Putting my words where they work best – and why I probably won’t be blogging while travelling.

You might have noticed some radio silence around here lately. That’s because I never like to do anything at 10 per cent, oh no. I like to dial it up to 420 per cent, frantically juggling 500 balls and then being stunned as I inevitably drop a few. Blogging, obviously, was a dropped ball.

I’ve got a lot of exciting projects on at the moment, and that’s where I’ve been focusing my time. There are lots people who run brilliant, witty, inspiration blogs about writing and reading – there’s no need for me to add my two cents just for the sake of you know, adding my two cents. I like to blog when I have something to contribute, but not just to make noise. Instead, I’d rather put my words into books. That’s what I’m better at.

I have a non-fiction book, due out 2018, and a solid-ish novel that just needs a bit more foundation shoved into it to make it really sturdy. I’ve been bitten by the story bug for another novel, and I plot it in my head as I drive and run and clean, aching to find time to get it down. Around all the fun stuff is the less-interesting life glue that takes up most of my time. You know, the full-time job, the studying, the basic things like cooking and cleaning and re-watching all Doctor Who. Essential stuff.

Oh, and planning for a year of backpacking. That’s right – my husband and I are about to spend 12 months travelling around the world, living out of our bags. We’ll be seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland, working in a bakery in the French Alps, hiking the Inca Trail, getting lost in New York, and being gardeners in Canada. This trip has taken a lot of planning and saving and organising, and I can’t wait to take a year off from the day job and see the world.

 Looks like a lot of luggage until you remember that we travel through snow and summer and hiking and ice and... why can't I just grow a thicker coat to get through seasonal changes, like my dogs?

Looks like a lot of luggage until you remember that we travel through snow and summer and hiking and ice and... why can't I just grow a thicker coat to get through seasonal changes, like my dogs?

A lot have people have asked me if I’ll be blogging about my adventures. You know what? Maybe, but probably not. I have a strange relationship with blogs. For starters, they often require talking about yourself, which is something I am very uncomfortable with. Also, I think as soon as you set out on an adventure with an agenda of documenting it for an audience later, it changes how you experience things. You go into each event with this lens of “How will I tell this story? What will my audience think about this?”. You go from enjoying the moment to thinking about how you’re going to tell other people about the moment. And then, it’s just one more step to start thinking “I need to have the most fun! I need to do this thing the best/ most craziest/ most attractively etc. because I’m going to share it with everyone later!”. And pretty soon, your adventure becomes a performance.

I know it’s not like this for everyone, but I see this happen a lot. And I don’t want my life turning into a competition for likes or clicks or shares. I often write about my travels anyway; someone needs to provide my mother with a blow-by-blow description of my whereabouts and safety level, or she’ll freak out. If I feel like it, I might share some of stories here. But I’m not going to commit to anything, and if I don’t feel like it, I won’t. There are hundreds of fabulous blogs out there that are much more elegant, interesting and exciting than mine  - go have a read and celebrate those blogger’s amazing work! Meanwhile, I might drop by to write a 5000 word homage to all the cheese I eat in France, but I might not. We’ll see.

If you do want to keep up to date with what I’m up to, I will always post writing news here. And you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter, which is a constant stream of rambling that gives a terrifying glimpse into my convoluted mind (much like this sentence).

And if you know of a great writing, reading, or travel blog, share it in the comments below.

 Dear Australian beach and beautiful Aussie coffee, I will miss you so.

Dear Australian beach and beautiful Aussie coffee, I will miss you so.

Unicorns versus dragons

The fabulous Alice & Arnna & Co (I’m pretty sure the Co is Arnna’s adorable dog that I took 500 selfies with) are doing a feature on me on their blog.

 This puppy can sense my desperation for its love, and rejects me the more I love it.

This puppy can sense my desperation for its love, and rejects me the more I love it.

They ask me the important questions like “unicorns or dragons?” and “Who would voice the Front Page News audiobook?”. And it was extra nice because Alice and Arnna are old friends so I could swear as much as I liked.

I’ve done a few interviews about Front Page News, but this was the first that included baked goods, so obviously it’s my favourite.

Check out the blog here.

We join our hero a month on...

So. Today marks a month since Front Page News “officially” hit shelves (it was out at a few books stores earlier). What have I been up to since then? Aside from panicking, quietly, in a corner?

I had a book launch – the Front Page News Booze-Up – which involved chicken wings and beer and me trying to get out of a question and answer session that my cousin dragged me in to.

I gave a guest talk at my old uni, QUT, and gleefully reminded the staff and students that I nearly failed the one creative writing class I took there.

I appeared on 612 ABC breakfast – the biggest breakfast show in Brisbane – and threatened the host with bodily harm for making me do my first live reading.

I wrote about four books that changed me for the Sydney Morning Herald.

And I got to talk to the wonderful Kimberly Foster for the Your Creative Life podcast.

Oh. And I did a lot of assignments.



Come on baby, let’s do that self-promotion*

So it’s May. Not only a great month, because we can all make that N*Sync joke and use wonderful memes like the below, but also a great month because my debut novel, Front Page News, is hitting shelves. It’s going to be out there in the wild, like a real book. Which I guess means I should start telling people about it.

 It's important that we never let Justin Timberlake forget this.

It's important that we never let Justin Timberlake forget this.

I know, I know. I have this whole website where all I do is talk about the book. I mention it in my twitter bio. One might assume, looking at these two pieces of evidence, I prattle about my book non-stop.

I do not.

I do not. Here’s how bad I am at telling people I have a book coming out – I spent four days volunteering at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival last September, and managed to only tell one person there I had written a book. I started my Masters in Writing, Editing and Publishing this year and so far only one of my classmates knows I’m a writer. And she found out via twitter. A colleague outed me to another colleague in the lunch room the other day and I threatened to throw-up if they kept talking about my book. This book, Front Page News, was my first ever attempt at writing a novel – I never actually thought anyone would read it! I haven’t mentally prepared for this. Even on social media, I’m hesitant to share the news, as evidenced below.

This is exceptionally hard for people to believe, especially once they’ve met me in real life, but I’m actually very shy. Oh, I’m happy to talk to anyone, and I’m overly friendly, and don’t care if I come off looking like an idiot due to my enthusiasm about just about everything (Dinosaurs! Science! Music! Cooking! Snakes! EVERYTHING!). But when it comes to talking about myself, I just clam up. Part of it probably comes from my religious upbringing – generations of humble missionaries run through my blood and while my family is very loud about singing the praises of one another, we don’t praise ourselves very much. I think going through a pretty torturous time in high school didn’t help either; being six-foot tall with glasses and a penchant for taking your pet chook to school in your backpack tends to attract a few bullies. And I’ve spent my entire adult life promoting others, as a journalist and as a communications officer. When you’ve spent years meeting and interviewing prime ministers, hero pilots, scientists that are curing cancer… well, writing a book doesn’t seem that impressive.

But it is impressive (well, at least to my mother), and I’m doing a huge disservice to myself and the lovely team at Penguin who’ve put so much effort in if I keep hiding this book away. So. You’ve been warned. Prepare for a few more social media posts, and a bit more big-noting of myself, and possibly even some kind of launch event…

Front Page News – go pre-order it now. It’s pretty great: http://bit.ly/1XhFrLU

*Title best sung to the tune of Kylie Minogue’s Locomotion.

Places I write

Ah, the glamorous writer’s life. In the movies, writers sit at old pine desks in airy houses, or at beautiful cafes where they can nurse a single cup of tea for hours as their brilliance pours forth.

In reality, you snatch whatever time you can wrench between life’s other responsibilities (full-time job, needy animals, families, social life, studies, housework…). Front Page News got written on kitchen tables, couches, hallways of government institutions between meetings, damp lawns on lunch breaks. Most of the time, the brilliance doesn’t pour forth, but stutters out between walking the dogs, fixing a snack for a sick partner, the stumble between the car park and the office and moments on long car trips before I get motion sick. Still, thanks to a handy Instagram filter, these places too can look as glossy as Hollywood movie! Enjoy, some snaps from the places I wrote and edited Front Page News. Mind the cat hair.

Guys. Do I have the perfect teapot for proofing my crime novel.

A photo posted by @kdthestrange on

Places I copy edit: off the rock wall in fishing town, Iluka. #amediting.

A photo posted by @kdthestrange on

An assemblage of writing cats. One is more useless than the others.

A photo posted by @kdthestrange on

View from the office this afternoon is good, but a tad glarey.

A photo posted by @kdthestrange on

Writer's life. #amwriting #amediting #amprobablymakingitworse.

A photo posted by @kdthestrange on