More From Twitter

July 19, 2010 at 5:29 am (Death's Daughter, Weekly Review) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Another round up of exciting links that I have found in the last little bit. I do post these on twitter as I find them and I hope that people are finding them useful. Yes, my links are scattered through them.

My must-read recommendations go to the following:

Very cool book trailer for CassaStar – check it out: http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/2010/07/book-trailer-for-cassastar.html

Cat Woods sharing seven deadly sins for writers: http://catwoods.wordpress.com/

If you have the time check out this review of Death’s Daughter:

The Rhapsodist reviews Death’s Daughter: http://alexwillging.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/cassandra_jade/

Here are the other great reads I’ve found recently:

Sybil Nelson – 8 steps to a great book trailer: http://journeysinink.wordpress.com/2010/06/20/eight-steps-to-a-great-book-trailer/

Lua Fowles – writer in a mask: http://abrokenlaptop.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/be-mysterious-writers-in-masks-features-lua-fowles/

Helen Ginger – on using Networked Blogs: http://straightfromhel.blogspot.com/2010/07/giant-head.html

An award for my blog: https://cassandrajade.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/resolution/

Susan Whitfield – Interview with Tim Marquitz: http://susanwhitfield.blogspot.com/2010/07/tim-marquitz.html

Sylvia Dickey Smith – http://sylviadickeysmithbooks.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/guidelines-for-a-writers-critique-group/

Janice Hardy – trends in writing: http://storyflip.blogspot.com/2010/07/being-trendy.html

What women write – finding your writing rhythm: http://whatwomenwritetx.blogspot.com/2010/07/what-do-you-need.html

Eric – The importance of the little things (character) http://workingmymuse.blogspot.com/2010/07/little-things.html

Robert Liparulo: making fantasy feel real: http://noveljourney.blogspot.com/2010/06/5-elements-that-make-fantasy-fiction.html

Elspeth Antonelli – ten things to do before you write: http://elspeth-itsamystery.blogspot.com/2010/06/before-you-write.html

Madison Woods – getting answers from twitter: http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/another-reason-i-love-twitter/

Some interesting tips of spelling: http://manuscriptedit.wordpress.com/

Elizabeth Spann Craig – excellent list of links for writers: http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/2010/07/top-retweets.html

Stephen Tremp – moving along on his writer’s journey: http://stephentremp.blogspot.com/

Mason Canyon – A question for authors and soon to be authors: http://masoncanyon.blogspot.com/2010/07/do-i-ask-or-not.html

Jeaniene Frost – Why women find vampires hot: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/06/30/why.women.love.vampires/index.html?fbid=oF8F5aXpTib

Bibliophile Stalker – Some great links for writers: http://charles-tan.blogspot.com/2010/07/july-14-2010-links-and-plugs.html

Cat Woods – Sentence variation http://catwoods.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/improve-flow-with-sentence-variation/

Carol Kilgore – Try something new: http://underthetikihut.blogspot.com/2010/07/lab-experiment.html Must read for #writers.

Lee Robertson – Murky Middles: http://writerleerobertson.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/murky-middles/ Got lost in the middle of your story?

Vivienne Tuffnell – Would you write full time? http://creativebarbwire.wordpress.com/2010/07/13/guest-post-vivienne-tuffnell/

Lua shares her thoughts on World Building: http://likeabowloforanges.wordpress.com/

Fantasy e-book Death’s Daughter: http://www.lyricalpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_19&products_id=227

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Gender in Fiction

July 4, 2010 at 5:30 am (Replay) (, , , , , , , , , )

I’m on holidays at the moment but I’m reposting some of the more popular posts from my old blog, Darkened Jade. If you leave a comment I’ll be sure to catch up with you when I get back.

You may have already noticed, but I am a female. As such, most of the stories I enjoy and most of the my writing tend to focus on female characters, or at least have female characters doing more than fainting and swooning over the hero of the tale.

Females have come a long way in fiction. Even though I was born in the eighties, I grew up watching a variety of television shows that were dated even then (battlestar galactica and buck rogers to name a few) and what used to trouble me was that even the women who came on tough in the beginning would ultimately end up waiting for some guy to rescue them. Or in the case of Apollo’s wife (battlestar), they would just shoot her in the back on some planet and that was the last we’d ever hear of her.

The nineties were an amazing time for females in fiction. On television we saw Xena, Buffy, Charmed, Alias, Dark Angel, and on and on the list goes of females who were taking control. Not always convincingly and sometimes one had to wonder why there wasn’t a single capable male in the Buffy-verse (not taking a swipe at Angel but seriously, even when you turned evil your girl-friend ran you through with a sword and sent you to hell).

During the nineties I started reading Traci Harding and Katherine Kerr, who were the first female authors I encountered who were really trying for epic fantasy. There were probably others out there, but I hadn’t really encountered them, and this was a really great moment for me, because it made me feel not so out of place for enjoying the genre. Katherine Kerr particularly managed to show a balance of characters in her Deverry Series with strong, weak and every character type in between, for both men and women. Her characters were dynamic and realistic, they evolved over time and just read very well.

As a writer, I have been working hard over the last few years to improve my inclusion of male characters. Reading some of my earlier story outlines, every significant character was female. The female princess with the female bodyguard (envied by all the male soldiers who of course were completely useless), who was then attacked by the female assassin who was sent by the female evil sorceress, and on it went. That was highschool.

In all honesty I was probably trying to counter Eddings – who I read a tonne of and was very influenced by, but had this nasty tendency to have only one or two female characters who would sit on the sidelines and assume the role of mother and nurse and that was it.

And here’s the link if you haven’t yet checked out the blurb or excerpt for Death’s Daughter.

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Quotes From Books

June 20, 2010 at 5:48 am (From the Book Shelf) (, , , , , , )

I love quotes. I’ve been collecting them for a long time and recently I came across a notebook from about 7 years ago with a collection of quotes from books I was reading at the time.

  • “Hearts do not break, they are only bent and mutilated.” -From Cassandra by Kerry Green.
  • “If the world comes to an end while I’m asleep, just leave a note.” – From Eye of the Daemon by Camille Bacon-Smith.
  • “I heard the chief of police three times today, claiming they expected a big break in the case any time now. You know what dat means. They ain’t got a clue what’s happening.” – From A Modern Magician by Robert Weinberg.
  • “Would you get out of here you twittering numbskull and let me get on with saving your life?” – From Socerer’s Ward by Barbara Hambly.

It is interesting to see that the books I was reading then still have a very special place on my shelf and these four books are ones I have re-read incessantly.

What are some of your favourite lines from books?  Which authors do you find yourself quoting most often?

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Character Interview Blogfest

June 15, 2010 at 5:40 am (Death's Daughter, Feature) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

I’m joining in with Jangu Mandanna’s (from Echoes of a Wayward Mind) Character Interview Blogfest.

The character I’ve decided to interview is Emily from Death’s Daughter. Emily was a butler working for the Delaine’s. After the death of Mrs Delaine, Calandra dismissed Emily from her services. (There are no plot spoilers in the following as the events discussed are either early in the story or do not appear within Death’s Daughter.)

Q: Emily, can you briefly describe your role in the story?

A: I worked as a butler for the Delaine household in Kalthium. Mr Delaine hired me and I continued my work until after the death of Mrs Delaine.

Q: How do you feel about the way Calandra has told this story?

A: How do you think I feel? Miss Calandra Delaine is a thoughtless, selfish, child. Certainly she’s used this opportunity to justify her choices and her treatment of those around her but we all know her for what she is.

Q: So you would disagree with the way Calandra has portrayed the situation at the beginning of the story?

A: Naturally. I was there, wasn’t I? Calandra was always looking down her nose at me and thinking she was all high and mighty and meanwhile she’s breaking her mother’s heart while she plays around with her dusty scrolls. So what if she could read? And then she’s glorifying her father. Her father ran off to sea and left poor Mrs Delaine to clean up the mess he left behind – and by that I mean an over indulged child that never could see things the way they were.

Q: How did you feel when Calandra dismissed you from her services?

A: Well, that was a bit of good luck in the end. As angry as I was at the time it all worked out for the best. Besides, I don’t think I could have stomached working for Miss Calandra Delaine, even if I’d wanted to stay in the house. And despite our personal disagreements, Calandra did give me a very good recommendation so when my sister found an open position with Lord and Lady Serrite it was easy enough for me to take up that position. As much as I dislike Calandra, she was fair in her statements about my service. Can’t hold that against her.

Q: In Death’s Daughter, Calandra states that you accused her of killing her mother. Do you think she murdered her mother?

A: At the time, I think I did. It was quite a shock to the household and given the tension between Calandra and her mother it seemed very possible that she had. Thinking back now, I don’t know what I think about the murder. It is all a bit of a blur and I don’t know that anyone really knows what happened. Calandra has given us one version of the events and I don’t doubt that she’ll be taken at her word, but gossip will certainly continue for sometime.

Q: Final question – Do you believe the rest of Calandra’s story?

A: Far be it from me to call someone a liar, but the tale is just a little bit fanciful. Certainly things have been a bit strange in Kalthium but to believe that there are gods running around and mysterious forces, it’s all just a bit far-fetched.

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Twitter Links

June 14, 2010 at 5:53 am (Death's Daughter, Weekly Review) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I haven’t done a review of writer links in awhile – I used to do them weekly but now find myself just not having the time to put them all together. Here is a recap of some of the links I’ve been sharing on Twitter recently. Sorry if some of the links don’t work – I tried to test most of them and they seem to be up and functioning.

My Links:

Excellent and interesting writing links:

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Lost the Plot

June 12, 2010 at 5:35 am (Death's Daughter, Plot, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Character, plot and setting.

All three are vitally important to the story.  Usually I like to focus on character but today I think I’m going to have a quick look at plot.

Plot is one of those tricky things because you would think, to make a plot interesting, that is needed to be fresh and new and complex and twist and turn and all of those other splediferous (yes, I know it isn’t a real word) things plots can do. Yet simple is sometimes much better.

So many times you read the advice that you should be able to explain what your story is about in a single sentence. An entire novel boiled down to one sentence that explains the whole point for the story. For Death’s Daughter this caused me no end of headaches because I didn’t figure this part out before I wrote the story. I wrote the story and then asked what it was about would rattle off a bunch of things that Calandra (my protagonist) did but I didn’t really get to the point. What I finally came up with was this:

A girl, cheated of her chosen destiny by forces beyond her understanding, must find a way to end a war between gods and discover the truth about who she is.

Once I knew this about the story, I could see how I had distractions and how some of the sub-plots weren’t working and I just found it much easier to work through the story because I knew exactly what the story was about.

Keeping in mind how much easier working with plot was once I knew what the plot was meant to be, I decided that for my next project I would start out with a simple statement of what I wanted the story to be and work from there. Admittedly, I haven’t even finished the first draft and I already know that what I decided the main point of my story was, isn’t. I’ve gone down a totally different track at this point but I know that once I finish this draft, I will be able to say in a single sentence what the point of my story is and I’ll be able to edit with that in mind.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on plot and how you go about crafting one.

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5 Reasons I’ll Read Your Blog

June 10, 2010 at 5:42 am (Author Info) (, , , , , , , , , )

You hear it all the time. There are so many good blogs out there (and just so many blogs period) that you just don’t have time to read them all. I love reading blogs and adding comments and going back to find out if someone has replied to my comment. I find it far more satisfying than Facebook though it is a toss-up whether I prefer twitter or blogs as my online social media of choice.

I love blogs. They share so much fantastic information and there are so many writers (published or not) that are sending out so much good advice and sharing their thoughts. It really is a case of so much to choose from, how do I decide?

That said, how do I find the blogs I read and how do I decide which ones to read. Here are my top 5 reasons for landing on someone’s blog.

1.  You commented on my blog. Yes, I visit every blog of every person who comments here. Even if only for a moment before moving on. Usually I find something really interesting to read. Sometimes I realise I’ve already been to your blog (and you were in point of fact returning the favour from my comment) but then I see you have a new post and I have something new to read. I’ve been playing blog tag with a few people for awhile now. The only time I can’t do this is if the person who has commented hasn’t left a blog address for me to go to.

2.  I follow you on twitter. Usually this means you’ve just tweeted about your latest blog post and I’ve hit the link.  Interestingly, most the people I elect to follow on twitter are people who have blogs that I’ve visited that have a follow me on twitter badge. This is all getting very linky.

3.  You’re listed on a blog that I visit regularly. Yes, I read blog rolls on blogs that I really enjoy and I occasionally randomly click on names on the list. I like blog rolls that tell you when the blog was last updated because then I know if there is something recent to read.

4.  I was searching for something on google and somehow the key words I was searching for have found your blog. This one doesn’t happen so often and I don’t tend to stick around these blogs for as long, though occasionally I find a gem.

5.  The readomattic feature from WordPress.  Anyone who has posted onto a WordPress blog using the tags I use will come up in this list (when it is functioning) and I can read the first part of their post to see if I’m interested. I’ve found some very good blogs this way.

So there you have it.  My top 5 reasons for visiting and reading your blog.  How do you find the blogs you read? How did you find this one?

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New Book Trailer from Sherrilyn Kenyon

May 28, 2010 at 5:34 am (Feature, New Release) (, , , , , , , , , , )

While I seem to be stuck on vampires I was emailed this trailer about Sherrilyn Kenyon’s new young adult series “Chronicles of Nick” and I’m happy to share this video with you all because it looks kind of amazing (as did Sherrilyn’s last trailer).

And isn’t the cover really something? Sorry – I have this thing about lighting effects on covers and this one is kind of incredible. What do you think?

Oh and before you get dazzled watching the trailer below, if you have a book coming out or already released that you like for me to feature, please just send me the details.  I’ve been reading a few blogs recently where people have been announcing good news with their writing.

Have fun watching.

In addition to the very cool trailer you can click here to read more about the book.

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Reading Challenge

December 9, 2009 at 5:00 am (100+ Reading, Feature) (, , )

Tam from Bailey’s and Books posted about how they were going to take part in the 100+ Reading  Challenge for 2010.  Following the links I found the original site.  J. Kaye has issued the 100+ Reading Challenge for 2010 and I have foolishly signed myself up.  I am not hugely optimistic of my chances but I signed up for a few reasons.

My first reason is simple.  I have well over a hundred books lying around waiting to be read.  Many of them have been waiting for nearly all of this year while others are more recent acquisitions.  This might actually get me reading through some new material.

The second reason is that I think it is going to be a really fun challenge.  I love reading and too often I find other things to do.  Admittedly a lot of my reading time is now taken up by writing, or by reading blogs, but I love reading books and this will help me to make more time for it.

Finally, I like challenges.  I like meeting them.  I like overcoming obstacles and making things work.  I also like there not being actual consequences should I fail.  It will be a challenge, but a safe one where if I meet it I get satisfaction, if I don’t, well there is next year.

So, are you going to take the challenge?

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