#MidWeekPOV #wwwblogs Recharging Creativity

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Ever sit down to write and discover your creativity has closed up shop for the day? Oh, I don’t mean the so-called writer’s block, wherein you don’t know what to write next. I’m thinking more in terms of knowing exactly what you want to write, but the words showing up in front of you are looking really tired and uninspired. Maybe that IS a type of writer’s block, but whatever you call it, it’s darn annoying. Especially when you’re on a deadline, and you’re already running behind.

What do you do? How do you recharge and forge ahead, happy with your day’s writing again?

I have several old standbys that usually seem to work. I find great comfort in my garden. My backyard was a large, empty canvas when we moved into this house twelve years ago. Thanks to my husband’s beautiful brick pathways, it is now a series of patios and beds, with nary a blade of boring (to me) green grass anywhere.  Two years ago, before I started to spend every waking minute writing, it was really very pretty. Roses, salvias, honeysuckle, jasmine, and hanging baskets full of color were everywhere. Now, it’s a disaster, but I find cleaning it up and restoring it still works wonders for my creative renewal.

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My garden, BEFORE I decided to become a writer!

Getting out on the St.  Johns River is always good for my soul, too, and restores some equilibrium when my days have gotten out of control, and my brain feels fried. These days, I’m more apt to go out on the Naiad, the eco-tour boat that was my inspiration for the Undine, in Swamp Ghosts, rather than in my own canoe. (Old back, new pains.) But a boat ride with Captain Jeanne Bell, and her photographer husband, Doug Little, goes a long way towards sorting out my head.

boat on tourThe Naiad, plying the waters of the St. Johns River

And last, but by NO means least, I read. Losing myself in someone else’s fictional world is still my very best escape, and always will be, I expect. And the more complicated the real world gets, the more fantasy I lose myself in. For the first time in my life, I find myself moving past even URBAN fantasy, and into the epic stuff. I’ve been reading Brandon Sanderson and Robin Hobb for the last year, having decided magic in other worlds is just what my heart needs at the moment. And dragons, of course. Who knew how much I’d love them? I’m currently in the midst of reading our own Deborah Jay’s The Prince’s Man. Yep, fantasy is a great way to think about things far removed from the day’s headlines.

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Escaping into fantasy, and loving it!

I’m leaving shortly to do lunch with a new friend, which is in itself, another way to restore humor and sanity to my life. But, before I go, I wanted to ask what you folks do when your creativity gets sluggish? How do you recharge? Your turn! Come on, tell us. Inquiring minds wanna know.

Three for One! | Excerpt Week

The cover art for my three books.

The cover art for my three books.

With some friendly nudging from Marcia I’m finally getting round to adding my voice to another great excerpt week. I have three works available – two novels and a poetry collection – and thought I’d share a quick snippet from each.

Let’s start with a poem from Seeking Solace, entitled Goodbye.

Goodbye Mr Tiger,
your eyes they burned so bright.
I’ll think of all their golden charm
when I close my own at night.

Goodbye Mr Elephant,
so mighty, the ground it shook.
I’ll keep alive your memory
when I read my storybook.

Goodbye Mr Leopard,
so stealthy and so shy.
I wish it didn’t end this way,
I wish you did not die.

Goodbye Mother Nature,
so generous, so pure.
I don’t blame you for leaving us,
we’re sick and there’s no cure.

Goodbye fellow human,
I guess I’ll be alone.
When nothing else was left to kill
it seems we killed our own.

Next is an excerpt from False Awakening, a suspense story following a girl’s quest to reclaim her memories and solve the mysteries surrounding the night that led to the death of her friend and landed her in hospital.

The park was crawling with children as expected. It was the height of the summer holiday and the sun burned brightly above them. As they clambered up the ropes, thrashed around in the sandpit and raced each other to the swings, parents lined the benches by the edges of the play area. The town would have been consumed by the story of Holly’s death. This was an uneventful place; the kind where days drifted by so monotonously you would be forgiven for failing to notice; each one blurring into the next in one mass of happy, easy existence. Mothers would be watching their offspring like hawks now; fathers setting curfews, and children obliviously carrying on as though nothing had changed at all when in reality, everything had changed.

Last but not least, here is an excerpt from my first book, The Vessel, which follows a young woman’s fight to expose the truth in a corrupt and desolate dystopian world.

Light poured in through the open door and burned her retinas to the point of temporary blindness. She stood motionless, like a startled doe, bathed in nothing but glorious warmth. Clarity returned and composure allowed her to pull the heavy, steel door closed behind her and secure the padlock in place. The sound of her pursuers pounding their fists against the barrier that now separated them soon faded away, replaced by delicate birdsong and the sweet smell of trees. She was free.

Exhausted, Eva made her way through the dense woodland surrounding the complex. Crisp autumnal leaves brushed against her skin, while thick moss provided a soft, spongy pathway underfoot. In spite of all she had been through, she could not help but smile. In stark contrast to the dull greys and lifeless blacks that had engulfed her throughout the duration of her captivity, Eva’s eyes were bombarded with luminous oranges, glowing yellows and fresh greens wherever she looked.

If you’d like to check out any of my books or get more information, you can find them on Amazon UK, Amazon US and Goodreads.

Happy reading, everyone!

Excerpt Week | Seeking Solace

Marcia has encouraged us all to share excerpts from our works and seeing as she recently posted a wonderful 5 star review of my poetry collection, Seeking Solace, it seemed entirely appropriate to share one of the poems she mentioned as a favourite, entitled ‘Rise’.

RISE

Rise dear phoenix from the ashes
spread your wings and fly.
Wouldn’t they just love it
if you simply lay and die?

Little one, I’ll dry your tears
and bruises they shall heal.
For though they see the scars they make
they know not what we feel.

Be the light among the dark
and guide the lost ones home
to show we fight for what is right
and our hearts are ours to own.

So stand upon the rubble proud
for you are still alive.
It is not about the wounds we bear
but that we do still strive.

Seeking Solace is the most recent of my publications and features sixty poems on a range of subjects. You can find it on Amazon UK, Amazon US and Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to reading everyone else’s excerpts.

It’s Time I Introduced Myself

Having followed this blog for a while now, I know what a great community it is, but for reasons I won’t even attempt to make an excuse for, I haven’t actually posted here yet. So, I thought where better to start than with something of an introduction to my writing, since a mutual love of the written word is what unites us all.

Fiction was my first love but poetry has really captured my attention recently (so much so I plan to release my first collection of poems early next year). I’ve been playing around with haikus in particular recently and just put together this short piece that seems quite appropriate for the season, which I’ve simply entitled Winter.

Crystalline in beauty,
one in a dance of many –
Welcome gentle snowflake

As for my fiction work, I’ve published two books thus far, both of which are thrillers. My debut, The Vessel, is a dystopian tale of a woman’s struggle to expose the truth behind a corrupt government in a desolate world. My newest release, False Awakening, tells of a teenager’s quest to recover her memories and readjust to life after waking in hospital with no recollection of what put her there. Below is a brief visual snippet from each that will hopefully set the tone and give you an idea of the feeling in each story.

False Awakening

False Awakening

The Vessel

The Vessel

If you’re interested, you can find more on my blog, Amazon UK page, Amazon US page, Twitter or Goodreads account. I always love to connect with more readers and writers so by all means come and say hello.

All that’s left for me to say is thank you for having me; thank you for taking the time to read this post, and I hope to see you all around much more in the future.

All the best,
Callum

A Reader’s Manifesto

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Found any interesting articles on reading or writing lately? I found this one this morning, and there is some food for thought here, for sure. Check it out!

A Reader’s Manifesto: 12 Hardwired Expectations Every Reader Has

If you’ve seen (or written) anything you think the group could learn from or enjoy, please share! Remember, we’re all about Writers Helping Writers here. 🙂