The Contradictions of Being a Writer.

Many of the writers I know are a mass of contradictions, it left me wondering if this was an important part of a writer’s personality.

Writing can be an isolating occupation

The majority admit to being Shy or even Not Very Social and then they go out a give a presentation or an author talk or if you meet them at a writers’ convention and can’t get them to shut up! The lonely Introvert turns into a Show Pony. I myself know I  am guilty of this.

Conventions bring a mix of people together.

A  majority of writers suffer from Self-doubt and Insecurity.  Along with other creative types, many will admit to suffering from Imposter Syndrome. At times this manifests as a bout of  Crippling Insecurity with the fear of not being good enough accomplished enough. talented enough.

In spite of that, most managed to overcome it and submit their work to a critique partner, or even a contest or publisher.  If the work is accepted, after the initial rush of pride or satisfaction, it’s likely that self-doubt will surface once again.  Yet some compulsion drives us on, to write more, to try again to try and fail, to try and succeed, to improve.

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Courage to follow your dream

So what my fellow writers also have is courage, the courage to express themselves. To let their work speak for them, to expose their ideas to the judgement of others. My fellow writers, I  salute you for your bravery!

 

 

 

Dandelion Clocks Always Remind Me of Writers.

Dandelion Background.jpg

Who doesn’t remember the fun of blowing the seeds away from the seed head of a dandelion clock? Sometimes they would all fly free; one huge puff of air and they’d be gone. At other times they clung tenaciously, requiring more effort to dislodge them.

bloom blossom close up dandelion
Each one a wish!

Several writing events are on my horizon, author talks and workshops and a writer’s conference. I am inspired by the dandelion clock in my belief that writers are stronger together. There is strength in numbers. Much like the seed head holds its shape, because they are together.

When a writer gives a talk -they are sharing their knowledge, saying what worked for them, their processes. Learning about other writers, their joys and difficulties can inspire us as writers. To try something different, to do more, to do less.

girl holding dandelion flower
Photo by Thgusstavo Santana on Pexels.com

A writers’ conference is a great example individual writers, coming together to exchange ideas, learn new skills and laugh and share information. They will drift apart at the end of the conference much like the winged dandelion pods.  But all will have benefited from being part of the collective. Maybe they made a new contact, leant a new skill or found a solution to a sticky writing problem.

In our writer’s  ‘clusters’ we are in a space which allows us the freedom to express ourselves. We are among friends, ones who know how difficult it can be to find the right words.

 

Finally! My June Books.

Double trouble in June /July for me.My desktop crashed-June 23rd  and shortly afterwards my internet connection  also stopped working. It has been forty-four days minus the desktop and a little over three weeks without the internet. Fortunately, I have been able to read.

woman working girl sitting
Missing connection with the wider world

Sail Away by Celia Imrie.

Sail Away

Actress and author Celia Imrie tells this story in her own inimical style.Its a delightful story of women of certain age taking chances and making changes. Embracing the  posstiblities of now. The author’s  depth of knowedge of both acting and luxury cruising make this a lively and entertaining read.

The Strawberry Thief  by Joanne Harris

The Strawberry Thief
The much anticipated fourth book of the Chocolat series.

 

 

How could the Chocolat story continue?  Joanne Harris returns us to Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, and expands Vianne Rocher’s story. Things have changed in the sleepy town, old rivalries forgotten and even the wind seems content to let Vianne stay put. This is a book that reflects on motherhood and having to let our children grow and change. Vianne’s late child Rosette is ‘different,’ like a wild creature she senses things and has never spoken. Anouk, Vianne’s older daughter has gone to Paris  to be with her boyfreind and Vianne  misses her. It means that she cherishes her life with Rosette even more.When changes come to Lansquenet with the arrival  of a mysterious  and charismatic stranger ,Rosette also begins to change. And Vianne  has fears for her younger daughter.

Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier

Wolfskin
I wasn’t inspired by this cover.

I enjoyed the blend of fact and fictional reality ,which drew me in and kept me engaged with the characters and their situation. To be a Wolfskin was to be regarded as among the best of fighters. Reputation and honour figure large, as does trust and friendship. Neglected Pictish culture and mysticism are explored.While the raiding and conquering  the Vikings have their own code of honour.

On the Same Page by Penelope Janú

On the same page
A well deserved XO prize winner

MIles Franklin is the daughter of a literary family- who would be horrifed to know that she writes romance- a genre they despise. Of course, her subterfuge is bound to come out, especially when her girl Friday enters her for prestigious literary award  Add into the mix a handsome publisher, who wont take ‘no,’ for an answer and who insists on  meeting the reclusive ( and fictional) author . Entertaining.

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield

Once upon a RIver
Meandering RiverThames is part of the wondeful story

I loved her first book, The Thirteenth Tale, an all-time favourite .Sadly, I  wasn’t as thrilled with her second, so I approached this book hesitantly. I need not have worried – it’s a brilliant book  It combines some history of the river Thames ( the river in the title) with an almost fairy-tale feeling story about generations of storytellers and the folk tales of the mysterious and unpredictable river. Abduction, murder, identity theft, are all deflty woven into the plot ,which has a magical quality. I have recommended the book to many people. For me, it’s a 5 star winner.

Miss Seeton Flies High by Hamilton Crane

Miss Seeton
Part of a very long running series.

I was browsing the library catalogue looking for a cosy mystery to read prior to a workshop on  writing cosy mysteries.This title popped up and as I had never heard of the author, I decided to give it a go. There are numerous books in the long running series.It has an ingenious plot, but not having read  any of the  previous books I felt disadvantaged  by people and references to previous  events  It has an Agatha Christie feel about it, and the series  is very popular ,but for me it didn’t really fit into the cosy category .

Creating Characters from the Editors of Writer’s Digest.

Crearting Characters

If you are struggling creating characters, then this book is for you. It has a wealth of information from a range of wrietrs. It is easy to read and you can skip between sections and  chapters. A very useful book

The DandelionYears by Erica James.

Dandelion Years,

A charming story of inter-generational living which highlights both its benefits and its dilemmas. Love and loyalty, family ties, secrets, disappointments. Of course, there are also romances,  poignant and sweet.The book is about the loovongly described  setting, and the craft of book binding and restoration,book shops and book selling – things that appealed to me.

The Forgotten Letters  of Esther Durrant.

 

THe Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant
The beautiful cover

I was fortunate to win a copy of this book and what an eye opening experience reading it was.
Readers may be shocked to learn that in the 1950s women could be confined to a mental home if they suffered from a prolonged post-natal depression. Esther’s is only one of three stories which interlink at some point to form a cohesive whole. This is a thought-provoking book which would be perfect for book clubs. Highly recommended.

 

Lost connections.

For the past three weeks I have been without an internet connection, which failed and I had to get it fixed.At the same time my desktop computer crashed in an unexpected additonal blow.

While I waited I reflected on how helpless and isolated I felt. I was missing that oh so vital  sense of connection. No emails, no Facebook, no easy fact checking.

So  Hello again! It’s good to be back, the time away has given me more reading time and also a time to think about writing the sequel to my book

This reflective time helped me connect with the Viking characters in my book Fire & Ice. They lived quite isolated lives.Typically Vikings had a ‘raiding season’ which went from April to October, after which the seas were deemed too dangerous.So a man could be away from home and out of reach for all that time.

Imagine having no contact with loved ones for six or seven months at a time. It reinforced to me the fact that Viking women were tough and expected to cope on their own.12717985_693505940789229_7895077439568121178_nI also found out that if male Viking did not return home at least once every three years, his wife had the choice to divorce him for desertion,

Sharing the credit.

All creative people know that getting your name ‘out there’ isn’t easy. So it gives me great pleasure to acknowledge Seth Macey, the talented photographer who generously gave me permission to use this image.

You can find more of Seth’s work on Unsplash.

Unsplash woamn holdign clok by Seth Macey
The beautiful picture is by Seth Macey

Changes Ahead. Please Stay With Me.

In the past two years, I’ve grown and changed as a writer. Now its time for this blog to reflect that too. All the old posts will still be there, but in future, I will be concentrating on what I write, and what inspired me to write it. From time to time I will post about what I am reading. There will be a research section for those of you, who like me like their facts to be accurate. Along the way, I will be happy to answer your questions.

Change
Change can be scary- please stay with me. Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

So from now, the focus will be more on the writing process, ice dancing, Bergen in Norway. Vikings and Viking beliefs.Reindeer Nathan lemon unsplash

Time for A Change!

aurora-borealis-evening-landscape-Tobias Bjorkli
Mystical Norway

In the two years, that  I have been blogging I have changed focus and I think it’s time that my blog content and graphics also reflects this change.

When  I started the blog, in 2017  I was hoping to get a fiction book published. I am now a published author, I wrote  Fire & Ice, which has been described as a Scandi -Time Slip romance. It was published in February 2019  by Daisy Lane Publishers and got some great reviews. Now, I am busy writing a follow-up book.

cropped-fire-ice-resized.jpg
The cover of Fire & Ice

So, my focus has shifted, I still love my cats and reading, but I am concentrating more on writing and on research. I want readers to feel confident that I am using authentic detail in my story. So, whether I am talking about ice dancing, or Vikings, or Norway  I want to know that the details are right. There is a new section coming on my blog -for research details. I know not everyone will want that level of detail. and that’s okay too, simply enjoy the story.

A Viking long ship
Feared sea raiders – The Vikings. Pixabay by Axe 20

Follow me on this journey as I find out more about Aussie Blaise and Norwegian Kristoffer, the ice dancing couple from Fire& Ice, whose story conveys that Love is Beyond Time.