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Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Music of the Night

This is a non writing related post, but as I'm struggling to blog at the moment, this will have to do! (Plus I will use any and every opportunity to talk about this particular subject matter...)

PHANTOM.

Ahem. In case you don't already know, I am a HUGE fan of the Phantom of the Opera. Ever since the 2004 movie with Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler, I have been ever so slightly obsessed. I think the first ever fan fiction I wrote was about Phantom, but I never finished it! (Sarah, not finishing a story? GASP, IT CANNOT BE!)

I was lucky enough to see the West End production in April when I went to London with friends. It was an amazing experience and I cried through most of the songs. I even waited after and got to meet the wonderful man who had played the Phantom, Peter Joback. I did talk about it in a previous post here.

Now, Phantom of the Opera has been around for 25 years, and to celebrate this there was a special production produced in the Royal Albert Hall in London, which they released on DVD. ALSO, there has been a second UK production that has been touring all over the country. Through July they were in Dublin and I took my mother down to see it for her birthday! (Really it was just an excuse to see it again, but she did REALLY enjoy it! Honest!)

The Phantom was played by the fantastic John Owen-Jones, a bit of a legend in the world of musical theatre, and it was so amazing to see him live. And, like a true theatre fan, I was waiting at the stage door and got an autograph and picture with both him, and Simon Bailey, who had played Raoul.

Me with Simon Bailey who played Raoul. Isn't he gorgeous!

Me with John Owen-Jones who played the Phantom.
This man has the voice of an angel.

My brochure now has two Phantoms and two Raouls. 
As you can see I'm wearing a self-designed t-shirt which says "Get angry and drop a chandelier". If you know the plot of Phantom then you'll know why that's funny!

I've been really lucky these few months in getting to see this phenomenal show twice. Unfortunately though, it's  bit like a drug, and the more I see it, the more I want to see it again!

If you ever get to London, or New York I really would recommend it.

Gloat over!

Sarah x




Thursday, 2 August 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

Just when I'm struggling to think of things to blog about, I'm given an award! 

WOOP!


Thank you very much to Jeannette over at Folio Road who nominated me! 

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you. - Already done!

2. Add the Versatile Blogger award picture to your post. Check!

3. Share 7 random facts about yourself! 
  • I have seven cats! They don't all belong to me. They're mostly strays that just sort of took up camp at our house. We used to have much more, but some unfortunately went to kitty heaven, while there were some of a litter of kittens that were re-homed. 
  • My absolute favourite colour is purple. I have so much stuff that's purple you wouldn't believe...
  • I know most writers are addicted to coffee, but my poison of choice is tea. Good ol' strong tea with a good helping of milk. 
  • I'm absolutely obsessed with Phantom Of The Opera. I've been to see it once in the West End and once on tour. I have a programme that I bring to every show and get signed by some of the main cast members. I plan on seeing it many more times in my life. 
  • I am extremely lazy and easily distracted, which is why I never seem to achieve much!
  • I'm a Nerdfighter. +10 points to you if you know what that is!
  • I wanted to be a Vet for all of my childhood until I was about 11 then I spent a day on a farm and saw a calf being born... and I knew then that I couldn't handle it.

4. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers who are relatively new to blogging - Oh gosh, 15? I mostly follow blogs that, from what I can tell, are pretty well established! Would anyone mind if I cheated here? Nope? Phew, thank goodness. 

Thanks once again to Jeanette, I hope I'll get some inspiration rain on the drought of my writing/blogging soon! If you know a inspiration rain man at all, send him this way to do his little dance!

Sarah x

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Hang on a minute...?

Whoops! Late again!


Thank you everyone who left a comment on my hookers! (Which sounds so wrong by the way!) I loved reading them, and was quite surprised by the response because I personally didn't find them very hook-ey!

But ONWARDS, to the hangers. 

WIP

Chap 1 - He’s unmistakably dead.
 Chap 2 - A guard yells at us to be silent, and we are.
Chap 3 -  As I'm led away, to gods knows where, all I can think is how long it'll be before I'll loath being called Princess.

I've enjoyed this blogfest! You lot always come up with such good themes! Just wish I'd been a bit more organised and got these out on time!

I will eventually get around to reading others, promise! 

Sarah x




Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Gotta love me some Hookers!

Well that title's bound to get some views...
(sorry this is late!)


So, I know I've been absent, but so has my brain. With moving Uni house, and mum deciding to redecorate most of our house, my muse seems to have gotten lost in the mess. Its so infuriating, because it's summer, and this is when I have the most time to write and I just can't seem to be able to do it!

Reading my WIP hookers... they don't seem very... hook-ish to me. If I'm completely honest, I'd never really taken a good close look at the beginning and endings of my chapters before now! If nothing else, these two posts will be an exercise in being more... hook-ey?

Chap 1 - "Thief!"
Chap 2 - Panic grabs hold of my throat and I can’t breathe.
Chap 3 - There are no windows in this godsforsaken prison. 

I'm sure I have other hookers floating about the place, but this post is late so I just better get it out here quick!

See you, tomorrow, I guess for the hangers!

Sarah x

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Explaining my absence

I doubt that many of you had actually noticed that I hadn't posted here since April, and are now reading this in your dashboard with mild surprise and curiosity, thinking something along the lines of "I don't remember following this person..."

NO MATTER.

Hello again. It's been a while. Let me tell you what I've been up to.

April was a busy, busy month for me. I turned 20, and had lots of Uni work to do. I also went to London with my house mate and her friend. We went to see Phantom of the Opera. Ever since the 2004 movie with Gerard Butler (which is incomparable by the standards of seeing the live West End or Broadway versions let me tell you) and it was a dream come true to see it. I even waited after to meet the lovely and talented gentleman who played the Phantom. His name is Peter Joback, a Swedish pop and theatre star. He was so lovely.

8 years after the obsession began, I finally get so see it live!

This guy is 40 is gorgeous and has such an amazing singing voice.
He's also got a husband, so not only would I be barking up the wrong tree...
I'd be in the wrong forest.
So that was a nice break to have in Easter when I should have been revising for my exams. We also went to see Rock of Ages, the show that the new movie with Tom Cruise is based from. I've since seen the movie as well and would recommend the show a HUNDRED times more. The movie was ridiculous. The show is too, but it's much easier to go along with it in a theatre environment!

So exams ate away at April and May. Then I went to Spain for 10 days with the two girls I live with the first week of June. It was my first holiday away without 'adults'. It was amazing. Here are a few snaps! 

One of the scariest, yet most thrilling things I've ever done. 

Salou, Spain.

Blatantly for Facebook cover photo!

Such beautiful and intelligent creatures.

The last night!

We were instructed to pose. It was under duress... honestly.

The wonders of a metre long pizza. The three of us struggled to finish it, but did!
So now that that's all behind me, I'm finally getting back to writing. But it's not going to be easy.

I'm having to remind myself what I'd written so far, and with that comes the irresistible temptation to edit as I go through it. Can't. Resist. 

Hopefully I'll be able to have something to show for myself by the end of the summer. I'll try to resume my normal blogging frequency, but make no promises! 

Hopefully it won't be to long until we see each other again!

Sarah x

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Birthday and Kreativ Blogger

As of Tuesday the 3rd of April. I'm 20. No longer a teenager. That's scary, right?

I remember this time last year I wasn't that happy about turning 19 because it was so close to 20... and now it's here. The big 2-0. What can I say? I don't feel any different.

My mother has a saying that she and her friends used as their slogans when they were all turning 40 and that was: Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional. And I think that's true for me. I just, sort of imagined that I would have had more memories from my teen years. I kind of thought I'd do all the things that they did in the books and movies; have a whirlwind summer romance, swim with dolphins, get my Hogwarts acceptance letter...

Now I'm in my twenties, the typical to-do list looks more like this: Get a job (ew.), get my own house, get married, have kids... The 20's list looks so much scarier! Where's my Tardis?

The day itself was pretty awesome. I was at my Uni house, and I came downstairs to this:




My house mate Laura had been down at 3am and decorated the living room and kitchen of our house! Then later that day, with my other house mate, we went ice skating and bowling, then had midnight pizza and movie  (27 Dresses in case you're wondering). It was the best birthday I've had in a long time. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you girls.

I got a few nice presents including some additions to my library! I knew they were coming because I ordered them myself. Still, always nice to get a good big parcel in the post! 


But that's not all! 

I have been awarded this!   

Thank you to the lovely Melissa from My Unpublished Life for the award! 

So here are the 7 things about me that you might find interesting! 

1. My favourite colour is purple. Seriously, even my kitchen utensils are purple...
2. I've never seen Dirty Dancing...
3. I must have the widest tastes in music. It ranges from poppy Katy Perry, to the country drawls of Lady Antebellum to metal kings that are Iron Maiden. 
4. My favourite piece of classical art is Ophelia (from Hamlet) by Sir John Everett Millais. Google it. It's hauntingly beautiful.
5. I am famous among my friends for liking 'bad' movies. For example. It is almost universally acknowledged that Star Wars Ep. 2 - Attack Of The Clones is the worst of the 6 Star Wars movies. However, it's my favourite. I'm a sucker for Anakin/Padme.
6. I am a Christian. And as today's Easter, it's kind of a big deal. But whatever you believe, I hope you have/had a good and peaceful day :)
7. Everyone has been labelled something at one time or another. Usually it's not a good thing. But here are a few labels that I don't mind: Nerdfighter, Hopeful, Yognaut, Hiddlestoner, Whovian, Cinephile. 

Hope you found those little titbits interesting! 

Here are some of the lovely blogs that I'm passing this award onto! Sorry if you've already had the award before!


Rules for the winners:

1. You must thank the person who has given you the award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link the person who has nominated you for the award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on which of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Lucky Number 7 Meme!

If you follow other writing blogs (and if you've found your way to mine, chances are you probably do!) then you're bound to have seen the Lucky 7 meme posting going on!


Well, I've been lucky enough to get myself tagged! Yay! Thank you to the lovely Amy over at http://amychristineparker.blogspot.co.uk/ for the tag!

This is what I have to do: Go to the 77th page of my WIP, (err, I'll go 7th, seeing as the 77th does not yet exist!) 7th line, and copy the next 7 lines, no cheating! (I kind of already have but you wouldn't want to read 7 lines of nothing now would you?)


So here's 7 lines of the still Untitled Persian fiction! If you're interested I have added a WIP page to my tabs at the top of my blog where you can read a brief plot outline if the next 7 lines are to your liking!


Maybe this is why the rich manage to acquire so many things. They buy simply because they can.
“Are you going to pay for it, or just put your dirty gypsy fingers all over it?” the merchant sneers before taking a long swig from a jug. The smell drifts over on the afternoon breeze and I get a nostril full of cheap wine and unwashed skin. He wipes his mouth with a dirty sleeve. “Clear off, little whore!”
It’s not only his tone of voice that ignites a fire in my belly, but the name he has the gall to use for me. Whore. 


Apparently now I have to tag 7 other bloggers. I've seen this meme bounce back and forth so much now that I have no idea who has already done it! So I'm going to do another sneaky little cheat and not tag anyone! If you haven't done this already, and have been waiting for a nice little tag, then please! Tag yourself! And don't forget to leave me a comment with a link so I can go take a look. I love taking a peek at WIP's!


Sarah x

Friday, 30 March 2012

That 'So... what now?' Feeling

March has been a pretty busy month for me, I'm not going to lie. There was a lot that I had to get done for Uni and as a result, blogging and writing took a back seat. As they should, I think, given that I am supposed to be a student first and blogger/writer second.

But now it's March 30th, I've just handed in the last of my essays before the three weeks of the Easter holidays begin and it's sort of left me feeling a bit... strange. Do you know what I mean? When you're whole life is focused in around one thing and when that one thing happens, in the aftermath you feel kind of... dead? That pause and then 'What now?' thing? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. It's happened me a few times recently.

The first was right now when I handed in my essay. I had two of them, both 2000 words long. English and students of the arts will laugh at me right now for complaining about 4000 words because, let's face it, that's their lives! However, as a science student, I'm really not used to writing essays at all. Most of our work is based on practicals and lab reports of very limited wording. So essays were a bit of a shock to the system! For the past 3 weeks all my house mates and friends have got has been: "Nah, I don't think I've time. I have these essays for next week." I kinda looked like this for a while:


But  I've been so focused on getting these essays done that now they're finally handed in, I kind of don't know what to do with myself! (I should probably start working for my exams in May, but I can't begin to even think about those right now!)

The second was in reference to this movie that was kind of a big deal recently. You might have heard about it. Something about Hunger Games? Yeah. That one. As you may or may not know, I read these book a long time ago. I think Catching Fire (book 2) had just been released when I read them, so in terms of the fandom, everyone's been jumping on my bandwagon. I saw it for the first time on the night before it was released in the UK. (It was an advanced screening!) And it was amazing. There were some few subtle changes from the book, but they were so well done that I didn't mind. The majority of it was so damn faithful to the books, it was like watching what had been happening in my head while I was reading the book. I think I may have a girl crush on Jennifer Lawrence. She's amazing.
But again, that same thing happened when it was over. I felt kind of... empty inside. I had been waiting for years for this movie to come out, and I got so into all the hype in the run up, that when it was all finished, I had no clue what to do.

They're all so beautiful. Damn you Hollywood.

The third and final type of this feeling will be the one probably most familiar to my readership. I have never had the fortune of finishing my own original piece of fiction, but I have finished a fair few fan fictions in my earlier days. And it was always the same with them. As I typed, or penned, that last sentence the first feeling was, "Oh my gosh, I've finished!" followed soon after by that crash of "my life no longer has a purpose." Yes, very melodramatic, but for a short period of time after finishing something that has taken over your life, it does kind of feel like that?

Or am I on my own? Perhaps it's my obsessive personality that leads to me feeling empty after finishing goals that I've set myself.

Do you ever feel like this? Or if you don't, how do you feel when you finish something big?

Sarah x

p.s. this post is nearly 700 words and has taken me a little over 30 minutes. Why on earth cant this be my speed of output when I'm doing school work? Life would be so much easier...

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Knights of Micro Fiction!

...well that kind of snuck up on me!

Got an e-mail some time last night informing me that it was the last Monday of the month... WHAT? Where did March go? Although I shouldn't complain too much because I have been rather going through a dry blogging spell, so this is a good prompt for me to actually post something!

So here was this months prompts:

In 250 words or less:
Use at least one of the following adjectives: delicate, repulsive, hostile
And at least one of the following nouns: New York City, My 16th Birthday (yes, this would be referring to you), and Kilts

I don't really think I can work any of these into my WIP's so I guess you're just going to have to get a random 250 words! Hurray for spontaneity and possibly semi-autobiographical fiction!

It's 2am. I'm not feeling very creative, but I made a stab at it! 

I don't think I can remember my 16th birthday. It's not as big of a deal as it is for American teens. See, in Britain we can't drive until we're seventeen, so sixteen is just another number in a list on the somewhat bumpy and over-dramatic road to adulthood. 

I do remember my 18th though. On this side of the Atlantic, eighteen is the big number. We become adults and unlike our American friends, we can legally consume alcohol. 

From across the room, my grandmother gives me a hostile look as I take my first, legal, sip of alcohol. The wine spritzer is a far cry from the hard liquor that most people my age seem to think leads to an attractive demeanour.

Everyone that I care about was there, family and friends. While most of the people that I hang out with think that an eighteenth isn’t an eighteenth without a club, some intoxication, and some poorly made decisions, I’m not most people. I wanted nothing more than to spend some quality time with the people I care about the most in this world, reminiscing and indulging in some of my aunt’s famous double chocolate cake.

We played a board game. Unthinkably dull to most people, it’s the highlight of my night. It’s that one where you try to describe a given word without actually saying it. Innuendos, confusion and laughter run riot into the small hours. Screw the hangover. I’ll take my boring, old fashioned fun any day.

Word count: 250 Huzzah! 

I'm sure I'll get a chance to look around some of the other posts in the morning! 

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Music To Write To: Loreena McKennitt

So, my music segment is a little later than I had planned it but I've had a busy week. I only have a week and a half left of classes before I get off for my Easter holidays and understandably, that means a lot of deadlines for essays and such which I may or may not have already started... *shakes fist at self for procrastination*

BUT I've got a spare few minutes while I'm waiting around for people who are coming to view our house to rent for next year. In all honesty, good luck to them, this house has been a bit of a bad luck charm as far as I've been concerned. It's been a revolving door with people moving in and out due to arguments and general things. Luckily I was never on the end of any of the bother, but it's still been a bit of a roller-coaster! Things seem to be settled finally, with only a few months left on our lease! Oh well, isn't that the way life goes!

Without further ado I give you:

Loreena McKennitt!

 

I found this wonderful lady whilst flicking through my friends iPod. She had an album called 'An Ancient Muse' and I remember being completely entranced with the music! She gave me a lend of the CD to put it on my iTunes and I've never looked back. 

Genres suitable for: historic, fantasy, paranormal, 
Personal highlights: Kecharitomene, Caravanserai, The Highwayman, The Mummers' Dance

Initially I just listened to her because her music was very soothing, and I really liked the Celtic and Arabic influences. Then, however, I got the idea for my Persian fiction and the music, especially that on her 'An Ancient Muse' album, just fit so perfectly it must have been some sort of act of fate that I'd discovered her! 



If you, you out there reading my post, know of any similar music to any of the artists that I post about, do drop me a comment and let me know! I'm always on the lookout for new music to take me - and my writing - to new heights!

Sarah x

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Got Green? St. Patricks Day Blog Hop!

Being Irish myself I just couldn't resist this little hop!

First a little mood music! If you don't have Spotify, then look it up on Youtube!
Ronan Hardiman – Dance Above The Rainbow

It's funny though, because I get the impression that St. Paddy's day is celebrated more in other countries that have a large proportion of Irish immigrants such as America or Australia, than it actually is here in Ireland. Perhaps it's because I live in Northern Ireland, and although things are much better now than they were back in the 70's, there can still be a bit of trouble here and there, so they don't make too big a deal out of it... I'm not sure! But nevertheless here's my post, in green for the occasion!


My fondest St. Paddy's day memory isn't very grand or extravagant. But it's a memory that I hold dearly. First off, the best thing about the 17th of March is that we got off school! On that day in 2010 my then-boyfriend and I packed up my car with a picnic basket and a blanket, and headed to Tollymore Forest Park (a filming locations of the HBO's Game of Thrones!). I didn't take the photo below, but that's one of the bridges in the park. If it's one thing the Emerald Isle knows how to do, it's forests!
 

We arrived just before lunch time, and sat down at a picnic table and spread out our feast of sandwiches, crisps, and of course, tea from a flask!

Later, we went for a walk, hand in hand, as those who are in the throes of a relationship tend to do. I've never been one for exercise, so there were several points along our walk, mostly on the hills, that he actually had to push me along.

There is a second reason that I remember this day so vividly. While out on our walk, we met my oldest and closest friend having exactly the same kind of day with her boyfriend (now fiancée). The strange thing is that neither of us had previous knowledge of how we were planning on spending our St. Paddy's day! It also makes me grin, because when we happened upon them, my boyfriend and I were stumbling out of some bushes. Now, before your minds run away with you, here is my completely innocent explanation: we had been down by the river having a stick race, and the only way to get there and back was through a very overgrown path. Honest! Many suggestive comments were made by both parties as a result.
Although I’m no longer with my then-boyfriend, it’s one of my fondest memories of our 18-months together, and I have yet to have a better St. Paddy’s day!
Word count: 333. Exactly! 

Hope you enjoyed! Why not have a jolly hop around some of the other entries after reading mine!

Sarah x

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Look! An award? Pour moi?

Happy Monday!

Well, we all know Monday's generally suck, but mine has started awesomely, by my discovering that I've been awarded my first ever blog award!


It's an award for blogs that you think are cool, but have less than 100 followers!

The wonderful Sara over at Cutest Landing was generous enough to award me with it!

There are a few rules surrounding the Liebster Blog though... and here they are!


1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.
2. Nominate up to 5 others for the Liebster Award.
3. Let said bloggers know via comment on their blog.
4. Post the award on your blog.
5. Consider signing up for the A - Z Challenge

I don't know about number 5. I'm going to have an awfully busy Easter...

But here are who I'm awarding my Liebster Blogs to!

1. Laura over at Laura + The Voices
2. Amy over at Amy Christine Parker
3. Jess over at Ink Spot Plot

Ladies, your turn to pass on the award! 

On another note, I'm going to see John Carter in the cinema on Tuesday and I'm so excited! It looks like it could be an incredible movie!



Sarah x

Friday, 9 March 2012

Music To Write To: Ludovico Einaudi

Time for our third instalment of Music to write to!

This week I'm listening to Ludovico Einaudi, specifically his compilation album entitled 'Islands'.


Don't make  me try to pronounce that name, because I sure as hell won't be able to!

Genre's suitable for: Contemporary, historical, fantasy, romance, general background writing music

Personal highlights: I giorni, Primavera, Divenire, Ancora

This album is just great for writing either the romantic parts, or for anything really, you can just put this album on and totally forget what's going on around you and just write!

The main instrument on most of the album is a piano, and only a piano. Sometimes there are collaborations with other instruments, mostly string, but most of the time it's just him and his piano! You may have already heard some of the music, as it's very popular with film & tv soundtracks, along with a few TV adverts! It's a very calming sound compared some of the music that I will be recommending in later "MTWT" instalments!

If I can't sleep, I stick this album on quietly and it doesn't take long for me to drift off on the beautiful melodies!




Sarah x

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

KONY 2012

So this video has been doing the rounds on Facebook and Twitter and I just think the blogosphere should pick up on it too!

If you haven't already watched this video, now's the time. Don't be put off by how long it is, no matter how busy you are.




I do agree that this is only one problem in a million that we currently have going on in the world, but surely it's better to start with one, than to not start at all?

The starfish story is one of my favourite little tales and it's not going to be more appropriate than with this:

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.

Approaching the boy, he asked, What are you doing?

The youth replied, Throwing starfish back into the ocean.
The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them back, they'll die.

Son, the man said, don't you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?
You cant make a difference!

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said
I made a difference for that one.

I've ordered myself a Kony2012 action kit to help raise awareness in my Uni with the posters and everything. Hopefully we will make a difference and get this man arrested for the thousands of lives that he's ruined. 

Sarah x

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

What I Read In: February

Yes, I know we're already a week into March but give me a break, I've been busy!

(On a side note, I've begun sketching out chapter outlines for my WIP. Haven't done that in a long while, so hopefully it's a step in the right direction! Probably isn't a good thing that the notes were made in the margin of where I was supposed to be making class notes... oops!)

So yes, what I read...

1. Seizure - Kathy Reichs


From the writer of the Temperance Brennan series that inspired the TV series Bones comes the second book in her series 'Virals' for young adults! 

I really enjoy Kathy Reichs writing, and just like the first, I couldn't put this one down! 

My only complaint is that Kathy seems to be a little out of touch with the younger generation in parts. For a start, her characters are meant to be around 14-15, where as they talk and act much, much older. She also doesn't seem to have a clue what kids study in school these days. They seem to know about scientific procedures that I'm only learning about myself at University! 


2. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte


The first book that I finished on my Kindle! 

But it was a struggle. This book, while beautifully written, was painfully dull at times. I do understand that it's how books were written back then, with lots of description. I think in today's world of drama and everything being very over the top and fast paced we don't really know how to digest a slow classic like Wuthering Heights.

I didn't keep English on long enough in school to be able to sink my teeth into the classics. Perhaps if I was more tuned into how to read them, I would enjoy this more. 


3. Across The Universe - Beth Revis

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)

The cover

I kept seeing the amazing cover of this book around the blogosphere and just had to get it onto my bookshelf. It wasn't a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, I actually quite enjoyed it and got through it quite quickly. I know this is supposed to be science-fiction, but as a science student the improbabilities of some of the stuff that went on in this book just bugged me. The book wasn't fantastical enough for me to be able to remove myself from why the things just wouldn't work. I know I'm a stickler, but there we go! Was a nice read though, and I'll be checking out the sequel! 

4. The Alchemist's Secret - Scott Mariani

The Alchemist's Secret (Ben Hope #1)

My friend told me I had to read this book. She said it was Dan Brown only better, and I have to agree with her. It's fast paced, the characters are interesting and the story compelling. I just sat and read, and read, and read until it was done. There's a whole series of books about the same main character and I'm really looking forward to getting into the rest! 


So, that's it for February! What books did your read? If you've read any of the books that I have, what did you think of them! 

Sarah x

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Music To Write To : Lady Antebellum

So this week's segment on music that inspires me to write focuses on the contemporary country band - Lady Antebellum

Now in the last post I focussed on a particular album, because for that group, their latest album was very different from anything they'd ever done before, and that was why I liked it. However, for Lady Antebellum, so far their music has been pretty consistent in that modern American country music style that has been made popular by the likes of Taylor Swift, Martina McBride, and of course Lady Antebellum.

They're all subtly different, and I find that Lady Antebellum hits the perfect chord for me, where as Martina and Taylor sometimes just fall short!


Genres suitable for: Contemporary, Romance

Personal highlights: Need You Now, Something 'Bout A Woman, We Owned The Night, Just A Kiss

One of my house mates introduced me to Lady Antebellum just before Christmas and I fell in love because at that point I was working on a contemporary YA romance and it suited perfectly! 

Their songs just remind me of summer, and the sound of your typical 'contemporary teen romance' movie. Quite a few of their songs have this bright, happy, hopeful sound that just fits perfectly with everything you feel when you're starting out on a relationship with someone.

This song captures what I've just said perfectly.



What do you think of Lady Antebellum? 

So that's it for another segment. I'll be doing a review of what I read in February in my next blog post, so be ready for some book reviews! 

Sarah x

Monday, 27 February 2012

Suit up, it's the Knights of MicroFiction!

Having basically all but run out of blog ideas, I've joined the Knights of MicroFiction to give me something to write and maybe a kick back onto the path of productivity because my WIP has basically been floundering too.

You should really check it out. It's only once a month, and I think it's such a good idea, and I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone makes of the prompts! 


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The prompt for this week was: After all this time, there it was...

My entry's not from a WIP or anything, I just went with where my head was going when I read the prompt. Here's what I came up with!


After all this time, there it was – there he was – lying right at the bottom of the box.
Officially, we had moved in a little over three years ago, but we still hadn’t managed to completely unpack. I’m sure a very philosophical individual would say at this point about how we don’t need all of our junk but I’m not one of those people. I like having stuff. Every piece of so-called junk has it’s own story.
I reached in and picked my old friend up. He hadn’t changed a bit. With all the articulation that a two year old could muster, the day Dad had brought him home, I had appropriately named him ‘Beary’.  To this day I still have a problem with stating the obvious.
The lenses of his glass eyes were scratched, from his many adventures, and parts of his grey fur were almost bare in places. Maybe I had given him one too many cuddles. Little specks of pink nail varnish still clung to his paws from the time I had decided to give him a manicure. Mum had spent hours trying to get it off, and the house had smelt of remover solution for days afterward.
With a smile, I carried him down the stairs and into the sitting room. In pride of place I set him into the big antique armchair. Jake looked up at me over his glasses, then, glanced towards the new arrival.
“Should I be jealous?”
“Of Beary?” I replied. “Always.”


Word count: 250 exactly!

Hope you enjoyed it. Why don't you pop off to read some more of the Knight's posts? 

Sarah x

Friday, 24 February 2012

Music to write to: Progressed

So as you may (or may not) have noticed by my relative inactivity for the last week, I've kind of run out of things to blog about!

Already? But you just started!


Apparently so. It might have something to do with real life drama's becoming, for once, more overwhelming than the drama's being played out in my head! Having some serious house mate issues, spliced with a dash of stomach bug to contend with. So, understandably I'm feeling a little uninspired.  So I thought I'd write about something that helps me write, and that's music!

I'm going to do a segment, hopefully every week for a little while until I get my 'mojo' back!

Listening to music whilst writing is a very touchy subject for some people. Some can't write with it, some can't write without it. I'm in the later group. Music is a big part of building an atmosphere for me and as a result I have different play lists set up in my iTunes for different moods.

So, this week's Album of choice: Progressed by Take That



Genre's suitable for: Contemporary, Futuristic, Science Fiction

Personal highlights: Love Love, SOS, Underground Machine, Man

The marketing of this album bugged me. Take That released their album 'Progress' in November 2010 and it was their first album as a fully reunited group, i.e. with Robbie Williams back. (If this is all going over the heads of my American readers, I do apologise!) However, in June 2011 they RE-RELEASED the album with 8 new tracks and retitled it 'Progressed'. It was a very similar thing to what Lady Gaga did with The Fame, and then The Fame Monster. It's a kick in the teeth for fans that buy the first album, and then have to essentially buy the first album again to get the extra tracks.

But enough about bad record label choices. On to the writing side of things!

To me, the album has a very industrial (I use that term VERY lightly because I do know there is a very large genre of music that is ACTUALLY called industrial and I do not wish to offend) theme running through it, without departing from what can be considered 'pop' music. My absolute favourite song from this album is Love Love because it was the song in the closing credits of 'X-men: First class' (which I adore) and it always reminds me of the film.

From the angle of using this as a background to writing, the sound of the music is very important, especially for science fiction because most things in science fiction tend to rely heavily on machines, and the sound of this album can be very mechanical at times. But in a good way. The second thing is the lyrics. In one song especially, SOS, the lyrics are very poignant of our future and remind me somewhat of Beth Revis' book Across the Universe (which I haven't finished so don't spoil me!). There aren't parallels in the lyrics to the book, so I'm not spoiling anyone who hasn't read it, but there are sort of, themes that are similar. If you've read the book you might know what I'm talking about.

Here are some of the lyrics which make me think:

"When the levee breaks 
And Manhattan sinks 
There won't be water fit to drink 
When the winter's warm 
And the summer's cold 
The poison stops you looking old"


"No antibiotic can save us now 
No, no, no, no, no 
We are the virus that we talk about"


I'm going to leave you with the Love Love video. There are some clips of X Men in it, including my gorgeous Michael Fassbender as Magneto. I sure do 'Love Love' that man. Sorry. It had to be done.






I'm going to be possibly doing this segment every week, for a few weeks at least, breaking down the favourite music that I write to, and what genre's they inspire me to write for. I hope you find this segment interesting! Perhaps you'll find a new group or artist that appeals to your music tastes, or fits nicely in with what you're writing! 


Sarah x


EDIT: Also, if you're not following me through blogger, and are still interested in what I have to say (which I hope you are!) then you're going to have to switch to the Linky Follower, because at the beginning of March Google Friend Connect will cease to be working/exist! (I don't understand why, but there we go.)





Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I'm talking about plot ideas.

I suffer from a condition called an 'Over-active imagination'. Unfortunately, a cure has yet to be discovered, and even if there was one, I wouldn't take it and YOU CAN'T MAKE ME.

I love my imaginary friends, even if their relationship with me is dubious at best. However, I do seem to have a bit of a problem with crowd control. There is just too many in there for me to function as a normal human being, so I have to let some out to stretch their legs on paper. The trouble is, which ones?

I have read on a few blogs that a writer should, first and foremost, write for themselves. With regret, I can't do this. I wish I could be satisfied by simply getting their story out onto paper and being happy at that. But I'm not. Whenever I start writing, I'm filled with this consuming need for people to be interested in what and who I'm writing about. If I'm going to pour my heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into a story, I need to know that people will want to read it.

(I'm a bit of a praise whore. I was that annoying brat in school that would be the first one to finish her work, and would flaunt it in front of the teacher -and the class- all for the sake of getting a 'Well Done' stamp on my book.)

But I have a problem, in my head, I'm interested in every plot, otherwise it wouldn't be there. How do I decide which is the good, the bad, and the downright ugly?

But, Sarah, why is it important that other people like your stories?


Well, italic voice, because I'd like writing to be my job. For it to be a job, I need to make money. To make money, I need to get the story published. To get published, other people have to like what you read. And there we come full circle.

Recently, I had, what I thought was an amazing idea for a story. And I took it and ran with it for about 10,000 words. Then, just for a bit of fun and encouragement, I submitted it to Susanna Hill's 'Would You Read It Wednesday' where authors pitch their plots, and get feedback from her blog readers. But this is where I hit the road block. Not very many people seemed interested in it. Or if they were interested, it was because they had misinterpreted the plot in a way that I hadn't (and can't) imagine it going. It was then that I realised that I'm incapable of  judging which of my ideas are good, and which stink worse than my dad's feet (and trust me, that's bad). So what do I do? Do I put it to one side and hope that a better plot twist reveals itself? Do I scrap it and start something else? Do I keep going and ignore the warnings that it might fall flat on it's face?

When do you stop the CPR, look at the clock, and ask the Nurse (or in my case, cat) to call time of death? (In case you're wondering, it was purr minutes past meow.)

So, here's where I ask for your help! How do you sort out your Good, Bad and Ugly?

Sarah x



Monday, 13 February 2012

Origins Blogfest

So after the 'Hearing Voices' blogfest last week, I'm getting straight into another one!

Today I'm taking part in the Origin's blogfest! If you'd like to check out some of the other participants, click here to one of the co-hosts blogs, where there is an absolutely HUGE list of people taking part! There seems to be so many out there willing to share their origin stories. I'll try my best to get around them, but with class, I've only got so much time on my hands!

So here's my origin... (There was no word limit right? Because I do go on a bit...)

I've always had a creative mind. There are probably two factors to this. Number one is down to my wonderful mother. Bedtime stories were a daily event in my house when I was growing up, but quite a lot of the time, instead of reading to me from a book, my mother would make up a story on the spot, about what my teddy bears got up to when I wasn't around. I got used to the idea that stories weren't something that only came from books, but that everyone could do it! The second reason I attribute my creative mind was the fact that I spent a lot of time on my own as a child. I'm an only child, and when I was young my dad was very ill for quite a few years. Because of his illness I wasn't allowed to interact with very many other children for fear that I could bring new strains of viruses into the house that would make him worse, so I spent a lot of time playing by myself and imagining situations.

The first thing I ever wrote was on holiday's once when I was about 6 years old. It was about a bubble that I'd blown from our balcony, and it's journey to the mountains that I could see on the horizon. I don't remember the plot, but every time I talk about wanting to be a writer, my mum brings up the bubble story.

Then came Fanfiction. The first thing I wrote was an alternative ending to the 2004 movie version of Phantom of the Opera ( Gerard Butler... swoon...). I didn't even know there was a name for what I was doing until about a year later I discovered that quite a few other people on the internet liked to do the same thing! I went through several fandoms. It was the first time in my life that I'd finished a story. All through my childhood I would have started stories, but never gotten past the first few chapters. Until, that is, I found fanfiction. I fell in love with the community spirit that it gave, and the support that my stories seemed to get. I still have them all lurking around in my hard drive somewhere for nostalgia purposes.

I can't exactly pinpoint when I decided that I wanted to be a writer. It's always been there, in the background. Although it's always been what I've dreamed of being, it's always been Plan B. Unfortunately we live in a world which dictates that you need a steady source of income to be comfortable. I was never confident enough that I would be able to make a living from my writing, so instead of putting all my eggs in the writing basket, I'm studying to be a Biomedical scientist. (In case you don't know what that is, we're the people who check blood samples, and do the research behind medical and pharmaceutical methods.)

My dream to be a writer is secret from most people outside my family. A few months ago I told a friend on my degree course that it was what I wanted and she got very brisk with me, saying that some people would kill for the change to get a degree, and that if it wasn't what I really wanted, then I was robbing someone else of a place. That hurt. In my head I'm only trying to be realistic, and account for the fact that the highly subjective world of writing might not open it's doors to me.

I'm a religious person, and I believe that God has a plan for my life. I find it hard to believe sometimes that I would be gifted with a creative mind full of characters that demand to be let out of my head and onto paper, if I wasn't meant to be a writer. But at the same time, I have to be realistic. Although it's what I want, it might not be the path that's best for me. Perhaps my characters are only meant to keep me company and not to be shared with the wider world! At the end of the day, I'll still have a degree, and job prospects (however limited in this economic climate!) if my writing is just not meant to be.

So, after writing this, it's not so much my origin than my whole writing history, but once I started I just couldn't stop. I do hope I haven't bored you!

Sarah x


Friday, 10 February 2012

Emotion Flash Fiction - I'm Hearing Voices - Final Day

I have enjoyed these last few days so much! Hello to all my new followers, I hope you like what I have to say! I promise I'll get around to checking out everyone who commented and followed me, and everyone who entered the 'fest, but I just didn't realise how hectic my 2nd week back to Uni could be!

Thanks goes to Cassie and Angie for this amazing blogfest. It's been super fun!

Now, my emotion is a little unorthodox. There's a bit of a debate on the internet as to whether 'loneliness' is actually an emotion, but I've made an executive decision and for the purpose of this blog, it is. Without further ado, here is the flash fiction. Enjoy!

She felt sorry for me, the waitress, as she cleared away the cutlery from the other side of the table set for two. It was the way she looked at me, with her almost imperceptible smile and the haste with which she lowered her eyes from mine.
I knew that making friends in a new place would be difficult, but I had never anticipated this. At first, I tried to pretend I didn’t care. But eventually, it gets even the strongest of us, sucking life like a parasite. It starts off slow, but builds up, and up until the roar of silence that surrounds you is deafening. Mid-afternoon, while innocently placing a coffee order, I realised that the only soul I’d spoken to all day was paid not to ignore my existence. The thought left me hollow, and cold.     
Inside my head, my consciousness struggled to compensate and, instead of actually having them, I begun to imagine the conversations I would have. The highlight of my week was my Sunday night call from Mother.
“It’s great”, I lied, my pride refusing to permit the truth. I had been so desperate to unfurl my wings and fly. Perhaps if I’d known that my fate was, instead, to fall, I wouldn’t have been so eager. I would grasp at straws, teasing out every morsel of conversation that I could before her inevitable goodbyes.
As the waiter passed, I pulled my phone from my pocket and checked for a message that wasn't there.


Word count: 250. Like a boss.

Sarah x

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Pssst... over here...

Okay, two blog posts in one day, not like me but I just have to point y'all in the direction of a most wonderful blog!

Susanna Hill  does a wonderful piece every Wednesday called "Would you read it wednesday" where people pitch their book ideas to her readers. It such a great idea and I decided to ask her if I could take part. She agreed and today is the turn of my current WIP 'Starstruck'.

I suffer from having too many plot ideas. Of course, I think all my ideas are amazing but I'm naturally a little biased, so I decided to see if this particular plot would interest other people!

Pop on over and have a read to see what you think!

I've read a few of the comments so far and I've already learned so much! I can't thank Susanna enough for allowing me to share my idea!

Sarah x

I'm Hearing Voices Blogfest - Dialogue Introduction

Post two of the I'm hearing voices blogfest!


First of all: Oh, my, goodness! I never expected such an AMAZING response from everyone! Thank you to everyone who commented on my post! Next time I see Nasreen, I'll tell her all how much you liked her, but as you can probably guess, she's not the easiest person to pin down!


I had to flick back through a few stories that I'd written until I found two characters who jumped up and grabbed me. I did eventually find some that were suitable and once I got them talking they couldn't stop so it's a tiny bit over the word count! But here are Alannah and Christian to introduce each other!


“Thanks Sarah! So, my name is Alannah…”

“No, sweetie, you’ve totally got the wrong idea about this. We have to introduce each other. I’ll go first. Specky-four-eyes over here is Alannah.”

“You have glasses too…”

“Yes but mine are fabulous. And don’t interrupt. She’s twenty two, and a reporter.”

“Ex-reporter.”

“What did I say about interrupting? Ex-reporter, but technically everyone at that magazine was fired so it doesn’t count. She was born in Essen, in Germany. She’s a bit too shy for her own good, and clumsy. She is the funniest drunk you will ever see. Her hair is naturally blonde but she’s currently sporting a brunette ‘do because she thinks it makes her look more intelligent. It doesn’t.”

Okay. I think it’s my turn now. The loud-mouth over here is Christian. He’s twenty-three, obnoxious and most defiantly gay.”

“A regular bum-chum, but you should really say homosexual. It’s much more politically correct.”

Urgh, he’s also vulgar in case you can’t already tell.” 

“I’m not vulgar, I’m just telling it how it is!”

“Well stop. You’re going to scare away the readers. He’s always scaring away people. When we’re out on the town I can never get a guy because, believe it or not, Christian has a very overpowering presence.”

“As I always say, if he can’t stand the heat, then he better get out of the kitchen.”

“But they’re not in your kitchen, they’re in mine!”

“They’ve just never sampled my cuisine.

“I give up. I really do.”

“You’d never give me up, Lana, you wouldn’t know how to.”

“The sad thing is; he’s right. And I guess that's why we're best friends.”

“Aw, thank you sweetie. And despite the fact that your roots need done, I love you too!”

That's when they started arguing about how long you can reasonably leave between hair appointments. I don't even think they saw me leave...

Sarah x






Monday, 6 February 2012

Characters on the couch - I'm Hearing Voices Blogfest


My first post, in my first ever blogfest! This should be exciting. Having never done anything like this before, I don't really know what to expect, but I'm already finding it great fun!


Here was the brief for today:


Characters on the couch: Have one of your characters answer the following questions (to make this work to your benefit, choose a character who is the hardest for you to write :) Max 250 words (Not including the questions—only the answers).

The character I have picked is one of my original characters that I slipped into a fanfiction once. I fell in love with her, and I've already begun to map out her own story. I can't wait to get started!

Her name is Nasreen. She's a gypsy living in a fictional Persia during the middle ages. She can't quite remember how old she is, but even if she did, she wouldn't tell you. Here's what she had to say:

1. What is your biggest vulnerability? Do others know this or is it a secret? 

"I don't have one, and even if I did, I wouldn't tell you. Once people know your weakness, they own you."

2. What do people believe about you that is false?

 "Most people believe that I am a whore. They just assume, and wrongly so, that a woman living on the streets has to prostitute herself to survive. Let them think whatever they want. As long as they can’t feel my fingers as I cut the cords of their purse strings, I don’t care."

3. What would your best friend say is your fatal flaw? Why?
 
"Well, the word fatal implies that I would be dead, and seeing as I'm not, I mustn't have one. But, if there was something, it would probably be my arrogance. I'm so used to getting away with my ‘crimes’ that one day I might get complacent. It’s not likely though." 

4. What would the same friend say is your one redeeming quality? Why?

"I steal, I cheat, I lie, and I backstab. There’s nothing redeeming to be found in me. But I survive, and that’s all that matters.” 

5. What do you want most? What will you do to get it? 

"I spend most of my days wanting. Food, money, shoes that fit. What I want most though, is to not have to want. Ultimately, I want security, but that’s not something I can wrap my thieving fingers around. It’s just a concept, and one that is beyond even my grasp.

Thank you Nasreen for your time, I... hold on... where'd my handbag go...?

Sarah x