Approaching


THE FUGITIVE QUEEN has not yet been completed, but it will be done by Christmas, all being well. The first 100,000 words have been reworked a number of times, and I am reasonably happy with them, but the next 20 thousand still need a bit of work. The final 10 thousand is underway. And yes, I will soon be on the hunt for beta readers.


The only person to have read any of it so far, an editor friend with a critical eye, seems to be enjoying it, so that’s good news. (And no, it doesn’t matter how many books you have published, you still think the latest is terrible. Consequently, you soak up any praise as if it was rain in a drought.)

And here’s a photo I took recently of the caterpillar of a case moth, scurrying along across a path. It has clothed itself in a camouflage gown of straws. That sort of furry stuff at the top is its head poking out. 

 

WHEN SPIDERS DANCE…

Australia is home to dancing spiders, minute little creatures, surely adorable even to arachnophobes. They are called Peacock Spiders because of their bright, vibrant colours. They are also rarely seen, because they are so tiny… about the size of half your smallest fingernail.
Today I was lucky enough to come across one in my garden. 
 Not sure what particular species it is, but probably — seeing as it was in my garden! — the Common Peacock Spider. The male actually does an intricate charming dance performance to impress the female (and maybe to persuade her not to regard him as prey). Unfortunately, I didn’t catch such a dance on the video…

And in other news, THE FUGITIVE QUEEN is within 5,000 words of completion.

Catch Up

Longtime since I did  blog post…
A lot has happened! 
Mostly centred around the ongoing health issues of my husband, which included heavy issues like triple bypass, valve replacement and pacemaker. 

Now that he is on the mend, I will be returning to my work in progress, the next book, tentatively named: “THE FUGITIVE QUEEN”

OTHER newsy things:

  • Continuum Convention, bless ’em,  over in Melbourne has very kindly invited me as Australian Guest of Honour for the 2020 Convention in June. More about that closer to the day! I’ve always had a soft spot for that particular convention, and their International guest will be a Malaysian, which makes things doubly special for me.
  • And also in 2020, I will be going to the World SF Convention in Wellington, New Zealand in August. Well, I’ve bought the ticket anyway, so fingers crossed!!
  • Ezvid Wiki over in Los Angeles has included “THE LASCAR’S DAGGER” as one of:
10 Enthralling Fantasy Novels by Australian Authors
see here for the link 
                                   It has a very interesting intro video, done by 
                                  someone who doesn’t read too much fantasy.
          I’m not looking gift horses in the mouth here. All publicity is good, right?

THE BIG TRIP: PERTH TO CAIRNS AND RETURN

Packing the car at dawn at the motel in Coolgardie 

after our first night away.

WE ARE HEADING OUT…looking at some corners of Australia after we endured a series of health issues for more than six months. Now that things are looking up, we are off to explore…

Glowing gold-burnished Eucalypt trees near Norseman

Lake Cowan — mostly dry and salt…

At Eyre, looking at the great Southern Ocean. It was cold and windy!

Bunda Cliffs, Head of the Great Australian Bight, where the female Right Whales come in from the Antarctic to give birth once every 3 years or so…


(And
before you ask, they are called Right Whales because they were
considered the “right” whales to hunt because they swam slowly and
floated when killed. As a consequence they were once hunted to the edge
of extinction)

And if you look carefully you will see the female Right Whale centre right.                      Ok, so it looked better through binoculars!!        

For non-Australians — we have headed from the west coast of Australia in a more of less south-eastly direction, ending up on the coast of the Southern Ocean as we cross the Nullabor Plains from our state (Western Australia) into South Australia. We are now 2,000 kms away from home (1,250 miles). We have been travelling 3 days.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ME AND A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE

What’s the difference between me (and other professional writers) and a
professional athlete? You know, like those talented young folk now
showing us their skills and brilliance at the Commonwealth Games?


Let me tell you.


I had to have a job unconnected with being a writer, which enabled me
to earn a living. In my spare time I laboured alone to hone my craft. I
sacrificed time and money I could ill afford, sending manuscripts off by
snail mail (back in the day), buying self-help
books, attending courses, etc, etc. Eventually I made it, and started
to get paid. A bit. I still had to fork out money to help me —
attending conventions, for example, and I still had to work. 

After some
10+ years, I actually made enough to earn a living (although I doubt it
was enough to support a whole growing family–but by then my family was
grown).


Now let’s look at athletes. They also had a talent and a
passion, probably noticed while they were still at school. They came to
the attention of sporting bodies or trainers. Like me, they worked hard.
Unlike me, they had so much help. They had trainers. They had
encouragement or paid professionals devoted helping them, along with
tech experts, videos and science labs… Most would have had financial
help, perhaps in kind, or even in cash. They were sent off to compete at
meets, in and out of Asutralia, mostly not at their own expense.



And now we hail them as heroes, mention them on TV, applaud their
achievements, offer them endorsements, free trips and adulation. Good
for them.


What I wonder is why do they deserve it, and we writers
don’t? Why is there so little money for us, especially while we are
still struggling? Why do we give so much adulation to athletes and not
to writers — to physical achievements, not intellectual ones?


I’d
do it all over again, mind you, and I don’t regret a minute of time
spent on my writing career, and I’m very thankful for the financial help
I have had (from the Public Lending Rights for example) –but I do
wonder sometimes about the imbalance …

SWANCON / NATCON IS COMING – Do you want a critique of your WiP?

(WIP = Work in Progress)
I will be at Swancon 
(which is also this year’s 
Australian National Science Fiction Convention)
in Perth, W.A.
 To be held over Easter. If you want to attend, buy your membership here.
I am giving a workshop, free to attendees of the convention.
Participants who wish to do so can also submit the first 500 words
(opening scene) of
a SF/F/H novel in advance of the workshop,
and will receive a private written critique of their work from me on
the day. There was to be a cut off for submission of these first pages by March 1st, but as I am not being inundated by entries, I think we can extend this for another couple of weeks!

The workshop will look at how to address common writing issues within
manuscripts generally, looking at ways to reinforce strengths, identify
weaknesses — and provide advice on how get rid of the boring bits!

Spaces are limited so attendees will need to book. Manuscript extracts can submitted to info@swancon.com.au with Strong Beginnings in the subject line.