Monday, 23 January 2012

Goodbye Blogger, Hello Wordpress

Can you tell what this post is going to be about?
Well, it's about me, moving, to Wordpress.
I kind of have already. 
So, um, yeah - subscribe?

It's here:

I don't mean to be a pain in the jacksie (I know I am, but I really don't mean it.) - I just really needed a fresh start, you know? A new look, a new name, a new format? So, um, click the giant link and subscribe to the new blog via email/RSS/your Wordpress Account.

Thanks guys!

Much love and all the jazzy stuff,

Friday, 20 January 2012

#FridayFlash - 'An Appetite For Knowledge'

Once upon a time, in a land known as Scriptoria there lived a man named Hector. Hector was a good man. He led an average life. He worked, he fed his family and he occasionally drank expensive coffee. He was content with his life.
Hector had dreams though. Big dreams. He wanted to write stories, the kind of stories that would be know all over Scriptoria. Writings that would be compared to the likes of Shakingspear and Yeast. Hector knew that he was capable of writing such works, but his wife was adamant that he was only good for fixing broken tables and the like. Hector, however, had other plans. He would sneak out to the barn in the middle of the night and he would write what little he could before dawn. He worked tirelessly with pen and paper, because the clacking keys of a typewriter would be sure to wake his wife and child. 
One day, after many years of slaving away over what Hector knew would be the greatest story ever written, Hector decided to go to the library to make sure no one else had written his story. In a quiet section, way at the back of the great old library he found a book relating to the occult arts. Hector had never before considered such a thing, but the book caught his eye. It was unlike any book he had ever seen. The black leather cover was creased with age, with beautiful gold lettering written in an ancient language. Though Hector didn’t realise it was any different, he could read the language. He was drawn to the book as he had seen moths drawn to his lantern in the barn. He picked up the book with the care he would give his own daughter. The things he discovered in that book confirmed every dream he had ever had. 
The first ‘lesson’ Hector learned from the ancient book was one which he took to wholeheartedly. It taught him how to steal ideas from people’s minds, and completely erase their knowledge of it. It was simple, he would brew a special tea and make them drink it - they would in turn give him all their ideas and forget about it themselves. Hector used these ideas to write books, and sold them to countless readers. He made enough money to buy his family a grand house, and everything they every wanted to go in it.
As time went by, Hector realised that this wasn’t enough. Having their ideas was not the same as having their knowledge. He consulted the book again, and discovered exactly what he needed. He invited great writers to his home, and would lead them to his ‘writing room’ deep under the ground of the house. In truth, it was no more a writing room than a prison is a hotel. It was here he carried out the lessons he learned from the occult. He would remove the parts of these writers’ brains where all their knowledge was kept. Hector was no surgeon, but the book had some very detailed diagrams which were easy enough to follow. He would then sew up the poor writers’ heads and let them away through a tunnel he had constructed. After this process, he would fry up the brains with garlic and spices and the like, and eat them down with a glass of expensive wine. Soon Hector had all the knowledge he wanted from writers. He had developed such a liking for sauteed brains, that he moved onto other intellectuals. Every intelligent in Scriptoria was invited to grand parties at Hector’s abode. Hector became the cleverest, most respected academic in the whole of the land. 
But now we come to the end of our tale. Since Hector had literally devoured the knowledge of every intellectual in Scriptoria, he had become famous beyond measure. He bathed in his glory for many years, and lived to a ripe old age. The book of occult magic remained in his possession until the day he died. I say he died. But honestly, his daughter found the book when Hector was almost eighty years old, she found the lessons her father had learned, and decided that she wanted a piece of the fame he had. So she ate his brain, not just the important parts, the whole of it. And now she resides in a grand palace full of books she has written.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Nothing To Report...

No, seriously.
You guys, I haven't written a single word.
I feel like a bit of a failure.

The thing is though, I know that I should be writing - a minimum of 500 words a day towards my current WiPs, it's really not a lot to ask. But I haven't done anything the last few days because my mind has become a mire of murkiness and fog and other such euphemisms. It's upsetting, to say the least. I kind of feel like this:

Only difference? I'm on chapter four. 

It's not like it's hard work - I'm only rewriting the thing in a different POV, and chopping the crappy bits out and adding things like colours, and trees, and food. You know, all the good stuff. 

Truth be told - my heart's not in it. Not just now anyway. I've had some amazing feedback from @LairdSapir and @Writing4Rent on the first couple of chapters - they have both been so supportive, and now I feel like I'm letting them down. I know I'm not, but I still feel that way. Don't argue the point, okay?

Anyway - there is light at the end of the tunnel - the very long, rocky, pitch black tunnel - I've been offered a place on a Creative Writing course, which I believe starts on the 23rd of this month. Fingers crossed that gets me motivated. To do something awesome. Or at least edit things. Also, I owe you a story @Writing4Rent - I promise, I'll do it soon. It might even be semi-autobiographical!

I really like that picture. It has my favourite thing in it - sharpened pencils! When I was at primary school, my favourite part of the day was when I had a blunt pencil and I got to go up to the teacher's desk and use the fancy winder-operated pencil sharpener. Ah, the memories.

Anyway, back to point in hand, yes? Wait, what was the point? I forget. You tell me!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

New Year - New Plans!

Hallo there my lovelies!

Apologies first - I'm dropping out of The Glitter Lady's #Nightgale challenge for this month. As for my 'Resolution Confusion' challenge - I'll write up something for that on my Tumblr, and I'll get round to reading everyone's entries & commenting tomorrow.

Now onto the juicy bits. (Not really). As you all know I took part in NaNoWriMo 2011, and I fell in love with the story that came from that madness. I am now editing and rewriting and polishing 'The Bronze Feather'. Clearly that is going to take up a whole lot of my time - due to this 'The Sword of Chera' has been put aside. The plan, though, is to finish that along side editing 'The Bronze Feather'. Again, giving myself a whole lot of work. I'm hoping to self publish both by the end of this year. The counter on the right there titled  '#WIP500' will keep you abreast of my writing progress. I'm hoping that I'll manage 168,000 words by the 31st of December!

So, what does that mean for the bloggy-blog? It means a whole new timetable!

Monday: Writerly Updates + #WIP500 Updates
Wednesday: General 'Timony madness
Friday: A bit of Flash Fiction for you to enjoy!

What are your plans for this year? Are you writing or editing? Do you have any tips?

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A to Z Book Challenge

I'm taking part in a reading challenge - as well as attempting to read 100 books in 2012, I am going to attempt to read one book per letter of the alphabet. It's all very simple really, and if you want more details or want to join in check out Babies,Books, and Signs for all the glorious details!

I'll update the list as I read, and you can check my Goodreads progress in the sidebar.

  • A - 
  • B -  'Blood of the Fold' - Terry Goodkind
  • C -
  • D - 
  • E - 
  • F - 
  • G -
  • H - 
  • I - 
  • J - 
  • K - 
  • L - 
  • M - 
  • N - 
  • O - 
  • P - 
  • Q - 
  • R - 
  • S - 'Stone of Tears' - Terry Goodkind
  • T - 
  • U - 
  • V - 
  • W - 
  • X - 
  • Y - 
  • Z - 

Friday, 30 December 2011

"The Strugglers"

Planet Starbucks, home of coffee and struggling writers, is under attack! It is a hostage situation, the 'Starving Artists Movement' have swept in with their arcrylic paints. We have had no demands thus far, though we are expecting them soon. We send out a plea to other desperate writes in the far off corners of the Mocha Galaxy, we need your skills, you must help us end this!

"Have you read this, Zak? Planet Starbucks? We were there on holiday a few months back, remember? Before we got those publishing deals." Eoghann peered closely at the newspaper, it was a morning ritual. He would read the news, and point out the interesting bits while Zack made breakfast. "Really? Do you think the SAM want the free coffe too? I mean it's not like the Writers have ever stopped them." Eoghann furrowed his brow, it certainly was strange. This newspaper never covered interplanetary news, especially when it came to the 'strugglers' - it was more of a 'let's praise the published ones' paper. Why on earth would they have posted such an ad? Zack noticed his worried expression, "Well let's help them then! Gina still lives there, you know how she's addicted to the place. We could call her, find out what's going on?" Eoghann nodded, still wondering what the hell the SAM would be taking over Planet Starbucks for.

Gina Frost was panicking, she was so close to finishing this book. SO close, but somehow the ending would just not come to her. And now the SAM had turned up, demanding that the 'strugglers' vacate the planet. No one had ever stopped the SAM members from staying here, making full use of the coffee and paninis. That's what the place was set up for. For people who needed the caffeine and mozzarella to stay inspired. She paced around her little pod, out here things were different. People weren't judged for not being published or successful. Everyone was in the same boat, it wasn't like Earth where status was the only thing that mattered anymore. There was an incessant beeping from the kichen, someone was calling. She ran through, wondering who would be calling her. It wasn't like Gina had any friends - not really, her writing had taken most of her spare time. She pressed her thumb to the glossy screen in front of her, the screen instantly filled with an image. "Oh my gosh! Zack, Eoghann! How are you?" She was so excited to see them, since they had become one of the Elite and returned to Earth she hadn't heard much from them. Zack's benign smile, and Eoghann's furrowed brow were the last thing she had been expecting to see. "We heard what's going on, can you tell us anymore? What can we do to help?" Eoghann, always straight to the point. "Ooh I love what you've done with your hair Gina, the red really suits you!" Zack, ever ready with a compliment. Gina took a deep breath, feeling herself blush - if she was honest, she had always had a bit of a crush on Zack. "I'm not sure exactly, guys, but the SAM members have turned up and they're wanting all the 'strugglers' to leave. They're saying we don't deserve this place. Everyone's telling them that they've always been welcome here," she shook her head, her red hair billowing about her, "they just can't seem to accept that writers and artists can co-exist." Zack and Eoghann both sighed in frustration, the same old story. the Elite had thought that by designating Starbucks to all those who were struggling would put an end to the age old struggle. Clearly it hadn't. "But what can we do, Gina?" She shrugged her shoulders, just as clueless as they were.

The Starving Artists Movement has made a demand. A list of demands. They want Planet Starbucks for themselves, and they want the Struggling Writers to leave. They also want Planet Starbucks to become a Vegan-only society. We plead with all writers out there, we need your help! The Elite has also sent a message to the SAM but they have taken no heed, writers please help.

Gina watched as the members of the SAM removed all meat and dairy products from the ‘strugglers’ pods. They were dragging people out on to the walkways and jeering them. She felt awful, all she could think about was finishing her novel and getting back to Earth. She had spoken with Eoghann and Zack for most of the night, but they had been able to come with nothing that would help. She had suggested offering the SAM Planet Costa, but according to Zack it was seen as ‘less’ than Starbucks. Eventually she had conceded that there was nothing they could do, after all the dancers lived on Costa and they were unlikely to give in to the SAM. She had gone to bed with her thoughts racing.

Zack and Eoghann had been up most of the night, drinking copious amounts of coffee and making notes. They could think of nothing, the suggestion of Costa had been thrown out as soon as it had come out of Gina’s mouth. That left only Planet Nero. And that was inhabited by the Elitists. Not to be confused with the Elite who inhabited Earth, the Elitists were the ones who thought themselves above everyone else. Eventually Zack spoke up, “Since when have the SAM been Vegan?”, Eoghann had been wondering the same thing, “Honestly, Zack, I have no idea. But you know what they’re like - always on to the next big thing.” They looked back to their notes, “You know Eoghann, maybe it’s time the Turks got a look in. Planet Wendy’s is falling to bits. No one goes there any more. Maybe we should suggest this to the President. After all, he is your brother.” Zack had that grin going, the one that meant he was feeling a little mischievous. Eoghann couldn’t help but grin either. “Zack you are an absolute genius! I knew there was a reason I married you!”
President Carl Hitchkins was pacing his office, this was a complete mess. What the hell did the SAM think they were doing? They weren’t the only ones suffering for their art. How many writers had given in to the madness? How many writers had died under the burden of unfinished novels? It was complete insanity, and they knew it. He couldn’t understand what had come over them. And with it being Christmas, most of his aides were on holiday. He had briefly considered calling his younger brother, but had tossed the idea aside. A high pitched ringing from his desk brought him back to reality, the call screen was flashing. He touched his thumb to the screen to be greeted by a familiar face. “Eoghann! How are you?” Eoghann smiled, he didn’t get to speak to his brother often enough these days, “Hey big brother! I’m doing good. But enough of the formalities, I can see you’re doing well - you’ve got a nice shade of grey going on.” Carl was indeed looking rather pallid, “Look, I’m calling with a suggestion. You know Wendy’s is dead, so why not give the Turks a call? You know Hassid Ali makes the best coffee on Earth. We could send the writers there, and let the SAM have Starbucks.” Carl grinned, why hadn’t he thought of that? Then again, that was why they had asked writers for their help. “Eoghann, you are quite possibly the smartest person on this Earth. Why did no one else think of doing this?” Zack’s face filled the screen, “Actually, Mr President, it was my idea. And you haven’t tasted Hassid’s coffee!” With quick thanks, Carl signed off and went about getting in touch with the right people.

The SAM have been given Planet Starbucks, and their vegan menu. The Struggling Writers have now been given a new home in the Mocha Galaxy - Planet Kahve. It has the best coffee, the best kabob and the fastest internet speeds known to man. We had always know that the writers would come through, and it is thanks to Eoghann & Zack Hitchkins that we found a solution. Undoubtedly the SAM will soon want some thing new, but until that day good luck with your writing and enjoy your lattes!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

For Auld Lang Syne...


It's almost over. 

It's been one hell of a year. It really has. It feels like it was only yesterday that I sat down in front of the computer and decided to start this blog way back at the beginning of the year. I had no idea then just how much of a blessing this little corner of mine in the World Wide Web would turn out to be.

It's been a bumpy ride, this Twenty-Eleven. So much has happened, I've learned and lived more this year than any other. There were big things, and little things and all the in-between things. 

I faced death, and discovered that I have someone who loves me, quite literally, to death. 
I faced my worst nightmares, and realised that that's all they really are.
I lost friends, but found people who are far worthier of my friendship in the process.
I rediscovered a talent, long since abandoned and found a confidence within myself again.

Along the way, I've learned to rely on my own judgement more than others. I've learned that I needn't be afraid to speak the truth. I've learned that, no matter what I have believed in the past, I am a good person.

This was also a year for writing. Good and bad. I started 'Soul Writing' and it helped in ways I could not have possibly imagined. There were also the monthly Blog Challenges I started hosting in the Summer, I met so many wonderful bloggers because of these and I will be forever grateful that you are all part of my life. And then there is my personal biggest achievement of the year - completing NaNoWriMo. 

There are so many highlights from Twenty-Eleven, too many to list but I will share my favourite pictures with you guys.

Bringing home Koko-Mosi in May
Our visit to Stirling Castle in July
Spending our third Christmas together.

So, yes, there have been some really tough times this year. But they all brought something positive with them.

I don't know what Twenty-Twelve will bring us, but I know that whatever it throws at me I will get through it because I have my Mancreature and my friends by my side.

To all of you, I wish a very Happy New Year and hope that great things are ahead!