Monday, December 27, 2010

Of Mice and Men

I had a glorious plan to post today. I even have a rough draft for the post but I don't have the time to polish or tweak. I'm exhausted after Christmas with all the travelling and all the eating. So worth it, though.

I hope everyone had as wonderful a Christmas as I did. And I hope everyone will have a brilliant New Year.

See you in the New Year


Monday, December 20, 2010

The Jolly by Golly Blogfest

I love Christmas. It's the best holiday season of the year. I love the reason for the season: the message of Hope our God has given us. I love the Christmas songs. I love the Christmas food. I love the Christmas gatherings. I love the pretty, sparkly things and all the Christmas lights.

Jen and Melissa are hosting this wonderful Jolly by Golly blogfest to celebrate this season. So, of course, I had to take part! The idea is to post a piccy of your lights, decorations and tree. Share a recipe of your favourite food and drink and lastly to visit everyone taking part and share the joy.

Generally my Christmas lights are inside the house, but this year we put a string of red lights in our frangipani tree out the front. I keep forgetting to take a pic while they were turned on. Oops.

We have a hot Christmas here in Australia so the traditions vary. I have three sides to the family and each one offers a different kind of food. One side offers a seafood buffet with prawns as the star. Another side offers a traditional barbeque with side salads. And the third side offers traditional roast pork and turkey. Oh, and then there are the snacks... There is no point trying to maintain a weight-loss diet at this time.

I don't have a favourite drink, but I do have a favourite dessert:  

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake.
250g plain choc biscuits
125g butter, melted
500g cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
300g sour cream
300g cherries, pitted, halved
cherries and icing sugar to serve

1. preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius (140 for a fan forced oven) -- sorry I don't know what that is in Fahrenheit (It's slightly cooler than a moderate oven). Grease 5.5cm deep 24 cm base spring form pan. Process biscuits until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add butter. Process to combine. Press mixture over base of prepared pan. Cover. Refrigerate for 30 mins.

2. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating to combine. Beat in cocoa and sour cream until just combined. Fold in cherries. Spread over biscuit mixture.

3. bake for 35-40 mins or until centre is just firm. Turn off oven and cool for three hours with door slightly ajar. Refrigerate overnight. Top with cherries, dust with icing sugar. EAT.

I hope everyone will have a wonderful and safe Christmas. I will post again next week and then my regular blogging schedule will return to normal in the new year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Flash Fiction: The Perfect Gift

Exciting news: I’ve had another flash fiction published at AntipodeanSF. You can find it here: The Perfect Gift. Let me know what you think. You can even vote for your favourite stories.

Writing flash fiction takes discipline. This particular flash fiction is less than 500 words. I needed to keep the story tight without losing any of the magic.

Before I wrote this one I wrote about three other short stories. They all started as flash fictions, but they all blew out on the word count. I wanted to develop the stories further. I wanted to explore the characters and their motives. Two finished at over 3000 words, and one I’ll keep as a potential novel idea.

Writing flash fiction is a great exercise for writers to hone their skills and keep their imagination firing. What are some of the things you do to sharpen your skills and stay creative?

Please note: I will be taking a blogging break for the next two weeks. I will be around a little, but I won’t have time to post anything new for a while. I’ll be back by the 20th Dec for Jen and Melissa’s Jolly Golly Blogfest.


Friday, December 3, 2010

6 Ways to Persevere

NaNoWriMo is over and many of us have reached our goals for last month, but there are still those final chapters we need to write, there’s still the editing we have to plough through, or an old project to return to. The freshness of our ideas may be exhausted after the initial charge. We may read over our past masterpieces and realise they aren’t masterpieces after all. We may have come a long way, but all we can see is how far we have yet to go.

This can be a discouraging time, so how do we keep going? How do we keep the passion for writing?

1. Remember the Love. Take a step back and ask yourself some key questions: Can I stop writing? Can I silence those character voices in my head? Can I bear to dream and not write about it? Would I be satisfied to spend copious amounts of time and energy on my stories and not try to get them published? Only you can answer these questions. The answers will tell you where your passion lies.

2. Take a Break. This is one of my favourite tips, but also one I find the hardest to fulfil without feeling guilty. But every time I do convince myself to step away from the purple pen or the computer keyboard, I’m given a fresh perspective and my passion is renewed.

3. Find a Support Group. Support groups come in many flavours. For me the blogging community has been an amazing support. Also, critique partners, mentors, friends, the cheer squad of our families. These all help us to keep going.

4. Know You Aren’t Alone. Talk to other writers for any length of time and you’ll discover the struggles you are facing are shared by all of us. This includes the established authors. In many ways we are frail creatures with the tendency to question everything -- even ourselves. Knowing we aren’t alone, knowing we are normal, makes it easier to persevere.

5. Practise Forgiveness. Know your first draft mistakes can me fixed, even the second or third or fifteenth. Be kind to yourself, be patient, and practise forgiveness.

6. Remember it’s Worth It. So what if agents get a billion submissions a day? So what if you think there are better writers out there? So what if the process is so slow you fear you’ll enter old age before you get published? It’s all worth it in the end. To see your book on the shelves, or on the online lists, is a dream come true.

How do you persevere?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Talli Roland -- The Hating Game

On the 1st December Talli Roland will take on Amazon with a massive web splash for her debut novel, The Hating Game. It’s her hope to hit the Kindle bestseller list at and

Let’s help her spread the word. Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.

When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

Where you can find THE HATING GAME:

No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.

You can also find Talli on Twitter @talliroland using the hash tag #TheHatingGame. She will keep everyone up to date on the Amazon Rankings. She will also be serving everyone virtual champagne, chocolate and cupcakes (Gotta love party food that’s guaranteed not to go to the hips)