Blog Tour


Blog Tour:

A writing friend, Paula Read AKA Champagnewhiskey, tagged me in a blog tour. Paula is a writer and environmentalist, cloud gazer who is located somewhere in France. Her blog is diverse and interesting, of course it is also a great read! Just like Paula, I don’t usually comment on my writing via my blog, although I obviously do write, but lately it hasn’t been as often as is usually normal for me! Anyway, I will endeavour to write about my writing, so thanks for tagging me Paula!

Upon What Are You Working?

I have a habit of skipping from one project to the next. My writing habits match my reading habits actually. Generally I have to be in the mood for whatever it is I read, therefore I often have five or six books I switch between, so to it is the same for my writing!

I have been writing a ‘trilogy’ novel since I was 24, which could be categorised as horroresque, I suppose. I also write short stories, which again have the hint of horror about them, and of course the political press releases and columns I write currently for my work.

How does your work differ from others in the genre?

Well, that I can’t answer! Every writer likes to think they are unique, yet, in reality we are all influenced by what we read and enjoy. I’m not so bold as to claim I’m new and fresh and funky! I haven’t reinvented the wheel here! In my case I know I have a good stock cupboard in my mind, whereby the words and styles of other authors linger as reference points. Authors such as Stephen King, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, M R James, Robert Bloch, James Herbert, Shirley Jackson and so on and so forth, have been part and parcel of my reading and imagination process since I was tiny! I wrote because of these authors, which might seem sacrilegious to you folk out there, but horror was my first love. Horror made me enjoy reading, and writing, well before Charles Dickens or Emily Bronte ever did. Therefore, these horror authors laid the foundations of my writing style.

If I say one thing about my work or style though, I do like to think that I don’t write artificially, I.E, it’s not just regurgitation of other classic horror tales, regardless of the influence they have had upon me! I also like to remember that horror can be horror in any context, it doesn’t have to be some surreal and fantastical plot or circumstance to unnerve. My style/genre is true to me and what I know and feel; it is always my story, told my way.

Why do you write what you write?

Well, either I write short stories or have to live with a running commentary going on in my mind! I write because I hear, visualise and feel my characters. I can be out walking, and will pass someone or someplace, see something, and without warning I’m inspired and a story begins weaving its way into my mind. From this point I think about the characters and I flesh out the plot. In doing this the characters world becomes stuck in my world, so, I have to write it down or face hearing voices! Does that make me crazy?! Probably, but it works to inspire me, and it always makes the story/plot/character more real to me. If I can’t hear my characters speak to me, then I can’t write the story.

How does your writing process work?

Sometimes I finish a writing project straight through to the end, depends on the length of the story really. In the case of my trilogy novel, it has been some years of editing and rewriting, but amazingly, after what could be a year break from writing it, I can pick up the plot and carry on! As I have said, my characters talk to me! They are ghosts intruding in my reality, and they never shut up!

Usually I do a rough draft of a story on my laptop first, which I then edit until I am finally happy with it. I sometimes write in notebooks too. I love the written word, pen to paper, so often I will scribble an idea or even edit something whilst I am taking a flight somewhere (I’m never without one of my precious notebooks and favourite writing pens)!

I write anytime and anyplace, literally. I have woken up at 3 a.m and been struck by an idea, merely from looking out of the window at a car passing by! If an idea buzzes around inside my head, well, I have to write it down regardless of the unGodly hour or how inconvenient it might be. I must confess, I even used to write my stories whilst at work! No one ever knew, and it was a great way to escape the dull working day!

Who am I tagging?

Well, I’m tagging all of you out there. If you feel so inclined to participate in this Blog Tour Q&A’s then just do it! Please let me know though, as I would love to read what you answer! This might be the lazy option, but cut me some slack as I am writing this on my iPad, and you know I think it isn’t the best tech for long winded writing malarkey!

 

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A New Year, A New Rant


How was New Years Eve?? Did you have fun and celebrate in style?? Then, when the clock struck 12:00 you beat yourself up for allowing you, and your life, to be such a failure during the past year?? Did you then vow to stick to your new year resolutions, the resolutions that would ensure that in 2014 you become a better person???

Oh dear.

I know New Years Eve can be a strange time. It can often spark melancholy, regret, reflecting on all kinds of good and bad experiences and emotions. We all reconsider what the past year brought us, and how we lived our lives. Can this reflection help us in the new year to come though??? Can regret ever be healthy?

I am not going to tell you to make resolutions or not make them. I’m not going say that 2014 will be your year, that you have the power to transform and achieve. Personally I don’t get all that. I see all of that as negative life assassination, and unnecessary pressure. It is assuming that with the new year we will suddenly all transform and morph into wonder women or men. In 2014 we will definitely be destined to become another person, a wonderful person, in fact a person you were probably never actually meant to be.

Resolutions are very like false promises.

Why is it we always allow ourselves to perceive that the previous year was a failure, a let down, we didn’t perform and weren’t good enough? Isn’t that really what the notion of resolutions allude to – we are all failures, and therefore are required to modify and rectify that at all cost? Why can’t we just be us, and not need to change a thing?

Isn’t the notion of changing, of morphing, of transforming just a little bit delusional?? Just because it is a new year doesn’t mean anything has fundamentally changed. We are still, by virtue of our genetics, who we were upon birth; we haven’t grown extra limbs or suddenly become impervious to disease. We can’t shrug off the past; we all have our individual life experiences, thoughts, ideas, desires and so on.

Why is it with a new year we then become washed clean??

Or, more importantly, why do we want to be??

Isn’t life, from one year to the next, merely about the experiences we have and share, the learning curve, the path we travel, the thoughts and desires, hopes and dreams we harbour?

Isn’t life about those things??

To say we can be transformed, and washed clean assumes that we can all be famous artists, discover the cure for cancer, travel into space, be elected to Government, be an Olympian or whatever else! We are, most of us, normal folk with normal lives – average wages, children, mortgages and wrinkles. No amount of new years will ever change that either!!! We will never really transform.

So, why torture ourselves with pie in the sky -‘this year will be different’ – NO IT WON’T BE!!!!

Sorry, I get that positive thinking and hope are a great combination to have on your side in life, and I do adopt their principles as much as I can. However, I am also a realist and a little sceptical. I wonder how much we can actually change, transform, morph, and wonder if we really want to? If we don’t achieve, create, progress, succeed, dominate and control (or whatever!!!!) why is it seen so negatively? Why is it we can’t be just satisfied with being us?

This year I’m not going to become a millionaire, a success or even a glamour model who adorns the covers of popular magazines. I know that isn’t going to be what 2014 has in store for me.

I know it’ll be more of the same; living day to day, trying to survive, building relationships, trying to maintain motivation, good health and keeping some faith in me and what I want; basically boring stuff, not very inspiring or exciting!!! So, doesn’t matter how much I wish for miracles, money, fame and whatever else, it doesn’t mean it will come to fruition!!

I can make a million resolutions, but it doesn’t mean I can or will fundamentally change!

I’m just trying to say; be real, be kind to yourself and stop applying the pressure to be what you’re not. ALSO, stop viewing you and your life as a failure thus far, see your life as experience and a journey (which won’t be over, until it is over, and your six foot under). Stop stalling with resolutions and waiting for another new year to come and go; live without military precision, live and have fun amassing experiences to reflect on, not to feel negative and guilty about!

Live your life now, while it is here, and see what it brings you! All the ups and downs are welcome, it is life and you can’t just pick and choose the best bits and edit the rest, it isn’t a script after all!

Let 2014 be what it will be – life as we know it!

Jealousy Is The Biggest Compliment


I have been thinking recently about those people, I am sure we are all aquatinted with, who enjoy making little sly remarks, boasting about themselves, feel they have something more to say, enjoy gloating and generally revelling in making those around them feel bad about themselves.

They play a game, a very specific, but a harmful game. A game called jealousy.

Jealousy is destructive, obsessive, consuming and dangerous, but, it is also the biggest compliment anyone can pay you.

For someone to be jealous of you, they must deem you to be a threat, highly important and a person who makes them (the jealous people) feel inferior or appear inferior.

Is this your fault? No, this is their problem and not yours, but they want to aim their problem at you, to make you feel as badly about yourself and your life as they do about themselves and their lives.

If you play their game you will lose. To become embroiled in their inner turmoil you give them what they want, a reaction and ammunition to continue pulling your strings with. This game gives them and their lives some temporary meaning – harsh, but very true.

Many people feel intimidated by those who display jealousy, they often feel they cannot retaliate or they don’t even realise the person who is aggravating, upsetting and being nasty to them, are actually jealous of them.

Yet, 99% of the time, people who suffer bullying, nastiness, bitchiness, lies, back-stabbing and so on, are the victims of jealousy. Jealous causes most of the problems between people, jealousy drives people to do strange things to one another.

I have experienced people trying to hurt me because they have been jealous, and people can and will be jealous of anything! Of course I have also at times played the game of these jealous people, and sorely regretted it. Through this experience I see clearly what the outcome of such things will be, and I avoid those I see that jealousy resides within like the plague! It is difficult though, because sometimes regardless of how impartial, diplomatic, genuine or nice you are, you attract jealousy. Once these jealous people have you in their sights, they point blank refuse to let you go; well, not until they have attempted to wreak as much damage upon you as is possible.

I have experienced their damage too, and believe me, on some occasions the pure maliciousness of the jealousy aimed in my direction caused me great turmoil.

I am however a great believer in karma. What goes around does indeed come around. I have though been lucky enough to see the malignant and jealous individual fall, and was able to inform them I knew their game, jealousy.

Regardless of how much hate they muster, how much spite they spit, how much damage they claim to cause, these jealous people can never escape what they wish they could, themselves. They will always be stuck with them, long after you have been freed from their jealous radar, they will still be the vile creature they always have been. Again, this may seem harsh, but it is very, very true.

I have no qualms in feeling as I do about jealous people. I have no mercy for those who are jealous, because they have no mercy for anyone else. In fact, they take great delight in attempting to destroy people. They therefore deserve nothing more than pity, but not sympathy.

Jealousy I feel is useless though. It destroys, but not only the victim of the jealousy, but the perpetrator too. If only these people could understand that fact, and employ as much effort into changing what they feel bad about, instead of ploughing their energies into jealousy, things would be different.

When all is said and done though, it is only us who tolerate jealousy. In reality, jealousy needn’t have a place in our lives, just don’t tolerate it; call them out, name and shame, publicly humiliate them! Remember too that you are far better than those who seethe with jealousy, and also, karma is always a bitch!

Motivation At Its Best!


It is Monday, I am taking a flight back to the UK in only a few hours time, and I am nervous, and angst ridden as usual.

So, I felt I required some inspiration and motivation to coax my mind that all is well *sigh*. Well, what better than making myself FEEL good with MUSIC and a bit of DANCING!!!

The tune included in this post IS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE by ONE OF MY FAVOURITE bands called; ‘Rudimental’!

Fantastic song, wonderful lyrics that really capture my whole outlook at the moment. The words remind me to stay determined in everything I do; ‘I’m not giving in’!

By the way, if anyone is looking for a great song to exercise to, or even clean the house to – this is it!!!!!!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9-Lwpgfd1E

What’s Going On?


Well it has been a hectic few weeks. Things seem to be sluggishly moving forward, but at least they are moving forward!

I have been volunteering for a couple of weeks, time has flown by! My volunteering; carrying out research for a project the organisation are hoping to run, and also I have been out and about looking at open spaces in the city. Yes, open spaces in Madrid, the city does have them, they are just quickly occupied with people, bars, and so on!!!

The work has been good and given me a focus, plus, there are possibilities of doing more volunteering – which is what I want eventually. I have also enjoyed being valued! It is weird, but I haven’t felt for ages that my input and contribution have been actually valued (in a work setting)! Now I feel I am being valued again!!!! I feel although what I am currently doing is only a small contribution, this contribution is something worthwhile. It feels good!

The project I am volunteering for is about bringing the homeless community, and other organisations in the city who can offer help and support, together as one. At this current moment vagrancy or homelessness goes against the grain of acceptability. The state of being without a home is completely unconducive with the Spanish Governments ideas on how things should be. They have adopted the stance that a person chooses to be homeless. Some officials here are speaking out in disgust, they have said that this attitude, and these policies hark back to the dictatorship of Franco. I can see why.

So, I am continuing to explore what is what with the volunteering, BUT, I have also joined some ‘meet up’ groups.

I have attended one ‘Coffee and Tea’ meet up group – it was actually OK. Not at all like I thought it would be; reminiscent of my initial experiences with language exchanges or intercambios! See this post for my views on intercambios: The Language Exchange

This ‘social’ meet up group was friendly and formal all at the same time. It was more tailored around getting to know people, and possibly networking and so on. I thought the organiser of this group to be a genuine and friendly individual, and everyone else in attendance seemed so nice too. So enchanted am I by these newly found ‘meet up social thingy-me-bobs’ I have signed up for two more ‘Coffee and Tea’ meetings, which I am looking forward to!!!

All of this social change is bringing me feelings of happiness and direction. I am quite excited to see where it all leads me!! Although I am a little nervous, I am actually more looking forward to the events rather than apprehensive. I am curious and want to network with people, I feel I have to do this, the time is right for me, and the opportunity is wonderful!!

So, to continue the exploration I have decided to join a further two ‘meet up social thingy-me-bobs’ – there is just no stopping me, I feel so dynamic at the moment I believe I can achieve anything! These two new groups are more what I have been hoping to find. They represent THE thing I enjoy MOST, therefore, these groups are what I am MOST nervous about! One group is purely a discussion group, and the other is a writers group. So, fingers crossed these groups will prove as interesting and useful as the ‘Coffee and Tea’ version, and fingers crossed I will get along fine!!!

I have also been talking with friends about delivering informal English classes, and they are keen to be my guinea pigs, I mean students! In fact, they are so keen they have been recruiting their own acquaintances to take my classes! I don’t know whether this will pan out, as there is so much uncertainty around it, but there is a slim chance it might, and I then will be actually ‘teaching’ for some much required cash!

So, all in all things have just taken off – plus the decision to create another blog and also looking at possible YouTube videos too.

Here is hoping things continue to move in a good, positive and happy direction – I need it!!

Turn Over A New Leaf


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Since my last post ‘A Helping Hand’, I have been trying to reconsider my position or imposition.

I do not propose to dwell upon what I wrote, although I realise it will take time to change what I feel I might be missing within myself or my life. Yet, at the moment I am looking at reassessing myself. I am on a mission of self discovery – I want to relocate exactly what I am all about as a person, to try and redefine me. Since I last checked – I have changed, just as my situation has. This is something I have to accept, come to terms with, work with and not run away from.

So, I took on some advice from those bloggers who responded to my last post (BY THE WAY – THANK YOU!!). I have obtained a copy of ‘What Colour Is Your Parachute’ – which is helping to push me into quantifying myself, to ask myself questions I might be a little afraid of.

I am looking into what ‘meet up’ groups are out there in Madrid for me to get together with people who might be of interest.

Once again I am looking at volunteering positions, and perhaps taking on whatever part time jobs might be available.

I cannot say for certain if any of these things will bring me what I look for or indeed even come to fruition; yet, I will try.

What I do believe is that where I am now, is where I wanted to be. I have gotten exactly what I required, and also, what I needed. I shouldn’t therefore see this as a wasted opportunity – it is a gift of time out from things that injured me. When I am ready to re-engage with whatever I lost or left behind or I buried inside – I will, and not one moment before. I can’t force myself to do, be, or become anything until I am ready, until the time is right. So, I accept what is, I will try to progress and find a direction, BUT, I propose to just enjoy what I have, as that is all there is.

Thank you, sincerely, to the bloggers who responded and provided advice and expressed concern.

I appreciate your input and all you shared with me.

THANK YOU!!!!!!

Karma Killer


Pic from: bellezayalma.com

Pic from: bellezayalma.com

I don’t want to make this a running theme, but recently I have been considering how the ‘fair share’ of rough deals in life are divvied up.

Hearing from other people too, how recently things haven’t been running so smoothly for them either, I couldn’t help but wonder if these events have something to do with fate, coincidence or even karma.

If it is bad karma or some twisted fate, I don’t know whose I have been drawn into; mine, other peoples, or what! I wonder too, as I know the people who have also experienced bad things recently; could it just be some rotten coincidence we all faced at the same time? Yet, in my eyes nothing happens randomly, it all has a connection and meaning.

How could anyone draw the unlucky card out of the hat so often in just a few weeks; without something else presiding over the events???

I know I don’t feel I have committed some dastardly deed. I don’t feel I need to reap poisoned seeds that I have sown! I know that those other people haven’t either, and yet nevertheless, we have all faced some bad experiences very recently.

Yet maybe the world has to merely apply some equilibrium, where not one person can be left untouched or unscathed for too long a time scale??? We all have to take our share of the bad in life, or do we?????

Isn’t that a fallacy? Something we tell ourselves to sweeten a bitter pill??

The order of the universe, the fine balance, yin and yan – it all has to add up, square off and match.

Admittedly, what has occurred isn’t all as bad as it could have been, but it is pretty unsettling, and it did occur.

I only hope that now the balance of the unseen world has been redressed or appeased; and no more strange happenings will unsettle anyone else’s apple carts!

See related articles: And That’s All She Wrote