Wednesday 29 April 2015

Blood-Red Pencil: Misha Herwin and a New YA Book

Blood-Red Pencil: Misha Herwin and a New YA Book: What would happen if the world ran out of water? Would our societies survive? Would our technology? The more I thought about this, the mor...

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Dragon: a poem.

     Razor sharp venomous teeth

Rocky crackly roar

Mean-hearted golden eyes

Scaly emerald spikes

Red sharp claws

Smooth scalding claws

Malleable shape changes thumb

Petrifying hot roaring meteor

Gold scaly skin

Sparkling sapphire eyes

Big scary eyes

Needle sharp Arrow pointed

Tall silver tail

Purple bumpy tongue

Cherry blood drinker

Gives deadly death

Unpredictable deafening scream

Terrifying scream roaring

Ears long black

Green fearsome nostrils

Malicious black heart

Horrifying breath

Horrible vile breath

Fearsome lava red

Scorching flaming breath

Smooth sapphire scales

Spines iron hot metallic triangles

Sensational courageous magnificent

Awakes in the dark, dark cave.

On Monday I did a dragon workshop with some Year 6 kids at St. Thomas More Academy in Stoke.
After reading from "Dragonfire" we came up with our own ideas of what a dragon might look like and the above poem is the result.

It was a great session. I enjoyed myself and I hope the group did too, so thanks to  Riley, Maia, Tom, Cameron, Spencer, Brandan, Ashley, Leah, Devan, Gerry, Josh, Kian Alarna, Kyle, Leo, Natasha, Isobel, Maryann, Molly-Ann, Shona, Ami, Amy, Sophie, Cameron, Kai, Ltrelle, Chloe and Hannan and all the best for the start of your new term at St. Thomas More in September.

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Summer time and the living is easy...

Or it should be. The sun is shining, the temperature is perfect and I have just come in from having a cup of coffee in the garden. Sounds idyllic, but...

I am a creature of routine and my morning routine involves writing for a couple of hours before doing anything else. On the days when I do this, I feel I can relax and get on with the rest of my life. On the days when it doesn't happen there is this niggle at the back of my mind telling me I'm not treating my work professionally etc. etc. all the usual beat yourself up stuff that writers go in for.

And today the next book in the "Clear Gold" series remains untouched.

What then should I do? Go with the flow, or stick to the timetable?

The answer, of course, is to compromise. For me, a routine is both comforting and an efficient way of getting things done. On the other hand, days like today are rare and must be enjoyed.

So, I will finish my blog, for Wednesday is blogging day, then I will edit some more of the book after which I'm going outside with my Notebook to work on a short story I need to revise.

And to finish the day? A walk to the Red Lion for an evening of Renegade Writers.

Thursday 5 June 2014

Remarkable Renegades

Last night was writing group with the wonderful Renegade Writers. Having spent three days wrestling with a seemingly intractable problem with my e mail I thought I would mention it at the start of the session. Various theories were advanced then Jem Shaw offered to come round after the meeting and fix it. At the same time he was giving Josh Allerton a lift home, so there they were at ten o'clock at night sorting out my e mail difficulty.

Now it all works perfectly and I can go to sleep without worrying about invasion of virus, or hacking by evil minded aliens and all the other crazy thoughts that go through my mind at three am.

Oh and the group gave me very constructive comments about book 2 in the Clear Gold series as well.

What more can one woman ask for?

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Tea on the Radio

Yesterday I was a guest on Paul Oldfield's Nite Klub on Cre8 radio. I had come expecting to talk about my new book, "Clear Gold" but the conversation turned to tea. Now without tea I couldn't function. First thing in the morning, whatever time I get up, it's down to the kitchen and put the kettle on. Sometimes it's three o'clock in the morning, sometimes nine. Then with mug in hand I can sit down at the computer and get down to work.

And how do I make this tea. To my shame I have to confess that I'm a tea bag masher with a spoon sort. Not for me a china teapot, the leaf tea, the strainer and jug of hot water. What I need is m tannin fix. Once I've got that then my day can begin.

Oh and yes we did talk about the book and I read an extract but to hear both you'll have to tune in to www. Cre8radio/listen.


Thursday 15 May 2014

Dreams, Dreams, Dreams

Writing isn't all about sitting at the computer/laptop/tablet, or even old fashioned notebook. It's also about dreaming. Not the sort where you conjure up your latest best seller; imagine what it would feel like to be interviewed on Breakfast TV, or to glide along the red carpet at the premiere of the film of your book: the one that is about to gross millions and put you right up there with J.K. Rowling in the millionaire stakes.

The dreaming I'm talking about is another form of work. It's what happens when you don't know where a story is going, or you're stuck on a scene, or a character. That's when I get up, switch off and go and do something completely different, something that will let my mind float free.

Sometimes it's walking into town through the trees of Station Walks, or the Brampton Park. At other times I pull up a few weeds in the garden or do some mundane household chores.

Taking a shower is good too.

Yesterday, on my way to Birmingham, it was sitting in the train watching the countryside go by. I'm working on the second book about Mouse and Lanyon, the next in the series after "Clear Gold" and I was having trouble with a character who was threatening to take over the first part of the story.
As I sat and stared at the sun filled fields and crumbling industrial buildings, the answer came to me. Notebook and pen out, I began jotting down ideas.

I had thought I was taking a day off. In fact the journey proved very productive and as well as having a great time with an old friend, the following morning the chapters simply fell into place. At which point, I sat down at the computer and began...

Thursday 8 May 2014

Stone Pub run by Zombies

Lunch with a  friend should be a pleasant occasion. A trip to the usual pub by the canal at Stone, good pub food, drink and long, long chats. This is my usual experience of The Star. Today however it was not to be as the usual staff appeared to have been replaced by Zombies.

First the wait to be served. We sit, and sit. The waiter, if that is who he is, walks past our table, once, twice, three times. His face is blank. Finally we are asked what we would like to drink. We order and we also give our order for food. We wait. Time passes. We chat. The room is virtually empty, no one comes, no one leaves. No meal arrives.

Forty minutes later I go to the bar. Is there a problem? Apparently not, such a wait is common. I point out it's never happened before and that we are regulars. My comment is met by a blank stare.

Some time later, food arrives. No apology, no explanation. It's good, we enjoy it. No one comes to ask if it is OK.  No one offers dessert, or coffee, or clears away our dishes.

The room empties. We are alone.

If this were SF at this point the poison in our systems would kick in, we would keel over and be dispatched either for alien experimentation, or to have our vital organs harvested, etc.

Nothing happens. The place rattles with emptiness. Our conversation flags.

Since no one is around it would be tempting at this point to leave without paying. It could have been done; instead we go to the bar. We smile politely, we pay.

The Zombies stand expressionless. One sips coffee. Or is it? The cup he raises to his lips would suggest it is, but by now all we want to do is get out of there asap.

Driving home, I begin to wonder. Is all this a way of shutting down the lunch time trade, or is something more sinister going on?

Whatever the explanation, we won't be going there again.