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Friday, May 21, 2010

Follow Friday 20/05/10

 There Are No Rules  Writer's Digest blog written by  
Jane Friedman


The Motivated Writer Turn your DREAMS into reality (scroll down the page and read Friday Time Challenge by author Susan Meier].

4 Ways Social Media Can Screw Up Your Writing a great blog post by professional writer and editor
A. Victoria Mixon

and on Twitter:
 


~ Trisha Ashley ~ {@trishaashley} 
"Author of novels including Every Woman for Herself and A Winter's tale"


~ Jacqueline Grimes ~ {@hopeful author}
"writer,wife mum, woman!"

~ Fiona Harper  ~ {@FiHarperAuthor}
"I write fresh, flirty, heartwarming romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon's Romance line"


~ Saskia Walker ~ {@saskiawalker}
"I'm a British author of erotic fiction, published by Harlequin Spice, Red Sage, Total-E-Bound, Berkley Heat, and more. Read excerpts at www.saskiawalker.co.uk"

 
~ Liz Fielding ~  {@lizfielding}
"Award winning romance author"





Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It's Time

to stop procrastinating.

I have a problem: you may have noticed that I've changed my background AGAIN. What is it with me? I can't seem to stop tampering. I love messing around with web backgrounds and templates even when I can't afford the energy (or the time) to tamper.

I think I know what's caused it this time around - my writerly change of direction. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I'd be fully involved with writing historicals. Now I'm getting used to the idea and I can't imagine why I never thought of it before (well, that's not strictly true it was one simple, but crucial, word 'RESEARCH' that stopped me every time I dared to consider it).

My reason for this blog change is two-fold:
  1. I wanted a background that relates more to our writing genre and this is the closest I've found to suit an Anglo-Saxon setting.
  2. I wanted to streamline the content as far as I could to enable a faster download. I know of several people who might steer clear of this blog because they're on a slower connection or dial-up.
So, there you have it. Now, I'm going cold-turkey with my addiction of fiddling and I'm not even going to visit this blog until it's time to change the wordcounter or reply to a comment. Oh yes, speaking of wordcounter, have you noticed anything?

Yep, our first rough & dirty draft has begun...

Oops...

I've been playing around with my blog (again!) and it's published posts that I thought I'd done in the past (so nobody would notice). Please ignore them - I've been trying to make my blog less busy so anybody (regardless of broadband/dial-up) can access them.

Alas, these are still changes that are in progress - with one problem...I've run out of time and will have to finish them later. Sorry for any confusion...off to my regular appointment now (if I get dressed in time)!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Book Review: Tug of Love by Allie Spencer

Tug of Love Tug of Love by Allie Spencer


Susan's rating: 5 of 5 stars

Allie Spencer’s debut novel beggars the belief that it’s her first book. Tug of Love is fast-paced with many twists and turns that as a reader I never pre-empted. Every one of the characters, whether secondary or primary, came alive because they are well-rounded and vividly three-dimensional.

I loved the subject matter and the insight that Allie Spencer gives the readers into the world of law is brilliant. This is a definite example of how ‘writing what you know’ can pay dividends. I enjoyed how the profession of barrister contrasted with Lucy’s character. She’s sassy, intelligent, and remains very human throughout this story. I loved her!

Allie Spencer is a fresh new voice in the world of romantic comedy and I can’t wait to read her future books.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

No More Romance Reviewed

So, I've closed Romance (& other books/genres) Reviewed blog.

This blog will now be the platform for sharing the odd review and, as always, everything we read (and have on our bookshelves) is on our Goodreads pages: Graham's (who regularly posts) and mine whose updates are sporadic (no change there then!).

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Film Review: Beowulf & Grendel


Beowulf is one of my favourite works of epic poetry, but the subject matter, which jumps all over the place and back and forth through time, is fairly unworkable on film. I was interested to see what the makers of this fairly low budget epic would do with the material, and in the end I was more than satisfied. As the title indicates, Beowulf & Grendel focuses on the central thrust of the story, ignoring side-stories and the later Beowulf vs. dragon showdown to deliver a simple retelling of the main part of the age-old legend.
 
The story is largely expanded from the original, with many peripheral characters added and extra scenes. Some of these work (Eddie Marsan’s psychotic Christian missionary helps to set the film in its time rather well) but others I could have done without, such as Sarah Polley’s witch. Still, for the most part, the story is well achieved, with plenty of atmosphere and a real sense of place. Somebody had the brilliant idea of filming in the bleak Icelandic countryside, full of mountains and rocks and waterfalls with nary a blade of grass in sight; the decision paid off (despite problems with the weather during the shoot) and you can really believe the action is taking place over a thousand years ago.

 
 

Gerard Butler does well as the hero, his Beowulf equally as rugged as the isolated scenery. His role feels like a dry-run for 300’s King Leonidas. Most of the supporting cast are interchangeable, but Stellan Starsgard is fine as the complex, tormented Hrothgar. Grendel is a more sympathetic creation here than in the poem; he’s given his own back story, which I didn’t mind, and he looks like a caveman rather than a hideous monster. Some of the incident in the eventual showdown between man and monster is changed and the later sub-plot involving Grendel’s mother feels rushed, but I felt these problems were insignificant. For the most part, Beowulf & Grendel ably brings to life the heroism and terror of the Anglo-Saxon age.
                                            

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Co-incidence or God-incidence?

My life is often filled with what some people label coincidences, but I beg to differ. I believe that some things happen for a reason and I like to refer to them as God-incidences. In my experience things rarely happen by accident - even though at the time we might feel we've stumbled across them accidentally.

About a month ago I'd been feeling particularly low and was heading towards a depression. The difference is that instead of plummeting straight into the pit, I often recognise the signs beforehand nowadays and endeavour to put some coping mechanisms into place. These can be something as simple as allowing myself a 'be good to yourself'/'duvet' day or watching an episode of Desperate Housewives/Brothers & Sisters or basically doing anything that helps me escape that threat of the hovering darkness for even a short while.

It was on this particular day that hubby and I had a heart to heart. We've been together *gulp* for seven years now and married for five of those, so it's fair to say that we know each other quite well. Graham too had recognised that I was struggling to be my 'normal-to-me' self. Our talk eventually led us to changing the course of our writing aspirations. This was a great decision but it still took me a while to filter it down enough to believe it. I then opened my email Inbox to discover this:

Your Spiritual Message For An Inspirational Day! Laura Lester Fournier


Let it go today.  Allow yourself to release into the comfort of a loving Creator.  Your sadness, grief, confusion, and anger must ultimately be released, in order to restore peace and joy into your life.  Why hang on for a lifetime, to something that can truly be released right now?  Let it go today, you are strong enough to do this. 
Laura Lester Fournier

There were two specific parts to this message that hit me with clarity:
  • 'Your sadness, grief, confusion, and anger'  - I remember thinking W-O-W these words are spot on and encapsulate everything I'm feeling: Sadness for my health difficulties. Grief for the recent death of my mother-in-law [who died from the same illness that I struggle with]. Confusion about whether I was making the right decision about my writing journey and Anger about all of the above and so much more!
  • 'Let it go today, you are strong enough to do this.' There's the double whammy... 'you are strong enough'
Coincidence that I opened this email at exactly the right time for me? I don't think so.

 or

God-incidence? Well, seeing as He knew even before I did how I was feeling and He knew that there wasn't much hope of me reading the Holy Bible at that moment. He also knew that He'd reach me at the perfect time via my Inbox.

Well, that's my understanding.

Whatever your beliefs I recommend you pay a visit to Laura's website here and consider signing up for her Daily Spiritual Message - what've you got to lose?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Meet Leola & Wulfric

Not saying too much about the story at this stage but here's a pic of the heroine and hero inspiration for our Historical Romance:

Imogen Poots & Viggo Mortensen
taking the roles in our story of
Leola & Wulfric

It's only right that I share the other photo inspiration of Wulfric that I will no doubt feast my eyes on from time to time:


All in the name of research, of course...