When Writing Is Hard

Over Christmas I broke my right wrist rather badly. Emergency surgery and a metal plate  later, I am unable to type with both hands. So, my writing has suffered a lot. I find it slow to type with my left hand and by the time I have written the word in my head, I’ve forgotten the rest of them. Yes, I tried dictation, but it’s not for me. I find my muse by staring at a blank page and letting the words fall from my fingertips.

Still, this glitch is giving me the time to do research for a new genre I wan to try out, psychological crime thriller. I’m rather enjoying discovering about how to manipulate people to get them to do your bidding for evil purposes. Also, I am editing and getting ideas together for more stories, so it’s not all doom and gloom. I just need to bide my time, let my wrist heal and get back to the job of writing when I’m better.

purple cast

sqiud hand q

Squid hand haiku

Dark hides broken bones

Of finger cephalopod

No ink to write with

In the mean time, here is a short video and Haiku in honour of my injury.

Link to video:

https://youtu.be/A6M6_aUWvqs

If you want to know more about my work, go to my website: 

https://www.oddlybooks.com

Or visit my Amazon Author page:

Author.to/BooksonAmazon

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Do we give readers what marketers say they want, or what we want to write?

Over the past year or so I have paid for a number of marketing courses to help me sell my books. Unfortunately, when I signed up I didn’t realise that when they promised that I would sell tons of books if I followed their plan, that the books they were talking about wouldn’t be mine.

What do you mean? I hear you say.

Well, I mean, that these courses are designed to help you sell books that sell, which may not necessarily be your books. They cater for genre pulp fiction or non-fiction self-help type books. If you don’t write stuff like that, then from my experience, you won’t sell that many books. If you  follow the training in all of these authorpreneurral type courses where a few writers make millions out of selling novella style crime/mystery/whodunnit stories, then you will succeed. Especially if you are prepared to give most of your books away. Literature in general is suffering because of this influx of junk food style prose, in my opinion.

Readers don’t always want safe, they want different. Give it to them – please!

I don’t want to write like everyone else.

My motivation for writing does not come from the desire to make money, it comes from the desire to write for the thrill, the fun, the wonder of the written word. I am passionate about my writing. I laugh, cry, hurt when I write. I feel exhausted sometimes after I have spent a few hours struggling with sentences that won’t work, or characters that say things like, ‘Paul, we’ve done it!’ Ah! Done what? Now I have to figure out what they’ve done. It’s called imagination and you won’t find that in any course.

So, writers, not authors, writers – write from the heart, the gut, the soul – not from the bank account.

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Here is a wonderful poem by Charles Bukowski which sums up my rant beautifully.

So You Want To Be A Writer

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

 

If you would like to know more about my work, please visit my website  Oddly Books:

http://www.oddlybooks.com

 

Want Something Different To Read For Mother’s Day?

Firstly, I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there.

spring

I am all for celebrating the joy  and hard work of motherhood. I think it is a wonderful idea to have a special day to say thanks, but I do get a bit fed up with all the over-the-top sugary sentimentality that the event conjures up.

So, as an antidote, let me share my Sestina – Echo– with you all. It may be a little dark, but it does celebrate the relationship between a mother and daughter.

Sestina – Echo

b&W Tulip

Echo

In blackness, Mother reaches for the light

switch, but the bulb has blown. There’s a candle

under her pillow, ready for a time

like this – when the darkness grips. A cut

on her arm has festered and now the skin

appears red and taught; an angry mark.

She tries to rub it away, but the mark

won’t go. Mother cowers, whispers, ‘No light.’

Calls out, ‘Mary, quick.’ Then picks at the skin

around the wound. Mother lifts the candle

rubs it on the dirty scratch. Mary says, ‘Cut

again?’ Then sets the wick on fire. One time

she found Mother naked, another time

crouched in the corner making a mark,

a sign to her daughter. A broken nail cut

her arm, left a blood trail that soaked up light.

Mary saw it flow and seep into the candle

whose flame highlighted Mother’s aged skin

hanging in folds. Mary peers at her own skin.

But the dimness hides the truth; that at some time

gravity will win. Mary takes the candle.

Sees a rough carving of a heart-shaped mark.

Did Mother make this? A bird calls as light

shines through the window. It’s enough to cut

into the gloom they stand in, and to cut

away the chill. It shines upon the skin

they share, so similar in this half-light.

Mary shudders at the thought that in time

her fate will be to scratch out such a mark

and wear her body half melted like candle

wax. A strand of hair has stuck to the candle.

She pulls it off revealing a perfect scar, a cut

embedded. With her thumb she makes a mark

like Mother made, leaving some of her skin

behind. They smile at the symmetry; how time

has crept up behind them and how the light

transformed the candle wax into a fresh skin

to lay across the cut, giving it time

to heal the mark, slowly fading in the light.

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If you enjoyed this poem, you might like to read more unusual and darkly inspiration stories to be found in my anthology – Glimmer and other stories.

On the Eighth Day:

“He wriggled and pushed the bedclothes down. It was the first time I had seen him in the flesh.  His skin was white, and smooth as the skin on warm milk.

Never knew a man could feel so soft. More used to rough hands grabbing, not knowing what they touched.

He knew.

At least, I hoped so. Hard to tell. Been a while since I was in the company of a male.”

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‘The subjects range from humour to horror and supernatural romance to repressed creativity – they all have an underlying oddness about them which is quite refreshing. Recommended for those who enjoy something a bit out of the ordinary.’

‘Glimmer and other stories’ is a miniature treasure chest of jewels. I absolutely loved these short stories. As I was reading, I fell into a trance of adjectival excess… they were mesmerising, masterful, original, eloquent, lyrical, clever…’

On Offer at Amazon:

US:  http://amzn.to/239YbRG

UK: http://amzn.to/1n6Hqpu

 

Life-O-Suction Guest Post by Queen of Spades

It gives me great pleasure to present to you a very talented poetry and prose writer – Queen of Spades.

I could go on and on about her work and who she is, but I think Queen does a fabulous job of doing that herself.

So, take it away Queen of Spades!!!

Shoebox and Scrapbook

 

For those moments when my thoughts are at their most random, the end results can be a picture or a poem. Some are for a studio audience and others are for the bottom of a fancy shoebox.

Today I’d like to share some of my random pictures, along with a bit of backdrop surrounding them.

Nikki.Image.1

If I’m not mistaken it was around July—close to the time where America celebrates its independence. I was suffering from a bit of massive cabin fever, dying to get out but wanting to feel pretty. Random my design became with the eyes and that was the end result.

A few little lines were inside my head. I jotted them down on a piece of receipt paper that was left in my car.

Funny how we are always celebrating freedom
but more often than not,
we’d rather be Free to be Dumb
that chain ourselves to Knowledge.
If those are the only choices I have,
let me be Intelligence’s slave
and my Emancipation never be paid
with acres or a mule.

There was more but I got busy. With different errands here and there. Once those were completed and I made it back home, I tried to recapture that spirit. Unfortunately, it was gone and so was the spark that began the poem.

Nikki.Image.2

This is just outside of my house, prior to the time change—when one could still see a light sky at around 8 at night. It was the hue of the sky more than anything: varying shades of purple with the yellow here and there.

Lines from that scene … I still have not deciphered what they mean or if they will appear anywhere beyond this guest post.

These branches will never break away. How can they when the roots are in disarray? They will never let her defy gravity to run her fingers through the clouds—too slow for solace, too fast for substance.

Nikki.Image.3

I wanted to zoom in on the fantastic green of the tree, making it the focal point more so than the boat. I think that was accomplished. It was one of the happenstances where my mind was empty—a peace obtained not by mediation but just existed. Those are few and far in between for me, so when they come I cherish them.

Nikki.Image.4

 

Man I can’t feel my face
not because I’ll mess up the mascara
but because I’m still not certain
this is really my face.

Yes, I am a creature of habit but the door has been opened to experimenting. Not too long ago, I went to a department store to have a professional makeover. There are so many things in the world of makeup I didn’t know existed. Brow primer? Brow wax? Lip primer? Different brushes, different techniques. My jaw would have been dropped the whole time, if I didn’t have to keep still for the makeup artist to put product on me. The end result placed a lot of emphasis on my brows and eyes while downplaying my lips. If one looks closely, there’s even a bit of blush on my cheeks which I tend not to do. When I imagine blush, I think of my grandma who would put a rouge dot on each side of her face. So you can understand why blush equaled bolt.

I have not dared to look that grand again recently but I have marked a lot of Beauty Tips 101 You Tube videos as “Watch Later”.

Nikki.Image.5

It’s so easy to put on makeup
and get many likes and shares
but Social Media drowns into whispers, then quiet
if there is something significant
or if one is bare.

A day in my life … after I’m off my day job or a day I’m not working. I do a “howdidya” do—my way of describing an updo obtained without the use of Bobbi pins. First, having long Earth locs can be quite heavy and breaks are needed from time to time to get them off my neck or away from my face. Second, I’m not a fan of Bobbi pins. I can’t sleep in them and if they are in my head for too long, I get the “itchies” and start yanking them out anyway. I’m saving the pins the rejection; they should be thanking me!

In the backdrop are images I use as a bit of a motivational collage, if you will. I take advantage of the fact that the slope of the wall is actually the roof of the house. Besides, it is challenging to hang framed pictures with a strong possibility that they would fall. Cleaning up bits of glass is not my favorite thing.

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For all of my writes that made it to publication, you can check them out at the following retailers:

Amazon Author Page

Smashwords (where you can grab some of my freebies)

and

Feel free to network with me via

Website

Facebook Author Page

Google Author Page

Twitter @authorqspades

Haikus for Boris the Feral Cat – in honour of National Black Cat Day

boris up closishSince it is National Black Cat Day, I thought that I would re-blog this post relating the story of a plucky feral cat we named Boris. He has overcome so much and is now a loving and talkative feline that loves to play and be cuddled.

boris-2 copy

About a year ago a black feral tomcat came into our garden and decided to stay. He would come and go and catch the rats that plagued us. So, to thank him we began to give him some food. Winter came along and he shivered in the cold. We built him a kennel and he kept as warm as he could. Gradually over the months he became quite friendly and allowed us to pet him. One day he didn’t turn up. Not that unusual, especially in the warmer months, he would go off for a few days at a time, return famished and sleep for a while before going away again. This time he was missing for a week. Then we saw him squatting by the place we fed him. He stood and limped over to us. He had been in a terrible accident. His back legs were badly injured, one was very swollen and his tail had been stripped of all its fur.


            IMG_2899      boris-4 copy  IMG_2897

He was thin and clearly in a lot of pain. We nursed him as best we could and gradually he recovered. During the course of his recovery, he became the most loving and affectionate cat I have ever known. Now, Boris, as we called him, is our shadow and follows us everywhere when we go outside. He is so adorable and very talkative. He loves to be cuddled and plays with various toys our other cats have long forgotten about. He will never be able to join us indoors, because we have several other felines that would object strongly, but he is welcome to be our outside cat and we will continue to make sure he is warm and well fed. To celebrate his return to health, I decided to do some slow synch flash photographs of Boris at play, and write some Haikus to go along with the pictures. I have fiddled with the photographs to try and make them look more like paintings or pastel art works.

So, here’s to Boris. One hell of a cat!! Boris blue

From out of the blue

Whiskers and claws, swipe at the

Mouse unused to play

Boris jumping

Feral leaves, feral

Cat, both fall and tumble in

Autumn’s blustering

Boris eyes Beyond the greyness

Red. A slash of hue amidst

The colourless day

Boris wooly bully

They become circle

For one brief moment and then

Split like a seedpod

Boris times two

He wanders solo

Shrugging off the shoulder ghost

His Doppelganger

Boris most of him

Half in the picture

Long white nails scratch at the air

Summer leaves behind  

Happy National Black Cat Day to Boris and all the other black cats in the world!!

boris handsome   boris narrow eyes  Boris beautiful

Versatile Blogger Award

versatile-blogger

 

I am very honoured to be nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award.

Many thanks to Karen Einsel for nominating me.

You can check out her wonderful post here: http://karensdifferentcorners.wordpress.com/

So, here are the rules for the Versatile Blogger Award – kindly given to me by Karen:

Thank the person who nominated you. In my case it was Karen.

Include a link to their blog, as I have done above.

Nominate 15 bloggers you think deserve the title Versatile Blogger. Mine are at the end of this post.

Tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself. And that’s it!!

Okay then – 7 things about me:

I do not enjoy talking about myself. I never know what to say and often come across as very silly indeed. I suppose being an actor for so many years was a wonderful way of hiding behind a character, but now that I am an author, I get asked all sorts of questions about ‘who I am’. Maybe I just don’t know.

storm-me cu

 

I experiment with the visual image and the written word. I love to take photographs of insects, especially in close up and macro. I like the patterns and textures of insects they are so varied and colourful. I find beauty in spiders and beetles and things that make most people go Yeuk!

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sacophage-2                                                sacophage

I am very disorganised. I have papers strewn all over my desk and floor in my room. Despite having shelves put up by my husband to store my files and folders, I still throw stuff around. Important things I do try to keep in order.

 

I use food to make poetry. I make soup out of nettles. It is really quite delicious. Nettles are full of good things, such as iron and potassium and other minerals. When asked what it tastes like, I can only say, “Green.”

spaghetti haiku-10

 

I like to stand outside and look at the sky. I especially enjoy watching thunderstorms. Where I live in the countryside, we have terrific storms with lots of thrilling lightening and booming thunder.

sunset-5

I have lots of pyjamas. I get at least two pairs every Christmas. I wear them after I have a bath in the evening and would wear them outside; only I think people would take exception to my dress sense – or lack of it. Especially since I work in schools a lot.

 

I am always rescuing animals. Mice, voles, rats, birds, snakes, insects, and of course cats. I have lots of felines and can’t imagine my life without a cat or six.

kimi

boris-2 copy

 

And here is my list of bloggers:

http://themirrorobscura.wordpress.com/

http://janedougherty.wordpress.com/

http://sfoxwriting.com/

http://russelrayphotos2.com/

http://jwpatten.wordpress.com/

http://jenningswright.wordpress.com/

http://donschlising.com/

http://photonatureblog.com/author/photonatureblog/

http://ryan.boren.me/author/ryan/

http://steviet3.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/my-fifth-novel-no-sex-please-im-menopausal-is-publi

http://terraverum.wordpress.com/

http://theopeningsentence.wordpress.com/

http://aewallaceblog.wordpress.com/

http://guyaldous.wordpress.com/about/

http://deidraalexander.com/

Presenting: The Confessional

Hi my name is Queen and I have a few confessions to make.

 

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First off before I even indulged in writing or sketching I was a fan of singing. This was the biggest indicator to the world around that I was relatively happy. I even sung in the choir during my middle school and junior high years. Now many years later I reserve my singing for the shower or when I’m doing my chores at home but I have a wonderful appreciation for people who can “sing with their chest”.

 

Excerpt from Inside of Me

I always feel
that inside of me,

there’s a song
waiting to come out.
Learning about different notes
makes me smile.
Memorizing little songs
makes me feel worthwhile.

 

brokenheart

 

As far as relationships I’ve been in some doozies! I bet all of us have some stories to tell about the wacky things we do for love. Heck, I even had a blueprint drawn up! Yet even the best laid plans go awry like shown in Dreams of Fog(excerpt):

 

I envisioned myself

styling and profiling

with the finest of things!

 

Engaged by 26,

married by 28,

and having my tubes tied by 35!

 

Yes, everything was great!

 

But my dreams were not to be.

 

Reality clapped next to my ears,

reminding me of the shambles

that is my life.

 

surreal

 

I had to find a way to get back on track. One way of doing that was addressing my fear and taking steps to conquer it. Now I’m not advocating violence by any means but it makes me smile how Courage, Faith and Love took care of business in Loss of Fear (excerpt):

 

One night,

as the sandman held me,

Fear heard a sound—

a moving about,

and Fear, being the paranoid

Ninny She was

arose from Her slumber

to see what it was all about.

 

And from behind,

Fear was nabbed

and She tried to scream,

but I didn’t hear Her,

immersed in my own dreams.

 

Courage cut off Fear’s oxygen.

Faith tied Her up.

Love picked Her up and quietly carted Her away

so as not to cause too much fuss.

 

Once Fear mysteriously (or not) disappeared, I had to find my way to Happiness. I was sprinting after it tenaciously but just kept missing the mark. But sometimes you just have to let things come to you:

imageedit_12_7561236523

 

Butterfly

I see a butterfly

I like to call Happiness

sitting upon

a yellow rose petal.

I crouch low in the grass,

anticipating capture.

When I am almost near the flower,

it decides to fly away.

 

I see a butterfly

I like to call Happiness

sitting upon

my window sill while I’m cleaning.

My movements become slow,

steadily deliberate.

I almost touch its’ feet

when it’s on its’ way again.

 

I see a butterfly

I like to call Happiness

sitting upon

the leaves of a tree,

but this time, I ignore it

and proceed to my writings,

but this time around,

it takes a seat on my knee.

 

Could this possibly mean

that Happiness is also

meant for me?

 

And as if it sensed my thought,

it again decided to flee.

 

But this time, I’m not worried.

It’ll come back,

eventually.

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For a limited time, get it NOW for $1 at AMAZON.COM !

 

On Smashwords (please enter code QK82Q upon checkout):

Reflections of Soul

For those who love paperbacks, there will be a $2.00 discount off the title via CreateSpace. Please enter code YA64DN9T upon checkout.

 Thanks to Queen of Spades for this wonderful insight into her life and thoughts.

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