Wednesday, 26 July 2006

80s Wednesday

Okay, today's 80s pick isn't exactly from that decade because the books were written and published beforehand, but I didn't get a chance to experience them until I was in high school in the late 80s.

I'm talking about none other than S.E. Hinton. The writer who first made me realise that all those crazy ideas whirling around inside my head could be written into stories, no matter how old I was.

The first book I read was THE OUTSIDERS. This was actually a book we were required to read for year 8 or 9. I can't remember which, but I loved it so much I went out of my way to borrow the other three books the school had. And I absolutely loved every single one of them.

Of course I also watched the movies, which were made in the 80s and featured a bunch of up-and-coming actors. They were all pretty much unknowns in THE OUTSIDERS, but some are even around today.

Anyway, even though the movies were great... the books were better. I read one after the other and absolutely consumed every page until I got to the end. Each had a similar feel but were entirely different from each other. But the characters were so life-like, I got lost in every story.

I think she recently released a new novel. I wonder what that's like? I should check out the reviews on Amazon. Not even sure when it was published. But these young adults were brutally honest, dealt with a lot of harsh issues and were just terrific.

According to Wikipedia: The Outsiders (1967) was her first and most popular novel, which she wrote at the age of sixteen. It is the second-best selling young-adult novel in publishing history with over eight million copies in print.

She was an inspiration and provided hours of wonderful and very enjoyful reading. So she's my pick for today!

Monday, 24 July 2006

WHO, reading & werewolves

Well, DOCTOR WHO just seems to get better and better! We watched it on Saturday night and it totally rocked! I'm lovin' David Tennant... he's ultra cool. Rose is pretty good too, though I don't know what's happened to Billy Piper's hair this season. Ugh. She needs to get rid of that ugly (and very badly done) blonde dye-job.

Anyway, enough about hair. Let's not get distracted from the awesome episode. This time they went back in time and there was a werewolf in it. This was another, totally different spin to the werewolf myth. I love it! And judging by the preview for next week, it looks like the series is taking a slant towards the supernatural. Always a great thing, huh? And there was an answer to something I was wondering about, that happened in the X-mas episode. I love it when shows give you answers a little bit at a time...

Not like LOST. It's the reason why we gave up on that show!

Anyway, we had a lovely, calm and relaxed weekend. We went for walks on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday afternoon. It was nice. And I caught up on some reading. As you can see below, I read Crescent Moon in like a day or something. And I enjoyed it so much that yesterday morning I grabbed Dates From Hell and started reading Lori Handeland's novella. It's called Dead Man Dating.

Here's a blurb:

The term "dating hell" takes on a whole new meaning when a Manhattan literary agent out on her first date in months is forced to choose between a sexy devil and the rogue demon hunter who's out to destroy him.
It was a lot of FUN! So much that I pretty much read it in two sittings. It was very cool. Not about werewolves this time, but terrific anyway. It was set in New York and the imagery was amazing. Y'know, Lori's got this way of capturing the setting so well, you truly feel like you're there. I love it! She's a very cool writer. I can't wait for Midnight Moon! This one I will read right away.

So as you can probably tell, I'm in a werewolf-kinda mood lately and decided to pick up the second Dresden book, Fool Moon, last night. I got about 40 pages into it and so far, so good. I really enjoyed the first one and really don't know why it's taken me so long to actually pick up the next book. Strange, but I can't wait to get stuck into the thick of things. I really like Harry, he's very cool.

Today I managed to get the remaining 80 pages (or so) done on the magic revision. And I got through them just in time too. Only about 15 minutes before I had to head out to pick up my daughter. It's done. Stronger, tighter, makes more sense -- I'm much happier with it... and head's all-a-buzzing with ideas about the next book. I just need to come up with another title for this one, something a little more appropriate. The hubby reckons the current title doesn't fit!

Hmmm... all this werewolf readin' and watchin' has got my werewolf book idea whispering inside my head. I've pretty much had the main plot written down for a few weeks, but now other things are coming together too. :/
It's so darn cold today. The wind is icy... and it's been raining on-and-off all day. Yuck, I'm really getting tired of this continuous rain!

Oh, and we didn't get a chance to watch Emily Rose! Anyway, later!

Saturday, 22 July 2006

CRESCENT MOON


Yesterday I ordered Midnight Moon from my fave bookstore, and was reminded that I still hadn't read the first book in Lori Handeland's new trilogy. So I picked it up last night, intending to read a few chapters to get a taste of it... but I enjoyed it so much I had to stop only because it was getting a little late. By that stage I'd read 100+ pages and couldn't wait to get stuck into it today.

And that, I did. I actually finished it in under 24 hours. Something I rarely do because there are so many other things that need to be done during the week.

Anyway, this book was excellent! And it introduced the heroine of the next novel, Cassandra. This one's in the POV of Diana Malone, who is a cryptozoologist and widow. Since her husband's death, she's been obsessed with finding what he strived so hard to find - a werewolf. He went to the grave with a tattered reputation, much like herself. But when she gets a call in the middle of the night and offered the job of going to New Orleans to snag the rumoured wolf, she accepts. And enters a place filled with magic, swamps, curses, dead bodies and voodoo... oh, and the enticing Adam Ruelle (a Cajun! Gotta love it!) ;)

Now she finds herself knee-deep in mystery and lust. A wicked combination, that's for sure. I loved the flavour of this novel and the description made me feel like I was smack-bang in the middle of a place I've never been. New Orleans sounds like a wonderful, eerie place to visit and an ideal place for this novel.

Diana's a strong character who has a hard time letting go of her dead husband and becomes terrified when Adam stirs things in her she never thought she'd feel again. It's a heartwarming tale wrapped up with a lot of dark stuff. A terrific paranormal read... and since I love reading about voodoo and Lori's other werewolf books, I can't wait for the next one. It's set in Haiti! Can't wait!

Friday, 21 July 2006

KITTY GOES TO WASHINGTON


Cool cover, huh? And it matches the first book. Extra cool!

Anyway, I love this: Kitty, the country's only celebrity werewolf,gets subpoenaed to testify before a Senate hearingon supernaturals. What could possibly go wrong? LOL! Have you guys read the book? The answer's in there! :)

This book took me longer to read than I wanted, simply because sometimes there's just not enough hours in the day. Honestly! Every time I sat down to read a little more of KGtW, I became totally engrossed. There was so much going on, but everything happens with some very nice pacing and revelation. Lots of cool new stuff in here. And some carried over from the first book. I loved that she was somewhere else... especially a place where so much was going on.

The array of new characters were fantastic! I loved Alette and Ahmed... and Luis! I hope he's in the next one. We need to find out more about him! The Crescent was a nice touch too... and I loved the way everything worked out. Not neccesarily all happy and sunshine, but when is life like that anyway?

This book is even better than the first one in the series -- and I loved that one! So if you're into paranormal, urban fantasy kinda stories, you've just gotta check Kitty out!

There was a nice surprise at the end of the book too -- a free short story called Kitty Meets the Band. It was a blast! So funny and groovy. Go on... grab yourself a copy! ;)

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

80s Wednesday


We all remember this game, right? Back when going to the arcade was actually fun because we didn't have as many mediums as we have available today. I was never good at this game, but it was still fun to play! Those ghosts sure are cute too! :)

Tuesday, 18 July 2006

Back to school!

4am seems to be some kind of bizarre trend. Yeah, woke up at around 4ish again early this morning... except this time I ignored the stirring of wakefulness and forced myself back to sleep. It worked too! Yoga helped too. It's amazing how much easier it is to get through the day when you start out with yoga. Cool.

So my daughter was back at school today. Surprisingly, I missed the little bugger. But she did take in her Sight Words 3 book and aced it! How cool is that? I'm very proud of her. She got them all on her first go and got three BUGS from her teacher. She worked really hard to learn these.

On this very cold and windy day, I got started on the last revision of magic. At least I hope it's the last read of it before I get stuck into the synopsis! :/ I got through exactly 100 pages. I was aiming for 120 because if I tackle that many a day, I can be done by Friday. But that's okay. I'm fixing up some technical things I've learned along the way and a few flawed words that now don't sound as good as when I initially passed it onto my hubby. It's going well because I'm actually enjoying the story and the characters. Plus I'm finding that re-reading this again is not only strengthening the novel, but helping me connect to the story on a deeper level. And that, is terrific for the sequel I want to write. One important thing has already clicked, so that's very cool.

Last night I got a chance to sit down and read some more of Kitty Goes to Washington, and WOW! About 100 pages in now and absolutely lovin' it! This character's great and I'm really enjoying the new people being introduced too. Can't wait to read some more tonight. Hopefully, fingers crossed.

Well, better get started on those take-home-reader books my daughter's got for tonight! 'Bye.

Saturday, 15 July 2006

LOST CALLING


Okay, I've spoken a little about this book already but now that I've finished it... I'm gonna talk about it some more! :)

A little from the actual website: 'The Madonna Key series, launching in July 2006, consists of seven Silhouette Bombshells recounting the adventures of a group of kick-ass women in modern Europe. When they uncover ancient secrets for which women have died, they awaken an enemy determined to wipe out the last of their kind. It's all going to happen before the transition from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius is complete, and failure could spell a catastrophe the likes of which Europe has never seen.'

So I finished the first Madonna Key book this afternoon and absolutely loved it! Catrina Dauvergne isn't your average heroine. She's French, has done a few bad things in the past and doesn't connect with people very easily. Yet, all that changes when an earthquake hits Paris and she falls into the long-lost grave of five guillotined women. The discovery throws her headfirst into an old mystery that has her seeing visions, finding keys and letters that push her further into the mystery of what happened to these women. Former priest Rhys Pritchard (already loved him from the Grailkeeper books!) is by her side to help her solve the mystery and tease her heart strings. They make an unlikely couple that seems doomed from the beginning...

This book was wonderful. There's action, a very strong narrator, enticing hero, loveable secondary characters, intriguing situations and a mystery that has hooked me in for the rest of the series. I can't wait to see what happens next -- where is this all heading?

Anyway, I knew this would be good but it surpassed my expectations. Evelyn Vaughn draws you into the tale with Catrina's casual voice, beautiful scenery and stimulating circumstances. This is a terrific book and I highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in checking out an intriguing thriller.

Thursday, 13 July 2006

Thinkin' about writing...

Yeah, I thought I'd post something a little earlier today. The hubby gets out of work earlier nowadays and with my daughter home she starts asking for snacks at around 3:30pm - when I usually start my post.

Anyway.

Since I haven't done much writing during the last few weeks, I've been thinking a lot about it. Thinking about submitting to agents and publishers, story ideas ready to be written, novels ready to be revised, novellas in the same boat... y'know, just the usual crazy stuff that circles inside a writer's head. And while I know what I want to do next week - finish magic by reading through it one more time - I'm not sure what's going to be next.

Then I was thinking about the novels I've already written. Every one of those is special to me in its own way. And almost every single one of them has sparked off ideas leading into a trilogy or series. I've written one trilogy and a spin-off for vamp and have ideas about other characters in this world too... then there's the world of ghost. This one's a little more involved and in first person, so I really got into the heroine's head and enjoyed the world so much I want this one to be more than just a trilogy. I've got pages of ideas for at least four books... but the time, where is that exactly? I think I already squash in as much as I can with my time!

It's very exciting, to have a muse so eager to hand over new ideas. Yet, time management can become a problem sometimes. And when I have too many ideas and things inside my head and can't do much to get them out, I start to feel cluttered. My head feels like that at the moment -- there's too much in there. So, since I've met the majority of my 2006 goals already, it may be time to sit down and make a list again.

I find this really helps. Also, writing in a journal or this blog also helps clear some of the clutter and sets my mind in some sort of direction. It's really bizarre.

On another note, Rachel Vincent is having agent week over at her blog Work In Progress. She'll be talking about her journey after finding an agent and will even have her own agent, Miriam Kriss from the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, visit to answer questions. It's a terrific and helpful idea. Anyone who's aspiring to become a published writer should check this out, I know I'll be reading!

Okay, gonna go and either read some more of Lost Calling -- more than halfway through now. Or maybe I'll pull out the lappy and sit on the couch, while my daughter watches TEEN TITANS, and sort through my files and ideas. I also want to print one of my other first draft MS out, so it's ready to go for revisions...

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Not much writing goin' on

Yeah, I haven't even posted a real post all week, have I?

The b-day weekend was really nice. Relaxing, fun and filled with reading. Pretty much the same now. I'm about 60 pages into the first Madonna Key book, Lost Calling. So far so good. Catrina Dauvergne isn't your conventional narrator, I'm loving it so far.

Anyway, my daughter can now count from 1 all the way through to 100 and only pauses after 29. Mmm, still has a small prob with the 30s. Very strange but she's getting better. On a cooler note, she can now read all her Sight Words 3 booklet. There's about 40 words in it and the only ones giving her trouble were did and or. Can you believe it? Out of all the words, these are what she calls the 'harder' ones. Once again, Mmm. I guess everyone's different. *shrug*

I'm very happy about getting through all this stuff with her, but it's definitely affected my writing time. But it's alright, I'm just having a small break, right? Though I did write a 1,348 words short story yesterday. It was about a character mentioned in saint. There was a scene in the novel that sparked this little story off in my head. I just had to write it.

Maybe because of the project I've assigned myself for next week, I just don't want to get stuck into anything too deep this week.

Last night the hubby and I watched a documentary called EXORCISTS: THE TRUE STORY. It was very interesting. About the incident that inspired William Peter Blatty to write The Exorcist. It focused on a case about a teenage boy from Maryland in 1949, who was 'possessed' by the devil. The priest who conducted the exorcism kept a journal about the account, which took many, many days. It was powerful, and like the movie pointed towards the use of an ouija board enticing the demonic possession. Of course, there's never real evidence to support these cases but it doesn't make it less fascinating.

As a writer, I love watching stuff like this. And last night was no exception. My muse was definitely taking notes as we sat on the couch watching it. If you wanna read a little more about the incident, go here. And since I've got an idea for a character dealing with this sort of thing, there were several points that came in really handy.

I have to get a notebook out and get scribbling. Hell (no pun intended) maybe that's what I should concentrate on for the rest of the week!

80s Wednesday

You all remember this guy? LOL -- it's none other than ALF!

I used to love watching this sitcom. And even though looking back I can remember just how corny and silly it was, it was still fun for a kid to watch. I'm not sure I could sit through any of the episodes today, but then, the same goes for a lot of the TV I used to enjoy as a kid. :)

Anyway... it was funny while it lasted... and worth a mention...

Some ALF Wiki stuff: The title character is Gordon Shumway, an alien nicknamed A.L.F. (Alien Life Form). He was born on October 28, 1756 on the Lower East side of the planet Melmac. The planet Melmac was located six parsecs past the Hydra Centaurus Supercluster and had a green sky and blue grass.

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

DAUGHTER OF THE FLAMES


The cover for this book is absolutely gorgeous, don't you think? I read the blurb for this book ages ago and have been waiting impatiently for it since. It was released in June in the US, so I ordered it online and got it a week later... but by then I was in the middle of writing my own novel and had to put it aside. And then when I finished I'd started another book already, and then the 11th Plum book was released -- ah, to cut a long story short: I started reading it late Sunday afternoon and finished it early this morning.

And what did I think? Wow! That's what. Honestly, this book is awesome. There was so much tension and the desire to know what was going to happen next, that I became totally captivated.

Isabella "Izzy" De Marco is a New Yorker who discovers she is the long-lost heiress of a legacy of magic handed down to the women in her family by Joan of Arc. She is part of the House of the Flames and hasn't known about it for 26 years. Now, her nightmares are getting worse, and she notices a strange man in black watching her house. Izzy also meets the dark and mysterious Jean-Marc de Devereaux. He tells her magic exists, as well as other darker things. She finds herself thrown into a world that's in turmoil and Jean-Marc becomes her mentor and anchor into this new world of the Gifted.

This book was action-packed from the beginning and pretty much doesn't let up. Actually, there's commotion and chaos all the way to the end and you're left wanting more. Izzy is a great character who proves her strength even though she's continually struggling with what's happening around her. Jean-Marc is captivating and bordering on the edge of good-guy-trying to-help-her, or good-guy-in-this-for-his-own-benefit. There's a great array of interesting characters I can't wait to read about some more. Yeah, this is a trilogy and I can't wait for the next instalments!

So do yourself a favour, check it out! Today -- what you waiting for? ;)

Sunday, 9 July 2006

ELEVEN ON TOP


I've been waiting a whole year to read this book. So it was no wonder that on Friday morning I found myself grabbing it off the bookshelf and getting stuck into it. There are a whole bunch of other books that have been waiting longer, but Stephanie Plum won out.

And it didn't disappoint.

I love this series! It's hilarious, well-written, full of memorable characters, bizarre situations, interesting plot and everything that makes a book TERRIFIC! Honestly, Janet Evanovich is a great writer and reading a Plum book is like catching up with old friends once a year.

Anyway, this book is about a psycho (one of the many she's met along the way) who seems to have returned from the grave to stalk Stephanie. At the same time, she's literally tired of rolling in garbage (with garbage) and decides to quit bounty hunting. This leads her to an array of other job opportunities that wind up with the same Stephanie-treatment as the bounty hunting. It's one disaster after another... and that's what makes this series so wonderful. Stephanie Plum is a terrific character, surrounded by equally terrific characters one can't help but get attached to.

This was another outstanding addition to the series. I can't wait to read the next one -- which will probably be this time next year -- when 12 SHARP comes out on paperback. :/

Wednesday, 5 July 2006

80s Wednesday

I went through a lot of phases as a kid and teenager... especially when it came to music. I slipped from one genre into another pretty quickly, but the phase I stayed in the longest and still enjoy listening to today is hard rock.


There was a lot of teased hair and hairspray. Some of the guys even had better hair than girls (Sebastian Bach comes to mind), guitar solos that totally rocked (Slash's in Sweet Child O' Mine), tight leather pants or jeans (Joey Tempest from Europe) and just some TERRIFIC music that still gets airplay today.

I was totally into Bon Jovi and Europe, but of course appreciated a bunch of others. Alice Cooper's album was outstanding and I even took my brother's t-shirt! His song Poison kicked butt and I still enjoy it while playing Singstar. He. He.

There was a lot of GREAT stuff to listen to. And the cool thing is that it slipped into the 90s and sprouted another bout of excellent music from artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More, Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

Some of the 80s bands even managed to stick around for a while!

Anyway, I just wanted to use today as a time to tribute HARD ROCK because it gave me many hours of listening pleasure while I was a teenager and helped inspire me into writing. Y'know, when I first started putting pen-to-paper or fingers-to-typewriter, I couldn't listen to anything that wasn't hard rock in the background. It was the only type of music that could fuel my imagination and some songs sparked off ideas. Very cool.

Tuesday, 4 July 2006

TOUCH THE DARK


Okay, I've been meaning to read this book for several weeks. I even read the first three chapters... but like always, when I get stuck into a first draft I get so involved that reading takes a backseat. I got stuck into this book during the weekend and finished it this morning.

I have to say, the blurb for this book totally doesn't do the story justice. I mean, it grabs the general gist of it but man does Karen Chance pack this book full of stuff. Sure, there are vampires in it and even a Senate. Then there are also mages, ghosts, time travel, body possessions, satyrs, were-creatures, witches and a whole lot more! It really is a fantastical world with rules of its own that the narrator helps explain along the way. There's a bit of everything in here.

Now, to the main storyline: Cassandra Palmer is a Seer who can also talk and see ghosts. She even has a ghostly companion called Billy Joe. She's been on the run from the vampire who raised her - the mafioso-type Tony - but now he's located her and Cassie finds herself literally thrown into an ordeal that helps her uncover things about herself. It's a great adventure, leading to unpredictable places with unpredictable events unfolding. The cast of characters in this book is extensive and interesting.

I would love to know and see more about Pritkin for example.

Overall, a great read that I recommend to anyone who's into urban fantasy with a dark edge. I'm looking forward to the next one, which according to the author's website is called Claimed By Shadow and will be released in June '07.

 
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