Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How's your Xmas Spirits?

I usually never get in the spirit of Xmas but I do try to enjoy Xmas Spirits! (hic)
More seriously I found Xmas over-rated and mostly disappointing.
Maybe because T.V served us with fantastic visions of how xmas should be (large number of cheerful people, large number of gifts, large number of food served and this is not largely the case for most people)
Anyway, they do try to cheer us up though with Xmas movies.

Showed on my little screen in Ireland and over the last 5 days, here is what we got:

Hook. 1991
Which I simply love. Ah to see Robin William in tights!
Miracle on the 34th street. 1994
Not for me but a classic. 
Jack Frost.  1998
Kind of sad and not in my top list but it was just on again two days ago so the T.V producers must think it must be a must for Xmas. ( And yes, i am aware that there are 3 musts in that sentence!) 
The Muppet Christmas Carol - 1992 
Recorded it last year. It only took me a year to view it. 
Annie. 1982.
 Never actually see this movie. 
Elf. 2003
Home alone 1 and 2. 1990-1992.
Classic. Watched it when I was kid. Saw it again recently. Did you notice that Kevin, in home alone, screams as he puts some aftershave on! I mean why? He is not even shaving! ;-)
Tchaikovsky's ballet which was quite interesting to watch.
Charlotte's web. 2006.
Never seen the movie or read the book.
Love Actually 2003.
A surprisingly good movie knowing how impressive was the cast in it. (which is usually not a good thing cuz it means the plot is bound to be terrible)

So out of this list, I'd choose Hook and Love Actually. 
What's your favourite movie? Something in this list? Out of this list?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"4 Gotthem Place" Thirst DAYS Tease

First I wanted to thank David, Leigh, Stacey, Maire, JOD and Crystal for their comments on the previous blogfest wrap it up post.

To answer all questions, "4 Gotthem Place" will be self published and RELEASED somewhere in the beginning of 2012. Let's say end of February 2012 if I can find an illustrator for the cover page!!!

If you are an amateur or professional illustrator, young or old, famous or unfamous, step THIS WAY please. ;-) Your name and glory on this e-book and My gratitude for eternity. ;-)

More seriously, I wish I had gone through the journey of traditional publishing but it doesn't look this way.

I don't know what the future holds for me but I will try it.

So if you are:
  • a big Kig or
  • a small Kid or
  • a big Kid with small Kids (your parents) or
  • A small Kid (inside) with big kids or
  • a Big Kid who knows another Big Kid who have small Kids (very confusing I know. Anyway you get the idea)

THEN please spread the word.

I think I'd like to give more of a feel of "4 Gotthem Place". And from now on til the 28st of February 2012 (let's hope it will be ready then), on EVERY THURSDAY, there 'll be a THIRST DAY:

A day where my thirst of telling you about "4 Gotthem Place" will match (hopefully) your thirst of knowing about "4 Gotthem Place".

And if you know you got what it takes to cover this short Contemporary Fantasy e-book, by all means, send me your work.
I would love to talk about it with you.

And Of Course, Happy Christmas All!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Poem to all Writers/Bloggers out there

For Xmas, here is a poem 
To All Aspiring, Confirmed and Doubtful Writers/Bloggers out there.

You stand tall
and yet
there's another you
next to you
watching you
reading you
being proud of
your own master.

Your dream come true
far away?
But our fellowship
close to you
in mind.
It isn't easy.
But it's a fabulous journey.

Welcome and own your words.
Welcome to our world.

Before blogging existed, there was still exchange.
Just Not as Fast.
This picture .Mapping the Republic of Letters is also and incidentally a fascinating project by a team of students and professors at Stanford, visualizing the famous intellectual correspondence of the Age of Enlightenment.
The Age of Enlightenment (or simply the Enlightenment or Age of Reason) was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe, that sought to mobilize the power of reason, in order to reform society and advance knowledge.
 It promoted science and intellectual interchange and opposed superstition[1], intolerance and abuses in church and state.
This was a time of great network between writers, scholars, philosophers and other thinkers at the time like Voltaire, Leibniz, Rousseau, Linnaeus, Franklin, Newton, Diderot.

The project pulls data from the Electronic Enlightenment database, an archive of more than 55,000 letters and documents exchanged between 6,400 correspondents, mapping 
the geographic origin and destination of the correspondence —
You can see how the letters traveled, and how the network evolved over time —

Here is the article:

Also Fitting Magpie's exercise # 96 :

Friday, December 16, 2011

"Wrap it up" Blogfest

This blogfest is courtesy of 3 dedicated bloggers Jennie, David and Leigh. Thanks for this opportunity.

Write a piece of flash fiction, poem, or song (300 words or less) for someone you know (real or imaginary). It may be in any genre, but it must have a holiday theme (real or fictional).
I thought about it.
I decided to write to all the people that I don't know. Kids especially . Holiday is about fun and this story was fun to write and hopefully will be fun to read.
This is a kind of history behind the children's story I wrote called "4 GOTTHEM PLACE"

So to all small and big Kids,

If ever there was a holiday in the Kingdom of "4 Gotthem Place", it was the 1st January of each year, the 1st February and every 1st day of every month. It lasted a whole month and all year around which meant the people of 4 Gotthem Place were on holidays all the time.

In "4 Gotthem Place", it wasn't called a Holiday, it was called a "Jolly Day" but because of the history of the Kingdom, it became "Folly Day" and soon turned into a different scheme entirely.

Before the Subjects of his Majesty had noticed a connection between their world and ours, the great team of paper-pushers (the equivalent of our officers and administrators) that run the Kingdom had been asked many times over by the population to provide a day of relief, heck, a lot of days of relief throughout of the year.
But the people of "4 Gotthem Place" also called as the “Gothoplacians” were a small community and they travelled quite extensively.

Giving a holiday of let's say 60 days to each and every one of them would bring their little State to a stop and the paper-pushers reckoned it was all too complicated to keep up with whom-had-taken-what-day so they came to the natural conclusion that there should be no holiday.

This brought chaos to "4 Gotthem Place" and everybody stopped working all together.
It became known amongst the paper-pushers as the "Folly Day".

The paper-pushers grew very worried for the state of their State and they consulted their King, Shames Shim Shirikawa in the Light who, as we all know, couldn't give a toss about anything (Ah! Yes actually you might not all know. Well, for the people who you haven't read the story of "4 Gotthem Place" yet....err... that's not my problem.... Just try to keep up for Pete's sake!)

Anyway, the paper-pushers returned to their desks and thought long and hard about their problem.
In the end, they called for a meeting and declared to all respected “Gothoplacians” that everyday should be a "Jolly Day".

All “Gothoplacians” were ecstatic with joy. They cheered and celebrated for a week and eventually returned to work.
And therefore since this day, everybody is on "Jolly day" but everybody works.

A smart move from the paper-pushers who knew this would happen because ….actually I can’t tell you why, you’ll just have to read "4 Gotthem Place".

It will be out as an e-book in February 2012 on Amazon and Kobo for the likely and modest sum of "£%$£!% or somewhere around that price ;-)! I can't really tell the price yet!

I'm actually over the limit with this requirement but hey, it's Xmas! We, writers are entitled to be generous too with our words.

If you feel like reading other of my stories for free, check my Publications page:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Saturday Night in Temple Bar

This is my true recount of a Saturday Night in Temple Bar in the form of this "poem-ish":

Guitar playing
Musicians smiling

Police Handcuffing
Drunk men staggering
On-lookers looking

Three girls licking
an ice cream leaking.

A kid slurping
a greasy pizza sliding.

Teenage girls crying
over heartbreaking.

Leprechaun asking
for money lunching.

Indie band resting
on a break deserving.

Asiatic man acting
in Chinese costume dressing
Sign 15 euro menu selling

Artist locking
his bike but his art staying

Music blaring
from pubs crowd laughing

Tourists staring
Everything happening

in fifteen minutes passing
and I am taking
my time

I am not trying to sell You Dublin.
It's selling itself pretty easily.
In a good/bad (depending how you view it) but truthfully anyway.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A new way to locate agents?

I noticed I have yet a new follower on my blog " Michael Waynes" (yeepee and welcome to you, Michael!)
I did check if he had a blog but couldn't see one...
Yet through him, I checked his list of followed blogs and found one blog called "Still and quiet madness" by Anita Grace Howard which intrigued me.
(See the importance of a good title for a blog and how one thing leads to another)

On her website, she mentioned a new website called QT (The Query Tracker) which basically helps authors querying their works to agents.

The QT has grown to be one of the most extensive online data bases for aspiring authors, boasting statistical information for 1,253 literary agents and 131 publishers. To date, there are 681 success stories born of the some 47,530 QT members.
The most important service QT provides is the community fellowship.
The second most interesting asset to this database is that The Query Tracker database has information on every statistic a writer could imagine on the tab "Reports and Statistics" such as:
  1. Which agent had the highest request rates?
  2. How many days until my own request should come in(ever the optimistic one)?
  3. How many lucky writers signed?
  4. How many unhappy writers marked their own queries as a "no response"?
Last but not least about QT is it's completely free to join and get access to the agent/publisher info, threads, etc... BUT, a $25/yr premium membership opens a whole new world of features. Click here to check out that list.
Of course, if you don't feel up to it just yet, the QT has a blog which is quite interesting too:

Here was one interesting article about what you should know about Literary Agents:

I wonder if this is the new way to query agents or to get a true insight about their world.  Those stats would quite help in an industry where silence is often the only answer you get out of an agent.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The colour of mind - Issue 4 - First Cut Magazine-

I had a nice surprise two days ago.
I discovered that the First Cut magazine had published one of my short stories. (ukelele dance) I could barely remember what I submitted to them, never mind when.
I looked back on the records that I kept.
One must try to be organised about these things.
13th of July 2011.
Just under 5 months.
I could have won the lotto, be run over by a car. Actually I did. But that's another story.
No big deal. I am still here.
Anyway  I am pleased and I am sharing it with you.

The colour of mind

It is one of those slow motion moments. His silky gray suit ripples through his athletic body. His jacket cut his slim shoulders to perfection.
Tall and trim, with long gray hair lend him the look of a distinguished bank manager. When he crosses the street, he moves with such natural grace that three women look at him bewitched; So deeply hypnotised that they froze.
He gives them a glance aware of their intense gaze on him and the corner of his lips thins out.
Still unable to move, the three women located at three different points of the street, follow his trajectory.
He doesn’t walk. He sways; with lust and nonchalance like a tango dancer. They are now officially staring.
He arrives safely on the other side of the street.
To those three, he is sophistication made man.  His expressive face gleams with intelligence and his well-cut suit shows how successful he is.
But if they could read his thoughts the same way they could read a weather report, they would know a huge storm was on its way. It is coming over him as clearly as the rain falls over the city and there would be no escaping it.
He looks at them. They are fine ladies. He can categorise them and even read their mind. That's what he's good at. 
Always been good at. 
Of course that's not his specialty. His specialty is to read the minds of business men. He can sail upon their minds and predict any turns, any twists, any directions they'll take.  But the mind of his parents that’s a different cruise. A bruise cruise.
He has come to accept who he is. 
No therapy, no religion, no exorcism will change how he feels now.
However, that doesn’t stop the queasiness. With an apprehensive hand, he adjusts his silver-framed glasses.
He takes a deep breath and with an abruptness that startles the nearby pedestrians, his flat-heeled shoes stomp loudly on the pavement. He suddenly looks at the three women and under their scrutiny, he pops a mint into his mouth and snaps his jaws shut like a shark. He snorts.
They blink, waking up from a dream. He can see the disappointment is clearly visible on their face.
He knows.
The product isn’t as good as it looks, they think. Yes, and they are right.
He’s on for a show. He knows he must carry this dark attitude on the outside, but inside, there is a light which can’t be brought to the surface.
That light has given him the ability to read minds and it's also his curse. Between darkness and lightness, he would choose gayness.   
If he could choose, that is.
But gayness is not a suit you can wear in financial circles.
So he wears gray instead.  
The colour of his mind. The colour of his suit.
The first cut is an online journal based in Ireland which welcomes submissions from anywhere in the world. 
It is modeled on the better aspects of a writer's group - friendship, encouragement and criticism that is genuinely constructive. It is published bi-monthly but the comment section is open to subscribers on a rolling basis.
Submission is by e-mail to and the journal can be browsed at: 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

eBook & Book "Campaigner Challenges 2011

She's done it. Katharina Gerlach has put together the 176 stories from 81 participants and turned it into an eBook "Campaigner Challenges 2011" and a book.

The idea was born at the end of the "Built your platform campaign" blogfest organised by Rachael Harrie.
Katharina, a participant of the Blogfest wanted to raise funds for the Harry's case brain tumour campaign and offered for all participants a chance for their story to appear in an Anthology for a good cause. Details on this website:

Many of  us were willing to contribute their stories.
Now, to make this a financial success too, for Harry's sake, she set the price at 2.99USD which gives reasonable royalties.
The eBook is available on Smashwords and Amazon:
The Book is also now available on Amazon

B&N will take longer because Katharina had to go though Smashword's distribution
channel (B&N doesn't take books from people outside the US).  For the
link, please check her advertising post (going up Monday) on my homepage
( some time in December.

A big thank you to all contributors and Katharina who did this Anthology,

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Week 5- I Love Dark YA Blogfest

Conclusion at last!
Funnily enough, I didn't think I was going to be able to follow up with the 5 weeks requirements...and although a bit late at times, I did...

November 30th:
Waiting on Wednesday—What dark YA book are you most looking forward to?

Until last week I wouldn't have been able to answer this question, but now I do...
There are quite a few books I'd like to read now and in no particular order, I'd like to read the following:

Become - By Ali Cross ( Damn Shell Flower for getting that giveaway! ;-))
Name of the protagonist: Desolation Black! I mean what a name! Loving it.

Blurb: Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she must face the evil she despises and the good she always feared.

The Carrier of the Mark - By Leigh Fallon.
I love the idea of two people being bound to each other yet tearing each other apart. There is nothing more perverted and twisted than the way we work as human beings.
Blurb: When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, (I mean Ireland!! Yeaaah)  she finds herself inexplicably drawn to gorgeous, mysterious Adam. Adam is cold and aloof at first, but when Megan finally breaks down the icy barrier between them, she is amazed by the intensity of their connection...

Sweet Evil - Wendy Higgins.
Not sure about the storyline so you will have to wait that her book is out by 1st of May 212 to find out. 

Beneath the Oak Tree - by E.R King. Book One of the Sun Stones Series. 
She is still working on it but I'd like to read it.

I'd like to think that her cover would look something like that...I hope she won't mind that I imagined how her cover would look like.
Blurb: Souls Nathaniel and Rebecca just wanted to be together, that's why they swore love oaths before becoming mortals. But eighteen earthly years later, nothing has gone according to plan.


Erth One - By Sher A Hart.

Although the overall premise of her story seems a bit complicated, I like very very much the idea  of a Planet with a Conscience.
Blurb: If you were a conscious planet with mental powers embedded in crystal, how would you communicate with those tiny creatures living on your surface?  
It is called "Erth One". The author Sher A. Hart is looking for 12 years old to read and comment on her second installment, Erth Two.

Last but not least and for a much younger audience,
Candle Dark - by Carole Anne Carr.
Blurb: Joshua is nearly eleven and he’s worked down the Blists Hill coal pit since he was seven and a bit. He hates it down there. He hates working in the dark, he hates the rats and the stink of the tunnels, and he especially hates it when the mine is suddenly flooded and his wet boots rubs his feet raw...
Thin Time another book by the same author seems equally interesting.
Besides her blog is lovely:

Also I am quite curious about the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. There's been a huge buzz around this trilogy.
But I believe it has received enough attention and I would rather focus on a book which has been less advertised and is equally interesting.

Oh yeah and if any of the above writers feel in a generous mood, by all  means do give away your book to me! ;-) What about you, do any of those books tickle your fancy?

Friday, December 2, 2011

First Issue of the Weary Blues

Ahem, fame at last, as Martin A Egan said.

Here is a copy of the first Issue of the Weary Blues and I'm lucky enough to be in it. ( a very short poem)

I feel like singing the ABBA song thanks for " Taking a chance  on me"! To thank them I am promoting their magazine.

With Katie Ahern, Editor, Short Fiction, Nora Duggan Editor, Visual Art & Photography, and James O'Sullivan, Founder, they are The Weary Blues.

I know it sounds like an advertising for the A-Team. in a way it is.
Those three guys sounds like soldiers of fortune.
It is a rather commendable thing to create a magazine on a voluntary basis.

James O'Sullivan founded The Weary Blues in November 2011 in an effort to increase the dissemination of original creative literature and art. More information on James can be sought at

They are also looking for Submissions for 2012!!
Poems, visual arts, photography and short fictions, so you know what to do!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Week 4 - I love dark YA blogfest

November 23rd:
#YASAVES—Blog about how a dark YA book made an impact in your life.

I don't remember how or why I started reading the Inheritance Trilogy by Christopher Paolini ( which is not even called a Trilogy anymore but a Cycle) but I remember how it started to shape me.
Strangely enough, the story really dug into me as the hero got an horrible scar down his back; As Durza scars Eragon for life, it seems to have the same effect on me.
As I read on and discovered how Eragon suffered frequent debilitating seizures because of it, I grew respectful of the character and of the author for bringing this very realistic approach to the story and his character.
The pain Eragon suffer is well described and I remember thinking: I dont think I ever encountered a story where the hero physically suffered from an injury which became something that he carried along.

In every movie, every book, every game, most hero survive mortal wounds without any "real" scar, or at least if they are physical, they rarely explain how a scar beyond the history of how or why the wound was inflicted became to shape the hero in his or her daily life.
In reality, even a ligament or a muscle injury stay with you for years to come. It often awakens with the weather or with a bad move and it becomes a part of you; it shapes you physically and mentally.
Your body starts to compensate in other ways to balance itself out. Because your mind will do anything to either make you forget how you got the wound or how to avoid feeling the injury again.
I thought there was a really cleverness about this.
But of course, this cleverness is nothing compare to the cleverness of creating a whole new language and a whole new world.
Rivers, mountains, deserts, rules, hierarchy, legends, races, powers.
Creating landscapes where there was just void before.
Creating conflicts and interests where characters were just empty ragg dolls without purpose.
Creating meanings behind made up words. And not any words. Creating Words which pronunciation will become as vivid as the meaning itself.
That word really sounds like Fire coming to Life.
And turning them into shape, sense, texture.
All of this in the mind of one person.
That is truly the skill of a writer.
So this is indeed one of the many dark YA books that shaped me.

His fourth book, Inheritance, was released this month (on November 8, 2011) and I can't wait to put a conclusion to this story I read over the course of 4 years.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sport Writer opportunities

Volunteer Writing opportunities

I have seen this post and thought to promote it here for my fellow writers who might be wanted to try to get their names out there and hone their writing skills in Sport.

Kellco Sport is currently looking for Volunteer writers to join their ever growing band of reporters.

It could be a good building platform if you are trying to get into journalism or have journalism experience.

Their goal is to bring the latest sporting news from Ireland and further afield while giving young and aspiring writers a chance to have their work published online.
They are run by volunteers and thus do not pay for work submitted.
However, there are other perks that come with writing for Kellco Sport such as tickets to various events and press passes to games in all sports.
If you wish to fill one of the roles listed below or if you would like further information please do not hesitate to contact them.
Sub Editor
Blog Editor
Football Correspondent
Rugby Correspondent
Football Writer Ireland
Football Writer UK
Football Writer Europe
GAA Writer – Football
GAA Writer – Hurling
Rugby Writer
Boxing Writer
Golf Writer
Cricket Writer

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Week 3- I Love Dark YA Blogfest - Music and Movie Fun

I think today is my last day for week 3 of the blogfest by which I should do week 3.
I am a little behind. Okay, I'm a lot behind.

November 16th:
Music and Movie Fun—Take a dark YA book and build a soundtrack for it or cast characters for a movie version.

I am reading a Dark YA book called " Small Minded Giants" by Oisin McGann.
He is an Irish author.The story is set 200 years in the future.

Built to provide refuge for its population from the ravages of a frozen climate, Ash Harbour lies beneath a concraglass dome. Its streets, paths and bridges, are all constructed to generate power. This "Machine" is an intricately controlled system balanced in such way so that its inhabitants can go about their daily lives as "normally" as possible. But Ash Harbour's finely-tuned operation is under threat; the city is plagued by accidents, and they are steadily getting worse.

One kid, 16 year-old Solomon Wheat lives as happily as anyone can be in such a confined dark environment. (There is little light from above as the dome as it's often covered with snow) But when his father, Gregor, has gone missing and is accused of murder, Sol begins to search for his father and soon is pursued by mobsters trying to collect on Gregor's gambling debts. The police are watching him, and so are the Clockworkers; a shadowy organisation founded to protect the operation of the Machine.

There's definitely an undertone of how capitalism has brought this mini society to its knees and how the people in power has made it hard for their citizen to live without light and heat. It would be quite depressing to live this way and the author translates well the feeling.

One of the side characters Cloe is a rebellious kid whose band, the "Freak Soup", has been refused to be part of their school end-of-the-year gig because of the "inflammatory" content of her song lyrics. She basically condemns the system and the system is condemning her. All these greater messages are subtle and nicely put together.
A good read for young adults.

Funnily enough, Cleo is big into music so this book coincidentally fits quite well with the blogfest.

So to wrap up and based on this book' storyline, here is my very short soundtrack...

1. God is an Astronaut. Beyong the Dying Light.

2. Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name

3. Rush- Resist

4. Magnolia - Wise up (Aimee Mann)

5.  Magnolia - Mad World (Gary Jules)


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Help Build a Pop Up Park in Dublin City Centre!!!

Help Upstart get funding of €10,000 for it’s next amazing project by
donating only €2-€5!! Donations needed urgently by 25th November, 5pm

In order to receive a prize fund of €10,000 Upstart needs to receive
unique donations (of €1-€5) from individual donors by 5pm, November
25th. This fund will be used to build a Pop Up Park in Dublin City
Centre (a short term, 3-4 month installation) to highlight all that is
good and beautiful in Dublin. Amongst other things (more below) the
Pop up Park will host day and night outdoor theatre performances in
wooden theatres built with the help of young teenagers from Dublin’s
inner city and teenagers from disadvantaged loyalist areas of Northern

How can you help?

Well, it's straight forward enough...we are looking for a small
donation of a few euro per person. We have entered the Better Together
Giving Competition (put in website here). This comes with a €10,000
prize fund that will go to the cause that receives the most 'unique

This is the bit in the movie where you say, "whatever the hell it
takes! I'm in!"
And you, my good fellows have become a vital cog in this
wheel of glory!

The Project:

The general ambition in this project is to put colour and creativity
into an urban space that is vacant of anything...other than its
potential of course.

It would involve Upstart planting an Orchard!
And just in case you’re worried - the trees will be given a happy new home at the completion of the project!(The project will be a little similar to this-

Grassy knolls to lie back and eat your packed lunch on (these
are funny things- think sun loungers that are covered in grass,
without the wet bums, they have a drainage system to take water away
whilst the grass keeps green!)

A theatre space for day & night performances (this would be an
exciting space designed by professionals who have experience in large
scale wooden constructions at Burning Man and Electric Picnic. They
will work with young teenagers from Dublin city centre and from
disadvantaged loyalist areas of Northern Ireland in building something
inspirational out of a material that is such an integral part of
sectarian bonfires of July 14th- the humble wooden pallet.)

Not to mention art of all sorts and the odd workshop & lecture
thrown in for good measure. Block T (Vodafone Cultural Attraction of
the Year 2011) has already voiced it’s support.

Help Upstart get this funding by giving a small donation today --
we’ll keep you a spot on a grassy knoll in Dublin City Centre!

For info follow this website:
To donate, click on "Donate to this" link and you will land on the following website:
Either follow the suggested donations or decide your own.
Thank you all.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"I took a gamble and I survived."

I took a gamble at writing and I don't know if I survived.
Ask me in a couple of years.
The real quote "I took a gamble and I survived" was based on an article written last month (Friday 14 October 2011) by Emma Brockes (The Guardian) who interviewed Mr Murakami on his latest book.
The quote, Marukami's gamble, was not what I expected. I thought his gamble had been choosing to write when his parents had expected him to get a job with Mitsubishi. But no.  Haruki Murakami's biggest gamble was to get married young (20 or 21) This according to him, was even more difficult that buying a jazz bar. 
That says quite something about marriage. ;-)
I haven't read his book which is only a 1000-page long.
But the Japanese obviously didn't get discouraged by his "paving stone" novel because according to the Guardian, "in its first month of release, 1Q84 sold one million copies in Japan."
And the book isn't an easy read either apparently.

This made me question about a subject close to me.

The attention span of our current society in reading.

How much do people read on a daily basis? How many people would read a 1000 page long novel in general?  How much is our attention span? And would it be more important in Japan than in Europe or in the U.S.A?

With T.V and computers, it seems pretty clear to me that attention spans have decreased a lot
over the last 30 years or so.
It makes perfect sense too: if you grow up watching action sequences rolling before your eyes in fast sequences while you stay passive, reading a book feels like hard work and for a lot of us (children especially) reading would feel too slow for our antsy conditioned brains.

So my question would be: what is the longest book you ever read? And the longest time you sat reading a book?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Is Hollywood regressing?

Good news! I have officially started writing articles  for a new Irish online Magazine last week.
The moment I heard about it, I thought it was a fantastic idea.
This is its first of its kind in Ireland. It's an online magazine written  by the students for the Students in Ireland. It is called "STUDENTY.ME"
And they intend to go global next year, which would be very exciting.
I will be covering mainly the Entertainment section in the Dublin area.
I have written 3 articles so far, two last week about the floods and a textile workshop coming up in the Culture Box, and one this week covering the late and sad tendency of Hollywood in making movies around Fairytales.

Is Hollywood Regressing?

Being a film buff, I have checked what is going to be in store for 2012 and while the world is trying to get out of our “scarytale”  Hollywood seemingly is getting into fairy tales. In January, we will have the Beauty and Beast in 3D, in March, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, in April, Dorothy of Oz, and in June, the cherry of the cake, or should I say the apple on the cake, Snow White and the Huntsman. 
And if that was not enough, they are adding a drama twist in the tale  of “Jack the Giant Killer”, in June taking an adult look at the Jack and the Beanstalk legend.
And last but not least, the “Rise of the Guardians” in November will take our favorite  group of well-known childhood heroes (Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost and Sandman) in action as our heroes fight against The Boogeyman. 
Yes, you are not mistaken. They are selling us these classic tales all over again as if they were brand new and they are expecting us to pay the brand new price of 10 euro a seat.
Do not forget we’ve already covered “Red Riding Hood”, the Three Musketeers this year, Robin Hood, Rapunzel (Tangled) and Alice in Wonderland last year.
In 2013, I fear we might yet expect to see Three Little Pigs or Goldilocks and The Three Bears. 
For the last couple of years, Hollywood has left us with a sad trail of bread crumbs and I wonder if the audience will keep on following it or if instead the public will find its own way home to a place where the cinema industry is a little more pussy-like than Puss in Boots, a little truer than Pinocchio and a little less soporific than Sleeping Beauty.
How do you feel about Hollywood late choices when it comes to making movies ?

All comments are welcome.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week 2- I Love Dark YA Blogfest

Week 2  write a 500 word or less short story from this image.
I am not very inspired by this image but I shall do my very best.
The dress is pretty. Like the girl. The drape of daylight white tulle floats almost weightlessly fragile and delicate-looking. Like the girl. The color is white, pure, virgin. Unlike the girl.
Everything everywhere is death. Trees. Ground. Air. Silence.
But "it" won't be fooled. "It" doesn't want to come out. "It" requires energy, precious energy which must be used for better purpose.
But "it" doesn't see very well with these eyes. From the depth of her throat, a growl escapes her. 
She raises the back of her hands and slowly presses them against her closed eyelids. "It" sees at last.
A kaleidoscope of red and green forms through her palms.
Beyond the wall of dead trees, "it" perceives something. Mostly red. Heat. Four hundred meters maybe. Two forms.
The first one. Fifty degrees celsius. Four legs. Biggish. Moving fast.
The second one. Two legs. Thirty seven degrees celsius. Small. Moving at the same speed.
"It" sniffs. 20% smell of sweat, 40% blood, 60% dioxide of carbon, sweet acrid scent.
Another growl, this time of excitement.
"It" releases her.
She drops her arms feeling low, tired and hungry, then takes a sharp 90° degree angle and resolutely walks up ahead.
Beneath her bare feet, dried leaves crunch and branches creak.
In the closing distance, the galloping has slowed down. The horse neighs and shakes his mane. He wants to turn back but a male voice shouts: " What the devil is happening to you, Prussia?"
And then he sees her.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The competition of the Last Chance

"The First shall be last and the Last shall be first."
Well I don't know about that one, but last week I have officially entered the Novel Fair Competition for First time novelists and I know for sure this is the last time for me.
 To save a stamp I decided I should physically drop myself the envelope through the letter box of the Irish Writers' Center. I was in the neighboorhood as well.
I went around 9.00 p.m, after visiting a friend and as I walked toward Parnell Square, I kept wanting to turn around and run straight home.
Another thought kept going around in circle in my mind. It said:
"You're flushing 35 euro good euro down the toilets!"
That is the fee to participate to the competition and by my standards, it's a steep fee. I could make a better use of this money. For 35 euro, I could get 3 brand new hard cover books,or 10 e-books, or 7 pints of Guiness if I was into Guiness, or 10 varieties of cheese which I am into.  Instead I am paying for this competition and what for?
My chances are SO darn slim!
I had visited the Irish Writers' Center earlier on that day and discovered that so far, 170 authors had submitted their first-time novels.
They will select 20 authors. So I have one chance in 10 to get in.

Only I don't know how much the judges are into "YA Fantasy" as they might see the genre too commercial or shallow.
See my dilemna?
And if I did get selected, it wouldn't secure me a way to get published but I will get a chance to meet with agents and publishers face to face and won't have to wait for ever for an eventual answer which let's be honest, might be negative. 
So as I walked in the cold November night in the deserted street of Parnell street and the air is crisp, I am thinking: "Go back, you fool! Go back! You're a dreamer and your story is average. How is it better than the rest?"
Indeed, I can't even think straight anymore. Doubt is making me judgmental and pessimistic. But in fairness, I know there are so many YA Fantasy Novelists right now, the little talent I have might be shaded by the choice  out there. Like a young tree trying to find light among a sea of trees.
But I keep on walking because there's another voice who's saying: "You owe it to yourself. You spent far too much time working on it and this is the first time the Irish Writers' Center is organising this type of event. The first Novel fair ever and this is happening right here in Ireland, right here in Dublin, the city you live in, so you might as well give this book its last chance. And then after that, well... after that, you're done!"
Yes, after that, I'm done. This is OFFICIALLY my last chance. I won't apply to any agents, any online publishing companies or any publishers.
If that doesn't work, I will publish it as an e-book and that's the end of it.
I have sent this to too many agents and I am sick of it. I'm still waiting for some of them to reply to me. But in January, it'll be six months waiting and I'll also get the answer from the Novel Fair so i'll know then if my last chance has passed.
So this is what's going on in my head. I reach the stairs to the Irish Writers' Center and I am hoping for a sign whether I should do it or not, but of course there's no sign and we only look for signs when we are in doubt. So I find the letter box, square and fixed to the wall.
"It is a dirty grim letter box." I think to myself.
I sigh heavily and slip the envelop in. Only it does't get in.
The letter box is designed is such way that the letters can't slip straight but down. So as I push the envelop down, ( the sight of me pushing the envelop in the middle of a street on a saturday night must look very suspicious to outsiders. Maybe this is a sign!)
Eventually, I turn around and look at the sky. The sky is perfectly clear, without any cloud and strangely enough, the moon is vertically aligned with the North Star. (I know this isn't a sign but I still find it rare and nice) so I consider the sky and I consider taking back the envelop. But in the end, I square my shoulders and walk away.
And again with every step that distances me from the letter box, there's a part of me who wants to run back and pull savagely the envelope off the letter box and run home with it.
But I don't.
It's hard though.
I wonder if the volunteers from the Writers Center will ever open the letter box. Maybe they use another one which I couldn't see. Maybe it will lay abandonned for many years and in a hundred year time, someone will notice the old decrepit manuscript.
No matter.
Today is the deadline of the competition
Soon enough I'll find out whether the 35€ were deducted and whether I got rejected or not.

Image borrowed from the cover of Fiona Maazel's book " Last Last chance"
(which I haven't read but is looking good)