Author Archives: Sophie

Day 5 of 12 Days of Christmas : 5 Gold Rings & Tolkien

gold ringsAt last! Day 5. A present that a person might be glad to receive.

OK, five may seem a touch excessive. But this True Love is not a person of moderation, as all the fowl he has already bestowed upon his beloved bear witness.

But she doesn’t have to grit her teeth to thank him for these. She can show her appreciation by painting her nails to tone in with his gift. Continue reading

Day 4 of 12 Days of Christmas : 4 Calling Birds & Song

I never liked the idea of a calling bird. It smacked of the Judas Goat, even when I was a child. But I’m told that “calling” is a mondegreen in this context and the original was probably “colly birds”. Which apparently are blackbirds.

4 calling birds, Christmas Island stamp 1977Hmm. Bit of a cheapskate suitor there, then. I mean, blackbirds come free with the landscape. All he had to do was scatter a few breadcrumbs on the lawn and then point out the descending blackbirds as her present.

Mind you, the Easter Island stamp version is along the same lines. And gulls call all right. Anglo Saxon poets thought they were the souls of dead sailors. Give me a blackbird every time.

So I’m assuming that our Day 4 gift is of tuneful birds. Continue reading

Day 2 of 12 Days of Christmas : 2 Turtle Doves & Jewellery

2 turtle doves vector for day 2Two turtle doves are, perhaps, the most understandable of the strange gifts the True Love sent to his beloved. They are the symbol of perfect romantic contentment, billing and cooing and utterly absorbed in each other.

Whether she needed ten more pairs after that first gift, of course, is debatable. Continue reading

Day 1 of 12 Days of Christmas : A Partridge in a Pear Tree & P D James

day 1 partridge in a pear tree UK stamp 1977“Ooo yes, let’s do a series of book recommendations for the Twelve Days of Christmas,” we said.

But those 12 days of presents were really pretty weird. I mean, if a  pear tree was small enough to give someone as a present, it  wouldn’t be big enough for a partridge to perch in. A problem faced by the designer of the 1977 UK postage stamp, I notice. A solid bird, the partridge.

So our list is going to be associative, rather than literal, if you see what I mean. There is a connection, in our minds at least. But not always necessarily obvious. Continue reading

Peru Poser: Humour or Porn?

I said that Joanna’s blog last week reminded me of an encounter of my own with a Secret Room in a Museum and some unusual cultural artefacts – in fact it turned out to be a Peru Poser: Humour or Porn?

Peru Aunt Lucy“Peru?” I hear you cry. “Home of Machu Picchu, the Inca Empire and Paddington Bear’s Aunt Lucy? That Peru?”

Yes. That Peru.

“Well strike me pink with gold knobs on. What on earth was the woman doing there?”

Um – would you believe work? Also expanding my experience of other cultures and seeing the world. Continue reading

Royal Wedding to Come and Others I Have Known…

Royal Wedding April 2011I remember watching the last Royal Wedding on television (well, bits of it) in April 2011. To be honest, I was surprised at how moved I was.

There is something heroic about that promise, “Until Death us do Part.” Especially so, when the two people making it have actually chosen each other.

Royal Wedding 1922After all, in the past, many royal weddings took place between people who were not much more than pieces on someone else’s chess board.

In 1922 my grandmother went to see the procession for the wedding of the Queen’s aunt to Viscount Lascelles. She came home, shocked, and told her sister that the young princess’s eyes were red with crying. Princess Mary was 24, her bridegroom 39. He looks grim in the wedding photograph. Continue reading

Subtext and Space Between the Words

Roman Holiday subtextI’m intrigued by subtext and, in particular, the space between the words in a novel. 

Yet perhaps the most perfect example of this is not in a novel at all, but in a movie. It’s the little miracle that is Roman Holiday, starring a luminous Audrey Hepburn as a stifled princess. Gorgeous Gregory Peck plays against type as a distinctly dodgy expat newspaperman. They don’t have a Happy Ever After ending, either. Yet its perfect, mostly because of that extra layer of meaning.

Why Subtext in Roman Holiday is Interesting for Novelists

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Writing for a Reader – a personal journey of discovery

Writing for a ReaderWriting for a reader is how I finished my very first book. That probably sounds strange, after my heartfelt blog about writing for one’s own inner reader. But the truth is that, although I’d been writing all my life, the very first book I finished was written for a particular reader.

And the key word here is FINISHED.

My First Time Writing for a Reader

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Busy Week at Casa Liberta, Workshop and Wilde

busy weekWe’ve had an exceptionally busy week at Casa Libertà.

Joanna had serious train travel and a full diary, while still reluctantly convalescent. Sophie had much writing – blogging, a magazine article and catching up with belated Amazon reviews of recently-read books – together with a trip to see Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance. 

Above all, we were running up to part two of our Sparkle editing workshop, otherwise known as Bling it Up. So we spent Friday on a full day’s dress rehearsal before Saturday when the curtain went up. Continue reading

The Inner Reader and the Alchemy of Editing

My Inner Reader and Editing have rather taken over my life in the last few months. This is for a range of reasons. The reasons were all pleasant – or , at least, interesting. But her arrival was a surprise. And, as it turns out, a game changer.

Enter the Inner Reader

inner reader, mystery womanI should explain about my Inner Reader. She’s bit of mystery woman. Continue reading