Tag Archives: writing

Inside the leaves…not the green ones #Fragments

 

I rather cherish the memories of standing in Mum’s kitchen holding my own books in my hands. Each time, there has been a smile as to having worked hard and crafting something that I am very proud of and ultimately would like to share with others. I am not writing anything at the moment; my pens have temporarily fallen silent and are reflecting on new possible stories.

I am also involved in a project called the Peace Series That link will take you to the Facebook page. There is even an event that will hopefully plant Peace firmly on the map. My contribution is scheduled for release early in 2018, and is currently being polished.

There were plans to write a cookbook! Plans being plans, this is on pause; I will get around to that eventually.

For now, I have three books in circulation that I am genuinely proud to have written and developed. Two, are primarily to do with gardening and cooking; with this year being a poor year on the allotment plot, they are a reminder of good times, of fruitful times.

Then there is ‘Fragments’, which is my first foray in to writing fiction. This does not mean I have abandoned my green plot. Simply that I have decided to add an additional string and broadened my horizons a little more.

Bit of a heads up. This is not a fluffy book with hearts, rainbows and butterflies. It’s not a textbook either!

 

Above are a selection of passages from Fragments, these touch on the six different stories that are interwoven to paint a picture of how loss and bereavement may effect us. The people and their experiences are varied and diverse; I wanted to write stories that could be seen to reflect and represent the world around me and to some extent how I see it.

I like my book; I am however, very biased. It is seeing and hearing that other people have picked it up, read it and invested in it that truly makes me feel less biased.

You can find the ebook here . For paperback, click here.  If you happen to be in the USA, you can even walk into Pipe and Thimble in Lomita, California to buy a copy! The store is the only place on the globe that actually holds any of my books right now. That in itself is  a tad mind blowing.

If you do invest in a copy, of either version, then please share and leave the review. As a non-traditional, self published author, I am a cog in the Indie publishing world. Reviews help that universe expand, allowing books that we wouldn’t ordinarily come across become more visible. This expansion then allows myself and other Indie authors to be stumbled upon with our works being shared.

 

From ink to ebook

There are now three ebooks out there with my name on them.

You can find the links for them on the side bar and they are available for sale across the globe.

All three are also available in paperback, with ‘Fragments’ going live and properly in the next few days.

Fragments is fiction, with the two others being non-fiction.

 

Writing Projects: Watch this space

 

As well as sowing seeds, there are a couple of writing projects that are waiting in weeks for different points of this year. All being well, these will available in March/April and then in December. There is a cook book pencilled for somewhere in the middle!

‘Retreating to Peace’ sees me work alongside a smashing group of indie authors on the Peace Series. You can find details here about the authors involved.

Pages, Plotting, and Petal #I am writing

Petal and I  are currently on our summer holidays, all two weeks of it. We have already spent a few days floating around Cambridge, by way of having time and just adventuring to a different beyond the borders of Middle England. This has lent itself to sitting in different spaces and writing.

As well as tending to the allotment-as hit and miss as it has been-there has been a parallel project this year of writing another book. This book is a work of fiction, the previous two projects have been non-fiction and allotment orientated. I chose to write fiction for a number of reasons. Firstly, I wanted to; amusing as it is daydreaming and having a smile creep across your face, to put it down onto paper is really quite nice. And it is all on paper, I choose to hand write my stories long hand in ink in my notebook and then type up, prepare them further later on. It does however mean that I have to decipher my rather awful handwriting. Handwriting, that if you ask my mum, makes your eyes go a bit a funny. Second, the current work is about a topic that people might struggle to talk about, to process. I am writing about grief and bereavement, and I guess it is all borne out of having lost the last of my Grandparents just over a year ago. The process in part, is for me a process of reflection and getting a handle on my own experiences. Third, I have written non-fiction, writing fiction is a step beyond my comfort zone. It is a step towards doing something different, it is a step further in an ongoing process of development.

Writing this third book has been very different compared to the first two  and it will take the time necessary for it to be where it should be. I am not going to rush it and force daydreams to appear. There have been periods of time where there have been no daydreams, I have written nothing. Yet the plan, over the summer, was to make a dent and to write. So I have been trying.

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See, I told you my handwriting was interesting.

The current work in progress is all planned out and there is a distinct start, middle and end. What I need to maintain is a focus and get the job done. This is somewhat difficult, with writing being shoe horned in amongst different aspects of real life.

What you see above, is book three, being written in my notebook. The tea was very useful, and facilitates the process.  There is a vague plan, for a book four-that this is probably going to be garden related, in some shape or form. However, there is another idea that has started to niggle at the bag of my brain.

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A couple of very good friends and fellow gardeners, had proposed that Petal-the avatar-might have some adventures. This thought was as I said, niggling at the back of my head. Then, I had a day dream as I found myself thinking about. What you see above, is a burst.  A rough, unready, just a splatter, segment. I am unsure, uncertain to a great extent, as to where this is going to go. What I can say, is that there will be Petal Petunia-oh, she now has a surname-adventures. I will be thinking and hopefully daydreaming, to grow this initial burst.

I was thinking, about how I might play with this Petal Petunia burst. Only for something advertised by The Big Comfy Bookshop to attract my attention. They were doing something wonderful with the use of  Rory’s Story cubes.  So with some story cubes now in my possession, I am thinking that these may be useful.

If you get a moment, please go visit the The Big Comfy Bookshop. I have had the pleasure of being sat inside, nursing a big mug of tea and eating cake whilst writing book three.  There are not many independent bookshops out there, or book shops that really support the community to encourage and facilitate greatness. Plus being a bookshop, it is a heaven for every Bookworm.

There is a week left of the summer holiday, a second adventure is only hours away. The notebook and pen are stowed away in readiness.

Here’s to writing adventures!

 

From #Gdnbloggers to #Indieauthor

August 17th 2016 was a rather important milestone. It was one year exactly since I pressed publish and published ‘Playing with Plant Pots: Tales from the allotment’. This is the first of two books, and was the start of an interesting adventure.

#Plantpottales was the product of fevered writing, and a deep rooted desire to share what I have experienced whilst having an allotment. Based upon this blog, the book extends to some extend some of the learning that is documented in these cyber-pages. I didn’t write it to replace, but as an accompaniment. It is an additional source of information, that can be accessed and used.

I wanted to write a book, it seemed a challenge and a good thing to do! It call came from guest blogging, and with encouragement that is the legend https://mrplantgeek.com/ He is also the chap who indirectly helped create the #bollywoodgardener. Without his encouragement, I don’t think the book light bulb would have switched on. It was not easy to write the book, I had a list of ideas and wanted pictures. Throwing together is probably a better description, as I remember having all sorts running through my head.

There was distinct movement from being an allotment garden blogger to an indie author. I had never in the first instance, termed myself an garden blogger-yet this was another lovely group that I have found!-but it did make sense to me; I am blogging about a garden, it just happens to be an allotment garden. This is a dynamic linear development, I am still a garden blogger and I happen to now be an indie author. I self published,  don’t have an agent, a publisher; I am also still learning about the process.

Didn’t stop me from writing a second book.

There is a fantastic indie community, and if you are on FB, you can find their page here. Indie Authors and Book Bloggers They also have a website, http://indieauthorsandbookblogs.weebly.com/ where you can find information about this fantastic community. They have an affiliate magazine, that I just happen to be in this month http://pub.lucidpress.com/b9f1a33c-1afa-4708-b466-3811378f474a/?src=fb

There is also a cracking good garden bloggers community, that started via the twitterverse https://twitter.com/gdnbloggers and they have also been immensely supportive. There is also the gdbbloggers website where you can find further details.

To me, having self published two books is an achievement. It is something that I am very proud of, and want to share with anyone who will listen! I appreciate that not everyone is green fingered, not everyone wants to know about garlic and chilies; yet you never know. There was just something about holding a book with my name on, and knowing that I wrote it.

I remember walking passed a bookshelf in a well known book store, it was headed ‘Gardening’. To me that felt like a set of goal posts, and the thought in my head was that one day, I might get there.

It is however important in my head to keep a few things straight. In the first instance, I have written about a very niche interest. Gardening and cooking isn’t necessarily everyone’s cuppa tea. So that means that interest in the books might not equal or plumb the depths that heavyweight Gods and Goddesses of Horticulture. Second, Rome wasn’t built in a day-I have been there, I know-and writing is a process. Neither of the books is perfect, but I have given them my all, I will continue to do so.

There are further books to be written, I know there are. I am half way-ish writing book three; there have been struggles with that, I can tell you! At the moment, Book four has a cover image but no content, and that is likely to be a gardening book. Book three, is definitely not gardening and is something of an experimental work in progress.

I have enjoyed this journey so far, and I do hope that it will continue. And the key word is hope. Hope, as you never know.

 

#iamwriting …well, trying to…

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Having set myself a mission of writing and publishing something by the end of the year; I am trying. I am really trying!

I have learned lessons from last year, having written and published #plantpottales. I enjoyed it immensely and I am very proud of having written and published a book that I feel really passionately about. #Plantpottales is really special to me, I enjoyed writing it and I feel it is of value to other people. That was one driving factor in writing it, as well as wanting to share all of my experiences so that others could benefit from them.  The process at the time was exciting. I remember a number of times where writing was frenzied, I just had to write things down and get them into the book. I cannot really describe the buoyancy that came in setting my mind on the task and actually feeling inspired. Feeling inspired was pretty encouraging, and actually gave me a lot of confidence to get the job done. To stay focused and put effort into the project.

#Plantpottales was of course non-fiction, and something that reflected my own personal experiences. And now I am considering fiction. This somewhat perturbs me. Whilst I have been part of a Star Trek fan fiction sim and for a while, this is different. I would be writing something by myself and it won’t have anything to do with Star Trek! (I don’t think I ever written about gardening in the sim, actually….) I have found myself asking questions about how exactly I am supposed to do this. Searching questions as to what is it that makes a book readable, what are the technical things that I need to consider in terms of plot devices and how to write dialogue. I might, of course, be thinking about things a bit too much. When all I should be doing is sitting down and just writing what might find itself arriving into my head. These things are important, and I am by no means glossing over them. My attention will be given to them in due course.

Reflection has happened, and whilst I was thinking about what type of writer I am. I may have got a little hung up, on thinking that I have to plan, and in detail. I don’t particularly like planning to the n’th degree. I would much rather have a daydream of a sort, hold onto that and put pen to paper. Pretty much what has been described as writing ‘by the seat of your pants’. I can see the logic in that; that feels like the way I write at the moment. That is the way I am going to keep it. I enjoy it, the experience of having a daydream that feels like a story waiting to happen inspires and encourages me to keep writing. I do like to write with a pen and paper too. I can’t edit and go back to text as you might with a PC or a lap top, but I like it. It’s the experience of seeing something you have imagined in your mind, take form on a page in ink. Though trying to read my writing when I go to type does make for a challenge. The ideas are easier to execute with a pen, paper, and with post-its that I can stick in when I have an idea.

Once #plantpottales was done and dusted, there was a physical and psychological drain and it left a wound. I wasn’t inspired, and I found it very hard to imagine things. Images and ideas would form, only to go zing and poof; disappear without cogency. I couldn’t feel ideas form that I wanted to believe in and share. I wanted to, I wanted to write again. Only when your body and brain are telling you ‘no’ it is probably a good idea to just wait. And I did wait for a bit, even though it has been rather frustrating.  I had a couple of ideas that attempted to materialise, the one idea I wrote the opening salvos of and then left aside until Christmas.

The plan was to write two things simultaneously over the course of the year. It still is, actually; with one project under way and the second not yet presenting itself in an inspired way. Both are still in the infancy, so I won’t at this stage give away details. Only that one could/might still be gardening orientated, and that the second is not really that cute, fluffy, all smiles and whistles. The second has my attention for now; there are ideas and half a plan.  I know, I said that I don’t like to plan. I didn’t actually formulate the plan; the plan came together by itself. Came together from having written a list of scenes to right, and presented me the opportunity to plot them onto a timeline. I sat there, and I looked at it. Realised that I had now a plan of what I wanted to write. That I write in stages; that like Lego blocks would come together in some sort of structure. It has taken time to get this far. Time to consider things carefully. More so than last year with #plantpottales. I can’t help but feel that there is a reason for that; and part of the learning and development process. The two projects are different and the first of the two is at this stage best described as an engine that has stalled and may even have slightly dodgy spark plugs. I cannot seem to piece any ideas together that might actually work.

What I don’t like is word counts and deadlines. In terms of word counts, the prospect of writing 80, 000 words terrifies me. That is a lot of words. #Plantpottales was a fraction of that at 25, 000. So I do see that as a Psychological barrier of a sort. Then I think about how quickly I did actually amass those words, and how when writing the blog, I don’t necessarily reflect on how many words a post might be. Knowing the word count for #plantpottales is something of a yardstick for how many words I  need to write over the coming year.  Deadlines. An end point is always useful, to start a journey and then plot your course towards the end. I did give myself a deadline for #plantpottales and ended up publishing well before. This time, I want to use time more effectively. I want to make it worthwhile. I don’t expect to be writing for hours at all hours. First of all, real life gets in the way and second there are those days when you feel as inspired as a dead gnat.

I will continue to write. I want to, and I do feel that #plantpottales is something of a beginning. Writing is not easy, I don’t believe that for a moment. I will try to do it though. I really will.

#NaBloPoMo: Book Worm to Book Writer?

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Apparently, the one human constraint that holds us all back, is our imagination. The only limitation to unlocking our potential. You can argue that even Einstein, used his imagination and therein expanded or shrank the universe.

So to what extent could you use it? The NaBloPoMo prompt yesterday was about whether or not you have a book in you?

Do I? Perhaps.

For the best part of ten years, I have been writing Star Trek fan fiction. The group I that I belong to, is this one  sectorg.org Based to an extent on Canon Star Trek, the kicker is that whilst the flagship’s are shiny, like all organisation’s it has screw ups. The officers that fooh-bah things up so badly, they have to be dumped somewhere, and somewhere far, far away. That’s the start of it, anyway.

If you fancy reading what the group has got up to, then have a look here. https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/caledonia-bob/info You can probably dive in anywhere, and have a look at what goes on.

Back to the original question, do I have a book in me?

Think I have written several, in the time that I have been writing fan ficton. Not quite a library, but a stack of short novellas, at least. My problem has always been, that I can start with an idea, travel through arcs. Plan those arcs in detail, but then how do I get to the ending? Some arcs, have been short and sweet. The current arc that the group is involved in has been going on for an epic three years! With Star Trek on the box, there was always a constraint of a season, and arcs got lost with time. This is somewhat different with the writing. It is all, contingent on imagination. It’s the same when you are writing. I love to read, and see what the fuss is about with books. There are some that I love, would read time and time again. There is a different outloo though, when you try and construct something yourself.

I have never liked the utopian rosieness that star trek came to offer. So writing with Sectorg, does provide scope beyond that. Also, writing is definitely a process. I am by no means the same writer that I was ten years ago. I look back at what I wrote, and I squirm. Writing does involve crafting, researching, and playing with ideas. I am lucky, and rather spoiled, by the fact that I have cracking good co-writers. And when you are stuck, there are folks to story board and workshop.

There is an assortment of characters, this is star trek, you are going to have the odd, the ugly and the strange. I have stuck with one many character and added assorted bolt on additonal characters to flesh out the character’s story. And I am rather attached to the character. Her, yes, she’s a woman, her actions are somewhat beyond normality. But she is a screw up.

I do invite you to have a look around the archive. It might not be to everyone’s taste, and it for some it may not constitute epic literature. But hey, use your imagination, and you never know where you migh end up.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/caledonia-bob/info

Sectorg.org