It’s Nice to be Nominated…

It’s been an exciting writing weekend with two writerly-blog awards coming my way.


Thanks to EM Castellan and Aimee L. Salter for nominating me for the Next Big Thing Blog Hop – I appreciate the vote of confidence. This is the second time I’ve received this nomination, so if you want to check out the embryonic history of The Fall of the Kings you can here. However since I’ve decided to finish a different novel for NaNoWriMo I’ll give you a sneak peak into that instead:

What is the working title of your book?

The Legend of the Kings. Yes there is an obvious similiarity to The Fall of the Kings, but Legend was actually around first.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was doing a writing course and had to write a children’s story. What resulted was a story about twins who find and rescue a baby dragon. My tutor asked the question – what motivated them to rescue it? It was one of those questions that never quite left me.

I didn’t think I’d do any more with the story until we were on a 10 hour drive from Auckland to Wellington one hot summer day listening to Brian Adams. Suddenly I had the idea of a grown up Roan (one of the twins) having a very different encounter with a dragon. From there a whole world grew…

What genre does your book fall under?

Epic Fantasy.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When Roan Carter slays one of the dragons plaguing Gaelladorn, he unwittingly unleashes a devastating force set on destroying him and everything he holds dear – including the Kingdom itself.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I asked my friends to help me with this (because casting isn’t something that comes naturally to me) and one of my girlfriends said she was too scared to suggest anyone because I was so particular about my characters… ouch! (But sadly true *hangs head*). Can I just say I don’t have a dream-cast list yet?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m hoping for an agency, but am open to the possibility of self-publishing too if I can do it to a high standard!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

This is the part where I want to weep. I’ve already written at least 50,000 words during NaNo 2010, but for the past year I’ve been working on a different project. I’d say at least 3 years so far…

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

This is a tough one. I see it as a grown-up Eragon, where the dragons are the bad guys.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s a book about dragons and heroes and things not always being what they seem, and how sometimes pure determination can pay off despite the odds. Lets just say I loved writing this one.

A big thank you to E.M.Castellan and Aimee L. Salter for giving me an opportunity to share!


The second shout-out was from fellow epic fantasy writer Mara Valderran who passed on the Liebster Award, for someone with a blog following of less than 200. Thanks Mara! The idea is answer the 11 questions given to you and then to compose 11 more for 11 more people. So here are 11 insights into my psyche…

1. What is your favorite flower?

A host of golden daffodils…

What’s not to love about those cheerful little heralds of spring!

2. What is your motto?

Just keep swimming. (Dory, from Finding Nemo).

Not deep, but very true. On a more foundational level:

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philipians 4:13)

3. Tell us three things about a favorite character you’ve created.

One of my favourite characters is Matthew O’Dell.  On one particularly hot day he went swimming ‘au naturale’ in a secluded part of the lake at the Sanctuary, and then Tobias turned up with a group of old ladies… He was the only novice asked to do his ‘service’ travelling around Gaelladorn (because he caused so much havoc at the Sanctuary). Every time he returns to his home at the Hamlet he spends most of his time with his best friend Magda, although he can never figure out why someone as lovely as she never married…

4. Which author influences you most as a writer, and in what way?

If I had to pick only one I’d say C.S. Lewis (although Tolkien is a close second). Although I love the Narnia Chronicles, Lewis wrote widely in other genres too. His writing explored many elements of his faith, without losing his sense of story and wonder. I try to do this in my own writing. Often times my characters are dealing with questions, or attitudes I’m trying to figure out in my own life – but in larger than life, fantastical ways.

5. Who was your favorite actor or actress when you were growing up?

Actor: Harrison Ford. Han Solo and Indiana Jones – what’s not to like.

Actress: Aylssa Milano in Whos the Boss. Boy that seems like a long time ago now.

6. Lake or ocean, and why?

Ocean. Maybe because we live by the beach and I love its power and many changing faces. Saying that I’m a bit wussy and prefer to swim in a pool…

7. When you get writer’s block, doing this helps. (If you never get writer’s block I’m blowing raspberries at you).

When I’m stuck in a rut there is no point trying to push through. I either write something completely different or put it down and doing something else. I think the only reason I was able to complete NaNo was because I was writing in 2 POVs. When I got stuck or bored with one, I’d flick over to the other.

8. What movie scared you (and maybe scarred you)?

We used to get Sunday Horrors on late TV when I was a teenager. One time I was staying at a friend’s house when her parents were away and we watched a movie about the Moana Cult – which was an occultish offering about a ‘goddess’ who stole the youth of young girls, leaving them in old ladies bodies. It totally terrified me and to this day I can’t (and won’t) watch anything that is overtly occultish (seances, demons, possession).

9. What is something you regret? (no need to get too personal)

Spending so much time worrying what others thought about me when I was younger – I could have saved myself a whole lot of heartache. A wiser person than me once summed it up beautifully:

When you’re in your 20s you worry what others think about you. When you’re in your 40s you don’t care what others think about you. When you’re in your 60s you realise no one was thinking about you in the first place…

10. What was the first thing you remember writing?

 ‘This is Raewyn’s pie.’ I got to go to the principal’s office (in a good way).  My first polished story (for competition) was called A Place of Safety – about a girl who tried (in vain) to hide from the world.

11. What is your favourite television show that was cancelled before its time/too soon?

Has anyone who answered this question ever not said Firefly. Seriously what was that studio thinking…

So my 11 questions:

1. What was the weirdest thing you wanted to be when you were a child?

2. What is your favourite sandwich filling?

3. Who, in your opinion, is the most memorable villain of all time?

4. What was the weirdest thing you ever saw a kid do at school?

5. What is your favourite colour and why?

6. Has a place ever inspired you to write a story?

7. Dogs or Cats?

8. Do you have any embarrassing writing stories you’d be willing to share?

9. Has a character ever taken over one of your stories in an unexpected way?

10. Who are your writing heroes?

11. Can you remember the first time you saw Star Wars. (Have you seen Star Wars???)

I’d like to nominate the following for both awards (feel free to accept both, one or none at all – this is really a token of appreciation):

Katherine Amabel  (I know you already have the Liebster…)

J.L Mbewe

Shannon A Thompson

S C Harrison – Because I loved Revive and it truly is a Next Big Thing!

Scott Biddle

Victoria Grefer

ReGi McClain

Best of luck and thanks for sticking through what must be my longest blog-post to date. Feel free to weigh in on any of the questions in the comments!


12 thoughts on “It’s Nice to be Nominated…

  1. Okay I seriously need to watch this firefly everyone raves about, but then will I experience the devastation of its discontinuance? congrats on all your awards 🙂

    1. Yes probably on the devastation – or worse you won’t be able to figure out why we all rave about it… Fortunately you can try before you buy by watching the movie Serenity which was made after the series was cancelled. Because at least Joss Whedon understood the fans.

  2. I really like your one-sentence synopsis. Perfectly grabby.

    As to being particular about characters/actors, I’ve been watching a lot of body-a-week shows over the last few years, and other than the leads the shows have to cast a whole world of people each episode. I’ve started watching walk-ons for ideas than collecting snapshots from Google images (and tucking them into the character profile on scrivener).

    I’ve gotten way more characters than I ever expected to. Very satisfying, and it helps me keep a consistent character image in my head as I describe them in more detail (I’m not so great on detail, so I’ve decided pictures are a good thing.

    1. Thanks for the feedback re: the one-sentence synopsis, I struggle to get them right – but didn’t have time to overthink this one…

      I also love your idea about watching the walk-ons. I find watching the leads all the time is a bit limiting. I will definitely pay more attention in future! Do you have any favourites that really stood out?

      1. So far: Aimee Mullins, Megan Mullins (not related, but Googling one found the other), Eddie Redmayne and Urs Bühler.

        Lisa Sheridan (in an appearance in the first season of /The Mentalist/) was the first that woke me up to the idea. It’s now why I now youTube anybody whose look intrigues me, b/c then I even get to see them in action.

        One of my stories (2011’s NaNo) has Identical triplet brothers who don’t look identical most of the time. For their model I used the show character Alec McDowell (at the time of the show actor Jensen Ackles was the right age– which I’ve found is a good trick for getting exactly the image I want).

        I clustered the “look” of the single actor according to the ‘type” of each triplet to get three different young men who could be indistinguishable if they chose (because, ahem, they *were* all the same person. {grin})

        Good luck!

  3. I have to admit I’ve never seen Firefly. I’ve also never done a blog award thing before, so I’m not sure what I’ll do about being nominated here…

    1. No worries Scott – you don’t have to do anything. Just feel appreciated. They do feel a bit like chain letters (but without the threat of impending bad luck) – I’ve heard it’s a thing new bloggers do to encourage other people to look at their blog. Saying that I got nominated again the other day and figured my whole blog can’t be answering questions about my WIP (or self).

  4. Oh, I do feel appreciated (and honored). The questions on a lot of these are interesting, but the need to nominate a billion other bloggers seems a tad overwhelming. It’s a giant pyramid scam – we’ll run out of blogs (or re-nominate the same ones over and over).

    Between work, family, church, running a soccer association, and other things I barely have any time to write these days, so my own blog gets neglected and I find that I only have a chance to read a few blogs (yours being one of them) and those are infrequent.

    Who knows, maybe my free book promo today on Amazon will be the start of something big and I can retire to write… (and there are still a few hours left for anybody who wants to go grab my second book for free at Amazon – it has made its way up to the #69 free eBook in the Epic Fantasy category)

    1. Thanks for reading my blog. I am very grateful you take the time. By the way I am going to read your novels as soon as time allows – just downloaded #2 and will pick up #1 off your blogsite. I’ve just spent the morning at school (parent help – yay!), have lawns to mow, the house to sort, dinner to make so the kids can do homework and get to scouts and touch-rugby (at different locations)… then when they’re in bed I can write… Busy yes, but I love it.

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