Writer’s journey – How did it all happen?

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This is  my writer’s blog about me and my crazy journey to becoming a half decent author.

Well how did I start writing? It was quite odd really. I used to write as a teenager. At the time I had a ginger tom cat called Chester, Mr. Popularity, everyone loved him. He liked to venture afar and we would often have to rescue him. I remember one occasion in particular, my brother and I ended up trudging through the woods, in Blackhall in Edinburgh, to pick him up from a house in the vicinity. He ended up at the most peculiar places. One time he chose to visit a house with thirteen cats!

I told you he liked company. So it seemed natural to  write about cats,  and I kept a diary. My dad was and still is one of my other great sources of inspiration.  He has travelled extensively to the Far East, and Middle East and is a wonderful raconteur.

As far as my writing is concerned the inevitable happened.  I was the typical teenager. I got distracted. I found boys, discos, parties, and my writing suffered. Somehow I didn’t pick it up again for a very long time. This is a regret. A massive regret. But what can I do? I can’t travel back in time, I don’t have a Tardis. So I just have to accept that the time is right now.  You see, I’m still this young girl at heart, just stuck in an older and maybe wiser body. I have experienced more, travelled more, lived more, so hopefully that will make me a better writer.

Several events came together to ignite my desire to write again. First of all I read a lot.  At the time I was reading Dorian Gray and it was definitely a novel that captured my imagination and set my mind free. Also my eldest daughter was studying GCSE Art and I took a sudden interest in art and photography. I’m not saying that I can paint or draw, though I wish I could. No, I enjoyed watching her artistic development and I enjoyed sharing ideas with her and encouraging her.

All of these influences helped me to write my first book, a YA fantasy set in Cambridge, which I hope to publish soon. The female protagonist in my novel is a teenage girl who paints a puzzle of art. But it is by no means a novel simply about Art. She expresses her sadness, and discovers her magical powers, through the medium of painting and well the rest you will find out when you read the book. Lets just say that an awful lot happens and I think that it will keep you entertained!  Well I hope so anyway.

Also I know this sounds crazy but my other source of inspiration was a black cat, a  throw back to Chester.  I had never seen this strange black cat before and suddenly he just started appearing in our garden. There was something different about him. He appeared  like a miniature panther, all glossy and splendid, looking for attention, with his mesmerising eyes, I fell under his spell. He liked to show off, he would disappear into thin air, climb to ridiculous heights, or chase his tail around the garden like a demented clown. He just had to play a part in this book too. Lets just say he has a subsidiary part to a main character, who is male, young and very interesting too, just like him. That was the beginning. Looking back I am amazed that from just a few initial thoughts my idea just seemed to grow and grow. Now my debut novel, is nearly ready for the final edit. How did that happen? I couldn’t be happier in fact if I had a tail, I’m sure I would be whizzing around and around chasing it with excitement!

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Stranger at Sunset ~ Goodreads Giveaway, Price Drop, and Gifting

marjma2014:

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Stranger at Sunset – Eden Baylee. Goodreads Giveaway.

Originally posted on :

Stranger at Sunset is now available in print, and I’m giving away a signed paperback, hosted by Goodreads! This giveaway is open worldwide from Oct. 1-15, 2014. Enter by hitting the graphic below. While you’re there, you can also add my book to your “to-read” shelf if you haven’t already. Sign up, you have nothing to lose!

If you win, I’ll write something really nice in your book just for you. ;)

Goodreads giveaway SAS

* * *

Over the next while, I’m experimenting with pricing. There are many factors that go into setting a price for a book. After much research, I’m dropping the price of Stranger at Sunset from $4.99 to 99 cents for a limited time. This sale will only be available on Amazon and is effective immediately.

My book continues to be sold on  Apple | B&N | KoboSmashwords at the regular price until further notice.

*…

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One Lovely Blog Award Thank You

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Thank you so much to Elsie Elmore for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog award. It was such a surprise to be nominated for this award twice, especially as I’m quite new to the blogging community.   I’m thrilled that she enjoyed my blog and deemed it worthy of the award. I shall be checking out her list of nominees, I’m sure there will be several on there that I will want to follow. I was originally nominated for this award by Marie Abanga,  http://www.marieabanga.com, after I returned home from the YALC Lit Con in Earl’s Court London, this July.

After being awarded this blog award twice I realised that the links to my awards weren’t working properly, so thanks Elsie, you prompted me to check them!  I have just started to update my categories section so now you should be able to click the Award category and see my awards.

Here’s a link to Elsie Elmore’s blog about the award: http://elsieelmore.com/2014/09/30/one-lovely-blog-award/

Many congratulations Elsie, your blog is awesome. I particularly love your section on Writer’s Resources and I shall be adding you to my list of Writerly Resources that I update from time to time. Here’s Elsie’s link  http://elsieelmore.com/writers-resources-a-helpful-list/

It’s great to connect and support fellow bloggers,  hope you like the unusual picture! I found it on Pixabay, quite by chance, and I glad I did. These Supertrees of Singapore are weird and wonderful enormous structures.  Apologies for going off topic a bit Elsie but these trees are just so awesome that I thought I would add them to the end of this One Lovely Blog Award post. Singapore, the land of my birth, has the biggest per person carbon footprint per person in the Asia Pacific area, and it is hoped that the Supertrees will raise awareness of the environment.  Singapore aims to reduce its carbon emissions by at least 10% by the year 2020. More details via this link. The photos are incredible, so click the link to see more: http://www.kuriositas.com/2013/09/the-supertrees-of-singapore.html

 

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Missing You Amethyst

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TO:

SWEET            S OMEONE I MISS YOU

                   M IGHTY AMETHYST FOR

E                     I NSPIRING THE SOUL

                    L IGHTENING THE HEART

T                     E NRICHING THE MOOD

TO  SWEET SOMEONE,  I MISS YOU, A SWEET SMILE FOR YOU. :)

I MISS YOU AMETHYST FOR THE SOUL, THE HEART, THE MOOD.

What Kind of Cat Are You? Quibblo Quiz

 

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I had a go at this fun quiz from Quibblo on my new Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kyrosmagica/posts/926828083997927.

What Breed of Cat Are You? It came up with Scottish Fold, a cute breed with folded ears, silver fur and yellow eyes. The Scottish Fold’s little ears give it an owl like appearance. They are loving, good natured, and playful!  Folds are also known for sitting with their legs stretched out and their paws on their belly in the “Buddha Position.”

Wikipedia Facts about The Scottish Fold:

  • The Scottish Fold is featured in-depth in the short novel,  The Cat Who Went to Paris by Peter Gethers. The book and its two sequels, A Cat Abroad and The Cat Who’ll Live Forever: The Final Adventures of Norton, the Perfect Cat and his imperfect human document the life of Gethers and his Fold, Norton, from their first meeting to Norton’s eventual death and Gethers’ experiences after the loss.

Fiction

In the 2012 novel The Bone Bed, Kay Scarpetta rescues a Scottish Fold cat from a murder victim’s home. She brings her home to meet the greyhound rescued in an earlier novel. They apparently get along well.

In the Anime series Beyond The Boundary, the Youmu form of the Anime-exclusive character Ai Shindo is a two-tailed Scottish Fold cat.

In 2009, Maru, a Scottish Fold cat, became an Internet sensation due to his obsession with boxes. Due to his Internet popularity, several commercials have been produced featuring the cat.

 

Popular YouTube bloggers, Simon and Martina aka Eatyourkimchi acquired a Scottish Fold kitten, Dr. Meemersworth, in July 2012.

“Waffles” is the name of a Scottish Fold cat, featured on the Facebook page “Waffles The Cat”. The page has over 440,000 likes as of July 2014.

What sort of Cat best describes you? Do tell.

 

 

A Smiley Psychology Test via Mike Wells Author

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I found this on twitter today, via @MikeWellsAuthor. A bit of fun. Interesting Psychology Test. See picture and the first 4 words you see describe you. I got Charismatic, Talented, Passionate and Naïve! Three out of four positives can’t be too bad!  Have a go and see what you get. Let me know in the comments field what it said about you!

My Kyrosmagica Review of Garth Nix’s Sabriel

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Goodreads Synopsis

Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death—and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own destiny.

With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen trilogy, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn’t always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.

My review:

I joined the Old Kingdom Readalong via Hot Key Books on Goodreads rather late on, so it was a case of catching up. First impressions, Sabriel excited me and disappointed me. The first half of the book was so rich in descriptive prose that it couldn’t help but slow down the pace of the novel and I felt it dragged a bit. Though, having said that I couldn’t help but admire Garth Nix’s magical powers. Yes I’m sure he has them. His descriptions are just so vivid, and well amazing. My response was contrary, I loved his descriptive passages yet I longed for events to happen more swiftly. Also I had a little bit of trouble initially connecting to the characters. I think this was most probably because Garth Nix needed to devote quite a lot of time to developing the system of magic that is so central to the plot. There are two main kinds of magic, Charter Magic and Free Will.  Charter Magic is of the benevolent kind, whereas Free Will is not. Free Magic is employed by necromancers who defy the Charter by bringing dead bodies to life. Only Sabriel’s father, the Abhorsen uses Charter and Free Magic together to return the dead to their rightful place.

The addition of Mogget the talking cat was a big plus for me, being a bit of a cat lover, I just loved Mogget! He seemed to have the most developed character of all the protagonists with his sarcastic and often witty comments. I found Touchstone a bit wooden! Well maybe this is to be expected considering his background! Though I did laugh at the manner in which Garth Nix introduced him into the story. A bit of nudity added a refreshing element to the story! I welcomed the romantic chemistry that started to develop between Sabriel and Touchstone. Hey somebody has to enliven this wooden guy and I’m sure Sabriel has the tools to do so! But Touchstone’s rapid love interest in Sabriel, could have been developed a bit more, to me it seemed a bit over the top. Hey, this guy de thawed way too quick!

The novel is set in two contrasting countries, Ancelstierre in the south, and The Old Kingdom in the north.  But the two neighbourhoods couldn’t be more different. In Ancelstierre magic is seen as superstition. In the school that Sabriel attends  the basics of magic are begrudgingly recognised and taught. Sabriel is a student at Wyverley College, a boarding school for girls on the Ancelstierre side of the Wall, close to the border of The Old Kingdom. There she studies the usual subjects plus a dash of Magic too. Her father, the Abhorsen, pays a visit to see her once or twice a year. He sets about training her to bind the dead so they don’t come back to inhabit life using The Book of the Dead, Charter Magic and Bells. Sabriel’s father doesn’t turn up for his customary visit, and the book opens. Instead a dead sending comes with a message for her. Her father is trapped in death. Now Sabriel is given the title Abhorsen-in waiting, the responsibility to set the world of the Old Kingdom to rights, and rescue her father. All at the tender age of eighteen. So the adventure begins. Sabriel learns that her father is an Abhorsen, a good Necromancer who lays dead creatures to rest and stops them feeding on the living. Sabriel finds that her rudimentary magical  training at Wyverley College leaves her ill equipped for the task ahead. She feels all of the naivety of her eighteen years but carries on regardless and never gives up. Luckily she is equipped with powerful, magical tools to help her on her journey where she must learn the Abhorsen’s duty to step into Death and bind harmful spirits who desire to cheat death.  She is only able to do this by developing a detailed understanding of the Charter marks, and mastering the seven bells that assist the necromancer’s trade by helping command the dead.

There are a lot of different concepts of death to get to grips with,  all of which are pretty imaginative and sometimes quite gory. Death doesn’t just happen and that’s it. No it is a pretty detailed process, your spirit has to pass through nine gates until it is finally laid to rest.  But of course some of the recently dead aren’t too keen on remaining dead and they do their utmost to fight their way out of death by inhabiting a recently dead body or else they serve as a servant of a  Necromancer.

It is a fine example of a coming of age story. Sabriel grows and develops as the story unfolds. This aspect of the novel I really enjoyed.

Would I like to read more? Yes, I think I would like to see how this develops in the second book, Lirael.  I have a feeling that now that I have got to grips with the magical world of the Old Kingdom I may just enjoy it even more!

The ending was definitely a highlight for me. I was reading the last few pages as I was waiting for my daughter, she was in her gymnastics class. Anyway, she came out before I finished! So I had to stop! Needless to say I finished the rest of the book when I got back home. Oh and there is an Epilogue too, thank heavens!

Recommended for readers of YA, Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Science Fiction Fantasy, High Fantasy, and Romance.

Award information via Wikipedia: Sabriel won the Aurealis Award for best young-adult novel and best fantasy novel in 1995.[1] It is also an ALA Notable Book and was a short-list nominee for the 1996 Ditmar Award for best long fiction.

Authors website: http://www.garthnix.com/

My rating:

 

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An Author’s Secret Weapon: Marketing Advice for Twitter

marjma2014:

Reblogging this from Nicholas C. Rossis. Useful twitter advice from N.N.Light, author of Princess of the Light.

Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:

nnlightToday I have another guest post for you, by another one of my friends, N.N. Light. She is the author of the fantasy book “Princess of the Light.”

She’s not here to speak of her book though. Instead, she has some great tips to share about book marketing, and specifically how to best use Twitter to promote your book.

Aaaand, take it, dear Ms. Light!

Marketing Advice for Twitter

“What is the secret to marketing my book?”

I see this question a lot on Twitter and various blogs I subscribe to.  In this age of self-publishing, the world is filled with authors trying to sell their books.  Everyone wants to know the secret and to increase their sales.  I also am asked this question and as I am just starting out in this great big world of book marketing, I have to rely on my experience as a professional…

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A bit of fun for Friday!

marjma2014:

Reblogged from A Writers Live For Me. More Friday fun. I had a go and got E.B.White’s Charlotte’s Web. This is what it said: Kind and understanding, your are the epitome of empathy, and have a true gift for confiding in others. You tend to be an optimist, or try to be anyway, but have had your fair share of grievances. You are a rare individual in your ability to recognize that no one would be able to appreciate the good times, without having first experienced the bad.

Originally posted on A Writer's Life For Me.:

I found an awesome link on Lorraine Loveit’s blog.

It’s a quiz you can take to find out what classic novel describes your life :D

I got Bram Stoker’s, Dracula… Not entirely sure what that says about me!

‘Pensive and brooding with a penchant for solitary confinement, your fantastic story unfolded within the pages of Bram Stoker’s gothic classic, DRACULA. Others mistake you for ‘unhappy’ on a regular basis, but simply do not understand that you are different – and that is completely okay. You tend to shun everything else around you as you immerse yourself with whatever captivates your mind – which leads to sacrifices but ultimately ends in incredible results. Your inner workings are as fascinating as your outer layers, a true rarity.’

Why not have a go and post what you got in the comments?

http://www.playbuzz.com/jonb10/what-classic-novel-describes-your-life

*Have a great weekend everyone! I’ll be back on Monday!*

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