Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Book review: Nimpentoad by Henry, Joshua & Harrison Herz - and a guest post!

I'm probably the wrong person to review a children's book, seeing the last kid's book I read that wasn't a reread of an old favorite was probably more than a decade ago. But Henry Herz was offering a complimentary copy of his book in return for some free publicity so I helped him out by tweeting his book and interview. (I'm nice that way, ha!)

NimpentoadNimpentoad by Henry Herz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Written by Henry and his two sons, Josh and Harrison, Nimpentoad is the story of a smart young Nibling and how he leads his tribe through the dangerous Grunwald Forest in search of safety. During the trip, he saves his fellow Niblings from being eaten by goblins, trolls, orcs and other scary creatures.

Nimpentoad is geared towards children aged 5 - 10 years and reads as if it was meant to be read aloud to young children, accompanied by illustrations by Sean Eddingfield and Bill Maus.

I find the Herz family highly creative and descriptive in their writing style. It’s a great primer to introduce children to the wonders of the fantasy genre, whilst being very educational about the benefits of listening (or you may just attract the Forest Goblins passing by), creative thinking (that Pedal Chariot really saved them a lot of time!), obedience and trust (Nimpentoad’s instructions didn’t always make sense right away - but they worked).

Overall, a very interesting read.

View all my reviews

And right now, a guest post from one of the authors, Henry Herz on how Nimpentoad was written:


I wanted to share my love of fantasy with my (at the time), five- and
seven-year old sons. They were too young for watching most of the
fantasy and sci-fi movie classics, and there are only so many good
fantasy books available for that age range. Struck by inspiration one
day, I came up with a way to share the joy of entering the magical
realms of fantasy. I would write a fantasy book for them.


What I did not anticipate was that my boys would give me feedback on
the story. They devised some of the character (Nimpentoad) and
creature (Neebel) names, and made plot line suggestions. And who
better to help make the story appealing to kids than other kids? So,
my goal of interesting my sons in fantasy transformed into also
encouraging them to write.


Originally, I only shared the story of Nimpentoad with family, for
their own enjoyment. I had no thoughts of having the book published.
But one day, my sister-in-law suggested that I consider publication
because she felt the story was much better than a good deal of the
books she was seeing for her similarly-aged kids. I thought about it
for a while, and decided to give it a try.


The first step was to find an artist who a) had the skill and style
suitable for our book, and b) was willing to work at a very reasonable
(translation: negligible) price. This turned out to be the most
time-consuming part of our journey.


Once again, my sons were involved, this time in providing art
direction. We would explain in words what each illustration should
contain. Collaborating remotely via email and DropBox, our artist
would give us a rough sketch, and we would provide feedback on details
and color palette. Nimpentoad came to life, while my boys added
another dimension to their experience.


Given the amount of time that had passed, as well as the anticipated
challenges with finding an agent or publisher willing to take a chance
on an unproven entity, we decided to self-publish. CreateSpace has a
fabulous web-based print-on-demand service, backed up by superb
customer service support. We were in business!


Well, sort of. We had a good book, but we lacked readers. So, we
then embarked upon the most arduous part of our journey – promoting
Nimpentoad. Luckily, my boys (dare I say it) are charismatic and
precocious, and are comfortable conducting public readings and doing
book signings.


I have booked my sons as much as their school schedules would allow.
We've done readings and signings at San Diego libraries, elementary
schools, La Jolla YMCA, the New Children's Museum, Mysterious Galaxy
Books, Readers Books, Warwick's Books, and Barnes & Noble. We have
books for sale in Mysterious Galaxy, Readers, and Barnes & Noble, as
well as online at www.nimpentoad.com.


Nimpentoad has gotten a very favorable reception. We have 35
five-star ratings on Amazon, and positive reviews from several
well-known authors. All these appearances have further enriched the
journey for my sons. They now understand some of the aspects of
running a business, like revenue, costs, and profit.


We've been doing all the promoting and sales ourselves. We would love
to be represented by a literary agent to take Nimpentoad to the next
level, broadening our reach beyond Southern California. We think the
story themes (discouraging bullying, and promoting teamwork,
creativity and perseverance), and the meta-story of two boys helping
to write and promote a book, send positive messages to elementary
school aged kids.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

fireplace: the truth behind the lies

I hate reading Gert Fram. Reading Gert Fram never fails to make me cry. I love reading Gert Fram. It never fails to uplift. Such powerful, evocative words, packed into a mere nine pages. And it is nothing more than fiction. Or maybe, nothing less than fiction.

I was intending to write about the truth behind stories, until I got caught up in googling the phrase “Jesus spoke in parables”. This led me to several interesting sites as well as several kooky sounding ones.

I caught myself thinking as I browsed one site, that this person has it so right… and so wrong.
The next question was: how do I know if she is really right or wrong?
And the question really is this: how do you know that what you believe is true?

Last week at cell, we were asked to share our salvation story.
Salvation stories are intensely personal and difficult to share. Or relatively easy, depending where you stand. How astounding and miraculous your story was, or how mundanely simple. I don’t know.

Maybe it’s this disconnect I have between my emotions and my head, where I can doubt the same things I say I believe in the same span of a thought. Maybe it’s the way that nothing really seems real anymore. And yet everything is. And to be intensely in the moment is of necessity to be intensely physical, to sing louder than anyone else, to dance to the rhythm and tune, because otherwise, I am caught in the web of my head which clinically and analytically asks “and why are you feeling what you are feeling? What are you planning to do next? Where do you intend to go with this thought?” or also, “why do you not feel anything anymore?” And sometimes I believe I understand the need to cut physically, the way I sometimes need to wound my soul in order to feel something, if only pain. Because sometimes pain feels good.

And yet faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.

And maybe I’ll tell of the truth behind the lies after all, because a well-placed story at a well-timed moment tears your heart in ways the bare-faced facts could never do. Because by stepping out of yourself in that short span of time, you open yourself to be vulnerable to the Story that loops in endless sequences, in countless revisions, in trickles of narrative, or floods of words; the one that always says in the end that man needs a hero. And sometimes the hero echoes that of God, and sometimes, it echoes the works of man, but the immutable truth remains that one man cannot ever save himself.

And maybe Jesus spoke in parables because sometimes it’s the only way to get through.

p/s go read Gert Fram.

Friday, 25 May 2012

#fridayflash - Oppression

“It’s over now,” Adam said, sinking into the sagging rattan chair.
“You really think so?” Nadia said softly.
He hesitated over his reply, but finally set his teeth in that flamboyant grin of his. “It is, kak. It has to be.”
“The people should not fear their government,” she whispered, like an escaping hiss. She knew that grin. He was trying to believe in his own words as much as he wanted her to.
He threw a troubled look at her. “Since when does my sister learn lines like that?” he asked, noticing for the first time the furrow of worry on her brow, the lines of tension around her mouth.
“You were gone for so long we thought they had taken you like they took Abah. I had to do something.”
“So you watched an outlawed, outdated movie.”
“No. I talked to Shukri.”
“You - where is Shukri?” There was urgency in his voice now, his thin fingers gripping her upper arm.
“That hurts, Adam.”
“Sorry, kak,” he said, letting go. “Where is he? Is he safe?”
She shook her head. “I don’t know. He - he comes and goes. I haven’t seen him in two weeks. I don’t know if he’s still alive.”
Adam stared as his older sister burst into tears.
“I’m so worried about him, Adam.”
He put an arm about her awkwardly. “Are you - is…” he tried to organise his thoughts. “Are you dating him?”
“What do you think?”
“No, he would never date. It would be too dangerous. But you love him all the same.”
“Why do you do this Adam? Why can’t you and Shukri leave well alone?”
“Because the government should be afraid of the people.”
Nadia shivered at the glint in his eye.

A shadow moved in the dark. Shukri turned his head slightly, watching it out of the corner of his eye. His hand slowly moved to grasp the hilt of his keris.
“It’s me, Kri,” a familiar voice said.
Shukri relaxed a little, his hand still at the ready, watching as Adam walked to him with his hands held wide. Adam stopped a few steps in front of him and turned around, allowing Shukri to pat him down quickly. Satisfied, Shukri finally grabbed Adam by the shoulders, spun him around and engulfed him in a hug.
“Sorry,” he said gruffly.
Adam shrugged. “Any news?”
“It’s bad in the South. Mass arrests after our meeting last Wednesday.”
“A mole?”
“Maybe.”
“Will be tough to clean up.”
“Fly was taken.”
“Wasn’t on the news. That’s good, isn’t it?”
“Just means they’re not done with him yet. They’ll brand him as a traitor and hold a public execution when they’ve got everything out of him.”
“Or they’ll keep him forever, like my father.”
“Yes.”
The silence between them was heavy.
“What’s this with Nadia that I hear?” Adam finally asked, trying to keep his tone light.
Shukri groaned. “I’m sorry, Adam. I didn’t want to involve her. For your sake. For your father’s.” He buried his face in his hands.
“She misses you, Kri.”
“I - I can’t get involved, Adam! Not now. Not in this place. She’ll become nothing but a weakness, a bargaining chip, to be used against me. Against you. When we’re done, when we’ve won… When our country is free again - I…”
“You could run away to Metropolita together. Now. Tomorrow. My aunt has estates there. You’ll be free and safe, and so would Nadia.”
“Would you do that, Adam? Would you run away from our cause for love?”
“Malaysia is my love, Shukri. You’ve taught me well.”
“You have your father’s heart in you. His spirit.”
“So does Nadia.”
“No, Adam, I cannot. Please don’t tempt me.”
“I am sending her away tomorrow. She will accompany my mother to Metropolita.”
“She’ll be safe there.”
“I had hoped you’d want to say goodbye.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Adam!” Nadia yelled.
“It’s for the best,” he insisted.
“And what about you? Aren’t you coming along?”
“I have work to do here.”
“So do I.”
“Please, kak. We want you to be safe.”
“We?”
“Shukri and I.”
“Oh, you’ve been talking to him, have you?”
“Yes, I…”
“Where is he?”
“Kak…”
“You tell him that his cause is my cause too. His land is my land too. And I will not be sent packing like a useless accessory.”
Adam’s fists balled. “Why won’t you listen?”
“Why won’t you?”
“What if you get arrested? What if they come for you because of him? Because of me? Because of who we are?”
“Then so be it, Adam Tash. The women of this family do not run,” Marina Tash said, her voice low and gravelly.
“But mak…”
“Why do you think you grew up here?”
The heavy woman walked slowly into the room, laying her hands on the heads of her children. “You are your father’s children. You can do no less.”

---

Kak - (short for kakak) older sister
Abah - father
Mak - mother
keris - a type of dagger

I suppose these are pretty obvious, but well, *shrug*.
---

Many thanks to Arief for his prompt, "Oppression" and Linda for her prompt "It's over now". You gotta love the twitter peeps. Christine had a prompt as well - "Surrender" - which I'll probably use next week. :)

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Leaps of Faith, or Not Knowing What’s in the Next Fishbowl

Back in November 2011, I participated in the launch of Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn here.  Today, we're launching the sequel, Closed Hearts, with a guest post from the author herself!
Happy reading - and don't forget to sign up for the rafflecopter!

Guest Post: Leaps of Faith, or Not Knowing What’s in the Next Fishbowl
by Susan Kaye Quinn
I’m a risk taker, one of those crazy people that tries stuff that seems to terrify others. I think risk takers don’t actually experience the same level of fear as most (normal) people—plus the added adrenaline rush urges us on. I’m the girl who decided at age 10 that I wanted to go into space, and being strapped to the equivalent of a 10 megaton bomb didn’t really concern me. Because it was spacehow could you not want that? Sure, it was an incredible amount of work, the chances of actually becoming an astronaut were horribly long, and you could blow up, but the risk of dying was reasonably low, and the rewards were literally out of this world.

See? Easy decision. Which was why I was shocked and a little appalled that becoming a writer terrified me.

Fear has dogged me every step of the way in this process, from the first time I sat down at the keyboard, to the first time I let someone else read my writing, to the first time I published a novel. But today I’m going to talk about the most difficult leap of faith I’ve taken in my writing journey: the decision to become a serious writer.

I had been writing like a crack-addicted monkey with a keyboard for about nine months, when I had to decide if I would pursue writing as a serious career, rather than going back to engineering (which had always been Plan A after the kids were in school). My youngest was going into Kindergarten, and I was envisioning the day when all three of my boys would be in school full time. Would I really spend those daytime hours pounding out middle grade and young adult fiction, rather than getting a real job, one that had a hope of paying me actual dollars?

This was back when traditional publishing was the only real route to success (a mere two years ago), and the only option I would consider if I was going get all serious about being a writer. I don’t tend to do things by half-measures (see the idea of going into space, above), and I knew if I took this leap, there was a real possibility of being one of those writers who never caught the golden ring of publishing: a contract with a NY publisher. The odds seemed about the same as becoming an astronaut, only without the consolation prize of being an engineer who would make meaningful contributions to society, even if I didn’t make the cut. If I went for being a published author—and didn’t make it—I could wind up being one of those unpublished aspiring writers who starts drinking scotch at 10 a.m.

I remember having an intense discussion with my husband about it. “What if I write like crazy, query a hundred agents, and I still don’t have a published novel in 5 years? It could happen. It probably will happen.” I envisioned that as five years of my life, wasted. And I didn’t like to waste things, certainly not years of my life. I have a limited supply of those. At the same time, the idea of giving up my writing was keeping me up at night.

He said, “Well, you could guarantee that you won’t have a published novel within five years by not trying.”

Damn. I hate it when he does that.

So, I took the leap. I decided to let go of the easy money and recognition of returning to the field I’d worked in for years—gotten a Ph.D. in for heaven’s sake—and jumped into a long-odds attempt at being a serious fiction writer for children. This was before I knew about the coming seismic shifts that would grip the industry and turn it upside down. Before I knew that a few months later, a small publisher would seek me out to publish my first YA novel (Life, Liberty, and Pursuit)—a love story I had never intended to publish, having written it for fun and for my niece. Before I knew that the rise of e-books would open up self-publishing as an alternate path for writers. Before I knew my self-published second YA novel (Open Minds) would have more success than I had any right to expect.

I’m not sure that knowing those things would have made the leap any easier, because the chance of failure still burns bright as a possibility, even with all the choices available to writers now (and I truly believe there’s never been a better time to be a writer). I took the leap because I wanted no regrets. I didn’t want to be an eighty-year-old grandmother, reading to my grandchildren, thinking, Maybe I could have written this.

Here’s the thing about taking the leap: it is action. And action is the best weapon against fear, making it evaporate like the mist of illusion that it usually is.

Because I leaped, I discovered that it doesn’t matter to me how my work is published, only that I have people reading it. Every day, someone tells me they enjoyed my novel, or writes a review of my work, or buys a copy—showing with their dollars and time that they’re intrigued to hear the stories I have to tell. I don’t know what the future holds, but in five years, I fully expect to have more novels published and more people reading them.

And I’ve never been happier that I took the leap.

~~*~~





Closed Hearts (Mindjack #2) $2.99 at AmazonBarnes and Noble (ebook and print)

When you control minds, only your heart can be used against you.
Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling YA novel Open Minds, Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy, which is available on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iTunes. The sequel Closed Hearts has just been released. Susan's business card says "Author and Rocket Scientist," but she mostly plays on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.



Mind GamesOpen MindsClosed HeartsIn His EyesLife, Liberty, and PursuitFull Speed Ahead

CLICK HERE to join the Closed Hearts Virtual Launch Party (with more bonus Mindjack Trilogy content and guest posts) and/or ENTER TO WIN PRIZES
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Sunday, 20 May 2012

fireplace: a call to be faithful. Nothing more, nothing less.

On one of my blog/pinterest surfing sprees some time back, I read this story: Pushing Against the Rock. It wasn't a really new story - I think I've read or heard it in some form or incarnation before, but this time something just struck, especially this bit:
"Lord" he said, "I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock a half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"

To this the Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when long ago I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven't moved the rock. BUT YOUR CALLING WAS TO BE OBEDIENT, TO PUSH AND TO EXERCISE YOUR FAITH AND TRUST IN MY WISDOM, this you have done. I, my friend, I will now move the rock."
It comes back to that whole bugbear I have with that word expectations. Because the results we expect from our work never seem to be commensurate with the effort we put in - well, in my case anyway. Because sometimes, I seem to expect the world. (Also, I confuse myself because I also assume the worst. At the same time.)

The fact remains is, results, as we see them are irrelevant. True, consistent fails may indicate that something is lacking, something is wrong. And yet, if you look at it again, what were you called to do? You were really called to be faithful, not to achieve. Achievement isn't everything. Yes, it's a useful marker. But as my mother told me a long time ago, losing makes winning worthwhile.

The problem is that we humans need some form of measurement to be proud about. We need to show the world that by doing x and x, I produced xxx amount of money, or "saved" xxx amount of people. Talking in these terms, it seems that only huge rallies produce the results that we think God will be pleased with. It doesn't work that way. Remember, he went for the one missing sheep and the one coin. He didn't say it's the 99 other sheep in the fold that count, or the other 9 coins in my hand that make it alright. It's the one that's lost. And even if it's only one, it's still worth it. 

And that is the most difficult to remember in this results-oriented world.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Look, ma, I'm on Broadway! Sort of

So after haunting my e-mail for the whole of Tuesday and then waiting on tenterhooks until Friday, I received a very exciting call in the morning. This was followed by a few excited calls and SMSes and some rather confuzzled, bemused tweets... and then this arrived in my inbox, making it even more real/unreal/surreal and all that jazz.
I am so uberly duberly excited that I tend towards incoherency.
The best way to describe my emotional state now is this:

WWWWWHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
=D=D=D=D=D=D=D=D=D=D
*squeal*

I am. Flabbergasted.
Especially since I spent most of Tuesday being a little emo at why no call why no call why no call. Haha.

#Fridayflash: Liz

“You’re not falling for him are you,” I blurted.

“What makes you think so?”

“I know that tone of voice. You’re hiding something.”

“No, I’m not.”

“Oh come on, Diane. I know when you’re faking. Besides, you’re blushing.”

“I’m not falling for that one, Liz.”

I smiled. “See, if you weren’t faking it, you wouldn’t be worried about blushing. Come on, spill!”

Diane snuggled down between the mountains of pillows we had piled on the bed. “Nothing to spill.”

I threw another pillow at her, catching her on the arm as I snuggled down beside her.

“Do you think Rob really likes me?”

She stared at me. “What kind of question is that?”

“Well if you won’t talk about Daniel, you might as well talk about Rob, right?”

“Do you like him?”

“Dunno.” I turned to face her. “He’s, well, he’s a bit of a hunk, isn’t he?”

She giggled. “Not quite my type.”

“Yeah, I know you like the quiet, dreamy types.”

“Stop it, Liz.”

“See, you admit!”

She groaned. “I hate you.”

“So what is it about him that you like? He’s not exactly our kind you know.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“He’s like, you know, different. Strange. He’s not really -”

“Rich?”

“Something like that.”

“You’re a snob, you know, Liz?”

“Comes with the territory.”

“But he is rich. Now, anyway.”

“Yeah, but - it’s just different. It’s just something you’re born with. That - style. Attitude.”

“Like us, you mean?”

“Yeah.”

She fiddled with her hair for a while before answering. She does that a lot when she’s thinking. “I think you don’t like him because he doesn’t rise to your challenges.”

“My challenges?”

“Rob does. That’s why you play off each other like flint and rock.”

“I do not.”

“See? And if I just ignore this line of questioning you’re going into, you’ll get upset with me.”

“What have I challenged him with?”

“You wanted him to defend himself because of that book he was reading. But he didn’t.”

“He’s a wimp.”

“Then you wanted to get cheat sheets off him, and he refused.”

“Matthew always shared.”

“He didn’t have cheat sheets.”

“Who?”

“Daniel. He didn’t have any.”

“But his score -”

“Was all his.”

“And you know this because?”

“I asked.”

“You know, if you date him, we’re gonna have to wriggle him into Rob’s good books.”

“Who says anything about dating?”

“Oh surely, not the room so fast.”

“Liz, you’re impossible!”

I grinned. 

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Book review: The Backworlds by M. Pax

I picked up The Backworlds (launched on this blog) a week ago and finished it within the day. The only reason this review is so late in coming is because I am a lazy bum. Word. :)

The Backworlds (Book 1)The Backworlds by M. Pax
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Run out of house and town by the Verkinn council elders at the instigation of his father, twenty-year-old Craze sets off to Elstwhere in search of his fortune. Craze soon falls in with two aviarmen, Lepsi - who’s trying to trump his brother Frederoy, and Talos - determined to establish a trade route in honour of his mother, in search of a new home. Their crazy new partnership leads them to adventure, dangerous places, and lots of money, or so they hope.

M. Pax writes with stunning imagery, creating a wonderful world of different species, bio-engineered humans and space travel. Her characters are vivid and varied, emerging fully-formed in your imagination. Her writing style is breezy and easy to read.


View all my reviews

Content Rating:
T, due to minor coarse language, and minor suggestive adult themes.

To pick up this book for free, check out my book launch post here. You can also visit the author here.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Stop by - oops

Just a quick stop by, to say I'M SORRY. =(
I've been trying to get back to a normal blogging schedule, but work and life isn't letting me.
Analysing this week, I literally had no time to write, which is SUCH AN EXCUSE.
Monday - regular TV day. It's the only day I watch TV for NCIS and Criminal Minds.
Tuesday - musical practice
Wednesday - I was prepping songs for this weekend's church service
Thursday - Headstart dinner - I was planning to write after this, but crashed the minute I touched my bed.
Friday - OT. The BOSS needs stuff. :( and which I couldn't finish, and which I need to start doing NOW.

Tomorrow may or may not have a post, seeing it's Mother's Day.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

---

Also, apparently, Ticket America has arizona diamondbacks tickets, houston astros tickets and oakland athletics tickets.
Because, you know, Ticketamerica.com has Arizona Diamondbacks tickets for all games including games vs. Houston astros and American League games for the Oakland Athletics games.

(these links were sponsored)

---

Back to work >.<

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Backworlds is here!




The first story in the Backworlds series by M. Pax. A vision of how humanity might colonize the galaxy some day in the distant future.

The Backworlds
After the war with Earth, bioengineered humans scatter across the Backworlds. Competition is fierce and pickings are scant. Scant enough that Craze’s father decides to hoard his fortune by destroying his son. Cut off from family and friends, with little money, and even less knowledge of the worlds beyond his own, Craze heads into an uncertain future. Boarding the transport to Elstwhere, he vows to make his father regret this day.

Available from: Amazon / AmazonUK / Smashwords / Feedbooks
Other links to more outlets can be found at either Wistful Nebulae or MPax

The Backworlds is an ebook and a free read. All formats can be found at Smashwords and Feedbooks.

It’ll take a few weeks to work its way down to free on Amazon Kindle. It will also be available on B&N and iTunes. Sign up for M. Pax’s mailing list to be notified the day it does go free on Amazon, and when the book becomes available at other outlets. You’ll also receive coupons for discounts on future publications. NEWSLETTER


M. Pax’s inspiration comes from the wilds of Oregon, especially the high desert where she shares her home with two cats and a husband unit. Creative sparks also come from Pine Mountain Observatory where she spend her summers working as a star guide. She writes mostly science fiction and fantasy, but confesses to an obsession with Jane Austen. She blogs at her website, www.mpaxauthor.com and at Wistful Nebuae. You’ll find links there to connect on Twitter, Goodread, FB and other sites.

The sequel, Stopover at the Backworlds’ Edge, will be released in July 2012. It will be available in all ebook formats and paperback.

Monday, 7 May 2012

The A to Z reflections post

So I've survived my second year of A to Z (barely).

Last year I managed to write something in between a short story and a novellete (what's an average of 500 words x 24 posts called? lol) through out A to Z and this year, the vote went to flash fiction. Well, it started off at flash fiction anyway, and degenerated into vignettes as the word count dropped from an average of 500 - 600 words down to about 200 words. Hah. Let's blame late working nights for that.

Same went for my blog-hopping intentions. At the beginning of the challenge, I would visit commenters, leave comments and visit a few extra people picked randomly off the list. As April progressed, this degenerated into a short stop-by to visit those who commented. I guess I will be using part of May to still do some stop bys, assuming May isn't as crazy as April has been.

Time has always been an issue for me in blogging, so I suppose if I'm going to survive A to Z again, I will probably have to pre-write a lot of stuff (or resign from my job! haha). I actually started off prewriting about 3 posts ahead, but that got gradually cut down because there were some days I got home too late and zombified to think. And there were some posts that I just stared at for ages because I couldn't think of how to write it. Although I had a game plan of 26 words, I did change some as and when I had sudden *bursts* of inspiration.

By far my favourite posts to write were the Gyroscope/Hysterical posts (which I'm editing into a 10-minute play for Short + Sweet) and Ivy. Nymphomania grew rather organically out of Ivy, whilst Gyroscope & Hysterical were a spin off from a trend of though from Fuzzy. Funnily enough, these are the top-read posts as well (data for the month)

I guess it's back to my normal routine.

Check out this space tomorrow for M. Pax's book launch!

Friday, 4 May 2012

#Fridayflash: Subversive

Ladd opened a crusty eye. The stiletto heels in front of his face flicked once, causing fresh blood to gush from his nose.

"Get up, boy," the voice was high, nasal. He didn't recognise it. The foot moved again and he scrambled to his feet. She stood glaring at him, a baton held tightly in her right hand.

"I warn you," she said, stepping backwards.

She was young, too young for this, he thought as he nodded mutely at her threat, his eyes following the arc of her hand as she pointed the baton at him. He kept as still as he could, ignoring the twinge in his left leg. The girl darted at him suddenly, pressing the end of the baton into his bruised ribs. He grunted. She jerked a little, causing fresh pain to blossom in his side. Her left hand hurriedly clipped the end of a chain to his collar.

Just as quickly, she darted away again, still holding the baton out towards him, the end of the chain held in a white-knuckled grip. Footsteps came down the corridor and the girl whirled about.

"You're too edgy, Shiels. If he were anybody else but Ladd, he would have gotten away by now," the newcomer said in a wry voice.

"S-sorry, Ma'am. It's just that..."

"He's big. I know. I'll take over from here," Adele said calmly. She took the chain from the girl's hand, but refused the baton. "You can keep that in case he comes after you."

"Sure, Ma'am?"

But Adele wasn't listening to her anymore. She was looking up at Ladd, who was a full head taller than her. He smiled at her sadly.

"It's your trial today."

"Yes. I know."

"You'll survive." She laid a hand on his stubbly cheek, ignoring the sharp intake of breath from Shiels behind her. “Come along then.”

“Aren’t you going to chain him?” Shiels asked desperately as they passed her at the door of the cell.

“He’s on a leash.”

“But -”

“But nothing.”

“Adele,” Ladd whispered. She stopped, turning to glare at him. “She is right.”

“I don’t understand how you can be so law abiding about everything else but the one thing that really mattered,” she said angrily, grabbing the cuffs from Shiels. Ladd turned, holding his hands still behind him as she snapped the cuffs around his wrists.

“Let’s just say I don’t want things to get worse.”

“Oh no, nothing gets worse than being sentenced to hard labour for subversive behaviour, Ladd.”

“Only hard labour?” he tried to joke. There was a glint of moisture in Adele’s eyes.

“Brionna begged for your life. Her Grace couldn’t say no.” Her long fingernails dug into his hands. “Why, Ladd? Why did you have to learn how to read?”

---

Snippet from anywhere, a WIP I'm rather ambivalent about continuing.

---

In the 5 days of blog silence I have:
a) thrown in random ideas while the boys co-wrote the opening song for the musical
b) finally decided what I'm going to do for my audition video (to be taped on Sunday!)
c) sprained my ankle
d) had dinner with Josh Yeoh, after talking about it for two months.

Since April is over, I will be resuming my sort-of-normal blog posting schedule of:
Sunday: Fireplace
Wednesday: book review (if any)
Friday: Friday flash

Any other day: random posts.
Or will try to anyway.

I kind of thought the next round of Renaissance was in May, but... no news so far.
Mary Pax's launch of The Backworlds is next week! Woots! So check back for that.
Also, JC Martin's Oracle releases July 30th!
Then it's the next Writer's Platform Building Campaign, I think in August (have to check).

Anything else you think I should be participating in?