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12 Books in 12 Months

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A Bookish Valentine

I’m not really interested in Valentine’s Day. However, it is a time of year which brings out a lot of mush on the internet, particularly mush that draws on books. Books are, as you may already know, my bag. Having said that, Dear Reader, I find the complete absence of context contextualising some of these quotes quite galling.  Continue reading “A Bookish Valentine”

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Storytelling Lessons I’ve Learned From ABBA

AbbaMusic is a way of telling stories, and so it stands to reason that you can learn a thing or two about storytelling from music.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the words of Swedish pop band, Abba.  Here are three things they have taught me.

Continue reading “Storytelling Lessons I’ve Learned From ABBA”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

When I saw this week’s photo prompt was love, I thought of three things – my boyfriend and words were two, and the third was my family.  They are always there for me, with encouragement and support that manifests itself in all sorts of ways, and one of them is this funny little box.

I’ve had it since I was quite young – probably about eight or so.  My Grandma gave it to me at some point after I sent her a letter detailing the many ways in which I was feeling unloved (I can’t remember what these were, exactly, but there’s a 99% chance it related to my sister getting a biscuit and me not getting an equal number of biscuits.  That sort of stuff sent me into the depths of despair until I was about 23). If I saw the attached poem out of context now, I’m sure I’d probably pour scorn on it for being so twee…  But it’s not twee.  It’s something to remember my grandmother by, and a visual reminder that she – and the rest of my family are completely, unconditionally excellent.

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The Psychedelic Lady

As December finishes, it is time for another entry to The Pictonaut Challenge.

For those who don’t know what that is – every month The Rogue Verbumancer (also known on the Twitter as @Glempy) posts a different picture on his blog and invites people to write a short (around 1,000 words) story around it.  Entrants post their attempts on their own sites, or can send them to TRV if they don’t have one, and at the end of the month he does a post linking to them all.  It’s a nice way to flex your writing muscles, particularly if you are working on something that is doing your head in or if you are stuck for ideas and would like a fixed exercise to get you thinking.  It’s also really interesting to read the different ideas people take from the same image.

I began writing my December entry during breaks at work, but when I went to finish it today realised I didn’t actually email it to myself.  So I wrote a different one, in about an hour (using my favourite app, Write or Die, to get to 1000 words in just over 20 minutes and then revising it in the remaining 40), which I have posted below.  It is really not my best work, but such is the nature of the first draft, and hopefully the rawness will help you understand why the fact I have drafted all these books does not mean they are ready to read yet… Continue reading “The Psychedelic Lady”

April’s Genre…

… is romance.

Originally I had planned to write some kind of beautiful unrequited love story, but then I thought no, that’s altogether too literary – I’m going to get my paranormal romance on and sell 100 000 e-books like Amanda Hocking

I’m still going to include an element of unrequited love, though.  What better narrative reason is there to keep people apart than having one of them a vampire who cannot reveal his or her true feelings because he or she loves the other person too much to compromise their safety?  And what better way of gearing this towards a Twilight loving audience than have the vampire a fifteen or sixteen year old girl, loving a boy she can never have from afar?  That’s an experience everyone has at some point or another.  Well, except for the being a vampire part.

The only suggestion I’ve had for this month was that the girl should be called Jennifer and that she should work in a dog grooming salon.  I think I will change this slightly so that she has a job walking dogs, ostensibly to earn a bit of extra pocket money but in actual fact to help her blend in and feel more human.  This girl has teen angst to the max.

This decided, all I need to do is conduct a little bit of research into the genre.  An initial Google search in my lunch break led me to the Harlequin website (that’s Mills and Boon), and the rather brilliant first chapter of ‘Demon Seduction’ by Pat White.

Stand-out lines of exposition include:

“back then she was just a girl, terrified by Marcus’s demon cousin who’d wanted to slake his need with a human virgin.”

I hate it when that happens.

“Having been created from human ash of the Great Fire of Rome, Ash could assume human form better than any other creature of the dark realm.”

As documented by Pliny and Tacitus, no less.  This author is quite the classicist!  Well, that or she read the Wikipedia entry, like I did.

“His mission was to fill her with his demon seed against her will, the very act he’d defended her from when she was but sixteen.”

Is this a good time to mention that whilst I love romance, I can’t take it seriously?  I feel this will add to the challenge.

Some excellent dialogue in the tale included:

“Mickey, you wanker, what’d you do that for?”

Which I think was to reemphasise that the story is set in Engerland, and:

“Go find yourself a husband to take care of you.”

This places our heroine as a frustrated feminist trying to make it in a man’s world – we later find out she also wears baggy jeans and army boots.  FYI, that means it’s OK for her to become a sort of sex doormat later on.  So what if she allows herself to be seduced by a poorly characterized Ash Demon?  That doesn’t mean she’s conforming to a stereotype, if anything she’s breaking it by defying the expected spinster/dyke path.

 And so what if she flunked out of uni because she was busy lurking around in thickets searching for demons to kill in order to win her father’s grudging respect/love?  She doesn’t need all men to validate her, just her disinterested, misogynistic old pa.  Is that so wrong?  Of course not.

I don’t think this is quite the type of tale I’m aiming for, though.  The nearly having sex but not quite scene is right there in chapter two; all inappropriate nudey fairy statue stroking and nipples akimbo. Stephanie Meyer doesn’t reach that point till three books in!  I have severe doubts about my ability to write a non-comedy sex scene, so I think I’ll probably follow her example.

This will involve looking out a few of the more popular paranormal romance / dark fantasy (is there a difference?) authors, I suppose.  Popular authors at the library where I used to work included P.C.Cast, Charlaine Harris, Christine Feehan and Sherrilyn Kenyon.  Anybody know any more?  I’d be particularly interested in short stories and flash fiction, just because of time constraints…

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