Tag Archives: book

Readathon challenge August 2019

I am giving myself my own #Readathon challenge.  Between now and the 23rd of August, I hope to have finished 10 books and they are as follows;

Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton

Cabin at the end of the world by Paul Tremblay

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

Social butterflies by Michael Sanders & Susannah Hume

Riders by Jilly Cooper

Hanging out with the dream King – Neil Gaiman by Joseph McCabe

On Editing by Helen Bryant

Be your own literary agent by Martin Levin

Fantastic Fashion by Barbara Cox

And…

Mad Love by Paul Dini

I am probably being unrealistic about this challenge because I usually read three book of three hundred pages a week, on a good week and some of these books are beyond the three hundred page limit; Jilly Cooper’s ‘Riders’ alone is 919 pages long, for me that is an entire weeks’ worth of reading!

But the challenge is set and I am going to try my hardest to complete it with flying colours, because I really need to read a lot more than I do.  There is a massive backlog of ‘to read’ books in my Goodreads.com list, approximately ten thousand and it will take me fifty years to get to them all and by then I would have added another fifty thousand no doubt!

I love reading and I don’t do it enough to be honest.  I think online gaming has to end and reading and writing should consume me more than it ever has, because I don’t actually enjoy the gaming and I don’t find it very productive to be honest and I don’t like thinking of myself as unproductive, which is a great irony considering I have been like this for five years – ever since I got much worse with my health.

So this readathon is going to become the start of a new me – a new productive me.  I am determined to change my life.

Come with me on the ride if you like!

Set your own reading challenge or tackle the same books as I am in the same time frame, or decide that you are going to game less and read or write more.  Only you can change your life and make the decision to do productive things!

 

 

 

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Writers and non-writers

A lot of non-writing people think that when you say you are a writer you have had books published and you are successful and have a lot of money or you are a social recluse.

They imagine that I sit for three hours a day or more just tapping away from beginning to end the same novel day in and day out until it is finished and then post it to the nearest publisher and within a week or two I get a phone call about how great the novel is and how I should expect to join some top celebrity at some award ceremony somewhere and become a millionaire within a year. 

But this couldn’t be further from the truth unfortunately.

For me, writing is mostly planning, writing short snippets that doesn’t go anywhere and redoing work I have already done.  I don’t follow a set pattern to my work as my brain (as well as most other writers I know) doesn’t have an organised brain like that.  Also quite a lot of my time as a writer is spent imagining things freely without writing, because the thoughts sometimes come too fast that I simply cannot type or write fast enough!

I will think about my vampires one minute and do a paragraph there, then I am onto the mermaid story and do a few lines there, then my brain will give me an altogether different idea and I have to write three or four pages of the proposed plot down immediately before I forget it, then I have to edit the three chapters I finished last week as I felt in the mood for it.  That is the life of a writer – me!

A majority of my work will never see the light of day because I worry about its content.  Is it too violent?  Are the sexual scenes too graphic?  Is this touching a socially taboo area?  But I don’t stop writing them because it is a part of who I am, but it does mean that the public will never get the full and raw me and I don’t think that society ever does get that from any author anyway.

People who don’t write don’t understand that there is much more to writing than that and for a lot of people who do write, it is never about the money and it is never about the fame.  Take me for example; what spurs me on to write?  Originally what spurred me onto writing was the fact I enjoyed it too much not to do it – the second reason was that I hoped my stories would become movies.  I really do still hope for the latter.  But it is not a realistic dream yet.

I don’t intend to be a scriptwriter, which makes it all the more difficult.  I don’t like the idea of my privacy being invaded when I am out shopping as I can often suffer from anxieties in new places and having a famous face someday will just add to the stress for me.  But despite this, I love people and making them happy.  I wouldn’t be human if I said, I don’t want the money – but being rich from writing is also not realistic.

Which begs a question as to why I do it then?

I do it for the love of writing and the love of play.  I am a very playful and imaginative person who constantly lives in hope that there is always something better than this.  I believe if you don’t like to play and you find writing hard work and you want the money and the fame and you don’t believe there is something better than this then you are wasting your time.

I love entertaining people, I love being a hostess, I love sharing ideas with people, I am very much a people person by my very nature.  I have often thought about becoming a life coach or a creativity coach as a lot of people who know me describe me as a very motivating bubbly and uplifting person.  I don’t see why though.  Because to me I am a very pragmatic and often sharp person with people, particularly those I find who are ignorant and arrogant or both. 

Despite dreading fame for the having my face noticed in public and despite the fact that becoming famous through writing is probably a pipe dream, I do still fantasize about how happy I would be seeing how happy and excited strangers will be whenever they see me around.  But it scares me witless too, what lengths would some people go to in order to be near me?  It terrifies me.  But I am more than happy to be polite and friendly to any who come near and by me, entertain them as much as I can but I would just want to get on with my life, do the shopping, and spend time with my family out and about without such concerns.  I suppose I get the fear of the behaviour of fans from my mother, because my mother is the sort of fan who screams and charges at celebrities whenever she sees them – I couldn’t cope with that as I am a naturally jumpy person.

So instead of worrying about the good and the bad, I have decided to just let life happen to me.  If the universe thinks I should have that kind of life, let it happen and hope it’s all good.  Maybe I will somehow be protected from all that fuss – who knows?  All I want to do is write, entertain and have my brain poured out onto the TV screen eventually as good movies.  That’s all I really want.  If I was rich enough I would probably produce movies instead of books, not that it would be any faster quite the contrary, but the notion of working with a large team of people playing with the same dream would be absolutely fantastic.

Besides, with the people I am related to, doing this is in my blood by all accounts and I should fine fitting in with playful, imaginative people in that setting like a glove.  Let’s hope gran was right. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Books and those who sin with them

Talking about books; Out of curiosity I wondered how many I might have in my bedroom because Paul estimated that I had only seventy in his humble opinion, I said to him that it wasn’t right because I counted those in that pile over there by the bedside lamp and there were 86 there just before Christmas, so he set me a challenge to count just the books in that room.  I did and that Christmas pile contained now 89 books and the entire room 447, he was shocked to say the least, especially as the bedroom is the least dense room for books in the whole house.  We estimated that each room contained 400 to 800 books each, we are a three bedroom and two reception room terrace house, and there are even recipe books in the kitchen, more than fifty in the pantry.  We are planning to buy three new bookcases soon, so I can buy more.

Some people visit my house and ask me isn’t it time for a big purge of books?  Certainly not!

I don’t nearly have enough!  As a matter of fact, I need to win the lottery soon so I can buy a mansion for my books whilst I live in the little cottage next door. 

It isn’t like my books are neglected in a hoarding house, they are cared for, in small piles or on bookshelves, and they are not thrown around or walked upon – THAT IS SINFUL!  Nor do I have them on steps leading upstairs like some of my book hoarding friends!  I tenderly and once a month dust every book in the house and rearrange them, satisfying that.

The situation is entirely under control, I only buy books I love and have borrowed from the library to test first, and otherwise I don’t share my space with it.  It just so happens that I love a few thousand of them.  I have a lot of love to give (nods wisely).

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A monster calls (a non-review)

Last night I finished a book called “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness, I won’t say this is a review per se because it really isn’t – but I would say it is more of a little chat about the characters. 

I felt that this book was a huge tear jerker, it certainly got my eyes watering in parts – as for the monster, well to me the monsters in this book aren’t what you think they are, I think this book has a moral and that is “not everything is as it seems and don’t judge a book by its cover” you will misinterpret at the very beginning who the monster/monsters are, trust me, you will only find out in the ending chapters the truth of who the monster really is.

Because it is a twisty turning fabulous book, I won’t give you any spoilers other than what I have already said. 

Now, about the characters, the main character is a boy named Conor who is going through a huge amount of trauma at the age of thirteen – but I am more interested in mentioning the supposed monster that comes to visit him at 12:07 every night – why skip the main character?  Because he is just a human boy going through a bad time and I am more interested in the fantasy aspect of this book rather than the realism of it.  The so-called monster is nothing more than a big brash ancient yew tree that comes alive like an ent from middle-earth to basically have a chat with the young boy and tell him a few stories.  I loved this about the book because in the past ten years I have thought off and on about writing a novel about a tree that comes to life as well based on the Germanic folklore of the wood wives, the wood wives according to legend are beautiful female spirits of the forest who are also vampiric, basically vampiric faeries who turn into trees and bring trees to life amongst other things;  I am also interested in the yew tree because it is very similar to the avenging birch tree from the short movie “The Birch” which again I believe could have been inspired by the ancient Germanic legend, the wood wives. 

So if avenging wrathful trees are your thing, you know what to look out for.  I got this book from the library but I have bought a copy along with the DVD from Ebay because I just find it absolutely fabulous!  The movie stars Liam Neeson and Sigourney Weaver.

 

 

 

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I will rescue you

I’m am talking about the scriptures

I am talking about the books

I have a message for you

Would you please take a look?

You shepherd to me pain

You created the evil and insane

You make things hard to gain

Yet you still won’t take the blame

God, you ask me to trust you

And I can trust you not

Because each creation is made by you

You’ve made everything – the lot

You tell me to be wary of evil

How not to fool for their games

Yet I wonder why you tell me

What are your puzzling aims?

You see, I think you lie to me

I think you lie and cheat

I don’t think the word of God is yours

The bible was written by a sneak

That’s why you have no name

That’s why you refuse to tell

You try to cheat all of us and put us under spells

You’ve armies who believe in you

You’ve armies who’d fight your wars

Yet God is the name for love

So why don’t you show me yours?

You see I doubt the word of the scriptures that every religion tells

I believe it’s the act of the deceiver, who has put everyone under spells

It was once said “evil hides within the eyes of the innocent” and that is very true

Everyone who has faith in this, is under the spell that’s you

I don’t believe you are God at all

I don’t believe your lies

You’re just a book that tells us stories that are endless in supply

I know that God does exist and he isn’t inside of you

The innocence you have stolen, the world doesn’t have a clue

You’ve imprisoned their hearts and their minds

You’ve taken all their souls

Yet they still worship and believe, that your laws are old as time

Well I am here to free them, to save them with my rhyme

To open their minds and hearts

To open the door to them

I will try and lead them all back home again

For God is the word of love, he discriminates not at all

Anyone who tells you he does, is a liar, that is all

If your book tells you to hate or kill, it is not true scripture it is evil still

Do you want to pay the price?  Do you want me to hand you the bill?

Do you want to be lost forever?  Do you want to stay unfulfilled?

Then take my hand and come with me, to a better place.

A place where I can show you truth, far away from the base

Yes you already live in Hell, you didn’t know it, but now you do

And here is my hand outstretched, here to rescue you

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Rediscovering Vampires

I love fantasy and yes, there are many popular fantasy TV series and books I have never ever experienced in any format; they include ‘The Game of Thrones’, ‘Season two of Once Upon a Time’, ‘Grimm’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘The Shannara Chronicles’, ‘Supernatural’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and episode four and beyond of ‘The 100’ to name but a few of those missed experiences.

Along with those television series there are several books I have never read too and they are; all the above that have novelizations.  Book four and beyond of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ series of books, the third book and beyond of Anne Rice’s ‘Vampire Chronicles’, ‘The DragonLance Series’ and ‘Goosebumps’ to name but a few there too.

Now, I am currently trying to make amends for all of that.  I am currently re-reading the first book of ‘The Vampire Chronicles’ by Anne Rice with the aim to read right through all the chronicles by this time next year – next week this will be put on hold right after I have finished ‘Interview with a vampire’ because I have ordered from my local library a trilogy from Michael Moorcock ‘The Eternal Champion’ because I am curious about a symbol I am rather fond of which apparently originates from these novels.

I am also watching some of the above mentioned television series, back to back, one to three per night – the ones I have started with is the box-set I have bought of ‘The Vampire Diaries’.  You are probably wondering why I have bought something that expensive if I have never watched one of the episodes first.  Well, it’s about vampires; I know I will love it.  Its touch and go in regards to Twilight but I guess because it has vampires I might find it tolerable, who knows… Twilight is another vampire movie I have never watched and I am a die-hard vampire fan, go figure.  Well I was too busy to keep up to date with my vampires for about a decade, so I am forgiven right?

The vampire Diaries has me hooked by the way; I have watched five episodes this week so far.  I am scrutinising the whole thing because I specialise in vampires in my novels and I don’t want to clash too much with anyone and I was nervous at first because something in the vampire diaries has clashed with my novels (the corvid) and the fact that a few of my vampires have the ability to roam the day too.

I am also hooked because Damon gets my hormones going… but let’s not talk about that, we’re talking about vampires in general and fantasy, not my hormones on some women’s health site. 

So, yes, I am happy to find that this series hasn’t brutalised vampires too much for me like True Blood has, I feel True Blood went too far in de-romanticising vampires.  I was distraught about that.  In the True Blood series you couldn’t tell the vampires apart from anything you see in a normal human to human slasher movie, werewolf movie or zombie movie, vampires in my opinion are much more far removed than those other movie types and I found it hard to chew.

Although being a horror fan I did love the brutality, but I was too angry that it was caused by vampires drunk on blood, dripping with blood and acting like psychotic corpses.  A lot of people will argue with me that vampires are just that ‘psychotic corpses’ but I will deny that is what vampires are, vampires to me, love very deeply and have a gentle demeanour about them, they are not rabid animals.

So, yes, I am returning to vampires.  I am returning to my love for them and with this reunion come rediscovering my hidden identity again.  I feel like I am filling up the hollowness in me and I am feeling more like who I was meant to be, rather than some obscure faint shadow.

I don’t do short stories of vampires unfortunately.  I linger too much on my vampire novels that I am ashamed to say they are epic sized.  I can’t stop adding things to them.  I think ‘War and Peace’ will have nothing on one of my vampire stories.

So that’s it for today, more to come tomorrow. 

Thank you for reading and do post a comment below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Should I make my vampires sleep?

I have had a passion for vampires since I first watched “The Twins of Evil” when I was six years old and by the time I was nine years of age I wanted to write about them.  From the age of eleven I became what I thought was “A Goth”, though not entirely serious, I allowed my mother to dictate to me a lot on how I should portray myself to the world, but in my eye at the time, black slacks and a black polo-neck would suffice for the tag, with black shoes.  I wanted to wear black gypsy skirts but my mother insisted that with my size (as I was very overweight when I lived with her) I looked like I was wearing a tent and so, I didn’t have the confidence to wear them.

The passion I have for vampires is so deep, that it is a strong part of who I am.  When I haven’t read a book about vampires, researched them or watched a movie with them in it for a while, I start to feel a deep hole inside of me.  This hole swallows me up, makes me moody, makes me depressed and ultimately makes me feel alone.  Because I am alone, in regards to this passion for vampires, I know nobody who is in regular physical contact with me, who has the same passion.  A lot of people I know merely tolerate that this obsession is a part of me. 

The people I have who are my friends and are Gothic, weirdly enough do not share the same concept about vampires as I do and nor do they view being Gothic in the same light as me either.  Whenever I talk about vampires to another fan of vampires or Gothic culture online, I come up against a brick wall.  A wall of which I find sleazy and corny, yet despite saying this, I am not the old school romanticist that I’ve often been accused of being!

In my opinion the last decade of vampire movies has either become too soft that it’s another version of “My Little Pony” or too vicious that it makes me think that the so-called vampires in the movie are just another type of vicious intelligent zombies.

Since I was nine years old, I have been writing an extensive series based on vampires, complete with an encyclopaedia about the mythos.  I say series, yet I really mean saga.

There are over 70 stories in this series and I have never once approached a publisher about them and nor do I feel ready.  Not with my vampires, I am very protective of my vampires.  Yet when I have discussed my stories with close vampire loving online friends and gothic culture dudes and dudettes, I have been told that my ideas are too old fashioned and romantic.  That the days of the aristocratic vampires are numbered and this pains me.  I have been told that despite the fact I know the market of vampires really well, I have failed to understand how they have evolved within the media and how the new style of vampires are what publishers and producers want more of.  So therefore, I feel I would waste mine and the publisher’s time in even approaching them.

I spend two thirds of my serious writing time on my vampires.  The rest of my fiction, poetry and songs are left on hold.  This is why I sometimes think that I will never get published, because I won’t put my vampires to sleep.

Because I won’t put my vampires to sleep, I neglect my other stories, I neglect this blog, which is why I have made a difficult decision to try and talk about my vampires in new posts in the future, or vampires in general.

If you would like to discuss with me what you like about vampires, or tell me what you expect from vampires, I would like to hear your thoughts. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Conversation with a tree

copyright 2016 Tina Cousins

copyright 2016 Tina Cousins

I had a conversation with a tree today.
The tree told me about the deforestation that his friends were experiencing in some parts of the forest.
He told me that this didn’t bother him much, you see, you have to see the positives of life; that even in death, there is everlastingness.
I asked him what he meant and he explained that nothing that dies is wasted, not truly. Even in death you have your uses, you are needed, and you still exist.
I asked about spirits and reincarnation to him, but he simply replied, perhaps, but there is more to it than that.
Take me, for instance, said the tree. When the woodcutters come to claim my life, I may still have my roots to keep me alive, but if that isn’t to be the case, you must think. What do the woodcutters make from me? Wood to burn to enhance their life for a few hours so they do not freeze to death in winter? Then I become ashes and what becomes of those ashes? Those ashes are still a part of the wonderful circle of life; I become potash for various floras, bringing life into this world, simply by my dying.
I sat fascinated and watched the wind rustle his leaves, too in awe to speak.
The tree continued on with his explanation, with patience and love. I am made into paper, for your journal, enriching the lives of humans by whatever the pages contain within, a store of knowledge, a canvas for art, a visual guide to places you may never have a chance to go to if it weren’t for me.
If not a book then shelves to put them on or I might become the chair that you sit in to read those books, or the bed that you lie in to dream about those books and art pieces.
I may become part of the tools that cut my friends down, giving them a new lease of life and usefulness.
When I am gone and I am cut down, homes may be built in place of where I stood. Perhaps farms will develop here and feed the world? Or perhaps my offspring will grow in my place?
Death is not the end, but it is the beginning of new things.
As to the subject raised earlier, yes, I do believe in spirit and I believe that with the spirit of nature everything is eternal; it just depends on your perception of it; of course, most people’s perceptions about it are wrong.
They cloud themselves up in the dark negativity of everything, which they don’t allow themselves to see the light and what a positive thing it can be.
I thanked the tree for his insight and went home to write this for you.

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Constructive Procrastination

Procrastination is a part of a creative person’s life; something they get comfortable with and sometimes it seems that procrastination is an essential part of who we are and where we get out ideas from. For me, I am constantly procrastinating; this blog is a fine example because I often do not post a thing for weeks on end!
However, as procrastinating I can be, I am always doing what I consider to be “constructive procrastination” because whatever I am doing when it is not writing regularly for my blog, I am in fact, building myself up for other creative activities – usually writing things that aren’t meant for my blog, reading books, researching, filling my mind up with wacky art and images etc.
What have I done since the last post on my blog?
I’ve started and completed two jigsaw puzzles, one of them was a 1000 piece Ravensburger “Santa Express” Limited Edition 2013, the other was Christmas Quarter 500 piece puzzle, I have since started another one of those Christmas Quarter puzzles, despite it being mid-February. Now this seems like procrastination at its finest, but for me this closes my mind to everyday worries and opens my mind for new ideas – a type of meditation.
I have sketched several pieces of clothing that my characters like wearing in a fantasy story that is in planning stage.
I have also read two adult sized novels “The Light Fantastic” by Terry Pratchett and “Occupy Me” by Tricia Sullivan, I am a slow reader – an adult novel of approximately 300 pages will take me about five to eight days to complete because my brain insists on showing me everything that’s going on in fine details like a movie.
I have also read snippets of other books too, as I am a multi-reader, I can have about twelve books on the go at any one time and not get confused!
I have researched the history of the Cathars, Japanese folklore and Hammer movies.
I have done one or two pictures from an adult colouring in book, another form of meditation for me.
I have sorted out my much overdue papers into organised piles and backed my computer up.
I have watched online videos and looked at online images in regards to natural history, local nature, religious history, philosophy, Cosmic Ordering and been a member of some online Goth, geek and fantasy groups at Facebook.
I have researched to the best of my ability as to how I can get into comic book writing and how to sell my art.
My son has come down sick twice since the last post, so I had to take care of him.
I have watched the rugby and I have written the synopses of several stories I am about to write as novels.
Actual writing I have accomplished as part of a/or several novels – approximately 800 words – not a lot. But that’s fine when you consider I am actually writing an average of 800 to 3000 words per day, even if it is just a diary entry or my 750 words from 750words.com – I am actually writing a whole lot more than I used to!
I am writing in depths about the dreams I have at night. I have been writing down my ideas behind ethical behaviour and the changes that needs to happen to society for a better world. I have written how I feel about my family and circumstances. I have been making business plans and life plans. I have sat down for several hours in the last few weeks with my husband lulling over ideas about our life and even brainstorming my stories with him! I have also helped my son start writing his own stories and he is nearly 6yrs old!
A lot of what I am writing is not actually story based or for the blog. I have written several posts since the last time I have posted on this website, but the situation has been that I found it unsuitable for my readers here because I am either ranting about things or I am giving too many of my ideas away.
I have written notes on historical facts that I feel will help me with my stories. I am a self-student of the social sciences, since leaving the OU course for social sciences because I couldn’t cope with the demands in math and stats as well as having a teething baby on hand.
I have finally decided how one of the novels I am writing is going to end, so now I know this and have written the bullet points; it should be finished by April 20th, and yes, I am going to approach someone with it. The story is a horror with some Japanese folklore element to it, because I have studied the Japanese culture and language a lot in the last eight years as I love their comics and their sense of humour and horror; if and when I get published, I hope this opens a doorway to Japanese media, because I would love to travel to Japan and use the language skills I’ve developed. I should get on quite well in Japan speaking Japanese, as I have learned enough to get me by as someone who speaks the language a little better than the average tourist, though learning their script is near impossible for me at this stage!
I have also discovered through an ESA examination that I might have a neurological disorder I should discuss with my doctor, because I have been blacking out, phasing out, getting shaking hands and been getting a lot of problems with my upper body mobility. I have noticed that this is slowing my writing down a lot, because I am making huge errors such as forgetting how to use punctuation – writing different words than I originally wanted to and generally not making much sense at times, so if you come across this, please note it and let me know, thanks!
I write descriptions in depth or comedy scenes, but none of this is embodied into a story yet.
I don’t know if I am a proper writer and I don’t know if proper writers do exactly what I’ve been doing, but I am curious to find out. Is there more to being a writer than just sitting down writing poems and stories? Do we essentially write mostly about anything but those two main ideas society have about us?
I have never joined a writers group so I wouldn’t know. I would like to join my local writers group but the bus time tables make this difficult for me as the classes are twice a month at 7:30pm and the last bus to my village is at 8pm and I can’t walk that far home these days – I can’t drive either and have been advised not to with my medical conditions, such a shame really as I would have enjoyed it.
So that’s me since the New Year in a nutshell.

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ERB

Over the last couple of days I’ve been reading like a maniac ergo not written very much, I’ve been fortunate enough to have won two goodreads.com giveaways which has kept me busy; Also I have been watching funny rap take outs from ERB. It’s a recommended watch because you’ve got Darth Vader VS Adolf Hitler and Thor VS Zeus that type of thing.
You can find ERB on youtube

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