Writer’s journey – How did it all happen?

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This is  my writer’s blog about me and my crazy journey to becoming a half decent author.

Well how did I start writing? It was quite odd really. I used to write as a teenager. At the time I had a ginger tom cat called Chester, Mr. Popularity, everyone loved him. He liked to venture afar and we would often have to rescue him. I remember one occasion in particular, my brother and I ended up trudging through the woods, in Blackhall in Edinburgh, to pick him up from a house in the vicinity. He ended up at the most peculiar places. One time he chose to visit a house with thirteen cats!

I told you he liked company. So it seemed natural to  write about cats,  and I kept a diary. My dad was and still is one of my other great sources of inspiration.  He has travelled extensively to the Far East, and Middle East and is a wonderful raconteur.

As far as my writing is concerned the inevitable happened.  I was the typical teenager. I got distracted. I found boys, discos, parties, and my writing suffered. Somehow I didn’t pick it up again for a very long time. This is a regret. A massive regret. But what can I do? I can’t travel back in time, I don’t have a Tardis. So I just have to accept that the time is right now.  You see, I’m still this young girl at heart, just stuck in an older and maybe wiser body. I have experienced more, travelled more, lived more, so hopefully that will make me a better writer.

Several events came together to ignite my desire to write again. First of all I read a lot.  At the time I was reading Dorian Gray and it was definitely a novel that captured my imagination and set my mind free. Also my eldest daughter was studying GCSE Art and I took a sudden interest in art and photography. I’m not saying that I can paint or draw, though I wish I could. No, I enjoyed watching her artistic development and I enjoyed sharing ideas with her and encouraging her.

All of these influences helped me to write my first book, a children’s/YA fantasy set in Cambridge, which I hope to publish soon. The female protagonist in my novel is a teenage girl who paints a puzzle of art. But it is by no means a novel simply about Art. She expresses her sadness, and discovers her magical powers, through the medium of painting and well the rest you will find out when you read the book. Lets just say that an awful lot happens and I think that it will keep you entertained!  Well I hope so anyway.

Also I know this sounds crazy but my other source of inspiration was a black cat, a  throw back to Chester.  I had never seen this strange black cat before and suddenly he just started appearing in our garden. There was something different about him. He appeared  like a miniature panther, all glossy and splendid, looking for attention, with his mesmerising eyes, I fell under his spell. He liked to show off, he would disappear into thin air, climb to ridiculous heights, or chase his tail around the garden like a demented clown. He just had to play a part in this book too. Lets just say he has a subsidiary part to a main character, who is male, young and very interesting too, just like him. That was the beginning. Looking back I am amazed that from just a few initial thoughts my idea just seemed to grow and grow. Now my debut novel, is nearly ready for the final edit. How did that happen? I couldn’t be happier in fact if I had a tail, I’m sure I would be whizzing around and around chasing it with excitement!

Update: I HAVE SOMETHING WICKED TO TELL YOU, ABSOBLOODYLOOTELY, I’M CURRENTLY QUERYING AGENTS/PUBLISHERS RE: MY NOVEL.

SO STAY POSTED.

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AND THE MOST AMAZING CAT’S PYJAMAS.  XXX

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THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners.  If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear on this site, please contact or e-mail me with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed. Photos courtesy of Google and Bing images.

My Friday Post: Sea Urchins Ouch!

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This guys waving at you and that’s ok, he’s quite beautiful from afar but you sure don’t want to get up close and personal and you definitely don’t want to stand on him. He’s a sea urchin, also archaically known as a sea hedgehog.

You can see the resemblance. But this guy’s kind of cute.

thThis hedgehog really is a bit of a sneaky fellow, hiding away, a bit like his cousin the Sea Urchin.

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Don’t mess with Sea Urchins, guys, I’m talking from experience, well second hand experience. My youngest daughter stood on a Sea Urchin whilst on holiday in Greece. The Sea Urchin may have great senses but it had no idea she was about to make this mistake, as they don’t have eyes. Shame, they can move with their adhesive tube feet but how was the urchin to know? It was a terrible experience. She ended up with thirty spines on her foot, and each one of these little darlings had to be removed individually by hand with the sharp point of a needle. No anaesthetic. My husband had some job holding her down. She looks slim and delicate but don’t let that fool you she’s wily and strong. She screamed the resort down. The resort doctor didn’t seem at all sympathetic, maybe this happens so often she’d just anaesthetised herself to any emotional response, too many unprepared tourists standing on sea urchins. But, my poor daughter was so disturbed by this unfortunate event that she developed a bit of a phobia for needles. Well, a massive phobia and this fear of needles continued for some time.

After all that, you’d think that she would have hated the holiday but no, she loved it. It was a wonderful opportunity for her to join in the watersports, hang out with new found friends, but it was one of those holidays when every possible accident that could happen did happen, and they all happened to her. In the space of two weeks she stood on a Sea Urchin, cut her foot on glass, banged her head on the pool, had an asthma attack whilst out swimming (in the middle of the ocean, as she tried to swim back to the boat we were on.) She managed to get a tick in the ear, and even got stung by a fairly innocuous jelly fish. Yes, it was such a memorable holiday, a veritable catalogue of accidents! Amazingly she still had fun, and kept on smiling, kids are so resilient aren’t they? But I have to say it wasn’t one of my favourite holidays.

So it’s no surprise that I have a bit of a love hate relationship with these creatures. I love them with their spines removed, but I hate them with their spines intact.

These spineless cute darlings.

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Having said that there’s no doubt about it Sea Urchins are beautiful in their own way, even with their spines. But don’t forget to view them from a safe distance!

Look at this Zebra Urchin:

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Zebra Urchin

The Spined Sea Urchin

makes me shudder.

thH3ZVFGF2 Spined ssea urchin (diadema Paucis)

Spined sea Urchin (Diadema Paucis)

They come in all shapes and colours.

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Urchin Daidema Savigigni Red Urchin

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And some of them are Giants!

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Giant Red Sea Urchin

Sea Urchins like to impress,

they’ll wear a Tuxedo to show off!

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Tuxedo Sea Urchin

Poisonous, eek Urchin!

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Poisonous Sea Urchin Closingblossom.deviantart.com

This guy kind of looks a bit like an alien!

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A Dalek one!

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Some people like to get creative

and use them as plant pots!

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Maybe You Might Like To Plant a Sea Urchin Cactus?

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Or Create Pretty Sea Bed Mats

Interspersed with colourful sea urchins

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How about a Sea Urchin Snowman?

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Sea Urchin snowman

Or a Sea Urchin Lamp?

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And light up your way!

Bored? Grab some pencils and make a Sea Urchin.

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Hungry? Some people even like to eat them, in the West Indies, slate pencil urchins, are eaten. Sea Urchins  are commonly eaten by the Alaska Native population around Kodiak island. It is commonly exported, mostly to Japan. So I could get my own back by eating an unsuspecting Urchin but somehow that doesn’t appeal.

Here’s some pictures of other places in the world where you can eat Sea Urchins if the fancy takes you!

Barbeque anyone?

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Camiguin Islands

I’ve no idea how you’d eat these?

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Phu Quoc Vietnam

At least you get some slices of lemon and lime

and chilli sauce to wash these down with!

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Coronado Island

Anyway don’t knock what you’ve never tried, apparently eating Sea Urchin is good for you, and their roes are considered to be an aphrodisiac in some parts of the world – Japan.

So remember the next time you dip your feet into the ocean if you expect that there might be Sea Urchins lurking in the seabed, waiting to stick their spines into your poor, unsuspecting feet, please buy a pair of these, they’re don’t cost much and they’re well worth the money!

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So have a wonderful Friday, watch out what you do, and where you might step. See you again soon!

Links:

http://healthbenefitsofeating.com/sea-food/health-benefits-of-eating-sea-urchin/128/

http://www.oceanlight.com/purple_sea_urchin_photo.html

Coronado Island: http://webebalanced.com/portfolio/southern-California/

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear on this site, please contact or e-mail me with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Danny and the Toad

marjma2014:

This is real cute, a short story through Danny the dog’s eyes, via the story reading ape blog.

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog:

Danny and the Toad

Danny Bath 02Danny the Dog here with another tale of lust and depravity—oh wait, that’s Andrew’s bailiwick. Andrew, for the few of you who don’t know, is my human who believes himself to be a writer. My stories have to do with the finer things in life. Such as rolling on the grass, sniffing where another dog has peed, and most important of all, hot dogs.

Today’s story has to do with an incident that took place almost ten years ago when I was just a pup, so to speak. What reminded me of it was something that happened this morning while I was walking Andrew.

It was still dark out; we were in the park, and I caught the scent of something vaguely familiar. I put my snoot to the ground and tried to search it out. Andrew stood there tapping his foot and saying, “Come on…

View original 660 more words

My Kyrosmagica Review of Mr Penumbra’s 24 hour Bookstore

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.

My review:

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is the debut novel by Robin Sloan. It started off as an on-line 6,000 word short story which received so much attention that Robin Sloan decided to publish it as a novel. The premise of the novel is a mystery surrounding a 24-hour book store. It sounds fabulous but did it live up to my expectations?

 Yes and No, I’m a bit torn. I enjoyed Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore but I have to say it will not be one to grace my favourites shelves. There were times in which the story line really captured my attention, particularly at the beginning of the novel but there were also moments most notably in the middle section when my mind wandered and I have to admit that I kind of lost the thread of the story.

I have a feeling that Mr. Penumbra’s will appeal to a certain type of person who will bust a gut when they read this:

“He has the strangest expression on his face- the emotional equivalent of 404 PAGE NOT FOUND.”

Ok, I admit it I laughed, but I don’t quite fit the profile. I reckon if you class yourself as a computer geek you will relate to this so much more than I did. No offence intended to those computer geeks out there, we need you, I need you, where are you when my computer’s playing up?

Somehow,  at times the novel seems a little emotionless, and the characters’ relationships appear a bit flat, the lack of a real connection in the romance between Clay Jannon and his girlfriend, Kat, springs to mind. Possibly this is intentional?  Has technology taken us so far that we have forgotten the human touch?

“This girl has the spark of life. This is my primary filter for new friends (girl- and otherwise) and the highest compliment I can pay. I’ve tried many times to figure out exactly what ignites it — what cocktail of characteristics come together in the cold, dark cosmos to form a star. I know it’s mostly in the face — not just the eyes, but the brow, the cheeks, the mouth, and the micromuscles that connect them all.

Kat’s micromuscles are very attractive.”

So, even Clay’s thought processes regarding Kat are technology generated. Ok, I get it, I see where you’re trying to take us in your geeky world, but this particular boyfriend, girlfriend pairing just seems to fizzle out without so much as a backward computer generated glance, a little disappointing. Alright, romance isn’t intended to be a big part of the novel so I’ll stop harping on and move on.

The “bad guy” leader, the first reader, Marcus Corvina of the black robes isn’t as strongly a defined character as the star of the show, our very own, you’ve guessed it, Mr Penumbra.

Of course, Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore does have some redeeming features, the concept of the novel is interesting,  opposing the fellowship of the Unbroken Spine means, you will be “burned!” Sounds dramatic, as do the hints of dark rituals, and the ranks of Novice, and Bound. The threat of the “ultimate Sacrifice,” gets the old Bookish Cult imagination going. The ending of Mr Penumbra’s 24 hour Bookstore is presented in a slide show format, a very different way to present the conclusion of the story, but very in keeping with the ethos of the novel. So some clever touches, and a nice twist towards the end.

It certainly is an amusing read in parts, as the following quotes illustrate:

“I have one (kindle) and I use it most nights. I always imagine the books staring and whispering, Traitor!”

Me too! Don’t you just get that guilty traitorous feeling?

This one kind of made me smile too: “If this sounds impressive to you, you’re over thirty.”

Oh and Mr Penumbra is definitely my favourite character, “Oh boy,” did I enjoy Mr Penumbra, everything Mr Penumbra does and says is spot on. Also the creativity of Mr. Special effects artist, Matt, is a nice touch.

So a bit of a mixed feeling on this novel. Liked it, but didn’t quite have the wow factor I was hoping for.

Very difficult to rate, not quite a four star, yet not a three either, somewhere in between, let’s say,

3.5 stars.

So would I recommend it? Yes, give it a go. I’d say if you enjoy a mysterious fantasy with a bookish theme, and especially if you are technologically minded this one is most certainly for you.

The following quotes are my favourites, some little gems celebrating the allure of books:

“Walking the stacks in a library, dragging your fingers across the spines — it’s hard not to feel the presence of sleeping spirits.”

“After that, the book will fade, the way all books fade in your mind. But I hope you will remember this:
A man walking fast down a dark lonely street. Quick steps and hard breathing, all wonder and need. A bell above a door and the tinkle it makes. A clerk and a ladder and warm golden light, and then: the right book exactly, at exactly the right time.”

“…this is exactly the kind of store that makes you want to buy a book about a teenage wizard. This is the kind of store that makes you want to be a teenage wizard.”

“Some of them are working very hard indeed. “What are they doing?” “My boy!” he said, eyebrows raised. As if nothing could be more obvious. “They are reading!”

My Friday Post: Celebrating Dragon Delights

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Golden Dragon

Oh,

Mighty Dragon

 Your fiery dare,

 Gleams in a challenge,

No Childish mask,

Highlights your eyes.

Golden elixir promises,

Hang in the air,

Lining up,

To slide off the curve of

Your celebrated tongue.

A challenge!

Adventuress, take a ride.

Will I or forever still,

 Remain in this moment,

Too fearful to slip on,

Temptation’s back.

To sail the secretive seas,

Witness the wonder of sunsets,

Smell the sweet aroma of Waterfalls,

Discover Dry Deserts

And Tempting Temples.

Cavernous Canyons,

Concealed Caves,

Resplendent Rainbows,

Rippling Rivers,

Incandescent Islands,

Languid Lakes,

Majestic Mountains,

Too many splendours,

To describe.

I step back from,

Tempestuous skies.

  Foolish, I.

Must I question

when I can do.

Trust my,

Ever growing,

Heart’s desire Dragon,

Please.

Take me,

with

you!

 

Link:

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The Incandescent Britania Islands: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/467819/the-incandescent-britania-islands

Cuevas del Drach, in Porto Cristo, Mallorca.

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Dragons Lair Mallorca

Dragons Lair

I took a risk,

Now I am here,

In Lair,

With you.

Enchantment,

Lingers,

Tapering Black Stalagmite,

Promises.

The still water,

Quietens your flaming fire,

Softens your gentle gaze,

Oh Dragon.

Porto Cristo,

Golden dragon,

I’m forever,

Yours.

Porto Cristo Prisoner,

So In Lair,

With,

You.

 

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The Dragon Tree Stole my name!

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Dragon Tree

To fly above the Dragon Tree,

 You and Me,

 You laughed,

 At such suggestiveness.

A Tree yes, a dragon no,

An imposter,

A preposterous,

Poisonous Asparagus.

 Hidden Bright Red Resin.

Dragon’s Blood,

  Fire once omitted,

No flame.

 

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Oriental Dragon

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Oriental Dragon

You grace my table,

My steps and temples,

For 7,000 years

Such splendid majesty.

Meeting you in a cave,

My deepest fears disappear,

For 7,000 years,

Such Enlightenment.

Your creativity,

Is renowned,

For 7,000 years

Such  Good Fortune.

Flames of pearl power,

Light up your lightning path,

For 7,000 years,

 Guarding Gods palace in heaven.

 

bearded-dragon-314833__180 Bearded Dragon reptile

Hi! I’m the Bearded Dragon, nice to meet you!

Bearded Dragon

“I should have had a shave,”

said the Dragon,

“No Need,” said the Bearded Dragon,

Just caress my chin!

“I must curl my whiskers,”

said the Dragon,

“No Need,” said the Bearded Dragon,

Just tickle my toes!

“I have to file my nails,”

said the Dragon,

“No Need,” said the Bearded Dragon,

Just buff my back!

“I forgot to shine my scales,”

said the Dragon,

“No Need,” said the Bearded Dragon,

Just brighten my blush!

“I forgot to floss my teeth,”

said the Dragon,

“No Need,” said the Bearded Dragon,

Just clip my claws!

“I should have worn a bow tie,”

said the Dragon,

‘No need,” said the Bearded Dragon,

Just crank up my collar!

“I should have had a little slave,”

said the Dragon,

“No need,’ said the Bearded Dragon.

Just be my big slave.

“Huh, Cheeky Beardy!”

said the Dragon,

“No nicknames,” said the Bearded Dragon,

Just be respectful.

” Enough Nonsense! “

said the Dragon,

“I’ll fix your bow tie,” said the Bearded Dragon,

Just be Cool and High Five!

© Marjorie Mallon 2015 – aka, Kyrosmagica.

Words good or bad, are my very own!

Have a fantastic Friday and a very good weekend. Hope you like my celebrating dragon delights. I’m writing about a dragon in the draft of my second novel so that’s why dragons are on my mind!

Links:

http://www.krakow-info.com/smocza.htm
https://the-dragons-lair.com/index.asp
http://www.mallorca-spotlight.com/guide/sightseeing/caves_drach.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracaena_cinnabari

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear on this site, please contact or e-mail me with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

A Writing Award To Give Yourself: Do What You Love

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Sometimes we need to give ourselves a little pick me up, a reminder to Do What We Love, even if that particular thing that we love seems difficult to achieve. Just recently I have been querying agents, and been getting some knock backs. This is all part of becoming a writer, in fact it’s almost like I’ve completed my first test in an initiation ceremony, up until this point I wasn’t a fully fledged member of the writing society. Once you suffer rejections you join the club. So, instead of being disappointed maybe I should view this as a positive rather than a negative step? I’ve joined the Esteemed Authors Never Give Up Club, yippee, it’s got a certain ring to it, even the likes of J.K. Rowling can claim to be a member.

“J.K Rowling was famously rejected by a mighty 12 publishers before Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone was accepted by Bloomsbury – and even then only at the insistence of the chairman’s eight-year-old daughter.”

The publishers who got it wrong: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/16/publishers-who-got-it-wrong_n_1520190.html

So, whatever your dream may be, remember to always Do What You Love. Somehow if you follow that simple rule I’m sure you will never go wrong. So, whether you like to sing, dance, act, write, read, draw, paint, cook, eat, travel, photograph, laugh, blog!!!!  Ok, that last one crept in there without my noticing. JUST DO IT!

Whatever it is you love to do, keep on going…..

If you need a bit of encouragement right now feel free to share the sentiments of this blog post, give yourself a pat on the back, why not? My only request is that you confess any setbacks you are currently experiencing, but remember if you really love what you do, don’t ever, ever, give up!

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This blog post was inspired in part by a discussion I had on Facebook about the difficulties of getting published. The FB chat I had was with Virginia Bergin author of  the YA, science fiction, dystopia, The Rain, (the Rain#1) and  The Storm, (The Rain #2.)

This is Virginia’s inspiring reply: “It’s a tough old business! I’d been doing my own writing (alongside all kinds of other jobs) for about 20 years before The Rain happened. It was pretty much the first novel I’d written, and certainly the first YA novel. I thought it would get rejected. For sure! I think we have to love what we do so much that we do just keep going . . . and I suppose we learn more with everything we write. That definitely happened with me; I had a LOT of practice! Keep going . . . Best wishes! Vx

Virginia is so right, we never stop learning, so that means we have enormous potential to keep on improving.  There is an abundance of hope on the horizon, though a few rain and storm clouds are brewing too!

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I’d like to highlight an article that Virginia Bergin suggested to me that might be of interest to female writers who are new to the industry, who may feel that they don’t quite fit the typical writer’s profile, may feel a bit lost, or  isolated,  and would benefit from a  writing mentoring service:

Womentoring: http://www.lbabooks.com/my-own-womentoring-womanifesto/

WoMentoring aims to offer help to female writers who would otherwise not have access to support. Although it’s a project set up to redress a gender imbalance in publishing, my personal hope is that it will act on other imbalances too – race, class, household income, cultural tradition, schooling – because there must be some overlap in the perceived lack of opportunity there.”

Cambridge Writers:

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“Cambridge Writers is an organisation of both published and unpublished writers in Cambridge (U.K.) and nearby towns and villages. It has been in existence for about 60 years. Currently it has about 80 members.”

It just struck me today that I have been a member of Cambridge Writers since June 2012. How time flies. I am so very glad that I joined and would like to encourage other budding writers to join a writer’s group.

There are so many benefits of joining a Writer’s group. First of all, you meet like-minded people of varying ages from many diverse walks of life. I have found the Children’s Writing group, to be a wonderful source of support and advice. Whether you need someone to give you constructive criticism of your work, advise you on finding an agent, or  explain how to structure a picture book, there are members who are happy to do what they can to help. We are lucky to have  writers within the group who have either become published since joining the group, or who have come ready-made!

Several new members have joined this year, one of whom, Isabel Thomas, is an experienced children’s non-fiction writer who has now started writing fiction. Alex Mellanby published the second book in the Tregarthur series, Tregarthur’s Revenge, in June. This followed excellent reviews for the first book, Tregarthur’s Promise.  Lesley Hale has self-published the following books: Witness, (Matthew Reed, Tudor Adventures #1), An Act of Treason, (Matthew Reed, Tudor Adventures #2) and A Wry Smirk at The Dark Side (four short stories on supernatural themes.) Ruth Hatfield’s first book in her trilogy was published in November by Hot Key Press (UK) and Henry Holt (US). The Book of Storms was officially launched in the UK at Heffers in Cambridge. The sequel to The Book of Storms, The Colour of Darkness, is coming out in November, again published by Hot Key, Books.

Cambridge Writers comprises these diverse groups that meet on a monthly basis in member’s houses: Short Prose, Long Prose, Travel writing, Children’s Writing, Poetry, and a Commercial Editing Group for those amongst us who have already published or self-published novels. So there are masses of ways to get involved.

As well as these monthly sessions Cambridge Writers holds meetings on the first Tuesday of the month in which we invite authors to come talk to us, share their wisdom, and  on the 5th of May there is to be a Writer’s resources evening.  So what are you waiting for, check out the local writing groups in your area, and if you live in Cambridge, England, here’s the links to find out more: http://www.cambridgewriters.net/.

and come and support us by liking Cambridge Writer’s new Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cambridge-Writers/345409578859167?fref=ts

I am looking forward to getting more involved in the group. The Co-convenor of the Children’s writing group Annie Neild is standing down this year (after doing a sterling job of coordinating for four years with Ruth Hatfield, author of the Book of Storms,) so an opportunity has arisen for myself and a new member Sarah Pyke to Co-convene the Children’s writing group.

Late Blooming Authors

To conclude my Do What You Love post I’d like to focus next on several famous authors who started later in life. How encouraging!!! This is to encourage my fellow potential late bloomers. I only started writing seriously about three years ago!

Here’s my list, I’m sure there are many more, but for the purposes of this blog post, I’m sticking to these inspiring guys and gals:

Mary Alice Fontenot wrote almost thirty books in her lifetime, and her writing career began at the age of fifty-one. Fontenot’s first Clovis Crawfish book, Clovis Crawfish and his Friends was published in 1961.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/11/writing-career-late_n_1196625.html

Anthony Burgess never pursued writing seriously until he was thirty-nine, aware that it was not a stable income, when he published the first installment of The Long Day Wanes: A Malayan Trilogy (1956’s Time for a Tiger).

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http://www.onlinecollegesanduniversities.net/blog/2011/15-famous-authors-who-were-published-late-in-life/

Laura Ingells Wilder. As a child, Wilder lived in a little house on the prairie, no surprise there! She actually began writing around the age of forty-four, whilst she was working as a columnist, and had a pretty successful freelance career. But it wasn’t until 1931, when she published Little house in The Big Woods, that Laura Ingells Wilder really made a name for herself. She was the ripe old age of sixty-four. The when I’m 64………, Beatles song lyrics come to mind.

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Helen De Whitt., DeWitt’s excellent debut novel, The Last Samurai, was published in 2000, when Helen De Whitt was forty-four years old. Apparently she attempted to finish many novels, before finally completing The Last Samurai, her 50th manuscript, in 1998.

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George Eliot, Mary Anne Evans,  published her first novel, Adam Bede when she was forty.

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Middlemarch would not be published for fifteen years!

http://flavorwire.com/349249/10-great-literary-late-bloomers

Bram Stoker! Stoker didn’t publish Dracula until he was fifty! Imagine!

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Dame P D James published her first novel, Cover her Face, in 1962 at the age of forty-two.

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The Private Patient marks the fourteenth case for her ageless detective, Adam Dalgliesh. She also wrote Children of Men, a dystopian story adapted to the big screen with Clive Owen. http://writeitsideways.com/offbeat-lessons-from-three-late-blooming-writers/

William S. Burroughs. Sadly, it took accidentally shooting his wife in the head to get Burroughs focused on writing.  In the introduction to Queer, a novel written in 1952 but not published until 1985,  he stated: “I am forced to the appalling conclusion that I would never have become a writer but for Joan’s death, and to a realization of the extent to which this event has motivated and formulated my writing.” He began writing Queer while he awaited trial. He was convicted of culpable homicide, given a two-year suspended sentence and moved to Morocco and started writing like mad. He was thirty-nine when he published his first confessional book, (Burroughs was a heroine addict.) In 1953 he published Junky,  and he was forty-five when Naked Lunch was published, in 1959.

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Charles Bukoski quit his day job to devote himself to writing at age forty-nine, saying, “I have one of two choices-—stay in the post office and go crazy … or stay out here and play at writer and starve. I have decided to starve.” He did not, in fact, starve. He had finished his first novel, Post Office, at fifty-one years old, within four weeks of leaving the post office and just kept going from there, eventually publishing thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories, and six novels.

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http://litreactor.com/columns/10-authors-who-prove-its-never-too-late-to-start-writing

Margot Finke didn’t begin serious writing until the day her youngest left for college. She writes mid-grade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. Margot said, “I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs. You are my heroes!”

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Margot Finke is a member of Indie Writers Support: http://indiewritersupport.com/

Late Blooming Writers can Succeed, Margot Finke: http://www.underdown.org/mf-late_blooming.htm

Mary Wesley published a few children’s books in her fifties, but people didn’t notice her talent until she published her first novel, “Jumping the Queue,” at seventy years old. Jumping the Queue takes place mainly in  Cornwall, and follows a middle-aged woman’s struggle with guilt and self-reproach after the death of her husband and her determination to jump the queue by committing suicide. The book was turned down by several publishers, but James Hale of Macmillan saw something special in her work, and by the time of her death at ninety years old, she was widely popular.

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Lee Child: At the age of forty he sat down to write a book, Killing Floor, that became the first in the Jack Reacher series. The book won the Anthony and Barry Award for best first novel.

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“To anybody who is an aspiring writer,” Child said, “this is a great career because not only can you, but you should, start late.”

“I think it’s the ideal career to do later in life,” Child said. “You know, by the time you’ve experienced stuff and read stuff and seen stuff–just wait. Wait ten years, wait twenty years, wait until it’s ready to come back out. People who start writing too young, it’s essentially a hollow thing, you know, they haven’t lived enough, they haven’t experienced enough, they haven’t learned enough.”

http://www.astralroad.com/author-lee-child-on-starting-a-writing-career-later-in-life/

Raymond Chandler was forty-five, when he began publishing pulp crime short stories. Six years later, he published his first novel, “The Big Sleep,” which launched his stellar successful crime writing career.

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So, late-blooming writers are quite an amazing bunch. Don’t you agree? Just hope I might have a tiny smidgen of this late-blooming talent, still of plenty time!!!!!

A final quote:

Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.
— John Updike

More Links:

An interview with Zezi Matthews – Cloth Doll Designer and Author, who passed away in 2010 : http://hopevestergaard.com/writers/publishing-resources/kezi-Matthews/

Thank you to Sacred Touches blog for the Do What You Love picture:

http://sacredtouches.com/2015/02/16/646-i-sing-because-im-happy-i-sing-because-im-free-his-eye-is-on-the-sparrow-and-i-know-he-watches-me-excerpts-from-the-song-his-eye-is-on-the-sparrow-by-civilla-d-martin/

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear on this site, please contact or e-mail me with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Top 10 Amazing Book Sculptures by Kelly Campbell

marjma2014:

Top 10 amazing Book Sculptures by Kelly Campbell via Sarah Vernon at First Night Design.

Originally posted on First Night Design:

Kelly Campbell has been sculpting books since 2011 and uses nothing more than whatever is in the pages of the book its self. The words, illustrations and page numbers. So let me take you on a journey of what I think are her 10 very best works of art…

Continue reading: Top 10 Amazing Book Sculptures by Kelly Campbell.

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Happy Mother’s Day To Supermums

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Yes, Happy Mother’s Day to Supermoms Everywhere. You deserve the title, mum, have a great day. Rest put your feet up, deposit your hard working cape in the closet, enjoy, this is your day.

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Don’t forget to have a Martini or two, your favourite tipple, and a curry, that’s my favourite way to spend Mother’s Day!

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Enjoy these Funny Mothers Day Cards from Huffington Post, some of these made me wince!

I get accused of doing this sometimes, imagine, do I look the type to stalk my children on Facebook?

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http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/03/03/funny-mothers-day-cards_n_6790594.html

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear on this site, please contact or e-mail me with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

My Kyrosmagica Review of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

 

 

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

My review:

We Were Liars is one of those unassuming little books that delivers quite a punch, a punch that takes you  unawares. I enjoyed the premise of We Were Liars. This idyll that E. Lockhart describes seems on the surface to be like a classic fairy tale: “The island is ours. Here, in some way, we are young forever.”

But don’t be lulled into a sense of tranquillity. This novel is built upon layer upon layer of false impressions, and a myriad of lies. Secrets abound in this novel, and these secrets thrive on a breeding ground of sibling greed and jealousy. The final reveal is such an unexpected twist, a tragedy that I just didn’t see it coming. This is the shock factor that works so well.

E. Lockhart tells the story of We Were Liars through the eyes of the main protagonist, Cadence Sinclair Eastman, the female heir to the wealth of the Sinclair family.

Cadence has a terrible accident whilst out swimming alone on the family island off the coast of Massachusetts when she is fifteen. This terrible turn of events leaves her at the present age of nearly eighteen, with a changed personality, memory loss, and crucifying, crippling, headaches.

“WELCOME TO MY skull. A truck is rolling over the bones of my neck and head. The vertebrae break, the brains pop and ooze. A thousand flashlights shine in my eyes.”

Nobody will tell her how this accident happened, even though it is obvious that they all know. But are they protecting her, or excluding her?  Cadence is diagnosed with post traumatic headaches, but what happened? The final revelation is shocking, desperately sad, and devastating.

The unusual way in which E. Lockhart writes is unassuming and original, even quite literary for a YA novel.  Cadence’s emotions are so volatile that E. Lockhart creates a very visual image of Cadence as she “bleeds.”

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Bleeding Heart by Zindy: http://zindy.deviantart.com/

 

The novel begins with her father deserting her, leaving her mother for another woman:

“Blood gushed rhythmically from my open wound, then from my eye, my ear, my mouth. It tasted like salt and failure. the bright red shame of being unloved soaked the grass in front of our house, the bricks of the path, the steps to the porch. ”

At times she is so distressed by loss that bleeding is not sufficient, so she dissolves:

 

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“My head and shoulders melted first, followed by my hips and knees. Before long I was a puddle, soaking into the pretty cotton prints.”

I enjoyed how E. Lockhart played with classic fairy tale retellings which she cleverly re-wrote, revealing that this “fairy tale” is far from idyllic,  in fact it is a tale of destruction, and woe.

The characters in We Were Liars are flawed by their own inadequacies, brought upon themselves by greed, and deep-seated prejudices. They are not a very appealing group of people, this applies to both the older and the younger generation: the aunts are totally dependent on Granddad. Gat, the outsider, is the only person with a political conscience. It is suggested by Cadence’s association with him that she seeks to be a “better” person too, but her flawed character, and blood association with her dysfunctional family means that ultimately her decisions will be flawed.

The four ‘Liars” are:

Mirren, “she is sugar and curiosity, and rain.”

Johnny, “he is bounce, effort and snark.”

Gat, “he is contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee.”

“He was a stranger in our family, even after all those years.”

Cadence is drawn to Gat and loves him, but she is jealous that Gat might not love her back: “Our kiss was electric and soft, and tentative and certain, terrifying and exactly right.”

Cadence: Mirren, Johnny and Gat are introduced in the present tense, whereas Cadence is introduced in the past: “I used to be pretty, but now I am sick.” Cadence “used to be,” a lot of things, but now it is implied that she has none of these characteristics any more, her character has changed. She is so distressed that at anxious moments she feels like she is dissolving.

E. Lockhart uses short snappy sentences, and opposites, to convey a wealth of information.

Grandad may appear at first glance to be a sad old man who has just lost his wife:

“Summer fifteen on Beechwood, Granny Tipper was gone. Clairmont felt empty.”

But again this is an illusion, Grandad is not quite what he seems, and neither is supposedly charitable Granny Tipper.

Silence is the way that the Sinclair’s deal with loss and death. “Silence is a protective coating over pain.” Gat is the only one that dares to break this silence.

There is steeliness to Grandad that is shocking too. He expects certain things from his grandchildren, especially from his future heir: “I knew the kind of answer Grandad wanted me to give.”

Granddad lives life by mottos, and is inflexible in his opinions:  “Never take a seat in the back of the room. Winners sit up front.”

We were Liars is a thought-provoking little gem of a novel, highly recommended for readers of Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Fiction, and Romance.

My rating: Oh, so difficult to rate, I’ve been deliberating this for ages, to this little gem, a final 4.5 stars.
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Some More Favourite Quotes:

“There is not even a Scrabble word for how bad I feel.”

“What if we could stop being different colors, different backgrounds, and just be in love?”

“We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.”

“We are Sinclairs. Beautiful. Privileged. Damaged. Liar. We live, least in the summertime, on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Perhaps that is all you need to know.”

 

In 2014 We Were Liars was a Goodreads Choice winner in the category Young Adult Fiction.

 

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear on this site, please contact or e-mail me with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

 

My Friday Post: The Kitchen God and His Forgiving Wife

 

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 I’ve been doing some background research for my second children’s novel which is set at the time of Chinese New Year, so I’m dedicating this post to The Kitchen God, also known as the Stove GodZao Jun, Zao Shen, or Zhang Lang.

The Kitchen God watches over families and records their behaviour, good or otherwise, so beware!

Each year during Chinese New Year the Kitchen God reports back to the Jade Emperor of Heaven, Yu Huang, about how well the family members have conducted themselves throughout the year.   A paper picture of the Kitchen God is hung in a prominent location in the kitchen. The family have a thank you dinner in which a bowl of sticky rice is placed in front of the Kitchen God. It is believed that if the Kitchen God’s mouth is full of sticky glutinous rice, he will not be able to speak out about the family’s wrongdoings. Others give glutinous rice balls served in sugar soup and brown sugar bars as a bribe for the Kitchen God to say favorable things about the family.

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Sweet Glutinous Rice Cake

 

After the thank you dinner, the picture of the Kitchen God is burned and thereby sent back to heaven. A new picture of the Kitchen God is hung in the kitchen after the start of the Chinese New Year festivities.

The story of the Kitchen God is an interesting one, to begin with he’s just an ordinary mortal, Zhang Lang, a wayward fellow who has an affair with a younger more attractive woman. The heavens aren’t impressed by his behaviour so as a punishment he’s struck blind, and his young lover leaves him. In a nutshell his forgiving wife takes him back, as he seems guilty for his wrong-doings, and he is so remorseful for his adultery, that he throws himself onto the fire.  All very dramatic! Well, that’s one of the stories anyway, there are several spins on it, but this one sounds the one I’d be inclined towards accepting.

The picture below is a statue of  the Kitchen God and his wife in a temple in Chenghu, China.

 

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Statues of the Kitchen God in a temple, Chenghu.

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Asia/China/Sichuan_Sheng/Chengdu-1023458/Things_To_Do-Chengdu-Wenshu_Temple-BR-1.html

 

He’s represented here in a clock. The hands of time, ticking away from one Chinese New Year to another, so watch out, be good! Don’t be greedy!

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Here he is with some of the Chinese New Year signs. I’m a bit confused by the duck. I didn’t think a duck is one of the Chinese signs, (maybe he just waddled in,) though the rooster, pig and dog are. Anybody can clarify the duck’s role for me? Is he just visiting?

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He’s looking very splendid here watching over some food.

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I think the Kitchen God has found out that someone’s been badly behaved! Look at those eyes! No getting past them!

 

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Before I disappear into the kitchen to do my impersonation of a domestic goddess let me share with you a book that I discovered today while typing up this blog post.

Guess what, the book has The Kitchen God in the title, and he’s joined by his significant other!

The Kitchen God’s Wife, by Amy Tan.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Winnie and Helen have kept each other’s worst secrets for more than fifty years. Now, because she believes she is dying, Helen wants to expose everything. And Winnie angrily determines that she must be the one to tell her daughter, Pearl, about the past—including the terible truth even Helen does not know. And so begins Winnie’s story of her life on a small island outside Shanghai in the 1920s, and other places in China during World War II, and traces the happy and desperate events tha led to Winnie’s coming to America in 1949.  

 

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Happy Friday. Be good! Eat lots of yummy food! Enjoy your weekend.

Oh, if you’ve read The Kitchen God’s Wife, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.

 

 

Links:

http://fengshui.about.com/od/use-of-feng-shui-cures/qt/Kitchen-God-Feng-Shui.htm

https://breadetbutter.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/the-food-of-chinese-new-year/

https://marshmallow92.wordpress.com/special-food-serving/chinese-new-year/

 

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear on this site, please contact or e-mail me with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.