Tag Archives: adventure

A Glut of Characters – Ah, so that’s what I was doing.

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Too much too soon, as it turns out. Yes, I know I’m late with Book 3 and this post by no means excuses that, I’m just letting you know Why and What and where I am currently in the Khekarian sci-fi series.

Each book in the series is a stand alone book, with a beginning, a middle and, most importantly, an ending – a conclusion. At the same time, the background story continues to roll on, so parts of the story move forward or the series would not mesh into a whole.

Each of my books contains two main threads, often split into further threads, but in the main there are two stories interwoven. I think of each as a double book (certainly each are thick enough at 500-600 pages).

Book 3 of the Khekarian series, The Bastard Line, continues the overall story, running two stories side-by-side. One of the threads, however, I had in mind to contain more of the story than it should. That notion needed the addition of other characters and other stories to reach that particular conclusion, and this led me into an area where I was, in effect, trying to write two books (four books?) as one and squash way too much in.

That’s where I got mired. Not so much a tangle as a glut of characters and small stories that needed sorting because, as it was, everyone would get mired!

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Ah! Found! The Missing Ingredient!

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I knew there was something missing from my manuscript, it’s been a major stumbling block for best part of 15 months – with so much happening in my life this past year or so, I was blaming that.

So, what was missing? I’m embarrassed to say! Moods and emotions are a strong point with me, I write in a way that lets you get to know my characters well. You know and understand what makes them tick.

So what the heck happened? Action happened. I got so tied up in the action that I had neglected to spell out the driving force behind it.

All this time I was poking it with a stick trying to get it to move and wondering what was lacking… Grrr… (I know, I think I’ll blame everything that’s been happening in my life for the past year or so…) :D

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Snakes on my Doorstep. Again.

I didn't have a picture of a snake, so...

I didn’t have a picture of a snake, so…

Australia is known for its poisonous snakes – Although it often takes longer (6 to 24 hours), a Tiger snake can bring on death within as little as 30 minutes, Black snakes are also highly poisonous, but it is the aggressive and fast moving Brown snake that can and will bite multiple times and are responsible for killing more Australians per year than any other snake – It’s not just people who try to kill or catch them that get bitten either, it’s people stepping over logs or rocks or people walking in long grass, people who simply do not see them.

Did I mention long grass? Our new (old) little house in its glorious wilderness/pastureland isolation hadn’t been lived in for some time. The grass was long right up to the house and all around it. We have all three of those snakes mentioned here, plus others. When I say here, I really mean here, not just in the area but on the doorstep!

In the first couple of weeks here as I got the grass under control, I saw two snakes immediately on stepping outside, both out in the open and within feet of the house. The first was a Black snake and the second was a Tiger snake (both big ones). Greg saw a third one during a visit here, which vanished into his work shed and we think is a Brown.

These aren’t like pythons that I would gladly pick up and have photos taken with – you don’t mess with these things. While I appreciate snakes and will not kill them, I don’t want them under my feet whenever I step outside. I want our cats to survive too.

Solution? Yes, I actually found one.

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Writing with a Mountains View (yes plural).

Photo taken on the way to a neighbouring town. All local roads go over the mountains and have this sort of view.

Photo taken on the way to a neighbouring town. All local roads go over the mountains and have this sort of view.

While settling into my new home, I’ve made time for writing – naturally, that’s what I do – which (in part) also means admiring the wonderful new view from my office window.

We’re in a flat spot here, a smallish area that isn’t sideways, which means we’re far enough back to view a small mountain to one side and a whole mountain range to another. Behind us, of course, are hills and other ranges, but my office looks to the front and as dawn rises I can see clouds covering the mountaintops or mist rising in the valley.

It’s all very inspirational.

Oh yes, the actual writing part… Yes, that is happening and going well. While a beautiful view can be a distraction, it’s also incredibly uplifting. I cannot help but be grateful here and appreciate all that I have, it’s a nice place to have landed.

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More Foxes – Then Something Happened!

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I saw foxes daily, the local population seemingly fearless – Foxes are an introduced species to Australia along with rabbits, both brought in and deliberately released for hunting purposes by early colonists. Both species did exceedingly well here and have since become pests. In rural areas where sheep are bred, foxes are killers of lambs. Farmers take after them with guns or lay out poison and do what they can to eradicate them, but foxes (like rabbits) continue to thrive in this country.

In my first few weeks here I saw many foxes daily, sometimes quite late into the morning. I mainly saw them in the surrounding fields but also watched them returning to the hedgerow next to our house. The locals knew of them there, in fact I’ve been warned twice about the large family of foxes living on my doorstep, so they must have been there for quite a while.

Then something happened. Overnight they were gone. No one hunted them. Hunting foxes is done at night with spotlights and guns, I’d be very aware of such activity close to home. No one poisoned them – 1080 is the poison of choice and any property using it must put up warning signs as it’s so lethal.

The foxes just… went. Was it that they took notice of me and moved out on my account? Was it that they didn’t like being so close to a house now occupied? It didn’t seem to bother them in the first month or so, they never tried to hide from me.

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Night-time is Another Planet.

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It was one o’clock in the morning and I was standing in the loneliness of our front yard, our house remotely situated and still strange to me after my move here – armed only with a torch, its batteries weak and its light fading – An animal fight had woken me, drawing me out into the dark and the cold.

We have two cats, an old girl and a young ‘un named Houston who’s a go-getter, a let-me-at-‘em and I-want-to-play type. This was his second night outside and I knew there were foxes about.

The wind blew and the branches of a tree danced across the roof like scuttling creatures. I shone the torch upward and into the tree. Glowing eyes looked back at me and I knew I had found Houston.

Then I saw the foxes. Two of them were right in our yard with a third one on the road. I had seen flattened patches in the long grass and weeds, coming upon them as I slowly worked through the chore of bringing it all under control, and I thought of foxes then. Now it was confirmed. In fact there was a large family of them living in the hedgerows right next to our house.

What did I do? What could I do? Houston would not come out of the tree with foxes so close. I was in no danger, but when it’s the middle of the night and you’re cold and in a strange place, the scrutiny of any kind of hunting pack is downright creepy. Night-time was like another planet.

I retreated inside. Ten minutes later, determined to see if I could collect the cat (and to see if maybe the foxes had gone), I opened the door to find Houston on the doorstep and more than eager to come inside.

Since then, he’s decided that inside is the best place to be at nighttime. Smart cat!

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An Old House in the Mountains.

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It’s strange when you move to a new house and a new location, especially when the house is an old one and isolated – the sounds are different and particularly noticeable at night, all so unfamiliar – creaking for the most part, but strange sounds too – was that a thud, a crash, a door opening?

It’s weird, the first night, the first day, the first week. I’m on my own because my husband is back at our last house and still working in the city, so I need to deal with things alone (some things won’t wait until his next visit).

This house had been empty for months before I came here, and the garden (I’m told) has not been looked after for years. That would be why the wildlife crept in close and snug – foxes that live in the hedgerows and hunt or hide in our garden. There’s snakes too, the dangerous, deadly kind, so no, I won’t be picking them up for photographs – I’ve seen two of them right by the front door.

There are other creatures as well, rats and mice and birds and possums, under the house or in the ceiling. I had bees move into the chimney, and thus into the kitchen. One night one of the cats caught a bat and left it for me by my office door. That’s right, a bat got inside during the night.

So… I guess as I have nothing prepared on the Wonder and Joy of Writing, I can spend a few posts on what it’s like moving into an old house in the country. Let the adventures begin…

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