Sunday, 29 April 2012

Inspiration In Deams

Dream a little dream...
Just when I think: "What on earth can I write for my post today?" I get pelted by a rain of inspiration and then can't choose...

I have been following An Awfully Big Blog Adventure, and one of the posts Dreams and Old Tin Cans by Ann Evans really got me thinking. In her post she graciously shares where her ideas come from for her stories. She describes how on one incident she wins a horror writing competition thanks to some eerie imagery in a dream.

For me personally, dreams and their interpretations are fascinating. I could quite happily discuss this topic with anyone who will listen! There are so many unanswered questions and debates around why we dream, why some people remember their dreams and others don't etc. I am also interested in the idea that dreams can predict the future. I have had a few of these but nothing amazing. Just ordinary, everyday stuff, like who I might bump into or how someone close to me may be feeling.

Many of ideas for my stories come from dreams and so I thought I would bite the bullet and share a dream I had the other night in story form. If you have a moment, please do leave a comment on what you think about the story in general or, how you would interpret the dream...

The Girl in the Corridor

The corridor is endless. Down, down into vanishing point. Dark, cluttered and narrow. Depression and poverty hangs in the air like a thick mist. Little lights stuck into the ceiling are emitting a pathetic, pale yellow light that fails to penetrate the gloom.

Then, a flash of colour. A young girl darts out of one of the many doors aligning the corridor. She turns and smiles at me. Split seconds. Her long, thick chestnut hair reaches almost to her waist. Her dress down to her knee with a lace collar and little white pumps upon her feet.

She skips ahead and I follow as if in slow motion; like trying to move through water. As we pass, most doors are shut; others are splintered and broken. Some doorways are like gaping holes in a mouth where teeth should be. Rubbish is scattered  all over the place. Bodies are slumped against door frames amongst broken bottles. A women with a baby on her hip stares into nothing.
Our feet slap against a dirty, pale green floor. The place is riddled with sickness and desperation.

The girl abruptly stops and turns to her left. She checks I am following and disappears through a doorway. I don't want to follow. I don't want to go in there after her. But I am hypnotised. There is no choice. I go in there with her.

The room is vast. Black and white tiles cover the floor and a grand bath takes up the length of one wall. The room should be clean and gleaming but everything is covered in dust and grime. It makes the room dismal. There is the sense that if I was to turn any of the taps, that nothing would flow from them. The air is musty and thick making it difficult to breath and oddly claustrophobic for such an immense space.

The girl is standing at a wash basin. She is smiling at her reflection in a mirror hanging over it and picks up a brush. Slowly; she pulls the brush through her beautiful, long hair. She gathers all of it to one side and continues to brush.

I can't bear it. I want to call for her to come away. But I have no voice here. I am just a spectator. A movement in the mirror. A stirring of something else. Something that was growing in strength. It was feeding off this nightmarish place and pushing it's way towards us. It was something malevolent and it was coming for her.
I could feel it's evil, spiteful presence and could do nothing. I watch in horror as the thing in the mirror takes it's form. The girl is now aware. In my mind I bid her to run from her fate. But she is frozen in place, her arm still held in position, the brush in hand suspended by her head as if to continue a stroke.

Please, please, please move, I pray silently.

A face materialises in the mirror. Twisted and decaying. It's mouth  pulled back into a snarl. White hair billows around a face like bark. Eyes like obsidian. And still coming. The face pushes it's way out of the mirror that is now more like water. Bony, skeleton fingers claw and reach for the girls face.

As I watch the brush fall from the girl's hand, I take a deep breath to scream...

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

There's A Chicken Plotting In My Fridge... (and other random musings)

She's up to something...
Okay... let me explain *deep breath*...

I know that some people will question my sense of humour, but it set me off giggling today. (When you are on your own with two small children all day it does strange things... )

I opened my fridge and there was a left-over-from-Easter chocolate chicken in cardboard nest... It has a ridiculous smirk on it's face and that just set me off. For the want of entertainment, my brain set off on a tangent about the chicken in the fridge. Biding it's time and plotting it's dastardly deeds to take over the world... ahem.

On to the next link (there is one... honest)

Thinking about chocolate (see what I did there?) I believe have over indulged of late, coupled with having my second child, I'm feeling rather round. *sigh*.

Action has to be taken.

The last couple of days I have unrolled my exercise mat (brushed off a few cobwebs) and stuck on my Davina workout DVD... Of course I was left feeling invigorated, energised and renewed... try freakin' EXHAUSTED and ACHING instead!

I was really proud of myself though... I still had the energy to reach for that victory Mars bar.

What? I can start again tomorrow...


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

I Wish I Was An Illustrator ...

I face this frustration a lot as an aspiring picture book author. I get so many funny, vivid pictures in my mind when I am writing my picture books but I've only got words to express them. When I am approaching agents and publishers, I never feel that I convey my full vision for a project across in that all important, dont-blow-it now, covering letter... (maybe I just need some pointers for writing better covering letters?!)

One of my on-going projects is a series of stories based around a bumbling wizard and his pet mouse.

I am weighing up sharing one of his stories on this blog (I am a little nervous about it...) but for now:

This is Wizard Whizzbee and his assistant Alonzo:

Well... not really. The Wizard Whizzbee in my head is quite different. But it's not bad for an attempt at using the computer to create a picture.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Grumpy Bad-Day(?) Guy

I guess he was just having a bad day!
Today, I was in the queue in my local Sainsbury's and there was a dithery gentleman in front. Oh. My. Goodness. It just went on and on and on. Carefully putting his tubs of olives into individual bags, coupons, cards etc.  But, you wait it out with a little patience don't you?

Well not the chap behind me. Oh no. He was huffing and muttering under his breath... ("Move it along would you?!"... the rudeness!)

I managed to get a look at him. He was tall, lanky, shaggy haired and he had the biggest, bushiest eyebrows over the coldest, meanest eyes that I've ever seen....

To start with I felt nervous and uncomfortable. All this was going on whilst the store was testing out their fire systems and my little boy was getting fidgety about it... (Never a dull moment on my shopping expeditions let me tell you!) But soon I had to concentrate on stifling a giggle; I honestly thought I was gonna go! As I kept staring at the geezer, he suddenly reminded me of a Quentin Blake cartoon...

As a kid, (and probably still to this day) Roald Dahl was one of my favourite authors; and Quentin Blake's illustrations are the prefect compliment to his stories.
What I love about Blake's sketches, are that they make me laugh and that you can recognise one of his illustrations instintly.
Did you have a favourite Roald Dahl story? Mine is a toss-up between  "Fantastic Mr Fox" and "The B.F.G".

I'm no artist myself; but  I had to share my impression of the Grumpy Bad-Day Guy...


My childhood favourites!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Drip, Drip, Drop Little April Showers...

drip drip drop...
Rain, rain, go away...

Ah, the typical English weather... Every time I look out the window today it's been pouring. We shouldn't be complaining as we are close to drought but my eldest has been soooooo restless.

So we have been looking for things to do inside. So far we have had every puzzle out and used animal cutters and number stamps in the playdough. (He is getting great  at recognising numbers, he never ceases to amaze me!)

We stood at the open door listening to the sound of the rain on the decking and watched a black bird looking for worms on the lawn...

Then we found a paper plate and turned it into a cat face with googly eyes and black card ears... which he decided to call Perdy (like one of his TV characters), and took it up with him at nap time to put on his bedside table.

Once I tucked him up, Baby Z needed his feed and laughed at mummy trying to dance to stop him crying... (I obviously could do with some dance lessons cha-cha-chaaaaaaaaa!)

Then I had the house work to do... Why is there always a sock that escapes the wash... ???

As I write this I wonder where all the time has gone today; the clouds are clearing and I swear, I can see a sliver of sunshine... Hmmm, almost sounds like a Disney type of ending reading that back... Sorry...

If you have children; how do you like to spend your rainy days?

Why Am I Always The Last to Know?!

I've got so much to learn! Blogging has been an interesting learning experience... Through other peoples blogs I have got some good advice on writing and other various subjects.
I also kept stumbling upon peoples "goodreads challenge" logo's on their blogs; and started to wonder what all the excitement was about. Then, on twitter, I ended up following a link to an author's give-away to the goodreads website...

What a fantastic idea!
It's easy to use and a lot of fun. It's a great way to keep track of all the books you read and to meet other like-minded bookworms!

If you haven't yet seen it yet, follow the link and give it a go!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Cake Pictures

Following on from my last post; I thought I would share the pictures of the cakes that stole so much of my sleep time... Maybe they will be of some inspiration for someone else's cake. In my head they looked great... but I was a little disappointed with the actual result..

What I learnt:

(And things that drove me crazy)

I'm glad no-one was around at some points of my cake making marathon. (The language... *blush*)

  • cake sticking to pan so having to make it again
  • a bad egg,(note to self; break eggs into separate container in the future...)
  •  running out of eggs
  • running/smudging food colouring,
  • spilling silver ball decorations all over the kitchen counter takes a while to clear up... they travel far! 
  • icing a cake is more frustrating/difficult than first anticipated etc...
  • I don't like icing cakes
  • Applying food colouring directly to royal icing doesn't really work; although it gave a great watery effect for pond (Note to self; find better alternative)
  • cake ribbon is fantastic at hiding icing boo-boos
  • I need to work on my patience
(I also learnt that as long as it tastes good, what does it really matter?! Ha.)

 The tasty, end result!
Any comments or Q's welcome...

2 Ducks - 22!

The wizard/dragon "plaque" is actually a belt buckle keep-sake.
I ordered a wizard cake topper on-line, and it never arrived...

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Catching Up... Balancing Act...

To be honest, I feel like a naughty teenager trying to sneak back into the house after missing the curfew by hours... I haven't come to blog in a while and the days have turned into weeks pretty quickly. I'm just sat here wondering what has been keeping me away from the keys...

Two weekends on the trot, I've been up until the small hours making birthday cakes. Last week it was my sisters 22nd (she wanted two ducks on her cake as in Bingo... two ducks:22!) and this weekend was my brothers 21st... (I did a wizard theme for his!)

The last two weeks have been a bit of a nightmare. My two year old has a real bad case of the terrible two's the moment. He can't help it bless him, it's the struggle between dependence and independence and the fact the world is sooooooooooo unfair to him. I mean, why can't he go in the garden to play when it's actually time for bed? And why do they put so many lovely things in the shops that he just can't have?! I had to carry him out of a shop screaming one day... that hit pretty high on the embarrassment meter let me tell you!

The car didn't pass it's MOT, the insurance was due, the washing machine broke down and even though we have cover, it's been two weeks and still an engineer hasn't materialised... the baby hasn't been settled at night so there has been no solid time to sit and write.

On a more positive note, I have finally selected an idea for a themed writing competition; and it's been sent off... It popped out from nowhere and within the first few lines the idea snowballed. I feel that this is an idea I would like to see through to the end... We shall see!

I'm finding that getting life balanced between what must be done and what I would like to do seems to be getting more and more difficult... and somewhere in between everything I need to sleep! I sometimes wish that I could organise my time better...

If anyone has some tips for balancing family/work life please do share them with me!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Writing Hangover

 My writing was on fire!

Boy did I feel groggy this morning?!

I was up until the early hours of the morning writing. And then baby Z decided that an early morning feed was required. My head felt like I had one too many. Rough!

I had been thinking about entering a writing competition that ends at the end of this month; and I just couldn't think of anything to write about that I thought would stand out. And then it came. It was an eureka moment. I was so excited that I wanted to put a snippet up on the blog (I would love to get some feedback from you!) but it would count as publishing. I will post it when the comp is done and dusted.

Isn't inspiration the strangest thing? You look for it; days, weeks even months at a time and then, suddenly: BAM!!! It hits you when you aren't looking.
Sneaky. Very, Very sneaky!