Sunday Journal ~ life balance, new website and a book launch

Latte lionWork on my novel revision has been coming along well during the past month. I’m still spending lots of time working on ‘creative endeavours’ in cafes, and still very much enjoying myself.

I have a routine that’s not a routine — that is, it changes from day to day, but there’s a certain modular regularity that provides an element of structure. My time each day is blocked into 3-4 hour sessions, allowing me to mix and match blocks of contracting/freelance work and cafe-writing, depending on workload and deadlines. It’s wonderfully flexible.

Owing to the impinging nature of the contracting/freelance work, though, I do need to get out of the house to embrace creative mode. Not that I’m complaining — I get in a walk and some fresh air as well, en route. Plus it’s a change of scene and provides social interaction, which are important when one works from home alone. The only drawback is the cafe fees (aka meals and coffee!), which are adding up.

It’s also lovely to meet up with friends a couple of times a week — sometimes merely for a meal and a chat, sometimes for a companionable working/writing session. All in all, it’s rather a nice life.

New business website!

I should probably mention a key milestone of the past month — which is the launch of a new website for my contracting/freelance endeavours. I’ve called the business elluminium and you can read why here. The website is now live, although I’m still tinkering with it. Check it out!

elluminium logo

You have no idea how long I’ve spent fiddling with those few web pages — there are only six. This site is intended to be essentially an online brochure for prospective clients who are referred to me… My new little home on the internet. Over the next month or so, I’ll probably add a few more pages and add some graphical elements. It feels a little undressed at the moment.

Book launch

ellen and trudi

Book launch for Trudi Canavan’s Thief’s Magic – Ellen and Trudi

In other news, I went to a book launch last week, which is always fun. It was for the launch of Thief’s Magic, the latest fantasy novel by Trudi Canavan — one of Australia’s best selling fantasy authors. It’s her eleventh book, and the start of a completely new series.

It was even more exciting for me, because I was a feedback reader on this book. And obviously I couldn’t talk about it at the time. I will most likely do a review when I’ve read it again (given I first read it a while ago and edits have been done), but for now I will say that it features a really cool magic system. Trudi calls it “Magic Punk” — and that’s exactly what it is. Steam punk without the steam. Machines are powered by magic instead.

Trudi also called it “His Dark Materials” meets “Indiana Jones”, and as you might expect with that description, there’s a large measure of swashbuckling adventure as well.

Here’s the official blurb for Thief’s Magic:

ThiefsMagicCover_150pxIn a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen’s world faces.

Elsewhere, in an land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer’s daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it – should she dare to risk the Angels’ wrath.

Yet not everything is as Tyen and Rielle have been raised to believe. Not the nature of magic, nor the laws of their lands… and not even the people they trust.

For more information and the option to read the first chapter, check out Trudi’s website here.

Macbook update

Finally, an update on the transition to Mac… Still going well, for the most part. All my business activities are now transitioned across, and it’s nice to have everything on one machine. In the last few weeks I learnt the various methods of taking screen shots with a Mac — VERY COOL. I’ve also learnt the shortcut key for pasting in plain text (shift-option-command-V), which is an absolute necessity for working with online CMS and blog platforms.

I’m carrying this little machine around a lot. I think it’ll soon be like my iPhone… I’ll start to get separation anxiety if I don’t have it with me!

That concludes this month’s ‘Sunday Journal’ post. For the time being, these posts will be a monthly wrap-up of creative progress and associated milestones. (Yeah, all right, I know it’s Monday, but whatever!)

Don’t you just love the lion latte art?

10 comments

  1. I love the look of your Elluminium website, Ellen, and am rather insanely jealous of your cafe writing. I should get out more…
    😉

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  2. I’ve been trying to embrace cafe writing as well, and while the productivity I’m able to achieve is fantastic, I’m also wary of the growing costs associated with it.
    I found my local library also worked well, but it doesn’t open until 10 am which didn’t really suit my schedule so well.

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    1. Yeah the cost is getting to be an issue for me too. I’ve tried the library, but the opening hours are limited and it just does not have the ambiance. I like to be able to sit back, chat to the staff, watch the people from time to time… Plus, you know, COFFEE!

      It’s good to hear of another cafe writing kindred spirit!

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      1. I must admit that I resist the temptation to do writing in cafes since it’s such a cliche: the writer with a laptop sipping on a coffee while working on their masterpiece. Yet, the results speak for themselves in that I’m far more productive when I’ve done it.
        I think it could be the meals that make it prohibitively expensive as a daily exercise. After this semester finishes, I may try going and only having 1 or 2 coffees. Hopefully they won’t mind a cheapskate taking up valuable tablespace!

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        1. A cliche?! Leif, it’s most writers’ dream…

          As for trying to eat meals at home and only buying coffees — I’ve been telling myself that’s what I should be doing… But it’s so hard. Cafe food is so much more interesting!

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  3. Congrats on your new website, Ellen. It looks great. Nice clear design, and I like the color scheme.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying your Mac. It’s a 13-inch MacBook Air, isn’t it? Do they use the Old English measurements for the different screen sizes outside the US?

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    1. Thanks, Mike – It’s very simple and hopefully effective. But I hope to get some more media/graphical elements in there with time.

      Yes, I’m now working on a 13-inch MacBook Air, and yes, they still get the imperial dimensions, even here. It’s not all sunshine and roses as I deal with the changes, but mostly it’s great.

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  4. I saw your Elluminium website last week when we were talking about “to be or not to be” combined. (other business and writing) and it’s beautiful.

    Trudi has an amazing cover and I’m loving that lion latte. Inspiration indeed!

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    1. I’m glad you like the site, Suzanne. And I do think it needs to be separate from my creative endeavours… although I have no doubt they’ll cross pollinate with time. (This site, for example, dominates on Google for my name!)

      Speaking of lattes…. I think I’d better go get myself one, although not, alas, with the beautiful lion art.

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