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Abstract poetry rookie

I was always confused by poetry; especially the poetry which doesn’t rhyme because I was always taught that poems must always rhyme, when in fact, this isn’t so.

I have learned recently through a book called “how to grow your own poem” by Kate Clanchy that there is something in the world called “Abstract poetry” which doesn’t necessarily require you to rhyme your words, in fact by doing so it can come across as boring, predictive and limited.

Much like trying to understand abstract art, I am now in the process of trying to learn to understand abstract poetry and I have to say, I am finding this more difficult than the art.  I know that art is subjective, but words mean a lot to people, how can you be abstract with your written words and people to understand what the heck you are saying to them?

With art you should paint what you feel and you don’t need to explain yourself if you don’t want to, because the person who buys your art would find it visually appealing for them – but with words, that’s different surely a few things that mean a lot to me pulled together would utterly confuse another person reading them?

Let me try for example to do this now, in a state of total ignorance to abstract poetry;

My Heart (is the title)

Butterflies weep within the cage that is placed within my chest

Their wings breathe me life, sorrow and love

Nobody can see my caged butterflies, but I know they are there

Flittering around the cage, crying at beauty and pain alike

Those butterflies want to be free, but they are trapped

They know that if they found freedom I would die

My life is everything to them

Now for me this is beautiful, it totally explains how I feel within my heart and what my heart means to me, but did anyone else feel it too?  Maybe I have been too sheltered to understand that these things other people can feel and understand, but I would like to think that the above poem wasn’t too difficult to grasp.  If the above indeed was what true abstract poetry is all about, then I think I would love doing more poems like that about other things.

But is it what’s expected by people who understand and have experienced abstract poetry?

If you know anything about abstract poetry, please let me know if I have understood it, or whether or not my poem wasn’t vague enough… if that’s possible?

Thanks for reading!

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Who influenced my writing Part 2

Susan Hill’s books taught me how to effectively write spooky narrative but also how to convey the fear and the confusion that occurs in people when they are unsure of both their sanity and the reality around them.

She is very good at portraying self-denial of the senses whenever supernatural events occur and is very effective at sudden and fantastic twists in plot.

Susan Hill also taught me through her book “I’m the king of the castle” that you never know what is really going on in a characters mind, that sometimes things are just on the surface and the events that come through her books are often a shock even to the reader.

George MacDonald’s books taught me that you can play with uncomfortable ideas and he can do so in such a gentle way, that readers almost forgets what it is he is writing about subject wise.  I remember reading his book Lilith and was surprised at how well he skirted around the religious sensitivities and turned this character almost into a fairy tale, he wrote about the dream state and life and death as though it was a beautiful journey and in some cases it can be.

Edgar Allen Poe is one of the main reasons why I love horror and poetry.  I really love gothic culture and the macabre and he really explores the depths of human emotion really well, he was beyond his time.  He didn’t portray the human condition in airs and graces, he put down the most rotten of all of humanity down on paper in all its rawness and left you feeling either numb or depressed right after you have read his works – but nonetheless it left you feeling in awe of his creativity.

He really showed me how to reel in my reader’s emotions and play to their hopes, dreams, dreads and fears.

He really knew how to play in the dark.

Happy reading!

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Who influenced my writing? Part 1

Over the next few days I will be choosing three authors who has influenced me the most in writing and why; what did I learn from them by reading their books and so on? There will be eighteen in total and they will be placed in alphabetical order each day. Enjoy my first three;

Suzanne Collins showed me that writing about politics is necessary, particularly fictional politics, because politics is a major factor in every bodies lives whether they are interested in it or not.  Nobody can escape the politics of their country or their culture and their lives are influenced by it more than they realise!

She showed me that the government can eventually become anything and do anything and that it is our job as writers to think of all possibilities that could occur to arm the public with the knowledge to understand political trickeries. 

Her books showed me how to write characters that are trying to survive dense political control and how to overcome them in ways which inspire others, rather than just being a rebel without any real cause outside of themselves. 

She has also taught me through her writing, that even the most disgusting creatures deserve love and respect, because she is certainly the only writer I have ever read that actually made me feel sorry for and cry over the death of a cockroach!

Neil Gaiman showed me that writing has to be fun and you should play with ideas no matter how silly they appear, all ideas are worthy and all ideas will find people who love them! 

He showed me not to be afraid of my own sense of humour or my sense of darkness either and that everything about the worlds you build should have some kind of balance to them. 

He showed me to find sense of humour in dark things and to find dark things in the light!  He is very clever at this in all his works! 

Also no matter who the character is, their position in society, their outward personality, everybody has a hidden side, a fun side and he shows this well in his works too! 

Stephen King showed me not to make my writing too pretty because it doesn’t help your readers identify with your world.  In order to make a realistic world you need to put in some of the bad nitty gritty stuff occasionally.  People aren’t perfect, people falter and have flaws and every character you write about must show their flaws as much as anything else.

If you are writing horror, you have to get over yourself and your own sensitivities in order to write it more effectively, because if you are uncomfortable and squeamish and give yourself nightmares over what you are writing, then congratulations you are a horror writer that is going to succeed!

I’ve learned that you can find the most fearful or disgusting thing about anything if you put your mind to it, even a gentle walk in a flower meadow will have its horrors!  A dead rabbit lying amongst the flora rotting away with maggots and flies, or an earwig hunting aphids on a bellflower:

Thank you for reading! 

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Books saved me from crime

I haven’t been raised to be who I am, I was raised to be something quite different and I fought against that system heartily because it felt wrong, corrupt and somewhat evil.

I read ferociously, reading was my weapons against self-destruction.

I am glad I took the quiet path and found solace within the pages of books – because the other path would have been a huge detriment to myself, my life, any offspring I had and perhaps a loss of art from my perspective – because the alternative path would have been a life of sordid means and running away from problems, skipping town to town to avoid being tracked by my past abusers and potentially I would have followed one of my older siblings into a life of crime.

Instead the path I took was a weird one, for the type of family I was raised in.

My mother often told me she was disappointed that I appeared to be some kind of flake, some kind of weird little creature who sat in dark corners reading books and seemed alien to what she said was a normal person’s idea of fun!

So what did my mother think was a normal person’s idea of fun?  Going out Friday and Saturday nights drinking themselves into a stupor with your friends, gorging on take aways and BBQs wherever possible and bothering the doctor about your strange back pain, without telling your doctor that you recently fell off a balcony with an 8ft drop because you were too drunk to realise what you were doing!  Oh but that’s not all, pick on the quietest person in your group and make them do things they’d never do without your cajoling and bullying – oh such fun!

Then on Sundays spend all day cleaning the house whilst worshipping God in the form of watching biblical movies in dead silence. 

If it wasn’t for books I would have successfully ran away by the age of fourteen, I knew at that age the only people who’d help me on the street were the bad kind and I was near enough prepared for it because I needed a way out.  I knew from past experiences of other women in my life that once you are in that kind of life, it is hard to get out of it, but I very nearly took that chance.  Thought that maybe I’d earn my way out, but you never do.  The big kick which knocked sense into me was that I had a cousin who had the same notion – only she had the guts to actually do it and came back home in tears, black and blue and with a new found drug addiction only a year older than me, she didn’t know, like I did back then, that it’s not only sex they get you into for money, but drugs too and in order to sell it, you have to take it yourself like a good sales person.

Fifteen years down the line, it killed my cousin. She was murdered when she was clean of drugs for nearly 2yrs as an effort to win her kids back from welfare and stumbled across her old dealer who was desperate for her to buy again! It could have been me, if I chose the same path.

Drugs was a big issue for me, because I saw the damage it did to several of our relatives growing up, drink and drugs are bad, very bad, it changes people heads, make them do stupid things and then they fall apart in tears because they genuinely didn’t meant to ram your head into the wall fifteen times, they were just stressed that’s all!  So I never wanted to experiment or be lead into it.  Several near misses though of people trying to sneak it into me, but I was paranoid around strangers and never accepted food or drink from anyone just in case!

No, after what happened to my cousin I decided to stay as the quiet one of the family, lock myself away in my room because if I didn’t, I’d usually end up the night’s entertainment!

They treated me like a circus freak, something to poke fun out of, to test, experiment with, to scare, to have a laugh with her, see what she’ll do next, like some kind of trained monkey or puppet.

Despite all of this, they still had the audacity to call themselves god fearing Christians!

If it weren’t for books, I wouldn’t have wanted to be a writer.  Because I thought movies were just movies, people playing pretend and they made something good together; it didn’t occur to me until I watched several Stephen King movies with my horror loving grandma that I kept seeing in the credits “written by Stephen King” over and over again in most of the movies I watched.  I knew when I went to markets and charity shops that Stephen King books were everywhere and I decided to collect and read them at the age of 9.

My grandma was very encouraging – another horror fan in the family made her feel less lonely.

I realised at the age of nine most books I liked were movies and that movies very rarely come from other places; I liked movies and I wanted to watch my ideas on the TV or at the cinema.  I wanted the world to visually see what I see in my head or at least adaptions of it.

Books are a love – but mostly I love movies, I am very stimulated by vision and art.  I learn better with visual cues for example – I have mild dyslexia and dyscalculia as well as ADD and Paul thinks ADHD.  If something visually pulls me, I lose concentration on other things because of the interest it holds.  This can be difficult at times because I can zone out on people if I find something visually attractive about the environment around us, fashion, hair, or even a beautiful person – now that one can be awkward!

So, I am really writing in the hope that my books make it to the movies and if they don’t then I have a plan B.  I will give my first book out to publication and if there is no interest from movie producers to make something of it, then I will have to bore myself to tears to learn technology where I can create my own movies online.  How?  I don’t know, but I hope it won’t come to that!

One major type of book that saved me from a life of sex crime etc. was non-fiction psychology.  From the age of 9 I taught myself how to pacify aggressive people without becoming too submissive or self-deprecating, how best to react in violent situations and how to talk to angry people.

Now it works to a certain extent on a vast majority of people and I have been commended in work for excellent customer service and hospitality skills, but there is a small margin where the advice can actually make some people more aggressive with you – my mother is one of those.

If I didn’t emotionally react to her behaviour with me, she’d get absolutely hysterical, come close into my face screaming and then slap me repeatedly about the head, because damn it, she is going to get the reaction she wants because she needs to feel her power over me!  Because she is insecure, that’s all, my fear and tears make her happy, because it verifies to her that she is strong and she is still alpha.

It wasn’t until my mastoid surgery when I was seventeen that she was positively shitting a brick about hitting me, because I have a vulnerable spot at the side of the head would could be lethal if bashed.  So she tried other tactics to hurt me in other ways, usually the legs.

In 2012 it was a book called “Toxic Parents” by Susan Forward that helped me finally tell someone outside of the family and family friend circle about my mother.  They responded in horror, they were a nursery worker for my son Henry.  They got me a nurse and a family support worker to come and speak with me and then the police came to give advice too.  Unfortunately their advice was, get her out of your life or it may affect your ability to care for your son appropriately, meaning that we could take court proceedings to put your son into care until we feel that you are safe!

Because my son did sustain a head injury earlier on that month due to my mother encouraging him to do dangerous things, such as deliberately climbing onto the dining room table to jump off it onto the floor, he was 14 months old and had only been walking seven weeks!

She didn’t want me to have children, you see, it wasn’t part of her plans.  She wanted me to stay home forever and become her nurse when she is old; she told me this over and over as I was growing up.  I accepted it, because it’s what daughters do, but mothers tend to want their daughters to thrive, be independent and happy in their own right too and usually good mothers want their daughters to expand their family, don’t they?

She didn’t.  She didn’t want what she called “more problems” that came in the form of new family members – she didn’t want me to go out alone and make friends, because she liked to micromanage my every waking moment.  It was hard for her to allow me to go into full-time work and she’d often sit in her car all day long outside my work place waiting to see what happens, if I leave early etc.

On some occasions I was ten minutes late in leaving the building because my boss required extra work, my mother would embarrass me by making a visit to the building demanding to know where her daughter is and how they can’t push me around into doing more than my times worth!

I often lost jobs because of her.

Because I knew how she liked to micromanage me and because I wanted to be a good daughter and keep my head down and please her the best I could, until I could convince her to allow me freedom and a family of my own – I decided to talk with her about me becoming self-employed with homework of some description, there was always an issue for her and that never worked.  Because she would become obnoxious when I was on the telephone (up until 2015 I had perfect hearing in the left ear), so keeping those jobs was a task too.

She revelled in telling people about how lazy I was, how she is stuck with a quiet reclusive freak of nature that is eating or starving herself to death periodically and has no enthusiasm for life whatsoever.  Not true, I had no enthusiasm for the life she wanted for me.

I had a lot of ambition until I gave up wanting.

When I was twenty seven I left her to move in with Paul, it was done sneakily but I had to do it that way.  By thirty I had to stop all contact with her, because she is a respected matriarch in the family that meant I had to say goodbye to everyone except for a small handful of relatives on my dad’s side of the family.

She would never know or appreciate that all I ever wanted in my life was for me to be considered a daughter that was good enough to stick around and help as much as I did.  Good enough to trust out alone, good enough to get chores done, good enough to deserve a good husband and family of her own and good enough and trustworthy enough to be humane enough to want to care for her mother if she ever needed it.  I didn’t need to be moulded and abused to do that, but she didn’t understand and I don’t think she really cares.

Because I messaged her in 2014, two years after not speaking to her and I said to her – I am willing to forgive and forget everything about the past, if she is willing to tell the truth to others about how my life was like and repair my reputation in the family and secondly I’d come back into her life if she could allow me to take full charge of my own life because after all I am a woman of thirty now with my own child – she said no, she won’t do that.

I said well just give me permission to live life how I want and I will work it out with the others myself.  No, she said, I won’t do that Tina, because I don’t agree you know what is best for you and as far as I am concerned, you don’t need that permission really, what are you playing at exactly?!

So I said to her – are you telling me then that I have got you wrong?  That you’ve always allowed me to make my own decisions and you never intended to interfere?  No she said – I never said that and you know what Tina, this is the end of the conversation.  I leave the ball in your court, come or go as you please, but I won’t change – I stand by the fact that you haven’t a clue about life and that you are a stupid, stupid girl and as far as I am concerned I wish you never have any more children, you made a stupid mistake when you decided to keep that one! (This was in reference to my Henry who was planned and is very much loved)!

I also wanted to point out, that the message came about because I wanted to tell my mother that I was hospitalised with an ectopic pregnancy and how my plans for a large family could be over and I was feeling suicidal over it – because all I wanted in life was to be a mother of a large brood.

Books have helped me heal from that too… books are magic aren’t they?

Thanks for reading! 

P.S my idea of fun is… picnics or eating out at buffets or country pubs with a large group of family or friends, rowing on a lake, visiting a zoo, playing with dogs, doing messy arts and crafts with kids and playing pretend with my creative and kooky friends, oh and swimming, I love swimming and gardening or being in a beautiful garden that isn’t overlooked! That’s the light side of me… there is a dark side too… What does that part of me like?

Once again friends or family around me, snuggling down with a horror movie – watching thunderstorms, creeping people out, telling a good story, having sex and generally being my weird self!

And guess what!  No drink and drugs for any of that is there? Well, erm, maybe the pub lunch eh?

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Tropes and scenes loved and hated

Some writer friends have asked me to list what I definitely will not include in my stories and what I am likely to include in my stories in regards to themes and tropes and just general stuff.

Apparently it is a thing that’s going around where writers are starting to share that sort of thing?  Ok, here goes…

Too many romance scenes (sex scenes in my adult works possibly but not romance, gooey eye rolling load of old trollop nah huh ) – this is not for me and won’t be in my stories much if at all!  But do expect sex scenes frequenting some of my adult works! 

Unless the story has historical scenes, it is unlikely there will be silly gossiping women, I hate gossip!  The only time this is acceptable in my works is at the ladies cream tea afternoons in a Victoriana setting, but I do find writing these things cringe worthy, being a gossip is generally cringe worthy as it is! 

Technological explanations and scientific terminologies – I don’t have the brain for it – it will be basic stuff!  Oh this big blue square button does that and this round yellow one does this, character pushes said button and hey presto, that’s as nerdy as I get! 

Helpless women who lose their mind over men and forget to defend themselves because their love is in danger – the women in my stories generally have their heads together!  I mean I know for sure if I was a character in some of these books I have read, my reaction would be “I have my own problems, wait you wuss”!

Stereotypical monsters that just do evil because… hey… they’re monsters!  So overdone and totally unfair!  Not to mention, highly discriminating and endorsing discrimination… just saying! 

Emotionally bland or emotionally devoid scripts – I have read hundreds of pages of emotionally dead characters who keep on telling me about why they need to do something and get somewhere, but there is no real descriptive emotional output at all – it’s like, it’s their duty to have to think this way because it is expected, but generally there is no real feeling behind the words… you get me?  If you get me, you’ll see that I mean to say, that the character makes you feel like they are lying to both themselves and you as a reader! 

Mindless barbarians bonking heads for no other reason than they’re simply bored or want to be barbaric.  There is always a motive behind an action, tell me about it… not just the mindless violence! 

Slow paced stories, there has been books I have read where nothing at all moves the plot forward more than six pages at a time and that’s being optimistic!  I need something to happen on every page, it’s not hard to do!  No one wants the second scene to happen fifteen minutes later!

Repeating scenes already seen in the story or having characters lull over past memories again and again – yawns, boring!

Constantly reminding the readers how emotionally affected the person is about so and so, it is OK to mention it around three maybe four times in the whole book but please don’t take us back there in every single chapter!  We know, we read and understood it – doing this makes your readers feel like you think they are idiots who just do not understand – don’t do that to them!

Other than generalising height as short, tall etc and the build of the person as well as the colour of the hair or skin, please leave other things to the imagination unless those other features deeply affect the story in some way – like an eye patch or a scar on the chin which is why there is a revenge plot or something – but generally, let people use their own imaginations about who they want to play the part in their heads based on who they know with general outlines.

I love to write very descriptive body horror scenes because I love grossing people out, I understand this is not everyone’s cup of tea – but it’s what I do in my adult horror stories!

I love found family tropes and close family tropes, I love tropes where there is a small team working together towards the same goal!

I like write historical scenes and be descriptive about the environment and landscape around the character!

I write a lot about isolation and abuse, because it is something I have experienced a lot over the years, therefore I feel it is easy to write in a believable way.

I am very good at understanding the hidden aspects of society, the things that people can hide from others, the secrets, the lies, the behind closed doors of Mr and Mrs Ideal-Citizen, the underground stuff, the dirty nitty gritty aspects of life.

I am very good at writing different points of view because I have had a very rich life regards to socialising with different classes and types of people just by being moved from relative to relative.  I have lived with rich aunts and certain members of the aristocracy because on one side of my family we have a very old family – on another side of my family they are gypsies and farmers – another side were refugees, lots of different religions and class systems.  The list goes on! 

I find it easy to write from the perspective of a social worker and a teacher who is worried about their abused pupil/client and then write from the perspective of a junkie about to lose their child – I have seen these things unfold right before my eyes time and time again growing up!

One thing I have experienced time and time again from lots of different people and classes is suicide and sudden loss due to murder.

I have a huge interest in environmentalism, so pollution and innovation is something I like to put in most of my books.

Because I love comedy and prefer books and movies with comedy aspects, I do tend to like to throw in humour whenever I can, including in my darkest horror stories – I can’t help it; it always gets in there somehow!

I do love vampires and I have to say at least a third of my work will have some kind of vampire in there!

I love animal companions and so that will be a thing – particularly fond of anthropomorphic animals pretending to be human or whatever.

I like over the top comic hero and villain tropes, so that is another thing that will be seen a bit in my works.

There is likely to be someone who is rather off key in my stories, a batty old aunt, a batty young aunt, the green juice hippy weirdo and the generally bonkers type of person – or the harsh out of touch with their emotions type who is learning to soften themselves down a bit.

There will be women who save themselves and maybe even male characters! 

There will be lots of free range children living independently and causing chaos or massive changes in their communities.

There will be a lot of subterranean places too; in fact this is something that is seen in half of my stories so far!

People who are incredibly lucky when things aren’t really going for them!

Also, I will always end up being just ever so slightly corny…

So that’s what you can expect from me… I won’t say anything else on the matter, so please stop poking around…

Thanks for reading! 

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Space travel and cyberpunk update

Recent reading lists have included both cyberpunk and space travel, which is interesting because I normally don’t have much interest in space travel, but I generally do have an interest in cyber-dystopian lifestyle. 

I was surprised that I liked the novel “The Martian” by Andy Weir enough to rate it five stars on Goodreads.com it is not usually a subject I would love enough to rate highly and I am actually surprised at the quality of writing from the author which self-published this book originally – as I don’t have a high opinion of those who self-publish, generally because I spent a lot of money a few years ago on downloads of promising blurbs in fantasy and horror on my kindle to find it was mostly all a bunch of rubbish that was poorly edited and way too corny.  But then again, I chose books that were cheap and never heard of outside of the kindle shop, so I guess I got what I paid for!

But to me Andy Weir’s “The Martian” was excellent and on par with one of my favourite authors Max Brooks, which is actually one of my top three favorite horror authors at the moment.

I have no personal interest in writing anything regarding space travel or anything that talks in depth about technology, despite my reading interest recently; I am just taking advice from a friend who said that I really should read more broadly outside of my normal chosen genres in order to get a feel about what’s out there and finding different styles that I could maybe work with in my own writing.

I usually stick with comedy, comics, graphic novels, fantasy and horror – but I have an interest occasionally in mystery and crime fiction too – but they said I need to broaden my scope further – I won’t pick up romance though, I had enough of Mills and Boon bedtime stories growing up from my mother!

I may pick up a couple more space novels by the end of the year as I have heard some good reviews and blurbs from a couple of them recently.

I think my interest in Cyberpunk was started because of the trilogy “arc of a scythe” by Neal Shusterman, after I read those I read 1984 and then started looking around for more and found recommendations on YouTube namely by YouTubers FIT 2B READ and TheShadesOfOrange, though generally I don’t usually let YouTubers influence what I read, they just sometimes help me research areas of interest better.

I personally started my interest in Cyberpunk because of a story idea I have around a dystopian world where technology really starts to save the day for my characters, with their new inventions and survival innovations, this idea was started Spring of 2021 but I hadn’t really thought about it too much until Christmas time and it is starting to dominate my ideas entirely recently. 

I have to admit though, this story was originally thought to be steampunk, but the more I learned about cyberpunk the more I realised I would have categorised the book wrong entirely. 

It was almost like a push from the universe when I decided that my story wasn’t going to be steampunk but cyberpunk when my favorite YouTube channel FIT 2B READ started cyberpunk week – I just had to believe that it was the universe telling me I was absolutely right about my hunches – too much of a coincidence otherwise!

This is when I decided to make summer of this year a cyberpunk reading bonanza – if I am going to write this as a cyberpunk, I had better get to know what the fans of that genre expect!

You know looking back I find it rather amusing I thought it was originally steampunk but with a few additional neon lights and tubing, it seems foolish now to think that!  But we live and we learn, don’t we?

Happy reading everyone!

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Romance kills the strong heroine

I was recently told by some other aspiring authors that they truly believe that I will never become a published author and that if I did; I would never be a successful author for the simplest reason that I reject romantic scenes in my stories and being a fantasy author, romance is usually always crucial to the plot in some way – so I have made a list of all the fantasy novels that have become classics and inspirations for modern storytellers, which contain little to no romantic scenes whatsoever!

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

The wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

The feather boy by Nicky Singer

To name but a few examples, just to show you that it can be done.

Please, when disputing the above, please make sure you have read the non-adapted original novels and not adaption novels or watched movies of these mentions, because you will then understand the genre more and what I am trying to get across here!

I have never read a Brandon Sanderson novel, but I have been told they do not contain any romantic or sex scenes either, so he is someone I should pick up and read some day!

My fantasy books are usually aimed at family entertainment and will have comedy in them, so I want them to be clean for a younger audience.  I am however no prude and I do write dark fantasy, which will not be for a family audience and there are indeed romance and sex scenes in those stories, this will be part of my horror pseudonym too.  You see I will be an author of both dark and light, family quality and shock factor quality as it were. 

I am not saying for one moment that in order for the romantic scene to take off in a book that there must always be a sex scene too, no, no, no – I fully understand that you can have clean romance, but I don’t enjoy that in family entertainment and neither do the majority of modern day children that I have associated with!

So to the naysayers which say I will fail before I have even started, please read more and stop trying to sap the confidence of other writers who do not have to agree with you, because the fact of the matter is… the entire world isn’t in love with romance, there are people out there who hate the stuff!

I for one hate true romance in books, because it kills great and strong female characters, because even the most hard-core feminist hasn’t got it into their thick heads that you can be a strong female and not fall apart when you are in love, you don’t have to lose yourself and melt just because you looked into your lovers eyes! 

This is what ruins fantasy for me, because it is always the woman who is considered the weak one when in love and yet I have known many men to fall apart too – why is it always the women that loses their minds and can’t work efficiently towards their goals in a story, just because of love?

Get it together people!

Happy reading!

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Anthropomorphised animals

Since a child I have loved anything that anthropomorphised animals, I got into this after seriously becoming a mega fan of “The animals of Farthing Wood” TV series and being an avid collector of their magazine and other merchandise; it wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered that “The animals of Farthing Wood” was actually and originally a novel. 

I think I was one of the first children in this country to fully understand the impact humanity has on the environment and the animal kingdom, because I remember being commended in one of my schools for a poem I did about pollution and its effects on animals when I was just seven (that’s 1989).  I was a child, who was raised in the suburbs of North London, but I was often shipped out to other relatives around the country who lived rurally and on farms, so being a natures child in every sense of the word, I saw the massive changes humanity did to the world.

Every other month as I grew up my heart broke time and time again as more and more of my favourite outdoor places became new housing estates or had a railway track inserted through it and the dead animals that lined the tracks were heart wrenchingly numerous.

As a mostly isolated child who was ignored unless needed, I was often made to play in the large gardens with the pets I had, usually dogs and a rabbit, but squirrels and various birds became very tame around me as I was growing up that they became extended outdoor living pets.  I grew to empathise more with animals than with people.

To me, the animals seem to speak to me and we had an understanding, I learned their habits as much as they learned mine and we respected each other and each other’s ways.  This is why I found it easy to fall into shamanism, because it wasn’t so much as I wanted to be a shaman, rather than, I flowed into it without realising and it wasn’t until a high school friend said to me she thinks I am a shaman because of my ways, that I accepted that maybe she was right and I am that. 

So I read some books on the subject and I was laughing at how basic the training was in it, been there, done that was my response to a lot of it.  It was just so natural to me, that it seemed ludicrous to think people need courses on these things – whereas if they weren’t so involved in being human and doing modern human things, they’d all be like this too – it’s natural.

I know as I was growing up, cousins and even my own mother would be frustrated at how the squirrels and the crows won’t go near them, when they wanted to pet them right then and there like I could… I would tell them, you need to do this and do that before they come to you, you need to respect them and do it like this because they see it as impolite if you don’t – “you’re mad” was often the response as they grumpily slump off back inside, hating nature for rejecting them!

“The Animals of Farthing Wood” were not the only inspirations however, there were many others such as “Blinky Bill”, various Disney movies, “Rude dog and the dweebs” and so much more! 

So animals in some way or another are a regular feature in my stories.

Happy reading!

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Summer of cyberpunk potentially

I decided in January that my reading year will contain less non-fiction in an effort to at least read twenty five full-length fiction books instead; this has failed miserably so far, because I am always in research mode. 

So far this year I have read thirty two books and of those there has only been seven books of fiction and five of those were children’s novels or comics, one was a chunky novel of five hundred and twelve pages and the other was an anthology of horror.

Basically I am trying to be like how I used to be, I used to read one or two novels a week with two or three non-fiction books, but in the last decade I haven’t kept to that, due to only having approximately three hours late in the early hours of the night undisturbed for myself. 

My Goodreads goal is fifty two books, I know I will reach my goal a few weeks earlier than the end of the year, but I would be disappointed in myself if I were to reach the end of the year and I hadn’t read at least twenty full sized novels.

So, with that being said I decided last night (Friday) to pick up some old classics I haven’t read before and I have started to read “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” by Philip K. Dick.  I have to say, as a slow reader of fiction, I am only fifteen pages in and it has hooked me already!  But I have attention span problems and fifteen pages take half an hour and I needed a break.  I have never been able to do anymore in more than half hour bursts!

I know the next planned book is not a classic yet, but I know I will need to finish up all the currently reading non-fiction books this month before I get this one from the library “Empire of the vampire” by Jay Kristoff, I heard its some seven hundred pages in length, which at my reading speed of thirty pages a day will take me around three weeks to get through!

Funny, but I read non-fiction faster; I can get through around eighty pages a day on average with non-fiction and still retain a lot of memory about what’s in the book!  I think I over imagine scenes in fiction, that’s what it is!

So, I know that I am currently reading in some seriousness right now “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” by Philip K. Dick, that’s my fiction for the week!  My non-fiction reads for the week are “Danse Macabre” by Stephen King and “The running hare” by John Lewis-Stemple.

I think after Empire of the vampire, around the beginning of July, I will think about picking up some more cyberpunk fiction, not sure what yet, but Snow Crash is kind of calling out to me a bit, I do like mafia characters.

So that’s what I think my reading summer is going to look like!

Happy reading everyone! 

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The fear is lifted

I am glad I have spoken to certain people via DM on twitter recently and I have been taught few things about the writing industry that I was oblivious to before now.

November right through till the second week in January is really not an ideal time to go looking for an agent for representation because it is their busiest time of the year, let’s just get that out there right now!

But the main thing that I was taught is the thing that has given me the most confidence to get on with my work and this little revelation has actually lifted me out of depression by at least 50% since learning of it.

I have been often attacked verbally by people who proclaim that my ideas are not original, in fact in some cases they feel that it is a plagiarism, even though the stories are not actually a direct rip off of other people’s work.  Fan fiction is in fact perfectly fine to write on your blog as long as you haven’t ripped off too much from the originator.  What cannot be copyrighted are the names of characters and ideas.  But don’t let that get to your head, because there is one thing that professional and successful writers have in common and that is a deep respect and understanding for those who wrote before them!

A person is perfectly within their right to include characters from other people’s work, such as Mina from Dracula mingling with the invisible man in the league of extraordinary gentlemen comics, if their story comes across as unique!

This has made me feel a lot better about some of my work, because there were times where I was struggling to find the name of a nightclub that didn’t actually exist to include it in my story, through the sheer fear that I might end up in a lawsuit somewhere down the line.  I was worried that if I named a character something completely different but gave them the exact description and personality of a known character such as Sauron from the lord of the rings, that this would be frowned upon heavily, even though a person like Sauron has been depicted a hundred times in as many novels by as many other authors already!  For some reason or another I believed there was this niche little club where people could only get away with that sort of thing, if they were part of this little club or something – but no! 

You can get away with this, there is no law against creativity and ideas and so therefore, as long as you don’t completely rewrite the lord of the rings with this character and make your own story and stance to a similar idea, you should be fine!

Saying that you need to understand that all readers are smart and they read a genre and they will know it very, very well and if your idea is not fresh and new, you will bore them with what they feel is a repeat story but done in a different style, if this makes sense?

It is impossible to be completely original, but at least try to be as unique as you can and experiment with ideas.

It is vital that if you want to write a genre, you need to first read a lot in that genre or at least the top fifty recommendations of that genre to get a taste of what might have already have been done or overdone in that genre first!

I read mostly horror, fantasy and science fiction.

I read a huge amount of short story anthologies in those genres, and in fact I am more likely to read short stories than lengthy novels; because in my opinion, reading condensed stories like this teaches me how to compose a novel in an interesting fast pace way, without the risk of coming into too many digressions and needless descriptive waffle.

I am now more confident to pursue some of my older ideas, because I was afraid that mentioning Dracula in some of my vampire novels as a passing conversation could get me into a lawsuit, that having a scene where a character collects Hellraiser novelties could be jumped on and that sort of thing and when you live in fear of this sort of thing, you find that your creativity gets crushed.

You find it hard to move on from the scene in your head, because you are sitting there worried that some boogie man lawyer is going to jump out at you from the ether and start suing your poverty ridden pants off!

Well it was like that for me.  I never used to care and when I started to care – because I had so-called helpful people advising me, that I became stunted creatively. 

Funnily enough I had learned that those so-called advisors were not actually successful in their ventures themselves, in fact some of them had no intention of being more than just a hobby writer – so do make sure that whoever you listen to, have had professional experience in the industry first or have spoken to real people that they know in the industry, before you listen to them!

I have learned what I have learned recently through a real literary agent on twitter and a successful writer friend.

I do not currently have a literary agent, because I have no intention of publishing a book until the end of next year, due to personal reasons.  This following year is going to be quite full of hospital appointments for me and I am tired easily because of my illness, so until the appointments wane off a bit, I can’t dedicate myself to the professional side of my craft just yet!

When the medications that I need are assessed properly and decided, perhaps this will help with my problems a lot more and I can function a bit better, but until then, I can’t waste peoples time in the industry until I am sure that – A I am going to be alive this time next year and B that I have a name for the neurological problem that I seem to have.

Until then, happy reading everyone and if you too are a writer, happy writing and write with confidence now you know what I know!

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