romance.' I had never been so insulted in my life. I think he knew he had insulted me by the way I simultaneously narrowed my eyes and raised my brow. And probably by the tone of voice I used when I replied, 'Fantasy.'

I never did, and still do not like, clothes shopping. UGH! Shopping for clothes is a long, tedious process and I hate it, yet I could spend twice as much time in a book store and feel perfectly at home. Moreover, I'm much more comfortable spending $100 on books than I am shelling out the same kind of money for clothes. A quirk of mine, I suppose.

So, when it came to be experimenting with all the things girls do in order to get through life as women, I, well, I just didn't do it.

I have been in a long process of reconciling myself to the fact that I am, in fact, a girl, and I am allowing myself to enjoy some girly things. Like... spa treatments. I'm starting to like those. I even gave myself a pedicure and painted my toenails. Not a bad job either, once all the mess had peeled off the skin around my toes.... I've even started to wear pink (gasp!), though, truth be told, I'm not overly fond of the colour. I have realised, in growing up and meeting other young women, that not all girls are the wrong sort. In fact, the wrong sort seem to be a minority, and so, in order to be a girl, I don't have to be all the things I hated most about the girls I knew growing up.

Of course, that means I have some catching up to do when it comes to things that most women learn before they turn 18. Things like how to shave without nicking yourself and bleeding all over the place, how much plucking is too much plucking when it comes to eyebrows, AND the most difficult of all, what to do around boys. I don't think I'll ever get that one.

In any case, I decided, in one of my girlier moments to experiment with hair removal cream last night. It's got to be easier and less painful than waxing, right? Right, this is my Epic Fail moment.

I did not realise that my skin is as sensitive as it is... and following the directions on the bottle to a tee, I still managed to give myself a very painful chemical burn. Yep. I am special. And here's the thing I didn't realise, the sensitive skin thing, it's patchy. Some areas are much more sensitive than others. Thus, my burn is, well, patchy. It only started burning as I was washing the cream off. Then it grew into an excruciating fire. As soon as I had dried my legs I covered them in polysporan. It gave me relief until my inflamed skin touched the blankets into which I crawled, cursing and whimpering.

Epic. Fail.

It's still a bit sore this morning, so I rubbed on more polysporan before heading out. With luck, it ought to calm down before training tonight. I'm such a loser!

Oh, and more on the loser front, two more rejections today. But, I'm much too burnt to give a damn about that right now. Silver lining?

Right, have a great Thursday everyone. I'm off to make a nice hot cuppa. Tea fixes everything.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Music, Again

Dad is fine, you'll all be glad to know. He's sore and tired but for some reason, he came into work today. Well, that's Dad for you.

Right, onto the post proper. I was going to tack this on to the end of yesterday's post, but decided that the post was too long as it was. All of you must be now aware that I love music. All kinds of music. It doesn't have to be any particular genre, but it does have to move me. I stumbled across this next group quite by accident. They are:

Two Steps From Hell.

And here is one of their remarkable pieces:

Brilliant, is it not? This is the kind of music that takes me places, let's me see things I wouldn't normally see.

Unfortunately, they don't sell their music to the general public, only movie people. I'm extremely depressed about it! I am particularly attached to everything I've heard from their Shadows and Nightmares collection, even the ones that are only about 30 seconds long (30 seconds of pure genius, I tell you!), and would dearly LOVE to have that playing on my iPod as I walk to and from work. But, alas, I cannot.

If anyone from Two Steps From Hell happens to chance across this post, please, please, please sell your music to us plebs. I am on my knees!

As to my submission statuses (stati?), today is the 12th (obviously) and the last day of the waiting period that one of the agents noted on their site. It also said that if I haven't heard from them by today, they weren't interested. Thus, if I hear nothing from them today, I know they weren't interested and I can cross them off my list and move on.

In other news, there were two more profile hits. Unfortunately, both were looking for that other one. How do I know? Well, for starters, the one from Beverly, OH used my first name. Since I don't know anyone in Beverly, OH, and unless they were super-sleuths (and why would they be?), they shouldn't know my first name. The second one, from Arlington, VA actually used the words 'sonia carriere french porn star' in their search. Learn to spell her last name if you please. Hint: there is no 'i' in it. I am vaguely amused that I am extremely familiar with a porn-star's last name.

Righto, I have a short story that needs rewriting, so I'm off to do that. Have a lovely Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Glad That's Over!

My hissy fit that lasted all day yesterday is officially over. Sorry if I offended or depressed. It was just a really, really crappy day, and I was set off by the frikkin' cold breeze that blew in my eyes all the way to work (you don't understand, it was freezing), the fact that I hadn't heard from Dad before he went into surgery, the other few rejections I had received, the fact that the idiotic landlords decided that air-conditioners were a good idea on a freezing day, idiotic and rude callers on the phone, the computer was running so slowly as to be excruciating, and I lost ten pages of research because Word froze mid-save.

Other than that, it was a lovely day.

Oh, I have been told by my eldest sister that Dad wasn't in getting a pacemaker, but that he was getting an Implantable Cardiovascular Defibrillator. To be honest, I'm not sure what the difference is, and her quoted reference didn't make it any clearer:

"A pacemaker monitors the electrical impulses in the heart. When needed, it delivers electrical pulses to make the heart beat in a more normal rhythm. A pacemaker may be helpful when the heart beats too slowly or has other abnormal rhythms. An ICD is a device that monitors heart rhythms. If it senses dangerous rhythms, it delivers shocks."

In any case, I thought I'd correct that. Not a pacemaker, but an ICD. I haven't heard how his surgery went... and I'm a little tense over it still.

Onwards, then. There was some lovely news that I wanted to share with you all that was completely overlooked by my foul mood yesterday. That is, I'm involved with an online community of writers on and they recently had a short story competition. There was no prize money at all and the winners of the competition would simply be published in an anthology that would be available as a free eBook. Free is the important concept here. The target audience was young adult and it had to have something to do with a key, be it physical or metaphorical.

Now, I hadn't written any short stories at all since High School (when I had to write one for my QCS exam (Queensland Core Skills, for those not in the know - kinda like a High School exit exam)), and so I was woefully out of practice. Still, I figured, what the heck? Got to be in it to win it, right? So I wrote one.

Maximum word count was 5 000 words. At somewhere past 4 000, I finished my short story. It's called Her Father's Eyes. I rejoiced late Friday afternoon when I learned (thanks Wendy, by the by) that I had made it in! Yay! My short story is going to be in an anthology! I did a happy dance. Perfect Strangers style. Have I dated myself?

Now, there is tonnes of editing that will need to be done, no doubt, and I'm a little anxious about that. However, this will be a good experience for me. It will be my first time working with an editor, which should prove interesting and informative.

I shall let you know when and where the anthology becomes available.

Winning a place in the anthology gave me an idea, and I've set aside writing novels for now to assemble an anthology of short stories and poetry. With luck the writing portion will be done in about a month (I already have three short stories and one poem. I need seven more short stories and nine more poems). It will also be young adult, I think, and completely whimsical, like the books of faerie poems I used to read as a child. I even have a title!

The more difficult part of this anthology will be the illustrations I intend to include. I haven't drawn in a very long time, so we'll see how this turns out. I think I'll need an additional month or two to complete the illustrations. I'm aiming for ten, but might only do five. We'll see.

I intend to have the anthology available for sale as an eBook. If there is enough interest, and if funds allow, I may do a limited edition print version... but we'll just have to see.

So that's my exciting news for the month. I think that about covers everything I wanted to say. Oh, another search came through... again from 'no frikkin' clue.' I'll spare you the cut and paste.

Right, have a great Tuesday everyone!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Severe Case of Monday-itis

Happy Monday everyone...

It's not so happy for me. A little tense actually. My Dad has gone in to get a pacemaker put in. It'll all be fine, I'm sure, but since I haven't been connected at home, I feel like I'm the worst daughter ever. I haven't been able to email him (except briefly on Saturday morning, and I'm not sure he got it, since he did not email me back.... which makes me nervous that he went to a show we were supposed to go to, but ended up not being able to as there was a hiccup with the tickets... which will make me feel awful if that's the case). I also haven't been able to call him, since my phone is, in fact, Skype (VoIP, essentially). I'm all anxious and tense.

To add to the miseries of the weekend, it was freezing cold and rainy. I had to go grocery shopping yesterday, and discovered that a fleece, scarf and a jacket were not enough to keep out the cold. This morning was also cold, but thankfully there was some sun. As if to be spiteful, the landlords at work have put on the air-conditioners, and I'm sitting at the desk in my jacket, wishing for summer.

If the weather wasn't miserable enough, the fact that two more rejections came through has broken this donkey's back. Not really. But it just made me even more miserable and cranky. One of the rejections was from an agent who had requested more material. She only asked for 5 pages. Double-spaced, so really, only 2.5 pages. It didn't capture her imagination as she had hoped it would, she said. Well of course not. Damn it.

Oh, and sorry this blog post is late, the computer took it's sweet time loading, and is still being stupidly slow. So much so that I've sworn at it several times. Not that it helped any....

Don't mind me, I've just got a lot on my plate right now, and I'm feeling a little stressed.

Right, onto some other things. There were a fair few searches in my inbox this morning. Thus, hello no frikkin' clue (again):

Visitor Location: N/A
Date: May 09, 2010
Time: 9:59 AM EST

Visitor Location: N/A
Date: May 09, 2010
Time: 12:54 PM EST

In other news, Writer's Beware had a really good blog post that all authors beginning to submit should read. Click here to read it. You'll be glad you did.

Right, that's it. Hope you're all having a better Monday than I!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dear Mama,


This is just for you, for everything you've done, for everything you are, and for everything I am.

For all the love you gave me, thank-you.
For your understanding and support, thank-you.
For a childhood of magic and joy, thank-you.
For the care of all my scrapes, scratches, bruises and fevers, thank-you.
For your generosity, your council and counsel, thank-you.
For guiding my hand when I was floundering, thank-you.
For taking my hand when I was suffering, thank-you.

There will never be enough 'thank-you's to express just how grateful I am that you are who you are, and thus in turn, for the me that I am. Lord knows, I could not be me without you. You are my sun and stars, my hopes and dreams, my heart and soul.

You were, are and always will be, my dearest mama.

I love you.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Bonjour Quebec:

Visitor Location: Granby, QC (Canada)
Date: May 06, 2010
Time: 11:05 PM EST

Right, with that out of the way, I can get on with the rest of the post. I'm feeling rather chipper this morning, despite the fact that I received another rejection yesterday afternoon. I must have had a good dream. It also helps to be woken by a purring kitten. It doesn't matter what time of the morning it is (today it happened to be ten before 5am), as long as they're purring, it makes me happy.

Nothing yet from either of the agents who requested my work.

Tonight is my first session as a private kickboxing coach. This should be interesting. I've planned the classes out, so at least I'm not just winging it.

I have ideas for a short story, so I think I'll be working on that today. I also need to start illustrating this anthology I'm planning out. To many things to do! So little time! The order goes like this:

1. Must, must, MUST make a start on that research paper. Time allotted: 1 month.
2. Plan my poetry and short story anthology. Time allotted: 1 day.
3. Write said anthology. Time allotted: 3 months
4. Illustrate said anthology. Time allotted: 1 month. 10 drawings... I should be able to do it.
5. Edit said anthology to death. Time allotted: 1 week.
6. Place anthology up for sale as an eBook. Time allotted: 1 hour.

Right, I should stop moaning about how much work I have to do, and just do the work, yes? Yes, I thought so. Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Long-Winded Post About Absolutely Nothing

So there really is nothing today. No word from the agents. No searches. Nothing. So I'm sitting and waiting for news regarding my work. Let's hope some comes soon!

So, I'll bore you with stuff from other parts of my life. Mostly training, and how much I love it, and how relaxed I feel now that I've started again. It's remarkable how tense and aggro I get when I don't attend training regularly. (Aggro, for those not in the know is Australian slang. According to, it is defined thusly:
  • agro
    adjective:- (also aggro), the state of being angry and aggressive over a situation. Also the name of a well known puppet on a children's program.)

  • I think I might just put up the link to that dictionary, so you can refer to it any time I get overly Australian.

    There were a couple of faces that weren't there I was hoping to see. It made me sad. Lucky sods all have lives. I don't really, so I go to training.

    A while back I mentioned that I'd be trying to teach myself to play the piano, since my flatmate got a keyboard for Christmas. She's been away at work, working odd hours, with the laptop. Since I've been forcibly unplugged (and to be honest, it's quite welcome), I started making good on that promise. I have taught myself the intro to Can You Feel the Love Tonight. You know, that soppy song from The Lion King. Hopefully it won't be long until I've got the rest of it down. It's a great help that I already knew how to read music.

    Equestrian Archer will start soon. Well, as soon as I can get everyone organised. There has been quite a bit of interest from my Kung Fu brothers and sisters, so hopefully there'll be a good group that will go. It would be tonnes of fun with them.

    Wow. For someone with nothing to say, I sure wrote a lot! I'll stop boring you now and simply wish you all a wonderful Thursday!

    Wednesday, May 5, 2010

    A Whole Wack of Nothing

    Nothing. Absolutely nothing from any agents at all today. I did get another form rejection last night via post. That one actually upset me, as I had really hoped that particular agent would see the value in what I'd written. I guess not. It made me quite sad, and so I sulked around and played computer games practically all night. Luckily, the cats did all they could to love me into contentedness. Which they managed quite successfully. There's something about purring that is cheering and soothing all at once.

    There were no emails in my inbox (other than facebook telling me things I didn't really want or need to know) other than this search:

    Visitor Location: Dallas, GA
    Date: May 04, 2010
    Time: 4:04 PM EST

    They used my first name, so I'm thinking that this person was seeking that other one... you know, the French one... the (dare I say it) *whispers* porn star.

    Oh well.

    Firefox won't load today, and it's ticking me off. Other than that, there is absolutely nothing to report.

    Thank heavens there's training tonight - something to look forward to! Well, have a great Wednesday people!

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    Waxing Lyrical and Other Nonsense

    Hello everyone. Sorry for the late post. I actually totally forgot about my blog today. I was feeling a bit blue over the three rejections I received yesterday, so decided to listen to music and play online games instead.

    Yes, right, three more rejections, bringing my rejection total to.. uh... 26. 26! Seriously? Ouch.

    There is a light of hope, though. Two agents have asked for more of my writing. One, last week, asked for three chapters. Since I don't really have chapters, but sections, as it seemed to suit the flow of the story better, I sent him my Prologue and Section I, which is roughly three chapters. I'm still waiting to hear from him and from the research I've done, he's usually quite prompt about deciding, which makes me think he's not really interested. :( - this is my sad face. Though, according to those who've dealt with him, he usually tells people up front. So maybe he is interested. :) - this is my happy face.

    The other agent sent me an email quite late Friday, which I did not receive until Monday morning. She only asked for five pages... which means if my first five pages don't grab her and make her want to read more, I'm screwed. Fingers crossed. I haven't heard back from her either.

    So now I just have to wait, of course. I hate waiting. Grrrrr! >< - this is my frowny face.

    I'm sure that I'll be told either way from both agents, so there's still hope. Perhaps they're torn, and like what they see, but are trying to justify taking on the risk of a complete and utter unknown. Maybe they hate it and are trying to formulate a nice "you suck" letter. Who knows? I certainly don't!

    So, I'll wait.

    Trying to get published is fun, isn't it? Sarcasm is so difficult to portray through type....

    I do have to say though, that having agents ask to see more stuff is a thrill, and a small, humble validation. With every agent that asks, my heart flits a little, and a tiny voice inside my brain says, "See, I told you! You are a good writer!"

    With so many rejections flooding in, though, it's sometimes very hard to remain positive. The voice inside my head helps a lot. It says things to me like:

    "You will get published, be patient."
    "You are good, you will make it."

    and when I'm feeling really down and defeated it says:

    "You know what you need? You need to send out more queries, that's what you need. Oh, and tea. A nice hot cuppa. Tea fixes everything."

    And so off I go to get tea and I drink it while writing more queries to more agents, and before I know it, I do feel better, and I think to myself, 'tea does fix everything!' Since that little voice has been so terribly helpful, I shan't be taking medication to get rid of it any time soon, so don't even suggest it!

    Speaking of voices, I'm currently listening to Finnish acappela group Rajaton. They're really, really good. Some of their stuff is a bit, well, pop-ish for my tastes, but some of their other stuff is really, really, really good. Do check them out!

    Where was I? Right, voices in my head. That has absolutely no bearing on what I'm about to say next.

    Training starts again tomorrow. Yay! I have been away from the heavy bag way too long. I'm sure kicking the bag for an hour will certainly help with my rejection angst. Perhaps this semester I'll actually start working towards my next sash. Which means I have to take a sash exam. :-/ - this is my dismayed face.

    I hate sash exams. You can't B.S. your way out of a sash exam like you can out of a Arts exam (ahem). Worse, still, people are watching. And not just watching idly, no. They're judging. I despise the whole process. It really feels like Canadian Kung Fu idol. There is a panel of three judges, and everyone knows who the Simon of the group is... I'm a nervous wreck before I'm even up there. I always screw up something. Yet, I know if I don't, I'll be stuck and bored. Oh, the drama!

    Right, I think I've wasted enough time. Back to sudoku, or reading, whichever I feel like doing most. Have a great Tuesday everyone.

    Monday, May 3, 2010

    Book Review: House of Chains by Steven Erikson

    I haven't done one of these in a while as I haven't had much time to read for pleasure. That being corrected, here is my latest book review!

    House of Chains (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4) House of Chains by Steven Erikson

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars
    He's done it again. After putting down this book for a long while because I so thoroughly loathed its opening character, I ended up cheering for that same character by the book's end.

    Steven Erikson is a master of imagination, with an ability to draw one in that is, thus far, unparalleled by any other modern author I've read. Ever. His characters are so wonderfully complex, and not static at all, apt to change so that a brave man may become a coward, and a fool a wise man, that you find yourself believing in them.

    Also, you know that an author has drawn you in when you start using the curses of his characters, no matter how nonsensical it may seem to the unknowing ear. The number of times I've muttered 'Fener's hairy balls!' or 'Beru Fend!' is getting obscene!

    Drawing on the mythos of the books previously written (the mere mention of the name Coltaine is still able to drive grief-pangs through my chest), this tale is as delightful and dark as the others.

    I highly, highly, highly (did I mention highly?) recommend this book, and this series to any lover of fantasy.

    View all my reviews >>