THE PARTIES NOW OVER BUT FEEL FREE TO STOP BY AND LEAVE YOUR LINKS, ETC, IN THE COMMENTS BELOW…….
Let’s have a big splash, a veritable Mad Hatters Xmas Party…. Invite masses of bloggers over to share cake, music, their links and stories. Wait a minute, it’s a bit cold for swimming… so let’s pop over to Winter Wonderland.
So first things first – provisions – I’m off to Cambridge market to get some nibbles…. I better wrap up warm, it looks cold out there. I’m just starting to recover from a bit of a nasty illness. No worry, I’m sure some hot jacket potatoes, olives, tasty bread, cheeses, fruit, and whatever else takes my fancy, will warm me up and make me feel much better. Don’t worry, I promise not to eat it all!
Now with that done, phew these bags are heavy. How are we going to get to Winter Wonderland? We could walk but that would be boring, and Kyrosmagica doesn’t do boring. So, let’s go ….
Via Rudolf’s magical golden sleigh of course. One sleigh?
No of course not… Rudolf has an army of reindeers and sleighs to take us there. This one is just a mini version stationed at the Grand Arcade in Cambridge. One twirl of my Kyrosmagica wand and we are all set. See those presents? There is one for each of you, just open and see what’s inside. Pop your present on your lap, and let’s hop aboard….
This is your Christmas Link Up Party, have fun, share links but please try to….
I haven’t been for ages…… Every Saturday I (teenage me!) used to go to Murrayfield Ice rink in Edinburgh. Grab your skates, no one will fall, I promise. In fact Kyrosmagica’s Wonderland skates are magical, so everyone, even me will be able to do all sorts of fancy footwork! Wherever you go you will leave a trail of magical golden ice in your wake. Isn’t that just so cool?
Hugh @ Hugh’s Views and News is bringing some mince pies… There is mulled wine too, and party food a plenty, so tuck in, drink, and be merry!
Leave at least one comment – what you say is entirely up to you – write a short poem, don a party hat, bring your crackers, tell your worst Christmas jokes, play your favourite Yuletide music, do whatever you fancy.
Share your stories, or if Christmas isn’t your favourite time of year you have my permission to be a total humbug, ignore the other guests and fall asleep in a corner. Who is our resident Scrooge? Hey, confess!! But snoring isn’t compulsory. Keep the music and the snoring down, we don’t want to upset anybody!
Let us know what Christmas books you are reading… I’m currently reading Mistletoe And Murder, A Murder Most Unladylike Mystery by Robin Stevens which is set in Cambridge.
Thereafter, I will be diving into Hugh’s Glimpses – his recently released short story collection.
What else? Do encourage gate crashers, the hostess may be in and out so you can ask who you want. Bring your dog and cat, if you want, but please keep them off the ice. This is an open house. Yes, you heard right, you can leave your links too if you’d like to. Oh, before I go I better remember to share some posts to get the conversation going. Perhaps this one for future reference – Natalie @ There She Goes – Xmas Cake Recipe.
This is the mix…..
The cake…. as it came out the oven…
Dress up in your finest, it’s nearly Christmas !! Or if you can’t manage that, show us your quirky Christmas jumpers, ties, or earrings. Tell us what unusual presents you’ve bought. This year I bought a lovely amber jewellery set from fellow blogger Irene Irene Design 2011 for my mum – (mum isn’t very internet savvy so I know I can put this up and not worry about her seeing it before Christmas!)
Somebody better sing, definitely not me, it wouldn’t be recommended. Find someone willing, or suitably inebriated amongst the guests.
Have fun – talk amongst yourselves, have a glass or two of bubbly, an obligatory piece of Christmas cake which I have lovingly prepared for you dusted with my special recipe of magical sugar dust and don’t forget to stand under the inspiration mistletoe. One kiss and all your stories, (for authors,) and dreams, (for normal folk,) LOL will come true…
It is such a pleasure to extend a hearty Kyrosmagica Welcome to my good friend, author, blogger, Hugh W. Roberts.
Hugh W. Robert’s debut short story book Glimpses has just been launched in time for Christmas. Isn’t that just too wonderful for words? You can see from Hugh’s face that he is speechless. But, I’ll be coaxing him with lots and lots of questions and Hugh will be spilling the beans on what it’s like to hold a copy of your very first book.
Hugh, unfold those arms…. and proudly take a copy in your hands.
Here it is in all its loveliness, isn’t that cover just so eye-catching? Excuse the pun. But it really is. I do so love a pretty book cover.
Glimpses – Synopsis
After publishing some of his short stories on his blog, Hugh W. Roberts, who suffers from dyslexia, received numerous requests to publish his short stories in a book.
Here, at last, are 28 short stories that will take your mind on a rollercoaster of a ride into worlds that conceal unexpected twists and turns.
‘Glimpses’ allows the reader a peek into the lives of everyday people who are about to have life lead them on an unpredicted path. From a mysterious deadly iPad app, to a hole in the fence that is not all it seems, to a strange lipstick that appears to have a life of its own, you will encounter terror, laughter, sadness, shock and many other emotions on journeys which promise a thrilling and gripping climax.
If you are a lover of shows such as ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’, then you’re in for a real treat with this first collection of short stories from Hugh.
Dare you take a glimpse into the lives of these unsuspecting characters?
Author Question time….
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: Who is author, (isn’t that exciting!) Hugh W Roberts?
I’m a 50 something dyslexic man who recently moved back to my homeland, Wales. I live with my civil partner, John, (we’ve been together for 23 years and became civil partners in 2006) and our Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Toby. We now live in Swansea, but during my life I have lived in various parts of the UK, including London where I lived for 27 years. I’m retired and spend most of my time writing. I also enjoy photography, walking, cycling, food, watching TV, and the odd glass or two of red wine.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: How did you feel when you held your book Glimpses for the first time?
It was an amazing feeling. Unfortunately, I was the only one in the house when it arrived, but I could not stop myself from opening the package and seeing my book. Seeing your name on the front cover of the book you’ve worked so hard on is one of the best experiences of my life. From the title of an ABBA song, ‘I had a dream,’ as a young child I had a dream to write a book. Being dyslexic stopped me, but when I discovered the world of blogging in 2014, my dream opened a new door.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: I love your book cover art, Hugh, what made you choose this particular design?
George, my book cover designer, was introduced to me by Geoff Le Pard. I had all sorts of crazy ideas of what I wanted on the cover, but George came up with the idea of a bookcase and an eye which completely captured the idea of the title of the book. I loved it, and all the ideas I had were shot down. I’ve had fantastic comments about the cover. I only hope that the book can carry on and get the same praise.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: Tell me all about the writing process that culminated in Glimpses.
It started back in April 2014 when I published my first short story on my blog. The story, ‘Last Train to Aldwych’, is the first story in the book. It got some amazing comments and I was asked to write some more. Gradually, I built up over 30 more, but it wasn’t until my short story ‘The Truth App, went viral that the idea of putting all the stories into a book came to me. Yes, people had asked me if I was going to publish the stories in a book, but I honestly thought people were just being polite. How wrong I was.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: I believe there are 28 stories in various genres, what made you write such an eclectic mix?
Like my blog, I wanted the stories to be a variety of genres. Most of them show the dark side of my writing, but that doesn’t mean to say I had to stick to writing horror or supernatural stories.
I weaved my trademark ‘unexpected ending’s into drama, comedy and fantasy and people loved them. I’ve always believed that variety is the spice of life, so I’m hoping the book will appeal to lots of people and not just those who stick to a certain genre.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: Are you a plotter or a pantser? What style suits you best and why?
Without a doubt, I’m a panster. Sometimes, I know what the ending of a story is going to be and I then go about writing it from the end to the start. However, most of the stories I have written start with an idea and I’ve no idea where the story is going to take me. For example, ‘The Truth App’, was meant to be a short story of around 1,200 words, but I ended up writing another nine parts which I published on a weekly basis because readers had such a big appetite for it. During those nine weeks, I had no idea where the story was going until it finally concluded in part 10.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: Has blogging influenced your writing style?
Yes. If it wasn’t for blogging then I would have never written any of the short stories in Glimpses, let alone all those posts over on my blog. I owe blogging a lot and will be forever grateful for the turn in direction it offered me.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: I’d love to find out more about some of the stories included. Do you have a favourite snippet you could share?
That’s a tough question, Marje. A favourite? Well, as it’s you, here’s a snippet from a story I wrote as part of a writing challenge I participated in. The challenge was a photo of a big old wooden chest and participants were asked to write a piece of fiction or poem about it. I called the story ‘Gloria’s Chest.’ I wonder if you can guess where the story is going?
Let me take you on a journey to a magical place. This is a place where many come. Some even make a return visit. It’s a beautiful location and a place where you will receive the friendliest of welcomes.
Meet Gloria. Isn’t she beautiful? Look at those deep blue eyes and her lovely long, white dress. It’s made from paper. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s the softest paper you’ll ever find.
What’s that? Oh, I thought you’d ask about that. The gem stone that hangs from the chain around Gloria’s neck is the Swarthmore stone. It’s believed to have been unearthed in the year 1568, in the Furness area of the county of Cumbria, in north west England. Everybody that comes here asks about it.
Let’s follow Gloria. She has something very important she wants to show you. While we walk please feel free to admire the surroundings and take in the relaxing atmosphere. I promise you that you’ll never see such a beautiful place as the one you are in right now.
Is Gloria a ghost? No, I can assure you she’s not. She’s exactly the same as you and me. I know it looks as if she’s floating, but she’s real. Can you hear the beautiful singing? It’s Gloria who is singing. It’s one of her favourite Beatles songs. She’s happy today that you’ve come to visit her.
Here we are at our final destination. Everything you see here is just as real as what you’ve already seen. I know that old chest looks out of place, but it’s what Gloria wants to show you. Please step forward and stand next to her and she’ll open the lid.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: Hugh, that’s such an extraordinarily enticing snippet and your photos are so amusing! But, it’s time for another question…
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: Which character from your stories are you most proud of and why?
I love all of them, but if I had to pick one then it would be ‘Rusty Balls’ from my story ‘Rusty’. Rusty is not who you think she is and was created from another writing challenge I participated in. I can’t remember what the prompt was but it may have been to write about something that was not all it seemed to be. I don’t think anyone could dislike Rusty (the person). When you read the story, you may feel very sorry for her, but Rusty is a determined lady and she’ll do all she can to carry on being the star of the show. People love her because she makes them laugh and forget about the parts of everyday life that we all often find ourselves in and wish we could be away from. I’ve been asked to bring Rusty back into some more stories. It’s something I’m working on.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: Rusty sounds fantastic, can’t wait to read about her…
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: Like all writers you must have met the odd brick wall of frustration from time to time. How did you deal with it?
I get up and go for a walk. I’ll go and watch TV, or read. What I don’t do is get all frustrated and angry about it. It happens to all writers but, for me, getting angry and shouting and screaming about it is negative and I’m a firm believer than negativity leads to even more negativity. It’s probably easy for me to say because I’ve always been a positive person, but I find taking a break away from writing usually helps oil the creativity clogs and, before I know it, they’re turning again.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: Promotion – Harrods have named their Christmas bear after you. What an honour wouldn’t you agree?
Well, I’d love to think this year’s Harrods Christmas Bear was named after me but, truth be known, I rather think somebody in their marketing department probably has a son, nephew, dad, uncle, or granddad named Hugh. When I first heard, he was called Hugh, I thought the person telling me was having a joke, but then my partner got the bear for me and, sure enough, his tag says ‘Hugh’. Yes, quite an honour, especially as it’s happened the same year that I have published my first book.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: Tell me about inspiration, perhaps certain authors or individuals have inspired you, do tell.
I’ve already mentioned writing challenges and most do inspire me to write. In fact, I also believe they can help when it comes to overcoming writer’s block. I love looking at photographs because I can often see a story hidden within them. If I had to choose an author who inspired me then it would be Armistead Mauplin who wrote the ‘Tales of the City’ series. Rod Serling, creator of ‘The Twilight Zone’ is also somebody who inspires my writing and whom I admire.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: I hear that you are a big fan of Christmas, the Harrods’s bear, told me! Was it your intention to publish during the festive season?
Yes, big time. I’ve always enjoyed the festive season. December is my favourite month and I was determined to publish my first book during it.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: As a dyslexic writer what would you say to fellow dyslexic creatives considering publishing a book?
Don’t allow dyslexia to stop you from writing and publishing a book. I allowed it to stop me from writing for far too long. There are many reasons why I did that, but there is so much support and encouragement out there for people with dyslexia to write Anybody with the condition should never be afraid in showing off their writing. Once you do it, not only will you amaze yourself, but you’ll be an encouragement to other dyslexic writers and will help them in pursuing their dreams of becoming a writer.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica: What advice would you give to bloggers contemplating joining in the next Bloggers Bash?
Don’t be afraid in coming to the event. It’s great making friends online, but nothing beats meeting fellow bloggers for the first time and giving them a hug. I think we should have the bloggers bash at least twice a year, but don’t tell the other committee members that!
Great answers Hugh, and I agree so much with your last two comments, don’t let anything stop you writing and we definitely should make the Bloggers Bash, a biannual event.
Please consider yourself cordially invited to the KYROSMAGICA Christmas Ice Skating Virtual Bloggers Link Up Party on Sunday 18th December…
I would be delighted if you could join me by putting this date in your diary.
KYROSMAGICA is nearly at the spectacular milestone of 1,000 followers – see if you can get me up to that magic number with three exciting zeros.
If you do I will be very, very chuffed !!!! Either way, come and enjoy yourselves. After all it’s not all about the number of followers, it’s really and truly about the friendships you make via blogging. I count myself very lucky in that respect – there are so many lovely bloggers who I now count as friends.
There will be lots of fun, a dash of sparkling magic and a large dollop of fantasy to be had. Prepare to party on the ice, and bring all your links, Christmas cheer, and any news you would like to share for this Bloggers Link Up Party.
Marje @ Kyrosmagica
– Transport via Rudolf’s golden, shimmering sleigh from The Grand Arcade, Cambridge…. to …
To understand a little of what the following haiku is about I urge you to read a piece of writing that I enjoyed doing some time ago, when my bubble bath took on a bit of an extraordinary form that grew and grew into a swirling mass of monster imagination….
My theme for the following haiku….. is to continue this preposterous fun.
Thereafter, I will be writing a piece of flash fiction about the Bubbly Snowman for Solveig Werner’s Advent Calendar on the 24th of December so keep a look out for that on Solveig Werner blog. I’m hoping that the snowman might just melt your heart…
As well as this I am joining in with Ronovan’s suggestion to add photos to this post. This is in conjunction with the 52 day Photo Challenge – Extra – The Aran Artisan Photo Challenge– I’ve been baking my Christmas cake – which I’ll be adding extra sherry to!!! and lots of nuts, fruit, glace cherries,….. yum! The recipe is via Natalie at There She Goes. Thanks Natalie for the awesome recipe, it looks like it’s turned out well…
The mix …
The cake… turned out heavenly, in fact I could still smell the wonderful Christmassy aroma well into the evening.
So on to those 1st of December promised haiku Snowman kisses…
Ha ha!!! Yes I did say it was going to be preposterous and I wasn’t joking. Well why not? Life is too short to be too serious!
Hope you enjoyed my silly haiku. I enjoyed writing it.
Stay tuned…… Kyrosmagica is planning on inviting you all to my Christmas party on this blog on Sunday 18th of December when you can pop by for a bit of virtual ice skating, and to share your news and your lovely links.