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23 Apr 2014

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. Perfect for readers and writers who want to share what they've been up to on a weekly basis and right now the place to share your goals.

1) What I'm Reading
Finished Vicious and now onto Cress by Marissa Meyer.  I love the take on Rapunzel and the character already.  I just love this series all together.  The sci-fi fits in perfectly with fairy tales and all the characters are awesome.  Can someone please make this into a film? And can someone please go back in time to fetch a younger Nathan Fillion so he can play Thorne?

2) What I'm Writing
I finished the 3rd draft for Beast Inside at 61,336 words.  I'm finished working on the story and plot, it has exactly what I wanted from it.  Now it's just to check through - grammar, voice, keeping in character etc and then I think it's time start looking for beta readers! Maybe it'll be ready for a proper query for WriteOnCon this year!

I also started working on the second draft of my witch project.  And I needed to use the last few days of the holidays to finish up a short story I want to enter for the British Fantasy Society short story competition.  Here are the details for the comp if anyone else is interested!

3) What Else I've Been Up To
Lots more maths revision, celebrating four year anniversary with Pete, getting back into the routine of work, and... I passed my driving test last Wednesday! WHEEEEEEEEE! I can't wait to drive to places! I'm already making a huge list on the places I want to visit and when my car comes we're celebrating with a trip to our favourite Fish and Chips restaurant that we usually can't get to without going with my family and pinching a ride of somebody.  But I can drive us there now! YAY! If anyone has any places to recommend visiting around the UK let me know!

4) What Inspires Me Right Now
 Vicious inspired me as I was reading it.  I started re-watching Misfits at the same time and now I want to write about superheroes! Fiction needs more superheroes!

22 Apr 2014

Book review: The Unicorn Crisis by Jon Rosenberg

Someone has summoned a Unicorn to a field south of Stratford-upon-Avon causing David Ash's day to go straight to hell. Now he has to confront shotgun wielding drug dealers, murderous strangers and psychotic fairies and all to find out who stole one of Oberon's personal pets. He better do it soon, or it will mean an all out conflict between The Fairy Court and The Hidden Academy. Worse, as back up all Ash can muster is a soap opera loving Welsh elf and an American Summoner who doesn't trust him one inch. This would be bad enough, but, as the mystery unravels, Ash forms a nagging suspicion that the heart of this problem lies in his own worst nightmare, the one he's been trying to forget for over a decade.

While I enjoyed this book at first, after reading Storm Front by Jim Butcher after it I did have a bit of a rethink.  The story was good, hooking me in and wanting to know more and find about more but then I couldn't help notice the similarities between The Unicorn Crisis and Storm Front.  In a way it could work to Rosenberg's advantage if a reader is looking for a series similar to the Dresden Files but at the same time having quite a few similar aspects doesn't make it original for me.  While I like books inspired by others I still look for the author's own twist on it.  

Both David Ash and Harry Dresden have a dodgy past where their supernatural actions could have got them arrested and killedThey both have a strong relationship with a cheeky otherwordly being: Llewellyn the elf for David and Bob the spirit in a skull.  They both work closely with a female on their separate mysteries to solve.  Sometimes you need to change things round a little bit to make it different but nevertheless I read the whole book, drawn in to this world of Summoners where all your famous myths and legends such as Oberon, Gods and Goddesses, unicorns are true and come from another world.  Summoners have the power to bring these creatures to our world and send them straight back and that's where our mystery lies for David Ash.  A unicorn has been brought into our world and it looks like the unknowing Summoner might simply be a pawn in something much bigger and dangerous, that has our magical MC facing the demons of his past.  I can be a sucker for magic and crime going together so I wasn't disappointed.

I think the strongest aspect was the humour.  Rosenberg gladly brought in the famous, mischievous Puck who was borderline psychotic but lived up to his cheeky reputation by creating more problems for Ash, at one point deciding to redecorate his entire house.  A constant nuisance that brought some light comedy to contrast against the dangers in the plot.

30 Mar 2014

Forced Hiatus

I'm going to have to have a forced hiatus on the blog thanks to my rubbish internet.  I don't know what's wrong but for ages now we have had episodes where the internet and TV won't work, constantly disconnecting every five seconds and this time it's lasted for a good three weeks now.  I'm going to be absent until April 16th when we get our new internet provider and hopefully that will solve all problems. 

On the plus side I'm getting lots of writing and reading done!

19 Mar 2014

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. Perfect for readers and writers who want to share what they've been up to on a weekly basis and right now the place to share your goals.

1) What I'm Reading
I'm still being very slow with reading overall this year.  Luckily it's got nothing to do with what I think of Vicious.  It's a great book and even though I'm taking my time reading I'm enjoying every single part of it, even with how it goes back and forth from the origins of Eli's and Victor's superpowers to where they are now ten years later.

2) What I'm Writing
I'm getting my second draft all typed up on the computer and over the last I also wrote a short story that I'd like to enter in the British Fantasy Society Short Story competition.  It's a bit of a mix of genres.  The idea fits into science fiction but I couldn't help throw in horror.

3) What Else I've Been Up To
Back to crafting! I'm making an iPad cover but it's on hold until I get a sewing machine.  Hand sewing doesn't last and my stitching is already coming off.  I'm hoping that a sewing machine will help get things looking a little more professional and stop it from coming apart.  My little owl toy is also losing his wing. =(

Also tried out making two new things cooking wise.  I've done lemonade which I got to make today for Science Day at work and a Lancashire Hotpot last night for tea.  Both actually turned out well. 

4) What Inspires Me Right Now
Gothic literature has been really inspiring and going back to all the projects I wrote for my creative writing assessments at uni.  I found one project I wrote for Experimental Writing that had been inspired by a concern in the late Victorian times so I had a fiddle around with it for my short short entry.

18 Mar 2014

Book Review: A Midsummer Night's Scream by R.L Stine

Oh, what fools these actors be!

it was a horror movie that turned into real horror: Three young actors lost their lives while the cameras rolled. Production stopped, and people proclaimed the movie was cursed.

Now, sixty years later, new actors are venturing onto the haunted set. In a desperate attempt to revive their failing studio, Claire's dad has green-lit a remake of Mayhem Manor, and Claire and her friends are dying to be involved.

At first, Claire laughs at Jake's talk of ghosts and curses. He's been too busy crushing on her best friend, Delia, or making out with that slut, Annalee, to notice that she's practically been throwing herself at him. What does he know anyway? This is her big chance to be a star!

But then, Claire runs into a creepy little man named Benny Puckerman, and gets her hands on a real love potion! Unfortunately, the course of true love never did run smooth...

Get ready for laughter to turn into screams as the Grandmaster of Horror, R.L. Stine, takes on the Master of Theater in this modern re-imagining of Shakespeare's classic romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Goosebumps were my childhood.  I read a few Fear Street books when I reached my teens and tried out Stine's YA stories but Goosebumps was always my favourite and overall Stine was one of my favourite horror writers.  I couldn't wait for my next trip into town and buy another of his ghastly tales to add to my collection.  Stine is the reason I will never have a ventriloquist dummy in my house.  EVER. 

But A Midsummer Night's Scream was definitely not Stine's best work. For a YA the book read like MG with 2D characters, most of them you don't really care for. So when they are the target of history repeating I simply don't care that they could be next on the list.  Well rounded YA characters fill the shelves nowadays.  They're layered, full of flaws and virtues, interests, dislikes, their own voice... and Stine didn't really give me any of those characters.  There was nothing to them.  They were shallow and bitchy.

It's like RL Stine had two ideas. One was a slasher and one was a retelling of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Unable to decide which one to work on they somehow ended up merging and spawning a rather confused book where the links to AMD were simply thrown in references rather than re-imagining of the play and the slasher aspect had a villain who was OTT mad and ridiculous.  

Completely disappointing.

10 Mar 2014

Gutsy Endings

It's getting closer and closer to the Divergent film and I can't wait! I love the trilogy and seriously looking forward to seeing everything portrayed.  I don't know about anyone else but I actually keep fangeeking every time I watch the trailer and see all the different colours each faction wears.  At the same time I see other fans getting excited but I also see some who feel the film is going to be ruined purely because of how the trilogy ended.

I'm going to keep this spoiler free but the ending was definitely gutsy.  I know a lot of people didn't like how it finished and that was it was completely unnecessary.  As a result they're not going to enjoy the film knowing what's going to happen.

I don't know if I'm in the minority here but I was actually satisfied with the ending.  I understood why the situation happened, I accepted it, and it finished everything off quite nicely.  If I had been writing the story I would have actually done the same.  Sometimes I don't like to let my characters have everything they want or hoped for.  So it got me thinking about gusty endings.  I know they're not always the popular route but I think now and again there needs to be an author to come along and give people a different type of ending.  Every story would be boring if everything became a fairytale happy ending and all the villains were defeated.  I need a story that comes along and gives me the more bittersweet route if it is necessary to the story.  Every once in a while I like an author to shock me and play with my emotions.

How do you feel about gutsy endings? Any book recommendations?

5 Mar 2014

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. Perfect for readers and writers who want to share what they've been up to on a weekly basis and right now the place to share your goals.

1) What I'm Reading
Vicious and it's getting good.  All I'll say so far.  I do love how superpowers can occur in this world. 

2) What I'm Writing
I've been taking a break from writing so nothing really.  It's been nice to step away for a bit and focus on other things. 

3) What Else I've Been Up To
Got into a crafty mood at the weekend, almost bought the whole of Hobbycraft and ended up making this little guy.  He's badly hand stitched but for my first craft's project he's not too bad. ^^ My next projects are mobile/iPod cases.

4) What Inspires Me Right Now
Went to a Steampunk market at Armley Mills at the weekend.  So many people were dressed up and there were loads of different costumes and accessories on sale.  Totally inspiring to look at and get the ideas spinning.  One of these days I will take on the challenge to write Steampunk!