A to Z Challenge 2014 – N is for Negativity

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N  When you decide to hold your hands up and admit to being a writer you become aware of just how much negativity is out there.  I have been lucky here on my blog but I know lots of people who have had to contend with the trolls, well meant but still painful comments and constructive criticism used as a weapon,  I have read reviews that friends have had left on their work where not content with ripping the book to bits the reviewers round it off with a character assassination on the writer.

What these people fail to realise is that as writers we actually are capable of filling more than our own quota of negativity without any outside assistance.

Although many of us have to self publicise we do not believe our own hype, while we tell you how awesome our work is our own brains constantly compare it to others and find ourselves lacking.  I personally write twice as much as anyone else will ever see as that lovely delete button proves to be the saviour of several small rainforests.

While we all attempt to believe the positive attitude we know we need to have, negativity is a constant factor dwelling in our shadows gnawing away at our confidence.  The hardest part of writing is believing your own work is as good as any one else’s and trying to occasionally persuade yourself it is better than some others.

How do you keep negativity at bay?

A to Z Challenge 2014 – L is for Libraries

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L Apologies this is out of order but I made a mistake in my scheduling….

What else could it be but libraries, I have to confess I do not use my library as much as I used to when I was growing up, partly due to the fact it can take me ages to read a book these days as I am so busy but also I do find that our library in Huddersfield tends to be a little stuck in a rut in terms of the books they get.

So I decided to just share a few images from Google of my dream libraries…2771325495_3c7df0fe00_z-565x369 Libraries-university-club-library-p-peter-bond-twisted-sifter strahov-theological-hall-prague tumblr_l8dm5xBFFY1qb6609

 

 

A to Z Challenge 2014 – M is for Monroe

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M  Beautiful, fragile and vulnerable, Marilyn Monroe is an icon that endured throughout the decades.  I love Marilyn but I also am honest enough to be able to put my hands up and discuss the fact that it is not her acting abilities that have kept her in the public affections for the many years since her death.

Marilyn was a presence on screen but she would never have won any Oscars despite her desperation t be taken seriously as an actress.  However I firmly believe it is the tragedy surrounding her personal life and ultimately her death which holds peoples fascinations. marilyn-monroe-quotes-03

I do not want to go too much into looking at her life or death her but instead I want to share her own words, this interview was filmed a few days before her death, and I think maybe adds to the mystery around her death rather than gives answers, it does show that her emotions were high and that in parts she comes across as a little manic, but I would not believe listening to her that she had any intention of ending her own life deliberately.

There will always be controversy as to whether she died by her own hand either deliberately or accidentally or whether others were involved.  I personally do not believe she chose to end her life that night but that is of course just sheer speculation.  The one thing I am sure of is that her life would have ended tragically at some point no matter what, for some people no amount of fame can fill the void inside them they battle against and I think the possibly the only thing that could have saved her would have been having children.

 

 

Love her or hate her, why do you think she has remained an icon all all these years?

A to Z Challenge 2014 – K is for Killing

 

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K This was another letter I struggled with but I have also been a little lapse this weekend and spent rather too much time in the kitchen.

I decided on killing because as a writer there are some aspects which can be very therapeutic and for me killing people is one of them.  I don’t for one minute suggest all my writing is full of gory murders, but although not all of it reaches the page my mind can reek retribution upon those who upset me in various ways.

The poor souls who cross my path are frequently horribly maimed inside my head, a few have met gory deaths as part of the novel I have written which is waiting for another round of editing, but those deaths are of course totally fitting for the story.  I have thought about writing crime fiction as an outlet for bumping off those who have annoyed me but I have to be honest that is one genre I would much rather read than write.  For now I will consign a few to eternal life as a ghost so I can dwell on their ending but most will remain meeting gruesome ends in my head, for example my little boys dad after one row found himself taking centre stage in my dreams that night, however in them he was hung upside down impaled on some railings while I lectured him on exactly why he had ended up in that position as he bled to death only in the dream of course).

I do at times wonder what it says about my that I do dream so graphic deaths for people but that is how my mind works, what about you do you ever visualise a nasty ending for anyone who upsets you?

 

A to Z Challenge 2014 – J is for Joking Around

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J  I really struggled coming up with a J word, but I decided eventually to go for joking because of the very fact I love to laugh but I find it is something that is so hard to convey on the page.

The real difficulty with writing humour is that so many people find different things funny and there are many different types of funny.

There are the cute animal clips…

Then you have slapstick…

And then there is that very special breed of comedy that can make you laugh…

and cry…

So what makes you giggle?

 

A to Z Challenge 2014 – I is for Inspiration

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I The one question every writer gets asked at some point is where do you get your ideas from?  What inspires you?

The answer is generally disappointing, anywhere, everywhere, out of thin air!

I think a lot of people would like to believe that their is some magic formula that we have to use to invoke the muse to bring inspiration forth but the truth is it can be the simplest thing that can set the writers mind racing.

It could be a place or a photo, a person we see walking down the street or a snatch of conversation heard, sometimes the idea does just suddenly come into your head with no obvious outside stimulus at all.  When you stop to consider the wealth and diversity of literature available then to narrow it down to any one way to be inspired really is an impossible task.

The one example of inspiration I do have is for one of the stories I working on right now and that was the strange noises coming through a thin wall between two bedrooms, there would be the obvious headboard scenario, but at times it was more like a body being dragged round the floor, or a ball being bounced off the wall the non writer in me just got annoyed at the noise but the writer started thinking of all sorts of plots and what if someone was in my place and got the wrong idea about what was happening, where could that lead and to what end.

If you would like to see more things that inspire me click on the picture to view some of my Pinterest boards but beware it does generally lead to lots of wandering round various boards before you notice the time and get back to what you were doing before you got distracted lol

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So what inspires you or better still do you have a funny story which has inspired you?

A to Z Challenge 2014 – H is for Horror

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H  When I was younger I remember those happy days spent loitering in the library, I would spend ages choosing which books I wanted and as I read quite quickly I found I had soon exhausted any interesting books in the children’s section.  My love of reading was further increased when I discovered the Horror section and the books of Stephen King and James Herbert.

I loved to delve into the dark recesses of the human psyche, though of course back then I would have just said I loved being scared, but even so early on I learned to differentiate between types of horror.  I write ghost stories but they are not really scary, not what I would class as horror scary.

And if I am honest I find very few films these days that claim to be scary actually are frightening at all, most tend towards the more gore the better approach rather than the hairs standing up terror of true horror.  I think that is where horror on the page has always had an advantage over its on the screen counterpart.  Real horror lurks in the unknown, hidden in the shadows. It is not the reality of seeing death or bodies cut up that really scares it is the point before that, it is the waiting for the killer to pounce, the cat and mouse game as the prey is stalked, the terror of silence, of a single footstep behind you.

In the Eighties then even gorified that British Horror institution the Hammer House of Horror

Horror is not about what you can see it is about all the things that are just out of sight and could potentially happen.  I really wish film makers would go back and read some old fashioned proper horror and then maybe they would make a film or two that really would leave people afraid to close their eyes.

I am off to write a horror story now to submit to an anthology so fingers crossed….

A to Z Challenge 2014 – G is for Glossybox, March 2014 Review

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G  Despite the A to Z challenge there are certain posts I wanted to retain and fit in so it made sense to fit them in on the appropriate day so here we are with G and the review of last months Glossybox.

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I was rather pleased when I opened this months box as it seemed to be the perfect mix, there was make up, perfume, skin, and hair products so it was a good mix and I was really looking forward to exploring the box more.

So let the investigating begin…

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Juicy Couture Malibu Collection

There are two different perfume samples Couture La La and the straight Malibu fragrance and I have to say I much preferred the La La one, both are quite strong fragrances designed no doubt for nights out clubbing rather than every day wear.  A mix of fruit and floral fragrances I thought they were okay but at £47 for a 75ml bottle there are other fragrances out there I would rather spend my money on.

Next up…

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Mitchell and Peach Body Cream

This is the first time I have had a product which has really left me gutted that realistically it is out of my price range at the minute.  The smell of English Flowers is delightful and it really does leave your skin feeling super soft and smooth.  It is full of natural ingredients and essential oils and the 40ml tube I received is still fairly full as it does spread quite well but at £36 for a full size 180ml tub it is quite expensive especially if you have a fuller figure and therefore require more.  I will say however that as I lose weight I may very well come back to this at a later date.

Next up…

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Dove Hair Therapy Intensive Repair 60 Second Treatment Shot

First my usual gripe about these samples, ermmm excuse me some of us have long hair, this did about half my hair!  This was not actually a sample but the full size 15ml shot, so realistically if I wanted to use it I would need to use at least two to cover my hair properly at £1.49 each while it would not be costly it would still be nice if there was a long hair option when buying products such as these.  It did actually work quite well leaving my hair soft and silky although a little fluffy, the only draw back was unless I did my bobble really tightly it slid out.  I would buy it again occasionally but as I say would be lovely if they did these in two sizes, one for long and one for short hair.

Next up…

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Bellapierre Cosmetics Ltd Shimmer Powders

I received this in a shade called Cocoa and first off I must apologise for lack of photos but it was actually quite hard to take a selfie which caught the actually make up well enough to show it off but I did manage a swatch shot so you get a better idea of the colour…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI would have described this more of a bronze than a Cocoa but never the less let us continue.  This product claims to be good for multiple uses and I will get to that shortly but lets begin with it as an eye shadow, you really need to use this over either a cream eye shadow or a primer to really get the full impact from it, and a good brush is a must otherwise it ends up everywhere.  On the plus side it does suggest it can also be used as a blush, a bronzer, mixed in with a gloss as a lipstick or even in nail varnish (though personally am not convinced by that last claim).  It certainly would do the job as a bronzer and if applied very carefully a blusher but possibly given the shade caution should be used before trying, I certainly would not give it a go while getting ready to go out unless I had time to remove all my make up and start again.  As for mixing to make a lipstick I did give that a go but it did leave my lips feeling a little dry so not something I am likely to try again.  I received the full size 2.35g pot worth £12.99 I have heard a lot about using these mineral make ups and possibly different shades would have different levels of flexibility of use, I would consider buying another colour to try I do think for most people these would last a while so worth the investment.

And finally…

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Sleek MakeUP Pout Polish

I received the Chocolate Kiss version and I know a few people that received it were not so happy but I quite liked it.  First thing you notice when you open it is the smell, think melted milk chocolate and you have it in a nutshell.  I applied it with a fingertip but it would be better with a lip brush (I can’t find mine so need to buy a new one lol) it gives nice coverage and a nice sheen to the lips without being gloopy, it lasts okay as long as you resist the urge to lick your lips and do not eat or drink but as it only costs £4.49 for this full size 10ml tub having to reapply is not a huge issue.  My main issue will be keeping hold of this as I fully expect my daughter to steal it the first chance she gets.

Overall I was really pleased with the selection I received this month and my next box should be here soon!

A to Z Challenge 2014 – F is for Fiction

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F  Fiction not a very original topic from a writer one might think but today I want to talk about the fine line where two F’s meet, that is the blurred border between fact and fiction.

Often writers are told write what you know, well if we took that too literally there would be a lot of very boring books out there which revolved around getting up going to work coming home and watching TV before going to bed to repeat on a daily basis.  On the other hand fact can be stranger than fiction and many of us have heard if not experienced things which if written in a book we would dismiss as too far fetched.

The art of writing fiction is a journey into the places we have not always or cannot physically travel, we will never know what the year 3000 will be like, we do not know what it was like to live in medieval times, or what lies in wait in far off galaxies but we have to persuade the reader that the vision we present is possible.  We have to evoke the suspension of belief, give enough relate-able information to make the dream tangible, and the only way we can do that is through  shared common experiences.  We need to depict fear in a way that the reader recognises and stands their hairs on the back of the neck up, describe the feeling of falling in a love in a way which makes the reader smile despite their own experiences of a broken heart.

Write what you know does not mean write the mundane it means write what the next person can relate to in its most primitive form, we may have experienced the details differently but fiction no matter what its genre is fundamentally about the shared human experience of emotions even those we would prefer to deny we have knowledge of.

What does write what you know mean to you?

A to Z Challenge 2014 – E is for Empty

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E  As you know Sunday is usually story day so in lieu of Sunday Story I decided to do a flash fiction for today’s letter, hope you enjoy it….

She stood in the centre of the room, devoid of furniture it seemed cavernous, a stark contrast against the constriction of her stomach as reality set in.

The past few weeks had passed in a whirlwind, not that was not right it had been a tornado, destructive, terrifying and had destroyed her world and left her stranded here now in a desolate no man’s land.

Three months ago she had been blissfully unaware of what lay ahead, leafing through holiday brochures, debating the perfect location for the holiday they both needed so badly.  Their careers were both taking off, long hours spent at the office had led to quality time rather than quantity or that was what she had believed.  What is had actually led to was guilt driven shows of affection compensating for the fact he was preparing to move on.

When they had met he had already owned the house it made sense she give up her rented flat and move in, she had invested in their home, redecorating to show off the antique furniture he owned giving the whole place a fresh breath of air.  When had it began to stagnate she wondered?  After a year when he put a ring on her finger but refused to set a firm date?  When he began taking business trips that her own careers prevented her from joining him on?  Then the call.

Five years destroyed in less than five minutes.  He had been too cowardly to even face her as he ripped her world to pieces.  He had met someone… he was in love…moving in…selling the house…furniture going in storage… the fragments of the conversation punctured the disbelief she felt.  He was sorry of course, but she surely understood, they had drifted apart and no point in dragging it out.  Then the second bombshell had really dropped not only was he abandoning her, he was discarding her, leaving her homeless, he wanted her out in a month.  She had snapped at that point launching her own tirade of his failures, refusing to thrown out on the streets, she would go once she could afford to, she needed time to gather money, he owed it to her to give her time unless he was prepared to pay compensation.  That had silenced him and the phone had gone dead.

She could not believe his naivety that he had really believed she would go meekly, that she would accept his decision and he could go on with his life happily.  She was already empty but soon that would be literal, she placed the envelope on the mantle where they had once been immortalised, smiling at sunset on a far flung beach. She took the knife from her bag and took off her jacket, she threw it where the chair had once stood and watched as it fell in a heap on the floor.

There was no hesitation, she had researched her subject thoroughly, prepared herself, after the first cut she had sat on the floor before making the second, then as she made the second she fell back into the pose she had calculated she would land in.  As the blood flowed she felt a strange peace, and the cold, she had read about that but not expected it to be so tangible, her last thought as a smile formed on her lips was that he would have to live with this and she knew it would destroy him.

It did not take long before she was truly empty, the crimson life force spread around her sinking into the floorboards she had so lovingly sanded by hand and varnished.

The house gave a sigh, she was home and it would never be truly empty again.

This was an unedited Flash Fiction only spelling has been corrected.