Monthly Archives: September 2012

Thought I may as well treat myself to a tub of ice cream and an entry into this competition for a really cute, handmade plot bunny!

Why am I treating myself? I completed the preliminary read through of The Devil’s Beat, with notes. Now onto the real edit…

Spilt Hot Chocolate

As I write this, this blog has reached 1,009 views in 28 countries! I am SO excited! Thank you so much to everyone who’s been reading! I hope you continue to do so.

In honour of my 1,000 views, I am doing a

COMPETITION!

Now imagine that in the style of a children’s TV show when the presenters go nuts and wild, wacky music plays and the word ‘Competition’ runs across the screen in bunny hop jumps.

Why bunny hop jumps? Simple. This is the prize:

Meet Bobby. Bobby is a quirky, handmade (yes, seriously, made by yours truly) sock plot bunny who’s unblinking, loving stare will watch over you as you write.

How do you win? Also simple!

I talk a lot about my own writing (well, it IS my blog…) but I want to know about your…

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In the zone: channelling my energies.

I have spent far too long ducking from self-imposed deadlines, and making crappy excuses for not getting things done. Have had to seriously question recently what I really want from my life. Every time I ask myself where I would see me in “x” amount of years, in some way or another it always involves writing and the publishing industry.

I know that I can’t predict whether I’ll be a successful writer, but that isn’t really the point. It will be great if the writing will support me, but I see writing as being a part of the whole. Every dream I have involves writing, either as a novelist, lyricist, or script writer. There are often many other layers to those dreams: marketing, project managing, publisher… and so on. But being creative is always the focus.

So, with that in mind, why do I keep shying away from what I want? I can only assume it’s that pesky inner voice that doesn’t want me to try. If I don’t try, then I don’t fail. But if I don’t try, then I fail anyway, right? So, shut the f*ck up, inner voice. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

With that in mind, here are a list of projects that I’ve been working on over the years and, thanks to the prompting of a chatty fella on a facebook writer support group, I have managed to begin setting myself achievable targets that will work around my degree and job. I will succeed! Even if it’s to succeed at completing tasks. Woo!

*The Devil’s Beat – first draft complete (64,639 words); contemporary fantasy. No plan – major rewrite needed.

1) Read draft and make notes, approx 10,000 words a day [by 7 Oct ‘12].

2) Re-plot for second draft [by 14 Oct ‘12].

3) Set targets for re-write, and adhere to them.

*The Monster Hunter Club: Monster City – first draft (733 words); young children’s fantasy. No plot, just rough concept.

*King of Hearts – first draft (50,028 words); thriller. Nano ’10 – major rewrite needed.

*The Monster Hunter Club: Brazzelworth – first draft (813 words); young children’s fantasy. No plot, just rough concept.

*The Rising – first draft (27,001 words); fantasy. Basic plan.

*Blood ties – first draft (3,450 words); screenplay. Basic plan.

*Nightminders – first draft (17,351 words); medieval fantasy. Basic plot outlined.

*Shadow – first draft (9,291 words); fantasy. No plot, just rough concept.

*Shakti – first draft (3,619 words); contemporary fantasy. No plan, just basic concept.

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Book Review: Shadowmancer *plot spoiler*.

Shadowmancer, by G.P Taylor.

Well, I had to leave this review for a day or so to see if I truly felt as irritated by this as I did after I finished it… my feelings have not changed, however.  The last time I felt this pissed by a book was when I read James Barclay’s ‘Dawn Thief‘. What. A. Load. Of. Crap.
I found myself fabricating excuses: it’s written for young teens, it’s a short book, it’s… I ran out of excuses. It’s just very basic. A thinly veiled attempt to preach to kids about how you need to believe in God, even if you have never seen Him/Her. In the book, our main character (teenaged Thomas) learns that, when he feels like crap, he just has to close his eyes and he will see his God. He’ll magically feel better, calmer, and more positive. For five minutes. Then something bad happens and he has to repeat the process as, naturally, he forgets that he swore that he’d always believe in Him.

Our messiah, of sorts, even has these attacks of doubt. Plus, he’s a pussy. He manages to forget he’s injured for a while… then starts moaning when he has to walk. Thomas’ female friend, Kate, is equally pathetic for the most part. Despite her being choc-full of attitude at the start. As soon as she shoves on a dress, she gets really lame and whines a lot.
They seem to go nowhere. They wander around, following where they’ve been directed, only to stumble across more bad guys out to steal a trinket that doesn’t seem to do much but bring on the ‘end of days’ (why didn’t God have the forethought not to create this piece of crap? Eh?). They get stuck in a pickle:

“Oh no,” they cry. “We’re going to die!”

“Don’t worry,” says some pillock. “If we sit down, close our eyes, and think of God…” Hey presto! There’s another secret staircase. Handy!

And don’t forget that magic, seances, and tarot cards are all evil! Yes, they are. You’re totally going to hell if you use them. Which makes me wonder if the guy on the back from The Times who wrote: “The biggest event in children’s fiction since Harry Potter” has actually read either book. Some kid grows up wanting to be Harry Potter… then reads this book and learns that God, whilst apparently being all-loving, will probably send you to hell for believing in magic. Sorry kids.

The only saving grace is a few interesting characters, just a shame that they’re mostly pointless in this piece of work. And then it ends.

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The Calgary Zoo – photography.

The Calgary Zoo – absolutely stunning pictures, and useful tips for anyone learning about photography!

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How to read like a writer

How to read like a writer.

 

I knew there was a reason I was reading so much! Down side is: you spend so much time reading, and not enough writing.

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Book Review: Seeking Whom He May Devour.

Seeking Whom He May Devour, by Fred Vargas.

Think: werewolf legends and superstition. A small farming village in France finds that a sheep farm has discovered savaged sheep, not killed for meat but for sport. Bite marks are bigger than a normal wolf, so the return of the legend of the Merconteur Monster sets off fears which spread, as the killings continue. The beast moves on to people.

Despite being based on a werewolf legend, you see little of the wolves. Your journey is following the characters involved who decide to track a man they believe is either a werewolf, or has trained a large wolf to kill for him. This group is an odd bunch: an old shepard (Watchee), an abandoned black boy who was raised by a local white woman now under the care of Watchee (Soliman), and a musician/plumber (Camille) because she has a HGV license and the men can’t drive. They pull in an ex-lover (Adamsberg) of Camille’s because he’s an officer that can help in the hunt for the killer, which causes some tension with Camille’s new love (Lawrence, a wildlife specialist who’s been contracted to study the French wolves). It’s a highly dysfunctional group, living like travellers in close quarters, but such an endearing bunch!

I couldn’t put the book down! I just had to know what mischief they’d be up to next. What town they’d visit, who they’d be babbling about, who’d be murdered next… all with the backdrop of rural France. You also had the issues raised as Soliman found he wasn’t so accepted in other regions of France, having taken for granted how the locals had warmed to him once his adopted mother had taken him in and raised him. Watchee, as guardian and watcher, always seemed to manage to have his eye on the world and constantly aware when trouble hit. Out came his rifle and a frighteningly calm resolution to kill anyone who threatened his ‘family’, and he probably would kill them too if Adamsberg didn’t intervene.

Adamsberg took refuge amongst this group, partly for being enthralled by the wolf story, hope that Camille still loves him, and to avoid the wrath of a woman that thirsted for his blood after he shot and killed her drug dealer boyfriend during a raid…

At many points, I actually laughed out loud. The characters had so much life, and personality! Such odd people, but utterly fascinating! I really do recommend this book. 10/10!

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