Tag Archives: trolls

What do I do?

What do I like to do when I am not writing or doing art?  Strange to say, that creativity is such a big part of my life it is actually really hard for me not to be in creative mode in one way or another.

Outside of actually physically writing, I do think about things to write almost on a constant basis I am a chronic daydreamer!  I can’t hold conversations very much travelling in a car because I zone out to daydream and for me, it’s just as well because it is my coping mechanism for car travel sickness – hence why, I have never learned to drive.  I am actually going to try next summer to have my first ever driving lesson, but I don’t think I’ll have more than three before deciding that driving isn’t for me!

I like to talk about sceneries when travelling on trains, I love trains, but again I daydream a lot on trains.  Unless the conversation isn’t specifically towards the scenery I tend to zone out on people.

It’s easy for me to zone out completely and sometimes it takes a person shaking me by the shoulders to come back to reality again!

But outside of this one big daydream of mine, what do I do?

I like tending to the garden, but I am never without my creative quirks there either as I imagine faeries or trolls peeping out at me from behind bushes and dark corners and so forth.  Whenever I garden, I garden with nature and unseen forces in mind; I have to have fruits, herbs and vegetables every few feet, because it helps the fair folk, animals and birds.  It’s either my active imagination or my witchy roots and shamanic past that allows me to see things that others say aren’t there.  I have never decided which is true…

But whatever I grow in the garden to eat, I always ensure that at least a quarter of what I grow is never harvest as because I don’t want to be seen as greedy and because I feel that you should leave things for nature, to go to seed or for the fair folk.  Did you know in actual fact that ancient humans used to always farm and garden like this until humans developed more of the greed gene? 

I am not a tidy gardener, I am a cut and drop type and I have the healthiest soil for miles around because of it; I know that some diseases and weeds should not be cut and dropped and I am wise to those things and they go either in a bucket of water to rot down or they go into a bonfire at the end of the month.  I have a special area for the bad stuff.

I grow with companion planting in mind and bio warfare – I am completely 100% organic and chemical free, what I do is I learn about nature and what feeds on what and I try to mimic the natural balance in my garden by trying to encourage pest killers into a problematic area.  If I grow nasturtiums the nasturtiums tend to encourage caterpillars and they generally leave my cabbages and other things alone, if I have an influx of aphids on my peas I grow sweet peas that are inedible nearby and umbellifers such as dill, fennel and yarrow to attract ladybirds and lacewings which eat aphids, as well as calendulas… no calendulas don’t eat aphids, they attract the things that do!

I am loved by frogs and toads and it used to freak my mother out every summer about how they’d hop or crawl after me if I was near the pond, because I had nurtured them since tadpoles and they became tame enough to be touched (make sure your hands are wet before you touch them as your skin can burn theirs).

I try to ensure a lot of mini ponds around the garden or makeshift ponds in the forms of buckets and ponds half inserted into the ground for them, because they kill slugs and snails and also we have a family of five hedgehogs in our garden most of the time, we’re quite lucky because our garden is small really – but we have so much life here!

My back garden is only 30ft wide and 50ft long, my front garden is 20ft wide and 20ft long, so it really is quite small for what it gives us!  We get a lot of food out of it and there is plenty of nature here – we always get comments from people in our neighbourhood about how we’ve bewitched wildlife and stolen it from their gardens because they don’t get all the bees and butterflies we have and they’ve never seen hedgehogs or woodpeckers in their gardens!  I just simply smile, shrug and say – plant more, get rid of your horrendous decking and fake plastic lawn and grow wildflowers, and then they’ll come to you.  Most snobbily sneer at the idea and look disgusted at my suggestion, but there has been one or two who have listened and nature is spreading, as it does and as it wants to and as it should!

When not gardening, I am bonding with animals, either in the form of pets or those in my garden; I am known to be quite mad by some neighbours because I click at magpies to call them down from the trees and some eat out of my hand and give me presents of egg shell and the prettiest stones they can find!

My magpies are my biggest influence in my writing, they are the main characters of a particular book series I am writing and they are based entirely on magpies I have befriended in reality.

I know it sounds nuts, but my life has been saved by a crow I cared for when it got heat stroke, this crow has long since died, but its family remember me and watches out for me.  I am profoundly deaf with inner ear auto-immune disease, which means a lot of the time because of ear infections I can’t wear my hearing aids at all, so I become completely deaf regularly – but one day I didn’t hear a car coming after I thought the coast was clear, it was one of those young teenage drivers who were racing down the long road and they nearly ran me down, but my crow, the one I saved earlier that year swooped down knocking me off balance just as the car nearly hit me, making me fall out of the way of the hit!

This crow and its family gets upset if they don’t see me for more than three days at a time and will shout their caws loudly and fly around the house until I either open the window so they can see me or go outside for a few minutes just to let them know I am OK – Paul is fascinated by this, but to me it’s normal!  They quieten down once they see me!

See it’s hard to have a “normal life” when I live the life I do.  My life is certainly not normal for everyone out there (points to the world) but it is normal for our ancestors and tribal people.  I consider myself an ancient human trapped in modern times.

I find it hard to have a “normal life” and talk about “normal” things.  I think normal is very suggestible, different to everyone and it hurts me when people feel they have the right to judge someone like me!  Because, in reality, had humans maintained their tribal existence and had maintained living as nature intended, then based on that, my way of life would be considered normal and conservative… it would be strange, not to be like me!

Other than having my head in the clouds and playing with nature like some kind of Disney princess, I do like movies and I do like doing puzzles.  I love 1000 piece puzzles and have a big collection of them and I have a love for word games, scrabble and codebreakers, that sort of thing.

I love feeding people too, I love to cook and I am often accused of making people fat when they stay here for more than a week!  Most people have to go on diets after visiting me, because they grow an addiction to my food!

I make as much as possible from scratch, including various jams, chutneys and sauces.  I am not scared of making pastry and I often cook too much deliberately, just to freeze them for later.  That’s how a home cook can manage their life better, cook and freeze – it’s safe, probably a lot safer than bought produce.

It’s funny but I get comments from people about how unsafe it is to put my lasagne in the freezer if nobody eats it all, but then they go out and buy microwavable frozen lasagne meals… the irony is both sad and laughable.

I find it hard to make friends with regular people; it’s easy for me to make friends with witches and creative people though.  Unfortunately I live in an area that is famed for its culture, but most of the people who live around me are science based workers, unemployed or in catering.  For the creative folk I have to be in the centre of town or a village five miles south from here, that’s where the creative folk are.

Paul is a scientist, he is a little bit creative because he used to be a photographer and he did once become a lecturer for art history in a university; but he is really a doctor of geology and that’s what he has been most of his life.  So he fits in here in our village, because a lot of people who live around us are doctors or nurses.

But he admits, though he loves some of my work he doesn’t love it all and it is hard for him to be enthusiastic in partaking an active role in being creative with me and brainstorming with me or even encouraging me beyond his scientific “get on with it” kind of way.  He is rather picky about what he likes and what he doesn’t like.

It is hard for me, because I am the type of writer that when she writes her stuff for the day she wants to share it with the person she is living with, immediately, because I am a person who likes to brainstorm with others – I like to talk about what I have done, because I am emotionally shallow and needy.    I am easily knocked off my perch if I think someone is disinterested, this is the hardest thing about me being a writer, since moving in with Paul.

My mother on the other hand was very good at feigning interest to buck a person’s creative confidence up, but Paul doesn’t like to even pretend and I appreciate him for that – but it is also frustrating for me.

So, what do I do outside of writing?  Basically play with animals, do puzzles, gardening, fatten people up and just generally connect to my inner being and nature.  I think that’s entirely me… I do love music, I love art, I love practising on my various musical instruments, but when I do that – I tend to go back into creative play again, then write songs and compose music!

So that’s me!  A creative child of nature; surrounded by a multitude of other species; that is spiritually connected to her little world and loves to entertain people with food, story and poetry.

Hope you enjoyed an insight to my weird little life!

Thanks for reading! 

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Top 10 fantasy books

Top 10 Fantasy Books that I enjoyed and that influenced me the greatest are;

Alice’s adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I have always been a big fan of the inane and very abstract.  To me this novel is enchanting to the most profound sense of the word.  I love how it shows us that entertainment and our imaginations do not have to make sense in order to inspire us to do great things and beauty and fantasy doesn’t have to have a defined set of rules. 

This book makes me feel liberated as a creator and much of what I write reflects just how much Carroll has influenced me as a whole, it shows you how to think outside of the box; which is a wonder really, because I have never really been considered by people who know me as someone who thinks outside of the box, regardless how innovative they also say I am! 

The wizard of Oz by Frank L Baum

Very similar to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this novel and the entire fourteen book series has also expressed to me how fantasy and the imagination comes with no rules, that in the throes of your own mind you can do anything – because only you are god to the worlds you are imagining, the only rules that exist are the ones you determine! 

You decided what makes sense or not in your world, but you have to make sense in those worlds and not have contradicting ideas that make the world come across as unbelievable.  It can be as silly as you want it to be, but there must be some kind of order and to me this novel and the previous one I mentioned does that excellently!

Gregor the overlander by Suzanne Collins

Comedy is a big part of my fantasy writing and to me there is a lot of that in this book as well as cute little moments and emotional rollercoasters galore!

This books shows that even the most disgusting things in life can be somewhat endearing if you choose to switch the way you think.  I mean I would never have felt compassion, sympathy and a sense of love for a cockroach for example, but this novel debunked that! 

The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

Once again the comedy aspect is here and that I absolutely love – also it shows that every world needs to have traditions and stories within stories and a sense of belonging and festivities.  I love how there is a familiarity to our reality reflected within this book, our Christmas and their Hogswatch and I try to do this in most of my novels.  Each world has a different ideology, customs and holidays and I think this is the biggest thing I love about story writing!  I love creating absolutely new customs and cultures!  Especially when I have conflicting cultures in the stories, each trying to explain the reason behind the things that they do to each other.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

I love this book because it makes you as a writer think about consequences of the things you choose to do to your characters and it forces you think about being consistent in your actions which precede the characters problem because of it.  It makes for good reading because there is a problem the character wants to resolve – a disability if you like, to overcome.  Also, once again, there is a comedy element to the novel and there are strong female characters, something which is rare in fantasy I have noticed.

Troll Fell by Katherine Languish

I love place descriptions and descriptions of movement, this book does that well.  I love the landscape and flow of the novel and I love the traditional sense of fantasy too – the old style fantasy, based on old folklore.  This novel has Vikings as well as house elves (nisse) and trolls.  I love Scandinavian folklore a lot and that can be reflected in some of the stuff I write, even if the location is not recognisable as Nordic. 

Smoke and mirrors By Neil Gaiman

There are many little gems in this book, lots of lovely prose and I do love novels that have a prose like feel to it; most people find prose hard to digest, but I love it.  I think there is a huge snobbery against prose and I find that hard to understand.  I love “descriptive dribble” as some people call it and I often find it offensive listening to people who put down prose like works. 

A major part of my lack of writing in recent years is due to the snobbery from my readers who dislike the prose that often gets interjected into my stories.  I am not overly descriptive, but I do borderline poetic.

According to my previous beta readers, my work is too old fashioned – it is at best Edwardian in style but, usually Victorian and I have to bring myself more up to date; that is the usual complaint I have ever had as well as having too much of a broadsheet vocabulary.  They felt that my readers would be a niche and narrow in margin purely because a vast majority of readers have more of a tabloid vocabulary and I feel that is actually insulting to readers of the world!  I did allow these comments to dictate my style a lot for a while and it started to kill me as a creator somewhat. 

I love how Neil Gaiman seems to be older than he is in some of the works in this book, some of the stories look as though it has been around since Queen Victoria and I love that about him and this book!  A lot of my stories are based in the Victorian era which is one of the reasons why I could never understand the problem my beta readers had with it – am I to have modern day urban language at a 1850s lord of the manor’s dinner party?  My work is certainly not contemporary usually. 

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

I love the rawness of the novel.  I love how the horrific realities of life are imbedded within its pages; the girl doesn’t merely hunt the deer but straddles it and slices it to a perfect death for her and her fox’s food in the winter time.  Some might say that is overly descriptive and disturbing but life is disturbing anyway, so why shield from it?  It is good writing! 

I have been described by a home school tutor as being a very gory writer so perhaps I share in Ivey’s violent descriptions of life and the world?  Perhaps when I eventually approach the publishing agencies they may want to censor a lot of what I write, but I have seen many books which go beyond what even I think is acceptable, so they might leave me alone on that matter? 

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I can’t talk about this book to many people as they often reject it as being too awful and the subject matter really is!  However, they often overlook the beautiful prose and philosophy that is hidden in the pages which makes it an absolutely delightful read for me!   I love the aspect of the afterlife and how emotionally connected this novel gets to become with its readers.  It makes you feel what the characters feel. 

It is very intense and I can understand why many people cannot tolerate that, but if you can push through the horror of this book and concentrate on Susie’s afterlife you will find that it is incredibly lovely, it is incredibly beautiful the things she does in the “before heaven” as I call it.  I love the pages where the author gets lost within Susie’s playtime in the afterlife, that is my favourite, despite how weird and distasteful I found a couple of the subjects, such as experiencing a kiss whilst possessing her sisters body, that was too strange for me. 

I write a lot of books about the afterlife and ghosts, as well as vampires. 

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien

I find it a fun all-rounder – there are comedy elements and basically a little bit of everything from above in the novel too, as well as being a traditional and classic version of epic fantasy.  I love the mix of creatures in this novel and there be dragons too, I love dragons, one of my top five favourite creatures to write about!

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Vikings & Hob-Goblins

During the last week of December I have been researching mostly by accident Hob-Goblins and by design Vikings and their respective histories, customs and superstitions around the world.

I have had a Viking story brewing in me for decades but with no firm story grasped and I have had some new ideas regarding this, but because I know very little about Vikings as a collective, I felt that some research was necessary.  I found it weird that an idea I had about Odin actually clashed with mythological truth, it must have been something I learned once but had forgotten it.  The bit about the 8 legged horse.

As a teenager I ventured into spirituality first by learning about Norse witchcraft, the runes, the drumming, the festivals etc., but I never learned more about the mortal Viking history, like I am doing now.  I did know about their war traditions and their units, such as the screeching women and the berserkers through a game I used to play called Rome Total War.  Regarding Viking warfare and general ancient warfare, I would fare well in writing about it because of the amount of historical research I’ve done throughout my life regarding the subject as well as coming from a military family background.

By and large though, I know more about Spartan and Roman day to day life than I do the Vikings.  Which is why I am disappointed to find that the books I am finding at the library are mostly mythological.

I know it sounds funny to think about it, but I have learned more from watching “The Hairy Bikers” and “Gordon Buchanan’s” ventures in Scandinavia regarding food and dance than anything I’ve learned in books.

In fact, even more laughable is the fact that it is easier to learn more about the superstitions of the Hob-Goblin or Santa Claus than about the ancient Viking people.

There is one thing I have learned though and that is in Viking times it was a derogatory term to be deemed “A Viking” for it literally means “PIRATE”.  This was very interesting to learn.

I am learning accidentally about Hob-Goblins because of a book my son was gifted by his friend Alice.  This is the fourth calling to learn about Hobs and house folk in the past 18 months, something is pulling me towards them.  I have no idea what it could be, I have no idea of any story interest I might have in writing about them… yet.  But something is definitely trying to get my attention with this little creature.

I am a very spiritual person, so I believe in little folk like these and recently when I have been reading about them more actively and reading snippets out loud for my son Henry to overhear, I have noticed that the whole house is becoming more accident prone with food and drink and according to legend, this is a sign of a hungry or thirsty and very ignored little house hob.

Funnily enough, along with this, my husband has discovered that his tea is going down faster these days.  So now we have started to make an extra cup of tea in the kitchen and it seems to have stopped the accidents and weirdly enough an inch in the cup has gone down!

I have a lot of experience with all kinds of spirits in my life.  I have never done drugs and I rarely drink, if there is anything to wander about it is my sanity I suppose – but why do we shrug such things off and think someone nuts when little jewels like this are revealed?  Why is it so hard to believe in little fair folk and ghosts but it is fine to believe in God?  Really now, what is the difference?  Oh and for those hard-core atheists, just remember you can’t see ultra violet light and infrared without technology but it exists doesn’t it?  I rest my case.

I was told by a friend recently that my little forays into the spirit realm should be a subject for my blog, because it aligns with fantasy and horror for many people.  This is why I am starting to mention such things.  It has always been a part of me; I just never put it in the blog. 

Hob-goblins in particular have always been something I have been nervous of because of the stories of boggarts and trolls, though trolls are very different to boggarts and hob-goblins.  The nervousness stemmed from a horror movie I watched when I was little and it gave me nightmares, but these days I realised the movie was actually a fantasy comedy and I can’t help laughing every time I see it now.  “Troll” where I believe the real first Harry Potter came from!  A young boy’s sister is kidnapped into fairy world by an evil troll who was formerly a wizard who went bad and got turned into a troll as punishment by his former fiancé – the witch known as Eunice of whom the boy known as Harry Potter befriends in order to save his sister and all his neighbours in their apartment from the evils of the troll unleashing fairyland into the mortal world once again.  The movie was made in 1986 and stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Obviously also, hob-goblins are found in the wonderful movie “Labyrinth” starring the late David Bowie, one of my most favourite all time fantasy movies where a young girl called Sara makes a wish she will soon regret, regarding her baby brother Toby.  The King of Goblin City descends upon her and makes a bargain that she has just 13 hours to find her baby brother in his labyrinth of surprises and dangers or else her baby brother will become a goblin forever!  A wonderful story, full of inspiration!

I wonder what my mind will make of these Hob-Goblins someday… I can’t wait to find out!

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Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman

Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman
Reading about trolls since childhood has always made me a little nervous, because of the childhood nightmares I had about bridges and what lived under them – this story was read with reluctance, but I am proud that I read it because it was a wonderful tale.

I loved the twist of why the troll existed and how it is trapped in its magical world and had literally little choice in devouring lone stray children nearby its lair and how it can be freed if he found someone willing to help him – little would be willing to help him so they usually succumbed to a terrifying fate.

I love worlds like this, where monsters aren’t really as monstrous as they seem, that they too have lived through something terrifying and aren’t what they seem. Though it is easy to sympathise with the troll in this story it is still a terrifying creature nonetheless.

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