Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Adventures with a synopsis.

Before I jetted off on holiday I knew there was something to tackle. Something I had put off in the hope it would write itself.

We all know the pain. You spend hours writing your manuscript then endure hours of revision, eating chocolate, pulling of hair and caffeine induced hazes.

Finally the pain ends. To begin again with the synopsis.

I have always had a fear of the synopsis. I don't know why, it just terrifies the British stiff upper lip off me.

So, when I was reading Frankie Writes and she said she'd participated in an awesome query workshop I had to check it out.

But I thought you were talking about the synopsis?

I promise I'm getting to it.

After finishing the query workshop I found C.J also does synopsis workshops, so I signed up.

I have now finished my synopsis. Yes, the terror has ended and I am the proud owner of a shiny mini-version of my book.

So, if you ever need any help then check out C.J's site here.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

The Incredible Invisible Blogger

I have, unfortunately, been absent from the blogosphere since Monday due to hectic life, and I want to apologise.

*Big hugs and virtual chocolate bars all around*

Seriously, the guilt is awful, and I've missed reading your blogs everyday.

I shall be a bit of a mirage for the next three weeks. My brother gets married on the 4th of Las Vegas. After a week in Vegas, I am off to explore Los Angeles with my parents.

I am taking my laptop but my Internet access may be sporadic (since I don't know where the Wi-Fi hot spots are yet) so please don't think I don't love you all if I can't visit you, or desert me in my absence. I have a few posts scheduled while I am away and will be back, refreshed, and ready to make you giggle with my adventures on the 19th of July.

Warning: They will probably include me falling over with my dodgy balance, dropping stuff and general dumb stupidity moments. I am a klutz!

If anyone has any tips on things to do in Las Vegas and L.A let me know.

Oh, and if you are anywhere in my area, and you see a petite brunette with a lost look, please point me in the right direction. Better yet, draw me a map. :)

Monday, 21 June 2010

We Are All Different.

Yesterday I took my goddaughter to the recreation ground near our houses. There are the usual swings, slides and football pitch. There is also a wide expanse of space between the two.

Except there was something new in the space. Travellers had pitched up close to the trees.

There were already some council members asking them to move on.

I accept everyone has a right to live the lifestyle they want. It would be a pretty boring world if we were all the same. What frustrated me was the reactions of people around me. The whispering, the staring, the shouting one guy did out of the window calling them names.


Because of the stereotype of travellers/gypsies. They are typically portrayed as as thieves, people who don't pay taxes or contribute to the community.

When writing we are told to avoid stereotypes if possible. Give your character identity, quirks, flaws. Make them more than what we expect. Show the person behind the image.

So I thought about the travellers. I thought about the individual. The man who fell in love with a girl from a neighbouring caravan. They got married, had children and live their lives together in the same way my parents have.

The only difference is the one we label them with.

Today they have moved on. But I'm left wondering, unless we look deeper, who knows what people are like behind the stereotypes?

Within both life and writing.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Pitch Contest

Today the fabulous Renae at The Siren's Song announced a little contest.

On Monday agent Sarah LaPolla with Curtis Brown LTD. will be featured in an interview.

An interview, you said a contest. Well hold on here's the best bit...she is also judging a query pitch contest.

The contest starts Monday June 21st and will run through Tuesday June 22nd.

Here are the rules:

1. Be a follower of Renae's blog.

2. Follow Sarah LaPolla's blog Glass Cases

3. Enter only one pitch - check out what she is looking for submission wise.

The pitch can only be 1-3 sentences long. (not long run on sentences!) The pitches should be left in the comment section of Renae's blog.


1st place: The winner can submit the entire manuscript.
2nd place: The winner can submit a partial.
3rd place: The winner will get a query critique .

And in the words of Renae: "Be sure to spread the word and polish those pitches until they are bright and shiny and come back Monday to join in the excitement! Good luck to everyone!"

And thanks to Renae for holding such an awesome contest.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Fun Friday Facts

Since it's Friday, I thought I'd reveal a bit about my weirdness in a fun fact post. Hold on tight.

1) I love writing, reading and blogging. But you knew that already.

2) I love those lip balms/glosses that smell like fruit.

3) I like chocolate...but that's a different topic.

4) I like the free toys you get in cereal that you have to dig right down to the bottom of the packet to reach.

5) I have the ability to be reduced to childlike status when I take goddaughter in toy shops. I have to make sure they are suitable for her. :)

6) I save receipts until I can't close my purse anymore.

What about you? Do you have any fun facts to share?

Happy Friday :)

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Book Thoughts: Before I Die

I decided I wanted to share a book that I love. A book with a personal story behind it.

I'd been editing my MS for about a month. No one knew. No one had read it (other than me)because I was scared out of my mind.

Then I read this:

The book is about a teenage girl called Tessa with a few months to live. Tessa writes a list. A To Do list. Full of things to do before she dies. You know, the usual stuff: have sex, go to a club, visit certain places. And she sets off on a journey of self discovery, love and life.

There is an awkward first time sex experience, an estranged mother, and a love interest who isn't a gorgeous sparkly God. Add in a best friend who can be a bit of a bitch and who....nah, I promised no spoilers.

Tessa captured my attention from the first page. Her voice is sometimes biting, bitter, hopeful and raw but always honest. A teenager experiencing life while her body fails her.

I love books that grab hold of me and won't let go. I've read very few books that I can't stop thinking about once I've read them. Even fewer that make me cry. * By this I mean blub in epic proportions *

This book made me a tiny bit braver.

It helped me decide to push forward with my writing. To do the things I wanted rather than just dreaming about them. I joined Query Tracker and I started my blog. I thank Tessa for giving me the courage to start my journey. Not just dream about it.

At least that's one of the things ticked off my list. :)

"This is an affecting and brave novel...a reminder to value the people that matter, seize the moment, wish with courage, adventure with relish, even if it's just a trip to the swimming pool, drinking hot chocolate or driving down a duel carriageway in the rain." The Guardian

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


I'm sure a lot of you know about this by now but I still wanted to share.

Are you tired of never being able to go to a conference?
Do you write Kidlit? (Edit: Thanks Stina)
Do you want to get in on the action and talk to real life agents and everything?

You do. * Phew*

The awesomeness of Elana Johnson, Casey McCormick, Lisa & Laura Roecker, Shannon Messenger and Jamie Harrington have an announcement for you.

As an International bunny who never gets to conferences (and really, really wants to go) I've already marked the dates in my diary. August 10th-12th 2010

Edit: This piece of info has beeb posted on the WriteOnCon website.

What WriteOnCon isn’t:

"WriteOnCon is also not exclusive to kidlit writers. In order to stay organized, the curriculum has been focused on picture book, middle grade, and young adult writers. However, much of the information provided will apply to all writers, and since the conference is free, any interested writer is encouraged to attend. "

So anyone can take part. Feel free to pop over and check it out. :)

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Penmanship Meme.

The awesome Sandy Shin tagged me for the Penmanship Meme on Friday. The rule is to do the meme on paper and scan it (or take a picture if you don't have a scanner). Here are the items:

1. Name/Blog Name.
2. Right handed, left handed or both?
3. Favorite letters to write?
4. Least favorite letters to write?
5. Write: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
6. Write in caps:
7. Favorite song lyrics?
8. Tag 7 people.
9. Any special note or drawing?

After an epic battle with my scanner here is the hand-written version.

All I can say is that my writing seems to have gotten worse the older I get. Like Sandy I blame the frantic scribbling lecture notes at University.

If you can't see the names of the people in the list I've tagged they are:

Tahereh, Renae, Bethany Elizabeth, Stina, Amparo, Shannon McMahon and Justine Dell.

Hope you have fun doing this too. :)

Monday, 14 June 2010

Weekend of urgh...

First an apology.

Sorry that I haven't been around to visit your blogs this weekend.

I spent most of Saturday trying to look interested while my dad put a new alternator on my car.
I love my car. It's blue and called TARDIS (because it's bigger on the inside) but the occasional not starting has been a pain.

I can now turn the key without crossing my fingers and praying the battery has enough charge in it to start. Every time I went anywhere I had to be prepared to call my dad to get the jump leads ready for a rescue attempt. Really put my independent modern woman status on a downer. haha.

The rest of my weekend was taken up by tiredness.

I had two algebra exams to start and end my week. One thing you may need to know about me, I'm a huge worrier when it comes to exams. Hate them. So sleep has been an elusive bedfellow for me. Until Saturday night when it returned with a vengeance...

But now I am back. :)

I was tagged by the awesome Sandy Shin to do the penmanship meme on Friday. I shall have an epic battle with my scanner later to get this posted for tomorrow.
I also took all your comments on Friday's book thoughts into account and will be doing a book thought post this week.

I hope you'll like it.

So how was your weekend?

Friday, 11 June 2010

A Question.

As you know I have no regular feature on my blog.

I'm pretty much a panster within all forms of writing. :)

But after my Bree Tanner post, I realised I enjoyed sharing the book with you and your thoughts on it. So I wondered if I should post my book thoughts more often?

I promise I won't spoil plots or ruin endings (cause I hate that myself. lol). I won't turn into a book reviewing blog because there are lots of awesome ones out there.

But I kind of like the idea of sharing books I enjoyed with you all.

And I have a lot of books.

So let me know what you think? Does it sound like a fun idea?

Happy Friday Everyone. :)

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Bree Tanner

Last night, and into the early hours of this morning, I was reading.

I was reading a novella that, try as I might, I couldn't put down. I had to pick it up again to finish it. At 2:45am I closed The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer.

And my verdict?

I enjoyed it. I'm not going to give a plot breakdown or anything. I do have a few thoughts I wanted to share.

I found the whole events leading up to the battle in Eclipse absorbing. Why? Because of Bree and the way she drew me into her world. It made me feel connected to her in the same way I did for Bella when I first read Twilight. In other circumstances she could have been just like Bella.

I know she is supposed to be a 'bad' vampire, but she's also a young girl. Scared, alone, unsure of her true place in the world. She wants to be good. She wants to belong. To love. To live. She fights the nature that has been thrust upon her to quench someone else's revenge.

There's also some pretty cool Volturi info we didn't know about. It did make some stuff Edward alludes to clearer. But you have to read it first. All I will say is the Volturi are tricksy.

What made it sadder was I knew her fate. Still, I wanted a happy ending for her all the same. In some alternate universe Bree could have fitted in with the Cullen clan. Become one of the 'yellow eyes.' Yet, in the end, Bree became a victim of the Volturi message. A warning to other's to control their newborns.

If I do read Eclipse again -I'm sure I will -I'll see Bree with new eyes. As Meyer says in her Introduction:

"You know this: It doesn't end well for her. But at least you will know the whole story. And that no perspective is ever really trivial."

I hope I can remember this message when I'm writing/revising my own stories. No perspective is trivial. :)

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

25 Questions.

I saw this questionnaire on Storywings and it looked like fun. So sit back, relax and be prepared to enter my world.

1. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?
I sleep with them closed. I hate the idea of them being open. Maybe it's a repressed fear of a monster attacking me. Who knows? :)

2. Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotels?
I'm a freak and have really sensitive skin so I tend to stick to the same stuff. My Mum does though. She's the human equivalent of a heat seeking missile of free things. :)

3. Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?
They start tucked in but I wriggle. I do sometimes wonder what I do in my sleep because my covers end up wrapped around my legs, fall half-way off the bed...I think the bedroom pixies tug at them.

4. Would you rather be attacked by a bear or a swarm of bees?
Hmm, huge bear. I'd hate to be responsible for all those bees dying after they got off one good sting.

5. Do you have freckles?
Yup. A few faded on my nose and lots of, what my Mum calls 'beauty spots,' dotted at various points across my body.

6. What is your biggest pet peeve?
People spitting on the street. It makes me feel physically sick.

7. Have you ever peed in the woods?
Yes, I used to go camping and sometimes you just have to go. In my defence I was an impressionable child and my Mum told me to do it. *Blushes in shame*

8. Do you ever dance if there’s no music playing?
Yeah, sometimes.

9. Do you chew your pens and pencils?
No. I like them to stay pretty.

10. Is it okay for guys to wear pink?
That depends on how pink we're talking. Neon pink = no. Subtle pink = yeah.

11. What do you dip a chicken nugget in?
I've not had a chicken nugget for ages. But last time I did I dipped it in tomato sauce.

12. What is your favorite food?
It's a tie between yogurt and digestive biscuits. Or bread. Or pasta. Maybe grapes. Or bananas. Or just food in general. :)

13. What movies could you watch over and over and still love?
Grease, Dirty Dancing, Splash, Disney movies...there are too many to list.

14. Were you ever a boy/girl scout?
No. But I was in the St. John's Ambulance Brigade. We did first aid.

15. Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine?
No, I'm way to shy. Plus it would ruin the saleability of the issue. :)

16. Can you change the oil on a car?
No, my dad changes it (like he does most of my car stuff). He's such a great Dad.

17. Ever gotten a speeding ticket?
No. I'm a speed limit girl.

18. Ever ran out of gas?
I panic when it gets to half empty! I get laughed at a lot because of that.

19. Are you lazy?
I am known to have moments of sloth.

20. When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween?
I dressed up as Cat Woman for a Halloween party once when I was about eight. Other than that I wasn't really big on Halloween.
I did take my goddaughter out dressed up as a really cute witch last year though (it was her first Halloween so I had to help eat the stuff she wasn't allowed.).

21. How many languages can you speak?
I have enough trouble with English. I did learn French and Italian at school, but only enough to get by.

22. Who is better…Leno or Letterman?
Sorry, don't watch either over here.

23. Do you sing in the car?
Yes, all the time. At the moment it's Old MacDonald had a farm since my car has been commanded by a seventeen-month-old who demands it on. I forget to take out the CD all the time when my friend and the little one aren't with me!

24. Ever eat a pierogi?
Hang on. *Google.* Nope.

25. First concert?
Um, on my own it was the Red Hot Chili Peppers. As a child it was Disney on Ice. Is that even classed as a concert?

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Another Awesome Contest.

A huge thanks everyone for making me realise I'm not some freak wandering around offering recommendations to random people in bookstores. I shall continue to spread the book love with pride. :)

Talking about spreading the book love...Here is another cool contest on the blogosphere that I thought I'd highlight.

To celebrate 100+ followers the fabulous Sandy Shin is giving away a pre-ordered copy of Matched, which is released in November.

Here is the blurb:

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It's barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path no one else has ever dared follow--between perfection and passion.

Matched is a story for right now and storytelling with the resonance of a classic.

So how can you win?

All you have to do is be a follower of Sandy's blog and fill in the form.


The contest ends Sunday June 20th at midnight. The winner will be announced on the 21st June.

Good luck.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Book Tales.


I braved the unusual British heat --and a very hot car without air conditioning -- to go pick up my waiting copy of The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner.

But that's not my point.

While lurking, I mean perusing the shelves, I helped a young girl find a copy of Rebel by R.J.Anderson. I knew where to find it on the shelf. I also knew which shop to find a copy if it wasn't there!

Another shop and another helping moment. Teenager is looking for a book. I recommend a book I thought she might enjoy...

As teen and her mum walk to pay I wonder if I've become some unauthorised bookshop helper?

Am I the guardian angel of book recommendations for random people who cross my path?

Please end my misery. Tell me I'm not the only one who does this.

For the funny...check out today's post from Tahereh for twenty free ways to love your manuscript.

I promise you will smile. :)

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Another Fantastic Giveaway.

I love a good book. You love a good book. We all love books.

After a post hinting about an amazing book she had read, the awesome Tahereh revealed yesterday that the book in question is The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. That wasn't all. She also has three copies to give away to three winners.

All you have to do is be a follower and leave a book recommendation in the comments section. Easy. :)

Closes on Sunday 6th June at 11:59 PST

Friday, 4 June 2010


I would have loved to go to BEA. Yup, I imagine we all wanted to go. Especially with the awesome ARCS up for grabs. So when I happened upon this post on Renae's blog yesterday I did a little happy dance. Not only did it point me towards another fabulous blog but an amazing competition too.

And here are the prizes.

Michelle Hodkin is having the contest to celebrate her signing with an agent and her book deal and these are the prizes.

Winner one: BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl and MATCHED by Ally Condie.

Winner two: THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger and MATCHED by Ally Condie.

So how do I get a chance to win these ARCS? Here is how you enter.

Comment on her post with your favourite first sentence- it doesn't have to be from your favourite book. It doesn't even have to be your favourite first sentence.
Remember to leave your name and your email address.

For extra entries:
+1 New followers of her blog.
+2 If you're already a follower of her blog.
+1 New followers on Twitter.
+2 If you're already a follower on Twitter.
+1 Linking to her contest on your blog, twitter, etc. Include links. (up to 5).
+3 For posting about her contest on your blog. (Must be an actual post).
+2 Add Michelle to your blog roll.
+3 for referring someone to the contest.
+3 for being the person referred.

So I imagine that I would tell Michelle that Renae sent me and get her +3 entries and me +3 entries.

And the best news is the contest is open internationally. Get your entries in by 11:59 on June 9th. Michelle announces the winners on June 11th. Good luck.

Happy Friday. :)

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Happily Ever After?

Mayowa had a fantastic post yesterday about the romance novel as a drug. If you have time hop over and check it out.

After I commented the idea that we only ever see the beginnings of love struck a chord with me. We go through the courtship to the marriage and no further.

That got me thinking about the various fairy tales. Think about it. As kids we read about Cinderella getting her happy ever after with Prince Charming. Snow White is awakened by a kiss and rides off into the sunset. Belle marries her ex-beast come hottie. Sleeping Beauty wakes up and marries the prince. Everyone is happy.


What we don't see is the aftermath.

We don't see Belle getting angry because the ex-beast is cutting his toenails on the new sheets.

Sleeping Beauty must get fed up with Prince Phillip always going on about waking her up. Or about how she suffers from insomnia now because her hero snores.

Snow White must get annoyed when the Prince -- despite many weeks of hinting -- doesn't get the one thing she wants for her birthday. This is what happens when you marry someone you hardly know.

And what about Cinderella? We follow her from servitude to princess but miss the part where she gets annoyed for having to pick up Charming's socks, or complaining when he leaves the gilt toilet seat up.

So here it is, the 'deleted scene' from Cinderella:

The scream from the bathroom echoes around the suite. Charming looks up from the edge of the bed where he is pulling on his stockings.

The shadow casts its ominous presence across the room. Through coal-black lashes Charming observes the figure of his wife, the beautiful Cinderella.

"Morning darling."

"Don't you darling me." Cinderella frowns.

"What's wrong?"

A groan rumbles deep within Cinderella's throat. "You left the toilet seat up...again."

The icy stare pierces his heart and tears into his soul. Damn, I knew there was something I forgot to do.

See, it's not really romantic is it? :)

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

I Heart Books.

I've spent an enormous amount of time in the bookshop over the last two weeks.


I could lie. Pretend I got conned by the 3 for 2 sign in the window. But that would be a misrepresentation of information.

No I went in there with specific reasons. A nefarious plot that saw me rubbing my hands in glee.

1)I have a loyalty card that gives me points to buy more books. My last free book? A nursery rhyme collection for the goddaughter, my toddler student in the school of book/reading love.

2)I was looking for a specific book. Didn't see it though. Grrrr.

3)It's peaceful.

I can browse the shelves and time seems to slow. The spines whisper and vie for attention.

"Take us home, read us and love us. Let us inspire you."

I get the same feeling when I walk into the library. The stacks hold promised tomes which wait to be uncovered like the treasures of Egypt. Only without the rumours of curses.

A nightmare about a killer book monster coming after me would not be fun. A good story idea, but not fun. :)

What is it about the power of books? Words on a page inspire us, make us think and encourage us to be creative in subtle ways. They feed our imaginations and draw us into other worlds/situations.

No wonder we all strive to recreate the same feelings within our own manuscripts.

Books are like chocolate. They release the rush of endorphins you get from eating the treat but without the calories.

Even if they are just as addictive. :)

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

My technical stupidness.

For some reason, even though I changed the date, my post for today has be listed as being posted Saturday.