Saturday, July 30, 2011

Six-Sentence Saturday

1.) My friend is up, and I really enjoy not having anything to do.

2.) Swimming is my favourite form of exercise.

3.) If you haven't seen the TV show "Leverage", you really should rent it and check it out... Eliot Spencer is AWESOME!!

4.) Frappuccinos are best when drunk with friends.

5.) I'd rather go swimming at the beach with my family than get a gym pass and go swimming with a lot of unknown people.

6.) Books are more fun than people most times.

Okay, now for the fun news!!! My contest will air on August first, and be open for submissions for two weeks. It will be a writing contest, of course! Full contest rules will appear on August first, on my website at Cat's Mathoms. Remember, the winner gets this little guy!

Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Plot... and Some Contest Details! :)

Sometimes, plot is the hardest thing for me to create.

I can come up with a character no problem. Pretty much anyone I meet on the road has a story that I can craft. Each person I see has a face that says, "You don't know me, but my life is written in my eyes." Character, or at least that first glow of a new MC, is easy for me.

Plot, now, that can be a bit tricky.

I think I either don't have enough, or I have too much. If I don't have enough, my characters don't have a chance to shine. If I have too much, then my readers waffle away, muttering, "I don't know what she was getting at with all those subplots." Thankfully, I generally come up with too much plot. It's easier to cut the fat off a chicken than to add meat to something that's already dead. You know what I mean? (Hey, it was a nasty analogy, but it worked!)

When I rework an idea, a lot of times I have to pare at my plot, to make sure all the fatty uneccesary bits are all scrapped, so that I'm left with only the lean juicy bits that make a story fantastic.

Now, for a fun update. My contest for the Writing Buddy will open on August 1st, so sharpen your pencils and be prepared, because it is going to be a contest. :) Hope to see youse all soon!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Feast of St. James

I really love my saints. They're like my best friends. The only difference between my flesh-and-blood best friend here on earth, and all the saints in heaven, is basically that. They are in heaven. The nice thing is, they're rooting for me to get there, too. :)

Today we celebrate the feast of St. James the Greater, one of Our Lord's twelve apostles. He was a fascinating saint, full of fire and spirit. He is usually called "the Greater", because of the twelve apostles two were named James, and the other was known as James the Less. This was not because the James of today's feast WAS greater. No. He was called that simply because he was taller, or "greater" in stature, while St. James the Less was shorter, or "less" of stature.

He was the brother to St. John the apostle. They were collectively known as "the sons of Zebedee", and later, Christ nicknamed them the "sons of thunder", for they were very, very quick-tempered and impulsive.

St. James the Greater was the first of the twelve apostles to be martyred.

You can read more about him at this lovely blog post here: Roman Christendom, and also at this site: National Catholic Reporter.

For a little exciting news, stay tuned, 'cause there's going to be a contest here! You know my little clay critters? Check out the fellow below:

Yep, he's going to up for grabs! Do you want him? Huh? Do you? You know you do!! He's the Writing Buddy.
I'll post more contest details later. For right now, drool. Just drool.

Here's a napkin. Don't forget to clean up after yourselves!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Six-Sentence Saturday

1.) I love swimming, because when I swim it's almost as though I can forget that the world is around me, and lose myself in my thoughts.

2.) I have the hardest time limiting myself to short stories, because most of the time my ideas are too "large" to restrict them to 5000 words or less.

3. Yesterday was the feast of St. Mary Magdalen, one of my more favourite saints in the world because she came all the way from being the greatest sinner in the world to one of Christ's most beloved followers.

4.) I adore drawing with charcoal more than with just regular pencils, because I can get contrasts down on paper so much better than I can with just a 2B pencil... or HB. :)

5.) I cannot write to music with lyrics, unless it's playing softly in the background, but I can (and LOVE) writing to soundtracks and "nature sound" instrumental music.

6.) I would love to learn to dance WELL, especially the nice ballroom kind of dancing, and waltzes... especially waltzes.

I hope to see you later! For now, enjoy this perfectly lovely song of Susan Boyle's. I like this version better than the original. But that's just me. :-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

MC Plotting

When I write a story, whether or not I've gotten a plot yet or not, or just the idea of the general plan, my main character usually comes first.

No matter how great an idea is, as soon as I get a storyline in my head, the first thing I think is, "Now, who will be the person that gets to have this adventure?"

I have to establish whether the material is suitable for a boy, or a girl. (For now, he's a boy. ) Once that's settled, I can start getting the MC's features sorted.

I have to decide on overall features, first. Will the MC have brown hair, or blonde? Will he be a red-head? What origin will be demonstrated in build, features, skin colour? Spanish? German? Will the MC be a tow-head of Polish descent, or olive-skinned in the manner of Italians? Will the MC be short, stocky? Tall and lithe? Small but slender? Tall but thick like a bull?

Once overall look is established, I go in for the further detail. What happens when the MC gets angry? When he gets sad? Does he have thick, expressive eyebrows or thin emotionless ones? Does his mouth get line-tight under pressure, or does he chew on his lips? Does he use his hands to express himself? Is he voluble, or quiet? What signs does he portray to signify his mood?

Once I've got that all established, I go into conflict. What moves my MC? What drives him through the story? What catapults him into the plot, to make the story activate? Why does he react this way, or that?

Once I've asked all my questions, I've got my developed MC, complete with flaws and weaknesses and strengths, ready to make my story a reality.

What's even better is that, now with Alice Orr's helpful suggestions, I can even take him one step further and write his thoughts into a journal. Don't you love becoming your character?

Monday, July 18, 2011

MC Adoration

So, when do you start absolutely adoring your character?

Usually, the first glimmer of an idea that I get for a character has me falling in love with him/her. But I generally don't start adoring him/her until after I've had him/her suffer a couple of life's hard knocks. Then, it's like the real mettle of the MC emerges, the real character that has been buried under the calm of an easy life until that moment.

My character doesn't start proving himself/herself until I throw an element of suspense into the story, and see how he/she responds to it. Once I see how my MC takes stress, I can add a little more drama and see how he/she overcomes that.

Total adoration doesn't happen until the plot twists, and an unexpected blow sends the MC right off his/her head. I love to see how anger, stress, love, gladness, madness, and hate affect my MC's character, and it's such a joy when a voice whispers in my head, okay, now write this scene you didn't realise needed to be written. I love it when that voice materialized.

Usually, by the end of my novel, I have this MC on a shelf, my mental shelf of favoured characters. This MC will be one I'll go to and re-read over and over and over again.

How 'bout you? How do you fall in love with your character?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Six-Sentence Saturday


Today is the day I share six random sentences about the first things that pop into my head. Enjoy.
  1. I know it sounds funny, but my favourite way to write is the old fashioned pen-and-paper technique, 'cause my thoughts flow almost too quickly when I write, and my hand can keep my thoughts in line.
  2. Computers can be inspiring - I mean, there's internet, for one thing, emails, websites, games, google chat, youtube, all that kind of illuminating and thought-jogging stuff - but it's a time-waster as well.
  3. When I'm alone in the house, I sing to high songs, like Phantom of the Opera, in order to stretch my vocal chords and try to reach that high E.
  4. My first revision process is to transcribe what I've written on paper to computer, editing as I transfer the printed word onto the typed word.
  5. I prefer dogs over cats.
  6. I have a terrible weakness for chocolate.
See you next week for six sentences.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday, Words and Worlds

You know what I love? When I pick up a book and the setting is so believable you can't stop reading.

I just finished reading the Stoneheart trilogy, by Charlie Fletcher. What I loved about this is that the story begins in modern-day London, but after the MC, George, commits an act of minor and semi-accidental vandalism, the story is catapulted into another layer of London, a mysteriously similar and different London where statues come to life. It was really interesting, and though I didn't like some of the language that peppered the book, I couldn't stop reading until I'd finished the whole trilogy. Took me about five days to get through all three books, and that's because I (unfortunately) have to work some days of the week. :-)

Another book I read, and one that is part of a series (or perhaps a trilogy. I can't be certain about that) is called The Fire Within, and that was another really engaging, don't-stop-until-you're-done kind of read. The author, Chris D'Lacey, plants you in a normal, everyday kind of world where a tenant, David Rain, moves into a house for rent that specifies the tenant must have a tolerance for cats, kids, and dragons. That in itself is engaging, but when you discover the landlady, Liz Pennykettle, actually creates the dragons out of clay, and that they are, somehow, alive, WHAM! You're in a suddenly different world where everything is normal except for the fact that dragons are existing in one house.

What was the last book you read, where you really connected with the worldbuilding that was created for the story?

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Beginning: Interview with Author Melissa Kline

Today I’d like you to meet Melissa Kline, author of the YA science-fiction novel MY BEGINNING, released July 1, 2011 through Lucky Press LLC.

Hello, Melissa, and welcome!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I penned my first novel at the age of thirteen and have been writing consistently for fifteen years. I have completed ten young adult novels and several short stories. My preferred genre is young adult but I write non-fiction and children’s books as well. My calling is to connect with others and give hope through writing. My debut young adult, science fiction novel, MY BEGINNING, was just released by Lucky Press, LLC! Learn more about me and my books at

Where did you get the idea for MY BEGINNING?

The idea for MY BEGINNING came to me in a dream where I experienced an adventure through the eyes of 16 year old Ivory. She lived in a dangerous and toxic world where children were forbidden to venture outside. The dream was so vivid and unusual that I knew upon awakening that it was something special.

Ooh! That's really neat! Dreams sometimes hold the best ideas, don't they?
How did you come up with the names for Ivory and Aidan?

Ivory's name was inspired by her features - the color of her skin and hair. I pictured her as an infant in the institution, wondering what the authority would have named her. Ivory was a perfect fit.
Aidan originally had a different name. During the editing process it had to be changed. While choosing his name I really wanted it to be unique. The name Aidan has become very popular, but I think it is a good fit.

Was Ivory based off anyone you know in real life?

Not intentionally but I think her characteristics are very similar to mine. I see a piece of myself in all of my characters.

I understand what you mean. I think some of my characters sometimes display characteristics that I wish I had!
Where does Ivory’s story take place? (Is it Earth in a far-distant future, or some other planet or world?)

Ivory's story takes place here on Earth in the future after a devastating plague wiped out nearly every living thing. I didn't define a specific time period, but I would say sometime between 2200-2500.

How long did it take you to write your novel?

It took me about 2 months to complete the first draft of MY BEGINNING with a newborn in tow! I would write all of my ideas down on notes during the day, then string them together at night.

Sounds like you were kept pretty busy! :)
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey on the road to publication, from when you conceived the idea of “My Beginning “to when Lucky Press accepted your manuscript for publication?

After completing MY BEGINNING I cleaned it up a bit and shared it with friends at a writing workshop, then put it away and started a new project. I originally submitted a different book to Lucky Press and was very detached from MY BEGINNING, not having looked at it for well over a year! When my current publisher asked if I had anything else, I was a bit nervous submitting MY BEGINNING. I was detached from the story and it was a genre Lucky Press had never published! I sent the manuscript anyway thinking there was no way that it would ever be considered, but my publisher immediately fell in love with it.

That's fantastic that she loved it. I bet you went through the roof when you got your acceptance letter! Could you give us a brief synopsis about MY BEGINNING?

MY BEGINNING is a young adult science fiction adventure told through the eyes of Ivory, a girl who has lived her entire 16 years of life trapped within the cold, hard walls of an institution. A devastating plague wiped out scores of people and animals, polluting the earth and requiring that children never venture outside. Or is that all a lie? Ivory and Aidan decide to find out. They escape the institution and find a world unlike anything they had ever known.

What’s your writing routine?

Right now it is very chaotic! I am a mother of two busy boys so any chance that I get to write, I take it. I'm a big note taker - I jot down notes all day long and when I can steal away a chunk of time, I have at it!

What’s the one thing you’d tell other authors struggling to get published?

Believe in yourself and never give up!

Last, are there any other hobbies you have, other than writing?

Yes, I am a very creative person and enjoy using various methods to bring my characters to life. For MY BEGINNING I created character sketches and collages, built an institution scene using miniatures, wrote a screenplay, made a book trailer and collected "props" including uniforms, textbooks, Ivory's necklace and institution keys. I use these tools for visual inspiration and fun! You can view these and other character creations on my website:

Oh, so very cool! I love it when there's a complimentary talent you can use to visualize your worlds and settings. That's fantastic.

Thanks so much for your time, Melissa, and congratulations on your debut novel!

You can visit Melissa at her website, and you can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. You can purchase her book from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or you can get a more personalized novel directly from her.

Because I loved her trailer so much, I'm posting it here again, for all of you to enjoy.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lazy Saturday

I've been very lazy today. I didn't do a spit of writing until this evening, because I was too busy reading all the books I got from the library.

Don't you just love reading? I fires off all these awesome creative sparks in my head, and I read faster and faster until I can get to the end and work on my stories as well.

Movies also inspire me. There is one movie that I saw yesterday, that I'm actually watching tonight, which I LOVED! It's a simple, older movie called "The Hasty Heart" that features a Scot as the main (ish) character, and he's so strong-willed and then humble that he absolutely captured my heart. I want to keep writing my NaNo novel, and insert some of the Scot's character in there, 'cause it's so good!

I've also been drawing a little bit, to visualize my settings, and cleaning my house, and listening to music. My terribly lazy day. :)

Stay tuned for Monday! On Monday I'm posting an interview of debut author Melissa Kline, whose new book MY BEGINNING just came out through Lucky Press LLC. Her book sounds very intriguing, so I'd love to see you all there.

Thanks so much! God bless.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday, Words and Worlds

I'm doing a summer NaNoWriMo right now, and the thing I love about NaNo is that it allows you to write without worrying about editing. In fact, as I write, I'm discovering nuances about my world that I hadn't really fleshed out yet, and I simply input it into the story for later, so as I'm going through and editing I've got this tidbit of a gem that screams "REVELATION!" at me.

I love world-building. It's something I absolutely adore to do. In bed at night I sometimes think up a character who has these specific powers, and it is SUCH fun coming up with a world that explains these powers and makes them acceptable. I love that whole element of writing.

My favourite world-building comes from places that I've seen, or lived in, and have experienced.

For instance, awhile ago at work, I thought of this dialogue between two characters, one who is older, and the other who is the flippant MC.
It went something like this:

"Life," said Oldie expansively, lifting his glass to the sun and watching the light dance within the crimson depths, "is like a glass of wine."
He paused, and I waited for him to go on, but he didn't. He just stood there with his glass, and seemed lost in a reverie.
I guess that was all the information he was going to impart at this moment. Joy. I got to wait until tomorrow to see why life was like a glass of wine.
Tomorrow, I doubted I'd care.

Somehow, I visualized this MC as a boy, somewhat flippant and street-smart, but I had no setting for him. I simply had a bit of dialogue, and a definite opinion of who he was: a thief, a (sometimes) brat, but a lovable, loving character at heart.

Then I went to Scotland, and WHAM! I had found my setting. Scotland is the home for this thieving MC, a stone city more ancient than the hills, and filled with a magic that has yet to be born.

I'm into the world-building part now, and that is such fun, because the land is going to resemble Scotland, but there are going to be very different rules for my world, especially concerning magic.

Yay! A new story!

In fact, that story is my NaNo novel. Isn't that something? And, you know what's more exciting?  I can see a trilogy being born. Which means, I don't have to let go of my MC sooner than I need to. DOUBLE huzzah!

God bless. :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

God Bless America

Once upon a time, our flag depicted thirteen alternating red-and-white stripes flanking a field of blue, and spangled with a constellation of thirteen white stars.

This was the first American flag.

Over the years the flag altered ever so subtly. It sported fifteen stripes and fifteen stars at one point, then changed back to thirteen stripes with a star for every state that was at that time part of the United States as a whole. For a while the stars were arranged in six horizontal lines of eight, with the points of the stars pointing up. Now, the stars are arranged in in five horizontal rows with vertical rows of six in each row, and staggered below that are four horizontal rows with vertical rows of five stars in each row, to create a sum total of fifty.

The colours used for this star-spangled banner give deeper meaning to the flag as a whole, and impart a feeling of pride and honour. The red used in the seven red stripes symbolizes hardiness and valour. The white used for the alternating six white stripes and the fifty stars symbolizes purity and innocence. The rich, deep blue used for the stars' field symbolizes vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

Red  for  hardiness  and  valour, duty done with greatest honour,
White  for  clean,  no  stain  to  start:  pure  and  innocent of heart.
Blue   that  to   justice   we'll   adhere:    vigilant     to    persevere.
On   the  field  are  fifty  stars,  flanked by  thirteen  shining  bars.
Fifty   stars  for  fifty  states,   bound   by  what  the  flag  relates.
Flanking  them, in  red and white, thirteen stripes recall  the  fight.
Freedom   won,  declared   today.  May   God   bless  the  U.S.A.!

To celebrate the day, enjoy these few videos:

  1. The National Anthem, as sung by Josh Groban (who just happens to be my favourite singer EVER!!)
  2. God Bless America, as sung by Josh Groban (favourite singer, remember?) AND
  3. Proud to be an American, by Lee Greenwood (since I couldn't find Josh singing it. LOL)

(One last tidbit of information: The words of our National Anthem were first conceived on September 14th, 1814, when Francis Scott Keys observed the soldiers at Fort McHenry in Baltimore raise the flag to signify their victory over the British Force in the War of 1812.)


The Declaration of Independence
History of the American Flag
US History
US Flag
Encyclopedia Smithsonian

Saturday, July 2, 2011

No longer sprummer!!

I love summer. It is by far my absolutely favourite season.

Sure, I love autumn when the trees seem to burn beneath their flaming-bright leaves, and I love spring when the green and growing earth begins to waken. Winter I like up until January 6th, and then I've looked forward to and celebrated all the best holidays that winter can offer, and I start looking forward to spring.

But summer is the best, to me.

There's swimming, for one thing. Who loves to swim? Raise your hand. Yep, me too. There's something about the cool green light within the lake and the utter tranquility that comes over you when you're swimming. I love lying beneath the waves, holding myself down on the golden sand, and listening to the heartbeat of the water. LOVE that.

There's also amateur soccer. Our little dog is a soccer fiend. We use him as the goalie, 'cause he's really good at blocking our goals. Wicked dog! LOL. I can be a tad aggressive when it comes to that sport, and my attitude, when one of the little girls falls down and makes a rumpus, is "Suck it up. Get up, walk it off, be tough! C'MON! No one CARES about your scuffed-up shins!"

There's badminton, too. Such fun! In fact, we spent quite a while outside today playing in teams of two, and there is an enormous feeling of satisfaction when you whack that little birdie into the sky. I have a particularly favourite technique that I employ when I'm feeling particularly competitive. My sisters call it the wasp, 'cause I whack the birdie in such a way that it comes whizzing down at a rough speed of 60-70 mph. Usually I'm quite good at sending it buzzing over my opponents shoulder, and I'll have to say the whistle it makes as it speeds past your ear is something else.

Oh, and there's also Camp NaNoWriMo. I know, right? I thought NaNoWriMo only ever occurred in November, but there's also a July NaNoWriMo being hosted. Since I'm not insane enough, I am participating in this crazy ordeal. Currently I'm on about 3600 words, and since there's an extra day in July (31 days instead of November's 30) there's a slightly lesser word count needed to be met each day. In November, average word count per day in order to reach the required 50,000 is about 1,667 words. In July, the average word count per day is about 1,613 words. Since this is the second day, and the amount I should be at is 3226, I'm quite pleased with my word count right now. Yay, camp!!

Well, that's all for now. Have a lovely Saturday! God bless.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...