The Best Part of Breaking Up

The Best Part of Breaking Up

The Real Deal

The Real Deal

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Power of Google - I love you www

Today, I spent a stupid amount of time searching the garage, the attic and the cupboards for a lost box of comics that I last read twenty years ago - just because I wanted to. I didn't find the comics but I did come inside to write this piece about finding lost loves, in this instance lost stories. 

When I was a child my mother would read a story about two children, a boy and a girl who jumped through pools into different worlds and were able to go between one another's houses through an attic door. There was also a piece about a magic ring. That's all I could remember of the story. Somewhere along the way I began to think that those pools were swimming pools or that is what my child mind interpreted the pools to be and that was how I remembered it.  I only thought to Google the book last year when it popped back into my head. I found it immediately. 
It turned out to be quite famous. 
The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. I bought the book. I read the book and apart from the swimming pool imagery I was pretty accurate about the story. The children live in a terrace of houses and their homes connect with a door in the attic. When they go through the door they enter a study of the crazy uncle who has a tray of magic rings.  They are transported to a different world arriving through a pool in the forest. It is through these pools that they discover new lands (lands that will later become Narnia) and it is these pools that bring them home.  Good story. 

Harder to find was a story I used to loan from the library over and over. I knew it had a crazy aunt, it was set in Ireland, she wore a cape, had a big car with a runner board,  there was something about mushrooms and the children came from London to live with her and that one of the words in the title started with G.  I knew also that it had been a film that I had seen one St. Patrick's Day many moons ago. For years I have Googled the pieces of information in vein. I contacted the national radio station and a radio talk show hoping they would ask the audience. When they wanted me to go live on air I chickened out. I didn't want to sound ridiculous looking for some crazy book about a crazy woman I had read a long time ago.  I thought about looking up newspapers for every St. Patrick's Day during the nineties to search the television listings but stopped myself. 

Now perhaps I got better at Googling or perhaps the www got better at storing information but in any event last year I found the book.  I bought the book after much searching as it is not in print. 
The Growing Summer by Noel Streatfeild set in West Cork, Ireland. It does indeed feature three London children who go to live with their aunt for one summer in a ramshackle house near Bantry. She is completely nuts, does wear a cap, does have a large car and there is an entire chapter dedicated to mushrooms!  It was also a television film. So I had not imagined it.  It wasn't as good as I remembered it when I read it recently but it still has sentimental value for capturing my imagination as an eleven year old. 

The final epic search was for a series of stories about a girl who wanted to be a knight. She had a twin brother who wanted to be a monk. Their father was sending her to a convent and the boy to the castle. They switched places and the girl trained to be a knight.  Again it took me years to find the books but this time a bolt of lightning hit and I remembered the girl's name - Alanna.  After that it was easy to find. 
Song of the Lioness Series by Tamora Pierce which tells the story of Alanna and her journey to train as a knight while hiding the fact that she is female. Along the way she falls in love with the prince and he discovers her secret. Pre Harry Potter, Twilight and all that's in between it was a great series of books. 

Now I'm on a new mission to find Mandy & Judy comics from the early nineties.  I had a lovely stash of them but somewhere along the way they were either thrown out or got misplaced.  I have kept some of my favourite Judy pocket books.   Looking at them I realise now why I loved reading so much and why I was so eager to write.  

I have grown up with a wealth of literature. My childhood was filled with magical, epic tales and serials like the girl comics. They were a great way of enriching a young persons learning and reading ability. Some of that is lost today. The innocence of those comics is gone, which is a pity because from memory (and it turns out my memory is pretty good on story details) there were some excellent stories in those comics.  I would love another opportunity to revisit those reads.  Google hasn't given up it's information on the Mandy & Judy yet but give it time. Determination will win out by the end of the next decade I might have found the comic issues I want ;)  

If anyone knows how to source Mandy & Judys from the nineteen nineties PLEASE DO TELL and we'll give Google a rest. 


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Climbing my Everest.

Some wips are special and some are more special than others. I have been working on 'Princey' on and off for two years and today I have been trying to reach the 40k mark. Two chapters from typing the end. It's proving more difficult than I thought. I know what's going to happen and where and to whom and all those other important details but every time I go to write at it I baulk.  Why so?

Perhaps because 'Princey' was the first story I started writing properly after writing nothing substantial for a decade. Perhaps because I've changed my mind so often about everything in it from the characters names, to scenes, to the characters motivation that I have lost my enthusiasm for the project. In other words I have over thought it.

I write chapters and think they are a load of rubbish. I walk away from the project for weeks on end and when I tentatively venture back to read what I wrote I surprise myself by liking the work done after all.   I may be a little bi-polar when it comes to my writing. I am so attached to the piece now and it is weighing so heavily on my mind as the 'one' that it often scares me rigid and I think I'm wasting my time. The work I have published I wrote in five days without even considering whether it was good, bad or indifferent I just knew I liked it. I wish I could be relaxed about this like I was then.

I'm coming slowly to the realisation that the more you think while being creative the more you stifle that creativity.  In order to be creative you must give up doubt, inhibition, procrastination and fear. You must be a vessel and the words must simple flow. You can mop up the spillage later but make a big puddle and an even bigger splash and just get the WORDS ON THE PAGE.

I have to finish it and finish it soon. I have embargoed myself from writing anything else until it is done.  Which means I feel very guilty when my mind drifts off to thinking about Tariq the Sheikh......


No one ever said it was going to be easy. Writers must be mad to put themselves through this torture day in day out......I know, I know....the voices in our heads tell us we are not mad we are just telling their story ;p.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Procrastination Be Gone Hello Productivity

Well, well, well it's been a good week in the writing cave!  Finally chapter six of princey is finished, chapter seven is being edited and I had time to knock out 1.5k of a Valentine's story to add to the Valentine's Challenge over at The Nuthouse Scribblers. Do I feel like a writer again? Absolutely.

What brought on this sudden burst of energy and new work ethic you might ask?  Well I shared chapter one of princey with a work colleague and now she wants a chapter every other day so rather than disappoint her I am writing it - after all I can't face into work in the morning knowing she knows I failed the night before. Good plan? Good plan until I hit the next brick wall but hopefully by then I'll have typed THE END on princey. 

Last weekend I watched a quirky little RomCom with Mr. Romance himself Ryan Gosling called Crazy, Stupid, Love. It's just a nice Sunday afternoon kind of a movie but what stood out for me was the dialogue, there are some cracking one liners in it.  Take a peak if you haven't seen it ....

And as an example of the cracking dialogue and just because Ryan is in it here's another one to tickle your fancy...

If someone would see fit to snatch up Mr. Gosling, wrap him and forward him to me for the 14th I'd be much obliged and pleased.

On Valentine's Eve I'll be back over at the Nuthouse writing about love, romance, Valentines and the Irish connection. I'll be sharing a snippet of princey and giving away a digital copy of Hot Shots Vol 2 so knock on the door of the Nuthouse on March 14th and I'll let you in ;P

Friday, 20 January 2012

You dream and I dream very differently

I do my best writing before I go to sleep. Why is that?  It is so frustrating and inconvenient.  I'm just drifting off when my characters have a conversation and the light has to come back on and I have to start jotting it all down. Would it be easier to write during daylight hours when I am alert - probably - but it doesn't work out that way. Start of the new year and my inspiration has been decidedly absent but last evening a beta buddy of mine gave me a little inspiration.....
There is nothing wrong with that now is there! The fact that she revealed it at nine o'clock at night just when I had resigned myself to doing no writing is irrelevant. The fact that it kept me awake creating delicious new scenes is also unimportant. It did help to get 1k of a Valentines story written and allowed from some introspection about princey and where his story is going.

Today I had lunch with some lovely girlfriends and happened to mention that David Gandy was the inspiration for princey and one of the girls was not impressed. I told her to wait-I had just the picture that would change her mind!  It's interesting how differently we all imagine and dream. I'm writing princey and in my head princey looks exactly like David Gandy only more troubled and with a Latin accent but she had pictured someone completely different. Her exact phrase was 'Yuck' lol.  So the moral of the story is you can't win them all! She loves the story but I may have ruined princey for her because my bit of hot totty is clearly very different to hers. At least we won't be fighting over him.

So if princey ever gets finished and finds a publishing home I hope that I am not disappointed by the cover art because I have grown rather found of my Gandy prince. I guess getting David Gandy to do the cover is a little out of my league.....

Friday, 13 January 2012


Today I have been thinking about crushes. Those delicious and decadent moments you allow yourself to dream of a certain man being yours. Real life crushes can be disappointing and unfufilled but the crushes you can foster and harvest by adoring a favourite actor or celebrity can be very rewarding. There's nothing like being able to drink your fill of your crush by watching him on the box and with that lovely 'live pause' and rewind you can prolong the pleasure forever....
In the real world if I were to spend my day staring unblinking at my real life crush I'd probably be arrested and committed but oh I can stare wide eyed all I like at the television and enjoy my crush undeterred.
Some of my crushes are obvious and more are completely obscure and I cannot explain why they exist. It's personal taste and for me it's tasty! So here are a few of my crushes and you may agree or disagree but in my head I'm having a romantic liason with one of these gentlemen every week. Sigh.
Josh Lucas

Mike Vogel

Bradley Cooper

Laurence Fox

James D'arcy

Daniel Stevens

Benedict Cumberbatch

Dan Ewing

Seeing them all in one place it appears I have a thing for blue eyed, strawberry blondes. What a cliché [giggle].
It's the weekend so plenty of delicious sleep time to dream about one of these cuties.  What's your fantasy crush?

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Resolutions, Rewrites and Rewards

January 4th - Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well. In that vein then my procrastinating over chapter six of princey is justified. The fact that chapter seven, eight and nine are written should have no bearing on my battle with chapter six.  I know who should be in it, where it should be set and in general what should take place but give me patience it doesn't want to turn out that way.  So instead of starting the New Year with a renewed vigour and can do attitude I find myself hitting that dreadful thing called a 'wall'. That won't do at all.  

The next thing to flumoux me is that delightful spark of inspiration called a 'new idea'. As I get a lot of my ideas from the media, Christmas television has naturally been a rich source of inspiration. I found myself , randomly, pressing record on the Sky Plus box in the middle of films, adverts and dramas just because of a turn of phrase, a setting or an object that I found interesting. 

Of course there is rich fodder to be found in the real world as well - a surprising source for this I found in my future brother in law over the holidays - unfortunately I didn't have my inspiration notebook to hand every time he came up with a gem.  Wonder if my sister would mind if I just boxed him up and studied and recorded him for a bit??? Perhaps not. Note to self don't leave inspiration notebook lying under a stack of books, documents and electronic leads that seem to serve no purpose other than to drive me a little mad. 

I'll probably pass a silly hour google imaging words such as 'sensual' - that's always fun to do. LOL. 
You never know what you find....

What have you found to inspire you? xo