May 30, 2009

Sara Bennett Win

Posted by AJ Blythe at Saturday, May 30, 2009 0 comments

Popped into Romance Bandits the other day to check out Anna Campbell's interview with Sara Bennett ( - and was lucky enough to win a signed copy of her latest novel Led Astray by a Rake, which sounds fascinating. Can't wait to read.

May 29, 2009

June 50k in 30 days

Posted by AJ Blythe at Friday, May 29, 2009 5 comments
June is 50k in 30 days for RWA. So guess what I'm doing for the next few weeks!

As I 'only' need 25k to finish my wip, I'm aiming for that, then onto editing. Watch my wip graph to the right to see how I go.

May 26, 2009

Eeeek 50%

Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, May 26, 2009 9 comments

Excuse my Happy Dance.

But I've cracked the 25k mark on my wip - 50% of the way there.

Just *slightly* excited.

May 24, 2009

Sigh, Reality Returns

Posted by AJ Blythe at Sunday, May 24, 2009 5 comments

Well, back to reality. Having had a wonderful week with the family on holidays at Burrum Heads (a beautiful seaside hamlet on the Queensland coast north of Hervey Bay) it is hard to return to reality... housework, routine, appointments - you know what I mean.

I did manage to squeeze in a little writing while I was away - 3500 words. Doesn't seem a lot but when you are trying to get in as much fishing, sandcastle building and rockpool investigating as you can in a day, there is little left for writing.

May 15, 2009

Sprinting + Away

Posted by AJ Blythe at Friday, May 15, 2009 3 comments

Sprinting. Not the kind that involves sweat and pain. The kind that involves you and a bunch of other like-minded writers all writing together at the same time.

When I first heard about sprinting I have to confess I was a little sceptical. How could sprinting be any different from any other time I am writing? How could it possibly help get more words out?

During 2008 NaNoWriMo I joined in, not wanting to disregard it completely. Confession time. I was wrong. I was pushing out numbers in 30 minutes that I had no hope of doing on my own. I am a convert.

So over the past week I have been sprinting. Not as often as I would like, but the few occasions I could spare. And in those few nights of sprinting I managed 30 pages. THIRTY pages. I was stunned when I sat back and counted. Thank you to those wonderful ladies who have been sprinting with me.

Why does it work? Because it's a short burst, separated by chatting with the other sprinters in a chat room. To know others are writing with you, trying their hardest to get as many words out pushes you along. At the end you report back, congratulate or commiserate. Chat about how it is going or ask for help. But above all there is a feeling of companionship, understanding and friendship.

I love Sprinting. I just wish it burnt calories like the other kind.

Please forgive me if I don't respond to any comments to this blog for a week or so. As of tomorrow I will be internet-less (eek) for week while the family and I are on holidays.

May 10, 2009

Word Counts

Posted by AJ Blythe at Sunday, May 10, 2009 2 comments

50,000 words.

That is my goal. 50,000 words. My work in progress is aimed at Harlequin Mills and Boon Sweet so the size of my ms is already determined.

But how do I tell just how many words I've written?

I know there are two different ways of calculating word count.
1. The actual word count
2. The number of pages x 250 (when your page is set up to hold 25 lines).

Originally I'd been following the first method. But then I heard on the grapevine that publishers were more concerned with the number of pages in a book, so I switched to option 2.

Last night I celebrated breaking the 20,000 mark. But then I was told that Harlequin tend to just want the actual word count these days, back to 18,000. Bang. Just like that.

So how am I supposed to count my words?

May 6, 2009

Awards Dinner

Posted by AJ Blythe at Wednesday, May 06, 2009 4 comments
Last, but certainly not least, in my series of blogs about the RWAust Conference and what (not) to wear, is the awards dinner.

I saved this one until last as it is the only event for which I have absolutely no idea what the dress code is!! I would guess probably not formal wear (which is a shame, because that I could do). But just how dressy, or informal, is the night?

Please, if you can cast any light on this matter I would love to hear from you.

Not really knowing where to turn to hunt down an outfit for the dinner, I turned to the experts - the desginers at the Paris Fashion Show Fall-Winter 2009.

So ladies, according to them, I guess this is what we should be wearing:
Alexander Wang

Dolce & Gabbana

Donna Karan

Ralph Lauren

As for what I'm wearing... I've no idea! My wonderful CP has offered to Trinny and Susannah my wardrobe, so I guess I'll work it out the day before. Aack.

May 5, 2009

Conference Workshops + The Pitch

Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, May 05, 2009 2 comments
Now I imagine that to portray a professional image at the conference workshops the dress code would be office wear.

But what defines office wear these days?
Checking out the websites of a number of different retailers I found that in many cases their office wear lines included denim jeans. Are these now considered aprropriate for the office? Are jeans dressier then they used to be? Or have office standards dropped?

Ok, to be honest, I don't really care why, just please tell me they'll be ok to wear. Yep, you guessed it - I have jeans!

The outfits depicted here are the ones in the latest catalogues from Myer, David Jones, Katies and Suzanne Grae.

The Pitch
Hmmm. The Pitch. Just the words alone are enough to make me tremble in my boots. Let alone worrying about what to wear!

The image I want to project: professional, competent, organised, relaxed - as I will probably be none of these things (think nervous, sweating, fumbling and bumbling) I need my clothing to try and portray the image for me.

My gosh. What hope do I have at successfully pitching?

Again I have consulted the online catalogues of many of my local fashion stores and gained an insight into what's hot and what's not. You'll never guess where I fit in!

Below are just a sample of some of the models I viewed dressed in what any up and coming author whould be wearing to The Pitch.

What are you wearing?

May 4, 2009

Brisbane's Weather + E-List Dinner

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, May 04, 2009 2 comments
Brisbane Weather

August in Brisbane. More to the point, Ekka week in Brisbane. To all Brisbanites that week usually signifies the turning point of the winter months. It is supposed to start warming up then. To give you a bit of an idea what to expect following are some averages for August.

max = 21.7'C
min = 10'C
rain days >1mm = 4.6
clear days = 17
@ 9am = 15'C
@ 3pm = 20.6'C

VERY windy westerlies (August is known for being dry and windy)

Just remember, weather is relative. For me, living in Brisbane, this is still cold. But if you are making the trek up from down south, you might think it barmy.

Keep in mind how you perceive this weather when making any decisions about what (not) to wear.

E-List Dinner

The E-list dinner is for all RWA members on ROMAUS. From what I understand it's a casual night before the conference officially begins Friday morning. Now, dressing for a casual dinner may sound easy: jeans, shirt and jacket. My standard clothing for anything.

Before I rubbed my hands with glee and thought, woohoo, this one's easy, I decided to take a quick look at Westfield's Fashions for Winter guide 2009. Boy, just shows nothing is that easy anymore. So, I guess it will be fair to warn you, I'll be the one dressed comfortably and warmly, just not fashionably.

According to Westfield: long cardigans, jungle prints and fake fur, bohemian folksy, tartans, shoulder pads (eek), trousers and denim - this is the look for winter this year.

The four outfits pictured here are the wardrobe examples featured in Westfield's Winter 2009 Fashion Guide.

May 3, 2009

Arabian Nights Cocktail Party

Posted by AJ Blythe at Sunday, May 03, 2009 4 comments
The Arabian Nights-themed cocktail party sounds like it will be a whole lot of fun. There are so many options when it comes to Arabian Nights. There's a big range of costumes - something to suit everyone. But I wonder how much will be read into the costume you choose? What does your costume say about you?

The Oil Sheik
Powerful, confident, intelligent
Costume - nice and toasty warm, can let it all hang out, not flattering, masculine, mascara moustache makes make-up easy

The Belly Dancer/I Dream of Jeannie
Extroverted, fun, sensual
Costume - freezing cold, have to suck that tummy in, traditionally supposed to be flatter female form, feminine, can bling it up

Sinbad's Arabian Nights
Charismatic, brave, adventurer
Costume - warm, designed to hold your tummy in, masculine, bad hair day can be hidden with the hat

Palm Tree
Any of: Disorganised, antisocial, introverted/extroverted, fun, different
Costume - toasty warm (I mean you could be wearing anything under that), hides a multitude of sins, unique

Me, I'm going for a feminine look, but not one that exposes any bits of me that really shouldn't be seen, something between a very traditional arabian dress and the belly dancer.

So what are you wearing to the cocktail party?

May 2, 2009

What (not) to wear?

Posted by AJ Blythe at Saturday, May 02, 2009 6 comments

Now, I know the RWAust conference isn't until August, but the year is flying by, and I need to be prepared. So the all important question is: What (not) to wear?

I mean, there are so many decisions to be made, so many changes of clothes. If I've worked it out correctly here is the list, each requiring a different outfit:

E-list dinner
Conference day
Conference day
Conference + pitch day
Fancy dress cocktail party
Awards dinner

Please tell me there are others of you out there panicking at the thought of looking polished and professional THAT many times. Excluding the cocktail party of course. No-one looks polished and professional dressed in costume. At least, I hope not.

So, follow my blog this week as I discuss what (not) to wear. Please feel free to comment, advise, ridicule or praise as I toss around ideas. And I hope that come August, we will all look fantastic.

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