Tag Archives: children

Writers that influenced me Part 3

Roald Dahl was one of the first two authors I first discovered and loved throughout my childhood and got me into the habit of reading because of how much I enjoyed their works; the other author was Eric Hill, I was a major fan of Spot the dog.  But Roald Dahl really knew how to identify with children and think like them.

Roald Dahl was one of the first authors I experienced who actually understood how children think and how children might behave in certain circumstances and I enjoyed and respected that about him.

All too easily adult authors try to avoid the snotty nose kids covered in mud aspect of childhood and try to portray children as mini adults and it isn’t accurate!  Many people try to show that children can be brave too, but Roald Dahl fully understands that a growing person often feels fear; especially when they are alone in the world dealing with some pretty big stuff going on around them, how often children are disregarded and ignored by their elders, often in reality children are made to feel inconvenient even by those that care and love them.

He did all of this whilst never deviating from the fact that although some children can rebel and do nasty things to their elders, they still have a certain amount of innocence about them and I admire the balance he had in his stories.

Christopher Moore’s books are hilarious and I read them whenever I am having a hard time, because he is just so funny!  I love how he plays with ideas and makes fun of the aspects of society which seem to be the most serious.

Although most of his books is all about humour he never deviates from excellent high quality storytelling and never forgets the real seriousness of the lives he is writing about, because although he is a light hearted absurdist he is also very dark. 

Again I believe his books have shown me how to write in a balanced kind of way.

Ransom Riggs books are absolutely wonderful, when I first read “Tales of the peculiar” my first book I ever read from him, I actually thought he was an old European storyteller from the times of the brothers Grimm or something and was actually genuinely surprised to find out he is a contemporary writer. 

Reading his books gave me the confidence to realise that the way he wrote the stories is not outdated and it has a certain charm that contemporary readers still enjoy, I always liked this style of storytelling. 

Again I loved the darkness in his books and he sometimes portray the ickiest things with light-heartedness, he has an excellent imagination which shows me that anything you can dream up can be accepted by readers, because he has done it.  There has been times where I felt my own works were too light about the dark aspects of my own stories, where I felt I should think about reader sensitivities, but in doing so I lose myself and my readers will lose too as there are many out there who likes this kind of stuff – I am not alone.

Ransom Riggs is very good at showing how different cultures view things, that not everybody thinks and feels the same and that if magic was part of our reality there are many things we must consider about how magical cultures will be so much different to our own, in such fantastic ways.

Happy reading.

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Rekindled love

I am really very excited today, so excited in fact, that I have decided to write a second post for today that has been written today!

I am reeling over the work I have done for project AD; never before have I trusted my instincts to write a story like a pantzer, project AD was definitely planned, but it’s being pantzed a lot as I am going on, I am not sticking to my normal rigid formula and its working, it’s working wonders!

I am so happy, for the first time since 2015 I am beginning to love writing again!

I was scared that I might have to announce an extra month for the project deadline, but I am pretty sure that now I know what I am doing and what the characters want from me, the faster this story is going to be finished. 

My deadline is still October but maybe not Friday the 21st October as I didn’t realise when I randomly chose the date that it’s the end of the week – so I may post it a couple of days later for the Monday or perhaps even a few days earlier, who knows?

All I know is, that this story is making me feel energised and happy again – I no longer dread the process of writing, just to silence the muse, I am now loving it again.  It’s an amazing feeling I can tell you.

I believe 100% that the love for writing has come about because there are vampires in the subplot and it is those vampires that are making me love writing again.

Now does that mean all my stories will have a vampire subplots?  No, but there is more to me than just vampires, I love most dark mythology and this project was always intended to have some of those.  I never planned for dark fae in this storyline nor did I plan to have children which the protagonist is protecting, but it is all coming together and it is doing so, very nicely!

Thanks for reading!

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Staying true to my goal

I have set my main current words in progress AD (anthropomorphic dystopian project) to be finished by October 2022 that’s to approach an agent with the work – however, there are many obstacles between now and then which will make this particular deadline hard; I am determined to stick to my word!

One thing is, that I want this story to be destined to be a graphic novel series eventually – at the moment I am writing it as a novel, so then I can see the story easily and re-edit with graphic novel in mind.  Whilst this is happening I am studying really hard how to make this work as a graphic novel, by reading books and watching videos on how to. 

I am not sure whether or not I need to produce the artwork for this graphic novel or whether or not I should just provide details for an artistic team to do it for me through my agent?  But that’s what I am learning for, to find out!

I have to have dental surgery, which could make me drowsy for up to two days, because I don’t do well on anaesthetic and it’s not a normal injection in the gum, because of my anxieties and other health problems, I need to be pretty much out of it entirely! 

Also, three days after this dental surgery I have a relative moving in with us on a long-term basis as she needs support through her pregnancy and isn’t confident in becoming a mother.  She doesn’t mind that I share this here; she told me she would like that and would like me to document her stay with us so she can then feel confident to create her own blog eventually about her life as a new mother.

So yes, a new baby will be coming into the household around spring not sure of the date yet it’s very early and she won’t go to midwives without my support, she is panicking! This is probably the reason why I am getting broody too lately the idea of babies always does that to me!  I always wanted a huge family, but it didn’t work out.

I am partly expecting her not to come because there is another relative who is also offering support, but we’ll see.  She wants to come here because she feels that Paul could do with some help around the house because I am getting absorbed in writing and I am often too sick to do much anymore anyway, especially as movement is painful with an enlarged spleen!

We’ll see.

Also Henry is having a lot of hospital visits starting at the beginning of October, there is a huge concern about his health and we’re very worried actually.  I can’t say much until October, it really does depend on the paediatrician because they’ve found something in his samples and they want to investigate further.

Whilst we’re unstable with knowing what’s going on with his health, the school he goes to has been hugely helpful in sending Henry out of class regularly for respite and sending him to charity days out for helping him mentally to cope with potential changes in his life and also generally his mental health as Henry is under tremendous stress because my sickness is scary for him at times.

I have a lot of breathing problems and certain other health concerns of my own, which can often mean I can’t eat much in a day without problems!  This terrifies him, especially my asthma attacks when I go blue due to lack of oxygen at times and so this is why he goes to Young Carers, Circles Network, Rise CWMind and Forest Schools Association.

Along with all of this he is also struggling with his identity and is generally unhappy about not being able to change from boy to girl whenever he likes; he is trying to find peace with his gender. 

It is likely that Henry’s physical health is psychosomatic and bought on by anxiety; in fact the doctor thinks it’s a high chance, but as a precaution he needs further investigation.  As I’ve said, there is something in his samples.

It really isn’t the right time to contemplate a new career to start this autumn, but I have planned it for so long Paul has defied me to skip for another year, he wants this badly for me as much as I do.

So doing this at this time will be a very bumpy ride, but I can’t break my promise to myself anymore, I simply have got to do this!  I’ll be turning forty this October, October the 3rd, and I truly do believe that life starts at forty!  I am determined to make big things happen in my life from here on in, I am tired of putting myself aside time and again.

But you see, it’s not a selfish thing what I am doing, I am doing this for Henry too – my success will smooth out his future that is if I can make myself a success; you can’t succeed without a good team helping you!  I am not fool enough to believe I can do it all just because I want it bad enough, I need a team that believes in me and my work or else I can’t succeed can I?  Well not to the extent I have in my dreams and I dream big!

Though I am terrified to become a famous face, because I love my privacy too much (as in, not having people in close proximity to me crowding me if they are strangers) and I am prone to extreme anxiety attacks myself, I know in my heart, I really want my work to be out there for people to play with my ideas and to enjoy them.

The idea that people would like my work enough to change their lifestyle for cosplay occasionally, or spend hours of their time absorbed in fantasy worlds I have made for them to play in.  It’s an amazing thought!

It’s also exciting to think that people may become inspired because of my work and it will spark something in them to do something just as amazing and big! 

It’s wonderful to think that my stories can become movies and plays and that if I am lucky enough to become really popular, those stories could someday become so big in society that everywhere I turn, I could see posters or merchandise of my characters all around me and become a brand almost.

I know it’s egotistical of me, but we all dream big things like this don’t we?  Only some aren’t brave enough to grab it by the balls, I don’t want to be one of these people who dream but never chase those dreams down and hold them tight!

I visualise this daily and I do believe in cosmic ordering and it’s an exciting thought.  But as I said, I sometimes feel a churn in my stomach when I remind myself that popular things like this tend to make their creators life Hell with personal invasions from both their fans and the media and it puts a bit of a dampener on it a bit.

I know for a fact that if I were to become this famous, I will be regularly in the newspapers for fainting or vomiting publicly because of the stress of it all – I know I am like that now, without the fame aspect as it is!  Yes, I am very socially awkward with strangers, but when I am comfortable with someone I can feel too at ease with them – but how on Earth will I get comfortable with millions of people?  I will become skeletal with the anxiety attacks as I won’t be able to keep anything down!  I’m struggling with that as it is! 

Sobering thought really, but as I said, I am a worry wart and I pretty much know that someday my body will cave in and I will embarrass myself in front of a camera by puking up my tense emotions!

Weird thing to admit though, I am don’t have stage fright; I have been known to give lectures to more than fifty people when I was in work and it didn’t bother me like my colleagues.  But it’s when people are really physically close to me and I don’t know them, which I get frightened and that makes it worse is, when I am frightened I lose self-control and can slap around a bit to get away!  This is because it triggers my post-traumatic stress problems, in the past when people have crowded around me like that and I am not comfortable with them I have been brutally beaten up and so, crowds of strangers just trigger that survival response in me… that’s what is really scary about my anxiety attacks! 

Let’s see if I am going to do it by October, or at least by Easter 2023!  If not by Easter 2023 I don’t think I could live with disappointing myself again.  So it is essential, for my mental health, that I finish my work to send to an agent.  I won’t be so hard on myself when I approach agents who reject me and not get my work into the world because of that – but I will be very hard on myself if I don’t at least try!

Happy reading everybody!

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Gender pressures on children

People who write for children often presume that children are contemporary creatures and that anything retro they recoil from, I think that couldn’t be further from the truth – in fact, in my experience the children I have known and I have known a lot, especially as I used to work with children, they don’t really develop a sense of time and past until around the age of ten or eleven.

Children do have very prominent likes and dislikes that are very unique and different with each child, it is usually around the age of ten that they allow their peers and other influences dictate what they start to like and dislike, in other words, I believe around the age of ten they become more aware of other people and factors in life, they start to broaden their minds and often lose themselves in trying to be accepted by others.

My son has very narrow ideas about what he likes and dislikes and for the majority of people, they find him strange, but to me, I find him quite normal for a child.  My experiences with children show me that children generally are retrospective and like things from historical resources.  Some children gain the awareness of others earlier, some later, some keep true to themselves throughout their lives, but they are rare creatures.

Therefore some children become shy when you try to get to know what they really like, because adults and older peers think that it is either outdated or rather unusual, so they feel insecure in being honest with you about it.

For me, I remind Henry almost on a daily basis that everyone is individual and unique and therefore have different ideas about everything, that the only person you should ever please in your life in regards to what you enjoy, should be yourself!

Here is a little idea of what Henry loves and is motivated by, it might surprise you; Dolly Parton, Doris Day, Lady Gaga, Riverdance, steam engines, robots, wrestling of the 80s and 90s, British comedy of the 50s to the 90s, royal history of Europe, math and physics, cooking, baking, pink and fluffy things, tortoises and sea turtles (is an obsession, he cries whenever he sees them on TV), litter picking and sustainability, robot wars, cyberpunk art and lifestyle and current affairs. 

Henry also likes long hair with bangs for men or feather layer cuts.  He is also angry at the world for not accepting boys who wear pink and bright yellow, he is often shouting about why the fashion industry insists that boys must always wear black or blue or camouflage and denim, and he wants cotton suits and button up shirts and tailored clothing for everyday wear. 

He also wants to know why boys can’t wear perfume and use moisturiser and make up etc (I told him they can, but he raises his arms above his head, shrugs and says, but society says no)!

Henry was very upset once and had a meltdown when he won a prize at the school fete and was given a choice of two prizes, one was a rainbow unicorn soft toy or a cream rabbit, he chose the unicorn but the lady said, but you are a boy and the girl after you would want this and he got the rabbit – I agree with him that was totally unfair and against freedom of choice. 

Henry has a very hard time understanding why there are defined ideas about boys and girls and from what I understand he is not the only one at his school!  He best friends are a group of four lesbian and tomboy girls, they are very open about it even at the age of twelve and thirteen. 

At least half of the above are things he wouldn’t ever share with his peers for obvious reasons – he has given permission to talk about it here because he feels it could raise world awareness.

I had similar problems as a child, with the things that I liked – for example, they were mostly for boys and not little girls like me or were completely age inappropriate!

I loved dinosaurs, vampires, 1930s to 1950s fashion, monsters and bats and insects, comedy horror, Barbie, Lego, wrestling, gardening, writing, arm wrestling, marbles, woodlands and shelter building, helping dad with cement mixing and carpentry, roleplaying, super heroes like Batman and Superman, hard rock and metal music, glam rock, classical music, opera and medieval history, particularly ancient warfare and torture/dungeon procedures. 

I was considered an anomaly and my mother though she was a tomboy herself always tried to make me dress tomboyish but maintain feminine charm.  I never liked being forced to wear trousers because it was convenient for my mother to maintain my modesty that way!  If I had the choice my clothing would have been flowing skirts and dresses and I would literally look like a little gypsy running around as that was me, I was a nature’s child!

My mum wasn’t used to that as all my siblings were techno-heads who shut themselves away in their rooms and were obsessed with the latest gadgets and all I wanted to do was gardening, fort building and digging holes with the dogs, whilst scrumping from my neighbours overhanging our fence apple tree!

Yes the majority of the things I loved were boyish, but I wanted to be feminine nonetheless.

My niece is another example of how society shouldn’t try to define gender roles – my niece had an obsession with soccer and wanted to be a soccer player as her career, but society talked her out of it and told her to be a good catholic girl and calm down.

I just think that humanity has advanced so much in their diversity and acceptance of various things, but they are still supressing their children and it really shouldn’t be that way anymore!

So what if your son loves pink and rainbows and fluffy bunnies?  At least he isn’t interested in killing anyone and has a good sense of pride, justice and respect!

So what if your daughter loves soccer and dreams of being world champion at boxing whilst still maintaining the notion that, yeah, I want kids too!  Women aren’t as docile as you make out anyway!  Stop trying to pretend!

My son has mental health issues, he doesn’t want to exist anymore, because he feels the world will always have a problem with who he chooses to be, no matter what he does!

This post exists because I wanted to share with writers for children, that you shouldn’t think that kids are contemporary or actually want to conform with society ideas about what normal is. You should write for the kids you know, not what you think the general kid population might be like today!

A majority of the kids I personally know do cling to their devices, because it is the only thing that gives them attention, many of these kids explain that they feel refreshed when they find an adult who engages with them and their hobbies away from technology, but they are hard to find… please think about that!

Happy reading everyone!

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Crazy mind

My mind is above a joke lately.

I am getting so many new ideas for writing and art projects that it is affecting productivity in the past few weeks!

I have no idea what has happened to my brain, but today alone I have written down synopsises of nine new stories and I have too many ideas for artwork too!

But one thing is clear; I am becoming predominantly a science fiction and dark fantasy writer; if there is such a thing as dark science fiction, well I think I am that too!

I have only managed to write plans down in the past few weeks, because of intense pain and medical emergencies – the laboratories seem late in the results, I only hope there isn’t another laboratory accident as that would be the fourth one in the last five years, where I had have to have tests redone!

I have never known a hospital that is so accident prone!

Sitting at a desk is agony and the sofa is not that good either, but it is much better than the dining chair or office swivel chair.

I am trying to force myself to work on my writing and this is scaring Paul, because I am pushing myself a lot and I have been near collapse.

I am sedentary and yet I still can’t cope?  I don’t get it, I don’ know why the pain is getting so bad, but all I know is, it is getting worse every few days!

One of the stories came to me at 3:30am on Tuesday; a Christmas fantasy in Christmas tradition and that took me two hours to write by hand, the next day my hand was swollen.

I wrote three chapters since to that project, but I wouldn’t call it hard work, because the chapters are small for me. 

Usually I’d write 3k words in a day towards an interesting subject, this Christmas story is only around 1k at the moment, Paul reckons it looks like it could be a children’s book the way I am writing it, as it is very child friendly so far.

I love the story, but I am worried about how long it should be if it is deemed to be a children’s book?  I don’t know… I am not known for writing specifically for children!

Paul thinks it could be a slightly larger than average children’s picture book, because he would like to see a lot of pictures in this story – I am uncertain personally.

I know the story has the potential to be very popular, but I am not confident on how to market this.

Anyway, thank you for reading and if I don’t post before then, have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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5 movies that made me cry

Bambi

I think most people would put this one down in their list, if they are sensitive to animals and loving nature etc.  So this just speaks for itself really.

Paulie

I love the movie Paulie it is in my top 100 all-time favourite movies, but it is emotionally hard going for me.  The poor little blue crowned parakeet, had a tough little life, but initially his life was good, he loved a little girl with severe speech impediment and helped her along.  But then one day her father came home from the army and demanded the bird be sent away, because he was getting the girl into dangerous trouble. 

The bird goes from person to person over many years and always, his personal goal was to go back and find his little Marie, the little girl he always loved.  The movie has all sorts of drama and adventures in it for the little parakeet; some are hard going for an animal lover like me.  But I loved this movie nonetheless, but if you are like me, you must expect a whole host of different emotions throughout the movie consistently and it is a big rollercoaster ride, let me tell you! 

Marley and Me

This is the most recent movie I have watched that made me cry, I watched it only a few days ago, it was the first movie I had watched in four months.  Again, an animal made me cry!  I just can’t stand sad movies where animals die!  But I keep watching them anyway, because my most favourite kind of movies is those with animals as main characters, children or vampires.  So, yeah, quite contrasted mixes!

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Look, I know you are confused here right now, but you really have to know me, in order to know why this cuts me up big time!  I just find some vampire movies very romantic, with this whole, reincarnation and love re-discovered concept and how people are willing to literally sell their souls for love.  I know, it’s screwy, but stop being judgemental here, we’re all different right? 

I cried when Dracula died and she was clasping at him broken hearted and in a catch 22 situation where she was literally torn between the dark and the light side; the best for her and the worst for her.  Being wholly human and experiencing as many emotions as a person can possibly handle all at once, all the for the sake of having to choose which love to love and which love to let go.  Yeah, I’m weird, who cares?

I.T (1990)

I can’t even watch this one for five minutes before my tears start!  Little baby Georgie, that was so gruesome and I have to admit, I very nearly didn’t watch the rest of the movie because of it.  I just hate that scene, yes; I watched the movie before I read the book when I was 15.  If I could magically jump into the TV and save the kid I would have… violently!  But I am sucker for being shocked and disgusted and for pushing my own boundaries in an oftentimes vain attempt to try and harden myself up to the worst aspects of humanity.

The amount of times I have often gone back to the scene in my head and it is me who is mind fucking the clown to death, not him getting away with it!

This is what I love about Stephen King though; he knows how dark reality really is and he doesn’t shelter his readers from it like some other more (supposedly) considerate horror authors.  There is no nannying when he writes.  Sometimes the vocabulary is vulgar as is in life, people are vulgar as in life, things get twisted, as in life, it is all real, it is brutally real his stuff, despite it being fictional, the general concepts are real things.  Death, brutality and murder, war, disease is not a pretty thing and should not be romanticised at all, he does this wonderfully, he takes the poetry out of death and that is good, because it shouldn’t be glamorised!

You get authors who write about TB for example and they gentle tell you about the coughing of blood in the tissue like they are dying elegantly; But if Stephen King were to write it, he would talk about the ear hacking coughs, the phlegm and the retching of the patient and the dribble down their chin stained with coarse dark blood and their loved ones, scared for their relative, recoiling and choking on the smell oozing from their loved one.  That sort of thing and that is good writing, it is realistic! Who wants TB glamorised gently?  Aren’t books supposed to be educational?  Stephen King definitely gives you an education!

But yeah, generally, my heart breaks when a kid or an animal dies in movies.  I even cry for some monsters because they are misunderstood, not Pennywise though, but I have cried for a couple of King’s monsters.  Lol.

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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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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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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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Henry’s take on Dr Strange

My son is getting quite excited about a new movie coming out called ‘Dr Strange’ he is a huge Marvel fan.  I was shocked to discover that Benedict Cumberbatch will be taking the lead role, because I would have thought he’d be too busy for it, but also thrilled at the same time, he is a very talented actor.

He is looking forward to the prospect that other characters from Marvel will be having their own movies in the future that would be suitable for his age; he is six years old.  He wants Elektra, Blade and Dr Octopus.

I will say however, he has never seen Elektra or Blade the current movies, but he knows them from his Trump card collection.  He also knows Elektra from DareDevil the movie, which he watched only last week.

 

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