Author Archives: Kirstie Olley

About Kirstie Olley

A mother of an adorable and energetic baby boy, an enthusiastic JRPG gamer, a prolific writer with more ideas than she knows what to do with and a loving wife. Dreams of seeing at least one of her stories published.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

Finished just in time for the weekend ;p

And yes, I probably will have chicken for dinner tonight. Most likely chicken schnitzel.

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Filed under All Write!

NaNoWriMo Update

I made this meme back for my first NaNo and I just love using it ;p

I made this meme back for my first NaNo and I just love using it ;p

Just a quick post to let you all know I passed the 30,000 word point in NaNo today.

If you’re interested in what I’m writing this NaNo, check out the description on my NaNo page. If you like the sound of it feel free to cheer me on in the comments (I’m sick at the moment so every word I type feels like a miracle and I’m not so proud as to not ask for help – and by help I mean shamelessly asking of praise ;p )

I’m also trying to get some flash fiction typed out for an end of year rush to see if I can’t get one more publication credit before New Years (not likely but it definitely won’t happen if i don’t try at all ;p )

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Guilt and Unsubscribing

As some of you know I have three email addresses which I refer to as my ‘spam email’ (for whenever you fill out a form and it asks for an email, it was made in computer class when I was fourteen and flies my Sailor Moon loving flag embarrassingly high), my ‘professional email'(for those signups which my embarrassing email address is not suitable as well as the newsletters I want to receive and more professional contacts such as doctors, therapists, schools ect) and my ‘writing email'(for submissions, competitions and this website).

Unfortunately of late I’ve been getting more and more spam that my spam filter isn’t catching, not to mention that the number of newsletters I’m subscribed to is getting crazy.

A lot of those newsletters used to give me great information, but after a year or more of subscription were either diverting from the information I wanted or were just repackaging the same info. This meant I kept avoiding reading them. Then I started avoiding checking my emails, which made a bigger back log and today I knew I had to take a stand.

I needed to unsubscribe.

But I felt (feel even) guilty unsubscribing from what used to be a great source of information, newsletters that have taught me so much. Yet my time is precious, particularly during the hectic fun of NaNoWriMo. So I had to say goodbye to these old friends. A fond farewell, acknowledging how much they had taught me over the years alongside a mental promise to keep reading the blogs that most of them originated from.

I can’t say for sure how much time this will have freed up for me in the long run, but at least my inboxes won’t be such a daunting prospect from now on.

the TL;DR lesson from this post is don’t feel guilty unsubscribing if newsletters are clogging up your time.

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Filed under Raves, Reviews and Rants

Uber October Round-Up

I didn’t post even once last month o.0 that’s not like me at all!

I was busy, organising a big holiday, experiencing the big holiday, getting back and unpacking and recovering from aforementioned holiday, an MRI, the Brisbane Writers Group Convention, driving down south of the border for a close family friend’s 60th, and of course endless agonising over whether or not to do NaNo while I’m as sick as I have been the last 2-3 weeks.

P1220005The holiday was Xander’s first time on a plane. He loved it when  we were flying through the clouds like Hiccup on Toothless’s back. Luckily we had no popped ears so tear free – thanks to his chewy straw drink bottle and lollipops ;p . Plus the plane ride being a short affair definitely helped.

BSCIt was pretty awesome when we came across a bush stone-curlew too ;p (if you’re not sure why I care, check out this post, this one, this one, and this one – long story short though, I’m obsessed).

I spent a long time agonising over whether I would be able to do NaNo this year, and I figured, heck I might as well try. You can check out a bit more about what I’m doing here.

As for this month, I’m looking forward to several games releases (though thanks to NaNo I’ll probably not do much playing), and thought I’d share this amazing trailer with you ;p

I would play the hell out of that game ;p

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Filed under My Family

Fantasy Life 3DS – A First Taste Review

I love gaming. As anyone who has read my bio knows, the only thing I miss from my pre-baby life is being able to waste a whole day playing games. I still can fit the time in, but often that means either not writing (ohnoes!) or not cleaning (not quite as bad, but you feel pretty guilty about it after a while ;p ). The lack of time means that by the time I finish playing a game it’s old news and I’d feel kinda backwards posting a review.

The solution: ‘first taste reviews’. Working in a video games store as a day job means I rarely miss out on a game on release day, and I’m usually so excited I find some time over the following few days to at least get a start in so I’m hoping to start writing some reviews on how the game feels at the start.

artwork used on the Australian cover

artwork used on the Australian cover

Fantasy Life 3DS is the latest offering from Level 5 (who gave us Ni No Kuni and the Professor Layton series). You reside in the fantasy realm of Reveria and the story unfolds in this land.

The game has a very MMO feel to it. After you customise your appearance (very similar to making a Mii) you then get to choose your job, known as your Life, with many options to choose from: alchemist, paladin, mercenary, hunter, magician, cook, tailor, blacksmith, woodcutter, carpenter, angler, and miner.

Unlike with some MMOs though, don’t feel too pressured by the choice, you aren’t locked in that job forever. Heck you’re only locked in that job when you’re playing a chapter of the storyline. As soon as the chapter’s finished you can change. And as many times as you want. I’ve already been a paladin, alchemist, miner, blacksmith, tailor, angler, woodcutter, and carpenter. And the game’s only been out three days ;p

Fantasy-Life-per-3DS-625x320Changing jobs allows you to satisfy all of the different requests from townsfolk (of course there are townsfolk requests, this is an RPG of course ;p ).

I’ve been so busy playing around with changing Lives(and leveling them up) and fulfilling requests I’ve only done the first few chapters of the storyline. The story still appears quite basic at the moment with certain ‘twists’ upcoming seeming pretty obvious(, but I’ll reserve ultimate judgement on the story when I’m a bit further along. The premise is interesting still, so don’t worry that it’ll be boring.

Napdragon and I chilling in the East Grassy Plains (actual in game image)

Napdragon and I chilling in the East Grassy Plains (actual in game image)

Skills you learn in one Life (like mining, woodcutting, fishing) can still be used when in other jobs(as long as you have lived the first life long enough to learn the skills before changing to the other job). So if you’re a paladin, but you’ve been a miner, and you come across a platinum ore deposit on the field you can just whip out your pick axe and start mining.

Because of this my personal recommendation would be to get to apprentice rank (or ideally adept) in miner, woodcutter, and angler Lives as early as possible.

The pretty forest spirit Elmie and I

The pretty forest spirit Elmie and I

You can also save yourself a lot of dosh (I love that they call the currency ‘dosh’) by using tailor, carpenter, blacksmith, and alchemist Lives. If you sew your own clothes, make your own healing potions, craft your own weapons, armor, and tools then you spend a lot less. I’m a money hoarder(at least at the beginning of games) but I hate to not have the best equipment possible.

I’d give anyone planning on playing the game the tip of: when picking your first Life pick one of the active classes (which includes woodcutters and miners, not just mercenaries, paladins, hunters, and magicians) because the others don’t have challenges to complete out on the field. If you pick a Life with challenges on the field you’ll meet some of those challenges just doing the storyline and level up that life faster. A good idea for anyone who doesn’t take their time with games (like I do) too.

largeI’ve yet to try out any of the Streetpass features (having not streetpassed anyone >.< ) so I can’t comment on them just yet, and I’ve yet to use the internet features also. If I’m particularly impressed or disillusioned I’ll report back for sure.

Overall I’m having a lot of fun with the game and unless the storyline really lets me down this will definitely be one of the best games for me this year.

fantasy-life-poster-concept-art

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Filed under Raves, Reviews and Rants

Who Doesn’t Love Free Books?

Free at last!

Free at last!

Seriously, is there anyone out there who doesn’t love free books?

Well, you can now get your copy of 18 (containing my short story Nightfall) for free!

Grab it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Inktera, or Scribd now.

Don’t forget there’s also a whole range of free short stories by me on my Free Fiction page here.

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Filed under Hmmm This Could Work

The Best Printer For A Writer

It’s that time again. Time for a new printer. My current one prints unevenly when the toner runs low, but now it does that even when the toner is new. Not to mention since it’s a colour laser printer it’s always yelling at me that some colour is running low.

I’m sticking with laser but will probably go with black/monochrome instead of colour this time. I’m looking for good quality and high ppm. Affordability is paramount – broke writers and all that jazz ;p

Anyone have any suggestions?

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Filed under Musings

Vision Writers At Brisbane Writers Festival 2014

me critiquing with my usual gesticulating gusto

me critiquing with my usual gesticulating gusto (far right at podium)

As I mentioned early last month my writers group, Vision Writers, were doing an open meeting at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival yesterday.

While it was quite different to the round table style meetings we usually have, we had to work with the auditorium we’d been assigned and the small stage did not have space for a table big enough to fit us all.

We still handed out our critiques, going to the podium when it was our turn to provide feedback, and even a few of our usual jokes and quirks (like Talitha Kalago’s refusal to fit into the two minute time limit(which she gets away with because her feedback is always so stellar and thorough) and my tendency to gesticulate) managed to slip through, giving everyone in the audience a real taste of our meetings.

Afterwards we fielded a few questions, like the definition of speculative fiction, and even sold a few copies of the paperback version of our anthology, 18.

It was a great session and lots of fun and who knows, if things go well we might be back for round two in 2015 ;p

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Filed under Appearances

Australian Spec-Fic Authors Challenge 2014 – August Round-Up

kaleidoscopeFor the month of August I read Kaleidoscope.

I’ve been a fan of this anthology before I ever read it, before it was even compiled. I helped with the crowdfunding for Kaleidoscope – you can see my name on page 438 (second column near the bottom). What appealed to me about this anthology was the fact it would focus on a more diverse range of protagonists, both from the perspective of race, sexual preference and (my favourite) neurodiversity.

The anthology did not let me down at all. While there was one story that just didn’t fully click with me (the idea was awesome but the characters and the story didn’t move me), it was only one out of twenty, and it wasn’t bad, just not exactly my cup of tea. I really liked a lot of them, and really, really liked the rest.

Tansy Rayner Roberts’ ‘Cookie-Cutter Superhero’ had wonderful characters and an amazing concept, but the ending felt much more like the end of a chapter than the end of a tale – not that I didn’t enjoy it, and I would read the hell out of that book if/when she releases it.

Vanilla was definitely one of my favourites. I loved the hairies and her relationship with them, and her background was wonderfully detailed. The ending was certainly a surprise too :)

The Chupacabra’s Song was probably my most favourite. The mixture of magic and the nuerologically diverse character and then add a legendary animal – you had me at hello ;p

Walkdog was really something different, and certainly impressed me – despite a regular desire to backhand the POV character.

I could keep going (and maybe I’ll come back and fill this up later) but I have a lot of stuff to prepare for my appearance at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival today so I’m pressed for time.

I really enjoyed the diversity of characters and very rarely did it feel like their gender preference or colour had just been painted on for the appearance of diversity. I NEVER felt that the neuro diversity was painted on – every single time it was integral to the plot and character both and I really loved that.

However I was mildly disappointed that nearly all of the homosexual characters were female. I’ve noticed a distinct tendency for lesbians to be more accepted than gay men. I’ve literally stood in the presence of a bigot (not entirely willingly) who went from whinging his fears about a rumour one of the men on his favourite sports team might be gay and how that ‘just wasn’t on, he should be kicked off the team’, and seconds later was commenting on how hot it would be if the two very attractive friends with me(both female) made out. While he’s clearly not the best example of a good person, he does effectively show my point. I’m now quite determined to write more gay men into my stories.

All up I absolutely adored the anthology and am so glad I donated during the crowdfunding phase. I recommend this anthology to anyone and everyone.

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Filed under Raves, Reviews and Rants

First Camping Trip

This weekend just passed we(myself, my husband and my parents) took Xander on his first camping trip. He had a blast, but of course all he wanted to do was touch the campfire and run around exploring, so we parents are exhausted.

average quality, but the best I could do on a phone at a distance

average quality, but the best I could do on a phone at a distance

One very interesting thing also occurred. You may remember my many prattles about the Bush Stone-Curlew (here, here). Well at the camping spot we selected there was a wildlife sign announcing this area was one of the few places were you could find the rare and reclusive Beach Stone-Curlew.

I swear I didn’t know this until after we got there!

Only seven breeding pairs have been seen on the Northern Coast of New South Wales (where we were camping) but luckily we saw two, each on separate days. The first day we took Xander to the beach and saw one back in the dunes. I didn’t realise it was a stone-curlew but looking at it I thought it looked like a softer-hued bush stone-curlew. My father had the same suspicion.

the sign at the camping spot

the sign at the camping spot

So he read the wildlife sign later that day and we discovered we’d been right.

On the second day we were taking a walk back from the beach and spotted another one. Sadly, we only had our camera phones with it so the best picture I got was this one, but still, it was fun to spot a new type of stone-curlew. And to take Xander on his first camping trip :)

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Filed under Musings, My Family