Friday, 27 February 2009

Whoo! Got my mark back!

I just got my most recent mark for the Distance Learning Course I'm doing. If I finish all of the bits, its equivalent (apparently) to the first year of a theology degree. I'm only on the second part of six though... Anyway, I got a B! Yay!

Wow! I won something!

Got home from college this afternoon, and there was a brown padded envolope on my desk. I figured it was the model I ordered from Airfix a while back, but when I picked it up, I was like 'hmm, this is in two seperate bits, this is a weird model'. Then I opened it up, and lo and behold, there were five CDs! Appears that the competition on Crossrhythms I decided to enter the other night, just because, I actually won! So now I have five more CDs and am busy loading them into iTunes.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


Hello. My faith in human nature is restored :D. But that doesn't mean I'm gonna allow anonymous comments again. So, sorry people. But I think you can comment if you've got a youtube account. Not sure on that one.
Anyway, my brother was getting off the bus yesterday and all these boys were messing about and they started pushing him about a bit. Really upset him. And then it turns out one of them was employed by our next door neighbour who's just come round and apologised on behalf of the lads. So that was pretty neat.

A note to the anonymous commenter

Ok, whoever you were--I don't really care to be honest--I just want to say a couple of things.
One: In case you hadn't noticed, I'm sixteen. I don't make any claims to be good at reviewing books. I'm still learning. The only way to do that is to write them and see what happens. I'd be interested in seeing anything you've produced... if you've done any.
Two: Same with the writing thing. I'm still learning. I've been writing for four years, I don't expect to be an amazing pro. And writing book reviews and writing stories are two very different things.
Three: I don't know where you're getting your info from, but as far as I was aware, SAS people aren't on especially high salaries.
Four: If you haven't got the guts to say who you are, don't bother commenting any more.
And that's it.
(Oh, and for everyone else: I've deleted the comments because they were pretty nasty, but given the way they've been appearing over the past couple of minutes, I suspect whoever was leaving them is still on here)

The Dam Busters

This is a non-fiction, and I thought 'great, get some good knowledge in me'. Wasn't expecting it to be quite as exciting and entertaining as it was. The only thing I can think of to compare it to is the 633 Squadron books, which I guess shows you just how good they both are. The 633 Squadron ones because they're so realistic that it almost seems fact, and The Dam Busters because it was so well written it could almost be fiction. Incredibly interesting, I absolutely loved it. Don't be put off by the fact it's non fiction. The people it talks about are developed as well as characters in a book, the whole thing is told like a story. And what I really like is that it doesn't stop telling the story of the squadron with the raid on the dams and the bouncing bombs, it continues to tell what happens with them throughout the rest of the war. Some of the people it talked about, like Guy Gibson, seem so interesting and now I want to go find out more about him. An awesome book.

The Third Option

This is another book in the Mitch Rapp series by Vince Flynn. Again, it's really, really good. About what happens when forces within Washington DC decide it'd be a good idea to embarass the government and the potential successor to the head of the CIA by killing Mitch... Not the smartest move in the world. Very interesting. Well worth reading. Love these books.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

The Hitchikers' Guide to the Galaxy

I've had this book recommended to me plenty of times, finally got round to reading it. Completely crazy, hilariously funny, and yet it still has a plot! An amusing, confusing, random plot to be sure, but a plot all the same. And plenty of fantastic quotes that I'm just gonna have to start using. I really recommend this book, it's fantastic! Don't expect anything serious. Oh, you can see comments on our own society thrown in there, but it doesn't take itself seriously. Brilliant. You really ought to read it.

Hello! I'm back! And I'm alive!

Hello, hello, hello, I'm back! Had a great holiday, but the broadbandy stick thing wouldn't pick up the right broadbandy signal (don't ask me for the details, I don't really understand them myself...). Anyway, I read a lot (as you'll see as I frantically try to write reveiws of all the books I've read whilst still trying to read more and also type up the story stuff I did and do the homework I didn't take with me). Anyway, we went to Bury, stayed in the caravan. Went round the various towns. Attempted to do the regimental museum and art gallery with mum while James and dad did the tram system (my brother is train/tram obsessed). The museum was closed, but not looking at all like it, and was no longer gonna be there either, and the art gallery was pretty rubbish, scarcely deserved the name. Bought a lot of books and have had to reorganise my book shelves a little as a lot of them were non-fiction. Um... What else? Relaxed. That was about it.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009


Hi. I'm currently in Bury. Well, not when I'm writing this, but I will be when it appears. Because I'm using that clever little schedule post thing. So this will appear while I'm away in the caravan. I can make a couple of guesses about it now. James will snore. Dad will snore. Mum will probably snore. I won't sleep well. I'll lie about in the middle of the night and feel bored and annoyed. James will wake everyone up really early. But for all that, I'll probably be having fun.

Sunday, 15 February 2009


Just to say, I have now added the followers gadgetty thing, cos I felt like it. And it's only small, so I thought I'd point it out. Just down to the left, between the about me and the firefox dude.

The 'broken' computer...

Lol. Was playing my clarinet, and we'd been talking about this jazz guy in English, and there was a long note mentioned in this poem about him. My English teacher was saying about circular breathing and stuff and I was thinking 'well, if a soprano sax is anything like a clarinet, you don't really need it to hold on a long note'. So I figured I'd test that little theory when I was practicing today, held on a long note at the end of my practice. Forty seconds :D. Was quite chuffed with myself, but it's not my best. If I do it at the start, I've gone up to near enough a minute holding one note on, but that's pretty hard. Anyway, I went downstairs because I'd been bribed with the promise of tea after I played, and apparently my dad thought his computer had broken and was having a paddy.


Meh. Hotmail went funny on me yesterday. Kept going on about how I seemed to have it open on two computers at once or something and just wouldn't let me read my e-mail. Very annoying. I changed the password and it cheered up. But it's annoying. And they keep messing around wiht the design and stuff. It worked at first. And what's this ridiculous network request thing? I don't get that. I just want it for e-mail, nothing else. I have my blog here, I don't want to post photos or whatever on there. And stuff just disappears. Weird. Oh well.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Transfer of Power

I might possibly have reveiwed this before. If I have, oh well, it's worth reviewing again because it's really really good. Basically, terrorists manage to storm the White House. The Vice President is too scared of looking bad to give the order to retake it. Mitch Rapp, who is one of my all time favourite characters, gets himself into the White House and does his best to get good info to the guys outside, info they can use to persuade the Vice President to take action. Really well written, very exciting, and Anna is pretty neat as a character too. Well worth reading.

The Escape

Sometimes when authors start a new series, it isn't as good as the original. Especially if they're linked in some subtle way. I'm happy to say that The Escape does not fit into that category. It's just as good as the Cherub books, if not maybe a little better *hides from missiles thrown by Cherub-lovers if there are any of you out there*. Seriously, it's good. And Henderson is an awesome character! Dangerous, kind-hearted, he's everything you want a spy to be. He's got a ruthless streak, but he's not gonna let the kids get hurt. I can't wait for the next one! Or the next Cherub book for that matter. I think I know where the name Cherub comes from now, but I don't want to say anything for fear of spoiling the book for you. I'd read a sample chapter of The Escape, and was a little confused when I got a considerable way through and still hadn't got to where it featured. Turns out it comes about half way through. Which is even more unusual than the third chapter of Brisingr being released. Anyway, the kids have that realism I've come to associate with Cherub books, the girl is not a whimp, and like I said, Henderson is awesome. The plot's pretty fast paced, although it does take a while for the two halves to join up. At first it seemed there was absolutely no connection, but there's a very clever way of getting all the different bits joined up. Totally enjoyed it, although I would've liked it to last a little bit longer. Still, well worth reading. Don't know whether to recommend reading the Cherub series first or not. It's kind of interesting to see where it came from, but then again, it's equally valid to read it chronologically. Maybe start with The Escape and then go onto Cherub, I don't know. Either way, it's good. And I have a signed copy, yay! Went to the Trafford Centre, queued up for an hour in Waterstones to get it signed. Robert Muchamore looked surprisingly ordinary. I don't know quite what I was expecting, and I have seen him before, but you think there'd be something different about such a good author. Seems not. Anyway, Cherub and Henderson's Boys series come high up on my list of good stuff to read.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Character Web

I'm taking a break from history homework, because it's hard work and time consuming and feels like it's never going to end. So I'll explain one of my favourite techniques for planning stories. It's the one I most often use (although it has to be said, I don't plan all that often). I invented it, and it's called the character web, because, well, it seems to describe it. How to do it:
1. Write down the names of your main characters. It needs a big piece of paper (or small handwriting, or both if you've got a lot of characters).
2. Now link them up with different colours/lines for the relationships between them.
3. Now start adding information about them, eg what job they do, what they enjoy spending time doing etc (what sort of information you want depends on what sort of story you're writing). When you have two or more characters who have the same bit of information about both, use the same statement and link it to both.
4. Add in minor characters, link in in the same way. Hopefully they fit to a couple of the descriptions you've got already, that being how they've got themselves involved.
5. I have added in things like hair colour and eye colour under each character (no point linking this as it won't be how the characters are connected to each other, but it can be useful to write this sort of stuff down, especially for minor characters).
6. You are now done. If the relationships change as the story progresses, I'd advise either making up a new line style, or using a different set of colours for later feelings/relationships, or if some things only come in later in. Haven't done this myself.
7. You're character web will probably look a bit messy, have lines everywhere, and be full of colour. That's good. You might also get ideas from looking at how people are linked together and get ideas to link other characters in more thoroughly. That's what happens for me.
There we go then. The seven steps to making a character web. And it's in seven steps because seven is a nice number. And it just turned out that way. Because I don't plan things like this. Or pretty much anything else. Unless I'm using character webs.

Red's Story

I've started writing a prequel to Nutmeg Angel, which comes about thirty/forty years before she joins the force, when her captain, Red, first joins. It's told first person from his point of view, which is kind of unusual--I'm not used to writing first person. Going pretty well so far. Must go do homework instead though. Meh.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Recommended Books

Cherub series by Robert Muchamore. Think you read a couple of these already. Starts with The Recruit, there's ten in the main series so far (plus a little world book day one) and he's just pubished a new series which is linked to it. Not read any of them yet, but I'm going to the Trafford Centre on Saturday and he's gonna be there so I'll get a signed copy of it, yay!

633 Squadron by Frederick E Smith. Really realistic books set in the Second World War about a squadron of pilots who get set really hard missions to do. Bit hard to get hold of them, but it's worth trying to find them because the characters are incredibly realistic, as are the details of the missions, but I have to admit, I like them for the characters even more than for the action.

Seven Ancient Wonders by Mathew Reilly. Pure action, I love this book. Moves really fast, got some clever bits in. Kind of Indianna Jones brought up to date with lots of traps and stuff and an ace main character who kind of inspired some of my own writing.

Without Remorse by Tom Clancy. This is absolutely top. It comes part way through his main series, but it's about one of the secondary characters, set before the rest of the books. It's pretty long, but it's well worth reading, and I loved it. It's about an ex-SEAL who's new girlfriend gets murdered by drug dealers and he decides to make them pay. At the same time, the government wants him to supervise a totally different mission...

Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn. I love Mitch Rapp! He's an ace character! He's a CIA assassin, and when the White House gets taken over by terrorists, it's down to him to make everyone realise that trading off hostages with the terrorists is not the greatest thing to do. Lots of action and great characters.

The Maximum Ride Trilogy by James Patterson. I refuse to acknowledge the fourth book as part of the series because it's pretty rubbish. The first three, starting with The Angel Experiment, on the other hand, are absolutely amazing! Winged children, created by evil scientists, pursued by Erasers. Might sound a bit iffy, but they're absolutely incredible. The first three at any rate. As far as I'm concerned, the fourth isn't a part of it.

A Prayer for the Dying by Jack Higgins. I think this would have to be my favourite book if I was absolutely forced to pick one. It's about an ex-IRA terrorist who finds a conscience. He has to get away and so he's forced to take one last job to kill a man so he can have a passport and some money to get away. But a priest witnesses the murder and the terrorist refuses to kill him. He gets involved with the priest and a blind girl living with him and it's all about that. Absolutely fantastic.

Sean Dillon series by Jack Higgins (first one's Eye of the Storm, but I prefer Thunder Point/ On Dangerous Ground as a starting point). Also about an ex-terrorist (though not in Eye of the Storm) who gets pulled in to work for the British government. Great characters. Sean Dillon inspired my character Ash who is one of my all time favourites that I've created.

Bravo Two Zero by Andy MacNab. It's non fiction, autobiographical I guess, but it's worth reading for its value as a story. Especially because you know it's true. It's the story of the SAS patrol Bravo Two Zero, and their work behind the lines and capture. Really well written and really really interesting.

Redwall series by Brian Jacques. I love these books. Maybe they're not aimed at older teenagers, but I started reading them in Year 5/6 and I love them. Doesn't really matter what order you read them in. His other series, The Castaways of the Flying Dutchman, is pretty awesome too, recommend them. He writes really good descriptive detail and sword fights. I guess that's what inspired the sword fights that are a pretty big part of my stories.

Nutmeg Angel by me, cos I'm self-publishing it and it's gonna come out probably early next month on Amazon. About angels and demons and all sorts of exciting things.

Jimmy Coates series by Joe Craig. Again, aimed at a slightly younger audience, but still well worth reading. The first one is Killer. About a teenage boy who discovers he's not really a human...

Kissing the Rain by Kevin Brooks. Quite dark and a little scary, about a teenage boy who nobody really likes who witnesses a murder. He knows it didn't happen how the police say it did. But he finds himself getting dragged into a world he didn't want anything to do with. It's a while since I've read it, but it really stuck with me and it has a very interesting ending.


Well. Turned up at history today and discovered I was the only one who bothered to do the homework. Humph. Bit annoyed about that. Especially because the people who didn't do it didn't even get in that much trouble.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009


Yeh. We had John Pew (head of history) on Friday, and it was a really good lesson. I enjoyed it, more than normal even. We actually did some work, I had quiet to do my exam thingy in, and he went through it with us in a nice way and got information out of us. Good stuff. Apparantly he told Elissa he was really impressed with how much we knew. He admitted right at the start that he didn't really know much about the period, and got us to tell him about it. Which kind of brought up things we (or at least I) hadn't thought about.

Had history again today. Little disappointed about not having him again if I'm being honest. Felt a bit like a repeat of all our homework. I guess she forgot about setting it or something, but she basically gave us the same stuff to do in class that we should've done for homework. And I did 'extra reading' too, with that Osprey book I said about before, so I was a bit like 'argh! I know this stuff!' and it didn't feel as detailed as what I'd got from that book. And the text book. Which kind of annoyed me. But oh well. And then I asked a couple of questions and basically got 'don't know'. I wanted to know where the Indian Mutiny fitted in, and also about this fighting in Afghanistan the book mentioned. But for some reason, I thought it a plus when our 'supply' admitted he didn't know but just annoying that Elissa couldn't answer my questions. Oh well. I guess that's life. And she is teaching this bit and it would be nice to know. I kind of want to be a history teacher myself. I seem to have had a succession of non-amazing ones and kind of want to sort that out by being a really good one myself. And everyone keeps asking if I'm gonna be a teacher. So, maybe. Shall see what happens. Might be kind of fun. We were watching a video in sociology today, showing all this rotten behaviour in classrooms that this substitute sneakily videoed and it made me feel so sorry for them having to put up with that and having that complete lack of both discipline and education and almost no chance after high school because of it that I want to do something about it. Don't know. Hard work, but you never know...

D of E Meeting

I went to a D of E meeting with a new group last night. Almost learnt more about maps doing the basics with the Bronze group (not entirely sure why I wound up in the wrong place) than I ever did before going on my expedition. Actually, I think I pretty much did. I now have the grounding in map reading (the absolute absolute basics) that I never got. And had to attempt to pick up while out there in the field. So it mostly got left to other people and so we got lost. But never mind. This time it looks like we might actually be organised. Wow! That's gonna be a novel experience for me...

Sunday, 8 February 2009

The Boer War 1899-1902 (Osprey publishing)

I always see these Osprey books, stacks and stacks of them, in the big history museum shops and the good book stores (I don't count WHSmiths because it sells too much other stuff to be called a book store) and it seems that everyone puts a lot of stock on them, says they're the amazing history books. Got one on the Boer War out the library and I can see why. It might have helped to have the context bit at the start, but the whole thing was easy to understand and very informative. I especially liked the fact that there were two chapters on specific people who contributed to the war in some way, one a Boer soldier, one a British civilian. It was good, I'd recommend this to anyone with an interest in the subject. I'm not ready to recommend those books (it's from the Essential Histories series by Osprey) unilaterally until I've read a couple more of them, but this one is certainly good and I have another on the Indian Mutiny to read at some point.


There is a reason very few of my stories have been completely (or in some cases even partially) edited. That reason is... Editing is an annoying process which is time consuming and brings far less satisfaction than writing in the first place. And it's nowhere near as exciting, because you already know where the story's going and that's just annoying. What's the point in writing if your characters aren't going to throw in little surprises every now and again? Or maybe a little more often than that. Although it has to be said, I have added in a couple of new bits while editing Nutmeg Angel. And it is improving. I just wish I could click my fingers and let magic editing fairies whizz through it. Although then it wouldn't be my work and that would be even more annoying than taking time out from writing new stuff to make the old stuff readable. Be best if I could just get it right first time. But it seems nobody does that. In fact, I'm pretty certain of it. So I guess I'll just have to carry on working on this darn story. At least it doesn't need as much work as One For Sorrow (before version), which really is in something of a state. Winged Fire I'm rewriting because there was that much needed changing, and that did take me off in another random direction. Although I'm now getting back close to what the original story was. Which could make things easier for me in some ways, but also a little less exciting. Never mind.

Saturday, 7 February 2009


I went to Bookclub at the Harris today. A bit irritating to be honest, not as good as it could have been. The book we've been given to read looks pretty rubbish, and all the younger lot were arguing and some of the older lot were joining in and it was just a bit chaotic. I got out more non-fiction books than fiction, which has got to be a first for me, except when I've gone in exclusively for non-fiction stuff for college. Which I wasn't doing, but they had so little in the fiction that looked interesting, just ten/fifteen copies of the same book and nothing else by that author coupled with a pretty rubbish fantasy/sci-fi section that I just figured I'd read some real life stuff. Some of which might be useful for college, most of which just looked interesting. How much of it I'll read remains to be seen, but still.

Thursday, 5 February 2009


This is the first DVD I actually have that's mine! James seems to have nabbed all other DVDs in the house. Think this one's safe, because it's a romance. It's absolutely amazing. It's about a firefighter and his wife who're about to get a divorce. Caleb's dad gives him a book, called The Love Dare, and asks him to wait forty days before going through with divorce. It's amazing! There're a lot of emotional ups and downs, and the firefighting action is really good. As a matter of personal choice, I would've put another big fire right at the end, maybe have had Caleb out on call when Catherine comes round, but that's just a tiny nit-picking thing. I loved it. Want to go watch it again, but James has kind of nabbed the TV back again.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


I'd just like to say how much I love this band. Some of their tracks were played on Crossrhythms the other day and I thought 'hmm, that's pretty good', so I went and downloaded a couple and I love love love Emergenza. It's amazing! I know the words to it already! (Having said that, I've probably listened to it about a dozen times sicne I got it four days ago...). Anyway, I just thought I'd say they're a great band. Cool Police is pretty awesome too.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Snow, yay!

It snowed! Got up this morning and everywhere was nice and dusted with white. Although it all melted while I was at college. And then snowed again as I was walking home but didn't stick so that was a bit meh. Still, could be worse. It could not have snowed at all. And that would be a pity. At least this way we have had some snow on the ground.

PS: This is how you tell I'm English. I'm doing that stereotypically British thing and talking about the weather...

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Bravo Two Zero and The One That Got Away

These two books detail the same patrol in Iraq. Andy MacNab's (Bravo Two Zero) was the one I preferred, I have to admit. There was a lot more excitement, partially because his part of the patrol contained more people. When I looked at the map in the book before reading it, I couldn't believe how close they'd got to the border before being captured. As I was reading them, I found myself analysing them as source material, which was kind of an odd experience. There isn't a whole lot of contradiction, but the patrol split part way through and Chris Ryan was running about on his own trying to get home, while the other group did the same in a different way. Bravo Two Zero had everyone's story in too, which I really appreciated, because it gave you a bit more of a background. I don't want to sit here and do a full source analysis type thing of them though, so I'll stop on that bit. As a piece of writing, to be enjoyed, I preferred Bravo Two Zero, though I think if you read one it's worth reading the other, just to get a better idea of the picture. Might get a couple more books on it from other sources, the SAS is certainly an interesting thing to read about.

Cobra 405

Whoops, just kind of published that with nothing in here. That's why edit buttons are always useful. I've just finished reading Cobra 405 by Damien Lewis. It was absolutely fantastic! I picked up another of his books by accident, didn't realise until I saw the biography thing at the start, and the other one I've now got sat on my bed waiting for me, and it's a nonfiction one, which accounts for the realism of the book. Cobra 405 isn't happy all the way through, but it is remarkably good. It tells of a bank raid on a bank in Lebanon, carried out by nine SAS members. They'd put forward a plan for the raid, and their major ripped it to shreds before the whole group. So they decided to prove him wrong. And take 50 million for themselves in the process. But it isn't as easy as it first seems, and they have to leave the gold for a later pick up. And that's where all the complications fly in. It's amazing, the action is ell written and gripping, and I expect good things of Operation Certain Death, a nonfiction. I seem to have a bit of a thing about the SAS at the moment. It's interesting stuff for sure.


I went through all my story files yesterday. Well, not all I suppose, but most of the ones on the computer, sorting them out. And I figured that I'd continue with a story I came up with a while ago and have actually started. Wrote a load of it (well, four and a half pages handwritten) while babysitting last night. The name of the FMC (female main character for those of you not up on all the authory slang--took me a while to get my head round it after joining Nanowrimo for the first time, trying to work out what all these SCs and FMCs and so on were all about) changed from Flo to Flaya part way through, but I kind of made a conscious decision after writing Flaya instead of Flo a couple of times. The name seemed to fit her better and she was getting called it anyway. I've just looked at the version on the computer, and have discovered that Flaya's name is really Amelia. Huh? How did...? Never mind. I'll stick with Flaya, because that's what I've come to think of her as.

The Case of the Stolen Month

So. Own up. Who was it that stole January? I mean, it's February the first today. So who was it? It seems like yesterday that I went back to college after the summer holidays and sat through a load of exams, and now, here it is, with people telling me it's February. How am I supposed to believe that? I suppose I ought to change my calender and all of that. But... Well, I guess it was a busy month. College, coursework, exams, mum's health variable, writing an entire story in three weeks (that's probably where the month went. I'll have to go chase Cowboy and tell him to give it back...), what else? Babysitting last night, reading, all sorts of stuff. Well, it's been a crazy busy month. And February doesn't look like it'll shape up much quieter. Still, I'd get bored if there was nothing happening. And at least I have the excuse that February is a short month anyway. I'll still be writing 08 in August at this rate, but I guess I don't ever write the date at college like I did every day in Wilfrids. Doesn't seem necessary to put a date on everything. Just put it in order in my folder. But I would like to know if anyone was responsible for the loss of the month. All comments will be treated annonymously. Apart from the fact that anyone in the world with a mind to view them will find them of course...