Category: <span>Natalie Natterings</span>

April Already?


So it’s been a while since I’ve used this blog. Moving country took a lot more out of me than I realised, and I had to just take a step back from a lot of things because I was getting really overwhelmed. A lot has happened between my last post and this one, not least of all is that we’ve actually moved all the way across the country to Nevada!

It’s a lot different here than Florida, but strangely Nevada is much more similar to what I’m used to in England – being close to stores, variety of restaurants, events and shows to see. Basically, we’re back in civilization lol! And it’s nice.

Since arriving in Nevada about a month ago I’ve definitely felt the writing bug bite me hard. I lost it Florida (which is weird considering how many other bugs there are in Florida), but now I’ve got it back it’s great to feel motivated about writing again.

My novel, which was tentatively titled Broken, is still going to be my focus. It’s a story I really want to get written and share with everyone who loves urban fantasy. The title is still uncertain – I have a couple of ideas bouncing around but I think the title is going to be finalised after the novel is finished.

The blog itself is going through a few changes – I’ve completely changed the theme (this one is much more sleek, I think), and will be making the menu and whole site easier to navigate. I’m also debating about starting a serial story on the site too. I have a novel I started a long time ago, it’s about half way finished and something I do plan to finish, but it could work really well for a serialised novel on the site. I’m just not sure if I’m trying to take too much on before I’ve got into any kind of routine, or if it would be worth the extra time/editing.

What do you think? Do you enjoy serialised novels on blogs?

Worth A Thousand Words

I’ve been focusing a lot on my writing recently, which is good as I want to be a writer! But it has meant that my website here, and author page on Facebook, have been very much lacking in content.  And for that I’m sorry. I do, however, have lots of things to be going on here and on FB to keep them much more active 🙂  Watch this space for some short stories and updates on my novel in progress, along with a contest or two that I hope to launch in the not too distant future.

My website is probably going to have a bit of an overhaul. But as that’s a big job and I didn’t feel like tackling that just yet, I decided to work on my author page on FB first.  Yesterday I played around with Photoshop (I forgot how much fun that is to play with!) and some free-to-use pictures, and came up with an awesome new FB cover for my author page!  Well, I think it’s awesome 😀  Hopefully you will too.


I tried to get the cover to show some of what my novel is about, as a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words.  In my novel’s world there is both magic and technology, but they are kept very seperate with only a few who can walk the line between both sides.  I think the cover captures this without needing an explanation (though I just gave you one anyway lol), and I hope you guys and girls agree 🙂

I have some more artwork to add to the mix soon by a very awesome and tallented illustrator! More on that later…

Oohh the intrigue! 😉



Hurray For Backups!

Some of you may have noticed a day ago that my website had a few…hiccups on the layout and content department.  I made the mistake of doing a theme update and it completely messed up my layout.  Minor frustrations turned into bigger ones because I tried to fix it but no matter what changes I made, nothing changed on my site!  Thankfully, my husband keeps a backup of everything so I asked him to revert to the last one – which he misread and reverted to January which gave me another freak out at the content loss lol!  But, he fixed it and all is well now.

But it got me thinking.  I have so much on my computer that I don’t back up regularly and I really should.  We’re currently preparing to be hit by Tropical Storm Isaac (which may or may not turn into a hurricane) and if my computer got damaged I have backups of some things, but definitely not all.

So today that’s what I shall be doing.  We have an emergency kit to rival most zombie apocalypse kits – no joke lol – and now I shall add my writing and photographs being backed up too.

The moral of the story is: don’t pull faces at your husband for keeping regular backups of your website.

Say NO to PIPA and SOPA

I know I’ve been going on about PIPA (Protect IP Act) and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) a lot on both my Facebook page and Twitter account for the past month.  But the threats of both of these bills are no where near over.  For anyone who doesn’t know what’s happening, basically these two bills are under review by the US government which are heavily backed by the music and film industries.  Both bills are against online piracy yet both bills are seriously flawed in that their proposals won’t actually stop online piracy but they WILL allow censorship of the internet on sites such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Wikipedia…and every other site ever created.  People who post videos of themselves singing karaoke?  They would be breaking the law if either of these bills pass.  But not only the people who are in/posting the videos but YouTube also would be under threat and would be taken down for allowing the videos to be posted on there.

Ever written  a quote from a book or a movie online?  One line you really love and like to use a signature on forums, or just to say to cause amusement?  You would then be breaking the law if either of these bills pass.

Google, quite rightly, is joining in the online blackout protests today because as a search engine it lists EVERY site on the internet.  If it didn’t, it would be a pretty lousy search engine.  Under both SOPA and PIPA this would mean Google is breaking the law and would have to be taken down with the Google owners looking at 5 years in jail.

Oh yes, did I forget to mention that?  There is jail time involved in these bills as it would be a federal offense and the way they’re worded means that any one of you who have ever posted a link to a funny video, or a quote, or a link to a site would be facing up to 5 years in jail if that video, quote or site is deemed in breach of copyright, or even potentially breaching copyright.  Potentially – that’s an awfully big word to have in a bill, it opens up the playing field from just pirate sites to everything.

So, is anyone still thinking no big deal?  There was a case only last month involving Universal Music.  They decided that a site called Mega Upload was a piracy site (I will admit, I hadn’t heard of this site so I can’t speak to that accuracy), and was then blocked through a DNS takedown request (which is what would happen to anything considered “rogue” – no warning, no notice, just immediate takedown).  The most worrying part of this case is this though… A lot of well known artists including P-Diddy, Kanye West, Mary J Blige and Will.I.Am created a video praising the file sharing site Mega Upload, the video was shown on YouTube and YouTube was forced to remove it after receiving a takedown notice from Universal Music claiming that the video was “violating copyrights”.  Now, here’s the part where it gets interesting – there was NO copyright violations in the video at all!  Universal Music did not own any of the content in the video and yet they still successfully had it removed, ie: they censored the internet to stop anyone raising awareness about an issue they don’t want people to know about.  …and this is BEFORE either of these bills pass – if  they pass it won’t just be Universal who can to do this.  And this isn’t just an America  issue, it’s INTERNATIONAL.

America may be looking at passing these laws but it won’t just be America who suffers as a result because most of the sites we use every day are American sites.  These bills will crush new start up companies – if Facebook had tried to start up after either of these bills passed then it would have been shut down and people imprisoned long ago due to people posting pictures, videos and links that have potential to violate copyright.

These bills would devastate the internet, but be aware that while these bills are trying to be passed there are cases going on which feel very much like they’re trying to make examples in court to stack up in the bills favour.

This case was in England only a few days ago which has resulted in a UK student facing extradition to America to face piracy charges.  His crime?  He ran a site which functioned like Google, providing a list of links to torrent sites.  He hosted no torrents on his site, no illegal content and no content which infringed on copyright.  Under this ruling, Google would also be sentenced in the same manner as they too provide a list of links to torrent sites (as well as movie streaming sites, etc).  Without sounding paranoid, I do find it a bit too coincidental that this student is being extradited to the country which is trying to pass two bills which would allow him to be sent to prison without a fight.

So, take the time to think about this – what have you talked about on your blog, twitter or Facebook account or what have you linked to that could end up with not only you facing criminal charges (and extradition if you’re not from America, it seems) but with the forced takedown of twitter, Facebook or any other site you posted it on?  In this article alone I’ve mentioned a site which has been deemed “rogue” as well as linked to an article talking about the case which shows the now re-established video in it.  That, under the SOPA and PIPA bills, would be enough and means I would have to censor this post to remove any mention of those and anything else which has potential to lead to copyright infringement.

There are blackouts across the web today in protest of these bills.  Join the fight, take a stand and make your voice heard by signing the petitions against both PIPA and SOPA – tell congress that you don’t want to be censored, that you want free speech and freedom of choice on the internet, let the government know that you don’t want a nanny state who chooses for you what you can and can’t know.  Be informed and be heard.

Watch the video about what SOPA and PIPA mean for the future of the internet if they come to pass.  The video explains it much better than I did, and in much more detail, covering all of the problems with the bills (I only touched on very few of them).

Sign Google’s petition here (may be a different link for Google outside of the US)
Sign the “Fight for the future” stop American censorship page to send a message to your senator urging them to vote NO for both bills (only for US residents)
Sign “Vote for the net” here, to let your US officials know you won’t vote for anyone who backs these bills (only for US residents)

For anyone who isn’t in the US, take the time to find out more and see how you can help – as Wikipedia says today “Contact your local State Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or similar branch of government. Tell them you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and any similar legislation. SOPA and PIPA will affect sites outside of the United States, and actions to sites inside the United States (like Wikipedia) will also affect non-American readers — like you. Calling your own government will also let them know you don’t want them to create their own bad anti-Internet legislation.”

This isn’t something that will just go away.  But if either of these bills pass, the sites you love could.

Box Explosion

I’m sorry for the lack of posts lately and am going to apologise in advance for the lack of posts over the next couple of weeks.  My visa medical and interview were in London last week and the week before, so my time has been really tied up with all things immigration!

Everything went well 🙂  Which means that now the house looks like an explosion of boxes!  Sorting, packing, ebaying… Lots to get done and in only a short amount of time.  Which means my writing, and this blog, will suffer :/  But only for a couple of weeks and then I can get settled in and focus on my work in progress again.

I’m finding it amazing how much junk I’ve accumulated over the years.  I always try to clear things out every so often – ebay or charity donations – but now looking at things in terms of “how much will this cost to ship to America?” is making me realise just how many things I need to get rid of.  Not the shoes though, obviously 😉

So, I will try to do a couple of updates along the way but I fear the boxes are plotting to overthrow the living room so I must get back to work!  See you all in a couple of weeks when I’ll be typing from our shiny new home in America 🙂