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Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Cakes And Queries.

Today I am making cakes. Not writing cakes, a real birthday cake for a friend.

So, while I'm roasting in the kitchen, I started to thing about creating things/doing things for others.

And here is your chance.

The awesome Katie Mills (a.k.a Creepy Query Girl) has her query for her novel, FOSSEGRIM up for comments at Matt's blog, theqqqe.

So feel free to hop over and help Katie get her query filled with more sparkles than a cupcake with sprinkles.

I promise it will be just as yummy as cake.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Tag: You're It

I figured that since I'm investing in my writing, I should invest in my body as well. Which means regular exercise...and using my gym membership. So I've been. The verdict: my body hates me. My legs are crying, but I feel pretty good for it.

So I was glad when I read Renae's post on Internet tag. I have to answer eight questions, and tag eight people to answer the same. But Renae, and the agents over at Coffee. Tea. And Literary tagged everyone who read thee post. So I'm doing the same.

Don't blame me, blame my poor tormented limbs...they made me do it. :)


1. If you could have a superpower, what would you have? Why?

It's a mix between flying or super speed. Flying for fun, super speed for getting stuff done...oh and writing, reading

2. Who is your style icon?

Hmm. I'm rather eclectic in my fashion sense (my friend calls me a hippy/rock chick). I'd have to say I'm a mix of both styles, but I don't really have a style icon...I'm like a magpie.

3. What is your favorite quote?

"Have no fear of perfection -- you'll never reach it." (Salvador Dali)
4. What is the best compliment you've ever received?

Err, I'm not sure on that one. But I do like being told that I've helped someone, that's the best compliment for me. I like it if I can make other people smile.

5. What playlist/cd is on your ipod/cd player right now?

The play list for my current wip is on repeat on my ipod at the moment. It has lots of Muse, Apocalyptica, Coldplay and The Script on it.

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

I'm a night owl, but not too late. I'm the Goldilocks of sleep. :)

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?

Dogs. I like cats, but we only ever had a dog when I was younger. I do like cats though.

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?

I called my blog 'Adventures In Writing' because you can never have too many adventures. Besides, for me, that's what writing/reading is -- full of adventures.  
 
So that's me. Feel free to partake in the tag yourself.

Monday, 27 September 2010

1k A Day Challenge


I've been getting together on gmail chat with my CP's for daily write-a-thons. Since we've been having so much fun kicking our current wip word count into submission, Kristal had an awesome thought -- a 1K a day challenge.

I'll let her explain it:

I did a little math. If I write a little over 1k a day, I can finish my current project's 1st draft by the end of October, right in time to plung into NaNo again. And, even though I dislike NaNo, it is a great platform to START a book. I'm not sure if I would've gotten the jump start I needed without it last year. And, like I said, I want to continue in the habit of creating something new. If I finish the first draft of my current project, I want to have something prepared to write, so I can create while I edit the current book--which is where this NaNo idea comes in.

So I start today, writing at least 1k a day. Starting October 1st, I'd like you all to join me. I will post daily updates on my personal blog, and on Tuesdays, I expect you all to check in on the Operation Awesome blog and tell me how you're doing. And, as long as you are on that writing horse, join me also in November for NaNoWriMo. You can join me for one or the other, or both goals.

This coming Tuesday I will post code for the cute little button on Operation Awesome, so you can put it on your blog. Use it as a way to commit yourself to this goal. And, like me, tell everyone else. Perhaps by putting it out there, we will be more likely to achieve our goals.

If you can't do 1k a day, try a page a day. Let's get in the habit of creating something new.

Who is with me?

*Holds up hand*

So that's the challenge...anyone care to join us?

Friday, 24 September 2010

The Great Blogging Experiement: Writing Compelling Characters

Today there is awesome happening around the blogosphere. Elana Johnson, Jen Daiker and Alex Cavanaugh have teamed up to create The Great Blogging Experiment.

Why an experiment? Because with one topic to discuss the theory is that each post will be unique.

The topic: What makes a compelling character?

For me it's a combination of two elements -- voice and flaws. I want someone who is human.

Sure, they can be a million miles away from who I am, but I want to open the page and connect with them. Why would I spend 300 pages with them if I didn't?  

I mean, I don't live in a world where teens kill each other on live TV to satisfy the government like in The Hunger Games, but I cared about Katniss. Why? She's sarky, feisty, loyal, confused, tough but vulnerable. She sacrifices herself to protect her sister and, despite coming out the other side alive, has to live with the nightmares.

And the best thing? I get to know her as the story progresses.

I'll admit I never know everything about my characters when I start a new wip. For me, reading a new book/writing a new wip, is like making a friend.

The voice comes first, giving a flavour of who they are. But there needs to be something there to make me want to stay talking/reading them. There may no be a magical ingredient, unless you are Harry Potter, but the one thing I find compelling is this -- they are human.

I don't want perfect. Sure, it would be nice if we lived in a world like that, but we know we don't. I want to see their flaws. Show me weakness, fear, the odd little habits that make no sense to anyone but themselves. I want to see them evolve as a person. A character never shows who they are straight away, it's waiting to be discovered in the time you take to get to know each other.

Just like making a friend, it's knowing there is something else there. That, for me, is what makes them compelling.

Happy Friday. :)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Writing Reviews

While I live in the word of my imagination for a good portion of the day, I also venture out into the real world once in a while.

Even though the bright light hurts my eyes, and turns me into a slimy monster if a drop of water even touches me. Oops, sorry that's what I get for watching Gremlins last night.

Anyway...today I am off to the land of the bank for an account review. I've been putting it off for a while. Sorting out my current/savings accounts is not something that fills me with glee. I'd rename it "Book Funds" rather than savings if I had the chance.

But then it hit me...a review is an awesome way of checking in as a writer.

During the account review they ask you loads of 'useful' questions like "What do you want your money to do for you?"

What I want to say is "Buy books and pretty things." Instead I mumble something like, "Grow."

And that is what I want to do as a writer -- grow.

- Am I investing time in learning my craft?
- Am I returning my debits from the writing community with interest? By this I mean do I contribute to the writing community enough?
- Do I push myself hard enough to make my money/wip) grow (with a word count)?

So far I hope I'm meeting all my goals. Because, like money, writing only works for you if you invest in it.

P.S. Today is also my day to post over on Operation Awesome.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Write. Write. Write.

I'm deep in first draft land on the wip. My mind is full of moving chapters around, scenes pop in my head at inopportune moments. I'm getting what I call "the look" from my friends and family. You know, the one where you go all quiet as a scene/idea/dialogue pops into your head.

I'm lucky my friends and family have gotten used to me disappearing into imagination land. I tend to re-appear once the first draft is written and I begin to edit. Until then, I'm there, but I'm prone to wander into my world of write, write, write.

Last week I had a huge writing week...a 7k writing week. I'm hoping to get something similar done this week, but (while I know the family/friends won't disappear -- thankfully!) I'm worried that the words will disappear from my head.

I know it's a weird thought to have, but I can't help it. Each thought that flutters in could be the key scene in my book, a turning point, an emotional high or low. Each thought could be the one I need to close/open the new chapter.

To combat this, while I'm out and about, I type notes into the notepad on my phone. Or, if I'm a bit more stationary, I'm getting out my note pad, trapping the thoughts on paper so they can't flutter away. Anything to make the words stay put. :)

How about you? How do you cope with the inconvenient writing prompts popping in your head?

Sunday, 19 September 2010

SPEAK Up.

I don't normally post on a Sunday, but I'm SPEAKing up. I'm also leaving this post up for Monday as well.

In an opinion piece, Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK has been characterised as filthy and immoral. Then goes on to call "soft pornography" due to two rape scenes.

Laurie Halse Anderson's original post on the subject can be found here.

Myra McEntire's post.

C.J.Redwine's amazing post here 

I don't pretend to know the trauma of rape. The posts above speak with more eloquence on the subject than I ever could. But I'll stand up with them. I'll speak alongside them.

Everyone has the right to free speech. However, there are people in this world who speak without understanding what they're saying. Who may form other's opinions on the book without letting them use their own judgement.

"Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country." (From Laurie Halse Anderson's blog)

For me SPEAK is a powerful, heartbreaking, thought provoking book about a subject people don't like to talk about. Speak has given so many people a voice. It's a shame others have decided to use their voice to try to silence it.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Pretty Little Packages.

I got the parental eye roll yesterday. Why? Well, let me set the scene.

My dad is sat at the kitchen table, watching some repeat of whatever was on 'The Discovery Channel.'

I put my bag down, flick on the kettle, and turn to the table to see the parcels. My parcels...five of them.

No words are needed. We both know what's inside. Dad rolls his eyes. Yep, I got book busted!

What was in my pretty little packages? The Duff, Firelight, Personal Demons, Shade, and On Writing.

The thing is, we all have TBR piles. The bookworm in me doesn't so much have a pile anymore...I've got a TBR bookcase. In my defence it's a mini one from Ikea. Since I can devour a book in a couple of days the turnaround time from TBR to read is frequent.

So I thank my blogging stars I'm not the only one. Case in point, the wonderful Tahereh who shares my book addiction.

And the awesome gals at WriteOnCon are hosting the Epic Giveaway of Epic Epicness!

So now I'm just off to wait for my pre-ordered copy of The Replacement to arrive before my dad sees. Oopsie!

So, have you any new books this week?

Happy Friday :)

P.S. Continuing the WriteOnCon interview series, Katrina chats with the fabulous Shannon Messenger over at Operation Awesome.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Brain. Set. Explode!

To quote Joey Russo a'la Blossom "Whoa!"

Yep, I'm posting waaay later than usual, but it's been one of those hectic days. My poor little brain just couldn't function until around 3pm BST.

I blame the chocolate fudge cake I had after dinner. It wasn't my fault, the goddaughter made me get it. I'm led astray by a 21-month-old. lol.

Anyway, back to my topic of the day...spread the love time!

First up, Amparo. While I procrastinate with chocolate cake, she takes the Veronica Mars approach.

Then it's a hop and a jump over to Renae, who's got details on the awesome happening in the blogosphere.

Oh, and don't forget my other home, Operation Awesome. Today Kelly talks about not being in a rush.

Maybe I'll read that post again. :)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Mouse-ka-hey, Mouse-ka-hi, Here We Go...

I don't know if anyone has watched The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but there's a song in it that follows me around ever since I bought the goddaughter a book with it in.

Now she watches the show I have to sing it every time I see her. Trust me, it's not a pretty sound. :)

Mickey sings it when he gets his mouse-ka-tools to work through a challenge:

Mouse-ka-hey, mouse-ka-hi, mouse-ka-ho. Mouse-ka-ready, mouse-ka-set, here we go.

You're a thinker and a stomping workin' through-er. Mouse-ka-me, mouse-ka-you, mouse-ka-doer.

And I realised that these words can be applied to my wip. If I have all my tools ready I can select the right one (be it my outline, a character sheet, brainstorming) and stomp through it.

If a toddler can be taught perseverance so can I. 

I knew watching kids TV would pay off.

Happy Wednesday everyone. :)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Learning To Swim

The toddler goddaughter loves water. She used to hate it, and I mean screaming hate it, until about three months ago. Now 'splash splash Auntie' is her favourite bath time game when she comes to stay (my friend only has a shower at her house). So with her being more comfortable in water now I'm starting to take the monkey swimming a bit more.

She's an independent little girl and, despite her age, always tries to let go of my hands when she's in the shallow pool (even though I don't let her - I'm a soft touch, not insane. lol) But her confidence always makes me smile.

And it got me thinking about writing (come on, you knew I'd take this to some writing level. heehee). Leaning to write and learning to swim are very similar.

There's the trepidation of dipping your toe in the pool or, in the writers case, the idea. The rush of cold shocking your body from your comfort zone as you move into the pool, or start to type.

You take your time at first. You stay in the shallow end, maybe you hold someones hand (in my Goddaughter's case that's me) -- for a writer it may be a mentor, a writing book, a forum. The hand holder helps you. They build up your confidence and teach you some of the skills you need to learn to swim/write.

You practice. Sure you may swallow some water/ delete lots of words, but you don't give up. Over time you gain the confidence you need to push out on your own. Dip your head underwater/start a new idea. You gain strength. Keep yourself afloat.

Sure, the lifeguard/crit group, mentor, writing book is always there. Always watching, waiting to jump in and help if you need/ask for it. You know you are never alone.

But you are stronger. You are braver.

It won't happen overnight. It may take weeks, months even to learn to swim/write. But you never give up. Because practice makes perfect.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Weekends And Happy Dances.

Have you ever had a surge of writing that you don't know where it came from? Well, this weekend that was me...except, in this case, I know why it happened -- the neighbour somewhere near my house playing drum & bass music till 4am Sunday morning!

I should have put on my ipod and tried to ignore it, but for some reason I fired up the laptop, opened the wip and started writing. So at least some good came from the lack of sleep. :)

Anyway, there is awesome happening around the blogosphere.

Check out the exciting announcement from WriteOnCon

Oh, and a huge thank you to everyone for supporting, visiting, commenting, and following us over at Operation Awesome. We've passed the 100 follower mark and, to celebrate, Amparo is posting a special announcement later today. So feel free to check it out if you have time.

Oh, and in more happy dance news Paranormalcy FINALLY arrived (about time Amazon, about time.)

So, how was your weekend? :)

Friday, 10 September 2010

Book Thoughts: Nightshade City

So I told you all yesterday I was spending time with rats. Now I don't ordinarily like to spend time with rodents...they have a bit of a bad, squeaky reputation. But these rats are different.



Check out the cover details:

Deep beneath a modern metropolis lies the Catacombs, the kingdom of remarkable rats of superior intellect. Juniper and his maverick band of rebel rats have been plotting ever since the Bloody Coup turned the Catacombs, a once-peaceful democracy, into a brutal dictatorship ruled by decadent High Minister Killdeer and his vicious henchman, Billycan, a former lab rat with a fondness for butchery. When three young orphan rats--brothers Vincent and Victor and a clever female named Clover--flee the Catacombs in mortal peril and join forces with the rebels, it proves to be the spark that ignites the long-awaited battle to overthrow their oppressors and create a new city--Nightshade City

I've not read a book with animals as the main characters for a while, unless it's to the goddaughter, but Nightshade City reminded me why I loved them growing up. After hearing Hilary talk about the book on her blog I knew it was something different. So when I heard the book had been released early in some places I went online and got it.

My verdict? I love it. I'm still reading, but so far Juniper, Vincent and Victor, even the evil Killdeer (boo) and Billycan (hiss) are so cleverly drawn it's hard not to care what happens to them. Now, you know I never talk spoilers. All I will say is that I love spending time in Nightshade City.

Plus, Rick Riordan recommends this book:

                                "Expect great adventures in Nightshade City."

Say no more.

The official release date is October 1st 2010, but it's available now on Amazon.com and The Book Depository. Oh, and Hilary will be a special guest over on Operation Awesome towards the end of this month. Squee.

Happy Friday everyone. :)

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Oops...My Brain Is Vacant.

I'm blogging a little late today due to an evil headache. It's going now, but it seems to have wiped my mind of what I'd decided to blog on today.

It didn't wipe my love of chocolate and cookies though. Hmmm.

Anyway...while the brain cells swim around the inside of my head, waiting to wake up, I'm going to leave a few awesome links to perk up your day. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow, when I'll be talking about spending quality time with rats.*

My awesome CP Amparo talks about character sheets. Thanks Amparo.

Jen talks about not blogging crap.

Creepy Query Girl chats about the 'Revision Hater's Club'

Talli is having an identity crisis.

Oh, and over on Operation Awesome, another brilliant CP Kelly talks about pen names.

*Disclaimer: Not real rats. The rats of Nightshade City.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Hooray It's Wednesday!

So Wednesday is here. The weekend is so close I can taste it...and it's my post day over at Operation Awesome.

But today is not just about me. Nope. Today is about hopping over to Matthew Rush's blog and helping Emily White on her road to query sparkles.

Today is about checking out Elana's contest AND details on Lisa Desroches Personal Demons prize package.

Today is about going signing up for Talli Roland's blogsplash to make The Hating Game the biggest e-book on Amazon come December 1st.

Today is about visiting Jen and get the chance to win a pre-ordered copy of Rose Cooper's Gossip From The Girls Room.

Today is about getting over Humpday with some fun.

Oh yeah, and maybe I'll do some writing. Can't forget that.

How will you add some fun to Wednesday?  :)

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Go With The Flow

We all know some days the words come more natural than normal. Some days the words imbed themselves in your brain and refuse to budge.

So how do we coax those sentences free?

Here is my discovery. My CP's call it a write-a-thon. We set a time to be online, load up Gchat and start the timer. When twenty/thirty minutes is up we recoup and give each other our word counts.

I'd never done this before, but I'm starting to find it useful. Maybe it's the pantser in me, but I've always worked better under pressure. Knowing that I've got to tell the others my progress really seems to spur me on.

But what about the days when I'm not doing a write-a-thon?

I suppose it's a little similar to the write-a-thon. I sit down and force myself to spend an hour writing. Even if it's just sketching out a couple of chapters, I feel it all counts.

What do you guys do to get the words flowing?

Monday, 6 September 2010

Six Months In Blog Land

It hit me this morning that it's been six months since I started blogging. Wow. Where does the time go?

I remember how scared out of my pants I was to start. Would anyone care what I had to say? Now, when I think over everything blogging has opened up for me, I'm so happy I took the first step.

Blogging has helped me learn, connect with others, make friends, and helped me find the best CP's in the world. Yes it's hard work, but I love it. I feel the guilt when I can't get round my blog roll. It's like having no credit on a pre-pay mobile phone and not being able to text a friend back!

I've sometimes spent my writing time trying to catch up on what I've missed. But it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make considering the awesome out there. Although, in the next six months, I'm determined to get some sort of schedule in place for my blogging.

With that in mind the awesome Elana Johnson, Jen Daiker, and Alex J. Cavanaugh have teamed up to do a blogging trifecta special all this week. I know I'll be checking it out. :)

Oh, and in the spirit of more awesome. The fabulous Justine Dell is back on the blogosphere from her work imposed absence. Yay! Missed you JD.

Finally, Amparo's debut post is up on Operation Awesome today. Feel free to show her some love. :)

Happy Monday everyone. And to my US friends...HAPPY LABOR DAY!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Thank Chocolate it's Friday!

We all know I loves books. I also love people who love books too. So imagine my joy when I stumbled upon The Book Depository.

Well, I say stumbled, but I think the lovely Talli Roland mention it. Is it wrong that I find it fascinating watching people buy books?

So it seems I have a new addiction to add to writing, twitter, blogging, and eating too many of the Swedish Fish sweets I bought at Ikea on Monday. They've part-filled the whole left by the long since eaten Pretzel M&M's I brought back from the States.

I shall be writing this weekend. Now the planning is done it's time to kick the butt of the wip.  So, what have you got planned for this weekend?


Today on Operation Awesome, Katrina interviews the fabulous Elana Johnson about WriteOnCon.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Love & Writing.

First I want to say HUGE thank you. Thank you to everyone who tweeted, re-tweeted, blogged, displays the buttons, commented, followed and thought happy thoughts for Operation Awesome's launch. After a day of squeeing like a maniac I fell into bed at 12:30am this morning, after seeing the pitch contest close, with a heart filled with happy. You are all amazing. I'm thrilled to share this journey with you. More awesome will follow...and cookies. There can never be enough cookies. :)

And now, in the spirit of giving back...

The lovely Jessica (a.k.a The Alliterative Allomorph) is holding a contest. Not just any contest, but the chance to save a valuable writing community resource. Jessica will explain:

"This contest isn’t your average contest, folks, and you don't have to write anything to enter. This contest is an attempt to save The Writing Show, an amazing writing resource for us, and if The Writing Show goes bust, I think I’ll just go hide in the corner of my bedroom and cry for a decade. It would be such a shame to lose this amazing resource."

There are lots of amazing prizes, including interviews, critiques, gift cards...and the chance of supporting an awesome resource. All you have to do is make a donation. Just donating $5.00 will get you a PDF of your choice of writing e-book (from the archives of The Writing Show). So hop on over to visit Jessica and check it out.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Revision-O-Rama

Hear that? No? Listen carefully. Hear it now? It's the sound of my keyboard falling silent after finishing a round of revisions on the completed MS.

Ahhhhh.

Hang on, I don't like this.

Seriously, the silence is killing me. I'm a writing junkie. I need the click-click of the keys. I need the hair pulling frustration which comes with slaving over a hard scene/chapter/sentence. I need to write.

Maybe I'll just have a cookie first. And a cup of tea. Oh, there's the programme I recorded last night on the BBC I've not watched yet....

Okay, enough rest. Time to get more work done on the wip.

So tell me. How are your wip/revisions/procrastination attempts coming?

Oh, and in separate, but no less awesome, news Operation Awesome has launched with a Mystery Agent contest. Woot.