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Hi, and thanks for visiting the site. Feel free to browse and leave a comment. This is my blogging site, so when I’m not beavering away in an attempt to build new worlds, I can be found right here – connecting with the community and exploring my creative side.

In case you are wondering about my current writing endeavours, I am working on a serialised fiction project – The Collective. Episode One will be released in April 2016, and the rest will follow in monthly instalments. There will be six episodes in the first season, and then who knows, maybe I’ll extend that for season two, next year. If you would like to know more, there is a link to the project page on the menu bar. I will be uploading chapter one as a teaser at the end of this month.

Here on the site, I usually provide regular updates, take part in writing challenges, and generally support my blogging friends.

I look forward to catching up with you soon.

Thanks for stopping by

Mel

To Hunt a Sub by Jacqui Murray

I was so excited about this post I dragged myself out of hibernation. To say it’s a pleasure to be part of Jacqui’s blog hop is an understatement. I’ve been waiting for the release of To Hunt a Sub for a while, so I’m going to leave you to soak up the details and head over to Amazon to get myself a copy.

But, before I go, I want congratulate Jacqui on her debut novel. She’ll be stopping by at some point today, so if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments. There’s nothing quite like the excitement of release day, so let’s commence with the festivities.

THAS-small [16806]

An unlikely team is America’s only chance

 A brilliant Ph.D. candidate, a cynical ex-SEAL, and a quirky experimental robot team up against terrorists intent on stealing America’s most powerful nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine. By all measures, they are an unlikely trio–one believes in brawn, another brains, and the third is all geek. What no one realizes is this trio has a secret weapon: the wisdom of a formidable female who died two million years ago.

Quote from author:

What sets this story apart from other thrillers is the edgy science used to build the drama, the creative thinking that unravels the deadly plot, and the captivating prehistoric female who unwittingly becomes the guide and mentor to Kalian Delamagente as she struggles to stop a madman from destroying her life.

Book information:

Title and author: To Hunt a Sub by J. Murray

Release Date: August 15, 2016 by Structured Learning

Genre: Thriller

Cover by: Paper and Sage 

Available at:

Kindle  August 15th

 Author bio:

jmm pic [16808]Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.


THAS-small [16806]Purchase Link



Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be catching up with all my friends over the next couple of days.

Mel

Tribe of the Snow Tiger by Charles E Yallowitz

One of the things I enjoy about blogging, is being able to share the love. In this case that is giving back some of the wonderful support that exists within the writing community. The main way I do this is by spotlighting other authors. Normally, I do this over at Writing Room 101, but as I’ve been a way for a while and missed the chance to celebrate Charles Yallowitz’s new release, I’m doing it here. So, onto the good stuff. Here are the details:

Now Available

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Timoran Wrath has a shameful secret that is about to see the light of day.

The noble barbarian has always been a constant source of strength and wisdom for his beloved friends. His loyalty has been unwavering and they know that he would never hesitate to lay down his life for them. Even in their darkest hour, the champions know that Timoran will come through and fight to the bitter end. Now they must return the favor as he reunites with his tribe and willingly faces the executioner’s blade.

Is it possible that the honorable Timoran was nothing more than an illusion?

Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads ‘To Read’ List too!

Excerpt: The Snow Tiger

Yahoo Image Search
Yahoo Image Search

“The snow is too bright and level for me to see anything clearly,” the barbarian growls. The sound of shuffling and mild cursing draws his attention to Nyx who has sunk up to her nose in snow. “What are you doing, fire sprite?”

Nyx shivers while squinting into the distance, her eyes coated in bronze energy. “The reason you can’t see anything might be because you’re too tall. I’m trying to see if there’s anything that breaks the level ground. My eyes are enhanced right now, but I don’t . . . wait a second . . . I think there’s something buried out there. A beast of some kind? It’s a very subtle up and down motion that reminds me of something breathing. It just stopped moving, but I don’t know what that means. I’ll lead the way.”

Not waiting for a response, Nyx pushes through the thick snow and uses wind magic to gradually shift the powder out of her path. She does her best to move quietly and avoid disturbing whatever they are approaching, but the crunch of frozen grass beneath her boots makes the half-elf cringe with every step. A violent sneeze threatens to erupt from her nose, stifled quickly by a silence spell around her nostrils. Rubbing at her cold legs, Nyx is thankful when Timoran puts a vest made of black fur over her. The Ifrit hair warms her body and drives away the looming cold that has been brewing in her chest for the last few minutes. With renewed energy, the channeler walks a little faster and adds a simple heat spell to the wind that is steadily clearing the path.

“Wow. Such a beautiful creature,” she whispers when she steps into a circular clearing that surrounds the dead beast.

The enormous snow tiger’s blue and black fur is thick, the hairs sparkling when touched by direct sunlight. It has long incisors of glistening white that jut out of its mouth due to their size and sharpness. A slender tail lies limp in the exposed grass and still twitches as the muscles continue to lose their tension. Powerful legs and massive paws are splayed on the ground, giving the body the appearance of having peacefully died in its sleep. The gaping wound in the gorgeous snow tiger’s side is the only sign of an attack, the surrounding fur matted with aromatic blood.

Timoran’s rage boils when he spots the three cubs that are mewling and pushing against their dead mother. Judging from their size and faint, black stripes, he assumes they are no older than three months. Rusty manacles are attached to their back legs, the chains running to a stake that has been driven into the muddy earth. Restraining his anger, the barbarian moves within reach of the animals and gently breaks the metal bindings that are bruising their ankles. Scared and confused, the cubs cower against the still warm corpse and hiss whenever one of the adventurers comes close. One of the snow tigers bravely charges at Timoran and bites his boot, proudly returning to the others when the towering figure moves away.

Need to catch Legends of Windemere from the beginning? Then click on the covers below!

You can start for FREE . . .

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Or grab the $4.99 ‘3 in 1’ bundles!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen 3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

 

Also Available:

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Interested in a new adventure? Then grab your Kindle & dive back into the world of Windemere! Don’t forget an apple for Fizzle.

Author PhotoAbout the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

 


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Mind Games: Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge

It’s been a while since I took part in Colleen and Ronovan’s Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge. I tried to follow the theme, I had every intention of writing a mystery. But sometimes you have to go where the story takes you, and I got a kick out of the voice in my head so I went with it.

Because we’re encouraged to use quotes, and I miss sharing them, I’ll lead with that – a quote from Albert Einstein –

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”

Mind Games

The moment I woke I knew something was wrong. Well, okay, there were clear indicators, for one I couldn’t feel my arms or legs. My mind helped me out with that, and gave me a helpful image of being strapped to a table, or perhaps I should say a horrifying image.

Things got worse from there. When I opened my eyes it hit me all at once; the blurred vision, disorientation and an odd metallic taste in my mouth. I’d been given drugs. All those lectures from my parents, the times I’d earned my brownie points and just said no, and someone had shot me up.

I took a moment to freak out, time in which I would have thrashed against my restraints – if I’d felt them, that is. But then the voices distracted me. They were quiet, mere whispers, and not being able to make out the words was somehow worse than hearing them at all. It could have been worse, it could have been, god forbid, a club tune; the devil’s music as my dear old gran used to say. She was a bit of a kook, I’ll admit, but at that moment, a pounding beat would have tipped me right over the edge.

The strangest thing was, though I knew I had an eccentric god-fearing woman in my ancestry, and random memories hit me like a slap upside the head, I had no other points of reference.

In that kind of situation, the mind can be extremely helpful, or unhelpful depending on how you choose to look at it. To distract me, my considerate brain offered up a series of dizzying scenarios for me to consider. I was a soldier, special forces, naturally, and I had been separated from my unit. I was an undercover agent and I had come too close to discovering a deadly secret. I was a genius savant and my gigantic brain had tipped me over the edge into crazy town.

Round and round the fantasies went, fed by the drugs, my hysteria, and the fact I had no clue what was going on. For all I knew I was a guinea pig – the only uninfected human on the planet and the scientists had gone for a fag break, before they injected me with more of their crazy potions. No. Wait. If I was the only one uninfected, there wouldn’t be any scientists left to carry out the experiments. Anyway.

I settled on zombie apocalypse and was scaring the bejesus out of myself when I heard my name. I focused, squinting to make out the shadowy form, and I was so lost in the illusion, naturally I saw a zombie. He didn’t leap on top of me, or try to eat my brains, so he was either on a steady diet, or he wasn’t really a zombie at all.

“Can you hear me?” Pause. “Jessica. My name is Dr. Jenkins. Can you hear me?” The voice was soft, non-threatening, the kind you might use on a small child or an animal backed into a corner.

I didn’t respond. For some reason I was afraid of this stranger. I heard different words echoing through my head, frightening words about experiments and phases of treatment and I knew I had done this to myself. I had caused the uncontrollable panic wracking my body. The hallucinations came thick and fast then. My eyes cleared and I was in a small room surrounded by personal crap. I blinked and I was in a cell; cold and dark and dingy. Then back to a place that might have been a hospital, and since the whispering voices were familiar, I couldn’t help but latch onto the savant fantasy.

I relaxed a little, that was until the scene changed again and it didn’t change to anything good. Now I was chained to a cold, hard slab and the whispering voices were coming from faceless creatures behind bars. I blinked rapidly, ready to see something else, anything else, but it only made it worse. I was surrounded by large metal constructs, which looked suspiciously like bird cages. I think I might have screamed, but the sound was more like a squawk.

When I heard my name again I turned, cringing back when a light hit me square in the eyes.

“Jessica. My name is Dr Jenkins,” the voice parroted, but this time the sound was accompanied by touch, and I was so relieved to have some feeling back, the fog cleared a little.

I could make out his features this time, and the more I concentrated, the more I could see. Sounds rushed in, more than whispers this time. I heard the steady pulse of machinery, and the beep of a heart monitor.

It was then I saw her, my mother, cradled in my father’s arms as she sobbed into his chest. I had done that too. Memories flooded my brain as quickly as the tears spilling down my cheeks. I had been at a party, my friends’ laughter echoing around, and I accepted a drink from a stranger.

“Mum,” I croaked, as the room began to spin.

She turned her grief stricken face towards me, and it was the last thing I saw before my mind went quiet and all thoughts snapped off.


Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

 

 

Resting My Eyes – Weekend Coffee Share: 23 April 2016

weekend coffee share

If we were having coffee, I would apologise for my absence last week. It was my birthday, and I was away for the weekend. It was my eldest daughter’s birthday too – the day before mine. She was born at 7.40pm on the 15th of April – the absolute best early birthday present.

It’s hard to believe that she’s seventeen. She has her provisional licence and in the next few weeks she begins learning to drive. How the time flies. I was going to share my photos from last weekend, but there are just too many of them – it was a big family affair. So I decided on a kind of then and now. I cheated a little, the first photograph is actually on my birthday, so she’s a day old. I think I beat her dad over the head with the camera on the 15th (not really), so I seem to be missing shots from the actual day. The second photograph is her birthday this year. I’m so proud of my gorgeous girl (and in case my youngest is reading this, which isn’t likely – I’m proud of you too!)

Lissy 1999 and 2016

If we were having coffee I would let you get a word in so you could catch me up on all your news from the past two weeks. I would tell you I’ve been busy at work, so I’m glad I got the chance to take a break.

I would also tell you that I’m having trouble sleeping again. My patterns are all over the place. I used to have a problem getting to sleep, now the journey into slumber land is not the issue – it’s staying there. I wake up after an hour or two, and eventually give up on sleep. The fatigue is wearing on me, and my processing skills have taken a hit. I’ve been interpreting long enough to have coping strategies in place, but still, I’m glad I haven’t accepted any assignments that require additional brain power, though I did interpret a course on philosophy and the lecturer threw Socrates at me. If I were being paranoid, I’d swear he did it on purpose. It could have been worse, he could have quoted from Plato’s Symposium  – not the easiest text to translate.

If we were having coffee I would therefore add another shot of caffeine to mine, and be quiet for a while, so you could share more of your adventures. And no, that doesn’t mean I’d fall asleep in my cup – I can be a good listener. Sometimes I just listen with my eyes closed.

Afterwards, it would be time to head to Diana’s place – our gracious host for the weekend coffee share.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

 

 

 

Get Your Free Copy of Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero by Charles Yallowitz – Find Out More

Hero Cover FinalThank you to Melissa for helping to spread the word that Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero is now free.  Being that this is the first book of my fantasy series, I’ve been asked to discuss how I come up with all of the monsters.  I started thinking about explaining my process when I realized that it all depends on what I need them for.  To be honest, there are six categories of Windemere monsters that change how I create them. So I better not waste time jabbering on and get down to business.

From Mythology

This is the easiest way to get monsters.  Folklore and mythology have so many obscure creatures that you can go hunting with a basic idea in mind.  Maybe you need a desert predator or a jungle critter.  A character might have a phobia of spiders that you want to take advantage of in the scene.  There’s something for whatever you need.

Altered Mythology

Similar to the previous category, you find a pre-existing monster and alter it.  I like putting my own twist on things at times as well as occasionally having a creature stuck in my head that won’t work for the scene.  An example of this in Windemere are the snake fiends, which appear in Beginning of a Hero.  These are serpentine beasts with the faces of humans, poison barbs along their spines, and a toxic spike on their tail.  They are based on nagas, which were used in the game that the series is based on.  I didn’t want to take them verbatim and went about mucking with the design until I got something I liked.

Frankenstein!

This can be a challenge depending on how good you are at researching.  Have a basic concept for the creature you need and look through real world animals to piece something together.  Using a sketch can help at times to get the parts looking right in your own head.  This is similar to the Altered Mythology, but you’re starting with a lot less.  For example, you may want a huge predator that catches the heroes by surprise.  Give it the body of an elephant with large claws and the head of an alligator.  Add some natural armor plating, a paralytic spray from its mouth, and vestigial wings for a rather difficult fight.  How will it catch the heroes off guard?  The monster can burrow with the help of shovel-like projections on its sides.  (To be honest, all of that came out of nowhere and this shows why you need to take your time with this method.)

Undead

These monsters fall into a special category because of their origin.  They can be made with the previous categories, but they were all alive at some point.  Some have been cobbled together by necrocasters while others simply refuse to stay dead.  There’s a different mentality with the undead because of this.  You can give various types a special origin like wights are drowning victims while poltergeists are born from jilted lovers that kill themselves.  You also have to decide how decayed these guys are, which changes the tactics.  Zombies are still fleshy while skeletons are all bone and harder to kill from afar.  Unlike living monsters, undead require you really consider how to destroy them.

Demons

Similar to the undead, these guys can be made with the first three categories.  They differ for me because they come from a different plane of existence.  Windemere demons live in the Chaos Void and can be summoned instead of being built or born into the main world.  This makes them outsiders, so not every rule is obeyed by them.  For example, a demon dying after being summoned is typically it going home, which means it can return.  Death is accomplished through various methods that have to be established as unique to demons.  Each species might have a different bane as well.  Demons also come from their own biome, so you need to consider that when designing them.  Is this the rabbit, wolf, or human of the Chaos Void?

‘Civilized’ Monsters

These are your elves, dwarves, orcs, fireskins, goblins, calicos, etc.  They can be used for main and supporting characters as well as obstacles.  Many of them stem from pre-existing creatures that show up in fantasy or simple ‘animal-people’ combos.  The difficulty with them is that they have a more detailed place in the world.  Instead of being a wandering beast, these monsters have cities and a culture.  You have to consider this when designing them because it will reveal how they interact with others.  A friendly gesture for an elf could be a declaration of war for an orc while a goblin simply thinks you’re flailing like an idiot.  It helps to make a small write up that includes the race’s history, thoughts on others, and maybe even a few holidays.

So those are the categories to my monster creation methods.  Hope you enjoyed and feel free to use them if you’re stuck with your own fantasy stories.  Don’t forget to check out Beginning of a Hero for free and see all six groups in action.

Links

Legends of Windemere

Twitter

Facebook

 

Grab Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero for Free!

Thanks for sharing your methods with us, Charles. Personally, I like the Frankenstein concept, but they are all useful and great tips.

If you have any further questions, I’m sure Charles would be happy to answer. Or you could leave a comment about your own methods when creating fantasy creatures.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Completing the Cycle – Thursday Photo Prompt: Roses #writephoto

Completing the Cycle – Written for Sue’s Photo Prompt.

roses.png

Rebecca stepped onto the front porch and froze when she saw the obstacle in her path. She knew what it meant, what they represented, and her heart began to pound. The song was next. It came at her from behind, in her own damn house, the haunting melody pulsing into her very core as her legs gave out and she dropped to her knees.

Her gaze fell on the roses and she thought of Matt, of the shriveled, decaying dream she once had; now as dried up as the flowers and their crumbling leaves. She watched them tear apart and flutter in the breeze, taking the last of her broken memories. He had finally come for her, and this time he intended to end it. Why else would he leave the real thing, the symbol of their dying love, if not to complete the cycle – as she had hoped he would.

Rebecca’s hand shot out, but hovered inches from the bouquet. In her mind the colour was a luscious, vibrant red. She had been so happy the day Matt gave them to her; young and innocent and in love. It didn’t last. The bloom fell from the relationship well before the flowers withered and lost their glow. She hadn’t known about Matt’s illness then, hadn’t expected he could hurt her.

“May I have the honour of this dance?”

Rebecca felt the breath catch in her throat. It was time. She had known he was there, in her house; toying with her. He had always been good at that, at finding weakness and exploiting it. “I think I’ll pass.” Her throat sounded scratchy, and for some reason she thought of the thorns.

“Don’t be like that,” Matt said from the doorway. He was using his quiet voice, his scary quiet voice, and yet she felt no fear. Not this time.

“You were the first man to give me flowers. The only man.” She turned towards him. “You’ll also be the last.” Rebecca stood, her legs unsteady. Not her thoughts, though. No, her mind was focused for the first time in months. The waiting was always the hardest. “It’s time to finish this. I’m done.”

“We’ll never be done,” Matt said, stepping forward. “You belong to me.”

Without taking her eyes from him, Rebecca crouched to retrieve the roses. There was no hesitation this time. She crushed them in her hand, and felt a slight scratch across her palm. Matt moved, eyes glittering, and the moment he stepped out onto the porch she slapped her hand against the floor.

The spell snapped into place immediately. Rebecca felt it buzz along her skin. It hurt, but she could deal with a little pain; she’d endured worse from Matt.

With her eyes still on his, she moved back so she was on the edge of the porch. He tried to follow her, but he couldn’t move. She saw the moment he realised what she’d done, and the satisfaction was like a hit of vodka; it went straight to her head.

“I never wanted this,” she told him. “But you gave me no choice.”

“Your juvenile spell can’t hold me forever.” Matt’s body began to vibrate with rage, and she knew he was fighting the hold.

“It doesn’t need to, because it’s already done.” Taking a deep breath, Rebecca placed her hands on the side of the porch and took a deep breath. “I’m taking away your power. Literally. And you will never be able to hurt me again.”

Energy shot through her, the impact taking her off her feet. Her chest burned, a white hot pain that she knew was a brand in her soul as well as her skin. On unsteady legs, she regained her feet. Matt was lying in the exact spot he had placed the roses, his skin pale, his eyes brimming with fear.

“What have you done?”

She walked to stand over him, pulling at the neck of her jumper so he could see the representation of her freedom, a talisman scored into her flesh. “What you intended to do. I broke the cycle and I’m letting go of the past.”

Matt screamed, a loud, high pitched noise that drowned out the song still playing in the background. Music to her ears. She dropped her head back and stared at the trap she had carved into the ceiling. It had taken days, a drop in the ocean compared to the time she had waited for this very scene to play out.

When Matt’s scream became a low whine of defeat, Rebecca smiled and glanced down at her chest. The roses were hers now, and they would not wither or die; they did not instill her with fear. They gave her strength, and protection. The best gift of all. “Thank you for the flowers,” she said, and walked back into the house.


Thanks for stopping by

Mel

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 21 – Fresh

I have to admit, when I saw the theme for Hugh’s photo challenge this week, I heard my nan’s voice in my head! She used to chastise my grandfather for being ‘fresh’ with her. Of course he did it on purpose, and teased her mercilessly.

Then I thought about how I could reflect the theme and, I have to be honest, I got a little carried away. There are so many possibilities: fresh air; snow; paint; cream; coffee; flowers; water – I could go on. Needless to say, I had trouble deciding, so I settled on a collection of random shots, which incorporate the theme – as far as I see it.

PicMonkey CollagePicMonkey Collage2

PicMonkey Collage3
My brother took these shots on a skiing trip, so he gets the credit🙂

PicMonkey Collage4PicMonkey Collage5

I really enjoy taking part in the challenge. I try to contribute to others when I can, though it has not been easy of late. Sue has a pretty great photo challenge, which I’ve been meaning to take part in for a few weeks now. I’ll try my best to fit it in this week, when the next prompt is released on Thursday.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Blood Bath – Weekend Coffee Share 9/4/16

weekend coffee share

If we were having coffee I would tell you that, between interpreting jobs, I had a fun and creative week with my daughters. My eldest has a photography project due, so we set up a few spooky photo sessions (one of the artists she chose, Sarah Thompson, creates haunting images). The original shots are manipulated to create mood and atmosphere, which is an interesting process – especially the layering effect. We have a ghostly image that resembles a scene from the poltergeist movie (spooky doesn’t even begin to cover it); a blood bath;  rainbow tears (okay, so that one’s kind of sweet), and a few others that may just give me nightmares!

Grace3

This might lead to a discussion on photography in general, and hopefully you would share your favourite images with me, or the kind of shots you enjoy to take.

If we were having coffee, you might ask if I enjoyed the movie last weekend, and I would deflect by rambling on about the fun I had with my brother. There’s also the fact I went to the movies twice – my girls chose the second (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) and I enjoyed it more than Batman v Superman, so that would speak volumes.

I would ask if you’ve seen anything at the cinema recently, at which point, if we felt so inclined, we would chat for a while about films or our favourite programmes.

Ponderosa2

If we were having coffee I would tell you I spent the day with my nephew, and as the general theme appears to be photos this week, I would share my snaps from the animal park we visited.

Then we would replenish our mugs and chat about our other adventures, the large and the small that made up our week. I would tell you that next Saturday it’s my birthday, and share that I have absolutely no objections if you want to bring cake to have with our coffee!

After that, I would head over to Diana’s place and check in.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 20 – Solitude

I haven’t taken part in Hugh’s photo challenge for a while, but I felt compelled to this week. Perhaps it’s because my week has been consumed with photography – my eldest daughter has three projects to complete for her photography class and she likes to involve the whole family!

The theme also spoke to me. I’m a solitary person, I think writers are in general; we’re never really alone – what with the characters in our head! I’m at ease in solitude, it soothes me, and allows me to recharge my batteries. It’s not that I don’t like being with people, it’s that I like my own company, too. I can write anywhere and at any time. It’s easy for me to switch off, even in a crowded café, but there’s something to be said for the quiet peace of nature.

2013-08-31 11.20.46

When I’m on holiday, I tend to be on the go; exploring a new place so I can soak it in. I usually find a quiet spot to reflect. The first photo, a place named Durdle Door in Dorset, gave the perfect backdrop and I almost got lost in my moment of solitude!

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I lived in Dorset for a while, and loved the area. When I got time off, I went exploring with my family. Bournemouth beach is wonderful, especially at six in the morning when there are few people around and the beauty of it settles like a calming breath. The second photo was taken on one of my early morning outings. I took a notebook and a cup of coffee, and let the inspiration flow.

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The last two photographs are here because the garden used to be one of my favourite places to relax and find time for myself. The garden was built below the house, and though you can’t see it in the photograph, a decking area provided the perfect viewpoint. I would sit out in the evening or in the morning, and enjoy the scenery.

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Thanks to Hugh for providing the inspiration and, as always, thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Meet the Barkers – Weekend Coffee Share

 

weekend coffee share.png

If we were having coffee, we would be surrounded by the whole Barker clan! We often get together, but this weekend is a little different, because my brother is here for a visit. We all miss him. Andrew is the life and soul of the party; he is quick to laugh and always manages to lighten my mood. He is my (not so little) little brother.

I would tell you that yesterday we went for a meal, yep, the whole clan. We managed to snag a round table, so the conversation never stopped – neither did the laughter. We can be a little rowdy, but the good kind, not the ‘I’ll get my coat,’ show you to the door kind. There were a dozen conversations happening at once, and it felt great; the kind of atmosphere I try to reflect in my writing because I feel so lucky to have it.

If we were having coffee, I would ask about your weekend plans. We might move to the other room so we could hear above the din! Unless, like me, you can sign, and then we’d wave our hands about instead! I would ask if you’ve seen the new Batman v Superman movie, and tell you we’re going to see it tonight – yes the entire brood…maybe we should call ahead and warn them! I would admit that Superman is my favourite comic book character, and I know I always say I don’t have favourites, and I talk about Marvel characters waaay too much, but my first comic was a DC comic, and then I saw Christopher Reeve in the movie…enough said.

if we were having coffee

I would ask what’s new in your life, like for example, if you’ve chosen a cover for the novel yet *cough*Jacqui *cough.* Then I would refresh our beverages, make everyone else one while I’m at it, and we’d settle down to finish sharing our news.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that a friend I haven’t seen in twenty years is coming to stay with me in July, and I’m really looking forward to it. I met Magali on a school exchange programme when I was sixteen, and my first experience of France was truly inspiring. I loved the country, the culture, the language, and most of all the family. We lost touch for a long time, so I was thrilled when she got back in touch on Facebook. Magali and her family are coming to England, and I’ll finally get to see her again. I’m excited and terrified; the fear stems from the fact I’ve forgotten most of the French I learned in school. Between now and July I won’t be going anywhere without my headphones and a French course running on my phone, so I can try to rectify that.

I would tell you that I’ve missed our weekend chats, it’s been too long since we had a good old fashioned chin wag!

Then I would hop on over to Diana’s place, and catch up with everyone.

Thanks for stopping by

Mel