November 2015Weaving Pages: November 2015

Saturday, 28 November 2015

ADVENTURE IS...

It was when I scrolled through my list of read books on Goodreads that I really began thinking about what adventure is, at it's very core. I had just been asked by Cotopaxi to write a post on my favourite piece of adventure literature, and yet as I looked past endless lists of stories filled with exhilarating car chases and daring escapes, nothing felt right. Nothing did feel right until I stumbled upon Code Name Verity, who's cover proudly proclaimed to me 'I Have Told the Truth.' So in that small moment I realised that perhaps I was searching for the wrong kind of adventure. What I wanted wasn't treks through hidden cities, but confessions deep from the soul and heart-shattering realisations that only the best books can offer. Code Name Verity, it seemed was exactly the kind of adventure I needed.

Part of me wishes to tell you that what I love about adventure novels like Code Name Verity, is the act of adventure itself. The soaring plane rides, the code names and unending acts of bravery that only happen in fiction. Yet somehow, I always find myself realising that it is the characters who truly make an adventure, because more often than not, adventure is not a tangible action. It is something you feel.

Code Name Verity is a beautiful embodiment of that, for it truthfully is an adventure of the heart. It's the struggle within yourself to fight and love the world at the same time, or the tiny little quirks of friendship that in the end stare you in the face and tug at your heart. Adventure is being brave enough to label yourself a coward and being loving enough to do the right thing, no matter how much it shatters your every being. Adventure is not always the rides into the sunset or the soaring heights but the bad days and good days that make up who you are. Adventure is finding the courage to truly know yourself.

Any voracious reader will recognise there is no adventure greater than that. 


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

Hello!

I received a wonderful package from the lovely people over at Orchard Books containing this gem of a book and sure enough it has flown into my favourites! Thank you to the publishers for sending it to me for review! 

25787863Title: This Raging Light
Author: Estelle Laure
Series: N/A
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Orchard Books
Release Date: January 14th 2016
No. of Pages: 320

How is it that you suddenly notice a person? How is it that one day Digby was my best friend's admittedly cute twin brother, and then the next he stole air, gave jitters, twisted my insides up?

Lucille has bigger problems than falling for her best friend's unavailable brother. Her mom has gone, leaving her to look after her sister, Wren. With bills mounting up and appearances to keep, Lucille is raging against her life but holding it together - just.

A stunning debut to devour in one sitting, Laure captures completely the agony and ecstasy of first love.
 -(Goodreads)
4.5 stars: Page agrees this book was wonderful.



Friday, 20 November 2015

GUEST POST: James Balbirnie on Human Trafficking


As horrific as it sounds, in the modern world profiteering from the misery of others is neither rare nor the preserve of the faecal sediment on the bottom of the varied pool which is humanity. Rather it is a spectrum which stretches from the banality of the media splattering misery onto the front pages of their papers and websites, and beaming suffering and carnage nonstop into our living rooms or directly to where we sit via our mobile phones. The spectrum passes through a thousand shades of greys through exploitative business models targeting the weak, ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes designed to relocate the money of the trusting into the pockets of the cynical; the ‘legitimate’ drug traders, tobacco companies riddling your lungs with cancer until you drown in your own fluids, pharmaceutical companies who ramp-up the cost of life-saving medication to fully exploit those in the greatest need, and the illicit dealing of anything from a spliff to slow death by heroin on street corners. It is at the very limit of the gamut, amongst the darkest greys, that exists human trafficking – the trading of life for greed and the dehumanising of our fellow human beings for gratification.


The subject matter of Traffic is of course dark and unsettling at times, but it was well worth every last drop of sweat or tears from the effort to write this novel because the stories of these women so often go untold, and in a way that makes the injustice that small but significant degree worse. As Rita outlined in “The Truth About Blogging Slumps”, like any writer I’ve hit walls, sometimes for weeks or months on end, had days when I was desperate to get back on the horse but couldn’t get a single sentence down, burned with frustration when rewriting a chapter or scene for the seventh or eighth time, and felt powerless when life was simply getting in the way (As well as writing I also work full-time as a healthcare scientist) but despite all these frustrations, the experience has still been immensely rewarding overall.


In keeping with my style I try to shoe-horn humorous moments into that darkness so that they might shine. I develop the characters before I really know what’s going to happen in the plot, fleshing them out to let them lead the story organically rather than fitting their actions to a pre-determined plot. I’ll let you know some of the characters’ traits as a certainty while keeping other motivations ‘behind the scenes’, letting them keep some cards close to their chests. When ‘building’ a person from the ground up, it’s impossible not to become committed to their affable qualities, which even the most depraved of characters may still have.


I wanted to write a novel from the viewpoint of an intelligence officer but concentrating on authenticity rather than the injection of romance and drama so often seen in the genre. I did a huge amount of research both before putting pen to paper and during writing and rewriting the book a number of times, much of this research was in the form of intelligence reports detailing human trafficking operations and investigations, and reading and watching documentaries not only about trafficking but also other themes which arose throughout the book.

Thank you, James, for the guest post! I thought that in light of some of the recent topics on my blog, this would be a relevant piece about the need for awareness of the atrocities that go on in our world today. I hope you enjoyed it - Rita


Sunday, 15 November 2015

Remembering 13.11.15 - "The more they attempt to turn us to darkness, the more we will love."

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Image by Jean Jullien via Twitter

These are days of bitter sorrow, where the air tastes fresh with the tears of the innocent. These are times of hatred so thick it muffles out every other sound, consuming every ounce of hope it can find. These are memories of broken streets, aching with the cries and despair of those left behind. 
It is on these days that a hand will be offered, promising to allow the grief stricken to stand. It is during these times that candles will be lit, their flickering lights driving away the blackness that threatens to seep in. It is in these memories that we will gather on the streets, mending them with our songs, our hearts and our love.
We will sing for those who's voices have been cruelly stolen, we will light our world for those who have been left in darkness, and we will walk our streets with the faith that love will prevail over evil tattooed upon our hearts.
For the more they shout the louder we will sing. The more they try to make us cower, the stronger we will stand. The more they attempt to turn us to darkness, the more we will love. 



Thursday, 12 November 2015

BOOKISH EVENTS: Leigh Bardugo and Melinda Salisbury at Seven Stories

Two Fridays ago, I went to one of the best events ever at Seven Stories with my sister in tow: Leigh Bardugo and Melinda Salisbury were going to be there to talk about their books, and whole lot more as I found out. There was a huge range of topics covered, including poo, but I honestly had such a huge amount of bookish fun.
You may remember that not long ago, I raved about Six of Crows in my review, and as soon as I knew I had a chance to meet Leigh I got the tickets instantly. I had heard amazing things about Melinda's book too, The Sin Eater's Daughter, and so I was very happy that I finally had an excuse to break my book buying ban and buy it. Let me tell you, I have now read it and found it as fabulous as everyone says it is! Look out for my review which will be coming soon!

To summarise the conversation- which is going to be hard since it was just an hour of utter hilarity -both authors read an extract from their upcoming books. Leigh read from Six of Crows, and Melinda from The Sleeping Prince which I am SUPER curious about and excited for. At one point, we moved onto the subject of what they would be doing if they weren't writers. Leigh rightly asked "Do we have to be good at the said thing?" and when told that it wasn't a requirement, told us about how she would like to be a fashion designer, which I loved! Melinda's answer was amazing too, as she told us how she'd like to be a keeper at a zoo, which promptly brought us onto the subject of poo and having to handle it. Of course, that resulted in a room full of laughs at the odd topic, though everyone (even Leigh and Melinda) was left wondering how on earth we go there in the first place. At one point, we moved onto questions, all of which had brilliant answers. I think my favourite one has to be the reply when asked if they ever look back at their work and wish they could have added something. Melinda and Leigh agreed that they don't tend to read their work once it's been published, and I think I can empathise with that. I mean, it must be a little strange to read your entire 300 page novel (though it would be amazing to have a book published!) because at the end of the day, you might have spent an entire year or more going over it. There must be a point you just want to get it out of your sight!
Loving to write myself, I couldn't help but ask Melinda and Leigh if they tended to plan their work or just 'go with the flow'. Both agreed they liked to know where the story is going, but Melinda admitted sometimes she just has to follow what her characters want to do, and Leigh likes to have it more planned out. As someone who can struggle to plan, but at the same time can end up kind of lost on where to go next, I agreed with the idea of having a set goal for the story- it most definitely helps!

Next we got to the book signings, and both Leigh and Melinda were absolutely lovely! They are super sweet, and we talked about everything from writing to my time-turner necklace, and the fact Leigh's character in Six of Crows has a similar name to my sister's. I got awesome Six of Crows badge which I instantly pinned on, and then went on to talk to some of the other bookish people at the event.
Mentioning that, I finally got to meet Nina, who's a publicist that I've known through blogging ever since I began. Meeting her has been long overdue, and I can honestly say she is so so sweet and amazing! I had so much fun talking to you, Nina! I also got to talk to Lorna, who is the programme coordinator at Seven Stories, and just one of the sweetest people ever!! We talked for ages about authors we wanted to see, and everything going on at Seven Stories recently- just all the bookish conversation we could fit in really. It was so nice to see you again, Lorna!
Ines (my sister) and I hung around for a bit so we could get a picture with Melinda and Leigh, since I didn't want to interrupt the signings. It was here that Melinda and begun talking about Portugal and all the cakes and pastries you could eat there (Spoiler Alert: we're both big fans!) as well as about my current WIP. She gave me some lovely encouragement, especially since lately I hadn't been writing a lot. Well, THANK YOU MELINDA <3 <3, because as soon as I got home I wrote some more! Leigh also tried out some of her Portuguese on me, just before everyone began dressing up in the Seven Stories Harry Potter robes. Yes, you read that right. If you need a reason to visit Seven Stories, just do it for all the Harry Potter stuff!

Thank you to everyone who organised the event- Ines and I had so much fun, and it was one of the best bookish events ever. Seven Stories hosts the best events, and I am very much looking forward to the next one!

Love, Rita xox



Saturday, 7 November 2015

THE TRUTH ABOUT BLOGGING SLUMPS

Blogging slumps happen to everyone. That's the truth. Trying to constantly keep up with a schedule, no matter how frequent or infrequent it is, can be exhausting. There comes to a point where you have no clue what you want to write about, or if people want to read it; the statistics that blink up every time you click on your site contribute to the panicky need to somehow get back your previous numbers, yet they also add to the weariness you feel about the entire situation.
Every 'Guide to a Brilliant Blog' out there stresses the importance of keeping up with a schedule, however. I can't deny that it's true. Readers want something dependable, they want to be kept interested with new content on a regular basis. Despite this, when we look at other blogs we simply see the exciting next post that's popped up on our feed. We never seem to see the work and thought behind it, and that can also make us constantly wonder, why can't I post as much as they do?

That's TRUTH #1: As Bloggers, we need to be lenient with ourselves. Not all of us can be full time bloggers, and not all of us can manage to post daily. Or even three times a week, simply because we are all different people. For me, I prioritise school work before blogging, and then I seem to always have things to do with my friends or family. So when I'm not writing a History essay, or having a day out at the beach with my new puppy, I sometimes find it hard to just slow down and start blogging. It's not so much that I don't have the time to do it, it's more so that with my mind being constantly on other things throughout the day, I don't have an idea for what to write about or I don't feel like writing it. I end up spending my time on the internet just doing things that perhaps aren't productive, but because I spend so much of my day working at things that are, they feel like the little time I have for myself.

Which brings us to TRUTH #2: Write with a passion, or don't write it at all. If you love writing it, whoever reads it will sense that too. For someone who's favourite thing to write isn't reviews, it can make sitting down to write them a bit of a chore. My favourite posts are ones such as The Oversimplification of Stereotypes, or  5+ Reasons We Need More Diverse Books. I loved doing all the research for the 4 Documentaries You Should Watch If You're Passionate About Women's Issues post, and my Interview with Linda Forsell. The thing in common with those posts is that they are all based on subjects I'm passionate about. So when I sit down to write them, the words just seem to fill the page. It's similar to when I write the story I'm working on; when I'm writing my favourite scenes , I can't seem to stop. When I'm not, things don't go so smoothly.

Essentially, that's exactly what TRUTH #3 is: A Blogger is a writer. Any writer you ask will tell you that at various points when writing a story, you will hit a wall. So why should it be any different when we blog? Your blog is a story- the entire premise of Weaving Pages is 'A Blog on the Stories we read, and the stories we live.' One of the first steps to overcoming a blogging slump (and I'll give you some tips on that soon) is to accept that. Be kind to yourself about it, take a little rest and then get stuck into it. Also accept that there will be times in your life where you won't be able to blog. For me, that will be this summer when exams start.

TRUTH #4 is related to this: Don't base your blogging success on numbers. Sure it's brilliant to have huge amounts of page views and comments, and on a business side there is no denying that it's very beneficial, but as a writer that shouldn't rule you. Statistics are simply something that should slowly build up as you write what you love, and that you can aid along with doing a little research about your audience and things such as SEO. The first step to getting anywhere however, is to begin with just writing what you enjoy, when you enjoy it. Sometimes, that also means getting out all your feelings on paper, like I'm doing here.

For me, that's the truth behind blogging slumps. The trick to getting out of one, is understanding why you feel like that- I'll be helping you out with that in a later post -but I hope this post has been somewhat relatable for anyone in the same situation. Don't let a blogging slump get you too down- it's possibly the most common thing in the blog world!

Love, Rita xox


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