Draft 6 – Finished… for now


For over two years now I’ve been working on a historical fiction – tentatively titled ‘On Demon’s Shores’ (It’s a play on words for ‘Van Diemen’s Land’).

A couple of months ago I opened it up again, after putting it aside for 3-4 months, and began to read through the drivel… and there was plenty! I took out approximately 1/3 of the scenes, leaving just over 40,000 words at the end of May. That’s when I started rewriting. I have a wedding to go to next weekend, out of town, and so I set that as my due date. I want this novel to be at least 80,000 words, and so that was my word goal. Homeschooling 2 children means no time for writing during the day, so I did it at night. For the last 3 weeks I’ve been up late getting these words down. I tried not to stay up past midnight (it’s not really conducive with an 11 month old who wakes during the night, or those aforementioned homeschooled children), but there were the odd couple of nights I crawled into bed at 1am or just after.

I’ve made it to 80k, just ahead of schedule, though I still there are several scenes to write to complete the story, so I’m not quite done.

I’m feeling good about this draft. It aligns with what’s in my head much better than any of the previous five. It feels better. There’s some good writing in there, much less drivel. 😉

I’m looking forward to getting it all tidied up, and sent out to my early-readers for some feedback! 🙂


Young Writer’s Program


I am thrilled to say that my 6 year old son is joining in the Young Writer’s Program this year. (http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/)

We signed him up on the site, and checked out the Word-Count Goal Calculator, a brilliant device to help Young Writer’s set a word goal for themselves. He typed away for 10 minutes, with lots of distractions, and ended up with 30 words. Focus is not really one of his strong points at the moment – his world is far too full of excitement to concentrate on any one thing for too long, so we’ve set him a daily goal of 50 words, 1500 words for the month. Personally, I think he’ll get that easily, but I wanted something small for him to aim for, in his first year.

Then we downloaded the Young Writer’s Program workbook for Elementary Students. It is brilliant! It asks him to think about novels that he likes and doesn’t like, and what it is he likes or not about them. Then he begins the planning for his own novel. So far we have a character, whose name he picked out from a baby name website after searching for a name that means warrior or fighter (it’s going to be an adventure story), and the character has now been fleshed out with likes/dislikes, where he lives, what he looks like, and what he does best.

Best of all is that my son is so keen to work on it. He is so excited about his story, he’s been bragging to all who will listen about how next month he’ll be doing the Young Writer’s Program.

And we’ve already discussed his prize should he succeed, a YWP “Nanowrimo Brain” t-shirt.

Looking forward to next month, novelling away with my boy!! 😀

The Next Big Thing – Blog Hop

Wow! I’ve just been tagged in my very first blog hop!!  Thanks so much to LaVerne Clark for tagging me!

LaVerne writes Romance and has two brilliant e-books published. You can find more information about her and her books at her blog: http://www.laverneclark.blogspot.com.au/


There are blog hop rules:

****Give credit to the person/blog that tagged you

**** Post the rules for the blog hop

****Answer these ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) on your blog

****Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.


Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?  Red Sky

Where did the idea come from for the book?  I had committed to participate in Camp Nano, in June of this year, and was desperately searching for something to write about. There was a red sky one night, and the old phrase “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight” came to me, and instantly I had a flash of inspiration – a group of characters and their history, and a vague idea of where they were headed.

What genre does your book fall under?  Fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  Honestly I have not even thought that far ahead? That will need some more thought…
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  One sentence synopsis… haven’t written one yet, so lets see what I come up with: How about. “As the only female Pirate Captain in the whole of the nine seas Morgan has had more struggles than most, but can she cope when weakling James is thrust into her crew as they set off in search of the Greybeard’s legendary treasure – their most dangerous adventure yet?” Does that make it sound like a children’s book? It’s not supposed to be a children’s book…
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  I’m not sure I’m confident enough to self-publish just yet. This story is aimed for a novella competition coming up very soon, otherwise I will find somewhere else to submit it…

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  19 days to write just over 50,000 words.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  I’m no good at comparing my work with others.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? Another tricky question! The inspiration just struck me, a few days before Nano started in June. I had been dreaming about mermaids a lot before hand, and knew my story should be about the sea, so when the pirate story idea came I knew I had to run with it.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  The story features not only pirates and treasure, but also mermaids and to a lesser degree, magic.

 Thanks LaVerne for tagging me! 😀

Now – this is the point where I am supposed to tag 5 other bloggers – but most of the bloggers I know have already been tagged!! If you would like to join in let me know and I’ll tag you here! It’s a lot of fun!

NanoWrimo 2012 – who’s with me?

The people at National Novel Writing Month have released the Nanowrimo 2012 website today!!

Nanowrimo is brilliant, and this will be the third time this year I have participated – having joined in the June and August Camp Nano sessions.

If you’re thinking about Nano but not sure if you really want to commit to writing 50,ooo words in 30 days: check out these 10 reasons you should sign up!! (taken straight from the Office of Letters and Light’s blog (OLL are Nanowrimo’s parent company…) (http://blog.lettersandlight.org/post/32671611607/10-reasons-you-should-do-nanowrimo)

1. Because you get this deep down feeling in your bones after you read an amazing story; a need to drop everything right then and write something, too. Because every once in a while, while riding your bike, you mull over the dream you had last night and suddenly wish you were being chauffeured so you could whip out a pen and jot that bit of dialogue down and see where it takes you.

That feeling isn’t going away, is it? It’s because your spark of inspiration feeds off an inexhaustible fuel. There are people out there who think, ‘That would make a decent story,’ and then never bother themselves about it again. They are a credit to their parents in many other ways, but they don’t have the particular fire that burns in you. Don’t waste your light.

2. You’re afraid to try. Here’s the thing, ‘afraid to try’ is, like, the next-door neighbor of ‘want to try’. Heck, they’re basically roommates. ’Don’t want to try’ is actually four counties over.

As much as we talk about the guilt monkeys that will plague you during the month when you let your word count languish, if December 1 rolls around and you haven’t reached 50,000 words, they are surprisingly compassionate. They will pat you on the shoulder. They will point out that you’ve written 100 words more than you would have if you hadn’t bothered. They will stroke your hair.

That last one isn’t out of compassion, but hunger. Still, it’s nice.

3. You have an idea.

4. Everyone agrees that November is a totally boring month; worse than August. Mostly, there is absolutely nothing of worth happening. “What about Thanksgiving?” I hear many of you asking. Fun fact: the only other country that even celebrates Thanksgiving is Canada, and theirs is in October.

“But I’m so busy with school/work/other!” others of you cry out. I, too, used this reasoning once, to convince my mom that I had absolutely no spare time to play the piano at her dance class’ rehearsals.

Her reply? “Let’s talk about how little time you’d have if we sent you out to your cousins in Korea, and you were engaged in rigorous academic study from seven in the morning to nine at night.” Turns out I had a couple hours, actually, to plunk out waltzing triplets.

All joking aside, November can be a tough month to find the time to write, but the only way to guarantee that you will not have time to write a novel is to make no attempt to look for it.

5. You love writers. NaNoWriMo comes with a community of a quarter million creators like you, who will be breathing life into their characters by your side. On October 31, you can feel a collective inhale starting in New Zealand, and traveling west across the globe, and then a whoosh when November 1 hits. It is epic. It is awesome.

When I spend a lot of time with bro-ier friends, I start speaking the language, complete with a strong peppering of ‘dude’, ‘sick’, ‘swole’, etc. We are influenced by the people we surround ourselves with. Sometimes, this doesn’t work out for the better (as my example could demonstrate; your mileage may vary). With the right people, though, it can be very real and uniquely human magic power to compile individual resources of will into one giant pool to push each other to achieve the improbable.

6. Do you hate pep? Are encouragement and optimism and persistence distasteful to you? Do you wrinkle your nose at can-do spirit? Good news! We have a place for you over here in the quiet corner, where you can steadily write, consult your stats, and self-motivate to your heart’s content.

Everyone else, brace yourself for advice from published authors, tips and relevant anecdotes from NaNo HQ, word sprints run by your MLs, and pop culture references galore. (We cannot promise these references will be either up-to-date or cool. I will, however, spare you the rendition of ‘Write Me Maybe’ that we belt in the office.)

7. If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, and are hoping to avoid sunburn and the possibility of skin cancer, let me introduce you to the indoor sport we call NaNoWriMo!

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, and hoping to avoid snow, rain, general chilliness, haaave you met NaNo?

8. There are people out there who will say, “NaNoWriMo is a waste of your time.” Sometimes, they will go on to say, “You cannot write a novel in a month, and any first draft that comes out of a rush to pen it in 30 days will be completely useless to you.”

If you are a patient person who would like to engage these naysayers, there are two responses to this sort of person, which depends on how they answer the question: “Have you ever written a novel?”

  • If they say, “No, I have not completed a novel,” you are allowed, even encouraged, to pause, smile kindly and say, simply, “Interesting.”
  • If they say, “Yes, I have completed a novel,” you might say, “That’s fantastic. High five—come on, up top! I think this is how I’m going to push myself to do something I’ve always wanted to do, like you did. I don’t know if I’ll end up trying to publish a novel, but if I do, I know writing one is the first step towards doing that.”

If you are not patient, a pretty solid response is, “Cool, I think I’m going to do it anyway.” There’s a decent amount of satisfaction to be found in openly disregarding the haters.

9. Because you have a story worth telling. First, here is what we’re not entitled to: being listened to by the masses. The honest truth is that attention is earned. But there can be incredible epiphanies that come from telling yourself your story. There are so many possibilities inside you. It’s a worthy thing you do, exploring those paths.

Everybody starts with an audience of one, and nobody has the right to silence you, not even your own inner editor.

10. You love to write.

And I would add my own reasons: Because by trying something that seems completely insane you learn that you can, in fact, achieve the impossible, and upon achieving the impossible, that sense of satisfaction is absolutely brilliant! There is also the sense of community if you take an active part of the forums – even though you may be typing away all by yourself in your own little room, there are thousands of writers to chat to at the drop of a hat – so many people experiencing the same issues with their stories, or ready with advice and motivation to keep you on track!

(And I forgot to say – if you’re under 18, and would love to try this but don’t think you can make 50k there is always the Young Writer’s Program – Nano for youngsters! – where you can set your own word goal! Check it out here: http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/)

The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D – Nichole Bernier – Read-a-long


This is part 2 to the read along of The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D. Again – SPOILER ALERT and check out Bree’s blog for more discussion!! http://1girl2manybooks.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/the-unfinished-journals-of-elizabeth-d-by-nichole-bernier-read-a-long-discussion-part-2/

PS This probably won’t make much sense unless you’ve been following along – for the first section check out: http://1girl2manybooks.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/the-unfinished-journals-of-elizabeth-d-by-nichole-bernier-read-a-long-discussion-week-1/

and my first post: https://heatherj22.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/the-unfinished-journals-of-elizabeth-d-read-a-long-2/

p201 Max says “Well’ her family isn’t seeing that trunk again anyway unless you make peace with the fact that you can’t control the way she is going to be remembered. What she did is what she did.”

This quote relates to what we were talking about last time – about whether or not her journals should be shared with her children. And I suppose it made me think of other things too – if the journals are an honest account of our lives – why shouldn’t our children/loved ones read them? What are we afraid of that we hide away the true parts of ourselves from those we are closest too? We assume our emotions are unique, that no one else feels the way we do, yet of course everyone has a range of emotions and feelings. Perhaps by reading the journals Elizabeth’s children will be able to better understand their mother, and maybe even themselves and the consequences of their own actions.

From the reading so far it is easy to see ‘blame’ on both sides as to why Elizabeth had an affair (if that indeed is what happened). There were moments where she should have recognised something in Dave – p. 167 “I know this should be telling me something important, something I should be noting carefully… It’s about what you owe to someone who is in a bad way, a pact you made when you enter into a relationship… to see her out of this world as she saw you through it.” And yet she dismissed it, or ignored it and continued on, as though this would not matter at a later date. And then when it did happen, when she got sick and he did not contact her, she still let it pass and took him back afterwards. She knew from the outset what he would be like. Though I guess that happens to us all – there are things we don’t want to see, facts which, if acknowledged, would have led us to make a different choice to the one made. Kate sums this up well: “The effects of your choices might not be clear at the moment they were made. But if you turned back to see where you’d come, there they’d be, the ghost of the path not taken leading to the places you would never go.” p. 172

I no longer feel sorry for Dave, and that’s probably not fair – but I’m seeing him as a weak individual who would rather run from any pain than face it and deal with it and I’m guessing that is what has sent Elizabeth off – again assuming that is what has happened.

I want to know what’s missing from the journal – what pages Elizabeth tore out…

I have to admit, Kate is annoying me with her paranoia – her obsession over what might go wrong. Fear of terrorist attacks in Indonesia, of germs the baby wild rabbits might be carrying. She is so focused on what could go wrong.

And these are some other quotes that really stood out:

“I have to accept that I have no more idea of what happens in the solitary parts of his mind than he has of mine, and wonder if all couples are like this. In love and simpatico in many ways, but ultimately unknowing and unknowable.” p 256

“In the end I go back to that same feeling I’ve always had about confidences. The other person rarely has anything useful to offer and usualy you leave feeling no better, sometimes worse.” p. 258.

“What if all mothers experienced times of hopeless obliteration, and no one told?” p 263

Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith – review

I have had amazing luck winning books from Allen & Unwin’s Facebook page! (https://www.facebook.com/AllenandUnwinBooks)

This month it was Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith.

Now, to be completely honest – I thought it was a book about vampires. My reason for this is that part of the prize was a movie ticket to see Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (haven’t seen it yet, still trying to organise babysitters), and I assumed that Unholy Night was the next in the series. Not so.

Unholy Night is the story of Balthazar, one of the Three Wise Men who were present at the birth of Jesus. Balthazar is a man of no religion and a thief. Balthazar’s presence at Jesus’s birth (or shortly thereafter) is purely by chance – after escaping certain death by execution – and saving two other men, Gaspar and Melchyor, in the process – Balthazar is simply looking for a place to hide. He brings Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold – but not as gifts for Baby Jesus, rather they are items he has stolen so he might have coin for the coming days as he tries to escape the fury of Mighty King Herod.

Balthazar’s intentions are to abandon Joseph, Mary and Jesus the next morning, after he and his companions have managed to get some rest. In the meantime however, Herod has learnt that the ancient prophecy has come true – as a star larger than any before seen lights up the Eastern sky, signifying the birth of baby Jesus. He flies into a rage and demands that all boys under the age of 2 be killed. The soldiers ride into Bethlehem, and begin slaughtering children before Balthazar’s eyes. For something as terrible as this Balthazar cannot sit idly by, and he, Gaspar and Melchyor fight the soldiers and help Joseph and Mary escape Bethlehem.

The story continues with the unlikely companions travelling together towards Egypt – while Herod and Pontius Pilate work together to bring in the infant and the theif. They face major adversity, and on several occasion seem to face certain death. During the story we learn more about Balthazar, and the event from his past that will not let him leave baby Jesus to the Romans

Seth Grahame-Smith has woven a marvelous tale – I believed every word of it.