Thursday, May 31, 2007

NaNoWriMo: Better Late Than Never

Possibly something that no publisher need ever know about, but the novel I'm working on right now started as a NaNoWriMo project.

Having only achieved a word count of 32,605 words, I could not declare myself a winner at the time, and I could not receive the glorious prize of Nothing Much Really. What I did win were those 32K words, a rough plot for the rest, and a determination to finish the damned thing.

I'm not quite there yet, but today saw me finally reach the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words.

32,000 words in one month.

18,000 in six.

You have to love the power of procrastination.

Monday, May 21, 2007

In Real Life: Katherine Howell and Leigh Redhead

Having entered the world of crime fiction on the Internet about the same time I started reading properly again, I've had the distinct pleasure of getting to know much more than a handful of people, virtually. I've exchanged critiques, indulged in conversation on forums, even emailed about personal issues, but I've never actually met anyone in person. Until just the other day.

Authors Katherine Howell and Leigh Redhead happened to be dropping into Better Read Than Dead, one of my favourite book stores. My local, in fact. So when I received an email from Katherine inviting me to coffee afterwards, I was well chuffed. And a little anxious.

See, the people I know In Real Life are people I've met through friends, at clubs or parties, at work ... but never through the Internet. Considering I'm a programmer by day, you'd think I'd be fine with this. And I am. It's just that ... I've never met anyone through the Internet before. In all honesty, I was a little nervous to meet them both.

And I did this about about fifteen minutes after I'd planned to, on account of confusing the meeting spot with another cafe that happened to be right up the other end of King Street. After an embarrassing phone call to Katherine--embarrassing because I only live just down the road--I made it to the cafe, hot and sweaty from the brisk walk in the unusually warm sun.

The cafe was chaotic and noisy, so while we made our introductions, I ordered a coffee to calm my nerves. Yes, Mr. I Just Quit Caffeine decided to have a coffee. To relax. With my jitters now in full force, we powered through the conversation, learning a lot about each other's experiences in the world of writing in a very short time.

What I learned:

  • Leigh did roughly the same PI course as me, although she dropped out further into it, but not before having a rollicking good time on the surveillance practical.
  • Katherine has seen people die and live again, but none of them have gone on to write psychic self-help books about their experiences. Although there was one woman who thought she died for two weeks before returning to this material plane. The only explanation I could offer for this was the wanton use of chemicals.
  • Both Leigh and Katherine were the only crime writers during their shared time at Varuna, the NIDA of the writing industry in Australia.
  • I'm not the only writer who has complicated strategies for procrastination and Internet avoidance / addiction.
  • Australian publishers seem to put a fair amount of effort into promoting their authors.
  • Peter Temple is probably not going to join Crimespace (yes, I hope he sees this). Actually, I just made this one up. But I'm still hoping he sees it. And joins. Peter?
  • When Katherine and Leigh saw the Crimespace t-shirt pictured above, they both wanted one. I must look into ways of getting them printed in bulk. Until then ... there's always the store.
  • And one last plug for Crimespace: Leigh and Katherine were amazed at the number of very cool crime fiction authors out there in the world.
It was great to meet and chat with Katherine and Leigh. Not just because it was the first time I could share out loud the thoughts I've had locked inside my head for the last three years (must remember to avoid mentioning my fetish for sniffing book binding glue), but also because they were both nice enough not to run away screaming.

I'm currently powering through Leigh's debut novel, PEEPSHOW, but I couldn't miss the opportunity to get signed copies of their books. Leigh's being CHERRY PIE, the latest in the same series as the debut, and Katherine's being FRANTIC, the beginning of what promises to be an exciting series.

By all accounts, it looks like I'm in for a great read.

Interviews from ABC: Katherine Howell, Leigh Redhead

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Big Face Of Books

Made with the help of LibraryThing and MacOSaiX (PC users can try Andrea Mosaic).

Friday, May 04, 2007

Five Years On

Five years ago on this day, I held an alcohol-fueled birthday party at my bachelor pad in the burbs. There was much fuel consumed by all. Mary was one of those consumers and towards the end of the night, she told me she was staying. I wasn't about to disagree. That night turned into two days that extended into us moving in together and being together for five years, a personal record for both of us in terms of relationships.

Since there's no point in me trying to top Mary's post for our special day, I'm just going to share with you all a picture of the rings we put a down payment on today. They come from a dark and mysterious store tucked away in the Strand Arcade, smack in the middle of Pitt Street Mall, Sydney. The place is called Love & Hatred. The white gold ring is mine, but will be without the Latin text; the rose gold ring is Mary's and the symbols on it represent the four seasons.

We're not into marriage as such, but this is a mark of our commitment to each other. Here's to our love, through all the seasons to come.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Gobble Up Catch-Up

It's been a while since I've posted, mostly due to trying to limit my internet time to maintaining Crimespace. But there's something almost hypnotic and PacMan-like in gobbling up the bullets in a list, so I thought I'd give you people some little pills of Hatadi-tidbits to pop into your mouth.

Why? Because pills are good. Both my doctor and dealer agree.

What Hatadi Done Done Lately:

  • Successfully quit caffeine. Okay, I had a bottle of Coke on the weekend, but I've been good otherwise, and the moods swings are finally on their way out the door.
  • Polished off an entry for the Debut Daggers. I wasn't going to, but when I found out how many people I knew were entering I had to jump in on the insanity. It's possibly the strongest entry I've sent them so far, but I'm sure the competition will blow me away. That doesn't matter, though. There's nothing like a deadline--and money on the line--to kick your own arse into gear.
  • Polished off another short and sent it off. There's every chance it could be about the world's first homeless vampire. Failing that, there's at least 3 out of 14 chances.
  • Crimespace membership's just shy of 600 now. I'm equal parts excited and afraid. But I think that's a good way to live.
  • Went around my whole house and put up my meagre collection of books on LibraryThing. I love the function they have for looking at all your books on one page. I may just try my hand at making a collage like this guy did. I've also added a random display of covers in the sidebar. Why? Because I'm geeky, and the Geek shall inherit the Earth.
  • Watched A LOT of Battlestar Galactica. Almost two seasons worth. It's quickly become one of my favourite TV shows of all time. Until the next one hits anyway.