Sunday, June 30, 2013


In New Zealand at the moment our main postal company is pushing to have our postal delivery service reduced from 6 days to 3 days. I personally think it's silly, and backward and makes New Zealand look like a hick town BUT their rationale is that people don't send letters and packages as much anymore because of emails and so the posties don't have as many letters to deliver. It'll mean there'll be all sorts of job cuts (poor old Postman Pat out of a job) and will be really annoying if you have to wait that many more days to receive your post.

They've been talking about how it's similar to when they cut down mail deliveries in the 1980s. The milk trucks used to go around the neighbourhoods, take away your empty glass bottles and replace them with new bottles. In the 80's they cut down this service to only a few days a week. I remember when I was a little kid in the early 90's hearing the music of the milk truck and running out to pick up the crate of our milk. We'd put out the empty glass bottles and put a blue ring around the neck of one (which meant medium fat), a green ring around one (which meant trim) and a white around the other (which meant full fat). Then the crates I'd take inside each day would have three full glass bottles of milk, one with a silver top, one with a green top and one with a blue top.

I didn't realise when they stopped the milk deliveries all together. I guess by the time it happened I was well into my schooling years and didn't notice the slow phasing out of the glass bottles and the phasing in of the supermarket bought plastic bottles. The ones from the supermarkets had all different kinds of flavours - full cream, trim, normal, calcium added, chocolate flavoured - all different colours of plastic milk tops. It's like I blinked and the world was unrecognisable.

So I was thinking about that and realised I really miss my childhood. Not because it was the carefree kiddie days but because life was so much more simple.

I know of a child who is under 10 years old and her whole life is spent behind a screen. She watches TV in the morning. On the way to school she listens to her i-pod while playing on her i-pad. While she's at school she uses computers. When she gets home she plays online on her laptop while watching TV from the minute she gets home until the minute she goes to bed. It's awful and just makes me cringe.

Now I spend a lot of my life behind screens as well. But when I was nine years old there was no cellphones. There were no laptops (that I knew of). Desktop computers were big, slow and clunky and the internet was slowly building momentum but you could go and make yourself a cup of tea in the time it took to load one single page.

I spent my time listening to music and dancing, scootering and biking around the neighbourhood or reading. I played board games and used my awesome pro-yo or jittering. What's happening to our kids now? Are they all like this child I know? Sucked into a world that is spent behind a screen?

I've been getting quite nostalgic, and have been thinking a lot about the past and how things were, and I'm wondering, what is it that you miss? Do you read a lot of books set in the days of your childhood and long for the days when you didn't own a TV, or just as the TVs started projecting coloured images, or when al you could play on a computer was pacman? As much as these technologies are a godsend, is there any you wish you could just get rid of for a little while?

I better snap back to the present. The reality is, as our world changes and becomes this 'modern world of convenience' we need to change with it, or we get left behind. But sometimes it's nice to wonder, what would our world be like without all these screens, all this convenience? What would it be like to still receive our milk in glass bottles at our letterbox, and if the thought of cutting the postal service down to 3 days a week was just preposterous.

I'm interested to hear your thoughts.... 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme, started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Join by visiting their blogs and signing in on the widget.

I've been pretty bad at blogging lately, and even pumping out a What's Up Wednesday! (Partly because I get Wednesday almost 24 hours before America/Canada so I get confused by the time difference...!)

But this week, it's all on!

What I'm Reading
I finally finished Cody Name Verity which took me quite a while to get through then I followed it up by one of those guilty pleasures... Pretty Little Liars number 13 (!!). Dang guilty pleasures! Now I'm reading the new book from Khaled Hosseini, And The Mountains Echoed. There are so many others on my list that I've been meaning to read for over a year now, but I loved The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns so really want to crack into this one!

What I'm Writing
Still pumping away on my WIP. I've finally broken free of my mind block and barriers (there'll be a blog about this in the next few weeks) and now the words are flowing more freely. The key is to keep them flowing! I've made up two of the chapters I deleted, so just got to get a move on and make up the rest!

I'm happy with where my story is heading now, but I am spending more time getting those words down  and unfortunately less time here on the blog. I'm trying to avoid using my blog as a procrastination tool and avoid procrastination in general! We'll see how that goes... haha!

What Inspires Me Right Now
We've been having some pretty crappy weather in New Zealand lately. It's heading toward the middle of winter and New Zealand has been utterly battered with wild weather. In the past week we've had a massive wind storm, a massive rain storm (which caused huge amounts of flooding) and a huge snow storm. My character is in a pretty dark place currently so bundling up in front of the heater and writing while the rain pours outside is what has been inspiring me!

What Else I've Been Up To...
It's been busy over the last few weeks. Our Festival programme launched - if you're interested in just looking or think you might be in Christchurch in August/September check it out here. That's been one of my big projects and I'm very happy with how it turned out!

I've been braving the -3 temperatures to get out to the gym at 7am each morning, and have finally started watching Game of Thrones. I know I'm SO far behind, and I did watch most of the first season in 2011 but just couldn't get into it. I'm trying again and am loving it so far! About to start on season two :D

Aside from that, I've just been working and hanging with my family. Heading up north to see my man on Friday which i'm VERY excited about! 

As I said, it's mid-winter so we're all in hibernation mode so not a lot is really going on! Hating this cold! Bring on the summer!

What have you been up to?

Monday, June 10, 2013

The you behind the blog

I was thinking the other day, I've been talking to a lot of you for almost a year via the internet but there's only so much you learn about people via the web.

Obviously many people want to keep their private lives private, but I'm curious to know, as we're all writers and readers, what else fills up our days? What else do you like to do? What part of the world are you in? (Because i'm sure that impacts when you write and what you write about) What part of the world would you like to write in?

Maybe I could start...

I live in New Zealand - have recently moved back after a year in the USA. I plan to move to the UK next year after doing 6 weeks in Africa, and 2 weeks in Turkey. Ideally I'd love to live somewhere picturesque and remote to write. I'm thinking Alaska or Iceland. I'm imagining snow and grey skies and being able to sit inside by the fire place with a hot cup of cocoa and my imagination.

During the day I do marketing and publicity for an arts festival then in my spare time I work out at my local gym, I play my guitar, watch my favourite shows online, bake, spend time with my family and read. I don't have as much time to read anymore which consequently means it's taking me far longer to get through a book.

On the very little free time I have, I like to daydream about and plan my future travel. My man and I want to travel the whole world. You learn so much from traveling and get so much inspiration.

So ... that's pretty much me. Now I would LOVE to hear about all of you :)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

How is it What's Up Wednesday time again already? If you're not up to date yet, What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme that allows us to touch base with our online friends to tell them what's up in your world!

What I'm Reading
I'm ashamed to say i'm STILL reading Code Name Verity. I've been so crazy busy over the last few week that it's been a bit abandoned! Whoops! I miss my daily subway reading time! I'll get there, I promise!

What I'm Writing
A lot of you are aware I've been having some mega issues getting past my writers block. I deleted a good portion .... okay most of my current WIP and am starting again with a different angle. So I did the deleting and then I stared at the blank page and got frustrated. I blogged about my frustrations, got some great advice and then stared some more at my blank page. So I took a week off. I've barely even thought about my WIP for the last week until today. I went to the gym, and started to let my mind wander to my WIP. It was the first time I'd let myself think about what might happen next. 

See I've been writing out a broad plan of the book and I got to this point and I just couldn't figure how to get from point A to point B. At the gym, it was like the dam had been blown up and the water could flow freely. No kidding, I suddenly got the answer. It hasn't got me to the end of my plan, but it's got me pretty close. I feel I'm ready to get back on the horse and start writing the chapters again. I don't know why it's taken so long, but I'm glad things are flowing again!

What Inspires Me Right Now

Nature. Everyone always goes on about how beautiful New Zealand is, and I know they're right. I do live in a really stunning city. But truth be told, I don't see a lot of that on a daily basis. I live in a city, I go to my house, to the gym, to work and back. Last weekend I got out into nature and saw just how beautiful it can be. My book is very tied in with the power of nature, and so that has really got me inspired!

What Else I've Been Up To

Yikes I just wrote a whole speil here then it disappeared!

The main thing I've done in this last week was head to the West Coast of the South Island with my man so we could go to the glaciers! We had planned to go up on Franz Josef, but the whole time we were there it rained and rained. The cloud was really low which meant that the helicopter which transfers you up onto the ice couldn't operate so the tour was cancelled. We were so gutted! We headed 30 minutes down the road to Fox Glacier and as they don't need a helicopter their tours usually still operate in the rain. Only problem was, there'd been a rock slide so all their tours were cancelled too. We were so disappointed. There wasn't a lot else to do there except the glaciers so we packed up and left a day early. Typically within two days, the sun had come out and the tours up to the glacier had perfect blue skies. grrr! We did have a good chance to really spend some quality time together though. It was the first time we'd seen each other properly in 3 months so we were in dire need! We also managed to walk through the valley to the bottom of the glacier (in the rain, we got very wet), but that was nice to see.

Aside from that I've been busy at planning more of our big trip for next year! We've added in 5 days on Crete which I'm very excited about as my Grandad fought there during the war! We're booking the rest of our flights this week which will be great to get locked in! Then it's all about saving as much money as possible!!

Speaking of money, I've been working like a mad woman at work - the festival have released four of our top shows for the festival ahead of our main launch which has been very busy! So if anyone plans to be in CHCH, NZ in August and September you'll have to see some of the shows we've got on offer!

Lastly, I've been spending a lot of time with my parents lately which has been nice. My brother-in-law convinced us all to start watching this BBC show Orphan Black. I don't always trust his recommendations but this one is actually really great so far! Have only watched one episode but I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops. Does anyone else watch this?

What have you been up to this week?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Writing Frustrations

You know that moment when you've been writing your first draft and it's been going really well, then suddenly you hit a road block? Yeah that moment. You feel like you're hitting your head against a brick wall over...and over...and over.

What do you do to move past it? Normally I give up writing for a few hours and then come back with a fresh head. Tonight, however, it was frustrating me so much that I dug out the Lindt dark chocolate bunny that I had left over from Easter and polished off a good half of it. Ummm opps.

So, does anyone have any better ways of getting past that mind block? Ways that don't involve chowing down half a chocolate bunny? Because seriously, I don't do enough work at the gym to burn off entire bunnies every week!

Tips please! :D