I’ve been tagged…twice!


Last month Nelle tagged me in a fun game of ’11 Questions’, and last week I was tagged again by August.  Special thanks to you ladies for choosing me.

The rules of the game are thus:

  1. Post the rules.
  2. In the same post, answer the questions.
  3. Create eleven new questions to ask eleven new participants.
  4. Tag those people and share links to their blogs in your post.
  5. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

 So I’ll start with NELLE’s questions first, and my answers.

1) Do you consider yourself a feminist? Depends. If I’m speaking to a misogynist, then the feminist in me comes out.

2) What is the silliest thing you will admit to doing? Falling for a pyramid scheme years ago and wasting quite a bit of money on it.

3) Favourite pudding. (I assume ‘pudding’ means any dessert in general) Chocolate Truffle Pie.

4) Your foremost vice. Errr, red wine?

5) Fastest driving speed with you at the wheel. I hate driving but I do remember once doing 100km/h on a 60 road. Ha ha!!!

6) Do you play a musical instrument? If so, please identify the instrument. Use to play recorder and guitar in school. Not anymore.

7) Barefoot or shoes? Barefoot…but with socks!

8) Secular or theocratic government? Definitely secular.

9) Would you sail the world alone? Definitely not. I have no idea how to sail.

10) One food you refuse to ever eat. Trotters! And anything that appears on Fear Factor.

11) Soup or stew? Soup. But if dumplings are involved then it’s stew.

 Go visit Nelle at http://nellewrites.net/

August’s questions

1. What did you eat for breakfast? Eggs on an English muffin with strawberry tea.

2. If you could re-live any day of your life, as often as you’d like, which would you choose? Oh dear, I can’t really think of one specific day. I’d like to think the best days of my life are yet to come.  😉

3. Of the books you’ve read recently, which is your favorite? Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

4. You have front row seats and back stage passes for any concert. Who’s on stage? Noel Gallagher, Jax Panik, Nicki Minaj, Goo Goo Dolls or Example. You choose…;)

5. Who’s the last person you hugged? My cat Deucalion.

6. What’s your favorite smell? Kentucky Fried Chicken! Or any food cooked with loads of oregano. LOVE OREGANO!

7. What’s your best bargain-hunting or money-saving tip? I believe this is a God-given talent. The ability to bargain-shop cannot be taught, sorry! Ha ha! Although if you want to spend less, create a shopping list of what you need and calculate what they will all cost. Then just take enough money for those items. That way you won’t buy unnecessary things. 🙂

8. What’s your funniest or strangest high school memory? I hated high school, so can’t really think of anything funny.

9. How do you feel about your birthday? Grrrrr…..that’s all I have to say!

10. What do you not miss about being younger? School lessons and horrible teachers!

11. What about you tends to surprise others? That I hold a Bachelors’ Degree in Archaeology and Classical Culture. Oh and that I’m currently writing a book!

Check out August’s blog: http://augustmclaughlin.wordpress.com/

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Okay, now it’s your turn! My questions are ready and I nominate the following people (who are not obligated in any way) to answer them:

Becky Day                       http://beckysblogs.wordpress.com/

Barb Froman                 http://barbfroman.wordpress.com/

Ricky-Lee Cranko        http://littlemisswednesday.wordpress.com/

Michelle Barber            http://loonyliterature.com/

Sharon Hughes             http://figmentsandimagination.wordpress.com/

Jennifer Neri                 http://jenniferneri.wordpress.com/

MJ Monaghan               http://mjmonaghan.wordpress.com/

Kelly Thompson           http://thompsonkelly.wordpress.com/

Katy Hulme                   http://storytellingnomad.wordpress.com/

Martin Shone               http://throughthemagicdoor.wordpress.com/

Widdershins                 http://widdershinsfirst.com/

These are my 11 Questions:

1.       If you attended Hogwarts, which house would you belong to, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw or Slytherin?

2.       I prefer Twitter to Facebook. Agree or Disagree?

3.        Romantic dinner at a fancy restaurant or staying in with pizza and a movie?

4.       If you were forced to marry ONE of the following men, who would you choose and why:

Ebenezer Scrooge, Severus Snape or Heathcliff?

And for the men, who would you marry:

Dolores UmbridgeMadame Bovary or Lindsay Lohan?

5.       Chocolate: white, milk or dark?

6.       Favourite Horror movie?

7.       If your personality were a colour, what colour would it be?

8.       What famous mystery would you most like to know the answer to? (Eg. The identity of Jack The Ripper or whether OJ was guilty.)

9.       If you were about to be executed(God forbid!) what would you choose as your last meal?

10.   Favourite CSI show: Las Vegas Original, New York or Miami?

11.   There are too many reality shows on TV. Agree or disagree?

So my tagged ones, hope you like my questions. The rest of you guys are free to answer any one of them if you wish because as always, I love to hear from you!

NM 🙂

Ps. the link feature on my dashboard is giving me problems, so I was forced to put up the entire URL’s for all the blogs. Sorry about that!

Writers’ block on the Writers Bloq


There is a reason why this blog is called NM’s Writers Bloq (yes, that’s a q at the end, not a g!).

The dreaded disease had spread its big, black bat-like wings around me once again.

I have 3 stories patiently waiting to be completed. I usually like to work on more than one story at a time because if I hit a slump with one, then I can just switch to another without wasting any time. This being my supposed cure for writers’ block.  Sadly I recently hit a slump with all three at the same time. Talk about hard luck!

I’m very proud of my reaction to this however, as usually I get very depressed and start questioning myself and doubting my abilities (okay, this did happen too, but it only lasted like, a day!).

This time, instead of putting the focus on myself, I focused on the stories themselves. I decided to write, in journal-form, my thoughts and feelings about each story.  
I tapped into my subconscious and wrote, without any reservations, what I hated and what I liked about each story. And I got some surprising results.

For one story I realized that it was my attitude that was holding me back. I was so worried about what others might think that it prevented me from progressing with this story.
The second one was proving a chore and only after writing my feelings down, did I realize that it was only because I hadn’t done the necessary research I was suppose to initially, that I was lacking confidence with certain themes in the tale. I’m such a big fan of research. I’m always harping on about its importance yet for this story I seemed to put very little effort into it due to my laziness.
My third story was actually a result of a nightmare I had. The dream gave me the idea for the story but because the dream made no sense realistically, I wondered whether my reader would feel the same way about what I was writing. I also wondered whether my writing would do justice to what I thought was very, very scary.  Would the reader also find it scary or would they think it’s just stupid?

Who would have thought that writing down my thoughts and feelings would reveal so much? And without thinking too hard it also provided me with the answers as well. It was like Tom Riddle’s diary-Harry Potter writes a question on the page and an answer appears to him on the very same page. Except in my case the answers were benevolent, positive and very helpful. It helped me provide the solution to the unique problems I was having.

For the first story, I thought of famous authors who had written about the same themes or issues in their novels. I realized that they didn’t seem too bothered about what others might think, so why should I?  I’m happy to say that I’m almost finished with this story. 🙂
For the second tale, of course, it was obvious. Research, research, research. The more knowledge you have at your disposable, the more effortless and enjoyable your writing will be. Simple.
In number 3, I convinced myself, that if I found this story scary, then others might too. Hell, the fact that I refuse to work on this piece at night, has got to mean something!

All this took less than half an hour to do, yet it proved most invaluable. Self-help books always advocate writing down your general thoughts and feelings in a stream of consciousness. This form of stream of consciousness-writing works for any problem, trust me. My humble advice is: do this for your stories, your novel or any WIP that is lying stagnant.  You will be surprised at what is revealed to you.

As writers you would think that the most obvious thing to do if you have a problem is to write it down. Sometimes the most obvious things are the most elusive.

NM 🙂

DAY 24 – Book that contained your favourite scene


Yes, I know I’ve been incommunicado for this entire week, and therefore ruined my perfect track record for the 30-day Book challenge. I’m nearly towards the end though so I’ll just get cracking with No. 24- book that contains my favourite scene…

Oh dear. I already spoke about this on DAY 8. I don’t really want to talk about Dracula again so instead I’m changing today’s topic a bit. I decided to compile a Top 5 list of bombshell scenes. Scenes were I slapped myself on the forehead and thought, “Shit! I didn’t see that coming!”

I have to admit that sometimes I marvel at how slow my brain actually is. I’m a sucker for revelations. Whereas many people yawn and claim that a particular movie or book was predictable and they knew or had a feeling all along that so-and-so was the killer, I nearly am always surprised at the twists in the end. This probably explains why I love the mystery genre so much. Even a bad mystery will not disappoint me. Well I never claim to be the sharpest tool in the shed. So here goes…

    NM’s Top 5 Most Surprising Bombshell Book Scenes

*NB. GIVEN THE NATURE OF THIS LIST, THE FOLLOWING DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS!

1. Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling – Harry’s trip into Snape’s past reveals the Potion master’s love for Lily Potter. I was left dumbstruck for a few minutes after reading that scene.

2. Hound of the Baskervilles by AC Doyle – I mentioned my favourite scene from this book on DAY 1. The Man on the Tor was none other than the genius himself.

Why on earth would you put a picture of the killer with the murder weapon on the cover of a mystery novel?

3. Company of Liars by Karen Maitland – I nearly fell of my chair towards the end. I never would have guessed that the narrator was in fact, a woman.

4. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – Is that nice British man Lea Teabing the villainous mastermind behind all the chaos? No way dude!

5. Murders on the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe – This was one of those disappointing revelations but still the degree of surprise (or shock) was still very high. I mean, come on, even a genius would not have suspected a big, orange monkey as the killer!

NM 🙂

DAY 20 – Book you have read the most number of times


I sort of have an idea but it’s not like I keep a tally or something. If I really like a book, I do have a tendency to read it again after some time has passed. Therefore there are quite a few books out there that I’ve read at least twice.

Except for the Deathly Hallows, I read all of the Harry Potter books at least twice (I’ve read Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets and Azkaban 3 times).
Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian only got boring for me after my third go.
Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sign of the Four and Study in Scarlet were both read twice although I think I also attempted Sign of the Four for the third time but eventually got bored with it half-way through.
Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers was also read twice though I’m not sure why I read it again-it’s not one of my favourites.

The book I have borrowed the most times from the library is the Complete Jack The Ripper by Donald Rumbelow, which is a non-fiction book. This might be due partly to the fact that at one time I was writing a Victorian murder story (I thought it was crap, so it lies unfinished) and was using this book as a reference. It’s still a great book anyway and I wouldn’t mind reading it again.

This leaves us with the two books that keep popping up in this Book Challenge.
I read Hound Of the Baskervilles either 3 or 4 times, I can’t remember. My Penguin Classic version of Dracula I read only once but I have read (as I mentioned in another post) a couple of other editions before and my Ladybird Childrens’ version I’ve gone through like a hundred times (although I know that one doesn’t count! ).

So who is the winner here? I’ll let Sherlock and the Count fight it out…

NM 🙂

DAY 05 – Book you wish you could live in


I didn’t have to think much for this one either. I really wish I could live in Harry Potter’s world, even with Death Eaters, Dementors and Dark wizards considered (hey cool, alliteration, right there, look!).
And if I had to be transported to the wizarding world right now, I would save my parallel self a whole lot of trouble for, I have everything all figured out.

At Hogwarts I would probably be a Ravenclaw; I would suck at Transfiguration and Potions but be really good at Runes and History Of Magic. Given my predisposition towards bad balance and co-ordination, and motion-sickness, I definitely would NOT be playing Quidditch; although I might be a Weird Sister groupie and possibly a regular contributor to their monthly fanzine.
My pet of choice would be a cat, or two in fact (I could not stand to be parted from either Deucalion or Sir Garfield for too long. I have no doubt they both would fit in quite nicely in the wizarding world. My only worry is that together they might tear the Ravenclaw common room apart).
I hate to admit this but I would definitely take up Divination and maybe Care of Magical Creatures. That last one is a bit naïve of me- taking care of dogs and cats is a completely different ballgame as suppose to unicorns and Hippogriffs, I know.

Generally speaking, my wand would be made of Willow and Harpy’s hair; my Patronus would either be an owl or one of the big cats (maybe a panther or ocelot or something).

As an adult, it’s where I hit a slump. I’d like to think I’d be an Auror but that would be highly pretentious of me. The mere thought that a Dementor might be in the same vicinity as me would be enough to bring me to tears and have me screaming like a banshee. So no, I don’t think an Auror’s life is for me.
I think a more realistic vocation would be a wizarding historian or the like. Me, the successor to Bathilda Bagshot maybe? Equally pretentious but way more realistic methinks.

And knowing me, I wouldn’t be surprised if I married a Muggle or Death Eater, or half-giant-half vampire, just to piss my parents off. I am strange that way.

Okay I lied. Maybe I did think about this too much…

NM 🙂

Addendum to Deathly Hallows? Try Deathly Overkill…


I just had an epiphany with regards to my last post.
With the writing and publishing process, I often read that once a manuscript is in the hands of the publisher, don’t consider it yours anymore. They will repeatedly tell you to change this and change that. There will come a point when your precious creation would have transformed so much that it no longer looks like the original.
So I guess having a movie director butchering your work would be nothing new to an author.
Just a thought…

https://nmwritersbloq.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/deathly-hallows-try-deathly-overkill/

Deathly Hallows? Try Deathly Overkill. Would you want your book to be made into a movie?


DISCLAIMER: Please note that this blog post might contain SPOILERS. If you have not read the entire Harry Potter series in its entirety, I suggest you proceed to read with caution. NM will not be held responsible for any displeasure or heartache caused by the revelation of any pertinent information related to the final HP movie: the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

Cool. I always wanted my own disclaimer.
Anyways, with the release of Deathly Hallows Part 2 almost at our doorstep, I know one thing is inevitable. I will be dragged to the bloody movie theatre against my will to watch this abomination (once again) by the BF, who loves the Harry Potter movies but has never read the books.
And me? Don’t like the movie versions. Can’t stand them. They don’t do any justice to the books. If you’ve read the books, the movie versions don’t satisfy your expectations at all, leaving you completely unfulfilled (I really want to use a sexual metaphor here, but I won’t). In fact I always wonder how those who never read HP can understand what’s going on in the movies, when almost half the storyline and themes have been taken out. Well, I suppose it’s no different to watching a Steven Segal movie or the likes of.

All this got me thinking though. If I publish a novel and it becomes a hit, will I compromise my moral high ground and allow my precious creation to be butchered just so that I can leave my mark on Hollywood? Well, er, yes I think I would actually.
But my opinion doesn’t count. As a self-admitted nobody, its easy for me to say NOW that I would agree to a movie deal, but what if I were Ms. Rowling, who really didn’t have to agree to anything for she would be a billionaire anyway, even without the movies?
I read an interview with Irish horror writer John Connolly (whose already had 2 novels made into movies) a few years back and speaking about this very point, he admitted that he did not feel the least bit of shame and if more movie deals came his way, he would readily say ‘yes’.
Our favourite lady, like Connolly, doesn’t seem to have a problem with this either.
JK Rowling not only agreed to have the Harry Potter series made into movies, she seemed to have publicly endorsed them by getting actively involved herself.
For example, years back she had a one-on-one with Sir Alan Rickman (what? What do you mean he hasn’t been knighted?!) on the dynamics of Snape’s character. She had obviously divulged the ultimate secret of Snape’s past in order to help him with his performance. So while the whole world pondered about whether the Potions Master’s loyalties lay with Dumbledore or Voldemort, Rickman had already known about his love for Lily. Truth be told, the revelation of Snape’s past is the huge, fat, delicious cherry on the Harry Potter Sundae so I don’t blame Rowling for wanting to get involved. And it helps for Rickman’s performances in the previous movies were outstanding considering what we know already. Lets be honest, he’s the only thing worth watching in the HP movies. In fact, when I do eventually get dragged to the cinema, I will look forward to seeing him, if nothing else.
As much as I would love to sit here and rant about how I hate the HP movies, and as much as all those little HP movie-loving fans will be heartbroken when the ‘era’ is over, we all seem to be forgetting, or rather not realizing that its never really going to end. Because after the movie franchise, things just get worse.
BBC will get the rights to do a Harry Potter television series; Spielberg might just get his wish and do an American version à̀ la Twilight; then off course there’s the animated series. Ben 10 and the Powerpuff Girls will disappear and we will be inflicted with weekly HP episodes on every childrens’ channel. It’s going to be overkill once again. Trust me.

NM 🙂