Friday 30 December 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Roll on 2012 With 'Pride'

As I sit here and reflect on the year gone by, I think of all the things I've accomplished and all the things I haven't. As everyone, I started 2011 with a game plan. I finished a novel, Kiss of the Gypsy; I was going to edit it and I was going to start the hunt for a publishing agent with the view that by this time I would be a step closer to published success.

Did I succeed?


I edited, I hunted, but then realised that it was still missing something and so it's been put on the back burner to ferment and develop that spark it needs. I never forgot about it, in fact I can see it beginning to smoulder - but it's just not quite ready to be continued yet.

In the meantime, as I sat, watched and hoped for that kindle to light itself, I started another, Lady of the Seas, the fourth in my Fantasy series. It was developing rather well and I was feeling really pleased, but after 36,000 words I put it on hold to write another. On November 23rd Son of Jack was published on Amazon for Kindle, leaving me free to continue with my original, Lady of the Seas.

And so I reflect:

Have I reached the goals and successes I set at the turn of 2010/2011? No. But I have reached other successes. I'm published - albeit not the way I wanted, but I have, to this date, made a grand total of TWO sales; I have yet another finished novel under my belt to add to my list; I've given a talk on the craft of writing to a class of ten year olds with the possibility of being asked to go back sometime in the New Year, AND, with all the writing hours accumulated throughout the year, I've developed more confidence in what I do and what I produce. I think in our line of work, this last is the most important. You can't find success if you don't have confidence in what you do.

So, I may not have reached my original goals, but I've accomplished new ones I never foresaw this time last year, and I leave behind 2011 with a feeling of pride - as we all should. I've read too many blogs to remember this year, but I do know that everyone of you have dedicated many - MANY - hours to your writing. Some have even seen the successes I dream of. And so to all of you - those who reached their goals and those who have not - well done. Don't ever let the feeling of failure engulf you. In this business, it's all experience; we learn from experiences and the more we learn and embrace, the closer we are to those goals we dream of.

May 2012 bring many more hours of wonderful writing.

Speaking of that feeling of Pride, I've chosen a piece from Marta Dahlig's Seven Deadly Sins collection (Pride) for the last Pic of the Week for 2011.

Have a wonderful turn of the year, people. It's been a good one, so let's have another!!!

Friday 23 December 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Merry Christmas

With the help of my niece I've decided to go with this picture. My 10 year old niece fell in love with it, seeing as she loves horses, and given it's Christmas theme, I thought it apt.

So to all, enjoy and have a wonderful Christmas!!!!

Friday 16 December 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Tomasz Chistowski

Before we move on to Pic of the Week I'd like to thank all those who wished me luck for giving a talk about the joys of writing to my niece's class on Wednesday. It went really well. Like most of you said, the kids were interested and were completely engrossed in what I had to say.

To begin with I gave a little talk about my writing career to date; I took in the very first novel I ever wrote and was rewarded with oohs and aahs, then I compared it to one of my last novels (180,000 words and yet to be edited) and the oohs and aahs were replaced with gasps of astonishment and awe. After that my mind done a blank on me. All the points I had arranged to discuss disappeared and so we moved on to question time. I was there for an hour answering some superb questions about writing, and I could have stayed for the rest of the afternoon had the teacher not had other plans for her class.

It went really well - and my niece had a proud grin from ear to ear the entire time, bless her - and rumour has it I may get asked to come back sometime in the new year to speak with their other class of 10 year olds. I said that as long as they have questions it shouldn't be And so it begins...

Public speaking can be terrifying for those who don't often do it, but the more you speak, the easier it gets (I learnt that from my days of theatre work). Having a low self-esteem, being self conscious about your appearence or the way you sound, such as Dark Conteur and Michael Offutt brought up, can hinder most people. I suffer with both these. I admit to be being on the cuddly side (years of sitting at a computer desk instead of working those muscles) and my voice sounds far younger and immature than I actually am. I also talk too fast, a trait that has carried through most of my family, and this often leads to me stumbling over words when nervous. These elements make public speaking very difficult, but if you remain calm, relaxed and take deep breaths, chances are you'll do just fine.

I still get nervous though... ;)

Anyway, Pic of the Week. I had a pleasent shock this morning when I woke. I looked out the window and everything was white. We had our first dose of snow this season, and that cold, fluffy white stuff has inspired this week's choice.

Introducing Tomasz Chistowski from Poland, a chance find and an artsit I'm sure we will be returning to in the future.

Enjoy and have a fab weekend...

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Public Speaking . . .

When you get published (yes, that's WHEN. You have to keep pessimistic in this game) and if you're lucky enough to have gone the traditional route with an agent and publisher, it will fall on you at some point in your career to do some public speaking. This can include book signings, lectures, conferences, etc, and all goes towards promotion for your book. Most publishers these days expect it from you. When it comes to marketing, you have to pull your weight, too.

Well, even though I've cheated and only published one book on Amazon Kindle (go buy ;D ) my public speaking days are starting tomorrow. I got asked yesterday if I could attend my 10 year old niece's school and give a talk to her class about writing and about how, even if someone says that their story is rubbish, they shouldn't give up. I mean, where would we be now if we all quit after our first writing failures?

At first I was worried that my niece had made me out to be an international best seller to her teacher (one can dream, lol) but when my sister intervened and explained who I was, she was still more than happy to have me. Turns out I'm a perfect candidate to talk about not giving up - after writing 16 novels and only having one

Anyway, I shall let you know how I get on later (for some unknown reason, I feel more nervous talking to this bunch on 10 year olds than I did talking to adults at our book launch. Is that normal??).

Friday 9 December 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Carina Nebula

On This Day, December 9th 1965 the Kecksburg UFO Incident occurred. A huge fireball was witnessed by thousands as it passed over at least six U.S states before presumably crash landing in Pittsburgh. Of course, eye-witness accounts tell one story and official accounts tell another. Who knows what the object was.

But because of this, I've decided today's Pic of the Week should be space themed.

I'm so intrigued with the wonders of the universe. What's out there? Is there life? No one knows. But the recent discovery of Earth-like planets is slowly leaning the argument towards the 'yeeeeaaaaahhh...there could be' side. I believe there is. There's so much going on out there that I find it hard to believe we are the only inhabited planet. I'm not talking 'little green men' who like to abduct people and stick places, just the idea that somewhere out there in the dark yonder is another planet with content little beings blogging away - or maybe not.

Anyway, today's Pic of the Week isn't the usual work of art I normally post. It's a photo of the Carina Nebula taken by NASA back in April 2010 and displayed in their Astronomy Picture of the Day gallery. I think this is amazing, and the idea that it's still brewing up there is phenomenal.

Check out their Website for the scientific jargon that goes with it.

In the meantime, enjoy and have a fab week.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Opening Sentences . . .

A friend of mine brought up a subject last night regarding opening sentences. He wanted, in our opinion, an example of a bad opening sentence. Of course, off the top of our heads we couldn't think of one - but a few good ones did come to mind.

The opening sentence is usually the hardest part to write for a writer, especially a noob who is sitting at their desk with a blank page, wanting to start something that'll make them their fortune (they'll find out the hard truth in their own time). They can envisage a whole story before their very eyes; they know their characters, know their setting, know their predicaments - but what words do they use to introduce them all? How do you write that all important first sentence?

There are many ways you can start a book off. This all depends on your story and how you want to tell it. For me, I like sentences that drop you in it. As soon as you open the first page, you're chin deep in action. With many action scenes, one of the best ways to keep the tension is by using short sentences, so my opening sentences are pretty short.

“Get those god-damn sails in!”

These are the very firsts words to my current WIP. It's an order so instantly you know you're smack bang in the middle of something. The use of the words 'god-damn' kind of indicate the speakers frustration, and the exclamation mark tells of the order's importance (at least that's what I hope it portrays).

For me, I like the shorter opening sentence, but lets look a random few from some randomly selected and successful authors:

1: A whispered name.

A ghostly whisper fit for James Herbert's novel 'Haunted'.

2: The trawler plunged into the angry swells of the dark, furious sea like an awkward animal trying desperately to break out of an impenetrable swamp.

Okay, it puts you in the middle of something ferocious, but the opening sentence to Robert Ludlow's 'The Bourne Identity' is a tad long for my preference. Fantastic read though.

3: The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

A fantastic opening to one of my all-time favourite reads, 'The Dark Tower' by Stephen King.

4: I am the vampire Lestat.

Anne Rice's character introduces himself immediately in her novel 'The Vampire Lestat' - another good read.

5: Norma ran.

Instantly you're thrown into the action in Rod Rees's first novel 'The Demi-Monde: Winter (yet another good read. Go check his blog out).

6: There was a smattering of applause as Malcolm Fox entered the room.

Hmmm...what has Malcolm done to warrant this applaud. Ian Rankin's 'The Complaints'.

7: A killer stalked the shadows.

Is he? Who is he and will he succeed? Jon Sprunk's 'Shadow's Son'. Can't wait to finally read the sequel, 'Shadow's Lure'.

8: Once...Upon...A...death, when life for Thom Kindred was fading fast and his inner eyes, the eyes that focused from his soul, were already dazzled by the shining way ahead (was the brilliance approaching him, or was he approaching it? he wondered in a curiously detached way), when his twenty-seven years apparently were drawing to a close, something occurred that halted the untimely rush.

Hmm hmmm...never noticed this when I read James Herbert's 'Once'. Despite thoroughly enjoying the read way back when I read it, I never realised how long this opening sentence was.

James Herbert is a successful author of horror and well established in his field. The fact that opening sentences like these get published every day proves that I'm speaking of personal preference here. If you've started your novel with a gripping sentence that is as long as your arm, great - if it works. But I still prefer the shorter stuff...

Friday 2 December 2011

Pic of the Week . . . On This Day

I was struggling for a theme for today's Pic of the Week, so I thought I might introduce an 'On This Day' theme, just for those Fridays when I'm stuck. Today is just one of those days - so here goes with the first 'On This Day'.

It was on this day (December 2nd) in 1804 that Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of France, the first Emperor France had seen in a thousand years. Now, Napoleon isn't the inspiration for today (don't panic), but the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the place where he crowned himself, is. This reminded me of the Disney film 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame'.

I admit, I'm a sucker for Disney, and the 'Hunchback' is one of my favourites. The whole Gypsy culture from it actually inspired a hell of a lot for my last novel 'Kiss of the Gypsy'. It's got a lot to answer for.

Anyway, I've just discovered that the film - even the ones made as far back as the 1960's, is completely different from the original book written by Victor Hugo. Apparently (and don't take what I say as gospel. I haven't read it) Esmeralda is hanged at the end and Quasimodo then lays next to her body, refuses to leave her and starves to death. It's all very tragic - and a far cry from Disney's happy ending.

So, today's Pic of the Week is a piece inspired from the film. What drew me to this picture is the bold colour that surrounds Esmeralda and her gypsy life, as opposed to the dullness of everyday Paris life.

And that's enough waffling from me. Here's the pic.


Tuesday 29 November 2011

Son of Jack Is Up . . .

Sunday 27th has been and gone.

The 27th saw our book launch and it was an interesting day. All in all it went okay but there are definitely things we can do better next time (June). Seeing as this launch was Starfish Publishing's first one, it was never expected to be a grand day. We never expected to see hoards of people - though it would have been nice - but it gave us experience and a better knowledge of what to expect, how to do things and improve next year.

But the most important thing to some out of Sunday was the knowledge that . . .


And so are two of my friends.

Going the Ebook route was never really my intention. To make a sound career out of writing, I still feel the need to be agented. I like the traditional route, and it's the way I still wish to pursue with my fantasy collection. But I'm okay to write other random pieces for ebooks. It gets me through the door, and it can it be a fun venture.

I have to say though, these last few weeks leading up to the launch have been so hectic, it's nice to be able to just sit back and relax for a bit before continuing with other projects, although I know I won't be sitting back for long. My fantasy, Lady of the Seas, the novel Ihad to put on hold for Son of Jack, is calling me once more, and so are a few short ghost stories. There's no rest for the wicked . . . ;)

So, here's the link for Son of Jack on Amazon. Go read the sample chapters and if you like it BUY!!! . . . no pressure . . . honestly :)

Saturday 19 November 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Book Covers

I didn't blog yesterday. I completely forgot! I neglected Pic of the Week and I can't believe I done that! So I'm it doing today instead.

Firstly I'd like say a big WOW to Kelley, who impressed me this morning by saying that not only did she change stories a quarter (or so) into Nano, but that she has written 36,000 words in 8 days!

36,000 words!!!

I'm impressed.

As for Pic of the Week, I thought, because I spent most of yesterday designing front covers for the three books that are being published on the 27th under our Starfish PC, that I'd share what I done.

First is my own cover for Son of Jack, which I'm sure you're all familiar with. I just altered the size to match the others.

The Second is a cover for my colleage Martin Willoughby's work, a Sci-Fi comedy, which looks like it may be titled 'The Good, The Bad, and the Green Gloop'. Because this title has yet to be confirmed, and because I have a limited selection of fonts, the title has been left and will be added later.

This cover is for my other colleage, Susan Maylor who's Justice: Served Cold is the first in her Nathan Turner crime series. She yet to confirm if this will be the final cover yet. Will keep you posted.

All these books will be available to download via Amazon, as well as our website from the 27th November. And, if you purchase on the their launch day, the 27th, you get a signed copy. Yes, a signed eBook. We are clever. . .

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Son of Jack is Ready . . .

. . . almost.

All it needs is some final tweaking and whacking all together to make one long novel. Front cover is done, eBook trailer done but needs tidying and updating, and all-in-all, it's looking good. Roll on November 27th. Amazon launch date.

Another novel being published on the 27th under our Starfish PC is Martin Willoughby' It's a Sci-fi comedy with lots of space travel, lots of time travel, breeding and quantum green goo (my name for it). The book is all ready to go except for the final title. We're still debating that one.

Another is a Crime novel, Justice: Served Cold, the first in a Nathan Turner Crime Series. Hopefully this book will be joining our launch, too. We lost a fourth, The Devil She Is, a compilation of humerous equine tales, due to time issues but it should be reappearing next year, along with another thriller called The Kindred, and, no doubt, something else written by yours truly. It's all happening here on Walton's Mountain.

In the meantime, allow me to remind you of Son of Jack via its original trailer.


Friday 11 November 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Something To Remember

Today, 11-11-11, is Remembrance Day. Today represents the official end of World War I. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 hostilities finally ended with the German signing of the Armistice.

So whether you go by Remembrance Day, Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day, it's a day where we are reminded of all the people who gave their lives so we could live ours - and all those have fought and are still fighting to do so.

'Lest We Forget . . .'

Friday 4 November 2011

Pic of the WeeK . . . J Scott Campbell

A friend of mine - the same friend I drew the picture of the X-men for - sent me a text message yesterday, asking if I was familiar with the work by J Scott Campbell. I shrugged at this but was intrigued. Knowing my friend's taste in art and seeing as he said he was currently a favourite artist of his, I had to investigate further.

It was then that I realised I was familiar with his works but not him personally. This opened a whole new door for me.

J Scott Campbell is an American comic artist (no shocker and started his carrier working for Wildstorm, DC and eventually Marvel. Looking at his gallery I discovered that not only does he draw the usual comic book heroes, but he also does other stand-alone pieces including as his own takes on Disney characters and fairytale characters such as Little Red Riding Hood and the Princess and the Pea. Some of these, I've been told, can fetch up to $300 a piece.

Seeing as I'm still somewhat taken by the comic art style, I thought I'd share his work for this week's Pic of the Week. But I couldn't decide on just one. Instead I thought I'd indulge and share three. See if you can guess who they are WITHOUT looking at the captions on each piece . . .

Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Calling All Writers . . .

I need your help.

We all know that Grammer can be a difficult thing to master, and even the masters make mistakes. There are so many rules for many different things, and for a new writer it can often be overwhelming. Common errors lie with the difference between effect and affect, or lose and loose.

Unfortunately there is no quick way to learn these. Most of us know this through years of slaving away with quill and scroll (or keyboard and screen), and even when you're at a point in your writing career when you're happy and confident that you know enough to get by, something will always come up and bite you on the bum.

This happened to me yesterday. One of my critique buddies pointed out that I had used passed instead of past. Reflecting back on my work, I was under the impression that the option I used was correct. Now I'm truly confused.

So I'm calling upon all my writing buddies out there for help. Tell me, is there an easy rule that you use when it comes to past or passed so that you know the one you write is correct? Has there been a time when you've had to stop and think which is which, and then remembered a little rhyme that maybe you were taught at school or that you come up with yourself to tell you???

How do YOU know which one to use...?

Thursday 27 October 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Brian Froud . . . Plus WIP Update

I'm combining my two weekly posts into one today - a little unusual for me, I know, but hey! The reason, I never got round to posting on Tuesday, and I'm away this weekend so won't be able to tomorrow. Seemed like a good idea to me.

First up, Update on WIP: Son of Jack

For those who don't know, it IS being published. 27th November. Yeah, we're doing it ourselves through Amazon, but it was never destined for anything more. The whole point of writing Son of Jack to use it as an experiment to see how easy and how successful Amazon publishing is. If I make a fortune, yay! If it manages to go on to bigger and better things, yay!! But if it doesn't do too well I haven't lost anything, not a single penny; I'm a novel up on my list and I'm more the wiser how ebooks work. Plus, I still get to call myself a published author, yay!!! Nothing to lose really.

We're having a launch party on the 27th (to let you know there's one other novel that's being launched and possibly a collection of short stories courtesy of our writers' group - and this is just to begin with. There will be other novels in the future no doubt. The hotel where we're holding it have so far been great. They've allowed us to have the room for free as long as we can get the local press involved. This means advertising for both us and the hotel, so we really aren't spending any money, YAY!!!!

Anyway, more on that later.

Pic of the Week.

I decided to revisit Brian Froud (visit blog) this week. Why? Well, I'm off down to his part of the world this weekend - Devon - so I thought it an apt idea (and I do like his work).

Have a fab weekend everyone (I know I will) and enjoy!

Friday 21 October 2011

Pic of the Week - Linda Bergkvist . . .

Hi all, it's that time of the week again. Yep, Pic of the Week...

This week I've decided to remind us all of the works by Linda Bergkvist. I think I've posted about her once or twice in the past, but it's been a while and so thought she needed another appearence.

This piece is called 'Jeirehneen' and I love the dark, subtle feel to it. If you're able to zoom in, I love the detail of the face and the wings - and if you look even closer above the guy you can see a fairy sitting in the tree watching the flock of birds. Jeirehneen doesn't hold colours that jump out at you and catch the eye like many other pieces I've published, but it still has a stunning mystery to it that I'm loving.

Enjoy and have a grand weekend...

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Sentence Structure: Knowing When To Stop . . .

One of my biggest problems when writing back in the days of yore (god, I'm feeling old just by saying that) was my sentence structure. As they say, I could have waffled on until the cows come home.

When writing I didn't see the problem. When reading back, I didn't see the problem - but one sentence could last for an entire paragraph. Reading a piece full of long sentences like this can often leave you feeling out of breath, despite reading in your head. You can add as many commas as you like but that just makes for sloppy writing.

Commas are also a dangerous tool and if misused can turn a well needed piece of punctuation into something ugly. Some people opt to try and not use them at all but I like them in moderation. I've dramatically cut down my comma use over the years. They're like a drug, leaving you hungry for more. You just want to put one here and one there followed by another two words later - but there is a cure. It's called the fullstop. This is by far a more powerful writing tool and one that you should yield to.

Classic authors such as Bram Stoker and Jane Austen used such long sentences when they wrote, and even though they're works have gone down in history and aren't likely to be forgotten anytime soon, they make reading hard work because they loved their commas and their words, and the style of writing back then didn't give in that easily to the fullstop, instead replacing it with yet another beloved comma that made just one sentence, a sentence that could have been divided into six beautifully written lines to make reading flow so much smoother, last for an entire page, causing you to turn blue before you reach the end . . . (And BREEEEAAATH....)

Obviously the classic authors failed to have critique buddies. When mine so rightly pointed out how long my sentences were, I cringed. It was like a light had been switched on inside and I was suddenly very much aware. It made an awful read. Some one (I do believe it was Martin Willoughby) then said, merely in conversation, that if your sentence reaches the third line and looks like it's about to flow over to the forth, chances are it's too long. He probably doesn't remember saying this, but for someone who was eager to learn from their errors, it stuck like glue to my creative brain cells.

I always write to this rule now and I don't think I've had anymore problems with the length of my sentences. Occasionally I may get one or two drift over to a forth line, but these are few and far between, and a variety is good. Mix long sentences with short sentences - but yield to the almighty fullstop when you feel your sentence drifting. He is your friend.

This is my two pennies worth . . .

Friday 14 October 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Gambit and Rogue

I'm sorry. I told myself that I wasn't going to do this but I just can't help myself. God's honest truth!!

Ever since I drew that picture of the X-men for a friend of mine (it was huge! One of the biggest things I've drawn for a long long time) I've suddenly developed a little obsession. Not so much with the graphic novels - I haven't got that far - but with the characters themselves and the art behind them. When I first started the picture, I knew who Wolverine and Storm were from the films, I vaguely remembered Beast from childhood cartoons, but I had no idea who Gambit was. So I done a little research (it's always good to know what you're dealing with) and read this whole back story that was fantastic. I loved it. If they haven't already, someone should write a novel.

Anyway, it turns out that two of my favourite characters are Gambit and Rogue. They have this chemistry between the two, and Rogue is, well, Rogue, and Gambit is a swarve, charming thief that you just really want to trust. He's got that edge, you know, the bad boy that every girl wants (or some anyway).

I suppose, seeing as Marvel have been dealing with mutants since . . . 1965 ish, give or take a few, each of the main characters - even some of the secondary characters - are so well drawn out that every little detail about them is known. Wouldn't you just love to know your own characters that well. And wouldn't you just love that at some point in the future, someone would create a collection of art based on your work and your characters. I think that would be fantastic.

Anyway . . . despite the fact that I wasn't going to go down this route, I'm assuming you've already guessed what the theme is for this week's Pic of the Week . . .

Enjoy and have a Marvel-ous weekend (Ha! Boom boom!)

Tuesday 11 October 2011

How 'NOT' To Name Your Characters . . .

A friend of mine posted a link to an article on Facebook yesterday which did make me laugh. It was all about names and how some unfortunate people were given embarrassing forenames to match their embarrassing surnames.

We all (or rather the people I know anyway) make jokes about names such as Ben Dover or Wayne King (sorry) or even the famous Pussy Galore from James Bond, but did you know these are real names?

It seems many of our ancestors often imposed these humorous names on their offspring. Two hundred years ago there was nothing funny about them, but as society evolved so did language and slang. As the years went by people began to see the horror of what their name sounded like and many changed it. Women often refused to marry to avoid gaining a ridiculous name (Seymour Bust) or vice-versa to rid themselves of one (Kitty Litter), and slowly but surely many names have gone into decline or disappeared altogether.

Even though in real life, having a name like Mike Rotch can make your existence a miserable one, in writing it can be a completely different story. One genre that can use humorous names to its advantage is Comedy. Just by naming one character something like Sue Age can give the story an added sparkle (or not as the character is aptly named) and be a theme for a running joke. However, by using such a name in a Tragedy just won't work.

Anyway, I've decided, for those who see the humour in humorous names, to list a few that was listed in this article. I hope they bring a smile to your face like it did with mine. But before you start laughing, crying, reaching for your tissues or falling off your chair and rolling around the floor, give a thought to the poor people who actually had to live with these names (Tssss hssss hsss hssss....)

Sue Age

Ben Dover

John Anonymous

Love A. Duck

Golden Balls

Elle Fant

Lettuce Bedlam

Sue Flay

Alfred Ming Belcher

Ebenezer Flirt

Benjamin Blister

Adolph Fuhrer

One Too Many Gouldstone

Rogers Boys

Anice Bottom

Dicky Hart

Seymour Bust

Adeline Louisa Maria Horsey De Horsey

Ann Inch

Violet Corpse

Levi Jeans

Sidney Kidney

Al Dente

Annette Kirton

Basil Leaf

Jim Slip

Kitty Litter

Mary Slutty

John Mental

Constance Smell

Posthumous Mince

Min Speiss

Horase Jealous Pratt

Amorous Swain

Fartamalus Purdger

Pleasant Titty

Sensitive Redhead

Doris Topless

Mike Rotch

Batty Treasure

Lotta Rump

Gusty Sandbag

Fanny Warmer

Samuel Squelch Shakespear

Isla White

Mary Winkle Shufflebotham

Elizabeth Experience Withall

R. Sitch

Mary Xmas

Friday 7 October 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Libra

Monday is a very special day for WTF's. Why? It's his second birthday. That's right! WTF's - Writing Thrilling Fiction will be two years old on Monday. Time has flown by and they grow so quick (wipes sentimental tear from eye)...

Anyway, having a birthday on the 9th of October makes WTF's a Libra on the Zodiac calender. So, what I thought would be fun would be to compare WTF's with the typical traits and characteristics of a Libra (complimentary of this website) and see how he holds out.

1: Desires Popularity - Too true. With 51 followers and 9 NetworkedBlogs followers, he's pretty happy with that and he cherishes every single one of them, but his heart always flutters with excitement with the discovery of a new follower.

2: Loves Art - Friday's Pic of the Week should answer this clearly.

3: Neat - WTF's can spend ten minutes writing a blog post but spend the next hour playing with the layout and making sure his pictures are positioned just yeah, I think neatness plays a contributing factor.

4: Dresses Up For The Occasion - Any festive holiday and WTF's usually comes themed.

5: Slight Perfectionist - I'll refer you back to trait number 3.

6: Narcissism - Yeah...even I have to admit that WTF's does suffer with a slight case of Vanity. What can I say. He likes to look pretty and feel good about himself.

7: Charitable - Erm...he's willing to give advice and tips on writing if anyone wants it...

8: Bossy at Times - He did tell ya'll to go check out two other blogs last post. I think that's his bossy side peering through the exterior there.

9: Plans Ahead - 9 times out of 10 yeah. He always knows what he's going to blog about before hand.

10: Attention to Detail - ookay...again I'll refer to you to Trait number 3 and 5.

11: Loves Public Service - He wouldn't publish a post if he didn't think that someone somewhere out there wouldn't find it helpful (at least he hopes). Does that count as public service??

So there you go. Yep, WTF's definitely holds a few Libra traits. I don't know where he gets them from. I'm a Capricorn.

And now for Pic of the Week. A Libra Man by an unknown artist. I can't enlarge it clearly enough to make out the inscription at the bottom. Sorry.

Enjoy and have a grand weekend!

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Slacking With Blog Awards . . .

I must apologise. I've been slacking somewhat when it comes to blogging. I didn't write a post last Tuesday because . . . because . . . erm, I believe it had something to do with four little words that sounded very much like "I Can't Be Bothered!", but don't quote me on that one. It could have been "I'm hot and bothered" (affects writing moods) or "I have a Brotherhood" (social life can often get in the way of blogging - but I don't seem to have one ;D), or maybe even "That couch looks cosy" followed closely by "What's on TV tonight?"

Who knows what they were. It's been a whole week since they influenced me which resulted in no blog post.

Words like "I'll do that in a minute" or "I'll post that next time" can also be an influence when it comes to blogging (and I don't know about you guys, but it appears I'm rather easily influenced by the simplest things). This has resulted in my negligence to fully accept two blog awards which were kindly awarded to me.

The first, "The Versatile Blogger Award" was given to me by E.Arroyo (and I can't help but notice and point out the similarity between her name and one of my favourite artists Luis Royo) over at Chandara Writes.

The second "The Liebster Blog Award" given to me by Kelley over at Between the Bookends.

Now, I may not be following rules here and writing 7 things about myself (I've been blogging for a while now. Most of you will probably know these things anyway, especially when it comes to me being blonde both in hair colour and stupidity. Is it much of a surprise that nothing's changed?) or I may not be officially passing these on (truth is I follow so many wonderful blogs that it's hard to choose just a few to award) but I am adhering to one rule, even though I'm late in doing so.

I am officially thanking both Kelley and E.Arroyo (there's that name again ;D ) for believing that my blog is worthy of such awards. Now, if you haven't already done so, go check out their blogs . . .

Friday 30 September 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Elena Dudina

I've said it before and I'm gonna say it again. I love Elena Dudina! Her work is breathtakingly stunning and beautiful.

And her website is well worth a visit. You won't be disappointed.

Enjoy and have a grand weekend!

Friday 23 September 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Don Barnett

Sticking with the whole Prehistoric/Dinosaur theme this week, I thought I'd go for a pic of our ol' faithful friend, T-Rex.

This one was created by artist Don Barnett.

The Tyrannosaur is famous for its ferocity, and there were plenty of other pics that depicted this, but this one has him more serene and just happily going about his merry way. I loved the more ferosious ones, don't get me wrong, but none of them had the colourings and contrast of this piece, or the mood or the atmosphere. That's what I love about this piece, and that's why I chose it.

Enjoy and have a grand weekend...

Monday 19 September 2011

Mummy, Where Do Dragon's Come From?

Look at this skull; what do you see? I see a Dragon. I see horns on both its beaked nose and above its eyes - and I'm not the only person to see this. This skull could be the connection between myth and reality. This is, in fact the skull of a Dinosaur - a Dracorex Hogwartsia (named - for reasons I'm not going to look up - after the Harry Potter series. Oh yeah, fact!).

The thing is, this beast could have been around with our early ancestors, thus creating a time when people did, in fact, roam with dragons. Back then, as the stories past verbally down from generation to generation, they grew with intensity; fact became exaggerated, then become a legend, followed by a myth - a time when dragons roamed the earth.

And lets face it, if an ancient Egyptian stumbled across this skull, they wouldn't exactly say, "Oh, that's a dinosaur fossil." No, it would fuel their mythological beliefs.

Take, as another example, the ancient Greeks, a civilisation famous for its unique religious views and legends. One famous mythological creature was the cyclops, a huge one-eyed beast. Where did this come from? Well, the remains of giant mammoths apparently scatter across Greek and neighbouring lands. One theory is that the Greeks stumbled across many of these skulls and, not knowing what they were, saw them for what they looked like, mistaking the huge nasal cavity for a single eye socket, and thus creating the legend of the cyclops.

Also, Greek legends are filled with creatures and gods that could turn people to stone, such as Medusa. As everyone knows, after several million years of lying in rock, dinosaur bones become fossils, ie stone. What if the ancients Greeks saw this and their only plausible theory was that they were turned - just like the kraken?

There are many people out there who are trying to connect Dinosaur fossils with myth, and another one that has them hungry is the Triceratops. Could a member of its family, with their beak nose, have given birth to the legend of the Griffin? And could some ancient discovered fossil have fueled the Chinese dragon myth?

It's a plausible concept. Stories and pictures become like Chinese whispers through time, and the creatures of myth that we are seeing today could have once been born from the discovery of dinosaur remains.

This subject really interested me this week, and as a writer I thought it was a great tool to consider when world building. If your world, like the ancient Greeks, is full of colourful, fantastic myths and legends then it may also help to understand where these stories originated from, giving your world a sense of depth and time. Just where do your dragons come from???

Friday 16 September 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Jena Della Grottaglia-Maldonado . . .

That's one hellova name - but then she's one hellovan artist.

My friend is getting married this weekend - ahhhh bless - and so I thought I'd go with the whole wedding theme. Not to put a downer on the event, I suddenly thought of the film 'Corpse Bride' and so googled it to see what it would come up with. Apart from the usual pictures of the film and the animated characters, I come across this little gem.

Jena Della Grottaglia - or the Autumn Goddess as she is also known as - has a gallery on both DeviantArt and her own website (worth a visit just to see it. It's stunning!). From her about me page I read that when she was younger the teacher set them an essay assignment of 1000 words, so she drew a picture and handed that in instead, claiming that a 'picture speaks 1000 words'. Classic!

So anyway, Jena Della Grottaglia-Maldonado's 'Corpse Bride'.

Enjoy and have a grand weekend...

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Odds and Sods...

What a weekend. Lots of things happened - well, I wouldn't say lots, but there was more than usual.

1: I finished the second part to Son of Jack, which you would have read about in Friday's post. It's now been emailed around to my critique group for them to savagely rip to pieces nicely :) I'm now planning part three and will begin new adventures in writing very soon.

2: I had a fight with my cat. It gets chilly in here sometimes, and just recently I've had to resort to bringing my blanket out of its summer hibernation (god knows what I'm gonna be like come winter). So, as I sat, wrapped up all nice, warm and cosy like in my blanket whilst working away, I was well aware of a pair of beady eyes watching me and sizing me and waiting for that moment. As I got up to get a drink, the fight began. As you can see from the below piccy, she

3: Hatfield House celebrated 400 years of existence. For those that aren't up on English History, the house that stands today was built in 1611, however, there was another house there before that was built in 1497. It housed two of Henry VIII's children, Edward - who was crowned King after Henry at the age of 9, and who died at the mere age of 15 - and his sister, Elizabeth, daughter of the famous Anne Boleyn, Henry's second wife who was beheaded for adultery and witchcraft. Elizabeth was to eventually to become Queen Elizabeth I.

In 1608 three wings were torn down by Robert Cecil, the First Earl of Salisbury, and was rebuilt to a new design, the design that still stands today and that celebrated its 400 year anniversary. And, boy, did it go out with a bang. Just under 15,000 fireworks were used on and around the actual house in the most spectacular firework display I've ever seen.

4: I finally got round to giving the picture of the X-men (Revisit that blog post to refresh your memory if you wish) that I had been working to my friend. I was really pleased with the way it come out and I hope they like it. But I couldn't give it away with taking a sneak piccy on my phone. The colours, albeit subtle, didn't come out in here. I may get another piccy at a later date.

5: And not forgetting the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. I held my respects on Sunday and my thoughts are with all the victims and survivors. I can't believe 10 years has gone since that horrible day. I can still remember exactly where I was and how sickened and horrified I felt when it happened. It's a day that has scarred us all.

Friday 9 September 2011

Pic of the Week . . . Schizophrenia

I finished the second part of 'Son of Jack' last night. I didn't think I would, but it was one of those evenings when I kept thinking "Just a little bit more - I'll just finish this bit," and before I knew it - well, at 1am - I finished. 30k. I was more than happy with that.

Normally when writing a novel, I plan my characters out so that I know more about them, thus being able to portray them better and keeping up with continuity. For 'Son of Jack' I haven't had the time to do that. Because I'm on a tight schedule to get the book finished, I've just jumped in the deep end. I hadn't done any prep work for my character Dan Pattman, but knew that he had to have a disorder and had to have a voice in his head.

Now, I'm ashamed to say that I don't know lots about Schizophrenia, and even as I started writing, the disorder never even entered my head. It wasn't until about a week ago whilst looking something up that I come across a website that highlighted the symptoms. It was then that I realised Dan was an undiagnosed schizophrenic. It was a huge surprise to me, and as I looked back at certain points in the story, things started to make sense.

Having put myself in the mind of such a person, I am now more the wiser of what they go through - okay, it may not be much, but I have a better understanding. So today I thought I'd dedicate this week's Pic of the Week to schizophrenia in hopes of creating more awareness.

Have a great weekend.