Thursday 30 June 2011

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to the studio I go ...

I'm out today recording the last of my String Bridge songs. But seeing as I'm not here, do me a favor and follow THIS NEW BLOG, for this new business BRIDGE SOCIAL MEDIA. They've written a really stunning article about me. I'm still blushing!

And please be sure to drop by tomorrow for a guest post from Melissa Kline whose debut, My Beginning, is launching. Don't miss out! :o)

PS: I am actually here, but I wasn't earlier. But I couldn't post earlier because blogger wasn't letting me sign in. All fixed now. Ugh. The beginning of this post seems so irrelevant now ...

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Sometimes we forget that we are not the only ones who suffer loss ...

This video is from Greece and is not easy to watch. But this morning my Sig. Oth. forwarded me the link and I've been crying on and off ever since. Perhaps I'm too sensitive. Perhaps I only feel like this because I have a dog and was able to transfer the feelings this video invoked to something real in my life. But it really touched my heart and made me realize that we often forget we are not the only emotional beings in this planet.

Next time you see a stray dog. Give it some food. Please.

sense of loss by amaliak

Tuesday 28 June 2011

In the throes of pitching a novel ...

William Shakespeare - Hamlet Synopsis and Summary | Mind Map
I'm in the throes of query and synopsis writing today, before starting a very time-consuming paid job, so please excuse me if I'm a bit AWOL! I've just gotta get this done.

My novel, Bitter Like Orange Peel, is a toughy, to say the least! It's told from the perspective of six different characters and they all have their own internal stories within the main plot that links them all together. Eeek! I'm pulling my hair out!

God, when will these damn things ever get easier to write???

PS: I'm going to try for an agent with this one. Wish me luck!

PPS: If there's anyone out there who would like to volunteer their time to offer feedback on my pitch package, please let me know! I really need it!

Monday 27 June 2011

Imagine falling in love with your own reflection, or only ever being able to repeat the words of others. (Echo & Narcissus)

Narcissus and Echo, by John Waterhouse
Happy Monday, all!

Wow. Last week was intense. Writing poetry, poetry, poetry and ... gave a poetry reading at The Athens Centre on Friday night. I also read an excerpt of String Bridge which was very well-received by the 20 or so American Art Students that were studying there. I had a great time. It as the first reading I'd ever given, and surprisingly I held it together pretty well. (I usually get REALLY nervous when I have to perform in public.)

So just to give you a quick rundown of the type of poems I ended up writing during the workshop:

List poem

I also learned a little about the myth of Echo and Narcissus, which was a brilliant inspiration for poetry. The Pantoum and Mirror poem I wrote were inspired by this myth. I'd love to share my poems, but I plan to submit them to magazines so it's not a very good idea. Sorry! If any of you are interested in seeing any of my creations, I'll email them to you.

PS: Our instructor was amazing. If you're into poetry (even if you're not!), check out A.E. Stallings. Genius. Absolute genius. I've never ever met anyone who can retain and regurgitate so much information on the spot without referring to notes. Plus, she was able to dissect our poetry after reading it only once. Amazing. I am in awe.

Stupid me forgot to take photos ... :-/

So what did I miss last week? Anything interesting you want to direct me to?

Tagged by Ted ...

Do you think you're hot?
How could I be hot in 35 degree heat without the air con on?

Upload a picture of wallpaper you are using at the moment.
I took this myself somewhere in Greece I can't remember ...

When was the last time you ate chicken?
I really can't remember, but I do know it was in the form of Souvlaki.

The songs you listened to recently?

What were you thinking as you were doing this?
I really need to get back to work.
Too many bits of toast crust are stuck between my teeth.
My body is aching from the air con left on all night
I need more coffee
I want to listen to the songs I just embedded over and over instead of doing my work.
I need more coffee.
My body is still aching.
Who the f am I going to tag? Isn't everyone already tagged with this?

Do you have nicknames?
Yep. ...

Oh, you want me to tell you what they are?
Idi (short for idiot)
Vlaka (Greek for idiot)

Tag five bloggers:
Len Lambert
Angela Felsted
Michelle Davidson Argyle
Dawn Ius
Matthew Rush (sorry matey, I know you've already been tagged by Ted, but, ya know, you're my matey!)

Whose listed as number one? (LOL. Okay, editor coming out in me ... Who wrote these questions? "Whose" is asking if something belongs to someone. I think the word you are looking for is "Who's")
Len Lambert is the lovely lady who is constantly sending me beautiful emails full of compliments. This woman always puts a smile on my face!

Leave a lovey dovey message for number 2.
Oh Angela Felsted
your poetry must not be wasted
because without your words
my life would be turds
and our inspiration would be tainted

How did you get to know number 3?
I met her via her blog when I discovered she was in the same situation publishing wise as me. We had a lot to talk about!

How about number 4?
Dawn, I could not live without you. This woman has to be the most kindhearted and generous being in the world. I will never ever be able to reciprocate the generosity she has offered me because there will just not be enough time in my life to do so!

Say something about number 5
Matt. Matt. Matt. If anyone needs a tip on how to be a good friend, ask Matt. Best bloke in blogdom!

Sunday 26 June 2011

Blog Tour De Force: Please welcome J.C Martin from Stories For Sendai!

Stories for Sendai
I am really grateful to Jessica for agreeing to host a leg of Stories for Sendai’s Blog Tour de Force! You can keep up with the tour and scheduled stops here!
Since we started this project, I have received some queries from generous souls about how they could help the people of Japan. In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, there has been a tremendous outpouring of donations worldwide to charity organisations involved in aid and rescue efforts. This resulted in a heap of appeals for Japan cropping up in the weeks following the disaster, some of which are still active today. While this demonstrates the innate generosity and empathy of the human race, the vast range of organisations to donate to, and the many ways to donate (PayPal, in person, by text, etc.) could be overwhelming. Which organisation would make the most of my donation? Which method of donation is most effective? Donating by text is becoming increasingly popular, and it's one of the easiest ways to donate, but is it the best way?
Additionally, there are concerns about possible scam appeals, where your donation may never reach its intended beneficiary. How can you determine if an appeal is a bona fide charity, or a scheme cooked up by some opportunistic crook cashing in on someone else’s misery?

Here are a few pointers to ensure your donation goes where you intend it:
  • You can't go wrong with donating directly to the big names: the Red Cross, Save the ChildrenInternational Medical Corps.etc. After all, they are huge international organisations with an established infrastructure to react quickly and efficiently in times of crisis. While some people may argue that the CEOs of big charities are receiving inflated salaries that could be put to better use, they do get over 90% of your donation to where it’s needed.
  • Some people prefer donating to smaller charities in the belief that they are friendlier, and that their donation will go a longer way. This may not always be true. Conduct a little research before deciding on the charity you want to donate to. Sites like provide very useful breakdowns of how efficiently each charity utilises the donations they receive.
  • Be careful of charities you've never heard of; check them up on watchdog sites such as Charity Watch.
  • Donate directly to organisations rather than through a group soliciting on a charity's behalf. Such groups often take a percentage cut of contributions.
  • Be super-cautious of so-called 'charities' that contact you directly for donations, e.g. by phone or text. Legit organisations will not do that!
  • Can't decide on which charity to give to? Global Giving is a project which disburses funds to aid and rescue efforts on the ground that needs it most. They ensure that at least 90% of your contribution gets to organisations at ground zero within 60 days, and the percentage to cover overheads is well below the average charity.
Of course, one other way to give to charity is to purchase a copy of Stories for Sendai when it releases! Not only will all proceeds go to Global Giving, you get a lovely book filled with 20 uplifting and inspirational stories! Additionally, if you email us a receipt of your purchase, you’ll be entered in a draw for uber-cool prizes, including manuscript or query critiques! Visit the Stories for Sendai site for more details!

Also, if you do intend to purchase a copy of Stories for Sendai, we would really appreciate if you could do so on the actual release day itself, on June 30th. If everybody buys a copy on the same day, it’ll help boost the book’s rankings on the Amazon charts, and further increase our exposure!

Thank you!

Monday 20 June 2011

Away this week ...

wpe2.jpg (5314 bytes)
Hi folks! I won't be posting this week as I'm attending a week-long POETRY WORKSHOP.

Have a great week and see you all again on Sunday 26th, for Stories For Sendai's, Blog Tour De Force!

PS: There's still time to sign up for my String Bridge Book & Music Blog Tour!

Thursday 16 June 2011

Symbolic Interactionism: The Key to Characterization

As I'm writing Bitter Like Orange Peel, I'm really enjoying exploring the way in which people behave differently depending on who they are interacting with. And I think I'm actually learning about my own behavior as I'm writing, too. This inspired me to ask my friends on Facebook, "Why do you think people behave differently with family than they do with friends?" And I got a few very interesting responses. One of them telling me about Symbolic Interactionism.

So, before I talk about characterization, what is Symbolic Interactionism?
"The term "symbolic interaction" refers, of course, to the peculiar and distinctive character of interaction as it takes place between human beings. The peculiarity consists in the fact that human beings interpret or "define" each other's actions instead of merely reacting to each other's actions. Their "response" is not made directly to the actions of one another but instead is based on the meaning which they attach to such actions. Thus, human interaction is mediated by the use of symbols, by interpretation, or by ascertaining the meaning of one another's actions. This mediation is equivalent to inserting a process of interpretation between stimulus and response in the case of human behavior." (Blumer, p. 180). (Source)
Now, I know for a fact that I behave differently around family than I do with friends and/or my spouse, but I've never really stopped to think about why. But, you see, the why is very useful ...

Let me first give you a simple scenario:
Just say the mother of, let's call her Gina, and a friend of Gina's were to visit her home (at different times), and notice a new pot plant in the corner of Gina's lounge room, and they were to suggest she put it by the window to get more sun light. Gina's instinctual response to her mother is, "I'll put it where I want to put it, thank you very much." The mother then opens her mouth to defend herself, but Gina interrupts asking if she'd like a cup of coffee to quickly move on from the issue. But her simple response to her friend is, "Hmm, that's probably a good idea." Gina then moves the plant to the window.

Now, before I continue talking about the above scenario, let me tell you that Bitter Like Orange Peel is told from the perspective of many different people, so readers will get to see characters' behavior from many different angles, which is HARD, but so so interesting and entertaining for me to write, and a nice challenge too (I'm always up for a good challenge). It also helps me to make their motivations clear because I have to ask myself, for example, Why do we perceive the mother as a cold-hearted, clinical, bitch through the daughter's eyes, but when we see the mother through her best friend's eyes, we discover how kind and generous and vulnerable she is? My point is that I need to answer such questions about my characters in order to decide on simple behaviors such as Gina's plant scenario. The answers to these questions may not be dealt with directly in my story, but they will be insinuated through behavior. And this, my friends, is what I call good characterization.

Sometimes the simplest of behaviors paint a picture worth a thousand words ...

So tell me, what do you think the plant scenario says about the relationship between Gina and her mother? Without being told their history, and perhaps using the diagram to help you, what do you think are some possible reasons for Gina's (and the mother's) reaction?

Wednesday 15 June 2011

So this is what's going down ...

1. Check out The Monarch Review where a short story of mine is published. It's called When She Flicks The Latch. If you can't be bothered, or don't have time to read the story, you should just go to check out the mag anyway. It's awesome. They even take music submissions! And guess what my recent submission to them is? One of my String Bridge songs! Looking forward to hearing from them about that. (PS: The String Bridge link is a website in progress created especially for the book and soundtrack. It will launch properly on November 1st.)

2. Finally received my print run of Twisted Velvet Chains! If you're one of those people who ordered signed copies, or I promised review copies, they're on their way as I speak! Speaking of TVC, Laura Diamond is posting a review of it today on her BLOG. Thank you, Laura!

3. Got my semi-final proofs of String Bridge this morning! One last read through and it's off to print the ARCs. If you've signed up to receive an ARC for my Blog Tour, expect an email from me within the month! :o) PS: There's still time to sign up!

4. I'm reading a historical novel called, Norah, by Cynthia G. Neale at the moment. It's long. And it's taking me forever. But I'm enjoying every single moment of it. If you're a fan of historical fiction, I suggest you purchase it! I'm going to be showcasing her here in the near future. Once I get through the book.

5. I've been asked to be an administrator for a new blog inspired by France's Salon Movement of the 17th & 18th centuries. Purpose: to inspire, educate and provide a platform for discussion and artistic expression and collaboration by bringing together artists, musicians, writers, and visionary thinkers, human rights activists, tinkerers & designers, even athletes. Founder's name is Deanna Elaine. I've very excited to see what she has in store for me!

6. I've teamed up with Bridge Social Media to help promote my books. It's a new business which has just launched. And I foresee it becoming a great success for the two gals running it. Here's what they're all about in brief: "With more than 15 years of combined marketing and communications experience, we'll bridge the gap in your marketing plan and effectively link you to your target audience." If you're an author with limited time to spend online, you should check them out.

... Um ... I think that pretty much sums everything up ... Oh no, wait! I've almost finished my second novel!!!! Wooohooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have you got any exciting/interesting news to share? Tell me about it whether teeny tiny or mega massive!

Tuesday 14 June 2011

What inspires an author to switch genres after establishing a brand for themself?

On Facebook yesterday I had a discussion with my publisher about why authors want to switch genres after they've released their debut and established a brand for themself. It came about when I said that for my third project I'd like to try out a little Slipstream. This isn't really a genre shift because it's still considered a sub-genre of literary, but it got the conversation started.

A blatant example of an author switching from straight literary fiction to slipstream is Margaret Atwood. Have any of you read The Handmaid's Tale? That's slipstream. (the link says it's Science Fiction/Speculative, but I beg to differ! It's set in the real world and is VERY real and very WEIRD, and has no 'fantastical elements,' so to me it suits Slipstream better.)

Anyway, this discussion brought up the title of this post. My publisher said she has recently noticed a trend in debut authors wanting to experiment AFTER they are published, which is sorta illogical. I should have gotten a few examples off her, but I forgot. Nevertheless, the questions still stand:

Do you think it's wise to switch genres without using a pen name after you've established your audience? Do you think your audience will still want to read your work when they have a certain expectation of what they are going to get and then it suddenly changes? As a reader, would you be interested in reading a Romance written by a novelist whose previous work was Science Fiction, for example? As a writer, what do you think the effects of such a decision might be? Do you think it would be beneficial to a writer's career, or do you think it might destroy it? Why?

REMINDER: Have you signed up for my String Bridge Book & Music Blog Tour yet? If not, and you'd like to, just click HERE. You can also now add it to your TBR file on Goodreads. It's up!

Monday 13 June 2011

Why the Kindle is Useful for Writers: How to Take Notes.

So since I posted about my Kindle dilemma last Thursday, I've been asked to post about how to write notes on the device. I'm pleased to say that I haven't encountered the same problem since that day. Phew! And my notes function IS doing what it's supposed to without a hassle. I think I may have done something wrong ... anyway ...

It's very very easy to use!

Let's say you want to read a friend's manuscript (or even your own!). I used to print them out so that I didn't have to sit in front of the computer. I spend long enough in front of the screen, so it was sorta necessary for my health!

Anyhoo, you don't need to export the word doc as a PDF and transfer it via the USB cable as some people think. All you have to do is email the word doc as an attachment (no subject or body necessary), to [yourusername], and Amazon will automatically format the files for your Kindle. The next time you turn your Kindle on, the file will automatically download onto the device. (Please note: you can only take advantage of this free service if you change the internet connection from 3G to WiFi. But don't fret, you can switch back and forth from 3G to WiFi, and vice versa, with ease at any time.)

Okay, so now you have a page of prose in front of you. Do you want to highlight something? Move the cursor with the 5-way to where you want to start. Press the middle of the 5-way to activate the highlight, then press the cursor to the right to where you want the highlight to finish, then press the middle of the 5-way again to save it. It really takes SECONDS.

Do you want to write a note? Move the cursor with the 5-way to where you want the note. Start typing. A little bubble will automatically appear on the screen and you will be able to see what you are typing. When you're done, move the cursor to the 'save,' button. The button will highlight when the cursor is on it. Press the middle of the 5-way to save. This too takes SECONDS. When you press save, a little black superscript number will appear where you wrote the note. To edit the note, just move the cursor above it and a little bubble will pop up with all your options.

The notes will ALSO be stored as a kind of log, in a separate file called 'My Clippings.' They will remain there even when you delete the file you wrote the notes on.

It's all very very simple and I'm totally pleased with it. Saves me on paper and ink, too. And it's so much nicer than holding a chunk of A4 paper!!!

Any questions? Shoot. I'll answer as best I can in the comments.

Thursday 9 June 2011

Kindle Kerfuffle!!!

So. My Kindle arrived yesterday. It's very cool. I tried it out last night with a friend's ms, making notes and highlights but ... something went wrong! I turned it off for a while, and when I went back to it all my notes had disappeared!!! Argh! So frustrating. They were, however, logged in the My Clippings folder, but no longer accessible in the actual document so it was really hard for me to see where all my notes went, especially when I hadn't highlighted anything.

Anyway, I tried again, and this morning my new notes are still in the document. Phew! hopefully, it was a ONE TIME ONLY glitch.

If you have a Kindle, have you experienced any glitches I should be aware of?

Wednesday 8 June 2011

So, um, I've got a lot of clichés in my second novel. On purpose.

There's one thing I despise in writing fiction: RULES. Yes, I know that if certain rules are followed, you're more likely to get an agent or publisher to sign you on, especially this business of creating a good 'hook' in your first chapter. I guess that is one rule I try to follow the best I can. BUT. Who's to say that a good book can't be written with a few of these rules broken?

See, I'm experimenting with a little rule-breaking in my second novel. Well, it's not REALLY rule-breaking, but I guess I'm poking fun at a rule. But let's just say I'm breaking a rule and humor me a bit, huh? ;o)

So what rule am I breaking?
I have a character in my new book, Ailish, who likes to speak in quotes and clichés. In fact, she even quotes about clichés at one point. She says:

Well, sweetheart, like the talented Evelyn Waugh said, ‘to be oversensitive about clichés is like being oversensitive about table manners.'

(Context: her daughter is complaining about her constantly using clichés because she's a literature professor. But the thing I'm most proud of here is the fact that they're sitting down to eat dinner, and Ailish has just groaned about her daughter ripping a piece of bread off with her hands instead of using a knife.)

See, this is me sticking my proverbial middle finger up at the cliché rule without really breaking the cliché rule, despite there being quite a few in my ms. I've made it a character trait. Smart, huh? (tell me I'm smart pretty please with a cherry on top *fluttering eyelids until you say I'm smart* ;o)

How about you? Have you ever got fed up with the rules and tried to find a way to poke fun at them in your writing?

REMINDERS: Have you signed up for my String Bridge Book & Music Blog Tour yet? If not, and you'd like to, just click HERE. You can also now add it to your TBR file on Goodreads. It's up!

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Musical prose at it's best!

Sleep Before EveningSleep Before Evening by Magdalena Ball

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am so excited to have found another author to fall in love with. I'm really picky with what I read, and I tend to lean toward more character-driven works, than driving plots. This is one of those kinds of books. But what I am in love with here is not only the story, it is the WAY in which it is written: with utter musical and poetic genius. A blend of story-telling and musical prose is what I want to achieve in my own writing. I guess that's why I love this book so much. It represents how I strive to be. My only hope is that my books are half as brilliant as this. If so, then I'm a happy camper. :o)

A couple of my favorite prose moments are:

Pg. 44

"Russell's skin was gunmetal grey. He held his hands over his ears while his mouth opened into an elongated O, becoming the perfect example of German Expressionism. Striated oranges and blacks flickered on the wall above his head and, for a moment, she saw the world through her mother's eyes - in lights and colors rather than sound and words."

And Pg. 50

"Flowers were strewn over the floor, bright lilies and carnations lying like war carnage, mocking their original purpose as a peace offering."

Buy this book. And relish every moment of it.

How about you? Do you like to make note of exceptional prose in what you read? If so, what is it that makes you want to remember it forever?

View all my reviews

REMINDERS: Have you signed up for my String Bridge Book & Music Blog Tour yet? If not, and you'd like to, just click HERE. You can also now add it to your TBR file on Goodreads. It's up!

Monday 6 June 2011

"Books can illuminate all those dark corners and rooms inside all of us and improve our thinking, planning, sorting, understanding and behaviors."

Last week I received an amazing response to one of my reviews on Goodreads about The Slap from a reader named April Gavey. I asked her permission to post it here for you all to read as it's certainly worth sharing and poses a lot of interesting questions and discussion topics. It's quite lengthy, folks, but certainly worth your time. Trust me. :o)
Offensive content is required in writing truth. People are complex and layered in everything they do, children included. Babies learn manipulation early but most of us see it as cute. We are animals with observable behaviors as obvious and ritualistic as cats and dogs. Books help us SEE these behaviors and help explain them.
A part of me gets ridiculously annoyed when people say, "I was offended by the bad language" because so often it's as if form is more important than the substance. It's like when there's been a car accident and a victim is bleeding/dying, but a witness is upset because a spot of blood got on her shoes and she feels that's so rude and disgusting. Bad language is transmitting information about internal states of mind of the characters, it's plot movement and development. It's emotion generating, maybe causing yourself to become excited. It's also a fact of human expression in all languages of the world.
Other irritating exclamations are those in the category of "this doesn't really happen." I know for a fact some women kill their babies, and I despise people who refuse this obvious fact. Though I am also annoyed by people who basically feel, ooh, that's too icky, I understand that one.
I've felt that skin crawling nausea, for instance, when I heard about the poor Syrian 13 year old boy tortured to death by Syrian "Security" agents. However, books are a voluntary occupation. In theory, choosing to read a book is free will in action. Read what you want. I've never understood complaints from people who hate the frank language or sexual descriptions or human depravity in books yet read them from cover to cover. 
I don't understand the compulsion to ban a book for everybody else if yourself hates it. Denying reality is criminal, in my opinion. Denying someone the opportunity to learn and explore another mind through a book is a civil crime, in my opinion, even if all the characters are imaginary. Denying enjoyment of language, sex, depravity (for some people), rude tasteless comedy or horrifying politics or general human condition situations that MIGHT be catering to the lowest common denominator or wonderfully illuminating the mysteries of being people is impossible, since a book is only one firm of media transmitting these cultural memes, idioms, ideas and stories and pictures.
The fact the Internet has billions of websites catering to any and every interest of humanity is a "tell" (gambler giving away his game through unconscious body ticks). Homer was a verbal storyteller and all Literature classes start there with the point, first, people gossiped and talked and lied and exaggerated and explained verbally- and then we put it in writing!
We are a mystery to ourselves even when we are eager to live an examined life, and worse, we are often blind to ourselves. Books can illuminate all those dark corners and rooms inside all of us and improve our thinking, planning, sorting, understanding and behaviors. We are not all alike or similar, but there is a range of possible human behaviors where illumination of those psychological data points has positive impacts on each of our real lives and on society.
For example, I want to recognize predatory behavior, and I want to categorize it as silly, safe, or normal, or dangerous or evil, whether it comes from myself or other people. I need to understand other motivations in order to judge how what decisions I need to make, but if I'm ignorant or blind to motivations my life could be damaged by wrong reading of a person. Books help read people. Books help to see the possible range of behaviors humans display, safe and dangerous.
How often and old is the story behind child rape where Mom couldn't recognize the behavioral signs or wouldn't believe in its possibility because she never heard of such a thing? Do we want to live in such ignorance because it's icky so we don't believe the child? Do we give our money to the smooth con man because he smiles nice, but we ignore the shifty eyes and sweating lip?
To me it often feels like willful stupidity, blindness and purposeful ignorance to demand happy books of sweet people who always win their rewards of good living by not swearing, wearing clothes all of the time and practicing only good faith, love and affection to all. It's idiotic.
Choose the books you want to read, don't read books that "offend" you. It's a free country, choose the self educating as well as the entertaining if you want. I don't want to read only dark, noir plots. I also read plenty of comedies, adventure, spy, science, and celebrity books and biographies. But when I read a dark book about amoral or immoral or criminal behavior it's because this exists in the real world too and I want to learn about it.
I like happy books too, by the way. 

Thoughts? Here are some questions to help you. Answer one, all or none, but I'd love to hear some opinions!

1. Do you ever shy away from 'icky' content in books? Why/Why not?
2. What do you do when you come across a book you dislike for whatever reason, do you stop reading, or do you finish it and complain to the world? Why do you think you do this?
3. Do you think it's right to ban books? Why/Why not?
4. Has a book ever made you examine how you behave? Explain.
5. How are your instincts when it comes to judging one's personality or motivations? Has reading (in any form, news, magazines, novels, non-fiction) ever affected how you judge someone?

REMINDERS: Have you signed up for my String Bridge Book & Music Blog Tour yet? If not, and you'd like to, just click HERE. You can also now add it to your TBR file on Goodreads. It's up!

Sunday 5 June 2011

$25 Amazon gift card up for grabs on Shauna Kelley's blog!!!

Shauna Kelley, author of Max and Menna, is offering a $25 gift card all for posting a review about a "book that has thrilled you, filled you with passion, or inspired you". All you have to do is leave the link to your review in the comments. It can be from anywhere, your blog, Amazon, Goodreads, etc. So what are you waiting for folks? Don't stick around here! GO TO HER BLOG!

REMINDERS: Have you signed up for my String Bridge Book & Music Blog Tour yet? If not, and you'd like to, just click HERE. You can also now add it to your TBR file on Goodreads. It's up!

Friday 3 June 2011

Lenny Lee Fest

So today among some other wonderful blogger friends, I'm posting something for a very special friend of mine. This boy is eleven years old and even though I have never seen his face, I believe he has one of the biggest smiles and tightest hugs in the world.

This boy is called Lenny Lee. If you don't know Lenny Lee, I suggest you get cracking! You're missing out on the best
indoor sunshine anyone could possibly give.

So once you finish up here, click THIS and check him out, introduce yourself, or even just say hi. You'll see as soon as you get there how special this little guy is.

So in honor of Lenny today, I'd like to tell you all what else Lenny is to me. And even though indoor sunshine is one of the greatest lift-me-ups, there is a lot more that Lenny gives me too. So ...

THANK YOU Lenny for being a part of my life.

When I'm feeling down, your emails bring a smile to my face like no other. This smile runs so deep, and so strong sometimes I don't even know what to do with it. Do I walk around all day looking like a clown? Do I accost the supermarket checkout chicks with over-the-top chirpiness? Do I go and give my husband a massage when I hate giving massages? Do I go and bake a batch of cookies because I'm in such a good mood? (I never bake, btw, but you make me want to bake!)


I do do all these things because I'm PROUD to walk around with a ditsy smile on my face all day because it has come from a precious soul called Lenny. Lenny, you have given me so much and I'm sure you don't even know it. I'm actually very prone to depression, and you know what? YOU have pulled me out of it on numerous occasions without even knowing it. How cool is that????

Keep on smiling Lenny, and shine that indoor sunshine everywhere!!!!


Thursday 2 June 2011

Please don't get angry at me ...

So, um, I'm thinking of getting an e-reader.

  • For those who know me well, know I hate them.
  • For those who know me well, know that every time someone posts about them, I go on and on about how I couldn't give up paper because I love the smell and the feel of turning pages.
  • For those who know me well, know that I vowed to never buy one.
  • For those who know me well, know that ... aw, shucks ... I DO NOT WANT AN E-READER ...

But I think I need one.

People are putting out books I want to read that are only available in e-format.
Bloggers are releasing debuts I want to buy and review to show encouragement and support.


Do NOT tell me to download the PC application. I already have. A long long time ago. But I haven't used it because I sit at my computer 15 hours a day for work and writing and blogging and Facebooking and tweeting and watching um ... America's Next Top Model on YouTube *cough* ...

I'm just gonna have to bite the bullet and get one aren't I? I can't avoid them for the rest of my life, can I? Oh I feel sick. I don't want to abandon the paperback. The paperback was my first ever love ...

So. Here's where you come in. I know nothing about e-readers. What kind do I get?

REMINDERS: Have you signed up for my String Bridge Book & Music Blog Tour yet? If not, and you'd like to, just click HERE.

Over at All 4 ALABAMA, my poetry book, Twisted Velvet Chains is up for grabs. Head on over and bid on it for a worthy cause!


Wednesday 1 June 2011

Bitter Like Orange Peel was a little too bitter for me to swig!

I was having a REALLY hard time getting back into my current work in progress, Bitter Like Orange Peel. Actually, to be honest, I hadn't even opened the document since last December until this Monday. I kept thinking about it. But I never actually DID it.

You see, last year, I was only about two or three chapters away from finishing the first draft. Then, I got a contract for String Bridge, and pushed it aside to work on the revisions for that. I finished those revisions at the end of February this year.

But since then, I couldn't bring myself to continue this tangy tale. The thought made me feel kinda nauseous. I think because I knew once I opened it, that's where my mind would be until it was done.

It's a dangerous place to be in when there are so many other things going on right now that need my full attention. My brain is in String Bridge marketing mode as well. I can't stop being in that mode, so I need to figure out how to slip in and out of it. I don't know why it's been causing me such a problem. I guess it's because it's the first time I've had to be creative with so many things at one time. I think I can adjust, though. I'd really like to have the second draft of Bitter Like Orange Peel ready by the end of the year (at the latest).

I wish I could just take a month. Shut out the world. And put all my energy into the story. If it were financially viable and possible to ignore the world, I wouldn't hesitate another second. Perhaps I should stick my book in a Campari and soda and imbibe the thing in one swift swig?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this? Did your procrastination last long?

REMINDERS: Have you signed up for my String Bridge Book & Music Blog Tour yet? If not, and you'd like to, just click HERE.

Over at All 4 ALABAMA, my poetry book, Twisted Velvet Chains is up for grabs. Head on over and bid on it for a worthy cause! (It will go live at 10 am)