Category Archives: General

2017…I plan to read

I saw this today on Pinterest and thought it might be worth giving it a try. It’s still a pretty loose guide to what you’ll read and I’ve got my own ongoing ’empty the bedside table’ challenge and ‘clear the kindle’, which would fit around this.

I quite like the idea of something that nudges me to read something a bit different, without being too prescriptive. Some of the books in my own challenges will fit into this plan (I think) so I’m going to give it a go. The pin is saved below for you, to see if you fancy trying it too.

For January’s book, I’ll need to have a quick trawl through my shelves and see what I fancy re-reading. It’s been a long time since I looked at some of those books…

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A little challenge…

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My 2016 TBR list 🙂

A while ago I did a challenge where you had to blog about different book things every day for a month – the 30-day challenge. Although I didn’t make it 100% through the month, I did answer all the posts by the end, with some creative mergers!

One of the questions in that challenge asked you what book had been on your ‘to read’ shelf for the longest and I realised that The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series remained uncompleted from my late teens and so had been carted around university halls and a couple of house moves in the last twenty years or so… And no, I’ve still not finished the series :/

Anyway, I’ve been ‘Autumn cleaning’ this weekend and took in the sorry stack of books stashed in my bedside table… They are a motley bunch and seem to follow no rhyme or reason as to why they are there. The only thing I can find to link them is that, at some point in the last few years, the books have appeared there with me thinking ‘I’ll put that here so I read it next’… Research books for my own writing, autobiographies passed on by friends, novels from family (some bought for my birthday, others loaned when they had finished with them), and my spontaneous ASDA purchases that appealed more than broccoli…

There’s an impressive twenty-four books stuffed into that small space and so I’ve decided to give myself a little push with a challenge to clear the decks of these books. So, this weekend I’m starting the ‘clear the bedside table challenge’ – sounds exciting, I know 😉

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/7198950?shelf=bedside-table-challenge-2016

I’ve set up my Goodreads shelf (for motivation) and now I’ve posted about it here, I’ll have to carry this through – I just need to decide where to start Game of Thrones, James Bond, Antigone or Essential Bushcraft…? Decisions, decisions…

 

Dystopian Apocalypse A-go-go

Well, it’s been a depressing (?) few weeks of reading and viewing for me..

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After reading the post-apocalypse dystopian trilogy The Testing I descended into a world of zombies, desolation, crazy governments and plucky teens (for the most part).

Whilst on holiday I read the last two books in the Pittacus Lore ‘Lorien’ series, which I’ve read in fits and starts over the last few years. I have to say after a couple flatter books in the middle of the series it really finished well – I went straight from one to the other, eager to see how everything works out (or not!) in the end. I’ll have to take the time to do a full review of the series at some point as it is a great, action-packed YA series.

On the return flight, I watched Alligent, the last in the Divergent series. From here you may know that I didn’t really get on with Tris in the first book, but I thought I’d give it a second chance and tried book two… It still wasn’t for me – the writing wasn’t bad but I didn’t feel that the factions premise held up well. In some ways the films got me through the story better, but the third was a let down again for me – the rationale for the factions and experimenting really didn’t seem that strong, it was a bit like the faction idea wasn’t thought through fully to the end of the series before the first was finished. I liked Tris better in the films than as narrator, but in the last she was ridiculously naive and several stock dystopian elements seemed to be thrown in, with no signficant enhancement of the story.

On the flight out, I’d downloaded eight hours of The Walking Dead to watch… It was a long flight and I managed to get through most of them. I’ve been power watching season four and five since we’ve been back home and now half expect it to be normal for the knock on the window to be a walker, or that sharp garden tools should be carried at all times – you know, just in case. I’ve got a few more episodes to go now, it’s been a much better series for me than the third, where I lost a bit of my affection for characters. There’s some really good development and focus on individuals in these two seasons which has definitely got me back on the (zombie) wagon. (Oh, random image just struck me then, I wonder if you could use walkers to draw you along in a cart, using flesh on a stick as the carrot…? Kind of disgusting, but could prove a viable alternative to fossil fuel in post-apocalyptic Georgia…)

Zombies on the back-burner (well, just a bit) I watched the second Maze Runner film this week. I’ve not read the books, but I did like the first film and the slight Lord of the Flies feel to it. Second film was similarly enjoyable. I think the characters and story are stronger than Divergent and in the films they have some good people cast in the core gang. Not sure I’m 100% convinced on the back story to some of the things at the moment, but I can see how there might be some good reasons behind what you see in this film that will be fleshed out, so will hold off deciding for now.

That brings me up to my latest read, Legend by Marie Lu. I’ve seen this around the web FOREVER and so I’m way behind on getting to read it, but I saw it I the library last weekend and thought ‘why not?’ if it’s free. And so I’m about halfway through now, enjoying my latest bout of humanity scraping along to survive under the thumb of a reasonably oppressive seeming government. When their lead by a glorious leader who has pictures everywhere it doesn’t usually bode well, trust me – we’ve been there before in my adventures through the end of the world 😉

i have to say, despite all of these outside influences , I’ve not really been feeling the creative spirit in me to get on with my own dystopian series, maybe finishing editing the kids book will perk me up… Less gore and guts (well, you’d hope so!)

 

Long time, no post

Happy new year! Time for a little catch up 🙂

It’s been a busy few months since my last post – mainly with life away from writing and after some good progress in September, things have stumbled a little since then on completing Cirque de la Nuit. I’m hoping it’s not too far off completion now, just a few more chapters and the joys of editing to contend with.

My new year report from Goodreads tells me that I’ve averaged reading one book a month in 2015, which is pretty pitiful for me. Blogging has had it’s peaks and troughs too – if only the Time Turner I got last Christmas really worked, I’d be able to get everything done (damn my Muggle-ness!)

Anyway, here’s to 2016, I hope it brings you all success in whatever you’re up to.

Mel x

PS – If you’ve not read my latest book The Rainbow Maker’s Tale, you can grab a FREE copy today until 3rd January, just click the link and send it to your Kindle 🙂

 

Why You Want to Be Findable on Social Media

Just came across this excellent post from Veronica Bale about Twitter, for writers or anyone who is looking to raise their profile using social media. From working on Aside from Writing and running events like the Indie Author Month, I can agree that some authors make it really difficult to link up with them on social media, through not providing their details, or having ‘sharing’ buttons on their posts. It’s like anything in life, the easier you make it for someone to do, the more likely they are to do it.

Are you making these mistakes and missing the opportunities to have people help you raise your profile? Possibly, so check out the post and make some changes to how you operate on social media. There are also links in the post to a couple of other excellent posts on effective tweeting and info sharing…

Veronica Bale

Findability ( … if that’s not a word, I’m making it one).

As an author, you’re an entrepreneur. That goes double (or triple, or exponential, even) if you’re a self-published author. The success or failure of your career is directly related to the effort you put in to make yourself visible to potential readers.

Never miss an opportunity for attribution

We all know that social media is one of the best ways to increase your visibility. But simply having a Twitter account, or a blog, or a Facebook page, or all three and more, is wasted effort if you are not making yourself findable. What do I mean by that? Well, for example …

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Random Post – Sharing your words

A funny thing happens when you write a book and put it out into the world for people to read. Now and again, people will take your words and do something with them that you weren’t expecting. And that surprises you.

Not long ago, I was trying to update my website with blog posts I’d featured in and Googled my name to check I hadn’t missed any. (Side-thought: do you make the ‘G’ a capital letter, when you’re using Google as a verb? Dilemma…) A couple of things popped up that I’d never seen before: a quote from one of my books being used on a promo for a dating website ‘Meetville.com’:

Love is having someone to do nothing with

 

And it seems to be one of my more popular quotes, featuring in other places too…

Another dating service: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/568438784188184705/

Inspiration for a photo-blogger, which I thought was pretty cool! 🙂 http://365.mollysdailykiss.com/day-180-marketing/

 

 

The thing that got me thinking about this today, was the tweet I accidentally ran across which features an image inspired by a quotation from the currently unpublished Outlanders (link to Twitter is below the picture). The actual quote from the book is: “Mad – empty – crazy – lost – dying… I was all of these things and nothing as well, because even though I breathed and moved, I was not alive.” The picture is based on the highlighted part…

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https://mobile.twitter.com/nicratwoman/status/563508039165046784/photo/1

Post by: Phoenix Rising @nicratwoman

What was a little freaky is that the picture used could be an absolute match to a major scene that happens later in the book – a scene that has not been published, or hinted at anywhere (outside my head) and which does not actually generate the quotation from the book that the person used to inspire the image.

Now that is random! 🙂 Maybe even spooky…

Incidentally, the same quote was also used by Susan Noyes Anderson, inspiring her poem ‘Fade to Gray’, which you can read here: http://susannoyesandersonpoems.com/2012/08/30/fade-to-gray/

It’s really interesting to see what another creative person – the poet, photographer, musician – does with something that you wrote in a particular context, and how the same words turn into something new.

 

As a writer has this happened to you? What have your words or blog posts inspired? 🙂

 

Persona Synthetics… Did you Google it…?

Did anyone else get mildly freaked out by the Persona Synthetics advert? The first time I saw it, I sat there for a few moments afterwards, wondering whether I was suddenly in a parallel universe, a la iRobot

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http://youtu.be/vc7k-DwrITI  (This is the advert I’m talking about…)

When it came on again just now, I had to look it up and find out what it was all about… Let’s face it, I don’t trust Siri and Cortana, so a fully-fledged ‘synth’ in the house, putting the kids to bed. urggggh. *full body shudder*

and this article filled in the blanks for me…

http://www.gloucestercitizen.co.uk/Persona-Synthetics-advert-Channel-4/story-26474047-detail/story.html

i have to agree with them… It’s the best advert I’ve seen for a TV show in a long time and will definitely be giving it a watch. If you want to get a synth of your own to put the kids to bed so that you can watch it, try their website.

http://www.personasynthetics.com

One-way trip to space? Mars One

I saw this link on CNN today about a group of candidates that are being whittled down from the last 100 applicants, to 24, so that they can go to Mars in six teams of four, to attempt colonisation.

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/17/tech/mars-one-final-100/index.html?iref=obinsite

Mars  Having set Hope’s Daughter and The Rainbow Maker’s Tale in space, I’m always interested in these types of projects, that show how people are still looking at ways of making living elsewhere in space a reality. But, if you take a read of this article – spending seven months on a space shuttle, with the likelihood of being able to survive for just 64 days when you reach the planet – would you consider doing this?

(Image taken from the Explore Mars page at http://www.lpi.usra.edu/education/explore/mars/background/ )

Here’s Johnny! An actor prepares…

Random surfing this week and I came across this video on a Twitter feed. I always liked The Shining and wrote a piece on it when I was at Uni – Duality, Duplicity and Double-Narrative in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining
just in case you were wondering 🙂 – which means I’ve watched it a bunch of times and then some.

I do love these kind of videos, where you get to see the reality behind the performance, especially when it’s one you’re very familiar with. I’m really rubbish at acting – think piece of wood on a stage, with make-up on, saying words like a robot – but as someone who is creative in another field, I love seeing and hearing how someone creates themselves as a new character, the processes they go through, to bring out the details and reality, just like I might write and then re-write a scene to give it believable depth. I’ve seen some excellent, lengthy videos on this type of thing by other actors, but I quite like Jack’s “I’m evil, I’m an axe killer,” bouncing up and down technique. Simple and to the point; although it’s his slow, quiet, non-manic bits in these scenes that I think are the most disturbing.

The Rainbow Maker’s Tale – Grab a Free Copy this Weekend!

Click image to get your free copy.

Click image to get your free copy.

For two days this weekend – 21st / 22nd March – you can grab yourself a FREE e-copy of my latest book The Rainbow Maker’s Tale on any of the Amazon websites. I’m busy working away on my current project, Cirque de la Nuit, which I am hoping will come out before summer 2015, but in the meantime, if you’ve never read one of my books – why not give this a try? 🙂

The Blurb

“I wasted no time looking around the bland plastic space I had lived in all my life. There were no real memories here for me, no cherished moments or things to reminisce over: all that had stopped when I was eight years old and learned that life on the SS Hope was built on lies.”Outwardly, Balik is an obedient member of society on Space Station Hope: he follows The Council’s systems, excels at school and seems happy to follow in his parents footsteps…

Balik’s real life is filled with secrets he can share with no one. As he follows his suspicions about the space station into ever more dangerous territory it seems like his whole world will unravel around him. But, he doesn’t understand everything: things are wrong, he is sure of that, he just doesn’t know why.

When Cassie unexpectedly comes into his life, Balik struggles to find his balance. For years he’s investigated the oddities of the world he lives in, but Cassie makes him question things in a different way… Can he believe in this girl who seems so much a part of the system he distrusts? Would she put a stop to his plans to break out if she knew what he was really up to? Balik can’t be sure of anything – except the fact that he can’t leave her alone.

(Note: ‘The Rainbow Maker’s Tale’ is the companion novel to ‘Hope’s Daughter’ – either book can be read as the first book in the sequence).