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;