Sunday, January 29, 2012

I'm on Facebook

Yep, you can totally like me on Facebook now. Go on, click the link. You know you want to. I'll be posting bits of writing advice and updates on the LHARMELL books. I'll even be doing the cover reveal of BLOOD STORM there. Why would you not go hit like?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reluctant Christian Melinda Tankard Reist's attempt to muzzle debate on the internet

Australian conservative "feminist" activist Melinda Tankard Reist has instigated legal action against blogger Dr Jennifer Wilson at No Place For Sheep for bringing people's attention to Reist's religious beliefs and how they influence her political views. It seems Reist would rather people not know she's a Christian, and/or is using the action and subsequent outrage for publicity purposes. 

Reist believes in protecting women from abortion, pornography and sexualised images. Funny, I thought we had minds of our own. 

Tankard Reist appears to be worried her public campaigns to "protect" women will be seen as motivated by religious fervour instead of evidence and reason. Instead of paying lawyers to try to silence Dr Wilson, she would be better off addressing this issue and answering her critics.
 Otherwise she risks painting herself as a reluctant Christian - and willing bully.
Sign the petition if you disagree with Reist trying to muzzle debate on the internet and side-stepping questions about her religious beliefs. Relevant posts/articles at the bottom of the petition.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Couch monstering

couch monstering (verb): to exhibit the behaviour of a couch monster; in particular to sit, lie or sprawl on a couch in a post-artistic daze.

This was the birthday card I was given by my brother and his girlfriend. For those just joining us, I live with them in a lovely house in Melbourne. We have a cat, Tivali, who is The Only Cat in the World. (She may be rudely disabused of the notion soon. We're thinking of adopting cat #2.)

The message inside:

We see you like this so often, dreaming up stories on the couch. So we thought it would be most apt as it also reflects the worlds you see. Happy birthday.

I am a couch monster. I wish I looked as pretty as this girl while I was monstering. With butterflies shooting out the ends of my hair. I could do without the wormy tail though. It's very Lharmellin don'tcha think?

"Post-artistic daze" is highly interpretable. Hangovers count. For us artsy types in Melbourne it's practically mandatory to sit in a little laneway bar feeling equal parts fabulous and misunderstood. Till 4am. With espresso martinis. Then stumble in and be greeted by a sleepy-eyed cat who hopes you might drop your beans on toast/pizza/half-eaten Hungry Jacks on the floor. (Has totally happened. She's a lucky cat.)

What is one to do the next day except cleave oneself to the couch with a bottle of diet tonic water, said cat, and a book/audio book/a billion eps of something funny/dramatic/suitably vapid? Or a Ryan Gosling movie. Oh lord. *fans self* (Is Ryan Gosling cuter than a puppy? I lie awake at night wondering this. What about a room full of puppies? What if Ryan Gosling was dressed AS a puppy?)

Post-artistic daze could mean post-date. Oh god, dating is the work of Satan. I am not in the Satanic phase right now thank goodness. I'm in the Lord You're Cute, Do You Want To Spend Every Weekend Together? phase. Which is about elebenty billion times more awesome than dating.

It could also mean post-oh-frack-I-hurt-all-over. (Perhaps from writers' back.) Right now I hurt all over, but it's because I beat myself up at the gym twice this week. (I nearly fell off my stationary bike watching the clip to LMFAO's "I'm Sexy and I Know It" <------- CANNOT BE UNSEEN.) Twice at the gym this week. I'm practically Jane Fonda.

It could also mean post-event, or post-publication, or even (oh happy days) post-I-just-wrote-three-thousand-words-and-my-brain-giveth-out.

But SOMETIMES. Just SOMETIMES. I am actually dreaming up stories. And the best place for that is the couch. Writers apparently like to be alone, but I don't. Maybe it's feng shui. Maybe it's the extra stimulation. But I don't like to be hidden away when I work. Or couch monster.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Writers' arse? Try writers' back.

Voltaran. Ibuprofen. Muscle relaxants. Sling. Temazepan. Panadeine Forte. Ultrasounds. Ice. Naproxen. Cortisone injections. Anti-inflammatory gel. Tiger balm. Kenesio taping. Physiotherapy. Sports medicine. X-rays. Remedial massage. Chiropractor. Pilates. Massage.

These are all the treatments and medications I've used since I screwed up my shoulder in Greece last July. The technical term (though I like "screwed") is bursitis, which is a type of rotator cuff injury. It was due to bad posture exacerbated by dragging a suitcases on and off Greek islands.

It hurt a frackload. I cried in hotel rooms, alone. It was pathetic. I ignored "one to two tablets every four hours; do not exceed more than 6 in 24 hours" instructions on inadequate over-the-counter-medications. I could not lie flat on my back.

There were a few funny moments.  Like when I accidentally took a muscle relaxant (from the ER on Crete; at last some real drugs), a sleeping tablet and painkiller all at once one night. Visions of Heath Ledger and Marylin Monroe flashed through my head, along with the headline, "Soon-To-Be YA Novelist Dies Alone in Hotel Room of Presecription Drug Cocktail Overdose". I made myself a coffee and watched Greek news till I thought I was out of choking on my own vomit territory.

I had to sprint for the plane in Athens, and a thong [flip-flop] broke. The crappiest underwear ever threatened to fall down, and I couldn't pull them up with only one arm (busted one in a sling) and still hold onto my carry-on. I must have looked a total DINGBAT running through Athens airport barefoot and stopping every few metres to yank my knickers up. Would that I had worn shorts.

Somewhere over the Pacific my feet and ankles swell up to nearly twice their normal size. At this stage I haven't laid down flat on my back for a week and a half. Sleep happens in armchairs, air plane or ferry seats. Lymph drainage has all but ceased.

When I return home I see my GP, who takes me off the muscle relaxants and put me on Panadeine Forte. Two things: 1. Codeine, and 2. Wheeeeeeeeee. If you've had your wisdom teeth out you'll know what I mean. He also sends me for an ultrasound. The radiographer can find nothing wrong. The GP can find nothing wrong. More tears, and insistence that I'm not faking. Two weeks without having slept lying down.

A sports medicine doctor looks at my scans, takes me off everything except Epic Dose Voltaran and shoots me full of cortisone. (Literally. Straight into the shoulder, front and back. Motherfracking OW.) Third week of sleeping sitting up.

A week later I start remedial massage. I want to punch my physio in the face. She's incredibly sweet and apologetic. I hate her. I have the dubious pleasure of having one of the worst arms she's ever seen. All the muscles have either freezed up and feel like steel cables, or have shut down and withered to nothing. There's a hole where my trapezoid should be.

Finally, after a month of sleep in armchairs, I can lie down in a bed again. Much sleeping ensues.

I have gained back a lot of strength in my left arm. I can now lift a full bottle of red wine with my left hand and pour myself a glass. THANK GOD. IT'S THE IMPORTANT THINGS YOU MISS. My chiro has been fantastic. The x-rays were eye opening. My spine bends and curves in all these strange ways, probably due to being quite tall, growing fast as a teenager and a lot of waitressing in my early 20s.

I spend all my day at work at a computer, and a lot of my time at home on one too. All my energy is directed forward (at the keyboard) and my back is very weak. I slouch. I have uneven posture. My core "isn't engaged". It's getting better, but it's bloody hard to remember to work and tell your muscles how to behave all at once. I would also rather go home and write rather than go to pilates.




Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Defunding Planned Parenthood and the attack on women's health

When I read things like this (via someone's tweet--I love Twitter for that, everyone posts the most amazing things) I can't help feel angry and scared all at once: Birthright: The Politics of Planned Parenthood.

This is in the States, of course, and we have our own system here in Australia. First of all, I'm pro-choice. This doesn't mean I'm a fan of abortions. No one likes abortions. But they are necessary part protecting women's biological rights.

Planned Parenthood doesn't just perform abortions. They deal with the whole spectrum of women's sexual health, and often for America's poorest women who couldn't afford treatment otherwise. So when Republican candidates are vowing to defund Planned Parenthood, I can't help but feel disgusted.

And every time women's health rights are attacked in America, I can't help but feel worried for Australia. Especially with an opposition leader like Tony Abbott waiting in the wings. Tony Abbott, whose idea of abortion law reform is offer the alternative of counselling via church groups. Could he be more out of touch with most young women?

As always, when I get annoyed, I want to write fiction about it. Last night I pulled out my feminist piece that I started in 2009, begun just before Blood Song and have been mulling over ever since. I reworked the beginning, added a few things ... Oh dear, looks like there are now four books I need to finish this year.

Addition: While writing this, Isaac Marion (author of the amazing zombie novel Warm Bodies) tweeted this article, Teddy bears passed out to Ohio senators. The bears supposedly have the heartbeat of an 18-week-old foetus, and are meant to convince senators to pass a bill that makes it illegal to perform an abortion of a foetal heartbeat is detected. Even if the mother's life is in danger. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Things I'm looking forward to in 2012: writing and otherwise

The release of Blood Storm in August
I can't wait for this! The editing (about to start), the cover (not begun yet, but I have an idea of what it's going to have on it!) the actual release ... It's going to be awesome. I HOPE YOU ALL LOVE IT.

Finishing three books
THAT'S RIGHT I'M GOING TO FINISH THREE BOOKS THIS YEAR. I've started them all and I know how they all finish. So now just to get them out of my head and onto the page. They are: Blood Queen (12K in people, and it's lookin' good so far. This one takes priority of course), a standalone UF set in Melbs (30K or so done. I heart the characters so much. I am just having a leeeeetle trouble seeing the climax. I know what should happen but not WHERE. I began this book in 2009. Time to bloody finish it, eh?), and the standalone scifi I began at the beginning of 2011 (30-ish-K done ... I can't remember exactly. That's bad right?? Whatevs. I love this book. Multi character view points. Stuff that makes me angry. Stuff that's hot. Stuff that makes me cry. It's going to rock.

I don't mind too much if neither of the standalones sell (but that is, of course, the intention), I just need to finish them. And then I will be WORKING ON COMPLICATED FANTASY WORLD IN WHICH TO SET SERIES AS WELL AS STANDALONES THAT MIGHT BE CAREER DEFINING. "Oh, you know Rhiannon Hart, right?" "She's the one who wrote the blah-blah books, yeah?" "YEAH. Don't they rock?" Which is like, uber exciting. And is one of the things I'm looking forward to REALLY starting in 2013. Over the next year it will be PERCOLATING.

Dressing properly this winter
Winter always sneaks the hell up on me and I'm not ready for it and I find myself wearing the same stupid acrylic jumpers that I've been wearing since uni. And I can't be arsed shopping because it's so cold and dark and there are couches and books at home. BUT THIS YEAR I WILL SHOP IN AUTUMN. THERE. I SAID IT. MAKE IT SO.

Learning to shoot a bow and arrow, riding a horse again
One of the two. Possibly both. They're expensive activities and I do need to save money for travelling. I have never shot stuff with a bow and arrow (unless you count the homemade bows of hibiscus and rubber bands my brother and I made as kids...which were AWESOME) and I haven't been on a horse since high school. I took lessons. I wasn't too bad and it was fun.

Being a bitch-arse public speaker
Currently I am a fraidy public speaker. I am determined to do all my speaking ad-lib, though, as I really dislike hearing the stilted voice of someone who's reading from notes. So far so good. (i.e. not dead yet.)

Visiting south east Asia for the first time as a sentient adult
HOLIDAY! I have book three weeks in Thailand and Cambodia from the end of May. It's cheap and cheerful and I'm just going to relax. I'm meeting up with one friend in Thailand and we're going to the islands and generally just chilling. Then I'm visiting an ex-pat friend in Phnom Penh who's just had a wee babby. (I went to Borneo when I was 2 or so, but don't remember much except I was sick. Some lung thing I got in Australia.

Getting my British Passport
OH YES THIS IS THE YEAR. <-------Been saying since I was 18. Shuddup.

This ties in with not spending a lot of money and dressing properly for winter. It will cut into my Saturday morning writing time, but it needs to be done. Also: will help me in cultivating the slightly mad frizzy-headed author look that will undoubtedly catch up to me by the time I'm 37.

My first short story published in an anthology
I'll have title and release dates for this project shortly! It's a ghost novel written in 12 short interconnected stories by four Melbourne writers. Worldwide release. We're about to start editing and I'm so excited!

So this is sort of a New Year's Resolution list but not really. Resolutions are hard and painful. It's a list of things I'm going to ENJOY. YEAH! Bring on 2012!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Recent events, in pictures

December-January has been filled with awesomesauce. Here's what I been up to in pictures, and very few words. Brain is nawt go work since New Years...

That's Tom Stoppard. I forgot to take a photo of Gaiman. But her was there. And fabulous.

Hot Guy Reading Book. Of course.

Housemate and future sister-in-law's 33rd birthday. I was bartender. First they loved me, then they hated me.

Being fabulous at said bash with friend

Skirt I made for Neil Gaiman/Amanda Palmer NYE Trash Masquerade bash. IT WAS FAB.

Beaching yesterday at Half Moon Bay


Here's to a 2012 that's even more fantastic and productive than 2011.