A fun post from Ned’s Blog about Halloween, trick or treating, to find that publisher or agent. Will they take the candy?
Welcome to a special Halloween Edition of Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing! What makes this week’s NWOW special? In addition to offering writing tips gained from my 15 years as a columnist, I am in Maine this morning dressed as “Pennywise” and waiting in the bushes outside the home of Stephen King!
Because what better way to kick off a special Halloween NWOW than by scaring The Master of Horror® himself! I’ve been working all week on my scary clown voice and borrowed a costume from my neighbor, who, as I discovered, has a whole closet full of costumes. (I didn’t ask why.)
Shhhhh! Here he comes!
“HE-LLOOOO STEVIEEEEE!!… Ummmm, Mr. King?… Sir? oh crap…”
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Thank you to NetGalley for a free copy of this wonderful encyclopaedia in exchange for my honest review, celebrating Flower remedies which have been used “for hundreds possibly thousands of years.”
The Encyclopaedia attracted me as in the past I qualified in Aromatherapy and Reflexology, and worked for a while as a therapist. I have always been interested in the use of natural remedies in the treatment of illnesses, both of the physical and indeed the psychological kind. Flowers are so beautiful, and exist in an abundance of different shapes, colours, and aromas to entice us. As individuals we often have a preference for a favourite flower. It may attract us because it reminds us of our childhood, or a special place. I particularly like the flowers associated with the orient, Frangipani, Orchids, and Hibiscus.
I adore the orchids of Singapore. possibly because I was born there and love hot climates. “The Flowers of the Orient have a special energy appropriate for women.” The Orchid essences tap into the higher chakras, (knowledge) and I love to study and learn new things! Also I keep cactuses, again a plant that survives with little water, and minimal attention. So, our choice of flowers tell us a lot about the kind of person we are. As do our choice of pets. Dogs require more attention, Cats less. There is a psychology of flowers, so much to discover! Flowers of all kinds enchant me especially those with warm colours, and intoxicating scents.
This is one of my favourite bouquets. I now take a photo of all my flower gifts. I feel sad when they die and like to keep a visual image of them to remind me of the beauty of the flowers whilst in bloom, and the sentiments at the time. This is a stunning bouquet from my mother in law!
The Practitioner’s Encyclopaedia of Flower Remedies by Clare Harvey is an updated edition of the The New Enclopedia of Flower Remedies originally published in 2007. With an engaging Foreward by Richard Gerber, MD, exploring the role of vibrational medicine in modern world, Dr Bach’s contribution as one of “the first modern pioneers of healing with flower essences,” and the development of flowers essences “all over the world, from England and North America to the outback of Australia.’ A preface by Dr George Lewith which states that “it provides an up-to-date, thorough, exceptionally well-researched resource for those practitioners who are interested in flower essences.” I would totally agree. Clare Harvey has collaborated with numerous practitioners and introduced the reader to a whole host of flower remedies which I have not heard of or come across before. There are informative sections on how to use, store and produce the remedies. Her section on the natural power of flowers from diverse, unspoilt regions of the world is fascinating, documenting the aborigines of Australia, ancient Egyptians, Minoans of Crete, Native Americans, as well as the “Science of life”, Ayurveda, the Russian medicine men, apparently even Genghis Khan “reputedly prescribed them to his men to give them strength for battle.”
I loved this quote from the language of flowers chapter about the mighty power of the much loved rose: “Cleopatra places such faith in its romantic charm that she reputedly carpeted her bedroom with millions of fresh rose petals to help her seduction of Marc Anthony!’
Being a bit of a fan of gods, and goddesses, this appealed to me too: “Many of the classical gods, goddesses and nympths such as Hyacinthus, Narcissus and Iris are remembered today because they gave their name to flowers.”
A section on Flowers and the signs of the zodiac also charmed me: I’m a Scorpio, so the flowers suggested to me are Gentian, and Hyacinth.
Clare Harvey suggests that Flowers are a “kind of liquid energy.” She explains the various methods used to capture their energy. This truly definitive guide goes into great depth and explains the role of The Meridian Systems, The Chakras, The Auras, and the Subtle Bodies. The effects of shock, stress and pollution are also well documented, as are social poisons, such as alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and social drugs, their misuse and effect on the body.
Traditional medicine obviously has its place in the treatment of serious illnesses as many lives are saved but she discusses the “undesirable side effects” and drug-resistant infections which are all too common nowadays. Could flower remedies give an alternative in some cases? Especially, when the root of the illness may be brought about, and intensified by life’s modern stressers.
I was very interested to read her suggested flower remedies for those of us about to be admitted into hospital for operations, she recommends rescue remedies such as Bach’s Rescue Remedy. Obviously as a recent patient to Addenbrookes for my Gallbladder operation this is undoubtedly invaluable advice.
There is a great section on choosing and prescribing essences, using case histories, intuition, and other more unusual tools such as a pendulum, muscle testing, and pulse testing.
Many common ailments are covered in the Case history section such as ME, Digestion Problems, Arthritis, Insomnia, Anorexia Nervosa, Eczema, Swollen Glands, Hay Fever, Sinusitis, Circulatory Problems, Diabetes, Hip Replacement, Stress, Shock, Migraines, Women’s Problems such as: Premenstrual Tension, The Problems of Pregnancy, Menopause, etc.
Animal lovers will love her advice on choosing remedies for their pets. Mothers can give the remedies to their children and babies safely as the flower remedies are gentle, and free from harmful side effects.
But, “Flower essences are not magical bullets – they are subtle remedies which act as catalysts for change.” Like all alternative remedies use them with respect, and understanding and they will serve you well.
The remedies combine well with other therapies such as Aromatherapy, Floral acupressure using acupressure points, Nutritional support, Psychotherapy, and Orthodox medicine.
A cancer study by Dr Judy Griffin using the Petit Fleur range has documented “some of the most powerful transformations with cancer, in particular Lilac flower essences, which she has found released self-healing.”
There are remedies for all sorts of personality traits, health problems and learning difficulties such as dyslexia. Remedies can be taken as creams if the remedy is to be applied topically, e.g. arthritis, first aid, moisturisers, cleansers, pain relieving lotions, or if swallowing is a problem, e.g. if the patient is unconscious. Sprays and mists are also available too, as are Combination remedies for common ailments.
Wildflower essences closer to home are also available here in England: “Paul Strode started making wildflower essences in 1999 in response to the urgent need to preserve our English wildflower heritage and with the aim of bringing plant energy medicine to a wider audience.”
Clare Harvey takes us on a trip of discovery through the flowers of Europe, the Channel islands, the Netherlands, Africa, Australia and the Far East, New Zealand, India, Russia, Alaska, USA, South America, Canada, the Desert, to the tropical rainforest, of the Amazon. So be prepared for a colourful and interesting ride!
More unusual essences are also harvested such as Mushroom, Gem essences, Nettle, Fern, Moss, Cactus, Fruits, Tree, Mountain Grasses, Shamanic and Dolphin essences! So there is definitely something for everyone.
There is a useful list of addresses, suppliers and suggested further reading in the Appendix. There is a local supplier here in Cambridge: Revital Health, 5 Bridge Street, Cambridge, no doubt I will be paying them a visit.
Information about the author:
Clare G. Harvey is an internationally recognised authority on flower essences. She was originally trained by her grandmother, who was taught by Dr Edward Bach and Nora Weeks. Clare has been a Flower Essence Consultant since the 1990’s, first at The Hale Clinic, London, and now in her own clinic at 103-105 Harley Street. A teacher and lecturer, Clare started the first International Flower Essence School for Practitioners, The International Federation for Vibrational Medicine, in 1988 which runs introductory and professional training courses. She is the founder of Floweressence CGH, which has been instrumental in establishing flower essences in the practitioner and retail market and is one of the major UK distributors of flower essences. Clare is also on the London Nutricentre’s advisory board as their flower essence expert.
Clare Harvey’s website: http://www.flowersense.co.uk
Sometimes the simplest images are just so interesting. A shadowy hand reaching out to pick up a single leaf, yet the shadow of the hand can’t move the leaf only the physical hand can. One to ponder over. Write about. Would you disturb the leaf or leave it to be caressed by the tender advances of the shadowed hand?
Photo courtesy of http://www.pixabay.com
Excellent tips and advice from Nicholas C. Rossis about marketing self published books.
Second, you’d be amazed how often I hear that question in LinkedIn’s author groups. With some 3,000 new books published every day, I have serious doubts that you can just sit back and wait for readers to stumble on your book, or for word of mouth to work its magic. The chances of that happening are probably similar to that of winning the lottery, in which case you don’t even need the long hours and hard work that goes hand-in-hand with a career as an author (if you don’t believe me, you may want to check out this post by Pedro Barrento on Indies Unlimited).
So, what are the next steps after publication? Before I can answer that, I need to ask one question of my own first: is this your first book? You see…
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Penelope lives in a world of advanced technology but many claim society has yet to catch up. Marionettes have advanced in the form of robots; lifelike creations remote controlled to perform super human tasks.
When Penelope makes a deal with Jed, a marionette-obsessed scientist, she doesn’t fully realize what she’s getting herself into. In order for Jed to take her away from the orphanage she lives in, she must first agree to undergo his experiments and tests, ultimately creating something no one ever dreamed possible; the first living marionette.
As Jed shows off his scientific creation to the world, concerns arise surrounding Penelope’s abilities and what she’s capable of doing. Ordered to somehow lessen her abilities, Jed makes a desperate attempt to change Penelope to make her more human, more vulnerable. After Penelope lies to the officials about her past, Jed makes sure it’s the last one she’ll ever utter. The truth is now the only thing she is capable of telling.
As Penelope struggles with her past, her disturbingly new present, and her uncertain future, she is thrust into a magically twisted world of mayhem in search of the one thing she wants, but knows she can never have. The chance to be just a girl again. To be normal. To be real.
I received a copy of Puppet via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. Even though I enjoyed Puppet there were a few issues with the book. Initially I felt that the first two chapters told us too much about Penelope too early on. These ‘facts’ could have been fed into the narrative slowly rather than been thrust into the opening chapters of the book. In some ways, chapter three felt like the perfect place to begin the narrative, suddenly the story took me by surprise, and began to capture my attention. Also there was a definite tendency for Pauline C Harris to tell rather than show which is a typical error that new writers, myself included, often make when beginning to write. So in my opinion, I do think that Pauline could have benefited from tighter editing from a professional in order for this novel to reach its full potential.
On the plus side I do think that the premise for Puppet is an interesting concept, an imaginative twist on the Pinocchio tale. Penelope is a troubled teenager living in an orphanage when Jed, a mad scientist offers to take her away in exchange for agreeing to be his experimental guinea pig! Under Jed’s scientific care Penelope becomes a human marionette and “her strings” are not physical attachments controlling her but the result of a drug administered to give her the ability to exert super human powers. When the “Administrators” find out about her abilities, and her lying, they threaten to take her away from Jed and James, so in desperation Jed takes away her ability to lie to compensate the Administrators. I found Penelope’s reaction to this interesting, she was distressed that this freedom which we take for granted is no longer something she is capable of. The pain of this loss is intense because in Penelope’s eyes lying is evidence of the last scrap of her humanity. Can you imagine never being able to lie? Lying isn’t always necessarily a wicked thing to do, sometimes we lie because we want to protect people’s feelings, e.g. when someone asks us if we like the way they dress! Ultimately the “Administrators” and in particular the evil Edelin’s intentions towards Penelope become clear. Her powers are forcibly used in a way that she finds abhorrent and distressing. She no longer has any control over her body’s potential for cruelty. The plot twists at the end of the narrative are unexpected and a welcome aspect of the fast paced story line, characterised by short punchy chapters.
I didn’t quite buy into the romance between Penelope and James, somehow it seemed a bit forced to me. Also it seemed a bit odd because I had considered them to be more like brother and sister, up until the point when they kissed each other!
I was surprised that Penelope didn’t have more qualms about participating in Jed’s experiments, after all who would want to? I know that she felt grateful for being released from the Orphanage and her debt to them, but somehow this just didn’t seem enough cause for her to allow Jed to inject her with a cocktail of unknown and potentially dangerous chemicals. Somehow she just seemed a little too compliant. In addition, I think that the characterisation of the characters could have been developed more as could the setting and background to the story. More detail about the science in the story and world building in this futuristic land would undoubtedly have made the story a richer read.This novel had a lot more to give and I was a little disappointed that it just didn’t quite get to the giddy heights that I had expected.
Having said all of this, I did enjoy the premise for the story, and the pace of the novel. I found it a quick read, gripping at times, and I do think this author has such potential. Pauline C Harris is a young writer, she is the same age as my eldest daughter who also loves to write! So well done to her for publishing at such a young age. Incidentally this is not her first novel she has already written a trilogy in 2013: Mechanical, Perfect, and Flawed, as well as children’s/middle grade fiction, The Secret’s of Evelyn Taylor, and another fairy tale retelling is coming out in 2015, Hourglass. Oh and she loves Star Trek and tea, so she gets a high five for that!
So if you like a quick read, and an unusual re-telling of Pinocchio pick up Puppet. For readers of Young Adult, Romance, and Fantasy.
“We won’t kill you,” the administrator repeats. “But …if you forgive the pun…” he trails off, smiling to himself at some internal joke. “There will be strings attached.”
Being forced to tell the truth doesn’t make me better than a criminal with a lie detector. Choice is what matters and my choice has been taken away.
I can feel panic slowly pulsing through my veins like venom.
The marionettes’ bodies are indestructible. They are capable of shuffling and dealing cards faster than the eye can perceive, of crushing rocks in the palms of their hands, of darting across rooms in the blink of an eye.
And now I am too.
It scares me more than it empowers me.
Book Trailer on Pauline C Harris’s WordPress Blog: paulinecharris.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/puppet-book-trailer
Have you read Puppet? Do leave a comment below I’d love to hear from you.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
Lovely poem about looking into the mirror from Idiot Writing. Had to reblog as mirrors, reflections, shadows are some of the elements that I explore in my novel
I was a bit apprehensive when I received my appointment letter for my Gallbladder operation. The date was set as Monday 13th of October, being a bit superstitious the number 13 just didn’t do much to alleviate my fears. On the day of the operation my husband was driving me to Addenbrookes in the early hours of the morning when he suddenly said, “Oh No.” I thought his outburst was most probably due to an announcement about bad traffic ahead, but no of course it couldn’t be that, the NHS were on strike! So as we drove to the hospital I had no idea whether my operation would go ahead as planned. The superstitious no 13, lifted his ugly head and smirked.
I was admitted, given a bed, and everything seemed to be going as planned. The doctors and nurses checked me for everything under the sun, diabetes, high blood pressure, and my medical record was clarified and re-checked over and over again. One thing surprised me, the check for nail polish and makeup, whatever was that in aid of? This one might seem irrelevant but believe me it is not. Your nails and skin are a means to verify that enough oxygen is reaching you whilst you are under. So leave the make up and nail polish at home ladies, oh and any gents too who are so inclined! I met my anaesthetist and was somewhat perturbed when I saw that she was very heavily pregnant. She made a comment about coming in as a patient herself in the next two weeks. Please don’t have your baby today, I silently prayed.
I hadn’t eaten or had any fluid since the night before and my operation wasn’t scheduled until around 3 o’clock. A very chatty member of the hospital staff waited with me while I perspired anxiously. I told him all about my writing journey and my completed book. Then I was called in. No going back. I woke up around 4.20pm and just before I stirred I could have sworn that I was on my computer writing my latest blog post about my experience at the hospital! Trust me to think about writing whilst I was under the surgeon’s knife. Fortunately I didn’t embarrass myself too much, I was a quiet patient, but the guy in the bed next to me was a challenge to say the least. He just wouldn’t stay still when he awoke. The nurses had a difficult job restraining him. I suppose even the quietest of guys may react badly to a general anaesthetic.
I didn’t stay in recovery for long and was quickly transferred back to the original ward. It was a bit of a lonely night as I was all by myself on the ward. Mind you it wasn’t as if I was up to much socialising I had enough trouble going to the toilet! The next morning one of the nurses casually suggested that I might like to wash my face and freshen up a bit. I must have smelt pretty bad and this was her polite way of saying I needed to wash. I really wished that I’d packed some nicely smelling deodorant but all I had was a functional roll on. Still, I was so glad I had packed a dressing gown, a must if you are going in for an operation.
Then a new batch of patients arrived waiting for their operations. I was struck by their positivity and cheerfulness. I felt guilty eating and drinking as they were unable to indulge in either of these pursuits. The aroma of my food must have been distressing. Nevertheless, we were drawn together by this strange experience, it was a club of sorts but not one you would normally want to join. An elderly Italian lady made a big impression upon me. She had been for countless operations before but she just smiled, and talked endlessly. I have never heard anyone talk so much! Even though everything must have been a bit of a challenge for her, she had a walking stick, suffered from dizzy spells, yet she didn’t complain. Even after she returned from her operation she still had so much to say! She gave me a lovely wave and wished me well when she left to go home. I just hope she will be fine too, her arm was limp after the operation and I wonder whether it is fine now? She made light of it, joking that she didn’t think the alien arm belonged to her. I couldn’t believe she was released within a day, what a tough old cookie! Not like me, I stayed overnight, was hardly able to walk after the operation, and had a raised temperature for the first night. An eighty three year old with a walking stick, definitely put me to shame!
Overall surgery is not an experience I would like to repeat in a hurry, but the nurses and doctors did a sterling job. NHS staff shouldn’t need to strike to get a 1% pay rise, they deserve every single penny. I’m relieved that my short stay at Addenbrookes is all over. Hopefully now I’ll be able to eat normally again, a favourite pastime of mine. I can’t wait to tuck into a long awaited Chinese Buffet!
Oh and now my Gallbladder is gone I may never suffer from indecisiveness ever again, apparently in Chinese medicine, quoting Wikipedia, ” the Gallbladder is a Yang (Fu) organ; its paired Yin (Zang) organ is the Liver. The pair is associated with the element of Wood. While the Liver is associated with the emotion of anger, the Gallbladder is associated with indecision or decisiveness.” So no more procrastinating, time to get my book published!
Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Now, two years past the time when she should have received the Sight that is the Clayr’s birthright, she feels alone, abandoned, unsure of who she is. Nevertheless, the fate of the Old Kingdom lies in her hands. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog, Lirael must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil.
In this sequel to Sabriel, winner of the Aurealis Award for Excellence in Australian Science Fiction, New York Times best-selling author Garth Nix weaves a spellbinding tale of discovery, destiny, and danger.
This wonderful trilogy was introduced to me on Goodreads via the Hot Key books Old Kingdom READ-ALONG.
It is quite fascinating how Garth Nix fast forwarded the essential elements of the story many years into the future, rather than continuing Sabriel and Touchstone’s more youthful story. We are introduced to Lirael, a young woman who wants desperately to be accepted as a Clayr, yet she is lacking in one important quality that the Clayr must possess. Each year she grows older but the ability to see into the future, which is a coming of age gift of the Clayr, bypasses her. Lirael can’t help but feel excluded, an outsider, overgrown, useless, lonely and ultimately desperate.
Unable to bare her wretched existence a day longer she decides to commit suicide by flinging herself off of the glacier, a dramatic attention seeking act! But she is thwarted by her own fear and by an unexpected interruption. We are re-introduced to the Abhorsen Sabriel, and King Touchstone but the two main characters of the previous novel play a much smaller part in this second novel. Instead of killing herself Lirael discovers a sense of purpose in the quiet duties of a Librarian, learns Charter magic, and creates the magnificent Disreputable dog a Free Magic creature infused with Charter Magic. If you loved Mogget, an ancient Free Magic cat construct of unknown origin bound by a red Charter magic collar to serve the Abhorsen, you’ll love the dog. These two furry characters are just so amusing. Loved them both! Their banter is just so on point.
So the adventure continues and what an entertaining ride it is. Along the way we meet Sameth, Sabriel and Touchstone’s son, who is overwhelmed by his princely duties as Abhorsen in waiting. He would prefer to construct toys to catch insects than stare into the eyes of evil Necromancers and who can blame him? He feels inadequate, and the efficiency of his sister Ellimere just makes him feel even more useless and paranoid. There are interesting parallels between Sameth and Lirael, but the way in which they deal with overcoming obstacles are quite different. Lirael is without a doubt the stronger character. It is interesting how Garth Nix writes strong female characters but his male characters tend to be a bit lacking and not quite up to the task! All in all, I really enjoyed the character of Lirael, I warmed to her straight away. Sameth was a bit pathetic at times but he grew on me! Even when he tries his best to escape trouble he just seems to walk deeper into its clutches!
The ending came as a bit of a surprise but maybe I should have seen it coming!
Overall, I would highly recommend Lirael to readers of Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic, and Adventure.
Have you read Lirael? Do comment I’d love to hear from you.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
Continuing on from my previous Writers resources, Memes and Hashtags: https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/writers-resources-and-memes/
Here are some more Writer’s resources, Memes, Blog Hops, Challenges, and Promotional ideas that have caught my eye:
Lots of helpful writer resources worth checking out on Elsie Elmore’s blog: http://elsieelmore.com/writers-
and more on Abby Reed’s blog: http://abbyjreed.com/resources-for-writers/resources-a-helpful-list/
Great tips from author Shannon Donnelly about common dialogue mistakes: http://www.romance-ffp.com/the-seven-most-common-dialogue-mistakes/
Lots of tips from Derek Haines on promoting self published books: http://www.derekhaines.ch/justpublishing/10-ideas-to-promote-self-published-books/
Lots of information about WordPress. http://apanache.wordpress.com/about-me/wordpress-tips/
Different blogs that host writing prompts: http://kattermonran.com/2014/10/07/the-world-is-a-stage-and-it-is-time-to-tell-your-story
Novel Nostalgias is a weekly feature/meme held every Thursday at Gwen & Kate’s and Along the Same Lines As… is a weekly feature/meme held every Sunday at Gwen & Kate’s Library. http://gwenkatelibrary.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/gwen-kates-1-year-anniversary/comment-page-1/#comment-318
Silver Threading has a Writer’s Quote Wednesday : http://silverthreading.com/2015/02/18/writers-quote-wednesdaydowager-countess-of-grantham-downton-abbey-2015-8/comment-page-1/#comment-11052
Why I write blog hop
This blog hop was created by http://follyandbloom.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/the-folly-bloom-blog-hop/
I originally found it via Amandas nose in a book! http://amandasnoseinabook.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/why-i-write/ why I write blog hop.
Words that you just don’t come across on a daily basis but that doesn’t stop them from being beguiling:
Bookish and Not so Bookish!
Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #9 http://lipsyy.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/bookish-and-not-so-bookish-thoughts-9/
“Bookish (and not so bookish Thoughts) is a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.” Hosted by http://bookishlyboisterous.blogspot.co.uk/
Sites about professional paid book reviews:
To Be Read Pile Challenge. “The Goal: To finally read 12 books from your “to be read” pile (within 12 months)” http://tasseledbooks.com/2013/12/17/2014-tbr-pile-challenge/ Hosted by http://roofbeamreader.com/tbr-pile-challenge
Around the world in 12 books challenge, different levels of participation available at : http://www.giraffedays.com/?p=18795/
Thankful blogging thoughts: http://serinssphere.wordpress.com/2014/10/11/10-things-of-thankful-15/
“Thunderclap is a tool that lets a message be heard when you and your friends say it together. Think of it as an “online flash mob.” Join a Thunderclap, and you and others will share the same message at the same time, spreading an idea through Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr that cannot be ignored.”
Thunderclap promotional device: https://www.thunderclap.it/faq