Thursday, 30 September 2010

The forgotten sense can do so much more than you think ...

How often do you incorporate the way something feels to touch in your writing? I find myself naturally describing sounds, sights, smells, without a second thought ... but what about touch? And not only touch, but the way a particular texture makes you feel.
Take, for example, the sensation of a silk shirt on your skin when you perhaps hug a person wearing it. Does the texture bother you, like the furry skin of a peach? Or does it make you want to stroke it like the silky fur of a Siamese cat? Does it create a need to express warmth, compassion, love? Or does it make you cringe as if someone is scraping their finger nails down a blackboard, and want to flick their presence away as quickly as possible?
Next time you a describe something, have your character touch it, have them express not only how it feels, but what the texture does to them emotionally. Go on. Give it whirl. Anyone care to give me an instant example in my comments, I'd LOVE to read them!

Here's mine:
During the few short moments that I lie in bed before I open my eyes in the morning, I’m able to soak up the silence – its precious freedom – I’m the only one who subsists in this cocoon of linen soft on my body, from my toes to my chin—defending the intricacies of the flesh and spirit within—lying in a field of cotton, protected from the sun, the wind, the sea. There’s no time to think, just to feel – to feel the surrounding nothingness, tattoo peace into my skin. A few short moments of pleasant loneliness that spares me from sin.


Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Surge That Lights Your Fire?

You know those moments when you get a sudden wave of "Oh my God I need to write! Now!" and your skin goes all tingly? What triggers those for you?
I get them when I smell rain, read Margaret Atwood, Marilynne Robinson, or Gwen Harwood, when the house is freshly cleaned, when I get into crisp clean bed linen, when I buy a fragrance I've never worn before, when my dog Holly begs for pats, when it gets cold enough to snuggle up on the couch under a duvet, when I put on a new pair of shoes for the first time, when my hair grows long enough to tie it up into a ponytail again, when I'm standing on a deserted beach in the middle of winter, and the ocean is so loud that it roars at me ...


So, tell me, what kind of writing surges do you experience?

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Does it really pay to be different in this business?


One of the problems with getting my debut novel published has become outstandingly clear to me recently after being rejected, once again, despite the editor 'enjoying' it. So many people 'enjoy' it, but don't 'want' it for some reason or another. The most common reason is that:
My voice hits middleground.
It's TOO COMMERCIAL for the small presses that have a reputation for publishing less mainstream literary voices, and NOT COMMERCIAL ENOUGH for agents who are looking for the next bestseller to pay for their dream condo.
So where does that leave me? I can't change my voice. It's my voice. It's me. It's how I write. Does this mean I'm never going to find an agent or publisher because they can't find a shelf to slot my voice in?
You know, I like this a little because it means I'm 'different', and what reader isn't looking for something different, right? I like being different. I always have, ever since I was a kid and wanted to go grocery shopping in a pink tutu and black heavy metal t-shirt.
But what's the point in being different if publishers don't start publishing different books? What do you think? Do you think the books being published nowadays are a little samey? Does it pay to have an original voice like everyone keeps telling us, or is what they're really saying code for 'write what everyone else is writing so we can sell it'?

*PS: not complaining here - just think it's an interesting dicussion topic!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Three weeks to read 36,000 words ... um ... ???

Have you ever started reading a book because you "feel in the mood" to read it, but then the next day, or a few days down the track, you "don't feel in the mood" to read it, and it takes forever to get through because you keep thinking about what book you are going to read next and realise you've read a whole chapter (or chapters) and it has gone in one eye and out the other?
I have.
I finsihed a book about a week ago that was 200 pages long, and   
R   E   A   L   L   Y   spread out on each page. I did a quick approx word count and it only added up to 36,000 words. That's damn short. I was in the mood to read it, and then I wasn't. It took me three weeks to finish it. I feel sad for wasting so much time (it is precious nowadays you know).


Perhaps I should have put it on the side lines and started a different one until my "mood" reappeared.
Anyone else ever have to deal with mood change dictating your reading pace? You ever kick yourself for letting it?

Friday, 24 September 2010

Caution: This is NOT a blogfest! ;o)

Howdy Doody! So, I'm participating in Elana's NON-BLOGFEST today to talk about Writing Compelling Characters! Woohoo! To see the other entrants you can go HERE-EY DUDE-EY.
So, how do I write compelling characters? I NEVER EVER tell you what their personalities are like. Confused? Don't be. When someone asks you, for example, why you love your hubbie, you answer,
"Oh, ah, um, I'm not sure. He's cuddly, kind-hearted, I love how he nibbles my ear in the middle of the night ... etc"
DON'T EVER DO THIS. DON'T EVER TELL YOUR READERS WHAT YOU THINK OF YOUR CHARACTERS. If the world were all just a place for fiction, I would tell that someone who asked me why I loved my husband,
"Why don't you find out for yourself? How about you spend a night in bed with him? A week, perhaps, getting to know him, and then you can tell me why I love him."
This is what you gotta do for your readers. You have to let them experience your characters for themselves.
For example:
DON'T SAY
Kit, a girl who likes to watch documentaries, and Ailish, who has pale freckled skin, and takes pride in her garden, are eating dinner outside on the verandah. Kit wants to find her father and asks Ailish where he is. Ailish doesn't want to talk about Kit's father, and answers back abruptly, preoccupying her mind with other thoughts.
DO SAY
“I know I asked you a long time ago, if you knew where he was. But I was just wondering if you’ve heard anything since then.”
“Sorry Kit, I haven’t.” Ailish continues to chew, swallows, and then gulps down the remainder of her herbal water in one go. The sound of it gushing down her throat reminds Kit of the whitewater rafting documentary she watched the other day. Ailish’s eyes begin to water. She wipes her mouth with the back of her pale sun-spotted hand, and narrows her eyes at the weeds to her left, which are invading her precious flower bed.
So that, my dears, short and sweet and to the point, because we all know long blog posts tick us off, is how I write compelling characters. I give my readers a ticket through the blue and purple tunnel and into my characters' lives.

Have a great day! And don't forget to check out the other NON-BLOG entries!!! ;o)

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Am I a little nuts, you ask, to WANT to feel sad?

How often do you think about what your life would have been like if you'd made different choices?
These thoughts hit me frequently. The most recent being yesterday, when I listened to the last album I recorded with my mother, and ended up spending the next couple of hours bawling my eyes out in bed.
Why have I stopped writing music? Why have I stopped listening to music? Why did I turn to writing as my creative outlet and abandon the outlet I spent my entire life deeply immersed in? The answer is "I don't know." I will never know.
I will never know why writing has the bigger power over me now, and I will never know why my music has the tendancy to create a sadness in me that is NEVER present unless I am listening to it.
Why does my music make me cry? Why does my writing enthuse me to no end? So much so that I am able to give up a passion that moulded me into the person I am today. I could probably give you a bunch of reasons. Reasons that relate to my unusual upbringing, perhaps? But do I whole-heartedly believe these are the reasons? "I don't know." I will never know.
But what I do know is that the sadness attached to my music is eternal, and the enthusiasm attached to my writing is too. But they do NOT go together. They represent two completely different parts of my personality.
Since yesterday, I am craving that sadness again. Am I a little nuts, you ask, to WANT to feel sad? No, I don't think I am. I think I am emotionally deprived. I think I have been living my characters' emotions for too long. Listening to my music made me feel my own emotions again. And I want to cry. I need to cry, and ENJOY that amazing feeling of my heart being torn apart for no other reason than simply being able to 'feel me' again. I've been hiding behind written words for so long, that I forgot they can actually sing too.
If you like, have a listen:
video

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A fine line between genre I refuse to erase ...

There's a fine line between women's fiction and literary fiction in my writing. So how on earth do I choose how to pitch it?

Take the two examples below, for instance. These two exerpts are from my current WIP Bitter Like Orange Peel. So tell me, do I write ...
 women's fiction?

"Brian closes his laptop, puts it in his briefcase, gathers his belongings and throws a couple of dollars on the table. He stands as close to Ivy as possible without being threatening or indecent—close enough for his briefcase to brush up against Ivy’s dress and send shivers down her legs and into her toes. He pulls a slip of paper out of his back pocket. As he slides the slip of paper into Ivy's apron pouch, his hand hovers directly above her crotch. She holds her breath and his glare for just a moment, before he removes his hand, smirks, and walks casually out of the cafe."

or literary fiction?

"Ailish’s face—weary, depressed, on the brink of giving up. The left side facing the window is dimly lit, the right side pitch black; an interdependence of opposites, thinks Kit; yin and yang; the strong and the weak contaminating each other to form a temporary misconstruction of character; confused and simmered down to a childlike perception of right and wrong. At this moment Kit realizes Ailish is fragile—as fragile as an infertile phoenix, and as rare as the Gutenberg Bible."
 So how do I plug this? Don't tell me that I shouldn't switch styles in the manuscript, because these two styles are from different POVs, two completely different chracters, who have two completely different ways of perceiving life. So basically the questions is, can I plug it as literary women's fiction? Yikes. Is that 'legal'?

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

A word that SHOULD exist is ...

"Tisk (v)"
I made this word up to describe when you make that disapproving sound with your tongue on the roof of your mouth, behind your front teeth, and flick your head back. Do you know what I mean? There is no word to describe this in the dictionary. I've used it in my WIP: "Ivy tisks." Sounds better than "Ivy makes a disapproving sound with her tongue on the roof of her mouth, behind her front teeth and flicks her head back." Dontcha think?

Now ... who do I contact to put it in the dictionary ...

Have you got any words you think should be included in the dictionary?

Monday, 20 September 2010

Feelin' groovy, cause I got my groove back!

HAPPY MONDAY! 
I critiqued Nicole Ducleroir's first chapters of her WIP on the weekend. Guys ... if you ever get the chance to read her work I suggest you don't even think twice! She certainly has a stunningly unique way with words. I was drooling all weekend thanks to her! (Ugh, my chin's still sticky!)
Looks like I'd better purchase a bib before I get stuck into anymore :o)
Anyway, critiquing her work gave me back my groove! My stink disappeared! So relieved! Yesterday I wrote a whole chapter, right from where I'd left off the last time without changing anything, and without seeking out the stink. Because I didn't have to. What I was suffering from was lack of personal inspiration. And Nicole's work kicked me in the butt and inspired the pants off me. THANKS NICOLE!
Have you ever had a stink terminator as a critique buddy? And did they help remove the stink?
PS: Check out this writing competition: "Brian Martin's community short story project"
Brian Martin and The Writing Show would like to invite you to contribute to a 2500-word short story that will be written in five approximately 500-word installments.
The author of each entry chosen for the final story will be able to select a prize from a list of options. Prizes are: an appearance on The Writing Show; a 750-word critique of a first chapter from Paula B.; a perfect-bound paperback from the Espresso Book Machine at the McMaster University bookstore; a copy of Maralys Wills' inspiring book Damn the Rejections, Full Speed Ahead: The Bumpy Road to Getting Published; help with a query letter from Paula B.
If you're interested visit The Writing Show for details or listen to the announcement/instructions HERE.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Al Capone and The Kray Twins? Certainly! Thanks!

Today I've started writing a teacher's book for a secondary course for 17-19 year olds. The grammar that is taught in this course is quite advanced. Yikes! I've gotten used to writing teaching materials for little itsy bitsy primary kids. So, I've got my head in grammar books at the moment, reteaching myself how to teach others upper-intermediate grammar. OUCH!

I'm really excited actually to have been given this project, because I get to write about all sorts of interesting topics. At the moment I'm writing about criminals who have become famous, you know, like people such as Al Capone and The Kray Twins? Sweet! Goodbye apple, banana, mum and dad! Hello, evidence, witness, prosecution lawyer and jury!


Thursday, 16 September 2010

A skunk has stuck a stink to my WIP

Um ...
Yes, um ...
That's what I think when I open my WIP.
There's a stink stuck to the last word I wrote. It's like a bad oder with no smell. Like a dog whistle. Deafening for the dog, but to non-dog species, its silence. You see what I'm getting at? I can't move forward. When I read the last couple of sentences I wrote, I screw up my nose - because it smells bad - but I can't figure out what it smells like. All I know is, that it smells bad enough for me to want to close the door on it. I can't continue. All I want to do is edit what I've already written. I LOVE what I've already written. So what's the problem? I don't know what the problem is. All I know is that the problem stinks.
Anyone got a peg?

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The I GOT U! Blogfest.

This is a blogfest about blog love. Today we are to write about another blogger. Please check out the host's (Sheri) blog and the other entries listed in her side bar!
Ok, I would LOVE to write about Lenny because Lenny is an inspiration to us all, but I'm not going to, because I can only imagine that he is also everyone else's first choice. So I'm being sneaky and mentioning him, so at least you can click on his link and see why he is dearly loved so much by us all!
Right. Now to my proper post. Creepy Query Girl!

Katie and I share a common problem. We both live in Europe - Katie in France, me in Greece. We live in places where the English language is scarce in the streets. We can't eavesdrop on English conversations. We can't observe people's mannerisms. We can't immerse ourselves in the average English conversation in order give our dialogue realistic qualities. We have to go on memory. And I think that scares us a little. It scares us because we wonder whether we are going to lose touch with the language - whether we are going to misrepresent English speakers as time passes by. Perhaps one day all our characters are going to be speaking English in French and Greek translation and gesture.
Anyway, I can really relate to Katie's blog. Not only for the reason I stated above, but because her blog posts always push the right buttons. She has wit, wisdom, and a tendancy to make me want to write elaborate comments under her posts. She makes me want to explain exactly why I feel the same way. She makes me want to open up - tell her about my insecurities, my joys, my doubts, my good and bad news.
Although we've never met face to face, I feel like we have (well, we kind of HALF met face to face when I could see her through the webcam on Skype, but she couldn't see me - hehe - by the way she is GORGEOUS!!!). And I feel like we were meant to meet. I hope that one day, we will cross paths. After all, we do live on the same continent :o)

Do you connect with any bloggers that you feel you were 'meant' to know?

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

CONTEST WINNERS!!!!!

Process ...

Drawing Runner-up ...


Kristie, you have won a $15 Barnes and Noble gift card and an illustration, drawn by the wonderfully talented Elizabeth Mueller! All you have to do is provide her with a summary of your WIP and she'll illustrate a mock cover of it for you! Seeing as you're published, and you may not want something like this right now, maybe you can negotiate with Elizabeth to write up a review of your book on her blog. I'll get you in touch with her today.

Drawing winner ...

 drum roll ..................................
@
#
$
%
^
&
*
!!!!

 Leigh, you've won an interview with Paula B. on The Writing Show. Paula will also plug your blog or website on the home page. She will also publish a short piece of your writing on the website, with a short biography and any links or other information you wish to include accompanying it. You've won a $100 dollar Amazon gift card and a copyedit/proofread of your full manuscript whenever it’s ready from moi :o)

Woohoo! Congrats Guys! You'll get an email from me giving you further instructions :o)

And a BIG thank you to all who donated and supported The Writing Show!!!

Monday, 13 September 2010

RLCNVZJELLJMJKADTS: these letters stand for ....

As I said last Friday, today is the last day to enter into this contest. You've still got until end today to donate, so just because you didn't make it into this blogpost, it doesn't mean you can't still enter at the last minute. If you enter while I'm still at my computer. I'll add you to this list!

Right. The following are the generous writers who donated to The Writing Show, and why I love'em:

"Dreamer. Writer. Believer in the worth of each soul I meet. It is not so bad a thing to have been born with the gift of laughter and the knowledge that the world is mad."
Roland must be the sweetest guy around the blogosphere. He's always ready to boost my ego, when I need it! Not only that, but his writing is exquisite - beyond beautiful - stunningly elaborate. When I read his blog, I feel 100 times more intelligent for understanding his prose! :o)

"I'm a writer, editor, and public relations professional."
This girl knocks my socks off. She has got a quirk and a wit I thought you could only find in Aussies like me! And I love how she thinks I have a cockney accent! (Um, ... even though, cockney is a British thing, but never mind!) ;o)

"I sometimes go by my real name, Candace Ganger and I have a head, I swear. Born in a small village on the outskirts of Ipanema...wait, that wasn't me. Though I was a musician, I'm currently a SAHM (for those down with lingo) of one, and YA author, lover of all things New Medicine & The Used. When I'm not covered in peanut butter and urine, I'm writing. Cause that's how I roll."
I think this gal and I were sisters in another life - in fact, maybe we are sisters in this life and just don't know it. Both our hearts were in rock 'n' roll until something hit us both on the head and said we should be writers ... um ... we'll never know who dunnit, but I reckon it was a guitar pleading for a breather.

"I'm a Literary Fiction writer using this blog to hone my craft. As I tackle my first novel project (*gulp*), my blog entries below document my journey, although some posts are exercises that fall into two categories: Fiction and Creative Nonfiction. Fictional entries labeled "From The Lips Of..." are not written by me (*wink*) but penned by one of the characters from my WIP. Those entries are first person accounts in the voice of the featured character. Creative Nonfiction entries labeled "Captured Moments" are snapshots of my life, written while flexing my descriptive voice."
Ah Nicole, I can't express how thrilled I am that we have become critique partners. I couldn't have wished for a more talented, kind-hearted, and generous soul to share my work with. You truly are one of a kind. Can't wait to get underway!

Vicki Rocho (donated but not entering)
"Don't you hate it when you have a popcorn hull stuck in your tooth and no amount of brushing, flossing, or digging at it with the tip of your tongue will dislodge it?"
Vicki, every morning you seem to have gotten up at just the right time to post and make me laugh as soon as I turn my computer on. THANK YOU!

"I'm a freelance copywriter and editor by day, aspiring horror novelist by the rest of the day."
Zoe, without you I would never had had to answer the most embarrassing question ever. Trust me to think of something so *cringe* and then win your contest and have to answer it! But I had a ball being interviewed by you, and guess what? My WIP is on that groovy gold flash drive!

"I have been writing since I was a teenager, have published articles in magazines, newspapers, and many newsletters. My family are all writers in some form or other and I published a family anthology a couple years ago with submissions from my parents, brothers, children and grandchildren. It was a great Christmas present and a wonderful way to showcase my family's talent."
I don't know Janie very well, but I would like to thank her for entering and plugging the contest on her website! Thank you, Janie!

"I'm a mother of four wonderful kidlets who, more often than not, drive me nuts. I'm very grateful that I can be home at the crossroads for my children and have been blessed with that privilege. I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I've finished 8 novels, and 3 children's books and have tons more stories waiting to be told. I believe with all of my heart that it takes a lot of guts to be a writer--especially an aspiring author."
This generous sweetheart is a very special lady. She has more talents than I can count on my fingers! Elizabeth always makes me feel at peace when I'm speaking to her. There is something about the way I imagine her voice sounds that calms me. Perhaps it's all the mermaids and fairies she illustrates that makes me feel that way! And thanks so much for donating your time and money to the RUNNER UP prize!

"I'm a Brit with a love of literature and a lot of books. After years of quietening the characters in my head, I listened. I've been writing ever since. I live in The UK where I blog, eat chocolate and write Young Adult Fiction."
For some reason I think Lindsay is shy behind her computer screen, but she sure knows how to hide it! Sweet, kind, edgy, and always ready to offer herself up for support! Thanks so much for reading my poetry too!
 
Lydia Kang (donated but not entering)
"I'm still trying to figure out how to squeeze 25 hours of life into a normal day. I'm a mom, wife, part-time doctor, writer, sister, daughter, blogger, and when I get the chance, I sleep. I write poetry, creative non-fiction, and young adult fiction."
Lydia is the answer to your medical drama questions. Got a character who's injured? Ask her a question about it and see what she has to say on her Medical Monday blog posts! Thanks so much for answering mine!

"I am a girl in her 30s who has lived with Endometriosis for over ten years. With the recent increase in severity of my once-tolerated symptoms, Endo has nearly taken over my life. Join me as I share my total experience as I search for help & healing. Let's discover a cure with a smile & support each other with Friendship. Won't you be my Endo Friendo?"
I am SOOO new to your blog Jenny, please tell me that I've linked the right one! I'll just die if I've made a mistake!!!!

"I'm a novice writer who made a lot of mistakes when I prematurely tried to get my novel published. I've learned a lot since then with a lot of help from a lot of other writers. I want to do my part to help other writers avoid the same mistakes I made. Feel free to have a laugh at my expense or share some some of your own embarrassing moments. The only thing I ask is that you respect all the other writers who comment or follow here. If you feel the need to make a sarcastic remark or point out someone's faults, please direct it at me. And please don't try to figure out who any of these agents are or get angry at them. They were just doing their job."
Matthew and I almost got off on the wrong foot when I accused him of ignoring me and my blog! Yikes! Am I an idiot or what? Luckily, he took no offense and we became great friends. Thanks so much for featuring one of my queries on your blog, Matt!

"I'm Julie Musil, children's author, wife, and mother. I live in a rural California town amid hiking trails and dirt bikes. I married my high school sweetheart, John. Together we have three amazing sons, one cute little doggie, and three leopard geckos. [I write] little bit of everything. Picture books, nonfiction books, magazine stories and articles. I'm seeking representation for my middle grade novel, SPECIAL FORCES. My current work in progress is a YA novel."
Julie, thanks so much for donating! I'm looking forward to getting to know you a little better!

"I write, read, work, play, laugh, cry, cook, eat, love, hurt, teach, learn...order varies, as do results. The voices in my head keep me amused, so if you see me laughing out loud for no apparent reason, you know why. Read what they say here and in my upcoming books."
As you know I've purchased your book! I CAN'T WAIT to read it!

"Everybody was kung-fu writing! I am a displaced Texan in Georgia and am on the lookout for a literary agent to represent me and my first novel, which is a literary thriller with a dash of spiritual fantasy. Besides that, I am also interested in acting and criminal justice."
I owe you an apology. You've been coming by my blog for so long and I've hardly paid yours any attention. Now that my work load is lighter, I'll be sure to drop by more often!!! Please know that I do think about you, though!

"I work at a social services agency, a job I enjoy nearly as much as writing. Although I've always been interested in writing, I didn't think I had a novel in me until about four years ago. Even then it was just a short story that kept needing details filled in. I write about women's issues, and have three novels completed. I have three ex-husbands, five children (four of them grown), a daughter-in-law, almost son-in-law, and two granddaughters to goad my muse into a creative frenzy."
Donna is being published!!!! Woohoo!!!! Believe me, she deserves to be. Her writing is FANTASTIC! I can't wait to buy her book :o)

"Well first off, TJC is a pen name I made up! Kinda catchy right? Anyways, I write. I am a DEAN'S LIST student @ the UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE and 19 years old. I found I enjoy writing after ONE English TEACHER changed everything for me. Just trying to write some novels that I feel PASSIONATE about, and get them out into the WORLD. Feel free to follow me on my writing extravaganza and the SHENANIGANS of publishing. Hope I can make the CUT. I strive for EXCELLENCE and don't give up. And I should WARN all agents... I've never quit anything in my LIFE... except the stupid SAXOPHONE in middle school (the teacher was a... colorful noun.)"
I first 'met' T.J when we were both participating in the VIDEO BATTLES, Jen was hosting. We had a ball! And my oh my does she have a sense of humour!!!

Sheri Larsen
"Writer of all YA/MG, wife, and mother of four—diva stripe intact, according to the hubs—hopeless romantic, sports FANatic, chocoholic, self-proclaimed rebel, and lover of all things paranormal. Here, I share my short stories, the novels I'm working on, struggles & successes while writing, tips I've learned in the craft, insights on motherhood, friendship...ooh, and I dance. I'll show you as soon as I figure out how to vlog."
This darling woman has a heart of gold! A gmail chat with Sheri always makes me feel like gold too! Thanks so much for being online when I need to whine! You're a lifesaver! :o)

So, thank you everyone for your donations to The Writing Show! I wish you all the best of luck! Don't forget to check in tomorrow for the results!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

A substantial edit for FREE??? Seriously?


 This lovely lady, Cassandra, who is a literary agent intern is offering a substantial edit to a lucky winner! Do you know how much one of these costs??? TOO much, believe me. I've hired someone to do so before and it broke the bank. So, my guess is you'd probably LOVE to get one for free. To enter, just CLICK HERE!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Don't miss the boat!

My contest ends after this weekend, on Monday 13th, SO HURRY BEFORE YOU MISS OUT ON THESE GREAT PRIZES!
I'll be announcing winners on Tuesday 14th. First prize includes a podcast interview on The Writing Show, pubilcation of a writing excerpt on The Writing Show website, $100 Amazon giftcard, and a full manuscript copy edit. Runner-up prize is a $15 Barnes and Noble giftcard and an Illustration for your WIP book cover by the wonderfully talented Elizabeth.
On Monday, I'll publish a list of the entrants with links to their wonderful blogs and descriptions of why I love them so much :o).



 Click HERE for details on how to enter. Good luck!

PS: I've surpassed 300 followers! I can't believe it!!!!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Dead in the corner of my bedroom ... for real?

My novel Dead in the Corner of my Bedroom has been through hell and back five times. And it looks like it's going to live up to its title. It looks like it is actually going to sit, dead, in the corner of my bedroom. This book went through five full revisions over the course of five years. 1.5 years worth of querying, and a pink crocodile full of chewed rejections.
At the moment it is in the hands of an Australian agent, who contacted me recently to say they are behind on their reading. But I tell you, if this one doesn't bite, I'm seriously considering shelving it. Am I nuts for considering this? Should I keep pushing till I burst?
An author friend of mine, Susanne Lakin, who has a novel coming out in October with Zondervan, called Someone to Blame, has read my novel. She emailed me not too long ago to tell me not to give up, because she thinks it would really sell. She said to keep pushing, that someone out there will fall in love with it as much as she did. Well, this made me smile so hard, I still can't feel my lips. But is she right? Is she really right? And how will I ever know, if it sits, dead, in the corner of my bedroom ... ?

???
(Addition after some comments came through: Yes, I've had it professionally edited. Yes, I am writing something else ;o)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

I just don't understand ... do you?

If I love a book, I will buy and read everything from that same author. But I make sure I don't read them all in a row because I don't want to get sick of their style. I'm not sure this would happen, but I'm not going to take the risk. There's always too much of a good thing, right?

Anyway, that's not really my point today. What I don't understand is, how I can love, adore, cherish, do cartwheels over every single book these beloved authors of mine have written, except for the ones that have been awarded with prizes. What is the deal with that? Is this just me and my off-beat mind making life difficult? Has this ever happend to you? And, if so, do you understand why the worst out of their collection gets awarded? I just don't get it ...

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

My day in a blogshell


Get up. Get dressed. Stay in PJs. Turn on computer. Make coffee. Sit at computer. Check emails. Sip coffee. Reply to emails. Sip coffee. Start work. Sip coffee. Greet waking love. Sip coffee. Kiss waking love. Sip coffee. Look at work and screw up nose. Sip coffee. Accept love's offer of cereal. Do some work. Sip coffee. Recieve cereal. Eat cereal staring at screen. Finish coffee. Take cup into kitchen. Contemplate making another coffee. Steal love's coffee instead. Sit at desk. Check emails again. Do some work. Check blogs. Write blog post. Schedule blog post. Force myself to disconnect from Internet so I do some work. Do some work. Sip new coffee. Realise new coffee has gone cold. Log back onto internet. Do some work ... rolling rolling rolling ... ten hours pass ... Look at clock. 6pm. Read blogs. Reply to comments. Wash dishes. Make some sort of edible concoction. Check emails. Recieve last minute task from employer. Sit down at computer. Do last minute task. Curse at computer for sending me last minute task. Email last minute task. Go back to kitchen. Serve food. Sit in lounge with love. Watch whatever he watches because I can't be bothered arguing. Fall asleep on couch with fork in hand. Stumble to shower. Have shower. Go to bed. Have anxiety dream. Wake up gasping. Start again.

Where's the time for my WIP you ask? Well, if anyone can locate it for me, please swing it my way. :o)
Good news is. I'm seeing the end of this on the horizon. One more week, and I think I'll have a couple days break. Let's hope it lasts longer than I think it will due to some unexpected delay on my next project. Pretty please with a cherry on top?

Monday, 6 September 2010

Late to the table today ...


Yep, posting later than usual, I know. Had a crazy day finalizing a text book manuscript to go to design. It stresses me out a little, having someone rely solely on me to submit a book that's in pretty much perfect shape before it goes into someone elses hands to be designed. So, sorry about the absence! You know I'd love to be around the blogosphere SO much more! Right?
I'm feeling a little weepy. Um ... yeah ... I'm female. Take wild guess!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Poppy seeds grown on rainbows

Fatigue looms red, above like lead.
"I'm way too old. It's too late!" I said.
But a little pixie by my bed,
keeps prodding, poking, spinning his head
Go on! Make some fairy bread!

I dream I’ll gobble it, sniff it, pat it,
spin round in my pretty pink party dress.
I’ll wade through the crowds, the bullies, the boys
Past party pies, the pastries, the toys
Straight to white triangle joys.

They’re fluffy white clouds, that fairies grow,
they’re sprinkled with heaven’s meeds.
They’re picked and bottled like globular beads
Filtered, lacquered, picked from weeds
And they call them Rainbow Poppy Seeds.


Thursday, 2 September 2010

Alliteration: How does it affect you?


I've been editing my poems recently to try and put together a chapbook for a contest and I've received some feedback from a couple of people who know what they're talking about. The feedback has been great, and really helpful. Some of the feedback I received has even posed an interesting question. About alliteration. Now I have to admit in my excitement I got carried away with it. And I do agree that it is a little overwhelming when you go overboard, but does it really distract you from the meaning of the words? Or does it make you think, 'ooh, that's clever,' and therefore try to pay more attention to them?

This is what my father said to me after I edited the crap out of one of my poems Expectations: "The choice of word is critically important. You could write the poem, Expectation, in many ways and convey the same sentiment, but by using the letter ‘e’ in that alliterative way says something, doesn’t it? Do you want to produce prose, or poetry, two very different things, often mistaken for one and the same!"

Ok. So I'm going to show you the two versions of Expectations. One with the over use of alliteration, and the other edited and toned down. I'd like to know how they make you feel. Do they both have a different affect on you? Is one easier to understand? Do you prefer one or the other? All opinions welcome! Even if you want to tell me that they're both shite ;o).

EXPECTATIONS (original)

 Empirical edits wound
Essential elements aligned.
I’ve engrossed myself in
Expert advice
…..Expedited my soul for
Exclusion from the eluent
But I embrace it
……The expanding expectations
Erected in hope.


Excitement does not ebb
While my exigency is manifest
In erratic emotions
Evolving exclusively from
The embolism encompassing me

But equal to
Eventual high hopes
Is enigmatic doubt.
I elude elimination.
…..Emergent re-evaluation
At the behest of my esteem?
Is evolution endorsed
Or will ebullient energy be erased?

Emancipate the emotion!
Emaciate the threads that
Weave an earnest determination
In my existence!

EXPECTATIONS (edited)

 Empirical edits wound;
vital elements aligned.
I’ve engrossed myself in
expert advice,
advanced my soul
barred from the eluent.
I embrace potential;
mounting expectations
erected in hope.


Thrill won’t cease to ebb
and constraint is manifest
in shifting emotion
sprouting solely
from the embolism
surrounding me.


Eventual high hopes
disperse; aggravated by
this enigmatic doubt.
I must elude abolition;
re-evaluation.
Is evolution sanctioned,
or will this vast ebullient
energy desist?


Emancipate emotion!
Emaciate the threads that
weave grave determination
in my existence!

So folks, what do you think? Which one is more powerful in your opinion?

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

You wanna meet my sister?

Meet Allison Bell, my sister, the young and talented fashion designer who has a flair for words and who has recently started a blog called Fashion Design Studio 6: Deathliness, Decay & Decorum (And didn't tell me about it!!!!!! I gave her a good spanking, believe me!)

Now, this is her latest post. Tell me folks, does this sound like a fashion designer to you??? My jaw is agape!

Soul, psyche, life force... Whether or not these are merely human constructs, I can at least understand why people would think that they exist.
Sitting in QV the other morning, a sparrow flew right up to me, brave and timid and inquisitive all at once. While watching it, it struck me just how full of life it seemed. I could easily believe that there was something, some force lending to this creature such animation...
...Perhaps a little spark of life within, or marionette strings in constant motion, controlled by a puppeteer of the universe. If this is the case, then death would be the snuffing out of this spark, or the severing of these strings. Certainly, death is as sudden and absolute as either of these motions.
I see this 'animation' now all the time... when I watch my cats, or birds outside, or even children running down the street. Perhaps this liveliness and animation has something to do with self-consciousness, or the lack thereof. I rarely see this spark of life in adults. Perhaps we have become too accustomed to the world. The only time I really see it is when people laugh. It is known to some as the language of the soul, after all.
 
If you like what you just read darling bloggers and bloggerettes, go check out her BLOG and follow. She'll be absolutely chuffed! :o) (Her follow button is all the way down the bottom if you think you can't find it)
 
Have a great day!