Sunday, February 27, 2011

Greetings, Crusader Groups 7 and 32!

Now that the groups have been finalised (okay, well, a few days ago...), I wanted to officially say hi to my fellow crusader group members:

Group 7: (okay, I know there is an A and a B, but I've put you all on my sidebar and I'll try and keep up with all of you!)  Wanita, CherrylAnne, Shari, Constance, Lynda, Elena, WritingNut, El, Sari, Alexis, Ciara, Bess, Michael, Brooke, Theresa, Misha and Meredith.

Group 32: Rebecca, Kristal, Cally, Lola, Alexis, Gina and Charity.

*waves frantically*

Welcome! Come and join me for a virtual tea party :-)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Amazon e-Publishing: A Question

I've been reading quite a lot lately on self-publishing and e-publishing and indie authors... So I was thinking that at some point I'd like to try e-publishing, just to see how it works out.

So now I'm getting excited about my new idea. I go off to Amazon, click on the link that says Self-publish with Us, go to the Kindle Books section, click on Learn More and setup an account for myself.

Easy. Great :-)

Not so great... When it comes to filling in the rest of my account info (the info that is necessary in order for me to be able to publish something) I get asked for my US taxpayer info and my US social security number. Neither of which I have!

So then I get directed to the IRS website to apply for this stuff...

My question to you: Are you a non-US citizen, residing in a non-US country, who has e-published with Amazon before? How much of a mission is it to get this tax number stuff sorted out? What was the process and how long did it take?

(Ok, so that's several questions... Sorry!)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Photo Friday (8)

Fuller Hall Residence, University of Cape Town

This was my home for almost three years! It was such a beautiful university... I loved the ivy that grew all over the old buildings, and the mountain that rose up behind everything. I still want to write a novel with college-age characters, just so I can make use of my university experience!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Prologues: Yay or Nay?

Ok, firstly, this is not just an excuse for me to use the poll gadget thingie again (although, come on, it is kinda cool!). I would actually like to know what you think :-)

What do I think? 
I really don't like it when the prologue is merely a scene taken out of the action section of the novel and stuck at the front to give me a taste of what's coming. Why would I want to know what's coming? That's why I'm reading the book!
But I think that when it's a short (and important - duh!) scene that has happened prior to where your novel begins, and you want your reader to know the info from the start and not figure it out from backstory later on, then it can work.

What do important people Out There think?
Sherry, an aquisitions editor for a small yet prestigious publisher, says NO to the prologue, feeling that if your novel needs to begin with one then you're basically saying that your writing and your opening chapters aren't strong enough to pull the reader into the story. Click here to see her "few damn good explanations" on why you don't need a prologue.

Author Kristen Lamb blogged on the 7 Deadly Sins of Prologues, and the 2 Virtues (yes, you saw that right, there are only 2 virtues!). I've outlined them below, but you can click here to get more detail.
Sin #1. If your prologue is really just a vehicle for massive information dump...
Sin #2. If your prologue really has nothing to do with the main story...
Sin #3. If your prologue's sole purpose is to "hook" the reader...
Sin #4. If your prologue is overly long...
Sin #5. If your prologue is written in a totally different style...
Sin #6. If your prologue is uber-condensed world-building...
Sin #7. If your prologue is there solely to set the mood...

Nathan Bransford on the prologue: "Typically it is 3-5 pages of introductory material that is written while the author is procrastinating from writing a more difficult section of the book.
Ah, I'm kidding."

Bottom line: in general, agents hate prologues.
BUT, you still see novels getting published with prologues in them.

What do YOU think?

Go ahead... Clicky, clicky...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (11): Red Glove

Title: Red Glove
Author: Holly Black

"It sounds like you've really got some plan cooked up," I say.
"Oh, come on," she demands. "School starts in less than a week. Don't you want to have some fun?"


I really, really enjoyed WHITE CAT by Holly Black and I've so been looking forward to reading RED GLOVE. I'm only a few pages in, but it's great so far :-)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
  • Share the title and author too so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Just for Laughs (8): Say WHAT?

*Answers to First Crusader Challenge at bottom of post*

Excuse Letters
Letters from parents to teachers, excusing their children from school.

• "My son is under a doctor's care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him."
• "Please excuse Lisa for being absent. She was sick, and I had her shot."
• "Dear School: Please ekscuse John being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33."
• "Please excuse Gloria from Jim today. She is administrating."
• "Please excuse Roland from P.E. for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip."
• "John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face."
• "Carlos was absent yesterday because he was playing football. He was hurt in the growing part."
• "Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins."
• "Chris will not be in school cus he has an acre in his side."
• "Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels."
• "Please excuse Tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea, and his boots leak."
• "Irving was absent yesterday because he missed his bust."
• "Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father's fault."
• "Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday."
• "Sally won't be in school a week from Friday. We have to attend her funeral."
• "My daughter was absent yesterday because she was tired. She spent a weekend with the Marines."
• "Please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. He had a cold and could not breed well."
• "Please excuse Mary for being absent yesterday. She was in bed with gramps."
• "Gloria was absent yesterday as she was having a gangover."
• "Please excuse Burma, she has been sick and under the doctor."
• "Maryann was absent December 11-16, because she had a fever, sore throat, headache, and upset stomach. Her sister was also sick, fever, and sore throat, her brother had a low grade fever and ached all over. I wasn't the best either, sore throat and fever. There must be something going around, her father even got hot last night."

Patient Charts
Doctors' remarks on patient charts.

• "Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year."
• "On the 2nd day the knee was better and on the 3rd day it disappeared completely."
• "The patient has been depressed ever since she began seeing me in 1993."
• "Discharge status: Alive but without permission."
• "Healthy appearing decrepit 69 year-old male, mentally alert but forgetful."
• "The patient refused an autopsy."
• "The patient has no past history of suicides."
• "Patient has left his white blood cells at another hospital."
• "Patient's past medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days."
• "Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch."
• "She has had no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night."
• "She is numb from her toes down."
• "While in the ER, she was examined, X-rated and sent home."
• "The skin was moist and dry."
• "Occasional, constant, infrequent headaches."
• "Patient was alert and unresponsive."
• "She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she got a divorce."
• "I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy."
• "The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as a stockbroker instead."
• "Patient has two teenage children but no other abnormalities."
• "Skin: Somewhat pale but present."
• "Patient was seen in consultation by Dr. Blank, who felt we should sit on the abdomen, and I agree."
• "By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart stopped, and he was feeling better."
• "The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of gas and crashed."
• "When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room."
• "Patient was released to outpatient department without dressing."
• "The patient will need disposition, and therefore we will get Dr. Blank to dispose of him."
• "The patient expired on the floor uneventfully."

Smile, it's Monday :-)

~ ~ ~

First Crusader Challenge: Answers

  1. Wearing some form of shoe 99% of the time = INTERESTING QUIRK
  2. The bloviating friend I'm embarrassed of = SECRET
  3. Correcting people's pronunciation = ANNOYING HABIT
  4. Seeing things from someone else's point of view = BEST TRAIT
  5. Holidaying at the mountain resort = FAVOURITE THING
  6. Carrying a notebook everywhere to write in = LIE

The majority vote for 1 to 5 had it right :-) But people couldn't agree on what 6 was!
Thanks for voting!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

First Crusader Challenge - Vote For What YOU Think!

If you're not a crusader and you want to know more about this craziness... click here.

1. I wear some form of shoe approximately 99% of the time because I really don't like my feet to feel dirty! And of course there's the danger of being cut by broken glass or some dodgy person's accidentally-dropped blade, of course.

2. I have a friend who bloviates ALL the time, and quite honestly I'm embarrassed sometimes to be around him... I mean, no one needs to speak as though they're in the presence of some eighteenth century queen of England!

3. I correct people's pronunciation. I know it drives them nuts, but the correct pronunciation just demands to be spoken every time someone says it the wrong way! Sometimes I have to bite my tongue and just not say it (like if it were my boss or someone I just met!), but my poor boyfriend may just strangle me when I tell him once again how to pronounce schnitzel (come ON! It's not snitchel!!).

4. I can usually see things from someone else's point of view as well as my own. This must have made me quite an easy child to raise because when my mother said things like, No, you may not sleep over at your boyfriend's house when his parents are out, I kinda had to agree with her!

5. I've been going on holiday to this mountain resort since I was about six. We go on long hikes, row boats across the lake, and there's even this little animal park where children can play with and feed the rabbits, guinea pigs, pigeons and other fuliguline creatures.

6. I can't go a day without writing something, even if it's short. I carry a notebook around with me in my handbag/school bag so that I don't miss a single idea!

I may have revealed something about myself that isn't strictly true... I hope you managed to guess what it is ;-)

Friday, February 18, 2011



I have finally finished following the 216 blogs on the list for Rachael Harrie's Second Writers' Platform-Building Crusade! Wow, what a marathon of following and commenting! If you think that I somehow missed you (maybe I commented but then forgot to click the Follow button (!) or my subscribing via Google Reader for those who don't have the Follow button didn't seem to work) please let me know in the comments :-)

*updated tips

Tips for Newbie Bloggers

  • Display your email address. You may have specific reasons for not wanting to share your email address (like the fact that it has your real name!) but it is very helpful to have your email address displayed. It means that when I (or anyone else's blog you comment on) receive an email notification of the comment you've left on my blog, I can reply to you directly by email. On your Blogger dashboard click Edit Profile, then tick Show my email address and then at the bottom of the page click Save Profile.
  • *Set up a new email address. If you don't want to share your original email address because it has your real name (for example) it is WORTH IT TO SET UP A NEW ONE WITH YOUR PEN NAME! Yes, it is a mission. I know this because a few months into blogging I set up a new gmail account, I then transferred ownership of my blog to the new gmail/blogger account, and I then re-followed every single blog I was already following! Exhausting. But so worth it in the long run. And if you've only just started blogging it is better to do this NOW than in the future when you're following even more people. [If you don't want to constantly be logging in and out of two email accounts you can set it up so that the one forwards emails to the other. Then you only need to check one account all the time.]
  • Display your blog link. Now this one you definitely do want to do! You know all the little profile pictures you see in someone's Followers list? If I click on your picture, I want to be able to see the link to your blog. If it's not there, then I can't follow you back! On your Blogger dashboard click View Profile. If, underneath My Blogs, you see the name of your blog, then you're ok :-) If not, click Edit Profile. Next to Show my blogs click on Select blogs to display. Then put a tick in the box next to your blog name and click Save Settings.
  • *Another way to display your blog link (like if you've done the above and it doens't seem to be working!) Go to a blog you're already following and go to the Followers gadget. If you don't see your pic with your name just above everyone else's pics then beneath the gadget click Sign In (because, of course, you are already a follower). Once you are signed in, beneath your name click on Options and then Site Settings. A new window opens up. Inside the box with your name, click on Add Links. Type in the url and the name of your blog and click Add. Then at the bottom of the window click Done. This should change your settings for all the blogs you follow (and will follow in the future!).
  • *If a blog doesn't have a "Subscribe to my RSS feed" button, and you want to subscribe to their blog through Google Reader, simply go to the home page of that person's blog (ie. before you have clicked on any of their individual posts or comments), copy the url from the address bar, go to Google Reader, a the top left click Add a Subscription, paste the url and click Add. Then give it a little bit of time to load the new subscription!

And a big THANK YOU to everyone from the crusade who has followed me!!

PS. If you have any questions about the above tips, write it in the comments
or email rachelmorganwrites[at]gmail[dot]com

Photo Friday (7)

My ankle!

Since I already used this random factoid about myself in one of last year's crusader challenges, I can't use it this time around and hope that you'll all think it's the lie (since some of you know the truth!)

If you're interested in the meaning of this tattoo (I always like to know why someone chose a specific image to permanently ink into their skin)...

Jesus Christ, God's son, Saviour

Kinda cool :-)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Writing Tip (8): A Revision Method That Works

A Character-by-Character Revision Method

Okay, I can't claim credit for this one. I came across this article last night written by Walter Dinjos on Indie Horror. He speaks about a revision method that is well suited to novels with intricate plotting that are told not only from the point of view of the protagonist but from the point of view of several other characters as well.

He picks one character and revises every scene in which he/she is the point-of-view character. Then he moves on to another character and revises all those scenes, etc etc. While trying out this method of revision he discovered eight things:

  1. Character arc. A novel is a coalescence of...
  2. Dialogue. Everybody has a way of speaking...
  3. The repetition of words and phrases. Especially words not among the three thousand most...
  4. The disappearance of an important character from the page. Has your editor ever...
  5. Too many point-of-view characters. This one pretty much explains itself. Once you've...
  6. Theme. How do your characters' stories...
  7. Boredom. I know how you feel. Revision can suck, especially when...
  8. Deus ex machine. I know miracles happen, but that doesn't give you the right to...

And if you want to know how those eight points are finished, you'll have to follow the link to the original article!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Just Kiss Already Blogfest

Thank you to Christina Lee and Stina Lindenblatt for hosting this marvelous,
perfect-for-Valentine's-Day blogfest!

♥ ♥ ♥

A super-steamy kiss from City of Ashes, by one of my favourite authors,

And then he kissed her.
She felt the brush of his lips, light at first, and her own opened automatically beneath the pressure. Almost against her will she felt herself go fluid and pliant, stretching upward to twine her arms around his neck the way that a sunflower twists toward the light. His arms slid around her, his hands knotting in her hair, and the kiss stopped being gentle and became fierce, all in a single moment like tinder flaring into a blaze. Clary heard a sound like a sigh rushing through the court, all around them, a wave of noise, but it meant nothing, was lost in the rush of her blood through her veins, the dizzying sense of weightlessness in her body.
Jace's hands moved from her hair, slid down her spine; she felt the hard press of his palms against her shoulder blades--and then he pulled away, gently disengaging himself, drawing her hands away from his neck and stepping back. For a moment Clary thought she might fall; she felt as if something essential had been torn away from her, an arm or a leg, and she stared at Jace in blank astonishemnt--what did he feel, did he feel nothing? She didn't think she could bare it if he felt nothing.

Visit this link to see the list of other steamy blogfest entries!

PS. If you have not read the Mortal Instruments series, you are seriously missing out!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Getting Creative from A to Z


Aren't these pictures amazing?!
It's all to try and get you to sign up for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge!
Click the link to find out more. I think it's gonna be a blast!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cover Love: Abandon, by Meg Cabot

I have fallen in love. With a book cover. In fact, this should be called Cover Adoration, not just Cover Love.

I love the colour palette, the brown-gold-sepia look. I adore the beautiful dress the girl is wearing. I love how she's lying there across the earth, with one arm thrown back, so... abandoned! And I love, love, love the gracefully twirling flower pattern.

In summary: This is one book where I've been definitely, seriously, majorly influenced purely by the cover!

Friday, February 11, 2011


Anyone notice that today's date reads as a palindrome? ;-)

Photo Friday (6)

Inanda Seminary students reading.

We've made Stop, Drop and Read a weekly activity at our school this year.
No matter where the girls are, between fourth and fifth period on a Wednesday everyone stops what they're doing, sits down and reads for twenty minutes. I love it!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Writing Tip (7): Beat Writer's Block - Get Angry!

Beat Writer's Block - Get Angry!

a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work.

(Well, I certainly hope it's temporary!)

Me: There are probably many things you can do when the muse packs up and takes a vacation/refuses to cooperate/points at you and laughs and then runs away. You can stare at your blinking cursor for hours, you can go shopping, you can watch a movie for inspiration (I'm particularly fond of that one...), but sometimes what you need to do is just write something completely different for a little while.

You: Um... how? My muse has gone! Hello!

Me: Well, have you ever noticed that when you're angry/frustrated/irritated about something you have no problem finding the words to go on a rant? So pick up your pen/pencil/keyboard, find a clean sheet of paper/document, pick your favourite pet peeve, and get ready to rant!

Here. Watch me go...

Cigarette smoke and car fumes. I find these two things utterly repulsive. I can’t quite say why I seem to find cigarette smoke so much more offensive than the average person does, but I just do. It is positively choke-inducing. When I was five I told a smoker friend of my parents’ that smoking would kill him. And to this day I would be happy to tell anyone else that. If you’d like to fill your lungs with cancer-inducing vapours, by all means, go ahead. But please don’t do it where your bad habit can kill me too!*

Another thing that really irks me is people who get onto an escalator and stand in the middle without moving. European countries seem to have no problem with the “stand on the left, pass on the right” system, but in South Africa? Nope. An escalator is a chance for you to relax and take a breather because, after all, you’ve been walking so fast through the mall haven’t you? (You can probably tell that I’m also highly frustrated by people who wander around slowly and with no purpose and get in the way of everyone else.) Never mind that someone behind you might want to do something crazy like walk up the escalator. No way. You’ve got your spot in the middle of the step and you’re not. moving. for. anything. Come on, people! Time is precious. Let’s move with purpose!

Whew, ok, that felt good :-)
(*If you're a smoker, I don't hate you -- I just hate the smoke!)

You: *thinking* Hmm, yes, that guy who cut me off at the traffic light/the neighbour's kid who cries and cries and cries and cries/the girl at work who pops her chewing gum all the time/the way the paper on a new toilet roll is stuck down and I can't peel it off and it comes away in bits and then more bits and I'm tearing it now and aaaarrrrgh I just wanna chuck the whole damn thing in the toilet!

Me: Ok. That's great. Just don't get too ticked off please, I don't want to be responsible for your elevated blood pressure levels!

(Me: *ponders* I just had an entire conversation with myself, didn't I... And I mentioned the toilet paper...)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (10): Beautiful Darkness

Title: Beautiful Darkness
Authors: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

But behind all that, there was something I couldn't remember. It was there, lingering in the back of my mind.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
  • Share the title and author too so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Just for Laughs (7): You Can Has Laughs Here

Okay. Being a writer I have to just say that I don't encourage you to repeat the terrible English you'll find in this post! But the pictures are so cute.... And I loves them ;-)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Join the Fun - Come Crusading!

Ok, so I sort of, ahem, missed my usual Thursday post and my usual Friday post...
School has been getting in the way of my blogging (and writing!). But considering that it's my day job and it's kind of the only thing I get paid to do... I do sorta have to make it a priority!


Rachael Harrie's Second Writers' Platform-Building Crusade kicked off yesterday!

We had so much fun with the first crusade last year. We all met a load of other writers just like ourselves, we learned a lot from each other, we entered a challenge (which I won! Whoopeee!) and then another challenge, and we all got more followers for our blogs!

So click the link above to Rach's blog and join in the fun this year :-)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (9): I Am Number Four

Title: I Am Number Four
Author: Pittacus Lore

I close my fists and place them in my lap. They're burning and shaking. I open my hands. My left palm is bright red, my right is still glowing.

Still very much enjoying this book! If I didn't have lessons to prepare, my blog to keep up with, and (duh) my own writing to do, I would have read far more of this already!


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
  • Share the title and author too so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!