Monday, May 27, 2013

Prepping for #JuNoWriMo

Last Friday I had a bit over 2 hours to spare hanging about on the Island - rather than waste time driving home only to drive back - I sat in the library & finished off yet another tutorial for my Photography course. After that was finished, I twiddled my thumbs - what to do with an extra hour or so up my sleeve? Luckily I had extra work with me, I decided a coffee was in order. A walk up the hill to my favourite little cafe and it was there I finally got to work solidly on the edits for my novel. 

Cafes are AWESOME for writing - they sell coffee and cheesecake. 

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Just for record keeping purposes - this was actually my birthday cheesecake with friends earlier in the week. Friday was just me, one coffee, one eclair and lots of red pen.

So it is I'm about half way through the edits I'd been hoping to finish by June; today I will transfer the first of those edits onto my master computer document. I honestly don't even know if I will be able to keep up the pace come June (part of the reason I haven't officially signed up to the webpage yet) but I do know I want to start writing another chunk and the only way I seem to be able to do that is by adding pressure. Yep. Just what my anxiety needs right now is MORE PRESSURE. #eek. It will be Head down, bum up and write like the wind.

This week (since I'm actually ahead of my May Goals for photography… except the assignments) I am studying another tutorial for my Creative Writing course. Three days of study planned with only one tutorial, two assignments then free time which will be allocated to the remainder of these edits + planning the next section.

What about you - do you work better under pressure? When is the pressure too much to handle?    

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Throw down another challenge why don't ya?

 Well Why not? We all know it doesn't take much for me to say YES PLEASE! 

























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So even though "technically" part of this I had already planned on doing; we don't need to rehash a technicality right?

And hello - who watches the Lizzie Bennet Diaries without reading the original works? Me, that's who! and lets not mention the {fictional} messages to Miss Dove saying - whose Darcy? Because really - how was I supposed to know Darcy was an integral part of the show 

Now this all started with Kylie

Um. No. That's not right. 

This was Miss Dove

And Skip. 

And if we REALLY must be honest. Beesome, Alleycat and Esther played their small parts too. 

Confused much? Okay refer to Fan girl (aka Miss Dove) blog. She gives an accurate run down of whose at fault. And for the record - it wasn't ME!

Or go straight to the source - Kylie set the original challenge.

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So lets go back a few days - over the weekend while Kylie and I were supposed to be sewing (but really she was cursing her machine because it ran out of bobbin thread and didn't tell her ;) I was sitting beside her innocently swearing about not bringing the fabric along to complete a quilt… as you do.) when suddenly she leant over and said "hey Car I saw your blog post about Pride and Prejudice and we need a challenge?"

"Challenge?" I say. Ears perking up.

It was then I may have admitted to her that I had never read P&P because well… its a classic. I don't do classics well - the language bamboozles me and I'm ashamed to admit I find myself reading a page then putting it away with every intention to pick it up once more. So we devised a way to read it together - a read along challenge of a chapter each week.

Yesterday the cherry was dangled to our Miss Dove (remember her… she being the one that started this whole P&P crazy) and before long we had a bite.

Reeling her in & unbeknownst to me; the challenge rippled outward and has become the challenge to meet all challenges. To be completed by 31st August. 

1) read the book "Pride and Prejudice"

2) watch the "Lizzie Bennet Diaries" found on you-tube

3) watch a Pride & Prejudice movie (or the BBC miniseries)  

4) choose and declare the BEST Darcy EVER for bonus points.

Oh… hold on. I'm not sure that last one is part of the original challenge. Oh what the heck - keep it in! 

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Are you keen? Join us during the winter months as we re-live a classic.

And honestly - I think I win hands down; just because my copy is all pretty pink and girly! 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Good English and All…

Last week I pulled out my {nearly forgotten about} manuscript. Gently blowing off a layer of dust, I sat and stared at page after page of words. Unedited words. I uttered several profanities before dropping a quick note to my number one fan lamenting that when I started out - I just wrote. I didn't think about Paragraphs. Or spelling. Or good grammar.

Overwhelmed, I nearly shoved the whole darn thing back in the cupboard - but a little cheering on by my cheer squad, some minor planning in my calendar and I was back on track. 20 pages require major editing INCLUDING paragraphing - where does one start? With a list of course. A basic list. First things first Paragraphs. Then Spelling. Followed by Grammar. Earmark a few chapters and then create the sections.

A beginner writer should know all this. Yet when I started this story, it became my lifeline - my chance to prove I had confidence to tackle something huge. To turn a life long dream into a reality. A little hope that I was destined for something more in life. So I sat and I wrote.  Words kept forming, until they became unruly and I had to stop for fear of over-extending myself when it came to the editing.  

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Next month is JuNoWriMo  (basically NaNaWriMo in June) and I've decided to give it another whirl. Again I will be adding words to my existing story and although the full target is 50,000 words in one month - I will be happy if I can churn out between 10-20K words. Adding yet another solid section to my story. Though whether I can keep up remains to be seen - I am absolutely flat out with my other studies at the moment. 

So the plan for the remaining days of May is to edit at least a page per day. Once I do this, I will be able to lay out the story and get a better sense of direction I'm headed and hopefully that will open up the confidence to add more words, rather than fear writing more words.  

 Over the weekend we caught up with my folks and I had to giggle when my mum gifted me this book. She must have read my mind and realised I REALLY needed something like this to motivate me with those edits! 

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Friday, May 10, 2013

13 in 13 Challenge… Book 4 (a & b) - History

Little White Dove
 
 Book #4 - 13 in 13 Challenge 

DragonFly in Amber; Diana Gabaldon (book 2)  

Genre: History (part 2) 

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So remember back here - I bravely suggested I would read NOT ONE, but SEVEN books for the History genre for this challenge? I continued the challenge and it took me exactly ONE month to complete 964 pages of the 2nd book in this epic series.

The second book in this series, begins with Claire in the present day (but 20 years later) re-telling her epic love story into the past to her daughter Brianna. The book is broken down into 7 parts. It begins by introducing Roger, a Scottish Lad who agrees to do some research on the side for Claire. The historical research leads them to exploring different parts of Scotland which then gives Claire a chance encounter to tell the real story to Bree and Roger. It then jumps straight to the past and picks up where the first book left off - Jamie and Claire in France 1740s. I admit to struggling with the France sections as well the whole book - I don't know what it is but I ALWAYS seem to struggle with 2nd books in series such as these - perhaps its a case of being impatient and waiting for the good stuff to happen? Its still an awesome book, it just takes me longer to read.

The book eventually returns Jamie and Claire to Scotland where the battle of Culloden is to take place and ends on the cusp of the battle where she is sent back to the future, pregnant with his child.

Surprisingly considering I could NOT keep up watching the Back to the Future trilogies (are we back in the past or forward in the future… oh dear - send panadol, my head hurts!) I managed to keep a track of where we were in these books fairly easily. Interestingly enough… I have been banned from ever watching Back to the Future with my husband. Ever. Again. 

If you like French history - be sure to add this one to your collection. But be sure you read the first one first. 

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 Book #4 - 13 in 13 Challenge 

Voyager; Diana Gabaldon (book 3)  

Genre: History (part 3) 

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Not to be deterred with the length of time I took to read the 2nd of the series. I immediately picked up Book 3 and started reading later into the night EVERY NIGHT. Not surprisingly I finished this one less than a week later! All 870 pages (& can I add that I own the bigger book format - not the small paperback!) 

This book is one of my favourites. The first section covers Jamie's life in the past as well as touching briefly on Claire's in the future over the past 20 years (confused yet?) Without giving away too much (you really HAVE to read the series) they are re-united. Well duh - there is 7 books… of course there was more to the story!

As this is my 3rd or 4th re-read of the series, I know what to expect but with so many pages and so many adventures - it feels like I'm coming home. The adventures and mishaps that befall them are out there (they make my life seem so BORING in contrast!) 

Each part of this book has been weaved into smaller sections, it is easy to read and easy to keep track of the year you are reading about. It also introduces another new character Ian (Jamie's Nephew) who is one of my all time favourites!  I will warn you - there are MANY characters in these books. I also own the Outlandish Companion (the guidebook on everything in this series) and there is no joke 28 pages of character names who appear at some stage in these sagas. PAGES people. Not characters. There is also a list of group names who crop up but are not integral to the story. Surprisingly (again) it is not too difficult to keep track of them all. 

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So the big question is - now that I've completed 3 parts of 7 in the History Genre. Can I finish the other 4 books PLUS my other 9 genres by the end of the year.

And since I'm HUGE on challenges. Oh come now - have you gleaned NOTHING from my inane blog posts over the years? Who would like to challenge me to a dual. No not a dual (though there is a great dual in the 2nd book of this series if you cared to read them!) no, no. Who wants to challenge me to read the Companion guide from cover to cover. All 577 pages to be added to the History Genre… ??? 

Monday, May 6, 2013

{re} living the 1900's

Last week I found myself on top of the housework, on top of study (hello… one completed tutorial in a day!!!) so I gave myself a day to do a little further research into Genealogy. Several hours later - I had multiple news articles bookmarked. Considering my family weren't likely millionaires (well if they were - they must have spent it before I arrived ;) I am finding many, many mentions of them in the local papers of the time. Its very exciting when you find something new to add to the pile of growing research - especially when it wasn't something you previously knew. 

Most of the time, I have to assume that it is the same family by method of deduction. Luckily my great-great grandfathers last name wasn't overly common and the area he lived wasn't as built up (he lived in the country) so I can only assume that Mr J XXX who applied for a land ballot in this general area was indeed my relative.

I find it fascinating. 

Before I knew it - hours had flown by and it was nearly time to dash back out for the school pick up. Not before I found a small clipping, the mention of my Great Great Grandparents along with another 2 names of another family entirely. One I've never heard of - but one I intend to have a look into because I am nearly positive it relates to my late nan, but with these other two names, I'm a little confused.    

A few weeks ago, I booked into a genealogy session at our local library and though we didn't find out too much, it was sort of exciting to be finding census records of my Great Nan all the way up till her death in the early 60's. Unfortunately we hit a dead end on my Great Grandfather… he appears to have disappeared, but I am even more determined to dig up some ghosts on his past. I need to know a little more for my back story.  

All of this has given me the oomph I needed to get back into my research and my writing. I found a great little book at the library a few weeks back. Before I knew what was happening, it had fallen into my cart at Book Depository and is now sitting in my bookcase begging me to read it. 

Family History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the weekend I pulled out all my printed manuscript and slowly started editing it. I am starting with paragraphs… who on earth, writes a story without paragraphing??? ME that's who! Oh my. If only I knew now, what I didn't know then! Life would be a lot easier. The first page was duly edited with paragraphing added and a rough glance at the atrocious spelling (I blame the touch pad on my iPad) Correct grammar to follow as well chopping up sections to make it read a little better. Anyhow exciting stuff, it went (a whopping 1.5 pages) to my BETA's who have both said its great. Though they are friends. Perhaps they were just being nice ;) 

Now the plan is to attack my studies with abandon so I can finish them, then I will be head down - bum up trying to write this story because after all this research and dipping my toes in. I've decided I REALLY want to do it. I want to write novels. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Alternatives...

WARNING… After a few days of struggling, this (extremely long & wordy) post is about my on-going health issues. I'm in a bit of funk and I'm not looking for sympathy nor a quick fix - I'm just having a woe-is-me moment. I'm writing it only that I need to get it off my chest as well record a few things for future reference. I promise to be back on track Monday, with a brighter post.    

For the past week I have been really struggling with my endometriosis. Toward the end of last week my hormones kicked in and my PMT raged out of control. I always know its bad when I start yelling at people when I'm driving. Not my ordinary day to day yelling. This is blood curdling screeches combined with very bad language. Most of which you would not repeat in front of your mother ;) 

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Last Sunday it reached breaking point. My whole family… including the dog… did NOT want to be around me. It was even suggested by my (usually better) other half that I should have perhaps stayed home from our family outing. My reply to that was I need peace. And Quiet. Ironically… I didn't manage to say this piece - quietly. 

All through the week I have been feeling worse and worse. Pains would niggle at me - not needing medication, but enough to stop me in my tracks and take a few deep breaths. The fatigue arrived late each afternoon - the thought of making dinner every bloody night just floored me and I admit that there has been at least one instance of takeaway with likely another tonight. So? Sue me now or grant me bad-motherhood status, I don't care much either way. This is me - surviving.

On Wednesday night a change of routine and my mind just couldn't cope with anymore. After uttering numerous cuss words under my breath and rushing about tidying the house… not to mention I burned the frick out of the couscous. WHO DOES THAT? I was absolutely SHATTERED.

Then there was night after night of bad bad sleep. Light sleep. Dream ridden. 

And headaches. Every morning.

And all this… before the wicked witch arrived. And arrive she did today - but not before suffering un-imaginable pain late last night.

Pain I can usually manage with the help of some heat. A piping hot shower. A heat pack. A blanket. And some nurofen. It was ok until I went to turn the lights out at 10:30 then it hit me like a truck. I popped a couple of nurofen and curled up around my warm heat pack feeling every inch of pain. Searing pain. Pain that felt my insides were being ripped out and left one hip burning. Half an hour and still the nurofen hadn't kicked in, so I nuked the heat pack until it was burning hot - imagine pink and purple marks across your tummy… it was that hot. And I finally drifted off into a restless sleep sometime after 12.

Today its been more manageable with nurofen, but it has left me thinking. After a teary discussion with my hubby, I've realised that this is NOT normal. I feel like death warmed up for nearly 2 weeks of the month and with the short cycles of 21-24 days - it leaves me just over a week of feeling normal & now I've been getting pains around ovulation for several days as well. For the past 18-24 months I've put my head in the sand about my issues. I've not wanted it to rule me and I've reconciled that if I won't go on medication as per the Doctors orders then I can deal with the resulting pain. Its a choice - perhaps not the ideal choice, but it was MY choice.

Yet when I'm feeling so beaten down and weary with battle, I just want to give in. It makes me wonder whether I'd be far better off going to have a hysterectomy NOW? At least I could close the chapter and move on. Yet it terrifies me still. I'm not ready to leap into that unknown just yet. I'm not ready to close the book on this chapter. Can I keep enduring the pain and what can I do to live alongside it?

For the next 3 months - I've decided to try a mixture of Chinese medicines and natural remedies.

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Both recommended to me at the local health food shop. The Women's Balance according to the leaflet supposedly does the following:

* Balances the menstrual cycle

* Relieves premenstrual symptoms

* Eases Cramps and period pain

* Reduces Headaches and sweet cravings

* Alleviates heavy bleeding

* Relieves mood swings and irritability.

 Is it bad that I can tick each and every one of those symptoms? For an invisible disease, it has a major impact on women and its hard to explain to those who do NOT experience it, how I can become a completely different person each and every month.

I am going to monitor myself daily for the next three months and see if these make any impact on symptoms.   

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hands

Some people say the eyes tell a persons'  story. 

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For me the hands tell a story.

From mother to daughter to granddaughter to great-grand-daughter. 

Hands stroking a newborn babes face.

Hands holding a toddlers hands as they take those first tentative steps.

Hands rubbing a sick child's back.

Hands waving as a child leaves home.

Hands held as they endure life's obstacles.

Hands held tight as final goodbyes are made.

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After my Nan passed away, I told my friend that it was her hands I would always remember. And I do. I remember how soft they were in mine as I said my final goodbyes and I remember times over the years, handing me cups of tea, playing her organ, showing me how to sew. One hand clutched around her electronic voice box as the other held her hand of cards. So many memories of her and of so many of my family relate to their hands. I've spent several hours this morning researching her family tree, which was supposed to be the topic of my blog post. Only I got sidetracked. Suddenly I find myself on a tangent writing an obscure blog post about hands.  

What about you? Is it the hands. Or the eyes. Maybe you prefer to dwell on feet instead?