Hello <waving>, me again!
Lately I’ve been hanging with contemporary romance writer Sonia Stanizzo, answering 10 questions on her blog. If you want to check out my answers, click here to be delivered straight to the post.
A couple of weeks ago I was guest blogging over on Romance Lives Forever about Aussie sportsmen in ‘Real Men Don’t Wear Padding – the Truth About Aussie Sportsmen’.
If you missed it – and you’re looking for a light-hearted fun read – you should check it out!
Click here to be delivered right to the post.
It’s been almost A MONTH since #LoveGoneWild wrapped up and, thanks to a little family stuff and a little work stuff that all hit the fan when I arrived home, it’s taken me that long to wrap my head around the whirlwind! But never fear, I’m now here, with a delayed recap of a few shining moments from #RWAus17 #LoveGoneWild.
Marion Lennox kicked off proceedings with a keynote speech Saturday morning. My two biggest take-aways from her speech were:
Kate Forsyth brought up the rear (so to speak…) giving the closing keynote. It’s a tough gig – everyone is exhausted (and a little hung over) by this point – but, as you would expect from Kate, she was magical (and I was too mesmerised to tweet!). What did stick with me from Kate’s story was… keep on writing!
Tattoo, the 2017 RWA Spicy Bites anthology was launched Saturday morning, and awards were presented Saturday night. My writing besties (the Love Sabrists) had a lot to celebrate… Nardia also has a story in the Spicy Bites anthology while Tanya took out both first and second place in the Selling Synopsis competition this year (too clever!)
The conference proper really kicks off on Saturday with 400-something writers going every which way. It’s frenetic. And amazing. And just a little bit scary.
Ally Blake’s session on The Organised Writer was fantastic. I took a lot of notes in this session but some of the simplest – and likely most useful – tips included:
I was also completely overwhelmed (in a good way) by Liz Pelletier’s session on growth hacking. We needed a full day to really do justice to her knowledge and general awesomeness, but her application of business and marketing principles to writing made a lot of sense to me. And I now have ‘ALL THE FEELS’ post-it-noted on my computer…
Then there was Amy Andrews. I love hearing the stories of other authors and I opted for Amy’s roundtable because I LOVE her Sydney Smoke rugby series (so HOT! If you’ve not already started it, do yourself a favour and get them now! #4 Playing with Forever is coming soon). Amy was completely generous with her time and her stories and, I appreciated the fact that she gave really honest answers to our questions including letting us know what has worked, and hasn’t worked, for her. I walked away from that session completely inspired and ready to work on my manuscript (see #4 Pitch Perfect below!)
I was scheduled for a pitch at 9.10 am Sunday morning.
Which is, really, the ass-crack of dawn after two nights of partying with a bunch of introverts.
But, I got up and, after copious amounts of coffee and a doughnut or two (#breakfastofchampions), dressed up and showed up and scored a request for the manuscript for my trouble! In fact, I pitched twice – and got two requests – so now I’m polishing that manuscript to make it shine before I send it off.
There was a lot of drinking. Caffeinated and otherwise. There was also a bit of planning, some goal setting, a lot of selfies, a little outrageous face painting and general silliness. In particular we rocked an eclectic menagerie at the ‘Bring out the animal in you’ cocktail party… with a peacock, butterfly, parrot, owl, cheetah, leopard and a deer.
It was over and I was drinking coffee at the airport, bemoaning the fact that it was all over for another year. My coffee cup may be empty… but my writing spirit is full. See you in my hometown at #RWAus18 #Sydney #cannotwait
You’d be forgiven for thinking I was dead… well, maybe not dead but otherwise indisposed or kidnapped or taken by aliens or locked in the Red Room with Christian Grey (actually, that last one could be a maybe, yes please?!) because I’ve missed weeks #2 and #3 of the Sunday Snippet. But none of those things happened. Family and life and excuses happened, sure, but nothing notably exciting (and trust me when I’d say I’d let you all know if Christian Grey materialised… I might not share him because I’m a selfish bitch, but I’d let you know).
So, then I started thinking about what I wanted to write today… and I started scrolling through the photos from the last twelve months that I have on my phone. Well, I have a ridiculous number of photos on my phone (9000+!) but I decided to work with the last 12 months. I found this one from the beginning of the year and it got me wondering about New Year’s resolutions.
I didn’t make any resolutions this year – #2015 was tough with lots of family stuff, work stuff and then quitting and starting a new job. I didn’t want to make any promises or plans – even to myself – just in case something happened to derail everything again. But as I scrolled through the photos I started to realise I’d had a pretty big year… and thought I’d note some notables below:
So now, I’m looking to finish up at work for the year in the next week or so and I’m heading off for some (minor, hopefully!) surgery. I’m hoping that some down time (I’m not going to be able to walk far) will mean a bit more time to write and I’ll get an opportunity to decompress from the work I love but which also drives me mental.
Maybe the end of #2016 will see me think of some resolutions for #2017?
What about you? Are you already planning your #2017 resolutions? What are they? Share with me on Twitter @wordsbykc?
Well, hello. Welcome to Sunday Snippet #1.
My initial week’s effort on NaNoWriMo has been… shall we say… pathetic? I’ve managed a paltry 87 words. But I now have 87 more words than I had on 31 October so I’m taking that as a (minor) win.
Today, there’s been a lot of looking at the computer, then getting up to make a(nother) coffee and reviewing what’s happened on Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, and Pinterest. At least that’s what I was doing until I grounded myself from my devices (the iPad and the iPhone are now far away in my bedroom) and sat down to write my Snippet.
This week’s Snippet is about book-induced anxiety. Maybe book-exacerbated, not book-induced. Anyway, let me explain.
I drive to work… and while I drive I usually listen to audio-books. I also usually listen to them as I fall asleep (it’s like the adult version of someone reading you a story! Awesome). Sometimes those books are new to me, sometimes they’re books I’ve already read and loved. At the beginning of this week I was listening to Dark Wild Night by Christina Lauren.
You need to know that I LOVE ♥ this book.
It’s not the first time I’ve read it – with my eyes or with my ears and Christina Lauren are two of my FAVOURITE authors (and even though I’m not the prettiest I’ve ever been in the photo to the right, I had to include it because… OMG, Christina Lauren ♥).
If you’ve read it, you’ll know that our main
character, Lola (or Lorelei) gets caught up in trying to balance all the new facets of her life after college – publication of her graphic novel, the translation of that graphic novel into a feature film and the transition of her relationship with our favourite Aussie (even though the male voice artist in the Audible narration does a terrible Aussie accent) from friends to lovers.
I’m happily listening away… Christina Lauren write some great sex in this book – and then we get to the part where it all starts to go wrong. I’m listening as I’m falling asleep and I have one of the worst night’s sleep EVER. Followed up by one of the most anxious drives to work I’ve had in the 11 months or so I’ve been at this job.
Now, I don’t think this is completely Christina Lauren’s fault.
I know I’m already a bit on the anxious side at the moment. I’m trying to manage a team of six people through a project that involves encouraging managers to performance manage staff who have never been performance managed before. Some of the team like me… some don’t… and I’m not loving the project (lots of people setting expectations without thinking the consequences all the way through… but I digress). I’m also trying to polish/finish a manuscript for submission to publishers, have two short stories on deadline (one for an anthology and one for a competition), my uncle’s coming to stay for a week, neither of my parents are 100% healthy and I’m having surgery at the beginning of December. Oh, and I probably drink too much coffee and Donald Trump still thinks he can be President of the USA (please, USA, get your act together here… I love you and you’re making me nervous).
But I’ve never had quite as strong a reaction to a book – and I knew what was coming!
Reading that, though, and having that reaction, makes me want to perfect my craft. It makes me want to sit down at the computer and write all the words that will make a reader feel something – whether that’s anxiety or that tingly feeling you get when you meet a new guy or that amazing sensation you get when someone loves you or that sadness you get when you think all is lost. It also makes me scared that I’ll never quite manage it, that my work won’t go deep enough, won’t be honest enough, won’t have the heart that makes the reader feel all the things.
So, maybe that’s why my writing’s been a bit stymied this week.
But now, it’s time for dinner and then I’ll sit down and have one more run at the manuscript tonight. Here’s hoping for some wordy progress!
See you next Sunday for Snippet #2.
So, we all know how incredibly good I am at updating my website, right?
<insert sarcasm sign here>
And, because I don’t have enough to do in the month of November, I thought I might set myself a November Website Updating Goal. A NoWeUpGo if you will.
My NoWeUpGo is a series of Sunday Snippets.
Each Sunday in November, I’m undertaking to upload a snippet of something to my site. It may not be long and it will hopefully be good, but every Sunday I’ll whack something together (or find something in the archives) and post it on the blog. I’ll also probably be reporting on my word count – successfully or otherwise and, if you want to play along with me during NaNoWriMo we can buddy up at: wordsbykristinecharles
Today, in preparation for the Sunday Snippet, I’ve been doing a little warm up, going over some of the blog entries I’ve posted previously and I thought I’d link you to two of my favouries: Cheating and M, N, O and P.
Wait! Before you click on that link… go find yourself a drink of choice (and yes, if you want to indulge in some alcohol – go for it, it’s always after 12 noon somewhere in the world right?!). Then come back, settle down and enjoy a little Sunday Snippet with your drink.
I’ll see you back here next Sunday.
I’m supposed to be working on my WIP.
I say supposed to be because, instead, I’m on the couch (in the air-conditioning… it’s been SO hot today!) with my laptop on my lap, watching Carols in the Domain. And reviewing the sarcastic tweets… It’s hilarious (there is not enough wine in my house to make this pleasurable tonight… it’s like an X-Factor reunion with much off key singing). At least the WIP is open.
But, given that I’m not supposed to be watching the Carols, and I am supposed to be working on my WIP, I started thinking about procrastination.
I am a Master Procrastinator. I can pretty much procrastinate anything… if there were awards for such things, I’d have won them all.
Ironically, I procrastinate by reading every self-help guide, book and blog post about procrastination including “Why Procrastinators Procrastinate?” and “How to Beat Procrastination”, “Practical Tips for Dealing with Procrastination” and “How to Get Motivated. But yet I still procrastinate.
I know I’m not the only one. So I’m looking for assistance. What do you do to beat procrastination?
It’s probably a bit of a sad reflection on my life that, about 7.45 am every Monday when I walk into the office, I ask a colleague: ‘is it Friday yet?’.
Shortly after asking the question, I regularly observe that we spend more than half of our lives, wishing life away. Monday through Thursday we look to Friday (and to the precious Saturday and Sunday), going through the motions of living a life, working or studying or parenting, but not really focusing on the now… we’re always focusing on the weekend or the next holiday or grand event or, occasionally, counting the days until some undesirable event passes.
And so, over the last few months, I’ve realised just how valuable it is to love your work (or your study or your parenting or whatever) and how soul sucking it is when you let someone steal from you your love for what you do. That’s been me for the last 12 months.
On top of that, this year I’ve had parents who’ve both been quite ill (my mother is extraordinary, having just beaten her FOURTH bout of cancer), a sister who decided to chuck in her job without a backup plan (always have a backup plan peeps!), a brother who is about to be made redundant, various other family members who are or have been unwell, a non-smoking colleague who died of lung cancer at 34, another direct report who struggled with the passing of her stepfather, a friend who lost a very close family friend and various other little niggling annoyances that have just added to the almost disaster that has been 2015.
I’m sure, if I asked an astrologer or a psychic, that there’d be a reason for the crazy but, to be frank, I’m not sure I want to know. And there have also been lots of great things happen this year (although this list is a little harder to write). But every day I’ve gotten out of bed and shown up to work I’ve asked that same colleague (she must be SO bored with me!) ‘is it Friday yet?’
One of those great things this year (aside from my mum beating cancer #4) was a trip to Edinburgh and getting to spend some time with my eldest niece. During that trip I was moaning about my life to my niece over some stellar cocktails at the Shard… and my niece told me to pull my head out of my ass (not quite in those words, but that was the effect). So I started a workshop writing course and I hoped that would give me a bit of a new lease on life. Sadly, it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love the course but it didn’t make up for going to work every day at a large corporate, dealing with the politics and feeling like I was banging my head against the massive concrete pillar that sits just behind my desk. I feel like I beat my head against that pillar so much that I occasionally check my forehead for bruises… but, I digress.
Finally, on one day in September, I decided I’d had enough.
I remember that day well, it was the day after my birthday and the day my boss decided to dump a whole lot of vague negative feedback on me and let me stew on it for two and a half weeks while she went on holidays. I remember sitting in a meeting room for about 10 minutes after she left, teary, feeling absolutely blindsided and wondering what she was talking about. And, just a sidenote here peeps, my day job is in HR and, to be frank, HR people should know better. No surprises people, no surprises!
That very same afternoon I started looking for a new job. And, yay me, it took me one day over six weeks (suck on that boss lady!) to be offered a new role. Come December 2015, I’ll be in a new position, with a new employer and I just know I’m going to love it. I’ll be doing what I’m great at, in a place of learning and curiosity, with some great people. And, while I might have had to take a pay cut (which is probably fair given I won’t be managing eight people anymore!) I’ll have more time to write. Yippee!
Now, you might be wondering why I’ve just given you a massive rant on my life.
This year, with so many loved ones being ill and my career taking a brief divergence into WTF land, it’s become really clear to me that life is too short. We all say it, we all know it but we don’t often live it.
So, I’m here to ask you to stop wishing your life away. Enjoy every step on your journey. Take time on a Monday to smell the roses. Take a sushi making or ceramics class on a Tuesday. Spend time with your loved ones on Wednesday (if appropriate, you may want to actually hump a loved one on hump day). Do something special for yourself on a Thursday. Stop waiting for Friday or Saturday or Sunday to arrive before you live your life.
And, with these words of limited wisdom, I leave you. I’m going to get myself a coffee and start working on my WIP. But I’d love to hear from you. What incident or issue in your life has made you sit up and take notice that life is passing you by? What special things or experiences do you value in your life? What do you do for fun?!
Photos (of the office, the stellar cocktails and the steps…) are all mine.
Today’s A to Z Challenge inspiration is brought to you by the letter ‘W’ and the word ‘warm’.
It’s a little more of Gabriella and Antonio. If you haven’t caught up with them, the beginning of their story started in the post for ‘E’ and continued with ‘I’.
Warm. I felt warm from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. He slanted his lips over mine, gently sliding then sucking my bottom lip into his mouth. My hands came up to clench the material of his shirt, pressing into the hard muscle of his chest. This wasn’t my first kiss, it wasn’t my second or my third. But it was the best kiss I’d ever experienced and I guessed I shouldn’t be surprised. It was his profession after all.
“Should we go inside?” he asked, dipping his head to suck on the skin beneath my ear.
“Yes,” I agreed, turning in his embrace and struggling to put my key in the lock. Eventually, with some effort, I managed to open the door and stepped inside, Antonio close behind. But once inside I stopped, with no idea what to do next.
Antonio reached up, easing my coat from my shoulders and taking my handbag, dropping them both on the hall table.
“Whatever you want,” he murmured, reaching up to touch my cheek and smiling. “How about that wine?”
I nodded, moving quickly into hostess mode, taking a bottle of nebbiolo from my wine rack and pulling two large wine glasses from the rack. I busied myself with pouring while Antonio leaned in the doorway, legs crossed at the ankle and his hands buried in his pockets. I held out a glass to him and he crossed to me in two long steps.
See you tomorrow for X marks the spot…