Tuesday 27 February 2007

Inkpot's Book Update

Those Nodpots are certainly ploughing their way through the books! Here are Inkpot's update to reads and reviews!

11. The Windsinger by William Nicholson
Penned by the screenplay writer who wrote Gladiator and First Knight, among other things, this children’s fantasy bares more than a passing resemblance to Garth Nix’s Tower Series, but without as much magic as the Australian writer. An interesting book.
6/10 Curates Egg

12. Stranger to the Sun by Jeff Mariotte
An original novel based on the series Angel. This book is set somewhere in season 2 of the TV show, and has Angel, Wesley, Gunn and Cordy as the main characters. This book was competently written with an engaging story line and was very similar to watching an episode of Angel. Entertaining without straining the brain.
5/10 Readable

13. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
For the last two years of his life, Jean-Dominique Bauby, French editor of Elle magazine, suffered from Locked-in Syndrome, caused by a massive stroke. He was only 44. This book was dictated by him using his left eyelid. It is a series of moving, funny and thought provoking memories and vignettes from his life in hospital. A good read.
8/10 I like it

14. Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston
One of the great things about being a writer is that ANYTHING can happen in the fiction worlds that you create. With that in mind, I can’t help but wonder why Douglas Preston decided to confine himself to the boring, reined in world he presents in Tyrannosaur Canyon. Not worth the paper it is printed on.
3/10 Almost Darren Shan

15. The Slaves of the Mastery by William Nicholson
A sequel to The Windsinger, Nicholson’s characters really come into their own in this book and I found it a thoroughly engaging and unputdownable read. Can’t wait for the third instalment.
9/10 A good read

Sunday 25 February 2007

Book Pledge Update - Valpot

Valpot is tearing away with her book pledge, claiming to be totally up to date, with 15 books read by February 9th, though only 20 were read by February 25th.

Here's what she said about books 11 - 15:

11. Next by Michael Crichton
Interesting ideas as always, but the plethora of horrible characters and their sordid lives made this book impossible to enjoy. Slightly redeemed by the two non-human characters.
Rating: Half-way Decent

12. The Chingles Go West by Patricia Murphy
A sequel to The Chingles From The East, this time the three children have to find where the mythical goddess X (I can't remember her name) is hiding so that her vote might allow her goddess sister to marry the children's inventor uncle. Lots of magic, and the depiction of the celtic gods and druids is very well done. Simply written, this book has a lot of story (how unlike my book 10!)
Rating: Readable

13. The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer
Another Artemis Fowl adventure. Like the others, enjoyable reading, though I would like to see more of the eponymous hero and less of the fairies.
Rating: Not bad

14. The Diving Bell & The Butterfly
Amazing tale of a man who suffered a massive stroke which left him totally paralysed with the exception of his left eyelid. With this he dictated the book, which is an account of his months in hospital, interspersed with memories. It is an inspiring tale of how determined he was to live as fully as he could, despite his condition. What struck me as remarkable was not only the lack of bitterness, but also the poetry of his language - and considering it took an average two minutes to dictate one word, it's some achievement. A lesson in how to treat people who are castigated as sub-human or "vegetable" by the world.
Rating: I like it

15. A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Conner
Collection of short stories, which the author described once as being about original sin. Very well written, her characterisation makes you understand why she has been compared to Jane Austen. Unlike Miss Austen, her tales are rather grim - a lot of original sin and rather less redemption, so be warned!
Rating: I'd have liked them if they had been slightly less grim! Otherwise rated 8.

Thursday 15 February 2007

February Midpoint Update

As we like to do on this blog - not to discourage but to motivate! - we check in with all nodpots mid-month to see how their targets for the month is going.

Blueberry - you wanted to have fun and take it easy this month. Do I take it that you were successful in both these ambitions?

Blueberry: Very much so

Inkpot, you had 5 targets - how are you getting on with them?

Inkpot: Em - well, the 50k words on TTMF is looking unlikely for this month. I have started assignment 4, and read 3 of the 12 books lined up for February. As for the other two items, No and Not yet. I will be reviewing my plans for 2007 over the next few weeks anyway.

Well, I hope you will let your fans here in TYOTN know what you decide.
Marvin, how is the website going? How often do you get to update your blog?

Marvin: Nothing done on these yet this month.

Mungo, I'm sure you're on target to finish Mango?

Mungo: Of course.

October & November, have you done the draft for your mystery blog yet?

October (clears throat): Not quite

November: Still discussing the ramifications and possibilities - but it's early days yet!

Parsley, I'm sure you have the accounts up to date, as usual?

Parsley: Yes, they are.

Sparkie, Mungo always keeps his promises - any sign of your gavel yet?

Sparkie: I hear some talk but I have seen nothing yet.

And finally, Valpot. Lottie written? Assignments done? Any submissions?

Valpot: I completed the one you didn't mention - submitting the penultimate version of TLD to the horse, and she has begun her edit. So I'm happy with that. My book pledge is up to date. I have started Assignment 3 and hope to get it finished very soon. Lottie is well on target - I expect to finish her story (the first draft) by the end of this month, as planned. I reckon I'm almost half way there with my plans - not too far behind, and I'm confident of making them all by the end of the month.

That's good to hear.

Well, readers, there you go. You are now up to date with the nodpots.

Remember - you read it first here, on The Year of the Nodpots blog!

Wednesday 14 February 2007


Today is February 14th - and this is not a leap year! Therefore, be warned, all you young nodpots - we are half way through the month!

Tomorrow we would like to publish where you are vis-a-vis your goals - so work as hard as possible this afternoon!

Tuesday 13 February 2007

Book Pledge UPDATE

Inkpot recently updated us on her book pledge, and gave the following reviews of books 6 - 10.

Book pledge up date

6. Black Rabbit Island by Valinora Troy
Valinora Troy’s first foray into the horror genre. The bulk of this book was written in 12 days last November, but it in no way detracts from the characters, chills or gore that make BRI a truly gut wrenching read. A little rough around the edges, I would highly recommend this book to all horror fans – but be warned, a strong stomach is required!
10/10 – shines like The Lucky Diamond

7. The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz
A very early Koontz novel, written in 1981 and originally published under a pseudonym, this is very much thriller science fiction. The writer that Koontz was to become is very evident in this book with many of his trademarks – set over a short time period and centred on a small cast of characters – but at the same time his writing is not as polished as Brother Odd, for example, and parts of the book seem forced and contrived. Enjoyable, fast paced read.
7/10 Not bad

8. Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
Written by the woman whose books and live ‘inspired’ the TV series Bones. Written in the first person, the character of Temperance Brennan read very much like a ‘Mary Sue’ to me, her life copying the author’s in too many categories, and I found the first person was inexpertly handled and made the story contrived and unbelievably. An apt progenitor for Bones.
4/10 Half way decent

9. The SpiderWick Chronicles
The first in a series of books commissioned to cash in on the successful children’s market, jointly produced by writer and artist team. The books are nicely produced, with plenty of old fashioned illustrations. This book reminded me of a cheap rip off of the Series of Unfortunate Events but without any of the humour, information or skill that made Lemony Snicket’s tales of woe stand out.
1/10 Darren Shan-tastic

10. The Day After Tomorrow by Robert A Heinlein
I have great respect for this science fiction author, but this is not one of his better books. Centred on the USA in the aftermath of an invasion by the pan Asians, only six military men survived to fight the aggressor. Dated, dull and depressing, I struggled to get through this social commentary for a by gone era.
2/10 Darren Shan Wannabe

Thursday 8 February 2007


Courtesy of The Blackrock Bosh, the earliest known publication of Inkpot's work:

If any of our readers have an earlier publicaton, please let us know!

Wednesday 7 February 2007

Interview with a former DNOTY

I managed to catch up with Inkpot during a fleeting visit of hers to Dublin, and seized the opportunity to interview for the Nodpots. It was a fine though cold day and she was recently back from an invigorating adventure in Marley Park with her dog Janna, and friends Gilbert and Tramp. However, she was very amiable and willingly answered the list of questions I had prepared earlier.

How long have you been writing for?

Well, a long time. Since I was a little child.

What got you interested in writing, and when?

I grew up in a very creative family, where literature was very important. Probably one of my first writing endeavours was The Blackrock Bosh – no (laughs) the Theotokos Times. Though possibly I wrote my H poem first. I know that the BB inspired me to start the TT. From there I was further encouraged in my writing pursuits by my sisters Valpot & Micpot, who often wrote stories with me.

So is the H poem the first known work of Inkpot?

Well. Pit the Pony is very old. The Bosh printed much of my early writing. I think I may have written letters saying how much I loved the BB, before I could write sense (Giggles)

Why did you persevere?

Why did I persevere? I enjoyed it so much. I enjoy creating worlds and writing about characters doing nasty things.

What is it you like about writing?

What do I like about writing? I like…(thinks deeply) making up stories and worlds which are governed by the rules and magic of my imagination.

You mean somewhere you can control things?


Who/what are the biggest influences on your writing?

Well, Michele described in detail The Lord of The Rings to me at a young age and reading the hobbit hundreds of times made me want to especially write fantasy. My love of horror blossomed at a very early age watching Vincent Price in the Waxworks.

Yet 7 Days in Hell is your first horror?

It is my first horror but I feel that even in my fantasy books, I’ve a lot of horror elements.

The shadow followers?

Yes, the shadow followers, and for those who have read the Bobbit, Verga and the creatures of the verg.

Favourite authors/genres? Obviously horror and fantasy?

And science fiction. Geri Valentine and Valinora Troy, of course, would be my favourite writers, and I have to mention Tolkien. Bram Stoker – Dracula is one of the best horror books ever written. More modern authors include - I really enjoy the works of Garth Nix and Dean Koontz, and while they are not in the genre, I mustn’t neglect to mention Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, PG Wodehouse, and Charlotte Bronte.

Where do you get your ideas?

Many people have asked me that. Like all writers, I find it a very difficult question to answer, so I would refer you to the websites of Dean Koontz and Garth Nix, who have much wittier and more eloquent responses than I could ever give.

So you don't know? (Laughs) Only joking – very humble of you. What is the hardest thing about writing in your experience?

Getting published.

What do you like best about it?

What do I like best about writing? It’s just so much fun.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Em…keep aspiring.

Which is your works is your favourite and why?

The next book I’m going to write, because I haven’t written it yet.

And of those you have written?

I feel that it would be unfair of me to pick.

Unfair on whom?

It’s like asking a parent which is their favourite child.

What do you do for relaxation?

I find reading very relaxing.

Hopes and aspirations for the future?

To get published. Make a living from writing.

How did you feel about Mungo winning the DNOTY 2006?

I am very happy for Mungo and his achievement. However I am disappointed that my hat trick was taken from me.


No, still looking

Favourite writing moment?

When the words are flying and I get really lost in the world, and you don’t notice how much you’ve written and how many hours have passed.

That sounds delightful. Thank you very much for your time, Inkpot, and best of luck with getting published this year.

Thank you very much DN Reporter. It was lovely meeting you.

Pleasure all mine.

Tuesday 6 February 2007

February Targets

As usual with this wonderful news blog, we are going to record the targets for the month for all the Nodpots. Last month seemed to have been a positive one overall, though perhaps there was one or two exceptions. So what is the aim for February.

Blueberry, what do you hope for?

Blueberry: 1. Have fun and 2. Take things easy

Doesn't sound too onerous. Inkpot, what about you?

Inkpot: 1.Write 50K words of Til the Moon Fails
2. Complete and submit assignments 4 and 5 for the Writers Bureau
3. Read 12 books
4. Start rewriting The Mark of the Wolf
5. Edit and submit zombie flash fiction Deadly

Sounds ambitious but I'm sure you'll succeed. Marvin, any plans for this month?

Marvin: 1. Do at least one more page on the Nodpot Website
2. Keep my blog up to date

Well, fans of the Nodpots can get all the news here, if you don't feel like updating it.
Mungo, I'm sure you have a plan for this month?

Mungo: Finish Mango: the Unlucky Monkey

I like that one very much! I'm sure all your fans have made a note to watch out in March for your wonderful new book!
October and November, how about you two bears?

October: Yes, we have a plan.

November: Yes, we will write out our first draft notes on the mystery blog. We probably won't start publishing it until April.

Parsley, any intentions for February?

Parsley: 1. Keep the accounts up to date

Sparkie, any hope of getting of the gavel this month - or have you other plans?

Sparkie: Get a gavel

And finally Valpot. How ambitious will you be?

Valpot: Pretty ambitious. I intend to submit TLD for the full editing service provided by the horse. I also want to submit assignments 3 and 4 to the WB, and plan Assignment 5. I will also submit Assignment 2 to Cosy Moments this month -

Hmm. Some of this sounds familiar.

Valpot: Well, I also intend to write the first draft of Lottie, The Half-Vampire during February.

What, the whole book?

Valpot: Well Nanowrimo showed I could write 50k words in twelve days, and although I have a lot of other things on this month, I don't think Lottie will be much more than 30k so I'm quite hopeful about it.

Well, best of luck to you and all the Nodpots. We'll check in alter this month to see how things are going.

Thursday 1 February 2007

January targets- Sucess or Failure?

"Another month over - and what have you done?..."

Okay Nodpots. At the start of the month, you told us your objectives for January - how did you get on? Was it a successful month for you? Or did you slip far behind...?

Blueberry, how about you. Your target was to attend DN meetings - was there one and did you attend?

Blueberry: Yes, indeed I did. For the first time in many years, the DNs had a meeting in the house. I left early once the important business had been decided, and before anyone could fall asleep.

Well, congratulations anyway - looks like January was a great success for you.

Inkpot, how did it go for you? You had quite an ambitious month planned?

Inkpot: As I have reported on my own blog, I made several important discoveries that rendered some of my objectives obsolete. For instance, I had hoped to write 50k words on TTMF. Instead I made the much more important discovery of what was lacking in the story, why I was not happy with its progress, so although it means I have to rewrite it from the start, I 'm happy with my decision to do so.
Again, with TMOTW, having re-read it I now have a very clear idea of what is needed to be done with it. I'm looking forward to starting a new draft this month.

I'm happy to report that I completed and submitted both assignment 2 and 3 to the WB, and held two meetings on our joint books with Valpot.

Well that sounds quite positive. Well done, Inkpot.

Now, Marvin - how is the website going? You wanted to complete one page of it?

Marvin: Yes, I am quite pleased. I have done two complete pages, and have also changed my blog so that it works much better - it's now a blogger rather than a Yahoo one.

That's great, Marvin - well done!

Mungo, were you able to start Mango the Unlucky Monkey?

Mungo: Yes, my fantastic new novel is well under way. Naturally I completed my January objective brilliantly.

That's great news - I'm looking forward to reading it.

Mungo: You and everyone else in the world.

Indeed, yes. October, how is the mystery blog going?

October: My objective for January was to rest in advance of the mystery blog -

November. That's right - rest.

October: It's vital that prior to intense intellectual activity, you rest well. And we're happy to report that both of us did.

November: While resting, we did spend some time discussing our blog as well. We're pleased with how we spent January.

And when will we see your blog on the world wide web?

October (winks): Aahh!

November: Soon. This year. Sometime.

Okay, well congrats on your good rest. Hope it was as productive as you say.

Parsley, how are the subscriptions.

Parsley: All up to date, I'm glad to say.

Well done - I had understood that perhaps some Nodpots were behind with their subs, so it's good to hear that they are all up to date.

Sparkie, how was January for you? Any sign of the gavel?


Okay, sorry about that. I'm afraid Sparkie doesn't seem to be available to talk to me today. I can only assume that the gavel has not yet - materialised.

And finally, Valpot - what about you? Ahead of target, no doubt?

Valpot: I wish! I mean, well, January. It's such a short month. It flew past. And there so many other things going on...

Stop making excuses. Did you meet any of your targets?

Valpot: Of course! Really - what a question! Well, as Inkpot mentioned above, we held two successful meetings on our joint books - successful in that not only did we have the meetings, we made a lot of progress on Ely.
Regarding the other matters, I need to run over TLD one more time before I submit it for the editing service which I will do before the first week in Feb (ie next week).
I have not yet submitted Assignment 2 to CM because I'm trying to source an image of St Albert (waiting to hear back from an enquiry I sent out) but no doubt will hear soon. I have started Assignment 3 but not yet completed it. Nor have I thought about Assignment 4 (except that I can't wait to get to the fiction part of the course!)

So you've completed - 1 out of 5?

Valpot: You could say that. But I'm halfway or three quarters of the way through the others, so I feel I'm nearly at 100% completion of all targets.

Okay, well good luck with February!

We will bring you, dear readers, details on the Nodpot February targets in the near future.