Inspiration

RonovanWrites #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #145 Beautiful&Curse

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The prompt words really attracted me to Ronovan’s Haiku Challenge this week…. (It’s a long time since I’ve joined in as I have been so busy!) as they relate beautifully to my manuscript – The Curse of Time, which I am close to finishing! I’m doing what I hope are the final edits – you never know if it is truly completed until you send it to your betas/editors!

I’ve written two haiku and used Canva to make them visually pleasing. The second one is using my own photograph of a nasty looking shadow!

Life can take youhigher than anyother kind of drug.

Life can take youhigher than anyother kind of drug.

To join in with Ronovan’s Prompt – I think the deadline is today, hope I haven’t left it too late: https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/ronovanwrites-weekly-haiku-poetry-prompt-challenge-145-beautifulcurse/

Bye for now,

Have a lovely Sunday.

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#Review of Better Blogging With Photography by Terry Webster Schrandt

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Terri inspires the reader with this wonderful quote right at the beginning setting the tone for her clear, concise and friendly little book:

Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.’ Bruno Barley.

Isn’t that the absolute truth? It’s remarkable how the medium of photography can draw people together from different cultural backgrounds in a common moment of wonder. Curious, I googled Bruno Barley and found these stunning examples of his work: Pinterest examples of Bruno Barley’s photography. Wow, I just love photography!

Terri kicks off her book with a simple premise –  Why? Why use photography on your blog? The answer, is of course, simple – images draw attention, interest, break up text, make your blog post more interesting and memorable.

She adds tips on how to –

  • Create an engaging profile.
  • Ways to make your sidebar design attractive.
  • How to design a defining header.
  • Adding widgets and not overloading your posts with too many images.

Terri warns about the dangers of using images without consent on your blog even if the images happen to be from friends, and particularly if the photos are randomly found on google.  The Rule is: Always get written consent – though an email will do.

There’s an interesting section on how to use old images and give them a new lease of life. I read this part with great interest.  Recently, I created a scrapbook of images for my dad for his birthday, (the first few photos you can see here,): My Instagram page Kyrosmagica

Then Terri mentions how to find free images for your blog via sites such as Canva and Picmonkey, both of which I have used, and recommend.

There are chapters on how to:

  • Crop your photos, edit, add captions, size and add watermarks. Again, I was particularly interested in the section on watermarks as this is something I still have to try…  Terri suggests using tutorials on Pinterest and picmonkey.
  • Organising images, in storage solutions such as Dropbox, which I still have to investigate.
  • Participating in or holding photography link parties and joining in photo challenges, such as  Norm’s Thursday Doors. I enjoy taking part time permitting…
  • Using quotes to inspire, creating blog banners or blog badges. Here’s the link to the tutorial and other excellent blogging suggestions via Diana’s Adventures: Dianas Adventures – Tips for new bloggers
  • A section on photo-friendly social networking sites such as Instagram and Pinterest, plus a fantastic resources page.

Would I recommend it? Are you kidding?  Most definitely. I just wished I’d read this book years ago when I started blogging – it would have helped me so much. I found out the hard way how to do much of what Terri mentions, but I still have a lot to learn.

Don’t forget to follow Terri on Instagram: Terri Webster Schrandt – Instagram

If you’d like to follow me on Instagram too, LOL… (cheeky personal plug,)  – find me here:  My Instagram Page: Kyrosmagica

My rating.

A richly deserved 5 stars.. 🙂

 

Before I fly off to take some photos to add to my Instagram feed let me point you in the direction of this wonderful free resource from Terri: Second Wind Leisure – How To Get Hundreds of Free Photos for Your Blog

Bye for now, photo enthusiasts!

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Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Challenge #19 – “Craft & Rise”

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Colleen’s prompt words this week for Tanka Tuesday are Craft and Rise – (I used soar instead of rise.)

I thought I’d apply Colleen’s two prompt words to the act of writing itself. Without a doubt, all my blogging/writer friends will know just how consuming and frustrating writing can be! Perfection is desirable but so difficult to achieve! To succeed in getting the perfect words on the page is a bit like trying to capture the ebb and flow of the oceans. Sometimes you hit moments of perfection but mostly you’re fighting the tide of your own demons, the depth of your imagination, and how far your final words may take you.

Sounds familiar?

So with that in mind, this is my Tanka for this week…

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#Tanka Tuesday, #micropoetry, #poetry, #5lines

Colleen Chesebro’s Tanka Tuesday – Join in the fun!

Phew, it took me ages to write my Tanka this week! My words were buried in the sand at the bottom of the ocean but finally, I managed to coax them up to the surface.

I do hope my Tanka inspires you. Perhaps one day that masterpiece might just reach your shore!

Keep on writing!

Bye for now.

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Revive Old Posts Bloggers Link Up

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What better way to start a New Year than to glance back in time? To take your own personal tardis and whizz back and reflect on all that you have achieved in the last year or so.

Perhaps you are still chasing a dream like I am?

The dream of being a published author, or poet, or renowned artist, or photographer. Whatever your dream might be there is bound to be a moment in the past that you’d like to share with your followers? Maybe an inspirational post?

Or there might be an article that you wrote a long time ago that meant a lot to you, and you’d now like to bring it to the forefront of your followers attention again.

Whatever the reason do feel welcome to join in with my new monthly bloggers link up. It’s new, it’s fresh, it’s exciting!! LOL!!! 

After a long struggle it does appear that 2017 will be my year to publish. I am feeling much more confident about this after all the ongoing help I am receiving from the marvellous blogging community. So with that in mind I’d like to share with you a post that I originally published in June 15th 2014. This post highlighted the extraordinary beauty of a crystal grotto that I visited in Juniper Artland. This grotto was one of my early sources of inspiration for my YA manuscript about a mysterious Crystal Cottage, which I have since entitled The Curse of Time. It is my intention that The Curse of Time will be at least a two books series, perhaps a three! With book one featuring The Bloodstone, and book two The Golden Healer.

So let me introduce you to my photos of the Grotto….

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Juniper Artland – The Light Pours Out of Me – Anya Gallachio

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Aren’t the crystals magnificent? I was totally enthralled by these gleaming beauties. It inspired me to write a story about a hidden, magical, but vulnerable place . In time the story grew and grew to encompass several themes: light, darkness, shadows, myths, time, deception, et cetera, et cetera, and oh a curse, or two.

So next time you visit a beautiful place just stop for a moment and allow yourself to fall in love with it. You might just find yourself on a wondrous journey.

If you’d like to join in with my bloggers link up, please draw attention to your old posts  by writing a short blog post as I have done and then add your links to the comment field of this post. If you wish you may use the photo at the top of this post as your blog post header. 

Also if you wish you can link your posts to a popular hastag  #Throwback Thursday #THT or if you’re posting on a Friday #FBF #FlashbackFriday. These are great link ups for old photos, or memorabilia…

More about that here: Lifewire – Throwback Thursday

Shake out your old posts and give them a new lease of life.

I do hope you decide to join in, the more the merrier!

Happy Blogging!

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Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Challenge

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Today, I thought I’d join in with Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka poetry prompt. I’ve never written a Tanka before.  I have had some experience of writing haiku so hopefully, it shouldn’t be too difficult. After all, it’s just a case of adding two extra lines at the end  of a haiku format, so instead of 5,7,5 we have  5,7,5,7,7….  in the first section you put forward the image in the reader’s mind that you want to convey and the final two lines should express the poet’s ideas about that image.

 

Colleen’s prompt words are:

Bloom and Late

So here goes… Be gentle on me it is my first Tanka!!

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Ahem, I’m not quite sure where that last line came from…. LOL!!!

© Marjorie Mallon 2017 – aka, Kyrosmagica. All Rights Reserved.

Do pop over to Colleen’s blog and join in the challenge too…

Colleen Chesebro’s #Tanka challenge

 

Bye for now,

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Writespiration #94: Condense Your Novel Into 3 Sentences

Writespiration: Condense Your Novel into Three Sentences

In Sacha’s words:

So, your challenge this week is to boil your plot down to its simplest form. This isn’t marketing 101, don’t try an sell me your book like a pitch sentence. This is purely about plot. Tell me your entire novels story in three sentences.

If you want to join in,  you can pop your sentences in the comments on her blog or in a blog post and ping back  so she can find it. You have until 12pm on the 28th August.

No pressure… three simple sentences. Somehow, that sounds a bit unrealistic, simple sentences, there is nothing simple about my plot, convoluted, yes, but simple, No!  But, this challenge couldn’t have come at a better time, because right now this is the kind of activity I’m engaging in… writing blurbs, author bios, etc, trying to get everything ready for my novel release this coming autumn.

Here are my three sentences:

Da da dee da,

Da da dee da,

Da da dee da!

Only joking…  though I did think the da da’s had a certain ring to them, not sure about those dee da’s! Cup of tea perhaps? Sacha did suggest that we boil our plot! Maybe not… Perhaps I should indulge in a bit of FB? Twitter? Instagram? But no selling… OK, I could be nosey, see what folks are up to… Or I could go for the simple approach.

Right, no mucking about, concentrate Marje, stop procrastinating! You can do this…

Ah, I know what to do, doodle, get a cute doodle pad and write a few words on it:

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That will do the trick… Don’t plan, just write…

By now, you really must be thinking this gal has gone a bit doolally twist… perhaps.

Enough! This procrastination is really becoming a curse.

Here is my contribution, my three simple sentences for my WIP: The Curse of Time.

Amelina Scott doesn’t know it yet, but she is a magical Krystallos. That knowledge might just save her family from the cruel roller coaster ride which has bugged her family’s happiness, since The Curse of Time. A shadow hides, crystals twinkle, and gossamer wings threaten to bring Amelina full circle on the ride of her life.  

I thought I’d elaborate upon this to make an initial blurb idea which would go very roughly something like this:

 Sixteen year old Amelina  Scott lives in Cambridge with her prematurely aged father, cranky mother, a black cat called Shadow, and a self-harming mirror girl.  

She doesn’t know it yet, but she is a magical Krystallos. That knowledge might just save her family from the cruel roller coaster ride which has bugged her family’s happiness, since The Curse of Time. A shadow of two halves hides – Ryder’s  mesmerising eyes and dark charisma draw her to him – but appearances can be deceptive. While crystals twinkle, and gossamer wings threaten, Amelina’s spirit is brought against her will to a tranquil meadow in Grantchester. Whilst there she is encouraged by her captor to paint a  bizarre puzzle of art, and all the while, a threat lingers groaning to turn youth into old age, and to turn neighbour against neighbour.  

The verdict is out, hope that made sense, and didn’t bore you.

Bye for now,

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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...

 

My Links: 

Wattpad

Goodreads

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

 

 

 

 

Glasgow University, Hogwarts and Kelvingrove Park

 

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I’ve been in Glasgow for a few days, with my hubby  – for a short holiday. Like my dad he’s a keen golf fan. We’ve been to the Golf Open at Troon. We had a day there together – practice day  – and the next day I had a day to myself in Glasgow to do whatever I fancied. Not being the type to fuss too much about shopping I decided to have a wander in Kelvingrove Park – which happened to be very close to our hotel, The Lorne Hotel. It was quite a sunny day so I stopped for a treat, my favourite:  a chocolate wafer which is basically a tasty chocolate covered wafer filled with marshmallow sandwiched together with vanilla ice-cream. What a supreme feast!

I sat down in the park and watched these guys – aren’t they fabulous? It warms the heart seeing young people out enjoying themselves having fun. Really exhilarating!

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Isn’t it nice to see such a lively park area? With youngsters doing flips and star turns on their bikes and skate boards.

I also popped over to the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery which is a must if you’re ever in Glasgow. Do not miss the opportunity to visit. I will be doing a photographic feature about this wonderful museum soon…

To round off the day I found a pathway of steps via the park that led to Glasgow University. No wonder people tend to think that this beautiful University resembles Hogwarts, (even though Harry Potter wasn’t filmed there.) The view is certainly magical. Not too far away from the University is Ashton Lane, a hidden alleyway lit with fairy lights which is packed with pubs and cafes, supposedly author J.K. Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley. I happened to have an evening drink and meal there with my hubby and a couple of our friends. We started off our evening at a very quaint bar and restaurant called The Ubiquitous Chip. Only in Scotland can the humble chip be elevated to such a grandiose name!

http://www.ubiquitouschip.co.uk/

ubiquitous
juːˈbɪkwɪtəs/
adjective
  1. present, appearing, or found everywhere.
    “his ubiquitous influence was felt by all the family”
    synonyms: omnipresent, ever-present, present everywhere, everywhere, all-over, all over the place,pervasive, all-pervasive, universal, worldwide, global;

Here are a couple of photos of the Ubiquitous Chip and its wee sister The Wee Pub at The Chip:

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Perhaps when my youngest is University age she might consider going to Glasgow University! What a magical place to study.. I wish I could have studied there.. I did study in Glasgow many years ago now… but I went to the then Polytechnic which is now known as Glasgow Caledonian University……

I felt such a fondness for Glasgow returning for this short holiday all these years later. Student days are truly one of the best moments in our lives. I just wish I could turn back the clock and relive them all over again. If only…

What about you, have you been to Glasgow? Or are perhaps studying at Glasgow University? Is it a magical place to study?

Bye for now,

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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...

 

My Links: 

Goodreads

Instagram

Twitter

Wattpad

Facebook

 

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Distance

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I didn’t know if I would find a photo for Hugh’s Weekly Photo prompt- distance – but it’s strange how sometimes distant things can literally be on your doorstep. Yesterday a flower peeped out from above me as I walked home from work. I saw a tempting triangle of sky – a promise of a mysterious place beyond it to explore. This little piece of sky is my distance shot, it leads to the river pathway that exists in my novel The Curse of Time, which is currently with beta readers awaiting critique. So distance can sometimes refer to something within your grasp which still seems far away like my  intention to publish. Both that piece of sky and my goals are a step away but if I try really hard, and believe in myself I will get there!

In Hugh’s words: For this week’s photo challenge take or choose a photo that shows an object that is in the distance. Maybe it’s a building or a wonderful view that contains an interesting object or scene that, although it is in the distance, shows up really well in the photo? Maybe you can spot where you are headed to from a plane or train and you’ve managed to capture it?

Want to join the fun? Here’s what you need to do.

1. Take or choose a photo that you’ve taken which defines Distance.
2. Create a new post on your blog entitled “Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 26 – ‘Distance’
3. Add the photo(s) you have taken to the post and tell us a little about what you are showing.
4. Create a pingback to this post or leave a link to your post in the comments section so other participants can view the post.

Not sure how to create a pingback? Click here for a step by step guide on how to create one.

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Do pop over to Hugh’s blog to join in the challenge: Hugh’s Photography Challenge: Distance

Hope you like my distance shot. Have a lovely week…

Bye for now,

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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...

My Links: 

Wattpad

Goodreads

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

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Writer’s Quote Wednesday & BeWow: Editing

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It’s been a while since I joined in Colleen’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday & Ronovan’s BeWow. I have a pretty good excuse as I have been editing my manuscript getting it ready for self publishing. With that in mind I’d like to do some quotes about this process. Editing is the hardest part of writing for me, the ideas flow fairly easily whilst getting the story down on paper but the editing is fraught with difficulties.

“There Are Two Typos Of People In This World: Those Who Can Edit And Those Who Can’t”
Jarod Kintz, There are Two Typos of People in This World: Those Who Can Edit and Those Who Can’t   

Perhaps that’s me! I’m that typo person….

I just find it so time consuming. A prison of my own neuroticism so to speak:

“While writing is like a joyful release, editing is a prison where the bars are my former intentions and the abusive warden my own neuroticism.”
Tiffany Madison

It gets to the stage when I just don’t want to look at my work any more, I’ve had enough, my  heart is bleeding, and I’m leaping over the precipice…

“Edit your manuscript until your fingers bleed and you have memorized every last word. Then, when you are certain you are on the verge of insanity…edit one more time!”
C.K. Webb

Don’t even begin to mention the word grammar to me…. this one will make you laugh!

“Making love to me is amazing. Wait, I meant: making love, to me, is amazing. The absence of two little commas nearly transformed me into a sex god.
”
Dark Jar Tin Zoo, Love Quotes for the Ages. Specifically Ages 19-91.

Sometimes you get to the point when you are doing more harm than good. Your stories start to play hide and seek with you.

I edit my own stories to death. They eventually run and hide from me.”
Jeanne Voelker

And never mind editing in your pyjamas it can have unknown effects on your underwear.

“Writing without revising is the literary equivalent of waltzing gaily out of the house in your underwear.”
Patricia Fuller

I’m not sure about this breeding lark, Dr. Seuss really must have been in the grips of editing torment when he wrote this:

“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
Dr. Seuss

Yes, its making me want to kill someone… those words on the page are about to be machine gunned…

Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

So today I’m taking a well deserved break, phew, and sharing some wonderful quotes with you about editing from some incredible authors, because I need that little spur to keep on going…. to push through the pain…

My favourite has to be this wonderful quote from Stephen King:

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“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft   

My forest is beginning to appear… it sure looks different than when I started!

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I do hope that these wonderful quotes will inspire you to push through the editing process to reach your final goal, if like me you are editing your manuscript.. Keep on going…. big smiles…

Do join in with Colleen’s WQW and Ronovan’s BeWow here are their links:

http://silverthreading.com/2016/02/24/writersquotewednesday-bewow-victor-hugo/

https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/10-respect-quotes/

Bye for now, hope you liked my trio of trees that I photographed and edited from my previous post. Yes, even photos have to be edited sometimes….

 

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https://www.instagram.com/kyrosmagica/

 

Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

 

Retail Inspiration: Yuletide Style

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Just recently I started working in retail as a Christmas temporary.  My plan is to earn some pennies to get together a book fund to pay for artwork for a front cover, my promotional, and other expenses that I will incur when I self publish my novel Krystallos in 2016.

I’m not working in Ted Baker as this photo above might suggest, I like to confuse you!

No, this shop front window caught my eye, and features in my Instagram account. https://www.instagram.com/kyrosmagica/

The Abominable Snowman is sticking his  rather long tongue out at passers by. A new ploy perhaps to gather customers? Anyway I digress, I’m waffling, back to my experience working as a Christmas temp. This has been a huge departure from my usual daily routine of writing, taking photographs, updating my social media accounts, and of course blogging here on WordPress. What a retail baptism of fire it has been!! Particularly as I am working in a large, prestigious store in a very busy department which happens to be right next door to children’s toys and clothes. The experience has been illuminating in a multitude of ways that I did not expect.

First off you have to walk miles to get anywhere, the shop floor, and stock rooms are vast, and it is a long journey to the staff canteen too, so by the end of the day you feel as if you have had a mega session workout! There is no need to spend money on a gym membership! If you’re like me your water, bubble bath, and heating bills will sky rocket because you’ll soak your weary limbs in a hot tub of bubbly loveliness every night.

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As you will know from one of my previous posts, a photography and writing challenge, I am partial to a bubble bath! https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/5-photos-5-days-challenge-day-5-serenas-bubble-monster/

The very nature of retail means that you are standing on your feet all day, and if you’re not standing, or walking, you’re climbing up step ladders, (particularly if you’re short like me, and unable to reach the top shelf in the stock room,) or if you aren’t doing any of these aforementioned things you are lifting…. With all of this physical work there is the temptation to sneak into the stock room and take a short sit down for a few seconds on a stool there. The stock room itself is a vast Alladin’s cave of just about everything you can think of, there is even a wall of hangers dedicated to just about every brand you can think of, so the first room of thumb is to befriend the stock room manager as he is a guy you most definitely want on your side.

Thirst, that’s another aspect of working in retail that I didn’t consider. Working in retail is thirsty work, so rule no. 1 is to drink loads of water before you begin, and avoid alcohol at all costs, this I learnt the hard way. Last Saturday I had a very nice Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, Christmas pudding, minced pies, chocolates and a couple of glasses of wine, courtesy of my employer but going on the tills immediately after this gourmet delight wasn’t a good idea, no, I needed a sleep after all that food and alcohol… ZZZZZZ…..

Now this is where I’m going to get a bit silly, but that’s allowed as this is Kyrosmagica blog after all. There is a whole new language in retail that just sounds like gobbledegook to me. I haven’t worked in retail since I was a teenager, I do wish this was just yesterday but in truth my teenage years were a long time ago! Of course this is the case, I have two teenage daughters for goodness sake!  Obviously back then things were very different,  we didn’t have internet returns, fancy collection services, in fact my memory of retail work is pretty hazy, I seem to remember selling china, lots of it and wrapping it carefully in bubble wrap, and dusting, but did I do much more than this? I worked for a department store called Goldbergs in Edinburgh which doesn’t exist anymore, a bit like my foggy retail experience, so it’s no surprise that when a manager asked me to do recovery……  I looked confused and a bit stumped. Recovery, what in heavens is that? My writer’s mind did a merry dance and came up with all kinds of exciting possibilities but ….. Recovery isn’t giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to an old granny who has collapsed in the store, grabbing a stolen package from a thief, or catching a Christmas mug before it splats on the floor, no recovery, is simply making the store ready for customers, in other words tidying up! That I can do, I think….. Then, there is the Kimble gun,  no this isn’t a deadly weapon, well not unless it gets into my hands, that sharp needle has to be kept well away from my fingers and from passing customers, that plastic safety cover is a must. What is the lethal Kimble? It’s just an over sized stapler type device for putting tags on, once you get the hang of it, it’s quite easy! As well as this there are other terms which escape me….  There are a plethora of abbreviations on the rota of work to confuse you, so MT is Menswear till, FR is fitting room, if you happen to be a bit dyslexic and think FR reads FP you’d be in real trouble. Funnily enough that’s just what I did the other day, FP, what’s that, Fred Perry? No read the initials properly Marje…. and I’m not even dyslexic so I have no excuse!

Somehow working in retail has been an unexpected fund of inspiration for me, Yippee!!!! Nowadays I can’t go anywhere without thinking of ideas for stories. The stock room has given me an idea for a short story about an evil stock room guy, that’s no reflection on anyone who works in the stockroom you all seem lovely I hasten to add… Those terms that I mentioned might just feature in my writing too, who knows….

Oh, before I forget to mention it one day we had a customer in the store screaming which was frightening,  given the prevalence of terrorist attacks recently. The managers cautiously went off to investigate. I’m not sure exactly what happened and why she was so distressed but thankfully nobody was hurt. Perhaps there’s a story there too..

My highlights up until now have been many but here are my favourites:

1. A handsome young man came and asked for a different size in a garment and asked if he could come to the stock room with me to find it!!!  Cheeky….

2. Santa’s arrival, and of course all the excited kids in the toy department which happens to be right next to Menswear, they bring back memories of my two daughters when they were little!

3. Music playing, one day we had a band playing right next to my particular section in Menswear. This was great fun, and put a spring in my step but by the end of the day, I was kind of glad it wasn’t a daily occurrence! No offence it was lovely for a while…..

4. Minor accidents. Yes I managed to stab myself, drawing blood with the Kimble gun that shoots plastic hanging hooks on to caps, and gloves. I nearly became a selling item! Also at the till one of the staff managed to staple her finger with a bog standard stapler, who knows how she managed that? !!!

One day after work I had to walk some more to pick up a canvas for my daughter for her GCSE Textiles mock exam. I ended up walking to the other end of town to find one in my price range. A mother’s love knows no bounds! My poor wee legs…. There was a wizened old lady serving on the till in that particular shop who looked as if she should be well beyond retiral age, poor soul she looked exhausted, it was just before closing. Sympathy.

As I waited for my bus home, I noticed that across the road from where I was standing there was a large yellow skip with two men standing in it, shouting orders to a young man bringing huge slabs of polystyrene packing towards it. The younger man arrived at the skip carrying these potential missiles above his head, and tried to lob the packing at his mates but his weapon was too big and unwieldy to be a useful missile. Watching this kept me entertained and amused on my long, long, wait for the bus….

Well it’s been an eye opener, it really has. Respect to all those shop workers, and the plethora of employees who work standing on your feet all day, you do a sterling job. It’s not easy.

Have a very Merry Christmas, and put your feet up and have a long soak in the tub whenever you can…

My retail work has really put me in the mood for Christmas this year. What about you? Are you in the mood for Christmas too? Have you started your Christmas shopping? Or are you really behind like me? Do tell….

 

Bye for now,

Chillin' in my Crystal hangout

Chillin’ in my Crystal hangout, before I step out to do my Christmas shopping!!

 

Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

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