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Posts Tagged ‘Wrting’

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found it strange celebrating a winter solstice festival in the middle of summer. As Christmas approaches and we swelter here in Australia, praying for rain on Christmas Day so we won’t be bathed in sweat while eating the Christmas dinner, we find ourselves looking longingly at pictures like this.

christmas-roomOh, how we wish …

All’s fine with me, up here on the Far North Coast of New South Wales. To anyone who bought Dropping Out, the collection of linked short stories I put out in early October at https://www.amazon.com/Dropping-Out-change-novel-stories-ebook/dp/B01LXF9QEB I’d like to say thank you.

droppingout_e-cover

And so I currently have a little cat fairy tale called “Perversity” going free at: http://www.catsstories.com/perversity.html If you’re in the mood for a cat fairy tale, this 700 word story could be for you. The story’s zany illustration (below) was done by my daughter Tara Sariban.

taras-cat

While all’s well with me, my old cat seems to be failing.

timmy-p-72

He’s fourteen, and for some months now, he’s been losing weight. I know animals tend to lose weight as they grow older; a device nature has to lessen the load on the heart, but his weight loss came on suddenly (since the end of August), so it’s a cause for concern. I’ve had various tests done on him, and he’s due for a blood test for FIV (feline HIV) and feline leukemia on 3 January. He’s seems well and happy, and he’s eating well, so at this point, it’s a bit of an unknown.

I plan to spend the first six months of next year putting the scenes for the sequel to MagnifiCat (https://www.amazon.com/MagnifiCat-Animal-Fantasy-Danielle-Valera-ebook/dp/B00H0ORWQY) into the right order.

 

mcat-cover-300

After that, I’d like to spend some time finding a title and cover for the Brisbane novel I hope to put out in 2018. Because it’s a long work (108,000 words, at present), I’ll start content editing it in the second half of ’17. That way I’ll have plenty of time to pull the whole thing together, line edited, copy-edited and proofed by September ’18. I’m a tortoise at everything I do, I need all that time just to get all the various processes right.

For the rest of this year, though, I’m not planning to do much at all, except catch up with a lot of things I’ve been avoiding doing on the internet. If you’ve been working hard all year, I hope you too find time to kick back and take it easy.

time-to-recharge

Merry Christmas, everyone! And a safe and happy New Year.

Dani

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I don’t know about you, but I enjoy hearing other authors talk about the genesis of their work. Below is Ed Griffin’s raison d’etre for the writing of his latest novel Veto, available now from Amazon at:

http://www.amazon.com/Veto-ebook/dp/B005ZIT5DK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1346464570&sr=1-1&keywords=Veto

Ed Griffin: What’s the matter with me?  I know that action adventure stories sell best. Then why do I go and write a story about a woman who becomes Secretary General of the United Nations?

I remember sitting down with my brother-in-law after dinner at his house. I told him about my idea. He clearly thought I was nuts.

But the story wouldn’t let me go. What if the UN really lived up to its promise? What if it could really help people? What if it was more democratic? Why should the winners of World War II have a veto over the actions of everyone else? France, England, the United States, Russia and China? What about India, Germany, Indonesia, Japan? The recent trouble with Syria – how would it be different if the UN was different?

So a woman, a UN bureaucrat, gets herself chosen as the Secretary General. She tries to help people and is stopped by moneyed interests and eventually by the veto. Does she throw up her hands and say, “Well, I tried.”  No, she goes after the problem at the heart of UN failures, the veto.

And of course, the closer she gets to succeeding, the more the opposition tries to get her out of the way. And that is the action-adventure part.

Where did I get this interest in the UN? I’m almost reluctant to name the first mentor who put me on the UN path. I don’t want to be seen as some sort of religious nut. But it was Pope John the 23rd, the one who opened the windows in the church and called the Vatican Council.

He wrote a letter (encyclical) called Pacem In Terris (Peace on Earth). This pope was well-loved, but conservative commentators did not like this letter. Four important paragraphs are dedicated to the UN. He wanted every human being to “find in this organization an effective safeguard of his personal rights; those rights, that is, which derive directly from his dignity as a human person, and which are therefore universal, inviolable and inalienable.”

He praises the Universal Declaration of Human Rights passed by the United Nations General Assembly, because “it is a solemn recognition of the personal dignity of every human being; an assertion of everyone’s right to be free to seek out the truth, to follow moral principles, discharge the duties imposed by justice, and lead a fully human life. It also recognized other rights connected with these.”

I wish the Catholic Church of today followed the ideas of this pope.

I also was amazed at the European Union. How could these countries which had fought each other for centuries, come together in a political and economic union? I read a history of the European Union and learned that it IS possible to set up structures that can help the world become a better place.

Where did I get all this information about other countries? From the Internet. There is a world of information out there. I spent hours on line. For example, where does the Secretary General live? What kind of home is it?  The answers are all on the Internet, but it does take some careful work.

Why so much attention on Somalia? When I was at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, my roommate was a man from Somalia, Abdul Elmi. He taught me a lot about Somalia and gave me a feel for the country and the people. I read more and more about Somalia. Abdul was an architecture student and he had to learn all about building below the frost line, even though there is no frost line in Somalia. He returned to his country, but the leader then was Sid Bare, a cruel dictator. Abdul was able to get out of Somalia and return to America, where I sponsored him to enter the country. He still lives and works in Milwaukee. So Somalia is almost in my blood. Most of us white people cannot tell one African from another, and no doubt I could not tell a Sudanese from a person from Zambia, but I can spot Somalis. I was waiting in line at McDonalds recently and I walked up to a guy and asked “Somalia?” He smiled and said yes and we had a great conversation.

What did I learn from writing VETO? I learned that it is possible for institutions to change. First the world tried the League of Nations and then the UN. Maybe someday a Pilar Marti will come along and make the UN an effective tool to help people.

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Like the American Indian narrator of that fine book One Flew Over the Cuckoos’ Nest says at the end of the novel, “I’ve been away a long time”.  Things have been happening here.

First, the landlord decided to replace the living room carpet in my little 2-storey broom cupboard 300 metres from the Pacific; the carpet had come with the building thirty-five years ago. Everyth piece of furniture in the room had to be emptied and the furniture carried outside. This was followed by an orgy of washing 12 years of dust off the furniture – writers aren’t renowned for their housekeeping. After the new carpet had been laid I discovered that the LL had chosen a carpet shade so dark it’s like living on a bitumen road. I have to stop myself from looking left and right when I cross the room): Perhaps it was on special.

Then my male cat bought in Snake No. 3 (it’s Spring over here in beautiful, downtown Australia). He likes to take them into the bathroom upstairs, figuring the shower recess is the best place for an interrogation and easy for me to hose down afterwards. BUT this one was larger than the previous two and he lost it halfway up the internal staircase. I couldn’t do the bucket trip I’d applied in the bathroom scenario on the previous two occasions and had to resort to waiting until the snake  reached the living room floor and corralling it with a straw In basket, held down by an antique flat iron; these were the only things to hand at the time. What to do next? That took some thinking. I managed to slide an old Barry Manilow vinyl record cover under the In basket and then transfer the whole lot to a giant garbage bag which I carried down to the canal. The captive looked none the worse for wear when I released him – standing well back and retrieving the various items afterwards. He made for the water and I made my way home with tips for writers the last thing on my mind.

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