Hoglets’ Christmas Magic

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Remember back in October when I had Lynette Creswell as my guest?

Remember she promised you a FREE READ about the hoglets?

Well the wait is over. You can now pop over to Lynette’s blog and read Hoglets’ Christmas Magic. There’s a whole new series about these lovely creatures coming out soon…

Don’t miss out on this FREE treat.

You’ll love it.

Your children will love it

and your grandchildren will love it.

Wait no longer.

Click here now and enjoy.

 

Tuesday Guest Feature – Elizabeth M. Hurst

My guest today is a novelist that goes under her own name, Elizabeth M Hurst, and pseudonym, Kitty Mulholland. Liz has come along today to talk about her creative life since moving to France. Without further ado, lets go over to Liz.

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Living a Creative Life

Liz Hurst 

Many people have asked me why I moved to the south of France, and there are many reasons. For some time, I had been envisaging a life abroad, somewhere warm and sunny with a simpler life and less stress. Then, I spent some time in Aude, at the Wild Words retreat with Bridget Holding, in 2016. I fell in love with the Languedoc region, and my dream began to take shape.

Allowing myself space and time to be creative, whether it’s writing or painting, brings me so much joy and happiness. A stressful job, however, does the exact opposite, and I was feeling run down. By early 2018 I was receiving medical treatment for anxiety-related issues. Something had to change.

So, in January 2019 I packed up my car, along with my two cats, and we spent a tortuous two-day journey down to Pyrénées-Orientales in the far south of France, on the Mediterranean coast.

My days here consists of an early start, a couple of hours of freelance editing and proofreading before brunch, then a leisurely walk into the village centre for a natter with the locals. Improving my French language skills was another reason for moving here, and I am pleased to report that not all of my ‘A’ level studies have been forgotten!

Afternoons are all about writing. By now, the sunshine has moved around to the front of the house, and on a sunny day (on average about 330 times per year), it is now rather warm. Even in December, if you’re in the sunshine, a t-shirt is adequate. So, I can sit on my balcony with my notebook and get some serious scribbling done.

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In the hot summer months, this time would be spent at the beach, swimming to keep cool and the scribbling in my notebook while drying off in the sunshine. But, the water is a little cooler now (read: freezing!) so when I have finished writing, it’s a walk up into the nearby Albères mountains, collecting pinecones. Top tip: they make excellent firelighters!

I am very lucky to be able to live what many would describe as an idyllic lifestyle. However, it’s not all easy. Take the weather, for instance. Late June brought le canicule (heatwave). This little corner was not the hottest area of France by any stretch, but 34 degrees Celcius at midnight makes for uncomfortable sleeping, let me tell you, even after copious amounts of wine. Trust me, I tested it!

Then, in October, we had the most ferocious storm I have ever witnessed. Storm-force winds and a colossal amount of rainfall flooded many villages in this area. At the beach, sea-facing houses were boarded up and people took shelter. At 2am on the night it arrived, I thought the roof was coming off the house! It turned out it was the most rain the area has experienced for fifty years.

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I am about to celebrate my first French festive season. There seems to be a lot less fuss in the shops than I’m used to, but then France is a much less shopping-oriented country as a whole, so that’s not a big surprise.

Allow me, therefore, to raise a glass of wine to you all and wish you the best of seasons greetings, while I make sure I’ve got my sunscreen handy. Merry Christmas!

 

Thank you, Liz for a great article. So interesting to hear about your creative journey in France and I wish you every happiness and success in your future both creatively and personally.

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Let’s find out a little about Liz Hurst. 

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Liz is originally from West Cumbria, in the northwest of England, UK. Following university in Birmingham, she worked in various jobs across industries such as recruitment, food production, pet-sitting, pharmaceuticals, and automotive engineering.

Her writing life began with erotic fiction and she has titles published under the pseudonym of Kitty Mulholland. She now writes timeslip novellas and historical fiction about strong female protagonists under the umbrella brand of Sisterhood Publications.

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You can purchase Liz’s books by clicking on the following links.

Siren Spirit 

A Friend in Need 

Becoming Fabulous (Kitty Mulholland)

You can find Liz at the following online locations

Website

Facebook 

Twitter

Instagram

 

 

Story Challenge – Less than 100 words

Today’s challenger to write a story in less than one hundred words comes from Cyd Slater in the form of Kampuchea Calling which you can read below

Kampuchea Calling

So here I was. Kingdom of wonder. Land of dreams.

Not running away as such, more chasing a dream. I just had to get out of the country. Fresh start to refresh my mind. Nine years on from building a base, a promise to my dying mum, here I was. Ready to begin the next stage. Teaching awaited.

Gazing at the darkening sky, the sun already setting, I looked ahead towards my future and took that first step into the unknown; one fate, providence, had guided me towards. A first step, often feared, that we all have to take…

99 words

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Thank you, Cyd, for sharing those beautiful words. I wish you all the best with your venture in Cambodia.

Tuesday Guest Feature – Stephen Cope

Today my guest feature goes to poet, Stephen Cope. I was lucky enough to become acquainted with this special gentleman at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. I loved chatting to him and his accent reminded me of home. Home as in where I was born – Liverpool.

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Performance poet, Stephen has a lovely surprise for you all following his article, ‘Born Again Racer’. Without further ado, let’s go over to Stephen.

Born Again Racer

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Stephen Cope 

Thank you Patricia for inviting me here today. I’ve always enjoyed writing my short poems especially when surrounded by the ludicrousness that is everyday family life. Navigating a sports mad son, a horsey wife and daughter, along with a koi pond and pet dogs certainly provided plenty of material. During the eighties I wrote numerous hobbyist articles on fish health,  and pond maintenance for several koi club newsletters and magazines under the pseudonym, Barely Coping!

Now that my condition has become a disability, the opportunity for a little humour hasn’t been missed. My need for orthotics and a mobility scooter haven’t escaped my attention. My poem ‘Born Again Racer’ inspired by my first scooter, was shown to Peter King, an amateur film and animation maker. This resulted in the animation now viewable on YouTube under the same name.

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I joined the Heswall U3A Creative Writers group 5years ago, run by Laura Smith, a lady I’m sure many will know from Swanwick. During that time the group produced two anthologies of our stories and poems, with all profits going to two very deserving charities. Only this week our group completed its 38th Creative Writers Hour program on Vintage radio, a local internet station. I now have a collection of over 30 CDs, each with one or two of my stories or poems recorded for posterity!

I really enjoy my writing and hopefully will see my work published one day. The one story I’ve yet to write about is the day I was thrown out of the White House! I strongly believe that as a creative writer, when dipping into the real world we shouldn’t let the truth spoil a good story! And yes, I really was!

Thanks again Patricia.

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Thank you, Stephen, it’s been a pleasure. Do come again. I hope you get to see some of your poetry published as it deserves to be and I look forward to hearing your story about being thrown out of the White House.

And now for what everyone has been waiting for…

The surprise that was promised…

Stephen Cope performing his poem ‘Born Again Racer’ in animation form.

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Click here to see the video on Youtube.

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I hope you all enjoyed that as much as I did. Let’s find out a little more about Stephen.

About Stephen 

Stephen Cope was born and raised in Liverpool. He married the love of his life, Catherine, and moved to Altrincham. Five years later they moved onto the Wirral, and have lived there ever since. For 31 years up to my early retirement he worked in the nuclear industry at a nearby Uranium enrichment plant. Stephen’s response when mentioning that to me was… Oh to write about that!

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Haiku Challenge

Today I invite Mark Anthony Smith back over to my blog, but this time as a poet where he takes up the challenge to write a Haiku. And what a great job he’s done too. Don’t you agree?

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You can find out more about Mark and his writing by visiting his website here.

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Remember you can now submit a short story with LESS than 100 words or a Haiku – you can submit more than one but please ONLY ONE AT A TIME and via the contact form here.  Read full guidelines.

All stories and Haiku will be published with a picture banner.

Copyright remains with writers.

Send in your submissions and let’s see Patricia’s Pen flooded with micro fiction and Haiku in 2020.

Bargain – 3 books for a tenner!!

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Chindi Author of the Week – Lexi Rees

I am excited to share this blog because Lexi Rees is not only my guest as ‘Chindi Author of the Week’, but today, she’s celebrating the launch of her new novel, Wild Sky, sequel to Eternal Seas.

This leads us on to the topic that Lexi is discussing today.
‘Writing a Sequel.’ Without further ado, it’s over to Lexi Rees. 

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Hi Patricia, thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog today to chat about Wild Sky, the second book in children’s fantasy adventure series, The Relic Hunters, as it publishes TODAY!!

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Writing a sequel

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Lexi Rees 

If you read many author blogs, you’ll probably have heard them discuss whether they are a “planner” or a “pantser”. The planner has every detailed of the plot sorted before they start writing whilst the pantser lets the writing evolve organically. Now, given I’m very organised usually, I was quite surprised when one of my editors described me as a pantser. “But I have a plan,” I protested. “No, you have an ending and a set of characters and some events,’ she insisted. I had to admit, that was probably fairly accurate. After all, one of my lead characters, Pippin, had just changed gender and name, and was regularly writing herself into and out of scenes at a whim.

When I started writing The Relic Hunters, I had in mind a series of challenges for Finn and Aria to overcome, like in Beast Quest or Percy Jackson. Although I started writing the sequel, Wild Sky before the first book was published, I was still only about halfway through by the time book one was released. Eternal Seas was getting great reviews and young readers were clamouring for the sequel – I needed to write faster. You’d think writing book two would be easier, after all the world and the characters are built but one thing I’ve learned is, it’s really hard when you’re a pantser because there are certain events and discussions that are now set in stone and cannot be changed! As a result, I quickly realised I need to be much more structured in my planning.

I’d heard lots of authors sing the praises of some writing software, a tool called Scrivener. It works a bit like a corkboard, or a wall covered in multi-coloured post-it notes, which makes it really easy to plan at a high level then add layers of detail, and to move chunks around. It’s been a life-saver. I’m not sure I would ever have managed to get all the threads sorted if I hadn’t had a system and my poor editors would have been pulling their hair out!

The other revelation to me from having a plan and using Scrivener is it has actually helped speed my writing up, in particular, I’ve discovered I no longer need to write in a linear form – I can dip in and out of scenes as the mood takes me. That appeals to my rebellious pantser tendencies, whilst still ticking the planning requirements. I’m a planning convert!

Anyway, the final instalment of the trilogy is carefully planned and the writing is underway. Watch this space! In the meantime, I hope you and your young readers enjoy Wild Sky as much as I enjoyed both planning and writing it!

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Thanks so much for having me on your blog. 

It was a pleasure to have you back again, Lexi and thank you for such an informative blog. I must try and get the hang of Scrivener. May I take the opportunity on behalf of my readers and myself to wish you the best of luck with Wild Sky

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Readers you will be pleased to hear that Lexi is running a Giveaway Competition to celebrate Wild Sky’s publication. But you need to enter to get the chance to win a copy of ‘The Relic Hunters series.’

Enter here
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Blurb
After delivering the pearl, Finn and Aria thought life would return to normal.

But with the survival of the clans still in peril, they must continue their quest.

Can they find the next relic before the forces of evil?

Not everyone is who they appear to be

And time is running out …

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And look at these fabulous reviews:

‘This action-packed blend of magical fantasy with classic kids adventuring is a swashbuckling read for 8+ year-olds, peppered with soft line-drawings and propelled by a strong sense of urgency.’  (LoveReading4Kids)

‘Non-stop adventure with an exciting blend of magic and dystopia. Sinister villains, strange magic and thrilling adventure. I loved it!’ (Claire Fayers, author of The Accidental Pirates series, Mirror Magic and Storm Hound)

‘Raging seas, snowy lands, fortresses and monasteries – the quest for the relics continues at an exhilarating pace. You won’t put it down!’ (Jude Lennon, author of the Hal series and other books) 

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Click on the following links to purchase Lexi’s books.

Creative Writing Skills 

Eternal Seas 

Wild Sky 

About Lexi Rees

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Lexi Rees was born in Scotland but now lives down south. She writes action-packed adventures and workbooks for children.

The Relic Hunters #1, Eternal Seas, was awarded a “loved by” badge from LoveReading4Kids and is currently long-listed for a Chanticleer award. The sequel, Wild Sky, is out on the 28th November.

She’s passionate about developing a love of reading and writing in children and, as well as her Creative Writing Skills workbook, she has an active programme of school visits and other events, is a Book PenPal for three primary schools, and runs a free online #kidsclub and newsletter which includes book recommendations and creative writing activities.

In her spare time, she’s a keen crafter and spends a considerable amount of time trying not to fall off horses or boats.

Links to find Lexi on Social Media and her website.

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram