I Just Got Nominated for the Encouraging Thunder Award! – (and I’m feeling pretty damn smug about it!)

 
Firstly, I want to say a HUGE thank you to Erich Michaels for nominating me for this award!! 

You can find his blog here:  https://erichmichaels.wordpress.com 

(Definately spare a second to check it out! His writing is wonderful here’s one of his poems called Frost Shadows:

The sun’s rays have crested the horizon

My love dances in dew laden grass

I stand in the umbrage of the weeping willow

My breath a billowing cloud

My feet shuffle in the frost shadow

where the sun may never shine

(I told you he was good! – what are you still doing here!? Go check out his blog! Get gone!)

Also a quick thanks to the creator of the award and if you wanna read a bit more about it then check out this link: http://encouraginglife.co/about/encouraging-life-blog-awards/

So what does this award mean to me? 
Well! A hell of a lot! I’ve only been blogging for a couple of weeks and, frankly, the whole idea scared me a little!

But everyone has been so welcoming and I’ve literally been drawn into this incredible, crazy blogosphere possibly to the point of blog addiction…oops! And I’ve chatted with so many cool, interesting people who are all into the same things as me! It’s like a community and it’s something I absolutely didn’t expect to find from blogging! I look forward to checking my notifications while I’m on break at work and have little moments of inspiration about my next blog posts throughout the day!

But enough rambling! Get on to the nominations I hear you cry! Please people I know you’re excited but don’t start a riot on behalf of an award (think of the children!)

So I want to give this award to some of the people who have supported me/followed my blog/commented on or liked my posts/ replied to my rambles and generally been there in these early days and hopefully (fingers and toes crossed – or not toes because that’s kinda gross) will stick with me for a long and prosperous blife (blogging life)

So! In no particular order, I nominate the following bloggers for the Encouraging Thunder Award:

  1. Marjma2014  http://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/
  2. Phantomwriter143 http://phantomwriter143.wordpress.com/
  3. Pistachios http://pc63.wordpress.com/
  4. Nick Founder http://nickfounder.wordpress.com/
  5. Isabellesudron http://sudrobelle.wordpress.com/
  6. Rachelloon http://racheliliffe.wordpress.com/
  7. Sonya Solomonovich http://sonyasolo.wordpress.com/
  8. Mypersonalteenlife http://mypersonalteenlife.wordpress.com/
  9. C.S Wilde http://www.cswilde.wordpress.com/
  10. Abirami http://teenblogzz.wordpress.com/
  11. Husbandandhusband http://husbandandhusband.net/
  12. Jacobemet http://jacobemet.wordpress.com/
  13. Rlsharp http://rlsharpe.wordpress.com/
  14. Jacqui Murray http://worddreams.wordpress.com/
  15. Brittney Sahin http://brittneysahin.wordpress.com/
  16. Kait King http://kaitking.wordpress.com/
  17. Christine B https://theblogofchristineb.wordpress.com/
  18. Strider Turing http://stridersthings.wordpress.com/
  19. Tasha https://headinthecloudsheartinthebooks.wordpress.com
  20. Nicole https://mylifeasasecretwriter.wordpress.com
  21. Dileepsankhla https://dileepsankhla.wordpress.com
  22. Angela http://booksandopinions.com
  23. John Guillen https://johnguillen.wordpress.com
  24. Connor Rickett http://citiesofthemind.com
  25. Damyanti https://damyantiwrites.wordpress.com


What you can do with Encouraging Thunder award?

– Post it on your blog

– Grant other bloggers with the award

What you can’t do with Encouraging Thunder award?

– Abuse or misuse the logo
– Claim that it’s your own handmade logo

What you should do after receiving Encouraging Thunder award:

– Enjoy the award

– At least gives thanks via comments and likes and or mentioning the blog who give the award 🙂
Happy blogging!

Getting Published is like Volunteering for the Hunger Games

Okay MAYBE I mean this more metaphorically than physically but, think of it this way:  you’re competing against a whole hoarde of other amazing writers, all of whom are at least equally good as you are and each of them have specific skill sets that are going to help them in the publishing world (just like the contestants of the hunger games! – but their skill sets lie mainly in killing people…)

So you have to go all Katniss first of all. Publish your book? Holy crap! This is gonna be scary but…..you’ll have to volunteer to do it or you’ll never get anywhere…

  
Then you have to submit to Literary Agents. They have so many submissions to get through so what’s gonna make yours stand out?  And how do you do that? The same way you win the hunger games of course!

  

So you carefully phrase your query letter trying to sound confident, friendly, competant, and super likeable and you click send…It’s done. It’s too late to back out. It’s all left to fate now…

  

Your mum goes all Cinna…

 
And you go all Katniss…

 
You don’t hear back from an agent for literally weeks! If only they’d say something ANYTHING!

 
And then you get a response! They liked your work (yay!) they think you have potential (double yay!) but they’re unable to offer you representation at this time…your intial response is to go a bit Cato…

  
But you pull yourself together and remember that, one way or another, you will be published! Whether it be traditionally or self-published you’ll get your novel out there because you love to write! And that’s what really matters after all….
So the moral of this twisted hunger games/publishing tale is to persevere and never give up hope! 

  
Because Katniss Everdeen wouldn’t have won the hunger games if she had and you won’t get published if you do!

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favour…
 

Imagination Vs Reality

  

I am a shameless daydreamer, book reader, and story maker-upper and I need my fix of escapism to get me through the day!

I had a thought when I was writing this morning – how strange is it that all of these characters are just coming out of my head? Imagination is a strange and powerful thing, don’t you think?

As far back as cavemen painting on walls, humans have had a fascination with story telling and escaping from reality! We are captivated by fictional tales of heroism, tragedy, love, loss and all other manner of human emotions – despite these stories not being remotely true! 

Does that mean our lives are so dull that we are coming up with (or distracting ourselves with) lightning scarred wizards, sharp-toothed love interests who like to eat people, a teenage battle to the death in a screwed up dystopia, and sexually messed up rich guys (oh my!) ?

Yes and no. Our lives aren’t all bad, right? (RIGHT!?) but humans have an ingrained setting to always look beyond their own reality for something better. We like to explore our feelings through characters and read about unrealistic scenarios to wonder how we might fair in the same stiuation or simply to marvel at the main character’s ability to overcome adversity or fall in love against all odds etc. etc.
Here’s an odd question for you to ponder…

Would you rather know (don’t ask me how just accept that you do) that all the books you loved actually existed in some other reality but it could never affect your life OR would you prefer books to be just the way they are, wonderful, beautiful fiction?
Thanks for reading!

This Sentence Has Five Words

So I came across this little piece of brilliance today and thought I’d share it with you:

  
What a simple, fantastic and clever way to show how sentence structure can alter the way a person feels when reading! 

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the content of your writing (which of course is super important too!) but how easy it may be to forget the importance of how that content is formatted!

Sing for me writing! Sing!

A Good Night’s Sleep Can Make All the Difference

Last night I was struggling with my writing (I’ve now reached 56,163 words in the third book of my fantasy YA series! Woohoo!) but I came to a halt and couldn’t find my way forward. So I went to bed (my brain was pretty frazzled from a busy day!) and this morning a voila! The problem I was struggling with had somehow been worked out in my mind.

Perhaps it was just getting a little persepective, or maybe it was just a well rested brain that was ultimately the key but either way a good night’s sleep can make all the difference!
 
What helps you when you get stuck writing?
Thanks for reading! 

Inspirational Quotes Just for You!

I have a little pinterest board devoted to inspiration quotes for writing (isn’t pinterest the greatest?). 

Some days I just feel so hopeless about my work (I’ll never be published! No one will like my novels anyway! A slug could literally write better books! Why world why!? ) – these kinds of days are pretty damn depressing  

So I thought I’d start sharing some of my favourite quotes with you and hopefully they’ll inspie you as they have me…

Today I share with you three of my go-to quotes for those days when I’m holding a flaming lighter beneath my work and a little voice says “Hey you, do you really wanna burn three years worth of notes?”

And I scream, “YES! Burn suckeeeer!”

But they hold up their little paw (I imagine this friend as a furry little creature – and yes, I am crazy) and point me towards my quotes page on pinterests

So here they are (I’ll display them as a countdown to my favourite to build some tension…drum roll…):

3)

 
Thank you Ben Franklin for this fantastic, simple piece of advice. I try to live my life this way. I wittle away the days writing frantically and then I plan adventurous holidays where I can strtech my own metaphorical wings and live life to the full and see incredible things. Life is worth living and experiencing and writing is there to turn these experiences into stories that might just resonate with others one day…
2)

 
Beautiful, wonderful W.B Yeats really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to writing. A lot of his work was inspired by heartache and unrequited love – the poor guy! But what a gift he has given to us all by turning his pain into words and inspiring us to use our own personal experiences to make our writing more powerful. 

And finally…

1)

 
Okay so this isn’t a quote about writing I apologise! And I also apologise for alienating the men from this quote but I have a personal attachment to this one. I visited the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis last year and spotted this quote on the way out emblazoned across all kinds of merchandise. I didn’t actually purchase anything because it was the end of my trip and I was tight for cash but I’ve regretted it ever since because that quote just stuck in my mind. 

After the emotional rollercoaster that is the museum (and I can’t recommend it highly enough if you ever get the opportunity to go) but as a woman this quote just hit home with me and reminds me every day of the struggles women have faced throughout history (and still do in many countries).  It’s shocking to think that, not even that long ago, women would have been looked down on for writing and authors like Mary Ann Evans (with well-known pen name George Eliot) wrote an essay entitled ‘Silly Novels by Lady Novelists’ to make sure her work was taken seriously (deep breath girls). 
Even J.K Rowling said that she abreviated her name on the cover of the Harry Potter books so boys wouldn’t be put off of reading it! I think JK put the end to that nonsense! But that was only, what, fifteen years ago?

So ladies write for all the women who couldn’t! And show the world what they were missing!
As always, thanks so much for reading! I always love hearing your feedback so even if the only thing that pops into your mind as you read this is ‘I really fancy tacos for dinner…mm yeahh with salsa, sour cream, guacamole. Oh, do I have guacamole? I’m sure I do…yeah definately’ pop it in the comments box!

Today I Have a Little Helper…

  

This is Ozzy the tiny German Spitz!

He’s been curled up on my lap while I’ve been writing on my ipad today. I have now reached 42,937 words in the third book of my upcoming YA fantasy series: The Rise of Isaac. Yay! (Is this due to Ozzy’s presence? Maybe! Maybe he’s the source of all knowledge, or maybe he’s just a fluffy little dog with a lot of attitude. I’ll leave it up to you to make your interpretations from the photo.)

I sometimes jokingly refer to Ozzy as my ‘muse’. I’m not sure he really inspires my stories but he sure is cuddly and good company for an afternoon of writing!

How about you? Do you have a pet or item that is often close by when you write or read?

Thanks for reading!

How to Make Time for Writing

So everyone has their own techniques when it comes to making time to write.

Writing is time consuming, that’s a given! So how do you make time to write a novel that’s 70,000 words plus! (That’s a lot of words!)

Some people have daily or weekly writing goals. For example 1000 words a day, that’s 7000 words a week if you stick to it and therefore, ten weeks later, you have 70,000 words! Bish. Bash. Bosh. You just wrote a novel, you clever thing!

But I think we all know it’s not as simple as that….

Life gets in the way! There’s work, social life, reading, house chores, washing (yourself and clothes!) that you have to work around. If we all had empty days to fill with writing then we’d have written a hundred novels! (In a week! – okay maybe not a week but you get the idea)

So how do you go about making time for novels?

I do it like this:

1) I don’t have writing goals for two reasons:

          – if I forced myself to write a certain amount a words a day those words, on some days, are just going to be plain terrible and, let’s face it, words for the sake of words!

         – some days I am just too damn busy/tired/demotivated to do it!

There are days when I write 0 words and there are days when I write 12,000 (okay so this is my absolute highest record to date – I was mindblowingly inspired this day, like ideas coming out of my face. My actual face.)

But I know that for me to write well I have to be inspired or driven by the need to get to the next part of my novel that I’m super excited about.

2) I like to be alone

  
As in, I really enjoy alone time (sad I know) but really beneficial for a writer like me! I write my best work when I’m curled up on the sofa on my ipad with no one else but me for company.

I have specific times of the week that I know I’ll be on my own at home and these are the times that I write the most.

I have no real preference over silence or music, it just depends what mood I’m in, sometimes music can really inspire me and other times I just need to throw my ipod out the window and sit in the quiet of my thoughts. This is because different parts of a story require different states of mind. If I have a very emotional moment like something sad or romantic then music is great! I’ll dig through my ipod for songs that evoke these emotions in me and off I go writing.

  
Other parts of my stories that involve world building or plotlines require deathly silence! I need to really think about this stuff! I’m talking, blank face, gazing into the distance thoughtfully (often in the bath! – I even have a bath tray that my ipad can sit on – I’m really strange aren’t I?)

3) Okay this is the really sad one – saying no to that night at the pub or day at the shops to write (oh the humanity!)

  
This is a big committment but sometimes you just have to put a pin in your social life. If I’m on a roll with my writing I know I’m gonna get a whole lot written if I turn down that invite. 

  
Now I don’t make a massive habit of this and if I’ve made plans in advance with a friend I’m not gonna cancel on them last minute because of my writing that’s just rude! But I will say no to that last minute invite to the pub OR I’ll go along a bit later, giving me a couple more hours to get some writing done! The fact is, it just has to take priority sometimes!

I hope you enjoyed this post!

The Writer’s Journey (Lord of the Rings Style)

So I thought I’d do a post on the ups and downs of a writer’s journey – but then I thought! How about relate that to another epic journey! And what’s more epic than The Lord of the Rings?

So here goes…

One day a little voice in your head nags at you telling you to write a book. You love reading! Challenge accepted!

You don’t know the way just yet…but it can’t be that hard right?

  

Then you come up with that idea (you know the one that possesses your very soul!?) and you just can’t stop thinking about it! You can’t share it with anyone yet though because it’s just too special…

  
Then you start writing. It’s all going pretty smoothly. You had the start thought out already anyway! This is easy!

And then you hit a block. You can’t pass it. It seems insurmountable! The words just won’t come!

  
You spend hours, days, weeks even! Thinking about how to move on! You doubt yourself! You just can’t see a way forward, but then…

  
You finish your first draft and are pretty damn smug with yourself but then you start reading through it…

  
The rewriting begins! It’s a long process (you didn’t realise how long!). You can’t organise your thoughts, the project seems too large to ever complete!

 

But somehow you make it! You finish the novel! Now all that’s left is to ask a friend to read it. They finish it and tell you it’s great, they loved it! But how can you trust them? They would say that, wouldn’t they? They don’t wanna hurt your feelings…

 

But then you look through your novel one more time and…it’s alright! It reads well! You love the characters! It’s the story you fell in love with in the beginning! 

You made it!

   

I hope you enjoyed this post! Good luck with your writing – and remember if a hobbit can destroy the one ring…you can definately write a book worth reading

  

Cat Woman by Day, Writer by Every Other Available Moment

Okay so I’m not actually cat woman but I would come pretty darn close in a ‘who’s the most like cat woman in the real world’ competition. I mean, seriously, I’d at least get a runner up prize!

I work in a boarding cattery which is the family business. I literally live in ‘lol cat’ land. Do you know how many times a day I see a cat do something weird? Hundreds.

Cats really are weird! Look how weird this one is who’s staying in the cattery at the moment:

  
I mean, look at that foot!

Cats are no-nonsense, egotisitical, fussy, fickle little beings! And why do they get away with it? Because they’re so damn cute!

Okay cats aren’t to everyones taste and there does seem to be the two extremes of despising cats or simply loving them so much that all you do all day is watch videos of cats falling over or sleeping upside down or saving children from dogs (bet you’ve seen that one!)

So here is a glimpse into my cat filled world:

 

Here’s the cattery. Their houses are painted different colours to look like beach huts!
  
I also work with a rescue group and take the homeless kitties to their new homes. It’s so rewarding! I love seeing how the cats grow in confidence with us and get especially attached to those who have been truly neglected or abused. 

I spend a lot of time helping these cats trust humans again until they are ready to meet someone who wants to offer them a home. It’s truly touching to then recieve photos of the cats in their new lives, often lazing in the sunshine or curled up on their new owners lap who loves them unconditionally, just as they were meant to be loved…

 

All this mummy can hope is that her kittens will be loved as much as she loves them
 
Witnessing the two extremes of human nature, unconditional love verses an abusive nature, how can this not influence my writing?

Thanks for reading! I hope you learnt a little bit more about my life outside of writing!