My friend and I went on a super day road trip yesterday (avoiding any human contact of course!) It was a day of nature, history and some surprises. Our main destination was Hard Luck Canyon, which has a time line to show the human events that occurred as the canyon gradually continued to form. I loved this sign noting the beginning of writing. Something unique to humans and without which we would not have stories.
I will share a little writing history with you, if I may. It is generally agreed that the earliest form of writing appeared almost 5,500 years ago in Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). Early pictorial signs began to be substituted by a complex system of characters representing the sounds of Sumerian (the language of Sumer in Southern Mesopotamia). It is not clear which civilization invented writing first, but Egyptian writing has some Sumerian influence. The earliest proof of language existed in the Kish Tablet found in Iraq. The first written story was the The Epic of Gilgamesh. It is a mythologized account of an historical figure, Gilgamesh, a ruler of the Sumerian city-state of Uruk, believed to have ruled sometime between 2700-2500 BC.
This has given us a written, rather than verbal history, along with tales of Gods and Goddess’, fables, fairy tales, history and knowledge of the world around us. Just for fun I am also sharing the longest words, currently in circulation.
The current champ!
Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis – refers to a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of very fine silica particles, specifically from a volcano; medically, it is the same as silicosis
Welsh place name.
Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (llan-vire-pooll-guin-gill-go-ger-u-queern-drob-ooll-llandus-ilio-gogo-goch), a Welsh word (place name) that translates roughly as “St Mary’s Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel near a Rapid Whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the Red Cave”.
This one is fun and ironic!
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia – the fear of long words.
And one we all know and practiced until we could say it as children.
The longest word in Shakespeare’s works is Honorificabilitudinitatibus
Some of the delightful surprises on our trip were – Minions, a Tinman, a castle and a lighthouse.
I hope this blog post finds you well and safe. Reading is an important portal into other worlds, where we can all escape for a while.
With the opportunity to read a lot more, I have been looking at my book shelves for inspiration. Re-reading a book after a number of years can surprise and delight us once again. It maybe because we have life experiences to reflect on or the story has new meaning.
As you can see it is an eclectic mix of authors, genres and publishing dates. There are a couple of childhood books that I have kept, such as Hiawatha, The Illustrated Book about Africa and Grey Rabbit and the Wandering Hedgehog as well as a history of Bucklebury.
I also have a lovely collection of fellow authors books, which I have bought, won or been gifted. I love reading emerging author’s work as they have such unique viewpoints and narrative styles.
The origins of ‘Boxing Day’ are steeped in history and in my naivety, I assumed everyone had or knew of Boxing Day. Growing up in England my understanding was that it was an old tradition to open gifts the day after as Christmas Day was spent in church and then feasting.
The exact etymology of the term ‘boxing’ is unfortunately unclear and although there are several competing theories, none are definitive. Money and other gifts were traditionally given to the needy and to those in service positions, such as servants. The European tradition goes back to the Middle Ages but its exact origin is still unknown. There have also been claims that it dates back to the late Roman/early Christian era. It is known that metal boxes were placed outside churches to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen. In England it was the custom in the nineteen-century for Victorian tradesmen to collect their ‘Christmas boxes’ or gifts on the day after Christmas in return for good and reliable service throughout the year.
The name could also derive from another old English tradition, where wealthy landowners would allow their servants to have the 26th off work to visit their families in return for a smoothly run Christmas Day feast. Each servant was given a box containing gifts and bonuses and sometimes leftover food! Also around the 1800’s churches would open their alms boxes and distribute the contents to the poor. These boxes were filled with monetary donations from the wealthier members of the congregation.
No matter which version you would like to believe, Boxing Day is still an enjoyable holiday and one spent with family and friends, enjoying the ‘left overs’ and new gifts.
This time around, I’m writing a screenplay. I see a new space opening up in Transformation/ Transformation thrillers. The inciting idea was watching a young man open his 23ANDme results and discovering that he was not related to either parent or his siblings.
How did you come up with the title?
Serf, in early Christian times ignorant and powerless French peasants worked the land, handing most of their hard earned labours to the local Lord.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
When change happens slowly people don’t necessarily notice it until it’s happened. Politicians are corrupt, and groups of young adults attempt to publically prove the consequence of a bad political decision can be overturned. They captures the unwanted government attention, just as they are about to graduate.
Anyone can capture anyone’s attention.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
It only takes one action to start a movement.
How much of the book is realistic?
It’s based on our normal North American history, but where one political decision made 4 years earlier launched a new direction, and how one privileged young man searches for answer to a personal dilemma in this new political environment.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
They are completely fictitious and living in my head.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
This one is written specifically for the Netflix 5-year Series. No other sequel, but the books will spawn 2 more from the same Story World. So far, I have over 200 story outlines. My biggest problem isn’t coming up with ideas; it’s finding the time to write and to STICK TO and FINISH 1 story.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
Honestly, I don’t have favorites. Each has their uniqueness, secrets, and quirks. I just jump from brain to brain when the moment calls.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
Mystery, missing persons, and thrillers have always been my favourites. Today I see the transformational writing space opening up and am interested in producing transformational thrillers. Curious? The Matrix is one.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
I used to be a seat of the pants style writer. Now I outline EVERYTHING to develop intriguing layers first, to ensure that it works. (Fiction) In business writing, you plan everything.
What is your best marketing tip?
It takes MONTH’s to launch a book properly.
Use your book as a tool to get interviews, lots of them!
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
Good question, as a digital marketing expert, social media could very well be the most disruptive tool ever seen, or when used effective, they greatest tool to grow your audience and sell more books, attend more conferences, and to maybe get a movie deal.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
It’s cathartic. It’s my outlet. It lets me release the ideas in my head.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
Maybe 6. I may have rewritten my cartoon to run stories the way I wanted them to turn out. Fan Fiction circa @1983
Has your genre changed or stayed the same?
I’ve always writing the mysteries/missing person thrillers in fiction. For work, because social media and digital marking is ALWAYS changing, I’ve had to rewrite old books and keep putting out new ones. That’s why they are never in print.
What genre are you currently reading?
Thrillers, mystery, crime, Psychological drama’s in fiction – business and marketing books and biographies in non-fiction and biz.
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
I use to read far more for pleasure, not I read mostly for work.
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
My brother from another mother. We are each other’s biggest content creation supporters.
Where is your favorite writing space?
Comfortable bustling coffee shops where I don’t know anyone.
Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
I used to belong to Inklings until a few years back, most crime writing, but not for a few years. I belong to one of the many #12WeekYear now, for HIGH productivity
If you could meet one favorite author, who would it, be and why?
Two come to mind: For science and for decades I’ve always wanted to meet James Burke. These days, I’d love to interview Malcolm Gladwell.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
I am partially connected to many cities. I’d like to live a winter to WRITE in Prague, Florence, or Seville, or most other locations where old cobble stone roads are the norm, little watering holes has people speaking English as a second language and the locals LOVE to share their stories, history, and folklore.
Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. For work, I regularly produce technical writing, copy writing, blogs, articles, even copy for explainer videos. For myself, I write Novels, Outlines and Screenplays.
Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?
I drink as I write all day; coffee mostly, then water, a specialty soda is a treat.
What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?
Start the next project. No rest for the wicked
TITLE: Online Research Paths: Fake or Real?
Once the internet became available to the masses, new opportunities to collect and post data fueled new research.
However, not all information online is true. Still, there are many rich information resources to collect information, post queries to request information, and apply listening tools to seek information not yet posted. There is truly no limit.
How can you use this great online resource to your advantage yet not waste value time?
This interactive class explores online search methods, queries, and untapped resources. Catherine invites you to bring your search queries, mobile devices, and questions.
As you can see I have been bust enjoying our road trip and did not schedule this post, so apologies for being late today. As writers we gain inspiration in numerous ways, so the question today is. What has been the most inspirational or fact finding trip you have taken?
The photo is of money from around the world found in a small hamlet pub on our trip this week.
Last week’s question: Where would you go for the perfect writing retreat?
Pamela Allegretto The island of Capri at the top of Anacapri.
Bren Leyland Oxford. Or a room that overlooks a green space or garden.
Mandy Eve-Barnett It will come as no surprise that I would choose Rome or beside an ocean.