Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Wild Ride: The ups have been great, but... phew!

(Anita to my friends here in the SU).

Well, here goes. Here in Oz it's 6:30pm Tuesday, so apologies to Joss if it shows up yesterday, on your blog day... time zones are freaky, aren't they? But appropriate considering the whole "shades of time" concept behind my Diamond Eyes trilogy. Anyway, fingers crossed...

This is my first blog on the Supernatural Underground [knees trembling].Because WOW! What a roller-coaster time I’ve had since launching my debut thriller Diamond Eyes a few weeks before Christmas. Thank goodness my editors at HCVoyager have been so supportive or the sequel Hindsight never could have made it through the June launch on time, especially through all the major dramas.

For example: [taking deep breath] Hot on the heels of the launch for Diamond Eyes – and during all the last minute edits for Hindsight – our beautiful Lockyer Valley made world news when it became Ground Zero after a widespread freak storm caused an inland tsunami through the city of Toowoomba, then washed down the mountain and struck the small towns and settlements of Grantham, Withcott and Murphy’s Creek (to name only three that were literally swept off the map that afternoon, and still in the process of being rebuilt/relocated.) The wall of water was 2 stories deep during the worst of it, rose in minutes not hours, and eventually flooded an area over 40,000 square kilometers, with most of our home farm rising just above the edge of the high tide mark. (The planes that floated away at 1:49 and 2:23 minutes HERE are my uncle’s and his neighbour’s.)

Warning: Don’t watch those vids or any that follow on youtube with small children watching. It happened so fast, many of those vehicles and houses had people in them, including too many friends, neighbours and relatives, who lost their lives that day. It’s still too painful to remember in detail. Some washed right out of the hands of their rescuers in our street and district. Some never found. Some found over a 100kms away.

Barely recovering months later… and not just from shellshock, grief and the obvious loss of power, drinking water, communications, roads etc for days and weeks, there were also months of unusual skin complaints and respiratory problems for the whole family (and for pets and surviving livestock etc), which really knocked the wind out of me for getting out to any events for publicity, most of which I couldn’t get to because of flood damage anyway.

But then, just a few weeks before the launch of Hindsight in June, our roller coaster ride rocketed up again with news that Diamond Eyes has won the prestigious 2011 Hemming Award for Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Themes… and won by unanimous vote… YAYY! (And with only minutes to spare, my HC Superhero Editors managed to do a “stop press” for the cover of Hindsight, making it my first book cover to mention a major award win!)

The original theme song for the book trailer has also gone viral with over 200,000 views!!

Amazingly, mainstream media has also been wonderfully supportive, with feature stories on ABC Radio and prime time breakfast radio and in one of Australia’s biggest weekend newspapers, to name only a few.

But for each of those wonderful highs, the lows have also been swift to slug us.

We’ve lost my beautiful, loyal cattle dog Riley to cancer, my father’s sight to diabetes, my mother-in-law’s sight to macular degeneration and my own sight has also taken a serious hit (due to an existing condition which inspired the initial idea for Diamond Eyes). My eldest son has survived a serious motorcycle accident. My dad’s had a long string of heart attacks and the combination of everything has pushed the launch date for Leopard Dreaming back six months into next year, and possibly also compromised my ability to stay as a member here in the Supernatural Underground. It’s also my first rescheduled deadline in 10 years and 30 titles under various pennames.

BUT we just start to get back on our feet… SO I book a few flights interstate for major events that I’d been locked into for almost a year – and up goes the volcano in Chile!

My heart goes out to all those who live under the worst of the ash cloud. (And to our friends in Japan who’ve had far more than their own share of problems!) But if we don’t laugh, we’d cry, right? So please excuse my light hearted take on it, in My Heartwarming Week from Hell, an ode to disaster, which I penned while stuck in a Qantas Club lounge, courtesy of their free computers. And thank goodness for them too, because my notebook and laptop both decided to die that trip.

So Like me on FB if you dare, LOL…

And in the meantime, I’m really looking forward to New Years!


Sharon said...

There aren't words...so I will have to go with trying to help you laugh

Q: How do you make Holy Water?

A: Boil the Hell out of it!!

BWAHAHAHAHAHAaaaa! (looks around, come on! that is funny)

wishing you the best :)

AA Bell said...

BRILLIANT, Sharon!!! I just died laughing... :))

AA Bell said...

My son's favourite:

Q: Who won the 2011 Oz Surf Championships?

A: Cow on a shed.

Nicole Murphy said...

You are a remarkable woman, Anita - I'm humbled by your ability to find the laughter in this year. The poem is absolutely awesome and you're right - I'm SURE they put in more male loos than female ones.

Helen Lowe said...


Welcome to the Supernatural Underground; it's so good to have you and "Diamond Eyes" on board. You sound as though you have had an incredibly tough year and I know how devastating flooding of the magnitude you experienced in Queensland can be. One thing I love about the Underground is how it's a place both to talk about the 'real stuff' going on, whatever that may be for different bloggers, but also to take time out from tougher realities with the fun of Fantasy/paranormal and the joy of story. Anita--welcome to our world. :)

Kim Falconer said...

Anita, it's wonderful to see you here and OMG your post brought tears AND laughter. You are such an inspiration, not just creatively but spiritually.

Thank you!!!

I have no idea YOU were at ground zero!

AA Bell said...

Nicole - I just read your post on dreams and fulfillment (2 days after this blog), and now I realise laughter is my crutch. I just hope it never breaks.

Helen - Sincerest thanks! This is such an fabulous group. Have to agree with Terri's post about Supernatural Frennds being the best friends!

Kim - more like a view of ground zero. Being right on the edge of the high tide mark, we had refugees for about a week, two legged as well as four... amazing how bulls, stallions, rams, rosters and neighbours can get along when they're all too cold and wet to fight. LOL

in a way it gave us a taste of medieval times, with all the women contributing to production of meals, all the men handling the back breaking work (sandbagging and scavenging food from their flooded homes, floating freezers full of meat to safety etc), and older kids caring for younger ones. And when one of us heard bad news, we all shared the pain, so a lot to be thankful for.

Kim Falconer said...

Anita, I love the way you can spot the blessings in the midst of tragedy. Very inspirational!