Oh my gosh!

It has been yonkers since I left some love on my poor little blog. Sorry guys. Life got in the way…go figure.

The good news is, I have some cover reveals for friends coming up soon, and I’m part of a blog tour in August, which is pretty cool too.

Right now though, Pitcharama over at Aussie Owned and Read is happening…so exciting. Editor round is almost upon us and I have an AWESOME team! Just sayin’ 😉

Also, I’ve been dabbling in a bit of drawing and decided I might draw some chibi versions of some of my friends characters. I’ve done two so far and they have both been for the amazing K. A. Last and her book “Sacrifice” (which I highly recommend, by the way). So, without further ado…here are Grace and Seth 🙂

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Anyway, I better get back to my job as team leader for Team Non Contemp over at Pitcharama.

Cheers

Suse ♥

You should be writing!

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Yes!

I know…please forgive me…and stand there and make sure I write…I seriously need your supervision 😉

So, here’s the dealio: I have a few (read WAY too many) WIPs on the go all at once. The reason being I get bored easily, VERY easily. I’ll be writing one, but I reach about 20,000 words or so and the stories seem to become rather lacklustre to me. It’s also about the same time that my self-doubt kicks in (in a HUGE way).

You know the drill:

Why are you doing this?

Why do you even think you can?

Your writing stinks!

Why don’t you just give up?

You’ll never be able to write like (insert famous author’s name here).

So, I stop. I shelve the story (albeit on my desktop so it can taunt me every time I turn the computer on) and there it sits, marinating, so to speak.

Of course, I can’t bring myself to actually stop writing, so I get a new, shiny, bright idea and start to run with that. Until I reach that magical 20,000 word mark, and self-doubt comes crashing through the door like a tornado on steroids.

Can you say: Vicious Cycle?

(Pun fully intended *snort*)

Anyway, last night I re-opened one of my early WIPs which sat on the desktop languishing for the last six months or so. This one actually made it to 25, 589 words before it got shelved. I re-read it, all of it, and yes, it had many glaring problems, but all-in-all, it wasn’t as horribly awful as I thought it would be.

So, project for now is to pick up where I left off with “Reliant” and, hopefully, I can write another 25,000 words before my old nemesis Self-Doubt raises his ugly head again.

And, I have added a little snippet of a section I particularly liked (I’m just a tiny bit biased LOL):

Snippet from “Reliant” (by S.M. Hocking)

Hot sweat slides between my shoulder blades, helping to cool my back as I push myself harder down the beach. There’s just something about going for a run that calms the senses, especially in a place as beautiful as this.
To my right is the Pacific Ocean, its turquoise waters snaking up the glittering sand in frothy fingers, greedily snatching at my bare ankles. The soft, white silica sand beneath my feet squeaks with every step I take, professing its rare purity. To my left, Pandanus Palms with their spiky foliage and thick branches provide ample shade for other beach goers, as well as act as sturdy climbing frames for some of the more adventurous kids. Behind the palms, mansions loom, their balconies as wide as the buildings themselves in order for the occupants to enjoy the spectacular ocean views. Some of the yards even stretch down as far as the edge of the sand. Not that I can see anyone out on their balconies or in their yards.
How many of these people really enjoy their view? Or are they working their backsides off all the time in order to pay for them? What a waste.

Flash fiction

In honour of the flash fiction comp over at the Aussie Owned and Read blog (of which I am a proud contributor) I have written a little flash fiction of my own.

Obviously I am not allowed to enter the comp, but I thought to inspire you to write some as well. It’s good practice and loads of fun!

Now, I didn’t use the photo over there as my inspiration, instead I watched some of the students I was supervising today at school. A bit random, I know, but hey, that’s just me.

So I hope you enjoy this little bit of writing. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think 🙂

The Art of Assimilation

By Susan. M. Hocking

© March 2013

She sat in class trying to blend in. Actually, she wasn’t trying; she was excelling. Besides, her life depended on her ability to assimilate. Despite her pale, translucent skin, dark hair and lithe figure, no one seemed to notice that she was different.
On so many levels.
She chatted casually with the girls around her as if they had the world in common. She smiled and laughed, looking them in the eyes when she spoke. Just like any other normal girl their age. The other students were completely at ease around her.
Yes. She assimilated well, but whether that was due to her incredible acting skills or her ability to manipulate emotions, one couldn’t tell. That’s why she’d survived as long as she had.
There weren’t many of her kind left in the world. Hunted down and eliminated by The Others, one by one. She was one of the few left and she was determined to survive. So she carried on doing what she did best; blending in, acting normal, pretending to be human.
The only problem was; she hadn’t fooled me.
Yes, to the untrained eye she was just another human, albeit a supernaturally beautiful one, but I could see right through her carefully constructed veneer. Right through to the dark, swirling mass of evil deep within.
Except it wasn’t there.
It should have been. Every other one of her kind I’d hunted and destroyed had it inside them. That’s why we, The Others, did what we did, so they couldn’t spread their evil around the globe.
In place of the evil swirling mass was a bright blue light. In the centre it was a blue orb. Rays of brightness radiated out from it. It was so glorious it almost hurt to look at. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps she was not one of them, but something else entirely.
No. She was the one I was sent to destroy. She was one of them. I had to do my job. She had to be destroyed.
As if sensing my thoughts she jerked her head up in a sudden panic, her eyes boring straight into mine. Dark, soulful pools of chocolate, wide and fearful held my own eyes. Her lips, quivering ever so slightly, parted softly in a silent plea. I wouldn’t look away and be the one to break the connection. I couldn’t. It was as if our eyes were physically connected somehow.
They were always afraid when they recognised me, but never before had I been able to see anything resembling a soul in one of them.
My thoughts faltered. One half of my conscience telling me she was evil and must be obliterated, the other half recognising that she was different from the rest. Instead of my usual thirst for the destruction of one of these monsters, I was now curious. Could she be a genetic anomaly? Was she the only one, or were others of her kind like her? Imagine what we could learn if I could just capture her alive.

On critique partners

So I was feeling brave and sent a request out into the Twitterverse for a critique partner. I honestly don’t know what came over me. Maybe it had something to do with my self-doubt. Maybe I needed someone to tell me that my writing was okay, and that I shouldn’t give up. Heck, maybe my ego was feeling a bit deflated and needed a boost. I don’t know, but I did it anyway.

Within the hour I had myself a bonafide CP, a certain Mr J. M. Bray, ready to take the first part of my messy manuscript into his very capable hands. That’s when the terror hit me, square in the chest. Oh my goodness! What have I done! This was all I could think for the next day. My heart felt like lead in my chest and I felt like I was going to break down in an all out panic attack at any moment. Why did I think I was ready for this? Why did I think my manuscript was ready for this?

I was still in bed, trying to break through my morning fog, when my phone tinkled, signalling that I had received an email. Not uncommon by any standards. I get many emails during the night and early in the morning. All day even (well, imagine that). I did what I would normally do of a morning. I rubbed my eyes, trying to clear my fogged up contact lenses without rubbing too hard and losing them behind my eyeballs, and opened up the email on my phone. What I read was enough to make me leap out of bed and race to the study to have a proper look at my inbox. There, sitting nice and bold on the top of my inbox, was a new email from my critique partner.

I sucked in a breath and held it, my heart leaping into my throat in horror. Oh my gosh! He’s read it and he’s probably going to tell me it stinks and I need to quit…NOW! Woodenly, I sat down in my big vinyl computer chair and laid my sweaty palm on the mouse. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t make my finger click the mouse button to open the email. I squeezed my eyes shut tightly and took in another big breath, blowing it out softly through pursed lips.

“Uh, you right?” my hubby asked in his sexy Aussie drawl, making me jump almost clean out of my skin.

“Fine, just fine…my contact slipped and I was trying to move it back into place.” This was sort of true. They do that early in the morning and closing my eyes helps sometimes.

“Okay, whatever,” my hubby replied with a quizzical expression.

As soon as he walked away I forced myself to open the email. Stop being such a melodramatic princess. If it sucks, then at least you know before you released it out into the world to be ripped to shreds by the general public. True, but still, I was afraid of what the email would say.

I read the email, tears welling as I was sure it would be full of negative comments. Wait, hang on…what? I read it again, more slowly this time, and my breathing hitched as the tears started to slide down my cheeks. These were not tears of sadness or hurt feelings, these were tears of pure joy. My work was okay. Sure, it had holes and glaringly obvious errors in the story line, but it was fixable and workable.

Now I can’t wait for Mr. Bray to email me with more of his comments on my work as he goes through it. Sure, sharing your work with someone, and having it picked at is hard. That work is your baby that you’ve spent hours, days, weeks, months, heck, even years working on and you can tend to be a bit protective of it. Trust me though, it is much better to have it done behind closed doors, than have the public do it in front of the world.

So, in summary, yes, it is most terrifying asking for someone to critique your work for you, but it is also sooooo worth it. If you consider yourself a writer, then I suggest you get yourself a CP, have a good hard think about the constructive criticism they give you, and then,

Suck it up, Princess!

A belated Merry Christmas and a Three Sentence Thursday

Wow, it has certainly been a while. I guess a week of celebrations will do that.

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I would like to start off by saying a belated Merry Christmas to you all. I hope you had a super blessed Christmas celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We spent Christmas Eve with some of my side of the family, which always proves to be a fun night. Lots of laughter and craziness as we play games like “Guess the song” where one of us chooses a favourite old album from yesteryear and we make the other family members try to remember the names and lyrics f each song. It always ends in hilarity as everyone joins in the singing, whether in key or not, and the ridiculous dancing, trying to outdo each others dance moves. And this is all done mostly sober.

That’s my family for you though. We’re all a bit nuts.

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Santa also made an appearance to eat this cookie and drink this yummy milk.  There was much squealing from my girls at the empty glass and plate on Christmas morning, as well as the long letter Santa left for them.

Christmas day was spent at home with both sides of the extended family over for a huge Christmas lunch. Always fun and always filling, it was a lovely way to spend Christmas.

Of course, boxing day sales had to be braved. It was beyond nuts and I don’t know why I do it to myself every year…actually, my $100 down to $10 cream leather boots are why I do it every year. Still, crazy nonetheless.

Then, it was our youngest munchkins 4th birthday today (I told you, this is a crazy week for us. Hubby’s mum’s birthday is on Saturday too!).So it was down with the Christmas decorations and up with the birthday decorations late last night, so she would get a lovely surprise this morning. She has had a wonderful day and she was spoiled rotten, as always. She is growing up so fast, it is terrifying watching the speed at which she is growing. Incredible!

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Now that we’ve caught up on the last week or so, it is time to get down to business…

THREE SENTENCE THURSDAY

It’s a bit of a random one today. Sometimes three sentences just isn’t enough, but that’s the way it goes. Take it how you like, but here it is…

Between the gruesome murder of Amy Davenry at school last week, and the discoveries that Jude and I have made about each other (but not yet brought up), I have a lot on my mind. A lot of stuff that I cannot share with Molly, my new human best friend. And a fair amount of stuff I can’t share with Jude, my not-so-human sort of but not really boyfriend.

Of course, this comes from my WIP novel Bite Me!

Anyway, I hope everyone has a fabulous week leading up to the new year. We will remain busy for a few more days with more birthdays and new years parties, but then it will be back to semi-normal…to be honest, I am looking forward to the semi-normal.

What’s in a name?

So I thought I would explain the new name for my blog.

Originally I had wanted to call it “Scribbly Gum” but I thought most people wouldn’t get that. Unless you are Australian, and you spend time out of doors in the Australian bush, you wouldn’t have a clue what a scribbly gum is.

A scribbly gum is a very majestic and beautiful gum tree found just about all over Australia. They are particularly common in the national parks around where I live. It’s name comes from the “scribbles” all over the trunk and branches of the tree made by the burrowing larvae of a moth called Ogmograptis scribula.

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Isn’t it stunning?

These trees were the inspiration behind the name change, and I thought it rather appropriate seeing as I am an Aussie wannabe author and all, scribbling notes down on any piece of paper I can get my hands on.

Something a Little Bit Different

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Source: Frustrated Writer. From the book, 'Kid Confidential: An Insider's Guide to Grown-Ups'. Published 
by Bloomsbury US. (Walker).

So the above image will give you a pretty good idea of my writing frustrations while trying to continue writing my YA paranormal romancy type novel “Bite Me!”

I have been working on it for about six months now and I have hit a major roadblock. I am about 35,000 words done, and I know exactly where I want the story to end up, who gets killed off, who falls in love with who, etc, etc. However, it is the inbetween stuff that I can’t get around. It just feels dry and plain boring. And if there is anything I DON’T want my writing to be labelled as, it’s boring.

I have been pulling my hair out, moping around and staring at the monitor in such a depressed manner that my poor husband has started wondering if I am going to be okay ever again.

Now, for those of you with an interest in Summer and the gang, DO NOT PANIC! I promise I will finish writing it. I have a plan for it, you see…The first 35,000 words is currently being edited by my amazing dad (who is an English teacher, and a self-published author himself…I plan on doing an interview on this blog with him in the very near future) and I am hoping to release it sometime in the new year (date TBA) as the first episode of Bite Me!

What I am hoping to achieve by releasing the book in episodic form is to just get it out there, get people interested in Summer and her friends. Also, if I have enough people nagging me for the second episode, I know I will be able to get on with writing it. I work much better with a deadline!

In the meantime, I am distracting myself by writing a new novel that is totally different to Bite Me! in every way possible. This particular novel I have had outlined and lying around for the last year and a half. It is one of the three books that I had started writing when my computer crashed and I lost everything. This one was the furthest along at about 40,000 words when I lost it. Needless to say I had no desire to try and rewrite it for a very long time. Losing so much of your own work in that manner is very disheartening. Even now, as I begin to rewrite it, I am sad because I know I can’t recapture what I wrote exactly. Nevertheless, it is giving me a much needed break from my other writerly frustrations.

So, what is this new novel? I hear you ask (or maybe that’s just in my head – I wouldn’t discount my being a bit crazy o_0). It is a Christian Historical Romance (like I said, completely different to Bite Me!), set in Bonogin, QLD, Australia (which also happens to be where I live). Months of research and careful thought has gone into the planning of this book. In my next post I will share with you all the authors that influenced me to want to write one of these.

Here the first little bit of it to whet your appetite:

Faith Hills

By Susan M. Hocking

© December 2012

Chapter 1

February, 1888

Clickety-clack, clickety-clack, clickety-clack. The rhythmic sway and shudder of the steam train was gently coaxing Arabella Clarke into a light slumber. Heaven knew she needed the sleep. She had been on the run for close to a week and she had not had the peace of mind to allow herself to really rest. Even on board the steamship Rodondo, from Sydney to Brisbane, she had been unable to sleep. Not only was she still very much afraid for her safety, but the sea passage had been a rough one. She had always thought herself to have had a strong constitution, but even if she had been able to control her stomach from the constant pitching and rolling of the ship, the eleven other passengers squeezed into the tiny cabin with her did not, and she was anything if not sympathetic. Those six days, she had decided, had been hell on earth. Definitely not a trip she would like to endure again. Unless, of course, she was to stay in an upper-class cabin. She had spent most of the six days on board the Rodondo confined to her tiny bunk, which was probably only meant for a child, in a very cramped, putrid smelling cabin, trying to keep her stomach contents to herself. She could have paid for an upper-class cabin, but she had wanted to remain inconspicuous. A single young woman, without a chaperone, handing over large bills of money for slightly better accommodations would have drawn far too much attention. No, it was far better to suffer the seasickness and cramped living conditions than have George or one of his goons find her.

Arabella shivered at the thought of George. She would go anywhere to get away from that horrible man. The way he had compromised her, forced himself on her, ripping her innocence away from her. He had ruined any chance of a happy life that she may have had with another man. And now she was forced to run and hide, like a fugitive, and it hadn’t even been her fault. Why God? Why did you let him do this to me? She mentally screamed, squeezing her eyes shut as tightly as she could to stop the tears from streaming down her cheeks. No answer. I don’t even know why I am bothering to ask you God. You never answer me. You never answered my father when Mother died. Father was right. You never help when I need you. You weren’t there when George attacked me, and you’re not here now. I give up. Her father had always told her that she was the only person that she could ever count on. No-one else would ever be up to the job. She needed to rely on her strength alone. But was her own strength going to be enough to carry the tremendous burden weighing on her shoulders?