Friday, August 27, 2010

I thought I'd give this 30 Days of books meme a go, but rather than do a bit each day, or break it into so many each post, I thought I'd do it in one great swoop. So...

Day 01A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)

Eric Lustbader's Nicholas Linnear series. I'll admit to having fallen behind a touch with these, not having read the latest instalment, but that's only because I have so much on my to read shelf already I've been banned from purchasing any more. I wish/hope this series continues on.
Day 02A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about

The Nathan Steele series. Lock this one into the memory banks - it will be huge!
Day 03The best book you’ve read in the last 12 months

The Price by Alexandra Sokoloff. I'll admit to being a long way behind on my reading this year so I have very slim pickings to choose from, but Alex does not disappoint her growing legion of fans with this offering.

Day 04 – Your favourite book or series ever

WOT series by Robert Jordan would be my favourite series (the final instalment sits on my to read shelf), but Misery by Stephen King is my all time favourite book.

Day 05 – A book or series you hate

I don't tend to remember bad books. I don't tend to keep them on my shelf either. I never finish them unless it's for a review.

Day 06 – Favourite book of your favourite series OR your favourite book of all time

Isn't this the same question, only reworded, as number 4? I've not finished WOT yet so I can't pinpoint a particular book in that series but Misery is my favourite book ever (or for all time).

Day 07 – Least favourite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise

This would be a toss up between dream sequences and time travel. It seems whenever an author paints themself into a too tight a corner, some of the lesser artists out there resort to it never happening by way of dreams or time travel. That pisses me off!

Day 08 – A book everyone should read at least once

The Bible. Even if you don't believe it will give you solid ground to stand on when you argue your case against it, plus, there are some great stories in there.

Day 09 – Best scene ever

Misery, the crippling of Paul Sheldon. I could feel his pain...

Day 10 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, or Romeo and Juliet. I read all of these as part of my education while in high school. At the time I preferred to read King, Struab, or Saul so I hated anything that took precious reading time away from me. Obviously, in the end, I'm glad I decided to read them rather than fudge my way through English.

Day 11 – A book that disappointed you

The Haunting of Hill House. I know it's supposed to be a classic but it just didn't do it for me.

Day 12 – A book or series of books you’ve watched more than five times

How do you watch a book? I've never read a book five times. I have seen the movie version of Romeo and Juliet a lot, and the stage play a few times, actually performed it once, and read the book and a screenplay based on it. I've watched most Stephen King adaptations more than five times, particularly Carrie, The Mist, and Christine.

Day 13 – Favourite childhood book OR current favourite YA book (or both!)

I adored the Famous Five series but I can't remember any individual titles. Where the Wild Things Are was a favourite and its recent rebirth through the movies has bought back some wonderful memories.

Day 14 – Favourite character in a book (of any sex or gender)

Hannibal Lecter - perhaps the most well rounded evil dude in history

Day 15 – Your “comfort” book

On Writing by Stephen King. Not a novel, I know, but I take great comfort in reading this one when I need a lift to move forward once more in my writing endeavours.

Day 16 – Favourite poem or collection of poetry

I can't remember the name of the collection and seem unable to find it on the Net, but the only poetry I ever enjoyed was by William Blake. On the whole, I'd rather not be subjected to it.

Day 17 – Favourite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)

Books of Blood by Clive Barker

Day 18 – Favourite beginning scene in a book

Honestly, I can't remember one - good or bad. I know at the time of reading a bad start can put me off a book so most that I have continued to read have at least been good enough to retain my interest but I can't remember any openings that continue to linger (but then I forget a lot now-a-days).

Day 19 – Favourite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!)

Deep Inside by Polly Frost - sorry

Day 20 – Favourite kiss

In a book? Really? Nah...

Day 21 – Favourite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)

Romeo and Juliet - yes, I'm boring.

Day 22 – Favourite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)

Todd Bowden and Kurt Dussander - Apt Pupil by Stephen King. Never have I come across two more manipulative bastards who really like each other than these two.

Day 23 – Most annoying character ever

I can't think of a specific character in a book or series that I've read who annoys me to a point that I remember them for this specific reason. Yes, some characters are poorly written or some traits used that annoy me, but I always remember that this is fiction, and, in the end, I can always close the thing and go on with my life.

Day 24 – Best quote from a novel

I don't tend to quote novels - film lines, yes...occasionally - but rarely novels. It may be that some of the lines I quote from a film originally came out of a novel, but then I'm not sure about that. Either way, I do like to try and be original most of the time, and because my memory is like a slice of Swiss cheese, I never remember the good quotes.

I actually remember bringing the odd line to the attention of my wife, so there must have been some good ones, but I have no idea what they were. :c(

Day 25 – Any five books from your “to be read” stack

The Keeper by Sarah Langan
The Devil's Labyrinth by John Saul
The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
Shattered by Dean Koontz
Just After Sunset by Stephen King

Day 26 – OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending

If we were talking about a book adaption to film ending, The Mist would have my WTF prize hands down. As for the ending of actual books, I've scoured my shelves for something to jump out at me - nothing.

Day 27 – If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!

Words of fiction or words of advice from Stephen King. Yep, I'm a fan.

Day 28 – First favourite book or series obsession

First book would have been Where the Wild Things Are but my first real novel favourite was Carrie. My first series obsession was James Clavell's Shogun series.

Day 29 – Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)

When Annie gets it in Misery - that was satisfying! But when Juliet dies, that would be my saddest (yeah, I know - soft)

Day 30 – What book are you reading right now?
Doing lots of research now so I have a number of books on the go about witchcraft.


Nothing overly important like a publication or an acceptance or anything - just thought I'd share the news that I found my updated manuscript with the second bit in it that I was trying to revise yesterday.

Time to combine and move forward.


Thursday, August 26, 2010


I've found an issue with not working on things for a long time and then suddenly getting a burst of energy - things get lost in between.

Late last night and early this morning I had a couple of those moments of clarity where a small section of the story came to me in a complete format. A couple of bits in a scene that needed work, expansion, or revision (or all of the above), hit me. Not just how it was supposed to play out, but the actual words I needed to describe it properly.

I got up this morning ready to start work, only I couldn't find my USB key. Mild panic set in as I tried to ensure my daughter got ready for school while I madly searched the study. Anxiety slowly rose until I reluctantly came to the conclusion that if it was gone, then maybe it was fate telling me it was time to give it away.

I trudged into the dining area and got my work bag ready for my 'day job'. Inside a pocket I found my USB key. Relief flooded over me, but time had run out. I packed it back inside my bag, and the little one and I headed out. I dropped her off and then went to work. Only after a couple of hours did I find time to actually plug in my USB and work on my two new bits.

The first one went in seamlessly and sets up some stuff that happens much later in the story. The second doesn't exist...

That's not right. I know I wrote in a scene in the first chapter where our hero runs into the bad guy as foreshadowing of what's to come. I have it written down on my chapter breakdown notes so I'm not going totally crazy. I had an extra piece of description in my head that would allow a couple of things to happen later on - but the meeting isn't in the copy of the manuscript I have on my USB!

It must be (I hope) on my laptop at home.

So now I've updated one version of the manuscript, which isn't complete with updates I'd done some time ago.


Short of carrying around my laptop, has anyone come up with a away to centralise Works In Progress to eliminate these types of issues for those who tend to work from a couple of different locations?

How do you keep track of your revisions?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


It took some time but I finally found what I was after. My new character, to be only casually introduced in the first book and then become pivotal in the second book is to be an Eclectic Witch.

What is an eclectic witch? I'm glad you asked.

One definition (from OzWicca) has it as: A person (or the practise of a person) who combines attributes from various cultures or Pantheons to create a unique spiritual blend of paganism or witchcraft that suits them best.

My young lady won't be combining attributes from various Pantheons as she isn't a believer in Gods and Goddess as such (very Pictish of her), but she will be combining the heck out various cultures and practises.

Many of you may be asking why the big fuss over nailing this little detail down?

I want to write a series of stories which will resonate with young adults. To accomplish that it must have elements based in reality. I am combining physics, love, adventure, magic, danger, death and a whole bunch of other things that anyone can face, and have to deal with, on any given day - only in a much more concentrated fashion. And it has to be done with three dimensional characters readers can grow to love (or hate). And to create 3D characters, we need to know them in much more detail than we may necessarily reveal on the page.

Sorting out the fundamental belief system of this soon to be major character is a big step forward.

I can now move onto removing the placeholder character currently used in the story and start weaving this new one into poor young Nathan's destiny - or at least I will be able to start as soon as I figure out her name!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Memorial Donations from outside the USA

I got an email back from the people at the Bank of Iowa in Coon Rapids and it seems it will cost too much for international friends to send a cheque or wire money to them and then for them to have the currency exchanged into the US dollar.

You'd think they would make it easier for people to send a little bit of money to two grieving children - but lets not go off on that tangent...

So, to make things easier for us all, Aaron Polson has kindly offered to be the front man for all the writers who wish to send a little something for Jamie and Ann's kids. Aaron's post "casting-wide-memorial-net" should solve our issues.

Simply drop Aaron an email at aaron_polson(at)hotmail(dot)com to convey your wish and then Aaron will let you know what Paypal account to send your donation. Aaron will then forward all the collected monies onto the family with all of our best wishes and heart-felt condolences.

I know times are tough the world over, but I doubt anyone is currently experiencing it as tough as Kennedy and Brendan. It may not be much, but anything we can do to make life just a little easier for these two kids has to be worthwhile.

Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Thinking of you

No writing news - I'm really not in that space at the moment and won't be until the weekend is over.

It is Friday the 20th August here in Australia - at least it will be for another couple of minutes. In Coon Rapids, it would be almost time for two little ones to rise and begin what could only be described as two more days of additional heartache to go through.

Today, in Coon Rapids, at 4PM is visitation for Jamie and Ann. God I wish I could be there to tell him how much he will be missed by people like me who live thousands of miles away and were still touched by him.

I wish I could be there to tell his kids how great their parents were. I'm sure they will be comforted by the many friends and family who will be there, and will continue to surround them in the years to come. I'm also sure that those friends and family will always make sure they know how great Jamie and Ann were.

Saturday, at 11AM will be the service. I will be there in thought and in spirit.

I am usually a fairly stoic sort of individual, but this has touched me deeply.

I miss you already, Jamie.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Very Sad Day

As you are all aware, I've not been keeping up with things on Net lately so it was with shock and a very heavy heart I found out that Jamie Eyberg and his wife Anne passed away in a tragic accident a few days ago.

You can read the story here:,0,5278715.story. Additional information seems to be around that some form of gas was the culprit for causing this horrible loss of two wonderful people. The type of gas has yet to be determined.

My heart goes out to those who knew them and especially to their two children.

Jamie was one of the best cyber-writer friends I've had the great fortune of knowing. His work was inspirational and his comments insightful. Through him I have become a better writer and a better person. You can read his work here. Wine for Two in issue 3 of Ruthless Peoples Magazine was my favourite.

A wonderful biography of their life has been published here for Jamie and here for Ann.

May they rest in peace.

Aaron Polson has decided to donate proceeds from the sale of this years 52 Stitches to the memorial fund for Kennedy and Brendan, Jamie and Ann's children. Read about his wonderful gesture here. Additional memorials can be made to the Kennedy and Brendan Eyberg account at the Iowa Savings Bank in Coon Rapids. When I find out more details, I'll post them here (I've emailed the bank for details on how we can make donations from outside the US).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Shock Horror

I've done some work.

I've written 1836 words. They join together to form something I think they call a story. It's not publishable. It's not even something I'm going to keep, but I wrote something!

Maybe I'll even be able to do some work on my WIP...

Okay, lets not push it (How's this for Freudian - I didn't originally put the space between push and it - think I'm trying to tell myself something?)

A big thank you goes out to Danielle Ferries for her five star rating of Dark Pages Volume 1 on Goodreads. Much appreciated. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I'm sorry - this is just weird but it tickled my fancy when I was looking for pictures of Freud


Thursday, August 12, 2010


Either I've been away from blogging  too long and my normal cult followers are no longer visiting, or everybody is suddenly shy and doesn't wish to offer up any suggestions or advice judging by the total lack of comments on my previous post - but that's okay, I get the message.

From now on, I'll simply provide only updates on the WIP and/or any interesting information I come across.

As for progress: I'm currently heavily into researching different modern forms of practising the Craft. In short, I have an idea for a character who is an atheist, believes in magic, isn't a very good environmentalist, and has an interest in a boy who loves physics. My problem is I can't find a line of Neo-Paganism that quite fits. She is not Wiccan, nor a cunning-folk, nor one of half a dozen other practises I've read about. I may have to take license and come up with my own. We'll see.

The story itself is still simmering along inside my head and I'm collecting a huge amount of notes around my bedside and next to the computer. At some point I'll have to collate them all and start writing I guess but I still haven't got my writing space sorted out.

In other news, I got an email from the very talented Gill Ainsworth the other day with a full copy of The Blackness Within anthology attached to it. I've decided not to read everyone else's stories yet. I want to get a copy of it in my hands and sit down and read them all. Apparently we're only weeks away from publication now. This is the longest story I've ever had published and something of a milestone for me to get accepted into a market like Apex. I was asked to reread my story one final time before it went off to the publishers to check for last minute changes. I've not read it for a long time so it was with totally new eyes that I went back through the now totally edited and polished story. In the end I was asking if that was something I'd actually accomplished.The story is very good. I expect all the stories within the antho to be even better. In short, I was totally stoked.

I've once more been on the sick list and stuck at home. I'll probably be off again tomorrow unless there is a vast improvement overnight. Unfortunately, I've managed to leave my chapter outlining work on the computer I use during my day job, and don't have access to it at home. If it's not one thing stopping me from writing, I can easily find another way, or excuse, to keep me from getting down to it. One day I'll get over this lingering malaise of apathetic involvement - just sitting down at the keyboard and forcing myself doesn't work - I just hope something sparks sooner rather than later.

Friday, August 6, 2010


So I don't make Cate lose bodily control through uncontrollable laughter, I've started making cards to pin up on my board, which will allow me to see the whole storyline in front of me. Those couple of days I spent a week or two (or three) ago hand writing the major points of each chapter have now been transcribed into a carefully created table within Word which spans 17 pages.

Now that they are typed out, I can see where I need to add a great deal of detail as some of my rather overly concise noting leaves very little to the imagination and a whole lot to misinterpretation. In other words, my note taking sucks the big one and needs to be redone. But that's okay because I am working on my WIP without having to tackle the bad news that I'm not actually writing anything new at this moment. I'll tackle that little hurdle in due time. It's kind of like slacking off while I'm still working on it - I can live with that.

But, on a lighter point, it has also allowed me to see glaring loose ends I didn't tie off. It has also allowed me to plot in some things which need to be there and some things I now want to be in there to extend the story both in this instalment and further on into the series I plan to write (one day).

But I have an issue which could do with a good dose of your help and advice - if you would be so kind.

Currently, my story has two major characters who have lots of conflicts and complications thrown at them - all good and well. I now want to introduce a third character. I'm not sure if I should only have this character introduced around the edges in this story and include her more fully in the next, or make her integral to everything up front. This would necessitate a major rewrite - from scratch.

I've read series in the past, such as Darren Shan's, The Demonata series which concentrates on an individual character in each book and feeds in other characters as required. I have ideas about additional conflict between the three major characters on all sorts of levels (love, religion, lifestyle, etc), and I'm dying to include it all and drop my main man well and truly in it up to his neck, but am I trying to cram too much into one story? Should I simply allow the new girl to move in across the road and drop hints about her alternative lifestyle in the first book, which would allow me to not have a major rewrite other than the expansion of the characters I already have, or should I throw in all the ideas I have and use the later books to expand on what I started here, only changing the underlying scene and plot (what trouble are our kids in this week, type of thing).

Nate and Cindy are only just getting to know each other - they don't kiss until very late in the first book. Do I need to add the love triangle into this or should they get to know each other better before I add that poker into the fire (in the next book)? Should I establish that Nate is a very scientifically minded individual in the first book and hit him with some alternative points of view from the new girl, or do I just let the readers become comfortable with Nate's way of thinking in this book and introduce magic into the next book?

I'm quite enjoying playing chess with my characters and the story as it currently stands. I'm not looking forward to actually pulling it apart and then trying to get it all to fit back together seamlessly. I'm not sure I can manage it.

On another tack...

Has anyone read the Dark Pages anthology yet? I've had verbal feedback from a work colleague, who allowed his daughter to read it. Apparently she thought it was pretty cool, although I thought she was a bit young to be reading the type of content Dark Pages contains - but each to there own. At least she thought it was cool. I'd love to see any review or thoughts anyone else has (and you can buy it from the link above or from the Amazon widget at the end of this post...).

Alan - are we selling any? How are things going on the business end of it? Email me.

On yet another subject...

My family were jumping around celebrating this morning as we only have one day left to go before we get the Internet back on at home. It's sad that a countdown has been running alongside the countdown to my daughter's birthday and they are almost as excited about the Net relaunch as the impending increase in age for the little one. Says a lot about our society's way of life in this day and age...

Anyway, I'm now rambling, so you all know that things are getting back to normal with me. Any and all suggestions and comments on any and all of the topics above would be appreciated.

Speak soon

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Google reader

I have been a very bad member of the blogging community, both by not posting and by not reading and commenting on other peoples posts.

Today I managed to spend some time catching up. My Google reader listed well over 400 posts for me to catch up on. It now sits at 132. I've no time left today but I will endeavour to get it back under control by the end of tomorrow.

Congrats to everyone who has made sales, or got an agent, started a novel for the first time, or any of the other wonderful things you've all been up to. I may not have commented everywhere but know that you are all in my thoughts.

Well done

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Time Flies

Sorry I've been non-existent recently. Our Internet connection is down at home and not likely to be available again for the best part of a week so I can only get online at work - and I've only just returned to work after extended time off playing Mr Mom.

But enough about me - what about my writing...well, I'm glad you asked.

Things are progressing at a snail's pace. That would be a bionic snail forever caught in those Steve Majors slow-motion shots.

I did finish setting out all the currently written chapters so I have markers on what is happening and when, and what loose ends I still have to tie up. I found a large cork board to put my cards onto so I can see the whole story line in front of me but am yet to buy the cards to do it.

I did have one of those epiphany moments in the shower this morning though - no, not one of those moments - I've been struggling with the placement of an explanation within my story. Part way through, our love interest climbs a drain-pipe and enters an upstairs bedroom. I needed to show that she could do this because she has an aptitude in climbing - not just to get her into our hero's bedroom. I knew why she was able to do it but I couldn't figure out where to disclose this in the story, or how much of it needed to be disclosed. This morning it hit me. I now know exactly where and how to disclose the info. It is subtle and kills two birds with one stone.

I love those moments...I love those moments too but that's another story!