EOM Wrap-Up: Should Have Done versus Did Do

Okay, it’s not the end of the month, but it’s close.

And if you’ve been paying attention up until now, you’ll know that I’m in the last few days of a whole month off work. I planned to use this month in writing furiously, doing taxes (both personal and business), and clearing up myriad small and medium-sized Stuffs that needed to be cleared up.

I was going to write thousands of words per day, get back into the habit of practising my violin, get a good start on my Korean Language studies, and clean up the spare room, pantry, and bathroom.

I was gonna do a lot.

So. Did I get it all done?

Hint: I’m a writer. Basically, I major in procrastination.

And since I’m sure that you’re all dying to know what I did and didn’t get done, here’s a list for your delectation.

Should Have Done: Write at least 3k words per day, with a goal of up to 6k. I was planning on getting a good 60k of Bright as the Eyes of You written in advance so that I could have a nice, leisurely schedule publication schedule on Wattpad, and to have about 30k of Blackfoot completed.

Did Do: Um. Well. My range for this month fell between 500-2.5k imagewords per day. That’s right. I didn’t even get to my minimum planned word count on my best day. It was VERY BAD.

On the bright side, I got the first chapter of Bright as the Eyes of You up on Wattpad, with a publication schedule of one chapter every two weeks, and the next chapter is starting to come together, too.

(Chapters 4,5, and 7 are already mostly done, but that’s anther story altogether…)

Should Have Done: Violin Practise resumed and made into habit.

Did Do: There are 31 days in this month. Wanna know how many days I picked up my violin to practise? Five. Yep, you read that right. Five days out of the thiry-one. Not my best effort.

Should Have Done: Korean Language studies.

Did Do: Dudes, I totally aced this one. I not only achieved but exceeded expectations Here. So, hooray, maybe?

The homework in sentence structure, translation, and word recognition that looked too hard to do at the start of the month was almost laughably easy when I tackled it this morning.

This is thanks to flash-cards, CNBLUE, B.A.P. and loads of Korean TV, which, as laughable as it sounds, actually is hugely helpful to my language studies. I learn best by context, repetition, and example.

Should Have Done: Taxes (business–whee!–and personal).

Did Do: NOTHING. NOT A SAUSAGE. Why, you ask? BECAUSE I’M SCARED. This is the first year I’ve ever had to do taxes with my A.B.N (I’ve only been publishing about a year and a half) and there was a ridiculous amount of printing of receipts to do. This fear of doing business taxes led me to put off the personal ones as well. That and my natural, inbuilt laziness.

Should Have Done: Car Serviced. Recliner Fixed. Bathroom de-molded.

Did Do: Oh, oh! I got this one! Sort of. I remembered to make the call and get the car serviced, and my eyes are still red-rimmed from the Exit-Mold I used to de-mold the bathroom–unenthusiastic yays–but the recliner thing has me beat for the time being. It’s still under warranty but the store we bought it from has closed down and an internet search for the maker to deal directly with them for the warranty only led to me having a 10 minute conversation with a rep whose company doesn’t actually service my brand of recliner, before either of us realised I was calling the wrong company.

On the bright side, the rep loved how my first name is spelled, so there’s that. It doesn’t get the recliner fixed, but yanno, it’s cool.

So the answer to the question “How much did you get done?” is “Not a lot, really”.

One reason for this is that I pulled my lower back muscles one week–oh! the pain!–and was sick with a resurgence of Meniere’s Disease for another two of those four weeks.

Those are just excuses, of course. I don’t write well or easily when I’m ill or in pain, but I can write.

No, the big reason for my lack of accomplishment this month is sheer laziness. That and the fact that I’ve been watching tons of Korean TV.

So now that I have to go back to work next week, maybe I can knuckle down and actually write properly again…

Cover Reveal & Excerpt: Bright as the Eyes of You

I’m trying an experiment. More precisely, I’m experimenting on you.

You’re grateful, I know.

You’re probably wondering what that has to do with either a cover reveal or an excerpt.

Allow me to explain. Bright as the Eyes of You is one of my new WiPs (the other two being the 2nd Two Monarchies book and a Carmine & Fancy slightly-longer-short-story).

More importantly, I will be uploading a chapter of it to Wattpad every two weeks.

Theoretically, that is. If I get behind, hopefully it will go without saying that I’m trying to concentrate on the quality of the story (as opposed to simply me being lazy). Because I would never be so lazy. Really, though.

It will be both exciting and terrifying for me, as I’ve never posted a WiP piecemeal before; but I’ve got a good feeling about this one, and I’m interested in feedback.

Also, I really love the cover and I want to show it off.

So there.

Behold! The Beautiful & Wondrous Jenny-Cover that is Bright as the Eyes of You!

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And below is the first 500-odd words of Bright as the Eyes of You, a quick preview before I upload the 1st chapter on Wattpad early next week.

Enjoy!

1

I See all Kinds of Sorrow

I don’t remember when I first started to Dream. I don’t know why I began to Dream, either, or even how the way I Dream is possible. It could have been because I was bored. Perhaps it was because I’m nosy. Yes, that’s far more likely. I was bored and nosy, and for the first fifteen years of my life I couldn’t walk, so what else was there to do but Dream?

I didn’t know I was spying on people. Not at first, at least. And when I did find out, I didn’t care: I couldn’t stop the Dreams, and it was pointless to be embarrassed by something I couldn’t help. The Dreams came by night or by day, intruding upon the real world until it was all but impossible to tell which was real and which the Dream. My nights were long, but my days were longer, and the Dreams were a welcome distraction from the beige ceiling and the window from which I could see only grey sky. In Scandia the sky is always grey and the ceiling always beige: there’s probably a moral in there somewhere.

You have questions. That’s all right. Ask away.

Oh, that’s a clever one: no one has asked me that before. Did the Dreams come first, or the paralysis? I don’t know for sure, but I can guess. I think the Dreams came first, tugging my soul away from my body, and I became so used to being away from my body that I never learnt how to use it or really live in it.

But it’s more than that. I’m left alone in my quarters most of the time, simply forgotten. People don’t see me. Servants sweep past me without bowing, and if I’m not very careful, I get left out in the garden when I take the air on my couch. I used to think it was because I was actually dead, and perhaps I wasn’t so far off. After all, what is a body without a soul, and why should a soulless body be seen?

 

The year that made me seventeen, my dreams of Eppa began a few weeks before I actually arrived in that country for my now annual visit. It wasn’t unusual for me to dream about Eppa, though I didn’t often dream about it when I wasn’t there. My dreams chiefly follow people rather than places, and I normally dream of the people I’m with. Unless it’s Jessamy, of course. I dream about Jessamy no matter where he is. That’s probably why the dreams began early, if it comes to that.

I was a perpetual nomad, flitting between Eppa and Scandia, and though my father made sure I spoke both Eppan and Scandian, my real home was Scandia. My home was small and light, one of a long line of seaside houses that faced the bare, open shore. I couldn’t see the water from my windows unless it was a day when I could walk, and those were few and far between. The rest of the time I spent on my chaise lounge, my view alternating between beige ceiling, empty sky beyond the frame of my window, and the dreams that visited me by day and night.

***

That’s it for now. Keep an eye out for my tweets and FB posts once the Wattpad chapter is out if you want to read more!

A Night At The Opera…And Other Things

Photo by Prudence Upton

Photo by Prudence Upton

So I went to Melbourne for the long weekend. I went to see The Marriage Of Figaro, while the Hubby went to see Jeff Martin & The Tea Party. It was an eventful weekend, during which I managed to pull a muscle in my neck, sprain my ankle and wrist slightly at the opera, get uncomfortably sunburned….and then see the news, when stopping for lunch in a nearby Hungry Jacks (that’s Burger King for you Americans) that Paris had been attacked by terrorists. That led to a prolonged discussion through most of Sunday with the Hubby, about terrorism, muslims, Christians, and the state of the world. We disagree on quite a few things, and we both have slight difficulty in expressing our thoughts, so it proceeded in stops and starts as we collected our thoughts, came up with new arguments and insights, and went to church.

Since most of my thoughts regarding the situation are reasonably bleak and not at all fun (there are no winners in this kind of war), I’m instead going to concentrate upon the delightful, fun part of the visit.

That being the opera. It was three and a half hours of fun, zany story told in a delightful blending of voices that were as impressive as they were beautiful. Susanna is to marry Figaro. Figaro made a bad contract with Marcellina, who wants to marry Figaro and has the right to marry him. Count Almaviva is in lust with Susanna (and every other girl in the flamin’ castle). Countess Almaviva is in love with her husband, who needs repeated punching in the face with something hard and heavy. Cherubino is in (puppy) love with Countess Almaviva. Count Almaviva, in spite of chasing every woman in the castle (sensing a theme here?) is jealous of Countess Almaviva’s attention to Cherubino. Oh, and then there’s the little maid Barbarina, who is in love with Cherubino and also seems to be playing footsie with the Count.

Sounds confusing, yeah? Well, it wasn’t. Not really. It translates to the stage VERY well. I wasn’t confused for a moment and I loved every bit of it.

Basically, Susanna (the brains of the outfit) spends the opera trying to:

-Fix the count and the countess
-Avoid the count’s attentions
-Get the count’s permission to marry Figaro
-Marry Figaro before Marcellina can get to him
-Fix Cherubino’s romance/life

She is sometimes helped and sometimes hindered by Figaro, who she declares to have not enough wit, but who proves by the end of the opera to know a trick or two. Their romance left me feeling highly satisfied at the conclusion.

Things I loved:

-The subtitles. SUBTITLES, PEOPLE. THE LIVE OPERA HAD SUBTITLES. I can’t express how much that meant to me. I expected not to understand more than one in ten words (if that). Instead, I was able to enjoy not only the excellent singing and delightful acting, but the puns, insults, snark, and at times gorgeous lyrics. I’m never going to stop being excited over the fact that I could see a live Italian opera and enjoy it with perfect understanding.

Cherubino

Photo by Prudence Upton

-The music. I expected to recognise a few of the themes and leitmotifs. I did not expect to recognise one in every three or so. Apparently I’ve heard a heck of a lot more music from The Marriage of Figaro than I ever realised. Not only did I recognise a lot of it, but it was all gorgeous! I’ve always liked Mozart, but this was especially delightful. The orchestra was talented but understated, never overpowering the singers, and they blended beautifully.

-The acting. It’s hard to say the exact things that were so good, because there were just so many. It was tiny little things like the ‘stuff you!’ kind of curtsey Taryn Fiebig (Susanna) gives Shane Lowrencev (Count Almaviva) as she’s very politely putting him in his place. The cringe-inducing way that Count Almaviva manages to run his hands over every flamin’ female he comes into contact with (hint: he makes sure he ‘comes into contact’ with ALL OF THEM). Small and perfect touches all the way through.

-The plot. Oh heck, the plot! So delightfully mad! So wonderfully insane! I will never be sick of massive, elderly female characters who are intent upon marrying the young, handsome male lead. The ones who trade polite (and sometimes not so polite) insults with the heroine, whom the hero really loves and has chosen to marry. And who, upon learning that the male lead is in fact their son, immediately switch courses half way through and are in raptures at their new-found son.

-The lighting. Oh my. I don’t think I can say enough about how good it was. My program says that the lighting was ‘realised’ by David Parsons, and that the lighting designer was David Finn. These blokes need a medal. The lighting proceeded from early morning through to late morning; from thence to afternoon and then late afternoon; and eventually, through evening and even night. It was done elegantly and entirely believably: I could have sworn they had the windows open to the outside world, and that we were rapidly going through one summer’s day.

-The use of a woman as Cherubino. I don’t know if that’s what always happens with this opera, but I’d have to think it’d be a difficult part for a man to sing–even a really good tenor. Be that as it may, I found it a wonderful choice. It emphasised the boyishness of Cherubino, the slim, raw, youthfulness of the character. And Sian Pendry was wonderful in the part: she managed the boy dressing up as a girl bit amazingly well: you would have sworn it was a young boy swaggering in those skirts.

-I’m still squeeing over the fact that Cherubino sings Lizzy Bennett’s song! (Yeah, yeah, technically it’s Lizzy singing Cherubino’s song, but whatever). I’m delighted. It adds so much more meaning to a part of the BBC’s Pride & Prejudice than it already possessed. It’s a song of longing, of surprising and new love being discovered, of uncertainty and novelty. It’s perfect for that part of the movie and whoever chose it is a genius.

Things I didn’t like so much:

-It wasn’t as loud as I expected. I suppose I’m just used to having the telly turned up ridiculously loud when I’m watching G&S operettas (so I can sing at the top of my lungs), but although the opera was a pleasing loudness, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations of flamboyantly crashing loudness. I was just a smidge disappointed at that.

-Nope, that’s it. It was an awesome opera, and I now need to find a dvd version to show the Sis.

So that’s it. My night at the opera. Hopefully the first of very, very many. I highly recommend it.

NaNOOOOOOOOO! Why did I do it?!?

I must be crazy. I did it. I actually signed up. I was gonna DO it, of course; just from the comfort of my own computer and no tallies and accountability and stuff. I wasn’t going to bother with making it official. Then I got excited and sort of accidentally signed up.

I’m talking about NaNoWriMo, of course. I went and signed up to the official site (come and see me and be my writing buddy–WRGingell is my Buddy Name); title and everything. Soon there’ll even be a cover for THE FIRST CHILL OF AUTUMN, my NaNoWriMo novella.

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MY FACE WHEN I REALISED WHAT I’D LET MYSELF IN FOR…

I did all this before it occurred to me that I would be at the stage of editing FIRE IN THE BLOOD at the same time as writing my NaNoWriMo novella…
It helps that they’re in the same trilogy (2nd and 3rd, respectively), but I’m still trying to tell myself, like Jones from Dad’s Army, “DON’T PANIC! DON’T PANIC!”

I’ll most likely end up in a frothing, quivering heap by the end of the month, but what’s that between friends? It’s all good fun, and let’s face it, I only have to write 1667 words per day. I’ve been routinely doing more than that each day for the last month or two. There’s absolutely no need to panic.

But what would a writer be without a side-serving of worry, eh?

Let The Games Begin! (Aka, Masque Is On Tour, And So Am I)

Let the games begin! The book blog tour for Masque has kicked off at The Indy Book Fairy, where you can read an excerpt and enter to win a paperback copy of Masque. Come on along and say Hi!

Further stops will be:

15th- I Heart Reading (Starter Party)

17th- Nat’s Book Nook (Promo Post)

18th- Books, Books, and More Books (Promo + Excerpt)

20th- Howling Turtle (Promo Post)

22nd- Mystical Books (Guest Post)

24th-100 Pages a Day (Book Review)

25th- Tea Talks (Promo Post)

26th- Jooniel Obsesses Over Stories (Book Review)

28th- Literary Musings (Book Excerpt)

28th- Dreams Come True Through Reading (Promo + Excerpt)

29th- C.J. Anaya’s Blog (Book Review and Character Interview)

So follow along with me as I traipse merrily across the blogosphere: and don’t forget to enter into the rafflecopter draw to win a paperback copy of Masque!

(I’ll even sign it for you. Hmm, draw or put-off . . . ?)

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Behold The Beauteous Cover Art!

I’ve been very busy these last few days, finishing final edits of my MS Masque. Likewise busy has been the very talented Joleene Naylor, finishing up the cover of Masque for me.

Happy mortals, feast your eyes on the beauteous cover art! Then go ahead and preorder Masque from Amazon or Kobo. Publication date is set for 1st February, 2015. Two months, guys!

MASQUE - 2500

And if you’re like me and need a blurb to read, scroll down. Adieu. I’m off to gloat a little more over my cover art.

 

    Beauty met the Beast, and there was . . . bloody murder?

            It’s the Annual Ambassadorial Ball in Glause, and Lady Isabella Farrah, the daughter of New Civet’s Ambassador, is feeling pleasantly scintillated. 

In the library is Lord Pecus, a charming gentleman whose double mask hides a beastly face, and who has decided that Isabella is the very person to break the Pecus curse. 

In the ball-room is young Lord Topher, who is rapidly falling in love with an older woman. 

And in the card-room, lying in a pool of his own blood, is the body of one of Isabella’s oldest friends: Raoul, Civet’s Head Guardsman.  The papers sewn into his sash seem to suggest espionage gone wrong, but Isabella is not so certain.

Lord Pecus, as Commander of the Watch, is of the opinion that Isabella should keep out of the investigation and out of danger.  Isabella is of the opinion that it is her murder to investigate, and that what a certain Beast-Lord doesn’t know won’t hurt him.  . . .    

Will Isabella find the murderer before Lord Pecus does, or will she end her investigation as a bloody spatter on the parlour floor?

 

Note: I’m currently sending Masque out for review, so if you’re interested in getting your hot little hands on a free review copy, email me at gingellwrites (AT) gmail.com. I’ll send a digital or physical copy of Masque to you for the purposes of a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, etc. All honest reviews are welcomed, and I understand that not everyone is going to love me and my books. (Odd, but there it is . . .)

An Addition To The Family

Meet Susan. She crawled into my bag when I was walking past the alpaca craft stand at the Huon show this morning.

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Her chief purpose in life is reading my books while I’m not there, and scaring the heck out of my brother-in-law. She says ‘Hi’ to you all in a rather lethargic fashion.