thewritersbarn

Writing because words are the essence of my life.


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MRS. DRACULA by Logan Keys, Nadia Blake, Eli Constant, Lee Hayton, Sherry Foster, Emma Brady, Andra Dill, Aria Michaels, Pauline Creeden, Angela Roquet, Ava Mallory, Diana Laybe, Adelaide Walsh, L.D. Goffigan, Kasondra Morin, Jeannie Wycherley, Tracy D. Vincent, Caroline A. Gill

Rebecca's Novel Addiction

PEEK AT THE STORIES:

Bound by blood.
MRS DRACULA
Cursed for eternity.
She’s worn out every welcome.
Bitten every hand that feeds.
But with a name like Mrs. Dracula, what did you expect?

Eighteen bestselling and award-winning authors spill secrets about this lady of the night just in time for Halloween. Tales of titillating evil, supernatural events, thrilling mystery, and historical horrors, or rather, proof of the vampire’s existence.
Can you escape the bride of Dracula?

Get your copy and find out tonight!

MY REVIEWS: One thing I noticed as somewhat of a theme through many of these shorts was Mrs. Dracula in her various forms teetered on the edge of having a soul or a slight moral compass at time. I read a lot of compassion which is not always the case with these types of stories.

A CONCERTO FOR THE DEAD AND DYING by Jeannie Wycherley: This is a new…

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Finding The Otherworld

Evie Gaughan

Life is funny.  I never thought I’d find myself down an old country lane, asking a tatooed mechanic, “Is this the right way for the portal to the Otherworld?”  Only in Ireland, as they say.  But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

As anyone who has read my stories will know, I have a bit of a thing for magic, mystery and the unseen.  Maybe it’s down to my over-active imagination, or it could be my love of folklore, but either way, Ireland is fertile ground for superstition.  Of course it was the Irish who invented Halloween (need proof? here) or what we call Samhain.  It is the time of year when the veil between worlds is at its thinnest and beings from the Otherworld can cross over and scare the bejesus out of us.

But surely this is all myth and not really grounded in reality?  Well, being…

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My mind is a movie screen – an interview with Jeannie Wycherley

Really enjoyed doing this! Thanks!

Zeroflash

Me

Words were my earliest fascination. From my earliest years I was a precocious reader. Even now when I see a flashcard or a Ladybird book, I feel a little thrill. I was a kid with a very active imagination and spent most of the time in a fantasy world of my own creation. From about the age of six, I was travelling on the bus to school and if I wasn’t reading I was imagining myself in stories I’d read, and bigging up my part of course. I could see everything in cinemascape in my head. I was very visual in that sense, and I wrote loads.

And then all of a sudden I didn’t.

I was bright, and I focused on my academic studies at school, then I studied English and Theatre between 16-18 years, and trained as a stage manager at 18. I channelled all my creativity into…

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An open letter to everyone who voted Conservative yesterday and why you should hesitate before you pat yourself on the back.

I’m scared too, and bitterly disappointed that we have a society where people don’t care about each other.

Wilsher 's Blog

To everyone who voted conservative yesterday,

I hope you’re happy. Actually that’s a lie, I really don’t. But before you sit smugly down and give yourself a big pat on the back I’d like to ask you a few questions.

Do you think you haven’t benefitted from the system you are currently trying to break down? As a child, did you ever go to hospital? Have you had an education? Did you ever use a library? Have you ever been on a bus? If so, you have benefited from a system which subsidises facilities with taxes. And now you have, you are willing to take it away from everyone after you. Correct me if I’m wrong but that doesn’t seem very fair. You cannot have socialism and a support system when you need it but then be unwilling to support it for other people.

Now if you are someone who…

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The problem with freelancing (or would you buy a kitchen from this man?)

Knightsbridge Kitchen - what it looks like beneath the glamorous veneer of respectability

Knightsbridge Kitchen – what it looks like beneath the glamorous veneer of respectability

I’m living the dream in many ways. I was so stressed out, strung out and sick by last summer that redundancy was incredibly welcome. Every day I wake up with the fear that I have to go back to my old place of employment, and every day my heart skips when I realise I don’t.

Initially I wasn’t concerned about what I would do next; I was too ill to care really. But obviously I did need to do something. Becoming an elf in the run up to Christmas was a great way for me to restore my confidence, and although it was long hours it was fun in a way.

I love writing!

I love writing!

All I knew for certain when I finished work last year was that I wanted to write. While I was off with stress I wrote a great deal, on my novel, short stories, some non-fiction etc. Some of it has been sent out. Some of it has been buried in the compost heap. Since the beginning of January, as regular readers will know (ok, all three of you! And yes I KNOW I don’t post as much as I should!), I have been freelancing. I started off feeling scared and worried I wouldn’t pass muster, but I have been really successful and have quickly built up a great client base. I’m now writing blogs for a wholesale company, a tablecloth company, along with articles on dating and relationships, health and wellness, natural remedies, travel and business. Most of my clients are wonderful and I’ve been lucky.

This week I have learned a lesson however. I put a proposal in for a job along with a number of others, twenty or so writers, and the client duly came back to me and asked for a sample article. I think that’s a sensible response in order to see whether you are suited to each other, and I’ve written a few sample articles in the past. So I stopped what I was doing (which was trying to hit a deadline with 20 x 1000 word articles on natural remedies) and researched and wrote an article for him.

I checked out his website first. It’s a very plush kitchen company in Knightsbridge which numbers a popular cake maker among its customers. The other blogs on it were fairly generic although a couple were interesting to be fair. I liked all the photos – I’m a simple soul!

I spent an hour and a half, probably more, researching and writing it. I sent it off. I didn’t get a response or hear anything for three days so I sent a reminder. He came back to me quite quickly after the prompt, to tell me he didn’t like it. To be fair, I’d guessed as much because of the delay. You can always tell when a client is keen! Well in this case, it wasn’t my best; it was ok but I was up against it with all the other work I was doing so it didn’t get tweaked as much as I would like. He decided he didn’t want me for the job, which is ok, it’s a competitive market, and I was rushed off my feet so it’s only to be expected, but when I requested payment for the sample article that he had asked me to write, he refused.

You what? You're not going to pay me?

You what? You’re not going to pay me?

I felt powerless and angry. Freelance writing fees are rubbish on the whole and I am scraping a pittance while working up to 60 hours a week. My house is on the market because without my salary we can’t afford the mortgage so we need to downsize fast. He works for a Knightsbridge Kitchen Company that probably turns over hundreds of thousands a year and he wouldn’t even pay me my £25. That’s how the rich get richer, by exploiting people who are desperate.

Where is the integrity in doing business that way? Would I buy a kitchen from that man? No, because he’s unpleasant, greedy and unethical. Not that I’ll ever be able to afford to buy a kitchen, not even from Tesco, especially while I’m freelancing with clients like him. I guess he wouldn’t put a kitchen up for someone without demanding a down payment. Someone, somewhere will be getting their beautifully designed kitchen, and £25 of what they pay should be coming to me to help pay my mortgage. Would you buy kitchen from this man? Of course you would if you could afford it. I’m not daft enough to think anyone will be bothered about the actions of this company. Most people wouldn’t give it a second thought, but of course, it is important to me because things are so tight. That’s the way life is; we don’t think about each other with any sort of compassion until faced with similar situations ourselves. It’s not easy, life, is it?

My thoughts exactly!

My thoughts exactly!

So, I was a complete fool and it was a lesson learned for me this week. I’ll chalk it up as experience. No writing freebies for anyone, especially people who can afford to pay but don’t. I need to read what the clients says more clearly and request payment up front.

Anyhow, I’m still a hell of a lot happier doing what I do now, compared to this time last year! And I have a few pieces of good news, so keep reading 🙂


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Hell Day (Part One of Three) dawns with a phone call from my youngest elf who is ‘seriously ill’ apparently. It sounds like he might have the snuffles. So here we go again. We are borrowing an elf from Stoke grotto because logistically four elves will really struggle to run the grotto today. We need three inside and ideally we need two outside and then given that I’m doing 11 hours, Tinsel is doing 11 and Ice is doing 10, we could also do with a break each. I know it’s a lot to ask…. Elf slavery!

I’ve spent the past 24 hours worried about levels of anger and aggression among parents today LOL so I have put the Security team’s phone number on speed dial on my mobile. The faster I can have the ‘bad people’ removed, the less likely there is to be disgruntlement spreading throughout the queue. I think of ‘the queue’ almost as a physical entity in itself. It’s really quite scary. Good stuff for a horror story there I feel!

I’m challenging myself to be really lovely to even the rudest customers. This may be quite difficult for me as my natural tendency when someone raises my hackles is to burn them a new a-hole. I shall say to mysELF, ‘Keep Calm and think what your Mum would do.’ And she would always be nice.

Time to go. Wish me luck 🙂 Love from Sparkle the Elf xxx

If anyone is visiting Derby today … you could bring me a cup of tea, strong, one sugar, thanks. 🙂