Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Versatile Blogger Award & Seven Titbits

Thank you to the lovely Donna Hole has passed 'The Versatile Blogger' award on to my blog.  I'm feeling very chuffed about it.  *Whispers* I'm loving the green on my blog actually.  On accepting this award, I'm to share seven interesting things about myself, and pass the award to fifteen bloggers who think I'm...fantastic?  Not sure about that rule, that would be presumptious of me.   *Blushes deep beetroot* How does one gauge that?   I have decided to pass this to bloggers whose recent musings and comments have made me laugh, smile, maybe even get a little teary, and pondered awhile.

Seven Titbits About Moir:

1.  Books are my addiction, I'll happily wander into a bookstore minding my own business when....well you know the rest.   * Glares warily at the 3 for 2 sale stickers.*
2.  I love Penhaligon's perfumery, it's one of my favourite shops in London.  Beautiful bottles for beautiful scents.

3.  I started my first WIP in April this year and have written over 100,000 words.... oh yes, my dear lady...the edits await.

4.  I love saying random words just because I love the sound of them.  Try these, say them out aloud - Herbaceous Borders,  Soliloquy,  Salacious   *deep sigh* I could be sometime here.

5.  Friday nights are sacred, I spend them on the sofa - watching DVDs, reading books, writing and ooh blogging!

6.  Peony roses make me smile.

7.  Freshly baked chocolate souffles are the work of the devil...she says licking her lips.  I would probably jump you for one of those.  

 **I am sending the award on to the following Lovelies **

Lola Sharp @ SharpPen/DullSword
Christina Lee @ Write-brained
Creepy Query Girl @ Creepy Query Girl
Vicki Rocho @ Rambles and Randomness
Marguerite @ Cajun Delights
Shellie @ Chapter Writer
Carol Kilgore @ Under a tiki hut
Amie @ Amie Borst
Manzanita @ Wanna buy a duck
Dominique @ En Violet

*Congratulations All & Happy Writing to Everyone! *

Monday, 27 September 2010

Rainbows, Butterflies and Flowers

Isn't it funny how sometimes you search for something, you have no idea what it is until you find it.  All of your existence, the essence of you changes, life makes sense and you wonder how you ever lived through each day without that special soul in your universe.  Yesterday, whilst reading on my favourite brown sofa, C - scribe junior, strolls by and throws his arms around my neck from behind in a great big little bear hug.  He then proceeded to poke one of his fingers in my eye.  Lovingly of course.

Me:  What are you doing?
C:  I want to feel your eyeflashes.
Me: My eye flashes?
C:  Yes.  I want to see what they feel like.
Me: Oh.  I put my book aside and hold still.  And, what do they feel like?
C:  They feel like rainbows, butterflies and flowers.

**For C** 

Five years ago tomorrow, 
An angel came into my life,
 I didn't know his name,
 Or how long he would stay.

My soul stopped searching,
That day that you were born.
I watched you quietly sleeping, 
And though tears filled my eyes, 
 My heart began to hum.

Your laughter is my joy, 
Your pain, my sorrow,
I wonder at the love I feel,
It's Infinity x Infinity

C's i-doodle rainbow

** Happy Birthday C! XOXO **

When was the last time you dreamt about butterflies and rainbows?

Photocredits Scribe Jnr.  

Friday, 24 September 2010

Writing Compelling Characters

As writers we want to tell a story that draws our dear reader in.  So where better to start but with what interests you are as a reader? Usually the dust jacket and blurb mutters my Inner Muse.  As a reader, the main character of a book needs to speak to me, reel me in.  As a writer, it's a challenge to create that character that readers will find irresistible, charming and whom they would empathise with, and basically...well want to hang out with.  As part of the blogging experiment, I have concocted a recipe for writing compelling creatures...I mean, characters.

Recipe for Writing Compelling Characters:

Go ahead, mould me!
 Firstly, take one main character, sketch out the essentials - who is this person?  What will make readers sit up and think - Wow!  I want to read more.  Her personality?  Is she shy, skittish or bold and commanding?  Caring, confident...superwoman!  What does she look like? Brunette, blonde, she tall or short?  Does her slinky long hair sway down the back of her shoulders or perhaps she has a perky pixie cut.  Curves on a pair of supermodel legs to rival Elle.  Her eyes...are alluring green, bewitching blue, or honey coloured brown?  What are her likes? Her habits...where did she grow up?  Go ahead do some background checks.

The best way to answer these questions is to use a Character Template.  I always flesh out my characters this way.  And if you want to get really creative - try putting together Character Collages, they're lots of fun!  Grab a pair of scissors, glue and cardboard and pull out those back dated issues of Vogue, Cosmo, Harpers, Vanity Fair, House & Garden!

Add the following Ingredients:

1.  Voice, voice and yes more voice....and at the risk of having a barrage of tomatoes tossed at us, lets chant it calmly...Voice, voice, voice!  Your character must have a voice.  Give her a great big fabulous voice! Make her sing, let her cry, make her thoughts intriguing...

2.  Language - Add liberally - where does your character live?  Does she have an interesting accent? Will she stutter when tall, dark and dashing stranger approaches her?  Does she swear like a trooper? Does our favourite girl have a quirky remark that slips out from time to time.

3.  Dreams - We all love to dream.  What's yours?  What's your characters?  Give her ambition.  Give her hopes - break them, burn them, tear them down and build them up - just please give the dear girl something to strive-whine-pine for.

4Unique Habits - Add a splash of uniqueness to your character.  Make her special, give her some charming habits that will make your reader laugh.  Does she always cross the road when men in plaid suits walk towards her. Or, perhaps she has a nervous cough whenever a nun passes by her...a hangover from her school days.  Unfortunate then, that she lives next door to the convent.  Maybe she wears purple underwear on a Wednesday, turns the teapot three times before pouring and twists her hands whenever 'he' approaches.  Give her something to do with those hands.

5.  Conflict -  She walks like a supermodel, has the voice of an angel, stutters at Mr. Right, falls for Mr. Wrong, and has a driving ambition to reach her dreams.  So what do you do?  Give her some conflict - make her work for that dream!!  Come on we all have to, why shouldn't she?


1.  Use a firm grip on your storyteller wooden spoon, and stir all the above ingredients very carefully...just so.  Give your character a great plot to weave her way through.  Enormous hurdles, emotional highs and lows...quiet reflective moments.  Make your reader stick with your character until the end.

2.  Remember taste your mixture to get it just right.  More spice?

3.  Pour the tantalising creation into a baking in preheated PC for at least 80,000 words.

4.  Use oven mitts to remove from PC.

5.  Let cool for a month.  Review, add extra seasonings if needed.

6.  Serve proudly with relish! 

And lastly, embellish greatly and enjoy your writing!

Compelling?  Here's one I prepared earlier.

A/N: Photocredits, purchased via shutterstock.

A big thank you to Alex J Cavanaugh, Elana Johnson and Jen Daiker for hosting such a mammoth blogging experiment! 

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Ackroyd's Ark Book Launch

The Tusk Trust is an organisation that provides funding for wildlife conservation and community programs across Africa. Earlier in the week, one of the trust's co-founders, Sir Timothy Ackroyd, launched his second book at famous London auction house Christies.  Several drawings, doodles, sketches, photos, even a few poems that were contributed to the book were auctioned off to raise funds for the trust.  An evening of champers on a school night?  Fantastic!  Monday night never looked shinier.  I grabbed my trusty BFF, and we headed over to Christies in St James.

We were greeted by men carrying trays of bubbly...well, it would be rude to refuse.  In between long sips, and petite mouthfuls of delicious canapes...we were quite well-behaved.  Betty Draper would've been proud.  We scouted the rooms for art, and found several interesting characters.  Many of the artists who contributed to the book graced the room.

During the live auction, I tried not to make sudden gestures, touch my neck, scratch my nose, wink at the auctioneer...for fear of taking home something I didn't mean to buy.  I have to mention that Sir Timothy Ackroyd's opening speech was snort-rippingly hilarious and had the crowd holding their sides in laughter.

BFF and I decided to try our hand at the silent auction and it got nail-bitingly close in the closing 45 seconds, when two small pieces I had bid for, were still under my name.  One was a Blue Zebra print; the other - a beautiful Tiger.  It was perfect! And wouldn't you know it? Some devil turns up and spoils my party; I was outbid in the last 10 seconds.

And if I find out who took the Blue Zebra home...I may, ahem hunt them down and prod them senseless until they willingly give-up the picture.   The good news is I had the final winning bid on a very beautiful tiger print by Gary Hodges.   Tigers eat Zebras anyway right?    

Here's a few pictures from the evening.

Waiting for the live auction

BFF and I were quite taken
by these objects.
Cinderella may need her clock
back by midnight
The Tiger who came home with me - isn't he beautiful?

The Tiger's breakfast.
Oh okay, it got away!
I'm quietly simmering here

A/N: Photo credits courtesy yours truly.
I know I've said it before but Art and Charity are my favourite kind of events...especially on a school night.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Weekend Wander through Burlington House

Burlington House
This weekend I hopped along to Burlington House, a lovely old Georgian building in Piccadilly.  The Geological Society is housed in the former stable block in front of the old house, and the Society were one of the many organisations that participated in the London's Open City event 2010.

Let's be honest, I was particularly interested in seeing their Libraries and Map rooms.  Well, any room full of books is a sure fire way to get my attention.   The Society has two libraries, one that houses an impressive 300,000 texts.  I had to see for myself.  As the tour guide read from her note sheet, I stepped quietly past the pre-historic aged dinosaur jaws in the lobby, tiptoed by the portraits of stern faced men and stood in front of the two old maps hanging on the wall in the adjacent landing.

There's something nostalgic about visiting historic buildings.  You always imagine the people who've walked in the halls before you, how they lived, what their names were.  Looking out of the windows, I wonder who else may have shared this vista 200 years earlier.  Did someone run his or her fingers alongside the same wall too?  I let my thoughts run wild.  The horses and carriages are long gone but if you listen carefully, you may just hear hooves in the stone courtyard outside the grand building.

A library that houses over 300,000 books
These take me back to
school days *sigh*

Mr Pursed lips

The society inspect the
infamous Piltdown skull
Maps galore
Jnr Scribe causes a disturbance
 on the staircase
Perfect Nook for Writing

Mr Cool circa 1700
Gates to the House
The Old Stable Block

Burlington House About 1700
Is that a smirk I see?

How about you?  How was your weekend?

A/N: Photo credits courtesy of Yours truly.  I hope you enjoy a few of the pics snapped on Saturday, the event is run once a year and I did enjoy the tour!  I learnt a little bit more about one of London's old society's.  Very interesting to note that the members were allegedly known as early republicans and refused the title of 'Royal' in front of their name.  Quite scandalous I thought.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Writings Habits for a Star Award

Thank you to the lovely Denise from Laussieswritingblog who has sent a sparkly star award whizzing to my little corner of the writing galaxy!  On accepting this lovely award, I'm to share a few of my unique writing habits!  My Inner Muse is doing cartwheels, what can we share?

1.  My favourite places to write are at my desk in the quiet of the morning or late evening.  In summer, I love sitting outside in the garden.

2.  I start with a good cup of hot tea!  Place it carefully on window sill.  Ignore my dog who is barking  at the big tabby cat who's leaping fences in a vain effort catch a terrified squirrel scrambling up a tree.

3.  In summer, a good chilled glass of Pimms accompanies me into the garden with my netbook.

4.  I keep a trusty notebook open; arrange pen so that it's lying just so on the pages!  You can glance at it for ideas - this is allowed!  Although I use a PC, I always seem to scribble notes on paper beside me.

5.  I always have music nearby!  If I'm in the mood, I'll throw on some background noise.  It helps loosen those grey cells.

6.  My favourite snack....mmm depends on the time of day.  Cookies, or toast make regular appearances on the window sill though.  Olives and houmous if in the garden.

7.  I lose track of time, and write like a demon if I'm in the zone.  Pfft, who needs 'Do not disturb' signs when that happens?

8.  Daily writing goals - I grab whatever time I can to write, whenever, wherever, its a must!  My Muse gets very pouty if I try to excuse myself.

And these, my dear friends are a few of my writing habits.  How about you? What are your writing habits?

** I am passing this beautiful shiny star onwards to these lovely souls**

Karen Jones Gowan at Coming down the mountain
Terry Stonecrop at Gardner West Private Eye
Kittie Howard at The Block
Theresa Milstein at Substitute Teachers Saga
Jaydee Morgan at Jaydee Morgan

** Happy writing this weekend Lovelies! **

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Love Your Own Way

"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams"
-Dr Seuss

Dusky Lovers

Is it possible to be in love with love?

I love it when I stumble across young lovers in the street, there's something contagious about their togetherness, it makes me want to skip down the street, hum, sing...all with a silly grin.  Here they are, channeling their own blissful aura, intense gazes, secret smiles...arms entwined, cocooned like oysters in their own pearly shell.  I can't help but stare.  Oh sure, I try to do it surreptitiously, at first, a furtive peek, a sly glance over the shoulder but after a few wistful stares, I become brave and just stop...a little further down the path of course...trying not to bump into others who've also stopped to do the same...  Do you think they're even conscious of other souls hurrying around them?   Deep envious sigh.   

And do you know what else I do?  I give them names, imagine their lives...take my star-crossed pair in the photo above.  That's James; her name's Camille.  James has to fly out tomorrow morning early...Camille doesn't want him to leave.  Don't you love the pigeon lovers watching them too?

How about you?  What catches your imagination on the streets these days?

A/N: Photocredits purchased via Shutterstock

Monday, 13 September 2010

Who's Beneath Your Skirts?

You've toiled long hours over the writing desk, lost sleep, shed tears of frustration and hopefully joy.  And, finally your coveted WIP is at the stage for someone else to read it in full.   When it comes to critiquing your own work, whom do you turn to?

Evelyn Nesbit
Beneath my skirts?
As if!  You'll have to get past my polar friend first!
For me, this is quite an intimate undertaking....who do you let beneath your skirts, the dear lady whispers, twirling the hairbrush through loose tendrils.

Who can you trust to critique it for you, lavish you with good honest feedback.  This is the cold hard warts and all stuff you want someone to hit you with before you get to the querying stage.

Do you use a small group of friends, one, two...three?  Do you use a critique group online? Which works best?

From my own experience, I tried regular group sessions...sounds like therapy doesn't it?  I've read my work aloud to complete strangers; and it was great - only a little confusing.  If there were ten in the group - then it would be ten viewpoints I received back.  And seriously, can anyone deal with this many views without losing sight of the story you want to tell.

I find that having at least two serious critique partners combined with several good friends is the method that works for me.  If your friends fit your target market - why not?  For me the difference between this approach and a critique group is that these are people who know you...hell if my good friends can't tell me the cold hard truth about my work - then who can?

Let me know, which privileged souls do you allow in?  Who gets to read your lovely work before the querying process?

A/N: Any tips on critiquing, please feel free to share.
Photocredits via webshots Evelyn Nesbitt

Friday, 10 September 2010

One Hundred Is A Lovely Number

Happy Writing Ladies and Gents!
I would like to propose a toast to everyone whose lovely pictures sits on the sidebar in our delightful followers box. *whispers, when I can figure out how to rename that box, I will*

Followers for me equals fabulous friends, blooming beautiful blogging buddies, and lovely likeminded souls who love to stop by and share stories along their journey.

There's been quite a few posts recently asking why we blog?  A great question too!   I'll be honest - initially I planned to hone my writing skills, learn more about this bewitching trade called publishing, and share my musings throughout my writing journey.  Storytelling has been part of my life for a long time and I feel like I have all these characters whose stories are bursting to jump out of me.  Blogging helps me keep that jumping urge under control...sort of.   Now, if I said these were the only reasons I blog, I would be telling more bare-faced porkies...the truth is, its also the enjoyment derived from being part of a writing community...yes, yes there are tears, laughter and joy...get on with it the dear lady hisses.

Alright then...without further ado, I've donned Betty Draper's apron and will be serving bubbly and hors d'oeurves...don't worry no exotic bugs on the menu.  Here's that dotty lady with the drinks trolley now.

Cheers to you all!  Thank you for listening to my waffling of late...yes you do like to waffle dear.  

A/N:  Happy Friday All -  Outside of juggling birthday parties, sneaking in a spa appointment and oh, walking the dog....I'm planning on hitting my WIP this weekend - how about you?
Photocredits purchased via Getty Images

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Late Summer Hues

Watching green turn gold,
Evening shadows take the sun,
Adieu my dear friend.

Summer is not quite over but the leaves are changing colours, so many beautiful golden hues. And there's a chill lingering in the early evening air...I am a little sad to farewell my friend the sun.  How about you?

A/N:Photocredits yours truly.
Snapped at Lullingstone Castle, England
Late Summer Hues Haiku ©T.Loto 2010

Monday, 6 September 2010

Writing With Distractions

My dear Writing Goddess,

I've written thousand upon thousands of words, revised countless opening lines; parted lovers with closing sighs.

I've dwelled on cliffhangers, erased characters... and sat distracted for hours.

Dare I mention wistfully watching the weather.... whilst pulling together words of prose?  Or re-writing my plot umpteen times.  Of course there's also the structure which I've de-constructed...reconstructed and sometimes even left interrupted.

My voice is in a sub-junctive mood - and yes, I still do believe in writing this story.

Its just well...if you could just help me finish these final chapters, I shall be eternally grateful.

Your ever faithful servant,

Ms Ascribe

Ancient Greek Muse

My reply from dear Writing Goddess:

Dear Ms Ascribe,

Its really very simple...

Sit down at your desk, turn on your PC and go directly to your WIP.  Do not select another window! Do not sneak peeks at your internet browsers. 

Do not answer the door to the postman...thats what a letterbox is for.

Do not answer the phone...who answers the phone anymore? Besides your mother already thinks you ignore her.

And stay out of the kitchen.  You do not need all that caffeine running through your temple.  Nor do you need another chocolate-cookie-muffin-fix.  More importantly, side-step any chores...thats what your significant other is for.  Thanks Honey!

Now - WRITE like you've never written before.

Your ever so supportive,

Inner Muse

PS: I'm replying on behalf of our dear Writing Goddess who is far too busy checking twitter right now.

A/N:  Photocredits purchased via fotosearch
Can I say hello to all my new blogger friends I thoroughly enjoyed meeting this weekend - Hello!  Blogging has opened up such a huge support network for me in terms of writing, I look forward to chatting with everyone!

I also would like give a great big girly SHOUTY CAPITALS SHOUT-OUT to KarenG, our lovely hostess - what a fabulous BBQ party this weekend!  Thank you lovely lady for organising such a great event!

PS: If you're wondering which outrageous truth was laid bare on my previous post for the Creative Writers Award, it was actually... number four - on a dare, I did munch on exotic bugs well presented on a platter with a glass of bubbly.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Creative Writer Blogger Award

Ladies and Gents, please dust off your finest frocks and suits - pick-up a glass of your favourite beverage from the drinks trolley - we toasting the delightful Terry Stonecrop at Gardner Private Eye who has bestowed us with a fabulous Creative Writer Blogger Award!  Thank you so much Terry!

On accepting this lovely award - I am to share six outrageous lies about myself and one honest truth. Your mission is to decide which of the following lies is actually the truth!

1.  I have a Japanese tattoo on my left hip.

2.  For the last five years I have celebrated my birthday with a bungee jump!

3. An ex-boyfriend once named his boat after me...alas he renamed it shortly after we broke up.

4.  On a dare, I have eaten a Thai green curry cricket, two crispy caterpillars and one barbequed ant.

5.  In my early teens I was a trained classical ballet dancer; by my early twenties I decided to join a convent.  Get thee to a nunnery...and I did.

6.  I often fly to Paris for a weekend jaunt in my private jet.

7.  Last summer, I spent the holidays sailing with friends from England to Antigua.

My Own Private Island...or is it?
I'll be reading your guesses from here!
And now, *Cue drum roll, release those pink balloons and shower everyone in sparkly fairy dust*  I would love to pass this wonderful award onto four more lovely souls:

Mya @ Elbows on my window sill
Summer Ross @ My Inner Fairy
Jayne @ A Novice Novelist
Jennifer Shirk @ Me, My Muse and I

Congratulations everyone and happy writing to all!

A/N: Photo courtesy yours truly. I will let you know in my next post which one is the bold faced truth!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Wading Into Murky Waters

Its raining, it's pouring
The old man is snoring
He went to bed and he bumped his head
And couldn't get up in the morning
-Nursery Rhyme derived from the 1600's

Whilst treading precariously through the daily quagmire that is twitter, I've noticed a recurring theme of late on several posts - 'E-publishing, Self-Publishing, Authors leaving Agents, Publishers leaving out Agents,'mmm pass me the smelling salts dear lady, all this change is making my head spin.  

So what is going on?  Publishing, we know is undergoing a few wardrobe changes. Ahem, more bloomer switches than a witch on Halloween!  Technology and economic pressures are moulding many changes.  In fact is it all a lot of fuss and nonsense?  Like that nursery rhyme above, which just popped into my head when another post on the changing face of publishing swept by my window today?

Shall we wade through the murkiness together dear friends?  I blogged my thoughts on 'e-publishing previously here, the focus was Short Stories but fundamentally my stance could be applied to all novels.  E publishing is ultimately another format for delivery.  The good news is it provides choice of format to your readers.  Self-publishing vs. Traditional Agent-Publisher route...that was the main question until recently, nowadays savvy writers can self-publish and still be picked up by a fabulous Agent and big name Publisher.  Are you ready for another twist in the game?  Penguin opened its slush pile doors for submissions from unpublished writers for a limited time only, completely bypassing the Agents.  I wonder?

Now I'm curious - have you self-published your book and can you share some insights with us?

If you are - like me, standing at the waterside, shaking your head, wondering which options work best - please share your thoughts too.  By the time I'm finished with my WIP, I just hope these waters are a lot clearer.

A/N:  If you find yourself overwhelmed by change, hum something soothing, an old nursery rhyme...or try this old favourite of mine - 'Wade in the water', the angelic vocals belong to the late Eva Cassidy.