by

I originally planned to make my own design for my website but – as I mentioned in my earlier post busy few weeks – I was given no choice but to start my website a month earlier than planned or miss out on an opportunity to pay a lot less for my hosting, so I ended up choosing this cute theme for now.

To be honest I hadn’t even thought about what my design would look like, so when the site went up I was left clawing my brain for ideas. I remembered on a trip into the city with a good friend going to Eckersley’s art and craft store and seeing some lovely chiyogami (fancy origami paper which is usally silk screen painted featuring a repeated pattern, also known as yuzen for the dyeing style used) featuring goldfish. Being a japanophile I wanted to buy them at the time, but couldn’t justify buying the paper, no matter how beautiful the image without having an actual use. Now I have the perfect one!

I plan to use the goldfish pattern for my background and am thinking a maneki-neko in the header perhaps, but I’ll need to play around with it before I put anything up online.

In regards to the pattern I chose I always used to be obsessed with cherry blossoms, I still am, but my interests have broadened. While I was in Japan I saw a beautiful kimono with a goldfish pattern. For some foolish reason I didn’t buy it and I regret that decision rather frequently. Ever since then I’ve been a bit nutty about goldfish patterns. I’m even considering using the pattern on my business cards.

It’s interesting how a regret can create a passion like that… Do you have any similar stories? Oh and keep an eye out for my new design (but don’t hold your breath).

by

So why Storybook Perfect for my blog name you ask?

The answer is bizarrely simple. My first novel (the completed manuscript you will hear me talk about almost without cease) is titled Storybook Perfect, and when you aren’t quite confident enough to use your own name for a domain, you need to figure out something else.

It was on my husband’s suggestion I used the novel’s name for the website. I like how it promotes my first completed manuscript but also sounds like the sort of blog a writer of fantasy would run.

The novel’s title itself is a nod to the fact that at the start of the novel the main character, Yui, regularly laughs at herself for expecting life to work out perfectly just because it seems like the world she has found herself in is like out of a story. Later, she and her companions have a chance to see they actually could have endured a great deal more than they did and, in a manner of speaking, they did have the golden ticket after all.

by

It’s been a busy place here at our house since Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day I stumbled across a competition for manuscripts, Allen and Unwin’s Vogel Award. As you can imagine I went from bored browser to excited author in an instant. My heart promptly broke when I read the word count cap of 100,000 words though, because my novel is 175,000. Shrinking Storybook Perfect down to the word count would destroy it. I’m willing to work on it if that’s what it takes to get published, but 75,000 words less is too much change for me to be willing to make.

I was not willing to give up though. So I thought of one of my other ideas, a one-shot which I was expecting would probably average 75,000 words. Being the competitive gamer personality type I took it as a challenge to complete the novel and fully revise it all before the due date of June 1st.

Thus far I’ve written 27,000 words just by getting up before Xander wakes up and writing while he naps. I’m impressed by how much I have managed to write in just those few stolen minutes (or more realistically two stolen hours).

Add onto that that a few days ago the host I desired to use for my website had a sale on hosting costs and all of a sudden my blog was rushed forward a month to take advantage of it. So here I am, learning to blog, learning to promote my blog while I’m doing it. Serious ‘on-the-job’ training.

Sadly, I’ve gone back to the Allen and Unwin award page to check out previous winners (so I could see what they were looking for) and most of the winners seem to be from a specific range of genres, none of which my story fits in. So I most likely will not enter the competition anymore, but I’m still going to goal for novel completion in the same time frame (like I said, ultra-competitive gamer personality). This way I will have the ‘hard-sell’ trilogy making the rounds and an easier to sell one-off doing the same, which should hopefully increase my chances of finding an agent and thus being published.

Has anyone else had a busy week? Anyway, I think it might be time for me to sneak in a nap ;p

by

For seven years I’ve had a lovely, quiet, low-maintenance pet. His name was Ayame, and he is a snake.

Interesting use of tenses there you say? Well, Ayame is still alive, but he’s not my pet any more. Since Xander was born I didn’t handle Ayame as much (read: at all) and it became quite difficult to feed Ayame once Xander was able to walk because Xander would come over and try to stick his adorable baby hand in the terrarium and fat, pink baby fingers look not too dissimilar to snake food.

I was speaking with some good friends and Ayame’s sad situation came up in conversation, so my friends went through all the effort of getting a handling licence so they could take care of him.

Today those friends came over to take Ayame home with them. I’m glad Ayame is going to a home where he will get more affection, but it is still sad to see him go. I am lucky that it was friends who took him, so I can just go for a visit and see him again, but there’s still a sense of loss, because now there’s an empty terrarium under the TV.

Has anyone else had to make a decision like this for the good of their pet? I’d like to hear some stories to make me feel better.

by

The first post. I spent a great deal of time searching for an appropriate topic for my first post. Just like with your first chapter, page, paragraph, even line of a book, you want to make a great first impression. In a story you need to start in ‘medias res’ (in the middle of the action), so where does that put me?

Well, I am an aspiring author with a completed first novel attempting the arduous task of approaching agents with my novel: Storybook Perfect.

My novel is a tough sell, an unpublished writer peddling a fantasy trilogy – it’s going to take a great manuscript and a lot of effort, but I am committed. I have one rejection, but it was a positive one. They liked my query so read my manuscript, but eventually passed on it. The agent even went so far as to compliment my main character and encourage me to continue seeking agents as “while (my) manuscript was not what (she) was looking for there are other agents with other opinions.” Pretty positive for my very first try.

So I’m working on improving my appeal – behold a webpage to display myself and my works to the world. But I’m not just going to sit back and blog and hope for an agent to find me. Oh no! Fortune favours the bold you see. I am working on a new short story to enter an upcoming competition which has a prize of publication. The story is a new spin on the fairytale princess theme. The princess herself is a standard DID, trapped in a tower in the heart of a magical labyrinth. My tale however is told from the perspective of the labyrinths groundskeeper. I won’t say much more just yet but I do hope all this is ‘in the action’ enough for a first post – though realistically I expect that most of the blog subscribers I would have in a years time will never have even read this post, so I probably didn’t need to stress myself out so much ;p