24 May 2013

Can you guess what the novel is about?

Here's the contest for this holiday weekend:

 First, read this short excerpt.
Ebb Tide

Chapter One.

Miles of suburban houses and buildings flashed past the window on the return journey from the airport. Lulled by the rocking motion of the passenger train, Liliha's mind drifted. How could she carry on after Oliver's murder? They'd only been married for six months. When her stinging eyes promised a flow of tears, she gazed down. Shielded from unwanted curiosity by her curtain of long dark locks, rapid heaving in her chest linked with the stomach-clenching spasms of sobs which threatened to explode. Her body swayed on the vibrating seat while she gained control of her breathing.

Finally, she darted a glance at the other passengers.

To stave off another tremor of grief, she tilted the moonstone ring on her right hand. The asterism, an optical effect inside the crystal, caught the flash of the star imprisoned at the beginning of creation. Liliha sympathized, confined as she was in the train hurtling towards Cornwall.

After protecting the ring with her other hand, her glance slid over the row of passengers opposite. Interest flicked in a man's eyes before he dropped his head.

Repelled by his furtive expression and scarred cheek, she acknowledged how unprotected she must seem. She shouldn't have worn the ring.


Judging from this beginning, say what you expect to happen in my latest, unpublished novel.
I'll give a pdf copy of Still Rock Water to a random comment. Make them as weird, funny or sensible as you like.

10 May 2013

Birdsong is good for the mind.

Random sounds in birdsong work on our brain to soothe the hectic rush.

Far too often noise takes away your concentration—loud television, people talking at the top of their voices and the sound of constant traffic. But audio experts say certain sounds make it easier to focus. They include birdsong, which stimulates the mind and relaxes the body. 

 This has come about because, over thousands of years, people have grasped that when birds sing, they are safe.
The nightingale has probably the most celebrated song, with John Keats describing the bird pouring forth thy soul abroad in such an ecstasy! in his 1819 Ode to a Nightingale.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 1798 poem The Nightingale reads: And hark! the Nightingale begins its song. "Most musical, most melancholy" bird!... so his song should make all Nature lovelier, and itself be loved like Nature!
William Wordsworth wrote the skylark's babbling song dost pour upon the world a flood of harmony in his 1805 verse To a Skylark.
I wrote this poem in my garden several years ago.


The sound tickling my brain
Releasing remembered pain
With ungrasped melody there
At the back, under my hair.

Music made by nearby birds
Although by my ears it's heard
It strokes parts contained within
Tweaking inside with a pin.

Ecstasy for all to feel
Not through chemicals, but real
Pay attention and you'll hear
Every birdsong that is near.

So many different notes
All put forth from tiny throats
Composed in alien ways
Seem to burst forth in relays.

Each note strikes a different part
Of my brain and of my heart
The same feeling that's perceived
When huge fireworks are achieved.

The birdsong lulls me to relax
Pushing out all thoughts that tax
Snatches of memory drift
Other patterns of time shift.
Birdsong works because it's made up of lots of random sounds. There is no repeating rhythm or pattern to focus on. There is no other sound that can achieve the same thing as birdsong on our brain. Make it part of the soundtrack to your day.


4 May 2013

Reflections on A - Z

My second challenge is finished. I'm weary. Not from this one, but from writing two blogs a day. Probably too much, but I'm releived it's over. I'd prepared every psot beforehand, so that wasn't what tired me. Reading other posts in return for comments and keeping up with the linky list took the toll.

Last year, I found the challenge exhilerating with all the overseas visitors calling in to my blog and commenting. This year, old friends retained contact as well as a very few strangers. Perhaps the list was too long this year, but not many others worked their way down to me. I must have visited over 500 blogs.
Never mind. It's over.

The comments others left were very heartening. I made it easy for them because I only wrote two paragraphs, whereas some other blogs were so long. My eyes were strained at the end of each day.

I must thank the organizers, who did a marvellous job and visited me three times with encouraging comments. However, I wan't be participating again.