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'My writing' blog hop

This is a blog hop, where someone gets tagged to write about a topic. The wonderful Lisa Hayward tagged me in her “My Writing Process” post. I'm meant to continue the chain, but I think if you want to respond to this, then do!

What are you working on at the moment?

I'm working on the sequel to a novel I wrote last year. I'm only in the early stages, but it's getting there. Tentative title is Shades of Silence. Not many details cos it is early days!

How do you think your work differs from that of other writers in your genre?

I like to think it's different because it's written in a new world, with an alternative take on vampires, shifters and humans. It also isn't about the fact someone's a vampire, it's about peoples' motivations and what they do. Evil isn't always motivated by evil things...

Why do you write what you write? What’s your writing process, and how does it work?

It's simple. I write what I want to read. I get an idea, flesh it out, and then work out certain goals to meet. Then I start writing...

So, how do you write?


Continuum X - I'll be there!

Unfortunately, I can only make one day of Continuum due to a lack of monies. But I have a beautiful house!

But I am looking forward to cramming as much as I can in the one day, and seeing as many people as possible while I am there. So I will be there on the Sunday. Come say hi, or at least, come and be bored intrigued by my solo presentation!!

  • Solo Presentation - Archaeoastronomy: Eclipses, Monsters and Kings, The Hall of Mirrors, 11am - 11:30am

  • Ticonderoga Mega Launch, The Haunted House, 2pm

  • Lost Origins, The Big Top, with Jason Nahrung, Amanda Pillar, Leisl Leighton, Dan Rabarts, Norman Cates, 3pm-4pm

  • Live Slushpile, The Hall of Mirrors, with Cat Sparks, Tehani Wessely, Jack Dann, Sue Bursztynski, Amanda Pillar, 4-5pm

  • Triptych: Othered Sexuality, The Hall of Mirrors, with Lauren Mitchell, Amanda Pillar, Stephanie Lai, Stacey Larner, Mary Borsellino, 6-7pm

And I will be at the Ditmars!

More renovations - the bathroom!

And here's the bathroom! The biggest room we did in this set of renovations. Everything went, even the window.

Renovations before and after-1

Renovations before and after-5

Renovations before and after-10
Still waiting on bath taps, but everything else is ready. Very exciting.

Renovation pictures!

So, the renovations are mostly finished! We are just waiting on some final pieces of cabinetry. It's very exciting. Showering at home is a luxury nowadays. First world problems, I know...

So I promised pictures! Today we'll start with the smallest room we have completed.

Introducing, The Indoor Toilet (cousin to the Cthuloo)...

Renovations before and after-3
(You can't see it well in the pictures, but the plaster on the right wall was completely ruined and had to be gutted).

Renovations before and after-12

National Archaeology Week...Post 8

So it is National Archaeology Week! Here are some more little interesting bits and pieces about archaeology.

Antiquities trade

A colleague at work today told me that as many archaeological artefacts are being smuggled out of the Middle East as there are drugs. I'm not sure how factual this is, but I wouldn't be surprised.

The demand for archaeological artefacts is immense. It is said that there was a waiting list for prospective collectors prior to the looting of the National Museum of Iraq. These private collectors have not only robbed Iraq and the museum of its treasures, but they robbed the world of its history. Every time an artefact is removed from a museum or its archaeological site, it damages the archaeological record. It can reduce the knowledge that can be obtained through future research.

There is a legal antiquities trade in some countries. If you want to buy an artefact, make sure it is done within legal bounds, and that the provenance of the object is known. If the seller can't prove provenance, then don't buy the artefact. And make sure you check the country's law. You don't want to actually buy something that could land you in prison. If there is no provenance, then the artefact could have been looted from a grave or site, and could be another cog in the greased wheel of illegal antiquities.

National Archaeology Week...Post 7

So it is National Archaeology Week! Here are some more little interesting bits and pieces about archaeology.

Crystal Skulls

So many novels and stories have been written about the fabled Crystal Skulls. A friend of mine, Alan Baxter, is also guilty party to such a thing. But it's a topic that's inspiring. It's no wonder that it has captured the imaginations of thousands. Ancient Mesoamerican cultures were well-known for their rich mythologies and in some cases, bloodthirsty actions. A crystal skull that exhibits paranormal behaviour?


But the skulls are fakes.

Investigations have come to show that the skulls were most probably created in Europe during the 19th century. Sad, but true.

File:Crystal skull british museum random9834672.jpg

National Archaeology Week...Post 6

So it is National Archaeology Week! Here are some more little interesting bits and pieces about archaeology.

Dating of Buddha

Gautama Siddhartha, or Buddha as he is most well-known, was a historical and religious figure born in India. ‘Buddha’ is a Sanskrit term which means ‘enlightened one’ or ‘awakened one’, and is not simply applied to Gautama Siddhartha alone.  In fact, Siddhartha was considered to be the 24th Buddha in a long line of enlightened thinkers.

Unfortunately, Buddha’s teachings were not written until hundreds of years after his passing, thus making the aspect of finding the year of his death and hence birth, difficult. There are a variety of dates proposed, with long and short chronologies discussed. Many of the dating techniques have been derived from literary sources and the attempt to find correlation elsewhere in other literature. Ancient texts, such as the Jakatas, the “dotted record” and texts used for the Theravada and Mahayana traditions have been used. Other sources find their origins from Chinese and some Greek works. The “dotted record” was the result of the first patriarch of the Theravada tradition marking a dot for each year after Buddha’s death. This tradition was continued by his successors until 489 AD where there was said to be 975 dots, which could be accorded to the year 486 BCE. Unfortunately, the dates which have been determined from the literature often cannot be correlated with those obtained from radio-carbon dating.

Early Buddhist culture is thought to have been an oral tradition, with the earliest evidence attributed to inscriptions made by Asoka, around 258 BCE, proclaiming himself a lay-follower of Buddha. According to one scholar, Gautama Buddha was a contemporary of Socrates, the Israeli prophets and Confucius.

The generally accepted death date of 480 BCE appears to be the most likely candidate, as it is derived from a combination of literary and archaeological evidence.

National Archaeology Week...Post 5

So it is National Archaeology Week! Here are some more little interesting bits and pieces about archaeology.

Radio-carbon dating

We hear about C14 dates a lot, but what are they and how accurate are they?

Radiocarbon dating involves the analysis of the isotope, carbon fourteen (C14). Unlike the main stable isotope, carbon twelve (C12), C14 is radioactive. This means that it naturally decays in an exponential fashion (in a half-life). Therefore, if you start off with 10 grams of carbon, after one half-life you will have 5 grams. Then after another half-life, you will have 2.5 grams. It will then keep decreasing until infinitesimal amounts remain.

Carbon dating can be used to date organic materials - those containing carbon - and is accurate up to around 40,000-60,000 years Before Present (BP). BP is considered to date to 1950, prior to the atomic bomb. This is because the levels of carbon (including the various isotopes) are in roughly constant proportions in the atmosphere. As the C14 decays, it does so at a constant rate, with the remaining C14 compared to the C12 (which doesn't decay). As the half-life of C14 is known (at approximately 5,730 years), the time passed can then be extrapolated. Small fluctuations in the C12 and C14 levels do exist, and these are often correlated with dendrochronology (the study of tree rings).

Carbon dating, however, does not provide exact dates. Error margins exist from the small to the large. However, it is a useful tool in providing chronological sequences for sites. It is also not the only form of dating. Other forms such as potassium-argon dating, uranium-lead dating, optically stimulated luminescence dating and more exist.

National Archaeology Week...Post 4

So it is National Archaeology Week! Here are some more little interesting bits and pieces about archaeology.

The Treasures of Troy

In my last post, I mentioned how archaeology in the early days was actually more grave-robbing than science....and unfortunately, one of the most well-known sites of the ancient world suffered this exact tragedy. Ever heard of the Trojan Horse?

The city of Troy.

Troy (or Hisarlik) is situated in Anatolia, or Turkey, and is a mound site which has a history of over 5,500 years. The site appears to have been occupied almost continuously since its inception, even after the fall of Homeric Troy (and its fabled horse). Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann discovered the archaeological site. Schliemann is infamous in archaeological circles, as he kept the ‘treasures’ revealed at Troy for himself, smuggling them back to Germany where some of artefacts made their way to the Berlin Museum. The riches were entitled ‘Priam’s Treasure’, as Schliemann mistakenly believed the gold, silver, bronze, and stonework goodies belonged to the Hellenistic period. The treasures were actually from the Bronze Age.

The treasures of Troy have been coveted since their discovery, evidenced by Schliemann’s removal of them - without the Turkish government's permission - at the completion of his excavations. During WWII, the treasures vanished, and were taken by the Soviets, where the collection was later discovered in Russia.
Photograph of Sophia Schliemann, wife of Heinrich Schliemann, wearing treasures discovered at Troy, or Hisarlik.

National Archaeology Week...Post 3

So it is National Archaeology Week! Here are some more little interesting bits and pieces about archaeology.

Archaeology vs Indiana Jones

Contrary to popular belief, there are some archaeologists out there who didn't jump on the lets-dig-holes-for-a-job-bandwagon because of watching Indiana Jones growing up. I'm one of them. Much to my horror? happiness? I saw my first Indiana Jones movie when I was doing my Honours year at university. And to some, that means I fail at being a real archaeologist. I mean, I don't even own a bullwhip. Disappointment.

But let's take a quick look at real archaeology vs Indiana Jones.

For one, I've never had to run down a mysterious corridor being chased by boulders. Just doesn't happen. And I don't think I saw Indiana do much reading at all. Which is like, half the job. The other half of the job is digging holes one centimetre at a time. Did he even pick up a trowel or a brush?

And ultimately, what good old Indy does is grave robbing. Admittedly, during the early history of archaeology, before it was ever even considered to be a science, that was what the field entailed. Go find a tomb, open the tomb, take all of its treasures, discard the bones, and move on. Which is a complete travesty, and not at all what real - modern - archaeology is about.



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Bloodstones, edited by Amanda Pillar, will feature tales of urban fantasy set in the contemporary world.

Due out 2012.


Damnation and Dames, edited by Liz Grzyb and Amanda Pillar, will feature 16 tales of paranormal noir.

Ready for an adventure? Then put your coat on and step into the world of noir...



Ishtar. Powerful, sexy, and very, very deadly. And due out in November 2011! This outstanding novella collection contains gems from Deborah Biancotti, Kaaron Warren and Cat Sparks!



Each story in this collection has been inspired by a track from the album, Scenes from the Second Storey. Quirky, dark, insightful and sometimes downright disturbing, these tales reflect the emotions and images our authors experienced when they heard ‘their’ song from The God Machine's record.

Scenes from the Second Storey was published in September 2010. It features stories from Kaaron Warren, Robert Hood, Cat Sparks and Paul Haines among many other talented Australian authors.



Are you looking for a dark chocolate anthology full of tales about the Morrigan goddess?

The Phantom Queen Awakes is available now. It features stories from Elaine Cunningham, CE Murphy, Anya Bast and Katharine Kerr.



The award-winning Grants Pass is a post apocalyptic anthology, edited by Amanda Pillar and Jennifer Brozek, features stories by Cherie Priest, Ed Greenwood and Jay Lake among many other authors.


"Grants Pass is a remarkable, disturbing, and worthwhile read, and one that is likely to stay with the reader for some time to come."

- HorrorScope


Voices is available for sale now. You can purchase a copy online or at Fantastic Planet, Perth, and Pulp Fiction Books, Brisbane.

"Every story in Voices is of high quality, and the editors should be commended for their high standards. This is one of the best anthologies of dark fiction to have been released recently, and is highly recommended."

- HorrorScope

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