Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Books to include in a time capsule and why

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews was an interesting one. Should I choose current books that would showcase recent times, or books from a wider range because they're classics?

In the end, I went with the classics. Well, some of them anyway.

I think it would be vital to preserve Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters for posterity. In the case of Jane Austen, I chose "Emma". I know many people prefer "Pride and Prejudice", but I've always found the wordplay and style of "Emma" to be more up my street.

As for the Brontes, I'm going to take a more unusual route and say I would preserve "Wuthering Heights" and "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall". Okay, I might agree to "Jane Eyre" at a push, but I personally have always preferred Anne and Emily over Charlotte.

And finally? It may be undeserved, but I'd add my own "Photograph" in there. It's my favourite, and probably the only chance I'd get at being remembered past my own lifetime.

So what would you include?

Monday, 6 September 2021

What I do to recharge

 After taking a break last week, since I never cook, I thought I'd put in for this topic from Long and Short Reviews. During lockdown and as we come out it's been important to find things to do to recharge, particularly when trying to switch off after working from home all day. So what do I do?

The first thing I do is read. A lot. Not just fiction, although I usually have at least three books on the go at any one time. I'm fascinated by America, so at the moment I'm reading books on American history, including one about the vice-presidents of America.

I also love to see films and plays. Now that we're allowed back out I've been going to the cinema and theatre - I seriously missed that - but I did a lot of streaming during lockdown too. The Globe had a lot of plays on YouTube, as did the National Theatre.

And now we're allowed out...

Bottomless brunches. What it involves depends on the restaurant, but generally it's a brunch dish plus unlimited prosecco, beer, cocktails or whatever else they specialise in. I've become addicted to them.

So what do you do to recharge?

Monday, 23 August 2021

Book I wish they'd make into a movie or TV series

 This topic from Long and Short Reviews took a bit of consideration, as a lot of the books I read were chosen because I saw and liked the film. As for TV series, I don't really watch them. However, I read two books recently which I think would be interesting to show on film.

As a movie, I would say Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. Set in a dystopian future where near-human robots are kept as companions, this is the story of Klara and the secret of the family she goes to live with. It's a slow burn, but would make for an interesting and thought-provoking film.

As a TV series, I recently read All Girls by Emily Layden, which is a series of interconnected vignettes set at a girls' boarding school, all leading up to a shocking climax. The episodic format of the story, each chapter following a different character, would work well in a TV series. As it's a fairly new release, there's still time for someone to pick it up.

So what would you like to see as a movie or TV series?

Monday, 16 August 2021

One task I wish I never had to do again

 I had a few ideas for this topic from Long and Short Reviews, and came up with one that I am frequently faced with as a writer - writing a synopsis.

A lot of writers will tell you they hate this part of the process. Condensing your work down to a page of text, trying to establish what best to include to emphasise the right plot points and depict your characters properly. If you get it wrong it can affect whether or not your story is accepted - I had to redo my synopsis of The Hand He Dealt after a publisher I'd submitted to rejected it on the grounds that it didn't sound like a love story, which obviously meant I'd screwed up somewhere.

I've found it slightly easier with shorter stories but even then it's frequently a nightmare. My last short Spiritwalker had so many plotlines I thought I would never get it onto one page.

And, as I've nearly finished my new short Hyperventilating, I'll have this to do again before long. It's an unavoidable part of submission, unfortunately.

So what task do you wish you never had to do again?

Monday, 9 August 2021

My bad habits

 From a nice easy topic from Long and Short Reviews - meeting my pets - to a more difficult one. My bad habits. I can think of two specific ones, partially because my husband likes to tell me one of them, and partially because I recently did a quiz at work that brought out the other one.

The one that my husband notices? Being untidy. I grew up in a messy house - my mother hated to clean and my father only cared about the garden - so I tend not to see mess and will happily walk past it. Couple this with our two cats who like to leave fur everywhere and carry socks around the house (I suppose it's better than them bringing us dead birds) and it's a nightmare.

The one that work brought out? I hate, absolutely hate, asking for help. I grew out of this a little when I started my current job as it had a very steep learning curve requiring us to ask for help all the time, but now that I'm past that stage, I'm back to hating doing it. It's something I really need to get over because, as I often discovered, if you don't ask for help then people assume you never need it and then when you do need it, nobody knows what to do.

So what are your bad habits?

Monday, 2 August 2021

Meet my pets

 At last, a topic from Long and Short Reviews that's nice and easy. Let's face it, a pet owner can talk about their pets all day, and I am no exception. And I've got plenty of photos; it's just a matter of choosing the best ones.

In the beginning there was Tigger, an RSPCA rescue who loved his food and liked sitting in boxes.

After Tigger sadly passed away, we decided to get a bonded pair. The RSPCA wouldn't touch us as we didn't have a garden at the time, so we went to Cats Protection and found a brother and sister duo who suited us perfectly.

This is Spot.

"He's my big handsome boy," his foster owner told us, and we had to agree. He's friendly, adventurous (he likes to roam the neighbourhood) and very protective of his sister.

This is Dash.

"She's a miserable cow," was her foster owner's comment, and she had a point. No matter where you are or what you're doing, Dash will be sitting there silently judging you. Fortunately she's also adorable, as long as you don't do silly things like stroke her for too long, then she'll have your arm off.

We wouldn't be without them, and I think they'd agree, even if they mostly tolerate us.

I'm very much looking forward to meeting everyone else's pets!

Monday, 26 July 2021

Movie that could be about me

 Okay, I'm going to admit I cheated with this one, because I honestly couldn't think of a TV show, book or film that could be about me. There have been quite a few that resonated with me in parts, but none that I could point to and say "That's so like my life!" So I picked a character from one of my books and the film I used as inspiration. It does, at least, have a small connection to me as it's about my imagination.

The film is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and the character is Azure Wilder.

Some time after I watched this film, which is one of my favourites, I had a dream about two sisters (I somehow managed to play both in the dream - funny how that works). One sister had visited the chocolate factory and never came out, the other was left wondering what was inside this magical place and wishing for her to come back. 

I reworked this into a central part of the plot of Photograph

Tara and Azure, as children, have often visited the local theme park owned by celebrity Liam Wilder and Tara is obsessed with him, but as an adult Azure wins a competition to fly to the American branch of the theme park and meet him - and never returns, marrying him instead. The turmoil this creates in their relationship is the driving force behind the plot.

So do you have a TV show, book or film which could be about you?