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Showing posts from July, 2024

Pain Management for Writers--Reb MacRath

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Write what you know, they all tell us..so that's exactly what I'll do in narrating the supreme adventure of an adventuresome life: my battle with a devil I had to call my friend. With your kind permission--thanks--I propose to jump right into this. Speed forward from the Seattle injury that left me with a wounded knee no surgeon or therapist could help. Onward past the walking sticks, then canes I'd come to rely on as a, gasp, disabled senior. Ah, here we are in Tucson, Arizona, where I moved impulsively in August 2022. Cheaper rent, better weather (except for the blistering summers), a fine forever home in almost every way except--I could not see myself as a stooped geezer hobbling with his walker for a cup of morning tea. Nor could I accept not being able to travel with my unbending knee. Worst of all, however, I loathed my terror of trying one more time and the screaming pains of kneehab.  Jump cut--sorry, one last time--to the office of the one surgeon willing to consid

Larks and Owls by Misha Herwin

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  I’ve just read about a piece of research that has come to the conclusion that Owls, those of us who function better at night, are more creative than Larks. Being a Lark myself I found that an interesting conclusion to come to. It’s true that, unlike my owl friends, I work better in the morning, but that doesn’t mean that I produce less work than they do. In fact if I can make sure of a couple of undisturbed hours after breakfast I can get a lot done and I think that I have recently completed the last book in the Adventures of Letty Parker series speaks for itself. Six books in five years, plus three “Awesome Adventures of Poppy and Amelia” and the soon to be published “Friday Nights at Rosa’s” isn’t a bad record. Does this disprove the theory? I doubt it. I’m sure there are a lot of owls out there who have written more and in any event the number of books or short stories are no real indicator of creativity. There are other factors to take into account. Life style for one. Writ

Come With Me to the Bewilderness... for a Book-A-Versary!

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  Ellis Elliott: Founder of Bewilderness Writing I'm not sure how Ellis found me, out there on the great big web, but she did. In late 2021 Ellis wrote to me via Devil's Party Press, and asked for book coaching. I said, "Sure." The first time we met, via Zoom, I had (what we used to call) a girl-crush right away. IMHO Ellis is warm, kind, helpful, and very interesting. I still can't figure out why she came to me for help. She's incredibly capable, and talented. About that same time, I was badgering my husband, and partner in publishing, David. "Isn't there something we can do to help publish poetry so it wouldn't break the bank?" (As indie/small publishers, everything breaks the bank!) Ellis was working on a novel, but she was also a poet, and I had gotten to know a lot of poets (from publishing anthologies and INSTANT NOODLES ) whose poetry I was really crazy about. Finally Dave and I decided that if we could put together a co-op of sorts, a

Navigating by the Stars

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Barbara Hughes in the Sportswoman's Library (BL permission) The title of my book has been changed: That Spirit of Independence has become Stars to  Steer By . It’s still a book of celebration, mentioning more than one hundred wonderful sea-women. And yes, they are all included because of their variously independent spirits. No change there. The title I chose myself was given me by a rebellious Solent racer called Barbara Hughes. She was racing slim, fast keelboats from the age of about 13 in 1885 and loved it: ‘It is the most delightful education in the world, the most interesting and healthful. It becomes so engrossing that you will not rest until you understand the whole thing and know the why and wherefore of all the different moves.’ Barbara was the 5th of 6 children so was usually subordinate to her father, brothers or older sisters. She wanted to be in charge of her own boat, competing on equal terms: ‘you should have it all in your own hands, with no one to say you “nay”, o

Location, Locaton by Neil McGowan

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I’ve been out and about the last couple of days, and with more to come. The reason? Twofold, really. One is to spend some time with my family – my wife and I have next week off, and it’s the school holidays here in Scotland so what better opportunity. The other reason is more selfish – I’m looking around for inspiration and ideas of locations that may fit into current or future stories. Although I generally write contemporary crime for adults, I try to place it in a setting I’m familiar with, which usually means Edinburgh and its surroundings. As I usually have a few ideas of certain key scenes when working out the details of a book or story, I find it helpful if I can ground them in real places. My most recent book for adults, The Missing, had certain elements of the plot altered when I wrote the first draft as I worked in real places. (Of course, I usually change the names of places, although a person familiar with the area will almost certainly know what I’m really referring to.)

#REWIND is almost here!

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 Since last year, I've been telling you about my self-publishing journey. I can honestly say that writing the book was the easiest part! These last few weeks have been about getting the formatting correct and that's where we've hit problems. As I write this, we now have the paperback ready on Amazon. Hopefully by the time you read this, the Kindle e-book and IngramSpark paperback will be ready too! Despite the saying - never judge a book by its cover - we all know that we do! And that's one thing that has gone right. So, here's the blurb, followed by the cover. The Blurb When DI Bernie Noel goes back to work after maternity leave, she doesn’t expect to find a crashed car with a dead driver on her journey in. But a gruesome discovery in the boot of the car turns a road traffic accident into something more sinister and personal for the detective. It isn’t long before Bernie is forced to rewind six years and confront her failed covert operation in London. But as she re

Learning the Language by Debbie Bennett

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I have a friend who’s currently an ESL teacher living in Turkey. He’s also a retired professional photographer who used to supplement his business by selling photos of his lunch – but that’s a whole different story! Steve messaged me the other day and asked if I had any stories he could use on his YouTube channel .  I’ve never come across this kind of thing before and it struck me as such a good idea – for those learning English as a second language, for reluctant readers or those wanting to increase their vocabulary or just want simple, engaging and easy to understand stories in audio format. Steve reads short stories aloud and the accompanying words appear on the screen. Didn’t Jackanory or other such children’s tv programme do this many years ago? I’m sure I remember watching television in the 1970s or 80s – after Play School and before the ‘infant’ offering (what were these? I can’t recall), John Craven's Newsround and then the ‘junior’ offering (a children’s drama or Blue Pete

Adaptations (Cecilia Peartree)

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I have the urge to write about adaptations today, because some of the various meanings of this word have been on my mind lately. The fact that football, general elections and Glastonbury have been taking up a lot of airtime has caused me to abandon live tv for now and to watch too much Netflix in the evenings instead, and that in turn has caused me to announce to my son, the only one who would listen, that in the extremely unlikely event that Netflix offered me a million pounds for the screen rights for my novels, I would turn them down. My son didn't think I'd be able to resist an offer like that, but I hope I would stand firm. There have been cases where I've been pleasantly surprised by adaptations, particularly the classier BBC ones which stick fairly closely to the original material - the iconic 1995 Pride and Prejudice, for instance, or the Joan Hickson Miss Marple series. I also very much enjoyed a new version of Agatha Christie's Murder Is Easy. On the other han

Vote for Me - a poem for the election - Sarah Nicholson

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As it is the day of the general election in the UK. I've written a lighthearted poem of outlandish promises candidates might claim they will deliver if elected. It is complete nonsense, any policies I've included are completely spurious and any resemblance to actual politicians is completely unintentional. Here are your five candidates - who would you vote for? Vote for me, vote for me I promise chocolate cake for tea, Overflowing lemonade All is free, expenses paid. Vote for me and you will see The future’s bright We’ve got it made.   “Cast your vote for me” she says “Just put a cross beside my name Not all the parties are the same We all find scapegoats we can blame. My policies? Oh, this and that Tax cuts pulled out of my magic hat How could you not vote for that?” A vote for me will save the world I’ll make the sun shine every day* (*Except for Christmas - we’ll have snow) The world will be a happy place Here, have a sticker, with a smiley face.

Soul Machine - Umberto Tosi

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  Me with Toto in Boston, c. 1941    The PC system crash that I had been pretending not to expect happened in stages and became undeniable by my 87th birthday in mid-May. Somehow it felt catastrophic. I'm a creature of habit. I rely on routines to balance me over the voids of writer's block and dark neuroses. Expected or not, the crash disrupted various works in progress, including my Authors Electric post for June, which I missed. That's my excuse, anyway. Suddenly I needed to replace the familiar, multipurpose, desktop box with which I had been pounding out books, stories, secrets, images, videos, notes, missives, social media screeds and things personal for a dozen years. I knew its open-source Linux Ubuntu OS interface like the back of my hand - its folders and sub-folders, much like my cluttered desk and maybe my life - a friendly mess  whose pathways and objects I could navigate while sleepwalking. Tablets, laptops and smartphones just won't do for this clunky-fin

Why Women (and Some Men) Read Fiction

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                                                                                                                                   Why Women (and Some Men) Read Fiction Liz Dexter who is a prolific blogger about books, both fictional and otherwise, and who has occasionally commented on my own AE blogs, has recently published a review of a book that had been on her ‘to be read' pile for some little time. It was called  Why Women Read Fiction: The Stories of Our Lives by Helen Taylor. As this was a subject that had particularly intrigued me during my years spent as an adult education tutor I set out to read her review carefully. My WEA literature classes were almost always predominantly made up of women.   The book itself, Liz Dexter says, is a mixture of primary and secondary research. Taylor is a director of literary festivals, so she has a good grasp of the latter and in pursuit of the former she had sent out a questionnaire which gave her information on what, how and where women