Saturday, December 22, 2007

Favourite Things of 2007

It's been a terrific year and I'm grateful for all the good things that have come my way. Here's just a few of my favourite things, events, etc.

* Signing with Writers House literary agency in New York. Eighteen months of querying sure paid off.

* My wonderful critique partners, who've all had a hand in polishing my work and propping me up whenever I needed it. Thank you, Janette, Stephanie, Annie and Anna!

* Seeing debut books by friends and acquaintances hit the bookstores. I bought 'em all. Congrats to Annie West, Anna Campbell, Christine Wells, Sara Hantz, Amanda Ashby, Tina Ferraro, Kelly Parra, Elizabeth Scott, Paula Roe, Robyn Grady, Stephanie Hale. (Thanks for the dedications, Annie and Anna - way cool!)

* Kinokuniya bookstore in Sydney.

* San Churro chocolateria.

* Bizarre exercise equipment bought over the Internet by my coworker Ann H. She gets them delivered to our office. The best was the iGallop, which is meant to simulate horse riding. You'd think it'd resemble a rocking horse, right? Well, it has four legs, but that's where the similarity ends. It's like something out of Futurama. And it isn't something you can fold up and store under the bed. You'll laugh so much when riding that thing, your stomach muscles will get toned in no time.

* YouTube

* Most vivid reading experience: Reading Stephenie Meyer's 'Twilight' whilst recovering from wisdom tooth extractions. Honestly, there was so much blood I felt like a vampire.

* Exotic tea. I've visited T2 almost every week. Who says tea's boring? Best blends include choc chip chai, rose petals mixed with vanilla tea, genmaicha, red fancy fruit, creme brulee, and Turkish apple (which is fabulous as an iced tea with mint and chopped apple).

* The book that blew me away: 'Speak' by Laurie Halse Anderson. I'm in awe of her work.

* Spirituality. I learned there are four patron saints for writers: Saint Lucy of Syracuse, Saint Francis de Sales, Saint John the Apostle, Saint Paul the Apostle.

* Reaching the finals in RWAustralia's Selling Synopsis and First Kiss competitions, and in the YA category of Spacecoast Authors of Romance's Launching a Star comp.

* Most of all, my husband, family, friends and cats. Awwww.

What made you happy in 2007?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Shop, Girl

There might be tinsel and fairy lights clinging from rafters to floorboards, spray-on snow frosting windowpanes, and Kylie Minogue's version of Santa Baby playing over P.A.s in 20 shops, but Christmas shopping is never pretty.

Most writers are terrific eavesdroppers. Here are snatches of conversations I overheard while shoulder-to-shoulder with the shopping troops over the weekend:

* 20-something girl fumes, "I can't believe [name omitted to protect his identity] bought me a present. Now I have to buy him one."

* Woman in an eight-level department store wails, "There's so much crap in here! Ooh, but that dress would look great on me."

* "You should buy your presents early on in the year. I finished my shopping in August," says Mother Superior to Death-Stare Daughter.

* "There's plenty of time to shop," says optimistic teenager.

* "Why do I have to buy stuff for so many people?" laments girl to her three glowering friends.

* "Does anyone make perfume that doesn't stink?" harried-looking male asks his blank-faced companion. (Much more agreeable quotes by famous people about fragrances can be found here.)

They weren't the only ones having meltdowns in the shops yesterday. I was in a homewares shop, sniffing chocolate-scented candles. I tried to get a closer whiff, not realising that the box I picked up was a platform for a large ceramic candle-holder. So this delicate ceramic piece, along with 10 other boxes, somersaulted to the floor and smashed into a million little pieces. Fortunately, I only had to pay for half the damage. But I can't ever go back there again. Nor can I return to the boutique where I tried on a slinky silk dress and couldn't get it off. A sales assistant had to come into the dressing room and yank it over my head.

Shopping disasters, anyone?