Kindling

I’ve done it. I’ve embraced technology and taken the plunge. I’m now a kindle owner.

My other half bought it for me on a random shopping trip to buy some chicken to make fajitas for tea. Talk about being spoilt!

I’ve been holding back getting one because of my love for books. Real life books with paper and ink and pictures and the smell. I love the smell.

I even teased some good friends of mine when they first got their kindles and now have to honourably eat my words.

Every year I get my friend Val a book for her birthday. And every year I write on the inside cover a little inscription. That’s not going to change. I think I’ve been clinging to the belief that you are either a kindle person or a book person.

But last week another friend of mine, Chloe, reassured me that you can be both. It’s ok to have a kindle and not feel like you’re cheating on your home library.

Since then I have craved one. Then J spontaneously bought me one and I haven’t looked back. One thing I didn’t expect was to love it. I love my kindle. It’s so smooth and soft. Such a tactile machine. And I think that’s what I was afraid of losing; the very tactile nature of books.

I haven’t downloaded any books yet but I did discover that I can read documents on it. So I quickly tried it out. I sent my kindle my book. And what a marvellous experience. I am reading the book I have written on my kindle as if it is a real published novel. Can’t quite put into words how wonderful it feels.

Hopefully this is a glimpse into the future when this book will be available to all…

But more than just enjoying the experience of reading my book on the kindle, it’s actually been incredibly useful.

I’ve discovered that I have made a big boo-boo. You see, Elsie has suffered a cruel twist of fate. Whilst reading last night I couldn’t believe it when I noticed that sometimes, Elsie had become Elise. Such a silly mistake. An honest one but a mistake nonetheless.

I cannot be more embarrassed by it. Can you imagine I sent this out to prospective agents and publishers without realising that one of my main characters names keeps changing? It’s quite funny in hindsight. At least I noticed it.

I have also had some little ideas for scenes and lines that would fit nicely. And I’ve noticed a couple more grammatical errors.

The thing about reading it on the laptop is that I think it’s too easy to gloss over things like this. There are so many words on the page.

But on the kindle there’s nowhere for these mistakes to hide. Without my kindle these mistakes could have gone unnoticed.

So to kindle I am eternally grateful.

Why is great great? And grateful grateful? Why isn’t grateful greatful?

Anyway! I will be sending chapters to my kindle as they are finished from now on! Thank you kindle!! And thank you J!!!!

20130415-180001.jpg

The Liebster Award: Part 1

20130208-200441

How very exciting! Another award nomination! Thank you A Way With Words !!!

The Liebster Award is intended for new blogs  (particularly those with 200 or less followers) to raise their profile awareness.

But just who was this Liebster anyway?

I imagine some literary agent – Cyrus Brood – who for 40 years took great pleasure in denying the dreams of aspiring authors, flitting query letters in the waste baskets, lining the bottom of his birdcage with manuscript pages. laughing at proposed plots over martinis with a gang of publishers at the local steam room.  

Then one day, a woman in a brown skirt comes to him in tears.

“Are you Mr. Brood?”

“Why yes, I am?”

She hands him a manuscript.

“I am Iris Liebster.  This was my son Lawrence’s.  He shot himself last night.  His last request was that I give this to you.  Will you read it?”

“Well, I, um… ” he looked into her eyes,  “I will.”

And he did.  And it was good.  Very good.  It was a critical success.  It became a best seller.  A whopping best seller. 

With his share of the royalties, he established a trust for “The Liebster Awards”.

With this story in mind, I simply must accept this award and follow its terms, which are –

1)  Post 11 random facts about myself (below).

2)  Answer 11 questions (further below).

3)  Make up 11 more questions (in later post).

4)  Nominate 11 more blogs (also in later post).

11 Random Facts:

1. I have a tendency to buy books because they have pretty covers.

2. I wish I had a TARDIS.

3. At work I am in charge of the money and the customer service. ROTAS are hell!

4. I am clumsy. I drop everything it’s possible to drop.

5. Music is in my heart. I play piano and guitar and write songs sometimes.

6. I wrote a musical with my friend Caz when we were in college. It was called Freaks in the Attic.

7. Buffy changed my life.

8. Robin Jarvis is my favourite author.

9. I love Turkish Delight flavoured everything!

10. My favourite album is Lost in Space by Aimee Mann. Well, today it is.

11. I love owls!

11 Questions Answered: 

1)  What brand of deodorant do you use? (If you don’t use one, make one up – WordPress isn’t equipped with a lie detector – yet.)

1) I tend to buy what’s on offer – I’m not a labelist. 

2)  What book(s) are you reading now?

2) The Writer’s Tale by Russell T Davies and Benjamin Cook, Is It Just Me by Miranda Hart, and Oblivion by Anthony Horowitz. 

3)  If you were a Beatle, who would you be (John, Paul, George, or Ringo)?

3) Ringo. Only coz I like the name!

4) Name one of your guilty pleasures.

4) Mamma Mia

5) What (or Who) inspired you to create your blog?

5) It was time to reach out to other writers. I was feeling very enthusiastic back in January, and filled with the New Year get-up-and-go I decided to start writing a commentary on my novel writing escapades. Like a making of DVD extra!

6) Where were you when (choose one) –  a) JFK was shot. ; b) Watergate was exposed. ; c) OJ Simpson was arrested. ; d) The Twin Towers collapsed.

6) d) I was in college in Gorseinon. Lectures came to a halt and I remember vividly the bus ride home and everyone being in the same emotional state. 

7)  Share a favorite Bible verse (or quote from classic literature).

7) “You’re a wizard, Harry.” 

8) Do you believe in parallel universes?  (If so, do you know how I might visit one.  No, really, I want to know…)

8) I’m not sure I believe in them, but the universe is infinite. Anything is possible. I love tv episodes where they go to parallel universes. Fringe was genius telly. The Wish from Buffy is my favourite ep. So exciting to see different versions of characters you know and love. 

9) List 3 songs you never get tired of listening to.

9) Torn – Natalie Imbruglia, Ironic – Alanis Morissette, Humpty Dumpty – Aimee Mann, but I could go on…

10)  As you were growing up, what posters (if any) did you have on your walls?

10) At the risk of complete world-wide embarrassment, I’m going to be honest. I went through a Manchester United phase, followed by a Spice Girl phase, followed by a South Park/Friends/Buffy mash up. Oh dear. 

11)  Have you ever memorized a poem?  If so, what poem?

11) I have never memorised a poem. I was once given a valentines day card with a poem written inside (I was 15), and my friends continue to use it to embarrass me to this day. So in a way you could say I have memorised it…

I am a cabbage, split into two

My leaves I give to others, but my heart I give to you. 

Is it Clever to Write a Book?

Image

I popped over to see my folks tonight and delivered some freshly made Maid of Honours. I had a lovely morning in the kitchen, although I need a dishwasher.

Whilst I was there they asked me how the book was going and it spiraled into an hour long conversation about where I get my ideas.

Such a difficult question to answer.

 

I was able to tell them about some of the characters and plots and links and twists that I was making, all of which I’m very happy about.

This is when my Mam said “You’re so clever”.

I don’t consider myself a clever person. Clever people are doctors and lawyers and can design things, or build things or are good with computers. I am none of the above.

But the depths at which I have thought about my novel, and subsequent novels, is quite astonishing. I guess what I’m really talking about is the big important plot points. The really important things need to be thought out.

A lot of the, what I call, “clever” stuff happens by accident whilst I’m writing. This may make me seem clever, which I’m all for, but in reality I don’t think I am. I’m getting quite good at connecting different ideas or plot strands. Plots that weren’t connected at the time of conception but became connected whilst the ideas were allowed to blossom on the page. If this makes me clever then yay!

The things I’m most proud of are the teeny-tiny lines of dialogue, or little-mini bits where there isn’t any talking but it’s all said with a look. These are the parts I like the most. Probably because they are character driven. When a character says something that surprises even the author, that’s when I know I’ve done my job right; that’s when I realise that they are real to me and have agendas of their own.

But is that clever?

Is it clever fashioning a book? Constructing the plot, creating characters, making them walk and talk and laugh and cry, pushing them through a mythology that you’ve made and cultivated into, fingers-crossed, a good book; is this clever?

I like to think that Crystal Green and the Moon Machine is an entertaining story. I like to think it’s got heart. I like to think that it moves at a good pace and makes you want to keep reading. I like to think that this story is going to get me into the world of literary agents and publishers. I like to think that this is my way of becoming a published author.

I’m not sure it’s a clever book. I consider clever books to be the ones you’re told to read in school and college and university. These types of books are well thought of and well written. But do you read a book because it’s well written? Or do you read a book because it’s a good story?

I know why I read a book. I love a good story me.

The Versatile Blogger Award

Image

It might be madness, but I am truly chuffed to have been nominated for The Versatile Blogger award!

Thank you to Dressed To Quill for the nomination!!

Versatile Blogger Rules (If you choose to obey them):

  • Display the Award Certificate on your website
  • Announce your win with a post and link to whoever presented your award
  • Present 15  awards to deserving bloggers
  • Drop them a comment to tip them off after you’ve linked them in the post
  • Post 7  interesting things about yourself.

Here are my fifteen nominees (in no particular order):

Become An Author 

Jack Croxall 

Write Good Books

A Way With Words

The Read Room

The Worlds Top 10 of Anything and Everything

The Editor’s Blog

Catherine, Caffeinated

Beyond The Cupcakes

She’s Cutting The Crap 

Sweet Little Thang

Pud Bakes

Our Studio Kitchen 

Weakly Short Stories

Inizia’s Blog

Now for the seven interesting (or not) things about me:

1. My favourite smell is a Jack Frost Yankee Candle – sort of vanilla and mint

2. I am obsessed with buying new stationery

3. I couldn’t live without lemon cake

4. Imogen Heap is a massive inspiration to me

5. I am a red velvet cupcake factory

6. In work, I am as organised as it is possible to be. At home I’m as clumsy and forgetful as they come.

7. I love my partner more than I could ever put into words.

Alby

I’ve done it! I’ve finally done it! Chapter 13 is complete!!!!!!!

It took an arm and a leg and literally years off my life… Ok that’s an exaggeration but it has taken the whole of March to get to this point and most of my Easter weekend to get it finished.

It ended up being an amalgamation of the two versions I had written. Alby remained Alby but I made him a little more erratic. I managed to slip in some of the lovely dialogue that Albert had said without it jarring with the speech that was already there. It has turned Alby into a slightly more unstable version of himself, but that’s what he was always intended to be.

I like how one minute he comes across as a relaxed, chilled out, almost high hippy who’s take on life is to just take it how it comes, and the next he flips into an uptight, frantic, almost deranged man who likes everything in its particular place.

These characteristics don’t often go together, but here they seem to work…

In order to get him to be credible he had to become the hippy, but in order to plant the seeds of plot for this and future books he had to be unhinged. This is a unique balance of the two. I hope.

I love Crystal’s reaction to Alby. She somehow manages to understand him in a way that Leo and Elsie just cannot. She sees Leo’s concern and deliberately pushes it and him to one side. She is so determined to get the information from Alby that she almost becomes reckless. She doesn’t quite cross that line, but it does feel like she gets close. Exchanges between her and Leo in this chapter are mostly silent; looks and glances and head shakes. And I love that. He tries to get her to step back because they don’t know this man. They don’t know if he is to be trusted or even if he’s dangerous. Elsie thinks he scary. She tries to keep up her glib and sarcastic nature for as long as she can, but eventually cannot hold it back. When Crystal sees how scared Elsie has become, she realises its time to pull back.

There is a point in the chapter where Crystal, Elsie and Leo are lead to a back room or sorts where Alby has promised to “show them something really cool”. This is where Alby turns. He is no longer that high-on-life hippy, or even that jumpy obsessive; he becomes something different. Something scary.

Here, Alby threatens them and is adamant that they have come to test him. He believes they have been sent by the Collector

It’s been a difficult chapter to say the least. I’m looking forward to reading it again this afternoon after my night away from it. And I hope it reads well.

When I go back for a read after some space from writing a chapter, I always read it out loud. It is the only way to get a feel for it, to understand your characters and make sure what they say is innately them. Remember if it doesn’t sound like them, make it.

It’s also a great time to get a feel for sentence structure. A reader has to understand the sentence structure first time, so make sure they aren’t too fragmented or overly complex. Saying them out loud is such a good tool.

So that’s where I am. It’s now April and I’ve finished chapter 13. I haven’t quite kept up my 2 chapters a month plan, but at least I’ve written 5 chapters this year. 3 months in and I’m still happy with my progress. Yay!

Emily and Me

Aunty Ann and Marc

Dan and Mason

Mam Battling with Scarf!

Aunty Ann and Mam Keeping Warm