Poem: Trans Day Of Remembrance

On the 20th of November was Trans Day Of Remembrance. This poem is for all the people who have died and face dangers because of being trans.

I can’t imagine

how it personally feels

to be personally persecuted

for my gender

and I’m ashamed that

so many cis people

think they have a right

to take someone’s life

or to injure anyone

for being trans.

Who gave you fuckers the right

to harass someone only

going about their business?

To cut the life short of someone

only trying to get on in the world?

Rest in peace to all the people

who have lost their lives

through this senseless evil,

my condolences and thoughts

go out to their loved ones,

may they find strength in this time

of grief.

May those who have suffered

in any way or face fear

find the strength to fight on and survive.

To the persecutors,

remember one thing,

you see a trans person

but that’s only part of who they are,

they are somebody’s offspring,

somebody’s parents,

somebody’s sibling,

somebody’s friend,

be kind to trans men, trans women

and non-binary people,

we all deserve the same equal respect,

nearly all of us face prejudice in some way,

we all are in minority groups of some kind,

remember that and reign in the evil,

we all have been given life

and we all deserve to be able to live our lives.

Writing 101: Editing

 

Hello everyone and welcome to part 8 of Writing 101. Today’s lesson is about editing. It is a vital part of the process but one which doesn’t bring a lot of enjoyment to many writers including myself. Personally it’s the part of the job I absolutely dread. It is probably because we are more creative in nature and editing ain’t creative. But it needs to be done.

So without further ado, let’s talk about the little monster called editing …

 

1.   Take Your Time

It is a very tedious process so you will have a desire to run through it. But don’t. Stay calm and do it at your own pace. Think of the big picture: you don’t want your book that you are very proud of littered with mistakes and loopholes. This is overlooked often but it is probably the best advice I could give you for editing so take your time and take each error one by one.

 

2.   Don’t Lose The Naturalness

When you are editing, there may be a feeling of wanting to take out chunks of text. But second-guess it for a minute. There may have been a reason you put it in in the first place. While most of your plot needs to move the story forward, I do think you need to leave in things that don’t. In everyday life, not every piece of dialogue or everything that happens is for a major reason or has major consequences so leave some of these moments in as they will make your story seem more natural and your characters seem more real.

 

3.    So How Many Drafts Should I Do?

That’s completely up to you. You could do ten drafts, you could go straight from draft to editing. A lot of writers do 2-3 drafts but you have to go with what you feel is right. It’s just all about when you personally feel the book is right. As long as you aren’t throwing out anything or over-editing your book then it’s perfect. If you don’t do many drafts, don’t feel lazy, it’s simply your writing style. And don’t be put off by writers who do lots of drafts. That’s just their writing style or they don’t do as many drafts as they let on.

 

4.     Spellcheck, Spellcheck, Spellcheck

With the amount of spellcheck websites you can find on the internet, you have no excuses for having lots of spelling errors anymore. Be careful though of Spellchecks as occasionally your word may be right and it gets confused. It’s rare so don’t worry too much about it. But 99% of the time, Spellchecks will be your best friend while editing so make use of them.

Some Spellcheck sites to check out:

http://www.spellcheck.net/

https://www.jspell.com/public-spell-checker.html

http://www.online-spellcheck.com/

Also if your piece needs to be a certain amount of words, Word Count sites will be a great help:

http://www.online-spellcheck.com/

https://wordcounttools.com/

https://www.countofwords.com/

 

5.   After Editing, How Will I Know It’s Right?

Reading is subjective so you will never know if it’s right for every reader. It won’t be. But you can only go on yourself reading the final manuscript and those around you. If you and those around you like it, go with it. When you have did all you can, be brave with your stories, believe in them even if someone else doesn’t. Learn from feedback but don’t be discouraged. Learn and put it to use in your next book. Even best-selling writers are always learning.

 

 Key Points Summary

  • Many writers don’t like editing. But it needs to be done.
  • Take your time to edit your book. Don’t rush through the process even if you really want to.
  • Don’t lose the naturalness of the story. While most things need to be there for a reason and plot progression, not everything needs to be. You need moments of mundane, everyday elements to make your story and characters more relatable.
  • You could do ten drafts, you could go straight from draft to editing. A lot of writers do 2-3 drafts but you have to go with what you feel is right.
  • Make use of Spellcheck and Word Count sites to help you in the editing process.
  • If you and those around like your book, let it’s wings fly. You need to trust the judgment of yourself and the people helping you.
  • Learn from any feedback you get but don’t be discouraged or take it personally. Keep writing and incorporate the feedback into your next book.

 

 

Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter By Kent Wayne Review!

 

 

Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter by Kent Wayne (2015) is a wonderful and gripping read with excellent descriptive detail. Set in the latter part of the 21st century, humans have left Earth and are now residing on a planet called Echo. 1200 years pass and the citizens living on Echo are being suppressed by society while the authority called the Regime rules over them. A large rebel group called the Dissidents are a source of concern for the police and military. Amongst all the chaos we find the protagonist Atriya, a former enforcer, whose idealist nature is in contrast with the oppression surrounding him.

It is a very action packed novel with detailed observation by the central character. As I read, I was reminded of Tom Rob Smith’s writing. Wayne has that same attention to detail which easily paints a picture of the various locations and characters in your mind as well as making a lot of information a reader needs to know accessible and easy to follow. There’s a lot of fictional military rank structures and Wayne makes it very easy to follow even for readers like me who wouldn’t have clue about how structures of rank work. The story also has an underlying social commentary element to it. You can’t help seeing similarities to our own world with those above and below the law but done in a fictional sci-fi way. It speaks about inequality, power struggles and oppression in society and how people often turn a blind eye to it to advance even though they can see the world is in a state of decay. It also represents in parts how people get socially-conditioned to a certain way of life and can’t understand when people bring up change or progress. Wayne also wonderfully captures the inner turmoil and confusion many people feel about this resistance to change structures and attitudes through the central character and I could definitely relate to that. But my favorite character and the character I identified with the most was Verus. She’s just this ordinary woman but really gutsy and seems to go for what she wants as opposed to what she thinks society wants for her and I hope to see her more in later books of the series.

A very interesting author biography is also included with the story as are the first three chapters of book 2 in the series which looks really good.

All in all, a brilliant read which leaves the reader wanting to see how Atriya’s journey continues and the story progresses in the follow-up novels.

To purchase Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter by Kent Wayne go to:

And for more information on Kent Wayne’s work go to:

My Novel Defying Gravity Is Now Available On Amazon!

My novel Defying Gravity is now available on Amazon. Set in London, it follows the love story of Ethan and Alan (although I call them Eth and Al most of the time), two ballroom dancers who form a dance partnership and fall in love along the way.

I loved writing the characters and I learned an awful lot about the ballroom world and the history of ballroom dance while writing the book. It wasn’t something I knew a lot about prior to starting my research for Defying Gravity so that was very interesting.

To purchase Defying Gravity go to:

Thank you! 🙂

Poem: Ordinary Extraordinary

 

 

He has a strength of character,

empowering,

gentle,

strong,

compassionate,

passionate.

The type of person

who inspires

and unintentionally makes

you feel like you don’t do enough,

the kind of person who is ordinary

and pushes themselves so much

beyond their limits.

 

 

And when he isn’t fighting for rights

and for attitudes to change,

he likes running marathons

just for the challenge,

learning about new foods

that keep him healthy,

painting and drawing pictures

that express himself and his ideas.

 

He’s the kind of activist

the right-wing fear,

one who pushes through fear

to get his point across

and that bravery is

inspiring of course

but it’s also kind of sexy,

much more braver

than someone going into a boxing ring,

he faces emotional insults daily

and most of all he’s the kind of activist

the right-wing fear

because he’s an everyperson,

ordinary and articulate

in extraordinary circumstances

in which he feels he has no choice

but to fight

and the best activists

can be found

when pushed to the limits,

the choices he makes come

from his brain

but they are most powerful

because they come from his heart.

 

 

Poem: Stars

 

 

 

It was a clear night,

she wrapped her fingers

through hers

as they rested on a blanket

and looked at the stars,

it was like a scene from a movie

only more mundane,

she listened as she told her

facts about stars and space,

suddenly interested in

something she’d never been before

because she was storytelling,

she kissed her on the cheek first,

courage stopping her from kissing her lips

though she really wanted to

then she kissed her back on the lips gently,

their first kiss,

they both blushed

and were unsure how to act

so they cuddled up in each arms

and she continued talking

about stars and the space

knowing they both felt

they were in a wonderful new galaxy

together

like stars in the sky

till the end of time.

Writing 101: Location/Setting

 

 

 

Welcome to lesson 7 of Writing 101. This time we will be dealing with location/setting in your story. Location/setting is important in stories. It’s not as important as character or plot but it’s still important to authentically write your setting and in small ways,sometimes large mostly in poems, it can even add to your piece.

So without further ado, let’s talk setting and location …

 

1.      I’ve Got A Great Character And A Great Plot. Isn’t That Enough? Is Setting Really That Important?

 

The honest answer is that in comparison to character and plot your setting isn’t as important. However it’s a nice cherry on top. For example, if you write a character from Ireland, it isn’t enough to just say they are from Ireland. You need to show an overview of what it means to be Irish. That doesn’t mean an old man in a pub sitting at the bar saying, “That young one is running around with all the men. She’s a right little hussy.” That’s a stereotype but you could do it because there is people like that everywhere. But what I more mean here is something like how catholicism was a strong force in Ireland but now it’s becoming an increasingly secular society so your character for example could be an atheist and you might have their parents from older Ireland not agreeing with that or likewise a catholic scared to seem behind the times because they believe in God. In short, let your setting bleed into your characters’ stories because in real-life the circumstances which surround us do impact on our lives and our views in varying ways.

 

2.    Research, Research, Research!

 

I have heard of many writers visiting the countries where they are setting their novel. It’s well if one can do that but not every writer is financially able to do that. But thankfully we live in a world where all the information we need is on the internet and in books. You can even get a feel for what it’s like to be in a country or part of a country by watching YouTube clips of the country or part of the country. But do research places in some way whether that’s books, the internet or TV because it will make your writing so much more authentic and readers will feel like they are there with the characters even if the writer has never left their living-room.

 

3.     Be Unpredictable

 

There is many novels and their location is very predictable. So many romances for example are set in sunny climates that would work just as well in a small building of flats anywhere. They are done for glamour and there’s nothing wrong with it but if you do that, the story still needs to be down-to-earth, the characters still can’t be caricatures and the glamour of the location can’t take over. Likewise many thrillers are set in cities that are thought of as gritty. There isn’t anything wrong with this either but it would be interesting to see a lot of them set in a sunny climate. The predictable setting is fine but vary it up a bit. That way, you’ll see new avenues you can go now with the story that are fresher than many stories and help yours stand out.

 

4.     Time Is Setting’s Cousin

 

Going back to the example I said in the first section, 1950s’ Ireland would be completely different to today. So if you had an atheist in your story, they more than likely wouldn’t say they were openly. They might feel guilty about it or they might be ahead of their time and know it’s fine to be themselves but they more than likely wouldn’t say it out. Fast-forward to now and they could be as free to be themselves as they wanted to be. So time needs to compliment setting and vice versa. After all time is a huge part of your setting.

 

5.      Have Central Settings

 

This is good news. Yes, you’ll have to know these places very well but the good thing is you get to choose the places so pick places that you’ll be comfortable writing a lot about. Usually it’s the character’s home and work place/college/where they volunteer and somewhere they like to go like a pub or a cafe. Setting is not a major part of stories but it does add a consistency and a realness to your work. We all have certain places where we spend a lot of our time and your readers will get familiar with the places your characters spends most of their time in. In a sense their house, etc … are like very minor characters but still they add much needed detail to the overall story.

 

Key Points Summary

  • Location/setting is not as important as character or plot but it is important in it’s own right.
  • Your setting gives your story an overview and helps your readers understand the circumstances that your character faces.
  • Let your setting bleed into your characters’ stories because in real-life the circumstances which surround us do impact on our lives and our views in varying ways.
  • Research your setting/location very well. Use the resources which are at your disposal like books, the internet and TV to help you to write your setting authentically.
  • Predictable settings for genres are fine but unpredictable ones can also freshen your work up.
  • Make sure you factor time into your location.
  • Work hardest on your central settings. Your readers will begin to associate your characters with these settings.

 

 

Culture Vulture Express Wins Real Neat Blog Award!

 

Real Neat Blog Award

 

I was recently nominated by petrel41 from the blog Dear Kitty. Some blog for the Real Neat Blog Award. I accept the award and would to thank petrel41 for this wonderful award and for taking the time to read my blog. It’s all very much appreciated. 🙂 Make sure to check out their blog too which is wonderful.

In accepting the award seven questions were put forward to answer which I have done so below:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

Most views come from the United States but I also get a lot of visits from the United Kingdom as well.

2. What is your favourite sport?

My three favourite sports are football, tennis and hockey. I always grew up supporting Liverpool from when I was 3 and I used to play tennis with my sister a lot when I was younger on the tennis court in Oldcastle which was where I grew up. I also used to enjoy playing hockey in school. But all in all I watch a lot of sport but I don’t really play sports. The fitness tests in school I found a nightmare.

3. What has been a special moment for you so far in 2017?

I was very proud of my article being featured on the Bi+ Ireland website. Being both pansexual and Irish, it was nice to be featured. We still live in a time where many people who fall in the middle of the sexuality spectrum face a lot of prejudice from both straight and gay people so it was an honour to be part of a project where I could be so open as an Irish pansexual person and so many other Irish bi+ people could be too. It made me feel less alone.

4. What is your favourite quote?

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

I adore writing and literature so English was my favourite. But I find in schools, writing and literature is made quite uninteresting. Maybe that’s why so many people think it is boring. But despite all that I love any opportunity to read and write pieces. I also loved history as it was mini stories of non-fiction and I had a teacher who made it feel like a continuing story. And I also liked CSPE as it was all about social issues and politics. We only were able to do it up to Junior Cert and it’s the only A I ever got between the Junior and Leaving Certificates which probably says a lot about how passionate I am about equality. My mum was absolutely chuffed with the A.

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

I think to worry less about the future. When I was younger, I didn’t know where I was going in life. I still don’t but I don’t worry about it as much anymore. Everything tends to work out in the end not too badly.

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

I would love to be able to play a musical instrument. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to play guitar, drums and keyboard. I’m not giving up but I don’t think my mind is wired to play musical instruments. I have a lot of respect for musicians. They make it look so easy and it really isn’t.

 

The rules of the award are as follows:

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My seven questions are:

  1. What is your favourite type/genre of book to read and do you have a favourite book?
  2. If you ruled your country for the day, what law would you bring in?
  3. What three words would you use to describe yourself?
  4. What made you want to start a blog?
  5. Who is your favourite music artist/band?
  6. What is the thing you’d most like to do in 2018?
  7. What is your plans for your blog?

I am nominating the following blogs because I want to show that I appreciate their work but they are under no obligation to accept and/or complete the questions.

 

My nominees are:

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

Cindy Knoke.com

Dazed and Still Dreaming

Carries Book Reviews

Moody here

Roth Poetry

The Tony Burgess Blog

Ultimatetravel

Ricardo Sexton

Blase’

Percolating Poetry

Bedtime Stories

The Militant Negro

Die Erste Eslarner Zeitung

Shehanne Moore

 

Congratulations everyone! 🙂

Real Neat Blog Award, congratulations to thirteen nominees!

Dear Kitty. Some blog

Real Neat Blog Award

Late in 2014, I made this new award: the Real Neat Blog Award. There are so many bloggers whose blogs deserve more attention. So, I will try to do something about that 🙂

It is the first award that I ever made. I did some computer graphics years ago, before I started blogging; but my computer drawing had become rusty 🙂

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My seven questions are:

1. Where do most…

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