Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas Haikus by CrestOfFire

How To Write A Haiku

Christmas time is great (5 - Topic [Christmas time being great])
The presents and the mulled wine (7 - Expanding [The stuff that makes it great])
Really fun to have (5 - Conclusion [Why it's great; the end])

The Haikus

Sleigh-bells clash and ring,
The sound of Santa's reindeer!
How I love that noise.

Oh, hi, Miss Robin!
Is it winter already?
You need to store food.

Mr. Turkey: "Don't eat me!"
 "You missed Thanksgiving by MONTHS!"
"Go eat Mrs. Goose!"

You see Mrs. Goose,
Standing by the carving knife.
"Please don't eat me? Please?"

Ate her anyway.
Heartless, but she tastes so good.
Om nom nom nom nom.

Ghost of Goosemas Past.
A Christmas Carol remake?
Not another one.

Goosemas Present, now.
People eat turkey and goose.
Goose is expensive.

Goosemas Yet To Come!
The goose I dread above all!
"Please don't eat me, goose..."

The goose ghost eats you.
That will hurt in the morning.
Oh, wait... maybe not.

You see your grave there.
Ebenomzer Goose. That's you.
Oh, no! That's your grave!

You're dragged towards it.
Like in the Disney movies.
Pit o' big despair.

It's OK, you'll wake.
That guy in the movie did.
You're not that guy, though.

Haiku magic fades...
Only enough for one more...
Must have more haikus.

Goosemas day is over,
Yes, you survived the whole thing!
A Happy Goose Year!

Made by CrestOfFire
The Flame of Eternity~
Now, I say goodbye.

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Friday, 16 December 2011

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Time.

Time passes quickly. From the moment you are born your clock is ticking and you spend most of your life rushing from one place to another, whether it's to work, to a party or to the supermarket, you know that you rush. There's a ticking in your head. You can't feel it but it's spurring you on, telling you to get a move on. When you're writing a book you want to get it out as quickly as you can and send it off right? Wrong. Stop.
  November is the month of the NaNoWriMo. For those who do not know it's a challenge for writers to churn out the draft of a novel in a month. It's a speed freak's dream but does it make good writing? There's a saying; write, rewrite, and write again. It means your first draft is going to be worthy of recycled toilet paper and won't be worthy of sending to anyone. You'll probably think it's the best thing since sliced bread. Your mum will love it, your sister will rave about it. It all means nothing. Very few writers can churn out a brilliant, flawless first draft. It takes time to perfect your art, it takes hard work and perseverance. In publishing time moves slowly, you have all the time in the world so make your manuscript the best that it can be.

 Best of luck!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Plotting.

 I appear to have plots coming out of my ears and people keep asking me how I manage to come up with so many, so I thought I'd tell you.

  I think of plots throughout the day, it's my favourite pass time. I sit on the bus and watch the world float by but I'm also thinking of plots as I'm doing this. I can drive past a drain cover. What's underneath? Any sensible person would think a sewer with a load of poop floating past on it's way to the sewage treatment plant. Not me though. Underneath the drain is a monster, waiting to pounce on the next child walking past. He could be a nice monster though, he could be looking for someone to rescue his mother from the evil wizard who's locked her up in a tower. Your imagination is the key. Open it up and see what happens. Write it all down.

 I find plots that interest me, it's hard to write anything that bores you to death. Do you remember how boring some of your school subjects were? I think of the books and movies that I enjoy the most; they are full of wizards, witches and dragons so this is what I write about.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Twitter

 I read a lot about how important it is for a writer to 'market' their work, to 'put their name out' so they are recognised and all of that sort of malarkey. So, how do you do that exactly?

 There are several useful ways of marketing yourself. Even if you have an agent then you'll have to do this as well so it's a good idea to get your head around it.

 Twitter appears to be full of publishers (some of whom will follow you back so they can hear you're 180 characters worth of whatever you feel like announcing), agents, writers, editors etc. Great I hear you say. I've written a novel in an evening, I've showed it to my dog and Jack at the local off licence and they both love it.


Can I ask an agent/publisher to look at my blog/web site/youTube video for the trailer of the movie for my novel in the hope that they will represent me/print my book.

Agents and publishers are lovely people (mostly). They use Twitter but they also don't like it when people pitch their novels on there. Each agent and publisher has a web site, it annoys them when people try to cut corners so it's highly likely that you will be told to stop being so lazy and submit properly (I'd say it like this, but they are a lot nicer and will point you in the direction of their web site for the correct submission guidelines).

What about guiding new followers to your web site/amazon page for easy access to my novel?

Please don't. Would you jump into bed with someone within 30 seconds of meeting them? I imagine most of us wouldn't. It's rude and it's pushy. Buying a novel, like buying perfume, is a complex thing. Not everyone is going to like your novel, we all have different likes and dislikes. I wouldn't want to sit and read an autibiography so I certainly don't appreciate being directed to a site so I can buy one by someone I don't know at all. If you're going to go down this road then make an effort to build up a relationship with your followers first.

Why should I use Twitter?

 It's a very useful tool, there are links to blogs that will help you improve your writing, tell you when the writing competitions are, give you examples of really bad submissions so you know what not to do, but mainly, writing is a lonely job. Having a 180 character conversation can ease the pain. There's far more reasons to use Twitter but I'm too busy to think of more now, I'm off to check out some more submission guidelines. Aplogies for any spelling mistakes, my spell check isn't working.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Literary rejection.

Rejection is a part of life. As a child it begins when the child at school no longer wants to play with you, they find someone else and, suddenly, they are 'their' friend so you're left to watch them play without you. As you grow the rejection changes, it's that man (or woman) who doesn't want to be your boyfriend (or girlfriend), it's the potential employer who doesn't want to hire you or the mother's at the school gate who don't want to talk to you or the credit card company who don't want to let you have one of their cards (please don't send me spam).

 Writers forget that publishing is a business. When they are told 'no thanks' when they themselves are not being rejected, their work isn't wanted. A few months ago I was unfortunate to read a blog in which the writer of a novel had requested a review of her book but she disagreed with the review to such an extent that she was writing profanities towards the reviewer on his blog (which shall remain nameless). Life is full of people who say 'no thanks.' Yes, it is painful but what differentiates a writer from someone who wants to be is how they overcome this. I don't mind rejection, as long as I can use it to improve. Yes, it is painful and yes, I do sulk for a few days but I will look at it, dissect it and use it to see where I have gone wrong.  If my work doesn't 'sparkle enough' then I will look at it and try to work out why. I don't give in, nor do I email the agent back to tell them to 'f*** off.' Writing and getting a book published is a business. You wouldn't expect a major company to reply to you in this manner so why do some people think that this is acceptable to speak to reviewers or agents in this way? No one wants to work with a diva and agents talk.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

6 reasons why I am not JK Rowling.

Whenever people ask what I do, nine times out of ten I will get the same response:

'So you're the next JK Rowling?'

Let me make this perfectly clear. I like JK Rowling, it was the first Harry Potter novel that inspired me to write my own. I've always loved books. As a child we had two so, at the tender age of 11, I volunteered to work in the school library so I could read as much as I could. I find it wonderful that she's encouraged so many children to read, and I am incredibly thankful that she gave me the inspiration to write my own books. So, ten reasons why I am not JK Rowling:

1) Because I'm not writing Harry Potter. She's done this, I don't use other writer's plots. There's a huge world out there, full of dragons, witches and mythical creatures. I am very capable of thinking of my own ideas, thank you very much.

2) My main character never has been, nor ever will be called Harry Potter. It's a trade mark/copyright/legal thing that will make my hair curl, my hands shake and end up in bankruptcy if I ever use it.

3) I doubt very much that Bloomsbury will publish my books or that Christopher Little will be my agent.

4) JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter in a cafe on her laptop. I can't use my laptop in the local coffee shop, the battery will not survive for longer then 5 minutes without it being connected to the mains.

5) I don't write like JK Rowling, because I am not her. I am me, Juliet Brough. I am perfectly happy being me, why spoil it and become someone else?

6) I live in England, not Edinburgh, but I'm sure it's a lovely place.

There you have it. There are more reasons but these are the main ones. The next time you meet a writer, please don't ask them if they are the next JK Rowling, it gets tedious after the first 10 people.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Mouse lady.

In order to get from A to B and then back to A, I use public transport. I don't drive, a lovely friend did try to teach me once but I could smell the fear that was dripping from every one of her pores after a few minutes so I quickly decided that this was not a good idea, the world is a far safer place for this. Public transport is the bane of my life. Not only does it cost a ridiculous amount of money but I also have to share my journey with nose pickers, water phobics and people who have no respect for their ears or the ears of anyone else sitting within a three mile radius. Occasionally I will meet people who make me think.

Mouse lady is about 60. She waltzed onto the bus, laden with lipstick and carrying her stuffed toy mouse. She stumbled down the bus and chose to sit behind me. Throughout the whole of the journey she was telling her stuffed mouse to be quiet, 'shhh!' I didn't laugh, I couldn't see anything funny or disturbing about her but I did feel sad. Sad that she could have been someones mother, someones granny. I had thoughts of my own mother, how devastated I would feel if she was in this position, so lonely that she had nothing but a stuffed mouse for company.

10 years ago the elderly had families around them, neighbours that would stop by to see how they were. I admit to not knowing a vast amount of my neighbours. My immediate neighbours I know well but others come and go with the university terms and it can be difficult to keep track of who lives where and it's the elderly who fall through the net. I speak to the bus drivers, they are paid 51 pence for each OAP who takes a ride on the bus (it's free for the pensioner) and he admits that the vast majority of them sit and ride to the end of the line, and then back again on an almost daily basis because they have nothing to do and they are lonely. I find this heartbreaking.
 As a new parent I was lonely. It's very isolating having a baby to care for and every day blends into one, relentless feeds and nappy changes. I would make up excuses to get out of the house with him so in a way, he was my mouse. My mouse has now grown, he's 12 and I can have a conversation with him. One day he will be living his life and I will be waiting for his visits. Maybe I will be the one sitting on the bus all day with my stuffed mouse.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

A letter of Responsibility.

This isn't my usual blog post so I'll apologise.
When I was in my second year of university I volunteered to work for the university students union. I was elected by the students to do a job for them and I had hopes of doing it well, as did everyone else who was elected. Over the space of a couple of months, I began to notice the changes in the others; they stopped listening to those who put them there and began to make decisions which were not in the best interest of the majority as they became ignorant to the students needs and more and more self absorbed.
You're probably asking why I'm wittering on? I'll get to the point. I'm embarrassed to say that I voted for the current Conservative government. I fell for the spin when David Cameron said that his government would support the disabled and infirm, that families would be supported and that this was going to be a new start. I believed this and I am embarrassed that I was sucked in.

 After asking on a parenting web site, www.mumsnet.com how the policies of the current government have affected them, I was horrified. I offered the parents a chance to say what they thought and, together, we've come up for a letter. It began as a letter but quickly became page after page of all that is wrong with the UK.

Dear Government.

I am a conservative voter. I voted for you because I believed in you when you said that you wanted to make the United Kingdom a better place. I was happy to see the back to Labour; I could see that their levels of spending were in no way sustainable and it would only have been a matter of time until we were a bankrupt nation. I am in a place where I am horrified at what you are doing to this country and I find myself deeply embarrassed that I voted for you.

I understand that you need to save cash, I really do but do you not have the common sense to realise that your current plan of action is counter productive? You've slashed budgets and public sector jobs are being lost as a result. Do you not realise that all of the thousands who are losing their jobs will need to claim benefits as there are no jobs for them to walk into? Do you not realise that they will be unable to pay their mortgages/rent so will need social housing or housing benefits which will cost you more cash? These thousands who are to lose their jobs will have less disposable cash so will not be able to spend, manufacturing will go up the spout as there will be less consumers and the shops will have to close as people won't have the money to go shopping? The manufacturers and shop staff will then have to claim benefits so they can feed their families.

Re your Big Society. I'd like to know when those of us lucky enough to have jobs are going to have time to be doing all this volunteering ie managing forests,running libraries,helping out in under staffed schools,charities etc,etc. If people are doing these jobs as paid employment isn't it crap for you to expect us to do them for free whilst the skilled workers are left to claim benefits? I'd be more then happy to volunteer but I'm not prepared to work for free as staff who have done this job for many years have been made redundant and the jobs still need to be done. Who will pay for their insurance and who will organise all of this?

The thing we all be working every hour god sends to hold onto our jobs and make up for loosing our CB,save for uni fees and pay for the extremely high cost of living in this country(thanks to the high inflation you've caused).

Just out of interest when are you going to be fitting all this volunteering into your schedule sirs, feel free to give me any tips on how to squash it all in.

And while I'm reminding you about this, the bankers bonuses. You appear to completely disregard the ludicrous amount of money these people earn. It was the UK tax payer who bailed out the banks. Surly as a shareholder I also deserve a share of these bonuses along with every other man, woman and child in the United Kingdom? If you could put my share towards employing an extra nurse to care for the elderly who have served this nation I'd be very grateful.

It is noted that you appear to be widening the divide between our countries rich and poor, creating a mass of 'underclass'. Surely you are removing the 'Great' from 'Great Britain,' which used to be a place where people could improve themselves and their circumstances?

Recently it has been reported in the media that 500 plus workers for the CAB who specialise in debt advice will also be losing their jobs with a new and improved service being operational next year. Do you think that these highly skilled workers can afford to sit around for a year without any income? Who is going to advise those who are in need? Who is going to help those who have the bailiffs knocking at their door? They are already turning away people who spend hours queueing up outside, CAB advisers are going to be replaced with telephone and internet services. How are the poor to access these? Library cuts and closures are being planned. People without computers or internet access use the computers in the libraries so if they are closed how are they to use a computer? I for one am not telepathic. How is the internet

The same is happening with the Connexions Service. You have decided to turn this into an all age guidance service to be fully operational by April 2012, however in the meantime, highly skilled workers are being made redundant and in some parts of the country there will be NO service at all for 12 months thereby denying young people their statutory right to independent careers advice and guidance. Do you honestly think that this is acceptable? Do you not think that putting transitional arrangements in place would be a much better idea?

We also realise by increasing the cost of travel and petrol you are hoping to reduce carbon emissions because everyone will be cycling as no one will be able to afford cars or rail fares. While I'm writing about transport I'd like to say WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? Cutting disability benefits/independent living fund, shame on you! You said that you were going to support the vulnerable, the disabled and the infirm. How is this helping? The disabled will be trapped inside their homes as the mobility element of the disability living allowance will be slashed.


We will however continue to brew our own beer and wine to drown our sorrows, however, not in the forests as you intend on selling these off. Surly these are not yours to sell? Have you thought about how this will affect those who walk through them so that they can see our very beautiful countryside? I imagine not. Where else are we to go? It's not as if our libraries are safe as vast amounts of these are being closed due to funding. I do hope that you manage to keep the library in the house of commons, you could do with reading up on common sense. Libraries are a way for people to improve their chances in life through education and by making these cuts they are being denied these chances.

don't forget the cuts to the following:

* Speech and Language services for pre-schoolers
* Portage services for families with children with SEN
• Respite services
* Slashing of services and budgets to support any child in m/s education who may need additional support.
* changes to DLA and more frequent assessments for the disabled.

A lady wished to add her concerns about the possible closure of 250 Sure Start centres, with the scaling back of 1000 more. They offer really valuable support in some of the most deprived communities in the country and are a valuable resource for some really vulnerable members of society - young mums and their children, and also offer much needed support to health and social services through their family support services. Again this is contradictory to Cameron's 'Big Society' plans - how can this be promoted when the infrastructure it will rely on is being attacked with so many cuts.

Another wanted to add her despair at the scrapping of EMA. Clients of hers who have children at college full time aged 16-18, who are on a low income or benefits, really struggle to pay for buses / books / equipment for their children, and also for internet connections at home. ESA was often spent on transport to and from college and study aids for the child, leaving their tax credits and child benefit to be spent on what it is designed for - the extra costs of food, clothing and fuel if you have children.

Then there are the absurd changes to the CSA that are due to be coming in next year. A separated parent will have to pay up to £100 to apply for child maintenance via the CSA, even though it's a child's right to be supported by both parents. This payment will need to be made at a time in their life when they are likely to be vulnerable and poor, having already had to cope with the stress and cost of a split/divorce. Once assessed, both the parent with care and the non-resident parent will be charged a monthly fee to 'administrate' the payment. This is purely a money-spinner for the government which is likely to result in increased child poverty and enable absent parents to avoid their responsibilities. And this is on top of child benefit cuts, benefit cuts, local housing authority cuts, DLA cuts, wage cuts, and rises in food prices, petrol prices, utilities prices and inflation.

And by the way please don't privitise the NHS. And people want their local GP and hospital to be a good GP and hospital they don't want to spend hours researching and travelling to find a better one.
I could go on but I've looked at all of this and it's left me depressed! Do what I've done and consult people. It takes a good leader to sort out the finances but an even better one to protect the vulnerable.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

British Books Challenge

lhttp://www.thebookette.co.uk/2010/12/british-books-challenge-2011.html


 In need of something to keep me out of mischief whilst I wait, I have been invited to take part in the british books challenge. As there are so many books I've yet to read, I will start with the A's and with....

 Jane Austen.


You may be asking yourself why on earth a writer has not read Jane Austen? The harsh reality is that I've been lazy and have not yet taken the plunge into Austin's world. I know; it's terrible.So, Mansfield Park or Sense and Sensibility first??