Happy Happy Birthday!!!

free clip art birthday cake Birthday Cake Clip ArtToday is a milestone. One year ago today I decided to start a blog. I wrote a post about nothing in particular, and now 12 months down the track I am still writing posts about, let’s face it, pretty much nothing.

I am going to be honest with you – I started my blog, not interact with my peers and fellow writers and not because I thought I needed an outlet for all my crazy. I started my blog simply because I read somewhere that when you had no publications to speak of, having a blog gives you at least something to put on your resume. But writing my blog has become so much more than that.

When I think back now on all the amazing people I have met in the past twelve months, through my blog and the MANY other blogs that I now follow, and when I think back on how much the interaction with all of you has changed me as both a writer and a person I get a little bit choked up.

1 year ago I had never even attempted to write a short story, but thanks to my introduction to flash fiction and my subsequent attempts at other forms of short fiction I am now a published writer (click here for a link to where you can purchase A Visit From The Duchess, an anthology that includes my short story ‘The Soul Hunter’).

1 year ago I had no idea about using social media for anything other than catching up with family and overseas friends – now I am on facebook, twitter and google+ and I will soon be starting up a fan page on Facebook too.

1 year ago I thought that the only way to get published was to fight for an agent and cry over rejection letters but now, thanks to you, I am going to self-publish my debut novel (hopefully early next year).

So, thank you. All of you. Thank you to those of you whose blogs I have read. And thanks to those of you who have read my blogs. And particularly thanks to those of you that leave comments on a regular basis and/or have subscribed to my blog. The next two blog posts this week will be a re-post two of my favourites from the past twelve months. I hope you enjoy them.

This is also a ROW80 check-in. I will keep it brief. By today I had been hoping to have the outline for Kaminu completed. OK you can feel free to laugh at me now. Obviously I am no where near done. Not even half way. So I am going to give myself an extra week, by this time next week I WILL BE DONE WITH MY OUTLINE!!!!

On Tuesday it is my birthday. I will be 34. As a birthday present to me subscribe to my blog and join me for another twelve months of blogging as I tackle to momentous task of becoming a published novelist. As always I love hearing from you.

Jody Moller

Everyone Loves Fudge at Christmas

Let me begin with an apology for my absence over the past few months. No, you didn’t accidently miss my posts. Sadly (or perhaps not so sadly given my excuses) this will be my first blog post in more than two months. The reason – I was overseas. And while I would love to use my lack of internet access and limited time on my computer as an excuse the truth is my two months overseas felt like a holiday and I decided to treat it as such and go with the flow. So apart from reading a few books and completing a very impressive 3000 piece puzzle I applied very little strain to my grey cells.

But now I am back in Australia, and back to the real world where I have to cook and clean and can’t drop everything and head to Disneyland when the mood strikes me. Unfortunately this also means that I completely failed in my attempts at the current round of ROW80. I wrote, not a word, and I haven’t even begun reading my draft of Soul Hunter, let alone begun to edit it. Which finds me here, writing this blog post, trying to get the cogs turning so I can get my motivation back.

Of course it is Christmas so I have decided that as a welcome back present (and because I have had a few requests for it) I will post the recipes for my Salted Caramel and White Choc Peppermint fudge. If you don’t like salt I recommend that you leave the salt off the salted-caramel fudge.

So without further ado, here are the recipes. I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas full of joy, laughter and great food (and lots of good pressies – my brand new Kindle touch is sitting under my Christmas tree mocking me as I write this). If you try the recipes make sure you check back here and let me know how it went.

 

Choc-Peppermint Fudge

395g can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup caster sugar

2 tablespoons glucose syrup

125g butter, chopped

4 drops green food colouring

1 teaspoon peppermint essence

180g white chocolate, finely chopped

50g dark chocolate, chopped

4 small candy canes, chopped

  1. Place condensed milk, sugar, syrup and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, without boiling, for 10 minutes or until mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved.
  2. Tint mixture green with food colouring. Add essence. Increase heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Stir in white chocolate until combined and melted.
  3. Spoon into 20cm x 20cm pan lined with aluminium foil/baking paper. Smooth top. Set aside for 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Cut into pieces. Top each piece with a small amount of melted dark chocolate and chopped candy canes.

Salted Caramel Fudge

395g can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons glucose syrup

¼ cup golden syrup

125g butter, chopped

180g white chocolate, finely chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

  1. Place condensed milk, sugar, glucose syrup, golden syrup and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, without boiling, for 10 minutes or until mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved.
  2. Increase heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Stir in white chocolate until combined and melted.
  3. Spoon into 20cm x 20cm pan lined with aluminium foil/baking paper. Smooth top. Sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Cut into pieces.

Cheers and Merry Christmas

Jody Moller

ROW80 Round Four – Let the Fun Begin

Has it snuck up on you too? Yes that’s right Round 4 of a Round of Words in 80 days begins TODAY! True, I thought it was due to begin tomorrow, so I was under the impression I had one more day of rest and recuperation. Alas, not to be, so straight back into it!

Goals for Round 4:

  1. Finish 1st Draft of Soul Hunter – Despite my original plans to finish the first draft of Soul Hunter over the break, I decided to have a rest instead so Goal 1 is to finish that first draft (I only have two chapters – about 6000 words – to go!). I am hoping to complete this during the first week (in a little over a week I am heading overseas for a few months and I want to have it finished before I go) so here’s hoping!
  2. Complete ‘Empowering Characters’ Emotions’ Lectures – I have purchased Margie Lawson’s lecture packet on Empowering Characters’ Emotions and along with my iCrit pal Crystal Cipriani I will be attempting to complete a lecture a week over the course of ROW80.
  3. Critique for the iCrit girls – During Round 3 I met three amazing women, Crystal Cipriani, Ozlem Yikici and Lena Corazon and we formed a group known as iCrit. I am planning to set aside AT LEAST 1 hour a week to devoted to critiquing their work.
  4. Edit my first novel, Ankhari – I have no idea how long this is going to take so I am going to plan to edit 50 pages a week (but that might change as I have no idea how achievable this will be particularly as I will be overseas for pretty much the entire Round).
  5. Write 2 blog posts per week – The current plan is one ROW80 check-in post and one other post, but with all my entirely ambitious goals we will see how we go.
  6. EXERCISE!!! – Okay so this is the most ambitious of all but the apartments we are staying at in Los Angeles have a gym so I really don’t have my usual excuses. 3 times a week or bust!

Oh Dear! I have 6 goals, how the hell did that happen? I was planning on taking it easy compared to last round.

Are you participating in Round 4 of ROW80? Do you have no idea what ROW80 is and would like to find out? (ps click here) Are you being overly ambitious with your goals too?

By the way don’t forget the ROW80 party on the 5th of October, gather at the #ROW80 hashtag on Twitter. For more info refer to Jenny’s blog.

Looking forward to catching up with all of you over the next few months.

Jody Moller

Free-For-All Friday – How A Few Kind Words Can Turn Your Day Around

As some of my regular readers probably already know I am currently reading Kristen Lamb’s book ‘We Are Not Alone’. This book is specifically for writers wanting to expand their reach through social media.
 
Disclaimer – in the following paragraphs I am going to sound a bit negative towards both Kristen and her book, so any of you that only read half of this post are going to leave with the impression that I don’t like the book. Don’t be fooled – this book is great, and I highly recommend it to any and all writers out there. So please… keep reading, this story has a happy ending. Okay, nuff said, let’s get on with it!
 
So picture this – it is yesterday afternoon and I have found some time to sit and play on my laptop, Son is playing happily with his puzzles, and all is good with the world. I am reading the e-book of ‘We Are Not Alone’ so far I am just over half way through, already I feel like I am an expert in all things social media. This book is highly instructive in nature – that is, it has tasks that it recommends you complete as you are reading the book. So yesterday I reach a section entitled ‘MySpace’. *sigh* The book tells me I MUST sign up (to quote “All new writers must have a MySpace page”) *even bigger sigh*. I am already on Facebook and Twitter (and spend far too much time on both) so adding another time consumer to my repertoire does not sound particularly appealing – but hey what do I know, right? Kristen is the guru, so I will do what Kristen tells me.

I sign up. Not only that but I end up spending the better part of two hours playing around trying to get the background I want (in the end I give up and decide I will do it later; two hours is about my upper limit for patience on a single task, particularly as by this point it is time to pick up Daughter from preschool). 

By the time I get back to my computer kids are now in bed and I decide to try and work out how I am supposed to use this whole MySpace thing, another hour passes, and I still haven’t achieved much (let’s face it other than loading my photo and inputing my high school everything is blank and I still can’t get a background to work!)

Then I notice the friends box – perhaps adding a few friends would make me feel like I am accomplishing something. As I don’t actually know anyone that has a MySpace account I decide to do the only thing I can think of – I search for Kristen Lamb, she wrote the book and is telling me how important it is to have a MySpace page, obviously she must have one herself. And she does. I locate her page – and click the ‘+ friend’ button (or whatever that happens to be called on MySpace) then my eyes naturally gravitate towards her MySpace comments.

Hang on… that can’t be right? Kristen Lamb (who has now spent almost 15 pages of her book telling me how important it is to not only be on MySpace but to also make sure you regularly update it) has not added a new comment (the equivalent of a status update) since sometime last year. I decide I must be mistaken and also check out Bob Mayer’s MySpace page and find a similar result.

By this point in time the steam is quite literally pouring out of my ears, I have wasted hours and hours playing around with MySpace when it is quite clearly not the be-all-and-end-all of all social media outlets (which, quite frankly, I already knew). Not only that, but I have already been onto Kristen’s blog and raved about her book! ARGHHH! Think of how many words I could have added to my novel if I hadn’t been playing around on MySpace… well that will teach me.

About this time is where I would have thrown the book across the room (one of the distinct disavdantages of the e-book age I have to say!) Instead I go to bed angry and swear that I am not even going to bother finishing the book.

So… what changed my mind? Well, Kristen did.

This morning when I logged onto my computer, there in my inbox was an email from Kristen. When I happened to mention on her blog that I was in the process of signing up for MySpace she took the time to email me and tell me (and I hope she doesn’t mind that I am quoting directly) “Just a heads up. MySpace committed digital suicide two weeks after WANA hit shelves. I no longer recommend it as a platform, so don’t worry about it.” The email had alot more in it than just that – and I was honestly quite touched that she had taken the time to email me (if not a little confused as to how she got my email address… but anyway).

Now clearly this doesn’t give me back the 3 hrs that I lost yesterday playing around with a platform that I am never going to use. But I can tell you it makes me feel a hell of a lot better about it. In fact I feel so much better about it that not only am I going to finish reading her book but I am also on here recommending it to others as well (just ignore the section on MySpace 🙂 ) And what is even better is that this is exactly what Kristen is referring to when she says ‘We Are Not Alone’, personal interaction really does make all the difference!

You can find Kristen’s blog here and information about her books and how to find her on various social media sites on her website here.

Have you read We Are Not Alone? Are you on MySpace? Do you like it? Have you had someone completely change your opinion of something with just a few simple words?

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Jody Moller

Don’t Panic It’s Still Me

Welcome to my freshly updated blog. So tell me do you like the new look?

Not only does my blog have a brand new look it also has a brand new name and a brand new layout. Shall I explain further? Well here goes.

I have been tossing around the idea of expanding my blog as per ‘blogging-queen’ Kristen Lamb’s instructions (see here for more info). My blog is supposed to be about selling the ‘Jody Moller Brand’.

So step one – make sure my name is in the blog title – DONE
Step two – don’t just blog about writing! Okay, I need to expand my horizons.

So, according to my new layout (starting Monday) I will post three times a week, under the following categories.

Movie Monday

In addition to my love of books I also love (and I do mean LOVE!) movies. Back before kids I went to the cinema every week, without fail! On Movie Monday I will be discussing everything from my favourite movies, to movie reviews, to the best ever movie quotes, to hollywood gossip.

Writing Wednesday

Before you say anything – yes I realise that aliteration doesn’t work when the W is silent! I have loved building friendships with fellow writers through my blog and I still want to keep a focus on all things writing, continue to post flash fiction pieces and discuss my favourite books. This will all be done on Writing Wednesday!

Free-For-All Friday

As a stay-at-home mother of two preschool children, an aspiring writer and DIY home renovator I have my fair share of mayhem. These topics and many more will be the focus for Free-For-All Friday!

I hope you enjoy the new layout.

As always don’t forget to leave me comments with your thoughts.

Jody Moller
(The Exasperated Novelist)

Blogging Award

Today when I logged onto my blog I was thrilled to discover that Haley Whitehall had given me the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. I an truly honoured and don’t know what to say other than… Haley, thank you.

The rules associated with accepting the award:
1) You link the person who sent it to you (done!)
2) List seven random facts about yourself (see below)
3) Pass the award on to 15 other awesome blog buddies (might make that 4!)
4) Contact them and let them know (will try and remember this bit)

Okay so some random facts about me…
1. I don’t like coffee or tea for that matter (sorry Haley, maybe that means I am just not meant to be a writer after all!)
2. I have a PhD in Chemistry that I no longer use, and may never use again
3. I am a Gleek!
4. I write better after a glass of wine (well I think it’s better or maybe that’s just the wine talking!)
5. I hate winter and am currently very jealous of all my Northern Hemisphere Blogging friends and their warm countries.
6. I am spending alot of time at the moment worrying about my 4 year old daughter’s newest obsession – a boy called Michael (her father is even more worried about this than me – apparently she loves him and dreams about him every night! I thought I had a few more years until the boy-stuff started)
7. And last but not least I prefer savoury over sweet. I love cheese and eat it every day, even though I am allergic to it!

There that’s it. Seven facts about me.

So now onto handing out the awards. There are several people that have been super supportive of me and my meager blogging attempts over the past few months. Those exceedingly sweet people are (in no particular order):
Billie Jo Woods – Out of the Woods (i know Billie Jo also received the award from Haley but she is fabulous and deserves more than one!)
Ken Broad – Fictional Campfire (who makes me laugh so hard I cry and gave me some of my first positive feedback about my writing)
Ozlem Yikici – Yikici (whose posts never fail to make me laugh and/or inspire)
DJ Lutz – Almost Out of Ink (whose generous words keep me writing)

Thanks again

The Exasperated Novelist