Month: November 2014

My Friday Secret Images: The Corpus Christi Clock

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In my earlier blog post today, Secrets and Lies, I mentioned that I would be revealing one of my secret sources of inspiration. Well here it is, The Corpus Christi Clock in Cambridge, a stunning timepiece that is featured in my writing. The clock is a very popular tourist attraction that’s frequently photographed. People tend to respond to the clock in many different ways. I found the grasshopper thought provoking and weird looking. What do you think? Are you enticed by its fine gossamer wings, or repelled by its stinging tail?

I discovered a couple of interesting videos on Youtube about the Corpus Christi Clock and I’ve shared these on my Tumblr site, here’s the link: http://kyrosmagica.tumblr.com/.

I’m not going to tell you any more about the grasshopper other than to say he plays a very interesting part in the mysterious Crystal Cottage.

I’m excited to say that writing inspiration can be found everywhere, all you have to do is look with a keen eye. Museums, Art and Photography displays can provide such a wonderful source of ideas. In fact, I’m desperate to visit the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge to view the Silent Partners Artist & Mannequin from Function to Fetish exhibition. Sounds weird but interesting! It’s free too, where else can you get entertainment for free? Ok, libraries you say. C’est Vrai. Absolutely.

Here’s the link and trailer about the Fitzwilliam’s Silent Partner’s exhibition: http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/whatson/exhibitions/silentpartners/

Enjoy. Have a very Happy Weekend, and if you’ve been shopping this Black Friday hope you’re aren’t too exhausted. I’ve ignored the Blackest of temptations and stayed well away from the shopping queues. How about you?

Photos: My own.

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I Kid You Not I love To Read

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What else am I up to? Working on my second novel, and deciding what to read next. There are so many books that I’ve won, been given as a gift, or been asked to review. So where to begin. My eldest daughter gave me a huge, humungous, book for my birthday. I think she’s trying to blind me, and I’m already half way there. Can you guess which book she chose? Yes, it’s The Bone Clocks from David Mitchell, which she kindly selected for me from my TBR list on Goodreads. Lovely lass. So that has to be no. 1 on my list of priority. I still want to finish The Old Kingdom trilogy from Garth Nix, Abhorsen, is waiting for me patiently. Well, Disreputable dog is barking a bit but that’s dogs for you! Mogget’s purring demurely trying to pretend she doesn’t really give a damn but I reckon it’s all an act.Then, there are my recent wins: The Sharp Hook of Love, by Sherry Jones and Romancing my Love by Melissa Foster. Quite excited about engaging in a bit of romance before Christmas. If I get my skates on who knows what may happen! Also I have a NetGalley to review. Jasper and the Magpie by Dan Mayfield. This is a special interest book which caught my eye. According to the NetGalley blurb, “The story will resonate particularly with children on the autism spectrum and their friends and family. For ages 6 and upwards.”

To cap it all Bette Crosby my new friend on Goodreads has asked me to review her USA Today Bestseller, 5 time literary award winner, Spare Change! Well, that will keep me out of mischief! So much to do, so little time.

So I like to read widely, and often! I believe reading and writing should always go hand in hand, the perfect pairing.

What are you reading or hoping to read, or writing? Do let me know. I’d love to hear all about it.

 

 

Secrets and Lies

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Well, it’s Friday again, we’re about to embark on another weekend. So, what’s on my list of things to do today? Every Friday I try to post a photographic image on my blog. This week I decided to focus on one image that particularly inspired me whilst writing about the Crystal Cottage. So later in the day I will post this special image to my blog. Not telling you what the image is yet as I like, no LOVE, secrets so you’ll just have to wait!

Oh, if you like secrets, deception, hypnotism, art, and myth, then I’ve got a feeling you might like to visit the Crystal Cottage one day. I’ve already been there, and it is a wondrous place.

My Kyrosmagica Review of A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Eimear McBride’s debut tells, with astonishing insight and in brutal detail, the story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother, and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour. Not so much a stream of consciousness, as an unconscious railing against a life that makes little sense, and a shocking and intimate insight into the thoughts, feelings and chaotic sexuality of a vulnerable and isolated protagonist, to read A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing is to plunge inside its narrator’s head, experiencing her world first-hand. This isn’t always comfortable – but it is always a revelation.

Touching on everything from family violence to sexuality and the personal struggle to remain intact in times of intense trauma, McBride writes with singular intensity, acute sensitivity and mordant wit. A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is moving, funny – and alarming. It is a book you will never forget.

My review:

I have a grave fear that if I’m not careful this review is going to be a Half-formed thing so here goes:

My first thoughts upon finishing this novel were like a stream of consciousness itself. It seemed as if the novel had literally blasted my train of thought and left me with a series of broken uncertainties, which were flooding my consciousness.

It just didn’t seem to fit within my usual  book rating system.

Did I like the novel? No, I don’t think that like is a sentiment you can apply to this particular novel.

Did I love this novel? Definitely not. It was a disturbing read.

But did I admire the person who had written this? Absolutely.

Will I forget it? Most probably not.

In my wildest dreams I could not imagine writing such a novel. No doubt that is why A Girl is a Half-formed Thing has won numerous awards: Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize, the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award, and shortlisted for the Folio Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize, and the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award.

So a difficult novel to review and rate. I found the first paragraph almost incomprehensible: For you. You’ll soon. You’ll give her name. In the stitches of her skin she’ll wear your say. Mammy me. Yes you. Bounce the bed, I’d say. I’d say that’s what you did. Then you lay you down. They cut you round. Wait and hour and day.

Somehow, the writing style became easier to decipher and understand as the novel progressed but trust me when I say it is not a novel to read while wrapped up in your duvet at night with a nice cup of hot chocolate, and fluffy pink and white marshmallows. No, the themes are disturbing, shocking, and sickening. There are brief humourous interludes that attempt to lighten the load but these are few and far between.  In this short novel Eimear McBride tackles sexual abuse, religious fanaticism, love, dysfunctional families and grief at the loss of a family member, in a very raw and exposed way. This is not a novel for the faint-hearted. In my opinion, it should carry a health warning: Read on if you are prepared to enter the dark mind of an abuse victim. This novel is predominantly about a young woman who has suffered dreadful sexual abuse at the hands of her uncle, and her relationship with her brother who has a brain tumour. So not light reading.

The form of writing used in this novel, a stream of consciousness, works because it strips back the story to the bare, exposed elements, leaving very little room for fuller character or descriptive element, and therefore the reader can’t help but feel even more disturbed by the events within the novel. It is just so raw, and painful.

The way that Eimear Mcbride handles the ownership of grief is very startling, the mother and the daughter both want to be in control, to be the focal point of the dying man,  this causes conflict at a time when they should be supporting each other. Grief can make people behave in a very strange, and destructive way, especially if there are deep-rooted relationship issues as there are in this case. The victim of abuse in this novel has been so damaged at a young age that she becomes the seeker of abuse, almost validating the original abuse, in a state of “sin” until this ultimately destroys her.

I can only recommend this to those readers who might appreciate a very sad, but thoughtful read. I will be listening to Eimear McBride discuss her long and difficult journey to getting this novel published at the Cambridge Literary Festival this coming weekend so more details on that to come.

My rating:

3 stars.

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Links:

http://www.cambridgeliteraryfestival.com/events/a-girl-is-a-half-formed-thing/

Interesting interview with the author: http://www.thewhitereview.org/interviews/interview-with-eimear-McBride/

Have you read A Girl is A Half-Formed Thing? Do comment below I’d love to hear from you.

Bye for now,

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

How to draw…

This is so cute. How to draw a girl who Hearts Books. Reblog via Girls Heart Books.

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…a girl who hearts books.

Start with a pencil.

1. Draw a circle on a stick (near the top of the page or you might run out of space).

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Balance it on a box, slightly squashed. Balance that on two longer sticks, at an angle.

2. Draw two triangles on the side of the circle, saggy ones that point down, like a parrot’s beak. Add a small rectangle on top of the box then 5 ellipses (egg shapes), a big one hanging from the top of the box, two small ones half way down the long sticks and 2 medium-sized pointing up from the stick ends.

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3. Now you can start adding detail – a sticky-up fringe, plaits, ears, nose and a huge smile. Rest two arms in the big ellipse and give them two square-ish hand shapes. Make banana shapes from the box to the knees and then more bananas…

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My Friday Image: Started in a Book Tunnel Ended Up In A Library

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A Tunnel made out of books! Wonder of Wonders. Imaging crawling through it as it  becomes narrower and narrower. Would your thoughts dwindle as you wandered further into its clutches? Or would you linger by the opening and stare in wonder at the sheer size of it? Who knows where this tunnel of books could take you? Anyway, whatever you do don’t pinch any of the books, you’ll spoil the look!

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It’s sunny outside. Washing time.  Air those books!

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If you’ve got time on your hands and you’re feeling romantic? Try your hand at book sculpture.

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Or would you prefer something a bit more traditional?

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Or fantastical?

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John Work Garrett Library

Maybe you’ve got a thing for rare books? Look no further than the Garrett Library ‘s collection of rare books and manuscripts gathered together over two generations by T. Harrison Garrett and his son John Work Garrett, before the latter bequeathed the collection in 1942 to Johns Hopkins University. Today, it is part of the Department of Special Collections at the university’s Sheridan Libraries, with some 30,000 volumes in all, the large majority of which are represented on-line in the Sheridan Libraries On-line Catalog.

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Rijksmuseum Library Amsterdam

Library nut? Visiting Amsterdam? Have you been to the Rijksmuseum’s library in Amsterdam? Doesn’t it look incredible?

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Library of Congress

Or maybe you might consider the US. The library of Congress in Washington D.C. is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.

Well, I’ve been so distracted with writing this post and finding all these amazing images that I’ve had no breakfast or coffee so with that in mind. I will have to close this off with a few links:

For book sculptures visit these amazing sites:

http://www.sublackwell.co.uk/portfolio-book-cut-sculpture/

http://www.fuckyeahbookarts.tumblr.com

And libraries:

Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/

John Work Garrett Library: http://www.museums.jhu.edu/evergreen.php?section=collections&collection=john-work-garrett-library

20 Most famous libraries in the World: http://www.topdesignmag.com/20-of-the-worlds-most-famous-libraries/

Have you been to any of these amazing libraries?  Or found some wonderful book sculptures? If you have please tell me all about it in the comment field below. I’d love to hear your stories. Breakfast awaits!

Giving Thanks

This is so lovely, had to reblog from Here I am.

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I just got the Thanksgiving box down on Monday. In the box, I found some of our Thanksgiving thankfulness projects. We haven’t done something every year, but I do have a few mementos. In 2003, we made foam trees. I must have been inspired by a preschool project.

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In 2004, we were thankful that Charlie survived and didn’t take the time to create another project.

In 2005, we made placemats with each of our homemade trees of thanks. They are sitting around our table now and we are all getting a kick out of what we were thankful for back then.

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In 2006, we made bookmarks. I have these hanging on a mirror in another hallway.

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We must have been really busy living and were not that creative in the past 8 years!!  This year we are settling again and are ready for another thankfulness project.

We looked on Pinterest, and…

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How easy is it to be grateful?

Reblogged from sfsoulspa. Sometimes we have to go through hard times to really appreciate what we have. Also it can happen that an unpleasant symptom can have a positive outcome, e.g. I suffer from ear problems which sometimes make me dizzy. This helped me write a scene in my novel in which the protagonist suffers a similiar episode (not brought on by mundane ear problems),  you may want to read the book to find out what, when it is published.

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With Thanksgiving around the bend, there is a lot of talk about gratitude. From boosting your happiness to improved health, there are real reasons to cultivate gratitude.

Gratitude is easy when golden opportunities fall into your lap or when you fall in love. It is also easy to be grateful when you are comfortable and without worry. But what about those days that are challenging?

how easy is gratitude?

Yesterday, i was not feeling well. I went through my day and skipped doing things that were not essential. In the evening i soaked in a hot bath tub by candle light, and drank a grog—a northern European home remedy, in my case consisting of a shot of aquavit with hot water—to sweat out the bug. Then i went to snuggle up under a cozy comforter and topped my medication with Oscillococcinum (a homeopathic flu remedy).

What does this all have to do with gratitude? When…

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Digital Marketing The Possibilities Are Endless

 

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Recently I joined in the Futurelearn Digital Marketing Course. Why you might ask? Well, I figure that any help that I can get to help me get my book published has to be worth investigating. And,  I’m a bit of a perpetual student, I love learning!   I’m no expert, in fact I’m a bit of a novice, but here are some suggested links from the course and a few more that I found myself that I think may be of interest:

Free digital media guides to  create, manage, deliver and use digital media. http://www.jiscdigitalmedia.ac.uk/guides

Temporary text hosting:

http://pastie.org/

http://notehub.org/

Learn how to be an authorpreneur! http://thefutureofink.com/authorpreneur/

‘Padlet Walls’  places to share media like images or text with other learners. http://padlet.com/

‘Welcome to the easiest way to create and collaborate in the world.’ Padlet is free to use, does not require you  create an account, and works on most devices including desktop, mobile and tablet.

Photos

 

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Learn about using photos on google plus. http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/photos/

‘Capture and Share the World’s Moments’:  http://instagram.com/#

‘Inspiring photography. Share and connect with the Flickr Community.Stunning photos made easy. All your pictures in one place.’: https://www.flickr.com/

https://www.dropbox.com/

“Easily share photos and videos right from the Dropbox website. Share a link to a single photo or an entire album you’ve created, such as for a special event. Anyone who receives the link can take a look, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account. “https://www.dropbox.com/en/help/498

‘Join Pinterest to find (and save) all of the things that inspire you.’ https://www.pinterest.com/

Pin interest basics: https://help.pinterest.com/en/articles/add-edit-or-delete-pin#how’P

‘Your images have never looked better. Unlimited uploads. Unlimited space. Safeguard your high-res photos in the cloud.’  http://imageshack.us/

VIDEO

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No doubt we all know about youtube: https://www.youtube.com/

But, there is also Vimeo: Watch, upload, and share videos : https://vimeo.com/

Facebook and Google groups:

How to create a FB group: https://www.facebook.com/help/167970719931213/?q=how+to+create+a+page&sid=0OK4UtwGVxhISdfMo

‘You can use Google Groups to share information and interact with people who have your passion for a particular hobby, interest, or organization. And you can also share documents and send calendar invites to a group so you don’t have to list people individually.’ https://support.google.com/groups/answer/2464926?hl=en

‘You can use Google+ communities to find other people who share your passion for a particular hobby, interest or organisation. And if no-one’s started a community for what you care about, you can create your own.’ Creating a google + community: https://support.google.com/plus/answer/2872671?hl=en-GB

Facebook groups recommended by award winning author Dianne Harman http://dianneharman.com/blog/five-facebook-groups-i-recommend/

 

Or you may prefer LinkedIn. I tend to associate this one with business, but I suppose plenty authors, use it too.

https://www.linkedin.com/

Enterprise social network:

‘Yammer is a private social network that helps employees collaborate across departments, locations and business apps.’ : https://www.yammer.com/

 

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On-line conversation:

‘Neat Chat is the easiest and fastest way to have an online conversation with a group of friends or colleagues. No signups or software installs are required. You simply use a web browser to communicate via Neat Chat’. : http://www.neatchat.com/

‘Schedule. Manage. Measure’:

https://hootsuite.com/

Simon Fogg’s links:

Building Your Platform: Michael Hyatt: https://plus.google.com/+SimonFogg/posts/3QyY5HgwmNC

Podcast: “How to Write Web Copy That Sells”, Ray Edwards: https://plus.google.com/+SimonFogg/posts/HFQMigFwUS1

Storytelling Ads: Social Media is Sweet: A Hootsuite Story: https://plus.google.com/+SimonFogg/posts/eVpUcDdRXwF

“The 5 Elements of a Powerful, Personal Brand”, Michael Hyatt: https://plus.google.com/+SimonFogg/posts/NAMEGiFSuvN

 

 A couple of links I discovered via fellow Futurelearners:
 Amusing marketing approach by Ikea, found the link via Louise Hoffmann, fellow futurelearner : ‘Experience the power of a bookbook.’  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOXQo7nURs0

Friends: The Freezer

Reblog of Friends: The Freezer from Bound 4 Escape. Love Friends so this was just too tempting. Next time I get scared when I read maybe I’ll follow Joey’s advice!

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My favorite bookish Friends moment: Rachel finds a copy of The Shining in the freezer. He says he gets scared when he reads it and puts it in the freezer because it makes him feel safer. 

Rachel talks Joey into reading Little Women and it really upsets him…so Rachel offers to put it in the freezer for him.

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