Dec 31, 2013

Happy New Year

Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, December 31, 2013 1 comments

Dec 9, 2013


Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, December 09, 2013 0 comments
The year is nearly over and I guess it's hard not to look back over the year and ponder what has, or hasn't, been in 2013. At the start of the year we had only just moved to Canberra and were still finding our feet. I thought the year ahead would be more about settling Heckle and Jeckle in to their new lives, fixing up the things in our new house that needed it, and unpacking those last stray boxes lurking in the corners of the house.

Little did I realise that 2013 had a totally different year planned for me.

So we still have stray boxes in the corners of the house, which still has a long to do list of things that need fixing up. Heckle and Jeckle have settled, although it was a bit of a bumpy ride. And I have a job. One of those ones that "lands in your lap". A very busy job that takes up many, many hours of my week. Thanks to the job I think the only thing I did manage was helping Heckle and Jeckle to settle in - I was trying to settle in to my new role at the same time. luck, and fingers crossed, 2014 and I will be more on track with where I am headed. The house is still high on the list of things to do, but maybe, with luck, my writing will feature more prominately as well.

Half the fun of looking ahead is in the anticipation, and I can't wait to see what does happen in 2014.

Are you looking forward to the new year?

Nov 22, 2013

Kindle Injury

Posted by AJ Blythe at Friday, November 22, 2013 2 comments
My Kindle's alter ego!
When kindle's attack... at the moment I'm not getting much sleep, often going to bed at 3am. To stop my brain from whirling so I can actually get some sleep I try and read a page or two of a book.

It usually works.

Because the rest of the household is asleep I often read on my Kindle Paperwhite, because I don't need to have a light on to read. I guess my total exhaustion finally caught up!

Last night I started to read and the next thing I knew I woke with a fright when my Kindle landed splat! on my face, putting my tooth through my lip. With blood streaming I wished I hadn't tried to consider everyone else and read one of my paperbacks - they don't cause injury when you fall asleep reading them.

Nov 21, 2013

Christmas Cheer...

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, November 21, 2013 0 comments
Found this on and it made me smile :-)  Any wonder I love Christmas *grin*.

Nov 19, 2013

Before # was a #hashtag

Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, November 19, 2013 0 comments

No Explanation Necessary...

Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, November 19, 2013 0 comments

Nov 11, 2013

Hang - Dog

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, November 11, 2013 3 comments

Wow. It's been over a month since I last posted. That is the longest I've gone between posts. And yes, it is a direct reflection of how little is the free time I have at the moment. But I saw this posted on another blog and I had to share...


Oct 2, 2013

Save the Cat

Posted by AJ Blythe at Wednesday, October 02, 2013 0 comments
At the recent Romance Writers of Australia conference I attended a workshop by Nina Bruhns (Entangled editor and author). She built on Blake Snyder's "Save the Cat", a book I'd heard about, but never read. This was one of those lightbulb moments and I left Nina's fab
workshop determined to get the book and learn more - including how to write a Beat Sheet.

I'm now halfway through and I am glad I spent the money. I've been slowly weeding out craft books I rarely refer to, or didn't find helpful, or are no longer relevant to the direction my writing is taking me (mostly to save my groaning bookshelf!). I'd promised myself no-more-craft-books. But this one was well worth it. It's a keeper.

All I want in the way of craft books are just 2 or 3 that resonate with me. That I can easily apply to my writing. That will move my writing forward. That I enjoyed reading. "Save the Cat" ticks all the boxes.

I still have some craft books I haven't yet opened *blush*. Not that I didn't buy them thinking they would be useful, or that I no longer want to read them. I do. It's just that time taken reading a craft book could be spent writing. But I think I need to start reading them and flushing out those that I don't want to keep.

Hmm, talking about my keeper-craft books might be a post for the future. But for now, I'm going to reaad another chapter of "Save the Cat".

Have you read "Save the Cat"?

Sep 12, 2013

Left Brain versus Right Brain

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, September 12, 2013 2 comments
For years scientists have said there is a difference between the functions of our right and left hemisphere's in our brains. As the text in the image below says...

I am the left brain. I am a scientist. A mathematician. I love the familiar. I categorise. I am accurate. Linear. Analytical. Strategic. I am practical. Always in control. A master of words and language. Realistic. I calculate equations and play with numbers. I am order. I am logic. I know exactly who I am.

I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feet. I am movement. Vivid colours. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.

I am a scientist but I am also a writer. Because of this I've always found it hard to switch between the analytical and creative when writing for work versus writing fiction. So the explanation that the two hemispheres of our brain are wired differently has always made perfect sense to me.

However, a new study suggests this thinking is actually wrong. That the two hemisphere's are cross-wired and it is activity dependant and not wholistic as first thought.

If that's the case, I wonder why I struggle so much with the switch from the science to the creative? Does anyone else have this problem?

Sep 5, 2013

Bertolli Olive Oil Made Sexy

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, September 05, 2013 0 comments
I've never linked olive oil and romance reading together, but Bertolli have certainly shown it's possible in this advertisement:

Aug 27, 2013

Naked Tuesday

Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, August 27, 2013 2 comments
Craig Coombes is fighting throat cancer and Naked Tuesday is his way of thumbing his nose at cancer (visit his blog if you're curious). Adam Hills, on his show, Adam Hills Tonight, interviewed Craig and to quote Adam "got a little carried away". The segment is hilarious! (I had tears running down my face).

I don't know Craig, but I wish him all the best with his battle.

Aug 26, 2013

Writing Rules

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, August 26, 2013 0 comments

Jul 30, 2013

Great Rules of Writing by William Safire

Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, July 30, 2013 0 comments
  1. Do not put statements in the negative form.
  2. And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
  3. If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a greta deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
  4. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
  5. Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
  6. De-accessin euphemisms.
  7. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  8. Avoid trendy locations that sound flaky.
  9. Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.

Jul 25, 2013

Grand Designs

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, July 25, 2013 0 comments
I love the show Grand Designs. Hosted by Kevin McCloud each episode follows a new residential build, or substantive renovation, and is set in the UK. I also watch the Australian version, and while I enjoy it immensely, I do enjoy the original more.

I think in part it is to do with Kevin's interviewing/hosting style - which is probably explained in this interview with Adam Hills (click here and go to about 42 mins, although there is a rather funny (unrelated) segment at about 20 minutes in).

I sit on my lounge at home and critique the houses and the approach of the owners and decide what I would do (or not do) if that was my place. Apparently a lot of people sit at home and drink while they watch (there's actually a drinking game based around the show) - but I have enough fun without the drinks.

The cartoon below was published in the local paper this week and it tickled my funny bone. It also made me wonder... Does anyone know if there is going to be a 13th series?

Jul 21, 2013

Magical Day

Posted by AJ Blythe at Sunday, July 21, 2013 2 comments
We'd heard there was a chance of snow above 700m for today. The kid have never seen snow and since moving to Canberra have been excited that they probably would get the chance. So, believing the glass-half-full version of the weather, we got up early and headed 25 minutes down the road to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

We could see snow capped peaks as we drove closer and, sure enough, as we drove through the Reserve we found snow (in fact it was still falling when we got there). There wasn't a lot on the ground but there was enough for snow ball fights, toboganning, and a very Aussie snowman (it's eyes were kangaroo poo). We had about 2 hours of snow play before the sun came out and quickly melted our playfield.

We spoke to a ranger who said in the 15 years he'd worked there it was the lowest level he'd seen snow. Pure magic :)
Heckle, Jeckle and The Hub

Kangaroos in the snow

Aussie snowman (with roo poo eyes)

Snow capped peaks

Jul 17, 2013

Dog's Dinner...

Posted by AJ Blythe at Wednesday, July 17, 2013 2 comments

Yesterday was our dog's 7th birthday. We don't usually give him treats or anything - we consider the day he became part of our family to be the special day.

But yesterday he managed to get a special dinner. He normally ges a chicken wing every evening. Heckle went to feed him and inadvertantly grabbed the 1/2kg of chicken meant for our dinner, instead of the chicken wing!

Needless to say, the dog licked his lips and we had toast.

Jul 12, 2013

Story Inspiration

Posted by AJ Blythe at Friday, July 12, 2013 0 comments
I love Calvin and Hobbes. Possibly because Heckle and Jeckle get up to the same sort of boyish mischief *grin*.

In fact, one of the things I'm disappointed about since moving to Canberra is that the local paper doesn't run some of my favourite comic strips. Calvin and Hobbes and For Better or For Worse are no longer part of my mornings and it is a great loss.

This is a strip that was published in Queensland's Courier Mail that I cut out and kept as a favourite. I found it today (it wasn't with my bundle of cutout strips). It made me smile so I wanted to share:

Jul 10, 2013

Conference Countdown...

Posted by AJ Blythe at Wednesday, July 10, 2013 0 comments
This time in 5 weeks I'll be in Fremantle, Western Australia for the Romance Writers of Australia conference. This close and I'm starting to cycle through a whole range of emotions:
  • excitement - at seeing my friends
  • nerves - at how my pitching will go
  • happiness - at some down time from the family
  • sadness - at some down time from the family
  • stress - at getting everything ready in time (home and work)
But overall I can't wait for conference to get here. I've enjoyed every conference I've attended; this will be my 5th. Conference is like a shot in the arm. I've never needed motivation, I have that in spades, but conference gives me a renewed sense of belief that I will succeed.

I can't wait. What about you?

Jul 6, 2013

More Dr Seuss...

Posted by AJ Blythe at Saturday, July 06, 2013 0 comments

Jul 4, 2013


Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, July 04, 2013 0 comments

Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perserverance.
~ Samuel Johnson ~

Jun 28, 2013

Dr Seuss Had it Right!

Posted by AJ Blythe at Friday, June 28, 2013 0 comments

Jun 21, 2013

Has Google Got It Wrong?

Posted by AJ Blythe at Friday, June 21, 2013 5 comments
This morning I went to Google to look something up. As I always do, I scrolled over the Google artwork to see what it represented today. I was rather surprised to find it was for "the first day of winter 2013".

Now at this time of year winter is in the southern hemisphere - I should know, I'm in Australia. But here's the thing, winter started on June 1st - 20 days ago!

Very puzzled!!!! Can anyone explain why Google would think today is the first day of winter? I would have thought they would be celebrating the winter solstice instead.

Jun 18, 2013

A Paperless Future?

Posted by AJ Blythe at Tuesday, June 18, 2013 2 comments
A funny look at a paperless future...

Jun 17, 2013

Back on Schedule

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, June 17, 2013 0 comments
I haven't been posting much lately. My normal twice-weekly schedule has been shot to pieces. I think I could put it down to lots of 'life' reasons, but I think I've also got tired of having to stick to a set routine. Planning my posts in advance used to work for me (I'd forget to post otherwise) but I think I'm going to try and be a bit more ad hoc for a while - at least, I'll give it a shot and see if I remember to post :-)

May 27, 2013

Motivational Monday

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, May 27, 2013 0 comments

Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just
as it should be.
~ Mark Twain ~

May 23, 2013

Very Clever Flashmob

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, May 23, 2013 0 comments
The Rijksmuseum is open after being closed for a decade. To promote the reopening, and the museum's most famous artwork, they held a very clever flashmob...
Rembrandt's The Night Watch

May 20, 2013

Motivational Monday

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, May 20, 2013 0 comments

 I have a love-hate relationship with the writing life. I wouldn't wish to have any other kind of life... and on the other hand, I wish it were easier. It never is. The reward comes sentence by sentence. The reward comes in the unexpected inspiration. The reward comes from creating a character who lives and breathes and is perfectly real. But such effort it takes to attain the reward! I would never have believed it would take such effort.
~ Elizabeth George ~

May 16, 2013

Being Ceative

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, May 16, 2013 0 comments

I was curious about PinInterest so I had a look and found this pinned to Writing Inspiration. I thought it was a great list!

May 13, 2013

Motivational Monday

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, May 13, 2013 0 comments
Know what you love. Try imagining the book that would light your heart and mind on fire if you came across it in a bookstore - the one that would quicken your pulse and keep you up all night reading. What would it be? Details, details: when, where, what, who? Think it up, imagine it fully, then bring it forth. That's the book you should be writing.
~ Laini Taylor ~

May 9, 2013

So you want to write a novel...

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, May 09, 2013 0 comments

May 6, 2013

Motivational Monday

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, May 06, 2013 0 comments
It is my contention that a really great novel is made with a knife and not a pen. A novelist must have the intestinal fortitude to cut out even the most brilliant passage so long as it doesn't advance the story. 
~ Frank Yerby ~

Apr 22, 2013

Motivational Monday

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, April 22, 2013 0 comments
People on the outside think there's something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn't like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that's all there is to it.
~ Harlan Ellison ~

Apr 18, 2013

The Ins and Outs of Our Characters

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, April 18, 2013 0 comments
I saw a fascinating youtube clip by Dove this week (see below). They had a forensic artist sketch women using the woman's own description and then again using the description of someone who had just met them. All the women saw themselves much more critically than the strangers did. Probably not surprising.

But it made me realise that when I write my characters I have to remember to give them their inner-self and outer-self. That is, my heroine will see the small mole on her cheek or the slight creases near her eyes - but will see them as overwhelming her face. A stranger will see the hint of a laugh around her mouth, the pink on her cheeks and the curl in her hair. Both these views will affect how the characters act and think.

Watch this video. How do you perceive yourself? I'm sure that I would have the same reaction as these ladies...

Apr 11, 2013

Too Stupid To Live

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, April 11, 2013 0 comments
"Only two things are infinite-the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe."… Albert Einstein

I've been reading a lot of cozy mysteries lately. One I was reading was really enjoyable - until the main character did the unthinkable, an action whereby I decided she was *too stupid to live* (TSTL). Of course she did and by the end had managed to solve the murder. Unfortunately by then the book had lost its shine for me.

I'm sure you've all read stories where one of the main characters has been TSTL. You know, where the heroine meets the suspect in a dark alley, without a weapon and hasn't told anyone where she is?

I think the only thing that keeps me reading in a TSTL book is the fact that I've read about a lot of recipients of the Darwin Awards. Named after Charles Darwin (the father of the theory of evolution) the awards commemorate people who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it. There really have been a lot of people who have been TSTL.

Take the case of the bank robber who decided to rob a gun shop, full of firearms customers after having to walk around a marked police car parked at the front door. Inside the uniformed officer was standing at the counter. When he saw the officer the wannabe robber announced a hold-up and fired a couple of wild shots. The officer and store clerk returned fire (several customers also drew their guns) - and the robber was removed from the gene pool.

Or the case of Matthew who decided to steal the yellow foam cushion safety protection from the legs of a ski-lift tower (designed to protect skiers who hit the tower). He used the foam pad as a makeshift sledge on the ski run, crashed into the legs of a lift tower - the one he'd stolen the safety protection from - and died.

If you want to read more Darwin Award recipients you can read about them here.

Even so, just because it happens in real life doesn't mean it should happen between the pages of a book - not unless you are wanting to kill off a character.

Have you ever read a book where the main character was too stupid to live? 

Apr 8, 2013

Motivational Monday

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, April 08, 2013 0 comments

Most beginning writers (and I was the same) are like chefs trying to cook great dishes that they've never tasted themselves. How can you make a great (or even an adequate) bouillabaisse if you've never had any?If you don't really undersand why people read mysteries (or romances or literary novels or thrillers or whatever), then there's no way in the world you're going to write one that anyone wants to publish (this is the meaning of the well-known expression 'write what you know').
~ Daniel Quinn ~

Apr 5, 2013

Canned the Spam

Posted by AJ Blythe at Friday, April 05, 2013 0 comments
Unfortunately the number of spam comments I've been receiving has intensified. From only receiving the occasional spam, the last month has seen me become the lucky recipient of a bucketload a day. So as much as I didn't want to, I've had to add a word verification step for those leaving comments to eliminate the bots. Sorry!

Mar 25, 2013

Motivational Monday

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, March 25, 2013 0 comments


Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it.
~ Madeleine L'Engle ~

Mar 21, 2013

Autumn is here...

Posted by AJ Blythe at Thursday, March 21, 2013 0 comments

Mar 18, 2013

Motivational Monday

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, March 18, 2013 0 comments
What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks 'the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.' And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. when I'm writing, I write. And then it's as if the muse is convinced that I'm serious and says, 'Okay. Okay. I'll come.'
~ Maya Angelou ~

Mar 11, 2013

Motivational Monday

Posted by AJ Blythe at Monday, March 11, 2013 0 comments

I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done.
~ Stephen Wright ~

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