Miss Alexandrina

The thinking-space of a not-quite novelist


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All about 2014

I suppose 2014 was one of the strangest years I’ve had for a long while. After all, I entered it as a bushy-eyed eighteen-year-old starting the second term of my Psychology and Philosophy degree. And I seem to have finished it high in optimism and wisdom, but not so greatly in success. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve given up on writing by living in the moment.

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It’s true – this shelf of the bookcase probably hasn’t changed since I was younger, but I know the other bookcases have evolved.

 

So the reading… Thinking about it, I read more books than it seems to me at first glance, particularly in the summer. I was sent swooning with Leah Raeder’s Unteachable. I got my friend Yawatta Hosby’s One By One free and speedily read the horror/thriller. I found a new favourite mystery author in the late Kyril Bonfiglioli. I finished the last Skulduggery Pleasant book a week before Christmas and still find myself nodding at the conclusion to the bestselling series. Vicious by VE Schwab chilled and thrilled me and set me eagerly anticipated A Darker Shade of Magic, Schwab’s next book for adults. I cracked through two-and-half steampunk books: Soulless, The Iron Wyrm Affair, and I’m currently reading the wonderful Cindy Spencer Pape’s Steam and Sorcery. I hurtled my way through Aiyana Jackson‘s novella Encante.

I was also lucky enough to interview Cindy, which started off my Steampunk Spotlight for steampunk and alt-history fantasy authors on the blog. Apart from a couple of ‘paint jobs’, this was the only major addition to the blog – well, that and my WIP page, which keeps track of the novels I’m writing. Like, the big ones I know I’m going to finish, even if I never edit the blasted things.

I was one of the many Steampunks – or Victoriana-dressed people from around the world, to attend the Lincoln Asylum VI, the largest solely Steampunk convivial in Europe, run by UK’s own Victorian Steampunk Society.

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The area between the Cathedral and the Castle in Lincoln City

 

Compared to some years, I have not written as much, in terms of quantity. Last year, I was rattling off all the novels and short stories, but this year has been one with more dips and curves than I expected. I started the year thinking about what might have happened after my short story in the Fauxpocalypse anthology, which came out in print mid-January.

In February through June, I wrote very little but focused on my editing, of mostly WTCB, but also OJAP, the YA murder mystery I first wrote when I was a youth.

I completed NaNo in July, and came out with my most impressive NaNo yet, at 73K. I’m currently adding bits to the Steampunk novel, Horology, before I send it to my Alpha reader and it’s definitely going to hit its 80K target.

In August, I made the mistake of swapping back to contemporary after a long stint of SFF writing, and started writing an NA contemporary romance set in a fictional uni. My writings from then on to the rest of year – before my academia took me away from being able to actually scribe things down at all – were thus centred, though I did have another attempt (in vain) of rewriting a short psychological horror about a lady who encounters some graffiti that may or may not be destined to cause her death.

I also started querying WTCB properly this year. How’s it going? I honestly couldn’t tell you. However, I did get into the agent round of Pitch Slam, and, boosted by that, I posted the premise of WTCB in gifs. It was fun. It has Sherlock, The Doctor, and Jack Sparrow.

When the clock broke…

 

Emotionally, I had a lot of big events this year, too. In February, for instance, I dyed my hair red to raise money (£120 to be exact of the final total) for the British Heart Foundation. I had red hair for a good three months before it completely washed out. Oh, how I missed my golden curls in the end.

Whilst finishing my first year at university was stressful enough, one of my good friends moved away. I lost my position as Social Secretary on the Quidditch team, but gained the role of Treasurer for the Swing Dance Society – and, for a while was even playing Secretary and President when my friends and colleagues where away. Around the same time, I got confirmed into the Catholic Church, and finally managed to put my trust in God.

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I started to illustrate quotes from my books with photos I’d taken.

 

Oh, and this happened:

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I hope you had a good 2014 and a Merry Christmas. Happy New Year for tomorrow and may your 2015 be full of wonders, too.


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Photo of the WeeK: Reflections

(Don’t say a word. My schedule has been upside-down and uncertain of late.)

AlexB_ReflectionsReflections. Literal patterns of light bouncing off their object and into our retina. On a technicality, our entire world when seen is a reflection of what it actually is.

Be that as it may, in a full room of people it’s difficult to take a straight photo of a wine glass or three. The wall lamps are refracted into the red wine, and those foggy reflections bottom left could be anything from me to another set of lamps in the background. And hence the black-and-white filter to act as a distraction-dampener. The colour one was all right, but I needed something further for clarity.

 


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Photo of the Week: Glittery

As you know, it was Mothering Sunday yesterday, and we went out to a local carvery (all you can eat, yay!). As part of the package, each mother was placed on a fancy table (with balloons and everything! :P), offered champagne and a free gift of bath stuff. Our table sat under a gorgeous chandelier, which, although rather difficult to photograph (I am just the wrong height for these sorts of things), sparkled greatly, hence the title of today’s post. (I have little energy for being creative with names…)

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Happy Second Birthday!

Well, what can I say? On 29th Jan 2012 I started this blog and look how it has grown! I didn’t really know where I was heading, or what I was doing (or why on Earth I was starting a freaking blog!), so the posts were all over the place, but now posts and trends are beginning to form in front of my eyes.

For a laugh, let’s look back an entire year, to my first birthday post. Although corny, I’ll admit that the parallels are interesting.

I talked about Poirot twice and Holmes three times, whilst producing two Doctor Who/time-related posts, one of which became my most-viewed post: (I’m not gonna call it) The Next Big Thing – which meant I had to hunt around for pictures of actors whom I would cast were ‘When The Clock Broke…‘ turned into a movie.

Since then, my posts on crime fiction have expanded. Agatha Christie, Poirot, Sherlock, murder mysteries and death are all prime tags, with some even having ten posts about them! Amusingly, only these last couple of weeks as I delve back into rewriting the first of the Agnetha King Mysteries Trilogy have I been blogging about what exactly makes a detective. Check those out if you like discussion about the integral nature of crime fiction and cosy mysteries! I refer to Nancy Drew, Morse and Midsomer Murders, too!

You’ll notice that I also started looking at characterisation and getting deeper into a character, from the negative personality traits that Main Characters have alongside their worthy traits to applying the Psychology I’ve learnt over the last few years to varied explanations of their behaviours. In September, I devoted a blog month to the editing and literary analysis of When the Clock Broke. Although, sadly, I have not kept up the essay writing – not for want of ideas, but for want of time and mental space/capacity, these ideas have led me to analyses and cross-analyses my characters time and again.

I even started an Almanac spanning a millennium to understand the world of The Continent in greater detail. Bits can be found on the blog under the tag The Continental Almanac and the Extracts, Beginnings, and Drafts category.

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That writer face ^.^

Some stuff I did this year and blogged about, in no specific order:

> Started university at Reading. Above everything, learnt the awesomeness of Psychology and Philosophy joint.

> Started playing Quidditch and became the Social Secretary for the Reading Rocs

> Went to Uganda for two and a half weeks

> Published in the Fauxpocalypse collection

> Finished two first drafts and wrote three (and a bit) short stories. Writing wordcount breakdown.

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Au contraire, things to look forward to this year:

> The Fauxpocalypse release party in St. Louis on Saturday the 1st – I am attending – via Google Hangouts, a very exciting (not to mention: baffling) procedure!

> Ramp Up the Red for British Heart Foundation and Red Feb (more about that next week)

> My confirmation

> CampNaNoWriMo – in which I hope to start a new series of lighter, shorter NA Romance books. Ideas are swarming me!

> New blog layout and new Twitter bio – hopefully.

The top posts and pages bit of my blog changes everyday, so it’s worth checking out everything – in my humble opinion! ;) I guess the last thing to say is:

How delightfully gaudy…


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November Ghosts

Just a short poem I wanted to share, also found on my Protagonize account.

Woollen coats
And past memoirs,
Faint echoes of
The frost beneath feet;
Not one pair
Or two,
But three in neatened row,
Trailing off to nowhere,
Gossamer nowhere,
As cold as winter air,
Without such bite;
In the distance
Lies shapes unclear,
Moulded to the sky,
Unhappy hearts,
Set where they were sat,
Along the misted ridge;
Silence clambers on
Amongst the
Broken highway
Of the past,
And some clouded
November ghosts.
Hope you like it.

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