Monday, 26 November 2012

Show & Tell in a Nutshell by Jessica Bell

Click to add me to Goodreads!
Hello friends! I'm glad to be back once again. Have you heard of Jessica Bell's new book, Show & Tell in a Nutshell? You haven't? Okay. Let me tell you about it.

Have you been told there's a little too much telling in your novel? Want to remedy it? Then this is the book for you!

In Show & Tell in a Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions from Telling to Showing you will find sixteen real scenes depicting a variety of situations, emotions, and characteristics which clearly demonstrate how to turn telling into showing. Dispersed throughout, and at the back of the book, are blank pages to take notes as you read. A few short writing prompts are also provided.

Not only is this pocket guide an excellent learning tool for aspiring writers, but it is a light, convenient, and easy solution to honing your craft no matter how broad your writing experience. Keep it in the side pocket of your school bag, throw it in your purse, or even carry it around in the pocket of your jeans or jacket, to enhance your skills, keep notes, and jot down story ideas, anywhere, anytime.

If you purchase the e-book, you will be armed with the convenient hyper-linked Contents Page, where you can toggle backward and forward from different scenes with ease. Use your e-reader's highlighting and note-taking tools to keep notes instead.

The author, Jessica Bell, also welcomes questions via email, concerning the content of this book, or about showing vs. telling in general, at

“Jessica Bell addresses one of the most common yet elusive pieces of writing advice—show, don't tell—in a uniquely user-friendly and effective way: by example. By studying the sixteen scenes she converts from “telling” into “showing,” not only will you clearly understand the difference; you will be inspired by her vivid imagery and dialogue to pour through your drafts and do the same.” ~Jenny Baranick, College English Teacher, Author of Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares
“A practical, no-nonsense resource that will help new and experienced writers alike deal with that dreaded piece of advice: show, don’t tell. I wish Bell’s book had been around when I started writing!” ~Talli Roland, bestselling author

Purchase the paperback:
$4.40 on Amazon US
£3.99 on Amazon UK

Purchase the e-book:
$1.99 on Amazon US
£1.99 on Amazon UK
$1.99 on Kobo

About the Author:
The Australian-native contemporary fiction author and poet, Jessica Bell, also makes a living as an editor and writer for global ELT publishers (English Language Teaching), such as Pearson Education, HarperCollins, Macmillan Education, Education First and Cengage Learning.

She is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and co-hosts the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek Isle of Ithaca, with Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest.

For more information about Jessica Bell, please visit: 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

What is Speculative Fiction by Theresa Milstein

Today, I'm swapping posts with a good friend and fellow writer, Theresa Milstein. I'm very excited because we are both included in the anthology, From Stage Door Shadows.

Theresa talks about speculative she is!

Thanks for swapping blogs with me, Len.  I’m so excited to be in From Stage Door Shadows with you!

Last summer, I learned about the rules for writing a short story for the anthology From Stage Door Shadows:

1. Be inspired by a line from Elton John’s song “Tiny Dancer”

(That was easy.  I chose, “Looking on she sings the songs”.)

2. The piece must be speculative fiction.


I had to look it up. 

Here’s the definition on Wikipedia:

Speculative fiction is an umbrella term encompassing the more highly imaginative fiction genres, specifically including science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history.


That covers just about everything.  It’s almost too broad. 

I found this one on

a broad literary genre encompassing any fiction with supernatural, fantastical, or futuristic elements. 

As soon as I got the line for the song, the ideas began to percolate.  My manuscripts normally have a magical element, but my short stories are often realistic fiction with a twist.  My first idea to write about children’s beauty pageants wasn’t going to have a fantasy element.  What to do now? 

The reason I chose children’s beauty pageants is because they seem extreme.  How the girls look and behave is extreme. I thought about women today: the fight over their bodies, the display of their bodies, and the idea of traditional roles. 

Then I thought about placing the pageant in the future.  What would beauty pageants look like in 2313?  What status would women have in the future? Once I asked those questions, I became even more excited about my story idea. 

Speculative fiction is about pushing the limits.

When I sent my story all polished, I felt good about it.  But the editor, Jodi Cleghorn, who worked with me for 100 Stories for Queensland, wanted me to push the piece further—make it darker.  It was the most extensive edit I’d ever done for a short story, and “My Moment” was much better for it.   

After reading about half the stories, I believe that everyone pushed limits.  I felt like I peeked down alleyways on dark nights and spied through windows in unsavory neighborhoods.  Here and there, I found flashes of magic and glimmers of hope.    

I’ve been amazed over how the lines from one song could inspire such various stories in place, time, tone, and more.  It was like eating a box of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans.  

Watch out for earwax. 

Have you ever heard of speculative fiction?
Have you written speculative fiction? 

Where to find From Stage Door Shadows:

On the eMergent site, the book is $19.99 and the ebook formats are $4.95. 

Enjoy this!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Happy Birthday, dear Lenny!

Today is a very special day for me and most of my bloggie friends. It's because it's our dear friend's Lenny Lee's birthday!

Lenny, these are for you:

I wanted to send you a video blog, Lenny, but I'm too scared of the camera! Yaikks. Hope you have the most wonderful birthday ever!


Saturday, 29 September 2012

From Stage Door Shadows

Twenty-six authors trade Tiny Dancer's California-based lyrics for the shadowed recesses of stages large and small in From Stage Door Shadows, a speculative fiction homage to the darkness just beyond the limelight of the entertainment industry.

From vaudeville to opera, piano bar and street corner, hotel suite and beauty pageant, From Stage Door Shadows is a backstage pass to where dreams of fame, fortune and fulfilment live and die in a heartbeat. (From the backcover of From Stage Door Shadows.)

I am very happy to announce that today is the release of From Stage Door Shadows.  My short story, Discovering the Gift, is included. 

The stories are free for a limited time! Here's the link:

From Saturday morning at 9 a.m., the 25 stories will be available for free, for 48 hours.

From Stage Door Shadows is now on 

goodreads - Would you like to add it to your reading list?

eMergent Publishing



Barnes & Noble

The Book Depository

On 24 October, I will be over at Theresa's Blog for an interview and she will be on mine discussing about speculative fiction. This will part of Theresa's mini-blog tour for From Stage Door Shadows. 

I hope you enjoy reading the stories and if you love them, why not purchase the book?

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Kindness Project: Being surrounded with Kindness

I've recently signed up for The Kindness Project after reading Carolina Valdez Miller's beautiful post (another one of the so many awe-inspiring posts she's written on her blog) but never got around to posting anything. So, today, I thought it's about time I do that.

I hope you forgive me if I'm presently still lost in my own little world. I've recently told you about losing my father. We probably always say this about our parents but this is the truth: my father was one of the kindest people I know. He always had a nice thing to say about and to almost anyone. Even when someone was inconsiderate or rude to him, he was still nice. This was probably why people loved him.

I had not seen my father since 2009.  I wasn't there when he fell ill after his operation in January this year. I wasn't there when he got hospitalised for two months. It was torture not being there for him and for my family. But I couldn't do anything because I couldn't afford to go home and see them. In June, doctors told my family Dad may not have too long to live. We were all devastated. We knew it was going to happen. But when he passed away on the 24th of July, it was still a shock. I was just on the phone talking to him the night before. The truth is nobody ever prepares anyone of us for something like this. No amount of courage or positive-thinking could ever make it less painful.

In the midst of all this though, beautiful things happened. My father was surrounded with kindness.

Help came in all forms.

Visits to the hospital
A cooling fan for my father
Bags of different kinds of fruits
An electric thermal pot

Phone calls. E-mails.
Messages via texting, chat, Facebook, etc.

A warm embrace.
A kiss.
The warmth of a hand over my father's and mother's.

Positive thoughts.

Most of all, your presence which provided comfort.

There was - and still is - so much love, kindness, generosity and compassion pouring out within and around us.  I was so deeply touched. In the midst of this all, I saw the face of God. That's just how I would describe it.

Let me say thank you. I cannot put all of your names here but, you know who you all are. I wish I could but I know I will not be able to be there for every one of you. But if there is anything I can do within my capacity to help, I'd do it. And I mean it.

I wish for all of you to see the same "beautiful face" I saw at a time when you most need to see it. I wish that you all be surrounded with kindness and love. Outpouring. The same way you surrounded me and my family with them.


Please be sure to check out all the inspirational posts for THE KINDNESS PROJECT.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Losing my father

I've missed you. All of you. It's been such a long absence. And I am returning with the saddest news.

I've just lost my father. My favourite person on the planet. It's been more than a month now and I still can't believe he is gone.

He became very unwell after his operation in January. I wasn't able to see him due to financial constraints and family situation. It was disheartening not seeing him and not being able to look after him. I had only words to tell him in the days that he was in pain that I love him.

I have moments of deep longing to hear his voice and to see him. The grief was and still is indescribable, incomprehensible. My world will never be the same again without him.  Anguish hits me without warning - I can be anywhere - in the car, in the kitchen, in the supermarket, in front of the eyes will well up and it takes a long time for the tears to stop.

In this post, I'd like to pay tribute to my dad.  Did I tell you I called him "Tatay"? In English, it means "Father".  Here's something I wrote for him for the memorial service we had in my home in England, away from my family in the Philippines.

My dearest Tatay,

You were my anchor.  You always believed in me and supported me in everything I did or wanted to achieve.  Even when I stopped believing in love, you kept telling me "love will come".  When it did, you came up to me and said, "Didn't I tell you love will come?"  You were happy to see me happy.

I made mistakes in my life and disappointed you in many ways but you never said anything.  If you were hurting, you kept it all to yourself and carried on showing me your love.  You once said to me, "No harm will ever come to you for as long as I live."

My world will never be the same again now that you are gone.  But I know you are in a better place.  The thought comforts me somehow.

I miss you, Tatay.  I love you very much.  I don't want to say goodbye so please let me say "Until we meet again."

I'm very sorry this post is full of sorrow. I am trying to get some normality back. Some days are good, other days are not. I have been blessed with a husband who runs to me to give me comfort when immense sadness hits. Somehow, it makes me feel alright. Or that everything will be alright.

This may not be the last time I will be mentioning Tatay.  I have another post coming about the good things that happened in the midst of all this crisis. That post will be a reassurance that indeed, everything will be alright.

See you all again soon.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Book Launch: Oracle by J.C. Martin

Olympics-mania is at fever pitch! What better way is there to get into the Olympic spirit than a book set around the London Games?

J.C. Martin releases her debut novel, crime thriller Oracle, today! To celebrate, she's holding a month-long Oracle Olympics Blog Tour, with tons of games and prizes, including a possible grand prize of an iPad3 (for more details, visit J.C.'s blog)!

And it all kicks off with today's Opening Ceremony!

Read on to find out how you could win a signed paperback copy of Oracle right off the bat!

So what is Oracle about, anyway? Here's the blurb:


ORACLEWith London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn't need a serial killer stalking the streets, but they've got one anyway.

Leaving a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police force is no closer to finding the latest psychopath than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer is in finding a solution for his daughter's disability.

Thrust into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of a growing population of potential victims.

One of whom could be his own daughter.

Fingers point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lancer's only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene.

Purchase Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble


Here's your chance to win a signed copy of the book!

All you have to do is visit all the blogs in the Parade of Nations in order (for a complete list of blogs, visit Olympics HQ here), including this one! Each blog will have a secret letter. Collect them all to decipher the secret message. Then go back to J.C.'s blog and enter your answer in the Rafflecopter for your chance to win! Answer some additional bonus questions to multiply your chances of winning!

The contest will remain open till midnight EST on Friday 3rd August. The winner will be announced on J.C.'s blog!

So here is my secret letter: I

Click on over to Cherie Reich's Surrounded by Books for the next letter!

Good luck!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Things are looking up

It was a glorious weekend!  I'm happy to tell you that summer has finally arrived.  Yay! I have been basking in the sunshine with my family.  Ahhhhhh, beautiful.  Let's hope it lasts.

Ahhhh! Sunshine!!!
Coffee and a slice of lemon drizzle cake made my day!
Anyhoo, wherever you are in the world, I hope you are all well.

Things are definitely looking up at my side of the world.  The last one item on my list - my driving theory test, yes that one that gobbled up most of my spare time reading, memorising, worrying and freaking out then reading and memorising again until I was sick of it - is finally out of the way now that I've passed! Keep your fingers crossed for me for my upcoming practical test!  The battle is not over yet. Hmp! But, I passed the first test, didn't I?

Also, I've just finished revising my story for the Tiny Dancer anthology! Another Yay!  So now, I've finally returned to my current manuscript, after five long months of sitting on it.  I'm reacquainting myself with my characters.

This coming week, although chock a block with appointments and all, and constantly on-call in case of any event happening with my son at school, still smells of good writing days ahead.  I'm so glad to finally write again.  It doesn't matter if it's fifty, five hundred or five thousand words in a day as long as I write something.

So, my lovelies, this weekend I don't have any movie/film feature but I will be posting on the books I've read so far and some personal secrets will be revealed in the days to stay tuned!

Tell me about your weekend!

What are you reading?  

Or movie that you've enjoyed watching?

Monday, 21 May 2012

Fabric by Author Jessica Bell

Today I'm celebrating the release of 
Jessica Bell's new poetry collection, 

Wait! Please don't close the tab at the the mention of poetry! Trust me, just read a little note from the author herself before deciding to disappear...

Jessica says:

My poetry will not baffle you with phrasing that scholars award for academic genius and that can only be understood by those who wrote it. My poetry is for the everyday reader. In fact, it is even for those who don’t like to read poetry at all. Because it is real, stark and simple.

The poems in Fabric are no different. They explore specific moments in different people’s lives that are significant to whom they have become, the choices they’ve made. It’s about how they perceive the world around them, and how each and every one of their thoughts and actions contributes to the fabric of society. Perhaps you will even learn something new about yourself.

So, even if you do not usually read poetry, I urge you to give this one a go. Not because I want sales (though, they are fun!), but because I want more people to understand that not all poetry is scary and complex. Not all poetry is going to take you back to high school English, and not all poetry is going make you feel “stupid”.

You can still say to people that you don’t read poetry … I really don’t mind. Because if you read Fabric, you’re not reading poetry, you’re reading about people. And that’s what reading is about, yes? Living the lives of others?

Please support the life of poetry today by spreading the news about Fabric. Hey, perhaps you might even like to purchase a copy for yourself? The e-book is only $1.99 and the paperback $5.50.

Here are the links:

Let's keep poetry alive! Because not all poetry is "dead" boring ...

About Jessica Bell:

If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she’d give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. And not because she currently lives in Greece, either. The Australian-native author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist has her roots firmly planted in music, and admits inspiration often stems from lyrics she’s written.

She is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and co-hosts the Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop on the Greek Isle of Ithaca, with Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest.

For more information about Jessica Bell, please visit:

String Bridge (a novel) 
Homeric Writers' Retreat & Workshop 
Vine Leaves

My review
Very vivid, lyrical, well-woven words to describe scenes, feelings and emotions. I always get engrossed reading Jessica's poems..I get lost in her world, that I don't stop. Her first poetry book, Twisted Velvet Chains does the same to me each time I open it on my Kindle. Yes, I still read it, over and over.

Jessica's poetry always inspires. This one in particular is very engaging. Each page gets into different points in people's lives, making it so different from any other poetry books I've read so far. This is a book for people who love not just poems, but words, beautiful, lyrical, descriptive words about life. It's a book full of heart and requires to be read.

See other people's reviews!

Amazon UK

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Movie choice for the weekend - Bridesmaids

I was quite ill on the night of my birthday so didn't do much.  On Friday night - which is of course the beginning of the weekend, I began to feel better but preferred to stay home yet do something to cheer me up so husband got me a DVD, Bridesmaids.  Well, what can I say?  It definitely did not disappoint!

I find the beginning of the film a little bit slow but after about 15-20 minutes, it began to get interesting.  Most of the actors/actresses are faces I haven't seen before which means I should go out more! There are two familiar faces, however - one is Melissa McCarthy who plays the role of Sookie St. James in the series, Gilmore Girls and two, Rose Byrne (how can one forget the lady who made love with Brad Pitt in the film, Troy?).

Quite interestingly, the looks of the women aren't overly glamourised which makes it very easy for me to relate to them.  There are exaggerated scenes which I find to be completely over-the-top...and yet so interesting I carried on watching!  Nobody behaves the way some of the characters behaved in this movie but then it is a movie, isn't it?  I guess that's what makes it a dynamite, the unbelievably chaotic scenes which I can only describe as mental.  Yes, very.

Overall, I have no complaints.  It is absolutely hilarious!  It really did crack me up.  I would definitely watch it again.  In fact, I've been thinking of watching it again tonight, with a box of yummy chocolates!

A birthday treat from a friend!

How did you spend your weekend? 

Disclaimer:  This is not an advertisement.  I purchased the DVD and watched it in my own home.  I was not compensated for this review.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Winter makes a comeback and so do I!

Winter has definitely returned.  Our summer days here in the UK seem to have been replaced by rain and wintry winds and it's been going on continuously for days now! Acckk!  I've just put my ever-so-comfortable open sandals back in the shoe cabinet...and you guess it right, am now wearing boots again!  (At this rate, I should be getting welly boots!)
The sun keeps hiding :(
But I shouldn't be complaining because cold nights mean sitting by the fire, (er, we don't have a fireplace - so I'm sitting next to the radiator instead) while sipping a mug of hot choco all wrapped up in a 30tog duvet, ha!  And of course writing in my notepad.  It also means more time indoors - therefore, more time to read, blog and stalk my favourite bloggers on line.  So, what is there to moan about, right?  Right.

I've missed lots of blog excitement in the last two months.  Apologies for not being able to comment at all on your posts during the A-Z Challenge.  I've read some of them and you are all amazing!  How could you all do that, post each day?  I can't even manage to post once a week!  To all your awesomeness, I take my hat off.

Speaking of being unable to post enough.  I've recently found another book that's just a champion!  It's Laura Bambrey's 100 Blog Prompts.  Have you heard of it?  You haven't?  Oh dear, you are missing something really good.  Here's the link, go have a look...! But come back to me after!


With a frazzled brain like mine these days, I badly need this.  So, thank you, Laura, for this!

Do you run out of blog ideas, too?  
How often do you post on your blog?  
Where do you get your ideas?

Monday, 7 May 2012

Ripper, My Love by Author Glynis Smy

Today writer/poet, Glynis Smy adds author/novelist to her name. Her debut novel; Ripper, My Love, is launched in ebook format and paperback. The genre for this love story falls into the one of Historical Romance Suspense.

I am so excited for Glynis.  She's worked so hard on this project and now that it's finally out, I just can't help but rejoice for her.  I feel honoured to have read this beautiful story before its publication.  I will be posting a review very soon!

And - I must not forget to mention, I love the cover!
Congratulations, Glynis!

Growing up in late nineteenth century East London,
Kitty Harper’s life is filled with danger and death – from her mother, her
neighbour and the working women
of the streets.

With her ever-watchful father and living surrogate
family though, Kitty feels protected from harm. In fact, she feels so safe that
while Whitechapel cowers under the cloud of a fearsome murderer, she strikes
out on her own, moving into new premises to accommodate her sewing business.

But danger is closer than she thinks. In truth, it
has burrowed itself right into her heart in the form of a handsome yet troubled
bachelor, threatening everything she holds dear. Will Kitty fall prey to lust –
and death – herself, or can she find the strength inside to fight for her
business, sanity and her future? And who is the man terrifying the streets of
East London?

Who is Glynis Smy?

Glynis was born and raised in England, in the coastal town of Dovercourt, near the port of Harwich (where the captain of the Mayflower lived). After qualifying as a nurse, she married her school friend, and they produced three children. During her rare quiet moments, she wrote poetry and articles for magazines. In 2005 she and her husband emigrated to Cyprus for a new life in the sun. It was here that Glynis lay down her cross stitch and started making writing friends on the Internet. With their support and encouragement she shared her poetry, and was successful in a few contests. She shared a short story with a friend, who wrote back telling her it was worthy of becoming a novel, and not to waste the premise upon a brief plot. The story is the one being launched today. Glynis found her love of writing 19th Century, historical romances and her second novel, Maggie's Child, will be published at the end of 2012.

Aside from writing and Cross stitch, Glynis enjoys creating greetings cards, and sells them to raise funds for a small hospice in Cyprus. One of her pleasures is to sit on the back porch with a glass of wine, and reflect upon her good life. She can often be heard chatting to new characters urging her forward.

Her desire to pay back those who had supported her is realised in a blog designed specifically to promote the books of others: New Book Blogger You can find her personal writing blog at Glynis finds the community spirit of writers on Facebook a valuable one.

Want to purchase a copy?  Launch day price for the Kindle is 99c/77p!

Saturday, 31 March 2012

When life takes you someplace else

Hello? Anybody there?

Yes, I'm back and glad to be posting again.

The past two months were good.  I also received some not very good news from home.  I've been wanting to talk to you about the good things, about the books I've read, things I've done and most of all, about writing.  But I can't.  Not tonight.  My mind is just filled with thoughts about home.  Don't get me wrong, I love it here, living in the countryside with my husband and son.  England is also home for me now.   But a bit of my heart has stayed in my mother country, the Philippines.

When I moved to England more than six years ago, I knew I was leaving not only my family and friends but also my childhood, places I've been, schools I went to - I can go on and on.  By then, I already had friends who had left themselves, including my best friend, Rachel, who left when I was still in the university, if my memory serves me right.

In the past six years, there were birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and all that kind of thing that I couldn't be part of.  It is sad to even think about it but believe it or not, when there is good news, inside of me, I am celebrating with them.

There were moments of sadness and grief that I never wished for any of my friends and loved ones to experience and I had hoped that when those moments would inevitably come, I'd be there.  But I am away.  I couldn't offer a comforting presence.  This is the problem when life takes us away to be someplace else.

Luckily for us in this day and age, we have technology.  We rely on the benefits of the internet to communicate.  But the truth hurts.  Because we all know it isn't enough.  There is always something missing.  The internet or the telephone will never be able to replace the warmth of an embrace between two human beings.  It will never be a substitute for the feel of the fingers wiping tears away when you are down and out.

Perhaps one day, I will be able to go back and see my family and friends again.  Feel their arms around me once again.  For now, internet will have to be enough.  It will have to do.

Monday, 20 February 2012

A brief hiatus

I think I should let you all know that I will not be blogging for a little while.  Maybe a month. There are things I need to do and I'm afraid I won't be able to say anything that's post-worthy for the next three or four weeks. There's a lot of things going on.  I wish I could tell you everything but I can't at the moment.  Perhaps when I return, I will.

I will be over at your blogs whenever I get the chance but if you don't see me, please don't think I've disappeared.  I will surely return.

Please know that I heart you all and I'm always thinking of you.  I'm only an e-mail away and you know that, don't you?  I check my emails practically everyday - whenever I can.  You can also message me on Facebook.

Take care.  BIG HUG to everybody!

Friday, 17 February 2012

What is your definition of success?

I'm over at Gemma's My Dailies and answered this question.  I also talked about writing, being a mum, and blogging!  I wouldn't call myself great and was surprised to be featured as such. A huge thank you to my Toastmaster buddy, Gemma, for this enjoyable interview.

Gemma has been a friend for quite awhile now.  I'm very pleased to see her blogging and writing again!  Please come and say hello.

Here's Gemma's LINK.

I've also recently discovered another beautiful blog by another writer Carolina Valdez Miller. I feel honoured to have found another blogger/writer friend with such big heart.  Read her extremely passionate post about her trip to Haiti. It made me cry.  Please click HERE.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Real Women, Real Stories is looking for submissions

Real Women, Real Stories book project, formerly known as Fascinating Females needs more submissions! 

You may write YOUR STORY as a mini-biography, a snapshot or a vignette.  You can write about your adventure, misadventure, your life as a wife, a mother, a sister, a girlfriend, a daughter, a student, and so on.  You can write about a single defining moment in your life!

A percentage of the proceeds will go to International League Against Epilepsy.

Please visit us by clicking HERE.

See you there!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

I can. I should. I must.

My son has been unwell on and off since November.  My life has been a series of sleepless nights which more often leaves me almost incapacitated by persistent headaches.  Not to mention the crippling worry it all comes with which is a massive hindrance to anyone's creativity and imagination. I guess I’m lucky in a way because he -unbelievably- gets better when my energy begins to dry out and my body feels like giving up.

When do I get to do my writing in between visits to hospitals, school appointments and emergencies?  I don’t know.  You might have noticed the lack of posts from December to January on my old blog, Conversations with Self.  Sometimes it feels like I’m going nowhere.  That I am never going to finish anything.  Nothing will ever get done. 

This happens very often.  My life is like a roller coaster, a series of ups and downs with my writing.  There are days when I lose hope…tell myself to just forget it. 

And something happens.

An inspiration comes unexpectedly so that I am writing for hours while my son is fast asleep – with no seizures.  That doesn’t happen very often but when it does, it gives me just a tiny sparkle of hope.

My current work-in-progress is nearly 20k words.  I’m working on my second middle grade novel which requires 40-45k words, so I need to write approximately 20 to 25K more.  I’m halfway.  Almost there.  And I can see a little bit of the light at the end of the tunnel.  It’s still very faint but it’s there.

I can do this.

Do you feel like you are not going to finish your manuscript sometimes?

And when you finally do....ahhhhhh! Must be heaven.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Setting Goals

I’m never a fan of new year’s resolutions.  I do have short and long-term goals but I don’t do it every year.  This is why I’ve never had a set goal when it comes to the number of books to read in a year.

But the truth is that with a goal, we know where we're heading or what we want to attain.  So this year, I’ve set myself to read 50 books.  If I read more than that, fantastic!  If I don’t, I’ve made myself a promise not to beat myself up for it.

Last year, I’ve read 61.  Not bad?  I think it’s not much compared to my amazing writer friends who really devoured books with an astounding 100! Or more!  My friend, Theresa, read an impressive 128! Holy cow!  I can’t beat that and I won’t even try.  I am happy to say that I’ve read 61 and here’s my awesome list (It's either Goodreads did not count them correctly or I cheated! LOL!)

1.     Lost in the Snow by Holly Webb
2.     The Girl with Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts
3.     Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
4.     Comfort and Joy by India Knight
5.     The Ugly Sister by Jane Fallon
6.     Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton
7.     Hooked by Les Edgerton
8.     When I found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde
9.     Don’t Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde
10. Wannabe a Writer by Jane Wenham-Jones
11. Everything and Nothing by Araminta Hall
12. Write Good or Die by Scott Nicholson
13. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
14. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
15. In the Mirror by Ann Best
16. The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony Diterlizzi
17. The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain
18. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
19. Starseeker by Tim Bowler
20. String Bridge by Jessica Bell
21. Sweetie by Kathryn Magendie
22. The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan
23. Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau
24. Starring in the Movie of my Life by Laurel Osterkamp
25. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
26. Witch Song by Amber Argyle
27. The Passage by Justin Cronin
28. Witch and Wizard by James Patterson
29. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
30. When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
31. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
32. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
33. Before I die by Jenny Downham
34. There are no Words by Mary Calhoun Brown
35. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
36. Grace William Says It Loud by Emma Henderson
37. 100 Stories for Queensland, an Anthology
38. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
39. The Travelers Gift by Andy Andrews
40. Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
41. The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little
42. Breakthrough by Stephen Tremp
43. Breaking the Silence by Diane Chamberlain
44. My Bestfriend’s Girl by Dorothy Koomson
45. Ordinary Angels by India Drummond
46. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
47. Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock
48. Radiance by Alyson Noel
49. The Compass by Tammy Kling
50. Ugly by Constance Briscoe
51. Misery by Stephen King
52. Sister by Rosamund Lupton
53. Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult
54. Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult
55. Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
56. Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
57. Welcome to my World by Miranda Dickinson
58. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
59. Which Witch by Eva Ibbotson
60. Room by Emma Donoghue
61. Death by a Dark Horse by Susan Schreyer

Do you count the books you read?  Do you set a goal as to the nubmer of books to read each year?

How many have you read last year?

Monday, 23 January 2012

Oracle Cover Reveal Mystery Tour

J.C. Martin's upcoming novel Oracle will be released middle of this year.  Today is the day she's releasing the book cover to the public and there's a mystery to be solved.  Below is the blurb of the find out more, please click on the link down below to go to J.C.'s blog.  Enjoy!!!


As the countdown begins, the body count rises.

With London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn’t need a serial killer stalking the streets. They’ve got one anyway.

Leaving a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police are no closer to finding their latest murderer than Detective Inspector Kirk Lyncher is in finding a solution for his daughter’s disability.

Thrust into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of a growing population of potential next victims.

One of whom could be his own daughter.

Fingers point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lyncher’s only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene.


Thursday, 19 January 2012

I've got a new blog! Yay!

Quite recently, the lovely Laura Barnes has critiqued my blog.  Before the critique, I was already contemplating on creating a separate blog for my writing.  If you have been a follower of my blog, Conversations with Self, you probably know that it started as a personal blog in 2007 which slowly evolved into a writing blog.

I got serious in my writing in 2010 when I left my job to be a full-time mother to my son who has special needs.  I began writing in my spare time. So, after reading Laura's suggestions, it got me thinking!  It's about time for a writer's blog!  So here I am!

It would make me truly happy if you follow this blog, too!

What about you?  

If you are an aspiring author, have you created a separate blog specifically as a writer?  

If you are a published author and already have an author blog, when did you feel it was time to do so?