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.

Advertisements

Permalink 20 Comments

I write like…

July 29, 2010 at 5:35 am (Thoughts on Writing, Voice) (, , , , , , , , , )

I finally gave in and tried this though not with an open mind and I have to admit my thoughts about this were well justified. Using the prologue from a work-in-progress I fed in various paragraphs and samples into the I Write Like site and according to it’s analysis I write like:

First 200 words: Raymond Chandler (which is an insane comparison)

Next 150 words: Douglas Adams (which is flattering but really quite untrue)

Next 150 words: Cory Doctorow (hadn’t heard of him before and had to google him to find out, no idea what his writing style is)

Next 200 words: Dan Brown (now it is just being mean to me)

Final 100 words: Stephen King (again flattering but untrue).

Now how in one prologue of just over 700 words did I manage to be that schizophrenic? And how can you possibly write like Douglas Adams and Dan Brown and Stephen King and Raymond Chandler all in one cohesive text. In case they hadn’t noticed, they have very different writing styles. extremely different. As in, if they were ant colonies they would devour one another different.

I went into this sceptical about it having any accuracy. I assumed it would make some generic assumption about your writing and spit out the name of someone famous to keep you happy and you would tweet it once, the end. What I didn’t expect was that pieces of the same text would come back with such incredibly different results which makes you wonder what exactly it is looking for in the text.

So I dropped the entire 700 words in and it came back with Cory Doctorow. But if I put the first 350 in it comes back with Raymond Chandler and the final 350 come back as Dan Brown. There doesn’t appear to be any underlying logic here.

Did this give me any insight into my writing? Not really. I’m trying to imagine Dan Brown interjecting into the middle of one of Douglas Adams’ novels and I must say it is an amusing thought but that’s about as far as it goes.

Who do I write like? I write like me and that’s all I can do.

Permalink 24 Comments

September Blog Tour

July 28, 2010 at 5:18 am (September Blog Tour) (, , , , , , , , , )

It is official. I am going to be doing a blog tour in September. I’d like to thank all of those people who have already offered to host me during the month however I still have empty spaces in my schedule that I am trying to fill.

To that end I am reaching out and asking for blog owners who wouldn’t mind hosting me to let me know in the comments here so I can contact you. Or you can email me (cassandra dot jade dot author at gmail dot com).

While I am doing this blog tour I am looking for people who would like to guest blog on Cassandra Jade in the Realm. So if you are a writer, reader, reviewer, whatever, and are interested in writing a guest post for this blog during September, please let me know.

Permalink 11 Comments

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

Permalink 15 Comments

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.

Permalink 5 Comments

My Writer’s Tool-Kit

July 1, 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.


There are many tools writers need in their writing tool kits. Admittedly, mine has taken a battering recently and is threatening open rebellion. It probably goes without saying that a basic understanding of grammar and plot structure should be swimming somewhere amongst the collection of skills a writer has gathered in their time. I say probably because there are a few people who feel that this is an optional extra and as every tool kit is unique, you never know what you may, or may not, find in one.

Below is a list of things I’ve added to my tool kit that I have found invaluable.

  • Binary Oppositions – I’m a fantasy writer. At the heart of so many fantasy stories, there is a duel between opposing elements (usually good and evil). I try to avoid this, as I have always found the world to be a far more complex place, however a basic understanding of the principle of opposing ideas is something I think every writer needs. As far as creating conflict, and giving people motivation, binary oppositions are useful in almost every genre.
  • Bookmarks – This is one I will always kick myself for not utilising earlier. I never used to bookmark websites. If I found a really good one I would manually record the site, but that was as far as it went. I probably lost a lot of really informative sites that way. Now, bookmarking is something I couldn’t work without. And using folders correctly to file my bookmarks, so I remember what the site is about and why I bookmarked it. Saves me hours in search time trying to find information I already located.
  • Trivia – Similar to bookmarks. It is amazing what some of your characters can know, if only you know it first. Besides, I find that small details add to the believability of characters and settings as a whole, so random facts can sometimes come in very handy. Unfortunately, when writing in a fantasy setting most of the trivia needs to be made up for the specific world, and you need to record it in someway so you don’t end up contradicting yourself.
  • Time Management – A definite necessity for any writer. Particularly the yet to be published writer who is probably working in a different profession and is not yet really being taken seriously by family and friends so making time to write can be tricky. (Note that I said making time to write, not finding.) Using a diary, setting out blocks of writing time, and prioritising activities are all absolute essentials for writers and need to be a skill added to the tool kit.
  • Speed/Skim Reading – Not necessarily an essential, but if I was working on a project and have since abandoned it, and then suddenly been completely inspired, returning to the project can be quite difficult. Particularly if I don’t recall all of the nitty-gritty details, and particularly if – like most of my projects – the outline I wrote at the beginning was rendered useless by my creative diversions in the plot. Reading the entire project could take days and by them whatever flash of inspiration will probably have withered with neglect and died, so skim reading to get myself up to speed within about twenty minutes is essential. Get the inspiration down, then skim through again to see if it fits.
  • Dictionaries of everything – Actual dictionaries, dictionary of first names, dictionary of place names, dictionary of popular foods, dictionary of obscure herbs, dictionary of religious terminology… On and on the list goes. Collect and store for future use. My favourite at the moment is Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, but the Claremont’s Dictionary of First Names (pocket sized) has a permanent place on the shelf under my computer desk. Dictionaries are the best, quick reference tool for any writer and the more you have, the easier life can be.
  • Friends and Family – Remember what I said before about friends and family taking time, so worth it. Even if it does eat in to writing time, friends and family are an invaluable part of the tool kit. They give you inspiration, encouragement, at times outlines for characters, dialogue, reasons to get away from the computer and into the world, editing assistance, audience assistance, sound boarding, etc, etc…

That was a peek in my tool kit. I would really love to know what is in yours.

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

Permalink 8 Comments

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.

Permalink 24 Comments

As The World Falls Down

June 8, 2010 at 6:37 am (fantasy, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

The title of this post Not just a fond memory of David Bowie as the Goblin King in Labyrinth – though if you want a trip down memory lane you can watch the Goblin King himself in action and you may never eat peaches again.  Though I do want to know how he did that thing with the glass balls. I know I tried this as a kid (with tennis balls) with zero success, than again, I can’t juggle either.

The title of the post is actually referring to character creation and how it is easy for characters to be strong and amazing when things are going well but would they actually cope with the situations they get thrown into.

If you read an older style action novel then the hero, stepping from mundane life to saving the world, will simply shrug off any number of attacks and set backs and continue to plow forward with reckless abandon, possibly having one touching loss of confidence scene. These characters don’t come off as realistic though they work because these stories are simply about the action and that’s all they ever claimed to be.

Far more realistic is the character that ends up catatonic after their world gets torn apart around them but that isn’t particularly interesting either and can kind of leave your story high and dry if your protagonist goes on a mental holiday for half the book.

So what does your character do as their world falls down?

Are they helping it along?  Do they follow Sarah’s example (back to Labyrinth) here and smash the walls apart and give no heed to the possible consequence because it is worse to stay where you are? Do they run and hide and need someone or something to help them find their way again? Do they take advantage of the wreckage?

How does your character deal with the world falling down?

Permalink 9 Comments

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.

Permalink 4 Comments

« Previous page