Tag Archives: books

Gardening & writing plans & books – oh my!

I have only written about one page towards a novel this week, because of sickness, but also because I am reading a little more than normal – mainly magazines based on gardening and permaculture.  I have no energy to garden yet and it is actually quite unlikely I will do much in the garden this year, but I am learning as much as I can whilst I am out of sorts.  I have reinjured my leg twice in the past two weeks and so mobility is now getting affected, I have an old break that never healed properly and the two separate injuries were heavily on this old break.

I have written approximately 5 pages towards the plans of a new novel for April’s NaNoWriMo as I do intend to participate this year.

I have also started writing a non-fiction book based on my current knowledge of gardening and self-sufficiency, hence the extra research too, I want to be thorough as I realised there is not enough of the kinds of information I want out there readily available and I wanted to make it easier for others like me to find.  So far I have written approximately 10 pages towards that.

All of this whilst sick with a chest infection, injured leg, ear infection and the extreme depression caused by the harassment I am getting from my neighbour, which is actually making me scared to go into my own back garden these days.

I am planning to start selling my artwork around the end of the year; there is a local opportunity for me to take up positions in the local art gallery and I am going to snap those up.  I won’t be ready until autumn.

I have also done four half done pieces of artwork this week, there are plans for 6 more, I am trying to do them fast, but they require a lot of layers and drying time so that can be frustrating!

I am also starting a junk journal for the first time.

Whilst I am updating you all, I may as well tell you about some of the books I have read this month.  I have read “Conversations with God” as a non-believer in mainstream religions; I found it refreshing, because to me, it proves all the instincts I had about God growing up are true and valid.  But I had all those ideas beaten out of me because my family can be quite radical about this sort of thing.

I have also read “The library of the dead by T.L Huchu” which I absolutely loved, it was about ghosts and it is a mystery, a sort of detective for the dead sort of supernatural thriller/fantasy.  I found some parts of the story very gory, but it was a fun read and I look forward to reading more from this series – as I think I heard it is a series now?

I read “The Spooks Apprentice” by Joseph Delaney, which I felt was not really suitable for children under the age of 14.  I found it too disturbing in some parts and my son and his entire classroom had this read to him during school lockdown online and most of the children were asking the teacher not to read it to them because of nightmares!  So there you go!  I enjoyed it, but I found it too quick paced.

I am currently reading two other books I got from the library, so I will update you all on those soon.  The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor!

So this is a condensed down and short as possible update for you all, hope you all are well and I will hope to post again in a few days’ time.

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March reading pile

Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson – as I didn’t finish reading this last month!

Entangled by Merlin Sheldrake – for the same reason as above!

Little Book of Wonder by Bernadette Russell – again for the same reason as the above!

The Spooks Apprentice (book 1) By Joseph DeLaney

World War Z by Max Brooks

The Library of The Dead by T.L Huchu

I am trying to read more fiction than I am known for; because I tend towards non-fiction more than fiction.  I am trying to broaden my horizons.

Since becoming ill I have become a very slow reader; but I am blessed with bouts of OK days and therefore my reading can speed up again to how I used to be.  This happened around January, but health has meant that I have slowed painfully down again.  It is frustrating because I get a sense of achievement for every book I persevere with and read to the end and I feel great about it when it’s finished!  But instead of finishing more than one book per week, when I am ill, I am lucky to finish one book a fortnight!

Will the above list be shown again for April’s list?  Probably, because my glands are getting swollen again and that usually means six weeks of health hell!

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What I hate reading

From my previous post of the other day I should mention that there are certain subjects I just can’t read in literature and I will list them here;

I cannot bear to read dogs and horses being killed, or seeing this on movies – it was one of the reasons why I never got past the first 5 minutes of the movie Hulk 2003.

I cannot read about revenge killing of children – It’s strange because I can read horror where revenge killing of children is not a factor – they are just senselessly killed as part of the story and I read those. 

I cannot tolerate vivid descriptions of eye removal etc.

I cannot read sappy romances.

Also recently I have found with much amusement that there is only so much masturbation in a book I can read before I think it’s a bit much – thanks Caitlin Moran, for opening my eyes to just how prudent I think I might be!  I would never have thought that about myself until reading two of your books!  Lol

I struggle with historical fiction as it makes me think that those things happened and it confuses the hell out of me – which is funny because a lot of my dark fantasy is loaded with historical fiction!  So yes, I am a contradicting myself on that part.

But other than that I am pretty much open to reading anything.

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Health update & cataloging books

For the next few days I will be cataloguing all of the books in this house (with maybe the exception of my son’s bedroom as I want to live till the end of the week), to put on Goodreads.com as there has been some debate from some of my reader friends about just how many books I actually own because according to what they see on Goodreads I don’t have much.  Well I only used to add those that I bought at the time I have been a member of Goodreads, not all the ones I had before I became a member of the site – so, apparently I have to prove my hoarding addiction to the world – lol.

So that is my challenge for the week and it is back breaking!  You’re probably laughing your heads off at what you think is an exaggeration, but for me it is a reality.  Being bed bound sick for the last 7yrs has severely weakened my core that even standing up for more than 15 minutes at a time is very painful.  I think the diet I have been doing for immune boosting is working, because I am having more days out of bed, in fact I haven’t had a full day in bed since around the 21st of January.

I still need to go back up there regularly, but I am definitely seeing an improvement.  I am also taking extra vitamins with it all too.  I am not losing any weight, in fact gaining it – which is disturbing for me, because my calories are less.  Sugar and fat content is less, food is more nutritionally dense than before and I am slightly more active than I used to be.  It is puzzling why, I have the weight gain.  I am eating approximately 400 calories a day less than I did before these changes and I am doing more around the house, I am now able to care a little for the rabbit and even make snacks and lunches whereas I hadn’t been able to since 2016.  The weight gain is only 5 pounds, but it is freaking me out – somebody suggested my insomnia could be a reason for it, because your  metabolism is determined by your sleep patterns, not sure what to think of that!

My sleep patterns are all over the place.  I usually can’t sleep before 5am and sleep 9 hours a day on average, sometimes I need 13 hours, don’t know why.  I hate sleep, I really find it a time wasting thing and I resent that I need more than the average person because of my infections, arthritis and so forth.  I am trying to force my body into a sleep pattern, by forcing myself to wake up by 10am regardless of when I slept the night before; I started doing this 3 days ago, and last night I think my body decided OK, I will sleep now and the last time I saw the clock it was 02:10am, so I think it’s working a little.

I am really trying to discipline my body.  I am pleased also that whatever is happening to my body, I am able to do around 15 minutes of exercise before getting really tired – it’s a big thing for me, because as I said, I have hardly been able to move for a few years and all of this has happened much quicker than I thought it would.  But all in all there is not a massive difference in my pain levels or infections. 

I’m just trying to force myself and it is torture, I will tell you.  I need to get back to my athletic self again.  I used to be very athletic, I was always up and doing things and loved sport and I miss it so much!  Honestly, this was NOT a lifestyle choice for me, I genuinely became too ill to move and this is why I resent people who think they know about overweight disabled people, people like Anthea Turner!

I have been the victim of disability discrimination and fat discrimination for the past few years and I have seen the worst of humanity – it is especially prevalent with doctors who should know better!

Let’s pray you assholes who fat shame and hate on disabled people are never put into a situation where you are injured and sick enough not to be able to move and that you get fat too and get karma kicking your asses like you would deserve!

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February’s reading pile

  1. Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
  2. How to build a girl by Caitlin Moran
  3. Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake
  4. The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr
  5. The little book of Wonder by Bernadette Russell

I very rarely read fiction in comparison to my friends from goodreads.com; I consume mostly non-fiction books and self-help, so my monthly updates will rarely show that I have fiction on the list.

I am fascinated by the structure of language and its origins, all languages worldwide, not just the development of the English language.  I definitely consider myself a philologist, hence why Mother Tongue is on this month’s list. 

I have a life goal to become fluent in 5 contemporary languages and one ancient by the time I am eighty years old – hopefully I’ll live that long!

I am not yet fluent in anything other than English at the moment, but I can understand small bits of French and Italian.  If I were able to travel, I suspect that I could feed myself and ask very basic questions in France and Italy, I would say my Italian skills are better than my French skills at the moment.  I would also say that the main problem would be hearing conversations if they are spoken fast because I am deaf – totally deaf in my right ear and with only a half working left ear.  People ask me why bother learning then if you know that eventually you will lose all hearing altogether?  Because I believe that tomorrow there will be a cure for me – I believe that science will provide, so why not live with what I have and make the most of it now?  Basically – why give up on something I love, just in case I can’t?

I’m not really sure how I got spoken into reading Caitlin Moran’s books this month either, this is the second book I have read in the last couple of weeks by her and I can see a consistent theme, a theme which is getting eye-rollingly boring to be honest.  I shan’t be reading anymore from her, there is only so much masturbation you can read about!

Entangled Life is on my list because I have a weird fascination for microbiomes, fungi, bryophytes and subterranean lifeforms in all its forms.  I have no idea where the fascination came from but I can say, that if I lived my life again, I would run away from home, tell social services everything that ever happened to me and study maths and biology hard, because if I could live my life again I would like to be a microbiologist or something along those lines.

The prophets look really refreshing and I was just lured to it, I have no idea why, but at the moment I am enjoying the read.  I love learning about Afro American culture ever since I found out my nan was right about her great grandmother being mixed race and from Boston USA.  I believe this is fiction, but not sure to be honest. 

The little book of wonder is being re-read with fresh eyes and new perspectives; I am redoing all of the tasks in there and enjoying it again – especially as I have different ideas these days about things. 

So with any luck, all of these books in particular will have been finished by the 1st March and I might write up the reviews of how I feel about them all.

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Types of stories I have finished or are working on

Types of work that I am currently doing;

I have mentioned in several posts that there are certain themes I am writing in my novels and there has been a question of just how many novels are you working on at the moment?  Personally, I don’t know!  I know that sounds really funny to some, but I have been writing loads of stories almost my whole life and I have never really sat back and wondered how many I am working on, because I just write what I feel like at the time.  Yes, there are many novels which are 100% finished now, but to me they could still be in redrafting stages and many have been redrafted umpteempth times since two years ago.  I only started redrafting my 30yrs of work two years ago, simply because I never thought it would be necessary and also because I was never sure if I could cope with writing as a career.

I think I am ready to say, I am now ready for this career, hence why a lot of my writing habits have changed recently.

I am totally self-taught, I have no formal education and I was home educated by a dyslexic parent throughout most of my childhood and pretty much neglected by social services to get on with it without too much interference.  As an adult I have been kept too busy to take up education, but even now, I am trying to teach myself.  I can’t afford even the cheapest monthly fee on skillshare yet, but I am hoping by the end of the year that I can do some of their courses to learn how to punctuate properly and use grammar and anything else I need to improve my writing for both my blog and my novels, before finally approaching that agent I want to.  I have found an agent I like, but whether or not they will like me this time next year is another matter!

This post is going to tell you the types of novels I am working on or that have been finished, without revealing too much of the plot; but the list is not conclusive, these are just stories I am willing to throw out into the world in the next couple of years, with any luck!

  1.  You all know how much I love my vampires; so it shouldn’t be a shock to tell you that I have twenty seven different stories already completed in both my mind and on paper, along with full encyclopaedias and fictional historical booklets based on that world.  I have been working on this massive project since I was ten years old, yes ten years old!  That’s a whopping twenty eight years!  However, there is a list of seventy eight other stories I haven’t even finished yet, not even once that has been on the go for years, some are new. 
  2. Recently you have learned my second favourite creature to write about are dragons and there are approximately five books I have been writing, three of which are near completion with hopefully their final drafts. 
  3. Pirates are another fantasy thing I like to write about regularly and there are three separate pirate books to date.  One of which is near its final draft and another is an off-shoot book to one of the dragon novels. 
  4. Gargoyles also have their own books with this author, I have six novels with those and in two of them they are the main characters.
  5. I have written two novels with phoenixes as the main theme too.
  6. I have a whole series based on a character that lives in a hot air balloon, this is currently five books long, but there are more being planned.
  7. There are seven books based on robots. Half of which are fantasy more than sci-fi.
  8. There is a big series about giants, that is almost ten books strong and again, they are off-shoots of a dragon novel I have.
  9. There are loads of mermaid novels I have and various other new sea creatures, I haven’t actually counted those, but I do know that there are at least six finished.  These are standalone novels, not a series.
  10. I have four separate series of werewolves, one of which I am very passionate about and spend a lot of time on.
  11. There is a demon erotica series I have been working on for the past eight years; the series is actually nearly complete now.
  12. There are three zombie books that are both standalone novels, too, two of which are more fantasy than horror and very comedic.
  13. There are five separate afterlife series I am working on, some are fantasy, some are horror and some are dystopian.
  14. There are fourteen dystopian series I am working on too, two of which are based on religious ideologies.
  15. There is a series of fairy stories for children too, which is approximately seven books and I regard as novellas.
  16. There are four Christmas themed books I have written too.
  17. There are four comics too, or, I think one of them is actually graphic novel rather than comic – this is dystopian and steam punk in style.
  18. I also have two ghost stories.
  19. I have a selection of horror too, which could be considered a series, but they are all standalones really.
  20. I know I have 777 poems on this blog, but there are at least 5000 off the blog that have never been published online anywhere.
  21. I have nine musical compositions as well, that has never been published anywhere.
  22. I have six operas written too as well as musicals for theatre, but I am so not confident about those right now.
  23. I have a series about little people that were inspired by Land of the giants and the borrowers. 

There are probably more I haven’t mentioned yet, but these are the only things that come to mind right now for me.  I do have a lot of work here, but I just haven’t had the confidence about really throwing myself out there.  I am terrified of the consequences.  I don’t want fame, I want my work to be enjoyed and I really want to see them as movies, but I don’t want to have a famous face.  But I am getting used to the idea that maybe I will have no choice someday?  I can’t keep my work hidden forever, I didn’t write it for it to be hidden and forgotten – those novels are like little people to me, they are like creatures that need to be nurtured and their only food is recognition.  Their only source of nourishment is to be enjoyed and read, it keeps them alive!  I believe in BIG MAGIC, I believe ideas are alive!

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Books to buy

I need a place to list things I want to buy eventually for myself, I keep losing notebooks and stuff around the house, and wanted something quick to add it to. I need to find a way in making this post in particular private someday – as I am sure nobody really is interested in my shopping lists, lol.

The books below, written in red, meant I have got around to buying it!

Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake

The future of humanity by Michio Kaku

The Earth Care Manual by Patrick Whitefield

Arc of a scythe (the whole series) by Neal Shusterman

Underland by Robert MacFarlane

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Top 10 children’s books that influenced me

Top 10 children’s books that influenced my writing and why

Dragon’s dinner by Susannah Corbett

This is a hilarious book I read at least once a month to myself, I know it’s a young child’s picture book, but I adore it!

It is written in rhyme and there is a comedy element on every page, not to mention great illustration too!  I have a love for dragons that almost rivals my love for vampires; this is seen in the novels I write.  In fact, I have nearly finished a dragon novel to the extent that I may be considering sending it off to an agent in 2022.  At the moment I have approximately three more chapters to write of it again, this is the eighth draft, but then I will store it away for a couple of months and look again with fresh eyes and see if it needs a ninth draft – but I doubt it at the moment.

A strange thing for me is that writing the story initially can take just under a month for me to do, but editing and redoing drafts can take me three months, because I find that a boring process, I hate redoing stuff!  I am trying to learn to love doing that.

My dragon novel is potentially YA or adult fantasy, not sure yet, it is definitely bigger than this picture book and does have a lot of comedy elements to it.

Horton hears a who by Dr Seuss

I love most books by Dr Seuss and this is my favourite.  I like books where something unbelievable is eventually proven to the other characters of the book and that is something that is seen in a handful of my own works.  Once again there is a comedy element to the book.

I think I love this story a lot because when I was a child I used to blow bubbles and imagine that every bubble was a planet full of life, like Earth only different with unique creatures on each planet and that the time scale was epically fast.  I never read Horton Hears A Who until I had my son Henry and bought the book for him when he was 2yrs old – so the book resonated with me a lot.

James and the giant peach by Roald Dahl

There would be more than just one book by Roald Dahl on this list, but I wanted to be as broad as possible in my listings; it was difficult trying to narrow down which book to choose for this list by this specific author; I chose the one that I felt was the most unique and the one that literally got my heart pumping with excitement as I read it.

There were so many wonderful things in this book, talking, friendly insects, a comedy element, drama, horror, lots and lots of excellent scenery I just adored it.  I loved the parts where the peach acted like a hot air balloon and was flying above the world.  It is this scene which has influenced me the greatest, because I am working on a fantasy series based on a hot air balloon traveller which is aimed for a YA audience potentially.

Harry Potter and chamber of secrets by J.K Rowling

Much like most people nowadays, it is hard to think of fantasy and children’s books without thinking about Harry Potter, it is a great series and narrowing down to a specific book was very difficult, but this is my favourite because of the living trees and the giant spiders.  Also I found this the funniest of the lot.  I like depictions of forests particularly with living trees mentioned occasionally, such can be found in many books, Lord of the Rings and The Wizard of Oz to name but two.  I have to admit, even I have written a scene with forest spiders in one of my novels, not to copy, but because it just felt so right and almost expected in a manner; in fact it is a scene in my main dragon novel.

Engelbert Sneem and his dream vacuum machine by Daniel Postgate

This had me riveted from the offset, it is amazing.  I love books where you get to dance around in someone else’s dreams and things like this, BFG and a couple of other stories had dreams in them too.  I love writing about dream worlds within my stories from time to time, but they do seem to be more horror based than my usual comedy fantasy.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

I have loved reading Heidi ever since I was a child and I must admit not only reading it, but also love watching all the movies that come out based on this story too!  Heidi has influenced my imagination a lot over the years.  I love goats and mountain sceneries and books with snow, books that star strong minded children who seem to act as blessings to the adults of their world.  I love miracle stories too and little Clara certainly had a miracle happen to her!

Quite a few of my books do seem to be rather Germanic, Norse or Slavic based, unintentionally, I haven’t really understood why.  I have strong warrior figures in my novels and the landscapes usually end up sounding like Scandinavia, Germany, Austria, the Alps and sometimes even the Carpathians.  I have never travelled outside of the UK; it would be lovely to do so at some point and visit some of those places that influence me and my writing.

Diary of a wimpy vampire by Tim Collins

It is such a funny book and the fact it contains vampires is another reason why I love this book so much; also this book made my son into a reader, because before he saw me reading this book to myself and laughing my head off at it at every page turn, he absolutely hated reading!  But now I have to say, he tries to read a whole large novel once every month.

My vampires have some comedy interjected into the pages from time to time, but it is not deliberately set out to be a comedy series – I just can’t help myself.

Mr Stink by David Walliams

I like books where children change the minds of the adults around them as I have mentioned before and this book does that.  I love books which show the best qualities of humanity, generosity etc.  I also love stories that are riches to rags and back again to riches, I have loved themes like this since I was a kid.  I loved movies such as “The Jerk” with Steven Martin and “Life Stinks” with Mel Brookes amongst others and yes, it is a theme I would like to write someday too.  Once again, there is comedy here.

I will say, that as a child I read a lot, but it was mostly non-fiction and that a majority of the fantasy and stuff I indulged in were movies, I watched a movie every day, without fail, sometimes three times a day, because I was home educated and work fast in my studies and had a lot of spare time to myself, cooped up indoors all day long.  My father had a massive VHS collection over eight hundred which had two or three movies on each he recorded off the TV, so there were always a lot of things to watch!

The tin can band by Margaret Mahy

I love all the poems and songs in this book.  I love the artwork and everything about the book.  The art inspires my art a lot and the poetry knows how to touch several nerves too.  I love the concept of dancing in the shadows and having night time, shadow acrobats dancing around you, causing you to hallucinate and see things that aren’t quite what they seem when the lights are out. 

The poems contain witches and various other creatures, some with comedic ideas and others more serious in tone, such as deforestation and a lovely concept on death too.

I love authors that have a knack in making death less scary and more beautiful or at least more fun.

Wolf by Gillian Cross

I like books about the homeless and hippies and that sort of thing, this book contains squatters and a little girl who tries to live with her mother under extraordinary circumstances.  The child is rather independent and I just love the book, but I can’t say it has influenced anything in particular though.

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Monitoring depression with reading status

I haven’t read much for several months due to illness and chronic depression.

When I read it usually means I have an interest in the world around me and a zest for life, so I am more likely to read a lot and quite quickly, but when I don’t it usually means my depression has set in again and I am thinking dark suicidal thoughts again.  It is easily monitored if you know me, you will notice a drop in my books read pile and won’t get to see me reading much during those times because I get into the mind-set of what is the point?

Although tragic I suppose it is a funny idiosyncrasy of mine.  You can tell how depressed I am by how slow or fast I read and whether or not I read at all – just check my goodreads activity if you are curious about what is going on in my mind at the time!  I will add you as a goodreads friend too, if you want.  https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8725823-tina

The past two weeks has been pretty good in comparison to the past several months.

During a mentally stable time I can read 3 to 7 books in a week and about 3 or 4 magazines, during a bout of depression maybe I will read approximately 30 – 70 pages a day, but during really dark times I struggle to read 50 pages a week if anything at all!

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Truth about witches

Oh yes witches are bitches

You shouldn’t cross us at all

You are a stupid person

Who doesn’t know fuck all

You sit and play with candles

You sit and play with words

You sit and design your potions

How utterly absurd

You sit and preach your karma

You sit and judge us all

You deny the darkest powers

That sits to serve us all

You fill your cauldron with rose petals and salt

If your spell doesn’t work, it is your own fault

These are the qualities of a true love potion

Chocolate, chillies, cinnamon, plums and your devotion

Not all spells are to go inside a pot

Not all spells are obvious

But you wouldn’t know a lot

Your knowledge comes from people who have blather flair

You will not find love potions in book shops or book fairs

Now heed what I say

Hear me strong and loud

A witch doesn’t sell her power

That is not allowed

To give away your knowledge

Give away for free

You can do this if you want

But you shouldn’t if you were me

You lose power with every spell you share

This isn’t something, they teach you at book fairs

Witches cast your spells, but cast them with scrutiny

For if you share too much, the powers will mutiny

Only a true witch, knows things like this and more

Do not trust the ones who shares spells like a whore

All ye songs I sing on this blog and elsewhere

Are all make believe, the real ones you’ll find NOWHERE

This is the creed of all witches, all witches that are true

Witchcraft is inside my blood, but it isn’t inside of you

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