Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year!

I want to wish all of you a very happy Christmas and a wonderfully prosperous New Year. I hope that you will enjoy the festive season with friends and family and that this will be a magical, yet peaceful time for all. 

Thank you for all the love and support in 2013. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It is just one of those things

I have put it off for far too long. I have to start making the changes to my novel. For some strange reason I am frightened. What if I mess it up more than fixing it? But who cares...right? It needs to be done and the changes will make it better. I just have to take it page by page. Chapter by chapter looks freakishly scary.

On the other note, my siblings finally bought a dishwasher. I hate doing dishes, so I told them if they bought the dishwasher, i would load it. Well, the dishwasher arrived last week, but none of the plumbers we called to install it has pitched. How anti-climactic. So now, we will just have to wait till next year. What is one more Christmas of hand-washing the dishes?



My computer has been acting up again. Icons flickering and my computer putting itself on after it has been turned off and all that nonsense, so my brother suggested wiping the hard-drive. That sounded really great in theory, but the computer won't let us format it's hard-drive, or allow us to enter it's BIOS so that we can boot the computer with the erasing software. Now we will have to take it to an expert to examine. With the computer acting up, I don't want to work on any projects in case the computer crashes, or if there is still malware on the pc. My computer and I have been together for more than 10 years and knowing that it is a 2003 XP, I just can't seem to muster up the courage to get rid of it.



What are you guys doing?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Check out The Fourth Wish

Lately I haven't had much to say or blog about. I guess I could just blame my lazy attitude on the fact that it's the holidays. But I'm still reading up on the many writing techniques, so I'm not completely lazy yet. 

You can get a free download of The Fourth Wish by Elizabeth Varadan on the 14-16th of December over here. It is a great read for kids from 8-12 years of age, but if you are like me and would like to treat the inner child in you, why not check it out?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Insecure...or not? (IWSG)

I want to say a Big thank you to Alex and the IWSG team, who have been so wonderful this year and who have worked so hard. It has been really great being able to connect with other writers and share my insecurities and read/comment on theirs as well. The experience has really been life altering and a comfort. Thank you.

I have plenty of insecurities this month, mostly about my writing, but I am not going to talk about them. I am just going to accept that I need to work harder and rather worry about it all next year. For now, I just want to wish you all well. It has been fun this year and I hope that most of you will be feeling less insecure right now. If you are insecure, I am sending you a big virtual hug and hoping it all works out soon, so that you can feel better. If you are not insecure, I am sending you a big high five.


The Insecure Writers Support Group was created by the wonderfully talented Mr Alex J. Cavanaugh, so that writers could communicate to others the fears and insecurities that they might have. You can visit Alex Here, or if you want to join us in discussing our insecurities on the first Wednesday of each month, you are welcome to join by going Here.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Exciting day

Yesterday was quite an exciting day. I had quite a few driving challenges, but I made it through the day. I just took it really slow, ignoring the irritated drivers behind me and kept in my lane. Although my nerves kept chewing at my composure, I remained calm. If I panicked, my sister would have panicked too, as she is not used to people driving her around. Luckily my sister knew exactly where we had to go; it was just a matter of me never having driven there before.


I ended up spending most of the day in the car yesterday, taking my sister on unplanned errands, but it was all okay in the end. I didn’t have an accident, which I had dreaded, which is all that matters really. But let me tell you, I slept like a baby last night after all that driving. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I get to drive




It has been an interesting few days. My brother is away at a conference for a few days and my one sister, the second best driver, has had an accident with her chef knife and now her hand is stitched up and in a sling, which means that I get to be the new number 1 driver for the family. I have to take my oldest sister to the train station in the mornings and fetch her at night, which I totally don’t mind. I think it’s great that I get to drive more. Usually I’m one of the last people they ask to drive. I guess what counts in my favor is that my mom doesn’t like driving anymore, so I got moved up in the ranks. I know it’s not something big to be excited about, but it’s a change.

My biggest driving challenge is going to be tomorrow when I have to drive my sister to Stellenbosch to have her hand re-examined. Now I have been to Stellenbosch a hundred times, great town, but I have never driven myself there before. Okay, there was that one time and I drove up the wrong side of a one-way street, but it wasn't my fault. There wasn’t a clear sign to tell me it was a one way street and the streets in Stellenbosch are really narrow and…Don’t worry, I will be fine. I will look at it as an adventure. Besides, it has given me something to blog about that isn’t depressing.  I will let you guys know how it went. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Please stop the killing

(By Wj32 (talk · contribs) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Dear Mr/ Ms Poacher

Please stop killing and hurting innocent animals. They have done nothing to you. They were created just like we, humans, have been to roam this earth and they have the equal right to live, exist and be free. Please stop ruining our heritage. Stop killing our wildlife. Stop taking away our future. Stop ruining this planet. 

Please stop all the killing.

Murees Dupé


(By Dieu-Donné Gameli (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Not only is our planet dying, so are our wildlife. Wild animals are currently being poached to the point of extinction and soon the only way we will see a wild animal like the lion, elephant, rhino, etc, will be on the internet. Soon there will be nothing left for the future generation to enjoy. I don’t know about you, but to me that is tragic. In South Africa, my country, rhinos are being killed every few hours and it sickens me that more can’t be done by the government to protect these precious creatures. Today my world just seems a lot bleaker. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Active voice is tough

Understanding something and actually doing it is a lot harder than one thinks. I know what active voice is. I have spent hours surfing the internet looking for great examples of what it should read and look like. Now, actually going back to my manuscript and re-writing everything in the active voice is not that easy. I know what I should do, but knowing how to do it is where it gets hard.

Examples of active voice:

  •  I walked down the street. 
  •  My dog ran away. 
  •  I jumped rope today.

I know what I should do, but I don’t have a great understanding about what active voice really is and when I am using it. In certain instances, passive voice still sneaks in. I am not ashamed to admit it, but I am very slow on the uptake. I mean come on, correcting a bad habit is hell, but it doesn’t mean I won’t get it eventually. I just have to give myself the time to understand it properly. I have to accept and get over the fact that it might take me a while to learn all that I need to and I won’t be learning all of it in just a few days. What is my rush anyway?

Friday, November 22, 2013

I need to take it back to the basics


I have figured out why I haven't been in the mood for writing. I am the kind of writer that likes listening to music when I write or even when I 'm simply trying to get into the mood to write. At the moment I haven’t really listened to any new music and none of my old stuff really compels me to write at the moment, probably because I have used them to write my old work. Now I need new inspiration. It also doesn't help that I don’t know what kind of music I am really in the mood for. I will know when I hear it.

I have decided to focus all my attention on learning writing techniques and understanding them. So I won’t be doing any writing until I have learnt how to fix the mistakes that I have been making for the past 10 years. What is the point if I am just going to keep making the same mistakes over and over? So I will be learning and reading. My brother made an interesting point the other day, about how I don’t really understand all the rules about writing, because I write in English and English is not my first language, meaning I didn’t really learn all I had to. I just assumed what I knew would be enough.

Some of my writing mistakes are:
  • I tell instead of show.
  • I write in the passive voice, instead of the active.
  • I am not good at descriptive writing.
  • My dialogue writing is not very good either.

These are only a few mistakes, but to me they seem like a huge deal and I am well aware that they are the writing basics. Now you understand why I am rather going back to the beginning so that I can learn how to write. I can’t believe I actually thought my work was good before, when all these mistakes were there all along and the funny thing is that with all my writing books, I didn't realize I was making all these mistakes.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Everything is okay again, I am back

After two days of file deletions and new antivirus uploads, my brother has fixed the problem. He said that the malware somehow got embedded in my internet software and was piggy-backing on that. All of it is just too complicated for me to understand, I am just glad that the person who was making changes to my files can't do it anymore. My brother assures me that everything is sorted out, but I am still a little paranoid about being online, especially since he said that is how the malware got installed. He said that I might have visited a website or downloaded something that was infected. I just hope that this is all over. I kind of feel icky about this whole experience.

I have antivirus software on my computer, but I still feel kind of paranoid about keeping my writing on my computer from now on. I had a backup on the flash drive and I am thinking of keeping it there and working from it. I don't like the idea of someone just accessing my computer and taking a peak into all my private stuff.

Enough of my drama. How is everything with you?

Friday, November 15, 2013

URGENT! I HAVE BEEN HACKED

Hey Guys

My PC has been hacked, so please ignore all blog posts that might appear on my blog until further notice. Also, I am not sure how much of my info was compromised, so please also ignore any emails from mureesdup@yahoo.com until further notice. Thank you.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My brain is jumbled


I am feeling really disorientated lately. My head is filled with ideas for new stories, learning new writing techniques and all kinds of other stuff. For some strange reason my focus is off and I am not really writing anything at the moment. The inspiration is fleeting, I guess. There is no doubt that I will get it back, it is just strange how unclear my ideas and thoughts are right now. Perhaps I just have too much on my mind.

I spent most of the day watching the series Bones. I recently started watching it because my family got me the entire series so that I can educate myself. After that I re-wrote part of my first chapter and ended up looking for freelance jobs.

Does your thoughts and ideas ever get jumbled?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Finding your place as a writer

When it comes to writing, there are many types and forms, there are also various techniques and most of all, there are different levels to writing. I had thought that I was past the beginners level, but sadly, I am still very much a beginner and just as green as I had been when I had first begun.

In order for you to advance in writing, you continuously have to learn and improve your writing and your techniques. I had kept to myself all these years and did not know that I was making the same mistakes over and over, regardless of how many times I had re-written my book or how many drafts I had. Luckily I have been given the chance to learn about what I was doing wrong and fix some of those mistakes.

Finding your place as a writer can be tough, but it is important to know where you are starting from. Me, I am a beginner and I am still on the starting line, the only place I can go is forward.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Writing can be hard (IWSG)

Sometimes we all feel discouraged and writing can look more like a mountain to concur than a hill. I know I recently felt like this. But I read the road to publication by Sherrilyn Kenyon and I felt a lot better afterwards. If you ever felt dismayed by your writing, please, just read her story about her struggle and you will feel better, because if she could go through all that she went through and not give up, neither can we.

The InsecureWriters Support Group was created by the wonderfully talented Mr Alex J. Cavanaugh, so that writers could talk and communicate to others about the fears and insecurities that they might have. You can visit Alex Here, or if you want to join us in discussing our insecurities on the first Wednesday of each month, you are welcome to join by going Here.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Good-luck with NaNoWriMo




I know I am a bit late, but I wanted to wish everyone participating in NaNoWriMo the best of luck and I hope that the writing will pour out of you and that the creative ideas will come freely. Like always, I am not participating, but I will cheer you guys on.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sunshine blogger award for me and for You



Can you believe that I got nominated for another Sunshine blogger award? I can't believe it. Mostly because I thought my blog posts were too depressing and because I have had emails from blog visitors asking me to lighten things up a bit. But I am really happy to receive this award again.




I have to say a big Thank You to Deanie Humphrys-Dunne for nominating me for this award. Deanie is a children's author of many books, including Tails of Sweetbrier and has a world of knowledge with regards to writing, horses and staying positive.

To accept the Sunshine Award, I have to:

  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger with a link to the website. 
  • Share 11 random facts about myself by answering the questions the nominating blogger has created for me.
  • List 11 bloggers I believe deserve some recognition. 
  • Let the 11 bloggers know I nominated them.
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers I nominate to answer.

11 Questions for me: 
  • What is your favorite vacation place?
I like being at home by myself. When I am away, I tend to worry too much about whether my dogs and cat are properly taken care of or not. 

  • What is your favorite dessert?
I love cake! 

  • What's your favorite season of the year?
I love winter. It is cold, but I can snuggle up in front of the fire with a great book and hot chocolate.

  • What's your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
I love being a writer. I love creating new worlds and hanging out with new characters. 

  • Where would you most like to live if you could choose anywhere?
Somewhere quiet with a very low human population. I live in a very busy street, surrounded by noisy neighbours, which is why the quiet appeals to me. 

  • What's your favorite color?
I like black. I think it is more flattering to my fuller figure. 

  • What's the most exciting thing that happened to you this year?
I had gotten rid of a bad literary agent and now I am free again to make my own decisions. 

  • Tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?
I am a tattoo enthusiast. I only have one, but would like at least two more.  

  • Do you have a pet?
Three energetic dogs and a moody cat. 

  • What's your favorite kind of pet?
I love all kinds of animals, but not reptiles. I am sorry, but they make my skin crawl. 

  • What did you like doing most when you were little?
I loved the fact that it was okay to be playful and that make believe was allowed. 

Who do I nominate?
I am sorry, but I hate picking and choosing who gets this award. If you follow my blog you are amazing and you make me feel grateful for all the visits and comments you provide. If you follow my blog, please claim this award. You guys are all just so awesome!


11 Questions for you: 

1. What is your favorite food?

2. What is your favorite color?

3. What is your favorite TV series?

4. What kind of music do you like?

5. What is your favorite movie of all time?

6. What is the name of your favorite book?

7. Do you believe in aliens?

8. Do you believe in running, unless you are chased?

9. Do you love nature?

10. What is the name of your favorite author?

11. Do you know how to cook?

That is it from me. I hope that you guys won't be shy and will accept this award. Thank you for always being my friends and for being there for me when I need you guys most. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Reality check

Every now and then one needs a reality check. I recently had one myself, with regards to my writing and I am feeling a little deflated. I had somehow fooled myself into thinking that my writing was better than it was. I am just so mad at myself though. How could I not have known?

The upside is that I could always learn more writing techniques and read more “How to” books on writing. The downside is that I might just be an awful writer and no matter how many books I read about technique and about writing, I could just be a wanne-be that might never be.

I am looking into buying a few good “how to” books on writing and start working on a short story or two. I find it a lot more difficult to write a short story. You really have to plan and think things through and have a great idea with a short story or flash fiction. I definitely have to practice with the short story and flash fiction writing. It is tough!

I have not found a new job yet and I actually started thinking about freelancing again. I had tried it before and it had not gone well, but I am willing to try it again. Why? Simply because I refuse to believe that unemployment is my fate at the moment. I was thinking of trying oDesk this time. Anyone use oDesk before? 

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Faerie War is here!




It's party time!!! 
Today is the official online release of Rachel Morgan's third Creepy Hollow novel, The Faerie War. After that cliffhanger at the end of the second book, fans can finally find out what happens to Violet and everyone else in Creepy Hollow. If you'd like to get your copy, you can find it at the following online stores, plus a few others:





There are seven other teaser images displayed on various blogs today. If you'd like to see them, you can visit the following fabulous bloggers:


And there's a major giveaway going on!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 18, 2013

One of my favorite authors Gena Showalter

I have always liked books about immortals and about the dark belly of the underworld. So naturally I had taken a liking to Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld. I just love the Lords of the Underworld books and they are probably one of the biggest inspirations for me writing my own Undying series. If you haven’t already, you should try these books. You will soon be longing for a sexy Lord of the Underworld to call your own.









































Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Under construction

It is that time of the year again, the time when my family feels like taking on some type of DIY project that everyone of us has to get involved in. So what are we up to you ask? We are painting the inside of the entire house. That sounds easy you might say, but I am afraid of heights and our ceilings are very high, so any ladder work is out for me. But I still do my bit. Right now my hands are covered with speckles of paint of various colours and I am awaiting my siblings arrival from work so that it can all start again.

I have also decided to work on my writing resume. I am trying hard to come up with some good short story or even flash fiction ideas. Perhaps I need to start small first, before seeking publication for my novel. Who knows, maybe I can better my writing in the process.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I can taste my lung

Man—oh—man, am I unfit. I decided to start exercising again and it was brutal. All I had to do was move to the music of my favourite songs for 20 minutes, but it was tough. You know that awful feeling where your legs start to burn, your chest starts to heave and your lungs are crying for more oxygen? Well, that was me.


Do you know the more depressing part? When I looked in the mirror my love handles and puffy tummy were still there. Wouldn't it be great if you could start losing the pounds after every strenuous work-out? If you walk for an hour, than you see a pound of fat just fall off or if you did aerobics for two hours, you can see your love handles just melt away? It is so easy picking up those damn pounds, but taking them off...very hard work.

What is your fitness level like?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Things to do when you are unemployed

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they will find out what it is like to be unemployed. I have felt like this many times, as I have only ever had temp jobs and then the task of finding a new job ensues, boo hoo, who cares. Anyway, I have come up with a few ideas and things to do when you are unemployed and you have the need to fill your day, or just keep busy.

Of course there are the obvious things to do like:
  • Update your CV or resume.
  • Applying for new jobs.

If however you have done all that and you still have extra time left, you can do this:

  • Watch all the movies you have missed out on the past few months and in my case, even years.
  • Read all the books in your book pile that you have promised to get to, but never did.
  • Write that great novel you have had bubbling inside you for years.
  • Get a hobby like gardening, learn to play guitar or even start a blog or in my case learn to be a better blogger.
  • Catch up with friends and family you haven’t spoken to in ages, in my case I avoid all of them because they are far more successful than me and my ego needs a break.
  • Watch a few new series or catch up with the old ones you have missed.
  • Do tons of window shopping.
  • Learn to actually cook or bake.
  • Take on those DIY jobs you have been putting off.
  • Get some exercise. Something I really need to start doing. My love handles are telling me so.
  • Actually start caring about what you are eating, so taking on healthier eating habits.

What would you add to this list as something to do when you are unemployed and looking for something to do?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

When the doubt monster steps in (IWSG)

Thank you to Alex and his wonderful team of co-hosts for all that they do. You guys are super amazing. 

As artistic individuals, we live a tortured life. We create wonderful pieces of art, composed of the written word and most of us are at our happiest doing that. But then…there comes a time when we need to share our work with others, to get the exposure we require to give our work the attention it deserves. That of course is the most difficult part, when we start comparing our work to that of others, wondering whether our creations are good enough and we end up seeking the approval of our peers to validate the success of our creations.

The life of a writer is never easy. We go through this rollercoaster of emotions, feeling happy about what we created, doubting ourselves and feeling insecure and then we start hating what we had created. It is a vicious cycle that most of us are always on, sometimes all in a matter of days.

My cure? I think we should have a great support system. Whether it is a family member, a good friend or a fellow writer that will step in when you are on the negative side of that emotional rollercoaster. It should be someone that will keep you on course and focused on what matters most. Someone who can make you smile even when you want to cry. Find one of those people and your creative journey could be a lot less lonely and stressful and who knows, maybe it could even be more fun.

The Insecure Writers Support Group was created by the wonderfully talented Mr Alex J. Cavanaugh, so that writers could talk and communicate to others about the fears and insecurities that they might have. You can visit Alex Here, or if you want to join us in discussing our insecurities on the first Wednesday of each month, you are welcome to join by going Here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I am just hopeless

This might sound strange, but I am really bad with technology. New social media types especially. I tried to use linky tools last week and those of you who use it will know you get step by step instructions and a demo on how to use it right? Well, I still messed up and I drove myself crazy with one thing and before I knew it, I made a complete mess of my blog layout. It took me an hour to get everything back the way it was. Needless to say, I closed my linky tools account because I am just an idiot who will stick to blogging. How I figured out how to blog is beyond me.

Why use linky tool in the first place? Well, I noticed that I have a lot of people who follow me through other blogging sources beside blogger, which I have a hard time following back, because they do not have Google+ or Google Friend Connect. So I wanted to find a way to follow them back and it backfired. But I should mention, I always follow back and if I somehow missed following you back, please let me know and I will correct it. Another thing, if I can't follow someone the normal way, I always add your blog to my blog list on the right and read and comment on your blog that way. Also, I sometimes find that people tend to follow me, but have no link for me to follow them back with. If you leave me your link, I will gladly follow you back.

I sound stupid, I know.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

CassaStorm, That Sadie Thing and Polar Night

The wonderful and totally awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh's book CassaStorm is out now. It is part of a series that I am going to get my little hands on soon. You guys can get your copy here:

Barnes and Noble
Amazon
Amazon Kindle
Goodreads







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That Sadie Thing by Annalisa Crawford is finally in paperback. Another book I want to get my greedy little hands on. You can check it out here:

Goodreads










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Polar Night by Julie Flanders is also available now and it is 10% off if you buy it from Smashwords up until 6 October 2013. I need to get this book too. You can purchase a copy here:

Amazon
Amazon UK
Smashwords
Barnes and Noble
Sony
Kobo

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Low profile

I read somewhere that you shouldn't blog when you don't really have anything interesting to say. Which is why I haven't blogged for a while.

I went for a job interview on Thursday and I have mixed feelings about how it went. The position was for a copy writer/blogger and when asked what I possibly knew about blogging and writing, I mentioned that I was a blogger and that I had done freelance writing before. Somehow they ended up making me feel like I was not pretty enough or smart enough to work for their company. It is strange though, I went in feeling so confident and ready, but left feeling worried and sad. I did my best anyway, but they said they will let me know if I got the job this upcoming week. They even mentioned that they had several other candidates to consider, along with myself.

I am still not doing much writing at the moment, though I have been catching up on my reading. Three of my family members have been home sick with the flu and I am trying desperately to avoid them and getting sick myself. I had the flu a few months back and apparently, I can get it all over again. I thought because I already had it this year I would be done.

All in all I am just keeping a low profile. Not doing much, just hanging around at home, trying not to drive my mother crazy.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Faerie War sign up and BookFish Books LLC seeks submissions




Hey guys, Rachel Morgan is releasing another book, The Faerie War on the 21st of October and she needs people to help her spread the word about the release, or write a review for the book. If you are interested, you can sign up Here.





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Did you know that there is a new publisher out there called BookFish Books LLC? Well they are currently accepting YA works and do you know what makes them so great? The agency was founded by writers and one of them is T.C. Mckee, one of our fellow bloggers. This agency helps writers who would like to pursue self-publishing. I should mention that their awesome logo above was designed by the talented Michael Di Gesu, also one of our fellow bloggers.

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I don't know what it is but lately I have been finding it hard to sit still and just be. I feel all jittery and annoyed. Could it be that I have sent out more query letters to agents and not heard anything back? Or could it be because I have not had the urge to write anything lately?

These days I am doing a lot of dishes and I don't even like doing dishes. I think I need to look into buying a dishwasher when I get a job.

What are  you up to?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Insecure IWSG

The Insecure Writers Support Group was created by the wonderfully talented Mr Alex J Cavanaugh, so that writers could talk and communicate to others about the fears and insecurities that they might have. You can visit Alex Here, or you if you want to join us in discussing our insecurities on the first Wednesday of each month, you are welcome to join by going Here.

Congratulations with the 2 year anniversary Alex! Thank you for giving us writers this outlet. I bet you must be so happy and proud. It has been really fun and therapeutic to get all my insecurities out there. 

I must say that though it has been two years, I still feel insecure about certain things, but I think that is normal. I don't think that if you are a writer that you ever stop feeling insecure about your work or any of the writing processes. But I am less crazy about it all. I know I have to work on sharing my work. I always fear posting any of my writing on my blog. I fear my peers. I fear being ripped to shreds. But that kind of feedback would probably be very useful. I guess I am just secure in general. 

How about you? How is your insecurity level this month? 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I want to thank Deanie from Thoughts and Ideas of Deanie Humphrys-Dunne for tagging me. She is super nice and if you have the time, please pay her a visit. She can really do with a few more followers and blogging friends.

The rules
Answer the 10 questions and then tag 4 other people

The 10 Questions

1-What is the working title of your book?
The Amaranthine

2-Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was just in a really bad place in my life and I needed some cheering up, so one day I woke up with the idea in my head about Immortals and how I had a story that needed to be written. I liked the idea of living in a different world.

3-What genre does your book fall under?
Romance, but more specifically, paranormal romance. 

4-Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
For my main character, Claire, I would say a 23 year old Salma Hayak. As for her soul mate and love interest...I have not yet seen an actor that has Alex's dark and handsome features.

5-What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Claire soon finds herself drawn to the immortal world after meeting the handsome Amaranthine warrior, Alex. 

6-Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Hopefully it will be represented by an agency. I am in the process of looking for someone to buy or represent this book. 

7- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It took between two to three months. 

8-What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I would say The Lords of the Underworld by Gena Showalter and Jacob by Jacqueline Franks. I read both these books afterwards and loved them. 

9-Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I deep need to create or temporary live in a world that I wished I could belong to myself. The real one was not working out so well for me at the time. It still isn't, which is why I still end up running off to my imaginary worlds whenever I can. 

10-What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
My main character, Claire, is easy to relate to and the themes about the underdog saving the day and good triumphing over evil really comes through. That is if you like that sort of thing. And then there is the other theme about a soul mate being out there for every one, no matter how messed up you are. 

I am tagging
Katie KCross Writing
Crystal Crystal Collier: Young Adult Author

If you don't have a project at the moment, you can talk about a past project or any other project you like. Enjoy!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Super Sweet Blogging Award














I have to say a huge thank you to Crystal Collier for giving me this award. I think she is so super cool and talented. Thank you.

The Rules:
  1. Thank the Super Sweet Blogger that nominated you. 
  2. Answer 5 super sweet questions. 
  3. Post the award.
  4. Nominate a baker dozen (13) bloggers. 
  5. Notify your nominees.
The Super Sweet Questions
  1. What is your favorite dessert? There are so many I cannot just choose one. But what I don't like for dessert is any type of fruit. 
  2. Cake or ice cream? Cake of course!
  3. When do you like desserts most? Anytime of the day. I have a really sweet tooth.
  4. Would you choose cookies or cake? Cake! I love cake.
  5. Vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate. 
Nominees...
I know I am being a bad sport, but I really hate having to choose who gets what award. Plus, I had a list of people to give this award to, but there were more than 13 people, so I just couldn't make up my mind. So please, if you follow my blog, feel free to grab this award. You deserve it, because you guys always give me so much support. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Feedback received from first few query letters

As you know I have sent out a few query letters to literary agents and in the past few days I got a few replies. Three were the same as the other rejections that I have gotten in the past, mentioning that my book was not right for them at this time or that it wasn’t right for that specific agent, but that they encouraged me to keep querying other agents. The fourth one said that though this project was not right for them at that time, they encouraged me to submit any of my other projects to them in the future.

Now I know that might not sound like a big deal, but to me it means that though they didn’t like my paranormal romance novel, perhaps one of my contemporary novels might be to their taste. On the other hand, I have written one, but I never went on to edit it. I just always felt that The Amaranthine (book I am querying now) was the most important book to me, as it was the first book in my Undying series.

I also sent out two query letters to publishers, but they might take months to get back to me, if they even have the time at all. So for now I am just doing more research on who to query next. I am planning on sending away a few more query letters next week.

What are you up to my dear friends?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ignorance and submissions

I never thought I would live to say this, but I had the worst evening last night. I was invited to dinner by my cousin and I had been dying to see her for so long. I knew some of her friends would join us and I didn't think anything would go wrong, but it did. There was this one woman that just made me feel like shit when she started going off about how stupid people in my town and country was and how European people are the best, and yes, she is from Europe. It was just vile. I didn't even get to talk to my cousin, who I wanted to see. This lady was seated next to me and took over the whole conversation for the rest of the night. She didn't think much of me being a romance writer either (my cousin mentioned that I was a writer, not me) and the worst part is that most of the guests didn't contradicted her about anything that she said, except for two of us, but she just made a lengthy debate out of everything, when all I wanted was to have a good time. So I just gave up. If you are ignorant, you are ignorant and no one can convince you otherwise.

I finally took the plunge and submitted my novel to Avon Romance and Kensington Publishing Corp. I just felt that it was time that I took a chance. I have 20 different versions of The Amaranthine and I have even changed the name of the novel a few times too. I feel that I have tried to make this book perfect for so long, but I have done everything I could for it. It is time for it to go out into the world and be seen. If I get rejected and it never gets published, I will be sad, but at least I can say that I had tried. I just can't worry about this story any more. If I want my dream to come true of being published, I have to take the step of actually submitting my work. How else will it be seen?

So, what are you up to?

Friday, August 16, 2013

I got tagged

I was tagged for this meme by the wonderful and talented Julie Flanders, author of Polar Night. Thank you Julie!

The rules of this tag are very simple.  I have to answer four of the following nine questions, link back to Julie and then tag four other writers.

The questions:   

1. What are you working on right now?
2. How does it differ from other works in its genre? 
3. What experiences have influenced you? 
4. Why do you write what you do?
5. How does your writing process work?
6. What is the hardest part about writing?
7. What would you like to try as a writer that you haven't yet?
8. Who are the authors you most admire?
9. What scares you? 

So, here are my four questions: 

What are you working on right now?
I am between projects. I am in the editing process of The Amaranthine, a paranormal romance about soul mates and then I am trying to finish another novel, Island of Manoa, a contemporary romance about a type of love that is so strong that it will move through time, if it has to.  

How does it differ from other works in its genre?
The Amaranthine does not have any sex in it. Sure the characters fool around, but unlike other paranormal romance novels, the sex only comes in book two. I just felt that the characters weren't quite ready yet. As for Island of Manoa, think chick flick in book form.  

What experiences have influenced you? 
I have always felt like the odd one out. I never felt like I really belonged anywhere specific and growing up it can be pretty tough feeling that way and not really having friends. So in my books it is important for me to have the underdog come out on top and for my characters to get their happy endings. 

Why do you write what you do?
Living happily ever is very important for me. Even though I might not experience it in real life, doesn't  mean I can't have my readers enjoy a happy ending. I also believe in love, even though I have never experienced it personally. So I guess that is why I am so obsessed with romance novels. My characters get to have their happy endings. 

So, now for me to tag 4 other people: 

C R Ward, Tonja from Tonja's MusingsKatie Cross and Beverly from the Beveled Edge


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Editing done and research begun

I had just spent that last week in my room editing the crap out of my novel the Amaranthine. There was not as much to fix as I had initially thought, but it was pretty bad. I am at the 'I hate you stage' of my editing now. I had to really push myself to get the editing done, as I am currently unemployed, which mean lots of time for editing and when I do get a job soon, my writing may suffer again.

I was curious and started looking at a few literary agent's websites, just for curiosity and man have things changed. These days there are online submission forms and most agents ask for electronic submissions only, which I like by the way. I noticed that the agents I looked at only asked for query letters. They didn't want to see a synopsis or sample pages, which means more pressure in getting my query letter just right.

Though, I have a strategy this time. I am only querying agents that are on the Preditors and Editors website and a member of the AAR (The Association of Author's Representatives). If an agent does not have a website with information, such as clients and book sales, I am passing. This time I am only querying the best of the best, which could mean that I might not get representation at all, as your writing has to be pretty ground shaking to secure representation, but better safe than sorry.

I have this fear this time around that I didn't have before. This time I am so afraid of the whole process. Of the rejections. The fact that nobody might like my book but me. The fact that I might have spent 5 years on a project that is never going to happen. I looked back at my old rejection letters and 99% of the letters said, "I am not the right agent for this project, but I encourage you to keep querying, as the the publishing business is subjective." This means that there is still hope for my book, right?

I am going to take a break from editing and go back with a fresh pair of eyes at a later stage. For now, I guess I will do my research about which agents to query in the future.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

What to look out for in a literary agent

I had recently decided to query literary agents again. Now for you who do not know this, I had been a victim of a literary agent scam. Having been through all this I now know what I should be looking out for the second time around. I thought I would share my thoughts about what to look out for, just in case there are other writers querying as well, who could do with the information.

What to avoid:

  • When an agent asks for fees upfront – Never pay any fees upfront. I had known about this rule when I had paid my agent an editing fee. I made the mistake of paying an editing fee anyway, because she had me truly convinced that I needed the editing. Trust me, they can sound really persuasive and when you feel really desperate, as I did, it will all makes sense at that moment in time. But do not pay any agent any fees of any kind in advance. They will get their final fee after your book is sold.

  • When an agent offers representation, but shows no interest in your work – Looking back, I should have known something was wrong, because an agent should be excited about your work. They should ask you questions about your book or characters or offer suggestions on making it better, or perhaps suggest certain changes that would make it better suited to a certain market, as they know what works. If your agent does nothing and just accepts your work as is, then you know something is fishy.

  • When your work has not been edited too much – An agent knows what potential publishers are looking for. They know what a finished manuscript should look like and if you only get a minimally edited manuscript back, that looks a lot like the one you originally submitted, be worried. I was not asked to do any rewrites, just to delete a few unwanted words. I don’t think my work was that perfect. I know a few writers whose work was much better than mine, but their work had been drastically edited.

  • When there is no regular communication between you and the agent – Obviously your agent can’t be in contact with you everyday. But during the submissions process, you should at least hear from your agent once a month. Just so that you know he/or she had not forgotten about you. If you never hear from your agent again after you submitted your submission package, be worried. I would never have heard from my agent again, if had not been the one to constantly contact her for information.

  • If your agent does not want to communicate – I had once asked my agent if I could call her to talk about a few things that I was concerned about and she had all kinds of excuses as to why I could not get in contact with her. She said she would prefer an email. Emails are good, but this was my career on the line, I had paid her a lot of money and I wanted some information. If you are a client and you are willing to pay for the phone call, there is no reason why an agent would refuse to talk to you on the phone. Just as long as you make arrangements upfront, like finding out when and if your agent is available to talk on the phone.

  • When your agent is super nice and never has anything negative to say about your work – The only negative information I had gotten from my agent, regarding my manuscript was that it needed lots of editing. But when it was time for the editing, not a lot was changed. An agent sometimes has to tell you things that you don’t want to hear, like this manuscript might not work for a certain genre, or it is not right for the market you chose, unless you change this or that. But saying everything is always perfect, is highly unlikely.

  • When an agents feedback about your manuscript is vague – My agent had said that my work was intriguing and that my characters were complex. That is it. Now these words could describe any manuscript in the whole wide world. She never said anything that made me think that she was talking about my actual work or characters.

  • When an agent makes things sound too good to be true – When an agent is super nice and tells you that you do not have to worry, that your book will be sold soon and that everything will be as you expected, run. Life is never perfect, nothing ever is. So you should always expect a few setbacks. When things sound too good to be true, they usually are.

  • When an agent does not ask you what you wantThinking back, my agent never asked me about whether I wanted to pursue traditional publishing or if I was considering self-publishing. Though she did want to push me more towards self-publishing. She never even asked me whether I was open to e-publishing. The conversation about whether I wanted a writing career or just a one time book deal, also never came up. Though I had told her my book was part of a series, she never asked me about what the rest of the series was about, or how many books I had planned to write or if I had finished any other books in the series. She never asked anything. Actually, just that once, for the editing fee.

These are the things that when thinking back, really ticks me off. I hope it will be of some help to others. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

You guys are just so awesome

Today I am just floating on cloud nine. Why? Because once again the blogger community has come through for me. I have received so much support and kind words the past few days and I am so humbled by them and grateful. I was feeling pretty low, but you guys came around and cheered me up. THANK YOU!

Because you guys have been so super awesome, you made me feel inspired and motivated, so much so that I started working on a new synopsis for my novel The Amaranthine, as well as a new query letter. Now all I have to do is go over my manuscript and make sure it is in the best shape possible and then I will tackle the query beast once more. I am thinking of submitting my novel to publishers, as well as literary agents. I truly believe in this book, as it is only the first in my Undying series. I have just come too far to give up. This time though, I am checking out all the queried parties on Preditors and Editors first and double checking on Writers Beware.

My manuscript is not in bad shape, but I had it edited by someone who did more damage than good, so now I just have to salvage it. A year later and I still love it and it is still relevant to today's market. Lets just hope others see it that way too.

Thank you guys for always being here for me and cheering me on. I will always try my best to return the favour.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Insecure, but free (IWSG)


So much happened to me over the last few weeks that in one way I feel exhausted, but in another way I feel liberated. Free…even.

My contract ended with my agent, who turned out to be a scam artist, which should make me feel sad. But I am happy to be un-agented and in control of my own writing career again. I lost my job, but I am happy because now perhaps I can try and find a job that is more to my liking and which embraces my high moral values instead of trying to undermine them. I really wanted adult braces this year to sort out my crazy teeth, but because I don’t have a job, I can’t get them right now, but I will eventually. I now know how much they cost and I know what I have to work for.

Some good news, I was recently interviewed By Deanie Humphrys-Dunne, so if you want, you can check out my very first interview Here.

So all in all, I got a lot of bad news, but I am choosing to see the good in each. What is happening in your life?

The Insecure Writers Support Group was created by the wonderfully talented Mr Alex J Cavanaugh, so that writers could talk and communicate to others about the fears and insecurities that they might have. You can visit Alex Here, or you if you want to join us in discussing our insecurities on the first Wednesday of each month, you are welcome to join by going Here.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

AWARDS FOR ME AND FOR YOU

I was recently given two great awards. Like with all awards, both come with rules, but I have wrecked my brain deciding who to give these awards to and to be honest all of you are so awesome, talented and you always have my back, providing endless support. So if the two ladies who gave me these awards don’t mind, I am going to break the rules and pass this award on to any of my followers who want it, as all of them are deserving of both these awards.


My first award is the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. A big thank you goes out to the amazing Deanie Humphrys Dunne, from Thoughts and Ideas from Deanie Humphrys Dunne, for giving me this award. I am really humbled and grateful.

The rules for this award are:

1. The nominee of The Wonderful Team Member Readership Award shall display the logo on his/her blog.

2. The nominee shall nominate 14 readers they appreciate over a period of 7 days, all at once or little by little; linking to their blogs; and telling them about it at their blogs.

3.  The nominee shall name his/her Wonderful Team Member Readership Award nominees on a post during 7 days.

If you follow my blog, then please feel free to accept this award. 



I also received The Sunshine award from the wonderful Beverly Fox from The Beveled Edge. Thank you so much Beverly, you rock!

Here are the rules for this award:

1. Include the award's logo in a post or on your blog.

2. Link to the person that nominated you.

3. Answer 10 questions about yourself.

4. Nominate 10 bloggers.

5. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know that they have been nominated.

Because I had received this award before, I had already answered these questions. I you want to know my answers, please go Here.

Once again, if you are a follower of my blog, feel free to accept this award. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

MY BIG SECRET IS OUT

Last year this time I had a big announcement to make. I was proud and happy to tell you all that I had an agent. Well, yesterday my contract ended with my agent and I feel that I have to be honest about my experience. After all, that is what my blog is about.

When I met my agent last year, she had mentioned to me that she would charge me an X amount of money to edit and then represent my manuscript, but that I would not have to worry, as she would give me my money back as soon as she sold the manuscript, which she was confident she could do. I talked it over with my family and even though they discouraged me from dealing with this agent, I went ahead and borrowed the large amount of money from them and paid her the editing fee in order for her to represent my work.

I was desperate and I needed to make all the stressing and waiting stop. It had taken me 2 years to find someone who wanted to represent my work, so what if she wanted me to pay an editing fee? At least I will have an agent, right? After all, she had a proven record of sales to reputable publishers. So, I signed on for a six month contract and then my journey of more waiting and stressing started.

She did edit my manuscript and at first I thought she did a good job. She gave me an example of what my marketing plan and author’s biography should look like, as it was a copy of what one of her other authors had written. I wrote my own version and was only asked to do one correction. When it was submission process time, I made all the changes to the manuscript, and handed over the synopsis I had queried her with, along with the author’s biography and marketing plan I had worked on.

Months past and I did not hear anything. I was making myself sick worrying. I could not think straight or get much sleep. I kept thinking “please don’t let this be a scam”. I was still unemployed at the time, so there was no way of paying back my family the money for the editing fees.

So, I contacted her and she mentioned that we had gotten a bunch of rejections, all verbal, none on print and none of any help. More months passed and our six month contract was almost over. Once again, I contacted her to ask what it would all mean. She gave me three options. Renew my contract, self-publish or go at it on my own. I was ready to end the contract, but my siblings who I had borrowed the money from still believed and I signed on for another six months.

This time around I got even more restless. I can’t write, I can’t think, I am constantly on edge and I am worried about the money I have to pay back. I then go onto the internet and poke around and realize that there were other writers out there like me, who had written about having been approached by my agent and also asked to pay editing fees and that they knew that this was a scam and that all aspiring authors who were approached, should run.
  
I then decide to go back over my manuscript and realize that it had not been edited that much. I had not been asked to do rewrites. I few words were suggested to be removed, a few sentences deleted and my characters thoughts were told to be in Italics. I just found out that publishers hate it when italics are used in a manuscript. Realization? I had paid for not so good editing.

A few weeks ago I started doing more research on my agent and found out that she had been involved in various other scams over the years. She had recently started a new one where she asked other aspiring writers an editing fee too. They were not stupid like me, they did their research and found out that it was a major conflict of interest and it was something that no agent, truly bent on selling your work, would do.

I then approached a reputable source for information, which is when my greatest fear was immediately confirmed. I had been scammed and that I had been doing business with a disreputable agent that has been struggling to make sales in the publishing world and who was just stringing me along till my contract expired.

As a way to salvage some of my dignity and perhaps prove that she actually made an effort to sell my book, I had asked my agent for the list of publishers that my work had been submitted to. She had provided me with a list containing the names of 12 of the largest publishing companies in the US and then I was told from my reputable source, that this was not conclusive evidence to suggest that my work was ever submitted, as only the publishers names are given and never the names of the various imprints under which they function. So there is no saying who saw my manuscript and if anyone saw it at all. I was advised to proceed as I had never been represented at all, which is kind of depressing, but I was grateful for the honest and professional feedback from my source.

I guess many people will say that I am just bitter and resentful that my book was not sold. In a way I am. I just wish that I had never met my agent, who will remain nameless. What really makes me the angriest about all of this is the fact that she was always so polite. Why could she not have just told me that I didn't have a chance in hell and that my book would never sell? Why keep me on a string for a year, give me hope and have it all taken away? She kept suggesting that I self-publish and I guess that should have tipped me off. Why would I self-publish if I wanted her to help me get traditionally published?

I even deleted my posts from last year about how I got my agent, because I didn't want other people to do what I did and end up in a scam. Now I am not sure what I want to do next. I know I still want to write. I had found my calling in life. But do I go back to the query trenches and look for another agent? Do I skip the agents and just go for a publisher? What if I get scammed again?

So…that is my big secret.