About Me

My photo
United Kingdom
I've been creative writing all my life, though with various haitus(es) along the way. IFrom 2010 I started this blog and enjoyed sharing writing and other information with everyone. illness and bereavement supplied the more recent hiatus.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Halloween Microfiction

Susan from Stony River set us another great
picture for this Monday's Microfiction Challenge
"Where a picture paints 140 characters, or even fewer."
Chloe stood demurely at the doorway in witches hat and cape.
"Trick or treat" snarled her cat "And make it good!"
(114 characters with spaces)

White frock and modest smile
Belies the black cat’s intent
Avaricious moggy!

The food and drink are self-replenishing. So, all YOU need to do is:
  • Pass round the cookies and coffee  (Sorry no booze, you've all got work Monday,
    especially those signed up for NaNoWrMo!)
  • Leave a COMMENT, since it’s bad manners to ignore the hostess, especially since she’s so wonderfully sprightly on her broom!


Feel free to LINK YOUR OWN BLOG etc in your party comments
  • Take some time out to VISIT, COMMENT AND FOLLOW the blogs of my other guest’s who are popping in. Gatecrashers are most welcome. This party goes on until Monday night at least.

Also check out Peggy's blog Musical Monday

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Blanched Brains

I suddenly realised the other day how bad my spelling was getting.

In the past I was known for my spelling prowess. My school friends would quake in their boots if they showed me their work in case I pointed out a word that needed correcting. I learned not to be so 'helpful' for the sake of peace and harmony.

Nowadays with computers, Microsoft and spellchecker, I blithely 'right mouse click' on my typos while editing my Manuscipts and have realised that I'm forgetting how to use my brain.

I'm forgetting how to spell. I am de-skilling myself  through sheer lazy convenience,
letting the machine do all the work.

Also because of UK versus US spellings my MS's are littered with contradictions, as sometimes I choose to use the 'z' version and others the 's' as in 'recognise'.

Don't get me wrong I do love and use my hardback

Oxford English Dictionary and my Roget's Thesaurus

to look up words, but I have found I must start using my brain again, as well.

Is this something you recognise in yourself?

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Campaign for Real Books

Join NOW

To save real books
AND stop the libraries and bookshops closing.
With your membership you get discount in bookshops, too.

I have an abiding childhood memory of going around the seven bookshops in Bath on a Saturday morning looking for my books, knowing that if you didn't find it in the first shop, you'd find it somewhere else. Bliss!

Then Waterstones arrived and pretty much killed off all its competitors, except for the one I ended up working in, Whiteman's in the Orange Grove. Now Supermarkets and Online sources are killing off the rest.

My hubby even wrote a letter to the paper about the final demise of Whiteman's:

'I see from the prominent 'To Let' sign in Orange Grove that Whiteman's Bookshop is finally closing. For many years Whiteman's was a good example of the smaller independent bookshop in Bath city centre. I remember the days well, when the city centre positively bustled with independent book retailers, co-existing with each other in a state of friendly and generally supportive rivalry. Wandering around the streets of Bath it used to be such a pleasure to pop into the various small bookshops to browse or ask questions of helpful and friendly staff. Who remembers Bowes & Bowes, Searight’s/Pan Books, Chapter & Verse, Bilbo's Books? How many Bath residents can now point to a volume on their bookshelves and say that they bought that in Wessex Books, Paperbacks or the Bridge Bookshop?

If one of these bookshops didn't have what you wanted, they would invariably point you in the direction of one of their fellow retailers. I used to work in Whiteman's myself many years and several owners ago. There was a comfortable permanence about the place, after all, people would always need books, wouldn't they?
Whiteman's was particularly attractive to me because it was a Specialist Supplier of transport titles and Ordnance Survey maps. Service to the customer was always paramount, even in the 'literally', dark days of the three-day week and regular power cuts, when a single high-pressure gas lamp was positioned in the centre of the shop to provide illumination.
Some will argue that the beginning of the end for Bath's small bookshops came when a large national bookselling chain store opened in the city. Or perhaps the ending of the Net Book Agreement meant that proprietors couldn't afford to pay high rents any longer.
Whether or not this is true, Whiteman's Bookshop managed to stay in business for many years, keeping the tradition of independent bookshops alive and I feel that Bath will be the poorer for its passing'.

How many of you love printed books like us, rather than e-books and online sources?

Halloween Haiku Wednesday

This theme puts me in mind of a homemade sign I once saw that said: 'Cold Callers not welcome'  under which I wanted to scrawl: 'But warm ones appreciated'. 
This week's theme: Freestyle ~ Whatever you like

Halloween Haikus by Madeleine Maddocks


My haikus (which are not meant to rhyme) use the traditional 5, 7, 5 syllable structure. There are many scattered throughout my blog posts.

I knitted this cute little Vampire Bat
from an Alan Dart pattern

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

LOST & FOUND Blogfest Still Open

There's still plenty of time to join in
Don't worry guys this isn't a girlie contest.

Exploring different Genres Outside My Box

CHALLENGE: Write a short piece in a genre you don't normally touch (i.e. OUTSIDE your comfort zone). How much you write is up to you. It can be a scene, short story, poetry, flash fiction etc. HOSTED BY: Tessa's Blurb

Open until December 5th
Join via her Linky List.
3 undisclosed prizes!
I enjoy challenges and exploring the different genres is certainly a challenge.

My thanks to Tessa for this opportunity. NB: I live in the UK
SO HERE’S MY PIECE written in the form of a first person MEMOIR.

Click on the image twice and it will expand to readable proportions:  

So, now you've guessed it's a historical memoir. I can reveal that I planned to write from a maid servant's POV and during my research was reminded that both Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour were maids to their predecessors and that is where I got my idea. Enjoy!Naturally my influence was Philippa Gregory:

If it blanks out just click on the blank image:

Monday, 25 October 2010

Yay 102 today!

I have reached the magic 100 followers+ 2.
In a previous blog post In the Blogging Tradition I mentioned awards and prizes.

And now to the Prizes.
There were 2 Writer's Survival Kits on offer

Goodie bag includes:Things to pamper, stimulate and facilitate your writing muse.

Winners chosen by random kittie.southdevon.co.uk

He used several techniques to choose the winners
(with the help of some randomly scattered kibble)

The winners are:

 Please EMAIL ME with your addresses
so that I can post the prizes on to you.

Reunion Microfiction Monday

Susan from Stony River set us another picture for this Monday's Microfiction Challenge
"Where a picture paints 140 characters, or even fewer."
Den and Jon went right off their grub. Eileen, wished she’d brought her spectacles, while the others were blissfully unaware of the flasher. (139 characters with spaces)

Snazzy picnic shorts
Captured for posterity
All friends together

Friday, 22 October 2010

Blogfest Open Cinderella's Shoe

Don't worry guys this isn't a girlie thing.

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with.
You've got bags of time to join in. Could the lost item be something valuable? A pet? A piece of clothing? A person? A toy? A passport or ID document?

All you do is:
  1. Post your entry for the Blogfest theme on your blog.
  2. Sign up on the linkey at the bottom of this post
    [NB: To be fair to everyone playing PLEASE ONLY ENTER LINKS that lead to a Blogfest item.]
  3. Leave a comment for the blog host (me), below. Thank you 
  4. Visit the other blog sites signed up to this Blogfest linkey page and leave comments
  5. If you don't feel inspired to join in, do please advertise this blogfest on your blogs for us. Thank You.
1. Tossing It Out
2. Ellie
3. Disc Connected
4. Tessa C
5. Stephen T. McCarthy
6. Doris --Hold my hand
7. Rebel in Remission
8. Heather M. Gardner
9. Roland D. Yeomans
10. Talei Loto
11. Dominic de Mattos
12. Michael Di Gesu
13. Liz

Initially I started out with a different idea which grew into a much larger story, that was too long for this contest, but on one of my walks I spied something which sparked the idea for my piece:

This is what inspired the piece:
My interest in TV shows like 'Psychic Detectives' did the rest.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Shameless Plug Time

As a special thank you I have added a blog hop linkey
for everyone who visits below.
Okay so I created my blog because:
  • I wanted to share my writing thoughts
  • get feedback on my writing 
  • meet like minded people.
  • I love to be creative in a writerly publishing kinda way, as well as a craft/arty way.
  • I was finally inspired to start this blogsite having seen the film Julie&Julia and read several articles about blogging in Writer's magazines.
BUT blogging has given me more than I ever anticipated from the lovely awards and Blogfests to the special comments I receive each day from my blogging friends.
I should just give my thanks to Rachel Morgan and Ellie Garratt for my latest lovely awards:

  • Just add your blog information to the linkey
  • Leave a comment telling us about YOU/ your blog/ why you created it/ what it’s about or why you love to blog/ how many blogfests you've entered. anything.
  • Don't forget to tell your friends,  to come join in the fun, too!
  • oh and link your blog back to here.
Everyone who posts a comment/link here,
please accept a Happy 101 award from me to you, too.

As I have a blogfest starting this evening I have had to schedule this linkey to close
so that the blogfest linkey will activate.
You are all welcome to join in the blogfest
(the linkey for which will be kept open until 30th Oct).

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Rising to the Challenge

Her palms were as sweaty as abandoned parchment in a damp crypt and her throat as dry as a neglected printer cartridge. The blogger swallowed and blinked as her fingers hovered over her keyboard. Wondering how she would ever cope with the latest Blogfest challenge, she clenched her teeth and began.

Challenges can be scary because they make you step outside of your comfort zone, which can be uncomfortable or enriching. Putting your work on the line to be seen and critiqued by others is a big step. However, there is no substitute for actually having a go ourselves.  

I find enormous benefits from receiving feedback from others to help me mature as a writer and to try out new ideas and genres.

With that in mind I have created a new page on this blogsite dedicated to blogfest challenges. 
BUT How do you feel about blogfests?
Do they fill you with dread, indifference or excitement?

I wonder how many blogfests you've entered and who has done the most. So far I've done 5, with 3 more on the horizon.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

One Stop Writer's Block

Posted before 4pm UK time so it comes up as Tuesday
instead of Wednesday when it was posted honest!
Theme: Pathways

Picture Prompt supplied by Dustus:
Writer's Journey
Dead End writing job
Must get going cannot stop
Walk right through the block

Temptation by Madeleine & Tim Maddocks
Cold rain speeds my pace
Warm bright lights, steamed up windows
Welcoming chip shop 

My husband and I spent a Sunday afternoon thinking up Haiku (when I was doing my OU Course and finding the form somewhat perplexing). Together we managed to create Temptation, which follows the traditional 5,7,5 syllable structure. Since then I have enjoyed thinking up haiku on my own, so all the other haiku are entirely my own work.

See One Shot Wednesday blog hop

Monday, 18 October 2010

Medieval Micro Fiction Monday

Susan from Stony River set us another great
picture for this Monday's Microfiction Challenge
"Where a picture paints 140 characters, or even fewer."

Eve wished she had more than 2 loaves and a jug of mead to sustain her until she finished the cataloguing of King Arthur’s library. (131 characters with spaces)

Well they looked like books he was carrying to me LOL!

An alternative viewpoint
Red flowing tresses
The maiden awaits her fate
A prisoner now.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

First Page Blog Fest

This is my contribution to Elle Strauss'  First Page Blogfest.  

The rule: to share the first 250 words of the first page of a novel.
This is from my chick lit with a little mystery thrown in.

However, 250 words doesn't really begin to reveal what's in store
for Ginny in the next 48hrs.

Just click on the clipboard, then click again
and it will enlarge to easily readable proportions.

Thanks to Shallee for being a great CP already on this piece.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Story Types

Apparently there are only 7 story categories.

RAGS TO RICHES where the central poor, downtrodden yet deserving character rises from nothing into greatness. They must defeat a foe of some kind to keep their newfound and rightful status. (Aladdin, Cinderella)

QUEST where the central character takes a journey to achieve a certain goal meeting obstacles and forces along the way that try to stop him from achieving it.
This one is great for sequels. (Harry Potter, Lord of Rings)

OVERCOMING A MONSTER where the protagonist must overcome a dark evil being that has exerted a destructive force over a place or people. (Hansel & Gretel)

REBIRTH where the protagonist’s imprisonment is derived from something from within his own psyche. His liberation can only be achieved through the actions of other good forces.
(A Christmas Carol)

JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY where the hero travels to another world, learning things along the way that give him a deeper understanding of himself and the world around him. (Alice in Wonderland, Gulliver’s Travels)

TRAGEDY where the central character goes through a series of actions and decisions that unwittingly brings about their own downfall and result in a cathartic “purging” of emotion. (Hamlet, Emperor’s New Clothes)

COMEDY where the central characters are thrown into a state of confusion and bewilderment where resolution can only be achieved when these restricting factors have been played out to their extremes. (The Missing Postman)

I think, because of my psychology background, the one I tend to automatically choose is rebirth.

Do you have a recurring favourite story type?
Is it consciously chosen or subconscious?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

One Shot Wednesday

See One Shot Wednesday blog hop.

© Madeleine Sara Maddocks Oct 2010
Most people don’t really ‘get’ this poem. Do you? I'd love to know what you think.
I imagined hindsight as a beautifully bewitching woman, much like the main character in a novel I read called 'Singling Out The Couples' by Stella Duffy
According to poetry competitions, a poem should stand alone without the need for footnotes and epigraphs or images. So I wonder does it make sense without them.

While I love to read the background to people's ideas I hope you don't need to read it to get the poem.
WHY DID I WRITE THIS POEM? I wanted to explore the use of idioms and to challenge the idea that the ability or opportunity to understand and judge an event or experience after it has occurred is necessarily a beautiful thing. I imagined a cleverly manipulative, ethereal lady of Shallot character who dupes us with all her charms; seizing upon our naivety to create the hindsight paradox. By not allowing us to see what’s there until it is too late, the knowing almost becomes a burden. Our opportunity to understand and judge the event after it has happened becomes closely allied to our understanding and judgment of this Siren after she has fooled us. A case of if only I’d listened to my instincts.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

AN ADVENTUROUS CONTEST through the eyes of a child

Beth Revis, has a magical blogsite. She writes and has a book Across the Universe ready for publication in Spring 2011. She's also decided to giveaway an ARC signed copy of her debut novel.

For a chance to win you must share an adventure story.
There's still a few days left to enter. Closes October 20th.

(Did you notice the Rubin Vase illusion of the faces within the nebulae in the picture left?)

Congrats to Beth, too.
Also submitted for WriteEditPublish March 2014

From a child's POV
High Street Adventure by Madeleine Maddocks.

Mummy holds my hand, tightly, as we hurry down the high street.
“We must get to the shop before it closes” she shouts into the air.

We dodge between the people walking towards us. I am pulled along by my arm. A man’s scratchy tweed jacket brushes my cheek. The smell of old tobacco fills my nostrils. A handbag bobs and bashes my head, its shiny surface cold and unwelcome against my mousey brown curls. All around us people seem to be rushing somewhere. Even the cars in the road seem to be in a hurry. I try to look ahead of me, but I am brushed and jostled from every direction. Mummy says this is called the evening rush hour, when all the people are going home. The sight of a tiny little dog catches my attention. Its eyes are wide and panicky as it dodges everyone’s feet.

“Oh look at that doggy, Mummy!” I shout up at her, but my voice is lost in the hum and roar of the traffic.

The air is thick with a bitter tasting smell. A piercing siren suddenly splits the air, accompanied by a screeching of tyres and hooting of horns. The lorries and cars and trucks and buses all seem impatient and angry. There is no time to stop. A large, hairy man steps into the road, as a pushchair heads towards us. Mummy drags me out of its way just in time. We catch a glimpse of one another; the little boy in the pushchair grins at me, peering through his heavy, blonde fringe. His mouth is smeared with chocolate. Crisp crumbs fleck his T-shirt. I stare back uncertain; there is no time to smile back. We hurry on and I wonder what we will have for tea, as I look at shoes. Old, worn shoes; shiny, new shoes; clean shoes; muddy shoes. I try to look at my own feet and almost trip. Mummy pulls my arm.
“Pick up your feet, Madeleine!” she scolds.

I hear our feet clacking against the pavement. My bright, pink sandals flap loudly against the concrete, not quite in tune with Mummy’s clip clopping high heels. The marching beat of the people around us drums loudly and methodically in my ears, competing with the chatter of voices. We walk on, my arm aching with the pace. The smell of burgers and chips wafts towards me from an open doorway.
“We’ll have some of that nice salad for tea.” I hear Mummy’s voice pronounce.

My stomach gurgles its disappointment. I startle as someone coughs beside my left ear. A lemony snail trail splats on the dull concrete in front of us. I stare at it and feel sick. We reach the end of the busy road and turn left. Suddenly the madness has stopped. There’s only Mummy and me in this quiet side street. We walk in through the open doorway. Into the welcome silence of the pet shop to buy my first gerbil.