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.

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