Friday, September 26, 2008

So very, very old

Thank you so much for your comments on my panicky last post, everyone! I really appreciate it, and feel a million times better.

LOML was taking photographs at a superhero-themed dance party tonight - the crowd consisted of thirteen and fourteen-year-olds. I was assisting. We just got home.
Since the party, I have come to the following conclusions:
1) When the kids were pointing and laughing at me while I was dancing, it was only because I looked so very, very cool.
2) Especially when I knew all the words to 'Hey Mickey' and 'YMCA'.
3) Also especially when I broke out my tried-and-trusted 'lawnmower' and 'smack the pony' dance moves. Those were stares of pure admiration.
4) And they were TOTALLY impressed by my crumping.
5) And my superhero poses.
6) Okay, maybe not.
7) I feel old.
8) Tomorrow I am going to hang out at an old people's home, just to get back some perspective.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Okay, ignore the post which I put up this morning and subsequently deleted - the story was on last night (I hunted for it on the website this morning after I saw I had been quoted in an article), and here it is!

Monday, September 22, 2008

All done!

The interview is over! I need some coffee.

For those of you who are in New Zealand, I think it will be on TV One's Breakfast tomorrow in Guyon Espiner's political segment, which is usually between 7am and 7.30am (I was nervous and didn't take in much information, but I'm pretty sure it will be on tomorrow). My bit will only be a sound-bite, so I'll be there and gone quicker than you can blink. It should also be available as footage on TVNZ's website later on, and I'll try and post it here when I get it.

It was really bizarre having a camera crew in our living room. I realised afterwards that I was sitting in front of a cushion with a big cat face on it. Now the whole nation will know I'm the crazy cat lady. I can't even remember what I burbled on about ... hopefully it was in English. They also took some shots of me 'working' at the computer, which consisted of me typing random words over and over and frowning occasionally to indicate I was thinking. Television is weird.

You're not going to believe this ...

I wrote in to the national Breakfast show this morning, making a comment about this story. Now a TV crew is coming to my house this afternoon to film an interview with me regarding that story and the situation in Zimbabwe. I couldn't make this stuff up.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I have had a really interesting experience this evening. Well, interesting to me. I was working on the plot outline for my current book when it occurred to me to look up the main characters' names and see what they meant. I thought this was a classic procrastination activity, but the results were actually fascinating. I chose the names with very little thought, going purely on instinct, but when I looked them up I saw that their meanings were actually very close to the characters' personalities. So much so that it was a little spooky. I had never read any of these name meanings before, as far as I know, but perhaps some snippets of information were buried in my sub-conscious ready to jump out of my ear (I take things very literally), tap me on the head and say "Oi! Good character name. Use it."

I realise this post would be a lot more effective if I gave you examples, but I am pathologically superstitious about revealing details of whatever I'm working on, so it will have to remain vague for now. For a far more coherent and interesting discussion on naming characters, I refer you to Anne Mini's ever-useful blog.

In more humdrum news, I made good progress with the Essay of Doom today. I have almost 10,000 words of raw material that need to be hammered and honed into a 5,000-word essay - still, that's a far, far better position to be in than starting with a blank page, I think.

What a trendsetter ...

My sister sent me some more old pictures today - in this one I was about one and a half years old. Personal style at its best, I think!

Monday, September 15, 2008

"... My belief in Zimbabwe and its people runs deeper than the scars I bear ..."

Report by Stephanie Nolen and Shakeman Mugari, for the Globe and Mail:
A grim and agitated Robert Mugabe ceded some of his hold on Zimbabwe Monday for the first time in nearly three decades in office, as he and his sworn enemies in the Zimbabwean opposition signed a 54-page deal that will, in theory, see them share the job of governing the shattered nation.

It was, in its way, a very Zimbabwean settlement: Both sides made major compromises. There is no outright victor, and there will likely be no dramatic change – not soon, anyway. But for a nation whose citizens have a visceral determination to avoid conflict, however bad things get, the deal offers a cautious way forward.

Under the agreement, Mr. Mugabe remains President of the country he has ruled since its independence in 1980, while Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, will take up the newly created post of prime minister. In theory, Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the MDC – both Mr. Tsvangirai's larger party and a small splinter faction – will split the cabinet posts, although the sides have yet to agree on how.

The MDC has pegged its survival on obtaining control of the crucial ministries of Finance, which will allow it to tackle inflation, currently above 11 million per cent, and Home Affairs – and with it, the police force. If the party can make immediate changes in fiscal policy and restore the rule of law, its leaders believe, then international donors, which have isolated Mr. Mugabe's Zimbabwe, may step in with vital assistance.

But Mr. Mugabe has signed this deal under huge pressure from regional leaders, many of whom flew into Harare for Monday's ceremony, and may simply be stalling. The deal gives him continued control of the cabinet and armed forces, while the prime minister controls a parallel executive council.

At the signing ceremony, Mr. Tsvangirai urged reconciliation and rebuilding. “I have signed this agreement because my belief in Zimbabwe and its people runs deeper than the scars I bear from these struggles,” he said. “Party divisions no longer matter to the people of Zimbabwe. The hand with which I signed this agreement is the hand which I extend to President Mugabe. … Our lives begin now.”

Mr. Mugabe gave a rambling, sometimes nearly incoherent, address. As he has before, he railed against meddling by foreign powers: “The problem that we have now is a problem that has been created by a former colonial power wanting to continue to interfere in our domestic affairs,” he said.

At this, Mr. Tsvangirai covered his face with his hands, while opposition supporters in the gallery jeered loudly.

Thomas Mhandara, 30, a long-time MDC member who came to celebrate the signing, saw change in the offing. “It's not an outright victory, but, if you look at where we have come from, then you will realize why we are here today,” he said. “We have scars, broken bones and bashed heads from this man [Mr. Mugabe]. … That we dragged him to the negotiating table and took away half of his powers in the process is something we are happy about. … We have half his power. Soon he will be gone.” [Emphasis mine - Andrea]

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thank you

Thank you so much for your encouraging words on my last post, everyone! I haven't vanished because I'm depressed about the agent rejection or anything, I'm just having a lazy weekend to recover from yesterday's long drive and the talks (which went well, but were exhausting. Especially the drive. And the point in the drive where the little GPS device fell off the dashboard and under the seat and then started telling me to turn down roads that didn't exist. I'll tell you the whole story later).

I'll be back tomorrow!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I got my first reply back from an agent this morning, and it was a rejection. Wah. Am trying to be cheerful about it, though, and just go back to waiting for the others. Here's what the agent said:

"Thank you for giving us the chance to read the first part of your novel. You definitely write very well, so it is with real reluctance that I say I'm unable to offer you representation for it. This is partly because I'm already handling a novel in a similar subject and the same setting.

Good luck with your writing, and if you produce something else and are not already with another agent, do contact me again."

So at least there's some bright spots in there. I am feeling a bit low about it though, of course.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fathers' Day

My third father ran away today;
deserted the mothership.
On our planet things work differently;
I am fathered by three men who have left
Each donated their seed;
our technology is very advanced.
I am a three-father hybrid
a tripod grown from a tri-seed
a triumph of modern engineering.

The first could have been a hologram
a holy telegram from god to stop me getting cocky.
It worked.
Hard to be conceited when a spaceship implodes.
He was in the heart of a star,
a supernova, for one white-hot minute. Maybe it was worth it;
baptised by fire and the spirit
he gave me spirit and form, a wavering
projection of himself.

The second was an astrologer;
he charted my stars and planets
yet I hardly remember him.
Maybe he watches over me
from the horoscope columns
of the local paper, I don’t know.

Today my third father ran away.

I count the stars
and watch the pregnant moon, frantic
in its mad orbit, deserted by the sun.

Rainy days and Mondays

Apologies for the lack of posting, everyone - this weekend was rather a weird one. Father's Day is always a difficult time in my family for various reasons, and a close friend of the family succumbed to a long battle with cancer last week. I spent today spring-cleaning and walking for hours in the park - needed to take some time out of the world. I'll be back tomorrow, though.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Productive day, for the most part. I wrote about 1,000 words and did some research for a project I've got lined up. Am slightly annoyed, though, because circumstances are conspiring to keep me away from the events I want to attend at the Writers' Festival. There was one at lunchtime today to which I really wanted to go, but something urgent came up and I couldn't.

Oh well, at least I managed to get some work done! And I'm excited about the book launch tonight - as part of the diploma in publishing I did last year, I actually had to put together a marketing plan for this very book. So it will be lovely to see it in the flesh (as it were).

Ladies who launch

I'm going to a book launch - the book is Land Very Fertile, an anthology of poetry and prose inspired by Banks Peninsula, and my friend Coral is one of the editors.
I know I am a complete wuss, but I am a little nervous about driving all the way over to Governor's Bay for the launch (about 40 minutes away). I am not the most confident driver in the world, and I think this will actually be the longest trip I have made in the car. Still, good practice for next week, when I have to drive to Rangiora to speak to my friend's form class. Eek.

In other news, I finally bought my own copy of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I have read bits and pieces of it here and there, but I have never read the whole thing from start to finish. It's such a great book, as I'm sure you know, and definitely a great addition to my little library of books on writing.

And if you haven't entered the giveaway already, please do - I'll be drawing it early next week! Click on the button in the sidebar to go to the giveaway page.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mink loves it when I do the housework ...

That missing apostrophe on the Housekeeper's Box drives me crazy, but I have yet to think of a good way to add it attractively. And I suppose it gives rise to an interesting image - women in aprons with boxing mitts strapped to their hands.

Another update

Another request for a partial! Yay! That's four out of five so far.

I'm taking a day off today - I need one. I was writing synopses in my sleep.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Well, I have finished my synopsis. I can only quote Bernard Black and say "Enjoy. It's dreadful, but quite short."

Synopses are hard



Another request - for a partial this time!

I need to keep going with the Synopsis of Satan this morning, so forgive me if I post a little later than usual. Thank you so much for all your good thoughts and voodoo vibes, I really appreciate it!


Well, I've had two responses already - and both asked for full manuscripts. Which is fantastic. One asked for a synopsis as well, though, and synopses are even more painful to write than query letters! Still, I'm not complaining (much) - I made a start on it this evening, and I'll finish it tomorrow. It's just great to have heard back so quickly, and successfully.

Fingers crossed! Perhaps there'll be some more exciting emails in my inbox tomorrow morning.
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