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Archive for April, 2008

CAT-astrophes and other unrelated disasters.

April 29, 2008 Leave a comment

About six weeks ago we found ourselves the reluctant, I mean, proud guardians of two very young kittens. At around four weeks of age they were extremely small identical balls of fur, they have since grown, thank God! It’s quite scary having something smaller than your foot running around the house. The girls adopted them and they were named Boost and Malteaser. Brother and sister have been doing well, until yesterday. Boost took sick, throwing up and not drinking she shrunk to half her size in 24 hours. Lucky me got voted to take her to the vet this morning. Now we don’t own a car here in Singapore and having never taken a pet to the vet in any other form of transport I was a little nervous about getting in a cab with her. So wrapped in a towel (the cat not me) we went to the vet and the driver didn’t bat an eyelid when I got in with the little thing in my arms. Now Boost was not overly impressed by this excursion, but managed to hold her dignity long enough to get in the vets front door. From there all bets were off. With much yowling, scratching and climbing onto my head she voiced her displeasure. And this was all before the vet started with the poking and prodding, not to mention the indignity of having her temperature taken. I’m certainly in the bad books after allowing the vet to force feed her a tablet and give her a shot. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. (If I say that often enough will I eventually believe it?) Unable to discover her exact ailment the vet has come to the conclusion that it’s highly likely she’s managed to eat something she shouldn’t. Oh, and the vet is 100% certain that she is a HE! Oh, oh! But last time….. Well, it’s difficult to tell at this age and as he’s only about 8 or 9 weeks old… What? She, I mean He should be about 10 to 11!
Apparently not!
So our babies are younger than we thought and I’m glad I had no idea how young they were at first or I’d have freaked at the thought of them dying on us. Three hourly feeds were bad enough when I thought they were 4 weeks old!

All drugged up we left the vet. By then of course it looked like rain so cabs were scarce, I started walking home with Boost wrapped in his towel in my arms. Ever tried to juggle a kitten, a handbag and an umbrella? Not easy. Well I couldn’t even manage it so I stopped at the bus stop opened my handbag and dumped Boost inside. Before you all freak out, it’s a big bag and I didn’t do it up. He promptly went to sleep. CAT-astrophe dealt with by midday!

Now, baby hamsters. Just getting fur, moving around a little and stinking the house out. We can’t touch them or the cage, or mom will turn carnivore. Yep, get any scent on them and she’ll eat them. If only child control were that easy. Kidding! One has it’s eyes open but the rest wriggle around without the benefit of sight. Mom is pretty good so far, occasionally she gets the shits and just gets up and walks away. Usually there’s at least one stubborn bugger still attached but she doesn’t let that stop her, she just keeps going til they drop off. Unrelated desaster not so bad. Yet! Let’s see how bad the place really smells in another couple of weeks.

Fridge door. Well, um… I broke it. Yep, me. sigh! Well not really, the hinge that holds the damn thing on has rusted through and when you open the door it drops about two inches. Consequently you have to lift and push the door against the frame to close it. Ever tried that? Nope. Well don’t bother, it’s hard. Real hard. Now imagine doing it with all the shelves full. Mmmm….. 11 year olds can’t. Even this 39 year old struggles. The repair man says we just need a new door. Cool, how long? Oh, well…. (this is where I’m thinking this is not going to be good) about four to eight weeks. What? You’re joking? Asian repair man doesn’t understand this question, humor unfortunately doesn’t travel the language barrier very well. Seeing how the fridge belongs to the landlord I’ve got no option but to do as he requests. Repair the door. I’m thinking the man needs to come over here and be our fridge door closer for the duration. I’m also thinking the door must be coming from the other side of the world. But alas, no. It’s coming from Korea. And we all know that’s sooooo far from Singapore. Unrelated disaster dealt with but still unsolved. Do you people have any idea how many times you open a fridge in a day?

So after my eventful day I’ve done no editing. Which sucks! I had the day all set aside just for that. Better luck tomorrow. Maybe. Hopefully. Better be!

‘See’ ya soon.

Rachel

Categories: Life

When the bubble bursts.

April 28, 2008 4 comments

When I’m writing a story I love it. I’m so in love with it that I think, ‘yes this is the one.’ I’m still in love with it when I write ‘The End’, not that I ever actually write those words but you get what I mean. The I stick it in the bottom draw and let it mature before pulling it out for the edit/polish stage. And that’s when it hits me. I hate it. It sucks! Yep, bubble burst! So what happened? Why is this great story suddenly not so great? What happened down in that bottom draw? If there’s a word eater in there eating all my great words I’m gonna be really pissed!

I don’t get it, at all! I mean I can see the spelling errors (remember this is my personal flaw) and the grammar ones (another personal flaw), but why does the whole thing suddenly not look so good? And why did it look so good when I was busy spinning the tale? And the editing is harder because I hate it. I had a big whinge about it last night to Sandie, poor girl I think I hurt her ears. She’s got the same thing, so is it an author thing in general or just us newbies/unpub’s? I’m hoping someone will stop by and say it goes away but I’ve got a horrible feeling that it’s gonna be here to stay. Devon has read to chapter four and she likes it. Amie Stuart did a crit of the first 30 pages and she said it was a good story but needed the edit/polish, which was fine because it hadn’t had any when she read it.

So it’s not a complete loss. Well, probably not at all but I’ve got that insecure author thing going on and it fits so well that I don’t want to take it off. It doesn’t help that my latest bunch of characters are all screaming for my attention. I need to get back to them to get their stories told but I’ve promised myself I’ll get On A Wing And A Prayer ready to submit. Where’s those CP’s with their trusty boots when I need them?

I guess I just have to do it. sigh! Does someone want to do it for me? No. Okay, I get it, I’m going now. Back to the editing hole.

‘See’ ya soon.

Rachel

Categories: Writing

All good news.

April 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Devon Gray has just been offered her first book contract. Her novella Addicted has been picked up by The Wild Rose Press. No firm details on when it’ll be out but she’s been told they work pretty fast so it could be soon. Once she gets that we’ll be promo pimps. Yep, we’ll be pimpin’ that book like there’s no tomorrow. To start with, I’ve read it. It good. Damn good! And I’m not saying that because she’s my friend either. She has a great voice and style and the whole book just grabs you and drags you in. I’ll have to learn how to put a book cover on here so I can show it off when she gets it, plus I need to learn anyway so I can put on of Mari’s on here too. She has her second book coming out later in the year. Everyone around me is getting so lucky I’m hoping some of it will rub off.

‘See’ ya soon.

Rachel

Categories: News, Writing

Putting yourself out there.

April 25, 2008 1 comment

It’s a scary thing. I mean everyone wants to be liked and as an author not only do you want to be liked you want your writing to be liked. Confused yet? I think I am. LOL

I belong to numerous loops, some for authors and readers, some just readers, some are just authors, and some are for publishing houses, it makes for an awful lot of emails, but it also gets you out there. People start to recognize your name, connect you with other sites or in my case, my work for FAR. It also keeps you up to date on what’s being published, which publishers are good to work with, which ones are great to work with. It connects you to competitions, whether you’re looking to enter or judge. It keeps you informed of upcoming conferences and events, special online chats and most of all when you can expect you favorite authors next book.

Last week I was reading posts on the Samhaincafe loop when one caught my eye. It was a question about critic partners, as I’ve been looking for an opportunity to get myself a CP I kept an eye on it to see what would follow. Before anyone asks, yes I have Devon and yes we work great together and that partnership is not in question at all, but Devon already had a CP when we hooked up so I’m second CP, which is great because every little bit helps. But I wanted to have one that would become my main one. I will still send stuff to Devon, in fact she’s really the only person to have seen my work, well you guys have seen the piece on here but other than that I’ve enter a couple of contest and that’s it. Putting your stuff, and ultimately yourself, out there is scary. What if people don’t like it? What if they don’t like you? It takes balls to face that kind of rejection everyday and as an author that’s what we do every time we put something out there. Jeez can anyone say masochist? Is that even the right word? Now there’s a big fear for an author, am I using the right word and more importantly is it spelt right? Will I come off as someone who knows what she’s talking about or will I look like someone that owns a really big dictionary and pours over the pages regularly? (By the way, does anyone know where spell check went in here?)

I seem to have gotten off track a bit haven’t I? Back to the loop discussion. The CP question got asked and some nice authors answered and then another new author, and I say new because her first book came out just last month, popped up and said she was really glad someone had asked this question because she’d always wondered how you went about getting one. Now I had to scratch my head because I honestly thought that most writers hooked up with their CP’s long before they hit the published status, apparently not. This is where the putting yourself out there bit really comes in, I mulled over it for a few days but I finally sucked in a breath and emailed the author. Nervous? Much! I really didn’t expect anything to happen I just hoped that at least I might get another great author friend out of it. I’ve got so many of them now and they’re all such generous individuals which should have clued me in.

Imagine my surprise when I got an email back that same night. Remember I’m on the other side of the world from the US so time zones often result in lengthy waits for replies, except of course the night dwellers. Yes Nic, I’m talking about you. I won’t share the whole email, just the bit that really made me smile and get all giddy like a kid at Christmas.

“You made my day!”

I made her day? OMG! I made her day!

She’s keen to give been CP’s a go! So we swapped some info, checked each other out and then (shuddering) handed over some work to see if the fit might be right. Because the fit has to be right. You both have to have common interests and goals, be supportive and understanding, be motivating and of course the wearer of the boot when your partner needs a kick in the rear. It sounds a lot like a marriage and in a way it is. So far we’re doing okay, lots of similarities between us and I’m loving the work she’s sent me, plus I had to go buy her first book. (Yes, hello, my name is Rachel and I’m a bookaholic.) I tried to grab it when it came through FAR but I missed it, and I didn’t even know her then! We’re just starting out but I’m really optimistic about it and I’m hoping that I’ve connected with a great CP. Did I mention she’s an english teacher/librarian? But best of all I’m pretty sure I’ve connected with another really great friend.

Without anymore talking, because you know I’m just gonna keep going if someone doesn’t stop me, let me introduce my new friend.

Mari Carr, author of Erotic Research available from Samhain Publishing. (yeah, I’m gonna give you the link, well I’ll try. Last time I screwed it up.) http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/erotic-research
Also here’s her blog, http://www.maricarr.blogspot.com (It’s in the sidebar too)
She doesn’t have her website yet but it’s coming and as soon as it’s ready I’ll add the link to the sidebar.

I finished reading Erotic Research early this morning and I loved it, can’t wait to get into helping her get a book ready for publication. I’m excited and that’s good because it means I’ll be enthusiastic about working on my own stuff as well as Mari’s and together we might just make both our dreams come true. And hopefully, with Mari wearing the boot, I’ll finally be brave enough to actually send something off in the very near future.

‘See’ ya soon.

Rachel

** Editors note ** Damn it! I still can’t get the link thing right! sigh! (hanging head in shame)
And what’s going on with the paragraph spacing? Jeez.

Categories: News, Writing

Judging the already judged.

April 23, 2008 Leave a comment

The title probably has you scratching your head so let me explain. Earlier in the year an email came through the FAR staff site from one of RWA’s chapters, they were running their yearly contest for published books and wanted readers to be the judges. No I wouldn’t be me if my hand didn’t fly up immediately, especially seeing how it meant getting to read some great books. The chapter was From The Heart Romance Writers and the contest was the Lories. Knowing how quickly I read I dove in feet first and ended up with 12 books. And just over a month to do them. No worries. For those that don’t know what I’m talking about the Lories is a contest for authors to enter their already published books, they decide what genre they put it into so some of the books had me scratching my head at the genre they came to me in. Oh, they all fit, I just thought they’d fit another one better. Then again working for FAR I sometimes scratch my head at the genre a publisher puts a book in. I guess it all comes down to individual interpretation. Back to the judging. It was great, I loved it and I’ve now got some new authors on my TBL (to-buy-list). I even got a little hooked on vampires, which I’ve never been interested in. On deadline day an email went out for anyone able to read some more, apparently a judge went MIA and those books had to be judged sooooo…. you guessed it. Two more books to me! I didn’t envy the coordinators having to add up all the scores and cross check and whatever it was they needed to do but they managed and the results are in. The winners have been posted on the FTHRW website and I was happy to see some familiar books up there. Here’s the link

(Well bugger! We all know I’m a little computer challenged, okay a lot! Jeez, give me a break, I only learnt to email three years ago. Anyway, no idea what I did but it didn’t work so go here: http://www.fthrw.com go to the contest news section and there you’ll find the results. I hope this is gonna work now but then knowing me, sigh. I really should do something about this computer challenged state.)

Pop over there and check them out, if nothing else you’ll get a couple of good book recommendations. I really enjoyed the whole process and would love to do it again but we’ll see what happens, who knows, next year I might not be just a reader.

‘See’ ya soon.

Rachel

Categories: News

I’m back!

April 22, 2008 3 comments

Well, I’ve been back a few days now but with all the kids coming back from school camps, the youngest daughter’s 14th birthday, the eldest getting braces on and the hamsters breeding I haven’t had time to do more than go through the 387 emails I came back to, plus it’s end of month at FAR so we’re all madly trying to get everything done for upload. Me? I had a couple of reviews I’d neglected and so I had to sit and read. So hard to do! LOL So anyway, finally I’m getting around to blogging about my trip to Bangkok.
Bangkok. Mmmm… So many different things to talk about. I’ll start with arriving. I really didn’t take too much notice as we got off the plane but after getting through customs, in the fast queue because Hubby has a special pass, we headed out to get a taxi. Stepping out of the airport building I got the feeling I’d just stepped into a space station. The architecture is very futuristic and you’re led to believe that Bangkok is a modern international city. But you should never judge a book by it’s cover.The taxi is your first clue. Don’t get me wrong it was no worse than your average bumb back home, but the driver doesn’t speak a word of English and I’m pretty sure he had no idea how to drive. Then Hubby motions for me to lock my door and alarm bells are going off in my head. I guess the safety of Singapore isn’t such a good thing when I forget that not all places are like it. The freeways are modern and new but that just means the driver can take his rattle-trap at unimaginable speeds. Unimaginable because the speedometer had to be broken otherwise we were barrelling down the road at about 200kms an hour. Once you get further into the city you notice the tall buildings starting to pop up, most appeared old and run down, definitely dirty. Even the newer buildings were dirty. It’s similar to many other Asian cities we’ve been in and I’m not sure why but it has a completely different feel to it. Most of the places we’ve been are just developing so they’re dirty and third worldish but for some reason Bangkok gives off a sleazy dirty feel. Maybe it’s Bangkok’s reputation as a sex captial that proceeds it but I don’t think so. It just leaves you with a feeling of filth and I don’t mean dirt. I’m not sure I’m explaining it right but you really need to know about the whole city before venturing out on your own. I was tempted but then I’m usually game for anything that involves exploring new places, but there was no way I was heading outside the hotel without Hubby or Ann. In saying all that the hotel looked grand and we were looked after by two bellboys and three check-in clerks. We were given a welcome drink before being handed our key and sent on our way. Once in the room the first thing I did was throw back the curtains to check out the view. Couldn’t see it. The windows were filthy. The room itself was clean and comfortable if you didn’t take in to account that the mattress was made of stone. Around lunch time a big storm rolled in and I was hoping the rain might clean the windows a bit so I could take some pix. No such luck. I think even the rain was dirty. When Hubby got back from work, poor baby it might have been a little holiday for me but for him it was all work, we headed out to the nearest shopping center to get some dinner and have a look around. I found it bizarre that even the main roads gave me the feeling that they were dirty back streets but all the new buildings with their huge shopping malls, even with their layer of dirt gave me a glimps of what the future holds for Bangkok. Lots of brand name shops but the fact that you walked through a security check to get inside told you what kind of city you were in. After eating we headed back to the hotel to check out the spa and see what was on offer. I was feeling a bit sick still from the flight and didn’t think I’d get much out of having a foot massage but Hubby went off to have an Indian head massage. He was suitably impressed. The hotel we stayed in offers 24 hours in-room spa facilities, but what struck me as hilarious was that between the hours of midnight and 6am you don’t ring the spa you ring dial-a-smile. Mmmm….. interesting name for the service they’re providing. You can imagine the things running through my head. On the second day I waited for Ann to come and pick me up for shopping, what else would we do? Anyway, by just after lunch I’d run out of money. 5,500 Baht in about 3 hours. Not bad. Okay so we were taking our time, I probably could have gone through more but I didn’t take my cash card to get money out and I was determined not to use the credit card. I came home with 4 outfits for me, 4 necklaces, one for each of us girls, 8 pairs of boxer shorts for the boys and a cool little action figure made of twisted wire for my youngest. The shopping is fantastic and I’m saving for when we go back. After running out of money we headed to Ann’s to see Jade, now I may be over the having more kids thing but she’s so cute you can’t help but get clucky. She was one in Feb and now she’s walking she’s even more of a terror. Once I’d had my fix of Jade we headed back to the hotel to meet Chris for dinner, we decided to stop in the bar for a drink first. We never left. Come on, two for one drinks, who’s gonna leave that? Luckily they had a range of snack type foods to soak up some of the alcohol. My cocktail was called Sexy Girl, don’t ask me what was in it I can’t remember and no the lack of memory has nothing to do with how much I drank. Up early the next morning to be at the airport by 6:30 we were home by midday. It’s really mind boggling to think it’s only a two hour flight. So even though Bangkok gave me such a sleazy feeling we’ll be heading back to explore more. We’ll take the kids this time, safety in numbers and all that. Next month I’m off to Manila for a couple of days, it’ll be interesting to see how that makes me feel.
Oh, I will add that I couldn’t get the song ‘One Night In Bangkok’ out of my head while I was there and a very interesting couple of scenes rolled across the screen in my head.
‘See’ ya soon.
Rachel

Categories: Life, Writing

Heading out of town.

April 15, 2008 Leave a comment

I’m heading out of town for a few days with Hubby. He’s off to Bangkok for work and with all the kids on school camp I’m tagging along. Can’t wait to do some shopping and take some pix. We’ve got friends living there are I’m looking forward to catching up with them. I haven’t seen their little girl Jade since last year and she was only six months old then.

In the last two days I’ve been writing up a storm on Flash Point. I’ve gotten 4,096 words done! It’s flowing well and I’m excited about it, which is good. I’m not taking my laptop away but I will be taking my notepad and pen and plan to do some long hand writing. Although knowing me I’ll have some new idea strike me and have to jot that down.

Catch you all when I get back.

‘See’ ya soon.

Rachel

Categories: Life, Writing