2015: A Year in Review

Engagement RingSince re-launching this website way back in January, I have written forty-seven blog posts (including this one). That’s way more than I’ve written, across the three separate blogs I used to run, in the last few years combined.

Also this year, I’ve written just over ninety thousand words of fan fiction, and a totally unknown amount of other words in poetry, and novels, short stories etc (the fanfic word count is a lot easier to keep track of).

With regards reading, my final stats for the year sit at a total of forty-six books read off a forty-book target.

In the month of December, I listened to one audiobook (You’re Never Weird on the Internet… Almost, by Felicia Day), read two novel-length fanfics, finished a third, finished The Horologicon, and read Where She Went cover to cover.

In 2015, I re-released Wake as a second edition, released Four Season Summer and Season’s End in a combined paperback edition, had a book launch for that paperback, received awards for my fan fiction, entered writing competitions, re-launched my YouTube channel, took part in April’s CampNaNoWriMo, July’s Camp NaNo, and the official National Novel Writing month in November.

Meanwhile, in my personal life, I took a few more trips to England, met the love of my life, and got engaged. All that considered, I think it’s been a pretty great year. Roll on 2016!

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Look-See (Flash fiction)

Below is a flash fic, entitled Look-See, that I wrote the other day. It should become clear by the end what it’s about.

Sally’s head hurt. It hurt so bad it was as if she’d been drinking solidly for a week to only then stop suddenly, but she hadn’t touched a drop – ever! The first thing she was aware of that morning, aside from the mother of all migraines, was her father yelling about how late she was for… what was it she was supposed to be doing again? Honestly, she felt so ill she could barely remember her name, let alone anything else.

Her dad threw back the sheet she’d hidden her face under, and she screeched as the indirect sunlight streaming in from the window hit her darkened, balmy flesh.

“Look at yourself!” her father exclaimed. “How did you get yourself in this state?!” His ranting continued but, no matter how incessantly he posed his questions, Sally had no recollection of how she got so ill. She was sure it hadn’t been her fault, though.

“Look at yourself!” her dad said again.

In response, she opened a blearily eye to him, at which he made a noise that eloquently portrayed his horror as much as his disapproval at the sight.

His next move was to enable Sally to complete the task he was demanding of her – thus, he tugged her by the arm until she was out of bed and following him on dead feet across the hall to the bathroom. Once there, he pushed her forward a step, so she was directly in front of the mirror.

“Just look!” he wrung his hands as he listed off aspects of her appearance: bloodshot eyes, a strange skin tone, dry lips. All the while, Sally looked.

She rubbed her eyes.

She looked again.

In the mirror, she could see her dad pacing on the floor behind her, his gaze focused on his hands.

“Look,” she said to him, instead.

His head came up, his eyes switching back and forth between Sally and the mirror a few times before his skin darkened, too, at the non-sight.

Now she’d had such a sobering shock, Sally remembered exactly what had happened to her. Instinctively, her hand reached for the bite marks she could feel on her neck.

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Lulu Junior, but for Adults?

Comic Book Front CoverApparently it’s been around since February 2014, but I’ve only just heard about this thing called Lulu Jr.

Lulu.com (the parent company), for those who don’t already know, allows people to self publish using the print on demand model, meaning there’s very few overhead costs to releasing a book. As a big fan of this M.O., I’ve used Lulu to create the paperback versions of all of my books.

So now there’s this new thing – essentially Lulu for kids – and it sounds so cool! (No, I’m not getting paid to say this.) Lulu Jr’s book making kits come with everything needed for a child to draw out pages of a book, which they then send to Lulu via the included envelope, and then Lulu compiles the pages into a proper printed masterpiece and sends it back. I told you it sounded cool! WHERE WAS THIS WHEN I WAS A KID?!

Ahem.

Don’t judge me, but I find this so awesome that I’m tempted to do it myself. Yes, the kid’s version and, no, I’m not joking.

As and adult that shamelessly reads children’s books, and enjoys a good spot of coloring in, this is right up my street. But here’s what I’m wondering: why isn’t there a Lulu Jr, but for adults?

Okay, okay, I can practically hear you rolling your eyes at the screen. There’s already the main Lulu service, I’ve already said that, I know. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about a third option, in which adults who are not professional artists but who like to doodle as well as write can, not only self publish a book, but can illustrate one too.

In 2014 I made a comic for 24 Hour Comic day, and that resulting comic is available through Lulu’s main site. But let me tell you, it was not easy getting it there – I fought with my printer/scanner for three hours straight!

What I’m essentially saying here, in my perhaps not so humble opinion, is that Lulu is great, and Lulu Jr is a stroke of genius, but I want more. I want to be able to draw out pages to accompany my text, and then have Lulu put them into a book for me, no stress of misbehaving scanners whatsoever. Now, wouldn’t that be a nice Christmas gift?

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Reading Wrap-Up – November ’15

Reading Challenge 2015 badgeHaving previously stated a dislike of audiobooks, I recently decided to give them another chance, and I’m so glad I did! Via an Audible free trial, I got a copy of James Marsters (et al) performing The Importance of Being Earnest, and it was SO good! Sublime and ridiculous, at the same time – what’s not to love?!

My issue with just listening to something instead of having it in front of my face is that I fidget and get distracted. But I have another issue – that of insomnia – which means I, rather regularly, have hours to spend in which my body too tired to do anything, yet my brain too awake to sleep.

Listening to audiobooks during this time was the obvious solution – one that had been pointed out by my partner, some time ago, I must admit – but one that took me a while to come around to. Or maybe it just took me to find the right audiobook. Seriously, I cannot emphasize how much I loved The Importance of Being Earnest. Fantastic book plus favorite actor equals very happy Ellie.

After Earnest, I went on to listen to Go Set a Watchman, which I also loved (Reese Witherspoon: A+). But I must say that I still don’t think I could listen to a book while not in a darkened room, drained of energy. And I listened to a few samples of other audiobooks, and was horrified by the narration of those, so who knows if I’ll continue to enjoy audible tales beyond this. Will keep you posted, either way!

In terms of physical books: I finished P.S. I Love you, read If I StayThe Revenants – a one-off comic book by two Belfast brothers – and started Master of Murder by Christopher Pike.

Where She Went (the sequel to If I Stay) has been requested from my local library and, in the meantime, I’m still reading The Horologicon eBook.

All of that considered, I have completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge for the year – a whole month early!


Get a free Audible 30 Day Trial Here

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Myths of Love and the Moon

Last week at my local writer’s group, we did a short writing exercise based on the series of prompts about the origins of myths (suggested here). Below is what I came up with:

Gerald and Mavis were sat on the beach, star gazing. Mavis had her head on her boyfriend’s shoulder, as she listened to his long-winded explanation of how the earth came into being.

Drifting in and out of sleep as he went on and on, she caught a few key words and phrases.

“…all started about a hundred years ago, you see… when the ice blasts died off, and the grass overtook everything else… water wasn’t discovered until much later, of course.”

“Of course,” she affirmed, groggily, before really processing the words.

Ice blasts, grass, and then water? Her eyes scrunched up at the thought. Either she was more tired than she realized, and had misheard rather a lot, or her boyfriend was an idiot.

Surreptitiously, she forced herself awake enough to check the flask that had rested between them for any signs of alcohol.

All the while, Gerald carried on. He was talking about the moon now, and how it changed shape because of the fluctuating pressure of the sun.

Mavis was wide-awake now, staring at him.

Finally noticing this, Gerald paused. “Are you alright, dear? Don’t you find the moon fascinating?”

Shaking her head, Mavis held up her finger and pressed it to his lips, in an effort to halt any more words from escaping.

“Firstly,” she began, “The moon doesn’t actually change shape, it just looks like it does and-”

Gerald pushed her finger aside to ridicule her. “Don’t be ridiculous,” he said. “Things are exactly as they appear. You don’t believe in the airy-fairy nonsense they teach kids on TV these days, do you?”

Suddenly horrified at her taste in men, Mavis did three things: one, decided not to let her friends pick out blind dates for her ever again; two, to start making potential suitors take aptitude tests and, three, she stood up.

“Gerald,” she said.

“Yes, my dear?”

“That thing you’re looking at?”

“Yes?” he said again.

“It’s a satellite.”

They drove home in silence.

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More Fanfic Awards!

Fanfiction Award Plaque Today, the winners of Round Thirty-Two of the Sunnydale Memorial Fan Fiction Awards were announced, and I was one of them!

I’ve been titled runner-up for ‘Best Beta.’ One of my stories won ‘Best Crossover (with a TV Show),’ and another story won ‘Best Quickie Fic.’

So, needless to say, I’m very happy! Thank you to whoever voted for me 🙂
Fanfiction Award Plaque Fanfiction Award Plaque

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NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Participant BadgeCurrently, I’m taking part in National Novel Writing Month. I’m not sure how many years I’ve taken part, now – the NaNoWriMo website says it’s five, but I’m sure it’s more. You see, sometimes I plan to do NaNo, and I sign up, and then I just… don’t, for whatever reason. And on those occasions I usually go back and erase the fact that I ever tried.

So, yeah, it’s probably more than five years since I’ve been at this, and some of those years have been really good, and I’ve finished and everything. (By this point I’m assuming you either already know what NaNo is, or have gone to look it up, so I won’t bore you with the details of what qualifies as finishing or whatnot.)

I guess the point of this post is just to document the fact that I’m trying again, and that I seem to be succeeding this year.

So, hopefully, by the end of 2015 I will have the first draft of my second novel. I don’t know about you, but I find that rather exciting.

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Reading Wrap-Up – October ’15

Books I’m generally trying not to buy a lot of books until I get my ‘To Be Read’ list down, but for part of this month I was visiting my aunt, and she took me to all manner of places that had discount book stalls. As such, I broke my guideline (it’s most definitely a guideline, not a rule!) and I bought the following:

And I also bought Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics: Season Ten, issues 18 – 20.Comic Books

I’ve rather unintentionally started doing this thing where I’m alternating between reading a paperback and a Kindle book at any one time. My current paperback of choice is P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (page 210 out of 519), and the eBook I’m reading is The Horologicon by Mark Forsyth (also enjoying mixing up my fiction and non-fiction, at the moment).

2015 Goodreads Challenge Status: 36 books read out of 40 (90% complete | 3 books ahead of target).

 

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