FlashPIC: Belisha Beacon

As part of the Writers’ BLOCKbuster series, here is a picture to kick start a flash fiction story.

[photo: Wikipedia]

[photo: Wikipedia]

You can simply use the photo to energise your writing, or use some of the following phrases:-

Black and White

© ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby

Applying the rules of art to writing: making art is an act of discovery

“If you are dealing only with what you know, you may not be doing your job. When you discover something new, or surprise yourself, you are engaging in the process of discovery.”
Excerpt from ‘101 Things to Learn in Art School’ by Kit White

So this is clear: push the boundaries. I agree with this to a certain degree. Familiar can be safe, predictable and boring on the page.  If you discover something new, something that excites you, and you can transfer this to the page, then you stand a better chance of exciting your readers too.

[photo Wikipedia]

[photo Wikipedia]

I’ve been learning about art, as research for my character Justine Tree in Connectedness. I know a bit about art but definitely have my comfort zone. So I’ve been making a conscious effort to visit exhibitions of artists I know nothing about, styles I am unfamiliar with. Shows I’ve been to include Damien Hirst, Leonardo da Vinci, Paul Klee, Joan Miró, Constable Gainsborough Turner and Kurt Schwitters [top]. I have my member’s card for the Tate, the Royal Academy and the V&A. I eat cake in their members’ rooms, I know the location of the ladies loos.

What have I learned? I’ve certainly learned more about the history of art, the way artists work and think. And I have another two ideas for novels, with cuttings filling up box files in my study. And Justine, what did I learn to help flesh out her character? Mostly small details, such as the way Schwitters foraged for collage materials while interned at Douglas in the Isle of Man during World War II [below]. In Connectedness, Justine collects feathers, scrap paper, used stamps, embroidery thread, knitting wool, cardboard boxes.

[photo Wikipedia]

[photo Wikipedia]

Das Undbild by Kurt Schwitters [photo Wikipedia]

Das Undbild by Kurt Schwitters [photo Wikipedia]

101 Things to learn in art school by kit white 24-9-13

‘101 Things to Learn in Art School’ by Kit White

Book review: Or the Bull Kills You

or the bull kills you by jason webster 16-10-13 (2)This is the first of Jason Webster’s stories about Spanish detective Max Cámara. The setting is Valencia during Fallas, the five-day festival of fireworks and bonfires.

A bullfighter is murdered, a controversial bullfighter, in a city undergoing local elections and with a strong anti-taurino lobby. Webster has chosen his setting well, Valencia is a noisy, shouting, breathing presence on every page. The bullfighting is strange, a world of customs and special language, its symbolism machismo. Into the middle of all this walks the Fallas-hating, bullfight-disapproving detective who’s having a difficult time with his girlfriend. And he’s being reviewed at work for his behaviour in a previous case.

Is there one killer or two, and what about the dead bullfighter’s artist boyfriend and his very-public fiancé? jason webster - photo jasonwebster.net 14-5-14Webster [above] keeps the page turning with ease.

To learn more about Jason Webster’s fiction and non-fiction books, visit his website here.
To take a video tour of Jason Webster’s Valencia, click here.
To read my review of Blood Red, the fourth in the Max Cámara series, click here.
Reviews of the second and third books in the Max Cámara series are coming soon.
‘Or the Bull Kills You’ by Jason Webster

Great opening paragraph…58


“The book was thick and black and covered with dust. Its boards were bowed and creaking; it had been maltreated in its own time. Its spine was missing, or rather protruded from amongst the leaves like a bulky marker. It was bandaged about and about with dirty white tape, tied in a neat bow. The librarian handed it to Roland Michell, who was sitting waiting for it in the Reading Room of the London Library. It had been exhumed from Locked Safe no.5 where it usually stood between Pranks of Priapus and The Grecian Way of Love. It was ten in the morning, one day in September 1986. Roland had the small single table he liked best, behind a square pillar, with the clock over the fireplace nevertheless in full view. To his right, was a high sunny window, through which you could see the high green leaves of St James’s Square.”

‘Possession’ by AS Byatt

Famous people, reading: Jerry Lewis

[photo: awesomepeoplereading.tumblr.com]

[photo: awesomepeoplereading.tumblr.com]

“I’ve had great success being a total idiot.”

This must be a still from a movie: he’s reading ‘Income Tax Regulations’. The message here, I think, is find what you’re good at and stick to it. He won a BAFTA Supporting Actor award for his role as talk show host Jerry Langford in Martin Scorsese’s 1983 movie The King of Comedy, opposite Robert de Niro. the King of comedy - poster 27-5-14Click here for an excellent NY Times review of The King of Comedy on You Tube.

I’m inspired!

We all need to experience at least one inspiring thing every day. Inspiration makes the world go around. Small things inspire me… the sunshine, a smile, a piece of music by Mozart. So thanks to writer Julie Stock for nominating me for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I am inspired every day by things I read in the newspaper, in novels, online, and am pleased my blog inspires Julie in return. the very inspiring blogger award - logo 28-7-14Please click here to read seven facts about Julie and learn more about her novel.

The rules for this award are:-
Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
List the rules and display the award.
Share seven facts about yourself.
Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
Optional: follow the blogger who nominated you, if you don’t already do so.

Here are seven new facts about me… short, sharp and sweet!

[photo: northyorkmoors.org.uk]

[photo: northyorkmoors.org.uk]

Danby is a small village [above] on the North Yorkshire Moors…
… near Danby Low Moor [below]

[photo: wonderfulwhitby.co.uk]

[photo: wonderfulwhitby.co.uk]

Middle name? I don’t have one.
My best subject at school was Geography.
The subject I loved most at school was English
I call a spade, a spade.
When ‘down south’ I am told I have a Yorkshire accent, went in Yorkshire I am told I ‘talk posh’. Can’t win!

Now the blogs which inspire me…

Crime novelist Christina James who writes about DI Yates. In the Family and Almost Love are published in the UK by Salt Publishing.

Short story writer Sally-Anne Wilkinson has a childhood love of the Narnia Chronicles. Read more at Writing – Beginning and Beyond.

Poet Beth Winter, whose lovely blog Eclipsing Winter includes poetry and prose.

Phases of the Moon is a poetry anthology by Louise J Hastings, published by Winter Goose Publishing. phases of the moon by louise hastings 29-7-14Crime writer Gary Dolmam is from North Yorkshire, like me!

The Red Pearl Effect by Scott Corlett is the first in the Sam Quick adventure series.

Mike Sutcliffe writes poetry for fun.

Libby: another poet, another Yorkshire woman! Check out her blog, Libbypoetry.

Ian Probert is not an award-winning author, but he has written lots of novels including Internet Spy and Rope Burnsrope burns by ian probert 30-7-14Marlene M Bell: whose first romance novel Annalisse is the first of a series.

By day, Laura Evans edits The Zoological Society of London’s magazine Wild About. By night, she writes novels.

Iain Parke is a crime writer, his novels include the ‘biker lit’ Heavy Duty People about the Brethren Motorcycle Club.

Jenna Brandt blogs about writing, blogging, poetry, and her romance novel Window to the Heart.

Scottish writer Emma Gwynn writes and blogs about love, romance and passion. Her favourite genre is Mills & Boon/Harlequin because they are tightly-written, fast-paced with great dialogue.

Paris Baker from Jersey, Channel Islands, is writing her first novel. She blogs about writing, films, life and Jersey!

Silvy’s review of ‘Ignoring Gravity’

Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby[1]

I wish that could tell you more but I can’t. I could tell you, just … there are many things that this book keeps as secret… that will be revealed [at] the end.
Silvana @ Books Are My Life

Click here to read the full review at Books Are My Life.