Recapturing that Inner Child

I have been thinking about when I was a child and how things were. In particular I have been thinking about whether it is possible to recapture that childlike curiosity and imagination that we once had, well, that most of us had anyway.

What can we do as adults to try to recover this? Every day we are, as adults, faced with responsibilities that just seem to grind us down, at least I often feel that way. Obviously when we were children we didn’t have those kinds of responsibilities. These were never a problem as a child. Most of us were not worried about where the next meal was coming from, more how soon we could leave the table and get on our bikes to meet our friends at the secret camp. There were no mortgages, no bills, no responsibilities other than to do our homework and to be home on time. I know that not every child’s life is like this, but this is how I seem to remember mine, although I admit there was a lot of reading too. The sky was bluer, the grass greener, the sun brighter and it was always hot in the summer and snowed in the winter. We had our hidden camps in the woods where our secret clubs met in summer to plan epic journeys to forbidden places, we made snowmen in winter and played on the icy ponds.

So a couple of weeks ago I went back to the village in which I grew up, it is only about ten miles away, and visited the pond and horse chestnut field we used to play around. It was still there, but different. There used to be a little waterfall (more just an overflow for the pond really, only about four feet high that drained into a tunnel that went under the farmers drove and into the conker field next door). We had hours of fun playing there, but only the bravest of us ventured into the dark of the tunnel and made it through to the light at the other end. Now the pond has a public service noticeboard detailing interesting features about the now stagnant, mouldy old  pond. The waterfall is covered in wire mesh. Was it ever really how I remember it?

I guess you are thinking, like me, was there ever actually a point to this post? I fear I am just rambling now! Oh yes, recapturing the inner child. I am sure it is in there, I just have to find the best way to release it. Hang on recapture, release. Do I know what I want? I think I want to be able to experience life again through the eyes of a child. Perhaps what I am trying to say, most ineloquently, is that I want to feel wonder and surprise at the smallest of things again, not for things to be tainted by the cynicism of age and experience.

Kind of lost the thread there a bit, but I hope you know what I mean. Any ideas?

Guest Blog: Do’s and Dont’s of Indie Authoring by Ionia Martin

Brilliant guest post by the brilliant Ionia. Great advice and very amusingly presented.

Legends of Windemere

This week’s guest blog is brought to us by the delightful, funny, and hard-working Ionia Martin of Readful Things.  She also is the mastermind behind The Community Storyboard where writers and readers from all walks of life can gather for some fun.  Did I mention she’s hard-working?  If you haven’t had the joy of checking out both of Ionia’s blogs then I suggest you take the time to do so.

Now, I asked Ionia to make a list of Do’s and Donts’ for the Indie Authors.  I thank her for taking up the challenge and having fun with it.  Enjoy.

So you have decided to be an indie author, huh?

I can always count on Charles Yallowitz, the owner of this here excellent blog for two things. Number 1: He writes great books.

Number 2: He is always entertaining and ensures that his posts far outweigh any other responsibilities…

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Marketing/Self Publishing with Harry Steinman

More wise words from Harry Steinman. I cannot stop myself reblogging this every week.

readful things blog

Sometimes Self Publishing can make you feel like a tiny boat in a big ocean. It is always a good idea to be prepared and know what you are getting yourself into before jumping into anything, and Harry Steinman is here to help you navigate. He makes a rather funny looking compass, but he always points you in the right direction. He missed last week, so quiet your applause and give him some crap before you tell him how helpful he is. I do.



Pantser or Planner? Part Two.

Preparing to Self-Publish

by Harry Steinman, a Guy Who Did a

Few Things Right


     Last post described tasks that an author seeking to self-publish    must consider.

                      This post covers a few more.

Quick review: if you self-publish, you must develop a publishing strategy that distinguishes between eBook and print. You need a budget and should…

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Slave to Time

Do you let yourself become a slave to the clock? I know that I do. I create schedules for myself. You know the sort of thing. 30 minutes for this, one hour for that and so on. Then I carry out that task and if I am in the middle of something, I will still usually stop, in order to follow my schedule. Still, it helps me achieve things that I wouldn’t normally. I think it comes from the pleasure I get in ticking off each of those tasks as they are completed.I seem to remember having written something like this recently. I do apologise if I have said any of this before.

Strangely though this doesn’t seem to work in my day job. All that happens is that the list gets longer and longer until I eventually just throw it away starting a new one with the most important tasks. Mostly these are written on post-its. My desk has almost disappeared under the mass of yellow rectangles. Maybe the way I view tasks to be completed at work is different to the way I view personal ones.

Do you find yourself tied to the clock? Do you just take it as it comes? Strangely I have been known to do the latter too, depending on my mood.

The Matilda Project Hits the Hay Festival

I love the ‘Kindles are Banned from the Kingdom of Hay’ banner! I haven’t been here for a few years now, but there were some great book shops, and I doubt whether much has changed. A great place to visit.

The Matilda Project

IMG_1908Hay-on-Wye is a little town of about 1500 people that sits just on the border of England and Wales and is most famous for the Hay Festival, the annual gathering that celebrates literature and the arts.

But the town’s other claim to fame is that it is the ‘Town of Books.’  Despite its small size and population, the town is home to more than thirty bookshops. In 1962, when Richard Booth opened the first one, Hay was a quiet little place in the Welsh borders but within ten years, it had become Mecca for bibliophiles, as dozens of other bookshops clustered around it.  In 1977, Booth declared it The Independent Kingdom of Hay, and since then, the town, its literary festival and its many bookshops have made it heaven for book tourists.


I am one such tourist.  The incompatibility of our little tent with the rainy Welsh weather aside, it…

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Bestiary of Blatherhorn Vale by Charles E Yallowitz

This is one of the very few ebooks that I have actually bought, much preferring the feel of a solid book in my hands. However, having already read ‘Beginning of a Hero’ by Charles Yallowitz, author of the excellent blog Legends of Windemere, I decided to acquire the Bestiary of Blatherhorn Vale, sooner, rather than later. I was not disappointed.

This is a wonderful collection of poems about the creatures that inhabit Blatherhorn Vale. The variety of wildlife in this area is immense and could likely only survive in somewhere as remote and inaccessible as Blatherhorn Vale, where they are undisturbed by human activity. The book provides an astonishing variety of descriptions of these creatures.

I really enjoyed reading this. I loved the design of the book, the cover art really giving the feel that the book had been through a lot. As battered and torn as it is, it must have taken immense effort to recover this revealing notebook. Whether these are true notes or the ramblings of a madman? I think I will choose to believe in their authenticity and that these wondrous creatures do indeed exist in the mysterious land of Blatherhorn Vale.

If you like thoughtful, imaginative descriptions of wondrous, mythical creatures, then this is certainly one for you. A most enjoyable read. It is also short enough that it can be read in one sitting allowing you to truly appreciate the imagination that went into creating all of these creatures.

Sunshine and Versatile Blogger Awards

I was recently nominated for both the Sunshine award and the Versatile Blogger Awards. I admit I have been a bit lax about my acceptance of these. I love to receive these awards, but I find it difficult to keep coming up with blogs to nominate, having only limited time to spend reading blogs on a daily basis. To that end I will be nominating the following blogs for both of these awards.

See below for the rules for each award and my responses as appropriate.

The Sunshine Award


I was nominated for this a little while ago by TamrahJo, the original post being here. I very much appreciate this and will begin by stating the rules

Post the Logo (above)

Accept the nomination and link back to the nominator (above).

Answer the questions.

Nominate some other blogs and inform them of the nomination.

So, first the questions and my answers:

Favourite colour: Black

Favourite animal: Tropical fish, particularly the big and ugly Oscar

Favourite number: Two

Favourite non-alcoholic drink: Espresso

Favourite alcoholic drink: Port

Facebook or Twitter: Twitter

My passions: Reading and writing obviously, but it used to be playing the guitar in, my younger days.

Giving or receiving gifts: Both

Favourite city: Cambridge, UK

Favourite TV shows: If I have to pick one it is probably Castle, particularly the earlier few seasons.

The Versatile Blogger Award


I was nominated for this by LindaGHill in this post. Many thanks for this honour.

Here are the rules of this award.

Add The Versatile Blogger award logo on a blog post (above)

Thank the person that presented you with the award and link back to him or her in your post (above)

Share seven things about yourself

Pass the award along to 15 favourite bloggers. Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

Seven random things about me.

I like to read

I am extremely shy and hate answering questions about myself

I support Arsenal Football Club

I tend to take a long time to open up and trust people

I worry a lot, about almost everything

I dislike housework and DIY

I am extremely loyal

I apologise to all for my laziness in my acceptance of these awards, but I hope that you can forgive me. Once again, many thanks to both TamrahJo and LindaGHill for nominating me.

Bank Holiday Reading Plans

I have decided to undertake some gentle reading today, following the excesses of yesterday. I spent yesterday visiting the Cambridge Beer Festival, a tradition that my friends and I have followed for many years. Every year we take the last Friday of the beer festival, the Friday before the Spring Bank Holiday, off of work and spend the day at the beer festival. This year for the first time in many years the weather was atrocious. It rained pretty much all day, turning the field in which the marquee was pitched into a muddy bog. Still, there were plenty of interesting beers to sample, and sample them we did. Needless to say I have been feeling a little delicate today, and in particular, very lethargic.

I decided the best option would be to find something reasonably easy to read whilst mildly hung over. I am reading ‘The Vintage Teacup Club’ by Vanessa Greene. Then I want to make some head way with rest of my reading over the bank holiday weekend. I am still working my way slowly through Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’. Then I am finally going to get started on reading Raymond. E. Feist’s Magician’s End. In fact I have just slipped the perfect, as yet undamaged, dust cover from my copy of Magician’s End in preparation. After this I think I am going to start Emile Zola’s ‘The Fortune of the Rougons’, the first part of the twenty book ‘Les Rougon-Macquart’ cycle.

So some decent goals set up. Now all that remains is for me to fail to achieve them. Not that I intend to get all of this reading done this weekend, it is likely to take a bit longer than that.

More pieces of life advice authors should ignore

Useful advice, and an interesting blog. Well worth following!

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

Yesterday, I gave you three pieces of life advice novelists should feel okay disregarding as they write. Today, I wanted to examine a few more.

These are great life strategies, for sure. But when it comes to writing, sometimes, your book is better for ignoring them.

  • A CLEAN HOUSE IS A SIGN OF A WASTED LIFE. I saw this on a magnet once: the point is, a few scattered papers never hurt anyone. Make sure, though, that when you get to writing, you have some degree of organization to your process and your thoughts. Maybe that means outlining. Maybe it just means character sheets. Maybe it implies taking the time to go back and double check exactly what occurred in a previous scene you have to reference, to make sure you’re consistent. Your first drafts don’t have to be spic and span, but the chaos should at least be…

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Shparkles: An interview with the modern vampire

This is just brilliant – I love it!

readful things blog

Lately I have had a dry spell with finding interesting guests to interview, so when these two guys offered, there was no way I was going to turn them down.

One of them doesn’t mind being called out by name. The other, he’s a bit shy, or afraid of breaching his contract or something, so we will just refer to him as Modern Vampire, or MV for short.

So here they are, please welcome them but don’t go so far as to stick out your neck for them. I couldn’t live with that kind of responsibility.

Dracula:In my day being a vampire meant you were cold (literally,) callous and you only cared about yourself. What is with this new attitude of falling in love with mortals and resisting the urge to bite them?

MV: Uh, in case you haven’t noticed, times have changed a bit since then. We vampires…

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