Inspiration for the new year

Revisiting some old favourites, these links have all improved my mood at some point or another and I recommend them for ways to get into thinking more positively.

Still love this video of Louis CK Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy

How to make 2009 (or 10…) yourbest year ever.

A fantastic little visualisation exercise that will help you re-evaluate what’s important.

My resolutions are more of the same from last year and some goal setting more than anything like ‘visit the gym more’. I want to continue to work hard on my writing and continue in my quest to get published. I have a ‘to do’ list of short stories, etc and a plan for tackling the two books I wrote last year. I’m feeling good about that.

Also, continue to live the best life I can, be open to new things, focus on those people in my life who encourage and support me and above all, have fun!

Happy new year everyone!

Gorgeous things for today

My best friend Giffy had her baby yesterday. So excited to meet the new wee thing.

This stunning video of the known universe, linked to by the QI elves.

Baby cotton top tamarin is so happy!

Also check out my friend Margie’s new blog fake delicious which is all about cute things that look like food. My cupcake wall hanging is in there somewhere….

T shirt quilt

Combining two of my favourite things: chocolate friends! OK, so I haven’t managed that one, but I have combined T shirts and patchwork successfully.

Check it, a bunch of old T shirts of mine, many of them worn until they’re stained, the graphic starts cracking, they’re out of fashion style wise, I grow out of them or I simply have a *better* shirt for that kind of mood….Recycled into a super-funky quilt top. Some are Lee’s old shirts too, The Milo Boro one for example, that Giffy bought him in Thailand. All of these shirts have stories behind them, which makes this quilt more special than one made with random fabrics.

I bought new batting for it, because we don’t have any suitable blankets, but I did recycle an old flannelette sheet for the backing. Here is is, assembled.

So, the oldest shirt in there is the weird landscape one, it depicts a bunch of mods hipster hanging out in a house. A workmate gave me that one, having bought it for herself in the 70’s. In the bottom left hand you can see the Midsummer Night’s Dream shirt from the school production of 1994, Wellington Girl’s College. I was a member of the dancing fairy chorus, we did the Charleston. My WGC supporter’s club shirt is in there too in pieces.

Two Kapcon shirts are in there, and I just found another today but it’s too late to add it. There’s a Jenni’s Angels shirt I had left over from the Destination Earth order and the pink ‘big F little f’ was the one I wore in my director’s cameo the first year we did the 48.

Oh the memories. And it came out really really big too, so it will be extra snuggly and useful. I am kind of looking forward to making my next one….OK, so I still have to hand quilt and bind this one, and that will take a while, but whatevs. This was awesome fun.

Writing whatever the day is

I had an awesome amount of sleep yesterday and last night and woke up feeling refreshed and happy. I am thanking my awesome new Peter Alexander PJs for that. They’re super comfy and the fabric’s real soft and although there’s a little bit of riding up, the pants are so cute and frilly that I don’t even care. OK, now you know way more than you needed to about my new PJs. In conclusion: Peter Alexander 25% off everything sale is totally worth it and I’m likely heading back in for more PJs.

The point of this entry is not PJs though (I love PJs!) it’s writing. I woke up feeling good and managed to not just open the file, but actually edit the first chapter of WtWTCH? I have a couple of days left to get it into Dragon Moon’s open submission month.

I didn’t want to do it, but the combination of inspiring articles and things like twitter being *really dead* because everyone’s on holiday changed my mind. Just like everything in this whole writing malarkey, once you’ve started it got quite easy and fun.

I got a much better first sentence out of the rewrite, paced it up a bit and deleted out some chaff. I made the voice match what it does later in the MS a bit more, (thanks to Dan for bringing this to my attention). I’ve sent the two chapters out to some writerly friends to take a gander at and give me feedback.

I’m going to take another look at it in a couple of days for final refining, spruce up my query letter and send it on in. The response time is 4-6 months so I’ll keep on querying agents with it in the mean time.

Linky:

Bad first sentence choices.

This Northern Californian agency has a lovely article on how to make yourself Irresistable to agents (part one of three).

Things I Love Christmas

Well, Obviously I love Christmas, but this is a good time to sit back and be thankful for other stuff as well.

This year is the first year *in my whole life* when I will not be seeing my parents, or any of my family, on Christmas Day. It has been a weirdly emotional time for me. I am especially thankful for my friends this year, especially everyone who managed to come round to my Christmas party yesterday. I love sharing this time of year with friends, because I can show them how much I love them. We had fun, chillaxing in the sun, playing Apples to Apples, eating, playing Rock Band and talking. I know awesome people. I feel blessed.

Of course, my immediate family is my darling Lee. I have to be thankful for him because he’s such a honey, always there for cuddles, ready to take me to see Where the Wild Things Are at a moment’s notice and cooking. Mustn’t forget the cooking. I got the roast dinner started yesterday but he checked its progress and took it from oven to served. He gave me the Absolute Sandman vol 3 for Christmas, which means I only need one more and then the Compleat Death 🙂

My extended family.
Just because my family are mostly in Gisborne doesn’t mean there’s no celebrating. My Lee-side family are all here and we’re having a big old party at their place tonight. Catching up with the nieces and eating of the gigantic feast will be awesome fun, plus present swapping!

I love presents. I especially love giving and receiving carefully considered presents. Nothing like knowing someone knows you well, has chosen something that you love, specially for you. Awww, Christmas rocks.

Honourable Mentions: group photos, roast chicken, looking forward to Christmas dinner, knowing that I have only *one* giant meal today so I don’t have to worry about overeating, having a second Christmas in a week, picking people up from the airport, hugs, dancing, sharing my baking and have people being excited about it, youtube, napping, good books, internet shopping, Boxing Day sales, awesome movies and love.

And last, but certainly not least, the best Christmas special ever, made while Jim Henson was still alive and packed with funny….

When you have time, why don’t you share what’s making you happy right now?

Writing

I haven’t really done much writing since Happy Christmas Morning. I had grand plans for this afternoon, but after a morning doing chores and having a lovely long lunch with Amphigori I just really wanted to relax. I basked in the sun, read a bunch and snoozed on and off. Great way to start the holidays!

I really need to do some editing, but I guess it can wait. In the mean time I’m agonising over a good title for Rain…

I had a late night brain wave that I should call it The Suburban book of the dead, but it turns out that Robert Rankin already used that name, so I’m playing around with variations on the theme. None of these have jumped out at me as perfect yet, but here’s the list, lemme know if any of these grab you….

Book of the dead for teenagers

Teenage book of the dead

The young person’s guide to the dead

Book of the dead for the recently aggrieved

Modern book of the dead

Suburban guide to hunting monsters

Suburban guide to hunting demons

Bleh. Anyway, have some linky:

This is a fantastic article gathering the best tips from writers. 54 tips for writers from writers, lots to read, lots to digest.

This instruction manual from Holly Lisle on how to do one pass revision on a manuscript is scary and exciting. I might try this method with Rain.

Spec the Halls entry – Happy Christmas Morning

This story is a part of the Spec the Halls contest for speculative winter holiday-themed fiction, artwork, and poetry. You may find guidelines and links to other entries at http://www.aswiebe.com/specthehalls.html

    Happy Christmas Morning.

Carrie’s eyes flew open, her heart was pounding. It was Christmas morning. It had to be, because yesterday was Christmas Eve and now it was a whole new day. It was still very early. Carrie knew it was early because it was still dark, she couldn’t see much of her room. There was a bit of light coming from under her curtain but Carrie thought it was probably the street light.

Carrie lay in bed, paralysed with excitement. It was Christmas at last, after all the waiting and the wishing and the agony. Carrie had spent all of December preparing for Christmas. So many hours making gingerbread with her mother, decorating the Christmas tree, drawing cards and writing Merry Christmas inside them and putting them into envelopes for her friends at school.

Last night had been the hardest. Carrie and her parents had sung Christmas carols, although her father didn’t know some of the words, and they had watched A Christmas Carol on the vidscreen, but Carrie hadn’t been a little bit sleepy even when it was an hour after her bedtime.

But that was over now, it was Christmas morning. Carrie slid her feet out of the bed, moving as quietly as she could manage. She slipped her feet into her bunny slippers, pulled on her dressing gown and slowly, ever so slowly, crossed the room to her bedroom door.

She’d long ago mastered the art of opening her door silently. First she picked up Mr Squiggleberry, her teddy bear, and smushed him over the speaker box. That way the beeping that her door did to let people know it had worked would be smothered. Second she put her towel along the floor so that the door wouldn’t make a banging noise when it slid open. The doors weren’t supposed to bang like that, Carrie knew, but their section of the station wasn’t as new as it had been. Her mother sometimes said it was falling apart, but Carrie’s father said she was overreacting when she’d said it.

The door opened and thumped gently against the bunched up towel end. Carrie snuck out into the shared habitation area. The Christmas tree was still lit up, the fairy lights glowing red, purple, blue and yellow. Under the tree were the presents Carrie already knew about, the small green plastic wrapped packages that her parents had put under there a week ago and which she had spent a long time feeling. She had guessed what each one of those was.

Carrie looked over by the wall, where she had hung her stocking. The stocking was one of her old microfiber boot liners that she’d grown out of. The terrain outside the station was still not completely terraformed, so extra layers of protection were required. The stocking was bright green and Carrie had painstakingly sewed on it a yellow star cut out from one of her mother’s old shirts.

The stocking was bulging and there was something sticking tantalisingly out of the top. Carrie stood and stared, overwhelmed with anticipation. She hoped it was the stuffed pony she’d asked for. Carrie was bursting with a need to look in the stocking but her parents had forbidden her to touch it until they were awake.

There was only one thing to do.

Carrie ran to her parents’ bedroom door, punched in the access code and burst into the room.
‘It’s Christmas! It’s Christmas!’ she shouted. They didn’t move immediately so she jumped up onto the bed and onto her father’s shoulder. ‘Wake up, wake up, Santa came!’

Carrie’s mother moaned and rolled over, she blinked at Carrie. ‘What time is it?’ she said.

‘It’s Christmas time!’ Carrie said. Her father shifted under her and she slipped down between the two of them.

‘S’not even oh six hundred,’ her father said. He sounded groggy.

‘Santa came! Can I open my stocking now?’ Carrie nudged her mother’s arm. ‘Can I?’

‘OK, go back to the lounge, we’ll be up in a moment. Just look at the tree ‘til we get there.’

Carrie slid back off the bed and ran back into the shared habitation area. She knew her mother called it a lounge because of that’s one of the words they used back on Earth, but to her it would always be the SHA. Carrie sat on the cushioned seating units and bounced up and down, she looked back at her parent’s room every couple of seconds. She could see them get out of bed, pulling on their dressing gowns and talking. She couldn’t hear what they were saying.

Finally they came into the SHA.

‘Can I have it now?’ Carrie asked.

‘I need a coffee,’ Carrie’s mother said. ‘Wait until I have my coffee.’

‘Awww,’ Carrie said. Her father sat down next to her. He stretched one tentacle out, reached across the room and wrapped the tip gently around her stocking. He unhooked it from the wall and drew it back over to the seat.

‘You can hold it,’ he said, ‘but you can’t take anything out til Mummy gets back, alright?’

‘Thanks Dad,’ Carrie cuddled into her father’s side, balancing the stocking on her lap. He laid one tentacle across her shoulders, hugging her close.

Carrie listened as the kettle boiled and her mother manipulated the mysterious machine that produced coffee. She came back in, holding two steaming mugs. She gave one to Carrie’s father and sat down on the other side of Carrie.

‘Go on then, let’s see what Santa brought you.’

Later, when Carrie had torn the paper off all her presents and given the gifts she’d made to her parents and they’d had breakfast and Carrie was dressed they had a moment of quiet.

‘This is nice,’ Carrie’s father said.

‘My advent calendar!’ Carrie shouted, ruining the tranquillity. ‘I haven’t opened today’s window!’ She leapt up from the seating unit, ran across to the communicator and picked up the battered cardboard. It had a big picture on the front, of an apartment building in one of the old Earth cities. There were people on the street outside it, walking with plastic bags full of presents. There was a Santa in one corner, ringing a bell. Her mother had called the picture ‘quaint’ but Carrie thought it was beautiful, she loved to look at all the things in the windows, like the old fashioned televisions and the optometrist shop that sold glasses.

She ran her fingers over the picture, looking for the one unopened window. There, with the number ‘25’ on it, she pulled it open and looked at the tiny drawing underneath. ‘It’s some people looking at a baby,’ Carrie said.

‘It’s the birth of Jesus,’ Carrie’s mother said.

‘Not this again,’ Carrie’s father said. Carrie looked up, he had sounded grumpy and she could see his skin was turning a darker shade of purple, which meant he was angry.

‘Don’t be like that, darling,’ Carrie’s mother said. ‘It is the reason why we have Christmas. I mean, his name is right there in the title.’

‘I think it’s archaic and strange,’ Carrie’s father said. Carrie tried not to cry, she hated it when her parents disagreed and this was Christmas day, they should all be happy. Carrie’s mother could see Carrie’s chin wobbling and held out her arms to her.

‘Well, that’s how it started out,’ Carrie’s mother said. ‘But it’s not really why we do all this.’ Carrie climbed up onto her mother’s lap, clutching the advent calendar. She wished she’d never opened the stupid last window.

‘Why do we do Christmas then?’ Carrie asked. Her father turned to look at them, clearly wondering the same thing.

‘Well, I guess it’s because it’s good to let people know how much you love them,’ she said.

‘But surely we should do that every day,’ Carrie’s father said. ‘Why would you restrict that to one day in 365? Why not just treat each other nicely?’

‘Humans aren’t very good at that, I’m afraid,’ Carrie’s mother said. Carrie leaned back into her arms, listening hard. ‘We forget, we get grumpy and we treat each other badly. We have wars and take each other for granted. We have Christmas to remind ourselves that we can love each other as well.’

‘Hmph,’ Carrie’s father said.

‘And of course, it’s nice to have a reason to get dressed up and eat a lot of delicious food,’ she tickled Carrie, making her laugh. Carrie had been asking about the Christmas feast all month.

‘Well, I can’t disagree with you there, the feast part of it is pretty amazing,’ Carrie’s father said. He looked at his wife and child and smiled at them. ‘Of all the human traditions you brought with you this is the strangest, but I guess I can get into it.’

Carrie leaned over and gave her father a kiss on his long rubbery face. ‘Merry Christmas daddy,’ she said.

‘Merry Christmas kidlet,’ he said. ‘Come on, time for the rest of the presents.’ Carrie jumped down from the seating unit and sped over to the Christmas tree to sort out which presents were for her.

‘You think this is strange? I must’ve never explained about Easter to you,’ Carrie’s mother said.

‘Hmmm?’

‘A giant rabbit brings chocolate eggs.’

Carrie’s father just looked at his wife uncomprehendingly and then he smiled. ‘You’re joking.’

Fall actual play – Hospital Drama

Over the opening credits, a montage of the characters having dinner. Alex’s family is awkward, not talking much over dinner. Megan is having another dinner with her mother and Jim Lock. Darius sits alone at his dinner, Nebby sits on the floor and watches. Calvin is actually eating with other people for once, laughing with Martha and Gina.

After dinner Alex goes upstairs to lie on her bed and stare at the ceiling while listening to Evanescence. Megan is watching a heist movie with her mother and Jim, getting more and more uncomfortable with their snuggliness.

After a while Alex gets restless and calls Darius, asking if he’d like to go patrolling with her. He emphatically declines. Darius has a much more awesome night planned: sitting on the couch watching Battlestar Galactica.
D:Hey, we found something that kills vampires when they drink your blood.
Alex: What?

So Alex calls Calvin.
C: Yeh?
A:You busy?
C: nuh
A: you….wanna go patrolling?
C: Yeah.
A: Cool.
C: So, meet you where?
A: cemetery.
C…be more specific?
Continue reading

Things I Love Thursday

Hmm, slow blogging week. Sorry guys!

Lots of great stuff this week. Let’s see, lunch (and dinner) with friends, awesome roleplaying (Fall report coming soon), presents! Free Mr Whippy ice cream, making things and giving them away, snuggling into bed which is way more comfy since we took off the electric blanket, thinking about and planning Christmas, Muppet Christmas Carol, the Spring Awakening soundtrack, sunshine, reading, doing what I like, facebook and photos.

My new “I ❤ shooting zombies" T shirt, feeling like I'm on holiday already and getting my hopes up.

What are you in love with today?