Tuesday, 31 May 2011

10 Things about Plot Bunnies

I think pretty much all of us have made the acquaintance of that invasive creature known as the Dust Bunny. Well now... you may or may not know it, but the Dust Bunny has a cousin (or rather lots of them), and they live in the corners of a writer's mind.

I'm talking about Plot Bunnies, of course.

The Plot Bunny Parade by Tessa Conte

So here's 10 things I believe you should know about plot bunnies (you might well be familiar with most of this...):

Fact #1: Plot Bunnies are cute

New ideas are always shiny. It's just the way they are - polished and beautiful and colourful and wonderful ect ect ect. 

Plot Bunnies are fluffy and adorable and absolutely have to be cooed at. They are so cute, in fact, that you probably want to do nothing more than cuddle them and nurture them and show them to ALL your friends (preferably those currently without a cute plot bunny of their own to induce appropriate envy). 

Fact #2: Plot Bunnies demand attention

They're like puppies. Adorable, sure. Cute as hell, in fact. 

They also piddle on the floor if you don't let them out, and you have to feed them, water them, walk them and, yes, cuddle them. 

In short, they need love and attention. LOTS of it. 

Fact #3: Plot Bunnies multiply

Plot Bunnies really don't need any help to multiply. All you need to do is look away at the wrong moment and BAM! Your one fluffy bunny has suddenly turned into twenty. 

Fact #4: Plot Bunnies have sharp teeth

Much like real bunnies, Plot Bunnies have teeth. Sharp ones that grow and grow (so they certainly have no trouble biting you)(even if you're not orange like a carrot)(if you are, stop using that self tanner already). 

If you don't pay attention, they will certainly bite you. 

Fact #5: Plot Bunnies shed

Oh yes. All that soft bunny hair? Be prepared to find it all over your sofa, your rug, your bathroom, your husband/wife/kids, your car and the rest of your life. Good luck trying to get everything clean again. 

Fact #6: Plot Bunnies like to hide in corners and under beds

They're kind of like ghosts and monsters that way. Don't think you can guess where they are - you can't. They'll hop out whenever THEY feel like it, not you. And don't bother trying to hoover... it won't work. Plot Bunnies are definately hoover resistant. 

Fact #7: Plot Bunnies are carnivorous

Beware - if there's a particular bunny you like best, keep an eye on it. The little beasties have been known to eat each other whenever it's most inconvenient to you. 

Fact #8: Plot Bunnies are treacherous little bastards

Plot Bunnies do not hop around on your whim, it's the other way 'round. And if you bore them, that's it, of they go, fluffy little tails twitching in the wind. They know no loyalty. 

Fact #9: Plot Bunnies and Muses often collude

I've often wondered if my Muse has a bunny farm secreted away somewhere. In fact, I'm sure he does, because they always turn up when he looks at me with that deviously smug little smile of his. 

Aren't I glad I provide amusement for him. 

Fact #10: Plot Bunnies and Muses often fight like cats and dogs

Even more fun for them. My muse sulks, the plot bunnies gnaw on every available and unavailable surface, and I sit before an empty page tearing my hair out. 


So what about you? Any vital info on Plot Bunnies I missed out on? 


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

TEA or COFFEE? - A Necessities of (writing) Life post

Hello, my name is Tessa, and I'm addicted to coffee. 

I drink tea with breakfast for the most part, but after that, it's coffee, coffee, coffee. Waaaay too much of it, probably. I tried switching to green tea (actually I try that about once a month) but this is usually crowned with spectacular failure and a rather grumpy sort of day on my part. 

I do grumpy very well, if I do say so. In fact, I've been told my employees are scared of me.... (insert evil grin right here, please). Now now, I'm not the evil gremlin sort of boss...(more of a dark sidhe if anything, pretty please), it's just that I work in a mostly male-dominated sort of domain and if I don't put my foot down people have a tendency to walk all over me. I can play the dumb blond girlie if I need to, I just prefer  not having to do that. 

So, back to the coffee. The only time I can reasonably do without is in summer, when cold lemonade (preferably with a touch of hierbabuena) and Pepsi Max (TM) or Coke Zero (TM) prevail. Or iced soya chai from Starbucks (TM) (see me being proper with trademarks!! I've had my coffee today, you see...)(I'm vaguely lactose intolerant, in case you were wondering). 

Other than during hot weather, I am not to be held accountable for my actions before I've had at least two cups of tea (proper english tea with milk) or a cup of coffee. 

The need to be caffeinated increases exponentially when I'm writing. Apparently, my Muse is addicted to the stuff, too. He tends to sulk in a dank dark corner of my mind until I give in and dunk him in a nice cappuccino like a home-made cantucci biscuit (yep I make those myself and they're good, thank you very much). 

What about you? What beverage is absolutely essential to your survival? What's your Muse's favourite drink? 


Saturday, 14 May 2011

Inanimate Objects...


The task she set: 
The idea is to write an entry of NO MORE THAN 1000 words that somehow incorporates the personification of inanimate objects. It can be a poem, a short short, a letter (perhaps to your favorite childhood toy?), a fairytale, a scene from a dream, or even a song--anything you want! It can be something you've written in the past or it could be totally brand new...it's all up to you!
So here goes....


It moved.

I turned my back to it but tried to continue watching out of the corner of my eye. Yep, it moved. Again. But when I whirled around to face the damned thing, everything was just as I'd left it.


"I know what you're up to," I said, aiming for my aunt's patented you-brat-stop-that-now tone of voice. "Don't think I don't!"

I could have sworn the yellow glass eyes glinted with evil laughter.

Some days I really hated my job. As if managing a junk store wasn't bad enough, it had to be my aunt's (not that aunt, another one) magical junk store, full of monkey's paws, hands of glory and racks of supposedly lucky charms for wrists and keyrings.

And one decidedly evil-looking porcelain doll sitting right in the middle of the most prominent shelf in the store. It probably wanted to keep an eye on things, because it sure didn't agre to being moved.

I'd tried several times, but it was always back in its place the next day, giving me the evil glass eye.

We stared at each other until the little bell above the door tinkled and heavy steps dragged my gaze towards the customer.

Oh. My. God. No way was this guy human. Nobody was that perfect.

I worked hard at keeping my jaw up as I studied this excellent specimen of manhood. Black, curly hair hung down to his shoulders and dark stubble covered his chisled jaw, managing to look dishevelled rather than unkempt. Amber eyes glowered at me from beneath raven-wing eyebrows,  burning with fury. He also had power rolling off him in tsunami-sized waves.

I almost cringed back. Mr I'm So Handsome It Hurts wasn't happy, and if my witchy senses hadn't entirely deserted me, he was at least half fey. I cleared my throat and put my hands down on the counter to steady myself.

"May I assist you, sir? Is there anything in particular you're looking for?"

He stopped a foot before the counter, crossed his arms before his chest (that caused some shivers on my part, what with the image of myself being in those arms running through my head), but didn't say anything.

"The Sprite-Off Candles are on offer this week."

He didn't look interested.

I couldn't quite stop myself from fidgeting as he stood there, doing no more than raising an eyebrow at me.

"What!" I shouted. Okay, so I couldn't deal with the silent treatment.

"I'd like my sister back."

My turn to stare.

"Now, if you please, witch," he said, leaning forward, fire sparking in his eyes.

"I have your sister?"

"Yes," he said. "Or more precicely, your aunt had my sister, and now that she's gone, I want her back."

"Ah....why did my aunt have your sister?" He frowned, clearly not liking the question.

"My sister wasn't always...wise...when it comes to dealing with witches."

A slow smile crept into my face in spite of my effort to restrain it. Auntie May had been notoriously bad-tempered and quite willing to let others feel it.

I turned to look at my friend the evil doll.

"Green God!" the fey exclaimed when his gaze followed mine and he spied his porcelain sister. I held my breath, waiting for the inevitable explosion.

It came soon enough, just not the way I was expecting. Was he laughing?

He was laughing, laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes, no less.

"Serves her right," he wheezed. "She always did think too much of herself."

With a loud crack, the shelf the doll was sitting on broke in half and dumped her on the floor.


OK I know so-so ending sorry. Hope you liked it anyway... ; )

Now off with you to check out the other entries... HERE. 

Inspired by:

The Enchantment Emporium
The Enchantment Emporium
by Tanya Huff


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Dear Ms Harkness (a Review)

Dear Ms Harkness, 

Thank you for restoring my faith in the unputdownability* of a good book. I bought the audiobook version (read by Jennifer Ikeda) in a last-minute shopping spree for a long car journey I wasn't looking forward too (nine hours and rain all the way). I didn't even bother reading the blurb properly but went entirely by the cover (which is great - understated and yet fascinating).

A Discovery of Witches: A Novel

It has been quite some time since I was last this fascinated by a book. I was so engrossed, in fact, that I arrived home and had to go and buy the book on my kindle so I could continue reading in bed (don't have a cd player there).

In fact, I stayed up longer than was wise after such a long journey, got up too early for complete comfort and continued reading until I absolutely had to leave for work. I kept reading at work, too (bad Tessa, I know, but I couldn't help it)(good thing I'm the boss).

Suffice to say, Ms Harkness, you are my new favourite author and I shall be waiting, breath abated, for the sequel to come out.

Sincerely Yours, 

Tessa Conte

THE BLURB (according to Amazon): 

An epic, richly inventive, historically sweeping, magical romance. When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it's an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she's kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana's discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire geneticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels...


Diana is a scholar down to her very bones. She lives and breathes her research and is full of historical facts that may or may not be relevant to the plot (I'm NOT going to include any spoilers here if I can help it!!). She's thoroughly convincing, understandable in all her idiosyncracies (like not wanting to use her magic but succumbing on occasion), her preference for solitude and her almost single-minded pursuit of knowledge. 

Matthew is fascinating. He's dark, he's handsome, he has something of a dark knight about him (not surprising considering what he is), and Diana quite literally falls into his arms. He has secrets - a seemingly endless array of them - and he seems to detests giving them away. He's cold in more ways than one, towards everyone but Diana, though his rage is white-hot. 

Together they face an increasing number of foes while Diana (re)learns her heritage, her power, and they try to unravel the mystery that is Ashmole 782.


The world Ms Harkness creates is fascinating in that it seemed so very real to me, it took me a while to even realize it was a fantasy (I know I know it's in the blurb but still). The magic seeps into the story so subtly, so much without fanfare or ka-bam that you almost need to turn around and check it isn't real, in this world outside of words and pages. I fell into this world (thanks, also, to Ms Ikeda's great reading voice), and I really rather resented the fact that the book had to end. 


PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if you like a realistic sort of fantasy, witches, vampires and intrigue, GO BUY THIS BOOK!!! 


10 out of 10 cupcakes!

* I realize that isn't a word but it seems eminently appropriate in this case.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Pet Peeves - when you sit down at your desk

In case you did not notice, I took part in the epic A-Z Blogging Challenge last month. (Really? You didn't notice? Where have you been!!??!!) One of my most popular posts was P for Pet Peeves (when reading)...

So I've decided to get a clue and make this a recurring theme. I have MORE than enough Pet Peeves, after all...

Today's topic is pet peeves

when you sit down at your desk.

You know that moment you sit down at your desk - for work or writing pleasure - and the world just drops away and your mind snaps into high gear? It's a rare thing, but it does happen. 

Here's what stops that great I'm-going-to-get-something-done feeling and makes me feel like I shouldn't have bothered getting up, after all: 

  • My coffee mug is almost empty.

  • My pen is running out of ink. Or the printer is. Actually, it's usually the printer - I tend to have lots of spare pens lying about. 
  • The phone rings whilst I'm sorting out the bookkeeping. Or writing contracts. Or plotting. Or anything not conductive to interruptions. Same goes for people knocking on the office door. 
  • The printer is out of paper. 
  • The dogs/children/husband/wife desperately need you to let them out/go shopping/pay attention. Preferably when you're in the middle of a meeting/phone call. 
There's more, of course, but I'll stop ranting now I think. What about you? Pet peeves that snap you out of that perfect working space of mind? (not writing space of mind, mind you, unless that's your job - writing deserves it's very own pet peeves day I think!)


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