Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Time to Put Pen to Paper


 I was approached by a friend of a friend the other day, looking for advice on becoming a writer. I explained to her that if she truly does want to be a writer, she has to not just write, but read also.

    At present her children's stories are committed to memory and as we all know there are occasions when our memory can file things away in the deep dark depths, never to be found again. Similar to not saving a file on the PC, when you have finished. Disaster.

    Another piece of advice I gave her was that her ideas, snippets of thought, even single sentences that flash into her head have to be jotted down. Carry a note-book and pen at all times.

I hope she takes head of some of the things I said and realises that it is time to put her pen to paper.




Saturday, 28 January 2017

La Vida

    I've been in The Canary Islands, the last few weeks and it's great to escape the wet, cold weather back in Scotland. I love Scotland, however the winter months and lack of sunshine makes me yearn to be where the sun shines, most days. Life seems so much better.

    Since I returned to Tenerife, I've been catching up with friends. It doesn't matter how long I've been back in the UK, when I come back there is always lots to talk about.

    Sitting in the sun, looking out to sea the other day, I summed up the news I had heard over the last week. There had been good news, and equally some bad.

    I came to the conclusion that it doesn't matter where you are in the world, what nationality you are, The conversations we have in the sunshine, or in the cold include everything from births, relationships, deaths and marriages.  The things that la vida is all about.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Toasting the Haggis

    Robert Burns legacy lives on with Burns Suppers taking place all over the world this next week, celebrating the great bard's birthday on the 25th January.

    Born in Alloway, Ayrshire to a farming family, times were hard in the Burn(e)s household. But even although money was tight his father, William, knew that it was important that his seven children be educated. Albeit , most of their schooling was done at home, Burns received  a good standard of education. He could read French and Latin, as well as, Old Scots and English.

    He was an avid reader and amongst the titles he read were books by, Shakespeare, Dryden, Milton and his love of God meant that the Holy Bible was on his list too.

    Burns had a short life, dying when he was only thirty-seven years of age. He had fathered thirteen children by four different women, the last of his children being born on the day of his funeral. Yes, he was a ladies' man  and love as we know featured in many of the hundreds of poems and songs he wrote, however he also had a lust for life.

    His work has come under criticism by modern day critics, and I wondered if his response might have been something along the lines, "I pick my favourite quotations and store them in my mind as ready armour, offencive, defencive, amid the struggle of this turbulent existence."

    Exchanges such as these take place between critics, celebrities and politicians via Facebook and Twitter every day. Burns was known to be opinionated and social media would have been a fantastic platform for him.

    He would be exchanging his viewpoint on the Brexit deal our country is trying to broker with Europe maybe quoting from the RIGHTS OF A WOMAN, "While Europe's eye is fixed on mighty things, the fate of Empires and the fall of Kings; While quacks of State must each produce his plan., and even children lisp the Rights of Man; Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention, The rights of a woman merit some attention."

    As an anti-nationalist he would have had his say on the Scottish independence vote. Could it have been?  "Be Britain still to Britain true. Amongst ourselves united. For never but by British hands may British wrongs be righted."

    He was a humanitarian and on the crisis that faces the world today he may say, "More inhumanity has been done by man himself than any other of nature's causes."

    I could carry on quoting but I want to finish summing the man up;

In a dream on Halloween
He addressed the Devil
He wrote bawdy prose
Romantic songs, messages heart-felt
And likened love to a red, red rose
The words in Tam O'Shanter said at speed
Imitate his mare, Meg's canter
Nothing in nature escaped his attention
Not a mouse, or the intrusive louse
A tale he could tell
His first he claimed was to the handsome Nell
The world said goodbye to him
Two hundred an twenty years past
But the name, Robert Burns forever will last

Burns Cottage in Alloway

All quotes are from Burns work.

Monday, 16 January 2017

The Promise of a New Dawn

   Cyprus is a country I have visited many times and the photographs I have included in this post are ones I took many years ago in and around the capital Nicosia.

    With so many bad news stories coming from all over the world at present, it is nice to read some while not good news, but promising news.

    The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, due to a Turkish invasion, sanctioned by Athens, Greece, in response to an attempted military coup. This in turn caused the country to split into two, with residents being uprooted from their homes and land.

    Turkish Cypriots having to leave their homes in the south and Greek Cypriots having to abandon their homes and life in the north. Which now means that Greek-Cypriots now live on the south of the island and Turkish-Cypriots living in the north. A buffer zone in Nicosia, is policed by the UN, its airport, hotels and commercial areas lie abandoned. Time standing still; frozen in 1974.

    However, talks to reunify the island have been taking place in Geneva, and they say that a deal is close to being agreed.

    We can only hope that an agreement can be made. In the words of American essayist and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, (1803-1882 ) "Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn."

Thursday, 12 January 2017

It's All About the Place

     I occasionally talk about movies, although I don't watch too many, as I would rather be reading, or writing. However, some new releases do catch my attention and that's usually because I have visited the location where they are about to start filming or have filmed.

    Therefore, the one that has caught my attention this week is the sci-fi feature, Realive (aka Project Lazurus). It is being premiered in Santa Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands on Friday 13th. The reason I'm excited about the release, is because of one of the locations used. I have featured pictures of this location, many times before in my blog post, and it's my favourite place in the world.

    So, I thought I would share some more of my pictures.    


  'Proyecto Lazaro' Directed and writer of screenplay Mateo Gil, due for release Spain 13th January 2017. US dates to be announced. Cast includes : Tom Hughes, Charlotte Le Bon, Oona Chaplin.
Arcadia Motion pictures.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Brushing Away the Dust

    Looking through a list of national days yesterday morning, I read with some amusement that today is, National Clean Off Your Desk Day. Another one of those days that I didn't  know existed, but most definitely should observe.

    I read that no-one really knows its origin, however personally glancing around my workspace it's probably a day I would be better observing once a month rather than once a year. Instead of the second Monday in January, I could partake in a desk clean up the second Monday of every month.

   Then again after a few moments of thought, you know things aren't so bad. Everything is close at hand, notebooks, pens, pencils, paperclips and large sheets of A4 paper. As well as a few other personal nick-nacks, which to me are similar to that of a kids comfort blanket. These little mementos give me a sense of security, help me be productive.

    Oh well, I'm not sure I can do the clean off your desk thing. Do you think dusting lightly counts as a mark of respect?

#CleanOffYourDeskDay #writerslife

Friday, 6 January 2017

Making My Year a Great One


    Whether, as a newbie author you have decided  to self-publish, or have a publishing contract with a small independent publisher as I have for two of my three books, it's important that you self-promote. It's not easy trying to spin all the plates, however social media I believe makes it simpler.

    I now know, that I should have had a blog, and accounts with Twitter and Facebook long before my debut hit the printing press. Launching myself initially on Twitter and Blogger was a big step as I had previously shunned away from social media.

    On a personal basis I do find it all a little intrusive, but my business head tells me it is a necessity. It is a medium to reach a worldwide audience, an audience that I would never reach otherwise.

    This week I have ventured even further into the unknown and opened an, Instagram account. If you are a regular visitor to this blog you will know that I am really into pictures, so for me it is the correct choice I believe.

    Please keep up with me via any of the networking sites I mentioned, I'd love you too. You' make my New Year a great one. 


Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Starry, Starry Night, A Crazy Muse


    With all the changes that have taken place over the centuries the world is now unrecognisable. However, there is something that we see, that is more, or less the same as it was hundreds of years ago. That is the night sky.

    The painter Vincent van Gogh told his tumultuous story through his paintings and starry skies featured in several, such as, Starry Night Over the Rhone and Saint-Remy-de-Provence.

   Looking up at the night sky a couple of days ago, I started to think about those planets that shine upon us. Imagining if I lived on one of them, say for example 120 light years away. The view I would see in my twinkling night sky would include Earth. Van Gogh would be painting Starry Night Over the Rhone, as I was sipping my hot-chocolate.

    Yeah, a little crazy musing, but all part of a writers life.