naomi_jay: (woman and shark)

 And, you know, seasons greetings and whatever. 
naomi_jay: (Matteo)
So yeah, I've been having sleep troubles lately, which is why I didn't post yesterday. I was too busy at work all day fixing a massive grant proposal, which somehow the person who was supposed to be an expert in such matters cocked up completely, leaving me (who's never done this before) to sort it out. What? I don't know. It was horrible. I had to calculate inflation rates for PCR machines and I don't even know what that means.

Anyway. I came home and was all, "Friday night! Yeah! Let's watch Dr Who from the 80s and eat fish and chips and then I'll totally write loads!" And what actually happened was that I ate fish and chips and fell asleep on the sofa. This is turning into a habit. For the past two or so months, my sleep has been utterly unrefreshing. I go to bed exhausted and wake up equally tired. I'm tired all day and work and then in the evenings too. At the weekends I dream of sleeping all day and then get up around 8-9am because I wake up and can't get back to sleep. I wake up once or twice each night too, and it takes me forever to get back to sleep again. It's driving me crazy because I'm starting to get too tired to do things I want to do, like write or watch films or go out in the evenings. 

So, because I'm a bit like this, I spent about an hour last night (after I woke up from my surprise!nap) looking up sleep disorders online. I'm sure what I actually have is plain old insomnia and a bit of stress, but it doesn't hurt to rule out advanced sleep phase syndrome, right?

And that's when I found out Exploding Head Syndrome is a Real Thing.

You guys.

How much do I love the human brain right now?

Actually, I'm fairly sure I did used to suffer from this - I can distinctly recall dozens of occasions where I woke up panicked in the night because I'd heard a loud, inexplicable noise. I always heard it as a scream.

Anyway. I don't know. I'm tempted to start trying sleeping pills, but when I used them as a student, I just ended up foggy and grumpy for hours the next day. I don't know if I'm suffering from lack of sunlight - my desk at work is more or less in a black hole and I see no natural light all day. So...Anyone got an good natural insomnia remedies?
naomi_jay: (Skeletor and Yogi)
Somehow, despite the fact it feels like I've slept for about five minutes total this week, I've managed to have some really vivid, in-depth dreams. One was about playing crazy golf with Bruce Wayne. We had a lovely time! He needs to mow the lawns at Wayne Manor though; they were a mess.

I used to be really big on dream interpretation. Between the ages of about 13-21 I religiously kept a dream diary and looked up the symbolic meanings every day. I did it for other people too on occasion. I stopped at university, after my poetry module required me to keep a dream diary for a term and write a poem based on one of the dreams. Once I had to do it as work, it lost a lot of appeal (although my poem got a first *preen*). I kept all my dream dictionaries, but I never bothered noting down my dreams anymore, and only looked something up if it was really unusual or recurring.

So last night I dreamed I was pregnant. Guys. I am never going to be pregnant in real life, so when it happens in dreams I freak out. Especially since in this dream, I didn't want to be pregnant. Apparently I was going to be a surrogate for a friend? She gave me a Thundercats hoodie and so I carried her baby for her? Dream-logic is...dream-logic. Anyway, the sense of Do Not Want I had in this dream was truly gripping. I was desperate to get rid of the baby, despite my promise to go through with the pregnancy for my friend. I went to a bar and tried to order a load of cocktails but everyone refused to serve me, and I was getting more and more panicked and then... I woke up. Of course.

I can still really feel that sense of growing horror, even now. So I decided to look up pregnancy at this handy online dream-interpretation site. This is the low down:

To dream that you are pregnant symbolizes an aspect of yourself or some aspect of your personal life that is growing and developing. You may not be ready to talk about it or act on it. Being pregnant in your dream may also represent the birth of a new idea, direction, project or goal. Alternatively, if you are trying to get pregnant, then the dream may be a wish fulfillment. If you are not trying to get pregnant, but dream that you are, then it symbolizes fear of new responsibilities.

Um. Well. Yeah. I mean, those who read my other livejournal will know that my personal life is in a rather precarious state right now, so that hit home. New ideas, directions, projects and goals are all looming, both personally and writing-wise, particularly as the New Year approaches and I start thinking seriously about what I want to achieve in 2012. The part about not being ready to talk or act? Yeah, that fits. New responsibilities...well, yeah, that too, at work and home.

Now, even when I was studiously recording my dreams, I didn't take them too literally. I found the symbolism fascinating but I didn't take the interpretations too seriously. But this has resonated with me so much, I'm thinking I might start my dream diary again, just to see what else my subconscious throws at me.

And just for kicks, I also looked up golf:

To dream that you are playing or watching golf signifies pleasant indulgences. It may also indicate that you are idling and wasting time. Alternatively, the dream symbolizes your individual accomplishments and your drive to succeed.

And Batman:

To see Batman in your dream suggests that you need to utilize your wits and resources in order to help yourself or others. Perhaps your are not maximizing your full potential. You need to unleash the power from within. Stop looking for shortcuts to get you where you want. Alternatively, the dream implies that there is some wrongdoing that you need to rectify.

Now I'm off to find some wrongs and rectify them!
naomi_jay: (Objection)

Dear Fergus,

I love you a lot. I really love having you live with me now. Your happy purring warms my heart and your endless piles of ginger hair lend an extra "something" to my wardrobe. You are a lovely old cat.

However, there is an issue I feel we must address.

Midnight is not breakfast time.

2am is not breakfast time.

3.30am is not breakfast time.

4am is not breakfast time.

5am is not breakfast time.

5.05am is not breakfast time.

It's not breakfast time if I get up in the night to use the bathroom.

It's not breakfast time if I roll over in bed.

It's not breakfast time if a cat outside starts yowling.

Breakfast time is 6.45am, after my alarm goes off and before I get in the shower.

There is no second breakfast when I get out of the shower.

I appreciate that you can't tell the time but you should learn from experience. No matter how many times you wake me up in the night by sitting on my head and drooling on the pillow, it will not bring breakfast time forward.

naomi_jay: (absinthe)
In lieu of actual contant because I am tired, here's some interesting/fun/self-promo stuff I've found this week.

First up, Bastard Books reviews DEMONISED. I really enjoy Bastard's reviews as they always give me something to think about. But I really, really enjoy this review because he says:

"The book is quite twisted, has plenty of disturbing scenes, some that I'm sure won't sit well with more sensitive readers. Some are just plain gross."

"Just plain gross"
may go on my business cards from now on.

Over at [ profile] seanan_mcguire's livejournal, I found a couple of interesting articles; one on rape culture in YA, looking particularly at Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, a book I've been toying with buying for some time now. Now I've read the article, I think it would make me pretty furious, so I'm sticking with James Ellroy for now (because all that racism and sexism is much more tolerable coming from a man...Oh wait...)

The other article is about the recent trend of dead girls on YA book covers (or as I'd been thinking of it "girls in inappropriate dresses in the woods," because really? That's what you wear to go hiking?). There's a lot of subtext to unpack here and I'm not up for it right now, but suffice to say, the glamorisation of death is a big topic and you can pull in a lot of Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet for starters), and even classics from the Romantic era (when romance meant "adventure and fantasy" rather than "relationships" in literary terms), like Wuthering Heights and Tess of the D'urbervilles. Incidentally, Kit Whitfield has a great article on how people misremember Wuthering Heights here

And now something fun (for me,anyway). Despite being a massive AFI fangirl, I had managed to remain ignorant of Davey and Jade's side project, Blaqk Audio. How? Why? I don't know. But now I've discovered them and fallen wildly in love with Davey's voice all over again. So this is my weekend soundtrack. Enjoy!

naomi_jay: (by the sea)
One thing all the adult paranormal romance novels I've ever read have had in common is sex. Whether the heroine is a virgin or experienced, young or old, short or tall or whatever, somewhere over the course of the book, she'll have sex. It's a romance after all, and sex is the culmination of the romantic journey the heroine and hero go on throughout the novel. It's natural, it's expected, it's fun.

And it doesn't happen in THE NECROMANCER'S APPRENTICE. Evanthe and Morrow never have sex.

Oh, they did in the first draft. But it felt misplaced and a little seedy. Evanthe had just fought off a zombie. She'd been badly bitten. She needed stitches and medical attention. And yet I decided in the first draft this would be the perfect time for her and Morrow to get hot and heavy. *shudders* Nothing says "romance" like a zombie attack.

The other problem with that original sex scene is the characters themselves. Evanthe is young (twenty). Morrow is...not. He's pretty resistant to the idea of them entering a relationship for that reason alone (although when you read the novella you'll see there are other reasons). For him to suddenly decide that right then and there was the moment he went from mentor to lover felt...skeevy. When I read back on the sex scene, it felt inappropriate for these characters. Yes, Evanthe wants to be with Morrow, but she's young, inexperienced, and vulnerable. And yes, Morrow wants to be with Evanthe, but he knows she's young, inexperienced and vulnerable and he knows he's...not. On a second take, the scene felt dirty in the wrong way.

So I cut it out. I wanted to show two characters discovering and admitting their true feelings in the NECROMANCER'S APPRENTICE, but I wanted that discovery to be natural and unhurried. And frankly, admist everything else going on - forbidden spells, rogue zombies, idiot demonologists with horrible cars - a sex scene would have been ridiculous. In a novella there isn't the time for anything that doesn't move the plot along, and Evanthe and Morrow stopping to have sex wouldn't have contributed to the plot.

That's not to see I don't think this is a romantic book with a romantic journey. But I feel I owe it to the characters and the readers to let events unfold naturally and with the sweetness and...well...old-fashioned sensibility I feel Evanthe and Morrow have at their hearts. Morrow doesn't want to rush things. He wants to court Evanthe. And Evanthe is just happy Morrow's finally admitted his feelings for her.

So I guess THE NECROMANCER'S APPRENTICE isn't a typical paranormal romance. But it's actually more reflective of me than a lot of my other books. Like Evanthe, I was a late-bloomer when it came to romance. I was shy and awkward, and desperate to demand what I wanted but terrified of being rejected. Like Evanthe, I eventually got what I wanted. Unlike Evanthe, I didn't have to fight off zombies to get it. So this is a story for anyone who loves zombies, grave-robbing, necromancy, and black magic. It's also a story for anyone who ever despaired of getting that first kiss, let alone anything else. And maybe if you think all these paranormal girls just move too damn fast nowadays, well, then this is a story for you too ;)
naomi_jay: (braindead)
As the sharp-eyed amongst you will have already realised. Yesterday was manic at work. Boss is travelling next week and she always goes into panic-mode beforehand, so I spent a lot of the day reassuring her that things had been done/would be done. And then in the evening it was D&D. I'm deeply, deeply disappointed with my menfolk. They can't go anywhere in this fantasy world without inciting a riot, destroying a civilisation, or wiping out a town. And we're the good guys. My God. My druid and her crocodile are thinking of dumping them and running off with the Pirate King. It's complicated. 

Anyway! I'm gearing up for the release of THE NECROMANCER'S APPRENTICE on Monday so in lieu of actual content, here are two pictures which have made me smile this weekend.

This is Fergus watching us play D&D. He was halfway through washing, saw dice rolling, and forgot what he was doing.

And this is something I found on Cambridge market this morning. You're welcome.

naomi_jay: (sparklethulhu)
October is nearly over and November is just a few days away, so it's your last chance to sign-up for Anti-Nano!

If you're new to the Anti-Nano family, here's the gist of it:

If you love the idea of Nanowrimo but know 50k is an impractical target for you, never fear! Join the cult, and dedicate November to writing as much (or as little) as you want in the company of like-minded writers. We'll be doing bi-weekly check-ins throughout November (Mondays and Fridays), and once a week there'll be excerpt postings (Wednesdays).

(I'd like to add that if you're doing Nanowrimo but still want to stop by the Anti-Nano community and share your progress, you're very welcome!).

If you want to participate, head over to [ profile] squidathon and join up. This is now HQ for Anti-Nano, so go and make yourselves at home, read this post to see what we're all about, and I'll see you in November for hardcore (but self-governed) writing action.

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

naomi_jay: (wolves in snow)
First, the Anti-Nano news. we have a community to bring together Anti-Nano, Winter-Write-A-Thon, and Springathon, so if you're interested in any or all of these awesome writing comms, check out [ profile] squidathon and sign up! Anti-Nano is just around the corner after all.

Now, DARK HUNT. If you've missed any of the blog tour stops so far, I've been at:

Whipped Cream
My own blog
Sara's Urban Fantasy Reads
Greg Chapman's Darkscrybe blog

You can comment on any or all of these blogs to get your free Smashwords coupon for SILVER KISS, and to be in with a chance of winning masses of cool stuff at the end of the tour! Go say hello so I don't feel lonely ^_^

My ebooks (not just the Urban Wolf ones but all of them) are now up on Kindlegraph, where you can get them autographed by me! So if you'd like a personal message from me in any or all of your Naomi Clark books, check that out. It's pretty cool!

The blog tour continues until November 1st (and possibly beyond!) so please join me along the way. And if you don't yet have your free copy of A Wolf in Girl's Clothing, just leave me a comment here (or at my mirrored Blogger blog if you prefer - they both count!).
naomi_jay: (sparkly moon)
It was a good week for:

Cryptozoology! A paleontologist in Massachusetts thinks he's found the lair of the kraken. Interesting side note - Lovecraft's Arkham is in Massachusetts, and the kraken is estimated to be at least 100 feet long. Is it too great a leap to assume this kraken is Cthulhu and this paleontologist is somehow involved in a cult dedicated to rising Cthulhu from R'lyeh?


Also, Siberian officials confirm the existence of the Yeti. They've found his supposed bed and stuff he uses to mark his territory. See, this is why we've had no luck finding them in the Himalayas. They all moved to Siberia. If they do actually create a centre dedicated to Yeti science, I am so signing up.

Bad week for:

Women. Topeka, Kansas decriminalised misdemeanor domestic violence this week, due to budget cuts apparently. Nice to know you can put a value on human life... And then there's Personhood USA's attempts to get the Personhood Amendment passed in Mississippi, which would effectively ban abortion and most forms of birth control, and make women who miscarry liable to criminal investigation. Wow. I don't even know what to say. This is just all so disturbing.

ETA - Topeka DA says he will prosecute domestic violence cases after all.

Next week:

So let's end on a light note, shall we? As you may have detected if you saw my earlier blog post, Monday 17th October is the release date for DARK HUNT! OMG! We're planning a whole ton of fun stuff for the next few weeks, so stay tuned! But in the mean time, here's the cover and blurb to get you all excited.

Ayla Hammond is taking on Paris. 

Hoping for a romantic getaway in the City of Lights with her girlfriend, Shannon, she finds a city under the dark thrall of Le Monstre

Getting caught up in mystery and murder was the last thing Ayla and Shannon expected in the City of Love, but as the body count grows and tension rises between Parisian werewolves and humans they find themselves stalked by an unknown terror. 

What is Le Monstre and why does it make Ayla's wolf want to turn tail and run? Can it be stopped before they become its next victims?

naomi_jay: (bloop)
So I've been washing my face with honey this week. I know! I would never have thought of it if Stacia Kane hadn't tweeted a link to Crunchy Betty's website. Now I'm obsessed. Seriously! My skin is already so much better than it was on Monday. I haven't had to use any mosturizer or other skin products, and my skin is all soft and healthy-looking. I've just been doing it in the mornings so far, as you're not supposed to use it on dirty/made-up skin. I don't wear much make-up, but I prefer to take it off with a cleansing wipe, so. I'm considering picking up some baking soda, as you can use that with honey as make-up remover. I'm spending way too much time on the Crunchy Betty site now. I'm getting a real interest in the whole sustainable living/natural beauty stuff, and her articles are just right for me - simple, inexpensive, and involving a minimum of effort. So yeah! I absolutely recommend washing your face with honey. I've struggled for years to find the right combination of goopy products to keep my skin looking nice and healthy, and all I had to do was slather myself in honey.

In other news, like all the best people this week, I have made myself a squid!

His name is Squamous and he just escaped a killer whale, apparently. Good for him!

In other other news, The Human Centipede 2 has had it's UK ban rescinded. It'll be classified as an 18 after 2 minutes and 37 seconds of cuts. I'm really enjoying the review that claims it's ban would have saved UK viewers from "a shockingly boring film" and that "nobody outside of a world-class psychiatrist could explain what Human Centipede 2 is." Of course, I am reserving judgement until I've seen it (our friend James is over in the UK at the end of October and we've decided since we watched the original with him last year, we should save the sequel for him too. Because we care), but based on the reviews I've read, it seems like the problems of the original are still present here: namely, all Tom Six has is his central concept and he lacks the balls to actually deliver the grossness and ick factor he purports to be presenting. We shall see.


naomi_jay: (Default)
Dirty Little Whirlwind

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