Blushing A Lil Bit – (& I Haz Planz 24/07)


Sometimes all you need to do is click into Amazon to feel a whoooooooole lot better about yourself. ^_^
What am I talking about?
Book reviews.

I don’t know why, but earlier in the week I just thought I’d check out how my reviews were doing. I don’t get notifications for them so, on a whim, I thought I’d have a look at what was happening across Amazon UK, Amazon CA and Amazon US gauge the lay of the land.
Since last time I checked there have been three reviews for ‘Vicki & Lara‘ on Amazon US. Two of them are 5*! I was so thrilled and buoyed up by it that I bought myself a little bottle of cider to celebrate.

Reviews for Vicki & Lara on Amazon US

These are they… just lifted from an Amazon screen dump.

When I first set out on this journey I never expected to make buckets of money. That’s a good thing too because my latest Amazon statement doesn’t give me much hope of being able to buy that house up the road any time soon. But I didn’t expect people to respond to the stories the way they have either.
Vicki’s story seems to touch people in a really deep way and while it does for me, I didn’t expect the same to happen to others too. So I’m glad that it has.

Thank you for reviewing me guys. It means a lot. Honest. *kisses*

More than that, this is a bit of a kick in the box to get the other three stories released. They’re all written; they just need a bit of polishing before going out to my editor. So really… what am I waiting for?

Well at the moment I’m waiting for the blush to subside. :p Then I’ll be rolling off to get some more work done on my Meeting Each Other series.
Oh! And speaking of work….

line break, swirling graphics, from openclipart

Da Shared Brain is clearly freaking out over WTRE. That shouldn’t have anything to do with me, but it clearly is affecting me (d’uh!) so I’ve not done as well as I was hoping this week.

Last Week
Hmm. Could have been better, but not as bad as I thought it would be given the absolute funk I was in at the start of the week.

~Complete at least 1,500 words of deep edits on ‘Eric & Morgan’
Yes! At laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast! ^_^
Not more than that by any means but the story is moving again and I’m back in the right head space. This week I’m gonna slap that beast until it cries for mercy. I want it done!

~Prepare enquiry email for Breathless Press regarding ‘Slippers & Chains
Done and sent. Next week I’ll be able to tell you a bit more about what’s going on there but for now, just sit tight a little bit longer. I promise I’ll let you know what’s happening soon.
*pinkie swear*

~Choose another freebie for the solo site and get it ready to upload
Nope. No excuses I just forgot about this one. Since one of July’s goals is to get that website live I need to give some focus to this goal too.

This Week
This is the last week of July. If I want to hit all my goals for this month there are two main things I need to do. So that’s what I’m going to focus on this week.

  1. Finish deep edits on ‘Eric & Morgan.’
  2. Put the last set of freebies on the solo website and link in the domain name

Two simple, easy things to get done this week. Nothing taxing or requiring the carrying around of a giant laptop. I’ll leave that to Ileandra.

Wish me luck peeps!
Hopefully on the other side I’ll be able to tell you more about all sorts of bits and bobs, including how my submissions are getting on.

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Keeping Up Apperances (& Mah Plans – 21/07)


You might have noticed that every now and then my weekly goals include things like reading peer blogs. I do this because I’m uncomfortably aware that for each of you that comes to visit me here, you’re all as busy as I am. If not more so. You have things to do, stories to write, lives to lead and yet you still take time out of your day to visit me. And you comment.

That means the world to me and I’m touched that so many of you come back week after week, post after post to support me. It keeps me going.

I want to do the same for you.

This isn’t intended to be a grovelly post about how busy I am or how hard it is to keep up. No, no. Yes, those things are true, but this post is more to acknowledge that I’m aware of what you’re doing for me. And I’m grateful for it. Going forward, I’m going to make more of an effort to swing by your blogs and see you, even if that means cutting back on my posts (like this one) for a bit.

Writing is so solitary, I don’t want to back myself into a corner and do myself out of friends who ‘get it’ just because I ‘don’t have time’ to stop in and see them.

So please, if you notice I haven’t been around your blog for a while, feel free to call me out on it. I’ll look guilty and then run straight over to see how you’re doing.

That’s a promise.line break, swirling graphics, from openclipartAnd on that note, I suppose I should talk about goals.

Last week

Could have been far worse. In terms of draft productivity it wasn’t so great, but I got a hell of a lot of other stuff done. Let’s see:

Update the WTRE page of this blog to better reflect its current state.
Done. In truth, it didn’t mean much, but the excerpt there was mega-mega ooooooooooold. At least now it’s from the current draft and matches up with the existing sample of SORB.

Continue to write, on average, 1000 words per working day (this week that’s five days) on WTRE.
Only just. I think I nudged myself over the 5,000 mark while on the train back from Derby. Not great amazing, but it’s what I wanted to do. And it seems that I can’t manage my usual draft turnout when working on other things too. Who knew? I’m only human after all! :-p

Put together the last sections of this month’s newsletter and issue it to subscribers.
Done. My subscribers got their first freebie (woohoo!) and there will be more to come in upcoming months. Remember, if you want to get some of the free stuff (that probably won’t make it to this blog) you’ll need to sign up to the list. It’s only one email a month, on or around the 15th. When novels and short stories start to come out subscribers will get advanced reads, discount codes and other fun freebies. Join the fun; join the list!

Get at least one of my solo website freebies complete.
Done that too. It’s not one I was originally going to give away, but I feel this one is a better choice. So look forward to that when the site goes live.
I’ve also put together five others which are a combination of excerpts and opening chapters of novels and novellas. I’m really excited to share these with you and looking forward to the point that I hit ‘go’ on the site so you can see them.

This Week

Looking at what I hoped to achieve this month I guess there are two things I need to focus on:

  1. Work on WTRE: at least 1,000 words per working day (five days)
  2. Finalise the rest of the freebies for the solo site

Phew! That, with actually checking in on how you guys are getting on should be more than enough to keep me busy. Let’s see how I get on this week. :)

Laterz. x
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Ileandra’s July Indie eBook Review: Skin


Cover art for Skin by AJ Malone

A.J. Malone

Author: A.J. Malone
Title: Skin
Genre: Urban Suspensy-Thriller-Ish
ISBN: 9781311111043
Words: 69,000
‘Ordinary family guy and pacifist Dennis Small just wants a place for his family to grow up in peace. Drawn into a world of perverse crime, tattoo cults and unspeakable violence, he has to ask himself what will he do to save his family. Will he pay the ultimate price to keep his loved one’s safe? Sometimes you have to believe you can win, even when the whole world knows you can only lose.’


I’ve never read a book like this before. It’s a good thing. I’m learning, with each new book out there that there is lots of talent and thousands of different writing styles. This book is something new for me on all counts.

Cover:

3.5 star ratingActually, I do like it. Very clean, very clear, though having read the book I don’t feel that the picture best hints at what lies within the pages. Looking at it, I think somewhat more about strip clubs. I wouldn’t be surprised if, somewhere through the rest of the series, strip clubs made and appearance, but that’s not what the tale is about. The cover image does show off a lot of skin, which I guess is good, but I will dock some points for the fact that it doesn’t seem to match up.

Story:

three starsThere’s a lot going on here. I found myself confused from time to time. Dennis Small is exactly what his name sounds like, a normal, small sort of man who likes things to be just so. He does what’s right as often as he can and is stuck in the middle of the road of his life. Everything about his life is mediocre. Oh, and he doesn’t like tattoos.
Things go to hell when 1) there are a series of violent murders on his estate and 2) when he finds out about his son’s borrowing from a dangerous loan shark.

Simultaneous to this we have Interpol agents coming to investigate and relatives of the first murder victim doing investigations of their own with the assistance of ‘magic’ tattoos. I put those quote marks in because I’m aware that I’m using the wrong word, but that’s the simplest way to describe it. I know nothing about the culture of tattoos or the religious/spiritual implications of certain types, inks, locations or whatever else. But there is a lot of that here and it adds interesting flavour to the piece.

Despite that flavour, I have to admit I got a little bit lost. Maybe I read it too fast, maybe it just wasn’t my cup of tea, but I couldn’t engage with the story as well as I wanted to and I think that’s in part because there were just too many viewpoints.

Characters:

three starsSlightly too many for my personal tastes, making it hard for me to pin point specific things I like/dislike. I felt closest to Dennis, despite him being such a weak character (not in the writing, but in his personality). I find myself hoping he’ll grow into his role of protector of the family and figure out how to help them before he gets his legs broken.
Travis and Sammy felt a little overblown, though I understand the need for Sammy to be there. At this point in the series I’m not sure what Travis adds beyond another dimension into the investigation of the murders.
My favourite character has to be Theo Petrakis. His romantic life aside, I feel that he has the most going for him in terms of personality strength and drive. I want to see more of this chap.

Overall experience:

2.5 starsUnfortunately, despite the merits, I found this book very difficult to follow. And it’s not the multiple viewpoints, actually. Considering the fact that I’m also ploughing through A Story of Ice and Fire right now, that is really not an issue for me. No, the issue is that some of the story is in first person, the rest in third and there isn’t enough to get me close to one character. I have no idea who I should be rooting for because I don’t quite spend enough time with any character.

But that’s just me. I’m sure there are folk who would get more into the tattoo aspect of the story who would appreciate the different parts of the story. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t for me.

Final score:

three starsAverage across all scores comes to 3.00 stars.
A nice clear average there.

I think if there was more of the investigative side, or even more of Dennis I would have enjoyed the story more. Unfortunately the flitting from one part to another just didn’t do it for me.

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Erotic Movies – (& I Haz Planz 17/07)


The line between erotic films and porn is so fine. I’ve talked about it often enough, but I thought I should look a bit more into what other people think.

What is it that makes a film erotic, rather than pornographic? The way sex scenes are treated? The presence of a plot outside the gratuitous sex? Is the sex closed door?

There are lots of different things that may cause a person to label this as erotic and that as porn but one website in particular gave a top ten list of their ‘erotic films.’ I haven’t seen all the films within the list, but the ones I have seen do have a level of eroticism even for me.

Secretary
This is a great film. Fun, light-hearted BDSM and it stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, along with James Spader. What’s not to like? Given the subject matter the film is, by it’s nature, erotic. Even if BDSM ain’t your bag (baby) there’s still plenty here to excite. So yes, I would agree, this is an erotic film.

Black Swan
I saw this at the cinema when I first released and pretty much would have turned right back around and watched it again. The dance, the make up, the story, all of it was beautiful. It wasn’t until I watched it the second time that I remembered the delicious scene between Nina and Lily (or Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis). The rest of the film does give great weight to Nina’s sexual awakening, as well as what’s going on within the show she’s training for (in fact, it’s all linked) so, again, I agree. Oh, and anybody who says ballet isn’t sexy, has been watching the wrong stuff!

Basic Instinct
When people talk about this film, they tend to lead on that one leg-crossing scene. As if that makes the whole movie. It doesn’t, of course, but it does give the film an edge it might not otherwise have had. Sharon Stone is sexy as hell anyway, and she plays a woman more than happy to use her feminine powers of seduction to save her skinny arse. Yes, again, quite erotic if you ask me.

But there must be more than this. I’m having trouble coming up with more films that fit the bill, but I’d love to know what you think. What would you class as an erotic film? Do you disagree with any of the three I’ve mentioned? What things make you consider one film erotic over another? Join the discussion people!

line break, swirling graphics, from openclipartLast week I left off the goals because I knew full well I’d get crap all done. As well I did because I think I’m still struggling with the set of targets I set myself the week before. Let’s see.

Two Weeks Ago

~Keep email checks down to twice a day only.
Mostly. Kinda. Three times a day. It’s been three. That, is probably as good as it’s going to get.

~Complete at least 1,500 words of deep edits on ‘Eric & Morgan’.
Damnit! -_- Maybe it’s just this story; maybe I’m just not feeling it as much as the others. Oh well… try again.

~Make the changes I want to make on my ‘Meeting Master’ short story and prepare it for download.
Done. In fact, I sent my newsletter on Tuesday so subscribers are already enjoying that freebie. Remember, if you want to get nice things (for freeeeeeeeee!) then join the mailing list to get my monthly newsletter.

This Week

  1. Complete at least 1,500 words of deep edits on ‘Eric & Morgan’
  2. Prepare enquiry email for Breathless Press regarding ‘Slippers & Chains’
  3. Choose another freebie for the solo site and get it ready to upload

I must give priority to ‘Eric & Morgan’ this week. I’ll never finish the Meeting Each Other series if I don’t get on with it and there really isn’t that much to get done. Time to pull my finger out.

Until next week I’ll leave it there and say, catch you next time!
Laterz!
x

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When I Went Back Home… (& Mah Plans – 14/07)


I’m back.
I’m daft.

If I had any sense, when Raven prepped her posts for our time I away I would have done the same because there was no way I could have prepared one for this morning feeling as I did when I woke.

I’ve had the most AMAZING weekend in months. I saw so much, said so much, felt so much, did so much…. This is my attempt to talk sensibly about what happened to me this weekend and how much fun it was.

If you don’t know by now, I’m a LARPer. This means running off into the woods at regular intervals to pretend to be someone else. Living that other person’s life, fighting their battles, feeling their pains, laughing at what tickles them. It is the ultimate escapist hobby with utterly trumps all the other RPG I do (though, of course, I love them in different ways).

My LARP is Herofest and this event, took place from Friday into Sunday. I took my old character Trya Fenwyn with me and returned to a land still reeling from events that took root when I was last there two years before.

Holy. Freakin’. Wow.

First, there have been changes. Lots of changes. Some of them good, some not so good, but none of them bad. There were new faces (players) and new characters (proper ones and NPCs). There were old characters returning from the dead or becoming inhabited by new powerful entities that retained their memories but remained different people.

There were demons. Rituals. Funeral pyres. Games. Foraging. Revenge. Laughter (rather maniacal laughter, at that). Death. Resurrection. History lessons. Dances. Gifts. Battles. Ribbons. Prizes. Letters.

I want to take you through the whole event step by step, as I have in the past, but I can’t right now. And by the time I’ve recovered enough, the moment will be gone.

Instead, let me talk to you about how it felt.

When Kylie and I arrived, I hoped out of the car (in just my socks) to open the gate. As I drop that monster of a gate on my bare toe, I hear laughter and gleeful voices from the van behind me in which Kev, John and Laura and smiling and waving. Not because of the comical situation with the gate and my foot, but because I’m there. Because they’re pleased to see me. Because they’re welcoming me home.

Driving along that horrible rutted road to the campsite was like stepping into one of my dreams. The smell of the ferns, the buzz of the insects and the soft squish of sand and pine needles beneath my boots as I leapt out of the car straight into a patch of nettles. My old camping spot beside a twisted up tree root that has tripped me up so many times in the past that I can almost remember the feel of every rough nodule and nub under my fingers. Those annoying birds (I still don’t know what they are) calling in a mix of hoarse shrieks and shrill trills. The giant moths. The feel of the rough tavern walls beneath my fingers. The cracked smoothness of the sinks in the ladies bathroom. The beauty of the site itself, with its old trees, crawling vines and sprawling brambles. Even the pellets of rabbit poo all over the place when moving out away from the camping areas. The grinding roar of three separate chainsaws hacking up firewood and the smell of pulverised wood that follows soon after. Sparks off the fire. Smoke in my hair and clothes. Horsefly bites. The itch of nettle stings. The dirt under my fingernails. The light weight of latex against my ear, held in place by spirit gum.

There’s so much of it but the moment I stepped from the car I knew the truth; I was home. I had returned to one of the few places in which I feel so safe in that I’ll happily get blind drunk to the point that someone else has to lead me back to my tent (not that I did this event). A place I’ve laughed so hard that I got cramps that lasted for hours. A place where someone could be running hard to bash me with a sword or hug me so hard my ribs ache. Or both!

I guess at this point, all I really want to say is thank you. Despite the fun I had at Empire in September, I know the truth now; Herofest is my LARP. The players are my LARP family and I don’t ever again want to leave for quite so long. I might be forced to, but I’ll always return. I know that now. Thank you guys. Thank you so, so much!line break, swirling graphics, from openclipart

Last Week

I got more done than I thought I would. Not everything, but enough that, actually, I should be patting myself on the back rather than fretting like I am currently. Oh well, it’s what I do.

Continue to write, on average, 2000 words per working day (this week that’s three days) on WTRE.
Eeeeeeyup. 7204 words in three days. Not miles over, but enough to keep my happy that I’m on track.

Properly outline the parallel timeline aspect of WTRE so it’s ready to write when the main storyline is done.
Yep. Done. In fact, the main storyline is complete, so I should just be working on Saar’s sequences now. And that is, in truth, what slowed me down the most. I probably could have written more (not that there’s anything wrong with what I have done!).

Update the WTRE page of this blog to better reflect its current state.
Heh, no. I threw this goal in as an aside; I didn’t really expect to get to it. And I didn’t. Going forward I’m going to leave out silly goals like that if I know there’s no way I’m going to manage.

Enjoy the hell out of my LARP! Squeeeeeeeeee!
Heh, yep. See above.

This Week

Now that all those things are done, I think I need to slow down a smidge and do the other work that I always forget about when I’m drafting. This is a slight change to my usual pattern of goals.

  1. Update the WTRE page of this blog to better reflect its current state.
  2. Continue to write, on average, 1000 words per working day (this week that’s five days) on WTRE.
  3. Put together the last sections of this month’s newsletter and issue it to subscribers.
  4. Get at least one of my solo website freebies complete.

Lots to be getting on with. Done, done and done again. I’ll catch you on Saturday. :-)
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