Zero to Sixty…Blogger Style!

 

It’s been over a year since I last posted on the blog, and with each month that passed, it became more difficult to return. I love being part of the community, so I’ve been looking for a way to ease back into  things. Of course, easing in has never been my style! So, when I read Jacqui Murray’s post (author of To Hunt A Sub, and Twenty-Four Days) about her participation in this year’s A to Z challenge, I decided to take the plunge.

 

As today is Theme Reveal Day – here is my theme for the A to Z Challenge 2018:-

Peculiar ‘Pen fellows’  – An A to Z of Quirks only a writer can understand

The first post will be Sunday the 1st of April 2018.

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

 

 

 

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

Meet the Barkers – Weekend Coffee Share

 

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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

Saturday Book Club – 26 March 2016

I got a little side tracked with my reading this week. I’m still reading Rogue Lawyer, but a friend told me about a book called ‘Why Does E=mc²?’ by Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw and, like I said…side tracked. It’s heavy, but written in an engaging tone, which is often amusing, so when you have to reread a paragraph to let it sink in, you have fun doing it! The theories relating to space and time are fascinating, so I got completely caught up.

I’m reading them simultaneously, which is a nice balance, but means I haven’t romped through Grisham’s book as I would normally do. So, rain check on my thoughts about that particular adventure. I have a few days off work, so I’m sure I’ll catch up.

Moving on from reading, a blogging friend, Jacqui Murray, shared photographs of her work space this week, and you can check that out by clicking here. I thought I would share my own space with you, as I do most of my writing, and reading, sitting at my desk. Here is what my office looks like – it’s suprising what you can do with a box room!

PicMonkey Collage

In terms of writing, I’ve been trying to create character profiles for The Collective to display on the website. I thought it might be good for readers to follow along with the series and get to know the main players a little better. I’ve had a few formatting issues, so I’m still working on that. I also want to create a glossary, and that is next on my agenda. It’s almost time to release the first episode, so that’s exciting. With that in mind, I thought I would share a sneak peak with you – the introduction to Esha Tomas.

“Damn, vampires,” Esha muttered, pacing the courtyard. “Why do we continue to put up with Isaac’s crap?”

Leela tried, but failed, to cover her amusement. “I’m not sure where to start with that. First, your best friend is a vampire, and second, Isaac is his brother, and, do I need to remind you, a Noble Shield.”

“Yes, and I ask myself the why of that last one every day.”

Esha was a Noble Shield, as was Leela, their best friend Aaron, and his idiot brother, Isaac. There were thirteen Shields in total, all in service to Constance, the Siren Queen.

“Let Aaron deal with it,” Leela said in a placating tone. “Constance respects him.”

“It’s the only reason Isaac is still alive.” Esha glanced across at the enormous stone pillars that sat astride the steps leading to the palace. She didn’t see the noble architecture, the glistening stone that formed part of the land, her thoughts were on Aaron. It stung that he felt it was his duty to face Constance alone. They had his back in all things, but his brother had brought shame to the family, to their queen, and Aaron took the responsibility for Isaac’s actions. He always did.

Esha’s wings twitched. She longed to take flight. As a siren, she was part bird and, warrior or not, she was at her best in the sky. She often chose her half-form, like now, because she liked the feel of her wings. Her head dropped back and she looked up, following the path of one of her comrades as she flew out to scout the area.

“You’ll be able to stretch your wings soon enough,” Leela said beside her, the desire to shift as powerful as Esha’s.

Esha nodded. Their region was vast. Marsacre was one of the largest in Nearyon. It sat beside Valcrest, home of the Enraptured; Aaron’s true home. But their friend had chosen to serve Constance, and in doing so, his loyalty was to her. Esha and Leela shared that loyalty, but they also swore to protect one another. When Aaron began his journey, they would accompany him, whether he liked it or not.

Her body froze the moment she caught the scent of their friend’s arrogance. By the gods, but there was no denying Aaron had balls the size of cantaloupe.

She watched him, friend and fellow descendent of the Clanderians and, as she did, Esha considered their differences. They were both part of the same fucked-up gene pool, but in many ways – they were kin. His steps were sure, his posture deceptively relaxed. He had skin the colour of burnt treacle, with eyes so dark they stole some of the light. Yes, he was a magnificent creature. She gave him credit for holding his powers in check. He didn’t even try to buffer her annoyance. He never did.

That’s it from me this week and, as always, I want to know what you’re reading, what projects, if any, you have on the go – anything you want to share.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Saturday Book Club – 19 March 2016

Hi, how was your week? Mine was a little crazy, so I’m thrilled it’s the weekend – more so because I get to catch up. So let’s talk. I have a pretty comfy couch, so we’re good here for a while.

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

I’m currently reading Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham, but we’ll get to that in a minute. First, I promised a summary of my thoughts on Crossing Bedlam by Charles Yallowitz, which I finished last week. I wrote a review, and you can find it by clicking here.

So, back to Grisham. I actually read a review on  Don Massenzio’s blog, and as I used to be a huge fan of Grisham’s books, after reading what Don had to say about Rogue Lawyer I couldn’t resist. So far, so good. I think I might actually be hooked again. I’m a faithful reader, so I tend to stick by my favourites. Unfortunately the last couple I read of Grisham’s made me hesitate when considering his latest release. I would have got to it eventually, put it on my ever growing reading list. I’m glad I didn’t wait. There are so many authors I enjoy at the moment, it’s not easy to choose. Unless it’s Lee Child (because I have a serious weakness for Jack Reacher), I tend to read them in order.

Rogue Lawyer

Going back to the crazy, as in week, that would be crazy busy, I’ve only read a couple of chapters. I expect I’ll have more to say about it next week, though. If you’ve read it, feel free to share your thoughts.

Writing wise, I’ve mostly been editing. I’m working my way through episode 2 of the Collective, and trying to make sure the characters have a unique voice. It’s written in third person, but each episode is told from multiple points of view – changing characters depending on the scene. Again, it’s different to my novels, juggling so many characters (and plot lines), so the challenges just keep coming! Not that it isn’t fun. I’m having an absolute blast. In fact, I’m so excited about this project, I had to pull over to the side of the road yesterday to jot something down (safely).

One of the things I love about getting to know my characters is that, even when I know their background, think I know all their secrets, bam, out of the blue they share something with me and I think ‘No! Really?’ I know I’m not alone in that – even the most explicit of planners get caught by surprise. I mention this because it’s the reason I had to pull over (safely).

I will be releasing a sneak preview of the first episode next week (Chapter 1) on the website, so I’ll share a link with you. I already posted it to Watt Pad, so if you want to check it out, you can do that here. Just a note, if you read the post I wrote for Writer’s Quote Wednesday, you will recognise the first part of the chapter, so you’ll need to scroll down for the continuation – to find out how the scene ends.

But that’s it from me. I’ve rambled enough. I want to hear about your week. Are you reading anything new? If it’s still the same book, how’s that going? What about writing, blogging, creative outlets in general – do you have anything to share?

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

 

 

Saturday Book Club

Welcome, I hope you had a good week. I am having a lazy Saturday. I’ve almost finished Crossing Bedlam, a novel by Charles Yallowitz, so I’m in my lazy-day clothes. All my jobs are done, and I can camp out on the sofa and finish the adventure. I will be writing a review, so next week I can share the highlights.

I travelled quite a lot this week, so as I can’t read and drive (how great would it be if we all had KIT to rely on), I listened to an audio book. It’s an old favourite – the In Death series by JD Robb (Nora Roberts). I also find my household chores get done a lot quicker, because I get lost in the story and ‘voila’ the rooms are as neat as a pin – well, okay, not quite. But close enough.

saturday book club

Writing wise, it has been all about the Collective. The gang follow me around just about everywhere I go, and I find writing a serial is a new kind of challenge. There is so much to remember, I’ve been forced to adapt my current system just to keep up. I know some writers who tackle a project working almost in reverse. So they write the final scene first. I never understood this until the Collective. I wrote the final scene to episode four first, because it was so clear in my mind I had to get it down. It had a curious effect because everything slotted into place as the team clawed their way towards the cliff-hanger.

That’s another interesting part. I have to create a cliff hanger at the end of each episode, with the final scene of the season incorporating an explosive finale. Not altogether different from a novel, but it feels more immediate, certainly more structured. I should have done this years ago!

Now all I have to do is decide where to publish the episodes. The full season will be available as a set, but in the meantime, how do I release the monthly instalments. It is a dilemma!

Right, so enough about me. I have my coffee ready, the goodies out (I’m so organised today). Tell me about you. What are you reading? How are the writing projects going? Did you have any interesting blogging adventures? Talk to me!

Mel

 

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Anne Frank

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Writer’s Quote Wednesday is organised by Colleen from Silver Threading, and is a wonderful weekly series in which bloggers share the quotes which inspire them. I highly recommend checking them out.

My quote this week doesn’t really need an introduction, or an explanation. There’s a reason writing is used in therapy, and why so many of us escape into worlds of our own creation. Anne Frank says it beautifully.

anne frank

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – William Shakespeare

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Writer’s Quote Wednesday is organised by Colleen from Silver Threading, and is a wonderful weekly series in which bloggers share the quotes which inspire them. I highly recommend checking them out.

My brother and I got to talking about trust this weekend. We always turn to the subject of my fictional team at some point during our catch up sessions, and this time I had a few questions on the subject of trust within the army. Trust is a precious thing; sometimes it is given freely, and other times it has to be earned, but in either case it is so easily broken. One of my characters is struggling with a trust issue and, as as it relates to a high risk situation, I wanted my bro’s take on it.

Of course, there are different levels of trust; complicated layers which depend on a multitude of circumstances. When it comes to professional trust, you don’t necessarily have to like a person to know they won’t let you down in a particular setting. I could write an essay on the subject, but this post is about the wise words of William Shakespeare. So let’s get to the quote.

william shakespeare

It’s a powerful message and one we could probably philosophise about for days! What do you think to the quote? Do you have any particular views on trust?

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Summertime Madness Book Tag

Callum tagged me in this book tag and, though it’s taken a week to get to the questions, I never could resist talking about books so – thanks, Callum 🙂

Show a book with a summery cover.

the beachI haven’t read the book in years, but I enjoyed it. It was a gripping read, and I remember being relieved Richard got off the island! Not exactly a light summer read, but a great cover for the subject matter!

Pick one fictional place that would be the perfect destination for a summer vacation!

Narnia – I’d only have to go through my wardrobe to get there, too. How cool is that!

You’re about to go on a flight to your summer vacation. But you want to read a book that lasts for the whole flight, what novella do you choose?

I’d take Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles 3.5) by Marissa Meyer. I’m curious about the evil queen, Levana, and this novella is a bridge between Cress (which I just read) and Winter, the next in the Lunar Chronicles series. I love the spin Marissa put on the classic tales.

You have a case of summertime sadness what happy book do you pick up to shine a smile on your face?

It would probably be a children’s book, one I could share with my nephew and get a sneaky cuddle while I’m at it! He’s a little young yet, but I keep trying him with Dr Seuss. My youngest daughter was partial to Horton Hears A Who! so that book has fun memories, and never fails to bring a smile to my face.

You’re sitting at the beach all alone…which fictional character would be your beach babe?

I’ll go with the first thought that popped into my head – Arthur Curry – Aquaman. I never sit on a beach for very long, I prefer to go exploring. Perhaps I could persuade Aquaman to take me to Atlantis, in fact, now that I think about it, I’ll change my answer to the second question and go to Atlantis instead!

To match your ice cream you want an icy cool sidekick! Which fictional side kick do you pick?

I think, given my previous answer I already have one! Though, let’s be honest – I’d be the side-kick in that scenario!

Share the Summertime Happiness! Who do you TAG?

I’ll tag Taylor Grace, and anyone else who would like to take part. If  you have the time, it’s a lot of fun.

Thanks for stopping by

Mel