A True Vacation From Writing Is Actually Hell

Life consists of writing or thinking about writing.jpgWhenever I finish a book, I feel like I’m bled dry. That’s it. I’m no longer a creative person. It’s gone away.

And I’m terrified of that possibility.

I spend a couple of weeks living my life without a project and this strange emptiness surrounds me. I become restless and irritable. I pray to the writing gods to give me something I can use and sometimes I can feel ideas trying to reach me but can’t quite catch them.

Perhaps each of those near collisions help to break down my wall, until finally, something clicks into place. And as soon as it hits, I know it’s my new book. Although just a fledgling, I can always tell when it’s the one. And that’s when my creative energy ignites.

The idea grows by the day – the characters coming to life bit by bit as I go about my daily routine. In those moments when everything else is still – when I’m out walking, or stuck at traffic lights, sometimes waiting for the kettle to boil or that surreal space in time just before I fall asleep – the idea is with me and I finally feel like I’ve found myself again.

It’s time for a new beginning.

Fall Into Fantasy Tour – Kate Sparkes

Welcome to the Fall Into Fantasy Tour, where we are keeping your mind off any end-of-summer blues and welcoming the cooler weather by introducing you to some incredible fantasy reads to curl up with and giving you plenty of chances to win awesome prizes!

Week 14: The Bound Trilogy
Book One: Bound
By Kate Sparkes

Welcome to Darmid, where magic is a sin, fairy tales are contraband, and the people live in fear of the Sorcerers on the other side of the mountains.

Rowan Greenwood has everything she’s supposed to want from life—a good family, a bright future, and a proposal from a handsome and wealthy magic hunter. She knows she should be content with what she has. If only she could banish the idea that there’s more to life than marriage and children, or let go of the fascination with magic she’s been forced to suppress since childhood.

When Rowan unknowingly saves the life of one of her people’s most feared enemies, that simple act of compassion rips her from her sheltered life and throws her into a world of magic that’s more beautiful, more seductive, and more dangerous than she ever could have imagined.

Rowan might get everything she ever dreamed of—that is, if the one thing she’s always wanted doesn’t kill her first.

Buy it from: Amazon  Kobo  Barnes & Noble  iBooks
Or add it to Goodreads


Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with a Mountie, two kids who take turns playing Jeckyll and Hyde, three cats with more personality than most people she meets, and the saddest-looking dog on the planet. Depression has almost consumed her more times than she likes to admit, but writing Fantasy (be it epic or urban, fairy tales or superhero cat stories) keeps her afloat… most of the time. She released her debut novel Bound (Ya Fantasy) in June 2014. The second book in the trilogy is due out in the winter.

Find Kate online: Blog  Sparrowcat Press  Facebook  Twitter

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The Cult


I just realised it’s been a full year since I joined my writers group, time for me to acknowledge this wonderful group of people and all they have done for me!

While the group may be small (less than ten members), we make up for it in passion. Ellenbrook Writers Group, also known as The Cult, plays host to both a queen and a princess, someone to rule the land and someone to sweeten the time spent there. We even have our very own Electro-Jesus to fix all IT related emergencies, and as writers, there are a lot of those! We’re a wacky bunch, and sometimes the conversations border on illegal, but this writing family has taught me more about the art of words than I even knew there was to learn.

Now, I’m going to be brutally honest. When I searched for a writers group to get involved with, I was expecting to find pockets of wannabe writers who weren’t entirely sure how to punctuate a sentence. I guess I made the ridiculous assumption that writers of a higher calibre would have no use for a critique group. I’m sorry fellow Cultists, it’s true. But now I want the world to know I was wrong.

The great thing about writers, is they like to help each other. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been writing for two months or twenty years, there is always something to be learnt from a fresh pair of eyes on your work. Allowing someone to read your manuscript and give a fresh opinion is invaluable, if that person happens to be a writer, they will notice things no one else can see. The placement of a comma, the repetition of a word, the inconsistent behaviour of a character and how many dots your ellipses have. Those critiques will blow your mind, making you see both the silly mistakes and the complex ones.

Some of those mistakes you will make time and again, because you’re so used to making them, you think they’re right. These are the things that need to be trained out of you. Let’s face it, an average, read-for-pleasure person, isn’t going to invest the time it takes to snap you out of those habits. But a bunch of writers sitting in a room together will pick those flaws apart, meeting after meeting, until eventually the mistakes don’t need to be edited out, you stop making them altogether! I truly believe I’m ten times the writer I was before I met these people, and I still have so far to go. This blog is just a short appreciation post for the group who inspire and challenge me, their lessons working through the critiques and submissions they share, and the discussions we have around that table.

Here’s to the Cultists, not amateurs but successfully-published, editing-extraordinaire writers. Thank you to the Queen, for bringing this group together, her exceptional punctuation skills and zazz for rational thinking. The princess for being pretty much the cutest person you’ll ever meet, and delving deep into the psychology of every story, telling you things about yourself you didn’t even know. Electro-Jesus for the electro-jesusing, and the creepy but useful knowledge of all things violent. Bec who can spot repetitions from a mile away, and is always searching for ways it could sound better, she pushes you to your limit but never makes you feel like a fool. The Duchess of Cats, who sees the good in everything and is packed full of encouragement. And the lovely Lisa, who always pushes for better descriptions, teaching us how to show rather than tell our readers.

All of you do an amazing job, both teaching and learning, and just being a great bunch of friends! To our newest members, I look forward to sharing the stage with you!

Pop-Culture Makes Me Sick


I have this strange obsession with going against the mainstream, basically if something becomes really popular I will declare that I hate it and refuse to take part in any enthusiasm surrounding it. I’m not sure what it is, perhaps some in-built rebellion to exist as my own entity rather than following the masses. Humans are predictable but I like to think there are a few things that make me unique, I don’t just jump on bandwagons and say I like things because everyone else does.

Unfortunately this does mean I miss out on a few things. For example, for a while everyone was Seinfeld crazy, I said I didn’t like it even though I’d never watched it, then I had to wait a good ten years for everyone to forget about it before I could give it a try. The lame thing is: it’s now my favourite TV show!  I have a whole list of similar scenarios, where I end up falling in love with the very thing I passionately hated. The alternative is secretly enjoying popular culture and hiding my filthy habit away from the world—Vampire Diaries *cough*. But the one that absolutely kills me is when I discover something amazing that most people don’t know about then all of a sudden it hits the commercial sellers list and—bam—everyone’s  into it! Then I turn bitter against everyone who didn’t take the time to discover it for themselves and waited for it to be spoon fed to them. Those who know me will be nodding their heads right now …

Now that you know my personal attitude towards pop-culture I would like to introduce something that delights me. I can’t claim to have discovered this on my own for someone told me about this movie and took me along for the ride, but it’s a symbol of everything I stand for. The movie is called The Room which is an independent film: financed, written, directed and produced by a man named Tommy Wiseau,  who had absolutely no experience working in film. When released it grossed a measly $1 800, and earned the title of the worst film ever made. Everything about this movie is terrible; the acting is ridiculous, the plot is virtually non-existent, the filming is all over the place and there are so many inconsistencies you can barely figure out who the characters are and why they’re in the movie.

Why on earth would you watch this movie? Because it’s so bad that it’s good.

It has developed a cult following, usually it’s shown late at night from Indie cinemas (in Perth Western Australia it can be seen at Luna Palace in Leederville),  people go there to laugh at the incredibly bad production and yell abuse while they throw plastic cutlery at the screen. I heard about this phenomenon many months ago and was busting with excitement at the thought of being allowed to go into a cinema and throw things, not to mention the fact that I could shout too. So I waited patiently for another screening and finally the time came when I got to experience it first-hand.

Before going to a screening of The Room you need to read the viewers guide.


Although it’s perfectly acceptable to make up your own insults there is actually a structure to follow. So I did my homework, I read and revised the guide, even had a practice viewing at home so I wouldn’t miss any of the cues. After arriving at Luna’s outdoor cinema on Sunday night I was thrilled to see a big crowd, the staff passed around buckets filled with plastic cutlery and encouraged patrons to get drunk and make as much noise as possible. Before the film began we were given a basic run through of the viewer’s guide and told it was time to let go of the rules drilled into us as children about being silent in movies. I have to say it was a very liberating experience and I found every minute of it hilarious. It was funny enough hearing people shout insults at the expected moments but it was even better when the slander was spontaneous. People were shaking fists of outrage, a couple even stood beneath the screen to make their point and all the while handfuls of plastic cutlery were flying through the air. Being hit in the head with knives and forks was a small price to pay.

So while it was an amazing experience it was also a perfect example of breaking convention, it feels good to get out there and do something that we’ve been taught we’re not allowed to do. And it all started from someone watching the film and thinking yes this is terrible, everyone hates it but you know what, I think it’s hilarious and we should throw spoons at it!


Perth After Dark

I live in Perth and the rest of Australia has a joke about us. “I went to Perth and it was closed.” We are the capital city of Western Australia but we’re considered somewhat backwards from the other cities in … Continue reading