Tuesday, 28 February 2012

It's CassaFire Day!

Today is the Catch Fire Blog Party, celebrating the release of CassaFire by Alex J. Cavanaugh!



Now, I haven't known Alex very long, but I know he is a highly respected member of the blogging community, and works hard to make people feel included in whatever he is involved in. I am looking forward to getting to know Alex better over time, and I wish him all the best with his new book!
 
Here is a little bit of info on CassaFire:


CassaFire
by Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities. 

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

Available today!
Science fiction - space opera/adventure
Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5, $15.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 240 pages
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9, $4.99, available in all formats

CassaFire is the sequel to Cavanaugh’s first book, CassaStar, an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller:
“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

You can visit the author’s site at http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/
Book trailer available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qa6VINRGtyE.



Happy Alex J.Cavanaugh Day!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Chick-lit and cheese

Before I start, I need to give a shoutout to all the awesome people who have signed up for the WIP:The Movie Blogfest! If you haven't joined in yet, you can find the details here




And now,, I am about to engage in a Monday Moan (which sounds like quite a cool regular blog idea lol!). Anyone not wishing to read a self-obsessed whine should probably skip over this one, and I will try to be back to my sunny self next time! :D

So, when I started this blog, my WiP was different to the one I'm working on now. I mentioned a little while ago that I have decided to self-publish the story I am editing at the moment, but that is still likely to change as I dance about with the idea of finding a publisher.

That isn't really today's big issue. Instead, I am living under a constant cloud of doubt. I know every writer has one, but mine won't shift. I want to write, but all the time a voice in my head is saying, "Ha ha, who do you think you're kidding? You can't do it!"

I fight with it, and I carry on. Kind of. Actually, it usually wins and I find myself feeling grumpy for the rest of the day, but the writing and editing continues.

My current WiP is most definitely chick-lit. I know, I know, there are a lot of people who gag over the very notion. But I enjoy it, and for the most part, I'm good at it. Chick-lit is usually cheesy in some way, and that is one of the things I both love and hate. I enjoy reading it, but when I'm writing it, I occasionally have to stop and laugh at myself for writing such terribly lame words.

So, maybe I am writing in the wrong genre, or maybe I am no good, or maybe the cheese is right and I need to stop second guessing myself at every turn.

I have absolutely no answers about what I should be doing, but what I know is that I am feeling dejected today and I need to overcome it.

If you stuck the post out this far, thank you! <3 





Thursday, 23 February 2012

WiP: The Movie Blogfest


Since I've been blogging, the fun of blogfests has helped me meet some awesome new people and also helped me to learn a lot of things I would have otherwise missed out on. I love reading snippets of everyone's work, and getting to know each individual writer's style and genre.

With that in mind, I would like to announce a brand new blogfest which I am co-hosting with Rachel at Writing On The Wall!  

 
WiP: The Movie - March 9th
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to post a photo of the actors or actresses you would like to play the characters in your WiP if it were to be made into a movie. It can be just one character, or the entire cast!

Secondly, we want you to soundtrack your movie! Head over to YouTube, and post a song that best describes one of your characters, or your story as a whole. Again, you can pick one song, or several, it's entirely up to you!

All we ask is that you follow these simple rules:
1, Follow me
2. Follow Rachel
(We will follow back) 3. Sign up using the linky list at the bottom of the page
4. Add one of our funky graphics to your blog to promote the event
5. Post your entries on March 9th, and hop around to see the other entrants on the list!

The Prizes

Rachel and I will each pick a winner at random, and we will be giving away a copy of one of our favourite books which were turned into movies!

Please note: If you write a blog post about this fest before March 8th, you will get an extra name in the draw to win a prize!


From me:
Water For Elephants OR Bridget Jones' Diary


From Rachel: The Princess Bride OR The Hunger Games (which is tipped to be AWESOME!)

If you have any questions, feel free to ask because I am sure I will have missed something out lol! Hope you can all join in!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Eye strain!

I have been working my butt off, trying to sort out my WiP, and editing the book I hope to self-publish. The downside of this is that my eyes are killing me, so I am going to keep this pretty short!

I look like some kind of monster, with enormous dark circles under my eyes, and I'm cranky because I look like crap. Ideas whizz around my brain at night, keeping me awake for a stupidly long time which is only adding to my grouchiness. Thankfully, I actually slept reasonably well last night but man....

And my eyes are aching. I have taken most of the day off, but I had articles to write, so it's hard to find time to really rest!

What do you do when you have days of looking like hell from too much time at the computer? Please tell me I'm not alone!


Friday, 17 February 2012

And like Sleeping Beauty, she awoke from her slumber.....and realised what was wrong with her WIP!

If you have been following my blog in the short time I have been writing it, you may be familiar with me struggling over the opening of my WIP. I have stared at it, re-written it, stared at it some more, put it back how it was, changed it again, moved on, been satisfied, then hated it again. I don't know if I am alone in this struggle, or if every writer fights with their opening chapter this way, but it has been a nightmare!


But then something, well someone, wonderful happened. Angela Cothran, to be precise. Angela uttered some magic words, and after a moment of tearing my hair out in panic that maybe my WIP was going nowhere, I really thought about what she'd said.

And the solution became clear.

The downside of this revelation is that there are 5000 useless words at the start of the story. That's a hell of a number of wasted words. On the other hand, they probably aren't all a waste. Some can even be moved around to fit in a better, and less boring place. What matters is, with one very simple sentence, Angela jolted my brain into action, and I know that it is something I will remember to apply to everything I write from now on.

Thank you, Angela - you are a wise lady! :D

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Blog award, and a puzzling question

I promise not to make a habit out of posting twice in one day, but I am excited by McKenzie McCann's blog, in which she is celebrating a year of blogging, and giving away an award! Congrats to McKenzie on all of your success! I am new to your blog, but I always love to hear what you have to say. I think everyone should go check it out!

Also, earlier I mentioned self publishing, and my brain has gone into overdrive, wondering about strange and tiny things. For example, my story is centered around a fictional soccer team. When I was just writing it for me, that was one thing, but I'm not sure how it works if I want other people to see it. Is it okay to create fictional football teams in a real place, or do I need to make up a fictional city too? And can I pretend the team is part of a genuine football league and mention real teams, or do I have to create everything myself?

I know that is a bit rambly, and slightly desperate sounding (lol), but they are things I don't actually know. Does anyone know any websites or books I can check out to learn these small, but important things? There is no rush to self-publish, and I want to take the time to learn how to do it properly - but I am certain my mind won't slow down until I at least know where to look for the information, so I thought I'd throw it out there to all of you awesome people in the hope than someone can point  me in the right direction!

Thanks, and I promise to be calm again tomorrow! :D

Bloghops, and publishing, and memes....oh my!


Good morning, everyone!

So, yesterday's "Is It Getting Hot In Here?" blogefest was huge amounts of fun! Much love to Hope and Cassie for organising it! All of those kissing scenes were perfect for Valentine's Day, and it was cool to read how everyone approached the kisses they wrote.

As a direct result of all of the incredible comments I received about mine (thanks again, everyone!!), I am considering self-publishing the story it came from. After all, it is complete, it just needs some editing. I have self-published a book of short stories before, so I know how it works for the most part, but this feels different. This book will be one that shows off the kind of writing I want to do. I intend to put it out for free, or at a very low price, mainly as a thank you to everyone who has been so incredibly supportive of my writing. There are still a lot of things I need to learn about self-publishing, but it's a really good feeling to know that I already (nearly!) have something I can show the world.


Finally, I was tagged again in the 11 Questions Meme by Clare Dugmore and Leigh Covington! I never tire of answering questions, so I'm gonna answer both sets of questions!However,I am not going to tag or make up new questions this time because I think everyone has done it by now. Of course, if you haven't and you want to, just choose 11 questions from here that you want to answer. It's always fun to learn more about everyone!

Questions from Clare

1. What is your earliest childhood memory? This question is hard! I think my earliest is from when I was around five years old, and my mum took me to London to visit my Nan. It might have been around Christmas, or my birthday, because I was given a really cute tea set, on a hostess trolley with pink trays.

2. Which do you prefer; tea or coffee? Depends how tired I am lol! I actually prefer coffee, but I can't drink too much of it because it makes me crazy!

3. What inspired you to become a writer? Books, I guess. I learned to read freakishly young, and I was always swept away by the stories and characters I was reading about. I always liked making up my own stories too, so I think that is where the inspiration came from.

4. Which of the four seasons do you prefer? Oh, the temptation to say Frankie Valli is strong!! Seriously though, my favourite season is winter. I love it.

5.Which fictional character are you most like? Ha, Bridget Jones!

6. What are you scared of? Being alone forever.

7. Do you believe in life on other planets? Yeah, I think so. It's nice to think that there are other beings out there, waiting to be discovered!


8. What is your favourite flower? I don't really like flowers, but if I had to pick, it would be roses.

9. What smell(s) do you love? Oh don't get me started, I could go on all day!! Clean clothes, new carpets, new books, shoe shops, the air after the rain.....seriously, I could keep going forever!

10. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would you pick? Prague. Gorgeous city, full of history, great people and great food!


11. What movie do you love that everyone else hates? I can't really think of a movie I liked that everyone else hates, but I have seen some strange movies that most people have never heard of, like Tiptoes starring Gary Oldman. I love him, but that movie is ridiculous! On the plus side, it made me laugh so hard, I can't help but like it!

Questions from Leigh


1. What is your dream vacation? I would love to go to Los Angeles, spot celebrities, relax on the beach and shop! 

2. Are you spontaneous or do you like to plan ahead? I think I am a healthy mix of the two. I plan ahead for some things, but I enjoy being spontaneous too!
3. Tell us one thing you want to do, but don't dare to do. (Unless of course, you dare to do everything!) Get a tattoo! Nothing too big or embarrassing, something tasteful. But I don't like pain lol.
4. What's your biggest phobia? Heights and spiders!
5. If you were stranded on a desert island - what 3 things would you want with you? (not including laptop, or family.) Wood, nails, and tools so I can build a boat and escape before I starve to death! :p
6. Name three blessings in your life. My family, my job, and having a decent place to live.
7. What was your nickname in High School? I didn't have one - very boring!
8. If you could meet the President of the United States, what would you say to him? Heh, did you see that video that was circling on the internet of him singing, "Let's Stay Together"? I'd ask him to sing to me, his voice is amazing! (Please note, I wouldn't ask him anything more serious because I don't live in the US, so I have no issues with him whatsoever ;) )
9. If you could be any literary character for a day, who would you be? I think I'd be Ginny Weasley from Harry Potter lol! She comes from an awesome family, goes to the best school ever, and dates lots of cute wizards! :D
10. What is your favorite quote? "I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not" - Kurt Cobain. I think it is always better to be yourself than put on an act to make people like you. :)
11. In the color code personality test, what color are you? (If you don't know, go HERE!)   Yellow :D

And there you have it! More about me than you ever needed to know lol! 

 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

It's getting hot in here!


I have been SO looking forward to the "Is It Getting Hot In Here?" blogfest! Thanks to Hope and Cassie for setting this up! You girls rock!

So, onto my post! I am sharing one of my favourite kisses from a piece I wrote a few years ago, which may or may not end up as a publishable book one day! The scene involves Leah and Andy (whose name will change eventually, but at this point, Andy will do for now lol!). These characters have been working together for a few months, and there has been a lot of tension between them, mainly because Andy enjoys making Leah's working day very difficult. Here's what happens during one of their more epic fights (but cut down to fit the word count!)

**


I turned away, ready to open the door for him to leave before I ended up punching him in the face for being so smug, but he grabbed my wrist and pulled me back to him. As I stumbled against him, I clung to his waist to keep myself from falling over. My fingers twitched with longing as they gripped the taut muscles beneath them, his hands grasped my hips, and he crushed his lips against mine. His mouth was hot, kissing me with a fierce hunger, making me feel a thousand different things at once. With every touch of his lips, my anger was replaced with excitement, passion and….relief. His tongue slid into my mouth and his fingers dug into my sides, keeping me close.

‘No, no, this can’t happen!’ a voice said from the depths of my mind, ‘This is insane! Stop it. Now!’

Coming to my senses slightly I pulled away from him, my heart racing. I couldn’t speak, I could barely breathe.

“Don’t even try telling me you want me to stop,” Andy said, huskily.

There was something like desperation in his voice, and I was torn between my determination not to let him get to me, and my need lose myself in him for just a bit longer. While I hesitated, he lowered his face towards mine and kissed me again.
**

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!



Sunday, 12 February 2012

Writing love cliches....how much do they matter?

Pick up any published book, and you'll probably find that somewhere, there is a love story in it. It might not always be central to the plot, but love is nearly always present. The same theme is also present in TV shows. Romantic relationships are a part of everyone's lives at some time or another, so it is something everyone can relate to.

The problem with love stories is that they tend to follow the same format. A man and a woman meet, they fall in love, there is drama and they break up, they get back together. Occasionally something crazy and unusual will happen, but for the most part - every love story is the same.

Does this make them bad? I don't think so.

I am a "chick-lit" writer. Maybe some people wouldn't admit that so boldly, because I have come across some snobbery when I've mentioned it in the past, but if I can reach the success of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Helen Fielding, I'll be pretty happy lol! However, while playing around with my WIP, I have noticed that it might just be the epitome of everything other writers hate. It isn't filled with relationship cliches, but there are one or two here and there that probably need to be ironed out so they don't sound so childish (Can't remember if I mentioned, but when I first started writing this particular WIP, I was 14!).

My question is this: What is the worst, most irritating love cliche that ruins a book for you? Do they even bug you?

For me, what makes a good story is the way it's written. I don't care if I read a book that has a love triangle, or a book where it is obvious how the story will end, as long as the journey is interesting, and has realism.

Of course, I might just be trying to make myself feel better for writing something which is utter crap and destined to spend eternity in my laptop, but I am genuinely curious about how everyone feels about relationship cliches in books! :D



Friday, 10 February 2012

Still hearing voices!

I am very sad to say that this is the last post in the "I'm Hearing Voices" blogfest! Cassie and Angie have done a wonderful job with this fest, and I have loved every single second of it! Thanks to everyone who has stopped by and left a comment, and followed my blog. I've followed many of you back, and I am having a lot of fun getting to know you all, and learning about your characters.

Today's challenge is to write a piece of emotional flash fiction in no more than 250 words. I am excited to say I did it - yay! This piece is, again, lifted from my WIP, and is written from the perspective of Shannen. Enjoy!

**


I hung up the phone, leaped out of bed and quickly threw some clothes on. Even though it was still warm, I put on my jeans and a long-sleeved top because I was shivering.  As soon as I was dressed, I grabbed my mobile and my keys, and went to wait for Guy outside.

It’s weird how slow the time goes when you’re waiting. My foot tapped impatiently, and all I could think about was the possibility that we wouldn’t find him. He’d been fighting the depression so hard, but every day I could see the weight of it pulling him down further, dragging him into the depths of darkness.

I should have been there for him. I shouldn't have left him when he'd begged me to stay. I’d rejected him when he needed me most, and if I lost him…

My knees buckled a little and I leaned against a nearby street light for support.

We had to find him.

When Guy arrived, the look of worry etched on his face easily matched my own. I jumped straight into his car, and we headed for Cal’s flat.

On the way, everything seemed so unreal. Everything around me looked the same, but I felt like I was in a bad dream, and I kept hoping I’d wake up soon because with each minute that passed, the likelihood of a happy ending was drifting further away. 

**
And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes my entries in the "I'm Hearing Voices" blog challenge! Thanks again for all your support! Now I'm off to read what you have written! :D




Thursday, 9 February 2012

Three days of relaxation, and a meme!

So, I guess some of you read on my blog yesterday that I was away on a mini holiday! I was gone for three days, which is why I am a little bit behind on commenting on the posts in the "I'm Hearing Voices" blogfest. However, I am back now and trying to catch up.

I spent three days in Newquay, Cornwall, and for those who don't know, it's a glorious place in the far South West of England. It's one of my favourite places in the world, and any chance to go there and chill for a while it good with me! Just to give you an idea of the awesomeness - here are some photos of the view from my hotel room.






To me, there is nothing more inspiring than watching the waves from somewhere warm and comforting, and although I was supposed to be resting, I used some quiet time to work on my WIP. It ended up being some of my best work so far, and I hope to get back to that hotel again as soon as possible! It's like a writer's retreat!

Now, enough about my seaside mini break! I was tagged by Miranda Hardy in an 11 Questions meme. The idea of this, is that it's a "getting to know you" quiz, so I will answer the questions Miranda set me, then I have to post 11 new questions, and tag another 11 people to answer those. I will try not to tag anyone who has already done this - if I get it wrong, feel free to just link back to the questions you already answered! No pressure, just a bit of Thursday fun! :D



Here are the questions Miranda asked me, and my answers:

1. If you could travel back in time, what period would you most like to see? I always wished I grew up in the 1960s! The music back then was amazing, and I love the big hair, and cute clothes. If I could go back to that time, I think I would have a blast!


2. What is your favorite tree? Do Christmas trees count? Because I love a beautifully decorated Christmas tree lol

3. Do you prefer the sandy beach or a cabin in the mountains? Haha, I think you can probably guess from the photos above that I prefer the beach. :D


4. Which celebrity do you most resemble and why? I don't really look like anyone. I did a face recognition thing online once, and it compared me to J.K Rowling, but I am not quite sure how that happened as we look nothing like each other!


5. Fill in the blank. I would never ______________________. Stab my friends in the back. I have had it done to me on more than one occasion and it sucks.


6. Coffee or Tea? Generally speaking, tea. But I do love a good cup of coffee too!

7. A date with Brad Pitt or jumping out of a plane? Is "neither" an option? No? Okay, well I guess I'd take a date with Brad Pitt over jumping out of a plane. Scared of heights!

8. If you could donate $1,000,000 to any charity, which would it be? Most likely a cancer research charity.

9. What is a place you've never been, but would like to visit?
Rome. It looks amazing!


10. What is your favorite sweet? Okay, I'm English and this might mean something different here! Sweet would usually mean candy, but it can also mean dessert. I'm gonna pretend you mean dessert, and say without hesitation, sticky toffee cheesecake!

11. Who do you admire most (anyone alive or dead)?  Ooh, lots of people. But I am going to mention J.K Rowling again. I love that she started from such humble beginnings and created this incredible world of magic that millions of people all over the world fell in love with. I love her!


Now - people I'm going to tag:

1. Briane P (Thinking The Lions)
2. McKenzie McCann (The Ubiquitous Perspective)
3. Elizabeth Seckman (Use Your Words) 
4. Kelley (Between the Bookends) 
5. Leigh Covington 
6. Clare Dugmore Writes
7. Donna Hole 
8. Cassie Mae (Reading, Writing and Loving It)
9. Dianne Gardner (Ian's Realm)
10. Neurotic Workaholic (Obsessions of a Workaholic)
11. Roland D. Yeomans (Writing in the Crosshairs)

Just want to say again, there is no pressure to join in, but if you want to - here are your questions:

1. If there was only one food you could eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
2. What was your favourite TV show as a child?
3. What movie do you dislike, that everyone else seems to love?
4. What was the first record/cassette/CD you ever bought?
5. What would songs would be on the soundtrack of your life?
6. If you could excel at one thing, what would it be?
7. If you could choose your own first name, what would you choose?
8. Can you remember the first story you ever wrote? If so, what was it about?
9. What is your favourite snack?
10. Do you have any pets, and what do you have?
11. Who or what inspires you?

Okay, have fun! :D 








Wednesday, 8 February 2012

I'm Hearing Voices Again!

I'm glad everyone here understands that title - outsiders may think I'm losing my mind!

Yes, it's day 2 of the "I'm Hearing Voices Blogfest," and I am back to share a tad more insight into the characters from my WIP. I know I already said this, but huge thanks to everyone who read and commented on Monday's post - it's been great connecting with so many people, and I am enjoying your blogs immensely!

So, today's challenge is to introduce two characters using dialogue ONLY. Boy, has this been a challenge! I would say dialogue is a strength of mine, but when you take out thoughts and internalization, it looks a lot different! I have noticed that people have interpreted this challenge different ways - and that is kind of what I love about it. When I initially read today's challenge, I read it to mean that we should write characters introducing themselves to each other, not to the people reading, and I have seen a few people do it this way, so I'm going to stick with it!

On that note, this scene is partially lifted from my WIP, but cut down to remove most of the actions and thoughts. (Excuse the few at the beginning! I hope it's okay!)

"So, what's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?"


I looked straight into his deep, brown eyes and said, “What makes you think I’m a nice girl?”

“You’re drinking Smirnoff Ice out of a glass, not a bottle with a straw.”

I laughed out loud at his assessment, “That’s all your basing it on?”

“Drinking out of a glass is very classy for this place.”

"Oh come on now, I'm not the only woman who drinks from a glass in here."

"Maybe not, but you're the only one I noticed. And the only one I saw staring at me."

"I wasn't staring. I was just...looking."

"I didn't mind you....looking. But I like to know who is looking at me."

"Well your introduction skills are severely lacking! You're supposed to tell me your name, and hope I don't slap you for mocking the fact that I was staring."

"I thought you were only looking?"

"Shut up, what's your name?"

"I'm Callum. Cal to my mates."

"Well, it's nice to meet you, Callum. I'm Shannen."

**

P.S I am on a mini holiday at the moment, so I will read as many posts as I can today, and try to do the rest when I get home tomorrow!