Saturday, 29 March 2014

The Evolution of a Poet-like Species - Guest blog by Lorna Riley

Poetry is for you
 by Lorna Riley

You know those hedgehogs on Madagascar that aren't actually hedgehogs?  Even though they look like hedgehogs and act like hedgehogs.  And probably smell like them too… 
But, they're not hedgehogs at all, they're tenrecs - a whole different species altogether.  Well, I'm a tenrec poet.  Although, I wouldn't be offended if you ever mistook me for a real one, quite the opposite.  But, I promise you, I'm not.  I evolved on a completely different island, cut off from the world of poetry since I left school; occasionally coming up with the odd ditty that I didn't take very seriously, whenever the fancy took me.  Until, I decided to start writing down a story that had been milling around in my head for quite some time.  Just to see what happened.  That story turned into an 80,000 word novel, which wasn't bad.  It wasn't Thomas Hardy, but, considering the fact I'd never done it before, it wasn't bad.  Anyway, ever since then, I've been well and truly bitten by the writing bug and I couldn't stop now, even if I tried.  And, actually, I have no idea how I ever managed to get through life without it.

So, when my gran saw an advert for a free writers' day at the local library, she phoned me up to tell me all about it.  And I went along.  Several local authors were there, offering their advice and insights into how to get published.  Unbeknownst to me, a local poet called Longfella had also been invited.  He shared a number of poems, including A Girl Like, Y'Know, which you can watch by clicking on the following link:  
A Girl, Like, Y'Know by Tony Walsh, Longfella (some strong language so please check with an adult if you are under 16 years old)

Which made me cry like a colicky baby at bedtime.  He also performed one called Poetry is for You, which was particularly significant because I took him at his word.  And he's right, you know.  Poetry isn't just for the higher echelons of the intellectual superiors.  It’s for you.  And me, too.

The story doesn't quite end there, though.  At that writing day, I also made two new friends - Tara and Sarah.  A few days later, Tara sent me a message to tell me about an alternative open mic night at The Snowgoose called Speakeasy.  Where you can share almost anything, including poetry.  It all sounded a bit daunting to me, but I figured I would just go along and see what it was all about.  Now, I don't know what you imagined when I described Speakeasy, but I'll tell you what I imagined - a room full of women with flowery skirts and dangly earrings, giving off an aura of intellectual prowess.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  They were, and are, the loveliest bunch of ordinary people (women AND men) from all sorts of backgrounds who invited me warmly into their group.  Not a flowery skirt in sight.  And, nowadays, I only need half a pint to get up the courage to share what I've written!  Honestly, I can’t recommend the experience highly enough, should you ever fancy giving it a try. 

So, one day, when a poem popped into my head completely of its own accord, I decided to let it take me on a journey.  And that is how my picture book for 3-6 year olds, Sir Nibbles, The Famouse Cupboard Raider Extraordinaire, was brought into being. 

But, no matter what, don’t ever be fooled.  I may act like, look like and possibly even smell like a poet, but I'm a tenrec poet.  That's all.

About Lorna Riley
Lorna Riley was an average mother of two… until one fateful day when The Stories, mischievous little creatures that they are, crept into her brain whilst she was sleeping. And she’s never been the same since. Sir Nibbles, The Famouse Cupboard Raider Extraordinaire, is Lorna’s first foray into self-publishing and, with the help of the fabulous illustrator John Balsley, it should be ready later on in the Spring.
If you’d like to say hello, here’s Lorna's website and she can also be found twittering here. Sir Nibbles is on Facebook and is due to have his own website later on in the Spring, too.


Monday, 24 March 2014

In readiness for Easter... a taste that is not chocolate!

Spring is here and it is my most favourite season.  Watching as the blossom magically appears on the trees and those regal daffodils raising their noble heads to nod politely to all that pass; it can't be beaten.  I love seeing the new growth and that's not just limited to flora and fauna.  Children apparently grow the most in the Spring and looking at my girls I can totally believe it - they are definitely shooting up and blossoming much like the other beautiful offerings from mother nature all around.

Spring has been lovely so far.  My beautiful Mum has been staying with us for the last week.  It has been so, so lovely to have her here, for the girls to spend time with their Grandma and for me to spend time with my Mum.  These times are very precious and even more so since losing Dad.  The best moments have been the ones I am not supposed to be included in; the ones where I can indulge as an observer.  Listening or watching from another room while my Mum plays with the girls or shows them a video of one of them as a baby she has on her phone.  They adore their Grandma and it's been such a great start to Spring.  Sadly she goes home tomorrow but we will be visiting her very soon and taking her away with us to Brixham for her 65th birthday.  Brixham is very special for Mum as it is a place she enjoyed often with my Dad.  It will be a privilege to look out over the boats with Mum just as she did with Dad for his 65th...

To honour such a wonderful season, and to share some Spring positivity with you all, Larry has decided to roam free!  One of the Larry the Liger stories will be free for two whole days so make sure you catch him!  Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th March The Magical Sports Day will be free to download from Amazon.  You don't need a Kindle to read it either as Amazon have a host of free reading Apps for almost any platform, so go and get a taste of Larry before all that chocolate appears magically in your homes! (Then magically disappears just as quickly!)  As Spring is so magical it seems appropriate to share a story with a touch of magic!  Larry is a very, clever liger for choosing it...

Not only is a Larry the Liger ebook free but I am also going to be releasing, tomorrow, a very limited number of copies of The Easter Liger in print, for sale, via my facebook page: so check out the page and give it a like if you like!  Please be aware there are a very limited number of copies of The Easter Liger so I will have to work on a first come, first served basis so please look out for the details which I will release tomorrow on my Facebook page.  I look forward to sharing Larry in print!  It is actually really, really exciting!  He he!

Enjoy the Spring everyone and the chance of new growth.  I wish you all a season full of new opportunities, a bloom of happiness, and bluebell carpeted tidings of comfort and joy.

Happy Spring!

Links to The Magical Sports Day are here:
US and all other Amazon territories.