Friday, August 31, 2012

Reading... Undone By His Touch, by Annie West

I'm going to start off this blog post by saying I don't read Harlequin Mills and Boons category-type romances. I have nothing against them, its just that few I'd tried in the past didn't really capture my imagination and I found the budding romances in them a bit contrived.
 But every now and then, you'll come across an author, and it doesn't matter what they've written, they suck you in from the first page and won't let you go until you've read every last page.
I got the copy of this book, signed by Annie (fellow RWAus member) after being involved with the RWAus online Claytons Conference two weekends ago.
My thought process was pretty much "well, I've got it, might as well see what its like" and didn't really think I'd get through much more than two or three chapters. How wrong I was!
This is a classic Beauty and The Beast type story, with the hero on the verge of becoming a recluse because he is blind, injured and scared from a tragic accident, which also claimed the life of his younger brother.
The heroine was very self contained, sensible, had an admiral inner strength and wasn't about to let the hero treat her badly. But, she didn't do it with over the top bravado or near masculine talk/action which we see from some heroines these days... and I'm thinking of one heroine in particular I read recently, in which her character ended up turning me off what was an otherwise good book.
Annie's writing is seamless, you can lose yourself in the story, because the words flow so easily. There's nothing worse than trying to enjoy a story where bad or clunky writing keeps pulling you out of the "world" you want to become immersed in.
I have nothing bad to say about this book. It was just fantastic, and I'm now off to see what other Annie West books I can track down. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Best Cliff Hanger Ever - True Blood Season 5 Finale

Disclaimer: True Blood spoilers ahead! Do not read on if you haven't seen any of the current season...

So I watched the Season 5 finale of True Blood and it ended with a frustratingly good cliff hanger. I have to say, its always annoyed me that True Blood is one of those shows where the season is a measly 12 episodes long.
That point aside, I had started wondering where this season was headed. As a Sookie/Eric fan, I was waiting in hopeful anticipation that they would have some type of smallish reunion over the course of the season, but unfortunately it didn't happen. I even got a little bored right in the middle of the season, because Eric and Bill had been kidnapped by the American Vampire League, and spent the whole season in an almost entirely separate storyline.
Of course, the writers brought it all together in the end, with Eric saving Sookie from Russel Edgington, and then all of the important players going to the secret AVL underground headquaters to save Pam and Jessica. I found Eric's insistence and constant attempts to save Bill from himself very interesting. One would have assumed, as a rival for Sookie's affections, Eric might have been happy to simply escape when he could and leave Bill to a fate partly of his own making.
However, despite the fact that attempting to get Bill away from the AVL had resulted in more problems for himself, Eric kept trying to come up with ways to ultimately rescue Bill, and in the end, decided Sookie was the only one who would be able to get through to him. 
Well, that didn't work out so well, with Bill becoming the biggest threat to them all, as Eric and Sookie run for their lives. It was a satisfying ending, simply because I believe the whole season is leading toward Sookie and Eric getting back together next season. Eric has shown himself to be the bigger man, the one who really cares, and will selflessly put himself out there to help those important to him, even at detriment to his own safety. And, I have to say, I had a bit of an "awww" moment when Eric claimed Tara as "family" because she is Pam's progeny.
This season finale had it all, and even though I felt there was a bit of a mid-season slump, I can't say the writers of True Blood have left me disappointed.
Now, I simply have to wait for a whole damn year to go by, before finding out where the adventures of the Bon Temps residents takes us next.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Where Have I Been? Version 2.1.1

So a couple of weeks have gone by since my last post. Yes, occasionally I thought "I really should get a blog post up." But since I haven't even had time to do any actual writing, let alone a blog post, its probably not very surprising that this site has remained quiet.
Two weekends ago, I got to attend a workshop on conflict run by Anne Gracie. It was a great refresher on the things I need to keep in mind when working on a draft, and I noted down a series of easy checks I can do during the editing process to make sure my scenes are working correctly.
The radio interview went well (according to those who heard it, I find it hard to judge for myself) and this past weekend, I spent most of Saturday and Sunday at the inaugural Bendigo Writers Festival.
I'm sure the organizers were extremely happy with how the weekend went off -- tickets were sold out and most sessions were always full. Personally, I had a great time, catching up with authors I hadn't seen for a long time, and meeting lots of new ones.
For one of my sessions, I was interviewed by Megan Burke, blogger extraordinaire and self-appointed "author-stalker" (sorry Megan, you said it!) from Melbourne, and was lucky enough to meet her for coffee on Friday so we could sort out how things were going to run. I found she and I were very much alike, and funnily enough, talking to her was kind of like chatting to one of my sisters. Because of that, the interview went really well and I felt totally relaxed throughout the entire thing. So, thanks Megan!
On Sunday afternoon, I was honored to be on a panel with none other than Margo Lanagan, award winning fantasy author. I wanted to have a bit of a fan girl moment over that, after all, I read some of her earlier works at high school, but I remained calm and professional. On the panel, we were also joined by John Flaus, who I had (embarrassingly) met at another writer's function and failed to recognize exactly who he was. It was humbling to be sitting between (because I got stuck in the middle) two Australians who have and were shaping the publishing and film industry before I even realized I wanted to be an author. John had some wonderful anecdotes and Margo was fabulously down to earth considering the accolades she has achieved over the years.
So I came home from the weekend on a wonderful high. Although I haven't had time to do any work this week, my good mood has mostly continued, and from tonight, I'll be doing the RWA online Claytons Conference. Tonight we'll be chatting, and tomorrow we'll be doing a whole bunch of workshops, so again, I'll get to mingle with a whole bunch of fabulous authors.
And I should also mention that while I haven't been doing much in the way of writing, I have been treating myself to more reading than I've done in a while. These past weeks I've read Bride by Mistake by Anne Gracie, A Million Suns by Beth Revis, The Flame and The Shadow by Denise Rossetti and I'm currently half way through Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter, the first in her Alien Huntress series. There was another book I read, but I can't remember what it was... Anyway, the point is, I've enjoyed giving myself a bit of a break to escape in some books and be social, but now its about time I got back into some work.
I'm currently re-writing the ending of my Necrohunter book again for my agent (she's probably wondering what's happened to me since we talked about it three weeks ago and I haven't emailed her since). And of course I was half way through writing the sci-fi romance, Quantum, second book to Atrophy. I have plenty to keep my busy, just need to get back into the swing of working!