The Brat Next Door started out as an exercise at one of the writers’ groups I regularly attend. There were a variety of images to trigger ideas. We could either use a single image or a mixture of images. It was certainly my kind of exercise since I frequently gain ideas from a single image. I glanced through the pictures, my attention caught by one of them. An old felt hat, well worn, the khaki band torn, holding on by a thread. A story filled my mind, faster than it’d be possible to type. Images, scenes and words overlayed each other like seeing a life flash before you in the split second before death, crowding my mind with the entire story. Sometimes I don’t know where a story is going or what will happen. This time I did and it was an effort to write the words as quickly as I needed, wanting to finish while the scenes were so vivid in my mind. I spent long hours frantically typing, the images remaining with me until the end, taking up part of my attention when I had to set aside the writing to attend to other things.
The Brat Next Door is now available on Amazon. A story with a mystery, a bit of romance and a character who learns more than she expected.
It’s been a whirlwind of a year with a mixture of things happening. Both good and bad. As always I’m interested to see what the following year will bring.
I had so much fun at the many events I attended this year and especially loved meeting some of my readers and catching up with ones I’ve met previous years. I’ve been working on some of the novels I plan to release next year and have discovered so many characters that are in need of having their stories told. A pity there isn’t more time to do all the things I love to do. Although the problem might be that I have an extremely long list of things I love doing. I wish everyone all the best for the coming year and hope that you find time to do some of the things you love doing too.
Forgive Me Kobe has been one of those manuscripts that I wrote during a time when I had a lot of edits come in for other manuscripts. I’d get one lot of edits done, thinking I had time to return to the story, when the next lot would come in. It became quite frustrating at times as I don’t plot so I only learn what will happen to characters when I reach each new scene. It felt like I was constantly being left hanging as to what would happen next. Approximately halfway into the story I had one day to work on it before the next lot of edits arrived. That day I wrote seven thousand words. Every time I thought of taking a break I couldn’t bring myself to have one. Otherwise it would be days before I found out what would happen to Kobe and Xavier.
By the end of that day I was far enough along I only had a couple of thousand words left to finish the story so I pretty much knew what would happen in the wrap up. I quite happily returned to editing other manuscripts, no longer feeling like I’d been left at a cliffhanger and finished the first draft off between other edits.
Hopefully you will be as interested to find out what happens in Forgive Me Kobe, as I was. It’s now available on Amazon and due to be in other online stores soon.
Once again we attended Supanova, Brisbane. It was far more crowded than previous events, but equally enjoyable. As always I felt at home, loving all the costumes and having fun figuring out who each person was portraying. It was great to see people dressed as some of my favourite characters.
Our display this year outdid the previous ones and Clint did an amazing job recreating a scene from Assassins Of The Dead 2: Dragon Touched. There was also a beautiful timber counter with a display in the front for some of my books. One of the biggest hits of our display was the 4.2 metre long articulated snake that is made mostly from PVC pipe and must have featured in hundreds of photos. I can’t wait to see what Clint will create for next year.
We took so many photos it was difficult to choose which ones to post. If you would like to see more, you can check what I put on Facebook. Or better yet, why not attend Supanova, Brisbane next year and experience everything for yourself. And if you do, come and say hello. Like previous years I loved catching up with old friends and meeting new people and I’m looking forward to doing so again next year.
The night I finished the first draft in the Assassins Of The Dead series, or more accurately early morning due to how late I finished it, I dreamt the opening scene of the second book and had to begin writing. It was difficult, but I managed to set it aside as I had another manuscripts that needed to be finished. But the story kept drawing me back. I made notes as ideas came to me, sometimes making notes about two possible directions the story might go in, before returning to the manuscript I was currently working on. I also couldn’t resist writing a scene or two when they were too vivid to ignore. Actually, I wrote more than a couple of scenes, unable to resist finding out where the scenes would take Meikah.
In between finishing first drafts of other manuscripts and working on edits as they came in, the words in Dragon Touched slowly grew until by the time I was actually ready to spend time on writing it, the first draft was half written. The second half of the first draft took me approximately ten days as I’d already waited too long to find out what was going to happen. I needed to know where Meikah’s journey would lead her. I do of course have a similar problem now I’ve finished the second book and the third is well on its way.
Assassins Of The Dead 2: Dragon Touched is now available on Amazon.
I’m coming up to that time of year when I celebrate another year since my first four stories were released on Amazon. It hardly seems possible so much time has passed. As usual, it has been a busy year and I’m looking forward to the coming year and seeing what it will bring.
During the past year I released three short stories, two novellas, seven novels and one nonfiction book, totalling 496,448 words. Which surprisingly was 81,188 words more than last year. There won’t be quite so many books coming out next year as I plan to work on some lengthier projects, including one that involves a lot of research. I do like to make sure things are as accurate as possible, even in fantasy. But don’t worry, there will of course be a book released in each of my series.
I have been busy working on next year’s books and wrapping up the last few for this year, as well as preparing for Supanova, Brisbane. I am also doing National Novel Writing Month in November, but luckily my writing style means there’s no prep needed for that. Which is good since everything else is keeping me busy. So if you are in Brisbane, Australia from the 10th November to 12th November why not visit me at Supanova? Not only will I have some of the things created from Rosie’s Rangers, but there will also be a display from Assassins Of The Dead.
I attended some great events this past year, including Romancing the Stars, Voices on the Coast and Story Arts Ipswich. I also met some amazing people, caught up with many of the wonderful friends I’ve made over the years and had the chance to talk to some of my readers in person. I’m grateful to all those who’ve helped including, but not limited to, my editors, graphic designer, industrial artist, family and most of all my readers. Without you, all of this wouldn’t be possible.
When my family had to go gluten free, due to one of us unable to have gluten in our diet, I didn’t think it would be that difficult. Between us we have quite a few allergies, including ones I’ve had my entire life, so I haven’t really known what it’s like to live without taking allergies into account. It’s normal for me.
My first action was to find a gluten free recipe book. At around fifteen years ago this wasn’t quite as simple as it is today. To say we were disappointed with what was available is an understatement. The first cake I made using the recipe book, I had purchased, could have doubled as a brick to build a house. I’ve been cooking since I was ten and hadn’t had such a cooking disaster since then, that even the dog wouldn’t eat what I’d made. Thinking I must have done something wrong, I carefully followed the recipe step by step, ending with the same results. I tried other recipes, all as terrible as the first. In the end, I threw out the book. Which was rather difficult for me to do, because it’s a book and I love books. All and any books. But there was no way I could give it away for someone else to go through the same trauma.
Making the decision to create my own gluten free recipes involved a lot of research. I focused on the science of cooking and food and the differences between gluten and gluten free foods. There was a lot to learn before I made my first attempts. I was so relieved they weren’t as bad as those I made from the recipe book I’d first bought. They weren’t perfect, were in fact a long way from perfect, but it was an improvement.
Over the years I worked on a variety of recipes, figuring out more as we needed them, one of my sons helping me. At times he came up with the idea for the next recipe, at other times it was me. Storm is also the one who is best at figuring out what a recipe needs to finish it off. The two of us have spent a lot of time cooking, sometimes making slight alterations to a recipe a dozen or more times before we were happy with it.
We plan to continue adding recipes to our book each year. None of the current recipes in the book will be changed and if we add a new variation, it will be listed as such. There’s nothing worse than having a recipe you’ve come to like changed on you. Each recipe has tips below it. Some will be about techniques related to making the recipe and others will be about personalising it to suit your tastes.
After many years of working on Cooking For Families With Allergies, it is finally available on Amazon and Google Play.
Sometimes, no matter what I do, a character will refuse to behave and do what I want them to do. It feels like they have taken on a life of their own. I know it’s because I’m trying to make them do something the character wouldn’t normally do, but the following is a little like what it feels like when characters become so well formed it seems like they have taken over a story.
Character: (folds arms across chest with a stubborn look) No.
Me: Who is the writer here? Now do as you’re told.
Me: Oh come on. Do this little thing for me. What can it matter?
Character: I’d never do anything like that.
Me: This is my story and that’s where I want it to go.
Character: Too bad.
Me: Please. Pretty please with cherries on top and sprinkles and chocolate and… hmm, I’m getting hungry. Are you hungry too?
Character: You won’t distract me that easily. The answer is still no.
Me: If this story doesn’t work it’s your fault.
Character: No it’s not. You need to write the story that suits me. Now stop trying to change me and write my story.
Me: (mutters under breath) Damn characters. Think they own the story. Always trying to tell me what to do.
Character: (with a slight smile) I do own this story. Isn’t it all about me?
Some stories are determined to be more than I originally think they’ll be. I expected An Endless Dawn to be a short story. It was a fairly straightforward story line. The first alien life form discovered and brought back to Earth was a plant. The focus was on a single character. It didn’t take me long to reach a point where I knew it could remain a short story and it would be an enjoyable read or it could become a novel. Something better and more complex than what I had originally imagined it to be. It took me a few weeks to decide if I wanted it to be more than the five to ten thousand word story it had started out as, but the new ideas intrigued me and I couldn’t resist following them. New characters joined the originally limited cast and other plots formed, taking Piper down paths that hadn’t been available to her before.
This also meant I needed to do more research and I once again delved into the world of science, figuring out what was and wasn’t possible in the many ideas that bombarded me. Occasionally I became lost in my research, finding fascinating bits of information both for this story and for future stories. Ones set in other worlds and with other characters that are in completely different situations.
After a rather small beginning, An Endless Dawn has grown beyond my expectations, taking Piper on a journey I hadn’t excepted her to go on. In some ways that is very much like life. Plans are frequently interrupted, changed or modified. Sometimes becoming better than what we expected.
An Endless Dawn is now available on Amazon. Longer and more complex than it’s humble beginnings indicated it would be.
During primary school we took a long journey on a train. My mum, two younger siblings and myself. There were so many things about it I found fascinating. We were in a sleeper carriage and the bunk was like a different world. A place to not only curl up with a book, but to catch glimpses through the window of the scenery outside. There were stretches of open land, not a house in sight, towns filled with people, railway sidings that if you had blinked you might have missed them. I thought of ways to describe the places we travelled through, wondered about who might have lived there or what was in the area. I also wondered about where we were headed, but was mostly fascinated by where we currently were.
Of an evening, as I fell asleep, the sound of the train travelling across the track made a unique sound. It was mostly a rhythmic lullaby, reminding me I was going somewhere, even as I slept, my dreams filled with equally fascinating adventures.
There were times when the sleeper felt cramped, especially with my younger siblings cooped up inside the cabin too. The corridor outside the sleeper was also an interesting spot. Large windows to the passing world, strangers on their own journeys and two directions leading to other carriages. I would have loved to explore the entire train, but sadly that wasn’t possible. But there was more than enough to keep me interested in the sections where I was allowed and of course I had books with me. When you love to read there is always something to do.
When we arrived at our destination, there was yet more to see. The station was crowded. There were numerous people, a mixture of noises, bright lights and lots of colour. So much to see, so many things to feed my imagination and fuel more ideas for stories.
It’s memories like this that I draw on when writing. Using them to add a touch of realism to even my fantasy novels. The wonder of going to new places, discovering interesting things and meeting fascinating people. I still enjoy travelling. Going to out of the way places and often taking random directions because they look or sound interesting. Not only do I enjoy travelling myself, but I also love to hear about other people’s journeys too. They can be as fascinating as experiencing my own travels.