Friday, October 29, 2010

Interrogation Room and giveaways

Me: *whispers*Is the interrogation room ready?
Sidekick : Yeah lights and audio are perfect
Me: Ladies and gentlemen today I drag before you Christine Bell and Chloe Cole (2 me that counts as 2 people even though they share the same picture). She comes bearing gifts; 2 books and a 10 page critique for an aspiring author, to learn how to win keep on reading :)


  1. Joanna - Hey I know you don't know us that well, but tell us a secret
    Christine - Okay. Let’s see…Sometimes, when I’m in an elevator and I’m the only one in it, I pretend I’m controlling it with my superhero powers. Sort of like Magneto from X-Men, yanno? So, I will get in, the door will shut, and I will turn my palm face up (in a rather dramatic fashion) and “make” the elevator rise. When it stops, I will flick my superhero wrist, which will (theoretically) cause the doors to open. I blame this on my interaction with my four boys and husband. We spend an inordinate amount of time discussing superheroes, most desirable superpowers, etc. Recently, however, I did find out that my workplace has hidden cameras in the elevators, so I have begun to curtail this practice.
    Mostly.

  2. Joanna - Are you or plotter or a pantser and can we lure you to the other side?
    Christine - A few months ago, I would’ve said 100% panster, but you’re already luring me to the other side! I have recently taken to doing loose outlines and character overviews. Not that I stick with them, mind you, but I *do* them. And they guide me through a lot of the story. I find my beginnings and ends are usually true to my outline.  The middle chunk? Not so much.

  3. Joanna - Are you a disciplined writer that has to write a certain number of words per day or you just go with the flow?
    Christine - I would LOVE to be one of those writers who can set a daily word count, but my lifestyle just doesn’t allow for that. I have a full time job, a husband, a house, four boys and two dogs. Not to mention, a lot a family out of state so I do a lot of traveling in order to maintain a close relationship with them. Aside from stolen moments at lunch time, or between making dinner and doing dishes my writing time is typically from 10:00 p.m. until about 1:00 a.m. (or until I start drooling on my laptop). And that time isn’t just for writing, but all writing related business as well (cover art forms, blurbs, contracts, proposals, emails, promo and on and on). I also try to squeeze in extra time on the weekends. That said, to come up with a min. word count would just be depressing, because, depending on how tired I am by the time I get to writing, I would invariably fail to meet it. That’s one thing I do pride myself on is meeting or beating my goals and deadlines, so to set a goal and fail to meet it would be really bad for my mental state. I do consider myself disciplined, though. Just not in the “daily word count” sense. More like I’ll say “I need to complete, edit and sub this ms by X date.” And then I do that. Or I will say “I want to release ten books this year.” If I say it, then I’m very driven and will do everything in my power to make it happen.

  4. Joanna - Choose one, chocolate, wine or books? why?
    Christine - That’s just cruel. I have to go with books, because then at least I can read about souls more fortunate than I (who get to eat chocolate and drink wine!)

  5. Joanna - What advice do you have for aspiring writers like me?
    Christine - In order to do this, you have to love it. It’s not an easy road to publication, it’s not a high paying profession for the majority of us, it’s hard work and if you break it down to an hourly rate you would probably cry once you realize you’d be better served getting a job at the Quickie Mart. But if you truly love it, and couldn’t stop if you tried, immerse yourself in it, read about writing, write about writing, take workshops, read blogs, read books and write write write. Then submit submit submit. Take the feedback you get from editors (if you’re fortunate enough to get it) and apply it, then write some more. This is often said, but it really is the truth: A published author is one who won’t quit. When you get knocked down, get back up and do it again. For a great, inspiring book about becoming an author, I suggest Stephen King’s On Writing
  6. Joanna: Okay I think she did a good job, she is guilty of being an author. Sidekick roll the book blurb
https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2&ik=c9bec7a18e&view=att&th=12bf55f48db8ec0d&attid=0.1&disp=inline&zwAWAKENING - The Wolves of Pray
Sean Mulaney’s beloved mate Sara is dead and her killer’s trail has grown cold. Eaten up by grief and guilt, it’s an effort just to get through the day. Now, after a year in mourning, his animal instincts have reawakened. As Sean struggles to control the need clawing at him, along comes Chandra and she wants more than just passion. But if she refuses, she might blow her one chance to convince him that she can rock his world and fill the empty space in his heart. Will Sean let love in, only to risk having it taken away again?



Ahem still drooling at the book cover? go and cobble cobblestone press for a copy

Christine Bell is one half of the happiest couple in the world. She and her handsome hubby currently reside in Pennsylvania with a four-pack of teenage boys and their two dogs, Gimli and Pug. When she isn't acting as maid, chef, chauffeur, or therapist, she can be found reading just about anything she can get her hands on, from Young Adult novels to books on poker theory. She hates bugs (except ladybugs, on account of their cute outfits), but lurrves chocolate. She also loves writing steamy romance stories, but also hopes to one day publish something her dad can read without wanting to poke his eyes out with sharp sticks. If she had to pick another occupation, she would be a pirate. Or, like, a ninja maybe. Oooh, or a Gryffendor! 
Christine can be found at her website or her blog she loves guests.
Now for the giveaway
Christine's book comes out today from Cobblestone press at 5pm EST (Exciting right?), she has also been recently signed with Carina Press (The Adventures of Stormy Gale) and she is on a role.
Today she is giving out 2 books written by her of course
  1. Pray (Book 1 in the wolves of Pray series)
  2. Captive Audience (From Chloe Cole)
  3. And of course a 10 page critique 
To win all you have to do is follow her blog which can be found here and follow me too

You also get to do a fun challenge: Chloe Cole wants to know what your ideal pen name would be.
So three special steps tell us what your ideal pen name would be, follow me and then hop on over to her blog and follow.
Winners will be picked by my Kidlet on Sunday Night French time and announced Monday Morning American Time
Have Fun, its Friday and Christine will be by later with the drinks, I told her we are a rowdy bunch

Thursday, October 28, 2010

100 followers

I started this blog on Aug 1 2010 today I reached a hundred followers on my blog, you are all amazing. And we shall have a giveaway as soon as I recover from this idiotic flu. The son just passed it to me and I am sure I will be passing it right back bcos its just us two at home.
On the plus side its less than a week till the husband gets back and he sent me a picture which I will share with you. I have been ordered to rest and not write today, that shall include commenting on all your lovely blogs (je vous en prie).
photo.JPG
This is a picture of Tuvalu somewhere in the pacific islands, the colours are real, no photoshop, just the power of an IPhone4 (I want one too)

Tomorrow Christine Bell is going to be dragged to the interrogation room she comes bearing books.
Have a beautiful day

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It takes the word free to excite me

How many of us like getting stuff especially if it has the word free/gratuit attached to it?
I did not do a lot of research on this as I have used this guys before. Last year when the husband was about to graduate I used VistaPrint to order his business cards and they were free (Only paid for shipping), I checked again before I wrote this post and they still have free templates and operate in different countries from Australia to Ireland.
What is even better is they have free pens and car door magnets(I'd put it on my fridge) which can double up as book swag.

Now I know this might not be an original idea, but I started editing my book yesterday and I was reading the lines I wrote and I could not help thinking to myself how some of them would look good in a valentine's day card.
Then it hit me why can't writers be freelance writers for greeting card companies? actresses model for L'Oreal all the time. Anyways you guessed it I went digging for more info, the consensus is to send the companies a letter asking for their submissions guidelines (most of them don't really display that sort of info online but some do). They also don't pay a lot but if you get the gig it should be able to pay for a mani/pedi or more depending on how romantic and witty you are.

October has been a lucky month for me, I won 3 contests from Talli Roland, Michele Hauf and Madeleine over at Scribble and Edit. Don't forget we have a book giveaway on Friday and 2moro we shall be talking about genres and rejection.
Have a beautiful day
This is Bastia

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pitch It

Have you ever gone to a restaurant, positively starving and all they have on the menu are dishes you have never heard of?
In the words of Tigger, prezactically
So the next logical thing to do would be to ask the waiter what the least threatening looking dish is made out of, now what would you do if he goes on to explain how the chef goes to the farmers market at 5am each morning to hand select the fish which was caught just a few hours before? The fish goes in a special container to preserve its freshness or even keep it alive, after that he kills it, descales it and browns it in a shallow pan with the slightest hint of spices and specially churned butter before it comes to you garnished with steamed veggies on the rarest china.
Remember you are starving, what would your reaction be?

I have never been to a writers conference but I have heard what happens there, you learn a lot at workshops, you also get to meet several agents and editors and can pitch your manuscripts anywhere except the in the ladies(so I have heard).

So I started to do some research on how to pitch to agents and this is what I have come up with

Have a completed Manuscript
Always have your business card ready
Research the agents you know are going to be present beforehand and also prepare for the surprise pitch

So according to Nina Harrington when she wants to make a pitch she says "My story is about someone [ your protagonist]….who strives for [goal]… and this stands in his way [ forces of opposition and antagonism].WHO she is, WHAT she wants, and WHAT she is going to have to overcome to get it."*
How would you make a pitch and what works for you? I am determined to go to my first conference in 2011 (Hopefully RWA) and I don't think the pantser approach to pitching will work :) 
Finally Corsica at sundown

* http://community.eharlequin.com/content/loglines-pitches-and-premises

Monday, October 25, 2010

titleless as in not part of the ton

You may not know this about me but I have several skeletons in my closet, so why don't u come under my blog umbrella and let me share one with you.
I'm not sure how old I was when i had my first crush but the choice I made has always worried me a slight bit, I remember my parents always trying to hide their amusement whenever I said I was going to marry my crush, they would even call me everytime he came on TV for their amusement of course while I danced and daydreamed.
Yes I was in love with Boy George, Funny my parents neglected to tell me he did not swing my way, I am not very impressed.
So yesterday I was going through my list of crushes to see who would make a good fit as my hero and I came up with either Juanes (a 2 weeks muy caliente Colombian singer crush) or Anderson Cooper (I cannot explain  this 3-4years crush).
So you see my point? the crushes I dwell on are way not swinging my way, but does that stop me from having a crush? no, good looking is good looking and I was not going to do anything anyways.
Since like the Kartoffelpuffer it is not meant to be, I shall move on to more productive things who would you rather have my hero look like  Anderson Cooper or Juanes
 

I could not find a nicer picture of Juanes so my apologies.
9 more days till the husband gets back

If you have wondered about the randomness of my post today, it was brought to you courtesy of the blogfest at Rach Writes blame her
Lastly, thank you all for participating and making our guest feel welcome in the Interrogation Room on Friday. We had a lot of fun and if you missed it, the post is somewhere to your right there might be some tequila left, this Friday our guest comes bearing gifts so stick around.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Interrogation Room

https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2&ik=c9bec7a18e&view=att&th=12bbc62d09200f6f&attid=0.1&disp=inline&zwToday I am bursting with pride to present to you a very special person, Here name is Liz Fichera, If you think I have nice blog manners, well I learnt it all from her she is the sweetest person I have met in miles and if I don't have blog manners well the tutorship is still ongoing - Shush Liz does not know I am stalking tutoring with her. Liz is going to be hanging out with us all day (yes I glamourized her with my bubbles) so feel free to ask any questions, visit her blog or leave a comment to cheer her on


I decided to change the name of this series from the spotlight series to the Interrogation room, because when I looked around me I realized that idea must have been planted in my brain by the other spotlight on author series in Bloggyland. This is going to be more like the Jay Leno show where the interviewee has to jump through hoops before they get to promote their idea.
I even have a(use your imagination or IPod) musical act; Muse - Resistance


Ladies and Gentlemen, feel free to stand behind the mirror I give you Liz Fichera 
  1.  Joanna: So you are going to be stranded on the Bionic Island and I can only let you have one thing what will it be and why?
Answer:  Chocolate.  I cannot get through a day without at least one nibble of something chocolate.
  1. Joanna: What made you start writing?
Answer: I was painfully shy as a kid.  I learned from a young age that I was better at expressing myself through written words than spoken ones.  It probably had something to do with being the “Jan Brady” middle child of my family, among other things.  Plus I’ve always had an overactive imagination.  I would rather write stories than just about anything else, and I’ve felt that way since forever.   
  1. Joanna: How many manuscripts did you write before you hit Pay dirt and nailed your voice?
Answer:  I struggled with voice with my first two novels (which will never see the light of day).  I made the mistake of listening to people who told me what my “voice” should be rather than writing from my heart.  By my third book, I finally hit my stride.  My third book, however, was not my first published book.  Small tease: My third book will be published next year, although I’m not yet able to completely reveal the details. Stay tuned. J 
  1. Joanna: If you could move anywhere, where would be your ideal location?
Answer:  Anywhere with an ocean.  I love the sound of water, particularly huge, crashing, gorgeous waves. I’ve been to Kauai several times and if money and time were no object, I would definitely move to that unbelievably beautiful island.  And then promptly search for all of those hunky guys on Hawaii Five-0!  Naturally, I would also want my own private jet to fly to the mainland whenever I needed my city fix or if I ran out of chocolate.  A girl can dream.
  1. Joanna: What kind of scenes are the hardest for you to write?
Answer: All of them!  Just because I love to write, it doesn’t mean that writing is easy.  It has become easier the more I write, but I am still constantly learning, constantly improving.  I always want to get better.  I’m never fully satisfied.  It’s a sickness. 
  1. Joanna: Okay, tell us about your first published book.
Answer:  CAPTIVE SPIRIT is my first published novel.  It’s a historical romance set in the sixteenth century in the Sonoran Desert.  It was published by Carina Press in June, and I totally heart the Carina editors for loving my story.  It was also my first attempt at a historical, and I can’t wait to write another one.  I think I enjoyed doing the research almost as much as I did writing the story of Aiyana and Honovi.  Plus, I love the epic themes, richness, passion, and drama of historicals.  It has become one of my favorite genres to read and write. 
https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=2&ik=c9bec7a18e&view=att&th=12bbc62d09200f6f&attid=0.2&disp=inline&zw Okay don't you just love this cover?
Back Cover Copy for CAPTIVE SPIRIT:
Sonoran Desert. Dawn of the sixteenth century.

Aiyana isn’t like the other girls of the White Ant Clan. Instead of keeping house, she longs to compete on the Ball Court with her best friend Honovi and the other boys. Instead of marriage, she daydreams of traveling beyond the mountains that surround her small village. Only Honovi knows and shares her forbidden wish, though Aiyana doesn’t realize her friend has a secret wish of his own…

When Aiyana’s father arranges her marriage to a man she hardly knows, she takes the advice of a tribal elder: Run! In fleeing, she falls into the hands of Spanish raiders and finds herself being taken over the mountains against her will. Now Aiyana’s on a quest to return to the very place she once dreamed of escaping. And she’ll do whatever it takes to survive and find her way back to the people she loves.
Watch the trailer here

About Liz:  Liz Fichera is the author of CAPTIVE SPIRIT, her debut historical romance novel from Carina Press.  She prefers to write about ordinary people who do extraordinary things, oftentimes against the backdrop of Native American legends in the American Southwest.  Please visit Liz at her web site (http://www.lizfichera.com/) or blog (http://lizficherablog.blogspot.com/) because it can get real lonely in the desert.




Thursday, October 21, 2010

If you were an agent would this rock your world?

Without further Ado I present the synopsis we have up for constructive crit today. Our friend L'aussie has graciously taken a bold step, I should point out that this is her first attempt.

What if, for most of your life, you’ve had a dream? You’ve never wavered from the necessary steps to reaching your goal. It’s not that you think you’re better than anyone else or more focused, but you’ve made promises which you must keep. The culmination of being true to these promises is ultimately reaching your goal.
Having lost everything you hold dear in your home country, you move to a foreign country where you plan to make your dreams come true. You find the town you want to live in, you find the property you want to buy; at last, you are making positive steps to realise the fulfilment of your dreams.
Then one day, when your dreams are falling neatly into place, you relax and give yourself a day off. You join a whale-watching expedition on the sleek tourist boat, the Eco Pacific, and head for the oceans off Queensland’s Sunshine Coast to meet whales in the wild.
You meet more than whales. You meet the man of your dreams, but the timing is all wrong for you. There are choices to make. You know this is a crucial crossroad in your life. Which way will you go?
This is what happens to the main character, Angelique (Ruby) Beaulieu, a Titan-tressed, green-eyed beauty. In all her twenty-three years Ruby has been a model daughter to her French parents. Growing up in Paris, holidaying in the South of France, studying at the Sorbonne; this was her life of charm.
But her life wasn’t all charm, as when she was six, she lost her mother. Ruby was extremely close to her father from then on; they had one of those ‘two of us against the world’ close-knit types of relationships.
Ruby and her father shared a dream, but her father didn’t live to see it fulfilled. Ruby continues to pursue their shared dream after his death in a plane crash when he was flying back to France from Australia. The dream, which is now Ruby’s, is to own and operate a boutique hotel – not in France – but in Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
To the reader Noosa may seem an odd choice for a Frenchman, but Ruby’s father originally wanted a property in Bandol in the South of France where he spent the final family holiday before Ruby’s mother died. When this was unachievable due to French property laws, he set his sights on Australia, specifically Noosa, which reminded him of Bandol.
Ruby’s vision of owning her own hotel has meant up until now Ruby has denied herself many pleasures, chiefly love and romance. She has such a strong connection with her dead father that she has avoided anything or anyone that might hinder her quest – but she finds her resolve wavering when she meets the gorgeous Australian sea captain, Michael Asher when whale watching on his boat, the Eco Pacific. When she and Michael meet, the air crackles between them. Both of them feel a jolt which destabilises their once-ordered existence.
Ruby’s immaturity in matters of the heart, coupled with the secrets of the much more worldly thirty-year-old Michael, threaten the relationship from the start, with firstly Ruby, then Michael, pulling back from their undeniable mutual attraction. Their pulling back is the result of a shared insecurity and secrets neither feels ready to share with the other.
First, Ruby has a health problem – she battles the stringencies and dangers of having Type 1 diabetes – a condition she tries to hide from Michael due to her independent nature and wishing to appear ‘normal and uncomplicated’ to this man.
Second, Michael has a past addiction to alcohol which he has ‘overcome.’ He has zero tolerance for drugs of any kind and he soon suspects Ruby is abusing drugs following a tip off from Jimmie, his aboriginal friend and co-owner with him of the restaurant where Ruby and Michael share their first meal.
Michael’s past relationship with Kylie, the feisty waitress, also causes some angst, but Michael assures Ruby the relationship was fleeting and is well in the past despite Kylie’s jealous barbs.
Ruby’s secret can’t be hidden for long and Michael discovers Ruby’s struggle with her health in a most alarming way. Ruby literally falls at his feet and needs medical attention. Her secret is out. Now Michael knows she needs drugs to survive. Michael is very solicitous and swears to the doctor that he will attend to Ruby’s needs.
The shared knowledge of Ruby’s condition draws them closer together and it seems as if they will make it as a couple. Michael opens up to Ruby and shares some of the traumas of his childhood – his alcoholic mother and his absent father – things he has shared with no one else.
Their relationship seems to be building into one of mutual love and trust, when Ruby discovers Michael has dreams of his own he hasn’t shared with her.
Staying at Michael’s cottage while recuperating from her fall, Ruby comes across Michael’s notes and books which reveal his dream to join the fight against the Japanese whalers just getting underway for the season in the Great Southern Ocean – south of Australia.
As one who understands and believes in the preciousness of following your dreams, Ruby ends the burgeoning relationship as she knows Michael’s deep feelings for her will not permit him to leave her. She also fears she is becoming too dependent on his strength which makes her uncomfortable as she has always fought her own battles. There is no way she can see their individual dreams merging.
The parting scene is heart-wrenching, with Ruby very nearly surrendering to Michael’s charms, but she maintains her independence, sending Michael on his way, convincing him that she does not return his love. She forces them apart, feeling this is her only choice. She puts Michael’s dreams before her own needs, mistakenly thinking she knows what’s best for Michael himself, not giving Michael the chance to know why she does what she does.
Heartbroken and angry, Michael joins the huge black hulk, the Sea Shepherd ship, the ‘whale-saving terrorists,’ according to the Japanese, and embarks from Melbourne on his long-held ambition to help save the whales. As he hops on board at the last minute, all the jobs are taken. He is given the job of writing the ship’s blog.
Meanwhile, Ruby’s first hotel guests arrive, along with the hot Japanese owner-skipper of Michael’s boat. Izuru Ito falls hard for Ruby and woos her incessantly right from their first meeting when Ruby discovers Ito was a whale hunter back in Japan. She and her other guests react angrily to this news, but in a heartfelt speech Ito explains his conversion to the other side.
Ruby feels an undeniable attraction to Ito, but as he pressures her into a relationship she is constantly torn with dreams of Michael and what might have been.
Michael, meanwhile, has found more than whales on his Sea Shepherd tour of duty. The bosun of the vessel, the beautiful Asian, Shelly Wang, comes to Michael one night, interrupting his dreams of Ruby. He makes love to her in a dream-like state, at first believing she is Ruby. The harsh reality that he’d been seduced by someone who doesn’t share his ideal of sex and love is a bitter realisation and sours his whale-saving mission.
Michael finds himself retreating into himself, something he did as a child when dealing with the trauma of living with his alcoholic mother and missing his absent father and now he settles down to complete his mission without the vigour he first had.
While Michael is chasing the whale hunters around the icebergs of Antarctica, Ruby faces huge battles of her own. The hotel is up and running smoothly and she is attracted to Ito. She is ready to surrender to Ito’s charms when his wife Chie arrives unexpectedly and mortifies Ruby with a terrible scene at a ball Ito had arranged at her hotel. Ito is spirited back to Japan by his steely wife.
Ruby is suffering on many fronts – she is humiliated by the flirtation with Ito, she knows she has ruined her chance of happiness with Michael and she worries about him in the dangerous environment. This is her blackest moment, she thinks.
However, just when she feels things can’t get any worse, her hotel is badly damaged in a fire set off in the kitchen by her French chef Montague (Monty) Clouitier.
The hotel fire is the point of high drama, but everyone survives, even though the damage is significant and Ruby’s heroic efforts to save Monty nearly cost her her life. She suffers some smoke inhalation and just makes it out of the burning rooms in time.
Michael arrives back off the ship, having heard of the disaster of the fire. He is consumed with fears for Ruby and runs to her. After a near-tragic reconciliation where Ruby suffers a life-threatening ‘hypo’ attack related to her diabetes, they confess their true love for each other, and look towards a shared future. They will share their dreams from this moment on.
Michael buys Ito’s boat and the rebuilding of Ruby’s hotel becomes a joint venture, with the story ending on a joyous note when they realise that dreams are meant to be shared.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Synopsis Shynopshish

Hello all

Sorry my post is coming late, I had to go and get lost and then listen to a man and a lady argue in french on what the right way is (They both were not very helpful, thank God for the pharmacist)

Today we are talking about writing a synopsis, I shall share with you my method for writing a synopsis and you can share what works for you .

For the last time this week let me start by reciting the pantser allegiance pledge. For most of my WIPs the only thing I do before I write it down is write the synopsis. At this stage I am under no pressure and I am still in my happy go lucky "this wip is going to be a bestseller" stage so writing what the story is about flows out from me easily.

Now obviously we all know about that saggy middle when everything begins to unravel and your characters start to hide things from you  and you realize this cannot work this way - its unbelievable!

At that point obviously the earlier synopsis becomes a pipe dream but I still hold on to it, then when I am done with the WIP I start to summarize each chapter to about a paragraph but I still keep it detailed.

After that I copy from 1st and 2nd synopsis and get it all into one document et voila! I have a synopsis.
Other things I have learnt is
  • Keep it interesting
  • Be as detailed as your space allows
  • No direct quotes from the WIP
  • Most agents/editors prefer between 2-5 pages, if you go over you better make it really epic
  • I personally prefer anything double spaced, all the professional documents I have seen have always been double spaced (my last synopsis was 1.75 sshh).
  • Don't put yourself under any pressure you are the same awesome person who just finished a manuscript, just let your passion shine through.

Tomorrow is the day when we jointly critique a synopsis constructively, remember when I made you all sign your names in blood to do that? you don't? its okay I glamorized you but I have the signed papers so dont bother bailing out on me now.

A demain
This is Corsica

Inside the St. Nicholas Cathedral (Cathedrale de Monaco)

Same place, this is where Grace Kelly is buried

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Et là tu dit encore plus s'il vous plait

Random Fact of the day: google translate is your friend : D

If I were shallow enough to follow people based on their profile pictures (which I totally am) one of the people I would follow regardless of what she posted is Brenda Drake, luckily for me she's beautiful and knows her craft (writing) so its a win win situation for me.

Last week she gave me and a few other awesome bloggers the Lovely blog award, and I thought to myself, hey! why not wait till you have a truly lovely blog to go with the truly lovely award, so ladies and gentlemen without further ado I present to you The Lovely Blog Award
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_FU_CMvk6FB4/TK-Sw4D0SzI/AAAAAAAAAIE/OjAzMT4_pAQ/s1600/onelovelyblogaward.jpg
It's pretty right?
Anyways I think my beautiful followers with their thoughtful and insightful comments have made this blog what it really is. You are the lovelies that make this blog lovely so bisous a vous.
I am supposed to pass this on to 15 awardees whom I shall announce later after I have done my research

The Spotlight Series re christened the Interrogation Room starts this Friday and our first guest is........
...
....
Liz Fichera! she is going to be hanging out with us on Friday and I cannot wait, probably because she is a tea lover and an amazing author.
Tomorrow we shall be talking about synopses and what make them tick (yeah I have outlined my blog schedule till Friday the 29th), my plotting half is coming out (I wish!)
My WIP is still sitting mainly untouched I have not edited or anything I just had two ideas to make it better so I picked up my book and jotted my ideas on the pages I needed them to go and then I put the book down. I promise you nothing happened.

How are you all doing today?
This is my eye candy for the day his name is Stromae he is a Belgian/Rwandan Singer I like him cos he is very quirky
http://allainjules.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/stromae.jpg

Monday, October 18, 2010

New digs

Hey everyone check out my new digs, I have upgraded from a flat to a flat! okay I remodeled but a house warming party is still in Order,
Sorry about the late invite, please come in and make your imagination feel at home. What drink is that you say? why, its coffee of course, in your office mug on top of a little brandy, shush no one needs to know but lets take the edge off this Monday.

For those of you wondering who my interior decorator is, its none other than my trusty CP Amalie Berlin, I like to think she is half human half fae like Sookie but time will tell. She did do a wonderful job, drew everything by hand, made me kiss a piece of paper on the wall (long story) but am really pleased at how much of me came out. Now I can stare at my blog all day and day dream that pretty girl up there is me :)

I have exciting things planned this week, am tempted to give you all a schedule but the pantser in me is holding me back. I am also pleased to say I have done nothing with my manuscript, like a piece of chocolate covered marshmallow it has been calling me, but I want to do this right and your advice made so much sense I am in editing mode.

Here is what I did instead, I found my icing set but I still had to use a knife so its an improvement on the last cake I made

Have a beautiful day

Friday, October 15, 2010

NaNo Looming

Okay anybody ever wonder how I chose got the name Bionic Writer? Its because I did and still do everything really fast including my chores so my mum started calling me the Bionic Woman (we will save the discussion of my brutish strength for another post).

So apart from editing and labour, I do everything else really fast. I remember a year in school I wanted to be the first to finish an exam so nobody would break my record, I raced through it, turned it in, got the applause and a bad grade.

I think I am beginning to do the same with my writing, it takes me two weeks at most to pen a manuscript and maybe three months or more to type it and edit at the same time because the muse hates transferring words into the laptop.

For someone who likes things done really fast 3 months seems like an eternity to get it done, by the time I get it to CPs or Betas I am at the point of "I cant wait to send this baby out", so you see I never give it a rest and attack it again with fresh eyes.

I finally got an idea for my NaNoWriMo story yesterday and this time around I am promising to go slow with the revisions even though I like it so much I cant wait to start. In true addict style though I still have a partial that I have in the side wings waiting to go out but my NaNoWriMo story shall be the "patience golden egg". I know there are people out there who prolly are like me and can never wait to send it off and succeed (Hey I might even succeed with this method!) but you know the grass always looks greener on the other side, and green is the in thing now.

Do you have any revision tips that work for you or are you like me and believe by the 8th round of revisions you would have turned the original story clinical?

Let's reminisce with some pictures, shall we?
The promenade des anglais


Ignore the humans, to get to St. Paul de Vence the home of famous artists and a very artsy town you have to get past this

I would give one arm to live in one of this houses, this is Monaco the street that leads to the palace and everything is tax free! Besides I heard Djokovic lives here

Thank you Patrick Suskind your book made me eager to see a perfumery, this is the office of "the nose" no one else is allowed in there so they don't disrupt his olfactory supremacy

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Writerly Websites

Okay my only other companion is happily ensconced in yoghurt cups so I am going to type this as fast as I can before my little green baby comes back.

First of all thank you all for your comments yesterday, I am now struggling with how to please you all but am sure I will find a happy medium. If you are interested in reading my reviews, you can find them on my goodreads page (look to your left easy clickey button).

I have received  a couple of very humbling emails lately and that is the reason for today's post, I remember the first time I got out of my ego induced haze of "writing is easy, I will pen a masterpiece when I am ready". It was a little under two years ago I penned a short story and sent it out to Harlequin Spice Briefs, I got a form rejection two months later. Within those two months I learnt a couple of things; I am definitely not a spice brief writer and this writing business(like every good thing out there) is not easy.
I spent months hurting and lurking b4 the husband finally pushed me out on the web, and even though there are loads of crazy information out there, I have compiled a list of helpful websites for writers that I have found (feel free to add yours to the list and I will update it to mine if you would like to share).

Nelson Literary Agency 
Pubrants
webook
Query Shark
Editorial Anonymous
Evil Editor
Writers Beware
Agent Query
Publishers Marketplace
Preditors & Editors
AutoCrit - Not free but even the free trial rocks
Edittorrent
Emotional Thesaurus
Charlotte Dillon I cannot over emphasize this website
Kathy Carmichael
Listen to the Voices
EHarlequin
Absolute Write
Writers Net
Romance Writers of America Open worldwide

I would love to know what your "can't live without" writerly websites are, as for pictures today how about something a little gardeney from Nice and a little artsy from Cannes



Have a nice day

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bad Review

Hello Blogworld,

Even though its my 13th day into temporal single motherhood, I had a fabulous day with the kid today. We snuggled in bed, watched Noddy and I even managed to get my interview questions done. The son is now tucked happily in his Noddy bed prolly dreaming about Noddy.

Alright on to today's topic, what do you do when you read a book that is so bad it makes you look up the publisher and vow not to publish with them?
I read a book and if i were to rant, I could go on for pages and that is not very nice is it?
But since I am trying to keep up with my friends on goodreads, I really should write a review. So what do you do when you read a terribly written book, write a bad review or just obliterate it from your mind?
The 2nd troubling point is the fact that this author has written a book(not this book) that went on the New York Times bestseller list. Do you feel once people reach a certain level the people surrounding them become YesMen or the authors get so egotistical they don't listen to corrections?
Believe you me this book was very bad, I don't have a problem with rule breakers, but this author broke all the rules and did not make it work.
Why am I this frustrated? I can never put a book down once I start, and that is hours of my life wasted on said book that I will never get back (it had a little over 40 chapters),
Sorry If my post is a bit of a downer today, you all have my permission to have a glass of cyber bubbly on the house! This picture should also cheer you up I took it in le Jardin Exotique in Monaco
Have a lovely day.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Me Please!

Yay! someone throw some confetti and break out the bubbly. Yours truly has been given her first award in bloggyland - the versatile blogger award by Madeleine
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_8MSEtBOqAlQ/TLLJvNn17BI/AAAAAAAAAcw/22Ssa0ELKXw/s1600/Versatile_Blogger_Award.jpg


Award Rules:
1. Thank the person who gave you this award and provide a link to their blog
2. Share 7 things about yourself. (Not compulsory, but am just dying to)
3. Pass the award along to 5 other bloggers whom you have recently discovered and whose blogs you think are fantastically versatile/ resourceful/functional/adaptable.
4. Contact those bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about their award.


The 7 things I hate/love about me
  1. I admit to being one of those people who thought writing would be easy, now I realise writers just have the gift of making it look effortless.
  2. I feel very guilty when my son insists I hold him with both hands, so that I cannot touch my laptop anymore.
  3. When My son was 1 he started hiding my books
  4. I have 2 postgraduate degrees which I currently don't use.
  5. Contrary to the misconception I must have caused with my post yesterday, I am not a Writer in Residence am a SAHM. You have to be published to become a WiR, I hope that happens soon.
  6. I suffer from wanderlust.
  7. If one day I don't comment on your blog its prolly because what u said was too smart for my brain to comprehend or I took ill.
Once again thank you Madeleine for the wonderful award am chuffed oh I almost 4got my  5 recipients are 
Liz Fichera
Jennifer Shirk
Clarissa Draper
Claudia Del Balso
Michelle Teacress


Congratulations my fivers and Have a beautiful day everybody.



Monday, October 11, 2010

A Writer in Residence

Hello everyone

Am having a beautiful case of the mondays, I can't wait till November when i can tell you my life is "just freaking A" (Yes I love Office Space, I even studied it for a journalism class).
Okay lets get the bad news out of the way first, becoming a Writer in Residence (WiR) is a little bit difficult, even more so in the United States as compared to the UK, Australia, New Zealand or even Canada.
Now that the we've got that out of the way, lets bludgeon the obstacle in our way.
From my "research" I have come to realize there are at least 2 broad types of WiR.
1. Academic and Formal programs
2. Informal and community service programs.

Academic and Formal Programs - Most of the time you get a stipend and should ideally have some sort of teaching experience. Most of the authors I have found in these positions have also won some sort of award or the other. Most universities and colleges have this positions in their creative writing department and you can find more information on their websites. There are also Foundations like the Jack Kerouac Foundation that you can check out, for those of you in the UK check www.literaturetraining.com and www.nawe.org.uk for writer in residence vacancies.

Informal and Community Service Programs - Not to say that the authors in the previous category are not doing some sort of community service by donating their time, but those of you lucky enough to fall in this category will do it even more.
In this category they might not have a WiR program set in place already it might be up to you to initiate things yourself. Examples of places to go will be your local library(this is more prevalent in Canada),  bookstores, local schools and hotels. They will might not pay you but the least you can get out of the bargain is the publicity.

Your duties will include mentoring, offering a free critique service and definitely having time to work and finish your project, most of the programs require that you present a report when you are done with your term.

How to - Visit your local arts and council office (I don't know what this office will be called in the states but you all have one too, see my references below).The phone and the internet is your friend, check the internet for vacancies online look into community colleges too, if they don't have a program you can get them to start one up, call hotel managers up especially those who host and make money off conferences(am sure it should be tax deductible).

Lastly write a proposal and a writer's CV(resume) include what you hope to accomplish and the benefits to the organization in question, to you and to the community (Imagine if one of your mentees got published). Who knows you might become the next WiR in LAX or the Savoy Hotel or a pub, or in prisons(they have programs and will let you out even if you have a gazillion speeding tickets) or in a winery the possibilities are endless. Don't forget to consult your agent and as usual my word is not law unless you are in my book.

Hope this was helpful, I shall take my journalistic hat off now but if you have any questions feel free to email me or leave them below.

References
  1. http://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/Upload/resources/STW_FAQs.pdf
  2. http://womanvoice.org/Arts/ARTRoyOakWIR.shtml
  3. http://kerouacproject.org/application-page/
  4. http://www.kathylette.com/work_in_progress.htm
  5. http://www.arts.idaho.gov/grants/writer.aspx
  6. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/aug/18/alain-de-botton-heathrow-airport

Friday, October 8, 2010

My Line up

Okay I have exciting news for y'all, this pantsing blogger has made some plans for the month of October, okay for the last two weeks and I am excited.
First of all I am going to start a series called "in the spotlight", but instead of it being a stage spotlight it will be more like the office desk lamp in the police interrogation room. I promise I'll be nice.
I have two confirmed authors for this month and am working on getting more, I am also open to suggestions and volunteers for my spotlight project so feel free to get in touch, am on twitter and my email address is right here by your right (joannastjames@gmail.com).
Finally TGIF don't forget the Beta party blogfest over at Erica's (see yesterdays post for more details) and Kathryn at The Nut press is having a Wales Blog Party lets all turn out for the bloggers in Cymru(that's welsh for Wales) she's got dragon cakes and a blogging squirrel who does not want to share his nuts.
Thanx to chatting with my CP I also know my blog post for monday - Becoming a Writer in Residence.
ha ha I love skating close to plottersville and planning ahead.
I shall leave you with this picture, its a follow up for my Formule un craving I took this picture in Monte Carlo and it showed up in one of my manuscripts. Check out the engine on this baby.


that is the Jack Sprat I married

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Help is Here

After a billion edits don't you and your CPs ever feel you need a fresh pair of eyes? Especially since your agent or editor has no idea how well you have improved from first to last draft and will only judge you based on what they see. Well here is a solution 4 u, our friend Erica over at A Novel Hypothetically Speaking has come up with an amazing idea, A beta party blogfest!


Its a way to connect with other writers/bloggers and find a beta reader if you need one. Then there is more and this is where I get excited she's got Prizes (I know am automatically out of the running but she has got prizes!).
1st Prize is A copy of "The Forest for the Trees" & she  will beta read your MS/WIP 
2nd Prize is A 3 CHAPTER critique by Clarissa Draper check out her blog, seriously check it out.
 
The 3rd prize is supposed to be from me, but for the life of me I could not figure out what to give, oh I know! I know! we can do a synopsis crit together. That's what followers are for right?*winks*
so head on over to Erica and Clarissa's the blogfest is till Sunday the 10th and meet some fellow writers looking for you (oh gosh! now I sound like a dating website).
On another note today, I did a hundred and ten on the speedometer today (believe me that was the speed limit), it felt so good I think I might start training for the Grand Prix de Monaco.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Statistics

First of all, did you know bloggers on Blogger have a Stats button where you can see how many people are viewing your page and who your audience is?
If you did not, well now you know. If you click on dashboard or design or  new post, its one of the tabs staring at you. So today I have decided to take a one step ahead and say hi to the people viewing my page.
These are the countries my humble blog has been viewed  in this week
South Korea - Yeo bo sae yo
France - Salut
Russia - Pri - vet
Nigeria - I dey hail you oh
Sweden - Tja
Israel - Sholem Aleikhem
Luxembourg - Moien
Mexico - Hola
Germany - Hallo
Fiji - Bula Uro
India - Namaste/Namaskar
USA - Hey
UK - Hi (I feel like saying pip pip cheerio but that annoyed me everytime someone said this to me in America)
Australia - Hi


I love languages and I could not resist doing this post and saying hi to everybody out there, I got these translations from wikipedia so feel free to correct me if anything is wrong, I love learning.

Now its time to go back to my WIP and listen to the muse who has strangely become quite the chatterbox.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I chucked a WIP

Thank you bloggyland for all your support, after my near embarrasing display on Skype yesterday I decided I had more guts than to go down crying.
I got the toddler vaccinated - this was a 1st for me cos I can never watch them poke my little precious
I tackled 3 arms of the french administration in my halting french - partial success
did some grocery shopping
had a delicious pain aux raisin courtesy of my pregnant friend (yes I know I should be the one feeding her *shame on me*) and
I looked at the WIP that I had been stuck on since the husband travelled and chucked it. Okay not a chuck chuck into the abyss kinda thing, but it has been banished for now till it is ready to sing the song I want to hear. Yes I put my WIP on timeout.

I sent my partial to the editor and I decided not to work on that till I get some feedback and a possible go ahead. The new WIP I decided to work on fits my mood perfectly, the hero is very angry and has a lot to say and whereas the other WIP was just intent on backstory and a do it all heroine *ugh*.

Are you wondering how many WIPs I have? 7 or 8 at last count did I mention am a pantser? lol
have a beautiful day

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Writing Single Mother

Okay so have you noticed how most writers are happily married? especially to very supportive husbands who buy them nooks and tons of books and makes sure they have time to write.
Yeah I fall in this category but for a month am forced to switch sides as the husband is away for a month and I now feel like a single mother in a long distance relationship.
I never realized just how much I rely on the husband till I found myself video chatting almost in tears because the child and I were both frustrated and I have not been able to write a word since he left.
This post is a shout out to those amazing husbands and the strong and beautiful single mothers who go it alone and still find the strength to write, I honestly don't know how you do it.

I hope this post gets me enough brownie points for an IPad at xmas, but really I just wanted to appreciate the Husbands and Single writerly Mums You are amazing.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Storyboard 105: Lets get quirky and emotional

Yay! thanx to being forgetful I don't have to do a Saturday post. This has been fun, lets do it again sometime soon.
Today I will be examining what draws my H&h together and what keeps them apart. Other things you could also examine on your own are the obstacles they need to overcome (internal conflicts), turning points and dark moments.
Apart from Lambert's insanely good looks, Ashley is drawn to Lambert because her subconscious  recognizes him as her savior and her challenge, the day they meet she is forced to think about all the memories she has cowardly buried in the recess of her mind. To be or not be with Lambert she has to choose between confronting her fears or being a wimp.
Lambert on the other hand is attracted to Ashley because he thinks she is beautiful, different and perfect for his lifestyle.

What keeps them apart? ha ha I love this, this is where I get to play creator the obstacles they face are entirely up to me and all they can do is try to get around it. : )
most of Ashley's fears are easily recognizable and its easy for everyone including Lambert to tell her to face it which she will eventually do, but Lambert on the other hand is so complex he makes an art out of burying his fears (good luck finding them Ashley!).
I love the fact that like most relationships they both struggle to adapt to make it work, its fun watching Lambert realize that Ashley is perfect for him but not perfect for his lifestyle and what he does to rectify the situation so they can get their HEA.
The End
Did u love life in plottersville? I had fun, I might try it again.

Day 1 in my temporal single mother status ended with a migraine and my 2 year old not sleeping till 11 bcos he kept on waiting for dada to come home. We all miss him. Anybody out there in Fiji?