Monthly Archives: October 2021

TBR this fortnight

TBR (to be read) this fortnight list includes only fiction books, not the non-fiction that I am also reading;

I, Lucifer By Glen Duncan

Goth girl and the ghost of a mouse By Chris Riddell

Goth girl and the fete worse than death By Chris Riddell

I endeavour to try and read four books per month from now onwards that are fiction and read less non-fiction, because I feel I am getting out of touch with the fiction world a little bit.

I think this has something to do with the fact that I am making more contacts with people who are avid readers and they tend to read a lot of the newly published stuff whereas I don’t. I am feeling outdated and I don’t particularly like it. I know the books I have chosen to read this fortnight are considered old stuff, but they have been on my TBR for ages.

I don’t have access to very modern books unless the library gets them in for me, because I don’t have any spare money per month to buy non-second hand books. So this will always be a problem for me anyway, because quite a few of my reader friends are able to spend an average of £50 a month on new books that they get to keep. But then saying that, they are also able to consume more books than I can too, they tend to read a novel in less than two days, I can’t do that generally, a 300 page tome will usually take me three or four days if its good.

Before I got sick and therefore financially insecure, I was just like them, in fact probably worse as I would spend £25 a week on books. I don’t like to buy second hand books for two reasons, one is that usually the author doesn’t get the money for it, and two, I am fastidious about the care of my books, most of my read books look untouched. But having to resort to second hand books because I have been in a ten year financial slump, my books are irritatingly shoddy with cracked spines and torn sheets and stains because I get them from charity shops on good months.

I, Lucifer was bought from a charity shop around eight years ago and only just got around to reading it now. That’s not unusual for me because I have nearly two thousand books in the house and at least 60% are unread. I think its primarily because I am a paranoid supporter of libraries – scared that if I neglect the library that I will inadvertently add towards their demise. I cant afford to buy new books, but I do at least have a budget of £3 a week to pre-order things from my local library and I do so religiously.

Happy reading all!

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My brain takes me here…

They say that the books you love to read, the movies you love to watch and the things that stick with you the most can be seen in your own writing. 

What you love is often reflected in your writing and once you know yourself well enough you write better.  Once you throw yourself into all of your passions and are writing things based on your passions or similar to your passions unashamedly, you will develop your style and you will therefore come across as unique and fresh in the genres you write.

As long as you stay true only to yourself, do not write for the market, write for you!

I hope this is true.  If it is, then you can more or less guess from my likes and dislikes what could end up being in my novels.

I don’t like to be predictable though, but it is true that there is a little of what I love in everything that I do

Below is a list of stories, books or movies in which I mentally visit and live in a lot, for some reason or another, I am dragged back there to relive scenes or add new ones in my mind.  However, I never write those reimagining’s down through fear of becoming a fraud!  Though I have sometimes thought about doing fanfiction!

1922 By Stephen king – this story in particular has actually influenced a horror I am writing, which is based around a well in a garden too, funnily enough.  But the story concept is poles apart besides the setting of a well. 

Spider By Hanns Heinz Ewers – Every time I see a spider I remember the story.  Every time I see a woman working at a loom or spinning yarn, I think of this story.  You would think that wouldn’t be very often then, but I know a lot of prepper, homesteading type ladies who do this regularly.  I have wanted to do this myself; I have always wanted to make my own felt too. 

The complete collection of The Wizard of Oz By Frank L Baum – So many imaginative things in all the stories, living china dolls, servant monkeys, it’s absolute joy!  The landscape descriptions, oh my word, they are divine, I just can’t help but bring myself back to those scenes. 

Smoke and Mirrors By Neil Gaiman – So many lovely stories and poems in this book, I presume they are poems in any case?  I see them as such, I love the prose, I just love the way he writes!  It is very soulful writing. 

The man in the picture By Susan Hill – This is the only book in my entire reading history, of such length, that I have read and could not put down even for a toilet break!  It is just so gripping and I loved it, it had a similar air to Dorian Grey, but in my opinion much better executed.  I love Venice, never been, but still, always wanted to, love with a passion masquerades and carnival life. 

Matilda By Roald Dahl – Ever since I was little, since Victoria Wood read this on TV I have loved this story and nagged my mum in buying me the book, but she never did.  I must have borrowed this book a hundred times from the library before I became an adult and bought it as part of a trilogy compilation.  How I wished that my soul got angry enough with the people in my life that I could play with the supernatural like she did!  It may have solved a lot of my childhood problems, or created worse ones, who knows? 

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – Very alike to Wizard of Oz, the scenes are great, but I also like crazy characters, madness or at least the descent into it ideas.  I love kooky takes on animal and plant life and this was such a joy to behold.  The artwork etc, I love everything about Alice in Wonderland and I have an addiction to collecting Alice in Wonderland novelties.  There were times I pranced around in life hoping I fell down a hole where things were very different too. 

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – If you can actually manage to read the whole book and get past the awful main scene, you will actually find this book very deep on an emotional level that is not just traumatic, but beautiful too.  If you read deeply, push past the horrible stuff, it is very meaningful.  How the dead view the living, how the living cannot move on until the dead does, what dead children do in the heavens.  Living out their wildest imaginations; yes, a lot of it is weird and sickening, but I urge you to try and edit those horrible bits out of your mind and read it without those bits.  It takes strong stuff to do that, I know!  But honestly, it is a lovely book besides. Try to skim the nasties.   

Confessions of an ugly step-sister by Gregory Maguire – I love Cinderella anyway, but this plot was good and more to the way that I thought it was behind the scenes.  I love how I learned real history in this book too, the bit about the tulips in Holland.  By the way, that’s another addiction I have – tulips.

I.T By Stephen King – I used to be scared of clowns, big time, before I even learned about Pennywise, but it is funny to actually say that I loved the character Pennywise so much it lessened my fear of them.  Weird I know!  In the past two years in particular, I have lost my fear of clowns entirely and now enjoy them, in fact, they are becoming the main projects for my art!  I just hate the scene of little Georgie.

The Mad Max Movies – I have a thing for life on the road, roguish living, post-apocalyptic tribal societies and the general chaos of survival as whole societies descend into madness.  For this reason too, I think I like the next movie;

Reign of fire movie – I love subterranean settings and when you throw in dragons in a post-apocalyptic world I am in my element. 

Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins is another subterranean setting I love, full of gothic elements such as bats, rats, roaches and gore with an edge of the apocalypse feel to it. 

The Blue Bird starring Shirley Temple – this has been in my mind since I was a very small child, a lot of things about this movie can be seen in small snippets of some of my work.  I have mentioned Old father time and I have cats and dogs which can take on a human form, children trapped in dream time in a couple of my stories to date so far.  No Spoilers, because they were just passing things in the plot, not the actual plot at all.

The Karnstein Trilogy – I love this much more than Dracula, I love the movies and the books they were based on.  I loved it so much that I had been heavily influenced by this trilogy my whole life; I have had to be careful when writing my vampires in fear of coming off as a plagiarist.  You may see what I mean with what I mentioned in “The Blue Bird” paragraph.  I have had to learn to chop up everything I love and move them around genres and different stories, like some experimental stir fries. 

I shall write about the tropes and scenes and types of characters I like in future posts – keep eye out for those!

Happy reading! 

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Favourite genres to read

Reading is something I do often, but in more recent years I have noticed a decrease in reading fiction for non-fiction and I am starting to miss reading fiction as a whole.  I am trying to increase the fiction that I read, but a lust for research usually gets in the way of it.

I miss fiction a lot and I want to share with you the genres or types of books that I enjoy the most;

I obviously enjoy vampires, but they seem to have a broad genre rather than just slotted into one and ironically they don’t often get found where you expect at libraries and bookshops.  I expect to find them at the horror section, but oftentimes they are found in the YA section or even romance!

My favourite genres are fantasy, horror, YA, dystopia and graphic novels.  I love anthologies too and tend to read more short stories than full length novels and I love novellas too.

I dislike romance or having too much romance in the stories that I do read, I tend to skim past scenes like this a lot, and I am not at all a romantic person!  I think it has something to do with the fact that my mother consumed fifteen mills and boon a week as I was growing up!  If there is one thing I can say about my mother, is that she read faster than I ever could!

For a small time during my youth I did kind of get into some of her romance books, but the naughtier ones which made her laugh a bit but also side glanced me in concern as I was becoming more and more an adult; the silhouette, blaze and historical/regency ones I liked best.  But there are only so many gooey eyes and passionate forays in the bedroom you can read before you need to get a grip on your hormones and stop reading that sort of thing for sanities sake!

So for mental health reasons I avoid romance, not because I am a prude, far from it, but there comes a time when one gets tired of a constant sense of nonfulfillment, as it were.

Right anyway, enough of that!

Bitter about a misspent youth of being such a good girl and obeying her mother and never dating anyone until she was twenty purely because of the fear of the scene that would unfold just because I suggested that maybe I am old enough to go out on my own now mum?  Is it obvious?  Well… of course… it wasn’t normal back then and it isn’t normal now… well… Covid19 might have made that sort of thing normal now, but generally it isn’t normal is it?

But yes, I love horror and fantasy and I love humour too!  Those are my genres I love to read and even write.  Christopher Moore, Susan Hill, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Stephen King, Ransom Riggs, Roald Dhal, David Walliams, Frank L Baum, George McDonald, Edgar Allen Poe, Max Brook, Anne Rice, Brian Froud to name but a few of my favourites.

There will be more in depth posts in future about what I like and even why.

Happy reading all!

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A writer’s embarrassment

Coming back to the discussion of what is a trope?  I have learned that a trope is a new take on a cliché, but my friends still disagree, what is with all this snobbery?

It must be snobbery because they get very awkward when the word “cliché” is mentioned – I understand clichés are to be avoided in writing; I always endeavour to avoid a cliché myself, but to merely mention them in conversation resorts to shock and horror from other writers of the mention of the thing!

So, after finding literally no help in the explanation of what a trope is, I went to my last resort of Googling it after all; it really is what I thought it would be, a new take on a cliché that is so well disguised or embellished that you can be fooled that it is indeed, not a cliché after all.  How stupid this all seems to me, you have no idea!

I read somewhere once that there is only a finite amount of ideas in the world, it’s how you execute yours that makes all the difference – unfortunately I can’t remember who said that, nor am I sure I quoted right!

https://wikidiff.com/trope/cliche

Happy reading all!

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Update 12th October 2021

Another wham to my immune system is slowing me down, no end. So sleepy today and my lymph glands are up again. This means I am in for a rough ride for a month at least, as all of my glands are playing up!

To top it all I have found out that a couple of relatives, a child included has been diagnosed with Covid19. Do not worry however, I have not had any contact with them for ages!

What I am concerned about is that, despite the precautions me and Paul have done because of his shingles, I might not have missed the boat there. Because I am getting tremendous back pain with my warning system – lymph swellings.

I hate whatever is wrong with me, because when the swellings happen, my face kind of gets fat and misshapen for a while.

The hearing loss is starting to come back too, just as I was getting used to having good hearing in my left ear, it is starting to go again.

Spending a lot more time reading books, because there is nothing much else I can do. I have been adding some snippets to my file for the ideas I have for other ideas, because it is what I call ideas season. Ideas come in fluxes and flows, sometimes they come for days or weeks at a time, but only come like three or four times a year. Its one of those times and so far, my ideas book has six new ideas in them since the 24th September.

Last night alone, I had two new ideas, which means it is picking up right now, so this wave of ideas might die out in about two weeks time.

Happy reading!

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What is a trope please?

I am not au fait with the majority of the vocabulary of the writing community as such, primarily because I have more or less isolated myself in recent years from the community due to a mistrust of old friends I once had in the community.

Therefore I have been trying to learn some of the technical speech other writers now use.  I only learned the other day what DNF truly meant “did not finish” in regards to the book reading community.

I should really make a DNF shelf on Goodreads, didn’t know that was accountable until now.  Up until now, any books I read partially on Goodreads but did not finish was either said as such in the review or just removed from the currently reading list.

The word trope confuses me slightly too.  I thought I understood what the word trope meant until I started to speak to a friend about tropes the other day who seemed confused by what I was saying.  She then said, those are not tropes, they are themes or settings; they are not the same thing.  So, what exactly is a trope?

I watched about eight YouTube videos last night trying to figure it out, hence why todays post is late.  To me, I did seem to understand what a trope is, my friends are never really ones to explain themselves or correct someone fully, sometimes I feel that they are just critics for the sake of criticising and yes, some friends, this one included already knows I think that about them, because I am very open and say what’s on my mind!  But still, it never prompts them to educate – some will feel that saying “Google it” is justifiable, but as a friend surely the idea of friendship is a sharing of ideas and opinions and to educate one another?  Isn’t that what socialising means?

To me it does mean that – but to people I know socialising seems to mean to them a complaining of their lives, a competitive stance on their life with each other, a woe is me and sympathy chasing, gossiping about others, usually venomously or merely grumping about the state of the world.

So what I believe a trope is based on YouTube research is in fact based on themes and events that happen in the novel – such as found family, a bunch of friends get together with a communal task, or the story has a circus, or a vampire, or the scene is set in snowy Alaska, or it is autumn in the book, or there is a love/hate relationship.  I think those are tropes, because some tropes are also themed.

But forgive me if I am wrong, can anyone help me?

If you can tell me what you think a trope is let me know in the comments below.

I was having a conversation with my friend about what I liked as tropes and apparently I am wrong, most of what I said was not considered a trope.

If I can find out the difference between tropes, a scene, an event and what have you, then I will make a post about what tropes I enjoy in the books I read and the kind of tropes that are in my stories that I write!

Happy reading!

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Ideas and the life of them

Having lots of story ideas is an author’s dream, well I guess I have the dream creative life then, because I have more ideas than I can handle!

But it is not nice to be like this, having more ideas than I can reasonably write!  How do I manage being like this?  I have noticed there is not much literature on people who are overloaded with ideas, but there is plenty literature on how to try and get them! 

For me personally, I have learned that I can’t write enough to get every idea down on paper, even writing more than one paragraph about the idea is a challenge at times! 

How I manage the best ideas;

I keep a bullet point journal about the general ideas; usually just one sentence per idea as a trigger to remembering, so that later on in the day, usually just before I go to sleep, I write a further paragraph or two in an ideas folder.

I have to say, I am often brutal with my ideas, ideas come and go quite quickly for me and not all of them are worthy of note!  Weirdly enough most of the ideas come when I am on the toilet, in the bath or at a busy café!

I have ideas that are not even for my favourite genres to write, many times I discard ideas because I feel that their plots are too complicated for me or requires much more research than I am willing to do on a new subject I know nothing about!  Believe me, I am not in any need for further research material, I read mostly non-fiction these days as it is!

This past week alone I have had six entirely new ideas come and so far, only two have survived further summaries.  Those two were of the genre I write, three of the others were not of my genre and one other was way too technological – as we all know technology is not my strong point!

The ideas that remained were another dragon story and a comedy vampire story. 

The ideas I discarded were an Italian romance story, a story based on the life of a rabbit, a story that seemed too similar to the plot of a recent book review I watched on YouTube and the complicated story was a space opera.

You can’t hoard all these ideas if you are sure you are not going to write them!

I firmly believe in Elizabeth Gilbert’s idea in Big Magic; ideas are alive, they have souls, they are like ghosts of stories that want to exist, they flow from person to person seeing who’d write them and if they decide not to write them, they flow onto people they know who might.

This doesn’t mean that a person steals another person’s idea; most of the time people don’t even know that those ideas are in people’s heads – because a lot of creative people are closely guarded by what they merely think about.  Especially if they do not know that they are not going use those ideas. 

But it is strange how many times a person has claimed that a story their friend has wrote, was weirdly an idea that they had had for a long time but didn’t take the plunge.  I too, have found this! 

In fact the more creative friends I make, the more ideas I seem to get and it is not because of a feedback of ideas they talk about (because most of them don’t), it is usually about the ones they don’t talk about!  Elizabeth Gilbert explains this phenomenon in Big Magic, if you haven’t read the book I strongly recommend it!

Because of this book, I have learned not to get so uppity and upset when people write things I wanted to write, but didn’t – it’s not copyright theft if they really genuinely didn’t know that you thought of it first – the ideas just got fed up waiting on you as an agent for their life!

However in the past I have got upset over this, purely because ideas were shared with trusted members of the family and they were literally sold to the highest bidder – usually for a crate of wine or a new computer and then I get to see my books on film after all a couple of years later.  Missing out all of the time, Bitter?  Of course, because it happened a lot through that relative!  Some of those ideas were actually near the point of being sent to agents, it was the last draft when I discovered the damage that happened yet again.

Thankfully those people are out of my life, but unfortunately it has made me afraid to share too much with anyone.  I say only vaguely what my stories are about, but I am not inclined to go to writers clubs anymore, in case strangers do the same thing.  I can’t lose my hard work again and again, it is soul destroying!

My ideas folder is thicker than a dictionary. 

I get ideas flooding me at intervals that happen as frequent as every six months on average, they come for two or three weeks completely disrupting my life like some violent storm and they can come at first in around five the first week and blow up to be as many as twenty near the end of their flow, generally totalling around forty to fifty ideas by the end of the event. 

How many of those ideas do I actually write? 

I write towards approximately six to ten stories a season, but finish them entirely, usually not… I tend to pause for a year or two at chapter seventeen; there is something about chapter seventeen that seems to do that to me.  Because my pauses are lengthy, most stories take an average of three years to write, because pauses like that are necessary for me. 

There was one very rare occasion, I think it was 2017 – 2018 NaNoWriMo, I can’t remember which, where I was approximately five chapters away from finishing a novel in a month, that for me, was record timing!

It is a habit I am trying to get into, have been trying to get into since 2016.  I want to write all of my novels in one month, they need life.

I feel like some sort of literary Dr Frankenstein, these books must have life, life you hear!  LIFE!

I haven’t recounted my unfinished works since 2017, back then my unfinished works were seventy six with a further two hundred un-started, synopsis stage other works.

At present there are four near to finished works and two finished works that are pending an extensive review and potential rewrite. 

I am far more organised than I used to be and funnily enough, I believe that I am becoming a faster writer when I do write. 

I haven’t written much lately because I am beginning to get apathetic about everything regarding life as there are some serious health problems cropping up where I am unsure of my future at present.

I am determined to do NaNoWriMo this year for my sanities sake, but I can’t tell what will happen until those emergency hospital appointments are done and dusted and another health problem is confirmed or denied… hopefully denied, or else, well… let’s just say; I won’t have much of a career in writing if it’s confirmed.

Happy reading everyone!

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Should I? Shan’t I?

In the bath the other day I had a really funny idea for a new story, but then I had second thoughts because if I become known for say…. Sagas about Vampires, would then making an unconnected single book with vampires done on a purely comical stance, be considered too confusing for my potential fan base?

Or, when doing a more comedic book, should I use an alternative pen name?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

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Why are only aliens nice?

I feel like an alien in this world as I am in a constant state of confusion.

Everything puzzles me. 

I feel lost and very lonely most of the time and before you think, you should know this is not a poem.

This is a post of statements of how I currently feel.

There are days when I feel like I have stepped into a groundhog day, I am sure I have done this day before?  There are days when I wake up and I am sure that it is Friday, but it isn’t it is actually only Wednesday.

I have an understanding of how the world should be, but I am not an oppressive, I love the individuality of everyone I meet, but it can be hard when I think that what I do is right and proper and I have people gawp at me as though I am some kind of purple spotted beast who just farted in their faces!

Yet all I did was, what I thought was any common decent thing to do – please may you pass the salt?  Maybe the people I generally spend time with are not used to manners like that?  I don’t know, but they make me feel like I am a strange and complicated thing.

I dare to be polite to serving staff at cafes and do small talk with them, how dare I… the staff don’t react badly to it, but other customers and those who are with me at my table seem to think there is something odd about that.  “Do you know them”?  They ask almost accusingly – “No”, I reply.  Most strange isn’t it? Apparently so!

I have had some friends who are on the same wavelength as me and they appreciate this personality in me and they have suggested what they call another cropping of my contacts!  I shouldn’t feel alienated by being polite or simply just conversational and friendly – but people like me seem to be a minority and it is getting worse as years go on.

The people at your local supermarket and those who serve you green tea at the café and the teacher at your child’s school are people, they are not machines, you can be nice to them you know?  It would make the world a better place to do so, would change the way humanity progresses… try it!

Be nice, you never know, you might enjoy the outcome!

Happy reading!

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New Look

Let me know if you like the new look in the comments below. I am worried that it is too bright, but I wanted the post titles to be visible and I think this is a lovely new look. But you are the readers and I don’t want to hurt your eyes!

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