Finished my book!!!

I’ve just recently finished the book I’ve been writing! At 4.06pm on November 3 to be exact and suddenly I have whole blocks of time on my hands with which I can now do whatever I want and what did I decide to do with that time? Believe it or not I decided I should start a second book.

Whaaaat? Am I nuts?

Maybe…but the thing is, I spent five years writing my novella, tapping away at my computer whenever I had a spare moment and I think I must have become so used to “working on the book” that it’s now become ingrained in me to the point where I’m finding myself pulled toward writing another one because, well, having finishedthe first one I now have the time to write another one. I know, it sounds like I should get a life but hey, writing is my life so like, hello…!

Anyhoo, I already have the plot outline because it will actually be an extended version of a short story I penned about 20 years ago for a competition. But the comp had a strict word count (3000 max I think…) and it just wasn’t going to happen really as there was so much I wanted to do with this story but couldn’t because it would have exceeded the count. I can’t remember if I even entered the eventual, greatly condensed, story in the competition but no matter because now I can write it as it should have been written and it should easily make the word count for a full length novel.

But I’m still wondering if I might be a little nuts. Writing a book, while incredibly satisfying and really exciting as the word count grows, is also more exhausting than I ever realised it could be and I’m sure I could find other things to do with the time I now have on my hands. I just don’t want to though. I want to write another book.

The upside is that at least I know what I’ll be in for so that’s got to be a plus and I know that should I come down with a dose of writer’s block it will pass. I’ve also come to realise that writing into the early hours of the morning because I just happen to be on one heck of a roll is also okay. I can always turn in early the following night to catch up on sleep if I need to. That’s the thing with being on a roll; the adrenalin can keep you firing on all cylinders for hours and by the time you finally drop, you’ve written two or three full chapters so you go down happy. It’s  how it seemed to work with me so I don’t figure I’ll change my tack with Book II.

All the same, much as I want to get straight into writing my second book I am taking a brief hiatus because I think it would probably be good for me. Just a couple of weeks to unwind from Book I so I can be completely refreshed to begin Book II. I intend to catch up on a few things and might even have a few nights veging in front of the telly. What I’ll defintely do is spend some time reading and picked up three titles from my local library with just that in mind.

I feel good though. Really good and have put it down to the fact that I feel I have actually achieved something here and the psychological impact  is amazing! Book I is with an agent now and with luck, she will like it and like it enough to want to help me to take it further.

I’m a very happy nut right now.





Why we shouldn’t have a Fat Tax

So what gives with the Fat Tax? Does our current government really believe that such a tax is going to deter people from making junk foods their main source of sustenance? Really?

Okay then, introducing a price hike or tax has long been used as a way of socially engineering  populations into doing what a government either wants them to do or not to do but in doing so it removes the option of free choice. Personally I feel this is wrong and in many cases it doesn’t work anyway because the section of the population being targetted over whatever it is that government wants to change will inevitably find a way around it. As individuals, we are going to make our own decisions and those who knowingly opt for the wrong ones need to be the ones to wear the fallout. It used to be called taking responsibility for your own actions, a good one as people having to step up usually learnt from the experience but this has been sidelined for quite a while now as progressive government-type departments have created all kinds of excuses for people to fall back on so they don’t have to cop the flak themselves.

In the case of junk foods (and some vague figure has jumped into the debate wanting the tax to be attached to confectionery and soft drinks as well) those who have chosen McDonald’s, KFC and the like as their main foodlines are not going to suddenly turn around and buy fruit and vegies because the other stuff has become too expensive for daily consumption. What they will do is cut back on genuine essentials so they can still manage to retain the funds for their regular fix! But hey, that is their choice and even if it’s the wrong choice (and they know it is), they should still be able to make it for themselves. If their health is a mess as a result, well, that’s the fallout. Can’t blame anyone else for that one. With the right encouragement they’ll try though.

Sure, a lot people should make better nutritional choices and common sense really does specify what those choices should be but the fact remains that some people would rather stick pins in their eyes than shop for the right stuff and then go home and cook it. Even without the price hike, takeaway on a regular daily basis works out to be more costly than dining daily on a better alternative but those who opt for the former do so by choice and making them pay more for it will not force them into swapping the junk for the better deal. But it will make them give some serious thought about what to drop from their lives so they can still afford fried chicken, chips and hamburgers every day and this is where the whole exercise will fail.

Certainly the health of a nation’s population is important and those in power are responsible for ensuring the country thrives on all levels but popping a tax on particular items that will affect the entire population in order to force a percentage of it to change it’s ways will not stop people from eating the wrong things and ruining their health. Trying to “assist” by engineering people away from unhealthy food choices will not solve the nation’s obesity problem. Help lines spouting nutritional info won’t either as, believe it or not, people really do know what the healthy alternative  is, they have just opted not to take advantage of it.  Letting them wear the consequences of their own laziness and stupidity will do it though. Especially when the message hits home that they cannot foist the blame onto anyone or anything else and can’t claim any form of compensation for their own bad choices either.

That one inevitably works, every time.





Ever noticed how time can mean different things to different people? Like, with me five minutes means five minutes, tomorrow morning means just that and if I say I’ll be wherever at a particular time then that’s where I am. At that time.  The only deviation was when my kids were little and I’d respond with  “in a minute!” at least twice a day as this could mean any timeframe from 60 seconds to the next week, depending on what it was they wanted and why they wanted me in on it.

Well that’s probably typical of many parents (mothers mostly) but like I said, different things, different people etc. Take teens for example, time is a very flexible thing with them but they also do the “in a minute” thing and like parents, it can mean just about anything, depending on what it is you want them to do or where it is you want them to go. In extreme cases “in a minute” can mean like, next year or preferably never. As I said, it all depends on on what the question was. But teens can also be hazy about days, as in “I’ll be home tomorrow afternoon.” They might be but perhaps it would be best not to hold your breath as it could mean the day after, the week after or some time further into the future. Depends on the kid, where they are and who they’re with. Hopefully the location and the company are all good!

Some people are just naturally punctual and assume that others will be too which is a problem for those couldn’t turn up on time even if their life depended on it. For them, on time means whatever time they happen to get there and when they finally do, they totally fail to pick up on the angst. Don’t know how they miss it though because how does anyone not see all the tight-mouthed expressions or hear the quips about the time or even  pick up on the frustration if everyone else had somewhere to be and now everyone was very, very Late!

As a result, there are some people I just don’t do time-related things with. If it’s imperative I be somewhere at a particular time then I don’t invite them along or offer them a lift or anything else that has something even vaguely to do with them being involved. It’s either leave them completely out of the picture or throttle them. But to be fair, I’m sure I’ve driven tardier aquaintances up the wall by not only turning up when I say I will but also especting them to be ready to go when I get there. When will I ever learn?

Whatever, I’m not alone in my frustrations with people to whom time is an enigma and I really try to be reasonable, but the next time the teen that’s still in residence says he’ll be home and then fails to show I think I may blow a major fuse…and then I’m going to go out and not even bother to to leave a note, let alone allude to how long I’ll be.

If he actually turns up he might even see it!

Naked Truths

When is it going to click with everyone that you just can’t trust anyone (including yourself it would seem) with pics and/or videos of you in the altogether? What on earth makes you think they’re going to remain private! Regardless of who took them, it is almost inevitable that your revealing photoshoot is going to find its way onto a phone or computer somewhere and before you can say “OMG! No one was supposed to even see those!” you are going to end up getting your 15 minutes whether you want them or not!

It seems to be a fact of life these days. People who take the pics themselves inevitably want to share them with someone who will want to share them with lots of other someones etc, etc,  and if it’s someone else behind the lens, well…same thing, but I don’t think it’s really the most desirable way to become a famous internet or otherwise sensation and if you think it is then just wait until it happens and see how you feel then. Trust me hon, should those nudie shots go viral you may have some serious second thoughts about having your naked smiling self out there but by then it’s way, way too late and the damage is like, so done!  Then you can be absolutely sure that sooner or later, but probably sooner, everyone from your siblings to your parents, your boss and even Aunty Doris (everyone has an Aunty Doris, even if her name is Joan or Evangeline) are going to hear about them and eventually see them and it probably won’t work in your favour.

The heads-up is that they’ll be far from delighted and you can spout “artistic” and “tastefully done” until you’re blue in the face but it won’t make a shred of difference. You could try and bluff your way out of it by claiming that it just isn’t you in those shots but hey, anyone who knows you well is going to know it is.  Sobbing hysterically and swearing blind that you had no idea anyone could be so crass as to put them online probably won’t cut it either as you did pose for them after all and common sense should have told you otherwise.

Is it clicking with you yet? No? Okay then, as well as your family being very peed off with you, your Significant Other (if they weren’t in on the shoot, let alone the posting) may also get a tad antsy and could even take it a bit further and walk and then one morning your boss will call you in to his/her office to advise you that your position with the company has been terminated and you can leave immediately.

But aside from the above there’s also the embarrassment. Seriously, you will so wish you had never shed your gear for those shots and will spend an awfully long time trying to live them down and if you were sharing space in those shots with another and…well…doing things… you may as well crawl under the doona now and just stay there for the rest of your life. It’s what you’ll feel like doing anyway.

So now do you get it? Never take shots like that of yourself and never, ever, ever let anyone else take shots like that of you no matter what they say about keeping the images “just between us”. They won’t okay! In today’s world of speedy electronic transfer, naked you could go international in seconds but the aftermath will linger for a lot longer and the fallout could be catastrophic.

Now, are we clear on this? Are we sure? Right! Then put your bloody clothes on and go home!



So what’s with all the lower case “i” words? Yes I know, they have been popping up all over the place for a while now but where did it all start, where’s it all going and…well…why the “i”?

Okay, I’ve seen the little “i” attached to electronic toys, mobile phones, computers, cars and MP3 players and I’m kind of guessing it means “intelligent” or  “innovative” or some other word and I’ve caught the drift that the little “i” is intended to attach instant cool to an otherwise everyday object (except Vegemite. iSnack 2.0 just didn’t do it for me. Or for Vegemite) but hey, I’ve seen it so often now that I just have to know why it’s happening and please, what does it mean!

Questions aside though, there’s something else about the little “i” that’s  starting to concern me. In today’s world of adopting some truly creative spellings for christian names, are we going to start seeing some prefixed with a lower case “i”? Like iTaylor,  iDean or iShaun some time in the near future? So far as I know (rap artists possibly excepted) no one has caught on to this and I sincerely hope to heaven I haven’t started something here but everytime I see another word kicking off with that lower case “i” my mind starts to wander and before I can stop myself I find myself thinking. iWayne, iTrevor…? OMG! iDakota-Jaimilee-Something! No, no, noooooooo!

See what I mean? My mind starts “doing things” and it’s not always good. Must not let mind wander too randomly over lower case “i”! Sure, it could have been the brainchild of someone just out to perplex people (like me) and that little letter doesn’t mean a darned thing but I think it’s more likely that it actually does mean something. Intrepid? Inexplicable? In…in…wait! I’ve got it, I’ve got it! Information! That’s it, isn’t it! (oh please, let that be it). I’ve even seen signs that have a really big little “i” followed by words like “Information Desk” and “Information Bay” etc. Someone decided it was a cute way to say their product was informative. Except that doesn’t cut it with MP3 players unless music can be deemed in some way to be informative. Doesn’t work on cars either.

Okay, so maybe “information” is not it after all and maybe I should just forget about what it all means and just go with the flow. Maybe even get a little “i” something gadget and be done with it. Maybe I should have just Googled it and come to think of it, maybe that’s not a bad idea. Can’t believe I’ve just written a blog post about it!


The Unknown Writer

This is something I actually wrote in 2007 (Publisher assignment for TAFE) but it struck me as  relevent for my first blog post because we all have to start somewhere and every writer who has ever become an overnight success has probably just come through the longest night of their life!

The Unknown Writer: The Pitfalls with Starting from Scratch.

Desire: This is the state of mind that haunts you day and night because you just know you can write. No really, you can! You then discover that your talents lie in columnist work and focus on developing one that works for you. It also works for your friends, your partner, the delivery guy and your mother.

You set up a workspace on the end of the dining table and start writing. You relocate to a vacant corner of the lounge room, move again to a seldom-used section of the kitchen bench top, check out the walk-in robe and eventually stake out the bench in the laundry. You write, dream and casually consider giving up your day job. You end up doing the washing because it’s overflowed onto your “desk”.

Writer’s Block: This condition comes into immediate effect when you venture from the laundry and enter the reception area of the first publication on your list. As an unknown you are highly unlikely to clap eyes on the editor, something you will get used to as you work your way down your list. Frustration will set in however before you come to the end and may prompt you to demand of the coiffed one behind the reception desk to either call the editor or at least allow you to leave your work for perusal.

Save your breath. These people have never heard of you and, talented or not, you are only a sought after commodity if you can answer “yes” to one or more of the following:

1.  You or your family have connections with or own the publication.

2.  You are royalty, either by birth or marriage.

3.  Ditto one of your siblings.

4.  You are Old Money.

5.  Your spouse is an actor.

6.  You have achieved fame via sport, reality television, YouTube or text messaging.

If you are unable to allude, even vaguely, to any of the above then you will ineviatably encounter writer’s block at every turn. Your ability to evade it is directly related to how determined you are to make it.

Strategies: Resist the allure of a couple of pills and a good lie down. Your retreat to the laundry should not be perceived as a defeat. View it rather as an opportunity to catch your breath and regroup.

The market is awash with printed matter so use the down time for research as some publications will not be suitable vehicles for your column. Cull the non viable stuff and scrap the random sorties. Focus instead on more promising targets. Next, pull out your best work, compose a catchy cover letter and send it out post-haste to the publications of your choice. Make it easy for them to get in touch with you…as well as your own contact details include those of your parents, grandparents, the vet, your best friend and even the delivery guy again.

Now take up a hobby. You’ll need something to occupy your mind while waiting for a reply. You could also catch up on the washing.

Writer’s Block II: If you are still waiting for replies I commend your patience but feel this may be a good time to advise you that they’re unlikely to materialize in the near future. Even the distant one is a bit iffy.

Thus having staked out the telephone and the letter box in vain, you should step in and do a follow-up, a further follow-up and then another one and after a few more you should get a response. Of sorts. You may then feel free to respond in kind and two little words will usually suffice.

At this point you may want to review your desire to see yourself in print. Like, do you really, reeeeeeeally want this? If, after much deliberation, you conclude that you still do and would even swallow roadkill whole while whistling Dixie if it meant guaranteed column space then by all means go for the throat.

Tactical Response: Following your recovery from the stomach pump, declare yourself a victim and sue the mongrels, citing discrimination (refer list, Writer’s Block) and the psychological impact on your quality of life as a result of being prevented from realising your true potential. Then use that potential to do justice with any/all of the following:

1.  You have developed a severe depression.

2.  And an eating disorder.

3.  Ditto any other psychotic condition that sounds good.

4.  Believe you have been robbed of the lifestyle to which you just know you could have happily become accustomed.

5.  Are completely over the lifestyle you currently have (sigh).

6.  And above all else…convince someone that it has also totalled your sex life as this has the potential to add several zeros to the payout.

A good lawyer is invaluable in situations such as these as they can be very creative and are therefore worth every cent of the exhorbitant fee.

Following the lawyer’s cut, if the payout is not quite enough to purchase the publication outright, it should be sufficient to allow you to buy a substantial block of shares in the parent company thereby ensuring the much desired columnist’s slot as you now possess at least one of the prerequisites (see Writer’s Block again).


If you wish you may now go ahead anyway and hawk a sibling around the royal houses of Europe, sign up for Big Brother/Australian Idol/Biggest Loser/Next Reality Show or go public with those text messages from that Famous Person. It’s entirely up to you.

Any on of them would make a great column!