Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Many Years From Now

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

December’s question: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

I really want to do the unrealistic thing and write where I want to be five years from now and not where I actually see myself. But I’m going to be really pragmatic and not waste the opportunity talking about Hollywood movie deals. Given that I’ve managed to publish one novel in the last five years with the second novel still in production, I think productivity is a bit of an issue for me. Not so much the writing part because I write quickly. It’s the editing and publishing that makes me cringe. Sadly, it doesn’t look like that’s ever going to change. So I’m going to give myself a bit of leeway and say that five years from now I would hope to have my three novel series completed and published and to be working on something new. I also want to try and write something in a genre that  I’m not comfortable with like romance or historical fiction.

I make plans all the time that I often don’t follow for one reason or another. This coming year I’m going to work on breaking down goals into smaller tasks so that it’s not so overwhelming. I’m hoping this will mean my productivity will be constant instead of huge spikes of writing during NaNo months and then nothing in between. I guess five years from now we’ll see if this plan has worked!

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This month’s question is: What is your favourite aspect of being a writer?

There are many things that I enjoy about being a writer. I’d like to think that all the altruistic stuff like creativity and love of the craft is what’s more important but if I’m honest, my favourite aspect is the sense of control I have over the worlds I create.
        I’ve spoken often and quite flippantly about the fact that I suffer from OCD, but in reality, it’s not that fun to live with. My triggers often stem from the lack of control over any situation I’m faced with and the unfairness of the world at large.  
        If you know me at all you’ll know that I’m a huge superhero fan. Part of that has to do with the fact that the hero more often than not gets the bad guy in the end and justice prevails. This doesn’t happen in the real world and sometimes it makes me really angry. At times like these I turn to my writing to make sense of it all. I have complete control over everything that happens in my stories and though I often put my characters through hell, it’s a hell of my own making. So there you have it, a bit of a messed up answer but an honest one at least.

Friday, 28 October 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016!

It's that time of year again! I looked at my author info and it says I've been participating in NaNo since 2011. That year getting through the 50k was hell. The stress of writing so much made me physically sick and I had to stop for almost two weeks in the middle. I only won that year thanks to my OCD and stubbornness not allowing me to give up on something I had set out to do.
       Fast forward five years and it's a whole different story. My writing group did our own NaNo in September. I wrote 85k in two weeks. A full novel in two weeks. I'm still amazed just thinking about it. Don't get me wrong, it's nothing pretty. Thanks to poor planning the characters completely flipped a quarter of the way through the story and every second word is a typo. But it's a framework that I can build upon with edits.
       Now that I know I can write insane amounts I've set myself a goal of writing a full novel this November. Since I can't for the life of me seem to be succinct, the novel will probably end up being about 100k. On top of this, I want to edit the novel I wrote in September and get out a few pieces of fic that I've had in my head for months that just don't seem to want to cooperate.
       Having checked my buddy list, only about a quarter seem to have created novels and are participating. It would be nice to have people to chat to during the month when I'm stressing out about everything. So if you're participating this year, my username is Write_Obsession.
       See you on the other side! 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Ready or Not

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This month’s question is: When do you know your story is ready?

This is a difficult one to answer and it depends on so many factors such as world building, length, genre and the dreaded perfectionism. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that my first novel took three years and eleven drafts before I even considered it ready to publish. I was new to self-publishing and just couldn’t let go of the fear that there was a massive plot hole or the story was boring. I pored over every draft to make sure the world building made sense and because I know I tend to be verbose, I tried to tighten the narrative as much as I could to keep word count down. With each of the initial drafts, I saw a vast improvement in the quality of my story, which was partially why it took so long for me to come to a decision that it was ready to be published. Eventually, the later drafts only had minor improvements and  any more tweaks were just me moving parts around to stall the inevitable. That's when I knew it was ready.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Stealing Time

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            I am such a bad newsletter reader that I hadn't cottoned on to the fact that there are monthly questions that we're supposed to answer for IWSG! I had another post ready but instead I'm frantically trying to answer this month's question, which is one I've been wrestling with for the past few months anyway: "How do you find the time to write in your busy day?"
           The answer to this is that I usually don't. Which has become a bit of a problem because unless I take time off work it can mean months on end with no writing done at all. Lately, the thought of not writing has been bugging me a lot more and I've taken the drastic measure of forgoing seeing friends during lunch at work to either read or work on my writing. Needless to say I'm not very popular at the moment. Since doing this, I've realised that while most people are supportive of my writing, they don't actually understand the sacrifices that have to be made in order for me to sustain my writing as well as hold down a full time job and have some kind of life outside of either of these things.
          So this morning I tried something new, I woke up half an hour earlier before work and am using that time to get some writing done. Eventually I'm hoping that I can wake up a little earlier each day so that my morning writing sessions, along with my cloistered lunch times, will turn into a habit. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Ideas vs Execution

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        In 2009 I wrote my first ever novel. I finished it in 20011 and started querying. Needless to say with my total lack of experience I got a lot of rejections. In 2014, I took the idea for this novel and turned it completely on it's head. In a way I lamented all the work I'd put into the first draft (and its sequel) but mostly, the new idea was by far the superior version.
        It got me thinking about how much I have developed as a storyteller in the few years that I've been writing. Then of course all the insecurities set in and I started to wonder whether I'm using up all of my good ideas now while I'm not that great a writer when  I should be saving them up for when I'm matured a little and can do them justice. I'm terrified that by the time I can write a good enough narrative all my ideas will have been used up. Which of course has made me look at the works in progress I have going on and how I can completely overhaul them. Which of course means I'm not producing enough. And the cycle goes on and on.....

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: When Good Isn't Good Enough

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I picked up the paperback of my novel the other day and started reading through it. By the time I’d finished a paragraph I think I might have cringed at least five times. The scary things is that the novel was only finished less than a year ago. I don’t think it’s even a case of my writing skills improving, but more of one of comparison.
             Recently, I’ve been dabbling in fanfic and have come across some really amazing writers. It’s got me thinking that if these writers are able to craft their stories so well at something they’re not wanting to publish professionally, then what hope do I have of capturing a reader’s attention with my meagre skills? I know I’m not terrible and I’ve come a long way from when I first started, but it also feels like there’s a limit to how much I will ever be able to improve. Writing is stylistic and some people are just born with the ability to wield words in a more pleasing style. I also know that very few writers get by on talent alone and I should just keep going regardless. Which is what I will definitely do. It’s just hard is all.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Writer vs Reader

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  
        For all intents and purposes, this is meant to be a book review blog as well as my author blog. I can’t remember the last time I read a book with the express purpose of reviewing it. My review policy is up and I’m still taking requests but I have a sneaking suspicion that most people who submit are just ignoring the guidelines and trying their luck. This is why I delete 99% of the requests I get. Most of them don’t even refer to me by name but just called me “Blogger.” A lot of the novels I’ve been asked to read aren’t in a genre that I enjoy. 
         The thing is, the more I write the more critical I have become. I feel like I’m treating every novel I read as though I’m doing edits on it for a friend and often this is what makes me not want to read a book or stop reading it altogether.
        To date I’ve started at least four requested novels and at best I’ve read them to the ten per cent mark and then put them down and have never picked them up again. Once upon a time I used to be one of those people who would finish a book no matter what. Now the slightest thing can make me stop reading. If the plot is slow, I lose interest. If the romance is cheesy or if there’s any hint of a love triangle, I lose interest. I find myself making notes not in an attempt to write a review but with the aim of providing the author with constructive editing advice.
        I long for the days when I used to be able to read just for pleasure. But I’m starting to worry that because my mind is so geared towards writing, that those days are over. 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Failing in Epic Proportions

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   
          My debut novel POISON is a young adult dystopian. It involves quite a lot of action of epic proportions and took me a number of years to write and rewrite and then edit. The second novel in the series is mostly written and just needs a touch up before it goes to a professional editor. I worked on book three for Camp NaNoWriMo and am having the hardest time advancing the plot. Due to all the earlier epicness in the first two books, I feel like whatever happens in book three needs to be bigger and badder. I’ve already pulled out the big guns for the previous books and am left with what I can only describe as plot exhaustion. So much has happened to the main character that it’s a wonder she’s still functioning. With each new chapter I have to try and find ways to increase the tension but everything that could happen has happened and now I’m delving into territory that is just plain unbelievable in order to keep from stalling. So this month I’m having  a hard time completing the novel and it makes me regret not having a more solid outline when I began writing.
                I guess if I get nothing else from this experience I will have learned that I should pace my novels better so that I have something left for the grand finale! What about you guys? What’s making you insecure this month?

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Review: Adorkable by Cookie O'Gorman


Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz.

Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she's done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There's only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take.

Her solution: she needs a fake boyfriend. And fast.

Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around-hottie, and Sally's best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He'd do anything for Sal--even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she's "more than pretty," and expertly kissing her at parties.

The problem: Sally's been in love with Becks all her life--and he's completely clueless.

This book features two best friends, one special edition Yoda snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses and begs the question:

Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?

Adorkable is just as the name suggests. It is full of all the things that make a YA contemporary fun to read and had the added bonus of one of my favourite tropes. The friends to lovers plot. I’m a sucker for well written relationships between two people that becomes more and Adorkable had this is spades. Sally and Becks are great together and it wasn’t hard to see them as a couple even when they were meant to be just friends. They spent time together, had a believable history and knew each other’s favourite things. There was an easy friendship built upon years of familiarity and I was glad that it wasn’t just one of those things where the two characters suddenly realised the other was hot and were in love. I went into this one fully prepared for it to be light and fun and I got what I wanted. If there was one thing I thought would improve Adorkable it would probably be the characterisation of Sally’s best friend and to a greater extent the female population of Chariot High School. But more about that later.
                I think for me what really made this novel was Sally. She was sweet but not naive and snarky but not nasty. I really enjoyed her love of everything fandom related and was glad that O’Gorman chose to add specific references to the films and books that Sally worshipped. Too often a main character is meant to be a geek but that isn’t shown in how they behave or the things they enjoy. It was also refreshing to see a character who wasn’t apologetic about her geekery and wasn’t teased mercilessly for it. Sure Sally wasn’t the most popular girl but she had her friends and her social projects and they made her happy. The only thing I found a little frustrating about Sally was that she was perhaps a little too clueless about some of the things that were happening even when they were blatantly obvious.
                Becks was very sweet and if anything probably unrealistically perfect. But hey, this is YA and we’re not here for your average teenage boys are we?  What I liked most was that Becks had his own drive and motivations. His defining characteristic wasn’t that he existed to be Sally’s love interest. He had his own passions and he pursued them. Sure he makes compromises to be with Sally but they don’t change the nature of his dreams.
                Then we have Ash. *Please look away now if you don’t want any spoilers because the fact that I’m talking about him might be a spoiler in itself* I want to start off by saying that I think Sally and Becks should be together. They’ve got a fantastic connection and their affection for each other was palpable. But my God Ash. I can’t even begin to articulate how much I loved him and I usually want to kill love triangles with fire. Were it not for Becks, Sally and Ash would have made an incredible hatred leading to love story. For me he had the most character development throughout the whole novel and I adored that he thought Sally was strange but was still attracted to her. I know that was meant to be a strike against him but you don’t have to love everything about another person to be attracted to them. Who wouldn’t love a boy who works at the school newspaper, plays soccer like a pro, speaks fluent German and has the confidence to put himself out on a limb knowing that he’s at a disadvantage from the start? * End Spoiler. Please, please, please Cookie O’Gorman if you haven’t already thought about writing a spin off involving Ash could you please do so? Post haste?
                So I mentioned Hooker earlier and I don’t want to go on about it too much because she had her great points as well. Hooker’s heart was in the right place and she was loyal, confident and funny but I just couldn’t bring myself to approve of the way she doggedly set Sally up on random blind dates. I know it was essential to the setup of the novel but she was so pushy and to make matters worse she kept trying to throw her own castoffs at Sally and expected Sally to jump at the chance. I would have liked for Hooker’s motivations to be deeper than simply that Sally was seventeen and had never had a proper boyfriend. It concerned me that so much importance was placed on settling for any guy at all rather than being happy with yourself.
                In a similar vein I didn’t really care for the portrayal of the other minor female characters. I know this is a YA novel and more often than not the “sisterhood” gets pushed aside in favour of highlighting how different and thus special the main character is, but I don’t think Sally needed it. She was obviously unique on her own and having gorgeous, sexually and socially aggressive girls as competition didn’t really add anything to the story. At times, it was almost too much to have girls coming up to Becks and dismissing Sally when she was standing right there. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and not every woman is going to find someone attractive but this wasn’t the case with Becks. Even women twice his age seemed to want to jump his bones and they weren’t shy about telling him no matter how rude it was. Thankfully, this wasn’t a huge part of the novel. The female competition trope is a big no no for me so it says a lot that I could still enjoy Adorkable despite some of these aspects popping up.
Overall, Adorkable is a fantastic debut novel and one that represents the best friend trope very well. If you’re looking for something heart-warming with loveable main characters and some very noteworthy kissing scenes, this is the book for you.



Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Can I Get Another Lifetime?

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!     
      By the time this post goes live it'll be the beginning of April which means that Camp NaNoWriMo will be in full swing. Even though I've taken the first week off work I know I'll probably be behind in my writing because aside from taking on Camp I've also got other projects happening on the side and the masochist in me has decided that it's a great idea to start writing Marvel fan fiction.
        I don't know how some people do it. I've been internet stalking again and there are people on the web who have multiple accounts on social media, have a gazillion hobbies outside of writing, children to look after, day jobs to work at. And still they're producing more books than I have. This is incredible to me.
       If I had another lifetime to play with I don't know if I'd be able to go any faster or focus any better. There are just so many things that I would love to be good at but which require time and dedication that I am sorely lacking. I would so love to be a graphic artist and be able to produce images from my own novels. Or learn a trade of some kind. But I guess for now I'll just be happy with winning Camp and possibly catching up on all of the reading that I should have done months ago.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Random Thoughts

It's the Easter long weekend this weekend and I have four days in which to either work furiously and get a whole bunch of stuff done, or flit it away procrastinating on the internet. Guess which one is winning out at the moment?
       My thoughts are too scattered at the moment for any kind of structured blogging so I thought I might just jot down a few things that have been going through my head:

  • Multi-tasking seems to be the thing which threatens to kill all my productivity. Ironic isn't it? I get so caught up wanting to do so many things at the same time that I end up nothing finishing any of them. 
  • Reading has taken a huge back step in the last few months now that I've gone back to work. Even though I've been enjoying books more than I did in the last few years I'm still having a hard time pinning down quiet time to read.
  • I have started writing fan fiction for the MCU instead of working on my actual novels. Part of it is because I am annoyed that the pair I ship isn't very popular (even though they are the best!) and the other part is that I've had all these stories pop up in my head since I first saw The Avengers in 2012 and if I don't get it down it'll just distract me during Camp NaNoWriMo.
  • Oh yeah I'm participating in Camp NaNoWriMo yet again. Despite my best efforts to make writing a daily habit the only way I seem to be able to write anymore is during some kind of NaNo. So next month I will be trying to sprint to that 50k again. 
  • My garden is looking totally worse for wear now that summer has ended. I'll admit I was pretty slack this summer and with the possibility of mice in the garden I really didn't want to be in there more than I had to. This meant a lot of my stuff is overgrown and/or dying because I couldn't be bothered watering it. I've made a concentrated effort to try harder in Autumn. Feel kind of bad that the two things I love most (gardening and writing) are always the things I let slip when I'm stressed. 
  • Blogging has taken a huge hit. Mostly because this is meant to be a book/writing blog and I have done neither with much consistency in the last 6 months.  Apologies to all my friends whose posts I missed. I am working on a better schedule so that I'm not MIA so much from now on.
Anyway, that's all from my end for now.  See you on the other side of April!

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Novel Fatigue

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        During the last few months I haven't been doing much writing. As a result I've had more time on my hands and have been able to offer critiquing to my author friends. I've been critiquing for a while now and one of the things I've found to be a pattern is that as writers we often get sick to death of reading our own novels over and over. It was only when a friend of mine mentioned this about her novel that it clicked to me why I haven't been able to keep writing: I am sick of reading my own work. I am sick of editing the same thing time after time. I rewrote Poison eleven times before I was happy with the plot and structure. I edited it another four times after critiques. By the time it was published, I really just wanted to set fire to the MS and be done with it.
       I'm so happy that I've finally figured this out because it means that it's not writing that I cannot stand. It's the editing process. Which is a problem but since I've done it once I suppose I can do it again.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Getting On With It

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        Last month I wrote about how difficult I was finding getting back into writing after NaNoWriMo last year and having real world issues occupy my thought space. Then, recently, a friend pointed me towards This Article by megastar indie author Hugh Howie and I read it and decided that I wasn't going to let myself give up without at least trying to get my full series published.
       But when I went to start editing book two in my Wind Dancer series, the motivation just wasn't there. So I got talking to some writer friends and we came up with the outrageous idea of writing novels in genres we neither read not enjoy. These novels would be for us only, as a way of letting us write without the need to publish at the end of the line and to also take us out of our comfort zone.
       So this month, instead of working on my series, I have started writing a romance novel. Romance is my least favourite genre to write in because I've dallied with the popular indie romance novels making big money and they all make me wish the zombie apocalypse would hurry up and destroy us all. For the first few days, I just couldn't get much written because there just wasn't any real plot point to write towards. But the more I write, the more I'm remembering that no one is ever going to see this novel. So I've given myself lease to write rubbish and lo and behold it's working!
       Hopefully, if this keeps up I'll be on my way to writing what I actually love in a month or two!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Review: Girls by Jo Vraca


Good girls and bad girls, they're everywhere.

Girls is a collection of short stories about young women in the city and the country, who are living with choices made by, and for, them. Dive into their lives.


Girls is a collection of short stories that span a multitude of eras and continents. It was a quick but engaging read and fun to come across a character from Vraca’s other novel Floating Upstream which I really enjoyed. One great thing about reading books written by authors living near you is that you can identify with so many of the landmarks and culturally specific references. Even if you’re not Australia, Girls has a nostalgic quality to it that is very enjoyable. 



Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Poison: Review Tour and Giveaway

With all of the excitement of the holiday season I had forgotten that I organised a book review tour a while back when I was immersed in marketing for my debut novel Poison. If you're interested in seeing the tour lineup you can do so here: Xpresso Book Tours

There's also a Rafflecopter Giveaway to go with the tour that you can enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Here is where you will find information on any giveaways both past and present that I am running!



POISON Review Tour (Xpresso Reads)

Monday, 18 January 2016

Review: The Gathering by Isobelle Carmody


When fifteen-year-old Nathanial moves to a sinister town that has been bruised by an ancient evil, he finds himself one of those Chosen to fight the cycle of darkness.


The writing was clear and the premise was interesting. I would have liked to see a bit more world building as I found myself asking questions that were never resolved. I enjoyed the themes in this one even if at times I wanted the main characters to have a bit more agency.

This started out being a 5 star read because of the premise but the closer I got to the end of the novel the more some of the aspects began to bug me. One of my pet hates is the use of cryptic messages from a mysterious being attempting to guide a group into saving the world. I understand the need for tension but to have someone speaking in riddles when there is so much at stake is aggravating. Especially when there hasn’t been any established rules that prevent the person from speaking plainly.

I didn’t mind Nathaniel as a character but as the POV character I didn’t really believe in his portrayal as a “thinker.” So often secondary characters dropped clues that he didn’t pick up and it took him way too long  to come to a conclusion that was quite blatantly obvious. Nathaniel had almost no fight in him and when certain events happen I was disappointed in his tame reaction. I would have much preferred for Danny to be the POV character because he had spunk and was a man of action.

As with most YA I didn’t care for the attempted romance in this one. There just wasn’t any need for it as it neither seemed organic nor did it really advance the plot in any way. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if the love interest hadn’t been such an unpleasant person as well. 



Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: No Escape

Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          I was going to do a 2016 goals post for my first IWSG but then I realised that I haven't written anything since the end of November 2015. Over the (Australian) summer break I've been watching quite a bit of Netflix and one of the documentaries called Cowspiracy has really had a profound effect one me. It never occurred to me just how environmentally damaging and unethical factory farming is. What makes it worse is that most people don't want to know about it and would prefer to turn a blind eye so that they can still buy convenient meat at the supermarket. What does this have to do with writing you ask?
         Well, writing is my way of escaping into a world where I have some control. Where I can disappear and forget about reality and the terrible things happening in the real world. Except this time I can't seem to forget. Maybe it's just that I'm getting older and more cynical and writing make believe just isn't enough to push the real world demons aside. I'm worried that writing  can't provide me with the escape that I need and therefore my motivation to write will just disappear. I'm hoping this is just a phase and maybe post holiday blues and that soon I'll be able to find the right balance of ethics/reality that I will be able to take it all in my stride. Here's hoping that next month I will have made some progress.