Tuesday, October 31, 2006

E-Book Challenge & HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Check out Pbackwriter's blog for the results of the E-Book Challenge!

49 free e-books for you to read at your pleasure!!

As soon as Nano is done I'm going to have a sift through them.

I finished reading Clan of the Cave Bear last night, and its left me wanting more. I so much want to start on the next book in the series, 'Valley of the Horses', but after the emotional journey I've been on I need the break, plus nano is only a day away.

I think I'll hold off finding a new book to read until Christmas because I'm getting the new Terry Goodkind book 'Phantom' and I am absolutely hanging out for it! So it'll be nice to be able to browse through the e-books on PBW's website until Christmas time rolls up.


I carved a pumpkin yesterday. It kinda looks really evil this year. I'll take a photo when I get the chance and post it for all to see (not that anyone in the world ever reads my blog. Hehehe.. I feel like I'm just talking to myself, really. Dear Diary - today blah blah blah. Haha.)

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Clan of the Cave Bear

Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel is one of the best books I've ever read. The characters and environment are sooo well described and researched that I feel like I know the era in which it is set so well that I could survive there just as the characters could. Its also made me re-evaluate everything that I've come to know about our modern existence! I dont think I'll ever look at the world in the same way again!

I recommend this book to absolutely everyone. Its so well written that there is absolutely no way you cant fall in love with the characters. On the way to work I was reading a particularly sad and heart-wrenching part and I had to turn towards the window and wipe my tears away. I was effected all thoughout the morning and moped about with a morose look on my face. Even now, just thinking about it, the book is still effecting me.

I'm not far from the end and will probably finish it on the train journey home, but I'm not sad about it because to my delight I've discovered that there are at least 3 or 4 books following this one. Hoorah! There's even a film out with Daryl Hannah as 'Ayla', but I hear it was a crap film, so I'm not sure if I want to ruin the illusion, and will keep my visual version of the story stuffed up in my head.

Here's the blurb:

The Clan of the Cave Bear is the start of Jean M Auel's epic Earth's Children series. When her parents are killed by an earthquake, five-year-old Ayla wanders through the forest completely alone. Cold, hungry, and badly injured by a cave lion, the little girl is as good as gone until she is discovered by a group who call themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear. This clan, left homeless by the same disaster, has little interest in the helpless girl who comes from the tribe they refer to as the "Others". Only their medicine woman sees in Ayla a fellow human, worthy of care. She painstakingly nurses her back to health--a decision that will forever alter the physical and emotional structure of the clan. Although this story takes place roughly 35,000 years ago, its cast of characters could easily slide into any modern tale. The members of the Neanderthal clan, ruled by traditions and taboos, find themselves challenged by this outsider, who represents the physically modern Cro-Magnons. And as Ayla begins to grow and mature, her natural tendencies emerge, putting her in the middle of a brutal and dangerous power struggle.

I feel like I've had my head stuffed in the sand. I cant believe this book slipped past me until just a few weeks ago. Makes me wonder what others brilliant books I'm missing out on!

Suggestions on what to read next are welcome!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Prelude To Nano

I've cleaned the kitchen, bathroom, lounge and done some clothes washing. Anything else can wait until December.

I'm not planning on doing much Monday and Tuesday (except for carving a pumpkin for Halloween and heading out to the pub followed by a trip to some ancient stones to catch naked witches chanting in the night), so today was my only day to get my half of the house-cleaning out of the way before I slack off for a month and focus on writing.

I've got two days to finish reading the book I'm reading at the moment.. which I really really dont want to finish coz its really really good! (I'll devote an entire post to that later!), and I've gotta spend some time figuring out a rough timetable for the month ahead.

I can feel the nano buzz coming on already.

I'm going to finish this post, eat some chinese food and watch a couple of episodes of House. Sweet!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Word Count 2

After lunch I counted up all the words I'd typed from lunchtime until home time and it came to 3873 (and I'm not including all the file closures I had to do).

So for a full day at work I typed 7761 words! Even if I take of 500 words to cover headers etc its still over 7000.

Such a damn shame that they're not my words but the words of boring corporate drones.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Word Count

I was just wondering how much I actually type while I'm at work. Although I didn't have a lot of files/tapes to do this morning I added up the words anyway and it came to 3888! And thats just for stuff I typed before lunchtime.

It definitely makes me feel less worried about reaching the Nano word count in 30 days. In fact it seems positively simple. *touchwood*

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Three C's

I was on my way to work this morning thinking about this whole writing thing. I'm pretty sure I'm still just an amateur, coz I'm hanging out for Nanowrimo to be my motivating force to stop procrastinating while PBW writes almost 200,000 a month and up to 9 books a year.

As far as I can tell there are the three C's to writing.

Courage &

I know I have the confidence to write a book. I'm getting there on the courage to actually write it (alcohol does wonders when you cant stop cringing at the fluff you think you're writing), its just the commitment factor that I havent quite got wrapped around my finger.

I know I can do commitment - I'm married. But commitment to see a book through to the end? I'm terrible with tying up loose ends. Thats my worry, that at the end of November I'll have a mostly written, almost finished, not quite there, book - and I wont have the three C's to finish it.

I'm thinking that I should probably spend a lot of time drunk at the end of November. If not to help boost my courage to finish the book, then to drown my sorrows at not finishing it.

Actually, scrap the above. The Evil Kate was sitting on my shoulder whispering that into my ear.

If I listen to the Good Kate, she is saying I should just stick with it. Be confident because I CAN do it. Have courage because I WILL do it, and be committed because I WANT to see it through to completion. I'm sure I can do it. ..I think.. Yes, I can.. Or can I?... Yes. I will do it. Umm... ...........The end of November shall show all I guess.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A New Light

Perhaps I was wrong about this job.

There is a communal internet computer that people can use, and it allows access to Hotmail and Blogger. Thats all I need to keep me happy during long boring hours of work.

I'm doped up on Lemsip today, so I'm a bit lightheaded and confused. At least there is absolutely zero work to do. I did a bit of work on the chapter outline for The Chocolatier, but I'm just too screwed up in the head today. I think I'll even cancel the piano lesson tomorrow evening. I'm sure my student can amuse herself with scales etc for another week. I've gotta get my head back into order before Nano starts!

I'm Going Back To Bed

It started with a tickle in my throat ysterday, now its hit with a stuffy head, glands the size of boulders sticking out of my neck, and a weariness that could make me fall asleep standing up.

What a shit way to feel on the roll up to Nano. Is my body trying to tell me I shouldn't do it? Coz I aint listening if it is.

Perhaps its because I forgot my sister's birthday the other day, and will most likely forget my brother's birthday tomorrow. Ha.. its not like they're children anymore so what does it matter.

This sucks. The last thing I need is to go to work, pick up more germs, and type up loads of boring insurance stuff.

Perhaps I could have a nap in one of the meeting rooms at lunchtime. Yeah, that sounds like a plan. Gotta get my strength back asap. Nano is in SEVEN days.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Banging My Head Against a Brick Wall

Why is it that when we reach a certain age hangovers start hitting you like two bricks to the side of your head and a kick in the guts?

My cure is vegemite toast and berocca! Cant go wrong! (Berocca is a vitamin drink.. any Aussie would know what I'm talking about!). I'm not a coffee drinker, and I rarely have tea, so loads of water and the above two items are always the first things I have after a night out on the piss.

So today I'm not going to do anything.

Martin has woken up all excited about jamming with his mate Andy and getting the band up and running again and he wants me out of the house. No prob, coz I've been given the green light to buy some new clothes (WOO HOO!). Although, he's playing Queen's Fat Bottomed Girls at full blast. Is he trying to tell me something?

SO anyway, back to book stuff. I should be writing the above blubber on my other blog.

I walked past a chocolate shop the other day (yes I am a chocoholic but I did manage to walk past without buying any) and started daydreaming about owning my own chocolate shop not unlike in the movie Chocolat... then *smack* a book idea strikes me between the eyes. It'll have a working title of 'The Chocolatier' (not really sure if thats a real word but I dont care!) and it'll be along the same lines of Stephen King's IT. The Chocolatier will be some sort of ghost or evil spirit who feeds off children's souls and when the heroine moves back to the town (after her Grandmother dies and leaves her her house) she starts to investigate into it more and blah blah blah some exciting stuff happens and I think I might end it on a bit of low note. Happy endings are for chumps.

So, yeah. Thats it. On Friday at lunchtime I started planning out about 10 of the chapters, although I really should have done a complete outline first but oh well, and I think I'll continue working on it up until Nano starts and then do my other book with a working title of 'Fleeting Life'. Its about a girl who is killed and walks around as a ghost trying to figure stuff out and find her killer etc. I'll write more about it later.

Hmm.. methinks I've got a bit of a dark streak in me. I cant seem to come up with ideas for books that dont involve dead people. And come to think of it in my epic fantasy, 'Arkehdar', I've got a few grisly deaths planned. At least I've got a chidren's book lurking in the back of my head thats not so depressing or dark, and my book about the cloud people.

Ok, must go, Martin is waving his appendage in my face trying to get me off the computer. Yay, time to go shopping for new clothes!!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"I Turn To Type Again"

I wrote this while slogging away at a previous crap job. I think it fits nicely with the predicament I'm in now:

"As I sit and type yet another million words dictated by someone less interesting than me in an office with an atmosphere not unlike the ghastly gaseous and unbreathable venus, I watch the clock.

Tick tick tick...

Tick tick tick...

I watch it and wait, then turn to type again.

This existence sucks... it reeks of failure and stagnant servitude. I'm replaceable and unimportant, yet minute to minute I am extremely important.

If I dont type, letters dont go out.

If letters dont go out, people get irate.

If people get irate then they tell other people, who love to take it upon themselves to abuse any and all hapless, replaceable and unimportant servants of the system: Me.


My life is a wheel. It turns and turns, always getting somewhere, but never anywhere new. Punctures, like sneezes and hiccups, become an interesting and entertaining side show, splitting the mundane moments into exciting chapters which carry the day forward faster.

How sad it is to wish time to scurry along faster. Who in their right mind would crave for the days to fly by without depth and intrigue, all for the sake of ending the painful moments of hideous servitude? As time passes we grow older, and who wants to be an old clockwatcher?

Tick tick tick...

I turn to type again."

Crushed Under the Weight of Responsibility

It looks like this new job may be more permanent than I first thought. After briefly discussing it with the hubby, he's of the view that I can not take a job with a salary lower than this one. My dilemma - all the jobs I want have considerably lower salaries.

Bugger. I hate money.. and I especially hate this money-driven existence we have survive through.

I cant stand slaving away at the keyboard typing up stuff for someone else. It makes me feel crushed and caged.

All the more reason why this Nano book MUST be well written and ready to send off to prospective agents/publishers by Christmas. MUST MUST MUST!!!

I will not live my life as someone's bitch, typing up their boring corporate letters all day every day. Travelling in sardine cans with imposing pricks pressed up against me, rushing through the sheep-like hordes trying to abide by someone elses strict timetable!

F#%&@# H%##!!!!!

I WILL make it as a writer. I WILL be successful. I WILL work my own hours. And most importantly - I WILL be happy!

I, Kate Wheeler, hereby swear that by my 30th birthday (Its only 18 months away - oh f*** is it really that close!) will have at least one book published or in line to be published.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Burning Feet

I started my new job today as an audio typist, and I'm surprised that I still have the energy left to type.

I get an hour at lunch in which to concentrate on my book, and also the time spent on the train to and from work (at a reasonable hour in the morning! My hours are 9.30 - 5.30).

I've got two weeks to settle in before Nano time begins.

The new job is ok.. its incredibly boring work as all insurance/claims stuff is, but the people are nice and my desk is ma-hoo-sive!

One tragedy though - NO INTERNET!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!! I'm ok with no hotmail. Thats expected. But no other access??? That means no casual surfing at lunch time, and more importantly NO BLOGGING. Bugger. I suppose I could post via email, but if my email account is monitored then I dont want any work people seeing my posts when I should be working.

I suppose its a good thing, though. It means any spare time available I should devote it to my book!

Ok, I'll grudgingly accept 'no internet' as a positive point.

My feet hurt though.


Drinking Vodka and Orange last night (The Screwdriver!) brought my early drinking years flooding back. It was when I was just a little innocent youngling starting out at university.

The main thing it has brought back from the darkest corners of my memory, is the nights of experiemental witchcraft, gothic nightclubs, and carving pumpkins for Halloween.

I had an email recently from my Uni friend who I used to drink with and do all of the above, and she seems to be doing well. It took until yesterday with a few drinks in my system to realise that there was a character staring me in the face! My friend Allison is so unique, and if I'm to write this book in a month then I need characters that are going to come easily. There's nothing easier than basing a character on an actual person.

So, having said that, I searched through the rough ideas I've got spinning around in my head for this book to see what other characers I could base on people (I cant believe I didn't think of this before. How daft am I!!). After reading The Lovely Bones the grandmother character stood out quite a bit as being a little bit similar to my own real grandmother. So, I've decided to work her into my story. I think it would also be nice for her memory, and for myself, to weave her into the book so that she becomes immortal.

I hope to get a rough synopsis fully formed in my head by the first day or two of November. But basically the story goes like this:

Introduce Girl, she works at a cafe. Life is ok, she's on the brink of starting new and wonderful things.
Girl is killed.
Girl doesn't realise she's dead.
Girl wanders around, trying to find her killer.
While wandering around and waiting for her killer to show himself, girl falls in love with boy.
Girl learns how to 'appear' to the living. Girl and boy meet and fall in love etc.
Girl finds killer as boy realises girl is dead...

Ummm.... and I'll leave it there. I wouldn't want to spoil the ending for you all. I think I've got a nice twist planned.

So, Vodka, thank you for your help. Thats two characters down - a few more to go!

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Lovely Bones?

I just finished reading The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and I'm not really sure what to think.

Personally I think it dragged in the first half, started to get a bit better, then had a wierd-ass bit at the end, and then just an ending. Its like things almost got explained, but then the story moved on to something else.

I dunno. I think I'm just a bit annoyed because I expected to be blown away. Dont get me wrong, the actual writing was really really good (and made me feel inadequate!), its just the plot etc that annoyed me. That whole falling to Earth thing in Ruth's body just made me screw my face up, and not in a good way.

This sucks. I dont want to write or think badly of a book. I'm not a reviewer, and I dont ever plan on being one. I think if I'm really honest with myself I'm not angry at this book at all, I'm angry at myself because I feel like I dont have the vocabulary to be able to pull together enough threads to weave a satisfying, cloaking book. I feel like that even with all the words in the English language stuffed in my head, its like they're stuffed in too tight.. or stuffed into separate rooms that I've forgotten about and I can seem to pull them out.

I'm going to try to write this NaNoWriMo novel using simple words to start with. Just so that I can get the story down. Someone once told me that that was how Hemmingway wrote, and that its really a lot more difficult than it sounds. I tried it once when I was particularly fired up about my Epic Fantasy, Arkedhar, and although it was difficult it wasn't difficult in the way I thought it would be.

In order to strip down a story to its barest bones you have to fight all the creativity in your head to stay back, like putting up a dam. That was the difficult part. I decided, though, to let through any creative descriptions/words that came easily to me. If I had to pause and try to think up the perfect adjective for a certain scene, then I stopped myself and just moved on with simplistic words. It was my sort of compromise, and I think it will work perfectly for my Nano book.

I'm hoping to start November with a few days of solid outlining and planning, plus a bit of research etc. Then have about 25-20 days of solid writing. I figure that if I do at least 3000 words a day then I should be able to cover it. Then the remainder of the month is for editing and adding in more creativity. I worry that this part is actually going to take the longest, but to be honest, the idea behind Nano is to write 50,000 words in a month. It doesn't state that it has to be perfectly edited and ready to send. If I finish the editing process within November, then thats fantastic, if I dont then I can still continue to work on it after November but the point is I actually achieved the 50,000 in that month. I hope thats right. It sounds right in my head.

I'm also hoping that I blitz the 50,000 and even go way overboard. Fingers crossed on that one.

Time will tell, I guess.

Other books I've read...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Write away.

So, I should be writing every day, but sadly I'm not.

Martin has an exam next Wednesday so that means that I'm having to do almost 100% of the housework - which leave no time for writing.

How do you have time to write in this blog though? - I hear you ask...

Ahh, well.. ummmm...

Gotta go.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Who am I?

I think perhaps one of the best things to do when you start a new blog is to put in a post about yourself. That way you can link to it from your side bar and then if anyone stumbles across your page they can find out who and what its about without too much hassle.

Having said that I should stop stalling and creating hassle and just move on...

I am Kate.

I'm 28, and I've wanted to be a writer since I was little.

I've also wanted to be a nun (after watching the Sound of Music for the first time), a circus performer, a pianist, actress, geologist, magician, nurse, teacher, chocolate taster, cinema usher, rich oil tycoon, archaeologist (thanks to Indiana Jones for that one), Egypt historian/librarian (The Mummy), gymnast, olympian (no chance!), medieval princess, ghost, guest on sesame street... ok I'm getting off track..

The point is.. since I was little I've strived towards being a pianist, studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree, and a geologist (after watching Volcano and Dante's Peak!), studying for a Bachelor of Science degree. While I was doing my BA I slipped in a few writing courses and began my -what i like to call - Epic Fantasy Novel. Geology, however, took over and my Epic Novel sat on a low simmer in the back of my mind.

University finished. Geology jobs dried up. And my ambition for anything sank lower and lower until I was sitting at the bottom of a hole. So, armed with two degrees I flipped my entire non-existent career on its head and worked crap jobs (except the jobs working in bookshops!) in order to fund my desire to travel and drag myself out of the career-less hole I had naively fallen into.

2003 I left Australia and set off on my own to the UK where I worked at a pub and thoroughly enjoyed being a lazy bum.

Enter Martin, a whirlwind romance, and some more crap jobs.

Three years later and we are married and I now live in the UK full time where I am still working crap jobs, but the difference is ---> the 'writing bug' has bitten a great big chunk out of my arse and I am now, finally, working towards being a published author.

A friend, from Australia, and I share a website where we have posted some short stories and other stuff. Also, I have started this blog. (Jane has started her own blog too ...well it was her idea first... called SaucierFood).

We have both decided to enter NaNoWriMo for the first time this year (2006), and I am quaking in my boots! I hate to admit it, but I'm a total newbie at writing. Well I have been struggling with my Epic Novel for 8 years now as well as doing short stories and poetry so I'm not a complete dunce, but I haven't completed a novel yet - or submitted anything for publication.

I am determined to scrap the crap jobs and write full time.

So this, my writer's blog - Quilling Time - is a diary of my journey and I hope to be posting news of lucrative publishing deals before I hit the big 3-0! Thats my goal!


Monday, October 09, 2006

Tools of the Trade

I like to use an Alphasmart 3000 for writing. Its just like a laptop but without all the distractions! It has a tiny little screen that shows four lines of text, and all you can do on it is write!

What more do you need?

Its a full sized keyboard, and takes up to 100 pages of writing. To transfer your masaterpiece to a PC just plug it in and press 'send'! Its as easy as that. You can watch all your words race across the screen as though a ghost is producing it.
By the way, this light weight little machine runs on 3 AA batteries for up to 700 hours!

I could definitely sell these things! I just cant stop raving about them.

Unfortunately, they're not being made any more.

BUT - there are some upgraded versions. There is the Alphasmart NEO, which is pretty similar but has 6 lines of text on the screen and a few other features. And then there is the Alphasmart Dana (and Dana Wireless), which encorporate the PDA software and have a load of other features (ie more distractions!!!!).

Check out ebay for an Alphasmart 3000. Thats where I got mine, for under £100. Definitely worth it!

For good old fashioned note-taking, I use my 'Book of Secrets' notebook. My Mum bought it for me for Christmas the year before I left Australia to live in the UK. I carry it with me everywhere! Its great for jotting down notes, ideas, quotes, names, character ideas etc. I recommend to any writer to always have a pen and notebook handy (also keep one by your bed to scribble down your dreams - they're a great source of writing ideas!)

Just the other day when I was driving home from work I had to pull over in a pub carpark and jot down this awesome idea I had for a book. I haven't got a name for this book yet, but I will probably start on it in December after NaNoWriMo.

The idea came from a photograph that I took in June on my way back from my honeymoon.

Cant you just see castles and towers containing creatures of the ether in this picture??

Friday, October 06, 2006

Creation of Quilling Time


Quilling Time has begun.

I am Kate.

I am a writer and hope to very soon be published.

I have started this blog to capture my adventures as a writer and I've started it in good time too - only 3.5 weeks until NaNoWriMo kicks off. This will be my first year as a participant and I've got butterflies tickling my insides. I've got a story in mind, and I've got all my equipment set up and ready to go. All I need now is courage!

I've gathered some interesting writing links, and hope to continually add to this. If you would like a link to your blog/site added then just leave a comment on one of my entries (they get emailed to me).

I do hope to have a message board installed shortly, but building a blog with all the decorative delights does take time. And time is precious.

I hope any budding writers find my posts interesting/helpful/enter any other word here, and I hope that my career takes off really soon so that I can have something to blog about. On that 'wishful thinking' note if you would like to wade through the oddities of my head then skip over to my other blog Kate Daydreams.