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Because my hair is falling out I have been thinking about just chopping it all off. Pixie cut style. (or, possibly, ‘MUM STYLE’)

I’ve never had short hair before though. I don’t know if… I would like it. If I could maintain it. If it would end up sticking up all angles like weird cat bum fluff.

My celeb hair doppelganger (sadly, just the hair) – is Diane Kruger. High forehead, thin fine hair with a natural wave, funny baldy spots above the temples.


I wish she’d cut all her locks off so I could see if it would work for me.

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Where the homework tries to happen

Currently working on:

Rukan v64000

30,108 words (the dreaded 30k wall)

Second world fantasy spliced with murder mystery. The best writing I have, because I have gone slowly and tried very hard to show. I’m not sure how this story ends. I have ideas. I suspect there will be massive revisions required to wrangle a good story out of it. But… it feels like the right story for now.

Other stories:

I Wake Up Unknown v2-ish

18,000 words culled from initial 47,000 pantsed words

Urban fantasy spilled out with no plan until no plot got the better of me. It spiralled way out of my control. I think it could still work. Might come back to this but should finish Rukan first.

The Other You v1

3,900 words

I doodle on this from time to time. It’s basically a romance. In the way The Time Traveller’s Wife is a romance. I love this story but have 2 problems: 1) I think it’s a bigger story than I can write at the moment, and 2) I don’t know where to set it. Australia, NZ, UK, Somewhere Not Quite Defined. This inability to pick a place bugs me.

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It’s MID MAY already! Argh! So here are my likes & dislikes for the month:

TokyoMilk - Dead Sexy perfumeWhistles Francoise tote in mustard


  • TokyoMilk Perfume. This brand has an interesting collection of scents. This time round I bought Dead Sexy which is a vanilla-based scent (notes are: deep vanilla, exotic wood, white orchid and ebony) It’s sweet but not in a foody-cloying way. Normally I’m all about fresh-floral fragrances but this sweet woodsy one really got to me. I think it’s a perfect warm fragrance for autumn, and bonus: it lingers on the skin.

  • Whistles Francoise tote. I have been looking for a new bag for a while and when I found this one on ASOS, I was so excited. It ticked all the boxes: a nice large construction, not too boxy, flexible soft thick leather, in a lush dark yellow, with gold hardware. AND it’s reminiscent of a Mulberry Bayswater (one day, I’ll get me one). It was an expensive purchase for me but I hope to lug this beauty around for years to come. (The Whistles website has the measured dimensions for this bag as much larger than what it looked like. Although their website is a hot mess, their online customer service was incredible, responding to my email straight away with the actual dimensions, and in a fab & friendly tone of voice too)

  • Beetroot & feta. I’m pretty sure these 2 food items were invented for each other. Like, they go a long way towards proving there is such a thing as soulmates. Borsch Vodka & Tears (apparently a bit of a Melbourne institution) is a restaurant serving Polish-style tapas and you can get yourself a good fix there. Warning: a great selection of food means there’s a high chance of food coma.
  • Wardrobe explosion zone. We have a long built-in wardrobe in our main bedroom and honestly, whoever designed it was just stupid! It’s an exercise in wasted storage space. My clothes are jumbled all over the place. Extra shelves & drawers are sorely needed.
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First three books for 2012! >

The Last Stormlord cover

The Last Stormlord by Glenda Larke

While the setting and system of magic are interesting and new — I haven’t come across anything like them before — so much of the rest of this book is hackneyed stereotypes. It reminded me why I dislike reading fantasy sometimes.

Main character who is poor & downtrodden but has a Hidden Gift and is The Only Hope.

Another main character is a girl growing up in a brothel, about to graduate into a life of prostitution against her wishes (GROAN). And her older sister, already serving in the brothel, is the Happy Whore who preens & primps and says things like “it’s not such a bad life.”

Then there’s this description of another female character:

“… Laisa stared at him, her dark blue eyes wide with feigned shock. She had just freed her long blond hair from its combs and it tumbled over her shoulders in thick waves, but for once she appeared to be oblivious to the impact of her sensual beauty.” — these sort of stock descriptions really don’t work for me.

And then there’s the Big Bad Guy Who Wants More Power. We know he’s the big bad because he Brutally Kills Innocents.

Like I said, wonderful setting, an arid desert landscape that is colourful, meaningful, variable. The magic, to sense and control water, is well explained and felt. And the story itself picked up too. I plodded my way into the first half, basically screeds of set up, only to find myself picking the book up to read frequently.

(A good indicator whether a book isn’t that good is if I’m happy to sit & stare out the bus window on the way home instead of dig it out of my bag to read)

But stereotypes. Sigh. I need better characters than these. So I won’t read any more of this series and this book’s getting donated.

The Spirit Lens cover

The Spirit Lens by Carol Berg

He’s a dowdy non-mage librarian. He’s a dandy fop with a fondness for lace. They fight crime!*

Seriously though. I liked this one. But it took me a good chunka time to get into it, and that was the writing style. Quite formal, descriptive, a little old skool, the language was entirely suitable for this story. I really ENJOYED the writing after a while too. It just required perseverance and some kind of mind switch or something.

I think this was very very well plotted — god, I loved uncovering each piece of information as Portier, the main character, did. I loved watching things come together. For most of the middle of the book, I was having a brilliant time reading this. Felt like the wheels came off somewhat towards the end, as I realised things weren’t going to come to an agreeable tidy end. I would’ve liked a bit more certainty. But in a way, the end of this book was more true to life than, say, true to a CSI episode.

A very good read though. Will definitely be seeking out the other books in this series. Glad I stuck through my initial “ew I don’t like this writing” reaction.

One Day cover

One Day by David Nicholls

(spoilery thoughts here, folks, so skip if you haven’t read it yet)

Somebody gave this book to me. Maybe my mum. Or s-i-l. Or maybe loaned it, I should find out, in case they want it back.

A great premise, one day in their lives, through the years, the same day. I could see myself writing a story with that premise. Well executed and finished. I have the movie version of the book, the one with the movie poster on the cover, and didn’t even realise it was Anne Hathaway until a colleague told me. EXCUSE ME? (that’s the sound of righteous-indignation-arriving-a-little-bit-later-than-everyone-else) She is utterly not who I had in mind as Emma. Like everyone else.

Her death surprised me, although there were touches of something like that coming, the careful detail of that day and where they were at in their lives… So when it happened, I felt like – oh, goodness, that’s what it was, all those senses. I LOVE it when authors do this. Whack the stuffing out of you. Not afraid to change the rules on you, the unsuspecting reader.

I’m rather fond of killing off characters myself.

And you know what, the books I really enjoy the most, I’ve said this before, are the ones with fabulous characterisation. And witty dialogue. How funny Emma is! A fabulous character. Give me some tragic drama beautiful characterisation any day. I’ll gobble it up.

* Read about They Fight Crime on And check out for a brilliant story idea generator.

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  • Getting fit. The soccer pre-season is starting and here I am. Haven't played for 5 years, haven't done a lick of proper exercise for 5 months, but getting involved. Hopefully the feeling returns to my legs soon.

  • Starting work again. So far, so enjoyable.

  • Finding a place to live. Now we get to buy furniture! That will be nice after so long living with other people's furniture, wobbly IKEA crap.

  • This hot December. It doesn't feel Christmassy. I miss icy pavements, lights sparkling in the night-time, roast meals in warm pubs with good friends, snuggling up on the couch while it's cold outside, Christmas shopping on the high street, dressing up for Christmas parties, mince pies, wreaths on doors. I'm remembering all the wonderful things about London December.
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The sound of wind at night is one I find comforting. (As long as the windows have cardboard wedged in between window & frame to stop them rattling.) Although I hate wind during the day – it enrages me in this general I-hate-the-world kind of way. It spoils daytimes but enriches nightimes.

I wonder if the comfort comes from being born in Wellington, where it has a constant presence, where my growing up nights were ones of being snug in bed while it howled outside. But then I think if I truly had a Wellingtonian in the heart of me I wouldn’t hate the wind so during the day. Nevermind.

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I keep reading about how dystopian stories are big in YA at the moment — a trend (re)kick-started by The Hunger Games, as these sort of stories aren’t exactly new to this segment. The latest is this article from The Australian:

End of the world as we know it — “You may have missed it, in the face of the apparently inexhaustible appetite for paranormal romance involving vampires, fallen angels and werewolves, but in the past few years another very different genre has been quietly gathering strength in young adult literature.”

(The Hunger Games has been on my to-read-list for soo long. I really should find a copy!)

I wish I had the desire to revisit and finish Alice properly. Because it’s dystopian YA. I must’ve tapped into the zeitgeist. It’s about a girl living in a bleak corporate world, her future mapped out for her by the society she belongs to. She dares to break free and pursue a more difficult and uncertain life but it’s a life she chooses for herself… I mean, as a sellable concept, I think it has a lot of potential.

But the thought of picking that story up again – argh! I don’t know if I can. I wrote Alice in 2005. Six years ago! I’m not sure I ever want to see another word of that story again, let alone dive into the amount of work that needs doing to complete & polish it. Working on Alice would feel like going backwards, not forwards.

Why isn’t it the story I just wrote?

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Over the last few months, I’ve learned a few things about having a Good Swim. The kind when you walk home afterward with legs like jelly, flushed with endorphins, feeling great because you’ve just had an epic session in the pool. Here’s what I do to get that swimmer’s high:

  • Eat 1 hour beforehand. Something substantial enough to sustain but not too heavy. I like a small bowl of bran flakes with a sliced banana, dollops of greek yogurt and a splash of milk.

  • Drink 1 litre of water in the hour before the swim. This seems to be key to not getting one of those CRACKING headaches. I’ve had a few of those and boy, were they awful. My head felt like it was going to split open.

  • Rinse your hair thoroughly first and comb a conditioner treatment through it, and leave it in under your swim cap for the duration.

  • Push through the first 10-15 minutes. These are the hardest. You can’t breathe. Your arms hurt. Don’t stop and don’t switch to breaststroke, just keep going. Because it will get somehow magically easier after that. I guess your body acclimatises to the rhythm and effort?

  • Keep your head down – look at the bottom of the pool – and try to look behind you when you turn to breathe.

  • Don’t forget you have legs. If you’re like me, you’ll be a lazy kicker and all your energy will be expended in your arms. And if you’ve got puny arms like me, that means getting tired too early. I’ve been up in the gym floor and looked down over the pool before, and I’ve seen how a lot of people don’t kick properly or even at all, especially when turning their head to breathe.

  • Buy goggle de-fogger instead of new goggles. I think I went through 4 or 5 pairs before I figured that out. I heart goggle de-mister!

  • Drink loads of water afterward too.

What I still need to learn:

  • How to tumble turn! Water up nose, ending up too deep, going sideways… gah! Not fun. I shall continue to turn the manual way I think…

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I’m back from holiday with a stack of updates to make. Hope you all had a great festive season like I did! First up I will finish with my 2010 reading list updates.

30th book in 2010 was:

Cover of White Teeth

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

I got this book last Xmas from my sister-in-law. I’d tried reading this a loooong time ago and failed miserably — I got super bored and didn’t finish and thought it was possibly one of the worst books I’d tried reading. So, I was reluctant to pick it up again. But it was on my reading list and I felt obligated, so I did. And I’m glad. I whipped through it and finished it the day before we flew out on holiday. Perhaps I am maturing as a reader?! I enjoyed it this time! It was well-written, interesting flawed characters, and I liked seeing the families grow and change over time. (Maybe I need to try finishing Lord of the Rings again…)

31st book in 2010:

Cover of Last Night at Chateau Marmont

Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger

Airport book — perfect reading for a flight, a little something flirty and lite. Delivered to expectations. I have read all of her books now and still think The Devil Wears Prada was the best. This one is about a woman who has to deal with her husband becoming a famous musician and how that changes their lives. It was a bit dull to be honest! I left it in NZ for my mum to get rid of…

Cross-posted from

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I’m up to page 66 in this editing business. There are a total of 180 pages right now. Although it’s nice to THINK I’m a third of the way through, I don’t think I actually am since there are so many holes to fill later on.

I’m doing a very half-assed pass through. Sometimes I lie in bed at night and realise things that I should’ve picked up and corrected. So I go back and correct them the next time I sit down. Hmm. I am too close to this text to do a proper edit. Today on Mary Catelli’s blog, I saw a post of hers about putting stories on the back burner once you’ve finished the draft. Which I absolutely agree with. Once I’ve done this pass, Molly’s Gift is being put down to simmer. (I was thinking of the term “back burner” and I assume it is a cooking phrase — turning down the heat on the back burner and letting something simmer there till it’s done)

Picture of pot on a back burner

My last story is still sitting there, turning into mush.

Oh, back burnering! How I look forward to that. I feel very meh about this story right now. I’m gnawing at it, resenting it for how long it is taking, dutifully obeying its wishes to be finished. Every night that I don’t edit, and fritter away my time on TV and the internet and crap like that, I am consumed with guilt. Nobody else is going to finish this story so just frickin do it already.

Cross-posted from

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The A-Team (or, “That movie that starts with A that has those people in it” as I kept calling it) – Ridiculous. But you figured that would be the case going in. You knew that was the case when they flew a helicopter upside down. Don’t expect anything and you won’t be disappointed.

The A Team

New books - Added to my reading list, John Scalzi’s The Last Colony and Elizabeth Bear’s Chill, purchased from the awesomely geektastic store Forbidden Planet. I could spend a lotta money on sci fi books there.

Cold War KidsEvery Man I Fall For – Darling song of the moment that I’m playing on repeat. Seriously I think I listened to this 25 times on Saturday while wrestling writing my current WIP.

Haircut – No more scraggly ends!

Inception - A good and solid original movie. Keeps you thinking after. Not as hard to follow as I’d expected. Loved the ambiguous ending.


Coffee - With 2 of my buddies at Lola & Simon, my favourite cafe in London. V v v good coffee, delish range of cakes & goodies (try the banana bread!)

Jack the Ripper walking tour – Which I’ve been meaning to do for, like, forever. Okay. Ever since I moved to London four years ago. I used to work at Tower Hill so was good to return to the area and get an insight into the history of familiar streets.

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Stupid ways to earn a living #2: writing

"I know. You’re thinking, what the hell? That’s a weird topic, considering a sizeable proportion of Iwilldothatformoney’s team are writers. The thing is, we’re not pretending anything. We know Iwilldothatformoney is never going to make money — we produce this blog for the mere joy of enriching the world every day with pithy, insightful and witty commentary... And as for our other writing, well, we do that because we’re mental. A strong dose of insanity is needed for someone to want to be a writer."
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Finally wrote & published another Kayleigh-Anne Boyd post to the blog. She makes me cringe a bit, this character.

How to snag a footballer in 4 easy steps: the pregnancy trap by Kayleigh-Anne Boyd (aged 22 and one half)

"She has always wanted to be a mega, mega celebrity. Now with Bolton Wanderers player Dwayne White firmly in her sights, Kayleigh-Anne Boyd inacts a four step plan to getting her dream wedding and becoming a WAG..."

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This also looks great. I always wondered how Peter Jackson would create 'heaven' but figured he'd do it well. A little Vincent Ward-ish (what dreams may come) perhaps? I thought the book was fantastic, in particular the parts which were quite paranormal (the parts my mum didn't like) alongside the hopeless reality of it. I can't wait to see this movie.

Again, they've disabled embedding. I don't get that policy - wouldn't you want to spread your message as far as you could? Why limit how viral your campaign could be?

Lovely Bones trailer on YouTube
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Looks kinda cool! Plus, Arcade Fire song!

Because they 'disabed embedding on request'....

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Some of the stuff we have posted recently:

Reading incomprehension: why vocabulary is important

After a recent A Level exam, a bunch of students – around 1,160 of them have so far joined the Facebook group – complained that a question was too difficult to understand. The question in question was, “How far do you agree that Hitler’s role 1933-45 was one of despotic tyranny?".


Gyms: exploiting your self esteem for profit

I've decided to start a gym and plunder people's bank accounts for the price of their body image shame. It's a no brainer business! People hate being fat but they also hate going to the gym...


Postal delays expected, no-one cares

Another fecking strike has been announced, this time by the Communication Workers Union. The union has accused Royal Mail of cutting employees' pay and reducing services.


Suicide squad: Met gives advice to cyclists

Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, is making a lot of noise about cycling in London as an alternative to driving. Not only is it better for the environment, he tells us, but it is quicker – and, most importantly, cheaper. In our experience, cyclists generally fall into three distinct categories: the old ladies, the average joes, and the wankers.


Plus check out the cool drawings another of our colleagues is contributing...

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4 reasons why the beauty industry thinks you're a sucker

Madonna's Immoveable Face"So, I'm less than 30 years old, but the gap is closing, and I've noticed my face has started crinkling up in places and staying that way even when I'm not grinning like a maniac.

I've started looking for ways to stop my face doing that.

Like many women, my first step is purchasing a range of creams, oils and unguents.

I've come to loathe the advertising for all that gunk -- yet I still use it on my face! We live in a cynical, cynical world. Unfortunately I'm so tangled up in the great big lumbering lying beast of the beauty and anti-aging industry, that while I don't believe the promises it makes to me, I still try to turn back time. I am a woman. We are not supposed to get older. Just look at Madonna "My face hasn't moved since 1983" Ciccone...."
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We posted more stuff this week! On a roll:

New Ryanair policy: “We hate you, and we hope you die in a plane crash”

Who has the squarest, fakest boobs in Hollywood?

Zimbabwe does DIY with currency

Plus other link salady type goodies! Especially one of the most hilarious infomercials I have seen in a loong time: "If you can sit, you can get fit! The Hawaii chaiiir."

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New blog post from Geoff:

New Ryanair policy: “We hate you, and we hope you die in a plane crash”

"Imagine, if you will, a family wedding. In amongst all of the guests, the mothers and grandfathers and children and friends, you always have that one person who has to be invited but whom no one else can stand. The greasy, sleazy cousin who farts through the service, uses his fingers to eat the chicken, gets drunk, starts a fight with the best man, and ends up drooling over the boss-eyed bridesmaid who can’t handle her champagne.

Know who I mean? Good. Now imagine this man’s less appealing little half-brother, who is on his way to collecting ASBOs in every major borough of London. You are now picturing a man who has at least twice the charm of Michael O’Leary, patron saint of shit airlines."

~ ~ ~ ~

Also, here is a fantastic review of the latest Transformers movie:

Michael Bay finally made an art movie

I haven't seen the movie but still enjoyed this review. It's just hilarious.

"Critical consensus on Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen is overwhelmingly negative. But the critics are wrong. Michael Bay used a squillion dollars and a hundred supercomputers' worth of CG for a brilliant art movie about the illusory nature of plot...

Since the days of Un Chien Andalou and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, filmmakers have reached beyond meaning. But with this summer's biggest, loudest movie, Michael Bay takes us all the way inside Caligari's cabinet. And once you enter, you can never emerge again. I saw this movie two days ago, and I'm still living inside it. Things are exploding wherever I look, household appliances are trying to kill me, and bizarre racial stereotypes are shouting at me."
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New post in the Kayleigh-Anne Boyd saga is live!

It’s music, Jim, but not as we know it: Z-list celebrity singles

It's the one where she becomes a pop star and meets her potential footballing love!

"I have giant round shiny new boobs. Look so totally gawguss. I need to go shopping now for some classy outfits to show off my vast and deep cleavage. This morning I lost half a piece of toast down there and spent, like, 30 minutes trying to get it out.

I heart Angus right now, he is doing everything right for me, he only wants the best. Yesterday he says to me, Kayleigh-Anne Boyd — now is the time for your single....."

May 2014

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