Saturday, 28 June 2014

This post is definitely not about writing

I read some really useful advice for writers about blogging the other day. And let me tell you, if I ever see any advice about blogging, I'm sure to read it because, let's face it, I need all the help I can get.

Anyway, what this advice was suggesting was that I shouldn't be blogging about writing. I should be blogging about anything else I can think of to make myself seem interesting. This seemed like pretty smart advice, so I thought I'd have a go at it. After all, I am a really interesting person. I shouldn't have any trouble coming up with all sorts of ideas.

So, hmmmm, what to blog about?

How about fishing? I went fishing once, a long time ago. It was really fun. At least I think it was really fun. Actually, now that I think about it, it wasn't that great. I felt so bad trying to get the little worm onto the hook - like I was some sort of evil, vicious worm killer. And then, the fishes were all messy and squirmy and made a mess in the boat. Plus I got sunburnt from being out in the sun too long.

Okay, so maybe fishing isn't the number one topic I should choose for this blog.

I know, how about carpentry? When I was a kid, I did a bit of carpentry with my dad. We used to work in the garage (it never had cars in it 'cos it was always too full of other stuff). Sanding and sawing and drilling and nailing. I was never much good at it. No matter how carefully I aimed that hammer at those nails, I always ended up taking out my fingers instead. And anyway, I always seemed to end up spending most of my time on the sanding, which was just quite unbelievably boring.

All right, so maybe talking about carpentry isn't such a great option either.

This is turning out to be harder than I thought. Here I was, thinking I was a well-rounded individual with a variety of interests and a wealth of knowledge to share. Turns out, I'm scarily one-dimensional and don't know half as much as I think I do.

I think I better leave this post right now and go out to find some new hobbies to take up. In the meantime, I really hope you don't mind if I go back to talking about writing next week.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Anti-social? Who me? Well yes, actually

It seems these days that there's nothing more important than being social. With all this emphasis on social media and Facebook this and Twitter that, sometimes it seems like the worst thing anyone could possibly do is try to find any time away from the rest of the world.

There seems to be even more pressure on us writers. If we're not out there selling ourselves and our books, then we're definitely behind the eight ball. We have to be as big and loud as we can, after all how else is the world ever going to know about us and our wonderful, groundbreaking, earth shattering stories.

I hear all of that, and I'm doing my best. I can regularly be spotted shooting my mouth off on Twitter and Facebook. Even the fact that I'm doing this blog is a testament to that. But I have to say I find it pretty draining. Because, when it comes down to it, I'm just not the sociable type.

Sure, I'm not completely antisocial. I do actually have friends (at least I did last time I checked) and I do get out of the house to socialise (all right, maybe not that often, but I blame that on the kids). But, the fact of the matter is, given the choice of a raging, noisy party or a bit of quiet alone time, I'll often quite happily choose the latter over the former.

It's the quiet alone time that I really value. It's the chance to be alone with my thoughts. That's when I can recharge, and work the stress of everyday life out of my system. And that's the time when I can generate the ideas that I need for my stories.

Whether it's coming up with new ideas, or sorting out seemingly intractable problems in a work-in-progress, quiet alone time is absolutely vital. I would even go as far as to say it's the most important tool any writer can have. Sure, we may know about all the various writing methods and techniques, but without that quiet alone time, I don't see how you can ever put them into action properly.

So I guess that's enough of me being here for now. It's time for me to cut out and find a quiet spot. I'm sure real-life will drag be back at some point. But in the meantime, I'm off to be unsociable.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

I'm a true artist with the soul of an accountant

Sometimes I wonder if I missed my true calling.

Sure I like being a writer. I like to think that I'm a creative kind of person, able to reel off amazing ideas at the drop of a hat. I like to see myself as an artist, creating something with some kind of lasting worth, even with a kind of beauty in its own way.

But there's another side to me entirely. A side that is orderly and organised. That's the side of me that is constantly compiling lists and planning out my day in ridiculously intricate detail. It's also the side that loves playing with numbers. I love doing the numerical problems in newspapers, and often find myself doing little mental calculations in my head for no apparent reason except that I think it's kind of fun.

When I think about that organised, numerical side to me, I wonder if I really was meant to follow my creative urges. Maybe my true path lay in a more organised, orderly and numerical sort of profession. Maybe I really should have been (gasp) an accountant?

I seem to have the perfect personality and temperament for it. And hey, it's damn good money. Why did I ever push myself in such an opposing direction?

But when I start to think about it a bit more, and I look more closely at what accountants do, I think, "No way." Not to put it down or anything. I can see that what they do is very important. Hey, maybe I'll even be a position where one day I'll need to employ one (I can only dream). But it's definitely not for me.

I think I'll stick to the creativity and the writing, even if I don't have a lot to show for it. I'll be happy to be a true artist, but one with the soul of an accountant deep down inside. And if that makes me strange or unique, I suppose I can live with that.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

I'm neurotic

You know what we writers are like. We're free and easy spirits, living a cool, bohemian kind of lifestyle. We swan in and out of cafes, drinking copious amounts of coffee and watching as life goes by, notepad at the ready to jot down anything we notice that we can use later in the services of our writing.

We're cool customers, unruffled by life. Marching to a different drum as we let ourselves be driven by our creative urges.

Well, I can't speak for any other writers out there, but I absolutely know that this isn't me at all.

I'm not cool. I'm not composed. I don't lead any kind of relaxed, bohemian existence. I'm totally not the sort of person who just goes with the flow. Truth is, I'm neurotic as hell.

I worry about everything. I get myself all worked up about nothing. I make a big deal about even the slightest of disturbances. If there was anybody who could possibly be a poster boy for neurotics anonymous, I reckon it would be me.

I have to say that I am quite cool and relaxed about my neurotic nature. I even find it quite useful. I reckon that obsessing over fiddly little details is actually a pretty valuable quality for a novelist. And this obsessiveness also helps me to maintain my concentration for the extended periods required to actually write a complete novel - and then go back and rewrite it again and again and again.

So far from seeing creativity and neurotic-ness (honestly, I tried to google a noun version of neurotic and couldn't find one - that's how neurotic I am) as exclusive, I actually see them as a good combination. Maybe we need a new word to describe it - creotic or something.

Anyway, to anyone out there, have a great and creotic week. And see you at exactly the same time next week (you know I'll be here, and now you know why).

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Special offer for Lethal Inheritance by Tahlia Newland

Today I'm happy to welcome an old friend, Tahlia Newland, who's here to talk about a special offer for her book, Lethal Inheritance.

Special offer for Lethal Inheritance by Tahlia Newland

Yep, you did hear right; it's $4 off. Lethal Inheritance, book one of the Diamond Peak series, is only 99c on Amazon and Kobo from the 30th of May to the 5th of June. Usually the book is priced at $4.99, but this is the first in a series of four books, and for this one week, the author wants to make it easy for you to have a taste. This is a great 99c ebook deal, and an offer rarely repeated, so snap it up while it's hot.  

What makes this book different to all the other YA fantasy?

The Diamond Peak series is more than just great fiction, it's also an education on how to deal with negative emotions and difficult people. You’ll get a tiny taste of meditation and Buddhist philosophy and learn how to banish your demons in a very entertaining way.

What's it about?

After an ordinary evening studying for her final exams, Ariel wakes to a scream and discovers that demons have kidnapped her mother and dragged her into a hidden realm. Ariel mounts a rescue mission, but to defeat the demons, who feed on fear and seek the enslavement of the human race, she must learn a secret esoteric wisdom to awaken the dormant but potentially explosive power of her mind.

Walnut, a quirky old wise man, guides her through treacherous inner and outer landscapes, and Nick, the powerful Warrior who travels with them, proves a dangerous attraction. Can Ariel defeat the sadistic demon lord before he kills her and enslaves her mother?

The stakes are high, death a real possibility. Fail now, and she fails humanity.

Is it any good?

Lethal Inheritance has received the AIA Seal of Excellence in Fiction and a BRAG Medallion for Outstanding Fiction. Lethal Inheritance rivals such young adult favorites as J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordian.Tammy Dewhurst, Rabid Readers.

"Lethal Inheritance has it all - rich, detailed world building, insanely realistic characters, and a kick ass fantasy plot." Book Briefs Reviews.
“A fun read, seamlessly layered with philosophical themes adding depth to the adventure, with engaging characters and evil antagonists, a bit of humour and romance and great action sequences.” Kevin Berry, author.

Where did you say I can get it?

Buy it now on Amazon or Kobo.

Please support this hardworking and talented author by sharing this with your friends.