Guest Post from Carol Kilgore

September 15, 2010 at 5:40 am (September Blog Tour) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Note from Cassandra: Thanks Carol for hosting me on your blog today and for your excellent post here. I hope everyone enjoys reading your words of wisdom.

POP GOES THE WEASEL

First of all, I want to thank Cassandra for offering me this opportunity to be a guest on her fantastic blog. I always learn from her posts. Today I’m a virgin – this is my first ever time to write a post for someone else’s blog. It’s a little frightening. So here we go, sink or swim.

“Pop Goes the Weasel” is a song most of us learned before we could string more than two words together – as soon as we could master the crank on the side of the Jack-in-the-Box. We watched Mommy turn it, Daddy, big sister. We knew what was coming.

The clown popped out, and we jumped and squealed. We couldn’t wait for them to push the clown back in and make it jump out. “Again! Again!”

Then it was our turn. We turned it fast, we turned it slow, we mixed it up. Again and again.

When we were two, this was thinking outside the box.

We passed the Terrific Terrible Twos a long time ago. Now most of you reading this are writers.

Today, thinking outside the box means something a little different from Mr. Jack. We still have the familiar set-up, but the outcome is . . . outside the box. Now when we turn the crank, maybe the box explodes. Or the clown is a girly fish dressed in sequins with a pink feather boa around her neck and wearing bright red lipstick. Or we have to put the box together like a puzzle to hear the song. Or we start with the clown outside, turn the crank, and he returns to the box.

The same with our writing. Thinking outside the box applies to every aspect of a novel – character, conflict, dialogue, setting, tone, point of view, plot, theme, and so on.

Instead of your protagonist being a firefighter, maybe he’s a special hot-spot firefighter who gets called out on wildfires. Or maybe he’s a dragon and a rookie in the Dragonopolis Fire Department who always needs to be careful not to start fires of his own when he sneezes or laughs or becomes angry.

Thinking outside the box takes many forms. That’s the beauty. The possibilities are endless.

What’s your favorite way to think outside the box?

~

Carol Kilgore is a Texas writer living in San Antonio. She writes mystery and suspense with a little romance to tingle your tootsies. Her blog, Under the Tiki Hut, is a positive spot for readers and writers to meet, relax, and exchange ideas and dreams.

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Two Visits Done

September 3, 2010 at 5:04 am (September Blog Tour) (, , , , , , , , , , )

The blog tour started well with my visit to Eric’s blog. I want to thank Eric once again for his brilliant post and for kicking off the tour. I then dropped in to Geoffrey’s blog for day two. Thanks so much Geoffrey for your excellent post here in the realm.

But there are many days to come in September.

Tomorrow I am visiting Lua Fowles blog where I discuss excuses for not writing, while Lua brings her own brand of wisdom here to the realm.

After that there is a bit of a break before I visit Sonya Clark on the 7th for an interview.

Thanks to everyone who has already started following the tour and I hope to see you on my ‘travels’.

Between now and the 7th, I have received an award that I am going to share.

Before I’m done though, here are the 5 things I’ve learned from planning this blog tour:

1. There are many, many helpful people out there, so when you ask if anyone would mind hosting you, be prepared for an inundation of offers.

2. It helps if you do a blog swap rather than just a visit and that way you don’t have to worry about writing two posts on a given day and it lets the people hosting you have a chance to visit another blog.

3. Make sure you have a bucket load of free time because you will spend twenty times longer writing the posts for the tour than any of your other blogs.

4. The time difference between Australia and America becomes really noticeable when trying to coordinate with people on the other side of the world.

5. Despite the work, this has been really fun and I can’t wait to plan another one next year.

Thanks all and see you around.

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Prep For the Tour

August 29, 2010 at 10:04 am (September Blog Tour) (, , , , , , )

Hey all,

Turns out planning a blog tour is exciting, exhilarating, and a lot of hard work. The tour kicks off on Wednesday the 1st of September over on Eric’s blog, working my muse, and Eric is going to be visiting the realm so I am definitely looking forward to it.

I’ve been busy, writing guest posts, double checking links, making sure everything is going to plan and knowing that something is probably going to come up anyway. I’ve also been helping out with the 40 hour famine. As always, so much to do and so little time. Writing has definitely been taking a back seat but I’m getting back on top of everything so hopefully I’ll have a few really good writing sessions in the near future.

First week of the blog tour begins with Eric and then on the 2nd I am visiting Geoffrey, followed by Lua on the 4th. Hope to see you all there and please pass the word on.

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Following the leader:

August 7, 2010 at 5:44 am (drafting) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

This is mostly in response to Carol Kilgore’s post earlier in the week on the blinking cursor.  Afterward I was having trouble typing without staring at the cursor on the screen and that was seriously derailing my ability to type. It really does just sit and blink at you when your fingers hesitate on the keys. It is almost as if it is angry and impatient, dying to get moving and hating you because you need to stop and think.

I probably shouldn’t personify computer blips but there we have it.

As I mentioned in the comments, I don’t sit in front of my screen when I’m thinking. I either move or turn the screen off. The glare and the blinking and just the hum of the computer is all very impersonal and it all feels very demanding. As if you have to get things done right now and that kind of pressure is never good for my creative process. I move away and find more pleasant surrounds, or at least different surrounds.

That said, I like the cursor when I’m on a roll. I see it gliding effortlessly across the screen, a straight and powerful line driving before the flock of words that follow in its wake – and there is probably a mangled metaphor if ever there was one. I see it as a guide and as encouragement. I see the words play out behind it and feel that something is being accomplished. When the story is flowing, the cursor can be your very best of friends and one of your greatest supporters.

Is it that the cursor is in fact two faced or is it that when things go well we see the positive in things but when they go poorly…

Maybe its just the fact that it blinks. Blinking lights always seem impatient and angry. Or alarmed. Concerned. None of these things are what you emotionally want when trying to write so why won’t the cursor stop blinking.

As I hesitated before writing this line I watched the cursor sit and blink at me. Maybe it is just reminding us it is there and trying to keep us from falling asleep at the screen.

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Blog Tour

August 3, 2010 at 5:30 am (September Blog Tour) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This schedule might move a bit yet but here is the tour schedule for September. I’m asking the owners of the blogs I am visiting to check the links (I’ll have checked them but mistakes happen) before the tour and let me know if there is anything wrong (date, topic, link).

September 1: Guest post on Eric’s blog (Working my Muse) about character.

September 2: Guest post on Geoffrey’s blog (Misanthropology101) about the writing life.

September 4: Guest post on Lua Fowles blog (Like a Bowl of Oranges) about the need for quiet confidence.

September 7: interview on Sonia  Clark’s blog (Sonya Clark).

September 9: Guest post on Alex Willging’s blog (The Rhapsodist) about writing fantasy.

September 12: Guest post on Laura Diamond’s blog (Diamond – Yup, Like the Stone) about females in fantasy.

September 13: Guest post on Alex J Cavanugh’s blog (Alex J Cavanaugh) about visuals that help the writing process.

September 14: Guest post on Mason Canyon’s blog (Thoughts in Progress) about the origin of an idea.

September 15: Interview on Carol Kilgore’s blog (Under the Tiki Hut).

September 16: Interview on Susan Whitfield’s blog (Susan Whitfield’s blog).

September 18: Guest post on Jemi Faser’s blog (Jemi Fraser) about making fantasy unique.

September 20: Guest post on Nancy Allen’s blog (Nancy Kelly Allen – Writing Workshop) about reading.

September 22: Interview on Lee Robertson’s blog (Only Time Will Tell).

September 25: Guest post on Barb’s blog (The Creative Barbwire) about Death’s Daughter.

September 30: Guest post on Rosemary’s blog (Miss Rosemary’s Novel Ideas) about what happens after the manuscript is accepted.

And this one is not strictly in September but is definitely part of the tour:

October 3: Interview on Little Scribbler’s blog (Little Scribbler).

As you can see it is a busy month but there are still dates free if you would like to take part in the tour and host me for a day. Otherwise, I hope you come along on the tour.

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The Day the Tweets Died

August 2, 2010 at 5:40 am (Author Info, Weekly Review) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Not really. As I mentioned in a comment last week, I managed to finally hit my download limit – all legal of course. That means ridiculously slow internet until the next period which is still about a week away. Which means that twitter is just not working for me at the moment. I can see the top couple of frames, and then it times out an dies. This is also a problem for some of you with really big blogs that have a lot of stars and bells and whistles. Love them usually, at the moment, I can’t actually view them.

What it all really boils down to is I can’t do my coming to a usual round up of tweets concerning excellent blogs I’ve read, not because I haven’t read some excellent blogs, but because without the twitter list telling me where I’ve been, I don’t actually have all the links.

In lieu of having some great links, I thought I would share a few random facts about my blog.

  • Since I started this blog in November last year I’ve had just over 15000 views – though while it doesn’t count me viewing my own blog it will count you every time you visit the site so I’m certain that a lot of those views are from people I know are reading the blog regularly.
  • My worst month was April of this year (not surprisingly) with only 384 views. This could be because I didn’t post during this month due to the flood, power cuts, clean up effort and just being overwhelmed by everything else that was going on. I’m not certain, but I think that would be a good guess.
  • Twitter is my most regular referer and posts that I tweet tend to get more immediate hits than those I don’t – which is tough luck for me at the moment given I can’t tweet.
  • Most people who comment on my blog (in fact nearly all) are people I have visited first.
  • The number one search term to find my blog at the moment is still “reasons why books are better than movies” which makes the post 10 Reasons why books are better than movies and its companion post, 10 Reasons why movies are better than books, two of my most often hit posts from the past.

What did I learn from this?

If you don’t post, people don’t visit. If you don’t tell people you have posted, they won’t visit. If you don’t visit others, they won’t visit. And it really is worth using the tags and categories because sometimes really random google searches find your site.

Sorry for the lack of links, a couple of weeks and they will be back.

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Call for Writers

November 23, 2009 at 4:47 am (Feature, Writing Is) (, )

This is a quick call out to all the writers out there (published or not).  Basically I am wanting to run a series of posts called “Writing Is…” and I am looking for some willing writers to contribute a short post (approx 250 words) to the series.

If you are interested in contributing please email me:  cassandra.jade.author@gmail.com

Looking forward to hearing from you.

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