Tag Archives: Vampires

Should I? Shan’t I?

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

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

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy Reading!

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To pants or not to pants that is the question…

“I don’t think I really want to wait for NaNoWriMo to start this new story idea, but would it be considered cheating if I started this early?”

This was posted on my twitter @CreativeTardy yesterday and I can only imagine my friends sitting there staring at their screens in disbelief shouting “oh, for fucks sake, just start, will you!”

Well, you see, I have never been one for breaking the rules… well… certain rules.

“Bloody Hell, what rules?  Fuck rules! Just get on with it, creativity has no blooming rules”! 

OK, tone down the language please.  No these are not real actual replies on twitter… but, I do know there are friends who talk like this to me from time to time in private.

I frustrate them no end, I can see that it takes a lot for the poor dears not to slap me one when I get like this!

 Usually I plan my stories a little.  I have certain ideas about what I would like to include in the story and the types of characters even if I have no idea of the direction of the book, I usually have some sort of idea about some of the future of the story before I write it – sometimes I don’t know how the stories end, sometimes I don’t know the middle but I know its beginning and end.  I don’t usually pants it, as the NaNoWriMo vernacular goes, I am or was a planner.

I am thinking this new story idea called Dragon 2 will be totally and completely pantsed, but I am fighting against it at the same time.

I am, in my personal life, a little bit of a control freak – I don’t like micromanaging people, I am not that type of control freak, but I like things organised and simplified in my own personal life and I don’t like surprises!  I am prone to panic attacks when surprises jump out at me, my brother often described me to his friends as the “rabbit in headlights”.  I am the sort of annoying person who always asks for reassurance and a reminder of what to expect at certain events and so on and Paul has a lot of patience with me as he tells me for the fifth time that day that it will assuredly be such and such.  I am only like this in certain things, not everything.  I am not constantly like this throughout my life, just things that could potentially… terrify me. 

Funnily enough, I am not somebody who suffers from stage fright or being surrounded by large groups of people, especially people I know even a little bit.  I am not like that.  I am more likely to be jittery around small circles of people I hardly know or never met and I am more likely to be this way around my birthday, Christmas, parties hosted by other people I don’t know well or anything regarding health… occasionally I can be like this when food shopping, I don’t like being around small groups of strangers alone, at all.

Never really understood why – but Paul reckons it has a lot to do with things that have happened in my past with my mother.  My mother is usually antagonistic with strangers especially if she feels there are no witnesses to dispute what happened!  She often dragged me along with her for whatever ride she hoped to have from the event she caused.

I like to be organised – artist friends are astounded at how neat my areas are when they used to visit, how as I painted I would wipe up spills and go back and forth from the kitchen cleaning the water jars I used as I did my work.

Reader friends who note my bookshelves look twice at my shelves and cannot believe that my books are in genre and alphabetical order and that I had at the time eleven bookcases around the house, now I have twelve.

I also have around thirty box files all with different genre story ideas, poems, research files etc., those are not in order at the moment because I am struggling for space and that is damaging my mental health no end, the torment knowing that those are not in order when everything else is – it makes my writing work very hard!

They mostly reside on the upstairs landing balancing on our very wide bannister at the top, that acts like a half wall and guests who use our bathroom sometimes sheepishly quiz us on why there is a box marked vampires and another marked dragons by the bathroom door?

One such visitor joked that they thought perhaps I was some kind of cryptozoologist as a secret life.

No, but it would be interesting…

I know I was a pantser before 2006, but I was told that planning is key, strangely enough my writing habits have been declining slowly ever since! So I became a planner, I know being a pantser should be as easy as it was in the past, but I don’t really know anymore.

Anyway, back to the NaNoWriMo story – I would like to start in a few days’ time, but at the moment I am trying to decide whether I should plan the characters and some of the scenes now or let it flow naturally?

Paul suggests naturally – but I have never worked that way before… I have had a lot of dreams regarding this book; a lot of the dreams suggest it will be very successful if only…

Happy reading!

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Funny VS Serious

Something has changed in me regarding my creative pursuits. 

I have for many years wanted to write horror as my main genre, focusing primarily on supernatural beings such as vampires with a very serious stance on the subject.  I then wanted to write fantasy as well but for the adult market; However, I have been battling with these ideas for the past five years as I have become more humorous in my writings and more emotional and I have found myself writing much less serious horror and more family oriented fantasy.  The horror I do write is becoming increasingly comedic and I don’t really know why, but I enjoy it.

I have fought against putting in comedy in my books, but I can’t help it, I wanted to write in a manner that depicts the darkness of human nature in a very serious way.

I have learned as I am getting older, I am finding humour in the most unusual of things and I am writing in a light hearted way increasingly.  My books were originally going to be of the seriousness of Anne Rice, Stephen King or Dean Koontz, but as I am developing as a writer I am becoming much more like Christopher Moore, Ransom Riggs and the writers of the league of gentlemen television series.

I have a couple of writer friends who saw this happening to me long before I did!  They often said to me “Tina, you really are a funny woman, you should write comedy it will really take off” but I shunned it moodily and said that I am not really that type of author and I was worried to take such a stance creatively because once you are renown for being funny, isn’t there always a pressure to maintain this personality to everyone?

Well I sought to push out the comedy that was in me, every time I wrote a funny scene I edited it out, until the scenes started getting funnier and the stories were becoming more and more demanding that they should be humorous in form. 

I have to admit I have avoided comedy entirely in my blog because I am scared of it to be honest!  My sense of humour is rather unique I feel and somewhat dark.  I am scared that people will start to think that my humour reflects me as a person, to me; humour and people’s acceptance of different types of humour can be a very touchy subject and should always be stepped into with caution.

Along with all of this, there is also the problem that I am one of these people who are constantly afraid of offending people, I always like to remain as polite as possible and sometimes people can consider humour as impolite or downright rude!

I am terrified of doing this, but I am going to try and get out of my safe comfort zone and attempt to write the humour on my blog occasionally – now please remember, the idea of showing people the funny side of me scares me!  I usually keep my sense of humour to very close friends and family and in general I am looked upon by those who are not close to me as a deadpan sort of woman!

My sense of humour I would describe as sarcastic, ironic, dark, tongue in cheek, warped and very corny.  Sensitive people would call some of my sense of humour as just simply sick and over the top!

Most of the fiction I gravitate towards reading are very dark horror or humour.

Most of the television shows I watch are comedies, costume dramas, horror or fantasy; but looking at my DVD collection it is mostly two thirds comedy!  People who know me, but are not close to me are often puzzled when they look upon my DVD collection; they look back and forth from me to the collection in sheer wonder.  I am not very public about my humour and I am not entirely sure why!

Part of the redefining myself is to bring out the real me in all its raw details to everybody, so this means I have to start getting comfortable being me in public as well as private.  This means people will start to see a new me, those who are not close that is and it may confound them.

My vampires had a lot of corny jokes in their books, but I deleted some of them in the past thinking that humour had no right in being in a serious vampire novel.  

I felt that people would not appreciate a corny joke in a book about vampires unless it was consistent throughout the book and was specifically marketed as a comedy – I felt that my stance in writing a humorous sentence only once every twenty pages or so wasn’t enough and would perhaps irritate hard-core readers of the genre.  Then I found Christopher Moore’s “Bite Me”, though I admit his comedy is very consistent throughout the book, unlike mine.

I will talk also about how my art is affected too in another post as I am also fighting with what I want to do VS what I seem to do most and enjoy!

As stupid as it sounds, this post was meant to be a post about how people need to focus on their natural talent rather than fight against it – instead it is just basically me telling you all how I am struggling to come across as a serious person, but I fail miserably and try to hide my sense of humour from the world!

Hopefully some of you will have read it how it really is – that I am not confident to be myself wholly and that I am trying my best to be so.

Thing is, I don’t want to be funny in everything – some of my work in this blog has proven that I do think very deeply about a lot of things and I can come across as deadly serious in many subjects!  Can an author be appreciated for the two very different takes in their works?  I hope so, but doubt it somewhat.

Happy reading!

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Henry’s project and vampires in the family?

Henry has dragged me into his school project and the school has requested the family tree.  Well, it will take me around 2 weeks to type and print it all up from Genesreunited because I can’t afford to have the site deliver it to me.

Curiously I realised there is a historic name there of a 2x great grandmother who apparently fled Brasov in the 1870s because of accusations she was a vampire, which is interesting and funny, considering I am obsessed with vampire mythology and never noticed her name before!  Vakarelski! 

It is even more amusing that she is on my father’s side of the family, because my grandmother of my mother’s side said we are Romanian on her side (though I found no proof yet), so it looks like I may have Romanian in two lines after all!

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Reflections of consequence

Upon reflecting at my notes for new stories, I realise that around a third of everything I plan to write is vampire based.  So this is a revelation because I thought I wrote vampires more than any other subject, but no, it is second to fantasy.  Horror is actually not within the top three subjects I write about but is actually fourth, behind dystopia. 

The poetry I write is really just a means to fulfil the frustrated composer and song writer in me.  Poetry is a way in keeping me sane from the loss of composing music via Cubase, I no longer have Cubase and there is a void in my heart because of it.  I can’t read and write music properly but I have been trying to learn recently, so I can try and learn to cope without Cubase, as I miss it a lot.  I have no desire whatsoever to be a singer though; I just love making music and writing lyrics.

I think about music as much as I think about my stories, but I have learned to give up music for various reasons.  Occasionally ignoring it can make me go literally insane enough that I have to blurt out poetry just to shut the thoughts up in my mind, but it is starting to get quite loud in my mind lately.  Not sure how long I have before I will give in and sell stuff just to get another type of music software to help me.  I bought a glockenspiel last year hoping to sate my need for music and around once every eighteen months I notice I buy a new instrument just to try and sate the musician in me, but I think my brain is getting wise to these distractions.

I do believe that if you are creative and you have many outlets, to ignore any one of those outlets for too long can both make you go nuts, but also seep into your other creative works and make you resent the attention you give them, because you are ignoring the other.  All creative outlets are both food and poison for the other ones, depends on whether or not they feel neglected or not, a bit like a polygamous lover, you know?

I am an Artist, Gardener, Musician, Writer; I do sing and I used to like acting in drama classes at college, I do voices too.  It is strange that since I totally gave up practising my voices, that I have been getting a lot of illnesses that affect the throat, some spiritual healers tell me they are not surprised, because it is the throat chakras way in responding to this creative neglect.  I suppose too then, that when I don’t write for a while, the migraines I get in my head are to do with the stories having a civil war in my mind too?

I’m very spiritual, so to me, everything happens for a reason and I believe that sickness can be caused because you are neglecting a spiritual or creative part of you.  I think love and freedom has a lot to do with a person’s overall health and I suppose that it is this reason that I am ill.  I don’t have much love and I never had much freedom, I don’t mean to sound whiny but it is true and therefore, it is unsurprising that I have autoimmunity issues.

I am very unsurprised that a vast majority of my illnesses are ear, throat and stomach related.  Because throughout my life I have heard things I do not like to hear, I have never spoken about what has happened to me and I hold back when trying to stand up for myself verbally, I also ate things I never wanted to.  So when you reflect on things like this, you can plainly see how it can all make you ill in those parts of you.

I find myself a lot, saying to people I don’t want to hear this, it is not kind, I don’t want to hear this, it is too negative.  I am such a sensitive person, I don’t like hearing negative things spoken all the time, I don’t like hearing another person’s distress.  I lost my hearing when I was a teenager in my right ear, because I kept hearing things I didn’t like, now I still hear things I don’t like and gradually I am losing hearing in the left ear too.

I either have to become harder and more tolerant to what I hear, or completely isolate myself from society altogether, lol.  If I chose the latter, it will surely affect the health of my heart due to a lack of connection and love?  So I will have to learn to harden up and become tolerant to the negativity around me, I don’t know how I will do that, but it needs to start happening soon, or I won’t be able to hear music anymore, let alone play it.

Anyway, happy reading and I will post again tomorrow, thank you for being here!

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My vampires love has rekindled ten fold!

My vampires have taken up a lot of my time this week; they have been pretty much neglected in the past seven years, only having me dib in at writing about them about once a month for half an hour on average – but I seem to be rediscovering my former passion for them.  I believe this rekindled passion for my vampires have come about because I have found a handful of author agents who are trying to revive the vampire craze with new fresh ideas and I feel that there may be hope for me yet!

A lot of my old vampire stuff has to be updated due to copyright theft from a family member who literally tore my heart to shreds when they sold my work behind my back for a few holidays and new extreme sport equipment!  You can’t trust even your own family regarding this matter but I won’t get into that here right now.  But I am in the process of gathering my old stuff for some legal poking around soon.

Meanwhile I have fresh ideas and new stories and new characters in the works – nothing will keep my love for my undead babies for too long.  I will always find a way.

I always suspected that relative from stealing my ideas from me – but it wasn’t proven entirely until I had a strange email from someone who asked me if I was related to such and such and I confirmed it and so… a new chapter in my life might be beginning.

Anyway – it was so exciting to find that there are some agents who have vampires on their MSWL (Manuscript wish lists).

So, I am aiming to produce my new work and get it off to one of these agents before the end of the year – I hope they still want it by then, but I won’t worry too much right now – it will get in the way of the work!

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Writers debt and credits

I have recently rekindled my love for writing, like I used to a few years back – I was losing it to be honest but now I think I have my mojo back!  I lost my love for writing back in 2017 after I burned myself out doing 50k towards NaNoWriMo by the 21st of November and ignored all other writing projects and art projects as I did so!

I read in a book somewhere a couple of weeks ago – forgot which one, it may have been a YouTube video now I come to think about it, that when you are a creator and you force yourself to work on one large project for a prolonged period of time, it can burn you out and make you resent creating in the future – I think that happened to me.  The way to ensure that never happens is to work harder for shorter periods of time or have more than one project on the go, or at least some other creative outlet such as painting or woodworking or even music.

During NaNoWriMo of 2017 I ignored everything else but that one main novel for the entire duration – the novel was a novel I had been ten years in planning!  After NaNoWriMo had finished, I hated the book and have never revised it since.

I didn’t draw, paint, write poetry, write anything new towards my blog other than WIP progresses and I didn’t practise any music, language learning or read any new books – just so I could focus on that one novel that I began to hate by November 17th.

To be honest, I have noticed this is a theme for a lot of writers who do that – they never want to write again sometimes after doing this and others can’t bring themselves to write that particular novel ever again or revise it – I am one of those.  But I am trying to get back into revising that novel, because it was a great idea and I loved it before that challenge and I really would love to have this published.  But I do feel that it will be hard in the first few days to revise.  I am planning to revise that book by the end of May.

I have a writing goal of 3k words per day, whether those words are towards a novel, towards the blog, towards an art journal or a poem – I don’t mind, I am just not committing myself to one project ever again like that.  I simply can’t!  I had to stop myself from doing it again the other day based on a suggestion an online friend gave me, but I just can’t do that again.

I am happily working on three novels at once, skipping between works whenever I feel myself getting lethargic on one, just so I get the word count I want by the end of the day.  Today for example, I am near the 4k words mark, seven times I have skipped between writing posts for my blog to schedule for later on in the week in between concentrating on just one of my vampire novels.  It is working so far.

I am also starting something new to spur me on to keeping to my own word count deadlines and that is doing something I call “Writers debt” and “writers credits”.  I make myself write 3k words per day, if I only did 2800 words today, then tomorrow I will have a writers debt and must aim for 3200 words before I finish tomorrow.  However, if tomorrow I write 4200 words, I am in credit by 1000 words the next day, so I don’t have to work as hard because I will only need to pump out 2000 words that day.

I feel it helps because it makes me accountable for my writing and it gets me used to potential publisher deadlines in the future!

Yesterday I was 965 words short of my daily goal, so today my goal has been 3965 words!  I am over that now and I will be in credit of approximately 300 words tomorrow!

Try it, it works great!

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Types of stories I have finished or are working on

Types of work that I am currently doing;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top 10 children’s books that influenced me

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

Dragon’s dinner by Susannah Corbett

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

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

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

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

Horton hears a who by Dr Seuss

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

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

James and the giant peach by Roald Dahl

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

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

Harry Potter and chamber of secrets by J.K Rowling

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

Engelbert Sneem and his dream vacuum machine by Daniel Postgate

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

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

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

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

Diary of a wimpy vampire by Tim Collins

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

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

Mr Stink by David Walliams

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

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

The tin can band by Margaret Mahy

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

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

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

Wolf by Gillian Cross

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

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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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