Light and writing – part one – Inspiration

Let there be light. Why? Because without it nearly all life on this planet would cease to exist. It heats, illuminates, nourishes and gives life. It also inspires works of art. As a writer, I can use light in many forms, natural, supernatural and artificial to enhance my narrative. As a photographer, well, I wouldn’t be able to take photographs without it.

In this series about light, I will be dealing with the many forms it takes. From the glowing backsides of fireflies to the many ways human beings have found to illuminate the darkness.

Nature is amazing. We humans are, for the most part, in awe of it and have been ever since we crawled out of the primal ooze. Nothing stirs the soul quite so much as a beautiful sunset, a sunrise, a mass of twinkling stars, or the constant glow of the moon.

purple sunsetThe sun gives us light and warmth, stars make us wonder about far off worlds, the moon illuminates our darkness with its wide-eyed face looking down on us like a distant mother watching her children. No wonder creative minds have used light as inspiration.

super moon

Many writers have used light to express happiness, love, hope, expectation and joy. Just listen to some songs, the word ‘light’ comes up quite often. ‘Light my fire‘ The Doors. ‘You lIght up My Life’ Debbie Boone. ‘Ray of Light’ Madonna. ‘Shadows and Light‘ Joni Mitchel, to name but a few. The same is true of literature: ‘Northern Lights‘ PhillipPullman. ‘The Light that Failed’ Rudjard Kipling. ‘Where the Light Last and other stories‘ Agatha Christie.

In my short story Glimmer, the protagonist, a young man resisting the drugs he is given to keep him ‘sane’, retreats into his own world and listens  for the voices that come from the stars.

The world will not end because I close my eyes. The sun will still shine, so too the stars. Yet the darkness behind my drooped lids tells me otherwise. I see a macrocosm made up of swirling silhouettes and geometric shapes that aren’t strange to me at all. This is where I live now, in x-ray blackness. There is peace in this non-colour.”

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H89AN1M

Watch out for Part two in the series: Religion and Light.

For more information about my work please visit my website: 

www.oddlybooks

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Do you have a special place to write?

As I was typing away on my new project yesterday, it occurred to me that I need certain requirements to enable me to think, create and write. Not much to be honest, but I do have  my special place to help me channel my inspiration. I have a comfy chair with cushions, gentle lighting from the beautiful leaded light windows my husband, Martin made and my shelf of reference books ready to hand. When all that is in place I can happily delve into my fantasy world for hours.

Here is a photo of my ‘workstation’.

nikkis-workstation

Do any other authors out there have their special writing places? If so, I’d love to hear from you. If you have a picture, that would be even better.

I am currently working on a series of stories to complement my Sci-fi/Dystopian/Action Adventure books The Song of Forgetfulness.

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The idea came from several readers who contacted me after reading the books wanting to know more about the history of the world I have created. So, I thought, okay, why not?

Can of worms!

I needed to do a lot of research to make my history credible. So it has taken longer than I anticipated to write this prequel of sorts. In fact, I’m nowhere near done, but I have finished the first part, so that’s something.

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Here is a snippet from part two of The Chronicles of Mayer – out soon!

One weatherless night when quietness surrounded us and I lay snuggled against Paul, a sound awoke me. I thought at first it was just more thunder. But the thumping, rumbling noise was not coming from the sky. It was not the air echoing off a lightning bolt, but the thudding of many feet in unison. I rolled away from Paul’s sleep-twitching body and sat up. Glancing at the wet earth I noticed a puddle ripple. The cows called out. Paul stirred and Arjuna knelt beside me.

‘I was foraging for mushrooms and saw tiny lights. I climbed the branches of a tree and as the dark sky brightened to herald a new day, I saw them. Soldiers.’

‘How many.’ Fully awake, Paul stood. ‘Do they carry weapons?’

‘Guns. Some drag carts. They are coming this way.’

I rubbed my sleep-encrusted eyes. ‘That does not make sense. To travel towards the flooding? Why?

A single gunshot ricocheted through the forest. All that were in slumber jumped to their feet. Cries of puzzlement were met with a loud honking as if a nest of geese had been disturbed. Then a voice, deep and full of authority boomed out. ‘Stay perfectly still and you will not be harmed.’

If you would like more information about my books please do visit my website – Oddly Books.

www.oddlybooks.com

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Could this actually happen? Meet Political Dystopian author T.T. Michael

Today I would like to introduce T.T. Michael the author of  Fire War a Dystopian Political Thriller series. Set in the not so distant future, 2070’s, these books deal with terrorism, political intrigue, loyalty, ethics, freedom and so much more!

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So, take it away T.T. Michael

me

Who are you and what do you do?

I am a finance manager for a Toyota dealer in Illinois. I am also the writer of the Fire War Trilogy. 3 books that use today’s issues but it is set in the not too distant future.

What is your book about?

Fire War shows a future that could very well happen if we let it. What would you give up for total security? In my books the USA, Canada, and Mexico join together to make the United Continental States of America or U.C.S.A. They shut down the borders and bring all troops back to let the rest of the world fend for themselves.

 Why did you choose to write your book?

I’ve heard so many people suggest we build a wall between USA and Mexico so I took it a little further than that. I wrote it because I wanted to show a “Be careful what you wish for.” Scenario.

Who or what was the inspiration behind it?

My inspiration is our world today. The people, the governments, and all the terrorist attacks lately.

What kind of research did you?

I didn’t need to do research because really this is 100% fiction. (I hope so anyway). I just watch the world and see what’s happening.

What was the biggest challenge in writing the book?

Time. I work a lot of hours sometimes as much as 60-70 hours a week and to find time to write one book was challenging enough but I wrote 3 inside one year. I was that passionate about this story!

What was the best part of writing your book?

I loved watching the story unfold. I started out with outlines but by the time I was done with the first chapters the story took on a life of its own and practically wrote itself.

What, if anything, have you learned from writing your book?

I learned a lot about people and what they think about current events. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that they see this future as a real possibility and they’re scared!

Do you have any advice to give authors who wish to self-publish?

Write what you love. Write it for you because if you write for an audience you’ll never find one. If you write what you think and what you love, you’ll always be successful.

Do you have a favourite author? If so, what is it about their work that you like?

I love the Harry Potter books and the Hunger Games books. Those books created their own worlds that the main characters lived in. I would like to think that I did the same with my main character.

What are your future writing plans?

I am currently writing a TV treatment for the Fire War books. I’ve gotten interest from a producer in Hollywood that wants to make this a TV show and we are currently working together on putting that into motion.

Thank you T.T. Michael. If you want to know more about the author and his books please visit his website www.firewarbooks.com and/or go to the review sites listed below:

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/tt-michael/fire-war/

https://www.forewordreviews.com/reviews/fire-war/

https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/fire-war

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 You can purchase the Fire War trilogy below:

Amazon: 

https://www.amazon.com/Fire-War-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B015GDR6E8

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fire-war-t-t-michael/1122744006?ean=2940157847494

 

Audio Book:

http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Fire-War-Audiobook/B018ERWWHY/ref=a_search_c4_1_7_srTtl?qid=1470155401&sr=1-7

 

Suffolk Author Spotlight – Ann Elliot

Today I would like to welcome fellow Suffolk author Ann Elliot. She is going to be selling her book – Too Many Tenors – on Amazon for only £0.99 $0.99 from 10th August!!!

Here is Ann’s writing career to date:

Previous publications with Wensum Wordsmiths: Mischief and Mayhem Norwich 1798 (1998) and Time and Time Again (2000). For many years I edited the Eastern Early Music Forum Newsletter and contributed concert reviews for the East Anglian Daily Times. In 2009, I was in the top 5 of This Morning ITV’s short story competition, and was awarded a silver salver ‘for achievement’ at the Winchester Writers’ Conference. My first novel, A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, is as yet unpublished.

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Who are you and what do you do? 

My name is Ann Elliott – a good literary name. I have a degree in English, a diploma in recorder playing, a teaching background. I have rental income, so can afford to stay at home to be creative. My interests are musical and literary and I enjoy wild life and walking.

 What is your book about?

 ‘Too Many Tenors’ is about conflicting personal and professional rivalries within the closed circles of a cathedral choir and a chamber choir.

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Musical rivalry, elopements, swapping of partners and defections undermine the stability of St Cecilia Singers. Alison, anticipating perfect marriage, is blind to her husband’s inadequacies and roving eye. Rick is the arch-perpetrator of most of these sins against greater good of the community and his wife – he elopes with a fat soprano when she announces her pregnancy. Hitherto she had blamed Yarchester Cathedral choir’s regime for their deteriorating relationship. Conductor Gray leaves both choirs to preserve his marriage, bequeathing ‘Singers’ to Rick.  Rick and Singers fall apart. Two ladies later, Alison realises she’s more traumatised by her friend’s betrayal than her husband’s desertion, and accepts her marriage is over. With disruptive influences purged, a new conductor restores harmony to Singers, though Alison is not fully able to move on till reminiscences at a choir reunion finally puts her guilt to rest and allow her to put the past into proportion.

Why did you choose to write your book?

 I have always been involved in choral singing – the book has some autobiographical elements – and  I wanted to write about the knock on effects of relationship tangles on the greater good of the community.

Over the years I have written many short stories, and decided to publish them as a group. Some are new, some updated, some historical.

Who or what was the inspiration behind it?

Personal experience. Fascination with the every day stories of small townsfolk.

What kind of research did you?

As it is set in in the late 60s onward, I had to check every detail of contemporary and cathedral life to make it authentic, and also pop in a few ‘historical’ reference to maintain the sense of period.

I had to research as above for stories set some time ago, and also Suffolk dialect for a few of the stories.

What was the biggest challenge in writing the book?

   Time management.

What was the best part of writing your book?

Writing in full swing, with no distractions

What, if anything, have you learned from writing your book?

The need to revise, cut, re-evaluate, structure, and persist.

Do you have any advice to give authors who wish to self-publish?

Don’t give up, get on with it, don’t procrastinate

Do you have a favourite author? If so, what is it about their work that you like?

Jane Austen. Portrayal of human nature on small canvass, with humour and pragmatism . She wrote QUOTE MINIATURE

What are your future writing plans?

To finish and publish short stories ASAP

 ‘That’s Little Baddenham – Everyday tales of a small market town’  is nearing completion. It is a collection of short stories, contemporary and older, all connected to a small country town very like Framlingham.

Then resume Those Pollok Girls, a family saga begun on UEA ‘Constructing a Novel ‘course.  (2012) This is based loosely on my family history, and I have just been researching in Shetland – a big boost to getting on with it.

I also have another unpublished novel, A Woolf in Sheep’s Clothing, that I may revise/prepare for publication. This book is about the symbiotic and destructive love-hate relationship between a mother and a son, who struggles to free himself from the maternal web.I would describe it as Barbara Vine Meets Joanna Trollope.

Thank you Ann. If you want to know more about Ann and her work you can go to her website: http://anntelliott.wix.com/toomanytenors

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You can Purchase Too Many Tenors here:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Too-Many-Tenors-Ann-Elliott-ebook/dp/B00G9YXWOM

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Too-Many-Tenors-Ann-Elliott-ebook/dp/B00G9YXWOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debut Author Spotlight – Julie Lovett

To continue my series of blogs on new authors living in Suffolk, I am delighted to introduce Julie Lovett and her debut novel The Prophet and the Time Traveller. 

Welcome Julie.

Julie

What is your book about? 

It’s a humorous novel about relationships between siblings, lovers and friends, set against a dystopian backdrop.

The prophet book cover

 Why did you choose to write your book?

I started writing my book as a comment on farming methods, the futility of war and so on. However, it quickly transformed into a more balanced and readable story.

 Who or what was the inspiration behind it?

The main characters are identical twins, as are my brothers. However, my brothers are not failed scientists, they have never time travelled (except slowly forward like the rest of us) and they are usually far more sensible than the characters in my story. However, I think they will appreciate my joke.

 What kind of research did you do?

I didn’t research specifically for this book, but I did bring fifty years of life experience, an enquiring mind and a good imagination to it.

 What was the biggest challenge in writing the book?

My biggest challenge came when I finished the main draft and went back through the book looking for areas that I felt could benefit from expansion or clarification.  I discovered that my writing style had developed immensely by then and it was difficult to insert new material into the early chapters in a seamless way.

 What was the best part of writing your book?

I enjoyed letting my imagination go into freefall, indulging in descriptions that would seem superfluous in normal life and having an appropriate outlet for my sense of humour.

 Do you have any advice to give authors who wish to self-publish?

I would advise other new authors to enjoy the experience and get lots of feedback on your work prior to publishing, if you can.

 What are your future writing plans?

 I am currently writing a children’s story about a young wizard who believes he can only conjure up nettle soup, a bitter sweet story about a ghostly mother who interferes with her daughter’s love life and a collection of short stories and poems.

Thank you Julie for letting us know about your debut novel.

You can learn more about Julie by visiting her website:

https://julielovett.wordpress.com/

You can purchase her book on Amazon.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Prophet-Time-Traveller-Julie-Lovett-ebook/dp/B01IO7F4AG/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Prophet-Time-Traveller-Julie-Lovett-ebook/dp/B01HDT05ZA

The prophet book cover

 

 

 

Spotlighting new authors in Suffolk

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to be featuring some authors that live in Suffolk, UK. Since I moved to this lovely part of the world over ten years ago I have met and taught a number of writers and have been impressed with the quality of their work.

So, I think it would be a good idea to give them a large shout-out and hopefully get some interest in their work.

From true crime to philosophical humour, there should be a genre to suit the taste of most readers.

Starting tomorrow!

Watch out for Peter Scott and his first novel – Pimple 

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I’ll also be re-blogging an earlier post about another East Anglian non-fiction author Kim Forester and her true crime book – Inside Broadmoor.

Inside Broadmoor Book Cover

Plus, an extra big plug for BigSky Writers, a group of local scribblers I belong to. We are due to publish our third anthology of short stories and poems in October. (Hopefully!)

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You can purchase the first anthology – Beneath a Big Sky on Amazon.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Beneath-Big-Sky-supernatural-suspense-ebook/dp/B00UC9W3JA?

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beneath-Big-Sky-supernatural-suspense-ebook/dp/B00UC9W3JA

Author Spotlight – Part two – Kim Forester

Here is part two of my author spotlight on Kim Forester who’s independently published non-fiction book Inside Broadmoor (Secrets of the Criminally Insane – Revealed by the Chief Attendant)  about inmates at Broadmoor Prison in the last half of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth century, has recently been released. Based on the journals kept by her Great Great Grandfather Charles Bishop Coleman who worked at Broadmoor Prison, it is a truly fascinating account of the plight of inmates interred. Including a section about a prisoner who many believed to be the real Jack the Ripper.

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You can read part one of the interview here: https://nicolajmcdonagh.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/author-spotlight-kim-forester/

Inside Broadmoor Book Cover

I asked Kim what was the best part of writing your book?

The part I enjoyed the most was the research itself. The amateur detective in me enjoyed collating the facts of what happened in each case, bringing them all together and then trying to convey them in a way that was clear, concise and dispassionate. With such evocative events, I did not want my own emotions to cloud the book. Taking a look into the lives of others is always fascinating and often surprising. Everyone has a story, no person is truly alike despite superficial similarities and we all face the same challenges, temptations, and joys. How we deal with those is what gives us the outcome to each story.

What, if anything, have you learned from writing your book?

How lucky I am.
I have a fantastic and loving immediate and extended family; I’ve always been in work and I have a great job and colleagues now; I enjoy good health; I’ve benefitted from an excellent education and I have wonderful friends. I’m generally a positive person and I have been fortunate to have the life and opportunities I have enjoyed so far. The chance to travel and meet so many different people has broadened my outlook and given me empathy towards others. I’m not superhuman, of course, I have my moments, but in the grand scheme of things I really have nothing to moan about and if I had to choose a trait I like best in myself and in others, it would be kindness – the world is cruel enough without unnecessarily hurting those around us.

Do you have any advice to give authors who wish to write non-fiction?

I don’t really think I am qualified to offer advice, but I can offer encouragement – if you want to do something then have a go. You lose nothing in the trying. I originally wrote my book in a completely different format, which didn’t work, but I learned something from that experience and I simply had another crack at it – hopefully more successfully this time. I use a couple of pertinent quotes in my book and I’ll finish my answer here with one of my own favourite quotes from the late Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin….”You are the one who can stretch your own horizon.”

Do you have a favourite author? If so, what is it about their work that you like?

I would struggle to choose just one author. From a small child, I have been an avid reader and enjoy many different genres. I have a deep interest in history, both fiction, and non-fiction and am particularly fascinated by early Welsh history and the Plantagenet era from King Henry II through to Richard III. A few years ago I found American writer Sharon Kay Penman and eagerly anticipate each new release – she writes extremely good novels about the era in which I am most interested. From the classics my favourite book would have to be non-fiction ‘Goodbye to All That’, the autobiography of Robert Graves, a deeply moving book and less well known than ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’. More recently I have discovered ‘Indie’ writer Nathan Dylan Goodwin and his genealogical detective stories about Morton Farrier, which I think are getting better and better as the series moves on. However, the story I find completely unforgettable is ‘The House on the Strand’ by Daphne du Maurier. One of her later books, it is an imaginative mix of mental time-travel, murder, addiction, and temptation – the open ending of the tale is haunting, leaving you to reach your own conclusions.

Do you plan to write more non-fiction, or perhaps, fiction?

I am keeping an open mind on further writing. I am tempted. I would like to have a go at something (maybe something different) in the future, but time is the enemy. Charles wrote over 700 entries in his diaries and I may decide to explore more of those. I took his documents along to the Antiques Roadshow at Audley End House in Saffron Walden recently and their expert considered them a ‘find’, so they were filmed and if I don’t end up on the cutting room floor, I hope you may get to see some of his items for yourself in the forthcoming series in the autumn.

Inside Broadmoor Book Cover

I hope you found Kim’s interview interesting. If you did, you might like to know more and also grab a copy of her book at the contact links below.

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/Kim-Forester-246195889102951/

Website:     http://www.insidebroadmoor.com

Amazon:

UK                 http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1530786428

US                 https://amzn.com/B01F0AY97O

AU                 http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01F0AY97O