Friday, 11 May 2018

Jousting at Warwick Castle . . .

Can you imagine the look on people's faces when they ask what plans I have for the weekend and tell them I'm going to Warwick Castle to cheer my friend on in a Jousting tournament? Yes, that's right. Jousting! People do that 'double take' thing which does make me chuckle. Jousting was a dead sport, but with the help of the Knights of Middle England, it looks like it may be fighting for a comeback, and my friend and fellow writer, Lucy, is right up there with them. 

Her love of jousting came after she received a Red Letter experience day. She's a horse rider anyway and loves a challenge, and she loved it that much she decided she wanted to train and has been jousting for a good few years now. And we are talking the proper lances, shields and full chain mail and armour here. Proper medieval stuff.

This year, however, was the first time the tournament was allowed to take place in the grounds of Warwick castle. The Knights of Middle England, also based in Warwick, do a lot around the UK and for films/TV (they did the jousting in A Knight's Tale) and have recently started doing events and shows for the castle, so for these amateur jousters to be able to joust with the castle as they're backdrop must have been an exhilarating feeling. And I have to say, it looked absolutely spectacular.

If you write medieval fantasy, the whole day would have been filled with inspiration. But because you missed it, I took a few photos for you instead...

Lady Lucy is on the closest steed in the picture

I believe they named a Pub after this horse - 
The Prancing Pony


Thursday, 29 March 2018

Does Writing Have To Be A Solitary Business? . . .

My friend and I decided to try something new the other evening - a group writing session. I say 'group' but there were only two of us. We were each armed with our laptops and each prepared for an evening of tapping away. She trundled over to mine where we had tea and munch, played with the cats for a bit and then settled down. We've both written flash fiction in writers' groups but never done serious work on our own WIPs.

I had this idea a while back. I was watching the first episode of Castle (back when it was semi new. I refused to watch it when it first aired in protest for the way they killed Firefly. I couldn't see Nathan Fillion as anyone else and the loss was still too painful then). Anyway, there he was, Rick Castle, a writer battling writer's block. Oh I was right there with him. The frustrations of the block. Anyway, I watched as he stalked the NYPD, chose a target, and wormed his way into a relationship that would forever be known as Caskett. Then came a scene where he sat down at his laptop and wrote.

Now, I'm not sure how scenes like this affect other writers, but I can only liken it to someone watching porn. Oh, just watching Castle tapping those words on the screen got creative things flowing in ways only other writers can know and understand. This got me thinking. What if I was in a room with other people all tapping away on works of fiction? Would this have the same affect as watching someone on the screen? Would it induce inspiration? If we're still talking porn, I imagine most people would say yes, this theory would work, but writing??

Turns out, it's also a yes. It worked just as good as porn, in fact even more productively so. Within a space of an hour both of us had cleared well over 1500 words. I understand many writers out there may clear that easily in that time, but for those who sometimes struggle, just listening to someone else tapping away, seeing the creative cogs turning in their eyes, is enough to get their own creative cogs shifting into motion.

So there you go. I was being both social and productive at the same time. How about that? Turns out writing doesn't always have to be a solitary business. Now, I wonder how Nathan Fillion would feel knowing his writing scene in the first episode has just been compared to pornography. Hmm...

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Oh, For The Love Of Horror . . .

Guess what? I've been writing again. I told myself, this slump has to come to an end, and low and behold, words were written on page. But these words didn't contribute to my current WIP. Nope, I had to start another.

This idea - and namely this character, Rose Black - has been haunting me for a while now. And haunting is such an appropriate word seeing as Rose is actually a ghost.  During the Great Depression of the Slump, many hours of TV watching have been racked up, and one show in particular that caught my attention was Ghost Adventures. Cheesy, fake, overacting, it may possibly be, but for someone obsessed with all things paranormal, it makes for great entertainment. It also spurred the initial spark for Rose Black. Since then, and while I've been trying to continue with my other work, she has been sitting on my shoulder, growing, evolving, and now she's eager to be fleshed out. She's not letting me continue on my path, so I've given in and am now letting her lead the way.

So, is this going to be a cheesy, sterotypcal story about a poor ghost whose life was stolen before her time, and who misses her connections with the living, finding it hard to let go? Nope. Rose was a tragic victim of a serial killer, and who's life was brutally taken from her (brutal as in not all body parts were recovered) but this story is going to be dark, twisted, macarbe and all of the above. I'm going to have such fun writing this.

My current WIP was coming along beautifully, with over 80k words, but I just need something different to get me back in the flow. Don't get me wrong, this fantasy piece has a real dark element to it which I love, but remembering how much fun I had working on Tunnel brought back the nostalgia for a good old fashion horror. So I'm breaking my rule and taking a wee break from fantasy, opting for something set in the real word...kind of.

You win, Rose. Your story is being written, so you can stop hounding me and haunting my nightmares...wait...forget I said that. I might need those nightmares.

In other news, Tunnel seems to be doing really well and the few reviews left have been really good. I'm can safely say that's a piece I'm proud off.

Till next safe and don't have nightmares :)

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

A Wee Trip To Scotland . . .

We've just had a long weekend in Scotland - Dunoon to be precise.

It's our third time up to Dunoon. We have friends there, but this time we went with another couple who had never been. I absolutely love Scotland. For our honeymoon 10 years ago we could have gone anywhere in the world, but I insisted on Scotland as I'd never been before. We rented a cottage just outside Inverness and I've never tired of going back there since. To say the landscape is stunning is an understatement, and its so rich in history that you're reminded of it practically everywhere you look. I'm so inspired by it, so I thought I'd share a few snapshot moments and share some inspiration...

Puks Glen is a national park where you can walk up the side of a woodland hill, following a waterfall

The view once you reach the top of Puks Glen

Some Scenic views...


Kilmun Church situated alongside another waterfall and with a historic graveyard and mausoleum

Inverury Castle

The tower of Inverury church

We also spotted some local wildlife, including birds, seals, and an animal that is extremely rare to see during the day and in this area. The genuine Wild Hairy Haggis. I was also lucky enough to bag one and sneak it home. Look at it!!!

Yep, I Love Scotland!

Friday, 25 August 2017

Pic of the Week . . . Phantom of the Opera

It's all about the Phantom of the Opera this week it seems, so what better theme for this week's Pic of the Week.

Apart from the sentimental value, what is it that I like about the Phantom? Well, it's a gothic romance, isn't it? What's not to like about that? Young, naive Christine Daae, dreams of becoming an opera singer having grown up listening to her father's tales about the Angel of Music. Then when she hears the voice in her dressing room, she believes it to be this celestial being and accepts singing lessons from him. His own voice is powerful and seductive and she finds herself enslaved by it, giving herself over to him. Then as her fame begins to spark, along comes Raoul, the future Count of Changny and childhood sweetheart, to sweep her off her feet. So what's a girl to do?

As you sink into the story line, you can't help but give yourself to the Phantom. His mysteriousness, his voice, his power. It's enchanting. It makes you think Raoul-Schmaoul. But then when you sit back and think about it, this disfigured person - Erik - is a master of seduction and deceit. He's allowed Christine to believe he is her Angel of Music. He haunts the Opera house and sparks fear in everyone who works there. He demands payment and keep from the owners lest terrible things should happen to the people. He kills for what he wants. He kills for Christine. And kidnapping and demanding marriage? Is that really how to win fair maiden?

Yet, you still want him, you still lust over him. So is Erik a monster or a victim of a cruel society who forced him to hide away, a society that would never accept him and his disfigurement for who he is?

Anyway, showcasing Anne Bachelier and her wonderful oil illustrations for said book. Joining with CFM Galleries, she has produced a collection of some wonderful pieces, some of which are for sale, and are well worth heading over there for just to see. The piece below is from the Masked Ball and I think it's absolutely stunning.

Have a good weekend and enjoy...

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

It definitely left its mark . . .

Have you ever seen something that was so good it stayed with you, maybe even left its mark on you somehow? Well, I did, and it definitely left its mark on me - with added colour.

Ta da! My new artistic wrist addition.

I've always loved Phantom of the Opera. It's something that has been a part of me since childhood. My nan used to love it and owned the vinyl, and every Sunday my sisters and I would walk round to see her and listen to it and sing along (I dread to think what we actually sounded like...). Because of this, it's always held a little place in my heart.

So when my friend said she had tickets to see the show in London and asked if I wanted to join them I literally jumped at the chance. I'd obviously heard the soundtrack, I've watched the film with Gerard Butler, but I'd never seen it live.

Oh my God!!! It was amazing. I've been to numerous shows and nothing has touched me as much as this one. I don't know what it was, whether it was the emotional story line, the power in the songs, or even nostalgia, bringing back memories of my nan, but I loved it so much I decided I needed something to commemorate the occasion. And what better way to honor it than with a tattoo.

I'm not sure what my nan's views on tattoos were but I hope she would (I know my dad won't 😬 )...

So have any of you felt the need to commemorate an event in such a permanent way?  

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Quick Tunnel Update . . .

It's been a busy week. Out every evening - and that's exhausting when your an introvert and a hermit like me. I like my time, with evenings for just me, the cats and the freedom to do what ever I want, be it writing, reading, drawing or lounging in front the TV. But I also know it's not exactly healthy so I make allowances and some evenings I do go out and be sociabe - believe it or not.

This week felt full on though. Monday I usually meet friends. Tuesday I was dragged to see the meatloaf show 'Bat out of Hell' - which was good but not being a real meatloaf fan, I didn't really know many words to the songs, unlike my mother-in-law who was merrily blasting in my ear the entire way through. Wednesday evening I put myself under the needle of a tattoo gun (that wasn't fun) and then on Thursday I went and saw the huge Blue Whale display at the Natural History Museum in London. That was good - although I was very paranoid over my sore arm and felt the need to protect it againt the London crowds. Friday and the weekends are always reserved for family and the hubby.

The Blue Whale at the Natural History Museum

Anyway, imagine my delight after a busy week, to check my book, Tunnel, on Amazon and to find reviews on .com - GOOD reviews! two 4 stars and two 5 stars. I'm over the moon with these and there's nothing like a good review to boost your confidence enough to put fingers back to keyboard.

So here's to many more hours of hopeful productivity... :)