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Author Archives: janishill

About janishill

Author, Foodie, mum and sarcastic cow with sense of humour to match.

New Year, New me? Pffft, who are we kidding?

New Year, New me? Pffft, who are we kidding?

Hello everyone, disorganised me again here giving you an update and wishing you all a happy new calendar new year… Being the Pagan I am, Yule marks my New Year… January 1st is just when I need to change all the wall calendars to the new ones people have sent me. What can I say? I’m a holiday non-conformist, meh!

So, anyway, I have been thinking over this post for a while and was all ready to turn it into a massive bitchy talk about people going so insane over the “Curse that is 2016”. Seriously, it was turned into a farce in the end and, well, what I had to say on the matter would have just been a spew of negativity. Now, I don’t know if it was my Zoloft kicking in, or a change of heart… But I decided there’s enough negativity and meanness on the Interweb already… It didn’t need me adding to it.

Instead…. As much as I loathe them as I feel they are so fake and insincere (when written by some people) I am going to do a sort of new (calendar) year’s resolution.

Though I do warn you now that it’s not so exciting as I pretty much plan to just keep on being me. Some may say that’s just lazy, but I see it continuing with my perfectly imperfect persona. 😉

I will say, this picture seen on Facebook the other day really does sum up the short version of my new (calendar) year’s resolution. And, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in these wishes too! 😀

new-years-resolution

The longer version would be this – I plan to keep being me. Keep writing as an author, reviewer and freelance blogger. Keep up that food porn on Instagram. Get back into making, baking and cooking all my own food. Keep acting up to embarrass my kids – fart jokes and other female bodily functions are doing the trick right now… Just keep being ME.

Like for a lot of people, it was a tough year last year. My step-grandfather passed away, I hurt my back and was left couch bound for months – meaning house, Hordes and hubby suffered. My health has plummeted and I’ve put on 30 kilos in under 12 months and my Doctors are still trying to figure out why. My husband was made redundant, I had to drop out of my studies and all in all we had some downers.

I mean, 450,000 people died in Syria – 50,000 aged 12 and under so I can’t say we had the worst year in the world. But our first world problems still caused our little pocket of reality to tilt on its side and go to shit for a while.

But we had some positives too. Friends got married, others welcomed new life and a new baby into the world. My reviewing site took off a little and I have been receiving a whole stack of free book and kitchen appliances. Big name publishers came to ME to review, rather than the other way around. When I was studying, I was averaging Distinctions to High Distinctions. Heck, my blog post on here outing myself as a depressed housewife on Zoloft got me a lot of (hopefully positive) views and comments. See – look for the positives.

Both my daughters were assessed for Giftedness – both now confirmed. My younger daughter is “twice exceptionally” Gifted, meaning she has a learning disability with it. So, three kids, all on the spectrum to some extent, all needing me to be their centre as they learn to be themselves and accept themselves for what they are as they grow. Middle Horde (Miss 9) has started into the mental aged teens as her older sister did at that age. Eldest Horde is about to turn 12 while holding down the maturity of an 18 year old with a 10 year old’s emotions. Yes, and by the way I hate the label “Gifted” as it makes it sound so positive and wonderful. It’s not… but that is for another blog on another day.

Back to me and my calendar year ahead. Well, as it has been decided for me that I can’t work right now  – as my children need me as their primary carer more – I am focussing myself more on what I feel I do well – write.

I will do my best to get back into weekly blogging for my four blogs (this one included), I have a lot to keep up on with my reviewing – yes I am still small fish, but gaining interest from others so now is the time to work my butt off.

Plus I have three more books in my Other World series to finish as well as several other WIP stories to nail down and get sorted out before see if anyone wants to publish them.

For any publishers reading this (who haven’t fallen asleep yet) they are a cosy crime series set here in the Adelaide Hills, a dystopian YA urban fantasy set in a world where global warming is not only real, but has bitch slapped everyone – it starts in Antarctica, it has penguins and sort of reminds me of Mr Flibble. 😉 And finally, my kids have me writing a series about tweens who go on school excursions and are left behind…. And the adventures they get up to. Firstly I am setting them in places around Adelaide I can go to and research… but if anyone wants me to say, do one for the Smithsonian or something, please feel free to send me tickets and money for accommodation. My kids will need to come too as they are my researchers. 😉

And, on top of all the reviewing, blogging and authoring – I will be continuing in my studies, figuring out what the heck is wrong with my back and my health and doing my best to make my little pocket of reality a lot happier, healthier and prosperous than last year.

I can’t change the world, I can’t help slow the fact 1 person dies of rabies every 9 minutes or that there are over 100,000 homeless here in Australia right now… but I can try and make a difference here in my own home. I can think positive, share that positivity with others, and remind people how awesome they are and how important it is for them to be alive.

I can continue to donate my time, money and no longer needed (but still good) items to charity. I can ensure we continue to eat well, cut down on what goes into landfill and teach my children to love and respect themselves as well as others.

I can’t cure the illnesses of the world; I can’t stop the wars… But I can make a stand as to how we treat the people around us and just pray that kind gesture is as infectious and spreads out to others.

I can’t stop the mass extinctions happening to animals, I can’t fix the Great Barrier Reef nor the over polluting happening in our world. But I can try and buy things second hand – re-use what already exists rather than allow it to go to landfill. I can be water wise and try to avoid plastic packaging. I can continue to buy, shop at and support local… and when that’s not possible, buy from those ethically and environmentally minded.

I can’t sustain the world… But no matter what happens to our income (and the fact we have none right now) we will continue to support those who still have less than we do. I will still think of others and donate what I can. I will still be thankful to have what I have as I am still a rich, blessed and extremely lucky person to have a house, family, food, clean drinking water and free medical aide if needed – all right here when others, even fellow Australian’s, don’t have these things. I will still protest against Australia’s disgusting treatment of refugees.

I may not be able to change to world, but I can seek the positives, make a difference in my little spot and be proud of knowing I have done my best. I can continue with my random acts of kindness, my smiles at strangers (even if they think it means I’m insane) and my desire to turn even the dullest moment into an overly sarcastic giggle for others to read.

THAT is my long new (calendar) year’s resolution.

Just remember, don’t feel small things can’t make a difference. I mean, just look at what one tiny tissue can do to a load of darks in the wash. 😉

Until next time,

Janis.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2017 in Update on my Writer Life

 

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Mental Illness – End the Stigma.

Mental Illness – End the Stigma.

Me being me I am a little slow on joining in the whole mental health awareness week on my blog. But I have been active with it on my personal Facebook page and had such success with a post there, I decided to post it here too.

How was it successful? Well, you will see I openly talk about my level of mental illness and invited others to do the same. I got some amazingly heartfelt and truthful responses (both out in public and in private) and feel blessed to have the friends that I have. I am not about to share their responses here… but would be interested to see if anyone else wants to join us in being so out there and open to help end the stigma on mental illness. Please note that this is a post about ENDING the stigma and so all comments that are deemed negative and inflamatory will be deleted. My blog, my rules. 😉

My post started with the following pic. Unfortunately I can’t reference it correctly as it came from another friend’s timeline. So I will just say this is not my picture, I did not create it and all kudos and credit goes to the actual creator – they are awesome!

depression

And, yes, I totally agree with the words at the bottom and it got my usual oppinionated ranty self going and so I came up with the following. I am not ashamed of it, I will freely post it and be open and honest as I am who I am and in my life right now I just happen to need antidepressants.

***

Be truthful to who you are. Mental illness is an illness not just a state of mind you can snap out of.

Diabetics aren’t told “Just don’t eat cake”. Cancer patients aren’t just told “you shouldn’t have smoked” even when they never did…

So it pisses me off when I am told I don’t need antidepressants as a nice walk in nature and a good sleep will fix all that ails me. I have a chemical imbalance inside me. I fought using antidepressants for over a decade as it was deemed the “lazy” way out. I tried diet, exercise, karmic retribution, hobbies, crystals, aromatherapy, belief, sleep, sex, laughing, gut health and all the rest. I ended up making myself obese with comfort eating – and am still fighting this issue today and trying to stop it damaging all of me permanently.

So… hi, my name is Janis and I take antidepressants. I am currently on 25mg of zoloft a day and may soon need to up that as it’s now only just taking the edge off the dark despondancy that consumes me, rather than lifting me out of it, making me want to get out of bed, get dressed, eat, interact, not drive me car into a tree and all the other “fun” stuff I go through. I have “mild” depression and anxiety. This doesn’t mean I’m a little blue, it means I don’t want to curl into a ball and wait for the darkness to consume me every single waking moment of every day… just half the time.

I am a better person on zoloft, I am a nicer parent and I can actually see my life is important and worth putting on those big girl panties for and getting on with it.

Depression is a bitch – big black dog. Anxiety is a rabid, nasty, vicious black dog. These are my dogs. Your dogs will look, feel and act differently so don’t judge me on how you feel. I don’t judge you.

But I will try and help to remind you how awesome you are, how important you are and how you ARE worth it.

#endthestigma

Until next time,

Janis.

These memes help me get through my days as they help me keep it real.  

 

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Happy Birthday Star Trek.

Happy Birthday Star Trek.

Happy 50th birthday Star Trek. You might be the younger sibling in this house of Who… but we do our best not to play favourites and so here is a blog post just for you.

Although I didn’t get into Star Trek until I was a teen… that does still mean I’ve been a Trekkie for *cough* twenty plus years now.

Yes I cut my teeth on The Next Generation – you can blame Data and Wesley for that – but I soon decided I needed to go to the source and see where it all came from. I still own all the TIME LIFE Star Trek Original series videos I simply begged my parents to buy for me… watched pretty much all of them too. I don’t actually OWN a video player these days, and can’t see myself getting another one any time soon… but I still own those videos. I simply do not have the heart to bin them… though I do doubt any of them are even playable anymore as they did live in the tropics for quite some years and all Who videos I tried to watch from back then well… snapped. Humidity seems to fuse them all together. That is, when the bugs aren’t turning them into nests.

Gosh I love DVDs.

But anyhow, yes I am a Trekkie! Surprise! I used to also be a mad keen Star Wars fan, but when you tinker with perfection for too long its arse tends to fall off… and that is now my opinion of that particular… franchise.

Blake 7, Goodies, Mel Brooks, Monty Python, old and new Who… What can I say? My mind was moulded by some of the best. And most of them are timeless and can never age. Except The Next Generation…. Yeah, that got old real quick and is now one of the only Trek I can’t watch without cringing. Sorry Wes and Data. Still love you loads. 😉

And that is hard now that I am passing these sage tomes of visual wisdom onto my next generation… as do I allow them to be tainted by TNG? Middle Horde is my main partner in crime for all things sci-fi and has been my constant companion here 5pm on a week night where they’ve been showing Voyager. That was until yesterday, where to celebrate Star Trek, they started showing the Original Series from the first episode (not the pilot mind you, but from Where no Man has gone before). Middle Horde loved it… kept going on about all the simply amazing and so spacey and realistic special effects, far better than all the modern CGI stuff. Me… I sat there looking at the 50 year old special effects with my best pout on and wanting my 20 year old special effects back as Voyager hadn’t even made it home yet before they ripped it off the screen to do this. DELAYED SPOILER: Yeah, they make it home… did so 20 years or so ago now. Ooops.

I am not one known to enjoy change to my routine but, as Seven often says: “I will adapt.” There’s only, what? 79 episodes of the Original Series right? Then we might get back to Voyager. Hopefully? Let’s not run through them all and do Next Gen next. Deep Space Nine I can handle (hellloooo Julian!) but not even watching Wes grow up without me being the same age at the time can make me want to sit through Next Gen again. Sorry Jean Luc, love you loads too.

All the same, happy birthday Star Trek! Doctor Who might be my heart and soul – and by introducing Middle Horde to it first she is easier able to adapt to the concept of Original Series vs Enterprise (not that she’s seen it yet). We will deal with the reboots of Trek and her later… she’s not even cut her teeth on the original movies yet. And, yeah, we might just skip the motion picture and go right on in with Khan. Sorry, but true Trekkies know why.

Let us all take a moment to look back and realise exactly how much a love of Trek has created the technology we see today. I use my PADD and communicators all the time. Sadly I can’t talk into my mouse and have my computer know what I’m saying… but there is software that allows me to talk via a dragon. 😉 The blue whales are still safe (I have a model one on my writing desk to prove it), we have tribbles rather than dust bunnies under the couch and I still even own (not so much wear anymore) my Bajoran ear ring. I watched the shows, played the games, wore the t-shirts (still own them and a few other things), and even cut my teeth in writing with an online Trek fan group. My sarcasm needed a home even back then and so if anyone out there knows and remembers Counsellor Lasha Palpatine (you can take a girl away from Star Wars… and all that), or her lovable sidekick Daffyd, Kavin Tamlor or even the Bagheerena twins on Star Base Omega – yup… I’m still writing! I just went old school. 😉

You have been a part of my existence and imagination for over half my life. You have shaped the world around me in ways no other TV show has and I thank you for helping my real life technology get its act together and be as high tech as my standards expected it to be as a child. Reading about Vulcan’s in Homer’s Odyssey and Jem-Hadar (jamadar) and ferengi in Conan Doyle’s work as a teen has always made me smile as they may be older and talking about different things, but the cross over is still funny. 😉

To all those who have been a part of Star Trek from the beginning (helped create it and first fans alike) to those keeping it alive today – I Vulcan salute you.

And, as I do like this play on words…

Live long and prosper, resistance is futile. ❤

Until next time,

Janis.

Blue whale.jpg

My blue whale… and other clutter. 

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2016 in Writing

 

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Another story idea niggling away at my brain I thought I would share.

Hello readers! Yes, I am possibly being overzealous by saying that as a plural – but I live in hope! 😉

I have had a busy year adjusting to online university and adding it to my juggle of house, hordes, health and husbane… but I think I’m getting there at last. And no, that is not a typo… it is meant to read husbane – he understands the humour in my turning him into the bane of my life. It’s a term of endearment, just like calling my children demonic hordes. Honest.

So anyway, university is going well… I’m still awaiting the final grades for my first study period, but rumour has it I’ve passed with some reasonably good marks. Let’s hope that rumour is true or BOY am I going to look an idiot on here when I have to retract that later!

I’m, unfortunately, not learning a heck of a lot of new stuff from my units yet (possibly why I am achieving such a good grade) as these core units are just rehashing stuff I already know but couldn’t prove I knew so that I could skip it and get on with the degree. I’m sure my grades will plummet as soon as I hit a unit that isn’t all about writing… which these ones are. I will admit know I really suck at argumentative essays. Yes I can write and yes I can argue (in the critical thinking sense of the word as well as in the ‘losing my cool’ sense of the word) but I can’t seem to write and argue in an analytical manner. The positive to this is I chose a rather interesting topic (to me) to research and argue upon… so I gained something from it all the same.

And, can I just say, letting an Author – who loves to research – loose on a universities databases is like letting a kid loose in a lolly shop! Or giving me carte blanche at Red Cacao. 😉 Wow! I freely admit to being side tracked on numerous occasions during my research hour and wandering off to find things more beneficial to my Other World series than to my essay on creating a zero waste clothing and textile consumer.

Seriously, if you’re an Author and love to research – get thee to a university database! It links you to libraries and documents all over the world for FREE and boy is it a load of fun! For those not able to do this, Google Scholar is passable, but Trove here in Australia is waaaay better! Heck, even I’m in their database!

But I digress, I was here to post about my latest story idea I would love to see fellow Writers and Authors play with. Heck, if I could organise myself more I would turn it into some sort of little online festival thingy. But as I have nothing to offer as a reward, who is seriously going to attend? And cue the crickets loudly chirping in a big old empty room…. Now!

This story idea was, as usual, fuelled by a recent news article I happen to catch on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) News. There is going to be some kind of scientific get together here in Australia (yes, I am so good with the technical words, I know!) And, so, this science gathering will be here to talk about the issues we are having regarding a lot of junk littering space within the Earth’s orbit. Loads of smashed satellites and all sorts of other things and it’s growing larger and more dangerous simply because the more things we put up there, the more likely they are to be smashed up by the space junk already up there… and therefore create more space junk. You know? The whole cascade effect thingy.

It’s gotten so bad that the folk on the International Space Station have frequent alerts where they have to go seal themselves off in a heavily protected area of the station and wait out an imminent collision with some junk and then assess the damage it has made and ensure their station is still intact.

Please note – this is all true and I’ve not even started on the fiction side yet!

The reasons the science boffins are gathering here is to try and figure out a way to clean up the space junk as it’s gotten so bad our international astronauts can’t do space walks anymore as the risk of being whacked by orbiting satellite bits is just too great. It was predicted that in only a very short space of time (I think they said several years but my mind goes fuzzy on dates) we won’t be able to use the space around our planet as it will be so filled with junk nothing can be up there and not be hit. Say goodbye to all our satellites boys and girls, this is how serious it is.

Won’t someone think of the Enterprise?!

Okay… with me so far? All of that is true and the facts as gleamed from this news interview.

What did I then immediately think of? A nano-technological plague of course!!! Duh!

Who else can’t imagine a story where they fix the space junk issue by sending all these metal eating nanobots into space to clear away the junk? They were supposedly programmed to only eat the space junk but… dun dun daaaaaaa…. Something goes wrong and anything made of metal up there is on their menu.

So we won’t be getting satellites back anytime soon, we start to technologically de-evolve and all thought of space travel is currently on hold until we find a new building material. Paper? Plastic? Ceramic? Oh the ship designs could be glorious!

And cue the international disaster that means the planet is quickly becoming uninhabitable and the only place we can go is up and….. there’s the story idea.

I would dearly love to play with it myself, but I have my Other World series to finish, my murder mystery series to get going and my NA urban fantasy about global warming to get off the ground…. Add to that the kids stories my kids have been nagging me to write and, well, I just don’t have enough time in the day.

So I am handing yet another awesome story idea out into the interweb and want you Writers and Authors to do me proud! Write me a 5,000 word short story on it and I will publish the best one on my Author blog – full credit, ownership and rights to be kept by the Author. No plagiarism, no stealing others ideas and no selling my idea on. Remember, I do accept decent hot chocolate as payment if you can’t scrape together enough money to actually pay me when you turn it into a million dollar movie idea. 😉

Maybe one day I will sit down and write a story like this myself… sustainability, zero waste and how to make rocket ships… Oooh, that does sounds like an AWESOME title!!! Maybe we should do an anthology? Who’s with me? 😉

Okay, that’s it for now. Thanks for reading.

Until next time,

Janis.

 
 

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Easter, when you’ve been writing too much supernatural urban fantasy…

Easter, when you’ve been writing too much supernatural urban fantasy…

I was awoken this morning to excited chattering coming from my dining room. There, upon an almost clean table of pine sat some sort of summoning circle. Its four quadrants made up of spring time and fertility symbols such as duckling, chickens and rabbits. Within its centre was a jar of… bilbies? Possibly made of milk chocolate?

I believed it to be a summoning circle for around it now danced three demonic hordes of varying size and age. All of which deemed to address me as ‘Mum’.

To close the circle I commanded these hordes to eat the bilbies… I had to know whether they were of a benevolent or malevolent making.

It appears they were benevolent and I have it on good authority they came from a place known as ‘Red Cacao’ who only create premium creatures of chocolate.

Once this issue had been sorted and the bilby like objects demolished, I continued with my daily chores of creating ‘life spirals’ from a dairy and wheat free brioche like substance based on ritual conceived by the amazing Quirky Jo.

It is autumn after all and a time to create symbols of life and perseverance as we head into the bleakness of winter. Now is not the time for spring icons of buns with crosses… but spirals within buns of cinnamon, mixed spice and sultanas is another matter.

While these spirals rested upon a warmed hearth to double in size I received a cry for help from neighbouring family members. It seems some bright, foil covered Pagan icons of spring and fertility had appeared within their backyard and they were wondering if I had it within my powers to come remove them.

Upon arrival, I sensed this was a task too great for me so early in the morning and so despatched my hordes to vanquish these icons of spring. These canny hordes donned rabbit ears and other disguises to try and blend into the environment before seeking out the offending items and gathering them in small, pre-prepared baskets of holding. Again, they appeared to be made of chocolate. Upon my command, these items were checked by the Hordes to ensure they were of a safe nature. According to the one known as Eldest Horde, it appears this too was benevolent chocolate as it was ‘UTZ certified’ and therefore free of slavery as well as being fairly made. Good to know these Hordes can differentiate the good from the bad from such odd markings adorning strange foil wrapped icons.

Unusual for demonic hordes, they then proceeded to share their gathered bounty equally as well as check with the woman of the property to see if she felt further Pagan icons of spring still adorned her autumnal backyard. It appears all suspicious packages had indeed been collected and so I left them to it while I returned to my own home to finish baking the ‘life spirals’.

Once it was completed, while still warm from my hearth, we returned to this other family member’s home and partook in the breaking and eating of this hot, sweet, sticky and nut filled repast.

Then, as I continued with the rituals of gathering final minute items from a local shop and setting the dining table with an altar like precision, the men of the family dealt with the animal to fire sacrifices that often take place upon this day.

Once we were all seated, we enjoyed perfectly charred meat on sticks, the salad of potato, boiled eggs and gherkins and other delicacies that seem to be of cultural significance to such family gatherings.

The day ended well with the cutting of the bird’s nest style cake to symbolise spring, along with the breaking of more of the ‘life spiral’ pull apart symbolising autumn. We then all partook in various concoctions of dried leaves and hot water, or a strange dark bean and hot water.

Finally the day came to a close with the usual re-enforcement of family lore, tales, traditions and gossip before we parted ways.

The hordes were gathered, the remains of their mission to eradicate the world of Pagan icons collected and we were homeward bound.

After all, hubby has a sink to unblock and I had a load of cottons to put in the washing machine. As we were doing this we realised the magic of the day had departed for another year, we had chocolate coated children to bathe and felt left over brioche and a cuppa a great dinner tonight.

And, in ending this little tale, I hope this Easter long weekend was everything your beliefs allowed it to be too. For me, it was simply the first Sunday since Mabon – the autumn equinox last Sunday. To others… it was slightly more important. Each to their own, so may it be.

Until next time,

Janis.

life spiral pull apart brioche

‘Life Spirals’ aka dairy and wheat free spiced pulled apart brioche.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2016 in Update on my Writer Life, Writing

 

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So, where DO I get my ideas from?

So, where DO I get my ideas from?

Hi everyone, I’ve decided to share exactly what I mean when I say ‘Life inspires me’ when answering the question in the title of today’s blog post.

I personally feel this is the most common question set to Writer’s by those who don’t have an imagination so fierce it is crawling about in their brain like ants. Or maybe that’s just me and actually a scalp issue I need looking at? 😉

Some people simply appear perplexed I am able to make up stories out of seemingly nothing and I just want to set the record straight and give some examples of where I do get stories from to try and encourage others to have a go at writing them!

So, where do I get my stories from? I’m a watcher. I like to watch life go past, analyse it, pocket snippets and thoughts of it away for later. Yes, I am that introvert in the corner of a busy room simply watching and listening and storing data… And I would like to see a Writer who isn’t!

I remember taking a friend (and well known author I’m not about to name drop) for a wander through the Stirling markets here in the Adelaide Hills. The street we wandered was lined with oak trees and when I pointed out that the name of the street was Druids Avenue – I could see that data spark in her eyes, almost watch it being store away for use later… I could see it as this is how I see the world too. Everything has potential as a story idea.

Sometimes it’s a simple one liner – see my creations of ‘Dodo Radio’ in Bonnie’s Story (well, in the blog posts and possibly in any sequel I may write). I was just having a 140 character chat with another Author friend via a certain piece of social media and we were discussing the differences between radio in Australia versus the UK. I would kill to have radio like BBC4 here! Well, not literally kill, but strongly hug at the very least – and I am a big lady after all so kill… meh, I digress. 😉

Yes, Australian radio and it’s lack of a spectrum as vibrant as radio in the UK had it described as ‘Dodo Radio’… which then led me off on train of thought that had me create the Dodo radio explained in one of Bonnie’s blog posts. That’s the sort of thing I mean when I say life inspires me.

I also find news headlines inspire me. I can’t say the entire article does, and sometimes I don’t even bother reading that part… but a simple one line can spark that creative fire in my brain. Though in the case of the two examples I’m about to give, I did read the articles… and then turned them into things they weren’t meant to be.

Now, with these examples, I would dearly love to see some new and eager Writers take the story and run with it. I can’t publish it, I can’t pay you for it, but I can (hopefully) inspire you to use it… or at least see how easy it is to pluck a story idea from the normal every day.

And so, here we go. Where do I get my story ideas from? Well, this is where…

Recently, while browsing the ABC news on my phone (as I do first thing in the morning before getting up) I read through an interesting article about how they are thinking of introducing a fish herpes to the Murray River as a way to combat the horrible pest species of carp that has been destroying it for decades.

What really got my imagination cogs going was where they talked about all the testing they would need to do first. I thought, fair enough; don’t want to wipe out all fish in the Murray with this disease. But my little grey cells sparked into life when it was mentioned they were also testing what this disease might do to humans… not only those exposed to the water, but those who ate foods grown in the area and watered with this diseased water!

Yes, the italics symbolise how exciting this whole concept was to me. Why? Oh, come on, who else doesn’t think pandemic explosion from food contaminated by something in its water supply? Just think of the speculative fiction ‘what if’ you could make from this! It could be your common garden virus or Ebola like thing wiping out the country and causing a dystopian lifestyle for some Young Adult to explore… or it could cause mutations or, dare I say it, be the catalyst for that zombie invasion so many people are jokingly prepping for. The possibilities are endless!

Now, please note I am not saying that the actual fish herpes virus would cause this at all. Hell no, I’m pretty sure the scientists are going to thoroughly test it first… and half of it is just fiction in anyone’s book. But I hope you can see what I mean about how something harmless I read in the news can be turned into some pretty interesting reading for someone else. 😉

Another recent example is (again with the ABC news first thing in the morning) a giant supernova, brighter than anything they’ve ever seen has just caught the attention of scientists and has them re-writing some of the info they thought they knew on supernovas. Nothing too exciting for we non-scientists, right? But there is a line in the article where they say “perhaps it’s not a supernova at all” and, well, they may as well have waved a red cloak at a charging bull with that line.

Yes, they did go on to say it might be a lot of other actual, real life sciencey stuff… but half my brain wasn’t listening any more. It was already off on another speculative fiction ‘what if’ journey with opening lines such as:

“At first they thought it was a new type of Supernova appearing in the night’s sky. But by the time they realised it was an invasion, it was too late…”

Yes, that is indeed how my mind works. I seriously can’t take it anywhere without that sort of thing happening.

And that boys and girls, is how I take life and get inspired to write what I write. Yes it’s not ‘True Crime’ or ‘Literary Fiction’, which most people say is what life inspires… no, life  – in the right set of hands or mind – can inspire any Writer of any genre to do what they do best: Write.

I guess it means Writer’s don’t see the world in the same way as others? Maybe another reason we need to wear badges so people realise we’re creating new worlds around us while walking down the street and watching a leaf casually blow across our path. We take in everything, we store everything, we feed everything into our imaginations and turn it into the most interesting compost in which we grow some pretty amazing things.

Heck, that paragraph alone could even be the start of a story too. What do you think? Have a go; I’d love to hear how it turns out. But you owe me a hot chocolate and brownie if you make it into a block buster novel. 😉

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2016 in More pep talk than writing, Writing

 

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I suppose I should do one of those ‘it’s the New Year’ posts?

I suppose I should do one of those ‘it’s the New Year’ posts?

Hello everyone!

Yes, I left my blog on a bit of a downer a few weeks ago by using it to say goodbye to a dear friend who sadly passed away suddenly just before Christmas.

Then with all the bedlam of the Solstice, Christmas, the calendar New Year, my revolting Hordes (as in they kept revolting and refusing to help) and a big old nasty heatwave… yeah, like I had time to blog something merry, festive and bright.

I will add my PA (the Death of Rats) did try and lighten my mood, but after this incident leading to a severely mauled Santa, he was sent on his own Christmas break. There were just too many old, precious glass ornaments on my tree to trust him to be gentle. 😉

DoR Christmas

And so here I am, late for the Solstice post, late for the Christmas one too, and so I decided to go for the trifecta and be late for the calendar New Year post as well. Nailed it.

By the way, in case you’re wondering why I call it the calendar New Year – I’m Pagan, for me the old year dies and the new one begins with Yule… in June. I just conform and celebrate the end of the wall calendar and ceremony of putting a new calendar up at this time of the year. If there is any New Year at this end of the calendar, it’s the one where I get to shout Gong Xi Fa Cai and have an excuse to eat fortune cookies (like I need an excuse!)

But, I digress. 🙂

So… How have you all been?

Me, well besides all of the above, I’ve actually been a little busy.

Let’s see… Early December saw me sign my third publishing contract with Hague Publishing for the second in my Other World series There’s no place like Hell and I’ve even also been chipping away at the third book We represent the Demon Guild. The more I work on this series, the more I love the research I’m doing into the old ways of the afterlife and the supernatural – you know, before they were turned sparkly and into chick lit. This research has gotten to the point that had me wondering who the local Ankou and Dullahan would be as we sat up watching the calendar year end.

Yes, I’ve been hanging around researching the afterlife too long when I wonder how to greet the new Reapers in the neighbourhood. Oh these are the Reapers in our neighbourhood…. Sing it with me, we all know that old Sesame Street tune.;-)

Okay, focus Janis! So other than that, what else?

Well, my Reviewer blog is puttering along nicely. I mean, it’s not like it has hundreds of followers or even hundreds of hits each day… I can get dozens of hits… but not in the hundreds yet. All the same, I’m pleased with how it’s going as I’m getting a lot of good feedback from people regarding my reviews. I’ve apparently even helped sell a few books I’ve reviewed, so yay me! Shame there is no commission! I’ve also started to have authors and publishers approach me directly with reviewing opportunities. That and my son was sent something to review the other day… So, I’m either doing something right, or I’m just seen as an easy review. 😉 Oh cynical me shut up! We’re pretending it’s because I’m really good at what I do, okay!

I’ve also started reviewing ‘Supermarket grade’ chocolate over on that blog (another small hit) and have just launched Fairtrade Fridays this year to help promote how easy it is to buy and support Fairtrade on a budget. So go on over and check my Reviewer blog out here.

On and off near the end of the last calendar year I was also helping out with a bit of volunteering. I was the self-titled ‘Social Media Chick’ for a fantastic new local festival called: In the Raw Festival (it’s not what you think!) as well as trying to help out with ideas and promos for my favourite local podcast radio show called The Adelaide Show. Check them both out too, they’re pretty awesome. If they weren’t I wouldn’t be offering my services!

Seriously though, they are wonderful people and both places were willing to give me the chance to do some work experience for them and help keep my old IT grey matter going. I’m loving helping out as it does feel good being seen as more than just a mum, drudge, Horde Wrangler and Haus Frau.

Which leads me on to my latest big step… or mistake – depends on how you look at it! I’ve enrolled to do a degree in Internet Communications via Open Universities Australia as, you know, I didn’t feel run off my feet enough. I see this degree as a fantastic way to help expand my horizons on social media for myself (blogs and books) and for my passion of helping to promote local businesses. AND! Those who want to hire me to shake their assets for them for the cost of regular installments hot chocolate and cake – we should talk!

Yes, I plan on keep busy this year as I am tired of feeling like I am achieving nothing. I know I am achieving things… I just don’t feel like I am. I can’t work – thanks to my own health and helping Horde#3 getting acclimatised to full time school (I got to add unofficial Case Manager for HFASD son to my CV in 2015), I’m keeping busy with my reviewing, I joined a guild (spinners and weavers) and am learning new knitting skills and all in all with my Haus Frauing, cooking, writing, wrangling and volunteering – I was achieving things. Just none of it seemed to be achieved for me. And, as I’ve always wanted to have a degree in something – I never finished high school after all – I thought stuff it! I’m turning 40 and I’m getting a degree! Yes it’s a Bachelor of Arts, and my upbringing in the science section of a certain northern University means a BA is what the sissy girls do… meh, I’m putting my big girl granny knickers on and doing it! 😀

Right, now I’ve gone and justified that new debt in my life, here’s hoping I get the positives out of it I feel I will. Wish me luck, I’m going to need it!

And there you go, you’re all caught up with the whirlwind known as my life. All three kids are on school holidays, my eldest is about to turn 11 (OMG – 11!) and we’ve already had a few nasty bush fire scares even before the calendar New Year. But that’s summer in these glorious hills for you.

Hopefully I will have something more ‘Writer worthy’ for you in my next blog post.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

Boxing Day breakfast 2015

Boxing Day breakfast 2015. Local, fresh fruit and homemade baked goods… *drool*

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2016 in Update on my Writer Life

 

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