Posted in writing

So long, farewell

When I first created this blog it was a privatish blog to help me work through becoming a mum, with the added accountability that writing in a book could never quite give me.

Since then it’s become more and more a writers journey. Which is by no means a bad thing, however this is no longer the place for it.

But never fear, I have gone and put some money where my mouth is and have created a website for being an author … my writing journey will continue there, with a blog replacing this one as I simply do not have time to maintain both.

If you would like to continue keeping up to date with my writing adventures feel free to check out neencohen.com.au … it’s still in it’s infancy stages but I’m exciting about sharing all my writing news and adventures with you all

Be safe, Be Kind, Be Brave

Posted in reading

Les Fiction Book Club

I read many different genres, and for most of them I have found readers who I can talk to about them. When it comes to Lesbian Fiction, there are lots of places you can get recommendations of what to read, but I haven’t been able to find many places where you can read a nominated book and have a discussion with people afterwards i.e an interactive online lesbian fiction specific book club.

So, I decided to try my hand at making one myself. I’m new at this whole organisation thing so I’m more than happy to hear recommendations or ideas of what you might like to see or read.

If you’re interested you can join the group here:

I am in love with the idea of promoting other lesbian fiction authors through recommendations and discussion.

This month’s book is Wrong Number, Right Woman by Jae.

September book of the month

Posted in reading

Quick Book Reviews

Here are some quick reviews of books I finished in August:

Rogues’ Gallery – A collection of short stories written by members of the Springfield Writer’s Group and edited by Aiki Flinthart. The stories are fantastic. All stories dive into the mischievous worlds of their rogue characters. All the feels – from laughing to crying to fist bumping the air. There is a taste of many different genres and wonderful writer’s styles.

A shot at Love – Written by the T. B. Markinson. This Lesbian romance is set in the codswolds and is the first of the Village Romance series. The series are stand alone though characters from each book have cameos in the other two that are written by Clare Lydon and Harper Bliss. This is the first book I’ve read of T. B. Markinson’s but there will definitely be more to come. Markinson has a beautiful way with words and her characters are wonderfully flawed with situations that are very humanly misconstrued from the outside looking in. She writes fantastic steamy sex scenes that are about more than just body parts.

It had to Be You – Written by Clare Lydon. A Christmas short read. It is a beautifully written second chance love story with wonderfully developed characters, complications of family and a few giggles in there as well.

Witching Moon – Written by Poppy Woods. A cute, fun lesbian paranormal romance. At times the two perspectives weren’t distinctive enough but I still really enjoyed the story and the world building.

Poseidon’s Academy and the Olympian Mysteries – Written by Sarah Vogler. The fourth installment of the series. Aimed toward a Middle grade audience I still loved this book. The writing and the story of the entire series is magnificent. The characters are wonderful and in this installment we get to know a few more while we follow Hailey as she sees the world change while she wars inside herself about a prophecy that has plagued her entire life.

Stone Guardians and the Rise of Eden – Written by Jem McCusker. A fun middle grade book, written with beautiful lands of mystery and intrigue. A great adventure with amazing characters and beautiful themes of friendship and loyalty.

Have you been reading more or less during this time of the crazy world?

I’m always up for book recommendations. So feel free to comment a favourite or email me through the contact page.

Be Safe
Be Brave
Be Kind

Posted in About Writing, writing

Faltering with Words

I’ve really been faltering the last two weeks. My writing is definitely hitting some bumpy roads and while I want to write and I have projects I need to be working on, when I find the time I’m struggling to find the inclination or energy.

I have four projects going at the moment but all four of them are quite bigger than what I am used to. I think this might be a contributing factor to my screeching halt. I’ve not written a lot of Novella or Novel sized stories. Although my first Novella is being published later this year or early next year, dates coming to you as soon as I get them from the publisher.

Titles for me are very difficult but let me attempt to explain the four main projects I should be working on:

FF Romance Novel – Mistaken identity/opposites attract new romance
Short Story Collection – This one does have a name (and a cover – stay turned I’m almost ready to do the reveal) – It’s a collection of FF Sweet Romance short stories threaded together by a coffee shop owner tell her friends’ love stories to a patron.
Dark Fantasy Novella – With dragons, magic, sky ships and crystals.
FF PNR – With ancient Egyptian gods, lies, and fighting destiny.

I’m trying to keep myself in the writing mind frame by reading both fiction and about the writing craft, while diving into writing podcasts.

I worry though, how easy it might be to slip into the research of the craft mindset and stop expecting myself to actually write?

If you’re a writer, let me know what you do to keep yourself accountable – Is it by word count, by hours, by projects? Do you have someone nudging you to get to your goals? Do you have set goals?

Posted in About Writing, Life Things

Fangirling in a Techno way

Since becoming a mum technology ran on ahead of me while I survived on caffeine, scotch, and ice-cream. Ok, to be fair there has been many different alcoholic beverages that have gotten me through.

So I’ve been coined the technoreject … I can’t really deny this one. New programs give me panic and anxiety attacks. Thankfully, my partner is a total technogeek.

As my son has gotten older it’s been harder and harder to time manage.

Some of the bigger struggles:

  • Writing novellas and novels – such a different time frame and longer concentration required as opposed to writing short stories. Needing a few solid hours to write each day is not always possible with still working from home and raising my 3 year old.
  • Fitness – HA what fitness … I have my treadmill and some days I am able to get on it … other days my son turns it off on me, which is lots of fun as I fall off the end and he cracks up laughing. Lucky he’s so adorable and cute.
  • Activities toward learning the craft of writing.

Recently, my wonderful partner brought me some cordless earpods … for one very specific reason … with using one headphone I can listen to craft related podcasts and videos etc while still being able to play with our son and keep an eye on him.

It’s only been a week, and I’ve already found this new existence priceless. It’s not really helping with issue 1 or 2 but I feel like I’m killing it with the learning about the craft. In reality what I feel like I’m actually doing is fangirling and geeking out. I’ve found several podcasts that are making me laugh out loud, think, and enjoy my days even more. But, one in particular is making me swoon, listening to one of my favourite authors be completely human and fantastic … and very British.

So far my top three podcasts (which I’m listening to several episodes a day trying to catch up):

David Tennant does a Podcast with

Ru Paul: What’s the T with Michelle Visage

and (insert squee here)

Lesbian’s Who Write … with Clare Lydon and T.B Markinson

I’ve had other podcasts suggested to me and they are all lined up … but I’d love to hear what you are all listening to.

Do you listen to podcasts? For work or for pleasure? What do you recommend?

Be Safe
Be Brave
Be Kind

Posted in Life Things

Put on your shoes

Years ago I listened to the commencement address to the graduate of the Texas university of Austin in 2014 by Admiral William H McRaven. I’m pretty sure it was a year or two after the fact that I listened to it and for the life of me I can’t remember who sent it to me to watch. But what matters is that I did watch it … and this is the part that has stuck with me ever since.

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

I think about this often and I freely admit when I start my day by making my bed (and my 3yo’s) I do feel better.

But for me, it’s often not enough. Bare with me here as I take you down the rambling tunnel of my mind.

What I have discovered is that quite often, even after making my bed, I will dive immediately into work, foregoing all but coffee (depriving me of this is not good for anyone). This is mostly because my little guy is happier to self entertain in the mornings and I’m free to get a few solid hours of work out of the way so I can do the mum thing and keep up with whatever is thrown at me by the time lunch time arrives.

What this means is that 9 times out of ten I don’t get to the shower until the early afternoon. Sometimes this boosts me enough to do all the house stuff that I have been procrastinating all morning to do. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Today I realised what the difference was and while it might sound strange, that’s ok. For me it works.

I put my shoes on.

shoes

As simple as that.

When I put my shoes on I’m ready, when I put my shoes on, I can do anything. What a crazy concept right? But as crazy as it is, it works for me.

So lovely readers, no matter what your day looks like, put on your shoes, or more precisely find that thing that tells you you are ready to charge into life and you are capable of doing anything.

I would love to hear what you do that helps you push through the days, both good and bad.

Be Safe
Be Brave
Be Kind

Posted in Life Things

Birthday Time

Today is my birthday.

birthday

For years I was a bit shy about announcing or mentioning my birthday. Nowadays I’m all about celebrating it, throwing streamers and even announcing my age … what’s in a number anyway?

Too many people don’t have the privilege of growing older. Too many people are not surrounded by loved ones, or treated kindly on their birthdays. They are not celebrated for making it another year around the sun. But despite what many think, it is an achievement.

It’s not about celebrating my birth (tangent thought – I absolutely want to normalise gifts for mothers on their birthing days), it’s about celebrating the achievements of the year that has passed, the fact I am still here, and the plans I have for the year to come; the ways I plan to make the most out of the future days that aren’t guaranteed.

Today I am being taken, sans toddler, to the cemetery to write and possibly do an author photo shoot. Whatever else happens, I’m good with.

Let me know what you love to do on your birthday. I’d love to know about your favourite birthday memories.

Be Safe
Be Brave
Be Kind

Posted in Life Things

We Define Ourselves

I had another blog post planned for today. But something recently happened that made me realise the other blog can wait.

We Define Ourselves.

Read it again, over and over if you need to. No-one else defines who we are unless we want/allow them to. I’m not saying they won’t try. They will. In fact they will try so hard that you begin to question what you thought you always knew. I’m not saying it is always easy. The majority has always tried to define the minority the way they have wanted to.  And it’s not just the majority trying to define me. There is unfortunately a tendency for those within a minority to define those around them, and decide who they believe belongs in their minority. 

Now let me explain a little personally what I mean by this.

I recently came up against what right I have to call myself a lesbian, again. I also met a lovely new friend who is struggling because she doesn’t seem to fit into any of the categories and different people are telling her she is this or that.

I am here to say, I AM a lesbian. Am I married to a man? Yep! Does this take away any other lesbians identity? No. I am defining ME and me alone.

The last time I was criticised for how I identify, I ran into the shadows and let fear overwhelm me. Fear still takes the wheel at times, but I’m pushing back more and more and telling it to get it’s ass into the backseat where it belongs.

I’ve come to realise those that are so angry at how I identify myself are those most scared of how they appear to others. I know, because I used to feel the same thing. I’m not angry at people telling me I can’t be a lesbian, but nor will I hide or stay silent.

When my partner first came out as transgender I remember a conversation so clearly it could have been yesterday but was many years ago now.

I was asked, how I was going to cope seeing as I had fought so hard to come out of the closet years earlier. This conversation stuck with me. And it took me a long time to realise what it implied and what it was telling me to do.

I was no longer a lesbian and I was supposed to go back into the closet because I no longer fit the definition this person had of what a lesbian was. Yet, I was still the same person. Our relationships do not have to define us. If you are single, does that mean you have no sexuality, no identity? Absolutely not.

If you are struggling because you don’t fit into a definition someone else has. I’m here to give you a big hug and tell you, you can fit wherever you feel safe. Wherever you are able to let down your guard and know that who you are is far more important than how anyone else identifies you. If you don’t feel safe anywhere, message me and tell me about it.

I will be your safe place if you have no other.

Be Safe
Be Brave
Be Kind

 

Posted in Life Things, Writing Tips

Letting creativity thrive with organisation

Today I’m struggling. But instead of talking about all that and letting myself go further down that well I decided to finally rewrite and update the post I lost a few weeks ago … technoreject strikes again 🤷‍♀️ so here goes:

Since I can remember I have equated organisation with non-creativity and down right boringness.

It’s very likely this idea stemmed from my nutty Aunty (not actually related) among other factors. This Aunty was crazy and artistic and wonderful. She taught me how to read tarot and to love every scratch and bump I collected from real bush walks.

But as I’ve gotten older, and busier I’m not coping with keeping up with the amount I have on my plate without a little more organisation in my life.

Of course, if any of you have kids, you’ll no doubt know that planning things needs to be done in pencil.

Some days I still find myself rebelling, metaphorically (sometimes literally) screaming at my pen and *urgh* planner and blaming them for being so stationary sexy, and tempting me away from my tree skipping going with the flow creativity.

But to be fair to the pen and planner, they do let me doodle pretty little stick figures wherever I want and calm me off the ledge with reminders of how far I really have come. And I’m making myself look at my published shelf often to remind me just how far I have come.

I’m also currently working on three large projects and managing to keep track of them, which is a new and exciting endeavour.

So, the planning thing seems to be working out, and writing is taking over my life in pencilled in scheduled blocks.

Be safe
Be Brave
Be Kind

Posted in About Writing, Creative Spotlight

sneak peak photo shoot

In my new found attempts to ‘Be Brave’ I have signed up for some signing and promotion of myself as an author (chokes a little on the importer syndrome trying to take over my words).

Where I live there is a local community art hub developing in it’s infancy. The plans for it look fun and amazing and I have bravely put up my hand. I went down to drop off some copies of ‘Forgiving Reflections’ and the amazing woman who runs the art hub wanted some photos … here’s a few semi-acceptable ones that will mostly likely be used for promotion when the next stage happens and I do some signings and possible workshops at the hub.

I’ll update with time and  dates for all you locals. 🙂

You can get your own copy of ‘Forgiving Reflections’ here

Be Safe
Be Brave
Be Kind