Thursday, 23 December 2010

Mary has a Little Lamb.



As night fell over Bliss farm two visitors made their way towards the main gate, guided by a bright star above. They had walked very far and were very tired. They stood at the entrance and waited, quietly and patiently.
 ‘It won’t be long now Maaary’
 ‘Oh, I am so tired Chris,’ the other visitor replied, leaning her face a little bit closer to his.

 It was late in the year on Bliss farm. The harvest was over, the trees had lost all their leaves and winter had set in. The nights were longer and the weather was bitterly cold.

Henry the horse was on his way to his stable when he saw the couple at the gate. ‘Hello,’ he said. ‘Are you lost?’
‘No, we were on our waaay to the field at the bottom of the hill to be counted. They make all of us sheep do this every year. We followed a bright star and it led us here. We are really tired now and I don’t think weee’ll make it back home tonight. Maaary is expecting a lamb. We’ve tried all of the other farms on the waaaay, none of them have any space for us.’ A tiny tear trickling down his face as he looked at Mary.
 Henry was a very kind horse. He could never turn away an animal in distress. ‘Oh friend! You can stay here! There’s only my barn though which you are welcome to share.’ Henry replied
Both sheep looked at Henry and began to sob. ‘Ohhhh, thank you. Thank you so much.’ Henry led them into his warm barn and brought them some straw and fresh water from the trough. Mary and Chris, looking very tired, lay down and went to sleep, thankful that a new friend had helped them.
 In the very early hours of the morning before the sun began to rise, something in the barn began to happen.
‘Chris’ whispered Mary. She waited for him to wake for a few moments but he didn’t stir. ‘CHRIS!’ She yelled.
Chris awoke suddenly, opened his eyes and looked at his love. ‘Aaare you OK my dear?’
‘It’s time Chris. Time for our lamb to be born.’
‘Whaaaat? Now?’ he gasped, jumping up off the straw and running around as if he didn’t know what to do with himself. Chris was so excited that he ran into the farmyard and made so much noise bumping into things that he woke rest of the animals.

‘What’s going on?’ clucked Mavis, still half asleep.
‘Maaaary, she’s having aaa little laaamb!’ Chris yelled, unable to control himself.
Mavis gasped. ‘A birth! We’ve not had a birth on this farm for years. Oh my goodness, that’s so brilliant!’ Excitement spread throughout all of the animals as they all waited, anxious about for news of the new arrival and hoping that it made its way safely into the world.
‘Someone should see if Mary needs some help, ‘said Henry. ‘Lucy, could you please?’
Lucy the duck was very excited to be asked and went running into the barn, leaving a hole in the door where she’d forgotten to open it. Chris walked backwards and forwards past the barn door. He was becoming more and more anxious as time passed until he could wait no longer. He was about to open it when the smallest ‘baa’ sound came out of the barn.
 Lucy came running out of the hole she had made. ‘It’s a lamb, a little lamb! ‘She screamed. ‘Mary’s had a little lamb and its fleece is white as snow.’ The whole of the farmyard burst into cheer. At that exact moment the church bell in the village began to chime and flakes of snow began to fall from the sky.
‘We should take the new lamb some gifts, it is his or her birthday after all’ said Henry, happily. ‘Holly, Ivy and Noel, can you take some fresh straw, water and food to our guests please? Here’s some blankets to wrap over you, it’s very cold and it‘s starting to snow‘. The three wise pigs did as they were told and took the gifts to the new lamb. ‘Congratulations. You didn’t tell me your names my friend’ Henry said to the Chris.
The sheep turned to him, smiled and replied ‘Maaary, Chris…’ ‘Maaaas’ interrupted a tiny voice.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

A Pigs Tale

Chapter 1
 Noel, Holly and Ivy had lived on Bliss farm for many years. Noel was the smallest pig of the litter, when all three were born he was the last one to enter the world and he was always pushed out of the way by his sisters. Noel was very lonely, he often felt like a spare part because he would spend a lot of time by himself. His sisters would do everything together and there was no place for him. He would sit and watch them play together, they would eat together and sleep in the same part of the sty; they were bigger, faster and knew a lot more then he did. He felt small, slow and useless compared to them.
  Ivy was the largest of the pigs, she had been born first. She was pink all over apart from her curly tail that looked like a coil of wire. Ivy was easy to spot; she had one big black mark on her back that looked like an Ivy leaf. Noel had never seen an animal run as fast as Ivy, she was faster then every other animal in the farm. She was so fast than Noel had no chance of catching up with her.
 Holly was born next, she was a little smaller then Ivy but she was also very fast. If there was a race between her and Ivy then she would win half of the time. Her tail was also shaped like a coil but the mark on her back looked like a horse shoe. The two sisters never left each others side, they were always together and they were always very mean to Noel. He couldn’t remember when it started. It was a slow process, they started off by ignoring him, then they pushed him out of the way when it was feeding time. Now they would think up ways to be mean to him. Noel could not understand why they did this. It was upsetting for him to be so small and so slow. ‘My sisters should understand how lucky they are to be quicker and bigger’ he would say to himself. Noel would often sit and think about the horrible things that his sisters would do to him until one day he could take no more. He needed to do something or it would never stop.

  ‘Ohhh Ivy. Race you to the gate’ snorted Ivy. ‘First one back gets to eat as much lunch as they want.’
‘You’re on’ giggled Holly.’ Shall we ask Noel if he wants to race?’
‘Haaa, what would be the point in that? I suppose he could get the prize for the looser again. We could give him a forfeit. How about we make him have a bath in the pond, he’d hate that.’ giggled Ivy.
‘Na, we did that last time, I could do with someone licking my feet’ squealed Holly.

 Noel felt very sad. It wasn’t nice when they laughed at him. If only he were bigger and faster, he could show them. They would have to lick his feet, they would have to eat whatever was left over after he had eaten first and they would have to say sorry. This meant more to him then anything else. He slowly turned and walked towards the lake. He liked it there; he’d spend time watching his reflection change in the water. He was very small compared to his sisters. His tail was not a coil like theirs; his was more like a limp leaf then a springy coil. He didn’t have any marks on his back. He didn’t look like his sisters at all.
‘How am I going to make myself bigger and stronger?’ he thought as he wondered back to the yard. He sat at the entrance to the sty and watched them as they started to eat their snacks, well, not really eat, more like stuff their faces.
‘Num num, shasty fwood Iwy, num’ muttered Holly whilst shoveling food into her mouth.
‘BURP!’ giggled Ivy. Both sisters spat food out whilst they laughed at each other. Noel had never seen such disgusting table manners, they managed to get more food over their faces then they actually managed to eat. Turnips and cabbages went flying over the fence into the forest behind, potato scraps went flying into the air, landing on whatever or who ever was near. He wasn’t surprised no other animal went near the pigs sty when it was feeding time, Daisy duck was hit in the face by a flying mushy tomato a few days ago, it wasn’t very nice for her.

Fire on Bliss Farm

It was very early in the morning on Bliss farm and all of the animals and birds were still asleep. They were all very tired. They worked hard all day ploughing the fields, grazing and laying eggs. It was normal for them to wake up well after the sun had risen.
 Daisy the duck was busy dreaming of food when she suddenly woke up. It was still very early and the sky was still black. She gave a yawn and stretched out her wings. ‘I‘ve woken up at a very silly time.’ She yawned, looking around. Everywhere was dark and peaceful. She had never been up this early before. She liked it as it was quiet. The rest of the animals were still asleep so it was as though she had the whole farmyard to herself. She sat and thought about what she could do for a while. She closed her eyes to try to go back to sleep but it didn’t help. There was only one thing left to do, she needed to get up.
 Daisy rose from her nest and looked around for something to eat. It was only then that she spotted a red glow rising into the sky over a field in the distance. Daisy gasped! ‘Oh no! the wheat field is on FIRE!’ she  began to scream. Then she started running around in circles and flapping her wings. ‘I must get some help.’ She ran and flew as fast as she could to the centre of the yard, flapping her wings as she went to raise the alarm. ‘FIRE! There’s a fire in the wheat field! HELP! COME ON’ she quacked at the top of her voice. ‘WHAT ARE YOU ALL DOING? IT’S AN EMERGENCY!‘  All of the animals groaned and left their homes to see what the problem was. ‘Look, over there, there’s a fire in the wheat field, see? We must go and help.’
 Daisy worried and panicked about everything, the weather, how much food they had or whether she had pooped enough that day. She would spend all day worrying; tiny things that were not important would be turned into a major event. All of the animals were unable to sleep the night before because it had been raining a bit and Daisy was worried that the farm would flood. They only managed to get to sleep when they had allowed her to march them all into the barn so they could shelter in there until the rain had stopped.
Alan the sheep looked at her then looked at the red sky over the wheat field. He then looked back at Daisy ‘looks alright to me’ he replied with a big yawn. He then picked up a mouth full of grass off the floor and began to eat. The sheep’s pace of life was very slow. They were slow to do everything, eating was such a chore as breakfast took them all day. In fact, they didn’t do a lot besides eating.
‘You just don’t get it’ she flapped, getting more and more upset. ‘We all eat wheat, it’s going to burn and we’ll have no food!’ The animals had to think about this but the sheep just carried on eating.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Feedback.

Well, what can I say. I sent off the revamped version of 'The Great Egg Mystery' to an agent. She's full at the moment but has asked me to send it back in the new year with the name of a lovely lady in her office whom I should send it to. I've been told that this is progress. Has my persistance paid off? I'm not sure so I shall have to wait until after the new year, a new year a new start maybe? I am delighted not to have recieved another automated response though. The fact that someone has actually taken the time to ask me to return it is great as all that I have recieved so far are rejections that don't provide any information at all, just 'it's not suitable' or 'doesn't have the necessary edge'. I understand that they are very busy, I don't think a writer can improve without good feedback though so they owe it to another agent to just be honest as it'll save someone else recieving a submitted manuscript that needs work. I do sometimes think that it may be easier to get my book published if I were a celebrity as they appear to be doing a good job at the moment. Alot of them are at it, even the ones that are not so famous, they are all knocking out books. The ghost writers must be rushed off their feet. Not only do I have other writers to compete against, I also have the dead ones, the published ones and now the celebrities. This doesn't feel like an equal race to me.

 I've found it very difficult to get good feedback. By good I don't mean 'wow, it's fantastic, the best thing I've ever read' as, although it's flattering to the ego it does nothing more. By good I mean 'you need to change the name of the duck and you need to check your grammar in paragraph 2.' I have found a few people who are willing to do this though so not all is lost, hence the revamp of 'The Great Egg Mystery.' I am so very grateful for this an in time I hope to return the favour to someone else.
I have spent the last month thinking of 30 picture book ideas as part of this: http://taralazar.wordpress.com/
I should say that it has taken me all month to think of them as the challenge is to think of one idea a day for 30 days. I would be lying if I said that it had taken me this long though. I look forwards to seeing what this has to hold for me.

 I still have a vacancy for a fairy god mother (or god father). Will pay in good karma should they ever show themselves and I guarantee that this will be returned to another budding writer or two in the years to come.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Is no news good news?

Little editor is still at school so I apologise in advance for any spelling or grammatical errors. I never said I was perfect.

Well, the agency I quite liked turned me down. I wasn't given any other details other then they are very busy. Ah well, nothing ventured and all of that. Finding an agent is very difficult, it's like trying to climb a 50 foot wall blindfolded and with your hands tied together. Rejection is rife and there's very often no details given as to why, meaning that he poor writer can't see where they are going wrong. Agents and publishers want something that is commercil, something that will earn them money. A writer who goes into this industry shouldn't be in it just for the money as the chances are that they won't earn a lot of it anyway. I just love to make people smile, even if it's just for a short time. A book has the potential to lift spirits and change the way that a reader views the world. This is a reward in itself, I do need to eat though.

 I'm not really getting anywhere agent wise. I'm in need of a fairy godmother (or godfather) to work some magic and give me a hand. There are plenty of sites that offer mentors; for a price. I have looked into this as I do need some guidance (don't we all) but be wary. It's expensive and there's no guarantee that it will all work out as all writers are at the mercy of the agents and the publishers. They can produce a fantastic, well written book but if it doesn't tick the right (commercial) boxes then that's the end of the line. I am questioning whether my books are commercial? How many parents would be willing to splash out own one of my books? That's the million dollar question that I have no answer to.
I do (so I've been told) write very well. 'You've really got something here.'  I've also been told that I'm very creative. Where's the problem you may ask? Classic. I've been told that the world doesn't want classic books any more. They want something 'edgy', something new. I'm still not sure how anyone can make an 'edgy' book for a 5 year old, have a primary school child selling illegal drugs to their teacher so they can buy sweets maybe? I'd rather not. I'll stick with the farm animals thanks.

 Best of luck to all of you. If you meet a fairy godmother/godfather along the way please tell them I'm looking for them. Many thanks.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Authonomy

Self doubt.

I only watch the first few couple of episodes of the X-factor. I begin to feel pity for the contestants after this, the ones who think they are the next Madonna who are beyond rubbish in particular. It makes me look at myself and wonder whether I see the things I am doing in the same rose tinted glasses. It's good to know your limitations; I was never made to be a ruthless business woman or to produce a modern masterpiece worthy of the tate. Self doubt isn't helped by other people, the ones who call you 'a weak student' for example. I'd love to send her a copy of something I've written and something that's been published. I have a whole character based on this human dementor.

 I started writing, not because I thought I was good at it or the next JK Rowling, but because I've finally found something that I enjoy. I have plenty of ideas for books, about 75 since September and I'm sure that some of these are not worthy of any agents/publishers time so I've written them down and will return to them at some point. I do get plagued by self doubt. I am aware of those who think they are wonderful and have no clue about how talentless they really are. I do wonder if I'm just as bad. Time will tell, maybe I am or maybe something life changing will be in my inbox tomorrow or the day after.

 I can not give anyone advice on this. It's not helpful to be too critical of yourself but it's not helpful to be ignorant. Writing isn't like singing though, there are courses which help writers improve but if you're tine deaf then you're knackered if you want to sing. I might look into a course, something that's cheap, local and is school hours though. Drop me an email if you know of one please. In the mean time, keep at it.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Emails....

julietbrough@yahoo.co.uk should anyone wish to get in touch. I will not be answering questions about bra sizes, nor do I need viagra or penile enhancement products. Should you wish to send emails about this then don't be offended if I don't reply as I just don't have the will or the time to answer. My life, as is yours, is very precious. Make every moment count, don't bother sending emails like this, why not go outside and watch the birds fly through the sky and take note of the colours of the buildings around you. You'll get more enjoyment out of this.

Cheers!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Scary!

Whilst sitting in a cafe this afternoon I had a fantastic idea for a childrens horror story, the more I thought about it, the worse it got. I am now at a point where I have frightened myself so much I actually don't want to write it.
 I'm sure that children will love it, it reminds me of Hansel and Grettel which, to me, is the most horrible fairy tale that I have ever read. The thought of an evil witch decorating her house with sweets to entice children so she can cook them is just  frightening!

In this book, the old lady does indeed eat unsuspecting children but there's a purpose behind her hideous actions. I shall not give away the rest of the plot but will only say that this one really won't conclude in the way that you may suspect. I'd be watching out for pretty ladies with gloves on their hands if I were you.

I really will not be able to sleep tonight.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Today I am writing about....

A boy who finds a phoenix. It's going well so far, not my usual type of book as this one is longer. I'll see how things go.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Why have I not posted all of the books?

If you want to see the rest then get in touch. If by some miracle they are ever published then I'll direct you to a lovely book seller.

Fire on Bliss Farm

 It was very early in the morning on Bliss farm and all of the animals and birds were still asleep. They were all very tired. They worked hard all day ploughing the fields, grazing and laying eggs. It was normal for them to wake up well after the sun had risen.
 Daisy the duck was busy dreaming of food when she suddenly woke up. It was still very early and the sky was still black. She gave a yawn and stretched out her wings. ‘I‘ve woken up at a very silly time.’ She yawned, looking around. Everywhere was dark and peaceful. She had never been up this early before. She liked it as it was quiet. The rest of the animals were still asleep so it was as though she had the whole farmyard to herself. She sat and thought about what she could do for a while. She closed her eyes to try to go back to sleep but it didn’t help. There was only one thing left to do, she needed to get up.
 Daisy rose from her nest and looked around for something to eat. It was only then that she spotted a red glow rising into the sky over a field in the distance. Daisy gasped! ‘Oh no! the wheat field is on FIRE!’ she  began to scream

A Pigs Tale: Chapter 1

 Noel, Holly and Ivy had lived on Bliss farm for many years. Noel was the smallest pig of the litter, when all three were born he was the last one to enter the world and he was always pushed out of the way by his sisters. Noel was very lonely, he often felt like a spare part because he would spend a lot of time by himself. His sisters would do everything together and there was no place for him. He would sit and watch them play together, they would eat together and sleep in the same part of the sty; they were bigger, faster and knew a lot more then he did. He felt small, slow and useless compared to them.
 .

It's alot easier to write then find an agent!

I've been playing with the idea of writing childrens books for a year or four. After being forced out of a rather crap job I decided to take writing alot more seriously so I did. Months later I have written more then a couple of childrens books but find it a very difficult vocation to step into. The feedback from family/friends and random people has been incredibly positive, they love my work, one even dreams about holding a copy of one of my books in her hands which is moving and slightly exciting at the same time.

 I write because I love to do it. I love the thrill of waking up at 3am because I have an idea and I've had more then plenty of those. I love it when I show someone what I have written and they ask for more. In an ideal world I would love to find an agent who loves my books just as much as I love to write them but I know that this is slim. I live with hope though. In the mean time I shall continue writing and hope that some day I will walk into Waterstones and see one of my books on the shelf which is picked up by a child, read a little, taken home and loved.