Saturday, 30 April 2011

Zen & The End Of A Challenge (A to Z = Z)

A few tears will be shed today,
to mark then end of our writing zen foray.
The Arlee Bird challenge has come to an end,
no more sending our friends and family around the bend.

It seems an eternity ago,
since a distant Z first produced a faint glow.
When we began stalking the alphabet with a hopeful glee,
trawling other blogs to have a look-see.

Some of us were pantsers and others planners,
all of us trying to keep up with our blogging manners.
We made friends and laughed a lot,
and some of us cried or not.

This year we were over a thousand,
next year one million could be abound.
We'll be back for another April blogging marathon,
and perhaps we'll even have our own special challenge song.

So it's goodbye from me and and goodbye from thee,
See you on Sunday when I'll be back chasing aliens for a modest fee.

Thank you, Arlee!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Yay! Y'm Yack! (A to Z = Y)

Yodel - Ay - EEE - Oooo. Yodel - Ay - EEE - Oooo.

Yhank you yor your yessages yf yupport. Yere ys yhis yeek's Yriday Yive!*
  1. Yodel. Type of wordless singing, joyous in nature, usually associated with the Swiss or aspiring authors.
  2. Yeti. The Abominable Snowman. Last seen near Yellowstone, I think.
  3. Yokel. Person who yodels at seagulls, tourists, and aspiring authors.
  4. Yacht. Something the Muse hopes to own one day.
  5. Yoch Ness Monster. Cousin of the Loch Ness Monster, only yellow in colour and often the favourite pet of authors.
Does anybody know what happened to me yesterday? I remember a wormhole on Wednesday, the police turning up before work on Thursday, being teleported to CassaStar**, and then I was back here.

*Literary Police translation: Thank you for your messages of support. Here is this week's Friday Five.
** CassaStar was amazing. Please don't tell Alex though, he may be a bit peeved I got there before him.

Book Blurb Friday (9): Life Through Tinted Glasses

Today is week eight of Lisa Ricard Claro's inspirational meme, Book Blurb Friday. The object of this meme is to take the cover image Lisa provides and write the back cover blurb you feel belongs to the book, in 150 words or less. Pop over to Lisa's blog to find out more and to visit the other entries.

Here is this week's image and my back cover blurb:

'I entered the space programme wearing rose-tinted glasses, believing astronauts to be infallible. I was wrong.' Ellie Garratt, 2019.

From the moment Garratt entered the European 2011 Space Explorer Program there was only one destination she had in mind - Mars. Read her incredible journey from RAF Fighter Pilot to astronaut in training, and her eventual acceptance on to the doomed 2018 Mars One Mission.

In this startlingly frank book she lifts the veil of silence surrounding the tragic death of her fellow astronauts and explains how she alone survived the perilous journey back to Earth. With indisputable factual evidence she counters the many conspiracy theories that surrounded her safe return and pays tribute to the five men and women who paid the ultimate price in the name of space exploration.

What book do you see when you look at the image?

Thursday, 28 April 2011

eXterminated (A to Z = X)

The author known as Ellie has been eXterminated for her own good. In eXtreme circumstances she may be permitted to re-emerge from time to time.

Chief of Literary Police,
Blogging Division. 

Written appeals will be accepted below.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Where would your wormhole go? (A to Z = W)

Imagine you have the power to create a wormhole and it can lead anywhere in time and space. Mine would go a few thousand years into the future, when space travel is quick and easy. I'd visit the rings of Saturn and float above the trillions of ice particles, and watch them shine with the rays of the distant Sun.

Where would yours go?

For the science behind wormholes visit Stephen Tremp's W post.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Voyagers (A to Z = V)

Today's Tuesday Teaser is from an author I am ashamed to say I've never read. I found three of his books in a charity shop last month and I'm starting the first of a trilogy today.

Title: Voyagers
Author: Ben Bova

Both craft were hurtling away from Earth, flying farther from safety each second. The alien was heading out of the solar system, back into the unthinkable gulf between the stars, and unless they broke away and took up a new trajectory, Stoner knew that he and Federenko would also leave Earth's grip forever.

I'm looking forward to this science fiction trilogy; the three books I picked up were printed 24 years ago, and have that old book smell and colour about them that I love.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others.
  • Share the title and author too so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.

I don't have a WIP Teaser that starts with the letter V, so I'm giving you a teaser from my science fiction WIP, Dreaming of Sleep.

Myron sat down at the desk that ran the entire length of the pod’s right side and did the last thing they would expect – he logged into the Network early. The pain from the migraine would almost kill him but he didn’t care. “Conform and stay alive,” Talia had told him and he intended to.

 Are there any books or stories you'd like to tease us with?

Monday, 25 April 2011

Unwritten: Shocking Western Titles (A to Z = U)

To view my Now Starring Blogfest entry and casting for The Devil's Song click here.

Just when you thought the Wild West was tamed. Just when you thought you were done with six-shooters and saloons, along came this anthology call from Pill Hill Press:

And even worse, you decided to come up with some shocking story titles. Prepare to moan, groan, and shake your head in dismay. In fact some of these may actually cause your head to fall off. They are all mine and they are all unwritten.

Under A Few Graves More
The Ugly, The Uglier, and The Ugliest.
Fistful of Ugly.
The Way The West Was Un-won.
Return of Ugly.
Los Uglyios Amigos.
The Undead and the Damned.
High Vampires Drifter.
Two Body Parts Rode Together.
Lonely Are The Rotting Brave.

I did warn you. If you're still here and not upchucking, can you think of any of your own?

Now Starring Blogfest - Casting The Devil's Song

Today I'm taking part in Lindz Pagel's Now Starring Blogfest, where you get to cast your WIP characters and imagine they are starring in the best movie adaption ever. What could be more fun than casting a movie of your book?

Here are the blogfest rules:
  1. Choose 4-6 of your lead characters.
  2. Let us know a little bit about what each of your characters looks like.
  3. Then, pick any actor or actress, they’re all at your disposal.
  4. Finally, apart from their appearance, what about this particular performer makes you think they’ll do your baby justice. What’s that special something that makes them perfect for the part? Their attitude? The way the walk? Their voice? Let us know.
To sign up and/or visit the other participants click here.

Here is my entry:

The Devil's Song (certificate 18)

Thirty years ago author Morwenna Maddox (Tilda Swinton, Constantine) thought she had ended serial killer Lucian King's (Viggo Mortensen, A History of Violence) reign of power. She failed.

Now Lucian King will force Kristi Black (Natalie Portman, The Black Swan) to write him a new story and he'll eliminate anyone who stands in his way. Can Kristi stop his new reign of terror before the morning chorus - before The Devil's Song?

Before I start talking about the casting of my characters, I should say that the novel is told in first person via three of the characters. Two of them are Kristi and Warwick Black. I can not reveal who the third person is at this stage without giving away too much of the plot.

Natalie Portman as Kristi Black

Kristi is an American who has moved to the UK with her English husband, Warwick Black. She has raven black hair, dark penetrating eyes, and an expressive face. Natalie Portman would be perfect for the part as she will be able to cover the range of emotions my lead protagonist experiences - from joy to sheer terror.

Paul Bettany as Warwick Black

Warwick appears to be the perfect husband, but life is never that simple or straightforward. I need an English actor for this part. I also need an actor who will bring a quiet confidence to the role. He is a man of action, but not the in-your-face type. But he is also someone you believe could turn darker at any time. Paul Bettany is Warwick Black.

Tilda Swinton as Morwenna Maddox

Morwenna Maddox is a deceased bestselling Welsh author. She was reclusive, guarded, and a little haunted - Tilda Swinton's quirky style would suit the part perfectly.

Viggo Mortensen as Lucian King

Lucian King is a serial killer. He is pure evil and very powerful. I've always wanted to see Mortensen play someone evil and unhinged, so I've cast him in the part.

Anthony Hopkins as Griffin Thomas

Welsh historian Griffin Thomas was Morwenna Maddox's lover and thirty years later he still lives close to the place of her death. He is obsessed with her and how she died. Who could be more perfect to play an obsessional 80 year old Welsh historian than Anthony Hopkins?

Ewan McGregor as The Policeman

The Policeman (I haven't decided on his name yet) brings some lighter moments to the novel and the reader will be left wondering whether he is good or bad for some time before the answer is revealed. I think McGregor would play the role to perfection because you won't be able to guess the outcome.

So, there are my choices. Ask me again when I've finished writing The Devil's Song and I may have re-cast the parts. But for the moment the process of writing my blogfest entry has been very helpful in making them seem more concrete in my mind. Thank you, Lindz.

What did you think of my choices? Have you tried something like this with your WIP? How helpful was it?

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Trapped in Dreaming of Sleep (A to Z = T)

Before I start talking about my T post, I wanted to let everyone know because it's Easter the last few days have been manic at work. I've got another nine hour shift to get through today and I already feel exhausted. I am way behind on my blog reading and responding to comments, and I have a big family gathering on Sunday. If you have commented and I've not yet returned the favour, I promise I will do so as soon as I get the chance. 

Now on to Trapped in Dreaming of Sleep.

When I added the mock cover of my science fiction WIP, Dreaming of Sleep, to my blog, a few people asked me if the image of the hand pressing against the underneath of what looks like a computer screen was a representation of the novel's theme. It took me some time to find an image I was happy with but the image does portray one of the central themes of the novel - feeling trapped.

My protagonist, Myron, is trapped 2000 years into the future. He is a time traveller from the 21st Century who has no way back; at least that is what he has been told. Later we will find out there is always a chance of escape, it just might not be what he considers escape to be.

But when we join his story he is not just trapped physically, he is trapped emotionally. The 41st Century is a very different world to the one he knows - people do not interact in the way we do now - and he is tired of the constant battle between fitting in and not giving up on who he once was. Add to this a crippling medical condition caused by the virtual inter-connectivity of a 41st Century world, and he feels like he is literally being suffocated. He believes breaking the law will bring him his only method of release, death.

I'm not going to discuss how or if he escapes, and what role the beautiful and mysterious Talia plays, as that would be giving too much away at the moment. But watch this space.

What are the central themes of your novel? Is your protagonist trapped in some way?

Don't forget to enter part two of my 300 Followers Competition.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Star Trek: Seven, Khan, Picard, Spock, & Kirk (A to Z = S)

Did you think I could go through the whole of A to Z without one post dedicated to Star Trek? I'm laughing at your superior intellect. Hang on. Isn't that supposed to be the other way around?

Back to the mission. Ensign Garratt's personal log, star date 2011.112:

Today's Friday Five is a run down of my top five Star Trek characters. The list could have been endless, but it's Friday Five and I'm sticking to the rules this week.

5. Seven of Nine. In my opinion her introduction to Star Trek Voyager in season four saved the series.

4. Khan. The ultimate villain. Does anybody know if that was really his chest?

3. Jean-Luc Picard. Step away from the hair piece because bald can be sexy.

2. Spock and Spock. I had to have a picture of both - Zachary Quinto is Spock.

1. Captain James Tiberius Kirk.

'Captain Kirk met me once. I was going to charge him £35 for my autograph but he gave me one of his legendary smiles and I parted with £35 for his.'

Ensign Garratt's, star date 2010.198

So who are your top five? Or are you one of few remaining human beings who have not yet enlisted in Starfleet?

Don't forget to enter part two of my 300 Followers Competition.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Right Rocket Man (A to Z = R)

Is there anything more seductive then listening to the dulcet tones of William Shatner? No? Please don't suggest the logical answer would be Leonard Nimoy singing The Ballard of Biblo Baggins, or perhaps should I save that for another day?

So, enjoy this err . . .right rocket.

Don't forget to enter part two of my 300 Followers Competition.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Quotes That Inspire (A to Z = Q)

I keep a journal with my favourite writing quotes. Some of them are from famous writers and some are from complete strangers, but they have all inspired me. Here are a few:

'Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.' Stephen King

'If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time to write.' Stephen King

'Omit needless words.' Element of Style

'Getting published is about practising until you're really good, then persevering until you're really lucky.' Tim Clarke

'It's always too early to quit.' Anonymous

'I am a painter, so I paint. You are a writer, so write.' Anonymous

'Until you treat writing as a job, even a part-time one, you won't ever be able to think of yourself as a writer.' Katie Fforde

What quotes have inspired you? Do you agree with Katie Fforde's assertion that you should treat writing as a job to really feel like a writer?

Don't forget to enter part two of my 300 Followers Competition.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (A to Z = P)

Today's Tuesday Teaser is a cheat, because I've already teased you with two sentences from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls and I don't have WIP where the title starts with a P. So sit back and enjoy the book trailer. Those with a sensitive constitution should look away.

Don't forget to enter part two of my 300 Followers Competition.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Overwhelmed (A to Z = O)

SO it's day 18 and I'm feeling Overexcited, Over anxiOus and Over lettered. I have tOO many Os. They keep pOpping up wherever I lOOk; Over here and Over there. All Over the place. Please make them stOp. I dOn't need anymOre vOwels. I'm nOt sure hOw many mOre I can take.

Oh, fOr gOOdness sake, make them stOp!

The authOr.

DOn't fOrget tO enter part twO Of my 300 FOllOwers COmpetitiOn.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Awards, Thank yous, and Seven Things About Me

I need to thank a few bloggers for generously bestowing awards on me in the last couple of weeks. Please click on the links to check out their blogs - you won't be disappointed.

Awarded by talented artist and writer Deirdra at A Storybook World.

Awarded by the truly versatile and fun Tara at Tara Tyler Talks.

Awarded by talented and dedicated writer Lisa Ricard Claro at Writing in the Buff.

Awarded by my friend and talented writer Madeleine Maddocks at Scribble and Edit.

Awarded by the fabulous and talented Rachna Chhabria at Rachna's Scriptorium.

I've met so many amazing people since I started blogging last May and even more since the A to Z Challenge started. Choosing who gets what award is impossible. So if you haven't received one or more of these awards yet, consider them yours.

The Versatile Blogger Award comes with rules, though. I have to tell you seven things about myself. Gulp. Here goes:
  1. I am only 5ft tall.
  2. My childhood pet dog, Benji, saved my life. I can't remember where we were but I was running across moorland with Benji when he suddenly stopped, jumped up at me growling, forcing me to fall backwards. When I got to my feet we were only a few feet from the edge of a quarry.
  3. Prince Charles met me once. He landed his helicopter in our field when I was four.
  4. I hate jelly, orange squash, Turkish Delight, and pineapple.
  5. I can only write on yellow lined paper.
  6. I was detained at Cairo airport for several hours because I lost my boarding pass. I was terrified they were not going to let me leave. Thankfully, they did.
  7. I was named Eleanor after the record Lady Eleanor by Lindisfarne.
Hooray. I am up-to-date with my thank yous. Have a great Sunday and see you for the letter O.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Naughty Nanofiction - You've Been Warned! (A to Z = N)

Violet stared dreamily at Pedro's pulsating ***** and fainted; she'd never seen such a large symbol of manhood.

Please note: Violet's Lover has been censored by the Literary Police. Helping you to douse unwanted desires.

* * *

Don't forget to enter part two of my 300 Followers competition.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Memorable Main Characters (A to Z = M)

Today's Friday Five looks at memorable main characters. Every reader, television junkie, or movie watcher has them - the main characters you fall in love with, spit venom at, would follow to the ends of the world with, or just wish you'd created yourself. Here are my top five most memorable main characters:

1. James Tiberius Kirk. Gene Roddenberry I salute you.

2. Mr. Darcy. Colin Firth. Jane Austen. I need say no more.

3. Spock. Again, I salute Gene Roddenberry.

4. Helward Mann from Inverted World. Not my favourite sci-fi novel but the name is sheer genius. You'll need to read the book to understand.

5. Sol Tigh from the remake of Battlestar Galactica. Technically not the main MC, but easily my favourite character from the entire series.

Five names just isn't enough, is it? But it's Friday Five and I need to follow the rules. Hang on a minute, I made the rules. Okay, one more:

6. James Bond. 007. Has there ever been another character who people from all corners of the globe instantly recognise? Well, other than Harry Potter.

Who are your five six most memorable main characters?

Don't forget to enter part two of my 300 Followers Competition.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Literary Love Letter (A to Z = L)

Dear Agent,

I love you.

You are the only one who believes in my novel, which you eloquently described as a Bridget Jones meets Mr. Darcy in space and then eats him. No-one else, not even my critique partner and beta-readers, warmed to it. Why couldn't they understand that had Jane Austen been alive today, Mr. Darcy would have ended up as nothing more than a tasty main course? One of them described it as 'the most offensive thing she'd ever read.' But you got it, dear agent, and that is why I love you.

Whilst I am emailing, I wanted to let you know my idea for the cover. I know Does Mr. Darcy Taste Better In Space? is more horror than Chick-lit, but I think we need to promote the Bridget Jones angle and make the cover as girl friendly as possible. We could have glitter encrusted stars and a pink spaceship. Let me know what you think.

Well, that is it for the moment. Please, please reply to this email, and include your postal address if possible. And your full name. I know it's only a minor thing but I need to know who's representing me.

Love you always,

I. N. Sane
* * *

Don't forget to enter part two of my 300 Followers Competition.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Do you KISS? (A to Z = K)

No. Not that kind of kiss. I mean KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid.

I'm talking about the length of your sentences, complex words a reader may not understand, and names they can not pronounce.

Are your sentences regularly more than 25 words in length? Do you have characters called Xynziongt and Fltinhogz? Do you use words most readers would need to reach for the dictionary in order to understand? Do you like to use your fiction to let readers know you have a doctorate in mathematical theorem? If you are, you could be turning them away.

When I read science fiction, any fiction in fact, I want to be entertained. Off course I want to be thrilled with exciting new concepts and challenged by ideas that make me think, but I don't want it to be hard work. Long sentences, complex words, and unpronounceable names are hard work. They slow me down. Turn me off. Don't do the same in your writing. Remember to KISS.

Are there any writing acronyms you use?

Don't forget to enter part two of my 300 Followers Competition.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Just After Sunset & Johnny Walker Eyes (A to Z = J)

Today's Tuesday Book Teaser comes from the master of horror.

Title: Just After Sunset
Author: Stephen King

'He's very friendly,' Drogan said. 'At first. Nice friendly pussy has killed three people in this household. That leaves only me. I am old, I am sick . . .but I prefer to die in my own time.'

I can't believe this collection of short stories has been sat on my bookshelf for so long and I haven't read it. I'm correcting that mistake this week.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others.
  • Share the title and author too so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.

Today's WIP teaser comes from a short story I wrote in early 2010 and have twice submitted to competitions. I've grown rather attached to Johnny Walker Eyes and decided to do a re-write before submitting it again.

“Mam. Is this seat taken?” was the first thing you said to me. You delivered that line with a southern drawl that left me speechless, just like the name of the song playing that night. When I turned to see who had spoken that line – smooth, soft, and yet so strong - your eyes captivated me; sunset with a hint of sweet amber nectar, yet dangerous like a double shot of Southern Comfort.

“No,” was all I managed to reply, but inside my heart was drumming the same message against my chest, over and over – Yes. Yes. Yes.

Are there any books or stories you want to tease us with?

Don't forget to enter part two of my 300 Followers Competition.

Monday, 11 April 2011

IOU (A to Z = I)

An I-lettered blog post.

Can it wait until April 2012 because I have three prize winners to announce?

Thank you to everyone who entered part one of my 300 Followers Competition. Don't forget you are all still in with a chance of winning the grand prize of $40 and anyone who has not yet commented has until April 30th to enter. Just click here to visit the competition post.

Now for the winners. Using, the following three bloggers were selected:

Simon Kewin at Spellmaking.
Chantal at A Blog a Day While You're Away.
Laura at Daily Dodo.

Congratulations to you all. I shall be contacting you shortly to arrange your prizes.

What IOUs will you be writing this week?

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Truths, A Lie, and Finding William Shatner

In Good Geeks! I posted five statements to prove I was a geek at school and then asked you to tell me which was the lie. Lots of you had a go and it was great fun reading the reasons behind your choices. Here are the statements again, with the answers.

1. I was in Q maths at secondary school. Q maths was for students with exceptional mathematical ability. True. I was in Q maths for the first year of secondary school, though I was moved down a class for the rest of school. I talked too much and lacked the much needed skill of concentration.

2. My best friend and I preferred knitting to going out. Lie. We could both knit, but we much preferred drinking and partying.

3. My first crush was on James T. Kirk. True. However, it did not last long; I fell into an unrequited love with a boy called Jon who was two years older than me. He was the coolest lad in school and had hair just like the 80s pop singer Limahl.

4. I once made a model of the Starship Enterprise with cardboard and stickyback plastic. True. It wasn't very good, but I had my own Starship Enterprise and that was what mattered.

5. I learnt how to draw a model of a nuclear reactor in case it came up in my physics exam. True. Unbelievably we studied nuclear fusion, learnt how to draw a diagram of a nuclear reactor, and it was one of my exam questions. Don't ask me to draw it now - I dismissed the memory long ago.

Congratulations to all the bloggers who correctly guessed the lie.

Now on to my Finding FEMA post and the $10 award offered for the funniest location of a Famous Enunciating Male Actor, who was of course William Shatner. It was a tough decision to make, as so many of your suggestions were hilarious. But the one that made me laugh the loudest was Liz P's 'Ellie, we all know he's with you!'.

Congratulations Liz. I shall contact you shortly to arrange your prize.

If anybody is interested, Mr. Shatner was really in Auckland over the weekend. Now that might make me look like a stalker but I read it on his Twitter account. Honest.

Have a fabulous Sunday.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Holiday, Hording, and Haiku (A to Z = H)

As from 6pm tonight I'm on holiday for ten glorious days. Just think of all the A to Z bloggers I can visit. As Old Kitty would say, Yay! 

Mr. G and I aren't going away. We're having a major de-clutter and then ripping out the carpets, ready for the new ones in May. Now I don't know about you, but Mr. G and I are clutterbugs. We have a habit of hanging on to everything. However, I don't have a problem with being ruthless when it comes to de-cluttering. Mr. G, on the other hand, doesn't like throwing anything away. He has boxes of stuff that he's not touched in the last 15 years. It drives me crazy.

So, I've made a deal with him. We're going to buy lots of plastic boxes and then he can transfer his 'but-I-might-need-it-someday' things to the garage. It's not going to be easy but I'm determined to do it. I will win the war against clutter!

I want to mention a special blogger today who inspired me to start writing Haikus. If you've not visited Madeleine at Scribble and Edit, please do. She writes beautiful Haikus and I'm always in awe of her talent.

A few weeks ago, after reading her Haikus, I decided to write some of my own and enter The Haiku Calendar Competition. There were a record 1138 entries and the standard was high. I didn't make it into the calendar, which I was expecting, but I was shortlisted. I never expected to get that far. So, I want to thank Madeleine for inspiring me to write something out of my comfort zone. You are a star!

Here are the two Haikus I entered:

Flowers blossoming
Lambs to fledglings finding voices
Hope of life today

Trees shedding their leaves
Sweep them up to start a fire
Swirling like amber

Do you have any tips to stop the clutterbug habit? Do you write Haiku?

Don't forget to enter my 300 Followers Competition.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Good Geek! (A to Z = G)

Can you believe we're on week two of the A to Z Challenge already? Have you been having a blast? I know I have. But it also occured to me this morning that there will so many incredible posts I won't see because of the number of bloggers taking part. That thought made me a little sad.

Now, on to this week's Friday Five and geeks.

My friends, I will let you in on a little secret - at school I was a geek. Now my family would probably argue I still am a geek and that's okay, but on the geekiness scale I scored far higher at school.

Below are five pieces of geek-proving evidence. One of them is a lie. Can you guess which one?

1. I was in Q maths at secondary school. Q maths was for students with exceptional mathematical ability.

2. My best friend and I preferred knitting to going out.

3. My first crush was on James T. Kirk.

4. I once made a model of the Starship Enterprise with cardboard and stickyback plastic.

5. I learnt how to draw a model of a nuclear reactor in case it came up in my physics exam.

So, which is the lie?

Don't forget to enter my 300 Followers Competition.

Book Blurb Friday (6): Haskovo Man

Today is week six of Lisa Ricard Claro's awesome meme, Book Blurb Friday. The object of this inspiring meme is to take the cover image Lisa provides and write the back cover blurb you feel belongs to the book, in 150 words or less. Pop over to Lisa's blog to find out more and to visit the other entries.

Here is this week's image and my back cover blurb:

When Eliana Dotchev is asked to photograph the back alleys of Haskovo she takes little notice of the people she captures in the camera’s lens. But when the guidebook is published six months later she discovers a strange coincidence – all the pictures used contain a man in the foreground, with his back to the camera.

Convinced it is the same man in all the pictures, and driven by her belief that nothing in life is a coincidence, she sets out find him. But when she places an ad in a local paper asking for the man to come forward, Eliana sets in motion a series of events that will place her in great danger.

The man in the pictures should never have been captured on film and he means to correct that mistake no matter the cost.

What book do you see?

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Finding FEMA (A to Z = F)

Wanted: Famous Enunciating Male Actor

If anyone knows of this man's identity, aliases, or current whereabouts, please contact me below.

A $10 reward is offered for the funniest location.

Don't forget to enter my 300 Followers Competition.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Ellie's Electric Empathy (A to Z = E)

"I've seen things you bloggers wouldn't believe. Cosbolts on fire off the shoulder of CassaStar. I've watched C-letters glitter in the dark near Arlee's challenge. All those moments will be never be lost in time, like tears in the circuit boards of computers. Time to dream."

In case you don't recognise the quote, that was my parody of Batty's last piece of dialogue in the final moments of the film Bladerunner, which was loosely based on Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I've often been accused of having an over-active imagination by those who don't read science fiction or watch science fiction films and television shows. I usually thank them and then make them watch Bladerunner or read Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I call it The Empathy Test after the test Deckard administers to determine if Rachael is a replicant in Bladerunner.

Either they just don't get it or they have the light bulb moment - the one where they understand science fiction is not a load of nonsense but in fact exceedingly clever. They see that behind the futuristic disguise, science fiction is really just a comment on the world we live in today, albeit with a speculative angle. That the reader or viewer still experiences all the normal human emotions and senses we experience in real life, just usually via an alternate reality or through an alien's eyes.

Science fiction can challenge our beliefs and make us question the issues that dominate our world today, such as war and global warming, but in a way that still entertains the reader or viewer, and it is this that I love most about the genre.

Do you have a film or book you use to make people understand something you are passionate about?

Don't forget to enter my 300 Followers Competition.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Dawn Of The Dreadfuls & Doppelgangers (A to Z = D)

Today's Tuesday Book Teaser comes from the prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Title: Dawn Of The Dreadfuls
Author: Steve Hockensmith

Mr. Bennet nodded sagely, then looked at Elizabeth again, eyebrow cocked.

"You know, I'm suddenly put in mind of the next move I should like to teach you all. It is called the Fulcrum of Doom."

If you want gore, horror, romance, action, comedy, and of course zombies, this is the book for you.

Click here for how to take part in MizB's Teaser Tuesday.

Today's WIP teaser comes from an as yet untitled doppelganger story I am writing.

I stared at myself with absolute horror. It wasn't every day the other me - the one from a parallel universe - demanded we job share.

Are there any books or stories you want to tease us with?

Don't forget to enter my 300 Followers Competition.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Can Characters Create Creators? (A to Z = C)

"About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Ellie was a writer. Second, there was part of her - and I didn't know how dominant that part might be - that thirsted for my words. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with her."

Myron's now famous quote, given during his interview in Science Fiction Characters, 4021 AD. What was left out of the interview was the controversial assertion that without him Dreaming of Sleep would never have been written.

When I quizzed him on this matter, shortly before his latest attempt to return to the 21st Century, he was surprisingly forthcoming.

"I never intended to write my author but it came to me during my one and only illegal sleep period. In the dream I was standing in a library - the type that had actual books and not virtual displays - and she was there with me, glistening with a a hundred-thousand words. When I woke up, I knew that I had to write her story, and so Ellie's life was brought into existence. The first volume, Words, was a runaway success. The second, Editor, did not fare so well. I just couldn't hand over creative control to 91billion people; it didn't sit right with my 21st Century brain. But of course the third volume, Published, has already seen pre-orders of over three billion."

Whatever your thoughts on how the Words Trilogy came into existence, this is going to be one time-traveller who will be sorely missed should he ever find a way back to the 21st Century.


For those of you who have read Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series, you'll know I took a few liberties with a passage from Twilight and gave it to Myron for his quote. My apologies to Stephanie Meyer - the passage was too good to not imitate in some way.

Don't forget to enter my 300 Followers Competition.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

300 Followers Competition

When I sat down to read the comments on my first A to Z post last night, I realised I'd passed the 300 followers mark. As with my 100th and 200th milestones, I intend to celebrate 300 followers with a competition.

Here are the prizes, which come in two parts:

1. If you comment on this post by midnight Sunday 10th April (GMT) you will be entered into a prize draw for one of three $15 (£10) Amazon vouchers.

2. If you comment on this post by midnight Saturday 30th April you will be in with a chance of winning a grand prize of a $40 (£30) Amazon voucher. Everyone who has commented on this post will be entered into the grand prize draw.

The only rules are you a) must be a follower and b) you must comment on this post.

I'm not asking people to tweet or blog about my competitions for extra points, but I would really appreciate it if you did. It's not that I don't agree with blatant self-promotion, it's just I'd never keep track of whose done what. As my motto says, keep it simple.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Book Bonking (A to Z = B)

Do you book bonk?

Looks harmless enough, doesn't it?

But do you use protection?

Because eight out of ten book bonks end this way.

This has been a public health warning, brought to you by the Literary Police.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Arlee Assimilation (A to Z = A)

We are the Arlee. Lower your word length, and surrender your April posts. We will add your writing and witty distinctiveness to our own. Your words will adapt to service ours. Poor grammar is futile.

My name was Ellie. I wanted to be assimilated. I wanted to be Arlee. Twenty-six blog posts will not endanger our mental health. Our blog posts will become one. We are the Arlee.

Book Blurb Friday (5): Soft Rains of April

Today is week five of Lisa Ricard Claro's awesome meme, Book Blurb Friday. The object of this inspiring meme is to take the cover image Lisa provides and write the back cover blurb you feel belongs to the book, in 150 words or less. Pop over to Lisa's blog to find out more and to visit the other entries.

Here is this week's image and my back cover blurb:

To her family, friends, and neighbours, April Flowers was a woman who spent her days tending her garden and volunteering for numerous charities. It was only when she died in a tragic accident on the other side of the world that her daughter discovered the truth – April Flowers had been leading a double life.

Read May Flowers astonishing journey to meet her mother’s other family and her quest to seek the answer to the most important question of all – why had she led a double life?