26 February 2006

I've changed ......

... and I'm still mucking around with formats so hang in there. I wanted a three column blog and Caz has one that I like. But I'll probably change the colours and fonts. Still not writing, but I have a lot on my mind. I have to make a decision today whether or not to apply for a new job and I'm moving house next week. I'm overwhelmed with the logistics of that. It's the only time in my life I regret I'm a big reader. Books are irritating things to move aren't they?

23 February 2006

Computer Hell

On Sunday night I was browsing the net looking for ideas to tart up this blog and clicked on a link only to watch in horror as a virus infected my computer. I tried everything to get around it but ended up taking it to the computer doctor and spending several hundred dollars getting it fixed and getting proper virus protection.

It was my own fault. I knew I didn't have proper software installed but kept putting off doing anything about it. A hard lesson to learn. It's amazing how bereft I felt not having my computer. I have access to one at work but can't browse all my favorite sites on that and can't really do any writing. Not that I'm doing much anyway.

So now it's back and I can breathe a sigh of relief. But I'm still not writing. Some hard thought has to be done about why. I keep coming back to fear, fear of not being good enough. No matter how much I know that I'm a beginner and I won't get better unless I write, the punitive editor inside is very strong. And very wily.

I would love to be one of those people who've always written so that's like breathing to them. It's not like that for me, it's much more a process of struggle. Why do I want to continue writing it it's so hard? I think because when it works, when the words flow, it's such a fantastic feeling. I get energised and believe all is right in my corner of the world.

I just need to get to that space again. Come to think of it, the computer virus is symbolic of my out of kilter sense of creativity. Something's infected it and I need to take it off to the creativity doctor. Hmm.

19 February 2006

Good advice...

... from Kristen who tells me Blogger might delete my blog if I don't have the heading up there. So it's back. I'd hate to loose the whole lot. While I'm here I'll have a quick moan about the weather. Sorry, but it's hot again. This has been the hottest January on record in my part of the world, about 3 degrees hotter than it should be. Makes me even more worried about global warming. I had to stay overnight in Sydney last night and it was hell. Humid and sticky.

By the way, Kristen thinks she's uncovered the identity of Miss Snark. Let her know what you think.

18 February 2006

Playing around...

... which is what I'm doing with this blog rather than writing. So you may see some changes in colours and fonts over the next few days. And this niffty little thing that makes the Blogger banner at the top disappear.

12 February 2006

Currently tagged

I got tagged by Karen so I'll play.

current clothing: navy drill trousers, turquoise tee-shirt, bright candy pink cotton sweater (OK it’s 6.30am, I was half asleep)
current hair: used to be red, now faded to brown and grey with blonde streaks (god that sounds terrible! Note to self: make an appointment to get hair done.)
current mood: frustrated
current refreshment: Monk Pear tea (Earl Grey with kick)
current annoyance: Insomnia
current avoidance: writing and housework
current smell: green tea candle
current thing you ought to be doing: writing
current thing or things on your wall: French Impressionist calendar, two notice boards filled with post cards and notes, a little tasteful collection of post cards of naked women, a Matisse print, a botanical drawing of a pumpkin that looks like a vagina (yes, really, and it’s very beautiful)
current IM/person you're talking to: no one
current jewelry: nothing, not up to jewellery yet
current book: See right in the sidebar
current worry: I’m not writing
current favorite celebrity: Don’t have one
current obsession: The Library Thing (this is my catalogue)
current love: The soundtrack from Good Night and Good Luck (I haven’t got it yet but I desperately want it. You can hear a bit of it if you click on the link)
current longing: To get out of this writing stuckness
current disappointment: I’m not writing
current lyric in your head: Don’t wait too long (Madeleine Peyroux)
current music: Madeleine Pyroux; kd lang (Hymns from the 49th Parallel); Ella Fitzgerald; Ellen McIllwaine (god I wish she'd come to Australia again!); Norah Jones; Aretha Franklin, The Waifs, Missy Higgins (The Sound of White), Paul Kelly.
current favorite book: Impossible to say with any certainty, but Michel Faber’s Crimson Petal and the White, Phillip Roth's The Human Stain, Tim Winton's Cloudstreet, Anna Funder's Stasiland. In terms of romance, at the moment anything by Jenny Crusie or Loretta Chase.
current favorite movie: Good Night and Good Luck although Walk the Line was terrific too.
current wish: To write!
current happy thing: I’m about to move house and live with some of my best friends
current undergarments: sensible bra and knickers with rose buds on them.
current desktop picture: A picture of some cinnamon (Keziah is a Hebrew name meaning cassiah (a spice like cinnamon).

So what are you currently doing?

11 February 2006

Thank you and excuses

That wonderful woman Alison Kent knows how to look after her overseas readers. After I commented on a blog post at Romancing the Blog by Sylvia Day about how expensive books are in Australia compared to the US, Alison decided to do an overseas give away for readers in far flung countries. So I’m looking forward to a treat in the mail. Thanks Alison!

A book that’s been generating some discussion on some of the crime writing blogs, is Sara Gran’s Dope. I went into my local bookshop to enquire if or when it would be available in Australia and how much it might cost. I knew it had only just been released and probably wouldn’t be available but my friendly bookshop owner confirmed to get in from the US would cost about $40AUS. This compares to $14.93US via Amazon. I’ll have to think about getting it.

Of course while I was there, I had to pick up a little something which consisted of the Lonely Planet Guide to the USA (I’m going there in July. Yippee!) and The Best British Mysteries edited by Maxim Jakubowski. Some nice stories by people like Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Peter Lovesey.

Which makes me think about where my writing is going. It’s getting blacker and bleaker. Not the lush, sensuous style of a lot of erotic romance writers. I’ve always been a big reader of crime, thriller and mystery fiction and particularly like the moral ambiguity of noir thrillers. As much as I like the playfulness of a lot of romance, I’m coming to the conclusion I can’t write it. It might help of course if I wrote something, but over the last couple of months I’ve been agonising over what I write and why I want to write. As a result I’ve found it increasingly difficult to write anything. I’m keep toying with my latest wip, trying to work out where it’s going and then get diverted into writing short stories. Well, one short story that I’m not happy with.

When this last happened to me I had to go back to writing a journal as a way of writing out the fear and anxiety. I don’t know why I don’t keep a regular journal but I’m slowly realising I need a place to take my whinny, neurotic musings about writing. At least I would be engaged in some writing.

Jack M Bickham said “Writers write. Everyone else makes excuses.” Sounds like I’m making lots of excuses.

10 February 2006

Word Clouds

Over at PBW she has a link to a niffty site that produces a word cloud for your blog (or you can get it put on your T-shirt). Had to do it of course. Looks about an accurate reading of my life concerns. Chocolate, writing, sex and romance.

09 February 2006

Books recently read

Writing's going badly so I've been reading a lot. First up was Three by Noelle Mack one of the new Aphrodisia erotic romances from Kensington. I liked it. It's doesn't have much of a plot but it's got a seductive feel to it which was engaging. If an erotic novel doesn't have much of a plot, the writing has to be good. I liked the way she ensnared her lover through erotic tales like Scheredzade.

Another in the Aphrodisia line is Undressing Mercy by Deanna Lee. Good, interesting story line about an ambitious no nonsense gallery manager recovering from sexual assault and investigating sex again. Sounds a bit heavy going for erotic romance but it was well done. I like the covers on these new lines too.

One of my reading groups discussed Sixty Lights by Gail Jones recently. It's a beautifully written piece of Australian literature but suffers from having a twenty-first century protagonist in a nineteenth century setting. Some of her choices seemed unrealistic for the time. But on the whole I'd recommend it. The scenes in India were great. And the imagery of light and photography were nicely done.

Lastly I've just finished The Halo Effect by M J Rose. A good, engaging thriller about a twisted sexual serial killer and the psychiatrist who gets pulled into the investigation. The second in the series is out called The Delilah Complex. These books are marketed as erotic thrillers which is a bit of a stretch. The psychiatrist is a sex therapist so there are sexual themes in the book but no more that a lot of crime and mystery books these days.

Have you read anything good lately? Anything I'd like?

06 February 2006

RIP Betty Friedan

Died on her 85th birthday.

01 February 2006

The Pleasure of the Text

I have a new story over at ERWA called The Pleasure of the Text. It's a bit unusual for me. The first weekend of every month at ERWA is devoted to a theme. The weekend I submitted this story to Storytime the theme was on fetishes. So, see what you think and let me know. There are some other great stories there from all the other talented writers who contribute to ERWA. Have a good browse and if you like them, let the authors know.