The Return of The Teigr Princess…

I thought I would show you what has been keeping me away from here recently…

2014-01-08 12.59.45-115796183

The very first picture of Princess Wriggles…

She was born, a week late, on 6th January 2014 – narrowly missing her aunt’s birthday and giving me a pretty traumatic birth experience in the process. Of course, she doesn’t look like this at the moment; she looks like this:

Sleeping peacefully...

Sleeping peacefully…

Princess Wriggles was a big baby when she was born and is continuing this trend, all the while being cute and snugly, as well as a bit of a diva. I’ve decided that she got the diva-ishness from her big sister, PT, who must have been teaching PW things while she was in the womb!

Talking of PT, she’s nine this year and I’m not sure where the time has gone to – it wasn’t that long ago when she looked like this:

PT as a baby...

PT as a baby…

I still see this in my head when I think about her, so it was a bit of a shock last Monday, when she announced “It’s my birthday next week. Can you make me Cake Pops to take into school for my class friends?”

Foolishly, I said yes. I spent some time researching just what on earth Cake Pops actually are and was reassured that they were relatively simple to make and quite fun to do in the process.

Oh, how wrong can you be?

This is what a Cake Pop is supposed to look like:

Proper Cake Pops

This is what my Cake Pops look like:

My Cake Pops...

My Cake Pops…

I… am… never… doing… that… EVER… again.

Why?

Icky, sticky, tricky and just plain difficult to handle! Of course, I had to do it the hard way – bake a cake first, crumble it up, mix it with vanilla buttercream frosting and use mikado as sticks… which kept breaking and the chocolate went everywhere, the decorations had a mind of their own and I just went crazy trying to get them to look right!

I finally managed to make 30 of them, so hopefully PT’s classmates won’t be too disappointed!

Anyway, there will be a new book out soon, so keep your eyes open for that – The Tower and The Eye, Book 4 – The Harp of Aleth – and I’m now trying to decide what to do after that; do I hurry up and finish the TTATE series or do I do something different? Who knows – it all comes down to the amount of time that PW gives me to do things!

Wool, Grapefruit and the World…

You do strange things when you’re pregnant.

I just spent three quarters of an hour trying to section a red grapefruit because I was fed up of having to dig the sections out and leaving so much fruit behind… I guess I thought that sectioning it would be easier; peel the fruit, cut out the sections and eat.

Hah!

Anyway, it occurred to me while I was sat eating my hard won grapefruit segments that the actual fruit is made up of all this little bubbles of juice that burst when you bite through them. They’re sweet with a sour after-taste and oddly compelling.

 

Writing is like that. Well actually, Reading is like that, not writing exactly.

I read “Wool” by Hugh Howey yesterday and it is the first SF book that I’ve read that has made me think in terms of the words I was reading. Each word was like a bubble of grapefruit juice, soft and elongated on my tongue and each time I read and understood what he was saying, the taste of grapefruit juice built up; sweet, sour and oddly compelling.

I had “Wait” by Take That playing while I was eating and the song seemed to fit with both what I had observed in the grapefruit and through reading “Wool”.

The lyrics that really stuck were:

 

Free your soul to me,

Words can set us free.

 

It’s true. Words can set us free; we just have to have the courage to say the right ones. They are the ones that hurt, the ones that highlight the problems in our world in such a way that we have to deal with them.

 

Reading “Wool” was a sweet / sour experience. On one hand the story was incredibly compelling and interesting. You wanted to see what happened to the characters next and it was difficult to think about mundane things (like washing up) while you read each chapter.

But about half way through the book something happened. I realise that whether he had intended it or not, Hugh Howey was commenting on what was happening in the world now. And that his vision of what the future could hold was a real possibility.

That’s scary.

Why?

Well think of it this way. It’s 2013. I’ve got two children (one 12, the other 8) and a third one on the way. If I think about what is happening in the world now, there is a very real possibility that their future, the one that I may never see, will be an ugly, regimented world where food and energy are rationed down to what you can afford to buy.
There will be a need to limit the population; whether that’s because of the food shortage, space shortage or whatever, so the joy of being a parent will be limited to those who either can win / buy the right or those who are considered so essential to the running of the world that they have to continue their line.

It will be a world of sacrifices with most people just trying to live in it the best they can with the hope that their children (if they have them) will have a better world in the future.

And that scares me.

It doesn’t matter what the energy companies say, fossil fuels (even shale gas) are finite. They will run out. The population of the world is expanding and instead of helping the Africans to improve their land and grow crops to feed themselves and maybe others, we are helping them to fight each other through the Arms Business.

It’s all so backwards.

 

I don’t care about money. Actually, that’s not quite true… I do care about it, but not in a materialistic way.

I’m forced through circumstance (lack of full time teaching jobs in my area, being unable to drive and a son who needs more than usual maternal attention due to being Aspergers) to remain a stay at home mum. So I write books, publish them myself (as best I can) and volunteer in the community as a Guider.

My partner, having been thrown out of one industry for being Dyslexic and undiagnosed Aspergers, is changing career to one that suits him as a person and looking for work. Unfortunately, it’s one of those careers that (like writing) is very difficult to get into without a lot of experience. Which he doesn’t have, despite being talented at his chosen career.

I care about money because we need it to live; you can’t buy food or energy without it and the prices are getting higher every week as the more materialistic of the human race try to pull as much of the world’s money into their personal accounts.

My writing makes a little bit of money. The rest (because of the aforementioned circumstances) we have to get through the benefits system. Which people higher up the money chain are trying to pull out from under us because they think that we don’t deserve it or that we are taking too much from the country and not giving back at all.

It’s a grapefruit juice bubble existence.

Sooner or later (the latter please!) it is going to be bitten into and who knows what comes next?

 

I’m not sure that I am making any sense at the moment – blame it on Sprog, he/she seems to enjoy making me write oddly – so I will leave you with this:

 

Read “Wool” by Hugh Howey.

Enjoy the words as they burst on your mind, revel in the wonderful story, then think about what he is telling us about our world.

 

And when the next chance comes for you to vote in an election of some sort, consider what the party you are going to vote for would do with the country you live in.

Would they make it better for everyone or just for themselves?

Doctor Who – watch out this might get Ranty…

doctorwho50th

 

Everyone has their favourite actors who have played the Doctor  and they all espouse the virtues of those doctors with every in breath and run down the others with every out breath. I hate it.

The thing is, they are all the doctor.Between the Writer and the actor they make up some facet of the doctor’s personality.

The very first Doctor I watched was Tom Baker (he is My Doctor), but, I enjoyed the insanity of Sylvester McCoy’s doctor. I love Christopher Ecclestone’s doctor because he felt so alive all the time; But I fell in true, fangirl love with David Tennant’s doctor because of the emotion he showed. I adore Matt Smith’s doctor because he feels like a big kid playing with grown up toys – the whole scene in the Widow and the wardrobe with the Lemonade Tap and the hammocks… perfect.

The companions are more about the writer than the character of the doctor – each one is chosen by the writer to show a particular characteristic in the doctor. And yet again I hate the loathing that some people spread upon the companions that they don’t like.

If you think about it, Rose brought out the Love in the doctor’s hearts, Amy brought him a family. Clara has given him a mystery. River gave him an equal, Donna was a best friend. Martha brought back his compassion… I bet if you went back through all the companions, each one would have something that shows something about the doctor… my personal favourite is Ace, but Clara is fast over taking her.

Every writer brings a different view of the doctor. If the show was a book, it would be like having each chapter written by a different person who is used to writing in a different Genre. So what if Stephen Moffat is worse than Russell T. Davies? Maybe Douglas Adams’ episodes are as good as Neil  Gaimen’s or Terrance Dick’s were perfect?

Does it really matter? They brought their own suspense, joy, points of view… whatever to the character of the doctor. Each one ‘Made’ or ‘Destroyed’ the doctor according to the fans.

I’ve liked all the episodes in season 7b, so far – I suspend my writer’s brain and just enjoy. Yes there are plotholes, yes there are episodes that make me feel unsatisfied because I want to know more or it’s not quite long enough… I don’t care – I watch it to enjoy it and relax.

And that’s what it’s for!

It’s a light entertainment programme. It’s intended to entertain through the visual medium of TV. It’s not a narrative that is deliberately pointing out flaws in government or a science fiction show that is hyped up on hard science. It is in my opinion, a Science Fiction /  Fantasy Slip stream story about a lonely man in a time travelling box who lands somewhere and fixes something to make the people’s lives there better.

Let it be what it is please!

Oh and if anyone is interested, I’m writing a Dr Who Fan Fiction story – I will be publishing it part by part on my other blog, The Serial Storyteller, feel free to read and tell me what you think!

being childish