Thursday, 30 June 2011

Mini-post for a competition!

See the little button to your right? Yeah, the yellow one that looks like a post-it. My friend Joe is hosting a competition: review a book in 30 words or less to win a 30 dollar Amazon voucher!

(See how I'm practicing brevity with this post? Clever.)

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Book Blogger Hop

How is it making me feel that I'm posting on a Sunday and not a Tuesday, you ask? I haven't even thought about it, I say. Because if I had it might reveal a bit of crazy. Good job I'm the well-adjusted sort and, like I said, have not even thought about it.

Reason for post? I saw this on Joe's blog and shamelessly stole it :D because it's a cool idea. Click on the logo and it takes you to a magical place where you can connect with other book bloggers.

                        Book Blogger Hop

This week's question is 'How many books are currently on your to-be-read (TBR) pile?'

My answer? A modest and tidy eleven. I was a voracious reader when I was a kid, but now I have to split my time between my own children, work, writing and real life activities, I've slowed in my reading to an embarassing pace.

Here's some of what's coming up for me:


Can't wait!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


I first learned about Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance from an English teacher by the name of Mrs Blakemore when I was fifteen years old. She was the kind of teacher that likes to go off on a tangent. Once, she climbed up on a chair to stamp on it whilst reciting poetry (the Western Wind was Wild.) She was the reason I took English at A-level.

She used to like to talk about our teenage years. How the 'popular' girls in school wouldn't be quite so popular once we were all adults. 'Soon ripe, soon rotten' was how she described this, and my husband and I (we were in the same class) still use the phrase now that he's an English teacher. Why she chose to tell us about Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance has become a little fuzzy in my mind. Maybe she was explaining how our minds could help us overcome those calamitous events that happened on a daily basis simply because we were fifteen.

Whatever the reason, it really struck a chord with me, and I've never forgotten the theory or ever had cause to question that it is completely accurate.

Here's the magic of Wikipedia to tell you everything you need to know about Festinger without you having to really use your brain (Wikipedia, how I do love thee.)

I've often thought about this theory over the years, and it's even more relevant now that I collect rejection emails from agents like they're faberge eggs. If you're too lazy to click on the link, here's what it means.

You get a request for a partial. You squeak and do the happy dance (in your head, because you're at work and it turns out they don't appreciate you checking how your dreams are doing while you're on the clock.) You wait patiently (you check your emails forty three times before lunch.) You receive a thanks, but no thanks. But you've become so adept at consciously applying Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance (despite the fact that it doesn't need to be conscious) that what you think is: My first book wasn't good enough anyway; what I really want is my far-superior second book published.

And that's the theory of cognitive dissonance applied to the process of trying to be a published writer.

Now because you've sat nicely and done your learning for today, here's the trailer for Cowboys and Aliens. It looks freakin awesome and I can't wait to go and see it. I'm so excited I may have to blog about going to the cinema next week (I LOVE going there.)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Writing Buddy. If you don't have one, get one!

Whenever I think about the issue of getting or having a writing buddy, I hear this in my head:

View more

Tom Hanks Sound Clips

Toy Story Sound Clips

No, I had no idea why I kept hearing it while I was thinking about writing this post. Maybe it was because I've seen the film countless times thanks to my children's ability to watch Toy Story on a seemingly endless loop until surrounding adults know the entire script. Maybe it was because us English folk don't usually use the word buddy and my mind had linked the two. Maybe there's something slightly wrong with me, or maybe I just agree with Woody's sentiment.

In April it was a year since I first started writing. This month it's a year since I joined my first online writing community
They were the first people to have to think of something tactful to say about my writing.

One of the first crits I did was on Chapter 1 of Red Lorry's novel 'Soul Reunion'. My tentative post was shot down with this comment:

Doesn't anybody read the previous comments??

Being new to the site, and the well-mannered and lovely person that I am, I responded with what little dignity I had left to muster.

Yes, I do. I could have said that I agreed with the other posters. I chose instead to make my point by highlighting the parts I thought were telling rather than showing in blue.

(Ok, so maybe I was a little snippy.)

How is that helpful? came back as reply. I had obviously mortally offended one of the other people critting on my newly found writer's site. What to do? Get on my British high horse, that's what.

If it isn't helpful to Red Lorry, she is welcome, as is anybody else here, to politely ignore my offerings.

Not to be deterred, my new enemy thought that they would expand further on just how and why I was so misguided.

I guess I just found it annoying after spending 45 min of my precious free time carefully going through it just to have it repeated. Sorry, I don't mean to argue, guess I'm feeling snarky today! Cheers.

The stiff upper lip came out, and I graciously decided that the opposition had capitulated.

No problem, apology accepted.

After that she started critiquing what I posted. Everytime I put something up, she'd go through it, always offering advice that made sense to me, and always encouraging my efforts. When I suggested that we swap and critique each others novels, she agreed (actually, I think I might have used the word 'super' and she might have said 'you Brits crack me up'.)

Within a few weeks I'd joined and persuaded her to come with me. We'd critiqued every word, line and comma of each other's first novels and we were messaging each other every day.

She read more versions of my first query than can reasonably be expected of any human being, and even professed to enjoy it. We hashed out ideas for our respective second novels and we're now in the process of writing them. She reads every chapter I write before I post it on Scrib (Yes I'm sure I have a degree in English, no I have no idea how those commas got where they were, they must be conspiring against me.)

In short, I can't function as a writer without her.

Those on Writer's Beat know her as EmmChris. If you're on Scrib, you'll probably know her as Ramona. I'm told she has a real name, but I don't use it. She's my writing buddy, and the reason that I'm telling you: If you don't have one, get one!