Of Musings and Wonderings

00421667%20-%20449x485Last night, I went with my mum to see Blues Brothers: The Smash Hit. The show is a tribute act/review, dedicated to John Belushi’s and Dan Ackroyd’s characters Jake and Ellwood Blues. If you haven’t seen the film, go do it now because it’s brilliant.

You done? Good.

Okay so, this time, rather than being in the Upper Circle like we were for Save The Last Dance For Me, we down in the stalls. Yeah, posh! A good view, nice amount of room and we could have used the binoculars, if we so wished. I put on a nice top, Mum dressed smart, and we turned up and most people were wearing jeans and t-shirts, or shirts with hats and sunglasses.

You could tell this was going to be a good audience.

The show started with blue police lights, sirens and a voice-over from the film.

It worked really well to get the audience pumped up, as the band began to play Peter Gunn Theme. You could feel the energy in the room, could feel the audience getting pumped up as one of the cast, dressed as a policeman, pulled a tape across the stage. Brad Henshaw and Chris Chandler – Jake and Ellwood – appeared, and the audience burst into applause.

The two leads pulled off their parts brilliantly. You could tell that for them – and the rest of the cast – this was a pure labour of love, and I found myself wondering how often they must have watched the films to get so in character. The mannerisms worked well, and there felt like there was a real connection between the two. I saw one review mentioned that the fake Chicago accents were grating, but I didn’t feel they were. Admittedly, the American accents were pulled off better than in Save The Last Dance.

The band were brilliant, and entertaining, and it was fun to see them switch into different costumers. The Bluettes – the backing singers/dancers – were great, as was William Hazel, who in the programme is noted as ‘Understudy’ but on stage played a variety of roles. He performed a number of songs, including Cab Calloway’s Minnie The Moocher. He couldn’t quite match Calloway’s singing style, but he had the audience responding in all the right places and pulled off the moves very well.

Overall, it was a great show. We got to our feet when encouraged – some didn’t need that encouragement (I think alcohol was involved) – clapped and sang along, and a few rows in front of us was Cardiff’s very own dancing granny. (She was brilliant!) The crowd was a complete mix of ages, and everyone clearly enjoyed themselves. The cast were brilliant at encouraging everyone to join in, making everyone laugh and drilling up some sympathy when required. Plus, they threw in some nice Welsh-specific jokes too. (Mentioning Ely along with claiming Tom Jones’ It’s Not Unusual is the Welsh National Anthem. It’s not. That title goes to Delilah. But we let it slide.) It was overall a very fun experience, and I really hope they come back to Cardiff. I’d sure as hell go see it again.

Now, if you excuse me, I’m going to go watch The Voice.


{May 21, 2013}   A Little Help?

I started this blog with the aim of promoting myself as a writer. I kind of…slipped away from that, I guess. I did post some fiction up in the early days, but never got much of a response. Plus, I mostly feel difficult to talk about writing when I don’t really have anything, yet, to promote. I’m constantly writing though, constantly working on something and most of my stuff can be found on Fictionpress, for those who are interested.

For the past year, I’ve been toying with the idea of self-publishing on Amazon’s Kindle. I guess, mainly, to see how well something I’ve written can do in the real world, to see if people would be interested. I’ve had the story written in its first draft for a couple of years now, and have worked on it, on and off, since leaving University. A while back, I’d finished. Well, sort of.

What I mean is, I’ve got to that point where there’s nothing more I can do with the novella, without some feedback. I did pass it to friends, but they’ve been busy and never got back to me. I also had a friend working on a cover, but again, she became too busy. (I assume. She’s never mentioned it.)

So I’m asking for help.

Specifically, I’m asking for help in two areas.

I need a beta-reader. Or two, or three…I was going to try to get Play the Game professionally edited, but the cost is way out of my price range. I’m just looking for someone who is willing to read over the novella, give me some feedback and let me know – with brutal honesty – what they think. If it’s a book they’d buy (or wouldn’t, and why not?) and what they liked/didn’t like. In return, I’d be willing to do the same for them, for anything; short stories, novellas, novels. I’m also happy to feature anyone on the blog. Either a guest blog, interview, or review something of theirs. So, if you’re interested, just drop me an e-mail at gracebunting@hotmail.co.uk.

Secondly, a book cover. I’m not sure what the standard rates are, but if you have anyone you’ve used or you are interested, please let me know. I’d accept recommendations, points in the right direction, or offers. Right now, I just need to know where I stand. I know that with this, there’s more of a chance I might have to pay, but like I said, if you have any recommendations – or budding artist friends – just drop me an e-mail or comment.

My plan at the moment is to have someone (or a couple of people) read over the book and give me some feedback, make the changes, maybe have it read again. Once that’s done, I think I’m going to give myself a few months to format and market, get the cover sorted and anything else that needs to be done. All the non-writing stuff.

Every little step helps, right?

Silk-Caitlin-R-Kiernan-Paperback16-lgeSo I was bit stuck on what to write about today. See, I finished Silk this week. I also finished Glee, and Doctor Who ended last night. (With an awesome episode. If you’re a fan and you haven’t had the chance yet, check it out.) I decided to go with Silk, because I finished it first and figured it’s good to get that out-of-the-way. Might end up doing another post today, but if not, expect a few more from me this week.


Silk, by Caitlín R. Kiernan, is essentially a  book about outcasts. It’s got your typical outcast type kids; goths, junkies, lesbians, kids who are just a bit weird. And because of that, it feels very much a product of its time. It was published in 1998, and personally, it feels that in the fifteen years since, we’ve come some way towards outcasts being more acceptable. We had emos between then and now, we’ve seen gay rights progress onwards and geeks are now cool. Not that this is a fault of the book. But I feel like it wouldn’t work quite so well if it was written today.

The book focuses on a small group of characters, mainly Spyder, Nikki and Daria, with some sections dedicated to the others surrounding them. It reminded me in parts of Poppy Z. Brite’s Lost Souls, but that might have just been the elements of setting and the whole outcast idea. The characters themselves are fairly interesting. Daria feels stronger than the others, and she comes across as perhaps the most likable. She has flaws, of course, but they’re fitted in nicely and serve to make her more human. Nikki is at times a bit bland, but she has her moments.

Spyder, on the other hand…

Spyder feels like she’s supposed to be the main focus of the book, but it’s hard to see why these people are so drawn to her. She doesn’t seem to do much except mope around and freak out. She feels like she’s there just for the purpose of the plot, more than anything else. The biggest mysteries of the book surround her, but it’s difficult in parts to tell what links them all together.

The horror element creeps up throughout the book. It’s handled well, mostly building up with being sights caught from the corner’s of eyes. The characters become more irrational as they are plagued, but it was only once the horror came into it that I found myself actually enjoying the book. (Except Daria’s parts. They were pretty solid throughout)

I felt like there was a lot missing; we’re given hints to things that are never explained, and it’s hard to tell if the events are manifested by Spyder or some outside force. I felt like the blurb was a bit misleading, talking about gods, heaven and hell, but none of that is really seen. The idea of angels is hinted at, but again it’s hard to tell if that’s actually real in the realm of the book, or just part of Spyder’s crazy dad’s thoughts.

So yeah, I left the book feeling unsure about how I actually felt about it. It has some strong reviews on Goodreads, but I can’t seem them all as being justified. I do think it is a strong debut novel, and it has its moments, but for the most part, I’m not sure if it’s going to be one I would recommend to someone else. Maybe it’s just not my kind of book. I prefer my supernatural to be more…there. Though I do like the slight ambiguity in trying to work out if it’s in someone’s head or not.

The horror was decent though, and actually had me cringing in parts. Like I said, a strong debut novel, just not my cup of tea.

{May 17, 2013}   Thank You (Yes, You!)

This probably won’t be a big deal to many of you. Those of you who have been in this for a while, whose writing is brilliant and witty and drags you in with a relentless force that I don’t think even a demon dragging you down to hell can match. Who have new people checking out their blog everyday, who have a huge number of people commenting and offering their own opinions when you post something.

But for me, this is massive.

I’ve hit a milestone.

Yesterday, I hit 50 followers.

That’s 50 people who checked out my blog and decided they liked what they saw. I’ve been writing this blog for just under eleven months, and I write when I feel I have something I want to say or share. It always makes me smile when I see the notification speech bubble at the top turn orange, whether it’s a comment, like or follow. And I always check out the blogs of people who have let me know they’ve visited. I have a look around, a read, and through them might find myself following other blogs or finding interesting posts.

The amazing thing, to me, about blogging is spending a few moments in someone else’s head. Seeing the way other people view the world, and the fact that when I first have a peek, I don’t know where the other person is. They might be in the UK, down the road from me, or they might be halfway across the world. Quite frankly, that in itself is amazing.

As bloggers, I think we share something very important in common. The desire to write and share. And through you guys reading, following, liking and commenting, I’ve found others – readers, writers, gamers and movie-lovers. People who have led interesting lives, and those that make the mundane seem exciting. I race home from work, switch on my laptop and try to read as many blogs as I can. There are so many new ones every day, and unfortunately I can’t read them all. But I do love reading them, and it’s much more of an experience – and a bigger part of my life – than I would have thought a year ago.

And knowing that others have read my blog and got the same pleasure that I get from reading others, well, that makes it all worth it really.

So thank you. Thank you for being out there and checking this place out. Thank you for showing reading and for posting your own blogs, for letting me know when you like something I’ve put up on here.

I think of this place as my little corner of the internet, and never thought there would be five – let alone fifty! – people interested enough to follow. So, again, cheers.

Diolch yn fawr, and enjoy your weekend.

{May 16, 2013}   Nice Girls Finish Last Too!

Nice Girls Finish Last Too!.

And nice guys aren’t always that nice. Strongly suggest reading the Nice Guy post, too.

et cetera