We MUST boost our kids’ confidence

Cartoon strip of child being indoctrinated
Cartoon by Eduardo Salles: Cinismoilustrado

Who gets this? Me too. The negative messages we hear over and over again during our childhood and teens can take root and grow into our reality.

What a waste of potential! What a way to destroy children’s lives before they start… What a way to strangle confidence and curiosity. What a way to squash the whole of a society. Please can we stop?

Do you identify with this? Can you see this happening around you? How do you think it affects our whole way of life?

My must-read books list

My long list of books I’ve loved… These are books from all genres and none, for all ages. It’s not a snob list of books I pretend I’ve read – I have actually read each of these, to the end, at least once. And I think everyone would enjoy most of them, too.

I’ve adapted a list I filched off Facebook, removed some, added some. There’ll be lots I’ve missed off or *shame* forgotten. I’ve stuck to one (max 2) books by any author, even though it pained me to resist temptation.

I invite you to do the same and pass on your list. But before you do, please let me which of these you’ve read (or your top 5 or 10 favourites off the list) and which titles you’d add or delete.

And which of these have you hated? Or tried to read and gave up in boredom or disgust? I junked Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and the Shipping News, for instance. Got bored by the first, and enraged by the second.

This isn’t a contest and there are no right or wrong answers. It’s just fun to see what people read, what they like and what they don’t.

There are two which you might think I’ve chosen just because of their titles. You’ll know when you see them… But genuinely I love these books for much more than the title (although they are little extra bonuses).

Tell me about your books and whether they’ve changed your life in any way. And what are you reading right now?

Blake’s Cottage – now we know.

If you’re looking for a role model in the art of imagination, William Blake must be up there with the greatest. Extraordinary vision… and now I discover (very late) that he lived a few miles from where I was born, bred and educated. While I was learning Tyger, Tyger, I had no idea he was my neighbour (albeit a few hundred years adrift)…

Beryl Kingston Blog

We’ve been waiting for ages for one of the triumvirate to tell us when they are going to start repairing Blake’s Cottage. Nothing has been done and it’s now over a year since they bought the place. So I was very glad to hear that the Blake Cottage Trust had a website where they were going to keep us informed. And I visited it. I was seriously disappointed.

There wasn’t a word about repairing the cottage, not one single word, although it gave us a list of the ‘three forms of access’ there would be to it, presumably at some time in the future. I thought you would like to know what they are.

  1. People can visit the cottage on open days. (Well that’s nice of them!)
  2. Invited guests can stay and sleep in the cottage for a weekend or a week. (I wonder who they will be and who will choose them?)

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How The London Book Fair Helps Vanity Presses Exploit Newbie Authors

If you want to write, and think you will self-publish, read this post. You need to know the very large differences between self-publishing and vanity publishing, and avoid the latter like the plague if you don’t want to be parted from large amounts of your money for very little return.

Wild horses…

… wouldn’t drag me to… where or what? These wild horses are in the Carpathian Mountains, but they could be almost anywhere.

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There’s a story here. The horses’ story? Told from their viewpoint, maybe? These horses share their space with bears and wolves, and have to survive winter temperatures that fall to -30C and below, with snow up to their bellies. How do they survive? Are they truly wild, or do they have a human protector?

Which is the stallion that leads the herd, and what threats does he face? Is there a younger colt who promises to snatch the leadership from him? Is there a battle for supremacy ahead?

How will the lives of these horses change in the next few months? How will your story unfold…?

Breathless adventures

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It’s a steep climb up that hill… and what lies waiting in the barn? Who’s going to be ready for the surprise? Can they cope with the resulting events? Who’s going to be the hero (or heroine)? Who’s going to be too scared to move? Where can they run to?

 

What a happy crime scene…

crime scene, Edwardian costume, summer fete, garden party, fiction, creative writing

What a charming scene, a festive garden party, all summery and joyful. Champagne, feathers, corsets and straw boaters, the click of mallet on croquet ball, bird-like chatter and bell-like giggles as flirting occurs across the bowls of strawberries and cream.

How lovely. So, so delightful, so carefree.

But who is plotting murder? Which of the straw boaters conceals a mind full of schemes? Which linen-clad cad has a garotte in his inside pocket? Which of these lacy ladies has poison tucked into a garter?

Somewhere in this English scene is an unfrocked vicar, a colonel who delights in stockings and silky undies, a lady in a froth of feathers who guards secrets like a tigress, and a duchess who runs a spy ring for an enemy of the Crown. Which of them is the lord of logic, the amateur sleuth who will scoop up clues and sniff out the slayer?

And the crucial question: which of these people will not survive till the village clock strikes six?

You tell me!

 

Mr and Mrs Cloudface

Cloud faces; cloud-watching, Magura Transylvania, faces in the sky

Do you like seeing faces in clouds? It’s one of my favourite occupations, cloud-watching. And the other evening, two characters emerged from the blueness of the evening sky over my house in Transylvania.

Do you see them? The white cloud is a fat-faced chap with a bristly moustache, a blobby nose, untidy hair, a double chin and droopy cheeks. His right eye is closed.

Next to him is his blue-faced wife, who’s smiling broadly, her sharp teeth just showing, her sharp nose poking from her chubby cheek, her eyebrows raised and her eyes crinkled up.

Not the most handsome couple, but there they are.

That’s what I see, anyway. I could tell you more about them – where they come from, how old they are, their background, even what they like to have for breakfast. I have an idea what she’s grinning about, and what his expression’s for.

But I’d like you to find out for yourself. Why not write their story? If you feel so inclined, post it here as a comment – I’d love to know what you see…

Inspired by nature

Is your writer’s soul inspired by natural beauty? Then this is a place to come for peace, beauty and inspiration, where you can write your book, find new ideas and refresh your soul. June is the best time to see the famous wildflower meadows of Transylvania, as you can see here. What scenes do these images conjure up in your head? Which characters would be doing what here? Does this natural beauty make you think of romance, or villainy? What might these scenes of tranquil beauty be hiding?