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I am extremely energy efficient. I just need the energy first. May 14, 2013

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5StarI may have alluded on here before that I get very excited about people who want to work with me, who want to hire me as a writer. However, it seems those who would like to, seem to peter out, and not actually want to. Money pressure, not being ready, wanting to do it themselves. Despite a history of this happening, I still get excited.

I do realise that it is a part of the sales process, following up, keeping them keen and interested. I also realise that the sales part of the entire process is one of my weak links. Talking to people, getting them excited and interested, doing the writing and researching content, these things I am great at. The sale? The fishing and keeping them on the hook? Not so much. The writing genes were given to me by my father, but apparently not his awesome salesman genes. But, this is something I am working on, trust me.

Any way, at the end of April I signed up a social media client, ink on the dotted line. We sat down, planned out the first 3 months of marketing, looked at what would be happening in the real world which people would like to know more about, what content I will be producing, how I would check with him that it is all good. And off I went.


excitedpuppyI say this in such a way for a reason. Yes, I got a client. It is not surprising, since I have a few ready to sign on, I do know what I am talking about and doing, but the fact they said YES to me, got me REALLY excited. While we were out and about that weekend my wife was amazed, and slightly annoyed, at my energy levels bouncing around like a freaky mix of small child and adorable puppy. I was extremely happy and, validated, I guess?

So, while I was in this space, I wrote 8000 words of my novel. I wrote tag lines and company titles for another client, checking URL availability. I wrote an article for a magazine, started down the path of an awesome collaboration with some skilled people to help micro and small business. Not that I wouldn’t have done all those things anyway, but the zeal with which I achieved them, just from signing up one client?

I’m not a physicist, or a mathematician, but I think that maybe the ration of energy in and out might have been off. Or, I had a lot of stored potential energy which just needed a release.

This experience has made me think though. If I could somehow apply the rules and structures of a Professional Writing Client, and apply it to my novel writing, how quickly could I whip that thing out and to my editor?

Following on from that, I have had a lot of conversations this month about writing. How to write blogs, what writing works in which forum, how many words does an article make, how to re-purpose content. Crazy ideas for cyberpunk stories with organic hardware smuggling. Sometimes it is a good thing to sit and just throw crazy ideas out there. Like the Daily Pages from the Artist’s Way, you get all that crazy out there, and you settle down into the awesome.

Or something…


Lightning in a bottle February 5, 2013

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When I am inspired to write, by gum I am inspired to write. I am into dreaming, remembering my dreams and interpreting them from time to time. I love dreams, and hate them too. Last week I had a night terror about a gang of kids trying to kill me in a gym locker room. I ripped myself out of that dream and refused to go back to sleep because I knew I would go back into the same place and get beat on. It is also in my dreams that I get to hang out with my best friend, who passed away a little over 4 years ago. And yes, we were hanging out on Sunday night. He was drunk trying to get me into a night club, but because my clothes weren’t right, I was not allowed in.

But that is not what I was talking about. Both on Saturday night and Sunday night I had epic dreams. One involved being immortal, buried alive and then chasing the guy who tried to murder me 5000 years into the future, traveling at the speed of light to other planets and such. And the other dream was an alien invasion, survivalist, time-traveling dream. Both were awesome.

On Sunday morning I came to my computer and wrote my dream down. In 10 minutes I had 1500 words written down.

On Monday morning, same thing, I transcribed my dream down. Again, 10 minutes, 1200 words.

I am blown away by being able to crack out 1500 words in 10 minutes!

And then I look at my novelling, and how it crawls along at sometimes 2000 words a day. I have written for three days straight, but the impetus of the novel has totally dropped off. I think I need to spend a day doing nothing but novelling, away from the internet. Or, get the work writing done in the morning, and then take the afternoon off. See if I can repeat those epic stats of 1500 words in ten minutes. 9000 words in an hour? Damn.

I know I have had moments of inspiration where I have written LOTS. I would love to be able to bottle those moments, or some how put myself into those moments. Perhaps there is.

Or, perhaps those moments of inspiration are for dream recall, poetry and short stories, and I should keep the novelling as though I am running a marathon.


Food for thought. Olympics+Day+9+-+Athletics

The Act of Method Writing May 3, 2012

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You have all heard of method acting. If an actor needs to portray an emotion in a scene, and they need to sell the emotion, make it believable, then that actor remembers a time when they felt that particular emotion. They put themselves into that head space, relive that emotion as vividly as they can, and then bring it out into their performance.

The same method can and should be used when writing. Sure, I don’t know what it is like to be in a sword fight, battle dragons or fly a spaceship, but those things are decorations hung upon the characters; shiny baubles that a character who has invested emotions, uses to complete, stuff. Awesome spaceships and sword fights are not what should grab the reader by the mind and heart and hook them into your world. Unless that space ship is the Millenium Falcon, and the sword fight is from The Princess Bride.

While no story is original any more, and if you break every story and movie down you can get to the seven basic plots, or 36 dramatic situations, or look at them from a mono-myth point of view, it is invariably the characters who keep you wanting more. I wanted to be Indiana Jones, he was so cool, suave and didn’t take not s…tuff from sword wielding bad guys. I wanted to be as hard-core as the Colonial Marines from the movie Aliens, or the nobody who done good, like Luke Skywalker, Alex Rogan or Tristan Thorn.

And in the same way, a part of me wants to be the characters in my books which I write. I invest a part of me into making the characters someone who I might want to be, so they feel more than just a cut out waiting for the token good guy or bad guy to put them down. I know some psychologist could have a field day with that admission, but I am quite sure that all the successful writers, and all of us who are not (yet) successful, and who write for the love of writing, we create worlds and characters whom we would want to be, where we would like to live and have adventures.

So then, it is the next step to give the characters and worlds you have created, that extra part of you. If you want to put the character into a situation and have it carry weight, emotional investment, if you want the reader to care as much as you, then you really do need to rip that heart off your sleeve and put it on the page for a moment.

There have been times when I have written that I am teary eyed afterwards. In my science fiction series, yet to be published, there is a scene where I kill off two characters. I do it in suitably spectacular fashion by having them trapped in a space station which crashes to the planet below, but the scene takes place inside, with just the two of them, together.

The two characters are, of course, in love. He is an ex-history professor from a prominent university. (He is named after my best friend, a little tribute I gave to to my friend, since he complained he would never be in a book or film). And she was an old student of his, now a notorious space pirate and wanted in more systems than she has fingers on her hands. But for that scene, I had her say things to him, which I never actually got to say to my friend. My friend tragically passed away, well before his time was due, suddenly and without warning. I took myself back and thought- what would I have said to him, if I had known? And so, I put that into that scene. Polished and edited, of course, but, not by much. It was the first time, I believe, that I had ever done that. Ever remembered an emotion, a time when I was in that space, and put the words onto a page. There is, of course, many things you never do get to say to someone before they pass, but in some way, I got to say a few of them in a book, which was nice.

Not many people have read that scene, and that is a deliberate thing, since it was hard for me to write. But those that have, commented to me that they too, felt the loss of the character. It stands as one of the best things I have written.

Last night I finished re-writing my novel. I made the final scene raw and emotional, people dying, fighting, surviving. It was a real head spin to write. I deliberately stayed up late, deliberately was over tired, and sick with flu, but it got me into that head space. And, it was easier this time around than last time. I could put myself into the space of someone deeply in love, someone losing a friend, someone afraid of death. All of those emotions, in the one scene. Of course, knowing I went there while writing, I hope that when it is read the reader feels the same. I hope the reader can feel the love between the two main characters. I hope they feel the loss, the fear. If they do, then that is a win for me.

I am 10 novels into my writing career, and I am just learning to not be afraid of method writing. I am learning to have the courage of putting more and more of me on to the page. It is a scary things, but I do encourage people out there to not only imagine, not only create, but to feel, when you write.

The Chinese Year of the ‘my writing totem’ January 21, 2012

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Monday is the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Dragon, the Water Dragon no less. You can read about it here and here and loads of other places on the internet. What interests me about this is that for me, the dragon is my personal writing totem. I even have a little dragon sitting on a mirror as a writing altar, my focus for my writing. Apologies for the quality of the shot, it seems the lens of my phone camera is scratched and can only take romantic soft-focus shots.


This little guy was given to me as a present many years ago by a dear friend. She told me that since I enjoy reading and writing fantasy, and dragons are so strongly linked to this genre, she would buy me a baby dragon to remind me that I enjoy fantasy, and to focus on this little guy when I write. And it is a baby dragon because, at the time, my writing was in its infancy. So the dragon is going to grow up to be a big, powerful creature of legend, just like my writing. I do like people’s faith in me.

So there he is, and here we are, in the Year of the Water Dragon. I very much like the synchronicity of this. I cracked my bottle of Moet on New Years Eve, declaring this to be my year of writing. I have already had a writing job this year, with the promise of more to come. I have declared this year to be when I first publish myself. Admittedly the plan has changed from a frantic February 14th release, to a staggered release, bu this is due to the feedback of some well qualified beta readers telling me- this book deserves a GOOD re-write. It is publishable, it is a good story, it just needs this and this. So I am listening to them. I want my first release to blow people’s minds!

You have read here before, and quite recently, my interpretations of my dreams and such. I am a man who enjoys symbology. Not signs and portends so much, but the language of symbols and their meaning to a person, such as dreams, such as Water Dragons and their relationship to me and me being a writer.

Water is a symbol of emotion. It is the source of all life, of sustenance, of health, embodies the unconscious. It can change state, it can move, it can flow. It can be smooth and tranquil or it can be fast flowing and turbulent. All of these things are representative of what it is like to be a writer. Everyone goes through these things, certainly, but personally, as a writer, I go through all these a lot. Producing copy for a client and handing it over, it is something I create, so I am always anxious that they will like it, and they’re not just paying me because they have to. It’s not a case of they must pay me because they hired me, but they actually do like my work, think it is awesome and feel the money they are paying me is totally worth it. And of course the same is true for my creative writing efforts. I know that when I release the novel I will be a mess hoping that people genuinely like it, and are not just saying it to make me feel better.

So, to have the Water Dragon, this emotional, mythical creature, my totem, as the year I where I take my writing career to the next level of awesome, just feels so natural and right to me. It clicks, it fits, it synchronizes. And to prove that point, last week while writing my blog update, at the very point I was describing my frustration at the people in the office not moving, and how that related to me wanting to work and to move forward and how frustrated I was at the lack of movement around me. At that very point I received a phone call and a request to do some work.

I will not go into the details of the job, but it was a pressing matter which required a very quick turn around. I received the phone call on Wednesday, I had the client interview on Thursday morning and had created and edited the document by Thursday night. Review and follow-up on Friday and paid Friday night. Crazy 2 days that. Nothing since, which I am okay with since a lot of businesses are on holidays, but it was so good to get a hit out of the blue, that I want more. I enjoyed the chance to work, so I want to work more.

The novel? The re-write is into Chapter 3. I have received feedback from some Beta Readers, later than I had asked. So, they have given advice about parts of the book I have already rewritten. And I have noticed that I am aware of things which need fixing and have rewritten them as suggested. I think I am better at picking up wasted words, silly sayings and am better able to focus on the important parts of the text. This bodes well for the future!

So, happy new year, may the power of the Water Dragon fill you with mythical energy and creativity.

Happy New Writing Year! January 5, 2012

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Hello and welcome to 2012. The Mayans think the world is going to end this year. I don’t believe it, however we’re going to have one hell of a party on that night.

So, New Year means resolutions, right? Well, I personally do not make NYR’s. Back in my more emo-poetic days I would say that I didn’t want to make promises to myself that I would only break. Now it is more like, I would rather set goals for myself, achieve them or excel them, but not feel guilty about not making them.

So, my goals for the new year? Get my Steam Punk book- A Girl From Out of Town out there and published on Smashwords. I have announced the date as Valentines Day, and I do intend to stick to that date. I am waiting to hear from 5 Beta Readers who told me they could read the book and give me feedback by the end of the first week in January. I know 2 of them have read or are reading the book. The other 3, I don’t know. Waiting on them to get back to me with independent feedback bugs me a little. But I will talk on that later. No, actually I will talk on that now.

Another goal I am implementing this year is to create more action MYSELF, rather than relying on others. While I cannot do everything myself, and I do like to support and use my networks, last year there was a lot of waiting for someone else to get stuff done, often weeks later than it should have taken, before I could take a step forward. While I can understand and accept that in some cases the people were very busy, one friend in particular, it was still aggravating not being able to promote me, because I had to rely on others.

So, this year I am going to try and do a lot myself. I have DL flyers promoting me. So now I am going to go around the neighbourhood, introduce myself as a copy writer, offer them the $100 deal, and ask that they have my flyers on their counter in case someone rocks up and might need me. I am going to get the cover for my novel, in electronic colourful wonderful format and promote theout of myself. I will see what I need for a banner ad on forums. I will bribe friends with chocolate, tweet and retweet and again, offer chocolate. I will suggest more ways people can use me as a copy writer, and how it is a good idea.

I opened the bottle of Moet which my friends from my last job gave me on New Years Eve at midnight. They said to open it when I got a new job. I figure 2012 is going to be my new job. It is going to be the year that my freelance career becomes viable. That my novel is published and makes some money. That I find some good part-time or temp work to pay the bills and relieve some of that stress. I am going to work, at what I want this year.

I will keep this updated to chart the path of my writing journey. I will keep my twitter feed going and my Facebook page updated. All part of the joy of an online platform.

Also, I will try and share resources, web pages, and other things, relevant to writing, and relevant to me. In that vein, may I present- 8 Secrets Which Writers Wont Tell You.

These are truths. Absolute writing truths. Sometimes I wish I could share these with clients, but you need to put that confident face on, that you know what you are doing, and that you are happy with your work on. Even if you’re not. Even if you’re worried that they might think- this is crap, who is this guy? I could have written this, why am I paying him so much for this pile of turd? I will put the poker face on when my novel is up for sale. While friends and hopefully people I don’t know, say- awesome book! Bring on the next one! I will sit there and go- that could have been better, oh crap I left that in. Its really not my best work….

Writing is such a personal thing. It comes from within the creator, from within me. Be it the creative romps of novel-writing, or the ordered copy writing for a client, it is all something created by me, by the writer. For me, there is always that higher level for potential of failure. It’s not like a regular job of A + B = product at $X, thank you come again. So each time I produce copy for a client and hand it over, it is me, in that piece. It is a part of me that could be rejected as- this is not what we were looking for. And for me, to continually put myself under the spot light, to repeatedly put my writing core on the chopping block, is a scary scary thing. I dont think even the most experienced writer is ever fully immune to the fear. But this is another thing this year I am going to, not conquer, but to recognise and face and accept.

Every time I write, every time I give someone a piece of my work, I am afraid and scared of their reaction. But that is okay. Face my fears and do it anyway.

2012 is going to be huge, massive, and awesome. And then its going to end with a huge party.

2 Days until it begins – National Novel Writing Month October 29, 2011

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Where I live, Nanowrimo starts on a public holiday. This is a good thing. I always try to get a head start in the daily word count because inevitably something will pop up which will mean some days I don’t write.

The difference this year is, I WANT something to pop up that means I can’t write my novel. Yes, you heard… or rather , read me correctly. I want something to pop up which means I am too busy to write the novel.

Yes, it was a brave move, and the right move, I still believe it was the right move, to be a freelance copywriter. It’s just not bearing many fruits just yet. One project briefly flashed into life, and then just as quickly disappeared due to budget cuts. Other ideas have surfaced which need to be thought upon before committing. And other projects, well there were some delays, I will just say that. This has put me in the position of willing and able, but not doing. So, if, as many people have been telling me, it is going to pour, not rain, then I will be too busy to write the novel. Then I will be stressing about finishing the novel in between writing reports and brochures and web pages and suchlike. That’s what I want.

But, until then, I will try to enjoy playing around in the sandbox of my magical steampunk verse. I use the word ‘try’ because I know my own mind. In years gone by when I have had the 9-5 job and written my sci-fi epi, I did enjoy escaping to that place and writing of a ship crew against the corporate MAN, trying to survive.

Now part of my mind is going to nag at me saying- you need to be earning coin.

ARGH! It even makes it way into this blog post!

So, with two days left, what do I have? I have a map! YES! It’s no where near as pretty as what you can get online at the cartographers guild, but it will serve for me. It has the general geography that I NEED. It has the city, and it has the plains leading to the hills. Beyond the hills it has deserts and sparse, desolate valleys. Then it has the tundra, which lead to the second and more imposing set of mountain ranges, where my frontier town lays. And that’s all I need.

I know there are frozen wastes to the north, with active volcanoes. I know there are tropical jungles and tracts of desert wastes to the south, and people ride dinosaurs there. I know there is a massive inland sea further to the west. But for THIS story, they’re not important, so they are not on my map. But, I know them.

Some people go to outrageous lengths to create a world, and then, because they have put so much effort into making that map, and that world, they feel the need to share every facet with the reader. I know I have a little bit of that in me, so part of a self-constraint was to only map the areas I knew my story would take. That and I suck at drawing maps, so the less map I had to draw, yay me!

But I have 2 characters ‘from the south’. They dress different, and their skin is darker. But pretty much that’s it. There is no interjected history about them and their race or culture. They’re just – from the south. I have some ‘mountain men’, giant creatures with blue skin. You could call them trolls, I guess, but I’m not. They’re mountain men. They are tribal, and have their own language and culture. But am I going to dump all that on the reader to say- how cool was this idea?!?! Nope.

Now, if, in book 2, our intrepid adventurers are forced into Mountain Man country, well, that gives me a chance to explore that culture. If, in book 3 theres something of value in the south, then you know what? They can go exploring the vast deserts and oasis kingdoms of the south.

Until then. I am going to assume that every character in my world knows enough to get by and say no more. If the reader doesn’t, well, that’s too bad.

Plus it means I don’t have to draw those maps until next year!

Am I ready to write novel number 10? Yes I am. I am really looking forward to stepping away from 5 years of sci-fi, and into a new universe, new characters. Its going to be fun.


4 simple ideas October 22, 2011

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I was directed to this site by various means, the most obvious was someone sending me the link to click on… obviously.

A simple four-item formula for turning story into fiction

And so now I share it with you.

I am glad I have found it before I start Nanowrimo, so I can keep it in the back of my mind while I write. Each chapter, something will happen, the characters will move from one space to the next space, each chapter.

I am going to keep that in mind.

I also like the idea of reusing characters. I like making characters, and being encouraged to reuse them because readers remember them and have an affinity or attachment to them makes sense and is a good idea.

Just a quick stop here. I am building my world. There is just over a week to go and things are heating up.

Important Breakfast Meetings and reclaiming lost wells of ideas August 25, 2011

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One week of being consciously without full-time employment has been quite busy, to be honest. I seem to be catching up on those big writing tasks that you never seem to get time to do. These tasks include a business lunch with a graphic designer to discuss my website, and subsequent web copy I have to create; copy editing 30 000 words of a novella soon to go into e-publishing; making my resume shinier and applying for jobs; and work for my Copy Writing Dream Team.

This included writing some small articles about copy writing, some top 10 lists, and attending a networking breakfast. I am doing this tomorrow morning, 7am. I do hope the cups of coffee are bottomless.

I have heard many good things about these meetings, a chance to network (obviously) and meet people who are trying the same scary thing you are – being a freelancer. The venue is walking distance from my house, so a nice invigorating walk before the meeting will perk me up, surely. I will write about the meeting later. I have surprised people by saying I am going to a 7am meeting. They remind me that I’m not working and I don’t need to get up that early. I remind them that I am not working and I do need to get up that early. I need to meet people, to meet potential clients, or people who need an awesome copy writer.

I am also now introducing myself as a copy writer. I changed my occupation on Facebook as a ‘Freelance Copy Writer’ and many people liked this. I will be chasing them down and seeing if they need work, let me tell you. But I am also putting together an introductory email. Well, two really. I know people who are creative and in creative industries – friends and family alike. So I am now going to go out and introduce myself to them as a Copy Writer. Not all of them know they are about to get an email from me. It will be a pleasant surprise! And not a link to a funny cat video!

The second email introducing myself will be for people whom I meet, at network meetings, or out elsewhere, and whose business cards I collect. I will get to go through that nervous joy of- how soon after I meet them do I email! It’s just like dating!

Another thing I have been doing this week is reconnecting with my sources of ideas. As has been previously blogged here, new computer = lost all my links from the old computer. I swear they are on the hard drive somewhere, I am just not brainy enough to find them. On the other hand, if I have lost them, and I’m not really going looking for them, were they just junk to begin with?

No, not all of them were junk. I am sure I have mentioned before how fantastic role-playing games, and RPG forums and players are for imaginations and ideas. And I had linked to a load of these great forum threads before the great FALL! No, I need to think of something dramatic for the computerĀ  event, but that is not it. I will work on it.

Anyway, during the week I went searching and I found many of the threads I lost. Solid threads including 101 Urban Artifacts, 101 Ads you may find in a Fantasy Newspaper, through to some fantastic ones – cool places to have sword fights and 100 places to have an all out gun fight. I am still trying to find others. There was a great thread about different places to have a crime scene and what you might find there. And there was a Warehouse 23 ‘whats in the box’ thread, which was always fun for a laugh.

So, I may not be on the clock but I am working. Which is good. Working towards something bigger and inevitable.

The outside voices are beginning to beat the inside voices August 16, 2011

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I am about to take a massive leap of faith. I am about to leave 3 years of employment, a steady job, and venture forth into the unknown. Scary? You betcha! But necessary? Sadly, yes. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time. If this is the case, then my job has made me insane. 3 years of pretty much doing the same thing, and getting no where.

I cannot poo-poo my current employer too much. They did employ me, and they did pay me. And the job is what it is. And if I didn’t like it I had the choice to leave. Which is what I am doing. And to be honest, it was the encouragement from other people which gave me the strength to do this. The outside voices provided a stronger argument to this decision than the inside voices which were saying- stay, it is a job, it helps you pay the bills. What are you going to do when you leave?

To be honest, while i have a plan – find a job, it is pretty much as vague as that. I was head hunted for a technical writing role. During the interview when they asked about my salary expectations, the interviewer paused in that way that means- oh, that’s too much. A few days later he came back to me with a lower offer. Again, the outside voices had convinced me that no, I am actually worth more than they are willing to pay me. I have educated myself. I have had years of writing experience behind me, writing creatively and writing non-fictionally, that what I was asking for was in fact very reasonable.

I have found a measure of self-worth! I have found a place where I can say – no, you will pay me what I am asking because I am worth it. I have the experience and the skills.

This is a significant moment for me. This is a fantastic shift in my mental process. I now believe in me more. Other people believe in me. OH SO MANY other people believe in me and my skills and talent and creativity and all that. They are the outside voices. And their support has put my inside voices in to the corner and shut them up. And it feels good.

Believing in one’s self is something you need to do your self. You have the power do to it. Or so the theory goes. In reality it is a lot harder than that. And, not to be a downer, more a realist, I know that the pendulum will swing back again. The inner voices will find a new weakness to exploit and drag me down again. But right now? I feel awesome. Right now I have planned the start of my Steam Punk novel, better. Right now I am almost finished the sci fi novel. Right now I am having a business meeting to design and build my website. Right now I am applying for jobs KNOWING I am the best candidate for the role, and not just saying it, but believing it.

And this is not even including the copy writing stuff I am doing, the sense of something about to happen that I am getting.

I did a tarot reading regarding this a few months back. The current circumstances was ‘The Fool’, and the next step was ‘The Magician’. These were the cards given to me, and I do believe this is what is happening.

And in other news, I have Open Office now, so I can write. This has very much eased my mind.

29 ways to stay creative June 28, 2011

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A friend shared this with me – 29 Ways to Stay Creative.

I like it. I know I should tidy my work area, small as it is. I don’t have a full desk to work with. I have one of those work stations you get from Fantastic Furniture and squeeze into the corner. Oh, what I would give for a desk. I like the idea of collaboration. I did ask this friend, a while ago, if she’d collaborate on my steam punk world, since she is an awesome world builder, but she was busy. And when she says she is busy, she isnt making excuses. A couple of kids, some overseas Skype calls, even martial arts. She has a full life.

I have not written a skerrick this week. I’ve been knocked out with head cold/ virus/ chesty cough. Yummy.

If you have any other tips, besides the 29 displayed, please share them.