Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sea-ing the Stories #amwriting #inspiration

I talk a lot about how where I live influences many of the settings in my stories, but especially the sea. For someone who is supposedly a fire sign, I have a much greater affinity for water. Perhaps it was all those childhood holidays by a Welsh river or the annual camping trip to nearby Aldeburgh for the yearly carnival followed by fireworks on the stony beach. More recently it's the wide, golden beaches of Frinton-on-Sea, the mud and stones of Mersea, or hunting for prehistoric shark teeth at stony Walton-on-the-Naze. Alien mudflats, marine worlds, and tropical island paradises have all been created as a result.
Mud flats and weird sun shots at Mersea


Odd stone formations at Mersea

Shark's tooth
Whichever, I love to be by the sea, and apparently for good reason. It's been proven scientifically that a trip to the beach changes your brain. It reduces your depression, makes you more creative, de-stresses you, and changes your perspective on the world. I guess that's why I not only find it calming but good therapy for the muse, as well as the sea ending up featuring so often in my stories.

But although we've had some glorious weather in the past two weeks, it's not quite warm enough to spend a day at the seaside, even though I was itching to do our first visit for the year, and you can guarantee it'll be colder on the coast than inland. However, Sunday's forecast promised a dry, warm, if somewhat cloudy and windy day for last Sunday, so I suggested a walk and a picnic.
Not exactly sundrenched...
The two boys weren't particularly enthusiastic, but it wasn't cold, we bribed them with an ice-cream, and apparently the conditions were perfect for an odd phenomena I'd not seen before and made things interesting...

Spooky, huh? It reminded me of a scene from Sleepy Hollow starring Johnny Depp, where faithful servant Masbath is watching the woods from his wooden hut and the mists creep out, reach up ghostly fingers and snuff out the torches. *shudder* In this case, it's just very dry sand being blown across by the wind, but a great effect, right? And it leaves cool patterns on the beach too.
We also picked up some interesting shells, including some Turrids (the long, pointy shells) which we'd never seen there before (great spot by my husband). Shells of that kind were the inspiration for T'rill's coral palace in Keir - a fact hubs actually remembered as I asked him to try drawing it for me many moons ago. I'm not sure what happened to the picture though... Unfortunately you can't see the glorious play of colour in the mother of pearl interior on the broken topshell in this shot.
Turrids and topshells

Something like, but imagine it as a giant shell in pink coral

Despite the high winds and heavy cloud, it was warm with patches of sun, and I definitely felt the benefit. Even a couple of hours at the beach has the same effect as going on holiday for me (although the scrumptious blackcurrant and clotted cream ice-cream helped a bit too), and it was blissfully quiet - something that won't last once the temperatures rise! I can't wait until we can go more often, even though it'll also mean busier beaches. Oh, for that private tropical island all of my own!

Status Update
We had some truly gorgeous warm spring weather last week, so I spent a large part of my days sitting in the back room with our patio doors wide open to enjoy the garden, and letting my chooks have the run of the place. So it's probably a bit odd to have spent some of that time working on a winter solstice SF mystery set on an icy planet that I started a couple of years back but still haven't finished. I hadn't touched it since May 2016 (what did I do last year?!). I have no idea when I might finish it, if I do, and I don't have any finances for edits on it anyway (though I do have a cover). But since I'm still very iffy about my writing and finding everything hard, even adding a few words I don't completely hate is progress, so I'm not going to complain about that.

Also, I've caved and decided to do NaNoWriMo. Yes, I know I said I was quitting writing. Apparently I'm not done yet. Camp NaNoWriMo will be used to complete edits on two projects I've already paid for so maybe I can put them out and start earning an extra pittance from them. And just maybe I'll feel a little less under pressure from all the unfinished WIPs I have hanging around.

The dress part of the Tauriel cosplay is done, as are the arrows. I'm moving onto her fighting daggers now - my first time working with foamboard - then all she needs is a quiver and sheaths. I'll post pictures again when it's complete. Then I'll be moving onto middle child's Witch-King of Angmar cosplay.

Chook Update
We're now getting two or three eggs a day (yummy!), and the girls have been out and about enjoying the nice weather with me. Or making themselves at home inside MY home!
Ah, this dust bath is going to feel soooo good!



Chook incursion!

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