Countdown to NaNoWriMo…

October 30, 2015 at 2:13 am (NaNoWriMo, Writing) (, , )

It’s only three days until National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo – kicks off, and as usual I’m woefully unprepared. As in, not at all. Each year I think (hope?) that I’ll have some time to plan my story before November 1 rolls around, but as usual I haven’t had a spare second. But I did tick off three annoying things that have been hanging over my head for a while, including two years worth of tax, so at least I can leap in free of those stresses 🙂

And really, who am I kidding? After doing it three times – resulting in Into the Mists the first year, Into the Dark the next and Into the Light last year – I probably wouldn’t even know where to start with planning a book. Of course it terrifies me, having no idea what will happen, no path to follow, no back-up plan to fall back on, but in a way it’s liberating too. Who knows what magic will be woven, what inspiration I will follow, what challenges will arise? The only way to discover a story, for me, is to write it. To sit down and just do it – write madly, and freely, and fearlessly. Without second guessing or reading back over it or limiting where it can go or what it should be.

So, I have no idea at all what will be created, but I’m looking forward to the adventure… Do you want to join me?

And are you a plotter or a pantser? Some people plan meticulously before they start writing, plotting the storyline and fleshing out chapter outlines and character bios, which I very much admire. I had planned to do a lot of planning – but it hasn’t worked out that way. The first year I’d thought I would have all of October to spend on plotting and planning, but I didn’t end up finishing the launch and promotion and website for my previous book until October 31, so the next day I just started writing furiously and discovering what the plot was as it poured out onto the page.

The same thing happened the following two years, and looks set to reoccur this year, so I guess I’m a make-it-up-as-I-go-along type – a pantser as it’s known in the NaNoWriMo universe, for flying by the seat of my pants. I find the process of different writers fascinating – some plan meticulously, and I really admire that, while others don’t plan at all, which can be stressful (believe me!). After three years of NaNo, I realise that I’m firmly in the latter category, which makes sense I guess, since I’m a bit impatient, but I’ve also discovered that I really love seeing where the writing takes me, watching it unfold as I go and not knowing what will happen in the end. There’s a certain alchemy to the journey that I love, so although I always say I’ll plan next time, maybe I never will…

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Guest Blog… Felicity Pulman… and a great opportunity…

October 24, 2015 at 3:05 pm (Guest Blog, Magical Places, Opportunity, Writing) (, , , , )

This week’s guest blog comes from Felicity Pulman, author of the wonderful novel I, Morgana and the magical Janna Chronicles, amongst many others. She has recently returned from a three-month writing adventure in the UK, after being awarded this year’s Di Yerbury Society of Women Writers’ Residency. During her time in England and France, Felicity wrote the first draft of the sequel to I, Morgana, which I’m so excited about. Read on to follow Felicity’s journey – and discover how to apply for the residency in 2016.

FelicityEver dreamed of having ‘a room of your own’, somewhere to plot and plan, to dream and write without interruption or having to cope with the everyday mundane minutiae of life? Read on and be inspired to make your dream come true!

I’ve recently returned from a three-month writers’ residency in Barnstaple, Devon (UK), where I was able to complete a first draft of the sequel to my novel I, Morgana. When you live in Australia, the joy of having a base in the UK is that you’re comparatively close to everything, so before I took up the residency I was able to do some research in France, and during the residency I took time out to spend a week in magical Glastonbury.

felicitybookMy sequel, The Once and Future Camelot, tells the story of Morgana’s daughter, Marie, who at the end of I, Morgana finds herself stranded in our world at the time of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine (hence my visit to France). It’s a time-slip dual narrative between the poet, Marie de France, and the present day Morgan, a rebel and runaway, who fetches up in Glastonbury and then has to try to make sense of the terrifying visions that haunt her: visions of the end of our world that she needs to understand in order to save the future. It will take all her courage, ingenuity and knowledge of magic, along with Marie’s help, to fulfil an ancient prophecy about the return of Arthur – but also to find a way to love and happiness, both for herself and for Marie.

Glastonbury_TorI loved my time in Glastonbury; it inspired me on a personal level (I found my time there very healing) and it also helped to inform Morgan’s story and give it veracity. I climbed the Tor, I visited the Springs and the Goddess Temple, and I found the people I needed to find (and I truly believe the Universe conspired to help me there!).

Felicity_TintagelBeing in the UK was a blissful and very productive time, writing in the morning (I set myself a target of 2000 words a day) and going on a long ramble beside the river in the afternoon, making notes as ideas flowed, talking to myself (!) and also enjoying the beautiful scenery. There was also time for reading and research, and for exploring historic and beautiful Barnstaple, and meeting some lovely people there, including the writers who meet regularly at the library. Barnstaple is also very close to some famous seaside towns, including “Portwenn”, the setting for Doc Martin, and also Tintagel, the birthplace of King Arthur. (Photo taken on Arthur’s throne in the Great Hall there.)

The Society of Women Writers/Di Yerbury Writers’ Residency is open to members of the NSW branch of the SWW (Australia) under the following conditions:
* You must be a member for at least three months before submitting your application, due March 6th, 2016. (So you need to join the SWW by early December.)
* You must be researching or writing a work of fiction or non-fiction either set in or linked to the UK.
* You must be over 55 years at the time of your residency.
* Applications must be received by 5pm March 6th. The winner will be announced at the SWW meeting on Wednesday April 13th.
* The residency is available from June 20th to September 19th, 2016.

Further details about the residency and the application form can be found on the SWW website: www.womenwritersnsw.org. Good luck!

Find out more about Felicity’s books and her writing journey on her website, www.felicitypulman.com.au. You can buy her books in bookstores or from Amazon and other retailers, and for more information and to buy the beautiful I, Morgana and The Janna Chronicles, visit Momentum Books.

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Book Expo – Cool Events

October 11, 2015 at 2:52 pm (Events) (, , , , )

trilogy_mock1Book Expo kicks off Saturday October 17 in Sydney, and there are lots of fun talks and seminars that will be running both days. And I’m looking forward to hanging out with Selina Fenech again – check out her beautiful Memory’s Wake Trilogy for an amazing fantasy read – as well as her stunning Colour Your Year Calendar for 2016.

MemorysWake_3D-510x600There are two Fantasy and Magic talks, one on Saturday morning on building worlds and characters and one on Sunday morning about what needs to be changed to create another world.

There are others on Mystery Crime, Climate Fiction, Romance versus Erotica, Autobiography and Screenwriting and Film Production, as well as sessions on how to encourage children to read more, and an Interactive Children’s section running all of both days, along with illustrator demonstrations and tutorials.

Conrad Walters, author of Journeys on the Silk Road: A Desert Explorer, Buddha’s Secret Library, and the Unearthing of the World’s Oldest Printed Book, is speaking both days, and there are lots of other authors too.

Check out the Book Expo site for more details…

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Book Expo…

October 3, 2015 at 2:51 pm (News and updates, Publishing) (, , , , , )

day1_aselina

Last year’s Book Expo with lovely and super-talented artist and writer Selina Fenech…

It’s almost time for the last festival of the year!

Book Expo is a dedicated event for readers to engage with authors and publishers. It includes workshops and talks by writers, illustrators, publishers and more, more than a hundred exhibitors (including myself and awesome artist Selina Fenech), author meet and greets and events, three performance areas (including an illustrator skills one and a children’s authors interactive one), chances to win free books, interactive crime and mystery scenes to solve and much more. Book Expo is also hosting the Bloggers Conference, Getting Published Conference and PitchFest Australia…

day1_stand2 copyLast year’s Book Expo was lots of fun, with so much for people to do, and I got to chat with some lovely readers, bloggers and writer friends too (it’s such a solitary, hermity life, that it’s nice to occasionally get out and chat in person). And it will be very cool to have book three of the Into the Mists Trilogy this time around – I was just looking at last year’s photo, and it seems strange now that there were only the first two 🙂

day2_chez_sel copy

With gorgeous artists Selina Fenech and Cheralyn Darcey…

Book Expo is on October 17 and 18, at Homebush in Sydney. And I have fifty free tickets to give away, so email me at BlessedBeeBooks@yahoo.com.au or comment below and I’ll give you the code…

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