Friday, September 30, 2011

Giveaway at AmandaBeth Online

I've been busy cleaning and putting my house back in order, and I got an email from one of my sisters regarding this: A giveaway over at AmandaBeth Online. A GIVEAWAY!

Giveaways are fun. For absolutely nothing you can participate in a contest and maybe even win something cool. Believe me, this one is very cool. If you win, you get 50 Amsterdam Pens to personalize for your very own. Check it out here!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tough Guide to Fantasyland: by Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones' book, The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, is a must for the Fantasy writer working on avoiding cliche stories and creating whole new worlds that don't rely on standard formulae.

Unlike many "how-to" books, the TOUGH GUIDE is more of a handbook for the hardcore Tourist making his/her way through Fantasyland. It's set up to give you definitions of certain elements of Fantasyland while providing you with insight in how not to make your story same-old, same-old.

You open to the first official page, and you are greeted by a map. This is Fantasyland. It's a completely useless map but you are advised to keep it and peruse it at intervals, for it is the only map you'll get. Next comes a couple pages of Rules provided by the MANAGEMENT, after which you come across a page of identification elements. These are simply sign-post drawings that inform you whether or not the definition given pertains to something MAGICAL, PERSON, ANIMAL, BATTLE and/or FIGHTING. Of course, there are more categories than that, but these are some of the more important few.

Next, you can turn to the section labeled Toughpick, and here, arranged alphabetically and tidily from A to Z, you can peruse the main elements of Fantasy writing. Here you'll discover fascinating tidbits. For example, for some inexplicable reason, the further North and snowy you go, the scantier people dress, wearing only loincloths and armbands. Vice versa, the further South and sunny you travel, you meet the DESERT NOMADS wrapped to the eyeballs in robes and veils. Also you discover that, despite the shocking lack of sheep, everyone seems to wear clothing made of wool, and though no cow ever graces the pages of Fantasyland folk somehow manage to find leather boots.

In addition you'll learn about:

  • Apostrophes (their cunning placement and use of in Fantasyland)
  • Capital Letters (and their liberal use amongst the folk of Fantasyland)
  • Colour Coding (and how to pay attention to people's eyes, hair, and clothing in order to discern if they are good or evil)
  • Ecology (or lack thereof)
  • Hares (and how often they are mistaken for Rabbit)
  • Horses (and their amazing abilities unique to Fantasyland)
  • Management (and how they assist you through your Tour)
  • Official Management Terms (and how they help you understand your Tough Guide better)
  • Reek of Wrongness (provided to never, ever, ever let you confuse your bad guys with your good guys)
  • Swords (magical, non-magical, and the use of such a weapon)
  • Stew (the only Food you'll get in Fantasyland, aside from Bread)
  • Water (and how untainted it is throughout Fantasyland)
  • and Zombies.
Throughout the book certain words will be italicized with the official OMT trademark beside it, to show this is an Official Management Term and not a mere phrase only.

Also for your enjoyment, at the top of each alphabetical index is a Gnomic Utterance for you to read and absorb. Have a nice Tour through Fantasyland!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Six-Sentence Saturday 09/24/11

Once again, here we are!!

In no particular order:

1.) I went to a conference at South Lake Tahoe's new publishing house, Bonafide Books, and met the editor Kim Wyatt and had a fantastic time!

2.) I was inspired to become an SCBWI member.

3.) Since the conference, I have submitted four short stories, two of which (if accepted) would count as credits for SFWA, the Science Fiction Writers of America.

4.) I found out there's going to be a SCBWI conference in Lake Tahoe sometime in May next year, and I REALLY want to go.

5.) I'm trying to figure out how to become an illustrator (which is a work in progress).

6.) I got the soundtracks for Captain America and Thor, and they are joining my Iron Man soundtrack in my CD rack... Thor is a really good soundtrack, and Captain America is very cool too.

That's all for now, folks. Got to save my revisions for my WIP now and join the family in watching Escapade in Florence. See you later. God bless.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


In this world of writing, there are some facts of writing that you're just going to have to swallow.

One of these is queries.

A Killer Query must knock an agent's socks off. A Killer Query must grab your potential agent in a combination of voice, clarity, and focus. A Killer Query must relate to your agent the voice of your story, that is, the unique style that is your writing. A Killer Query must WOW an agent.

All this fuss for a query, you say?


A query is an essential element to the writer's workshop. A manuscript without a query is like a sandwich without the cheese. It's still good, but the cheese makes it fantastic. (Or bacon, if you prefer.)

A query gives an agent insight to who you are as an author. It portrays the voice and plotting strength of a writer, and gives a hint as to your writing style.

Don't be fooled. Queries are not easy. As a matter of fact, they can be downright evil. A query must convey to your potential agent, editor, publisher the full substance of your story without feeling like a lecture, or sounding like a complete waste of time. A query must be clear, concise, focused, and interesting. It must convey the entire plot of the story... in less than a page of writing.

I am in the process of crafting a query for my two WIP's; The Key Keeper, and Whisper Mansion. It is an interesting new view of the writing world. I've never seen it from this side before, and it's a challenge!

For information on how to craft a query, check out Nathan Bransford's advice:

Monday, September 19, 2011

How to Pass a Degree with Confidence: an author interview with Anthony Fox

Hello everyone! Today I'd like to welcome author Anthony Fox to The World Crafter's Inkspot.

Anthony is the author of HOW TO PASS A DEGREE WITH CONFIDENCE, a motivating self-help book on how to pass a university degree with confidence. It contains detailed information for those individuals contemplating an under graduate or post graduate degree, as well as insightful stories from the writer's own experiences. It was recently published on July 29, 2011, by Chipmunkapublishing.

Hello, Anthony! Thanks for coming. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born in London. As a young boy I went to school in America before returning to England to finish my education. I also lived in Australia before leaving for America with my parents. In England I studied art at Bideford Art College.

From an early age I wanted to be a writer / artist. Ever since I can remember I have been drawing and writing. Around the age of 12, I became a keen reader of history, archaeology and science. Throughout my life I have been a dreamer and thinker, always trying to understand the wonders of the world. I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge.

Ooh, London. I could tell you were British from the way you phrase your sentences. I love British authors! In a writer's "rule of three", three of my more favourite authors, J.R.R. Tolkien, James Herriot, and Diana Wynne Jones, are all British writers.

Continuing with the "rule of three", what do you think are three of the most important things in your life?

My children come first - Colleen my daughter and my son Jamie - and then there's me. After that, well I guess whatever is most urgent. Love, hope and charity.

What was your goal in writing HOW TO PASS A DEGREE WITH CONFIDENCE?

I wanted to write a book that shared my experience so that other students could avoid some of the pitfalls I faced, and also have a useful study guide to help them focus of gaining that degree. On a more personal level, I wanted to become an author and was proud of the achievement of having a book published.

You should be. Publishing a book is an enormous achievement, as well as a terrific confidence booster. Before you decided to pursue a degree, and before you wrote HOW TO PASS A DEGREE WITH CONFIDENCE, what did you do for a living?

Over the years I have had many jobs, from salesman to office manager, power station technician to construction worker, as well as an IT consultant. Before starting my degree I worked as a carpenter and really enjoyed the satisfaction of working outdoors and making things with my hands.

Very neat! You were certainly an all-around kind of man, weren't you? How did this influence your decision to pursue a Master's in Software Engineering in Artificial Intelligence?

It didn’t. My interest in computers goes back many years before, to when I was building computers and writing code as a teenager. From an early age science has always been a keen interest of mine with the words and voice of Carl Sagan resonating in my head.

You actually wrote computer code? That simply staggers me. I don't think I could write computer code to save my life!

So what triggered the idea to write a how-to book?

I noticed there was no comparable book on the market that gave an insight to university life which would also be a useful study guide to passing a degree. I also wanted to share my experience so that other students could achieve what they wanted. And that it was never too late to start.

That's very true. Good for you for pursuing such a goal!

So, tell us a little bit about HOW TO PASS A DEGREE WITH CONFIDENCE.

I describe the book as an interesting, innovative, and motivating self-help book on how to pass a university degree with confidence by providing, not only the do’s and don’ts of college life, but also insightful and fascinating examples from my personal experiences. It was written using the knowledge I gained as a student representative as well as the achievement of gaining an MSc and a BSc Honours degree. Comprehensive and detailed information is provided to help those individuals contemplating an under graduate or a post graduate degree visualise and achieve their goals. Each chapter recalls a personal experience that helps to reinforce the academic topic. Topics include:

1.) How to write your project or dissertation
2.) Exam preparation
3.) How to research
4.) Time management
5.) How to reference correctly
6.) Critical thinking
7.) How to study
8.) How to revise (with a bonus anecdote of When A Girl Came Knocking At My Window)
9.) How to build confidence
10.) The need to set goals
11.) Student perspective
12.) How to cope with stress
13.) How to cope with meagre funds
14.) How to score more goals than Casanova
15.) Ten tips for university

and much more. Also there’s a bit more meat on the bone. Read the chapter why understanding critical thinking is so important.

Exam Preparation and Time Management were two of my more favourite chapters. I especially liked When A Girl Came Knocking On My Window. It showed a great example of managing your study time, as well as being hysterically witty.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Around 6 months, maybe longer. I originally started the project in mid-2005 but because of illness and other mishaps I didn’t start seriously until mid-2010.

What were the biggest obstacles for you on your road to publication?

At times, fear of rejection was my biggest obstacle. I had read so many horrid stories, about how difficult it is to get published or to find an agent.

Rejection really is an enormous barrier for writers. Those evil little letters are just so dispiriting! Do you plan on writing more books in the future?

Yes. I am currently working on a couple of book projects; one is a crime thriller novel and the other a non-fiction book.

Ooh, a crime thriller! That ought to be good! Can't wait for it.

So what is your main suggestion for people who are thinking to pursue a degree?

I recommend you ask yourself this question: am I doing this for me? If you are, that’s great, because if you’re enthusiastic about your task then you’re halfway there to gaining that degree.

Totally off topic, but I understand from your book that you like to dance the salsa. Aside from that, are there any other hobbies or activities that you enjoy?

One of my daily occupations is walking and exploring the countryside and the coastline, especially since I spend a lot of time on the keyboard. When I am in the mood then art becomes my passion. To relax I like to read books and watch films. I love a good story.

Me too. Good stories are rare and beautiful things.

Thanks so much for your time, Anthony! Congratulations on your success, and here's to many more published books. (Hurry up with that crime thriller.) :-)

You can find Anthony at his blog, How to Pass a Degree With Confidence, as well as on Facebook

The print version of his book is available for purchase on Amazon, or you can purchase and download the e-book version here.

Again, thanks so much for the interview, Anthony.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Global Blog Tag

So, instead of a normal six-sentence Saturday, I've been tagged by author Anne Johnson in a global game of blog tag!

Now I'm It. So I'll tell you TEN facts about me.

Here are the rules for those who are tagged.
1.) You must be tagged by someone
2.) You have to list 10 random facts about yourself
3.) After that, you have to tag four more people

Here I go!

1.) I'm number five of eleven children.

2.) I collect books. My mom thinks I have about a thousand. My sister says I only have six hundred. I'm not exactly sure HOW many I've got, but it's a lot.

3.) I have a real weakness for fantasy. I adore fantasy!

4.) If I have loose cash in my purse, I have the urge to spend it.

5.) My "To Visit" list includes Italy, Ireland, Wales, New Zealand, Australia, the Thirteen Original Colonies, and New York.

6.) I've only been on one date in my life.

7.) I am currently reading Revision and Self Editing by James Scott Bell, Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling, The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-Earth for Dummies by Greg Harvey, Masterpieces of Fantasy and Wonder compiled by David G. Hartwell, and The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones. Yes, I'm reading these all at once. I sort of "book-hop."

8.) I cry easily, especially when I'm mad.

9.) I prefer mountains and trees to oceanside homes.

10.) I can be incredibly stubborn.

Hope you enjoyed all that. Now I tag four more writers:
1. Shealynn at Shealynn's Faerie Shoppe
2. Bree at Haystack Style
3. Amanda at Old Fashioned Girl
4. Molly at The Thousandth Time

You're it!
And everyone else: tell me one thing about you.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Six-Sentence Saturday 09/10/11

Wow, you know what I just realised as I wrote the date? It's 9-10-11! Weird, huh?

Okay, so for my sentences:

1.) I enjoy having tea and biscuits in the evening, but coffee in the mornings, noon, and afternoon.

2.) You can get some amazingly gorgeous tents to live in - in fact, they look rather like Hermione's tent in the last Harry Potter films. Check out Exclusive Tents and see what I mean.

3.) I've signed up for singing class - HOOT HOOT! - and I'm so excited!

4.) I'm going to sing "You'll See" by Susan Boyle, and possibly either 1.) Majesty by Hayley Westenra, 2.) Il Mondo e Nostro by Camilla Kerslake, 3.) or something else, by some other singer... as you can see, I'm a bit undecided for my second song. :-)

5.) Yesterday was my birthday (hippo birdie two me!) and I had a lovely day, despite some work stress.

6.) We had some amazing rain today, along with a brief storm of hail.

That's all for today, other than revising, writing, market research, and some episodes of Psych. What have you been doing?

God bless

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien

I went to Borders again last weekend, and I found a book on J.R.R. Tolkien's world building. As though that wasn't enough, my family and I also watched the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy during the Labor Day weekend. All this Lord of the Rings inundation firmly implanted this knowledge inside me: Tolkien is a storytelling master!

J.R.R. Tolkien is my idea of the greatest storyteller. Not only did he create the most glorious and epic tale of heroic deeds and ultimate sacrifice, he was also nit-picky regarding the details of his world. Did you know that there's a chapter in The Two Towers where Samwise Gamgee is cooking his "conies", and Tolkien had to take a break from writing because he had to make sure the moon that was appearing in that chapter was the same as the moon that was appearing in a different chapter but on the same timeline? You've got to admire that kind of dedication.

I love his language, too. I love the way he wrote the Elvish languages of Quenya and Sindarin, and used Old English for his Rohirrim. Even the Nùmenòreans had a language all their own. Don't you just adore that kind of passion, that drives you to really make your world rooted in people's imagination?

I know there are some people that think his kind of language, his style, his dedication to description and culture is over-the-top. Some people get bored with that in-depth grounding. But me, I share a little bit of that passion. You have an actual world, not just a cardboard cutout.

His kind of writing is something I aspire to.

However, along with that kind of inspiring writing, I also want to write like Diana Wynne Jones. You will never meet two very different fantasy writers. He's so epic, and she's so... funny!!

Last, I wanted to let you know that Ruth Schiffman is hosting a giveaway over at her blog, Out on a Limb. Come on down and participate! There are some lovely books being given away. You will have fun joining in on the giveaway. I promise!

God bless.

Monday, September 5, 2011


I dreamt I stood upon a wave, 
A foaming wave upon the sea,
And all the waters of the world
Lay within the waves before me.

Within the waves I saw the gleams 
Of rainbow colours shining clear.
The gleam of ocean, sea and stream,
Of river, waterfall and mere.

I dreamt I stood upon a star,
A star of fire, white as snow,
And all the lights of all the stars
About me wrapped their blinding glow.

I gazed and saw the stars alight
With matchless light surpassing thought,
All shining scarlet, gold and white,
And flamed with green, and silver-shot.

I dreamt I saw a beaming Face,
The veiled Face of God our Lord.
His Countenance like lightning flashed
As fair and awful as a sword.

And in His Visage I perceived
All the glory of creation,
And in wonder of His loveliness
I bowed and knelt in adoration

Katrina DeLallo, 2010

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Six-Sentence Saturday 09/03/2011

Due to hectic schedules and crazy events of last week, I did not do a six-sentence Saturday last Saturday. So, here's my current list:

1.) If you have never heard of Josh Groban or listened to his music, do so now, for not only is he talented and lyrical, he is a comedian, too - I saw him in Concert last week on the 24th of August, and he is just the most amazing singer EVER!

2.) If you have never done the Lord of the Rings Experience (i.e., watching all three movies in three nights) you are missing out on the greatest depiction of storytelling.

3.) I'm re-reading The Hobbit in anticipation of the upcoming movie release, though I'm not quite sure WHEN that release is going to be.

4.) My hair is driving me bonkers today... don't you hate it when you can't get your bangs to curl correctly, and you end up going around with this Pantene-product "fling" to your head in order to get the hair out of your eyes?

5.) I can't believe it's already September - summer, where did you go?!!

6.) Why can't I write like Diana Wynne Jones?

Enjoy! See you next week. God bless.
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