Happy Halloween: How to have a kooky, spooky Samhain

Acres of Ink

jack-o-lanternSamhain, (pronounced saa-win or saa-ween) falls on 31st October. Although it’s more commonly celebrated as Halloween, I’ll be focusing on the older traditions of the festival as this blog is part of my Celtic Wheel of the Year series. Gather around the cauldron, folks, and let’s get started!


WHAT IS SAMHAIN?


Samhain, in the Northern Hemisphere anyway, is the celebration of the last Harvest of the year. There are three Harvests in a Celtic year – the first being Lammas, the second being Mabon. Due to the importance of agriculture in the past, the third and final Harvest is seen by many as the end of the old year/start of the new.

bonfireSamhain was originally celebrated in Europe as a Celtic Fire festival and, although many think of Samhain as being on the 31st October, some celebrate it over several days and nights. These celebrations can last until November 6th (which is…

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World Sight Day | Living with sight loss, trauma and decline

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I was the only six-year-old I knew who could spell ‘haemorrhage’ correctly. It was a word I learned from the dictionary, reading it aloud to my mum as she wrote a letter excusing me from P.E. lessons.


For those of you who don’t know, I was born with a condition called Incontinentia Pigmenti. The condition can affect many parts of someone’s body but, for me, it most prominently affects my eyes.

It is my experience with IP and resulting symptoms that prompted me to write this post today, as well as urge everyone to regularly have their eyes checked. The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) states that 80% of the world’s blind are avoidably so. This is a frightening statistic.

To find out more about what you can do to lower this number, please visit their website.


Bright lights and dark shadows


When I was six, I went into my mum’s bedroom, complaining of ‘lights in my eyes’. Continue reading

Merry Mabon! Celebrate the end of the summer with fun, games and, of course, food!

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This year, the feast of Mabon, or, the Autumnal Equinox, falls (no pun intended) on the 22nd of September.

Annual Celtic festivals are a big feature of The Elder Throne and, because I’m the kind of person who seizes any excuse to celebrate, here are some ideas for food, fun and frolics for this Friday…

Continue reading

Week 32 | My inspiration to blog

Part of the 52 Week Blog Challenge


It feels a bit strange to be writing this post when my blog has been so quiet for the last few months. Acres of Ink’s silence hasn’t been very inspiring, has it? Of course, now that I’ve kicked myself into gear again, hopefully that will change because… my primary goal in blogging is to help and inspire other writers.

lionsI’ve been writing fiction since I was seven. The first story I can remember was written at age seven, about two warring lion prides in the suburbs of Kent. When I was twelve, I completed my first book – a historical novel that is better off remaining in the past. I like to think I’ve learned a lot since those early days. Although I’ve definitely written more terrible stories than good ones, I’ve won a few awards, completed a literature degree, worked in a few publishing houses and currently work in a marketing / editing role in London. I’m still learning and the idea is to keep learning.

writingishardI habitually gather snippets of information I learn from both my own experience and industry advice I’ve been given. Recently I went to a course about ‘How to Hook an Agent’, which gave me invaluable advice about the querying process. I’ll be sharing this at some point, along with other ‘How-To’s, over in the Writing Is Hard section. The idea is to help other writers with questions I didn’t know the answer to and now do, as well as document my own publishing journey. This section is going through a bit of a revamp at the moment, so if you do happen to mosey on over there, I apologise if some of the links are lost. If it’s something that interests you, watch this space, as I’ll be launching a regular WIH Monday blog from October.

Obviously I don’t always write about writing. My blog is also my personal space, where I talk about my own work, review books I’ve enjoyed, share anecdotes about my life or folktales I particularly love. Sometimes I’ll get it in my head to do something crazy like a 52 Week Blog Challenge, with mixed results. Other times, I’ll talk about charity work or surprise Victoria Sponges.

And, sometimes, I just feel the need to share pictures of baby badgers.

A little update for August

OK, so the only thing I’ve successfully and continually achieved over the last three months is an expert level of procrastination. Call myself a writer? I haven’t put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard in a horrifyingly long time. I signed up for NaNoWriMo… twice… and barely competed. I can’t even say I was blogging instead because, well, look at my blog. The spiderwebs and tumbleweeds speak for themselves.

No, I have to face it, I have done sweet FA lately and it’s time for that to stop. So here’s me, shaking myself out of my self-induced funk, and giving you all an update.


What I should have been doing:

Beta’ing Harli V. Park’s novel: I haven’t forgotten you, I swear. You’re on my list!

coverdimensionsThe Elder Throne: First novel in the Equinox Series is complete, thrice-edited but unrevised. I’d say about 60% of it has been changed – all for the better, I hope, but 40% of it still needs pushing over the line before I can attempt a second wave of queries. I feel really good about the direction this new revision is heading in, I just need to find my motivation to complete it.

The Winter Court: I have actually written more of this! (A minimal amount, but something’s better than nothing, right?)

My blog: Ha ha, ha ha, ha. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ha. So evidently I’ve written nothing: no book reviews, no fun-fact-asides, no updates on my life and not even the easiest of all posts – answering my 52 Week Blog Challenge. What I’ve decided to do about this is gather together interesting information, prep it all to make it interesting, and start up again in October with a regular schedule I won’t be killing myself to stick to. In the meantime, I will be resuming my 52 Week Blog Challenge but only answering the interesting questions because life’s too short.


What I’ve actually been doing:

DIY and home improvement: I’ve practically lived in IKEA and on Etsy lately and my house now resembles a lovely, quirky geek den. However, I still don’t have any bedroom curtains. I’m working on that.

Taking mental health time: I’m struggling a bit lately. Mental self-care is not something I usually think I require, but it’s become apparent lately that I need a bit of a boost, or some downtime to process the myriad of unpleasant things that are making my daily grind a little worse. I’m working on it – and I have a holiday soon, so I’m clawing my way back towards being on top of it all!

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Writing future books, blowing off fictional steam and developing characters: My mind has been jumping all over the place lately and this has manifested in exploring two separate alternative timelines, writing an entire novella’s worth of backstory and writing snippets from books that have no business being written until I finish my current project. I have successfully ‘blown off steam’ though, and the benefits of all this creative procrastination is that it has now given me a stronger hold on my characters and on things I need to include in my current work for continuity reasons.


What someone has actually done for me:

Brett Arts Illustrations (via Fiverr)

Brett has been working very hard to deliver some excellent character illustrations. By the time all of these characters are complete, I will have a decent manuscript to pair with them for my Beta Readers, at which time I will put up a page with descriptions in the hope you might want to know more. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of a few favourites.

 

Wish me luck getting back on track!