Hooray! I have a finalised cover for the complete SHARDS OF A BROKEN SWORD Trilogy! (Ain’t it purty??)
Hey guys! just a quick shout-out for a 99c sale that’s happening right now. I’m in it (of course) with Wolfskin, so if you haven’t yet purchased Wolfskin, now is a great time.
All of the books on this page have a little blurbity thing, so you won’t need to do too much clicking. They also have ratings, which I LOVE.
Fly, my pretties, fly! (aka, click on the pic below to get to the sale…)
Life is hard.
So are titles.
To a writer, titles are like Death and Taxes–unavoidable. So when we find one that fits perfectly (aka, The Precious) like Gollum, we cling to it with all the desperate fervour of a drug addict.
When that title is based on an excerpt from a favourite song, this is a great mistake. Because no matter how precious it is, it’s someone else’s Precious, and we all know how that turns out for Gollum. (“We hates it, Precious, we hates it!”)
What I mean by all of this is that it’s extremely unlikely I’ll be able to keep the tentative title of BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU. I’m still waiting to hear back from the copyright holders as to whether or not I can use it, and when I find that out, it’s still quite unlikely, judging from the prices quoted for use of the excerpts as chapter headings, that I’ll be able to afford it anyway.
But the most pressing problem is that I need to know soon. In the self-publishing business, schedules are important, and I’m already a couple of months behind mine. If I don’t get permission by the end of January at the latest, I need to be ready to go with an alternate title. If the licensing cost turns out to be too much, I also need to be ready to go with an alternate title.
In other words, I need an alternate title.
I was brainstorming ideas with a fellow author friend (who made me snort chai latte up my nose in my local cafe by suggesting “Smart as the Pants of You”–thanks for that, Intisar!–and was otherwise immensely helpful) and came up with a few possibilities. I’ve put them below for you guys to look at: please take a minute to let me know in the comments which title you like the best, especially if you’ve read BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU. I still want your opinion even if you haven’t read it, though, so fire away!
What’s your favourite? Don’t be shy! Let me know!
MerryChristmasandaHappyNewYear, guys! Today’s blog post will be a post in three acts, courtesy of my insanely rushed-and-jumbled Christmas season.
And if you’re Jewish, Happy Hanukkah! For anything else, I offer a blanket “Happy Holidays!” in my ignorance, with my good wishes.
This year was a pretty quiet Christmas, low key and enjoyable. Cheesecakes were made. Food was scoffed. Presents were given. Little sis’ fiance has been visiting, which is lovely, and although the part-time job was more than usually insane, I was able to recuperate with three days off.
Best of all, I managed to get a couple of reasonably decent pics of The Dad, which is nearly impossible given his penchant for pulling faces and weird poses whenever a camera appears.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Orright, orright, I know it’s early, but I want to discuss New Year’s resolutions. More specifically, I want to discuss my New Year’s resolutions.
I’ve not been as prolific toward the end of 2016 as I was hoping to be. There were a range of different reasons, some of which I’ll discuss in my next blog post, but the upshot of it all is that:
1) the publication date for BLACKFOOT (the 2nd Two Monarchies Novel) has been pushed to late February 2017 instead of December 2016 (bright side–got a blurb sorta finalised!)
2) the publication date for BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU has been pushed from early January 2017 to (hopefully) late January 2017
3) early 2017 is gonna be a VERY busy time for me
1) publish BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU no later than early February
2) finish BLACKFOOT by mid-January and publish it late February
3) publish the COMPLETE SHARDS OF A BROKEN SWORD TRILOGY in paperback and ebook January 31st
4) write the 2nd TIME-TRAVELLER’S BEST FRIEND novella in February
5) get started on the 3rd Two Monarchies novel in March
6) write, write, write…
There’s more, but they get kinda repetitive after a while, so I’ll let #6 stand in for the rest of ’em.
I’ve loved writing BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU. Getting it ready for publication…not so much. Reason being, when I first used excerpts from The Monkees songs as chapter headings, I had no idea I’d have to seek licensing to use said excerpts. I thought that a couple words from a song didn’t fall under copyright laws.
I was wrong.
It took ages to find the holders of the copyright. It took even longer to send off requests and wait for the answers.
And when the answers came back, they weren’t good.
I could use the excerpts (3-7 words each), but I would have to pay $1500 AUD for the privilege.
Not $1500 in total, you understand. $1500 FOR. EACH. EXCERPT.
Yeah, I’m starting to earn half a living at my writing, but I can’t afford that.
And now I’m really scared to hear back about the licensing rights for my title. Because *coff*I was dumb enough to make the title of my book an excerpt from a Monkees song as well*coff* I have no idea if I’m going to be able to afford to use BRIGHT AS THE EYES OF YOU as a title after all. Which means I’m now looking for alternative titles, because even if I can afford to use the title, I don’t want to wait forever to hear back. Song licensing, like trade publishing, tends to move at a somewhat glacial pace. If I don’t hear back by mid-January, I’ll go ahead with an alternate title.
So basically, throw some titles my way, guys. If you’ve read BATEOY on Wattpad and know something of what it’s about, give me your best shot. Help an author out!
So, as I may have mentioned, I had my first in-person Author Interview on the radio just a few days ago. I was terrified–a wild author in captivity, so to speak–and for the ten minutes that I had to wait before my interview, I greatly regretted that I’d ever agreed to do it.
Fortunately for me, I was interviewed by the amazing Rod Gray, who not only has one of the classic Radio Voices, but was incredibly easy to chat with. He was a great host, too, and he made the whole process easy. Not only that, he made it a lot of fun.
We discussed quite a few things in the 14 minute interview: from the perennial question of ‘where do your ideas come from?’ to POD and self-publishing; then from upturning tropes to Stephen Sondeim’s ‘Into the Woods’…
For those of you who couldn’t listen on the day, here’s an audio clip of the interview. ‘Scuse my broad Aussie accent–and just be grateful that I seem to have grown out of the phase where I sound like a little boy over the radio… (I certainly am grateful!)
Current Frame of Mind: alternately terrified and excited.
Why, you ask?
Because I’m having my first radio interview as an Author, tomorrow. Now, I’ve been on the radio before: I was a School-of-the-Air kid for a few years, after all, and we visited the base station a time or two. I find that I’m significantly more nervous about this particular interview, however.
Part of this is because I’m not particularly fond of communicating aloud now that I write more than ever. I never quite know what to say, especially if I’m talking to someone I’ve never met, in a place I’ve never before been. The rest of it is because I sound like a little boy when I’m on the phone or radio, so there’s that.
Despite that, I’m still reasonably excited. Well, it’s not every day I get the chance to be on a local radio station to talk about myself and my books, after all. I ran around madly this morning, making sure that the places that stock my paperbacks had a supply at hand–yanno, just in case people hear me and immediately go dashing out to find my amazing books for their precious loved ones–and now that I’m on lunch at work, it’s time to write down some Things To Say.
I knew about this interview roughly a month ago, by the way. And yes, today is the first day I’ve actually sat down to write down some thoughts on what I’m going to talk about if asked. I may or may not have mentioned my superpower of procrastination before…
But it can’t be that bad, right?? Right??
Every now and then you come across something that is an instant classic with you personally. You know what I mean: it’s nearly perfect, though not quite perfect, and even its imperfections are familiar and loved friends by the time you’ve finished watching/reading it.
That’s how I felt about The Suspicious Housekeeper by the time I finished the first episode. I still feel like that. It’s far from perfect, but even those imperfections are an integral part of what I like about this odd-ball, not-this-nor-that South Korean Drama.
What is unusual about me loving this drama so much is that it deals with a couple of things that I will almost never watch, but found were dealt with in a beautiful way. In fact, there were a lot of things about it that, had I known in advance, would have stopped me from watching it altogether. Themes such as adultery, suicide, teenage rebellion carried to extremes, and little children in emotional pain are not things that I would typically watch for amusement. The Suspicious Housekeeper does them in such a way, however, that I found them not only surprisingly moral, but enthralling.
The title refers to a Housekeeper hired by father Sang Chul after his wife dies, to look after his children and the house. It’s not, you understand, that she is suspicious of someone (though she is, later on). It’s more that everyone finds her suspicious. But really, it could go either way and work just fine.
-ish. It’s kinda hard to condense HOW MUCH FLAMIN’ PLOT there is in these 20 eps down to a paragraph or two. The essentials, however, are as follows:
*Sang Chul’s wife died in an accidental drowning before the beginning of the drama–or did she? The children are reeling from her death already, though Sang Chul is less sad.
*Sang Chul is less sad because he wasn’t really ever in love with his wife, and had, in fact, been having an affair. Normally, this would have stopped me watching the series immediately. This time it didn’t, because knowing a little bit about K-Dramas now, I was very well aware that in a drama of this calibre, cheating would never be shown to be okay, or rewarded. I was right, and I’m happy I was right, because this show is so worth watching!
*Basically, by the end of the first couple episodes, everything is on fire. The children are no longer sure of anything. They know their dad cheated on their mother. They don’t know whether or not he loves them because he’s a truthful (if wishy-washy) man, and can’t commit to tell them he loves them when he isn’t sure he is.
*The children take over the house and refuse to let Sang Chul back in until he agrees that he will never again meet with his lover. This is, again, something that would normally make me stop watching something: I have no love for children being taught that it’s okay to dishonour their parents. But again, the way this drama dealt with it was so poignant and beautiful that I can’t really fault it.
*Toward the middle, after Bok Nyeo has more or less settled things with the children (if not with Sang Chul) we meet with a VERY SCARY MAN who Bok Nyeo is sure she knows, but that man is supposed to be dead. This is where the drama goes from family drama into psychological thriller, including a crooked cop, a stalker, and layer upon layer of conspiracy. The children by this point are firmly on Bok Nyeo’s side, and fiercely love her, so there is the constant threat of danger to them as well as Bok Nyeo.
That’s all I can say without major spoilers, so on to the characters!
This is Bok Nyeo. She doesn’t smile. She very rarely shows any emotion, as a matter of fact, even guilt. When Sang Chul asks her how she could do a certain thing that she’d done, and asked her didn’t she feel any guilt/responsibility, her response is: “I threw that away somewhere.”
What Bok Nyeo does do is cook exactly like the childrens’ mother did, keep the house impeccably clean, and…follow orders. I mean, really follow orders. Without hesitation, without second thought, without remorse, and without ruth. (Yeah, I could have said ‘ruthlessly’, but it wouldn’t have matched, okay?!)
This, with the four children also giving orders, could and does become dangerous. And yet, each time, when I hoped for the best from the children, they invariably showed me their best (after a little while in the case of some of them).
Bok Nyeo is a truly amazing character, played by a truly amazing actor.
Sang Chul, the childrens’ father. His life is unravelling, one awful lie after another. Weak, wishy-washy, and yet absolutely truthful with his children once the biggest, dreadful truth is out there. It’s like he lied to himself and everyone else so much that now he won’t even lie when his children want to hear that he loves them and he doesn’t think he does love them.
Eldest daughter Han Gyul. Angsty, bereft at her mother’s death, and furious with her father for cheating, she is an explosion of bad decisions waiting to happen. I actually kinda disliked her for a long time, but I could really see why she was behaving the way she was behaving, so I was willing to give her some slack.
As the eldest girl, Han Gyul gets not only a big part in the proceedings (both family drama and thriller), but her own little story-line complete with a couple of love interests (one of whom manages to be even MORE ANGSTY than she is, which is, frankly, incredible.) Kim So Hyun was as amazing as ever in this part, but then, I’ve never seen her anything but amazing.
Eldest brother Doo Gyul–AKA, my squishy. I loved this kid! He was my favourite of all the kids, despite me loving clever cookie Si Gyul and adorable Hye Gyul. I actually started out by hating him: mostly because he slapped Bok Nyeo, and that really got up my nose. Before too many episodes were over, however, I had begun to love this messed-up little kid.
Why, you ask? A number of reasons. The first and foremost of these is because of his big heart. The second is his stupidity. He rushes in where angels fear to tread, stuffs things up majorly, and tries his stupid best to protect and serve the people he loves. Mostly he does this by doing groan-worthy things that a moment’s reflection might have told him were bad ideas, but that just made me love him more. He’s quick-tempered, hasty, and really not very bright. The thing that cemented my love for him was the scene where he and the other children sneak up on Bok Nyeo at the amusement park, where she has a meal set up for someone else. Doo Gyul sits down angrily, grabs one of the burgers, and stuffs it in his mouth, saying: “These are ours now!” He’s just adorable.
Clever cookie Si Gyul. Oh, this little baby! He’s dealing with mum’s death, bullies, and the fact that he has to pass his tests. He made me cry. This whole drama made me cry so many times, but Si Gyul was the first who made me cry happy tears because I was so proud of him. That’s right, I cried because I was proud of A TOTALLY IMAGINARY PERSON. Si Gyul is such a little darling.
Darling, pig-tailed Hye Gyul. An emotive little girl who just wants someone to love, and a stable family. Hye Gyul made me cry heaps because she’s always getting knocked down and having to get up again–always having to deal with things that are far too big and old for her to deal with.
Honestly, most of the tender Bok Nyeo moments were because of Hye Gyul, and Hye Gyul is the primary mover in Bok Nyeo’s eventual restoration.
Hye Gyul is the one who brings back fear, love, slight happiness, and tenderness into Bok Nyeo’s scarred, cold life. When Bok Nyeo’s freakin’ scary stalker sees them together, in fact, the first thing he does is go off into a mad rage: “I saw a mother’s look on her face again? Why is there a mother’s look on her face?”
Which brings us to scary stalker guy, Seo Ji Hoon. This guy legit terrified me. Gorgeous face, and the most frightening eyes I’ve ever seen. He creeped me out every time he appeared on the screen, and he just got scarier and scarier as the episodes went on.
His utter ruthlessness in going after what he wanted, his boy-like adoration, his terrifying tenderness–this guy just really freaked me out. First rate job, Song Jong Ho. You’ll always be my litmus test for creepy stalker guy.
You’re never in any doubt that this man is a Very Bad Man, but you can’t stop watching with your mouth open.
I loved this so much, guys. I really did. Go out and watch it, and you’ll see why. You’ll come to me with tears on your face saying: “W.R., why?? Why all the feels?? Why did you make me cry?”
And yet, it wasn’t perfect. I’ve come to the conclusion that perfection in this case might have made me love it a little less. I love this imperfect, messy, emotion-tugging drama.
And yes, okay: the camera does tend to pan over each of the children’s faces to get each of their reactions every time something particularly bad or good happens. It’s campy but the kids are such good actors, and it’s done so often that it’s more of a quirk than an actual flaw. Maybe a quirky flaw.
And it’s too long. Well, not exactly too long. But the storyline doesn’t quite know what it is–is it a family drama, a psychological thriller, or a story of redemption through pain?–and this means that it has three rather uneven acts. Again, it’s more of a quirk than a flaw, and I admire this story for pushing out of the mould and being what it wants to be. It also means that you get satisfaction on all counts and all threads: the family drama is brought to a close, the thriller ends with a bang, and the redemption is lovely. It’s just…odd.
I’ll leave you with this pic. It’s what I like to imagine the family looks like now. I love that they’re all smiling, even Bok Nyeo.
I’m ridiculously excited.
I probably told you guys this ages ago, but tonight is the night I go to see The Monkees. So I can’t concentrate to write, or study, or do anything, in fact (except rewatch The Librarians S2 with me Ma). It’s also a chance to dress up, so that’s nice.
I’ll let you know how it went when I get back…
…OKAY, I’M BACK AND GUYS IT WAS BRILLIANT AND THE MONKEES ARE BRILLIANT AND I HAVEN’T HAD SO MUCH FUN IN AGES.
Okay, first things first. I am delighted to announce that Peter Tork still does the adorable prancing thing while he plays (guitar, banjo, or keyboard). AND IT IS STILL JUST AS FLAMIN’ ADORABLE. He can also pick a really mean banjo and has a delightful sense of humour. Mickey Dolenz is still as brash and fun and loud as ever, and has more energy than I do on a good day!
The whole thing, in fact, had so much energy and vibe and fun to it that I don’t think I’ve been to a live performance I enjoyed more. The supporting musicians were absolutely wonderful, and both to frame and accent the Monkees performance beautifully.
AND GUYS. GUYS. I GOT TO DANCE TO THE MONKEES, LIVE.
(If I’d have been a bit quicker I would have got to shake Peter’s hand, too, but I can live without that 😀 )
They came back on the stage ‘cos we made such a noise when they left, hooting and yelling and clapping, and played Pleasant Valley Sunday. Then they played as a last thing, I’m a Believer (reminding us with a twinkle in their eyes that they played it before Shrek), and some people started to go up the front and dance.
Well. I knew I’d never get another opportunity to dance to the Monkees, so of course I left my seat and danced!
I only took three photos (I tend to soak things in instead of taking pics) and they’re all very bad ones, but long story short, if you’re wondering whether the ticket was worth the price, then YES, many times over.
Now I just need to wind down enough to sleep….
(In related news, I’m slowly slowly getting replies to my inquiries about using lyrics from The Monkees’ songs in Bright as the Eyes of You, though I still don’t yet know if I’ll be able to afford to do so. Meanwhile, lovely beta readers are reading BatEoY and I’ve already had some very useful feedback, so things are still progressing for a late-this-year/early-next-year publication.)