Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Oh hello internet, how are you today? Really? Oh well, that’s a shame. It’s okay though. I suggest a bit of tea and maybe a bit of a light snack, like cookies. Everything’s better with cookies. Except maybe drowning. Or burning to death. If you’re doing either of those things, stop looking for cookies. You’re only going to make things worse.

I know a little while ago I said I was going to start a series of posts on titles, and my original plan was to just release one every couple of days until I was done – probably only five or six posts total, really. Unfortunately for you but fortunately for me, thanks to a bit of simple* advice from a friend, I got back into the swing of things with writing and marathoned up several thousand words in the days leading up to Christmas. And then, of course, it was Christmas. Would you like me to tell you why the title posts still aren’t happening? You would? That’s fantastic.

Okay, so, on Tuesday night I got on a flight to Glasgow. In fact I’m sitting on the plane writing this right now. And now I’m not. The plane had access but I was busy doing other things to keep myself not bored. I can never sleep on planes. So right now I’m sitting in the guest bedroom of a friend’s place in Dunoon drinking Irn-Bru. It dawns on me most of you don’t know what Irn-Bru is. Irn-Bru is amazing, internet, and you’re really missing out. Also I really love the adverts.

Sorry internet. I know you were looking forward to those posts** and I’m going to see if I can’t crank out one or two while I’m here overseas. They will definitely be coming at some point, just not in the way I originally intended.

On that note, I’m off to go catch some Zs. And maybe eat some Pringles. What is it about Pringles that makes them so addictive? I have yet to meet someone who can stop themselves from eating the whole thing. Can you internet? Pfft, what am I saying? Of course you can’t. Pringles and Irn-Bru. Yep.

See you around, internet.

*And yet incredibly effective and true
**Okay, you probably weren’t, but I haven’t slept in nearly twenty-four hours and it’s rainy, so humour me here internet.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas everyone

That there is something I stumbled upon while looking for the Jeremy Brett version of the Blue Carbuncle (although Vasili Livanov remains my favorite Holmes and the 1968 Peter Cushing version is my favorite adaptation). The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle is, without a doubt, my favorite Sherlock Holmes story and I make a habit of both watching/listening to an adaptation and reading it every Christmas day.

If you have any interest in reading it for yourself, it can be read here, complete with original Sidney Paget illustrations. If you want to see my favorite adaptation, part one is here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

What's in a name?

On Thursday, Naughty Dog/Sony unveiled the first teaser for Uncharted 3. On Saturday, they rolled the first full trailer for Uncharted 3 at the VGA Awards. Sony had a big event on Sunday, which as far as just about the whole damn internet can gather is it’s more stuff on the new Uncharted (being that I’m writing this on Friday, I don’t know how that’s shaped out yet).

Now, the presence of a new Uncharted by itself is enough to really get people talking. They’re great games, and Uncharted 2 received massive acclaim, none of it undue. But there’s one thing about the game that set people speculating from the first teaser – the full title of the game.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

And this, somehow or other, got my mind thinking about titles.

I suck at coming up with titles. In fact, I’d wager most people do. Or at least, they suck on their first couple go-rounds.

So, I’ve decided to run a series of posts about, yep, titles. From the overly long to the spoilerific to the old-fashioned to the sexy and the mysterious. What makes a title a good title vs. a bad one (and I realise this tends be very subjective)?

Titles, after all, are the second most important aspect of a book. Join me as we make like fools and rush in where angels fear to tread.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What's your malfunction?

We all do things that we really probably shouldn't with our writing. Sometimes, this is forgivable. Follow the rules to a T and you will end up with some dull, dull dross. Ludicrously well written dross! But dross nonetheless. Other times, you end up with not-so-good situations.

For example, if I have a character who smokes, he smokes way too much. He will down enough cigarettes in a page to massacre a herd of bull elephants.

(As an interesting note, it's only ever cigarette smokers who smoke too much. If I give a character cigars, he'll still smoke pretty frequently, but about as often as someone with a smoking habit would ordinarily. If I give a character a pipe, it's basically just when they're at home, which is not often in fiction-land.)

This is largely because I do not know what to do with my characters. Most of it, however, stems from the fact that I am incredibly anal retentive in my writing. On the whole I'm fine with paragraphs, but there are certain shapes of paragraph that for some reason drive me so totally insane.

And so I pad.


I also pad because, as I noted moments ago, I really don't know what to do with my characters, and it feels weird just saying Character Q did action Y and leaving it at that for a little while. It feels like they need to be doing something all the time.

Apparently I have Character Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Scottish tea, tai chi, and mac n' cheese

Today hasn't much been a day of writing because, being that I only have two days of class this week, I have a very limited amount of time to get things done so I can finish playing catch up and registering for next semester.

I have, however, had a lot of time for observing, thinking, and doing quick random things.

For example, it's weird being around certain people who I not only used to be around a lot but also not really having anything to say to them. My mind decides to revert to how I used to be when I first met them. It's kind of unnerving.

This lead to a realization. I feel like my first meeting with a person pretty much defines the spine of our relationship. If I meet someone in an awkward way or feel intimidated from the off, that kind of becomes the basic relationship I have with that person. Sure, like any relationship, it grows and changes with time, but the core of it never really moves from that initial meeting.

I think this applies to fictional creations as well as real people.

I'm not saying Ian Goodenough is undeserving of any love, but I feel like a part of why I love Goodenough so much and why it's the one concept I refuse to abandon is because I created Goodenough while I was on a roll. I'd just finished writing a 102,359 word manuscript and did a fair bit on a sequel/follow-up that I was enjoying when I had the initial idea for Goodenough. Over time, Goodenough changed from a borderline-alien gentleman thief to an eccentric private detective, but the core of our relationship has remained one of joy and love.

By contrast, the WIP I began in February I never liked very much, and I've really begun hating it. I had started it when I was in a dry rut and the initial idea wasn't really much of anything, but I felt so much like I needed to write something again that I just went tippa-tapping away.

And I think that's why I'm sticking by my very slow moving (at least right now) story. I really liked the initial idea, and although I think the better part of the first chapter is so far beyond crap words fail, I keep sticking by because of that same sort of joy and optimism I feel for Goodenough.

"We should have done it in Bb". Lawl.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Working hard and stuff!

Okay, so perhaps it calls for a lot of leniency in your definition for working hard, but things are beginning to get underway again. I'm confident things will pick up in time, firstly because, as I've noted in the past, I despise beginnings with a fiery passion, and secondly because, let's face it, I haven't really written anything properly since July 2009, and haven't written much since May-ish.

Like I said, it depends a lot on how lenient you want to be. In shoddy timeline form:

Idea - 23 October [0 words]
Day 1 - 25 October [148 words]
Day 2 - 27 October [262 words]
Day 3 - 7 November [733 words]
Day 4 - 16 November [2057 words]
Day 5 - 20 November [462 words]

How much of this is surviving? Probably none. Admittedly I tend to hate my work anyway, but this is bad even by my craptacular standards. Still, it's a start. Like a noted above, it's a shaky start. Usually when I write, I do at least 1000 per day, sometimes as high as 1500. It's pretty rare I break 1500, and pretty rare I do a lot less than 1000 (i.e. anything more than a handful of words, 978 isn't a lot off, 789 is). Still, there's some marked progress there. Today is down from the past two days of working on it, though Day 4, as you can see, was very much the odd duckling, given that I had to power through a research paper the next day (it was due on Thursday at 12.45 pm), so that was kind of like making up for lost time, and is also where a lot of red pen is going to be going when we reach the editing stage.

Still, 462 is a step up from the first two, and considering I didn't even WANT to write (seriously, the only reason I did was because, quote: "Ugh, it's been a while, I should write something at least.") today and had continual distractions throughout, 462 doesn't seem that bad.

How long until we get to the end of chapter one? No idea.
How long until we get to the point where it hopefully stops sucking so hard? No idea, but my gut says there's another chapter or two to power through before we hit my usual level of suck instead of this.

See you Space Cowboy...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Whaddaya mean it was the help?

So lately I've been trying to figure out what to post about, and over the course of a couple days things happened (including a friend linking me to this rather awesome thing) which lead up to the formation of this post, and another, but unfortunately some phantom agony meant I couldn't write them up yesterday. Actual post after the song.

Being a fan (and sometimes writer) of crime fiction, there is one trope constantly associated with the genre. In fact it's probably the one thing most people are familiar with without even a glancing knowledge of the genre and its subtypes. Say it with me now:

The butler did it!

...Only, he didn't. Or did he?

The butler did it is an interesting stereotype of detective fiction in that the notion of the hired help always being the killer seems to come from nowhere. It occasionally appears in more recent stories - such as 2004's Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking (although technically he wasn't a butler). Looking back, however, the notion of a butler murderer never really seems to come up. Even if you go all the way back to Edgar Allen Poe, the man effectively responsible for creating detective fiction. In fact, the pioneers of the genre were typically far more inventive than we give them credit for (mostly because nowadays their ideas are run into the ground - case in point: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd)

Still, the idea has to have come from somewhere.

The phrase "the butler did it" is usually attributed to Mary Roberts Rinehart. Trouble is, she never actually used the phrase*. Now, in the story "The Door" the butler is, indeed, the killer, but the phrase "the butler did it" does not appear.

Is that it then? The phrase caught on from people talking to one another about a book in 1930?

Possibly. However, it seems unlikely that this would account for the longevity the phrase has enjoyed. And, more importantly, Mary Roberts Rinehart was not the first person to suggest that the butler be the killer.

S.S. Van Dine published Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories in 1928. It was originally run in a magazine, and later included in an omnibus of his Philo Vance stories. These were, as Van Dine saw them, effectively commandments of the genre. (It's fun to note that in rule number seven he quite plainly states "No lesser crime than murder will suffice".)

Van Dine, however, actually wrote off the notion that a servant be a killer. Rule ten states, "The culprit must turn out to be a person who has played a more or less prominent part in the story" and rule eleven outright says, "A servant must not be chosen by the author as the culprit. This is begging a noble question. It is a too easy solution. The culprit must be a decidedly worth-while person — one that wouldn't ordinarily come under suspicion".

The phraseology there is, in fact, incredibly important. "One that wouldn't ordinarily come under suspicion". Why should the butler be coming under suspicion in the first place? In 1928, crime fiction was still relatively new. Indeed, Poe wrote the Dupin stories beginning in 1841, but it wasn't until Arthur Conan Doyle (A Study in Scarlet was first published in 1887) that the genre really caught on. Indeed, the Sherlock Holmes stories have become the template for the majority of crime fiction since, and C. Auguste Dupin is forgotten by all but superfans of the genre.

Yet Arthur Conan Doyle never called culpability down on the butler. Not exactly, anyway. In The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual the butler Brunton is found to be stealing from Musgrave, and soon both he and the maid disappear. Eventually, Brunton is found dead beside a chest. So, in a sense, the butler did it inasmuch as he is guilty of theft, but it's not really the theft so much as the disappearance of Brunton and Rachel that brings the story about in the first place.

Typically when one says "the butler did it", one thinks of murder. Of course, this may have more to do with the fact that most detective fiction concerns murder, and even in those stories where it is not a murder, murder comes to be suspected.

Probably the earliest example of a butler being the murderer comes from The Brothers Karamazov, although how popular a serialized piece of Russian literature was to American and British audiences in 1880 is not something I have much knowledge of.

Ultimately, the notion of "the butler did it" is something that does come up in detective fiction, but nowhere near as often as people might think. I can think of four stories where this notion is played pretty straight. Five if you count Murder on the Orient Express. If we think of it in terms of servants/servers, then it can be expanded a bit more, but ultimately even if we're pretty liberal in our definition of "the butler did it" I can think of only ten pieces of literature. Of course, this doesn't mean there aren't more. However, I seriously doubt the "more" places it into the sort of numbers people expect.

"The butler did it" probably became a grievance for the very reason it would first be employed. The butler is the ultimate killer. No one really thinks of the butler - they're just there, going about their business, a bit like a cabbie. They can wander freely from room to room free of suspicion, and no one really expects the butler to have a knife up his sleeve or pull a gun from under his lapel. Innovative at first, but perhaps seen as bit of a cop-out, as in most stories the butler is a side character of little to no importance (hence the rules above**).

The moral of the story?

"The butler did it" is like lupus. It's never the butler.

Except when it is.

*Just like "Beam me up, Scotty" or "Elementary, my dear Watson", the phrase was never actually spoken.
**It is interesting to note that if one actually followed S.S. Van Dine's rules, you'd eventually have to rule out Poe, Conan Doyle, and Christie, the three real pioneers and codifiers of the genre.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Reasons we think our neighbor is a mafioso (an ever expanding list)

1. Over the summer, State Patrol cars would pull up every half hour from mid-morning until sunset, parking in a spot where you can still see their house but cannot be seen from the house, and would sit there for quite some time, as though observing something.

2. A couple days ago, a car pulled up in said spot and immediately turned the blinkers on. A man got out, paced up the street a few feet, then got back into his car. Another car came along and slowed down to all but a stop as it passed the van, and then took off. About a minute later, the van turned off its four ways and sped off.

3. Just a few minutes ago, a man in a tracksuit and a guy in a leather jacket were out in the same spot. I was washing dishes so I missed any leadup, but when I came over to open up some windows, they half-jogged up to each other, and then immediately stopped and started to walk away when a car came by. Leather pulled out his phone, but immediately put it away when the car went past, and they walked back up to each other and spent some time looking around like they were looking for something, or looking out for something.

5. A while back, a van parked in said spot, a guy got out, went around behind the row of hedges, and came back to his van a few minutes later carrying something, and immediately went speeding away.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


is what this place so totally has been for a while now, but really especially now that I've not even lurked on my own blog for like a month and a half. Nothing particularly new to report today, but I'll try to have some stuff worked out soon.

A while back, like mid-September I think, I had an idea for a series of blog posts called Worldbuilding Wednesday but I struggled to think of things beyond the topic for the initial one and I got sidetracked with that so it's sitting more or less in dead space right now. Worldbuilding Wednesday will surface eventually, though it's probably not going to occur with any regularity, or it'll be distant regularity, like once every month or few months or something. I dunno, it's being cooked in the back of my mind right now and the brain chef has totally run out of vegetable oil*.

Secondly I do have something pretty radical planned but I'm still working on sorting out the details. Hopefully the sorting can be done ASAP and I can get around to working on it at some point this week -- most likely Friday, really, but we'll see. If all goes according to plan it should be up here anywhere from a day after the work is completed to a few days later. Basically middle of next week at the latest, but most likely well before the end of the weekend. If all goes according to plan.

Beyond that, I've got nothing. I hope you guys are enjoying my absence, because I will probably vanish into the aether again. I'm going to try to stay more on top of things, but the last few times this was attempted, it didn't come off. Now if you'll excuse me I'm in the mood of a milkshake.

*This is in no way autobiographical with regards to breakfast this morning. Not. At. All.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

On debate, drummer rabbits, and success

Fair warning, in my head, all three of these things are clearly connected, but I have a very strong feeling this will not prove to be the case on screen. Bear with me here.

Yesterday, for a variety of reasons, was the best day I've had in a while. I say a variety, actually it's four. I woke up to discover a Pokemon marathon on, the weather was finally not GRR I SHALL TURN THE EARTH INTO BACON*, I discovered Xabi Alonso has a twitter, and, most importantly, yesterday was Jamie Carragher's testimonial. I've watched testimonial matches in the past, and while they're generally entertaining, it's basically just another match, so going into this, I wasn't really expecting much. Maybe it's just because I've been a Liverpool supporter since I was a little lad, maybe it's because Carra is a legend up with the likes of Rushie and King Kenny and even Shanks, but this match was a real joy to watch. It just sort of exuded happiness; hell, even watching the highlights now, I can't help but smile.

However, for one brief moment after the match finished last night, a certain thought entered my head. "Now if we could just replicate that," I thought. "That" being the 4-1 scoreline in the end. This thought quickly dissipated, and generally I disagree with it now, but at the same time, I had it, and I can think of quite a few people who would still stand by that spot.

You see, Liverpool at the moment are in a bit of an odd position. We are riddled with debt and, as a result, our owners tend to take money from sales and use it to pay off some of the debt rather than reinvest in new players**. On paper, however, the squad doesn't look too bad, and in theory our current lineup has the capacity to perform just as well as two seasons ago, which was a ridiculous, ridiculous thing. However, we're coming off the heels of what was a bit of a bad run. People, meanwhile, have different standards of what it means for Liverpool to be successful. For some people, winning the league title is all that matters. For others, it's collecting silverware. For some, it's Champions League football. For me, success is that we're still playing football.

I'll shut up about the football now and explain how this ties into writing.

One thought which on occasion slips into this little head of mine is the question of whether or not I actually want to be published.

At some point yesterday (I believe it was before the match), Nathan linked to this post on Hannah Moskowitz's blog. I spent varying amounts of time leafing through the comments, because I'm a creeper like that, and someone, somewhere down the line, mentioned something which I've heard people ask a few times in the past. To nutshell the question (because I don't feel like hunting down the exact comment): "If you're just writing for yourself, why would you want to be published?"

As I mentioned just moments ago, this is a thought which actually slips into my head with surprising regularity. My answer always is thus: "Because I need a job, and the only three things I'm good at are piracy, farming, and writing. Piracy is kind of not viable, farming is not the best career path in this nation anymore (which is another rant for another time), and so that leaves writing or doing something I suck balls at and hate". This is very true. Yet it doesn't stop me doubting whether or not I actually do want to be published, and often times, including right now, I don't. I just don't. I would rather write and save it and just enjoy it whenever I decide to read it back to myself. Of course, though, I do want to be published. On the one hand, I want to be published because of aforementioned employment complications. On the other hand, there are times when my mood is just in stark contrast to right now and I'm like, "Fuck yeah! Publication!"

Somehow related to this in my head is that Liverpool style of wildly different ideas of what it means to be a success. Equating to my hopes for Liverpool would be "Just to get published". Champions League, "I don't need to be the best, but I want to do well". Silverware, "I just want to enjoy a bit of success". Premiership, "I want to be the next JK Rowling/Stephenie Meyer".

Part of the problem interfering with Liverpool reaching the heights some people want us to is the fact that Torres has a tendency to pick up nasty injuries (especially on international duty). Complicating my own run towards any level of success would be my own injury problems, so to speak.

Writing is an exhaustive affair. I'm not really sure why, but it is. For some people, however, that doesn't seem to be much of an issue. They write, they take some time off, and they're right back at one hundred per cent with relative quickness. I always seem to take a long time to recover. I give some tremendous efforts, and then I just sort of peter out. In the eighth grade, I wrote my first novel (novella maybe?) in the span of about a week, while we were on break. Afterwards, I struggled to write anything and effectively had writer's block for about two years. Eventually, I came back, warmed myself back up to it, and churned out another novel in about three months. It would have been done a lot faster, but school complicated matters. Ever since, I've been struggling to write, although fortunately without the same level of severity as the last time***. At times, I consider voluntarily just hanging up the cape, so to speak, and waiting for my batteries to recharge on their own, but waiting drives me just as bonkers as not having the capacity of an energizer bunny.

The point of all this, really, is to vent frustrations/angst. Yet let's consider it to be some food for thought. Think about your own doubts, frustrations, et cetera. Think about what writing really means to you; what your goals really are.

**There are also those who clamor for a new stadium, which is just something I am wholly opposed to. 
***Although, June 18th 2010 was the one year point, so while I may be writing with more frequency, it sure as hell hasn't improved that much.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Questionable Decisions

So today's the day bestie moves down to South Carolina for college. Very long day ahead for all involved. Walking down to my cousin's to borrow his truck, then it's off to friend's house to load up junk into his truck and her parents' van. Bestie and I in cousin's truck, other friends in the van if all goes according to plan. Google Maps estimates the drive from the furthest it can go on her street (for some reason it stops two houses short) to the university, by the fastest route, is an 11 hour 46 minute drive. Hoping to start loading at 6.30, hoping to be ready to roll before 7, probably won't be down there until the midddle of the night. Anyway I'll be liveblogging this whenever I have internet access over the course of the day; this is just the scheduled heads up.

Quick note: It is entirely possible that, on occasion, things will not be "live" per se. I may be able to pick up internet briefly while moving, but unless we're stopped somewhere there's no guarantee I'll be able to post it. So I'm going to make a copy of everything I type and save it in Notepad, so that way if the internet goes boom, I won't lose those thoughts forever. In such a case, a cluster of thoughts may appear at once.


6.50 - Hatfield
All has not gone according to plan. Two friends who were supposed to be in the other truck did not arrive, and we lacked the necessary manpower to move some heavy items, thus forcing us to be inventive with getting it downstairs and then basically we sprinted to the trucks. Still, it's before 7 so the plan isn't totally ruined. About to hit the road.

6.58 - Kulpsville
Stoppin at Wawa to buy some much needed coffee and soda and to pick up foodstuffs for the journey ahead. Trying to minimize pitstops, so we probably won't get lunch until a little late, and we're only hitting the can if someone's about to explode. I think we're clearing out the whole store to stock up for the road.

9.47 - Greencastle
Managed to make good time to the border - didn't expect to be here for another half hour or so. Stopped because the other truck is out of gas, because we forgot to check the fuel gauges before leaving (I can probably last until we hit southern VA/northern NC, but filling up anyway). So we're just sitting here, waiting for the gas to finish pumping, stealing wifi from somewhere nearby. Took way longer than I thought to find some stable internet once we got on the road. In other news: Awesome song came on the radio not too long ago. Never heard of this band before but I am checking out The Candle Thieves as soon as I am not sat in a truck in a parking lot.

12.20 - Verona
We have elected to take a piss break. Then grabbing lunch for the road, since we're already at Burger King, even though we have SO MUCH FOOD. At this pace we aren't going to get anywhere. Also, quick PSA: If you have wifi, protect it. I love you for not doing so because it helps me right now, but you really should make it a private system. If you leave it public, bad things can happen.

P.S. I have found the song!

3.40 - Charlotte
We have elected to ignore Google Maps' advice and drive through Charlotte. Mistake. Should have seen coming, given that it's a fairly major city. Having issues holding into connection, having to find a new network all the time because I get one, type a few words, and then we move again and I need to find one. We sped monstrously to get down here so fast, but after deciding we needed to make up for lost time from all our stops and respectful driving, we decided the best option was to never do less than eighty unless there was something that forced us to. And then we saw signs pointing in the direction of Charlotte and we said "Fuck Google" because Google's route was lamesville and did not take us through the city, so here we are. Actually I'm probably going to be nipping in even less soon. As soon as we find a place to do so, I'm taking over the driver's seat until we reach our destination.

4.23 - Charlotte
Stopped off in a little local cafe for some dinner and another bathroom break. It's a welcome relief from the road. Everyone very tired, very bored. Probably set out as soon as we're done eating again. Google believes it should only take us until like seven to get down there, so at least we're on the home stretch.

4.36 - Charlotte
After many failed minutes of trying to take a picture of bestie, I am success. Peoples of the blogosphere, I present to you one bored and hungry bestie:

6.06 - Charlotte
Unfortunately, we got wrapped up by the comfort of the cafe and have just sort of been vegetating here in the corner. Waiting for this Real Madrid game to end, and then we're back on the road. And this time I gots the wheel. It is very, very probable our two-car caravan will be speeding again. Perhaps not. Google seems to think it's only two and a half hours to go. Of course, we have no idea how long it will take to get out of the city. Such is life.

8.03 - Somewhere
We have no idea where we are. Somehow we have gotten ourselves lost, and we are quite certain we have strayed from the intended route. Friend in van has gone ahead to a gas station to ask for directions back to the turnpike. We are waiting a little ways back so if the guy in the gas station turns out to be a crazed murderer, we can escape.

8.08 - Somewhere
So it turns out we actually weren't that far at all. It's just a short drive west-ish and then we shoot down the turnpike and get off at the intended exit. Presumably we can follow back roads to get there, and said back roads may even be faster, but we've gotten ourselves lost in small-ish town South Carolina once. We are not getting lost again.

P.S. We have learned that Somewhere is just outside of Williamston. Just kind of a little fringe outskirt of the town proper. It still gives us the heebie jeebies.

8.37 - Anderson
We have finally reached our destination. Find it utterly uproarious this is classified as a city. Looks even smaller and sleepier than some of the middle of nowheres we went through on the way here. If that's even possible. Ultimately we should not have deviated into Charlotte; that was definitely what killed us. Hoping to find our way to the university quickly, and hoping they haven't closed up shop for the day. If they have, we will be sleeping in the trucks tonight and moving into the dorm first thing tomorrow morning. But hopefully this is not the case, because it is really hard to sleep in a pickup that is stuffed full of things.

8.49 - Anderson
Not sure but I think we may have overshot the target. Somewhere on North Main right now. No longer appears tiny and sleepy, but still not a city as I would have thought. Was expecting more like Charlotte, Philly, Richmond, DC. Instead, this is more like Allentown.

8.57 - Anderson
The good news: We have managed to get ourselves un-lost. The bad news: We can't check-in because the key people are done for the day. Which means we're sleeping in the cars, probably. There was what looked like a motel down by Railroad Street, but it looks like something out of a horror movie, so even if it is a motel I'm avoiding it. Don't know what the other guys are up to. Planning to head back into the heart of town, because there's got to be some sort of hotel there.

9.03 - Anderson
We have found a Hilton and through the magick of bestie's cell phone and her mom's credit card, we've all got rooms for the night. Getting up early-ish tomorrow to grab some grub and then hurry back on up to the school to move in. Then it's who knows what. I am probably coming back home in time for the Trabzonspor game, but I could also just lock myself in the hotel room for an hour and a half. We'll see what bestie and I feel like doing.

10.26 - Anderson
So I've ordered Google Maps to connect with the stops we've made, and while this obviously is not the exact route we travelled, our journey went a little something like this:

8.42 - Anderson
Turns out we've woken up a bit later than expected. Haven't actually contacted the others but going by what I could hear from their doors, they're asleep. Or just kind of sitting very, very quietly, which is possible. They definitely haven't all gone ahead without me, because the trucks are still in the rear lot. Also we learned two valuable lessons today:

1. Hotels in small cities in South Carolina are more populated than you might think
2. Fellow guests do not appreciate you looming outside doors listening with an empty glass, as evidenced by their stares

10.21 - Anderson
Whole gang woke up not longer after checking on them. Went out to breakfast at a Waffle House we passed on the way into town. Apparently there are like four here, which makes me mondo jealous, as the nearest Waffle House to home is an hour away. Once breakfast was done with, we got a move on.

So we made it up to the school, got buzzed in, and got the key. Well, actually, the lady behind the desk raised her eyebrow at us when all three of us walked up, and then tried to bar everyone but bestie entry. A rather aggrevated explanation later and we're inside, following a group of people to where the give out the keys, all the while earning a combination of bemused and horrified looks, because "OMG are those men? Men who are not parents? In a girls' dorm!?" For the record we did not make that up. We actually heard a girl sort-of whisper that as we walked past. She even spelled out OMG instead of saying "ohmigod".

Anyway, we get down there, we get the key, we find our way to the dorm room, and we unlock it to find it's a single, which is a bonus. Brought the heaviest bits up -- someone needs to tell bestie they do not need to bring the armchair and loveseat from their room -- and are now taking a break before going for the normal luggages. Also, we want to know who designed these dorm buildings. They are narrow soulless lines of cinder and the doors are so narrow we swear we are in a converted prison. Much joking about that ensued, given that our high school was designed by a man who designs prisons. (The inside of the room is nice, though. Not prison-y at all).

10.33 - Anderson
Baggage and random furnishings (lamps etc) have been hauled in. Have sorted the furniture, mostly, but will leave bestie to their clothes and any finishing touches. The end of the room we're in now looks something like:

Bestie is still not amused with our constant trying to picturize them.

7.55 - Anderson
First day of bumming it around town with bestie has been fun. Mostly a case of getting our bearings and just doing stupid things like racing on the train tracks. Other friend has long since begun the long haul back home, and according to a text we got not so long ago, they're pulling into Richmond to put up with some friends who are going to school down there. And in honor of their departure from this awesomeness, I present to you Other Friend, aka Olive:

(Actually if we're being honest, that picture is old. I just haven't dumped my computer in forever.)

8.30 - Anderson
Day three of super mega awesome SC business begins. Wound up going to bed kind of early last night, as we were both quite exhausted and around nine I started to feel a little unwell. Feeling better this morning, fortunately. It occurs to me I should start posting this is 24-hour so as to differentiate things.

7.22 - Anderson
This day mostly turned into the same things we did yesterday, with the late afternoon and evening just chilling in bestie's dorm. Have terminated the hotel service and will now be bunking on the floor or loveseat in here. At the very least, staying through the day tomorrow. Quite possibly staying until the 31st. Not really sure what I'm going to if I remain longer, as bestie's classes begin Monday. We'll see what happens. Point is Day Three has been uneventful.

11.00 - Anderson
It's been settled. I'm staying through the weekend, leaving either Monday or Tuesday morning; presumably the latter. It is not fun to leave, but it must be done before September first. Anyway, this will probably be my last update, as really there's nothing to comment on unless you want to hear me chime in every five minutes with a crappy explanation of whatever we're doing at the moment. For providence of the latter: Bestie is currently brushing her teeth and I am sat here re-reading Part One of Don Quixote, because we love it and Part One really is my early teenage years, basically.

N.B. The plan is to remain here. It is entirely possible I will be kicked out. Classes are technically in session and this is not a co-ed dorm. So far the plan is to hide under the bed should anyone come calling.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Okay, so first off, I just want to apologize for taking so long to make this list. I was going to do it yesterday evening, but then things kind of got away from me and I didn't get home until midnight and went to bed not long after, and then I have been watching football all day because it's the first day of the season and I always watch the opening match and I like to see how the newly promoted teams perform first game. But this is being done now, so bear with me.

Anyway, due to technical difficulties with the linking device, here is a list of all participants (or at least, I believe it's all of them):

February Grace
Ted Cross
Olivia Herrell
Francine Howarth
Mia Hayson
Amalia Dillin
Christi Goddard
Nicole Murray
Misty Waters
Rebecca Thompson
Christine H
Raquel Byrnes
Dawn Embers
Tessa Conte
L'Aussie Denise
Amanda Sablan
Christopher Ledbetter
Donna Hole
J.W. Parente
Anne Riley
JC Martin
Alison Stevens

The original list is also here.

And just in case I missed anyone, there is this thing which will hopefully not break like the last one:

I may or may not be joining, depending upon how things pan out. Going to be busy the next couple days between football and helping my cousin move, but hopefully I'll get round to it Monday or Tuesday. We'll see what happens.

So, yeah, happy Weatherfest.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Flash update

Hey peeps, remember that blogfest I was forced coerced dangled over hot lava totally willingly created? Yes? No? Well who cares if you remember because Weatherfest is happening. In a week. All the rules are there but just a reminder: It's fine if you're a little late. To be honest I will probably be late.

In other news, I'm hunting down new skins for the blog because I don't feel like going back to coding (takes way too long and I no longer have the attention span), but right now all the skins I can find are the most womanly things I have seen in my life, so it may be a while.

Have fun.

New update: So apparently that link thing isn't working for people anymore, and the stupid twats who designed it put in zero method of recovery, so without access to my username or password, or the ability to make a new account linking to the same site, I'm going to hunt down an alternative and post it here.

New new update: Screw it, more trouble than it's worth. I'll compile a list here. Just post in the comments if you're not on the old listamajig so I don't miss you.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Our Day in 23 Easy Steps

1. Wake up at almost 11 because we didn't get to bed until 2.30 because there were noisy drunks in the basement
2. Spend three hours lying half-asleep on the sofa watching House. Also, eat an omelet at some point in there.
3. Find out you lost out on yet another job, and this time a really awesome one.
4. Stalk best friend on Facebook
5. Engage in poke war with best friend on Facebook
6. Sort-of tan for half an hour
7. Contemplate going to Waffle House or IHOP; eat ramen and M&Ms instead
8. Resume stalking & poking duties
9. Contact different friend about their schedule for uni this fall. Despair at all their classes being in the morning, whilst all ours be in the early afternoon.
10. Resume stalking & poking duties. Again.
11. Go annoy people on twitter by being way too present.
12. Use Wikipedia to track down every university in the UK
13. Look at every university's standards for internationals
14. Save links to every single one there's even an inch of a chance of getting into
15. Wish it were later in the year so you could blanket apply and hopefully get accepted and get a green card
16. Resume stalking & poking duties. Again again.
17. Be way too present on twitter again
18. Move things back to where they belong
19. Take out the trash
20. Resume stalking & poking duties. Again again again.
21. Go to Waffle House with best friend.
22. Watch Burn Notice & Futurama
23. Contemplate sleep

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another short update-y thing

On the writing front, we're making progress. NNN is still at 661 and no progress. NN is now at 1589. Haven't made any progress since Saturday, mostly because sister and her boyfriend are here and it's hard to focus with them around. I think that's part of the problem actually. If I don't write every day or darn near every day I seem to lose interest. Like, I have had no interest in writing since Sunday, until five minutes ago, and that interest just now lasted not even a second. Unfortunately I'm going to have to wait even longer to write again, as an even bigger annoyance is coming up and I won't be free again until next Thursday. Really I'm less concerned about losing interest than I am about losing the protagonist's voice. But enough griping from me. This is an update, not a rant.

Actually that's about it. I was going to say something here but then I got distracted by music, and I feel like it wasn't very important, so if I think of it again I'll probably share. So, yeah.

Headway is being made on writing.

And I may actually seriously play around with the blog skin this time. We'll see.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The first step is always the hardest

Truer words have never been spoken.

New document opened: 8.10 am EST
Current word count: 0

Latest WIP opened: 8.11 am EST
Current word count: 661
Words added today: 0

Excuse me while I go bash my skull against something sharp and preferably metallic.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A (lame) present for you all

I have no idea what's up with the random white noise. I've recorded tons of stuff outside and inside in the past and it's never done that, and it was fine on the camera itself, so I think something went wrong in the conversion process. Whatever it was, you'll have to deal with it. I spent an hour and a half just to get to a point where I wasn't speaking in a Scouse or Edinburgh accent, and there were many, many takes after that due to a variety of factors (mostly giant wasps of doom).

Anyway, I created that channel because I am planning to some day eventually do vlogging stuff for you peoples. When I actually have something I feel like vlogging about, which will really be about as infrequently as things I feel like posting about, if even that often. I'll try to fix the phantom white noise by then.

And while we're on the subject of youtube, for those of you who missed the World Cup final last night...first of all, WHAT IN THE NAME OF FLABBERGHASTERY WERE YOU DOING THAT WAS SO IMPORTANT YOU HAD TO MISS IT!? Secondly, see this link. I would embed but ESPN don't like that apparently.

And finally:

Much as I love Xabi and I was having a heart attack when that happened, oh man is that video great.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cheese and Beans on Toast

As I write this, I’m playing blackjack against myself. I’ve got some cheese and beans on toast on a plate and in another minute or so I’ll have a nice mug of tea, but the bulk of my focus is on the game at hand. Lately I’ve been feeling a lot like playing five card stud. It’s absolutely my game of choice, but unfortunately not many people know how to play. If you bring up the subject of poker, they assume you want to play Texas Hold Em, which has got to be the most womanly form of poker I have ever laid my eyes on. But really that’s the smaller issue going against five card stud – a many-sided whammy of heat wave of death, people on vacation, lack of automotive transport, and the fact that no one seems to know how to or really want to play five card stud means there’s no hope of poker. So instead, I’m sitting here playing blackjack against myself. Losing, too, if you want to count DealerMe as separate from PlayerMe.

I’ve tried to be productive today. Not long after I woke up I opened the document with my latest WIP. I even have been productive, in a way. Usually I do the dishes at the end of night before bed, but this weekend I felt like being lazy and let them all pile up until after breakfast this morning. So I finally washed the dishes and cleaned up the millions of soda cans I left lying around. Yes, I’ve been a pig. One of those weeks I guess. But I haven’t actually done any work on the story. It’s okay, I tell myself. It’s only one in the afternoon, and with no obligations whatsoever you could stay up all night if you really wanted to. Who knows? Maybe I will. Maybe I’ll start writing at ten or eleven and carry on into the small hours.

More likely, however, is that I won’t make a lot of progress on anything. I still have the document with my latest WIP open – sitting minimized, technically. However, I also have Twitter open, am playing blackjack against myself, have just pulled up the youtube of a band I like to listen to some of their music, and I have a DVD of one of my favorite movies sitting on top of the TV because I feel like watching it later. The only reason I’m not watching it now is because the World Cup final is going to start in fourteen minutes. My money’s on Spain, but the Netherlands certainly have a real chance. It’s going to be a good game. Or at least, it ought to be. Oh, and I’m still working on reading through The Bodysnatchers, which is still sitting in the reading/cats’ room.

The short of it is there are a lot of distractions and few motivators. It’s not that I don’t want to write – I very much do. I even have in my head all of the events and more or less the words from right where I’ll be picking up writing to, I don’t know, two chapters down the line maybe? I kind of want to hold off on introducing one of the important characters until somewhere in the chapter three to six range; preferably on the latter end if I can help it. It’s just that the prospect of sitting on the piano stool eating cheese and beans on toast while drinking scalding hot tea is much more appealing than writing. That’s probably a bad thing.

In the process of cracking my neck I just noticed the graduation balloon is still sitting in the dining room. Firstly, how I’ve failed to notice its continued existence is beyond me. Secondly, I am amazed we even still have that thing. I’m amazed it’s even still inflated. Anyway, tangent over…

Ultimately I should be thankful I don’t have a deadline for this book. Theoretically I could take the next eighty years to write it. I really hope I don’t, and I seriously doubt I will, but I could if I felt like it.

Still, I feel like I probably should assign myself some sort of deadline. Unemployed life is a bad educator. I woke up at six o’clock this morning, went for a run, then sat around doing nothing on my laptop for three hours, then spent an hour cleaning, and am now back to sitting around doing nothing on my laptop. And playing blackjack against myself. And eating cheese and beans on toast.

One of those weeks, I guess. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Some Advice From A Guest

Umm hi everyone? im Amy. i know its been a while since i asked Nick to add me, so you all must be like holy cucumbers she exists!?! hopping along the towpath, i know Nick has a tendency to complain about his writing and be a Grumpy MacAngerman about it and personally i dont write but i do paint and dabble in photography and sometimes i get like that too, so i thought if we both get all kinds of negative about our stuff other people must too, so heres some ways i like to keep positive whether im working or just being me.

smile seems obvious right? but it really does help. you might want to avoid this in public or else people could get really creeped out but i try to smile as much as i can when im home alone. a little grin tho, a big toothy smile would be weird.

hang out with positive people obvs you shouldnt ignore negative people or theyd probably kill themselves or something, but if youre around upbeat people youll probably be more upbeat too.

find a happy place find a place you love thats just totally awesome. personally i love OBX. i go there all the time and in fact ive been down here since june 18. (tbh i prob wouldnt come as often if we didnt have a house down here) but it doesnt have to be the beach for you. maybe its your bedroom or the mall or something, just find somewhere you can fall in love with. for me at least my happy place is also a source of inspiration.

help someone out taking the focus off yourself can help you stop thinking about whatevers got you down for a little bit at least.

leave positive quotes lying around i like to collect my favorite quotes on sticky notes and put them all over my room.

just embrace yourself last night i decided to dance around on the beach behind our house singing pocketful of sunshine because i felt like it. whenever i complete something instead of just outright saying it sucks or looking for where i made mistakes, i try to focus on the parts where i didnt screw up first and then look at the parts where i did and just accept the fact that thats my own style of painting. if people think it sucks great, because i know im awesome ;)

Nickterjection: Please, pardon her clusterfeck typing. I'm too lazy to turn it into proper grammar.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

The one thing I've consistently disliked most of all about the publishing process since I first started learning about how it works is the fact that from square one publishing is all about marketing. We have to sell ourselves to agents, who in turn sell us to publishers, who then sell our books to public, and it's probably a good idea to do a little marketing of the book yourself once it hits the shelves. It's all about making sales from the moment your feet hit the ground.

It should be easy enough to understand why this can be aggravating. We write. If we wanted to play the marketing game we'd get a degree in it and go work for some corporation. But getting upset about it won't get you anywhere. Refuse to play the game and you're done. So as long as you're stuck trying to market yourself any way you can, you better take the game seriously.

Regardless of where you are in the process, a good rule of thumb to follow for anything that involves a higher ratio of failure to success is to assume everything will fail.

Just plugged your new book over on twitter? Good. No one's listening. Go make a fan page on Facebook.

As soon as you've finished doing something, that step has failed. Don't wait and see if it has or it hasn't; it has.

The real trick is to keep yourself going. It's easy to say "If I'm going to fail at everything, I might as well not bother in the first place". With this, I can't help you. It's your mind, your willpower. Whatever you can do to keep yourself trucking, make sure you do it.

When all's said and done and your book has gone to print, a good thing to bear in mind is to not be afraid of spamming. Of course, this won't be the most popular approach, but if you can find ways of doing it within reason it usually pays off. For example, a good way to increase your count of subscribers is to attach some of your videos as video response to the most popular videos of the week and of all time. Running into the comments every few hours and telling people to check out your channel can work, but less people will be willing to see what's going on.

This can be harder to pull off with marketing books, but there are still ways it can be done. Find a way of slipping some form of ads for it into your local bookstore. Somewhere people will notice when they're actively looking at the area, or maybe even just skimming it, but the staff probably won't notice as not being theirs. Of course, slipping it through like some sort of drug may not be necessary. Try speaking to the manager or someone first, and if that falls through, go ahead and plant it. Just try not to get caught or they may not be so friendly the next time you're in.

Finally, one thing you should definitely do at any step on the road is to set yourself unrealistic goals. As with assuming everything will fail this can be dangerous if you have the wrong mentality, but go into it the right way and the payoff should pull in your favor. If you say "I want to be published" you can get there, but it's going to be a rough ride. For one thing, if you fall short of achieving your goal, you probably don't have a milestone you can look at and still stay positive about. For another, you will have loads of other people all trying to get their book published as well, and may end up bowing to the pressure of competition. But if you say "I want my book to be #1 on the NY Times bestseller list by the end of the year" the only people who will have the same ambition will be idiots.

Odds are very good you won't achieve that number one spot on the list, but if you assume everything will fail and do everything you possibly can to market yourself, you'll have a benchmark you can stop to look at and be proud of. The same goes for finding an agent. If you say "I want an agent" that's great. If you say "I want to be signed by the President of XYZ agenting group" you very well could come up short, but you'll come up short somewhere where you should still be able to be happy with your success.

Anyway, that's all I've got for you today. Hopefully tomorrow the other thing I've got rattling around in my skull will go up.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Something Old

First things first, hello to all the new followers who have been popping up over the past few weeks. I know, I’ve pretty much been ignoring you. I tend to do that.

Second things second, there are ads on the blog now. Well, an ad. I’ve put them in the sidebar to keep them out of the way, but they are there. I could write a big long spiel explaining why it is I’ve decided to monetize, but just know that it’s happened. If you want to unfollow me or hate me or whatever, that’s fine. The income is going to be bordering on nil, but it’s much-needed income.

Third newsbit: Seeing as I swear a lot, I’m trying to cut back on my swearing in July. Originally I’d thought no swearing at all (bar instances of severe pain, etc) but no way could I ever achieve that. So, you know, if you see me doing my usual swearing up a storm, tell me off or something. It’s a bad habit I never should’ve picked up in the first place.

And with that out of the way, let’s get on with the reason we’re here.

A long while back I had asked here and on Facebook and a few other places for people to ask me just about any questions they fancied. I’d meant to post the replies around a week after telling people they could ask me shazbot, but I never really got round to it. So now, a good two or three months after the fact, I’ve gone digging back through everything and plucked out those questions that I didn’t lose track of, if I lost track of any at all. Anyhow, I’ve spent enough time dillying and more than enough time dallying. On with the answers.

Do you walk around speaking with a British accent in real life?

I tend to, yeah, although it’s usually not region-specific. I mean it tends to be Northern, but it’s kind of a hodge-podge of Northerners. Some words come out Scouse, some Manc, it tends to just be different accents put on different words, and I admit every now and again I slip up and end up sounding like I’m from Norfolk for a word or two, but y’know, no one here even really notices the differences.

Can you recommend a good restaurant on the beach?

Oh God, it’s been forever since I’ve been to the beach. I hate beaches. I don’t even know what restaurants are in what beach towns any more. Last time I was in New Jersey was…five years ago? Six, maybe? Last time I went to a beach was last summer, but I remained firmly in the Freelander while my friends went to the beach. I went bumming it around in Bournemouth.

What annoys you?

A lot of things. More than probably should annoy me.

Do you remember what your first kiss was like?

Oh, haha, let’s pretend this question never existed…

If you couldn’t write, what would you do?

Well when I had that really long case of writer’s block, I turned my attention to voice acting (which actually prolonged it, because I lost interest in writing in favor of voice acting). So I guess I would try for that first, and if that fell through, I don’t know. I’m not really very good at a whole lot. Maybe I would buy a boat and claim Redonda for myself.

How many watches do you own? I swear I see you with a different one every time I see you.

I own a lot. Only the Nautica works anymore, but I have that, a gold one, a Hamilton, five pocket watches, a Timex, some cheap one I bought in an airport, and a black Seiko. So I have eleven but one works. I need to get my other watches fixed. New batteries.

Do you have any autographs? Have you given any?

I have a couple of actors’ autographs, but not a lot. I wish I had more, but I’m a shy person really. And no I haven’t given any. What kind of question is that? I’m not famous.

What kind of car do you drive?

I am the proud owner of two pasty feet in brown adidas. My own car broke down and my sister’s car is both dying and in a sorry state, because she has no idea how to take care of a car. If I absolutely need to go somewhere I will take that one, but I try to avoid driving it. I’m always afraid it’s going to explode or something. Right now I’m looking into getting my M Class, so maybe soon I’ll have a motorcycle.

Ninjas or Pirates?

Pirate. Always pirate. Ninja don’t stand a chance. (And, fyi, the plural of ninja is ninja, not ninjas, and actually the proper term is shinobi) Don’t get me wrong, shinobi are coolsville, but any pirate worth his salt would wreck them.

Have you ever been to Spain?

Once, to Barcelona. I want to go to Madrid at some point, but that’s more to watch Real Madrid in person than it is about vacation. Spain is a nice place though. I would certainly go again.

Facebook or Twitter?

Twitter all the way. It’s so much better. Really I’m waiting on Diaspora (comes out in September I think) and Google’s social networking thing and anything else to get a judge of what they’re like and also I’m going to see where people are going. Right now Diaspora is the winner amongst new networkers though. It’s open source, which is good, and it’s decentralized so you don’t have Facebook’s pathetic brand of privacy. The only reason I haven’t left Facebook is that, especially now that we’ve graduated, it’s the only means I have of keeping in touch with a lot of friends. Still, Twitter wins out over all of them.

When do you like to write?

The morning, usually. It’s my favorite time of day for a lot of reasons, mostly just because of the way it feels, but it’s when I tend to be best at writing. I usually have my ideas in the afternoon or evening, but typically I only have the words to express them between six and eleven fifty-nine.

What newspaper do you read?

Right now, none. The school year’s over so I finally have the time to buy them in the morning again, but the World Cup is on and I don’t want to miss a minute of coverage, whether that be discussion or game. Here in America, I read the New York Times. When I’m in Britain, I read the Telegraph. I prefer the Telegraph, but there’s really no getting it over on this side of the Atlantic.

What’s the last TV series you’ve become addicted to?

The West Wing. I’m much more addicted to Doctor Who, but the West Wing is the latest addiction.

Where do you want to see yourself in five years?

Hopefully in the United Kingdom and having transferred from a post-study work visa to a skilled worker visa so I can start my five years of living in the UK so I can obtain citizenship. Immigration is a scary long process yo.


Dude totally!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Does this mean I should fear cats now?

Day 06 - Whatever tickles your fancy

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day Five

"…even in the Army if I had a job to do – even if it was scrubbing the floor – I wanted my floor to be cleaner than yours. If everyone thinks along these lines and does all the small jobs to the best of their ability, that’s honesty. So what we want is hard work." - Bill Shankly (2 September 1913 – 29 September 1981)

Shanks really is just an utter treasure trove of great quotes. Look the man up sometime.

Day 05 - Your Favorite Quote

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Asking a bibliophile this is just ridiculous

Day 04 - Your Favourite Book

I really don't have a favourite book. At all. I just either like a book or dislike a book. Same for authors. Can't really pick a favorite book or author. So instead, here's the first three books I pulled off my shelf:

From left to right:
The Eight Doctors by Terrance Dicks
Vampire Science by Johnathan Blum & Kate Orman
Thrilling Citites by Ian Fleming

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Where do you think you're going?

Day 03 - Your Favorite Television Program

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Day 02 - Your Favorite Movie

Monday, June 21, 2010

No rhyme or any reason

Day 01 - Your Favourite Song

So, I don't really have a favourite song, per se. I mean I do, but it tends to change based upon a variety of factors. Often times it's just whatever song I happen to be listening to at the moment I am asked. But for the past couple of weeks, it has very much been an old-ish Starsailor song that has long been one of my favorites when considering their output.

Or if you would rather just the music video, click here. And for the very close second (and sometimes tied) song, see here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Month of Me!

So whilst I was digging about for stuff, I found this thing:

Day 01 — Your favorite song
Day 02 — Your favorite movie
Day 03 — Your favorite television program
Day 04 — Your favorite book
Day 05 — Your favorite quote
Day 06 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 07 — A photo that makes you happy
Day 08 — A photo that makes you angry/sad
Day 09 — A photo you took
Day 10 — A photo of you taken over ten years ago
Day 11 — A photo of you taken recently
Day 12 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 13 — A fictional book
Day 14 — A non-fictional book
Day 15 — A fanfic
Day 16 — A song that makes you cry (or nearly)
Day 17 — An art piece (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.)
Day 18 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 19 — A talent of yours
Day 20 — A hobby of yours
Day 21 — A recipe
Day 22 — A website
Day 23 — A YouTube video
Day 24 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 25 — Your day, in great detail
Day 26 — Your week, in great detail
Day 27 — This month, in great detail
Day 28 — This year, in great detail
Day 29 — Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 — Whatever tickles your fancy

And I figured, "Hey, why not?" So, starting tomorrow, this shall be my posting schedule for the next thirty days. Feel free to join in on your own blog if you fancy, or just have fun watching the wave, or totally ignore the wave too. Whatever tickles your fancy.

P.S. What do they mean by fictional book? See, that taxonomy, to my mind, means a book that does not exist. But I think they mean a work of fiction. So I'm rocking with the latter.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Late Night Narm

I’d forgotten what an amazing place outside can be. Well, it’s not so much forgotten, I guess. I can cast my mind back to the various summers I’ve spent in Scotland, or that last week I spent in Nice with my now ex-girlfriend, or any of the other places I’ve been and just utterly loved. I had, however, forgotten how amazing a place my own hometown can be.

Tonight, everyone has been leaving for the Jersey Shore for Senior Week. I’ve opted to stay behind because a. I hate the Jersey Shore, b. Senior week shall consist of getting plastered and high; the former I do not enjoy and the latter I have no intention of trying, c. I hate the Jersey Shore. If friends were going to Bermuda, or OBX, or somewhere, I would consider coming along and just putting up with their festivities. But it’s Jersey Shore or bust, and the Jersey Shore sucks (plus I’m not the biggest fan of beaches).

To alleviate my boredom, at around 10.30 I decided to crawl out my window into my front yard and just sort of walk around town until I got bored or tired. And like I said, I’d forgotten just how amazing my hometown can be. Hundreds, maybe millions, of fireflies everywhere. The largest clusters were gathered right up against the trees that line our property and our neighbor’s property. More fireflies than I can recall ever having seen in my life. It was sort of like a forest of Christmas trees, with clusters of Empty Child-style nanites floating around briefly. I really wish I had pictures, or video, or something to share with you, but none of the cameras I own could capture it – they were always pitch black.

And yet even as I revel in the memory of it, my mind can’t resist adding just that touch of jade to my glasses. This was – is – the sort of thing that used to set my mind racing. I remember three, maybe four years ago, I was mucking stalls at the barn in the middle of November, and there was a dying tree right beside the entrance to the barn, and just the look of it, the shape of it, set my imagination off. I came home and I wrote six chapters of a novel I would never finish; but I still wrote them.

Still, I’m glad I went outside. The simple beauty of that moment is one of the highlights of my year so far, if not the highlight. It gets even better when I think about what everyone else is doing. Right now, most of my friends have just gotten on the turnpike, or are about to pass right by my home to hop on the turnpike, and make the trek out to the home they’ve rented for the next seven to ten days. Those who aren’t on the road now are asleep and will be waking up in about two or three hours to get on the road. All to maximize the time they can spend in Jersey smoking up and chugging and…other things.

Me? I got to watch a million million fireflies turn my neighborhood into an outstanding sight.

Yeah, England played like crap and are in danger of not advancing. Yeah, the United States was disallowed a perfectly valid goal that would have won them their game. Yeah, I’m one of the few not going to the beach.

But I got to see the fucking fireflies.

Utterly, totally, made my day.

Made my week.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

TOTES another GUEST post for SUNDAY: Worth the Wait

I burnt my tongue today. 

As I sat in the kitchen waiting for my lunch to be ready already, bouncing my legs and watching the cars scoot by the window little did I know today would be the day I obliterate my taste buds once more in the name of hunger. Well, more impatience.

To really hone the point with this, we're going to have to scoot back a week ago or so when I was stood in the grocery shop mulling over my options in terms of food and what not. I always have difficulty with food, I'm so fickle. 

So as I stood there, not quite sure what I really felt like a jar caught my eye. A shiny beautiful jar of OMG yummy pasta sauce, something I rarely treat myself to. So very rarely. Stroking my chin I list off all the reasons absolutely not to buy the sauce, to go without because I never normally go with. Eventually my sudden longing wins out and I pick up the object and sprint off to the tills before I change my mind again. I'm proud of my decision. I will save this for later.
(from b's profile at

Now we can rush back to me, sitting on the blue couch, watching cars narrowly avoid collisions as I wait for the pasta to boil. I'm hungry, but it's more than that. Today I get to use the sauce, today finally after all the waiting I get to treat myself. It's weird but I'm actually excited at the thought.

Sighing, OBVs, because I've got that action down to a fine art now, I hop off the couch and skip over to the pan. It's been about five minutes or so, that's a generous estimation. I don't care. Boldly selecting my utensil of choice (a fork) I stab an unsuspecting pasta shell, blow on it and then pop it in my mouth. 

Um, I find out that it's still pretty hot, like BURNING HAVE TO SPIT INTO THE SINK OUCH AHHHHH hot. That hot.

I know, stupid. Unthinking. What did I think would happen? So after I yelp and cry a little and then decide I'm too hungry to wait until it actually cooks properly anyway and now I'm in severe pain, I stir in the sauce and resolve to enjoy it anyway. I have been holding out for this.

So, uh, it turns out that the ZOMG THIS IS SO DELICIOUS sauce doesn't taste so nice when you've just completely burnt your tongue. At all.

Of course, initially, I took this as a sign that the day was just going to go badly and moved on. I shook a fist at the sky and shrugged it off. But now I'm not so sure. As I sit here, glancing in the mirror and sticking my tongue out occasionally, because it feels like I've torn off the skin too, I realise the true reason for my pain now. I spoilt something great with my impatience again.

                        (from k's profile at
I just want to say one thing as I sit here sucking on an ice cube and cursing the fact this does nothing for my klutzified reputation and I probably have just earned myself at least minus a gazillion Coolville's points, never do that.

Don't ever let your longing for something so great, something so pure, as (for example) being published get in the way of actually enjoying the ride, of calmly surfing the wave instead of exhausting yourself paddling ahead (and, quite possibly, burning your tongue). Take it from somebody who now knows, impatience will be the ruin of you.

It's difficult, of course it's difficult, who said it'd be easy? But I guess we must all learn (myself included) that sometimes in order for things to be worth the wait you first have to hold out for a really long time. You've got to learn to enjoy the wait, they journey. 

Patience is one of the best virtues out there. Take it from somebody who now will have to explain to her parents, brothers, grandmother and extended family this weekend that she can't actually eat that right now and ZOMG can she please have some ice because she only wants ice as she burnt herself yet again, take it from somebody with a pretty cheerful temperament, that impatience, the incessant counting until tomorrow, It'll kill you if you let it.

(from n's profile at

So don't ever let it.

p.s. By the time you read this several days will have passed since SAID incident, hopefully everything will be A ok 

p.p.s It's not, I still had to explain my constant need of ice and cold food 

p.p.p.s PLEASE don't start thinking I clearly need help, I do not. Yea I am clumsy but I AM NOT DEAD YET. 

p.p.p.p.s Don't go all EDWARD OMG YOU WILL DIE on me after this either, it's fine. I survive.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Temper, Temper

As I mentioned in the blogfest post, lately Sarah and I have been doing nothing but shouting at one another. I was growing frustrated because I hadn’t written a word of fiction since mid-April, and whenever I came to Sarah, I got a rather biting rejection or, on the two good days, glimpses of a new heroine and her city and the sorts of things she does for fun, but still no real information.

And as I said in that last post, I pinned the blame on Sarah. That I did not know the heroine’s name was her fault. It was her job to give me that helping hand so I could run with the story. My lack of inspiration was her fault.

And I lashed out in response to the lack of information.

I knew nothing, friends. I still know nothing. I don’t know her name or the name of her city, or her occupation, or even what kind of story I am writing.

How was I supposed to work with that?

I assumed Sarah wasn’t talking because she’s a cold-hearted ice queen. As a result, I flew into a rage, and the shouting matches followed suit.

Then, in the midst of an all-nighter, I came to a realization. Our Muses do not know everything.

If your Muse is silent, it isn’t because they don’t want you to work, it’s because they don’t know anything. Sarah wasn’t telling me new heroine’s name because she did not know; still doesn’t know, even, as she now has given me two much unrelated names. Yelling and screaming wouldn’t solve anything. Of course it wouldn’t. I am very, very bad at maths. If you put a trigonometric equation in front of me odds are good I will screw it up big time, but getting angry with me won’t make me be right next time. Rather, I’ll just get upset and be unable to focus, and therefore do worse on the next problem.

So if your Muse is quiet, let it be quiet. Obviously you should talk to it, but don’t try to pressure them into offering up anything, because it just won’t come, or if it does come, it will be very scant and only drive you further up the wall. But if you sit back and build a genuine relationship with your Muse, they will give you what you need once they know it.

Earlier a friend found my ramblings scribbled by hand and he said he failed to understand why we had to be nice to our Muse instead of make it work for us. At first I laughed because he hasn’t written in a thing in about a year, but then I went on to explain my all-nighter-induced viewpoint.

Of course we are the ones who ultimately write the story. It is up to us to take what we are given and craft it into a story, but how many of you can make a good story from nothing? We all need that spark of inspiration, somewhere, somehow.

In my case, I think I set myself up the wrong way when I came to write crime fiction. In the past, I would plan ahead a little bit, but for the most part everything was just whatever came to mind, right from the get-go. Then of course with crime fiction, some extra planning is necessary. You have to know the criminal and crime from the get-go. From this, I started planning characters way more in depth and such, and it kind of became a hindrance.

I needed to know more about this city. I needed to know more about this woman.

Knowledge is power. Lack of knowledge meant lack of ability to write.

However, Sarah and I have made peace, at least for the time being. Yeah, I don’t know anything at all about this story. I don’t even know the genre or the basic plotline, let alone names of people and places, and you know what? I love it.

It’s been years since I’ve written anything like this. These little experiments I’m writing now are very, very bad, but they’re a great way to introduce myself to the young lady. Rather than deciding where she’s from and what her (at least origin) personality will be, I’m actually letting myself get familiar with her and her city, even if it is at a much slower pace than both of us would wish.

It’s exciting. I look forward to the end of my day so I can just plunk down in my thinking chair, close my eyes, and let myself be carried to that place across the sea. In the case of Llanwerth, I knew whole the textbook history of the place, from the Great Depression to 2011, the year in which the book was set. Yes, I could close my eyes and watch that city grow in real time, but it was just a setting. Window dressing. The city was of no consequence to that story; it was fictional only to give myself more control.

New City, on the other hand, I know very little about. I’ve seen some of the major places and glanced down a couple of side streets. I can tell you basically where in the world it is (like new heroine’s name, it’s a toss-up between two places, although this time they’re kind of close), but that’s about it. I don’t know when it was founded, or what happened even just a few weeks ago. All I know is what I’ve seen.

I like that. Not knowing is the best thing to have ever happened to my writing.

So the next time your Muse only gives you only a sentence or the name of a character, don’t complain about having writer’s block. Don’t scream and demand it give you more information.

Instead, go to your favorite place to write, kick up your feet, and run with that spark your Muse has given you. It’s your job to turn that spark into a roaring fire, not theirs. And who knows? Maybe that little spark will be the best thing ever to have happened to your writing, too.

P.S. My shirt today is really yellow. It looked regular yellow in the store, but when I put it on this morning it was like WHOA yellow. Just thought you all should know.