Wednesday Wander – Sanur, Bali

sanurThe winter weather has been pretty cold and dismal of late, so I thought I’d wander to an island paradise, at least in spirit. This is Sanur, on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Sanur is located on the opposite side of the island from busy Kuta and, as I remember it, is a much more relaxed sort of place. The beaches are long, the water shimmering, the view one of purple mountains and a cloud-hung volcano. We didn’t stay at Sanur – rather, we were staying in another part of the island but, on the day we visited, red-sailed boats dotted the water, the sun shone, and the wind off the water was warm.

Apart from being Bali’s oldest beach resort area, Sanur is also home to the oldest Balinese artifact, a pillar in the Blanjong Temple inscribed with the story of a Javanese king who visited the island in the tenth century. I didn’t get to see the temple, but plan to visit next time I’m lucky enough to wander to this lush green island.

balinese-figure-1Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!


If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Teri Polen, Colleen Chesebro and Sally Cronin

Sally Cronin, author, blogger and tireless indie promoter, has three new reviews in her book store, one of which is for her own latest release, ‘What’s In A Name.’ Sally’s Bookstore is a great place to find indie authors (including yours truly), or promote your own work, plus her blog covers a wide range of subjects. Hop on over and see!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

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Welcome to the first update of the week.. and as an author on the bookshelves I get to share my news too today.  But first a catch up with two other authors.  I am taking a look at some of the authors who have entered the bookstore since the begining of December over the next week. Unless of course any of you reading this who are in the bookstore have news of a recent release or great review.  Get in touch sallygcronin@gmail.com

The first author update is for Teri Polen who released her debut novel Sarah at the beginning of December 2016. Since then she has received 26 reviews and here is one that is right up to date.

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About Sarah

Seventeen-year-old horror fan Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost find her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime. Now, he just hopes to survive long enough to…

View original post 1,431 more words

A Nice Surprise – Writing Magazine Story Competition Results

IMG_1640I recently had some rather nice writing news. Last year I decided to devote some time to writing short stories, with the idea that I would submit one per month to anthologies and/or competitions. I figured that, even if I didn’t get anywhere, I’d still end up with a nice collection of short stories, as well as flexing my writing muscles in a slightly different way.

Well, I managed to win second place in the Writing Magazine Modern Fairytale Competition, complete with cash prize and publication on their website! To read my story, Water and Bones, click here. I even got a nice critique from the judges, which made me very happy. (and btw, if you do head over, I recommend reading the winning story as well – it’s excellent). It’s small victories like this, or a good review or a note from a happy reader, that make writing, with all its hair-tearing, plot-twisting and rejection, worthwhile.

Writing short stories has been a good exercise for me. When I write I tend to get quite wordy – I’m forever editing word count down, rather than up. So restricting myself to a much smaller number of words to tell a story meant that I challenged myself to write leaner, to cut out any and every extraneous bit of plot, and think of the most succinct ways to convey my point.

As for my other entries, I came second in one of Esther Newton’s writing competitions, and was shortlisted for another. I also managed to get a further two pieces accepted for an anthology. And I have a few more stories that will, with some more refining, be ready to send out into the marketplace again. Or maybe I’ll just publish them myself!

Happy weekend, everyone 🙂


If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

Thursday Doors – United Reformed Church, Nuneaton

img_5077My Thursday Door this week comes from a small Midlands town called Nuneaton. It’s a town I’ve been to many times – it has an excellent market and, when I was a child, Saturdays usually included a visit there. When I was three, I was even briefly lost at the market – I remember standing between two stalls and a tall young policeman bending down to talk to me. He asked my name and address, then took my hand. He bought me an icecream before my mother, who had been looking for me, found us, and apparently the following week at the market I kept running off in an effort to get lost again, hoping for another ice cream.

img_5074This past week I took my own daughter there. She’s older than three and capable of asking for her own ice cream, so I didn’t worry too much that she’d run off. We did some shopping and had lunch, and it was a very pleasant day. On the way through I spotted this rather lovely old building. I especially liked the doors – wooden doors like these are my favourite types, especially with the big ornate hinges.

img_5075This is the United Reformed Church. There has been a church here since 1714, but the present building was built in 1903. Designed by Birmingham architects Ingall & Son, it cost around £8000, or £8,000,000 in today’s money! The building has some lovely architectural features, including carving around the doors and windows, as well as leaded stained glass. I didn’t get to see inside, sadly, but apparently all the period features are still there, which is nice to know.

img_5083This was my response to this week’s Thursday Doors Challenge, courtesy of Norm 2.0. For more doors, or to add one of your own, visit Norm’s site and click the link.

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If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

Wednesday Wander – Amsterdam and London

anne-frank-houseToday I’m wandering to a couple of different places, linked by a young girl who lived over half a century ago. This is Anne Frank’s house, in Amsterdam, Holland.

I did go inside the house, climbing the steep stairs and entering through the secret door to see the rooms where Anne and her family lived for so long. I looked out of their window across the rooftops, across the view that was all they had of the outside world. I saw the little bits of writing on the walls of their rooms, then walked through the rest of the house, past the photos of the dead and dying, atrocity captured in stark black and white.

Anne, as I’m sure most of you know, was Jewish. Her religion demonised by Hitler’s regime, her family forced to live in hiding after being denied visas that could have taken them to safety. Anne had just turned thirteen when she was forced into hiding – she was fifteen when she was found and sent to Auschwitz, then Bergen Belsen, where she died. A young girl who didn’t get to live her life, all because of one man’s madness. IMG_1263This photo is of a plaque at The British Library, London. There is a tree associated with the plaque – I’m not sure if it’s the one peeping over the top of the wall, or if it was behind me, as for some reason I don’t have a photograph of it. However, here is a close up of the plaque:

IMG_1262As thunder approaches, may we all hold on to our ideals.

Thank you for coming on this Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time.


If you enjoyed this post and want to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

#Blogbattle – Iridescent – When The Moon Is Full

IMG_1368It’s Tuesday, and time for Rachael Ritchey’s Blog Battle. The rules are simple – each week you get a prompt, a genre and have 1000 words to write a response, which has to be posted on the following Tuesday. This week’s prompt was Iridescent, and the genre was Fairy Tale. Here’s my take:

When The Moon Is Full

Once upon a time, when the world was younger, there lived a boy. Tall and lean he was, his skin nut brown over strong muscles, his clothes as tattered as the leaves among which he lived.

No darkness came to stain his days – he was warm and well-fed, the forest providing all that he needed. He roamed along paths he knew like he knew the feel of his skin, or the sound of his breath as he lay alone at night. And as he roamed he hunted, gathering his crop.

But no nuts cracked between his strong white teeth, no berries stained his lips, no blood flowed across his long fingers. Instead, he gathered memories. Bubble light, floating untethered around sleeping travellers taking their rest beneath tangled branches. They would wake unaware that anything had been taken, only a mild headache marring their day as they travelled on to the road beyond the trees.

And so the boy leapt and ran, graceful as any stag, through glowing leaves and past ancient stones, the precious memories tethered to him, dancing like fireflies in the dark of night. When he reached the tree he called home he would sink down among the roots and close his eyes, savouring the sounds and thoughts as they washed over him, nourishing his soul.

But one night, something changed. The moon was full, a golden globe sailing above the treetops, shining through the branches to pick out white flowers like stars dotted along the path. Around him the forest was lush and green with spring, the scent of flower and foliage strong enough to send a man mad. But he drank it in, the wildness of the night running through his veins. Then he saw her.

Dressed in velvet green as the leaves on which she lay, curled at the edge of a small pond. Her long hair was the dark brown of tree bark, her skin golden as his own. He stopped, entranced by her curves, by the rise and fall of her breast as she slept, one slender hand outflung. A bubble of memory appeared, fragile and feather light, floating around her head.

He reached out to take it, all at once desperate to have one small piece of her beauty. But when he touched the bubble her eyes came open and she stared at him. Green, her eyes were, iridescent in the moonlight like dragonfly wings, the pupils night dark. He heard her voice in his head.

‘You have taken something that belongs to me.’

He said nothing, frozen in place, the bubble floating around him like guilt.

‘It’s not right to steal, you know.’

Still he said nothing. He did not know what to do.

‘What is your name?’ She stared up at him, lips dark crimson.

He found his voice. ‘I don’t know.’ He did not.

She frowned, her head tilting to one side. ‘Do you remember nothing?’

The boy thought for a moment. “I have no memories except for those I steal.’

‘Then let me remind you.’

She stood, like a snake uncoiling, and reached for the bubble tethered to the boy, taking it back. As the tether broke he gasped. And he remembered.

He had been sent here, not so long ago. A gift from another realm. But it was not memories he was supposed to steal. It was pain, easing the path of the weary travellers as they passed through the woods. But in his youth and haste he had forgotten, taking memories instead.

‘Do you see?’ Her voice was the whisper of wind through branches, her perfume apple blossom, earthy and sweet.

He nodded, tears in his eyes. ‘I – I am sorry.’

‘Hush,’ she said, coming close to lay one finger gently on his lips. ‘You were young, and you did not know any better. I should have helped you before.’

‘Who are you?’ he whispered.

She smiled, her face close to his. ‘I am the forest,’ she replied. ‘And you are mine.’

***

It is said that the woods bordering the two lands, where the road passes between the trees, is a place of wonder and beauty, where a man might find rest in the most difficult times. It is also said that a spirit lives among the trees, as beautiful as Spring itself, her companion tall and strong.

And sometimes, on a night when the moon is full, they can be seen dancing in the glades, as close together as two vines twisting, their sighs echoing until dawn.

 

 

Navel-Gazing

IMG_1099It’s Monday. Monday means something a little different to me now that I’m back working regularly, rather than freelance. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just different.

I’m still getting my new schedule sorted out though, so please do bear with me. I’m going to keep posting as much as I’m able to, though I’ll be writing a few posts in advance, rather than off the cuff as I usually do. This also means it might take me a little bit longer than usual to respond to comments. But I will respond – I love the conversations I get to have with everyone, and very much appreciate all your lovely comments.

I’ll also be doing my best to keep up with everyone’s blogs – I follow quite a few so have made a list and will check it twice, so to speak. So if you haven’t heard from me in a while, let me know.

Other than that, it’s still writing as usual, though I’ll be doing a bit more at night than I have been. Or perhaps early morning. I am more of a morning person, to be honest.

Right, before I descend too much further into navel-gazing I might sign off. Hope everyone in blogland is well, I’ll be back here again soon xx