After much thought and mithering, I finally have my very own bonsai tree – Percy. He is a pepper tree and I hope he realises I do not have green fingers and he needs to be strong while I learn his requirements.
I love trees and The Ellfaenian Journals are inspired by the quirky unique trees I have seen in reality or in a photos. They all have a tale to tell even tiny ones like Percy. My hope is as he grows and develops so will the word count of the journals. Fingers crossed he will survive.
If you are a bonsai expert any useful tips would be much appreciated. The responsibility of Percy feels more pressing than the responsibility of looking after Nigel, my dog. At least he can tell me what he wants.
May slipped by and June has been here a week so it must be time for a quick cuppa and a catch-up.
Though I have made inroads to my WIP with nearly 50,000 words, I began to be overwhelmed by the disjointed scenes my brain had conjured and my inability to arrange them in a coherent chronological order. I found myself caught in a writing slump. Luckily, I heard that Shaunta Grimes was doing a course – ninja write a long (NWAL) and this was an opportunity to revisit my synopsis and characters; to get back on track. It is early days but I feel more upbeat and determined to finish Amber’s tale and a secret project, one Elsie is excited about.
My plans to be organised for the beginning of NWAL fell apart with an injured hand and then a weekend hospital admission. Though my hand is better than before, physio and painkillers are the way forward to get it back to full use. If I was slow before, I am on snail pace now.
This is the month for taking stock and moving forward towards my goals.
I plan to
follow NWAL’s mantra to read and write every day
enter two writing competitions
solidify my characters and backstories
arrange my scenes into chronological order – a big task
research settings for Amber and Willow
research Whitby history and folklore
delve into the world of witchcraft and Druidry
Make mood boards for my main characters
Books read in May
Some unique and wonderful books have been read in May including my favourite of the year and possibly my lifetime.
The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton. I was eager to read this after reading the short story Alive. It did not disappoint.
We Others by Sue Bentley. This book has got under my skin for its imagery, setting, and characters. If you love fantasy and magical realism find a copy and enjoy. My review on Duvet Dwellers Books is here. It is Elsie’s favourite book too so I apologise in advance if it is talked about a lot.
The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper. A romance it has a unique premise of a woman aptly named Melody sings when anxiety kicks in. It’s funny, heartbreaking and clever. There is an accompanying playlist to give the reading experience an added layer.
When I began to develop Willow Anderson, an important character in the journals, I knew as a witch and proprietor of The Enchanted Emporium herbs and remedies would play a significant part of her life. What better way to get into her psyche than grow some myself. Last summer I took cuttings from the plants of green-fingered friends and miraculously grew. Elsie and friends must have helped because I have the anti-Midas touch when it comes to gardening. Some are now in bloom.
Flowers blooming in June
Nature and their gardens are important to all the witches in the journals bar one, so what better way to research this aspect of their lives than record the cycle of my own fledgling garden and others on Instagram, please follow #willowswitchsgarden to find out more. Or even better use the hashtag #willowswitchsgarden so we can be nosy and see the wonders in your garden. June has brought a border of colour.
I have been missing in action this week- on here, social media and shamefully writing. All geared up at the start of the week I was ready to finish my first draft of The Ellfaenian Journals. I had Megg Geri’s How to Write a Novel in 30 days and my journal in hand and I had reconnected with the Ninja Writers course that set this blog in motion, I was motivated to write. Life had other ideas.
After a short traumatic incident which I don’t wish to relive in words or in my head, I hurt my good hand. The hand I rely on for everything especially typing and using my phone. Writing until now has been reduced to a muddle of letters that roughly allow the phone to autocorrect texts for requests for more medication and cups of tea from my daughter.
On the plus side I have gained inside information for several scenes in the journals, my antagonist will feel my pain and more, and I have the first-hand experience of the NHS today which will help form the reality of a story. Spending time in under the duvet also gave me time to finish We Other by Sue Bentley – review coming soon. As a writer, I love the idea that even in the darkest moments, there are snippets of information and experience we can use for later in our work.
My focus, while I wait for the hand to heal, is remembering the moments of calm before the storm. When peace and inspiration were key; notes were taken while listening to birdsong and appreciating the Yorkshire countryside.
I am currently reading Coffee Break Companion, a collection of short stories, poems, and work by S L Grigg. The title says it all – this book is ideal to read on a coffee break or those moments in the day when you can snatch a few moments to read. Book review will be with you shortly.
Sharon Grigg, who writes under the pen name S.L Grigg, made it her new year’s resolution to publish her book ‘Coffee Break Companion’ during 2018. After bouncing back from mental health problems following the death of her husband from a brain tumour in 2009, Sharon was struck down with kidney and other health problems, believed to be linked to having the Essure sterilisation device she had implanted back in 2008. In September 2017 she underwent major surgery to have a non-functioning hydronephrotic kidney removed at the same time as a full hysterectomy to remove the essure device.
Just two months after setting her goal Sharon launched the collection of dark, short stories and poetry on Amazon. Many of the stories were written during Sharon’s battle with mental health.
41-year-old mother of two, Sharon says “For me publishing was never about, money or fame. I just wanted to be able to hold a copy of my book and say, ‘I wrote this’ and now I can.”
Meet S.L Grigg
I am pleased to say Sharon has joined me today for a natter and a cup of tea to discuss her book, writing among other things.
Kate Kenzie: What is your favourite book?
S.L Grigg:Oh, so many to choose from, I’m sure it changes all the time depending on what is my favourite of the things I have read recently. I don’t think I could choose just one all-time favourite. In that respect I kind of envy those who have a clear favourite like Harry Potter fans, or something. I have a few favourite series, like the OtherWorld Series by Kelley Armstrong and The Hollows series by Kim Harrison. I guess my current favourite book would be Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarty, loved it and the show, and the soundtrack! Can’t wait for Season two of the show!
Kate Kenzie: I love that series by Kelley Armstrong, though I was disappointed by the TV version, Bitten on SYFY. My favourite characters are Jeremy and Paige. Who are yours?
S.L Grigg: I agree the series didn’t live up to the books in Bitten, my favourite characters are Savannah and Paige.
Kate Kenzie: Who is your favourite author?
S.L Grigg:As above really, so many in addition to those mentioned I also love James Patterson, Adam Baker, Dean Koontz and many more
Kate Kenzie: What is your favourite drink to have next to you while you write?
S.L Grigg:Whilst I am writing I will usually have water or tea (white, two sweeteners, must be the colour of He-Man to be right, don’t leave the tea bag in too long, I don’t like it mashed!)
Kate Kenzie: Is your writing influenced by the books you have read?
S.L Grigg: I guess it is a little, I like to write quite dark, thriller type stories with a hint of fantasy or sci-fi and I do read a lot of books with those types of themes. You would be hard pushed to catch me writing or reading and enjoying romance/chick-lit or historical, even the classics, I’m not a fan of overly elaborate writing, long flowery words and excessively heavy description put me off, so I wouldn’t write that way either.
Kate Kenzie: Where is your favourite place to read or write?
S.L Grigg:Curled up on the sofa, with the family around, we might not be talking as we will often all be buried in our own reading, writing or laptops, but it’s nice to just be together 😊
Kate Kenzie: When did you begin writing and how did being published come about?
S.L Grigg: I started writing as a child, at 11 I wrote my first full story (which features in Coffee Break Companion) and I also wrote a collection of illustrated stories based on the Puffalumps back then. Being published came about as it had always been my dream to be able to hold an actual book and say ‘I wrote this’ so I set it as my New Year Resolution for 2018 (I don’t’ normally do resolutions) and within 2 months I had made it happen!
Kate Kenzie: If you have a genre you write, how did you begin writing in this style?
S.L Grigg:As above, I write in a few and I think they are influenced by what I enjoy reading myself. I think if I would enjoy reading it, I can write it, and that’s generally what I do, write things I would enjoy reading.
Kate Kenzie: You have had a lot of health problems, has being chronically ill influenced your writing and changed its direction?
S.L Grigg:When I was suffering with my mental health writing was like therapy for me, I blogged like crazy at that time and wrote a huge amount about my personal experiences and understanding of Borderline Personality Disorder, it helped a lot in my recovery. I needed to understand my condition to overcome it. Many of my other health problems I’ve not written about much, but I think I will probably write more eventually. I have put much of my BPD writing together so I could publish that as a book if I can get round to tidying it up and finishing it off!
Kate Kenzie:I love your poems My BPD Existence, Don’t and your short story Loneliness. Reading your poems and stories many of them are emotional and feel personal, did you find it difficult to share these in your book?
S.L Grigg: Yeah, A lot of my stories and poems come from personal experience, I’m comfortable with sharing them, and my next book will be about BPD from my own experience from discovery to recovery from the condition