Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cleopatra's Daughter

Cleopatra's Daughter tells the story of Selene Kleopatra, daughter of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra of Ptolemy, who after the defeat and suicide of her parents, if left to live under the watchful eyes of the ruling family of Ancient Rome.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to reading Moran's other works. It's extremely easy to read, and isn't bogged down with too much historical detail. I found the characters and their stories to be engaging, and I would recommend it to others except for one major caveat.

Moran adds an additional element to the story, she creates a character/plot called the 'Red Eagle' which fights against the establishment for the freedom of slaves. This plot is meant to add an extra feeling of suspense and action to the plot which I feel is completely unneccesary and sort of ruins the atmosphere of the book. Immediately it adds a very 'modern' concept to the ancient world, yes there were those who were against slavery in ancient times but this 'red eagle' hero figure feels very modern. The entire slavery subplot contaminated the storyline for me, as Selene is seen as very anti-slavery, which just has me sort of shaking my head - she was raised with slaves tending to her every need, why would she start to question it now? I know it has to do with the fact that she now is a captive, but she is never a slave or experiences the life of a slave.

Moran is an excellent writer and I did enjoy the story, I just feel that it would have been much better and realistic for her to concentrate on the dangers for Selene being in Rome such as political intrique, the senate etc. This is touched on briefly but isn't explored to its potential. Reading is about suspension of belief but the 'red eagle' plot line pulled me out of this belief. I thoroughly enjoyed Moran's writing style and story (except for that aspect) and I LOVE anything to do with Egypt so this gets a 3 out of 5 moons from me.

I'm looking forward to reading her other works Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen.

If anyone has any recommendations of egyptian historical fiction, please leave a comment :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Some thoughts on Writing

Well I'm close to breaking point, as much as I love the snow, cabin fever is firmly setting in, resulting in lots of deep thinking and ponderings.

I found out this week that my chapter did not get short listed for the first chapters competition. To be perfectly honest I knew this would happen but as I posted on someone's blog recently - you always have that annoying little optimist inside saying 'maybe you will get it this time'.

Really starting to hate that little eejit.

ALthough I have assignments etc. due next week, I'm taking this weekend off after having an insanely busy month (i.e. November) but I just can't get in the groove of writing. Partly because I am me - a person who can only get motivated to work on her fiction when she's underpressure with other things like work!

But also because it sucks not to be shortlisted/rejected or whatever. It leaves you questionning yourself and your abilities (or the lack thereof). Kind of getting sick of it myself to be honest (not the rejection but more the self-doubt). So last night, sitting on the loo (lovely image I know but seems to be the place for serious thinking), I had a realisation - a quiet one though, not a shocking slam bam one - basically that writing and getting published is going to take a loooooong time (duh! i hear you say) so why stress yourself about it!?!!

You see, originally I thought that someday I would become a full-time writer, that my day job (which I thoroughly enjoy) was a place holder for the day I became a poet and author and lived in big grand house by the sea with a study and library and had a handsome man who rubbed my feet and fed me chocolates (yes that is me on the sofa).

Completely realistic, yes?

Anyhoo, the way I planned my writing was through periods of time i.e. I will have such and such done by xxx and then that way I can have final draft done by xxx. I never completed these goals, which always left me feeling utterly shit about myself. So What's the point of this?! I'm not a published/contracted writer. I have no deadlines. It was like I had become that priest from the DiVinci Code, except in stead of using a whip, it was like a thousand little paper cuts from my diary, with each cut saying "you are not worthy. you did not complete your quota. YOU FOOL!!!"

Mental. I know. But as well as a optimist, I also have a little masochist too. I think he's the one who likes to write as well :)

A motto of doing phd, is "there is no such thing as a perfect phd - only a complete one", there is truth in this. But phd also teaches you to realise that anything that involves creation takes time and hard work. Similarly I would rather give myself the next 2-3years to write an amazing debut book, than to write it in a 6months-year and to have it completely rejected. That being said, the three year book would probably be rejected too (this is why the little masochist loves writing).

The point of this rambling post (apart from making me sound like I've multiple personalities) is to say writing is important to me. I shall continue to write whenever I can. But it's time to take a step back from the dream and to just write. Completion of an excellent book is the goal. Publication is just a bonus of that goal. It will no longer be the motivation (I've been reading ALOT about motivation and goal recently for work).

Easier said than done - i know, but I think it's time to write, just for the sake of writing.

And time to let go of the house with the man slave.

Pah, this was meant to be a small post and look at it now. Apologies anyone reading this - I should have put a disclaimer warning of the ramblings.

Also NB Let me know if these sort of posts get annoying. Last thing one needs to read is a lot of whinging by some nobody who wants to be a writer!!! (which basically sums up my blog)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Follow Friday (IV)

I have been really dreadfully busy lately and have missed a few FF as a result!

But today I make up for that. Welcome to Follow Friday hosted by the wonderful Parajunkee

To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { } and any one else you want to follow on the list
  2. Follow our Featured Bloggers -
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
  5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If your new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
Todays Question is:

What do you do besides reading / reviewing as a hobby??

Well for me, writing/reading poetry, writing fiction, listening to music. I sound quite the loner don't I? Ha! When I had time for a life I used to do acting and horse riding.

So What's your answer?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Snowbody Snows the trouble I've seen. . .

. . . Snowbody snows the sorrow!

It seems the weather gods have decided to kick Ireland when it's down and sent on some lurvly weather for us.

Personally I rumble and grumble (cause I like to anyway) but really I love me some snow, when it's nice and fluffy and white . . .

Yesterday, the snow was slushy brown yuke which had turned to ice and was absolutely leg breaking lethal, but now new snow is falling (i'm watching from my work window - yes, I'm actually in my office and no I'm not working ha!) and everything is white again. YaY.

The snow is so perfect it actually looks fake! I just hope this doesn't mean that we don't get a white Christmas - that we've had our quota for the year and the big woman (mother nature duh) upstairs decides to cut us off!

Yes, I like the snow.

It's just such a pity about the people (i.e. brats - and when I say brats I'm talking 20 something brats- who decided to pelt my window with snowballs and have basically a stockpile of snow balls and are waiting near the walkway to throw them at random girls. . . is this the winter mating ritual of the maleificus studentus?)

Mental note: Must ask David Attenbourgh

Edit: Work has closed for the day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Is nothing Sacred!?!?!?!

Incredible busy at the moment but I HAD to POST about this.


Buffy without Joss is like life without chocolate. . .


I just don't understand why they would touch that series. It's perfect as it is.

Don't touch my Childhood!!!

Why don't the just make another firefly movie instead (with Joss!!!) which would make Joss fans actually happy!!

God, the movie/tv gods just love to step on Joss Whedon alot - no matter what he does and how amazing his writing and stories are - they are cancelled or (now) rebooted :(

Emily is not a happy camper. I just know in my bones that they are going to twilightise/vampire diarify it into something completely unoriginal.

Time to rewatch the Buffy box set me thinks. . . then the angel one. . . then a bit of firefly and serenity. . . then a bit of dollhouse too.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nice Ad!

Have to say I really like this ad. Makes one very proud :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Come on & Let me Flow!


Another one of those lovely buzz words that make you want to weep over your shiny laptop.

I definitely put it up there with Voice, as an undefinable term. And just like voice, it's ever so important.

Doesn't it just want to make you scream? Yet another thing to be 'aware' of when you write.

Well, for me I've been pondering 'flow' since I began to 'try' and 'write' my first chapter for a competition (due THIS Saturday - eek!). It's only 3,000 words and I'm roughly half way there, but I'm just not happy with it. There are moments of flow, don't get me wrong (or maybe this is voice?) - but then there are parts where it feels like I've made a mistake playing the piano - I've included too many beats in the bar and everything sounds obvious, flat and amateurish.

To hear 'Flow', you have to read your work aloud (or in your head). When the Flow is gone, you see the words on the page. You remember you're reading writing and awake from the spell. My writing reads like writing - it does not read like a story.

I equate this with - if it looks easy to do, it's been done right, while my writing looks like I worked it to death.

(God, I hope the judges don't read this).

Anyhoo I'm not a perfectionist normally. But I think I'm really starting to be one when it comes to the auld writing. Which isn't necessarily bad, but is driving me absolutely nuts because nothing seems good enough.

Definitely amateur sums it up.

So i think there is a hard slog in front of my Ladies and Gents, because I might be sorta able to write but am I able to tell a story?

So, Santa, if you're listening - I'd really like to be a professional writer/storyteller for Christmas :) and maybe throw in a literary agent and publishing deal too while your at it :)

Thanks for listening to my moaning!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Beautiful Bag Giveaway!!!!

Things have been insane busy lately. I cannot wait for December!!

Anyhoo, my wonderful friend Blaithin, has her own bag company/boutique called 'Cute Rage'. Now, I have about four of her beautiful bags - they're all handmade, funky and able to fit a good bit on a night out for a clutch!!

Cutie Rage is having a BAG GIVEAWAY over on her facebook page!

Here are some of the droolworthy pics:

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment on one of the photos of the bag on CUTIE RAGES facebook page (link above)!

Don't comment here to enter the comp!

The Giveaway is international so anyone can enter.

Best of luck to everyone!

Normal programming of this blog will commence at the end of this month.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

DarkShines: Favourite Sentence Snippets

I'm working away on chapter 1 of DarkShines - It's alot of work, but after making ten drafts of the first two paragraphs, changing the structure and getting lots of feedback - it STILL feels HACK!?!

Anyhoo, always the optimist (yeah right) there are some lines which I thought *fair deuce* (and have probably been written before). Still I thought I might be nice to post the odd one here and see what your thoughts are (or not).

Hell, I might even make this a weekly meme thing that others can part take in. Post a sentence from your WIP. Get some traffic going, without 'publishing' or giving away too much.

Let me know if you're interested awesome readers?

Back to the point, Here is my first snippet [but not the opening line]:

"She was finally beginning to realise something was wrong. They always did in the end. But it was always too late.
She was dead – she just didn’t know it yet."

Hope you enjoyed that - short and sweet :)

P.S. Why am I so cheerful? Because I've moved (yesterday) away from the evil one and into a lovely new place (which needs to be bleached aka Domestosised) where I can still see my lovely tree and even have a balcony now. Wahoo! Lesson learnt - life's too short to put up with someone elses drama or passive aggressiveness!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A bit of an update

Things have been a little insane in RL at the moment. I have so much work to do that I've taken to yelling at my laptop everytime I hear the 'bing' of a new email :)

See this is what procrastination and a summer of watching BBC classics gets you!

Writing wise I'm trying to meet the deadline for the competition (don't know if I mentioned it before). It's a contest by Inkwell for best 1st chapter (and your WIP doesn't have to be complete) and prize is winning an author page on the Inkwell website and some euros :)

I tell ya this first chapter will be the death of me. I posted snippets up on AW for feedback. I have to say, the people over there are wonderful and theadvice they've given me is invaluable. It really makes you realise that you're only a cog in the wheel when it comes to the development of a novel.

So at the moment I'm rewriting the 1,500 words I'd written already - I think what everyone said (including the queen beta, my mother) was dead on and even in the back of my mind I knew about the faults of the work myself - it's good though to get second opinion and even better to get suggestions on how to fix it.

If I don't win the competition (obviously I'm not goint to, as it will be struggle to get it done by deadline November 20th) I might, if people are interested, post snippets of it up?

Anyhoo better go, work (that's not writing) to be done.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dead Until Dark

So as a graduation treat last year I bought a load of books, one of which was Charlaine Harris' omnibus edition of her Sookie Stackhouse series. I opened the page of 'dead until dark' one morning and read the first book in a few hours!

Brilliant and such a fun read. Definitely a guilty pleasure. And definitely not to be taken 'seriously'.

As a reader, you come across books that are 'heavy', others that are 'light/fluff'. I love both types, as both are equally hard to write (and IMO lighter books are harder).

Charlaine Harris' books are definitely and meant to be part of the 'light' group. If you want to relax, switch off and have a bit of fun - these are for you!

Although I imagine everyone in the entire universe has read these books already - I highly recommend them to all, especially vampire fans.

My only thing is the back of this edition said 'move over bella. sookie stackhouse is here' - Now, its really really important to remember (especially twilight fans who believe this series is a twilight knockoff and have been quite harsh, especially in regards to Sookie's gift) that these books were published in 2001 and have won awards etc. so my recommendation to twilight fans is don't go in judging the book - sit back, relax and enjoy the ride because these books are such a yummy guilty pleasure!

So I'm giving them 4 moons!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So you think you're a vampire Eh?

So anyone who reads YA (or has YAs) will have no doubt recognising the following:

Girl meets boy. Girl fancies boy. Boy fancies girl. . . for lunch. Girl finds out Boy is vampire (or other supernatural thing). Girl is even more attracted. Girl almost dies as result of boy being in life. Boy saves the day. Boy and girl live happily ever after.

Hmmmm. . . so Mr. Boy, let's call you Edward for easiness sake, shall we?

You think you're a vampire?

Well I'd like to introduce you to a little thing called Renfield's syndrome aka 'clinical vampirism'.

The term was coined by Richard Noll, author and clinical psychologist, and comes from Dracula's insect eating assistant (now if he called it 'Dracula's syndrome' we'd have all heard of it). Of course Renfield had the lovely habit of eating bugs believing the had essential life force.

This condition is a mental disorder but is not categorised in DSM IV (mental health bible) but is seen as part of schizophrenia (So, Edward you say you hear voices?) or paraphilia (no comment on this one *cough*comparing smell of blood to heroin*cough*).

Symptoms include:
  • The craving for blood as you believe it gives you life enhancing powers (So Edward you believe you sparkle in the sun, are immortal, could take Buffy in a fight and still have a fabulous mop of hair at 108?)
  • Primarily males suffer this.
  • Usually an event occurs where ingestion of blood occurs in childhood, and then as puberty hits it becomes exciting/sexual arousing. (Now, what did that Doctor do when you were half dying and your friends and family died from spanish flu?)
  • Often starts with autovampirism (no thanks i don't want to know) before moving on to the blood of other creatures (Is this what you mean when you refer to being a 'vegetarian'?). Before moving onto final stage. . . humans (aka Bella, right?)
  • Often not seen as influenced by fiction or mythical creatures, but by being sexual aroused by blood (So the first girl you have ever been attracted has blood that is irresistible to you?)
Hmmmm. . .

So what is my advice?

Run. Bella. Run.


Monday, October 25, 2010

And all that Corkonian Jazz. Part Deux

Twas the first anniversary of me and 'Aisling's first visit to cork.

Twas also the Cork Jazz Festival.

Fun was had. Drink was had.

Heads and feet now sore.

Aw Cork, you never disappoint :)

Covorting with some Covers (III): USA vs. UK/IRE

Thanks to some suggestions by the wonderful Shellie and my own wanderings around amazon -I've decided to do another US vs. UK book covers. However with a little more of a twist.

Bareback (UK) vs. Benighted (US) by Kit Whitfield.

Thoughts: Definitely handsdown, UK cover and title seems much more appropriate and powerful. The image on the left (uk) is haunting and almost painful to look at, but just makes you want to read. The US cover is a bit meeh. The red is lost against the blue/green cover. There seems to be a lot going on as well, which makes the impact weak.

The Naming (US) vs The Gift (UK):
Book 1 of the Book of Pellinor By Alison Croggon.

Thoughts: I'm biased. I absolutely LOVE this series so much! And I own the UK covers. I absolutely love the UK covers but equally I like the look of the US ones. Coverwise for me it's almost a draw because they work in very different ways but still both are beautiful and eyecatching. Title wise, it's disappointing that the name had to change but the title is still quite relevant and appropriate for the story. So I think for me, this is a draw.

Magic Under Glass by Jacyln Dolamore.

Of course most controversial for last. This Bookcover got ALOT of grief because the original US bookcover (left) was seen as ignoring the fact that MC of the book was described as more middle eastern looking.

The next US version (right) is more faithful to the book's character but lacks any sort of humpf IMO. I just feel sorry for the poor author that her book got caught up in so much controversy.

The UK version (below left) by far seems more faithful to the story of the book and is really cute. I am totally drawn to it because it's clean, simple and colourful. Presumable safer PR wise to have a drawn cover after what happened with the original US cover (although the girl in picture does look fair and blonde to me). . .

Well, Please let me know your thoughts/comments and any bookcovers you recommend :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Jazz Hot Baby!

As a huge fan of Victor/Victoria I squeeled like a little eejit when I saw Kurt's rendition. Absolutely Amazing. He did Julie Andrews proud!!!

SO here is Kurts & orginal (at the end, when she pulls off her wig like that = man)

Follow Friday (III)

Welcome to follow friday, a weekly meme started by the wonderful Parajunkee

Here are the rules:

1. Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { } and any one else you want to follow on the list
2. Follow our Featured Bloggers - What Book is That?
3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.
4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can
6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
8. If your new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

Todays Question:

What are you currently reading? And what do you think? Anything to add to my TBR pile?

Currently I'm reading Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black. The jury is still out. It's been a slow read, but still good. Although Hilary Mantel is an award winning author I find her writing style difficult to interpet and read. . . review will come eventually :)

Anyway, WELCOME to any new followers, it's great to have yeh.

Drop me a comment so I can return the favour :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Gargoyle

I absolutely love the opening line of this Novel,

"Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, often violently, just like love"

The Gargoyle is the story of a young man fighting for his life, after a horrific accident, which has ended his pornographic cocaine driven lifestyle and made him into a monster. Enter - Marianne Engel, a schizophrenic, who believes they have meet in a previous life and are destined to be together.

Through her naration, we travel from Norway to Japan, and through the middle ages charting the tragic ending of their previous love affair. Anderson expertly allows these shifts from past to present, without losing the reader and sucking us deeper into the world of Marianne.

Combining mystery and mysticism, events unfold which are left unquestioned, which gives this book an air of magic realism. The concept and development of the characters and their stories is done very well, with this story remaining with you for days after being read.

Definitely one of my favourite books, i give it 4 moons. Although i thought this book was exceptionally, I felt that there was something lacking - a 'je n'ai sais quoi' which i never put my finger on.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Covorting with some Covers (II): USA vs. UK/IRE

To spice up my weekly 'covorting with some covers' meme, I'm going from time to time (see how unpredictable and wild i am. . . ) I'm going to include some US vs. UK/IRE comparisons.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater.

Thoughts: Definitely think that in both 'Shiver' and UK book cover version (left) rules the day. It looks darker, more of a contrast and more eye catching if sitting on bookshelf (unless beside twilight lol).

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Thoughts: US (left) without a doubt a winner here. The UK cover looks so generic YA PR that it wouldn't catch my eye at all, while US cover just makes you want to read it!

Morganville Vampire Series by Rachel Caine
(e.g. Book 1: Glass houses)
Thoughts: Neither of these covers do anything amazing for me. But I do think that UK cover (right) appeals to me more. It definitely knows its market. I think the later covers on the UK side do improve, and are very pretty. The US cover (left) is edgy but just doesn't leap out at me.

Any thoughts?

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