14 ways to turn a true tale
April 9, 2013

Style is a tricky tale. It’s not the letters and words that count, it’s the way you put them together – a bit like size not mattering. What’s even more difficult is that appreciation of style is completely subjective – what one person likes another hates. The most important aspect of style is finding the one YOU like.

quillSomeone once told me never to compromise myself or my values as whilst someone might detest me for my principles and manner of delivering them, someone else will love me and it whilst the person who loves me will read avidly and delightedly whatever I write, no amount of persuasion will coerce the detester to read the detested.  So what useful tips are there to be passed on about finding YOUR style? Here’s a flighty fourteen that I can think of, but there will be many more if you regularly listen to other writers views on writing and styling, starting with possibly the most important:

  1. Be true to you – be authentic. No –one else is you, and no-one else will express themselves like you so be you and be proud of you, whatever your thoughts, ideas, use of language or tone. You are unique: revel in it.
  2. Don’t worry about going over the lines. When we were children we learned how to carefully colour inside the lines and follow the required rote in class. Individualism is all about throwing away the rule book and devising your own so don’t worry if you express yourself differently or unconventionally. It is that too, which makes your writing unique and fascinating.
  3. Give your ideas room to breathe. If you cramp yourself up in either thought or response, you can never let anything grow and develop. Be prepared to let your mind and imagination wander, examine new and unexpected possibilities, learn new skills and question old ways. Open your mind and your style will follow.
  4. Say it aloud. When you read something aloud you have to out in the breathing spaces and intonation. If it doesn’t flow, make sense or has little impact, reading aloud will highlight the defects very quickly indeed.
  5. Tread the hire wire without a net. If you want to be fresh and inspirational, you have to be prepared to go out on a limb, examine ideas or concepts you may be uncomfortable with yourself, experiment with styles and words and content you might otherwise fight shy of. Don’t. Embrace a challenge and ‘blow the ****** doors off’!
  6. How do I ‘sound’? It isn’t only what you say it’s how you say it, so say it in a way that is both easy for you to express and for a reader to read. Your tone is as important as your content and style. If you moralise, you will potentially antagonise. If you judge, you will potentially alienate and if you don’t approach the issue with equilibrium, you will miss valuable aspects and opportunities to engage your readers.
  7. pen and bookDon’t worry if you aren’t the first. Plagiarism is word theft, but our ideas are nevertheless all the aggregates of every book we’ve read, film we’ve seen, discussion we’ve had or experience we’ve shared. Don’t be afraid to use these influences to bring your writing and your ideas to life because the take you have on it will be yours alone, and therefore, no matter how many times it may have been considered before, your treatment of it will be brand new.
  8. Write every day. Practice makes perfect, and more writing will encourage more writing – simples.
  9. Believe in yourself, because in order to write you MUST. You are the centre of your writing universe and in order to engage your readers, they have to believe that is so too.
  10. Don’t drivel – know what you mean and your reader will too. If you’re not clear on anything, research it until you are. Your reader needs to respect you and your information must be accurate.
  11. Study yourself know who you are so you can express yourself openly, honestly and with clarity. If you don’t know your own mind, no-one else will either.
  12. Write with passion. Become an artistic beast, not a domestic pet and express yourself freely. Don’t be prim, or proper, be bold and bad – readers want to read something inspiring and riveting- grab them, hold them and take them with you.
  13. Know your own values – much like knowing yourself, but values are the outward demonstration of your inner beliefs and they need to be apparent in your writing for your voice to be authentic and your writing to be credible. Take some time examining your belief systems and values so you know what it is you are subconsciously or consciously interpreting through your writing.
  14. 14.   Don’t follow the crowd – be unpredictable. You are, after all, aren’t you? You’re a writer …chinese writing

And if you want to try a bit of fun, see which writer you write most like here:

http://iwl.me/

and check out another useful blog/handout here (if you ignore the Americanisms):

http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/style/

Follow me on Twitter: @Storytellerdeb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DebbieMartin.Author

Website: http://www.debbiemartin.co.uk

 

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In a box
February 12, 2013

I’m enjoying poetry at the moment – challenging to write about ideas and emotions, but truly satisfying when you manage to capture them in words. I’ve just finished editing Courting the Dark – the very first novel I wrote and which I have now reached version 4 with – that’s how many times I’ve changed it! I plan this to be the last time and in doing so, I added quite a bit more of the inner workings of my wicked teenage character Lily, who drives the plot and the narrative forward in the acerbic way only a sixteen year old could.

Having two teenage daughters myself – both with quick, brains, quick wits and even quicker tongues, I’ve been on the receiving end of the acid many times – but teenagers also have a pure and true vision of themselves and life unaffected by the ‘baggage’ older adults collect en route to enlightenment (or not). If one could distill this clarity of thought in amongst their confusion with growing up and learning how to live life, I think their vision of the world would be pure poetry, so I gave Lily a voice to make some. Here are her thoughts on her unrequited love for Matt.

 

walking legs lonely I watch you walk.

I hear you talk.

You walk and talk with others, not me.

It hurts.

I sense your presence.

I watch you listen.

You share your presence and your attention with others, not me.

It hurts.

I look into your world from the outside,closed window

Like a tramp looking through a window.

You’re inside, warm and loved.

I’m outside, cold and lonely.

It hurts.

dropped rose I put my feelings in a box –

A box full of darkness,

Because along with the love and the longing and the wishing,

There’s pain too, and pain is dark.

Pain, and anger and rejection.

They hurt.

Valentine’s Day is here, and lost love – or lack of love, will affect many people on the 14th February. Life isn’t all about romantic love, it’s about the love between all people, so smile at that stranger as they pass by, in case they have some hurts tucked away in a box too. Smiles have a way of opening doors – and boxes …

Follow me on Twitter: @Storytellerdeb

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/DebbieMartin.Author

And have a look at what’s happening next on my website : www.debbiemartin.co.uk 

A writers group is hopefully underway shortly so let me know if you’re interested in getting your ideas into words too.

When I was out walking the other day
January 22, 2013

feet 1  When I was out walking the other day,

I met a woman along the way.

I smiled and nodded and asked how she did.

She smiled and nodded and said she was good.

She told me she’d been happy and smiled in her past,

She told me she cried and been sad, but that had passed.

She told me she’d learnt how to lose and still smile –

As you don’t lose at all, it comes back after a while.

She said she’d learned how to let go;

how to grow;

how to go…

She said she’d learnt how to say no – and mean it, also.feet 2

She said she’d learnt how to receive as well as give,

she said she’d learnt to let others live, live, let live!

She said she’d learnt the measure of control,

and how she’d learnt how to love from her soul.

She said she’d learnt how ‘I love you’ meant all,

but only if said with no expectation to pall.

She now understood the seasons’ ebb and flow,

and despite  being autumn,  there was still much, much more to know.

Nothing she’d lost was ever a waste,

because the fruit of her future was still there to taste.

feet 3

I smiled and thanked her, and said I was glad, at last,

the me from the future had met the me from the past.

Join in the chat on Twitter: @Storytellerdeb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DebbieMartin.Author

And on my website: http://www.debbiemartin.co.uk    

My Family – a poem
January 7, 2013

One of my poems – read out as a runner up in a local competition last year – and about my own family:

My family_

I see my family in colours…

red lipsMy older daughter is red, ruby red.

She flicks the crimson tip

of a wicked tongue across each lip.

Vamp, harlot, studious geek,

‘call me ‘Scarlet’,’ she will cheek!

And yet sweet sixteen is as wholesome too

as a red summer apple that is crisp and new.

Deep aqua, and moody.ballerina

My younger daughter,

inscrutable as China, mutable as water.

Like the pile on velvet, she’s deep like a sigh,

silk to the touch when her spirits are high.

Yet again then abrasive and contrary

When the adolescent nap is brushed the wrong way.

dog   My yellow dog,

a golden blur

of tail and fur.

Lolling tongue – a smiley face,

Smiles aren’t just for the human race!

Stretched out like a long yellow rug,

‘rub my tummy, give me a hug…’

Deep brown, my husband that was.                         2 leaves

Deep as the brown of the earth

the dust to dust, the dearth.

A warm autumn brown as the leaves’ hues turn deeper,

not harvested by the seasons, but by the reaper.

But always steady and solid in our past.

Love may die, but it will always last.

colours                  And finally me? What colour do I see?

The colour blue? Reflective, sad?

Deep as the sea, it’s good and it’s bad.

I’ve watched my family grow and evolve,

childhood’s have passed, and death’s forced its resolve.

Our lives continue, ebbing, flowing, like the sea.

I can only look forward to the colours still to be.

My first novel is released on Friday 18th January 2013. Chained Melody is possibly the most unusual love story you will read this year. You can find out more about it on my website and buy/pre-order here

Debbie Martin

debbie@debbiemartin.co.uk

www.debbiemartin.co.uk

also on:

Twitter @Storytellerdeb

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/DebbieMartin.Author?ref=hl

Linked In: http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/debbie-martin/21/27b/3b4?trk=shareTw    

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6588010.Debbie_Martin

The Dinner Party
December 6, 2012

Christmas ain’t Christmas without a bit of a spooky tale, so here’s mine …

tableware for dinner party‘A dinner party? Can I bring a plus one?’ A frisson of something trembled in my soul.

‘Of course – do we know them?’ He just laughed. We were on the phone so I couldn’t see his expression.

‘See you later then.’ He sounded happy – certainly not how I’d expected him to be after Clem, but he’d gone and I was left wondering.

‘Was that who I thought it was?’ The voice was muffled from under the table. The owner’s prone legs were splayed across the floor, extending oddly from under the table cloth, as if a murder victim had just been hastily stuffed out of sight.

‘Yes, and he’s coming tonight.’

‘That’ll be interesting after all this time.’ The tone was sarcastic.

‘With someone.’

‘Oh.’ Silence, then more curiously, ‘who?’

‘He didn’t say.’

‘In that case it’s going to be really interesting.’ The table shook as if the murder victim’s spirit was attacking it and then both table and legs settled into stillness. I waited for the body to rise from its last resting place, but table and legs remained motionless. It made me feel queasy but I didn’t know why.

‘Are you ok under there Alex?’ I asked, suddenly worried.

‘Yeah, just thinking.’

‘Thinking?’

‘About Jay and Clem and the way they just went – you know.’ Alex didn’t need to say any more. I did know. More than Alex did, in fact; but I was keeping that to myself.

‘Yes, well if you’re done under there, we should lay up now.’

‘Yep, all done, I’ve tightened up all the screws so it shouldn’t collapse under the weight of the food – or the conversation.’ The comment ended in muffled laughter and the table shook again. The legs wriggled out from underneath it, bringing the rest of the body with them.

‘Haha! Very funny.’ I turned away and went back to the kitchen to find the wine. Tuneless whistling floated in from the dining room and I guessed the table top was being transformed for the dinner party now it was safe to sit at again. I ignored the annoying whistling and turned my attention to the wine rack. I usually relished choosing exactly the right wine but my head wasn’t on it tonight. All I could think about was the plus one Jay was bringing – and what about Clem? I checked the clock. It was already seven-thirty. They were all due at eight. I called to the table and its legs.

‘If you’re done there, can you check the oven? I’m sorting the wine.’

‘OK.’ It was louder than expected and I turned in surprise as Alex appeared in the kitchen doorway, flushed and dishevelled from the table wrestling.

‘Maybe have a bit of a tidy up too?’ I added pointedly. Good humoured laughter bubbled around the hallway.

‘Um, I see what you mean.’ The reappearing vision was sleek and immaculate. I felt imperfect and uneasy. I pushed past into the cool of the hallway, assessing which me I saw in the mirror. I wondered what Jay would make of me, five years on. Five years – had it really been so long; since Clem had happened? I was startled out of my reverie by the doorbell jangling insistently.

‘It’s for you-oo,’ came light-heartedly from the kitchen, along with the smell of perfectly cooked Beef Wellington.

‘I’ve got it,’ I called back impatiently. I opened the door, the angry angst-ridden me well hidden under the hosts charming bonhomie. ‘Ange, Mike – how are you?  Ange enveloped me in a cloud of too-strong perfume and billowing chiffon.

‘Darrrling, how are you – it’s been ages.’ She was right – for all the overdone lovey-ness, it had been the same five years of ages as since I’d seen Jay or Clem.

‘We’re good, thanks Ange.’ I disentangled myself and Mike’s less flowery and more business-like hug was a relief. ‘Come on in.’ I turned to call out to the kitchen, but Alex arrived with drinks right on cue. Eventually the storm of hello’s, hugs and darrrrlings dissipated and we moved into the warmth of the lounge, warily convivial. The bell went again and I rushed to answer it, trying to quell the jitters that it would be Jay this time. It wasn’t. Agitation overcame courtesy with the Betterware woman collecting the catalogue she’d left earlier. I flung the unwanted package at her and slammed the door in her face. Belatedly a wave of shame made me redden. I re-joined the forced conversation in the lounge, knowing the only conversationalist I wanted to bandy words with was yet to arrive, but God knew who with. Unbidden, the old jealousy consumed me. I wondered if I could even be civil to Jay’s plus one. Trying too hard to concentrate on Ange’s gushing, I almost missed the third ring, but in the visceral depths of my gut, I heard it instinctively. I was beaten to the door. Momentarily I hated Alex with a hatred I’d felt only once before but I didn’t have time to dwell on when. The lounge door burst open and before I could prepare myself, Jay was standing in front of me.

‘Hey,’ he was embracing me and I was drowning in his sharp-spiced smell, his proximity, his warmth and the desperate yearning I still felt for him. My head spun and I held onto him tightly. ‘Such a long time.’ He breathed the words into my ear and they spiralled round my head like a tornado funnelling into oblivion. In the eye of the storm, was his plus one. As my head cleared and my vision settled, she stood quietly and ominously behind him in the dark hallway. I pulled away sharply, waves of fear travelling up and down my body like electricity, sparking, shorting, sparking; killing.  Clem from Dinner party

‘Clem!’ My exclamation killed all talk in the lounge. I sensed something behind me and found the lounge conversationalists had clustered there, mixing their sweat and perfume with my dismay. Jay smiled at Clem and beckoned her in. The clamouring bodies behind me parted like the red sea for the unexpected, and mysteriously, very alive, plus one.

She passed through us, as if we didn’t exist; or maybe she didn’t exist? I was starting to doubt my own senses and sanity now. Jay just smiled enigmatically, and followed her. From my vantage point obliquely opposite I observed her apprehensively. Exactly the same as the last time I’d seen that elongated bony face, with its too large eyes, black, black hair and white skin. Now if possible, the pale complexion had become almost translucent; unhealthily waxen, as if she really wasn’t there at all – the way I’d thought it was.

‘Who’s hungry? Shall we sit for dinner?’ The jovial enquiry broke the tense silence, and the buzz of who was sitting where eased us round the table. Legs sticking angularly out from a lifeless body as it sprawled out from under the table. I found myself directly opposite Clem and Jay; the last place I wanted to be.

‘Clemmie, darrrling; where have you been hiding yourself?’ Ange didn’t wait for a reply. She rounded straight on Jay. ‘We thought it must have been a crime passionelle when she just disappeared and then you went persona non grata too.’ I watched Ange preen herself for what she considered wit. Mike wriggled further back in his seat beside her, face closed, but body expressing his discomfort. I knew what was going on behind those blank grey eyes. I’d heard him explode at her once after she’d been particularly pretentious at one of our dinner parties long ago – Christ why were we having this one?

‘Crime passionelle and Jay? Oh, Jay would never hurt a fly. He wouldn’t be the one to be involved in a crime passionelle.’ Clem smiled icily and everyone froze a degree colder. Her eyes slid back to me. Jay interjected quickly.

‘We’ve been on a bit of a tour.’ Four pairs of eyes trained on Jay and waited for more. Clem remained supremely aloof, face shadowed, tensed, dangerous; in control. ‘Clem was a little unwell so we went some places to make her better.’ He flashed a brilliant smile at her and then at me, as if including me in the secret of the places they’d been to make Clem better. That last time, I’d left her, the skin had been pale as death, the face a mask, blood pooling stickily under her head.

‘You’re looking well now.’ Mike offered it up dubiously, and Clem nodded graciously at him. Ange looked at him as if he was mad – a green-eyed stare like a cat would give its enemy. Clem looked quiet and serious. A far cry from the lascivious woman who’d tried to steal greedy kisses from me just before I’d left her broken and lifeless.

‘The starter’s mushroom pate. I hope you all like mushrooms?’ Alex was valiantly trying to break the ice patina rapidly spreading over us.

‘Magic mushrooms, darrrling?’ Ange’s trill made the rest of us cringe.

‘Oh Ange, really …’ Jay patted her arm as if she was a naughty but delightful child. She tittered and combed her hair flirtatiously at him. Clem’s eyes swivelled back to her and the dark lights in their depths terrified me. Where had they been to make her better? How could you make a dead body better? 

‘How’s things in the psycho industry then Maz?’ He was talking directly to me. I pulled myself together enough to reply.

‘Oh, mad as ever.’ The laughter was appreciative and I breathed out, avoiding Clem’s black-eyed stare, wishing I’d never visited their house that day. ‘I dream about you day and night, Maz. I want you. I know why you are always round here, always offering to help, always checking in on Jay … ’ Her hands were clawing at me, grasping, squeezing, her mouth almost on mine, her heavy breath hot on my face, stealing my own away from me… ‘You know what they say about psychiatrists don’t you?’ I might as well play my audience for all I could if it would deflect that hateful stare from me. ‘You can’t tell them from the patients …’ Raucous laughter showed it had been well received and the wine choice I’d made had been a good one – one of the highest alcohol volumes I had, and chosen specifically for that reason, but not to promote gaiety, to promote softening. Jay’s softening, Jay staying, Jay, Jay, Jay. I tried to shut down the insistent voice in my head, but it was replaced instead by Clem’s,‘Maz, Maz, Maz.’ …

The memory of that last time I’d seen her couldn’t be ejected from my thoughts now. It had taken me over body and soul. She wouldn’t leave me alone; I couldn’t wipe the slimy disgust of her saliva from my lips or escape from her burning eyes, or the threat she posed … ‘Maz, Maz, Maz.’ … ‘Get off me you stupid bitch. It’s not you I come here for, but Jay.’ I flung her forcefully away from me and her head cracked against the table edge…

‘Do psychiatrists live in the real world, or their imagination, do you think, Maz?’ Clem was coolly vicious. The conversation around us flowed on, witticism, quip, joke, flirt, ‘more wine?’ No-one else heard her low-voiced question. They weren’t meant to. Only she and I were in this discussion.

‘This is real, so of course the real world.’

‘Is it?’

‘Is it what?’

‘Is it real?’

‘Of course it is.’ I looked at the exaggerated expressions on the other dinner party guests; wide-eyed, laughing, bored, polite, exasperated. I realised they weren’t talking to us and we weren’t talking to them. There was an invisible barrier between us – like we were in another world, alongside but not touching. Clem smiled mysteriously. ‘Are you dead, or alive?’ She tilted her head quizzically and my mind rushed back to that day again. Her face collapsed in on itself as if life had imploded as her head struck the table; first the surprised look, then the blankness of death. She tumbled awkwardly to the floor and lay there. The table wobbled and then was still. Her legs stuck out angularly from the lifeless body as it sprawled half under the table. Shock turned to nausea as I turned to see Jay coming through the door to the room. Could he forgive me?

‘What do you want me to be?’ I considered the question. The real answer was neither. Alive meant either I was going insane or she was some awful thing from beyond the grave. Dead meant she was some awful thing from beyond the grave or I was already insane. ‘Or more to the point, why am I here with you, and they can’t see me?’ I looked around at the four other faces. They seemed even more distant than before.

‘What is going on?’ I hated her. Now I remembered that hatred in fine detail where I’d only remembered it dimly earlier. I wanted to address Jay, but he was across the divide with the other dinner guests. It was only Clem and me here.

‘It’s confession time, my dear. Just tell them what really happened and we’ll leave you in peace.’ I didn’t want Jay to go, but I wanted Clem to. Greedy, demanding, disgusting, hateful Clem, who’d taken my Jay and made him infatuated with her. Greedy, demanding, disgusting, hateful Clem, who’d tried to kiss and paw me when the only one I wanted to do that was Jay. Greedy, demanding, disgusting, hateful Clem, who had Jay, and didn’t even want him. ‘I won’t go away until you admit you killed me.’

‘You fell.’

‘Fell?’ Clem’s voice was sinuous like a python coiling round me.

‘You fell.’

‘Why did I fall?’

‘You just fell.’

‘I didn’t just fall. Tell them, tell them!’ Her voice rose from its soft sibilance to a harpies’ shriek. I covered my ears in agony as her banshee wail made my head split apart and the blood pooled stickily under it.

‘I pushed you, OK? I pushed you off of me, you slut, and you hit your head on the table.’ My voice reverberated around the room as the dinner party froze, forks in mid-air, glasses poised to clink, heads’ thrown back in surprise. I catapulted back through the eerie barrier from Clem’s world to my own.

‘We said to absent friends, Maz.’ Alex touched me lightly on the arm, ‘and how sad it is Clem isn’t here anymore, but we’ll toast her anyway – across the ether.’ She turned to the rest of faces round the table, all looking oddly at me, and added, ‘to Clem – RIP.’ I breathed in the smell of fruity red wine and Beef Wellington, over-perfumed women and after-shaved men. Maz from the dinner party

I looked gratefully at my wife Alex. Jay and his new girlfriend looked back.

To me she still looked exactly like Clem.

Enjoy.

I’m @StorytellerDeb on Twitter

and http://www.facebook.com/DebbieMartin.Author on Facebook.

Chained melody final cover

If you fancy longer reading in 2013, my new novel ‘Chained Melody is out on 18th January and will be available then on Amazon.

Disturbing times ahead …
November 12, 2012

There are always moments of crisis or change in our lives and often they produce insights and inner knowledge we didn’t have before. They change us – maybe indefinably to those who are the onlookers of our lives, but subtly and irrevocably to us, the intimate viewers of our own landscape.  I call these exciting, but disturbing moments, transformations because they do transform us in some way. And transformations do not have to be earth-shattering or mind-boggling. The most significant ones are often quiet realisations of a tiny part of the bigger whole, because that’s exactly what we are most of the time – a part of the whole.

And so, obviously, I write about transformation in my books. Maybe the transformation is frivolous and fun – changing a shrinking violet into a gaudy sunflower as they read and laugh at my embarrassingly naïve antics in ‘Are you the One?’ (You can do that too here:

Buy Are You The One? Here 

Maybe it is gaining confidence from defining a route forward by taking on board

the ideas in ‘The  Strategy’ – which by the way can be downloaded free from Amazon:

Download the Strategy here:

on 1st December – but be quick about it, and please leave a review as a thank you …

However, some transformations are massive, and create a massive impact in the lives of not only the person transforming, but those around them too. I want to introduce you to one such massive transformation that has and is taking place in the lives of a small minority of the population but nevertheless one that makes us question many of our principles and attitudes and sometimes find ourselves and our empathy sadly wanting. I have written a book about it, called Chained Melody which will be published in January 2013.

Some very talented people have taken beautiful photographs of it and they will be on display in Bournemouth Library, and Flirt Café Bar, also in Bournemouth from the 18th to the 25th January 2013:

http://www.flirtcafebar.com/Events.html

And some very brave people will be telling and showing what that transformation meant for them as a result:  Transsexualism.

Have a look at the links and find out a bit more about another life, lived in what might seem like another world to the one you inhabit, but which is actually only just next door.

What spurred on a very hetero heterosexual to write a book about it?

This from Shakespeare:

‘For such as we are made of, such we be.’

Twelfth Night Act 2 Scene 2 line 3

And,

‘There is no darkness but ignorance.’

Twelfth Night Act 4 Scene 2 line 41

 

To take ourselves out of the darkness of ignorance, we have to experience something new and often disturbing – to have our own transformation.

Here we go – the back cover blurb fom the book to get you going, and next week a little sample of what’s inside the cover:

 

‘Chaos is rejecting all you have learned, chaos is being yourself.’ – Emil e M Cioran

Can the flutter of a butterfly’s wing cause a ripple in the world, so big it can change not just one life – but many? Chaos theory says it can, claim the theorists. Two men, two lives, one seemingly small incident, but it changes one man’s whole view of himself and the chrysalis transforms into a butterfly whose fragile wings cause shockwaves beyond those imaginable in the lives of the people around him.

Set in the 1970-80’s, the hurricane whipped up by this butterfly’s wings brings not only dramatic change at a time when the sexual revolution was already under way, but death, damnation and forbidden love. Transsexual transformation, the nature of love, and finding a true self from within are all set against a backdrop of life in the permissive eighties – and a suspicious death which creates the test of whether true love really exists or whether the chains of social convention will keep it forever imprisoned.

Join me on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/DebbieMartin.Author?ref=hl

Twitter:

@StorytellerDeb

And on my website:

www.debbiemartin.co.uk

And please do talk back – I love a good conversation …

Debbie Martin

Echoes
October 22, 2012

Have you ever been somewhere, and felt like you’ve been there before?

Or met someone and been convinced you already know them?

Or something sounds a distant chord in your memory and you’re sure you’ve spoken those words before or faced that situation in another time and place?

They are all echoes, but of what? A communal memory, a past life or merely similarities your mind perceives in an experience now that echoes shades of an experience from the past? Complicated , isn’t it; and far too many questions! So let’s take it bit by bit. Starting with memories…

There is an argument posed that we have collective memories. We’re all in reality part of one great big computer like structure which shares memories, experiences and emotions across a collective (no, not Borg-like, for all you Trekkies out there…) – a universal perception. After all we are all part of the universe as a whole… We are created out of it atom by atom, and we return to it in the same way – ‘dust to dust…’ not that I want to be too depressing first thing on a Monday morning! Could that be the reason that you are feeling this strange resonance with a place, person or situation you don’t recall ever having come across before? It’s not your memory, but someone else’s that you are sharing? That in itself brings all kinds of allusions to writing for me. Writing is a way of sharing an experience – one which you may personally not have had, but the writer has, and by picturing it in words, enables you to experience it too. The most successful and empathetic writers will take you right to the place, the moment, the intensity of the emotion as their character experiences it second by second. That, ironically, is a very real way to share a collective memory, but perhaps we are able to do that without it taking form or shape. Maybe it can be in a sense or a thought that we all have access to if we are open or perceptive enough, and that moment when you feel a sense of deja vu is precisely when your mind is receptive enough to make it happen?

Mumbo jumbo maybe, but if you think that, you will like even less my supposition that there are times and places we have experienced before, here or in another way. Our world is full of explained phenomena – black holes (1), Dark Matter (2) and other multi-dimensional possibilities (3). Could we slip sideways, forwards or backwards at any point in time without being aware of it? Or is that the rationale behind reincarnation?

Whatever your opinions, I hope I’ve made you slip-stream into other possibilities and wonder ‘if?’ even if only briefly.

I’m currently writing about a what if situation in my next novel and its interestingly taken me into looking at the era of the Salem witch trials, so perhaps a few fascinating facts and eerie reconstructions from then in my next blog – and in the meantime, to leave wondering, were you there…?

Welcome to my blog spot. I am Debbie, the Social Single, and Storyteller to anyone who wants to listen…

Come and join in my extraordinary life at

www.singlesthatmingle.co.uk

and read my stories and novels at

www.debbiemartin.co.uk

(A few notes that help:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter
  3. http://www.lhc.ac.uk/The%20Particle%20Detectives/Take%205/13686.aspx   )

Lotions, potions and nefarious poultices:
October 5, 2012

A short while ago I wrote about a magic bullet for love and how feasibly our natural hormones could be blended and  transformed into a little magic bullet to create or prolong love. To put or keep us all in the love trap. My fertile imagination immediately ran riot with the idea so now it is in the throes of transforming itself into the plot for a novel, but in the meantime a little recreational research has brought forth other interesting factors to consider.

Women are always keen on lotions and potions so I started there, only to be amazed to find that versions of the magic bullet are already on sale if you look for them. On the internet there are sites selling perfumes you can add pheromones (the little whiffs that say corrrr!) to, for a price, and lo and behold, there was oxytocin – the real ‘feel good factor’ available in a spray. Now it would seem possible for anyone to go on their first date, sprayed and splattered with the various scents which will not only make you smell good but have your date develop a taste for you too! Well, all’s fair in love and war, I suppose, but what are the motivations behind needing to trick our mate into love with us.

Lotions, potions and magic love bullets have a long and heady history. In fact they have been the subject of salacious use since the Greco-Roman world. Spells of erotic attraction and compulsion are found within Hellenic Greek papyri and archeologically on amulets dating from the 2nd century BC to the late third century AD. Magic practices even influenced the private rituals of the Gauls. During the later mediaeval period (14- 17th century) the use of ‘magic’ artfully played its part in establishing and promoting marriage where the unions had special importance. ‘Magic’ was expensive and could cause damage to the spell caster so it was restricted to use only on men and women of status. Spells were supposed to be secret, but were rarely so. On hearing they were the victim of magic, the subject very often behaved as if a spell had been cast on them whether or not it would work – hence the self-fulfilling prophecy!

Love magic has its fair share of airings in art and literature too.  It is used in the stories of ‘Heracles’, in Wagner’s opera ‘Tristan and Isolde’, Donizetti’s ‘The Elixir of Love’ (L’Elisir d’amore), and Manuel de Falla’s ballet ‘El amor brujo’ (the magic of love). Magic and potions also appear in Marlowe’s ‘Dr Faustus’, and Shakespeare has a field day with them tragically in ‘Rome and Juliet’, and comically in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Fast-forward to the modern day, and there it is again in our beloved Harry Potter’s harum scarum adventures. Taking a quote from The Tales of Beedle the Bard,

“Powerful infatuations can be induced by the skillful potioneer…”

No less than seven magic love potions are sold by Fred and George Weasley in their “WonderWitch” line of magical doo-da’s for the ladies. Unfortunately J.K. Rowling doesn’t offer too much detail about the elixirs in question so we’ll have to assume that amongst eye of newt and tail of bat, they probably also included a teensy bit of testosterone, a pooff of pheromone and ooodles of oxytocin, mixed with very vasopressic entactogens.

But why? Why do we feel the need to trap and bind a lover to our side? Are we all so convinced of our own lack of attractiveness that we have to use potions and ‘magic’ to deceive? How you see yourself, and consequently the way you behave are all very much part of the way you live your life and what you achieve in it as a result. Psychology, right? It was around very effectively even in the middle ages; remember the poor old ‘magic’ victim who thought they were under a spell and so convinced themselves of the outcome anyway?

I don’t believe that a puff of pheromone will ultimately create happiness for you. In fact steady self-belief, solid principles, good sense and a fun-loving adventurous attitude seems far more attractive to me than snorting the stuff of dreams. I think the creation of happiness is generally in our own hands, not our spray atomiser.

Happy hunting – and mind you dodge those bullets!

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where you’ll find lots more to read and information when my books are published.

Debbie Martin

Ireland calling
August 25, 2012

I’m away to Ireland today – the Emerald Isle, the green sceptre, land of blarney and Guinness. I love the lilting accent and the nonsensical sound to the Southern Irish voice. Whenever I hear it I always think of the old joke:

‘Paddy came up to me last night and asked – was it your brother or you who died last week?’

 

 

So what is it about Ireland that makes it so romantic, so beguiling, so charming?

Is it the accent I love so much or the dreamy vision of a future not bounded by rigid organisation, but flowing with fun and the same manyana that is so much part of the European rural culture?

How do the Irish differ from the English?

We have the archetypal stiff upper lip, bowler hat and determination to queue. Our very Englishness is what made us such a force to be reckoned with that our tiny little island was able to rule one half of the world’s surface and a third of its people (or was it the other way round?) when we were the Great British Empire. But the Irish have leprechauns and potatoes and navvies, and have never ruled anywhere – unless it’s the bar in the pub.

Let’s set aside the Irish north/ south divide, which is more about politics than people, and wonder who is the more successful? The Brits, or the Irish?

Someone once said that success is what you achieve, but happiness is what you experience. Maybe that is what is so wonderful about the Irish people I have met and which makes me associate the place with that sense of freedom and joy I so relish being part of this week – just the lilt of their voice alone makes them sound happy!

And of course

Happiness is not a reward – it is a consequence.
Robert Ingersoll

…I may add, that everyone can have – just smile …

 

 

                                                    Diddliy-i-dee-dee…

 

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where you’ll find lots more to read and information when my books are published.

Debbie Martin

Beyond the page – Sandra’s revenge
July 12, 2012

… She’d joined a class, you see. The lure had been too much and once she’d started thinking about it, she couldn’t put the thought aside, no matter how hard she tried. She’d gone during the day when he was at work or on a Saturday morning when he thought she was doing the shopping. She’d practiced hard. She’d mastered the dips and the drops, the shimmering vibrations of the body layered ontostaccatomovements of the hips as they flicked and twitched in a wicked invitation to touch, no don’t touch! The fluid undulations and rotations, mimicking the impression of riding a camel, or some other beast, as her body circled and enticed, come here, join, entwine…Slow and tantalising, wild and whirling, graceful and floating, with a myriad of veils divested, one by one as the various layers of the human psyche are divested from the loftiest and most philosophical thoughts – the cool blue veil – to the earthiness of physical desire and need – the red veil . . .

She dropped the blood red veil to the floor in a swirl. The dance had finished. She breathed heavily. Yes, she would perform well tomorrow evening.

The whole secret gave Sandra such satisfaction. And it had insidiously changed so much for her too. Just the exercise itself had made her slim down, and that weight problem that he thought she had? Well it had simply melted away, replacing her low self-esteem with a sense of admiration, for her now sleek but voluptuous body, but also for having been able to master the subtle arts of the dance. Of course he didn’t even notice the change. He saw nothing but what he expected to see in front of him and she kept up the persona for him, refusing to share even the smallest part of her new self with him. He might share the same bed with her, but his hands never touched even the top layer of the shapeless old nightie she wore so even the most intimate moment they might share didn’t betray her.

The mantra of ‘stupid , fat and useless’ which he’d instilled in her over the years was replaced with ‘lithe, skilled and able.’ So, what else could she do?  Maybe she wasn’t so useless after all. She’d looked in the ‘sits vac’ column, something she hadn’t done in years. She’d ringed the ones she tentatively wondered if she could manage and been amazedly delighted when she’d been offered a job.  She started it next week.

The next evening she had to wait for him to go out before she could leave herself. She’d already carefully packed her costume in a bag and hidden it behind the shabby brown suitcase in the wardrobe. When she arrived at the venue, the other dancers were bustling around in the dressing rooms. Marie, the class teacher fell on her breathlessly,

‘Oh Sandy, thank goodness you’re here now. I was starting to worry…You’re our star… Everything is alright, isn’t it?

Sandra smiled at her. ‘Just a little delayed.’

She slid into her costume and swiftly completed the transformation. Looking in the full length mirror, she barely recognised herself. Not fifty, fat and frumpy as she’d used to joke ruefully to her friends, but a sibilant siren, skirts slipping softly to her ankles, swishing as she slid gracefully onto the dance floor. It was a ‘hafla’, a Turkish dance party, with other troupes and classes joining in the demonstrations and the audience made up of the class members, their friends and partners. Her class was hosting it. The audience sat at tables around the dance floor, cabaret style.

As soon as she was on the dance floor she spotted him. He was sitting on the far side of a table towards one side, trying to be insignificant, yet watching the movements of the dancers with hard, hungry eyes. She felt a moment of panic as she felt his eyes slide over her. Not yet, not now, she silently prayed. The eyes stayed on her, but not out of recognition, out of desire. He shifted his position, straining forward to get a better look from his deliberately slightly obstructed view – probably cursing he’d chosen this half-hidden seat now.

She stood in position, shrouded in the seven veils of her dance, eyes masked with vibrant, sumptuous sequins and feathers so only her full mouth could be seen, curved slightly in a mysterious smile. Cool spiritual blue was the top layer, peeling down through turquoise, green, yellow, orange, cerise to deep pulsating red; the red of blood coursing through a body that was revealed in its transformation from spiritual to sensual as each layer enveloping her unfurled, coloured the room and dropped like shimmering pool to the floor; another layer of herself had been discarded. All restrictions removed. Sandra whirled and  gyrated, entreated and enticed, withdrew – and the metamorphosis happened  in front of their eyes – from a cool blue nymph to a scarlet siren, climaxing by throwing herself in abandon across the floor with a gesture that flung her body open in its’ entirety to any would be possessor – ‘take me . . .’

The room was transfixed, and so was he.

M/F

Sandra escaped to the dressing room, exhausted with the effort of portraying the emotions as much as following the right choreography. The class crowded round her, congratulating her, expressing their delight in her, and the class teacher was enraptured, holding onto her hand and grinning like a clown. The bustle swathed her in a sense of having finally arrived. Her exhaustion dissipated as their energy and enthusiasm trickled into her, until all of a sudden, the moment was now. Now was right. She allowed them to lead her back into the dance arena for a general round of applause for the whole class for having put on the show, and then she was being whisked into the crowds to say hello here, have her hand shook there, be introduced to this person or that.

‘I must introduce you to Frank,’ Mandy said, ‘you know my . . .’ Her voice trailed off, as she made a coy gesture indicating ‘my lover’ but not actually saying it. ‘He’s always a bit derogatory about belly dancing, but he won’t be able to be now he’s seen you dance.’

Sandra smiled and turned to look into the ashen face of Frank.

The chapter ended there, and Mary rested the book back into her lap. Frank – father’s name was Frank. Was the book telling her something? Had father treated mother this way? She concentrated hard on reviving the sense of her father in her mind. The way he’d stood – the sag of his shoulders mimicking the droop of his moustache, eyes dulled and defeated. Then by contrast mother sitting in her chair – this chair – ram-rod straight, cold, brushing Mary’s hair so hard she felt sore afterwards; not a soft atom in mother’s body, ever. No, fathers’ whole demeanour told her that he was unlikely to have been the aggressor. Mother on the other hand . . .

More to follow next week …

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and on my website:

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where you’ll find lots more to read and information when my books are going to be published.

Debbie Martin