TA-DA! Starting the New Year With a Flourish


I love a new year! It’s the perfect time to hope, dream and look forward; recharge, regroup, and reclaim your life (especially if like me you’ve eaten your bodyweight in chocolate over the holiday season…). So when the lovely ReGi McClain decided to kick the year off by nominating me for the TaDa award, what could I do but put on my best blogging frock, sweep my hair back out of my eyes and accept graciously.

What’s it for you ask?

Erm…. *crickets*

Blogging awards are all about building community. Introducing our readers to some of our favourite blogs. Asking people all sorts of random questions and kicking off conversation. And it feels so nice to be nominated.

So thank you ReGi! Her blog ReGi McClain’s Fortnight Stories is one of my favourites. Check out her Mirth and Music Monday posts, or her Wednesday WIPpet offerings which are always fun. Hailing from Alaska, ReGi is an amazing fantasy writer with a great sense of humour – so make sure you zip over and say hi!

So here are ReGi’s questions and my carefully considered answers (you have no idea how many forehead wrinkles this little exercise reinforced… what exactly did I do with myself last year?). As this is a writing blog I’ve tried to keep this writing related:

1. What was the best experience you had on purpose last year?

Having the best time with loved ones is always something I try to do on purpose. Reading with the children must be right up there with some of the best experiences of the year. I get such a thrill watching them enjoy a book, and as they are getting older we’re finding books we can all enjoy together.

On the personal reading front, persevering with The Mortal Instruments books really paid off big time. Because I came to the party late with these books I had seven whole books to read in one large sitting, and I thoroughly enjoyed them all. Will. *sighs* Jace. *smiles contentedly*

2. What was the best experience you stumbled into last year?

Scrivener (writing software) by a royal mile. I had all but given up on Scrivener (I think I am allergic to any form of generic tutorial), when the ever patient Richard Parry showed me what he’d done with it. The light went on. The love began. My writing will never be the same again.

Also the Wool series by Hugh Howey. Picked it up at the bookshop and was sucked into its very brilliant vortex.

3. What was your greatest intentional accomplishment last year?

Hmm. Does preserving sanity count? Although I’m not sure I totally hit the mark there either… I’m still writing. This is a major achievement and I’ve had to work at it.

4. What was your greatest unplanned accomplishment last year?

Um. Honestly, the best parts are rarely planned. On the writing front I guess it’s been progress on The Moon is Made of Glass. It’s quite a new story, and was thoroughly unexpected.

5. Did you spend some time with someone you adore last year?

Yes. All the time. The list of people I love is LONG. And the older I get, the more I surround myself with the people I really enjoy. Life is too short to spend time with people who don’t value you.

6. Were you nice to someone you don’t like last year?

Yes. Always. My mother-in-law always used to say she could tell if I didn’t really like someone because I was über nice to them. Now if that isn’t going to give someone a complex I don’t know what will. *smiles*

7. What was the most amazing thing you learned last year?

That writing is about making good art. Thanks Neil Gaiman! (Check out my post Making Good Art). The upshot is that my stories don’t need to follow anyone else’s formula. It is my art. Critique is helpful, but only as far as it helps me mold my own vision.

8. Who did you teach last year and what (G-rated thing) did you teach them?

I teach Sunday School, so I hope all those children know how precious they are in the sight of God. That they are  fearfully and wonderfully made, and valued beyond measure.

On the writing front I don’t know that I’m qualified to teach anyone anything. But I hope through the conversation on this blog that you’ve learned something that encourages you while you’re making your own art. Or perhaps you’ve picked up some great new kiwisms?

9. What events did you attend last year?

The Bon Jovi Concert, Because We Can Tour, in Melbourne, Australia.

I have vivid memories of singing Livin’ on a Prayer at top volume at the bus stop with my sister (we lived in the middle of the countryside) and listening to Slippery When Wet on the cassette tape of our synthesizer (yes I was an 80’s child – there may or may not have been leathers around the wrist and ra-ra skirts…). So when my sister shouted me a girl’s weekend in Melbourne to see the concert… Favourite. Sister. Ever.

And the concert was amazing. Love me some Bon Jovi!

Taken on my iPod, but you get the idea!

The great thing about listening to this kind of music is that it’s really pulled me back into Legend, my first foray into Gaelladorn. The book where I first started writing dragons. Bon Jovi (Young Guns) and Bryan Adams were prevalent on the playlist for that story. The music always made me think of cowboys, sunshine and open spaces. I’ve been working quite steadily on Legend since the concert. Working it in Scrivener has really helped with the rewrites, and I’ve picked up the story really well after a long break. Watch this space, it might be finished before Kings.

10. Did you travel anywhere? Even just downtown?

Melbourne. Napier, the art-deco capital of NZ. Wellington. I love being in the car on a road trip. Music blaring. Time to lose yourself in a story world. And always new things to see and wonder about…

Thanks again ReGi for thinking about me! She’s nominated lots of my favourite bloggers too, so I’m going to extend the invitation to all those wonderful people who follow my blog. Feel free to have your own TaDa moment, answer ReGi’s questions and let me know when you do!

Have a wonderful 2014.

10 thoughts on “TA-DA! Starting the New Year With a Flourish

  1. Woohoo! I know last year threw up some rough waters for you, but it looks like you paddled on through. 🙂 How fun to go see a Bon Jovi concert! I soooo would not associate him with cowboys myself, but hey! I’m glad it helped you get back into Gaelladorn! 🙂 I like Gaelladorn. 🙂 A lot. Sort of miss it. … Do you think you’ll be returning to WIPpet Wednesday anytime soon? *hint, hint*

    1. Yes it was a tough old year in many ways, but that’s life. And things considered it is good. Always counting my blessings. I think it’s the jeans and cowboy boots and the Blaze of Glory thing with Bon Jovi. Maybe also because I used to listen to it on the farm when haymaking, so always makes me think of summer and those days as a teenager when you had heaps of time to lounge about and contemplate your navel… (I’m fairly sure that once was my life…). And YES I am planning a return to WIPpet Wednesday soon. Hopefully this week. Will have to see if there is something in Legend that can be twisted around in WIPpet maths. Hope you’re having a great new year!

      1. I guess I never caught on that you lived on a farm as a kid. Nifty! Not that I’d ever want to get up at 4 AM myself, but I hear it’s a great way to raise kids. 🙂

        2013 threw me some hiccups, too. Still, as you say, it was blessed on the whole. 2014 has been nice so far only because we haven’t yet jumped back into reality. I’ll let you know what I really think of it in March or so.

        Yay! I’m looking forward to more excerpts from Legend. 🙂

      2. Yes a total farm girl. I think that’s why I’m loving Legend as much of it occurs in the countryside. I don’t think my Mum was sad to lose the 4am starts (I used to do the afternoon milkings…).

        Sorry about your 2013 hiccups. And I agree about the reality thing (we’re on summer hols too). At least it’s started well!

  2. So Raewyn, you’re über nice to people you don’t like… I kinda get the feeling that you’re nice to everyone anyway. 🙂

    I’m so glad you pushed on through with your writing this year and Scrivener became a revelation (I’ve not tried it yet). I love the fact that the Bon Jovi concert got you going again with Legend. I saw Bon Jovi in concert many years ago now but they were fabulous. A couple of years ago they played in the football stadium close to our house and although we didn’t get tickets we could hear the concert (for free) from our garden. 🙂

    1. Happy New Year Jo – yes I remember the body-boarding on 90 mile beach. Do you remember those people that tried to get us to do that sumo wrestling game? Lots of love to your family – I will send you a proper email soon x

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