Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas with Family

It's three days until Christmas. Three days to get last minute present wrapping done, Christmas cooking finished, and music prepared to be sung at midnight mass. The last days before the big event. I've finally finished my present shopping and I'm ready to throw myself into the last preparations for Christmas Day.

It's been a busy few weeks of Advent as we've prepared. We've made over thirty salt dough angels. We've cooked dozen of biscuits and mince pies. We've even put the Christmas tree up in preparation for decorating it this weekend.

And now we're nearly ready to celebrate. Soon it'll be time to go to midnight mass and welcome in Christmas Day with carols. It'll be time to unwrap the presents that flow out from under the tree like a river. But what I am looking forward to most is being with my family and seeing them smile. I'm looking forward to giving them the presents that I've bought them, (and hoping they like them). And I'm looking forwards to the peace and happiness of Christmas Day.

Because it's nearly Christmas, I shall be taking a blogging break over Christmas week. See you all in the new year!

What do you look forward to most about Christmas?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Photos On The Go

One of the things I like about having my tablet is the camera function. It wasn't one of those things that I thought I'd use often, if at all. After all, I already have a fully functioning camera to take photos with, and a laptop to edit them on.

But I have found since then that having a camera on my tablet, and some photo editing programs downloaded for free, means that I can always have good looking photos, no matter where I am, without having to download the photos from my camera first.

Today I went down to the lake with my family and, not having my camera with me, I took some photos with my tablet before having the greatest of fun editing them. That's one function you don't have with a normal camera at least, the ability to edit your photos instantly.

And then there's the fact that it's easy to take self portraits with a tablet camera too. Whether or not they are good photos is an entirely different affair... Maybe there's a trick to this?

Do you take photos with a tablet or phone camera? What do you think of mine?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Next Big Thing

My friend Jeff Hargett from Strands of Pattern tagged me for the "Next Big Thing" blog hop. Now, whether or npt it's the next big thing I leave up to you, but it's certainly my next big thing. So without further ado, here is my next big thing in ten questions and answers.

1. What is the working title of your book?

The Crystal Tree. Originally it was called Song of Healing, Song of Hope and was part of a trilogy. However, for the second draft, I changed the name to something that now fits a bit better. Though I'm sure that it will change to something more exciting when I have a better idea of the story.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I've always been interested in music and, being a lover of fantasy, I also love magic. So what could be better than to combine them? I wanted to write a book where songs were magic for a long time before I wrote this. And then I got the idea of a tree made of crystal that is magic. Combining the two gave me the idea for this story.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

YA Fantasy. YA Fantasy is my favourite genre, and it just made sense that I write in the same genre that I read. All that magic and invented stuff. So much easier to write than the real world.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I...have no clue. I don't know that many actors to tell the truth, and I never thought about casting my characters before.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

As luck would have it I spent a while working this out in preparation for the second draft of this book. And it's hard work boiling down an entire novel into one sentence, but here it is:

A young girl saves her country from a vengeful, exiled magician by sacrificing her magic.

6. If you plan to publish, will your book be self-published or published traditionally?

I would love to have it traditionally published, and certainly, that would be where I would look first for publishing. But first that means finishing the book...

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I wrote the first draft for Camp NaNoWriMo, and from memory writing the draft took me around ten days, though I don't remember the exact amount.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I'm having a hard time thinking of this now. There are probably plenty of books I could compare it to, but I can't think of them...

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

After getting the initial idea, it was the discovery of Camp NaNoWriMo that inspired me to write this book. I had the idea and the Camp, and it seemed like the right time to write it. So I did.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Well, readers are interested in synopses right? So I'll share my freshly written one here.

Briar’s future is simple. She will graduate from the Academy of Song Magic as a song healer and spend the rest of her life working in a small country town.

However everything is changed when an exiled magician returns to the country of Kerr with an army, a thirst for revenge, and more dark magic than any magician has ever seen before, starting his war with an unexpected attack on the Academy of Song and taking Briar prisoner

With the help of some unlikely friends, including a griffin hunter who hates Song Magic, and a palm sized dragon, Briar must escape from Sachio’s camp, and then find the legendary Crystal Tree, the source of light magic and possibly the only thing that can stop Sachio's revenge.

As Sachio and his army move closer and closer to completely conquering the country, Briar must find the strength to wield the full magic of the Crystal Tree. But doing this will mean sacrificing her own magic... for good.

So, that's my next big thing. I'm supposed to tag people for this, but sadly I'm not sure who to tag. So, what's your next big thing? What fantasy books would you compare this to? What would you like to know more about with this book?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Feels Like Christmas

Salt Dough Christmas Tree Ornament
It's truly starting to feel like Christmas now. This week we've brought out our cook books for this year's baking, and we've cooked up a batch of salt dough to turn into decorations. The Christmas music is playing and we're planning our activities all the way up to Christmas Day.

Once we hit this time of year, when we're cooking and making things, and practising Christmas music, that's when I start to feel that we're getting close to Christmas, that it's actually coming, and now the days seem to be racing by and we fill our time with preparations.

Now that we've reached December and Advent, I've got my hands into all kinds of sticky messes both in craft and cooking. Our traditional Christmas music is playing non stop every day. Everyone's hiding secrets and presents, and beaming big smile. And I know that Christmas is really coming. It just feels like Christmas.

It's the feeling of excitement buzzing through the air as we talk about the big event, the music, the smells, the fun and the laughter, the traditions kept up every year, the craft and the cooking that says Christmas to me. We're hunting the three wise men, and eating biscuits, and waiting for the day. It feels like Christmas to me.

What says 'Christmas' to you? Does it feel like Christmas is coming yet?

Monday, December 3, 2012

On NaNoWriMo and Second Drafts

It's three days after the end of this year's NaNoWriMo and I'm sitting here thinking about writing. This past month has been a good one writing wise. In one crazy, writing filled month, I've done more writing than I've done in any other month of the year. And I have plenty of good material now.

I'll be the first to admit, not everything I write in November is any good. Maybe even less than half. But inside the bad writing, the spelling mistakes and the clunky prose, there's a spark of a good idea, that something that got me writing in the first place.

There might not be a workable novel yet, but the ideas are there, and I certainly have a starting place for a good second draft. Now, at the beginning of a long summer break, might be the best time for me to get going  and to start working on the second draft of one of my novels.

So it's time for me to put away my NaNoWriMo writing and let it sit and stew for a while. And it's time for me to choose a novel from another NaNoWriMo session. It's time to break out the notebook and the coloured pens, and it's time to get planning, pulling out the hidden gems in the last draft, and creating a plan for the next one. And then it'll be time to get writing.

One of these days I'll have a draft that I'm proud to show everyone. It's just going to need a bit of work, that's all. And with a whole summer ahead of me, and a year of writing behind me, I think I might finally be able to have a go at doing this.