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31 Mar 2013

The Next Big Thing Bloghop!

I've been tagged in The Next Big Thing Bloghop by Miss Cole and Donelle Lacy. Thanks very much guys! If you're not following these two blogs go and follow now! Two awesome blogs that need to be on your list.
Today I'm introducing you to my NaNo 2012 WiP.  A YA horror novel with creepy ghosts, a spooky Lake District hotel, and amateur ghost hunters.

What is the working title of your book?

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I've been playing around with the idea for a while.  I've always wanted to get my claws into a ghost story and I've always been fascinated with hotels, especially haunted ones.  The basic idea has been jotted down for a while.  The characters are a wacky supernatural-obsessed bunch I used to write about in a series I worked on in my teens.  They fitted perfectly into this WiP.

What genre does your book fall under?
Horror.  As usual.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I don't usually think of actors and actresses.  Some may inspire a look like Michael Welch did for Scott. But it's really not my thing to look for the perfect actor or actresses when I'm writing.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A stranded group of teenagers find shelter in an isolated inn, only to find it's plagued by tortured and murderous ghosts.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I hope it'll be represented. :) I'm hoping there's an agent somewhere out there who is looking for horror and/or ghost stories.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Thirty days.  I completed it during NaNo last year.

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
Any book that involves ghosties! 

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My characters, the Lake District, Lodore Hotel, Keswick (a picture you can find on the project's pintrest board), The Big Freeze 2010.  Generally my love for a chilling ghost story which I hope this will be!

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Do you like any of the following? Restless, vengeful ghosts, a reckless, teenage, amateur ghost hunting couple, witch trials, time lapses, haunted inn, and ghoulish local history? You may like this story then. :)

And now to play TAG!

Colin D Smith
Emma Maree

27 Mar 2013

RTW - Best Book of March

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:
Best Book of March! 

This month has been another slow reading month while I still focus on my writing.  April probably will be too so May can be used to catch up on my reading.  This month I’ve got two books on my list (although I’m still reading the second!).  Scarlet by Marissa Meyer and The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd.  

And the winner…

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer.

Meyer's world grows more and more sinister with each book.  Levana has been keeping a lot of things quiet on Luna and Earth and at the moment it looks like she might actually get what she wants.  Cinder is on the run in the hope to find answers about Princess Selene, picking up an ally in the form of a comical, self-proclaimed Captain who takes away the seriousness at times.  Something I’m grateful for.  We all need a giggle when things are rough.  

The POV changes between Cinder’s next journey and new protagonist Scarlet who’s own little adventure is happening around the same time as Cinder’s.  Compared to our favourite cyborg Scarlet practically barges into this story, shouting and screaming with fists flying.  Don’t get on the wrong side of this fiery red head.  I loved her.  She didn’t allow anybody to mess with her and once she set her mind on something she was going to do it.  Scarlet was a very lonely character.  Absent father, missing grandmother, and the police were doing nothing about the disappearance of the old woman she cared deeply for.  She was by herself in this situation so she might as well take matters into her own hands.  She’s a girl who doesn’t give up and it’ll be interesting to see how she bonds with Cinder who at times could be quite reluctant in terms of her abilities.  She’ll need Scarlet for encouragement and determination when she may lack in it.

I wasn't sure about the changing POVs.  I was curious about Scarlet yet I did want to find out more about Cinder’s next journey.  But it did feel like the two girls were battling for the spotlight and I was reading two separate stories which sort of killed the flow for me.  Maybe another short prequel on Cinder’s story might have been better.  In the end it was all about Cinder while Scarlet darted into the background, just when she reached a turning point in her story and finding answers to everything.  I do wonder what the POVs will be like when we’re introduced to Cress and Winter.  Maybe it might be too much? We’ll see how it goes.  

I also wasn’t keen on the relationship between Wolf and Scarlet.  A bit too rushed for my liking and very much insta-love which I’m not a fan of to begin with.   There are two books left in the series.  I’m sure we could have waited for a bit more development between the two.

Wolf was a complicated character who you can’t help question throughout the novel.  You like him but is it all an act or is he being true to Scarlet? You’re unsure yet you can’t help but fall for his clueless, awkward charm.  Still, is he a wolf in disguise? He’s an interesting male character who has been messed with and used.  Just as lost as Scarlet.  Kai, Captain Thorne, Wolf… they’re all charming male characters with differing personalities and have their own plots without being overshadowed by the girls.  Poor Kai, the new emperor, is still troubled with the challenges he faces as ruler and while he tries his best to ensure peace continues you can tell just how young, inexperienced, and lost he is.  Thorne is a flirty, playboy(so he thinks) who has his own history and secrets.  Potential for development? I hope so.  I’d love to find out more about him.  There’s definitely more this character.

Will I keep reading the series? Of course! 

25 Mar 2013


Loving: Sims Supernatural.  I’ve recently discovered it and god, I’m addicted to it.  It’s great fun! I have a lot of author Sims which oddly enough help my motivation.  Also loving make-up tutorials on youtube for fictional characters.  There are some incredibly talented people out there! 


Watching: Game of Thrones season 2 and Doctor Who: The Beginning.  We don’t have the channel for Game of Thrones so we have to wait until the DVD comes out.  I also recently purchased a three DVD box set of the first three serials of Doctor Who with William Hartnell and I’ve started watching those.

Thinking about: My new WiP for Camp NaNo.  I want to put Inside the Broom Closet aside so I'm leaving the sequel for now.  This new WiP sticks with ghosts which I love writing about at the moment, is a sequel to Lapse my NaNo 2012 project and involves haunted asylums and my characters' favourite ghost hunting reality show.  Also a bit of found footage homage going on.

Anticipating: Camp NaNo and the Easter Holidays.  Three work days left and then I have two weeks to be very productive.

Wishing: For Spring? Where are you?! England is covered in snow again! =( 

Making me happy: Writing.  The 100k in 100 days challenge will be ending soon in April and I don’t think I’ll reach the target.  But I’m looking back on what I’ve done in the last three months and I’m happy with the progress I’ve made.  I’ve finished the first draft of Inside the Broom Closet and I’ve written 30k of edits for Beast Inside.   Still an achievement.

20 Mar 2013

RTW - A YA Retelling

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
This Week's Topic:
This month's Bookmobile selection, The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd, is inspired by The Island of Doctor Moreau, and its sequel takes inspiration from the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. What other novellas would you like to see inspire YA books?

I actually think The Turn of the Screw could make an interesting YA retelling.  I know I didn't finish the book.  I do actually like the story because I've enjoyed a couple of film and TV adaptation but it was the writing, especially the use of punctuation that I couldn't really keep going with.

(From Goodreads) It is the story of a Governess who comes to live with and take care of two young children. The Governess loves her new position in charge of the young children, however she is soon disturbed when she begins to see ghosts.

I think this story could fit in well in a modern setting and with teenage characters.  It's not unusual for teenagers to babysit so it would be easy to modernise the role of a Governess and explain why she is caring for two strange children.  Actually... I think the ideas are kicking in...

17 Mar 2013

Off to Camp?

I'm definitely up for Camp NaNo this year.  The first round starts in three weeks, perfect when I'm starting April in the Easter holidays.  Two whole weeks to write should get me ahead.

I'd love to just wait until April 1st and just start writing something.  Anything.  But I'm not brave enough to pants it 100%.  I have to have notes, even if they're not detailed. 

I'm going for the sequel to Inside the Broom Closet.  It'll be a WiP that I don't have to make characters notes for.  All I need to know is where the story is going since the first story.  A brief beginning, middle, and end. 

Is anyone else participating in April's Camp NaNo?

13 Mar 2013

RTW - Bad Habits

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
This Week's Topic:
Spring cleaning! What do you hope to "clean out" from your writing? What habits/tropes/words, etc do you want to eliminate?
In my current edit of Beast Inside I'm noticing a lot of shrugging, grunting, and mumbling going on with my characters, especially Caleb and his younger brother Ricci.  Maybe Ricci doing it a lot is fine because he's an arse and going through a bit of a moody, rebellion stage at the mo but everyone needs to stop because they're starting to sound like cavemen.
I do notice my characters in any WiP like to pull faces a lot.  They grimace, cringe, glower, glare, gaze, stare, smirk, wrinkle their nose.  So I have twitchy characters.  Oops. *Face palm* Must teach them the art of being poker-faced sometimes. 
What are your bad habits? :)

11 Mar 2013

Write and Tell?

I've been editing during lunch hours at the moment and I feel dead awkward when the colleagues I work with in our class ask about it.  They know I write but they're pretty much the only two people in the school who know I do and would like to be published.  I wasn't really keen on telling them what I was doing in the first place.

Would you tell your work colleagues that you write and want to/have been published?

I don't think I would at my work.  In education I do feel like I'd have to be careful about my writing.  I write YA. YA Horror specifically with gore, monsters, violence and swearing.  I wouldn't want that to be known just in case there were parents who would think it was inappropriate for me to write horror and teach young children at the same time.  Not that I'm going around telling ghost stories to children but some parents can be funny about things like this.  So I do think if I ever got published I would actually keep it a secret at work.  Friends and family sure but I don't think I'd tell people at work. 

I'd love to hear your opinion, especially if you work or have worked in education before whether it's primary or secondary.  To anyone who doesn't work in education, are you open about your writing and/or published work?

7 Mar 2013

Book Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

 To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters - never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City - whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final instalment of the New York Times bestselling trilogy The Mortal Instruments.

While this world of Nephilim, downworlders, and demons are fascinating and well thought out Clare still puts me off with flowery prose, unlikeable main characters, and terrible focus.

This love triangle was another one that never worked for me and had me tearing my hair out.  Jace simply isn't likeable for me to care about him at all.  He's got a bad attitude and a venomous tongue, especially to Simon who does not deserve the prejudice views against him.  As a mundane he was put down by Jace and now as a vampire he's treated with absolute disgust by the blonde brat.  Clary is supposed to be Simon's best friend and not once do I ever see her stand up for Simon and put Jace in his place which someone needs to do desperately.

As a main character Clary is weaker than everyone else and I can understand that.  She hasn't had any special training.  But of course she is magically special and powerful, being able to cast runes despite having had no training.  These kind of characters really get to me because they've never had to work to be a fighter or control their powers.  They just get it all of a sudden and it's unrealistic.  We're diving into Mary Sue territory here.  I think Clary was the wrong MC in this book.  At the end of it she's hardly involved in anything.  She makes one speech and spends most of the end tied up and silenced.  She can't fight and because of that I felt I missed out on the battle and action. 

I gave this third book a chance because I wanted to finish this story.  I read books one and two a few years ago, had my issues with the overall writing, and left it.  After taking a break from this world and seeing that the film is actually happening I wanted to give book 3 a chance and see if anything improved but it didn't.  I don't know if I'd ever get round to any more of her books but they're definitely not at the top of my list.  I'm still interested in seeing the film in August but The Mortal Instruments is never going to be my favourite series.

6 Mar 2013

RTW - Quarterly Check-ins

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:  
Quarterly check-ins! We're already 1/4 of the way through the year--where are you on your reading and writing goals?
 Have to admit I'm not very far on my reading with only three books in during the first two months.  It's mainly because I've wanted to focus on writing for the beginning of the year, getting the edits on Beast Inside done and then working on a novel for Camp NaNo next month.  After April I'm going to take a writing break and just read. 

With my writing I've finished the first draft of Inside the Broom Closet at 60,130 words and I've written 21,614 words in the next edits of Beast Inside.  Overall in my 100k in 100 days writing challenge I've got up to 23,196 words.  Quite a bit behind but at least I've come quite far even if I don't achieve it.
So I think I've done alright so far.  One draft finished and now I'm in the middle of editing.  Hopefully a new first draft completed next month.  Not bad for the beginning of the year. :) 

How are you doing with your goals?


4 Mar 2013

Can You See The Bright Side?

Today I got an email about my last PGCE interview.  Didn't get in.  Sure I'm disappointed but after a while that started to disappear.  I thought about the pros to going back to work in September rather than university:

1) Next September I could have the chance to work in Key Stage 2 if I ask for that opportunity and see what years 3 to 6 are like.
2) Another year of experience.
3) Another year of earning.
4) I get to participate in the events and celebrations I love studying with the children at work again.
5) Another year to really get to know the wider issues, keep up to date with educational changes, and the jargon.

Being disappointed will just hold you back.  We're all going to be dealing with this.  As aspiring authors we're all hoping for that agent to get in touch either to say they want to represent you or that they're getting you published.

There'll be rejections.  But look on the bright side of it.  What can you do at the moment that authors can't? You don't have deadlines.  You have your personal one but your time and goals are your own.  You don't have to be fretting over sales.  You don't have to be fretting over bad reviews.  Take it as a chance to learn and see what agents are really looking for.  It's another chance to just improve what you already know and can do.  

We'll all get there.  Just don't let rejection hold you back and see the positive side to it.  

1 Mar 2013

Blog award

Jai from And Then...  has been kind enough to award me the Liebster Award.  Thank you so much, hun!

The rules are:

1. Thank the blogger who presented you with the Liebster Award, and link back to his or her blog.

2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator; list 11 random facts about yourself, and create 11 questions for your nominees.

3. Present the Liebster Award to 11 bloggers, who have blogs with 200 followers or less, whom you feel deserve to be noticed. Leave a comment on the blogs letting the owners know they have been chosen. (No tag backs.)

4. Upload the Liebster Award image to your blog.

1.  If you could have a super power what would it be?
Telekenesis.  I was watching Chronicle the other day and it could actually be a flexible power.  Who says you can't fly with telekenesis?

2.  Coffee or Tea?
Neither.  I've never been a fan of either drinks.

3.  Favorite color?

4.  Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging as a way of tracking the first NaNo project I took part in and a way of getting in touch with other writers.  I'd just graduated from university and missed being able to discuss projects and get to know fellow writers.
5.  Who was your favorite teacher and why?
It was actually a substitute tutor we had for a while and for drama as well in high school.  Our original tutor was a horrible woman who had her favourites and was rude all of the time.  Most of our drama lessons were spent writing in books which our substitute tutor/drama teacher didn't agree with.  She was a really nice person.  She never got angry and could deal with the troubled students calmly.  Her drama lessons were fun as well.  She loved getting us to improvise scenes and always made sure there was more acting in drama and less writing down the theory.  All of us missed her and hated it when our actual teacher came back.
6.  Who is your favorite author?
Just one????? 
Okay, I'm basing this on terms of how much I've enjoyed their work and also how much they inspire me.  That'll have to be Stephen King.  He's a brilliant writer who can find horror in any situation and exaggerate it into a terrifying tale.  He's dedicated to his craft and ready to share his experiences and advice to aspiring authors.  I'm also inspired with how much work he's put in to writing.  He wasn't a hit straight away but he's kept going and kept finding ways to improve his writing. 
7.  What kind of music do you enjoy?
A variety.  I'll mainly listen to rock from 80s glam metal like Bon Jovi and Alice Cooper to heavy metal like Lordi and Disturbed and punk rock like the Sex Pistols and Green Day.  But then I'll also like New Wave and electronic/pop like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.
8.  Do you have a favorite movie?
Again... just one??? 
I'll have to list a top five: The Lost Boys, Rock of Ages, The Craft, Scream, and Bride Wars.
9.  What would be your dream vacation?
I'd love to go to Greece or New York.  They're the two places I hope to see some day.  Rome was at the top of my list but I'm finally getting to go there this summer.  So one dream almost down, two to go! 
10.  What is your favorite healthy food?
My favourite healthy thing to cook is chicken and sweetcorn bake.  You use chicken soup for it.  Yummy! 
11.  What is your guilty pleasure?
The Vampire Dairies TV show.  I can't help it! I'm hooked.  I love the mythology they're creating and I like how the characters chop and change allies depending on the situation.  I think they explore interesting sides to the characters.
Eleven Random Facts

I think I'll make this eleven random facts related to my writing in general and for WiPs.  I'm never great at listing personal facts about myself.  There's nothing that interesting really.

1) I always seem to base my WiPs in Yorkshire.  Stephen King has Maine... I apparently have a ghoulish Yorkshire.

2)  My first horror stories were very Goosebumps-esque.

3) I love writing about vampires.  The thing that started my love of them was a German television series called The Little Vampire based on the books by Angela Sommer-Bondenburg.  The characters weren't your modern brooding type.  They loved being vampires and had all sorts of strange customs.  I was about 6 or 7 when it came on television and I was obsessed immediately.

4) I'm becoming more of a panster with each WiP.

5)  The characters I used in my NaNo 2012 project were characters from a series I worked on for most of my early teenage life.  It was a terrible series full of cliches and Mary Stus who battled something supernatural in every story and had their share of relationship dramas.  Absolutely appalling.  But I always loved the characters and wanted to keep them.

6) Places always inspire me.  I love visiting new places and creating characters and a story for that location.

7) One of my weaknesses is grammar. 

8)  I always have a playlist for a WiP.  And I love being nosy and listening to other writer's playlists.

9) A couple of the genres I would love to try out in the future are high fantasy and steampunk. 

10) Another habit I have is creating parents who have a pattern to naming their children.  I think it's because I was always surrounded by other families who did have a pattern.  Keanu and Keana are my favourite example. 

11) I'd like to attempt a first person WiP at some point.  First point helps me a lot with voice but because my WiPs so far have focused on a group of characters rather than just one person third is usually better for me.  

I won't pass this onto specific bloggers because I want to share this with everyone, even if you have over 200 followers.  To make the questions book and writing related you're welcome to answer:

1) Do you have any habits in writing? (E.g: Same settings for each WiP, writer character, etc)

2) What genres outside of your comfort zone would you like to have a go at writing for?

3) Anything in writing you think you struggling with and want to improve?

4) Is there a book or an author that inspired you to start writing or start writing for X genre?

5)  What's your current playlist?

6) Any bookish guilty pleasures?

7) Name your favourite character created by another author.

8) Name your favourite character created by YOU.

9) If your book was turned into a film who would you love to see direct it?

10) Any genre you really wouldn't like writing for?