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.

Continue reading

2014 In Review

Since we’re about to embark on the journey that comes with the beginning of yet another new year, I thought I would take a few moments to travel down memory lane and revisit some of the highlights of the year that’s coming to an end. Especially since 2014 was, in a word, epic.

I guess the most obviously fantastic thing that happened to me was having one of my dreams come true when I was offered a publishing contract in January. That was seriously beyond amazing. Like, no-words-amazing. And for those of you who have followed this blog from the beginning of the year, you’ve been able to experience all the wonder of this particular journey with me, which has been ridiculously awesome. I’ve loved sharing the amazingness of every step with you, from editing updates to cover reveals, to author photo shoots and all kinds of other excitingness (let’s act like that’s a real word!). I feel like I’ve been able to “meet” so many new and incredible people all over the world through this blog, and I’m so thankful for your continual encouragement, support and well wishes!

So, what else happened this year?

… *Thinking* …

Okay, so, honestly, I’ve been a little caught up in my publishing-bubble that nothing else massive comes to mind. But let’s see what we can come up with…

I’ve had the same job for nearly five years now, so nothing new there…

I haven’t moved geographically, and since I live in paradise I doubt that’s in the cards any time soon unless an incredible opportunity presents itself…

I haven’t travelled much, other than two trips to Sydney this year—one to meet my publishers and sign the contract in February, and one to go to Hillsong Conference in July—and both of those were fantastic experiences.

I had a really cool couple of days in the city for Oz Comic-Con and the Brisbane Writers Festival in September which was great…

Umm…

I bought a fancy-schmancy treadmill, which is awesome since I set up a desk sort of thing with it so I can walk and write at the same time (yay for multitasking!). I also managed to fall off said treadmill (and nearly broke my neck in the process), but that’s a story for another day (or, you know, never).

I’ve baked yummy, yummy food… walked what feels like the entire coastline of Australia (okay, I’m exaggerating a little, but hey, creative license, right?)… made some new friends… reconnected with old friends… been traumatised for life after watching The Fault In Our Stars

Oh, and of course, I’ve read mountains of books. It has been a seriously great year for reading, let me tell you!

So, yeah, I guess that’s about it. I haven’t saved the world from a zombie apocalypse (yet!), I haven’t cured cancer, I haven’t travelled to the moon… But that doesn’t mean that my year hasn’t been without its own version of adventures. Here’s hoping that 2015 is even more fantastic—and between you and me, I just so happen to think it will be.

Do What You Love. Love What You Do.

I saw an old friend last night, a girl I went to school with. We hadn’t seen each other in over 10 years, and one of the first things she said was that she’s not surprised I became a writer. Her comment made me laugh since she’s the first person who has ever said that to me. But it was her justification that made me stop and think, because she said she remembers the stories I wrote in school and how good they were.

It should be noted here that I don’t have any memories of those stories. I mean, I know I had to write for various curriculum requirements, but I can’t remember being any good at it! So it’s fascinating that she remembers something like that about me when I have absolutely no recollection of writing much back then at all, let alone enjoying it or even creating anything worth remembering! (So weird!)

I guess it just goes to show that whatever we’re passionate about will find a way to burst out of us, even when we’re not aware of it. So many of us are gifted in beautiful, wonderful ways, and we often don’t even realise it – not even when it’s obvious to everyone else.

It’s moments like this when all I can do is be grateful that I somehow found my way to becoming a writer – and even more, that my publishing dreams are actually coming true. It’s mind-bogglingly amazing. I only hope those reading this are living their own dreams, igniting their own passions, and embracing their own gifts.

I Laughed… I Cried…

… And I clapped like a complete dork at the end.

What am I talking about, you ask? Why, Disney’s Maleficent, of course!This movie was beyond anything I could have expected! I’m such a happily-ever-after kind of girl, so I was quite apprehensive about it, especially since I’m also a huge Disney classics fan and I adore the animated version of Sleeping Beauty. But I have no words to describe just how stunning this movie was!

Angelina Jolie was incredible in it. She made it so easy to fall in love with her despite being the ‘villain’ of the story… And she made it easy to root for her, too! I won’t say any more on this since I don’t want to give anything away, but seriously…

THE FEELS.

It was also visually captivating with gorgeous fantasy elements that seemed to come to life and burst straight out of the screen (and I didn’t even see it in 3D!).

To top it all off, the story itself was singularly unique and beautifully redemptive. All in all, it was breathtaking!

I cannot recommend this movie enough, so you’ll just have to go and experience it for yourselves! Here’s a link for the trailer just in case you haven’t seen it yet. It looks pretty ‘dark’ in this clip, but while there are definitely those elements in it, overall the movie itself is just beyond gorgeous. And like I said earlier, it’s beautifully redemptive. So, give it a go – you won’t regret it!

A Purr-fect Kitty-Cat

DSC00080

This blog post is dedicated to a very special member of my family who sadly went off to Kitty Heaven last week.

‘Slinky’ came into our lives just after my tenth birthday and was with us for seventeen years. He was the gentlest, most beautiful kitty you’d ever come across – all you had to do was look at him and he’d start purring (loudly!). And he was such a wuss! He literally defined the term ‘scaredy cat’. But at the end of the day, he was a lovely companion, especially for a cat (because, let’s face it, all cats have attitude – it’s what makes them so ‘funny’).

Another fun fact: not only did Slinky always sit on any black material he could find (and shed fur all over it!), but when I was going through my old photos the other day, I found these two from back when I was writing the first draft of my upcoming debut novel, Akarnae. I think he was trying to ‘help’ me write it (*rolls eyes*):

Picture 294

Picture 300

And then there were the times when he just had to be the centre of attention:

Christmas2010 039

And don’t even get me started on the strange places we’d find him:

DSC00342

Picture 008

Picture 020

DSC00185

DSCF9750

All-in-all, he was a beautiful and beloved member of the family. And he made it to the equivalent of one hundred human years, which I think deserves some kind of kitty medal!

To finish this somewhat random (and somewhat morbid) post, I just want to briefly segue back into the theme of creativity that I’ve been focusing on of late – and I promise that it’s relevant…

We received a letter in the mail from our veterinarian (which arrived a few days after the Kitty Heaven decision), and it was a condolences card, of all things. It was completely unexpected, to the point that we weren’t sure whether to start laughing or start crying. The card itself was lovely and heartfelt, but they added in a poem on a slip of paper. After reading it (and fighting back the tears as I heard the phantom meows) I found myself realising yet again that creativity is unlimited. It can come from the stroke of a paintbrush, or the solving of a mathematical equation. It can be seen in the night’s sky, and in the freshly-mown grass at our feet. It can be found in the pages of a fantasy novel… or in the words of a veterinarian’s condolences card. Creativity has no boundaries. So let’s continue to stretch our own imaginations and see where they can lead us!

Fictional Characters Have Feelings Too… Right?

I love character development. There’s just something so beautiful about creating an entirely new being out of nothing. I’m not a mother of real-life children, so I can’t exactly make an informed comparison, but I’m guessing it’s a similar sort of experience to watching a baby grow into adulthood (and beyond). As a writer, we get the incredible honour of shaping, moulding, and developing a “person”, while watching their life play out as they face challenge after challenge (which we also get to somewhat-sadistically create for them).

So, for today’s post, I’m answering a question sent in by Jeremy: I’d really like to hear about how you approach developing your characters.

My honest answer is going to make me sound like I belong in a padded cell, but the truth of the matter is that I don’t develop my characters – they develop themselves. Sure, I might come up with a few things to give them a nudge in the right direction, like how they look, how they speak, what they do, their motivations, etc. But after the first few pages my characters tend to write themselves. And, no joke, they often manage to surprise me. There are countless times where I’ve been lost in a ‘writing zone’ and gasped out loud when my characters have said or done something totally and completely unexpected. Actually, I was writing a few weeks ago and a part of my protagonist’s backstory just came out of nowhere and I literally cried out, “NO!” when it happened. I then (somewhat naïvely) took my fingers off the keyboard to cover my eyes and chant, “No way, not gonna happen. Delete, delete, delete.” But, of course, I couldn’t erase the words, because my character had already made them real for me. It was a beautiful agony. I hate that that particular thing happened to her, but she wouldn’t be who she is without having experienced that event in her past… So, it had to stay. (And I think I ate a whole bag of M&Ms as chocolate-therapy for the trauma before I was able to keep writing to find out what she was going to throw at me next).

Maybe it’s because I majored in Human Behaviour at uni, but for whatever reason, character development is something I really focus on when I write. The world-building is important, obviously, but to me, I’m more likely to get attached to a person than I am to a place or a plot/story. (That said, the best books are the ones that manage to get me attached to both the characters and their stories/worlds). So, I write with that in mind – I write characters who are people I’d actually want to have in my life. Or in the case of the ‘bad guys’, people who I definitely wouldn’t want to have in my life. There is nothing more beautiful to me than being able to get lost in a book only to finish it and wish that I was still a part of it and continuing on with the people in it. But it’s also a bittersweet feeling, because you never want to leave and return to the real world.  You want to stay with them forever.

So, yeah. This was a super-easy question for me to answer because, as I said, I don’t develop my characters – they develop themselves. They just write themselves off the pages and into my heart. And I can only hope that they’ll do the same for my readers.

Thanks for your question, Jeremy. It was a fun one to answer for my first ever Me-Me-Me Monday.

If anyone else has a question they’d like me to have a crack at, feel free to comment below or send an email to: lynette [dot] noni [at] gmail [dot] com. As mentioned in a previous post, if you send a question to my email, make sure you include your blog address so that if I choose to answer your question I can link you into the post.

Also, this is random, but if you’re on Facebook, I’d love it if you would ‘like’ my ‘author’ page. I keep getting these FB notifications that say stuff like, “Only [insert number] more followers until you unlock a new level!” – and my curiosity is such that I want to know what ‘level’ I can unlock – but I need more followers for that to happen. I don’t spam FB so I won’t clog up your newsfeed (and, hey, you can always ‘unlike’ me later! I’ll never know!). Thanks heaps in advance for if you choose to add me – and if I get to a point where I can unlock stuff, I’ll make sure to blog about it! (If it’s exciting and not a total FB sham). You can ‘like’ me here: Lynette Noni Facebook.

Otherwise, you’ll hear from me again for ‘Writerly Wednesday’, where I’m planning on discussing rejection. Woohoo!

Starting A New Manuscript

There are two settings that my life seems tuned to: reading-mode and writing-mode. For me, there’s no in-between. I’m either reading, or I’m writing. I can’t do both – just like I can’t read two different books at once; I have to finish one before I start another.

I’ve been holding tight to my reading-mode for a while now, especially since I know that as soon as I sign this book publishing contract I’ll have to dive straight into the writing-mode again with all the editing/revising etc. But there’s a change in the air today and it’s like I can’t sit still – I need to be writing.

… I’m just not sure what to write.

I have so many potential story ideas – which is kinda annoying since it makes more sense to start working on the third book in the series for which I’m getting the contract… But I think I want to try something new. Usually I’m a stickler for YA (specifically fantasy/sci-fi), but I’m leaning towards dabbing into the New Adult realm for a change.

Hmm. What are your thoughts, awesome blog-readers? Do you have any ideas for me?

I guess all I can do is start at Chapter One and see where the characters take me. How exciting! I love new beginnings!

New books!! Woohoo!!

20140201-203918.jpg

There’s just something incredibly special about holding a paper-and-ink book in your hands. Don’t get me wrong – I love my Kindle. It’s so accessible and so convenient to have a new book at the click of a button. But there’s nothing in the world quite like the beauty of a paperback novel. And look! Now I have a heap of them to go through! How exciting! I’m going to enjoy it while I can since the moment my publishing contract is signed I’ll probably be elbows-deep in editing, editing, and more editing (YAY!!).