Tuesday, January 29, 2013

There are no accidents...

Some days I want to scream, and when I feel like that I often refrain from writing a post for fear of being a whinger (so now you have to bare with me as I whinge momentarily) see my greatest dislike is dealing with dishonest people who pull the wool over other people's eyes.

I know, I know - what goes around, comes around eventually - but it's still tough watching the way some people operate and what they get away with doing.

Then I get my message from the Universe in my inbox tonight and I have to share it with you. Of course you've checked out this site and know exactly what I'm talking about, haven't you? These messages put a smile on my face and make me continue believing in my dreams and working towards them. 

You're going to miss the slow times and quiet days, Fi. Your anonymity, stealth, and small circle of friends. Plodding along at your own pace, working in spurts, and wondering where your next break will come from. Even your uncertainties, doubts, and fears will be missed.

It just works like that once massive dreams start coming true.

You'll manage just fine,

The Universe 

Oh, there can still be slow times, quiet days, and all the rest Fi, but you might have to buy a wig. 

How can you not smile with a message like that? If you knew some of my dreams and goals - well this fits perfectly. That's all, life works in mysterious ways and what will be, will be.

So, I'm just heading out to buy a wig and a disguise in preparation.

Cheers, Fi

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My kaleidoscope world

I thought that I knew what I wanted. I've done all of the goal setting and the planning and the writing it down. It's in my head and down on paper in its full spectacular visual form.

Then talking to a friend last night and my view of the world has shifted slightly and everything is kind of out of skew at the moment.

Do you know what I mean?

You have a clear vision of what you want, you know the steps you have to take to get there, but then one chance conversation and now suddenly you're not so sure.

Then you start thinking that maybe the reason you haven't got what you wanted yet is possibly because your vision wasn't quite precise enough. Second guessing is a more simpler term for this phenomenon.

Like the prisms in a kaleidoscope, the slightest movement has rearranged the entire picture. It's still beautiful, it still takes your breath away but it's a totally different picture than it was only seconds ago. It makes your head hurt just thinking about all the other different picture combinations that you've yet to consider or even discover.

Mind you, if you were to spend all of your life turning the dials and making the prisms move so that you can discover new pictures then you might stay stuck in that rut of your own making never daring to make a move, or take that all important first step.

Kudos to every person who is dialing the kaleidoscope of life and creating a magical picture of what their future looks like. I'm aware now that there's more than one picture and when the time is right everything will be 100% crystal clear to me and I will just know

... well that's what I tell myself anyway.

Have a great weekend everyone

Cheers, Fi

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Magical Moments

Life is about creating magical moments. Moments that make you glad to be alive or which simply put a smile on your face. My magical moments this weekend;
  • Walking my dog on the beach tonight and watching her cavort in the water = magical moment.
  • My grandson having his bath and flopping on his belly, with his face in the water to swim = hilarious magical moment.
  • My little nanna nap on the lounge this afternoon just because I could, no urgent activities requiring my attention = magical moment
  • My boys all doing well and staying out of mischief = stress free magical moment
I discovered a blog today called Manifesting Me and discovered this post which was in sync with my thinking at the moment - the first line grabbed me, "Life is full of magic, and life’s magic affects who we are and who we can be. It is time to realise you are the magician"

I am the magician and I finally accept that I have to create the magic, I have to make things happen, I have to appreciate the good in my life. I have to be brave and step up and do something if I'm not happy with something. Yes I have goals, yes I have plans, but yes sometimes fear of the unknown also keeps us plodding along on the same path.

I also discovered a book along my path, because what's one more to add to the 60 already waiting to be read on my Kindle. Lets face it, I have enough reading material to be stranded in the desert for at least 12 months, except of course battery life might be a problem.

Anyway the book is called "Write it Down and Make it Happen", I read the sample and wanted to read more, so I bought it - there's a common pattern here.

It took me forever to find an ebook version of it though, because Amazon for all it's marvel don't initially list the Kindle version, and postage from the US and time waiting for delivery is just too painful and expensive for me. Simon and Schuster have an e-book version but won't let me create an account because I live on a little unknown island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean called Australia.

Anyway after much hoo-hah, I discovered you can buy it through Amazon from Simon Schuster - but they don't make it easy, ahhhh the pain of it all.

Back to my original theme for this post - creating magical moments. We're all in charge of the magic, we need to make things happen, we need to be grateful for the simple things in our lives. I get a kick out of telling my boys to see it, believe it and it will happen and then the disbelieving smirks on their faces when they say 'yes mum, you were right'.

They don't understand the magic yet, they just think I'm being mum. It's genetic you know, my mum passed the positive gene to me but I think you have to be older (or at least wiser to believe in it)

I never used to be such an eternal optimist, but there comes a time (getting old's a shit) when you realise that all the stressing in the world isn't going to change what will be. Finding a way to deal with it and seeing the magical moments for what they really are, is the key.

Have a magical week everyone.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I know where I'm going...kind of

The clock says 8.09pm (or 8.39pm in Adelaide) and I've been up for 16 and a half hours now. It's fair to say it’s been a very long day, but productive at least. My body is just a little bit tired and the internet connection is a little dubious in my hotel room with it dropping in and out occasionally.
I started this post once and it vanished into cyber space, so now I’m writing it in Word first.

I got most of what I needed to get done today and just have a few things left to finalise in the morning, any doubts I had about the worthiness of this trip were allayed with the amount of things we got set up and tested today. It means when our testing team arrives next Monday they can just begin work, no setting up, no organising.

This afternoon when I went to leave the site, they gave me the keys for a company car to drive. In a word it was kind of hilarious, not my driving but my navigational skills. Have you ever tried to find your way around a strange city when you have no idea which direction is what?

I'm just thankful that they don't have cameras in cars (or if they do, I don't want to know about it) I missed my exit on the freeway, so I went a little bit out of my way (all in the name of sightseeing of course). After easing my fears that I might spend the night circumnavigating the freeways of Brisbane, I finally found where I needed to be going.

My little haven for the night
I have a lovely restaurant on site at my disposal for my evening meal, but instead this cultured and refined gal took herself across the road to the shopping centre and bought herself a dinner of cold meat, cheese, grapes, cherries and a bread roll with spring onion dip. Yummo, tastes all that much better when you sit cross legged on the bed watching Jamie Oliver’s cooking show on TV.

I then forced myself to test out the bathtub (more research for the team arriving next week of course) So now I’m sitting on my bed, laptop in my lap, air-conditioner on and feeling very mellow. My boss currently has human resources rewriting my position description with my role change. I think I also need to have him include a monthly overnight stay interstate as a requirement of my new role.

Yes Jenn, I’m enjoying my few hours of bliss while they last, makes up for my stressful weekend. Also, after my 3.40 am start this morning, I think I’ve earnt it.

Mmmm, decisions, decisions – what to do now. No dishes to do, no loads of washing to put on, no clothes to iron. Perhaps a cup of coffee and curling up in bed to read my Kindle. Life surely is hard some days.

Keep smiling all,

Cheers, Fi

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sigh of relief...

My Saturday consisted of cleaning and packing, not one off my most favourite ways to spend the day. The process was thankfully easier than expected. Eldest son is now all moved into his new place, old house is cleaned and landlord informed that he is out.

In fact his brothers and I have told him that next time he has to move then we're all busy. Let me also say, I don't plan on lifting another finger to help him for a very long time. Easier said than done, but it sounds good at the moment.

My children will drive me to drink, or at the very least will drive me crazy... 

I think I need to move though, there's something invigorating about moving - in that you throw away all the crap that you've been hoarding for a life time. You know that stuff that you keep for Justin - just in case you need it, just in case you lose weight, or gain weight, just in case someone else may need it. Justin is a great excuse to hold onto many things.

A number of bloggers that I visit regularly are doing various forms of purging, cutting back, cleaning out. I should commit to it also, especially because getting rid of things you don't use and reducing clutter opens the way for marvellous new things to come into your life.

As much as I'm aware of that circle of purging and acquiring I'll have to put it on my list of things to accomplish for 2013. I just know that it won't be in the immediate future, too many other things going on.

We're only 12 weeks away from our first implementation date for the IT project that I'm on, things will start ramping up from here until Easter. I'm off to Queensland on Tuesday morning for a whirlwind visit to get everything set up for our testing team who will be arriving the following week.

We also have 6 other projects all moving into various stages of commencement, along with preparation for the second IT implementation which should occur mid year. Did I mention I've got a busy few months coming up?

I've been dithering around on my second book, I started, I stopped, I started, I stopped. Didn't like the storyline, then I did, then I didn't. I wrote a page on Friday night, same character different starting point and finally felt comfortable with it. Some of the older stuff that I've written will still be useful, just in a different place, so not wasted time by any means.

Today I cleaned my own house and did our food shopping (doing my food shopping a day late and the hungry hordes go into shock because 'there's absolutely nothing to eat in the house mum' - despite the fact that I could go 3 or 4 weeks without shopping and we wouldn't starve.) Now it's time to get some dinner organised. It never ends does it?

Hope you've all had a productive weekend

Friday, January 11, 2013

Notes from the Universe

About a week ago I discovered this cool website called Notes from the Universe. It's almost like having someone send you a personal affirmation or thought each day.

Now I know there are plenty of these sorts of websites.These notes however are a little bit quirky, some days a little bit strange and then some days they're down right spot on.

Today's note from the Universe was short and sweet and mirrored my thoughts; 
"Life rewards effort, Fi, exponentially. No matter how small the effort, nor how daunting the odds."
People who refuse to take action, who sit back and wait for someone else to do the hard work or just plain can't be bothered to do something are top of my list of frustrating things in my world. (These people are also usually the biggest complainers about life and how unfair it is or alternatively they constantly talk about how much they want to change their lives, but then do nothing)

You have to actually help things along, the Universe helps those who help themselves after all.

I moaned about this only today and then that little snippet of wisdom showed up in my email inbox tonight. Serendipity!

So another quick reminder that my book is available for free through Kindle Direct Publishing for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Make sure it has no dollar value before you download (unless you want to pay the small $1.99 that it is) because timezones may alter the timing of the free window.

If you'd already previously downloaded it and are just getting the new, improved version then you have to delete it from your library on Amazon because otherwise they helpfully remind you that you've already downloaded it and refer you to the archives section.

That's all,

Hope you've had a good week

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Got something to hide... good luck with that

So the revised and improved version of my book is available on Amazon for three days, that means absolutely free from Thursday through to Saturday (based on US timing -  so probably Friday through Sunday in Australia).

If you've downloaded it already and haven't read your copy yet, please discard and replace with the 3 day free version.

Have you ever discovered something totally unknown and quite unexpected about a work colleague? Something that makes you view them in a totally different light?

Take this as a warning that Google is everywhere, it knows everything and you can't hide from it's reach.

If you've been good, Google knows it. If you've been bad, Google knows it. There is no escape from it's reach. Somewhere, somehow, someone will discover your secrets and broadcast them to the world.

I actually googled myself, not because I have anything to hide but out of curiosity of what people can discover about me. If you're active in social media, Facebook, blogging etc, then Google knows it. Such is the media these days, you don't even have to be active online yourself, if you've been bad it's somewhere online.

Having worked in human resources I know it's the one of the first steps that any hiring or inquiring person will take when researching an unknown person, they'll do an internet search.

My boys have me as friends on Facebook, but I tell them if they wouldn't be comfortable with me (or their grandmother) knowing certain things about them, then don't write it, show it, or share it.

Now on the sharing subject and because I like sharing awesome things that can make your life better in one way or another, here's 5 great shares I found this week

Why you should wash your face with oil - I'm so going to try this

Creative Designs - I'll have one of everything on this page - some of this stuff is great. His and her baths - yes please

Top 10 Blogs for Writers 2012 - half of these are on my regular reading list already

 That's all, hopefully there's something there for you to use or share.

You should always judge a book by it's cover

I've recently started reviewing books for Novel Publicity as many of you who visit here regularly would already know. Read that as free e-books to review, so why wouldn't I?

When they started advertising for reviewers for The Sullivan's series I ignored the emails, after all I figured there was no way I wanted to read a book about The Sullivans, let alone seven books about them.
Note: The Sullivans which I knew and hated was based on my Australian upbringing where the Sullivans was an Australian drama television series produced by Crawford Productions which ran from 1976 until 1983. The series told the story of an average middle-class Melbourne family and the effect World War 2 had on their lives.
Many of my Aussie readers would agree - those Sullivan's were as boring as batshit!

Then by chance I read one of the blurbs about these books and saw a cover, then I realised I should always judge a book by it's cover. Bella Andre's Sullivan's are much sexier and much more entertaining than the Australian Sullivan's of the 70's. No comparison really when you actually look.

Bella Andre's 'Sullivans'

The boring 'Sullivan's'

I love this series, and while I may have only just begun reading - it's awesome to know that there's another 6 books to go. The best thing is that it doesn't matter what order you read them in either - they're all stand alone books. Details of the amazing 2 week book tour and prizes are all below. That's okay, you can thank me later.

fall in love
The Sullivans are on tour with Novel Publicity. Follow along for your chance to win amazing prizes. We've got special romantic swag baskets for each book, an iPad Mini, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, and Kobo eReader, and Amazon and iTunes gift cards. WOW!

You'll also get introduced to this amazing contemporary romance series via excerpts as well as interviews with and guest posts from New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Bella Andre. You'll definitely want to learn more about the family that has captured the world's heart.

All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win!

To Win the Prizes:

  1. Purchase any of the Sullivan ebooks by Bella Andre for just $4.99 (optional)
  3. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
  5. Visit today’s featured social media event (that's where the HUGE prizes are)
  6. About The SullivansIn this sexy, emotional and funny contemporary romance series, each member of the Sullivan family will eventually find true love...usually where he or she least expects it.

    Audiobooks are also available for the first five in the series (with more coming soon). Plus, keep an eye out for paperback editions coming from Harlequin Romance starting Summer 2013.

    Bella Andre_1About the Author: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Bella Andre has always been a writer. Songs came first, and then non-fiction books, but as soon as she started writing her first romance novel, she knew she'd found her perfect career. Known for "sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance" (Publishers Weekly) about sizzling alpha heroes and the strong women they'll love forever, nearly all of her novels have appeared on Top 10 lists at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo.

    Her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine "Red Hot Reads" twice and have been translated into nine languages. Winner of the Award of Excellence, The Washington Post has called her "One of the top digital writers in America" and she has been featured by NPR, USA Today, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. She has given the keynote speech at Book Expo America on her self-publishing success and has sold more than one million books.

    If not behind her computer, you can find her reading her favorite authors, hiking, swimming or laughing. Married with two children, Bella splits her time between the Northern California wine country and a 100 year old log cabin in the Adirondacks.

    • Sign up for Bella's newsletter at www.eepurl.com/eXj22
    • Visit Bella's website at www.BellaAndre.com
    • Follow Bella on twitter at www.twitter.com/bellaandre
    • Join Bella on Faceboook at www.facebook.com/bellaandrefans

    • Tuesday, January 8, 2013

      Be what you want to be....

      Today I read a post which put song lyrics in my head and now they won’t go away. So it’s only fair that you have those lyrics in your head too. 

      Here is me showing my age when I mention the song “It’s because I love you” by Masters Apprentices. Maybe some of my non-Aussie readers don't even know the song I'm talking about.

      The song line that won’t get out of my head is the chorus “Do what you want do, be what you want to be … yeah”

      We should all be doing what we want to do and being what we want to be. Life is too short after all to be doing something we don’t want to be doing or being who we think others want us to be. Now try saying that sentence quickly several times.

      Yesterday was my first day back at work after a nice Christmas break which was nowhere near long enough. I was greeted with the news as I walked in the door that one of our co-workers had died on Christmas Day from a sudden and unexpected medical emergency.

      While she wasn't someone who I worked with directly, I knew her in passing; I’d spoken to her at times over the two years that I’ve been at the corporate office. She was a mother with a 12 year old son, which was what made my heart clench with despair. 

      It makes the reality of doing what we want to do and being what we want to be even more important. Life can end in a heartbeat, one fatal moment and it’s all gone.
      My responsibility bone (as opposed to my funny bone) is too strong for me to simply throw caution to the wind and run off to join the local circus or a hippy commune. I couldn't simply forget about everything and everybody, but my ‘do what I want to do, be what I want to be’ determination is growing bigger and stronger on a daily basis.

      This theme has become somewhat recurring over the last few months. That's why 2013 is my year to become who I want to be and do what I want to do. Working to simply pay the bills, going crazy with stress and worry over silly things? Really, is it all worth it when tomorrow may never come? 

      So, are you doing what you want to do and being what you want to be? Why not start today, one small step is all it takes to begin.

      I'm linking up with Josie for her Two Shoes Tuesday writing prompt 'earworm' - definition a song or melody that keeps repeating in one's mind

      Here's the link to that song that won't get out of my head.

      Sunday, January 6, 2013

      Ready or not...here comes change

      Holding on with a death grip to what is familiar and comfortable can be just as restrictive as it is comforting.

      Sometimes you just have to throw it out to the universe and trust. Trust that what is meant to be will be, and then trust that everything will work out the way it is meant to.

      Fortunately I'm getting better at doing this, I still have a ways to go but I'm slowly getting there.

      As a somewhat 'a' type personality who likes to be in control of situations this can be challenging for me. At the same time, trusting that things will work out and taking action go hand in hand. You can't sit on your butt and expect everything to just happen, you still have to do something, anything.

      Once upon a time (yeah okay, so this is no fairytale) I used to make myself sick with stress. I wouldn't sleep, I wouldn't eat and I'd drive myself crazy with ridiculous thoughts. Did it change the outcome - not one little bit.

      A family member is going through some upheaval, unfortunately he's no stranger to change but he's learning to look at it with some of my optimism and consider all the other times when he's always landed on his feet.

      I know deep down that this is the best thing for everyone involved, even if at this exact moment the light at the end of the tunnel is not quite visible. I know it's there, I just have to be patient and trust that soon I'll be able to see it.

      I'm rapidly discovering that change is a monumental hurdle which some people fight against because they know no other way. It's their security blanket - they need the structure and balance and no waves. Life simply isn't like that.

      There's a certain level of irony that my job involves a great deal of change management and dealing with people's uncertainty and fears. My former boss's favourite saying was 'Change is fine as long as it's happening to someone else'. I think I'd rather it be me going through upheaval than a family member, but again life's not like that.

      Tomorrow I'm back to work, although one more week to allow that light at the end of the tunnel to show itself would have been nice, but it is what it is. I know I have a couple of extremely busy months ahead of me at work, including a trip interstate next week to create miracles.

      I'm visualising good things (my word for 2013 after all). Life will change, life will improve and amazingly awesome things lie ahead.

      My mantra at the moment is visualise and then trust, what's yours?

      Saturday, January 5, 2013

      6WS - Why does criticism hurt so much?

      I think it's fair to say that the things you value the most are always going to be the things that hurt the greatest when someone dares to criticise them.

      If you've got something bad to say about my writing or my family then you'll hit a sore point every time. I do realise thought that the words thin-skinned and writer just don't go together either so I do need to toughen up and not take things so much to heart.

      The thing is, there are tactful ways to criticise or review a book, but perhaps only someone who has actually written one and battled with their confidence would understand how hurtful some comments can be.

      That said, I’m also a big believer in learning from my mistakes and so I've reviewed and re-edited my book with a specific eye on punctuation, not for my reviewer on Amazon but for myself, because every step of my writing journey is a learning step.

      Plus, once I re-read it I realised she was kind of right (me admitting my failings - light bulb moment) Though I will also point out that I don't believe that it detracted from the story or it's readability, but each to their own.

      It’s possibly still not up to her standards (that wasn’t my aim) but it now has greatly improved punctuation and tighter writing in some places – so for that reason, I thank her for her comments.

      As a writer, I now better appreciate the need to focus not only on the storyline and the spelling, but on the entire package.
      If any of you have purchased or downloaded my book and not read it as yet, the updated (new & improved) version will be available for free later this week through the Kindle promotion. However, I've been told it will take up to 48 hours for the revised version to go live first. 

      So what do you get defensive about and what's the worst criticism you've received?


      I'm linking up with Cate who gives us all a place to visit and connect. Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, its easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, or nothing.

      Friday, January 4, 2013

      Magical and magnetic energy

      Here is my vision board for 2013 and my affirmations for the coming year, around each of these statements I have set goals to help make these a reality;
      • I write, I blog, I create - I love what I am doing and the financial rewards are growing daily.
      • I explore and travel to exciting destinations where I relax and write about my adventures
      • I am healthier, lighter and happier
      • My family are content and they have everything they need spiritually, financially and physically.
      "My creative spirit is charged with magical, magnetic energy which is drawing 
      abundant wealth and positive experiences into my life on a consistent basis"

      Do you have something similar to share - please leave a link in the comments if you do.

      Just in case you need it, here's an awesome post called 5 reasons you should stop pursuing your dreams. 

      One last thing - I've updated our family pics on my 'About Me' page from the last 12 months, if you want to have a peek.

      Thursday, January 3, 2013

      Learning from my mistakes

      I hate being told that I'm wrong, but I'm also willing to learn where I've gone wrong and how I can fix the problem. That's life isn't it? Learning from our mistakes. After all what's the point of doing the same dumb things again and again if we can learn and improve?

      All that said, I'm now revisiting my writing to look at where I can improve, an English degree leaves you with a lot of knowledge that sometimes gets left behind in the pursuit of a good storyline. I'm pedantic about word usage and spelling but the basics of punctuation maybe not so much. I accept that.

      Thank you Dianne M. Edson for pointing out my failings and when I'm a best selling novelist I'll send you a free copy of my newest book ~ grin ~

      I've found a really great site for all things writing called Guide to Grammar and Writing provided by Capital Community College. It was recommended by a fellow writer and if you click on the index link in the centre of the page there's a wealth of information to be discovered and learnt.

      May also be useful for students (I'll send the ink to my student son - he'll love it - NOT!) Heck maybe I'll send it to all three of my boys.

      So the house is now free of all Christmas detritus, it's all packed up and back in the shed until the end of 2013 arrives in just a few weeks. Well the years do seem to go so quick, especially when you get OLD. I have three and a half days left until I go back to work, not nearly enough hours to get everything done that I want to do.

      Today the temperature is sitting at 39C (102F), tomorrow it will hit 42C (107F), perfect weather for sitting inside under the air-conditioning and writing. Eldest son returned to work today at the laser cutting factory he works in, hubby has just started an afternoon shift on the road fixing broken down cars. I should feel a little guilty perhaps?

      There, done with feeling guilty, after all I did my years working in a hot factory. Now instead I freeze in an air-conditioned office - summer and winter. No keeping this chickie happy, although giving up work altogether would fix the problem.

      That's top of my list of goals for 2013, producing an income stream that doesn't require an hour long commute morning and night to the office. One which utilises a few more of my most 'amazing' skills and allows more time for improving on my not so 'amazing' skills.

      Anyway, I have goals to create, a 2013 vision board to finish and plans to make for the coming year. Enjoy your day everyone.

      Wednesday, January 2, 2013

      Cephrael's Hand: Melissa McPhail

      Do you want something new to read over the holiday break? Something to upload on your new (or much loved and used) e-reader?

      Cephrael's Hand is the first book in the series A Pattern of Shadow and Light for Melissa McPhail. It's a book about two brothers who find themselves on opposite sides of a great battle, neither knowing the other is alive...

      A traitor works in exile while preparing for the disaster only he knows is coming... A race of beings from beyond the fringe of the universe begin unmaking the world from within... And all across the land, magic is dying. 

      The blog tour this week features awesome prizes to be won, plenty of social media activities happening and you can get a copy of her engaging fantasy novel for only .99 cents on Amazon during the tour.

      As a writer I am always fascinated by what makes writers write, what motivates them and what powers their writing. Melissa shares her thoughts on writing and her first book below.

       A guest post by Melissa McPhail
      One of the most enticing aspects of writing fantasy is developing a magic system. The author’s magic system is inextricably woven into their world and contributes greatly to the reader’s vision of the world overall. The way a system is created either makes the world seem real or unreal, depending on how well the author has grounded the system with laws and limitations.

      For example, scientists in our own world have defined laws—inertia, gravity, the periodic table—that describe the physical limitations and properties of energy. We don’t expect a stone to rise upwards when we throw it, but we might believe it could float if it were somehow made of helium. Likewise in a fantasy world, it’s important to codify the system with laws and rules (and to stick to those rules once established), to set boundaries for what the magician can and cannot do with magic, and to establish consequences for and ramifications of magical misuse.

      This all shows that magic systems require significant thought and research on the author’s part to develop realistically. Yet for all of this, the manner in which one might design and describe the magical process is potentially limitless—there are as many magical systems as there are fantasy novels, and equally as many readers eager to pontificate on their pros and cons and/or to organize the systems into categories and types.

      The one thing most magic systems have in common, however, is that they all handle energy. Whether that energy is spiritual, omnipotent, corporeal, or derives from physical objects or living things, the working of arcane arts surrounds the manipulation of energy.

      I designed the magic in Cephrael’s Hand based on scientists’ existing understanding of electrical fields. The process of thought has been scientifically proven to produce energy, and human bodies are known to generate electrical fields. For the magic in Alorin, I proposed that all living things produce a metaphysical energy which is formless but which flows across the world in natural currents. This energy is called elae. This is the energy a magician of Alorin uses to produce arcane workings. How he does this is the creative part.

      In Cephrael’s Hand, all things are formed of patterns. A single leaf derives its pattern from the larger pattern of its motherly oak. The snowflake harbors the pattern of a storm. Rivers form patterns that mimic the pattern of the world, and a living man harbors within him the pattern of his immortality. These inherent patterns collect and compel energy (elae) toward a certain purpose—growth, action, states of change.

      To compel energy, a magician of Alorin (called a wielder) must learn to first identify and then usurp control over the pattern of a thing in order to command it. This is a laborious process requiring a lifetime of study.

      Unlike wielders, the Adepts in Cephrael’s Hand are born with the ability to manipulate certain patterns. Adept Healers can see creation patterns (life patterns) and mend them where they’ve become frayed. Truthreaders can hear certain thoughts and read minds to see what a man saw versus what he says he saw. Nodefinders have the ability to move long distances with a single step by traveling on the pattern of the world. And Wildlings tap into a variant aspect of the lifeforce called elae to shapeshift or even skip through time, among other intriguing talents. The last type of Adept can sense the patterns of nonliving things—stone, air, water, fire, etc.—and use those patterns to compel the elements themselves.

      Adepts are limited by nature of their birth—they can only inherently work one category of patterns.  They are limited by their training, their inherent intelligence, talent and ability. And of course, like us in real life, they are limited by their own vision of their capabilities.

      Above all of these limitations, we find Adepts limited by “Balance.”  The concept of Balance draws from my studies of Eastern philosophies. It is the high governing force, the yen and yang, karma, cause and effect, fate. It’s as esoteric and arcane as these concepts imply. How far can the Balance be pushed in one direction without lashing back at the wielder? Which actions stretch it and which ones defy it? Balance is a complex and complicated subject—as difficult to define as our own world’s myriad competing religions. The only real agreement on the subject of Balance is that all magical workings stretch the Balance to some degree. Understanding how far they can be stretched without snapping is central to survival in the arcane arts.

      The concept of Balance provides, well, the “balancing” force to all magical workings in Cephrael’s Hand and is central to its plot. You see, the entire realm of Alorin is out of Balance and magic is dying—and the Adept race dies along with it.
      I hope you enjoy!

      Tuesday, January 1, 2013

      Bring it on...I'm ready for it!

      Farewell to 2012 and hello 2013. I've heard it said that whatever you're doing on New Years Day is an indication of what the year holds for you, in which case then 2013 is definitely my year.

      I've had an awesome week actually, four days with family in Renmark, then last night - dinner, drinks and a show in the city with hubby and good friends. Had an absolutely excellent night - the show was one of the best I've seen and more than worth the money and then a nice romantic night in a hotel.

      Today, we came home and caught up on some much needed sleep. Out to dinner again tonight with just hubby and I and then a walk along the beach afterwards with our furkid. What a great way to finish one year and start the new one.

      I have grand plans for 2013, no more waiting around for things to happen. There's plans to be made, goals to be set and achieved and an amazing life waiting to happen.

      I discovered an article tonight which was quite interesting reading - it works by using the 9 main areas of Feng Shui to create the life you want and to enable you to identify small steps for strengthening all of the areas. Another way of goal setting, but I love all of these sorts of things.

      What's it matter how you set your goals or what works for you, as long as you're doing something to improve your life or take you one step closer to achieving your dreams. All of this is in keeping with my word for 2013 to 'visualise' my dream life and then make it happen.

      So what's your dream life look like? Here's to you, me and a sensational 2013.