Monday, 21 May 2012

A Week of Writerly Goodness

I’ve been in hiding a bit lately. Not from the online world so much – but in the actual getting out and about kinda way, especially with writing related stuff. Life has been full to the brim of well, you know, life stuff. Simon’s illness has, of course, put a big fat stop sign on my writerly social life. Yes, I did just say (or write) that. My writerly social life.

I’m ridiculously lucky in that I’m one of the few writers I know who HAS a writerly social life. Most writers spend weeks, months or even years tucked away in front of a computer, all alone without anyone who can really commiserate with what it’s like to be living in a made-up world, with friends that only really exist in your head. I know many writers who may work on something for years without knowing if it’s any good; they don’t have a group or a writing partner to bounce ideas off. Not only do I belong to a couple of different groups, but I have a Kylie Fox. And it doesn’t get much better than that! But, as I said, I’ve had to dip out a little bit lately.

This week, I got back into it.

Isobelle and The Little Dude
On Tuesday, my littlest boy and I had coffee (actually, it was hot chocolate, a milkshake and a frappe) with the always-inspiring Isobelle Carmody. The Little Dude is only four, so Isobelle’s awesomeness kind of blew straight over him, except to say he thought she was very, very cool (“she thinks I’m so cute, Mum.”) His oldest brother however, was deadly jealous. For me, the awesomeness is right there, plain to see. I’ve met Isobelle before at one of her events, but it was lovely to catch up quietly this time. She’s been one of my biggest inspirations; and definitely one of my writing heroes. Her Obernewtyn Chronicles were the first big fantasy series I read and her stand-alone, Alyzon Whitestarr will stay with me forever – it was one of those stories that inspired me to follow my dreams. Isobelle has also been a great support, giving loads of encouragement to me along this writing journey from very early on. She signed her latest collection for me (Metro Winds) and I, in turn, signed copies of Arrabella for her. Do I really need to say how that felt?!

On Wednesday, when I’d normally get together with the Bittern Writers, my partner in evil, favourite friend and collaborator on the Arrabella books – Kylie Fox – and I got out and about and went book shopping instead. Between us, we took home a huge haul from Notions Unlimited Bookshop in Chelsea, our new favourite book shop. Notions is full of genre goodies, a bookshop that specializes in horror, science fiction and fantasy. Exactly our kind of thing. I picked up titles that varied from a childhood favourite: Watership Down to the recently awarded Vampire Novel of the Century (Horror Writers Association): I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, and Danse Macabre, which is quite possibly the only Stephen King title I didn’t already own. Seriously, I have no idea how I missed adding that one to my collection over the years. My to-be-read pile now exceeds my bookshelf space, so dammit, I think we need yet another one *sigh*.
Not a bad haul for the week, huh?

On Friday night, I made it to my first Sisters in Crime event in what seems like forever. I became a national co-convenor of this fantastic organisation last year, but due to the whole life-getting-in-the-way thing, haven’t been able to make it to all the events. Last week was Law Week here in Victoria, so Friday night we got to listen to two of our most successful female ex-cops battle it out when Sandra Nicholson interviewed (interrogated?) ex-police commissioner Christine Nixon. If that wasn’t enough for one night, we got a double dose when Vikki Petraitis had her way with thriller writer Jaye Ford and another ex-cop turned author, Y.A. Erskine (who, in real life is named Yvette, and is super-duper lovely). I love Sisters in Crime events, besides being in a room full of like-minded crime buffs, some of my favourite people – who I normally only get to hang out with online - are members.

The writerly week wasn’t quite over by Sunday, when I got to catch up with the monthly group of writers I belong to; Clan Destine. This diverse bunch takes turns each month to host our events in our homes where we workshop extracts from each other’s latest novel or short story. We’re all published authors in some form or another (some of the others are you know, kind of famous – but being a clandestine group, they’d have to kill me if I mentioned their names...) so the critiques and workshopping that goes on here is of a really high standard. Besides that, they’re way too much fun to catch up with, and I always come away feeling inspired with a need to get down lots and lots of words.  

Phew. This week: not so much planned except catching up with the Bittern Writers on Wednesday and playing nurse again as Simon has fallen in a bit of a heap. Oh yeah... and that novel (Arrabella Candellarbra and the Questy Thing to End All Questy Things-2) needs to be written. Deadline is looming closer every day - but more on that one later...

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