My Jottings

Hi…I am actually blogging again after nearly a year of silence, and I’m talking about JOTTINGS! I hope you don’t think that this is the only subject I write about. My silence does mean of course that I’ve been busy writing a novel and it is being published right now by MATADOR. It is called WHEN THE ICE MELTS.

Words in the English language can cause confusion. Perhaps my first jotting will amuse you. I was given this small exercise to do at a Creative Writing Course many years ago. I had to use other spellings of the same word:

THE REIN PAWED DOWN

The rein pawed down and the plant looked up, at this heaven scent gift from above. It stretched and grew as this sauce of life sent its routes a quivering with love.

The trees shook there bows and the leaves danced a real, as the droplets reined down from the skies. The sun, knot willing two be left out, shone harder and harder and harder.”

***

My latest book’s title, WHEN THE ICE MELTS is a case in point. When we talk about ice, people immediately think about snowy conditions, skiing and driving in bad weather, perhaps. Or it could be the cubes of ice that we put in our drinks. But, there is another meaning to the word. Grief, or hatred can cause people to build ice into their relationship with others.  Here is a tiny excerpt from my book: John is talking to Sarah about their burgeoning love affair…

“Ice? I don’t understand.’

“Yes ice. You see ice is cold and it covers things up, but if that same ice melts, it uncovers all sorts of things. But if the ice doesn’t melt and the cold increases, it only gets thicker.

WHEN THE ICE MELTS will be available soon. Watch this Space.

***

Now that I don’t have to edit…edit…edit my story, my thoughts have turned to my other writing projects. I have recently had a few problems with my computer. They are the most frustrating machines, and I managed to lose a few of my favourite files, including the beginnings of two novels. As you can imagine, I was quite upset. It has taken weeks to search for some of my older “jottings”, but they have completely disappeared too.
So, nothing undaunted, I searched through my paper files!
My study now looks as if a whirlwind has just passed through it. FILES EVERYWHERE…

Ah success! I’ve found some really old “jottings” on some scrappy pieces of paper, and I thought I would share some of them with you.

Take this for example? I wrote this one many years ago. Have you ever thought about the windmills you can see turning slowly and majestically on remote hillsides as you drive along… Indeed, do you like them, or does their mere presence upset you?

FARMING THE WIND

“They stand high on a lonely barren hill like so many ghostly trees with their greedy arms reaching upwards and outwards.
They feed on the unsuspecting wind as it rushes relentlessly towards them. The hapless wind is trapped and immediately consumed.
They whir round and round in their loneliness, with their outstretched arms pleading for deliverance.
Will these tall, white, hungry powerful aliens be allowed to multiply and march onward to the horizon, forever seeking the higher ground? Will their voices ever be loud enough to be heard and understood? Or will they become the victims of uninformed or closed minds and, just like the dinosaurs, gradually disappear into obscurity?”

I think the jury is still out, especially if the blades are not turning!

***

This little poem might appeal to someone who is contemplating moving house.

A NEW BEGINNING

A new beginning?
Or just the end of a life,
That is the question.

Where am I going?
Away from this blessed place,
To live life anew.

My heart rejoices,
It flies as free as a bird,
Up, up and away.

It is time to go,
Time to find another home,
Where love is golden…

***

The moon shining on the sea has always fascinated me. But have you ever thought how it could affect all the creatures who live there?

THE DARK SHADOW

The moon spread her silvery light over the ocean, throwing each wave and ripple into incandescent relief. Each wave obeys her mystical command until at last all its energy is spent, and it releases itself on some far away shore.
Beneath the sylvan waves, the small creatures of the deep are born and rocked in their watery cradles. They reproduce and then die…or are swallowed by the dark shadow overhead.
Under the moon’s watchful eye, little flashes of silver dart too and fro, each one seeking shelter from the shadow above. The sands shift with each passing tide, thus covering and releasing everything in its path.
Even an old sea-going vessel now wrecked and lying on its side, is a vague shape and part of the sea bed with only a few darting fish for company.
The plants of the deep, ebb and flow with each tide, and dance like a mermaid’s long flowing tresses. They give shelter to the silvery flashes still hiding from the dark menacing shadow overhead.
Millions of eyes look out from fissures and rocks, as they see the shadow’s sleek body pass by, before venturing out to be caressed by the sea like a young maiden’s kiss.
But the dark shadow, with its small eyes alert, is itself wary of yet another dark, metal shadow overhead…

***

Here are Two very SHORT STORIES:

THE HIGHWAYMAN GHOST WITH A CONSCIENCE, MAKES RECOMPENSE:

The highwayman ghost sat on his horse just before a dangerous bend in the road. A car raced toward the bend oblivious to the danger ahead. The ghost reared his horse up in front of the terrified driver, causing him to come to a shuddering halt.
The ghost cheekily doffed his tricorn hat, and quickly disappeared!

***

TAKING A GIANT STEP FOR MANKIND:

Bright moonlight lit up the car where a young couple were sitting. They sighed and looked up at the moon. ‘Do you think the moon is really made of cheese, Buzz darling?’ the young girl
said dreamily.
‘I don’t think so, but if you really want to know,’ he said jokingly, ‘I’ll go up there and find out for you.’

***

I haven’t looked at any of these for some years now. I like to think that you, the reader, might enjoy them. I hope you do.

 

 

 

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The Jottings of a Writer

 THE  JOTTINGS  OF  “A WRITER”

I sometimes find it hard to to think about myself as a writer, or an author. But I suppose I am. I will never forget the day I picked up my first published book. I felt I had arrived!

I started taking writing seriously after attending a Creative Writing Course, and having made lots of friends, we decided to start up the Haslemere Writing Circle. After a few years, this group unfortunately folded, but we still meet up every now and again to discuss what we have not done,  done, or are doing.

For a time, I was on the Committee of The Grayshott (Hampshire) Writing Festival which was great fun and I met several well-known writers and poets, who also gave me the inspiration to write. I might add, that my daughter runs a copy-editing business and my eldest son, has so far published three books. I love writing down my thoughts and those of my characters. As a writer you can take your characters anywhere you fancy: even to the moon if necessary. My least favourite aspect of  writing, as most writers will agree, is editing, editing…and still more editing. It has to be one of the most boring but extremely necessary aspects of the writing process. I love reading, and I’m drawn towards books containing strong characters,  unique story lines that are well written and described and those which have a proper and a satisfying ending. I would be pleased to say that I have a regular routine for writing, but I don’t. My writing routine is erratic to say the least, but as I write, my inspiration does not come from music, but from the view of the beautiful Surrey Hills I can see through my window, and the sound of the birds.  I am a great lover of music especially opera, but not when I am writing. I would be closing my eyes and nothing would ever get done, or finished.

I have always liked writing short stories:  there is something satisfying about  telling a story without too much padding.  You get to the centre of the story quickly and keep your reader guessing how it will end – twisted or otherwise. So, I collected a number of stories with a love, or lost love angle. I decided I would try my luck with Smashwords and Kindle, and FIFTEEN BRUSHES WITH LOVE was born in 2013.

Fifteen Brushes with Love (72dpi 900x600) These stories range from the heat of Madrid in the early 1800s, the love life of a concert pianist, a dream-man in a portrait comes to life, the closure of a theatre, to the dreadful feud between a Santa-doll and a beautiful fairy as they try to gain supremacy on the top of a Christmas tree! And my favourite, the story of elderly Agnes, as she mourns the death of her young husband during the war. She sits at her window overlooking the village green and waits for him to return. Two of my other short stories have been published in anthologies.

A PASSING STORM was my first published book. Having enjoyed writing short stories, I felt that I should move on to writing a full-length novel. My original thoughts had centered on THE EMPTY-NEST SYNDROME and how women coped with their lives once their off-spring had left the nest, and the novel blossomed from that point. I finished it in 2006 and sent it off to various mainstream Publishers under the romance genre and although some editors said they enjoyed it, it was not taken up by any of them. During this time self-publishing was trying to gain a foothold and I sent it to a company in Canada to be published POD. Everything seemed to go well and I sold several copies. However, once the company was taken over by a larger company, everything seemed to go wrong: over-priced books were not selling well and any royalties before the take-over were not paid. In the meantime, I had decided to publish my second book (PAPER DREAMS) through Matador, a self-publishing imprint of Troubadour of Leicester. So, in 2012, I decided to terminate my contract with the original publisher, and re-publish it through Matador.

PAPER DREAMS is my second published book. I’ve always been fascinated by books, old and new and I hit on the idea of sending a librarian to catalogue a vast number of books in an ancient crumbling mansion. The main character, Katie, discovers an old love-letter hidden in an old book in the creepy attic. I then thought about how the discovery of such a letter, could impact upon other people’s lives. Thus PAPER DREAMS was born. This story, like A PASSING STORM, is basically a romance, but it does contain some quite dark, scary moments!

My latest book is ‘WHEN THE ICE MELTS. Before agreeing to switch off the machine keeping her husband Tom alive following an air accident, Solicitor, Sarah Wenham’s conscience convinced her that there was no alternative. Since then, it has condemned her: THOU SHALT NOT KILL is one of the deadly sins! Sarah is grief stricken, and builds a wall of ice around her emotions. Although this story is a romance, it is full of suspense. Sarah spends a short time on a beautiful Greek island in the sun. Whilst there she meets honey-tongued Theodorus Antonopoulos and unwittingly insults him. He now has revenge in his heart. Once she is back in England, Sarah is stalked, and then kidnapped. John Bradley, who really loves her, is searching for her. But…time is running out for Sarah! How, when and why the ice finally melts, is the nub of this suspenseful, yet heart-warming story! I am actively seeking a traditional publisher for this story.

My latest writing project involves the fictional, yet very English, village of LITTLE PIDDLEWICK! Such goings-on…  The idea for this book came from one of my writing friends, John Holt, after he had read my short story of “EVIDENCE FOR BURNING”. Thank you, John.

I attended a Water-Colour Painting Class which really inspired me. It has been a purely personal achievement as I have never sold any of my paintings, but I do hang them on the wall at home and have given them away to friends and family. I painted the cover of my book A PASSING STORM and I’m really proud of it.

As a member of a local amateur dramatic society, I performed in many plays and pantomimes over the years and I was asked to produce one: a full-length comedy (A BEDROOM FARCE, BY Alan Ayckbourne). I found this to be a stimulating and wonderful experience, a little nerve-wracking in performance, but well worth the effort. A Bedroom Farce is quite a challenge as it involves three bedrooms on stage at the same time.  But it worked brilliantly. By this time, I had written three one-act plays. Directing and producing them, was also quite an experience, but I had to think of them as being someone else’s work at the time, because the temptation to change things was always there in the back of my mind. Unfortunately, during those cash-strapped times, the society had to close due to lack of actors and back-stage crew.

I always loved singing and was often asked to sing in concerts at school. I started singing properly in pantomime and then moved on to musicals and operas. During this time I was encouraged to take singing lessons. My singing teacher often used to say to me that she didn’t believe that anyone was ‘tone-deaf’ and that everyone could sing if they breathed properly.  As a trained soprano, I played quite a few small roles in an amateur Opera Group, but my first principal role was as one of The Queens in Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta ‘The Gondoliers’. I am still singing, but being a writer, I don’t have so much time, but together with a handful of friends and with my lovely husband at the piano, we entertain groups of people at various functions.

All the things I’ve achieved in my life so far, have not in my opinion been huge, but to me they have been really important and significant. There is a definite dichotomy in my make-up, in that I can stand up and sing solo in front of 1,200 people in a theatre, and yet, although I’ve flown many times in the past, including flying to Australia on my own to visit my sister, I now find it difficult to climb into a plane: even the thought of it terrifies me.

I have loved all the things that I’ve done, which include bringing up our three lovely children, and enjoying their gorgeous children. We have received unreserved love from four beautiful golden retrievers over the years. Out last dog, Bailey, died eighteen months ago. We have a large garden, and I often imagine that I can see him bounding off into the woods…

Now, I must get back to dreaming about LITTLE PIDDLEWICK…!

My website:        www.phyllisburton.com

My Blog:               www.burtonblogs.wordpress.com

Facebook:            https://www.facebook.com/phyllis.burton.14

Twitter:                https://twitter.com/PhyllisBurton

AskDavid:            http://askdavid.com/books/2903 ( Independent Author

Network).

Amazon.com & amazon.co.uk

Smashwords:     https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/PhyllisBurton

Linked-In:           http://www.linkedin.com/home?trk=nav_responsive_tab_home.

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Christmas…Ahhh

Christmas…Ahhh.

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Christmas…Ahhh

CHRISTMAS  –  Ahhh

     “Well here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun.” Human beings are funny. We all traipse around the shops before Christmas trying to find the perfect presents for everyone on the shopping list. We hurry home and feeling exhausted, collapse in a heap, still singing the carols that each shop plays endlessly. I feel really sorry for all the shop assistants who have to listen to them every day, over and over again.

Later once all the shopping is finished, we spend hours wrapping the presents and writing little cards to friends and family. Perhaps it is a good thing that we don’t always see the recipients opening their presents: I’ve often wondered how many of them end up in a cupboard, or even given to someone else as a birthday present. But I’m always mindful of the old saying ‘It is better to give, than to receive.’

Once all the present buying is over, our minds turn to food. Christmas Food! It is totally different to normal food and we buy enormous quantities of it. I hope you’re not like me and put it in the back of a cupboard, only to find it a few weeks’ later. I think we all buy more food than we actually need…just in case…you tell yourself! We order the turkey, make or buy the Christmas Puddings: make or buy the mince pies and make or buy the traditional Christmas fruit cake with lashings of brandy poured into it. Ahhh…and the house starts to smell really wonderful.

Every year we trudge across a muddy field, dig up a Christmas tree, and place it in the corner of our sitting room and every year I promise to replant it in the garden afterwards. Well, it does salve my conscience a little. I retrieve all the decorations from previous years and whilst listening to yet more carols, decorate the tree. When it is finished I stand back to admire it.

       Can you see the fairy with the squashed nose on the tree? My dog tried to eat her once and I haven’t the heart to throw her away. See this fir cone? It was painted gold by my little daughter, and this tiny stocking was knitted by my son! Look here’s a paper star with crumpled points and a miniature book:  the poor tree is sagging under all these precious memories.

     And before I know it…Christmas is over, it is Twelfth Night and the decorations have to come down. Oh, how I wish I could leave them there a while longer. Would some dire disaster befall me, if I did? Everything will look so bare!  Without Christmas the long winter would stretch on for ever. Look, the tree is dropping some needles. Never mind dear tree, once we have planted you in our garden, you’ll soon be able to stretch your toes again.

 Now where did I put all those old cardboard boxes? And is that a really fat fox I can see creeping around our garden?

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News, Views and Clues on the Global Ebook Scene – It’s Bigger Than You Think!

News, Views and Clues on the Global Ebook Scene – It’s Bigger Than You Think!.

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ROMANTIC SHORT STORIES!

Do readers like short stories?

No, don’t stop reading this… even if you really don’t like them. You can read a short story in bed and be satisfied that you know what happens to the hero or the heroine before you turn the light off and go to sleep.  If the short story is part of an anthology, you could even read two stories before going to sleep.

Short stories have to be concise, which requires a certain amount of precis talent.  What writer hasn’t tried to cut down the number of words, especially if as in a competition, you have a restricted word count?  It is also advisable to keep the number of your characters to a minimum, otherwise you might stop your reader from getting to sleep whilst trying to work out ‘who’s who’?  You can turn a sentence around completely and lose a few words, and you can cut out all the adverbs which to my mind doesn’t always result in interesting writing.  Next you can cut out most of the ‘thats’, ‘nows’ and buts’ and all extraneous bits of information preventing the story from going forward.  You cannot go off on a tangent in a short story, unless of course, your story has a Twist in its Tail!  So what are you left with? A tight piece of writing, hopefully.

In May of this year, I sorted through some of the short stories I’d written and came up with fifteen I considered would be suitable for a book:  and so FIFTEEN BRUSHES WITH LOVE was born.

All fifteen stories, although very different, are centered around LOVE, but there is no erotic content.  Love is such an over-used word, because it can mean different things to different people.  As in THE VILLAGE FETE, elderly Agnes sits waiting patiently for her husband to come back from the war.  In ALL FOR THE LOVE OF ANNA, a piano takes centre stage!  In A DOLL FOR CHRISTMAS, a little girl loves a ‘dolly’ in a toy-shop window and in CHRISTMAS FEUD, Santa and the Fairy fight for supremacy at the top of the Christmas Tree with some surprisingly horrific results!   In PORTRAIT OF A DREAM, a young woman is drawn to the National Gallery in London, by a mysterious thread.  Was it all a dream?

SWEET DREAMS:      

http://www.amazon.com/Fifteen-brushes-LOVE-Phyllis-Burton-ebook/dp/B00COTQX88/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1384427533&sr=1-1&keywords=FIFTEEN+BRUSHES+WITH+LOVE

Any comments would be appreciated, please.

 

 

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Tom Winton’s latest book: A SECOND CHANCE IN PARADISE

Tom Winton has been well-known over recent years for his wonderful books, such as FOUR DAYS WITH HEMINGWAY’S GHOST, BEYOND NOSTALGIA and WITHIN A MAN’S HEART (so GOOD, I read it twice).  Tom’s latest book A SECOND CHANCE IN PARADISE was published this week and I have pleasure in sharing this with you.

A  SECOND  CHANCE  IN  PARADISE

Long Island salesman Sonny Raines has had it. He’s sick and tired of living in a world where wrong always wins over right. Then, on his thirty-ninth birthday, when he loses his job and comes home to the most devastating shock of his life, that’s it. He’s dropping out. 

With nothing left to lose, and little in his pocket, Sonny chucks it all and drives his aging van fifteen-hundred miles to the lower reaches of the Florida Keys. All he wants is to get over his recent losses and simplify his hectic life, and that’s exactly what he thinks he’s doing when he settles on a paradisiacal speck of an island known as Wrecker’s Key. While surrounded by the warm aquamarine waters of two tropical oceans, he not only falls in love with the key but also establishes a close bond with the free-spirited locals who call it home. 

But all isn’t blue skies, swaying palms, and coconut oil on Wrecker’s Key. There’s trouble wafting in the warm breezes that caress the island. Although Sonny certainly isn’t looking for romance, he finds himself falling for his next door neighbor. Ex-model Julie Albright just may be the kindest, most beautiful woman to ever grace his eyes, but there’s a snag. She has a small physical flaw that, no matter how hard he tries, Sonny can’t overlook. And his feelings are no secret to Julie. She can read them, and they weigh as heavy on her heart as they do on his. Then things get even worse. One night, under the cover of darkness, danger drifts up the deep, silent currents from the lower keys—serious danger—life and death danger. And Sonny Raines finds himself right in the middle of it.

As soon as I stepped outside I broke into a trot. Passing all the rest of the trailers first then heading up the same narrow road I followed Julie home on the night before, all I could do was think about how she must be reacting right then. I envisioned her staying in her bed alone, thinking. I could see quiet tears making their way down her cheeks. We may have only known each other for twenty-four hours but the mutual attraction we felt – both mental and physical, was undeniable. And it was deep. I knew for sure she really liked me, but there was a lot I didn’t know about Julie. Alright.

I had no idea she hadn’t had a semblance of interest in any man since her modeling days ended sixteen years earlier in New York City. Nor did I know that back then she was engaged to Mark Richardson, a very promising young attorney. Mark was about to become the youngest partner ever at Dalrymple, Stockton and Stockton, one of New York’s most prestigious law firms. Julie and Mark had been dating for two years, and they had a big wedding planned for that fall. The ceremony was to be held in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, followed by a reception at the Waldorf Astoria. Money was no problem for Mark’s parents and they insisted on buying the grandest wedding available. His father, J. Walter Richardson of Scarsdale and Palm Beach, just happened to be the sole heir of the “American Grains” breakfast cereal fortune.

At that time Julie was one of the big up-and-comers in the modeling world. As a matter of fact, she was just about to cross the threshold to cover-girl fame. But it never happened. One June morning, when she was on her way to the biggest shoot of her career, her sunny future eclipsed totally, and in an instant.

Sitting in the back seat of a Checker cab, she was headed uptown to the world-renowned Clairidge Studios where she was to pose for an upcoming cover of Vogue Magazine. The sun was beginning to shine, but Madison Avenue was still slick from a late morning rain. Julie, who was sitting behind the driver, cranked down the window and held her left hand out in the breeze, drying her freshly applied nail polish. Then, just as the cab was crossing the intersection at 44th street, another cab, heading east, didn’t bother to stop for the red light. The driver of the at fault cab, one Eloi Hernandez, was so toasted on coke he didn’t even notice the light had turned red. Thoughts of stopping never entered his hopped-up mind until after he’d sped into the intersection – and slammed broadside into Julie’s cab. The impact to the driver’s door was so forceful that her driver’s neck snapped so far sideways it literally cracked. The two vehicles then skidded, smacking sideways into each other, crushing four of Julie’s fingers in the process.The driver of Julie’s cab, a Greek immigrant from Astoria Queens, whose name she never learned, was dead by the time the ambulances reached the scene. Julie was rushed to Mt. Sinai Hospital where a team of three plastic surgeons performed micro-surgery in an attempt to re-attach her fingers. Her middle and index fingers were salvaged and the nerves regenerated in due time, but her pinky and ring finger were so badly mashed there was no possible way of saving them. Eloi Hernandez did a short stint on Riker’s Island; the Greek was buried out in Queens by his family; and Julie’s potential international fame never materialized. On top of all that, when Mark Richardson found out Julie had lost two fingers, he decided that just maybe he wasn’t ready for marriage after all. After knotting the loose ends of her life together the best Julie could, she returned to Ft. Lauderdale with lost dreams and a broken heart.”

Tom Winton has been listed as an Amazon Top 100 Author in Literary Fiction. It has been said *that he is a man who writes with his pen dipped in his soul. 

Born in New York City, Tom has done everything from working on a railroad gang in the Colorado Rockies to driving a taxicab in Manhattan. He’s been a mailman, a salesman, an entrepreneur and more. He now lives in Florida with his wife Blanche and their ill-tempered but loveable Jack Russell terrier, Ginger. They spend part of their time in Carmel, Maine.

***   ***

If you haven’t yet read any of Tom Winton’s books, you have missed a real treat.  To read or buy please go to:

http://www.amazon.com/Tom-Winton/e/B005H2T7AA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1384354588&sr=1-2-ent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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