Help!

Exciting news! My publishers’ amazing marketing/PR guru just contacted me with a recommendation to apply for a young writers fellowship grant where the recipient receives $10,000 along with all associated media hype and 12 months’ worth of ‘writing support’. It’s an incredible opportunity, but the catch is, I only have about 24 hours to complete the extremely complex application in order to post out my submission before the deadline (eeek! Tick-tock!). We’re a little late jumping onto the boat with this one, and so I really, really need your help! Here’s why…

For my application, I need to have some written testimonials (maximum of 200 words) from people “suitably placed to make comment on the benefit of your proposed project to your career development.” This is where you come in. I would love, love, love it if anyone was willing to write up just a few words to comment on my dedication and passion as a writer. You only know about this passion from reading my blog here, but I’m hoping since you follow me, then you’ll have an idea by now that I put my heart and soul into my writing, and (hopefully) that oozes out into my words. (Ick, ‘oozes’ is such a gross word! Sorry! But it works!). As to the ‘career development’ part of the testimonial, this grant and writing support would go a long way to having the time and resources to dedicate myself further to my writing, and thus hopefully better my skills. That, and the project I’m going to propose in my submission is the most amazingly challenging concept I’ve ever had – and regardless of whether I get this grant or not, the story potential is so incredible that I just have to write it one way or another! (I’m so excited!)

So, if anyone is willing to write a few words down (maximum of 200) and either pop them in the comments below, or (preferably) email me at lynette [dot] noni [@] gmail [dot] com then I would be so, so grateful. I would even send you copious amounts of make-believe cookies. (And everyone knows that make-believe cookies are second only to real cookies!)

If you’re happy to help me out with this and you send along a testimonial, please also provide your name and, if relevant, your web/blog address and if you have any publishing credentials of your own. Obviously this isn’t necessary – but it can’t hurt my chances to provide them with as much detail as I can give them in my application!

Thanks so much in advance, and I’ll keep you all posted on my progress!

Author Bio

I had to write a new work biography for our company’s website the other day and it was actually kinda fun. I’ve never been that great at penning bios and blurbs—mostly because of the lacking word limit. But I managed to come up with something half-decent, and since I was on a role, I decided to try my hand at a more professional author bio. Here’s what I came up with:

Lynette Noni grew up on a farm in outback Australia until she moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast and swapped her mud-stained boots for sand-splashed flip-flops. She has always been an avid reader and most of her childhood was spent lost in daydreams of far-off places and magical worlds. She was devastated when her Hogwarts letter didn’t arrive, but she consoled herself by looking behind every wardrobe she could find, and she’s still determined to find her way to Narnia one day. While waiting for that to happen, she creates her own fantasy worlds and enjoys spending time with the characters she meets along the way.

 Akarnae is her debut novel, and it is the first of five books in The Medoran Chronicles. To find out more, you can visit Lynette online at…

So… What do you think? Do I sound like someone you’d want to read a book written by? :-)

Brisbane Writers Festival 2014

I was pretty excited when BWF finally rolled around this year since I’d never been to anything like it before. I was so eager that I booked my tickets weeks—possibly months—in advance (hey, I didn’t want to miss out!) and planned a whole weekend trip around it. And, boy, I’m glad I did, because I had a fabulous time!

bwf1

My first session was on Friday afternoon and it was called “This World And The Next”. The info blurb said:

Laini Taylor, Isobelle Carmody and Kirilee Barker talk with Trent Jamieson about diving into fantastical other worlds, and bringing some of the magical to this Muggle one.

Now, really, how could I not have gone to that one? I adore Laini Taylor’s ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ (if you haven’t read it, I totally recommend – the imagery is insane. You actually feel like you’re in Prague with the protagonist, Karou!). And Isobelle Carmody is arguably one of Australia’s most influential fantasy writers. The first book in her ‘Obernewtyn Chronicles’ was part of the curriculum when I was in primary school and I’m pretty sure it was the first full-length fantasy novel I ever read. I loved it—so much that it started me on the path towards reading more fantasy (which in turn led me to where I am today, writing fantasy!). (more…)

Comic-Con Craziness

So, I spent the weekend at OZ Comic-Con (and also at the Brissy Writers Festival—but I’ll write up a post about BWF for next time since so much happened at both). Comic-Con was AMAZING! I seriously can’t believe how great the convention was! I was definitely not expecting it to be so full-on! And I also wasn’t expecting it to be so much fun—but again, it was!

I got there first thing in the morning naively presuming it wouldn’t be that busy… But I was so wrong. The place wasn’t even due to open for another half hour and there were thousands of people waiting (if not more!). The crowds were insane! And at least a quarter of the people were dressed up in crazy, amazing, out-of-this-world, mind-bogglingly-awesome costumes. I couldn’t believe my eyes! People got super into it! It was really super cool!

crowd

What was also cool was how nice everyone was. I made so many ‘insta-buddies’ there since we spent a lot of time in queues for various things, and we just bonded over geeky fantasy/sci-fi stuff while we waited. It was awesome.

In fact, the entire event was just in the realm of oh-my-gosh-amazing. I got to meet Orlando Bloom, who was, (quite surprisingly), a seriously nice guy. Very softly spoken (again, surprise), and very British (sorry all you hard-core fans out there, I had no idea he was English! I just presumed he was American!)…

Orlando Bloom2

Then after the seriously cool moment of meeting Orlando, I took my star-struck self to see an Q&A thing with Colin Ferguson. I’m a huge ‘Eureka’ fan but what was so amazing was that Colin is JUST like the character he plays – Jack Carter – in real life. He’s so flipping funny! And so animated! And super amazing with people; he was just extremely relatable and communicable. He was also so down-to-earth, or at least he came across that way. And when I met him in person a bit later, he really showed that to be true. I got to have an actual proper conversation with him which was awesome and I basically just said something along the lines of, “Thanks for seeming so much like Jack Carter in person.” And I kind of said it flippantly, but he looked at me with the most genuinely pleased expression on his face and said the most whole-hearted, “Thank you!” Then I went on to tell him how much I enjoyed his Q&A and how great a communicator he is, and, no joke, he almost looked like he was getting emotional. (In a good way). He even said something like, “That means a lot—thank you so much!” and it wasn’t a flyaway comment either, he really truly appeared to be grateful! He seems like he’s just such a super nice guy. In fact, of the day, I think one of my highlights is meeting him, since he was just so nice! Here’s a pic of us:

Colin Ferguson1

I mooched around for a while after that and then I ended up getting to see Jason Momoa too, which was pretty cool. I’ve never watched ‘Game of Thrones’ but I love ‘Stargate Atlantis’, so seeing him was really awesome too. And, wow, he is ripped. As in, muscles-on-muscles. Very impressive. (Don’t judge me! That kind of physique earns the respect these few words provide, haha). But he seemed really cool too – almost like a big teddy bear. I saw him in a Q&A thing later in the day and, golly, he has a foul mouth! (But he did apologise for it, at least – and he kept trying to talk in code once he realised kids were in the audience. It was pretty funny!). He also came into the Q&A carrying a cardboard box which he said was to “brew his coffee” and he ended up ‘sneakily’ pulling out a beer and pouring it into a coffee cup (aka, ‘brewing coffee’). Very amusing for us in the audience, especially since he’s great with his facial expressions and made it even funnier anytime he needed a “sip of coffee”. And, funnier still, when he was asked about the most important thing to do when directing, his answer was: “Make sure your cooler is full—of ‘coffee’.” Hehe… Little bit amusing. And speaking of amusing, he also gets points for telling a story that involved a Korean bathing house and required him using the word “hoo-haa” in an extremely inappropriate manner. It was hilarious with a capital H.

But anyway… See how big he is here—his arm muscles don’t even fit in the photo!

Jason Momoa2

Later on I also got to see two of the dwarves from The Hobbit in a Q&A—Stephen Hunter (aka Bombur) and Dean O’Gorman (aka Fili)—and, oh wow, they were so entertaining! Some direct quotes from them:

Question: What was your inspiration to become an actor?

Dean O’Gorman: Inability to do maths.

Stephen Hunter: Make a lot of money without having to do a lot of work.

Question: What was the hardest thing about dwarf boot camp?

Dean O’Gorman: Exercising. Just exercising.

Stephen Hunter: The shoes. It’s like running with a three-year-old on each foot.

Question: Why do you think you were chosen to play the roles of the dwarves?

Dean O’Gorman: Extreme handsomeness.

Stephen Hunter: We were cheap.

As you can see, they were great fun to watch. (Or maybe you had to be there? Just trust me, they were great!).

hobbits2

But yeah, so many other things happened and it was a crazy-crazy-fabulous convention, but those are the highlights that I can remember. One thing is for sure, I’ll definitely be going again!

That’s all I have to say for now, but stay tuned: in a few days I’ll write up a post about everything that happened at the Brisbane Writers Festival. That was also fabulous!

Birthday Excitement

I’m one of those people who gets a little crazy when it comes to birthdays. I always have, and I probably always will. Since it’s my birthday tomorrow (and it’s technically ‘tomorrow’ in about 29 minutes), I can honestly say I’m extremely excited right about now!

I know some people can get a bit like this:

But I’m more the kind who is like this:

And if birthday-related excitement wasn’t already enough, I’ve taken some time off work this week because there’s a writers festival on this weekend and Aus Comic-Con, so I’m heading into the city for a few days of happy-place-indulgence. I can’t wait! I’m attending soooo many awesome classes at the writing event, and Comic-Con looks like it’s going to be great too! Yay!

Oh, and in other news, I had an author photo shoot the other day and it was SO cool because we did it in three parts—at a bookshop, in a rainforest, and at a castle (for a fantasy theme). No joke, an actual (sort of) castle! I can’t wait for the photos to be ready and I’ll post a massive account of the day when the time comes (because it was so magical! Everything about it! Well, everything except how I sprayed insect repellent on me before we went into the rainforest and now I’m covered—covered—in the most awful rash where the repellent was on my skin. Can you believe the aerosol canister said ‘low irritant’? Talk about false advertising! I’M SO ITCHY!!). Other than the rash—and yes, I know that sounds bad—the day was beyond incredible! And the photo teasers I’ve seen so far are just insanely awesome! But like I said, I’ll wait and do a proper post at a later stage.

Okay, I’m keeping this short and sweet. I just wanted to touch base since it’s been a little while since my last post—but the next one after this weekend will be epic, I’m sure! And filled with all kinds of writing and Comic-Con awesomeness! So get ready!

The Value Of Perspective

Have you ever had one of those days where things just aren’t going so great? You wake up with a headache, there’s no hot water for your shower, you’re out of milk, the car battery is dead, you miss an important phone call, you miss an even more important meeting, you get home to a messy house, your family is screaming for attention… and all you want to do is hide in a dark cupboard and hope for a better tomorrow? Well, we all have those days (though, hopefully not always with this particular sequence of events). It’s during times like this that I think the best thing we can do is find a little perspective; find some way to anchor ourselves in the knowledge that, yes, our day may have sucked… but we’re still breathing.

I was at work the other day and I wasn’t having the most perfect few hours. All I wanted to do was go home, bury myself under a blanket (with a block of chocolate), and only resurface again when I was feeling better. But then I heard something that shook me straight out of my funk.

One of my colleagues has a nineteen-year-old brother who I learned was involved in a car accident just over a week ago. He was riding a motorbike and was hit badly enough by the other vehicle that he broke every bone in his face except for his forehead. He also broke his collarbone, some ribs, bones in his arms and legs, and who knows what else. The doctors had to pull out what was left of his teeth and they also had to draw his eyes back into their sockets. Amazingly for all his injuries, he doesn’t have any brain, spinal or internal damage (that they know of). After eight hours of reconstructive surgery on his face alone, he’ll never look the same again, but thankfully he’s alive—and he should be able to walk out of the hospital in a few months on his own two feet. But at nineteen, there’s no ignoring the fact that this young man’s life is changed forever.

It’s stuff like this that makes you stop and think about what really matters in life. Even when things are at their worst, there’s always something we can be thankful for. We might be going through the roughest, toughest times in our lives, but the sun still rises each morning, it still sets each night, and we’re still here for all the moments in-between. Each day that we awaken with breath in our lungs is an opportunity for great things to happen. Sure, things could get worse—there’s no point in me sugar-coating the possibilities. We all know that life is unpredictable. We could be driving along and suddenly we wake up in a hospital with our faces smashed in and no teeth. That could happen. I may be an idealist who spends a great deal of time in happy-happy-la-la-land, but I’m not completely immune to the realities we sometimes have to face in this world. I’ve had to experience my own share of them, and I’m sure that I’ll have to do so again in the future. Because that’s just a part of life.

It’s beautiful—and it’s painful.

We live, we deal.

We survive.

And, hopefully, we learn how to thrive.

What I guess I’m trying to get across in this post is, perspective can be an incredibly valuable thing. It can pull us out of our situations, out of our circumstances, and it can open our eyes to what really matters. But it is challenging. Believe me, I know. But I want to leave you with one final quote as encouragement:

“A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes…”

Dreams are funny things. We all have them. They can last a moment, a day, or a lifetime. And they begin early in life. Ever since I was a young child I found myself imagining the different futures I might walk into. Some of them were downright ludicrous (because, let’s face it, the chances of my family being the long-lost heirs to some forgotten kingdom were slim to none—which meant that I was never going to be hailed as a princess and relocated to the castle from Sleeping Beauty).

My dreams changed as I aged, and while some remained ridiculous (sadly, I still haven’t figured out how to invent human wings, nor have I come up with a scientifically proven formula for a teleportation device), others have led to goals that have been somewhat more realistic. I dreamed of finishing school, of moving out of home, of graduating from university, of travelling overseas, of getting a good job… These are all dreams I’ve managed to achieve. They’re what I consider the basics, though. Because my other dreams are much, much grander. Some of them have come true too, like my most fervent desire to become a traditionally published author. In my mind, it doesn’t get much better than that. And because my publishing dreams are now becoming a reality, I’ve had to readjust my goals and come up with new ones to work towards—which is both exciting and extremely daunting.

Dreams, I believe, signify our deepest desires and our most honest hopes. That makes them scary. Because there’s always going to be that little voice in the back of our heads whispering things like:

“What if it doesn’t work out?”

“What if my dreams are too big?”

“What if people laugh at me?”

“What if I try my hardest and still don’t succeed?”

Negative ‘what ifs’ are dream-crushers. They’re hope-destroyers. They scream “YOU’RE GOING TO FAIL!!!” so loud that you’re terrified to even try. You may be paralysed by the thought of even beginning to work towards your dreams because you’d rather not lose the possibility of them coming true ‘one day’. It’s a hard truth to acknowledge, but there’s always the risk that if you try today, you might also fail today—which could mean the end of a dream. And that’s a totally justifiable fear. Because the best dreams are also the scariest. But do you want to know a secret? It’s the scary ones, the most challenging ones, that have the power to make a difference—in you, in those around you, and in the rest of the world.

You can probably tell by now that I get a little passionate when it comes to talking about dreams and goals and hopes and all that, so when I was contacted by the community manager at Kabbage.com yesterday with the suggestion to write a post on this topic, I jumped at the chance to put pen to my thoughts. I can’t help it—I’m just an eternal optimist with an unshakable belief in happily-ever-afters. But I’m also not completely oblivious to the realities of the world. Yes, things can happen in life to crush and ruin our dreams. It’s happened to me before, and it sucks. But that’s when we have to dream new dreams, set new goals, nurture new hopes. And there’s beauty in that—so much beauty. Because each new day has twenty-four hours of potential for us to work with. And in that time, it’s up to us to decide if we’ll begin to step into our dreams… or if we’ll just wait for a ‘better time.’ I love the quote by Earl Nightingale that says, “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” That’s so true. And it’s up to us to use our time wisely.

Let me encourage you today with a final, well-known, often overused (but still appropriate) quote:

What are you waiting for? Put your shoes on and start walking into your dreams!