life

A slice of life

April 10, 2017

Monday afternoon.
It’s raining + windy + grim outside.
I think we got all of April’s rain in the last 24 hours. And it’s been lovely. Very autumnal. The first cold of the season always is! (Then it keeps on keeping on, and I quickly turn to despair, and I’ll look back at this and be all WHAT WAS I THINKING)
We’re all holed up inside wearing standard dresscode (gruglies).
There are toys on literally every surface.
And you should know I don’t use the word ‘literally’ lightly.
(A little lightly)
It’s hazardous.
There’s been puzzles, playdough, baking, blocks. The careful application of toys to every surface of the house.
I wrote some words in naptime. And did a million loads of laundry.
And tonight we’re going to have a hunk of roast lamb, with a mountain of crispy roast potatoes, all drowned in gravy (I make a good gravy. This is, I think, an inherited trait. Come over sometime & I’ll show you how to make Freakin Awesome Proper Gravy.)
Hope your Monday is going just as swimmingly.


random

Thesaurus brain

March 21, 2017
Stop using pop of colour

You know how people get this irrational hatred for certain celebrities? I kind of get that with phrases. Only mine is rational. Totally rational. Because they’re being overused*.

So, here are my offending articles of wordisms, in approximate order of offensiveness:

  • Pop of colour.
  • On point. On fleek.
  • Genius.
  • [Something] is my spirit animal
  • To be obsessed with [something]

Please stop. Please just stop. It’s like Phrase Bingo For LadyBlogging101. Basic Pinterest For The Masses.

NO MORE POPS OF COLOUR FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS KALEIDOSCOPIC.

Last year, in a fit of creative & maybe-a-tad-over-the-top rage, I came up with some alternatives for “pop of colour”, which I would fondly like to offer below. Please feel free to mock me. Or even use one of these alternatives:

Splash of colour
Dash of colour
Sprinkling of colour
Glimmering of colour
Seedy undercurrent of colour
Zing of colour
Zip of colour
Tiddlybit of colour
Burst of colour
Garnish of colour
Tang of colour
Wash of colour
Peppering of colour
Salting of colour
Savagery of colour
Fizz of colour
Flibbertigibbet of colour

Then I started thinking about “on point/on fleek” (par example: “daymn your blush-coloured cold-shoulder top and matte-greige stiletto nails are on point, girl!”) which is not quite as grating but still gets stuck in my ears like bits of word-shaped gravel. How about (using, naturally, your hat as the exciting style choice in question):

Your hat… looks nice
Your hat… is awesome
Your hat… is admirably trendy, my friend
Your hat… is so hot right now (best spoken out loud in Zoolander accent)
Your hat… is super impressive
Your hat… is hotdizzle, yo
Your hat… makes me feel all the feelings
I like your hat

Feel free to pin for future reference. Or mock me. Whichever comes more naturally.

As for “genius” – I would like to suggest “clever”. Or even “actually rather unremarkable”. Unless of course you are talking about very clever people, and NOT ways in which to clean your kitchen sink using baking soda, or organising cans of condensed soup in your pantry, or gluing rocks together to make stylish unique table centerpieces. In which case, I beg your pardon.

Albert Einstein. Legit Genius.

“careful with your pops of colours round this chick, guys”

Soo… I’m going to end this here before my ranting segues into the True Uselessness Of Baking Soda, or Why Household Organisation Is An Unachievable Unicorn Goal. Clearly I need to step away from The Pinterest if only for the good of my blood pressure.

Till next time, dear reader! Enjoy your tiddlywinks of colour.

* Disclaimer: this might be because I spend way too much time on Pinterest & blogs, which appears to the native habitats for the so-called offending phrases.


writing

Infinite homework report

March 14, 2017
my desk, where the infinite homework happens

It’s been *coughcoughmumble* since I did one of these updates. Luckily these things aren’t graded, huh.

Although honestly, there isn’t much to say about my infinite homework except: toiling ever onwards. Neil Gaiman said: “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy and that hard.”

So bloody true.

However, I am now practically finished with Silver & Iron. I know, I know. I’ve been saying that for a while. This time I really truly am. For reals. Honestly. Well… as finished as I think I can be. At some point, you have to stick a fork in it, right? And we’ve passed a lot of points by now. I wrote a first draft, then completely rewrote a third of it (30k words trunked, ouch), then I did a substantive edit (meaty stuff) followed by continuity corrections and then a line edit (wordy stuff)… I changed a few names, and did a few spellchecks. And here I am. I want to do one more pass — because I haven’t read it yet, from start to finish, like a reader — but I’m feeling ready to push this little sucker out of the nest and start hatching something new. Of course I could just keep rewriting, and rewriting. And rewriting. But for the sake of my sanity, I need to take what I’ve learned and apply it. Forward motion. Good luck, little book.

Future WIPs

Contenders… in their corners:

Space opera triology – a planetary civil war generations in the waging. Spies, mercenaries, phaser fights, human-AI hybrids, a hidden queen. But also buddy fiction. in space. With themes of motherhood, and autonomy, and choosing your own fate. I’ve been doodling on this idea for years now and think The Time Has Come.

Multiverse love story – two people meant for each other meet in a place where the the gap between worlds is stretched thin. In another world, they’ve already met. Lives that intersect, reflect, parallel. It’s like my Time Travellers Wife story. It’s percolating. I don’t think I’m ready to write this yet, not the way I want it to be told.

Some kind of post apocalyptic tale – just not sure what my spin is yet.

Sequel(s) to Silver & Iron – because I’ve left it open, and I have an outline of where Rukan goes next. My mood board includes: immortality, sacrificing for love, carrion eating slugs, thermal hot pools surrounded by snow, fur, bearded dudes, perfume, canals, fungi grown in hinterland caves. However aforementioned sanity requires me to take a break from her world for the time being.

Shortie shorts

I do really want to finish “A Swim with Bede”… maybe I’ll be able to, once the book is out of my hair. I still like it, even after all this time… it still makes me smile!


life

2016 in review & looking forward to 2017

January 24, 2017
2016 in review - my boys

I like how I manage to get these posts up in January…. juuust.

Reading

I read 29 books in 2016. I was so! close! to finishing 30 books but the last one – Life or Death by Michael Robotham – ended up spilling over into January.

I had NO re-reads and NO did-not-finishes. Entertaining new reads the entire year! Goal = tick.

I very much enjoyed the books by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) in the Cormoran Strike series. And I don’t even usually read crime. One of them in particular has lots of scenes set where I used to live in west London, which made for a very vivid read (& a moment of “why did he just take the tube when it would’ve been faster to walk?”). JK Rowling does plot very well, and I love her vivid descriptions of interesting characters.

The sci-fi Something Coming Through by Paul McAuley was fantastic, as was the post-apocalyptic Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel.

I also finished a few series this year, reading the following books which are all the final books in trilogies: Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear, Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie, and City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin. (Lush, brilliant, and average, respectively.)

And I smashed the rest of Liane Moriarty’s back catalogue plus her latest novel. Lady better write the next one, stat.

Writing

Well… I had a baby. No, truthfully, I did get some writing done, but not as much as I would have liked. I embarked on edits of Silver & Iron, which I’m currently still doing. The.book.is.so.close.to.being.doneski.for.realski.

Goal: finish edits – finish completely! – by end of March. Including a query letter. Begin querying in April.

Then: write shiny new ideas that are shiny!

Personal

In 2016…
– I had another baby boy! And he’s wonderful. New people are wonderful. Boys are wonderful.
– We went to New Zealand for Christmas and I finally filled up my sadly empty Kiwiana Tank. Phew.
– My personal fashion concept could be described as Fat Preggo followed by Mum Uniform.
– We did not landscape. Boo.

This year, we have already smashed goal numero uno, which was landscape the back yard! It’s done! If I had written this post on time I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that, ha.

I would also like to figure out some kind of personal fashion concept that excites me. Because sometimes the t-shirts-with-holes-in-them and shorts (if it’s warm) or jeans (if it’s not warm) just… does not excite me.

House goals: Light fittings installed. Recover the awesome old chairs I got at a 2nd hand store. Sew some curtains. Furnish the TV room? Get cabinetry in the laundry? Paint the hallway wall. Wallpaper the toilet? Actually, I have a billion house goals, and only 12 months of the year…. Goal one: prioritise goals.


life

Loving & loathing for November

November 7, 2016

The 2016 edition…

IN

Achieving a new normal. Mini Sproglet is now 6 months old & I am emerging from the trenches, blinking into the daylight. Hello? Am I still… me? Might I even start thinking about returning to writing? About any of the other million things I would have liked to do this year?

Reading. Lots of good books this year. Other than keeping small people alive, I don’t really think I’ve been up to much else!

This trailer for Wonder Woman. All the feels. When she says “It is our sacred duty to defend the world” – oohee! This lady? Well damn. She looks oarsome. Hopefully I will get to see this on the big screen.

OUT

Query letter writering. IT KILLS ME. I suck at this! Maybe with the next book I’ll write the query first and then base the story off it…

Still no back yard landscaping. We have been in this house almost an entire year. The less said about this, the better.


life

Loving & loathing for July

July 1, 2016
Loving & loathing for July 2016

The 2016 edition…

IN

We has a front garden! With the shutters, driveway, fence, letterbox, path & gate our house actually looks like a finished house now… at least from the front… nevermind the backyard which currently resembles World War 1 France.

Pantry shelves. My dad built us some sweet custom joinery! He’s such a craftsman. Still need to get some baskets and finish off the Sorting Out Of Things, but I love having an organised pantry. Including a specialised nook for the breadmaker… which leads to…

Fresh bread! daily! Crunchy and crusty, soft and warm, with a thick smear of salty NZ butter. All you have to do is remember to set it up the night before, to wake up to the warm smell of baking bread filling the house in the morning.

OUT

Sleep. Not much of it round these parts lately. Eh. This is not unexpected!

Not getting shit done. Simply the reality of having a toddler and a newborn, but it’s hard to adjust to. (At least, even though I am sleep deprived, I have more energy now than when I was pregnant. This is nice.)


paper + screen

Some early books of 2016

February 5, 2016

With much vigour, I threw myself into the task of reading last month. Funtertainment! quantity! being my goal. MOAR BOOKS THAN 2015. I drank down 6 entire books… which is a lot for me. Hopefully going towards a nestegg that’ll allow me to slack off in future months. Because I probably will when there is another sproglet in the housedom and my brain has LITERALLY SHRUNK and I am existing on 5 seconds of sleep + mugs of Nespresso by the dozen + pure hormonal bliss/despair and the most I will be able to concentrate on is Daily Mail headlines.

Kicking things off, I discovered Marian Keyes published a book in 2014 that I hadn’t read yet. 2014! How had I not known about it? Perhaps I was wrestling with The Luminaries at the time? Anyhoo for some reason, two years later, I stumbled across The Woman Who Stole My Life. Solid Marian Keyes story. Solid.

Twas followed by Brooklyn Girls: Coco by Gemma Burgess (if the Babysitters Club were all growed up & living in NYC & not babysitting anymore, sort of?) then Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty. Erm, cripes, only 2 of Liane Moriarty’s books left for me to read! Better save em for later.

Next I fell into Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear, which closes out The Eternal Sky trilogy. I read books 1 and 2 exactly two years ago so I had a wee bit of trouble to start off with remembering who was who & what was going on but oh gosh. It almost didn’t matter. This is lush, wonderful fantasy. I wish it went on forever. I wish there were more books like these ones.

Then I read Techbitch by Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza (Devil Wears Prada goes digital) and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (80’s gamer geek wish fulfilment fiction!)


life

December like woah

December 16, 2015

We have MOVED!
What a crazy busy wonderful time of year this is.
I went to Sydney to see a friend for a couple of days. There were Christmas parties and presents, birthdays, packing up, moving, unpacking, cleaning the old flat, and multiple trips to Bunnings. I pretty much took out a second mortgage with AusPost, sending parcels all over the world.
Perhaps the very first thing I unpacked in the new house was the Christmas tree…
It’s currently filling up a spare corner of the living room. The place will probably look a bit more empty come January when it is time to pack it up.
Outside our house is a desert of dust and rock and weeds.
We have people coming to quote for driveway, paths, decking, blinds. I just want to get the outside done and then we will be more comfortable here.
Master J is learning to ride his scooter up and down the long hallway. Needless to say, he’s loving the extra space. I am too. I can’t wait to get my study set up with my own desk and comfortable chair – it will be the place of Many Great Words…