Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Daily Words of Wisdom

“The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle. Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up. Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.” 
― Joan DidionSlouching Towards Bethlehem

Monday, 30 March 2015

Daily Words of Wisdom

“Discipline allows magic. To be a writer is to be the very best of assassins. You do not sit down and write every day to force the Muse to show up. You get into the habit of writing every day so that when she shows up, you have the maximum chance of catching her, bashing her on the head, and squeezing every last drop out of that bitch.” 
― Lili St. Crow

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Daily Words of Wisdom

“Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer's work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book. The reader's recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book's truth.” 
― Marcel ProustTime Regained

Friday, 27 March 2015

Daily Words of Wisdom

“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they're going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there's going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don't know how many branches it's going to have, they find out as it grows. And I'm much more a gardener than an architect.” 
― George R.R. Martin

Daily Words of Wisdom For The Writer

Each day, I will post a snippet of Wisdom from established writers that may help your writing process. Enjoy!

"You have to write whatever book it is that wants to be written. And then, if it's going to be too difficult for grown-ups, you write it for children." ~ Madeleine L'Engle.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

What Do I Do When I'm Not Writing?

I have had people ask if I have a "Real Job," because writing isn't a "Real Job," right? Well, yes it is, but unfortunately, I'm not J.K. Rowling, and at this point in time, it doesn't pay the bills. So, what do I do? I am what is called a Historical Costumer; I make historically accurate, and historically inspired clothing. There's a difference, you ask? There is!

Historically inspired clothing is just that; it takes its inspiration from clothing of yesteryear. I might make a dress (which I did) inspired by Elizabeth's dress in Pirates of the Caribbean, which means it is similar in looks but not exactly true to the time.

Historically accurate clothing, on the other hand, is accurate to the time period. This means that the fabrics used are as close as one can get in this day and age to what was used back then. The sewing techniques used are those used back then; for example, no serged seam bindings, they are all hand whipped or overcast. For medieval clothing, or anything before the 1800s, the sewing must be done by hand only, as there were no sewing machines in Lady Jane Gray's time!

I currently make costumes for theatre, and have been making historical costumes for about five years. Before that, I started at 12 with my own dance costumes, and when my daughter took ballet, I made her recital costumes, and those for music festivals. I then kind of segued into making costumes for the entire dance school for year end recitals and festivals. When my daughter was in her teens, we both started taking flamenco, and I learned to make flamenco dresses.

Why do I do it? For the same reason I write; I love it. Does it make me rich? No, but it's rewarding, and does bring some money into the household, but thank goodness my husband has a "Real Job!"

Below are two examples; one of a historically inspired costume, and one true to the time, in this case, Edwardian.

Dress inspired by
Pirates of the Caribbean
Edwardian Dress, circa late 1800s


Friday, 13 March 2015

A Reprise of Some of My Reasons For Writing the Book

My book Penelope Parker: Witch in Training started rumbling around in my head a little over ten years ago. I played with it, wrote a couple of chapters, and made notes. Then Life intruded, and it sat collecting dust until last year, when I decided I wasn’t getting any younger, and the book was not going to write itself. (It did, but that’s another story.)
Penelope herself is based loosely on me as a child. I was gangly, a square peg in a round hole, and was mercilessly bullied. I also saw things others didn’t, and I’m sure my mother worried about me!
Gillian Barrington-Smythe, the antagonist, is also based on a girl I knew at school. She came from a rich family, and was spoiled and used to getting her own way.
The other characters just emerged fully formed from the recesses of my brain, and I’m not sure where they came from!
The name of the school Penelope was expelled from is also the school I went to in England, as is the name of the headmistress. Unfortunately, the school no longer exists; there is a council estate there now.
I love the Harry Potter series, but I always felt that a few more strong female characters would have been good, so I set out to do just that. There aren’t too many books in the fantasy genre that have a female as the main character, so Penelope was born, partly from me, partly from fantasy.

All the main characters are female, and the only males in the book are the fathers, Gwyddion and Marcus, Hecate’s brother, Paddy, and Jacob. I think that will continue, at least for the next book, and we’ll see what happens after that. I’m already working on the second book and hope to have the first draft finished by April if all goes well.

ADDENDUM: April is looking rather ambitious at this point! There is so much else happening right now, that the first draft probably won't be ready till Summer. The second book is titled "Chaos and Light", and continues Penelope's adventures.

Emerging Local Authors

I am fortunate enough to have been invited to participate in our Victoria Public Library's launch of Emerging Local Authors in April! This means our books will be in the library branches, which is great exposure. I am really looking forward to this! Look for "Penelope Parker: Witch in Training" in any Victoria Library.