Completing NaNoWriMo and what comes next

Hello all!

I am happy to report that I managed to “win” NaNoWriMo for the first time, finishing with just over 51,000 words in the month of November alone. Even more exciting, this allowed me to finish my manuscript, which ended up being just over 120,000 words – it hasn’t been edited yet, of course.

If you haven’t participated in National Novel Writing Month before, I recommend you consider trying it out next November (here’s an 11-month warning) – it’s not only extremely fulfilling if you complete the task, it also gives you the push to keep writing whatever you may be working on, or to finally start the idea you’ve been pushing around your brain.

I started writing my manuscript on June 1, 2014, and by October 31, I had about 68,000 words. That’s a lot more than I’ve ever written, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough for a fantasy novel, and some days I would find it hard to get into the mood to write. I chalk this up to not having set goals – I was writing when I wanted to, some days only 500 words, some days 3,000 plus.

With NaNoWriMo approaching, I finally set a goal – finish the manuscript by the end of November, and also win the event.

During November, participants must write an average of 1,667 words per day for all 30 days in order to hit the 50k mark. Some days, I didn’t write at all, but I always made it up within a few days – sometimes this meant writing three or four days’ worth on a Saturday, but I just buckled down and did it.

And when I validated my word count in the early afternoon of November 30, the pride I felt was unbelievable. Writing a novel in a month – or in my case, the last half of mine – isn’t an easy thing to do, but the NaNoWriMo team gives you an amazing amount of support.

This support comes in the forms of daily emails, pep talks from authors, and various Twitter accounts that keep encouraging you to just write.

For the last six days or so, I’ve felt at a loss – my routine had developed into coming home from work, sitting down and writing until I had at least 1,667 words. Sometimes that took 30 minutes, and sometimes it took several hours.

Now, I don’t have any writing to do, and I’ve been bracing myself for what may be an even tougher job – editing the 120k word manuscript.

Since my goal is to eventually get this work published – I’m going to try to get it traditionally published first, and if that fails I will be self-publishing most assuredly – I will likely be changing this blog from the travelling one it is now, to something more book related. Watch for those changes.

In the meantime, I want to reach out to all those who have written/edited/published or even read a book, because I’m sure I’ll have plenty of questions, seeing as I’m relatively new to the process.

My first issue is with the character names. I used plain filler names for the main characters, and now I’m thinking I want more fantasy-sounding names. So my question:

How do you select the names for your characters?

I’ve considered looking up root words of certain terms – and I used that for a few characters – or perhaps combining two common names to create a new one. What do you do?

Thanks as always for following, and make sure to catch me on Twitter.

@CamMParkes

Love,

CP

Oh and PS: If you want to check out the prologue for my novel – working title Twin Killers, click here.

Categories: Adventure, Author, book, Canadian Literature, canlit, character, editing, fantasy, literature, magic, manuscript, names, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, Novel, novelist, publishing, reading, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The long drive, Hobbiton, and NaNoWriMo

Hola amigos!

Yes, once again it’s been a while since a blog post. This time, I lay the blame on NaNoWriMo – or, as it’s known to n00bs, Nation Novel Writing Month. I’ll get to that in a minute.

So, since last time, we decided to drive from Auckland to Christchurch for some reason – about fifteen hours.

On our way, we accidentally stumbled into Middle Earth somehow. We took two hours and explored Hobbiton, then got a drink at the Green Dragon Pub. Here are a few photos:

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(Check out the full album here.)

After that we continued our long drive (long, but nothing compared to my Yellowknife or Bust adventure), stopping in Wellington for the night. We took a ferry the next morning – it was pretty big.

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Apparently it holds about ten thousand people, which is a lot of people.

The rest of the drive was pretty boring, except for the cool scenery and one time where we almost ran out of gas in the middle of the desert. I saved us, though, by continuing to drive until I found a gas station.

So we’ve been settled in our new flat for a while now. I’m back at the pallet factory and Kylie is done school finally. We’re going to both work until her graduation on December 19, and then explore all that New Zealand has to offer.

In the meantime, though, I am hard at work writing.

November is National Novel Writing Month – a challenge where tons of people across the world attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days. I tried this last year and only got about 13,000 words, but this year is different.

I was already well into my attempt at a novel, and I’m using NaNoWriMo as a push to finish it. Currently, I’ve written 96,547 words for my manuscript – my goal is 100k, but it looks like it will finish off closer to 115k – and 26,975 of that has come in the month of November. By the end of today, to stay on the pace of 1,667 words per day, I should be at 26,672 – thanks to a fevered writing session last night where I wrote two day’s-worth, I was able to take the time out to write this blog.

Soon, I’ll be posting stuff about the novel, like asking people to edit it, or how I should go about trying to get it published, etc. In the meantime, you can check out the synopsis and prologue at the following link:

TWIN KILLERS on Tablo

Any feedback is more than welcome! I have another 25 chapters already written if the prologue piques your interest.

Thanks for reading all y’all, follow me on my social media things!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Christchurch, Holiday, New Zealand, Novel, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gold Coast livin’ part two

Kia ora all! Sorry for the delay between parts one and two of my Australian adventure – I’m in full book mode and have been devoting the time I have to writing that. Nonetheless, here is part two.

So Kylie’s birthday was on the Wednesday – October 1 – and as a present to herself she got her hair did. We managed to score a free bus ride both ways by acting all touristy (asking how much it was, which coins had what value) until the bus drivers gave up in frustration and just said “it’s fine.”

That night, Mikayla took us out for a steak dinner at a nearby restaurant – one that happened to have deals on all mains on Wednesdays. I had a giant steak, but I didn’t take a picture of it because that’s silly.

Okay, it’s two weeks later now and I can’t remember what we did on each specific day. However, I believe it was the Friday where we went to see the coveted glow worm caves – again, no pictures, this time because it was pitch black.

We drove for like three hours to get to this place where we walked for another hour, down a steep hill, in the pitch black, with scary forest on all sides. Somehow, we avoided the drop bears and killer spiders and arrived at the glow worm caves, where we were greeted by a blue-greenish glow, which turned out was the worms’ butts. Some lady was yelling at people for even using a flashlight to avoid falling into the turbulent river a few feet away, so I’ll approximate a drawing of what the scene looked like.

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As you can tell, it was very exciting.

Saturday during the day we went to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, which was a total blast. It’s where we got to see basically every cliché you’d attribute to Australia.

We went with Mikayla and her brother, Noah, who showed us around.  Luckily, we arrived just in time for the feeding of a MASSIVE CROCODILE (possibly alligator?)!!!!!

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Afterwards, the croc wardens said we could HOLD THE ALLIGATOR (crocodile?) and I was like SHIT YEAH! They overplayed it a bit.

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The wildlife sanctuary was pretty sweet. It had a bunch of different habitats, so instead of me rambling, I’ll show you pictures and give the names of the animals, if I can remember them.

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This owl, who looked high as.

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This wombat, who is actually the size of a dog.

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Some koalas, socializing over some leaves from that tree I can’t spell the name of.

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A god-damn Tasmanian Devil (like from Bugs Bunny, sort of).

We arrived at a theatre of sorts, just in time for a birds of prey show. One of them got pretty close to me.

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There was also a giant pelican.

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Of COURSE there were others, but I was a bit busy watching them catch bits of dead rabbit out of the air to take pictures, okay?

Next, I fulfilled my lifelong dream of going in a giant enclosure filled with starving kangaroos, and paying four dollars to feed them. Kylie came too.

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Unfortunately, that was the end of my day pretty much, as shortly after I stumbled into a giant spider’s web and was swiftly mauled to death.

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Just kidding! Who did you think was writing this? Anyways, to cap off our day (actually, this time), we had to do the cliché tourist take-a-photo-with-a-koala.

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My head is lost in a halo of light – as it frequently is – but you can see Kylie and the little bear pretty well.

After that heartwarming moment, we tried to feed some birds but they didn’t show up, so Kylie held a giant snake instead.

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I took a photo from the side because we weren’t supposed to take photos but there was no way in hell I was paying 20 bucks for that picture.

The fun wasn’t over for the day, though. That night, Kylie, Mikayla, her friend Andrew, and I all went to a club and danced the night away. We got in with no cover and were allowed five-dollar drinks all night, and Kylie got free drinks to her heart’s content. We dragged her unconscious body out of the club around 10 p.m.

I’m pretty sure it was Sunday where we went shopping at a giant outdoor mall. Mikayla had some sort of appointment and Kylie tried on all the clothes in one store, so I wandered around looking uncouth with a two-litre jug of chocolate milk. I probably looked like a bogan. That night (possibly) we went to an opera in the park, which was pretty neat, if that’s your thing (it isn’t mine) – the food was good though.

Monday was an exciting day, as we tried stand-up paddle boarding. Basically, you get this thing that looks like a surfboard, and then you stand on it and paddle in some water. It was extremely difficult to find my balance on it, and being tall didn’t help, as the wind was trying to knock me into the water. Luckily the water was warm, because I spent a lot of time in it. OBVIOUSLY I didn’t bring my camera because that would have been stupid, but trust me, it was sweet as.

And finally, on Tuesday, Kylie and I took a train to Brisbane and spent the majority of the day at a lovely market/mall. Around dinner time, we met up with an old friend of mine – Franny – and she was nice enough to treat us to a delicious meal.

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And of course, Kylie and I got the glamour shot in front of the bridge.

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Sadly, after that it was time to catch the train back to Gold Coast – which we did, barely. It was an early night, as we had to be up at the crack of dawn to make our plane – which we did, barely. We landed in Auckland about four hours later, and our journey to Australia was complete.

Stay tuned! Posts coming up include our drive from Auckland to Christchurch (1,079km), our visit to the Shire, and a few questions for the creative ones among you reading this.

Thanks for reading, and give me a follow, won’t ya?

Twitter: @CamMParkes 
Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Australia, Blog, Early Saturday, Gold Coast, Holiday, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Livin’ it up at Gold Coast

Well, that was quite an adventure. We’re now safely back in New Zealand after a whirlwind trip to Gold Coast, and a long-ass drive back to Christchurch. The days have been so jam-packed that it was impossible to keep up with posting, so I’ll try to remember everything as well as I can for your entertainment.

I’ll deal with the next half of our trip to the land down unda’ in this post – we just did SOOOO much that it wouldn’t fit into one post, you know?

So Monday was our first full day in Gold Coast. Luckily for us, our guide and host Mikayla managed to get out of school relatively early so she could chaperone us around. Of course, we headed straight for the beach, because what else is there to do in Australia?

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For lunch, we went to a sushi restaurant that had a sushi train. I’d seen these in movies and whatnot, but never actually experienced one.

The food comes to you!

The food comes to you!

It’s a brilliant strategy. Basically different colour plates cost different amounts, and they send through a lot more pricey ones than cheap ones. So you’re sitting there waiting for a cheap plate of your favourite sushi to come by, getting hungrier and hungrier, until eventually you cave and grab the next plate. Cool!

When we returned, we saw to our – mostly Kylie’s – delight that the trees out front of Mikayla’s place were the favourite hangout for some lorikeets.

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We chillaxed for the rest of the day, and then spent three hours watching a movie – 1h45 for Who Framed Roger Rabbit after 1h15 of Kylie and Mikayla insisting they were strong independent women and didn’t need no man’s help to set up the DVD player.

Two strong, independent, DVD-less women.

Two strong, independent, DVD-less women.

Spoiler: they did.

On Tuesday Kylie and I wanted to check out the Niagara Falls of Queensland – Surfers’ Paradise. Although we were warned by literally two people that the walk was a long one, we decided to undertake it anyways.

I learned a lesson on Tuesday. When people say they “love long walks on the beach,” they are full of shit. Long walks on the beach are not pleasant. They hurt your legs and your butt, and make you really hungry and thirsty. We almost didn’t make it. But, after an hour and a half of Bear Grills-esque survival, we arrived in the tourist centre of Australia.

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And lo and behold, we had only been there five minutes or so when a long-lost friend found us!

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Karley. It's Karley.

Karley. It’s Karley.

We three hung out and explored Surfers’ for a while, checking out the shops, getting lunch, and playing at Timezone – one of those super-fun arcade places where you win tickets and can get little prizes. I won an Australian keychain, thinking that it would be the perfect gift for my loving landlord back in Auckland.

After that, Karley’s flatmates gave us a lift back to Mikayla’s. We had to hurry inside because it was time for the daily bat hunt.

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Bats come out during the day here. Yup.

After the bloodthirsty winged-mammals had disappeared (until that night) Kylie, Mikayla, her mom and I went to Q1, which is some sort of tower thing. We had a meal on the observation deck, which is the highest point in Gold Coast – about 72 floors up, I think.

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After dinner, we took a nice walk along the beach you can see on the right there, through a giant market. I didn’t buy anything.

The next post will detail our trip to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Kylie’s birthday celebrations, and the hardest sport you can do on water (not surfing). Follow me so you don’t miss out!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Australia, Blog, Gold Coast, Holiday, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The land down unda’

G’day, mate!

It’s finally happened. After more than a decade of wanting to visit the land down under, I am finally in Australia.

And it is fantastic.

Let’s start from the beginning though.

Our flight was at seven o’clock Sunday morning. Since we had to drop off our rental car with enough time to be shuttled to the airport, that meant getting up at 4:30. We drove to the place, got shuttled over, and found our check-in line by 5:30 – and then the waiting began. Jetstar, which has been great and incredibly fast on our last couple flights with them, had two people working the desks – one of whom was clearly a new employee.

Our baggage area apparently closed at 6:15am, and we definitely would have been done before that, except we added some baggage we didn’t expect.

As we were waiting in line, a frantic mother and her child approached us, asking if we were going to Gold Coast. Apparently, the airline wouldn’t let her child fly unaccompanied, even though he was older than 15 and had a passport, because he didn’t have his school ID. She practically begged us to chaperone Kurtis onto the flight, and we, being great people, obliged. It took a bit longer to check us in because they had to move our seats so the three of us could sit together.

We eventually got checked in and through security, right as the last call for our flight was being broadcast. We took a little bus out to the plane and boarded, and were on our way by 7:15am.


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Thanks to the flight duration and time zone change, we landed at 7:15am in Australia. We saw Kurtis reunited with his father, who thanked us profusely. After they departed, I decided to withdraw some Aussie currency.

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We had a quick airport breakfast, and then Kylie’s friend Mikayla picked us up. Thankfully, she offered us the spare room in her house, saving us probably THOUSANDS (???) of dollars in possible rent.

Her home is absolutely beautiful. The whole concept of it is based on a constant barrage of nice weather – open rooms, light sea-breeze blowing through – and is perfect for the part of town it’s in.

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The best part is, it’s only a two-minute walk to the beach. We basically got here, dropped our bags and changed, and headed out to check out the beach. We didn’t stay long this first time.

It happened to be Celebrate Gold Coast Day, so we took off to a big event with lots of different tents and activities and whatnot. After exploring that for a bit, we returned home and went to the beach for real. But not before stopping at the store to get some Aussie swag.

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We built sandcastles and swam in the ocean and enjoyed the sun before heading back to shower and hit up the town – and by that, I mean buy some beer. Which we enjoyed while watching Brave which is actually a pretty good movie okay?

I didn’t have too much opportunity to take pictures (clearly) as my camera was stowed and my phone was running out of juice. Plenty more to come over the next nine days, though!

Follow along on Twitter and Instagram!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Australia, Blog, Gold Coast, Holiday, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog/novel update

Hello all!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged – the gaps seem to be getting consistently longer, unfortunately. The reason for this is because I’ve spent more and more time working on my novel, as opposed to going out and doing things. I was an extra for a project again, but I’m not allowed to talk about that until it airs, so that’s out.

I thought one way to incorporate my writing and blogging would be to simply post bits of the novel. I have no idea how it will be received, so for now, I’m going to merely post the prologue. If you like it, or hate it, I’d appreciate feedback – and you can follow me on Twitter for updates!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Thanks, and enjoy!

Love

CP

Prologue

The unspoken rules for traveling through the Rubble were simple: go quickly, and go quietly. The first was difficult, as debris lay strewn about the narrow alleys that wound through the glistening heaps of rock fragments. A lot of it was sharp, and a careless stride could leave you incapacitated – something you never wanted to be in the Rubble. The second was almost too easy; the dark aura surrounding the Rubble seemed made for whispers and quiet travel. While sunlight never reached most alleys in the Rubble, moonlight had an eerie way of glinting off the chalky material, making it seem to glow at times. It also created shadows that swirled and formed horrific images to behold. Traversing the ruins in the day was dangerous; attempting it at night was insane. Adam felt he had no choice, however; he had been caught late at the market, and upon beginning his journey home had sensed other presences skulking in the dark. The children of Dome quickly learned to trust their instincts, and so Adam had meandered around a corner and took off on silent feet. He lived in one of the most northern homes, and had a sinking feeling if he took the long way, he wouldn’t arrive. So the Rubble it was.

Wan moonlight turned inanimate ledges and turrets into clawed demons that danced over the ruins as Adam scuttled silently through the alleys. When you grew up in Dome, you quickly learned how to navigate the Rubble; groups of younger children played in there during the day, with relatively no fear of being attacked. Adam knew several paths through the debris to come out at various locations around town; no one knew the entirety – or even the majority, for that matter – of the mass pile of wreckage, but Adam figured he knew almost as much as anyone.

Adam took a left at a three-way fork. Everyone had their own landmarks; for Adam, this one was a brutal looking twist of stone that had always looked like a giant dagger waiting to be thrust down. To him, at least. Anna, his twin, claimed it looked nothing of the sort.

As he was wont to do when traveling through the Rubble, Adam found himself trailing his fingers over the material of the debris – most of it looked extremely resilient, but the whitish-gray stone had a rough, chalky feel to it – and contemplating his problems. He and Anna had always been close growing up – unusual for the children of Dome. They had spent a lot of time together in the Rubble, first playing, then finding paths as they grew older. If anyone knew the Rubble as well as Adam, it was Anna.

Adam paused as another fork in the debris appeared, one path partially bathed in eerie shadow, the other completely dark. He considered. Recently, Anna had been more and more distant. He hadn’t expressed his concerns to anyone, merely written it off as normal behavior for a seventeen year old girl. Now, he had to suppress an inkling of unease that rose in his stomach. He hadn’t seen Anna in a few days; their parents said she was staying at a friend’s home. Whose, they weren’t certain.

Adam firmly shoved the feeling back down into his stomach, then mentally stomped on it for good measure. Yes, Anna had been distant, but they were not only siblings; they were also friends. They had promised to meet each other unharmed in the Stadium, and not try anything underhanded before that. Still, Adam’s senses were screaming that he was in danger. He looked again to the paths in front of him.

The one that was only half dark would wind around some large chunks of grayish stone, and come out on the street just south of his home. The path blanketed in still, silent darkness took longer and was harder to navigate, but came out almost on his doorstep. Normally, the decision was simple; the distance saved wasn’t worth risking a virtually blind walk.

If Anna was waiting for him, Adam decided, she’d be set up along the obvious path. Just to be safe, he started along the dark one. Although it was used very infrequently, Adam had used the path a few times when he was younger, and still remembered the major obstacles. Climb over a rough, rounded piece of stone – it always brought images of a vast pillar to Adam’s mind – walk with hands waving in front to find the overhanging sheaf of stone, and then crawl under it. The stone came so close to the ground that Adam, bigger than the last time he used this route, had to get right down on his stomach and squirm along. Adam offered a silent blessing to the night that he wasn’t afraid of tight places, or all-encompassing darkness.

Clearing the debris, Adam stood up and brushed his pants off nonchalantly. He could see a line of light along the path where the Rubble ended. He strode quickly and quietly along the relatively straight alley, feelings of unease receding. Even if Anna had laid a trap for him, he had avoided it. He probably wouldn’t ever know if taking the dark route had been necessary, but he had escaped the Rubble at night unharmed, and he counted that as coming out ahead. Approaching the mouth of the alley, he paused, resting his hand on a smooth piece of debris.

Gazing out, he was still shrouded in darkness, but could see his home clearly. The second dwelling up, he could see his mother gazing out their window, probably awaiting his arrival. Grinning, he stepped out, raising his hand in greeting. Before his hand got all the way up, however, he felt a hand seize his hair and roughly yank him back. He opened his mouth to shout, but a cold line was suddenly pressing at his throat, and a voice whispered, “Don’t say a word.”

Adam’s mother continued to gaze out the window, apparently not having noticed her son’s brief exposure in the light. He would get no help from her. Feigning confidence, Adam felt at his throat, and recognized the shape of a knife. It was quickly whisked away, and Adam turned to face his attacker.

He found himself gazing into an almost identical reflection of his own. Mousy-brown hair framed an angular face with a nose and chin that jutted out. Adam couldn’t see the colour of the eyes, but knew they were the same deep blue as his.

“Anna,” he said, oddly feeling no fear and asking the first thing that came to mind, “Where did you get a knife like that?”

Anna stared back, silent, shadows flickering over her. Although their features were essentially the same, Adam towered over his sister, and was much heavier as well. He had filled out relatively early, and had always been thick. He knew from experience that Anna was strong for her size, though.

Adam continued to stare at her silently, and Anna apparently felt awkward at the silence, because she finally spoke.

“Adam, I can’t stay in this place anymore.” Anna stared at her feet briefly, knife held by her side. Adam’s instinct screamed at him to run.

“Anna, this is stupid. Let’s go inside,” he said, his confident voice not betraying his frantic emotions inside. He turned to walk out of the alley, and stopped. Several shadows blocked the exit. They had snuck in, probably using the shadow cast by the Rubble as cover. There was no way out. Adam turned back to his sister, who was now looking straight at him, with renewed determination.

“You’re bigger and stronger than me Adam,” Anna said. “There’s no way I’ll win.” She took a step toward him. Adam resisted the urge to step back; this was his sister.

“I have to ensure I’ll win,” Anna continued, continuing to move closer. “I don’t want to kill you, but I have to make sure you can’t compete. I can’t stay here.”

Adam felt debris behind his back, and only then realized he had let his sister back him into the wall of the ruin. His inner voice still screamed at him, and sweat beaded on his forehead. He attempted to smile at Anna, but it kept slipping.

“Come on, Anna,” he said. “Look, if it means that much to you, I’ll let you win.” He wouldn’t – he couldn’t wait to see the world – but it wouldn’t hurt to lead her on a bit, especially if she was willing to go to these lengths. But Anna was shaking her head sadly.

“I can’t trust that you’ll let me win,” she said. “I have to make sure beforehand. I have to cut something in your leg. You’ll live, but you won’t be able to fight. James showed me how.” A shadow at the mouth of the alley shifted slightly. The rustle sounded loud in the quiet of the night.

A single drop of sweat traced a trail down Adam’s face, showing up clearly in the dirt that inevitably accompanied a nighttime crawl through the Rubble. But he wasn’t through, yet; in fact, he thought he knew the way out.

“Anna,” he said quietly, confidently meeting her eyes. “You know there is no way I’ll keep quiet if you do this to me. I won’t pretend this was an accident.” Anna looked away, and Adam felt a trickle of encouragement. He continued. “If you just forget this crap now, I won’t say anything. You and your friends,” – more shuffling – “will be safe. The only other option is to kill me now, and I know you won’t do that.” Adam glanced to the mouth of the alley, gauging his chances of plowing through the shadows gathered there. When he looked back at Anna, she was staring at him again, tears in her eyes.

“Anna, wha-“ Adam began. He cut off as fire seemed to blossom across his throat. He tried to swallow and continue speaking, but all that came out was a gurgle. He put his hand to his throat, and it came away warm and wet. Adam stared at Anna, who had backed away, as all the strength seemed to seep from his legs. He fell in slow motion to the ground, his knees seemingly creating twin explosions in his ears as they struck dirt. The sound echoed in his mind, as he stared up at his twin. She stared back, refusing – or unable – to break eye contact. Adam opened his mouth to try one last time to speak; for a moment, his mouth hung open, and his eyes bulged with effort. Then blood gushed out, and Adam collapsed forward to lie still on the ground. The night was silent again.

After a surreal moment or two, one of the shadows stepped forward.

“Take his valuables, his shoes, everything but his clothes,” a rough voice ordered. “Make it look like a robbery.” Shadows swarmed around the fresh corpse of Adam, as Anna stood by, still staring at her brother. She did not shed a tear, and her knuckles were white from gripping the hilt of her knife so hard. When the task was done, the shadowy figures converged with the blackness of the night and disappeared.

Categories: Blog, Novel | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Trip to Waiheke Island

On Saturday, Kylie and I finally got the opportunity to get out and see some of Auckland other than the bus depot and grocery store. The day dawned bright and warm, so we decided to go visit Waiheke Island.

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Of course, as the name implies, the place is an island. This meant we had to take the ferry. While waiting in line, we saw some lady with a lamb for a pet.

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Like any amateur with a camera, I took a billion shots of the water at different angles and stuff while we crossed. Here are a few okay ones.

 

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Nope, not Toronto: Auckland!

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Still Auckland!

 

It was approximately a 40 minute ride to get to Waiheke. Once there, we realized the island was a bit bigger than we had anticipated.

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We decided to hoof it to the nearest village, which was a pleasant walk in the sun.

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There was a music museum so naturally we checked it out. Some of the instruments are from the 1800s, which was pretty cool.

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Kylie playing a flute older than her!…and actually, older than Canada as well.

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After that we were all like, oh a beach? Let’s go to that! So we did.

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And even thought it was pretty cold, I stood in the Pacific long enough to take this glamour shot.

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You’re welcome for all the pictures.

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Holiday, Music, New Zealand, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First impressions of Auckland

Hey all!

So I’ve been in Auckland for just over a week now, and I have to say: my original impression that it was similar to Toronto was pretty off base.

The first Saturday we were here, Kylie and I went out to experience the night life – only, there was none. Everything closes at around five o’clock, even on weekends. Luckily exceptions include grocery stores and McDonald’s, but I was pretty disappointed. There aren’t very many bars, either! I’m looking closer into that, though.

So far, despite the tame nightlife, Auckland is so much better than Christchurch. It’s much warmer – in fact, most mornings I eat my breakfast outside on our patio in a t-shirt. Considering it’s the dead of winter here, this is amazing.

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The scenery is beautiful and lush. It makes you feel like you’re on a tropic island somewhere – which technically we are I suppose. Our house is at the bottom of a huge hill, so my leg muscles have been getting quite a workout as well.

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The bus system took a little longer to figure out, and is a bit more expensive, but after using the buses and trains for the last week we’ve pretty much got it sorted.

I went into Background Talent and signed up for that again, so hopefully I’ll be getting some more work with them, so I can see my face for ~1 second on a television. They were super friendly and took a bunch of photos of me, so that’s cool too.

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I’ve pretty much realized that around the beginning of September, I’m going to have to rent a car. I’m psyching myself up to drive on the wrong side of the road, especially since, after our trip to Australia, we’re going to drive from Auckland back to Christchurch for Kylie’s last term. It’s about 15 hours so it’ll definitely be a test.

Other than that, I have the house of eight flatmates to myself during weekdays, since I’m the only one here who is on holiday and not working. I pass the day by reading, writing, and doing 15 second covers of songs for Instagram.

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I’m happy to announce I’ve reached the 100-page mark in my attempt at a novel, and still have plenty more to go on! My soft deadline of the end of November to finish seems as if it may be in reach. If any of you consider yourself editors, let me know if you’d be down to peruse the draft!

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I’m finally getting around to sending postcards, about four months after getting here. Again, if you’d like one, let me know via some sort of social media before the end of the week.

Other than that, keep it real and follow along with the adventures! They’re going to get exciting, as there is plenty to do in Auckland on the weekend.

Twitter: @CamMParkes               

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Australia, Blog, Holiday, Music, New Zealand, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auckland adventures

Well, I had the opportunity to spend a couple days in Auckland this week, and let me just say: I love it already.

The flight was the easiest thing ever. Kylie and I walked ten minutes to our bus stop, and it took us directly to the domestic terminal. Checking our luggage and passing through security literally took a combined time of less than ten minutes, and the flight itself was just over an hour.

Since we were new to the area we didn’t know the bus routes, so we had to take a cab to our new place from the airport – that set us back about eighty bucks, but we didn’t have much alternative. However, after exploring the city for a few days, we now know the buses well enough to get back at a much cheaper cost.

Speaking of cheaper costs, our new room is about fifty dollars cheaper per week than our current place – yet it’s about five times the size; it has its own lounge, and the last guy in there left his TV and PS3 behind. YES.

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Like I said, Kylie and I got out and explored the town. It’s exactly like Toronto, except about half the population, very little garbage in the streets, much less pollution and no homeless people. Okay so it’s the exact opposite of Toronto, whatever. It has its own CN Tower, of sorts!

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Kylie and I had a nice meal at a restaurant to celebrate our one year, and then went to the casino. I will sum up that adventure by saying I did not win five grand this time.

We purchased essentials such as sheets and a blanket and some food to get by, and on Saturday it was back to Christchurch, where we saw Guardians of the Galaxy – awesome movie by the way.

Now just one more week of work at the pallet factory, and we’re off to Auckland for seven or eight weeks.

ALSO I bought a new ukulele so make sure to check out my Instagram/Twitter (links below) for covers!

 

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Christchurch, Music, New Zealand, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heading down unda’

Good news, everyone!

 

 

So back in April, I was able to cross coming to New Zealand off my bucket list – something that’s been there since I first learned that the setting for the Lord of the Rings was here. While I haven’t seen the Shire yet, I’ll be doing so in the next little while as we’re moving to the North Island, where it’s situated (yeah, New Zealand is actually two islands. Who knew?).

Now, I’ll officially be able to cross visiting the land down under off that list, too. Kylie and I booked our flights yesterday – we’ll be in Australia from September 28 to October 8. Needless to say, I’m super psyched to get warm, visit some beaches, scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef, surf on some waves, ride some kangaroos etc.

Back to the moving thing, I’ve given notice to my employer and landlady, so it’s really happening. On Thursday we head up for the weekend, then one more week of work and shitty 6:50 a.m. wakeups, and off to Auckland for eight weeks. Definitely pumped to be done with stacking wood.

In other news, I broke 60 pages into my attempt at a novel, hovering at about 19,000 words currently – I’m thinking I’m about 1/5th done, probably. So that’s cool – the goal is to be done by the end of November, currently.

The next update will be nice and long, as I’ll have a bunch of Auckland stuff to talk about!

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

Love,

CP

Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Australia, Blog, Holiday, New Zealand, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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