Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hitting my straps

The last few days, I have started to hit my straps (a harness racing term, if you were curious) with regard to my new story. I've started to churn out my 3000 words a day as I began a total rewrite of a lack lustre first draft.

I've killed characters off and totally changed the emphasis of what the story is about. Somehow I got off track and ended up writing a book where the wrong part of the story dominated, and then when I'd finished I didn't really like what I had. Then I caught up in the excitement of Ripples and ignored it for six months!

So, same characters as the crappy first draft- what's left of them! - same town, but completely new story. What was simply a story told by a character over a couple of pages has become the dominant thing. I'm loving it.

It's possible that posts might become shorter, visits to other blogs might become more sporadic as I knuckle down and do the hard yards. (Penelope the cat will be loving all these sporting analogies!)

That's what it feels like at the moment - a sporting event. Much sweat and grunt interspersed with moments of triumph and ecstatic delight. And this ability to just get on with it and do it is what separates the people who do write from the people who talk about writing. At some point you simply have to put bum in chair and do it. For me that time is now. The story is ready to be written.

So, don't feel I'm ignoring you. Keep a watchful eye on your MyBlogLog and you'll see me flit by. And, my dear old faithfuls who have been with me from the beginning, I'll still be posting and commenting almost every day because I've come to enjoy our time together.

You've become part of my little world.

Monday, July 30, 2007

New Zealand's shame

Today New Zealand is faced with yet another case of child abuse. We don't seem to be very good about caring for our youngsters. I believe that our figures are substantially worse than many similar countries.

A child is harmed and we're all horrified by it, and we talk a lot about it and the Government commission another report on it, and a few months later we hear that another baby or young child is fighting for it's life - or dead. And the cycle starts again and we all say how terrible it is and the Government ....

My heart bleeds for these children as I'm sure do the hearts of most New Zealanders. So why does it happen? How does it happen?

I'd dob someone in at the drop of a hat if I thought they were abusing their children, but I never see anything suspicious. I almost sorry that I don't because I feel so helpless.

There is are a number of fairly constant factors and it does seem to me that we can spot the "at risk" child. I suppose the problem is that most of the children in that group won't be abused so that society can not take draconian measures as a precautionary step.

Drug and alcohol abuse is often part of the equation, as is a youth and a lack of family support, and often a step-parent is part of the mix, and a complete lack of parenting skills.

These children often seem to be hidden until the tragedy happens. Do we need to have public nurses that follow up after birth through to starting school? I don't know and I don't know what the cost of such a programme would be, but if we do nothing and this pattern of child abuse is allowed to continue, it seems to me that the cost will be far higher.

Tonight, I feel a pain that I don't know how to ease, and yet the weeks will pass and I will forget about this - my pain will go.

But out there, somewhere in this beautiful country that I'm usually so proud of, this abuse is happening to another child.

Their pain will not fade. They will die.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Same old story

It was wet at the gas station today. It's always the same old story at this time of year.

Mid-morning, a woman came in and told me that she had loved reading Ripples. That put a warm ball of sunshine above my head which lasted until the next downpour! She said, "I do hope you're writing another" and I assured that I was, and then she added, "I hope it's the same".

And half an hour later I had the same conversation almost word for word with another local woman.

That got me thinking because with each of these women I had assured them that the next story was "the same" as Ripples. And it is.

I'm not one of these writers that head off into brave new fields with each story. My stories are about the same things - they have to be because that's what is in my head. I realise that the critics may not like that and the next novel could well be greeted with cries of "boring". I hope not.

It certainly does not feel like a boring story to me, but those elements within Ripples that I loved and "had to have' are there again. And they'll probably be in the next story too!

I can't help it. The stories in my head combine things Maori and Pakeha, things from the past and the present - that's just how my stories come out. They're the stories that need to be told, and even if no one needs to hear them, I need to tell them.

So - next time round, I'm hoping I've got the new story disguised pretty well so that it looks like deep uncharted waters. But what I secretly hope is that, as the editor rips the package open, she think "I hope it's the same as Ripples"!

Even editors must think that sometimes. Don't they!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Snip, snip!

Amongst the swag of Harry Potter reviews I've read over the last week was one that wondered if JK Rowling gets edited nowadays.

Interesting point. Up front I'll say that I've read the early Harry Potters and loved them but haven't read the last few. This reviewer believed that the later Harry Potter have grown a paunch and would have been improved by judicious editing. I haven't read these last ones so I can't comment, but I've read a similar criticism of Stephen King.

So - do some writers become so big that no editor dares tamper with their words?

My editors had no such qualms with Ripples and quite honestly, I bless them for it. I was instructed to delete 30,000 words and the story was accepted only after I had did that to their satisfaction. And I'm sure another 10 thou disappeared during the rounds of editing that followed that, but it made for a far tighter story.

I'll follow Stephen King anywhere. I don't mind at all if he throws in an extra hundred thousand word beyond what was essential for the story. They'll be good words. I know that. He's just ensuring I get my money's worth!

What I wonder about is - if that is what happens - a writer gets big enough that they don't get edited - who makes that decision? Is it the writer who warns the publisher to lay off their sacred tome, or it the publisher who gets nervous about possibly destroying their golden goose?

This is all just theoretical pondering, you understand. I fear I'll always need the sharp slash of editorial red ink!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Skinner's rats

I imagine you've all heard of Pavlov's dogs? Pavlov was the Russian chappy who taught dogs to salivate at the sound of a ringing bell. It's called a conditioned reflex and it's no big deal. I dribble when I hear the wrappings being torn of a chocolate bar. Same thing.

Skinner took it all a step further. He sent a rat to a sort of Rat Club Med - minus the room service. Mr Rat was given a lever attached to a food dispenser and left to sort it out himself, and of course, being a rat, he managed just fine and was last heard extolling the excellence of Rat Club Med to all his relatives.

Now Skinner learnt a number of things during the course of this experiment - one of them being that a habit once learned is retained most efficiently if it is rewarded occasionally rather than every time.

The point of all this - and admit it, you were beginning to wonder if there was one - is that I believe this same sort of operant conditioning comes into play causing the almost obsessional behaviour that many bloggers display.

If you knew that each time you checked your stat counter it would show another 10 hits - never more, never less, but always 10 - you would lose that compulsive need to check it. But if your stat counter runs like mine, there might be a gap of two hours without a single hit and then a swarm of them followed by one every ten minutes for a while before ...

You get my drift? You just never know if you're going to get that reward or not so you're driven to keep checking.

Same with the comments on your blog.If every time you checked there was another comment, you wouldn't have this compulsive need to look. It's the uncertainty of the reward that compels you to perform the behaviour.

It's why the pokies are so addictive.

Now, I used to use Skinner's findings to train obedience dogs, and very effective it was. What I wonder though is whether one day as I compulsively gallop towards my stat counter, I'm going to find my ears are flapping and I've got a dumbbell in my mouth!

Or worse still, cock my leg on the stat counter if I haven't got sufficient hits!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

My book shelf

Am I wandering about with a "tag me" sign pinned to my back?

This one comes from Michael over at Avatar Lore. Sounds like fun so I'll grab myself a tag. Thanks for the opportunity to play, Michael.

"The rules are to provide a list of books that you have on your shelves to see if anyone can learn about you from them - but not just any books. They have to be books that you've actually paid for, nothing given, borrowed, stolen, or whatever."

So here goes!

1. "On Writing" - Stephen King

2. "Heart in Atlantis" - Stephen King

3. "Giants of the Frost" - Kim Wilkins

4. "Dreamcatcher" - Stephen King

5. "Forever Odd" - Dean Koontz

6. "Write Away" - Elizabeth George

7. 'The Denniston Rose" - Jenny Pattrick

8. "The Snake" - John Godey

9. "Beyond Basic Dog Training" - Diane L Bauman

10."Misery" - Stephen King

Does that tell you something about me? Probably. Nothing too highbrow, is there. I suppose my selection for the list influences what you learn from it, but I tried to show what I think is an honest representation from my bookshelf.

Lots of Stephen King. For me, no one can tell a story quite like Stephen King can. Plenty of Dean Koontz and Kim Wilkins, plenty of nonfiction on training dogs, plenty on writing.

Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Hmmm - so that's where that lovely scene towards the end of Ripples came from. The scene that big meanie editor made me take out! She thought I was slipping into the horror genre and missing my "target reader"!

If you'd like to grab a tag and play - enjoy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ripples on the Lake falls from Best Selling List

Schreeeeeesh!

That was the sound of fingernails clawing for a hold as a desperate author slides down the Best Selling List!

The latest Booksellers NZ Best Selling List has come out and I am no where to be seen. I console myself that I'm in very good company as the wonderful New Zealand writers Deborah Challinor and Jenny Pattrick have also disappeared into the gloom that lurks below the list.

I console myself that we three gals are probably sitting in positions 6,7, and 8 - each ready to rise like a phoenix from the ashes given half a chance!

I had hoped to stay there longer, although HarperCollins - obviously sensing an imminent case of newbie writer hysteria - consoled me that books can enter and leave the list a number of times. So, I'll continue to watch this list with narcissistic intensity in the hope that my baby will reappear.

Certainly, the colour of my day faded after hearing this news. Who would have thought that a List I hadn't even hear of six weeks ago could dominate the tone of my day.

But - and I do confess I'm putting on a brave face and don't yet feel this with quite the intensity I'm pretending - but it really isn't such a bad disappointment to have to accept. To fall off the Best Selling List means I was actually on it! Who cares if it was for only a month.

I do, of course! I wanted Ripples on the Lake to be on it for years and years, fighting off all challengers and entering some mystical legendary status previously unknown.

Oh well, back to reality. I thoroughly enjoyed my baby having her 15 seconds of fame.

Now (drumming fingers impatiently) when does this next List come out!

Monday, July 23, 2007

One Hundredth Post

Lady Rose over at The Diet Pulpit was kind enough to present me with the Rockin' Girl Blogger Award. Thanks Lady Rose. Honour duly accepted. I'm not sure if I should get down on one knee and let her whack me on the shoulder with a sword or whether that might be fool hardy. Has Lady Rose got a steady hand, that's what I want to know!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I'm probably the oldest rockin' girl blogger about!

Anyway, with it being my one hundredth post tonight, it feels like a celebration of sorts so it's come at an appropriate time. There are cream filled apple donuts and wine for the taking and even a beach boy or two in case Miss Prozac turns up!

Unfortunately, I can't give you an update on the Best Seller List. No news on that front and commonsense tells me that means bad news. On the other hand, I did, in a frenzy of narcissism, email HarperCollins HQ demanding to know the result. No response to that either so all I can do is patiently wait. Hopefully, I will be able to let you know tomorrow night whether I'm still clinging on there.

So I'm just going to settle back here, cream filled apple donut in one hand (I found a stash of them over at the Crab's place) and glass of wine in the other and muse upon the delights of being a writer.

As Holly Lisle said:

All you can do is span the darkness with your slender threads,
and build them strong enough that people can traverse them,
and make them interesting enough that people will take the risk.


I do like that.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Another eight things you probably didn't want to know!

I've been tagged again, this time by Jodie over at Avinak. Jodie is one of the regulars at All for Women, an aussie forum I've joined recently.

A. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.

B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.

C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

I can't remember what I listed last time so hopefully I don't repeat myself.

I have to wear glasses for driving.

I once spent the night locked in a London loo.

My favourite alcholic drink is white wine

I once slept the night on the backseat of a Mini when I got lost in the Scottish highlands.

I rode a camel in Australia.

I'd never steal candy from a baby, but I would probably steal their chocolate!

I never iron anything unless it really needs it.

I hate being cold more than almost anything.

Well, I do hope that little lot has enriched your lives! Right - I'm tossing my eight tags in the air. Jump high, my friend. Got it? Then consider yourself tagged!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

This and that

A bit of this and a bit of that tonight.

I'm biting on a whole clove as I type as several readers have suggested it as a cure for toothache. It is definitely working and, at the very least,hubby will get an interesting scented kiss goodnight!

Talia enquired how the Best Seller List is this time round - I'm dying to know myself. The figures would have come in last night and HarperCollins will be told on Monday. From there, they will then tell me. The actual Booksellers website lists don't change until the following Friday, (ie they update midway between through each two week period) but all going well I will be reporting in on the latest Bestseller List on Monday night. It's been an enormous buzz making the list and I do hope that I manage to hang in there for a few more weeks.

I've spent the day at the gas station but as we ran out of both petrol and diesel yesterday and it didn't arrive until mid-morning, it has been a quiet day. The highlight was a local bringing "his lady" in with a copy of Ripples for signing. He's been telling me for weeks that he intended to buy her a copy.

In a few days I will be coming up for my one hundredth post. Some of you will be chuckling at this "babe in arms" milestone, but for someone who started blogging upon a surge of disappointment with no real aim or direction, I figure that it is a respectable achievement. I know that I'm in it for the long haul now although I am aware of the number of writers who have abandoned their blogs as being to time consuming. Hopefully I am finding a balance that will enable me to keep going.

And if I do ever give up, don't worry, I shan't desert you! I shall become the irrepressible perennial guest, stopping off where I fancy, commenting when the mood takes, a quip here, a quiet nod of approval there.

Sort of like your favourite auntie visiting but you don't have to dust and hoover first!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Who annoyed the tooth fairy?

Do you want to hear about how bad my tooth is aching?

Thought not.

Well, I'm sorry but my head can't get round anything else so that's the extent of my posting tonight. Don't feel obliged to comment - if you belong to MyBlogLog, I'll see your lovely faces pop up there.

Goodnight - although it will be a good morning for most of you.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Come in New York!

Top of the six o'clock news in New Zealand was the burst steam pipe in New York. I can only imagine the terror of those first few moments when everyone thought it was a terrorist attack.

The thing is - I cared. Not in some half hearted, "it's a world away" manner but in the way you do when you hear that people you know have run smack bang into a hard place.

There are a number of regular readers of this blog who reside in New York. I thought of them - some by name, some just as people who show in the stats with a New York ISP - and wondered if they were close by. Had they been frightened? Did they have family members involved?

To me, this is the wonderful thing about blogging. We're reaching across the world and touching each other's lives. Age seems mostly irrelevant in blog land. If you act mature, you're assumed to be mature, if you act like a cranky two-year-old, you're soon left to pick up your own rattle. And if you've got more wrinkles that Uncle Arthur's suit and one foot in the grave, well, as long as you don't kick the bucket whilst you're actually posting, no one cares.

Doesn't this have to be a good thing for the world? If we all get just a tiny bit more tolerant of each other, if we reach out and discover than the other guy is mostly pretty much the same as ourselves - isn't that going to help?

So my little New York babies, sign in, tell me that you're all okay. I thought about you today.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Caught me a Captcha

Have there been moments when you felt that the internet needed to be a little more selective about who they're letting loose on the web? Go on - you can be honest!

Have you never struggled through a long winded post that contained no punctuation at all - not a single capital or full stop - a post that wasn't so much a point of view as a regurgitation upon the page. Upon your beautiful blog page!

Instead of having word verification that checks to see if you're human, here's one to see if you're literate. There are days when I definitely feel this would be useful! Take a look at Internet Access Captchas.

Of course, one day they might invent one that discriminates against the completely normal and healthy energetic use of exclamation marks! Now that would be unfair!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fancy a bit of skirt?

Then get yourself over to Sk-rt the latest social bookmarking site on the web.

I've only discovered this site today when good friend Crabby from Crabby McSlacker's Guide to Health and Fitness - or something like that - suddenly leaped to prominence in the Sk-rt rankings with that hilarious post on becoming a successful gym rat.

The great thing about Sk-rt is that it's categories seem much more sensible and relevant than some of the social bookmarking sites I've ventured into. I really don't need a separate category for every different game there is out there. I want categories that relate to my life and the things I like to read or view. And that's what Sk-rt does.

It was easier to join than some I've trifled with. I haven't bothered getting a button as I don't think my topics have a broad enough appeal, but I joined so that I can sk-rt you - yes you, the one hiding shyly in the corner! Might I suggest, though, if anyone is serious about wanting posts promoted that they join up and get the Sk-rt button on their posts so that the likes of me can sk-rt them shamelessly.

And before any of you guys start thinking that Sk-rt is just for the us girls, let me assure you that it isn't. You're welcome to join in - bring your sensitive side with you and we'll sk-rt you too!

Doesn't that sound like fun!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Libraries

Nearly fell off my chair this afternoon.

I was looking in the Christchurch Library catalogue (for you non-residents -which on my blog is almost everyone -Christchurch is the third largest city in NZ) and to my total amazement discovered that spread around their various branches, they had 20 copies of Ripples. Twenty!

Gob smacked would not be putting my feeling too strongly! I mean I knew that libraries would be stocking the book but I'd never thought in that sort of quantity for one city.

It all becomes a little unreal - one minute you're stuck in the back bedroom, just you and the computer, as you tap out your story, and the next the Christchurch Library and it's myriad branches have 20 copies of your beloved!

I discovered this quite by accident when I was sniffing round another site to see if he had mentioned Ripples (he hadn't) but discovered that he had favourably mentioned a blog at the Christchurch Library. So off I surfed and next thing I knew I was flashing through their catalogue with spray flying in all direction to be totally wiped out when I saw their list for Ripples.

And - this is the best part - they were almost all out!

I wonder sometimes if I'm going to wake up and find that I am still in the back bedroom typing away and that this has all been a wonderful dream.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Keep it in the family

Today I worked at the gas station.

The mail is delivered by van as we're a country gas station and when I raced outside to collect the envelopes and packages, the driver told me that she loved the book. That news never fails to delight me. Every single time I hear those words, I beam in self-conscious delight like a new mother whose baby is being smiled and cooed over.

Then she told me she'd lent it to her daughter and her daughter had loved it too.

Great! I was still beaming. This is music to a writer's ears.

Then she told me she was posting it off to her friend.

At that point, although I was still nodding and smiling like a noddy dog in the back of a car window, what I was thinking was "let your friend buy her own jolly book! Them's me royalties you're messing with!

But then I thought of my book, pages becoming dog-eared, perhaps a coffee ring on the cover from when someone used it as a coaster, perhaps a cache of chocolate biscuits crumbs caught in one of the pages, maybe even a tear or two staining a page and realised that Ripples on the Lake was travelling upon a journey of love.

And I nodded and smiled again.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Verify me, baby!

So how do you get along with word verification? A match made in heaven, is it - or is it a nightmare of deepening desperation as you desperately attempt to convince this moronic thing that you're human.

I admit that word verification and I have a troubled relationship.

My theory is that there are several versions, twins you might say, and whilst one is dark and cruel, the other is a right little Miss Helpful.

You gaily key in the letters and await transportation into the blog of your desire. It doesn't happen - but word verification throws you another assortment and this time, they're lined up not too badly. Again, you key in what your eyes see, and again, you wait with only slightly dampened optimism. It still doesn't happen but on this third attempt the letters are clear, of uniform size and aligned with almost textbook precision. You're in, and you glance nervously about and hope that an evil computer isn't lurking and learning this third time lucky rule.

I'm convinced that I could train any biddable computer to manage word verification when Miss Helpful is at the controls. She wants you to enter that blog - she really does - despite the fact that she suspects your father was a Mac and she'll happily pull out all stops to ensure that you do.

However, there's her evil twin, a twisted deranged creature that wants you to blow your brains out - or at the very least, end up a gibbering wreck!

You type in the letters that you see. Nope, she's not letting you in on that and this is the beginning of her devilment because I have another theory that says that what you keyed in was correct. She's just being bloody minded!

Anyway, she throws you another assortment. This lot contains two blurred letters, an 'f' beside some letter that could be an 'l' or a 't' depending on where you reckon the cross stroke on the 'f' ends, and one letter that is only half in the frame.

You swallow manfully - or womanfully - and stare myopically at it. The letters blur further. You panic and your fingers career across the keyboard like a drunken centipede.

You're not granted access but instead shown a third word verification test. There isn't a single recognisable thing in this one. It may not even be in the language you normally speak. It could be anything!

It could, for instance, be saying "you are a moron" in the one Swahili dialect that you haven't yet mastered.

It could be a psychologist's ink blot test.

At this point, I begin to question just how much I wanted to access that blog and whether I might not be happier working on the current story. Writing, in fact.

Umm - have I just proved that word verification is my friend?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dawn on The Breeze

Another radio interview this morning - this time with Chris Burn on The Breeze. They must be getting less stressful to me because this one I was able to ignore until almost the last minute.

Half an hour to go and I put both dogs outside in their runs, gathered up a few notes - in case I forgot what the title of the book was, or worse, my own name! - turned the washing machine off and I was ready.

The interviewers have all been wonderful and I don't know why I worry about it. I guess no one wants to look foolish in public and if you're not used to talking on the radio then it feels pretty damn public.

I always think of Adrienne just before we go live. The regulars here all know the lovely and super talented Canadian actress, Adrienne Kress. I've sort of adopted her as my very own actress just so I can name drop! Anyway - I think to myself that this must be what she feels each time she goes on stage. It helps.

Anyway - seven minutes later it was over.

I hang up and think "that wasn't so bad" and wonder why I'd got so nervous.

Family are staying the night as they travel from Auckland down to Wellington so I shall leave you all with that and go chatter forth!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wild weather

The wind roars round the corners of the house. It's a wild night and I'm glad I'm tucked up inside. I always feel sorry for stock in exposed paddocks during weather like this, when they're left with no option but to endure.

There's no flooding around here, but up north, where regular poster Talia lives, there has been massive flooding. She was without electricity for twenty-four hours but is up and running again now. The worst seems to be over.

This is cobweb clearing weather. I took a long walk this damp, wind swept afternoon; there seems so much to think about at the moment.

I'm still struggling with the current story. There's something missing and I can't find it, and the more people say nice things about Ripples, the more I feel I have to find this missing element.

The only consolation is knowing I had this same battle with Ripples.

So let the wind blow and the rain flee before it. I need its cutting clarity.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Ripples on the Lake moves into second place

Woohoo!!!

Ripples on the Lake has moved from third place up into second on the Best Sellers List for New Zealand Adult Fiction. This list is separate from the International Fiction so I have no idea how it compares with the imported titles.

But I don't really care. I'm happy to be at second place on any list!

I'd spent an anxious day worrying that Ripples appearance last fortnight at number three might have a digestive burp from Booksellers' computer or a momentary spasm as the Mayor of Taupo bought Chrissie presents for his overseas relatives.

But no, it's there again, and this time I'm prepared to believe it's real. My baby is a winner!

And to complete a lovely day, I received another email from a reader. Thanks Lyn. It really is such a buzz after numerous "don't call us, we'll call you" letters from publishers to have a success.

And if it can happen to me, it can happen to you!

In my usual quiet and retiring way, I have added the Best Seller List to my sidebar so you can follow the adventures of Ripples twenty-four hours a day!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

MyBlogLog revisited

I notice that in response to my post about MyBlogLog a few of you raced out and grabbed yourself one.

If anyone has joined but is unsure of what to do to get the Recent Readers feature look underneath your "view stats" on your home page and you will see something about widgets. That's the place.

And to those who have just arrived and haven't the faintest idea what I'm talking about, check out the Recent Readers widget lower down in my sidebar and also my post of two days ago. That will bring you up to speed with the rest of us.

The stats that MyBlogLog keep are excellent and give you detail that Stat Counter doesn't. The only drawback is that on the freebie version they are the previous days. But that's okay with me. I don't need to know right that moment. If you're wanting to see which links are valued by your readers and which aren't, then MyBlogLog is going to be your buddy.

I've seen a few sites with Recent Readers encompassing the last twenty or even fifty site visitors but as I have trouble getting a rapid change on five I've wisely stayed away from that option. You, however, may be made of sterner stuff - and have an altogether more happening blog. In that case, get yourself the biggest shiniest version you can find.

Thank you to those of you who joined. I notice already that my Recent Reader feature is ticking over more quickly and I don't look quite the socially inept, friendless drone that I did!

So now all I have to do is write sparkling posts that drag you all back each day.

I'll try.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

A Saturday night post!

Blame it all on Thomma Lynn over at Tennessee Text Wrestling! Another time waster!

you are lightcyan
#E0FFFF

Your dominant hues are green and blue. You're smart and you know it, and want to use your power to help people and relate to others. Even though you tend to battle with yourself, you solve other people's conflicts well.

Your saturation level is very low - you have better things to do than jump headfirst into every little project. You make sure your actions are going to really accomplish something before you start because you hate wasting energy making everyone else think you're working.

Your outlook on life is very bright. You are sunny and optimistic about life and others find it very encouraging, but remember to tone it down if you sense irritation.
the spacefem.com html color quiz

Friday, July 6, 2007

MyBlogLog

How about a few more of you join it. Hmmm?

What's MyBlogLog, you ask? See that group of five Recent Readers lower in the sidebar. That's MyBlogLog. Well, actually, it's a lot more than that, and it does all sorts of interesting things and you will totally love it, but that's the only bit I'm interested in here.

You see, you're making me look friendless.

Every time someone who is a member of MyBlogLog looks in on the blog, their photo flashes up there. But if you don't belong, then obviously it doesn't - and so my MyBlogLog retains the same photos for days simply because most of the people who stop off here awhile don't belong.

It makes me look like a friendless recluse! You're totally ruining my social standing in blogland!

All that happens is that Crabby from Cranky Fitness and Talia from NZ Reality TV continually swap positions at the top because they seem to be the only two regulars who belong to it - and everyone else sits there for weeks.

Making me look bad!

So come on you guys - play nice. Get out there and join so that the photos flash by at a suitably dazzling speed and I look like a social success!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Flirting with files

My nerves are shot!

My wonderful little File Transfer Programme which was on thirty days free trial is now locked up on me. I adored that FTP! I believed we could have had a long and blissful relationship together.

We still may, of course. If hubby and I can ever both manage to get into town at the same time we could get the credit card which we have so far managed to live without. Then I could pay the paltry sum being demanded for the unlocking of my beautiful FTP and our relationship could soar to new heights.

But - tonight - I was on my own. In my hand, a new review, with phrases so choice and intoxicating they demanded to be put on the website.

I knew it was possible to upload files with Internet Explorer - it was just that I'd never done it before. And I've grown accustomed to the ease of use that my adorable File Transfer Programme gave me.

An hour later, sweat beading my upper lip, nerves shredded to ribbons, the file transfer was complete. I'd done it!

So maybe I don't need the FTP after all. That'll teach the little madam to demand money for what should have been an act of love!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Double avatars don't work

I'm sorry if you popped in expecting sparkling wit or authoritative discourse. This is my third attempt to post tonight and I'm all posted out.

My great master plan failed. No - I wasn't preparing to take over the world, I was simply trying to unleash two avatars upon the world.

It proved too complex.

So then I tried to post an explanation of that fact.

That proved too complex too.

So I'm going to bed now. Help yourself to gingernuts and milo and don't forget to put the cat out when you leave.

Goodnight.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I have a fan!

Well - "fan" might possibly be overstating it!

But someone did send me a lovely email today saying out how much they'd enjoyed Ripples on the Lake. What a thrill! I've printed it out and it's pinned to my wall alongside the Kim Wilkins email and a photocopy of the first advance cheque.

I read somewhere that you know you've made it as a writer when, instead of printing these things out and secretly rereading them when you think no-one is looking, you groan and declare "not another damn fan letter". Can't imagine myself ever being so cocky.

No - I shall have a scrapbook and will keep each one - I'm bravely assuming there might be another one or two! I think it is lovely that someone took the time out of their life to let me know they enjoyed the book.

And if you read this Tania, thank you again. I tried to respond in a restrained and "writerly" fashion but, let me assure you, your email made my day. I read it to the husband, I read it to myself about a dozen times, I even read it to the dogs!

It was the cover that Tania noticed first - the moko and the water - so I sent an email to Natalie Winter of HarperCollins Design Studio in Australia to let her know that her gorgeous cover is attracting attention just as I always knew it would.

So - I'm prepared to open another bottle on the strength of having my first fan!

Cheers!

Monday, July 2, 2007

What's in an avatar?

That's what I'm asking myself.

Is it time, I wonder, to shed the book cover avatar and show an image of myself?

I really can't make up my mind. Originally I used the book cover as an advertising thing just to get the image out there and obviously it still works in that way. However, now that I have the book cover image on my blog and on my website, is that need still the same.

One of the things I like seeing as I scurry round blogland is an actual image of someone - it feels more as if we are connecting.

On the other hand, one of my favourite blogs has a crab avatar and I wouldn't want that to change. If there is someone behind that blog, I'm sure they simply emptying the trash and being sent out for supplies of whatever crabs eat. They wouldn't do anything important. I mean, it's pretty obvious that the Crab runs the joint.

And there's a cat or two with avatars but again, they're the ones running the blog. Saffron Delaney does not run my blog - despite locking me out of it once!

I also regularly chat with a woman who seems to wear a tea cosy on her head! So do you see what I mean - you get used to an avatar and it becomes that person.

I never changed my avatar at Absolute Write simply because I'd grown used to seeing this little green ET like creature sitting beside my comments. And now I feel a similar reluctance to banish the Saffron Delaney book cover image. In blogland, she is me.

I'm sure I get a greater response from her than I would from my own image. People can see that it's a book cover, yet deep down, I'm sure one or two follow her trail back to my lair, sorry blog, in the hope that I too am young, nubile and blonde.

That's why I've always been very upfront that I'm not any of those things. I don't mind luring you here under false pretences but I want you to stay for your own reasons.

So - in the side bar (because I couldn't work out how to make it go in the actual post) there is a poll. Please vote. I am genuinely interested in your opinion on this. I'll leave it there for a couple of days. (NOTE: poll has now been removed. Result was 60% of voters wanted me to change avatar to one of myself and 40% want the Saffron image to stay.)

Do you smile when you see the book cover avatar and think "here's Dawn" or does it distance you as you communicate with this unreal entity?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Strangers in the night

Discovered a young man from Seoul in the orchard last night!

Bit of a surprise!

We'd taken the dogs out hunting - the pigs had obviously heard of our plan on the bush grapevine because we never saw a sign of them! - and got home in the dark.

I was just shutting the shed door when a shape loomed up out of the dark. Could he pitch his tent on the grass?

Umm,yes! Then we asked if he'd like to use the shed. Warmer, dryer, safer.

So we went inside; he pitched his little tent inside the shed. Then we wondered if we should have offered him the couch. We were sort of taken by surprise when he appeared so suddenly and more responded than initiated. But if we went back out we might scare him - the required technique for opening the garage side door being a sharp kick, like FBI agents on the rampage in a kick-ass movie.

So we didn't. We left things as they were and hoped that he didn't hot wire a vehicle and put his days of hitchhiking behind him forever!

This morning, Tori went out and invited him in for coffee and breakfast and bathroom - in whatever order he wanted.

Never did quite get the name - but together we watched Team New Zealand get thrashed in the sixth race of the America's Cup as we sat in a row on the couch munching toast.

Then Tori and I had our photos taken in the doorway and our visitor from the night before vanished from our lives as quickly as he had appeared. Hitch-hiking to Tauranga. I hope he got a lift easily.