Sunshine Bloggers Award

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Thank you to Alicia for nominating me for The Sunshine Bloggers Award.

Here’s a link to her awesome blog, do check it out: http://cyborgknights.com/2015/09/11/sunshine-blogger-award/

I like to spread a little sunshine so this award seems a particularly lovely one for me to receive. So let’s bask in the last rays of an Indian Summer, and enjoy….

Wait a minute, there are rules, in a Sunshine award? Apparently so, so I’ll just put down my Caribbean rum punch for a moment and concentrate on these rules before my eyes go a bit blurry, not to worry there are only three rules:

Rules of the Award:

•Thank the person who nominated you
•Answer the questions from your nominators
•Nominate eleven other bloggers and give them eleven new questions to answer

Oh, and don’t lie back on your sun lounger Marje, at least not yet, as there are some questions too!

Here are the questions that I have been asked to answer:

  1.  What is your favorite era for a story to be set in?   If it was a historical novel it would probably be during the Tudor period, I love Henry the Eighth! He was such a devil, can’t beat Henry for doing dreadful things can you? Or WW2 that’s pretty interesting too.
  2. Favorite genre and why?  Favourite genre has to be Fantasy, as I live in a bit of a fantasy world myself I suppose, and of course I write fantasy too, so yes Fantasy has to be my number one choice. But I love most genres, there are very few exceptions.
  3. What is your favorite season and why? Easy, summer without a shadow of a doubt, love the sea, sand and the beach, so summer wins hands down. I can’t stand the winter as I suffer dreadfully in the cold, hate the dark nights and lack of sunlight. I’m sure that I am a bit prone to SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. Yes, I turn into a sad, dreary, energy devoid lump in the winter. I definitely hibernate.
  4. You have to complete a task of epic proportions, what literary sidekick would you bring along? Hermione Granger. That girl is smart, I’d like her on my Sunshine team, oh and Dr.Watson too,
  5. How many countries have you been to in your lifetime? Ah this is difficult as there are quite a few: Malaysia, Papua new Guinea, the Caribbean, Fiji, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Scotland, England.
  6. If you could learn one skill with the snap of your fingers, what would it be? To play the piano to the highest standard, I play average piano I’d love to be able to play like a concert pianist. The piano is my favourite instrument, I just love the sound of piano music so much.
  7. What book do you recommend people NOT read? I very rarely read books that I don’t like as I read book reviews, and follow lots of book bloggers so I tend to know what sounds good. Normally I don’t like a book when someone else has bought it for me! A case in point is: E L James. Fifty Shades of Grey, thought it was rubbish. Not that I’m a prude, far from it, I just didn’t rate it at all.
  8. Where would you like to see yourself 5 years from now? Successfully published, and writing some more, oh and growing this blog too, or at least updating it from time to time!
  9. You have to change your hair color for 3 months, and it can’t be the color it is now, what color would it be? I fancy myself as a blonde but I am way too dark for that! So I normally settle for red and blonde streaks to highlight my hair.
  10. If you could spend a year living anywhere in the world, where would it be? I would probably opt for Portugal, love it there. Or Singapore, the city of my birth. I love Asian food so I’d eat several years worth of spicy food in one year, and then come reluctantly come home!
  11. What is a good piece of advice you learned in your first few months of blogging?

Discover who you are through your blogging. This sounds a bit hoity-toity, but believe me it is true. I found out all sorts of things about myself through blogging. Ok, I’m not saying I found a long lost sister, or that I was adopted or anything like that. I would recommend that you focus on what you really enjoy doing and write about it on your blog. That way people reading your blog will feel your boundless enthusiasm rocking its way over the internet to them! But if its golf that you love don’t write a blow by blow account of every single hole played, just highlight the highlights! Write about the humorous aspects, or things that you feel passionate about. Don’t worry about the numbers, who is and isn’t following you, just have fun. Make friends, yes that one is extremely important, find some blogging friends. As far as the practicalities go its a good idea to get a good book out of the library, or buy one to help you set up your blog, this one has been recommended to me: WordPress in Easy Steps, by Darryl Bartlett. 

Right now it’s time to nominate some blogs for this award, I hope these bloggers accept awards, not all do, but if you don’t that’s okay just sip a little rum punch and chill instead. I won’t be offended.

My Nominees For Sunshine Blogger are:

Storyteller, traveler, life devotee, naturalist, ghostwriter, Grandmother, And a fairly good cook. http://johannamassey.com/

Letting the light in one frame at the time.  “I am a nature lover who is lucky enough to live in Queensland in one of the most beautiful spots … the Sunshine Coast.” https://getyourlenson.wordpress.com/blog/

Between Two Tides. Poems, Pictures and Stories from Entre Deux Mers, France: https://33580laborde.wordpress.com/

Terri blogs about the fun things in life, in particular leisure. http://terriwebsterschrandt.com/

Yen from Malaysia enjoys the simple things in life and blogs about them at At Little Calico’s Journal: https://xiaohuamaobiji.wordpress.com/

Musings and Memories, Words and Wisdom from Ritu : https://butismileanyway.wordpress.com/

Wife, parent, and home school mum sharing advice, experiences, laughter and fellow writing blog battler: https://anniehow.wordpress.com/

Eclectic and Multilingual blogger with a great love of reading and writing: https://solveigwerner.wordpress.com/

Thoughts about home schooling, health and fitness, being an expat, kids and life in general: https://amommasview.wordpress.com/

Stacey talks books, writing and the journey to publication: https://stacecampbell.wordpress.com/

This is really a sunny blog, lots of wonderful photos on here to light up your day: https://west517photos.wordpress.com/

My Questions:

  1. Have you ever had Christmas in Australia? Or if you haven’t, do you think you would like your Turkey on the beach?
  2. What is your favourite ice cream?
  3. Do you like comic books? Did you have a favourite as a child?
  4. Are there any unusual customs or idiosyncrasies in your family?
  5. Do you ever read in the bath? Or in any other strange places?
  6. If you could have an unusual pet what would it be and why?
  7. Have you ever been snorkelling? Deep sea fishing? Scuba Diving? Sailing? In a Beach volleyball team? Shell collecting? Fishing?…. etc….
  8. Do you have a favourite season or time of the year?
  9. Are you good at keeping secrets? Or are you a bit of a gossip?
  10. What is your favourite book? Genre?
  11. Do you like to collect anything? Or have you done so in the past?

Bye for now. Time to Chill…. Oh, where has the sun gone? That’s okay I’m chillin’ in my Crystal hangout.

Marje @ Kyrosmagica. xx

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A Writing Award To Give Yourself: Do What You Love

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Sometimes we need to give ourselves a little pick me up, a reminder to Do What We Love, even if that particular thing that we love seems difficult to achieve. Just recently I have been querying agents, and been getting some knock backs. This is all part of becoming a writer, in fact it’s almost like I’ve completed my first test in an initiation ceremony, up until this point I wasn’t a fully fledged member of the writing society. Once you suffer rejections you join the club. So, instead of being disappointed maybe I should view this as a positive rather than a negative step? I’ve joined the Esteemed Authors Never Give Up Club, yippee, it’s got a certain ring to it, even the likes of J.K. Rowling can claim to be a member.

“J.K Rowling was famously rejected by a mighty 12 publishers before Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone was accepted by Bloomsbury – and even then only at the insistence of the chairman’s eight-year-old daughter.”

The publishers who got it wrong: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/16/publishers-who-got-it-wrong_n_1520190.html

So, whatever your dream may be, remember to always Do What You Love. Somehow if you follow that simple rule I’m sure you will never go wrong. So, whether you like to sing, dance, act, write, read, draw, paint, cook, eat, travel, photograph, laugh, blog!!!!  Ok, that last one crept in there without my noticing. JUST DO IT!

Whatever it is you love to do, keep on going…..

If you need a bit of encouragement right now feel free to share the sentiments of this blog post, give yourself a pat on the back, why not? My only request is that you confess any setbacks you are currently experiencing, but remember if you really love what you do, don’t ever, ever, give up!

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This blog post was inspired in part by a discussion I had on Facebook about the difficulties of getting published. The FB chat I had was with Virginia Bergin author of  the YA, science fiction, dystopia, The Rain, (the Rain#1) and  The Storm, (The Rain #2.)

This is Virginia’s inspiring reply: “It’s a tough old business! I’d been doing my own writing (alongside all kinds of other jobs) for about 20 years before The Rain happened. It was pretty much the first novel I’d written, and certainly the first YA novel. I thought it would get rejected. For sure! I think we have to love what we do so much that we do just keep going . . . and I suppose we learn more with everything we write. That definitely happened with me; I had a LOT of practice! Keep going . . . Best wishes! Vx

Virginia is so right, we never stop learning, so that means we have enormous potential to keep on improving.  There is an abundance of hope on the horizon, though a few rain and storm clouds are brewing too!

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I’d like to highlight an article that Virginia Bergin suggested to me that might be of interest to female writers who are new to the industry, who may feel that they don’t quite fit the typical writer’s profile, may feel a bit lost, or  isolated,  and would benefit from a  writing mentoring service:

Womentoring: http://www.lbabooks.com/my-own-womentoring-womanifesto/

WoMentoring aims to offer help to female writers who would otherwise not have access to support. Although it’s a project set up to redress a gender imbalance in publishing, my personal hope is that it will act on other imbalances too – race, class, household income, cultural tradition, schooling – because there must be some overlap in the perceived lack of opportunity there.”

Cambridge Writers:

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“Cambridge Writers is an organisation of both published and unpublished writers in Cambridge (U.K.) and nearby towns and villages. It has been in existence for about 60 years. Currently it has about 80 members.”

It just struck me today that I have been a member of Cambridge Writers since June 2012. How time flies. I am so very glad that I joined and would like to encourage other budding writers to join a writer’s group.

There are so many benefits of joining a Writer’s group. First of all, you meet like-minded people of varying ages from many diverse walks of life. I have found the Children’s Writing group, to be a wonderful source of support and advice. Whether you need someone to give you constructive criticism of your work, advise you on finding an agent, or  explain how to structure a picture book, there are members who are happy to do what they can to help. We are lucky to have  writers within the group who have either become published since joining the group, or who have come ready-made!

Several new members have joined this year, one of whom, Isabel Thomas, is an experienced children’s non-fiction writer who has now started writing fiction. Alex Mellanby published the second book in the Tregarthur series, Tregarthur’s Revenge, in June. This followed excellent reviews for the first book, Tregarthur’s Promise.  Lesley Hale has self-published the following books: Witness, (Matthew Reed, Tudor Adventures #1), An Act of Treason, (Matthew Reed, Tudor Adventures #2) and A Wry Smirk at The Dark Side (four short stories on supernatural themes.) Ruth Hatfield’s first book in her trilogy was published in November by Hot Key Press (UK) and Henry Holt (US). The Book of Storms was officially launched in the UK at Heffers in Cambridge. The sequel to The Book of Storms, The Colour of Darkness, is coming out in November, again published by Hot Key, Books.

Update: Alex Mellanby has now published a third book – Tregarthur’s Prisoners – Book 3:  Amazon Buying Link for Alex Mellanby’s Books. Ruth Hatfield has now published a trilogy –  Ruth Hatfield Blog. All three of Ruth’s Book of Storms novels have been reviewed on Kyrosmagica –  A – Z Review List

Cambridge Writers comprises these diverse groups that meet on a monthly basis in member’s houses: Short Prose, Long Prose, Travel writing, Children’s Writing, Poetry, and a Commercial Editing Group for those amongst us who have already published or self-published novels. So there are masses of ways to get involved.

As well as these monthly sessions Cambridge Writers holds meetings on the first Tuesday of the month in which we invite authors to come talk to us, share their wisdom, and  on the 5th of May there is to be a Writer’s resources evening.  So what are you waiting for, check out the local writing groups in your area, and if you live in Cambridge, England, here’s the links to find out more: http://www.cambridgewriters.net/.

and come and support us by liking Cambridge Writer’s new Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cambridge-Writers/345409578859167?fref=ts

I am looking forward to getting more involved in the group.

Late Blooming Authors

To conclude my Do What You Love post I’d like to focus next on several famous authors who started later in life. How encouraging!!! This is to encourage my fellow potential late bloomers. I only started writing seriously about three years ago!

Here’s my list, I’m sure there are many more, but for the purposes of this blog post, I’m sticking to these inspiring guys and gals:

Mary Alice Fontenot wrote almost thirty books in her lifetime, and her writing career began at the age of fifty-one. Fontenot’s first Clovis Crawfish book, Clovis Crawfish and his Friends was published in 1961.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/11/writing-career-late_n_1196625.html

Anthony Burgess never pursued writing seriously until he was thirty-nine, aware that it was not a stable income, when he published the first installment of The Long Day Wanes: A Malayan Trilogy (1956’s Time for a Tiger).

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http://www.onlinecollegesanduniversities.net/blog/2011/15-famous-authors-who-were-published-late-in-life/

Laura Ingells Wilder. As a child, Wilder lived in a little house on the prairie, no surprise there! She actually began writing around the age of forty-four, whilst she was working as a columnist, and had a pretty successful freelance career. But it wasn’t until 1931, when she published Little house in The Big Woods, that Laura Ingells Wilder really made a name for herself. She was the ripe old age of sixty-four. The when I’m 64………, Beatles song lyrics come to mind.

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Helen De Whitt., DeWitt’s excellent debut novel, The Last Samurai, was published in 2000, when Helen De Whitt was forty-four years old. Apparently she attempted to finish many novels, before finally completing The Last Samurai, her 50th manuscript, in 1998.

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George Eliot, Mary Anne Evans,  published her first novel, Adam Bede when she was forty.

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Middlemarch would not be published for fifteen years!

http://flavorwire.com/349249/10-great-literary-late-bloomers

Bram Stoker! Stoker didn’t publish Dracula until he was fifty! Imagine!

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Dame P D James published her first novel, Cover her Face, in 1962 at the age of forty-two.

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The Private Patient marks the fourteenth case for her ageless detective, Adam Dalgliesh. She also wrote Children of Men, a dystopian story adapted to the big screen with Clive Owen. http://writeitsideways.com/offbeat-lessons-from-three-late-blooming-writers/

William S. Burroughs. Sadly, it took accidentally shooting his wife in the head to get Burroughs focused on writing.  In the introduction to Queer, a novel written in 1952 but not published until 1985,  he stated: “I am forced to the appalling conclusion that I would never have become a writer but for Joan’s death, and to a realization of the extent to which this event has motivated and formulated my writing.” He began writing Queer while he awaited trial. He was convicted of culpable homicide, given a two-year suspended sentence and moved to Morocco and started writing like mad. He was thirty-nine when he published his first confessional book, (Burroughs was a heroine addict.) In 1953 he published Junky,  and he was forty-five when Naked Lunch was published, in 1959.

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Charles Bukoski quit his day job to devote himself to writing at age forty-nine, saying, “I have one of two choices-—stay in the post office and go crazy … or stay out here and play at writer and starve. I have decided to starve.” He did not, in fact, starve. He had finished his first novel, Post Office, at fifty-one years old, within four weeks of leaving the post office and just kept going from there, eventually publishing thousands of poems, hundreds of short stories, and six novels.

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http://litreactor.com/columns/10-authors-who-prove-its-never-too-late-to-start-writing

Margot Finke didn’t begin serious writing until the day her youngest left for college. She writes mid-grade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. Margot said, “I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs. You are my heroes!”

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Margot Finke is a member of Indie Writers Support: http://indiewritersupport.com/

Late Blooming Writers can Succeed, Margot Finke: http://www.underdown.org/mf-late_blooming.htm

Mary Wesley published a few children’s books in her fifties, but people didn’t notice her talent until she published her first novel, “Jumping the Queue,” at seventy years old. Jumping the Queue takes place mainly in  Cornwall, and follows a middle-aged woman’s struggle with guilt and self-reproach after the death of her husband and her determination to jump the queue by committing suicide. The book was turned down by several publishers, but James Hale of Macmillan saw something special in her work, and by the time of her death at ninety years old, she was widely popular.

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Lee Child: At the age of forty he sat down to write a book, Killing Floor, that became the first in the Jack Reacher series. The book won the Anthony and Barry Award for best first novel.

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“To anybody who is an aspiring writer,” Child said, “this is a great career because not only can you, but you should, start late.”

“I think it’s the ideal career to do later in life,” Child said. “You know, by the time you’ve experienced stuff and read stuff and seen stuff–just wait. Wait ten years, wait twenty years, wait until it’s ready to come back out. People who start writing too young, it’s essentially a hollow thing, you know, they haven’t lived enough, they haven’t experienced enough, they haven’t learned enough.”

http://www.astralroad.com/author-lee-child-on-starting-a-writing-career-later-in-life/

Raymond Chandler was forty-five, when he began publishing pulp crime short stories. Six years later, he published his first novel, “The Big Sleep,” which launched his stellar successful crime writing career.

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So, late-blooming writers are quite an amazing bunch. Don’t you agree? Just hope I might have a tiny smidgen of this late-blooming talent, still of plenty time!!!!!

A final quote:

Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.
— John Updike

More Links:

An interview with Zezi Matthews – Cloth Doll Designer and Author, who passed away in 2010 : http://hopevestergaard.com/writers/publishing-resources/kezi-Matthews/

Thank you to Sacred Touches blog for the Do What You Love picture:

http://sacredtouches.com/2015/02/16/646-i-sing-because-im-happy-i-sing-because-im-free-his-eye-is-on-the-sparrow-and-i-know-he-watches-me-excerpts-from-the-song-his-eye-is-on-the-sparrow-by-civilla-d-martin/

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