Monday, 31 December 2012

Blog tour: Cephrael's Hand

Please enjoy this excerpt from Cephrael's Hand, a spellbinding epic fantasy by Melissa McPhail. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.   

 Ean hugged the shadows as he tried to find his way back to le Comte’s estates. He feared they’d hurt his head worse than he thought, for the twisting alleys of the city disoriented him now. He was sure he’d passed the last street corner already once, and he had the uneasy feeling that he was walking in circles.
 Trying to break the cycle, he turned into a long and shadowed alley, spotting a streetlamp at the other end. Abruptly a form reared out of the shadows. Ean reached for his sword—
 The prince halted with his hand around the hilt. “Fynn?”
 “Balls of Belloth!” Fynnlar crossed the distance in a rush and grabbed him by both shoulders, giving him a shake. “What are you doing out here, you wool-brained fool?”
 “I might ask the same of you, cousin.” Pushing a hand to his throbbing head, Ean closed his eyes. He’d seen so much death since the last moon…so many lives lost, and for what? He couldn’t fathom the events that spun violently around him, only knowing they somehow had him caught in the whirlwind.
 “Ean, are you unwell?”
 “Hit my head pretty hard,” the prince murmured, lifting tired eyes to refocus on his cousin. “I’ll be all right.”
 “Come on. We’d best keep moving.”
 The prince shook off the numbness edging his thoughts and followed his cousin. Fog was rising from the river as they headed back toward le Comte’s villa, fat fingers sliding through the streets to leach the color from the night. They reached a corner, and Fynn paused and looked warily around.
 “Fynn, what are we waiting fo—”
 But the words stuck on Ean’s tongue, for he heard it then: a strange whispering, the whisk of silk across the rough edge of glass. The sound had prickly tentacles that pierced into the soft flesh of Ean’s inner ear and twisted there, making him cringe.
 Something flew out of the shadows and Ean swung his head after it, straining to make out what he’d seen. “What in Tiern’aval was that?”
 Grimly, Fynn held his sword before him. “A Wildling—a Whisper Lord.”
 The whispering continued, tormenting, growing soundlessly louder until it shrieked inside Ean’s skull, shattering any hope of focus.
 The Wildling shot out of the shadows again, and Ean forced his eyes to follow, to find him in the shadows where he hid.
 He saw him lurking against the wall, smiling around big white teeth. His leathery skin was pitch black , and his eyes were golden like the desert sands. The man locked gazes with him, and—
 Suddenly they were nose to nose. Ean felt the heat of his breath in the same moment that the fiery sting of steel pierced his flesh.
 Shade and darkness!   
 “Ean, he cut you!”
 “I’m all right.” But Ean grimaced as he gingerly probed the wound. “Shadow take the abominable creature.” Fynn gave him a long look. “Be ready,” and he rushed to meet the Wildling.
 The fight turned instantly vicious. Whisper Lord fought with long, stiletto daggers that speared like claws out of his gloves. His hands crisscrossed with amazing speed, never failing to find their mark on Fynn’s person, while his body twisted and spun. Fynn’s thrusts in turn only seemed to meet with the slashed silk of his garments. So fast did the Whisper Lord dart and cavort that Ean at first felt helpless to join in, for he could barely see the Wildling move until after it had happened, as if the sight had to bounce off the back of his eyes…as if he could only see the man’s reflection.
 Then Ean found his focus and rushed to help Fynn.
 The Whisper Lord marked him before he even got his blade around, a long swipe at the joining of neck and shoulder that burned bitterly. Ean realized that trying to use his sword alone would get him killed, so he pulled his dagger and dove in again. The Whisper Lord dodged like a jumping spider and managed in the same maneuver to slash a deep cut across Ean’s thigh, his daggers flashing first with the silver of steel and then dark with blood. Ean snarled a curse and staggered into the wall, teeth clenched against the pain, for the wound was angry and deep.
 Abruptly Fynn threw himself backwards, himself narrowly avoiding a deadly thrust to his gut. Those spine-like blades sliced a chunk of flesh out of his side instead. The royal cousin clenched his teeth and held one hand to his midriff, using the other to pull himself out of reach.
 Ean dove at the creature with renewed determination, his battered head forgotten in his haste to keep the man away from Fynn. He wore a malicious grin as they battled, and his golden gaze was flecked and sparkling against his face of leathery pitch. As Ean’s strength failed, the Wildling grinned even broader and began to chant in a voice like sand, “Tur or’de rorum d’rundalin dalal!  Tur or’de rorum d’rundalin dalal!” Over and over while he pressed Ean on the retreat; gleefully, like a madman.
 And then he made a sudden thrust, and Ean jumped to avoid the slashing daggers that barely missed his throat. He came down unevenly on his bad leg, and his knee buckled. Stumbling, he hissed a curse and the man bore down on him. A swipe of his hand, and three spiny daggers cut deeply across Ean’s back with their sharp fire. The Wildling’s other hand darted for his throat again, but the prince veered and twisted so the blades caught his chin and cheek instead. Ean rolled and thrust upward, but the Wildling merely laughed and arched out of his way; the weapon met only the whisper of silk.
 Ean lay panting. His dagger seemed lost along with his will, and desperation could no longer drive him on.
 The Whisper Lord advanced slowly wearing a grim smile. With the shrieking noise still accosting his skull and the loss of blood and nausea in his stomach, Ean felt only numb acceptance. Shaking, he lowered his head—
 A tall form pushed past him, knocking Ean aside as it rushed to engage the Whisper Lord, driving the Wildling back and away, taking the battle out of Ean’s hands.
 Ean fell onto his back, gasping as the last of his strength bled out of him, and lay watching his rescuer take offensive control.
 The woman’s brown half-cloak floated behind her as she advanced with long, fast strides, forcing the Whisper Lord on the retreat beneath two short swords wielded in a flashing figure-eight.
 The Wildling smiled no longer. Every thrust and swipe of his daggers was blocked by the woman’s whirling black blades. She matched him stride for stride, spinning when he spun, darting as he did, dodging as he lunged. They performed a ferocious, twisting dance of death where both knew the steps intimately and took them with ease.
 As Ean watched, the Wildling slashed his daggered gloves in a motion that should’ve gutted the woman, but she flipped out of his reach, thrusting long as she landed. Her sword met with the flesh of his side, drawing a hiss as he jumped back. He glared malevolently at her and pressed one palm to his side.
 “Merdanti,” he snarled, his golden eyes hot as they assessed her black blades.
 Arching brows with a predatory smile, she twirled her blades and lunged for him again, and once more the dance began, the meeting of their deadly weapons a rhythmic beating that seemed in time with Ean’s still-racing heart.
 And then—
 Ean thought he must’ve dreamed it, his tortured mind inventing an impression for what clearly defied explanation. The woman and the Wildling seemed to shift and slow, their cloaks floating as if suspended on the wind. Then the woman launched out of her turn so quickly that Ean lost sight of her, only to spot her again as she stood squarely before her opponent, blades crossed. With naught but a grimace of effort, she chopped her short swords crosswise through the Wildling’s neck, removing his head completely. His body toppled to the stones at her feet, paying respects to her skill.
 Silence hung in the street, a palpable blanket sewn of incredulity fringed with pain.
 The woman lowered her dripping blades and leveled tawny eyes on the prince...

Cephrael Tour Badge    As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Cephrael's Hand eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $450 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win! To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of Cephrael's Hand for just 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event

About Cephrael's Hand: Two brothers find themselves on opposite sides of a great battle, neither knowing the other is alive... A traitor works in exile while preparing for the disaster only he knows is coming... A race of beings from beyond the fringe of the universe begin unmaking the world from within... And all across the land, magic is dying. Cephrael's Hand is the first novel in the award-winning series A Pattern of Shadow and Light. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
  About the author: Melissa McPhail is a classically trained pianist, violinist and composer, a Vinyasa yoga instructor, and an avid Fantasy reader. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, their twin daughters and two very large cats. Visit Melissa on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

#fridayflash: Just a little crush

“So do you think he likes you?” Tasha asked, the nail polish brush poised in the air.

“I don’t think he does. No, I know he doesn’t,” Ginny replied, following its arch as it alighted on Tasha’s finger.  Gently, gingerly, perfectly.

“Of course he doesn’t. Look at you.”

Ginny sighed. She hated it when they got to this point of the conversation, as they invariably did. Obediently she looked at her torn nails and ragged cut-off jeans. She realized she hadn’t shaved her legs again, and her hair was escaping what was probably the saddest excuse of a bun ever.

“You’ve got to start taking care of your looks, Gins, even if you don’t have much to start with in the first place.”

“Thanks for the confidence builder, Tash.”

“Just speaking the truth, you know, in love.”

She knew the spiel by heart: go for regular facials (a waste of money), put on makeup everyday (like a painted doll), dress up (though she’d rather dress down after wearing stuffy suits every day at work), act a little more helpless (which would only irritate herself), manicure and pedicure (just another excuse to be helpless) and lose some weight (maybe she should, though she was hardly fat). She nodded vaguely at the noises that came out of Tasha’s mouth. She had stopped listening a long time ago, after seeing the perfectly coifed Tasha running through a string of boyfriends and never ever settling down with one. The heartbreaks were more than she could bear, and they weren’t even her own. She should have stopped asking her for relationship advice as well, knowing the kind of advice she’d be getting from Tasha, but she couldn’t help it.

He was such a nice guy.

And that was the problem.

He was such a nice guy that she was sure he acted the same with every single girl that crossed his path. Only, she had to develop a stupid mind-boggling crush based on a random conversation that hadn’t ever repeated itself. Stupid Ginny, she said to herself as she drove home. Stop over-thinking it.
But she couldn’t. She remembered clearly where they had sat as they sipped on their iced teas, talking about books and travels, she half listening to a parallel conversation beside her and suddenly realizing – realizing what exactly? She didn’t quite know. She just knew that she went home that day feeling abnormally blissful, and waking up the next morning thinking about Paul. She shunted the name aside, trying to think of nothing as she readied herself for bed. Still, a smile crept onto her face as she snuggled under her blankets. Paul.


“But is she single?” Paul asked, ignoring Jeff’s smirk.

“You like her, don’t you? I could tell from the way you were cornering her the whole night.”

“I wasn’t. We were both at the same table with all of you.”

“Yes, but you weren’t exactly there, were you? You were off somewhere in that head of yours, ignoring the rest of us stupid people.” Jeff laughed at Paul’s grimace. “I think she is, bro. Don’t get all flustered.”

He scowled, annoyed at the way he always let Jeff ruffle him. But he had had to ask, hadn’t he? It would have been odd to ask her, out of the blue, for no discernable reason. He remembered smiling across the table at the distracted young woman, admiring the curve of her neck as she listened to the conversation about movies beside them.

“What did you think of The Hobbit?” he had asked, watching her head swivel towards him suddenly, awkwardly.

“Oh! The movie?”

He nodded.

She shrugged. “It was okay, I suppose.”

He had carefully drawn her into a discussion about movie adaptations, hobbits, Tolkien and fantasy books in general, amused by the way she spoke to him directly but somewhat nervously, her attention flitting between him and their other friends. He had lost track of the conversation beside him a long time ago, not quite deft enough in tracking multiple strands of discourse as she seemed to be doing, and doing rather skillfully, darting one moment into their talk about books and then dropping comments about some movie to the others in the next.

It was nothing ground breaking, no fanfare, no fireworks; just a steady appreciation that grew over the course of evening. He didn’t say a word extra, didn’t turn a hair, only left with a thought on his mind that night. I’d like to get to know you better, Ginny.


They smiled at each other, stopping as they were about to cross paths.

“How have you been?”

“Fine, just fine. And you?”

“Yeah, good. You know, I checked out that book you talked about the other day.”

“What book?”

“Magician, by Feist. I thought it was pretty interesting.”

“Oh. That’s nice,” he smiled, unsure what to say next.

Ginny looked at him awkwardly, then turned away. He’s obviously not interested.

Paul watched her leave. I don’t think she likes me. 

Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Muddle

So let's start off this post by saying that I'm somewhat of a purist when it comes to making movies out of books, especially when it comes to what I've perceived of the person's character. I mean, I'm watching the movie because of the book, right? So I would reasonably expect it to be... true to it? Mostly?
That said, I liked the way they started off; the little prelude with Bilbo and Frodo makes sense, in a way, as it ties in the LOTR movies to this one - I suppose this was mainly to provide some familiarity for the movie fans who haven't yet read the book. The history of the dwarves was well put in the beginning for a movie, rather than in the random bits and pieces that trickled in through the book. And I just LOVED the dwarves' misty mountains song. It wasn't necessary. But it was nice.
My first major eh-what moment came when Bilbo runs up to the dwarves yelling for them to wait for him and that he'd signed the contract. Okay, so my memory of the Hobbit isn't as good as I'd like it to be, but if I'm not mistaken, Gandalf fairly chased him out of the house to join them. In fact, I don't think he ever actually agreed, but found himself being swept along anyway.
The next major bugbear I had, and this ran all the way through the movie, was the way they made Thorin hate everything so much. He hated the elves, he was nasty about Bilbo and he was overall a rather unlikeable person. Which annoys me, because whilst Thorin was aloof, he wasn't so overbearingly bitter. There was no major animosity against the elves in the beginning of The Hobbit, especially those in Rivendell - he only started to hate them because of their treatment of him in Mirkwood. In fact, there was some light-hearted ribbing between the elves and dwarves over their ancient rift, but nothing so... dark and ominous as in the movie.
I don't recall the stone giants appearing in The Hobbit, but whatever. And this led to another piece of character damage that I totally didn't agree with; Bilbo did not decide to leave the Company - in fact, he was the one who realised the door was opening and alerted them, which allowed Gandalf to escape. In the movie Gandalf wasn't with them because... he was holed up in a conference with Saruman, Galadriel and Elrond, whereby the three were against the dwarves' mission and Gandalf let them sneak out during their conference. I suppose the conference served its purpose - to explain the fall of Greenwood, and to bring up the Necromancer, though the Necromancer doesn't actually do anything in the Hobbit, so he could have been readily ignored. And whilst the dwarves were a little upset at missing Bilbo, they weren't as nasty about it as they were in the movie. In fact, they rather looked up to him after that because of his "feat" of escaping the goblins and sneaking past their lookout.
And then came the pointless battle between Thorin and Azog, who really shouldn't even be in the movie. The Wargs had come to meet the goblins, who were mourning the death of the Great Goblin, and which was why they were seeking revenge against the dwarves.
A friend rightly asked why the eagles didn't just drop them near the Lonely Mountains since they were being carried anyway, and that was where the filmmakers skipped the dialogue between Gandalf and the Lord of the Eagles, where the eagle-lord would not take them anywhere near dwelling places, and only because Gandalf had once helped them. Instead, they did the speaking to the butterfly thing again from out of LOTR.
I'm not really sure what to think about Radagast. I suppose he served a purpose in filling in some informational gaps that needed to be filled, but I didn't really like that they made him stupid-crazy eccentric. I rather imagined him distracted/absent-minded eccentric.
I suppose they needed the extra drama in the movie.

All that said, it was interesting as a movie, and I suppose some of the changes might possibly make sense when we see the next two instalments.
I still don't like what they did to Thorin.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

#bookreview: The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, #4)The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this up on a recommendation from a friend. Ok, to be really honest, I picked this up because it was on my friend's look-out list and I found it at a book fair, and I couldn't resist peeking. This is the first Sanderson book I've read, and I mainly only know his name from the fact that he's finishing up the Wheel of Time series.

To put it simply, I LOVED IT.
Ok, so it's the fourth book in a series, but this one apparently jumps a few centuries from the original Mistborn Trilogy, so I didn't lost in some ongoing plot.

Waxillium Ladrian, a Twinborn, and a lawman in the Roughs is forced to return to his family estates on the death of his uncle. Fitting back into civil society is harder than he thought, though he soon comes to realise that society can be just as dangerous to his health as the rough and tumble rules of the wilds.

The feel started off very westernish, and it retains the slight aura of an old-style western over its fantasy basis with the use of magic (Allomancy and Feruchemy).
There's deep thought behind it, something that Pratchett has explored in Thud! (I think), about lawmaking, or who watches the watchmen, if I may use Pratchett's phrase. Also, theological leanings makes me pick out themes of godhood; the idea that we are our own gods. But that could just be me.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

The interwebs have already been flooded with a plethora of Christmas greetings, so I'll just add mine into the mix. Nothing much especially new or different to say; it's all been said before, and there's nothing new under the sun, right?

May this Christmas bring you a fresh touch of God's great love, a new realisation of who you are in Christ, and a firmer conviction of where you stand in Him.

Be blessed.


Congrats to Adelynne and Evangel for winning the Worship Songwriter and In That Day giveaways respectively!

An e-mail has been sent to the winners.

Hope you enjoy your Christmas gift!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Cover reveal: Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn

Free Souls by Susan Kaye Quinn
(Book Three of the Mindjack Trilogy) Now Available!
When your mind is a weapon, freedom comes at a price.
Four months have passed since Kira left home to join Julian’s Jacker Freedom Alliance, but the hole in her heart still whistles empty where her boyfriend Raf used to be. She fills it with weapons training, JFA patrols, and an obsessive hunt for FBI agent Kestrel, ignoring Julian’s worries about her safety and repeated attempts to recruit her for his revolutionary chat-casts. When anti-jacker politician Vellus surrounds Jackertown with the National Guard, Kira discovers there’s more to Julian’s concerns than she knew, but she’s forced to take on a mission that neither want and that might be her last: assassinating Senator Vellus before he can snuff out Julian’s revolution and the jackers she’s come to love.
All of the Mindjack stories are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords and iTunes (Note Free Souls is not yet available on Kobo or iTunes)

Early Praise for Free Souls
“Quinn paints a picture of a not-too-distant America where politicians inflame the hatred of one section of the populace for another—all for their own gain—and you worry that her world is not so far off from our own.”
Dianne Salerni, author of We Hear the Dead, The Caged Graves, and the forthcoming The Eighth Day
"Free Souls starts with a bang and doesn't let up. Like a mash-up of all your favorite science-fiction adventures from Star Wars to The Legend of Korra, it blends nonstop action, nail-biting escapes, and great romance. I absolutely loved it! A great series conclusion—a must-read."
Leigh Talbert Moore, author of Rouge and The Truth About Faking
“Susan did it again. Free Souls was WOW! I expected Kira to step up to her role as heroine but not like this. Surprises kept coming until the very end which tied up more loose ends than I knew existed. Warning: Don't start reading until you have time to finish. I didn't want to put Free Souls down for a second. It's that kind of book.”
Sher A. Hart, Goodreads Review

Susan was over at Amy Saunder's blog yesterday (12.14.12), answering questions about how she came up with the mages' abilities, what kind of mage she would be, and all about her future works.
Digital Box Set
Since Free Souls is out, there is now a Digital Box Set of the Mindjack Trilogy for those of you who want the whole series!
Available on AmazonBarnes and Noble

Mindjack Origins Collection
Want more Julian? Wondering how Sasha's ability really works? Looking for EXCLUSIVE DELETED SCENES from Free Souls? This collection of novellas, scenes, and other goodies is for those craving a bit more of the characters and drama of the Mindjack series.

Includes: Mindjack Novellas Mind Games (Raf's story) The Handler (Julian's story) The Scribe (Sasha's story) TWO EXCLUSIVE DELETED SCENES from Free Souls (published nowhere else!) PLUS Mindjack flash fiction, an (imaginary) conversation between Raf and Julian, and other goodies for readers who want just a little bit more of Kira, Julian, Raf, and the Mindjack crew.
Available on AmazonBarnes and Noble

ENTER TO WIN one of FIVE ecopies of the Mindjack Origins Collection
a Rafflecopter giveaway


(Also, if you haven't already entered my giveaways for In That Day and The Worship Songwriter, you can still do so here!)

Friday, 14 December 2012


I signed up for the Hobbit blog fest over at M Pax's blog way back when. Can't wait to go watch The Hobbit, but it looks like that will have to wait until after I come back from the Big Bad Wolf Sale (boooksssssssssss)

So here are the questions and my answers:

What is your favorite hobbit characteristic/or the one that you think closely resembles you?
Um. I'm short and I eat a lot. It's an Asian thing. ;)

If you could choose between a scrumptious second breakfast and a perilous unexpected journey – which would you prefer?
Breakfast, of course. Though I'd be okay with an unexpected journey if it wasn't perilous.

Have you ever left behind something on a journey (expected or unexpected) and wished you could have it over and over again? (a pocket handkerchief?)
The one thing I always leave behind (or lose on the way) is my hair-tie. Or hair clip. Or rubber band. And then I'll either have to buy one somewhere, or I end up using miscellaneous stuff to keep my hair up. I've become something of an expert in using a pen to bun my hair. =) Ok, I've also used paper clips.

What is your favorite part or quote from the book that you hope will be in the movie?
Um... I was going to say the riddles in the dark... but you know what? I hope that whole exchange in the beginning about the many meanings of "Good morning" makes it into the movie.

Now you're done reading, go and visit the other bloghoppers as well!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

#bookreview: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Imagine a world where books were illegal, and if you were reported to own books, you would be arrested and your house would be burnt down. For one who lives in a world of words, it's a scary thought. It's frightening that all our words could just so easily disappear into the void like that.

Fahrenheit 451 was a gripping read; I'd only intended to read a few chapters before bed, but ended up finishing the whole book. I got sucked into the internal tension of Guy Montag's world, as all his careful construct as a fireman, who burnt books, started being pulled down around him.

I'm just sorry I took so long to get round to reading this.

View all my reviews

Just a few more thoughts on this. In the passage where Montag meets the men at the railway tracks, and he is lamenting his loss of the words of Ecclesiastes and Revelations that he thought he could remember, Granger tells him that they have found ways to remember, and introduces his friends thus:
"I want you to meet Jonathan Swift, the author of that evil political book, Guilliver's Travels! And this other fellow is Charles Darwin, and this one is Schopenhauer, and this one is Einstein, and this one here at my elbow is Mr. Albert Schweitzer, a very kind philosopher indeed. Here we all are, Montag. Aristophanes and Mahatma Ghandi and Gautama Buddha and Confucius and Thomas Love Peacock and Thomas Jefferson and Mr. Lincoln, if you please. We are also Matthew, Mark, Luke and John."
It just struck me, reading that, that there are places in the world now, where people are that. They are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in places where the Bible is scarce, or outlawed. And here we are in places where everything is so accessible, and we don't treasure it that much.

Must it come down to a day when we don't have it anymore before we start to lament our apathy?


Still time to enter the Christmas giveaways here!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas Giveaway!

When it comes round to the end of the year, you start to reflect on the things that have been happening in your life.
I would like to appreciate a few people - Josh, for his ministry in Penang and his friendship; David, for his ministry to worship leaders online; and you, my faithful blog readers - by running two giveaways for:
1) Josh's worship album, In That Day
2) David's ebook, The Worship Songwriter.

(I've shifted the rafflecopter entries from the previous entry over here so it's easier to share)
Entries close on 23 December 2012 (Sunday) and results will be announced on Christmas!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 9 December 2012

#fireplace: pressing on in #worship (and two #giveaway s)

The weekends when I lead worship at church are often both stressful and satisfying. (Okay, it's only stressful for me and the musicians because I'm a muddle-minded person).
Today, for example, our drummer didn't turn up. We pressed on, with keys and guitar. Then our LCD projector blew a fuse in the middle of Lead me to the cross. And you know, that's a difficult song; it has so many words. We pressed on - even the littlest child can sing the chorus of In moments like these. Then the pastor's microphone didn't work. He swapped mikes and pressed on.
It felt like a recipe for disaster, but it wasn't.

And somewhere in the back of my mind was the question, 'why does this always happen to me?'
But that's an unfair question, because it doesn't always happen to me. And even when it does, you know that it only makes you rely on God all the more.

Sometimes I think that's why it happens to me. Because sometimes I think I can handle it when I know I can't. And though mostly I hope for a great worship session, I'm usually thankful that we got through the set with minimal disasters. After every worship session, I thank God for getting us through, and promise I'll be better prepared the next time, I'll dig deeper in His Word, but life gets in the way, and sometimes I do, but more often I don't. That's probably not a very good confession to be hearing from your worship leader, but sometimes it really is the truth! (And if you can't be truthful to your church, who can you be truthful with?)

I just bookmarked this verse during service this morning:
Luke 22:32 - But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.
It kind of struck me... did you ever realise that Jesus said "And when you have turned back"? It presupposes we will fall but we will get up again. Okay, yes we know that Peter denied Jesus and later he turned back and led the church; we know that in hindsight. Imagine, for a moment, if you were Peter, and you knew with all your heart you would never fail Jesus... and then you did. That one word, "when" would have made a lot of difference for me.

So we press on, continually press on. 



I've blogged about my good friend Josh before - last year, I did an artist interview with him when he first launched his album, In That Day.
This year, I'm running a giveaway for his album (digital download), unless you live in Malaysia, in which case I can arrange an autographed copy for you. It's an easy entry giveaway

Also, I've been much blessed by the Next Level worship series by David Santistevan, and was also privileged to participate in the launch of his book, The Worship Songwriter, in October. So here's another easy entry giveaway!

Entries close on 23 December 2012!

(p/s I've moved the rafflecopter to a separate post here.)

Friday, 7 December 2012

#fridayflash: musicians watching musicians in the rain

"They're good, aren't they?"
"Got the crowd really grooving."
"Why aren't we up there?"
"Different countries, different styles, wouldn't work -"
"No, I mean, why aren't we up in front grooving with the crowd?"
"Beats me."
"It's wet, isn't it?"
"Positively soggy."
"Bit of a dampener on the whole spirit of the thing."
"But the crowd has been great."
"Yeah, even during our set."
"But not as responsive as this."
"I knew we should have started a conga line."
"Or kissed a girl."
"We're too straight."
"What was that for?"
"Why are you sitting so far away?"
"Our... our umbrellas need space."
"I swear I'll never understand you."

Thursday, 6 December 2012

of Advent, Books and Coming-soons...

I was supposed to post this on Sunday, but what with Christmas practice, then jazz fest, then work, then general all-round laziness, and setting up the song set for the weekend...

Well, I suppose it's a little too late now to wish you a "Happy Advent", if one does wish that, but all the same, do take time to slow down even as we enter the busiest time of the year (oxymoron, that).

Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming." It is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on Advent Sunday. The Eastern churches' equivalent of Advent is called the Nativity Fast, but it differs both in length and observances and does not begin the church year, which starts instead on September 1.[1] At least in the Roman CatholicAnglicanLutheranMoravianPresbyterian and Methodist calendars, Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before December 25, which is the Sunday from November 27 to December 3 inclusive.[2]Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used in reference to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.

We don't observe this in my church, or even at home, and I'm a somewhat erratic person when it comes to observing traditions and such, but seeing my growing disillusionment with Christmas celebrations on a whole... maybe as Mark Roberts puts it:
In Advent, we’re reminded of how much we ourselves also need a Savior, and we look forward to our Savior’s second coming even as we prepare to celebrate his first coming at Christmas. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “visit.” In the season with this name, we keep in mind both “advents” of Christ, the first in Bethlehem and the second yet to come.
 may help to put things more into perspective.
At any rate, I've been wanting to do a giveaway for two things: 1) Joshua's album, In That Day and 2) David Santistevan's The Worship Songwriter so I figured what better time than to do it now?
(We'll work that out along the way)

I'm finally going for the Big Bad Wolf Sale!

Okay so I'm using the 1 week picture because I'm only going down to KL next weekend. WHEE!

Coming soon
As mentioned above, I'm trying to figure out a way to do the giveaways. I'm thinking of using Rafflecopter, but I'm not sure how it works. BUT I WILL TRY! It'll run from whenever I figure it out until Dec 23rd, with winners to be announced on Dec 24th, so you'll get your stuff right in time for Christmas!

If you're a female singer located in Penang, George Town Festival is holding an audition next week. Details here.

Also I just recalled I signed up for a blogfest some time last month. Or the month before. So I'm posting the linky code here so that you can join in the fun too! Can't wait for The Hobbit!

Oh yes, C was also supposed to be for certs, in which, I was going to paste my nanowrimo cert, but since my computer died and I'm a little too lazy to go re-download the cert at 1am and print screen it for you, well, that's too bad then. Also, I completed the Greek and Roman Mythology course over at Coursera, so I'm just waiting for my cert on that one too! Yay!

So that's it for the moment!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

#bookreview: Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins by Randolph Lalonde

I picked this up free on Smashwords and promptly forgot about it due to the sheer amount of books I have. I am glad that I found it again!

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: OriginsSpinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins by Randolph Lalonde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins is a trilogy (Freeground, Limbo, Starfree Port) about Captain Jonas Valent and the crew of First Light.

Caught for hacking into Freeground military simulations (and beating them silly) Jason Valent and his crew are offered two options: participate in a high-stakes simulation and win or face court martial for breach of security.

The trilogy is filled with high-stakes space battles, hyper space flight, betrayals, rescues, secret missions and a blossoming love story between Captain Jason Valent and his Chief Engineer Ayan Rice.

I enjoyed reading it, despite some clunky sentences and dialogues here and there.

It's space opera at one of its best and Lalonde has created believable characters who evolve with the story, drawing the reader to love and care for them... and hope they survive.

View all my reviews

You can pick this up free from Smashwords here.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

I'm a #nanowrimo #winner!


And you know what, I did it faster than I've ever done before. Normally I'll be just about dying on November 30th trying frantically to beat the clock.
This year, the historic 2012, I actually have six whole days to spare.

What this really means, of course, is that I now really really really really really need to concentrate on Christmas.
Also, I'll update you on the George Town Literary Fest in a bit... which will hopefully really be in a bit - meaning this week - rather than... er...
You know what? I still owe you the Bali and Phuket posts.
Let's not go there.
I'm not promising ANYTHING.

I think tomorrow morning I'm going to wake up to listen to Tan Twan Eng.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

a belated #nanowrimo update

So I haven't been updating you on my progress for a while.
I've been busy writing. Progress looks good to finish nanowrimo on time this year, though I have a feeling that the story may be longer than 50K words this round. I feel as if I've been jumping from perspective to perspective for some odd reason, but it helps me to figure out what's going on in this story. Sorry, I'm still pantsing it. I should actually go and work on plot, since I'm so bad at it, but I figure I'll work it out AFTER November.

What has really been helping me this year is joining word sprints on the NaNoWriMo group on facebook. What we do is we set a starting time (say :00) and a length (for 20 [mins]), and at the end of the period we check in to see how each of us does. I've figured that my most efficient writing sprint is 20 minutes. I average 700-odd words at 20 minutes, which is interesting seeing that I usually only manage about 400 odd words in 15 minutes. Productivity drops after that, with about 800 - 900 words in 30 minutes. On a good day, I manage 1K words in 30 minutes.

The Nameless One floated in the darkness of the abyss, nameless, faceless, formless. It felt the straining of its power against the bonds that held him. A soft creak, like rope being stretched too far, sounded somewhere near the boundary. The magic that held him was growing weaker by the day. If it had a face, he would have grinned like a very sinister Cheshire Cat. As it was, a feeling of smugness pervaded the abyss under Pieterose.
"Listen to me," it whispered into the willing ear, bent to his will. "The boy will seek to overpower you. And while he does that, who knows what will happen to Kayner? Evil is closing in on you at Charoite from Under Pieterose, and you will not be caught napping. No, no matter what everyone says, it is best to head off evil from the very beginning."
In a distant place, the listener nodded at its wise words. The boy was unimportant. The duel was unimportant. Winning this war with the Unmentionables was of paramount interest to Kayner at the moment.
"It is breaking out, Erel, and only you can stop it. Only you have the power and the might as well as the right to do it. No one else," the Nameless One continued, sending a sense of urgency to its listener. "You must do something. Only you see the danger. Everyone is so blind!"
The Nameless One chuckled silently to himself. How unaware this old man was! How unconsciously he absorbed everything that the Nameless One whispered to the black recesses of his heart. Oh, if only the Sub Authoruss knew who was really talking to him. Did he really think that it was the voice of the elusive Book? The Book was not in Charoite, the Nameless One knew, though the Sub Authoruss went blindly about the castle looking for it. It could feel the absence of the Book's power on the Seat of Charoite, though it was still somewhere in Kayner. That absence of power was what gave it the strength to push against its boundaries, pushing out until it could project its voice into the very void.
Soon, when the Sub Authoruss was within reach, the Nameless One would be able to draw on his magic and strength, like a leech. And then Kayner would be his. If it could laugh, it would have laughed, with evil maniacal guffaws, but as it was, a feeling of mirth spread through the abyss. Time. Time was on its side now.
Other things floated in the abyss with it, but the Nameless One ignored them. They were small and powerless against it; broken spirits, Fay, Gnome and human, of those who had tried and failed to usurp the power of the Authorusses. But it was different. The Nameless One searched the countless memories it held within itself, searching through the many faces it had once held. It was one, but many. It was legion. It would soon rule Kayner.

On other matters, I attended my first write-in with Patricia at Starbucks NWP last Saturday. It was a nice time discussing our WIP (mine is so plot-holed, argh!) and doing a little writing (but not that much). May possibly meet up with Rabia at this week's George Town Literary Festival so I need to hurry up and do more writing because I won't be free this weekend. Also I met Gina Yap, a writer with Buku Fixi who's going to launch her novel this weekend at the Fest!

FINALLY, if you want to see what I've been working on with Phoebe, join us for A Family Christmas Celebration at PCC on 22 Dec (Sat) 7.30pm and/or 23 Dec (Sun) 10am.

I'm a busy, busy girl! =D

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

#bookreview: Urchin King by Katharina Gerlach

I won a copy of this e-book from Sher's blog last month. I had actually heard about the book much earlier, though I never got round to buying it, so this was a fortuitous win.

Urchin KingUrchin King by Katharina Gerlach
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a world where being the younger twin of a noble means being put to death, Paul shouldn't be alive. But his twin Rupert is mentally handicapped and his royal parents need a miracle. Thrust suddenly into court life from his life on the streets, Paul must successfully pose as the miraculously healed Crown Prince or face his belated execution. Complications soon arise when his father, King Albert is captured by a vengeful sorcerer.

Urchin King is a fantasy story loosely based on The Prince and the Pauper, with many twists and turns of a magical nature. I found the story line interesting and intriguing and it was unique and complex enough not to sound like a simple rehashing of an old tale. Gerlach obviously has a fine sense of story and plot, and the novel was exciting, filled with many adventures that drive the story on.

That said, I'm torn between giving this book a three or a four star rating due to the inadequacies of the writing itself. I felt that many of the chapters were short and could have been further expanded upon. As it was, there was a feeling, not quite of urgency, but more of being rushed through the story to the end instead of being allowed to linger in the words and on the page.

Well, with a 3.5 star rating, we were always taught to round up. :)

View all my reviews

The lovely Katharina Gerlach (also known as Cat) can be found on twitter as @catgerlach or on facebook at her author page. She is also contactable on her website and blog.

You can pick up Urchin King from Smashwords, Amazon or well, as a paperback.

Friday, 16 November 2012

#fridayflash: China House

Half remembered faces, half forgotten lyrics, a half forgotten you in the haze of music and drink.
You appeared as an apparition, the ghost of jazz fests past. I tried to smile, but it got caught in the middle of the lump in my throat, wondering why you had come.
And as the bass walked, you sent chills up and down my spine, remembered bliss of once upon a time.
And then you were gone again.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

a musical interlude

So bring this into Your church
Draw us into You again
Where we'll dance before Your throne
Where we'll lift our voices in wordless songs

So let hope rise,
And darkness tremble
In Your holy light,
And every eye will see
Jesus, our God,
Great and mighty to be praised

With everything
With everything
We will shout for Your glory

Then release us to Your waiting world
Desperate for light again
Where we'll dance to Your rhythms of grace
Where we'll sing your words of love

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Happy holiday to you too

Tomorrow's to-do list, because I am too tired and lazy to do anything today, though I really hoped to.

  • Prep songs for this weekend done 4:30pm, 15/11
  • Finalise song/script for Christmas
  • Clear up my desk (note: desk. not room)  done 10:25pm, 15/11
  • Watch Coursera videos done 10:30pm, 15/11
  • Do Coursera quiz done 11,45pm, 15/11
  • OK account for Shin Hooi
  • Update consolidation worksheets for current job
  • Write another 2K words to hit 30K done 6.30pm, 15/11
I am nothing but ambitious.
And to think, tomorrow is supposed to be a holiday.

Right now, I'm going to curl up in bed with Oedipus Rex and Bacchae.

Monday, 12 November 2012

I am incapable of writing anything useful at this point of time, especially titles

I had fully intended to write a fireplace post to consolidate certain musings over the past few weeks after reaching my nanowrimo word count for the day, but it seems that this was not to be.
For one, I feel that I'm all worded out after completing two 30 minute write-or-die sessions with approximately 1K words each. That's right... 2K words in 1 hour! *is unspeakably proud of self*
Brief nanowrimo update here: I'm more or less where I need to be, word count wise, and still pretty compact, plot wise.
I think I see what's coming in the next few chapters, but other than that, I don't have a clue. The only problem I'm having right now is the fact that the story seems to jump a little from scene to scene. (Stuff to be fixed when editing).

I also managed to catch up on the Coursera course I'm taking today, so that's pretty good too. The only thing I'm not happy about is that there will be another writing assignment due towards the end of November, so I might have to pick up the pace on nanowrimo during the public holidays this week to cover for that, only I might have to go out during those days. Boo =/

For another, I've been distracted researching soundtracks to possibly use in my Creation/Bridge dance/mime thing. As you can tell, I have no idea what to call it. Seeing that the creation of Narnia in Magician's Nephew contributed somewhat to the opening of the Creation narrative, I've been listening to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe's soundtrack and finding that several tracks might possibly fit the feel that I'm looking for. Whether it can actually be danced to, is another matter, which the choreographer will have to figure out. (If it's a no, that's back to more research =/ ). Listening to the soundtrack though, I'm having second thoughts as to whether Everlasting Light (Mono) will actually be suitable for the Bridging portion, especially since the back bit is so long and I don't have any narration for that yet.

[Ok, as I write this, The Wardrobe, is looking like a very choice candidate for Creation.]

So much for being all worded out. I guess my frame of mind is not quite right for a fireplace.


A gradual realisation came upon him, one that left him frightened. This wasn't Earth. He didn't know if the sun continued to rise in the east and set in the west. He didn't know if the constellations were anything like those he had stared up at on sleepless nights when he had climbed to the roof for solace. He didn't know what kind of animals prowled the woods, or if they were carnivorous. He didn't know anything about the plants that grew in the forest, and if they were safe to eat, or if they were likely to eat him.
He didn't know anything about this world. For once, he wished he had paid better attention to the books Yiel had asked him to study. He frowned at the recollection. He had read a lot of books about geography and botany. Had Yiel known? Had Yiel guessed?
Whatever it was, he was on his own now, with whatever he had gleaned then. Taking a hesitant step after another, he pushed his way into the Flame Forest. He prayed to the gods that he would make his way out alive.
He pondered upon that even as he walked. Were the gods in Kayner the same as the gods he had prayed to back on earth? What if they were different gods? Then his prayer would have been to no effect and he could very well be eaten on the way to Amezine. What was the point in prayer anyway? Did it ever make a difference? It hadn't stopped him from being hurt back on earth, or even from dying, though he hadn't prayed when the Orb had taken him, so maybe that was why he died anyway. What did the gods want? He felt that it was something he needed to discover soon. Hadn't Kayle said that the Authoruss was also the representative of the gods on Kayner?
He stopped that line of thought immediately. It irked him a little that he had somehow ingested the idea that he was to be Authoruss. He didn't want to be. He didn't think he was the right person. So what if he had magic? He could hardly control it - well, to all accounts he had improved somewhat recently - and he barely knew anything about what he was doing. It felt more as if he was stumbling in the dark all the time. Except for the rare moments when that other worldly thing seem to take control of him. He shuddered. If that was what it meant to be Authoruss, First Magician of Kayner, he didn't want it. He was his own person, not something to be pulled about like a puppet. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

#bookreview: Between Boyfriends, by Sarka-Jonae Miller

I suppose I should start this review with a disclaimer to say that I don’t often read chick lit. You’d more often find me browsing the fantasy/sci-fi shelves than the romance/chick-lit section of the bookstore.

Between BoyfriendsBetween Boyfriends by Sarka-Jonae Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Right from the beginning of the book, I started getting really annoyed by the protagonist of the story, Jan Weston. I find ditsy, blond-stereotype girls very annoying, especially when they seem to believe that the whole world owes them a living. And this girl was all that. So she’s broken up over her break up (to non-functional extremes), her mother practically disowns her for ditching a proper University degree to attend massage therapy school (most Asian moms would, just saying), and to top it all off, she’s mean and bitchy to the very people who want to help her: her friend and neighbour Lisa, Lisa’s friend Becki, and the nice (and hot) guy Juan from massage school. It’s as if she’s intent on making things worse for herself than it really needs to be.
Jan soon finds out that she can’t survive on her own, and gradually she lets the people she used to look down on into her life, surrounding herself with those who would help build her up, rather than knock others down. By the end of the book, I find that she’s grown enough that I don’t hate her anymore. She’s still a little flighty, but very much more grounded than before, and even quite nice.

I can’t say that I really love this book. I liked it well enough for its genre, and I think that Miller has some great characterisations going on in the book. It was interesting enough to be finished during my Phuket trip (so I didn’t have to go find something else to read). Guess that ups it to a 3.5. :)

Apparently the sequel has something to do with Thailand…

View all my reviews

Content rating: Contains mature themes and alcohol use

You can get your copy here: Between Boyfriends (Boyfriends Series)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

So many miscellaneous things to do...

I'm all caught up on my nanowrimo wordcount for today, so I've decided to turn my attention to the many miscellaneous (non-work) stuff that I need to do.

1) Write that book review for Between Boyfriends
2) Learn that song for tomorrow's sort of audition (I'm not sure if it is or it is not, but she said learn the song, so learn the song!)
3) Read/critique a short story for Joshua
4) Write the Christmas script/mime/thing.

I feel semi-productive today.

#nanowrimo update 2... Day, well, it's sort of 6.


I write like
Dan Brown
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. Well, that's what it says about my current nanowrimo novel. I should try some other stuff and see if it changes, because apparently it does.

At any rate, this is a belated update on the progress of my novel. I was on target for the first couple of days but slacked on Saturday because I was out most of the day (impromptu breakfast, Christmas practice/meeting, church, friend's grandma's wake). I figured I would be able to catch up on Sunday, but I had a craving for Nando's which landed me circling Gurney Plaza's parking lot for almost 45 minutes, to which I figured next time I want to eat Nando's, I'll go straight to Queensbay or Autocity as it seems that the length of time it takes for me to drive there and park is about the same as the time it takes for me to park in Gurney... so that was almost an hour of writing time lost and then I was feeling under the weather at night, so I decided to curl up on my bed and read instead.
But several writing sprints with the Nanowrimo group on Facebook this (very early) morning fixed that and I'm caught up to last night's word count.
Which is why I am going to be now, so that tonight I'll be chipper enough to write another 1,667 words to keep up the pace. :)

I hope I'm not confusing you. I'm not quite lucid at the moment.

Yiel stared unseeingly at the unwithering lavender fields that surrounded the Charoite Castle. It had been a long time since he had appreciated the beauty of the flowers in full bloom. The brief stop on Earth through the Orb had made him realise one thing: he hadn't lost his sense of smell yet - he had merely been desensitized to the fragrance of lavender after nearly nine hundred years of living in Charoite. Too much of a good thing... was rarely ever good, such as his extremely long span of life.
When he reached his thousandth birthday almost two hundred years ago, he had become keenly aware that there were no eligible Purples to take over his mantle. Since then, he had been scouring both Lazuli and Amezine for someone strong enough to train, but there had been none. The Book had told him to wait and be patient, but he couldn't help worrying. What if none came in time? How then would he pass on his mantle? He didn't want a repeat of the Unmentionables Uprising. That had caused Kayner almost irreparable damage, most of it to the beautifully delicate Pieterose. He was nearing one thousand one hundred and ninety years of age, longer than any other Authoruss on record. It was not something he told every passerby, though it would go on record and be released after his death. He felt extremely tired.
That trip to earth, though. Something had happened there. The Book hadn't revealed it to him, but he had felt a change in him. A face had flashed in front of his mind, there had been a quick scuffle, and then the Orb had brought him back to Charoite again feeling lighter than before. He did not understand this lightness. He hadn't been light in a long time.
"What are you pondering?" Erel asked, coming up behind him and massaging his shoulders.
"That face. The one I saw. I wonder who he is."
"Didn't the Book tell you?"
"No. It has been silent about him."
"We just have to wait then," Erel said, sitting down beside Yiel.
Yiel turned to his old friend and partner. Erel's face, young and pretty when they had first met was now deeply lined, but still as hairless and smooth as ever. His long black tresses were now peppered with white, unlike Yiel's own hair which had turned gold on his nine hundredth birthday.
"I can never tire of this," Erel said as he stroked Yiel's gold hair. "Don't you wish we could go on forever?"
"All things must come to an end," Yiel said sombrely.
"I'm not quite ready to move on."
"I don't think I am, quite. But what has to happen will happen."
"We should have at least another hundred years, Yi. That's how long it will take to train up the new Authoruss, assuming he is already here."
"He is. I can feel him. I feel something drawing away my strength."
"Are you sure it is him and not... not some other being?"
Yiel shook his head. "I can't know. I just know that it will not be another hundred years. We must hurry."


Oh yes, on other fronts, I may possibly be doing a play next May. Lol.
I've just been reading the script, and whilst it's not brilliant dialogue, it's funny enough.
The two things I'm worried about in actually doing it is that:
1) I will need to sing at least one song in Mandarin
2) The rest of the cast are in Australia so actual physical practices will only be in May itself. I don't know how the rest will work. Skype was mentioned.

Friday, 2 November 2012

#nanowrimo update 1

I managed approximately 1,838 words on day 1, which is slightly over the daily target of 1,667 words per day.

Highlights for the day:
I kind of figured out the basic plot of the story, and decided on some names. Deciding on names is a definite plus point, considering that for 2009's piece, I went all the way to the middle of the story before finally naming the main character. Then again, that was semi-intentional (names are helpful, though).

Excerpt (approx 500 words):
It was his funeral. He was sure of it, though he couldn't recall dying.

The last thing he remembered was peering into the Forbidden Orb, something every boy around his age did on the sly, when his vision had suddenly blurred. He had rubbed his eyes to clear them and when he could see again, he was here, standing beside his own casket, looking down at his body.

It was a fine body, if he could say so himself; somewhat on the short side, but well-built and toned. The hours he had spent buffing at the gym to impress girls had paid off quite well. He wondered how he would survive without it. Bodies were rather comfortable things, now that he had the time to think about it. It lent a lot of weight to one. He wondered that he didn't float away.
The boy peered at his own face, impressed at the good job the makeup artists had done. They had managed to conceal all the outbreaks he had been having recently, the red, peeling, pimply skin. They hadn't covered up a long thin scar that ran from his left ear to his cheek though, and he wondered what that was. He was quite sure he hadn't had that scar before he died. Was it something the Orb had done? Subconsciously, he touched his face and was surprised when he found that he could. Was he actually still solid, or was he only solid to himself? He tried to grasp at the edge of the casket, but found that his hand went through the hardwood.

It was puzzling. Was he a ghost, or a shade, or something else altogether?
He could see Xanthia now, her eyes narrowing as she came into the canopied area. She’d had her eyes on him, he knew, aiming to sink her claws into him as an eligible mate. Her schemes would come to naught now. He chuckled, wondering what she would do if she had to end up with that fool, Luth. Probably go into hysterics and pretend to be suicidal, he guessed. Luth was approaching her now, saying something that he couldn’t quite hear. He watched Xanthia’s mouth move, the look of disdain on her face, but couldn’t make out what she was saying. He took a step closer, concentrating on her lips.
“If you boys didn’t have that ridiculous bet, he wouldn’t be dead,” she seemed to be saying.
“It wasn’t me, it was –“
“I don’t care. It’s all your fault anyway. You could have stopped him.”
“How? By dragging him away by his hair? You know he doesn’t listen to me.”
“Oh, stop being pathetic and go away. I don’t want to talk to you right now.”
His attention was caught by a frantic movement near his body, and he turned away from Xanthia to find that his mother was wailing over his body – or seemed to be wailing. He couldn’t hear a word she was saying. A frown furrowed his brow.

I'm considering putting this up on smashwords under the Nanowrimo program. This basically means that I'll be uploading the WIP probably once in two days as it progresses. This is potentially embarrassing as it will be full of plot holes and awkward scenes, though probably not many typos or grammatical errors (because I always do a proof read at the end of the day). Then again, it would be fun as well. What are your thoughts on this?
If I get at least 5 yes-es, I'll go ahead. 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

*gasp* it's November! #nanowrimo

It's time to start and I'm not prepared.
Rather, I'm about 300 words into a short story that's been plaguing me since the Phuket trip last weekend, but which I don't think I can write out until AFTER November.

And I don't have a clue about what I'm writing for nanowrimo yet, except for some worldbuilding that KK did for me.

I guess I'm going to "study" that later and try to figure out what I can do with that.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Eclipse One: New Science Fiction and Fantasy (#bookreview)

Eclipse 1: New Science Fiction and FantasyEclipse 1: New Science Fiction and Fantasy by Jonathan Strahan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The 15 short stories in here are a hodge-podge of science fiction and fantasy stories (more biased towards fantasy/paranormal than science fiction), some of which provided a-ha! moments, whilst others left me puzzled.

I'd say there were overall more a-ha! stories than puzzling ones.

The few I really liked were:
- Bad Luck, Trouble, Death, and Vampire Sex (Garth Nix)
Well, what can I say - I initially picked up this book because I saw his name on the cover. Gardner, a bumbling wizard, somehow kills his adopted grandmother, the most powerful witch-queen in the nether-world by sheer accident. Now on the run, Gardner, with the help of Gurl, the gargoyle that used to sit above Granny's office desk, must figure out what's really going on. The story is laugh-out-loud funny. Its series of comedic errors would have made perfect reading for teens, except for its preoccupation with vampire sex. Then again, after twilight, who cares about vampire sex?

- Toother (Terry Dowling)
Someone has been killing women and stealing their teeth and Peter, a psychic, is the only one with leads to this terrible murderer that spans decades. Toother is a little dark, slightly reminiscent of Criminal Minds.

- The Transformation of Targ (Paul Brandon and Jack Dann)
What happens when the Mighty Revenant Overlord Targ, Destroyer of Mordane and Ruler of Hellinor doesn't want to be evil anymore? He goes to consult Hiram Hirsch, Consultant to Evil, that's what. The story is light, entertaining and brilliantly written.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Book Spotlight: Between Boyfriends by Sarka-Jonae Miller

So being the naturally *ahem* outgoing and friendly person I am online, I met the lovely Sarka-Jonae Miller via Goodreads, which led to Facebook, (doesn't everything?) and one thing led to another, and what do you know, I'm hosting Sárka over here at my blog for a book spotlight on her chick-lit novel, Between Boyfriends.

Just a little bit about the book to whet your appetite:
Jan Weston is boy crazy, emphasis on crazy, but when "the one" breaks her heart she vows to change. Jan quits dating and takes a hard look at herself, discovering that she does not like the flawed, spoiled individual she sees in the mirror.

Her progress toward positive change is derailed when her mother discovers she dropped out of San Diego State University to attend massage therapy school. Furious at being lied to, Mrs. Weston cuts Jan off. Now Jan is without a guy, her American Express card, and a way to pay for school. She has to do something so despicable, so vile, so cruel, she almost cannot imagine it: Jan has to get a job.

But maybe that is exactly what she needs? Jan is forced to change how she treats people and to reconsider her values. Through a "comedy of errors" and with the support of her real friends (plus the hottie from massage school) Jan is able to survive, barely. But can she really change or is she just between boyfriends?

Right, so this doesn't exactly sound like my usual reading fare, as KK will attest, but why not? So before I get down to reading it, a few things to give you the heads up on:
  • The blog tour giveaway - Sárka is hosting a blog tour giveaway (this is one of the stops!), with an autographed copy of Janet Evanovich's Motor Mouth or a signed picture of Lauren Alaina up for grabs. (Deadline: Nov 4)
  • Win an iPod shuffle - Write a short review of the book and stand the chance to win an iPod shuffle. (Deadline: Nov 15, US only)
  • She also helpfully points out that the book will be free on November 2, if you're taking notes...
Where to buy:
Amazon (UK): Between Boyfriends 

About Sárka:
Sárka-Jonae is a novelist and freelance health writer. Before writing full-time, Sárka worked as a personal fitness trainer and massage therapist. She attended both the International Professional School of Bodywork and the Natural Healing Institute, where she studied Thai massage. Sárka drew from her experience as a massage student and massage therapist when writing Between Boyfriends.

Sárka is an avid traveler, martial artist, yoga enthusiast, and animal lover. She traveled to Thailand twice to research the sequel to Between Boyfriends. She has also been to Costa Rica, Canada, England, Mexico, France, and Paradise Island. Sárka lives in San Diego with a menagerie, including two cats, two dogs, and a horse.