Goodbye Missy

We said goodbye to our grey cat today. She and Romeo were besties and now they’re together again.

THA and I were talking and came up with a list of sorts of things we’ll miss and then I wrote Missy a letter:

Dear Missy, I will miss the weird noises you made deep under my bed when it was silent and no one knew you were there. Thanks for the many times you creeped me out. I’ll miss your vocal input the second I got home – explaining in depth how no one fed you all day and you were quite obviously starving. It was all lies. I know that. We all knew that. But we played along anyway.

I probably won’t miss the many and varied ways you tried to kill me over the years. I especially will not miss the times you decided to sleep stretched along the middle stair – grey carpet/grey cat … not funny, Missy. Not funny at all.

Your help with dinner was appreciated, but not the way you’d position your tail so I’d step on it while cooking … again, Missy, not funny.

I know you struggled without your best friend and we all knew you wanted nothing more than to join him and be together forever. Thank you for letting us be your humans for 12 years (?) and for being the best dog-cat ever because you always were more dog than cat.

RIP Missy – snuggle up in the sun with Romeo and know you were both loved an extraordinary amount.

Launch date and venue announcement!

Today I found out that the launch will be at Upper Hutt Central Library. Woo hoo!

We have a little something special (and fun) planned for this launch but you’ll have to come along to find out what that is.

Wasn’t sure if I’d be able to organize a launch this side of Christmas but our plans changed and I will be here in November, so, we’re launching the paperback version before the digital release (only by a few days but still it counts). Next weekend I’ll bake the cake so we’re ready to roll on Nov 8th.

The learning curve

This morning I was thinking about all the changes in the last 8 months. Some are good and definitely for the better, some sparked a steep learning curve, and the last one was an expensive lesson. Didn’t need that. At all.

Without going into detail: Lesson learnt and sometimes (professionally) change isn’t a good thing. Now I know exactly what I need to do for Vaporbyte next year, and I best start saving!

One of the other changes was a trackpad malfunction which has forced me to use a mouse again. This is not a good situation. Two weeks into this new hell and my wrist is more fucked than usual and now I remember why I made the switch to total trackpad use four years ago. 😦 Would be nice to get this trackpad sorted but it’s ridiculously expensive and I’d have to send my Mac away and I can’t work without my Mac. Catch 22 and then some.

Right now, I’m going over notes for todays writing group. And quite excited to meet the participants. It’s nice having a week day group. Hopefully this will help the next few weeks race and I’ll be in Perth before I know it.

Readers, I’m a bit over this ‘being apart’ bullshit because this is a long stretch and it’s no fun. The sooner we’re back together the better.

You know what would help cheer this author up and keep me motivated to move forward despite the stress of the last few months? Come on, I bet you do … yeah, see, you got it. Buy a book! 🙂

Drinking coffee with Jimmy Buffet …

Obviously not in person, but I’m drinking my coffee and listening to Jimmy Buffet on YouTube – so that’s close, right?

Don’t have much time for mucking around this morning. Got a rep rugby game to watch at 9. Grandson 2 is playing. Last time our surname was in an Upper Hutt rep team it was my brother and it was about 42 years ago

Yesterday was supposed to be a writing day – but for whatever reason it wasn’t. And that’s okay. Because, sometimes you need to take a moment. I learned a few years ago that I need to trust the process and trust my brain. (Who we call Brian brain because I can never spell brain the first time.)

Despite knowing exactly what was happening in the story I’m writing, and I thought I had a handle on the subsequent scenes … Brian had other ideas. Brian decided I needed to take a moment. Once upon a time I would’ve pushed on regardless … but I’ve learned a thing or two. And I know, the next scene will be a shit-ton better because I stepped back.

Sometimes writing is about not writing. Sometimes it’s about letting your subconscious do some work. Usually (for me) that’s because I didn’t see something than can change everything … 🙂

Anyway, when you’re writing (or doing anything creative) how often do you listen to your brain and take a minute?

“How do you start to write a story?”

Now there’s a question and a half. It’s something I’m asked fairly frequently and I still don’t think I have particularly helpful answer, even after writing 16 novels and countless short stories. Yes, I said, 16. Four still sit on a flashdrive and remain hidden away from the world. Those four were the beginning; my teething novels, my sandpit, and actually where the Byte Series began. Those four novels are about Cait O’Hare. If you’ve read any of my Byte books then you’ll know who she is. Setting those aside for now … How do I start a story?

Generally, I have a question and uncovering the answer requires writing. The question can be anything. Over the years I’ve answered these ones (and more): What’s the worst case scenario here? What happened to the children? Who killed the jeweler? What is the Wayward Son Protocol? What does Devil’s Breath do? What if … there’s almost always a ‘what if’. In Terrorbyte the what if was, ‘what if the initial crime conceals another crime?’.

How do I know there’s a question and what that question is? Well, that, Readers is an entirely intuitive process for me. Before I even know there is a question (and there is always a question, in fact many questions) I have usually glimpsed a partial scene. Sometimes what I see makes the question more along the lines of ‘ What the actual … is going on here?’ For example when I started writing Qubyte the scene I saw first was Ellie waking up to a call from Kurt and realizing something had happened to the Director. Straight up there’s a question, right? What happened to Director O’Hare? And that, Readers, was the first question. That question was the foundation of an entire novel. 95,000 words or thereabouts because I needed to know the answer. Pretty soon there are questions popping out of questions and words on the page. (Without those words on the page there is no story, folks. It’s that simple.)

You’ve probably seen a few posts on the ol’ social media regarding Cryptobyte and might even know that the release date is Nov 10 (which is Terrorbyte’s official 10th birthday). The question posed early on in Cryptobyte came about because of a conversation on the way home from the bookshop with THA. I can’t even remember how it started but by the time we reached home I knew more than I wanted to know about a woman and her strange hobby and that lead to a question, ‘How did the families disappear?’ and then, ‘What did the families have in common?’ and eventually, I found, ‘Why?’

Stories can start from anything but I find there is always a question or thirty that require answers. 🙂

The answer to where I start is … I answer the questions and I keep an open mind, it’s pretty rare for everything to be as it appears. And sometimes the beginning isn’t.

Where to start? Start with something that makes YOU want to know more. It doesn’t have to be the beginning, you might start in the middle and work out, or the end and work back, or maybe you’re more like me and start close to the beginning and work to the end. Pick a place. Write. Because the thing about stories is they don’t write themselves no matter how often you hear that from people. Just write the story and edit it once you have all those words out. 🙂

FYI we have a Facebook group now attached to my Facebook page. Come on over!

A possessed MacBook

This weekend I discovered my MacBook is possessed. Yep. Or at least something has possessed the cursor and it does whatever the fuck it wants whenever it wants.

It moves around so much and moves my screens so much that it makes me feel ill. I have zero control over it when it does that. None of the ‘fixes’ from the Apple Community worked. The usual turn it off and back on. Did nothing. Using an external mouse seemed to work, but in reality it did not. Stopping the ‘shake to find’ thingy on the cursor – seemed to work, but it did not.

Resetting the PRAM … didn’t even try to work.

Which leaves me with a possessed MacBook. It can freak out for a few minutes and then be perfectly fine and behave as normal. Or, it can freak out on and off for an hour or so – each little meltdown lasting five-ten minutes, then be perfectly fine. WTF?

I can use it – but I cannot trust it. And that there is the problem. I have a book to format – and I don’t know when my lovely Mac will decide to flip control and a/ not allow me to save my work b/run a muck all over my screen until I feel sick or c/refuse to let me do anything. I’m also six chapters into book 12. I’d like to be able to write without fear!

It’s headache inducing and frustrating as all hell.

Ramon and Jonni – you can both piss off and leave my Mac alone … thanks.