Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Reading I'm looking forward to ...

I've had the following books on my shelf for a while. They're books that I can't WAIT to get stuck into, but I keep pushing further and further down the pile due to all the ARCs I keep agreeing to read. It's an addiction. Really. How can I turn down all these awesome ARCs from all these wonderful bloggers?

Anyhoo ... this is what's on my list of "can't wait to get to":

Bodily Harm, Margaret Atwood: "Rennie Wilford, a young jounalist running from her life, takes an assignment to a Caribbean island and tumbles into a world where no one is what they seem. When the burnt-out Yankee Paul (does he smuggle dope or hustle for the CIA?) offers her a no-hooks, no strings affair, she is caught up in a lethal web of corruption."

All New People, Anne Lamott: "In this child's-eye view of the fear and pain of growing up, Lamott shows in vivid word pictures that the child is parent of the adult. Nan Goodman, hurting after a failed marriage and her father's death, goes back to the town of her childhood. As skinny little Nanny, aged five to 12, she either adored or was ashamed of her leftist parents, her writer father who never made enough money for comfort and her devoutly Christian mother who was his inspiration."

Dark Places, Gyllian Flynn: "Libby Day, the protagonist of Flynn’s disturbing second novel, was, as a seven-year-old, the only survivor of her family’s brutal murder by her older brother, an event dubbed by the media the “Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” Twenty-five years later, she has become a hardened, selfish young woman with no friends or family. Since the tragedy, her life has been paid for by donations of well-wishers, but, with that fund now empty, Libby must find a way to make money..."

Moments of Being, Virginia Woolf: "Moments of Being contains Virginia Woolf’s only autobiographical writing: “By far the most important book about Virginia Woolf...that has appeared since her death” [Angus Wilson, Observer (London)]. Edited and with an Introduction by Jeanne Schulkind; Index."

Confusion is Next: The Sonic Youth Story, Alec Foege: "A literate and thorough biography of Sonic Youth, one of the most innovative and significant bands of the '80s and '90s. Foege is several cuts above the typical scribblers in rock journalism, and his insights about the possible obsolescence of critics in a pop culture are particularly interesting."

(note: all blurbs were taken from Amazon)
How about you? What are you looking forward to reading, but keep pushing further and further down your list?

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Muso of the week: Songs that tell stories ...

~The New Pornographers~


My Favorite Albums: Twin Cinema, The Challengers

Why I love them: Interestingly, listening to their music makes me feel like I'm living my life in a modern-day musical. Not just because the lyrics usually tell stories, but because the instrumental arrangement has a twinge of HAIR! in it, and makes me want to go back in time and become a hippy tree-hugger for a little while. I always listen to this band when I need a good pick-me-up. The following song is one of my favorites. I hope you have a listen! The video clip is interesting too ... very much representative of a creative mind (and writer's brain!)

Have you heard of The New Pornographers? If so, do you feel how I do about them? If not, why do you like their music? Do you know any other bands/musicians that tell stories in their songs?

Monday, 29 August 2011

Something I think we can all relate to in some way or another ...

Do you thrive on being creative? Do you feel your art is just a little misunderstood? Well, then I've written this prose poem just for you.


I want you to latch onto my skin like a bandage clip; dig your edges just below the surface of my cloth. Cat’s claws in a carpet, where I spread my art—eggs, macaroni, my heart from a grocery bag. Do you believe in me and the canvass I’ve ‘destroyed’—in the bulbous fluffy protective skin I paint my soul on? I know you don’t understand, but I did try to recreate my wit for you on our lounge room floor. It’s not my fault—is it?—that you can’t distinguish brush strokes from errant splashes? I’m sorry. Yes. I’ll fetch the vacuum cleaner.

Do you ever wonder whether people 'truly understand' your art?

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Don't ever tell me it's impossible, 'cause it just ain't!

When I started university I majored in Archaeology. A year later, I couldn't hack the mathematics skills I had to channel for my research methods class. So despite loving the history, I quit and changed my major to English.

"What job are you going to get with that?" people would ask. "Do you want to be a teacher?" I said I didn't know, but that I hoped I wouldn't have to worry because my music career would take off. But studying English flicked a switch: Hey, I can actually write. Excellent. Now I've got two career paths that are considered impossible to be a success in.

Did I care? No. And because I didn't give a toss what other people said, I pushed and pushed until I got what I wanted. I now work as an editor and writer for English Language Teaching Publishers worldwide, AND have a novel coming out, AND have an album coming out with it.

So. My point is: NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE. If you want something. You reach for it. Because if you don't, you'll never know what could become of you.

Anyone ever said you couldn't do something, then proved them wrong? Tell me your story.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Watching Willow ... What's that you said? Awesome book? Yeah, I think so too ...

Watching Willow WattsWatching Willow Watts by Talli Roland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We all know Talli Roland, right? Well, I finished her second novel over the weekend and just can't resist sharing my thoughts with you.

I received an advanced review copy of this at the perfect time. Right when I needed a good laugh and pick-me-up. Ultimately, this is a 'feel good' book. But woven into the intelligent narrative, dry humour, and moments worthy of good old a belly laugh, is a subtle melancholy. Of course, this melancholy is not prominent, and is often completely overridden by Roland's remarkable skill at bringing the funniest elements of a scene to the surface, but it's there--lingering in the background. And cleverly done so too.

There are moments in the book where you feel like you're at a big party, and all attention is on you, then someone says something insulting to you, that everyone else seems to think is funny. Of course, you try to save face by laughing along and pretending that the comment didn't hurt. But it did. Deep down. But you wouldn't dare let it show, would you? Because your reputation comes first, and if people knew how you felt inside, no one would like you anymore.

This book is ultimately about following dreams. But not dreams of success. Dreams of just being accepted for your plain old self. It really makes you realize that fame isn't all it's cracked up to be. And that happiness comes from being true to oneself.

Watching Willow Watts is a must-read. Because sometimes you can get a lot more than just entertainment out of chick-lit than one would typically think. Talli Roland is a talent to say the least. And I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

Have you read Talli's first book, The Hating Game? If not, you're missing out. Seriously. I think you should before the second one comes out! Not long now ...

PS: I did yoga for the first time yesterday and I loved it! Anyone else do yoga regularly? What kind of benefits/results do you see?

PPS: Today is the last chance to win an advance copy of my debut String Bridge. All you gotta do is click HERE and leave a comment. Easy peasy.

Have a great day!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Muso of the Week: Sounds so jolly, but that's just plain deception ...

Source -- hey! She's playin' my guitar!
If you missed last week's post about ~Muso of the Week~ and would like to catch up, click HERE. If you're lazy to read a whole other post, the basic idea is that once a week I'm going to talk about musicians who I admire or who have inspired my own music over the years. Last week I posted about PJ Harvey. This week I'd like to introduce to you, Aimee Mann.

I first discovered Aimee Mann when I saw the film Magnolia. The entire script of that film was based on Aimee Mann's songs. And a pretty amazing film, and soundtrack, it was too. If you haven't seen this film, I suggest you do so asap. Brilliant brilliant brilliant.

I guess you could say Aimee Mann's music is a cross between pop and folk. Funnily enough, neither pop, nor folk are styles of music I often get crazy about, unless it's Joni Mitchell (I'll talk about her one day too.), but when I listen to Aimee Mann, her music pulls me in with magnetic force. I can't explain it. Some of it sounds so 'jolly'. But when you listen closely, and pay special attention to the lyrics, oh my god they are just so heartbreaking. I'm a sucker for heartbreaking music. I've come to the conclusion that I actually enjoy crying. Okay, enough about my idiosyncracies ...

Aimee Mann. Brilliant musician. She makes me want to be a better songwriter. She makes me want to pull people's heartstrings. If you want to listen to one of her less jolly songs, actually, my most favorite of hers, called Wise Up, straight out of the movie Magnolia, click HERE.

So do you enjoy listening to music that makes you emotional? Why?

Monday, 22 August 2011

So it seems fruit and veg have ripped open my brain and told it to jump ...

About three weeks ago I realized that I was ten kilos heavier than I was ten years ago. Ten years ago I was slim and fit, and I think I had a pretty nice body. But as history would have it, many of the women in my family have put on weight quite easily once hitting 30. I'm 30. This freaked me out. I thought, shit, is it all down hill from here? If so, I'm gonna roll down that hill pretty quickly the more circular my body becomes--haha! And when I looked at myself in the mirror, I'm sure I saw more weight on my body than there I actually was. So ...

... I vowed to go on a diet. Not a crazy, starve-myself kinda diet, just one that seemed to make sense at the time. No sweets, no sodas, no bread, no cooked oil, limited dairy, pasta with an oil-free sauce once a week. For the past three weeks I've been living on lots of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, fresh fish, black coffee, natural yogurt, occasional feta cheese, lots and lots of water (and mixed with fresh lemon juice in the morning). I've been eating well. I have never finished a meal still hungry. And guess what? I've lost FOUR kilos. I'm so proud of myself. And not only that, I feel emotionally better too. In fact, all this healthy eating has made a considerable difference. And only over three weeks. I'm losing weight, and I can actually see a difference in the way my clothes hang on my body; my complexion is smoother, I don't feel lethargic in the middle of the day, I can concentrate for longer periods of time, and I also feel more motivated.

This weekend, I decided I wouldn't touch my computer. And I stuck to it (except for ten minutes when I needed to write a book review for Talli's upcoming release). It was SO good. I did a lot of reading. I didn't enter my office for anything other than locating my Kindle charger, and getting a new book off my shelf to read. And I had a revelation (see my brain is working as it should be too with all these veggies). I'm going to take every weekend off. I used to use the weekend to take care of personal projects, but I've decided, no more. I'm going to schedule my writing and marketing it into my weekdays. It can't be that hard. I just have to stop sleeping in till 10am like a depressed sloth. So ...

... I've planned my weekly schedule. Allocated specific hours for specific things instead of just taking the day as it comes like usual (which was work till my eyes hurt while farting about on the internet). That seems to be a recipe for BAD for me. From now on, while I'm working, I'm turning off the internet. I'm sure to get my work done a lot quicker this way and therefore have time to write and network in the afternoon. I'm also checking out a yoga studio around the corner from my apartment this week. It'll be nice to have something to HAVE to get out of the house for a few times a week. I'm so looking forward to having more of a work/leisure balance in my life!

And can you believe, all it took for me to realize all this was to stop eating crap? Why didn't I do this sooner? ;o)

Do you notice a difference in your mood, logic and performance when you eat well?

PS: I'm craving ice cream right now. Badly. Actually, I crave it all the time. This is the con. But I'll treat myself to one soonish ...

PPS: If you want to win an ARC of String Bridge go and leave a comment HERE. You've got until Wednesday to sign up. Do me a favor and spread the word if you're feelin' generous :o)

Tune in tomorrow for ~Muso of the Week~! :o)

Thursday, 18 August 2011

From Athens to Athens ...

Tyler from Athens, Ohio: "Ohmigosh! Seriously? This is THE book? Nah, you're kidding me right? You're not? Get me my glasses!"

Holly from Athens, Greece: "*yawn* Um ... yeah. Woopy doo ... you've only been writing it over and over for five years ... Can we go play ball now, or what?"

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Didn't receive an ARC of String Bridge? Then enter to win one of two copies available!

Just a quick post to let you know that Bridge Social Media are giving away two print ARCs of my debut String Bridge. If you're interested, hop on over and leave a comment HERE to enter into the draw! You don't have to be following the blog to enter, but I think it just common courtesy if you do, yeah? Just for me? Pretty please with a cherry on top?

[Karen+Gowen+copy.jpg]On another awesomely exciting note, Karen Gowen, author of Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds and forthcoming, House of Diamonds, (this October) has posted an early review of String Bridge today on her blog. If you don't know Karen, take this opportunity to get to know her a little and follow her blog too. She's an amazing an inspiring woman!

I'll be off from blogging for the rest of the week due to a heavy workload. So, see you next Monday and good luck in the draw! :o)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

It's time for music to claim a third of the spotlight ...

So it just occurred to me this past weekend that I rarely talk about music here. What is wrong with me? It's not a secret that I'm a singer/songwriter/guitarist, so why has fiction and poetry taken over this blog? I don't know, really. Perhaps I've been trying to convince myself that music isn't a priority of mine to make more room for my books. But you know what? I think it is a priority. I think it deserves a position at the front of the stage along with the rest of my creative endeavors.

I haven't neglected music entirely, of course. As you know I've been busy writing and recording the album for String Bridge, but a part of me has been pushing it to the sidelines, rendering it an "unimportant" facet of my career. But it shouldn't be, should it?

Why don't I take my music as seriously as my books? Time? Nah. That's just a stupid excuse. Insecurities? Perhaps. I don't really think I'm that great a guitarist. Actually, I'm not. What I excel in, is the singing and composing. Boredom? Yes. Sometimes. It can get pretty annoying hearing the sound of your own voice over and over and over and over, while trying to practice a song. And by the time I perfect it, I hate it. Especially when it sounds so bland without other instruments to give it the dynamics it needs to roar. But these are all just petty excuses that I come up with to justify my flippancy. It's easy to forget that listeners do not experience the labor that goes into producing music and therefore will not feel the same way I do about it. So I've gotta get over that. Because when I hear the finished product, I get butterflies in my stomach. I fall in love with my songs all over again. That feeling really is quite euphoric.

So, as a kind of way to mark the acceptance of music in my life, I've decided I'm going to talk about it here from time to time. I'm also going to slip in little quotes or lyrics from musicians that have influenced me in some way, or whom I admire. I may not do whole posts about them, but I may add them to the end of a post once a week as a sort of signature. Sound good? I think so ... so here's my first:

~Muso of the week~
Polly Jean Harvey: "I don't loathe interviews, I'm just one of those people who makes music because I find it difficult to talk."

My Favorite Albums: Dry, Is This Desire?, White Chalk, Let England Shake (oh, bugger it, I love all of them!)

Why I love her: Listening to her makes me want to write a new song. She's got a gritty, intriguing and unusual style. A bit of grunge, a bit of folk, a bit of blues, a bit of pure rock 'n' roll. Think Sonic Youth or Patti Smith meets Joni Mitchell or Kate Bush.

Do you have an artist you admire? What do you admire about them?

Monday, 15 August 2011

Leaving The Hall Light On, by Madeline Sharples: A book I'll never ever forget.

Leaving the Hall Light OnLeaving the Hall Light On by Madeline Sharples
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This memoir pins you down and never lets go. There wasn't one moment where I wasn't thinking about Madeline's heartbreak, and Paul's suffering, and anticipating the time I could sit down and read it again in peace. You want to immerse yourself in total silence while reading this extraordinarily powerful story. I'm not sure why I felt this way. Perhaps it was a subconscious act of respect. Perhaps I felt as if Madeline, Paul, Bob and Ben, needed my undivided attention. Actually, I think that is the reason. It was as if I wasn't even reading, but watching the story unfold right before my very eyes. Who wants background noise when someone is pouring their heart out to you? I certainly don't.

I cried. Three times, in fact. The first time straight after the very first paragraph. The second time during one of Bob's (Madeline's husband) journal entries describing the scene of finding their son, Paul, dead, in a pool of blood, in their bath, throat and wrists slit. And the third time after reading a poem called "A Stone Called Son".

I don't think I can justifiably describe how I'm feeling about this book. Tears are welling up in my eyes as I'm writing this, trying to figure out how to express myself. My gosh, I'm a writer and I can't find the words to tell you how much I wish every single person on this planet would read this book.

Reasons to read this, off the top of my head:

  • Because it will teach you not to judge.
  • Because it will teach you how to behave around people who are grieving.
  • Because sometimes you need a reality check.
  • Because Madeline has written a book about one of the most difficult experiences in her life and it should be rewarded.
  • Because you want to. Believe me, you do. No matter how heartbreaking the content, you want to read it. You will become a better person afterward.

I tip my hat off to you, Madeline. You are a survivor. You are an inspiration. You make me proud to be a woman.

View all my reviews

What books have you read recently that have made you feel proud to be who you are?

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The thing I don't talk about much here (if ever) ...

After reading a post by Amy Saia, and replying to her via email, due to being hesitant about voicing my response in public, I've been wondering whether I should just put that dark side of my soul out there for you all to see. To be honest, as I'm writing this right now, I'm wondering how long this post is going to sit in my 'drafts' before I end up deleting it.

I'm not writing this to get any sympathy from anyone. I have plenty of support from my partner and family. I have people around me who understand and I'm so thankful for that. I'm writing this as a personal stepping stone to accepting the way I am, and not being afraid to let people see it on occasion.

I am, more often than not, very depressed. There. I said it. My gut is doing somersaults at the thought of clicking publish right now ...

I end up in tears at least once a day over nothing. I just have this sadness inside me that never goes away. Yes, it hides sometimes and opens the door for happiness on occasion, but it's always there. Lingering like a bad smell. Digging its claws into my back like a school bully trying to make my life difficult.

It gets worse when I write music. When I write music, I feel hollow. Writing music is not fulfilling for me, though, there is something that continually draws me to it. Something that makes me want to feel that hollowness. But let's look on the bright side. It makes for great songwriting, yeah? ;o).

I'm not going to go into much detail about what I feel. I think it's enough to simply say that I have dark days and leave it at that. I've learned to live with it. I have my own coping mechanism. It works. Though I do wonder how effective it is because I think I block too much of the real world out as a result. But, hey, that's a whole other kettle of fish.

I know I don't seem depressed on this blog. I fact, I think I do a damned good job of hiding it. But there is a reason I don't show that side of me on this blog, other than the simple fact that I don't want to burden my readers with melancholy content. I don't show that side of me because when I write, that thick, heavy sadness lifts. When I write I feel fulfilled. It is my medicine.

Thank you, Amy, for making me realize that it isn't so hard to talk about in public after all. And yes, as you can see, I did hit publish today. :o)

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Get a Bit a Greek Into Ya: A Video Tour of Ithaca, Greece

Today I'd share a video my mother took of Ithaca a couple of months ago. It's the Greek island I've spent about a third of my life on. In this video my mother takes you on a little scenic tour through a few of the island's villages, from up in the mountains, down to the main village, and through a few of the smaller villages.

PS: That's my mum on the left at 3:57, and my step father on the right at 4:02. At 5:07, that's my uncle gulping down the espresso like a shot of vodka in the cafebar he owns. I worked there as a waitress for about 3 years, from 19 to 21 years old. At 6:03, it's my aunt, my step father's sister. At 11:45 are her kids, twin boys. :o)

This is also where I'm holding the writers' retreat next year :o)

Come 'on, folks, grab ya sunnies and hop in ...

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

And yes, the blog comment issue, yet again, has stolen a post of its own ...

effective blog commenting tips
I'm always really busy. Unfortunately. And when I spend time blogging, I make sure that all my effort goes into visiting and commenting on YOUR blogs rather than my own. On occasion, if someone asks me a question, I will reply by email. If your email isn't attached to your profile, I'll answer in the comments. But generally, I do not reply because there are only so many hours in a day and I make it a priority to make the rounds to you directly.

I'm just wondering, does this bother any of you? Because I notice that many many of you reply to my comments. Thank you so much, to those who do this, but honestly, please don't feel obligated to! Use that time to read and comment on someone else's blog post. I think it's energy more efficiently spent, don't you? Mind you, if you do want to keep replying, because that's simply the way you like to do things, I'm not complaining at all. You're free to blog how you want to blog, and I love that you want to reply to me.

I guess my point today is, I think all this "blog etiquette," which I have learned so well these past two years, is a touch out of my control now, and I'm really sorry that I don't always have the time to reply any more. I know I used to. But I'm afraid that the more and more followers I get, the more and more impossible it is becoming for me to do so. And it's only going to get worse. But please know, I appreciate every single minute you spend communicating with me and I cherish every single comment I get. And if your comment REQUIRES a reply I PROMISE you will get one. All your comments on my posts bring a huge smile to my face. Each and every single one of them.

How do you deal with your comments? Do you always reply, even if the comment only consists of "great post!"? Why do you think you feel the need to do that? PS: This is NOT a criticism, I'm simply curious about others' blogging habits.

Monday, 8 August 2011

"Come along with me and let's go back to when I had a future," Stephen T. McCarthy

Stephen T. McCarthy, 1979
Today I'd like to introduce you to a man I met in blogdom during Arlee Bird's very first A-Z April Challenge back in 2010. His name is Stephen T. McCarthy, and he is one of the nicest, most generous people I've ever met. But what makes this guy totally unique, is that I very much doubt he would like to be thought of like this. In fact, I think he would spit out some sort of sarcastic remark in reply to this, that would either make you laugh and splutter your coffee all over your computer screen (if you are like me and can see that he's seriously only yankin' yer chain), or get totally offended, want to vomit, and never speak to the guy again. ;o)

But see, that's what makes Stephen so great, and I wouldn't do a thing to change it. He makes me laugh. A lot. And once you get to know him, there's even more of that kinda medicine, PLUS, a kindhearted guy who will go out of his way to help you in anything he can.

So, (Stephen, I know you're cringing at this, sorry, matey), today he's posted a six part series about his hometown Los Angeles up until the time he left in 1992 for Arizona. He says, rather beautifully I might add, "Whereas New York City is like a rock - never changing - Los Angeles is like the ocean - always in a state of flux, always breaking and reforming like the surf. This was MY Homemegalopolis from a distant past, and not necessarily the city as She stands today."

The posts are quite long, but totally worth it (so bookmark them if you don't have time today), especially considering the city is viewed through the eyes of a man who is not only very politically aware, but a great great lover of art, literature, and especially music. Bob Dylan fans, you REALLY want to get to know this guy! And for all you writers out there, these posts are PERFECT for research if you have anything set in this neck of the woods.

So, get your butts over THERE and start reading!

But before you do, answer me this: What's the first wonderful aspect of your hometown that comes to mind when you think about it? And does it make you feel nostalgic?

Thursday, 4 August 2011

So erm, I haven't held them in my hands yet, but ...

... I have seen them by my publisher's window!

And I'm so excited!!!!!! For all those of you who signed up to receive print ARCs of String Bridge
for my blog tour, they'll be on their way to you very very soon!

(If you weren't around yesterday, check out yesterday's post to sink your teeth into something with a little more meat. I know the arrival of my ARCs is a lot more exciting for me than it is for you!)

Also ... yesterday I received my very first review by Magadalena Ball, an author whom I adore. My heart was pumping so hard when she sent me the link. I hope that doesn't happen every single time I get a review ... I felt kind of faint!
Have a great weekend, all!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

From the dark and twisted alleys of my unrecognizable brain ...

So, I've concocted the idea for my third novel and I'm sorta afraid to write it. The working title is called MUTED and it's based on the short story I wrote for the Tiny Dancer Anthology. Sinking my teeth into this baby is going to be an experience I'll never forget. It's going to be one of the darkest, most twisted tales I've ever written.

Here's my current blurb:
It's illegal to wear clothes. In some streets, it's also illegal to sing without accompanying instruments. Concetta, a famous Italian a cappella singer from before “the change,” now living in Arles, France, breaks these laws. As punishment, her vocal chords are brutally slashed and her eardrums surgically perforated. Unable to cope living a life without song, she resolves to drown herself in the river clothed in a dress stained with performance memories. But Concetta's suicide attempt is cut short as someone grabs her by the throat and pulls her to the surface. Is it the busking harpist, who encouraged her to feel music through vibration, acting as savior? Or a street warden on the prowl for another offender to detain?

I have a ton of research to do for this, such as read up on totalitarianism, Arles, and Van Gogh, who cut off his ear there. I've been to Arles, but I was only 12 so can't remember much. Doing extensive research is quite new for me, because the previous two books I've written I've basically used the knowledge I already posses. I'm looking forward to making a trip to Arles when I can afford it. (Katie, wanna come? :o)

The first thing I did, though, research-wise, was ask Lydia, the blogoshere's most desired medical expert, how I would go about Concetta's punishment, for her to end up mute and deaf. Here is what she said:

I think you have a few choices on how you want this to happen (becoming mute). The cords are small and live within a protective, very strong cartilege. The perpetrator wouldn't necessarily be aiming for the cords, but to destroy the structure that surrounds it. To crush it,  a strong blow directed right at the larynx would work. You could use a knife too, but you'd risk causing paralysis or cutting through some major arteries. To maim but not kill, a crush injury would be better, I think. If you do that, you'd have to consider that her airway would be almost closed and she'd almost lose her ability to breath; this could be supported with a breathing tube or something until she recovers.

Another option would be this. The nerves that innervate the vocal cords (called the recurrent laryngeal nerves) run on each side of the trachea, or big breathing tube of the neck. One good slash to either side would do the trick (again, the perpetrator would have to be skilled--big slashes would hit the neck arteries--a well-directed few slashes would make her mute.). There might be injury to the esophagus and a lot of bleeding for this type of injury, but it would do the trick.. 

 ... any crush injury to that area will cause inflammation and injury to the esophagus. She'll have trouble breathing and wheeze a bit, swallowing (probably will only be able to do liquids for a while), and her whole neck would be really sore and stuff. If it's just the cuts, her swallowing probably wouldn't be affected.

As for the ears, a simple perforated ear drum could cause damage but they often heal; so you'd have to make it pretty traumatic, and not just perforate the ear drums, but maybe damage the inner ear structures (the bones) as well. Ouch, it makes me cringe just thinking about it. But it would do. Also, you could have them do it with a dirty instrument, so that she gets a horrible ear infection on both sides that takes out her hearing on top of the perforation. There's a lot more leeway here for hearing loss ...

She can be conscious when this all happens (you are so mean! just kidding) but the pain will be pretty bad if it's a crush injury; the knife slashes would definitely hurt but not as much as a blow to the neck. The ear stuff though--man, talk about torture! She'd be screaming her head off. And then she'd only be hearing the screams in her head, like she was underwater. OMG, how awful...

Wow. I kinda feel sick. I'm pretty nervous out about writing this scene ... what inspires us to be so cruel to our characters??? And on another note, what lengths have you gone to for research? Travel? Library books? Or just the good old internet?

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Bookstores need shelves for the not so tidy boxes ...

So I've been mulling over genre and how if authors want to eventually be published by the big six they need to fit strictly into a particular box, which is ultimately determined by those who dominate the industry.

Honestly, IF THEY WANTED to market books that didn't fit into a clear cut box, they could. They have the resources to do so. All they have to do is tell the public what's hot and they'll buy it. When it comes to the big six, it all comes down to marketing. I think that is a sad fact.

I'm not saying that writing can be bad and made to become a worldwide hit (though I doubt it hasn't been done), I'm saying that those who have the power can market anything they want to and make it sell. If they wanted to make an unpopular genre popular, they could do it. I'm certain of it.

So WHEN are the writers that want to write OUTSIDE THE BOX going to be seen for their sheer originality and talent and given a shelf of their own? Why can't there be a shelf in the bookstore that says "Literary/Women's/Western/Speculative-Cross," for example? (yeah, that's going a bit overboard, but you get my drift, right?)

Do you think this'll ever happen? Why/Why not?

Monday, 1 August 2011

I'm back!

I'm back! And I missed you all so much! I had to force myself not to look at blogs every time I checked my email. And it was HARD.

Anyhoo, let me give you a quick run down of my holiday in photos ...

As you know, we went here:

and the rooms were total CRAP and I couldn't sleep properly because the beds were lumpy:
But thankfully we had this beach:
And we had the view of this sunrise from our balcony:
My photo!

But by one week in we got kinda bored and our backs ached from the horrible beds and we got snarky at the woman who dictated everything we ought to do: "No, you are not allowed to eat your breakfast outside. No you are not allowed to take your lunch to your room. No you can't sit there because it's set for three people. Sit here where there are only two plates." Ugh. We felt like we were on a school camp with a bully teacher. So we left early and headed for a village in the mountains called Kalavrita and stayed here ... *sigh* ... 
And we took a look around ... *sigh* ... *trickle trickle* ...
My photo!

and drank Ouzo, nibbled on fresh trout, soaked up the cool fresh air and finally relaxed ... *ahhh*

until we returned earlier than expected ...

But it's great to be back! Really! ;o)
Hope you are all having a great summer!

PS: Remember the post where I talked about being careful what you wrote online? The article I was referring to is now live on Jim Murdoch's Blog. Check it out! He's also DEFINITELY worth following. Brilliant brilliant man ...