Bookish Banter

All posts in the Bookish Banter category

Is life just a game? Just a series of lessons? Or is there more to it? Do I need to dig deeper?

Published May 28, 2020 by Laura Crean Author

Is life just a game? Just a series of lessons? Or is there more to it?  Do I need to dig deeper?

If you are a Christian or a gamer or maybe a Christian gamer or just part of the game of life – read on… (also included if you follow the links Sonic the Hedgehog Trailer and other gaming and book links)

It’s OK to say I have experienced a lot of pain and trauma in my life and I need to learn from it and grow, but what does that look like?  If we have to learn something then that implies that the pain and trauma, the suffering and hardship is a teacher, right?  Well, the thing with having a teacher is, you are and I am the students.  And at some point the student has to learn, grow up and move on and become the teacher – so what does that look like?

Well, as I said, if the teacher is pain and suffering, well that’s what the teacher looks like!  That paints a picture in my mind of Jesus on the cross.  And if life is just like a game and a series of lessons to be learned, then life also is a teacher, right?  We are all in this together – the teachers teaching the students and the students becoming the teachers and so the cycle continues…and life may be a game but we are all characters in that game – without the characters, there is no game and the game would have no meaning.

This week I have been at home on annual leave, trying to take stock a little.  Trying to look inwards and see where I am going.  I started off the week worrying about all the things I thought I should be doing while I had the ‘time’ – gardening, house hold chores, writing my novel, catching up with art projects, paying bills…and the list went on!  Until I felt like it was more stressful to be not out working that actually out working.  So I stopped that and I can’t get that lost time worrying back but I can learn from it.

Now, it’s helpful to have metaphors to use to look at ourselves and our journeys, and I’ve used those metaphors in my art and writing as all artists do.  ‘The Realm of the Purple Dragon’ was a way for me to express myself in a time when I needed some healing.  “There is a time and a season to everything under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 – It’s just a children’s book.  A fun, I think clever, light-hearted story for children (for my inner child who needed it at the time).  And aren’t we all just children at heart?

Lately I have been thinking of just abandoning all the creative stuff that I try to ‘put out into the world’ and just focus writing my blogs as a way to talk to my children.  Sending them to them as personal emails, because I have come to the conclusion that this is all that matters at the end of the day after all – our connection to our children.  And in the same way, our connection to our Heavenly Father as his children!  Because as much as we want to think that we make a huge impact on the world and the global consciousness and effect change on a grand scale by our efforts – that’s just our egos talking.  Maybe a very few do have some impact, but in the most part we are all just tiny parts of a big machine.  We are all just players, programmed and running around the program doing what we have been programmed to do.  And unfortunately the world we are living in is computer gaming on steroids!

If you know me you know I like to learn from my dreams.  The symbolism I see in dreams and the world are a language that seems to communicate to me.  I like to think it is a conversation I have with my creator, and prayer I have found, for me anyway, certainly does get responses or answers, some answers are more profound than others, and sometimes it is loud and clear but more often than not it is harder to hear.  But I continue listening all the same.  Well last night I dreamed I had these huge embarrassing hairs on my chin – which does happen by the way, but these whiskers or hairs in the dream were huge, like hedgehog spines!  Bear with me, this is all related to the game metaphor, I swear…

Recently, last week actually, I watched the new Sonic the Hedgehog movie because when I was in my twenties and a young mother, that was the game we played with our children; apart from Spyro, which is what inspired ‘The Realm of the Purple Dragon’.  But sonic was harder to play in a way, even though it was a simple concept, because it is a fast game.  You have to think on your feet as it were and make quick decisions with obstacles.  It is essentially a race.  You run around like a loony collecting gold rings and trying to get to the end as quickly as possible.  But with that fast pace game (another metaphor for our fast paced living perhaps) you can’t slow down to look at the scenery – to observe the beauty of the artistry of the game’s background design.  And sometimes you also miss the hidden places where treasure is to be found!  Maybe that’s part of what the dream was trying to tell me; to slow down and smell the flowers so to speak.  To sit quietly and look for the treasure in this game of life; to talk to the kids, to read my bible and seek wisdom (God’s hidden treasure in his word) to re-charge my batteries and to have some fun; some joy and peace in the moments.

And what of the spines?  Those hard thorn like follicles of hair on my dream self’s chin?  What message is trying to be conveyed here?  Well, these spines represent a beard firstly.  So a beard, what does that conjure up in my mind?  Well, perhaps as we think of men as wearing beards, it must represent masculinity, strength, power and perhaps wisdom – as the longer you grow a beard, the older and wiser you should technically be!  The image of the statue “The Thinker” also springs to mind.  Stroking your chin or beard or leaning on your chin may be an indication of deep thinking; perhaps wisdom again?  Also hair represents a covering, a protection of vulnerability, more power!  –   To be honest I’m not entirely sure what this imagery is trying to tell me!  Maybe I am spending too much time running around like Sonic the Hedgehog trying to keep myself safe, looking too deeply at things?  Trying to do it all myself under my own strength –  maybe I need to look deeper?  After all those hard spines could be used as a weapon – so maybe that is my strength – my wisdom and power!  Well what do I consider to be wise?  Knowledge worth having?  The only knowledge and wisdom I consider of any worth is that found in the word of God. 

And so this week I am listening inwardly at that quiet conversation between my God and myself and paying attention to the signs.  He says, “stop trying to run around like a loony doing things under your own steam, you’ll only burn yourself out!  Remember that I am in control and have the controller in my expert hands.  After all I designed this game and I know where you are going, even if you don’t” and “I am for you not against you”.  “I want you to win!  And you will win.  It’s just a matter of letting me play out the game.”

So as God takes the controller and I run on under his steam not my own; I can sit back and look at the scenery, the awesome design that I am a part of and keep my eyes open for the hidden treasures as I go.  And as I learn the secrets of the game – become the teacher and pass on those little cheats, those little nuggets of wisdom to my children, perhaps I can pass them on to you too through my writing and my art.  That’s my power, the gifts that God has given me after all, so I shall power up and get on with it.  But not this week.  This week I’m on holiday in my garden – well that’s how you have to roll in this lock down world we are living in.  And yes, I will stop to smell the roses!

Who Am I?

Published September 8, 2019 by Laura Crean Author
When I was 14 I wrote this little poem; I think many a teenager with your typical teenage angst will relate, and maybe a few adults as well: –
 
Why am I here on this planet of ours?
Why do I do what I do?
How come I make the choices I make?
Which door do I go through?
 
How did I get here?
Why was I born?
How do I know if I’ll see the next dawn?
 
How can I hear?
How can I see?
What is the reason?
And why am I me?
 
The questions we ask
we must answer ourselves,
if we can’t find them,
wait till life tells…
 
Well 32 years later and life has taught me a lot, but my life never made sense until I found Jesus or rather he found me; and all the confusion, fear, doubt and anxiety was washed away.
 
Today at church we had a guest speaker – Thomas Fretwell, and he spoke on the subject of identity. His book “Who am I” is next on my reading list – in today’s confusing world, not only do individuals suffer with identity crises but society does too. There are so many World views, philosophies, gurus, voices…
 
I know the voice I listen to – do you?
 
My identity is as a child of God. If you want to explore who you are and do a little soul searching, maybe this is a good time and place to start.
 
Who Am I by Thomas Fretwell
51el7C2FywL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_

Bookish Banter Valentines Day Special – Featured Author – Phoenix Rainez

Published February 14, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

With Valentines Day on everybody’s minds I thought it would be great to feature a romance novelist here on the Bookish Banter today.  With the imminent release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie there seems to be a real frenzy around the genre.  Everybody loves a bit of romance – after all Love makes the world go round, doesn’t it?  So snuggle up in front of a cozy fire, with a nice bottle of bubbly and some chocolates and get ready for a story to set your heart a fluttering; but if you were expecting a run of the mill, boy meets girl, falls in love and sunset ending romance story, then think again.  Let’s turn the heat up a few notches… (this book is strictly 18 years + so please be aware of that fact)

Introducing today’s Spotlight Author…

75544angnet038

Phoenix Rainez

download

Phoenix Rainez is the pen name of Angie Neto, a loving wife, mother and carer from Norfolk in the United Kingdom. By day she is an extremely dedicated and caring lady who looks after those that need a large hearted home carer and by night she takes to her laptop to become Phoenix Rainez, sizzling romance novelist.  I interviewed Angie, AKA Phoenix Rainez, to find out all about her début novel and her experience of writing.

What part of this beautiful planet do you call home?

Norfolk, UK.

Hey, it’s nice to have a fellow Brit on the Bookish Banter for a change – doesn’t happen often.  Let’s have a cuppa tea and settle in for the rest of the interview…

Which genre do you prefer to write in?

Romance of course.  I’m an incurable romantic from the tips of my toes to the ends of my hair.

Of course!  Just right for today.  Tell me – why do you write?

Because it’s like living a dream, a dream I create and control.  Well, I try to until the characters take over.

My writing takes me into a place of amazing places and interesting characters, who live through so many emotions that I often shed a tear while writing that scene.  To lose myself in chapter after chapter of a story I am writing is magical for me.  I feel the highs and lows of every scene I write as if I was really living each moment.  For me there is nothing more exhilarating than writing a story I want to tell and reading it back afterwards is quite an adrenalin rush.  To think I really came up with those ideas.

Ah yes, the thrill of writing.  There’s no other feeling like it is there?  

Is there a particular book that you are promoting at present?

Yes.  Second Chances.

BookCoverPreview[1] (2)

Could you tell us a little bit about it?

It’s no ordinary “girl meets boy” love story but a romance that starts at the end and ends at the beginning.  What I mean is, their “happily ever after” happens right at the beginning and needless to say ends where the story would normally start…

A girl after being dumped at birth and growing up in an orphanage , suddenly finds herself fast forwarded into a world  of fashion, fame and bright lights until she meets him…her dream Prince Charming, but not to give away any spoilers, she soon discovers love is not all she dreamed it would be.  As you read you witness the emotions and changes that take place in her life and how she struggles and almost fails to overcome them.

The whirlwind romance she lived with her Prince Charming is now a scar on her heart.  Her pain is too deep to ever love again.  But fate is not done with her yet, and life still throws her curve balls, as she has to face the loss of people she loves and somehow find the courage to face another day.

Phew!  It sounds like quite a ride.  Doesn’t it?  I had a sneaky peek at some reviews of Second Chances and here is a snippet of those…

HERE IS PART OF A REVIEW FROM FEATHER STONE –
click on www.amazon.com/dp/1501022539 to read the rest of her review.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
“The book cover. Amazing. It is impossible to just glance at this book cover. Immediately, a reader wants to pick it up, get a closer look.  It shouts intrigue and romance.
As I fell into the plot of Second Chances, my first reaction was that this is a sweet romance story. Then Phoenix Raines turned up the heat – a lot. Oh my! I was hooked. As the plot moved on, I felt the darkening mood. As the crisis enveloped me, I went without sleep to get to the last chapter. I had to. The characters had become so endearing, so real, that I needed to know how the hell they were going to resolve their troubles. Then Phoenix turned out the lights. OMG! Survival became paramount.”
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Well I couldn’t leave it at that could I?  So I don’t do this with all my Bookish Banter Authors, but I just had to pick up a copy of the book.  Now I’m afraid I’m a real book gal!  No electronic downloads of ebooks for me.  I just have to have the real deal in my hands.  So I waited feverishly for the book to land on my welcome mat and as soon as it came I tore into the package.  The cover was stunning and when you start to read the story, you really start to picture the girl on the front cover.  I’m not going to give anything away.  The story is explosive from the get go.  The characters tell it themselves through the wonderful relationships and the pace is quick – life really move for these characters and you just get caught up in the whirlwind and just have to ride it yourself to see where it goes.
So Angie is this part of a series?  (I ask in anticipation)
No!  Is the simple answer she gives me.  But don’t be disheartened there is more writing to come from this romantic soul.  For a sneaky peek at what she’s up to just check out her website and especially her works in progress on Wattpad.
So are you working on anything else at the moment?
Yes.  My next novel due for release towards the end of 2015, will be my fantasy romance The Colour of Love.  Two strangers meet in their dreams and try to find each other in the real world.  Or are dreams just fantasies of the mind, never destined to come true?
Oh my goodness!  I can’t wait to find out…
Have you had any major stumbling blocks to overcome?
Sadly yes.  There was the crucial period where I could not face another page of editing Second Chances.  I really had lost the plot and if it had not been for my unbelievably committed beta reader Jae’s  inspiring words that brought me back on track and I quote “You really must start viewing editing in a more positive light!  Think of it as another chance to be creative in the world of your finished story.  Yes you need to check for plot holes and typos, but it’s also a chance to take your shoes off and run barefoot through the meadow of a world you haven’t been for a while.”
Great quote.  He sounds like a very inspiring guy to have around you when you feel like throwing your manuscript out Angie.  Someone you need to keep you on track when writing becomes a drudge to help the magic flow again.
Does your work require you to do research and how have you approached it?
Not really as all my stories are from my imagination, although reading other romances and watching romantic films , has given me a guideline to work from.
Yes.  I agree with you there Angie.  I think even if you don’t need any official research on your novel, at the very least you should keep reading while you are writing, because it keeps those imaginative juices flowing.
How do you plan out your story?
Plan, who me?  I am definitely not your regular type of writer.  I have no plan in mind when I start writing and write as it comes to me.  An idea drops into my cogwheels and I write a couple of paragraphs or maybe a chapter and then do the unspeakable.  I write the ending and sometimes write word for word the last paragraph, and I work towards that.  If I do feel I am getting lost half way through then I will sit down and write a brief guideline  for each chapter to the end.  Which will also give me a vague idea how many chapters are left to write.  An odd quirk of mine is that I don’t like to finish on an odd chapter number, it just has to be an even number, otherwise it just doesn’t feel right.
Sounds like a plan to me Angie.  Every writer works differently, you sound like you have a good strategy for getting from A to B and it works for you.  You would probably be surprised at how many authors just start writing and see where it leads.  I mean how many times have I been told, if you have writers block – just write!  You can’t finish a novel if you don’t start typing!
Do you use an Editor to help you?
Yes.  I don’t think any writer should work without an editor.  I have a very patient editor, Desray Rowe and my beta reader who I mentioned previously.  They will go through chapters over and over again till we are all happy it reads just right.  Not forgetting the all-important proof  reading required just before you publish.

 Indie or old school?

At the moment I am an Indie publisher but hope to submit one of my books to a traditional publisher in the near future, just to test the waters and see what it all entails before I decide whether or not to stay indie or attempt further traditional publishing.

Do you belong to any writer’s groups or on-line writing forums and do you think they help?

Yes I do and I find that the support I get from other writers is so encouraging.  They are open to helping with advice and suggestions to improve your marketing and help you reach a wider field of readers by tweeting and promoting your books on their websites.  In particular I’d like to mention the WP-Indie Authors and BooksGoSocial.  I have met so many amazing authors and made lasting friendships.

That’s great Angie.  A real advert for getting social and sharing your love of writing with others.

Who is your favourite author and how do they inspire you?

I don’t have any one in  particular but the authors that have inspired my writing would have to be Stephanie Draven, Judy Feather Stone and Nikki Kelly.  From reading their incredible novels I discovered that in my genre of  fantasy, paranormal romance, there are no limitations to your imagination and you can create any world you want and your characters can be anyone and do anything as long as its believable.

What do you do to relax?

I read and write poetry.

Do you have a promotional video or trailer?

Yes on YouTube     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygMGVxlf7OE

Have you got any tips for writers of your specific genre?

As this is my debut novel and my first experience in publishing I can only say at this moment in time, read as many books as possible.  If there is an author you particularly like, follow them on their websites and see what makes their books stand out from the crowd.

How do you think your writing has improved since you started writing your first novel?

A vast improvement.  Especially after working through my debut novel, Second Chances, with my editors, beta readier and proof reader.  I have learnt so much from them on where and how I went wrong and what I should do to improve the quality of my writing.  When I look back at how Second Chances was originally written I actually cringe to think I let people read it that way.

I have learnt there is more to writing a story than just putting words onto paper or a screen as in my case, but there is this whole other side I did not know about.  The “show and tell”  syndrome.  This was my most valued lesson.  Readers want to be shown what is happening, not told.  My descriptions of scenes had to be more acute so as to take the reader into the places and emotions the characters were experiencing.  I learnt to put my senses into play when writing scenes, putting myself into my character’s head and behind their eyes and describe what they are seeing and feeling.  It was an exciting learning curve for me.

Thank you Angie or should I say the scintillating Phoenix Rainez, for taking the time out of your busy schedule this Valentine’s day to tell us all about your exciting life as a Romance novelist.  For anyone interested to find out more about Phoenix Rainez and her books here are her links:-

Amazon –  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1501022539

Angie’s Website – https://angieneto.wordpress.com/

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/phoenixraines20

Tumblr – http://phoenixrainez.tumblr.com/

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/phoenixrainez

Wattpad – http://www.wattpad.com/phoenixrainez

Twitter  – https://twitter.com/PhoenixRainez

Enjoy your Valentine’s weekend everyone and don’t forget to pick up a copy of Second Chances to get those pulses racing…

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Bookish Banter – author/artist Spotlight List 2015

Published January 3, 2015 by Laura Crean Author

Bookish Banter

I am always interested in interviewing fellow authors, artists, poets and possibly musicians for the Bookish Banter Spotlight.  So please let me know if you would be interested in an author spotlight in 2015.  If you are an author, poet, artist or just want to generate interest in what you do – then please talk to me.  Let’s make our creativity shine this year and share each other’s wonderful work here on WordPress.

Also I would love to be able to do a blog tour myself as I  haven’t done one yet.  If anybody would be interested in hosting me, please let me know.

❤ Laura ❤

Eastbourne book fest – come and feed your imagination

Published May 23, 2014 by Laura Crean Author

Eastbourne book fest - come and feed your imagination

It is the start of the Children’s half term holiday, the sun is shining and they are looking forward to some fun in the sun. Maybe a trip to the seaside, picnics, ice-cream, rambling in the countryside? Children should be free to explore the world around them at times like these. They need to get out of those stuffy nurseries and schools, get off of those computers and consoles and stretch their legs and imaginations, play with other children and… be free to have fun!

When I was a kid, I loved nothing more than watching the holiday kids’ TV on a school holiday morning and then escaping out to the park with my bike and possibly a book and a picnic, play with my friends or sit under a tree and read – just let my imagination soar.

What better way this school holiday to combine all of that than to come to Eastbourne, enjoy the sun and the seaside and join in the book fest festivities. Whether you are 3 years old or 93, Eastbourne book fest has it all, poetry readings, fiction readings, workshops and story time in the park for the little ones. Dust off those reading glasses, dig out the sun cream and feed your imagination…

ebf_tall-tales

‘My Writing Process’ Blog Tour

Published May 18, 2014 by Laura Crean Author

Image

It seems I have been invited to join in with a blog tour.  I have never been a part of anything like this, so I want to thank Jean Reinhardt for asking me to participate in the ‘My Writing Process Blog Tour’.  To see Jean’s answers to the blog tour questions and find out more about her work you can visit her blog by clicking on her name in this introduction.  Since I haven’t had the time to organise any Bookish Banter interviews recently I thought I would include this post in the Bookish Banter category.

Jean: What are you currently working on?

Laura: Well Jean, you know I’m always working on a million projects at once, that’s why it takes me so long to finish anything! Procrastination is my middle name.  If you check out my novels in progress section you will see that I have a few different novels in the making.  However, I am trying to concentrate on a Young Adult book called Atlantis and the Dolphin of Knowledge at the moment, as well as a children’s book about aliens landing in the school playground and a book about dreams.  I don’t know when my next book will be published but I’m in no hurry because I enjoy the writing process, it’s my hobby, I really do get lost in the story.  I’m also a bit of a perfectionist so it might be a while – watch this space…

Jean: How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Laura: That’s quite a question.  I think I actually find writing for a particular genre quite difficult.  I have an idea for a story and I just start writing, it may turn into a science-fiction story or a fantasy story or a mix of both.  My stories usually have some kind of spiritual component because I am quite a deep person, I’m on a journey just like any of my characters, like any writer actually and those deep burning questions that are in your heart just tend to come out in your writing.  I find writing for children and young adults easier because I think I’m really quite a simple person myself.  I don’t like to read, write or watch on television any violence or sex or anything too graphic.  I think that’s why my novels are perfect for young adults as well as the older generation.  Also my work with children over the years has naturally given me the love of story telling, and that even includes for toddlers.

Jane: Why do you write what you do?

Laura: I write whatever is in me to write and usually I have a feeling that I have something to share with others.  I might not be as ingenious as some writers, but I think I have a pretty vivid imagination.  I really am there in my story, viewing it unfold as if it were a real place and the characters were real people – like a day-dream I suppose.  I just try and write what I am envisioning.  It’s an addictive thing writing, once you are in the zone.  It is my little bit of escapism from the pressures of every day life, much like reading, only I’m writing down the story as it happens – or drawing it, with the kiddies’ books.  If I can sneak in a little of my own pearls of wisdom about life, the universe and everything – well, that’s an added bonus, I just hope it inspires someone at some point.  I write a lot of poetry too, and the process works just the same for poetry as it does for a short story or a novel – if you have something to say, write it however it needs to come out.  Why does anybody write?  Because we all have something to say!

Jean: How does your writing process work?

I am a really disorganised writer.  Sometimes I try to make a plan and other times I just start writing and then just see where it takes me.  I would say being an organised writer works better, since the only novel I have published so far, my first children’s novel The Realm of the Purple Dragon was meticulously well planned.  It had to be because the story was woven around the Norse runes and each one needed to come out at the right point in the story.  The reason the second book in the series The Fire Giants and the Heart of Ice is taking so long to be written, is because it needs more planning than the first story and I need to be in a very organised place in my life to be really focussed with the planning for the book.  It will be worth the wait, don’t worry about that!  So basically my writing process is all about writing when I am in the zone and really making the most of those moments of inspiration, because I think that is when my best writing happens.  Also not worrying about how other people think I should write, because a writer’s work comes from somewhere deep and personal and only you know where it is going.

I enjoyed that – thank you for the chance to chat about my writing Jean.  Here are some links for my work and of course you can explore my blogs as a lot of my writing comes in blog post form.  I will think very hard about which other authors I will invite to carry on this tour and post their tour posts here on the Bookish Banter when they hop on board the tour bus…

Links:

Laura’s Amazon Page

Lulu Profile

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter

The Well in the Garden

 

Something different – a book review of “Encounter in Rendlesham Forest”.

Published May 11, 2014 by Laura Crean Author

Time Travellers United

A good documentation of the history of the UFO phenomenon leading up to Rendlesham Forest,

but it lacked substance! – 4 out of 5 stars

I thought this was a very well researched, organised and written book. I was especially impressed with the research of historic UFO cases and the official documentary evidence. I think the Rendlesham case is a particularly interesting one, especially because of the rank and professional status of those involved. I also think the evidence was very fairly looked at by Nick Pope and the overall linking to the UFO phenomenon and how officialdom has treated this subject was carefully covered. I was however a little disappointed with how little of the actual Rendlesham incident itself was covered in the book, and felt that it was more of a documentation of the history of the UFO phenomenon itself according to Mr.Pope, which although very interesting, did…

View original post 188 more words

%d bloggers like this: