Tag Archives: jem

Recycling the Acoma Way (art and armies from trash)

photo(28)Today had some unexpected joys to it. I ran into my Mum in town and was able to say airily “I’m going to meet my daughter at the Long Gallery” which made me feel like such a grown up! The daughter in question is Jem, my four year old, who was on an excursion.

I knew they had been making trash faces at school and that we were going to see the Art from Trash Exhibition, but what I didn’t quite get was that the kids’ work was actually being exhibited in the Long Gallery alongside the professional work. My four year old’s collage is in a real art gallery!

Jemima has been saying she wants to be an artist when she grows up for a very long time… I guess this is a good step.

Which segues nicely into Part 3 of my Daughter of the Empire Reread over at Tor.com – because this is the chapter where Mara of the Acoma looks a way to let the “honourless” Grey Warriors pledge to her service.

Continue reading →

The Best Laid Plans

nano13So, I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year which starts THIS FREAKING FRIDAY and I’ve had a completely scattered year with my available writing time shrinking and shrinking into nothing, and my momentum disappearing in a slow plume of smoke.

I had a brilliant plan to start getting up at 6am, to get a clear hour and a half of writing in before my ‘to do list’ brain kicked in and more importantly, the children woke up. I used to do a lot of writing at night but I’m just too tired these days.

It worked for two days. I finally got some serious fiction writing done without interruption! It was a bit of a struggle, and I wasn’t sleeping as deeply if I went to bed earlier, but I was sure it would all work out.

Then today when I got up I noticed that hmmm, it’s a lot lighter at 6am than it was two days ago. I guess that’s what you get as summer approaches…

And 4 year old Jem woke up at 6:14. Gah! Fail.

Continue reading →

Things To Be Excited About (Writing and Parenting Edition)

I missed out on the fun & professional inspiration of Genrecon this weekend, which would normally have been pretty depressing, but I got to hang out with my snuggly family and watch a bunch of black and white Doctor Who which was quite a major consolation.

In any case, without a convention to kickstart the last quarter of the year into gear, I have to find my own inspiration!

Firstly, I’m super excited by the first Twelfth Planet Press crowdfunded book, with Julia Rios joining Alisa as editor. This is Kaleidoscope, a book devoted to contemporary fantasy for YA readers which reflects the diversity of the world we live in. I’m writing a story to submit to that (as well as a bunch of other books) right now, with four deadlines between now and December. Eek!

Continue reading →

Ice Warrior Fashion Week

It’s been a weird week.

I gave my talk on Wednesday night with Lian Tanner – between us we chatted a lot about creativity, about keeping score as writers, and what with one thing and another we kept coming back to the ridiculously high standards to which we end up holding ourselves.

I walked outside afterwards in the rain, and breathed in cold air with my flu-damaged lungs, and something went, click.

The next day I was taken into hospital by ambulance with what turned out to be pneumonia.

So, from being completely devastated and exhausted by a week of my children being sick, and then me being sick, and then school holidays piling down around my head, I ended up with a bizarre four days in a calm, empty hospital room with my own nebuliser and access to Fox Sports. Oh, and barely being able to talk for more than a sentence or two at a time.

It’s not the rest cure I would have chosen at all, but apparently it was what I needed!

Continue reading →

The Best Excuse for Cake

raelimummybirthday2013So it’s my 35th birthday! It was a pretty chilled out day. My presents so far have mostly included chocolate and tea which is most pleasing and appropriate, though I’ve also received a couple of rather lovely pieces of crockery for my new (super old) kitchen dresser: a gorgeous Persephone Books bowl featuring a pomegranate design from Alisa, and a TARDIS teapot from my honey.

Raeli gave me a beautiful piece of artwork – a sketch depicting our family in the Trojan War, playing Sparkly Monopoly, napping together (that is, me and the girls piled on top of each other reading books while their Daddy naps deeply beside us which is ENTIRELY ACCURATE), and a family portrait of us as fairies.

Lunch, some actual reading time (shock!) and I also probably spent more time than I should have working on a post about A Song of Ice and Fire. I got a single lovely child free hour thanks to my honey taking Jem for a walk to buy CAKE.

Jem went through a slightly frantic and stressful (for me) art period in the afternoon – MUST MAKE ART MUMMY – which involved clue and paper curls and cutting random bits of paper and oh gah, artistic children. Lovely but also messy and inconvenient. I am proud of her love of art but there are times when I just want her to go watch some nice tidy television instead.

But the really cool thing is that before dinner, my whole family gathered together and watched all 5 episodes of The Mind Robber (1968) with me! I’d always thought that the ‘books and fairy tales’ theme of this story would make it a Classic Who my girls were likely to enjoy despite the whole black and white thing, and I was right! Not only my three-year-old Hartnell fan Jem watched rapt but after one episode of casually playing Minecraft while glancing up occasionally, Raeli was hooked too.

Continue reading →

Launch Achieved!

Author Reading 1Okay, it’s two days later and I really should have blogged about my book launch by now. After a stressful week (most caused by couriers not getting books to the bookshop until the eleventh hour) we actually had a lovely day, leading up to a splendid if exhausting evening.

Many friends, family and general readers gathered at the Hobart Bookshop (as the rain started outside) for wine and book buying – the most common lament I heard was from people who haven’t been there for a while and were greatly distressed at how many beautiful, tempting books were on display. So yay, I’m pretty sure it was worth Chris and Janet’s while to work late that day… if nothing else, you can count on my people to be bibliophiles.

Tehani did a great job of MCing, and Stephanie Smith launched the book with a very sweet and heartfelt speech about the connections between fantasy and crime fiction, and her impressions of Tasmania when she moved here last year – in fact I only realised on the night that both of my support crew are very recent Tasmanians!

Continue reading →

Baby Give Me One More Ribbon!

ribbon scarf closeA delightful package in the post today. Doctor Who convention Gallifrey One is legendary for its ribbon exchanges between fans, and I was completely squeeful when Erika and Deb of Verity! told me that they had organised a Verity ribbon for this year’s convention.

It says “Brilliantly Opinionated.”

“Make sure you save one for me,” I seem to remember saying, or something along those lines.


What they did, those splendid women, along with our fellow podcasters Liz and Katrina, and Katrina’s fellow podcaster Nicholas (AKA THE RIBBON MULE) is they collected as many Gallifrey ribbons as they could, just for me. I was so excited that I kept the parcel un-opened until I had picked Raeli up from home (getting her in the right frame of mind first by playing her the section of the Ood Cast album Dirty Little Geeks in which Laura Sigma sings about going to Gallifrey and COLLECTING RIBBONS BABY, GIVE ME ONE MORE RIBBON UH-HUH).

Continue reading →

Jem and the Space Pirates [WHO-50—1969]

I bought the Lost In Time DVD (a bunch of orphaned black and white Doctor Who episodes from stories that no longer exist in full) entirely for this project, and then wrote up posts for 1963-1968 without even taking off the plastic.


So instead of writing a serious essay about the thematic significance of The War Games, I thought I’d better see what this set had to offer from 1969. Given that the final Troughton season is the one with the most existing stories (hooray!) there was only one Lost in Time episode that fit the bill – Episode 2 of the Space Pirates.

Not exactly inspiring. But I was ahead on my blog writing, I’d get around to it while I watched other episodes I was more invested in. Like the three extant episodes of the Daleks’ Master Plan!

The next day, three-year-old Jem found the DVD case lying out and insisted we watched one. Yes, really. I warned her that it was in black and white, remembering the mixed results of the experiment with The Chase.

“BLACK AND WHITE!” she replied in a ‘rock on’ tone of voice.

Continue reading →

On Not Writing a Book – What Else is There?

Sometimes blogging about not writing feels like the most subversive thing I can possibly do. I had my annual meltdown last week as I faced what I was and wasn’t going to be able to achieve this year, and my brain exploded messily all over the house. Only JUST metaphorically, I might add.

Now I am breathing calmly, having accepted that, you know, that novel I was working on is not going to be finished by the end of the school holidays, so I don’t have to kill myself in order to get it “done” before my next deadline window (for the second Livia Day novel) takes over.

Not when I have proofs to correct and much-closer-to-finished projects to edit, and submissions to make. And a house to clean up for Christmas and a tree to decorate and an insane number of end of year assemblies/concerts to attend.

Breathe, Tansy, breathe!

Continue reading →

Too Many Pirate Captains

A friend of mine likes to point out to her children when they are having idyllic childhoods. Picnics by the river, cuddling piles of squealing kids on a trampoline, gingerbread daleks at Christmas. IDYLLIC CHILDHOOD. Of course, they never do stop and appreciate the moment for what it is – but maybe, maybe pointing it out to them will freeze a photograph style image in their head that they can pull out as an adult.

It also gives us a chance to let the usual layers of maternal guilt slide away for a few minutes and appreciate that, sure, we do so many things wrong, and so many other things just to get by, and there’s no such thing as perfect parents or perfect children, but right this second, we’re doing a good job and they are good kids, and these are the bits we want to remember when they’re glued to Playstation 2020s and grunting unintelligibly at us.

There are many days of their childhood that are so far from idyllic, with the TV blaring and the kids wanting (or actively trying) to kill each other, the days when the lack of a cup of tea can be the difference between making it to 6 o clock or everybody falling in a heap.

“Look, idyllic childhood moment, over there! You go run after it while Mummy has a sit down and breathes into this brown paper bag.”

Continue reading →