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These are some of my Favourite Things #2015

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  • Pens
  1. Visconti Van Gogh Starry Night Fountain Pen
  2. TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen
  3. Mitsubishi UniPin 0.3 Black Fine Line Marker
  4. Uniball Jetstream Multi-Pen 
  5. Kikki K Metal RollerBall Pen
  • Ink
  1. Diamine Bilberry
  2. Diamine Ancient Copper
  3. Diamine Eclipse
  4. Diamine Red Dragon
  • Paper
  1. Tomoe River Paper – Extremely FountainPen-Friendly. You can get some from here.
  2.  (All Hobonichi Planners have Tomoe River Paper – gridded.)
  3. TWSBI Grid Notebooks – These are my favourite drafting notebooks. 
  • Notebooks
  1. Midori Traveler’s Notebook – Blue Edition
  2. Chic Sparrow Traveler’s Notebooks
  3. Zenkraft Traveler’s Notebooks
  • Planners $ Planning Methods
  1. Hobonichi Cousin – My absolute everything #GetShitDone Planner
  2. Hobonichi Weeks – My on-the-go portable planner + bulletjournal
  3. Hobonichi Techo – English Planner – My WIP Writer’s Logbook/Journal
  4. Chronodex – My favourite time-tracking tool.
  5. Bullet Journal – My favourite planning method.
  6. Stars +Stickers + Calendar Method – The best #GetItWrittenDeadlineAchiever Trick!
  • Books

For Creativity

  • Wild Mind: Living The Writer’s Life – Natalie Goldberg
  • Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

For the Soul

  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail – Cheryl Strayed

For the Mind

  • The 5am Miracle: Dominate Your Day Before Breakfast – Jeff Sanders
  • The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8am) – Hal Elrod

For Pleasure

  • Still Alice – Lisa Genova
  • Second Life – S.J. Watson
  • What Came Before – Anna George
  • The Memory of Water – Karen White
  • Mrs. Hemingway – Naomi Wood

Favourite Series

  • Harry Hole – Jo Nesbo
  • Blood on Snow – Jo Nesbo
  • Joona Linna – Lars Kepler
  • Bill Hodges – Stephen King
  • Jack Reacher – Lee Child
  • The Blackdagger Brotherhood – J.R. Ward
  • A Court of Thorns & Roses – Sarah J. Maas
  • Exercise
  1. Walking Jazz, the papillon, my adorable furry BFF.
  2. Running
  3. Swimming
  4. At Home Workouts
  • Tae Bo – I use this app (Apple iOS Apps)
  • Pilates – I use this app (Apple iOS Apps)
  • Technology
  1. Apple iPad Mini Retina
  2. Apple MacBook Pro
  3. Software & Apps
  • Social Media Networks
  1. Twitter
  2. Instagram
  • Music
  1. Yurbuds Inspire 300 Sport Headphones
  2. Spotify – Especially these playlists: Moodbooster, Re-Energise, Creativity Boost, Zen Focus, Morning Walk
  3. New Groups: Jamestown Revival
  • Chillaxing
  1. Massage Therapy – Full Body Deep Tissue Massage
  2. Saunas
  3. Jacuzzi
  4. Shellac Manicures + Pedicures
  5. Glasshouse Candles
  • Rituals
  1. Morning Ritual – Miracle Morning + 5am Miracle
  2. Evening Ritual – Adapted Miracle Morning Method
  3. KonMarie Organizing&Tidying Method
  • Reflections
  1. Journalling 
  2. Morning Pages – Clearing the mind by stream-of-consciousness Journalling and preparing it for focus.
  3. Evening Brain Dumps – Getting everything out of my brain onto paper.


So tell me what are some of your favourite things #2015?

  

Enjoy your last day of 2015!

Welcome in 2016!

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    Getting the words down | Electric Keyboards & Grand Pianos

    Meet Jessica Fletcher

    kim-typewriter1

    Not the character Angela Lansbury played in Murder She Wrote…No this Jessica Fletcher is my newly purchased vintage typewriter. Yes, my typewriter has a name. If you can name your car, then I can name my typewriter. Jessica Fletcher is one of my all-time favourite fictional characters so what better name to use to christen my beautiful “new’ typing baby. As much as I am a technology-addict and have all the latest gadgets I am also a bit of a purist when it comes to the act of writing. I like a little of the old and the new. I have been looking for a vintage typewriter for about 5 years now and this month I found Jessica Fletcher. She is an Imperial Good Companion 5 Typewriter Circa 1957.

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    Typewriters are works of art. Comparing them to our modern-day machines from MacBooks to iPad is like comparing a grand piano to an electric keyboard. Yes the electric keyboard is more portable but it is not a thing of beauty. Nothing beats a grand piano. For me a typewriter is a work of art. There is something that gets me excited about that clickety-clack of the keys or the smell of the ink or getting the ink stains on your fingers as you adjust or change the ink ribbon. The other day I read an article about an author who types out their first drafts on a typewriter for that sheer “inspirational digital-distraction-free ambience” and then transfers that to the computer for the editing stages. I LOVE that idea. It inspired me. Soon after reading this article, I found “Jessica Fletcher” online and I knew I had found my “machine of inspiration”.

    Being the enlightened writing purist that I am 😉 I used Google to look up the history of “Jessica Fletcher” and her sister machines. I was delighted to unearth a few gems. The Good Companion Portable Typewriters were named after a best-selling novel “THE GOOD COMPANIONS” by English Novelist J.B. Priestly published in 1929. (Aside, a typewriter named after a best-selling novel – KISMET for this writer.)  The first Good Companions were unveiled in 1932 with the Marketing Campaign of: “The Good Companion brings fame to writers.” The typewriters went on to becoming the most popular typewriter in England when it got the Royal stamp of approval (Royal as in the The House of Windsor of Buckingham Palace.) when His Majesty King George V (Reigning Queen Elizabeth II’s grandfather.) purchased one for his own use.

    From 1932 to 1963 the Imperial Good Companions went through 7 different designs and were called Good Companion 1 – 5. The Good Companion 5 – “Jessica Fletcher” was the last design and most modern version of these typewriters. Imperial then went on to manufacture three other typewriters after the Good Companions but the company ceased production and closed its doors in 1974.

    “Jessica Fletcher”and her sister machines were very modern for the day. The innovative design contained these new additions to the Companion Portable Typewriters:

    • An aluminium body in a fibreglass case
    • A 4-colour choice ribbon
    • Touch-Control (where the writer/typist can choose the striking power of the keys to match individual finger strength)
    • Two colour Stencil Selector
    • Total Platen control for precision paper register
    • Automatic Ribbon Reverse
    • A Finger-friendly basket shift which means very little pressure is needed to operate the keys

    I have tested all the keys and they all seem to be in perfect condition. I do need a new ribbon so will have to still buy that. The keys feel much smoother than any typewriter I used to use at school. The keys also feel much more tactile. “Jessica Fletcher” has the very sexy, curvy style that the most gorgeous 1950s ladies had. (Think the stylish female cast of Mad Men.) The colour is gorgeous too: a metallic silvery blue-green. It is not an accident that I compared the vintage looks of “Jessica Fletcher” to a Grand Piano. When I lift the lid and take a closer look it reminds me of a harp or an opened Grand Piano. “Jessica Fletcher” has only had one owner and it is obvious that she took good care of her baby.

    No matter what instrument I use to “Getting the Words down”; whether it be pencil, pen, fountain ink, typewriter, MacBook, iPod, there is something about a vintage typewriter that inspires me in some deeper place. Perhaps it is the sensual feel of the keys that are made for my fingers or the sound of those letters hitting the paper but there is a definite sensuality that typing on a vintage typewriter brings to the craft of writing. Maybe it is a longing for simpler times and slower times when you did not have a million immediate distractions and a clamouring to use up time at a rate of knots. Perhaps it is the storyteller facet of this writer that is drawn to working on a vintage typewriter or longhand writing with a fountain pen because storytellers are the history-keepers of the world. So perhaps it is up to us storytellers, us history-keepers to constantly bring Renaissance to our corners of the world. Perhaps it is up to us storytellers to teach the stories of the past to inspire the storytellers of the future. What I love about “The Good Companions” in particular is that they were among the first portable typewriters that were not only inspired by a novelist and his novel but were marketed and manufactured for the Writers not the Typists or the Secretaries. This is a machine that must be cherished but must be used. It was never manufactured to collect dust on a shelf in an attic. It was manufactured to help writers tell their stories to the world. That is what this writer is going to do. “Jessica Fletcher” is going to let me tell my stories  with a romantic blush of the past and all the writers and their stories that have gone before me.

    Jessica Fletcher, my literary Grand Piano, sits in pride of place next to MacGyver, my literary electric keyboard, my Macbook. Sitting, pride of place, in the centre of my beautiful antique roll top desk Jessica Fletcher has found her home.

    ” The Good Companion brings fame to writers.” – Kismet with perhaps a hint of destiny for this writer…

    but

    “This Good Companion brings joy & inspiration to this writer.”

    There is a place for The Typewriter in the 21st Century.

    Would you/Have you found a place for a Typewriter in your world?

    If you have not ever used a typewriter, what are your thoughts on typewriters?

    Which favourite vintage model typewriter do you lust after?

    Related articles

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    The Next Big Thing #11 | Blood & Ink

    I have been tagged in The Next Big Thing by Judith Van Praag @ Hope Filled Jars. So in this game of “Tag, You’re it” my current Work in Progress gets to be tagged and then I have to tag 5 other writers’ WIPs. When Judith tagged me in this post and emailed me the idea behind it, I was thrilled to be in and to be tagged. This blog-tag post is perfect for writers as most writers I know, including myself, hate talking about ourselves but ask us about our stories and our characters and we can wax lyrical. Look for the five writers I have tagged at the bottom of this post – their “Next Big Thing” posts will be posted between the 11th and the 17th of September so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for those.

    What is the working title of your book?

    The Tattooist – Blood & Ink #1

    Where did the idea come from for the book?

    I was reading an article about tattooing and how intimate an art form it can be and it sparked an idea. A few nights after reading this article I dreamed the first scene of the story. I woke up at 4am and started jotting down the dream and within a couple of hours I had the first draft’s main plot-points drafted out.

    What genre does your book fall under?

    Paranormal Psychological Thriller

    Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

    Heroine = Sasha Roulette
    Keira Knightley is the perfect actress to play my main character in The Tattooist. She has that rare quality of being believable as a bad girl turned good but also has this raw vulnerability that gives her depth. Keira IS Sasha in The Tattooist.
    Image credit - wallpowper.com

    Image credit – wallpowper.com

    Hero = Shane Patrick
    Colin Farrell IS my bad boy hero. He is the perfect flawed character, the bad boy who you want to reform. He IS Shane Patrick, my bad boy hero.
    Image credit - collider.com

    Image credit – collider.com

    Villain = Michael Dali
    For my villain I needed to cast someone intense, charming, seductive but chilling – who better to fit this role than Viggo Mortensen. My villain is known by many names but the one he chooses to call himself is Michael Dali. Killing is not just an occupation but it is a calling and an art form to this ice-cold killer. Viggo IS Michael Dali.
    Image credit - releaseddonkey.com

    Image credit – releaseddonkey.com

    What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

    A paranormal psychological thriller about a tattooist who bonds psychically with the people she tattoos who realizes that she can now read a sadistic serial killer’s mind and is the only one who can stop him but if she can read his mind, can he read hers?

    Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

    I will be submitting it to agents.

    How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

    I am still in the process of the first draft but typically a first draft takes me 4-6 weeks to write.

    What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    Who or What inspired you to write this book?

    I have long been fascinated with tattoos and I have been designing my “dream” tattoos for years now. I have not yet found the perfect tattoo that I would want inked on me permanently yet so the search continues. But a tattoo is so much more than a symbol or a fashion accessory, in many cultures it is an integral part of the culture’s history and spiritual practices. Tattooing is a bizarrely intimate ritual: a ritual where a person literally carves a symbol, words or an image into your skin with permanent ink. As a writer alone this bizarre ritual where blood and ink are fused together into a permanent “stain” sparks my imagination. This long-held personal fascination with tattoos and the desire to seek out their history in different cultures + the article I read sparked the idea for The Tattooist.
    The Tattooist is the first book in a Series: The Blood & Ink Series. The what if’s started piling up in my imagination and before I knew it I had a plot.
    Next the characters themselves inspired me to write their story. All three main characters, the heroine, the hero and the villain have a very strong voice. I also wanted to write a story where the heroine is not your typical girl next door or perfect heroine. I love flawed characters and characters that have to fight their way through life. All three of my main characters are deeply flawed and in this story the truth is never just black and white. Nobody is all good or all bad in this story.
    The story’s theme is about facing the fact that we all have darkness within us and that we could all be pushed to give in to that darkness if the stakes are high enough. All three main characters, the two protagonists and the antagonists fight this inner darkness as their own demons threaten to overwhelm them. At the end of the day whether they choose the darkness or the light is what will be both the making and the breaking of them.

    What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

    • Tattooing
    • Samoa
    • New Orleans
    • Crime
    • Criminal Profiling
    • Serial Killers
    • Evil vs Good
    • Darkness vs Light
    • Psychic powers
    • Clairvoyance
    • Precognition
    • Telepathy

    Tag, your WIP is “The Next Big Thing”

    Message for the tagged authors and interested others:
    Rules of The Next Big Thing
    ***Use this format for your post

    ***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress)

    ***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

    Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

    What is the working title of your book?
    Where did the idea come from for the book?
    What genre does your book fall under?
    Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
    What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
    Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
    How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
    What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
    Who or What inspired you to write this book?
    What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
    Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.
    *****
    Writers: What is your Next Big Thing keeping you awake at night?
    Readers: What Next Big Novel are you biting your nails for in anticipation?

    My December Solstice on this #Creepfest I bleed ink and walk with Christmas Spirits

    Today I am honoured to be hosted by two #Creepfest Authors in honour of December Solstice…

    Find out why I bleed ink … all over Jessica McHugh’s “No Vacation from Speculation”

    Find my Ode to December Solstice and the Ghosts of Christmas’s Past … with Ruth Barrett’s “Spirited Words”

    I thought I would share a little insight on December Solstice or Night of the Midnight Sun in honour of both the event and #Creepfest…

    December Solstice usually occurs between 20/12 and 23/12 every year. This year it falls on the 22nd. This solstice celebrates the return of light and the continuing circle of seasons and life. Here are some ways that cultures around the world have celebrated the Solstice…

    • Yule is also known as Alban Arthan and was one of the “Lesser Sabbats” of the Wiccan year in a time when ancient believers celebrated the rebirth of the Sun God and days with more light. This took place annually around the time of the December solstice and lasted for 12 days.
    • Yule: The Feast of Juul was a pre-Christian festival observed in Scandinavia at the time of the December solstice. Fires were lit to symbolize the heat, light and life-giving properties of the returning sun. A Yule or Juul log was brought in and burned on the hearth in honor of the Scandinavian god Thor. A piece of the log was kept as both a token of good luck and as kindling for the following year’s log.
    • In England, Germany, France and other European countries, the Yule log was burned until nothing but ash remained. The ashes were then collected and either strewn on the fields as fertilizer every night until Twelfth Night or kept as a charm and or as medicine.
    • In Ancient Rome the winter (December) solstice festival Saturnalia began on December 17 and lasted for seven days. It was held to honor Saturn, the father of the gods and was characterized by the suspension of discipline and reversal of the usual order. Grudges and quarrels were forgotten while businesses, courts and schools were closed. Wars were interrupted or postponed and slaves were served by their masters. Masquerades often occurred during this time. It was traditional to offer gifts of imitation fruit (a symbol of fertility), dolls (symbolic of the custom of human sacrifice), and candles (reminiscent of the bonfires traditionally associated with pagan solstice celebrations). A mock king was chosen, usually from a group of slaves or criminals, and although he was permitted to behave in an unrestrained manner for seven days of the festival, he was usually killed at the end. The Saturnalia eventually degenerated into a week-long spree of debauchery and crime – giving rise to the modern use of the tern saturnalia, meaning a period of unrestrained license and revelry. 
    • In Poland the ancient December solstice observance prior to Christianity involved people showing forgiveness and sharing food. It was a tradition that can still be seen in what is known as Gody.
    • In the northwestern corner of Pakistan, a festival called Chaomos, takes place among the Kalasha or Kalash Kafir people. It lasts for at least seven days, including the day of the December solstice. It involves ritual baths as part of a purification process, as well as singing and chanting, a torchlight procession, dancing, bonfires and festive eating.
    • Many Christians celebrate St Thomas’ Day in honor of St Thomas the Apostle on December 21.
    • In Guatemala on this day, Mayan Indians honor the sun god they worshipped long before they became Christians with a dangerous ritual known as the polo voladore, or “flying pole dance”. Three men climb on top of a 50-foot pole. As one of them beats a drum and plays a flute, the other two men wind a rope attached to the pole around one foot and jump. If they land on their feet, it is believed that the sun god will be pleased and that the days will start getting longer.
    • The ancient Incas celebrated a special festival to honor the sun god at the time of the December solstice. In the 16th century ceremonies were banned by the Roman Catholics in their bid to convert the Inca people to Christianity. A local group of Quecia Indians in Cusco, Peru, revived the festival in the 1950s. It is now a major festival that begins in Cusco and proceeds to an ancient amphitheater a few miles away.
    • Aside – One of my favourite books deals with the legends of the Solstice as well as other ancient stories that permeate early European cultures…          
    •   Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth

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    Related articles on the Solstice