Dec 26, 2009

Under the Christmas Tree

Posted by AJ Blythe at Saturday, December 26, 2009 4 comments

I was very lucky this Christmas. In addition to the latest Marion Lennox and Liz Fielding books I received a copy of Eats, Shoots and Leaves - the zero tolerance approach to punctuation.

While it was known I'd appreciate the gift, I think my delight at getting a whole book to read on punctuation was met with slight bewilderment. I guess it is something only a writer would understand.

Dec 22, 2009

Merry Christmas

Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, December 22, 2009 5 comments


Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to forget. Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last 12 months.

With this in mind, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and all the luck the New Year could possibly bring to you.
Hugs Anita

Dec 17, 2009

*Gulp* The wait begins...

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, December 17, 2009 8 comments

Another goal to cross off my list. I have just sent my requested partial to HM&B.

It was much harder hitting 'send' then I thought it would be. It's so final, you can't change anything, no more tweaking, analysing a word, poring over the thesaurus for something better. But I needed to pull my head out of the sand, get a bit of courage and send it on its way.

Maybe Santa will be kind? All I want for Christmas...

And for now, while I wait, I'll take a leaf out of the Energizer Bunny's book and just 'keep going'.

Dec 8, 2009

I Wish I Had Time To Procrastinate...

Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, December 08, 2009 7 comments


The bane of all writers, procrastination for me usually means my 'to do' lists are written beautifully, the folding is done and my to-be-read pile is diminishing. And it's nearly always associated with a sticky part of my work in progress where my words are being yanked out, one painful word at a time.

But at the moment, the only time for writing I have is the 2 minutes I am giving to my neglected blog. It's the silly season and my diary is as full as Santa's sled.

Yes, I wish I had time to procrastinate!

Nov 15, 2009

Goals

Posted by AJ Blythe at Sunday, November 15, 2009 4 comments

For me, the main purpose of my blog is to chat about my goals and how I'm going with them. Making them public is really good incentive to actually meet them.

So it's about time I shared with you my revised goals, the ones that should see me through until the middle of 2010.

1. Sub partial
2. Finish revised ms
3. Enter High 5
4. Enter Emerald
5. Apply 5DI
6. Enter First Kiss
7. Write next ms
8. Enter VPA with 2 mss
9. Enter an American contest
10. Attend and pitch at conference

So, how am I going with these goals?
I'm pleased to say I managed to get my entry into High 5. And, surprising even myself, I have already entered an American contest, the Silicon Valley Gotcha! contest. The next goal to achieve is entry in the Emerald. This needs to be sent quite soon, and it's not quite ready, so will have my work cut out getting it done. But I will!

It's exciting having goals. While it can be stressful trying to meet them, the satisfaction you get from ticking each one off is great.

Nov 9, 2009

Back Up!!!

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, November 09, 2009 7 comments


I'm having computer troubles.

Not small hiccups where MSWord suddenly reformats my document, but the scary kind. I'll be using my computer, not doing anything much, just typing away at my ms, when suddenly it turns off. No warning, no shut down, just bang, no power-everything gone-kinda crash.


I think it might be terminal, and I'm very worried I'll lose something important. It certainly highlights the need to back up. I've backed up my files twice (just in case) and am sending my ms edits to hotmail every night, but a few times I've been caught out. I get on a roll and am madly typing, when WAM, there she goes. And everything is gone. So I'm trying to save every few minutes, but time becomes a vacant black hole when I get into the groove.

Nov 2, 2009

The English Language

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, November 02, 2009 4 comments
A friend of mine has been blogging recently about the strangulation of the English language. I thought I'd add to her observations with a few of my own.

I have a number of gripes, but one of the biggest is the onslaught of technology and the intrusion it has made into our language. I have no problem with technology such as SMS (use it myself) but the abbreviations that go with it bug me.

B4 U ST8 UR CASE 4 TXTSPK, IMHO IT RLY MAKES 4 SLOPPY HABITS. WELL TWIT.
Before you state your case for text speak, in my honest opinion it really makes for sloppy habits. Well that's what I think.

And now it's appearing in business names, advertising and emails - just to name a few spots. Grrrrr.

And don't get me started on the fact that kids these days don't see a problem in announcing they are going to play with someone elses Wii!

Oct 27, 2009

GMC: exploiting your h/h's past

Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, October 27, 2009 4 comments
Just recently I was hit me over the head (metaphorically speaking) with a light bulb. I recently had GMC explained to me again. I vaguely remembered being told this during Bootcamp 109 I think, but it obviously didn't click with me then. So I want to share, now that I *think* I have a handle on it.

Okay, hope I make this clear.

We all know GMC stands for Goal, Motivation, Conflict and the hero and heroine both need a GMC = character wants (goal) because of (motivation) but can't because of (conflict). Now, the conflict is what pushes them apart, ie INTERNAL conflict (remember EXTERNAL conflict draws them together).

I was given a fantastic example on how to work out your h/h's INTERNAL conflict. Put them in a cage - naked! If they are naked, things like money no longer exist as a problem. So the conflicts can only be INTERNAL - eg abandoned as a child, illegitimate child, dead husband/wife, ex-partner, drunken parents etc etc etc

LIGHT-BULB FLASHING!!!

Oct 18, 2009

My Blog's 1st Birthday

Posted by AJ Blythe at Sunday, October 18, 2009 8 comments

I can't believe it. It's been a whole year since I started my blog.

When I started I didn't really have a goal, but after I did Susan Meier's goal setting workshops I decided I would blog once a week on my writing experiences and how I was meeting my goals.

I haven't done too badly, having blogged 51 times already this year. Some weeks slide by without a posting, while for others I keep my blog quite busy.

So how are my goals going? Well, I can tick the boxes for the following:
- enter First Kiss competition
- enter Valerie Parv Awards
- attend RWA conference
- pitch at conference
- enter High 5 competition

It's very rewarding knowing I met my goals for the first 9 months of the year.

The last few months of the year are a different story. I was lucky enough to have a successful pitch, and get a request for a partial - with the added requirement of starting the story further on. So my focus has been on rewriting and editing my submission, getting it to shine. So it's not so much I won't meet my goals, more the goal posts have just shifted


So this is my new list for the downhill run to Christmas:
- enter Emerald competition
- submit partial to Mills and Boon

I can't wait to see what the next year brings - and don't worry, you'll read all about it on my blog.

Oct 8, 2009

Missing in Action

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, October 08, 2009 9 comments
I've been a little quiet on my blog of late. Of course I have an excuse, but I think it is quite a good one.

Back in August I e-pitched to Harlequin as part of RWA's national conference. Seriously, while I desperately wanted a positive outcome, that litle red devil in my head didn't think I stood a chance. I was thrilled when the request came back for a partial + synopsis. The only catch was I needed to start the story further along.

Oh my gosh!!! I reread the request a good half a dozen times looking for the catch, or the word I'd misread. Once I'd convinced myself it was real, it hit me. Start the story further along. Ummmm, where? I struggled with that decision. I thought of 3 or 4 places I could re-start it. I didn't want to screw the opportunity up, so I took a while analysing and thinking, and finally made my decision.

As a result, my hero and heroine meet in a totally new way, and quite important elements have been changed as a result. But I think it is a much better story for it.

So I have been rewriting my first 3 chapters, and am now well on the way to having them shining. Will let you know once they have been sent off, but for now I need to pick up that polishing cloth and get back to work.

Sep 24, 2009

Eerie Weather

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, September 24, 2009 4 comments


A combination of a strong cold front moving north, strong gusty winds and a heavy silt load at Lake Eyre from Queensland's flooding rains earlier this year, have together created one of the countries biggest dust storms.

Hitting Sydney early yesterday morning, it reached here (Brisbane, Queensland) later in the morning. Within 30 minutes we went from blue skies, to a dark eerie glow... car lights needed to be switched on, as did lights within the house.

The air was strong with the scent of red bull dust, evoking memories of when I worked in the outback. Even though I closed the house up, a thick orange layer of dust has still managed to coat everything.

The photos are taken from the same spot on my deck.

Sep 20, 2009

12 months on...

Posted by AJ Blythe at Sunday, September 20, 2009 1 comments

It has been one year since I decided to get serious about my writing. I'd lost my day job, and with little chance of finding another that would allow me to work around being a full-time mum, my husband and I agreed this was the time to put my writing first.

To get the ball rolling and just see whether 'published author' was a pie in the sky fantasy, I entered RWA's High 5 competition - for unpublished category writers. Turns out my entry seemed to have a good plot idea, great voice and a lot of potential.

Today I was having a bit of a 'down' day with my writing. So I dug out that entry (a different ms to the one I'm working on now), and reread those 5 pages. What a great pick-me-up to realise maybe my writing isn't as good as it is going to be, but it is certainly better than what it was.

Sep 8, 2009

RWA Blog & Book Giveaway

Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, September 08, 2009 2 comments

RWA have a blog!

Only recently started, the blog features articles on craft, author interviews, book giveaways, information on Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) and much more.

As a member of the blog team, I'm very proud of how popular the site is becoming. My particular focus is the Blog Bite - a column where RWA members (both published and unpublished) answer 5 questions to reveal a little bit about themselves.

Today the site features a Blog Bite with CC Coburn who is giving away a signed copy of her upcoming release Colorado Christmas. Visit http://romanceaustralia.wordpress.com for your chance to win.

At the moment the 5 questions asked by the Blog Bite are:
1. My worst habit is...
2. It's a bit daggy but I love...
3. My first job was...
4. Three things people might not know about me are...
5. I write...

What do you think of these questions? Should the same questions be asked every time?
Would love some feedback.

Sep 2, 2009

Take Time

Posted by AJ Blythe at Wednesday, September 02, 2009 3 comments

As part of the wonderful goodies bag from the RWA Clayton's Conference 2009, I received a bookmark, hand painted by one of the talented participants, Mary De. On the back she had this inspirational poem...

TAKE TIME (author unknown)

Take time to Work - it is the price of Success
Take time to Think - it is the source of Power
Take time to Play - it is the secret of Youth
Take time to Read - it is the fountain of Wisdom
Take time to Dream - it is the highway to the Stars
Take time to Look Around - it is the shorcut to Unselfishness
Take time to be Friendly - it is the road to Happiness
Take time to Laugh - it is the music of the Soul

In a world where we seem to always be on fast forward, always rushing from A to B, trying to get so much done and getting more behind, it is easy to forget. But we all need to slow down and Take Time. Life would be so much nicer if we did.

Clayton's Conference

Posted by AJ Blythe at Wednesday, September 02, 2009 0 comments

I recently was involved in the RWA Clayton's Conference - the conference you attend when you can't make the face-to-face conference (running online simultaneously with the RWA Conference). The conference you can attend in your PJs.

Compliments to the wonderful ladies who organised and ran the weekend. And to all the fantastic members of RWA who contributed in some way to make it the success it was.

With many fabulous sessions and an awards night to rival the 'real' one, it certainly made up for those unable to make the trek to Brisbane. Writing chats, writing challenges, writing competitions – there were even competitions for the best PJ’s and best Fake Book Cover.

Winner - Best Fake Book Cover

If I can't make a conference I'll certainly be joining in the Clayton's.

Visit http://romanceaustralia.wordpress.com/claytons-conference/ to read more about the conference.

Aug 28, 2009

Conference Pics Pt2

Posted by AJ Blythe at Friday, August 28, 2009 2 comments
Sexy author talk

Bootcampers Rock!

Bootcamp 109ers - Shelley, Suzanne, Rachel, Shayne, Anita & Mon

Harlequin Harem - Haylee, Cristina & Michelle

Gail, Chelle & Alissa

Mon & Anita

Aug 24, 2009

Some Conference Pics Pt 1

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, August 24, 2009 2 comments
Valerie Parv launching her new craft book "Heart and Craft"

Elizabeth Rolls at "Heart and Craft" launch

Karaoke Queens - Sue Webb, Imelda Evans, Kerry Lane

Checking out local hero material

Monique Wood, Eleni Konstantine, Nikki Logan

Christine Wells, Natalie Hatch

Aug 18, 2009

RWA Conference 2009

Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, August 18, 2009 8 comments

Conference was everything I had hoped plus more. In short, this is what I got from the weekend:
- met people who were previously just names on an email
- spent time in a room with 239 other people who don't think it's weird for characters to chat in your head
- realised RWA is full of friendly, sharing people... regardless of publication status
- had more lightbulb moments then Bunnings
- spent time with my awesomest friend and CP
- found inspiration and determination

Will post more over the next little bit. But will leave you with this. If you are wanting to write and publish a romance, 2010 conference is a must. See you there!

Aug 10, 2009

Update & Down time

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, August 10, 2009 4 comments

To update...

CONFERENCE
RWA Conference is this week!!! Wow, after waiting so long it's finally time. Looking forward to meeting everyone and attending the fantastic workshops on offer. It was hard to make a choice but the following are my selections:

Friday
The Noble Art of Storytelling

Saturday
Session 1: Panel:"Keep 'em Laughing."
Session 2; Delivering Emotional Punch.
Session 3: Crime Control from Counter Terrorism to Search and Rescue - A Commander's Perspective.
Session 4: Author Chat - Sweet

Sunday
Session 1: Spotlight On: Harlequin.
Session 2: Finding Your Voice in Your First Novel.
Session 3: Telling Tales Talking - Using dialogue to bring your writing to life.
Session 4: Author Chat: Sexy

Will tell all in my posts following the conference.

E-PITCH
Well, I met my goal of pitching this year, albeit electronically rather than face-to-face. Alas, I wasn't asked for a full, but a huge congratulations to Leah Clapton, Joanne Levy W/A Rebecca Jordan, Jennifer St George and Vanda Vadas who were. Best of luck girls. Hope you all get 'the call'.

I will be getting some feedback on my pitch/first chapter, and should hear back this week. Fingers crossed it is positive!

WIP
Now that I don't need to submit my ms, my crazy, full-steam-ahead, every-second-I-can-spare editing can pull back a notch. Don't get me wrong, I am still going to polish until it shines over the next week or two, but the pressure is off. My poor neglected life can finally can a look see.

GOALS
I have revisited my 2009 goals and am going to amend them slightly. Up until now all has been checked off, but will revise the rest. Wil fully blog about my achievements and changes after the conference.

And now to downtime...

With the conference this week, I will be absent, hopefully kicking up my heels and having fun. After the conference I do need to slow down to a mere crawl for a few weeks to focus on the house renovations, and the family. All have been a little neglected of late. I will continue to blog, but my writing has to take a backseat to the rest of my life for a wee bit. But more on that when I post my revised goals.

Have a wonderful conference everyone, whether you be at the 'real' one or the Claytons.
 

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