Tag Archives: life

Space Dust

It’s here! My blood, sweat and tears arrived today in the post and I’m so pleased with how it turned out.

The setting is as close to perfect as I can get it and my illustrations have come to life on the white, glossy pages. The true test, of course, will be whether the children engage with the book and if the story fires their imaginations. After testing it on my book club members and year Reception at school, I have optimistic hopes of getting them to love this story as much as I do.

Now the fun part: this story was written for the library service in my borough, inspired by their theme Space Chase. I didn’t want to write a generic book about racing through space and instead, took inspiration from the imaginings of the children as they gazed up at the moon. Is it made of cheese? Does it have alien trees?

Using these ideas and brainstorming with Mark Hickling, one of our teachers at my school, and my youngest sprog, a new concept was born. I created Little One – a character who could be a boy or girl, giving the story a gender neutral balance. Little One’s mum has gone away and, like most young children at some point in their lives, Little One feels as if the separation is for a long time. Big Ox, the adult in charge, decides to take Little One on an adventure to help his tiny friend cope with Mum’s absence. What better way to occupy the mind of a small person than take them in a canoe ride across space, using Big Ox’s absolute favourite spoon as an oar?

This space story aims to entertain young and old alike with various visions of space through eyes that aren’t jaded by time or a lack of imagination; instead it inspires silly questions and adventure.

If you’d like to order your copy of Space Dust, click on the pic below. It will take you to my author site with all my book titles available to purchase.

Thank you for stopping by.

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Book Tuesday – Andrew Joyce’s ‘Mahoney’

Welcome to a long-awaited guest post for our book lovers out there. Today’s guest is Andrew Joyce, a wonderful fictional writer who takes the journey to America, hoping for a better life, to a whole new level.

Without further ado, I’ll hand it over to Andrew…

My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Eloisehas been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new book, Mahoney. So, I thought I’d tell you how it came about. But to do that, I gotta tell you how my mind works.

A few years ago, I had just finished reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the third time, and I started thinking about what ever happened to those boys, Tom and Huck. They must have grown up, but then what? So I sat down at my computer and banged out Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. I had them as adults in the Old West. Kind of like Wyatt Earp type characters. It was a modest success and won an award as Best Western of 2013.

I think my favorite book of all time is The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I’ve read it a number of times over the years. The last time being two years ago. Now, for those of you who may not have read it, it’s about one family’s trek from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl of the 1930s to the “Land of Milk and Honey,” also known as California. Of course, California wasn’t a land of milk and honey. If anything, the family was worse off in California than they were in Oklahoma. The subtext of the book is how those on the lower rungs of society’s ladder are oppressed and have very little voice to fight against that oppression.

Near the end of the book, Tom Joad, the protagonist, runs afoul of the law and must leave his family or else be arrested on a trumped up charge or be killed by the big landowners’ goons.His mother, quite naturally, will miss him and is worried for him. The words he spoke to her in that scene have become iconic.

“I’ll be aroun’ in the dark. I’ll be everywhere-wherever you look. Wherever there is a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there is a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready. An’ when our folk eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build—why, I’ll be there.”  Tom Joad, TheGrapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

So, here’s what I did. Just like with Huck and Tom, I started thinking about what ever happened to Tom Joad after he left his family. I wanted to write about injustices and the people who suffer those injustices. I thought I’d follow Tom around and write about what he encountered from about the mid-thirties to 1963 when Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I have a Dream” speech.

However, there was just one problem with that: copyright laws. The character of Tom Joad belongs to the heirs of John Steinbeck. So, I had to come up with another angle. After somethought on the matter, I decided to expand my initial time frame from between 1933 and 1963 to 1849 and 1963. I’d start the story in Ireland during the potato famine and work my way to America and then I’d end up where I had originally intended.

Here’s the blurb for the book:

In this compelling, richly researched novel, author Andrew Joyce tells a riveting story of adventure, endurance, and hope as the Mahoney clan fights to gain a foothold in America.

In the second year of an Gorta Mhór—the Great Famine—nineteen-year-old Devin Mahoney lies on the dirt floor of his small, dark cabin. He has not eaten in five days. His only hope of survival is to get to America, the land of milk and honey. After surviving disease and storms at sea that decimate crew and passengers alike, Devin’s ship limps into New York Harbor three days before Christmas, 1849. Thus starts an epic journey that will take him and his descendants through one hundred and fourteen years of American history, including the Civil War, the Wild West, and the Great Depression.

Well, that’s how Mahoney came about. For those of you who may read it, I hope you enjoy it. It took me almost two years of full-time research, writing, and editing to get it to where I wanted and to tell the story I wanted to tell.

Thank you, Andrew. For anyone interested in a taste of the book, here’s a little excerpt to tantalise your reading taste buds:

The reflected firelight flickered across awestruck faces and mirrored in the eyes of those who listened as stories were told of yesterday’s indignities and tomorrow’s aspirations. The look in those yearning eyes spoke of hopes and dreams. The laughter heard around the fire conveyed a sense that somehow it would all work out. For a few short hours, on Saturday nights, in the deep woods of a place none of them had ever heard of before, the constant fear that lived within their hearts was banished from their lives.

In time, they would prevail. Their sons and daughters would one day stand straight and tall as proud Americans, as proud as their fathers had been to be Irish.

Follow Andrew’s writing journey here and please remember, ever author survives on reviews. Please don’t forget to leave yours.

Saturday thoughts

It’s 5.54am and I’m wide awake. Continue reading

Friday

It was a day of two halves… Continue reading

Monday Coffee

Good morning! I know it’s a bit early for our normal coffee catch up. Since the sun has decided to come out for a brief spell this morning, I thought you might like to come on a dog walk with me.

This is my usual morning walk which takes place before the school run and work. On some days it’s a mad rush to get it done, but on days like today, I prefer to take a leisurely stroll to enjoy the scenery surrounding us. This area was once the testing ground for cars and creating traffic junctions for bike use on the roads. There are still some markings left from its previous life. It does remind me of the set for the Walking Dead with the eerie stillness and silence apart from the birds and an occasional deer crashing through the forest.

Now, onto catching up – how was your weekend? Did you manage to tick off some of your items on your to-do list from last week? I managed to get my study plan organised this weekend and put more into my novel. There have been several chapters in the middle of the book that needed to be removed and replaced by a different voice. You can feel it when you read over the story – a steady drop in forward motion and a stagnant, stale narrative that will send readers away. So, with that in mind, I’ve been ruthless and culled the dead weight. Today, I’m going to focus on introducing more conflict for the main characters and a dead body might just float up to give them something to investigate! I love it!

As we follow the path and take the next right, we will find ourselves by the numerous ponds scattered across the undulating landscape. They have made every effort to ensure the new houses being built alongside this forest will not get flooded. After speaking to the park ranger who looks after this beautiful landscape, he told me that it could rain in biblical amounts and the terrain will take it thanks to good landscaping.

Now that we’ve reached our favourite pond, you’ll get to see Millie swimming like a duck. She loves the water and can’t keep out if the birds are going in! Her ability to fish for things whilst swimming is amazing. Henry never liked the water much and only came in to be with me or the kids. I’d like to think that if he were here with us now, Millie would have given him the courage and confidence to swim around the pond just as she does.

What’s the plan for this week? Well, on my side, as I’ve mentioned before, I have to get my writing and studying done before time runs away. I can’t believe it’s going to be half term already in a week’s time. Then it’s exams for me and the Blogger’s Bash to look forward to and finally, the run up to the summer holidays and the Summer Reading Challenge. The writing will continue as I have a few stories on hold while I finish off the main ones waiting to go to the publishers for their chance in the limelight. Fingers crossed all this hard work pays off and they like it – otherwise I will self-publish my work over the summer.

We are now heading back towards the path home. Thank you for joining me on my morning dog walk. If next week is as cold and rainy as this one promises to be, let’s meet up in the coffee house. We haven’t been there in a while and it will be nice to see the yellow sofa, red brick walls and bookshelves filled with all the books from my blogging buddies and writer friends.

Have a great week!

 

Life with Millie

Suffering the loss of a family pet might seem trivial to some, but for those who have shared their lives with a four legged friend, that loss can be devastating. Continue reading

Happy #Wensfriesday!

It’s time for a mid-week Friday treat. Continue reading

The Intangible healing of creativity

This is a powerful message for all of us and perfect for a Sunday morning’s reflection. Enjoy!

The Intangible healing of creativity

https://jcrhumming.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/the-intangible-healing-of-creativity/
— Read on jcrhumming.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/the-intangible-healing-of-creativity/

Monday Coffee

Crisp air blows into the café as I hustle through the door to join you on the yellow couch near the bookshelves. The warm smell of freshly ground coffee mixed with baked delights fills the air and I take it all in as I reach over to give you a hug hello. Now that we’ve settled on the brightest piece of furniture in the room, let’s sit back and catch up on our week. Continue reading

How to Create Haiga Poetry

Have you hear of a Haiga? Colleen explains it expertly. It’s defini something I will try with my young writers in Writers Club.

The Faery Writer

Gorgeous Colorado!

Since so many poets are inspired by photos, drawings, paintings, or other images when they compose their poetry, I wanted to add the “Haiga,” a dramatic poetic form to my weekly syllabic poetry challenge starting the first week of February 2019. So, for the new challenge posted on 2/5/19, this will be another acceptable form for our syllabic challenge.

Haiga is sometimes called observational poetry because it contains an image with either a haiku or senryu written on it or near it.  

Youtube: Traditional Japanese Art – Haiga – Japanese Paintings with Haiku poems by Doshin Kuba

This one form combines three artforms:  imagery (photographs or original art), poetry, and calligraphy.

The site, ahapoetry.com shares this about the Haiga:

“Haiga is a Japanese concept for simple pictures combined with poetry, usually meaning haiku. In Basho’s time, haiga meant a brushed ink drawing combined with…

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