Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Anagrams and pseudonyms

One of my Smashwords works is in i-books jail. ‘Kissing Cousins’ has been marked as containing ‘inappropriate content’. Duh, it says it right on the damn title. I can try to appeal but what is the point?
I’ve said this before, and had many a response on reviews about this. Australians do not have the same quasi incest thing that Americans have with cousins. We just don’t. Maybe it’s our English roots? Honestly, I’ve read a pile of Regency romances lately and people are always having sex with and getting married off to various cousins. I truly think it is America’s puritan roots showing.
But regardless, being in sale jail is an issue. It means that your works do not and will not show up in search items, or ‘also boughts’ or any other of the viral kind of sales methods.
I was thinking…
We all know how dangerous this is…
But more than a few erotica authors have pseudonyms, often for just such an occurrence. If one of their series gets the tar and feathers treatment, then they can publish new works under another name.
I was thinking about this, when I probably should have been doing a hundred other things.
So what should my pseudonym be?
And I plugged my full name into an anagram generator.
I got the result: anagram.

Friday, 14 October 2016

10 million total fanfiction hits

Some time ago, I realised that my fanfiction stats were fast approaching a huge milestone.
And then I kind of forgot about it. I set a reminder in google keep with an alarm date on it, but obviously my math skills are deficient, and I was days late. I suspect I also forgot some of the more recent stories I had posted. They weren’t in the table and skewed the total in Excel.
Today, I was tooling about and thought I’d just check because the daily read rates were higher than they have been for a while, and voila… my legacy story stats total is 10,032,027 hits.

The top three stories make up 6 million of the total. They're the usual suspects.
You know the ones. *grins*

Thursday, 29 September 2016

He will always be my almost.

In one sentence is the spark of a story. Ignite.

Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a memory about this sentence. Write something about this sentence.

Be sure to tag #writeworld in your block!
“He will always be my almost,” Kathleen said and sighed.
Her friend, Marie, noticed. “Almost is a horrible word.”
“It is neither one thing nor the other. It is nothing.” She busied herself stacking the plates on their cafe table.
“Yes.” Kathleen handed her a side dish they hadn’t used. “That’s the waiter’s job, you know.”
“I know.” Silence for a moment and then Marie added, “If you don’t ask him, you will never know.”
Kathleen frowned. “Ask what?”
“Ask whom.”
“Is that almost’s name?”
“Yes, and no, I won’t ask.”
“Why not?”
“I just told you.”
Marie waved her hand dismissively. “No matter. Call him.”
“I don’t have--”
The look Marie gave her stopped her cold.
“You have his number. You know where he works and you know his name. You follow his career.”
“I--” she stopped at another glare.
“Slay the dragon, or fuck him. I do not care.”
“I think you mixed your metaphors there--”
“But finish it. Either way. Shift it from ‘almost’ to ‘never’ or ‘done that’. Don’t forget to tip well.” She stood, leaned down to kiss Kathleen and strode away.
“She’s right,” Kathleen said to the bill Marie had left her. “I guess I’m paying for the advice. And the tip.”
She laughed and the waiter who was clearing the plates glanced at her.
She did have David’s details. She sent him a message; a chatty, I’m-in-town, we should meet up type of thing. He responded so quickly it made her suspicious.
They agreed to a lunch for the next day. Lunch felt less like a date than a dinner, and if she did it quickly she wouldn’t have time to chicken out or drive herself nuts over what to wear.
Lunch was safe, right?
She suggested the cafe she and Marie had been at; the food was good and it also made it feel more like a safe, social thing.
He was a little bit overweight and his skin looked florid; she suspected he drank too much. When he ordered a bottle of wine she knew it.
She had followed his career, but not his facebook. She wasn’t a stalker.
If she had, she might have learned that he was mid-divorce. He spent the whole lunch bitching about his ex-wife and describing incidents that the ex had complained about. The more he told, the more Kathleen agreed with the ex.
She sat back in her chair, smiled politely, moved food around her plate and wondered how to escape.
As luck would have it, he got a call from his divorce lawyer. “She what?” he screeched before putting the phone against his chest. “I have to go,” he announced, and then left without paying.
She texted Marie. Disastrous
Why? Tell me everything.
He hasn’t changed. He’s still the selfish boy I had a crush on.
Right. Why did I think that attitude was so great?
So, he’s slain?
Hell, yeah.
No more almosts
Marie was right; she felt better. The lunch was delicious once she stopped stressing about how awful David was.
As she exited the cafe someone called out to her. She turned and ran into the waiter. He grabbed her arm as they almost overbalanced.
“Sorry for manhandling you.”
“I would have fallen otherwise.” She looked at him expectantly. It was the same waiter as the day before.
“You forgot your wine.” He held out the bottle with the screw lid replaced.
“Thanks, but I don’t drink alone.”
He grinned at her. “That almost sounds like an invitation.”
Kathleen could hear what Marie would say. “It does, doesn’t it?” She took a deep breath and went all in. “What time does your shift finish?”
“You hold the wine hostage and I’ll be back at five to ransom it. We can drink it together.”
He had the loveliest smile. “Perfect.”
And it was.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Things we didn't know we couldn't do

The first jumper I ever knitted is a brilliant example of me as a person; it’s a full Aryan sweater. A mega complicated cable knit. One that most knitters never even attempt. My first garment.
I had never made a full knitted thing before other than a jumpsuit for my teddy bear, whose name was Stephen. I am well aware of how tragic that is… or was, or whatever.
At any rate, I was sixteen… maybe.
I have tried to take a photo of it. Yes, I still own the jumper in question, and yes, I still wear it.
For the record, I am now fifty two. Jet was clearly a particularly hard wearing wool and it is hanging together better than fine. I do admit to making a mistake in the bottom rib. I only did half the number of rows. When it said repeat row 1 &2 11 times, I did 11 rows, rather than 22.
But the thing about it that amazes me is the seam. I managed to sew a flat seam in the first jumper I have ever made and to this day… I do not know how. People paid me to make them jumpers in the years after that and I did not do the same flat seams; I didn’t know how.
Look at that thing, it’s beautiful. It’s flat. It’s literally seamless.
And I don’t know how I did it.
This has happened elsewhere in my life. I used to share a house with three others when we were all penniless uni students. I didn’t drive a car, so they would sometimes give me lifts and I would repay them by making them clothes and jumpers.
I drove my fashionable flatmate nuts because I would study fashion label items she had purchased, make a pattern from newspaper and then make a copy of it for myself. And honestly, I don’t know how I did it. There were super complicated placket gaps up sleeves that I do not know how I made. I honestly don’t.
Kid three is graduating and the thought crossed my mind that I should just make her a prom dress… and then reason screamed at me, “Oh my God, no! She’d be lucky to have it for her wedding!” I am not good at hitting self-imposed deadlines.
Sometimes not knowing you can’t do something works.
There were too many negatives in that sentence, but you know what I mean.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Goodreads milestone of a sort

Tonight I posted a review and noticed that it was number 1200. It’s not much of a milestone but it seems like a nice round number.
I am utterly certain I have read way more books than that; that’s just the number since I started recording reviews on Goodreads. I am certain I OWN more books than that.
So far this year, I have read 232 books and I am the number 35 top reviewer in Australia. Whoa. Blows on knuckles… way ahead of last year when I read 236 for the entire year. You can see the links on the right hand side of this blog page.
I keep all my GR reviews in one Scrivener file but it is getting ridiculously large and hard to load. Maybe next year I will have to start a new one, or something. It is of huge help when Amazon tells me an author has a new book out and I am familiar with the name but can’t recall if I liked them enough to buy their new book. A quick search… and all is revealed.
Oh… that’s right. I remember this story-
I sort Kindle books into ‘collections’ and I have one for ‘currently reading’. I tried to put things in that category that I think I OUGHT to be reading… and it has failed spectacularly. Dammit brain… so my Kindle thinks I am reading 15 books, my GR account says 9 and there are probably a few more on my bedside table with bookmarks in them, and some others borrowed from a friend that take precedence over my owned editions. I have to give them back one day…

Ah the life of a bookworm.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Tarot cards

I follow all kinds of blogs on tumblr. One of which is author, Maggie Stiefvater’s. I own a couple of her books. Her blog is very interesting and she’s got some good things to say on working with mental health issues. She writes, paints and loves her cars.
I saw the images of her progress as she designed a set of tarot cards to go with her Raven Cycle series. I’ve never owned a tarot deck, but it was on my wish list. I remember telling a friend about that and she said she gave away her deck after it started to freak her out a little. I knew that you are supposed to give them away, rather than throw them out.
One day as I was tooling about on book depository, there they were. The Raven’s Prophecy Tarot and it was reduced.

I did the click thing.
When they arrived they are much bigger than standard playing cards. I settled down in bed that night with a different kind of book to read. I shuffled the pack as I read and eventually tried to do a full reading for myself.
It was all a bit muddled. Hey, newbie here.
So I tried cutting the pack into three piles, taking a card from each and doing a three card draw to cover my past, present, and future.
And the oddest thing happened.
First draw I got three cards from the same suit, in order but it was reverse order. The book suggested that I was moving from bad to good, and on to better, as I moved from my past towards my future. Nice.
I tried again, thinking that I had not shuffled the pack well.
It happened again.
Different suit, same three card reverse order. I look those up.
Same deal: worse, to better.
I shuffle the crap out of that deck and I tried again.
You know what I’m going to say… I tried again. Third time. Same thing.
Seriously? What are the odds?
Spooky, eh?
I told my friend and she said, “See? That’s why I gave them away!”

the art, of course, belongs to Maggie Stiefvater and is taken from her Tumblr page
Maggie’s tumblr

Friday, 19 August 2016

Australian Gothic

I have been having great fun reading old romance novels from Jennifer Blake. I’m talking 1970’s circa stuff. Her books have been re-released on Kindle and they are routinely offering them free to generate interest and sales.
I am a lifelong book hoarder. I will grab a free book that I think I might (one day) get around to reading.
The quality has been a little spotty, but the ones I am enjoying the most are the full on Louisiana Gothic romances. I know some of the story elements are problematic, especially the way it treats the slaves. Recently, I read the original Gothic novel, The Mysteries of Udolpho. It was a trip, I tell you. I wondered if anyone had re-written it; updated or modernised it, but I couldn’t find any evidence of it - other than Jane Austen writing her own satirical version in Northanger Abbey. Amongst the overwriting and the bad poetry is a great story. One that has been read since 1794 when it was published.
Some months ago I read a Dean Koontz writing book and Gothic was one of his categories. This is his recipe for writing a Gothic romance novel:
A young heroine, alone in the world and often an orphan, goes to an old and isolated house to live with her last living relatives. Everyone in the house is a stranger to her. At the house, the heroine meets a cast of suspicious characters (servants, the lady of the house, one or two sons) and soon finds herself plunged into some mystery—either of supernatural or more mundane origins, most often concerning the death of someone in the house. Inexplicably, she becomes the target of the supernatural or mundane killer's attacks. Concurrent with the development of this mystery plot is the growth of a romance between the heroine and one of the young men in the household. Either this man is her only safe haven in the dark events of the story—or he is as much a suspect as any of the other characters. The conclusion of a Gothic must always promise marriage or the development of genuine love between heroine and hero.
Louisiana Gothic adds in the environment, the bayou, as another thing against the heroine and the slaves provide the supernatural element.
After I finished the last Blake book, I went to bed and I had a revelation.
I could move the entire thing to Australia. The whole Gothic recipe would work in Australia. Isolated, dangerous, a family estate, sons fighting over inheritance, and the element of magic/supernatural could be from Aboriginal Australians.
‘I’ve invented a new genre,’ I told myself.
Next morning, I google it … curses. It’s existed forever. It was just that I hadn’t worked out that everything from ‘The term of his natural life’ to ‘Picnic at hanging Rock’ is categorised as Australian Gothic. Patrick White has won literary awards for this genre. Australians are particularly good at putting this into film. Mad Max and even Wolf Creek fit the style.
I’ll file that one away in the ‘nooo brain' box I made for ideas I can’t work on right now. Maybe it’s not an original idea, but I still reckon it’d work.