Monday, June 29, 2020

In the mood for coffee

We have a lot of cute hipster cafés in Perth. This picture's of a stock photo, but it captures pretty well the vibe of the Filter & Bean Café where Su-Li and Chris go on their first date. Like most other cafés, the acoustics are terrifying if you have a noise sensitivity, which our gentle Chris does a bit.

I'm supposed to be going easy on caffeine at the moment, but looking at this photo, I can smell the brew, hear the ambient sounds, and now have a small hankering for almond cake 🍰

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Creating characters — oh, what's in a dress size? #MFRWauthor

When I picture my characters while writing, they're usually anywhere between a size 8 and size 14. I personally am between a size 6 and 12, depending on the cut and brand I'm buying, where I'm buying from, and occasionally, what colour I'm buying (if you can believe that!).

I don't really think about my characters' body types unless it's key to the story. For example, if fatness or thinness is a factor in the challenges or privileges my character experiences. I realise that my choice in this matter is itself a privilege, as many women and men have to consciously and actively consider their bodies when making even the smallest of decisions.

I like to think beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If I'm in a situation where I have to describe body type, I generally aim for either functional (respective of the job they're doing) or subjective (described the way the character observing them might view them).

As a teenager, I longed for a world where body shape wasn't sensationalised or politicised. Where aesthetics were one thing, but we could generally just be ourselves, have our preferences, respect the preferences of others, and let that be that. Save for within safe spaces shared with trusted people, it's not really the world we live in yet. But with more diverse representation and shifts in perspective in books and other media, I certainly think we'll get there someday.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Somewhere Only We Know — Keane

I have a whole playlist set up for writing "The Guy From The Internet", filled with romantic, pensive and maybe slightly melancholic love songs. This one, Somewhere Only We Know by Keane is one of my longtime favourites. I know Lily Allen has a very sweet and sad cover of this, but I just adore the energy in the original. I hope you like it too. Happy listening!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Interviewed at The Eclectic Writer

Today, I visited Janet Lane Walters' blog, The Eclectic Writer, for an interview.

Thank you, Janet, for having me on your blog! I enjoyed sharing some of my journey and a bit about the inspiration for my Somerville Downs stories.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Creating characters — it's never from scratch #MFRWauthor

Sometimes when I hear authors talk about their character creation process, I wonder if I'm doing enough work on mine. For starters, I don't think I've ever created a character from scratch. I have no idea if they're coffee or tea drinkers (unless it's important to the story somehow). And I don't even think about the horoscope thing (again, unless it's part of the story).

Almost all of the time, my characters just materialise while I'm writing, embodying traits from people I know in real life. Not that they're based on real people, but that their qualities are drawn from real life.

Chris from "The Guy From The Flower Shop", for example, is a mixture of three guys I know. His sweetness was borrowed from someone who can be quite shy, yet is unabashedly thoughtful and proactive with his loved ones. His impassioned ranting was borrowed from someone who's mild most of the time until he feels strongly about something good.

Finally, his maturity and perspective come from someone who doesn't conform to common social norms and conversational rituals, making him the perfect set-up for Su-Li, who is tired of pandering to some of the 'norms' she grew up with.

As fascinating as it would be to create story characters through more structured means, I find I can connect more strongly with them if I can start from a place of familiarity. I don't know if this leads to stronger characters, but it certainly helps me stay interested in them while writing.

Monday, June 15, 2020

You Are the Reason — Callum Scott

Most of my romantic music listening experience comes from—wait for it—my dad. He's a huge consumer of music, likes to learn the lyrics and sing along, he used to play guitar in a band when he was younger, and we often bond over an appreciation for love songs in a variety of languages.

Am I a huge dag for needing my dad's help to find cool pop music? 😅 Let's just keep this embarrassing secret between us and the whole internet, shall we?

Today, I wanted to share You Are The Reason by Callum Scott, one of the gems on my writing playlist for The Guy From The Internet. Happy listening!

Friday, June 12, 2020

The Guy From The Flower Shop

The Guy From The Flower Shop, a first date sweet romance short story, was my first release from back in May. Gosh, that feels like ages ago now, doesn't it?

The story centres on Su-Li, a bubbly 20-something on the verge of turning cynical after one too many bad dates. After her cousin points out that she needs a little help meeting guys outside her usual "type", Su agrees to go on a blind date with Chris, a guy from one of the fancier flower shops around Somerville Downs.

This sweet little story is a quick and easy read, written to go with your morning coffee or afternoon tea. It's available for free for my newsletter subscribers.

Excerpt from "The Guy From The Flower Shop"

Su-Li wasn’t sure about this. Even after chewing it over for a month before agreeing to this blind date, then spending the last week making peace with her decision, she still wondered if she should have said no.

But Rachel just wouldn’t shut up about how lovely this Chris guy was. She campaigned so hard, Su-Li wondered if her cousin was secretly working on commission. She knew next to nothing about him, except that he worked in the fancy flower shop in Greenmount. And, if she was being honest, posh florists weren’t really the kinds of guys she went for.

But what convinced her in the end was Rach’s blunt and painful truth. That all the guys Su had ever dated or gone out with—aka. gone up in flames with—had one thing in common besides being jerks: Su had chosen them herself.

Fine, so she was attracted to a certain type. If the dates didn’t end up turning into debates, it was his self-absorbed “I’m always right” attitude that ended up eventually killing her attraction to the guy. She thought she’d picked a winner with Mike, her last boyfriend, the one she’d crossed the four-month mark with. But that ended badly too.

Su took a deep breath and put away the pang in her chest, distracting herself by chipping old paint off the park bench where she sat. Mike had said some hurtful things when they broke up, things she struggled to forget. Even as she waited for Chris to arrive, she contemplated texting her ex to ask if he wanted to meet up later.

But when she opened her messaging app, she pictured her cousin, stern-faced and shaking her head, telling Su off once again for picking a loser and letting him get under her skin. Good ol’ Rach, always looking out for her.

“Excuse me, are you Su-Li?”

Su looked up at the pale, plain-looking guy with a tidy head of red curls. He had on a light-blue, short-sleeved button-down shirt, fitted khakis rolled up above the ankle, and white Cons.

Though he stood kind of awkwardly, not really facing her directly but not turned away either, Su was curious that he had a sense of style. She felt a little under-dressed in her tan polo shirt, black skater skirt and sandals.

Cautiously, she stood up, slung her denim jacket over one arm and offered her hand. “That’s me. You must be Chris.”

“It’s nice to meet you.” His smile was awkward as well. Nervous, Su supposed, and to her surprise, she found herself a little nervous too as they small-talked their way across the street.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Aussie charities to support in 2020 #MFRWauthor

I've often thought that my life (and writing habits) would be way more neat and tidy if I could commit to just one thing. But it's hard. We live in the Information Age (or are we past that now?), which means I'm bombarded on a daily basis with new things to look at and to think about.

This naturally gets me considering charities. Australia is a lovely place with its own set of challenges, and there are so many organisations doing amazing work, fighting the good fight for education, health, welfare and social justice. Just like with my writing projects and life stuff in general, it's hard to pick just one charity to call my favourite.

So let's not pick just one. Here are five Australian charities that could make great use of our support this year...

1: Asylum Seeker Resource Center

The ASRC is a lifeline for people seeking asylum, helping to keep people safe and providing for families who have nowhere else to turn.

2: Change The Record

Change The Record works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to invest in holistic early intervention, prevention and diversion strategies. These are smarter, evidence-based and more cost-effective solutions that increase safety, address the root causes of violence against women and children, cut reoffending and imprisonment rates, and build stronger communities.

3: Lifeline WA

Lifeline WA wants every West Australian to know they don't have to face their problems alone. Their mission is to prevent suicide, support people in crisis and create equal opportunities for emotional wellbeing.

4: Australian Red Cross

The Australian Red Cross does incredible work on a number of fronts, helping individuals and communities during a crisis as well as providing medical, financial and social support on an ongoing basis to those in need.

5: Movember

Movember is a yearly event that raises funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. While the cause is important, I must admit my main driver for donating is the special men in my life who love to bond over their facial hair. I love supporting them and seeing them get to have a bit of wholesome fun for a good cause.

What about you? What are some of your favourite charities?

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Why, hello!

Hello and welcome to my brand new blog. I wanted a place where I could share random thoughts and works in progress off Facebook. As much as I love that platform, social media can be noisy and unpredictable.

This is the first time I've used Blogger in many years, and I understand it's changed quite a bit, so please excuse me if anything's messy or broken while I'm getting it all set up 😊

Latest on my blog

Out Now: The Guy from the Internet

A sweet romance with a touch of family drama.

Holly Chee does not have her life together. She's flip-flopped on uni courses and career choices, and somehow scared off her long-term fiancée-to-be, much to the chagrin of her immigrant parents.

But she does have her streaming channel, where she broadcasts her art from her one-bedroom Mount Lawley apartment. And she has that guy from France... assuming he's even who he says he is.

The Guy From The Internet is a sweet #OwnVoices Asian-Australian romance novella, set in the world of Somerville Downs.

Now available on Amazon in digital and paperback.

Would you like to sample my work?

The Guy From the Library is a sudden puppy short story, free for my newsletter subscribers, available now on StoryOrigin.