Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year 2010

Happy New Year 2010
Keep Your Spirit And Keep Your Smile
I Hope In This Year Will Be Better Than 2009Happy New Year 2010

Monday, December 28, 2009

Goodbye, 2009!

Hello, everyone! I am back from my Christmas break a bit fatter but a lot more relaxed. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends.

It has been a typical Christchurch day - warm and fine in the morning, cold and windy in the afternoon. I'm actually quite pleased to get some cooler weather, though, as it means I can wear this velvet jacket that I thrifted last week! That thing on the floor behind me is one of Mink's Christmas pressies - a catnip mouse. He had more presents than we did (as usual), and they are strewn all over the house in varying stages of disintegration. Sorry about the bad photo quality - my camera is dying of old age, I'm afraid. Poor thing.

I can't believe that it's almost 2010. I have no idea what the new year holds - exciting plans are afoot for us but are not yet confirmed and solidified, which means that the whole year is going to be fairly unpredictable. It has been a big year, though - an amazing year - and I wanted to look back on some of the major events in my 2009.
1) Had a major breakthrough regarding The Cry of the Go-away Bird, and completely rewrote it. So glad I did! As well as improving the book, it taught me an awful lot about plot, structure and story.
2) Successfully completed a film for the 48-hour film festival with LOML and friends.
3) After many rejections, signed with a wonderful agent!
4) Got a new haircut! And then another one.
5) Was mugged. I still find that weird.
6) Signed a publication contract with Harvill Secker, an imprint of Random House UK!
7) Went on a six-week trip to Europe with LOML, stopping in the States on the way back. I met my agent and editor in person for the first time - very exciting! - and we visited both our families, which was lovely. I also visited Germany for the first time.
8) Made my best thrift find ever, and wore it!
9) Completed my Masters with High Distinction.
10) Finished the first draft of my second novel (still a long way to go, though).
11) LOML and I welcomed our nephew, Thomas, into the world!
I don't make traditional resolutions: instead, I like to choose a word that describes how I would like my year to be. For 2010, that word is 'mindful' - I want to be more present and aware in my everyday life, and appreciate every moment - particularly as it will be a year of big change for us. What word would you use to describe your hopes for 2010?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Another Christmas Party!

I've been dying to wear this 1950s cocktail dress (thrifted for $10!) for ages. It still needs taking in at the bust, but I couldn't resist wearing it tonight - it is a very Christmassy colour, after all. Excuses, excuses.
22 Dec 09
22 Dec 09
22 Dec 09
Again, sorry for the brief and patchy posting this week - I'm continuing to blame it on Christmas. I hope you're all having weeks that are as happily busy and full of social events as mine is - after all, it's only Christmas once a year.*

*Except in New Zealand, where a lot of people celebrate it in mid-winter as well as in December. But apart from that.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Wow, less than a week till Christmas! I am suffering from December-itis, also known as 'being really busy,' and I think a lot of other bloggers are suffering from it too. I apologise in advance for what is sure to be patchy posting and commenting over the next couple of weeks as the festive season kicks in, but hope that you are all enjoying the holidays. Now that I've finished all our Christmas shopping, I'm starting to get excited about the parties and events coming up.

Last weekend LOML and I went to Queenstown - the adventure capital of New Zealand, and the birthplace of bungee jumping. I am never going to bungee jump. It just isn't going to happen. LOML has done it, and has tried to convince me, but it just doesn't appeal at all. We did go jet-boating, however, down the rapids of the Shotover River, which was fantastic! We both got completely soaked. Lots of gorgeous meals out on the waterfront, lots of stunning Lord-of-the-Rings scenery, lots of rain (I have learned, though, after my seven years in New Zealand - I always take warm clothing on summer holidays), a ride on the beautiful steam-ship T.S.S. Earnslaw, a day in Wanaka exploring Puzzling World (a place where optical illusions are the key, as you'll see in a couple of the pictures below) and a lot of lovely Otago wine. I can't believe it was only a week ago - it already seems like we've been home for a month. December-itis again, I think!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas party!

LOML's work held a formal Christmas party on Saturday night. I had honestly been looking forward to it for months - how often do you get to wear evening gloves and travel in a limousine, after all?
Christmas Party
I'm wearing that vintage dress I thrifted from an Oxfam store in Northern Ireland. It's actually the first time I've worn it - I wanted to save its debut for a special occasion!
Christmas Party
Doesn't LOML look dapper?
In the limo
We rented a limo to take us to the hotel - complete with red carpet! There were six of us altogether. The photographs are not going to be of super-duper good quality, I'm afraid, particularly as the evening wears on, but they will give you a flavour. LOML and I got to show off our ballroom dance skills (or should that be skillz?) but, unfortunately, only the confused moments were captured on film. Usually the ones where I was saying, "Wait, what are the steps here again? Oh, okay, I've got it. No I haven't."
Outside the limo!
Here's the group! (Stand up straight, Andrea).

Wolf And Bear Tattoo 3D Cool

3D tattooTAttoo design Cool picture
Wolf And Bear Tattoo 3D Cool

Great Tattoo For Your Inspration

The secret on how to get a great tattoo is to be prepared. If you've decided to get a tattoo, you should research the process first. Many people don't bother doing their homework before they find one and then they run into trouble because they regret the decision later down the line.

The first thing to remember is don't rush headlong into it. Many people choose one on a whim. They rush through the whole process. If you really think about your options first, you'll have much better results.

So, to be prepared, first, you have to come up with a design you love. You can visit tattoo parlors and look through artists' portfolios, research on the internet or talk to friends with tattoos to get ideas. You can consider something traditional, such as fish or stars, or you can opt for something more intricate. The choice is yours.

Many people rush headlong into the choice. They choose something that doesn't reflect their personality at all. Then, they wind up with something that is generic and not at all expressive. Such people do not understand the secret to getting a great tattoo.Great Tattoo

The secret to choosing the special tattoo that you can enjoy for years is patience. It may seem like you have to get a tattoo right now, but every tattoo parlor on earth is not going to close tomorrow. Consult several artists because they each bring their own unique talents to tattooing.

Some specialize in tribal tattoos, some in floral work, and some in fine details and so on. You should find artists whose talents mesh with your vision of what is the design you love the most should look like.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Nanowrimo Wrap-up Week Four

Keeping it simple at the moment, because it feels like bits of my brain are crumbling off like wet cake (thanks, Bernard Black). I am making good progress with the revisions, but there is SO MUCH to do, and a lot of client work on top of it, that I am going slightly mad. The cold weather doesn't help. Curse you, Christchurch weather! Curse you!

Anyway, on to more important things. Congratulations to you all! So many of you have won Nanowrimo, and I hope you are feeling suitably impressed with yourselves. I only made it to 42,000 this year, but I'm actually feeling pretty happy with that.

I am so sorry everyone, but I am swamped with work this week and don't have time to go through and list links as usual, although I have been following your progress. Instead (if you would like), please leave a comment saying whether you finished Nanowrimo, and how you feel about your end result and the experience in general! If you would like to post a link to one of your blog posts, please do so. As the comments come in, I will transfer them to the main body of this post, so that everyone can read your thoughts here. Thanks, and congratulations again!

The full list of group participants is here.
Amber Lough

I technically have an hour left, but I couldn't possibly write any more. I made it to 33K words. I'm pretty happy about it, even though I didn't "win." Without NaNo, I wouldn't have written nearly as much this month. I discovered that when I really mean to, I can write and write and write, even if I don't "feel like it."

Yay everyone!

Now I'm going to sleep.........


This is my first year ever doing NaNoWriMo.........and I WON!! I'm so proud of myself, because I was able to prove to myself that just because I am a 14 year old high school student in small-town-nowhere doesn't mean I can't do things.

I've never written so much in my life, and I think I could probably fly right now!


I'm still a bit amazed that I actually finished this year. Well done for getting as far as you did with so much other stuff on your plate - I had nothing to do but write and I still didn't make the 50,000 until the 29th!


I made it to 50K, and I'm so proud of myself. I had such a fabluous time. Thanks Andrea ^_^. And I'm not stopping either. I've started spell/grammar checking and plan to do corrections in Jan.


I only made it to 14,000, but I feel that it has given me a good inroad into what writing fiction entails. I've managed to work in writing times into my everyday life and so on. I think that I have a good base to move on from! Thanks for the inspiration :)

Juli Ryan

I made it to 50K, and I had a great time. Now I'm going to print out my book and leave it in a drawer for a while. Thank you for inspiring me to try this challenge, and for organizing the NaNoWriMo group. I learned that I can write a little bit every day and make lots of progress. I can't wait to do it again next year. Loads of fun!


I have to say that when I got to 25,000 words (it might have been earlier than that, even), I already felt proud of myself - it's 25,000 words I hadn't written before, and a start of something that I might want to revisit next month or next year. All word counts, I think, are impressive.

That said, I am amazed that I won. It feels wonderful to have 50,000 words of this novel written and I have continued to add to my word count, hoping to reach 100,000 words by the end of December.

More than word count, though, NaNoWriMo snapped some of my bad habits out my writing day - the words come much easier now that I'm not constantly in "must edit it all" mode.

Thank you, Andrea, for organizing this group, and for all the inspiration you all have provided. Can't wait til next November!

Lola Sharp

Yes, I "won", and am's over! ;o)

Okay, seriously, I am excited to have completed the word count goal in 30 days, but now I can write "properly" ( and fix my "cheats").

By that I mean:
I can take the time needed to fill in with research, proper time lines, flesh the plot lines out, and make sure they collide properly... and just generally "pretty it up" that one has no time to do when churning/speed writing.

I can fill in my "cheat-ish" drop downs.

This began as my usual genre of literary fiction, but quickly evolved into a political suspense/thriller. Which I have never attempted before, nor ever wished to, but my characters took over and had put me through hell. I know nothing, zero, zip of computer technology, the CIA, real governmental politics,stalkers, the secret service, gun laws by state, privacy laws, spyware, or the Patriot Act. But that's where the story went. And so my time spent yesterday at the library was lengthy.
I am also quite sure that I am now "flagged" by some US govt. task force that watches for people checking out the types of books I needed to check out...which would be ironic, since that is not too distant from how things got rolling downhill in my novel. Life imitating art imitating life. Or something like that.
(Of course, their time would be far better served watching out for who is actually invited to attend their White House parties and other such minor details.)
Anyway, more on my writing escapades on my blog.

Let's get to the fun stuff...

CONGRATS to ALL of YOU who either WON, or at least feel good about how far you did get and what you learned in the process!!! Woot Woot!!

To the 14 year old ( sorry, I forget your name, but I enjoyed checking your blog out)--CONGRATS! Muchos Awesomeness!!! On top of school and homework and keeping up a blog...totally rocks. I hope you have a lit teacher giving you school credit for accomplishing this major feat.

Andrea, Congrats on hitting such a high word count on top of all your other tasks, projects and deadlines. And for still finding time to shower, dress so adorably and look so darn cute. Not to mention posing and posting a photo daily for us. (some days I'm lucky if I get a shower or even get out of my sweats when I am on deadlines. I'm guessing no one wants to see me post those daily photos. eeek)

Lastly, I invite everyone who is planning on continuing their Nano-WIP and polishing it for publication, to please leave a message on my blog so I can link us and we can all make sure to keep up with each others progress, cheer each other on.

Much Love,


I made it to a little over 40,000 officially, but to over 48,000 in actuality. The last time I went to upload my numbers, even though they showed time on the clock, they had disabled the upload. Still, I am thrilled with either result, and did not think I would even get that far. It was a great experience, and I am looking forward to the next round. Thanks very much for hosting this group!


4,200 words.

I'm not upset, life happens.

resolute twig

I also made it to 50k and I am really excited. This is the longest piece of writing i have ever done. Now I just need to finish the story!
It's also great to have completed a goal, something that I really wanted to do, but that at times felt completely out of reach.
Thanks for introducing me to NaNoWriMo!


I actually won, although I was shocked I did. I spent most of the month fearing I would not finish. Anyhow, I am happy with what I wrote, even if it is hack work that needs a lot of reworking! Anyone wanting more details can read my post on it.


I was right on track with my word count until my husband arrived in Germany and spent my birthday and Thanksgiving with me here. I wrote exactly zero words for each day that he was with me. But we're spending this year apart and I didn't mind for a second giving his visit my full attention.

So I finished NaNoWriMo with a word count of 32, 646. I am very happy with that though. I may not have won by reaching the 50k word count goal, but I now have about 63 pages of single spaced narrative and a really exciting story idea that I will by no means abandon now that the month is over. NaNoWriMo and the support of other writers (such as all the great people in this group) really inspired me to do something I never thought I'd have the time or ability to do.

Valerie Storey

Hi Everyone! Late as usual. I work fulltime and I write fulltime so it is difficult for me to comment as much as I would like. Congratulations to Nanowrimo winners--and even if you didn't make 50K, no matter, you have a new story to keep working on and that's what really matters. Two things I got out of this year's Nano: 1. I want to turn my story into something very experimental with collaged artwork, even if it's just for me, and 2. I love to write more than I thought I loved to write. Going to my story every day was a pleasure not a chore. Maybe because I didn't care or think about "the market." It was fun to think of writing with you all too. If anyone would like to link up to my blog, I would be very happy to list you there. Yesterday I put up a "revising Nano ms." post that you might find helpful. Keep writing! Thinking of you all even if I'm a lousy commenter. And Thank You!!


Thank you everyone for inspiring me - a special thanks to "chic" for introducing me to NaNoWriMo via her blog and to Andrea for letting me be a last minute participant in the group. I'm new to NaNoWriMo and to blogging in general so this has been a great experience overall. Congratulations to all who won! How fantastic to finish. I didn't make it but loved the experience and will repeat next year.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tattoo Dragon symbolism

What is the symbolism that is associated with dragon tattoos? Within history, dragons are portrayed as the most powerful creatures that could not be slain and have been portrayed breathing fire for centuries. Although mythical, the creatures are portrayed as just as strong and therefore they have become a popular tattoo for men seeking a piece of art which can be placed on the body to signify the power which is associated with these types of tattoos. Although they can be portrayed alone on the body, there are certain tattoos which can be portrayed with the use of entire pieces that can be displayed on the chest, as well as the arms and even the back. There are many popular choices which can be made through the choice of the tattoo including fire, caves and even medieval themes. Other choices for these types of tattoos can include dragons in battle and even dragons which are intertwined in battle. Through these types of tattoos there are many men that choose to have the dragons displayed alone on the body.
dragon tattoos
There are many types of dragons which are portrayed on the body. These can include the tribal art which is created in the form of dragon tattoos. These pieces of tribal art can be portrayed through the use of dark colors and can be used to display the strength that is associated with the type of tattoo. Through the use of these dragon tattoos, the individual can help to display the inner power that they have demonstrated through their lifetime.

Choose a dragon tattoo that comes in a variety of colors if you are seeking intricate bright and vivid designs that can make a statement and a dark and muted tribal dragon tattoo if you are seeking something less colorful that makes just as large of a statement.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nanowrimo Round-up Week Three

Yesterday I spent the day with Laurel from Ooh La La Vintage - it started with brunch at the Honeypot Cafe, continued with a Magical Mystery Tour of all the best vintage shops and thrift stores of central Christchurch, and ended with a glass of wine in a pavement cafe by the river! So much fun. These pictures were taken in the 'retro room' of one of the thrift stores - a cupboard-sized space stuffed with 'retro' clothing of dubious origin. I've never had much luck in there, but it's so much fun to crawl right in and rummage.

I'm still mooching along with my Nanowrimo novel, but an influx of client work and the revisions on Actual Book that Needs to Go to Agent in December (working title) have been eating up most of my time. Excuses, excuses! In reality, I could make time to catch up on my word count, but at the moment it is more important to me to make steady progress and not become too stressed. Particularly since a cold is hovering at my writing desk, threatening to descend and fill my head with glutinous goo.

Here's this week's A Cat of Impossible Colour Nanowrimo Round-up! As always, please don't be offended if you are not featured - I choose posts that I think will appeal to the largest number of people, and I read all your Nano reports with pleasure. Go here for the full list of participants.
  • Sara shares one of her Polyvore sets and explains the inspiration behind it. She has made some gorgeous ones for the different characters in her novel - check out the Polyvore group to see them!
  • Kate discusses the importance of the reader when writing memoir.
  • Andrea is debating whether to take a different direction with her novel.
  • Lola talks about plot snags and procrastination.
  • This isn't exactly Nano-related, but huge congratulations to Teresa, whose short story In a Seaside Cafe was one of the thirteen winners of the Bridport Prize. This is a really big deal, a prestigious award, and a huge achievement. Well done!
  • Valerie has posted yet another great list of writing prompts to take your story in crazy directions and save your sanity. If you feel like you're stuck in a rut, check them out! (And if you're really, really stuck, start a chapter with 'And then the aliens arrived,' and see what happens).
  • Susie is looking for a name for her female main character - see if you can help her out.
  • Priscilla shares her Nanowrimo playlist.

And today's Nanowrimo challenge: list three to five things that you LOVE about your book. The things that make you want to keep going. Go!

(And here are mine:

Living graffiti
Creepy moments with dead animals left on doorsteps (I'm not as evil as I sound, I promise)
Reverse empaths
A really bizarre love story
The setting, which I'm too superstitious to describe).
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