Monthly Archives: February 2014

WANACon Vs Whistling Frogs

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‘Did you see JK Rowling in the mirror this morning?’ – Daven Anderson

A few months ago, I wrote about why I went to WANACon for the first time. I’m going to talk about why I went again this weekend, despite being faced with the distraction of whistling frogs. It was because I *knew* this digital writers’ conference would live up to its last installment. And it was well worth some creative logistical leaps to make attendance possible.

My Dad’s visiting from the UK and got into town on Friday. We planned a trip to the remote Catlins Coast, a 4 hour trip from my home in Queenstown NZ (& full of cute whistling frogs). Living half a world away, I don’t see my parents very much, so was obviously planning to treasure the trip. But horror of horrors! I realised it would clash with WANACon – such an important conference to attend at this pre-published point in my writing career.

So, I booked somewhere with wifi – The Whistling Frog Holiday Park. And it was awesome. There was a mixture of sunshine and storms (typical NZ), so it wasn’t their fault the wifi was… questionable. Also, you could gain free wifi vouchers if you spent money in the cafe (read bar) – match made in heaven :p I got up at dawn to watch as many sessions as possible – and now I’m catching up on everything I missed, because there are *recordings* and there was a high level of internet interference / teddies thrown out of pram in the wilderness.

Alongside a visit to Teapot World (A garden containing 776 teapots – worth a visit. I’m not kidding), some wonderful waterfalls, a petrified forest by the sea, caves alongside sandy beaches, rare penguin sightings… I got to see some of the most valuable names in the new world of small press, self-publishing, writing, web-building & branding – all imparting their wisdom while I sipped tea in my PJs and shook my fist at the signal strength / weather.

Since the last WANACon, I have had a website built by Laird Sapir & hosted by Jay Donovan, both WANA presenters/professionals; I have won NaNoWriMo and am revising a book for publication; I have met *amazing* bestselling authors, pre-published authors and many authors in between; and I have continued to *learn a lot* from the wonderful resources shared by writers, editors and craft experts who agree with WANA’s main principle – We Are Not Alone.

I’m reminded of this principle every time I connect with someone new, having found their blog through WANA. Every time someone tweets me an encouraging response on Twitter, having read a tweet of mine through #MyWANA. Every time I have a burning question answered, expertly and honestly, by someone who wants to help because they know me through WANA. All the WANA enthusiasts seem to embrace my motto – make the right mark.

So, thank you Kristen Lamb & everyone who presented at WANACon! It was just wonderful. And for my non-writey readers who might be a bit baffled by some of the above – here is a picture of a *really* rare penguin 🙂 Whatever your passion, have you found a forum where you can enjoy support and friendship in its pursuit? I hope so – it’s worth finding!

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The Best Way To Checkmate & The Book To Be

The Book To Be

“There was a war in my head, thundering between my ears.

This had to be the ultimate fool’s errand.”

– Sara Litchfield, The Night Butterflies

Lots of lovely things happened this weekend, large and small: I finally finished Draft 2 of The Book To Be; I gained a new, lovely, editing client; I beat Partner In Crime at the chessboard; it was sunny on Sunday; we made stuffed potato skins; and we finally watched episode 14 of season 5 of Breaking Bad (aaaaaagggghh!!!).

I was (uncharacteristically) aggressive on the chessboard this weekend. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the fact I’m trying to be more aggressive in all of life’s challenges. Sometimes the only route to success involves pushing fiercely forward. I sacrificed quite a few pieces up front in order to give myself the space to manoeuvre and I didn’t end up regretting it.

Life is very chessy at the moment, especially with Project Get Published. Some people agonise over their opening, but I’ve always found making the first move relatively easy. It’s the battle that follows that can get bloody and messy. It can be frustrating that you can only control what you can control. You may think you’ve done everything to force a certain outcome, giving the opposition surely only one sensible option – only to find that they can still surprise you with their response. Sometimes, their move might seem completely counter-intuitive. But they’re playing their game – not yours. And you can’t rush them. They’ll move when they’re ready. All you can do is prepare your onslaught and keep plugging away every time they foil you. You have to not get distracted by anything shiny and concentrate on the goal, using all your powers of prediction to take the best possible position.

Sacrifice with care – you might think capturing the King all important and worth disregarding the other pieces of your life, but it might be better in the end if it takes a little longer but you emerge still having your friends, your partner, your clients and your colleagues to celebrate with. Sacrifice is necessary – I’ve certainly sacrificed the vast percentage of my social life, and it will be worth it. But it’s important to nurture the relationships and still do the chores that you might think slow you down, but in reality are really integral to your long-term success. I don’t want to achieve checkmate but have lost my mate in the process. It can be fantastic to be single-minded, but I think it takes more than one thing to give life meaning.

So I’m sure you’re dying to know. The Book To Be is a dystopian thriller of sorts. ‘Boy monster meets girl monster in post-apocalyptic university town and their fight for survival turns into a fight to bring down the system.’ It is taking *so* much longer for all the pieces to be in the right place to publish than I planned. But the time-investment and dollar-investment and the sacrifices along the way will be worth it. The best way to achieve checkmate is persistence and patience.

Is anyone else struggling to make the right moves at the moment? Anyone struggling to sacrifice the right pieces of life? Keep your eyes on the prize. It will be worth it. 

And, *deep breath* is there anyone out there with the time and inclination who would consider being a Treasured Beta Reader for The Night Butterflies? I have 2, I’d love 3 more. Haters of the dystopian genre / books told from several POVs / people with absolutely no time to read / people who are gleeful and lack tact when pointing out other people’s flaws need not apply lol. Please get in touch, if you would like to help me search and destroy poor plot & character points pre-publication. Do it for the karma / your name on the acknowledgements page. 

 

 

 

 

In, Along & Up With The New!

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 7.42.15 PM‘To infinity… and beyond!’

– Buzz Lightyear

I’m a pretty happy camper right now due to the launch of my new website and the new home of this blog – www.rightinkonthewall.com.

I have to thank three people in particular: Nicola Whetstone of NKW-Illustration for bringing every page to life with her art and putting up with a stalkerish number of emails from me; Laird Sapir of Memphis McKay, who is cool for ten million reasons, but right up there for naming her company after a cat, plus developing my website and putting up with a stalkerish number of emails from me; and Jay Donovan of Tech Surgeons, for saving me from the unfathomable world of ‘technical stuff’ and who is yet to learn exactly how stalkerish I’m going to get via email. I couldn’t have found Laird or Jay without WANACon, which is coming up soon woop!

I know this sounds weirdly like an acceptance speech rather than someone calmly announcing the launch of their website. But this has been months in the making and finally we have liftoff! And I just feel *UP*.  I’ve been buoyed by how helpful people are; by contact with several potential clients within a couple of days; by getting on with revising The Book To Be; by plotting my Book To Be Book Cover with NKW; seeing publication on the horizon; and by just generally being in an exciting whirlwind of a year.

Just two years ago and I couldn’t see any of this coming. I was lost; adrift; inert. I’m now moving so fast in the right direction, I need to sit down before I hurt myself. Everyone needs to know that this kind of turnaround is possible – just trust your instincts and embrace the new and, whatever the obstacles, keep moving onward and upward!

Soooo a wee bit of begging – if you’re a follower at wordpress.com, please do follow me here! And if you’re not a follower, hey, why not?! Meanwhile, if you sign up to receive things by email, there will be posts & bits and pieces of news, but never too much or too many – nobody loves a spammer.

Any comments & queries on the new website muchly appreciated! And, for the love of Lexicon, please scream (quietly, using the contact form here) if you see a typo –  so I can say unto thee, ‘Congratulations for passing my secret test of Spot The Typo’ (I get to save face, you get to save my face – you get me).