Weeping Willow: Poem of the Week

So I’m off for a while (on my belated honeymoon.) and I thought I’d leave you with a poem I wrote when I was ten years old.

This is the poem I ever had published in the local Calderdale News. It was later published in the Best Poems and Poets of 2002 by the International Society of Poets: ISBN  0-7951-5206-X

It’s almost funny that the thoughts of a 10 year old over twenty years ago, could still apply now.

Weeping Willow

When the wind blows, The willow weeps.

When the moon shines, The sun sleeps.

When the world is at peace, We all go to rest,

The fox in its den, the bird in its nest.

We kill each other and we break the law.

If we’re not doing that, we’re forever at war.

So all come together and let us have peace.

Let’s put the war behind us and let the fighting cease.

Fort his is what causes the willow to weep

As we all fall into the deepest sleep.

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Categorise my Book!

Sounds easy right?

My novel is a fictional biography of a serial killer as she explains the life of abuse, neglect and criminal companions she grew up in which led to each situation where she is ‘forced’ to kill, starting at the young age of 5!

It’s dark, it’s nasty and it’s suspenseful.Slide1

 

Sooooo..Crime? Yes there’s a hell of a lot of crime, unfortunately the category for crime is generally mystery. There is no mystery here, you know who the serial killer is, it’s the girl telling the story!

 

Suspense? Oh yes, there’s suspense, but it’s not really horror, and can just about be considered thriller.

 

Gothic? Someone suggested this to me and I’m not sure, it’s not ghouls etc, but it is very very dark!

 

Biographical? Yes, it is a fictional biography written in first person about her life.

 

Urban? Yes, it’s urban life, urban survival, it’s surving in an urban ‘dogeatdog’ world

 

So let’s combine: British Urban Gothic, Suspense Crime thriller fictional Biography….Amazon doesn’t have a category called that! It should have because I think I’d be top of the bill! (I might be the only one in it)

amazon-kdp-categories

Image from thewritersguidetoepublishing.com

This is the problem. The crime category is so vast that to even get in the top 1000 you’d be lucky, same goes for crime thriller, or suspense or even British crime. You need a niche, something slightly off kilter. That’s the big advice I had, find a slightly off common category that you can fit into, because it’s easier to climb the rankings, and the more you climb the rankings, the more you get noticed.

If I could compare my story to anything I;ve seen out there, the closest I could go is Dexter, so I scoured the listings for Dexter and its under: crime. But that’s ok for Dexter as it’s established and it doesn’t need a unique category selling point.

 

So if you’ve read it, or even from the description, can you think of a category?

 

Now think of your own: Remember it’s not just for where to slot it on Amazon, but it helps immensely when you go to market and you approach bloggers etc. Know your category.. and then try and tweak it to fit into a unique on!

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Writing Tips

So I write a lot about a lot, but I’ve never really written about the writing/publishing/marketing business of being a self published or hybrid published author, and the main reason for that is, I honestly don’t feel I have the know how or experience to. I am still very much learning this business and regularly feel overwhelmed by it, so much so that I want to run away and hide!

However of late I’ve had friends asking my advice about writing a book, and my advice is generally the same, get on line, do your research, join Goodreads, join Kindle forums, get a blog. Basically all the things I read to do when I was sat here going “How do I get my writing out there?” I really struggle with the marketing side of things, trying to get into book stores, trying to get on to blogs, trying to get noticed basically. It’s a hard and soul sucking process. However when you get that review that someone loved your book, it does feel like the hard work you put in was worth it!

I’m not even going to begin right now actiing like I have any notions for success when it comes to marketing. I know a few things about publishing, but I do feel I’ve been doing this long enough to know about the writing process: I’ve been writing stories since I was seven years old, and I’ve been making them up a lot longer. I’ve always had an imagination I wanted to share.

I’m not an English graduate, I can’t tell you about great literature or how most appropriately to use alliteration and onamatopiea’s. However neither will most readers, they read for their enjoyment, for their interest, to be lost in the tales you have to offer. Write it well and know what you’re writing and you won’t need that degree, although if you have one you’re probably far ahead of me with advice.

So I’m going to start this thread, I’ll have a lovely little tab at the top and it’ll be on my website too and I’ll be writing my own methods and my own lessons learnt in writing. I will offer some of what I know on self publishing and I’ll tell you what i know doesn’t work when it comes to marketing.

 

So I’m going to start with a very short but important factor I think everyone who says they want to write should do first and foremost: READ! Read books in your genre, read books in other genre’s, read books on writing books in your genre. Most imporantly, read and learn from the style, the notions, the methods you see visibly in front of you. If you really enjoy a book my guess is, it was written really well, so look and see what they did, what was it about it that enabled you to enjoy it so much?

I love to read; I love to read a multiple of genres, Crime, fantasy, sci-fi, true life, romance and even some horror. The only real genre I’m not a huge fan of is BDSM, but that’s just personal choice.

Another thing to do once you’re reading, is join a book club, even if it is just online, there are sites like Goodreads and Library Thing where you can indulge with other like minded readers about the books you’ve read. You will also find fellow writers trying to get their foot on the ladder just like you.

 

I’m a scientist by day and I wouldn’t have just walked into a lab and picked up some Hydrochloric acid and said I’m going to do a titration today! I’d have most likely dissolved my fingers! I had to learn first. I had to learn the interactions of chemistry right dwn to the molecular level. I had to learn what lab equipment was for what. I had to learn what made an acid corrosive and dangerous, and at what levels they were dangerous: Citric and hydrochloric are both acids, but one you eat in a lemon and one is very dangerous, I had to learn the differences between them and how and why they function in the way they do.

To write, learn your craft; read what others have done, how they got it right and how they got it wrong, trust me there’s a lot of writing out there that is not very good!

 

I’ll leave it at that today, but I am hoping to make this a regularly thread, if you have any questions or queries please ask and I’ll do my best to answer them, even if it really is simply: I don’t know yet, but I’m working on it!

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Filed under Advice, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Tips

The Different Perceptions of Homosexuality

So the other night I caught the documentary by Dr Christian Jenson: Cure Me I’m Gay. For anyone who didn’t catch it, he decided as a gay doctor to investigate the so called gay cures that people perpetuate out there in the big wide world. He undertook some of those therapies to see if and how they affected his sexuality. It was very interesting and strangely informative. I’ve watched many of these documentaries lately: Stephen Fry’s Out There, Scott Mills The worst places to be gay, Channel 4’s documentary Hunted on Gay Russia. Just to name a few.

I also read last year Bryan Christopher’s, Hiding from Myself. Which I highly recommend to everyone!

Now all these have one thing in common, they’re all written or hosted (aside from the Russian documentary) by men, and so obviously focussed on Gay men and their treatment in the world. I made this comment on twitter, not meaning to really create much, I placed it as a question as I was genuinely asking a question:

Why do they always focus on men? Very rarely hear them mention lesbians?

Dr Christian replied: Female sexuality much more fluid.

What then occurred was a large many responses to my question and his response; much more than I expected really.

I read through all the comments, and aside from the ones that found the use of his word fluid hilarious, opinions varied greatly and got me thinking into it a lot more. So much so that as I and my wife sat eating our Sunday dinner in the pub we went over it and over it and over it.

So really my question was, although it’s hard to say it all in 140 characters: was it simply that obviously Dr Christian is a gay man and that’s why the programme focussed on the cures aimed at gay men? Or is it that there simply aren’t as many aimed at lesbians?

He said that female sexuality is more fluid and I pondered this, and I’m not sure it’s as clear cut as that, although I do agree that women tend to be much more open and experimental in their sexuality whatever their orientation tends to be, I’m not sure if that’s a modern thing or if people are just more honest about it these days.

Others noted is it because there’s much more homophobia towards to men. Others suggested it was because the bigoted are generally straight men who probably watch lesbian porn, many did say they didn’t believe female sexuality was actually broached the same way as male sexuality, for a wide variety of reasons.

Of course we know there is a call for curing lesbianism, as it’s seen horrifically around the world when men, usually family members, take it upon themselves to ‘correct’ the woman’s behaviour with rape. It’s been reported as a practice that is rife in South Africa with some terrifying and heart breaking  consequences. It’s disgusting and despicable. But from this we see that there is as much homophobia aimed at lesbians as there is aimed at gay men around the world.

 

I was thinking though that from these examples and from what was stated in the documentary, that many of the cures and want of cures deems from religion, the example of course Dr Christian saw was Christian religions. I wonder if it is this, that in itself is the reason that the cures are aimed at men.

The bible has a lot to say on two men engaging in sexual activity, or at least it is interpreted to. There is only one passage however, found in Romans, and voiced by Paul and not as I read from God,  about lesbianism. Is this about Gods view or simply the culture at the time (I guess that really depends on your faith and interpretations.)

Quite frankly though, the bible doesn’t say much about women except that they do as their told, they are owned by the men who can basically do what they want with them, they are second class! This in itself has dictated culture for centuries and the constant oppression of women.

Is this why the many ‘cures’ that seem to be perpetuated to cure homosexuality are aimed at men much more than women, as this is the reason that homophobia is much more aimed at men than women? That can then pose the question are these imposed on culture by the religion, or is this belief in the religion derived from the culture at the time? Is it simply a continuous cycle? Is it seen that men are much more deserving of actual ‘cures’ and the women must simply be controlled and have their behavior corrected by the men?

Also from the cultures of old, that were around at the time of the scribing of the bible, men had many wives and would sometimes take more than one to bed at a time and so women were most likely indulging in lesbian activity at the bequest of their husband, much as men get off on lesbian porn today. So is it just not seen as much of a ‘problem’ in the cultures that derive from religion that was birthed from these cultures? (Got a headache yet? I have!)

 

This is really just one thought and consideration that I found myself pondering as to why homosexuality is viewed differently in the genders, and as Dr Christian said that female sexuality is more fluid, maybe why it is simply different in each gender. Of course there are always blurred lines, bisexuality is one and to say the differences are simply applied to gender as then we have the point of Hermaphrodites, gender dysphoric and many other gender/cross gender issues.

However this is a blog and not a thesis, dissertation or research paper, be it genetics, biology, psychology or sociology. I expect all of those and more could and probably are doing somewhere in the world, many many research papers on the subject.

It is something as a writer, a scientist and most obviously as a lesbian, I am intrigued and interested in and would actually like to research further. (I have a feeling I’ve set myself a lifetimes task there!)

 

I think it does show though the complexity of the issue and of how people view it. It’s not something you can wave a wand at and ‘fix’ it’s not something you can ‘pray away’ (Trust me I tried for the first 27 years of my life!). It’s not something you can ‘correct’ with sex or rape or torture or discipline! ( I find it interesting the one thing they think will fix women is what they want to take away from the men: A penis!) It’s not something you can avert with therapy (they do so much harm!). It’s not a choice and it’s not an illusion!

I would say it’s not that simple, but to an extent it is simple: it’s simply who people are!

 

These thoughts and ponderings have left me with many many many more thoughts and ponderings: hmmmm……………………………….. I’ll come back to you on them!

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Filed under Current Events, Gay, LGBT, Television, Uncategorized, Writing

FREE KINDLE EBOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes people you read that right

Friday the 21st and Saturday the 22nd of March my British Crime Thriller Once Upon a Set of Wheels is FREE on Kindle

So dash on over to Amazon and grab yourself a freebie and indulge in the tale of one very disturbed girl!

Once Upon A Set Of Wheels Part 1: Baby Driver

Once Upon A Set Of Wheels Part 1: Baby Driver
Click to go straight to the kindle book!

Writers write for those who read: Readers are a want a hope and a need!

Presentation1

Spread the joy, share a review!

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One Plane: A thousand theories!

So a few weeks ago I was rather excited to see an advert for Liam Neesons latest film, especially when I saw it had Downton Abbey’s Lady Mary in a much different role.

However now, only a few weeks later, I think maybe flocking to see it may be inconsiderate.

Besides why go watch an action, mystery aeroplane movie when I can turn the news on and watch a real one play out in real life. It’s all anyone’s talking about and more to the point, theorising about. There’s the sensible, most likely and therefore rather scary thoughts: Hijacked, crashed, shot out of the sky.

Then there’s the more wacky: alien abduction, the mystery island of Lost or fallen into a black hole.

In all seriousness though, where’s the damn plane?

It’s a modern mystery that has everyone talking, it’s even taken over the conversation about the weather and floods. You know what else it’s getting ore conversation than? The Russia/Ukraine/Crimea situation. I’ve hardly heard anyone mention it at all, which of course has spurred another theory: It’s a distraction! Everyone is so consumed with the plane mystery that we’re not watching what else is happening.

Do you know much of what else is in the news this week?

You know what else comes from this? Not just theories, but stories. Writers are now going crazy as these theories, conversations that they hear strangers having about it and their own imaginations going wild with ideas. How many disaster, action, mystery aeroplane stories are we going to see filling up our bookshelves and flooding amazon in the next few months.

Liam Neeson might have a movie out now, but I bet by this time next year there’ll be about five aeroplane based mystery or disaster movies.

However much we get caught up in the mystery though, let’s not forget there are 239 people missing. That’s 239 families wondering and waiting just to find out where their loved ones are. 239 people possibly terrified, lost or worse.

Let’s say a prayer for them.

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Filed under Current Events, News, Writing

Top Gear Burma Special: Review

First of all let me say I am a massive fan of Top Gear, I became a fan at the turn of the millennium and especially when I was writing Once Upon a Set of Wheels as I wanted to understand, not just cars, but peoples enthusiasm for cars, as it was something up to that point I had never really had. They were something to get me from A to B, usually driven by my dad.

Image taken from www.carthrottle.com/

Image from topgear.com

 

Over the years they have done many specials, one of my favourites to this day remains the polar special; it was fun and exciting to watch.

I know that Jeremy Clarkson can severely rub people up the wrong way and May and Hammond, although also of very stern opinion about many things, always seem to be shaking their heads in dismay at him. He’s managed to offend the Mexicans, the Scottish, the Americans, the Indians, and a whole other manner of races and cultures. However when watching him, I don’t believe it has ever been done in a malicious or spiteful manner; just purely arrogant and slight ignorance.

I find the show and it’s presenters amusing and entertaining and I know there are many others out there who think the same, that’s why the show is so successful, why they’ve sold so many books and have successful newspaper columns.

Basically I don’t want an argument with people about whether he’s an oaf or funny. I’m not a fan of many things but I know there are many who are, we all find different things and people entertaining.

 

The last few years they have done some specials that I’ll be honest haven’t really lived up to the old ones, so when they said they were doing another special, I wasn’t as excited as I used to be. However, then I saw they were going across Burma and were to follow, to an extent, the historic venture of the prisoners of war who built the bridge over the River Kwai. I knew this would be different to recent specials, why? All three of the presenters, although childish and on many occasions buffoonish, all have amazing respect and admiration for the armed forces and especially for the veterans and those lost during world war two.

Image from topgear.com

Image from topgear.com

This was clearly evident through the special in Burma and it gave the two-part episode a very heart warming effect.

 

Yes it was still hilarious, yes there were still many parts along the way where you shook your head in humorous disapproving, however it was really quite moving.

As they complained about how tired they were and the hard work involved, they were reminded that they were driving and sleeping and eating, where as the real prisoners of war walked, barely rested and were regularly starved. The three didn’t argue; they nodded and accepted that what they were doing was nothing in comparison and it seemed to spur them on to try and do the best job they could.

Image from Bridge over the River Kwai

Image from Bridge over the River Kwai

They regularly spoke about the historic tale, about the hard work and the horrors the prisoners suffered the beatings, the starvation, the illnesses and infections. Which although hard to hear, was very well placed and good for any young audience that watched for the entertainment that might not really know about that heart-breaking part of history.

They were also very respectful of the locals, especially when they got to the Shan and were invited to a party; they partied away, but they got to know the locals, they interacted with them and came away with what seemed to be a genuine appreciation.

The scenery was of course breath-taking, just to watch on the screen, so it was no wonder that they kept mentioning it as they were there in reality gazing over it.

They then built a bridge, albeit over the wrong river! They genuinely seemed to work hard, and even though calamity ensued, as it always does in a Top Gear special, with tipped over cranes, parts of the bridge, and the presenters being swept away by the current, constantly playing pranks on one another, they seemed to put a lot more into this challenge than I think any other they have done. As they worked hard and made they effort, again they kept referring to the true history of that horrific war reminding themselves and us that really what they were doing was nothing in comparison.

On completion of the bridge and getting all three Lorries across it, they didn’t try to emulate the real occasion, they didn’t make fun or in appropriate comments, and no bombshells were dropped as is the custom at the end of Top Gear episode; they simply waved and said goodnight. A real mark of respect I think.

 

I personally really enjoyed it; I found parts of it actually made me slightly emotional when they referred to the real story. I also found myself feeling slightly guilty as I have never read the book and I have never seen the film. I know the tale, I was told it by many older relatives and we learnt some of it at school in history, but I feel this is something I should’ve read and understood.

So I have downloaded onto my eReader The Bridge over the River Kwai and intend to start reading as soon as possible.

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I think Top Gear really do need congratulating on this special episodes, it was by far, the best one they have done for a long time.

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