With National Book Day coming up on the 7th March I wanted to draw your attention to Ebooks taking part in the Smashwords Ebook Week.
Ebooks can be downloaded free from their site at www.smashwords.com
My own mixture of fiction and poetry are available from my author page at:https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JudithLesleyMarshall
The most reviewed fiction title At the Gates is a short story about a young man who enters an English monastery in search of a better life and ends up trapped in time.
The most popular poetry title is Land of my Ancestors. This is a collection of poems inspired by research into my farming and mining roots in Teesdale, Weardale and the Upper Pennines.
Given that I both read and write fantasy and poetry I would like to leave you with this thought from one of my favourite authors Ursula le Guin:
‘We like to think we live in daylight, but half the world is always dark; and fantasy, like poetry, speaks the language of the night.’ (The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Quotations:2003)
Did you go for a walk and come back with a haiku? Here’s mine …
surprise in the sky
cold, dry February day
air balloon rises
… and the second checklist:
* Does your haiku contain the correct number of lines (3) and syllables (17)?
* Are the images concrete?
* Does it have a seasonal and/or natural reference?
* Is there a clear break to form a one-line and two-line unit?
* Is it written in the present tense?
* Can it be read in one breath?
* Is there a play on words?
* Do you have strong words at the end of each line?
* What can you take out?
* What can you add in?
* What else can you change?
* Is it open to interpretation?
Hopefully you have experienced a moment of insight in answering all of the above. A moment that the Japanese express with the word ‘Katsu!’ A moment such as that expressed in the image which I have used to both complement and contrast my haiku.
Once you are confident that you have produced a haiku which you would like to have considered for inclusion in the Japan Day display at The Forum, Northallerton, North Yorkshire on the 17th May, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please add your name, town and country as you wish them to be printed beneath your verse. Entries must be in English and received by the 31st March.
Visitors can attend Japan Day free of charge although there may be a small fee to participate in calligraphy, origami and other Japanese craft workshops.
Further details of events and activities available from 11a.m. to 3p.m. can be found at http://kimonoworld.weebly.com
As poet in residence for the Japan Day festival at The Forum, Northallerton, North Yorkshire on the 17th May I would like to invite you to have a go at haiku.
If you would like to participate in this celebration of a traditional form of Japanese poetry send your completed haiku to me by 31st March.
Successful entries will be showcased in the ‘Have a Go at Haiku’ display throughout the day from 11a.m. to 3p.m.
We are looking for poems written in ‘strict’ form i.e. 3 lines of 17 syllables arranged in a 5, 7, 5 syllable count with a shift in the 3rd line.
Once you have written your poem check that it has:
* a seasonal word/theme
* a natural world reference
* plain words (in English)
* two concrete images in juxtaposition
* a break (caesura)making a one and a two-line unit
It should also be:
* written in the present tense
* readable in one breath
* with a hint of something beyond the poem
* avoid similes, metaphors and adjectives
* place strong words at the end of each line
A useful exercise to inspire you would be to take your notebook for a walk. Write down your observations. Look at things from a different perspective. Make notes of your observations. Experiment with writing haiku.
Check them against the 12 points made above. Put them away and see next week’s post for further revision suggestions and details of where to send polished versions.
More details of what’s happening on Japan Day can be found at http://kimonoworld.weebly.com/japan-day.html
Teesdale Words creative writing group are holding a Poetry Read & Share evening at The Witham, 3 Horsemarket, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham DL12 8LY on Wednesday 26th February from 5.30 – 7.30p.m.
This is the group which formed as a result of the Barnard Castle Winning Words poetry project in 2012. The project was part of the cultural Olympics and Barnard Castle was one of seven towns chosen to be beacons of poetry for the country.
Members of the group are interested in a range of art forms but we all love to read and write poetry. This will be our first meeting at the new Witham venue and we would like to invite you to bring along a favourite poem to read and share. This might be one of your own or the work of a poet whom you admire.
The evening costs £5 per person and refreshments will be available on arrival.
While the emphasis this time is on poetry, we welcome writers of all ages, genres and abilities who are keen to share and seek an audience for their work.
If you can’t make it on the 26th February but would like to be kept informed about future meetings, email your details to me (Judith) at email@example.com.
Today I am excited to be part of the ‘My Writing Process’ blog tour. The tour revolves around writers who answer the same four questions about their writing process before passing the baton on to another writer. My thanks go to Avril Joy who asked me to follow on from her post last week (see www.avriljoy.com). Here are my answers:
What am I working on?
As ever I can’t seem to stick to just the one thing, so at the moment I’m working on three different projects, swapping from one to the other as the words and ideas surface. What they have in common is that they are all based on poetry. The one which is uppermost in my mind at the moment is a new collection on the theme of Sanctuary. I will be posting more about this and how to get involved in the next few months.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I like to experiment as those of you know who have been following my posts on fantasy poetry, which is a fusion of the two genres. Another of the projects that I am working on is a third fantasy poetry fusion. The first two are available from my page at http://www.smashwords.com.
This one is more slow going as I haven’t made the journey yet and am trying to produce a body of work to contrast and complement the poems that I will write next year in situ.
The best advice I can give anyone wishing to write in a genre is to study that genre, find out what is already written and how it works, and then write what you feel the need to write. You can only bend or break the rules if you know what they are in the first place.
Why do I write what I do?
I write what I feel the need to communicate. I write because it makes me feel more alive. I write because I enjoy it.
How does your writing process work?
In a word, organically. I get an idea for something and write it out until it forms a whole. This can be either poetry or prose and seems to come from different parts of my mind.
Once I have the first draft (on pen and paper) I redraft and play about with the words until I feel I’ve gone as far as I can with it at this stage. I then move to the computer to produce a processed piece which I might put away for a while before editing and polishing.
I usually have a rough idea of how long I wish to spend on each part of the process. This year I have given myself until the end of March to produce the first draft of the Sanctuary project. April to September is for editing ready to send out between October and December. It’s a fluid timeline but helps me to keep moving the work forward.
And on that note I am passing the baton to Kate Evans who will continue the ‘My Writing Process’ blog tour on Monday 10th February.
Kate is programme co-ordinator and tutor on the creative writing degree programme at the University of Hull, Scarborough campus. She produces work across the writing spectrum and last year published ‘Pathways through Writing Blocks in the Academic Environment’ available from http://www.sensepublishers.com
Kate also works with creative writing in therapeutic environments which you can find out more about from her blog at http://www.writingourselveswell.co.uk
In the year of the snake 1282, Shukuoka bay is full of sails of all shapes and sizes. Further ships litter the sea as far as the horizon. Together, they form the greatest armada ever built to invade the shores of Japan.
From my viewpoint on the temple veranda, I shudder to think where Kubilai Khan found the wood and manpower. He must have extended his reach far into the conquered territories this time. The vision of a barren wasteland sweeps before me. This fleet carries with it the sweat and tears of many men forced into hard labour.
The fighting on the beach has been fierce all day. Samurai swords pitted against Mongol archers. The bow may hold the advantage by day but the sword gains power by night and the Khan has not learnt his lesson of six years ago. This is the season when the elements can be whipped into typhoons…
To find out what happens next you can download Zipangu, Year of the Dog 1274: The Second Wave free from http://www.smashwords.com/view/profile/JudithLesleyMarshall
This was my first e-book and it has taken several versions to finally crack the formatting. It can now be downloaded onto all types of reading devices.
If you are wondering about the association of years with animals, this is the traditional oriental way of counting the years. Each year is named after one of twelve animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
This year Chinese New Year falls on the 31st January and people will be celebrating the year of the horse. I hope that it will be a good one for you.