Please scroll down to the end of this post to see the new topic if you’d like to take part in this challenge.
My topic this time is:
Have you ever seen a ghost and what would you do if you did see one?
I think the quick answer is freak out! I do think my parent’s house in Edinburgh is haunted so I thought I’d use that as a bit of inspiration, anyway here is my timed challenge effort:
I pushed at the door, but the door wouldn’t budge it seemed as if something or somebody was pushing hard against it, but how could that be? I was alone in the house. I tried again, this time the door groaned and inched forward little by little. I saw a figure glowing in front of me, a shimmering apparition, with the saddest face I have ever seen. She was carrying a doll, dressed in exactly the same dress as her. They both had the same tragic expression etched on their faces.
“You pushed so hard, I had no choice, I had to let you through,” said the ghostly figure.
“I wish I hadn’t,” I replied stepping back, retreating further into the shadows.
“It’s ok,” she replied, ” I only want a friend, my doll isn’t much company. She’s so miserable it makes me sad.”
I was beginning to think that I was in the midst of some strange dream and I would suddenly awake but no, this ghostly child continued to talk to me.
“I’m sorry I frightened you the other night. It used to be my bed you know, and sometimes I like to stretch out there too.”
“I wish you hadn’t, it really scared me. I thought I was being possessed.”
“I only wanted to lie down and cuddle my doll. I’m sorry if I scared you. Please could we be friends? I’m so very lonely.”
Hope you might like to take part in this challenge if you do the rules are just below, have fun with it.
If anyone else fancies joining in with this ghostly challenge please do, the more the merrier!
Now here are the rules… if you decide to take part in this challenge.
1. Open a blank Document
2. Set a stop watch or your mobile phone timer to 5 or 10 minutes, whichever challenge you prefer.
3. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!!!
4. Once you start writing do not stop until the alarm sounds!
5. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write with correct spelling and grammar.)
6. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals.
7. At the end of your post write down ‘No. of words = ____” to give an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.
8. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nomination (at least five (5) bloggers)
When you have the document and the timer ready to go, scroll down to see your subject…
Russian Dolls. The many layers of Russian Dolls, what do they reveal?
I couldn’t come up with a serious one this week, somehow think and fresh just didn’t lead me down that path. In fact I’d say that these two prompt words took me to some rather strange places. Sorry failed miserably, on the plus side I came up with two funny ones instead!
Student think Award
Prize given to Fresh woman
Freshman is pissed off.
This one is really dark humour/weird, so apologies in advance:
I love the sea, and I would have loved to surf, so the story of Soul Surfer Bethany Hamilton really touched me. On the 31st October 31, 2003, thirteen year old Bethany Hamilton was enjoying the waves on Tunnels Beach, Kauai, with best friend Alana Blanchard, Alana’s father, Holt, and brother Byron. A tiger shark attacked Bethany severing her left arm just below the shoulder. This terrible tragedy rather than curtailing her surfing career led her to inspiring surfing fans from all over the world. The first thing she asked after the surgery was “When can I surf again?” and just three weeks after this life threatening incident she returned to her board.
I learnt of her amazing story just this week whilst watching Soul Surfer on Netflix. This wonderfully inspiring film features an all-star cast, including Anna Sophia Robb and Helen Hunt, with Carrie Underwood in her film debut, and Dennis Quaid.
Here’s just one of many wonderful quotes from this remarkable woman:
“Life is a lot like surfing… When you get caught in the impact zone, you’ve got to just get back up. Because you never know what may be over the next wave.”
They say Bethany Hamilton has saltwater in her veins. How else could one explain the passion that drives her to surf? How else could one explain that nothing—not even the loss of her arm—could come between her and the waves? That Halloween morning in Kauai, Hawaii, Bethany responded to the shark’s stealth attack with the calm of a girl with God on her side. Pushing pain and panic aside, she began to paddle with one arm, focusing on a single thought: “Get to the beach….” And when the first thing Bethany wanted to know after surgery was “When can I surf again?” it became clear that her spirit and determination were part of a greater story—a tale of courage and faith that this soft-spoken girl would come to share with the world.
Soul Surfer is a moving account of Bethany’s life as a young surfer, her recovery after the attack, the adjustments she’s made to her unique surfing style, her unprecedented bid for a top showing in the World Surfing Championships, and, most fundamentally, her belief in God. It is a story of girl power and spiritual grit that shows the body is no more essential to surfing—perhaps even less so—than the soul.
And because I couldn’t just stick to one quote I had to include this one too:
To finish off this heart-warming post what could be more wonderful that this: on February 9, 2015, Bethany Hamilton and her husband announced that they were expecting their first child, a baby boy due in early June. Many congratulations to her, such an amazing role model, and a wonderful human being.
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My prompt from Julia is What Does Make You Smile, strangely enough I didn’t really focus on what makes you smile, I kind of looked beneath the layers of the smile to see something else. But that’s me always trying to complicate things and make them darker. I do like to contrast the lighter qualities of life with dark hidden meanings and it shows in some but not all of my writing.
But so that I don’t sound like a miserable git, here are some of the things that make me smile:
I looked out of my window today and I saw a squirrel whizzing across a fence, followed by a black cat doing acrobatics on a separate section of fencing. These kind of animal antics are quite common in our garden as we live by the country park. Our house is surrounded by trees and we often hear birds singing, their sweet birdsong is a delight. Unless it’s at the crack of dawn and then it’s not so welcome!
Unfortunately at night time the bats come out and they scare the living daylights out of me, as soon as I see a bat, I scream and run into the house and hide. So bats definitely don’t make me smile!
More things that make me happy, well I received two postcards from my daughter’s school saying she’s doing well in Science and English, that definitely made me break out into a smile. I text my eldest daughter on Saturday morning to see if she managed to get some sleep last night in her campus accommodation, (she had her exam on Saturday) and she replied, yes apart from someone maniacally laughing in the middle of the night. Maybe the maniac had an exam too!
Tasty food makes my lips form a greedy grin. I love to see the sun shine, children play, hear laughter, and see friends smile. I love to splash about in the water, especially on a hot, sunny day, that makes me grin insanely, because I’m a true water baby. I like to see my cactus form tiny buds of flowers, or my orchids bloom, that plants a happy smile on my face too. So lots of things make me smile but it is the simplest events that really make me smile, and then that smile can easily navigate its way to my eyes. Eyes smile much more than lips ever do. So yes, every moment can be a precious memory…..
So here’s my short snippet, which I have entitled: The Hurt Behind The Smile.
Wow, this is hard I’m not used to writing in a short timescale but here goes.
My topic is… WHAT DOES MAKE YOU SMILE?
(YOUR NEW TOPIC IS AT THE END OF THIS POST)
Title: The Hurt Behind The Smile
A smile, the simplest form of human expression but don’t let it fool you. Alana appeared happy but was she really? Was this an illusion to confuse you? Her lips formed a smile, but her face suggested pain and hurt. Louise’s smile began with her eyes. The secret of a true smile, the eyes cannot deceive. They say the eyes are a mirror to the soul and I guess it’s true. Louise’s eyes shone like twinkling diamonds of true forgiveness, whereas Alice’s still held sharp shards of pain. So next time you smile remember this tale and smile like you really mean it with your whole heart and soul, don’t leave anything behind, because it isn’t what makes you smile that really matters it’s the sentiments buried deep in your heart that will shine through.
1. Set a stop watch or your mobile to 5 minutes or 10 minutes whichever challenge you think you can beat.
2. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH A TIMER.
3. Fill the word doc with as many words as you want. Once you began writing do not stop even to turn.
4. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spellings and grammar with spell check in MS WORD (it is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write the right spelling and stick to grammar rules)
5. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation and capitals. However, if you do, it would be best.
6. At the end of your post write down ‘Word count =_____’ so that we would have an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.
7. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new Topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nominations (at least 5 bloggers).
So it’s my pleasure to nominate the following bloggers (I got carried away and nominated rather a lot of you peeps hope you don’t mind.)
Debra at Words Across The Oceans: “Lover of poetry, books, music, art & exploring of life!” http://debradml.com/
Raeven Wright. Raevenly Writes. A little about the process of writing, a lot about my adventures in self-publishing via blogs, and occasionally, some of my actual writing: https://raevenlywrites.wordpress.com/
Colleen at Silver Threading. Writer, Poet, Book Reviewer. Join Me, as I Look Back, Look Forward, Look Around, and Look Within: http://silverthreading.com/
I was thrilled to discover that Olivia at Wording on A Whim has been awarded her first Liebster Award, absolutely deserved. It is hard to believe that Olivia is in her last year of junior school in Australia. Her classmates have been encouraged to create their own blogs. How amazing is that! Her blog is lovely, and her friendly, welcoming personality really shines through.
The Liebster is an award that is usually given, as far as I can see, to bloggers with less than 200 followers. Olivia has nominated both new blogs with great potential and slightly more experienced bloggers like me. (Not that I’m an expert, far from it!) I will nominating on the same basis. My very first award wasn’t a Liebster, it was the One Lovely Blog award, so I am very pleased to accept this award. Thank you so much Olivia.
So let’s share the bloggy love!
Here are the rules:
1. Once you are nominated, make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
2. Include the Liebster award sticker in the post.
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers who you think are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts.
5. Answer the ten questions asked to you by the person who nominated you.
6. Think of ten questions you would like your nominees to answer.
7. Lastly, copy these rules in the post.
Here are my answers to Olivia’s questions:
1. What is your favourite aspect of blogging?
My favourite aspect of blogging is the sheer diversity, one moment you could be doing a book review, writing up an author interview or talk, the next moment you might be posting some photos, then you might be creating some poetry, blogging about cooking, or fashion, or perhaps sharing some quotes, writing travelogues, short stories, and flash fiction. There are so many opportunities for self-expression, and I hope to explore more of these as this blog develops. Blogging allows you to explore and play with new creative endeavours which you might not otherwise have had the courage to do. This particularly applies in my case to writing poetry and sharing my photography, both of which are fairly new interests. As well as this, I really like connecting and making friends with people from all over the world, it is nothing short of miraculous to me that I might be “chatting” to someone in say Australia, like my new blogger friend Olivia, while I’m sitting here in Cambridge UK. As well as this I intend to use this as a platform to help other people too, to see if in some small way I can provide a resource for other bloggers, and writers, a supportive environment which will hopefully assist others as well as myself to reach those all important goals.
2. What is your best memory that involves photography?
Oh, this is a difficult one. The first that comes to mind are my wedding photographs. I had the best day ever it was the most memorable day of my life. It was late September, yet the sun shone, even though it was an autumnal day in Scotland! Everyone seemed to have a whale of a time, it was the best party ever.
If you’re asking me of my best memory that involves my own cheeky photography I’d probably say some photos I did years ago when the kids were very young and we were eating Spaghetti Bolognese and our chins were all covered in the tomato sauce, and all of us were laughing hysterically, simple moments like that mean so very much.
More recently it would probably be the photo that I did of the Corpus Christi Clock in Cambridge, as the creature trapped within the clock mechanism features in my first novel. I hope that this novel will at some point be published in some format either as a traditionally published book, or as a self-published novel.
3. What are you passionate about? Why?
Ah, I am passionate about writing, reading, and enjoying life to the full. I love the theatre, travel, beautiful things, jewellery! Life is too short, so I don’t want to waste a single minute. I am passionate about treating everyone in this world with respect regardless of their cultural background, race, religion, or sexual orientation. That is why I have started to feature diverse books on this blog. I am passionate about the importance of family, nurturing your children to do their very best and fulfil their potential as adults.
4. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
An introvert with extrovert tendancies! I’ve become more outgoing with age, but intrinsically I am still shy, and sometimes still find crowded social gatherings awkward, unless I’ve had a few glasses of wine, and then I’m just fine!
5. What do you find inspiring?
People who push through all sorts of difficulties to reach their dreams, and individuals who encourage others to achieve their full potential. Positivity is inspiring.
6. What are 5 words that describe you?
I expect my five words would be: Passionate, Stubborn, Funny, Crazy, Kind, but I do wonder what my family and friends would say!
7. What makes you laugh or cry?
I think laughter is as its best when it just comes out of nowhere. I remember recently I was waiting in a queue to get my copy of The Art of Being Normal signed and I was chatting to my daughters about what we should ask the author Lisa Williamson to write in the book, I suggested to my girls the Mallon family, and somehow it just reminded me of the Addams family, well that was that, lots of giggles!
What makes me cry, well reading sad bits in books really does it for me, sometimes I even end up crying in public on the bus home, or even in supermarket cafes, it gets a bit embarrassing. One time my husband came home, he looked at me quizzically. I think he was wondering if he had upset me in some way! Of course it was another sad ending in a book! Yes books that stir those kind of deep emotions are in my opinion the very best.
8. What is/has been on your bucket list?
I’d love to go on one of those author retreats, especially if it was somewhere abroad. One year I did go off on my own for a few days just to write, it was such a liberating experience. I stayed in a lovely hotel on the sea front in Brighton and wrote in coffee shops, and libraries. I went to the theatre in the evening, and even ended up at a party one night. I remember one of the partygoers asking me how I knew everyone and I said I didn’t, I just met them that night. I would never have had the courage to do this when I was younger. There are some incredible advantages of getting older! It was such fun, I’d definitely recommend it.
9. If it were your last day on earth, what would you do?
I’d have to spend it with my closest friends and family. Family and friends are very important to me, so yes I’d want to share my last day on earth with them. I love the sea so I’d organise a trip to the seaside, maybe have a beach barbeque, somewhere vibrant like Barcelona, or perhaps a beautiful bay in Portugal. The sun would be shining, music would be playing, and there would be this wonderful party atmosphere, nobody would go home, we’d just enjoy every last precious moment.
10. What is the best book you have ever read?
The best book, oh, I have so many that I love, how can I pick just one?
I loved The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzak, yes that’s definitely up there as one of my favourites. It’s fantastic.
My favourite fantasy author is Victoria Schwab, currently reading A Darker Shade of Magic, review to follow soon.
Now, I have the opportunity of nominating 10 other blogs that I think are worthy of the award:
I’ve chosen to focus on some smaller blogs as well as some who perhaps have a larger following, they all have one thing in common, they’re all super awesome and dear to me:
1. First up is some music, where would we be without music? In a sad, silent land I reckon, so without any further ado let me introduce you to, Steve Says music blog: “The music blog that does what it says” Talk About Pop Music: http://talkaboutpopmusic.net/
2. I love to travel, and the Caribbean is very dear to me, as I spent some of my teenage years there so when I came across Rashida’s Jamaican blog, “the Life of a Jamaican girl” I jumped at the chance of following 876 Lover: https://876lover.wordpress.com/
4.These two guys Husband and Husband are just so cute, they have a really lovely blog. They even have their own web comic: “Writers, Artists, Husbands.” : http://husbandandhusband.net/
5. I love to connect with younger people, I write for the 9-12, YA age group, and I love to day dream and encourage others to do so: A little Day Dreamer “Just a creative teen with a blog” : https://alittledaydreamer.wordpress.com/
6. Again another blog reaching out to youngsters: Black Cat my Ramblings. “I am in middle school and love to dance, write, and hang out with my friends.” https://blackcat345.wordpress.com/
7. This Australian blogger seems to appreciate all the things that I love too. TJ Paris. “La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin.” ” I am an Australian who enjoys photography, art, collecting, poetry, writing and all things French.”A ma vie de Couer Entier. https://amaviedecoeurentier.wordpress.com/
8. A blog about books, well of course this is bound to be one of my recommendations. Jenny’s wonderful blog about books, and lifestyle. Jenny In Neverland. http://jennyinneverland.com/
9. The travel theme again! A very nice blog about an expat family and their wanderlust. Tiny Expats. “Expat family, moving around, travelling and exploring with our tiny expats”: http://tinyexpats.com/
10. And last but certainly not least food has to get a mention, as I’m a bit of a foodie. So check out Mommy Cook for Me’s great recipes, and paintings too. Just recently I tried out her Easy Chicken Fajita recipe it was delicious, and very healthy too: https://mommycookforme.wordpress.com/
My questions for the nominees:
1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What is the best food you have ever tasted?
3. If you could live anywhere in the world where would you go?
4. Do you enjoy fantasy and sci-fi?
5. What are your tastes in music?
6. Have you a favourite book, TV series, or film?
7. Do you like to cook or bake?
8. What is the most exciting or scary thing that you have ever done?
9. Is family important to you?
10. Which is your favourite holiday destination, beach/ski resort, and why?
Here’s the book beginning that captured my interest:
ONE SUMMER NIGHT I FELL ASLEEP, HOPING THE WORLD would be different when I woke. In the morning, when I opened me eyes, the world was the same. I threw off the sheets and lay there as the heat poured through my open window.
CAN YOU GUESS WHICH BOOK THIS IS? OR HAVE YOU READ IT ALREADY?
Watch out for the cover reveal and author’s name at the end of this Book Beginnings and Friday 56 Post.
The Goodreads Synopsis:
A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
THE FRIDAY 56 MEME
It is a weekly meme hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice, click on the link to her blog, and the rules are pretty simple:
Grab a book, any book.
Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s OK.)
Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it).
Add the url to your post on Freda’s Voice.
Ifelt alone, but not in a bad way. I really liked being alone. Maybe I liked it too much. Maybe my father was like that too.
I thought of Dante and wondered about him.
And it seemed to me that Dante’s face was a map of the world. A world without any darkness.
Wow, a world without darkness. How beautiful was that?
Well, these quotes have certainly made me want to read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of The Universe. What about you? Have you read it? Do you have a copy on your shelf that is waiting to be picked up? This is most definitely on my TBR list. Absolutely.
There is something quite surreal about this picture of the moon seen on the edge of some broken glass. It’s almost as if the moon has been captured in an imperfect cut glass triangle. It reminded me of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album cover too!
Somehow it seems to be a perfect tribute to one of my favourite writer’s quotes, which sums up the Show don’t Tell rule perfectly:
Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. Anton Chekhov.
Well Mr. Chekhov that might be a short succinct quote, but it captures the pure essence of one of the important rules of writing oh so eloquently.
Anton Chekhov, in full Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (born Jan. 29 [Jan. 17, Old Style], 1860, Taganrog, Russia—died July 14/15 [July 1/2], 1904, Badenweiler, Ger.), major Russian playwright and master of the modern short story. He was a literary artist of laconic precision who probed below the surface of life, laying bare the secret motives of his characters. Chekhov’s best plays and short stories lack complex plots and neat solutions. Concentrating on apparent trivialities, they create a special kind of atmosphere, sometimes termed haunting or lyrical. Chekhov described the Russian life of his time using a deceptively simple technique devoid of obtrusive literary devices, and he is regarded as the outstanding representative of the late 19th-century Russian realist school.