A Virus, A Storytelling Hut, Slowing Down & New Projects

I know I’ve been MIA on the blogging front for a little while now and I thought I’d better stop by with an update on my projects this year. Where to start. Let’s go with the title of this post:

A Virus

I’ve had a virus for about a month and I’m pleased to say I’ve finally managed to shift it. But you don’t want to hear me whingeing about illness, suffice to say it’s slowed me down a little and that’s no bad thing. Nature often, or in this case a really annoying microscopic bacteria, has a way of showing us the right path and I badly needed a reboot. That’s what the rest of this post is about.

A Storytelling Hut

I spent a wonderful weekend at Emerson College, in the storytelling hut, learning about the way we create and remember stories. Our teacher was Shonaleigh Cumbers, the last Drut’syla. A Drut’syla  is a storyteller from the Jewish tradition and someone who tells a story web consisting of thousands of stories which have been passed down from grandmother to granddaughter. It was a brilliant experience and I have learnt so much. As my story stone project continues over on my storytelling website, I think you’ll agree you can see the difference in my writing.

Slowing Down

Yes folks it’s time to slow down and carve out some family time. For now, this means letting go of this blog. It’s with a heavy heart and who knows maybe I’ll come back to it again at some point. You may think I’m mad but I just can’t keep up with the content and I want it to be quality content, not something I threw together because I felt I had to.

I’ll still be blogging over at www.ddstoryteller.co.uk and there will be news of new publications via my newsletter which you can sign up to here. My decision to do this is because I’ve decided to keep the blogging specific to each side of my writing; the mysteries and the children’s stories. I’ve improved the commenting interface on the storytelling website’s blog and  it would be brilliant if  you could  stop by now and then, so please pop the links in your favourites.

New Projects

In other news, I have published my first little children’s book. It’s a little collaboration that I’ve been working on with JJ Jiraffe. JJ Jiraffe is based in Eastleigh, UK, and creates children’s clothing & accessories. JJ Jiraffe is about to launch a potty training kit with re-usable trainer pants and this little book will be part of the kit. You can find more details on the kit, which is coming soon, here but for now I’ll tell you a little more about the story I have written to go with it.

The story features a little giraffe whose parents want him to use a potty. The only problem is, Giraffe is worried all the animals will see him sitting on his potty. His jungle friends all have their own ideas as to how he can overcome this problem, but who will find the perfect spot for Giraffe to put his potty?

If you’re in the UK you can get a paperback pamphlet copy via my website here for £1.99 (+P&P). Alternatively it’s available via Amazon Kindle e-book here.

That’s me over and out and I really hope to see you all over on the other blog linked above. In the meantime I will continue to follow your own writing journeys via your blogs.

Toodle Pip

 

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100 Days Of Story Stones

I love the creativity you find on Instagram. If you haven’t already found me there, come and say hi. Each year @elleluna, a fellow author and an artist, runs ‘The 100 Day Project’. Creatives join together to, well, create something, once a day for 100 days. This year it takes place between the 4th April and the 12th July.

I’m excited to be joining in this year and my project will be all about stories or story stones to be precise.

Each one of these stones will become a story stone, with a mini story, for #100daysofstorystones. By the end I will have 100 stones all with their own little story to share with the children I’m telling stories to at my summer events. The stones can also be used for the children to create their own stories. The possibilities are endless.

So why story stones? Here’s why:

I’ll be using my own unique hashtag (#100daysofstorystones) and the project’s hashtag #The100DayProject

I’d love to see you there, so come and join me on Instagram for 100 days of stories. I’ll also blog on my storytelling website, each week with the story stones I have created and you can follow those posts here . Wish me luck!

What’s On Your Shelf, Staci Troilo?

Yes folks it’s time for ‘What’s On Your Shelf?’ and today, we have romance writer, Staci Troilo. Staci has been writing all her life  and is now a freelance writer and editor based in Arkansas. Check out her website here, Facebook here and her books on Amazon here. Over to Staci …

Thanks for letting me visit today. Please excuse the quality of the photos. I was trying to keep my dogs out of the shots (a monumental feat), so they aren’t my best pictures.
I’ve got books all over my house—two cabinets of cookbooks, one filled with sports, health, and nutrition books, several boxes of books I don’t have room to display, and four different cases in two rooms of my house. That doesn’t even include my Kindle, which is almost out of space!


These are the shelves in my family room. I’ve got children’s books from my childhood and my kids; I keep them out for visitors. Eventually (God willing), I’ll have grandkids to read them to.

I have an entire shelf of classics. My favorites are probably Frankenstein and A Tale of Two Cities.

I also have a shelf devoted to writing resources and a shelf with miscellaneous works on it.

My most cherished of those are the two Lewis Carrol books (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass). My grandfather and I used to read them together at his house, and when he passed away, my grandmother gave them to me. I also have his family bible and some family history printouts.

I’ve got more personal books and knick-knacks in the alcove outside the master bedroom. Some of my most treasured keepsakes and collectables are there. Obviously The Complete Works of William Shakespeare is a favorite book. It has a place of honor all to itself, but honestly, it’s also too large to put anywhere else. Other favorites are my Wizard of Oz figures, the only Venetian Carnavale statue and mask that has survived our many moves around the country (I used to have an extensive collection; this single doll and mask are all that’s left), the Italian porcelain set (which includes a picture of me and hubby in college), random shower favors from three different family weddings, and three black bowls handmade by my kids in elementary school. I also have a shelf with the textbooks I taught from when I was a professor in Ohio. That shelf also has a stamped tin Egyptian mask that my daughter made in art class and a shillelagh a friend brought me from Ireland.

Also in that case are photo albums, a book about my hometown of Vandergrift, taekwondo awards (my son is a second degree and my daughter a first degree), and a soccer ball my son made in an art class.

I have a shelf devoted to paranormal and horror books (J.R. Ward and Stephen King are featured there) as well as books I’ve edited and books signed by authors and gifted to me. And what romance writer doesn’t have a shelf or two dedicated to Nora Roberts?

She and Catherine Anderson fill two of my shelves on the other side of the alcove.
So that’s a brief look at the books and knick-knacks on my shelves. Thanks for walking down memory lane with me. Please excuse the crammed shelves, but I’m out of room!


 

Thanks Staci and I empathise with the dog-in-photo problem. I have a toddler and sometimes I wonder if there’s any difference. I too have books all over the house so when I eventually reveal my bookshelves, I may have to gather the little piles together.

Those classics look wonderful. I also have fond memories of Alice. I have my childhood books in my daughter’s bedroom and I hope to read them to her when she’s older. I love the way you’ve squeezed those books into the research section, I have the same problem!

It’s lovely that some of the knick-knacks on the alcove shelves are also book related and the bowls your children made are precious memories. The romance section gives us a great insight into your influences! I think the alcove looks like it would be a lovely cosy place to sit and read.

Thanks for taking the time to share your shelves with us Staci. Can you guys see your favourite in this collection?


Would you like to be a guest on ‘What’s On Your Shelf?’ I’d love to hear from you so get in touch below or through my contact page on www.dsnelson.co.uk

What’s On Your Shelf, Teri Polen?

Yes folks it’s time for ‘What’s On Your Shelf?’ and today, we have writer of young adult fiction, Teri Polen. Teri is a lover of books as long as they are not romance or pink and is most happy with a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate and a good novel. Check out her blog ‘Books And Such’ here, Facebook here and her books here. Over to Joan …

Thanks to Dawn for hosting me today! I’ve always enjoyed seeing friends and other authors talking about their shelves – they can tell you a lot about a person.
The first thing you’ll learn about me is that organization isn’t a top priority of mine. Hubby has suggested several times maybe putting my books in alphabetical order – why would I want to alphabetize books when I could be reading them? That topic has never been revisited.


My dad actually built this bookshelf many years ago – it’s nothing fancy, but it fit perfectly in between the wall and the fireplace when we moved into this house eleven years ago. The top shelf is full of family pics. The first shelf with books also has a few knick knacks. The figurine of the cat reading was a Christmas gift from a friend – being a cat person, I loved it! The Willow Tree figurines were also gifts. The middle one is titled ‘Brothers’ (I have two sons) – it apparently offended my cat because he decapitated the one representing my oldest son. Haven’t gotten around to gluing it yet.

On the far right of the middle shelf, I’ve grouped my old Nancy Drew books (the closest I’ve come to organizing). One of them came from my great aunt’s house and was printed in 1943 – a real treasure for me! Below that you’ll see old Stephen King paperbacks I’ve kept and my dad’s 1969 paperback copy of The Godfather – a book I’ve read at least four times.


I can’t say that I have a favorite book, but you’ll probably find more titles from Stephen King and F. Paul Wilson than any other authors. Most of these are older books, because I buy more ebooks these days; however, every year there’s a book festival ten minutes from my house and I’ve been fortunate to meet some amazing authors and have them sign my books – Harlan Coben, Kendare Blake, C.J. Redwine, Maggie Stiefvater, and Victoria Schwab to name a few. This year I’m looking forward to meeting R.L. Stine and Mindy McGinnis.

Thanks for touring my bookshelves – they may be cluttered, but I’ve had countless, enjoyable hours of reading what’s on them!


What a wonderful bookshelf and a lovely story behind it. All those old Nancy Drew books too. Real treasures from your childhood. I never read Nancy Drew but I have a few books from my childhood, with tatty covers, about the house that hold a lotto nostalgia in their pages. Those willow figures are sweet, it’s a shame the cat took offence, although in my experience, it’s not difficult to offend a cat. 

I’m very envious of that book festival you mentioned and you have quite a collection of signed books there which makes them really special. Thanks for letting us have a look around your bookshelves Teri. 


Would you like to be a guest on ‘What’s On Your Shelf?’ I’d love to hear from you so get in touch below or through my contact page on www.dsnelson.co.uk

3 To Read – March Dinosaurs

Having a little go at vlogging children’s book reviews. I’d love to know what you think. Is there any extra info you’d like? All feedback is gratefully received and if you wanted to subscribe to my YouTube channel that would be fab. Enjoy!

Just Leaves Thursday: The One With The Buckle Of Isis

One, two, three and swirl it’s time for Just Leaves Thursday!

Tea used for reading: Orange Oolong

Here’s what I saw:

 
1) Number 3  – This a joyful number and tells of social engagements and visits from friends. it also indicates writing, communication and new skills,
2) Ark – This is an interesting one because it has only one meaning. It means I will be saved from a natural disaster.
3) Letter J – This letter tells of a reward for past efforts.
4) Buckle of Isis – I found it difficult to see much in this week’s leaves so I turned to the common symbols page in my book and discovered that there in the bottom of the cup was The Buckle Of Isis. This symbol is representative of the strength of the Egyptian goddess Isis and the buckle is said to hold secrets and hidden strengths.
Interpretation:

Last Weeks Reading: (you can read it here)

I’ve had a really positive week. I’ve again worked hard of maintaining a balance and I’ve put things in that will help me to maintain this. I’ve trusted my intuition and had confidence in my decisions and that’s paid off with some exciting projects in the pipeline.

This week’s reading:

Again this is a positive cup. They J seems to hark back to the weeks of the leaves telling me I will reap what I sow, particularly that bunny rabbit that told me things would come good in the spring. He’s here if you want to take another look.

The Buckle of Isis is an interesting appearance and her hidden strengths may help me through whatever natural disaster the ark warns off. Let’s hope it not too awful, not just for my benefit but for all those who could be involved.

I think the number 3 refers to my husband’s birthday which is next week. It’s a big one and so we’ve invited several friends, some travelling to be there, to join us for a get together. Let’s hope the natural disaster isn’t actually the pub running out of beer 😉

I’ll let you all know how  the week goes next Thursday, so put a date in your diary and join us for Just Leaves Thursday again next week.

Toodle Pip!


I hope you’ve found this week’s tea leaves interesting and that you’ll join me in tasseomancy thursday. If you’d like to share then please leave your comments and links to posts, or photos below the blog.
(*Disclaimer: I am an amateur tea-leaf/ coffee ground reader, i do not own an ornate caravan or crystal ball and i am certainly not a professional psychic. There is a lot more to tea leaf reading than i have covered here and far more comprehensive readings where the symbols can be interpreted differently. my information comes from books and websites. i uses www.tasseography.com’s instructions for tea leaf reading and ‘Tea Leaf Reading For Beginners’ by Caroline Dow. 

What’s On Your Shelf, Joan Hall?

Yes folks it’s time for ‘What’s On Your Shelf?’ and today, we have writer Joan Hall. Joan grew up listening to the stories of her mother and Joan’s vivid imagination and love of ‘what ifs’ eventually led her to writing her own mystery series. Her recent release, Unseen Motives is the first of her Driscoll Lake series. Joan can be found blogging on her website and on Story Empire. Check out her blog here, Story Empire here, and her books on Amazon. Over to Joan …

‘I have scaled down my bookshelf over the years, now preferring to purchase eBooks. It’s nice to be able to carry an entire library in my purse. However, I still have a few paperback and hardback books around.

joan-hall-3

As you can see, I’m a big fan of mysteries, ghost stories, and legends. (These make good fodder for story ideas. You’ll also see I’m a fan of Tolkien and Lord of the Rings. A few years ago, I decided to read more classic literature and purchased James Fennimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans. However, after two or three attempts, I just couldn’t read it. Writers went into much more detail in the early 1800s and my attention span isn’t that long. I’ll just stick with watching the 1992 film with Daniel Day Lewis.
The two books to the left, Days and Deeds and More Friends and Neighbors are 2nd and 5th grade reading books from the 1950s and 1960s and published by Scott Foresman. I enjoyed these stories as a child and can’t imagine parting with these books.

joan-hall-1

Although I prefer mystery and suspense, I thoroughly enjoyed Jan Karon’s Mitford Series. The stories about a small town Episcopal priest found their way into my life a few years ago, and helped me through a difficult time. As you can see, I’m also a big fan of trivia.

joan-hall-4

I’ve been a fan of Mary Higgins Clark since I read her debut noel Where are the Children back in the 1970s. I used to collect hard back copies of all her books. Reading her books were instrumental in my decision to write mystery and suspense.

joan-hall-2

The bookshelf itself was a wedding gift from my brother. He made it by hand. He also made the piece of pottery on top.
Hope you enjoyed a peek into my bookshelf.


I love the story behind the bookcase and what a lovely wedding present. You obviously come from a very creative family with a brother who is a potter and a carpenter. I understand the scaling down and the preference for ebooks, it does make a lot of sense. I still love my paperbacks and I still buy quite a few. I’d find it hard to give that up entirely. 

It’s great that you’ve held on to some of the books you studied when you were younger. I too have an affection for the books I studied although I haven’t actually kept any. You’ve made me want to go and look for them now. I also haven’t read any Mary Higgins Clark or Jan Karon, so they may have to go on the ever-growing TBR.

Thanks for stopping by to tell us about the books and the bookcase you love Joan. What do you guys think? Have you spied any of the books you enjoy on Joan’s shelf?


Would you like to be a guest on ‘What’s On Your Shelf?’ I’d love to hear from you so get in touch below or through my contact page on www.dsnelson.co.uk

A World Book Day Mini Mystery

Stopping by with a special edition of Hugo’s Mini Mysteries for World Book Day. Hope you’re all having a wonderful day and I’d love to know who your little one, or even you, dressed up as for World Book Day!

Just Leaves Thursday: The One With The Seahorse

One, two, three and swirl it’s time for Just Leaves Thursday!

Tea used for reading: Lemon tea (black tea with a hint of lemon)

Here’s what I saw:

just-leaves-thursday-2-03-c

just-leaves-thursday-2-03-hammer
1) C – The letter U or C has been turning up in the cup a few times now and I’ve been unsure which one it is. This is clearly a C perhaps there to reaffirm the interpretation of the letter and tells of a positive and creative change.
2) Butterfly – This refers to harmony and good luck. It can also represent scattered thoughts. It’s suggested that if there are dots around it then money will be spent on frivolous items or pursuits.
3) Thor’s Hammer – (not sure this is Thor’s but it looked like it to me) This is all about triumph in the face of adversity, reaping rewards, and perhaps strong action required in the area of work. Sometimes the hammer can also refer to creativity too, for example the sculptors hammer.
4) Seahorse – I’ve seen the seahorse before in about the same place in the cup. At this level in the cup it’s likely that this refers to the immediate future and the reader is encouraged to take a gamble now that will pay off later.
Interpretation:

Last Weeks Reading: (you can read it here)

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last did a reading and I’m glad I took a break as I was starting to feel like the leaves were against me. So were they?

I’ve got a lot of work on at the moment as you know which means I’ve had to pay close attention to those scales and making sure my work life balance is a good one.  This last fortnight I’ve worked hard to  juggle my commitments, keep to my deadlines and give my family the time they need.

It’s made me quite anxious on occasion as I’m the sort of person that needs to get things done as soon as possible so that they don’t weigh on my mind, however this is not something you can do with a toddler in tow at half term. I’m finding a new way of working though and gradually getting better at letting go and trusting that things will get done.

Weirdly we did take an impromptu visit to Kingston Lacy a National Trust property with a Japanese tea garden and a wonderful display of snow drops. So I did get to go to my tea garden.

This week’s reading:

 

A much more positive reading and I think one that benefited from he break. I cannot ignore the reoccurrence of that letter and the seahorse. Clearly telling me of change for the better if I’m willing to take the gamble. I think I know what it’s referring to and we’ll have to see if it does.

The appearance of the hammer tells me to be firm in my decisions and confident in my abilities and the butterfly warns of giving way to whimsy. I’m looking forward to a productive week ahead and  I’ll let you all know how  the week goes next Thursday, so put a date in your diary and join us for Just Leaves Thursday again next week.

Toodle Pip!


I hope you’ve found this week’s tea leaves interesting and that you’ll join me in tasseomancy thursday. If you’d like to share then please leave your comments and links to posts, or photos below the blog.
(*Disclaimer: I am an amateur tea-leaf/ coffee ground reader, i do not own an ornate caravan or crystal ball and i am certainly not a professional psychic. There is a lot more to tea leaf reading than i have covered here and far more comprehensive readings where the symbols can be interpreted differently. my information comes from books and websites. i uses www.tasseography.com’s instructions for tea leaf reading and ‘Tea Leaf Reading For Beginners’ by Caroline Dow.