Saturday, 27 September 2008

Random Facts again

I must say, folks have an inordinate interest in random facts. Every time I play along with one of these things, my viewcount shoots up! However, having done it so many times already, I have a feeling that I'm running out of randomness. So please excuse me if some of this seems familiar. Well, here goes.

I was tagged by Caprice and Stormi both at the same time.

Here are the SEVEN RULES of tagging.
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write seven random things about yourself.
4. Tag seven people at the end of your post. Link to them if possible.
5. Let each person know he or she has been tagged.
6. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.
7. Have a cup of tea.

Now for SEVEN THINGS about me:
1. I have to learn to drive in January. It's about time, that's all.
2. I run on honey. C'mon, seriously, is there anyone that doesn't know that already?
3. I'm about to embark on a 9 week trip through the USA, with 15 stops.
4. I'm working on three novels at once. One in edits, one put to pasture and one first draft.
5. My travel kit includes pliers, wire, string, clothespegs, a torch, compass, wet-wipes, plastic bags, and sometimes muesli bars.
6. This summer I've had paid work only one day a week on average. It was enough to live on and I like the lifestyle.
7. I drink a cup of tea or two every morning. But I can't drink any after about 2pm otherwise I won't be able to sleep that night.

1. David
2. Bethany
3. Andrea
4. Christina
5. Karina
6. Paulette
7. If you drank tea today, count yourself tagged.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The Secret of Rapid Writing

I've always been amazed at authors you hear of, some churning out several novels a year or even more. For me, the actual writing has always been the hardest part - editing and marketing are easier and more fun - but without writing, nothing's gonna happen. So this summer I've been trying different methods to increase my productivity, and I've stumbled on a few really key things I'd like to share with you. Not everyone writes the same of course, but maybe something will help.

1. Disconnect the internet. If you have wireless, unplug the router's power supply. Vitally necessary to avoid distraction, even if you call it research. Write down research questions and look them up another time, but not when you're writing.

2. Find a clock that shows the seconds passing, preferably a stopwatch. There's quite a good one online here: Save the html file locally so you can use it when offline! Arrange your windows over one another so you can see the seconds tick by as you write. Hide the milliseconds, though. They are too fast for your brain.

3. Start the clock. Start writing. Write sixteen words per minute. Keep score of yourself now and then by marking the new section of text before you go to Word Count. Tip: Make a Word Count button right in your button bar so you don't have to chase through menus.

4. Sixteen words per minute isn't much. A sentence or two, maybe. Surely you can bang that out in a minute. This means you should have 80 words after five minutes, and 160 after ten. Stop the clock if you are interrupted or have to take care of something else, and don't forget to restart it.

5. When ten minutes are up, start counting words again from that point. In one hour, you will write about a thousand words. Well, okay, 960, but once you're in the flow it'll probably go over 1000 anyway. Nearly always does for me.

6. Always finish writing the current scene before you stop for the day or for a prolonged gap. It's very hard to get back into the middle of one. If this seems a tough goal, consider making your scenes shorter, at least for now.

7. This is a first draft! It's allowed to be bad! You can always fix it later.

I'm at least half plotter, which helps a lot because usually I do know roughly what's about to happen so I can write it without stopping much to think. This requires a couple of main ingredients: know whose POV the scene is to be in, know the setting, and know your plot goal - what must the story accomplish in this scene? Of course other things will flow into the mix as you write, surprising and unexpected things sometimes, which thrills my SOTP side no end.

This may sound incredibly strict and regimented, but believe me, I'm not that kind of person :) Oddly enough, I'm a night-owl, but this method works best in the morning when I'm fresh. The idea of this much discipline late at night is rather daunting I guess. And what a feeling to go about the rest of my business knowing I've been a real writer today and not just messed around.

Bottom line: no matter how weird it sounds, I have been able to get two thousand words before noon a number of times - which has never ever happened before - and to my amazement, I've churned out half a novel in two weeks. Not saying it's finished, mind you. It'll need loads of editing just like anything else... but it is complete!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Cyberdublin: get ready, here it comes!

Welcome to Cyberdublin, where the hyperserver Oodles presides over all of society. But when its central brain falls prey to sabotage, Ireland spins towards chaos. In County Dublin, the heart of the fallen cyberworld, an orphan dreamer and her housemates face a reality far less virtual than they're used to, while unwittingly entangling themselves with the saboteurs...

In this story there are six different viewpoints. The image below shows their distribution.

Rachel - blue - main character.
Talitha - pink - also main.
Cormac - yellow - the villain.
Aqua, brown and red are for Bethany, Zehrani and Louise, who live in the house with Rach and Tali.

All of them are in third-person except the villain, who is in first. This was so much fun to write! There was never any time to get bored...

Check out Linda Leigh Hargrove!

This lady is in a writers' group with me (online of course) and I've just been checking out her website. The books look really great and I'll have to get hold of them after I finish globetrotting.

Take a look here: - I think you'll like what you see!

Friday, 12 September 2008

The CFRB Tours COME TO ME by Laura Davis

This is the story of Jesus as told by his mother Mary to Luke, the doctor. It has a cozy, homey feel for much of the book, and I would recommend it for reading to children, of course with appropriate parental guidance through the crucifixion part. Lots of the action is taken directly from the Bible, with extra touches of colours and settings to bring it to life and put a more realistic and human flavour into the old stories known so well by so many. It is written simply so that even people who don't normally read books would be likely to enjoy it.

There are snatches of fun in unexpected places, such as the idea that Jesus was a practical joker and loved to play tricks on people and laugh. Nothing mean, of course! The scenes surrounding the resurrection are of particular interest as Laura has written Mary's experience of those times for us to travel through with her.

Laura has worked very hard on this and is very brave to step out alone in publishing a novel based on a story that's already gone around the globe. But I ask, can there ever be too many stories about Jesus? I doubt it. He is universal after all, with his message for all the world. I truly hope this novel will help people to understand Jesus better and love him for who he really is.

Please go to her website and read the first chapter at to discover if this book whets your appetite for more!

Check out these member blogs Sept. 7-13 for more info.


Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Ireland's First Messianic Wedding

Ireland’s First Messianic Wedding

A 12th century-castle. Whitewashed stone walls, dark timber beams with carved figurine bases, leadlighted windows, red and black and yellow mosaic tiles on the floor of the high Great Hall. All is ready for the wedding: the chupa, the menorahs, the anointing oil, the shofar, the silver goblet of wine, the rings on their silken pillow. Enter now the string quartet in black suits; they play as the guests arrive. Now the worship quartet in black and white. I swing in behind the guitar and call the murmuring assembly to silence so we can start the singing.

Then the bridal parties enter: first the groom with his bride’s nephews, all in dark green kilts. Ilan of course is also wearing a kippah and tallit over his Scottish regalia. Three bridesmaids carried log-stemmed lilies. Finally, the bride, Alison herself, in white with a dark green cape to trail behind her, and over it all a long, long veil reaching to the floor.

Some of the readings confused me at first, until I realised this was Ephesians 5, speaking of Yeshua and the Messianic Community. The wine was shared and the anointing oil applied. Vows were exchanged, many and powerful, more than we’re used to in our church weddings. The shofar was blown and the crowd shouted - the young men in kilts, the princesses in their finest robes, the bards in black. A banquet fit for royalty was all ready in the balcony.

A wood fire was lit in the eight-foot hearth. Smoke filled the hall and sent guests rushing into the cold evening. When it was safe to return, we discovered the smoke had gathered in an upper room of the tower. The setting sun streamed through mullioned windows and turned the hazy air to magical rays of light, a background the photographers were forced to use.

Later the string quartet struck up Hava Nagila and we danced in concentric circles around Alison and Ilan, whooping as we went. After a while I danced a slow waltz with one of the kilted warriors, who was probably ten years younger than me.

(More pictures are coming at a later date, I hope. My camera didn't do too well in the candlelight!)

The next morning I dragged myself and my daze by the shortcut along the seafront to be with the church that’s become my family. After worship - a fantastic job by Liam, Raissa, Ogey and Christine - Noel called me to the front. Maggie presented me with a gold-wrapped box. These folks are full of surprises! Well, anyway, it contained a Claddagh necklace and earrings - an ancient Irish symbol of friendship. Perhaps I’ll have to get my ears pierced after all, a permanent reminder of my friends in Balbriggan.

Oh, I was sorry to leave them. Yet even as I got off the bus in Belfast on Sunday night, the North worked its magic on me and I’m more than glad to be here. In knowing this isle of my mother’s roots - her mother from the South, her father from the North - I have come to love it more and more. And I sat in a blue train rushing towards Bangor. Dream on, friends; it may take you far.

On Monday I walked the coastal towns from Crawfordsburn through Bangor, Ballyholme, and nearly to Groomsport, but there was too much mud on the track in the end. Still, it was a round trip of about eight miles.

In writing news: Cyberdublin is up to thirty-two thousand words, Godspeed is still stuck at two thousand - but just wait, now that I’m in Bangor things could start to happen! The Legendary Space Pilgrims are under edits and the second draft is shaping up nicely, though there's plenty more work to be done.