Tuesday, 25 February 2014

“I thought a stick was a snake. Until it bit me, and then I knew.

Pictured: Remic cunningly disguised as a laptop.
So last night while Kyle was feeding Remic, Rem bit himself. I have no idea how this happened; I'd just gone up to bed. But apparently Rem misjudged the distance between the mouse and his own stupid body and...there we go. We can't move him now he's eaten in case he regurgitates it, so we've got to wait until at least Thursday before we can take a proper look and see how badly he hurt himself. I'm torn between finding this utterly ridiculous (only we could own a snake that would bite itself) and being extremely stressed that he's damaged himself really badly (I dreamed all night about snakes being cut in half).

That said, this is not entirely surprising, as Remic rarely gets the mouse first time and will try to eat everything else on offer before he gets to the mouse - hands, feeding tongs, and now himself. I did some research online to try to find some advice and the first thing I found confirmed everything I have always suspected about the beautiful idiot:

“Snakes aren’t very smart (and king snakes aren’t very smart even by snake standards).”

Apparently it really isn't uncommon for king snakes to get overexcited during feeding and I read numerous stories of people reporting their snakes accidentally biting themselves and trying to suffocate their own tails. Most advice tends to be along the lines of, "wipe off any blood and let them get on with life," so I guess we probably don't need to worry too much. I just keep thinking of all those muscles snakes have and how bad it would be if Remic had damaged something O_o That said, his striking-bite isn't very strong (according to Kyle; I've never been on the end of it myself), so fingers crossed he didn't actually penetrate his scales or anything.

I guess this just proves once again that Ket is the superior snake.

Until I remember that Ket once threw himself out his tank in his desperation to get a mouse I was offering him.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Happy Hump Day!

I know it's traditional to post pictures of naked sexy men on Hump Day across the internet, but I'm bucking the trend. Here are some cute baby bats instead!

So the Shannon novella (now tentatively titled Phantom Fears) is chugging along nicely. I haven't quite managed 350 words every day as I planned, but I'm doing better at working writing back into my daily schedule and still keeping up with the perfume shop (birthday sale there this Friday, by the way!). And as I work on Phantom Fears and get back into the world of my werewolves, inspiration for other stories is striking. Writing really is one of those things where the more you do, the more you want to do. I'm pulling together ideas for a few things at the moment, one of which is a spin-off set in the Urban Wolf world. I'm going to force myself to wait until Phantom Fears is finished before starting, but I'm excited about it! It'll let me really expand the world and show new elements to it that I've had in the back of my mind for a while.

So yes, progress is slow but there is progress. Huzzahs! Have another bat.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Working Hard or Hardly Working?

In so many ways I feel like I'm beginning again with my writing career this year. Having had no new releases last year was a departure for me - since AFTERLIFE was published in 2009, I think I've had at least one release every year. Short stories, novellas, and novels. In 2013 I had novels re-released, but I didn't have anything new out. And a year...a year feels like a very long time in writing. Especially if you spend a lot of that year not actually writing.

I'm working on a still-untitled Shannon novella and I feel like I'm re-learning my craft. Not the writing parts - I think that's pretty intrinsic by now, as I've been writing since I was about five or six years old! But the part of the craft that's about dedication and perseverance. The part that gets you a finished product, not just a first chapter and a few half-baked ideas.

I'm frustrated because I feel like I'm making no progress and that what I'm writing isn't interesting, and that makes me want to quit and work on something else. But I did that all last year. I think I need to remember a few things about the writing process.

1. It doesn't have to be perfect first time round. You can edit it. Nothing you write is fixed in stone.
2. It doesn't have to be a perfect piece even when it's finished and edited. There's nothing wrong with writing something just for fun, for your own personal enjoyment.
3. I've got nothing to prove to anyone. I'm already a published author. I've won awards. I've had great reviews for my books. I don't need to play catch-up with anyone but myself.

And with that in mind, I really, really need to crack on and find a title for this novella...

Monday, 3 February 2014

Chasing Motivation

Happy Monday! At least, I hope it's as happy as a Monday can be. How was the weekend for everyone? Mine was exceptionally lazy, even by my weekend standards. I think the only thing I did of note was help my mum do her shopping, which mostly consisted of me pushing the trolley while she yelled that she didn't want to be responsible for other people's meals anymore (which is what happens every time she goes food shopping).

So I was thinking about this this morning. Not the food shopping thing, but the fact that I really struggle to be creative at the weekends. In part this is because I have to set aside so much time to prep and post perfume orders, and my average weekly orders have doubled since September. In part it's because I'm just really fucking lazy at the weekends and I like to lounge around watching conspiracy documentaries with Kyle or aimlessly surfing the internet. And I was thinking this morning that I get very caught up in "making the most of my free time" at the weekend, but that what I do isn't actually making the most of that time at all, especially if I want to get back into writing this year.

And then I remembered a book about plotting I read a few years ago that had one tip that absolutely made all the difference to me when I was writing AFTERLIFE: write 350 words first thing in the morning. 350 words sounds like nothing at all, but that's part of the point - it's an easy number to reach first thing in the morning without stopping you doing everything else you have to do. And there was something about getting done those 350 words early in the day that kept my brain working for the rest of the day. By the time I got home from work, my head was full of what was going to happen next, and I was ridiculously motivated to get back to work on the book.

So I'm going to reinstate this practice. I think it will be more practical for me to do this when I first get to work, as I usually get there early enough that squeezing in 350 words of writing shouldn't be a problem. Even if I get nothing else written that day, that still gives me 2450 words a week. That's...way lower than I used to be able to manage, but I also used to not have a serious muscle/nerve problem in my right arm, so there we go. My hope is that getting those 350 words down will spur my imagination enough that I can get another 1000 words down later in the day, or at least another 750 or so. If that works, I have a minimum of 7k a week, which easily beats out my current rate of "maybe 2k every fortnight or so."

So this is my plan, starting today. As I'm off work today, I really have no excuses for not getting at least 350 words down in the next twelve hours. I've been working on a novella starring Shannon from my Urban Wolf series, which is currently sitting at about 3k. By Friday my hope is to pass the 10k mark. Keep your fingers crossed for me! 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Guest Blog - Rebecca Brochu brings us her new Romance On The Go

I love Evernight's Romance on the Go line. Whatever your style of romance is, there's something there for you. And they're short enough to sneak in on your lunch break or bus ride and still get a satisfying story, which is really all you could ask for! So I'm delighted to welcome Rebecca Brochu here today with her new RotG story, NEXT TO YOU. Read on for a teaser!

Understaffed, overworked and generally exhausted contractor Ricci DeAngelo still has to contend with a long subway ride at the end of each day. The last thing he expects is to fall head long into a relationship while dozing on the train. But that’s exactly what happens when a sexy and equally exhausted stranger falls asleep on his shoulder one night.

Ricci’s nap partner ends up being Layton Callis, an equally overworked p√Ętissier who looks and smells good enough to eat. When they unexpectedly fall into a routine of napping together on the late train Ricci finds himself in a unique position. He can continue only seeing Layton during the week and spending his weekends in a sleepless mess. Or Ricci can step up and see if he can get Layton to agree to wake up next to him on a more permanent basis.