That day of the year.

It’s that day of the year that gets me thinking about things. I know I am not alone in this. I think it is a day that we should at least pause for thought In our life.

And so here it is, that day has arrived once again. Although I am not bothered about being a year older. I am glad that I am here and I still have my partner and my dog to share it with. It will also be nice to catch up with my Mum as I haven’t seen her for a few weeks. I don’t have big fancy plans, a favourite meal in the evening and have seen some of my friends over this week. I am conscious of the fact that it is a blessing to be here and that in itself is my celebration. Age is no indication that we can remain. The world loses many wonderful people young and old every day.

I had planned to do certain things just for me by the time my birthday came around this year, but alas I have not managed to achieve half of what I wanted to do at this point in my life.  However, this year has only just begun so I will just have to get stuck in.

But… To return to my original subject now I talked to a few people about my writing in the past month or so and they have said some nice things which motivated me to try some things that I had put to the back of my mind. The first thing being to get the first book out there in physical form.  When I set out to publish my first book two years ago I didn’t think that it was important to have a hard copy of the book, but how wrong was I?  Time and again the people  I know have said to me that if I had a printed copy they would buy it so I hope that they will now.

At the time I just wanted to get it out there and thought that people used kindles anyway, so it seemed like the easiest way to self publish.  But since then I have realised the importance of a physical book to so many readers.

I must admit, that when I go to the spoken word poetry nights there are paperback books, sheaves of paper, notebooks and the occasional phone which people read from. I have not yet seen a kindle in use.

So I set about my task for this week, to edit, spellcheck, read through my book once again and attempt to put it into print. This time proper print, which people might actually read on holiday, or the bus, or in their coffee break or anywhere really.

If nothing else, this is my Birthday gift to myself, that I have done it, approved it and sent it for publishing. So that at least my parents might be able to have a copy of it at last.

One thing that I have learned in the last week whilst I have been doing the slight adjustments to the book is that my writing has improved. It felt somehow naive reading those poems back. Although I know that I am my own worst critic. I can see my work warts and all. Thankfully there are also people who enjoy some of it, which spurs me on to write more. But these days I feel more confident as a writer. Like I can actually do it now. I also feel that my poetry has changed quite a bit. Of course the subject matter differs from piece to piece anyway, but I think I am more at ease with the flow, however it comes to me.

So hopefully, as from next week now my book will be available on Amazon in a paperback version as well as the original kindle one here. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sentimental-Journey-Poetic-Stories-Vol-ebook/dp/B01N2IIREW

I hope that if you haven’t taken a look already it spurs you on to do so and if you like it, drop me a line to let me know.

*A quick update to this is that the book went live for my Birthday after all, to get the paperback version now just click this link The Sentimental Journey – Paperback Version

I will also be creating the second book of poems this year. A long time ago I had a number in my head that when I’d written that many I would make the selection. But that was some time ago. I wasn’t feeling as though it was the right time to publish so I just kept on writing more. I now feel it’s time.

It has been suggested that I write some poems for children, which should help me along the way as I want to get into reading them out in public.  I began a children’s story book a couple lf months ago which I hope will grow over time and I have two people that I would like to illustrate it for me, but since I haven’t finished it yet, I feel that I can’t ask them until its ready. I also have lots of other ideas. So who knows what this year will shape up to be by the end of it.

Daily Prompts – Age

Happy Birthday!

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It’s my Birthday! so I’m giving everyone a gift today, for one day only I am offering my book on Amazon Kindle for free.  So, if you would like a copy, then please click on the link below and grab one, it’s for one day only, so you will need to be quick, but I’d love to get a review or two of the book up there and hear your thoughts.

The Sentimental Journey by India Blue

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We Won’t Panic! It is Done…

What’s she done now? would probably be my Mother’s response to this subject but she already knows the answer.
The other night I gave her the draft of my book The Sentimental Jorney -Poetic Stories Vol 1 to read before I publish it. I had told her some time ago that she could and asked her if she would just check it through for me before I hit the button on it.

I think you are getting the picture with my frustration at what I did next..

Yes I hit the publish button with the wrong date on it. Well nobody is perfect! 

I had my reasons, of course so that there was time to amend it beforehand but I would like for someone to buy the book before Christmas if possible. 

Mum went away promising to let me know when she had read it and give me feedback and since it was late and my partner had not yet arrived  home I thought I would upload the book to Amazon to check the layout I had amended. All good so far it fitted fairly well on tablet view.

Oh No, what have I done?

Suddenly im saving it I go a message which said that I had sent it for preview for pre-order. What shall I do now?  Panic! 

So I began praying that I’d be able to make changes if I need to, (like the date for starters) but more so what kind of idiot decides to publish their first book on New Year’s Eve for goodness sake!   So I was feeling rather foolish. I also   wonder if I have been greedy on the price… Well that didn’t take long did it? For the self doubt to start creeping in.

So this was not the post about publishing that I had hoped for all this time, when 4 months ago I finished writing it and waited for the family to read it.  I wanted to be able to shout out loud. “That’s it at last, it is Done” with some level of pride. I did not expect that I would be silently berrating myself for my carelessness in making this error in timing. I wanted to be happy that I had published when the time came. So a couple of days later I just needed to get my head back to a good place and set the thoughts free before posting this here and edit of course. I was able to change the date after all the panic so I am now actually able to say…

Here is the link in case you would like to buy a copy when it comes out this weekend Saturday 26th November for the kindle and don’t worry if you don’t have one you can download an app for other devices so that you can read it. 

Amazon Link – The Sentimental Journey – Poetic Stories Vol 1 by India Blue

I can’t quite believe that I can now   actually write that. That’s another tick on my list.

Please show me some love and share the link for me and I’d love to know what you think. 


The Book is finally written… The Sentimental Journey – Poetic Stories Vol 1 by India Blue

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So, I finally have it.  The collection of Poems, some of which are here on the blog and others which are yet to be seen which are all neatly assembled into my book.

It will be called The Sentimental Journey – Poetic Stories Vol 1 by India Blue

Poetic Stories since that seems to be the form that I have found my poems often take. I am hoping to self publish it very soon that is after a few choice people have read it for me and given me their harshest feedback of course. With a bit of Luck, it will be available on Amazon Kindle, pending any more subsequent edits and I have re-scheduled my launch until November 2016.

Who knows, if I make the date without having to delay it due to the other things which have been going on lately and people actually read it and like it, then there may even be a Poetic Stories Volume 2, after all I have so many more poetic stories to share with you.

It feels as though progress has been slow, I finished it some time ago, but Life has got in the way somewhat since then and everyone seems to suffer with self-doubt and wondering if they are actually doing the right thing.

Now it’s time for me to get back on track and to write some more, watch this space…

Oh, and Wish Me Luck! 

The promise that my partner gets to read it first has been achieved, finally! He has taken the time on our trip to read it cover to cover and given me his opinions. Now that’s out of the way, a last tweak on the edit and I feel as though I can go ahead and get it out there at last.

 

Reading Choices, Book Reviews and The Unmade Bed…

It’s strange how things come back to me after all these years. Our choice of reading material over time. I awoke this morning thinking about probably the last book review that I wrote, it was for a book called “The Unmade Bed” by Françoise Sagan. I think I was 14 years old and at the time, we were expected to review books regularly at school as part of the English curriculum. I think at the time I was trying to find out more about sex since boys had begun to show an interest in me. As you can imagine, if anyone actually made a move on me properly, then I would at least want to know what was supposed to happen. I certainly wasn’t going to learn what sex was from a family who did not discuss it, other than the fact that it was not supposed to happen until you got married. I felt the need to find out what was supposed to be enjoyable when it happened. No-one seemed to want someone who knew nothing about it as a girlfriend, although they didn’t want an expert either, it must surely make sense to have a little knowledge. It wasn’t their faults entirely, as many parents assume their children will do exactly as they tell them until they are adults, less so these days but back then things were different. I guess that they do not think that as they rebelled, their children will also do so.

So, in my teenage rebellion, I often sat in the library, reading whatever I could find that might give me a clue. I hadn’t studied the sciences at school, so was not interested in anatomy, or how it all worked, more how it felt and what was supposed to happen.

Yes, “Feelings” were a big part of my life even then….

I read Mills and Boon books like any other teenage girl, but even my dad knew about them, the bodice ripping stories which could not be taken seriously, filling my head with ideas, he banned them from the house, so I used to read them at school, or sit in the library. I read quickly even to this day and so it didn’t take very long to read one of those, a lunch hour perhaps or a day’s worth of school breaks.

The last book review was different though. If I was caught reading it at home then I could quite honestly say that I had to write a book review for it. I was at the age, when we were expected to go out and find out own subject matter to read and review. I can only imagine what my tutor thought when she was faced with the review itself. It was a book that to this day, I can remember something about. In my naivety I had misunderstood the contents. I know, it should be pretty clear from the title. But I thought that it would have more detail in than it did and I felt that it was a let down. It took me twice as long to read as it hopped from character to character, I almost gave up and found another book to read, but my stubborn streak got in the way. It was of course about the sex life of the character and their escapades, it had no depth. But I felt that it lacked any excitement, it seemed almost mechanical in its writing. Part of me wishes to find the book again after all this time and re-read it to see if I gain any more enjoyment from it, but I fear that my time would be wasted and that I shouldn’t bother, so I haven’t yet. After all there is more to life than reading a boring book twice?

I recall writing in my review of my disappointment that the whole story seemed to be a catalogue of people who kept jumping in and out of bed with each other, swapping partners and all sharing the same bed. Somehow the thought of that repelled me and I found myself wondering if the sheets ever got changed. (Ever the practical thinking) I don’t think my review encouraged anyone else to read the pristine old book which sat on the library shelf and I doubt my teacher clamoured to the local library or bookshop to borrow or peruse.

So that was it… Did I need to write another review? I’d quite like to because it will give me the opportunity to read books again with purpose. I have read to learn things, but not so much for the enjoyment of a story, I miss that to enjoy the thoughts and processes which go through other writer’s heads. I love reading, I get totally consumed by whatever the subject is whilst I read a book, to the exclusion of everything around me. I cannot put a book down easily mid-read. I prefer to read it cover to cover so I am careful of the subject matter and as a consequence do not read nearly enough. I was sad to find myself saying a few years ago that I had not read a book in years, yes it had actually been about 5 years at that point, I had not had the time to myself to enable me to do that and resolved to try and change that. I have read more since then and take time to read mainly online. I love that about WordPress since it encourages me to look around and doesn’t take up the time that a book would and you still learn, read and see interesting things I also feel that it is still a luxury to be able to sit and read a book or article without interruption, one that I can’t always allow myself.

The Daily Post – Depth

Lessons Learned when Writing your Book

IMG_1939So after a quiet couple of weeks here on the blog away from the laptop and writing only sporadically the sun had been shining, in between the rain storms here so I decided to get out in the garden. To allow myself to be attacked by Roses and make the outlook a little bit brighter. Summer is here and with it brings the urge to create nicer surroundings for us all. So I have been weeding, digging, growing and sharing cuttings, re-potting and tying back unruly plants and trying to forget that there is a whole huge expanse of space which has yet to benefit from my attention, if only I had the energy to tackle it.

After a couple of weeks of leaving my draft alone and then returning to it to edit again and print off a copy for someone else’s opinion. Here is a list of the Lessons I have learned while preparing a physical book for someone to read for the very first time.

1. Disregard the fears that you may have done it wrong. They are just concerns, you have to start somewhere.
2. Have a back up title in case you have done it wrong.
3. Make Lists.
4. Edit, Edit then Edit again, there will always be something you have missed. Surely not, well Yes actually!
5. Remember to insert the page numbers so that if there are corrections noted, you’ll be able to find them to fix.
6. Make sure that your desk is sturdy, more important than you know.
7. Make sure that you have more than enough printer ink for the job
8. Give your printer a service before you start to print.
9. Do not hold your breath when you hit PRINT, it may take longer than you think.
10. Print in batches of 10 pages at a time, that way if your printer begins to shake uncontrollably whilst doing its job, or misalign inexplicably you will not waste time and resources with fuzzy pages.
11. Reprint any fuzzy unreadable pages. These things are sent to try us!
12. Since your first reader is a family member. Make them swear that it is for their eyes only and they will not send it anywhere until you have got it back and corrected everything. Stating for all to hear that this is “definitely not the finished article”.
13. Write all over it that it is the “First Draft” Confidential might be a good idea too!
14. Realise as your heart sinks that although this is your baby, other people have their own lives to live and it might take a while to get it back.
15. Remember to breathe. Eagerly anticipating their response will only cause added stress and upset, especially if they tell you that it isn’t your best work, or you should include something else.
16. When your family tell you that there are more important things to life than being wrapped up in your book, as their patience has run thin smile sweetly and agree with them.
17. Try to convince yourself that it’ll all be alright in the end.

The Daily Post – Struggle

If you don’t ask….

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I am a firm believer of “If you don’t ask, you don’t receive” with some things, but torn slightly as there are other times when you just shouldn’t ask.  Generally though it has served me well over the years and worked on occasions where I have asked for a pay rise. If I have asked for someone’s help since I don’t make a habit of it, they are more inclined to assist me.  Of course I am happy to return the favour if at all possible and offer help in return.

This week, in practicing Gratitude for the good things which have been happening, even when they are few and far between.  I wanted to share with you all something that I am very grateful for.

As a keen recycler I have written about this previously in One Mans’ Waste is another Mans’ Treasure I do tend to search for items if there is something that I would really like, to see if it can be bought second hand or given freely if times are tough.  I don’t have a problem in having things which are pre-owned or preloved since they are often better made than new items.  I am also happy to donate to charity shops and buy from them as well as re-using what others may think of as waste items, so that as much as possible is kept out of landfill.

I have had a desire to get myself an old typewriter.  I wrote a while ago in  English Lessons, Touch Typing and Speed Tests about learning to type when I was at school and felt a little bit nostalgic about it. So I asked my father, since at the time when I studied, we had my grandmother’s typewriter.  I would have loved to have it and use it again and since I have not known him use it for years, he may want to pass on this heirloom. However he wasn’t ready to do that at this point and told me it has sentimental value and he is still using it.  It may be passed on to me one day, however in the meantime I thought I would search elsewhere.

So, a quick browse around the local charity shops proved fruitless although my partner asked them to call us if they get one in.  It really didn’t matter to me what it looked like, as long as it works.  But something vintage would suit my inspirational living and I do love old items. There is something about that Art Deco room in my imagination, where I can write wonderful stories at a big wooden desk, with old writing implements surrounded by beautiful things and peace and quiet.  I purchased an old ink well on the strength of that particular dream or goal. Alas at the moment we are lacking in space and it is resigned to the loft until I have this wonderful office one day.

My next stop was Freecyle where I have received some wonderful things in the past. So I posted a “Wanted” advert on there at the weekend.  Lo and behold, a rather nice email popped into my inbox on Monday from a lady, telling me that she had a portable typewriter which I could have.  I didn’t ask too many questions, just when I could pick it up and arranged this with her.  The thing about Freecycle is when you collect that you are not obliged to pay for it.  I feel that if someone is giving you something for free, then it is only fair that you show them a token, however small of your appreciation.  So I took her a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, when times are hard, you have to share what is available.  The lady asked what I wanted it for since she though that no-one uses them anymore. I told her that I wanted something to photograph and that I was in the process of writing a book and feel that it might bring inspiration in my moments of writing. It had been her Father’s, she was pleased that it would be used, but wasn’t sure if it still worked. I said that I would give it a clean up and if it didn’t then I would just photograph it.  I did not look into the box until I returned to my car, then sneaked a peak inside the dusty and slightly battered case which surrounded it.

On opening it, it took my breath away, I must admit that I squealed with excitement too at this point as my eyes met a possibly 1930’s Royal portable typewriter, a little dusty, but otherwise in good condition with a ribbon in place.  It is beautiful and I am feeling very lucky.  I cannot remove the smile from my face.

I found some paper and tried it out.  It all works perfectly, I sent the lady a message, letting her know and she sent one back and wishing me luck with my book.

If anyone had asked me what I could have hoped for in a typewriter, whilst living in a small space. I couldn’t have described it any better, this is one which I can put away, when not in use, but enjoy whenever I like.

Gratitude, Absolutely Yes.  I love it and I am thrilled with it. Share your Gratitude.

 

 

The Library

IMG_2849A trip out to the Library was where it all began.
Imagination fired once more, mind running off again.
I looked at rows of books and piled some on the floor.
Hoped for peace and quiet, from ladies starting to jaw.
But I sat there and persisted, blocking out all other noise.
Although futile I resisted, children playing with the toys.
Wrapped up in a book or two, whilst they began to play.
There’s still a story to get lost, and while away the day.
Old books have been “Withdrawn” and are on sale by the door,
Pick a book not knowing, what it has in store.
Whether factual or a thriller, there’s so much there to choose.
A lover or a killer at only 20p, what have you got to lose?
Carpets torn and tattered, bookshelves empty and bare.
It’s hard to get excited, when there’s hardly any there.
But as you search among them and seize upon your choice,
You’ve finally seen one which matches your own voice.
There seems to be a moment, in which you dare to hope.
That when finding inspiration, there is always scope.
Take a moment get stuck in, spirited far away,
To other places far and wide, in corners of your day.
And as you are transported, off to another world,
You think of tales and they as they became unfurled.
What people are in there and their stories to be told,
Fact or fiction in this space, you’ll surely find pure gold.

This was inspired by my research trip to the library the other day. See In the name of Research, The Library and Books of Poetry  Photos: Morguefile.com

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In the name of Research, The Library and Books of Poetry

So since Today was a pretty grey day and I had some errands to run, I found myself walking past where I used to work years ago to visit the very unassuming library to do a bit of actual research, I was in a nearby town close to the family home.

Two things happened today, I ventured out to do stuff and in doing so, I put on a smart shirt, some perfume and some heels along with my jeans and a leather jacket, did hair and make up and felt like I had returned to the land of the living for the day. I refused to let the debilitating headache which has plagued for a week get the best of me today and now that the shakes have stopped (almost) I decided to get things done…

So having not got any answers as to how many poems in a book is a good idea. I thought I would flick through the shelves and look at the children and adult poetry sections there for inspiration or to at least figure that bit out.

I located one of the librarians who gave me directions to the bottom shelf, where I was faced with the grand sum of less than 2ft of one shelf with poetry books.  Hmm, I thought nervously, (and more than a little hopefully) maybe poetry is such a great thing that all the books are out.  Alas no, this was all they had, I hoped that my choice of genre was not a bad one after all.  That is not really going to light up my life is it, about 20 books!  Dismayed I sat cross legged on the floor, I opened the first book, the rough carpet under me since there was no sign of a comfy chair on which to sit and I was not going to be emptying the meagre shelf just for a look. I hoped that no-one would tread on me in their stampede on their way past to the craft afternoon which was just about to start and rather wished I had made the journey to the other old library, where I used to go as a child after all. Now that was all that you want a library to be. It was beautiful old building with solid wooden panels and shelves and you could lose several hours there with a good book looking out over some lovely gardens. Or perhaps the one in the nearest town to me, which is huge and has regular exhibitions and lots of seating.  But there I was for a a short time transported back to a world which reminded me that I love reading and if the floor is the only place to sit, it really didn’t matter.

I picked up the first book, which was a collection of the poetry that used to be on the underground. I was quite surprised that the book was over 300 pages deep, but then had large widely spaced text, small poems, one to a page or more and lots of chapter pages too, so a lot of that was information and credits.  There were over 100 poems though.  So if I am going to follow that route then I will need to write a few more and include all the ones I have already written.  

I picked up another book, of Love poems the contents slightly less at just under 200 pages, with about 20 of them being allocated to indexing and notes.

I found a few which only had 30-40 poems in them and some of them were also very short so it seems that there is a whole host of ways to go.

The things I noticed from my little bit of research about this is;

All the books listed the poems, in the index by the first line of the poem. 

Only some of them listed the poems by name.

They were not split into subject matter.

They were randomly included in each book.

Most had less than 180 pages including the indexes and afterward.

Almost anything goes…

So it seems that although there are no hard and fast rules about which way to go, for any of you who like me, are on the route to your first book of poetry, I hope this little list helps you out.

What struck me though was the bizarre mixture of poetry which jumped off the page and stuck in my head as I left there.  Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf by Roald Dahl, Still I Rise, by Maya Angelou and The Tyger by William Blake, all so vastly different.

I may have to visit the other libraries anyway all in the name of research of course! to see what else I can find out. I feel my research is incomplete, plus it will give me the opportunity to read a few more books and see what exhibitions are happening locally. Now who could pass up an opportunity like that.  Plus, I enjoy the silence with which to read, it makes the memories last so much longer without distractions. The silence was definitely missing in today’s library, there was noise and bustle and things going on, along with a loud conversation between the librarians about recycling and composting bags and how many of them they are selling at the moment.  Perhaps I am recalling times gone by, a flashback to the past, when libraries were a place for peace and quiet.  Perhaps it was that this was a small community library that they were holding events in the midst of it, so should I be seeking that serenity elsewhere?

 

Writing up the Past and A Pair of Shoes.

In the last few weeks I have been working on a novel, which relates to aspects of my past, so I have been digging deeply without trying to let it swallow me up. It has been difficult to both recall and write about. So the novel itself may be a long way off. Although I have started writing, I have been relying upon memories which have not all been easy to dig up again and so dealing with the demons which inevitably come out to play in the process. All whilst trying to maintain the status quo and a happy home life. It has been a bit of a strain and the posts over the past couple of weeks have been up and down along with my emotions and thoughts.

It feels quite cathartic to have finally typed up all my poems which have languished in the loft all these years, after finding them last week. There would have been 40 of them. A nice round number (and I do like those) if there weren’t two missing, perhaps I threw them away in disgust a reminder of a love that once was, but that is unlikely. I wrote an index of them all along with the dates they were written, even approximately if I didn’t know the actual one. There are bound to be others kicking about in notebooks, handbags etc which I may find years from now, the one I wrote for my friends wedding still eludes me, along with the other items which I have yet to find. I fear moving in case one of the items I have been searching for, gets disposed of, so I will continue to hunt for it until I can find it again, although that may take some time. Meanwhile, whatever gets thinned out is getting checked over very thoroughly for that piece of jewellery until it turns up.

I have tried really hard to not judge myself too harshly since I started to go through them, whilst muttering “Gullible child” under my breath quite a lot. The facts of the matter are that I wrote all of these during the ages of 16-20 and I was young and sometimes very foolish back then. There are a lot about my “Loves” from way back then. At least I can rest assured that I have grown up a lot since then. It’s funny how the inner voice conversations go though, when you read something going back that far about yourself. I found myself thinking about my transformation over the past year or so and telling myself, “Who are you trying to Kid, you are still the same person as when you wrote them“, whilst arguing the fact with my inner voice. I am not! (she shouts like a five year old, almost stamping her foot) Lots of years have gone by and I know that I have learned a lot, however it has not been a joyful few days and quite emotional and I have probably been rather teenager like at times. Just wanting to get it done in the single minded way, which isn’t really fair. So I have also been trying hard to get other things done for the family too, so that they aren’t left out. However I have still been able to relate to the person I was when I wrote them, not the ones which are about the Loves in my life, but about the feelings instead.

I will share only some of them, others’ I have deemed “not fit for consumption,” so will stay where they are, I resisted the urge to edit the hell out of them although some of them have been slightly tweaked, they are raw like I was back when they were written and they would lose their integrity and make them something new. Maybe that would be a good thing after all, but as yet I am undecided.

Anyway, here’s one I wrote and do want to share with you, It‘s called A Pair of Shoes, I wrote it 23 years ago. I laughed when I read it again, thinking that even way back then, I loved a metaphor. The shoes did actually exist, now if only I could remember which ones they were….

A Pair of Shoes

At the moment, I feel like a pair of shoes…. 

I bought them two years ago.
They’ve been in the box ever since.
I like them.
But I’ve never actually “Needed” them.
They might be useful at some point.
Occasionally I take them out and look at them.
I didn’t want to get rid of them.
Sometimes I try them on for size and they’re comfortable.
Then I put them away,
Until next time.