Saturday, January 30, 2010


Well, for the first time in a long while I went to town to do some shopping all by my lonesome. I left a little after eleven... but that's boring. You're really just interested in what I bought, aren't you?

Okay, at River Island I bought a t-shirt that says "Je ne comprende pas" on it. I love it! I also bought some fingerless gloves. I know what you're thinking. Waste of money, right? No, I got them so most of my hands will be warm as I type. My bedroom gets quite cold, so it's neccessary to keep as warm as possible. Fingers on gloves would be difficult to type with... and impossible to use an iPod with!

I then went on a fruitless hunt for The College Student's Introduction to Theology, which I need for my religion tutorials in college. I call this a Gabbo fail, for setting us a book that isn't available.

Ended up, after a long walk in a different direction, at The Gutter Bookshop. The staff member there was really friendly! It's an indie shop, run by a former book buyer in the shop I work. Didn't get to talk to him, but one of his two staff was delightful to talk to. I recommend a visit there (it's on Cow's Lane, in Temple Bar). I bought the BBC Shorty Story Awards 2009 book, and a notebook to write my Doctor Haik-Who into.

I just realised... I skipped my Muji stop. Muji's a fancy little Japanese retailer. Sells some stationary, and furniture... odd mix, I know. I bought a small pencil case and a fold up ruler. I am that cool.

And as I was leaving, I bought a double chocolate cupcake from Johnnie Cupcakes. It was delicious! The right level of moisture, perfectly sweet, and not too heavy either! I wish I had another one!

Oh, and in case you liked the Doctor Haik-Who so much that you want more already, there's some on my latest post on the Literary Den blog. You can view it here:

Now, I think it's time to get some dinner. Cinema later. Take care!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Doctor Haik-who

Last week I did some experimenting with some Haiku, themed around Doctor Who. Hence the dreadful title. Anyway, I thought I'd ask for some feedback from y'all. They're posted with the episode or particular element of Doctor Who in mind. The question is, are they any good?

Silence in the Library
Where is the way out?
Why are the shadows moving?
Who turned out the lights?

The Empty Child
Are you my mummy?
Or maybe just a Doctor?
Please help me, Mummy!

The Doctor
Who is this strange man
Always running ‘round about
Through London, and Time?

If the feedback is positive enough, I'll continue writing them. I have a few handwritten and not shared with anyone, even my familia or my friends. If BBC allow it, I'll be making a book out of them. I really hope they allow it!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nothing but a Memory

The world shook today, but not in quite the same way it did a couple of weeks ago. This was more of communal shudder of the grim variety; JD Salinger died, aged 91. You may not have read any of his books - I haven't, though I still want to - but if you know anything about books you know The Catcher in the Rye is perhaps one of the most finely written books of the twentieth century.

This blog post is something like jumping on the bandwagon - everyone is talking about Salinger and the as yet uncertain reasons regarding his passing. I haven't bothered reading more than the first link I saw, and that was only to confirm that it wasn't just an internet rumour.

At times like this, people often come out and say "He's nothing but a memory now." Those people are wrong. A fantastic writer by the name of Jeremy C Shipp taught me that in his book Vacation. Nothing and memory don't belong in the same sentence, he says. He's right. We are more than a memory when we pass on, and we're more than a body void of life and an idea of a soul fluttering away to destination unknown.

We are the sum of our accomplishments and failures. We are every word we ever wrote, every word we ever spoke, every sound we uttered or screamed and every sigh of relief we make. We are the people we loved, and the people we hated, the ones we hardly knew and the ones we never knew. We are our actions and our thoughts. And a memory. We are always a memory, but never just a memory. And we're always people. Dead or alive, we are always people.

The literary world, and the friends and family, and friends of family, will all mourn the death of the reclusive writer who chose not to publish for the last half of his life. But he never really needed to. His voice, his perfect literary achievement, was already out there in the world, the modern classic, the cult fiction piece, the fantastic piece of coming of age literature; it is perhaps one of the greatest books ever written, and I'm yet to get past two pages of it. Does that mean it was bad? Not at all. It means I wasn't in the right mind set for the book.

As a homage to the late author, I encourage you to give his book a read, and pay your own silent respects for him. The world of books lost one of its finest in the craft.

RIP JD Salinger, the Man, the Memory and the Life Lived.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I find that since Christmas, sleep isn't coming as easily as it ought to. It's likely to do with the late nights I spent during that break watching movies and whatnot, and waking up at ten in the morning, carefree, relaxed, easy going...

Now I'm paying for it, big time. I got to bed at eleven or half eleven most nights, and I'm due to wake up at a quater to eight every morning, except Wednesdays when I'm up at seven. I have one hour to get ready for college, before I arrive fifty minutes early for my lectures, and get home before half four in the afternoon. At this point, I've been awake for sixteen hours and have had at least one cup of tea, usually.

I'm also not that tired.

In the mornings, I wish I could sleep on for another hour or two at least. At night, like when I write this, I'm tired. When I finally get into bed, I'm not. I just can't sleep.

I think I'm actually descending into a state of zombification, and immaturity as a result of it. The rude, inappropriate, yet often hilarious things I say (hilarious for the shock value, mainly) at college are all characteristic of this increasingly exhausted Me. And you know what? I still drink a cup of tea before bed.

I know - caffeine before bed? This guy's a nutter! He also left out the inverted commas, so he's referring to himself solely in the third person. Crazy!

I can manage that though. A cup of tea before bed has been ritual for me even in the days I best slept. As far as I'm concerned, it's the best thing for me before bed. Food is too heavy, milk leaves that awful film in my mouth come morning time (you know, when it feels like you've eaten the mythical spider everyone says you eat at night), water makes me need to use the toilet in the middle of the night and soft drinks don't go down well before trying to sleep. Tea for the win.

I don't want to risk not having tea, either. I'm always thirsty as I head to sleep if I don't have anything (such as right now - I haven't drunk anything since my dinner four hours ago). I'm actually in a situation where the only thing I can drink before bed is tea. And apparently that doesn't help getting to sleep.

So what do I do? How the heck can I get more sleep without resorting to mid-day naps? (because seriously, they would mess with me even more!)

And sleeping later into the morning won't help - I essentially carpool. Okay, I get a bus, but it's with my brother in the same college, so I have to leave at the same time as him. Or risk the traffic. Which I refuse to do. That's a bad thing.

Now I'm rambling. Help!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

YouTube Giveaway

I knew today that I would have something to blog about, I just didn't know what.

But now I know! I'm doing a giveaway on YouTube, of The Literary Den Book of New Fiction 2008. The video can be viewed here:

The info in the "sidebar"

Subscribe and answer to enter:
What's your favourite children's or young adult book, and why?

The book:
The charity:
The group:

Deadline: Feb 10th 2010

Good luck everyone! (remember, comments on the video, not here!)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Review - Above the Veil

Above the Veil (The Seventh Tower, Book 4)I've spent the day reading, for a change, and I've gone through the entirity of Above the Veil by Garth Nix. Book four of the The Seventh Tower series, the story follows the Chosen Tal and the Ice Carl Milla as they attempt to get a Sunstone each for Tal's family and Milla's clan. Well, four books in, and things are a little different. Now it's less of a family issue, more an apocalypse pending.

But enough of that. How did the book compare to the others in the series? Honestly? I thought it was one of the best so far. Particularly the point about moving away from such a small thing as family (okay, so family is big, but without a world to put it in... I think you get the picture). And Tal was developed quite well from when we first meet him in The Fall. He's not a stuck-up Chosen all the time, and he's learned to keep his mouth shut.

How does it compare to others books in its field? That's arguable. I think the story's fantastic and lots of kids will love it, but at the same time, not everyone will like this. It's fantasy, that's the genre guarantee.

How about other books by the author? If I'm honest, the series isn't my favourite of Nix's, but I still love the books. However, if you're looking for something for older readers and with more depth, I recommend firstly The Abhorsen Trilogy and secondly The Keys to the Kingdom series. That's if you're looking for a series, of course. For a fantastic stand-alone, I recommend Shade's Children.

Looking forward to the next book? I am. I have it on my shelf already, just waiting to be read... probably next week before I can do that. I don't think I can wait that long to find out what happens when Tal and Milla go Into Battle. (see what I did there? That's puntastic use of the title of book five in the series!)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I got new books

Well, if that wasn't a self-explanatory title, I don't know what is! As you know, if you've been following my blog for a long time, or stalking me, I work in a book shop. I'm quite happy with that fact - I want to write, I love to read, and I don't have a lot of money. So 30% off books is great for me (i.e. my staff discount).

Today, I went a little bit overboard (ha - no such thing as overboard with books!). I got... 7 books? Okay, so two weren't really books, and one wasn't for me.... I digress.

I'll start with the ones that aren't books. StoryWorld: Stories of the Sea and StoryWorld: Animal Tales. I have the other three decks of cards as well, so it made sense to complete my collection... unless they plan on releasing more packs... then I have to spend more money. I hope to make use of these cards both with my own writing and, if it's allowed, on YouTube. (see, this is me always thinking about how to use my resources to my advantage).

Next, the book that wasn't for me. See, I already have my copy, and this one is for my twin. Children's Minds, by Margaret Donaldson is a book we need for college. It's supposed to be good... I suppose I better read it, then.

Then the rest... Toy Stories, by James May, to share with my brothers. We all loved the show, and the book was 70% off - it made sense to invest in familial bonding this way. The Little Black Book - Books, because I like books. And it cost me €2. Ka-ching! I'll make use of it, I promise... Into Battle, by Garth Nix, because I love his books. I still have to read Above the Veil, though... silly me. And finally, but not the least important by any means, Hunger, by Michael Grant. Loved Gone, now to try the sequel. Can't wait! (except I have to, because I'm behind on college reading, and stuff)

Believe it or not, they aren't the only books unread in my collection that I can see. Seriously, I have dozens of books bought but not read. A small fortune went into my mini-library. This summer is reading summer, I think. And writing summer. And the summer of keeping up with friends old and new. And hopefully the summer I get to spend editing a book based on a publisher's recommendations for it. (a man can dream, can't he?)

What are your reading lists like?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Locked up with God

I had a weird experience last night... the Fat Fighters trapped us in the Pastoral Centre (note: Fat Fighters is my immature substitute for Weight Watchers). When I say "trapped" I mean they turned off all the lights but the one in our room, put on the alarm, and locked both locks on the door. When I say "us" I mean myself (obviously), Niamh, Ingrid, Sorcha, Cliodhna and the religious woman... I forgot her name, okay!

Thankfully Niamh knew the code to turn off the alarm when it went off...

Why am I telling you all this? I have a video about it!

Also, keep an eye on my YouTube channel and this blog - I'll be doing giveaways next week!! And they're good giveaways too. One is with a book that the money of which goes to charity and the other is a book you literally can't buy anywhere.

Peace, Love and Potter,

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Struggling with Words

As I write the articles for The Anonymous Writer, I find myself stuck for words. My planned article on social justice just leaves me with a blank. How do I write something original on current affairs? (In case you don't know, it's impossible to write something original on current affairs without discovering something more current than the present...)

Then there's the fiction section... the story I want to write right now isn't what I want to self-publish. I want to submit it, if I ever write it. I think it might stand a chance at actually getting publishing in a magazine... if I ever write it.

And the book reviews? Well, I'm too lazy for that, I suppose. And I keep changing my mind about my Music section. (Okay, so in that case my "struggling for words" situation is struggling for words I want to keep on the page...)

Throw in edits for Meet Sam... well, for the past six months I've had the same pages ready to edit and I just haven't done it. But Monica read it in a day and loved it, and wants me to write a sequel (coincidentally the day after I decided on possible titles for sequels!) I need to edit more.

*sigh* Any writerly woes, anyone? (yes, writerly)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I took a break

Well, I had a long day of college - the first long day since we started back. Tired, mainly from the waking at 7 thing, I decided not to write too much. Everything I tried doing turned out rubbish anyway, so it's probably best. I'd only have wasted my time in doing work I was going to delete anyway.

On the bright side of things, I did organise the order of the poems for Poetry Against Cancer and send it off to Rachel. Finally! I meant to do that a week ago... my excuse is college and I'm sticking to it!

Also Glee... yes, I'm a Gleek. I can't help it. It's music, it's dancing and it's amazing. I love the songs I've heard them sing on it so far. And yes, I will be buying the soundtrack after I've watched the episodes.

In other news... I've been reuniting with some old friends via Facebook. And I mean old. Primary school friends. I've had miniature conversations with two of them today, and it was great! I look forward to the chance of getting everyone to meet up in Quinn's or something, when Aidan gets back from Wales, of course. Don't want to leave him out.

So in short, life is good. *insert smiley face here*

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Anonymous Writer Update

I've spent a few creative hours working on the magazine today, to see exactly how much work needs to go into this. Right now it's going fine - I got 4 of the 12 tasks done that I set myself, though the 12 may become 11, or even 10. Admitedly it was most of the easier tasks that I got done, but it was fun nonetheless.

I may spend the rest of the night writing an essay on positive thought and its ability to change lives, or maybe a piece on Social Justice, which I can ask my friend's dad, a lecturer in my college, to read before I publish it. Fascinating stuff, I have to say.

As the weekend approaches, I'll also be writing a short story for the magazine, and hopefully finding a couple of photographs to take. I'm thinking some stalking of my back garden may be in order... there's also some nice birds out there. I will need to wait until my family won't be around to watch me watching nothing. That would be awkward.

Then there's the book reviews! I need to find the books I want to review. I'm thinking of some now, even as I type - so exciting! I can't wait to get this thing published online. Which reminds me - cover design! Social Justice may have to take a back seat for that. My idea is simple, but I need to make sure it will work.

Writeranonymous - away!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Getting Ideas

Recently I've been getting ideas for things that aren't all related with writing fiction. That's a strange experience for me; normally my life consists of fiction as an escape from reality. Now I'm in the process of putting together a poetry book, organising my Sooper Sekrit Project, and considering taking on another task that would get my name out there in a different field... non-fiction!

Let's put everything in perspective first of all. My fiction isn't dead, just crazy. Actually, I'm the crazy one, would be more accurate to say. Instead of writing down my ideas for my books, I'm speaking out dialogue in a whisper in the bathroom every time I go in there. Gotta love showers for that - I can spend a few minutes waking up in the water in the morning, then when I'm drying myself, which I spend far too long doing anyway, I can go through plots and conversations and all sorts of stuff. I better start writing them all down though.

As for the poetry book... I need to organise the order of the poems still. I'm going to print them tomorrow before college to encourage me to do it. For now, though, I'm going to arrange promotion. Already setting targets for the followers of the Facebook page to meet in terms of getting new fans - 750 by Friday? Easy. 736 as I'm writing this. People are awesome at reducing World Suck (world suck, for those of you who don't know is a term used my the Vlog Brothers John and Hank Green to describe things that make the world suck.. fairly straightforward, you'll agree).

The Sooper Sekrit Project now has one draft of a List of Awesome, 2010. The list contains ten items that are awesome that will be included in the project in the year, assuming it ever gets going. If I don't get additional help on this, it'll just be me. Scary thought, but I think I can do it.

Then there's that new idea... I want to do a sort of magazine thing. It's going to be a monthly or bi-monthly piece with essays on different things in the world. So I'd have a piece of Theology, which could be discussion of the Church, or a journey of self-discovery, or a piece on Justice. Then there'd be a Poetry section, which might include a couple of specially written poems, maybe some Haiku, and a recommendation for some poetry too (as I'm studying Poetry in college right now, and I run a writers group, this part should be easy). I'm also thinking of a writing piece or two - advice from my own experiences to help people get past problems, a writing experiment or two, an interview with someone I know online, or just an essay on books. And a few reviews, if I have any I'd like to share. Recommended reading for different ages for kids, and stuff like that. I might even have a photography section, if it can be arranged.

As well as topical things like that, I'd also have a kind of follow-up on things happening in my life that are book related - the Den and anything we do, Poetry Against Cancer, the Sooper Sekrit Project, and any info, if any, on my publishing progress.

The entire thing will be in A5 on paper, but also available in e-format. I'd be charging very cheaply for issues after the first, if I go ahead with this, but the first one will be free to keep people coming back for more if they like it.

Which means I'd need a subscriber page, too. Maybe a giveaway...

Good thing I placed an order for some books earlier! I'm already planning one giveaway, but if this gets going I'll plan other stuff. Hopefully if I get a fairly decent reader-size the prizes will fund themselves. It'll be done through, so it'll be easy to manage revenue and whatnot.

Oh, I never told you my name for the magazine. Well, since it's my magazine, about writing and other things, The Anonymous Writer, to fit in with my Twitter and YouTube names. And if this actually makes me any money, I'll have to try get a website. That would be so cool!

Now.. thoughts, anyone?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weekend War, Part 2

I lost, I think. Eileen updated me on her weekend, and she seems to have trumped mine. Unless a thousand people suddenly vote for me in the Shorty Awards or become fans of the fundraising page for Our Lady's Children's Hosptial, Crumlin, then my weekend is officially worse than hers.

However, it wasn't bad. Pretty good in fact, as far as my weekends normally go. Last night, as I mentioned, was Ciarán's birthday get-together, a lads night, a time when people who hadn't seen each other in a good long while got to just hang out. It was great! We laughed, a lot. And talked, a lot. And loudly, on both accounts. Ciarán liked his present (which I can now reveal to be two books - Obama's Blackberry and The Average American Male - and the latest Mighty Boosh Live DVD, which is the show we all went to see when it came to Dublin!). It was definitely a good night. And there was pizza. Delicious pizza.

I slept in. That's always fun. Actually, it's more accurate to say I had a lie-in, because I wasn't actually going anywhere. I didn't send my letter to America, or buy books, but I can do those things tomorrow.

I cleaned my room. I know that might not sound like a good thing, but now my dad will stop bothering me about it. Win!

I also got to watch Heroes, after an amazing Sunday Roast dinner. The episode was less exciting than the first two (which aired last Saturday), but it was essential in terms of character introduction, development, and power demonstration, and it furthered the plot, continued story arks, and brought about a whole new level of suspense. Fantastic!

Had a relaxing day, overall. Nothing too strenuous. I did, however, give a possible candidate more info on the Sooper Sekrit Project my followers on Twitter have been hearing about so much. Nice guy, lives in America.

Might as well tell all readers here - the project, details remaining secret for now, requires one person to work on it with me who likes to read and is comfortable talking to a camera. Specific types of books are in mind, so if you're applying for this sooper fun project, please bare don't feel bad if you get turned away for reading something else. It's just not the type of books I'm going for with this, at least not this year.

Nice finish to the weekend - seeing the follower numbers for the Poetry Against Cancer Facebook page (the fundraising page already mentioned) with 680 followers! That's over 400 followers since Monday. How cool is that? Take that World Suck!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Weekend War, Part 1

Well, it's the weekend. You know what that means? Time for a Weekend War with Eileen. See, on Facebook she started listing all the things she was doing, or the little treats she was going to eat, and I thought, "Why isn't my weekend that good?"

Now I'm in a personal war with her to have the better weekend. As we all know, of course, the weekend starts on Friday night. At least it does in Ireland, or else the pubs would be empty. have my hours been spent?

Well, last night I went to see Up In The Air, staring George Clooney, and a cast of people I've never heard of. It was a "rom-com" without much romance at all. More like casual sex. Delightful. And the comedy... well, it wasn't in-your-face comedy like The Hangover; it was more like dry humour, where the characters just had to speak in some cases to be funny. And I went to see it with friends from secondary school, so even better!

Today... well, I was in work. Now, that might sound bad, but it was only for six hours and the wonderful Alan O'Neill, one of the coolest teachers ever from my secondary school dropped in. We had a chat about stuf in general, like college, and the school, and it made my day a little better. And at lunch I treated myself to a cake from the bakery... it's okay, I'm allowed to...

Got home at about a quater past four, or thereabouts anyway, and got on the PC to play a Warhammer game. It's explosive, it's violent and it's virtual - perfect!

And later? Well, later's the fun part - "lads night" at Ciarán's house to celebrate his birthday! (note to self - wrap his present!). I've no idea what we'll be doing, but it should be fun. Plus I get to see all my old friends again. Yay!

Tomorrow will be boring in comparison unless I do something, so I'm going to work on the Poetry Against Cancer book and do some editing work on Meet Sam. (which, by the way, a lecturer in my college liked! Yuss!) I also have to place in an order for some books and send a letter to America - fun! And I get to watch Heroes, which I have to record tonight due to lack of being home.

Oh, and during this blog post... I lost the Game. Sorry everybody.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What's Going On?!

I don't know if you've been watching the news lately, or the Twitter feeds, but the world is slightly falling apart. Let's review, shall we?

Britain and Ireland, and I think a lot of Europe too, went through The Cold Snap. It was, as you can guess, very cold. If I'm not mistaken, it's still cold in England. Lots of snow, lots of ice, lots of sleet. In Ireland, that was followed up with lots of rain and lots of wind. And there were shortages of water as a result of increased consumption for heating.

Zoom over to the other side of the world, and what do you get? A massive earthquake. A few days later, a smaller, but still frightening earthquake. And three more in one US state.

Haiti. Venezuela. Oklahoma.

The world, it seems, is slightly falling apart. Relief organisations are up to their necks in work, people are donating what they can, the news is filled with all the latest info on nature (which, subsequently, destroyed my umbrella - it was a kite with a spider-work frame by the time I reached my destination).

And what do the people do?

The collective "we" of the developed world take the homeless in off the streets to keep them as warm as possible. We donate food and clothing to the poor people of Haiti. And we talk about it. We talk about it a lot.

And all the while, life for us has to go on. People still get sick over here. Terrible illnesses still cripple our nations.

I don't know everyone's situation in life, but if you have a little extra you can give, please think of those in need right now. All the world relief organisations are on this case, doing what they can to help out. Pick one and go with it, no regrets, no pain. It may be a recession, but it's also a matter of life or death.

Respectfully yours,
Paul Carroll.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Back to the Beginning

I've been thinking about this, and I think it's time I told the story of how I started writing. It's not all pretty, but it's my genuine experience that's changed my life for the better.

Technically speaking, my earliest memory of writing was... I think I was eleven, or I might have been nine, one or the other - I just know I was in an upstairs room in primary school, and it wasn't when I was 12. There was, and still is, thankfully, an old lady on my road about whom I thought, "She looks lonely." So I took out a copy book, which was actually a sums copy, but I didn't care, and I started writing the story, with illustrations, of Dove Airheart, a White Witch fighting to rid the world of the horrors that are Heithor (pronounced Hi-Thor) and Master O Cuther (that's pronounced O Coo-er... I was a strange child, okay!). It was never finished, but not everyone finishes their first book.

A definte point in time when I started using the word "chapter" in stories was when I was nine. I remember a story about this group of kids with super powers, except for one of them. He was the one that had the power to finish everything, after they'd gotten to a box filled with magic. The magic gave him his power, and that ended the story. Some of the characters had rubbish powers - one girl was part monkey; how rubbish is that!

Then when I was eleven or twelve, or it might have been during both ages, I wrote a short story of about 300 words, then a second and a third in series, all in the run up to secondary school when I'd finally start to write the novel. The start of the novel coincided with another period of my life - the time when I became a loner.

I know some people look at that word and think the "n" is synonymous with an "s" (i.e. loner = loser), but really, that wasn't the case. I wasn't a loner because I did something wrong; I was a loner because the people I was friends with decided suddenly, out of the blue, that there was something inherently wrong with me. At first it was a slagging thing, insults, all that jazz. Then the summer came, and I was starting my novel for about the third time. I remember the first draft being rather...bad. The second draft began as a hand written piece. The third draft, from the beginning, was on our new computer. The memory was wiped, or something. I don't know. But I lost the original draft somewhere along the line.

Then third year came. It was the most important academic year of my life to date - it was the year of the Junior Cert. And what was I doing in the morning? Chasing after a group of people who greeted my arrival at the bicycle yard with, "Oh great, here he is. Let's go."

In the months that followed, I ended up making things easier for them - I walked straight past them before they could leave. I had no choice but to isolate myself. And at lunch..? Well, I became acquinted with the first years in the school; they were more tolerable than the second years, the fourth years were mostly immature, the sixth years were sixth years were very alien to me (and I was too young for them) and the fifth years were my older brother's friends. So I talked to first years, who were on average two years younger than me. Back then, at that age, the gap seemed huge.

There were several unpelasurable incidents during the year, but I did write a lot too. The book, What Lurks Through the Mirror was written most nights, some of them for a much longer duration of time. I aimed for 9 pages a chapter and 24 chapters, without really considering anything like font size or the line spacing. As it happened, it was 9 pages of size ten Times New Roman, single line spacing. Hard to read and hard to get nine pages out of.

During my exile from the people in my year, I made a concious decision not to use violence to solve any of my problems. When it came closer to the exams, one of my old friends arrived on the scene, bored and alone. He was bigger than me, stronger than me, and thought that he was better than me in every single way imaginable. He kicked me, to assert his power. Instinctively, I kicked him back. I didn't enjoy it, and I stopped myself the second time he kicked me. Wanting to encourage a response, he kicked again, a little higher. I was fortunate he only hit my thigh, or there would have been a big problem following.

Then he stopped. He stopped and he saw me standing there, not defending myself, not fighting back. And he did the most amazing thing - he apologised. So I asked him - or I told him, I think - that when he sees the others, he better make sure they get the message; I wasn't about to take any more crap from them, and if they played their little "Let's go," game again, I'd report them for bullying.

And you know what? Persistence worked. I had finally beaten them. I was able to talk to them again, and they found that they actually didn't hate me. Over the next few years, I developed brilliant friendships with most, but I didn't resent the others; it was just a matter of not hanging out with them as much.

And you know what else? By June that year, in the first weekend of the exams, I finished What Lurks Through the Mirror at a whopping 120 thousand words. And that was a children's book. It was my children's book. It was the first thing I had ever written, following the biggest fight of my life, the fight I won without violence.

And the rest, the gap between now and then, is - as they say - history. History filled with friends, songs, fads, books and lots of writing. And like I said before, the events of third year changed me for the better. I was a stronger person, and I had my dream ahead of me. I was ready to face the world of writing. I wouldn't change a single thing about it.

Anyway, that's my story. It's filled with all the usual things we're all told not to do, like start sentences with "And" (especially not three paragraphs in a row!), and it's written in a mad, "Oh yeah, and this happened," sort of style, but it's all true. Just... don't feel sorry for me, okay? ^_^

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Shorty Awards

Well, it's that time of the year when the Shorty Awards pop in and dominate the tweeting boards. I'm nominated in two categories, though I really just need Literature to get picked up and sent to the Official Categories. So really what I'm asking is for votes, I suppose.

It doesn't take long; all you need is a Twitter account!

In return, I'll be tweeting a sentence or two of The Magical Emporium of Magical Things for every nomination. Every ten will see a poem being posted here, and at 100, something special will happen. I don't expect to get to 100, but I think I'll let the suspense tell the story. Also, every day a new chapter of Geneticide will be posted at: until the end of the book. (the competition will be over by then, of course).

Now, for your reading pleasure (I hope), here's today's instalment of The Magical Emporium of Magical Things.

There existed, in the world, a time after the dying festival of Christmas when all manner of sheets, cloths, rags and other such things were held out of windows on poles and ropes; this time was known as the Sails. No one could quite remember the origin of the Sails, only knowing that so long as they were up, the prices were subsequently down. This pleased all the Hugh Mans, and every other person too, and during times of Economic Downturn (the term coined by Acting Directors to encourage people to buy home produce) people were able to save the money they apparently didn't have in the first place.

In The Magical Emporium of Magical Things, the world's first magic shop not burned down by the acient peolple all knwon as Chris Tea Ans, the Sails were being raised by a clever trick knwon as Man Power. This ancient magic was no long knwon to the world, after it discovered that magic and machines did in fact work well together, and laziness was rather fun indeed. The owner of the Emporium, one Rich Dave, observed (his second favourite pasttime, next to exploding objects of varying size, value and sentimental importance) the clever system of levers, wheels and ropes, all turned and pulled by a single crank, wind the Sails into place. With some difficultly, the one and only Sails Assistant in the Emporium, Middle Class Rodney, would the crank, panting and sweating, perhaps for dramatic effect. Finally he locked the device into place.

Geneticide has already been uploaded, so if you're still up for a read, check out the above link! Also... the voting link! Vote Literature! ^_^

Take care!

Monday, January 11, 2010

There was a blog post here...

..but it's an idiot.

I was entirely irresponsible earlier and wrote something I shouldn't have. For the sake of the subject of the blog, it has been removed. If I don't appear tomorrow, it's because of that (though I will do my all and utmost to keep my chin up and promote a particular cause and pray that the last blog did not destroy a very important part of my life)

Sorry for being a twat,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back to Vlogging

Well, I've finally gotten up the courage to vlog while my family were in the house. Well, my parents were, but that's the same thing. My twin already knows I vlog, though he hasn't seen any of the videos, but my older brother is still ignorant of this fact and I'd like it stay that way.

Anyway, my new video Welcome to 2010! is now live and available to view. Please enjoy, and if you'd like something to be done in a video, don't be afraid to ask (although painful/stupid things that might get me caught by my family are out of the question.

If my plans go ahead, my Sooper Sekrit project will be announced within the next week or so. Also, I'll be annoying publishers soon to see if I can do something else on my YouTube channel that will certainly help spice things up a bit. (By the way, my YouTube channel can be found here: )

Now, until next time (like maybe tomorrow), good bye! (Also, sorry this blog increased World Suck)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I Need New Heroes!

Imagine that title as the replacement lyrics to "I Need A Hero." Then have an explosion after that line. That's what I'm thinking right now; a parody song with explosions.

According to my laptop, as I'm typing this sentence, I only have to wait one hour and fifty seven minutes before I no longer have to look for something to do. At this point, Heroes Season 4, Volume 5, Redemption begins on BBC2, and my nine month long wait of pain ends (I think it was nine months anyway... it ended in May?)

Seriously, I've been waiting a long time for this episode. I aired originally in the US on ABC in September. That's right, September! The States got the show a whole four months before us, and we had to avoid all the chat rooms, the Heroes Wiki site and every email regarding Heroes all in an effort to avoid spoilers. I had to stop buying the Heroes magazine so that I wouldn't read what happens in the episodes to come, and so that I wasn't spending money on something that was becoming less and less use to me by the week. There was also the matter that I didn't have time to get into Town to buy it, but that's a different story (Drama - there, I told a story within a story; take that Evangelist Mark!)

Now with just over an hour to go, my long long wait is coming to an end, and I get to share this wonderous moment with my twins brother, because we both love the show! Love it love it love it love it love it! (Okay, so I'm a little excited about this!)

Also... seven out of nine days blogged this year! Woo hoo!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Slightly addicted

I've found I have a few addictions on the Internet. One of them is obvious - the whole of the Internet. As a writer, I'm constantly looking for ways to distract myself, and being on a laptop with a Wi-Fi connection is the best way to do it.

The second one is Twitter. I'm one of those people who can just refresh a page a hundred times over, even at Christmas when I knew no one was online. I'm just weird that way, I suppose.

The third is the cringe-worthy Cafe World on Facebook. Seriously, I can't get enough of it for some reason. I think it might be a power thing - I've hired my friends, I own them as staff, they have to do what I want them to. (subsequently, no they don't... they're supposed to, but then they walk the entire way around the cafe for no apparent reason, with dirty plates and starving customers everywhere!)

The fourth... this! I've found that since I got into the swing of blogging, I just can't seem to stop. I was almost screaming when I couldn't think of anything to say, then I realised I'd blogged five of the seven days of the year previously, so I may as well go for six of the eight! I actually love doing, even if no one's reading. (you are reading this, though, right?)

Fifth... I think it might be that Bubble Towers game on I don't know why... I just like it.

Sixth, though this isn't really in any order, is YouTube. I love watching videos, especially new and interesting ones, and listening to music over and over again on it (like my friend Luke's original piano piece!). Then there's the making of videos! I know I'm not really that good at it, but I still like it, especially when people leave comments (and when they subscribe!) I'm just hoping that my Sooper Sekrit project goes ahead (I've contacted a well known YouTuber about it to see if she wants to do it with me - I've emailed her a few times before, but we're not friends as yet; we might be if she says yes and we communicate over the project).

Seventh... I don't know that there is one. Emails I suppose. I love emails. I love checking emails. And then receiving them from actual people, not just spam mail or Twitter updates. Actual email, even if it's just from my cousin Rachel (she's a legend, by the way). And actually, I like receiving actual mail too. Like when I used to be on Twitter for hours on end hunting down free books from publishers in the summer. I've got loads of them now! I loved getting the envelopes in the post and opening it up to see what book it was. I was like a kid on Christmas morning, only it happened again and again and again, and each time it was something different, something I could say, "Oh yeah!" to because I'd forgotten I was going to receive it.

So there you have it, my seven Internet addictions. Some are clearly more substantial than others, but they can't all be good, can they?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bad Timing

I had my first day back in college... except there were no lectures! Confused? So was I.

Now, our English lecturer was kind enough to email us yesterday to tell us that due to the snow and the difficulties involved in travelling, the lecture would be cancelled. That was fine; we all got a lie in this morning.

We had a Theology lecture at half two... or so we thought! We arrived early. The lecturer failed to show his face at all. Fifteen minutes in, another lecturer arrives to tell us the lecture was cancelled and that he'd sent an email.

Rewind an hour and a half... I'm an home, iPod in my hand and connected to the Internet. I check my college emails... nothing new. Okay, I thought, the lecture's still on.

Five O'Clock today... the email finally arrives to tell us that the lecture we were present to attend is cancelled. Thank you?

Such matters should have been dealt with sooner, methinks. Like Wednesday morning, when it was quite obvious that there were going to be difficulties. At least then we would have been guaranteed to know when we weren't supposed to go in!

Anyone else experience similar timing mess ups?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I don't get it... Fan-fiction I mean. I really just don't get it. I mean, why? Someone tell me why you would write a story about a story you already love? Are you not afraid of ruining it for yourself, or others? You all know about the protective barrier established around Amy - if you insult her over her blog at the Literary Den, you will be dealt with appropriately.

Anyway, someone actually responded to our blog with her own blog post, and it wasn't BiPagan from before (who, as it turns out, is a lovely person and didn't encourage insults en masse at Amy ^_^). This new person is called The Dead Parrot, and her post can be found here. (gosh I hope it is a girl after saying it a few times...)

I tried to respond politely to her on her blog, only to discover that I can't... Sucks, doesn't it? So I've no way of getting my comment over to her, unless she finds this blog post. Anyway, here's what I had to say to her:


Hello there. I came across your blog through the Literary Den Blog Stats, saying that people were referred to our page through yours. Just thought a polite response was in order (if I don't come across as polite, I apologise - I sometimes fail in that manner...)

Firstly, the largely quoted paragraph... I just think I should point out that Amy has just gotten past the stage of fan-fiction meaning a lot to her (as far as I know.) We don't condemn fan-fic in the Den, Amy just wanted to discuss it in the blog (we don't like monitoring what our bloggers say; they have opinions, so let them be heard). So, please don't be angry with her for your entire point number 3 ^_^

I also thought I should bring some of the comments made on the blog to your attention, in case you didn't bother reading them (not everyone likes to read everything about a blog, I understand that ^_^). Okay, so yes the point of originality was made (“I don’t have anything against fan-fic, but I just don’t get it. If you want to write, write something origional… but I do get that it’s probably good practice for people.”) but the person in question did also say that he doesn't get fan-fiction. Much in the same way I don't. In my case though, it's not because I don't think it doesn't count (except that it can't be published for profit, because that's illegal). No, rather I don't get fan-fiction because I'm afraid that I'll be less of a fan of something if my opinion is changed about a character in the story by either reading or writing the fan-fic in question. I think you can understand that - you like fan-fiction because it lets you do what you want with a story. At least, that's the impression I'm getting from your blog post.

Another comment also said, “...there are only two types of writing, good writing and bad writing. And, if you are writing fan fiction it’s still writing, no matter what some people might think of it.” I think this is rather good support for fan-fiction, and in case you might be choosing to condemn the blog because of Amy's post, keep it in mind that there are a lot of mixed opinions out there (and the two people I quoted from are self-acclaimed writing snobs...)

So, I think that's all I had to say. Thanks for reading our blog, and I hope you come back ^_^ Also, please feel free to comment on our blog if you want to say something to the gang (not everyone is as mad as I am to go looking for who's writing about us =P)

All the very best,
Paul Carroll,
Founder of the Literary Den.


I think I came across politely... I hope I did, anyway. If I get a response, I'll make sure to share it with y'all. (yup, I said y'all...)

So... someone explain fan-fiction, then?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In Defence of Amy

My good friend Amy Claire Thompson recently wrote a blog post for the Literary Den called In Defense of Fan-Fiction. We all rather liked it; she's started a good conversation, which we used to have all the time on the forum, and she's gotten some attention from the outside world.

Unfortunately, it's not been very good attention. There's a blog that's been discussing Amy's post and regarding it with a certain level of disdain. They don't believe fan-fiction needs defending... they're obviously not looking at it from an outsiders point of view. Now, Amy has written fan-fic in the past, but she's gotten over it, and so she can look at it from both sides of the line. Her readers, however, look at it as writers of fan-fiction. Apparently they don't think she needs to point out that there's actually a good side to fan-fiction, if you know where to look.

See, they're all pretty pissed off that Amy chose to defend it in the first place. Either you get it or you don't, apparently. Now, I don't want to cause a protest, but there are lots of things you get or you don't that generally don't require defending because they're designed to be a certain way - horror doesn't require defending, because generally horror filled with blood and gore or indeed lacking it but still being scary, that's still horror and we expect it to be that way; erotic fiction is written to be a turn on, if you're into that sort of thing, and as such is filled with all the sorts of... nouns that you expect to find in its pages; gay and lesbian fiction is marked as thus to avoid confusion with erotic fiction readers (just saying).

And you know what else? People get or don't get all of these things. Some completely avoid any genres, going for regular old Literary Fiction. Now, a lot aren't afraid to admit to their particular snobbery. Brendan and Sam from the Den have just come out and said they are writer snobs, because anything other than Literary Fiction won't do... Not everyone gets it, because there are people who just love genre.

All of these things do exactly what they say on the cover. Fan-fiction... not so much. It's fiction written by fans, yes, but it can take the form of anything! It's deceptive in that way, and can result in reader disgust when they find that lovely Harry Potter fan-fic turning into something devious and vile. So.. that doesn't need defending? The whole system of fan-fiction doesn't need defending? If it's simple enough to make these accusations (because let's face it, I'm not the most controversial blogger out there, and I certainly don't over think my blogs, and even I can write about how bad fan-fiction can be).

So, did Amy deserve all the stick she got? Certainly not! She's just expressing her opinions and actually standing up for an area of writing that gets far too much stick than she thinks it deserves.

And while I'm on the topic of fan-fiction... you can't publish it, because it's illegal; not just adults read and write it, so it should be strictly divided into adult and children's fan-fiction (two people claimed on the Den to have written Harry Potter fan-fic as 11 year olds - send them to the wrong place and wham! Their childhoods are over!); fan-fiction can be a load of drivel, but it's not alone. There, I've said it - actual fiction, not the regurgitated images of other people's creation (or other people...) can be rubbish. Take Twilight for example - it's Stephenie Meyer's sexual fantasy (she clearly says it was a dream and she clearly describes Bella Swan as being a younger version of herself) and it's what we like to call Thesaurus Rape (I can't quite recall who else is a member of this "We" of which I speak...)

Now, who thinks fan-fiction needs defending?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Review - The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic

The Light Fantastic: A Discworld NovelThe Colour of Magic Film Tie-In Omnibus (A Discworld Novel)I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I sat watching The Colour of Magic and The Hogfather around Christmas time, because Sky decided to show them both. I know for a fact that I'm not alone in having gone out to start reading Terry Pratchett after this, because a young boy bought both books of the movies. Of course, I laughed. If I recall, I'd bought and read The Colour of Magic before Christmas and was then comparring it to the movie (or rather, comparring the movie to it). I discovered then, as Episode 2 came on, that The Light Fantastic actually comprises the second half of the movie...

For that very important reason, I'm reviewing the books as one piece of literature, with my head caught somewhere between the two by the events of the movie. As masterfully written as they are, I'm rather more impressed that the script writers managed to combine the books so fluidly and use an awful lot of the actual words Pratchett himself used.

As for the books themselves... if you don't know, they follow a man named Rincewind, who's a very bad wizard, and another man named Twoflower, who's a very stupid tourist. He's actually the only tourist, ever, but he's stupid nonetheless (I suppose that's why he's so likeable). With Twoflower's inability to perceive danger, Rincewind is constantly put in increasingly levels of danger, and nearly always almost dies. But that's just some of the fun involved in the books.

Death plays a very prominent role in the books, adding a strange level of comic relief where it's not needed - Rincewind and Twoflower, and the other characters they're always running in to, provide enough humour to last after the final page has been turned (and lets not forget that the very ideas in the book are also hilarious, many of which I have laughed out loud at in my living room, with my brothers thinking I'm laughing at Top Gear a few seconds before anything funny has actually happened). Of course, Death is also there to remind us that not everyone in the Discworld is both as lucky and unlucky as Rincewind - many don't survive miraculously from near death experiences, particularly not when Rincewind's escape causes them some problems in living.

These books, this series, is a must read. Pratchett more or less sums himself up in his own book - "He's a legend in his own lifetime." If you haven't read the books, you really must. There's not an awful lot of magic, even in the first of the books, and the world is so funny that it's hardly a Fantasy book; I'd place this alone in its own genre - Fantastic Regardless of Personal Taste. Where else do you find universal truths, social commentary, humour, philosophy and brilliant writing? Probably nowhere, though maybe in another universe. Most likely everything else Pratchett has written too.

He's given me a few things, this man. I had two movies to lounge to, and two books to get absorbed in to, and now I have a story in the making inspired largely by how he tells a story, and a little by his actual stories themselves. And a small hole in my pocket where I find pouring out freely... but that's to be expected. I've got Equal Rites on order and Mort sitting in a bag recently purchased (I bought it earlier today, in fact). They've both cost me money. Good thing I know they'll be worth it when I get around to reading them!

Now, stop reading stuff on the Internet and get reading The Colour of Magic! You won't regret it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Magical Emporium of Magical Things

Getting off to a good start on my New Year's Resolution, I've decided to tell you about my current WIP - The Magical Emporium of Magical Things. It has quite a long and stupid title, but that's for instant comedic effect (also, I don't want readers to think that it's a very serious sort of book - it's designed to make you laugh, even if you don't want to).

In the book, which started as a short story, Rich Dave and his Sails Assistant Middle Class Rodney are preparing for the discount-period that annually follows the dying holiday of Christmas, celebrated only by a number of people who are all called Chris Tea Ans, apparently. During this time, The Sails, rags and cloths of all manners are suspended from shop windows and on poles to indicate to people that the prices are down ("when the Sails are up, the prices, subsequently, are down.")

And yes, those are their real names. Neither man, nor anybody else in the world, has a surname. Instead, they are all named after their social class, or the level of their wealth which in some cases is deceptive to their actual standing in the world.

In an attempt to avoid beheading, Middle Class Rodney doesn't work on Christmas Day to set up the Sails and discount the goods of The Magical Emporium of Magical Things. (This is all due to the fact that the Cultural Enforcers are under duty to protect the culture of the Chris's; the price for breaking the law in this regard is instant beheading, the cost of repair of which is rather high, and more than Middle Class Rodney can afford without his week's wages.) With just over three minutes to go, Dave freezes time using one of his two pocket watches, resulting in the events of the story to unfold in dramatic and often humourous ways.

For you see... The Book of Lost Things once sat on his shelves, until it found itself in the Time between seconds and leapt onto the floor, finally free from its prison. Quickly it goes about performing strange magic, calling people into existence with only a knowledge of shame, and only for three and a half seconds that aren't really passing, all before they implode on themselves. Only one man doesn't implode, largely due to the fact that he's having quite a hard time doing it. Dave and Rodney cover him a cloak, and when he attempts to leave... well, the anti-theft spells activate and all magic affecting him is nullified, including the spell which keeps him in one piece; the man splits in two, taking the form of a blue and a red imp - Twins. They are, in fact, the only Twins in existence, after a series of twin related crimes when no guilty party could be found, and the constant annoyance twins found from people being unable to tell them apart - all forms of multiple birth vanished into the Book.

The story continues from there, in a similar fashion of chaos and explosions and implosions (the difference in the sound they make being in their spelling).

And of course, there's Rebecca With A Pinch Of Poverty, named in honour of the lovely Rebecca Woodhead, the only person outside of my family who knows what's going to happen to the character.

Not one to miss, if it ever makes it to bookshelves!

And without further adieu, I bid you farewell (and a Happy New Year!)