Voices in Your Head?

 

 

My first book, Nine Lives came into being mainly because I became intrigued by the notion that most of us hear voices in our heads at one time or another.

From Pinocchio to Joan of Arc, people have been hearing things and sometimes a little voice can change history, and not always for the best.

Kate Devereau, the ageing artist in my book, has been hearing a voice all her life. Never sure if this is good or evil, she makes a point of ignoring everything it says. Would her life have turned out differently if she hadn’t?

Some people call this the voice of our conscience, a bit like Jiminy Cricket, but how many of us really listen or even obey its commands?

I personally don’t hear any voices, but sometimes I just know I should have done things differently, and have suffered the consequences…

When I researched this topic, I was amazed by just how many famous people have heard voices, going back as far as Moses. Some of these people were convinced they were hearing the voice of God; some thought a heavenly host had visited them. Whereas, on the other side of the scale, if a voice talked you into committing a crime, they usually lock you up and throw away the key.

Personally, I like the idea of a wise voice, advising and helping us with life’s problems. Pointing out the error of our ways would be very handy in our house.

But how many of us would dare to trust it?

 

Excerpt from  Nine Lives

… as the pain rolled on and on, Kate just wanted to die. She knew no one was going to rescue her, they never had before and it was a little late to start believing they would now. For some reason, she knew it was her lot in life to suffer, to be alone and be miserable, no matter how hard she tried to make her life any different. Surely, it was time for the curse on her life to stop? The voice in her head had said otherwise, apparently, there was much worse to come. But what could be worse than this, she thought.

Once the pain started to make her want to push, it all became a little more bearable. At least she felt more in control of the situation, not just lying there helplessly, being tortured.

The baby, a boy, was born that evening and nobody could have been more pleased it was over than Kate herself.

Throughout the ordeal, the voice had kept up a running commentary about her life being ruined. How she had wasted every opportunity and how sorry it was. The last bit surprised her, for she had always thought it disliked her. It had never said anything with any hint of kindness in it before. If it was simply trying to depress her even more than she was already, it had succeeded…

 

Memories…

 

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Painted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

 

 

 

Memories are funny things, aren’t they? The way certain things suddenly pop into your head, and you think – hey, I know about that, and you remember.
I wonder what makes some memories surface and not others? You could say it’s down to something you have just heard or seen, but I know that’s not always the case.

Just lately I have been remembering a specific time in my childhood, and never realised before how that time must have influenced me. Or was it that threshold of childhood, the time you really start to think and question things? To imagine a future for yourself, that you won’t always be just idling along, not really caring if it snowed, depending on others to organise your life.

This particular time was when I lived in Kent, in a small village called Birchington, a few miles from Margate.. I was about 8 or 9 years old, and up to that point I didn’t really think about anything much. So much had happened to me that I had got into the habit of not questioning anything. Not much point really, as I knew I couldn’t change anything.

I was with foster parents by then with several other children, all from broken families; and surprisingly it was the first time I felt relaxed enough to appreciate the peace and quiet of the countryside, not to mention the freedom from all my mother’s problems.

Every Sunday we all went to church, and right outside the church door was a very impressive grave stone. It was made of a beautiful piece of marble and I thought the writing on it was very ornate and posh. I looked at it every Sunday for a while, when it suddenly struck me that this had to be someone quite important. But why was he buried here in this tiny village?

The name on the stone was Dante Gabriel Rossetti  (12may 1828-9april 1882) and I remember being very impressed by the sound of it, resolving to find out more about him. I was about the right age for romantic flights of fancy and the more I discovered about this tortured man and the life he lived, the more intrigued I became. He was a poet and a painter and some would say that he wasn’t very successful, but history will always remember him as a founder member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.

I learnt about Rossetti and how he had ended up a recluse in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea after a nervous breakdown, finally retreating to Birchington for rehabilitation only to die less than a year later. Perhaps he should have spent more time in Kent, for it was making me feel better!  I secretly sympathised with the mess he had made of his life, determined that my life would be better than it had started out to be. I just needed to be old enough to set the wheels in motion.

So you see, I tend to think he was my friend back then, right when I really needed one, guiding me to where I am today…

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Dante Gabriel Rossetti (wasn’t he cute?)

 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was born 12 May 1828 in London, the second child and eldest son of Italian expatriates. His father, Gabriele Rossetti, was a Dante scholar, who had been exiled from Naples for writing poetry in support of the Neapolitan Constitution of 1819. Rossetti’s mother had trained as a governess and supervised her children’s early education. Few Victorian families were as gifted as the Rossettis: the oldest child, Maria Rossetti, published A Shadow of Dante (1871) and became an Anglican nun; William Michael Rossetti was along with his brother an active member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and became an editor, man of letters, and memoirist; the youngest, Christina Georgina Rossetti, became an important and influential lyric poet.

As a child Dante Gabriel Rossetti intended to be a painter and illustrated literary subjects in his earliest drawings. He was tutored at home in German and read the Bible, Shakespeare, Goethe’s Faust, The Arabian Nights, Dickens, and the poetry of Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron. After leaving school, he apprenticed himself to the historical painter Ford Madox Brown, who later became his closest lifelong friend. He also continued his extensive reading of poetry—Poe, Shelley, Coleridge, Blake, Keats, Browning, and Tennyson—and began in 1845 translations from Italian and German medieval poetry. In 1847 and 1848 Rossetti began several important early poems—”My Sister’s Sleep,” “The Blessed Damozel,” “The Bride’s Prelude,” “On Mary’s Portrait,” “Ave,” “Jenny,” “Dante at Verona,” “A Last Confession,” and several sonnets, a form in which he eventually became expert. 

Rossetti divided his attention between painting and poetry for the rest of his life. In 1848 he founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with six other young men, mostly painters, who shared an interest in contemporary poetry and an opposition to certain stale conventions of contemporary academy art. In a general way, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood sought to introduce new forms of thematic seriousness, high coloration, and attention to detail into contemporary British art. Members of the group included John Everett Millais, its most skilled painter and future president of the Royal Academy, and William Holman Hunt, Thomas Woolner; Frederic Stephens; and William Michael Rossetti, who as P.R.B. secretary kept a journal of activities and edited the six issues of its periodical, the Germ (1850). Associates of the group included the older painter Ford Madox Brown, the painter and poet William Bell Scott, the poet Coventry Patmore, and Christina Rossetti, six of whose poems appeared in the Germ.

Colour me Red… #Poetry

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

Colour me Red

A friend asked me the other day

What colour do you see yourself as?

I think colour depends on my mood or need

I am light blue when I need understanding

Which is often.

Blue when I need wisdom

A little healing when my body is less than tip-top.

Dreamscape allows me to remember

Lying in the sea, surrounded by blue water

Blue skies above

I am the filling in the sandwich

It feels good to be comforted

Best of all, held by gentle blue hands

Now the day ahead will work.

So when I need to, I remember

And all is well

I rarely see myself as pink

Too fluffy for me

I should try it, as it helps with success

I love a good orange and not only to eat

I see myself when I need energy to boost my imagination

To fill my mind and body with life.

Sometimes I need brown when dealing with family issues

Brown is helpful for grace, something

I am not known for, but  I do try.

I think green when I need a bit of good luck

When buying that lottery ticket.

Everyone in the shop turns green

Not hit the big one yet

But do quite well with this.

Yellow for me if very helpful

When I need to be creative when writing

Craftwork, thinking, which I do a lot of the time

It is almost a hobby.

White, when I feel the need for protection

I see myself and my family walking under

The light of a full moon twenty-four seven.

Red, I mostly think of as my own colour,

A child of Mars, I love with a fire that never dies

Very helpful when courage is needed

You can fight your way through anything when you turn red

Purple feeds my ambition when I feel it fading

I turn purple to keep my ambition alive

Helping me never let my dreams die

Black whenever I feel threatened by seen or unseen elements

Black helps to keep unwanted guests, thoughts out of my life

I realise I have just painted myself a very strange rainbow…

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#Wordle 381 #Poetry #Challenge

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My Way

Where do dreams go when we wake?

A word, once it is spoken

Do they linger on the air?

A silent echo that no one hears

Others we know nothing about?

From some distant galaxy

That   frame  our lives in such a way

That we walk around in the same space

Use the same old thoughts, feelings

Marionettes, dancing to someone else’s tune

Do we shrug our shoulders?

Walk through a fog, each day the same?

Do we hope to find a secret key

To set us right to find new thoughts

They are out there, I feel them on the edge of my mind

I reach for them and they vanish like soap bubbles

With luck, I know they will return

That eureka moment that takes you away

From the dark empty side of the mind

To find your own light at last

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#Throwback Thursday: Poggibonsi by DanAlatorre@savvystories

#Throwback Thursday, such a brilliant way to revisit your favourites!

Poggibonsi, an Italian misadventure…

 

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When family man Mike Torino lands a project in Italy, home of naked art, Valentino, and taxi-crashing yoga pants, he brings along his wife, hoping to rekindle their marriage. But romance gets derailed by head colds, constant bickering, and assaults from ankle-breaking cobblestone streets. Their daughter develops a gelato addiction. Mike’s Italian partner has a coronary.

And as for amore . . . Mattie tells Mike to handle things himself—and storms back to America.
Mike is trapped. Leaving Italy will blow a promotion; staying might cost him his wife and family.
While reeling from Mattie’s frantic departure, a replacement liaison is assigned—a top-notch, beautiful young
Italian woman who is instantly smitten with Mike and determined to reveal the passions of her homeland—whether he wants to see them or not! Normally immune, Mike is tempted—but is headstrong, voluptuous Julietta worth the risk?

 

Our Review

I have always loved the idea of Italy, and intend to go there one of these days, so this romantic comedy really appealed to me, and from the very first page, I was laughing.

The writing style, wit and humour sparkles like champagne, and although you can guess what the protagonist Mike Torrino will get up to, the effervescent way he stumbles through life is hilarious.

This story is all about relationships and love, all the different kinds of love, including a hilarious depiction of extra-marital sex. But Poggibonsi is a beautifully written romance too. It has the classic ‘lost everything’ scenario, but the emotions are real. The cast of characters could be people you have known for years, and I laughed a lot and cried in equal measure but cannot remember when I have enjoyed a book so much.

The scene in the restaurant between Mattie (the wife) and Sam, the woman Mike works with, literally brought the house down and was promptly outdone by Mike’s conversation with the priest.

Poggibonsi, (yes, it really is a place in Italy, a small Tuscan hamlet in Chianti) should be made into a film, it would break box office records!

 

About the Author

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages.

From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry – or hang onto the edge of your seat – has been enjoyed by audiences around the world.

 

 

#Interview with the Author: Bad Moon by Anita Dawes #HorrorFamily

 

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Spotlight on the writing of Bad Moon

or

(An informal interview with Anita Dawes)

 

Today I have dragged Anita away from her writing desk and forced her to sit and talk to me about my favourite book (and I suspect, hers too)

Good morning Anita, make yourself comfortable and tell us how you came to write Bad Moon?

Hello Jaye, this is all a bit strange for me, I haven’t done anything like this before, so I am trusting that you are right and it might just be interesting and productive.

I began to write when I couldn’t stand all the voices in my head. They would not let me rest until I told their story, and once I started, I couldn’t stop!

I just love the minds of the people of small-town America, their philosophy and their way of thinking.

What decided the plot of Bad Moon, was it just your imagination or did something trigger it?

I was in a bad place at that time in my life and I think escaping into another world, even one that was not sweetness and light, helped me a lot. There was a song that caught my interest, from Credence Clearwater Revival, about a ‘Bad Moon Rising’. You could say that that was my inspiration right there.  I think song lyrics are very emotive, you can usually come up with a good story to go with them. My book turned out to be the usual story of good and evil; you cannot get away from it, not in nature or human beings. Maybe knowing that what I was writing was not real, helped me in real life. It is possible.

 Is Annie a biographical character? Did you see yourself in her at all?

  No, I don’t think so. She turned out to be stronger than I could ever be.

 She seems a lot like you, somehow.

Does she? It was not intentional. My mother was the inspiration for the creation of Annie’s mother, and Annie’s father reminds me of one of my stepfathers. A long-suffering doormat. All of Annie’s relatives remind me of crows at a funeral.

But in the book, Annie’s father seems like a nice chap?

Yes, but he is weak, unable to control his wife or her relatives.

 Why did the title lose the word ‘rising’? And where did the idea for Pa’s grotesque carvings come from? They do sound fascinating…

 I had to change the title because there were just too many books out there with the same title. The idea for the carvings came from my imagination really, although I loved the film ‘The Guardian’ with Jenny Agutter. There was an interesting tree in the storyline that could have sparked something.

I always love the macabre side, like the ‘Tooth Fairy’ in The Silence of The Lambs. Making things out of human skin is fascinatingly disgusting, but people have been doing it for centuries.

Despite all her good intentions, Annie has an incestuous relationship with her brother Nathan, before she falls in love with Josh. Did the thought of writing about incest bother you?

No, there is more of that going on than most of us realise. I believe it can be a natural occurrence, as the love you feel for someone – brother or no – can become so strong and overwhelming. It is possible to love more than one person too, we do it all the time.

Your next book ‘Simple’ is very similar to ‘Bad Moon’. Is that what you intended?

Yes, because I feel it is a part of who I am, and I love writing them.

You have not written another story like these two, will you?

Maybe, but it has yet to be proved to me that people are interested in reading them, although I cannot rule it out as I may not be able to stop myself!

 Well, that wasn’t too grueling, was it?

If anyone has any questions or comments, we would be pleased to hear from you!


Brilliant Review on Amazon!

OlgaNM
Bad Moon is narrated in the first person by Annie, a young girl who lives happily with her family: mother (Ruby), father (Jed), and older brother (Nathan). She adores her father, although her mother’s behaviour is far from exemplary (she regularly invites other men to her home and that results in incidents with her husband, who takes it out on the men and seem remarkably tolerant of his wife’s behaviour). At first, Annie is worried that she might end up becoming a woman like her mother when she grows up and thinks it is all due to her mother’s family (her father says that her mother was born under a ‘bad moon’ and she comes from ‘the Hills’ where people seem to have their own morality and rules of behaviour). The inhabitants of the Hills seem to be a directly related to those of The Hills Have Eyes or the banjo players in Deliverance. What Annie doesn’t know is that things are worse than she ever could imagine. She has lived all her life in a world of lies and secrets. She is convinced she must learn the truth to avoid history repeating itself and is prepared to go to any lengths to achieve that. The costs are high indeed.
Annie does not have much formal schooling (she decides to leave school when she realises things aren’t as they should) but she is extremely articulate, and some of the descriptions of the landscape surrounding her home, of her experiences and dreams, her mystical feelings on visiting the caves previously inhabited by a Native-American tribe, and her reflections are beautiful and lyrical. We might disagree with some of her decisions but it is difficult not to admire her determination. She never tries to be liked or makes excuses for her own behaviour (she might blame others at times, but despite not being a believer or having much in the way of role models, she does question her actions and tries to make things better), and she is neither all good nor all bad. It’s a testimony to the skill of the author that although Annie’s head is not a pleasant place to be in, we can’t help but wish she’ll succeed and live to see another day.
With themes including incest, rape, infanticide, murder, cannibalism, paedophilia and plenty of violence, this is not a gentle novel or an easy read. There is sex and violence, although these are not graphically rendered, but anybody with a modicum of imagination will be left with many powerful images difficult to forget. The strong intuition of the main character, the roles of fate, blood and family history and the communities portrayed turn this book into a tragedy where instead of kings and gods we have as protagonists a family in the outskirts of society and outside of history. (The historical period of the story and the outside society are not described in detail and this adds to the sense of claustrophobia an entrapment.)
If Annie is a heroine, a tragic hero or an anti-hero is open to interpretation and I haven’t decided yet. I’m not sure I’d like to meet her in real life, but I know I’d like to read more about her.

 

Fractured…

 

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Some of you may be familiar with some of the trouble I have had since I began to organise our writing career on the Internet. It is probably simple for all you single people out there, but as soon as you are a partnership, trouble arrives big time!

Not that we could ever separate our writing business, not even to make our lives any easier. It is all far too complicated, but it works for us though, so that’s good.

We tried having separate websites, so as not to overcomplicate everything, but as we share a PC, this didn’t seem to work. Plus it was twice the work. So we reverted back to having a joint website on Blogger.  Still managed to confuse half the population, including ourselves, but all our links seemed to be working. But it still didn’t feel right, so I approached WordPress and discovered that we could actually share a website. How very civilised.

I have since managed to share Anita’s Facebook too.

Goodreads almost cater for the two of us and we have our own pages, but only one of us can have our blog showing.

There are still a few places that refuse to understand, that although we share a PC, we do still have separate email addresses and passwords. I won’t name and shame, but they have driven me mad for the last time and I have resigned myself to sharing these awkward sites under Anita’s email address.

It goes without saying, that if I had known this marketing and promotion lark was so complicated, I might have had second thoughts, but on the whole, it has been interesting, and dare I say it, fun? The fact that I am almost certifiable is unimportant, as I think you have to be barking mad to approach a computer in the first place!

When I saw these lovely fractured pictures the other day, I was fascinated, probably because half the time, my brain is in pieces too…

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Second Tries, or how to make the right decisions?

 

 

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My brain must be like swiss cheese these days, soft, spongy and full of holes. I am getting really fed up with trying to think and decide what to do, or even knowing if the final decision is the right one. As they say, if I had half a brain, I would be dangerous!
I can’t decide (or remember) if I have always been like this, or if this state of affairs is yet another symptom of my advancing years.

Time is becoming problematic, far too much of it is spent second-guessing. Wouldn’t life be more efficient if all deliberation could be removed? Easier to pick a winkle out of its shell with a pin, I hear you say. But I am heartily sick of wondering which item to buy, which programme to watch, whether to cut my hair, the list is endless.

Added to my inability to choose anything, is the sure and certain knowledge that whichever one I pick, it will be the wrong one. Always is. I never get anything right on the first try.

Could life be more like plotting a book?
I know many writers don’t believe in plotting. They believe their characters will do most of the hard work for them, and I have experienced this first hand too. But other writers firmly believe in careful plotting, even a story board.

All my life, I have been a ‘winger’, hurtling from one idea to the next. Sometimes getting it right, but more often not. Advancing age has changed all that. I no longer have the time for hit and miss. Decisions I make now, have to be right, although how this will happen, remains to be seen.

Now, I am still virtually new to this writing business, and with the idea of getting it right first time (could be a novelty in itself!) I tried plotting. With a lot of practice, I’m getting better. So much so, that my latest WIP has been thoroughly plotted, storyboard and everything. But this is not something you could really do with your life. Too many decisions, and so many ways of dealing with them.

In addition, other people tend to make your life awkward, sometimes it seems, just to be bloody minded.

Could it be as simple as throwing a dice?

 

Then I remembered something. (It does still happen sometimes!) I once read about a man who always made every decision with the turn of a dice, and apparently, his life was glorious. Maybe it was worth a try, as my way was getting me nowhere.

On second thoughts, that sounds worse than ‘winging it’.

But if I were younger…

They say there are ‘two sides to every story’ and ‘everything happens for a reason’, but what if neither of these things is true? What if it is as simple as right or wrong?
Could it be that when life gets too difficult, we are simply trying to force wrong into being right?

Should we blindly follow our instincts?

 

Recently, I have been thinking back through my life and all the different choices that I had to make. To that small, persistent voice that nags you, insisting you do this or that. How many times had I ignored it, thinking my own choice was better, usually for all manner of reasons? Would my life have been better if I had obeyed that still, small voice? If I had not always chosen the path of least resistance, the path that always looked inevitable. Maybe the choice that looked the hardest, the most impossible, would have turned out better than what actually happened?

Maybe then, I wouldn’t have so many things to be sorry for, so many people I should apologise to.
If there is such a thing as reincarnation and I get another chance to live a better life, I hope I remember some of the things I have done wrong, all of the people I have hurt, and do it better next time…

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Splintered… #Poetry

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

Splintered

This morning I awoke

 My mind empty

An abandoned building

Chipped peeling wallpaper

Full of emotions

Tiptoeing on eggshells

My thoughts jagged

Lace curtains pulled through

Broken glass

Ghosts hide in dark corners

Left over sound like dry leaves

Whispers of lost dreams

Slipping into rotting floorboards

Life is splintered, gone

A broken mirror hangs on the far wall

Pieces missing, forgotten

A puzzle with no image

Shadows live between the cracks

Time hidden behind the frame

Moving through the walls

Like the chatter of a busy market

Peoples lives, their story

Stamped into the brickwork…

A kind of living braille

To be read by sensitive hands

Laughter, happiness, colliding

With overwhelming sorrow

Touching your skin

Reaching out for life

As I move from room to room

Sliding my hand over broken furniture

I have the feeling I know this house

I have sat in that worn out chair

I make my way back to the broken mirror

Sunlight from the street

Filtering through dirty windows

Dust devils dance in the beam

Keeping their secrets

I see no image of myself

Only dust and light

I run from room to room

Before the penny drops

I am the ghost that lives in this house…

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#Writephoto: Onward…

https://scvincent.com/2018/12/06/thursday-photo-prompt-onward-writephoto/

 

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I have to keep moving onward

If not I will sit and vegetate

End up with a flat backside

So move yourself

Take that path that beckons

See where it leads

You may find a place where

You can see grass grow

Talk to the trees as you pass

Take off your shoes

Step into that slow moving brook

Find that magic pebble

Leave a few crumbs to thank

The birds for their song

Tell time by dandelion

Let your inner child step out

With your spirit refreshed

Your steps lighter, you return home…

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