No Man is an Island…

cute-cat-kitten-skiing-animated-gif-pictureHi all,

It’s 3.30am as I begin to type this. One of those days/nights where I’ve got about 1000 things flying through my mind and I simply cannot rest. So, rather than waste this excess energy, I decided to write a summary of #Nestpitch & Nikola

>>> Remembering 2014 – The Year That Was <<<<

Those of you who have followed this blog from the beginning will know I started the Nestpitch blog primarily for the #Nestpitch writers contests (2014 being our first year) but also to use this blog as a avenue for other contests, to promote authors, interview agents and/or editors & generally open up discussion on topics pertaining to writing & arts in general.

Given I began this blog in late Jan-2014, overall, I’m very happy with its progress. The clever Monkey’s at WordPress.com sent all of us our “yearly stats” but I’m such a numbers nerdy-geek that I’ve been following & keeping my own stats and am looking at around 15,000 visitors by the time  the Nestpitch Blog turns one-year-old. Even so, I did like how WordPress.com put it:

computer Kitty“…The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it…”

For a 1st year I couldn’t be happier or more thankful to all of you who have viewed, read, commented, followed, re-blogged, re-tweeted etc. You have all helped to make this blog & #Nestpitch as a concept, work.

And while I’m throwing out thank-you’s. I need to thank all those wonderful people who formed #Nestpitch 2014, the Mentors & the Slushies, and of course the Agents. Without the help, support and guidance, #Nestpitch 2014 would never have taken off. And not forgetting everyone who entered. You are all so brave and wildly talented!

Nestpitch had visitors from 86 countries Oh My Gosh! I had to think hard to list 86 countries so that is so wonderful.

I would also like to send out a special Thank You to Rhiann Wynn-Nolet who helped me run Post-It-Forward, a 35-word pitch clinic which she and I ran on both our blogs prior to submissions for #Nestpitch opened.

There are so many people I would like to thank but seriously, there really are dozens and dozens! The old saying of No Man Is An Island is never more true than for solitary artists. If you’re a member of a dance troop or a band, while it may be true that a lot of time is spent in solitary training & practise, it is also true that in order for the group to work, they must spend large portions of time rehearsing and practising together.

It is not so for a visual artist or writer. I am both. We painters, sculptors and authors are truly masters of our own time but are equally solitary creatures. We come out at the oddest hours (it’s coming up to 3.55am, need I say more) and are inspired but the strangest things, to create the wildest ideas and forms. We do it because we cannot to anything else. We do it because we are driven to do so. But in all this mad energy and wild creative inspiration, in all the editing and re-touching and slashing and burning and re-writing, we remain, for the most part, alone.

Even those of us who have partners and/or agents/publishers, the internal struggles are uniquely solitary. We cannot explain why things happen the way they happen, they just do and because we cannot explain them… we remain internally alone.

tumblr_mr6kf4j54K1qdlh1io1_400The other day I was watching a programme on TV where someone picked up a lump of coal. I could not tell you what the programme was about, but I can tell you the outcome. Literally within minutes I had the inspiration and idea for an entirely new visual art exhibition. I’ve not been doing much in the way of painting and sculpture in the past few years, partly because I’ve been working on my writing, but mostly because I didn’t want to repeat what I’d already done. I wanted to create something entirely new… move forward as it were. Sometimes as artists, it takes years to be truly inspired with an utterly unique idea, but when it happens, and to quote the inspirational QUEEN “It’s a kind of magic.” These moments do not respect timing (who else has still being punching their keyboard at 3am?) or location. It goes something like this:

Inspiration: “Oh my frigging God, did you get that idea?”

Brain: “Its 3am, go back to sleep” 

Inspiration: “(in excited voice) “But… but… but… if we go back to sleep we’ll forget this by the time we wake up. GET UP! GET UP! GET UP! GET UP! GET UP! 

Brain: “Oh Jesus! OK, I guess I can function on 4 hours sleep, I’ve only got a 12-hours shift today, now what was that idea? Wooo! Damn, that is good!”

I’ve actually had an attack of inspiration at a funeral. I felt guilt, shame & excitement all at the same time. I know you all are reading this and nodding – ha!

There is so much more I want to share with you, but not today.

In the coming weeks I’ll be discussing the role, the need and the marketing ploys of artistic diversity. I’ll also be norweign forest 16interviewing Tina Moss & Yelena Casale as they embark on their new adventure {City Owl Press}. And I’ll be updating on #Nestpitch 2015 (looking forward to reading those submissions!) I’ll also be discussing BETA Reading and Readers as well as sharing my reaction to my first 1-star review.

2014 was a rough year, and not just for me. But I don’t want to dwell on the rough for the mere sake of dwelling. I do however want us to learn and come together from the adversity we may have struggled through.

For me, the very hardest day and week was when I lost my beloved Baltasar. There have been times & days when all I had in the cupboard was instant noodles or when I’ve sent a cheque for the utilities with more rubber in it than Dunlop… or when I’ve had to decide, power or phone, which do I pay? But none of that has mattered, because, as I often say, “they print more money every day” but losing my beautiful snugly fur-ball was close to devastating. It’s been over 6-months and even now, as I write this, my eyes are welling.

No man is an Island… let that be our motto for 2015.

– Eighty-Six Countries Visited NESPTICH in 2014 –

All of you, reach out to your neighbours, your partners, your fellow artists, your children, for no man, woman or child is or should ever feel they are an Island.

Reach out to your community centre or animal shelter, your children’s school, to the homeless person and the musician busker.

Fruit of Life  GoucheI have no doubt 2015 will offer its own rewards and challenges but if we all offer our hand to another, be it physically or virtually, I know it will make those heavy days less burdened and the lighter days more memorable.

One last thing. Quick apology to those who also follow my personal blog. I will be posting there too but I don’t want to get into the habit of repeating the same thing, so there will be less posts on my personal blog and more on here.

That’s almost it for me. Have a safe and wondrous 2015. Aim high but remember to fall is not to fail, you’re simply discovering how NOT to do something.

4.50am – hoo! More cute kitten gifs!  ImageProxy

As I’ve been writing this I’ve watched the sky turn from dark blue-black to the first grey signs of dawn. Being summer, daylight is only minutes away & the first magpies have already called to the the sun to wake up. I think I might try and get a few hours sleep, I mean SHEESH! It’s New Years Eve, how will I stay up to watch the fireworks without some sleep? (No one mention the midday Nana Naps I’m planning on taking – shhh!). If I’ve made any spelling or grammar errors in this post, I’m putting it down to the hour – 5.25am – might go check out Candy Crush on Facebook & then “to sleep, perchance to dream” for me.

See you all in 2015

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Adult Contemporary Re-tell – “Artie & the Dodecagon” – Michelle4Laughs QL Blog Hop

Hi all,as many of you will have read, Michelle Hauck (Michelle4laughs – http://michelle4laughs.blogspot.com.au/ ) is currently running a query letter critique blog-hop. Even though I posted my first page on my personal blog, I thought, given I posted about the blog-hop here & given I’ve tormented many of you with critiquing your QL’s, I’d return the favour.

A few notes. This is WIP and although I know the main twist plots and the ending, it’s not quite 1/2 through finished so the below is a QL on a WIP for which I have guestimated the final word-count. As Michelle is accepting QLs for WIPS and given the content, I thought I’d brave the QL critique waters. Also, while the QL is careful not to use offensive words – especially out of context, this is a violent & sexually charged story & not for the faint-hearted. If you want to read my draft 1-st page, its on my Nikola Vukoja blog – http://nikvukoja.wordpress.com/ – even the first few lines will make it clear. Just thought I’d mention that 😉

For those 5 above and below me on Michelle’s list, I promise to get to you ASAP – it’s my birthday tomorrow & mum’s on the 6th so the next few days could be a bit hit-and-miss 🙂

QUERY:

Dear Awesome Agent,

When sorceress and Australian crime-boss Morgause’ hit-men fail to take out Artie before he discovers he’s the new ‘once & future king,’ Morgause implements plan-B, kill Artie’s spirit.

She tasks her son to seduce Artie’s best mate and then uses the witless love-struck human to spy on Artie. Then, discovering Artie’s Catholic Priest is struggling with his vows and the woman of his sexual fantasies is Artie’s girlfriend Gwen, Morgause ply’s Gwen and the Priest with a powerful tonic. The potion fevers lust while diluting a mortal’s reason and moral compass. Gwen and the Priest spend a wild night together, but with the clarity of morning, both regret their actions. Ashamed, they agree to tell no one; however, a secret video of their night together quickly goes viral on Youtube.

Feeling betrayed and struggling with the world either vilifying Gwen or laughing at him, Artie is broken. Morgause can finally destroy the man and the legend and also have her revenge on the first King Arthur, and her nemesis, Merlin.

But Artie isn’t alone. With the help of an invisible dragon and the mythical Rainbow Serpent of Koori legend, Merlin casts magic bullets which should vanquish Morgause. But in order for the magic to bond, a final ingredient is needed… forgiveness. If Artie has truly forgiven his best mate, priest, girlfriend, and even his parents for their lies, then the magic will work. The final body-count will determine the power of Artie’s forgiveness by who survives.

Told for dual POV (Morguase’ & Artie’s), ARTIE AND THE DODECAGON is an (estimated) 80,000-word contemporary adult, sexually explicit (straight and gay), dark, Arthurian re-tell set in Scotland and Australia.

I was born in Croatia, raised in Australia and have lived in France. In 2013 I placed in a worldwide short story competition. In 2015 I’ll have a short story published in an anthology with a US publisher. I’m also a painter, a slave to my Feline Overlords and active on social media.

Per submission guidelines …..

Regards,