Category Archives: reading
Today is 20 years since the first Harry Potter book was released…happy anniversary to JK Rowling and Harry.
My writing brain stays on almost constantly and can set me challenges I may want to ignore at 5am!!
I have been known to come up with a plot twist whilst cleaning my teeth or in dreams and basics for articles for my clients can pop in to my head at the weirdest times. This is no 9-5 job! But that’s what I love about writing. Anytime, anywhere unexpected guests and developments arrive.
With fiction you aren’t so much in control of the work as the characters…I’m the ringmaster-lion tamer so the characters don’t run away with themselves but sometimes they write themselves slightly differently from the “plan.”
I may have spent time outlining the plot etc. and they go and rewrite it organically as if my imagination wasn’t the creator of both!!! Sam in Heads or Tails/Love Will Find a Way was originally intended to be sarcastic-cheeky but he wrote himself as a devious immoral b*****d. This made him stronger. A former neighbour proved to be the unconscious inspiration for the main character’s mother. This made her a lot more ridiculous and everyone knows someone like her.
The plot twist subsequently re-twisted. I liked that. An outline is good as a springboard but few of my fiction books have stuck to my plan…the characters got together and mutinied!
Some writers cry when they kill off their characters, they can say through them what they’d never dare say in real life, work through issues, and they can celebrate with their characters when they achieve their victories, large and small. This doesn’t mean we’re insane…we’re invested!
(The book I wrote when I was suffering from serious depression will never see the light of day…it’s pretty bleak.)
For me, after these good, bad and background characters form the centre of the world through the writing-editing and on to publishing, I let them go…toddling off in to the world to make their way to the readers imagination…and every reader will perceive them slightly differently thanks to their attitudes, perspectives and history. These guys are chameleons.
Hopefully, luckily, happily, a whole new set of characters, a plot and a new butterfly storm of ideas will happen in the most inconvenient but perfect ways…Writing is hard work but fabulous!
Heads or Tails is the paperback version of the e-book Love Will Find a Way. Both available from Amazon.
I hope that everyone had a great summer/winter depending on where you are in the world. If your brain is misbehaving I sympathise and just keep going even when you really don’t want to/see the point. Keep walking towards sunrise. It’s beautiful when you reach it, promise.
First a brilliant quote I read from Joanne Harris, writer of Chocolat:
Depression is no more curable by saying it’s “all in the head” than cancer is by saying it’s “all in the cells.”
That lady talks sense…and writes great books!
I, unsurprisingly spent a lot of my time writing. I know, anyone would think I was a writer…oh yeah, I am! Lots of freelance work and regular work…happy, happy, on anti-depressants-happy! And grateful.
Also writing the next book:-)
Occasionally I look at reviews for my books on Amazon and Goodreads , not too often though because it can be a teeny weeny bit scary seeing what people think of your writing.
Guess what? There is no definitive rule about taste and reviews. For the same book I have had a 1* and 3* and a 5* so for any writers out there who get disheartened by reviews just remember that a review is someone’s opinion. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be respected but you can agree to disagree with someone’s opinion.
It’s very easy to read a review of your book that showers with praise and very tempting to kick the furniture when you see a less friendly one. A 1 star makes you want to shout “I put blood, sweat and tears in to this and you gave it a 1????” A 5 star lets you puff out your chest proudly in the knowledge that “someone appreciates talent/dedication/late nights and rewrites.”
My 5* counsellor led me to devise a system where when I read reviews, good, bad or indifferent, that I spend no more than 30 seconds reviewing the review. I assess whether there are useful points which would enhance the book or if I should agree to disagree. Then I move on. This means my emotional state doesn’t fluctuate with the reviews. I can be objective. Just think if mood was dependent on reviews, it’d be like being attached to an internal unpredictable bungee rope!
Happily, my brain is still healing and the progress is promising. I just have to remember not to make myself too busy, too under pressure and too focused on work. Relaxation and rest are important too! Who knew?
I have also enjoyed more reading time lately, currently reading Sabine Durrant’s new book Lie With Me and it’s very good so if you fancy a psychological thriller you shouldn’t be disappointed with this one.
Of course, being the history buff that I am I have been looking at a book by Anita Leslie on her great aunt Jennie Churchill, Winston’s mum. Interesting, inside view of the family.
Happy rest of September and as the seasons change try to find the poetry in the moment.
PS: If you’re giving a review please remember that there is normally a hard working person behind the book/piece so please be constructive, think helpful!
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Tis the season to be jolly so here’s a fun Xmas poem…enjoy!
The keen little elf said “Err, hello.”
In a tiny voice, not an elfin bellow
“Have you seen Mr. Santa Claus?
Is he in his office behind those doors?”
Mrs. Claus smiled her kindest smile
Newbie elves were sweet, just like a new child
For she and the toy making crew knew
That her husband was turning the air blue
Not in the office, paperwork amassing
But outside in the chill enduring a gassing
The poor beardy guy was again falling prey
To back drafts caused not by his sleigh
The reindeers were enjoying giggling fits
The mayhem was courtesy of Mrs. S’s titbits
She would insist on giving the reindeer molasses curry
Before their MOT’s she’d get cooking, all of a flurry
It’s a strange coincidence Santa thought
As some fresh air and his breath he caught
That it’s always somehow a curry dinner the night
I say the next day it’s MOT’s and practice flights
Dishing up for all, Mrs. S would sweetly smile at him
And say that she’d cooked up curry on a whim
Poor Rudolph’s nose never lost its glow
After the 1924 vindaloo went down below
“Daydreaming, Mrs. S?” Her sleeve was tugged by elf, Ed
“You’d better give it five minutes,” she knowingly said
“Or it won’t only be your clothes that are green.”
Ed frowned, “Whatever, lovely lady, do you mean?”
“Well, Santa’s doing reindeer MOT’s in the snow
With last night’s dinner he’s meeting ho ho ho!”
“Surely you’ve not indulged in foul play, Mrs. Claus?”
She folded her arms, grinned through the pause
“Ask the elder elves, they’ll tell you Santa won’t let me take flight
Or steer the lovely reindeers on any Christmas night
Always it’s a no ho ho when I ask but he’ll get the hint one day I’m sure
In the meantime for his Christmas roses there’ll be spicy manure
And for us an annual work day bonus of entertainment galore!”
Have a fab rest of the day and holiday season, Joanne :-)X
Here it is again, that time of year
When spooks and horrors draw near
Sugar high kids in macabre costumes
Who cackle, howl and speak of doom
For those rare few who issue no tasty treats
Fear not, there is a way to trick and to treat
For a homeowner so ingenious and magical
Think of Harry Potter, Sooty and his pals
Whip out your old Paul Daniel’s Magic Set
And the kids’ll be tricked, thrilled in to defeat
As to applaud your conjuring skills they’ll be made
Before their hallowe’en debt has been classed paid
A word of caution, from a wise and ravishing witchy being
Give the kids sweets too or rotten eggs and slime you’ll be seeing.
I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween…try not to get too spooked!
We made it to the weekend so chill out and think calm, lovely brainpower restoring thoughts, your brain will be soooooo grateful. You know what? You work too hard! It told me so.
I’m going to try not to do any work over the weekend…I’ve said that before though and normally I can’t resist! but I am reading a fabulous book at the mo, it’s by Victoria Holt who was really Eleanor Hibbert, sadly she died in 1993 but her gothic thrillers ROCK. (By the way she also wrote as Jean Plaidy and Phillippa Carr and her books should all be brought back in to publication!)
If your clocks are changing this weekend enjoy the extra hour.
Enjoy your weekend and remember to relax, your brain works hard and it needs a break…give it a treat, make it smile.
I am forcing myself “Little Miss Workalot,” to take the rest of the weekend off, no popping on to the laptop for a “quick” write or plotting for the children’s book I’ll be working on next week, my brain is telling me it wants a short time out from work. In fact, I think it’ll probably ask for a lie in tomorrow morning!
The rugby world cup started last night so the TV and news is full of that and the Davis Cup tie of GB vs Australia is also happening as well as a gazillion football matches so if you’re a sporty bod you’ll be blissfully happy in Blighty…I’m not that sporty, don’t get me wrong, I respect the talent and appreciate the dedication of all concerned but I’d rather read a good book. (Or write one!)
Or should that be read two? Yet again, I am reading more than one at a time…a chapter of a history book followed by a chapter of a novel in rotation. That is unless a really page turning, “I can’t put this down unless you chop my hands off” good bit compels me to keep reading. Ahhh happy days! This is an embarrassment of riches I love.
I’ve finished editing my book due for release 1st October and have done some freelance work this week and learned stuff while researching that I didn’t even know that I didn’t know that I would ever want to know.
Oh yes, and to the client who asked me to write an article about football betting strategies I had to respond that “a newborn baby has a better concept”of all that…see, told you I wasn’t sporty (and I have the coordination of a cross eyed bat. No, really!) I hope that he found someone that knew what the heck they’d be talking about.
Posted in advice, Books, ebooks, Editing, happiness, Humour, indie author, inspiration, knowledge base, life balance, love to read, Mental health, non fiction, O.C.D, online markets, P.T.S.D, positive mental attitude, read books, reading, Research, weekend, writing online
Just minutes before she hit the merciless land
She glided majestically towards the sound
Her sails played in the off shore breeze, broadly fanned
Alas, too late the crew felt seawater turn to ground
I watched as the traumatised Madeleine went down
She stumbled as mocking cliffs towered over her
All Madeleine could do was acquiesce and drown
Surrender her soul to the sea bed below, cast aside despair
The crew tried all they could to save their sweetheart
But it counted for nought; she was incomplete, unable to compete
As saltwater suffocated, her deck woefully split, torn apart
Her timbers crack to the echo of nature’s heartbeat
There have been many Madeleine’s over the years
There will be many more in the centuries to follow
The cliffs respected the captain’s heroic lack of fear
Pragmatic, in sorrow our captain dared not wallow
Ashore, later we found a silver tankard belonging to Joe
He cared, this captain of the good ship Madeleine
From bow to stern she was his one true love
Together in the sea their wreckage remains
The mourning crew held the tankard aloft and offered a prayer
For Joe and his dear Madeleine lost to life on this coast
The orange sunset lent a golden glint to the lapping waves there
But the cliffs whispered of menace; spectres to their sea ghosts.
And a bonus senyru titled sculpting…I have under a thousand words to go until the “Ta dah! my book is finished moment…please see my last post if that meant nothing to you!;-)
Chapter edit day
My first draft infused with play
Sculpting words like clay.
Have a fab day
I wrote this poem – a tanka, hope you enjoy it:
Bedraggled, laughs, shakes
Showers humans, home and self
Mud,rain splattered flanks
Padding around in rude health
Dripping loving gleeful thanks.
It’s still raining but I’m a happy writing-editing-reading bod…YAY! Oh yeah and there’s a big sticky gooey and let’s not discuss calories chocolately creamy nutty dessert tonight, not that I’m looking forward to it, obviously!!LOL.
It’s a bank holiday weekend here and surprise surprise it’s raining (again) so I am taking refuge on my comfy sofa later with a book about Catherine the Great so here’s hoping that as I’m editing my book about Charles II at the moment I won’t get confused and start rewriting history, you know, just for fun!
Anyway, here’s what happened early last night, it made me smile…
OK, the British are legends on the subject of weather, we can’t go thirty seconds without discussing it and we probably dream about it too…so, I was a bit surprised when Mr. Weatherman pointed to his sexy graphics of rainfall over Blighty after the news last night and authoritatively uttered the immortal line “but don’t take too much notice of that.”
You can’t give a Brit the weather forecast and then tell them that it might be totally rubbish and containing inaccurate pictures and warblings, the nation will go in to mass bemusement and seek therapy! There just aren’t enough therapists in the land to cope with the crisis – I know that the TV company are changing info providers soon but really, are the old lot just yanking our chains?! Heaven forbid that we actually look out of the window and decide what the weather is up to, the very thought is nonsense!!
Just to confirm that the country seems to be OK, people are going out unsuitably dressed for the weather and moaning about it being the end of summer before it’s started as usual so we’ll be fine. No, we will, if we all huddle under an umbrella in sandals and bobblehats and blame the weatherbod for the forecast being almost right.
Have a fab rest of the weekend and remember to relax and to dress weather appropriate, sixteen layers should do it!
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Hope you’re having a fab day.
I have had the most fabtasticexcellentmarvellous time writing full on – do not disturb – style the last few days. I love it when the inspiration and pinkies work in unison with my laptop and produce (fingers crossed) a fab piece of work.
I nearly always get a bit nervous when I start a new piece, will it soar or bellyflop in to nowhere plot land??? Yesterday and today, smooth flights. (Phew!) Tomorrow…more fingers crossed. But right now my writing brain cells are pooped. Officially. They refuse to work any more. They’re on strike.
Good job that my reading brain cells are limbering up for a work out. I’m reading about Grace Kelly at the moment. Interesting lady. As with all people, very little is absolute, humans are a mass of contradictions. Keeps us busy working ourselves out, I suppose!
Enjoy the rest of your day.