Posts Tagged With: blogging

Day 1 of My Halifax Road Trip!

Early morning. Birds chirp, garbage trucks squeal as they labor to lift huge metal bins and disgorge the smelly contents into their innermost parts. A knock at the door. Father has arrived.

“Hello, Michelle. We only have 3 hours to move your brother out and he hasn’t finished packing. You’ll help us, right?”

Guilt and conflicting emotions swirl within. Do I help, or do I shower and head out on the road? My friends are waiting for me at the Port Hope service station, ready to begin our epic trek to Halifax. Should I stay or should I go? Should I accidentally quote The Clash? The answer is clear.

“Okay, Dad. Just a few boxes, then I have to go.”

One hour later, a few boxes are packed. Dishes are unexpectedly heavy, and my plastic mat under my desk chair keeps sticking me with its pointy bits. A tiny little hummingbird is trapped in my head, and keeps smacking my skull as it tries to escape. I wait until Dad and Jesse are down at the moving truck and then make a break for the shower.

Clean and significantly more alive, I emerge. One more hour later, I have wrestled all my belongings into my car. Tetris masters have nothing on me. There’s even room for two boxes of alcohol, courtesy of my new roommate — fun times will be had when we reach the coast.

Off I go down the road, sniffling and wiping away a few errant tears. I’ll miss my family, especially my brother. He may wake up at 4pm every day and lecture me on military history, but he’s awesome and I love him. He’s not much for emotional displays, so it’s a good thing the tears hit me once I’m in my car.

A few traffic jams and muttered curses later, I’m on the highway. It’s moving swiftly, and I turn on the radio and try not to swerve wildly off the road as I consume my breakfast sandwich. Brief stop at Cambridge for gas. Then I hit Toronto. Traffic, traffic, traffic, and not the good kind. The troll kind, where you’re stop and go for half an hour, then up to 100, finally think Hermes has blessed you with boots of flight to get you out of the quagmire, and then back to stop and go when you realize it’s all a cruel lie.

Finally, I reach the Port Hope service station. My travelling companions are finished lunch and about to continue onward. I was late, and the caravan waits for no one. Don’t worry, they say. I can catch up easily — just look for the UHaul truck lumbering along in the slow lane. I scarf down a slice of pepperoni and hurry after them. For two hours I speed along, eyes peeled for a glimpse of the elusive truck. It’s gone.

Panic sets in. What service station are we stopping at next, again? Port Mallory? No, that was Port Hope. But Mallory something … or was it Melissa? Don’t be ridiculous, there’s no town called Melissa. Mallory … ville? Mallorytown? Yes! I see the sign, coming up on my right.

But I also see the blinking fuel gauge light — I’m almost out. 38 kilometers left. Will I make it? The needle sinks lower … and lower … and then the turn off! Sweet relief! The tank greedily gobbles up gas, and I force my shoulders to un-tense.

Finally our caravan is in the same spot at the same time. After a brief bathroom break, we’re away. I’m the rear guard, cruising along behind the UHaul truck while my friend leads in her car. I feel a curious sense of unity — like I’m part of something greater, something with a purpose. Is this what it feels like to join a religion? I may be thinking too much into this. I focus on driving, and on ignoring the cars tailgating me.

We reach Quebec. It looks exactly like Ontario, except all the signs are in French. This is awkward, as we do not speak French. It is surprising to me that a province of the English-speaking Canada would not at the very least have bilingual signs. I’m torn between irritation and resignation. 

Onward into Montreal. As we hit the off ramp, an eighteen-wheeler swerves wildly toward us, then hauls itself back onto the highway at the last second. Not sure if it’s just lost, or was trying to play an extremely ineffective game of chicken.

A few more turns, and my mother’s home appears on the left. We stumble out of our cars, guide the truck into the driveway, and then let out a hoarse cheer — we’ve successfully survived day 1 of our three day trek. Mother furnishes us with smoked meat and coleslaw, red wine and chocolate. We are satiated, and ready for Day 2.

 

Unrelated media of the day:

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Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , , | 20 Comments

The Writing Process Blog Hop

It’s been awhile since I participated in a Blog Hop, so I figured, no time like the present!

So let’s start off with a big thank you to Andrew Toynbee, who tagged me for this blog hop and wrote some really sweet words about me. You, sir, are a class act.

On to the blog hop!

1) What are you working on?

So I have two projects in the works right now:

  1. Chasing Nonconformity (sequel to Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It) — I’ve finished the rewrite, and have now set the book aside for a few weeks to give it time to mature (books are like wine/cheese, right?). Once the maturing process is finished, I will go back through the manuscript and rip it apart, in the hopes that the beta readers I eventually give it to won’t be too disgusted when they read it.
  2. The Elemental Guard — This is a fantasy novel I’ve been working on for a couple of years now, and I am in the process of figuring out how I want to rewrite it. I do technically have a first draft, but it’s suffering from an extreme case of “Not enough happens-itis”. So I’m going to rework the story from the ground up and make it awesome.

2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?

Well, Imminent Danger and Chasing Nonconformity are different from mainstream YA novels in that they’re not entirely focused on a love triangle. I know that’s generalizing a bit, but it’s also a fact that the vast majority of YA novels currently on the market are just obsessed with doom and gloom and tragic love triangles. The Imminent Danger series does not have love triangles, and I don’t think it ever will — well, it might, but the love triangle would be extremely nonviable, and more in there for comic relief than anything else. I also try to put a lot of humor in my stories, because A) I enjoy laughing and making people laugh, and B) whenever I write dark, dramatic things, I get kind of depressed.

3) Why do you write what you write?

I’ve loved fantasy and sci-fi since I was a kid. My parents indoctrinated me young — technically from the moment I was born, actually, as my middle name is Lothlorien (the Elvish woodlands from Lord of the Rings). So I tend to write a lot of fantasy and sci-fi because those are just the kind of stories I enjoy. I’m currently dabbling in a darker, slightly anarchic story, but even that still has some sci-fi/fantasy elements to keep it interesting. For me, I get enough of reality from living in it day to day — when I pick up a book, or sit down to write, I want to go somewhere new!

4) How does your writing process work?

Oh, it’s a complete mess. Sometimes I get an idea and immediately sit down and start banging out words. Sometimes I’ll get an idea, write it down, and then forget about it for years. Sometimes I’ll do elaborate planning for a story, with character backgrounds and histories and so on, and then get bored and never look at it again. My writing process is really just about what’s working for me at the time. Right now, I’m in a “do some high-level planning first, write the first draft from start to finish, and then re-write until you go completely batty and have to take up tai chi as a calming exercise” type phase.

——–

Nailed it! Okay, moving on to part 2 of the blog hop — tagging four authors to follow in my glorious footsteps. I’m not going to give them advanced warning on this because, quite frankly, I don’t have the patience to send out emails and wait for responses. So they’ll just have to deal with the free advertising, and decide for themselves if they want to participate in the blog hop.

Audrey Driscoll — This wonderful lady is the author of one of the best self-published books I’ve ever read, The Friendship of MortalsIt’s haunting, and beautiful, and thought-provoking, and has a dash of Lovecraftian horror that will absolutely blow you away. Also, the book has a fancy new purple cover!

Danielle E. Shipley — Aside from being a sweetheart, Danielle blogs all about writing and fairytales, and occasionally even about writing fairytales (gasp!). She has a great little series of novellas out called The Wilderhark Tales.

Kate Sparks — First of all, Kate reads all my posts and leaves awesome comments, so that alone makes her one of my favorite bloggers! Her blog is also quite excellent — all about writing, publishing, etc. She’s also recently posted a few pictures of Loki and his adventures with a pink pony, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Celeste DeWolfe — You know her as the talented artist behind all the Imminent Danger fan art I keep posting, but Celeste has many other talents! Her blog is really fun, with a huge variety of topics — ranging from web comics to music to books. And she’s currently posting her first novel, Life of Gaiaon Jukepop Serials (i.e., she posts it chapter by chapter, and you can read for free and leave comments).

Thanks for reading, everyone! Have a fabulous Friday!

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Unrelated media of the day:

Two sentence horror stories! It’s a thing! Check out more here: http://imgur.com/gallery/aHrf8

 

Categories: Blog-related, My Works, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Amateur Blogging Tip: How NOT to Request a Guest Post

I received a very amusing email a few days ago. I shall now reproduce it here for your enjoyment:

Hello Sir,

I thought I would send a quick email after coming across your website earlier today and I would like to guest post on your site. My idea for the Post is about book publishing,I believe my idea for the Guest Post will suit your website. In return, I would like to have 1 backlink in the post.

Please let me know if my idea for the Guest Post suits you, and also if there are any terms and conditions about Guest Posting.

The post will be around 400-500 words and 100% unique.

Also I would like to know how soon can you publish it?

((etc.))

In the aftermath of this excellent email, I have decided to put together a quick list of tips for requesting guest posts. Actually, these rules don’t have to apply just to requesting a guest post — they really apply to whenever you’re asking anyone for anything. So, I now present to you:

How to request writing an unsolicited guest post without brutally offending the blogger in question

  1. Get their gender right. I know that the name “Michelle” is technically a unisex name (according to nameplayground.com, it’s used for boys 0.23% of the time). But still … if you’re going to be gender-specific in your query, take the time to find a bio or picture of the person and figure out if they’re a guy or a girl. Otherwise you run the risk of calling a woman “Sir”, which is just embarrassing for everyone involved. (Pro tip: When in doubt, just address them by name, and forego the “sir” or “madam” entirely!)
  2. Know your audience. This person’s email reads like a hard-core business message. The email is laid out like a contract — “I will do this, in return you will do this. Here are the specifications of my offer, here is my guarantee for originality, what timeline can I expect for our deal to conclude?” And that works really well if you’re emailing, say, Microsoft. But if you’re contacting a part-time blogger whose content quite clearly indicates that they’re writing for fun and to connect with the blogging community, tone down the business-talk a little!
  3. Capitalization Is Annoying. Capitalization is for proper nouns. “Post” and “guest post” are not proper nouns. They are normal, boring, improper nouns. Don’t capitalize them!
  4. Run a spell check. The reasoning for this rule should be self-evident. Spelling and grammar save lives!

In other news, I’m quite excited for my book reading/signing tomorrow evening at local library. I think I convinced a few people to come, but I still suspect I’ll be babbling to a mostly-empty room. On the plus side, I talked my friend into being my “reader wrangler”, so hopefully that will up the attendance a little. Check back in a few days for my victorious/lugubrious report on the book reading!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: Blog-related | Tags: , , , , , , | 59 Comments

Call for guest posts!

Happy Saturday, everyone! Ain’t the weekend grand?

All right, enough frivolity. Down to business. I’m insanely busy and I’m not posting as much as I want. This saddens me. Not to mention I think you guys are all fairly awesome. So this is a call for guest posts. You can write about literally anything you want that’s writing/publishing/reading related (okay, so not literally anything, but very close).

It will be a great opportunity for you to promote your own blog/book/self, not to mention I’ll have one less blog post to worry about. Then I can instead focus on more important things, like doing my laundry so I don’t have to go out dressed in a floral pink peasant shirt, grey sweat capris, stripy blue and black knee socks, and electric blue crocs. Mental image just scar you for life? Exactly.

Anyway, if doing a guest post sounds interesting, hit me up in the comments or via email (michellishelli@gmail.com). I can post it whenever you want — like I have a blogging schedule! Ha! — so sky’s the limit, friends!

In other news, the IPPY Awards announce their winners on April 30th. Fingers crossed for an imminently dangerous victory!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: Blog-related | Tags: , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Super amazing fantastic unbelievably awesome FREE GIVEAWAY …

… of magnets!

Ha! Fooled you, didn’t I? Since I haven’t actually gotten my hands on copies of my own book yet (iUniverse for the win!), I have decided to have a slightly different type of giveaway. And this giveaway will involve … MAGNETS!

Don’t get too excited. You haven’t even seen them yet.

2013-01-23 18.32.23

Okay, you may now get excited. Ain’t they bootiful?

So here’s the deal. I’m giving away an unspecified number of magnets to an unspecified number of people who comment on this blog post in celebration of the publication of my totally rad new book, Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It. I have a sparkly bowler hat left over from New Years into which I will place the name of each person who comments on this post. You get an extra draw if you reblog/share this post (or, preferably, this post) on your own blog.

The prize?

A MAGNET!!!

Perhaps not the most exciting prize in the world, but you can always use it to … um … do whatever you do with magnets. Stick flyers to your fridge? Plus you get to boast that you own an original Imminent Danger magnet! Wow!

Anyway, here is a picture of me and the magnets to get you motivated.

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The bear’s name is Tibbers. Don’t worry, he only comes alive and attempts to devour me whole every second full moon. Thus far I’ve fended him off via locking my door, but I found a lockpick set under his crown a few days ago, so I have a feeling my cunning ploy won’t work much longer.

This “contest”, so-called, is open to anyone currently living on the planet Earth. Visitors from foreign planets need not apply, as interstellar postage rates have really space-rocketed recently. (Get it? Sky-rocketed … space-rocketed … never mind.)

And your comment can be about literally anything. It can be about how beautiful the magnets are. It can be about my gigantic teddy bear. It can be about the current state of politics in South East Asia. You can even try to answer the age old question: Star Wars or Star Trek?

The contest ends when I wake up on Saturday morning and draw a name (so, probably around 9-10ish).

Remember, comment and/or reblog/share!

Unrelated image of the day:

Categories: My Works, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 73 Comments

2 Quick Blogging Tips

In my surfing of assorted blogs, I’ve found two little nit-picky issues that really annoy me because I’m ridiculous like that.

Therefore, here are my 2 Quick Blogging Tips (so that you don’t irritate your readers):

  1. Give every post a title. Otherwise what the heck am I supposed to click on to read your post?
  2. Make sure there’s a “Like” button accessible under every post. Some people disable the Like button due to personal aesthetic choice, but I feel that having to mouse up to the WordPress bar and click Like there is such a hassle. Give us both options, or we will become unnecessarily rageful! RAWR!

That’s it for now. Check in tomorrow, as I’ll have some exciting news (I hope!) to share. Maybe even a vlog. We’ll see how ye olde work goes.

Peace out, home skillets.

Unrelated image of the day:

Categories: Blog-related, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Help out a fellow blogger + update on my book!

My friend Matthew Cook contacted me this morning with what he termed a “huge favour”. Now, I’m inclined to give this gentleman whatever he wants, because he is one of my best beta readers/editors/copy-editors/proof-readers. Not to mention he’s just a genuinely good guy. Plus, we used to play D&D in high school, so we go way back to the days of trolls and imps and THAC0 (major cool points if you got that reference).

Anyway, he’s still in university, and he’s taking a journalism course that requires him to make a blog and acquire followers. In a strange twist of academics, his grade depends not on the contents or quality of his blog, but on how many followers he acquires. Weird, right? Anyway, here’s the situation in his words:

Hi, my name’s Matt! I’m a journalism student developing a blog about cartoons – webcomics, political cartoons, and daily comic strips. I also have my own cartoons posted, about whatever seems funny to me at the time. My blog is a part of a big journalism project and I need to get more followers if I want a good grade. So if you’re interested in cartoons, come visit the site and comment if you have the time; either positive or negative comments help (the negative comments let me know what I’m doing wrong!)

Here’s a sample of his cartoons:

I figure we bloggers must stick together, and Matt’s grade depends on how many followers he can get, so let’s give him a hand, shall we? Here’s a link to his blog.

Update on my novel:

So I got my Return Evaluation back. Surprise surprise, they recommended a Copy-Edit. Siiiiiiiigh. Well, at least it’s an appropriate length now. So there’s that.

My plans to chat with my Editorial Consultant about booking the Copy-Edit have thus far failed, in that I emailed her and she hasn’t responded. And now I’m working 9-5 (at least, for the next few weeks), which also happen to be her office hours, so hopefully she’ll be flexible about setting up a meeting with me. Once I actually get into contact with her, I will hypothetically purchase a Copy-Edit, get that done in a few weeks, and then FINALLY get the darn thing published.

It’s going to happen. I swear.

Unrelated gif of the day:

Thanks Jeremy :’)

Unrelated video of the day:

Background info: A professional voice actor reads aloud the review a young man made about an online game. Hilarity ensues.

Note: Funny begins around 0:35.

Categories: Random, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

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