Friday, 27 March 2015

Why You Need Downtime

You need downtime. Time between projects. Time between edits. Time away when life's getting a bit crazy. Sometimes, you have to take a step back from your writing and your blog to refresh and recharge yourself.

How you use your downtime is totally up to you, it's just important that you take some time out now and then. Burning out isn't fun.

My violin practice sessions are a lot longer when I haven't got editing or writing to worry about. I like to play a few videogames or catch up on TV shows. I also try to get out and about by going for walks. You should never stop seeking inspiration! After all, it's in your downtime that inspiration may strike.

I've been in Savannah this week, enjoying the historic district and taking a break from my editing. I used my time to seek inspiration, too. It was so exciting to just let the ideas flow.

Exploring Bonaventura Cemetery
Taking a relaxing walk around Savannah's historic district

Don't be afraid or feel guilty to say "I need to stop." Don't let what others are doing force you to carry on when you really need a break. Sometimes you have to just walk away. It's not forever. It's not a sign you're faking it as a writer or whatever. It's you taking some time for yourself to reinvigorate yourself. Enjoy it! Your writing will still be there when you feel ready to return...

...from Woodbury!!!!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Midweek Motivator

Do you need some motivating today? Is your get up and go lagging a bit? How about some pumped up music to get you through?

;) Have a great day! Hope you can find a moment to dance.

Friday, 20 March 2015

A (Brief) Guide to Exploring Videogame Music

Videogame music is gaining recognition from big radio stations in the UK, thanks to Classic FM and, more recently, BBC Radio 3. And now London will have another Final Symphony Concert! I find this very exciting as videogame music is such a passion of mine. Yes, it invokes memories of the games I love, but I know the right piece of music will aid my writing. From Aerith's Theme to Nate's Theme, there's a videogame track out there waiting to inspire you.

Thanks to increasing awareness of its magnificence, exploring videogame music is so much easier than it used to be. No longer do you have to import soundtracks from Japan, or buy a game OST at random and hope there's something worth listening to on it. Allow me to offer an incredibly brief look at a few places you can start, whether you're a gamer or not.

Where to Start (As a Non-Gamer)

There are some great compilation albums available now to give you a taster of what videogame music can offer.

I recommend the London Philharmonic Orchestra's two "Greatest Videogame Music" albums. Both have a great variety of music, from classics of the gaming world to more modern pieces. These are perfect albums to start with if you're not familiar with gaming music.

After these, you can move onto performances by Video Games Live.

You may find yourself loving a particular series or composer, and that's were you can start exploring the original soundtracks (OSTs) of entire games. For example, those two pieces come from Koji Kondo. My personal favourites include Nobuo Uematsu, Yoko Shimomura, and Greg Edmonson.

Dedicated videogame music sites, such as Game Music Online, provide excellent reviews of all kinds of soundtracks, many of which will suit a variety of writing genres.

Where to Start (As a Gamer)

Have a favourite game, even an old school classic? Start there. You really will be impressed with the selection available on iTunes. If it's a more obscure title, tracking down a copy of the OST may be tricky or expensive. Check the game's publisher's website to begin with. If you have to import, I recommend Yes Asia, as I've never had a problem with them in all the years I've imported Japanese OSTs.

Pictured: OBSESSION <3

Oh, and if you still own original PlayStation or PC versions of Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider II, congratulations! You officially own those soundtracks! ...At least you do in the UK. Can't speak for other countries, sorry! If only all games came packaged with their soundtracks.

With some of the bigger franchises, you'll find a lot of eager fans have put together their own covers of the best music. I love Project Destati's Kingdom Hearts albums, but you also have artists like Taylor Davis producing phenomenal covers:

Explore Loudr to find excellent cover artists. Their albums are nicely priced, and excellent additions to your score collection, especially if you're struggling to track down original recordings.

And if you ever have the chance to attend a live performance of videogame music, go. I cannot describe how amazing it is to hear orchestras play music you may only have ever heard in their old school Nintendo cartridge format.

So, I hope I've given you some ideas of where to start! And let me know if you ever need any recommendations. I'll try to keep my Final Fantasy recommendations to a minimal ;)

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Midweek Motivator

I may not have time to take part in What's Up Wednesday, but I do have time to share some super upbeat music to keep us all going :D

I love how this has a nice, mellow start, before the steel drums kick in and up the tempo. Great listening if you need a midweek boost. Head up! It's nearly the weekend!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Miss Cole's Tea Time - Assam Orangajuli from Pekoe

If you've got a busy week ahead, it's time for a robust tea! This Assam is very strong, and great to get you up and about in the morning, ready to tackle whatever the writing/editing/working day brings.  I also think it's another great transitional tea for those of you looking for a morning coffee replacement.

If you like strong tastes, brew this for five minutes. If you're looking for a strong taste with a little less bite, three minutes will do. You may want to vary times based on how you brew it. I tend to use teapots or single cup brewers so my leaves have lots of room to move, but if you're using a steeper, you may want to brew for longer just to get the most out of the leaves.

You'll also notice this is a "second flush" tea. That means it was picked later in the summer than your springtime first flush teas. First flushes tend to be more expensive. I know I have an "expensive treats" section in my list of teas, but believe me when I say that's nothing compared to how expensive some teas can get! Now, getting back to the "second flush" term, it probably means your tea has a stronger taste as its grown for longer. This particular Assam has a really strong, malty taste. You'll notice that from the first sip. Pekoe recommend it as an alternative breakfast tea, and I agree if you need a strong taste first thing in the morning. Probably not so good for those lazy weekend mornings though ;)

Friday, 13 March 2015


*Your blog

Yeah, I've yet to turn into a planner as a fiction writer, but as a blogger I plan a lot. I decided 2015 would be the year I took blogging more seriously, with a certain number of updates a month. I bought myself a diary, and I use it to write down what I'll be posting on what day. I tend to plan a month in advance, although typically of me, sometimes I'll blog about something completely different to what I've planned.

I use Sundays to draft all my posts for the upcoming week. I've found this is the perfect way to keep on top of my blog while I'm writing/editing or spending a lot of time at the day job.

It's nice to have a plan for my blog. I can brainstorm a month or so in advance and ensure I have good posts for you all to read. I can also plan a series of posts, giving myself time to gather materials... or visit a ton of my favourite coffee shops. Being ahead of myself keeps me from burning out or worrying about not having something ready. I really enjoy blogging; it keeps me honest. And it's good to practice a different type of writing.

How do you like to approach blogging? Do you write when you're inspired, or is your blog part of your routine?

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

What's Up Wednesday

Join in the fun at Jaime and Erin's blogs :D

What I'm Reading

Today is Emma Adams' release day! HOORAY FOR ADAMANT! :D Check out her post, with links for purchase, here! If you like your spec fic to have action, adventure and a good mystery, you totally need to pick up her book ^_^

What I'm Writing

The third edit BEGINS!!!! :O And here's where my desk really groans because I needed another screen, which means I needed my old laptop, which I really don't have room for but had to have so... er...

I managed to get all the easy edits out the way over the weekend, so now I'm fixing particular scenes. I'll sort out the characterisation issues during another read through. I'd like to be back to paper edits in time for my flight out to the US, but I'm not sure I've got the time for that. That won't stop me from doing my best!

What Works For Me

My totally awesome team of beta readers who all win at life? Yeah ;)

Also, MUSIC! :D

If you like your music to have epic choirs, you have to listen to Answers.

What Else Is New

Due to edits, day job obligations and then a holiday (WOO HOO!!!!!), this is the last WuW I'll be taking part in 'til April. My blog's updates might be a little more sporadic until then, too, but I will return! I hope the remainder of March treats you all very well ^_^