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31 May 2013

Currently...

Loving: Ancestry.co.uk and doing my family history tree. My family's a bit hard to track on both sides of my great-grandparents.  The problem is my maternal great-grandma's mother and family were from Russia or what used to be Russia.  It's part of Ukraine now. So obviously there aren't going to be many documents for the ancestors who didn't immigrate to Leeds.  The Irish side (my maternal great-grandfather's family) might as well have been non-existent because there are barely any records for them and one surname apparently has different variations so I can't really track that family down. Oy.  If time travel is ever invented I know where I'm going first.  Get some bloody answers!

Also loving a bit of real life time.  I haven't been blogging as much and most of my days, especially in this half term holiday, has involved running around for appointments and getting some jobs done for the flat and spring cleaning. I've been writing now and again but a lot of my focus has been boring adult type stuff. 

Reading:

I'm going quite slow with this book tbh.  I think that's why I don't read as much fantasy as I'd like to because the world building at the beginning and the adventures/quests that's supposed to happen can often fall victim to going slow.  So I'm about 150 pages in and I'll admit that I'm getting a little bit impatient now.  I think the two different perspectives is slowing the plot down a bit.  I'll give it another hundred pages but if nothing is still happening or I'm still not feeling hooked and inclined to continue this may become a DNF.

Watching: Alcatraz.  Mystery, serial killers... enough to draw me in.  This show tends to get into the head of the killer as they attempt to track them down which is what interests me.  I would have loved to have gone into forensic psychology if I had known during my studies how much the mind fascinates me.


Thinking about: Planning projects, editing.... just general writing.

Anticipating: Very work related. All the teachers know where they're going next year so the TA list will be up and the headteacher I work with said she'd let me move up to another year to help with my PGCE application.  So I'm looking forward to see which year I'll be in.  I'm hoping I'll be in a new year group.

Wishing:  For summer to come.  2.8 Hours Later next month and Rome in August.  I'm getting all excited! =D

Making me happy: Editing.  The more I edit Beast Inside, the more I'm falling in love with it all over again and the more I have the story I wanted from it. 

22 May 2013

RTW - The Dream Team(s)

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: Conference season is here! We are getting all excited for BEA and ALA (check out the get-together we have planned with Stacked for ALA!), and we want to know: What authors would be on your dream author panel?

I always a question that gives me the opportunity to fangeek. ^^ There are a lot of authors who I love for different reasons so I'd have to have a panel for the following topics I'd find really interesting:

Exploring and Writing Horror: (obviously)
Stephen King, Gretchen McNeil, Kendare Blake, and Darren Shan

The Art of Snark 
Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams

World Building in Sci-Fi and Fantasy
JK Rowling, J.R.R Tolkien, George R.R Martin, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, and Marissa Meyer.

... I can have three dream panels, can't I? =D

20 May 2013

Twists and turns, tears and smiles

Sorry about the little hiatus I've had. I wanted a complete break after the April blogging challenge and just have a bit of time reading and concentrating on other stuff. :)

Recently most of my favourite programmes have all ended for the year. There has been disappointments, satisfaction, and a flood of emotions.  That flood is thanks to the Vampire Diaries and it reminded me why sometimes I do actually enjoy the writing and why that writing can be inspiring.

TVD is my guilty pleasure.  I usually don't do paranormal romance and tbh I'm not a fan of the endless love triangle consisting of Stefan/Elena/Damon.  Girl, just pick a guy, realise you're a lesbian, or just be happy being single.  Choose SOMETHING!

Buuuut, there are aspects of the show that I really enjoy at times.  There can be some great character development, great acting (especially by Nina Dobrev), and interesting plot lines that has taken a series of books and used it to weave it's own plots and worlds.  The programme is by far a LOT better than L.J.Smith's series.  And if a finale like Graduation can have me crying, laughing, gasping in horror, feeling tense, feeling angry... the writing has done it's job, I think.

Graduation started with the ghosts being able to return thanks to the veil (keeping the spirit world and real world separate) dropping.  While favourite loved ones returned to our paranormal-with-only-one-human-left group the veil also allowed others to cross.  Unfortunately those others were ghosts from our characters past that they had a hand in murdering.  Three vampire hunters, two groups of 12 sacrificed witches and hybrids, and one Original.  It almost sounds like a twisted, paranormal version of the 12 Days of Christmas.

So I'm worried for these characters.  These characters who can drive me up the wall sometimes but I care for them.  Not matter how unlikeable the writers make them at times they can still make me care for them and hope they get out of this alive.  Even Rebekah. Damn, those writers make her hate one minute then like and feel sorry for her the next.

That's one of the strengths of these characters the writers have developed. There will be a time when you both hate and like the character whether they are a hero or a villain.  The heroes have their dark days and shady pasts.  They've done terrible things and the writers aren't afraid to delve into that.  And then the villains always have an understandable motive. A miserable past.  Take Rebekah for example. She can be a cow sometimes and was responsible for a death last season and an almost death but then underneath that Original identity she was only a young teenager when she was murdered by her parents and turned into a vampire.  And now she sees teenagers having fun at school with dates and proms, choosing their own paths and careers, starting a family and that's all she wants.  Being a vampire and pretending to blend in just isn't the same.  Choice is really important, especially for Rebekah and if you're deprived of all these different paths you could have because someone else made the choice of who you're going to be for you I'd understand that you'd be a little bit miffed.  Being a vampire isn't for everybody. 

These are very grey characters.  My favourite type. :)

Another thing that the programme loves to do is break my heart.  This show doesn't mind killing off characters.  It's never unnecessary, it keeps the plot moving, and sometimes they're unfortunately my favourite characters.  The awesome do die. :( And then they bring the awesome back because the veil is down and since they're deaths were sudden they have a chance to finally say a proper goodbye.  So when the veil goes back up and they disappear... I'm bawling like a baby.  Worst thing is, they're with the person who they were close to the most when they disappeared so then I see the emotions in their loved ones faces... now I'm wailing. I can't really decide whether it was great to see my favourite dead characters back or not because I had to see them go all over again. 

Now for the twists.  To some these twists will be a bit too much but TVD is always dramatic.  And I thought it worked, especially when it led to one hell of a cliffhanger.  I like these little surprises that the writers come up with because while they make the situation worse for these characters (there's hardly any happy endings for this lot) it means there COULD be a solution.  Another reason to have hope and this group needs a bit of hope to keep going and keep fighting.  And you as the audience have hope too because after all these deaths and disappointment for the characters you want to be optimistic as well that whenever this series ends it'll finally end on a good note for them and for once they'll win.

Are there any programmes you watch where the writing blows your mind and inspires you? :)

4 May 2013

Currently...

Loving: The weather.  England finally has a bit of warmth!

Reading:


Watching:


Thinking about: Writing.  After deciding to take a rest and not complete NaNo I'm starting to get the urge to do some more writing, finishing off my Camp NaNo WiP and making notes for an old fantasy idea I got during university. 

Anticipating: The Royal Armouries on Monday.  There's an event on all Bank Holiday called the Arms and Armour of the Superhero.  Sounds really interesting! =D

Wishing: For June to come quickly.  Looking forward to my first school trip to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. 

Making me happy: Getting back into my reading routine now that I don't have any blog challenges or NaNo deadlines.

Got any news to share? :)

1 May 2013

RTW - Best Book of the Month

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 was the best book you read in April?

I got back on my reading this month, finishing The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd off and reading Anna and the French Kiss by Stephenie Perkins and This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers.

And the best book out of those three...

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephenie Perkins 

I'm not a contemporary romance fan but I really enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss.  Anna had a great voice.  Witty, confused, paranoid - she's a bundle of emotions and doesn't necessarily understand all of them which a teen reader could relate to a lot.

I was relieved to see a Nice Guy LI for once.  St Clair is not a brooding, bad boy type character.  When he meets Anna for the first time he's not being arrogant and rude because he has issues and secretly insta-loves the girl.  He's friendly, ready to help her settle into Paris, and they share a close bond that grows into best friend territory.  And from that best friend relationship their attraction grows.  It was nice to see a relationship develop like that for once in YA.

It's also more than Anna finding love in the world's most romantic city.  She's there for school, sent unwillingly by her parents and she struggles.  She doesn't know the language, she wants to fit in, and she's worried that she'll lose the people she knew and cared for back home because she's been gone.  Paris is this alien world to her but slowly through the help of her friends, she explores and discovers how amazing the city is.  She gains a bit of independence.  And Summers does a great job in bringing the streets of Paris to life.  You'll want to visit Paris or return to the city if you read this book.  




What's your best book of the month?