Saturday, 31 December 2011

Book Review - Write Good or Die edited by Scott Nicholson

Book review - Write Good or Die edited by Scott Nicholson

This is a free download for the kindle, it offers articles of advice on many aspects of writing such as time management, determination, discipline, promotion, publishing and craft techniques. I will be referring back to some articles at a later date and I liked the relaxed tone of the articles some of the heavier "How to" books can be quite stringent.

Rating: 4/5
Product details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 286 KB
  • Publisher: Haunted Computer Books; 1 edition (13 April 2010)
  • Language English
  • ASIN: B003H4QZOG
The publishers website can be found here.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

My Top 5 Favourite Horror Books of 2011

Another year comes to a close, my goodreads reading challenge saw me finishing the year with 20 books read. For next year I'm increasing that goal to 25 and at least 10 of those will be ebooks. Also hoping to get through a few more poetry collections as well.

These are my top 5 horror books of the year, not necessarily published in 2011.

1) Banquet for the Damned by Adam Nevill. My review and book details here.

2)The Road by Cormac McCarthy. My review and book details here.

3)The Ritual by Adam Nevill. My review and books details here.

4) We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. My review and book details here.

5)The Rhysling Anthology 2011 edited by David Lunde. My review and book details here.

An honourable mention goes to Peter Straub's long story "The Buffalo Hunter."

What were your favourite reads of the year?

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thanks to all my followers and visitors for swinging by my blog and to the writers among you I hope 2012 will be a productive year.

My only New Year's resolution is to begin subbing my poetry regularly next year, oh and to get back to a semi-regular blog schedule.

See you all in 2012


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Book Review - The Small Hand by Susan Hill

Book Review - The Small Hand by Susan Hill

I read this in one sitting. Nice, crisp prose and some creepy moments and a few turns that I didn't expect.

Rating: 4/5

Product details:

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (7 July 2011)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 1846682401
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846682407
Visit Susan Hill's website

Other books you may be interested:

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Book Review - Playing With Fire - Edited by Coral Russell

Book Review - Playing With Fire edited by Coral Russell

For me, the stories in this horror anthology that I really enjoyed were:
Coral Russell's Devil of a Ghost Tour which had some genuinely creepy moments.

Brian Fatah Steele's Flawed and The Stuff Dreams Aren't Made of, both were quirky and unusual.

Chryse Wymer's This Dark Magic, a fun story of black magic with a well developed character.

Overall, all the stories are vastly different from each but the others didn't do it for me

Rating 3/5
The publisher's blog is here and the amazon link for further info is below:

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 325 KB
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Alchemy of Scrawl (11 July 2011)
  • Language English
  • ASIN: B005CDD4IK
Other reviews you may be interested in:

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

ROw80 - Round 4 - Check in 14

Good morning Wednesday, how on earth did you get here? I nearly missed prepping my check in post.

I'm getting more and more behind on visiting your blogs. Sunday ended up being a bit of a sleepathon again. In happier news I have 3 days off work coming up, a long weekend which will be given over to studying.

Goalwise, *refers to the task manager*

On Sunday, I finished heading up all my location sheets for the novel. I have over 30 locations and journeys to fill in with the cold hard details. Novel and pretty much everything else is being put on hold now while I concentrate on studying.

  • I caught up on 3 of my poem a days
  • Wrote in my writers journal for studies
  • Plugged some more poem data into the database
  • Read another writing related article, can't remember what now.

On Monday:

  • Wrote in the journal again
  • Wrote a poem a day, still behind on a few, will catch up on my break.
  • Did yoga - decided to cut back to every 2 days until I have one less project whipping around my head.

On Tuesday:

  • Began the 4th project for studies and somehow lost an hour.

I took a leaf out of Sharon Howard's book and dropped into my course forums and am now part of an email group with fellow students. So I don't feel like the only student in the world and it's been nice learning about other's experiences on the course. I'm also starting to figure my attitude and approach to writing and realised that there's this one huge area where I have a shortfalling, so that needs work. It's the same reason I'm detailing all the locations in the novel as well.

I've put up a good fight so far during November but it's time to admit I took way too much on. So I'm narrowing my immediate focus back down to studying, I need this next assignment done before feedback comes back on my last one.

Hope you're all doing great.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

My Top 5 Favourite iPad apps - Part 2

Yep, there are technically 10 apps on my favourite gadget.

1)Feeddler Pro - Multiple blogs across multiple blog platforms all synced to one nifty app for the luxury of digital reading on an ereader.

2) Core Yoga - Great for starting a beginning yoga routine, good graphics with a virtual tutor. But be sensible and grab Yoga for Dummies for plenty of practical advice and tips if you've never done yoga before.

3) Pranayama - Deep breathing exercise on your ipad. Great for relaxation.

4) Kindle - I hate that it uses percentages instead of good old fashioned page numbers and has no way of sorting books into virtual shelfs but it's a necessary evil for ebooks. Plenty of free samples to download so you can always try before you buy.

5) AudioMemo's - Voice recording, simple and straight forward. I use it to practice reading my poetry aloud

Missed My Top 5 Favourite iPad apps part 1?

Sunday, 20 November 2011

ROw80 - Round 4 - Check in 13

Just a quick update from me.

I finished and submitted my 4th Assignment last Wednesday, being excited that I had extra time on my hands I came home from work Thursday night and fell straight into bed. So Thursday and Friday I didn't get much done as I was feeling pretty run down.

I've missed a couple of the poem a day prompts, been missing yoga this week as well. Oops.

I made up on reading though and have headed up more of the novel's locations sheets, one more evening on this and I should have them all set up and ready to be filled in, added more developmental notes to the file as well.

In other news, I added my blog to technorati and set myself up on google+.

Also have two blog posts scheduled for the week. Still feeling a bit dazed as to where the week went. Need to have a goal review methinks.

Hope everyone else is doing well.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

My Top 5 Favourite iPad apps - Part 1

I'm addicted to my iPad, not only does it double up as my laptop when I'm away from home, it's my portable library, poetry organiser and yoga coach. This is a 2 part post listing my personal 10 best apps.

1) Story Tracker - Acts as a database keeping records of all my written stories and poetry from word counts, markets, submissions made to rejections and acceptances. I'm patiently waiting for the desktop version to become available.

2) Toodledo - My task manager tracking to-do's across multiple projects. I love it. See my post on using a task manager here.

3)Ibooks - Although the ebooks in the store are pricy, there are free books and samples to download and allows for sorting into lists unlike the kindle app. I have lists for complete books, pdfs, samples and wishlist. I like the interface. Download it free from the app store.

4) Docs to go - I can produce word compatible files on the go and either sync to the desktop or email back to myself. Handy to be able to work on my fiction or poetry when I'm away from home.

5) Twitter - I actually prefer the twitter app to the browser, easier to add hashtags and followers handles to your tweets. Again, I can keep in touch when I'm away from home.

Some are free apps, some are paid apps. I'd suggest trialing free alternatives and demo's until you get a feel for how much use you will get from an app. It may sound good but there may be bugs or short falls that render it useless.

What apps or software are on your must have list?

other posts you may enjoy:
My Top 5 Favourite Blogs

Monday, 14 November 2011

2012 Ebook Challenge

As the ebooks are mounting up on the ereader and keep getting sidelined in favour of my paperbacks, I stumbled across this challenge on Books and Beyond. It's hosted by Workaday Reads, the sign up and full rules can be read here and the challenge begins on the 1st January 2012.

I'll be going for level 2 - CD - 10 ebooks.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Remembrance Sunday - Poem - The Poppy

The Poppy
by Katy Bennett

Remember the poppy
worn on an old man's blazer,

Stained red from the fallen
soldier far from home,

stained from the memories
kept in history books,

stained from the continuing
atrocities blaring from a flat screen.

Remember the poppies
who came home,

hero's against humanities
obsession for bloodshed and power,

stained from the memories
seen on the field,

stained from the deaths
of families and comrades.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Row80 - Round 4 - Check in 12

As tomorrow is Remembrance Sunday, I decided to check in today as I have written a poem to go up tomorrow. I'm back moving forward with goals.

Yoga'd twice since wednesday.

Back to reading regularly, studying is going slower than I would like, I'm hoping to have the current assignment done by Wednesday.

For the most part I'm keeping up with daily journalling as part of my second module. There's something inspiring about writers who have kept journals for decades.

I've also been making notes on the novel and the novella. Started heading up my location sheets but haven't filled in any details yet. Keep finding more and more areas to research, is there no end?

I've missed 2 prompts on poem a day but enjoying the challenge and will catch up at some point on the 2 prompts.

I've been reading Write Good or Die ed. by Scott Nicholson which again is inspiring and has me thinking about my attitude towards writing and my perspective. Also hoping to knuckle down and clear my current reading pile soon so I can concentrate on the study books.

Have a great weekend

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Row80 - Round 4 - Check in 11

Going to make this check in short. Did well on Sunday and worked on both study modules, did my reading and yoga and kept up with poem a day.

Monday and Tuesday - nada, zilch, zip


I'll climb back on the many wagons today.

Visit the other ROW80ers below:

Monday, 7 November 2011

Writing Tips - Using a Task Manager

Writing Tips - Using a Task Manager

I was overwhelmed with the amount of things I had to do. With a day job sucking up all my daylight hours, it meant I was limited in time for studying for a degree, writing a novel, reading, blogging, writing new poetry etc etc so I did some surfing and purchased Toodledo.

Toodledo is one of many task managers available, this particular one is an Ipad app and it's flexibility suits me perfectly. There is no desktop version but they do have an online browser based one which you can back your data up to. I personally don't need the tasks synced to my desktop. Search for task mangers for your specific operating systems.

I sat down and thought about all my different projects. I'll use two as an example Writing and studying. In the task manger I created a folder and named it writing and a second named studying.

I then started adding tasks and deciding on frequency, for example for writing I had "add timeline data for  one chapter of the novel into spreadsheet",  I set the task to repeat once a week on completion and be due in 7 days time. Under folder I selected "writing"

For studying, the first task I put in was "Complete exercises" I set the due date for one week from today set the priority to 10 and added it to the studying folder.

You can add as many folders and repeating tasks as you need and also set alarms to go off at due times and dates but I personally don't go that far. I'd hate to become like Pablo's dogs conditioned to jump every time I heard a bell.

Each time I open my task manger, the most important or overdue tasks sit at the top of the list. I can also view individual folders and if there's a task I keep neglecting it gradually grows in importance and climbs to the top of the list. Eventually, I get sick of seeing it and sit down to do it.

I currently have about 8 project folders set up with numerous repeating tasks, a total of 24 tasks to complete and around 70 tasks marked as complete. I add new tasks to the folders as and when I need to.

Occasionally, I "star" at least one task in each of three or four folders to get done and keep working through the ones that keep getting neglected.

You can edit task frequency's and folders at any time. Once I'd kept working on my novel's timeline until it was eventually complete, I removed the "repeat frequency" and ticked it off for the very last time.

I hope this will help you keep all your projects under control and moving forward. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Other posts you may like:
My Top 5 Favourite ipad apps
Why I Love a Good Freewrite

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Website Updates and blog updates

It's that time of the month when the updating happens.

Over on the website:
Horror Poets page updated
Writing prompts updated
Issue 10 of Dark Metre - The Horror Poetry Newsletter - now live

Here on the blog:
About this blog page added

Recent posts you may have missed:
Book Review - The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Book Review - Creative Spirit by Scott Nicholson
My Top 5 Favourite Blogs
Ghost Month - Writing Prompt 7
Ghost Month - Writing Prompt 6
Ghost Month - Writing Prompt 5
Ghost Month - Writing Prompt 4
Ghost Month - Writing Prompt 3
Ghost Month - Writing prompt 2
Ghost Month - Writing Prompt 1

Row80 - Round 4 - Check in 10

I'm on creative fire and the muse continues to douse me in petrol, she is so demanding. I got carried away and raised the stakes even higher. I decided to get on with my novella in waiting seeing as I'm still tied up on the re-planning of the novel but after looking at my notes I remembered there were some researchy bits to do before diving into a first draft. It's crazy, I give up trying to understand the muse, the more I try and concentrate on poetry the more I get pulled towards fiction and vice versa.

Revised goals in no particular order:

Keep up with daily writers journal for second module
keep up with yoga
Complete assignment 4 for 1st module
Keep up with poem a day
Read other writers journals for second module.
Start reading The Creative Writing Course Book for second module.
Begin typing up location sheets for novel
read and critique at least one poem a week for poetry module
Continue with the necessary prep work for novella
read one writing related article a week
Read one poetry related article a week

Daily journal: Kept for 5 out of 7 days
Yoga : Twice since last check in and had to cut yesterdays session short because I really struggled with it. Nonetheless I noticed a significant physical improvement on Wednesday night and minds focused as soon as I inhale.

Assignment 4: Half way through, taking longer than expected, should be finished by next weekend but will be missing tomorrow's deadline.

Poem a day - 4 out of 5 poems written. Still need to do day 3's one, had me stumped and not had a chance to get back to it. Even scribbled down a couple of extra poems.

Reading through the Kindle sample of Diary of a Disappointed Man and have another 5 required reading books on order. 2 journals, one poetry antho and 2 creative writing books.

Read and critique one poem - Did half today, will finish up tomorrow.

Location sheets for novel - I printed out the spreadsheet in preparation for beginning this.

read one writing related article - Think I read a couple.

In addition I typed up my post on task managers which is scheduled to go up tomorrow. Did more updating on my poetry tracker software and some other writing admin tasks. The day job is starting to look like a holiday.

When this month's over, I'm buying a bottle of champagne.

Thanks for keeping me going everyone:

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Book Review - The Road by Cormac McCarthy

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; 3 edition (14 Dec 2009)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0330468464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330468466

Book Review - The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The book takes us to "post-apocalyptic" America. The disaster which happened long ago is never explained in the book, left in its wake is a burnt smouldering world. The two main characters are father and son and we are never given their names. The book paints an extremely bleak picture of a nameless, faceless world. Even the father son relationship is stripped down to its bare essentials. I really enjoyed it.

Rating 4/5

Visit The Official Website for the Cormac Mccarthy Society for more about the author

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Row80 - Round 4 - Check in 9

Not really sure how it came to be November, the perpetual darkness is hanging over the country and it's starting to smell like winter, summer's going to be a long time coming. Goal wise I'm muddling through.

Yoga's on track although I did miss a day. Readings on track.

The big woohoo: I've finished filling in the timeline data for my novel. YAY. Spreadsheet complete, next up start typing up my location details.

Poem A Day begun yesterday and I'm on track. I was in the mood for ghosts so have decided to try and incorporate a supernatural theme into all the prompts. I've decided not to post the poems online this time but I'm sure a couple of them will sneak up here in the new year.

Studying is slightly behind as I decided to take Monday night off and recharge for November madness. I've been keeping a daily journal for my second module and did some prep work on dream recall in preparation for the first exercise and have a huge list of books to purchase. For my poetry module I'm not as far along on the current assignment as I would like to be. If I pull out all the stops I should still have it handed in by Monday and then it's one more assignment to the finish line.

I'll be reviewing and adding revised goals on Sunday's check in.

Hop around the linky with plenty of caffeine on standby for the nanowrimoist's and general row80ers;

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Row80 - Round 4 - Check in 8

It's the last check in before November madness kicks in. For those of you doing Nanowrimo, best of luck. I will be doing the more civilised Poem A Day hosted by Robert Lee Brewer. If it's anything like last year, I'll be kicking up all sorts of dust along memory lane, writing some doggerel and hopefully some gems. I like to think of it as yoga postures for the muse.

Speaking of which, yoga's back on track, only missed one day I shouldn't have and I'm now keeping my yoga journal in the same notepad as my writers journal. I thought it might be a good way to see how yoga feeds the muse and it's more practical to keep everything in one place rather than trying to remember what journal's for what. I can always type everything up onto the computer if I need to separate them.

Thanks to my task manager refusing to let neglected tasks fall to the bottom of the screen, I finally chose a poem "Living" by Denise Lervetov to read and analyse and have added the notes to my writers journal as well as transferring it onto my learning blog. I love the simplicity and use of colour in the piece.

I finished the rewrite of one of six poems for my current assignment, typed up a commentary of my working outs. I think it went through about 6 drafts before I was fairly happy with it.

Also studying wise, I received my new course materials and fired of my student profile to my new tutor. Hoping to get some time in today to read through the requirements and make notes this time. Honestly, I'm useless when it comes to note making. I'm also feeling weird about embracing short fiction again but it's the nature of the education system to focus on short stories rather than teaching novel's right off. Hopefully I'll get some stories that are slushpileable out of it.

I finished reading and reviewed The Road by Cormac McCarthy which is scheduled to hit the blog this coming Thursday.

I'm still updating databases, read another writing related article and have been neglecting the novel's spreadsheet. Ahh, there's always something that doesn't get done.

I must admit I'm starting to get used to all this juggling, I'm toying with the idea of writing up a blog post on the benefits of using task managers but have no idea when I'll fit it in at the moment.

Hope you're all having a great weekend.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Book Review - Creative Spirit by Scott Nicholson

Book Review - Creative Spirit

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this, the characters were well developed with their own motivations and personal conflicts. Plenty of action and plot twists.

Rating: 4/5

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Publisher: Haunted Computer Books (15 Aug 2010)
  • Language English

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Row80 - Round 4 - Check in 7

Is it just my imagination or are these check in's coming around quicker every week?

Hmmm, not entirely sure what I've done since last check in. Oh wait, I know.

I got back on track with yoga even though I'm still feeling run down. Although I'd missed it for a week, I was quite pleased that my fitness levels hadn't taken a step backwards and I'd forgot how chilled it was making me feel.

I haven't touched the novels spreadsheet in a while. Thinking of going back to devoting one night a week to the novel.

I've begun the rewrites for my 4th assignment and it's turned out tougher than I expected. Trying to nail poetic form and getting my line breaks in order is proving tricky with that particular poem. After reading C. M. Cipriani's post on comfort zones, I went and signed up for my 2nd module. So I'll be juggling the two for a couple of months but in theory I have time off work in November and again at xmas so I can dig myself out of a hole if I need to. Also, it should shave a bit of time off my overall degree. I'd like to complete it this side of 40. :-P

I've decided to do Novpad again this year. I miss writing new stuff and the prompts last year generally came through during my lunch break. So that shouldn't bog me down too much in my evenings and I can test my study skills when it comes time to rewrite them all.

Reading wise, I'm about a third of the way through Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

I got round to reading a writing related article as well over on writer's digest, it was about using freewriting as a way to develop a draft which I can actually see me putting into practice when I'm at that stage with the novel.

Hope everyone's doing well.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Row80 - Round 4 - Check in 6

Ok I think it's time for a goal recap before October runs away with me:

My original goals were set out below:

1) Keep up with my 6x week yoga routine
2) Continue with studies
3) Complete spreadsheet data for novel in progress
4) Keep up with my daily ghost themed blog postings throughout October
5) Get up to date with backlog of poetry rewrites
6) Start submitting poems to the markets by the end of the year
7) Overhaul my website by the end of the year. I might save this for the christmas break seeing as I'll be off work for two weeks.
8) Write at least one new poem a week (may start this once October's out of the way and my blog schedule isn't so intensive)
9) Read and critique at least one poem a week
10) Get back in the reading habit.

Goal 4 got abandoned after my internet shenanigans.
Goal 7 I'm dropping as my xmas break will be after round 4 ends.

As for the others

Haven't done yoga for a week now so definitely starting again today. Been feeling not right since Thursday and had 2 nights where I was waking up every hour. I might just be run down.

Progress over all has been slow since last check in. For studying I still need to crack on with the assignment, I did start going over my feedback from previous assignments and typing up a master document. So hopefully I'll have a bit of a guide to refer to for future rewrites.

So far this round, the spreadsheet has progressed from Chapter 5 to chapter 14. Also noticed a few plot holes and  been making relevant notes in the edits file.

Rewriting poetry is still hit and miss, I unexpectedly did a rewrite yesterday afternoon and have placed it with two others into a folder to be reworked and hopefully subbed out. Ideally, I would like to see what's salvageable from my old work and maybe put a collection together.

I've submitted a few poems this round to one market, hopefully I can get into a regular vibe with this now.

I wrote about 4 new poems so far this round. All shorties.

I'm back to reading, I finished Creative Spirit and have now started The Road. Also read a chunk of a poetry pdf I'd forgotten I'd downloaded. So far this round huge fail on the critiquing at least one poem a week.

Overall, I'm on track with most of my goals but moving slower than I would like.

Friday, 21 October 2011

My Top 5 Favourite Blogs

My top 5 favourite blogs in no particular order are:

Ghost Hunting Theories - Run by Autumn Forest. Always great fun and worth keeping an eye on for paranormal research and theories.

Spooky Reads - Great UK based blog for horror book reviews and occasional author interviews.

Poetic Asides - Run by Robert Lee Brewer. The poet's best friend, covers rules for many poetic forms, weekly prompts and yearly challenges.

Writer Beware Blogs - Anyone who exists to warn writers about publishing scams is ok in my book

A Round of Words in 80 Days - Run by Kait Nolan. Excellent motivational community of writers, keeps me firmly aboard the writing wagon.

So what are some of your favourite blogs?

Other Top 5's
Stephen King Books
Ghost Stories

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Row80 - Round 4 - Check in 5

I've donned my camoflaged suit, grabbed my torch and been delving through the unknown depths of my hard drive and neatening up the folders and sub folders of poetry and ebooks and I have no idea what else. I've deleted around 6000 redundant files and software since Sunday. Added the data for around 9 poems into my story tracker software .

Yoga'd on Sunday, missed it on Monday because I was lost in my hard drive and now I won't be getting back to it til Thursrday.

Studying: Also took a detour on Sunday when I started rounding up all my files to prepare my assessment folder and I have decided which 6 poems to rewrite for my current assignment so I'll be cracking on with that.

Reading: back to reading on my lunch break and am now down to the last 10% of the current book I'm reading, hopefully I'll have the review scheduled to go up on Thursday.

Novel: Timeline data is plugged into the spreadsheet all the way up to chapter 11. Working on this when I've not done much on the important stuff in an evening is really moving this along. I'm passing the halfway point and the spreadsheet will be complete. Then a girls gotta tackle all her location details and characters sheets again, maybe I'll dawdle along on the spreadsheet a bit longer.

I'm starting to feel like Little Miss Productivity

Keep plugging away and if you've fallen off the wagon, climb back on.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Row80 - Round 4 - Check in 4

The temperatures are dropping and my tootsies are feeling the cold. We had a gorgeous sunny day yesterday. Ideal for a day of reading poetry at the Poetry School. It was amazing how poem's were flat on the page but came to life when read aloud. I'm inspired. I'll be nabbing a few of their downloadable courses and considering doing one of their January workshops.

Also as we have a few more poets this round I thought I'd mention the writers digest poem a day challenge starting on the 1st November. I did it last year, it was great fun. I'm tempted to sign up again this year, I'll see how studies go over the next couple of weeks and if I do participate I won't be posting my poems online. Robert's prompt are really accessible.

Yoga's been on hold since last check in, due to over stretching something in my back and other commitents. I'll get back into it today. I think I know where I went wrong. I know too many people with on going back problems to risk these things.

Thursday night, I wrote 3 new poems and about 3 fragments. Friday night I subbed some of the newer ones off.

Made a start on studying i.e read over the requirements for assignment 4 and today I'll be deciding which 6 to rework and make a start today. Hopefully I can be finished in about 2 weeks.

Also been doing what I call admin related tasks and cleaning up my hard drive, printing out drafts and inputting all the data for my poems into my story tracker database. I still have a long way to go to get this up to date.

I think I added the timeline data for 3 chapters of the novel into the spreadsheet.

I've even read a few chapter's of Scott Nicholson's Creative Spirit, have about 30% left to go. If I knew what that was in pages I'd be tempted to try and finish it today.

I'm rolling along slowly but steadily.

Go cheer on the other ROW80er's

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

ROW80 - Round 4 - Check in 3

After doing well over the weekend, I've hit the mid week slump. I can't quite get back into the reading habit. I've decided that if I'm going to do nothing else in an evening I'll at least fill in part of my novel's timeline into the spreadsheet. I've now added chapter 7, so far the timeline appears pretty stable but I'm inching towards the messy middle part of the story so we'll see.

Yoga's going well, I can actually follow my routine from memory now without having to look at the reference materials between each posture. I'm hoping to gradually start increasing my weekend sessions up to an hour.

On Saturday, I'm not expecting to get much goalage done as I'm attending a one day poetry reading workshop south of the river, should be fun and inspiring and with the invention of google maps I shouldn't actually get lost.

How's everyone else doing?

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Blog Updates

After an unreliable internet connection over the weekend I've decided to abandon this week's themed posts on haunted locations around the UK. I completely lost my signal for most of Saturday afternoon which meant I couldn't prepare yesterday's posts and as these were going to require quite a bit of online research there was no guarantee I could do that without losing my connection. I may schedule this feature in for a Christmas special. Apologies to my followers who were looking forward to this feature

I managed to get the writing prompts up for week 1:
Halloween - Writing Prompt 7
Halloween - Writing Prompt 6
Halloween - Writing Prompt 5
Halloween - Writing Prompt 4
Halloween - Writing Prompt 3
Halloween - Writing Prompt 2
Halloween - Writing Prompt 1

Row80 - Round 4 - Check in 2

Autumn has kicked in with a vengeance now taking out both my internet connections. It's been so bad this weekend that I've had to abandon my planned halloween posts. I swear we pay a premium in the UK for a second rate service and it's now starting to affect my work.

Goals are going ok, missed one session of yoga since last checking in.

All exercises for my current module are complete and I'll be working on assignment 4 today and be registering for assessment as well. Managed to get the net back long enough to update my learning log. I might even make the deadline for a change.

Wrote a new poem last night, need to add my commentary to it and rewrite it.

Also managed to get some reading done yesterday. Yay.

Haven't touched my novel's spreadsheet since last check in. And I finally resized my blogs banner to fit the space provided.

How's the weekend treating you?

Friday, 7 October 2011

Halloween - Ghost Month - Writing Prompt Week 1 - 7th

Throughout October I'll be posting a ghost-themed post every day

Week 1 is Writing prompt week and runs until the 7th October

From tomorrow, I'll be bringing you ghostly locations from around England for a week.

For today's writing prompt write anything at all but it must include a pumpkin, a ghost, and a halloween tradition that is personal to you.


Today's ghostly word of the day is G for Ghost. An apparition of a dead person which is believed to appear to the living.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Halloween - Ghost Month - Writing Prompt Week 1 - 6th

Throughout October I'll be posting a ghost-themed post every day

Week 1 is Writing prompt week and runs until the 7th October

For today's writing prompt think about a dream you had recently or one you can remember. Think about the elements of the dream, what objects, emotions, colours or themes can you explore in a poem? Now write that poem.


Today's ghostly word of the day is F for Fortean. Relating to or denoting paranormal phenomena.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

ROW80 - Round 4 - Check In 1

The first check in has rolled round, how did you all do?

I've scheduled all bar one of the blog posts needed for my writing prompt week. Then from Friday I'll be scheduling next weeks themed posts on haunted locations around the Uk. For now, I can have a night off blogging.

I'm still sticking to my 20 minutes a day yoga routine. It's certainly helping physically and mentally although I still get a bit wobbly.

Studying will definitly be tackled tonight.

I've filled in a further 2 chapters of timeline data into the novel's spreadsheet. Still 17 chapters to go.

I'm also transferring my to do lists into a new task manager that let's me set frequency and due dates and group by project. So hopefully by Sunday I'll have slots figured out for all the goals that I haven't got round to yet.

Halloween - Ghost Month - Writing Prompt Week 1 - 5th

Throughout October I'll be posting a ghost-themed post every day

Week 1 is Writing prompt week and runs until the 7th October

For today's writing prompt choose one item from each category below to incorporate into a piece of writing:

A location:
A bus stop
A derelict inn
Beside a fire
A hospital
A local park

A Colour:

An Item:
False teeth
A scarf
A leather glove
A cracked mirror
A withered bouquet of flowers

Today's ghostly word of the day is E for Ectoplasm. A viscous substance that supposedly exudes from the body of a medium during a trance and forms the material for the manifestation of spirits.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Halloween - Ghost Month - Writing Prompt Week 1 - 4th

Throughout October I'll be posting a ghost-themed post every day

Week 1 is Writing prompt week and runs until the 7th October

For today's writing prompt you are sitting alone in your favourite spot when something cold touches the back of your neck. What happens next?


Today's ghostly word of the day is D for Disembodied. Separated from or existing without the body.

Monday, 3 October 2011

ROW80 - Round 4 - Goals get set go

Ok, round 4 of row80 has just kicked off. I'm setting my goals here and raising the stakes for myself, I think I'm crazy but a lot of stuff needing to be done spawned by the end of round 3 and there is no point writing if it doesn't get beyond my hard drive and my blog. This round is all about learning to juggle multiple projects and facets of writing.

1) Keep up with my 6x week yoga routine
2) Continue with studies
3) Complete spreadsheet data for novel in progress
4) Keep up with my daily ghost themed blog postings throughout October
5) Get up to date with backlog of poetry rewrites
6) Start submitting poems to the markets by the end of the year
7) Overhaul my website by the end of the year. I might save this for the christmas break seeing as I'll be off work for two weeks.
8) Write at least one new poem a week (may start this once October's out of the way and my blog schedule isn't so intensive)
9) Read and critique at least one poem a week
10) Get back in the reading habit.

Best of luck everyone and I can't wait to see how you're all doing.

Halloween - Ghost Month - Writing Prompt Week 1 - 3rd

Throughout October I'll be posting a ghost-themed post every day

Week 1 is Writing Prompt Week and runs until the 7th October

For todays writing prompt choose one of the images below to develop into a poem (or more if you wish):
Mist on a window pane
An overturned glass
A chain dangling from a tree branch
A child's doll lying in a road
An abandoned cart

Today's ghostly word is C for cargo cult. (in the Melanesian islands) A system of beliefs based around the expected arrival of benevolent spirits in aircraft or ships bringing cargoes of food and other goods.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Website Updates and blog updates

The following pages of the website have been updated:

Dark Metre Issue 9 has been uploaded to the current issue page.

Writing prompts have been updated.

Blog updates:
Recent posts you may have missed:

Halloween - Ghost Month - Writing prompt - Week 1 - 2nd
Halloween - Ghost Month - Writing Prompt Week 1 - 1st
A quick post on things to come.

A round up of September's posts:
Blogger Zombie Walk 2011 - My contribution to this zombie themed event included my poem Cold Hearted and a dream from my dream journal.
Book Review - Gorelets Unpleasant Poems by Michael A Arnzen
Book Review - One Buck Horror Vol 1
Book Review - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Book Review - The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Book Review - The Ritual by Adam Nevill

Enjoy the halloween season

Halloween - Ghost Month - Writing Prompt Week 1 - 2nd

Throughout October I'll be posting a ghost-themed post every day

Week 1 is Writing prompt week and runs until the 7th October

Use the following scenario below to inspire a ghostly themed poem or story:

A ghost is chasing you along an unlit lane. Why? For example did you steal something of theirs? Are they an old rival back from the dead? What other connections can the ghost have to you?


Today's ghostly word is B for Banshee. A female spirit whose wailing warns of a death in a house.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

October is Ghost Month - Writing Prompt Week - 1st

Throughout October I'll be bringing you a ghostly themed blog post every day of October to celebrate Halloween.

Why ghosts? my long fiction leans more towards the supernatural, I love ghosts and ghost stories. Out of all the horror tropes they are my number one. There's something more plausible about a ghost than a monster with sharp teeth for example. There's something creepy about being touched by a being that you can't touch back and what could be worse than going through life to become a ghost wandering aimlessly, trapped in neither one place nor another.

Week 1 - From the 1st October to the 7th October. I'll be setting Ghost themed writing prompts every day. All posts will also include a ghostly word of the day.

For today's prompt choose one item from each category below to incorporate into a ghost themed poem or story or any other form of writing you feel comfortable with:

A location:

A Colour:

An Item:
A locket
A body part
A wallet
A broken vase

Ok, get writing and have fun.

Ghostly word of the day. A is for atmosphere. A pervading tone or mood.

A quick post on things to come

I had great fun on the blogger zombie walk 2011, I still have some blogs to get round but I always find it amazing how different imaginations can interpret a common theme. Thanks to those of you who dropped by, commented and followed. You can view my zombie-themed post here

Throughout October I'm planning a ghostly blog post for every day of the halloween season. This has been a bit of a last minute decision so it will be interesting to see how well I do.

Week 1 will be dedicated to to ghostly writing prompts to get your creative juices flowing. The first of these will be up later today.

Week 2 will be dedicated to ghostly sightings and locations around England

Weeks 3 and 4 are still to be decided on perhaps a poetry week and a fiction themed week or  something akin to myths and legends.

Also if you are a writer and looking for a supportive community to keep you on track with your writing endeavours please consider A Round of Words in 80 Days run by Kait Nolan. Round 4 begins on Monday 3rd October. I'll also be participating again this round.

A new issue of Dark Metre goes out tomorrow. Read the current issue here before it disappears.

Enjoy the weekend.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Blogger Zombie Walk 2011

The blogger zombie walk 2011 organised by Ghost Hunting Theories is here. Pour your favourite brew, turn out the lights, lock your doors and settle in for some zombie mayhem. With over 60 blogs participating I hope you know how to survive. My offerings include my poem Cold Hearted and an entry from my dream journal.

Cold Hearted
by Katy Bennett

Cold, colder, colder.
Dead heart hungers
for a warm fire, flames
popping, spluttering, flickering
in the hearth. Dancing
and melding in the hearth.

Embraced in Death’s cold grip
she clawed her way out
of the ground, clawing and crawling
her way free of the ground, wriggling
and screaming her way free of the ground.

Lifeless eyes seeing the night
searching a warm fire, she stumbles
her way through the night, shivering
her way through the night.

The moon her silver guide leads
her to an old familiar place. Her icy
breath a white fog floating in the air.

Yearning for heat to melt the ice
from around her heart. A memory
of a man’s face flitters through
her decaying mind, fluttering
and twisting in her decaying mind.

Chestnuts roasting over flames, laughing
into the early hours of morning. Cheeks
glowing red from the heat.

The wind howls pushing
her onwards, faster. At the bottom
of an unlit lane she pushes open
a rusty gate. Squealing and shrieking
on its hinges. Crying and moaning
on its hinges.

Familiarity tugs her up to the flaking
wooden door. Disturbed cobwebs flap
on grimy window panes. She enters
the abandoned cottage. Once her home
now a strange and damp place.
A musty and dead place.

Into the living room she goes, ashes
fill the hearth. The fire died long ago.

A Dream - The Kidnapper and the Zombies

One dream that I had a few years ago and that I still remember today is one in which I was in the back of a minicab. The minicab driver was taking me somewhere I didn't want to go, I was desperately trying to phone for help on my mobile phone and the damn thing refused to work.

Eventually we drove into an underground multi-storey car park, there were other cars and people here too. A woman was singing and somehow she cut herself, a single drop of blood fell from her lips. The ground split open and a huge serpent shot out of the crack, there was a flashing of brightly and multi-coloured lights and the serpent ate the woman. Next thing I know, I've thrown myself down on the floor between the backseat and driver's seat. Zombies began crawling out of the ground and munching on the other people, they attacked the cab driver who had kidnapped me. Then in typical fashion, I woke up.


You can also follow me on twitter @darkbee13 and goodreads/darkbee13

Visit the other participating blogs to continue feeding your zombie frenzy:

Ghost Hunting Theories
Above the Norm: Bizarre Arizona
Zombies Everywhere
Holly's Horrorland
Little Gothic Horrors
Anything Horror
Bubba's Place
Horror Smorgasbord
Monkey Man
Words and Music
Red Shoes Chronicles
The Wolf's Eyes
My Day in a Sentence
Pixie's Horror Galore
Strange State
The Misadventures of HalloweeNut
Halloween Blues
Kweeny Todd
The California Blogging Massacre
Horror Shock Lolipop
Vanessa Morgan
Improbable Frontiers
No Really, You Can Eat It
Art By Living Dead Girl Nicole
Two Gory Chicks
A Dust Bunny in the Wind
A Ghoul's Best Friend
Zombies Are Magic
Cherry Neko Saves the World
Tall Tales
At the Mansion of Madness
The Haunted Rose
The Rotting Zombie
Halloween Overkill
Out of the Shadows
Creepy Glow Keyhole Gallery
Creepy Glowbugg
Bifocal Univision
Sherry Soule
Anchors and Roses
Paranormal Researchers Group
Whispering Pines History
Lovely Miss Megs
Sean Thomas Fisher's Blogwash
Rise and Fight
Stump Town Horror
LoliClown's Little Blog of Horror
Zombies Can't Love
Books and Beyond
The Grave Bandits
Screaming Goregasms
Lazy Daisy Life
Icky Monster
Pretty in Fiction
Ivy's Closet
Justine's Halloween
Annie Walls
Just Johnny

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Book Review - Gorelets Unpleasant Poems by Michael A Arnzen

Michael A Arnzen's Gorelets is a fast humorous read, perfectly bite sized horror poetry for your preferred ebook reader. 

Rating: 4/5

ISBN-10: 1-55404-086-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-55404-086-5
Genre: Dark Fantasy
eBook Length: 82 Pages
Published: September 2003

Available from Double Dragon Publishing or check out Michael's website

Other books you may be interested in:

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Book Review - One Buck Horror Volume 1

Book Review - One Buck Horror Vol 1 edited by Christopher and Kris M. Hawkins

One Buck Horror is an affordable anthology priced at 99cents. There were 5 short stories in this anthology, all by authors I'd never read before. The two that stood out for me were:

A Lullaby for Caliban by Mark Onspaugh  - A touching story of some kids who try to steal a pickled foetus from a carnival.

The Cornfield by Mike Trier- a fast paced take on the werewolf.

Although the remaining 3 stories didn't work for me, I'll be checking out volume 2.

Rating 3/5

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 125 KB
  • Publisher: Coronis Publishing (24 Jun 2011)
  • Language English
  • ASIN: B00584MMG8

Visit the publisher's website here

Other books you may be interested in:

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

RoW80 - Round 3 - The Final Check in

Woohoo, it's the final check in and I'm still standing.

So what did I do? I completed my initial good reads reading challenge of 12 books and increased it to 17 books for the year. I'm about half a book away from meeting that goal.

I think I wrote at least 10 new poems this round maybe more. Without digging through the jungle of files on my hard drive I won't know the exact figures.

Completed about 80% of the spreadsheet data for my novel in progress.

Started a semi regular deep breathing exercise which grew into a regular yoga routine.

I committed to studying for a BA in creative writing.

As always during ROW80 the support and motivation from the community has been fantastic, hopefully I'll put that motivation to better use next round. My goals for round 4 will be the same as for round 3 but with the added goal of catching up on poetry rewrites. I need to start getting this stuff subbed out.

Hope to see you all in October.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

RoW80 - Round 3 - Check in 13

All goals apart from my exercise goal have stalled. I've kept to the yoga routine every day since last check in, added in a new move, increased the level on an existing one and modified another posture to an easier version so I'll see how that goes for the next week. I've noticed that some of the stiffness has gone from across my neck and shoulder's.

I'll get back on top of studying today and hopefully figure out a bit more of the novel's timeline.

It's the final few days of Round 3, thanks to everyone whose stopped by the blog throughout this round. I hope you've all found much success with your writing.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Book Review - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Book Review - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

The narrator introduces us to Sleepy Hollow a village rife with superstitions and legend. The main character Ichabod is well liked within the community and has his heart set on the daughter of Van Tassel. After a night of telling ghost stories at the estate, he heads for home and experiences the local legend first hand. Overall it's an ok story, it had an old fashioned charm about it and was interesting to see the original story that inspired the film.

Rating 3/5

Other books you may be interested in:
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 20
Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

RoW80 - Round 3 - Check in 12

Ok, I have absolutely no idea where the week went between Sunday and today, so I'll just keep this brief:

Exercised every day apart from yesterday, I'm sure you need to give muscles a rest period so I took yesterday off as I'd done about 6 days straight. Already feel better mentally but the physical benefits will take awhile to materialise.

Wrote a new poem last night

Haven't read anything since Sunday

Have now filled in spreadsheet data for my novels timeline up to Chapter 5. Already seen a problem area where the time for 2 events may be too close together.

Managed to do 750 words but lost 200 due to net problems and had to redo. I wouldn't have minded so much but I lost the section where I was prodding my own brain.

Feeling a bit bombarded lately so need to sit down and write out a to do list, get back on top of things.

Hope everyone's well

I think that was everything

Sunday, 11 September 2011

ROW80 - Round 3 - Check in 11

Going to restate my goals here as I've still been slacking since getting back from holiday. Internet's still being tempermental, went down on me while I was updating the learning blog for my course and it's pretty much thrown 750 words out the window.

1) Keep up with studies
2) Read fiction/ poetry most days of the week
3) 5 minutes of pranayama at least 5 times a week
4) Write, rewrite and analyse one new poem a week (scheduled for Wednesday nights.)
5) Read one fiction writing related article at least once a week.
6) Continue with prep work for the 2nd draft of a novel.

Goal 1 - I did get all my coursework together and read some more of Ruth Padel's 52 ways of looking at a poem. I 've decided to go for a full BA in Creative Writing now and my assessment won't be til July, with 2 assignments still to go and the way I fall off wagons I think aiming for the March assessment will be cutting it fine. 
Goal 2 - Did read a chunk of Scott Nicholson's creative Spirit on Saturday while I had the dog glued to my lap for a couple of hours. 

Goal 3 - Every day for 4 days and added in a couple of yoga postures. Will add on more yoga once I've got used to the current exercises.

Goals 4 and 5, nothing on those

Goal 6 - I haven't even looked at the novel. I've switched the desktop computer over to my weak strength 3G network so if I get caught up on internet stuff today, I'll try and plug out the novel's timeline this evening and maybe do 750 words assuming the 3G isn't tediously slow.

For anyone else interested in doing a creative writing BA in home study, I'm studying with the Open College of the Arts

See the rest of the crew here: