Friday, 30 December 2016

Q+A Vlog - woot woot!

Here we are at the end of the year already! I hope you all had a great Christmas full of joy and laughter. To celebrate, my vlog is up and ready!!!

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who submitted questions!
When I published the original post, I was worried that maybe I'd get, like, five questions and no one would really be interested. But then questions started exploding everywhere and I think I ended up with seventy-six questions. Which is waaay more than I could answer in a reasonable amount of time. So a huge thanks because that was an amazing encouragement for me.

I've tried to answer at least one of everyone's questions. And for some of the larger batches (cough cough like the batch of 41 questions from one person. I'm impressed whoever did that) I just picked some of my favourites/randomest/interestingest.

Apologies for the lengthiness of the video. We cut it down as much as we could without skipping out more questions. Hopefully you'll be able to find a spare 17-ish minutes.

So here we are! My first ever vlog revealed for you, my readers!

Okay, so I DO NOT remember jiggling my legs and tapping my fingers almost constantly while we were videoing, but apparently I was. Welcome to me. (maybe that's why I became a writer and a musician, so I could tap my fingers and it would do something other than annoy people with the constant movement.) Hopefully I didn't mumble too much, and our Aussie accents weren't too hard to decipher. xD

I'd like to do a quick shout out to my wonderful and amazing sister Alice who joined all the videos together (the camera kept cutting and dying for the first ten minutes) and editing it all into what it is now. You're an amazing techo head.
And thanks to Clare for reading out the questions and adding your additions to the fun. And for supplying the camera. (and for howling duets of doom with me when it kept cutting out)

Thank you all again. Tell me your thoughts in the comments, because I'd love to know how this worked out from your end of things!

Friday, 23 December 2016

Rejoice in the Day

Christmas is nigh. And with Christmas comes much busyness. Last minute organizing presents (if you're anything like me- cough cough), getting decorations up, music, family, finishing up school for the year.

But through all of that one thing should stand out.


Christmas is to bring joy and hope and peace to the world. In the most amazing example of selfless, sacrificial love, God sent his Son to us -His enemies- to show us his awesomeness and to die to give us new life.

Life can be stressful, and Christmas too. But through that, can't we take the time to step out of the chaos and really realise what it is that we're celebrating?

For me, I love the chance of holidays to just pull out of the humdrum of day-to-day life and be reminded to marvel at the amazing and awesome things our God has done, and to give Him all the glory.

An internet friend of mine recently did a post on A Time of Peace and that was partially my inspiration for this. It made me start thinking about what I actually think of when I hear the word Christmas. Do I skip to thinking about food and fun and water fights and miss the all-so-obvious Christ? It seems so obvious, and yet it's still so easy to forget.

One of the Christmas songs I quite like is 'Born is the King (It's Christmas)' because the words are so true, and I feel that they really display how Christmas is a time to celebrate Jesus. And to celebrate him joyfully.

It's a time to lift up your voice and sing His praise. A time to rejoice with great joy. Because even though life is tough, He is shaping us, and He is working in us. And we can't lose this fight.

Because in Christ the victory is already won.

And if that isn't something to rejoice about, I don't know what is.

So take the time to feel the joy! Pause in the busyness and thank our great God for all that He has done. 
Spare a moment or two, and REJOICE.

This year might've been tough at times, with its fair share of tears and fears and laughter. And maybe next year is looming ahead with deadlines and plans and things that are just so impossibly far beyond your control. And y'know what?

That's okay.

Because our God is bigger than anything we could ever face in this world. And He is holding our lives in His hands.

I can't think of a safer place to be.

Go spread some Christmas joy!

Friday, 16 December 2016

Musical Chair-uh Tag

Awaaay back in October my sister Clare tagged me for La Etiqueta de la Música. Aka, the music tag.

And now, two months later, I have finally gotten to it. Sorry about the long delay, but it's finally here! Maybe it'll be worth the wait...maybe...probably not...But thanks, Clare, for tagging me, anyways.

And straight on to the tag! Hm? What? Rules??? Mmhphf. Well then, here are the tag rules:

1. Thank the person who tagged you.
2. Answer the questions.
3. Tag others.
4. Add your own question to the tag for your nominees to answer.
5. Include the rules in your post.

Well played, rule number five. Well played. You thought of everything.

But now. Straight on into stuff!

Do you play any instruments?

Indeed I do actually! I play... *clears throat*

Piano - sorta, not very well though. I've recently actually started teaching myself chords.

Flute - since, uh...maybe 2013? I don't actually even know. But I'm best at this anyway. I'm in the senior (senior, in this case, meaning braver, crazier and maybe slightly better/more confident) town band

Guitar - I can't say I'm a super pro at this. I started in about November 2015.

Violin - I bought it (yes, with my very own money. Hence I am now broke. Interesting fact for all of you: subtracting $600 for a musical instrument makes the level of money one possesses a lot lower) on the 24th of February this year and started lessons some time in March. I've got about four pieces through book/grade 3. (Um nooo. That isn't exactly normal to have finished two and a half grade books in 10 months...cough cough)

I have several future ambitions including banjo and cello, buuuut *sigh* I've heard they cost money. I'm sticking with learning violin for a year or so yet, though.

What is your favourite music genre?

*looks at question*
*tilts head sideways to see if it looks any better that way*

So I'm not exactly sure what 'genre' means in this context. I like things with energy. Slow boring stuff makes me bored. (no surprise there)

How about soundtracks? Is that a 'genre' of music? I listen to them. Bourne soundtracks if I'm doing something with explosions. LotR+the Hobbit take a pretty high place in epicness, but if I listen to them while writing I usually get a bit carried away listening into the music and flailing over the EPIC violin and flute and cello and agh, all of it. Oh hey, look at that, I'm already distracted just thinking about it. Ahem, back on track. How to Train your Dragon 2 if I'm more epic adventure in a possible fantasy/medieval place. Skyworld (two steps from hell) and various things by Lindsey Stirling come into the scene at various times too. Also Star Wars. Star Wars is cool.

Or if I'm going for something with words, it's probably one of three most frequent options: Bel Thomson, Sons of Korah or Plajerise. Come to think of it, my non-Aussie readers probably haven't heard of any of those peoples, because they're all Aussie. So. *points everyone over to youtube* If you want specific recommendations, just ask me in the comments.

Is there a music genre you absolutely cannot stand?

Sloooooowwwww and steeeeaaaddyyy. It's just meh. Like, sometimes I go to a CD list and pick out all the slow ones and make sure they don't play. I'm totally for the exciting pieces with cool baselines and epic brass melody and this insanely difficult but insanely cool sounding violin backing. cough cough like Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit soundtracks. That I can fall asleep listening to and dream epic dreams of orcs and dragons and swords.

What is your favourite way to listen to music? (CD, vinyl, MP3, radio, etc)

With my ears. I find it the easiest way, because meh. Somehow my eyes don't do it as well, and my nose just can't get it right. . .Sorry. That just came out without me meaning for it to. *vaguely realises it's probably not a good idea to try write a serious post at ten at night*

The CD player kinda died a while back, but then my violin teacher loaned me hers because she wanted me to practice along with the CD recording. So I use that sometimes. I only have internal speakers on my desktop computer so generally I listen to it from the laptop while I'm writing.

What/who are your three favourite bands/singers?

Looks like I already answered that. Oops.

Bel Thomson takes the tops, because she's really inspiring and her songs are so beautiful and amazing. Also I've met her, which is epic. She's a super nice person.

And while we're on singer/songwriters that I've met, I've got to mention Colin Buchanan 'cause I've met him as well. Not as personally as Bel, but I've been up on stage with him at the God Rock concert that we went to several years back. My sister and I dressed up our dad in the armour of God. Good ole' Colin. I grew up listening to his songs and learning memory verses in song form because 'Colin sings that!'

I'm a little unsure what to say for the third. Playjerise is cool. Sons of Korah is great. The exact wording of the question rules out soundtrack composers, so that's out of bounds. I've been told (by various strangers and internet friends alike) to listen to Twenty-One Pilots and Skillet and a couple others but to be honest I haven't gotten around to it. And obviously, a skillet is something you cook chicken on, I'm sure of it. *sage nod*

Random extra question of Clare's addition:
Do you have a funny story to do with playing music or band, if so please share it?

So many choices. I have so many funny stories that I just don't know which to pick. *thinks* 
*cue mind going completely blank* 

Conductor: So during those bars of rest, what are you thinking about? *looks at the flute players*
Flute player A: Uh, the notes we were going to play next...?
Conductor: I see, anyone else?
Flute player B: I was counting. One- two, three, four. Two- two, three four...
Me: *thinking* Well. I was thinking about pizza. Should I have been thinking about pizza? I'm not sure. I think maybe I wasn't meant to be thinking about pizza.

Sadly I wasn't asked to say what I had been thinking, because otherwise it would've been rather interesting. And probably one of the frequent occurrences of me making the entire band laugh. Sometimes I'm even amazed at myself.

And now. The rules are right at the top of the post one will notice if I don't tag anyone or invent a random extra question. (cough cough)

So I will take my leave. If you wanted to do this tag, go right ahead and steal it. (and tell me in the comments 'cause I wanna see)

(Quick side note, this is the last day you can submit questions for my vlog before I'll be closing it off, so if you haven't had a chance yet, jump over to last week's post and drop in a few questions. If you've already done it YAY! Thank you all so much! I'm really looking forward to it.)

Do you play any instruments? (or sing, singing can count)
Any funny music related stories?

Friday, 9 December 2016

Serial Story: What's next?
(also) VLOG (questions needed)!!!

Before you get too excited, I'm starting with the first half of the title...After last Friday and I finished my serial story, I realised something. I was stuck.

I had no clue what I was going to be doing next.

And now, after much thought, I am excited to tell you... *drum roll*

I'm still stuck.

Ahem. Yes. Or maybe I'm not so excited to tell you that.

I've massively enjoyed writing these serial stories, and they've been great practice. But SS+S finished almost unexpectedly and I was suddenly swamped with 'what is next???'

So naturally, I grabbed out my notebooks and pinterest and looked around for the handiest story idea.

Problem being that there were none that would quite work out.

Either a) they were going to be too -ahem- descriptive (we'll just put it like that...cough cough) for my few younger readers. Or b) I liked them too much to release them into the wild, plotless desert of choose-your-own-adventure.

Wherefore I have a problem. No story. There are some options I've thought of so far (because we all know how much I like having 'options').

#1: I could hang around until I get a good idea.

#2: I could undertake to write two serial stories at once.

Number two is a bit daunting to think of really. Writing two serial stories as well as a novel. Big commitment. But the thing is that I want to keep doing these serial stories. And I don't want to make the younger readers have to stop reading because it goes beyond the G(ish)-rated level.

So yes, I don't have any straight answer to all the 'what next' questions, but now you know my thinking.

BUT WAIT! There is another option. I don't know how it will work or anything, and how I'll go about it (so no change, basically). But I have a question for my not-young readers. If you are at all interested, there is a possibility that I could just do one story that would hopefully suit all. Or more, one continuing bunch of shorter stories. I've mentioned Lando Erif before, I'm pretty sure. And I think it's about time he got back on track with another couple of stories.

If you hop over to my writings page you can check out the general synopsis for the stories. Basically: dragons, vegemite sandwiches, jokes, evil fairies, fire-breathing main characters, pizza that totally can knock out a wharfie. Also probably a fair bit of Australian slang that I didn't even know I used. (Definition of a wharfie: a person who works at a wharf. Big, strong. This particular one happens to be Lando's dad and is pretty fun to write the few times he comes into the story.)

Basically what I would do is post on maybe half a short story every week (unless I finally get that idea for a longer Lando story that I've been hoping to get for aggges) and at the end of each story, you guys could give me random ideas for another story. And trust me, this can be very random. For example:

Me: hey guys, I think I'm going to write another Lando story. How should it start?
Dad: *had been reading the back of a chocolate packet* How about...a cocoa bean jumped onto the road?
Beginning of said story now:
   The cocoa bean jumped onto the road.
“Er, do cocoa beans generally do that?” Titus asked with a frown.
   The bean jumped again, bouncing along the black gravel surface.
Thomas straightened his tie. “I dunno,” he said. “But not as far as I’ve heard.”


So there we are. Wait for inspiration, double story, or Lando Erif. Tell me your thoughts.

I know, I know. Now we're getting to the part you're probably all screaming for. I mentioned the word 'vlog' in the title. Why? 'Cause I'm doing a special end-of-year one for you guys.

YES. I repeat. Jane Maree is doing a vlog.

*nervous laughter*

Several people have said I should, and I've been thinking about it for a while. And I had a test run so it wouldn't be my first time attempting a video. Trust me. It was hopelessly insane. I started off trying to pronounce 'vlog' without an American accent. It's actually surprisingly hard. I slipped into so many random voices that don't belong to me, that I'm totally not guaranteeing that the actual thing will even tell you what my voice sounds like. It interesting first experience in front of a camera.

I'm planning for a Q+A so what I need is for you to tap out some questions you want to see me answer. Or...try answer...or...fall off the lounge laughing because I can't even think of anything to say. (and at this stage in my brainstorming, you'll probably get to see my sister Clare in front of the camera too, but that's still in planning)

But whatever happens, it's guaranteed to be awkward. And funny. Well, hopefully funny. Definitely awkward, and hopefully funny. No actually, we all know I'm hilarious.

SO. Before I get more distracted and add another thousand words to this monstrously rambling post...jump over and dump all the random questions you've got for me into this google form! Which will hopefully work. Hopefully.

I can't wait to see all the questions you guys come out with!!! This is going to be heaps of fun. Like...just imagining some of the questions I might end up with makes me laugh. I mean...if the examples are anything like the actual things... cough cough. It'll be good fun.

Oh! And I almost forgot to say when this vlog was going to be posted... *thinks up date off the top of my head* If all goes well, it'll be up on the 30 of December!!!

So what do you think of my serial story thoughts? 
(if you haven't already forgotten about what I said in the first half of the post. any suggestions or ideas or just random thoughts would be realllly helpful)
Is there something particular you'd like to see me do in my vlog? 
(yeah, I know, you already probably said that in the form but...anyway)

Friday, 2 December 2016

Swords, Sails + Scoundrels: The Returning

Here we are back again. I can't believe how fast November went. Also how much happened it November. It's all just poof in my brain and I can't work it out.

It was sooo long ago that I last even opened the SS+S document. entire month. And I can't remember a thing. It's all been buried in the dark recesses of my brain somewhere. Thursday morning was like this:

Section title: How even did I title these???
First sentence: Where were they again?????
Second sentence: ...What even is happening...

*turns on music playlist* ooohmyword I love these songs. So many writing memories. Oh yeah. And that time I hid in the chimney. Aw yep, it's all comin' back. I liked Jack, he was a fun charrie. I wanna bring Jack in again. NO JANE. This is the wrap up, no bringing in charries for the wrap up that haven't been in the entire rest of the book. Aww but...but I wanna. BUT NO. But it'd be like -two pages from the end- "Oh and HERE'S JACK RANDOMLY CRASHING THE PARTY" And then all the readers be like " what's he doing here?" "WELL AHEM...PLOT TWISTTT!!!"

So it took a while before I actually started writing. To be honest, most of the delay was procrastinating, buuuut anyway. And then when I did start writing it was a while before I got into the feel of the story. Hopefully it was pretty much right, but I can't guarantee anything after a month of writing something completely different. At least there were no explosions or smashing windows, and that's something that happens a lot in Agent Kit.

And it'd probably be a good idea if you hopped over this link and re-checked over the last chapter just to get it fresh again. A Big Creepy Dark. And if you're behind with any of the other installments just step over to the SS+S page 'cause I've got them all there.

Now to the story. If you're all caught up and know what's going on...well, you're one step ahead of me. :P Here goes.

The Rift rolled under my feet, the warm glow of sunlight skidding on the horizon. Dawn light tinged the water pale blue, the sea stretching away behind to the edge of the world. Cool air played with the hair over my shoulder, blowing it back from my face.

My heart hummed with peace.

It was over. I was finally free.

Marius stood beside me, his eyes battling with himself. A throb in my chest pounded harder every time I looked at him. How could he have let himself be captured so deeply? How could he have given in so fully? I pushed down he accusing thoughts, reaching for the peace again.

It would all be alright in the end. I just had to trust.

He hadn’t said anything since a few moments after it had all ended. He’d looked at me and whispered, “You came.”

Yes. I had come. And Marius was starting to come back as well.

The night was over and morning had come, the Rift was on her way back to land. And then…I still wasn’t sure what came after that. A sound from behind made me turn, and Leonora flashed a smile in my direction.

“What chances you think Altin was healed in that…explosion of Light or whatever?” she asked, jerking her head back in the general direction of the island.

I felt a flash of hope. “Do you think so?”

“I’d bet something on it,” she said. “Maybe not my life,” she added after a moment. “But something.”

Something in me told me that Leonora was right.

“It feels wonderful to be homeward bound,” she murmured, eyes sparking.

I nodded, taking another deep breath of the cool morning air. Home. But where was home for me? With Leonora and Eumin? Back in Feâ Sirih with my father? Maree and Jack? I’d been gone for so long it was almost like I didn’t belong anywhere any more. 

“And what about you?” she asked, head tilting to one side.

I lifted my shoulders in a limp shrug. “I don’t know,” the words came out more hoarse than I meant them to.

She draped one arm across my shoulders. “You do know you’d be welcome to stay,” she said.

I looked up. “But I don’t want to be in the way.”

“Pish, none of that. We could find you a job in the castle quick as niffy and pack a letter off home saying that you’ve decided to stay,” Leonora waved one hand in the general direction of my home country.

The idea niggled in my mind but I couldn’t just never go home. No matter what I thought about it I couldn’t never say good bye. It was home, and home needed me. “I think maybe I’ll go home,” I said softly.

Leonora glanced down at me and then nodded after a moment. “Home is a good place. Don’t worry about anything, we can get you back there safe and sound without a problem. I mean, we should. We were the ones who dragged you over here in the first place.”

Yes. Home was a good place. There was Marius to help return, Maree and Jack to visit.

And who knows, maybe there’d be more adventures after all.

The hum of peace in my heart made me smile lightly. And maybe I had something to tell everyone.

Eumin’s deep rumble pulled me to the present again as he cleared his throat. He tapped Leonora’s shoulder. “Just warning you, Wielder’s on his way over here.”

I shot a glance past Eumin and saw Warin coming across the deck, hand resting on the hilt of his sword. “Oh great,” Leonora muttered through her teeth, turning stiffly.

Eumin’s lips twisted upward at the corners. “Looks like we’re about stuck with this one.”

“Maybe it’s not as bad as you think it’ll be,” I suggested.

He glanced down at me, the smile widening slightly. “Maybe you’re right.”

Warin stopped a few paces away, eyes darting from me and Eumin and then back to Leonora. “Ma’am, I have something I’d like to say,” he began.

Leonora lifted one eyebrow. “And?” she prompted him on.

I skipped my eyes from Warin’s hand resting on the hilt of his sword and to his face. He shrugged awkwardly. “I wanted to say that I’m willing to forget this all and put everything behind us.” He shoved forward his hand, eyes meeting Leonora’s openly.

She paused, a frown flashing across her expression. “You’d do that?” Her voice was surprised.

“Captain Warin Wielder, at your service,” Warin said, offering his hand closer to her.

She considered him for a long moment and then took his hand in her own, clasping it. “Leonora Quest,” she replied.

A smile broke out across Warin’s face and he ducked his head slightly, bowing smoothly. “Pleasure.”

Leonora stepped back, her sword sliding easily from the scabbard at her side, the blade silver in the new light. “How about that duel? I’ve been putting it off for a few years too many, don’t you think?”

Warin blinked. “You…” he stopped, flicking his own sword free, the smile slipping wider. “Ladies first,” he invited, gesturing at himself.

Eumin sighed in mock despair. “It was going to happen anyway,” he said under his breath, just loud enough for me to hear.

Leonora spun her sword in a hissing pattern and then stepped forward, bringing it down toward Warin. He blocked smoothly, the movement almost casual. They circled, the screech of metal on metal attracting the attention of the crewmen. Within a few minutes, everyone was lining the bulwarks watching.

“Looks like we have an audience,” Leonora said. “Shall we skip to the interesting part?”

Warin glanced toward his crew and one side of his mouth turned upward. “Sure, why not.”

They met again, sword turning into blurs of movement as they clashed again and again, each moving too fast to quite catch clearly. The two circled, spinning and twisting, footsteps light on the deck boards.

“What happens if they get hurt?” I leant toward Eumin curiously.

“Games with swords are not to be taken lightly, no,” he replied, eyes fixed on the fight. “But they both know the danger. And neither of them are aiming to hit the other with any more than the flat of their blades.”

I looked back toward the fight. “And how long will they keep going?”

“At this rate, miss, they could be going for an hour or more,” a crewman nearby remarked, leaning against a stiff rigging rope.

“Hours indeed,” Leonora’s voice came slightly breathlessly. “There was that time I hid in the supply barrels for hours so that your Captain wouldn’t be able to find me.”

Warin faltered at the words, his attention breaking for the merest second. Leonora flicked her sword forward with a darting wrist. His sword clattered across the deck, skidding toward the edge. Eumin stepped forward, jamming it between his foot and the boards just before it slid overboard.

Leonora’s sword vibrated slightly in her hands and Warin dropped to one knee before her, head bowed. The crew stood silent, breathing heavily from the sidelines. All eyes fixed on the two fencers.

“Have anything to say?” she asked, the tip of her sword moving to rest lightly on his collarbone. The whole ship watched silently, tense and waiting for the next move.

Warin raised his head and looked her in the eye, hands clasped on one knee. “Will you marry me?” he asked.

I gaped, hardly sure that I had heard correctly. I’d half been expecting a chivalrous acceptance, perhaps a word of praise. But this? The crew members stood staring, jaws dropped loose on most faces, everyone choking on silence.

Leonora looked at him steadily for a long moment of silence. “Well,” she huffed a long breath. “It took you long enough to ask.”

And then the ship exploded with cheers. I smiled, warmth tingling in my fingertips.

Everything was finally going right.


Aaaand you know what? I'm pretty sure that's the end. Like...the end end. I've quite possibly forgotten something important, so if you know of anything I missed, do tell.

But in all, it's over. Swords, Sails + Scoundrels is done.

And I only just sorta got back to it. If only NaNo had waited one more week it would have worked even better but, it worked! I wrote it in the end.

So here it is. Returned for one week before it signs off completely. Thus ends my third and (if I may say so) best-yet serial blog story. (Dusty Red only barely scraping past the border line of 'story' and 'rubbish.' At least I can see that I'm getting better.)

Thanks so much to all of your who've stuck with me through this all, particularly those of you who were there riiight at the beginning, and never dropped out on me. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be where I am today. Thank you all so much. Even if you're brand new, thank you! I honestly am SO blessed to have all you guys.

Now, Jane Maree over and out

Friday, 25 November 2016

NaNoWriMo: I wrote a full draft in...22 days???

On the 22nd of NaNo November 2016, at a time I do not remember, in the strange land of me, a first draft was finished.

Thus Agent Kit, book two of  The Outlaw Legends, is completed. Not mentioning any red underlines or strange typos or highly painful grammar that may or may not be through the entire thing.

Agent Kit is officially the longest novel I have ever written, with 91,946 words in all (Although technically that wasn't from all in November. I'd written about 13k of random scenes and dialogue and stuff before NaNo started. But who cares about technicalities like that?) and 42 chapters.

How in the world did I write 42 chapters in one month?


I am quite shocked to discover this insane Jane (oh look, it even rhymes. Bonus points to me) who can write 840 words in ten minutes. I mean, I thought I was crazy before when I wrote Monsieur Scattlocke for Camp NaNo and finished draft one in two months at 63k. When I could write 1k in two hours. But now?

Now I don't even know what to think. So at this stage I'm avoiding that thing called 'thinking' and try rediscover this other thing called 'life.'

Who am I even kidding? I never think. Except maybe about sandwiches.

There was no way I entered this month even vaguely thinking it might turn out this way. Winning on day ten was not something I expected would happen. And finishing the entire draft monster of 91k in twenty-two days??? I honestly didn't realise that would ever be possible for me.

I have discovered I have inner depths of crazy that I never realised.

I also discovered that over a month of late nights eventually catches up. Even if Brain is burried somewhere in a mess of writing land, it's gotta come out eventually. And when it does, you gotta watch out.

On Tuesday, I wrote 'The End' and almost started flailing and shrieking but then...

My brain died.

Over a month's worth of late nights crashed onto me and I turned into a zombie. It was like I'd been so hyper focused on the story that my brain had zoned out on everything else, but as soon as the first draft was completed and 'The End' was written on the last page it realised that it didn't actually have any energy to do...anything at all.

So I promptly flopped on my bed and wished it was night already.

When night fiiinally did come, I went to bed early and crashed. It was basically one of those 'head touches pillow - is asleep' moments that are only meant to happen in books. Or if you've just finished writing a book apparently.

But enough of that. It's time, my friends. A wonderful time. A time...for snippets!!!

I'll just mention that I did edit the typos -ahem- so that it was vaguely logical hopefully.

And you may have noticed from the title picture thing, that I have a very cool happening. My sister and I co-bought Scrivener after Camp NaNo and we both are super glad we did. It's really handy and stuff and everyone should totally go join my Camp NaNo cabin and win and get a discount code and buy it. *shameless advertising*

But the point I was getting to was that there's this epic 'compile' thing that can literally make your novel into an ebook. YES. You heard right. I ticked a couple of boxes, my lovely sister helped me insert a cover and boom.

My novel was an ebook.


I mean, sure, it's not published. Not even nearly. Also, it's a first draft. But!!! I stood and flicked through the digital pages and stared at the cover and flailed in general because it looks like a real actual book.

And one day I hope it will be.

Also, the pen. The AusIntel pen. (I've mentioned it before, I think) I own a pen from my own book. Although, in the chaos of NaNo I kind of forgot to put it into the actual story, but that'll be fixed in some draft sometime. It's all very cool.

Wow. This post has been pretty crazy and rambling. But that's pretty normal, I guess.

How is all your writing going?
Has anyone else found this month is going way too fast???

Monday, 14 November 2016

Halfway Stop: NaNoWriMo (!!!!)

Hello my fine friends! I return from the craziness of NaNo to give you a little update of how it's all going.

Now, I would do a day-by-day update describing exactly every detail of what I did that day and all that, except that I've forgotten most of the details by now and everything is just a muddled mess of excitement and words in my brain.

But I will give you my daily word count and some ramblings of what I am pretty certain happened on that particular day.

And yes. Technically it's halfway through NaNo tomorrow (or the next day if you live on the other side of the world), but I don't do blog posts on Tuesday so...I just couldn't. I thought I'd be early. You know, organised and all that. Phew. You should all be proud of me. (She says as she hurries to smash together a post at nine-- ahem ten (*cough cough* noo, definitely not 11...) at night.)

Okay, so starting from the beginning. Because it's a good plan to do that. Always a good plan.

Day 1
7,095 // 7,095

In which I broke my total-word-count-for-the-day record (it was previously 6k) and did a lot of whooping and being enthused for the first day of my first year of NaNo.

Day 2
3,155 // 10,250

In which I thumped out words and promptly forgot anything anyone asked me to do and-- oh wait. I was meant to be cooking dinner tonight?! ...Oops. 

I also competed in several 'wacky word wars' in which we typed with our toes in the first one, and our knuckles for a second one. *cough cough* I won them both. 

News flash: Jane Maree can type 101 words in ten minutes with her toes. It has been proven with witnesses.

Day 3
5,056 // 15,306

In which I received several epic messages/emails/things of people pounding my back and screaming in my face of how in the world I got that many words in three days. Also people wondering who had fed my red cordial, or lit me on fire. Good fun.

And there was another wacky word war that we did with our noses. Only problem being that my family walked into the room near the beginning and looked at me like I was a lunatic and made me laugh my head off. I then had to take a trip to hospital to get it glued back on so I only got 30 words in the 5 minute war and someone else beat me by one word. As I said. Good fun.

Day 4
4,915 // 20,221

In which my word warring group starts going into denial because they were sick of me winning basically every single war. *grins sheepishly* I started getting a reputation for being insane. No idea why.

Day 5
3,042 // 23,263

In which I was very proud of my word count because I wrote insanely all morning and then was out all afternoon until 10 pm with my town band concert that I was performing with. I was also very proud of having a not short-circuited brain, because that's always a plus when you have to play a wind instrument for more than an hour straight.

Day 6
0 // 23,263

In which the day was a Sunday and I kept to my general rule of not writing on Sundays and just chilled. And did a bunch of crazy games and active stuff at the park. (Yes. Chilling and active games totally go together in my mind. Do not question my thinking. I am a wealth of all knowledge.)

Day 7
6,766 // 30,029

In which I give advice on how to write fast in a word war. Advice that is entirely serious and that everyone should take. Forget about spelling and grammar and punctuation. Blegh. That's all stuff that can be fixed in the second draft. It'll be fine, just get the 1st draft out of your brain. Who cares if that word doesn't even vaguely resemble what you meant to type??? (I mean, you will care later when you go back to edit. And you will hate yourself. But maybe it'll be fun while it lasts.)

Day 8
5,385 // 35, 414

In which people in my word warring group stopped wanting to war with me. Trust me, this is sad. Never (I repeat, NEVER) become a fast writer, or you will sicken all the writer friends who are still sane. I'm warning you now while you have a chance. I'm past the point of no return. It's my unfortunate fate.

Day 9
7,152 // 42,566

In which I discover that me and a blogger friend (Katie Grace) had both been trying to keep ahead of each other. I would wake up in the morning and 'Ah no! She's ahead 3k again. I must get over that today.' And I discovered that she was actually doing the same thing as well. Thus, with both of us realising, it became 'official' that we were racing to win.

I have her to thank, along with so, so many others for such amazing encouragement.

Day 10
7,613 // 50,179

In which I completely smashed NaNoWriMo on day ten.


*clears throat* So yes.

At 8:37 pm I stopped my word war against myself and checked my word count.

I then proceeded to squeal and flap my arms around and make strangled sounds that were, in fact, me trying not to full on scream (problems of it being night and all the little siblings were in bed. I assumed their sleep might be a trifle disturbed if I started screaming).

When I had stopped not-screaming I grabbed the laptop and ran around the house showing everyone my NaNo Stats page (the colour of fluro green has never been so beautiful as in that moment) and squealing and grinning until (and after) my face hurt.

(Also, screaming messages started flooding my inbox which was super cool and exciting. *hugs to everyone who sent them* you know who you are)

Day 11
0 // 50,179

In which I do literally nothing but chillax. Because my brain really needed it. Oh, I also went to a Magic Workshop and learnt some tricks, but in general it was a day where I just forgot about NaNo and recovered from the insanity.

For a day.

But I was super glad that I did, because it was a really great day where I could just do nothing. *cough cough* And maybe the school work that I hadn't done throughout the rest of the week because I was too busy writing. *cough*

Day 12
2,900 // 53,079

In which I start at it again. Jane Maree back onto writing because Agent Kit's first draft still is yet to be finished. I got so so many encouraging messages and epic people throwing confetti and cake and pizza at me, it was just so very cool.

And since my racing buddy's 1st draft wasn't done either...we were still at it. Such fun. We are very much not competitive. *shakes head very seriously* Not at all.

Day 13
0 // 53,079

In which Sunday came around again and I didn't get anything in because we left the house at 7:45 am and got back at 10:45 pm...yeah. It was interesting. But a fun day anyway.

Day 14
4,027 // 57,106

In which day we are still in. (*checks clock* Okay good. *mutters to self* Can't post this on a Tuesday. It doesn't matter if it's late at night. It'll still be Monday...) And in which I war several times, help out with critiquing people's essays and novels and am 3k ahead of Katie. *grins*

So that's a basic over all summing up of my NaNo!

I really have to just say, that I could NEVER have done this without all the loads of encouragement that friends (and complete strangers) have given me. It's kept me going. It's spurred me on. It made me realise that maybe I could do this. And I discovered that I can.

And there's something great about NaNo. Even if you don't 'win' I think you can still totally win. You win if you have fun. You win if you join in with the spirit of the month and have a go. You win if you scream at someone for getting to 50k, or 20k or 10k or whatever!
It's not the word count that matters. It's the...the esprit de corps that is shared, where everyone pushes everyone else on toward the goal. It's the fun and friendship.

And now, Jane Maree out.

How is NaNo going for all of you?
Is the plot springing any unplanned twists?
(or is the entire thing completely unplanned? :P)

Friday, 4 November 2016

Why I am doing NaNoWriMo

Some people have recently asked me why I'm doing NaNoWriMo*, and in my answering, I discovered that it was less than simple. So I decided a blog post was in call (and I was in need of ideas to schedule in my Hiatus/completely-insane-NaNo-writing Month anyway).

*Also, I should mention, this is the actual write-50k-in-a-month-National-Novel-Writing-Month. Not Camp. This is the real thing. The epic quest, not the backyard camp-out.

Reason #1
Because I am crazy basically, and may or may not have a death-wish-by-writing. *distant cackling*

Reason #2
Because several epic people have offered encouragement and it's VERY COOL.
Including someone saying that they'll be there to smash cake into my hair whenever I need it. 

Reason #3
Because...why not? Plus, it gives me a reason to put aside the struggle of editing Monsieur Scattlocke and reminding myself how much I love this series by writing book 2. (p.s. It's also definitely working)

Reason #4
It's pushing me to a higher level. Camp NaNo made me realise that I could write a lot more words in a lot less time than I ever realised. Actual NaNo has done the same again. Because apparently I can write 200 words in 5 minutes...I honestly didn't even know that was humanly possible. :P

Reason #5
Now...this is sort of the real reason. Basically because my sister Clare realised that for me, if you say I 'probably won't be able to do something' I will try my hardest to prove you wrong.
And so as we were talking about this one day she laughed (and trust me, there was a tinge of evilness in that laugh) and said "Yeah, but NaNoWriMo actually would be something you couldn't do."

So I'm doing it. From that moment I was going to do it.

And, do you know what?

I'm not worried about failing.

Because, ultimately, it won't be a failure. Yes, I might not reach the 50k words for the month. Yes, it will be hard (I'm dreading the moment that my first-few-days momentum drops off and I crash land in the mud). Yes, yes, yes.

But I will have learnt more about myself. More about my writing. More about the story. And more about all those amazing people who have promised (and already have) to stand by me through the month.

And hey! I'll have more words than I started with at least!

Okay, and since you asked, I'll give you the update for how many words I've written this month so far (not including today since I'm posting this in the morning before I get writing) :

*drum roll*


Yep. You read right. To be honest I hae no clue how in the world I managed it. It's compltely insane?! And yet...I've got the words to prove it??!! What even?! HOW even?!

Someone slap me from this dream of wonder. :D
Are you doing NaNo this year? 
(if you are, we should totally be buddies *wink*)
Do you ever set personal writing goals for yourself?

|| Jane Maree ||

Friday, 28 October 2016

How Come Editing is So Hard?

After finishing the first draft of my novel and diving right into the stage of editing, I discovered something.

Editing is hard.

It takes time and work.

And it's not the most inspiring thing either.

I love writing. But editing is not writing.

It's not the fun and exhilaration of creating a new world. Of finding gems of truth and weaving them into the story. Of pouring your heart into the life of these imaginary beings of your creation and making them more than imaginary.

Editing is looking at that world, that character, that messy jumble of words that you worked so hard to make, and crying.

And then editing is keeping going anyway. It's sitting there - even though it's hard, and it hurts - but sitting there and reading through that phrasing, that scene, that entire chapter and then rewriting. Deleting those words you worked so hard to make.

Editing is hard because it's tearing apart that thing you took so much pride in, spent so much time creating. Poured yourself into.

It's deleting. Redoing. Trying to stay positive even though those words are just so awful. Eating lots of pizza to keep going. Slogging through a sea of words and keyboard slams and trying to find some sense somewhere.

It's hard.

But it's totally worth it.

If it weren't hard, there wouldn't be that happy satisfaction of having completed something great. Something important. Something challenging.

There wouldn't be anywhere near as much Adventure to it.

I couldn't use epic phrasing like: *draws sword and charges off to tame the word-dragons*

And I couldn't be writing a post about editing while I was meant to be editing...cough cough.

Editing is hard, but it's also necessary. If I never bothered to edit through a novel it would remain the same mess as when it started. Basically, I'd never get anywhere.

Unfortunately, it must be done. But there are perks.

The perks of knowing it's getting better, of all the pizza (virtual and real) good friends give you because they understand (or at least are trying to), the cool blog posts you can come up with while procrastinating, the word-doc formatting that can be fiddled with (aka: more procrastinating), and so much fun stuff.

And having people asking to beta read it is always encouraging. Apparently, even after reading those unedited snippets, they think that it's still worth it. They still want to devour it.

Or there's the doubtful people who simply ask when they can rip it to pieces with a red pen.

I can't say how much it excited me when one of my friends asked to beta read...and my cousin...and several other friends...and my family just ask when they can, not if they can. Because they all know I was going to let them even if they hadn't wanted to.

Editing is hard, but because of it, I have already found so much encouragement in my writing.

Plus, this blog post got kinda side-tracked. But it was about editing in general anyway.

Are you in the editing stage too? (do tell about allll the writing stuff)

|| Jane Maree ||

Friday, 21 October 2016

Swords, Sails + Scoundrels: A Big Creepy Dark

*cue sounds of celebrating a confetti mushroom clouds and pizza behind eaten*

Yes! I have relented and you are going to get the end of SS+S before December.

Aren't I nice?

Also, I couldn't wait that long either, so I decided to do it now.

Titles were hard to choose, now that I've done all the letters of the alphabet I considered just 'Climax' or 'Surprise Package' but it was suggested that I try ABCD all in the one title.


A Big Creepy Dark.

So I stuck with that as the title.

But now, enough talk. Onward to the climax and all.

The Dark-shrouded figure of my brother turned, beckoning me after him.

I had to do this.

“Marius, I will save you,” I whispered.

The fog swirled, hiding him from view, cold dread clenching my heart.

Everything was resting on me.

I had to be strong enough.

Stepping further into the Dark fog, I felt the tendrils curling around my legs, sliding up my back and across my shoulders.

A shiver of fear ran down my spine.

Could I really do this?


I had to.

There was no other way.

Forcing myself forward, I repeated the words under my breath.

There was no other way.

I had to do it alone.

My feet slipped on the damp sludge overing the ground, keeping me off balance and stumbling.

I couldn’t fall.

I couldn’t fail.

The Darkness grew heavier with each step forward, wrapping thickly around me, blurring my thoughts.

Was there really any hope?

I couldn’t see even the faintest Light in the heaving, throbbing, living Darkness.

Had there ever been hope?

Then ahead I saw the entrance.

A gaping wound in the earth, tendrils of Dark lapping at the edges. Whispering softly. Pulling me in.

To the Darkness beneath the ground.

At my back, the distant sun hovered on the horizon, a dim speck hidden behind brooding clouds.

It was as if all hope had disappeared.

My breath heaved, panic and fear choking out all thoughts.

Hope had disappeared.

Light had never existed anyway.

The Dark wrapped around me like a net.


I couldn’t escape.

Suddenly I was running. Running past the opening, throwing myself deep into the fog.

Running from everything.

Running from myself.

I tripped on a stone, falling forward onto my hands, fingers clenching tight in the thick moss that covered the stones. A tear dripped off my nose, seeping into the damp soil.

I couldn’t do it.

I couldn’t make myself.

I let my head fall forward, my forehead touching against the stone.

It was over.

I couldn’t do it.

The stone groaned a little, shifting downward. I frowned, pushing myself up. Nudging the stone sideways I stopped short.

A trapdoor.

A window.

A trickle of hope slid through the fog in my mind, leaving a faint trail of Light.

The inklings of a plan started forming in my mind.

If I could just…I bit my lip, glancing around.

Jerking a vine from a drooping tree branch, I coiled it around on the ground beside me, turning my attention back to the old square of wood. Cracking my fingers into the narrow gap between the ground and the wood, I pushed, trying to heave it aside.

A narrow crack inched wider and I felt the hope welling. Then the back of my hand knocked against the vine, sending it slithering down the trapdoor into the ground.

“No!” My heart leapt into my mouth and I released my grip, jamming the tip of one finger before I could jerk my hands back.

The vine jerked to a stop, caught firmly in place.

Maybe I could use it still.

Clenching my teeth down over my tongue, I forced back the folds of despair writhing around me in the Darkness.

I had to keep going.

Wrapping the remaining end of the vine around a stone, I set it against the wood, pushing my weight on it.

It groaned as the trapdoor shifted downward a few centimeters.

Sitting upright again, I drew in a deep breath.

I could do it.

I just needed to reach the vine from inside, pull it open, and the sunset light would come in.

It had to work.

Straightening, I turned, blinking back the fear that hovered in the back of my throat. The fog seemed to part a little, a slight trail forming in the Darkness.

I had to follow it, no matter what lay beyond.

Clenching my hands into fists, I stepped forward. The path swirled, Darkness weaving with Darkness, adding layers of hopelessness to the trail.

I would stop Dark, it was all that mattered now.

The entrance was in view far too quickly. The Darkness was bending my mind, I had been certain I was further away before.

Surely it couldn’t have that much control over me?

I swallowed hard, pushing down the panic and dread that clogged my throat.

Closing my eyes for a moment, I stepped forward into the shrouds of Dark.

The Darkness clouded my thoughts, every step seeming sluggish as if I was wading through water. There was movement to my right. A figure. I reached out my fingers, brushing Marius’s arm.

He flinched back, turning his face away.

I would save him.

I would save everyone.

It was all up to me.

I had to.

It was all that mattered.

The Darkness grew wider, and I sensed, rather than saw in the dimness, that the cavern widened into the deep room I’d seen in my dreams.

My foot knocked against a chain hanging limping from the wall, links trailing across the stone floor. I reached out, feeling for the vine.

It had to be somewhere.

Something slapped against my cheek and I screamed, biting off the sound halfway through.

I needed to calm down, my plan would work.

I could do it.


Wrapping my fingers around the end of the vine that had touched me, I closed my eyes, listening hard for a sound.

A slow drip of water came distantly, echoing on the walls.

And then I heard a swirl of movement, like the rustle of bat’s wings.

From the Darkness, and even Darker figure stepped.

Dark himself.

My throat closed up. I couldn’t breathe.

What had I been thinking?

A throb of hopelessness swelled in my heart, so real and bitter than my knees buckled, almost sending me to the cold stones of the floor.

I had to be strong enough.

“You have come.”

Dark’s voice echoed through my mind, pounding inside my forehead. Every word repeating over and over.

I couldn’t block it out.

“You…you should stay back.” My voice came thin even though I tried to force it out confidently.

Dark tilted his head to one side. “She is less than I expected.”

Marius appeared, head bowed. He didn’t look at his Master.

“I can beat you,” I said, my tight throat choking over the words.

They hung false in the Darkness.

Even I couldn’t believe them.

“You have seen my power, yet you think to win this battle?” Dark’s voice sounded vaguely amused.

He stepped closer, the shrouding cloak swirling ominously.

Breathe. I had to breathe.

What had happened to hope?

“Don’t make me—” I couldn’t get out the rest of the words.

Dark chuckled softly, the hood low around his face.

Somewhere beneath where his Dark orbs of eyes.

Eyes that would capture the souls of any who looked into them.

He stepped forward again.

Do it! I screamed at myself, but my thoughts spun dizzyingly.

Doubt hammered against my forehead.


I could do it.

It was all that mattered.

I tugged the vine.


Shoving down the fear I pulled harder.

It had to work. The trapdoor would open.

“Is that your trick? Is that what I must be afraid of?” Dark laughed, the sound drowning all hope.

My fingers slipped from the cord and I stumbled backward into the wall, sobs choking in my throat.

“Please.” I didn’t know who I was talking to.

Someone. Anyone who would listen.

“Please. I can’t do this on my own. Help me. Help me please.”

I had failed.

And in that moment, I knew.

I never could have done it.

I was never going to be able to succeed on my own.

“Please.” It was nothing more than a whisper now.

But there was no one to hear.

Dark stepped forward until his feet were almost within arm’s reach, the cape of blackness streaming behind him. “You have failed. You were doomed from the very start. Surely you didn’t expect to be able to win.” He laughed.

I covered my ears with my hands, but the words seemed to come from my own mind.

And worse, they were true.

How could I have ever thought I could do it alone?

Yet, there hadn’t been any other way…Had there?

“I can’t do this on my own. I need strength. But I don’t have enough.” The words choked in my throat. “I can’t save anyone.”

Dark laughed again, the sound hissing in ever corner of my mind.

I could hear the voices of everyone I knew, their shouts, accusing me.

Blaming me.

“Help me, please.”

Dark stepped forward, his hand reaching for my chin. “Look into my eyes, girl…your only chance is with me now.”

I couldn’t move away, my back already pressed up against the wall.

My only chance was to join him now.

“I have found you. You shall be mine. Come with me, and I will show you the only chance you have left.”

The words seeped into my ears like poison.

I couldn’t block them out no matter how hard I tried.

“Please.” I felt my strength draining away. “Please, help me.”

“I have found shall be—”

The trapdoor fell open.

Light exploded through the small gap, flashing through the Darkness in a blinding trail, sending him reeling back with a scream.


The voice, ringing with power and indefinable greatness, flowed around me, blocking out the shrieks of the Dark, cowering in the corner.


My legs collapsed beneath me and I was on my knees. My breath jammed in my throat.

He was speaking to me.



My weak plea for help had been heard.

He had heard. And He had come.

For me.


A hand touched my forehead, cool and soothing, yet burning with a fire at the same moment. It formed a mark with a trailing fingertip, tracing a symbol onto my forehead. Like a battle standard.

I wasn’t Louise De Corlette, lady of Fea Sirih.

I wasn’t Louise Conwell of the Rift.

I wasn’t my own.

He had claimed me.

Chosen me.

I was His.

And finally, I was free.

Peace flowed into my heart as if a dam had been broken, letting the Light stream in.

I was His child.

I stood, not thinking about what I was doing, only hearing those words echoing through my mind.

I am His child.

Dark cowered in the corner,  anger and terror swirling in the Darkness around him. “You cannot win,” he croaked.

The words were lost beyond the hum through my veins.

I am His child.

“You never could have won this,” I said, the words slipping between my teeth before I had thought them. “You think you are all powerful.” I drew in a deep breath. “But you aren’t.”

Dark cowered back further.

“There is something far more powerful.”

I looked into his eyes and said one word.


I looked into the eyes of Dark himself.

And lived.

Not because of what I had done. But because of what Light had done for me.

It had never been about me.

I was His child.

And that was all that mattered.


*deep breath* Y'know. I feel slightly depressed coming to the end...I had so much fun with this story and everything and--nope. Not time for that yet. Still a little more to go.

Also, I have a mission for all of you.

In the comments, you should ask me alllll the questions that I need to answer. All the things you still want wrapping up. Just in case I've forgotten one.

Or two.

Or three.

You never know. I might have.

And I really really hope the climax was good. (To be honest I was so nervous while writing this and clicking 'publish/schedule' was the hardest thing ever, because I was worried it mightn't be good enough and it might let down your expectations. And...I've put a heap into this story and I couldn't bear if that happened. *hides*)

Fair Winds!

|| Jane Maree ||