Affection and sunshine when we fade

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I am one with the white rabbit – I’m late I’m late. . .

Round two already, life is twirling around in the sunshine> I had a good break, busy but good. In my real life:) I read a great deal, began my new garden and began journaling. I finished making my crazy patchwork cover for journal, made a couple of fat dolls and moved a whole lot more stash from one room to another, will soon have changed bedroom and workroom around and the sun will shine on me when I wake in the mornings.
I continued pre-drafting blogs, posting A-Z blogs and began writing the missing bits.

Have at last managed to carve out three days so I can get down southwest to visit the old ancestral pile. It takes a great deal of organization as I have to have someone sleeping here at night and popping in during the day for my sister and also it is a little too far for me to drive at the moment with my health not recovered yet so I need someone to get me there. It has all come together. Yay. So two nights away in May with friend from forever/editor.

I also spent more time sitting in the sun with older cat, she is definitely desiring more human contact and affection as she fades. I have to handle her more carefully because of the growth on her spleen, but her purr is not diminished and we spend time just being together. I guess that’s what we all want at the end.

This round I have tweaked goals a trifle. Because the re-read last month showed some gaps in Children’s Tale I will be spending time this round on it, it will not going to friend from forever/editor just yet.

I need to design a cover for memoirs this round and get them Lulu-ed
I must get a trailer together for Jack’s Tale
Think of a cover for The Children’s Tale.

I will write short stories in May while the story a day challenge is on but not committing myself to one a day, just work on the shorts each day – for Companion Tales.
In the same way as I will join in JuNo again this year, but not committing to the 50000 words. Not sure what I will be doing it depends so much on how well I have proceeded on Children’s Tale.

 

I hope everyone had a good break and are all fueled up for this round:)

Ginger in the milk and chilli in the jam

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Another round over and, really, where does the time hurry to? Spring is let loose – although the temperature plunge today would rather give lie to that – and April is almost visible around the corner. Hmmm – how have we all measured up I wonder? For myself looking back at my goals at the start of this round I have done better than I thought.

I wanted to finish The Children’s Tale and begin editing – well, I began editing only to find I needed to add some more writing, that’s okay – it’s part of what editing is about – so pretty well up to speed there.

Finish editing memoirs and find a title well, working title is, at the moment, Ginger in the Milk, Chilli in the Jam and editing is done (must send to ‘friend from forever/editor’ for her keen eye:) – think the chapters need moving around a bit. So yes not bad.

Blogging more – yes, I managed that reasonably well and fairly regularly, also have re-arranged my Triberr v blogs and joined a few more tribes so that blogging next round will be more effective.

Put some work into social networking and have improved Goodreads, Google + and Pinterest – Google + lags a little behind in my understanding but more comfortable with it.

A-Z blogs nearly finished. Post on what my theme is here.

Have had some guests on the Red Carpet and, what wasn’t in my goals, tried my hand at beta reading.

As far as my life goals have gone – I have managed to establish a reasonable good division of writing to reality!

Two months now of eating better – three meals a day now – bloods are on target and appetite is reluctantly returning, doctors and nurses pleased with me:) In exchange for feeding myself, I now have more energy and have managed a fair amount of time in the garden – mainly sawing down trees (small:) and pruning/weeding and can walk further. Still need a lot of rest, but I needed that before, so the exercise is a bonus.

Have designated Saturday and/or Sunday as craft days where I can get on with embroidery, art doll making, crazy patchwork etc and now my new delight art journaling.

I had already made my busier social weeks reading, rather than writing, weeks, so all in all I am much more relaxed and less stressed.

I hope everyone else had a good round and will be back next month ready to go again. enjoy the hols :)

Proverbs are the children of experience

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As I have nothing to post on goals, I thought I would use the Wednesday check in to share a few ‘wise’ words! Depending on how you feel about proverbs. I like them – okay the well known ones border on cliche, but even cliche can be good sometimes. They are popular because they offer homely wisdom. They are not invented by the Shakespeares and Dickens of the world . They are observations and quick answers from us ‘common’ folk – hope I didn’t offend just then:)

Proverbs are found in every culture and are very similar in all, just wrapped a little differently, because aren’t human problems pretty well the same the world over. They are often contradictory, quirky, and, if very old, difficult to understand which, is of course exactly like LIFE itself:)

Today I offer a handful for us writers.

          1) Every book must be chewed to get out its juice (Chinese)

2) Like author, like book

3) The pen is mightier than the sword

6) Painters and poets have leave to lie (I reckon that applies to all fiction writers also:)

4) The calf, the goose, the bee:the world is ruled by these three

(quite old – calf = vellum, goose = quill pen – the bee = sealing wax)

But beware

5) Writing destroys the memory

(believed to be the  destruction of oral memory)

Have a good week everyone:)

 

Been missing but, I have been busy – honest:)

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Been missing for a while, no excuses, nothing wrong – just missing. However, I haven’t been idle:)

I have been organizing myself (hard work that!) continuing with changing the way I blog, market, and share. I sawed down a few more tree trunks, weeded quite a bit of the path that wends its way through the garden. Been writing more A-Z posts for April. Finishing a book cover and some beta reading. Busy, busy, time.

So, new blogging regime?

I have lost patience with Facebook refusing to share my posts unless I pay them, in consequence, I am changing the main focus of sharing to Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. I have, I hope got the hang of Pinterest now, and this last week I have spent time wandering around the halls of Google+, popping my head around doorways and checking out ‘circles’. I think I understand how it works much better now and so will spend some time making friends there.

I have reorganized my Triberr links (one can only change the link to a blog site once every 30 days) so, as I am running 4 blogs there, I am changing when I blog on a site. Some, like this one, will get onto Triberr every other month. I have just joined a couple more to do with book reviews and blogs.

Because of this I shall only be hosting other authors(The Red Carpet), their books spots, guest posts etc on alternate months when they will be tweeted by seven of the blogs on Triberr – giving the maximum range of people likely to see the posts.

So alternate month, starting with May,July,September, November. Anyone thinking of book tours, book spots, guest posts etc and would like another place to post during those months get in touch I can book you in:)

I am sharing any of these last, ‘Red Carpets’also with my ‘albertareads’ blog which is attached to Goodreads as well as , now,  Triberr so not just Twitter but Goodreads as well, bonus:)

I’m sure the other sites will want paying at some time, it is the way of the world but, for the moment, they are still free.

I have created boards on Pinterest for blogs, interviews, books etc as well as boards for my publications, memoirs and family history so all my posts will be pinned up there as well, fingers crossed they will be read. I had already been sharing other peoples posts to Google but not mine, as yet, as I get confidence in the place I will post more often.

Google + seems to be more like Facebook groups, like this one, and these are still fun to be on so I will not be leaving Facebook anytime soon. It all sounds complicated and it has taken a bit of working out and planning and exploring but most of that work is over and hopefully I can get back to serious writing again:)

I have begun to write a month’s worth of posts for each change of Triberr,it is in fact easier to draft these one after the other as I can stay in the same mind set.

April is different as the A-Z is an everyday affair and I’ll switch most of my tribes to’ kissafrog‘ for the month.

All this has taken a fair amount of time but I have actually rather enjoyed it:)

I have also been watching a lot of short videos on journaling – learning about sealing paper and such stuff. Spent a day constructing crazy patchwork cover for a journal, with my embroidery group, almost finished – needs a little more actual embroidery on it.

When I was taking back the reading group books to the library in the village I noticed they had Season One of Game of Thrones, on a whim, I booked it out, I have read the first three books of the series and thought I would see how the DVD did. Was pleasantly surprised at how well they kept to the book.

Enjoyed it. Didn’t expect to.

The only snag is we are only allowed a DVD for a week before returning it and Season One is so long! I do not normally spend so much time watching things. Wrecked spare time:)

I have been doing a little editing. Drafting a lot of blogs, sewing, gardening, reading, viewing and in between time I sleep:)

I hope everyone is getting along fine and enjoying the approaching good weather of spring or, if the other side of world,  autumn

Dreams of spring, journals and new rooms: alberta’s week

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Living Stuff

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A good week for me – am smiling, reasonably lively! and dreaming of spring and my new garden. Must get ahead of writing, so time is mine, for the great outdoors – well my garden anyway. Have got some plug plants and bulbs for the shady part of the new garden and have cleared the first part as these are spring flowers and need to be in. Have made a planting plan of the seeds I bought last year and will begin the sowing in the next couple of weeks.

Weather was good so took the opportunity to do some more drastic pruning – end of the garden is inaccessible for a while, as I have left the trunks I sawed down for later processing. I need to get these trees fixed before serious nest building occurs, sawing them up into fire sized pieces can wait a bit. The hazels are almost done, two more,I have forgotten the name of, are done, and at end of week my friend helped again with the tree in the front – enough of that has been taken out now until the autumn. Was difficult as we needed the double handed saw and I had to climb under other branches to get in a good position – am now remembering muscles I had though vanished for ever. Ouch.

I have begun the cover of a journal – ‘tis going to be crazy patchwork – it is going to be for my poetry - I haven’t written very much but I quite like what I have – so will bedeck the lines penned, with colour and doodles.

I cannot draw well, but I doodle all the time – and have been encouraged, with seeing that most of what I doodle has a name – Zentangles – I never knew – isn’t the cyber world a wonderful land?- find all kind of things up here – this was on Pinterest – how I like that place, why did I resist so long. Anyway, I shall bedeck my poetry journal with colour, doodles, lace and what-have-yous. Will report in a couple of weeks. (put the one on depression to one side for the moment as it is too sunny to contemplate:)

I also got the urge to start on the major room change, clearing some of my hundreds of frogs from one place into box for a while and replacing with yarn and fabric from my stash. Some of my clothes have been moved to the emptied drawers – all I have to do as this process continues is try and recall where clothes are – which room – which drawer!

Writing stuff – ROW80

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So how was this author’s week. I have made some more progress on editing. Hoping to put all aside next month for a while and then I will concentrate on blogging in March, the edited work I put away end of Jan might come out at end of March and will see how it looks.

I am planning a major change in my blogging habits this year, not quite there yet, but to put plan in place I need to get a little more ahead.

I had Zoe Brooks on the Red Carpet this last week, I really enjoyed her first book which I finished on Monday - Girl in the Glass.

I read the book group book this week – The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read it – wasn’t keen on her first and have avoided her since but actually enjoyed it. Will have to try some of her others.

Then I settled down to finish Beth Camps first book Standing Stones with no distractions. I don’t read historical that often but the subject was one I knew very little about – oh we had learnt about the Highland clearances at school but not so much really – history all those years ago was pretty much look how great the English were – not! I have learnt most of my history since I left school.

Anyway I enjoyed Beth’s book very much and am looking forward to reading the next (although still a bit nervous about the responsibility of beta reading)

I have joined up for a free webnaire on Monday on how to utilize pinerest more for marketing. My other workshops are progressing, although I find I am slipping behind, a little, on one. Makes such a difference who the lecturer is – some are just so boring to listen to I nod off:( so rude.

Nothing else to report, hope to do more of the same next week.

Here’s wishing everyone all the best:)

A writer’s retreat in South Bohemia- who wouldn’t want it?

Oh to have a writing retreat such as this, to inspire and nurture the imagination – am I allowed to turn a gentle shade of green?

Red carpet at night.

On the Red Carpet today we have a guest post from Zoe Brooks, author of among others The Healer’s Shadow (See yesterday’s post)

IN A CZECH FOREST

 

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I am sitting at a garden table come desk in the corner of the upstairs living room and I am, as you can see, writing. This is where I write all my books.

On the wall in front of me are two Javanese puppets and on the wall to my right is a notice board covered with photos and prints: inspiration. There are two images of foxes, my spirit animal, something I share with Bessie a character in my book The Company of Shadows. I regularly see my fox walking the fields and lanes around here or hear him at night barking in the orchards and forest above the house. Also on the board are photographs of my son and husband of course. In the centre is a picture of my friend and mentor, Hannah. She is standing with a large bag over her shoulder, a fox brown scarf around her neck to match her hair. She has stopped, turned slightly and is saying something to me. We have just come from a walk in the forest, where crowds of purple buttercups stood just proud of last year’s fallen leaves.

Hannah is the reason I am here in this old farmhouse in South Bohemia. After over twenty years exile in London, Hannah returned to her native Prague and then a few years later left the bustle of the Czech Republic’s capital for a gentler life in the beautiful historic town of Cesky Krumlov. I visited regularly from the UK. I recall the excitement of my first visit – I was intoxicated by the atmosphere of Prague just after the Velvet Revolution, by the sudden burst of energy and joy that filled the air as the Czechs took their first breaths of freedom. I was inspired to pick up my pen and write Fool’s Paradise, the long poem for voices which won the EPIC award for best poetry book last year. Hannah was delighted that Prague should have such an immediate impact on my creativity.

 Cesky Krumlov had a softer impact but no less powerful. Local people say that it worms its way into you, that once it has hold of you it demands a toll. Some say that it stands on powerful leylines – many Czechs are great believers in such things. But for me the real draw is not the town with its fairytale castle but the countryside, in particular the Czech forests.

If you take the path out of my village and walk uphill, you will soon find yourself surrounded by trees. Once the forest contained a quarry, carving out the granite that was used to fashion my house and the other houses in the area. Now there are just fallen rocks, some carved ready to be piled onto carts and taken away. It is as if the workers just downed tools one day and never returned. As you walk you may start a deer from its hiding place or hear a boar shovelling the ground in the undergrowth. In the summer you will find wild fruit – raspberries, strawberries, bilberries – tiny explosions of flavour. In the autumn you will find mushrooms pushing up through the loam. My favourites are chanterelles with their scent of apricots – the Czech name for them is foxes.

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My village stands on the edge of the Sumava. The mundane English name for the Sumava is a translation of the German – the Bohemian Forest. The Czech name is so much better – Sumava can be translated as the Rustling. This forest, which extends over the border into Germany, is sometimes called the Green Lung of Europe. For over forty years the Iron Curtain ran through its centre, ironically protecting the animals and plants there from man’s intrusion. This forest is the forest of  the Brothers Grimm and it is easy to see witches and dragons in its undergrowth. In such a forest how is it possible not to be inspired, not to have your imagination buzzing, just like the bumblebees in the forest glades?

Encouraged by Hannah, I bought my farmhouse. It is built into the hillside, like a fox’s lair. Indeed the hill is called just that – Fox’s Lair. It was a shell of a building, but had been much loved. I saw it and I too fell in love. The house had a broken roof and rising damp. The previous owners used to open the cellar door and throw in unwanted bottles, broken plates and other such detritus. When the rubbish had been removed we came across a cement floor, and when the cement floor was removed to reveal granite cobbles a spring began to flow. “It’s symbolic,” said Hannah. “It’s just like you. You’ve been repressing your writing, now it will flow.” She was right.

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I have written six books here, four of which I’ve published. The Forest features in some way in all four. This house is the only place I can write. I arrived here from England a week ago to write book seven and I felt like Judith (the central character in The Healer’s Shadow trilogy): “I took a deep breath and smelled the Forest and baking bread. I was home.”

 

Alberta: Thank you, Zoe, for visiting today – I envy you your retreat, it sounds wonderful – I too fell for Czechoslovakia (as it was called) way back in the distant past

ZOE BROOKS

 Zoe

When Zoe was a little girl her inventor father taught her to “look at things another way”, while her mother taught her to see dragons in the shapes of natural things. Zoe is still putting into practice what she was taught.

In 2012 Zoe published her first novel, Girl in the Glass (the first book in The Healer’s Shadow trilogy). Four books have followed, including the rest of the trilogy and the award-winning poetry book Fool’s Paradise.

Zoe aims to write popular books that have complex characters and themes that get under the reader’s skin. She finds her experience of working with people on the edge of society an inspiration for her fiction.

Zoe uses magic realism in her writing and has a magic realism blog, where she reviews a magic realism book a week: http://magic-realism-books.blogspot.com. She also administers the Magic Realism Books Facebook group.

More about Zoe can be found on

·         her Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/zoebrooks

·         her blog: http://zoebrooks.blogspot.com

·         Twitter http://twitter.com/ZoeBrooks2

·         Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ZoeBrooksAuthor

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Zoe Brooks and The Healer’s Shadow Trilogy

I am welcoming Zoe Brooks on the Red Carpet today and tomorrow;  today her trilogy of books The Healer’s Shadow, tomorrow a guest post on the beautiful retreat she has for writing.

Red carpet at night.

I fell in love with the cover of the first book and the contents didn’t disappoint. I am now into the second:)

THE HEALER’S SHADOW TRILOGY

by Zoe Brooks

 

The trilogy follows the life of Judith, a traditional healer in a world not so dissimilar to our own, from her youth (Girl in the Glass) through her self-education in healing and love (Love of Shadows) to maturity when at last she is able to face both her past and what she could be (The Company of Shadows).

Girl in the Glass

Orphaned at the age of 10 in circumstances that she refuses to explain, Anya grows up trapped in the house of her abusive aunt where she and Eva, her Shadow, are treated as slaves. As her aunt tries to break her and the punishments become increasingly life-threatening, Anya struggles to find  affection and self-esteem. When the inevitable showdown arrives, where will Anya find the strength to survive and escape? And if she does escape, what then? An arduous walk across an unforgiving desert to a city where an even worse danger lies.

Love of Shadows

 

In the city of Pharsis traditional women healers are banned from practising and the penalty for breaking the law is death by hanging. After being arrested and interrogated twice Judith is careful to avoid suspicion, but then scarlet fever breaks over the city like a poisonous wave, leaving in its wake the small corpses of children. What will the young healer do?

Company of Shadows

Judith may have stopped being a healer, but she has a loving husband, two boys and a successful business as a perfume maker. She’s content. So why does she keep having nightmares about falling?When an accident throws her life in turmoil, she is forced to leave her home and seek the help of strangers. She must face her darkest fears and learn how to fall. She meets with two women she has long avoided and meets others she thought she had lost. But most importantly she finds herself.


ZOE BROOKS

 Zoe

When Zoe was a little girl her inventor father taught her to “look at things another way”, while her mother taught her to see dragons in the shapes of natural things. Zoe is still putting into practice what she was taught.

In 2012 Zoe published her first novel, Girl in the Glass (the first book in The Healer’s Shadow trilogy). Four books have followed, including the rest of the trilogy and the award-winning poetry book Fool’s Paradise.

Zoe aims to write popular books that have complex characters and themes that get under the reader’s skin. She finds her experience of working with people on the edge of society an inspiration for her fiction.

Zoe uses magic realism in her writing and has a magic realism blog, where she reviews a magic realism book a week: http://magic-realism-books.blogspot.com. She also administers the Magic Realism Books Facebook group.

More about Zoe can be found on

·         her Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/zoebrooks

·         her blog: http://zoebrooks.blogspot.com

·         Twitter http://twitter.com/ZoeBrooks2

·         Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/ZoeBrooksAuthor

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