Life

an interview with me, myself, and i

Just under five years ago, I started this blog – moving over from good old blogger. And in all this time, I don’t think I’ve ever done a ‘who on earth is this other random-stranger-with-a-blog?’ blog post. So. Here it is. Five years too late and answering all the burning questions I’m sure no one everyone has been dying to ask.

WHO ARE YOU? –

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I’m English. I like to write (but by gosh, in these last two years there’s barely been a single bleep on the ‘YAY I COMPLETED A NOVEL’ radar. Life is rough.) I am a bookworm – you may have noticed.

Puns are my favourite form of joke. I enjoy finding humour in the ridiculous. I am beyond awful at escape rooms.

I’m in my twenties. Once upon a time I thought fifteen was olllldddd. Haha. (It’s not.)

I dyed my hair red, but am growing it out back to my usual brunette locks. Man, it’s going to look weird for the next couple of months.

– WHY ‘OF WORDS AND BOOKS’? –

Because I’ve tried everything – puns, seriousness. And then I thought … this blog is about books, and words. Because words cover everything else; thoughts? Words. Life things? Words. Rambling about tea? Words. Bookworm things? MOAR WORDS! Podcasts? SPOKEN WORDS!!

With a blog title like that, I’ve got all my bases covered.

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– WHERE DO YOU WORK? –

I wanted to work in a morgue, but my mother thought it would be too morbid (say WHHAAAAATTT?!) Right now, I’ve got a temp job in an office. I’m enjoying it.

Unfortunately, I have not been hired to be a dragon-slayer, a super spy, or a MAGNIFICENT peacock trainer. This is a tragedy.

– ARE YOU SINGLE? –

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yes

I’ve yet to meet a Radcliffe Emerson, Batman, Robin Hood, Tarzan, or an ex-SAS officer with a kind heart, a limp, and an eyepatch. It’s very sad. (Apparently, fictional men shouldn’t be your standards for life partners but … pfft.)

Though it would be nice to have someone of my very own, I’m quite happy just being me.

– WHAT ARE YOU PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? –

Lord willing, later this month I shall be leaving the country for three months to teach English in Moldova.

Writing wise … I’ve come to terms with the fact that while I may never be a full-time-professional-and-churning-out-books writer, I will always be a writer. And so, through the years, I’ll be writing here, there, and everywhere. A little right now, a lot soon, nothing after that, and then quite a bit just beyond that.

I have a lot of projects on the go, and I hope to finish them all. But perhaps not all at once.

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– WHY DON’T YOU POST ON SERIOUS SUBJECTS? –

Um, are you saying books and Heyer aren’t SERIOUS?!

Ah-hem.

It’s not that I don’t care (I do), it’s just that this isn’t always the place for it. And sure, one day I may ramble about how bloodletting was an ignorant, illogical, and awful practice and ugh! just WHY?!!!! (I get why they thought it was THE THING but at the same time … logic. why. wuyyy.)

(I have a medical book I’m reading through.)

(You’re probably going to hear about it one day. In, like, forty-seven years!)

And- actually. Come to think of it, that isn’t quite the ‘serious subject’ I had in mind. The depressing ones, the dark ones, the ones that make me look about the world and wonder at the state of society and of mankind and just – those ones. Those I feel ill-equipped to write about. But maybe one day. But not yet, and not here.

And besides, sometimes – just sometimes – it’s nice to have a little corner of the web that isn’t doom and gloom and the darker side of reality.

– PLEASE, DO SUM UP –

I’m a bookworm. I love stories and adventures and long romantic walks on the beach. I am a Christian. I believe that love conquers all. I am not cheesy in the least.

Thank you for reading my blog

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Books

there were no dragon illustrations

Glorious news! I can now spell ‘prejudice’ without the help of spell check. It – and this will blow your mind – doesn’t have two d’s.

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ALICE IN WONDERLAND

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I can’t read Alice In Wonderland right now – the artwork in my library edition is off-putting.

It’s just not pretty and my books must have:

  • epic dragon illustrations
  • pretty illustrations
  • no illustrations

… but I’m going to push through. Probably. Or I’ll put it on my kindle and read it without any drawings whatsoever.

SHADOWSONG

30694168.jpgOnce upon a time, I read Wintersong. The front cover was pretty. The sequel has just landed in my kindle because I rather thought that though I disliked the first quite intensely, it made me think about validation and where we draw it from.

Perhaps this sequel would give me an issue to ponder, was my line of thinking. But then I read the introduction and it had a trigger warning for suicide ideation, and said that this book was the author dealing with her monsters.

It’s not that I have anything against authors fighting their demons through the written word, it’s just that I never think ‘well, gee, let me read about someone fighting their demons in a book duology that I liked just as much as I like liver and onions.’

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LADY JANE GREY: NINE DAY QUEEN OF ENGLAND

388656Fun fact: I once saw the back of the author’s head. (It was, I rush to assure you, attached to the rest of her body.)

Now, I have a reread of My Lady Jane planned for this year, but it is comparatively flippant to the actual reality. (Flippant, but hysterically funny.)

I rather hoped the ending would change, but apparently history is set in stone and you can’t change it.

Lady Jane’s letter to her sister had a quote that quite struck me:

‘Live still to die … and trust not that the tenderness of your age shall lengthen your life; for as soon (if God call) goeth the young as the old: and labour always to learn to die …

She was sixteen years old, and that letter was the last she ever wrote.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice before. Yes, yes – I’ve watched the movies, the T.V shows … all of that jazz, but I’ve never read the actual book.

But it has now been consumed, and it is with great astonishment that I discovered that it was quite wonderful. Just as good as everyone said it was. I am now eating enormous quantities of humble pie.

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Behold, my pride – it has toppled! My years of prejudice have taken a bruising fall! And yes, I shall admit it: Mr. Darcy is very romantic.

(Is it better than Georgette Heyer’s books though? Hmm …)

Life

bloggers, blogging

I’ve been blogging for a while now (‘a while’ because I’d rather not think about how long I have been blogging on various blogs. It makes me feel old.) and I have favourite blogs that I’ve followed over the years. Here are some of them …

THE DAY DREAM

This blog was born from that wonderful time when the Scarlet Pimpernel was all the rage in the blogging community [that I stalked]. It seems to have slowly faded away, alas. But sometimes these things do ‘appen. (Yes. That is a Phantom reference.)

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BLOG STATUS: a faded dream …

EDIT: It comes to my blushing attention, that I’ve actually managed to make a general kerfuffle of things – whilst I originally put ‘SINK ME! ‘where humorous nonsense meets period drama’ as the blog name and link here … I actually meant The Day Dream. Sink Me! is still an active blog. And my extremely humble apologies goes out to the author. Absent mindedness, thy name is Ness.

GO TEEN WRITERS

I read and even participated in some (or rather, one) events on this blog. But I am no longer a teen and feel:

a) discriminated against

b) left out

Like, Go ‘Teen’ Writers? C’mon. I just feel like, so offended. Ageism is CLEARLY at play here.

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BLOG STATUS: still going but I don’t read it as much because I am now a grumpy old codger.

[DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT RESENT THE TEEN WRITERS. NAY. I WISH THEM WELL AND ALL THE BEST. I RESENT TIME AND THE WAY ONE FALLS OUT OF DEMOGRAPHICS AND INTO HORRIBLE THINGS LIKE BILLS AND TAXES]

YET ANOTHER PERIOD DRAMA BLOG

I read this one and the blog belonging to Miss Dashwood’s sister. But I think the sister’s blog is no more and Yet Another Period Drama has slowly had less and less postings.

Now, I know – it’s easy to suspect foul play here; to think that if a blogger doesn’t post they have been killed by resentful otters, but one hopes that the reason the blogger is not blogging is because they are living fulfilling and busy lives.

Which I think is Miss Dashwood’s case; she has – it appears – either gone into ring/hand modelling or has gotten engaged. (In which case, I wish her a hearty congratulations and all the very, very best.)

BLOG STATUS: posting far, far less.

THE INKPEN AUTHORESS

Rachel Heffington has evolved into a food writer and recipe developer but I was there in her novel writing days (HIPSTER ALERT) and my word, did Anon, Sir, Anon come out in 2014?!! Where has the time flown?!!

I remember when her very first book came out – I bought a copy and took it up into the Peak District to take pictures of, because I wanted Heffington to have sort of visited England, if only by proxy.

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one of my favourite places in the world
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#prebookstagramdays

Her author blog was quirky and witty and I loved to read it. Occasionally, I hold a moment of silence over the blog’s silence. (I kid.)

I think it was Rachel Heffington who first introduced me to Wodehouse – at the time I didn’t quite ‘get it’ – it would be a while before the penny dropped – but … now I have and for that, I am ever in your debt, Rachel Heffington.

BLOG STATUS: author has moved on to bigger, brighter, and more edible things

VINTAGE NOVELS

If I ever want to feel intellectually stimulated, I head over to Suzannah Rowntree’s blog. She writes delicious reviews and if ever I spot she’s reviewed one of my previous reads, you can be sure I put aside everything I’m doing to devour it.

I may not be enamoured with everything she says (she did not take to the characters in Behold, Here Is Poison by my beloved Heyer which I *cough* slightly resent because Randall Matthews is the cat’s meow and I defy everyone who says otherwise. NO I AM NOT BIASED) but her reviews are always terribly interesting.

BLOG STATUS: posting on

THERE ARE MORE …

… there are so many questions to answer – who is a fellow Sutcliff reader? Who addressed the importance of red shoes? Who had the grabbiest post titles? Who LIKES K-DRAMAS TOO?!!! Who reads and writes far, far too fast? And – and this is the most important one – who introduced me to the wonders of Georgette Heyer?

This warrants another blog post. (Which will not be as tardy as this one. Probably.)

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Happy reading!

On Writing

How To Write Five Thousand Words In One Evening

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… though of course you can write five thousand words at any time of day that you so choose. Obviously.

Find a Comfortable Seat

This is important. I used my large soft toy as a back-rest. (Soft toys are very good as back-rests – an important fact.) If it’s cold, wrap a blanket around your shoulders.

Panic Not

Look – if you think writing 5k in one evening is impossible, you’ll find it impossible. So, when you start to write – cheer yourself on. Two hundred and fifty words down? That’s a quarter of a thousand! Wahoo! You can do it! Five thousand? Pfft, little brain. Just you wait till I write ten thousand in one day. Your brain will quiver with fear and do precisely as you wish after such a threat.

Thank You For the Music!

This is important. Don’t listen to music you are unfamiliar with. You want to sink into your writing with absolutely no distractions. I didn’t even use a playlist. I found one song and then I stuck it on repeat. If it’s familiar it will fade into the background.

Side effects: you’ll be heartily sick of your song afterwhile. So, when you take a break, choose another bit of music and play the stuffing out of that one too.

Make Goals.

Think to yourself – I’ll write two thousand and then I’ll take a break. Reach that goal, take a break and then return for more. Use the break to make tea, rest your eyes and gather your sanity from the far-flung regions it has fled to. It’s really not that bad.

Format That Word Document

You don’t want to be distracted by page numbers (oh bother, I’ve only written one page! ONE PAGE!). So eliminate them. Change your view from the Print Layout to Web Layout. This gives you the freedom to simply spill your words onto those pages without realising how many there are.

I find this tip to be really, really useful. I call it ‘Tricking My Brain To Doing What I Want Muhahahaha Bow To Me Story Of Mine’.

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I took this picture in relieved triumph

Remember That Quantity Does Not Always Mean Quality

… and you know what? That doesn’t matter right now. You can come back and brutally butcher it all. This isn’t editing. This is writing. [Though obviously I like to believe that every word that drips from my fingers is golden and precious, full of diamond rainbows and glorious prose]

For The Fidgety Bits

Right now, it doesn’t matter if the people have a festival on this or that date, they use spears or bows as weapons or if a poodle really is a dog – pop all your questions, continuity issues and ideas into a separate word document. You are writing. Come back to that later.

Tell your story now.

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So there you have it! All you need to write five thousand words in one evening. I managed to do it at the weekend, and now feel like a pompous expert on the matter.

Happy Writing!

(P.S Your wrist might ache jus’ a little bit afterwards. But what is a wrist ache to marvelous words?)

Books, Life, On Writing

Ashley Townsend and the Author No-No #1

Today I have the pleasure of having author Ashley Townsend pop over for a visit. Grab a cup of your chosen beverage – be it tea, coffee or something nice and cool – and settle down to a chat with Ashley, who is the author of Rising Shadows, and its sequel, Chasing Shadows.

Quickly! Tell me wha13695981t genre you prefer to write in – or do you dabble in multiple genres?

            I really have a heart for YA, because I love reading well-designed and -plotted books that feel relatable, and I really enjoy connecting with younger readers through my own writing as I (try to) provide that same engaging and emotional rollercoaster that I myself am drawn to. Also, I really love writing fantasy, because the world is your oyster, and reality has no limitations on what you can create.

 Do you have a scheduled time to write?

            I try to do a little writing every day, which is the best advice I can give to budding writers. Whether it turns into a full-blown chapter or two, a couple of pages, or just some plot ideas scribbled on note cards, I try to make time every day to write. Just being in the habit of writing and pushing through scenes has been a wonderful tool and has helped me in situations where writer’s block might try to hinder my progress.

Of all of the characters you have written, which is your favorite and can you give me three key words to describe them?

            😦 Why must you make me choose?! I honestly adore all of my characters, and22545313 everyone knows I am in love with Will Taylor *swoons* and adore Sarah’s relatability and kind heart. But if I had to choose, I’d have to say that the character I always look forward to writing about is Damien Lisandro. He was supposed to have a brief appearance in “Chasing Shadows,” and then I made an oopsie and fell in love with my own character. Author No-No #1. The best way to describe Damien is broken, gentle, and lost. He is like this sad little puppy that I just want to adopt and make him feel better.

 Do you find listening to music helps you write, and if so, what sort?

            I have tons of playlists for different moods in a story. I love anything soft for more of the romantic interlude scenes, and then when I write instances where there is hand-to-hand combat or arrows flying or swordplay, then I really enjoying listening to trailer music or soundtrack scores. I love music, but I get too distracted by the lyrics if I’m in the middle of a scene that requires intense concentration.

 All right, I’ve just given you an airplane ticket, where would you go?

            Neverland because my next series is a take on “Pirates of the Caribbean” meets Neverland. But I suppose if fairytale lands are out of the question (humph), then I would have to visit Ireland. It has been a goal of mine for years to live in a cottage in Ireland and just write for the remainder of my days beside bubbling brooks and great rolling hills. So dreamy! (and those accents!)

 Pen upon paper or fingers tapping away at keyboard?

            My mind is usually moving too fast for me to use paper, and then I just get frustrated because it takes too long. Ah, the impatience of youth! I typically prefer to use my laptop because it’s faster, but I always have paper on-hand in case inspiration strikes.

 A new piece of technology has been invented. It is a Writer’s Aid and can eliminate the trickiest of areas. Where would you use it in your writing process?

            Ugh. Editing. I adore the creative process and everything about it, but having to meticulously comb over my manuscript to see what I did wrong is painful. I’d much rather be writing my next series than catching grammar errors!

Ashley TownsendThank you, Ashley, for stopping by and all the very best for your future endeavors. I’m off to hunt down someone to invent a Writer’s Aid for the both of us … : )

Ashley is a young twenty-something who has been spinning tales since she discovered that her wild imagination and love of storytelling could make a career. Reading and writing are her way of experiencing grand adventures from home, and she hopes that others will join in her fantastical escapades! She is a native to bookstores, coffee shops, the beach, and San Diego, CA. She also has an unexplainable aversion to clowns and describes outlines as a “proverbial noose.” You can find her at: her Website, Twitter, Goodreads and Amazon