Which Books Have I Been Reading in August?

Write Naked by Jennifer Probyn- A helpful and inspiring guide to writing by a New York Times best-selling author. Not all books on writing hit the mark with me – but this one did

A Bouquet of Love by Various authors .published Serenity Press. An anthology-based around Serendipity bridal boutique. Ten authors give us their own inimitable take on romance. They made me laugh, they made me cry. 

The Forever House by Veronica Henry-

A delight of a book that ticked all my ‘must -haves’.,Simply enchanting I liked the characters so much and wanted to live in The Forever House myself, with its romantic name of Hunters Moon.

Escapism, romance, nostalgia, and even estate agents’ selling secrets. A peek into another lifestyle  which is far  more glamorous than my own I didn’t want to close the pages. A captivating read! *****

Champagne for Breakfast By Maggie Christensen.

A mid-life romance

The Little Teashop of Lost and Found by Trisha Ashley.

Another delight An abandoned baby girl is left near Haworth in Yorkshire – home of the Bronte sisters. Alice is adopted and then left with a chilly stepmother when her lovely dad dies.

The book centres on Alice finding herself through baking and buying a tea shop near Haworth in an attempt to find her past. The tea shop is a dump and she has spent almost all her money., but of course a feisty heroine always has a plan and a potential man, if she wants one. *****

A Desirable Marriage By Hilary Boyd.

What turns a long-term marriage on its head? The declaration that the husband has fallen in love, with another man!  Who could resist reading that?

When?

There is just one thing to ask when we identify as writers- when will we feel comfortable doing so? How many books or articles do we need to have published before we can say confidently ‘I am a writer’?  I have heard published authors confessing that they still didn’t feel like writers.

Liz Byrski for example had published several non- fiction books and was a successful journalist, as well as being an ABC radio co host. It was a comment from her then husband that spurred her into writing fiction. When she said she had published books, his reply was allegedly ‘yes, but they’re not the right books.’

As far as I know he wasn’t a writer, but he certainly was a critic. She needn’t have listened, she could have said ‘I ‘m fine, I’m happy with what I do, Its paying the bills,’ but when your nearest and dearest speak, you tend to listen.

We writers are sensitive souls, we struggle with fear to put words onto the page.  The fear of being exposed as stupid, not clever enough, odd, strange and all those other critical things we say to ourselves and are afraid that others will say to us too.

Is this why we want to have written, but procrastinate about writing? If there is nothing on the page then there is nothing to criticise, but equally there is nothing to praise, nothing to improve, nothing to challenge us to do more and to do it better.

Are we waiting for a sign from the universe?

Folks this is it – here is your sign-

Do it

Write with pen and paper, write on your I-pad, write in a notebook, jot notes and observations while you are out or sit at home with your laptop or desktop computer and simply write without restraint, without fear of criticism. Let the words flow and deal with the overflow, later.

 

 

A Fool for Love

                 

Dog- cat pIxababy
Cats & Dogs: Pixababy

           

 Would you go into a relationship knowing that it had to end?

* How about if you knew that one of you were going to die?

* What if you even knew the likelihood of which of you it would be?

* Could you still commit wholeheartedly to the relationship?

By now most people are probably shaking their heads and saying “No, no way”.

Yet this is exactly what pet lovers do when they decide to share their home with a companion animal.

People have animals for many reasons – Practical reasons such as to boost their security, or the need for a working animal, such as a farm dog.

For others, it is as simple as an animal in distress or turning up in need of a home. Others choose to have a particular breed of pet – “We’ve always had   West Highland Terriers” – feeling an emotional link to a specific breed.

Westie from Pixababy
West Highland Terrier : Pixababy

Pet Lovers Form an Emotional Bond with their Pet

The strong emotional bond that some of us share with our pets, and the feelings of grief and loss when our beloved pet dies. It is unrelated to the cost of the animal.

Moggies are mourned as much as pedigrees. Mutts are missed with as much intensity as the Champion of the Breed.

For us, our companion is a champion, whatever others think.

What matters is the expressive bond and the feeling of closeness. Here is a confidant who will never break that trust. Here is someone who is always pleased to see you, who thinks that you are tops.

While animal lovers often have more than one pet, each animal has a different yet totally unique bond with its owner.

Our Pets are not Interchangeable

When my beloved cat Midnight was killed, others suggested I get another cat.

Black cat silhouette Pixababy

It is not that simple.

Yes, cats of all kinds need homes, but cats and dogs are not interchangeable any more than people are. I was in deepest mourning; a unique family member had died. Nothing in my world would ever feel the same again.

My life held a Midnight-sized space, as the fabric of daily routine wove on. The gaps were evident and poignant.

Classic Stages of grief

I went through the classic stages of grief – including denial and anger. No one seemed to comprehend that I would not “get over it”. Indeed if “getting over it” meant forgetting Midnight, then I did not want to get over it.

Few would be so insensitive when dealing with a human death. It is many years since Midnight was killed. I still think of him often, even find his name on my lips. He was irreplaceable, and although I was tempted from time to time by thoughts of a black kitten, I knew that it would be unfair to both of us. You cannot be what you are not, I could not take a kitten and expect it to behave and interact as Midnight had.

Midnight

Midnight was a jet-black tomcat, estimated at about three years when he strolled into my life. He was solid muscle and power but possessed a gentle nature. Soon, he became my shadow, following me to neighbours if I went visiting. He waited to accompany me home. His miaow had many different tones for greeting, food, milk, and chat. He was never a lap cat whilst indoors. It was different in the garden. There he would perch on, and overhang my knee, all the time purring loudly. His sudden death, at age six and a half, deprived us both of so much. Another of my cats had lived until almost twenty-one years old, so I had expected many happy years together.

Mystic Midnight

Strangely, I did eventually get another black male cat. He walked into my life exactly three years and three months after Midnight’s death. He looked like Midnight, tried to get into the cat flap and finally crossed the threshold as our clock struck midnight. Chance? Coincidence?

Whatever the reason, I believe it was meant to be, and Mystic Midnight enriched my life. I knew he was not the same cat, although he shared many characteristics with the original Midnight. He was as talkative and affectionate and wound his way into my heart. Sadly he too became ill and died much too soon.

We fools for love cannot help but accept that our loved animals will die before us. Meanwhile, we try to forget and cherish every day as precious and special, as indeed it is.

 

The Best of Intentions

How to do what you know you want to do- if only you had the time!

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We all think we need more time, as our days rush by in a round of busy-ness often at the back of our minds is the dream,the ONE DAY project.

Maybe its something as simple as taking a class, or something more complicated like building a boat,or writing a book.

It’s there in our minds, yet we never find that chunk of time to actually start.

As part of my daily routine I’ve been writing in a journal for a couple of years, two or three pages written while I sip my morning cuppa.Initially I just wrote what was on my mind until one day I wrote INTENTIONS at the foot of the page.

There I listed what I wanted to do that day, often things to do with writing or creativity.If they were there the next day I transferred them to the next day’s page. It showed me how little time I spent on what was to me so important I paid more attention and used my time better,so if I only had ten minutes, I’d begin to write something in ten minutes.

At New Year I took it one step further, I thought about what I wanted to achieve with my writing and set out a list of realistic but slightly challenging goals. I wrote them out and stuck the list by my desk, where I would see it daily. I called it

MY YEARLY INTENTIONS

I ended up with a list of nine items some were simple,  like joining Romance Writers of Australia. While other required more effort from me ,such as completing a novella of around33,500 words.

Perhaps you’ve guessed that one of those intentions was to start a blog?

It’s almost mid-point of the year and so far I have completed five of the nine items on my list.

The things that made it work for me were.

Having a mix of easy and more difficult things

All were slightly challenging but achievable I hadn’t for example put write a best seller on the list

They were things I actually wanted to do but hadn’t got round to doing.

Seeing them daily as I sat at my desk encouraged me towork to achieve them.

Maybe its time for you to write your own list of intentions?

Make it specific and give yourself a mix of tasks that you think might work for you.

How To Choose a Name for Your Cat?

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When you pick a name for your cat what should you think about?

Do you think about the cat’s personality, its colouring, where it came from or use some other criteria to decide on your cat’s name?

Do you choose a name to impress others, such as a literary name, a musical name? So could your cat be called Mozart? Or Dante?

Did you know that cats who are given names instead of Cat or Puss are more likely to be regarded as part of the family and tend to be better cared for?

If you adopt a previously owned cat can you/should you change its name? It is  possible and if you don’t like the name I think you should change it. Cats are clever and adaptable .

When we adopted our Siamese Kitten her pedigree name was

Ultima Kismet Karma-

Not something  we felt comfortable to use to call her.

My other half objected to going outside calling Kismet- saying it sounded too much like ‘kiss me’, which might cause all sorts of neighbourhood problems.

Neither of us wanted to use Ultima, so she simply became Karma,

T.S Eliot wrote that “The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter”.

He then went on to say that he believed that cats had three names

Name One  The ordinary name, the one used daily.

Name Two-  a more dignified name

Name Three- a secret name known only to the cat itself.

Our cats all have three names- the daily one, the more special one and our surname- I’d love to know their secret names, but they are not letting on and are keeping those quiet.

Bluebell woods

Bluebell Wood ShropshireBluebell wood Shropshire by Rob Lodge  used with permisison.jpg

Photograph by Rob Lodge photography- used with permission.

Slip between the trees

Step lightly as you go

Through the shafts of light

Enchantment’s here you know.

Cathedrals aren’t just of stone

Nature forms them too

In a peaceful woodlands

Carpeted in green and blue.

Fairy bells we called them

In childhood long ago

Stepping into the bluebell wood

Keeping our voices low.

A place of enchantment,

Where dreams might come true

Here fairies surely gathered,

They knew its magic too

 

That magic’s never faded

Though now I’m far from home

Imagination calls to mind

The bluebell woods of home.