Thursday, 28 March 2013

New Constellation Products

   I've got some new products up in Grumble Cave Monsters! They're not monsters, as such, but they are plushies! Constellation plushies, to be exact! I've got a couple more still to come, but these are the ones so far, including a custom made zodiac star sign plush!
Aquila Star Constellation Plush
Cassiopeia Star Constellation Plush
Custom Made Zodiac Star Sign Constellation Plush

   There are two more currently waiting to be stitched and stuffed, and a couple more constellations are on the cards to be created, but as it stands at this moment, these are the three that are available.



Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Win £10 / $15 Jewellery Gift Card and a Spectacular Print!


Head on over to Vivid Please and enter to win a £10/$15 Peaches and Pebbles gift card,
and a spectacular "spectacular" print from Vivid Please, too! Open worldwide!






Etsy Favourite Feature

Pastel is lovely. I love it. I couldn't live in it, I tend to need strong colours around me, but light, pastelly shades are lovely as accents. Pastel-coloured clutter seems to take up less space, too :P
These are some pieces from my favourites, once again. I hope you like them, too!











Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Bookmark Dump

Bethesda have finally opened their own shop, in the same fashion as Bioware - identically so, in fact. This is wonderful, because Skyrim tshirts were only available while they were advertising the release of the game - and in a most extravegant fashion - unless you bought copyright-infringing knock-offs. Unfortunately, however, I dislike most of the designs. Though we did go ahead an preorder the Alduin's Wall hoody for Seeg. Not for me. It was a sad day, and, just the same as Bioware, their ladies' section is just awful - there's next to nothing there. However, the website has only just opened.
Having said that, however, I am so pleased to see they finally did it, and I hope to find lost of lovely things to empty the already thinly stretched bank account with.

Artifolk.co.uk is an amazing arts and crafts website - they don't stock a huge amount, but what they do stock are brand names at low prices, with exceptional postage - £1.99 for standard orders, or free for orders over £10. I've purchased from them several times and find them to have an excellent service! They have a wonderful array of books as well as art supplies - manga, fantasy, oriental, as well as material-specific ones like watercolours and pastels, and so on. They are well worth the time if you live in the UK, especially for shipping fees like that.



This book is one from the above mentioned website, Artifolk.co.uk - Amazon.co.uk only has 6 reviews, all of which are 5-star. I am desperate for this book. Honestly. I used to draw so well, but when I tried to draw fantasy and different angles, it all fell apart. This book apparently really helps with that, especially with fantasy aspects of drawing (wings, flying, expressions and so on), and I honestly believe I'd be able to draw again if I had this.

You can design your own fabric with Spoonflower.com - and you get 10% off when you buy your own designs. You can buy other people's work, and you can get your image printed onto a whole number of different fabric types.


This video is just a PTR view of one of the new mounts coming in World of Warcraft patch 5.3.
I don't know what other players think, but, having always loved the Faerie Dragons in the game,
this mount just massively appeals to me. It was only shown recently - it may end up being pulled
from the game for a later date - but I just know that a mount like that - bearing in mind that there
aren't many that I truly like - will be either from a raid that I can't get into, a faction I can't
get exalted with, an achievement I can never achieve, or a trading card that I'll never find.
If it's even real. It could be April Fool's. I hope it isn't.




Monday, 25 March 2013

Moodboard: Normandy

   I was browsing Ted Baker dresses from Javelin, when I clocked this beautiful dress, called Sonia. I rather love it. At first I felt it had this sort of sci-fi sophisticated look, with the hip wings and all, but then I quickly noticed how familiar it seemed. Fashion is limited in Mass Effect, and most women in the game wear a variation of this very dress! So it was only natural for me to create a Mass Effect themed moodboard, starting with this dress.



   The capped sleeves and hip wings really give it the sci-fi shape, and the zip straight up the middle certainly ads to its skin-tight fit and its easy wearing. The pencil skirt equally gives it a much more fitted look. Personally, if I was working in an office, this would be my favourite piece - understated with a definite air of fantasy and sci-fi, two of my favourite things.






1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9



Hunting For A Literary Agent - Part 2

Part 1

Submitting to a Literary Agent

   Addressing the letter and the envelope is very important. Obviously, the address goes without saying, but it's the name that's just as important. When you were researching your agencies, you probably came across agencies with multiple agents. It's also likely that the only way you found out what was accepted on their was by looking at each agent individually. Let's say that Agency X accepts fantasy, fiction, and poetry, and there are three agents. It's fairly likely that each of these agents only represent one of these genres each. So, in my case, I'd have to search through the agents' pages and find which one it is that accepts fantasy. This is who I address my letter and envelope too, because this is the person I want to read it. It may well be read by an assistant first, but don't be put off by this. These assistants are just as well-versed in the genres the agent accepts as the agent themselves, which is why they are the assistant of that particular person.
   Now, the reason you want to send your work to specific individuals is, of course, because they know that genre. They don't just like to read it, though - they know how to sell it. They know who to talk to about advertising, publishing and all kinds of things, and they can recognise a good piece if they saw one. I could not be a general fiction agent, because the genre all seems the same to me. I couldn't pick out a good one if it bit me on the nose. But I know my way around fantasy - not just because I write it, but because it's all I read. I read it constantly, my book case has only three books that are general fiction, two of which I never even got around to reading. I would also choose a fantasy film over a general fiction film, especially over a romance. It's what I know, and it's what I love, and if I were an agent, I couldn't represent anything but.

   Now, along with the chapters, letter, synopsis and perhaps CV, you want to include a stamped, addressed envelope. Agents will not return your work to you without this, so it has to be a big enough envelope and high enough postage to cover the full manuscript. If you don't include this, your work will be shredded and then recycled, and you may not even get a response at all, whether you include your address on the letter or not. They receive many, many manuscripts every week, lots of them not even suitable, most likely. They don't want to have to use their hard earned money to post everything back to every single person themselves. Make sure everything is neat, and numbered. Now, this may have been the wrong thing to do, but I sent two synopsis out to each agent - one for the individual book, and one for the trilogy it was a part of. One synopsis was 2 pages long, and the other was 5. I'm sure you can guess which was which. Because of the fact that there were 2, I numbered the pages of each synopsis seperately, then added a bit of coloured tape to the top corners, to colour code which was from which synopsis, just in case they dropped them or something. Agents are organised, but they're human, too!

   Once you're satisfied that everything is ready to go, post it. Make a note of when you sent it so that you can watch how long it takes to receive a reply - this is not to torture you, but rather so that when you submit your work to the next agency, or a new piece of work to the same agency in the future, you know roughly how long to expect to wait.
   The average time it takes to receive a response is 6 weeks. Sometimes it can take longer, other times it'll take less. It depends entirely on how much free time the agents have, and that can change if they have a new book deal they're working on, have a stressful event, or have an influx of submissions, or something like that. Oh, and, the reason it takes so long, is because agents only filter through these submissions in their free time. So that means that when you clock off from work and go home and soak in the bath after a stressful week, these guys are still working. So respect that fact and make it as easy as you can for them by giving them only what they've asked for in the format they want.


While You're Waiting

   Personally, I am happiest during this time period. I know full well that I'll get rejected, of course I will, I already accepted that fact before writing any letters, but I still have that lingering feeling of hope. I know I'm not likely to get accepted, but there's the slight chance that I might, because I sent my stuff to the right people, rather than sending it to an agent that doesn't know the first thing about my genre.
   But a lot of people are likely to dwell on it, and I did that too. I shouldn't have. By dwelling on it, I became more focused on the book I'm submitting, rather than by considering my next piece, when the rejection letters started rolling in, I got quite bogged down, whether I expected them or not, and I put that down mostly to the fact that I didn't immediately allow myself to move on. Because I kept thinking about the first book of my trilogy, it took me some time to start writing the next book, so when the rejection letters came in, I wasn't already occupied and I had time to think on it negatively. While I did put the trilogy to one side, regardless, I did soon start working on an entirely new book. Afterall, I don't want to receive only rejection letters and continue to waste five or so years on the trilogy when I could write something else to get my career rolling sooner.

   So, while you're waiting to hear back, get moving onto something else. Pick up a new hobby, perhaps, or just go right ahead and start work on the next part, or an entirely new piece. But don't dwell on it, and accept the fact that finding an agent is NOT an easy job, and will likely take some time. It's unlikely that your first work will be accepted, either. Keep yourself busy and positive, and when you do get rejected, it won't be as bad.


Stay tuned for part 3!



Saturday, 23 March 2013

Constance Stotzer at Blackbird Studios



  Head out to Blackbird Studios in Las Vegas on April 4th and 5th and support one of my favourite artists, Constance Stotzer as she makes her debut solo art show, Kismet!! I think she is a wonderful artist, her talent is wonderful and unique. I'd love to go! I'd love to see her wonderful shadowboxes!

Follow her on twitter and tumblr to keep track of her progress! I love watching her work come together! And visit her Etsy shop for originals and prints! I own a few myself!



Friday, 22 March 2013

Sponsorship Changes

   I read Why Girls Are Weird a lot. I find Krysten to be very entertaining and interesting, and her posts don't drag on for half a day like mine do. She recently had the fabulous idea to change the way her sponsorships work, and I intend to follow on (read: copy) the idea.
   I don't like blogs who charge $100 for an ad. I also hate blogs who have an unlimited number of ad spaces. If you end up paying $25 for an ad and you are put on the sidebar with about 35 other people, you will not be seen. So I quickly decided that, even if my blog were to gain 5,000 followers, I would not increase my sponsorship prices by much.
   Krysten, however, has taken a much bigger step to attempt to help out us smaller, poorer bloggers. Every month she plans to hold a giveaway - the prize? Ad spaces on her blog. The only ad space she will charge for will be the largest, leaving all other ad slots and sizes as prizes to be won in the giveaway. This means that everyone has the chance to advertise, whether you can afford to advertise or not. It also means that there isn't a mad rush of people booking up slots in advance so you don't stand a chance of getting to them, but by charging for the largest ads, she is still making the money she needs to be able to advertise herself on other blogs.

   I intend to do much the same thing. My post-footer ad will still be purchasable, since it is doubtlessly the most effective ad space on any blog, which leaves the small and large ads as monthly prizes.
   Everyone will have the same chances, too, because the only entry will be to follow my blog. No Twitter, no Facebook, no other social media that not everyone might have. Just following the blog through any means. Once this is done, the winners will be announced and contacted, being asked for appropriately sized ads and their links - blogs or shops - and their ads will then be manually placed onto Passionfruit, with rotating ads on every page load.

   This will take place pretty soon. Hell, I'm writing this post on the 21st of March, I might have decided to actually put the giveaway live as soon as I post this thing!
   The giveaways will go live for two weeks (though the first is likely to be just one week), always on or around the 14th of each month. Whether they will be in individual posts, or on the sponsorship page, I've not decided yet. Probably the former.



Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Netherlands and Shop Vacation

   As some of you may know, Seeg and I are going to The Netherlands again in April. I am still looking for guest posters for that week. However, I also wanted to let you all know that because we will be away, both Peaches and Pebbles and Grumble Cave Monsters will be unable to ship for that week.

   Both shops will remain open, and all items will be purchaseable - likely with a limited holiday week discount code - but nothing will be shipped until we return. The estimated shipment date will be visible in the shops' announcements, and in their banners.
   If you'd like to have your goods shipped before we leave, please purchase before Wednesday the 10th of April.

   Gift cards, however, will continue to be emailed. If you purchase a gift card from Peaches and Pebbles you will still be emailed the code within 24 hours, as you would if I were still here.



Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Etsy Favourite Feature

This is my attempt at trying to get back on top of this. I figured the best thing to do was make a bucket load of these posts and schedule them througout the coming months, and since I'm putting these posts together in bulk, I can try out themes, too. 
Some of the items shown may end up being unavailable, in that case, but if they are, there
will surely be equally as amazing pieces in their shops! So, as usual, enjoy.
I really need to find a better way to introduce these posts.









Monday, 18 March 2013

Bookmark Dump

These brightly coloured stamps. My mother had lots of these in her collection, and I'd really like a set of my own, brand spanking new, because of that. I took over my mother's stamp collection a few years ago, and I treasure it dearly.

A website full of lovely clipart for blogs - there are some wonderful bits and bobs on here!!

Basil Fawlty of the amazing 'Fawlty Towers' is actually based on a real person. I could not believe this. While watching it just last night I had to ask myself, in jest, "does someone like this actually exist?!" And when I pulled the leaflet out of the boxset's pocket, I found out that, actually, they did.


A ground pangolin, covered in huge scales, found in Africa.
It's like an armadillo, mixed with Sonic.


Google Reader is leaving on July 1st - but you can transport all of the blogs you follow with GR onto Feedly.com for free, instead! Read about how here.

This absolutely wonderful flora and fauna birthday party! I don't like kids, but I realise there are upsides, and birthday parties are one of them. Though, to be honest, I'd gladly throw one of these for myself. Unfortunately I honestly don't know enough people to make it all that huge, though.


Another Pixar short, this one is called La Luna and is shown on the Brave DVD. I adore it.






Feeling...

Amazing.

   In contrast to my last quite personal post, I'm feeling bloody excellent at the moment. As you may have already read, I decided to take a big risk and push aside the story I've been working on since September to make way for something new. I just wasn't feeling it with that story - the world had no history, my characters had little depth, and I just wasn't looking forward to any of it. If I had gone about it a different way, it could easily have become a good book, but I made big mistakes right from the start, because I hadn't followed my own bloody posts. But I began work on something new this very weekend, and I have to say, I am very excited about it. My world has a good history, my main character has a solid lineage, and the plot is original.
   An original plot is not something I usually struggle with, and I pride myself on that. It seems, however, that the planning process can go wrong. The Creative Writing Tips series I've been working on  feature my best advice and how I plan my own works - unfortunately while all this planning applied to my trilogy, I did not apply it to my last book, which, I think, is why it failed before it had properly begun. This time, however, I actually read my own posts and found it a whole lot easier to formulate my plan, and, after just a few days, I have the book's plan more or less solid. In time, of course, it will change. My trilogy saw that happen many times. I'd write out the entire plan, neatly and clearly, and within a month, new things would be scribbled between lines, with arrows and whatnot all over it. After a while, the notes would get too much and I'd have to rewrite my plan, and again, within a few months of that, it would be covered in new notes again. And I love that, the story changes while I write it, with new ideas that fit in perfectly and often doesn't require me to go back and add or change anything, and I expect - no, I know - that it will happen again this time.

   But this isn't the only reason I'm feeling so positive. I've got new ideas for Peaches and Pebbles products again, and while I don't actually believe they will do amazingly well, I am actually still very excited about actually making them. If they don't work out then I'll keep them for myself, or use them for scrap. It won't be the end of the world. So I'm very excited about having physical projects to work on, as well as my book. Those are two areas that are extremely important to me, and to be feeling so positive about them both at the same time is truly rare. I also have a few personal projects I'm working on - I've got about five t-shirts to screen print for myself, but I'm waiting for the t-shirts to get in before I start. The t-shirts themselves are amazing, too, but I needed a smaller size, so I'm actually waiting on replacements. I'm also working on the Ohgma Infinium - a book within the game, Skyrim. It belongs to a Daedric Prince - I suppose you could say the Daedric Lords are somewhat akin to the Devil, because they contrast to the Aedra, who are purer Gods. It belongs to Hermaeus Mora, the Daedric Prince of Knowledge, and in the game, once acquired, if you read it you gain a huge number of skill-ups which help to progress not just your level but your skills as well. I got lucky, though, because after reading it, it is destroyed, but my game bugged and I got to keep it, so I've been able to use my copy as a full model rather than relying on pictures from the Web. So I'm also excited about that. The tough part is knowing what to put in it.

   Also, I had an amazing weekend with Seeg. I was thinking to myself a few weeks ago that my idea of a great weekend is either playing Skyrim all day long, or watching Skyrim all day long. Either suits me fine, and this weekend I just watched Seeg play Skyrim all day long on Saturday, and spent Friday and Sunday working obsessively over my new book's plan.

   There are a few other things that have made me happy lately but I don't quite remember them - I've been spoilt, I suppose! But I have to say, I'm really quite happy at the moment, and with any luck, I'll be able to start actually writing the book in the next couple of days! Whether it's a single book or a two-parter, I don't know yet - it depends entirely on how long it gets, and how many ideas I end up adding to it.

   What has everyone else been up to? Anyone else particularly happy? Is there a reason for it, or are you just generally happy?




Sunday, 17 March 2013

Blog Take Over Opportunity


   Well, we're going away to The Netherlands again in the middle of April for another tooth-pulling session, so I'm sending out a plea for volunteers - not to have their tooth pulled instead, but to provide content for my blog. While I am sure I can compile a couple of posts for the week I am away, I thought I'd offer the opportunity to everyone else as a blog take-over instead.

   We'll be away from Friday the 12th until Saturday the 20th of April, so it would be great to have one new post every day from and including Saturday the 13th to Thursday the 18th. That's 6 new posts, one every day. That means that six of you can each write a post to be posted on my blog.
   The posts can be about anything you want - you can choose to interview a fellow blogger or Etsy seller, you can choose to write about your own shop, you can choose to write the sort of blog post you'd post on your own blog, or you can supply a tutorial, short story or advice post, or even have a giveaway. If you choose to post a giveaway, I will send it into Etsygiveaways.blogspot.com to help gather more interest for it, but I cannot necessarily tweet/pin/facebook it constantly. I will have access to the internet while away, but I don't want to feel like I have to be online constantly. It's a "holiday" afterall. Dental or not. I will, of course, be able to approve (and read) blog comments.
   Feel free to include as many pictures and links as you like.



   The catch is this: it will not necessarily be the first six people to send me their posts, but rather the first six posts I receive that I am happy to post. Therefore, if I deem your post to be poorly-written, to be a little too self-promotey, or just a bit offensive, then you will not be chosen.
   This means that you CAN take your time, and I will update both this post, and the announcement at the top of the page as to how many more posts I need. It is not a race for first comment or anything like that, I want good-quality posts. Posts should be submitted to me by email in HTML format by Wednesday April 12th for consideration. Any posts submitted after that, or after the message at the top of the blog states there are no more positions available, they will not be chosen. However, if the post is particularly good even after all six spots are gone, I may consider scheduleing it for another point the following week.

   Each post will, of course, stay on my blog, they will not suddenly be removed (unless they offend people and I actually end up disagreeing with them), but they will only be live on the top of the blog for a day, unless I don't get enough takers.
   The writer can, of course, introduce themselves and provide a link to their blog and/or shop in their post, whatever the post is about.
   Please do not, however, include any of the following; if any are included, they will be rejected:
  • Racism
  • Homophobia
  • Politics
  • Religious material
  • Nudity

    As I said, please submit your posts in HTML format, by email, before Wednesday, April 12th.
   It will not be the first six posts I receive, but rather the first six good posts I receive. You will be notified when your post is scheduled to go up, and you are free, of course, to tweet, facebook, pin your posts and so on. You will not, however, be able to edit your posts. They will be posted as received.




Saturday, 16 March 2013

Etsy Promotion - FREEMARCH13

   EtsyUK are currently doing a promotion with participating shops, mine included: there is free UK delivery available in both of my shops! The code is shared among many shops - FREEMARCH13 - and there is a special keyword to search: uketsypromo0313.
   All of my monsters and jewellery is part of this offer, whether they pop up in the above search or not. So grab yourself some free local shipping!




Friday, 15 March 2013

Etsy Favourite Feature

It has been forever. My favourites have built up massively and I have every intention of getting
back onto these posts. I enjoy my products getting publicity on blogs - it happens very rarely. When
it does it feels so amazing to be acknowledged, regardless of the size of the blog, because I also
know that the blogger liked me enough to include me, and their readers might just like me too.
So I love to give this opportunity to fellow Etsy sellers as well by making these posts, as infrequent
as they have lately become. But, to start this off, this first post is made up of favourites of mine that
are currently involved in the EtsyUK free shipping month promotion. All of the items shown below
offer free UK shipping with their purchases, either by item, or after a minimum spend.



That's right, FREE UK shipping on all of these items and the rest of their shops! Use the code
FREEMARCH13 at checkout unless otherwise stated by the individual shops themselves.
Please do check out the rest of these stores - these are all personal favourites of mine!






Thursday, 14 March 2013

Why Extra-Terrestrial Life Must Exist

First of all, let me just state that this isn't some sort of weird, fanatical, crazy sci-fi post. This is just another post, similar to the original "what if?" post I did some time ago, outlining what I think about the matter of life on other planets.


   I'll come right out with it: Life on other planets must exist. I won't say "do", though there is literally no way to prove it, but I maintain that it must. Afterall, we exist, and we are complex organisms. Why should this planet be so special to be the only planet with living things in existance? Why do you think you're so special, to be breathing and thinking right now? Afterall, there are something like 6 billion+ humans on this planet, nevermind the number of animals, far, far greater number of bugs, and probably far greater number still of bacteria.
   When I say "life", of course, I am not referring to equally, if not moreso, complex life forms than us, though that is entirely possible. Why shouldn't it be? No, I am talking about anything as simple as bacteria. If bacteria can survive, then other life can form, too. Afterall, all life on this planet evolved from single-celled organisms. Planets where there is only bacteria probably has what it takes to create more complex life. It only takes a spark.
   It is generally accepted that water is needed for life to form. I call bullshit. Water is needed for our life to form. Life on this planet needs water. And why is that? Probably because water was here in the first place, and that is what fuelled it, it is what encouraged the cells to form in the way that they did. Not all planets have water. That's a crazy thought, when it comes down to it, but I am willing to bet that a lot of planets consist of a lot of things that are entirely unknown to us. As far as I know, we're still discovering elements on our own planet.
   I believe our life only requires water because it was there before life began. Planets that have an abundance of never-before-discovered gas will probably allow life to develop that can easily live off of that, instead. Or some other substance similar to water - or perhaps not a liquid at all. Life just needs the right environment.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-wHSphRihsvE/Tl3Zy_p9jmI/AAAAAAAAAC8/vL_cc4axl3E/s1600/milky-way1.jpg
Our own galaxy. The light at the centre is a super-massive black hole which gives the galaxy its spiral shape.

   I'm not going to say that life can pop up just anywhere. I realise that life does require certain circumstances - some planets will probably never, ever host life. But to say that Earth is the only planet in existance that hosts life, when you take into consideration the sheer size of our galaxy - let alone the ever expanding universe - is simply bullshit. We are not that special - we're not. We're nothing, in fact. Hell, even the scale of our Earth against just stars in our own galaxy shows how little we mean. To say that this planet is the only one to host life - complex or not - is simply the most hedonistic thing to say. Ever.
   It may take less time for complex life to form on some planets than ours, or it could take longer. And, of course, in some cases, single-cell life could be the pinnacle of evolution. But that is an interesting word: evolution. Evolution implies change, it implies growth. We evolved from single-celled organisms, we did not suddenly just appear. That means that, if you hear a report of bacteria being discovered on another planet, it is a seriously big deal. It means that that life could some day evolve into something more complex, and more complex, still. We are not even done evolving, ourselves. The earth is still changing, naturally and by our own hand. We will change. We have changed. Look at the Neanderthals. We have changed since then, our bodies have changed - and who knows, as we continue to evolve we could grow to be even more beautiful (I say that, not meaning we are all wonderfully gorgeous, but because I know that none of us could look at a Neanderthal and say they were attractive). The most gorgeous person in the world right now could be considered ugly as hell a few thousand years from now (of course, even then, us ladies would still consider ourselves hideous whether we are or not). Or we could become absolutely hideous.
   Even on planets with extreme conditions - absolutely frost-bite cold at night, and an oven during the day - all it takes is for one cell to form that can withstand both for life to evolve. That cell will multiply, and then that cell will multiply, and then the others will multiple, and life will grow. Any that form from it that cannot handle the drastic differences will not survive long enough to multiply - that's what evolution and natural selection is. Evolution is the process of adapting to natural changes, and natural selection is what kills of anything that can't handle it - things are naturally selected to continue, and others are naturally selected to desist.

This is a tiiiiny sample of the Universe. All of those lights and smudges are galaxies, just like ours.

   I am not a scientist. I have done no research to write this post. This is what I believe, based on my own logic. Religious people can scream blasphemy all they like, I have not written this to offend people. There are a million people who blog about their religion, some shoving it down people's throats, and that can offend people of other relgions as well as people who are not religious at all. This is simply my "Jesus Loves You" post. Disprove this all you like, but I don't believe that it can be disproved, regardless of how many diplomas you have on your wall. Unless you live for eternity and visit every single planet in existance, you cannot prove me wrong.
   And if I have made any of you feel worse than shit by telling you all that none of us truly matter in the grand scheme of things, our lives matter to us. That is why, despite believing this whole-heartedly, I continue to write my books, I continue to send them to agencies, and I continue to hold onto my dreams - my life and accomplishments might not matter to the universe, but it sure as hell matters to me.



Goodbye Google Reader, Hello Feedly

   It was announced today - as I'm sure many of you know already - that Google Reader is leaving on July 1st. Google Reader is the platform with which many blogger blogs are followed and read, so this creates a problem for anyone who doesn't already follow blogs via Bloglovin.com and other such websites.
   However, Feedly.com has a solution. By installing the addon to your internet browser, it can seamlessly transport all of your Google Reader blogs to another location, so you can still read each of them with ease.
   You can read about the transition here. Feedly also offers a much nicer view of blogs than Google Reader.
   Personally, I will be sticking with BlogLovin', but I have transitioned over to Feedly as well. There are blogs I follow with GR that I don't follow in other ways. So I'm grateful to Dana from The Wonderforest for bringing this to the attention of her followers and fellow bloggers.



Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Taking a Plunge

   Last night I made a decision that was very out of my character. One or two of you may already know that, lately, I have been greatly struggling with my writing - I've been having a very hard time making myself do it, and I shouldn't have to "make myself do it" in the first place. I should do it because I enjoy it. But the book I've been working on for a few months already just hasn't captured my heart like it usually does. I thought yesterday evening about it, and I realised that there's nothing I'm looking forward to about it. Usually there would be something - a meeting with a certain character, a certain event happening, or even just travelling to a certain location. Perhaps a love story unfolding, or a betrayal of some sort. But there was nothing.
   The idea of the book itself wasn't a bad one, and a lot of the smaller ideas were good - in fact it has the potential to be a really good story. But I've gone about it the wrong way, and I find it very hard to start over again when I've already burned the plan into my head. Trying to wipe the slate clean and use the same ingredients to make a different story is very hard. One familiar move and it all comes back together in exactly the same way. Fortunately, each part that I was fond of, each idea that I put into it, can be salvaged and used elsewhere, hopefully for the better. But this book just wasn't working.
   So, I decided to give up on it and try something else. The reason this is so very out of character for me is because I never like the idea of giving up on any of my writing. By starting again, this means about 5 months of work and 6 chapters have gone down the toilet, along with a world I'm likely entirely unable to salvage, and characters that will probably die with it. That's a lot of wasted time, and it's also a little upsetting. But I have also realised that, if I continue with a story that my heart isn't in, and refuse to even just push it to one side to work on something else for a while, it will never get finished, and my dream will never be realised. They always say you've got to break some eggs to make an omlette. Or a cake. I think it was omlette.

   I write all my ideas down in a lovely little notebook. It's organised by colour - I've got a section to note down ideas for villains' motives, another for basic plot outlines, another for abilities or details that could be useful at some point or another, and another section for far more detailed plots that I've put a lot of thought into, along with a few other things. I brought that book out last night and had a look. I found, though, that a lot of the ideas I had were very good ideas - at the time I had written them down. Looking through it last night, almost none of them jumped out at me - but, fortunately, one did. It was small, and it only really touched on created a single character and a small fraction of history, mostly relating to that same character, but from it I've managed to start piecing together the very beginnings of a new story.

   I know what makes a good story. I could tell anyone that asks. I'm not always the biggest fan of successful books or movies - sometimes they're just not my cup of tea - but it is clear to me why they got so popular. My favourite example is Harry Potter: it is famous because of the alignment between the wizarding world, and our own. It creates the idea that maybe magic is real, and is happening right under our noses, but we don't see it because we're muggles - because we're not supposed to see it. It also gives kids the hope (and probably heart break) of receiving a letter from Hogwarts on their 10th birthday. That is why it is so famous - because it creates the thought of "what if?"
   My problem is that I don't actually write that sort of fantasy. Sure, I love it, I find Harry Potter very easy to watch, in fact, but I most certainly prefer the Lord of the Rings over the top. But I don't write that sort of fantasy, either. Having thought about it, the kind of fantasy I write hasn't hit the limelight yet, if it ever does, and that makes it difficult for me. I know why Harry Potter is so famous, but I won't use that sort of idea in my work - not can't, but won't. Of course this means I'll likely never get even close to Rowling's fame, but that's not what I want, anyway. I want to make enough off of my writing to live normally. I want to be able to spend my life writing without having to worry about going to work every morning to pay the bills. That is what I want. I just want to write.

  I have confidence in my work, and my ideas, despite the recent failure of the book I finally decided to put away. I have more confidence with this one, and I know that, if I keep going and don't give up, I will be published one day, and if I don't find an agent in the next decade or so, I'll turn to self publishing. Nothing I complete will go to waste. But I learned last night that sometimes it is necessary to push things aside, even if it is a componant of something you really, really want, if it is weakening everything else about it. There's no use buying an AMAAAAZING food flavouring if the cake you make is shit. Put the flavouring away until you get the perfect ingredients to go with it.

   On another note, how totally ridiculous is the final battle of Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3? I mean, really. I honestly hope it was just a bug that didn't let you regain your health throughout four consecutive battles, because that was just madness, especially considering the opponants during the final fights.