Thank you so much to Brigid Gallagher for nominating me in the Book Lover’s Tag. It’s a long while since I’ve participated in a tag. I’ve been so busy doing my own book promotion that this is a welcome change.
Do you have a specific place for writing? I write at my desk in my office at home. One blissful year I went away to Brighton for a few days and wrote in my hotel room, in cafes and in the library. That was wonderful.
Book mark or random pieces of paper? Mainly a book mark but I have been known to use anything that comes to hand!
Can you stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter? Always at the end of a chapter unless I’m reading on the bus (and I do this often on the way to work,) and then I’ll make a mental note of where I stopped!
Do you eat or drink whilst reading? No, I don’t unless I’m in a cafe. Otherwise, I tend to focus 100% on the book.
Music or TV whilst reading? Do people do this? Shock, horror, no I never listen to music or watch TV. I’d find that too distracting. My husband reads in the bath which I find equally odd. How can you turn the pages with soap bubbles everywhere?
One book at a time or several? Oh, I rarely read more than one at a time but occasionally I might read a paperback and a kindle. I don’t like to do this but time pressures sometimes mean that I do.
Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere? I’ll read at home, on the bus, travelling by train, in the library, in cafes, anywhere!
Read out loud or silently? Silently, but I have been known to cry whilst reading a book in public places!
Do you read ahead or skip pages? I never skip pages, ever.
Break the spine or keep it like new? I keep it like new.
Do you write in your book? Ouch, never!
What books are you reading now? I have been reading Malala Yousafzai’s biography, the Pakistani schoolgirl who stood up to the Taliban and defended her right to an education. It’s an amazing book, about halfway through. I recommend everyone reads this, very inspiring, educational and moving too.
Other than that I read anything I can get my hands on. I found another little gem recently in the same independent bookshop in Ely, Topping Books – Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast.
It’s a tiny black penguin classic with ‘Wildes’s celebrated witticisms on the dangers of sincerity, duplicitous biographers, the stupidity of the English – and his own genius.’
Some of my favourite witticisms from the book:
‘We spend our days, each one of us, in looking for the secret of life. Well, the secret of life is in art.’
‘One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.’
‘Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any other disease, Fortunately, in England at any rate, thought is not catching’
‘Pleasure is the only thing one should live for. Nothing ages like happiness.’
‘Life is much too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it.’
‘The old believe everything: the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything.’
‘To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.’
‘Time is waste of money.’
‘I love acting. It is so much more real than life.’
‘The tragedy of old age is not that one is old. but that one is young.’
‘Murder is always a mistake. One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner.’
“Life cheats us with shadows. We ask it for pleasure. It gives it to us, with bitterness and disappointment in its train. ‘
Welcome to my new book love group for authors and dedicated book bloggers who wish to support authors by writing reviews, or featuring authors on their blogs. Initially, I intended to write one long list and then I thought better of it. Small and personal works better – featuring a few bloggers/writers and then following it up with further lists on a fairly regular basis.
If you’d like to join in the next list please get in touch via my email: email@example.com, or leaving a comment at the end of the post. Thanks.
Of course Kyrosmagica blog continues to support authors in whatever way I can by writing reviews, author/blogger spotlights and interviews, so please don’t be shy, do get in touch if you’d like to be featured on Kyrosmagica.
Here’s my first list:
Shelley Wilson: First up Shelley went all hunger games on me, dashing to the front of the queue to feature on my post! So, many thanks to Shelley for kicking this off with a flourish! Author/Reviewer Blog is http://www.shelleywilsonauthor.com. She is pretty clear in her interests: ‘I write, I read, I review,’ she prefers YA fantasy, but also reads some historical fiction, non-fiction, horror, dystopian, sci-fi, and will take a look at book blurbs for most genres to see if she’d be interested but she doesn’t do romantic fiction.
Elouise De Sousa: ‘Books, Poems, Stories…and a cup of coffee, or two!’ She has a Book Tuesday feature reviewing books from fellow authors and books she’s read. She covers most genres, depending on what has been sent to her. Her site is http://eloisedesousa.wordpress.com
Debby Gies: A Canadian author who I have had the pleasure of following for some time. She is a very friendly and supportive lady who runs a series on authors with new books https://dgkayewriter.com/guest-authors-at-d-g-kayes-blog/ and also does her Sunday reviews on books she’s read and reviewed. Because of time constraints, she is unable to have an open invitation, rather she promotes authors she knows and invites them as her schedule permits.
Loretta Milan: Literary Lightbox supports authors from all backgrounds and most genres. ‘Literary Lightbox, founded by Loretta Milan, publishes inspiring articles featuring New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling authors as well as emerging and indie authors.’
It’s our special space of the Internet where we writers can inspire each other, lend support and encouragement.
Sally G. Cronin: ‘Blog with a view – on books, music, humour and health.’ Sally is a massive supporter of authors hosting so many on her blog that at times it makes me dizzy just seeing what she is up to. At the moment Sally is on a well deserved holiday! Sally also writes excellent and informative articles about nutrition and health, has published several books and has an on-line bookstore: Sallys Cafe and Bookstore and offers free author and blogger promotion: Sally’s Author and Blogger Promotion 2017
Jenny Marston: Blogs at www.jennyinneverland.com and enjoys reading Thriller, Mystery, Crime, YA, and Fiction. She is a busy lady with diverse interests: blogging about anxiety, books, blogging tips and advice, days out, lifestyle, travel, Disney, etc, and has a monthly meet my sponsor slot, which I had the pleasure of being part of. As well as this she manages a ‘privately run online book touring service for authors.’ In which she covers, ‘Thriller, Mystery, Horror, Romance, Chick-Lit, Young Adult and many sub-genres of those and offer a range of different length tours and services for you to choose from to get the best possible publicity for your book.’ Neverland Blog Tours
Heena Rathore Pardeshi: Has a book review blog but has stopped reviewing for another 6-7 months. No doubt as she’s snowed under with her debut mystery and thriller novel, Deceived which she will be releasing soon – www.thereadingbud.com. But do keep an eye out for Heena and support her book release. She reviews all fiction genre except erotica. She doesn’t do non-fiction.
Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie: Like to review books and invite guest posts on their website. But be prepared sister writing team Anita & Jay are: ‘two determined authors, bulletproof and dangerous…’ Eek, that sounds scary… dare if you will! Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie
Contributors Who Prefer to Host Guest Blogs:
Seumas Gallacher: Fellow Scot doesn’t actively do ‘cold’ reviews other than books he’s downloaded on his Kindle, but he does have an open blog policy on Guest Blogs from anyone, but particularly from fellow writers who can include anything they wish, except gratuitously offensive material… book buying links, bio, cover pages, any wee back story or element to their writing… the page for promo is theirs… all at their choice… cheeeeeeers ..https://seumasgallacher.com/ 🙂
Carol Hedges: Is more than happy to showcase other writers and let them loose on her Pink Sofa. ‘I write, I sleep, I try to resist cake.’ Yes, her pink sofa is very edible, pink and sugary! https://carolhedges.blogspot.co.uk/…/ten-ways-im-just… Recently I came across a very interesting article on her blog: Carol Hedges Blogspot – The Importance of Publicity
Tina Frisco: Happy to feature authors/artists/photographers/ musicians/etc. as time permits. ❤ https://tinafrisco.com/ ‘Nature is my go-to tonic. Aside from music and animals, I love dancing and getting lost in working crossword puzzles.’ She blogs under the categories: inspiration, spiritual, guests, quotes, books, chronic illness and self-acceptance.
Thanks for dropping by. Don’t forget if you would like join my next list do get in touch by leaving a comment below or contacting me via my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bye for now,
Welcome to Kyrosmagica,
Pull up a cosy chair and get comfortable – I have so much to tell you. It has been quite a week of colourful excitement, fun and frolics. It’s been my birthday week so let me suggest a mug of hot chocolate topped with chocolate drizzled marshmallows…. Why not? Or if you fancy a Martini Espresso do join me in a moment…
In the meantime what about a journey back in time in my special phone booth… I am getting older by the minute… on the bright side I’m not as ancient as these dinosaurs
We have a tradition in my family – my mum and dad decided that birthdays should last longer than a day. So when it’s anyone’s birthday we celebrate for a whole darn week! Not just a single day, we like to make it last, and last and last, …. ad infinitum.
So my fun week started off last Sunday with a trip to London with my two daughters. We made quite a day of it visiting Camden food market, (eating yummy Beef Rendang – which is a spicy Malaysian dish,) walking along the river from Camden food market, and then taking a bus to Covent garden, as the tube station was shut. My poor wee legs.
Here’s some photos that I’d like to share with you.
My keen photographer daughter Georgina is on the right clutching her camera, Natasha is to the left of her, our model for the day!
What about a little oriental charm along the way? A beautiful Chinese restaurant that we discovered floating on the water! http://www.fengshang.co.uk/
We were in search of graffiti to photograph and we found plenty.
Sometimes you need someone special in the foreground to make it especially interesting….
What else did I do this week?
- I went to a make up evening with my youngest daughter – the launch party for the new John Lewis beauty hall which was great fun. I nearly won the raffle prize but unfortunately I lost it by one number. My raffle ticket was something like 365, and the winning number was 364. A bit of a disappointment – but life isn’t all about winning, is it? It’s about experiences. Doing the things you love with the family and friends you love. That’s what truly counts.
- I bought a couple of new books at Ruth Hatfield’s book launch. I’ve got a bit of catching up to do, I read the first in this series a while ago:
- I went out for a lovely birthday lunch with my hubby, and youngest daughter.
So before this week ends I’d just like to raise a glass to you, my followers, to thank you for your continued support in this here blog. It means the world to me. In fact I’d love to raise a glass of Espresso Martini to you.
Cheers. Love ya..from the real me, no cartoon this time!
Excellent interview with author Heena Rathore P on Cathleen Townsend’s blog. Do read it and found out more about my blogging friend Heena, and her upcoming psychological thriller Deceived.
She’s an introvert, a thinker, a neat freak, a voracious reader and a GSD-lover.
Apart from writing and reading, she loves doing all sorts of creative stuff, like baking, painting, sketching, crocheting, gaming and photography.
She dropped out of her engineering college in the 2nd year and started perusing 3D Animation Film Making.
She worked as a content writer after that for two years before she started working on her first novel.
Presently, she lives in Pune with her beloved husband and spends most of her days surrounded by books and nature.
So, lets start off with a smile. What’s the funniest mistake you ever made writing?
It’s not actually a mistake, but still a funny thing. I wrote the first draft’s scenes of my first novel backward – End first and…
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I have to say I was struggling with Ron’s prompt words this week: rein and quest… until I began cooking the dinner. I asked my daughters what they’d like to have with their chicken and they said skinny chips. So I thought no problem, just bought them today, they’ll be in the freezer. WRONG!! Could I find those skinny chips anywhere …. no I couldn’t, somehow I’d misplaced them, they were so skinny that they’d vanished, evaporated into thin air. Along with my evidence – my grocery receipt- had I bought them at all or had it just been a wicked figment of my imagination? Who knows. Anyway, to cut a long story short I had to find an alternative. Of course there were big fat chips, potato croquettes, and two healthier options: new and sweet potatoes in the fridge. In other words every combination of potato known to man was present and correct apart from the much desired skinny fries! I suppose I could have made some triple fried chips… what on earth, maybe not. So as a consolation, I chopped up the sweet potatoes and added some herbs and a touch of olive oil. Much more healthy! So our quest for skinny chips became a quest for healthy eating, with the added bonus of a salad too!! Luckily no one complained, everyone loves sweet potato chips.
So here’s my haiku with that in mind:
Photo courtesy of Freepik: Freepik.com
Sweet Tatty Fries!!
Rein it in darlings,
Quit that quest for skinny chips,
A ‘Triple fried’ please!
Mum’s lost the chip plot,
Rein in your greedy tummies,
Quest: sweet tatty fries!
© Marjorie Mallon 2016 – aka, Kyrosmagica. All Rights Reserved.
Do pop over to Ronovan’s blog to join in the haiku fun:
I’m currently reading – Amber Wake Gabriel Falling, oh I do love a pirate adventure… how exciting, more about that soon …. review to follow…. perhaps it might have been our pirate captain who stole my skinny fries… maybe Ronovan will have an angle on that? I hope I won’t have to make him walk the Kyrosmagica plank for his misdoings!
Hope you enjoyed my haiku.. keep on smiling pirates!! It’s Friday tomorrow, doesn’t that sound good? Oh dear do take care watch you don’t succumb to too many glasses of vino…. or you might hear man overboard!
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
My fun (totally not serious but nevertheless 90% true,) author bio on Wattpad – Link below.
Marjorie Mallon was born in Lion City: Singapore. She grew up in a mountainous court in Hong Kong. Her crazy parents dragged her spotty soul away from her exotic childhood and her much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. There she mastered Scottish country dancing, haggis bashing, bagpipe playing and a whole new Och Aye lingo. As a teenager she travelled to many far flung destinations to visit her abacus wielding wayfarer dad. On one such occasion a barracuda swam by. It stopped to view her bikini clad body, longing to take a big bite. With dogs' fangs replacing barracudas' teeth, she returned to her mother's birthplace: Kuching, Cat City. There, Blackie, a black-hearted dog sniffed her frightened butt, whimpered and ran away! Shortly after this extraordinary event an angry female Orang-Utan chased her unfit ass out of the Malaysian jungle believing that she was a threat to her babies! She still monkeys about, would love to own a cat, or a replacement Topsy but refuses to entertain murderous dogs, or over-protective monkeys. It's rumoured that she lives in the Venice of Cambridge, with her six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and her two enchanted daughters. After such an upbringing her author's mind has taken total leave of its senses. When she's not writing, she eats exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surfs to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out she practises Tai Chi and Yoga on the crest of a wave. If the mood takes her she goes snorkelling with mermaids, or signs up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes. She is a child of the light and the dark. Her motto is simply this: Do what you love, stay true to your heart's desires, remain young at heart, and inspire others to do so, even if it appears that the odds are stacked like black hearted shadows against you...
Vote for your favourite UKYA book Bloggers. Reblogged via Lunaslittlelibrary.
The UKYA Book Blogger Awards are OPEN!
Let me give a big shout out to the wonderful helpers this year:
Aditi @ A Thousand Words A Million Books
Amy McCaw @ YA Under My Skin
Andrew @ The Pewter Wolf
Annalise @ AnnaliseBooks
Aurelija @ myblinddatewithbooks
Chelley Toy @ Tales Of Yesterday
Chloe @ Writer-On-Wheels
Cintia @ Reflection of the Books
Emma @ Howling Reviews
Georgia Stencel @ The Books Bandit
Jesse @ thatjessebloke
Kaavya @ outlookonabook
Kaisha @ thewritinggarnet
Rachel Kennedy @ Ya-bberingBooklover
Rebecca @ Rebecca McCormick’s Authorial Blog
Virginie @ Chouett
28 UKYA bloggers made the UKYA Book Blogger Awards LONGLIST year –
to find out who they are visit just visit one the helper’s blogs.
Now it’s time to vote for those that made the shortlist.
Voting closes on Friday 27th May 2016.
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Thank you very much to James Fahy author of The Changeling series and Hell’s Teeth for nominating me to take part in The Writer Q & A Tag. Do check out his blog: James Fahy Author, and follow him on Instagram, he has an awesome page…………Jame’s Fahy Instagram Page
What’s this tag about? Its a fun tag celebrating books, and writing. Also it’s a way to discover and make new blogging friends. So that can’t be bad can it?
Here are James’s Questions for me – and at the end of the post there are some questions for my Nominees. I believe I have to nominate ten but I like breaking rules so we’ll see how many I nominate…
- What book first made you cry, and why? The first book that made me cry. Um….I’m not sure it might have been a little picture book while I was in my pram…Need to ask my mum…..More recently I’m cultivating this crying book lark to a whole new level. There have been a whole bunch of books that have triggered my crying – here’s some of them: Marcus Zuzak’s The Book Thief, The Fault in our Stars, by John Green, You Before Me by Yoyo Moyes, Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey, Summertime, by Vanessa LaFaye, The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller, The StoryTeller by Jodi Picoult, and The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson, etc… Most of these I’ve reviewed on this blog on my A – Z Book Reviews. These particular books definitely had me crying big time. But that’s okay as I love books that stir the emotions. They really make me happy! Nothing like a good cry, but I have to stop doing it in public places that’s too embarrassing! Just in case you want some crying inspiration look no further than Buzzfeed’s 53 Books That Will Definitely Make You Cry
- If you could be any one of your favourite characters (your own or others you’ve read) for one day, who and why? I’d like to be a guy… there you are I’ve said it – confession time! I’d like to write in the POV of a guy for the second or perhaps the third book in the series of my current WIP: The Curse of Time…. I’ve been a lass for a long time, and getting inside a guy’s head will be a challenge so perhaps I’d like to be Dorian Grey for a day ’cause I want to stay young and get up to mischief! Ha Ha!! I see my Ryder character in my WIP: The Curse of Time developing into a modern day Dorian Grey – he’s a bit young at the moment but he’s heading that way!
- What is your favourite opening line from a book? I’m pretty taken with this opening line in this book: “I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.”
– Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs.
- Do you have any odd writing rituals (has to be a yellow legal pad and a HB pencil for example) No, not really. Apart from lingering in my pyjamas longer than necessary and opening up the door to the Avon lady still wearing them. I swear she thinks I live in my pj’s. Oh, and I forget to drink, eat, brush my teeth, floss, and go to the toilet. Those ain’t so good. When I get to the serious hunger stage I rush off to have breakfast, and do my ablutions…. I’m one of those writers that tends to get their ideas really early in the morning, in fact they often wake me up, sigh…and then I have to get to it straight away… or if I can’t do so due to work or other constraints I’ll jot them down in a note pad and come back to them later.
- Have you drawn on real locations / experiences in your writing? Yes, a lot, I think our experiences shape us and in turn they shape our writing. Often this is at an unconscious level. Sometimes I look over what I’ve written and it scares me because to me writing is a bit like bearing your soul for your readers to pick your unsuspecting bones, and often those bones are startling even to yourself.
- What story scares you? Horror stories scare me, and up until recently I’ve avoided them! I never read horror as a teen, I was really into detective stories – Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, comic books, and fantasy. I only started reading horror books in earnest (if you can call it that,) Halloween 2015. I joined in the red eye readathon and that did it – I found that I really enjoyed them. Shock, Horror! Of all the subsets of horror, psychological horror really scares the heck out of me. This type of horror draws the reader into the character’s thoughts and emotions. You begin to imagine that particular horrific event happening to you. In my opinion those kind of stories are the most scary. A recent example of this is the short story – Big Driver in Stephen King’s compilation of Short Stories Full Dark No Stars, in which a female writer is sexually attacked by a truck driver while driving back from a writing event promoting her work. That really struck home. That for me is horror at its most powerful, and it works so well combined with dark humour, which Stephen King is undoubtedly a master of.
- If you were told you could only read one book before being executed for your terrible, terrible crimes, what would you choose and why? My terrible crimes… oh that must be that Dorian Grey influence I suppose. No question it would have to be some steamy romance, one last heart pounding moment before I die!
- Have you ever met any of your literary heros, and if so, were they amazing, dissapointing or just plain awkward? I’ve met a few YA authors via events at The Edinburgh Literary Festival, The Cambridge Literary Festival, and been close to some at UKYA. I think I’ve been pretty chilled about it all.. And nobody has been disappointing as yet… They’ve all been lovely.
- Which word / phraze do you find yourself always over-using and having to edit out? Smiled. Smile. Smiling. Cried, Cry, Crying. Yes it’s a light and dark kind of tale so probably these words are over-used….As it’s predominantly written in the past tense I had to be careful not to have to many was’s. At one point there were so many was’s it sounded like I had a wasp infestation. With words funnily enough I think names of people can be tricky. I ended up with two Emily’s at one point, and then I had to make one of them an Emma. She’s still an Emily in my mind…The Chinese girl in the book started off as Aurora or something like that ………….I can’t quite remember but Aurora didn’t sound right so I changed her name to Jade. The main character’s names have always been Amelina and Ryder, liked them from the offset and stuck to those. Oh and I had to change the name of the dog, it started off as the name of my friend’s son. Somehow that didn’t seem OK, bit cheeky, so in the end I settled for Toby. Woof woof… I met a Toby while working at John Lewis… hope he doesn’t mind! Come to think of it my doggy character is a bit like the JL lad, lively to say the least! He went running every morning before he started work. Toby the dog would approve!
- Name three people you would have at your ultimate book-club/dinner party. (living or dead…or undead.) Oh this is a fun one! Maureen Johnson because she’s so witty, and would get the party up and running. Stephen King because he would be so amazingly interesting to talk to, and Oscar Wilde, as I just love Dorian Grey! There would have to be music too, so I’d sneak in some gatecrashers: David Bowie, and Prince, because I loved them both, and they died too young. One last crazy party in their honour. Also I’d sneak in the lead singer from Stereophonics, Kelly Jones, who’d be my eye candy crush, and last but certainly not least, Bon Jovi. Two crushes – That would be some party!
I nominate these eleven ….. amazing bloggers to join in, it’s not compulsory but you might just find it fun! Your questions are just below this list.
My questions for you:
1. If you met a sexy vampire what would you do? Hook up, get the garlic and crosses out or run a mile?
2. What’s your favourite genre of book and why?
3. Who is/are your favourite author (s) , poet (s)? What is it about them that inspires you?
4. If you had to control a classroom of year 6 kids would you bale, or enjoy the challenge? Would you be (a.) too undisciplined to do so, you’d just join in the general mayhem, (b.) enjoy bossy them around, or (c.) pray in a corner for the bell to sound. Guess which one would be my reply, winners will be mentioned on my blog!
5. What made you become a writer/blogger? Do your family support you or do they think you’re crazy, bored, attention seeking, or all of these? Tell us a bit about your current WIP and/or books…
6. What is the most awful job and/or experience you’ve ever done/had?
7. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Does this spill out onto other parts of your life? Are you generally organised/disorganised? Can you guess what I am?
8. Do you believe in Ghosts? Fate? Love at First Sight? Fairies? Psychic happenings?Numerology, Mermaids, The Loch Ness Monster, Demons…etc…Make your own observations …. and let me know..
9. What is the worst haircut/clothes/hats you’ve ever had/worn? Photos please, or describe in vivid detail…
10. Please finish this sentence with more than three extra words: Life is one foot in and one foot out, you ….
Anyone else who’d like to join in please do…
Well, that’s it then, thanks for stopping by, don’t forget to comment. Love ya! xx
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
If I were having coffee I’d invite you to my new favourite haunt, a mysterious cafe in an exotic land of my imagination. We’d have the sun shining down on us, warming our backs with gentle breezes, palm trees above us, and the sweet aroma of flowers too. It would be so hot that we’d have a chilled coconut coffee filled to the brim with large scoops of ice. Or perhaps if the mood takes us we might indulge in one of these cheeky delights: Tequila Mockingbird, a Margaret Atwood, The Sunday Librarian, in The Study with The Lead Pipe, or a Watership Down!
Our iced drink would be decorated with one of those fancy cocktail sticks. The theme of the cafe would be books, and an abundance of titles would be artistically placed everywhere, decorating every nook and cranny, because this week my coffee share post is all about the Cambridge Literary Festival: http://www.cambridgeliteraryfestival.com/
I’m been looking forward to telling you about my recent experience working as a steward at the Cambridge Literary Festival. But before I begin let me fill you in on the first event at the Festival that I attended with my friend. On Friday evening my friend and I had a lovely Thai meal at Thaikun, from the streets of Bangkok, in our very own Cambridge: http://thaikhun.co.uk/
Followed by some Raving Beauties: Hallelujah for 50 ft Women at the Union library!
More about them here: http://www.bloodaxebooks.com/ecs/product/hallelujah-for-50ft-women-186
It was a blast, these ravers have had a beauty of a sell out run at the Edinburgh Festival. Their cabaret of diverse, passionate poetry listed above explores the themes of love, sex, creativity and work. When I say sex I mean it! Some of the titles are kinda in your face (look away if you are easily offended!): Cunts Cocks and Balls -Sally St. Clair, Cunt Artist Boyfriend – Rebecca Smith, Rutting – Arundhathi Subramaniam and a few very female orientated poems such as Women’s Blood – Vicky Feaver, and to my last period – Lucille Clifton. Oh and one for top heavy ladies: the trials and tribulations of a well-endowed woman – Hira A. There were a few men in the audience and I wonder what they made of the Raving Beauties! I’ve mentioned a few of the poems – I think if my memory serves me right they performed 35 altogether, including my favourite: Recognition – Carol Ann Duffy.
After the event my friend mentioned that she’d intended to do an English Literature degree when she was younger and had been persuaded by her then controlling boyfriend to do Law. She seemed to be touched by regret after listening to the talk! But I cheered her up by saying that Law had enabled her to be financially secure career wise. But, it does make you wonder, doesn’t it? How the pathways that we choose can shape your life in an entirely different way. Who knows what she might have done if she’d ignored her then boyfriend and done English Literature. Perhaps she might have become a poor impoverished poet, or been a featured poet in the Raving Beauties!
One can’t help but wonder! I digress. Back to my stewarding duties. It all began on Saturday. In the afternoon I helped out in the Old Divinity School, a wonderful setting for the 2.30 talk by journalists Robert Verkaik and Andrew Hosken: Reflections on the Middle East. The talk was a riveting sharing of their views on the ‘middle east cauldron.’ Robert Verkaik, is the author of Jihdi John: The Making of a Terrorist, (he is the only journalist to have interviewed the ISIS terrorist, thought to be of Arabic origin.)
Andrew Hosken wrote Empire of Fear: Inside The Isalmic State. The event was chaired by Helen Lewis, Editor of the New Statesman.
After that at 4pm I had the opportunity to steward in the Tracy Chevalier, Helen Dunmore & Linda Grant event: Reader, I Married Him.
This talk celebrated the 200th Anniversary of Charlotte Bronte’s birth. The three speakers, Tracy Chevalier, Helen Dunmore and Linda Grant’s short stories were inspired by Jane Eyre, questioning who, how and why we love. Again, another wonderful talk that I was able to tune into gratis via my stewarding role!
For those of you who might be interesting in volunteering for literary events here’s a brief rundown of what I did while I was stewarding at the Divinity School:
I made sure that everything was in order before the talk began, that the auditorium was clear of rubbish, that the viewers of the previous talk left, (with a little gentle cajoling,) and that the speakers had water and the appropriate number of glasses. Also I had to keep an eye on the heavy door. I had to ensure that it didn’t slam shut with an almighty bang when latecomers came! (The building seemed to echo with the least noise so we were asked to keep disturbance to a minimum!) We helped with organising the queues for the auditorium, and the book signing, and generally tried to get festival goers in the right direction for toilets, etc. Oh, and we smiled a lot!
On Sunday I did it all again! Here’s us stewards posing for this photo opportunity twittered via Kate Kirk, and yours truly!
There’s me second on the right of the photo!
On Sunday morning I was due at the Fitzwilliam museum at 9.30, via a back entrance which was quite hard to find. Luckily I came across another steward who seemed to have a better sense of direction than I had and we found our way into the Goods In! Now that we were tagged, and signed in, we took a large (no I lie, an enormous lift,) into the museum.
I was so lucky! I was stewarding at the Claire Harman: Charlotte Bronte: A life, talk.
I have to say that this talk and the Hallelujah for 50ft. Women were my two favourite events at the Festival this year. Perhaps the Fitzwilliam event was in part due to the venue, my photo doesn’t do it justice, the room was beyond stunning:
But, moreover I was riveted by Claire Harman’s discussion of her acclaimed biography: Charlotte Bronte: A Life. After the talk, audience members were able to enjoy a display of Charlotte Bronte’s personal letters dating from 1845 to her death in 1855. These letters cover the period during which Jane Eyre, Shirley, and Villette were published, as well as her marriage to Arthur Bell Nicholls in 1854. The letters are still available for a short time period (a week, I believe) from today to view. The event was chaired by Tom Gatti, Culture Editor, New Statesman.
In the afternoon it was time for a quick bite to eat and then I was off to the take part in the Children’s programme! Yippee!!!
At 2.30 it was time for some Roman Mysteries and Quests with best selling author Caroline Lawrence in the Union Blue Room. Her novels are mostly set in ancient Rome. To find out more visit Caroline’s website:
I was impressed by Caroline’s ability to get her young audience members to join in at every opportunity, making the event a very fun and interactive experience. In fact, when she mentioned the xylospongia, an implement to clean yourself after you’ve been to the toilet,(in Roman times,) that got more than a few laughs. Toilet humour, always does the biz!! Below she’s grinning holding a xylospongia at the ready!
I managed to have a chat with Caroline and the tech guy, before the talk. Caroline was really lovely, so friendly and nice. And the tech guy was too, he trusted me to be responsible for his expensive piece of tech, I was the microphone lady for Q & A. First time doing this….. think it went ok. I didn’t drop it! Thank goodness. I didn’t mention I’m a bit accident prone! Though, I think the head steward might have guessed when I tripped over the queuing rope barriers. Luckily there was no harm done, just a bruised ego.
At 4pm I was in the Blue Room again this time helping out with Monica Vaughan’s talk on her book, Six. This is the American cover:
A thrilling and chilling sci-fi mystery that tackles controversial topics. Like the sound of this…. As before I wielded the microphone, for Q and A, and afterwards I managed to talk briefly to Monica before I left. Again she was very lovely, and thanked me for my help which was very sweet of her.
Here’s a link to Monica’s website to find out more about her:
and a photo of her at the Festival that I pinched from her twitter account!
I hope you enjoyed finding out more about my stewarding role, perhaps it might inspire you to help out at the next Literary Festival near you. It’s a very worthwhile thing to do, particularly if you are a book worm, or a budding author, (you get free attendance at talks that aren’t sold out, have a chance to chat to authors, particularly in the smaller events.) Of course you do have to get in the spirit of the festival by wearing a free lurid tee-shirt, or perhaps shuffling about in a funny costume, ha ha!!! While you’re stewarding you can listen to talks and generally have the opportunity to meet like minded people. Stewarding gives you a marvellous insight into the workings of event management too. So do have a go. My motto at the moment is try everything at least once!
Do pop over to Diana’s blog, Part Time Monster to see all about the weekly Coffee Share post:
All about Weekend Coffee Share :http://parttimemonster.com/weekend-coffee-share/
Link up to the Weekend Coffee share blog by clicking on Diane’s blog, Part Time-Monster, there’s a blue link: https://parttimemonster.com/category/weekly-features/weekend-coffee-share/
Have you ever stewarded before? At a Literary Festival or perhaps another event? Do share your experiences I would love to hear all about them.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
In case you’re curious to find out more, do visit my links:
The Top Ten Bookstagram accounts to follow. A reblog via Jade at Bookmuffin.
Top Ten Tuesday was originally started by The Broke And The Bookish, where a topic is given every Tuesday and the blogger then produces a top ten list of books to fit the weekly subject. The topic this week is ‘Top Ten Bookstagram Accounts To Follow‘ so here it is:
Simple yet gorgeous bookish photos, great for finding your next favourite book!
Lovely compositions and links to her amazing BookTube
Everything is just so pretty and colourful!
Basically a bookworm’s story in pictures, this account is one of my absolute favourites.
Books and props which go together perfectly
Another amazing account with amazing compositions and props
Bookworm merchandise so beautiful you’ll want to buy it all
Mum and bookworm, and the two combine most admirably in her photos!
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As some of you might know from a previous post: https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/retail-inspiration-yuletide-style/
I have been working as a Christmas temp in John Lewis Cambridge, and yesterday was my last day. It has been quite an enlightening and interesting experience in many ways. I started off with oodles and oodles of training. John Lewis puts a lot of priority on staff training so if you want to go into retail in a serious way this definitely is the company to work for. Or if perhaps you might be a student looking for some extra cash while studying, or a return to work mum looking for their first venture back to work…. Or a hopeful author a.k.a someone like me….. Whoever you are John Lewis will take you on if you are prepared to work hard.
Amongst the till training, laws about selling knives, and other hazardous substances we learnt all about different kinds of fire hazards, including chip pan fires!! Hence the funny photo at the top of my post…… An extinguisher would be very appropriate if you happen to work in their staff canteen, and are regularly using industrial sized deep pan fryers. But somehow they didn’t warn us about lesser hazards and potential injuries such as the kimble gun, paper cuts, or staple accidents, etc, which happen on the shop floor!
Here are some of my amusing highlights, I hope you like them:
- I tend to be a bit accident prone. I managed to cut myself, on shelfing, prick my finger with the point of a kimble gun, drawing blood. This sharp needle like device is used to secure tags to gloves, hats, etc. As well as this a fellow member of staff also stapled her finger at the till! Quite a feat, I’m not quite sure how she managed to do this……
- Not content with that alone, in the stock room I nearly squashed a fellow member of staff between the unsuspecting racks of clothes, by moving the large winding rack without checking anyone was in there. Oops. I’m so glad she alerted me to her presence up a ladder. She shouted! I would too! It’s bad enough climbing up ladders without being at the mercy of people like me….
- I’ve had some odd requests from customers and witnessed some strange ones too. A gentleman asked me to take a photo so I asked him what he’d like me to photograph, and he said himself, dressed in his John Lewis jacket and cap. Then he asked me for my impression of the overall look. He was quite handsome ,……
- One day a man came to my till and said he had a business meeting and he needed to buy something more suitable to wear so he proceeded to buy exactly the same designer black polo shirt, and jeans that he was currently wearing.. How strange, there was no difference at all, and the ones he was wearing didn’t even look worn. It does make me wonder why? Why would he spend so much money to buy exactly the same clothes, in the same colour? Was he about to murder someone in his current set and he needed a clean outfit for later? Ah, this is what happens if you write, you imagine scenarios everywhere… No one can escape your scrutiny.
- At the till point one of the younger members of staff, a particularly cheerful young chap, who seemed to be particularly keen and vocal in his enthusiasm for customer care was asked to model a children’s hat for a customer, he obliged. It was a monster woolly hat, that covered the majority of his face like a balaclava. Afterwards I remarked that I wish we had had a polaroid camera behind the till to take his photo as evidence of his embarrassing moment.
- On my last day we had fireworks at the till, well not real ones, just bubble wrap being popped by a nineteen year old co-worker who likes to burst the bubbles on the wrap. Of course it was quiet at the time, she didn’t keep the customers waiting!!
- There were hugs, a card, with the following message from my boss: “Thanks for your support over Xmas, good luck with your writing, you may be the next J K Rowling!!” No pressure then! Last but certainly not least a pressie of Double Choc Chip Biscuits from Liberty London. Yum… Looking forward to eating these this weekend on my trip to London to go prom shopping for a dress for my daughter!