Monique Rockliffe's Blog - Posts Tagged "writers"

Keeping fit for me requires hard work, but doing a ballet class does it like nothing else. It reaches every muscle - major and intrinsic - and keeps my mind and body strong and fit.

Writing, and doing it consistently, works the same way - although, unfortunately, when it comes to the waistline it isn't so good!! He-he! Writing requires as much commitment and dedication, knowledge and understanding of the craft as does ballet because if you can't do it reasonably well then you're going to run into problems.

Ballet requires you to understand your body and the technique to prevent injury - immediate and long-term. It requires absolute focus and awareness of yourself and others. You have to be musical, as well, and at least once you've moved out of the examination stage into the professional arena you don't have to worry about failing exams that much - except, of course, when you get onto the stage and because of your lack of commitment and hard work you end up falling flat on your face (quite literally) and causing damage to your body and your reputation. In a sense, being a professional dancer takes more work than being a student still in the learning process. Students are quickly forgiven for their mistakes in technique, but professional ballet dancers are expected to be brilliant, ethereal, strong, and beautiful, as close to perfection as possible!

With writing, you don't stop learning (as it is with ballet) and your craft can always improve with total dedication and commitment and, most important, A TOTAL LACK OF EGO! As a professional dancer you learn that you are arrogant onstage and completely humble off. As writers we must be careful that we never reach the stage where we think we know everything because we never do!

By all means, believe in your writing abilities and think highly of yourself when you sit in front of your computer and create your masterpiece, but always be willing to listen and learn and accept constructive criticism from others because your goal is to get better and better at your craft. Even the 'superstars' of the literary world must know (hopefully) that they can always learn something new. Pursue knowledge as though it is your life-blood, then you will know greatness!

Just like dancers, us writers need to be consistently nuturing and improving our craft and increasing our knowledge and exercising our minds, because if we don't have the knowledge to combine with our incredible imaginations, how will we ever be great?
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Published on May 07, 2012 06:09 • 43 views • Tags: dedication-to-your-craft, knowledge, mental-training, self-improvement, writers, writing-tips
I realised this morning that since I entered the world of Social Media I haven’t really written a blog about my work and shared where it all came from and where I want it to go. Also, I’d like to – if you don’t mind – share some excerpts from The Sword Bearers and The Sword Bearer’s Journey with you.

I am an encourager, an inspirer by nature who believes that anyone can do anything they put their mind (and heart) to, and this past week I’ve truly come across inspiring writers and artists who make this world so much more colourful and exciting and pleasurable simply by sharing what they have been given by Divine touch (if that’s the way you think) or if you prefer, by that inexplicable gifting of the Universe. I’ve seen photographs of nature and our galaxy, and artist’s renditions of both, that have left me breathless and overcome with wonder and amazement! And I’m sure the Divine looks at us with just as much wonder when He sees what we are capable of doing with what He has given us.

Now since I started writing, and since I’ve met the hundreds of writers out there who have so much power and ability and creativity and magic inside them to create masterpieces – every single one of them unique – I can’t help but wonder where I fit into this wonderful, colourful life? That there’s room for everyone is absolutely true, but who am I in the grand scheme of things and where am I going? Well, I have envisioned it and therefore I am sure to obtain it – with hard work and absolute belief in myself and my talents (and many great friends and advisors such as yourselves along the way).

I began writing and telling stories again because it has always been a passion, and over the years of filling my life with dance (what I always believed was my first passion) I forgot how important and vital it is to my spirit. Story telling fills me with wonder and stirs my soul to singing; I simply must do it or lose out on the magic of life and creation. Dancing did the same for me, therefore when I stopped doing it, it felt like death! Nothing made me happier than moving to beautiful music, keeping my audiences enthralled, and striving to perform as close to perfection as possible. So when it came to an end I might as well have curled up and died (almost did!). I felt dreadful, and it took me about three years to be able to watch any kind of dancing without feeling like I would burst into tears.

Little did I know what incredible things lay in store for me.

When I met my hubby and things started getting serious we soon spilled our guts to each other about our disappointments and losses in life’s hard journey and then what we really wanted out of the future – together and as individuals. Now, my hubby is a complicated man, not frustratingly so it’s just that he thinks deeply, being a very successful Master Life Coach and a man who constantly searches for deep truths and listens to God/the Universe very closely. As a result, he has incredible intuition and knows the truth about what lies deep inside someone’s heart. He was the one who led me to the door of remembrance where I rediscovered my First-Love: Story Telling! I’d forgotten, you see, that before television came to our country in ’78 I lived inside books and comics, devouring them with relish, and saw every movie my parents’ budget would allow. “Of course!” I declared, hitting my forehead with a loud smack when my heart/my unconscious mind revealed what I had forgotten, and the eyes of my soul reopened the instant it sensed renewed hope and expectation of a kind it had been missing since I stopped dancing.

I am also by nature a very creative person, and unless I create I stagnate, grow bored, depressed, and then eventually just give up (or DIE!!! If you want to be more dramatic! He-he! That’s what is always feels like anyway). But it took a wonderful, loving, and wise man to guide me back to the light and, yes, he alone deserves the acknowledgement for getting me to start writing. (I can already feel him preening and cooing as he congratulates himself while patting his own back and saying, “Damn right!” because it took giving me a kick up the butt to get started! And, oh boy, you have no idea how grateful I am for it! Mwah, thanks honey! You deserve the right to preen!!)

So with no further adieu I’d like to share my passion with you. Here are two excerpts, one from each book, for your reading pleasure:

The Sword Bearers: Book 1

Part One: Destruction and Flight

Chapter One: The Transfer

. . . The throne room was situated in the heart of the palace and could easily hold over a thousand people. It was the most secure room in the palace, so when it began to shake and the ceiling began to crack sending debris and dust falling down from above, she knew her time was growing short. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and prayed to Kurrn that He would give her courage and also forgiveness for what she was about to do.

When she opened her eyes her breath caught in her throat. A very tall and slim man stood alone in the middle of the room. His skin was the colour of ink, and he had eyes that burned blood-red like the embers in a dying fire. Silky black hair was cut short and his long, narrow face was chiselled to perfection. As he regarded her his mouth curled in contempt. Gathering every last bit of courage she could she slowly lowered herself onto the throne, placed her arms casually on the arm rests, straightened her back and raised her chin. She hardened her features and gave him a look of cold serenity and authority, looking every bit the regal queen she was. She almost faltered when he smirked at her with such mockery that in other circumstances she would have had him thrown into a dungeon for his insolence.

“Cai’rin dei Theras,” the man hissed in perfect Old Tongue, and bowed mockingly, never taking his eyes off hers. “We finally meet.” He made to walk closer.

“Do not move,” said Ahloren softly, a clear warning in her tone, and was surprised when he stopped his advance. “I have not given you permission to approach me.”

The man snorted derisively, and said, “Permission, Ahloren, really?” His eyes narrowed. “Your authority means nothing to me, little Cai. Before this day is over you will either be kneeling at my feet begging for your life, or you’ll be dead. The choice is yours.”

The malevolence radiating from him was beginning to make her feel ill, and it took every scrap of will power she had not to reveal what she was thinking and feeling. She had an idea this was not a u’man man standing before her but something much worse. So, this was the creature that had finally seduced her son, and this was most probably the immortal Namic had told her about that appeared to be the leader of her enemy. She studied him carefully and he bore it with a contemptuous smile playing around his mouth. She refused to be baited and kept quiet, waiting with a pounding heart to hear what he’d say next. Movement at the throne room’s huge double door where guests usually entered caught her eye, and she looked past Malis to see who it was.

“I have brought someone with me that I’m sure you will want to see,” he said with great amusement.

Raising a hand without taking his burning eyes off her the throne room doors flung open and at least fifty armed u’mans and aliens came flowing into the room. Between two of the men they half-dragged, half-carried Jaryth, and Ahloren finally dropped her mask and reacted as any mae would at seeing her son so hurt.

Malis smiled wickedly. “Ah yes, it is he, Ahloren. A little worse for wear, but still alive.”

Ahloren remained seated and narrowed her eyes to study her son. He seemed to be drugged; his eyes were half closed and he was unaware of his surroundings. He looked older, and he was very pale and gaunt. His eyes were sunken and he was much too thin. Bruises covered his face and arms, and she had to fight the intense motherly urge to run to him and bring him comfort. But she kept her bearing in place, and burning with rage her eyes moved back to the red-eyed man. “Who are you?” she demanded, fury making her voice harsh and low. “Theras is a peaceful Territory. What right do you have to kill my people and harm my son?”

“Right?” he asked, with raised eyebrows as if surprised at the question. Then his face contorted grotesquely, and he sneered. “This has everything to do with rights!” His voice boomed making everyone jump. His red eyes flared, and Ahloren swallowed hard against rising fear. “I want what’s mine by right, u’man.” His face contorted again, and Ahloren caught a glimpse of something evil crawling beneath his skin, and shivered violently. He saw it and his smirk became an evil, toothy grin. “No u’man has the right to possess something not of this world! The Sword of Shadows and the Sword of Heaven should never have ended up in the hands of weak, pathetic mortals!” He took a step closer to her again, and she tensed.

“So, you are not mortal.” It was a statement not a question, and he nodded once. “Then what are you?”

“Ah, finally, an intelligent question.” He indicated that Jaryth be brought to him, and when the young man drew near the creature grabbed his hair and viciously yanked back his head. Without looking at Ahloren he spoke again, his voice sounding more and more like a snake hissing and spitting. “Your son found the Sword of Shadows for me, Ahloren, but he didn’t listen when I told him to contact me when he did. Instead he went off on his own and the Sword took possession of him when it was supposed to transfer to me!” The hall reverberated with his last words as everyone but Ahloren cringed at the raw fury they heard in his voice. “Are all Vindor’hiens so disobedient?” he asked, and turned his head to look at her.

She gave a start when she saw his face again. It seemed like it was melting, revealing a disgusting black writhing wet something where his left cheek used to be. She forced a deep calming breath, and felt a sudden surge of pride for what her son had done, however foolish. She never wanted him to experience such pain, and have such a heavy burden. He was not made for it. Khyri was. “We are strong-willed and stubborn, and if my son disobeyed you, well then I am naturally very pleased and proud of him for doing so. Preventing you from getting the Sword seems to be high on Kurrn’s agenda, it seems, may His name be praised!” She shouted her last words of praise to deliberately bait him so that he would take his focus off Jaryth for fear he might kill him.

But then a strange thought struck her and she actually smiled. The creature’s blazing red eyes widened in surprise and he let Jaryth’s head drop forward as he stared at Ahloren who was, annoyingly, showing no signs of fear. “You feel cheated, don’t you?” she asked him in a confident, clear voice. “You have failed in your plans to take possession of the Sword of Shadows and now you have come to try to kill me and get the Sword of Heaven, is that right?”

The creature sneered and more of his face began to slip as his eyes glowed brighter. He took another menacing step towards her. His sibilant voice was low and dangerous. “No more games, Ahloren. You will give me the Sword or your son will die,” he hissed.

Tears filled her eyes as a wave of sorrow so intense hit her she nearly cried out. But she kept her control, and said with scathing hatred in her voice, “My son is already dead, you bastard! If he has possession of the Sword of Shadows then he is no longer u’man but a creature of darkness. Why do you think my ancestors never searched for the Sword? They knew no u’man could handle its power and not be corrupted by it.”

“Give me the Sword of Heaven,” he hissed ignoring her, “or I will break his neck while you watch.”

In an emotionless voice she said, “Here, let me help you with that,” and before anyone could react Ahloren flung out her arm, and with the Sword’s power wrenched her beloved son away from the two men holding him. With a strength tapered only by the intense sorrow and horror she was feeling at what she was doing, she threw her youngest son across the room and against one of the pillars, and they all heard a loud crack as his back and neck broke. His body crumbled soundlessly to the floor as Ahloren screamed in agony and fell off the throne onto her knees.

At the very moment Jaryth’s body flew across the room Khyri came into the throne room from the door where her mae had entered, and saw her brother hit the pillar and fall lifelessly to the ground. She then saw her mae lower her arm and scream in agony. It took only a second for Khyri to take everything in and then her own scream of horror and disbelief joined with her mae’s as Khyri realised what she had done . . .

The Sword Bearer’s Journey: Book 2

Part Two: The Prince of Abronis

Chapter One: The Winter Ball

. . . Yanec slowly turned towards the woman who appeared to be keeping one of his most skilled warriors and brutal commanders at bay without so much as breaking a sweat. His right hand and arm were tingling slightly but he shook it off without giving it much thought, and studied the almost comical scene before him. His black eyes shifted to Kola-rek who flinched under his hot gaze, and then back to the young woman who effortlessly held Kola under her control. Her beauty struck him immediately as did her amazing eyes which were staring fearlessly and challengingly back at him. Her chin was held high and her contempt for him was obvious. Who is she? he wondered.

“My lady, it seems you have me at a severe disadvantage. Whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?” he asked in a polite, friendly voice.

“It matters not,” she said calmly, her eyes cold. “All that matters is that your men stepped over a line and insulted the king and his guests.” She saw Sesar step forward and whisper into Yanec’s ear, and his black eyes widened.

“My First tells me you are the king’s cousin,” he said. “I am glad we finally meet, my lady. It’s just a pity it had to be under such . . . awkward circumstances.” He gave her a tight smile and a small, mocking bow. The smile never reached his eyes.

KC didn’t move or speak and kept merciless pressure on the nerves of Kola-rek’s hand. She increased the pressure just enough to make him grunt in pain and watched the smile on Yanec’s face slip a fraction. It was most satisfying.

“It does seem that my men have misbehaved, my lady, if the retreating distressed young ladies I just saw were anything to go by, and for that I apologise most sincerely. But now, please, let go of Kola’s hand. He appears most uncomfortable.” In truth, Yanec didn’t care about Kola-rek at all. The beautiful woman could slice off his wrist and it wouldn’t faze him. Kola was an arrogant, belligerent man who constantly challenged Yanec’s decisions, and if he lost his hand to this beauty then it was no major loss and at least something would have entertained him at this boring affair tonight.

KC looked behind Yanec and studied his fanned out entourage, not as practiced in their facial expressions as their master. Sesar was standing just behind Yanec’s right shoulder and he alone appeared concerned. He was looking directly at KC with focused intensity, but his intensity didn’t have the cruelty that Yanec’s had, and she could detect no animosity in his half-face. He didn’t even spare a glance for Kola-rek. Curious. She returned the stare coldly nonetheless. Without taking his eyes off her, Yanec handed her knife to Sesar who in turn began studying it closely. She was wondering what he found so fascinating about it when Yanec spoke again.

“My lady?” He indicated to Kola-rek in a gesture that asked her to release the commander, but she ignored him. He couldn’t take his eyes off her. She fascinated him! Here was a stunning young woman in a striking gown effortlessly keeping down a reputable and feared warrior, and he found himself highly amused and greatly intrigued. He wanted to know more about her, for this was obviously no ordinary woman!

KC stared at Yanec for a moment longer as if to spitefully test his patience, and then with a sigh of regret decided, for the sake of her uncle and mate, to let go of Kola-rek’s hand, but she gave him a good shove at the same time that sent him sprawling onto the grass.

Kola-rek gasped with relief and cradled his damaged hand to his chest, glaring at KC and the mocking smile she was giving him. He was astounded that he had been bested by a mere girl – him, a highly regarded commander under Drakoor s’et! He forced himself to his feet and hobbled over to stand with his comrades behind Yanec and Sesar, both of which gave him cold, angry glares that promised more pain later. He tried not to show his fear. Being disciplined was never a pleasant experience. And he should know; he’d dealt out enough punishments to his own men for worse conduct.

A small crowd had started to gather, steadily arriving through the trees. The news had obviously spread quickly that there had been an incident, and in true upper class curiosity they had come to see for themselves. But the scene had not played itself out just yet, the entertainment far from over. KC had to work hard not to roll her eyes at their eagerness to witness more.

“Is this the way you treat your host, Yanec, by allowing your thugs to run amuck?” she asked, and slowly took a few steps towards him.

Yanec clenched his jaw, and replied bitingly, “It seems the young ladies were looking for some fun, and found it.” His lips twitched and her glorious eyes became dangerous. She suddenly flipped the knife in her hand and threw it so quickly he didn’t have time to step back, and the small crowd gasped at the aggressive act. The knife struck the ground directly in front of his feet, but he forced himself not to flinch. When he lifted his gaze to meet her eyes he saw the open challenge there . . . and he saw something else: this woman knew how to handle herself and how to handle a weapon. He immediately knew he was not dealing with another lazy, pampered noble woman. His senses sharpened immediately and he began to pay closer attention.

He recognised the form and bearing of a warrior, not some fat lord’s mate. But she was pure bred: he noted her proud, elegant features and her perfectly slim body, and very toned bare arms, a sign of intense training. Strangely, there was a familiarity about her that he could not identify, and he was suddenly fascinated anew, and at the same time wondered just what it was exactly that fascinated him so much. He used women to satisfy his basest needs on occasion but it never went beyond that, for love to him was a weakness. It dulled the senses and invoked too much unwanted emotion. But what was it about this woman that drew him so strongly? He needed to know more about her. Finally, a challenge! He was getting rather bored in Catala and she was something fresh and new. Who knew what she would reveal once he’d had a chance to tame her.

KC recognised that look – a mixture of curiosity and lust, and she shivered. He most probably thought of her as an interesting piece of flesh waiting to be conquered. But he was in for a nasty surprise, and she smiled, bearing her teeth like a she-wolf.

Stepping closer to him, she said, “I guess your men learned how to treat women so atrociously from their master.” A few in the crowd drew in sharp breaths at the insult, but she ignored them and then turned her back on him to leave the way she had come, missing Yanec’s dark look. Her anger was growing now, and although she was in perfect control she felt she needed to remove herself from the situation before she did or said anything stupid and embarrassed Korin and Ren. And, also, drawing too much attention to herself was not a good idea right now. She had promised her family to stay away from Yanec. It wouldn’t do if he recognised her from Theras. So far she had not seen any recognition in his eyes which was good. Perhaps Ren was right and he would not be able to place her in these vastly different circumstances. She certainly hoped so. She feared, though, that she had already made things difficult for Korin by having this little confrontation. Shisa! But she couldn’t resist throwing the knife to make her point (her lips twitched at the unintended pun). It had felt so good! She just wished it could have been in his black heart!

But then Yanec spoke, and her attempt at leaving quietly disappeared.

“Are you not a bit young to be such a cynical, sarcastic hussy?” Yanec drawled, loud enough for everyone to hear.

The crowd drew in another sharp breath, almost in unison, and KC froze in her tracks. She knew he was trying to bait her but he didn’t know her very well, and with hardly a pause she looked at him over her shoulder and responded with: “And are you not a bit young to be a sad excuse for a mass murderer?” She turned slowly to face him, a small smile of derision playing on her lips. There was deathly silence as the ball guests stood riveted, feeling the climax of the play about to take place, eager for blood. Kurrn, she hated nobles! Yanec’s face twisted into a sneer, and KC slowly walked towards him. Every warning bell in her head went off as she drew nearer! What are you doing? He’ll recognise you! she warned herself, but she steadily continued forward . . .

I’d LOVE to hear what you think! Please leave a comment below, and please forgive me if this time I took up more of your time than usual. I just love sharing what gifts I have been given!
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Published on June 22, 2012 06:49 • 47 views • Tags: artists, authors, epic-fantasy, inspiration, passion-for-writing, writers
This week has been extremely busy and downright exhausting for me, and usually when I’m this tired I find it difficult to write or do rewrites because my concentration levels are just not where they need to be in order to attain my personal standards of performance and achievement in every area of my life. Even though writing never fails to excite me, I find that when I’m tired it becomes more of an effort and like work instead of the easy flow and joy I experience when I’m rested and my mind is uncluttered.

When I’m this tired my mind shuts down, and where writing my Fantasy series can still happen rather easily because of my eternal, almost preternatural, passion for it, writing a blog takes more energy. When I blog I am having a conversation with my friends, but as my hubby knows, when I’m tired I don’t like talking too much. But I am committed to you guys and the relationships I have built up with you, and that to me is never an effort; the act of writing, however, can be. So, all I did today was take a few minutes to sit in front of my laptop and look out the window and allow my mind to wander where it wanted.

Now, I have, and always will be, a fiction writer. I have tried my hand at poetry many times and had reasonable success with it in school, but I’ve never really gotten into it. Karen Robiscoe writes fabulous poetry, and I follow her blog, Charron’s Chatter, with great enjoyment. Frequently her poems are hilarious, but I just know that I will never be able to write like her!! She is a poet; I am not!

*snicker* *snort* (slightly embarrassed look) But today I have tried! This is what my tired brain came up with as it meandered through the messy tangle of limp thoughts drowning in a river of fatigue inside my head (he-he, pretty good, yes??), and personally I think it’s a silly ditty but lots of fun! Give it a bash, even if poetry isn’t your thing, because at least you’ll get a giggle out of it at my expense!! Enjoy!

Let Rested Soul Magic’s Flame Reignite


When words do dwell in shadows’ knell,

and heart and mind reach forth from cell,

yet doors remain closed here within,

and make my soul and spirit dim.

*

When passion sleeps – a deep, drowning swirl,

and dreams come fast yet nil reveal,

I lay a-pant and wish and long

for more of that which once magic spun.

*

Magic eludes my heart and mind,

only bringing forth the dark’s unkind,

when I listen not to Source’s trill within,

and harken only to soulless din.

*

Now I remind kindly me and you . . .

*

How can you scribe and not hear well,

when heart and mind and soul do tell,

to open up your inner-Sun

and give that golden power Gun?

*

By nature, Gun must burn and fire,

for soul and heart and mind to flower!

Its sparks must shower upon that within,

that creates and births the magic din.

*

For absent magic cannot glory make,

neither golden page nor moving tale,

that brings tear or joy or laughter true

to reader, writer, listener . . . or you.

*

Find rest, dear writer, yon weary soul,

to keep alive yon glorious goal.

Make time for love, light, joy, and fun,

and don’t forget to fire that Gun!

*

Magic needs fiery Source-born Gun

to make its energy flare and words become spun.

Seek Muse in rest then write as though

your tale shall become this world’s greatest show!

*

For Gun and Muse and Magic must flare;

three united yon goal shall easily ensnare

each reader, writer, listener and you;

no looking back once choice to fire Gun comes true.

*

Listen well, dear writer, to heart’s quiet plea

to rest, to find magic, to make magic in thee.

All exists already there in soul’s warm glare,

just trust in the Magic and make Gun flare!

by Monique Rockliffe

Will I ever become a famous poet? Nah, don’t think so! But I had fun writing it even though it’s quite possibly just awful! He-he!

Share your ditties here and there will be no judgement! Promise!! I love hearing from you!

P.S. Wishing all the countries participating in the Olympics all the very best, and to all my blog friends, may your country perform to your greatest satisfaction! Good luck/Break a leg/Chukkas etc!
Both Images courtesy of stock.xchng www.sxc.hu
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Published on July 27, 2012 10:01 • 101 views • Tags: books, fantasy-author, poet, poetry, writers, writing
I love the human spirit! We have the capacity for so much love and generosity that I am frequently left amazed, astounded, and just plain bowled over by the incredible heart and passion and love people show to one another.

Here I am, sitting at my laptop at the southern end of the world, perhaps some might say pretty far removed from where it’s ‘all happening’, and I have met the most wonderful, kind people from across the globe who constantly surprise and uplift me . . . and they don’t even know me except through the keyboard! From Facebook to Twitter to Goodreads to Triberr, I have come across people I can easily call friends, even though we have never met or spoken face to face. These friends are more than willing to share my world with their many friends without asking for anything in return. Sure, there are expectations: there are hopes that when one shares another’s blog or tweet or Facebook page that one will receive in return. But I bet if you had to ask the question why they do it, and ask those sharers to be dead honest, they would all say because it makes them feel good to support others and help them get seen and noticed, especially when they are newbies. These sharers once were, too, and they remember what it felt like to first get started and be overwhelmed, and then how amazing it was when people started paying attention to them and their work and they started making sales.

If it wasn’t for such generous people, who give without asking in return, who don’t bat an eye when you ask them to help you out by sharing, liking, retweeting, reblogging, and supporting, then none of you would know who I was.

I am pretty new to Social Media and the great, big, world-wide writing community (I’ve only been doing SM and Networking for about five months), but in that time my followers and friends and supporters have grown beyond my wildest expectations! I’ve connected with such amazing writers and businesses, not only businesses in the writing industry but across the board from artists to web designers, consultants, financiers, even air-conditioning tradesmen!! And I thoroughly enjoy everything they share with me because I love meeting new people, and I LOVE being constantly amazed by the incredible skills we human beings posses! We are all so diverse, so interesting, so downright talented I sometimes wish we could make the world go around on that energy alone and forget everything else! Can you imagine how amazing our world would be if we only lived surrounded by all that love and support and friendship every second of every day? Awesome stuff!

So this week my blog is a big “Thank you” to all of you who have contributed to my rise in Social Media-dom and who have helped me connect to the global writing community by putting my name and my work out there in whichever way you did. It is truly an honour knowing every single one of you, and I would like to let you know that my personal commitment is to continue sharing what you give to the world in any way I can, as well. It fills me with such joy and gratitude to support and encourage you and be part of the unique talents each one of you possess, in whatever field you’re in.

To date, my Facebook page is rapidly growing towards 200 Likes; my Twitter followers are now almost 1300, and although I still have a ways to go to reach massive sales of my Epic Fantasy series (something I have every confidence I will achieve one of these days :) – Go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Goodreads to read more about my books), I couldn’t have done it without YOU!

As I am known to say at every opportunity: YOU GUYS ROCK!!

Share the love, and never stop supporting each other! It comes back to you one way or the other!
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Published on August 04, 2012 09:33 • 80 views • Tags: authors, blog, epic-fantasy-series, fantasy-author, gratitude, sharing, writers
Yesterday I went to the Chinese Mall and Dragon City in the south of Johannesburg (South Africa) to do shopping for our huge dance show being held in November. Now anyone who lives in JHB and is aware of what’s going on in their world knows about the Chinese Mall and Dragon City for their cheap prices for absolutely ANYTHING you can think of!

Now, I hadn’t been to this particular Chinese Mall/China Town before so I was very curious to see it and experience what all my friends have been raving about, what with the “amazingly cheap clothes” to the “cheapest props, costumes, and make-up for ballet festival you can imagine” to “OMG the handbags (purses) there are just divine!” So off I trundled with my two partners in the ballet studio and, boy, was I left flabbergasted: toys, clothes, party favours, hardware, software, cellphone accessories, kitchen ware, food, fake flowers, bags of every kind, underwear, wigs, make-up, glitter, glitter, oh, and more glitter . . . and the list goes on and on and on! Whew! For six hours we shopped ‘til we literally dropped, surviving on chips (potato chips), Iron Brew (kinda like Dr Pepper/Root Beer) and ice cream because we had no time to sit and have a decent lunch! Uh-uh, we were on a mission, and with the exception of three items we couldn’t find due to lack of time we fully loaded the SUV and sat in stunned silence, bathing in the glory of success for a few minutes before driving home and collapsing into our husbands’ arms with a sigh and whining for real food and comfort – physical and emotional! And on top of it all it was the end of the month (payday) weekend!! We were NUTS!

Despite having conquered the Great Chinese Challenge – for a few hours at least – I understood that although we got everything we needed at literally a quarter the price we’d get it anywhere else, the items were not of the highest quality and will most probably only last a short while. It sufficed, however, for what we needed it for – one show with crazy, energetic kids who will no doubt wear out every item we bought in no time – therefore sacrificing quality for cheap quantity is, in fact, a good thing in this case.

When I finally recovered, and my energy levels were back to normal, and I braced myself for the Social Media Catch-up I was about to face for neglecting my relationship/book promo duties for an entire day, I opened my emails and Facebook and Twitter and discovered a plethora of invites for FREE books and Give-aways.

Now, having just been to a place where ‘cheap’ was the order of the day, and I had my first experience of such apparent disregard of the coin in exchange for goods, I was struck by how many writers give away their very hard work for nothing, or relatively nothing. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the power of offering your book for free as a means to promote your work and invite interest and attention, but if it’s done too often and for too long it can eventually become detrimental to who you are and what you really want.

I know that when I get clothing or make-up or shoes for a very low price then I understand I am receiving something of lower quality, as well, something that won’t last and satisfy me for very long. When a writer keeps giving their work away for free I have to wonder why; I become a little suspicious and sometimes a little stand off-ish.

Personally, when someone pays the full price for my books it is such a great feeling because it justifies all the hours, days, and months of work, sweat, and sometimes tears of frustration I put into writing my stories, and it tells me that people are truly interested in reading my books because they believe it’s worth their time and money. What an incredible compliment!

To paraphrase Hemingway: as writers we sit at our typewriters and BLEED. Now what does it say of us when we keep giving away our work for nothing? Do we think so little of ourselves and our abilities?

If freebies are used as the occasional incentive, or as an introduction to me and my work, then it can be a very effective tool. But, in my opinion, if it’s done too often it decreases the value of my work and snubs the inordinate amount of time I put into creating it.

The temptation to give our work away is huge because, let’s face it, at the end of the day we want to be KNOWN, we want recognition, we want to stand out from the hundreds of thousands of writers out there and make the world SEE us.

I know some of you reading this will disagree with me, and there might even be some of you who can testify to the power of give-aways, and I will eagerly applaud your success, but please just make sure that you are not selling yourself too cheaply, that people understand that what you are offering is quality stuff, and then, of course, make sure you produce and present high quality stuff to your readers.

There’s nothing worse than a free book and the quality of that book turning out to be as inferior as the price!

It’s hard for me to fight the temptation to give away freebies of my work because I am quite new to this writer’s world myself, but even I can see the dangers in selling myself too eagerly and too freely just to get known. I have to trust in the process, and I have to trust that as I build relationships with other authors and readers that slowly but surely I will get the results I want. In the meantime, I work hard at improving my craft and producing top quality work, knowing that when someone pays $3.50 for my Kindle book they will definitely be getting what they paid for, if not more!

If you agree or disagree please let me know! I love hearing honest, heart-felt stories from you all.
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Published on September 02, 2012 08:35 • 149 views • Tags: authors, belief-in-yourself, books, epic-fantasy, fantasy, fantasy-author, johannesburg, kindle, south-africa, writers
I just hate it when someone speaks about writing or dancing as if they know what it really entails when, in fact, they don’t have a dang clue!!

I have met people in my life who are so clueless about artists that they think they know everything about them! Know what I mean? They sprout such nonsense, and speak such lies with straight-faced confidence, heck, I’m almost convinced they know what they’re talking about!

As a young kid and later a teenager, already firmly established in my dancing and with complete understanding of how much hard work it entailed, and I told new friends and their parents what I did, my pet peeve was when they asked me to please show them something. “You know, do a twirl or something,” they’d twang, and I’d cringe inside and brim with annoyance, but I’d just smile and (with as little sarcasm as possible) tell them it was impossible because I didn’t have any space. I mean, did they really expect me to do grand jetés (split leaps) and pirouettes (turns) in a room full of furniture and break my neck? Yup!!

I know someone who recently told my husband – who knows very well that I danced professionally – that all it takes to be a dancer is to move your body to music, and that it didn’t require any special skill or much work, whereas professional rugby and cricket took years of dedication and immense skill, talent, and training. Now, only one of those statements is true, and as to the other, well, it showed how utterly ignorant the man was about what it takes to be an artist, and that he thought that sport and dancing didn’t compare. According to him, dancing can never be taken seriously while sport was a god to be worshipped! (My biased interpretation :) ) That dance is called a sport by some infuriates me to no end! Yes, a dancer is an athlete in regards to physical exertion, but that’s where the one and only comparison ends!

Now, if I had been present, firstly, he wouldn’t have dared say something like that (I can be snarky when I get defensive!) and, secondly, I would have given him a very sharp lecture on exactly what it took to become a professional dancer – the long hours everyday of your life; sacrificing parties, holidays, and other social events to do exams, festivals, competitions, and spend more time in the studio learning how to control your body (in a way that is completely unnatural to the way the human form is put together); the physical pain and bleeding feet and pulled muscles and swollen joints; the disappointments and failures before the winnings and successes; the never-ending commitment because missing one week of dancing was like losing an entire month of training!! I could go on and on, and I would’ve eventually had him on his knees begging for my forgiveness before I’d finished with him!

*

(Sidebar)

Okay, so this is my explanation regarding dance. It is NOT an anti-sport statement because I LOVE sport and watch the Olympics with as much fervour as anyone else. This is an earnest comparison; you, dear reader, can draw your own conclusions:

Yes, I understand that sport also takes heaps of commitment, especially if one wants to do it professionally, BUT training to become a professional dancer begins the day you walk into a studio at around three years old; kids with aspirations and talent to become professional sportsmen/sportswomen only begin serious training when they’re teenagers, and then the training they do only requires them to train what their bodies can already do naturally. (What follows includes sports like gymnastics, tumbling, ice-skating – anything that can be linked to dance and that requires artistry) With ballet everything you do is beyond the norm for the body: turn-out; spinal rotation beyond the norm of the human spine; co-ordination of the entire body while moving to music; listening to phrasing; interpreting the music; facial expression and performance; acting; spatial awareness; correct weight placement; elevation with stretched legs and feet while holding the body still in the air and expressing perfect line, style, and quality; flexibility (WAY beyond the natural uses of the human body, not required in sport); strength to elevate the legs, these days, to almost a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree angle to the floor; arched feet (the girls have to train to balance and turn en pointe for years – and professionals will tell you, the training for that never stops!); perfect balance – these are but some of the requirements for a dancer. Tell me where a sportsman or woman has to do all these things SIMULTANEOUSLY everyday of their lives?

*

I recently read a blog by a mom who is a serious writer with a firm goal to one day earn a living as a novelist. She is already a journalist and does a lot of other writing jobs when she isn’t working on her novel. But being a mom requires her full attention, and as a result of her working at home her kids think she does nothing all day but sit at home, then only leaves to fetch them from school and take them to extra-mural sporty activities. They even write on their school forms that she’s a ‘stay-at-home-mom’ because they don’t think that writing is a job. Her solution? To treat her writing like it is one – leave the house at 9am, go somewhere like a library or a coffee shop or somewhere quiet to write, then return home at 5pm. She discovered it was the only way she could find the time to get done what she needed to, and get it through to her kids that what she did was serious work, and that when she worked then she was off-limits, so to speak.

In short, I found this story very sad, and it brought out all the feelings of frustration and, yes, even anger that I earlier expressed. What is it with the ‘normal’ world that doesn’t get us? Why is it so difficult for them to see us as creators and designers and artists, something that they could never be because they were gifted with other skills that do not require out-of-the-box thinking?

As artists we are borderless and limitless. We are visionaries and dreamers, and we only live on this earth because the laws of physics say we have to (for now, anyway!!). If we had a choice we would rush at the chance to explore the Universe – inside us and out there – without fear because we believe that dreams are more important for our continued survival as creator-beings and for earth and it’s inhabitants to evolve!

The kind of people I mentioned above – the ones that think dreaming and allowing magic to lead us and dictate how we should approach and live our lives is rubbish – do not understand that without us dreamers and visionaries they wouldn’t have music and movies and art and dance and design and technology and, when you get right down to it, without us they wouldn’t see any progress as the human race. In their blind arrogance (which is simply ignorance) they think they can have everything in their lives without us. But if they just stopped and looked, and took the time to understand what it takes to write a story that came from a place us authors could never explain; to understand what it takes for a dancer to be so magnificent in her performance that it brings tears to an observer’s eyes and makes it difficult to breathe; to understand that an artist can paint something so beautiful that it can render its observer immobile for hours because of its power and beauty; to understand that a piece of music can make grown men cry and can turn a five-year old into one of the most brilliant composers of all time (Mozart)!

I admit, this post is a bit of a rant, but, as with just about all my posts, I believe my goal as a blogger and an author is to inspire you, dear reader and writer, to never, ever think of yourself as anything less than your partner who has a ‘real’ job and cannot understand your obsession with writing, or your kids that do sport and can’t understand why you spend so much time writing when you don’t earn anything for it, or your friends who have boring, uneventful, safe desk jobs and who can’t understand that you would give up parties and social events to spend more time tweaking your novel so that it can be ready for publication in a few weeks.

Be proud, is what I’m saying, for without you they would not know magic! They would never even be aware of its existence!

You are an artist! You are Magic incarnate! Keep producing and keep conjuring your masterpieces and being the creator-being you were meant to be. Teach those that do not understand, that do not get it, how much work and skill and talent and dedication it takes to be good at what you do, and that even if they don’t see the results – or as in the case of this man who didn’t have a clue about what being a brilliant dancer was all about – it doesn’t mean that those results are not there, it just means that these people don’t know what good or brilliant is! Or even what art is, for that matter! They don’t understand the power or joy or reverence or exuberance writing brings you. Perhaps just be a little more patient in your explanations than I would have been with that clueless man; after all, I am quite cheeky when I want to be :) And now that I am a writer I feel it is my duty to defend us authors against those that scorn and misunderstand us, just as much as I continue to defend dancers who have a reputation for being stupid and uneducated!

Please leave a comment! I love hearing from you! And you can rant all you like – against or for!!
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Published on September 16, 2012 08:45 • 92 views • Tags: authors, ballet, dancing, fantasy-author, imagination, self-belief, writers
Because I am an avid reader since forever I am always left amazed at how a brilliant book can help me forget all kinds of troubles and woes and bad moods and struggles. That gripping novel has the ability to lighten my spirit and erase all bad mojo, and take me to a place where my concentration and creative skills are at optimum levels; the place my brain and emotions need to be for me to create those things in my life that make me happy and excited and willing and able to face anything.

Without inspiration we cannot deploy magic into our real and fictional worlds through words. Without inspiration our hearts and spirits are flat and tired and grouchy and it takes so much effort to create.

When I’m feeling down or despondent or upset about something or when things aren’t going my way, the best medicine is to put myself in an environment that instantly takes my mind off me and focuses it on something that makes my heart and soul sing with happiness – and that’s either a good book or a good movie. After reading or watching said book or movie, it actually takes quite a bit of effort for me to remember feeling bad. If other books can make me feel so good, then I just know that my books can do the same for my readers.

I have spoken many times about the power and influence of our stories over readers because we, as inspired artists, have the ability to create characters and worlds that feed the readers’ souls. Every single person who picks up a book wants to be transported away for a few hours, or even a few minutes. They want to escape their present circumstances - whether it be sitting in a tiny office cubicle ignored by the world, riding a bus or subway, standing in a queue for hours, waiting for a train, being stuck in a hospital bed for days – and take flight to another, easier, less painful place where they are the heroes and nothing is impossible!!

We writers are the unassuming therapists of the world; we have the power to temporarily or, in some cases, permanently lighten burdens and make people forget for a short while where they are and what they’re doing. And the consequences of getting lost in a story are always good and uplifting and thrilling! We have the power to inspire, because just as our Muse or God or the Universe has inspired us, it is our responsibility and ability to inspire our readers. The more powerful the story, and the greater the skill of the writer to transport the bored, depressed, sad person to another place that enables them to experience the exact opposite of their present reality, then the more successful that writer is at their craft.

Personally, the ultimate test of whether my story has hit the ‘escapism’ mark is if it moves me the way it will move my reader. If I can laugh and cry because a scene I created is powerful enough to do so, then there is no doubt in my mind that my readers will experience the same, if not a higher, level of emotion I did.

Our goal, dear writer, is to take our readers by the hand and guide them through our worlds and help them experience the joys and excitement that inspired us to tell our stories in the first place. Like a therapist, we are here to help them understand and feel what they need to in order to get the most out of life – the life of the imaginary world – and be inspired to face with conviction and renewed hope, determination and purpose whatever life throws at them – in the real world.

Understand your responsibilities, and remember you are able, by your words, to move mountains in the lives of others!
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Published on January 23, 2013 08:30 • 42 views • Tags: authors, books, fantasy, fiction, god, guidance, inspiration, muse, reading-as-a-therapy, science-fiction, universe, writers
We’ve all experienced it: We get a great idea for a story, and then we begin writing it down. Is it that simple? Yes and no.

Anyone can get a great idea – a twist on a classic or a recent movie or a song – because they’re all out there for the taking. So, what turns a great idea into a masterpiece? Right from the very beginning, as the words take form and the outline reveals itself, you must find the unique heartbeat, the specific tonality, the feel of the tale that separates it from every other story out there. And to hear that singular ‘voice’ speaking to you from wherever you believe stories come, you need to have the ability to listen, then recognise it, then express it in words.

It has been proven time and time again that if a group of say twenty kids get given the same sentence with which to begin their story you will invariably end up with twenty different stories. But the one that gets the A+ is the one that went outside the box and found a place so different from where convention dwells that the reader (in this case, the teacher) is blown away and immediately identifies the unusual/unique potential of that student. It’s not that the student had any special educational advantage over her peers, it’s rather that she lives her life by exploring the unconventional and opens her mind to things that most kids do not. The dreamers, the inventors, the ones that usually get into trouble for not concentrating in class – those are the kids the innovators of the world should be paying attention to and helping them expand those gloriously open, unfettered minds.

A great tool to use when writing – and this is fantastic if ever you find yourself stuck for an idea – is to ask: “What if?” What if the laws of nature didn’t apply to this character or this situation? What if there were no morals or ethics binding a character to act a certain way? What if reality wasn’t reality but mere illusion? What if the impossible was possible?

Many writers would say that getting to know your characters as if they were your best friends helps to make the story more real even if they’re writing about fantasy or the paranormal or science fiction. To imagine themselves where the characters are, to get in on the conversation and feel and hear what each unique personality is saying, lends greater passion and realism to a scene, even if they’re talking about swords and sorcery.

Every story has its own rhythm. Every character has his or her unique style and personality. But to get all this to a place of realism you need to live your story through every word and action. Place yourself in their position – the good and the evil characters – and try to understand them as though they were you. ‘See’ how they move and ‘hear’ how they speak (the inflections and nuances in their voices – including what they’re thinking), the way their faces move, the way their bodies move, and, of course, every single emotion they experience, whether expressed in the scene or secretly thought and felt. If they are angry you must feel angry. If they are upset or weeping then you must share in it with them, for if you can experience it all then your reader will, too!

When writing in the same genre there is a danger that an author can end up having books with similar characters who have similar behaviours and find themselves in similar situations. I find this happening even among the greatest authors of our day. Their stories are all different, but I sometimes have a sense of knowing a character too well like I’ve met them before, and then I realise they’re a lot like another character in another book by the same author! It never fails to disappoint.

Have you written many books? If so, have you made sure that each new story has its own voice, its own heartbeat?

I urge you to spend time getting to know your new characters intimately, giving them their own existence, and making sure they don’t have a clone lurking around somewhere in another book. Take the time to make them unique, from their looks to the way they speak and act and interact with the other characters, because, believe me, your reader will pick up on a fake character just like they pick up on a fake actor who has not immersed herself in her role. It’s painful and distracting and makes the viewer want to stop watching because it’s impossible to get totally absorbed in the story when it feels unrealistic or fake.

Surrender to the power of the tale and allow it to direct you instead of the other way round! This is a quote from a friend on Facebook that is just perfect for what I have spoken about today: “Authors do not create characters. We open our minds to the unknown worlds and allow them to tell us their stories through these unseen doors. Then we write it all down for those who do not have the ability to open the doors on their own.” ~ Beth Fullaway

I love hearing your thoughts! Tell me about your experiences as a writer and creator of unique tales, and if you struggle – or don’t – with bringing your characters to life in a way that makes them as real as possible!

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Published on August 16, 2013 08:08 • 35 views • Tags: authors, epic-fantasy, fantasy, fiction, imagination, originality, science-fiction, writers
This is such a frustrating and curious topic that many either ignore it altogether or pursue it with fervour with the single-minded goal of perfecting it. Style is spoken of as the most important thing a writer can have in order to possess a unique voice. I don’t know if I agree. Style to me is superfluous when it becomes the be all and end all of the way you approach your work. If it’s all you’re concerned about at the exclusion of other things then I believe it brings limitation and not freedom.

When I read a famous author’s work I don’t analyse every nuance and slant and approach, I just get on with reading the story, hoping to be sucked into another world, another existence, for hours. Although I recognise Stephen King as someone who writes with no fuss or gimmicks or fancy words and phrasing – this makes my reading experience pleasurable and easy – and someone like Tolkien, whose use of language I find complicated and fussy, I still appreciate their very different styles. But, again, I read to be drawn into a story not to be caught up with so much fuss and so many big words that I start focusing on the way it is written instead of on the story.

I’ve been told my style is very much like Stephen King‘s, and no wonder: I love the way he expresses himself and gets to the point with so much emotion and clarity that I can do nothing else but lose myself in every scene. This is my goal as a writer. Even in epic fantasy it’s important not to lose the reader in too much jargon and waffle as though I’m trying my best to show off, to show what a fantastic, accomplished author I am aiming to get selected for many writing awards. All I want is to be a storyteller that blows people’s minds with my vision and emotion and passion.

I think I write like a waltz – easy, flowing with just enough light and shade to hold my reader captive, and with enough crescendos and quiet moments to make them hold their breaths. My style is not an Argentinian tango – intense, demanding, at times too loud, broken with jarring phrasing and rough handling. There is no doubt it is beautiful and passionate and seductive, but a little too rushed for my taste!

But again I ask if style is that important if as a writer you succeed in getting your story across to the reader the way you want. Perhaps the answer is that style changes with each story you write, unless it’s part of a series, of course, where the feel and voice must be consistent for the sake of the reader’s comfort and happiness. They love their comfort zones, after all, and like to know exactly what they’re gonna get before they read the next book in a series they’ve come to love and trust.

Personally, I like writing as differently as I can with every new story I approach. My epic fantasy tetralogy flows and moves and expresses like a Viennese waltz, while the Vampire novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year has an entirely different feel – more like a tango It has to be because the characters are COMPLETELY different to my characters in my epic fantasy. They’re harder, rougher, more dangerous and earthy, and therefore they demand that my writing (style) matches their temperaments and unique personalities.

This is why I say that perfect style is not the ultimate goal and achievement of a writer; being able to tell a powerful story effectively with conviction is.

I know many will disagree with me on this, but, hey, that’s what makes debating such fun What are your thoughts about style and its relevance? Is it relevant or not? How do you identify your unique style, and what exactly is it?

I love reading your thoughts so please leave a comment.

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Published on September 10, 2013 08:42 • 30 views • Tags: authors, blog, epic-fantasy, fantasy, fiction, imagination, originality, science-fiction, stephen-king, tango, waltz, writers, writing-tips
Only writers will get this, but when I can’t sit at my computer everyday and write I feel disconnected from the universe, from myself, and from my characters. Reality crowds in and I start getting irritable and my husband thinks someone else has taken up residence inside his wife.

Sometimes life and work crowd in and take over; well, they actually take me away from where I really want to be and from what I want to do. Working to pay the bills and put food on the table is necessary, but if I had a choice I wouldn’t do it. It’s days like that when I envy professional writers their freedom to not have to do another job besides their beloved writing.

I’ve been bogged down with dance festivals for the last three weeks, and even though I’ve had a few days where I’ve managed to get down around 10-14 pages, they came too seldom. I enjoy choreographing and creating dances for the kids I teach; I love seeing the end product on the stage and watching my girls, with whom I’ve been rehearsing for months, performing their hearts out and getting rewarded for their hard work and dedication. Now, this used to be my entire life – dancing, performing, rehearsing, choreographing – but when writing came along and my dance career slowed down it became my entire existence. I couldn’t believe that creating with words was as intoxicating, if not more so, than dancing. Oh, believe me, nothing beats being on stage in front of an audience and drawing them in and making them laugh or cry or applaud – it is definitely an art form where you get instant gratification and recognition – and even though writing produces the same results it just takes a little longer and a lot more (and a different kind of) work.

Writing when I’m exhausted is also hard and it takes great effort to sit down in front of my computer and make the start. But what I’ve learned as a reasonably new author, is that once I begin, once I set my imagination free, then there’s no stopping me. Tired or not, I can write all day. The adrenaline, the force that pulses through me, is addictive and one drug I hope never to give up.

Dance and writing are very different and very similar: they are both visual art forms and require the observer to use their imagination; they both take the observer on a magical journey, an escape from reality that the observer craves; they both grab the observer’s attention and hold them captive, and here is the first major difference: dance incorporates music, lighting, costumes, sets – basically, all the visuals are physically provided to help the observer become engrossed in the atmosphere created for them – whereas in a book the observer, with the author’s help, is left to create their own world, their own physical interpretation of the story, all taking place in the mind.

I thank God for giving me the ability to create and imagine. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying: “Imagination is more important than knowledge…” He understood the power of imagination, that it is limitless whereas knowledge is not, and as a dancer, dance teacher, and a writer I understand and acknowledge and welcome its power, and I’m grateful for the ability to use it to its fullest extent – tired or not :)

When I danced professionally it consumed my world; I could not even contemplate doing anything else. But time past and life, too, and when I discovered the world of writing I realised that dance isn’t all there is. There were other ways for me to express and share what was inside me, what was inside my mind and heart, just that now it was with words. I approached it tentatively, this new, scary thing, and once I tried it and discovered that putting down on paper what was in my head was just a little harder than creating a dance piece (choreography is as natural to me as breathing!), and it slowly started taking hold of me like a powerful drug coursing through my veins and setting my heart and soul on fire! Never did I think that writing would consume me so, and I allowed it to because it replaced my passion and love of dance, soothing the pain of leaving that world behind.

Teaching dance is my job; writing is my new passion, and I cannot think of doing anything else. It’s a good thing I can write ’til I drop dead one day. I don’t think this body would be able to do leaps and turns as well as I used to as the decades go by :)

When I write I feel invincible, I feel alive and full of joy, so when the ‘normal’ stuff of life encroaches I get very grumpy. I even hate stopping to have food when I’m in the flow. Ask my hubby; he’s had full on conversations with me while I’ve been writing and I haven’t heard a word!! He’s slowly learning not to mess with me when I’m in the zone :)

Tell me about the things that you’d rather give up than have your writing interrupted. I love reading your thoughts! Please share!

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