Category Archives: About my work

How did my work come to light?

Considering non-fiction

A common piece of advice in the writing world is “write what you know” and although I do like to write a lot of things for research and so forth I have never really completely considered writing non-fiction before, but now I feel I would like to, for magazines eventually.  I have contemplated writing for a couple of specific hobby magazines because I have extensive knowledge on their main subjects.  I am going to list what I feel I know a lot about here and I may or may not share posts in the future of these subjects just to give you a taste of what I know.

Gardening

More specifically no dig, organic, permaculture, poly-culture style gardening.  This also includes wildlife gardening and creating mini-ecosystems, building a pond and dry stone walling.

I am also very knowledgeable in wild food foraging, where plants originated from and native British species, this also includes an interest in garden ornithology, and I wouldn’t say I am a bird watcher, but I pay too much attention to the wildlife and bird life within my own personal property that I have gotten to know their numbers as well as their habits.

I would also say that regarding garden pests and flora disease I am also a very knowledgeable biological warrior, using only nature against nature, nothing man-made, to benefit my plant-life, this means I will sometimes grow things I don’t specifically want, simply to provide my garden what I call “Sacrificial” plants.

Along with this I have had an avid interest in flora folklore/superstitions and ancient medical uses and my flora Latin is quite good, almost Carol Klein like.  I keep up to date with the gardening world as much as possible and before my health and benefit cuts happened I was a subscriber to four of Britain’s most renowned gardening magazines amongst other magazines I was interested in – bit of a magazine addict I was/am.

I have a huge amount of experience gardening a lot throughout my life (not professionally) but in the past three years specifically it has been only in dribs and drabs and the garden is looking a mess to put it lightly, namely because of health complications.

American professional wrestling between the years 1990 and 2003

I was an addict of watching wrestling when I was 10yrs old right up until I met an ex-boyfriend who didn’t approve of how much I loved wrestling.  I watched every kind of wrestling that was available to me, I bought every VHS and DVD I could afford at the time and I was even planning to go to America to learn how to wrestle – upon reflection it is a good thing I didn’t considering my career would have been over aged 30 because of these health problems!  I read a lot of wrestling magazines and body building magazines because I was so into it, then aged 21 I kind of grew up and loss contact with wrestling almost completely until last year.  I now sparsely watch TNA and AEW.

I am not sure I could write very much about what I knew from that long ago because it would be considered too ancient for anyone to care, I suppose?

Dogs, dog breed histories and dog training and grooming

I have been considered by people who know me as being the female British version of Cesar Milan as I seem to be a dog whisperer and have helped several people understand their dog’s behaviour!

I know it sounds absolutely awful but a few weeks ago on TV there was a show on it called train your baby like a dog and I have to say it is absolutely true – I see no difference whatsoever in training a dog than I do a baby and vice versa, it is very similar!  Every social creature has an innate desire to become dominant within its social circle and this usually is the worst during infancy, every social creature eventually learns through infancy and good guidance from its elders that it has to follow rules or there will be ramifications, it is not different to humans at all.  Humanity has to get over this silly idea that humans are different to animals.

You get a neglected child and they tend to grow up off the rails and they attack authority at all costs in many cases, you get a well nurtured child and they are more likely to fall in line and be a good citizen.  I know from personal experience not every child who is neglected grows up to become an anarchist, because not every child in the world has the desire to control others.  Children like I was simply wanted the world to be a lovely peaceful place and this in turn, made me quite a submissive and quiet individual.  My brother on the other hand was the type to go off the rails and fight authority all his life.  My other brother was nurtured pretty well because he was a love child and was wanted, unlike me and the other brother, consequently he is a neutral person who has a good relationship with his mother and is socially stable with very little emotional problems.

It is the same with dogs in my opinion.  You nurture that dog like it is your personal baby and depending on how much discipline you demand of it, it will either take advantage of you and become a nasty biting little dog, or it will grow up a stable individual who loves his mama and will obey at all costs.  By discipline I don’t mean shout and yell or kick and hit, that is disgusting behaviour which will eventually become a habitual behaviour in whatever creature you are nurturing as it will become a normality for them.

With a dog, like a baby and a toddler you command and teach with as few words as possible that you repeat regularly so not to confuse them, so it sinks in and you give them infinite patience no matter how you feel.

Superstitions and folklore around the world including cryptozoology

I have had a massive interest in all things supernatural and all things strange and unknown since I was around seven years of age.  I have studied extensively as many books on the subject as possible, particularly witchcraft and vampires, but there has been other creatures and situations I have been interested in hugely.  I have also been interested in peasant folklore and their beliefs, such as talking to the bees, bowing and saluting magpies and being aware of what colour and type of flower you bring to a person or a house.  I am interested in the Victorian art of the language of flowers, something I should have mentioned above in the gardening section.  I have been gifted beautiful bunches of flowers and often hide a laugh behind my polite thank you smile, when I notice I have been gifted red and white lilies as in some superstitions around the world red and white denotes death as well as lilies being the flower of death.  I don’t hold with the superstitions myself, but I love learning about them.  For example, I have bought lilacs and hawthorns into my home as part of my cut flower display for the dining table, many superstitious people would say that my health is my own fault then, because those plants bought into the house will make the head of the house sick and even kill them within a couple of months.

World History primarily European and Chinese history

This is another subject that I am interested in, particularly my own personal genetic history and the history of aristocrats, royalty and gypsies, also ancient warfare and combat.  The history I am interested in is vast, I also love reading about architecture too and fashion from the ages.  I have a lot of useless information in my head if I wasn’t a writer, but as I am a writer these so-called useless bits of information that seem to serve no purpose are actually polished gems which will help me create real feeling worlds in my novels.

Food is another interest of mine

I am knowledgeable in vegan and vegetarian dishes (but not a vegetarian or vegan myself), the paleo lifestyle and the diet known as The Wahl’s Protocol, Mediterranean diet, Indian and Chinese diet, as well as desserts and pies and so forth.  I love cooking and baking, sugar crafting and making homemade sweets, cakes etc. you name it, I love it.  Despite my allergies, which adds another skill to my list, all these things above I can do gluten and lactose free!  I don’t just research recipes and share them either, I am so interested in the world around me and how to keep healthy (because let’s face it I need to try and stop being ill) that I can tell you the sorts of vitamins and minerals you will find in each piece of food you eat as well as tell you the best way to grow it and it’s best companion plants in the garden to grow it next to and the type of soil it needs for the highest of nutritional benefit!

I make compotes, jams and chutneys, soups, pies, pastries, cakes, bread, I am just very versatile in the kitchen, but I must warn you… I am one of these strange people in life who can’t do anything simple like omelettes or frying sausages, without burning them or myself, the more complicated the recipe, the better I am!

Chickens too

Yes you heard it; I am knowledgeable about keeping chickens and how to keep them healthy, including any plants you must avoid around them and using their chicken manure as well as making excellent homemade chicken stock and soup.

Gemstone healing

I used to be into this big time, but lately I am so ill with so many things going on that unless I lay down for three hours a day I really don’t benefit much from these anymore, simply because I can’t lay down for more than 3 minutes on a bad day without choking.

But the stuff I know seems to work for others.

Religion and religious history from around the world

Despite being renowned as a person with humanist leanings and having no precise religion, I am actually quite obsessed about learning about religion in all its forms and researching intensively.  I don’t have a religion because I don’t like to commit to something which could actually be what I call a “deceivers religion”, I am paranoid about getting it wrong.  In a lot of my research material I have discovered amazing things that have surprised me so much I have been absolutely stupefied at how little so-called pious people know about their own faith and its origins.

I try not to preach to people when religion is bought up (only inform so they can make their own decisions about things) but I am shocked about how little they know of their own faith, it is hard, but I have made a point that as far as religion and politics are concerned, I can air my beliefs online on social media but I will not engage on any debate about it, because once you commit to something like that, it will become a never ending argument as neither side tends to relent.  For some religious people, when I simply state “each to their own and lets agree to disagree” they simply won’t leave it at that.  I have extensive knowledge of Judaism, Catholicism and Christianity in all its forms as well as Hinduism and Buddhism; I haven’t much knowledge just yet on Islam or Sikhism unfortunately.  But I also know a lot about ancient religions such as Norse, Greek, Roman, Egyptian and especially Sumerian beliefs.

It is interesting to read the origin of Christianity too; a lot of the original beliefs are not upheld in Christian communities of today, a Christian from the time of Christ’s death around the time it first started, would have a problem digesting a lot of what goes on in Christian communities of today.

For me personally God is gender-less, they do not have a name simply as being known as a creator or more specifically the creator, I cannot give them an image nor assume that they are in human form just because I am, I will not presume what he deems is good and evil, but I do believe he will give me the innate instinct of knowing what he thinks about certain things I am pondering before I do them.  If I think I would feel bad or remorseful after doing something, I generally consider that as a sign I must not do it and I have had this belief for nearly 18yrs.  It is naughty to presume anything about God or the creator, no one must think they can speak for him or make laws based on what they believe he wants – because I do also believe there is a deceiver who works against the truth and that is the evil in the world.  If anything hurts or kills or hates or does anything remotely negative, it has been influenced by the evil in the world or the deceiver as I call them.  I will also state that I do believe billions of people can be wrong, because billions of people can be duped, look at the concept of fake new for one thing – fake news is not new.  I must admit I have been planning a book on this, but I am scared I will become the new Salman Rushdie with death threats and so forth.  Paul believes he has never met a more pious person in his life, pious but without religion, pious but without an explanation to the world and he would never dare call me religious in a mainstream sense, because that would be very wrong, there is no religion in the world which is remotely pure enough that it cannot be tainted in some way and I believe I am by far from perfect, no one can be perfect in a world where evil resides so freely.

Some people in the past have considered me to be a Satanist, simply because I quoted something that Satan was reputed to have said once.  I am trying to remember the source where I read it from, but he was quoted in saying “I do not hate God, but I hate the God of man”, which in my opinion tells me a lot, it tells me that the God of man is what man has made for himself either by humanities own design or by the design of a great deceiver, which also shows me that Satan is not someone who is at war with God if I were to believe the Judo-Christian concept – it means there is a different devil at work, someone who has cleverly kept his name unknown and has spread bad media against those of the truth, whilst endeavouring over the centuries to conceal, hide and destroy the truth, to confuse humanity with false knowledge.

It is very deep stuff, but it is worth thinking about.

I believe wholeheartedly that there is a balance in the universe and at present the balance is tipping hither and tither good and evil, there is definitely a power struggle and I have no idea why humanity is key in it all nor whether or not humans are the only creatures on earth who have a religion, because I am not Dr Doolittle.  But we can’t presume that animals don’t have a religion no more than we can presume what the truth is.

You can find the truth in a lot of lies, because a liar can never remember their own lies and will often slip up.  If you read many conflicting religious ideas over the centuries you do begin to see a pattern of both inconsistencies and consistencies.

I know I am religious in my own way because five years ago a person in the street yelled next to me at some Jehovah Witnesses in Birmingham this “God is dead”! and for me, that was a knife through the heart and stomach and it made me feel quite ill, it affected me badly enough that Paul had to stop me ranting at them about how wrong and evil they were to state it.

I know some of my poetry seem to attack God directly, but you have never asked which God I am writing about.  Usually when I write about God so venomously I write about the God of man or the deceptive God and I will tell you something extraordinary and you may not be inclined to believe it.  But when I was 25yrs old I spoke a lot about my beliefs on four religious and spiritual forums and I was researching for the truth, I discovered many things, many so-called secret societies and secrecy in general, I was shocked to find in my private message box, a message from the Vatican telling me that what I say may or may not indeed be true, but I must stop talking about it, lest I have problems from them.  Thinking nothing of it, for a short while in my life I noticed I was stalked, primarily by priests and nuns which is unnerving and a strange coincidence.  When I decided to stop vocalising about it all, they stopped following me.

Now is this a coincidence?  I was never really sure.  But it is food for thought.  Coincidentally, seven people I knew from the forums that refused to be quiet on the same subjects, died in accidents in less than two years after my silence and a further two people were arrested for apparently nothing and was never released, weird enough their families and friends are unable to visit them which has caused big stirs with the authorities.

It is a strange world out there, stranger than you think and more secretive and deceptive than you think.

Arts and crafts

I have a  broad scope of knowledge regarding arts and crafts, from doing 1000 piece puzzles, to knitting, sewing, embroidery, decoupage, greeting card making, scrap-booking, felt making, making Christmas and Halloween decorations, you name it, I have probably done it for a time. 

Learning languages and having an interest in the origins of words and names

For some of my friends I can come across as a bit of a Susie Dent from Countdown to them, I will explain the name and origins of their chosen names for their babies and I will bring up words they’ve never heard of before because they have recently been removed from the English dictionary and I am vainly trying to popularise those words so that they can get back into the dictionary once again.  I had a huge debate three weeks ago with a bunch of online friends about the new username I have on a game site we use, the word was Eventide, a lot of people misunderstood this as being Eve as in Adam and Eve and some others thought what does ide mean?  Because they thought I meant event ide as some thought perhaps I loved fishing!  Well no, eventide is old English for evening and they can’t understand why I just didn’t name myself Evening instead.  How boring.  A lot of people are forgetting the use for the words dawn and dusk and even twilight, you say the word twilight now and they instantly think shitty teen vampire movie.  Twilight by the way is my most favourite time of the day, it is so beautiful sometimes and I have often thought about naming a daughter Twyla because of it, though the meaning of the name Twyla is old English for two or double, usually given to a twin daughter a lot like the name Thomas for boys, which also means twin.  I know quite a bit of Latin, I am currently a level 3 Italian students, fluent in French, tourist ability in Japanese and Spanish and I have learned excellent methods of learning languages at an incredible speed.  If I practise a language an hour a day I am usually fluent within the year at most, regarding languages I am a fast learner, astute, adroit, you name it!  It can be difficult to speak in all the words I know because I still have that working class way inbuilt into me, but I can shift the manner of which I speak very well to whomever I am talking to at the time.  I don’t mean my voice, I don’t mean my personal mannerisms or accent, I am simply talking about going from tabloid to broadsheet whenever the situation needs it!  I often sit there, with my semi-working-class accent talking to people of upper middle or high class talking to me, they think working class, OK, I use some big words here to make myself sound smarter and I sit there and grin because I can use big words too, it is a lovely feeling to have, smarm.

That’s about it really.   That and general literature, but that is mostly useful for quizzes or recommendations rather than being a piece of worthwhile knowledge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy New Year & update

Happy New Year everybody!

This is just an update on what has been going on with me;

Today has been the first day since the 21st December 2019 that I have been able to actually leave my bed for more than an hour, flu hit me hard and fast and without warning and then it turned as it always does into a chest and double ear bacterial infection. (I pre-scheduled some posts for the holidays in anticipation for this) I have been on antibiotics but there are still bubbles in my chest so, I may have to go back to the doctor again on Friday about that.  Thankfully my chest has not been as bad as it usually is this time of year and that could be down to the fact that I am taking care of myself better – I literally did confine myself to my bed all this time and have been drinking something akin to 3 litres of fluids a day to keep myself hydrated.  My vertigo and asthma has been bad though.

I should be much better by the end of next week if all goes well – which makes this illness thankfully short in duration.

There has been a suggestion that my post nasal drip and chest problems could be COPD, a friend is convinced I have to have this looked into.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be that because my mother and other relatives have this condition, though I have never known them to be so severe for so long.

I am also convinced that the lumps I get in various parts of my body are not what my GP calls “folliculitis” at all, because these lumps come up within hours or a day or two before I get hit badly with infections, colds and flus, I told this to them but they seem to be smarmy enough to know more than I do about my bodies reactions!  Whenever I get badly sick, doctors are always surprised at how swollen I am everywhere, but still, the warning lumps as I call them are only folliculitis, not a sign of anything else at all.

Goodreads.com annual reading challenge I set myself for 2019 was 75 books and I managed to read 119 (and a half). 

Goodreads challenge this year for 2020 will be 104 books.  Which, health willing, I should be able to totally smash by August.

This illness is making me go off of food lately.  I am really begin to dislike food, I don’t enjoy it anymore and I don’t think it is just the illness as this has been coming on slowly for the last couple of months – but since this flu started I have virtually not wanted a thing at all.  I think I have lost a lot of weight in the past two weeks, my pyjamas are very big on me and there seems to be gaps in places I haven’t had in a while. 

I don’t normally watch a lot of TV but this illness has dictated that I have watched an average of 10 hours of TV per day since the 21st – watching a lot of stuff that has been giving me a lot of inspiration but unfortunately too tired to write most of them down.  Mostly I have watched Minions and Shrek, fantasy movies and wildlife documentaries.  I like the new BBC Dracula series that’s on this New Year, but then again it is vampires, why am I not surprised?

Over the past few months I have been lulling over two ideas based on the novel Dracula, which is unusual for me, as my vampires are usually unique characters designed purely by me, but these two particular ideas I have are entirely based on the original novel by Bram Stoker.

One idea of which is based on the viewpoint of Dr Van Helsing and it is based on the future rather than the past.  It is based on a post-apocalyptic world.

The other idea I have is based on the viewpoint of the three brides of Dracula, there is a big twist though with one of the brides, based on European history and so forth, so it is more than I let on.

A couple of days before the flu struck me down, I did more genealogical research on my family and found out I am a descendant of someone in history I have always particularly hated – typical isn’t it?  I found out I am descended as a 23rd great granddaughter to Ralph DeNeville through his daughter Philippa.  Since discovering this, I have been getting ideas based on these times as well, with a fantasy twist of course.  I have been thinking about writing alternative historical fantasy fiction.  I am very keen on history so I think I could make it come across very realistic, the thing is, I will not leave fantasy out of the equation, so there will be a lot of strangeness to the stories and quite possibly comedy.

There is a lot of history in my vampire novels, particularly around the Roman, Tudor, Renaissance and Victorian times, so I already have some skill writing about that. 

I don’t want to lose the concept of comic fantasy though, I have recently heard that comedy fantasy is very sought after and hardly anyone is taking the bait for it – so hopefully if I took myself more seriously as a writer, I should have an open market for what I have to offer.  I am not cocky enough to presume that it will be a doddle for me to get published at all, I really don’t believe I am all that great – despite what people have said to me, but the market is appears to be less crowded?

Well I can only hope in the least.  I nearly forgot to write those six stories I wanted to do for the magazine as well, I will get on that in the next couple of days – I have settled on a mermaid story for that as my first entry.

Happy New Year Everyone!

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New stuff to come

I had the notion that I didn’t want to put too much non-fiction in my blog and I really didn’t intend for as much poetry that I have either; it was supposed to be focusing on little snippets of practise writing and short stories of a fantasy theme only, well since the blog has started that hasn’t been the case has it?  So, I decided last night that it doesn’t matter what I post on my blog anymore, people love it for what it is and therefore there will be more posts coming in the future; particularly of new and different from current themes.  I have many interests in life other than writing and some of those things include writing, but they are usually personal snippets or parts of my personal diaries, thoughts, hopes and dream journals and that sort of thing.

So the blog may become a more active place that will include themes of positivity, spirituality, dreams, research papers and so forth.  A lot of the research papers will include mythologies from around the world and superstitions, as well as historical research.

Other than writing, my other hobbies include watercolour painting, wildlife photography, and organic/no-dig gardening (on good days), puzzles, word games, hypothetical discussions with people, reading, knitting, cosmic ordering and studying cultures, superstitions, mythologies and personal genealogy.  I also love learning languages and how they developed, the history of certain words and allergen free lifestyles.

So the future of this blog could be random, who knows?  But I have decided to write whatever I fancy and share it, because I want to be a more active writer that actually proves I really am an active writer!

I keep a lot of stuff I write to myself.  Little snippets about a person enjoying an apple, or peacefully sewing fat quarters to make a quilt, or sitting in a meadow watching clouds fly by; to things I have watched on television and have an opinion about, books I have read and how I felt about them and simple little daydreams of things I would love to do, but realistically may never do.  I have often thought about writing a book purely based on my daydreaming adventures and I did call this idea “The wandering in my mind” book.  But I have thought, the wandering in my mind could become blog posts called “The Wandering in my mind adventures part 1” and so on.  This idea is not a new one, I have had it since I was a teenager and it is not wholly new on this blog either.  I just didn’t take it as seriously for online media as much as I do now.

So yes, I think I will start that today.  The wandering in my mind adventures part one will be posted later on this evening.

I must warn you, it is always random and there are thousands of situations and people I imagine most of the time.  Living such an isolated life, sometimes the only way I can feel alive is by deep and long daydreaming sessions.

A sample of what you can expect would be…

Me mingling with vampires at a palace court, usually the same characters as I have built a sort of relationship with them in my mind.

Me wandering through various landscapes and coming across various wonderful plants and animals or situations;

Floating through space and seeing amazing things there.

Arguing with people about certain subjects and giving my side of the argument in full – these are fictional arguments that usually have a real life basis to them, such as climate change, current affairs, certain things going on worldwide, but there will always be a fantasy or horror twist to these daydreams.  For example, a few months ago, I personally demanded that the universe repairs Notre Dame immediately and proclaim a miracle, because it was a place I always wanted to see and the story of the Hunchback of Notre Dame always made me cry; particularly now he is homeless in my mind and all those poor little gargoyles.

I also travel in time arguing with Henry the VIII about various things and personally beating ten bells out of the Emperor Nero for what he did to Poppaea.

In other daydreams I am a whole new character in other writer’s books, where I am the personal pet owner of a Bandersnatch and a tyrannical next door neighbour to the Queen of Hearts, whilst eating jam sandwiches with the Duchess in the veranda of my garden, shouting insults over the rose bushes that divide our lands.

As I said the other day, it is scary in my mind.

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Stifled writing and a look into my brain! (WARNING – it is not for the faint-hearted)

People who write can often get bogged down with the concept of finding that great idea which will earn them money and quite often when they do this, they lose themselves and in some cases, even lose the love for writing itself.

I am at fault of doing this as much as anyone, particularly in the past five years, this is because financially I am suffering to the extent that birthdays and Christmases have been disappointing and not as traditional as I am accustomed to.  In fact recently I found an old Christmas shopping list, which included food, presents, games and décor and basic normal food to last for two weeks over the festive period so we can focus on more family time and that list was five pages long with two sections on each page; this year it was only 3 pages long with only one section as when I write in an excited state, my letters get bigger than my usual handwriting – which is a bizarre idiosyncrasy that I have.  My lists are quite methodical, I will list food from Tesco, Food from ASDA and food from other places separately within the list; I will list where to buy certain presents too and for whom, which shops, so we kind of plan a shopping map in our minds whenever we go to town.  Along with this list will be a separate length of what kinds of decorations or traditional Christmas stuff we need, such as crackers from B&M and purple bauble at Wilko, you get the idea?  We usually do a massive buffet on an old pasting table in our living room and fill it to the brim with food and drinks as well as the coffee table, because Christmas Eve is the only time in the year where we can guarantee an influx of visitors and we like to feed them – this year it is a no go and I am embarrassed that this may come across as too inhospitable compared to what they are used to, as everyone usually got a bag of food to take with them either for snacks at home that night or jars of homemade stuff, which we just can’t afford to do this year.

I hate pleading poverty, but lately it is getting me to a state of breaking down.  I went for advice on my ESA benefits two weeks ago to a lady who is very kind and runs a charity, I was so embarrassed detailing my struggles to her as she was helping me fill out the forms that I was shaking and my teeth were chattering so badly with the humiliation of it all.  She thought I was freezing cold, but I told her, it’s just that I am so embarrassed by it all and she said that it was OK, but it really isn’t though is it?

Usually I am very good at being calm and self-composed, despite anxiety issues, but lately I just can’t keep it together, I am struggling to hide behind a façade like my normal self would.  Most people can’t tell that I have anxiety issues because I masked it so well, but lately I break out in tears over the smallest of things and what is worse is that I am getting short tempered with it, with people I feel are cold or unfeeling and I have this awful feeling that I will say something out of character at my next medical which will make me lose the benefit.  I am very scared about it.

If I could get a job I would, but no one is going to employ someone with the health issues I have.  I did struggle a few years to get a job, before it got too bad seven years ago.  All of this makes me try to push myself to create something just to get out of this mess, but it isn’t working, it is stunting my creative growth badly because I am not writing what I really want anymore.  I am writing the lesser ideas I have which are the most popular amongst my nearest and dearest and unfortunately what I love to write about, they hate immensely.

What I like writing about are dystopian stories similar to Mad Max, I am Legend and Tank Girl.  I enjoy writing about vampires and their sired offspring as I call them and histories as a massive saga dating back to the Ancient Sumerians and contemporary times too, how they live and how they lost loved ones.  I enjoy writing inane pun infested comedy fantasies where you meet mermaids and trolls with a very Monty Python meets Discworld air to them and I enjoy writing horror that touches taboo subjects.

According to those who are in the know, the only type of book up there I have mentioned that they can barely stomach is the comedy fantasy, not my main love of in depth vampire soap operas and dystopian tribal warfare.

Yes I love my fantasy comedies, but whenever I discuss my writing with those who are privy to them, they always get more excited about any updates on that genre than anything else and I feel if I don’t write this genre more than the others, I am failing to please this specific audience.  I am one of these people who find it really hard to talk to people about my work, those I do are precious to my motivation, if I don’t talk about my work, I can’t do the work.  But unfortunately my discussion circle seems far too niche and not entirely me.

I used to mix and mingle my genres a lot and had a wider circle I trusted to talk about them to, usually as dinner party discussions but since moving to Warwickshire, I don’t have that anymore.  London is a very different place, with very different people with mind-sets very different to Rugby’s.

I have mentioned vampires and horror to people up here I thought I could trust with my writing, but they recoil or give sideways glances to those next to them and simply state “Oh, right, not my cup of tea really”; Then I share my fantasy comedy ideas and they feel that fantasy is strictly for children, surely I should write something nicer for them?  Not drunken elves and mermaids who rip eyes out and swear profusely with such corny puns as well!

Apparently my personality must reflect my work and because I don’t lark around like some tomfool jokester all the time and I seem a pretty calm deadpan person in real life, I can’t be taken seriously in comedy surely?  Won’t I come across as some kind of fake?

Now that hurts, but it has been said to me before and I find it amusing that comedy must be serious… really?  I wonder how we all laugh at serious comedy!  Should we laugh at flippant tragedy then?  I don’t know what kind of world I have tripped into a hole of, but it is certainly quite different here to where I am from, I can tell you!

I think if I was to walk up to my favourite British comedian of today and say “Darling, you are not taking your comedy seriously” he would choke laughing and crying at how stupid that sounds.

*passes a dictionary to said people and points to the word “comedy” for reference*

So, though I am currently in quandary over my work, my main quander is this – “how can I develop a trusting relationship with people online so that they can become my beta readers and I can learn to trust the online community with my plans and outlines”? 

I’m not sure I can.  I am very protective of what I share with people because I have often had entire ideas stolen and published behind my back and that someone became very successful with my ideas and have not produced work since I eliminated them from my social circle a decade ago.

I have thought that maybe signing up to a free creative writing course with the OU would help me discuss work and improve my skills with an online tutor?  But not sure if that is really what I want – improved skills are always good, but not sure if I want straight laced professional opinions which are bias regardless of genre and content.

Meanwhile, I have been thinking about just writing whatever, whenever and go back to my scatty ways that were long lost a decade ago.  Paul tried to organise me too much I think?  Tried to get me to focus too much that I lost my way; I don’t really have a way.  I am higgledy-piggledy and mentally a mess when creating.  Paul often said if a hypnotist was to delve into my mind for just five minutes he would run out of the room screaming “get me out here, she is completely insane, she is such a mess, she is so confusing, help me, help me…. And oh, pass the paracetamol that gave me a headache!”

Why the drama?  Because I will have seven documents up at the same time, one is a horror about a cat, two are vampire novels concentrating on two entirely different characters, one is a comedy fantasy with tiny people, and one is a dystopian story based on a religious concept of the apocalypse and angels, the other document is writing notes to eventually put into any work in the future, along with research papers and notes, scribbled papers and notes off the computer, and Wikipedia up on the internet with another internet page looking for the history of Thracian warfare.  If that is not enough, I am also meddling with playlists on Amazon music flipping through them depending on which scene and novel I am working on in those few seconds, whilst daydreaming about food and what it might be like if I was the size of a peanut in my garden.

You get the idea?  That’s my brain in just five minutes.

I am like the dog who is in the garden playing fetch with you then all of a sudden I have ran away chasing squirrels, then coming back to you wondering where the ball is and oh look sausages!

With a mind like mine, it has been said by people before – is there any reason to wonder if I will ever find it possible to get anything finished?

I pass them some books I have indeed already finished and I do so quite proudly.  Then I announce, they are not for sale, they are not edited and they are not good enough.  The person looks through them, finds they do indeed need editing but are absolutely wonderful, why not publish them? 

Because they are mine!  Then I grab the books and hug them close to me with a snarl!

I am like this even with the art I paint too.

Thing is, there are ideas I do want to sell.  But I am scared that those private stories reveal too much about my inner workings.

I feel psychologically exposed, basically.  It brings about the kind of feeling in which I can only sit back and think, it would be better to be physically nakedly exposed than that, then Paul tells me to stop being weird and dramatic!

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Misread the rules

I just realised that I had misread the rules for the short story competition at The Writing Magazine.  There is no fee for subscribers, that was for the poetry competition instead.  I think I will write all six of the ideas for the competition, or at least try!

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Worrying about probably nonsense!

Other than the time back in 2003 I have never approached a publisher or an author’s agent, nor have I ever entered any kind of creative competition, whether it be for art or writing; I have never joined a writers circle either.  I have never had any real formal education on writing and not much schooling throughout my childhood.  Everything about me and my creativity is 100% self-taught and badly taught too in my opinion!

I have no idea where all these punctuation marks really should be, I have no idea about my grammar or where a paragraph should start and end, really it is all either dumb luck or a right mess, I don’t know which it is.

I don’t have much confidence in the idea of becoming a successful writer, I have said before and it is very true, I am scared that I will let people down a lot because of my health issues.  In my personal life, I let people down almost all the time.  I am afraid that I will have people wanting to publish my work but will have second thoughts about it because the writer will be a no show for at least 50% of the promotions, book signings and interviews.  In my personal life my health is so bad that a simple two hour shopping spree can set me physically back by three days.  I have more than one auto-immunity problem working against me.

I know in my heart of hearts it is unrealistic for me to have what many people would call a “real job”, writing is a real job if you get published isn’t it?  Despite publishers and agents alike stating they are working towards having more underrepresented writers, how ready are they for those who are bed bound for 10 – 16 weeks of the year?  How patient would they be in dealing with such a writer who is also deaf, too deaf to use a phone and relies heavily on face to face lip-reading, text messages or a representative to take telephone calls?

This is what holds me back in approaching publishers.  My own realism. 

I really don’t want to be told “you have a lot of talent but you are not working hard enough to promote yourself or take yourself seriously, it is a shame you are so sick, you could have gone far”.  This has happened before to me, not in the writing industry, but other forms of work, which is why I rely on benefits.

Is this something I should even put in my covering letter to an agent?  I mean, come on, if it really is like any other job, then who the blazes would ever look at my work twice if they knew that I am that sick most of the time?

Am I being too defeatist as well as a pragmatist, maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel – who knows?  Maybe there is an agent out there who can push someone like me into the limelight and support me in spite of the health problems?

I am writing this for two reasons today.  One is the fact that there has been quite a few people contacting me in the past five years in my email and on private messages on twitter and other social media, who support my work with all their heart and has asked me to send them some of the work and I have not done this.  Many have become active cheerleaders in trying to get me to write regularly and to state how my poetry amongst other things has helped them and other people through hard times in their lives.  The thing is I am too polite to verbally let people down and I don’t like dragging up my health as an excuse all the time, even though that is the primary thing.    So I let it all slide.  I don’t want to do this, I really don’t.  I really want my books out there, I really want people to enjoy my worlds, because I have put my heart and soul into my worlds for a very long time, in some of the series I have written, two decades of blood, sweat and tears have gone into them!  I need to see my characters come to life through actors and actresses on the television as this is the main motivation for me writing.  I have always written the things I have because I have always wanted to see them on TV.  They are things I want to watch.  I am a huge supporter for acting and have always wanted to get into theatre and television myself, as a writer/screenwriter and eventually producer and I know with my health problems that may never happen.  When I was younger I loved going to the drama classes during lunch break and playing with my friends various roles.  I love playing and I believe acting is the only way an adult can still play pretend with their peers and not be considered insane or childish.  The course I was doing back then was after I had a breakdown, my mother was really worried about me so signed me up for a general vocational skills course to boost what she thought was my confidence.  It wasn’t a confidence issue I had, it was severe depression due to something that had happened to me which was nasty and as usual swept under the carpet by her and never spoken about to the family.

When I went to those drama classes, my creativity ran riot.  I became a writer for short plays that we would do at the college together, I also wrote rap songs for my beat boxing friends and joined what was known as a rock choir with my gothic friends, I was a Goth back then too.

I find it really easy to write songs and poetry, it comes very quickly to me and this amazed my friends in the creative scene.  I would literally sit on the table with my legs up, write on my knees a song of any subject they chose and give it to them to sing within ten minutes max, never revised either.  I do this with all poetry even now.  It comes and in a few minutes it is posted or printed and ignored.

If I had someone tell me that I am now a full time poet, I would freak out about the ink and paper I would use daily, because I literally could throw out 5 to 10 poems an hour.

Similar things happening too since I took up my recorder practise; I can play by ear and I have composed several tunes since first starting out.  I can compose a new tune in around 90 minutes and lyrics to go with that within 10 minutes.  I am learning well in how to read and write the recorder music now.  It’s winter now and my chest is playing up, so it’s likely the recorder is going to be put away until April now, which is a shame.

The second reason I posted this, is that I am considering entering a writing competition for the first time in my life.  The Writing Magazine (which I am subscribed to) has a competition which has sparked six story ideas in my head – however, I can only afford one entry.  The competitions requires an opening line which is this “They weren’t like me”, closing date February 15th 2020.  It is a subscriber’s only competition. 

I am running short of money and I hope there is enough ink in the printer, as it is unlikely I can afford more ink before Christmas.  I know me, the story I will choose will be done and dusted within a weekend, then it will rest a week, then I will redo it and it will be sent a month in advance.

Thousands of people will be entering this contest so I know that my chances are slim, but though I am a pragmatist I am also an optimist and I have as good a chance as anyone.  But what I want to know is… is this the sort of thing I put into a writer’s CV when approaching an agent?  If I win, I mean?

Anyway, just some food for thought!

Merry Christmas everybody if I don’t post again beforehand!

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Art by me

For more art by me, please take a look at my Deviant Art gallery.

https://www.deviantart.com/ffgallery

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Acrostic exploration

I am tentatively venturing into the world of acrostic poetry.  Something I don’t have much confidence for, but I would like to explore it a bit more.

For those who are not in the know, acrostic poetry takes a form that is like this; 

Elizabeth it is in vain you say

“Love not”—thou sayest it in so sweet a way:

In vain those words from thee or L. E. L.

Zantippe’s talents had enforced so well:

Ah! if that language from thy heart arise,

Breathe it less gently forth—and veil thine eyes.

Endymion, recollect, when Luna tried

To cure his love—was cured of all beside—

His folly—pride—and passion—for he died.

As you can see a poetic line (I am not very good with jargon) starts with the first letter of a word in each sentence.  This was written by Edgar Allan Poe and it is called ELIZABETH.

It should flow well into each other, each line and remain within the subject matter which is the word you are working from.

There are many poetry competitions in the UK which specialise on only acrostic entries and most of those competitions offer prizes of £150 for the win – I have never taken the plunge to enter any creative writing competitions, but I am hoping to change this someday.

You will see a new category on my blog soon purely for acrostic poetry.

I also wanted to mention today in this post that I am no longer doing the Sunday word counts as I find it sometimes demoralising – especially when I don’t reach my 10k goal, for some reason or another making my failure public seem all the more worse.

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Music and Me

I apologise for not posting my word prompts before noon, I got a little too excited today with a delivery I had of a new musical instrument I am attempting to play – something I can hear on bad days and doesn’t require difficult fingering for my left hand – a recorder.   

I have always been musically inclined, since a small child I would visit my grandmother and play on her piano in her dining room whilst she prepared lunch, we often visited her on Sundays, usually just my dad and I.  I would play all the notes and eventually started to learn some tunes by ear.  I never learned to read music even now I have never learned to read and understand music fully or professionally or with professional help. 

The piano was my first attempt at music, always perfect righthandedly and terrible with my left hand due to my disability.  When I was around seven years old my dad talked mum into buying me a keyboard so I can practise at home whenever I liked and ever since my house has never been without a keyboard in it.  I have never personally owned a piano and I never learned to use a pianos foot pedals or learn the proper terminologies for anything regarding music, except for one word I learned listening to classic FM radio as a teenager = Adagio means to play slowly.

I was then upgraded to a more professional style keyboard aged seventeen as a birthday present, this had digitisation to it (I think that’s what people call it), where I could hook up the keyboard to the internet and download new songs to learn, because this particular keyboard had a function where it taught you how to place your hands and how to keep time.  When I was about nineteen my brother gave me an old copy of Cubase that a friend of his owned and I learned I could compose music by using this, without ever knowing how to actually write the music.  I had saved the music I composed onto an MP3 floppy disk and I still have it to this day and the keyboard too actually!  Unfortunately that Cubase I had is years out of date and I have never been able to finance a replacement, so until I can replace Cubase, my composing days are over!

Pianos and keyboards were never my only dip into the music world; I have in fact learned to play a paper and comb, some notes on a harmonica, belly dancing cymbals, some tunes on my dad’s bugle, an xylophone at a day centre for children when I was around thirteen, some notes on a guitar but again my left hand failed me and I never did get around to replacing my guitar with a left handed version, I also played quite well an accordion, but my parents sold it at a car boot sale once, they claimed they were having a hard time and I never did get it back, I was doing better on that than the keyboard and I had rather of given up the keyboard instead. The fact I did better with an accordion stands to reason as it was a right handed instrument and the fingers I needed on my left hand could do the job properly.

I haven’t played music for nearly six years because I was ill, but also because the house got a little too crowded and messy and I couldn’t set up my keyboard in a permanent position anymore; afraid it would get damaged I had it boxed up and stored safely under the bed in the spare room and I feel that a neglected and unplayed musical instrument is sacrilege. 

Funnily enough my depression started around the same time I boxed up the keyboard.  I came to this realisation a few days ago but I knew my left hand is worse these days and I can’t improve my left handed playing at all now.  I nearly got into a deeper form of depression with this realisation but then I watched a YouTube video to stop the negative thoughts in their tracks, I stumbled across a TedTalk by a woman named Barbara Sher and the title of the video was “Isolation is the dream-killer”; I have been thinking so much about how isolated I am despite my battle to escape from it because of the struggles I had with certain people in my life a few years ago.  I thought maybe loneliness was one of the main reasons I am depressed, how can I be sure it is missing a musical instrument? 

Well anyway, here is a link to see the video for yourselves – https://youtu.be/H2rG4Dg6xyI

She put out a question that I had to think about for myself and that is “What is your dream and what are your obstacle/obstacles”? 

My first thought I don’t exactly remember, but I do remember that I had several dreams I have that are still unaccomplished and most of the those dreams boil down to financial insecurity where I have to think twice about buying a bottle of Pepsi and of course, isolation.

I browsed a book by my bedside, I think it was called “The Little Book of Wonder” and the lady who had written it said that you have to remain curious throughout your life, if you don’t know something, don’t shrug and think that it doesn’t matter and it isn’t important, if you had that question in your head, go and find the answer as it might lead you into an entirely different path in life.   

So I absorbed those words and thought about stuff and then I browsed more YouTube videos and I found a doctor of psychology called Guy Winch in another TedTalk; He said that loneliness can knock significant number of years off our life and cause us to become ill, it can affect our immune system greatly because our emotional wellbeing determines whether we are healthy or not.  This explained a lot to me, because since living in my own home with my husband and having a baby I have ironically became more isolated than I ever was before I left my parents’ house (ironic because my main form of abuse and neglect was social isolation growing up, even as an adult it was very coercive and controlling the relationship between my mother and I).  But because I had a baby and fell ill just a few weeks shy from his third birthday, I became drastically isolated after being free from true isolation for nearly three years!  In fact for the first eight months of my illness I couldn’t get out of bed to go and talk to a doctor about what was wrong! 

It was around this time I decided to never talk to my parents again too, so the only guaranteed socialising I could have done when I became sick, I cut off.  I was getting five or more phone calls per day from my mum and once a week visits that lasted six hours a time, to having no phone calls with anyone and only annual visits from my adult nephews, to then having just the annual visits ONLY for the next six years.

That isn’t good for anybody!

So I had a long hard look at my life and realised that depression and loneliness is killing me, literally.  It must be, because around six years ago I was diagnosed with a handful of different types of auto-immunity diseases and recently doctors are suspecting MS and/or neurological problems as well. 

One thing I have always been frightened of is Motor-Neurone disease, it runs rife on my dad’s side of the family and my dad’s family as a whole are very close within family, extensive family (we still talk to our cousins four times removed) but don’t socialise much outside of family and church friends or salvation army duties. 

I wondered if illness due to isolation or loneliness could be genetic on my father’s side.

Anyway, Dr Guy Winch’s video can be found here – https://youtu.be/F2hc2FLOdhI

Worrying about being isolated, too sick to socialise and the expense of joining college or a social club (because I have to rely on public transport), I asked some questions to the universe.  I asked the universe what you want me to do?  What do I have to do to change things being there are more obstacles for me than anyone else I know?  I got no answers.

Then I asked the universe that if my life was supposed to be to help motivate others, or be as creative as I can be in all creative interests I have then send me money somehow – if my life isn’t meant to be like this, then make something else happen to blatantly show me what it is I was made to do! 

So, knowing that money doesn’t just fall onto the doorstep when you implore the universe to give it to you – I tried to make receiving it easy.  I decided to (and this is no exaggeration) I decided to take a risk, I had just £15 left for my own personal treats (not the families, my own, I get around £40 a month just for me it is Paul’s rule that I treat myself each month) – I took that £15 and I spent it on 888ladies.com and I won £200, for me that is like winning 5k, I was so happy it paid off my overdraft and I could have a little to spend on a new bra and some new trousers as my clothes are getting too big on me lately.  But I thought that doesn’t change anything; it just helps my current situation without improving it so I took another risk – I said the universe, if I am supposed to learn a musical instrument and buy art supplies I will need this again or a bit more please.  So I rolled the slots again and I instantly won another £250 that is enough I thought, that is enough to get some art supplies and buy a cheap instrument – but I didn’t know what instrument to get?

This made me very happy and I decided to “Be Curious” as the book said earlier that night. 

I asked myself some questions.

What does all these musical instruments I hear on the BBC Proms sound like as solo instruments?  I didn’t know a majority of them singularly.  So I again, went onto YouTube and I searched through every musical instrument I could think of to find solo samples. 

I made a list of my favourite sounds.

Piano

Harpsichord

Jazz Piano

Bass

Trombone

French horn

Piccolo

Recorder

Saxophone

Crystallaphone

Glockenspiel

An apprehension engine

Xylophone

Harp

Lute

Cello

Accordion

Violin

And trumpet

There were others but I don’t remember them. 

Then I asked…

What musical instrument can I learn that has limited mobility to the hand?

Perhaps go back to the accordion and this time learn to read music?

A recorder doesn’t require the left pinkie to play.

A trombone

A xylophone – crystallaphone or a glockenspiel

I then thought about the types of classical music I love the most and I know that I love folk, medieval and baroque above all others! 

So I decided on the recorder first and foremost and eventually the glockenspiel. 

So I bought this recorder for me and Henry (because whenever I do something new Henry nags us to get him the same so he can share practise time with me, which is sweet and expensive sometimes)!

 

 

It was pretty cheap £16.37 each from Amazon.co.uk

It is a Yamaha YRS302BIII Soprano, plastic.  When I had decided it would be the recorder I discovered a wonderful lady on YouTube called Sarah Jeffrey who teaches you practically everything about being a recorder player, she is very enthusiastic and passionate about the instrument and makes learning about it fun!

She can be found here, this is the first lesson https://youtu.be/-d6uVjIEkMY

Until I found her videos I never knew how many different types of recorders there are and that they can all be played the same way, because they are the same instrument.  Different woods and plastic and lengths can make different sounds.  A true and passionate recorder player will have a large collection of different recorders to choose from.  I am getting a baroque alto before Christmas as I am taking to this instrument remarkably and yes, I am trying to learn how to read music now.

I have practised for three hours today and I am very tired now.  I know it is likely I will have two months a year off from practise because I am prone to very nasty chest infections in the winter that usually always lead to pneumonia for some reason.

So, there you have it.  The reason behind why I was late today.

Let me know in the comments below whether or not you are also musically inclined and share with me what you play and what you are passionate about, I would love to know!

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Sunday Word Count 5

I have hit the wall of shame again.

The word count this week is…

4447

The above picture was taken by me and manipulated by me.  I took this image around 2yrs ago in the Summer when I went for a walk by the canal near Newbold Quarry, Warwickshire.  The daisy like flower was actually growing out of the crack in the wall just like that, sticking out of the wall about 8 inches on a single stalk.  It was strange because the whole area had just grass and dock leaves and there was no other little white flowers like this anywhere else!  

A huge slump, but then again, this week I have had a hard time with my immunity issues and other medical problems including a huge bout of unexplained depression, usually I can identify what causes the depression but for the past few days I cant.

I only wrote on three days, which were Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

My body also hasn’t been working properly either, making me feel extra sleepy and my arms aren’t working properly for some reason.

Sorry this is a lazy post because I am so tired still.  Sorry if it looks like I really can’t be bothered, I want to be, but I just can’t think at the moment, too drowsy.

I get bouts like this that happen on and off at irregular and without a pattern times and it can last for just a day or several days, I had a bout once that lasted for nearly 4 months, doctors aren’t too helpful in trying to find out what the blazes is wrong with me.

I accidentally posted something that I had second mind to delete too, sorry about that.  I didn’t want to post it as it was a first draft and there were certain things I missed out or didn’t explain properly.  It was written on a very bad day, I get huge brain fogs and concentration problems where things come out wrong or half formed.  

Anyway, hope next week will be different.

Have fun with your writing folks!

P.S I apologise if this is at all incoherent, I am really struggling right now.  

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