On Finishing

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Hello people of the Internet! Remember me?

Probably not.

You see, I’ve been absent for a while. A good long while. I’ve been slack. You know it. I know it. We all know it. And the worst part? I have no better excuse than life and procrastination.

Truth is, the longer I left it, the harder it became to return to the blogosphere. Often I’d casually click on my dashboard, peruse over past posts, and feel strangely as if I was reading someone else’s words. The words of someone creative, peculiar, and sometimes even a little bit witty. The words of someone who wrote every day. And I felt a little bit sad that that person had gone away, and wasn’t quite sure how to find her again.

“Start a new blog!” I told myself. “There’s no hope left for this one. The dust on the shelves is too deep, the weeds in the garden too many.”

But I couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. So I’d go away again and try to forget there was a little piece of the Internet waiting just for me.

This time last year I was living in Edinburgh and a few days away from submitting my final 20,000 word extract of my novel-in-progress. Since then, I have jumped the border and now live in a little town in England, am working at a castle where they filmed Harry Potter, and spend my days either dressed up as a medieval peasant, flying broomsticks*, or taking guided tours around a medieval fortress talking about very old things. Life is good. In fact, it’s bloody good. But there’s one thing missing…

…the writing.

And it occurs to me that since submitting my novel extract this time last year, I have spurned it the same way I have this blog. At first it was a case of a well-needed mental break after several months of intense writing. It felt as though I had sucked every last creative word out of my body and needed to replenish the supply. But then, like the blog, the longer I left it, the harder it was to return to it. The words already written became the words of a stranger and finding that voice again seemed like very hard work.

“Start a new story!” I said. “Shiny new characters, spectacular new places!”

But was I really prepared to let a full 50,000 words already written go to waste? Some of which scored me a place at last year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival?

Not likely.

And then, as if the stars were looking down on me and giving me a little extra nudge, I stumbled across a Neil Gaiman quote:

Most people can start a short story or a novel. If you’re a writer, you can finish them. Finish enough of them, and you may be good enough to be publishable.

It’s taken the better part of a year, but in the last month I’ve started jotting things down again. On scraps of paper, in my lunch break, when I hear something curious or interesting or lifechanging or funny or sad or odd. The creative bank is replenished and the words are beginning to trickle again. Slowly? Yes. The creative brain needs exercise like any other muscle, and mine is long out of shape.

This blog will never be finished. Such is the beauty of a medium with few expectations but those the author applies to it. Here flow my thoughts, my hopes, my ideas and my tribulations. These are constant, regardless of whether I write them down and publish them on the Internet or not. But I hope to do better, to write more, and to connect with the blogosphere like that girl I used to know. Because giving up is not an option.

I am a writer. And writer’s finish what they start.

Neil Gaiman said so.

* Just in case you didn’t believe me about the broomstick thing, I present photographic evidence:

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This is what having the best job in the world looks like.

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Newsflash!

Hear ye! Hear ye!

STORYTELLING NOMAD HAS RETURNED!

 

So, in the craziness that has been my life of late, it seems that a whole month has passed without a blog post to show for it. My apologies for that, dearest readers.

I update you with the following, in my defence:

4 REALLY GOOD REASONS FOR MY BLOGGING ABSENCE:

1. New job

Sometimes at my new job I get to schmooze with the stars, like Healthy Harold!

Yep, that’s right, I’ve moved on from monopoly money to the real live stuff, folks. What’s equally, if not more, exciting however, is that my new place of employment is the loveliest little local BOOKSHOP. I cannot contain the joy!  And I’m proud to say I battled 350 other applicants for the job. I spend much of my day drooling over new books and getting overexcited when customers come in looking for new fantasy fiction. Other jobs include: reading books, dusting books, carrying books, talking books, ordering books, making book displays, and even, would you believe, selling books. 99.9% of my day is book related, which makes me pretty darn happy.

2. Novel Writing

As submission deadline loomed, the dining table suffered

Okay, so this has been the big time suck.  For my Masters in Creative Writing course I have decided to finally pursue my novel idea, with the hope that deadlines and academic support will encourage (read:force) me to overcome my fear of failure and just WRITE the damn thing. My first deadline was last week, which saw me submit the first 15,000 words of my YA fantasy fiction novel. YAY! Chapters 1 to 4 in all their redrafted glory are now being assessed by the highly competent Australian Vogel Award Winner, Rohan Wilson. I’m looking forward to sharing some extracts with you soon.

3. Reading

If you haven’t watched John Carter yet, do it. Or read the books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Yep.

My reading list for the book journal that had to accompany my 15,000 word submission was four and a half pages long. Before bed, before work, during lunch breaks; any free moment I’ve had, has been spent reading, reading, reading. My brain is currently overflowing with millions of words and creative goodness.

Check out my 2012 National Year of Reading page for a list of what I’ve been reading lately, but the highlights have been:

The Barsoom Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I got into this after watching John Carter at the cinema (based on the books), which, by the way, is AMAZING. It’s such a shame about the poor critical reception of the film, because it really was pretty fabulous. The books are equally amazing, and would you believe, written in the 1900s? Mind blown.

– Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones. Beautiful, classic, fantasy storytelling. I’m new to Diana’s works, but what a lovely collection of books she’s left me to catch up on.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I’m still not sure how I feel about this book. It’s been a HUGE seller and I couldn’t understand the hype about a story that sounded to me like soft porn. But the people coming in and raving about it were normal, everyday people; not the crazy, sex fiendish types you’d think would be interested in bondage stories. So I finally gave in and read it. I can see the fascination; I got through it in a day, which is testament to its addictiveness. Sure, it’s 90% erotica and basically an amped up Mills and Boon, but there’s something about it that keeps you wanting to know more. My issue (SPOILER ALERT) is not with the rudie nudie scenes, or the writing, or the story, but with the fact that the young, virgin protagonist, is practically coerced into participating as a Submissive/Sex Slave by a man who was sexually abused as a child and now finds pleasure in inflicting pain on others. There’s love there, sure, and an attraction, and they both make compromises, but there’s also an undertone that the whole situation is just, well, a little bit wrong. Maybe the rest of the trilogy will clean it up nicely… Interested to know what others thought about it?

Jon Snow being awesome.

4. Game of Thrones, Season Two

I can’t deny it. When I should have been writing, or sleeping, or reading, I have spent one glorious hour a week, for the last 10 weeks, salivating over the awesomeness that is the HBO adaptation of George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, Game of Thrones. If you haven’t yet given in to the GoT phenomena, I implore you, get addicted!

So, that sums up my month of non-blogging. I hope you’ll forgive me and stick around while I ease into the blogosphere I’ve missed so dearly. And my sincerest thanks to those of you who cared enough to notice my absence and ask if I was okay. What lovely loyal readers you are!

On a final note, my nerd status is now officially complete with the acquisition of glasses. Yep, I now get to be nerdy on the outside, as well as the inside, which is all very exciting and totally news-worthy.

Happy reading, bloggers!

Nerd out.

Best Australian Blogs Competition

Storytelling Nomad has been nominated in the Sydney Writers’ Centre’s 2012 Best Australian Blogs competition!

I’ve been overwhelmed with the support, feedback and enthusiasm from all my readers since Storytelling Nomad was conceived early last year, and I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have you all here with me sharing a love of reading, writing, books and nomadic tendencies. While an award would be of course be amazing, ultimately I don’t need it to tell me that good things have been happening here at Storytelling Nomad.

11 months has seen over 27,000 hits, 937 followers including 326 WordPress subscribers, 2,322 comments, 156 posts and lots of new friendships made. Really, I couldn’t be happier.

That said, if you like what you’ve seen here I’d of course love your support. You don’t have to be an Aussie to vote, you just need to click here, or on the voting icon above, find Storytelling Nomad on the list (you have to click ‘next’ a few of times to get to the S’s) and put a tick in the box. In doing so, you will have increased my chances of winning the People’s Choice Award, which, as I’m sure you’ll agree, is the most prestigious!

As you can only vote once, make sure you tick any other blogs you would like to support for the award before submitting on the final page. There are some fantastic Aussie blogs out there (Dodging Commas & Love the Bad Guy to name but two), so do the right thing and support us all the way down here in the land Down Under!

We don’t bite, promise.

I leave you with a few of the most popular posts as voted by your comments and views over the last 11 months. In no particular order:

How to Choose a Pseudonym

Heroes and Heroines: Females in Fantasy

The Dangers of Ebook World Domination

Great Sentences

10 Christmas Presents for Book Lovers

Me, Harry Potter, and an FUI (Flying Under the Influence)

Farewell!

Well, as I mentioned in my previous post, I’m off on a European Holiday. I’m leaving my beloved laptop at home and will probably have few opportunities to access the internet while I’m away without incurring monstrous global roaming data charges.

That said, I’ll be back January 24th, when I’m sure after several days of sleep I’ll be itching to get back online and tell you all about my adventures.

In the meantime, find me on Twitter, have a mosy around the blog, check out the featured posts scrolling bar at the top of the home page, and don’t forget to leave a comment and say hi!

Also, if you’re looking for something to read, my short story “The Dragon and the Moon” is now available on eBook as part of a collection of short stories, with *all proceeds* going to UNICEF. Check it out here. It’s currently selling for 99 cents and if you don’t have a Kindle but DO have a PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android or Windows Phone, you can download the *free* Kindle app to read my story and any other Kindle book from your device.

Happy 2012, readers!

Auf Wiedersehen/Cześć/Cheers/Arrivederci!

~storytelling nomad~

A Year in Review

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In the past week it has turned eerily quiet on the blogosphere. With Christmas, New Years and Holidays around the figurative corner I’m guessing you’re all enjoying a bit of good cheer, spending time with family, friends and loved ones, and taking a well-deserved break.

I’m not far behind you.

But before I wrap things up for 2011, I feel an end-of-year blog round up is warranted; 2011 was, after all, my maiden voyage as a blogger.

Storytelling Nomad began on the 20th May. I had seen a couple of friends on Facebook with blogs and thought ‘hey, I can do that. I have something to say’, and so with little more knowledge of blogging than that, my online journey began.

7 months, 119 posts, 1 blog revamp, 194 followers, 1,583 comments, 16,218 hits, 3 published articles, 1 guest post, 1 short story featured in an ebook (more about this soon) and many new friends later, here we are.

I don’t think I can truly articulate how valuable this blog has been to my creative practice. Apart from being a great place to share my thoughts and be involved in this wonderful online writing community, it has most significantly boosted the confidence I have in my own writing, which has in turned encouraged me to work harder at improving my craft.

Each and every one of your comments, feedback, ‘likes’, shares and subscriptions have played a part in this. A very, very large part. For that I thank you.

The highlights of my year included:

  • Joining my very first writers’ group.
  • Receiving my first piece of fan art (thanks Joakim)!
  • Participating in and winning my very first NaNoWriMo.
  • Having my story “The Dragon and the Moon” featured in a collection of short stories released over Christmas to raise money for Unicef (Again, more about this in another post).
  • Working at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival.
  • Coming third in my state raising money for Multiple Sclerosis through the MS Readathon/Novel Challenge.
  • Having my Heroes and Heroines article published in LipMag and All that is Wrong with the World.
  • Seeing my article So, where are you from published in Biscuit Magazine.
  • Being invited by author Angela Wallace to guest post on her blog.
  • Graduating from my Graduate Diploma in Professional Writing, surrounded by beautiful friends and family.

It was a year of firsts.

As for 2012, I have just been accepted into the Masters of Creative Writing program at the University of Tasmania, where I hope to further improve my writing and complete a large work of polished fiction under the teaching prowess of Vogel award winning author Rohan Wilson. I cannot wait!

In the meantime, I will be spending the next week not only making merry and eating far too much holiday food, but packing my suitcase.

You see, a nomad wouldn’t be a nomad without a noteworthy trip to end the year with. On Dec 30th I leave Sydney for a month in Europe, where I will have the pleasure of visiting my little brother in Hamburg, Germany who I haven’t seen since he left Australia over a year ago. Other items on the itinerary include a weekend in Krakow, Poland, checking out the town and visiting Auschwitz, which I can only imagine will be a life-changing and emotional journey into the horrors of WWII. Then, a week in London, England where a particular highlight will be meeting up with my childhood best friend, who I haven’t seen since leaving England over 16 years ago.  A quick trip to Edinburgh, Scotland will see me catching up with a school friend from Italy who I haven’t seen in many years and a new Scottish friend I met at the Melbourne Writers Festival this year. The trip finishes in in the beautiful Northern town of Ferrara, Italy where I will visit my host families from past student exchanges before departing from Milan at the end of January. All this I get to share with one of my best friends, Hayley.

My upcoming European vacation

I’m going to need a holiday to recover from my holiday I’m sure.

With all these adventures planned, I predict an absence of posts in January, however, I will be active on Twitter, @katyhulme, when internet access is available.

With all that said, I leave you with my ‘Year in Review’ and again thank you kindly for your support and encouragement in 2011. I look forward to sharing my writing journey with you again in 2012.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Stay tuned for more about “The Dragon and the Moon” and the Ebook for charity.

~storytelling nomad~

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A Year in Review

In 2011…

I eliminated negative influences/people. Forgive me for quoting Oprah Winfrey, but she wasn’t wrong when she said “Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you higher”.

I reduced my (already pathetically low) intake of alcohol to zero. For no other reason than it feels amazing.

I stopped making excuses for not writing.

I lost my inhibitions.

I enhanced my editing skills through my Professional Book Editing, Proofreading & Publishing course. My inner nerd knows no bounds.

I started a novel.

I created my blog, Storytelling Nomad.

I loved and lost.

I was embarrassed by sharing my work and thoughts with the world.

I was frustrated by universally incorrect grammar, spelling and punctuation.

I felt crazy when I read messages of hate from those opposed to equality for all.

I regret not entering the Blogosphere sooner.

I needed more time for reading. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

I missed my friends and family that live across oceans and in faraway lands.

I went to places far and near, including Melbourne for the Melbourne Writers Festival, Sydney for Supanova Pop Culture Expo, and Gunnedah where I shot my first gun. Watch out!

I relaxed when on November 27th, I knew I was going to finish NaNoWriMo with 50,000 words.

I would use a magic wand to bring Hogwarts to life.

I felt gratitude when you all ‘liked’ my entry in the Facebook Short Story competition. I’m coming 10th by the way, still time to vote!

Time flew when I met James Marsters (Spike from Buffy) at Supanova.

I want to repeat this year. It had its ups and downs but for the most part it was extraordinary.

I should have done more exercise. I am terribly unmotivated.

I don’t know why I never joined a writers group before.

I felt most alive when I was creating new worlds, new characters and new stories to share with the world.

The best gift I received was an email from my favourite author Robin Hobb, with invaluable writing advice.

Physically, the biggest difference since last December is slightly shorter hair.

Psychologically, the biggest difference since last December is the focus on my writing.

Emotionally, the biggest difference since last December is my contentment and pride in all I have achieved this year.

Environmentally, the biggest difference since last December is I exchanged the sandy shores of Newcastle for idyllic Tasmania.

Socially, the biggest difference since last December is I have a whole new group of online writer friends.

My biggest ‘win’ was NaNoWriMo. Or maybe it was having an article published. No, wait. Having my short story published. No, wait! Receiving the email from Robin Hobb. Or, being accepted into my Masters course. And, graduating from my Writing course. And, and, and…!

I want more books. Gimme gimme!

The best thing I did for someone else was read as many books as I could in a month to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis.

The best thing someone did for me was sketch me a picture based on my short story.

The best thing I did for myself was believe in myself.

The one thing I learned this year is I am the master of my own destiny. I will only receive of life what I put into it.

I am most grateful for my friends and family and their unwavering support.

I look forward to 2012 being different by writing more stories and becoming a better writer.

Questions taken from Lynn Scheurel at http://secretsofhersuccess.com/articles/your-year-in-review-questions/

Makeover time!

With the new year just around the corner, what better time to give the blog a bit of a spruce up?

Up until now, I’ve had a photo of a beach from my previous home town, Newcastle Australia, as my blog banner. I chose it to represent my love of travel, my nomadic lifestyle and of course my adopted home country, Australia.

Nobby's Beach, Newcastle NSW Australia

Since that time, however, I’ve had a growing feeling that it no longer reflected the direction the blog was taking. What I first thought might be a platform to vent a few thoughts and share a few stories, has since turned into a forum for readers, writers, book lovers and nerds alike, to share our tales and lay bear our vices, all in the name of becoming better writers, more perceptive readers and to have a bit of a gander about what makes us tick.

While I still consider myself the nomad this blog was partly named for and despite the enormous influence these escapades have on my writing, my travel adventures represent only a small share of the content of this blog.

In conclusion, new banner, new theme – new and improved blog!

My sincere thanks to New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Ilona Andrews, for giving me permission to use her amazing fantasy wallpaper art for my banner. I like to think that from stories comes magic, which is exactly what I see in Ilona’s image.

You’ll also see that my featured posts can now be viewed from the carousel at the top of the page.

Hope you love it as much as I do.

Image by Ilona Andrews

~storytelling nomad~

Christmas Down Under

We like to show Santa a good time Down Under

Hi all!

Today I have the pleasure of guest posting on the lovely Angela Wallace’s blog.

When I started this blog in June, Angela was one of the first to subscribe and support me as I wandered blindly through this blogosphere, so naturally I felt quite honoured when she invited me to appear as a guest on her blog.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to spend Christmas by the beach (or didn’t even know such a thing existed), puzzled over whether we still sing about white Christmases, or wondered how Santa survives in his winter suit under our summer sun, head over to Angela’s blog to find out more about our strange Australian festive ways.

There’s also an excellent 90s rendition of our Australian Jingle Bells, worthy of a look.

~storytellingnomad~

Pick me! Pick me!

Dearest Readers,

Have I ever told you what a good looking bunch you are? No, really. A fine collection of fetching individuals. And the intellect, oh! the intellect! Never before have I witnessed such collective brilliance. One can only marvel.

Are you buttered up yet?

The thing is, I need your help. Yesterday I entered a short story competition on Facebook. A 420 character short story competition. Yes, you heard me; characters, not words. To give you an idea, 420 characters looks like this:

you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you are awesome you

Positively microscopic, no?

In any case, this is less a competition of merit and more a popularity contest. You see, it is judged by how many ‘likes’ readers give each entry. I know, look at me go, whoring myself out to the masses. I’m cheap. Nasty even. And yet, I’d really like to win anyway.

You’ve seen the story before, albeit a somewhat *longer* version, of my 100 words of revenge. I confess, it’s not the finest piece of literature you’ll ever read (especially after cutting it down to fit the character limit), but surely it’s gotta beat the entry below mine detailing a park bench. A park bench, I tell you!

And yet, that entry is still beating mine. Sob!

All you have to do to rectify this tragedy is head to this page:

https://www.facebook.com/thewritinglab/posts/215836788471997

and click the ‘like’ button on my story, which at this stage is the second to last entry (before bench boy). You don’t have to ‘like’ the Facebook page or sign up to any garbage.  In fact you don’t even have to like my story, but I’d appreciate it if you clicked the ‘like’ button anyway, because I love you…and karma…and rainbows…and stuff. RAINBOWS.

In return, I bestow upon you my everlasting gratitude and send forth much cyber karma to use at your earliest convenience.

Your faithful servant/blogger/master,

Katy

~storytelling nomad~

10,000 hits! Milestones & Head Explosions

Kodak Moment - 10,000 hits

BEWARE: Ego on the loose. Proceed with caution.

Last week I reached the 10,000 hits mark on storytelling nomad, which I felt was occasion enough for a kodak moment and a mild case of head swelling (see below for evidence of head explosion).

September was actually a bit special as far as months go with milestones hitting me left, right and centre.

In particular, I had a strong suspicion that I was being stalked by the number 100 after receiving my 100th subscriber, my 100th Twitter follower and WordPress very kindly exclaiming “Sensational!” at my 100th post.  Add to that my 100 words on revenge and I was just about ready to take out a restraining order on my three digit stalker (who I actually kinda like).

Once again, thank you all for the love.  You may have reduced me to a head-exploding-with-fireworks crazy happy person, but as long as there continues to be no complaints, I shall keep on keeping on.

Look what you have reduced me to dear readers! (this picture is not to scale)

~storytelling nomad~

Celebrating my 100th subscriber!

Yeah! 100 active subscribers!

This week marks my 100th subscriber! Hoorah! A big shout out to Darth Draconis at Maleficus Amor who was subscriber number one zero zero.

To be honest, I’m not really sure what 100 subscribers mean.  You see, I have never been much of a numbers person, words have always been my forte.  100 seems like a pretty good number to me.  It’s three digits, it’s an even number, it’s more money than I have in my bank and it’s a number I can count to (just).

But in terms of blogging, I have no idea if it’s a good number or not.  I guess any number over zero means you’re doing something right; it means that someone other than yourself likes what you’re doing.  But is 100 a ‘good’ number in the blogosphere?  Perhaps I’m making a fool of myself celebrating this milestone, while the rest of you laugh with your thousands, or hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

In which case, screw you bitches!  My 100 subscribers are way better than yours.

In the end it comes down to this.  I started this blog just over 3 months ago, with no previous blogging experience, and let’s be frank, no idea what I was doing.  I’m not here for fame or fortune, but an outlet for my writing, my ramblings and my thoughts on whatever comes to mind at any given time.  I have been using this blog as a tool to improve as a writer and to discipline myself into writing more regularly.  In that sense, I feel I have gained immensely from this humble venture.

But the fact that one hundred, and now more, of you are responding well enough to what’s being published here certainly has not slipped my attention.  It may not have been what I set out to achieve, but it’s certainly an amazing feeling knowing that you’re there.  It’s what encourages me to keep going with this little dream of mine, and I truly value the input, reception and good cyber vibes from you all.

Thanks internet peeps.  I may not know what the number 100 means in this blogosphere, but I know that YOU mean a lot to this aspiring writer.

Give yourselves a pat on the back for being awesome.

~storytelling nomad~

The Versatile Blogger Award

The wonderful Maryann over at My Reality Show recently bestowed upon me the prestigious Versatile Blogger Award.  Hoorah! Thanks Maryanne! I feel most honored!

There are four simple rules for The Versatile Blogger Award:

  • Post a link to the person who gave you the award.
  • Tell your readers seven random things about yourself.
  • Award 15 newly discovered blogs.
  • Send them a note letting them know you nominated them.

Seven random things about myself:

  1. I do an awesome pterodactyl impression.  For the best effect I like to make this noise in unsuspecting echoing stairwells.
  2. I have a younger brother called Harry who lives in Germany.  He’s pretty cool actually, although we talk more and get along far better when we live in different countries.  Hi Harry!
  3. I only drink water.  For no other reason than it tastes reallllllyyyyy good and I don’t like anything else.
  4. I will judge you if you mispronounce ‘mispronunciation’.
  5. Although I have strawberry blonde hair, I am under the constant delusion that I am actually just blonde, while the rest of the world believes I am simply a red-head. I am often referred to as a ‘ranga’, an Australia term alluding not so subtly to orangutans.  Other recent friendly names include strawbs and ginger.  At least ‘strawbs’ is relatively accurate.
  6. I am a chocaholic.  I cannot remember a time that I wasn’t, and I believe I always will be a chocaholic.
  7. I can hula hoop like a rock star.  No seriously, I can do that shit for hours.

15 newly discovered blogs:

Ok, so they’re not all ‘newly discovered’, but they are all awesome.  Check them out.  Like, now.

  1. You’re a Writer! – Fantastic encouragement and support for new writers.  I really recommend reading this.
  2. The Bailey Daily – I not long ago reposted one of Shawn’s posts for its hilarity.  I’m a fan of his work.
  3. Sarah Leaps – Recently Freshly Pressed, Sarah’s blog is not your average writers’ blog.  You see, Sarah has some wicked skills with a paint brush….the electronic kind…that you find on programs like ‘Paint’.  She complements her posts with these original artworks, which I believe are extraordinarily entertaining.
  4. The (Writer’s) Waiting Room – Hannah recently provided a run down on how she came to write her first book, in response to my post on how many writers sneakily avoid revealing their method.  Thumbs up!
  5. Divertir Publishing – An independent publisher, this blog gives an invaluable insight into the sort of things writers can do to help get their work published, and the processes that happen behind a publisher’s doors.
  6. The Wuc – This blog is absolutely freaking HILARIOUS.  I get a good chuckle out of it every. single. time.
  7. Just Coop It – I’m a big fan of this talented writer/actor/choreographer, whose book ‘The Song of Earth’ is about to hit a bookshelf near you!
  8. Angela Wallace – Believe, Dream, Awaken – Author of ‘Phoenix Feather’, Angela is a talented writer with a blog filled with book reviews, writerly musings and inspiration.
  9. That Book You Like – Chosen as one of 5 official ‘unbloggers’ for the Melbourne Writers Festival, where I was recently a volunteer, this blog gives some excellent accounts of a whole host of events, authors and sessions that made up the literary festival.
  10. She Thinks Too Much – Currently taking part in the 30 Day Book Challenge, which I had so much fun with.  Worth a read.
  11. Dodging Commas – Check out Stef’s wonderful grammar tips and writerly musings.  It was only today that she passed on this amazing link on semicolons, which I have endlessly struggled to understand.  No more, I tell you!
  12. MJCache – Hysterical blog.  Ends each post with something along the lines of, “I totally klepto all images” or “All images swiped, snatched and nabbed from dear old Google when he wasn’t looking.”
  13. Nitpickers’ Nook – I loved the post on this blog entitled ‘The (non)word that drives me nuts’.  You’ll have to head over there to find out what it is.  If you’re a nitpicker of words, grammar, language and communication in general like me and have been looking for a community of nitpickers to share your woes, then head over to this blog.
  14. Bunny Ears and Bat Wings – Lex shares some fantastic advice and thoughts on writing.  Also, this blog has an awesome name.
  15. The Happy Logophile – A logophile is a lover of words, and you will find just that at the Happy Logophile.  Jo also wrote a superb piece of flash fiction for the revenge 100 challenge.  Check it out.

~storytelling nomad~

 

100 words of revenge

It appears that a bit of phenomenon is taking place over at Chuck Wendig’s blog Terrible Minds.  Each Friday he broadcasts a Flash Fiction Challenge, invoking those willing, to come up with a 1000 word flash fiction story according to the topic or theme of the week, as set by Mister Wendig himself.

This week, however, the challenge was to do the same, but in 100 words.  Yes, write a story in ONE HUNDRED words.  Impossible (to be shouted in thick French accent)! You might protest, but alas mes cheries, it can be done.

I’ve had a crack at doing this once before when entering the 100 Words or Fewer contest, whose link can be found over to the right there under ‘Groovy Links’.  I received some pretty good feedback from my last entry into that contest, and although I didn’t win anything, I was keen to try it again.

So, with that deadline coming up again and with all the action happening at Terrible Minds, I felt that maybe the stars were aligning to send me a message.  Something along the lines of, “Get off your butt and write something.”  Not one to disagree with the star gods, I today took up the challenge.

So what is this week’s theme?  Revenge.  Muahahaha!

Check out all the details about Chuck’s challenge here.  Meanwhile, here’s my entry:

A Royal Retribution

Perched high on her dais, the Queen looked down upon the people of her kingdom.

The nobles shifted uncomfortably, their garments glittering in the afternoon light.  Beyond them, the stench of the penniless beggars rudely invaded her nostrils.

In a magnificent show of dignified ceremony she bowed low to her people and proclaimed,

“Had he remained loyal, I would have seen fit to let him live.”

Yet it was neither these words, nor the sharp sound of the sword being unsheathed that they would remember, but her gracefulness as she knelt to receive the cold blade for assassinating their King.

~storytelling nomad~

A Storytelling Utopia: Melbourne Writers Festival 2011

So I mentioned a few posts ago that I had a number of reasons for my recent absence, and today I’m going to share with you one of them.

In Australia there is an ongoing rivalry between the city of Sydney and the city of Melbourne.  Those who live in Sydney claim that they live in the superior city, and those who live in Melbourne claim much the same.  The general consensus, however,  is that Sydney is a financial city, and Melbourne a cultural city.  The Melbourne Writers Festival plays a significant role in this widespread understanding and the number of highly acclaimed national and international guests that attend from year to year, is testament to the festival’s success and the city’s appeal.

This year, I was lucky enough to be selected as a volunteer for the Melbourne Writers Festival.  Woo!  The festival is an annual event that has been running since 1986, and this year joined forces with four other international festivals to form the Word Alliance, now made up of:

  • The Melbourne Writers Festival
  • The Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • The Bookworm International Literary Festival in Beijing
  • The International Literature Festival in Berlin
  • International Festival of Authors in Toronto.

Totally rad.

So what kind of guests are we talking? Pretentious editors? High literature writers? Celebrity journalists?  Well yes, I suspect there are some of those, but the Melbourne Writers Festival is far more than that, and unique in that it observes all kinds of storytelling, not just the award winning, ostentatious kind.  The website elaborates:

Each year, MWF invites novelists, playwrights, poets, screenwriters, journalists, songwriters, bloggers – anyone who’s part of the world of words. We host politicians and artists, policy wonks and pop culture icons, crime writers and high culture theorists. The festival program features an enormous range of literary activity including entertaining discussions, debates, readings, film screenings, interviews, literary banquets, performances, workshops and book launches, as well as a lively schools’ program for primary and secondary students.

Festival Background

Last year they hosted Joss Whedon.  Enough said.

The Golden Ticket

So, as a volunteer I get to make sure people are being orderly, scan their tickets, give directions, have a chat, make sure the guests are comfortable and answer any questions that patrons might have.  My fellow volunteers have so far been awesome, the shifts fun and the patrons very well behaved.  I also get to wear a groovy volunteer shirt.  Win.

The major perk to this gig, however, is my volunteer pass, which gets me into any event over the entire festival.

When I attended my orientation day a few weeks ago, I was astounded at the wide array of events, panels and workshops that were taking place and began to get quite excited at the prospect of attending these events in between my shifts.

One event, the Martin Martini In(k) Concert, merges sounds and image with musician Martin Martini playing in concert whilst four artists illustrate to the tune and inspiration of the music, their images projected onto the walls of the venue.  A totally unique experience, demonstrating that the art of storytelling is far from limited to just words on paper and can be inspired and influenced by anything around you, even sound.

Author Kate Grenville

Today, I attended a session called Why I Read, featuring prominent authors Kate Grenville (pictured left), Tess Gerritsen and Chris Womersley, all discussing the books that they read growing up and the impact it had on their calling as writers.  They also discussed how reading has changed, an echoing theme throughout the festival, and how we can encourage children and teenagers to read more.

Another highlight of the festival is the collection of city walks.  From specialist bookshops to the city’s origins, the guided walks highlight the Melbourne that is inspiration for writers, readers and storytellers.  My favourite of the walks is called Melbourne’s Hidden Dragons, and it takes you on a tour of the stone guardians and silken mascots that are scattered around the city and explores the mythology of the beasts and their presence in storytelling.  Seriously cool right?

One of Melbourne's hidden dragons

And, on Tuesday evening I hope to attend Edinburgh Unbound, described as “Part reading, part gig, part party”.  Basically it is a fusion of Scottish and Australian musicians and storytellers coming together to present an evening of performance, music, film and stories in celebration of the partnership between the Melbourne Writers Festival and the Edinburgh Book Festival in our sister UNESCO City of Literature.

It is heartening to note that the attendants of the festival have so far ranged from toddlers to grannies, with no gaps in between.  I like to think this is a positive indication in light of recent discussions regarding ‘the death of the book’ and even ‘the death of the reader’, which today I was assured were both myths.  Yes, fellow writers, you can rest easy.

Young and old, we are still fascinated by the art of storytelling, whether it be through the traditional or graphic novel, music or art, the written or the spoken word.  How we tell the stories may be changing, evolving even, but the fact that we are still telling them and interested in how others tell them is what’s important and is what will keep the art of storytelling alive for a long time to come.

The festival runs from Thursday 25th August to Sunday 4th September and all the information can be found on the Melbourne Writers Festival website at http://www.mwf.com.au/2011/.

~storytelling nomad~

Lessons Learned

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island. -Walt Disney

With the 30 Day Book Challenge now done and dusted, I find myself missing the daily mission of scouring my bookshelves and digging deep into the recesses of my mind in a hunt to find the appropriate book for each task.  It was a literary treasure hunt for my book-lover mind, and I took great pleasure in reliving my reading history and rediscovering what books mean to me and the influence they’ve had on my life.

Throughout the challenge I contentedly reacquainted myself with some old favourites, relived memorable childhood reading moments, and crooned over some literary heartthrobs.  I confessed some secrets, pledged my eternal allegiance to a certain author, and had many an inner battle in futile attempts to choose ‘favourites’.

Frankly, I found the whole challenge a wonderful exercise and am happy to see so many of you taking the challenge too.

Before I leave you to it, however, I thought I might share with you the top three things I’ve learned about myself and my reading habits from this literary pilgrimage.

  • I read a lot of fantasy.  I mean, a lot.  I can’t remember the first fantasy book I read, but I do remember my reluctance due to having always associated fantasy with sci fi, which I was not at all interested in.  Even after having read a few fantasy novels, all of which I surprised myself in thoroughly enjoying, I recall it taking me a while to actually start looking forward to starting a new one or seeking out more.  For some time I had this unfounded suspicion that something resembling Star Trek was going to sneak its way into my impressionable reading mind, and put me off reading forever.  I’m still not a fan of Star Trek or sci fi, but I now know the differences between the speculative fiction sub genres, and can proudly profess my love of fantasy without fearing pointy-eared men and beam-me-up-scotty’s scaring me away.
  • My memory is as poor as I suspected.  I anticipated the challenge would be difficult for this reason, and truly it was.  I’m certain I’ve forgotten a great deal of the books I have read and am positive that many of them could have been used over the course of the 30 Day Book Challenge.  I have learned my lesson though.  As they say, ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’  As far as I’m aware, my memory isn’t going to improve any with age, so I’ve set myself an undertaking.  From 2011, I have started a reading list, documenting all the books I have read since the start of the year.  I am particularly interested to see how many it totals up to by December 31st, but mostly content to know that I will have something to refer to in the future.
  • I have a potentially unhealthy obsession with a certain author who has consumed the last several months of my reading life.  I mentioned her or her books in seven out of the thirty posts, have referred to her as She-God, Perfection, Wonderful, and Writing God, and suspect that many of you now believe me to be a Robin Hobb stalker.  I’m sorry about that and deny all such claims.  I am, however, seeking help for this matter and hereafter vow not to mention her name again for some time unless it is profoundly necessary* or unless a substantial Hobb-free interlude has passed.  *Profound necessity could refer to: Author contact; Financial ruin due to Hobb book purchases; Discovering the Farseer characters are real; Collapsing bookshelves due to TMHS (To Many Hobbs Syndrome).

So there it is.  My lessons learned in a nutshell.  Thanks to all of you who commented and participated in the challenge with me.  I’m looking forward to *one day* getting to all the books you’ve recommended, and eagerly anticipate the posts of those of you who are now taking part in the 30 Day Book Challenge.

Happy reading fellow bloggers.

~storytelling nomad~

What brings you here, dearest bloggers?

I came across this great blog post yesterday, discussing the bizarre and wonderful search terms that had led readers to that particular blog.  Needless to say, it was not long before I was investigating the search engine referrals on my own blog and having a good old giggle and raising a few eyebrows at the search terms that were bringing people to storytelling nomad.

So, what brings you here, dearest bloggers?  Apparently Google logos are as interesting to you as they are to me, because that search comes in at number one, generating a number of hits every day.  Wallpaper background is another top hit, although I think I only mentioned it once and I don’t think I was very interesting about it.  Sorry about that.  A few people have actually searched for storytelling nomad which just brings a smile to my face.  I love you, anonymous internet fans!

But what have been some of the more peculiar searches.  Here I list the top 10, in no particular order:

  1. what does it take to make people go on quotes
    You would think this is pretty self explanatory.  A good quote makes people go on quotes.  Also, there are none on my blog so I’m sorry to have disappointed you.
  2. happy cowgirl
    I hope you, erm, found what you were looking for Woody.
  3. very old positive lady; my nanna; creepy old women; attractive old lady photo
    There are soooo many search terms about old women, presumably leading to my inner nanna post.  I picked out a few of the best.  Firstly, I’m glad that someone searched for a ‘positive’ old lady, as opposed to the negative, grouchy ones that so often plague us?  No, I’m pretty sure your nanna won’t turn up if you Google ‘my nanna’.  Creepy old women…plural?? And an attractive old lady photo.  Look mister, you need to get out more.  Seriously.
  4. if you came to 2 doors ,one is good other is bad and they look the same what question will you ask
    I would ask which one would lead you to better grammar and punctuation.  Or, depending on your preference towards good or evil, you could just ask which one is, you know, good or evil? Or for better signage?  Come on man, you Googled this?
  5. do u love me wallpaper
    No, wallpaper doesn’t love you.  Also, wallpaper is inanimate and incapable of love.
  6. ‘inception’ was masterpiece
    *Giggles*.  This person was probably unimpressed with my stance on this commonly thrown around statement.  Find out more here. #itreallywasnt
  7. spiritually connected to animals
    I’m sure you are, no really.
  8. hell of my own making text
    Please don’t hurt me.
  9. if i am a tree in autumn
    Then I am the sky in summer. Hippie love.
  10. if you tell the truth you don’t need a good memory
    I think you might be on to something here…  Those of us with bad memories, there is hope for us yet!

Okay, so your turn.  What’s the best/craziest/creepiest/weirdest most unrelated term that someone has searched for to get to your blog?

~storytelling nomad~

Have you been tagged?

The lovely Angela Wallace has just tagged me on her blog in what’s called a meme.  As far as I can gather, it’s like a chain letter for bloggers.  Here we go…

Do you think you’re hot? I have a pretty attractive brain…I can’t prove it to you, but trust me, it’s smokin’.

Upload a picture or wallpaper that you’re using at the moment. I switch between dreamy scenery and fantasy scenes for my desktop wallpaper.

When was the last time you ate chicken meat? Yesterday…home made chicken soup nom nom

What were you thinking as you were doing this? That somebody probably should’ve thought up a better question than “when was the last time you ate chicken meat”.  In fact, I’m going to ask TWO new questions to make up for this travesty:

If you had to make a choice between never being able to read again, or never being able to write again, which would you choose? I think I’d have to go with never writing again.  I found a loophole you see…If I could read and still find inspiration to create stories…then I could just tell them and get someone else to write them.  I’m pretty clever like that.

If you could domesticate any wild animal, what would it be? A lion.  Because they’re like giant dogs, but cats.  If you haven’t heard of Christian the Lion watch this video:

Do you have nicknames? What are they? Not really. Can’t really do much with Katy.  I’ve had someone call me Kitty Kat Katy, while others just don’t understand the whole Katy with a ‘y’ thing as it’s not a common spelling in Australia, so they call me Kathy – no I didn’t forget how to spell my name douchebag, there’s no ‘h’ there for a reason!  One friend calls me Kat-why to emphasise the ‘odd’ spelling of my name.

Tag 8 blogging friends…

  1. Stef
  2. Angela
  3. Kate
  4. Danielle
  5. Charlotte
  6. Gabriellan
  7. Gajjex
  8. Andrew G. Cooper

Who’s listed as No. 1? Stef.  Our inner nannas have proclaimed us kindred spirits!  She also has a great blog over at dodging commas with some excellent writing tips amongst other great reads.

Say something about No. 5. I enjoy reading Charlotte’s posts, particularly what she had to say about females in fantasy.

How did you get to know No. 3? My NaNoWriMo writing buddy! We ‘met’ blogging through WordPress and we’ll be keeping each other motivated when we participate in NaNoWrMo this year.

How about No. 4. Again, through blogging.  Danielle is a 23 year old from Ireland and I love her accent. I’ve never actually heard it, but I love all Irish accents.

Leave a message for No. 6. Very impressed with the quality of your writing at such a young age.

Leave a lovey dovey message for No. 2. Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m sending blog love, right back at you.

Do No. 7 and No. 8 have any similarities? They are both very encouraging and supportive of my blog, and both have impressive blogs of their own.  They are also both male, which I think is worth mentioning, for no other reason than this list is 75% female.

Beginnings and Endings

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”– J. Pierpont Morgan

And so ends my first official week as a blogger.  23 posts, 13 subscriptions and over 500 hits later and I’m feeling pretty darn happy with my efforts (read: I’m awesome).  I even surprised myself in posting something every day for 8 consecutive days, an idea which I initially scoffed at.  I saw all the enthusiastic bloggers setting themselves a-story-a-day target, blogs about writing more, about writing every day, advocating to simply write write write and I thought to myself, ahh wouldn’t it be nice to have that much to say.  And yet, against all odds here I am, with my post a day and you as my witnesses that it actually happened.

Which brings me to what I have enjoyed most about this week: the comments and the feedback from fellow bloggers.  Oh! How my day improves when I receive that automated wordpress email, congratulating me that someone has enjoyed my post enough to click the ‘Like’ button.  I’ve been a uni student for quite some time now, and so admit to enjoying the guilty pleasure of being told, in writing, that I’m doing something right. High Distinction, 90%, good work, congratulations.  I don’t care how it comes, I just know I like it when it does. So sue me.  But for so long, writing has been more of a private passion for me, not something I was likely to share with anybody until it was perfect, until my best-seller was finished and ready to hit the shelves…and so feedback was evidently few and far between.  The self doubt was starting to get out of hand and I was ready to believe the little devil on my shoulder – that yes, my writing is rubbish and really there is no point even carrying on with this nonsense.

But alas, dear bloggers! You have renewed in me a confidence to carry on with the art, to make it better and to do exactly what I scoffed at in disbelief just one week ago … write write write.

~storytelling nomad~