Monthly Archives: May 2013

Doing the Pioneering Thing.

There was no house on our 250 acres of wilderness. There was no connected electricity, no running water, no sewage system and no phone. We had no refrigeration, no washing machine. It was going to be an interesting five years.

We were off the main road. To reach our block, we had to travel ten kilometres of dirt, some of it very loose and very steep (seriously scary on a motorbike). We landed there about 3:00 in the afternoon. Greg unhooked the trailer of gear and parked it on the roadside – we didn’t have a driveway as yet – and then he disappeared back down the road to go and fetch the second hand caravan we would use as our home until we could build one.

That left me sitting on the side of a hill as watchdog for our things, guarding two cats in cat carriers and filling in time plotting plots because I had nothing else to do except swat the march flies that tried to bite me.

By 7:00 I was still there alone. Not a single car had come by and it was getting dark. Something was happening, though. I had moved some of our things up the slope where there was some shade in the subtropical climate and a view down the road. Something was coming.

I’ll be honest, what I saw down the road and heading my way scared me. It was a pack of dingoes. Dingoes can be dangerous and these ones had clearly interbred, mixing with German Shepherd most noticeably. Big dogs. Smart dogs.

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Premature Post

Oops! Don’t you hate it when that happens? I’m still excited about the new cover for The Khekarian Threat, but perhaps I should have held off until I had something to show you. I’m still waiting on the designer to show me her magic, but I’m sure all is going well.

This post is just to apologize for keeping you all waiting. :)

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The Khekarian Covers Revamped

Yes, changes are afoot. I’ve been busy over the last few days, folks, organizing some changes that will help the Khekarian Series catch the eye and grab the imagination.

First up, there’s a new cover underway for The Khekarian Threat, and I’m excited about that because the image I’ve chosen steps right out of that crash-hot 30-page sex romp clash collision – yeah, you know the one.

It’s all in the hands of the designer artist right now and I will give more details soon.

The original covers for The Khekarian Threat and The Imperial Son were done by my husband Greg, and I want to thank him for putting together a very professional presentation. He did an extraordinary job, given that he is not a graphic designer, nor an artist, but a computer programmer. I’d have been lost without him – he can find his way around a paint program whereas I get lost just looking at the menu.

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Before You Accept the Wounds They Give You

Criticism is supposed to be beneficial, it’s supposed to help you grow, but sometimes it’s just a knife attack, plain and simple. Some of the worst offenders are disguised as friends, sometimes they are relatives. They claim to be helping you – smile, smile (stab, stab).

How can you tell? How can you tell if a critic is being honest or being spiteful? How can you tell if they care about your progress or have a hidden agenda?

There are ways to tell, but first you have to stop yourself from responding automatically.

Writers are sensitive beings. For the most part, we are introverts. We put our souls onto paper, we pour our hearts into words… and then, when we think it’s good enough, when we’ve fought down our natural shyness and conquered our inner fear of being found wanting, we show the world. The whole point of our existence is to share those precious words, we are driven to do it.

But one voice of criticism and we’re straight back to looking within, searching out our inner ‘failure’, blaming ourselves – and never seeing what’s really there. We cringe, we duck for cover, we weep into our pillow or get drunk or leap off a bridge.

So, what I’m saying is, don’t do any of those things. Stop. Think. Is there something else going on here when that ‘friend’ claims to have your best interest at heart – smile, smile (stab, stab)?

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An Accidental Progression

I’ve been posting far more frequently than twice a week. It’s something that has come easily and I see no reason not to run with it. Quite simply, I’ve discovered that putting together a post is a nice way to wind down after a day of writing, or working out plot or issues. It seems a good time to grab new ideas and gently put them together while I am still in that creative zone, but making ready to let it go to see to the mundane necessities – such as making dinner and recognizing my husband and counting the pets.

Hint to writers: You’re too deep in your own plot if you can’t remember if your husband has a beard or not.

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I just wanted to write fight scenes, but I had to drop a policeman to achieve it!

Skulking under the few trees around the back of the Police Training College, trying to shelter from the rain, must have made me look suspicious. They saw me, of course they did. They thought I was hiding. A police sergeant called me over to the back door. “Oi,” he said. “What are you doing out here?”

“I’m waiting for Les.”

Les taught martial arts to the cops. I’d taken a ten week course with him in a night school setting and wanted to take it further. Les told me to meet him around the back of the Police Training College.

“Well, get in out of the rain, then,” the sergeant told me, and I was in.

I thought I was meeting Les on the way out of the building, I turned out to be meeting him on the way in. I had no idea he was going to include me in his classes there.

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Disabling the Options. The Cringe Factor Part II: The Challenge of the Bad Guy.

In any work of fiction, these are the two areas more vulnerable and more precious than any other. Sex and the challenge of the Bad Guy. I covered sex a week or so ago (Click HERE), so now let’s move on to the Bad Guy.

The Bad Guy and the why-how challenge: Writing a villain is easy enough, but you really do have to make him or her strong and to some extent unstoppable. If your villain isn’t a serious force to be reckoned with, then there is no threat. You can have the meatiest book ever, you can have a saga of strong emotions, action and adventure, marvelous obstacles to get over, through, around, and all the trauma and excitement in the world. You can have the twistiest plots with the best winning-through-in-the-end formula. It could be expertly written – everything – but it won’t help you one iota if the average reader sits back and says, “Why didn’t she just go to the police?” or “Why didn’t he just quit?”

You have to answer those questions. In the book. You have to show your reader why the easy escape just won’t work. Let’s make it clear: THERE CAN BE NO WAY OUT. If the solution to the hero’s problem is so easy and so obvious to all, you’re not only left with a useless book that took a substantial amount of time and effort to produce, but it will forever haunt you. It’s that Cringe Factor again. Thirty years on and you’ll have a tic in one eye, and a habit of looking over your shoulder and flinching occasionally. It’ll still be with you – that embarrassment. Especially if someone says to you, “Hey, aren’t you the author of…?”

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