Tuesday, 31 May 2016

A note on writing with love


It occurs to me, that if we, as writers, wish to succeed at our craft, then each story we create must be a true labour of love, for if we do not pour our love into the stories we write then how can we ever ask a reader to fall in love with them? 


Create what you love, and love what you create.



<3




Monday, 30 May 2016

Motivational Monday! Fairytale Review Awards in Poetry and Prose


Do you enjoy writing fairy tales?

This weeks Motivational Monday! post features The Fairytale Review Awards in Poetry and Prose.

Fairy Tale Review
is an annual literary journal that publishes new fairy tales and this is their third annual competition.

The winners in each category will receive a $1,000 cash prize as well as publication in the 2017 issue of The Fairy Tale Review.
Non-winning entries will also be considered for publication.

Prose submissions must be no more than 6,000 words and poetry submissions can be up to 5 poems but no more than 10 pages of text.

There is a £10 fee and you can choose to submit your work online or by post.

The closing date for this competition is 15th July 2016 and the winners will be announced during September 2016.

oo read more and to enter the competition please follow this link; Fairytale Review Awards in Poetry and Prose

Happy writing


Rach x

Friday, 27 May 2016

Shifter

Very excited to upload the ninth chapter to my fantasy series 'Clara' today! Chapter 9 is called 'Shifter'.

'Clara is not the only one searching for something in The Great Colour Market. But what is it that this new character is looking for? And will she find it?'


Chapter 10 will be out on 10/06/16 on Channillo.com!


If you haven't already...


As always, have a read, let me know what you think, subscribe! :)




Follow the link -->>   Clara

Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Day the Postman Lost his Tongue


The Day the Postman Lost his Tongue


 It was a summer morning just like any other. The sun peeped over the horizon, rising gracefully into the slowly lightening sky. The birds woke in the treetops and began to chirp cheerfully, eager for the day before them. And all across the land people began to wake, stirring from slumber, yawning and blinking, and shaking the nights dreams from their heads.
One such person was Mart, a perfectly average young man, possessing no particular skills or talents, but honest and hard working nonetheless.

 Mart yawned and stretched, and blinked his dark green eyes at the sunlight that was slipping past the edges of his curtains and invading his bedroom. Slowly he pushed back the warm duvet and felt the fresh morning air hitting his skin and sending goosebumps up his bare arms. He shivered and swung his legs out of bed, planting his feet firmly on the wooden floor.
Mart was not a complicated man and the house he called his home was not a complicated place. His bedroom was a small square room with a wooden floor, it's furnishings consisted of a single bed pushed against the wall, a large plain wardrobe that stood against another wall and a small oval rug that sat in the centre of the floor.
Mart stood and walked sleepily across the small room to the window that was set in the wall opposite his bed. He pulled back the curtain and looked out at the scene in front of him. Mart's simple house sat at the top of a small hill, and the village he had called his home since the time of his birth stretched away down the slope in front of him. He thought that the little stone cottages with their thatched roofs and garden flowers looked quaint in the morning sun. Mart smiled to himself as he looked out over the village, then he turned to the large plain wardrobe and began to dress himself.

 When Mart had dressed, and washed his face, and eaten his breakfast he opened the plain front door and stepped out of his house, closing the door behind him with a soft click. He did not bother to lock the door, for he did not worry that anyone would try to steal anything, everyone knew that he kept nothing of value and he had no enemies. Contentedly, Mart began to stroll down through the village towards the little post office where he worked, enjoying the warmth of the morning sun on his back and the sounds of the birds chirping in the trees. As he strolled on he passed neighbours and friends, and, because he was a man of few words, Mart smiled and nodded at each of them in turn.

 When Mart reached the little village post office he took out a large brass key which he inserted into the keyhole in the door before pushing it open gently and walking through into the dimly lit room beyond. The post office had not opened yet, he was the first to arrive, but Mart was used to that and he did not mind. Calmly he made his way around the room, pulling back the curtains on each of the windows so that the morning light shone through and illuminated the room. Then he walked around the counter and through a narrow doorway into the next room, which he also walked around, opening all the curtains as he went.
When he was satisfied that the room was bright enough Mart walked to the other side and picked up a large burlap sack full of letters and parcels which he began to sort into different piles. As he was busy sorting through the letters and parcels he heard the front door open and close again, followed by the sound of footsteps walking across the first room. The footsteps made their way to the entrance to the letter room and stopped. The cheerful voice of Mrs Peters called out.
"Morning there Mart! I see you're already hard at work as usual, did you enjoy the sun on your way over?"
Mart turned to see Mrs Peters's wrinkled face smiling at him through the narrow doorway. He smiled back and opened his mouth to reply, but although his lips moved no words escaped his mouth. He tried again with the same result and the smile vanished from his face.
"Are you alright there Mart? You look as though you've seen a ghost or something!"
Mart shook his head, silently moving his lips and gesticulating wildly as he tried to communicate. Mrs Peters looked at him in confusion, unsure of quite what was going on.
"Are you a bit ill dear? Bad cough made you lose your voice?"
Mart shook his head, then changed his mind and nodded, his dark green eyes wide with fear. He walked over to a little table by the door on which there was a wad of paper and a pot of pens. Slowly he took one of the pens and wrote, a little shakily, on the paper.
'I can't speak.' He wrote.
"Oh dear," Said Mrs Peters, "Are you not feeling well? Perhaps your voice will come back in a little while?"
Mart tried to cough, then he tried to sing, then he tried to scream, but no sound came out at all.
'I'm not ill. I don't know why my voice is gone.' He wrote.
Mart looked at Mrs Peters, a pleading expression written across his features. She looked confused, her softer features set in a way that looked unsure and somewhat uncomfortable.
"Perhaps," She began, and Mart felt a small amount of hope spark in him. "Perhaps you had better take the day off Mart... come back tomorrow when you're feeling better?"
The hope in Mart died a quick death, Mrs Peters did not have the answer. He nodded glumly and put down the bag of letters before heading out of the post office and onto the street.
"Hope you feel better soon!" Called Mrs Peters.

 Mart had never missed a day at work. He was never ill and he never missed a day. Standing on the street outside the post office in the morning sunshine he suddenly found that he had no idea what to do or where to go. He could not talk so that ruled out socialising with friends, and he did not particularly want to go home again so soon. He thought about going to see Dr. Woodman , he almost started walking towards the surgery, but then he remembered that the Doctor was away seeing the sick daughter of an Earl in a neighbouring village for the week. Mart sighed. He didn't feel ill at all. Perhaps a walk in the sunshine would do him good.
Without thinking about where he was going Mart started walking down through the cobbled village streets. He passed quaint cottages with thatched roofs and flower gardens out front, he crossed a little stone bridge over a small sparkling river at the end of the village and he began to follow a small but well trodden path through green grassy fields spotted with daisies. Up ahead in the distance he could see a farmhouse but to his left the fields just kept going on and on towards the horizon. By the time Mart reached the next fork in the road he had already made up his mind, eagerly following the path to the left.

 Mart walked on through the grassy, daisy spotted fields for some time, enjoying the quiet sounds of nature around him and the gentle heat of the midday sun on his back. Walking was not something that he had ever done a lot of and to his surprise he found that he rather liked it. If he had been able he would have hummed a little tune as he went, but instead he listened to the sounds of the birds in the hedgerows and the insects in the grass.
After some time he came upon a small stone cottage nestled at the corner of two hedgerows. The thatched roof of the cottage barely reached above the hedges and from a distance he had been completely unable to see it. Somewhat intrigued, Mart stopped and looked at the cottage. It did not look unloved and when he peered around the side of it he could see a small vegetable garden at it's rear so he figured that someone must live there. Momentarily forgetting that he had no voice Mart strode up the small path to the front door and knocked three times. For a long moment nothing happened, then the door opened slowly with a low creaking sound and a short grey haired man upon whose nose a pair of spectacles balanced precariously appeared. The man looked up at Mart suspiciously.
"Can I help you?" He asked in a whiny voice.
Mart tried to reply but could make no sound. He shook his head and pointed to his throat, then held his hands up and shrugged his shoulders.
The strange little man narrowed his eyes at Mart and appeared to think hard before replying.
"Hhmmm... I have nothing for a lost voice, you must go elsewhere to find what ails you, my alchemy cannot help you."
And with that the strange little man shut the door with a loud bang, leaving Mart standing on the doorstep feeling rather confused. Not sure what else to do or what the little man had meant, Mart left the cottage and carried on walking through the fields.

 After walking for quite some time Mart rounded a corner and saw ahead of him another small cottage, much like the one he had visited earlier. This one, however, was next to a large weeping willow with so many branches and leaves that it had completely obscured the cottage from view until he had turned the corner. Mart thought about what the strange little man at the last cottage had said to him and wondered if whoever lived in this cottage may be able to help. Excited, he strode up the small path to the front door and knocked three times. Almost instantly the door was pulled wide open and a tall skinny woman with a mass of dark frizzy hair appeared. Her wide eyes and open mouth gave her a childish look of surprise, as if she did not expect to find herself there at all, and for a moment Mart did not know what to do.
"Can I help you?" Asked the woman in a deep voice that did not seem to match her feminine exterior.
Mart smiled, then opened and closed his mouth a few times, pointed to his throat, shook his head, held up his hands and shrugged his shoulders. The woman in the doorway raised an eyebrow, clearly unimpressed. Mart frowned and mimed talking again, then pointed at his throat and shook his head. The woman looked at him, her face blank. For a long moment the two of them stood looking at each other, then out of nowhere a fox appeared. The creature paused for a moment and looked at Mart, then it glanced behind it before darting through the woman's legs, out past Mart and off into the field beyond. To Mart's surprise the fox was closely followed by a small tabby cat which was also followed by a little brown rabbit. He shook his head in confusion.
"I don't know what you've done with your voice but I certainly don't have it. I suggest you keep looking, and think about why you lost it in the first place. Good day."
With that the woman shut the door, leaving Mart standing on the doorstep feeling even more confused than he had earlier. Not sure what else to do and puzzling over the words of the strange little man and the tall woman Mart left the cottage and carried on walking through the fields.

 As Mart walked he pondered the words of the little man and even stranger words of the tall woman. How could he have lost his own voice? He shook his head at the thought, and almost laughed out loud until he remembered that he could not. Pushing the strange thoughts from his head Mart walked onwards, thinking instead about how nice it was to be out in the sunshine on such a glorious day and how despite not having a voice he felt as though he were truly glad to be alive. He smiled to himself.
Presently Mart came across a third small cottage, much like the two he had come across before, except that this one was positioned on a slope next a twinkling river. The fact that it was on a slope gave the cottage an odd lopsided look and Mart wondered why anyone would have chosen to position their home in that place. Nonetheless he strode up the small path to the front door and knocked three times. There was a pause and then the door opened just a crack, revealing almost nothing of the room within or the person who had opened the door.
"Have you come about your voice?" The faceless person asked in a cracked voice that Mart thought might possibly belong to a woman.
Unsure of how to respond Mart tapped his foot on the ground, knocked on the door and nodded his head up and down, hoping that she would understand.
"Go away!" She yelled and slammed the door with a loud bang that made Mart jump backwards off the doorstep and nearly lose his footing.
Now he really did not know what to do. The woman had asked about his voice so he figured that she must know something about why he had lost it, but she obviously did not want to talk to him and Mart did not want to be rude by knocking again. He stood outside the door for a long time, lost in indecision.
After a time he wandered over to the river and sat down beside it, listening to the splashing sound of the water and wondering what to do. He supposed he should probably go home, he had been walking for quite some time and he guessed from the sun's position that it was probably around mid afternoon. He sighed and closed his eyes, listening to the river and the birds and the insects, and feeling the slight breeze in his hair and the warm sun on his face. Mart smiled.
"Sorry about my sister." A soft girlish voice said from somewhere behind him.
Mart turned around, not sure what he expected to see. A woman stood in front of him, an old woman with long curly grey hair and a wrinkled face that seemed somehow very old and very young at the same time. He smiled at the woman and she smiled back.
"I'm Niannara. Have you come about your voice?"
Mart nodded.
"Do you know why you lost your voice?"
Mart shook his head.
"Do you know how you lost your voice?"
Mart shook his head again.
"Do you want your voice back?"
Mart nodded eagerly.
"Hhmm." Said Niannara and she looked at Mart for a long time. He felt as if her eyes were searching his very being. Eventually she cleared her throat and spoke again.
"How do you feel right now Mart?"
If he could have spoken Mart would have asked her how she knew his name. But he could not speak and so he smiled at her and nodded. He felt surprisingly good. Niannara smiled back at him.
"Good. Did you enjoy your walk here?"
Mart thought for a second, then beamed at Niannara and nodded enthusiastically. She grinned back.
"Have you liked having a day off?"
Mart nodded again, unsure of where she was going with all these questions.
Niannara paused.
"You have not been happy recently Mart. There has been a strange sadness in the corner of your mind over these last few weeks."
Mart nodded and looked down at the ground, realising the truth of her words as she spoke them.
"Yet today, unable to do anything but simply be, you have felt wonder at nature, joy at being alive, and you have been happy again. This was my gift to you Mart, the gift of joy."
Mart looked up Niannara in wonder, a smile playing on his lips and his dark green eyes wide and sparkling.
"Go home now Mart," said Niannara, "Go home and go to bed, and in the morning when you wake your voice shall have returned. But do not forget the lessons learned today."
Mart stood and beamed at Niannara again. He wanted so desperately to thank her but could only nod and smile. She touched his arm gently and smiled in return. Mart turned and began to walk back up the gently sloping riverbank towards the grassy fields.
"Mart!" Niannara called in her soft girlish voice. "One more thing. Tomorrow, as you work, look out for a woman you have never seen before, and when you see her be sure to make her acquaintance, for she will bring you great joy in the years to come."
Mart smiled and waved and turned back to the path, walking back through the fields, past the little cottages with their strange inhabitants, back across the little stone bridge, through the village and up the hill to his home.

 That night Mart slept soundly and in the morning when the rays of sunlight woke him he felt refreshed and happy. He whistled as he pulled back the curtain to his bedroom window and let out a gasp of joy that soon turned to merry laughter when the bright sunlight fell into the room.
That morning as Mart walked to work he said 'Hello' and 'Good Morning' to everyone he passed and when he reached the post office he threw his arms around Mrs Peters and thanked her for being so understanding the day before. During the day he made conversation with every person who came into the post office, never failing to make them laugh, and all day he remember Niannara's words and kept an eye out for a woman he had never seen before.

 A half hour before closing time the little bell atop the front door of the post office jingled and Mart made his way out to see who had come in. To his surprise his dark green eyes fell upon the face of a woman he had never seen before. The woman smiled at him and Mart thought to himself that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.



The End

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Wordy Wednesday!



This weeks Wordy Wednesday word is;

Obstreperous

- Noisy, unruly, rough
- Clamorous or boisterous
- Resisting control or restraint in a difficult manner

This word originated from Latin roughly 1590 - 1600, from the word obstrepere, which means; 'to make a noise at'.

'She sighed and shook her head slightly in defeat as she watched the two obstreperous young boys racing away across the freshly mowed grass of the estate's garden. There was little she could do to control them.'


Challenge;

Comment a short piece of prose, flash fiction, or even just a sentence, using this word. It would be great to see what you come up with!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Subscribe to online fantasy series 'Clara'



Clara - 'The unexpected adventure of an unlikely young woman.'


Clara's story is that of an ordinary, unassuming young woman who suffers from anxiety. She is not the sort of woman to dream of travelling the world or to look for adventure, but when something terrible happens she finds herself doing the unthinkable; leaving her home and boarding a plane to another country.
Making her way through the airport and onto the plane is one thing, but when the plane seemingly suffers a terrible failure in the sky Clara is sure she is going to die. When she wakes to find herself lost and alone in a strange new place the panic sets in. With no other choice Clara begins to find her away across this strange land, soon making the terrifying discovery that she has somehow landed in another world, Pandestria.
Befriended by a wayward sellsword, lost in The Great Colour Market, captured by the Flesh Dealers and sold on the Black Market at Firne to the flamboyant Earl of Laran, Clara finally learns of an ancient prophecy that tells of the coming of The Stranger, The Wanderer and The Last of the Old Blood. And as a strange darkness from the neighbouring land of Merades makes it's way towards the shores of Pandestria Clara finds herself in the middle of a quest that will change her life forever.


Please head over to Channillo.com, subscribe, and read the story so far!
Follow the link below.


Clara

Monday, 23 May 2016

Motivational Monday! Francis MacManus Short Story Competition 2016

This weeks Motivational Monday! post features The Francis MacManus Short Story Competition 2016.

If you're interested in this competition you'll need to get your speedy typing fingers out 'cause the deadline is this Friday the 27th May!

This competition is for a short story between 1,800 and 2,000 words and the word count must be displayed clearly on each entry, your story must not have been previously published, including online publication.
Multiple entries are not accepted and you must be over the age of 18 to enter.

There is a first prize of 3,000, second prize is 2,000 and the third prize is 1,000.

Winners will be announced in Autumn 2016 and each of the 25 short listed stories will be recorded being read on air by a professional reader, therefore consider if your story is acceptable for broadcasting, i.e not to many swearwords etc.

To read more and to enter the competition please follow this link; Francis MacManus Short Story Competition 2016

Happy writing

Friday, 20 May 2016

A Journey of Sorts

She woke, in the cold and the dark, alone.

He fell, the cold wind whipping past his face, slipping from consciousness.

She stirred, stretching, shaking the sleep from her numb limbs.

He couldn't move, pulled ever down by an unseen force, down, down.

She smiled, sadly, as she walked on through the misty woods.

His mind broke into frenzied fear, suddenly fully conscious, too fast, too fast.

She shivered, the cold mist brushed against her bare arms, cold, so cold.

He opened his mouth, tried to scream, but the wind stole his voice away.

She started, a noise in the gloom.

Where are you?

Which way?

Too many paths.

'I am going to my death.'

Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Man Who Was Not There

As I was walking home one night,
I met a man who was not there,
He really gave me quite a fright,
Standing in the lamplights glare.

In quiet tones he spoke to me,
And told me all he knows,
Of secrets whispered on the sea,
And why the moonlight glows.

He told me of the cursed rose,
And the magic in a single smile,
Of all the power held in prose,
That makes our work worthwhile.

For many hours that night we spoke,
Of things I had not dreamed,
And when at last the morning broke,
All was no longer what it seemed.

In the morning light we bid farewell,
For he could stay no longer,
And as he vanished I could tell,
My mind was somehow stronger.

I think of him from time to time,
As I craft words in prose,
And as my words do intertwine,
I am sure somewhere he knows.

As I was walking home one night,
I met a man who was not there,
He showed me what it was to write,
A gift for us to share.








Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Wordy Wednesday!


This weeks Wordy Wednesday word is;

Crepuscular

- Of or referring to twilight
- Dimly lit, half light
- Of an animal, active in the twilight, such as a bat

She welcomed the slow descent of the sun as it bathed the land before her in a soft crepuscular glow that brought with it a sense of magic and mystery.

Challenge;

Comment a short piece of prose, flash fiction, or even just a sentence, using this word. It would be great to see what you come up with!

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

In The Paper

After getting in touch with my local newspaper I've now had an article published about my upcoming trip to Romania, how exciting! 


Creative writer from Woodchester Rachael Hill to lead a summer camp for Roma children in Romania


Creative writer and keen Morris dancer from Woodchester Rachael Hill is heading to a village in rural Romania to lead a summer camp for Roma children

Creative writer from Woodchester Rachael Hill to lead a summer camp for Roma children in Romania
A CREATIVE writer and keen Morris dancer from Woodchester will be on her way to lead a summer camp for deprived Roma children in June.
Rachael Hill is heading to a village in rural Romania near Tirgu Mures made of mud huts and without access to running water as part of a project run by Leeds Beckett University.
The Romani or Roma, are a traditionally nomadic ethnic group, living mostly in Europe and the Americas and originating from the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent.
As well as leading the camp activities the 22-year-old, who is author of the fantasy series Clara on Channillo.com, will take part in community work helping in a soup kitchen.
“What attracted me to the project in the first place, apart from the obvious excitement of getting to work in another country, was the play work element of it,” said Rachael who is part of a team of eight going to the country to lead activities, sports, games, arts and crafts and free play for two weeks.
“Play work is vital to children as through play they naturally learn important life skills such as communication, negotiation, team work, problem solving, resilience, tenacity and solving disputes.”
Rachael has never done anything of this sort before and as a result she has been researching the socio-economic situation in Romania in depth.
“Having looked more into the country since joining the project I have been surprised and appalled at the conditions in which the Roma population live,” she said.
“Romania has one of the worst cases of social stigma in Europe, this is between the Romanians and the Roma people, who are widely and openly shunned throughout the country.
“Although Romania is part of the EU in many of its rural areas and Roma villages people live in the utmost poverty, in mud huts with little or no running water, electricity or sanitation.
“The Roma children often do not make it to school and when they do they are generally segregated from their Romanian counterparts and regularly bullied by them.
“I believe that every child deserves the chance to learn and grow in a happy and supportive environment and my heart goes out to the children living in these conditions in Romania that struggle in such a way.
“By taking part in this project I hope to help bring them the chance to play, to grow, to discover skills and the confidence to take these skills with them, in a friendly and creative environment.”
Rachael hopes to fundraise at least £850 to put towards her trip and to buy a wide range of resources to take with her which are difficult to access in the country.
Items she hope to take include children's clothing for ages six-nine and small musical instruments.
To arrange to donate items email Rachael on rachaelanna93@gmail.com or to sponsor her visit her crowdfunding page... Donate to Rachael


You can find the article here!


<3

Monday, 16 May 2016

Motivational Monday! The Moth Short Story Prize

This weeks Motivational Monday! post features The Moth International Short Story Prize.

This competition is for a short story of no more than 6,000 words on any theme. The story must be previously unpublished.
Multiple entries are accepted and entry fee is 12.

There is a first prize of 3,000, second prize is a writing retreat at Circle of Misse and the third prize is 1,000.

The deadline for entries is the 30th of June 2016.

Winners will be announced in September and the three winning stories will be published in the autumn issue of the magazine.

To read more and to enter the competition please follow this link; The Moth International Short Story Prize


Happy writing

Friday, 13 May 2016

Council

Very excited to upload the eighth chapter to my fantasy series 'Clara' today! Chapter 8 is called 'Council'.

The sea-faring merchants have brought reports of a darkness in Merades to the shores of Pandestria. The Two Queens must decide what course of action to take.


Chapter 9 will be out on 27/05/16 on Channillo.com!


If you haven't already...


As always, have a read, let me know what you think, subscribe! :)




Follow the link -->>   Clara

Monday, 9 May 2016

Motivational Monday! Writer's Digest Annual Writing Competition 2016



This weeks Motivational Monday! post features Writer's Digest Annual Writing Competition 2016.

This is the 85th Annual Writing Competition and all winning entries will be published in the 85th edition of Writer's Digest Competition Collection.

There are ten categories you can enter;
- Inspirational Writing (Spiritual/Religious)
- Memoirs/Personal Essay
- Magazine Feature Article
- Genre Short Story (Mystery, Romance, etc)
- Mainstream/Literary short story
- Rhyming Poetry
- Non-Rhyming Poetry
- Stage Play
- Television/Movie Script
- Children's/Young Adult Fiction

There will be one grand winner and also winners in each category as well as honourable mentions, and all entries have the chance to be seen by editors and agents.

The deadline for entries is the 1st of June 2016.

To read more and to enter the competition please follow this link; Annual Writing Competition 2016


Happy writing


Friday, 6 May 2016

Book Review - The Reflections of Queen Snow White

Book Review - The Reflections of Queen Snow White
By David Meredith

'What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone?
On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an ageing Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fianc√©, is a fine man from a neighbouring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:
The king is dead.
The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.
It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means?
Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.'


This book was kindly sent to me by the author, David Meredith, who requested that I write a review, so after much enjoyment, here it is.


The Writing - David's writing is very good, the story moves forwards at a reasonable pace without sounding rushed and he utilises a wide and descriptive vocabulary through the work. The story is written in third person from the perspective of Snow White herself which makes for easy reading and opens the door for a lot of character insight. Occasionally David switches to another character's perspective which can help to paint a larger picture of the emotions throughout the story. Due to the nature of the story it is very emotional, following Snow White on a journey of self discovery, the likes of which many of us have to face at some point or other but would probably rather not tell others about. The emotionality of the book, however, I think is a big plus. David goes into detail describing not just the obvious emotions one would feel in a given situation but also the range of emotions and the flashes of contradicting emotions that often cause such confusion in troubled times. This can make for hefty reading at times but I think is very true to how people often feel in reality.
There were some areas of dialogue that I felt were unnecessarily long and repetitive and there were areas of text that were, in places, grammatically incorrect, or which featured several spelling mistakes, but overall I felt that the story was told well. 

The Plot - As I have previously mentioned this story followed the emotional journey of Queen Snow White as she looks inwards to discover her own strength in moving forwards after the death of her husband. I think this is a wonderful concept, proving that strength is there if only you look for it. The storyline of this work is slightly different, although it still flows from start to finish, in a lot of the book find Snow White in the same setting but looking back into her memories. This is a very interesting way of telling a story and a very honest and revealing way of diving into the character. I think David has expertly crafted the events throughout Snow White's life that have lead to her present self and her current predicament. He has lead on beautifully from what we already know from the classic fairytale and has reshaped her life in a way that both follows the original story and shines a new light on to it. As you read through the book and discover the events throughout her life you really feel that you get to know Snow White in a very personal way, sharing in both her joys and her hardships. At the end of the story we see Snow White reclaiming her strength and becoming a mother to her daughter once again which is a lovely heart-warming ending.

The Characters - Most of the story was told through the eyes of Snow White as she reflected back over her life and the events that lead her to where she is now. Through this I felt as if I was really getting to know the character in a very personal way, sharing in her joys, her worry and her sadness, and gaining a deeper understanding on what lead to her current state of unending grief. Seeing her finding her strength again at the end of the story was lovely. I thought that the other characters in the book were also well written and interesting. Erfreut especially was a favourite of mine, having a dual personality (one as the Queen's advisor and one as her friend) which was at times quite amusing. The character of Prince Charming was also written very well. Following the traditional fairytale idea of Prince Charming he was kind, just, affectionate and loyal to the core. Other non-central characters were interspersed well and I thought had the correct effect on the story at the time.
The character I found most interesting was that of the mirror, for it was most definitely a character, yet one that could only reflect what was in front of it. I found myself developing a liking for the mirror as it persevered in showing Snow White what she often did not want to see and I thought that David gave it a very strong voice when asking it was asking Snow White well crafted questions. 


Overall I found this to be a very good read. Due to the level of description I felt that I could connect with Snow White as a character and I very much enjoyed a fresh take on a well-known fairytale.

The book is available as a kindle edition from Amazon Here.


Rach x



Thursday, 5 May 2016

Find Your Prose and Be Heard



Prose.

Funny how one word can be the ultimate definition of a writer. It's what really makes each writer different from each other, right? It describes how one writer can use words to create a completely different world of thought, than one of their peers – even if they write on the exact same topic.

But where does it come from, and how do we find it?

I'm not aware of any writer that longs to be menial, or easily forgotten in the sea of works published since Guttenburg. However, the number of well remembered authors is quite few in the scheme of things. So, what is it about these authors that speaks to us, that chides us to remember them and won't keep quiet? Why is it that their works continue to resound through the ages, moving us, and shaking us to our core?

I reiterate: prose.

To put it simply, it is the voice of the author. To be specific and limiting, it is the exact language used by the author to tell a story unique to their talents. The latter sounds fancy, but like I said, it is severely limiting. The former offers much more magic.

The voice of the author.

This is key, and not in the way that one would typically think. I've heard bounties of advice on how a writer goes about finding their voice. King suggests reading and writing a lot. Rowling has said that imitating another author's writing is a way of maturing one's own voice. And still others have said to listen to the way you think and write the words that way; they may not be pretty, but they're yours.
All of this is good advice, and I think it should be (and probably is) combined in one form or another.
The only thing missing is the kicker, and honestly that's what every aspiring author wants, yes? That magic pill that makes writing a breeze and will ensure a place amongst the gods of literature.
While I can say that this information has the potential of transforming a writer, it is no less grueling than swallowing a pill of poison.

So if you're ready... Down the hatch!

Finding a voice – a prose – begins and ends with yourself. Writing is one of the more unique aspirations on the planet. Writers sit down and write out imaginary things, send them off into the world, and (hopefully) attract a loyal following that will support them. Many, many authors do this, and it is amazing to see the rock star status that authors now receive (while still breathing) in this new age of literary appreciation.
But the truly successful ones, the ones that are achieving the pinnacle of honor in the literary community of being esteemed; they are doing something more. These authors have adopted the hardest part of developing a pure voice, all their own:
Selfishness.
Typical selfishness is a very unappealing trait that we seek to stamp out in our children. We look down on the selfish. It just isn't a sexy thing.
But when it comes to writing, there is a certain type of selfishness that, ironically, serves to make the process of reading a finished work all the more enjoyable for everyone else in the world. Harnessing the correct type of selfishness will add a magic, purity, and raw appeal that will go a long way towards creating a very unique prose that is 100% true to you.
This selfishness is a very fragile flower; like the snowdrops of a fading winter. Force the process too much and the selfishness hardens into arrogance and depression. Ignore it, though, and it will collapse in on itself.
Enough with the obscure, though. The type of selfishness I'm referring to is a humble selfishness, where you as the writer conduct your work for an audience of one.
You write only for yourself.
This sounds easy, but nothing could be harder. In an age of perpetual claims to fame, it is almost impossible to separate the desire to be rich and famous from the simple passion of writing a story. Luckily, writing makes the impossible possible. It's tricky, but these are a few of the tricks I've adopted to help solidify my “voice”.

  1. You MUST abandon all thought of recognition, positive critique, or money while writing. Even if you are writing an article that will undoubtedly yield one of these things, you need to abandon the thought of these waiting at the end of your story. Keeping these goals in mind will alter the way you write, because you will instinctively change the way you phrase something to appease the future audience. You will do this to try and force the end result of acclaim to happen, and this can become like tetanus to your prose. Do away with these aspirations, while you are writing. You can pick them back up when you are finished with the work, but until then, don't let goals and a future audience dictate the way you write. In fact...
  2. Write with the mindset that no one in the whole of history or future events will actually read your story. This is one trick I use (sometimes with depressing success) to keep my work as honest and humble as possible. If I think that I'm the only one that will ever read this story, then I'm much more likely to take chances with my vocabulary, formatting, and semantics. Sometimes the story sucks because of this literary tinkering, but through doing it you will always progress towards finding your unique prose. It may be a step forward or maybe it is a universal leap forward; either way, you will learn what works for you and what doesn't.
  3. Stop trying to write like other people. We all do it when we are starting this most arduous of careers, but this station in our craft should be short. Let it happen when you first start, but cut it out of your routine shortly after. Continuing to imitate someone else's voice will only deafen your figurative ears to what your literary voice truly sounds like. It can be fun to try and write like Lovecraft, Shelley, and Danielewski on occasion, but the word occasion is key. Have fun and maybe learn a thing or two about word structure, but don't obsess. You're in this to let the world hear your voice. It's already heard Poe's voice, and it doesn't need to hear it again. It needs to hears yours!
  4. I already alluded to this before, but it bears repeating. Take chances in your writing. Do something that doesn't feel natural to you. Mess around with formatting to help augment the story or poem you are writing. Use words that are new to you, or use old words in new ways that challenge traditional definitions. Be daring! You're a writer; an artist whose pallet is the lexicon of the written word! Be poetic, or brash, or snarky, or something new all together. Just take a chance. Risk failing, and when it happens, acknowledge it. Failing only shows you what doesn't work for you. It can't stop you unless you let it.

And the best bit of advice is just to keep writing! In an ocean of literary voices, find a way to make yours heard. Firstly, by learning what it sounds like. And secondly, by shouting at the top of your lungs until the world pays attention. Make sure you go down in history as one of the greats!



Guest article written by Benjamin Michael Greene

Author of The (In)accurate Assessments of Sage Rathbun

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Wordy Wednesday!


This weeks Wordy Wednesday word is;

Penumbra

- Partly shaded region.
- A shadowy, indefinite or marginal area.
- Opaque body.
- Shade, Shroud, Fringe.
- Partial shadow (penumbral)
- Astronomy, the partial or imperfect shadow outside the complete shadow of an opaque body, as a planet, where the light from the source of illumination is only partly cut off.


Challenge;

Comment a short piece of prose, flash fiction, or even just a sentence, using this word. It would be great to see what you come up with!

Monday, 2 May 2016

Motivational Monday! BFW Submissions



This weeks Motivational Monday! post features this blog, Breathing For Words, as I am looking for submissions!

Short stories, Poetry, Flash Fiction, Creative Writing & Articles can be submitted. The only conditions of submission are that your piece is not ridiculously long and that it is not offensive to anyone.
There is no payment for submissions.

If you would like to submit a piece please email rachaelanna93@gmail.com with your piece as an attachment. In the subject line of the email please put 'BFW Submission' and in the body of the email please state your name and/or pen name, what your piece is about and how long it is.

Happy writing