Tag Archives: Alex-Laybourne

My how time flies…

I was over at Alex Laybourne’s blog just now, reading a post about his blog being almost two years old – Happy UnBirthday Alex! – and how much things had changed. That was when it hit me that I’ve been blogging for close to a year now myself.

Just to be sure my memory wasn’t playing tricks on me, I went and looked up my very first post. It was written on December 29th, 2011. It was a rather serious post on Climate Change. I followed that one with another serious post about Bushfires, and yet another post on Climate Change. Apparently my penchant for saving the world is the one thing that has not changed. Instead, I just keep adding to the list of things that make me mad.

I refuse to apologize for being passionate about certain things, but… a balanced outlook is really good for my sanity, and yours, so today it’s time for some jiggle-in-your-seat type music! I can’t take credit for this video clip* – the Daughter inflict-…, I mean introduced me to it on Sunday and I kinda fell in love with it. 🙂



*The artist’s name is Kimbra, she’s a kiwi [i.e. from New Zealand], and the song is called Good Intent.

Work-in-progress Blog Hop

Just when I think I’m starting to understand the blogging world, something happens and bam, I feel like a nOOb again. Today though, I’m more than happy to be a nOOb because I’ve finally found out what a blog hop is all about. I’ve also been nominated for this particular blog hop by a buddy of mine, Alex Laybourne. Alex is a writer, a kindred spirit [even though he writes horror -gasp-] and a participant in this year’s nano marathon, so basically he is an all-round great guy. Thank Alex. 😀

Now, is there anything a writer likes to talk about more than their current work-in-progress [WIP]? That was a rhetorical by the way. Clearly, the answer is no, so it should be obvious why I jumped at the chance to wax lyrical about my WIP. My only problem is… which WIP? Technically I should be talking about Vokhtah, book 2 but, I’d rather talk about the story I’ve been ‘plotting’ ever since I decided to do nano this year.

I hate the straitjacket feel of an outline which is why I am a pantster through and through. This time however,  I’m not allowed to jump in and start writing until November 1st, so I’ve been scribbling ideas down instead. Some of these ideas relate to the plot, so technically I am outlining something,  but I fully expect most, if not all, of this pseudo outline to disappear after the first 1000 words. Imho, logical outlines lead to predictable plots and I hate reading those, so I encourage my inner pantster to take me in unexpected directions. -cough- End rant.


***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) on your blog.
***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

What is the working title of your book?

Innerscape. Or possibly Mira. I may just go with Mira because it’s shorter. 🙂

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea for the character of Mira came from the very first short story I wrote – 2080. But I’ve been thinking about the evolution of online gaming and virtual living for a very long time. Tad Williams explored the idea in his wonderful series called Otherland, and I’ve read other sci-fi versions as well, but I wanted to push the concept a little further.

What genre does your book fall under?

Hmmm…. the closest definition I can think of is ‘soft-ish’ science fiction. No two writers agree on exactly what soft sci-fi is but the definition I like the most is psychological, social sci-fi. I’m going to be adding a bit more speculative tech to the mix but the overall focus will be soft.

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

Ugh, this is a question I don’t even want to think about. The minute you visualize an actor in the part, some of their quirks and mannerisms inevitably colour the character’s development. I really don’t want to do that, especially at such an early stage.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Another problematic question this one. And no, that was not my answer! Just sort of thinking aloud. Okay, this is the best I can do for now : ‘If you could extend your life by entering a digital reality, would it become heaven or hell?’

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

As this will be a nano project I don’t expect the story to be ready for publication for a very long time. However, once it is, I expect to publish as an indie.

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

Oops. As this story is still just a twinkle in my eye, I can’t really say anything about the gestation period. Knowing me, however, I’m sure it will take years!

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

The obvious choice is Otherland, by Tad Williams. One of my favourite series 🙂

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

My direct inspiration was Lady Julia Prosser. She is fighting a losing battle with cancer, yet she lives each day to the fullest. Being a writer, I couldn’t help wondering how I would spend my time in similar circumstances. That’s the underlying thread of the story.

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

Despite my hard-baked, cynical facade, I am a romantic at heart, so there will be a romance of sorts in the story. Hmmm… correction, there will be love in the story and there may be a bit of romance as well but please don’t expect it to be the focus; you’ll be disappointed!

My 5 nominations are:

[This is hard as so many of my friends have just published so I’m not sure if they have WIPs or not but I hope they do!]

Candy Korman

Ilil Arbel

Laurie Boris

M. Edward McNally

Lord David Prosser

Dr Horrible’s blog award

My blogging schedule is completely up the spout this week and I shouldn’t be posting today but Daud [aka Lord David Prosser] sent me such an interesting award nomination that I simply couldn’t resist. Thank you Daud!

So, what makes this award so interesting? Well, there is no set number for how many other bloggers you can nominate. If you’ve ever spent hours agonizing over who to nominate you’ll understand what a joy this is.

The second interesting thing about this award is that it’s like a mini interview with three set questions to answer. Again, this makes life so much easier, especially as the questions are kind of fun. I’ll list them before I answer them.

And of course there’s the graphic of the award itself. I’m a bit of a graphics whore so this one really appeals to me. 😀

And the 3 questions are :

a) If you ran the world, what would you outlaw immediately?
b) Boxers or briefs?
c)If you made a Nobel speech, who would you thank?

Now for the answers. Daud’s answers were witty and b) in particular was very funny as he interpreted ‘boxers’ as pugilists [e.g. Muhamed Ali] and ‘briefs’ as lawyers [I think that might be English only].

I can’t do funny, except by accident, so I’m going to be super serious. 😀

a) If you ran the world, what would you outlaw immediately?

Meeks : Well, I believe food is the single most basic thing that all living things need, apart from air, so I would ban GMO’s of all descriptions. [GMO = genetically modified organism]. Food ain’t broke, it don’t need fixin’ so leave it alone Monsanto!

b) Boxers or briefs?

Meeks : Hmmm…. I’m female so sorry, not going to wear either, however on a guy it would just have to be boxers! Briefs are what my late father wore. No contest.

c) If you made a Nobel speech, who would you thank?

Meeks :  I thought this one would be easy but it’s not! I mean, what am I winning a Nobel prize for? Peace? Neuroscience? [rofl] I’m sorry, I did say I’d be serious.

Ok, I’m going to thank fate for all the kicks and shoves that pushed me out of my comfort zones and made me think. Why? Because no-one ever achieved anything of lasting value by sitting in a comfy chair with fluffy slippers and a glass of shiraz.

And now for my nominations. After due deliberation I’ve decided to nominate 3 bloggers who will all be launching new books in the near future :

Alex Laybourne – Alex is a writer of horror.

Candy Korman – Candy writes literary thrillers on a monster theme.

M. Edward McNally – Ed writes epic fantasy.

All three of my nominees push the boundaries and innovate. They also write damn well.  Check them out!



Tell me about yourself award

Mary Ann from Mypenandme just left a lovely comment on my blog saying that she had nominated me for the ‘Tell me about yourself’ award. I’m rather stunned because I’m still very new to blogging in general and awards in particular. To me just logging into wordpress and seeing those bright orange numbers up there is an award in itself and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every single person who has ever read anything I’ve ever written, or may write in the future! My special thanks though go to Mary Ann who has talents in the poetry department that I wish I had.

Now, according to the rules of these awards I have to write 7 things about myself that I haven’t revealed before and then I have to nominate 7 other bloggers for the same award. Oh and copy/paste the proudly displayed award into your own blogs! I hope you guys are paying attention because I know I messed up on the instructions when Daud [aka Lord David Prosser] nominated me for my very first award so try to get it right 😉

Ok, here we go. 7 things I haven’t yet revealed.

1. This is a biggie – I’m 59. That is just one year away from the big six-o when I officially leave the ranks of the late middle aged and become a baby oldie.

2. I’ve learned many things over the last 59 years but none of them has made me grow up, not properly. I can pretend to be dignified for about five minutes but after that I tend to revert to my true age which fluctuates between 10 and 35.

3. I used to ride motorbikes in my twenties and I still love them but I lost my nerve years ago. I blame my Kawasaki 400 which was so big I couldn’t put both feet on the ground at the same time, even on tippy toes.

4. I’m short – see 3 above.

5. When I was younger I used to wear 4″ heels to make me look 5’8″. Being short is hell!

6. I’m an absolute softie when it comes to kids and animals. I do however draw the line at spiders. Nothing with 8 legs need apply.

7. I don’t believe in god or in any religion but I do believe in goodness and I venerate life in all its forms. I justify my stance on roast chicken and spiders as hypocrisy with extenuating circumstances.

Phew, that was actually quite hard. Be warned my lovelies!

Now for the easy part – Seven bloggers I nominate for the ‘Tell me about yourself’ award :

–  Jennifer Scoullar.  Jennifer is another aussie but I’m nominating her because she can write like crazy.

The Pink Agendist.  Because this is a man with a big heart. And he can cook!

Courtney Bluebird.  Bluey is not an aussie but she could be 🙂  She is also teaching me about poetry and deserves a medal of valour for that.

Maggie O.  Maggie is funny and kind, she is also funny and loves animals. Oh and did I say she was funny? Well she is 🙂

Alex Laybourne.  Alex writes horror but it’s his understanding of human nature that is his greatest talent.

Caressingthemuse.  Stephanie is a whiz at marketing and shares her knowledge with great generosity. She also has a way with words that makes learning fun.

Sable City.  M. Edward McNally creates worlds I want to visit and has a sense of humour that hits all the right buttons with me.

I have dear friends I haven’t nominated this time around but DaudCandy, Metan, SweetMother, I love you all!

Patience conquers all

I can’t remember where or when I first came across the saying ‘love conquers all’ but I know the expectation has stalked me for most of my life. I expected that tiny kitten to make a miraculous recovery. It didn’t. I expected my parents would let me keep that sad eyed puppy. They didn’t. I expected to meet the man of my dreams by age 22 and to have the beginnings of a family by at least 24. I didn’t and I didn’t.  I did fall fall in love a number of times and I even experienced the ‘Grand Passion’ a couple of times but it seemed that the more I loved the less likely it was that the object of my affections would love me back.

In my 30’s I did finally meet a gorgeous, clever man who said yes when I jokingly asked him to marry me and we did have one amazing daughter but the ‘death us do part’ clause must have been lost in translation because it became  ‘divorce us do part’ some years later. So I’m no longer convinced that love does conquer all, especially when I see so much unnecessary hatred in the world. To be honest I’m not quite sure what would constitute necessary hatred but I know that hatred of race or religion or sexual orientation is a hate we can do without.

Yet if love is not transforming the world then what’s left? Do we just shrug and throw up our hands in despair?

Not on your nelly! With the wisdom of advanced middle age I’m here to tell you that the one, true, indomitable force in the world is… ta dah… patience! And maybe a soupçon of persistence. [soupçon : just a touch, an itty bitty bit, a hint, a whisper…]

Do you remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Yes, that’s the one – slow, steady tortoise wins the race while loud, flashy hare snoozes just before the finish line. In many ways we are all wabbits; we all want to get there fast, we want to make it happen now, right this instant or at least within the next five minutes and when we take longer than expected we sulk and have a snooze.

The modern media doesn’t help. Our expectations are always being fueled by the latest wonderkind, the newest overnight sensation, all of whom apparently just skipped their way towards superstardom or mega riches without putting a curl out of place. That is the ideal of success. If you have to work for it or if it takes 20 years to make it big then somehow the achievement is devalued and it definitely isn’t sexy. And we all want sexy, right?

Well, we may all want sexy but the biggest achievements of all owe more to plodding than to sprinting. Did someone wave a magic wand to make the Berlin Wall tumble down? Nope, it took time and patience and persistence. Did Nelson Mandela rid South Africa of Apartheid by machine gunning all the white politicians? Nope, apartheid died a little bit at a time thanks to the patience and persistence of a lot of people whose names will never be known. In 50 years time I hope the same will be said of climate change – that a lot of nameless people working together finally achieved the goal that governments could not.

Plodding people – that is what gets the job done. Plodding and patience and persistence. And those three P’s are just as powerful in the lives of individuals as they are in the life of the global community. Yes there are instances of mad, amazing good luck that seem to come out of nowhere but if you look closely enough you’ll see the good luck is just the tip of ye olde iceberg. Luck can’t work in a vacuum; it has to have something to work on and 99 times out of 100 that something was created by years of patience effort.

Don’t believe me? Well how about the case of my friend Alex Laybourne? Alex is an indie writer who has been juggling a day job, a family he adores and the passion to write.  For years. Alex did all the ‘right things’ in terms of marketing but the success he dreamt about stayed illusive. Until just about a week ago when he was offered a two book contract by a publisher! The offer seemed to come out of the blue but I know that it would never have happened if Alex had not put so much effort into his writing and his marketing. Nonetheless I suspect that in the not too distant future Alex is going to become one of those overnight successes we spoke about earlier. But you and I will know that he worked his butt off before lady luck finally smiled on him. He was patient and he was persistent and he made it over the finish line.

I’m sure that if you scratch below the surface [yes Daud I know, I’m using up my quota of cliches very quickly but it’s in a good cause!] you will find a million hard-working overnight successes like Alex. They all earned their good fortune through patience and persistence and so will you. By ‘you’ I mean all the other wonderful indie authors out there. I already know some of you and I’m finding more and more every day. You are funny, brilliant, quirky people who write funny, brilliant and innovative stories. Then you polish those stories until they shine. That takes time and effort and dedication [not to mention a pretty strong grasp of the English language].  And after that you work even harder just to be seen.

To all of you hard-working, dedicated writers I say – be patient! Lady luck may be a bit fickle at the moment but you have all the time in the world. There is no use-by date for creativity. So what if you have to gum your food? So what if you get arthritis in your fingers? Voice recognition software is coming along in leaps and bounds so by the time you can’t type any more you’ll be able to throw away your keyboards and just dictate your stories!  [Note : false teeth might make dictation a bit easier, just a thought].

By now I hope that I have convinced everyone of the power of patience. If any of you still have doubts please contact me after the lecture…um I mean the pep talk… and I’ll box your ears for being slow on the uptake 😉

p.s. I’m open to donations of wine [shiraz or merlot], chocolates [dark only] and meals-on-wheels at any time. Sadly I can’t accept nuts any more, they’re just a bit too hard to chew.

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