Moana = Happy Sigh

I (finally) went to see Moana at the cinemas on Thursday and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since then. Honestly – it was sheer brilliance. I laughed, I cried, I felt like being one of “those people” at the end and clapping my heart out. Above all, I remember sitting in my car afterwards, preparing to drive home, and thinking two thoughts.

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My Newest Obsession – The Shannara Chronicles

Around this time last year I posted a blog about my first Supanova tour and I mentioned that on the way back to the airport, I shared a car with the actor, Manu Bennett – photo attached here again, just because… :-)

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We were probably in the car for 30-40 mins (ish) and during that time he told me about his most recent role as a druid on a new, upcoming MTV show called The Shannara Chronicles. He explained that it was based off Terry Brooks’ The Elfstones of Shannara and what he told me about it sounded ridiculously awesome and right up my alley. I’ve been waiting all year for it to come out so I could see for myself if it was as good as it sounded.

Now, about a week ago I learned that I’m speaking on three panels over the Easter weekend at Contact 2016, and one of those panels is called “Everyday magic: from Harry Potter to Shannara“. I don’t think words can describe just how excited I am to be on this panel, not just because I’ll have a legitimate excuse to gush about Harry Potter, but also because both Kate Forsyth and Juliet Marillier will be on it with me—both of whom I had the honour of meeting last November for the Adelaide/Brisbane Supanova tours. Kate and Juliet are brilliant authors, so I’m stoked that I get to spend time with them again (AND talk about Harry Potter!!!!!!) – and given the title of the panel, I figured it was the perfect time to learn more about The Shannara Chronicles in order to at least bring something other than Harry to the stage.

So! Given that the launch of Raelia is coming up in less than a fortnight and between now and then (and definitely afterwards), life is a little hectic, I knew I wouldn’t have the chance to read the books before the Easter weekend, so I decided to hit a friend up to borrow the series. Turns out it was perfect timing because season one literally just finished and she was able to give me all 10 episodes.

That was last Sunday, and I had every intention of watching an episode here or there over the next fortnight and slowly but surely making my way through it enough to have at least some basic knowledge in time for the panel.

What I didn’t plan on was sitting down and watching the first episode, then the second, then the third, then the…. well, okay, time for an honesty moment: I literally binge-watched the entire 10-episode season in one sitting last Sunday. (Despite having deadlines that I really should have been working on.)

Shannara was THAT good.

It was literally like watching 10 episodes of The Lord of the Rings. From the setting (soooooo Middle Earth) to the characters (elves, humans, trolls, “demons” – which just reminded me of orcs with dark magic)… to the epic scope of the story and character arcs. I seriously LOVED it. It was like a fantasy TV show dream come true!!!

The casting was beyond brilliant – Manu’s character (the druid, Allanon) was AMAZING, but so too were the three young leads, the elven princess Amberle, the human “Rover” Eretria—both seriously kickass female leads—and the half-human-half-elf “Chosen One” Wil.

Then there was the elven king, Eventine, played by the always wonderful John Rhys-Davies (*cough* Gimli *cough*,and both the elven princes Ander and Arion were absolutely brilliant!

The special effects and cinematography were way better than I would have imagined – like, movie quality awesome. And so too was the music, etc. I mean, I’m totally fangirling here, but I just really, really enjoyed it.

BUT. I will state for the record that there is quite a lot of heavy fantasy violence in it. Kinda like the messy, icky battle scenes from The Lord of the Rings, but sometimes a bit more than that, too. Nose-scrunching yuck at times. So I wouldn’t recommend this for younger people. But for those who love fantasy, great characters, an intriguing world and an epic story, then all I can say is, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?!?!? Go grab a physical copy or download it from the Apple store or Amazon RIGHT NOW!!!

My First Vlogging Attempt

Anytime I see the word ‘vlogging’ I automatically think of ‘flogging’. BUT I had my first official author event of 2016 last night and it was late-ish by the time I returned home so rather than blog about it and have to do the compulsory editing, etc., I decided to try my hand at vlogging – mistakenly under the presumption that it would be waaaaay faster. However, as you’ll hear in this video, that was most definitely not the case.

Massive apologies in advance for the amount of tangents I go off on as I speak (all ten minutes of tangents… *awkward face*)… And also apologies for the random bursts of laughter that make me come across as a crazy person.

… Actually, huge apologies just for the entire thing, haha… But I ended up having so much fun with it that I just had to post it and share it anyway, despite the fact that I talk about everything from my lack of technological skills to Finding Nemo, to orange juice and robots… I also managed to actually talk about the event I’d come home from and have some (semi) professional moments regarding upcoming events towards the middle and end of the clip. But then I move back into crazy-town.

*Shrugs* If can’t be yourself, who can you be? *Laughs*

Enjoy! And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I’ll probably do this again despite the fact that I very clearly come across as having a potential multiple personality disorder… so sign up to my YouTube channel (Lynette Noni) if you want to torture yourself with any future crazy (quirky!) authorly shenanigans from yours truly.

Christmas Present From Me To You

It’s come to my attention that different readers of this blog like different things. I know, I know, that’s not such a groundbreaking revelation. But bear with me for a second here.

Some of you like reading about my writing escapades. About the random things going on in my own writing world. My crazy, often uncooperative characters. My tangent, also often uncooperative plot lines. How my writing is going on a semi-regular basis. (This also includes writing advice, encouragement, and anything else related to, well, writing.)

Some of you like reading about the publishing and/or literary agent side of things from my perspective. The editing. The copy editing. The proof reading. Writing the blurb. Writing the acknowledgements. Release dates and cover reveals and all ins and outs of publishing.

Some of you like reading about my personal life—what I bake, where I go, what I watch and read, and all the other random things I do.

Generally my rule for blogging is similar to my rule for writing novels—I write what I’d like to read. That’s how my voice comes across as genuine rather than forced, because it’s just, well, me.

BUT.

As a Christmas present, I want to know what you would like to read on here over the next fortnight. If there’s a burning request you have, or something you’re curious about (especially in relation to writing/publishing etc.), then please comment below and, presuming there are enough responses, I’ll pick three (3) to write posts about between now and the New Year.

To give you an example, I had someone contact me via email the other day to ask how I find motivation to write. I’ve also had (many) people ask me how I became traditionally published without an agent… And, recently, I’ve had people ask me how I ended up signing with an agent and specifics regarding the whole querying process… So these are just a few ideas. Feel free to ask these, or similar, or something else entirely! And if I end up choosing your question/topic and you want me to include a link to your site with my post, make sure you include it with your comment (disregard this if you don’t have a website).

I’ll look forward to hearing what some of you are interested in reading!

Gratitude Post!

I want to give a massive shoutout to my wonderful mother who dropped everything this weekend to re-(re-re-)read RAELIA for me, double-checking the final proofing and picking up any last minute mistakes. (Of which there were a few!)

For the record, there’s no such thing as a (good) book being written by a single person. As the author, I create the foundation, but many people help make it good enough for the shelves. So, thank you, Mum, for being one of those people—over and over again.

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(Photo credit: Lauren Ami Photographs)

The good news is, RAELIA is now all done from my end! WOOHOO! And once my publishers have inserted the final corrections, it’s due to go off to the printer later this week—how exciting! The release countdown is on for March 23rd, 2016! Fingers crossed the time passes quickly!

GenreCon 2015 Wrap-Up

Last weekend I had the honour of attending and being one of the speaking authors at GenreCon 2015, which was seriously so cool. For anyone who might not know, GenreCon is a conference for writers. It’s where authors speak on panels and present workshops to an audience of other authors—aspiring, emerging and established. It’s a fabulous event to get to know others in the writing world and form friendships and do all that networking fun stuff, and I for one had a brilliant couple of days seeing old friends and meeting new ones!

It all started on Friday afternoon when I arrived in the city and jumped straight into it all by attending Alan Baxter’s ‘Write The Fight Right’ workshop. (For anyone who has been following this blog for a while, you might remember that I first met Alan a few months ago during my Supanova tours in Melbourne and on the Gold Coast earlier this year.) Can I just say here that his workshop was amazing. So good in fact that I’ll probably write an entire blog post about what I learned in it hopefully not too far in the future. It was just that awesome! But I have so much to talk about with the rest of the conference that I won’t be able give it the attention it deserves in this post, so that can be something to look forward to soon!

After Alan’s workshop there was this cocktail party meet and greet thing on that night where conference attendees began the insta-friends and networking process. It was loads of fun! And even more fun was after it, when a group of us trundled our way over the river to the CBD and ended up karaoke-ing the rest of the night away. Whoever said authors are shy humans sooooo got it wrong. I can’t tell you how hilarious the night was—nor can I stress how strained my vocal chords were afterwards (I blame Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ On A Prayer‘).

Thanks to belting out the tunes like the (try-hard) rockstar that I am, when I woke up the next morning, I can honestly say I sounded like a man. That was definitely not ideal, especially considering I had to speak on a panel later that day. I figured I’d be okay since I wasn’t speaking until after lunch, but nope, I still sounded like I had a messed up head cold when the time came to hit the mic. But hey, that’s the price you pay for singing up a storm with a bunch of crazy authors. And I have absolutely no regrets, since, well… what can I say? Disney’s ‘Under the Sea‘ was one of the songs. That’s really all the excuse I need to give here!

Before resigning myself to my man-flu-sounding panel on the Saturday, I hit up a few other panels as a spectator and it was really cool to sit in on them. They were on the topics of ‘Mining Myth and History’ (with Kate Forsyth, Sulari Gentill and Christine Wells) and ‘Five Ways to Avoid Screwing up your Novel’ (with Justin Woolley, Kim Wilkins—both also Supanova buddies from earlier this year—and Charlotte Nash). Then there was lunch (yum!) followed by my panel, ‘Why Do Writers Need To Read?’ (with Lisa L. Hannett, Diane Demetre and Alex Adsett—Alex being a literary agent who I also first met at Supanova).

I had a lot of fun on our panel, mostly because I’m obviously passionate about reading, and reading a lot, so it was definitely the easiest panel I’ve ever spoken on. Plus, the other women were fabulous and also extremely passionate about reading, so it was like we were just having a really cool conversation about books. Which was, naturally, awesome.

That night was the special ‘Glamour and Grunge’ banquet where we frocked up (or frocked down, depending) for a night of fun, food and laughter. I also got to have a good catch up with C.S. Pacat (also from Supanova, and who I’ll be seeing again in a fortnight for the Adelaide/Brisbane upcoming conferences as well—yay!).

Here’s some pics of the night, none of which were take by me, all of which were posted on various people’s social media so I can’t actually recall who took which photos… but hey, that’s the internet for you:

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Above: Alex Adsett (left), Peter Ball (middle)—who is the manager of the Australian Writer’s Marketplace and the go-to guy for GenreCon—and me (right) at the banquet.

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Above: Brooke (left), who I met in the foyer that night, me (centre), and Liss (right), who I met at the meet and greet the previous night. Just FYI, the banquet was at the Rydges Hotel on the top floor so that view you have a slight glimpse of out the window was absolutely spectacular in real life.

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Above: Justin Woolley (left), me (centre), and C.S. Pacat (right) for a partial Supanova reunion photo! Just missing Kim, Alan, Marianne and Alex, who were off wandering elsewhere when this was taken—or in Alan’s case, he had to fly out that arvo.

The next morning, Sunday, dawned bright and clear and I went off to sit in on a few more panels, which were also awesome. ‘The Importance of Empathy’ with fellow Pantera Press author, Graham Potts, along with Kylie Scott and Amanda Bridgeman; followed by ‘The Five Book Theory’ with Kim Wilkins, Angela Slatter and Keri Arthur. That panel was probably by favourite of the whole conference (The Five Book Theory one), but that said, there were some incredible panels, so it’s a hard call.

Here’s a mishmash of some panel pics, including the one with yours truly:

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And here’s a group selfie of the wonderful women in my panel after we’d finished speaking:

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After lunch I was scheduled to present the final workshop of the weekend—a two-hour session on ‘World Building and Character Development’. The workshop was booked out and had a waiting list, so that was somewhat daunting, but on the whole I think it went well, so yay for that! That said, it was a nerve-wracking experience to give a workshop to other legit authors. In fact, one of the first things I said to them as an opening was, “So, what qualifies me to be up here teaching you about world building and character development? Quite frankly, absolutely nothing. Have you seen the calibre of authors who are here? I might as well pack up and go home right now!” They had a laugh, but I really was being kind of serious, lol. But thankfully no one boo’d me out of the conference and they stuck with me for the two hours, so again, yay for that!

Here’s a pic of me during the workshop… I couldn’t stop talking with my hands, even though it became so ridiculous! I was like, “Hands: control yourselves!” and yet I kept using them for emphasis. It was so odd! At one stage I was like, “Sorry, guys. I don’t know what’s going on with my overzealous hand gestures here. I’m not even Italian.”

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So, yes! That was GenreCon in a nutshell! Heaps more happened, and I really do want to blog about Alan’s awesome fighting workshop soon… but I’m thinking my next post will be all about how after the weekend I have confirmation of some ridiculously awesome news—that being that…

I’ve officially signed on with a literary agent from New York!!!

Annnnnnd on that cliffhanger that promises a super exciting post coming up, I’ll leave you there! As always, thanks for reading. And get ready for an over-the-moon debrief on my fabulous new agent later this week!

Writing Mode VS Reading Mode

I’m one of those people who can only be in one of two modes at any one time—writing mode or reading mode. Either I’m elbows-deep in writing a novel or something writing-related like editing/proofing etc., or I’m lost to the wonderful world of reading. I can’t do both at once… I can’t, like, write for half a day and then go and read a book. I also can’t swap between books like how some people change socks and then change back again (I’ve heard this is a real thing!). I have to stay in the one story, mine or someone else’s, until it’s done (or until I get bored of it, if it’s a book I’m not particularly enjoying).

I’ve always been like this, though. I think it’s part of the reason why I can churn out a novel so quickly. I recently finished writing the third book in The Medoran Chronicles within a space of 40 days—and it wasn’t a small book! I wrote 137,000 words in that time, while also keeping a part-time job and doing a pretty heavy first round of copy-editing for the second book in the series while that was happening. But I think the main reason I was able to do all that was because I was utterly consumed by the story. And that’s what happens to me—I literally lose myself into another world for a chunk of time and only come up for air when I’m done.

To be honest, I’m not one hundred percent certain whether it’s healthy, at least mentally. Mostly because it feels a little bit like my characters come to life after I’ve “been around them” for such a concentrated period of time. Case in point, when I finished writing my most recent book just a few weeks ago, I went out to lunch with a friend a few days later and I was like, “Oh, look! Real people to talk to!” Haha.

It’s a funny thing, writing. Just as it’s a funny thing to read. I mean, I maintain that a good book is the perfect escape from life. It’s nice to jump out of our own shoes for a little while and into someone else’s. But for me, as I mentioned before, I can’t multi-task my stories. That’d be like watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire but turning it off halfway through and putting on Twilight all because of some weird Robert Pattinson character change-up urge. I just can’t do that! (For sooooo many reasons!)

But hey, maybe it’s just me. I know plenty of people who can read a number of different books all at the one time. Well, not at the one time, since that would be quite the talent, but I mean they can swap between different stories and keep jumping between characters and worlds and still keep everything straight in their heads. I also know plenty of authors who can balance their time between both writing and reading. But as for me, when I’m stuck in a good story, I have to devour it from beginning to end. No exceptions.

What about you? I’m curious to hear who is of the same mind as me—just as I’m curious to hear how many competent multi-taskers and multi-story-readers there are out there! Let me know your thoughts!