12.29.10

Happy New Year!

Posted in Journal at 9:01 pm by Natalie

It feels like my glands are filling up with ball bearings, like someone took to my throat with a potato peeler last night, and ants are crawling through my sinuses. Yes, it is the end of year cold that had to happen.

Last year it heralded the onset of a bizarre, rare virus, but this year I’m pretty sure it is just a cold. I have a theory. When you are sick you appreciate the times when you are well. When you are well you don’t really appreciate anything and you lament the little things, like koalas weeing on your car. So the end of year cold sets you up to look back on (and appreciate) the good times you have had in the year that has gone, and to look forward to the well times in the new year ahead.

Hopefully now that I have cracked this cunning subconscious plan I can get well again before the end of the year. Perhaps I should start by thinking of the things that I am grateful for… I won’t give you the list, I think such things are personal, but as a list and goal-setting addict, I do write down what I want to do with the year ahead, as well as specific New Year’s resolutions. This year I will also make a long list of the good parts of 2010 so I don’t forget.

It might also save me from the end of year cold next year.

Happy New Year!

Nat

12.26.10

Merry Christmas

Posted in Journal at 9:31 pm by Natalie

Just in case Santa didn’t bring you a copy of Paragon, you can still pick up your own copy at Smashwords! And if you feel like something a bit more ‘adult’ the Terminal Earth Anthology can also be picked up at Amazon.

But enough on the sales pitch. I hope your Christmas was wonderful and didn’t stretch your stomach (or your wallet) too much. We had to avoid ‘showers’ from the four koalas in the trees in the backyard as we played bocce, the kookaburras laughed at several of our games and the magpies spent the afternoon begging us for food. So it was a very Aussie Christmas.

Now, after two days of food, wine, gifts, food, great company, food and food I think it is time for me to have an early night. I hope you all were lucky enough to be surrounded by those you love, and you reconnected with those you do not see as often as you wish. That is the most wonderful thing about this time of year, so make the most of it and enjoy every moment of the Christmas break. Just look out for those brief showers under the gum trees.

Merry Christmas!

Nat

12.22.10

Paragon Published!

Posted in Writing at 4:52 pm by Natalie

Paragon Now Available

It has taken 10 years to get it out to the market, but Paragon is now available for sale through Smashwords as an electronic book. Even if you don’t have an e-reader you can still read the book on your computer by purchasing a PDF version. Simply click here for more information about purchasing, and click here for the story blurb.

I need to say a BIG thank you to my wonderful mother who has just spent the past five days reading all 82,600 words of Paragon, paying particular attention to my evil homonym affliction. Yes, I did use the wrong ‘draw’ again, and yes my Mum picked it up, even after I thought I’d spotted them all. I’m checking myself in to homonym-anonymous later this evening (glad I don’t have to read this out loud, that was quite a tongue-twister).

So please pass this link on to as many young adults or science fiction readers as you can. It is aimed at the 13 – 18 year old market, but it can be enjoyed by all adults. There is no swearing and no sex, but there are adult concepts, a little bit of violence (not gratuitous) and plenty of action!

Happy reading!

Nat

12.19.10

Not quite ready…

Posted in Journal, Writing at 8:08 pm by Natalie

Yes, I know, I said it would be ready by Sunday, and it is ready, but just not ready for you to buy. Paragon is completed, edited and even has a cover, but a little technical bug means I probably won’t have it up for sale until Tuesday.

But I can show you the cover!

Paragon my first novel

Illustrator (the program) and I had a lot of fights over that cover, but I think I won in the end. Feel free to let me know what you think, as I said, it probably won’t be in the online shop until Tuesday, so it is not too late to make changes.

I’ll post again as soon as Paragon is online ready for purchase, and I’ll turn the picture of the cover into a hyperlink to where you can buy it.

Thanks for your patience!!!!

Nat

12.15.10

Paragon –coming soon!

Posted in Writing at 5:52 pm by Natalie

I realised that I’ve asked you to set aside $3 of your Christmas budget for my first eBook (self-published), but I’ve not yet told you anything about it. So to give you a bit of a tease here is the book blurb.

Paragon

What is the secret that the leaders are trying to keep hidden from the citizens of Paragon? Do they even know the answers themselves? Nine generations have passed since a global catastrophe sent hundreds of scientists into an enclosed biosphere called Paragon. It was meant to be the best of what humanity had to offer, and while the world outside was destroyed, Paragon did prosper.

But survival has come at a cost.

Time has corrupted the original intent, and power has fostered greed in those who rule. The citizens of Paragon accept the laws of the biosphere without question, until the ‘synthetics’ are born. Implanted with the brain tissue of a brilliant, generation-zero scientist, the ‘synthetics’ are the most intelligent people in the dome. But for some of them the brain tissue works in a different way, filling their dreams with memories of the Old-World. They begin to wonder why there is no effort to explore the outer world and repopulate as originally intended.

In a world of restricted population growth and termination ages, the freedom of the outside proves too great for two ‘synthetics’ who start asking questions that cannot be answered. Desperate to maintain the secrets of the dome, the leaders have no choice but to charge the citizens with subversion, a crime punishable by death. But to sentence them they must first be caught. In an enclosed environment there are few places to run.

This is a young adult novel, aimed at 14-114 year olds! Hopefully I’ll be able to give you a link to where you can buy it by next blog post!

Nat

12.12.10

I got the wrong ghost

Posted in Writing at 9:36 pm by Natalie

I tried to channel my blog tonight. I just let my fingers hit the keys and hoped that something really witty would come out. It didn’t. I did manage three words that made sense: as, ale, & fie. I could probably turn them into a story, but it would involve a tavern, a beanstalk and lots of plagiarism.

Sometimes the words just don’t come.

What do you do when that happens? Well I can now tell you with confidence that you don’t just randomly bang away at the keyboard, unless you are after a sentence like this; Ncaieu as fie lai balie ale asei fo faiewnbix oain woine aosienaow’b. Then you hit some unknown combination of keys and minimise everything on your screen.

The best thing to do is just start writing. Write what you are thinking, even if it is about how much you don’t know what to write about. Describe the high level plot of the chapter or story you are hoping to start (or finish). Or tell the story of what you did this morning, even if it was something dull like going ballooning or juggling knives. Just write anything!

Will it be witty and wonderful and the best piece of work you have ever done? Not likely, but it will be words, and everyone knows that words lead to words. So while you might end up binning your first few paragraphs (or pages) before you get to the good stuff, at least you will be on the path to the good stuff, and that’s what counts.

So don’t let writer’s block beat you, and whatever you do, don’t let silly excuses stop you from writing. If all you can channel is an illiterate goat, then ditch the black arts and go for the literary ones, force the work out.

Happy writing,

Nat

12.08.10

Flying high, then low, then high again

Posted in Journal at 6:12 pm by Natalie

There was a storm last night, a BIG storm. I consider myself somewhat of an expert on last night’s storm because I was flying through it. When we took off from Sydney airport the sky was blue with a scattering of fluffy white clouds. It was peaceful for a while… about as long as it took to taxi out to the runway.

I’m sure you have all experienced turbulence, so I won’t bother to describe the stomach turning roll, yaw and bump of it all. What was unique about this experience were the angry lightning storms that accompanied us for the last half of the trip, forcing the pilot to run hundreds of miles off track. I watched out the window as jagged bolts reached out, trying to spear our wings and zap the electrics. Fortunately we were kept just out of range.

Nearly 40 minutes later than expected we landed safely when a gap between storms passed over Adelaide airport. So surviving the flight home capped off a wonderful visit to the Blue Mountains.

But now we get to the storm fallout. Aside from the cramps resulting from the stress my body went through from *willing* the plane to stay in the air for nearly two hours straight, I now have some promises to fulfil. You know the ones; if we land safely I promise I’ll <fill in good deed or overdue task here>. So deed one is to finish the edit of Paragon by NEXT WEEK. So if you have any young adults to buy Christmas gifts for, consider a download of my novel. At the princely sum of around $3 you might still have to get them something else as well.

Deed two is to start being more grateful; so to the staff of DJ436, thank you for not looking terrified as you walked down the aisle holding onto the headrests and overhead lockers to stop yourselves from hitting the roof. If you looked scared I think I would have burst into tears instead of just digging my nails into the armrests. It does beg the question of why do we have to fly through storms to resolve to make ourselves better people?

Happy flying,

Nat

PS Another nature shot, a bit closer this time…
Mother and Baby Koala

12.05.10

Terminal Earth Anthology

Posted in Writing at 12:00 pm by Natalie

After a long wait the Terminal Earth Anthology was launched on Friday in e-format. You can buy an electronic copy from Amazon or Smashwords. The paper version should be published sometime in early January, so I’ll keep you posted on when that comes out.
Terminal Earth Anthology link

Filled with 23 different visions of the end of the world, including my 2012 short story Beyond Black, it should be an entertaining read. Though I have not yet seen a final edit, so with luck they didn’t add the line ‘and then I woke up’ to the end of all of them 😉

So for all of you wondering where you can buy one of my stories, please follow the links to get your electronic copy (go to Smashwords if you just want to read it on your computer, Amazon if you want to read it on your kindle). You get a lot of stories for your dollar, so it is pretty good value.

I will also have a comic 2012 story coming out in the New Year, so I’ll give you a link to that when it is online.

Happy reading,

Nat

12.01.10

Incommunicado

Posted in Journal, Writing at 9:23 pm by Natalie

Look at me
In my previous household it was not uncommon to email or electronically message others in the home to ask if they wanted a cup of tea. We sat side by side on the lounge, tapping away on our computers, and only spoke to each other when we wanted to share a funny video or crazy conspiracy theory we had stumbled across. That was back in the time of wireless internet.

Now, not only am I limited to cable-delivered internet, but the only computer it is hooked into is a geriatric machine that lives out in the family room –which also contains the TV. Had I wanted to get online for most of the previous week I would have had to share my time with the Australian cricket team (and all my father’s passionate suggestions about how they could improve their game).

Like many of those with a technology diet imposed upon them, I was surprised by how improved my day was by the lack of internet. Don’t get me wrong, my social life has suffered, and I got so sick of FreeCell that I don’t think I will be able to play again for a while, but my writing has been the real winner. I’ve edited nearly 23,000 words of my novel since this time last week! That would have to be a record for me.

Perhaps now I should admit that I have insisted on an upgrade. So the wireless modem will arrive soon and I’ll be back to tweeting, blog reading, emailing and all the other things that take precious moments each day. But maybe the real lesson I need to take from this is to force a few internet free days upon myself. I owe it to my writing to do it; my time off work is too quickly drawing to a close and I still have so much to do.

Anyway, I’ve got to go, you don’t want to know what Mum and Dad are watching on TV now…

Nat