Thursday, 31 May 2012

Packing my bags for CampNaNo, and final edits for Game On

I still can't believe I signed up for CampNaNo - or that it starts tomorrow! But, I'm ready. I know my story, I know where it's going, where it ends, and most of what happens in the middle. All I need to do is get the words on the page without wasting time over-thinking everything. THAT is the biggest challenge with my brain still in edit mode. I'll tell you more about what I'm writing for CampNaNo next time. :D

I literally just finished final edits for Game On around five minutes ago. Yeah, I know I said it was finished before, but then some small but important things were brought to my attention so I had to go back over some of the chapters again. NOW, I'm done, yippee! :D

When I originally wrote the story it was complete at 154,000 words. Now, after cutting endless amounts of useless words, the final word count is ... 85, 851! To me, that is insane! Obviously, I am a brutal editor, but there really was a lot of crap in it such as scenes that didn't progress the story, repetitive conversations, insanely long conversations, and tons of ugly, boring words.

Game On is now polished to the point where I can't polish it anymore. Okay, that's not true. No doubt if I looked at it again, I'd find another 1000 words I could cut, but I'm not going to. Enough is enough.

This was a bit of a dull post - I'm very tired lol - but I plan to be back on form soon so I can let you know (roughly) when Game On will be released, and hopefully, I might even have a cover reveal for you next week!

Monday, 28 May 2012

I did something weird ...

... but before I indulge the weird thing I did, I must just give a shoutout to Jaycee DeLorenzo and Victoria Smith! They will be hosting the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun bloghop, which is a follow up to their Oh, My Hero Bloghop - which was super fun!

To find out more, click on the links above! Don't miss it, it's gonna be great!

Now - the weird thing I did.

Yeah.

Anyone who knows me will know that I have avoided anything NaNo because the idea of trying to force 50,000 words out of my brain in a month makes me shudder. However, I'd like to get my next book idea finished quite quickly, and NaNo seems like the perfect challenge to get it moving. So, in June, I am gonna go for it! I chose June because there is no freaking way I am spending August holed up in my house to write - it will be summer! Plus starting in June gives me less time to talk myself out of it lol.If you're participating, let me know! Here is my profile.

I do still have a bunch of edits to do for Game On, but the day when I can finally say "NO MORE EDITS" is getting closer! In fact, I am hoping to have it all tied up by the end of the week! *flails* I'll keep you updated on that!

Happy Memorial Day to my U.S peeps!


Friday, 25 May 2012

My first ever interview!

Hey guys, I'm not here today, I'm over at Annalisa Crawford's place! Annalisa gave me my first ever interview which has made me very happy indeed! You can check it out by clicking here Please excuse the terrible photo of me :p .

Have a great weekend all, and thanks Annalisa for allowing me to take over your blog for the day!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Flying high!

Is there anything more awesome than getting work back from a CP with nothing but awesome comments? I mean, there was constructive advice too, but for the most part - my feedback has been nothing short of amazing! Much love to Leigh Covington for making me do this this morning:



Also want to say thanks to Clare Dugmore and Morgan Shamy who have given me equally awesome pointers and comments. You guys rock!

So, now all I have to do is get my final (FINAL!!) edits done, format correctly for Kindle publishing, figure out all the tax drama (I'm halfway through figuring it out, and I'll post about it once I'm done), get my book cover finalised, and publish this bad boy!

Okay, there's still a lot to do but I'm one step closer and that is making me very happy!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Review of Spectral by Shannon Duffy




Spectral Summary

Convinced she’s a part of the witness protection program, sixteen-year-old Jewel Rose is shuffled around the globe with her family like a pack of traveling gypsies. After arriving at lucky home twenty-seven, she stumbles upon a mysterious boy with magical powers claiming to be her guardian . . . and warning of imminent danger. Despite the obvious sparks between them, Jewel discovers a relationship is forbidden, and the more she learns about dark, brooding Roman, she begins to question who she can even believe — the family who raised her, or the supposed sworn protector who claims they’ve been lying to her all along.

As she struggles to uncover who her family has really been running from, she is forced to hide her birthmark that reveals who she is. With new realities surfacing, unexplained powers appearing, and two tempting boys vying for her heart, Jewel battles to learn who she can trust in an ever growing sea of lies, hoping she’ll make it through her seventeenth birthday alive. 
 
**
 
 
I really, really enjoyed Spectral. I love stories that combine magic and reality, and Shannon Duffy weaved the two worlds together with ease. The build-up to Jewel finding out the truth about who she was was very well paced, and had the perfect amount of tension to keep the reader turning the pages. I actually finished the story in one sitting, because I couldn't put it down!

A review of a YA book wouldn't be complete without a mention of the love interests! Jewel was a lucky girl, to have two fabulous boys vying for her attention. First, Chase, who helped Jewel settle into her new school by fending off the mean girls, then Roman, the boy sent to protect her. Both of them were swoonworthy in their own ways - but I had quite a soft spot for Chase. ;)

If you like your YA books with a little bit of magic, and a whole lot of tension, give Spectral a try! 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Boy POV? Really?

Okay, so I promised you I'd let you know about my next project, but then I gave up and went into hiding for a few days. But now I'm back and ... I seem to actually be writing after a solid week of staring at an open, blank document.

With Game On (ha, I still wanna say "my WIP") complete and out with my CPs, it's time for me to begin something new. Scary stuff, as I can't actually remember the last time I started a brand new story. Game On was written ... I guess six years ago. Wow.

Anyway, after the A-Z challenge, I noticed that people had made some very encouraging comments about the minor characters from Game On. Most notably, Jesse Shaw, the eighteen-year-old soccer player who was just trying to find his place in the team. I had an idea to write a story about Jesse - which would mean writing WAY out of my comfort zone. I have never written boy POV before, and I haven't written YA since I was a YA myself!

I have some boy POV words on my page, and they look strange. I think that's mainly because I'm not used to it, but also because I might not have quite managed to find Jesse's voice yet. I see awesome people like Jolene Perry and Nyrae Dawn getting male voice down to perfection and I wonder if I might just be deluding myself into thinking I can do it too. Maybe sticking to what I know is for the best? But then, if I don't challenge myself, how can I improve?

This is turning a bit rambly lol, but my point is, I am going to give this boy POV thing a try.  It might be a disaster, or it might be awesome. Either way, I'm up for the challenge!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Awards, awards and ... more awards!

Okay peeps, I think I'm ready to return to blogging now! Thank you SO SO much for all your support last week. Muchly appreciates, and I will do my best to be a better blogging friend now I've had some rest. :D

I was going to give you a post about what I've been up to, but I realised that I have been given a BUNCH of awards from some awesome people, so I am going to post those first lol. I have decided in advance that I am not tagging people because no doubt most people already have them. If not, take them because you all deserve them! These awards also come with rules - but if I post 10 facts about me for every award, you'll soon get bored and I'm not sure I'm that interesting! :p So, I'll just do ten in total, and you can ask question if you want to lol!

Okay, so firstly, Cassie gave me the Versatile Blogger Award, which I love, because I always wanted one of these lol! Thanks Cassie!

 I also got the Kreativ Blogger Awards from Laura, Jenn and McKenzie, thank you, ladies!

Next, I received the Stylish Blogger Award from Rachel Pattinson - because she loves my layout! Thanks so much!

Aaand finally - Nick re-tagged me in the Lucky 7 Meme, which is cool because now Game On is complete, I can share my actual page 77!

Thanks again to all of you - I feel very loved today! :D

So, 10 things about me:

1. I freaking love Chinese food. If it was the only thing I could ever eat for the rest of my life, I'd be ecstatic!
2. When I was younger, I did a LOT of karaoke. I used to go to karaoke at my favourite pub three times a week, and it was honestly one of the best times of my life, spent with great friends.
3. I have only ever left the UK once, in 2010 when I went to Prague. Best holiday EVER!
4.  Last year, I got to interview John Cho - who is hands down my favourite actor in the whole world. We talked on Skype, and he turned on his webcam so I could see him - it was AMAZING!I still can't quite believe it happened!
5. If I win the lottery, I plan to buy a house in St. Ives in Cornwall so I can go there whenever I want - it's so beautiful.
6. I've always lived by the sea, and yet, I can't swim.
7. No matter where I am, I'm usually a magnet for strange people. An example? I used to work in a shop in my town, and one day, I was busy stocking up the birthday cards when I felt something behind me. There was a man crouching on the ground, stroking the heel of my boot. Weirdness.
8. When I was a teenager, it was my ambition to be a Butlin's redcoat - and there is still a part of me that would love to do it, even now!
9. I am currently obsessed with the new Jason Mraz album - seriously, I have been playing it on a constant loop since the say it was released.
10. I really love retro fashion, and would love to own some 50s and 60s style dresses, but as yet, my collection is non-existent.

And now to the Lucky 7 Meme rules:

  1. Go to page 77 of your current MS
  2. Go to line 7
  3. Copy down the next 7 lines as they're written-- no cheating!
  4. Tag 7 other writers
  5. Let them know!


My head was pounding.
As I opened my eyes, the light streaming in through the gap in the curtains made me squint at the brightness. After blinking several times, I glanced at the clock. It read eight forty-two, and I calculated that I’d only had about four and a half hours sleep.
I squeezed my eyes closed again, trying to ease the throbbing in my head, but it didn't work.
I wanted nothing more than to pull my duvet over my head and sleep for the rest of the day, and it was at precisely that moment I realised why it couldn't happen.

Okay, that was one of the less interesting passages LOL! But there you have it! Hope you all have a great Monday! 




Thursday, 17 May 2012

TIme Out

It feels like a while since I posted, but that's not really true, it's just been a couple of days. But they've been a LONG couple of days.

It's seemed like everything I've been doing lately, working so hard on getting my book finished, edits, looking for a CP and trying to hold down a day job have been a struggle. My stress levels have been higher than I want them to be, which is why I've been slow at replying to comments, and commenting on all of your blogs.

Hopefully, having a couple more days off will get me motivated again, and I can give you some better updates on what I'm doing next! :D

Before I go, if you're seeking a CP, check out the CP mixer the girls at Falling For Fiction are having today! It's gonna be lots of fun!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Review of Knee Deep by Jolene Perry





Yup, it's time for another post about how freaking awesome Jolene Perry is! :D But first, the details about Knee Deep!

Knee Deep Summary


Shawn is the guy Ronnie Bird promised her life to at the age of fourteen. He's her soul mate. He's more uptight every day, but it's not his fault. His family life is stressful, and she's adding to it. She just needs to be more understanding, and he'll start to be the boy she fell in love with. She won’t give up on someone she’s loved for so long.

Luke is her best friend, and the guy she hangs with to watch girlie movies in her large blanketopias. He's the guy she can confide in before she even goes to her girlfriends, and the guy who she's playing opposite in Romeo and Juliet. Now her chest flutters every time he gets too close. This is new. Is Ronnie falling for him? Or is Juliet? The lines are getting blurry, but leaving one guy for another is not something that a girl like Ronnie does.

Shawn’s outbursts are starting to give her bruises, and Luke’s heart breaks as Ronnie remains torn. While her thoughts and feelings swirl around the lines between friendship and forever, she’s about to lose them both. 
 
**
 
This is the second book I've read by Jolene, and if it's possible, I think I love it even more than I loved Night Sky (though I hope Jolene won't mind that my heart will always belong to Jameson!). I honestly have nothing but praise for this book, but what I'd like to do is pick up on something Jolene said when she posted on her blog about Knee Deep. 
 
A large part of the story has to do with abuse to Ronnie from her boyfriend, Shawn. Jolene said this:
 
"People talk about writing what you know, and then talk about keeping yourself out of your books. But you know what? I KNEW that situation - and I know I'll get some bad reviews (like you always do - ESPECIALLY when you tackle a tough topic) that are going to say that Ronnie's actions weren't believable.

But here's the thing - I told her story, the best way I knew how. Ronnie's reactions with pieces of my truth. And there are some drastic differences, but there are also some startling similarities. So, to me, Ronnie's actions were completely and totally understandable."
 
I remember reading those words and wondering exactly what Ronnie's reactions might be to make people think they weren't believable. I'm not gonna lie - I was concerned that I might be disappointed in the story. However, that just didn't happen. There were certain things Ronnie said or thought about Shawn's actions that made me angry because I needed her to get out of that situation instead of finding ways to explain what he was doing. But that was what made it real for me. Her judgement was terrible at times, but there was not a single moment when I thought it wasn't believable. 
 
The magic of Jolene Perry is that her words make people feel something. I won't give away any spoilers, but there were parts, especially towards the end of the book, that were so clear, I felt like I was watching a movie instead of reading a book. I finished reading Knee Deep more than a week ago, and yet I can still replay full scenes in my head. When words are so vivid that they create not only pictures, but full, moving scenes, inside your mind, you know you're reading something amazing. 

If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself! 



Monday, 14 May 2012

First Loves Blogfest!

I love starting the week with a bloghop! :D The First Loves Blogfest was created by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh, and he wants us to confess our first movie,song/band, book and person loves! This was a fun little trip down memory lane, so, here are my first loves!




Movie: I was very young when I watched Dirty Dancing for the first time, but right away, I fell in love. I loved the music and the dancing, and even though I didn't fully understand everything that happened in the film, I couldn't get enough of it. Patrick Swayze is probably the reason my standards are so high when it comes to men!

Music: I've always been a huge music fan, and there were many bands I loved when I was growing up, but the one I was most crazy about was Boyzone. I was infatuated with Stephen Gately - I genuinely believed I would marry him one day. Too bad he turned out to be gay lol. When he died a few years ago, it was the first time I ever felt the need to grieve for a celebrity. He was such a sweetheart. The band reformed just before he died, and Stephen had already recorded the vocals for Gave It All Away. The rest of the band made the video as a tribute to him, and it saw them trying to write letters to him, and also has clips of Stephen with the band mixed in. The emotion is so genuine and beautiful, you can't help but be touched by it.  
Book: The first books I remember loving were The Faraway Tree books by Enid Blyton. They were so wonderfully imaginative, and it fascinated me to see which lands would be at the top of the tree the next time the characters climbed up!

 Person: Ha, this question threw me a bit, because I was always boy crazy when I was younger! I had many crushes. Many, many crushes! I think my first love happened when I was 13, when I fell for an entertainer at a holiday camp. :D

Thanks Alex, for hosting this great hop! I will be checking out the other posts a little later! :D 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

WIP's got a title!

Wow, it feels seriously weird posting something that isn't related to A-Z or a bloghop! I don't know what to do now I don't have any guidance! :p

I'd just like to say, on behalf of Clare and myself, thanks for all the comments on our "dusted off" project! We have spent countless hours talking about it recently, and it will definitely be something we return to, in between our other books, edits etc.

During the A-Z challenge, I finished my WIP, and it is with my CPs right now *wibbles*. I am excited and terrified because this is the first time I've been ready for a real critique, so I'm waiting with very mixed emotions!

To celebrate my achievement of finishing, my friend bought me a super cool present!


Yup, it's a genuine Hermione Granger wand! Sorry the picture quality is rubbish, I took it on my phone, but that doesn't take away from the awesomeness of having my own wand! I've ALWAYS wanted one. If I was offered a HP wand for finishing every MS, I'd probably get a lot more work done lol!

Finally, to the most important piece of news! Those of you who have been following my blog for a while will know that I've been struggling with a title for my soccer WIP. Well, thanks to all of your suggestions, I played around with the words you threw at me, and I finally settled on .... "Game On." I think it works on several levels and of all the ideas I had, that was the one that stuck! Of course, if you all think it's rubbish, please tell me now before I get my front cover sorted lol!


Monday, 7 May 2012

Dust It Off Bloghop Part 3 - and A-Z Reflections







It's the final day of the Dust It Off Bloghop! Huge thanks to Theresa and Cortney for hosting, it's been really cool to re-visit shelved WIPs, and I've enjoyed reading what everyone else has dusted off!

The last part of this hop asks us to reveal what we learned from our shelved WIPs.

So, there were a few things I learned. First of all, when I first discussed writing with Clare, I was both excited and nervous. What if we couldn't make it work? What if we argued about plots/characters etc? Fighting with friends over a story is not a good idea. The worries were unfounded. The good thing about writing with a friend - and not just a friend, but a very close friend who I'd already known a long time, and spoke to every single day - was that it allowed us to be open with each other. That meant that we could discuss our thoughts honestly. And even better than that - we agreed on pretty much every aspect of where the story was going!

I also learned that there is an extra level of excitement when working with someone else. Clare is very talented, but we write quite differently. I learned a lot from her, and it made me want to write better so I wouldn't let her down. And bouncing ideas around? That is just a whole other area of awesome!

Clare mentioned this in her post too, but it's very true. If you have a shelved piece of work that is still on your mind many years later - it's probably asking to be revived, so don't give up on it!

**

Aaaand onto the A-Z reflections post!

This was the second year I attempted the challenge. Last year, I hated it every single day. This year, with a topic I was enjoying, the time flew by!

My decision to use the challenge to write diary entries from the characters in my WIP came to me on April 1st, when I was completely unprepared. I didn't know if it would work, if people would enjoy it, or whether my characters would be mocked for being lifeless and dull.

Thankfully, they were well received - even the womanising Radleigh McCoy! :D Thanks to all of your wonderful comments, I was inspired to get that WIP finished - no easy task in between posting and commenting every day!

Although A-Z is a LOT of work, it's also worth every second. I picked up a bunch of new followers, and found many, many super cool blogs I may never have found otherwise.


Saturday, 5 May 2012

Dust It Off Part 2 - The Excerpt

It's the weekend! I don't usually do a Saturday post, but it's round two of the Dust It Off bloghop, hosted by Cortney Pearson and Theresa Paolo, so here I am!

For those who don't know, here is a description of the hop: We've all had those manuscripts that we poured our heart into, fell in love with the characters and still think of them at random, but unfortunately had to shelf. Now it's time for a little spring cleaning. Take out those manuscripts and Dust It Off!


On Thursday, I pitched a WIP I worked on many years ago with the awesome Clare Dugmore. Today, I will share one of my favourite excerpts from the story. :D This is from the perspective of Tori Henderson.

**



When we found a cab, Caitlin subtly climbed in so I could say goodnight to Danny.

It’s time I was in bed,” I told him, coyly leaning against the taxi door.

And I thought you were the type who could keep going all night,” Danny replied, looking me up and down without a hint of subtlety. Not that I minded. Knowing he wanted me was part of the fun.

We'd barely paused in flirting with each other all evening, and I’d stayed very close to him the whole time, revelling in the sexual tension that was mounting between us.

I never said I was going to sleep."

I watched as he weakened in front of my eyes, and his hands reached out to grab my waist, pulling me to him.

If you’re not gonna let me come home with you, you’re a very cruel woman." He ran a trail of soft kisses down my neck, making my legs buckle slightly. Most girls would run a mile if a guy attempted to ravish them in the middle of the street, up against a black cab, but I took it in my stride. Besides, I liked him, I wasn’t about to complain!

Hell girl, you’re flirting with a master here! I just about managed to regain control over myself though. “Not tonight baby.”

Danny let out a small groan of frustration. "How about a goodnight kiss?”

Rising up on my tiptoes, I tilted my head back slightly. “I’m not gonna say no to that.”

He lowered his head to kiss me, his lips meeting mine for the first time with a passion and intensity I  hadn't been prepared for.  If it was his intention to make me question my decision, it worked.

Oh boy, did it work!

Danny,” I began, trying to catch my breath, “I-”

You’ve changed your mind?”

I laughed, softly. “I never said no. I just said, not tonight.”

And how am I supposed to sleep now?” he asked, his blue eyes clouded with lust as he ran a hand slowly up and down my back.

By remembering” I said, pressing myself against him, “That anticipation is all part of the fun.”

**
Clare's excerpt can be found here.

And there you have it! Hope you have a great weekend! 


Thursday, 3 May 2012

Dust It Off Bloghop!



Welcome to day one of the Dust It Off Bloghop, hosted by Theresa Paolo and Cortney Pearson! This hop is all about the WIPs you wrote, and then shelved!

Okay, so I am teaming up with Clare Dugmore for this one, because back in 2006 - yup, we've known each other THAT long lol! - we started to write a book together. Unfortunately, other commitments got in the way and we never finished it - but even so many years on - it's still something we remember fondly, so we're going to dust it off for you!

The first day, May 3rd: We want you to post a 1-2 sentence pitch (Great way to practice pitches) about the shelved WIP.

Here is the pitch Clare and I came up with:

For best friends Caitlin and Tori, their first acting job out of Uni opens up a whole new world for them – unfortunately, it wasn’t the world they were expecting. When the strains of adult life and tangled relationships threaten to ruin their friendship, they are forced to take a look at what’s really important. 

Don't forget to hop around to the other blogs and see what wonderful projects everyone is dusting off! :D


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

IWSG: Publishing Panic





Some of you will have seen this already - I accidentally posted it yesterday by mistakes lol! *blushes* 

Can you believe it's time for another round of the Insecure Writer's Support Group? Time is flying by at the moment!

Today, I'll be having a mini nervous breakdown about publishing. I am SO close to having my WIP complete, but there are some things on my mind that just need to be released so I can move on!

First of all, I still don't have a title for this bloody book! It's about soccer, it's chick-lit and obviously I need something lighthearted and attention-grabbing but I can't figure it out. No doubt I will whine about this a few more times before it's done!

Second, I need to organise a front cover for the book. This isn't actually as big a problem as I first thought because I know what I want it to look like and I know a couple of people who may be able to make it happen for me. However, I can't do anything about that until I have a title lol.

Third, what if everyone hates my book? Yesterday I posted on Facebook that I have two more projects lined up, but then I realised that sounded horribly smug. What if my first book bombs? What if it gets nothing but awful reviews and nobody ever wants to buy anything I write ever again? Maybe I wasn't cut out for writing after all.

None of these things will stop me trying, but at the moment, getting my first book out is a terrifying prospect.