Tuesday, August 31, 2010


It is with great anticipation that I await the release of Torment, the second of four books to be released by Lauren Kate. Torment will hit the shelves at the end of September, and my hands are itching for my copy. I literally cannot wait to see what happens to Luce and Daniel next.

Today I urge you to read Fallen, the first book of the series, if you haven't done so yet.

In a literary world where so many series are being released, devoured and praised, the Fallen series is unique and promises to be intriguing until the end.  Kate writes brilliantly and encorporates a very colourful cast of characters along with Luce and Daniel. Plus, there's a bit of a love triangle going on which, let's face it, we always love.

I finished reading Fallen in three days - It would have been in one if I didn't have to go to work and earn my bread and butter, but you get the picture. It's a book that had me crying in the prologue (!) and took me on an emotional journey with Luce. Throughout the book I could feel everything she was feeling - the sign of a brilliant writer! I couldn't put Fallen down, and I'll bet you won't be able to either!

Some Angels are Destined to Fall

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move. 
Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce – and goes out of his way to make that very clear – she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret... even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story ~
as per Lauren Kate's website.

If you're on Twitter, you can follow Lauren at http://twitter.com/laurenkatebooks. She's fun to follow as she gives regular updates on how her writing in the series is going, and often asks fan feedback.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


If you are an aspiring writer, such as myself, there is a really great website called Daily Writing Tips and you can view it here: http://www.dailywritingtips.com

Today I found this really great article, 16 Manuscript Format Guidelines by Simon Kewin, which gives you some professional manuscript tips.

Here it is:

If you submit manuscripts to publishers or agents, you’ve probably come across the demand that you use “standard manuscript format” (or “SMF”) for your submissions. However, it isn’t always spelled out what this actually means.

Generally speaking, the term indicates that you should format your document with the following guidelines in mind:

1.Type your document, don’t write it.
2.Use a single, clear font, 12 point size. The best to use is Courier or Courier New. At the very least, ensure you use a 12 point, serif font and not something like Arial.
3.Use clear black text on a white background.
4.If you are printing out your submission (rather than submitting it electronically), use good quality plain white paper and print on only one side of each sheet.
5.Include your name and contact information at the top left of the first page. Put an accurate word count at the top right. Put the title half-way down the page, centred, with “by Your Name” underneath. Start the story beneath that.
6.If you write under a pseudonym, put that beneath the title but your real name in the top left of the first page.
7.Put your name, story title and the page number as a right-justified header on every subsequent page, in the format Name/Title/Page Number. Generally, you can also just use a key word from your title and not repeat the whole thing on each page.
8.Left-justify your paragraphs. Right margins should be “ragged”.
9.Ensure there is at least a 1 inch (2 centimetre) margin all the way around your text. This is to allow annotation to be written onto a printed copy.
10.Use double spacing for all your text.
11.Don’t insert extra lines between your paragraphs.
12.Indent the first line of each paragraph by about 1/2 inch (1 centimetre).
13.If you want to indicate a blank line, place a blank line, then a line with the # character in the middle of it, then another blank line.
14.Don’t use bold or italic fonts or any other unusual formatting. To emphasise a piece of text you should underline it.
15.Put the word “End” after your text, centred on its own line.
16.If you are submitting on paper, don’t staple your pages together. Package them up well so that they won’t get damaged and send them off.

It’s always worth checking the exact requirements of any market you submit to, but if they don’t specify any formatting requirements, or just say “standard manuscript format”, follow these guidelines. This will make a good impression and help mark you out as a serious, professional writer.

Been meaning to write that book? Do it! Remember, every successful author had to start somewhere. Write your first draft today!

Happy writing!

Friday, August 20, 2010


This week I learned of "Jenny" who quit her job by sending the following pictures to all of her colleagues. The creative way in which this was done deserves a spot on my blog.

Today I learned that her name is not Jenny, but Elyse Porterfield:

She was not "Spencer's" assistant, but:

And sadly,

Eventhough "Jenny" didn't resign this way, I absolutely love the creativity of this all the same. All credit to the talented Elyse Porterfield and theCHIVE.com!

If I ever quit my job, I suspect I might to it a little something like this! ;)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


The Amazon Kindle.

The Kindle 2

Developed by Amazon for the rendering and displaying of e-books, newspapers, magazines and blogs (like this one *Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink*).

I'm in two minds over the Kindle. Don't get me wrong; As a product it's fabulous. I've never heard a bad word about it. It uses an electronic paper display that features 16 shades of gray - which means it's easy on the eyes and makes reading an absolute pleasure. Or so they say. Then there is the undeniable advantage to the enivironment. Presently at Amazon e-books are outselling printed books. You know what that means - less paper. Less trees being butchered for the whims of humans, which is awesome. So while it is a sad day for book lovers, the environment is rejoicing!

My problem is this: I love books. I mean, I LOVE books. I believe that the magic of the story is hidden between its pages. I think the magic is lost when you read electronically. Besides, there is nothing I like better than strolling through a bookstore, running my hands over familiar beloved books and intriguing new ones. I love taking new books home and bonding with them (if you're a literature nut like me, you'll know what I mean - right Erika?) When I'm down, all I have to do is dig some books out of my trunks and re-read my favourite chapters, and I feel better. Books are my happy place. Literally. When someone says "Find your happy place", this is where I go:

Well, variations hereof. Sometimes it's hundreds and hundreds of books in an enchanting forrest, but you get the picture.

The Kindle has a lot of advantages. It's portable, wireless and apparently easy to use (unfortunately I can't confirm). You can store over 1500 e-books on the Kindle at any given time, and there are over 250 000 titles available at the Kindle store. You can instantly download a new book instead of having to wait for delivery of a printed book. The Kindle seems to be the face of the future, and while (for selfish reasons) I personally won't ever stop buying printed books, my hat's off to e-book buyers!

The earth is prescious. God blesses us with an amazing home planet that can not be replaced, so in whichever way you can, Go Green people! Reduce, reuse, recycle!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Truer words will be hard to find. I really, really like this poem and the simple truth in it. All credit goes to Mr Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994)


If it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.

Unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.

If you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.

If you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
If you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.

If you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
If it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
If you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
If it never does roar out of you,
do something else.
If you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.
Don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
The libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.

Don't add to that.
Don't do it.
Unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.

Unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

When it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

There is no other way.

And there never was.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Just like a perfectly written novel, a perfectly written song is literature. A song might be compared to poetry, but considering the great stories songs can tell I prefer to think of them as short stories.

Music has the gift of psyching you up or calming you down. Music alone can do that, but when you add words a song becomes much more than just music. It becomes a companion. Every person has a soundtrack to their life (which consists of one song for each of the following categories: Opening Credits, Waking up, First Day of School, Falling In Love, Fighting, Breaking Up, Prom, Life, Mental Breakdown, Driving, Flashback, Making Up, Wedding, Birth Of Child, Final Battle, Death Scene, Funeral, and End Credits). When you think about it, it's not that hard to determine the soundtrack of your life. You remember songs that are connected to significant moments in your life. These songs that trigger memories of happy times, confusing times and sad times. You have that song that you play when you're angry. You have that song that you play when you're heartbroken. You have that song that you play when you're nervous. It's easy to take songs for granted, but it's important to remember that some creative soul took the time to sit down and create the words and the music that make up these songs that can so perfectly reflect our lives in a particular point in time.

Today I wish to share the lyrics of one song with you. It's by Christina Perri, and it's called "Jar of Hearts". I absolutely love the imagery used in this song. It's just one example of a beautifully written short story interwoven with music.

Christina Perri - Jar of Hearts

No I can't take one more step towards you
Cause all that's waiting is regret
And don't you know I'm not your ghost anymore
You lost the love I loved the most

I learned to live half alive
And now you want me one more time

And who do you think you are
Running around leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don't come back for me
Who do you think you are

I hear you're asking all around
If I am anywhere to be found
But I have grown too strong
To ever fall back in your arms

I learned to live half alive
And now you want me one more time

And who do you think you are
Running around leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don't come back for me
Who do you think you are

And it took so long just to feel alright
Remember how to put back the light in my eyes
I wish I would have missed the first time that we kissed
Cause you broke all your promises
And now you're back
You don't get to get me back

And who do you think you are
Running around leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
Don't come back for me
Don't come back at all

And who do you think you are
Running around leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
Don't come back for me
Don't come back at all

Who do you think you are

We've already established that I love contemporary dance routines. Here is one danced to Jar of Hearts. Choreographed by Stacey Tookey and danced by Kathryn McCormick and Billy Bell. The embedding function has been disabled, so please view the video on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c6kwemiMpY&feature=related
Sometimes a novel can be very similar to your own life, but more often than not a song can be like a memoire you wrote yourself.
Song writers just don't get enough recognition. Let's hope they don't mind, and never stop writing!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Okay, so my blog entries aren't as regular as I would like them to be, but my second semester studies have started and are keeping me super busy. I'll try to do better!

So this week I decided to share some Tweets with you (if you're oblivious to the Twitter phenomenon, [a] where have you been? and [b] a Tweet is a post or status update on Twitter - Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service).

Last week in South Africa we experienced a unique and exciting occurance. A pet Tiger named Panjo escaped from his owner's vehicle on his way home from the vet. Panjo roamed the streets of Mpumalanga for two days, causing much excitement for the people of Gauteng! The whole of South Africa was immediately drawn to this story, and Panjo citings were broadcast daily.

Panjo was finally found near Verena, and only had a few scratches on his nose to show for his adventure. This is Panjo, home safely with Goosey and getting some steak:

(Photo from Beeld)

Now, amongst all of this excitement somebody was very clever (as South Africans often are) and created a Twitter account as Panjo The Tiger. Tweets were then posted as if posted by Panjo himself. These tweets were accurate (i.e. it was up to date with where Panjo was last spotted) and often very funny.

Here are some of my favorite tweets:

Shortly after Panjo was found:

back to life....back to reality....less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

going to white bank and scaring local lady http://bit.ly/9VOyHaless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

look Ma! I'm on the BBC!! http://bit.ly/9cRc0mless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

i'm not in #fourways. Catch me if you caaa-aaaannn. har har harless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

no lady. i are not stoopid to fall in your trap > RT @FionaSnyckers: @PanjoTheTiger Here kitty, kitty, kitty. <shakes bucket of KFC>less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

(If this Tweet confuses you, Panjo is apparently a huge KFC fan)

For these and all other Panjo Tweets, click here:

Kudos to whoever's Tweeting as Panjo. Very creative!

Twitter status updates are short (140 characters max). Sometimes they're sweet, sometimes their not - but if you follow interesting people (subscribe to interesting people's Tweets) they are always, always entertaining!

Feel free to follow me: http://twitter.com/NastassjaLoots

Some more interesting follows:
http://twitter.com/ilfiore (example: "I've decided to leave Twitter. I suspect I'm being followed!) and http://twitter.com/nightblade628 (example: You would think by now they would have decided whether its Maybeline or not)

If you're not a part of the Twitter family, I encourage you to sign up: http://twitter.com/ Here is the Twitter directory to get you started on some interesting people to follow: http://wefollow.com/

Happy Tweeting!

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