Posts

The Book’s Better

Image
I recently found out that Phillip Pullman’s Dark Materials is being done as a series by the Beeb (that’s UK speak for the BBC). I certainly hope they do a better job of it than the Hollywood version starring Nichole Kidman and Daniel Craig, which chickened out on dealing with provocative issues raised by Pullman’s series.
Not too long ago I was fairly impressed with the way Amazon Prime handled one of my favourite novels of all time – Good Omens. In my opinion they were spot on when they picked David Tennant and Michael Sheen to play the demon and angel. Then their script writers did a bang up job (sorry I’ve been watching a lot of Life on Mars and I’ve got Gene Hunt’s turn of phrase stuck in my head). At any rate, they did a great job with the script, updating it for a modern, younger audience and adding in the odd inspired outcome too. What I loved most of all was that they didn’t stray too far away from the Gaiman and Pratchett novel. I’ve reread it so many times that I was keeping …

Unreadable

Image
I’ve always been proud of the fact I read anything and everything. There are however certain books which have stumped me. 3 in particular. These are books which have worldwide acclaim yet have failed to make my top ten. Is it me or are these books simply unreadable?
“So which books are these exactly?” I hear you ask.
Well, book the 1st: In the Name of the Rose by Umberto Ecco
I’d heard from several people, whose reading instincts I trust, how absolutely fabulous this book is. So naturally with such recommendations it had to be done. I mean, who can argue with a book which has sold over 50 million copies since its publication in 1980. Besides, the author’s name sounded so absolutely cool. Yes, things like that occupy my weird brain. But I struggled my way through it. I ended up wishing I had the Cliff Notes . So I abandoned it and watched the Sean Connery film instead.
Book the 2nd: The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
What a furore this one caused when it was released. I figured that alo…

School’s Out

Image
Hello to my regular subscribers and a very warm welcome to any newbies.
Here in the UK it’s the start of the summer holidays and usually I’m looking forward to it as much as the students I teach. This year however I find myself feeling restless, wanting another project to take on. I’ve been trawling through college courses but am still to settle on the right one. I guess the last 11 weeks spent on my stained and fused glass course has awoken the dormant artist. But top of my list of things to do still remains read read read. Both the balcony and garden are up for the task so it’s down to me to do the rest. That’s if I can get my local library authority to keep all my reservations headed my way in a timely fashion.
Some of you may well be heading into your summer break too and I thought I’d offer up some suggestions for excellent summer reads. My top 3 so far this year are:
Fledgling – Octavia Butler Sister Mine – Nalo Hopkinson Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
My favourit…

Multi-coloured Creativity

Image
Hello again to the regulars and a very warm welcome to the latest followers. It's a pleasure to have you here.

Ever wondered what writers get up to when they’re not writing? Well my passions have always centred round reading and dancing. But I have several others I indulge on occasion. I’ve always loved drawing and painting. I took an Art GCSE and my very first holiday in the UK was a painting one in Scotland. It was the first time I’d ever used any other medium besides pencil and watercolour. And it was liberating.
For many years, whenever I went on holiday I’d take a travel set of watercolours and paint postcards for people. I haven’t done that in far too long and am thinking of starting again. I take endless photos though and spend ages deleting and editing till I’m happy they’re worthy to post on Facebook which has been my online photo album for years now.
On one trip back to South Africa to visit dad, his girlfriend taught me the rudiments of jewellery making. I made several pie…

Best Laid Plans

Image
First of all, a very warm welcome to all new subscribers. It's great to have you here and I look forward to sharing the many facets of my #indie journey with you.
Now, this may come as a surprise to some but just because I’m self-published doesn’t mean I’m not working to a publishing programme, self-imposed though it is. Long before I went on a course which encourages creative types to develop a business plan I always had a publishing schedule. I love colourful charts so it was inevitable. My guilty secret is out. I have always completed an annual chart, marking out Work In Progress, Future Projects and prospective blog posts for up to 4 months into the future.
Giving myself deadlines helps me achieve goals and I rarely shift the timelines unless something unforeseen happens. Just last year I rearranged my teaching timetable so that I have two full writing days a week and on those days I write from 7am to 5pm, only breaking for meals. I treat my writing as a job as I’m hoping that i…

Inside Out

Image
As I've been invited to participate in a discussion panel at The Oakwood Literature Festivalin Derby on the 18th, this month is all about WORLD BUILDING. And the main question which needs answering is: Outside In or Inside Out?

I’m very proud to be an Inside Outer, especially as I’m in very good company it seems. Other Inside Outers are JRR Tolkien and Tad Williams. Inside Out and Outside In are terms used to describe methods of Fantasy and SciFi world building. As an Inside Outer, Tolkien focuses his attention on Bilbo and the hobbits then creates a world around them.
In my very first fantasy novel, written when I was approximately 12, it turns out I couldn’t settle for just one process. I remember spending hours drawing and colouring maps of a world for my central character Panthra to inhabit. As a man who could instantly transform himself into a panther when the need arose, he spent a great deal of time in desert terrain and the odd cave or two. Sadly the drawings were lost when …

April Showers of Appreciation

Image
As many of you know, my self-publishing journey began in 2012. It wasn’t planned. I was collecting the usual mound of rejection letters from agents and preparing to paper many a wall with them when the kernel of self-publishing took root in my mind. Once this occurred it was then up to me to navigate this large and daunting world. Very much under the impression I was taking on this monster completely solo, I was astounded to discover many a helping hand.
The first of these was my wonderful writing friend Sydnee Blake who gave me the opportunity to participate in an Emily Benet blogging workshop. I was terrified, convinced that setting up a blog was well beyond my scope. Furthermore, what would I have to say to the world? How wrong was I? Here we are 7 years later and I haven’t yet run out of things to say and share. Sydnee, you opened floodgates in me I wasn’t even aware were there. Emily, you gave me the confidence to fight a fear of technology I was certain was beyond me.
Emily’s blog…