Thursday, 31 October 2013

Coming SOON: THE PROPHECY Blog Tour

On November 23, I will have the honour of interviewing the lovely Erin Albert about her upcoming debut novel THE PROPHECY. THE PROPHECY is a young adult epic high fantasy novel about a young woman is who kidnapped by religious zealots and proclaimed the fulfilment of an ancient peace prophecy. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to support and promote my fellow writers, and hopefully one day #soon I will be able to do a blog tour of my own! Make sure you come by on November 23 to find out more about Erin and THE PROPHECY, and see all her answers to my probing questions such as ‘who is your favourite band?’ (Because really, is there anything that matters more?*)

For more information about Erin and her books, check out her website:

http://www.erinalbertbooks.com/

You can (and should!) also follow her on Twitter @ErinAlbertBooks.

See you soon!

 

AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 15, 2013.
 
Pre-order it here.
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A boulevard of hope and dreams; streets made of desire...

So today this happened:
 
 
 

That right there, ladies and gentleman, is the new short film for THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS: CITY OF ANGELS. Hold onto your feelings. I am completely overwhelmed by The Feels (but what else is new, right?)

 
I started writing this post immediately after the first time I watched the short film (well, the first time I watched it the whole way through. I’d seen pieces of it before on #VyRTtheMARSbowl when my live stream was awful, but we won’t talk about that because I’m still suffering from PTSD*) I couldn’t finish it though because I wasn’t really sure how to phrase what I wanted to say. I’ve since viewed the film many more times (it’s probably best if we don’t discuss specific numbers :p) and I’m finally ready to finally let The Feels fall from my fingertips.

 
To put it briefly, this short film fills me with hope. If you haven’t seen it (and seriously, watch it NOW), it’s a collection of interviews spread throughout panoramic and epic shots of the band playing on a rooftop** and wandering the streets made of desire the streets of Los Angeles.  The interviews were conducted by Jared, and centre around the topics of LA, hopes and dreams. The film features many big names such as Kanye West, Lindsey Lohan and Olivia Wilde (just to name a few), but it also features non-famous LA dwellers such as a homeless man named ‘Breeze’ and a Michael Jackson impersonator. Each interviewee provides an interesting insight into their experiences in the City of Angels (LA) and their views on dreams and desires. It’s worth watching the short film purely for these interviews. They are both fascinating and inspiring.


The song is obviously very autobiographical for Jared and Shannon, and Jared has described it as being a ‘love letter to LA’. On the surface it can be viewed as being purely about the city that changed Jared, Shannon and Tomo’s lives, but I believe it’s something more than that. To me – and I’d venture to say to the majority of The Echelon as a whole*** – both the short film and the song are about betting on yourself and following your dreams.
 

Do you see a trend? This band, you guys. This band.

 
As you watch the film and listen to the interviews, the message is clear: do whatever it takes to achieve your goals and turn your dreams into a reality. These people are, for the most part, living their dreams. Listening to their stories and insights, you can’t help but think: If they can do it, why can’t I? Well my answer to that is: You can. I spoke about this yesterday when I pulled out my much-loved clip of Jared talking to a group of teens about dreams and goals (while wearing a dinosaur on his head). The difference between the people who live their dreams the people who wish they could live their dreams can be boiled down to one simple word: Work. If you work hard enough and bet on yourself, I truly believe that anything is possible. Of course it also (usually) requires talent and skill, but here’s the big secret: You can develop those by doing the work. There are very few people in the world who can excel in a particular field without practising (read: working on it). Take Jared and Shannon. They grew up food-stamp poor, and look at them now. They are multi-platinum rockstars touring the world and selling out arenas in every city they visit. Who would have thought that was possible, right? They didn’t fall into that. They didn’t ‘get lucky’. They worked their asses off, and they made their dreams a reality. They saw what they wanted to do with their lives and held onto it with everything they had. Tomo was much the same. He was ready to completely give up being a musician, and had even made plans to sell all his gear because he truly believed he had missed his chance to live his dreams. The very next day, he got the call to audition for Thirty Seconds To Mars. The Very. Next. Day.

 
I guess what I’m trying to say is, watching this short film has once again inspired me to keep fighting for what I believe in…And what I believe in is myself. I believe in myself and my ability as a writer an author. To be honest it feels so unnatural to type that or even think that, but Mars are giving me the confidence I need to not only say it but also to begin to believe it. I can live my dreams. You can live your dreams. As James Franco says in the short film, no one knows what lies beyond this life, so we have to make the most of the time we have. You shouldn’t have to stay in a crappy job you hate with a boss that may in fact be Satan in disguise /cough/. You need to find the thing you are most passionate about and then do whatever it takes to make it happen. Believe in yourself. Bet on yourself. Follow your heart and your gut, and then…Make your dreams your reality.



 
 
 
TITLE LYRICS: ‘The City Of Angels’ by Thirty Seconds To

My.

Heart.

 

*On the day of The Hollywood Bowl (which was being live streamed on VyRT), my Internet decided to have a heart attack and virtually stop working. The memory of my lagging, buffering, skipping live stream still haunts me today. Thankfully I was able to download the Mars Bowl from VyRT, so now I have a PERFECT copy to keep FOREVER <3

[We won’t discuss what Jared Bart did to that copy :p]

 

(It’s important to note that the problem was on my end, not with VyRT. The VyRT crew were actually super helpful in trying to fix my issues :3 Thank you, VyRT crew!!)


 

**The same rooftop where they filmed Kings + Queens, which means that I CAN’T EVEN.

 

***The Thirty Seconds To Mars ‘fanbase’, for lack of a better word.


 


Random end note: Can I just say, I LOVE THIS:
 
 

 

I’m SO happy he took credit for directing this one (for those of you who don’t know, Mars short films are usually directed by Bartholomew Cubbins, who is Jared’s alter-ego). It just shows how much it means to him.
Sigh. ILoveHimAndCanIKeepHimForever.

 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A thousand times that I have said TODAY, TODAY, TODAY...

…I’m sending my first batch of queries today!

 
(And I’m trying REALLY hard to be okay with that and keep, you know, breathing.)

 
This is it, you guys. I am chasing a dream so real. Is it weird if I say that I’m actually really excited to receive my first rejection?? It’s the first step, you know? It will be my first piece of tangible proof that I’ve stopped wishing and started doing. You have to follow your dreams, right? You have to bet on yourself, and you have to be willing to fail. Try and fail, but never fail to try.
 

This post was brought to you by Jared Leto. I’m quite sure that 99% of the word count can be credited to him*. Don’t judge me. His words give me strength to send my words out into to the big, scary world. In fact these words right here are the reason that I will be pushing that ‘send’ button in T-minus muchtoosoon:

 

“Sometimes dreams, as much as they seem like they are our imagination, start like a little seed here, and become…Look at this awesome tree (draws a tree on the whiteboard.) You know what I mean? At one point things are just ideas, you know, which is almost like a waiting dream. But I always think ideas are worthless. Ideas are like trash, you know. Everybody’s got a great idea, right? I think unless you do something about an idea, it will never become reality. That’s the thing about dreams. I never thought I’d be standing here in front of you; I never thought I’d be the guy on stage. I never thought that. I did a lot of crazy shit when I was young. I’m sure none of you have. But it’s interesting, just to be a witness and a person…Almost in a way, a dream is like travelling in time because I never thought I’d be this guy over here and then have this happen and end up over here, if this is a graph that represents achieving your dreams (he drew that on the whiteboard). I never thought that would be possible.  The craziest part about living dreams is – the absolute most insane part is that if you go for it and actually fixate on the wildest dream that you have, there’s a great chance that it actually could come true. That’s the biggest secret that people who live dreams actually know, and people who don’t live dreams don’t know. That’s what separates a lot of people from the guy who’s standing on stage and the person who’s in the audience. But really when you look at it, who’s allowing me to live my dreams? All of you guys at the show! Strange, you know? You guys have all decided that I’m living my dream by showing up, right? But I’m here to report, if I’m the time traveller, I’m like holy shit! You can do it! You can actually make your wildest dreams come true... <clip>  It’s incredible to see that if you work hard enough you could make dreams a reality. And your beliefs and your desires, your fantasies, your imagination…All of that stuff is attainable. It’s pretty wild. So I would always say, if you can, bet on yourself. Ignore the non-believers.”

 

Sigh. Could I love him more. (I’m inclined to say ‘no’, but he loves to prove me wrong.)

Okay. This is it. Jared’s motivational speech has been viewed many times, I’m cranking Up In The Air for extra strength, and the time has come (the walrus said, to talk of many things). I am following my dreams and betting on myself.

 

Right.

Now.

 

 

TITLE LYRICS: ‘Up In The Air’ by Thirty Seconds To This Band Will Always Be My Inspiration and Motivation.

 

 
*Actually 62% of this post was brought to you by Jared Leto. True story.

Yes I worked that out.

No I’m not saying I’m sorry.

(I am resisting the temptation to comment on the ‘62’ of it all, but dude.)

 
 

You can watch this speech in action here:

 
 
Try not to be distracted by the dinosaur on his head. Or is it a chicken? I adore him and his love for silly hats.
 
 
Yes, I know that I have referred to this clip many times now, but I love it. So there.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Time to escape the clutches of [Query Letter Hell], no this is not a game; it’s just a new beginning…

Right. Two entire albums ago I sat down at my desk to get some work done. It’s time to get my butt out of Query Letter Hell and graduate into Submissions Nightmare, right? Well. That was Self-Titled and A Beautiful Lie ago*. This is what happened instead:

 

/Sits down at desk. Turns on laptop. Puts on Thirty Seconds To Mars. Checks Twitter. Tweets song lyrics. Sings. Decides it’s a great day to listen to the entire Mars discography, in order**. Sings some more. Checks Jared’s Twitter page. Reads his tweets, again. Sings a bit more, because MARY WAS THE TYPE OF GIRL, SHE ALWAYS LIKED TO FALL APART.  Reads other people’s blogs. Spins on the spinny chair. Feels sick. Plays with Sunny***. Changes  the CD. Rocks out to A Beautiful Lie. Gets distracted by The Kill feels. Tweets more lyrics. The CD ends. Puts on This Is War. Chastises self for wasting time, and tells self that it is TIME TO GO TO WAR.

 

And so here I am. This is a call to arms, brothers and sisters; time to go to war. I am finally getting back to work on my query letter, and once again, I need your help. My self-imposed deadline arrives in five days, people. In five days I have to send out the first batch of query letters. If I don’t do it now I know I never ever will, so no matter what, I am going to do it. I’m trying really hard to be okay with that. Anyway, enough stalling. I’ve managed to ramble all the way through Escape, Night of the Hunter and Kings + Queens. This Is War has just started so I’m taking that as a sign. Time to go to war.

 

(Update – I’m up to L490**** and this is so damn hard. Can’t I just watch VyRT The MARS Bowl again??)

 

/Triumphantly returns somewhere between Bright Lights and Do Or Die. Huzzah! Although I think this might really-honestly-truly suck. Let me know. Be honest. I can’t improve if you aren’t honest! Keep in mind the questions that a query must address:

 

What is your book about? (THE PLOT)
Who is the main character?
What does your main character want?
What’s stopping him or her from getting it?
What is the consequence of him or her not getting it? (THE STAKES)

 

One week before her seventeenth birthday, Aurora Edwards comes home to find her mother bleeding to death from a knife wound in her stomach. Despite Aurora’s best efforts to save her, her mother dies before help arrives. With her last ounce of strength she gives Aurora a silver pendant and whispers the final words she would ever speak: I tried to protect you from this.

 

On the night of her seventeenth birthday, Aurora is attacked. During the assault her attacker’s knife spontaneously shatters in his hand, courtesy of the fiery heat inside Aurora’s chest capable of destroying anything around her. Although her new power terrifies her, Aurora quickly realises that there has to be a connection between her mother’s death, the heat inside her, and her mother’s pendant. Desperate for answers, she begins investigating her mother’s murder for herself. However, the men responsible for her mother’s death are more like her than she realises, and they are quickly closing in on her. They know what she can do and they know she has the pendant. And they will do whatever it takes to get it.

 

 

Any thoughts, comments, questions and feedback will be met with my undying love. Thank you!

 

Xo

 

 
If you'd like to read this and you haven't, I love you, and you can read an excerpt here.
 
 

TITLE LYRICS: ‘Escape’ By Thirty Seconds To Mars.

Actual lyrics:

Time to escape the clutches of a name

No this is not a game;

It’s just a new beginning

 

*By Thirty Seconds To Mars, naturally. What even is this ‘other bands’ people speak of. Do they exist??

 

**Seriously though, when is it not a great day to do that??

 

***Sunny is my doggie :3 Isn’t she beautiful?

 

****The last song on This Is War. Time for LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Jesus, save me; I'm in love with this hell.

You know what’s scarier than the prospect of being told ‘no’? The prospect of being told ‘yes’.

Yes.

Such a small word.


We hear the word ‘yes’ all the time. I say the word ‘yes’ all the time. Are you hungry? Yes. Do you want to watch a movie? Yes. Do you love Jared Leto? HELL yes.


It’s just an ordinary, unremarkable word.

But.

Attach that word to something life-changing, and it becomes a whole lot bigger. Are you pregnant? Did you get the job? Will you marry me? When you attach a ‘yes’ to questions like that, those three letters become something extraordinary.

 
I would never have guessed that thought of hearing such a small word could be so scary. Because I am scared, people. I am damn terrified. It is October 24 today, and as you know, I gave myself the thirty day challenge of getting my query letter into fighting shape by the end of October and sending it off into the big bad publishing world. It seemed like a brilliant idea at the time. Jared was being extra inspirational and the timing seemed so serendipitous that I was all grandiose and confident and like seriously what was I thinking.  To be perfectly honest with you all, I was, up until about six minutes ago, ready to write a blog post explaining that since I’ve been sick and dying for the last two weeks (seriously kidneys, you have ONE JOB, and that job is DON’T SUCK), I’ve decided to extend my stay in Query Letter Hell until I’m feeling better and have had more time to work it.

And that would have been bullshit. Sorry for swearing. Though I’ve said worse, so… :p It would have been bullpoopies because the truth is, I don’t want to send it out. I mean I do…But I also really don’t. Not because I’m afraid of being told no (I’m well prepared for that) but because I’m afraid of being told yes. Don’t get me wrong, I know that a yes is highly unlikely, but I have to believe that it is at least a possibility, right? Sometimes you have to bet on yourself. And that is scary as hell because…What if this actually happens? What then? I don’t know how to do scary things like negotiate book deals and read contracts and promote myself. The more I look into it, the scarier it all seems. There’s so much involved in being an author. I had this lovely picture in my head where I would just sit in front of my laptop all day with a can of RedBull and my Mars playlist and let the words fall from my fingertips. Then I would print it off, bundle it in brown paper, tie it with some string and send it off into the big bad publishing world, and that would be that. Ummm…No. It definitely doesn’t work like that, and I don’t just mean the fact that I don’t live in The Sound Of Music.

 
Brown paper packages, tied up with string; these are a few of my favourite things.


The reality of being an author is deadlines and contracts and promotions and websites and readings and understanding all these things that make me feel a little like I’m drowning. Sometimes it just seems like it would be better to stay living in the fantasy world I have created around this dream. It’s so much safer there. I feel like Angela in that scene in My So-Called Life where she is talking to Rayanne and Rickie about the prospect of actually being with Jordan Catalano. (Yes, this teen-drama was before my time, but Jordan Catalano*, people. Jordan. Catalano.)


 
ANGELA: See there’s thinking about it, right? Which is what I do. All the time, like this…

RICKIE: Obsession.

RAYANNE: Right, so…?

ANGELA: So it keeps me going or something. Like, I need it just to get through the day. It’s just…

RICKIE: It’s an obsession.

ANGELA: Right, and if you make it real…It’s not the same. It’s not yours anymore. I don’t know; maybe I’d rather have the fantasy.

My So-Called Life: S01E02

 


It’s exactly like that. Maybe I’d rather have the fantasy of becoming an author.

Luckily for me (or perhaps unluckily) Jared is haunting my computer and The Kill was playing while I was deciding to extend my stay in Query Letter Hell because apparently I’m in love with this hell, and this line in the second verse jumped out at me:


You say you wanted more; WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
 

And that’s just it, right? I keep going on and on about how much I want this (and I do, I really do), but I’m ready to run and hide at the first sign of challenge? What even is that?? That’s not acceptable. So it is, once again, time to kick my own ass. Girl With Words, go and work on your query letter. Enough is enough. You have exactly one week until it’s time to send it out, and send it out you will. Stop making excuses . Stop scaring yourself out of it. You say you wanted more; what are you waiting for? I’m not running from you.

 
Seven days, people. The clock is ticking. Besides…

 




 

 

TITLE LYRICS: ‘Witness’ (unreleased) by Thirty Seconds To Mars

Though does Shannon play it? I don’t think I’ve ever heard any versions with him drumming. So maybe by Jared Leto. And Tomo Milicevic :3

 

*Jordan Catalano is played by Jared Leto, just in case you didn’t know that :3


 

It may seem like sometimes the timing of things is contrived and manipulated to make my blog posts more interesting, but I swear the Universe just does stuff like this to mess with my head :p

(I’m one of those people who attaches significance to insignificant events :p)

Monday, 21 October 2013

Who I am hates who I've been.

Have you ever done something that you regret? Of course you have. Everybody has. But I mean something really bad; something that you wish with every single fibre of your being that you could go back and not do. To the point that it is literally eating you inside and keeping you awake at night.


Yeah. Welcome to my life.

 
Most days I can get along just fine without thinking about it. But then every so often, with no warning at all, I remember The Horrible Thing That I Did and I’m completely overwhelmed by a range of emotions I don’t even want to name. It’s pretty awful. I mean this Horrible Thing was done about five years ago. You’d think that I could let it go already, since I am lacking in a Tardis* and can’t change the past. But my brain is a dark and twisty place where monsters live. Actual monsters, and everybody know you can’t reason with monsters.** Like this one:
 

 
 
 


(Artwork by Toby Allen, found here)

As that monster’s little description says, he is especially good at making you irrationally fear things that may never happen. He is quite talented at this, because for the last week he has been sitting on my shoulder saying the most ridiculous things ever that I really should know better than to listen to but I can’t help it because I’m dark and twisty and scary and damaged. And yes that was a run-on-sentence but it was deliberate. Mostly. Anyway. Back to the monster. He keeps reminding me about The Horrible Thing I Did and telling me that if I am ever published then somehow everyone will find out about The Horrible Thing I Did and it will be the worst thing that has ever happened in the history of forever and everyone will know how horrible I am and life will cease to exist as we know it.

Another run-on-sentence. I think this post will be full of them.

Now I KNOW that this is silly and irrational because as if I’m ever getting published, but I can’t help but feel, well, anxious about it all. Because the Horrible Thing was, well, Horrible.

But.

Today I was tweeting song lyrics, because really that’s why Twitter was invented, and I tweeted this line from a Reliant K song:

 

Who I am hates who I’ve been.

 
I feel it is a pretty accurate description of how I feel right now. My dear friend @mladyrebecca (who is AWESOME, by the way. The whole world should be following her) promptly replied to that tweet with this lyric from a Mars song. Naturally: 

 

…and I start again with a brand new name.

 
I then responded with another (Mars) lyric:

 

It’s time to forget about the past. To wash away what happened last.

 
And that got me thinking. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the Letter from God. It’s a collection of verses from the Bible pulled together to make a ‘letter’ from God to us. It’s pretty cool and clever, in my opinion. For a while now I’ve been wanting to do something similar with Mars lyrics (NO that’s not blasphemous because as much as Jared looks like Jesus right now***, I do not worship him…Much. KIDDING!) Not so a much as a letter from Mars to us (we already have some of those), but a collection of their lyrics that I love the most organised into an inspirational and motivational thing that I can pull out and read when my brain becomes too dark and twisty to bear. Before you judge me for finding myself through this band, maybe you should read this, and this, and this.

 
So, I’m going to give this a go. This may be a disaster and it may make you cringe, but it’s keeping the Anxiety Monster at bay so I’m taking that as a sign from The Universe that this is a good idea.

 
Enjoy!

 
Ps, It starts with Reliant K lyrics…But the rest all belong to Thirty Seconds To Mars (apart from slight changes to make things make sense) All credits to Jared Leto, the lyrical genius behind all Mars songs. No copyright infringement is intended.

  

Who I am hates who I’ve been (Reliant K; Who I am hates who I’ve been)

And I need a new direction, ‘cause I have lost my way (End Of All Days)

So I run and hide and tear myself up; start again with a brand new name (Capricorn)

Because it’s time to forget about the past, to wash away what happened last (A Beautiful Lie)

And I won’t suffer, be broken, get tired, or wasted, surrender to nothing or give up what I started (Attack)

Because there is a fire inside of this heart and a riot about to explode into flames (Hurricane)

And I know now: This is who I really am inside (The Kill)

It’s time to let go of the truth; the battles of my youth (A Beautiful Lie)

And no I’m not saying I’m sorry (Closer To The Edge)

Instead I’m going to let it go (Do Or Die)

And keep my eyes on the sun (Bright Lights)

Because all we need is faith. Faith is all we need. (End Of All Days)

[Well, faith and Jared. He sang a song to save us all, after all (Northern Lights)]****

And even though I may fall apart…I’ll always get back up again (Alibi)

I will never forget. I will never regret. I will live my life. (Closer To The Edge)

Because I forgive. Had enough. Time to live. Time to love. (Bright Lights)

It’s time to do or die (Do Or Die)

And fight to the death (Conquistador)

In defence of my dreams (Kings + Queens)

 
Well. That was all kinds of fun. Let me know what you think…Can I just say, I love Mars. I really, truly do.

 
Xo

 

 
 
Title lyrics: 'Who I am hates who I've been' by Reliant K
 
 


*Is that even a time machine? I don’t know. I don’t watch Dr Who.

Don’t hurt me!

 

**Or Vampires.

If you haven’t seen this already, go and check out Reasoning With Vampires. You won’t regret it!

 

***He totally does look like Jesus. I mean…



 
DontgooffonatangentdontgooffonatangentstayfocusedstayfocusedSTAYFOCUSEDsweetmotherofLetojustLOOKathat STARE

 

****Had to. Not sorry.