Wednesday 21 December 2011

I'm over coffee ...

Wait ... no, I mean, I'm chatting with Sia KcKye at Over Coffee, today. :) How could I possibly give up the only thing that exercises my eyelids in the morning?

Care to drop by? There's a gorgeous picture of my dog, Holly, with my guitar, if that's enticing enough for ya ... :)

On that note, how about a picture of Holly playing guitar? We, at the J-S-H residence, wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! Behind the picture is a surprise video, if you only dare to click ...

I'll be back some time in the first week of January when the inaugural issue of Vine Leaves Literary Journal will launch! So excited!

Lots and lots and lots of love to you all!!!

Monday 19 December 2011

Does it really pay ... to pay?

When I first started trying to build myself a list of writing credits, I entered a lot of competitions where I had to pay to enter. I also went straight to the big guns of literary magazines like Glimmer Train, where you have to pay a reading fee to submit. Usually, paying a reading fee is a sure sign to stay away, but Glimmer Train offers pretty amazing payment if your piece gets accepted, plus it is supah prestigious. Being one of the biggest literary magazines known to the writing community, and probably one of the most respected mags raking in the top with Tin House and Paris Review, writers do not even think twice before handing over their cash.

But is it really worth it?

In about a year, I submitted and submitted and submitted, and forked out around $400 or more to have my work considered by the 'elite' market. What did I end up with to show for it? An empty wallet and one poetry award from Writer's Digest. I have to admit, that little award still makes me smile ... but then I think about what I achieved for free and a lot of hard work ...


That's a HECK of a lot more than that poetry award. And I even got PAID for a couple of these things.

Now I know it's hard to resist entering those competitions. Some of them even have really amazing cash prizes and trips to conferences to win, etc, but you know what? The money you'd end up spending for all the competitions could probably pay for that trip to the conference anyway, and leave you with a hell of a lot less submission angst.

I really really don't think it's worth paying anymore. I mean, sure, I've gained the small amount of recognition that I have through a lot of time, persistence and hard work, but I got a result. And I think these results are just going to continue to grow as long as I keep up with the game. I can still get writing credits without paying for them.

Not every lit mag is a print publication. But so what? They're just as good and worthy. And they're just as beneficial to my career as is a piece in Glimmer Train. Agents and publishers are looking for those nifty italics at the bottom of your query letters, not prestige. As long as there is another editor out there, big or small, that felt your work was worthy of being published, that is an excellent excellent boost for you.

Any writing credit, great or small, is beneficial to your career. Never forget that.

If time, persistence, and hard work equal results, and money equals gambling, then I choose results over chance any day. And you know what? I see those ads for competitions now, with the big cash prizes, and even though I sometimes have the confidence in myself to submit, I don't get excited about them anymore. I just feel like I'm wasting my hard-earned cash.

But I do get excited about what I've accomplished. Because I've accomplished it with my own two hands.

How about you? Do you think it pays to pay?

Friday 16 December 2011

Deja Vu Blogfest: What do we women wish for?

Today, DL Hammons has teamed up with three awesome blogging buddies, Katie Mills (Creepy Query Girl), Lydia Kang, and Nicole Ducleroir, to bring you … the Deja Vu Blogfest. Please click the Blogfest Badge to locate the list of participants.

Basically, the idea behind this is that we re-post a post which didn't get the attention it deserved, either because it was written at the beginning of your blogging journey and didn't have any followers yet, or perhaps it was posted during a holiday season (um ... hello?) and not many people were lurking by.

Anyway, here's a post from the very first month I started blogging (March, 2010), and it is in MUCH need of an edit. A BIG edit. Yikes!!! But, I have refrained from doing so. So please, have a read, and just try to focus on the content, rather than its execution, please. Ha! Oh dear ...

What do we women wish for?

Sometimes I wish I was brought up living on a little farm and all I knew how to do was milk the cows and collect eggs. I wish all I ever knew about the outside world was what I read in the out-of-date secondhand school books I had as a child because that’s all my parents were able to afford. If I lived on a little farm, I would grow up to be so loyal to my family that I would take over the farm when they died simply to keep it in the family.

I would then teach my kids how to milk the cows and collect eggs and when it would be time for me to die, I would die content and satisfied with my achievements, because I would have achieved what I had set out to achieve. My kids would then take over the farm to keep it in the family too and it would continue like this for generations. My great great grandchildren would look at photographs of me on the farm and say, ‘Wow, can you imagine being alive then?’ That’s what I do when I look at old photographs of my grandparents. I look at the captured moment of happiness and that’s what lives on forever.

Has it ever occurred to you that the less one has and knows, the happier they are? The more one knows about the world, the more one wants to explore, and the more torn one feels. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it’s exactly like me, and it's called ambition, but I do wonder sometimes, would my emotions fluctuate so much, if I didn’t have all these ambitions that I can’t possibility do, all at the same time, and which make me feel like I’m not achieving my goals because there is too much that I want to achieve? If I had a simple life on a farm for instance, and never knew any better, would I be happier?

Do you think you would be more content if you wanted less?

Thursday 15 December 2011

A heads up!

This is a non-post today because I'll be posting tomorrow instead. :o)

I'm participating in the Deja Vu Blogfest, in which we get a chance to showcase a post that didn't get the attention it deserved when it was originally posted. Nice idea, huh?

Haven't signed up yet? Click the badge and add your name to the linky list! :o)

If you missed yesterday's post about female Aussie authors and gender bias, you can either scroll down, or click HERE.

If you missed Monday's post about the Vine Leaves Literary Journal, you can either scroll down, or click HERE.

See ya tomorrow, folks ...

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Let's put our hands together for female Aussie authors!!!

2012 Book ChallengeToday I'd like to introduce to you the Australian Women Writers 2012 National Year of Reading Challenge, which has been created in order "to help counteract the gender bias in reviewing and social media newsfeeds that has continued throughout 2011 by actively promoting the reading and reviewing of a wide range of contemporary Australian women's writing.

Check out these amazing links to discussions about gender bias.

See that that badge over there on the right? ------------->

I'm going to be a guest author and review a book outside of my genre on the site sometime next year. If you're an Aussie female author, why don't you jump on board too?

But this isn't only for authors, in fact, it's geared more towards readers. The challenges you can undertake are:

Genre challenges:
Purist: one genre only
Dabbler: more than one genre
Devoted eclectic: as many genres as you can find

Challenge levels:
Stella (read 3 and review at least 2 books)
Miles (read 6 and review at least 3*
Franklin-fantastic (read 10 and review at least 4 books)*
* The higher levels should include at least one substantial length review

Now, seeing as I read on average, 40 books a year, I'm thinking I ought to aim for Dabbler Franklin-fantastic. I'm really excited to sink my teeth into some more Aussie Lit!!! Anyone got any recommendations to throw my way?

How about you? You should check it out!

Oh! AND, I'm proud to say that the lovely Cathy Powell, has begun the challenge reading MY BOOK! How flippin' brilliant is that? Thank you so much, Cathy!

PS: Vine Leaves Literary Journal is now closed to submissions until January 1st. Pop over to the blog to read how out first round of submissions panned out.

Monday 12 December 2011

I can't believe we've actually filled a gap in the market ... but we have, and we are super proud!

My jaw is perpetually agape.

The response for the Vine Leaves Literary Journal has been absolutely amazing. I knew Dawn and I would be venturing into something quite original, but I really hadn't grasped just how original and wanted a journal like this was, until the submissions started rolling in with people saying how they've "written this piece of work, but have never known where to submit it before now."

It's really really exciting. We've filled a gap in the market! We've actually produced something that isn't just a do-over of something already done! And this is for Lenny ... How cool is that?

In only three weeks we've ...

  • read over 100 submissions ...
  • accepted pieces of work from 29 authors ...
  • still mulling over 9 pieces of work ...
  • have 45 unread submissions in our inbox ...

Want to add to the numbers of the last bullet point? Today is the deadline to submit for our inaugural issue, which will go live on January 6th, 2012. To see the submission guidelines, click HERE.

If you're accepted, you will be published alongside some very very amazing writers, artists and photographers, whom you may know as prolific bloggers as well, such as: Matthew MacNish, Michelle Davidson Argyle, Amie McCracken, Janice Phelps Williams, Madeline Sharples, Angela Felsted, J.R McRae, Laurel Garver, Stephen Parrish, Glynis SmyJanîce Leotti, and Jim Murdoch.

So would you like to be published alongside these amazing people and be a part of a journal that will (fingers crossed) take the literary world by storm? If you've got a vignette you'd like to submit, visit the website and find out how.

Thursday 8 December 2011

I probably shouldn't be saying this in public, but ...

I'm worried. About my writing. Should I admit stuff like this in public? Probably not. But I know that the reason you come here and read my blog is because of my blatant honesty. So here goes ...

I haven't done any writing since I finished the final revisions on my second novel. That was -- GASP! -- six months ago now I think. I'm so desperate to write. SO DESPERATE. It's not that I don't want to, it's just that I keep putting everything else, and everyone else, first. And I keep validating those things as excuses.

I suppose I could just put my foot down and choose to write instead of reading blogs, or choose to write instead of doing a guest post for String Bridge, or choose to write instead of reading Vine Leaves submissions, or choose to write instead of keeping up-to-date on social media, or choose to write instead of reading an ARC for the sake of providing an endorsement, or choose to write instead of critiquing and/or editing others' work for free ... I could go on. But the truth is ... all those things are important too. They are all a part of my "job" now. They are all a part of what an author needs -- AND WANTS -- to do, to stay in the game.

And now there's another factor. I've just signed a 12-month contract for a position as Editorial Project Manager for an English Language Teaching company, which I will be doing from home. FULL TIME.

I'm scared. I'm SO scared, that another year is going to slip by, and I still will not have written another word on my third novel, Muted. I only have the first chapter. Six months. Sitting on a first chapter. That's. Not. Good. An what's worse? This time I need to do research. RESEARCH. Never had to do much of it before, other than a few Google searches to check my facts. But the research for this is extensive. And it has to be done, for it to reach its full potential. But can I even bring myself to open the books I bought for this very purpose? Nope. I'm being muted by MUTED! What the hell is wrong with me?

You people with kids ... how do you do it? How do you take advantage of that spare half an hour and write? I can't do that. I need at least 3 or 4 hours to really get a rhythm going. I'm slow. And I think a lot. Maybe too much. But that's how I do it, and it works. Well ... did work. Will I ever have that time slot again? And if I do, will I choose to write, or watch TV snuggling up to my partner on the couch, because he and I both know, we need that, too. To stay sane. And to have us time.

I didn't think I would be like this. I never thought life would get in the way.

But it is. Life is being one big mother-f#@%ing obstacle right now.

And I'm afraid. And worried. And afraid to be worried, because that just makes this whole thing too real. So much for keeping my head high this month ...

I need a way out of this hole.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

So ... come on now ... it's about you, isn't it?

Today, I'm not here ... I'm at Kristie Cook's officially answering the question that has been burning my ears since String Bridge was released: Is String Bridge autobiographical? ... Head on over to find out ...

Comments are off, just go comment over at Kristie's ;o)

Note: Today is also Insecure Writer's Support Group day, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, so make sure you head on over and offer your support to all those feeling insecure ... I'm taking a break from insecurity this month and holding my head high!

Monday 5 December 2011

The Benefits of Barfing ...

There are a couple of benefits that come from throwing up all weekend. But I'll get to those in a minute.

Yep. I was puking like the woman possessed with the cherry pips in The Witches of Eastwick. I was not a pretty sight. I'm still not a pretty sight, because I'm quite pale ... wait ... I'm always pale. Scrap that last bit. Anyone ever felt like their stomach was an invasive rock below your ribs? That's what mine feels like right now after the workout it got.

The queasiness is still lingering, but at least I'm able to function. I'm working. Pretending to be okay. I think I've convinced myself that I'm a pretty good actor. Maybe I was good as Olivia in Twelfth Night in high school after all ...

Anyway ... the benefits:
  • Somehow I drafted two guest posts and read and responded to Vine Leaves subs in between toilet visits, and can't really remember any of it. So that's cool. I got a whole heap done without comprehending any of the effort.
  • I think I lost at least a kilo. Now I can positively say my skinny jeans fit me again.
  • It made me think of a pretty cool analogy about writing and creativity. It's short, but savory ...
When we get the urge ... we purge ... and it all comes out like alphabet soup.
PS: Karen Walker is talking about String Bridge on her blog today. Would love for you to pay her a visit!

You got any writing analogies sprung from the fruits of illness? 

Disclaimer: Do not throw up to lose weight or to think of writing analogies. No parental guidance will make it worthwhile.

Thursday 1 December 2011

Confession: I have literary tourette's.

Things on my manic mind today are ...

  • The possibility of going to Australia with my mother mid January.
  • Getting a band together and wishing I could overcome this horrible stage fright.
  • I love my coffee cup.
  • Finally getting around to reading the books I bought for MUTED research.
  • Wishing there was a second-hand book store in Athens so I could relieve my shelves of gastroenteritis.
  • I need more coffee, cake, chocolate and ... yoga.
  • The relief I feel knowing I've been guaranteed a year's worth of steady freelance work.
  • The worry that this freelance work is going to interfere with my creativity.
  • Really want to read Dawn Ius' manuscript. Been on my Kindle for way too long!
  • All the money I owe left and right. (When will the bills stop coming???)
  • Writing guest blog posts for Roz Morris, Kristie Cook and Karen Gowen
  • Where did that extra kilo come from???
  • Finishing Talli Roland's Build a Man and writing a review (awesome book!)
  • Starting Michelle Davidson Argyle's The Breakaway in order to write an endorsement for the cover.
  • Whether Pantera Press will want to publish Bitter Like Orange Peel.
  • What did you say? I can't hear you! I'm reading submissions!
  • OMG, I love you so much, (you bloggers know who you are)
  • Now I know what editors feel like having to sift through less-than-publishable submissions or to deal with submitters that don't even take the time to find out your name ...
  • When am I going to get paid?
  • I want some spare cash so I can purchase the latest season of BONES, and the first few seasons of FRINGE.
  • Do I really have to do the dishes?
  • When am I going to start writing again? And how do I keep marketing String Bridge without shoving it in people's faces?

What's on your mind today?

Miss my special announcement yesterday? Click here!

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Tada! My exciting announcement is finally here ...

Remember how on Monday I said I had a surprise? You have no idea how much I've been itching to officially announce this. A few very special people already know about it, and have been slowly seeping the word out. But I wanted to wait for a day where my "business partner" and I could both give it a shout out at the same time.

That "business partner" is Dawn Ius. Long time blog friend, and most importantly, a very very talented author.

And today we would like to announce the VINE LEAVES LITERARY JOURNAL!!!

We're very very excited about this because we're doing something a bit different. Here's the Mission Statement from our Home Page:

"The world of literature nowadays is so diverse, open-minded and thriving in experimental works, that there doesn’t seem to be any single form of written art missing from it ... you would think. But there is.
The vignette.

It’s rare for a literary magazine to accept the "vignette" as a publishable piece of literature. Why? Because it is not a “proper story.” We beg to differ.

So, what is a vignette?

"Vignette" is a word that originally meant "something that may be written on a vine-leaf." It’s a snapshot in words. It differs from flash fiction or a short story in that its aim doesn’t lie within the traditional realms of structure or plot. Instead, the vignette focuses on one element, mood, character, setting or object. It's descriptive, excellent for character or theme exploration and wordplay. Through a vignette, you create an atmosphere.

Vine Leaves, will entwine you in atmosphere; wrap you in a world where literature ferments and then matures … "

Today, we have also posted our very first BLOG POST, called, WORD VOMIT? OR A NICE MATURE WINE? Which gives a little more insight into our intentions for this journal. Please do drop by and have a read! We don't have Google Connect, but there is an RSS Feed, so please to add it to your Google Reader, or whatever else you use to follow blogs.

Our first issue comes out January 2012, and we're already flooded with submissions. Especially after registering it on The results so far are just AMAZING. We're doing this out of pure love of the written word and have invested our own money and time to get this up and running. Eventually, we also hope to be able to pay contributors. Oh! And we also accept artwork and photography!

If you'd like to submit and be a part of our inaugural issue, please read the SUBMISSION GUIDELINES and get submitting!

Also, please do connect with us on TWITTER and FACEBOOK!

So what are you waiting for? Go check it out!!! :o)

PS: One of my poems goes live on CORDITE REVIEW today. So proud of myself. They're really hard to get into. So excited!

Monday 28 November 2011

In which I decide to cut my life into bite-sized, and hopefully manageable, pieces ...

I had such a good break from blogging last week. I basically did nothing but faff around and waste time (and do freelance work). But let's just call it, "re-energizing." Yes, I did pop into a couple of blogs to leave comments, and spent a bit of time on Facebook, but I really really can't resist sometimes ... it's a problem. I think I might need counseling ...

Actually I did do something worthwhile last week ...

I applied for a grant.

I find out next year in April if I get it. So keep your fingers crossed for me, please!

I also started a very very very very exciting project with a very very very good friend (and brilliant author) of mine. No, it's not a novel. No it's not a poetry or short story collection ... it's ... well ... you're going to have to wait till Wednesday to find out what it is because we're going to announce it together and direct you all to the wonderful URL where it's all taking place. Those of you who know what it is ... shhh! But really, it wouldn't take a baby crocodile long to figure out what it is if they just had a peak around my blog :o)

Anyway ... it'll be officially announced on Wednesday so ... SHHH!!!

Speaking of Wednesday, that's when you'll see me posting again. I've decided to put my foot down with the side of my brain that is addicted to this place and YOU. I'm setting a schedule and I'm sticking to it. I can't focus properly on all the other stuff (writing, music, work, yoga, life), because all I'm thinking about is YOU. So I have to sacrifice a bit of you to get my head in a healthy place where I can focus on one thing at a time. I have to allocate particular times of day for particular things. Life is just getting too busy and I need to find a balance somehow.

So my schedule from now on is: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday.

I will also do my best to only comment on these days too, but that might take a bit of getting used to, so please allow me to wean myself off and don't yell at me if you see me lurking round ... :o)

One last thing ... congrats to Theresa Milstein for winning String Bridge!!!

Um ... until Wednesday, folks ... oh my god it is so hard to say that ...

Any of you had to cut down on blogging? How did you feel about it? Did it take you long to get used to?

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Birthday Bash with awesome prizes!

I know I know, I'm supposed to be on a break, BUT, you have to check this out. Seriously. The prizes are HUGE, you can also win my book, because I'm one of the sponsors ...

Seriously ... stop staring at this POST! I know you're kinda stumped, but just click the button to the right and get celebrating!!!

Oh, and ... HAPPY BIRTHDAY J.C.!!!

Sunday 20 November 2011

I want a break. That’s all. A break. (And you want free goods, right?)

So today is the last day of the String Bridge Book & Music Blog Tour and I'd like to thank all who participated from the bottom of my heart. This has been such a wonderful debut book launch and I will never forget it!

If you're late to the party and would like to browse through previous posts, you can take a look at a navigable list by going to the blog tour tab above.

And you know what? I'm POOPED. So I'm going to take next week off from blogging and get me some much needed rest. Can you believe I worked 2 1/2 weeks straight of 13-hour shifts without weekend breaks and kept up to date with my blog tour posts?

Oh my GOSH. Talk about luck. All my freelance work fell on me at once: during my blog tour. Some might say that was bad luck, but to tell you the truth, it came at a good time: when my bank account reached numero zero.

When I return on Monday, 28th November, I'm also going to have a new blog schedule in place. I think I may only post two or three times a week from now on. It's just getting too much to handle. And I need to get some writing done. Haven't done any in months. Will keep you posted on what I decide.

So, as a mega thank you for all your support ... I'm giving away a free copy of String Bridge in Kindle format and a free copy of the accompanying soundtrack in MP3 format. If you haven't crossed the String Bridge yet, just jump on this last bandwagon to get to the other side ...

All you gotta do is ...

  • comment on this post
  • follow this blog
  • tweet or facebook this post (make sure you tag me so I know you did it: MsBessieBell (Twitter) Author Jessica Bell (Facebook)

Have a great Thanksgiving to all you folks in the USA!

Cheers and thanks again!

Lovely blog tour participants today are ...

Chris Phillips ~ (Review/Interview) The fantastically funny founder of the Music to Make Write To posts.

"Hi. I'm Chris. I live in Nebraska. Please help me. No really."

Tessa Conte ~ (Review/Interview) This lovely lady also likes to write about music on Mondays!
Music Monday

"I've been writing ever since I figured out how to hold a crayon, although I've since learned that 'writing' illustrated stories on the living room wall is not a good plan if you're trying to impress your parents...I've now graduated to notebooks, loose bits of paper, the backs of shopping receipts and the odd napkin or two. Oh, and I have a laptop, too."

String Bridge purchase links:

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ Barnes & Noble

iTunes ~ Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

To see a list of other online stores where you can purchase
Melody Hill: On the Other Side, please go to: AWAL

Saturday 19 November 2011

But I’m not sure I’m ready to wipe my skin dry; to drown myself in a new ocean, where my desire for fleeing this emotional cage hides like a mermaid ambivalent about growing legs.

Me on a beach called Kravoulia, on Ithaca.
I'm not a fan of swimming. I like to bob. I like to feel the flow of water against my skin, the coolness of the ocean cleanse my soul. Which is sorta funny considering my star sign is Pisces. But who believes in that stuff anyway? Do you?

Do I?

I'm not sure. Sometimes I like to look at my horoscope for a bit of fun and am often quite surprised at its accuracy. But then I wonder how. I was born five weeks premature, so technically, aren't I an Aries?

Anyway ...

If there's one thing in life that I've learned, it's that we are unique. You are you, and I am me and ... well ... I'm tired and have lost my train of thought ...

I guess my point is, don't ever try to be someone you're not. It doesn't work. Believe me. I've tried it. Since embracing who I am, deep down, I have found a lot of happiness in this world. My only hope is that it continues to flourish.

What's one life lesson you will never forget?

Lovely blog tour participants today ...

Julie Musil ~ (Review) Wonderful woman who is always eager to lend a helping hand.

"YA author represented by Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary Agency. I'm wife to my high school honey, and the mother of three amazing sons. When I'm not shuttling my boys here, there, and everywhere, I'm either tapping away on my keyboard, researching for nonfiction, or keeping up with writing tips and markets."

June Bug ~ (Review) Who has just adopted a gorgeous little girl!

"gypsy + scribbler + explorer + malapropos + tigress"

String Bridge purchase links:

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ Barnes & Noble

iTunes ~ Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

To see a list of other online stores where you can purchase
Melody Hill: On the Other Side, please go to: AWAL

Friday 18 November 2011

In my world, the stage is a magnet. One side pulls me in, the other pushes me away, generating an involuntary psychological push-and-shove with no resolution in sight.

Me performing with my band "spAnk" at
Melbourne University back in 1999, I think.
Just like Melody in String Bridge, I suffer from stage fright. But I'm WORSE than Melody. Just the thought of getting up on that stage makes me want to vomit. Like right now. I'm gagging writing this post and I already feel like peeing because the thought makes me nervous.

I wasn't always this bad. It's gotten worse the older I've become. What's with that? It sorta reminds me of how the older you get, the more ill you feel on a roller coaster. I really wonder what it is, with age, that exaggerates small fears until they blow out of proportion. Have you ever seen a grown man jump on top of his desk at the sight of a cockroach? I have.

Okay ... seriously. I can't talk about this. So I'm just going to ask you ... what's your biggest fear?


Lovely blog participants today ...

Katrina Lantz ~ (Review) One of the sweetest in the blogosphere.

"Katrina Lantz is alive in spite of an airplane crash over Texas when she was two. She conquered her fear of flying on a commercial flight to D.C. when she was sixteen. She conquered everyone else's fears of sky diving at the SkyDive Ranch in Canada when she was nineteen. She has yet to conquer her fear of airports."

Madeline Sharples ~ (Review/Interview) Amazing author of Leaving the Hall Light On, and cherished friend.

"I’ve worked most of my professional life as a technical writer, grant writer, and proposal process manager and began writing poetry, essays, and creative non-fiction when my oldest son, Paul, was diagnosed as manic depressive. I continued writing as a way to heal since his death by suicide in 1999. My memoir, "Leaving the Hall Light On," released on Mother's Day 2011 by Lucky Press LLC, is about living with my son's bipolar disorder and surviving his suicide. I also co-edited Volumes 1 and 2 of "The Great American Poetry Show," a poetry anthology, and completed the poems for a book of photography, called "The Emerging Goddess." My poems have been recently published in "Memoir (and)," "The Muddy River Poetry Review," "Perigee - Publication for the Arts," "Unfold," and the "Survivor Chronicles."

Mel Chelsey ~ (Review) High fantasy writer and reader ... this shall be interesting ...

"My name is Mel Chesley and I'm a fantasy author (soon to be published! With Hellfire Publishing!), a mom, a wife and a keeper of kittens. This is my blog, such as it is, with ramblings and musings of my writing journey. Sometimes I'm a smart ass, sometimes I'm not. But I do try to be somewhat entertaining and hope to at least get you to laugh, or maybe even cry on this journey we call writing."

Phanee ~ (Review) Fellow Grecian, lovely lady ... :o)

“Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.”

Rosie Connolly ~ (Review) Thank you for being such a wonderful supporter!

"The left half of my brain is trying to suppress the creativity of the right half, while the right half of my brain is trying to suppress the order of the left. It makes for one disoriented life. As a writer of light Urban Fantasy, I tend to write extended, multi-volume works. I also dabble in drabbles and short stories when the mood strikes."

Sherry Auger ~ (Review) Her kinds words were music to my ears ...

"Writing has become necessary in my life. It is in the air I breathe, the food for my soul, and the path of resistance. Having my novels published is my aim. Short stories in magazines and online websites is good, but to achieve success requires dedication, patience, and humility".

String Bridge purchase links:

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ Barnes & Noble

iTunes ~ Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

To see a list of other online stores where you can purchase
Melody Hill: On the Other Side, please go to: AWAL

Thursday 17 November 2011

Dad and Tessa came storming in from habituating with the goats.

Me rocking it out with Demetri
on the set of one of their video
clip making  days
Yesterday I spoke about my mother, so today I'm going to talk about my step-father, Demetri Vlassopoulosand my biological father, Tony Bell, who are both talented guitarists. But first, I've got to say, that I love them both equally as much as each other. Yes, I grew up with Demetri from the age of one, but my mother never had any problem with me spending quality time with Tony or his gorgeous wife, Margaret, and their kids. My family is HUGE.

And you know what? It was so awesome having such a big family, because when I was a kid, I celebrated Christmas, THREE times every single year. Once with Mum's family on Christmas Eve night, because that's how the Germans do it. Once on Christmas day with Demetri's Greek family, and again on Boxing Day when I would spend the day with Tony's family.

Favorite memories with Demetri are ...playing hand ball against the red brick garage wall in the back yard ... playing cards or Uno during my fits of boredom ... him giving me massages whenever I felt like one ... him somehow being able to soothe my debilitating migraines in the middle of the night with his gentle voice and healing hands ... his driving me to school in his dark blue Volkswagen Beetle and the kids watching and thinking he was the drummer from Faith No More and my boyfriend ... LOL!

Left to right: Demetri, Tony, my mother,  (yep, she's
a tad of an exhibitionist), and me, at my farewell
party before moving to Greece.
Favorite memories with Tony are ... him trying to tutor me in mathematics (he is a maths and science high school teacher), and me not understanding a thing (I hated it), but relishing the fact that it was a nice moment of affection ... the family trips to Geelong to visit my grandparents ... him trying to teach me how to draw 3D spheres and the thrill I felt when I finally mastered it (he is also an amazing artist) ... him humoring me when I wanted to show him my made-up dance routines in his lounge room.

So there you have it. My two Dad's. And I love them both with all my heart!!!

What's one of your favorite memories with one of your parents?


Emily White ~ (Interview) In which I talk about my favorite thing about working with a small press and reveal my favorite line from the novel.

"I love writing because my characters have to do everything I say...MWAHAHAHAHA! My debut novel, ELEMENTAL (a YA Space Opera), is going to be published by Spencer Hill Press May 1, 2012."

Shannon McMahon ~ (Review) One of my most favorite people in blogland. Check her out. She writes some amazing wine and film reviews!

"I'm a professional writer. I write weekly wine and movie reviews, recipes, and I'm freelance content specialist. I also write Chick Lit and Middle Grade fiction; while these genres are usually worlds apart, once you get to know me it will all make sense."

Shauna Kelley ~ (Review) A fellow Lucky Press author whose debut YA novel, Max and Menna is a must read!

"I am a novelist, a lover of fiction in nearly any form, scattered, a movie fanatic, a frazzled city dweller, appreciative of dreamy men, and a blogger... Welcome!"

String Bridge purchase links:

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ Barnes & Noble

iTunes ~ Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

To see a list of other online stores where you can purchase
Melody Hill: On the Other Side, please go to: AWAL

Wednesday 16 November 2011

“I … I wuv you, Mummy,” she says and falls into my lap, wrapping her arms around my waist.

Me and my mum, 2008, on Ithaca.
Speaking of "Mummy," today I'd like to introduce you to mine. Her name is Erika Krincenzia Waltraud Urbach in full. She goes by the name Erika Bach, when she's being a musician, and Erika Bell, when she's being my mother. She lives on the Greek island of Ithaca with my step father Demetri Vlassopoulos, and is the founder and head of and her own real estate company.

Erika was born in a small German Village called Rehau and migrated to Australia with her mega huge family when she was nine. And she grew up to be the only person on this planet I have ever looked up to so much. If it wasn't for her encouraging me to do anything and everything my heart desired, no matter how difficult the process, I wouldn't be where I am today. I wouldn't believe that there is way to get anything I want if I really put my mind to it. And you know what? It's is SO true. If you want something, and you reach for it enough, it WILL happen.

My gorgeous parents, September 2011 :o)
From a very young age she always said to me, "if there's a will, there's a way." And she is living proof of that. I'm not going to go into any of her history, but let me put it this way: my mother was once so close to  giving up on herself ... but she bounced back. And she said the only reason she got through the hell was because of me. Because she couldn't bear the thought of leaving me here without a mother.

Mum, thank you for being here and thank you for being you. I wouldn't change a thing about you. I love you. And I always will.

Who do you look up to the most?

Participating in my blog tour today is ...

Alex Cavanaugh ~ (Music Review) This guy is the hottest metal head in the blogosphere. If you don't know him, get to know him!

"I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and work in web design and graphics. I minored in music and play several instruments, including guitar. I'm experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, my interests range from books and movies to music and games. Those passions are reflected here on my blog! My first book, CassaStar, was released on October 19, 2010. The sequel, CassaFire, will be released February 28, 2012. I live in the Carolinas with my wife."

Emily White ~ (Review) Gorgeous and talented and kind-hearted. You'll have a true friend in Emily. Drop by and say hi!

"Emily White lives in NY, wedged between two of the Great Lakes and a few feet of snow and ice. She's spent most of her life running away from the cold, and even spent a year in Iraq, but now contents herself with writing her characters into warm, exotic places in faraway galaxies. When not tapping away at her computer keys, she can be found reading, reading, and reading some more. And when she's not doing that, she's usually playing video games with her husband, peek-a-boo with her kids, or walking through her garden, wondering why the bugs insist on eating all her vegetables. Emily's debut YA Sci-fi novel, ELEMENTAL, will be published by Spencer Hill Press in 2012."

M. Pax ~ (Review) We don't know each other all too well, but I get the impression that she's one of those women you just say 'yes' to no matter what! ;o) There aren't enough women like Mary in this world. Check her out!

"Science fiction writer. Ebooks, short stories and more. Amateur astronomer giving star tours at Pine Mountain Observatory. I'm also obsessed with Jane Austen."

Pam Torres ~ (Review/Interview) In which we discuss my writing habits!

"I write for middle grade. There's this weird time when you're not a kid anymore but you're not quite an actual teenager. That's what I write about. Probably because I still remember it so clearly."

String Bridge purchase links:

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ Barnes & Noble

iTunes ~ Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

To see a list of other online stores where you can purchase
Melody Hill: On the Other Side, please go to: AWAL

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Just as I think things can’t get any worse, I look down at my feet—and there it is—the almost reality of the turn-up-at-schoolnaked dream.

So who has never had that dream where you turn up at school naked? I don't think there is any one of us who hasn't.

I've even had a weird version where my whole body was clothed in pyjamas except for my you-know-what. Someone had cut a hole out of my pants in the middle of the night. In my dream. Not for real. Just thought I'd add that in case you got confused.

I could add another detail which might be a too much info, but let me just say, I hadn't yet reached puberty (well maybe that was the beginning) and the hole in my pyjamas exposed something which totally freaked me out ... I will not say any more ... I woke up panting and in a sweat. Now THAT was a wet dream ...

Anyway, short and sweet today ... who can find  me?

CLICK TO ENLARGE: My very first year at high school ...


Lovely blog tour participants today are ....

Hart Johnson ~ (Review/Interview) Quirky traits, from a dark mind ... how? you ask ...

"I write books from my bathtub and blog in my basement. For a full bio on the 3 faces of me, check out the tab. As for the shenanigans around here... lots on writing, some life... mostly I just want to encourage you to play with me. Silliness abounds."

Len Lambert ~ (Review) I answer a couple more questions too. This is one of my most special moments ...

"Hello! It's nice to have you here! In case you are wondering, my blog title was inspired by a childhood memory - I used to talk to myself in the mirror when I was a little girl. I had imaginary friends, too. I even talked to geckos and count their 'tsk.tsk.tsk' and convert them into syllables to form words. Now, not only do I talk to myself...I write all the 'talking' too!"

Roland Yeomans ~ (Interview (creative) In which I am being interviewed by a ghost. Who wrote those questions anyway? lolol

"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."

Sheri Larsen ~ (Review) One of the most supportive bloggers I know ...

"Published freelance & short story writer; author of young adult, middle grade, & picture books. Lover of all paranormal & the not-so-average teen/tween. Hair-raising mom to 4 humanoids, lover of dance, sports, jamming to rock music in the car, the rain, anything chocolate...and a romantic wink from my favorite werewolf. My friends call me Sheri."

String Bridge purchase links:

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ Barnes & Noble

iTunes ~ Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

To see a list of other online stores where you can purchase
the album Melody Hill: On the Other Side, please go to: AWAL

Monday 14 November 2011

As much as I don’t like to admit it, 1980s pop-culture lines my veins like milk to an acidic stomach.

Me (right) and a very good friend of mine,
Caitlin, (we're still in touch!) on a  "period" fancy
dress day during our high school graduation.
Obviously I chose the 80s :o)
So yeah. By the time I was at an age to start appreciating music and wanting to buy my own albums it was well into the late 80s. The very first album I bought was in the form of a cassette (I wish it had been vinyl!) and it was Kylie Minogue's debut, which featured the hit, I Should Be So Lucky.

Despite my parents rocking out their heavy, politically-minded 80's gothic rock, such as THIS, I obviously wanted to rebel. But rebelling against rock gods for parents meant becoming a "square". Yep.

I was into glittering pink and red sequined dresses and artists such as Martika and The Bangles and Bananarama and Technotronic and Cyndi Lauper and Alannah Miles and Paula Abdul and Madonna and Prince and Melissa Etheridge and Belinda Carlisle and and, breathe ... yep.

I still have a soft spot them too. My tummy goes all mushy when I hear them and I immediately think back to the days I'd block out my parents' music with my Walkman up loud sitting inside a little cubby house I'd make with kitchen chairs and sheets. (Yikes. That was a long sentence! :o) 

Ah ... those were the days ...

What was the first album you ever bought?

PS: If you missed reading about the Amazon Chart Rush results you can do so by clicking HERE. Plus there is an update from this morning there too. I'm ranked even higher in the UK charts now, thanks to you all!!!

Participating in my blog tour today are ...

Amie McCracken ~ (Review) This lovely lady checked String Bridge for typos in its last stages of editing :o)

"I’m a voracious reader. My calling in life is editing. I’m ambitious and strong, but shy and like to sit in the background. I live in Germany with my husband, camera, computer, and a lot of ideas floating around in my head. They tend to take over (the ideas), and most of the time you’ll catch me staring off into space."

Amy Saia (Review) Another fellow writer/musician who has inspired me in many ways!

"Artist, writer, singer and now happily part of the WiDo family! My YA paranormal romance, The Soul Seekers, will be published by WiDo sometime in 2012. Happy Dance."

Erica Spangler (Review) Not a fan of literary fiction, so I'm so pleased about her response!

"Book Blogger to track and share my reading adventures. I will report about book events in the Chico and surrounding Northern, CA area. I review books that I personally want to read or that publishers have sent my way. I book blog to support Indie authors, Indie publishers and Self-published authors. I recently received my MA in English Literature in May 2009 from Chico State. This has secured my ability to over analyze EVERYTHING. Enjoy!"

Katrina Lantz ~ (Interview) In which I talk about not being a mother.

"Katrina Lantz is alive in spite of an airplane crash over Texas when she was two. She conquered her fear of flying on a commercial flight to D.C. when she was sixteen. She conquered everyone else's fears of sky diving at the SkyDive Ranch in Canada when she was nineteen. She has yet to conquer her fear of airports."

Robyn Campbell ~ (Interview) I which I reveal my guilt reading pleasures.

"I was born and raised in South Florida. South Miami and the Keys."

Sheri Larsen ~ (Character Interview) The main character of my novel, Melody, is being interviewed here today. Check it out to see who first inspired her musically. This stuff is NOT in the book, but is a part of her backstory. :o)

"Published freelance & short story writer; author of young adult, middle grade, & picture books. Lover of all paranormal & the not-so-average teen/tween. Hair-raising mom to 4 humanoids, lover of dance, sports, jamming to rock music in the car, the rain, anything chocolate...and a romantic wink from my favorite werewolf. My friends call me Sheri."

String Bridge purchase links:

Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US ~ Barnes & Noble

iTunes ~ Amazon US ~ Amazon UK

To see a list of other online stores where you can purchase
Melody Hill: On the Other Side, please go to: AWAL