Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Today was the day

(Photo credit: Me)

Today was the day. 
She woke up knowing that all the little bits of dangling threads had to be tied  up or neatly clipped. She would do it. Today. She knew she would.

The little adrenaline monkey was squirming in her tummy.
So first things first:
dishes, sweeping, dusting, clean the toilet, pay the bills,
water the plants on the verandah,
put the washing on the line.

She always felt better when the daily chores were finished. No guilt. No pile of greasy dishes casting her dirty looks every time she walked past. No nagging 'must-do's' to distract her from the task at hand.

And she turned her computer on. She had 1 hour. Sixty whole minutes to finish a couple of last edits, compile her manuscript from Scrivener into a .doc and work out how to create a .mobi file.

Her friends were waiting for the moment. 

They had been waiting for a month. 
Today was the day. 

The phone rang, she answered it. 
The dog whined, she let her in. 
The postman stopped, she collected the mail from the letter-box. 

Agitation cursed her solar plexus. She smiled. 'I still have 45 minutes. I'll be fine' she thought.

She downloaded KindleGen. 

The internet was slow. Grindingly, annoyingly, frustratingly, slow. 
And now she could not find the .exe file to launch the program. 
She downloaded the users guide. She read the 'geek' script. 
She tried again. 
And again. 
And again. 

Only 10 minutes left. The reminder text beeped on her phone. She swore. She kicked the floor. Times up.

She bit her lip, turned off the computer, had a quick shower and left for work.

(Later that day...)

It had been a long day. She smiled through her tired eyes, ran herself a bath and added drops of lavender to help clear her foggy head. Two candles sent soft flickers dancing across the bathroom wall, she breathed in the sweet healing scent of lavender and neroli and practiced her ujayi breath.

Wrapped in a cosy toweling robe, with her feet snuggled deep in soft woollen socks,
she turned her computer on, and closed the office door.

Before checking her email, opening files or re-trying to launch KindleGen she visited the Kindle Forums. 'Use Kindle Preview, it's much more straightforward for us lesser techno-illiterates.' (Yes, that is exactly what it said.)

Preview downloaded fast, launched with ease, she was quietly pleased. 
Neither rushed nor competing with a clock, 
she opened up the preview program and 
quietly browsed for the .ePub file then 
softly pressed the enter key. 

And in this gentle evening light, 
when all the days work was done, 

her first ever .mobi file 
appeared upon
her screen.

She attached the latest version to an email for her Kindle-reader friend, paused, took two deep breaths and purposefully clicked on 'send'.

Today was the day. She had woken up knowing.

My FIRST DRAFT. Out into the abyss. Well to two trusty writerly pals who are going to read it with fresh eyes and let me know if it makes sense.

And I've even learned a little about creating kindle ready books. (Just a little ;-)). One step at a time.

Love Dawn

Monday, 21 April 2014

First NOVEL, First DRAFT

(Photo Credit: Me)

Several months ago I set myself a goal. A silly goal, or so I thought at the time.  Yet that darned goal got the better of me. It gripped me. It wrung ink out of my veins. It churned my tummy. It stabbed at me, pricked my ego, jabbed at my procrastinator ‘abort’ button, all the while mercilessly nudging me forward.

Well just as well that goal: 
  • had a mind of its own, 
  • did not under any circumstance allow its maker to give up,
  • knew that beyond the torment there is a freedom to be found, and beyond the upward leaps and flights of insane fantasy there is always a level ground upon which to return to.

And so my goal and I have arrived at a celebration point; a quiet, reserved celebration that simply acknowledges ‘we did it’.

As I typed in those
last lines of the last chapter of the first draft
I experienced a rush of excitement.
I knew it was done.
There was no lingering nor wondering.
I simply knew.

And, very quickly after that, a torrent of other possibilities; we could continue and this could happen, we could change that bit and adjust the twist to this or that or…

My manic brain had completely skipped the ‘celebration’ moment. The swell of nerves, the surge of adrenaline, the pffftt of satisfied exhalation had been swept up, pushed forward and propelled into the endless abyss of do,do,do…

Screeeeech! The brakes went on.
Wait a minute let us return to and appreciate
this ‘celebration point;
a quiet, reserved moment
that simply acknowledges
 ‘we did it’.

I pushed the laptop away a little and stretched my fingers along the beveled edge of my desk. (Thank you fingers.) I stood up, stretched my arms upward and let my spine unwind. And at the peak of my subdued jubilation I pointed one index finger toward the ceiling, took a little skip and said ‘oh yeah.’

It felt great pointing to that
 little moment of time
 and offering it an

So ... Now... Ta-dah… I have in my hot little hands the first warm print of the first draft of my first (ever in my whole life) novel.

It’s no secret I like to write. Sometimes it’s enjoyable, other times it’s painful. Most of the time it’s cathartic as it is my preferred creative weep into the world.

Today it is a silly little goal that has been: set, realized, acknowledged and celebrated.

And it’s true, now that I have done it I really feel like I can do it again.

I’ll keep you posted on the revision, editing, assessing, etcetera process.

Love Dawn

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Planning to Publish!

Photograph - Creative Commons (Andy Brill)

I am...Middle-aged on the edge of the publishing abyss. 

Squinting into the contemporary literary canyon. 

Giddy with the surge of push and shove between 

Trad' and Indie.    

I spend more time researching and reading about other people's 'amazing' success stories than I actually do writing and wrapping up my own projects. Or according to some sites 'my literary masterpieces that the world needs to hear'. ;-)

So I've got a plan. 
(Tongue in cheek.)

1) First decision: do I go with my 'real' name or do I choose a pen name?

2) Then... to dive in I will need a platform to dive/step/tremble off. (Necessary for both traditional and Indie so best I get on with it.)

3) That is, a website (domain, host, content) that links to my blog, facebook, twitter, pinterest, LinkedIn and so on.

All the while remembering that I already have some of these that are related to my personal and current professional life.  Hmmm! And some bits I would like to transfer to my new self-hosted, wordpress themed site.

At this point I feel like being on the publishing-pursuit trail is a little like
creating a whole new section of my life.
It is! Revelation.
An 'aha!' moment.

Currently I am on the verge of setting up the infrastructure for the platform. Phew!

4) Next step: a following. Also known as tribe, audience, supporters. (All the while remembering I've not got anything for them to be supporting; I have not scribed for my tribe so to speak.)

5) As soon as I'm ready I'll take on the Twitter Challenge (offered by The Write Practice) to create some momentum. Simultaneously I will comment on other blogs and sites and hopefully offer some useful information or entertaining analyses.

And I will research other ways to build my 'following' so my
 'platform' is a sturdy and useful 'diving board'.

6) In the meantime I WILL complete at least one project so I can experience the self-publishing process all the way from the neurons in my  'right-brain' through to Amazon and/or the other book sales options I have noted in my research.

7) I am considering investing in a manuscript assessment and an editor and some beta readers.

8) I will develop a marketing and promotion strategy to complement my initial foray into the Publishing world.

9) PUBLISH. For this first one I believe I am going Indie. Ta-Dah!

As I progress I believe I may be more inclined to investigate traditional options: agents and publishers.

 I will be wiser, I will have my writer/author persona electronically established
and I'll be diving like an Olympian. 

Thank you for bearing witness to my inaugural publishing (aka publishing debut) planning session. Your feedback and comments are very welcome. ;-)

Cheers Dawn :-)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Cerise sunset

Something a little poetic to celebrate the final salute of of our first day of Autumn in the southern hemisphere... 

Cerise veins weave filaments across the stretch of tiring light. Sun sinks deeper into the darkening sea.  I shiver. The last frail, pale pink wisps of stratus dissolve into delicate  translucent tapestry. Such beauty. One solar solo tear reaches my lip. One final ecliptic crimson kiss.
And sun slides beneath the inky line 
to shine;
upon another.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Getting unstuck

Photograph Creative Commons (f/4)

Hi Folks,

I've stalled a bit in the novel writing process. I've hit the proverbial wall. I could see it was mostly anxiety about how to craft a sub-plot and make it 'real' and 'believable'. And I was nervous about the character with traits unfolding that I wasn't ready to tackle.

The Write Practice  once again comes to the rescue. 
A prompt to dialogue with a character
and see what he/she really wants. 

The outcome of that conversation follows.


"Hey Gwen, I'm stuck. I can't work out how this next plot twist can happen. I'm not even sure I want it to."

"Well about time you got back to me. It's dark here, as you well know. I need to move. Maybe now's not the right time. Maybe for now all I need is to know he's there. I'm feeling excited but confident enough in my cause to be patient. It is unfolding like clockwork. My old friend delivering the goods yet again. Perhaps we can focus on her. Deepen her love. Entrench her further into the misery of love. I can be patient. Confirm my target; observe my prey."

"I feel like I'm giving up. Like I'm too scared to go there."

Gwen smiled and shuddered. Her lips curled toward the blackness in her eyes.

"I can be very patient. I can calculate from afar. I want to deepen my connection with Shaz; slowly let her in. There is no hurry."

She glanced back toward the busy street where the three of them stood huddled in conversation as if she had never left.

"I have to go back now. Lead me back. Trust me. Let the lovers love. This dark lantern needs only a brief flicker of hope to keep black it's burning flame. Come, come, we must move on."

Gwen tugged my writing hand.

"Write me in the longer way. I want to visit her home. See more of her life. She will assist; bear witness to my final strike."

"But Gwen I feel like I'm putting off the inevitable. 
I'm avoiding the dark
You're scaring me."

Gwen twitched, irritation lit the embers in her eyes.

"Don't you leave me too. Wasn't once enough? You owe me. I know you." She pushed me toward the door.

"You're in too deep. This is your story and you need me. 
Write me back in. Write me in the long way. 
I'll be stronger. I'll be waiting."

She opened the creaky door and slipped back out onto the busy street. Through the tinted glass I could see her laughing, pointing back at the door, sweeping her co-characters into her shadowy net. Saving them all for another day. If only they knew how close to the end they had been.

I shrunk back into the shadows; reluctant, unconvinced and shaking.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Afraid of spoons

Another 15 minute practice from The Write Practice

Photograph Creative Commons (Pearlzenith)

The prompt: For as long as he could remember, he had been afraid of spoons.

Their continuous lip sneering 360 degrees of sharpened steel. The threat of their pennywise concave reflection, promising horror and nightmares. Steven turned away from the table. Nausea tickled the back of his throat. 

"Eat your soup," she said, "it's delicious."

He smiled and wiped his clammy hands across his trousers.
"I'm not that hungry," he lied.

The soup spoon glinted in the light. Tracey scooped  a full spoon of bean soup and lifted it slowly  to her mouth. She sipped then slurped then wrapped her mouth around the  full belly of stainless cutlery.
Steven gagged. The knot in his stomach ground against his ribs. He looked to the door.

"I need to go," he said " I have things to do."
"Here try this it's delicious," Tracey leaned across the table, smiling, holding out a full spoon of steaming soup.

"No for goodness sake. Get it away from me." Steven swiped the leering lip of steel from Tracey's grip. Mixed beans slopped across the white linen and hot soupy stock sprayed across the floor.

"Keep that spoon a way from me. Keep it away," he hissed pushing away from the table. His chair fell backwards, Tracey shrieked and dropped the steel implement. The spoon landed on Stevens  cutlery, flicked the silver stem of his own soup spoon and pushed the concave steely head wobbling toward the edge of the table.

 "They're dangerous," he cried " you just can't trust them."
"The spoons, the spoons."
"What? Are you for real?" Tracey laughed and shook her blonde hair back over her shoulders. "You're crazy."

"I'm crazy? You're the one using a spoon." Steven's voice was almost a whisper.
"Get away from the table. Get away now."

Afraid of Needles

More practice, just felt to share.
 Ten minutes of total, made up on the spot, make believe.....

The Prompt: Billy is going backpacking through Asia and needs to get vaccination shots.

Therese slumped onto the couch.
"Come on Billy; be a man."
"I hate needles; they hurt. I've always hated them. Why do you have to have so many? Surely they can put it all into one super shot."
"Oh for goodness sake, toughen up you pussy."

Therese smiled at Billy but he could feel her patience waning. She pushed herself up and grabbed her car keys off the coffee table.
"Come on let's go." She pulled her raincoat off of the spindly Ikea stand and turned toward the front door.
"Where  are we going?"
"We're meeting Mum for lunch remember."
Billy grunted, picked up his mobile from the small stand in the hallway and followed Therese out into the
sleet and foreboding grey winter day.

"This weather is depressing," he said.
"Exactly. That's why we're going to the exotic tropics. Temples, and beaches and palms and disease. Ya hear me; disease."

Therese gripped the steering wheel; turned left on Grayson. She swung a sharp late turn in to White Drive. The back wheels screeched as they slid around the corner.
"What are you doing? Where are you going?"
"To the clinic." Therese smiled a little, checked the rear vision mirror and accelerated into the middle lane.
"What? No way. Turn back. You can't make me do it."

Therese indicated left then sharp right and swung wide into the back corner of the clinic car park.

"There's some Rescue Remedy in the glove box. Have a swig. That'll calm ya nerves."

Billy fumbled around in the dark and pulled out a small flask of whiskey.
"That'll do" Therese said opening the drivers door and pulling the keys out of the ignition.
"A man's drink." She winked, climbed out and slammed the door.

Billy was smiling. That's why he loved her so. She'd had it all planned right down to the calming amber tonic that prickled feisty and hot down his throat.

"Where would I be without you?" He said through the misty window to Therese standing at the front of the car with her hands on her hips; all nonchalant warrior and insistent. She couldn't hear him. He didn't want her to.

Billy smiled, took another deep swig, as any real man would. And with whiskey smile he joined his commanding Aztec princess for a walk through the sleet into the chamber of needles and pain.