Monday, December 31, 2007

REVIEW OF 2007

2007 has been a brilliant year for me. Here are some of the highlights (in no particular order):-

1. Going to New Zealand and all the amazing things I did there, including but not exclusive to - whale watching, glow worm caves, Franz Josef glacier, pancake rocks, Wanaka, Kaikoura, seal colony, little blue penguins, patting a tiger, hand feeding birds, kiwi's, tuataras, shotover river jet, everything really!
2. The birth of my niece Lily Marie Murphy
3. Toffee joining the family
4. Going to a shooting range
5. Flying a harris hawk
6. Meeting Jewel Staite et al in Blackpool
7. Going to belly dance classes
8. Getting a part in a meteor ad
9. Staying in a 5* hotel
10. Getting a new car
11. Getting a Nintendo & wii for Christmas
12. Going to the first horse race on the new track in Dundalk
13. Hiring Humphries
14. Going to the horse show in the RDS (3 days)
15. Going to dog training classes
16. Becoming Nathan Fillion's Myspace friend
17. Visiting a friend in Dorset
18. Getting the Five Muses for my birthday (best birthday present EVAH!)
19. Getting St. Brigid's Beats the Band for Christmas (as well as Snatched and Through the Theatre door)
20. Being an extra in two productions

Will winning DNOTY 2007 be the cherry on the cake?

Friday, December 28, 2007

DNOTY poll results

Seems like you all think I should win DNOTY this year,which is a great vote of confidence (and is wonderful, as you are coming to check out my blog so I am glad you are voting for me to win!). Thanks dear readers for another year of supporting the Inkpot Files!
Poll results: -
Me to win 44%
Valpot to win 22%
Mungo to win 11%
Parsley or Marvin to win 11%
October and November to win 11%
Sparkie to win 0%
Who will win? Only Judge Pamela knows, and she is keeping her lips tightly shut until the big night on December 31st.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas everyone

Wishing you all a happy and holy Christmas this year

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hellyboy II - the Golden Army

Just saw the trailer for Hellboy 2, out next year, and it looks AWESOME! I really enjoyed the first movie, and while I thought it was a good action flick with a cool tough guy hero supplying plenty of expected one line quips, it was the deeper underlying themes of good and evil, choice and free will, destiny and love that won me over and kept it fresh for me when I rewatched it (several times). I hope that the second movie also has a deeper theme that goes beyond the action, but from the trailer at least, the action and cool effects certainly do not seem to lag. They have left in Doug Jones' real voice for this movie (he plays Abe Sapien, the aquatic guy, who was voiced in the first movie by Fraiser's own David Hyde Pierce). Now, I am in two minds about this. I think Doug performed Abe brilliantly, and I am all for actors keeping their own voices*, but Niles' dulcet tones suited the dancer like grace of Abe's character to a t. From what I have heard (and it is only one line in the trailer), Doug's voice lacks the refinement I would like to hear for Abe's character. However, a whole movie might swing me around.
I can't wait to see it!
*however, performing a creature character in full make up is not the same as also voicing that character. The history of movies is full of guys in suits who were voiced by different people, and usually this was a good thing. Imagine how different Star Wars would have been if Darth Vader had a west country accent.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Where does time go?

I really don't understand time. I am very lazy (I think there is something about creative pursuits that attract the lazy person) and usually when the end of the day comes and I have nothing to show for it I know why. However, today I cannot blame my lethargy. I didn't watch tv or have a nap once today. I did read my book for a little while, but that was when I was waiting for the computer to do something and reading also counts towards my book total, so it is a good thing. I even got up at seven this morning, yet I feel I have nothing to show for a day filled with business (and unfortunately no writing). Therefore there is only one culprit to blame - time. I do not understand you.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Things I really miss about New Zealand

Of course I miss the holiday spirit, the friendly people, the kiwi accent, the warmth, the scenery and the wildlife but what I miss most of all is the light. That bright light you never really get in Ireland, even during the summer. The sort of light that burns your eyes at 7am and is still bright come 8pm even as the day softens. There is no light in Ireland at the moment. I find it very confusing. When I wake up in the morning I don't know if it is day or night, if it is morning or whether I have fallen asleep in the middle of the day, if it is Tuesday or Sunday - you get the idea. Today is a particularly dark day. Come 3pm I feel like it is time for bed. I am living in Dark City.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Disresponsible Nodpot of the Year 2007

It is almost time again for the Disresponsible Nodpot of the Year Award ceremony (takes place on the 31st of December) and this year there are an unprecedented number of Nodpots eligible for votes - 8 out of 10 in fact. Apart from the first year of voting, four years ago, when all the Nodpots were nominated automatically, the DNOTY has been voted on a system of points accumulated during the year for writing and other Nodpot related works, and then the members with points are eligible for nomination. The first year the point system was introduced, only a few members were up for voting - Valerie, myself, Marvin, Parsley and possibly one of our mascots (would have to look up the minutes from 2005 to make sure). Last year Mungo got points and went on to be victorious. This year, three more Nodpots have succeeded in accumulating points throughout the year. Two for starting a blog and the third for fulfilling a task he has been assigned for the last ten years. With eight members in the competition, it will be an interesting night to see who comes out on top. My tip for favourite is Valerie, who had an article accepted for publication this year, as well as entering two competitions, writing two excellent books, getting the LD professionally edited, writing a story for The Five Muses and helping the other Nodpots as she always does. Going by points accumulated over the year, Sparkie is another hot favourite. However, I wouldn't count Mungo out of the competition and after his success last year, I wouldn't put it past him to creep up on the outside and romp home to victory.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Brain Freeze

Writing isn't working for me today. I am too tired and too cold to be able to think of anything, and even if I could think, I am unable to type.
Yes, there are days like these.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Writing Competitions

I have decided to enter two writing competitions a month, if I can find ones interesting enough and/or with good enough prizes to enter. My competitions for this month are:-
Closing date: 31st December 2007
Prize: 1st $2,500, 2nd $1,500 3rd $1,000
Guidelines: Entries consist of 25 pages of related short stories, essays or the first 25 pages of a longer work. (I estimate 25 pages to be about 6000 words)
Closing date: 31st December 2007
Prize: 5 day writing course in Wales (27th July - 1st Aug. I know, that's the Nodpot Anniversary and, while it is in Wales, I don't think it is in Port Merrion!)
Guidelines: Entries consist of the first 1000 words of a novel.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Writing and other stuff

I woke up early and finished a short story I started before I went away. It was great, I got about 2000 words written before breakfast. I wish everyday started as well. I was worried that the word count would exceed the submission guidelines of my chosen market, but I just came in with a couple of dozen to spare. It is a miracle. I will leave it for a few days, read over it and submit it. Choice.
I re-read some of my blogs from New Zealand today and found them surprisingly well written. I can't believe that a month ago today I was experiencing wind chill in the Antarctic centre and being chased by ducks in Willowbank, let alone catching my first glimpse of Kaikoura and the south pacific. That song by Dido keeps running through my head - 'two weeks away feels like the whole world should have changed'.
Lots of writing competitions coming up this month and next month. I think I'll give some of them a go. I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas

This day two weeks is Christmas day. You know that dream when it is Christmas and you haven't bought any presents and you aren't prepared? Well, I feel like I am living that dream at the moment. I still think it should be summer and I haven't got my head around the winter weather, let alone the festive season. I thought I was doing ok until about 3pm today and then I crashed. I suppose it will take me about 10 days to adjust. I don't know how the Monster is managing having to work in an office. At least I can take a nap if I need one.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm back...

in Ireland, and it feels like I've never been away. My adventures in New Zealand are like a wonderful, beautiful dream. I can't believe that robins danced at my feet, dolphins swarmed around me and I tickled a tiger behind the ears. I also can't believe how cold it is in Blackrock. Is winter always like this? I haven't been warm since I got off the plane in Heathrow. Getting used to driving has been weird as well. I still think the indicators are on the right side of the wheel, and my car feels so heavy after Yari. Blackrock is like a metropolis after the South Island. People on the street sound like they are putting on heavy brogues. Still, it is good to be home again, to see my family and friends. Janna and the cats haven't forgotten me. I got a great welcome from Janna, Fudge practically mugged me and Blueberry has been equally affectionate. It has been good to get back to writing as well. I've missed my trusty laptop. It is a pity I didn't bring it to NZ with me, there was Internet access in all the motels we stayed in. I've been reading some of the stuff I started before I went away. It is good, but I can't remember where it was heading, will have to look up my notes. I can't believe Christmas is almost upon us. I am still confused why it isn't summer. What a year 2007 has been for me. 2008 will have to work hard to top it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Au Revoir

Dear readers - I am going away.
Leaving the country, that is, for the next month to swan around New Zealand, have lots of fun and hopefully bag a rich sheep farmer for the Monster. Unless you have crawled out from under a rock in the last few days (or you don't know me and have never read this blog before), you will know how long the Monster and I have been planning and looking forward to this trip. Even though I am leaving tomorrow, I still can't quite believe it.
The bad news is, I probably won't be blogging here while I am away. I have my November Adventure blog, about writing a novel in a month - while travelling! and the Monster and I will have a blog as well, so you will have to be content with those blogs until I get back. I hope you will visit and read them, enjoy them and even get the odd chuckle out of them.
Until then, thank you to everyone who reads this blog (or any of my blogs) and comments. I'm sorry I haven't been able to acknowledge your comments recently, but I have been really busy writing (for a change!) over the last few weeks and it cut down on my on line time. Imagine!
Until December, lots of love
Inky

Friday, November 02, 2007

Mad Dog

I am so angry with Janna. I got up early this morning to write. She wanted to go out to the toilet, so I took her out and she got a drink as well, and then I took her back to my room. She usually curls up on her bed, but this morning she was really restless and was pacing up and down. She came over to me and jumped up on me. She knows she is not allowed to do that, and I told her to get down. She seemed to settle down, so I took my laptop on my knee and continued writing. Then Janna came over again, jumped up and raked her massive paws across the laptop key board. Two of the buttons went pop and flew off. I was so cross. I found the buttons, but I can't fit them back onto the keyboard and now my laptop looks like some junk yard reject, plus B is really hard to type. I am so annoyed with Janna. I don't know why she did that. I hope I can get my laptop fixed. Argh.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

NaNoWriMo Starts!

It is hard to believe that this time last year I was collecting together my group of fledgling NaNoWriMoers and having weekly write ins, as Co-ML for the Ireland:Elsewhere region. It seems like another life time now. Ah well, I have an equally exciting journey ahead of me this year, what with writing and travelling at the same time. Can it be done? Wait and see. To avoid repeating myself this month, check out my WriMo blog at A November Adventure.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween


I had the privilege of being invited to a family get together of a friend this evening to celebrate Halloween. There was a fire and fire works (which were lovely when they worked properly and went into the sky before exploding, but not so nice when they stayed on the ground or, worst of all, careened towards my car), followed by a meal, ghost stories and a discussion of the spirit realm. It was the second Halloween party I have been to, the first being about 16 years ago. I much preferred this one.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ponderings

I was listening to one of my favourite songs today. It is in Italian and sung by Andrea Bocelli, and I don't have a clue what it is about. The song starts well and has a good middle, but it is near the end that it really takes off. The music swells and Andrea's voice rises up, he holds the note and then crashes over like a wave into the rest of the song. To me, it is a affirmation of life, and a vocal representation of those moments when everything is going well and you think 'yes!'. It makes me thrill just to listen to it. I get goosebumps waiting for the best bit to come along. If I have my ipod in and I am listening to it, I grin and quicken my step at that point. There are several other songs, movies and books that have this effect on me with these kind of climactic scenes. It got me thinking, wouldn't it be wonderful to collect all these great climactic pieces together and make a super feel good motivational boosting collage of moments. However, without what has gone before, would they have the same impact? Would Ripley's defeat of the alien in Alien or Aliens mean as much if you hadn't followed her journey throughout the movie? Would the collection of the nine bells have spine tingling importance if you hadn't read the Abhorsen trilogy from start to finish? Would Andrea's jubilant high note make you tingle if you hadn't heard the build up of the song? It made me question whether these high points are truly great in isolation, or is it the sum of all that has gone before that makes them great. Like our own lives, do we have one defining moment of wonder, beauty and greatness, or is the significance of our greatest victory actually dependant on all the little ones that have preceded it along the way?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lily Marie's Baptism

Lily Marie was welcomed into the Catholic Church yesterday. Unfortunately she had to share her baptism with three other babies, but despite the crowding, it was a beautiful ceremony. Lily looked resplendent in a Christening robe made by my mother. It was my Christening robe too, so it was nice to see something being used that had such a strong connection to the family. Lily was very good and cried at the correct moment of the ceremony, when the priest put the water on her head, letting out the demons. I don't think she liked dressing up in her finery (she especially disliked her tights, but they did come up to her chin), but I am sure it is something she will grow into as she gets older (ha!ha! get it?). There was a lovely meal afterwards for the special girl and her family. I forget the name of the hotel. I think Lily found all the attention a bit draining. Suri Cruise couldn't have been more in demand for photographs. However, it was her party so she could cry if she wanted to. In the afternoon she got a bit grumpy - it had been a long emotional day and she had circulated among the guests - so the evening wound up. It was a lovely day and it was lovely to see Lily and her parents again. I predict she is going to be tall, she has very long fingers. Thanks to Valpot for the picture. As you can see, she is tired and unhappy and very Murphy in appearance!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Best of the Best

I imagine one of the hard things for parents to accept is the day that they realise that their darling child isn't the brightest and the best, but that they love them all the same. I know I have posted about this before, but it was brought to my mind recently so I thought I would write about it again. Things that you have created - as in works of art - are different from your children, of course, but I imagine that the comparison holds true on many levels. You want your books, or paintings, to do well, to be well received and accepted into loving homes. You've taken time to raise them and you want them to have a wonderful life. They are connected to you on a deeply personal level and their reception - be it bad or good - impacts directly on your life. I want my work to be the best, and I constantly strive to improve, but there are times when I realise that no matter how hard I work, nor how much experience I have, my work will never reach the lofty heights I would like it to. Does this depress me - yes. Does it make me give up? - No. Because it doesn't matter whether my work is the best of the best, if it is high art or just pretty pictures, not everyone has to love it. There will always be better work than mine, but there will always be worse too. My work is mine, it is good, and I like it. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it doesn't have to be. All that matters is that I remember that, and still believe in it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Disresponsible Day

I was in Dublin today and met up with Valpot. We went to not one, not two, but THREE movies in the Dundrum movieplex. The first movie was Stardust. I thought new comer Charlie Cox was very good in the lead role of Tristan. Other stand outs were Michelle Pfeiffer as the witch and Mark Williams as Billy the goat, although all the cast were good with the exception of Robert De Niro, who was cringe worthy, Ricky Gervais, who just does the same thing over and over again, and Claire Danes, who wasn't enough like a star for me, although she did grow on me after a while. Apart from that, the movie was very well done, imaginative, magical and enjoyable. Our second movie was Ratatouille. I have already posted an in depth review of this movie, so I'll just say that I enjoyed it again. After a brief meal in a nearby eatery, we caught our third movie, Black Sheep, a comedy horror with the by line 'The Violence of the Lambs'. There were some parts in this movie that I didn't like, but apart from those one or two occasions, I found it gory, funny and scary which equals good in my book.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

Valpot introduced me to this amazing competition last night. Amazon.com, in association with Penguin USA, are offering 5000 novelists the chance to be discovered. Through a six month process, their novels will be read and reviewed and narrowed down from 5000 to 1000 to 100 and then to the final 10, at which time ordinary customers will have the chance to read all 10 entries and vote for their favourite. The three authors with the highest votes will be flown to New York and wined and dined at an award ceremony where the grand prize winner will be announced. Up for grabs is a publishing deal with Penguin USA, a $25,000 advance, promotion through amazon.com and a HP media suite. The runners up get some cool prizes as well, and of course all this publicity on amazon.com is going to help your career prospects no end.
Reading the details on amazon.com, I got the feeling that this is an opportunity too good to be missed, but thanks to my procrastination (a subject for another post) I don't have The Mark of the Wolf in a suitable condition for submission. Entries are open until the 5th November or until 5000 entries have been received. Valpot persuaded me to sign up last night, so I now have seven days to submit my novel or lose my registration number. Can I wrestle 120,000 words into shape within that time? With several gallons of diet coke and no other commitments, I might. Who needs to sleep anyway?
Of course, Valpot has already entered, which leaves an ethical question - should we compete against each other? What happens if we both get down to the final ten? I would be thrilled if I did, and even more so if Valpot managed to hit the top spot, whether I got knocked out at the first round or not. However, this is all moot as it is highly unlikely that I will have anything to submit in the first place.
Does The Mark of the Wolf really have to be 120,000 words long? Maybe it would be just as good at 50,000.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I'm on television!

I've just seen myself in an ad on telly. It is really really weird. I feel very strange. I didn't expect to feel this way. I don't know how to put it into words. It is like no feeling I have experienced before. I'm going to curl into a ball now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Signs is a good movie - what happened?

Signs was on tv last night and I caught it about half way through. I ended up watching the rest of it. You know when that happens, you start off browsing and then a movie hooks you in and keeps your interest? Well, that's what happened to me. The script is actually really funny, and the atmosphere is very tense. Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix are perfect in their roles, hitting every mark with practised ease. The children, Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin (much younger than her role in Little Miss Sunshine) are also perfect. It made me remember how once M Night Shyamalan was a good director/writer. Ok, so casting himself in the role of the vet who killed Mel Gibson's wife was a tad self indulgent, but nothing compared to his recent Lady in the Water, which was absolute drivel. Night burst onto the scene in 1999 with the Sixth Sense, which, until Lady in the Water, was my least favourite of his films. Everything is built up to the twist ending and, while it is well made and Brue Willis is good in it, I don't think it rewatches as well as his other films. Then came Unbreakable, a really good movie with an interesting concept that came along before everyone jumped on the superhero bandwagon. Next was Signs. It isn't a good example of an alien movie, but as a thriller and a look into how a family react to a global threat, without playing a big part, it is excellent. A lot of people didn't like The Village but, despite slight disappointment about one of the plot points, I thought it was a very good movie with really likable characters. Night's recent work, Lady in the Water, is so bad that it doesn't bear mentioning. Watching Signs again made me wonder - what happened? How come the promising career of a writer/directer good at creating tense atmospheres between a small group of characters just died in this messy puddle? Is there a lesson in hubris to be learned by us all through his example?

My new hair do


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Clarification on yesterday's post

I got a lot of congratulations because of yesterday's post, which I found extremely puzzling. I want to thank everyone for their kind words, but I think it is necessary to clear some things up. I used the example of losing weight to illustrate an abstract concept (the high of achievement), just as I used getting my acting job as an example. I was not speaking about any recent or specific achievement. It was not to celebrate anything that has happened in my life within the last week. Thank you for congratulating me on past experiences, but this was not the aim of the post. It was trying to understand something of the nature of achievement and how it gives you a high to continue to pursue your goal. When this is lacking, it can be easy to fall into apathy and leave the path. I obviously didn't make this very clear.
In reply to DN, yes I am published in Voices in Dundalk and I have won writing competitions, but I have not yet SOLD an article for PUBLICATION. There is a difference.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The High of Achievement

It is amazing the satisfaction that achieving something can bring. I know every time I step on the scales and see that I have lost weight it gives me a great of achievement and spurs me on to lose more (and I really need to). I suppose it is the fact that you have done something productive that gives you such a high. It is the same when I land an acting job. It is such a boost to know that I have managed to do something, that someone else has seen my work and decided to pick me out of all the available people, and I am sure the same goes for any walk in life. I have heard that selling an article for publication gives a similar high and encourages you to write more and seek that achievement fix once more. However, it doesn't matter what the achievement is, big or small, you stick get a kick out of hitting that goal. Maybe it is taking your first steps, or learning how to make an omelet, or going on holiday on your own. They may be small things to other people but they are big things to you and doing them gives you a craving for more.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ratatouille

Went to see the latest Pixar movie, Ratatouille, at the cinema this evening. I had heard very mixed reviews and, after Cars, I was somewhat apprehensive. There was a time when Pixar could do no wrong in my eyes. After a string of films that just got better and better - Toy Story, It's a Bugs Life (ok, that is my second least favorite), Toy Story 2, Monster's Inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles - I was bitterly disappointed with Cars. Not that it was a bad movie, mind, and the animation was fantastic, but it just didn't have the imagination and the heart that the other movies did. Ratatouille had me wondering if they had produced another clanger (no offence to the whistling pink mice who live on the moon). It didn't sound very promising to begin with - I mean, a rat who wants to be a chef in a human restaurant? It didn't sound like the greatest of ideas. Then again, when I first heard about The Incredibles I was completely nonplussed and now it is one of my all time favorite films. Like The Incredibles, Brad Bird wrote and directed Ratatouille and I should not have doubted him for a second. Ratatouille was a beautiful film, and I don't just mean that in a visual sense, although the animation was the best Pixar have produced to date. What I loved most about Ratatouille was the story and the characters. It had a real heart and a depth that transcended the fact that one of the main characters was a rat. Like The Incredibles before it, which wasn't really about super heroes, Ratatouille was more about friendship, family, following your dream and being true to yourself than it was about rats and kitchens. This is no dumbed down kids movie full of toilet humor. This is a fully rounded meaningful, fun, uplifting movie for the whole family. I thought it was fantastic. Some of the people I was with felt it was a little slow to start, but for me the pacing was excellent. I loved Remy (who was a rat) and they did not anthropomorphize him too much (if that is possible for a cooking rat). While the people were stylized, after watching them for a while you forgot they were animated and believed they were real. The voice acting was superb. The story line was exciting with a satisfying conclusion and there were enough laughs to keep me chuckling throughout. I think Pixar have returned to form with this gem of a movie. Miss it at your peril.

Friday, October 12, 2007

'S Wonderful

I have just heard the most wonderful news. VALPOT has made her first sale of an article to a magazine. CONGRATULATIONS VALPOT. I've been dancing around, sorry that 50 miles separate me from Valpot so I can't join her in celebrating. She has been working so hard, never giving up, she really deserves this affirmation of her writing. I hope it will be the first of many publications. YOU'RE THE BEST VALPOT.
A big shout out as well to Broken Wing, who will shortly be appearing in print in the letters page of a well known equestrian magazine. Congrats BW.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Detox-lightful

I've been feeling quite sick, sluggish and nasty the last few days so when I visited my nutritionist yesterday (sounds dreadfully posh, doesn't it?) I asked her for a detox regime to help me get rid of the ickiness I was feeling. She recommended this living food, green food drink, which sounded great as she described it (a shower for the inside) and promised to get rid of the acidity in my body (I did feel really acidic). I went shopping for the ingredients this morning and, armed with my brand new juicer come blender, I proudly made my first portion. After hours of work and making mountains of mess, I was left with a glass of thick, green smelly sludge. The colour didn't put me off too much, it was a very pleasant dark green (if it had been paint), the viscosity didn't deter me, it was like a smoothie (a smoothie made of sludge) and I could even put up with the smell, it had a freshness to it (freshly composted veggies perhaps) but my resolve was sorely tested when I took my first taste. The first hit to my palate was not unpleasant. It was quite sweet, and I thought 'This isn't too bad.' The second thing my mouth noticed was how thick the mixture was. It was not a nice sensation; I felt as if I had been sucking the scum off the top of a pond. Then I got a double whammy of flavour (if I can call it that) - I was hit by a spiciness, which might have been nice if I hadn't been punched at the same time with a slimy earthiness of an aftertaste that made me want to retch. One sip was enough. Unfortunately, this is what I've got to drink during the day - for the next four days!

Monday, October 08, 2007

My 200th Post!

I've been watching out for my landmark 200th post for ages, and I am mad that I missed it! This is my 207th post, my real 200th post was a review of Lottie the Half Vampire, however I am going to pretend that it really is my 200th post.
YAY! 200 POSTS!
Can you believe it! Special prize for first comment on this post.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Thanks to Valpot

I want to give a big shout out to Valpot and to thank her for all her help and inspiration over the weekend. She has encouraged me in my writing for years, supported me, listened to me when I needed to rant and read all my work.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Short Story Mania!

I've just finished writing a short story and I am really pleased with how it turned out. Valpot challenged me to write a fantasy short story for Alienskin, and we both spent most of the day plotting out and writing our stories. I ended up writing a horror instead of a fantasy, but I'm going to try and write the fantasy tomorrow. I haven't written a short story in so long, and doing this exercise today made me realise that I can write them relatively pain free, so it is something to think about doing again on a more regular basis.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Feeling overwhelmed

33 days to go until I fly out to New Zealand and I am feeling totally overwhelmed with work. I want to plan out what I'm taking to New Zealand and get the trip in order, I want to get all my Christmas presents (bought and made) sorted before I go away, I have 3 friends birthdays this month and two family and there is Lily's baptism of course. I have paintings to finish and my art work to promote and sell and last, but by no means least, I have my writing to do. Til the Moon Fails has to be finished, The Mark of the Wolf has to be edited, and there are a couple of other projects that need my attention. Whether or not all these things are humanly possible, I don't know, but I will never get them done while I am stuck in this brain freeze of overwhelmdom. I've tried blocking things out, and even letting things go, but I am still buckling under the pressure of this self imposed burden. You know the old saying, 'You are your own worst enemy'? Isn't it funny that even when you know all the things you are doing wrong, it is really hard to stop doing them and change your behaviour.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Feeling sad

Feeling sad today for two reasons:-
1. Humphries went back today
2. I should have been flying to London to spend the weekend at a sci-fi convention today but I'm not well enough and I am so fed up of having to cancel things because of poor health.
On a more positive note, my brochures and cards arrived for my paintings today. Now all I have to do is get people to buy them. Also, I got to brain age twenty on the DS today, after only 3 days!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Monday, October 01, 2007

Review: The Revenge of Queen Rose


It has only been a few days since Witch Rose was banished from the Ferga by the Diamonds, and already twins Cathy and Alan are bored. Their boredom doesn't last for long, however, as Mount Slant is attacked, the Diamonds imprisoned and Susan and Vicky kidnapped. What follows is a breathtaking, edge of your seat, non stop knuckle ride that will keep you from putting down the book until you have finished. More details about the land of Ferga are revealed, and we also get to see Paul Puddings land and the lands beyond the Diamond's realm. This is a brilliant book, a worthy follow up to the Lucky Diamond. Valinora Troy is a master of her craft, weaving story lines involving ten characters and three different countries with ease and skill and keeping the readers interest throughout. I can't wait for the third book in the trilogy. I remember feeling the same way when I finished Lireal by Garth Nix. I couldn't put it down and when I was finished I had to get my hands on the third part of the trilogy, Abhorsen. In that case, I only had to wait a couple of days for the shops to open to buy it, unfortunately in this case I don't know how long I have to wait for the third book to be out! It is terrible. I'll just have to read The Lucky Diamond and Revenge of Queen Rose again until it comes out!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Review: Lottie the Half Vampire


Lottie isn't like the other members of her family. She doesn't share the health and golden hair of her mother and sister, she struggles with school and every so often she feels an ominous presence following her, which forces her family to up sticks and leave - except this time. The malevolent stranger that has been hounding Lottie since her birth finally catches her and Lottie is left with a difficult choice - leave her family willingly and go with this stranger, or subject her family to danger and be taken by force.


This is the first book in the Lottie series. It is a perfect introduction to the characters and sets the scene for an exciting set of books. Lottie is likable, her dilemma horrific and the story intriguing. I can't wait for the next book. Lottie is a real page turn and unputdownable.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Review: The Five Muses, An Anthology

Bee Gears with the Five Muses

I had a wonderful birthday today, with fantastic presents and great company. One of the highlights of the day was receiving this wonderful book of short stories. It contains seven stories by different authors and is introduced with a foreword by children's author Geri Valentine. The first story, A Fragment of Time, charts man's history with dragons after the flood. Dragons feature again in the second story, Flower, where an old man teaches his grand daughter about the beauty of life and is rewarded for his faith. In A Very Happy Birthday, Rags the dog describes her plan for the perfect day, and in Lily we meet an accountant who leads people back to God. Rubies are Dangerous is a haunting gothic tale twined with romance, set in Paris and concerning curses and the ballet. A Turgid Tale is inappropriately titled as it is an exciting and chilling story about druids and animal sacrifice. Dragons crop up once more in the final story, Falcon, which is a fantasy that will leave you wanting to delve deeper into its world.
I devoured the entire book in one sitting. Each story is engrossing and the threads of fantasy and horror that weave through the book give it a cohesive theme and make it a satisfying collection. I hope that this is the first in many such anthologies and I eagerly await more editions of The Five Muses.

Friday, September 28, 2007

30 Things to do before I'm 30

Tomorrow is my 27th birthday and as I am now nearer to the big three-oh than I am to twenty, I have decided to make a list of thirty things I would like to happen/think it would be fun to do before I am thirty. I've been asking people for their suggestions over the last few weeks and I'm going to compile my final list after the big day.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

More paintings

My most recent workFemale Harris Hawk,35 x 45 cms, acrylic on canvas

Rags, 40 x 50cms, acrylic on canvas

Book Pledge: 66/150

Submission Pledge: 8/30

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Baby Animals

I went to the zoo recently with Pamela to see the baby elephant. The new enclosure is lovely and the elephants seem much happier with their sand and swimming pool than they did with the plain concrete they used to have (of course, these are probably a new set of elephants!). I was cooing over one of the elephants for ages, thinking it was the baby, but it turned out it was a teenager and the difference was apparent when the real baby elephant shuffled out onto the scene. The older elephants were very protective of her as she stumbled around, pretending to be like the adults and trying to get a handle on how to use her trunk.

Asha the baby elephant


Talking of baby animals, I visited my niece Lily a couple of weeks ago. She had grown a lot since I last saw her, at nearly a day old. She was suffering from colic, so most of the time she was screaming and her face was red and scrunched up, but for a little while she unscrunched her face and looked really pretty. She has very long fingers and looks a lot like her dad. I was wearing a bright blue top and she kept on staring at me, I think because she could make out the colour.


Lily at 3 weeks old

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Painting

Because I have been doing so much painting recently, I thought I would post some pictures of the works I am particularly proud of.
This is a picture of Cori rearing (his welcome to Humphries). 30 x 40 cms, acrylic on canvas
This is a portrait of J.B, 20 x 25 cms, acrylic on canvas
A portrait of Janna. I call it Her Master's Voice, because I see it as her looking up at me, but other people think she looks really sad. 30 x 40 cms, acrylic on canvasGerry the goat, 18 x 24 cms, acrylic on canvas

Portrait of Cori, 25 x 35 cms, acrylic on canvas

All the original pictures are for sale and I also have a range of note cards and limited edition prints. I am available for commissions, so contact me for any further information on the above.

Monday, September 24, 2007

September

I can't believe it has been so long since I last posted! September is flying past. The start of the month was exciting as I got a couple of acting gigs and got to stay in a 5* hotel, which was very nice. I've also been throwing my energy into doing a lot of painting in a hope to supplement my (as yet non existent) income from writing. The painting is going very well and I am really pleased with the results. Because the pictures are turning out well, I am finding it very satisfying and rewarding, unlike my writing at the moment unfortunately. I'm working on The Mark of the Wolf and it is tough going. I've forgotten what it is like to write with abandon, enjoying the thrill of the work and satisfied with the outcome. It can't be like that all the time, of course, but it seems to have been a long time since it was like that with me. I feel like I'm doing lots of work with very little result and even though I know what I want the result to be, my work keeps on falling short of it by a long shot. That's life though, isn't it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Poll Results

Last week I asked you if you would like to live forever, and I got a very good response. Thank you for voting.

44% percent said they would like to live forever. I found this surprising, because the comments on my posts about this seemed to indicate the opposite.

On a more morbid note, 33% percent would like to live forever as a vampire. Vampire's with souls aside, this also surprised me. I can't imagine living to the end of time having to drink blood. Long hair and velvet clothes are all very well, but I would miss food!

Only 22% of you decided you would rather not live forever. I presume you wished to go to Heaven and enjoy eternal life there, rather than that you wanted to die and felt suicidal. I hope it was the former anyway.

Thanks for voting and look out for more polls in the future.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Filing Cabinet Trouble

I think someone is trying to tell me something about filing cabinets - I'm not supposed to have them. You see, I have all these notes and story ideas that I want to put in some order. They've been sitting around in a box for years and it is really hard to find anything. Last year I thought it would be great to get a filing cabinet and sort it out so I could easily access my work. I got a two drawer flat packed cabinet for Christmas, which was wonderful, but I foolishly tried to put it together myself and I didn't do it very well because the drawers were impossible to open. When I fixed that problem (brute strength and ignorance) I found the drawers were the half page size rather than the A4 size I was used to and I couldn't fit my crystal hanging files in to it. So, earlier this year, I decided to buy a full size four drawer cabinet for my office. They are expensive but I shopped around and found one that was quite cheap. There was a long waiting period for the delivery, made longer because I missed the delivery man's phone call and it took another two weeks before they could reschedule. When they finally did bring it to the house, I was out, but my sister was great and looked after the delivery for me and even asked them to bring it upstairs to my office. I was so excited when I got home and rushed up stairs to find this big brown box in my room. I tore off the cardboard packaging like a kid at Christmas. There was a large dent in the second drawer, which annoyed me, but I didn't think much of it. I eagerly reached out to open the drawers but was met with resistance. They must be locked, I thought, and rummaged around for the keys. Having found them, I tried to open the lock, but it wouldn't budge. Since then, the filing cabinet has sat uselessly in my office, gathering dust. I know I should have phoned the furniture company and complained, but I have a major fault in leaving things on the long finger and I have had it so long now I don't want to phone them. Does anyone know how to fix a dodgy filing cabinet, or should I resign myself to the fact that I'm just not supposed to have one?

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Mark of the Wolf

I'm working on revising The Mark of the Wolf at the moment, heading towards the final draft. I have all these ideas in my head about how I want it to be, and I hope I can bring all these threads to bear successfully in the final draft. I've been reading TMOTW again before I start work on it and, despite all its faults, I am enjoying it. I think the characters are good and the scenario interesting. However, I keep on feeling that it is the action that takes place off scene that is the more important stuff. A lot of the scenes are based very much in the mundane and the everyday, with the characters often referring to something exciting that has happened but that we, the readers, didn't get to see. One of the things I will have to do in this edit is shift the perspective and show those scenes which weren't shown before, and leave much of the everyday to the imagination. This might make the final draft look very different from the original (on the surface) but the book that was struggling to break free from the confines of the ordinary was there all the long. I think it is going to be good - really good. I'm very excited about it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Baby Lily Marie

Here are the (possilby) first photos of post natal Lily Marie Murphy, certainly the first on the internet of her anyway! This is my niece at almost one day old. We went down to the hospital in Port Laoise yesterday to visit her and to see how mum and dad were getting on. I've never been around babies much, I've never had any interest in them, so I've never experienced before the feeling of looking at a new person who has her whole life ahead of her. What will she be like? What will she do and learn and be? It is very exciting. I hope I will be part of her life and that she will like it when she visits me or I visit her, rather than groaning 'Oh no, Aunt Inkpot isn't visiting, is she?'.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I HAVE A NIECE

WELCOME to my brand new little niece who was born this evening to proud parents, Simon and Danielle. Today is St. Rose of Lima's feast day, so she has a beautiful patron saint. Being born on a Thursday means she is destined to go far. She also shares her birthday with famous people such as Gene Kelly and River Phoenix. Of course, none of this matters to her at the moment. She is only a little thing (under 6lbs) and is probably still struggling to make sense of why she has so much more room to move around in. I am going to visit the family tomorrow, so I'll let you know when I know more.

I know I shouldn't laugh, but...

I heard on the news yesterday that mobile defibrillators (you know, the electronic device that paramedics use to restart the heart - CLEAR!) saved two lives over the weekend. This is great news! One life was a heart attack at Croke Park. I don't know who was playing, I don't follow GAA, but I understand that there are some who feel very passionately about this sport and I can understand that in the heat of the moment - standing red faced in the crowds from shouting at your team - the old ticker might give out. The second life saved was a heart attack at the Rolling Stones concert at Slane. This made me chuckle. I wonder was it one of the band.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Printer Problems

I was sending out query letters to agents for The Mark of the Wolf and, this just shows you how long it has been since I last got a submission package ready, I ran across a problem with my printer. Well, my print cartridge to be more precise. I printed out my letter head and it is a brown/sepia tone and it came out red. The display on the computer told me I was out of black ink, but the colour cartridge was over half full. I changed the black cartridge and printed another test page. Again it came out red. I played around with the image and changed the lettering to black and, even with this, it came out with a faint red line around the words. I printed out a test page and it was also red. The conclusion I came to was that I have run out of the other colours in my colour cartridge leaving only red ink. I didn't know this was possible (I don't remember printing predominately blue and yellow pictures) but I am very disappointed that the printer is telling me I have so much of my colour cartridge left when it is only red ink! I would have changed it if I had a spare cartridge. It will be a waste of all that red ink, but I don't print red that often (obviously, otherwise I wouldn't have so much left!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Poll Results

I asked you what genre of books were your favourite and you answered in your hundreds... well, you answered -


HORROR! HORROR! HORROR!


Yes, that is right. With over 50% of the vote, horror came out top. Science Fiction and Fantasy tied as second with crime coming in third and factual books fourth. Popular fiction didn't even get a look in with not one of you voting for it in the poll. I wonder if I should ditch the Moonwolf Chronicles and concentrate on writing a follow up to 7 Days in Hell - 7 Weeks in Hell anyone?

Would you like to live forever?

I watched a documentary on Channel Four last night about the worlds oldest people. It was amazing to see a 100 year old woman in Japan who still grew her own vegetables and ran a shop and a 100 year old man in England who lives on his own and still uses coal to fuel his furnace. However, for every lucid able bodied centurion, there were plenty who were the more familiar picture of old age - crippled, deaf, unable to communicate and suffering from the unfortunate decrepitude that awaits for us all. Why some people age better than others is a mystery - it is all in God's hands - and there seemed to be no common link in diet or exercise between the various people who were interviewed. There was a difference in attitude however. Some were happy to have achieved such a great age (usually the more able bodied people) while the others longed for release from this mortal coil. One of the most poignant was a woman over 100 living in the US who was wheelchair bound and much distanced from the world, but who would sing when her nurse started to sing into her ear. It is one of the worst consequences of original sin that old age reduces our bodies to cages where we are can only respond to the strongest of stimulus. With this thought in mind, I asked myself the question - Would I like to live forever? It is a question I have often asked myself throughout the years and, bouts of depression aside, the answer has always been yes. There is so much in this world to learn about, study, see, explore and experience, so many people to get to know and to help, so many monsters to discover (and by monsters I mean creatures of the deep, Nessie, living dinosaurs etc) that our brief allotted time has never seemed enough. However, I long for the never ending life that was intended for us before the Fall. Living to a great age when you still have health and autonomy does have some attraction, but I am afraid I baulk at the thought of years of ill health, surviving all your loved ones and living in a home. However, it is not up to me to decide these things and, while I spend the years finding out my fate, I can explore the implications of immortality and mortality in my writing, as many authors have done before me.

Monday, August 20, 2007

How far would you go?

A friend said to me the other day - 'If you knew you had to submit your work 500 times before you were published, would you?' I must admit that it gave me pause to think. 500 times is a lot of times. Do I believe in my writing enough to keep going that long? 100 I have no doubt, but 500? It only took me a few seconds to respond with a positive 'Yes', but it did have me considering the whole situation. Later, when I spoke to Valpot about this, she posed another question. 'Which would you rather, to win the lottery or be published?' I found this easier to answer. 'To be published of course!' But it led me to think on another course. I've always looked at publication as the end of the road, the final achievement, the validation of my work, but what happens after publication? What if your books don't sell? Or what if they only sell ok and go out of print after 18 months? It happens - a lot! My answer to that is WRITE MORE. If you are publishing twice a year, you have more chance of getting your name known and making money from your books and, when you become successful enough, you will get your out of print books reissued. I found this very helpful for reminding me that I love writing and that I can easily get two publishable quality books out a year, if I just stick to it.
Book Pledge: 61/150

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Happy Birthday David


47 today. Good luck with the new tv show!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Two birthdays today: -

Happy Birthday Michael Biehn (51 today). I think Michael was my first Happy Birthday post last year, so it is nice to be posting birthday wishes to him again this year.
And a decade younger, a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Superman *cough* I mean, Dean Cain (41 today)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Monday, July 09, 2007

I'm a walking cliche!!!

I've just realised I am a living breathing cliche! You know the one about the struggling writer who spends all morning writing only to delete it in the afternoon? I know lots of writers have written about it, but I think Albert Camus put it best in his book, The Plague, when one character has been writing a book for years (can't remember the exact details) and hasn't got past the first sentence!

I'm feeling a bit like that at the moment.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Houston we have a problem

There I was, sitting at my notebook, getting ready to write the last two hundred or so words of Til the Moon Fails, when it hit me - the reason why I've been finding it so hard to finish the last section. I know the first draft didn't go so well, but since I've started it again I have been happy with it and the progress has been good. Until I got to the last section and things started to drag again. I thought it was because I didn't want to say goodbye to Hans and Janna, but reading what I have written of the section, I realise where I have gone wrong. It is just too depressing! This isn't how I want to end the trilogy - on a down note. So, much as I want to type 'The End', I think I'm going to have to start the last section again.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

This is a WRITING blog!

Ok, I know I haven't posted a lot about writing recently, I do apologise, but it is because I have been working hard (although not hard enough) on getting Til The Moon Fails finished and every time I finish a section I keep on meaning to publish a picture (remember how Mulder used to announce the news?) but then I forget and then I've finished another section and it seems too late to post about it... anyway -
News on Til The Moon Fails - I hope to finish it this week (before Sunday 8th July). I've heard that before, I hear you groan. Yes, I know, the deadline for this book keeps on stretching and stretching, and the weird thing is I have only about 3/4K more words to write. I just don't want to say goodbye to these characters, it is so hard wrapping up their story.
Once I've finished Til The Moon Fails, I am going to tackle The Mark of the Wolf with a vengeance. I want to have it all shiny and ready for publication before the end of August so that I can start sending it out to agents again. I might get a professional editor to look it over before I do that, but either way I want it to be finished before September. It would be great to have it sent out to a few agencies before I go away in November.
As regards other writing - at the moment I have my hands full with these two projects. I know I can be more prolific, but at the moment I'm struggling to get the energy to drag myself from my bed to my writing chair.
So, when it comes to this blog, I will try to bring it back to being strictly about writing. If I have any random thoughts on TV programmes and movie stars, I will try to keep it to another blog (possibly my myspace blog - and yes, I have way too many blogs to keep track of!).

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

This is a writing blog!

I just realised that this is supposed to be A WRITING BLOG and I haven't blogged about writing in AGES! Not surprising really. I've been writing, but it has been HARD, not flowing at all and every word wrung drip by drip from the old rag of imagination. Things are looking up though, and the drought seems to have broken. Waters of creativity are once more flowing, filling up the reservoir of inspiration.
Mmmm... sounds more like a weather report than a writing update. I think I've over done the metaphor.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Stargate owes me! *spoilers*

I am so depressed. I have just watched an episode of Stargate SG1 which has stolen the entire plot from my Iserie Valult novel, 24 Hours. (Look away now if you don't want to find out about either the book or the Stargate episode)
In the episode there are alien bugs, they are active in the dark, they have a prodigious reproductive rate and they can consume a human being in seconds. Also, they lay their eggs when they bite your flesh and eat you from the inside out. I know the idea wasn't exactly original (nothing special, as one reviewer noted) but it is depressing to see Stargate do it (and not pay you any royalties).
Sigh.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My top 5 favourite romantic scenes

The Times online are running a competition to find out what their readers favourite romantic scenes are. The top prize is 20 romantic movies on DVD. To inspire their readers, they mention lots of scenes, from West Side Story to An Officer and a Gentleman. Now, those movies make me feel sick (no offence), so I thought I would do a rundown of my top five romantic scenes from movies (and tv shows) that I can actually watch.
No. 1 - Terminator.

Kyle time travelled for love

Kyle Reese has been saving Sarah Connor from the Terminator all day and now they have a few moments of respite in a motel, where they spend their time making bombs. In the lull before the storm, Sarah whiles away the time by asking Kyle about his former girlfriends (there weren't any - so much pain). Then he turns to her and says:-
'John Connor gave me a picture of you once. I didn't know why at the time. It was very old, torn, faded. You were young like you are now. You seemed just a little sad. I used to always wonder what you were thinking at that moment. I memorized every line, every curve. I came across time for you Sarah. I love you. I always have.'
Aw. By the end of the movie, we know that Sarah was thinking of Kyle at the time that photo was taken and that Kyle is John's father. What a romantic use of a time paradox.

No. 2 - Futurama

There are so many wonderful romantic scenes between Fry and Leela that it is hard to choose. How about the time he writes a holophoner opera for her, (the most difficult musical instrument in the world to play) Leela, Child of the Stars, and makes a deal with the robot devil so that he has the skill to play it, but when the deal goes bad and he loses his ability, Leela is the only person who stays to see how the opera ends. In simple, childish notes, Fry depicts Fry and Leela waking hand and hand into the sunset.
OR
How about the time Fry spells out his love for Leela in planets
OR
When he sat by her bedside for weeks without sleeping or washing, waiting for her to come out of a coma

Leela goes mushy for Fry's talent


OR... ok, the list could go on. My choice is the scene where Fry first plays the holophoner for Leela. Gifted with amazing talent by a troupe of parasitic worms, Fry turns his feelings for Leela into pictures and music. While the worms may have given Fry the talent, you certainly can't doubt the truth of his feelings.
No.3 - The Princess Bride


The best kiss in the world - apparently

Every scene in this movie drips romance - from Westley's 'As you wish' in reply to Buttercup's commands, to his whispered last breath of 'True love'. However, I'm going for the final scene when, villain Prince Humperdink defeated, Westley (or his dashing alter ego Dread Pirate Roberts, if you prefer), Buttercup and friends ride into the sunset on a brace of beautiful white stallions. Buttercup, still in bridal gown (for her wedding to Humperdink) and Westley bring their horses side by side, lean forward and kiss.
'Since the invention of the kiss there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.'

No.4 - It's a Wonderful Life
Once again, it is hard to choose a scene from this movie. There is the scene when George and Mary, both children, are in the drug store and George bends down behind the counter. Mary leans across the counter top and whispers in his deaf ear - 'George Bailey, I'll love you til the day I die'. And then there is the scene where George and Mary walk home from the dance, after falling into the swimming pool, and George promises Mary the moon. Or there is the scene where George, grumpy because of his brother Harry's marriage (which means Harry isn't coming back to Bedford falls to look after the Building and Loan while George goes to college) wanders over to Mary's house. He behaves horribly, but as they come close together to talk to Sam on the phone, his love for Mary overwhelms him, almost against his own will (I'm never going to get married, he shouts at Mary, seconds before he kisses her).


George and Mary only have eyes for each other

However, the most romantic scene for me is at the dance, when George and Mary have that first look across the dance floor. George hasn't seen Mary in a few years and is moaning about being asked to take his friend's kid sister for a dance, and then he sees her, and their faces light up as their eyes meet across the crowded room, everything else fading out into the background. You know that they are destined to be together for ever after that.

No.5 - Emma


Not my choice, but Mr Knightley and Emma having a romantic moment


I'm sorry I don't have a proper picture for this scene, but I don't own a copy of this movie and had to look else where to illustrate it. The scene I have picked doesn't actually involve Emma and Mr Knightley (as pictured) but rather MrKnightley and Emma's protege, Harriet Smith. Now, I know there is no romance between these two characters, but I still think this scene is really romantic. All the usual suspects have gone to a dance. Mr Elliot has been touring the floor looking for someone to dance with him, but with no joy. Finally it is suggested that Harriet would like to dance with him, which she affirms, but Mr Elliot suddenly realises that he is an old married man and no longer wants to dance. His put down to Harriet is in no way subtle, and you can feel her pain as he walks away. Then in steps dashing Mr Knightley to the rescue. Although he never dances, he graciously asks Harriet if he could have the honour and whirls her around the dance floor as if she was the only woman in existence. Now, that is some man. They don't make them like him anymore. *sigh*

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

This news made my day!


I found Nathan Fillion's blog and myspace page! His posts are very humorous and intelligent.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Movies - v - Books: Part 1

As you all know, I love books and I love movies, and sometimes I love stories that are both books and movies. A lot of the books I've been reading recently have been adapted for the silver screen. In fact, the reason I read books like The Prestige (by Christopher Priest) and The Bone Collector (by Jeffrey Deaver) is because I had already seen them as movies and was curious to see how different the book was. And different they always are. Even the most faithful book to film transfer is going to change in the translation. That is because of the very different nature of the two media. Books allow the author time to develop characters, to go deep into a character's thoughts and feelings, to slowly build up a layered three dimensional perspective of who the characters are. You don't need that so much in a film. You already have an actor standing there, embodying everything that the character is. In books, it is the thoughts and feelings that make the character, but in movies, as in real life, it is the actions that maketh the man. We can't see their thoughts so we have to rely on what they say and do to understand what kind of person they are.
I have noticed that there seem to be two types of movie book.
Type #1 - Based On
The first type is when the film is as faithful to the book in all intents and purposes as it possibly can be. Ok, so they don't include all of the characters, subplots and minutiae (because there just isn't enough running time in the whole world) and true fans are bound to be disappointed, but the movie makers have made a really good stab at getting what the book is about down on film. These kind of films can be very hit and miss. Sometimes all the fundamentals are there, but the spirit of the book hasn't been captured or poor direction, bad acting and rubbish budget have let it down. Occasionally, what made a good book just doesn't translate to a good movie, or the book wasn't that great to begin with. On a rare few occasions, the written word and the moving image combine to make something wonderful. Very, very rarely though.
Type #2 - Inspired By
The second type plays much more fast and lose with its original source material and usually with better results. The books might have contributed as little as one single idea, a character or a pivotal event, but the creative process has continued and led to something bigger and better than the original novel. While the movies can often be as bad as in Type #1, they more often soar to heights that the source material could never have reached (BladeRunner, anyone?)
In the coming weeks I intend to compare and contrast several movies and their books that have inspired me in either medium and put them into one of the above categories. I will be limiting my choices to books which have been adapted only once, so there won't be any classics (don't get me started on the various adaptions of Dracula, Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice) and even the wonderful I Am Legend (and the two very far from wonderful movies inspired by it) will not be mentioned (because of the two very far from wonderful movies inspired by it). Likewise, books like Eragon and (sorry to mention them in the same breathe, so to speak) The Lord of the Rings will not be mentioned, because I haven't see the movies. While I don't have to like both the book and the movie, I will definitely like at least one of them, otherwise it will be no fun to write about them!

Monday, June 11, 2007

I don't understand


We all know that Darren Shan has sold 10 million copies of his books world wide (he tells us at every available occasion) and that is an amazing achievement (and must have made DS a tidy sum, even allowing royalties of 50 cent per book). You all know what I think of the Shanster, but you can't deny that he appeals to a certain audience (he is big in Japan apparently) and his fans do buy his books.

Now, consider Garth Nix, Antipodean fantasy author. I am a big fan of this guy, especially the Abhorsen trilogy. I think he is original, imaginative and writes really well. I find him inspiring and I would like to think my writing is on a similar wave length to his. Doing a little googling yesterday I discovered that his total sales amount to 4 million. Ok, that is a brilliant amount of books to sell and he doesn't have as many books as our Darren, but I was surprised. 2 million in the USA and Canada, 1.3 million in the UK and Ireland and the rest in his native Oz and NZ. I suppose I was shocked that one of my favourite authors who I consider writes excellent literature hasn't even sold half as many as Darren Shan who writes... well, I can't think of a polite word for it. That's my opinion anyway. Obviously 10 million people think otherwise.

Book Pledge: 45/150

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sad News

As you all know, Darren Shan was signing copies of his new book - Blood Beast - in Waterstones in Drogheda today. I had planned to go with VT, wearing my glittery Shan-tastic t-shirts and getting my photo taken with the wonder that is Darren. Unfortunately, I didn't make it and it seems I have lost my chance to meet the Shan-Star for a while as he has jetted off to tour England and is then travelling to Japan, Thailand and Korea. I'm gutted.

Taking my tongue out of my cheek, and on a serious note, to be fair to Mr Shan, he does work hard for his fans. He does a lot of tours, signings, talks, replies to fan mail and updates his website and blog regularly (just as well you can't see me blushing with shame). He has also sold 10 million copies of his books, so he must be doing something right.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Muffin's Anniversary

I can't believe that Muffin has been dead a year already. I still cry when I think of her. She was a very special dog.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Convention Mania!

Me with friend at Dr Who Museum in Blackpool

I went to my first science fiction convention this weekend. It was in Blackpool and was called Starfury Decalogy (as in the ten year anniversary of Starfury conventions run by Sean Harry). There were plenty of guests there (Sean's favourite guests from the ten years, apparently) from lots of shows like Angel, Buffy, Firefly, X files, Battlestar Galactica, Andromeda, etc. Most of the fans were Angel fans and everyone wore their show affiliation proudly on their chests (i.e t-shirts).

Here I am with Christian Kane (Lindsey from Angel)

All the guests were really nice. My stand outs for guest talks was Armin Shimerman. He is a very intelligent, witty, well educated, entertaining performer and gave brilliant answers to all the audience questions. I didn't get to meet him in person, but I gather he was as nice in person as on stage.

My personal favourites were Christian Kane (Lindsey from Angel, pictured above) and Juliet Landau (Drusilla from Angel and Buffy). Christian wasn't great on stage, but was really genuinely nice when I met him for my photo and at the autograph session. Plus he asked how to pronounce my name and said he loved it! (what a charmer). Juliet was equally friendly. That is not to say that the other guests I met weren't nice, it is just that Christian and Juliet stood out in my experience. Honourable mention also goes to Mark Sheppard (Badger from Firefly and Cecil L'Ively from The X Files) who loved my Nathan Fillion t-shirt and was very chatty.

My new best friend - Kaylee from Firefly (AKA Jewel Staite)

All the other people at the convention were really friendly and united in their love of the tv shows. There was a great feeling of camaraderie and even though there were a lot of delays and a lot of queuing, there were no unpleasant moments.

As for Blackpool. Well, it has 11 miles of sea front (mostly lined with hotels, amusements arcades, tattoo parlours and pound shops), lots of dogs, a huge roller coaster, a conspiracy museum, a Doctor Who exhibition, a sea life aquarium and lots and lot of slot machines. It also has a nice little Italian. The people in the shops and the hotel were very friendly.

If there was a down point to the convention, it was that the dealer room was poor. I expected lots of interesting stalls and a huge room full of merchandise, but it was a small room with a couple of tables and enthusiasts. I managed to pick up a few nice things all the same, but I was hoping to get some cool t-shirts (and this lovely serenity, firefly, browncoat lanyard I saw) but there were none to be found.

Now that my inner fangirl has finally been allowed to have her head, the only question is - when is the next convention?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Daisy and the Doctor


Did you see it? Were you watching? Dr Who last night on BBC1. Just when I had almost given up hope, they come along with this smashing episode - certainly the best episode of series 3 and possibly one of the best in the whole new series!

The dashing Doc

The story goes - The Doctor and Martha are being chased by this dangerous family of aliens who want (or need) a Time Lord to survive. In order to prevent being hunted down to the ends of space and time (they have his scent) he uses his chameleon machine to become human (if only Rose had known about that!) storing his Time Lord consciousness in a watch (a time piece - get it!). Then he jets off to 1913 England and becomes a school teacher in a boys school, with Martha as his maid, where he quickly falls in love with the school nurse, lonely widow Matron Joan.

Matron Joan - AKA Daisy Steiner

The episode is the first part of a two parter, so unfortunately I will have to wait til next Saturday to see the exciting conclusion. However, I have a few exciting things of note about the episode. The love interest for the Doc in the episode is none other than our own beloved wanna be writer - Daisy Steiner - passing herself off as a nurse, Matron Joan!
Daisy Steiner

But what of Tim Bisley, I hear you say? Indeed, what of Tim? For those of you who don't remember, Tim and Daisy pretended to be a couple to rent an apartment together (Daisy struggling writer, Tim aspiring comic book artist) and struck up a strong friendship which hinted at something more.

Tim can't believe the news

Despite two seasons of Spaced, Tim and Daisy never got together (romantically) but I lived in hope. Now I know there is a new man in Daisy's life, I am sad that I will never see her with Tim, but if she wasn't to end up with him, I couldn't be happier to see her in the arms of the Doctor.

Daisy and her new man - the Doctor

In other news, I really love the 1913 fashions they have in this episode. They are so flattering - to male and female alike - and are very dignified. I love the dress Daisy wears to the dance and Martha, the Doctor's companion, looks so much better in the old fashioned clothes and make up than she does in the modern slap.

1913 Martha

2007 Martha