I started this year expecting little. I was determined to move forward with my writing, but last year had not been kind to me and I wasn’t dreaming big. Now, as I write my summary of writing accomplishments for this year I’m surprising myself.

  • I created an author website (you’re on it)
  • I turned my epic fantasy trilogy into a quartet, splitting book one into two books and doing rewrites and revisions to make the new book one complete (now out waiting on an agent *fingers crossed*).
  • I wrote a stand-alone novel, cross-dimensional fantasy of 65,000 words, have done a 10,000 word re-write so far, but not a full revision, so it’s still in second draft stage. (Working title: Written By The Stars)
  • Wrote 58,000 words on ANOTHER stand-alone novel for NaNoWriMo which is epic fantasy. (Working title: Key, Clocks and Quests)
  • Joined a fantastic writers critique group (fantastic both in the fact it is speculative fiction we write and critique and the fact everyone there is fantastic).
  • Attended my first (and second) writers’ festival
  • Wrote and entered a short story into the Supanova 10th Anniversary competition (I love Supanova so much I really hope I can be a part of it!)
  • Have written several new short stories, most of which are part of my fairy tale re-imagining series.
  • Have beta-read my first novel of another writer’s work.

So all-in-all a fairly productive year as far as an emerging author’s life goes.

Of course a good year needs to be followed with another, so here are my goals for next year:

  1. Finish re-writes/revisions on book 2 of the Storybook Perfect quartet, get it up to standard.
  2. Finish revisions on ‘Written By The Stars’(the 65,000 word novel mentioned before) and start querying with that novel too (If I haven’t landed an agent with current query). If I can afford it, I’d love to buy a manuscript assessment on it as well, both for the novel itself and also to learn from it for further stories.
  3. Complete first draft of Keys, Clocks and Quests (the NaNoWriMo novel). If I have time get it up to snuff too, but I’ve been aiming fairly high so far.
  4. Complete another first draft of a new story (what will I choose? So many ideas!). I’ll probably start it during NaNoWriMo(or Camp NaNoWriMo, I recently signed up) to give me a good boost.
  5. Enter more competitions and start submitting to journals and zines. I haven’t written many short stories, so probably make some more too (got a few ideas, as always the problem is keeping it small)
  6. Start a newsletter with a freebie incentive – I have to write that freebie incentive as well.

I’m not going light on the goals as you can see. If I can achieve what I did this year with no goals set down for myself, what can I achieve this coming year if I do have goals? Let’s see!


What goals have you set yourself? They don’t have to be writing related. Do you have any resolutions you’re determined to finally achieve next year?


I saw this first at Blub from the Burbs and wanted to replicate it for one of my two end of the year posts.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Well for starters I wrote an entire first draft of a novel in two months and change. I also participated in my first NaNoWriMo and won it too (with a different novel’s draft). I also joined a writer’s critique group.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I made no resolutions last year. I achieved very little in 2011 because I was so focused on being an awesome mum (and being totally overwhelmed by it too) so I had no expectations for 2012. That is why I am so thoroughly impressed with myself and what I managed to achieve.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Two friends gave birth this year, one to her second daughter, and the other had her son prematurely (he’s fine). Welcome to the world Florence and Link.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I lost both of my maternal grandparents this year. They followed each other closely in their passing which compounded the loss but also had a bittersweet poetic touch to it.

5. What countries did you visit?
No travel sorry. My largest jaunt was to cross the NSW/QLD border. When I first moved to Brisbane I did that every weekend so no biggie there.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Is it greedy to say money? I’m not talking ludicrous piles (though I wouldn’t refuse it), just enough to keep ahead of the bills so they don’t cause stress.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Is it shameful to confess none? There were some great things that happened, but nothing I can imagine myself commemorating.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Toss a coin between writing the first draft of a novel in two months and change and opening this site.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not managing to get out of debt. Stupid past-self spending all my money.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I was sick CONSTANTLY from mid-May until late August. I picked up a cold and that cold became a flu, then mutated back to a cold ad infinitum. I didn’t want to take antibiotics because I was still breast-feeding Xander (which for those who don’t know means he would get dosed with the antibiotics too) and I was also working a lot because the aforementioned premmie boy was born to my boss so he went on parental leave early and for longer than originally intended. I just had no chance to recuperate.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I didn’t buy a lot of stuff really, probably the awesome Woody (from Toy Story) doll for Xander.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My husband, T-J, for all my crazy crap he puts up with, like the entire month of November (NaNoWriMo) and my general eccentricities.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Ugh, more people than I want to list, but I’ll stick with the vast majority of politicians (both local and foreign) and people like the man who recently went on a shooting spree in a school. There are also a few people from my personal life too, but I’m not going to start shit on the internet.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills. I know, how depressing. Stop being a broke writer Kirstie!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My writer’s critique group – everyone is so awesome! I also was really excited about the Supanova 10th anniversary too.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
I didn’t listen to the radio very much so I can’t say really. I like the positive message in The Script’s “Hall of Fame”, so while it may not remind me of 2012, it’ll probably be in my inspirational playlist for a long time.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
I think I’m happier this year because I feel like I’m finally making progress on my dream of being a writer. I’m definitely thinner, I lost 15kgs thanks to the aforementioned illness. As far as richer and poorer I’m poorer 🙁

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Rest. I hardly take a break and just sit down anymore, I’m always trying to write, or entertain Xander all while trying to clean the house and have a cuppa. The only times I slow down and rest are when I’m seriously ill and have someone else watching Xander.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worry and stress. Oh and procrastinate. I’m sure I could have achieved even more if I procrastinated less.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At my parents unit with T-J, Xander and my mum and dad. Small simple and by the beach. Xander loved his present so much he fell asleep with it.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
Stayed in love.

22. What was your favourite TV program?
New show, or carrying over from previous years? If it’s a continuing show my answer is Doctor Who, if it’s a new show I was really enjoying Emily Owens MD – then I heard it was cancelled, not happy.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don’t hate easily (not true hate) and that list is very small. No one was added to that list this year. I’m actually grateful for that.

24. What was the best book you read?
Non-fiction Stephen King’s On Writing, Fiction: Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, in manga With The Light.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I don’t think I discovered anything this year. Well, unless you count podcasts, I’ve finally started listening to them.

26. What did you want and get?
The Atelier Meruru collector’s edition game and a Kindle Paperwhite.

27. What did you want and not get?
An agent/published (but I also could have worked harder on that)

28. What was your favourite film of this year?
The Avengers, nuff said.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I held a masquerade ball and hit the big 3-0

30. What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Reading and writing again. I did so little of that in 2011 and to be back on track is a delight.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
I went with a daring style that I’ve been wearing since my teen years: geek t-shirt and jeans. If it’s cold a long sleeve shirt goes under the geek shirt, if it’s hot the jeans turn into jeans shorts.

My cutting edge style.
My cutting edge style.
In summer shorter pants may be required. Totoro cosplayer optional.
In summer shorter pants may be required. Totoro cosplayer optional.
Longer sleeved shirt worn under the geeky mash-up shirt to keep you warmer in winter
Longer sleeved shirt worn under the geeky mash-up shirt to keep you warmer in winter

32. What kept you sane?
I’m sane?

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Chris Hemsworth, again, nuff said.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
I’m generally not much of a politics kind of girl, but I was very interested when Julia Gillard called bullshit on some of the sexists in parliament.

35. Who did you miss?
My parents. They left just before my birthday and only returned home a few weeks ago. They were caravaning around Australia and I’ve never been separated from them that long. It’s also very hard to communicate with people in the Australian outback, mobile phones don’t work as well, so it was even difficult just to chat on the phone. It may seem odd that it bothers someone of my age so much, but family is extremely important to me.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I didn’t physically meet anyone new, but I met many great people online and am loving the blogging community far more than I ever thought I would.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
Sleep is very important. You fall apart with less than five hours a night, and when you’re holding down three jobs at once you need to be together.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Why use someone else’s words when I can use my own? “The first step into the blinding light, drawing ever closer to the sun” (part of a folk song sung by people in the world of my third book (working title) Keys, Clocks and Quests).


While waiting for an agent’s reply to my query I’ve been trying to keep my mind otherwise occupied so I don’t go through the yo-yo of emotions I do whenever someone looks at my work. This is pretty easy during Christmas(isn’t EVERYONE crazy busy right now?) fortunately, but I still need something to distract myself with so that I don’t check my email every five seconds while on the internet. So I decided to check my ‘web presence’.

Anyone who wants to see their work published (traditional and indie alike) has probably read somewhere that they need a platform. For those who haven’t heard of the platform, this is the place where people can easily find you and your work, a place from which you try to sell your books. It isn’t JUST about sales, but that is a key component and purportedly every agent and publisher takes platform into consideration (though the exception would be if your work was so mind blowing they just don’t care, but I can’t imagine anyone sensible relying on that).

How does one check one’s web presence? Why by doing an act which is claimed by some as the height of narcissism: you google yourself.

So, I googled myself. The first time I tried this was pre-pregnancy and I did so partly out of boredom and partly because I’d watched three different TV shows in the last week that mentioned it and since I’d never tried I figured I’d give it a bash and see what came up. My search was automatically re-directed to Kirstie Alley. No thanks, I know my own name. When I corrected it all that came up was my personal facebook profile and a Myspace account I’d forgotten I even had.

Fortunately a whole lot pops up now and the entire first two pages only direct you to various pages of mine. The only thing that bothered me was that THIS PAGE, this website you’re reading right now did not show up. I couldn’t figure out why my webpage and blog didn’t show up, I must have flunked as far as SEO goes. Then I realised I don’t state my full name anywhere on this webpage. In some kind of internet privacy fear I must have automatically not included my last name.

Let me rectify that.

Hello everyone, my name is Kirstie Olley and I am a speculative fiction writer. Pleased to meet you.


So the world didn’t end yesterday, which is good because I spent a lot of yesterday prepping for the future.

I took part in my first webinar: 7 Secrets For Amazing Author Websites. The webinar was free (the best price of all) and ran by Thomas Umstattd of Author Media and Rachelle Gardner.

Easiest way to keep your child quiet for an hour (to be used sparingly)
Easiest way to keep your child quiet for an hour so you can join a webinar (to be used sparingly)

Never having done one before I was very uncertain of what to do, and with my modem being older than my son I thought I should test the connection as early as possible so logged into the link half an hour before the start time. I was surprised that about thirty people were already logged in and one of the hosts was there. It took me a while to get the sound working loud enough to be heard over Toy Story 3 (the only way I could be certain Xander would be still and quiet for an hour), but I had everything ready with time to spare.

For something free there was a lot of quality information, which is a surprise sometimes, though with Rachelle Gardner’s name attached I assumed a certain level of quality (hence signing up and making the time for it). I know there were a few things I was already doing (or planning to do) but there were also plenty of things I had not yet thought about but now will.

I appreciated the fact they also looked at websites for authors from the perspectives of different types of authors and how they would need to address matters, eg/ fiction vs. non-fiction, traditionally published vs. indie published, published vs. not-yet-published. That they took the time to address these matters shows a lot of thought and I’m sure everyone was grateful for the extra consideration.

The thing that keeps popping up WHEREEVER I go on the net about author sites, book promotion ect, an idea everyone praises as the second coming and that is the newsletter. The newsletter is where you (literally you, not me) give me(the website owner/writer) your email address so once a month I can send you a newsletter updating you on what I’ve been posting and doing. Most sites offer people some incentive to give up their email address, like a free ‘how to self-publish guide’ or ‘how to be a better writer guide’. I don’t want to be one of those people giving advice on a field I’m not an expert in, so I thought perhaps it would be better for me to offer an exclusive short story. Free of charge, only available to newsletter subscribers, this short story will serve as a sample of my writing as well (since most of my blog posts are written in a different style to my actual novels).

Does that sound interesting to anyone? Would such an offer encourage you to sign up (as well, of course, as the promise I don’t spam you or sell your email to anyone)?

To wrap up, the webinar was detailed and fun. I loved how the organisers stayed on after the official finish time for quite a while answering questions. Sincerely, thank-you Rachelle Gardner and Thomas Umstattd. I will definitely be keeping my eye out for other webinars.


Right now I’m beta reading a book for one of the other authors in my critique group. I’ve paused all my other usual reading so I can focus fully on this.

Beta reading, for those not familiar with the term, is when an author asks you to read their book before it sees publication. Some authors do it before getting an agent, some before seeking a traditional publisher, some before self-publishing. A beta-reader is a tester of a novel. They read the book and hopefully give feedback on strengths and weaknesses in the text.

Beta readers can be as simple as your mum, or a friend who likes the genre you write in, or they could be someone more critical, like another writer or critique partner.

If you’ve been asked to beta read by a writer in your life feel good about it – that person has just told you that your opinion matters to them. Your feedback can shape the book.

As Uncle Ben said, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. Now you’re a beta reader you aren’t just reading for the sheer joy of it (though hopefully you’ll still enjoy it), you’re reading to help your writer friend. They need you to tell them if a character is behaving inconsistently, or if they changed the timeline, or if they generally just confused the heck out of you.

Now don’t crush your author buddy either. They want to know what didn’t work, but they also LOVE to hear what did. If you fell in 2D love with one of the characters, fess up – as long as you don’t go too crazy fan-girl(or boy) over it then the author will feel chuffed that they created a character so realistic and likeable. If you couldn’t put the book down because it had you in a literary stranglehold they might be so happy to hear that they suffer a mild heart attack.

If you’re a beta reader it is a good idea to keep a notepad near-by (or if the writer said you could, write directly on the manuscript) so you can write down thoughts and comments immediately.

Some things you want to keep in mind are:

  • Plot, both the pacing and whether the events are interesting and believable,
  • Characterisation, are the characters interesting and consistent?
  • Do you feel compelled to continue on?

If the author asked you to look at something specific definitely keep that in the forefront of your mind.

If you’re a writer yourself and asked to beta-read chances are your author friend is expecting a more thorough run-down from you than what they expect from their sister and mum. Feel free to ask them more questions, like ‘would you like me to look closely at adverb over-use?’ or ‘do you want me to keep an eye on your speech tags?’. They will let you know what they want and hopefully you can help them polish their work to a glorious shine that makes you so envious you spring back into working on your own novel.

The most important thing to do as a beta-reader is tell the truth. Yes you might hurt your writer’s feelings a bit by saying that their protagonist just acts like an idiot in that scene in the middle of the book, but if you thought that you need to say so. You will not be the only one to notice and question the problem and the last thing you want is for your writer to publish the story with that flaw and receive flak for it from all and sundry on the internet. You can soften the blow by sandwiching it between compliments, but give your honest opinion.

So if the writer in your life asks you to beta read be glad that this person considers you special enough to see and help with the uncut gemstone they’ve been toiling on for years.


I’m joining in with Mary Tod over at A Writer of History today for her blog hop The Next Big Thing. The writers joining in are all asked to answer a few questions about their current work in progress, so I chose the more recent of my two WIPs.

What is the (working title) of your book?

Key, Clocks and Quests. It is a very rough title, but a step up from the last working title ‘Eden and Even’ after two of my favourite characters. I often tend to name initial ideas after my favourite characters until a real title comes to mind.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

If I tell you why I spoil one of my twists, so I’ll write the next part of text in white, click and drag your mouse over it to select the text if you don’t mind a spoiler. There are plenty of other twists in the story I don’t ruin.

I wanted to write a story where the quest was handed out by evil people, but the questers themselves are good.

I also really wanted a male lead for once. I’m always writing from a woman’s perspective.

What genre does your book fall under?

With ‘quest’ in the title it’s easy to tell my story is high fantasy. I’ve done some fun world building with this one, lots of chimeric beasts and odd ways for mankind to cohabitate with them.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This is a little tough, do you go with acting talent or looks? I mean, what’s the point of a perfect image match if the actor can’t handle the range of the character? A few of my characters are very unusual (like the Captain of the King’s High Guard with only one arm). The only characters I can match to looks and talent actor-wise are these three:

Danny Trejo

I can see a slightly younger Danny Trejo doing a great job as Dirkhart (my bad ass princesses champion) in fact now I’ve thought of it he’s perfect, he’s got the looks spot on and we know he can do bad ass, not to mention he’s generally awesome.

Matt Smith

I’d love Matt Smith for my protagonist Hayd. He’s a little awkward, but highly observant, and could easily transition into cold and regal when needed. Don’t believe me? Watch some Doctor Who. I love Matt Smith, but he doesn’t quite look as young as my 19 year old protagonist, not that I’d say no if he showed up at the casting calls!

Cary Elwes

Cary Elwes would be a damn good Savrant, if it weren’t for the fact he has both arms (I’m sure they could fix that in post-production). He’s also has that suave cockiness and good comedic timing that match the character well.

That’s about all of the great matches I can think of, but I have some very distinct images of the remaining characters.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Apprentice knight Hayd joins his master on a quest for their monarchs, but there are more problems involved with the quest than he could ever have imagined, not the least of which is the boy he’s fallen in love with.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I hope represented, but I have yet to get an agent. Self-publishing isn’t off the table, but I would like to experience traditional publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It’s still being worked on. During NaNoWriMo I managed to get down nearly 60,000 words, but I’ve still got another 40-60,000 more to go. If I stick to my schedule I should be done by mid-January 2013.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Good question. It starts out very traditional quest style, like an early Shannara novel (The Shannara series by Terry Brooks), but then I go a bit mental and I must say I’ve yet to read anything that is like this. One could say you feel like you jump from traditional high fantasy into a crazy manga storyline.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Sadly no particular person inspired the book, though the theme of love not being restricted by boundaries of gender or race are born from my affection for my friends who are living that truth for themselves and how I wish the world would be more accepting of this way of life and love.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The quest is falling apart at the seams right from the start, with the heroes being gathered to take part all falling short somehow, like the most powerful magician being senile so struggling to remember spells. All of the characters should seem vaguely familiar to fans of high fantasy, but each with their own crazy twist.

The world is very interesting, with so much danger beyond each city wall there is little point in racism so I’m working in a multi-cultural world. I’ve worked hard on creating both the creatures and the way they interact with the humans.

Thanks to Mary for including me in the blog hop. I promise to keep anyone interested in the story updated as I progress from first draft to final then publication.


December is here, so long to National Novel Writing month, you were good to me and my third novel. You got me 58,577 words into what I’m estimating will be a 100-120,000 word novel. For anyone interested in how I did it, read my previous post, but for those who are curious as to the content of my novel you’ll be glad to hear that in a few days I will be posting as part of a blog hop. ‘The Next Big Thing’ blog hop is being hosted by Mary Tod over on A Writer of History and my post date is December 5. I’ll be giving you some great info on the story and how the idea came into existence, so watch this spot.

An idea has been brewing in my brain for a few months now, ever since I first stumbled upon the Australian Women Writer’s website and saw their Australian Women Writer’s challenge. I started thinking: how much do I read Australian speculative fiction? Well, I love Kate Forsyth from back at high school’s end when I was reading the Witches if Eileanan saga which somehow I never finished reading (I know, what is wrong with me? It was a case of the books were coming out as I read them and there was a big gap, I lost track and bam, ten years later),  Isobelle Carmody was the woman who inspired me to write fantasy with her Obernewtyn Chronicles (yes, blame her! Before that I was writing children’s slice of life (I was ten) and Goosebumps inspired tales (repeat, I was ten)). Aside from those Aussie goddesses of fantasy I haven’t read much Aussie stuff. For shame!

So here’s my self-inflicted wake up slap. I challenge myself to read at least one new Aussie spec-fic author each month next year. My champion challenge will be to finish any series I have not yet finished by those authors as well.

I’m also hereby inviting you all to join me. If you’re struggling to think of any Australian spec-fic authors, let me give you a hand:

Alison Goodman

Alison Croggan

Lian Hearn (ok, not aussie born, but she’s lived here for nearly 40 years, you’ve got to hand over citizenship for that)

Kim Wilkins

Pamela Freeman

Garth Nix

Fiona McIntosh

Traci Harding

Kate Forsyth

Isobelle Carmody

Tansy Rayner Roberts

Rowena Cory Daniells

Marianne DePierres

Paula Weston

Now this list is obviously incomplete, if you know any one missing let me know, if you are an author and want your name added tell me and I’ll include you. I will not hold being self-published against you either, so give me your name, I’d love to add it.

I’m working on making a Goodreads group for this challenge as well, so if you’re keen, join me there to take part.


Nothing beats feeling like a winner.

Here’s my winners certificate from NaNoWriMo.


I’m a little sad I hadn’t come to a decision on a proper title, so the working title is what’s listed, but there are worse things in this world and others.

The shameful part however is that after passing the 50,000 word mark my pace dropped right off. I’ve barely done 5,000 words in the last few days – though China Mieville is partly to blame since I started reading Un Lun Dun.

A quick list of tips for anyone trying to pass the home stretch with NaNoWriMo. These tips are advice I used. I hope none of them horrify any of you so badly that you never visit this site again.

Put down the books for a few days. It’s tough, I know, I thought I might die, but reading time became writing time.

Who cares about house work! As long as it wasn’t actual filth (because that is wrong) just clutter and toys all over the floor I let it slide and just cleaned once a week for an hour or two block instead of every day till it looked shiny. This also avoided the craptacular feeling when Xander would promptly up-end his toy chest or a box of cookies (that I have no idea how he got a hold of) all over my fresh cleaned floor.

Minimise internet time. I had a strict 15m on facebook for morning and evening, a ban on Pinterest and since I wasn’t reading pretty much ignored Goodreads. The only internet I didn’t cut back significantly was blogging, though I did skim read my RSS feed more viciously.

Typing one handed while cuddling Xander. This may sound horrible, but Xander still enjoys being cuddled to sleep, and I am an indulgent mother, so he would snuggle up, I’d throw one arm over and type with the other hand. I want to ensure any horrified readers that this was the only time I multi-tasked his care. We still went to the park every non-raining day, went to swimming lessons, played in his sand pit, read books together, built things, blew bubbles, practiced with his shape sorter ect ect and I was fully engaged with him those times, it was only nap wind down time and when he was actually asleep that I did this.

Interestingly, because of Xander’s sleep patterns this month, I couldn’t use the getting up early and staying up late method which helped me write 65,000 words in two months earlier this year. He did have lovely big naps in the middle of the afternoon though which gave me one and a half to two and a half hours each day.

So, with what I’ve learned from my first NaNoWriMo it is clear next year I need to intentionally set a higher goal so I don’t peter out at the end, and that I should hire a cleaner next year.

Now, off to finish that first draft that NaNoWriMo has helped me start.


So I had this brilliant idea to change my header. Inspired by the old school books already there I imagined gathering up books from my library and arranging them together with two bookends. The books would be favourite books, featuring my fave authors and genres all at once and the bookends would further this idea.

It isn’t easy to sum yourself up in one image, even with a great array of books. After a lot of thought and fussing I finally selected my winners.

However the picture didn’t look anywhere near as cool as I had hoped. The image did do the job of perfectly showing my eclectic taste, but it looks too messy.

So, since I put so much effort in, but am ultimately no longer planning on using the picture I’m going to post it here for you to look at so see how well a picture of a bookshelf can sum a person up.

If you can list all the books gathered here (and the name of the girl who is the left bookend) without reading the list below we need to get in contact with each other, because you might just be my soul mate (in a non-romantic way obviously, since I’m happily married).

The planned header

The figurine standing as a bookend on the left is of Rin from Hiroaki Samura’s Blade of the Immortal manga series.  The books are (from left to right):

The English translation of ‘Atelier Chronicle’, an art book covering most of the Atelier series of video games,

Kaz Cooke’s Kidwrangling, my child raising bible due to its openness, funniness and the fact it will offer multiple options, not just ‘let your kid cry themselves to sleep’,

Stephen King’s On Writing,

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. As if there could possibly be a better author combo in the world!

‘Tortall and other Lands’ Tamora Pierce’s short story collection. I picked it because otherwise I’d have to try and fit in one of her quartets and that would take up too much space,

The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks, a favourite from my youth,

David & Leigh Eddings ‘The Pawn Of Prophecy’ the first fantasy book I read,

Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle. Do I need to explain the awesomeness that is this book?

Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody, a book that moved me so deeply it started me writing fantasy(before that I wrote Goosebumps inspired horror and childhood slice of life/adventure). I wish I had the copy I first read, but early 20’s Kirstie handed it in to a second hand bookstore.

The BBC’s ‘Dalek survival Guide’ because I am an unabashed Whovian,

Crisis on Infinite Earths, Wolfman and Perez’s ground breaking DC release. I originally considered putting a Teen Titans comic there, since they were what started me on American comics, but none of them had the title or artists near the bottom, only the DC logo.

Gate 7, CLAMP’s new title. I am a mad CLAMP fangirl, 20+ artbooks (and that NOT counting the 15th anniversary CLAMP no kiseki artbook series), just about every translated series, and 30+ figurines.

With The Light, by Keiko Tobe, I don’t need to explain this if you’ve been reading my blog for long. Just go here and here.

Battle Angel Alita, Last Order vol 7, by Yukito Kishiro. I love this series, madly. My passion is primarily for the characters. I selected this volume in particular because if a hilarious story behind it. I won’t waste space on that story here, but if you ask nicely I’ll probably tell you it in the comments.

From Far Away by Kyoko Hikawa, a beautiful cross-dimensional manga,

Honey and Clover by Chica Umino, a magnificent slice of life josei manga. I use a picture of one of the characters as my profile image still in various places around the net (including my gravatar),

Aquarium by Tomoko Taniguchi, one of my absolute favourite manga-ka

A notebook, because it’s a writer’s staple of life.

And lying underneath it all the art book for Kiki’s Delivery Service, my second favourite Studio Ghibli movie. My favourite is Whispers of the Heart, but I haven’t been able to find the art book 🙁

Wrapping it up with the right side book end, a family of maneki-nekos I bought from the Meiji Jingu shrine in Tokyo.

How many were you already familiar with? Do you have any pictures that sum you up well?


Oh Yeah!

As followers of my facebook page would know, on Monday I hit the legendary 50,000 words in my NaNoWriMo novel. As awesome as that is, in my plotting I projected the novel would actually be 100,000 to 120,000 long, typical epic fantasy stand-alone length, so I’m barely half way through, so I’ve got to keep up the momentum.

The other day, on The Vixen Gamer’s facebook profile I found the following task set by Ray Bradbury for writers. He suggests you write down ten things you love about writing and ten things you don’t really love. Here’s mine:

I like:

1 – The feeling when the story just flows and I can write for ages almost without pause. My husband says I can write faster than he reads and that makes me grin so much there’s no space left on my face for my cheeks,

2 – The way that even if I have to drive a long distance by myself, my characters and scenarios just play in my head and keep me company, also works for boring periods at work and menial tasks around the house,

3 – The feeling when you write a sentence that sings, and you didn’t even try!

4 – Re-reading my work and getting wrapped up, excited and emotional – even though I know what’s going to happen

5 – Creating characters and making all their scars, complexities, dreams and fears, even though I don’t get to share it all with the reader – those bits are my little secret *Cheshire cat-style grin*.

6 – I write far better than I speak, I’m more articulate and communicate more easily,

7 – The swell of excitement I get when I write a new idea down for the first time and it just keeps expanding on itself,

8 – Being able to write a character that may make a real person feel good about themselves or smile when they identify with them,

9 – Making magic systems, races, cultures, creatures, entire worlds – I must have a god complex,

10 – Having an awesome excuse to research fun things (like medieval inventions and Greek mythology) and calling it work.


1 – Stopping at ten for the ‘like’ list,

2 – The fear that people will be enraged or full of hate (for me or the character) at my portrayal of ‘different’ characters,

3 – When I desperately want to keep writing, but either my son needs me or the housework is overdue to be done or I have to go to work >.< also the guilt that follows the ‘I’d rather be writing’ feeling,

4 – When my personal mood differs from that in the passage I am writing and that feeling begins to seep into the scene but doesn’t fit at all

5 – When I NEED to stick to the current story but another idea just keeps banging on the door like a salesman that just won’t give up,

6 – Pressure to live up to the expectations of certain people who seem to think one book published and I’ll be JK Rowling or Stephen King,

7 – Writing ‘rules’ that make you second guess yourself,

8 – That there is never enough time to write everything I want

9 –?

10 – ?

I couldn’t quite come up with ten dislikes. Oh well, a good sign I guess.

Any you agree/disagree with? Anything you might add? Are there ten pros and cons for your dream job?