Friday, 30 March 2012

Fairy Tale Friday

A fellow writer on my favourite blog set a challenge last Friday in her usual Fairy Tale Friday slot. After guessing that the riddle in her post was referring to Snow White and Rose Red I dug out my copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales and re-read the tale, which I enjoyed greatly. Following further procrastination I decided to give the challenge a go and see what I could come up with but I was stuck. I couldn't think of a way to re-write a classic. I found myself wondering what came before? Who was the girls Father, how did he die? And I just started to type. Before I new it I had some idea down on paper what life before the daughters was like and the magic of their birth, albeit slightly modernised in places and it is the Father who ends up as a widower. Any way, have a read and see what you think. May be you can come up with an alternative ending to this story of trust and longing.

Snow White and Rose Red

There was a man and woman who lived on the outskirts of a vast forest. They lived a simple life in a small cottage; grew vegetables in their garden, collected fruit from the trees around their house and kept chickens which dutifully gave them eggs for breakfast every morning.  The woman loved nothing more than to tend flower garden, especially in summer, when she would hum along with the bees as they skipped from flower to flower. Her favourite amongst them all were the roses that guarded the front door. One a deep ruby red and the other the purest white rose that ever there was. These roses produced beautiful blooms from the passing of the first frost until the first nip of Jack in the winter.

 Every day she would cut one bloom from each rose and place them in a vase, taking a moment to say her silent prayer wishing for a child whom they could shower with love. Her husband felt the same and wondered year after year why they had yet to be blessed.

A few years later, when they thought that all hope was lost, the woman gave birth to beautiful twin girls. But tragedy struck and she only survived long enough to name her daughters; Snow White, for she had the palest skin anyone had ever seen and Rose Red, for she had lips as red as the rose at her door. The man grieved for his soul mate but adapted to his new role as sole parent well. Every day he continued the tradition of placing to roses, one white one red, in the vase at the window; saying his silent prayer to his wife and expressing his gratitude for the girls they had longed to raise together. Life continued, but from the day of her death the little cottage was never without roses in the window. They continued to bloom throughout the winter, defying Jack Frost and his reaches and bringing a smile to the widowers face, letting him know he was never alone.

His daughters grew to be just as beautiful and gracious as his wife. Rose Red became a passionate young woman, head strong in her ways, even in her childhood exploring the forest with reckless abandon. Snow White was her opposite in almost every way, the quiet and watchful of the sisters. During their childhood the sisters complimented each other, doting on their Father and always ensuring their chores were completed before going into the forest to explore, sharing everything together; they were the dream come to life.

One evening, as the girls sang in poetic harmony to their Father, there came a knock at the door. Raising calmly Snow opened the door to the icy air and was faced with a tall and dark man wearing a brooding expression.

“May I enter to warm by your fire, the night is so cold and I will not make it to where I am safe”

“Of course, please sit, I will fetch a blanket” came Snow’s compassionate response to the figure before her. He was a tall and well built figure with long dark hair pulled into a leather thong at the nape of his neck. He stood there in just jeans and shirt sleeves, with ice crystals in his hair trying fight the convulsions that came with being so cold. As Snow returned with a thick crocheted blanket Rose moved from her customary spot in front of the fire to let their mysterious guest sit. Although they were all curious as to the predicament the stranger found himself in none drew attention to it, they simply whiled the evening away with anecdotes, laughter and tea. Eventually came the time when they were all ready to retire to bed, even give his concerns for his daughter’s safety the Father could not bear to see this man turned out into the cold and dark of the forest.

As the man rose to bid the family farewell the Father, placing his hand on the man’s shoulder, said “Please, we have little, but feel free to sleep by the fire and remain safe and warm for the evening”

The man was rendered speechless by the family’s kindness and could simply nod in appreciation.

The following day the sun was shining and it was beginning to feel like spring was in the air. After spending time helping the family with the daily chores, the stranger bid the family farewell.

“Will we ever see you again?” Snow asked as they parted at the garden gate. She was quite taken with this lost soul who had wandered into their lives.

“May be some day, when you need me, maybe” and with that he was gone.

White And Red Rose Petals
view original here

I am off now to read some of the other fairy tales that have missed the popular culture make over, do you know was talking to a friend about the post and the fairy tale and they didn't even know it existed. Convinced I had lost my marbles and was talking about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, I despaired. I will never profess to being an expert on fairy tale, or anything for that matter, so I was quite impressed with myself for knowing the answer when they didn't :-) This is a good rendition of the tale that I found online, enjoy

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

All that we are...

Having read a.eye's post yesterday it got me to thinking, dangerous I know!! Should we always put all of ourselves 'out there'?

I guess this is particularly poignant in the blogsphere. It is so easy to hit publish on a post composed in the privacy of your own home and thoughts, but is this always wise? I started this blog as a way to get a second opinion on my writing, to muse about things on my mind or even waffle on about random things going on in my head, but it doesn't always work out like that.

I am a natural 'wear my heart on my sleeve' kinda girl and pretty much everyone knows what is going on with me at any given moment. However, the more I write the more I discover that there are thoughts, emotions and discoveries that are purely for me and not to be shared! Completely the opposite of what I expected from writing. Life is sometimes like that, sets you off down a path that you thought was leading you in one direction only to find yourself somewhere else of equally stunning  beauty.

bleeding heart single
view original here

What do you think? Are there things that we should keep just for us or should we share and see what happens, good or bad?

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


Unfortunately not the hot and steamy ones about the cute guy that you see at work every day, sorry! I'm talking about the dreams you have about your life, your ambitions.

I used to think that our dreams and ambitions in life were something we had to decide on early and then they were fixed. Some kind of covenant carved in stone and if you didn't achieve said ambition you had failed in life. Oh and there was only one dream per person.


view original here

If this were true, I failed in life a long time ago when I didn't see through the childhood dream of becoming a hairdresser, no paramedic, no nurse, or maybe teacher... These were just childish dreams, the real fun starts when you set a career goal, your ambition for life. Does it include marriage, a family? What happens though when you can't see this dream through or if in the course of driving towards your intended destination you realise you're not sure this is where you are supposed to be heading in life? Have you failed?

When I left University my dreams had crumbled around me for various reasons and to date I still haven't set myself a master plan for life. Don't get me wrong, I have lived to see some of my dreams come to fruition; marrying the man I love and having children of my own, but is this enough? For!

So what do I want from life? What do I dream of being when I grow up? I'm still not sure on this one and I wonder sometimes if I would achieve more in life if I had a goal to aim for. Or does that put too much pressure in me and result in that nagging feeling of failure!

I envy people who dream a dream as a child and live it as an adult; the best selling novelist who knew they were going to write as a child, the child that dreamed of being a fireman and ended up saving his friends from a fire. Are you living your childhood dream? Or has your dream changed shape a few times along the way?

Recently I discovered a great new blog The Written Word and whilst taking everything in on this site I discovered this quote.

At least this means I am not too old to wing it a little longer, just to see what happens. You never know what magic moment may be around the corner and I don't want to miss any.

Friday, 16 March 2012

No Baddie is not 'Oh Goodie'

OK, so I decide that Guin isn't finished with me yet and she has a story to be told...great, what now?!?

I have spent the week out lining what happens to Guin and they way her story develops, but now I am stuck!! I have no baddie! Why is it that the protagonist always  comes easily to me yet when I try to develop bad guy in the plot I come up short. I can vaguely work out what their motivation is but to get any further I need to put a face to the character.

Any tips on how to channel my dark side?

File:Dark Side Ring of Light - Titan - PIA12511.jpg
view original here

There my mini moan is over. On a different note; I have been thinking of changing the look of my blog. What do you think? Should it stay as it is or should we have a change of colour?

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


Would you believe I have been nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award. It's ok, I'll give you a moment to recover (it took me longer than a moment!!!).

It is a huge honor that a fellow blogger, and writer, views my random musings as worthy of following to start with, but o also nominate me for an award, wow. I am incredibly grateful to Deb Stevens for her support and encouragement as I start my writing adventure, (yes I am still new enough to this writing thingy to see it as a wonderful adventure, please tell me this doesn't wear off!). Her blog is definitely worth a look, beware you may find it addictive!! It is full of magic moments, honest experiences with writing and a fantastically modern takes on fairy tales. She always gives me something to think about whilst managing to cheer me up every time I read her blog. Here's something just for you Deb, thank you!

view original here

Now apparently there are some rules to being nominated / receiving this award; firstly I get to share the love and nominate up to 15 blogs my self. Then secondly I have to reveal 7 things about myself. So here goes...
The blogs I love to follow are as follows (in no particular order!):
I love this blog for all things crafty and generally living life as a family. The things this girl makes are truly fabulous and gorgeous!
For beautiful photographs, occasional tips and a lot of inspiration. Sneak a peak I am sure you will love his work as much as I do!!

Amanda Hocking
A recently discovered (to me) author, who's books I have yet to read (yes they are on my to read list) but if I love reading them as much as her blog I will no doubt be hooked.

Lo Johnston
A great blog with tips for writing, inspirational moments and topics to make you think. Always worth checking in with.
My Favourite Books
My favourite book review blog.

How to be a Writer
Sally O'Reilly writes a fantastic blog with hints and tips for writers, whilst also sharing some of her own writing (which is witty and compelling).

My Name is Not Bob
A newly discovered blog with tips for writers. From what I have read so far his writing is funny with lots of handy links.

Mr Bs Emporium of Reading
The blog started during the 'adventure' of opening an independent bookshop in Bath and has continued.

Writing from the Tub
For all things booky.
Open a Bookshop, what could possibly go wrong?
I witty tale of opening a bookshop in London.

The Bookette
Great YA and children's book reviews.

A quirky blog dedicated to the shelves us book nerds put our most prized possessions on.

An Awfully Big Blog Adventure
As it says on the tin, 'The ramblings of a few scattered authors'.

I know there are not 15 but these are the ones I like the most. I am sure by the time I have visited some of the blogs mentioned on Kicking Corners there will be more to add to my list of favourite blogs, but until then...

7 uninteresting facts about little old me:

1. I am a lover of smells, strange I know. I love all the obvious smells: newborn babies, fresh coffee, home baking fresh out of the oven. There are, however some smells that distract me on the spot, the smell of a man when they have been working outside is one. A strange mix of hard work and nature in one bundle, sorry I can not describe it any better but I am sure you will know what I mean. If not it is a good excuse to get the man in your life to go and do some gardening just to find out ;-)

2. I am addicted to books. Not just reading them, buying them and hording them. At the last count we have 7 bookshelves in our house and literally have no room for any more. But there is no way I will ever get rid of any!!!
3. I love water, in any shape or form; the sea, lakes, ponds, streams, put me near one and I cannot but help but smile. But I don't like to drink it, I'm weird I know ,most people get used to me eventually!

Free Stock Photo of Wave 4
view original here

4. The realisation that I had grown up was when I felt the need to start using eye cream, or "mummy's old lady cream" as my kids call it! Charming eh?

5. There are certain foods or drinks that I like, but don't like things flavoured like them. Bananas I like, but I can not stand banana flavoured milkshake or sweets. Coffee is another, I love a good cuppa but coffee flavoured things are simply awful. Whoever had the idea to have a coffee flavoured revel needs their head examining!

6. When I was at school I learnt traditional Lancashire clog dancing. I used to find this fact very embarrassing, however now I am older I have an appreciation for the links to my local areas history this has and that I had the opportunity to learn first hand.

7. Cherry blossom is my all time favourite flower. There is nothing better than the sight of a cherry tree in full bloom, it kind of looks like a cloud that has been caught in the branches or that some little fairy has taken candyfloss and decorated the trees with it to celebrate the start of spring. They last such a short time that some don't always understand my choice but they are spectacular when the are here and are so delicate even a slight wind will take them from their branches and send them scattering like confetti at a wedding. They are for me the embodiment of spring; short lived, delicate and full of promise.

Cherry Blossoms
view original here
So, from a very happy me, happy blogging all my friends ;-)

Monday, 12 March 2012

The Big Smoke

So, a few days ago I promised you an update on my trip to London. Well I had a wonderful time! At first glance taking close on 2 full days out of family life seems purely selfish, however by the time I arrived at the first museum I could officially term it a research trip!

I squeezed in visits to the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Royal Acadamey of Arts and the Tate Britain. My favorite has to be the V&A, the whole experience was magical. I felt like I had slipped in at the back door entering from the subway tunnel, almost like I shouldn't be there. I was like an excited child not knowing which way to turn. I made some great discoveries, got lost in the medieval section and saw some jaw dropping replica structures. There was one picture that I remember clearly; Rosalba Carriera's, The Syracusan Woman. I turned round and she seemed to be almost chastising me for moving throught the exhibitions so fast. Therefore, I have made a promise to myself to re-visit the V&A at some point to do it justice. The David Hockney exhibition at the Royal Acadamey of Arts was also a highlight.

The one thing that I love about London is the amazing variety of characters that are all around all the time. Does anyone else try to guess what peoples lives are like? I find it a very entertaining activity to guess the occupation of people on the tube or train in particular. Try it some time and see what you come up with. I can't help but try to attach a story to everything, people, places, pictures or sculptures. The only thing that struck me on this trip was how sad all the subjects of the paintings or sculptures are. I hope when future generations visit museums and look at 21st century art they don't get the impression that our generation were perpetually moping, life may be difficult at times but I would not say we are unhappy...are we?

PS the research was great and I have come away with loads of fantastic ideas :-D

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Solace in the Past

“To the untrained eye this would just look like a lump of grass...”

Guinevere watched herself on the monitor in this homemade video for the new website. It carried on droning in the background while her anger rose inside her. It felt like she was selling her soul; to make money off the back of others misfortune was about as low as she could stoop. How had she let Riddick talk her into this? Ok so she was 23, jobless and sleeping in Rid’s box room, but is that a good enough reason to sink so low??

“Sooo, wha da ya think?” Rid asked with a very pathetic look on his face.

“I hate it” Guin hadn’t meant to be so blunt, as her best friend, Rid always got the brunt of her moods.

“Come on Guin, make an effort here”

“Do whatever you think Rid! I’ll catch up with you later” Guin called over her shoulder as she ran for the door of the pokey flat they shared. All Rid could do was stare after her open mouthed.

Guin needed some peace, away from the machines, buildings and people. This was easier said than done. All her life there had never been any quiet space, no peace or solitude but there were places where that didn’t matter. Places where Guin could drift away and forget the world around her.

Up on the hill the air was clean and crisp; Guin took a few slow, deep breaths and stared out at the view. You could see in all directions from here, behind her was a view over the moors out to Yorkshire but currently she was taking in the majesty of Pendle hill with its summit lost to the mist, which hadn’t lifted all day. She sat at the edge of the Iron Age hill fort and as she relaxed and her breathing slowed the smell of burning logs drifted over her, mingled with the sweet smell of that nights stew in the pot. This was closely followed by the sounds of the settlement; it was like the sound of a radio slowly being turned up and tuned in all at the same time. It was calming to listen to the gentle chatter of the women going about their chores and the children playing with the dogs. Guin had been coming here since she was allowed out of the house alone; she would wander the countryside trying to find that elusive moment’s peace, but she always seemed to gravitate back to this spot. Sometimes she felt like some kind of strange peeping tom; a 21st century girl who hangs out with the apparitions of people long since gone. Today Guin didn’t care, she needed its rhythm, no matter how strange it was.

The sun starting to set and was turning the sky a hundred shades of pink and purple. All the tension that had been creeping up on Guin for days in her shoulders and neck was starting to dissipate. She knew this cool and peaceful moment wouldn’t last; she had lived this day over hundreds of times. She turned just in time to see the few bloody and injured men stagger home to their wives and families from the Yorkshire side of the fort. The tears began to roll down Guin's cheeks, the final release she needed. She knew this was the battle that had claimed Lugo, her first teenage crush; it always brought a tear to her eye. Why did she find it easy to cry at these moments but never about the present?

“Why do you go back to that moment if it always makes you cry?” His voice came from the path in front of her.

Rid knew her too well! Of course he knew where she was, Guin thought.

“How do you know when I’ve been?” Guin asked, firing the question like some kind of accusation at him.

“It’s the only remnant from here that makes you cry”

Guin looked down rather sheepishly and hugged her knees to her chest as Rid sat down beside her. The commotion of the reunions continued behind them as they sat in silence. Guin thought for a moment how other groups of friends never seemed able to do this, just sit in comfortable silence. There was no need to talk, he knew her and she knew him. Rid had helped her through so much they didn’t need to explain things to each other. He knew she needed this place; sometimes the dead are just more comforting.

“Guin” Rid said as the sun was just disappearing from view, “what’s wrong? I know you don’t like this idea but if it’s a choice between this or starvation which would you prefer?”

“I know! I know all of that. To be fair that is a little overly dramatic though. I just can’t help but feel I am betraying some kind of trust” Guin replied sounding deflated, “who am I to tell their story to any Tom, Dick or Harry that will pay enough?”

Rid just sat there looking out at the sun dropping behind Pendle Hill, he knew better than to interrupt, there was more to this and she would let it out if he just waited.

“Rid, I’m a freak” Here we go he thought, “It’s the reason I’m in this mess, I can’t hold down a job, I can’t keep friends, besides do I really want to put myself out there again? I tried that once, remember and as I recall it didn’t go so well!”

“First, we are all freaks Guin, it’s what we do with what we have that counts. Second, you need to decide on that pretty fast.”


“We’ve had a call.”

“Excuse me?”

“Brigantes Investigations is officially up and running, if you are willing?”

Let me know what you think!!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Where did the week go?

I just don't seem to have had time to blog at all for the last few days. Between planning an impromptu trip to London and spending time writing following an inspirational trip to a local iron age hill fort, oh and the general day to day family schedule, there has been little time for anything else.

I am really looking forward to having a day to my self in the big smoke. Planned in are; a couple of art museums, an independent bookshop and a frozen yogurt bar (just to see if it is the same as I remember from America). It may seem strange to pack off my kids mid week to their Grandparents just to indulge my passions, but what the hell, I have a days leave that must be taken this week so why not use it to re-charge my cultural batteries! I will fill you all in on my adventure later in the week.

The other project occupying my brain space and time at the moment is a new character. She sprang up out of nowhere following a visit to a local iron age hill fort. Something I have to say I must have driven past hundreds of times assuming it was just another lump of grass with sheep. It was not until I visited it with a very knowledgeable tour guide that I realised it's significance to the area. He pointed out the sites of the settlement's huts (circular ditches to you and me), the perimeter fence (sorry that one was lost on me) and what would have been the paths into the settlement, all of which I would have walked past had I been on my own! By the time I got home Guinevere had materialised in my mind. I couldn't wait to get the kids and husband to bed in order to get some peace and quiet to write. Early the next morning, as I crawled into bed to warm my now very cold feet on the mobile hot water bottle otherwise known as my husband, I felt a great sense of accomplishment at the first short I have ever written. There have been various ideas in the past, numerous characters living in my mind and even a few pages written, however none had ever flowed properly or sounded right. This I am proud of, now I am just faced with the internal fight; Do I put this out there? Do I risk other people thinking that it is juvenile and not worthy? Then; do I post it on here if there is a chance that it may turn out to be more than a short? Or do I keep it to myself for the time being and wait and see what develops?

What do you think? Should we have the courage to put things out there? Or are there some things we write that should remain ours, just for a little while at least?