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27 Aug 2012

Off dahn sarf! (Down South)

I won' t be posting today, tomorrow, and Wednesday because I'll be lurking around the South!
 
I'm off to Crawley to stay in a lovely hotel and there'll be day trips to London, Windsor, and Oxford! =D So excited and I'll be taking tons of pics.  I think I have my next three inspirational settings sorted!
 
I'll be posting again on Saturday with another new Weekly Inspiration post.  To honour the arrival of Doctor Who series 7 I'll be looking out for anything Sci-Fi for that day.  Next Monday (3rd Sep) I'll have a post up on 2.8 hours Later and Tuesday and Wednesday will be Top Ten Tuesday and Road Trip Wednesday as normal. :)
 
Have a good week and I'll see you all on Saturday!
 



26 Aug 2012

Weekly Inspirations

A little change from the usual News to Novels.  Instead of just linking news articles I'm making the post a bit more versatile.  So pretty much summing up anything that I've found quite inspiring but still trying to stick to a theme.

This weekend the Leeds and Reading Festival is finally here and millions have donned the wellies and gathered the beer for the three day music events.  So I've been remembering what it was like back in 2008 when I went to the Leeds festival for the first time.  Songs, pictures, articles are all bringing the memories back. :)

These are pictures from Woodstock which perfectly depict the 60s festival and atmosphere:
(Pictures from the Daily Mail)

 
 

Articles:

Second rape at festival: Police launch patrols at 'family' pop event after girl, 17, is attacked in tent

Raver plummets 20 metres in horrific fall from scaffolding at music festival... and miraculously survives (before attempting to re-join the party)

Reading Festival 2011 (pictures from the Daily Mail)

 

And to get into that festival mood, you'll need the song everyone was playing when I went to Leeds in 2008.  It became an anthem that year:

 

Hope these spark a festival-based story! =D

22 Aug 2012

RTW - Novel, I Love You!

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
This Week's Topic is
Inspired by Stephanie Perkins' post on Natalie Whipple's blog, what is your novel's "Love List"?
 
I love this idea! I definitely agree that when we write there are times when we get so caught up in our fears and what seems like endless drafts.  And we do tend to forget what made us so passionate about our story to begin with whether it's the characters we fell in love with or the genre of the story.  A scene, maybe, that sparked the whole thing or a song. 

For Beast Inside:

Vampires.
Folklore.
Horror.
Bromance.
Family history.
Town history.
Quiet village.
Luca.
RPG fans.

I know how difficult this story will be to query.  It's why I can sometimes see Twilight or any other vampire romance and think how unfair it is that they've given vampire fiction a bad reputation.  My WiP isn't even about romance.  It doesn't even exist in Beast Inside which is all about the horror and I know people are going to be put off by it just because of the v-word.  I worry people won't give it a chance and sometimes I can take a step back and think: should I really write this?  

But this list will keep reminding me that I don't care what the taboo is about vampires at the moment.  I started this WiP because I am passionate about vampire horror.  I absolutely adore The Lost Boys, 'Salem's Lot, Near Dark, and Fright Night.  I love their antagonistic vampires who are brutal, murderous, and merciless.  They're the epitome of evil.  They're the monsters lurking in the shadows at night.  Brought back to life and stalking the dark streets, desperate for blood.  Those are the vampires I grew up with. 

I started this because I loved the character of Luca.  The sceptical brother who loses his twin and sees him come back as a violent, hateful monster.  The bromance between Luca, Josh, and Caleb.  Secret, dark family histories of bloodsucking ancestors.  A quiet, picturesque village who was previously plagued by the ghoulish undead. 

I know this is the story I wanted to write.  I'm in love with it and I always will be.  I may have to wait a while but hopefully one day it'll be the time for vampires to change again.  People might want the old horror monsters back someday rather than the romantic poster boys.

What would your love list be? Join in at YA Highway!

21 Aug 2012

TTT - 10 months, 10 favourites

Hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where a different topic each week is given and our task is list our top ten favourites! One thing that is guaranteed with these topics is that your TBR list is going to grow!

So for this week:

Top Ten Favourite Books You've Read During The Lifespan Of Your Blog
Now, my blog hasn't been around for that long.  It's still a newborn so I'll probably be repeating myself here and using the same favourites.  But so far my top ten books have been: (I've linked them to the reviews)




1) The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

2) Break by Hannah Moskowitz



3) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

4) Cinder by Marissa Meyer


5) The Duff by Kody Keplinger

6) Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard




7) Divergent by Veronica Roth

8) Insurgent by Veronica Roth



9) The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

10) Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

What are your top ten? Add them to the list!

20 Aug 2012

Lessons from WriteOnCon

Last week WriteOnCon started.  The solution for those of us who can never make the major writing conferences or won't be available.  Living in the UK I have a number of problems:

1) Money,
2) I'm never on holiday when these conferences do happen. 
3) There's a bloody annoying ocean in the way. 

It's the same in the UK with the rare writing conferences that do happen.  I'm at work and I have fixed holidays.  So when I heard about WriteOnCon I only soaked in the following:

1) It all happens over the internet so you can attend from home and easily catch up if you miss something.
2) It's free.
3) It's specifically for children's literature from PB to YA.

My reaction?



I signed up, even though I didn't really have a polished and finished WiP but I was interested in the events that were happening and I thought this is a chance to get some insight into querying and look for tips.  Maybe agents would be on and talk about what they're looking for next in YA.  (Please be horror! Please be horror! Please be horror!)

In the end I did end up submitting stuff.  I worked on my first 100 words of Beast Inside to see if I would get a sentence critique by author Gennifer Albin.  It looked like a fantastic opportunity to learn about openings and get a good idea of what will hook a reader in.  I didn't end up getting picked but I took that first step into kicking fears and nerves away by submitting something for people to see and critique. 

That and testing out a query for Beast Inside helped me get through those first steps of submitting stuff on a public forum.  It's such a vulnerable feeling but people were lovely.  I got some great feedback (shout out to Colin and Miss Cole!) that really helped and improved my query.  In the end it wasn't too scary and I'm challenging myself to go for it properly next year.  Bring it on!

My favourite events?




I still wish that the UK had a big writing conference.  But I'm glad that there's WriteOnCon because I got to see all my blogging friends (Cole, Colin, Elodie, Jaime, Emma and Juliana!) taking part as well and I had a chance to take part in something with other YA authors and writers.   

There is something I would have liked to see.  I don't think there were any UK agents attending unless I missed something in the excitement of WriteOnCon.  But if there weren't any UK agents or publishing companies I would have loved to see that just so I can get an idea of who to turn to when I'm ready to query officially.

Did you attend WriteOnCon this year? :)

I won't be here next Monday because Pete found a trip deal from August 27th to the 30th so we'll be staying down south next week and having day trips to London, Windsor, and Oxford.  Photo time! But for the Monday after (3rd September) I'm getting that post on 2.8 hours later up! I was tempted to wait for October but I have tons of ideas for that month to begin with and a blogoversary to prepare for!



18 Aug 2012

Test, one, two, three

I was thinking of altering News to Novels slightly.  Normally every week I've searched the internet and come up articles that could inspire novels and stuck to a theme.  But some weeks I've been stuck on what theme I could have and sometimes when I'm searching the newspapers and their websites I find a lot of trash to be honest. 

So I've been wondering about changing the Saturday post and use it to sum up anything I found inspiring or what could be inspiring from news reports, stories, news pictures, photos, and music.  A weekly inspiration sum up kind of feature that isn't just about news reports and includes more things. 

I've been thinking about this for a while now because when I am searching websites sometimes I find articles that I wouldn't get much out of but absolutely love the pictures they're including.  Like these photos recently of Woodstock.  I can research info about Woodstock from books and not need the article but these pictures alone are fantastic and gives me inspiration.

Features are always a worry because you hope that no-one else does something similar so before I just changed the whole post all of sudden I wanted to get people's opinion.  Would this be a feature you'd be interested in reading? Has it already been done and I've missed it?

15 Aug 2012

RTW - A Different Kind of Sport

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
This Week's Topic is: In honour of the end of the Olympics, share your favourite sports book!
Hmm, tricky one this week.  I've never read any sports books.  It's not really my type of thing.  But I've decided to have a little bit of fun with sports.
I've been wondering... what would our favourite mythological creatures take part in if there was, say, a MYTHOLYMPICS?
Team Lycan 2012
WEREWOLVES (picture from Game of Werewolves)
Unfortunately a short and limited event as we wait for the full moon to arrive.  But these speedy beasts could put greyhounds and hounds into retirement as they take over dog racing and fox hunting.  And with the racing you're also welcome to gamble.  I'd also advise not to get too close to them... unless you're hoping to take part next time.
VAMPIRES
Like werewolves our events are only limited to night-time.  Also, we would advise ticker holders to come wearing garlic around them and carry religious symbols.  Stakes will be provided on location in case of the odd mishap but all competitors are fed before the games start.
These undead bloodsuckers have a variety of talents that have enabled them to compete in a few events this year.  We are very pleased to see Team Bite return for the judo.  With their speed and convenient athletic/martial art skills one inherits when turned they have been the champions of the men's and women's gymnastics for centuries.  We have a few competitors in the sprints, long jump, and high jump this year as well.
A Liminal Being and female champion It's Greek Confusing have their eyes on the gold.
CENTAURS (Picture from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
Team Hybrid return to win gold in the equestrian events.  Golden Boy A Liminal Being will be competing in the Mytholympics for the fourth time and hopes to get the gold on top of his win at The Grand Greek National.
MERMAIDS
This year the lovely girls of Team Siren are back for the synchronised swimming.  Ticket holders are asked to have earplugs in during the event and don't go anywhere near the pool at all times.  After their silver success last time, just missing out to Team Undine, they hope to win the gold this year. 
Any more ideas for the ones I've got up now? What other mythological beasties could take part?

14 Aug 2012

End to the 'What Ifs'

I'm giving Top Ten Tuesday a miss today because I've had another post on my mind for most of the morning now.  Something that can't really wait for Monday.  This summer things are changing for me.  In a bit I'll be taking my first driving lesson.  In September I'll be applying for my PGCE. 

I think about driving and while I absolutely can't wait to be on my road independently I'm also terrified.  I've never driven in my whole life so the worries set in.  What if I have an accident? What if I completely suck at it.

I think about applying for my PGCE.  While it's the dream I know I want to do I also think of all my responsibilities.  I'll be leading a class, teaching them and helping them.  It's up to me to teach them English, Maths, Science, Art etc.  I'll have tons of planning to do.  I'll be moderated, there's Ofsted, parents evening etc.  And alarms start in my head.  What if I can't do it? I've seen it happen easily to a couple of teachers.  They couldn't control anything and parents complained.  What if that happens to me?

And now WriteOnCon is here and I've been writing out a query and looking at my WiP and thinking: What if I can't do this and it's all terrible? What if I never get the right query and what if the story is terrible and never right? I know I'm not the only one out there but I still see people getting to these stages of finishing their MS and getting ready to query.  I'm holding back and working too slowly on my WiPs because I'm actually scared of getting to that stage.

And then I watch this.  And I'm reminding about why I write, why I love it, and why I want to do it.  When I start work again in September I'll be reminding about why I want to teach.  When I get into a car I'll be reminding why I want to drive. 

Put an end to the 'what ifs'.  The questions you tell yourself that spark the worries in yourself and prevent you from living that dream.  Because all dreams have those terrifying obstacles and stages.  And we have to stop letting them get to us.  I'm slowly realising with my writing that I can't get the story right all by myself.  It's creeping up to that time where I need someone else's view and I've been pulling away and making excuses: Oh, well I need to do another draft.  It won't be polished after 3 or 4 drafts.  I just need to go through it and make sure there are no mistakes. 

If there's a time to get tips and feedback I'm wondering if this is the best opportunity I'll have to get critiques.  Otherwise registering will have been a waste.  Why sign up and not take the opportunity to get help? I'm not ready to query properly and I use that as my main excuse but I've been wondering if it would be helpful to get some tips and ideas now.  I'm absolutely terrified of people seeing my work but then I have to tell myself that it's the dream.
Has anyone else been holding back or overcoming their anxieties?

I posted my query up here.  Time to be brave! :D

13 Aug 2012

Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.


I'm still not sure if I even believe in love at first sight but I believe in instant attraction and liking a person very much. Hadley and Oliver clicked and you could see how comfortable they immediately were with their conversations and body language. It was realistic and touching to read.  I liked how they interacted with each other during the plane ride. 

I felt the flashbacks kept interrupting the plot and the relationship development between Hadley and Oliver.  I think Hadley's back story with her parent's divorce could have easily been told through dialogue or Hadley's narration in the present. It could have allowed the author to explore the tense relationship between Hadley and her father a lot more because it seemed like the wedding and resolutions happened too fast.  I think the book could have done with being a bit longer so any character developments wouldn't have felt so rushed. 

I did find it slow to get through and wasn't a kind of book that I could get hooked on, turning and turning the pages. It did keep me wondering about the fate of Oliver and Hadley, whether they would see each other or not.

That's all I wanted to say about the book, to be honest.  It was short and didn't have many sub-plots, twists and turns.  I think I prefer my books to be like that but I have to admit that his would be a nice beach/summer read. Something light, short, and easy to get through.

12 Aug 2012

News to Novels #27

This week's theme is relationships.  Ones that don't go smoothly and have obstacles in the way.

Why 'friends with benefits' relationships are doomed to failure
It may initially prove an ideal romantic adventure - and has inspired countless films including the new comedy Friends With Benefits.  But having a 'no-strings-attached' sexual relationship with a friend is all-but-impossible to navigate successfully, according to a study.  Scientists believe that because the nature of such a relationship is undefined - as opposed to the more typical boyfriend/girlfriend model - then such unions are doomed to fail.

Could your friends be making you sick? Toxic relationships are linked to cancer, depression and heart disease

It may be wise to keep your friends close and your enemies not quite so close, after all.  Relationships may be as vital to good health as a balanced diet and plenty of rest, new research suggests.  Scientists at UCLA's school of medicine have found that negative social interactions can lead to increased inflammation, which may in turn cause a host of illnesses from cancer to heart disease and high blood pressure.

'He saved MY life... I just want to help him in return': Owner of sick dog whose picture touched the nation's hearts reveals how loyal companion stopped him from suicide

The man pictured lulling his arthritic dog to sleep in Lake Superior has revealed that his dog Schoep saved him from the brink of suicide.  John Unger, 49, adopted the dog with his ex-fiancée 19 years ago, but after the relationship ended, Mr Unger fought a desperate despair.  The companionship of his trusty rescue dog gave Mr Unger the courage to go on, saying : 'I don’t think I’d be here if I didn’t have Schoep with me. I just want to do whatever I can for this dog.'
The water soothes the animal's pain, Mr Unger said, allowing him to sleep.  Mr Unger's good friend Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, who is a professional photographer,  captured the heartbreaking moment between the man and his ageing rescue dog in Wisconsin when Mr Unger thought his best friend was at the end of his life.
But thanks to the generosity of strangers, the MailOnline can reveal that thousands of dollars have been donated to Schoep's medical care, allowing the pair more time together than they ever imagined.

Mother and father jailed for beating their daughter, 17, for 'bringing shame on the family' by having a black boyfriend

A couple were jailed yesterday for a brutal attack on the daughter they felt had shamed them by dating a black man.  David and Frances Champion repeatedly punched Jane in the face and shouted racist abuse while kicking her boyfriend out of the family home.  They lost control after they returned home to find their 17-year-old daughter in a ‘state of undress’ with Alfonce Ncube, a court heard.

After throwing the waiter out of the house, Mr Champion, 50, grabbed his daughter by her hair and started to hit her, said Nicola Powell, prosecuting.  ‘He told her she was destroying the family and pushed her out of the door, Champion shouting racist language to describe Mr Ncube,’ she added.  Jane went to stay with her grandmother but returned to her parents in St Thomas, Swansea, once the situation had apparently calmed down.   But a month later her parents challenged her over Mr Ncube when they returned from a pub.

8 Aug 2012

RTW - Summer Playlists

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic:
What music has been your summer soundtrack?

This summer my summer playlist has mainly been the songs that help keep motivated for Inside the Broom Closet and Beast Inside.  It's quite a list but there are a few songs that I listen to more for the WiPs because it sparks so much inspiration for writing it.

INSIDE THE BROOM CLOSET:

When I Am Queen - Jack off Jill

Land of Confusion - Disturbed


Wytches - Inkubus Sukkubus

BEAST INSIDE

Time of Dying - Three Days Grace


 
Animal I Have Become - Three Days Grace


You Can't Hide (From The Beast Inside) - Autograph



What's your summer soundtrack? Join us on YA Highway =D


7 Aug 2012

TTT - Pimping Out

Today's Top Ten Tuesday wants us to bring the inner pimp out and has asked us:

Top Ten Posts On Your Blog That Would Give The BEST Picture of YOU

So the task is to go through all my blog posts and choose the ten posts and reviews that would give you a good impression of who I am as a blogger and a reader:

This was the first post I wrote for Blog Me Maybe that gave topic prompts for Monday to Friday.  On Monday's we were encourage to be more personal and talk about yourself.  So for my first post I rambled on about one thing that defines me as a writer and a reader:  horror and how I came to write for that genre.

This RTW was probably more personal than being about writing or reading.  We were asked to discuss what we would do or did do once we graduated.  And my experience had a lot to do with the adult world.  But if I could relate it to writing I think I could use these life experiences in the future if I was ever to do any NA projects because once high school is over life is only just beginning in my opinion.  There are more coming-of-age experiences to have.  Scarier ones.

My favourite post so far because I was always wary in the past about speaking out and sharing my own opinions in case it caused arguments and drama.  But I received good feedback on this with some great comments as others shared their feelings on the topic.  It was a bit of a rant/discussion on the increasing use of bad guys in YA and why the nice girls always fall for them even when they are treat like crap.  Can't the nice guys ever get the girl?

I chose this review because The Duff is one of the few books that I really felt passionate about and absolutely adored.  I loved the character development and how complex everyone was and I was impressed with how honest Keplinger was when writing about teenage sex ans sexuality.   

5) Zombie News to Novels
A special Zombie News to Novels for the upcoming 2.8 hours later.  This has been my favourite news to novels so far just because I got to search for lots of interesting zombie articles and inspiration/

As well as horror I'm also a big fan of comedy.  I love humour.  So parodies, comedy shows, humour novels... I absolutely adore and as well as horror I'd been thinking that I don't see much parodying or humour in YA either. 

This was a previous Top Ten Tuesday where we had to list our top ten most vivid settings and by far my favourite topic for the feature.  Setting is very important to me in a book.  I love a good location where it just jumps right out from the pages and almost has you believing that it could be real.  So as a reader these are my favourite worlds/towns.

So far Stardust has been one of my biggest disappointment in 2012.  I adored the film but sadly the book did not turn out to be as great.  Especially the ending which doesn't suit the type of reader I am.  I like big, tense endings and Stardust was unfortunately passive.

Another book disappointment.  The Name of The Star sounded like the type of book that would make the horror and Jack the Ripper nut fangirl over.  But it did not live up to the hype and also irritated the British reader in me.  I asked a few questions at the end of the review to get some ideas and opinions on aspects of the book that I didn't like. 

My first review for The Nook. :) And a book that the horror nut in me bowing and worshipping Susan Hill.  This book is exactly why I want to write horror.  The atmosphere... the chills... the creep factor.  I want to be able to convey that just like Susan Hill.

Stop by at The Broke and The Bookish for more blogs! =D



6 Aug 2012

Inspirational Settings: Whitby

During my trip to Darlington Pete's mum was kind enough to take us on a couple of trips to make the most of our stay.  We went to Whitby one day which I'd only ever passed by before.  I'd been to Sandsend, a small village neighbour, when I was in my early teens and we drove past Whitby.  I've never actually stepped foot in it before this summer.

It's beautiful.  Not a place where I would live (there's no Primark, HMV, or Waterstones) but lovely to visit and a great place for future settings.

We parked in an area that is completely surrounded by hotels all facing the sea.  Can you just imagine what it would be like to wake up in a hotel room and go straight to the window where you have the ocean out in front of you? Gorgeous.  The coast is quite curvy so when you look out you can see other land in the distance, watching the Yorkshire coast stretch out into the horizon.

Whitby was like a cluster.  There's this open space where the car park was with hotels stuck to each other and lots of green space for small family attractions.  And then you get steps that lead down into the harbour where the main shops, houses, arcades and restaurants are all situated. At the harbour people stay at the rails to do some crabbing (must do that next time) or lurk around the fish market eating the compulsory seaside cuisine, fish and chips.  In England fish and chips at the seaside or any kind of seafood is practically the law.  So while there's the fresh sea air around there is also the lurking smell of fish and chips cooking and the raw fish from the market.  The raw fish... probably not the best smell around.  This is all on the west side of Whitby. 



The east side of Whitby is across a bridge that is chaotic with people crossing, cars crossing, and even boats cross.  The bridge will be closed now and again to let the big boats through and I can just imagine how irritating that might be if you're on your way to work.  But the east side is interesting with it's alternative shops.  Quite a lot of New Age-y and gothic type shops, all selling gifts and souvenirs.  There are even more cafes and fish and chip restaurants on this side with some lovely little ice cream parlours.  I never really saw your well-known brand shops like Clinton cards or WH Smiths.  They all seem very independent to Whitby.  And this east side is also the path to the well-known Abbey. 

To get there it's quite a walk. Whether you take another way near to people's houses or the 199 steps you're going to be faced with a steep walk that will get you out of breath.  Most of Whitby was quite hilly and steep so make sure you're very fit before visiting.  Also, don't climb these steps straight after food.  But as soon as you get to the top it's worth it, just to see the view:


And to see the abbey.  In the day time it looks like an open spaced, green, family friendly area.  There are special maps to do for the children and heritage events for them.  Famous faces of British history are lurking around the abbey.  Even Dracula! The town thrives on its connection to Dracula and every tourist shop has Dracula merchandise and the book on sale.

And I can bet you at night when the sun goes down and there's mist from the ocean coming in that Whitby Abbey is a haunting view:

And it's also a view that you can see from almost everywhere in Whitby.  It stands there at the top of the cliff looking down on the seaside town below, lurking in everyone's sight.

A lovely town with an eerie, supernatural connection.  With a few ghosties settling there as well this setting could be perfect for that next supernatural horror novel.

4 Aug 2012

News to Novels #26

Hello! The trip to Darlington is over and I'm back in the blogging world.  I had a fantastic time and visited a couple of inspiring settings which I'll be blogging about as well as posting about 2.8 hours later.  So much to say and show!

This week I came across an article on one of Scotland's most famous monsters.  Yep, Nessie is back in the news again with more sightings and I went searching for more articles on monster sightings thinking they'd be great for inspiration.  Whether you believe in them or not as a writer you have to admit they're great for story ideas!

'The most convincing Nessie photograph ever': Skipper claims to have finally found proof that Loch Ness Monster exists
Mr Edward's photograph
He has dedicated more than two decades of his life to the hunt for the elusive Loch Ness monster, spending 60 hours a week on the water.  And now George Edwards believes he has finally fulfilled his ambition of spotting 'Nessie'; he even photographic evidence to prove it.  Mr Edwards, who has spent 26 years on his quest, managed to capture this image of a dark hump slinking in and out of the lake's waters from the deck of his boat, Nessie Hunter, before it vanished back into the deep.  He claims the picture is the best-ever taken of the Loch Ness Monster and proves once and for all that the elusive leviathan exists - and is definitely not a sturgeon.

A monster of a find: Couple walking their dogs discover 30ft carcass of sea creature rotting on beach
A couple were left shocked when they discovered the rotting body of a sea monster while walking along a beach.  Margaret and Nick Flippence made the incredible find as they exercised their dogs at Bridge of Don, Aberdeen.  Mr Flippence, 59, who lives nearby, said: 'We were stunned. I thought, "oh my God what is it?"

Could England's own Loch Ness Monster be lurking in Lake Windermere?
The legend of the Loch Ness Monster has proved to be a marketing boon for the Scottish Tourist Board and now the Lake District looks set to be the next hot destination for intrepid monster hunters.  Seven sightings of a long hump-backed animal swimming in Lake Windermere have been reported over the last four years.

Is this Iceland's Loch Ness Monster? Amateur footage shows 'giant serpent' slinking its way through lake
Hjörtur Kjerúlf's photo
Iceland's equivalent to the Loch Ness monster has apparently been pictured on footage taken by an amateur cameraman.  The video, taken by Hjörtur Kjerúlf at the glacial river Jökulsá í Fljótsdal, east Iceland, appears to show the serpent-like monster known as Lagarfljótsormurinn, or Lagarfljót's Worm.  Belief in the existence of the worm, which is said to reside in the lake Lagarfljót, can be sourced back to at least 1345. Sightings of the beast are considered a bad omen.

New Montauk Monster sighting? Bizarre creature washes up in small Ontario town
Locals in a small Canadian town have been stumped by the appearance of a bizarre creature, which was dragged from a lake.  The animal, which has a long hairy body with bald skin on its head, feet and face, has prompted wild internet speculation that it is a more evolved version of the famous 'Montauk monster'.  The creature was discovered by two nurses in the town of Kitchenuhmaykoosib in Ontario, Canada, while out on a walk with their dog.

Sea monsters really DO lurk beneath the waves, scientists claim
From krakens to gigantic sea serpents, terrifying monsters of the deep have haunted the imaginations of generations of mariners.  Now experts in marine life claim sea monsters might actually exist. Because scientists are still finding new species of underwater life, the discovery of ‘marine monsters’ is not impossible, a meeting heard yesterday.‘The huge number of “sea monster” sightings now on record can’t all be explained away as mistakes, sightings of known animals or hoaxes,’ said palaeontologist Dr Darren Naish of the University of Portsmouth.

Do huge paw prints found in snow provide evidence of big cats roaming the British countryside?
Monster paw prints were found in fresh snow sparking fears predatory big cats are prowling the British countryside.  The mammoth tracks were five inches long and the space between each was 3ft - far too large for any domestic cat or dog.  They were spotted in pristine snow in the heart of the isolated Lincolnshire Wolds.

The beast of Lytham
Some say it looks like the Hound of the Baskervilles, others mention the cartoon character Wile E. Coyote.  But this, apparently, is the beast that has brought terror to an upmarket town and caused anxious residents to look over their shoulders at night.  Cynics claim it is the product of fertile imaginations - or one or two gin and tonics too many.  But more than 20 sightings have been reported in the last few weeks, leading to a local illustrator compiling an artist's impression.  Amateur photographers, meanwhile, have been descending on the area in the hope of getting a shot.

Roaming thick woodland

Dubbed The Beast of Green Drive, the mysterious creature has been spotted roaming in thick woodland at a beauty spot.  About as tall as a collie dog but with huge ears, a large mouth and a lolloping gait, the peculiar animal has caused a frenzy of chatter in the normally sedate Lytham St Anne's, Lancashire.  The creature, according to witnesses, is seen mainly in the largely wooded area of Green Drive, where there is plenty of brush and scrub to conceal a large animal.

Is this the legendary chupacabra? Giant-fanged 'mutant hellbeast' washes up on sea shore (but it might just be a boiled dog)
Josh Menard's photo
They call it the 'goatsucker' or 'devil dog' - and maybe, just maybe, this is the proof that the world has been waiting for.  With its sun-bleached skin, giant fangs and blond mohawk, could this strange creature that was found on a beach in San Diego really be the legendary chupacabra?  The picture was taken by Josh Menard, a 19-year-old snowboarder from Lake Tahoe - and he is convinced it is the mutant hellbeast.