Saturday, February 27, 2010

Blog Awards

gLast week I was awarded with three blog awards and I would like to acknowledge the people who gave them to me and pass them on.


Thanks to Mireyah for awarding me the Silver Lining Award. The rules seem simple, all I have to do is pass it on to five other blogs. So, here they are:

1. lbdiamond
2. Angela
3. Kate from Lovers, Dreamers and Me
4. Kurt
5. Deb Salisbury

Thanks to lbdiamond for giving me the Creative Writer Blogger Award. And, onto the rules:
1. Thank the person who tagged me. Thanks lbdiamond, you're fantastic. √
2. Copy and Paste the award on my blog. √
3. Link to the person who nominated me. √
4. Tell up to 6 lies and 1 truth about myself. √
5. Tag at least 7 people for this award. √
6. Post links to their blogs. √
7. Comment on each of their blogs to inform them of the nomination. √

Here are the lies (Just remember one of them is the truth):
1. I'm an only child.
2. I've been in five car accidents (ranging from minor to severe) and have walked away from all of them.
3. I write everything by hand.
4. Vampires scare me.
5. I am very well organised and like to plan my day so I fit everything in.
6. I am left handed.
7. I play the violin

And, it's my pleasure to pass this award on to:
1. Elana Johnson
2. Annie
3. Danisue (a.k.a Smoothie Girl)
4. Bethany & Suzzette at Shooting Stars
5. Shannon
6. Rachel
7. Lisa and Laura

And finally, I would like to thank Annie for giving me the Honest Scrap Award. And the rules are to tell ten truths about myself (and you're going to listen whether you like it or not) and pass it on to another fantastic five bloggers. So, here's my truths:
1. I have two degrees, one in business, one in arts.
2. The first novel I wrote was for my little sister about a girl who gets dragged to a world and has to search for a long lost princess, which she happens to be (and with lines like "Trust in hope, your hope is the greatest weapon" you can see why it's buried under my bed somewhere)... but I did appeal to my target audience (of one).
3. I played most sports when I was younger ranging from netball to swimming, gymnastics to ten pin bowling (yes, that's actually a sport).
4. I play the guitar and write my own songs.
5. I love Japanese food and if I had the opportunity to go overseas I would definitely want to go to Japan.
6. I love anything dark and gothic (especially vampires).
7. I'm a big geek at heart and am planning to go to Supanova, Australia's Anime, comic and Sci-fi convention. A big part to that decision is James Masters will be there (Mmm Spike... he's my type of vampire).
8. I absolutely love anything that has Johnny Depp in it, or Tim Burton Directing (looking forward to seeing Alice in Wonderland next week).
9. I have a weakness for White Chocolate Mochas (from Starbucks or Australia's Zarraffas).
10. And finally, I've got to ban myself from going into Borders because I seem to walk out with a new book every time (my to-read list is still expanding, I don't think I'll ever catch up).

And, the five bloggers I'm passing it on to:
1. Casey McCormick over at Literary Rambles
2. Shelli over at Market My Words
3. lbdiamond
4. Cipherqueen
5. Kerri

Friday, February 26, 2010

Putting a Spin on Things

Have you ever heard "Your story's just not original enough?" But, what is original these days?

Take me, I'm trying to write a vampire novel (and if that's not bad enough it's set in a schooling environment). Now, as soon as I mention vampire I get the whole "oh, like Twilight" or "not another one". When I put the two words together (Vampire School) the comments get even less favourable.

So, I know the importance of trying to think of original ideas (in my defense I've been working on Haven for over 5 years to get every aspect right).

I have absorbed everything to do with vampires and, believe it or not, most of the stories I've read have a spin on the legends from vampires that glitter in the sun to vampires that have come out in the open to vampires being the main creature on the earth with humans being rare and hunted. All of these stories have something that makes them different.

Now, this is a vampire I can sink my teeth into.
Yummy. (for anyone not knowing, this is Damon from
Vampire Diaries.)

What makes mine different? I've got mortal vampires. My werewolves look like giant porcupines with dragon nozzles. My witches suck the life energy from living things. And other things, but that's best to be kept a secret in fear of ruining the story.

P.S. I think I have to change the title of Haven. I just found out that there's a book called Haven set to be released in 2011 (damn it)... so still trying to figure out what I'm going to call it.

How do you handle originality and have you ever tried to put a spin on an overused concept?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wind-down Wednesday

With everything that's happening at the moment in my life, I thought I needed to schedule some down time (a good excuse to procrastinate). Everyone needs to schedule some 'ME' time once in a while, and what's better than in the middle of the week... especially when the week's been stressful and everything's building up.

So, Wednesday's are now going to be Wind-down Wednesday where I search the internet for anything wacky, zany or just random to distract from everything else that's happening in our lives.

Where will our first stop be? None other than the best place to waste time find useful information to assist in our lives, YouTube. So, here's a couple of videos I've found up. Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Outside of the Comfort Zone

I just had my first day of Uni and now everything's suddenly sinking in: My whole world is about to change.

That may sound a bit melodramatic, but it's true. I've been waiting tables since I was 16 so that's nearly half my life and it's all I've known. Now, after just listening to a couple of lectures, I've realised just what I'm getting myself into. In just over ten weeks I'll actually be in a high school. I'll be standing in some English classroom, probably trying to figure out what the Hell I'm supposed to be doing.

I know that's required for being a teacher, but I never imagined I'll actually have to do a prac in a real classroom in my first year.

As humans, do we try to stick with things we know? When you go to a restaurant or even to get takeaway are you always getting the same things, or do you like to try different things? Is it the same with experiences? Do you feel nervous or excited about the prospect of beginning a new journey?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sunburn, Sore Feet and Confined Spaces

Sounds like the title of a book, doesn't it. But, that's exactly what I got this weekend after attending a rock concert (The Soundwave Festival up at Brisbane, Australia). They had a great line up like Paramore, Faith No More, HIM, AFI, so it was worth going.

I've got a new motto for this year: "Just get out there and experience it".

People always say "write what you know", and the problem with that was... I didn't know anything (well, anything exciting enough to write about). I've learned that personal experiences go a long way in improving one's writing even if you don't use that particular scene. For instance, I now know what it's like to be in a sardine fit area (and we weren't even in any room... this was an open field and as you can see from above there were a LOT of people) out in the sun with a lot of people jumping around.

I can still feel the bass vibrating the ground, smell the stink of stale deodorants and sweaty bodies and feel the heat from everyone out on the field. There was even a time I feared for my life... and that's being serious. Imagine being short (not overly short, but in comparison to some of the guys there) and everyone jumping up and down, bouncing side to side and spinning around without paying attention to where anyone else is (memo to self: it's not good to be short and stand in the centre of the mosh pit at a heavy metal band).

So,  does anyone else go out and get experiences to help with writing or do you just imagine what it would be like to be in that situation?

Friday, February 19, 2010

To Write or not to write

Well, yesterday I attended orientation for uni and boy, all the information I had to take in made my head hurt.

One of the questions that was addressed was how every student undertaking education (because we were all previous post-graduates) were selected... and I actually feel sorry for the administration.

Apparently they had to go through every transcript from any college experience and:
1. see if the applicant could become a teacher; and
2. what specialisation the student 'must' undertake.

I got placed into the English specialisation (which is probably a big Duh) because I've got a BA in writing.

This got me thinking (that could possibly be another reason my head hurts). The school believes that my qualifications should be an English teacher. But why? Why do I write? Everyone probably has different answers for this question. Mine is simple. I've got a story I just have to get out. Whether it's just blogging, or writing a fairly twisted novel (as long as it's not an essay... that's the one bit of writing I hate), it's the only time that I can escape from my life and imagine a different world

I'm still not convinced that it's a safe move to leave corruptible kids in my care... just kidding. I guess I'll find out if I've got what it takes to be a teacher when I get to do some actual placement this semester.

So, why does everyone write? What compels you toward the written word?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Where did all the time go?

Well, I can now same I'm officially a uni student (I'd forgotten how nervous and excited orientation makes one... after all, it's a new place where I know absolutely no one)

So, my three days of uni combined with four days of work equals seven days... and if I'm not mistaken, aren't there only seven days in the week? This got me thinking of how unorganised I've been. Lets face it, I don't really have a schedule which I keep my writing to. I usually write when I feel like writing.

Hey, I work best under what is known as organised chaos... if I try tidying my workspace just a little bit then I won't know where anything is anymore because they will be... what's the words... oh, put away in the actual place they belong.

Now with a little bit more on my plate (well, actually a lot more, but I'm trying to keep a positive outlook on things) I decided that it's time to put a little bit more organisation into my life so that I will actually finish something.

How does everyone else handle life when things keep piling up? Is it better to set up a schedule and put some organisation into your day, or do you still write better when you let things just come naturally without limiting it to a time of day?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And the party's begun...

Everything seems to be happening on the blogosphere this week, and all of that is a cause for celebration. To kick things off, Elana Johnson is having a big contest this week with fantastic prizes up for grabs.

Some lucky person will have the chance to get their query letter critiqued by one of five top agents.

Plus there's other prizes to be won, so what's not to celebrate? But, that's only the start of the week. There's plenty of others who are also in the mood to celebrate this week. Who are they? Well, just stay tuned to find out.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Stick to the Status Quo...

Just like everyone says write what you know, isn't it the same as reading? When you pick up a book do you find yourself flipping through the pages and see how it's written?

I've heard people say they don't read anything in first person, or that they can't connect with the character unless it's written in first person. Some find present tense too distracting, while others are immediately drawn into the story. What about me? I absolutely love first person (that's done well), and present tense really draws me in... most of the time it won't even register with me that it's written in present tense until half way through the story.

This is the dilemma I'm stuck with for my new novel which is currently untitled (I discovered is actually a book series... damn those time travelling mind readers). Should I go with a traditional narrative or use something that readers may not necessarily be accustomed to? Well, in Haven I decided to go with first person present and I've had people try to change it back to past tense while critiquing it... but it works great in present tense.

My new story has two main characters (a brother and sister). One becomes a hero and the other a villain, but they don't know about the other... at the moment I'm trying to figure out how to tell my story. I've narrowed it down to two different narratives.
  1. Alternating first person narratives (using the character name to address who's speaking). I've actually seen this done in several novels so I know it can work.
  2. Or, creating two separate, smaller stories.
I guess I can always use Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe to choose which one to use.

So, how do you decide which narratives to use when creating new stories. Or, are you like me and find it difficult in finding not only how to tell the story, but also from whose perspective?

Monday, February 8, 2010

2010 Debut Author Challenge

I'm making a goal to read as much as possible this year (hey, I just finished two books the other day... I can read 2 at a time, 1 for the morning, 1 for the night) and I stumbled upon this challenge that The Story Siren is hosting called the 2010 Debut Author Challenge where the goal is to read 12 YA or MG books written by debut authors in 2010.

Here's my list so far of what I'm hoping to read:
1. The Naughty List by Suzanne Young   
2. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
3. Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis
4. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins 
5. The Mark by Jen Nadol
6. Firespell by Chloe Neil 
7. Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala 
8. The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride 
9. The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy 
10. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White 
11. The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell
12. The Karma Club by Jessica Brody

I'm hoping to read much, much more... it took me so long to narrow it down to 12 books because it looks like there's some great novels being released by debut authors this year.

Friday, February 5, 2010

What is Success?

I decided to have a nice, relaxing night last night and just tune out so, I decided to watch the new version of Fame.

Near the end of the movie one of the characters, Jenny, gives a speech about success, which made me think about how people measure success. This isn't just important to writers, but to whatever career or sport or activity one puts themselves through.

Can success be measured in how much money or material possessions a person has? Or, even if a writer snags a top agent or book deal - yes, that definitely would be a success.

But, the speech addressed some points of success that I never thought about:

"Success is waking up in the morning so excited about what you have to do that you literally fly out the door. It's getting to work with people you love. Success is connecting with the world and making people feel. It's finding a way to bind together people who have nothing in common but a dream. It's falling asleep at night knowing you did the best job you could."

I just absolutely love that speech. So, what does everyone consider a success?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It can be done...

What? I hear you wondering. Well, I just got back from the movie Daybreakers (and by the way, I absolutely loved it) and that movie just proves that an overused topic can still have a fresh and intriguing twist added to it. And for all those out there that haven't heard of the movie (well, you should have) it is a great "Australian" made vampire movie.

I hear gasps of horror. Surely there's no other way that a vampire story can still be original. You guessed wrong. The twists this movie plays up is the question of "what would happen if the world was over run by vampires and humans were a rare commodity".

Sitting through this movie made me ponder some questions that I have been asking myself in regards to my vampire novel, Haven. I hate to say it, but I seriously need to do a rewrite (and focus less on the vamp school thing). I've had a great idea to alter the setting, which will probably take a lot of work, but I've never been more motivated in my life (and all because of a movie... that actually shocks me too).

Instead of a school for Haven I've decided to turn the location into a Boot Camp. What does that sound like? A boot camp for vamps... where everything's back to basic training for these new recruits. I'm not changing because one person doesn't like the setting, I'm changing because my gutt is telling me something.

Do you ever feel like this, where something has inspired you enough to decide that a major rewrite of your story was necessary, or even been inspired enough to write something that you would never have thought about before? Or, am I just going a bit crazy?

P.s. Tonight I'm over the moon, after getting back from the movies I found out that I've been accepted into uni to study to become a teacher... Yay me...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

When it feels like all the walls are crumbling...

I've probably had one of the lousiest days that anyone could possibly have... and then got kicked in the gut while I was down.

If it's not bad enough that I felt like I was stuffing everything up at work (seriously, we had people who didn't mind sitting at a table that still had scraps of food on plates there because they wanted 'that' table and not the clean one beside it)... apparently I'm also too selfish because I didn't consider my mother and I won a double pass to see the Australian advanced screening of the vampire movie Daybreakers (something which she would never like in a million years)...

So, how could I get kicked when I'm down? I got a job last year on a cruise liner (hey I got a passport, American visa, police check, medical... the works for it). Well, I'm apparently easily to forget because they lost my paper work and I had to go for another interview while they track down my details... and, I just found out that I didn't get the job that I had already gotten (my 10+ years experience wasn't enough to get me the job).

There is something good that came out of that day. It helped me come up with a new story idea. I want to write something fun, so let me introduce

Jett and Jace are my two MCs and they find out that the tagline of the newest online game about superheroes and villains "The destiny you choose will follow you through life" is more accurate than they'd ever imagine when they wake up one morning with the same powers as their characters... but who's the hero and who's the villain?

Now... I'll keep you waiting a bit more to learn the answer.

Has this ever happened to you? No, not the gaining superpowers part, but the getting a story idea out of a terrible situation (and from my story, an idea that has absolutely nothing to do with the situation)?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fight Scene Blogfest...

Around the blogosphere there are several blogs out there posting a fight scene, so here's mine from Haven:

Her blows come quick – and hard – knocking me back into the fleshy wall of the crowd. The many hands assist me back to the centre ring. The circle tightens. Their chanting sounds like an eerie tribal drumbeat warming up for the big sacrifice.

“Fight! fight! fight!”

Music blares in the background. Deep bass reverberates through the warped wooden floorboards with a lead singer who sounds like he’s chewing on tin foil. I’m surprised I can still hear all the taunts my opponent keeps screaming at me.

“What are you waiting for?” the girl hisses. Her porcelain skin makes mine look tanned in comparison. She could be Snow White with that long, raven hair, not a strand out of place, even after all of her sudden movements. “You started this. It was just between me and her.” She extends one long finger towards my best friend, Alex.

Alex watches from the sideline. This is getting to be the norm. Whenever we go out, she always gets in trouble and I’m the one to fix it – usually with some bloodshed.

I don’t know what Alex did to piss off this poisonous cow, but I wasn’t going to stand by and do nothing.

“Come on, Scar,” Alex calls, running her hands through her long bleached hair, which was overdue for another dose of peroxide. Her lanky physique and plastered on makeup makes her look eighteen even though she’s my age, which might explain the bottle of beer in her hand.

I shield my face from her punches. Who says girls only slap and scratch? It all comes down to waiting for an opening. She is fast, almost as fast as me. I look up at her. It’s getting difficult to maintain my balance enough to strike back. Of all the fights I’ve gotten myself into, I have never regretted any of them, though I’m starting to with this one.

I duck under a right hook and seize my chance. There’s always an upside to being short. I launch an uppercut and knock her pale ass to the ground. Before she has a chance to regain her feet, I pounce.

A single word roars through the room. “Scatter!”

The tight circle breaks and chaos erupts. The girl beneath me shoves me aside and springs to her feet. The need to fight still blazes in her eyes, but there's something else emerging as well. They change to a deep crimson. I stumble back, trying to suppress the cold fear swimming in my guts.
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