General · Writing

I missed my own blogiversary!

Out of curiosity, I went back to the very first post on my blog – no don’t go looking; it’s nothing special!  – and to my dismay I found that it was dated 12 March 2012. This means that Zen Scribbles is now 1 year and 1 week old. I can’t believe how quickly the time flies! Sadly I’m on a self-imposed chocolate ban, so no celebratory treats for me today. =[

(Photo Credit: http://whengeekswed.com)
(Photo Credit: http://whengeekswed.com)

If you had told me last year that I was going to keep up with this blog for a whole year, I would’ve laughed in your face. I’m terrible at committing to blogs, and this current one is actually the result of two other failed projects. That said, I’m really pleased I stuck around for so long. So many things happened; I met a lot of fellow writers and made new friendships, one of my posts got freshly pressed, I came across some awesome new reads and learned a few things along the way.

During this year, I learned… Continue reading “I missed my own blogiversary!”

Reading · Writing

A book not worth finishing.

It feels almost ironic that I should receive my first 1-star rating a day after I post about how I hope nobody will ever hate my books. Not only that, but that reader shelved Puppet Parade under “not-worth-finishing” on Goodreads. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it!), the reader did not leave me a text review so I have no idea what warranted putting my book under that shelf.

Thank goodness 0 ratings don't exist. (photo credit: http://joyreactor.com)
Thank goodness 0 ratings don’t exist. (photo credit: http://joyreactor.com)

How did I react? Well, to be honest I was upset at first. This was my first bad rating and I couldn’t readily accept it! I whined and protested about it for a good few minutes before I checked the reader’s profile  and discovered that they had shelved 31 books as not-worth-finishing, and they had an average rating of 2.95. At that point I felt better. I got the impression that this was the sort of person who judged a book 30 or 50 pages in and associated them with grumpy cat. That’s my mental image and I’m sticking to it! But in all seriousness, why would someone do that? How can you tell what the book’s going to be like a few pages in? Continue reading “A book not worth finishing.”

General · Writing

A little self-promotion never hurt anyone.

Self published authors are usually pretty much on their own when it comes to promoting their work, so when the opportunity comes along, naturally we will snag it! 😉 I’ve been lucky recently to have some people interested in me and my work, and they certainly do deserve a mention here.

First there’s Carrie Slager, who not only gave Puppet Parade a lovely 4.5 star review, but also took the time to interview me and host a giveaway on her site! If you would like to win one of two free copies of the book, do head over to Carrie’s site and answer the question I posted there. The two most creative answers will win!

Continue reading “A little self-promotion never hurt anyone.”

Food · General · Writing

Birthdays should be official holidays! [and a giveaway]

For the last three years my birthday was during the weekend or otherwise on a day where I didn’t have school/work, but today it’s on a Tuesday, which generally sucks, but I’m going to look on the bright side and be thankful that it’s not a Monday and that I’m back to even numbers in terms of age. Yay!

Apart from work, today was pretty nice. I got paid, I went out for cake and books (I got Looking for Alaska by John Green; One Day by David Nicholls; and Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell) with my friends and then got treated to more cake at home! I’ve got so much sugar in my blood stream it’s making me hyper, haha.

Continue reading “Birthdays should be official holidays! [and a giveaway]”

General · Writing

Oh reviews, you tickle me pink!

Reviews are important. There’s no point denying just how much a review affects us, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. Even if the review is generally positive, we still find ourselves paying attention to that very last less-than-good remark the reviewer included as an afterthought. The “If only the author had done this, the story would’ve turned out much better”, or “It’s a good book, but [include bad remark here]”.

That said, however, I actually feel surprised whenever a complete stranger reads my book and compliments it. It’s as if I cannot believe that all that praise is for my obscure novel. I almost want to tell the reviewer, “Hey, are you absolutely sure you’re not reviewing the wrong book?” Haha.

Continue reading “Oh reviews, you tickle me pink!”

Writing

Oh those seductive plot bunnies!

Plot bunnies can be quite tempting. You would be sitting there, working on your WIP when suddenly, “Ding! Ding! Ding! You’ve got a new plot!” Try as you might, you will not be able to ignore that call. It will keep bothering you and dancing around your head until you throw up your arms in frustration and admit defeat. You will scramble around for a scrap of paper or a pencil and frantically jot down anything you can remember.

I’ve been struggling with that lately. I know I have to learn to be monogamous with my plots just as I am monogamous with the books I read, but it’s so difficult! Plot bunnies have been invading my mind all the time, at a time when I’m desperately trying to finish a novel that’s – ironically – about an evil bunny who sucks the life from any artist he latches himself onto. Continue reading “Oh those seductive plot bunnies!”

General · Reading · Writing

The Sock Puppets of the Literary World

There has been a lot of talk lately about a number of sock puppets that have been infiltrating Amazon and other book sites near you. To those who haven’t heard, the situation is basically as such: a number of authors including R.J. Ellory, Sam Millar, John Locke and Stephen Leather have been creating fake accounts (a.k.a. sock puppets) to give themselves glowing 5-star reviews, while also bashing some other authors along the way, or else offering payment in exchange for positive reviews.

There has also been talk of a reviewer by the name of Todd Rutherford, who raked in money by selling marketing reviews to those who would buy them at a high price, and this basically launched a discussion regarding what’s ethical and what’s not. Can one still request reviews? When is the line crossed?

Continue reading “The Sock Puppets of the Literary World”

Writing

The Chopping Board

You’ve finished writing a story, you’ve let it sit aside for a day or a week or maybe even a month, ignoring the dust accumulating on it, trying to distract yourself with new ideas and reading that pile of books you’ve left sitting on your desk for the last few months. But you know you’re going to have to come back to your story eventually. You know you’re going to have to place it on the chopping board.

You need to arm yourself with a few things – a red pen or a computer, a trusty beta-reader or editor, and a whole lot of grit. You may also want to throw in some chocolate to calm your nerves. You’re going to need it. Place your papers or your computer on the metaphorical chopping board and get ready to start cutting and dicing! It’s not as bad as it sounds really, and I should know because I’m done my fair share of cutting (yes I know that sounds bad), but you can’t deny that some of the things in that book have got to go.

Continue reading “The Chopping Board”

Writing

An Update of Sorts.

To begin with, I’m having a new giveaway on Goodreads! The winner gets one free copy of Puppet Parade, and the giveaway is international (with just a few exceptions), but I think most of you would be able to enter. Just go here and make an entry! The giveaway is open till the 9th of August. Good luck!

Next, I’ve received three blog awards, and some of them have been long overdue! Thank you, byamadaleigh, for the One Lovely Blog Award; NMNPHX for the One Illuminating Blog Award; and Tiffany N. York for the Kreativ Blogger Award! I appreciate it! And eventually I will figure out how to put the banners in my sidebar, haha.

   

Continue reading “An Update of Sorts.”

General · Inanity · Writing

Back up, back up, back up! Oh, and yeah, back up.

Today may have very well been a disastrous start to this weekend. I returned home from an exhausting day at work, freshened up and had my lunch and everything, then I turned on my laptop. Or at least tried to turn it on.

Windows was starting to load, then suddenly the screen turns black and I get a message telling me that Windows has failed to start-up and I should let Windows try to fix the damage. My first thought was, “Well, laptop, we’ve had a good run. But please try to fix yourself, okay?”

I watch it expectantly, the panic has yet to settle. Then a thought occurs to me: “Did… did I back up?”

Continue reading “Back up, back up, back up! Oh, and yeah, back up.”