#writephoto – When The Water Falls

‘You been here long?’

‘No, not really.’

‘Me either,’ I say, dragging my finger through the water pooling on the sill. ‘Still, it’s weird, isn’t it?’

‘What?’

‘Well, like, I don’t think I’ve been here long. But on the other hand I can’t remember ever not being here… So I don’t know.’

‘I remember singing.’

‘Singing?’ I consider for a moment. Light dawns. ‘Oh yeah, singing. And, like, a lady?’

‘Yeah. In blue? Or was it purple?’

I screw up my face. ‘Purple, I think. I seem to remember purple.’

‘And, were there other people?’

‘Hmmm. You know, I think there might have been. Like, I was here with someone else, and then I heard the singing, and then…’ But I can’t remember anything else except a blur of white light and singing. I definitely remember the singing.

‘It was raining then, too.’

‘It was?’

‘Yeah. My… mum?’ He pauses, as though he’s testing the word. ‘Yeah, my mum, she made me wear wellies that day.’

‘Wellies? What are they?’ But as I think about it I remember, black rubbery boots. And, some sort of uniform. ‘I think maybe, I might have been at… school once.’

‘School? Huh. I think maybe I might have been too.’

‘And there was someone, like, a mister someone. They were shouting…’

‘And then there was the singing. And the water…’

‘A bit like today, I guess.’

There is noise, then. The chatter of voices, the clatter of shoes on old stone floors, and the room feels all at once crowded. I hear someone speaking. ‘And this is the very chamber is where the infamous lady lured…’ His voice disappears,  drowned out by a rushing sound. Through the window I can see water pouring from the mouth of an ancient figure carved into the wall. And as it falls it takes with it all my half-remembered ideas, and all that is left is singing, and a glimpse of purple.

…..

‘Hey.’

‘Hey.’

‘Hey.’

‘You been here long?’

‘No. Or, I don’t know, really.’

‘Me either’

‘Okay.’


If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

 


 

Back To A Working Week

IMG_0303It’s a new year, and a new era for me, as I’ve just returned to office work after more than a decade working freelance. My daughter is older now and soon won’t need me to take her to school any more so, when an opportunity came up, I took it.

I am still writing and marketing, though in a field different to anything I’ve done before. It’s a challenge, and an opportunity to create a role. It’s also part-time hours, in a nice office with nice people, so I feel very fortunate.

The only downside is that I have less time to write my own stories. I have several books on the go – Ambeth Four, Under Stone, is in the editing/about-to-go-to-beta-readers stage, Ambeth Five is three quarters written and Ambeth six is about halfway finished. I also have my vampire novel, Silver and Black, and another idea, called The Grove, which is slowly taking shape. In addition to that, I’m still trying to enter at least one writing competition per month – it’s something I started doing last year and I’ve had some results (although that’s another post). So working five days a week means I’ve had to adjust my writing schedule a little.

Before you all shout at me, of course I know I’ve been really fortunate these past years. Being able to choose my writing time has meant I’ve been able to create a lot of material, so at least now I have a good supply of story ideas to work with. I’m having to be a bit more organised about how and when I do  my own writing, but I’m finding that it’s working so far. Even though I now have less time, I find I’m using it more effectively.

Perhaps there’s a lesson in that.


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 – Overgrown

img_3502A while ago, I posted about a door that seemed to have been abandoned – the steps green with moss, ferns and branches obstructing the path. This week, I have another door which no longer seems to be in use. It’s in a rather old building – the adjacent barn is 15th century and I would imagine this to be a similar age – and is part of a school. img_3503

There is an entrance around the other side of the building, through the school gates. But this door, with its mantle of green, seems to have been forgotten. I wonder how long it’s been since someone walked through?

This is my entry for Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors Challenge – for more doors, or to add one of your own, visit Norm’s site and click the link 🙂

 

Walking It Out

The path beckons...
The path beckons…

I like to walk.

I walk every day, through choice as much as necessity (we are a one car family) and, unless it’s really raining, I enjoy the fresh air and exercise. The gorgeous girl and I walk to her school every day – we play word games and look at the world around us, watching snails sliding along brick walls, flowers blooming and changing, cats and dogs and birds and butterflies. It’s a lovely part of my day and I feel very fortunate to be able to do it. And on the way back, when I’m alone, I relish the opportunity to let my thoughts out to play. I’m exercising my body but also my mind – it’s amazing how many key plot twists or character conundrums I’ve been able to solve simply by walking along, not thinking necessarily hard about the idea, but just letting it flow with my steps. There is a type of meditative walking you can do, where you tie your breathing to the steps so that you are present in the moment – I haven’t tried it, mainly because I’m worried I’ll drift into the road or something, but I like to think that what I do sometimes is similar.

So as a writer, walking is very good for me. I recently wrote a short story inspired by an unusual porch light I noticed on one of my walks, and much of the woodland feel of my Ambeth Chronicles comes from walking through forested lanes as the seasons changed around me. It’s also good if you’re feeling a bit low. Sometimes I wonder why I’m writing, especially if a rejection comes through, but then I walk and remember that I write for the joy of writing itself, of telling these marvellous stories that keep appearing in my mind.

You could argue that working from home as I do gives me more opportunity to walk but it’s something I’ve always done. When I worked full time in an office I always incorporated a walk into my day, whether to or from work (when I could) or, if I was too far from home, using my lunch break to get out and explore the neighbourhood, taking my mind away from the computer screen for a little while.

And that’s another point. When I say walking, I don’t mean wandering along scrolling through Facebook or checking emails or satellite positions or whatever it is those people are doing (you know the people I mean). The ones who walk along holding their phone out in front of them as though it’s some sort of guidance system, leading them to where they need to go. Sure, sometimes I might stop and check for an email if I’m expecting something, but for the most part when I’m walking I’m more interested in what I can see around me, the people I’m with and the ideas in my head. I carry a notepad and pen to jot things down, and then I just let things happen.

So if you’re stuck in the plot, or just need to clear your headspace, go outside and walk it out.


This post, minus a few alterations, was originally published in July 2014, back in the dim dark days when no-one ever came to visit my blog. The sentiments still ring true, and so I thought I’d dig it out, give it a polish, and share with you again. 🙂

A Question of Time

IMG_0029

Perhaps it’s just me, but I’m finding that time seems to be moving in strange ways these days.

The gorgeous child is back at school and so I have five glorious hours to myself each day to work, far more than I did over the six weeks of summer holidays. More than enough, you would think, to take care of the house and admin and various clothes people need. To clean and plan meals and keep the place tidy. To finish my No Quarter edit and publish, as well as delivering daily blog content for my current client.

I had grand plans, you see. Plans to use my time wisely, to eke out those five hours like someone squeezing pennies from their purse, each minute carefully guarded and used as required. I was going to start meditating regularly again, instead of the few snatched sessions here and there when I had ten minutes to myself. It was going to be fantastic.

And it all started so well last Thursday. I woke early, was ready and had all in place for the child when she awoke, both of us out the door in plenty of time to get to school. When I came back home I was on track. I got through my chores and writing in what felt like a fairly good use of time, going to pick her up with a heart content from having achieved a good day’s work.

Friday was still good, though I started to have a nagging suspicion that someone, somewhere, had sped time up slightly. Midday seemed to arrive a little earlier than I expected, as did school pick-up. But I shook it off and pressed on, still convinced that all was well.

Then Monday hit. And for some reason time escaped me completely. My day ran off the rails and, even though everyone else got to where they needed to be at the right time, I ended up doing the ironing at 9:30pm, which was when I should have been on the couch watching FriendsFest (and oh, I am laughing my head off at the Friends reruns – a guilty pleasure).

And here I am on Tuesday, the day nearly half over. I feel as though I may have a better handle on time today, though I’m still running a little behind. So I would like to ask whoever it is that manages these things, if they can just slow things down slightly. Bring them back to normal, if they don’t mind.

Or, maybe it is just me, after all. 🙂