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25 Sep 2013

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 and track your progress for Ready. Set. Write!

1) What I'm Reading

Read a bit more on Storm Front.  I'm really enjoying the book.  I think it's great.  I'm only slow because I've been paying more attention on other things.  It's still too early to give a proper review and judgement but I'm sure it'll be a good review when I get round to it.  I do recommend Jim Butcher if you're looking for some urban fantasy.

2) What I'm Writing

Still working on a short story, which is all I've been working on at the moment.  I really want to go for it and submit something to a writing competition so my little Friday the 13th piece is going to be taking over from editing and drafting at the moment.

3) What Else I've Been Up To

I had my birthday last Sunday which was an excuse to have the best meal ever invented for Sundays.  A Sunday Roast.  We had lamb, my favourite, and the family roast potatoes which were absolutely gorgeous.  Seriously, if I wasn't cooking for just two and had more mouths to feed it would be a rule to have a roast dinner every week.  They're amazing.

4) What Inspires Me Right Now

It is officially Autumn now! Yay! I've swapped my nail polishes from summer to Autumn colours, got out the snug cardigans, and brought the Halloween playlist out! Are we ready for Spooktastic October? I'm getting all inspired from the creepy and the kooky! =D

23 Sep 2013

Inspirational Settings: The Forbidden Corner

The Forbidden Corner is a mystical and eccentric family garden in Middleham, Yorkshire. It is a
labyrinth of tunnels, mazes, chambers and paths that makes you wonder if you've accidentally fallen down a rabbit hole.  It's fun whether you're with family or friends.  Absolutely whimsical and actually perfect if you want to go down the fantasy writing route.  So I snapped some picks of the gardens for this week's inspirational setting post.

Even though it's a family outing place there are a few areas that are quite creepy.  The dark tunnels where you'd expect something to jump out at you and the mausoleum which have a few active ghosts lurking around.  Demonic looking dogs stand guard with their teeth gnashing while one statue looks like it may just follow your every step.  There's a darkness to this eccentric Northern world that likes to remind you what lurks beneath something that appears fully fantastical.

The characters that roam this garden stand watching, pointing you in the right direction and towering over you. Even though some of these characters are ghosts there's a gentle giant who is only focused on his work and a tree man who is there to show you the way.  If you're lucky you may even get a peek at the bears' poker game.

Don't be fooled by the garden's beauty because there is a mischievous side to The Forbidden Corner.  If you're not careful and you don't watch your step there's a cheeky force that gets you soaking wet.  They are hidden, you see, and are always waiting for that one unaware person to spray water at.  Charming.  Some areas are easily avoidable.  If you're fast you'll miss them.  But that just means they'll be more determined to find a way and you'll realise in time that the naughty forest will win.

18 Sep 2013

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 and track your progress for Ready. Set. Write!

1) What I'm Reading

I've been quite bad with the reading since September begin.  Work started two weeks ago and I've just been getting used to that, spending any free time writing and getting everything prepared for my phonics group.  I need to get some reading done this weekend, even if it's only another couple of chapters.

2) What I'm Writing

I tried flash fiction for the first time after seeing the YA Buccaneers challenge and got a really good idea for it.  I really enjoyed writing a story that short so I don't plan on that being my last go at flash fiction.

I'm also writing a short story for a writing competition based on Friday 13th.  Again, I read the challenge and got an idea for it so I'm going to give it a go and see how I do.  It's been ages since I wrote a short story to send off somewhere and I'd like to really get into the habit of writing them.   

3) What Else I've Been Up To

Getting back into the habit of going to work and getting used to Year 2 work and expectations.  I'm absolutely loving this year and teaching a little group of phase 5 phonics so I've been getting used to that. 

4) What Inspires Me Right Now

I've been watching the new season of Ghost Adventures to get back in the ghost writing mood.  And Pete's been watching Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood recently so while I'm catching glimpses of it I'm suddenly interested and inspired by Alchemy.  I'm hunting around for some decent books on it for research.

17 Sep 2013

Book Haul!

While my TBR pile is as tall as me I couldn't resist the small book haul I had recently.  My copy of Antigoddess by Kendare Blake finally arrived along with three others:

Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney

On a quiet fall evening in the small, peaceful town of Mill Valley, California, Dr. Miles Bennell discovered an insidious, horrifying plot. Silently, subtly, almost imperceptibly, alien life-forms were taking over the bodies and minds of his neighbors, his friends, his family, the woman he loved -- the world as he knew it.

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

The story begins with a lonely boy named Bastian and the strange book that draws him into the beautiful but doomed world of Fantastica. Only a human can save this enchanted place - by giving its ruler, the Childlike Empress, a new name. But the journey to her tower leads through lands of dragons, giants, monsters, and magic - and once Bastian begins his quest, he may never return. As he is drawn deeper into Fantastica, he must find the mysteries of his own heart.

Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it's a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it's no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux's teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.

16 Sep 2013

Walk the Plank: New Voyages!

Walk the Plank is a flash fiction challenge organised by the YA Buccaneers.  Each month a theme is set and your goal is to write flash fiction on that theme.

This month's theme is New Voyages.  The rules are:

  • The story must be based on the theme.
  • The story has to be 250 words or less.  This is excluding the title.

For an extra challenge:

  • For an extra challenge begin your story with the words: "It was the first day of..." 
  • And end your story with the words: "I feel ___ about the next day..." 
  • Use exactly 250 words
Welcome to Teaching

It was the first day of my new job.  I was officially Miss Brookes, Reception class teacher.  Me! A teacher! I was giddy as I saw the first group of new children walking up to the door, ready to present to them their brand new classroom.  A few of the taller ones strode along, big smiles on their faces but one was absolutely teeny.  A wee little thing who clung onto her mum’s hand and hid behind her as they walked, staring up at me with wide eyes.  It didn’t matter how big a smile I had on as I greeted them, she still burst into tears once she came inside.  

“Come on, darling,” I beamed, perching the small child on my hip and allowing her mum to make a quick getaway.  Snot ran down the girl’s face.  Nothing I couldn’t handle and I wiped her nose with a tissue.  

“Let’s have everyone on the carpet,” I said and I sat down in my chair, gently beckoning the wary children over.  They sat at my feet, staring up at me blankly, except for one little lad who jogged over to me with a lovely smile on his face.

“Yes, dear?” I asked when he tapped me on the shoulder.

“My name's Jordan.  And I’m gonna be sick.”

What? He didn’t just say…?

I shrieked as he vomited all over my new blouse and skirt.  Absolutely pouring out of him.

And the little sod was still grinning at me!

15 Sep 2013

Inspirational Settings: Pompeii

During our holiday to Rome, we took a day trip to Pompeii to see the site and explore.  Amazing day,
amazing visit.  From what's left of the former city you can still a good idea of how large this town must have been and what it must have been like before the eruption of Vesuvius. 

With the volcano lurking in the background constantly the site is full of streets with large paving stones.  Before the eruption these stones were used for pedestrians to cross the road without getting their feet dirty or wet because of the sewage around.  I loved that these stones were still here, watching people step across them and re-enacting part of the daily life in Pompeii.

The site is absolutely huge and there was no way to see everything in the three hours we had to walk around.  But we followed the crowds and saw some pretty amazing areas like one of the theatres, Temple of Apollo, and the Forum.  There was one area which was fenced off but you could still see inside.  In there you could see all the artifacts that archaeologists had found and made casts out of.  Vases, altars, statues... tons of them.  The tragic ones however were the casts of the people they had found.  Civilians who were found crouched or curled up into a ball, the same position they would have been in when they died. Everything that was left in Pompeii is a haunting reminder of what has happened but at the same time it's incredible to see and witness in person. 

One of the theatres

Temple of Apollo

The Forum

An old shrine?

4 Sep 2013

RTW - Choose Your Apocalypse

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. We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments. 

This Week's Topic:  
What kind of apocalypse do you think would be most interesting to survive through?
I think a zombie apocalypse would be the most interesting.  It's not just a lack of humanity that they have to get used to, after a while they'll be no technology, no electricity, and people will have to start hunting for their own food and water.  It's back to basics and I always think it would be interesting to see how well people could adapt to that.  

With zombies you'll need to learn how to fight and defend yourself against a drooling, hungry horde.  It's a bit of a harsh situation.  You either fight and keep going or you give up and let them get you.  You always need to be aware because you never know what's about to pop out.  It's a situation that can make you absolutely paranoid and work out strategies simply for crossing a zombie infested street!

I've tried out a zombie apocalypse twice now.  First time I got infected at the beginning.  Second time I survived until the very last horde.  Here's my video of Leeds 2.8 Hours Later 2013, filmed by me and a friend.
Obviously I don't want an apocalypse of any kind to happen but this is my choice in regards to surviving.  What would yours be?