CoffinHop 14 Coming This Halloween…. | #CoffinHop

The CoffinHop is coming for you in 7 days…
Wander down to the CoffinHop Boneyard…

The Penultimate Annual Horror Event
24th Oct – 31st Oct
60 Horror Authors/Artists/Poets
8 days of Fearsome Fun
8 days of Generous giveaways/sweepstakes/contests
Terrifying tales, Petrifying Poetry, Spine-tingling stories, Freakish Flash Fiction, Heart-Racing Horror…
Join the Hop and support your favourite Horror Authors/Artists/Poets

Get ready to Kick those heels up and dance a dervish across the graves…Get ready to do some CoffinHopping…

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Exit Only
Entry Fee
1 Abandoned Soul

Come down to the CoffinHop Carnival

24/10 – 31/10

Enter if you dare…

#Coffin Hop…The Haunted Voodoo & The Haunting Magic Cocktails

Click on the “EYE” to take you to my COFFIN HOP TRICK for a TREAT Prize Page…Enter if you dare…Enter or be scared….Contest ends at the Witching Hour (3am) 31st October 2012…(contest closed)

kim-coffin12

Day 2 of The Haunted & The Hauntings takes us to a place of Voodoo and Magic. This city is famous in the Horror and Paranormal Circles. It has inspired legends, myths, tales that terrify and movies that horrify. It has also been a favourite obsession of mine and has inspired my new WIP – The Tattooist Trilogy.

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

File:StChasJan07HouseB2.jpg by en:User:Infrogmation
File:LoyolaStreetcarMch08.jpg by en:User:Infrogmation
File:New_Orleans_Skyline_from_Uptown.jpg by en:User:VerruckteDan
File:Jackson_Square.jpg by en:User:Dschwen
File:New-orleans10.jpg by de:User:Falkue

This city has been called the Most Haunted City in the USA. It has also been called “The Crescent City”, “The Big Easy” and “The City that Care Forgot” I first became familiar with this city through, what else but my favourite medium, books: specifically The Vampire Chronicles of Anne Rice. I could not get enough of this series and could not get enough of this strange haunting city. This city is one of the main settings in my NEXT BIG WIP – The Tattooist Trilogy. I am also planning on a 2013 trip – it falls under research – to this city of Hauntings, Voodoo & Vamps. In my thirst for knowledge + WIP research I explored the earliest times of this notorious city.

Perhaps the earliest legend that has fueled the Hauntings in this city is that the vast swamp that was New Orleans was once a sacred Indian burial ground. In 1718 King Louis XV founded the city of New Orleans, named after the city of Orleans lying on the banks of the Loire River in France, in the hope and belief that it would be a profitable trading station for the French because of its appealing location on the Mississippi River. Once people started trickling in to live here though;  murderers, thieves, rapists, common criminals and laborers were the first inhabitants. I assumed they came here and set up camp to escape their various crimes and the punishment they were sure to face on apprehension. In these early days of New Orleans, it was only the desperate and the damned who would choose to make their home here: They called it The French Quarter in 1721. It was a topography that perfectly mirrored the depraved, the desperate and the damned who settled here with natural harsh elements like quick sand, alligators, venomous snakes, mosquitoes and rampant disease. For the next hundred years the murder rate in this new city was high and along with numerous major fires, hurricanes, wars and the dreaded yellow fever epidemic this city became  a place of death, decay and destruction.

Description: Tomb of Marie Laveau (The 1830s notorious Voodoo Queen)
Source: New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum
Date: 8/10/08
Author: Charles M. Gandolfo
Permission: Jerry Gandolfo

During this first 100 year period of New Orleans, the Haitian slave revolt (1791 – 1804) happened in Haiti. To escape the massacre the refugee plantation owners, bringing with them their slaves, escaped Haiti to make their way across the ocean to a new home and refuge in New Orleans. For the first time New Orleans heard the sacrificial drums of Voodoo. Voodoo had come to New Orleans. Voodoo is a strange mix of various African – originating in Benin and Nigeria – magic, belief and rites mixed with Catholic elements. Voodoo brought with it snake magic, seers, ritual animal sacrifice, fortune-telling, black magic, bonfires and orgies and notorious Voodoo Queens: the most famous Voodoo Queen would have to be Marie Laveau. Both a practicing Catholic and a Voodoo Queen; she acted as an Oracle, conducted private rituals, performed exorcisms and offered sacrifices to spirits. To this day people still come to her tomb to offer up favors and offerings. Her grave is the one of the most visited graves in the world. There are still sightings of this Voodoo Queen in modern-day New Orleans.

It is no wonder that this city with its notorious history, its birthplace founded on a purported sacred Indian burial ground and its mix of the depraved, the damned and the illicit combined with the black magic of Voodoo Queens has spurred the title of the Most Haunted city in the USA. It is a place layered in history, in magic and ancient sacred rites. It is a place where the veils between ritualistic beliefs, fears are thin. It is indeed a place where spirits watch you from veiled shadows.

Another thing that this city is famous for is Cocktails, decadence and illicit deliciousness…It is not known as “The Big Easy” and the home of “The Mardi Gras” for nothing. So for a treat today I have included some New Orleans cocktails and some Halloween inspired cocktails for your enjoyment.

New Orleans Classic Cocktails

Click on any of the DECADENT COCKTAILS

– this will take you to my Pinterest page,

One more click will take you to the delicious concoction’s RECIPE…

What is the use of posting cocktails unless you try them for yourself?

Come back and tell me which was your favourite flavour!

The Hurricane

Source: seriouseats.com via Kim on Pinterest

The Sazerac

Source: seriouseats.com via Kim on Pinterest

The Bywater Cocktail

Source: seriouseats.com via Kim on Pinterest

Some Halloween Decadence…
Ashes to Ashes
Paranormal Activity or Licorice Trick
Smoking “Colour-changing” Martini
Vampire Kiss Martini
What’s your favourite decadent cocktail?
What’s your favourite New Orleans Haunted Legend?
Join me here tomorrow for the next X spots that mark the places where the spirits watch you from veiled shadows…

Remember to visit all the other coffin hopping macabre and haunted places buried in the

COFFIN HOP BONEYARD

for frightful contests, spookilicious giveaways and horrific halloween inspired swag.

You can also click through to the linky list included on this blog here or click on the creeptastic skull beneath…

Tell me do You CoffinHop?
x marks the spot where the spirits watch you from veiled shadows…
Don’t forget to enter my TRICK Haunted Flash Fiction for TREATS
Enter if you dare…Enter or be scared…

#CoffinHop…a coffin full of Haunted Hot Spots

Click on the “EYE” to take you to my COFFIN HOP TRICK for a TREAT Prize Page…Enter if you dare…Enter or be scared….Contest ends at the Witching Hour (3am) 31st October 2012…(contest closed)

kim-coffin12

The Haunted & the Hauntings are the things that truly send chills up and down my spine. Perhaps you would wonder why someone able to see ghosts and been in my share of haunted places is chilled to the bone. But this is just the reason why The Haunted & The Hauntings do chill me…because I know they are real. It is those nightmares that walk and connect with us that truly petrify us. Not the bogeyman but the shadowed spirit at my door…this is what I know to be all too true.

But just like there are people who are able to see these veiled creatures of the between world, there are places on this earth that seem to be filled with the walking dead, the seeking spirits, the hungry haunts. So today I thought I would welcome you to Day Two of the COFFIN HOP by sharing a short haunted travel guide of two of this world’s most Haunted places…

  • Paris, France

Original uploader was Vlastula at en.wikipedia
>Bones from the former Magdeleine cemetery (La Ville Leveque Street numbers 1 and 2). Deposited in 1844 in the western ossuary (bone repository) and transferred to the catacombs in September 1859.

The Parisians have an interesting history with the dead and departed. It started in the Roman times when Parisians buried their dead on the outskirts of the city but with the rise of Christianity they soon took to burying their dead in consecrated ground which meant under and around their churches. By the 12th century however these consecrated burial grounds became overcrowded and the only way around this was to have mass burial sites for those who were short on cash. By the 17th century these mass inhumations though caused the sanitary conditions of Paris to become unbearable though as Paris depended on their waters from their many underground wells which was now being contaminated by these mass inhumations. It was then that, with the government looking for a way to clean up the city, they decided to use long abandoned stone quarries under the mines as new burial grounds for the dead of Paris. It took two years from 1786 to 1788 to exhume all the mass buried bodies and transfer them to the underground sepulchre which soon became known as the Catacombs of Paris. Soon the very tunnels that led to these stone quarries were walled in a macabre “brick work” of bones and skulls. It brought a new meaning to “walking with the dead”. So although the government of the day managed to clean up the city’s water supply they also turned the city into a city that walks on the bones of its dead. These catacombs are now listed as one of the most haunted places in the world with guided tours there. Visitors here claim to have been touched by unseen hands, have the sensation of being watched or followed, experienced temperature changes, hysterical breakdowns, and the feeling of being strangled.

Paris may be the City of Light but perhaps it is only called that because it lies on the City of Death…

  • London, England

Sheri from Ft. Myers, FL, USA
> The cobblestone courtyard recently built over Tower Hill, where many notables of British history (such as Sir Thomas More) lost their heads. This is where many public executions were held for hundreds of years.

Although London is often seen as the epitome of modern day civility, its history is quite the polar opposite. This city has one of the most violent and savage pasts in the world. It is a city that Kings and Queens have fought viciously over and fought passionately and horrifically for the rights to rule. From the horrific tales of imprisoned nobles in The Tower of London to Jack the Ripper, this city has more than its fair share of horror and dead crying out for justice. This city alone has spanned the popular gothic genres with its historic architecture and less than polite past. There are numerous ghost walks and haunted tours that can be found at the tips of your fingers if you google “Haunted London” – 79, 600, 000 results to be exact. One that stood out to me though was: The London Ghost Walk

These great London Ghost Walks are led by ghost book author and paranormal television presenter Richard Jones. The walk lasts approximately 2 hours and takes place regardless of weather conditions.

Twilight creeps through the narrow alleyways and hidden courtyards. It’s gnarled fingers unlock ancient secrets of dark deeds that lie entombed behind crumbling walls. It whispers into the shadowy recesses of a forgotten part of London, disturbing the sleep of the long departed, and the city of the dead stirs once more into ghostly life.

Thus London’s spookiest tour begins, and a spine-chilling night awaits you in the company of masterful story teller Richard Jones, author of the definitive book on the capital’s sinister history Walking Haunted London. For this is the only ghost walk to feature startling recreation of psychic phenomenon and you will witness much that is mysterious and inexplicable.

With its unique combination of expert guidance, dramatic storytelling and strange occurrences, this is THE London ghost walk. Often copied but never equalled, it unfolds against the backdrop of London’s oldest, eeriest and most haunted quarter. Untold horrors skulk in the silent shadows, and spectral voices echo across ancient plague pits. Mists and Miasma’s swirl through abandoned graveyards, as a lone monks keeps his weary vigil amidst crumbling, weatherworn tombstones and the devils breath is felt on a wind swept corner.

So come along, as the darkness falls, and enjoy an entertaining journey through a part of London you would never dream still existed. Encounter streets so sinister, that you will never be sure who, or what, might be waiting around the next corner, or lurking just a few graves along. (taken from the site)

Now I don’t know about you but this is one Haunted tour I would love to take…

Have you visited these haunted cities so praised as architects of civility and style in the modern age but so filled with macabre and bizarre pasts? Which haunted city is on your bucket list to visit?
Join me here tomorrow for the next X spots that mark the places where the spirits watch you from veiled shadows…

Remember to visit all the other coffin hopping macabre and haunted places buried in the                                     

COFFIN HOP BONEYARD

for frightful contests, spookilicious giveaways and horrific halloween inspired swag.

You can also click through to the linky list included on this blog here or click on the creeptastic skull beneath…

Tell me do You CoffinHop?

x marks the spot where the spirits watch you from veiled shadows…
Don’t forget to enter my TRICK Haunted Flash Fiction for TREATS
Enter if you dare…Enter or be scared…

The anticipation…the drama…the horror!

Are you Coffin Hopping?
Like being scared?
Like thrills and chills that send shivers down your spine?

Then there is only one place to be in the last week of October and that is on:
The CoffinHop

Follow the main Coffin Hop Hub: Coffin Hop

Follow this hop on twitter under:
#CoffinHop

Follow the full collection of CoffinHoppers taking part in this chilling edition of CoffinHop 2012 here: Do you Coffin Hop? Curious?

Will there be tricks or will there be treats?

Only way to find out is to follow The CoffinHop!
Come CoffinHopping with me!

Marie Loughin's "I WANNA BE . . ."

Ah, October, when leaves fall and trees reach their bony fingers to the sky, when I think of Snoopy and the Red Baron and candy sorted into little piles on my bedroom floor.

How sad to be all grown up, denied the races across darkened lawns. Nevermore to shriek in delighted terror when Freddy or Jason or Frankenstein pops from the neighbor’s bushes.

But wait! There’s still a way for us all-grown-uppers to share in Halloween thrills. It’s Coffin Hopping we will go. Trick-or-treating at digital doors, where writers of horror will open their bags of goodies to share with those who dare to stop by.

And don’t be afraid to stop back for seconds…or thirds…or even sevenths. In our neighborhood, Halloween lasts seven days.

The fun starts tomorrow (October 24) and continues through Halloween. I’ll be posting several times during the next week with Halloween thoughts, reviews, and possibly some new…

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My Animal Muse | Creative Creature | Furry Friend

Four Muses, by Caesar van Everdingen

Famous writers and their dogs  – Pictures of the Canine Muse

Famous writers and their cats  – Pictures of the Feline Muse

Cats and Dogs as Artists and Writers – A Humorous article with a spin on our canine         and feline muses.

A couple of weeks ago I ran two informal polls in my online writing groups. I had read two blog posts about creative animal companions. The two major contenders were pups versus kittens, pooches versus moggies. It led me to wonder whether one of them was better than the other as a creative animal companion. So I ran a poll asking my writer friends to tell me which was their choice of writer companion and why that choice may outweigh any other.

Although cats got a fair number of the votes, the  majority results in both polls were that the favoured creative animal companions were “man’s best friend” = dogs. Other creative animal companions listed were goats, rabbits and fish.

When I asked why dogs, the answers were as follows:

  • They needed daily walks so the human companion gets some time away from being cooped up in their writing cave as well as getting some good rumination time going well out on said walk.
  • The dogs also came out tops in that most dogs don’t tend to like lying on their human writer’s keyboard / laptop making it difficult for the writer to write.
  • The dogs also needed less physical affection from the writer human meaning that the dog would wait faithfully while its human got some much needed words down.
  • For those who chose cats as their creative companion, they liked the independence of the cat personality.
  • Also cats are the obvious choice due to necessity of the environment space – if you live in a city apartment, cats are easier to keep as companions.
  • Cats were a choice for those who want a lot of physical affection and want a “lap” companion. (Although small dogs are a winner in this category and the above one.)

So this brings me to who my choice of creative companion is…

He is just over 1 year old, white and black, has a face that resembles a butterfly, is full of energy, does not believe he is small but only short…His name is Jazz and he is a Papillon. Jazz adopted me in August 2010. I had no choice in the matter. I took a walk into the local Animates pet store and while browsing heard this mad barking. I went across for a closer inspection and there in front of me was this dancing ball of black and white fluff that was trying desperately to get my attention. It worked. Within a heartbeat, my heart belonged to him. I called him Jazz because ever since the first day, he loves to dance and although his style is more “disco”, Jazz suited him better because he has the eyes of an “old wise soul”.

Since that first day he has been my companion and shadow. He is the happiest little dog you will ever meet. Although he likes his dog friends that he knows from his beach walks, he is very much a human-dog and loves the company of his favourite people around. Papillons are incredibly smart and range no.9 in intelligence of all the dog breeds in the world. Although small dogs, they are not known for a lack of courage or confidence..they are very much Alpha-dogs. Jazz has no tolerance for other small dogs (except for other Papillons) but loves the company of much larger dogs. He even has a Husky girlfriend who is quite taken by his french charm.

Papillons are a very old European dog breed named after the French word for butterfly because their faces resemble a butterfly. The informal name for Papillons is: “Dog of Kings“. They were featured in many famous aristocratic and royal portraits during the Renaissance era by painters like Rubens, Titian, Largilere, Magrid, Fragonard, and Boucher.
They were companions in the french Royal families for generations and were a favourite companion of Marie Antoinette. Jazz reminds me every now and again that his ancestors were royal companions and therefore he expects nothing less than royal treatment. A good thing for me about Papillons are that although they love talking or singing, Jazz often has conversations with me, they are not “yappers” like a lot of other small toy breed dogs.

Famous Papillon Owners:

  • Marie Antoinette
  • Madame de Pompadour
  • King Henry II & King Henry III
  • Lauren Bacall
  • George Takei
  • Christina Aguilera
  • Yuga Tegoshi
  • Justin Bieber

Meet Jazz – My dancing Papillon aka Creative Companion aka My best friend and furry shadow

260327_102800039815128_438637_n 261462_102799419815190_7583148_n 262203_102799739815158_6962712_n 264473_102802879814844_3214216_n 264601_102799209815211_4170706_n 268646_102802619814870_3831290_n

 “Mom, can we please go for a walk once this photo is taken.”

“Mom, can we please play…photos make me mischievous.” 

 “Ssshh…don’t tell Mom, I am borrowing her laptop to surf the web for some animal stuff.”

 “Phew…this writing stuff makes me tired…”

 “Time for a nap I think…every pup needs a nap after helping Mom write.”

“I know I am very handsome…My Mom thinks that I am the most handsome little man in the neighbourhood.” 

 “Now tell me you would not pick me as the perfect creative companion.”

“Ah…playtime….always have time for playtime. Mom gave me a new toy today because I was so good with photo-posing.”

100th POST….Drum Roll….Warrior Wednesdays with Roz Morris (dirtywhitecandy)

Warrior with the Sword of Imagination, the Shield of Truth and the Helmet of Muses

Drum Rolls…Cymbals…Trombone…..Seductive Saxophone…..
Welcome to your first episode of Warrior Wednesdays. Today is an exceptionally SPECIAL day for this girl with a quill. (Thanks Aditi Sarin for the Nickname)
Today is the 100th post in this blogosphere for this girl with a quill and a dragonflyscroll.
 

100 Posts.....with a dish of dirty white candy, cupcakes and drink of celebration - Champagne of the lightest airy bubbles...


To mark the day I have released the debut episode of Warrior Wednesdays with the erudite and dazzling Roz Morris also known as the enigmatic dirtywhitecandy. This is a lady that is the owner of the website – Nailyournovel and author extraordinaire of the book called: Nail Your Novel – Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence. She is a successful Editor who also moonlights as a successful Ghostwriter with 11 books under her Ghosting – 8 of these bestsellers. How did I get to know this Red Dynamo of a lady?? I came across a tweet by a tweeter called dirtywhitecandy. Of course, the name had me intrigued – who was this enigmatically named creature and why did she seem to tweet so many words or wisdom. I started following her and this led me to her website. The first thing I searched for was what was behind that enigmatically unique twitter moniker.
When she mentioned on her website that she chose an 18th century candy made by Fortnums and Mason in London because she loved the idea of such a surprising and unpredictable name – she knew she had to make this funky name her new online moniker. Does she fit the bill? Definitely….but without giving too much more away…let me bring the lady herself in. Let me tell you she does not have a shy bone in her body and she loves to chat…..So help me give a warm welcome to the lady herself  – in she sashays, bright dazzling locks of the sun just tucked under a cornflower blue winter beanie and a smile effervescent in energetic warmth….

Roz Morris aka dirtywhitecandy


girl with a quill: Welcome Roz…..

dirtywhitecandy: Phew, brilliant questions, Kim! Thanks so much for hosting me and I’m really flattered to be your hundredth post! You’re such a creative dynamo you definitely deserve a telegram from the Queen.
A pic or two is enclosed, with a different interview hat…

girl with a quill : Tell us a little about you.

dirtywhitecandy:
I’ve ghostwritten eight bestselling novels which I can’t name because
they’re a trade secret. I freelance edit, mentoring other writers to help
them shape up their novels to a state where they can be presented to the
market, and I’m coming out from under the ghostly sheet with novels of my
own. I’m represented by Jane Conway-Gordon in London. The rest of the time I
work as a freelance magazine editor – and occasionally as a movie extra!

girl with a quill: Do you remember the moment you wanted to become a writer?

dirtywhitecandy:

Not really. I’ve always been very creative and when I was a child I liked making up music and drawing comics. But the thing I enjoyed most was writing. It didn’t really matter what it was – stories, school essays… I had a number of pen friends and they got very long letters! I’ve always had a feeling that when I put words on a page it is more important than writing, it is a performance. I can never dash off even a short email, it has to be ‘right’.

So, to answer your question, I have always been a writer really.

girl with a quill: What inspires you to write and why?

dirtywhitecandy:
Good writing. Any beautifully executed novel makes me want to get at my desk and make something!

girl with a quill: Where do you do write?

dirtywhitecandy:

A lot of my writing goes on in my head – pacing about, or out running, or driving with the radio on. I also scribble a lot of notes to work out story problems. Thinking time is crucial for me. But when I’m getting the words down I have two official places. There’s my study, which has the whizzy internet computer and all my pictures, music, and all you intensely interesting people out on Twitter and blogs. Sometimes, though, I need to get away from all that. For those occasions I have a tiny laptop that folds into a handbag. I take it to a room in the house where none of those things will tempt me, and snuggle down with my manuscript.

girl with a quill: How do your stories find you? Are they character-driven or story-driven?

dirtywhitecandy:

I would say they’re story driven at the moment. I’m most inspired by people doing odd things. I then ask myself who would do it, and why, and where it might go, and who they might draw in. So the story comes first – and then I seek the people who need it.

girl with a quill: An interesting fact about you is that you have successfully ghostwritten 11 books for other people…What led you into this form of writing?

dirtywhitecandy:

I got into it by a lucky break. I was doing a full-time job on a medical magazine and in my spare time was writing short stories and attempting a novel. My husband is a full-time writer and he had a commission that had gone wrong – the publisher changed their mind about the brief and wanted him to rewrite. He had other commitments so he gave the job to me and I wrote an entirely new novel for them. It was accepted and once I’d done that I was on their list of useful writers. The ghostwriting followed on from there.

Most ghosting jobs are circulated around people who publishers know and my name must have landed on the right desk at the right time!

girl with a quill: I know you cannot divulge who you ghosted for but can you tell us a little about the process? How does ghost-writing differ from your own writing?

dirtywhitecandy:

Ghosting is writing a book pretending to be somebody else – mostly celebrities. Perhaps they’ve already published their memoirs (possibly also ghosted) and have branched out into novels – but need help with the craft of fiction writing. And they’re not always non-writers. Sometimes the megabrand established novelists use ghosts, outsourcing some of their early draft work to keep up with demand. And if a mega-selling author dies, a publisher might hire a ghostwriter to keep their brand alive beyond the grave.
Ghostwriting is a colloboration. The actual details vary from project to project, but when I ghost I’m writing a book that is someone else’s idea, to please their readers – who wouldn’t necessarily be the same readers who would like my own work. I can’t use my own voice I have to develop a voice and style that is appropriate for the author I am ghosting. Also I can’t always take a story in the direction I want it to go, and if I have a blinding blast of inspiration I may not be able to use it. Also, if the ‘author’ (the person whose name is on the cover) doesn’t like what I’ve done, it’s their book and I have to rewrite it. That’s not to say that I can’t put something of myself into the book, but I must always remember the book is not mine.

girl with a quill: I have read that you started out as a journalist. I studied journalism as well. I often battle against which hat I am putting on: the hard-nosed journalist’s hat or the free-form writer’s hat. Did you find the switch from journalism to fiction a difficult one?

dirtywhitecandy:
I had to learn different ways to write. A journalism story is detached, as though it’s written by a machine. It condenses when a fiction writer should expand and draw you into a scene. I’ve always been quite sensitive to styles and narrative voices so I didn’t find it difficult, but you raise a good question because many journalists find it hard to slip off their analytical, detached voice. They find it particularly hard to inhabit a flawed character or be an unreliable narrator. I still do some journalism and switching back is amusing sometimes. If I’m editing a news story I often get the urge to spice up the interviewees’ quotes (and call them ‘dialogue’…)
And by contrast, when fiction writers have to include a news story in their narrative, they can’t get the tone right. I’m sure you must have noticed that, Kim!
But journalism has helped too. Journalism lives by deadlines – you find something to write and you get the words down. That’s great discipline for any writer. I don’t have to worry about grammar and punctuation because they’re ingrained. Also I’ve been a sub-editor, editing and proofing for press, so I can proof and copy-edit my own material to a professional standard (and often do this for others).

girl with a quill: Journalism and Fiction Writing are two different sides of a coin. One could almost say they directly oppose one another. Did being a journalist first help or hinder your fiction writing? How?

dirtywhitecandy:

(See above, sorry, answered 2 questions in one go!)

girl with a quill: You have a fantastic website called Nailyournovel
This is where most people get to know you.
Can you tell us what the phrase “Nail your novel” means to you?

dirtywhitecandy:

Great question! Novel-writing is complex. To do it well is a life-long process of learning. I believe in learning as much as I can about how stories work and how they are derailed, so that I can throw together a narrative that will do exactly what I want it to do.
That may sound like it’s churning out predictable stories according to formulae, but in fact it is not. Story rules are like laws of physics; they are a natural order derived from the way we all make sense of the world. Humans see patterns, and that is where stories come from. The more deeply we understand this process, the more inventive, creative and daring we can be with the stories we create. Novel-writing as an intensely practical craft learned from the nuts and bolts of the world around us. I regard everything I see as potential storytelling tools, hence the rather practical name of the blog!
The short answer is this: I’m trying to nail my novels – so I reckoned other people might be too!

girl with a quill: This brings me to the publication of your book by the same name. This book is available at Amazon. Can you tell us why you wrote this book?

dirtywhitecandy: So many people start a novel and drizzle to a stop. it’s a job that can get the better of you. Most of the beginner writers I talk to need to know how to organise all that business of characters, plot, using research and so on.
Also a lot of the writers who come to me for editing help struggle with revising a novel. Because of this, they also can’t assess their novel’s structure – which is essential to whether it works or not – and they don’t dare to make major changes because it all looks too complicated.  I disembowel my drafts quite blithely because I’ve developed ways to take control of my manuscripts. So I thought the most helpful thing I could do for people was to write a book about how I do that. Its full title is Nail Your Novel – Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence. Rather a mouthful, but that’s what it does!
girl with a quill: Can you tell my followers where to get a copy of your book?

dirtywhitecandy:

You can read an excerpt from Nail Your Novel here – http://bit.ly/9uS40x

I do have it on Amazon but my printer, Lulu, has mistakenly deleted my Amazon page. While I wrangle with them to get it back I have salvaged my reviews and you can read them here – http://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/nail-your-novel-%E2%80%93-why-writers-abandon-books-and-how-you-can-draft-fix-and-finish-with-confidence/amazon-reviews-of-nail-your-novel/

Nail Your Novel cover 2010 - front

girl with a quill: Along with your website, you also have a twitter account. Many people in the know in the publishing industry push how important it is to build a public platform through social media tools. As a published writer, would you agree that a public platform is necessary for pre-published and published writers alike?

dirtywhitecandy:

It is absolutely, one-hundred per cent essential. Books only sell if they are publicised. But that doesn’t mean ramming your book down everyone’s throat. When you buy a book it’s usually because you want to spend time with the author. When you build a platform you are reaching out to find people who might want to spend time with what you write. It’s a slow process, as it is if you get to know anyone in the real world. When you build your platform that’s what you’re doing – being yourself and finding the people who enjoy your company.

Also, social media is a two-way street. You find the people whose company you enjoy too. Before I started blogging and chatting on Twitter and Facebook, I was holed up in my study, bashing away in isolation. Now I have the camaraderie of thousands of other writers out there. They’re writing posts and sharing links. If I need advice, I can send out a tweet and someone will tell me what I need to know. It’s like having a brilliant set of colleagues – we’re all writing, and we’re all in touch. More than that, I have made many genuine friends through Twitter, Facebook and my blog. In short, it’s great fun.

girl with a quill: What would be 3 pieces of advice that you would share with pre-published writers? Maybe even things you wished you had known as a young writer?

dirtywhitecandy:

1 You will believe your first novel idea is brilliant and unique. It will probably not be. But when you learn what is wrong with it you will write a much better one.
2 Find critique partners you trust and who understand the kind of novels you want to write

3 Even if you write a brilliant novel, that doesn’t mean you will find a conventional publisher. Mainstream publishing is governed by marketing departments and what is in fashion.

girl with a quill: Share a little of your writing process with us. Are you a plotter or a pantster? and Why?

dirtywhitecandy:

Plotter, definitely. I have to know where I’m going, and also I find it very creative to make a detailed plan. The structure of the story is just as important as the moment-by-moment words.

girl with a quill: They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. A little bird told me that you are an exhibited artist as well as a published author. What type of artist are you and where have you exhibited?

dirtywhitecandy:

(Laughs, very loudly…) Hardly. I took part in a self-portrait experiment at the rather smart Twentytwenty Gallery in Much Wenlock, Shropshire. Purely as a laugh, because I can never make pens do what I want them to do. I had a few goes in rough first. The first one came out far too small and squished in the corner, but at least there was room for more.

After some time I had managed several versions of myself if played by Ruby Wax, Matt Damon or someone with the wrong nose and a beard. Finally I ran out of space and stamina, so handed in the rough with a title: A Writer’s Quest for Control Over Hand and Pen. Not sure what the gallery made of it…

If you want to see it, it’s here… http://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/seven-things/

girl with a quill: As both a writer and an artist, which statement is more true for you.
A picture is worth a thousand words. (Napoleon Bonaparte) (or)
It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it. (Anais Nin)

dirtywhitecandy:

Both! But I can’t do pictures, so I tend to use the 1,000 words.

girl with a quill: If you could choose 1 artist and 1 author to have dinner with? Who would you choose and why?

dirtywhitecandy:

I’d have Tracey Emin, because she’s so self-absorbed. Who would think anyone would want to see her old bed? But she does, which means she’s very different from me, and I’d like to chat to her to see what makes her tick. Incidentally a friend of mine went to a ball with her boyfriend, and it turns out Ms Emin likes some of my ghosted books. So maybe we would have something in common…
As for authors, I’d have Ian Fleming. He has such a sense of the extraordinary and the flamboyant. Plus I think he’d know what wine to order.
I’d have to have him separately from Tracey Emin as I want to see each of them one on one, not watch how they mixed, rivaled or networked. That’s a thing about writers; in their books you have them to yourself, so that’s how I would most enjoy them.

girl with a quill: Who has had the greatest influence on you as a writer?

dirtywhitecandy:
Everyone I read influences me. I have to be terribly careful who I read when I’m writing particular books as piece of their style or their way of seeing the world can easily derail me!

girl with a quill: What is the one piece of writing advice you would give to yourself as a young writer?

dirtywhitecandy:

You will never feel you write well enough!

girl with a quill: What in the one piece of writing advice you would give to yourself 10 years from now?

dirtywhitecandy:

Look back and see how far you’ve come!

girl with a quill: What do you want your lasting legacy as a writer to be?

dirtywhitecandy

I want to make books that people love. I’ve had that with some of my ghosted books. I’ve seen forums where people have discussed my books and there are readers who write, in great bold letters, ‘I LOVE these books and these characters’. When I see that, it hardly matters that someone else’s name was on the cover.
_________________________________________________________
For interest’s sake, Roz has kindly posted the recipe for her own delicious and delectable “dirty white candy” here. She has also included small side servings of some writerly advice washed down with a wine whose vintage is rich in brevity and aged with a dry humor.
Now that the she is out of the hot seat…I am going to help myself to some of her delicious dirty white candy and offer compliments to the chef of this speciality.
Thank you for being my 1st Warrior for Warrior Wednesday.
Remember….wield your quill with wit and wisdom for….
The quill is swifter than the rapier,
ink imbrues deeper than blood …
` girl with a quill `…
© All rights reserved Kim Koning.

Anchors Away!! Launching Travelicious Tuesdays!!

More Breaking News

Hello all my lovely followers. This week is a big week. Firstly I have the very exciting WARRIOR WEDNESDAYs kicking off tomorrow with my 100th post and my 101 post both in the same day. Secondly I am very appreciative to the 308 followers on twitter who have just got me over the “300” mark I had set myself…now I am hoping for 500 followers and readers in the next 5 months….POSSIBLE – Everything is POSSIBLE because as you know – that is my Word for 2011.

Come Travelling with me - I have packed your suitcase

So what have you lovely bloggers and tweeps been up to in the wonderful work of the web today? Let me tell you about my day. I started off in Auckland, New Zealand but at lunch time I took a side trip to Tuscany.

My View from my window at lunchtime today

It was Spring in Tuscany. Everything was green. The bees were buzzing and the birds were singing. I was exploring the Tuscan countryside. Amazed at every turn what I came across. My appetite was sated by delicious and generous helpings of pasta. The wind picked up a bit so I decided to leave Tuscany for a short while and made my way down south to Sicily. Where Tuscany was as warm and welcoming as a restored terracotta Villa amidst terraced vineyards and Olive groves, so was Sicily brisk and in your face. The traffic was horrendous. I decided to take taxi’s for the rest of the time in Sicily. I was concerned about running into the Mafioso but although I was served by a few waiters who looked determined enough to belong to this organisation I did not run into any nefarious Al Pacino look-alikes. But Alas, every vacation has to come to an end and before coming back to my world in Auckland, I took a stroll through my Tuscan paradise. The fields were covered in the violet hues of the incomparable Iris. I plucked fresh almonds to eat. The freshly grown asparagus was a perfect addition to the pasta I made my friends as we sat down and enjoyed the beautiful local wines of Poiliziano’s: Le Stanze, Elegia and Ambre. But unfortunately work called me back to Auckland and I came back reluctantly. The sweet tastes, sounds and experiences of Tuscany left behind but bottled in Memory – another lovely bottle of wine with a hint of sweet lemon and the bittersweet taste of Almonds and Olives.

Under the Tuscan sun in the sun-drenched and olive drizzled Bella Tuscany

Ah today’s journey was truly Bella Tuscany (The Sweet Life in Italy)  a day filled with warmth, life and love Under the Tuscan Sun. My thanks go to the generosity of my Tour Guide for the day: Frances Mayes. Looking forward to returning to your tours soon.

This launches my new weekly Tuesday blog called Travelicious Tuesday. On this day through this blog and your imagination I will take you on trips to wonderful places. For at least the time it takes you to read each Tuesday post, you can leave behind your ordinary lives and join me in the rich experience of Travelicious Tuesdays. Some of these are places I have been and some we will be guided by our Tour Guide of the day.

All you need is your mind....your body will follow...Come with me on Tours with Travelicious Tuesdays

See you next week. BonVoyage!

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.