Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Story - author talks

I'm just home after attending an author talk...and I'm a little horrified to say the least. I need to debrief.

I see an author talk as a publicity/promo opportunity, so you're selling not only yourself but your stories. I think this author felt the same because they started by thanking the host for that opportunity. And then I got lost. The author had notes - pages of them - but the talk was a waffle fest.

I know about the author's parents, and early life. They spoke of their career, and how and why they wrote their first book. And then I got lost. There were two books out and we seemed to swing between one and then the other. There wasn't a timeline, so although I could see book one on the table, the author never told us how it came to be there. When they spoke of this book, it had been rejected by many agents, including a film option. I could guess from the process that it was a time ago, but was never sure when - until right at the end. It was written 30 years ago, self-published last year (still no clue how this happened).

And Book 2, I can't tell you what that was about. I know it's book 1 in a 4-book series, and I know there are 15 characters and although that's been criticised, it was necessary. As to the story line, I have no idea.

Someone asked the author about the editing services provided by Amazon. The author responded by saying that for the first book, editing was fabulous. There was a package and it just did it. For the second book, it was a fight to get it done, but eventually someone called CreateSpace did it, but sadly, they used American spelling and punctuation. There are commas put in American places. And out of 108 000 words, 200 were changed to Americanisms. (To them 200 was a huge number of words; I was shocked it was so few). The author then said how fabulous the promo was on Amazon because if you typed in author and book name, you got all this information about the book, including reviews.

I was cringing in my seat by now. Amazon doesn't offer an editing service because it isn't a publishing house. In effect, all Amazon is, is an electronic bookshop. CreateSpace is an environment where you can turn your book into a printed form and it can be sold through Amazon. The American punctuation beat me completely but it could be commas after dialogue, a publishing thing not an American thing. And Amazon's promo - dear lord, that's just how the book is listed for every book on there. If you want promo, you need to pay for that.

I was horrified to see someone giving such a talk to people who wanted to be writers. I've sat in talks like that before and you believe what someone tells you because 'they're published'. But this author didn't have a clue about the industry, and was offering incorrect information.

I can never say anything in this situation. I cringe and wish I was elsewhere. But so much is being said with authority, that isn't right...and so I should have the guts to stand up and say that. Although, maybe it's up to the audience to be discerning. I just don't know what to do in these situations.

But I'm ever so grateful to RWA for the education I've received in the past 8 years. I wouldn't be published if I hadn't joined this amazing group. I wouldn't know half what I know without becoming involved.

If I ever give an author talk, please let me remember not to waffle and not to speak on things I don't understand.

Have you ever been in this situation? What have you done?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Phallic Friday - inspiration

I get all sorts of inspiration in all places - even the craziest thing might spark something in my mind. You probably know from the range of weird posts you find on here from time to time - oh, okay, every week then!

Lately I've been inspired to raunchy thoughts by a bloke (strange I know ;) ). I've no idea what it is about him that makes me think of sex. I wouldn't say he's attractive, but he has some way of looking at me, some intensity in the gaze, that flicks ideas into my head. And no, he doesn't look like Cooper Cronk or Peter Sterling!!

And then on my recent holidays, we went on a helicopter flight and the pilot's job got me thinking story ideas and I mixed that up with my raunchy thoughts.

Inspiration happens at the weirdest moments.

Anyway, a helicopter pilot would be a fun kind of job - it has a Top Gun element which makes it even more fun. I'm a fan of that movie especially the bar scene where Kelly McGillis gives Tom a serve after he thinks he's God's gift to women - crash and burn! :)

Anyway, what if the pilot had a look that made the heroine think of sex? And what if they hooked up? And the sex was hot so they stayed together. What if she hadn't factored in caring about him and thought she was only there for the sex and the travel? And what if... and what if... There are so many story lines.

There you go, inspiration for a new story!

Do you ever get inspired about sex?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wildlife Wednesday - more bugs

I've been on a holiday - a driving holiday - and I loved it because I got to tick things off my bucket list and I saw some awesome places!

We drove around the coast of Victoria, the state in south-eastern Australia. We didn't do every town and peninsula, but we did something like 3500 km in 9 days. Mr E loves driving - me, I prefer to be sedentary, but I do love to check out new places...and sometimes that means driving lots and lots and lots!

Anyway, along my travels, we stayed in a farm house near Timboon (which is just off the coast, north of Port Campbell where the 12 Apostles are on the Great Ocean Road). I was pretty shattered because me and winding roads are not good friends and we'd done a lot of winding roads that day, so a farm house was perfect (even though it was an extra 20 km of winding road - but there was no room in town!). The farm house was old, and huge, and all for us. They were doing up the gardens and in need of fresh air and space, I went exploring. I'm pretty fond of farms, and gardens, so this was a joy.

There were heaps of these bugs on roses but they hid beneath the leaves and made photos tough. I tried and took a lot, but none were much good. So in disgust, I walked away. A few garden beds later, here they were on gorgeous open blooms, in sunshine, looking spectacular.

I thought they looked like a variation of the Harlequin Bug (Dindymus versicolor) but I wasn't sure. Now I just did a google and it looks like they might be a juvenile instar of the Harlequin Bug (one of the growth stages before it makes an adult). You can check it out here.

So, I had a lovely trip and got a great story idea...might talk about that on Friday/Sunday...and I loved catching bugs with my camera! It made a good contrast to the scenery. Here are the 12 Apostles (named this even if there aren't 12 of them, and never were!), and me being blown away there (with random tourists)!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Phallic Friday - sex and numbers

How often do you think about sex?
How many times a day/week/month/year do you have sex?
How many partners have you had?
How many orgasms?
How many...
How often...
How big...
How small...

We're a bit of a society obsessed by numbers and answers and being 'normal'. We compete to be 'the best' by doing the most, or going the furthest, or lasting the longest. We have to fit a mould or risk being different.

Is it just me noticing that this is getting worse?

I've always been a thinker on that Meyers-Briggs personality thing...but with sex, I'm a feeler. I think if there was a personality sex test, I'd be not a thinker at all. Numbers don't bother me. I don't try to compete. I'm more into how it feels.

I don't have a set number of times I think about sex - some days it might be heaps, some days it might be not at all (okay, maybe just a few times then).

I don't have a set amount of sex that I require daily/weekly/monthly/annually.

I don't keep count of sexual partners. I'm not even sure what is the definition of a sexual partner - do you have to have penetrative sex to be a partner? And only once, or does it need to be more often?

I'm not sure I know how big, or how often, or how small, or how many.

Am I just weird?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wildlife Wednesday - goats

Back to the zoo this week, to talk about goats.

I have a soft spot for goats (and it has nothing to do with me being a goat in the Chinese Year thing!). I think they're intelligent and funny. They always have wild characters.

At the local zoo, there's a herd of goats. There are always a bunch of kids, a big bossy bloke (or a few), and a lot of milder mannered nannies. This one (pictured) was one of the bossy blokes, but he was a polite alpha, not an obnoxious one :) I like their structural hierarchies, where kids are brought into line even though they're allowed to show character and pushiness to a degree. They're cool.

I have farming friends who caught wild goats to supplement their income in a drought when the farm wasn't producing. I think in drought times, goats have kept many a farmer out west in a bit of money.

There are quite a lot of wild goats in western NSW. Some years back (2013) we were driving to Tibooburra in NW NSW and there were heaps of wild goats.

I'd been there before in the early 1990s and again in 2004. Both my early visits the town was in drought - oh, we broke it in the 1990s and got stuck there, but that's another story. There were nowhere near as many goats in those visits but in 2013 the number of wild goats on the roadside (and some playing chicken with the vehicles) was astounding.

When we got to town and were talking to the National Parks Ranger, I asked if it was a good year but she told me it was dry. Which didn't make sense to me, because the roadside vegetation looked plentiful and the goats were dense. Then I asked if the previous years had been good. And yes, they had been.

In the good years, the wild goat population exploded because feed was plentiful and farmers weren't actively killing/capturing them. But as the feed dried off and goats were hunted out of paddocks by farmers or their livestock, they became abundant along the roads. I imagine as it got drier, enterprising farmers would round them up and take them to the saleyards. The population would stabilise to a low level that could manage to survive the dry years ahead.

Enterprising beasts, goats (and farmers) :)

Friday, February 12, 2016

Phallic Friday - those three words

I read a book last night that left me confused and it was all about the "I love you" declaration.

A girl and guy worked together and she resented him coming in to 'over rule' her, not only this but she hated the fact that he didn't listen to her. Ever. But, you know, he was hot...and sparks flew when they were together, so they ended up shagging.

Sex was off-the-charts (of course). They're both hot and can't keep their hands off each other even though he still won't listen (even in the bedroom, or wherever they manage to do it) and she still harbours resentment about his role at work.

During one sexual encounter, he is so far into not listening, he doesn't hear her talk about birth control and how she needs to go do something before they continue - he just fucks her. So this not listening is a serious issue and she's really distressed by it and storms off.

Time passes where they're mostly not talking due to the issues. Then they have this awe-inspiring sex again. And within the blink of an eye, she declares, "I love you," and he says, "I love you too."

And I was lost.

She still has issues with him in the work place, she still can't get him to listen to her, yet she loves him? Really? Love? Not Lust?

The rest of the story has her teaching him how to listen by tying him up and doing what she wanted to him, causing him sexual frustration (but this is love, right, not lust). Then ignoring him while he tried to talk to her in the morning.

Then the workplace issues are sorted because her friend reams him out and he listens to the friend.

And then they all live happily ever after.

But I'm still at the disbelieving stage way up there where I'm still not on the love path.

When does lust become love?

I know it's a story and I shouldn't get hung up on it, but what I saw in this story wasn't what I call love. But what is love? What makes you say "I love you"? Can you love someone even with these character flaws that are detrimental to your work and your relationship (and your self-esteem)?

I was left confused.

But maybe it's me. Maybe I'm just more into lust than love.

Do you have any thoughts for me, please? :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wildlife Wednesday - striped marsh frog

I'm sure I've told you before that I have frogs in my yard. They're quite noisy too. At the moment there's one going "tock", "tock" about every second (or sometimes every 2 or 3 secs depending on some factor only the frog knows). It's almost like a metronome.

I had a visitor the other week, who stood with head cocked listening, then said, "I don't recognise that bird call." They didn't believe me when I said it was a frog until they tracked it down to the pond, then had to wait for it to settle down and 'tock' again.

It's not the 'ribett' or 'croak' that I usually associate with frogs. This makes a noise not unlike when you stick your finger in your mouth and pop it against your cheek (you know, if you're silly and do that - I won't say I had to do it to check and then to work out how to write it!). All I could think was a 'tock', like half a tick-tock of a clock. That deeper tock one.

Anyway, I don;t know if this is my noisy frog, but this little guy was in a bucket near the pond the other week, so I'm guessing it is the responsible one. Oh, good grief, I found him...well, what sort of frog it is anyway. I thought that was going to be way too hard.

Striped Marsh Frog. You can find info here and even hear the sound I'm hearing! The males do the calling, so I can keep calling him a him. Oh, I'm stoked now :) Some weeks i love doing this post!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Down & Dusty Facebook Party

The Down & Dusty authors are hosting a Facebook party this afternoon.

If that's your thing, come along for some fun.

There's an Amazon gift voucher to be won!

And lots of silliness no doubt :) Well, when Rhyll and I are on there will be! We start at 3pm.

The party kicks off at 12 noon Australian Eastern Daylight Savings time. And there'll be an author every 30 mins, so until 4 pm. But if you come in late, chat away in post comments and we're bound to talk back - at some stage! Time zones are a pest :)

Holy cow, it looks like almost 100 people are going! Thank goodness it's on FB, real life events with that crowd would have me running! :)

Come and join in the virtual fun. Give me a yell on FB if you need an invite or anything - hopefully I'll work out what to do.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Phallic Friday - a needle

I was thinking about this post last night and I thought I might do some writing - pick a fetish item and write from the point of view of the inanimate object. I don't know why I thought of that - and I've no idea why I came up with a needle - but there you have it. A glimpse into my scary mind.

And I had great lines last night...but today they aren't so hot. So my apologies, but I need a post!

The Needle
Pressure surrounds me, guiding me, forcing me, pushing me. I have no choice in where I go, how I go, or even if I do this. I've been possessed by a master and I have no choice but to give up control. I hate the loss of control; never knowing what I'll be subjected to but I need to place my trust in these fingers and hope they use me responsibly.

While maintaining pressure, my sharp head is pushed against an elastic-like surface. I bounce from the first touch as if my master was unsure of the force required. Then those fingers close tighter and I pierce the surface of the flesh. A tiny droplet of blood smears along my length as my sharp point is pushed inside.

Pressing against flesh and muscle, just along the surface, I slide past a tiny vein, warm with the movement of blood. But the fingers do not let me bask in this warmth, I'm pushed further along. Exploring new territory. I'm opening flesh that had previously been knitted together. I've created an entry point and I'm inserting smoothly through tightly woven cells. The flesh pressing against almost the entire length of my steel is warm, elastic, moving and alive.

I'm stopped. Just short of a pulsing blood vessel that I was looking forward to moving against. The fingers release me and that tight pressure on my furthest point vanishes. Replaced by flesh and muscle closing tightly around me. I've not felt anything like this before. Enclosed in warmth. A moving warmth. Beneath my steel muscles ripple as if my tiny body is upsetting the balance of the body. Maybe I am. Maybe my sliver of insertion has caused problems for the flesh. Maybe I'm an irritant. A foreign object the flesh wants to expel.

But it's pleasant here surrounded by such incredible beauty. The colours of the cells around dazzle me. Needles are all silver, all the same. Here, each cell is a slightly different shade. Each shade emits a different feel against me. It's fascinating to lie here and to never be still.

To be inserted so deeply that only a small point protrudes into the air is more than I ever imagined would happen. To have my entire length surrounded in warmth, pulsing warmth is more than I can bare.

I feel a vibration through my length. Thrilling movement. All along me.

Then pressure on my external part. Damn it. No! I don't want to be removed.

Submission means I have no choice.

Quickly, so quickly I can't feel a thing, I'm pulled out of the flesh and exposed to air. Boring air that just floats on by.

I want the flesh. I want to be inside again.

I'm sure the flesh wants me.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wildlife Wednesday - Emu chicks

Recently at the zoo, there were a clutch of little emu chicks.

I'm usually fond of zoos and the role they play in education of the general public. Sometimes I get sad though, that animals have to be tucked into such small cages or exhibits - and these chicks brought out that feeling.

I've written about the emus I've seen out west a few times, you can see the older posts here. Even when the chicks are this little, their father, who is the major care-giving parent, leads them on walks across the countryside finding food. Imagine what the chicks must be exposed to. Imagine how their little bodies grow and muscle up. And these guys are in a tiny hutch, parent-less.

I'm hoping that when the visitors go, they get to roam around and explore their environment. I'm hoping that they're a great educational tool and they bring lots of knowledge to the general public.

But a part of me feels for the babes.