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Welcome to the blog.


Here you will find all the updates on how my writing is going, how the quest for publishing is coming along, and details of any new additions to the website. You will also find any announcements, and the details of where you can find my work.



Posted By Michelle Birbeck
What are the N'Oscars, I hear you ask. Well, in the lands that are Darlington Von Tease, it is a very special time marking the end of NaNo. It's where we all celebrate another year of noveling sucess, share bits of our unedited masterpieces, eat, drink, and be merry. It is also the absolute highlight of the noveling year. With dresses befitting of any red carpet event, the ladies (and some gentlemen) will arrive in style, having spent an entire afternoon primping for the event. The men (and some ladies) will arrive on the arms of beautiful women, wearing their best suits. There was even a genuine red carpet at last year's event. The fantastic quality of our red banquet paper table cloth, I mean carpet, is also befitting of the calibur of the event. No expense is spared, and especially not when it comes to the awards. Categories include such prestgious titles as Best Pregnant Novelist, Most Grammaticaly Incorrect Sex Scene, and Literary Cyborg Award (of which I proudly hold the title for 2010). The awards themselves are solid goldeque, lovingly handcrafted by our fantastic ML, and often come engraved by Sharpie with the title of the award. These, of course, deserve proudly displaying for all to see! So all in all, the N'Oscars is a fun event marking the end of a hectic month. There will be cake, wine, chocolate, crisps, awards, and laughs, as we welcome the end of NaNo and secretly get a head start on planning for 2012. P.S, sorry about the spelling. It's 2am and I'm on my phone :)

Posted By Michelle Birbeck

I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo all month, and I’ve recently found myself in a Skype group with a bunch of fellow writers. It came as no surprise to me that we wander from one conversation to another, and come back to Murder 101 on a regular basis, and it also came as no surprise that we are all of a like mind; slightly crazy.

It got me thinking, though, about what a fine line it is we writers walk. If we weren’t writers and we sat in front of our computers with tears streaming down our faces for no apparent reason, chances are someone would think something is wrong. Whether it be an upsetting email or something along the lines of not quite right in the head. But with writing it is a whole different situation.

We purposefully put ourselves in the most insane situations. Normal people wouldn’t want to even consider what it would be like to lose a partner, close friend, child or anyone else. We writers, however, do consider this. We look at the characters we have and the things we do to them, and put some serious consideration into how they would react.

If our main character suffers the loss of their partner, then we experience that with them. We suffer it as they suffer it, and put it all down into words for everyone else to read. That strikes me as just a touch on the side of insane. Who, in their right mind, would want to experience the emotions that come with such devastation? The answer of course, is us, writers.

Yet, such insanity is not limited to losses. We torture and torment our characters to within an inch of their lives, and in some cases this is very literal. And for everything we do to them, it is almost like we are doing it to ourselves. We are inside our character’s very minds, seeing what they see, feeling what they feel, thinking what they think, and experiencing all these torments.

So it leads me to one conclusion. There is a fine line between insanity and writing. Suffering for our art is one thing, living those torments along with our characters might just be the point that pushes us over the edge and into the dangerous territory of insanity.

But it’s worth it.


Posted By Michelle Birbeck

Many of you may have seen, if you follow me over on twitter, my weekly retweets about WCs. I’m not talking about a reminder for toilet time, no need for that, but the humble word challenge. A friend of mine introduced me to them a few years ago, and ever since I’ve been hooked.

It’s a simple concept really, but a very effective one. Take an hour, or half an hour, or even two hours, and challenge yourself to get some writing done. Doesn’t matter how much, just some. So if you want to write a thousand words in an hour, then challenge yourself to do just that. Then beat it. You don’t have to beat it, there are no consequences for not doing so, unless you set some.  You can even set rewards for getting past your goals. I used to bribe myself with chocolate or sweets for getting past my goals, but these days I stick with non-sugary things, like breaks and cross stitch time.

One of my favourite parts about the WCs is that you don’t have to do them on your own. Get a group of friends together, you can use skype chat, msn, gmail, yahoo, or any other chat function that you have to hand, set a timer and away you go. Turn off all your distractions, and knuckle down for your set time and write as much as you want/can. Then, at the end of your time, see how you did.

I do a weekly word challenge for a Twilight fan site I volunteer for. Tuesday night’s at 8pm UK time. We write for an hour, and then see how we did, and we even do ‘teasers’ at the end. People don’t have to join in if they don’t want, and any teasers we share go no further than the group, unless you want them to. The teasers are great, especially from a feedback point of view. It might only be two or three hundred words that we each share, but it’s a great way to look at other people’s writing, as well as hearing the group’s thoughts on each teaser.

So get a group of friends together and have a go, or keep an eye out for the weekly tweets and come join us. We’re all a little loopy, but don’t let that scare you off!


Posted By Michelle Birbeck

It’s been a while since I blogged, mainly because things have been exceptionally hectic over the last few weeks. Not only have there been awards evening s and ball gowns, but emergency hospital trips and various doctors and scans. Fortunately everything is now settling down, and things are slowly returning to normal.

So, first of all the exciting things that have happened; the awards evening. I don’t think I have ever felt my heart beat so hard as when I was waiting for them to announce the winners. I even shed a tear when they read out my nomination. Though I didn’t win, it was a fantastic evening and getting dressed up in my ball gown was so much fun. I did, however, receive a nomination certificate, and that is now proudly displayed on the wall in my library for all to see. It’s right up there with my 2009 NaNo most words written certificate and my 2010 NaNo Literary Robot award.

Now for some more exciting news. Book 2 has been through several edits since I first wrote it, and I am finally at the stage of printing the whole thing out and editing by hand, then forcing my husband to read the whole thing with bribes of making him coffee. One more edit after this and it will finally be ready for submission to my publishers. I’ve even managed to start and finish the first edit of book 3. I finally caved and got a blackberry when I upgraded my phone, and spent the first four days playing with it my editing book 3 cover to cover. Safe to say, I put the battery through its paces. Then some.

Lastly is a little of the not so great things. Well, that’s not to say anything is wrong, despite the emergency hospital trips in the last month, it’s actually a facebook thing. As many of you know, I have a facebook page for my books (you can find it here). Since facebook started playing with the pages they’ve done a few things, including enabling us to like other authors from our facebook pages. Then they changed it again and we can still like the pages, but it doesn’t show up on the like counter. Why is beyond me. However, since I now like all the wonderful authors with my personal profile, I’ve run across a bit of an issue, people keep sending me friend requests.

Not that having friend requests is ever a bad thing, but I have to draw a line somewhere. My personal profile is completely private, after I had a few issues, and it is where I rant and rave, swear and moan, and where I talk to my family and real life friends.

So in the interest of keeping my personal life and my professional life separate, I have decided that if I don’t know you in real life, I won’t be adding you to my friends list. I have no problem talking to you on my page, feel free to just pop on over and say hi whenever you want, but I would like to keep my personal page to myself.

And on that note, I have a load of stuff to catch up on after being incommunicado for a couple of weeks, so have fun!


Posted By Michelle Birbeck

Well, another year has flown by, and another one is starting to creep along. No doubt by the time this year is over I will be wondering where it all went and what happened to the months, but for the moment it seems to be creeping along slowly. Perhaps it is the level of productivity that I have adopted so far, or just the general way of things for the first few months, either way, a lot has already happened, and a lot more is to come.

College exams are coming up once again, and with two weeks left, I’ve already started cramming in as much information as I can in order to pass. But when the main point of the exam is to convey your own thoughts on a piece of text, revising isn’t really that intensive. Some dates and events for context, some poetry and prose for comparison, and then a two and a half hour exam that will mainly involve being opinionated and putting across those opinions as eloquently as possible. Not a bad exam really.

Once the exam is over, then the fun begins. Not only do I have the start of my degree looming on the horizon, once the government decides what it is doing with fees, but I have the rest of my A Level, and a complete edit of book one. Why another edit? Because in my infinite wisdom, I decided to change one of the characters. Or rather, he decided that what I had for him was no longer fitting. So a reworking of certain parts has to be undertaken, and along with it, a reread of the whole thing, seeing as how, A: I’m not sick of reading it yet, and B: I can always find things that I want to change. It seems that no matter how many times I read it through, I always want to change something.

Since writing Poppy’s, Annabella’s, and Lona’s books over NaNoWriMo there are a few other things that I would like to add as well. That is the problem with a long series of books. If something changes in the last one that affects the first one, then you’ve kind of written yourself into a corner with what you can do. Whereas mine are not yet published, so I can go back in and change that one word or one part that makes the last book still make sense.

Most of my plans this year involve my continuing education and publication. I will have my second A Level and be starting down the long road of getting my degree, and I will be contacting as many people as needed regarding getting my books published.

So keep and eye out, and fingers crossed that all my plans come to fruition.

Happy New Year!