Monday, 14 November 2011

Be Nice Now....

Normally I wouldn’t do this, but I warned you, I would voice my opinion. This is one of those times.

Someone recently reviewed one of our books. Now, while I'm not opposed to someone reviewing our work, I am opposed to having it dissected, and examined under a microscope.

It’s my understanding that a story is just that - a story. It’s not a lesson, and it’s not a lecture. It’s supposed to be entertaining, suspenseful and maybe have a moral.

As an author, I believe we should exercise a certain amount of ‘courtesy’ and ‘etiquette’ when ‘reviewing’ other authors works. No matter what other people might think of our stories and novels, to us, they are our ‘babies’ and should be treated as such. Who has the right to label anyone's story as good or bad? You might like it, whereas I may not. It's opinion based on preference. Take into account:

I see the Sun as warm, inviting, glowing and alive. It gives warmth; it promotes growth and has essence. My husband sees it as the star nearest to the Earth. It gives light and warmth, but it also means hard, unpleasant radiation, which can cause sunburn and skin cancer.
I see a puppy as cute, warm, cuddly, and a source of unconditional friendship and love. My husband sees it as furry, bouncy, energetic, sleepy and chewy, a kid-magnet, and a pooping pee factory. “It has nothing to do with toilet rolls - sorry Andrex.”

Am I making sense yet? I’m not saying this person is wrong, but I believe they could have been a bit more tactful about their views. I am not an expert. I did not go to college and obtain a language degree. I most certainly would consider myself as a professional. Maybe author does fit me. Let’s talk turkey here.

According to Wikipedia, an author is broadly defined as: the person who originates or gives existence to anything. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work. [emphasis added]
According to Merriam Webster - apart from the above example, an author is: the writer of a literary work. (book)
According to Oxford English Dictionary - an author is: a writer of a book, article, or document.

Well, let's see... do I qualify? According to the above examples - yes - I do. I have written stories, songs, poems, screenplays, plays, web pages, and am now working on my seventh book. Hmm... I’d say I've fulfilled the requirements – wouldn’t you? Now, do I qualify as a good author? Some would say I do. Should I consider myself as a bad author? Who knows - maybe?

My point - does it really matter? No matter how good or bad of an author you are, there will always be someone who disagrees. To be an author does not mean everybody out there will always understand or enjoy your work. If that was the case, then the World would need only one book. But, what book would this be, and who would decide? Some people want to learn, while others want to escape. Who’s right, and who’s wrong?

If I help someone to see things from a different point of view; I've done my job.
If I help someone to realise a dream; I’ve done my job.
If I make someone scratch their heads and think; I’ve done my job.
If my book or story allows the ‘my husband is cheating on me’, ‘my parents don’t understand me’, ‘why bother – there’s no use’, ‘my boss is driving me nuts’ person to forget their problems, even for a little while; I've done my job!

Now... What do I like? Easy - everything - but seriously....
I like futuristic, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, suspense, humor, romance and yes, maybe even a little sex. (Doesn't everybody?)
My husband likes technical manuals, murder, science fiction, thrillers, mystery, and adventure.
My best friend likes all of these, as long as there are no snakes involved. But that’s ok, I don't like spiders.

Something that bothers me is this. Because my books do not fall under the ‘known’ book categories, when I put them on Amazon, it's difficult to decide what category to put them under. My books have a little of all of these. It has murder, mystery, futuristic possibilities, science - pure and fiction. Romance with a hint of sex in most. All of these are sprinkled with a hefty measure of humor.

Why? Because in real life, that's what humans are like. I want my characters to be alive and realistic too. Yes, I’ll admit, I put a lot of ‘me’ in them at times. And yes, to some, I might go overboard. If you feel that way, that's your opinion, and you're entitled to it as much as I am to mine.

When I first started considered my books for publication, I did, what I would expect every newcomer does. I tried to learn everything about how to write, and how to phrase things properly, and how not to do something. I found myself pulling my hair out one strand at a time. One person said do, the other said don't.

Then I came across one that said it all... ‘Be yourself.’ Don’t try to conform to somebody else’s norm. You are your norm. You know what you want your books and stories to be like. That’s what makes you an individual. That’s what makes you unique. That is what's important!
I know you probably think this is all useless rambling, and maybe it is? Does it matter? In one word – no!

Life is about individuality. It’s about growth and understanding. It’s about sharing and caring. Mostly, it’s about me letting you be you, and you letting me be me. Together we are variety.
Does everyone like chocolate cake? No. Does everyone like chocolate? Maybe.
Does everyone like to read? Maybe not. Does everyone like stories? Yes – even if it’s an audio book or a TV show.

My advice to you, if you’re on my blog, and you don’t like reading… you’re in the wrong place. Like it or not, I consider myself an author and I like to write. If I don’t write something every day – I don’t feel as if I’ve accomplished anything.

Do I plan out my stories? Not always. Most of the time they write themselves. They evolve as I type. If you disagree - think of this as my way of venting.

Oops - rambling again. Oh - wait. This blog is called Ramblings. Silly me - I thought I’d stepped out of the norm.

Call me stupid. It doesn't bother me. Call me dumb. I can handle that. Call me normal? Now I'm insulted!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Poem - Robin

The sweetness of thy voice
Doth dare the angel note
The laughter in thine eyes
Doth dim out all reproach

The softness of thy touch
Doth dare the dandelion
The essence of thy love
Doth spare the span of time

Thy heart is pure....
As purest gold
Beyond the twilight's realm
Thy spirit sings,
"At last I'm free!"
And leaves no beacon dim

Now can I say the words unheard...
The pen doth take it's leave
To convey the meaning's sweet reverb...
Of feelings not conceived
By Shelia Chapman

Poem - My Love To You

My Love To You
To the top of the highest mountain, I would climb 
With bare hands, if need be... 
To the bottom of the deepest ocean 
I would swim, to be near thee 
Hotter than the hottest flame that burns… 
I yearn for your touch 
I love you all of these 
And still... 
So very much 
Sweet, though the sweetest flower... 
The rose doth bow her head 
She knows she can't compete 
And turns away in dread 
The brightness ray of sunshine 
Dare not behold thy crown 
There is no stronger love 
O'er this earth ever found 
When I draw my life's last breath... 
I will utter thy sweet name 
Through all trials and tribulations... 
I know they are not in vain 
If there be a resurrection morning, 
And on it, I open my wide eyes 
I'll turn to face my love 
Still standing by my side
By Shelia Chapman

Sunday, 6 November 2011


          Who Am I?
     Who am I? Sometimes I don't even know. I sit and ponder on the past, and dream of the future. But as to what the future may hold - what should I expect? I can’t run from who or what I am. Should I try?
     So many people want to be different, yet when they try to be, all they wind up being, is the same as everyone else.
     What does it mean to be different? Is there a manual somewhere, locked away in the catacombs of the past, that answers that question?
     If there is, I haven’t found it yet.
     The easiest way to solve this problem is to not even try. It's so much easier to fall into line, with all the 'others' who are 'being different'. Nobody notices, or bothers you that way.
     Well, that's just not for me. I am different - I like being different, so there!
     If you've stumbled in here by mistake, or are here for the sake of curiosity, it does not matter to me. This is where I contemplate the secrets of the universe, let off steam, and talk about things I think are worth sharing.
     It may be about a rant or a rave. It might be a poem, or a funny saying. Or… it might even be a story I've written. Perchance one of ‘our’ books – my husband’s and mine.
     Together, we write a series called, ‘A Vested Interest’. It’s up to seven books now, and still no end in sight.
     On occasion, I might branch out with a romance story, like my 'Blood Of The Rainbow'. My husband’s not too good at those, but he helps with the technical end of things. "Shh - don't tell." He keeps my head straight, and doesn't let me step out of my 'timeline'. Very hard to do when you write about time zones all over the world - especially the US and UK.
     If I get really ‘bored’ I might share one of my ‘ramblings’, like ‘Missed Opportunities’. It’s just something I did to clear my head of the dreaded… ‘writer’s block’. Yes, we all have them – even me!
     If you find what I have to say, or what I've written to be a little strange or crazy, that's your right. Just as it’s my right to write it. No pun intended. 
     I don't know how often I'll put things on here, but when I do – feel free to comment.
     So once again, who am I? I guess I’m just different!
Thanks for stopping by: Shelia Chapman

Missed Opportunities

     A chance meeting might happen once in a lifetime. When one presents itself, you either take advantage of it, or you let it slip by.
     If you don't take advantage of it, you start to wonder… what might have been? Would it have been a mistake… or would the mistake have been a missed opportunity.
     Today would be one of those days. A chance meeting would present itself, and quick choices would have to be made.
     He wants very much to talk to her, but he fears rejection.
     How many times has he seen her in his dreams? She is always there. Now - no longer a dream - but real, and right before his eyes. Her warm supple body, just inches from his. He has but to walk up, and talk to her.
     You better hurry, or she'll be gone, and so will your chance. Someone like her will surely be snapped up, by the first man, who possesses even an ounce of confidence. That would not be me.
     His heart pounds. His palms begin to sweat. Failure rings in his ears, before he makes a single step, in her direction. He opens his mouth. He holds out his hand. He mouths what he's going to say to her. Thoughts go through his head, as he works out the best possible icebreakers.
     Hi, my name is John. No – that's not right!
     Mentally she impatiently drums her fingers as he works up his courage.
     Hello, my name is John. Lovely day don't you think? Right – lovely day! It's misting rain, and bitterly cold! Now that's going to get the job done. It'll sweep her right off her feet!
     She sighs deeply, and waits.
     He wishes he remembered to bring an umbrella.
     Hello Miss. My name is John. I wonder if I might have the pleasure of your company. Would you please join me for a cup of coffee or tea? Yes, that should do it!
     He smiles, now more confident.
     He walks up, shuffles his feet, and holds out his hand – for real this time.
     She lifts her head. She glances at her carrier bags, and the empty space next to her. She looks back up, and studies his eyes. She smiles.
     "Would you like to sit down?"
     He gulps!
     Now what are you going to do? Your opening line that you've sweated for, for the last five minutes is not going to work now! If you can even remember what it was supposed to be…?
     He mentally pounds his fist against his forehead.
     Think – think – think!
      She senses failure. Again, she sighs and waits.
     He starts to trip on his tongue. He desperately searches his mind for an alternative opening line, coming up miserably dry. He just looks down at her, and smiles.
     "You know," he pauses slightly, "I think I would."
     That's it! Wow! This conversation should merit at least half a dozen words. He has to do better than this!
     She smiles and moves her carrier bags out of the way; sitting them on the ground next to her feet.
     Timidly, he sits beside her. He casually crosses his leg; still desperately searching for a way to restart the conversation. He considers his previous line, and decides it's still inappropriate.
     Perhaps a direct approach? Yeah right – direct approach – by me? Who am I kidding? I'm far too shy for that! If you wait long enough, the bus she is waiting for will arrive, and at least one of your dilemmas will be solved.
     But what of the other one? The insatiable curiosity of the unknown. The slimmest possibility. The missed opportunity….
     She smiles to herself, as his thoughts venture into her mind.
     You really are having a hard time talking to me, aren't' you?
     She looks down at her watch.
     If it's on schedule, my bus will arrive in less than ten minutes. Left to his own devices, at this rate, he might manage at least, two more words!
     She pretends to study the pattern on her skirt
     Oh God! A loose thread!
     She quickly tucks it away, hoping he didn't notice.
     Seconds tick by….
     She checks her watch again.
     In less than five minutes, another opportunity is going to be lost. A chance will have slipped by.
     Oh, do say something! If you don't, we'll have to go through this same tiresome routine again tomorrow! It's been days now! Every day the same thing! How much longer is he going to keep this up? Mother is right. Men can be stupid, at times. They clearly know what they want, but are scared to death of rejection. Their answer to prevent it? Easy - avoid confrontation altogether.
     He asks himself what is he doing - sitting on a bench - waiting for a bus stop.
     Why in the hell am I doing? I have a bloody car! You're being silly and stupid. If you ever manage to talk to her, and you offer her a ride, she's just going to think you're mad! Get it together! She's not a monster. She's another human being. She's not going to bite off your head! Just open your mouth stupid - before it's too late!
     His heart pounds. He can hear his pulse in his ears. His mouth is dry. He glances at his watch.
     Two minutes and counting!
     He nervously glances at her out the corner of his eye.
     OK, this is it! I'm going to do it.
     He begins nervously tapping his foot.
     It's easy. Just inhale and force air around your vocal cards and....
     She smiles to herself again.
     Oh all right, but only a little help. I'm not doing everything for you – you do have to try.
     She glances down at her watch again.
     "Looks like the bus is going to be late," she says, trying to make idle conversation.
     OK the door is open – take it!
     Five seconds go by….
     He sighs.
     What do I say? How do I respond? What if she says no?
     He begins to nervously bounce his knee. Doubt getting the better of him.
     Tick – tick – tick….
     Oh come on… walk through the bloody door!
     He opens his mouth. "Yes, it does. Doesn't it?"
     He frowns.
     Great comeback! Way to go pal. That's telling her. Sweeping her right off her feet.
     She softly laughs.
     His heart jumps in his throat. He quickly checks his appearance.
     Why did she laugh? Is there something on my tie? Is my hair out of place? Perhaps she laughed at the thought that someone like her would even consider someone like you....
     His self-esteem drops ten notches.
     Another five seconds goes by….
     She frowns.
     Oh no - no, please don't think that. You were making progress. There's nothing wrong with you. I'm just trying to follow the standard rules of 'boy meets girl'. This is hopeless. Either you're going to make the first move, or we're both going to be rooted to this spot.
     She sighs and casually smiles at him. "Well, I don't know about you, but I'm giving it two more minutes, and then I'm going to start walking. I think I could get home faster anyway."
     She mentally shoves him toward the open door.
     "Oh no – don't do that – you don't… to do that – you don't… need to walk. I have a car – I can drive you! If you like. That is, if you don't mind riding – with a stranger."
     Why the hell didn't you introduce yourself? You had the chance. Oh you're such a moron!
     She smiles and softly laughs again.
     Oh all right, at least you tried – help is on the way.
     "Well, I think I can fix that part at least…."
     She holds out her hand.
     "My name is Karen and yours is…?" she prompts.
     "My name? Ah – my name is – ah – oh, yes. My name – my name is John! Pleased to meet you Karen. Can I give you a lift?"
     She studies his eyes a few more seconds.
     Mustn't be too obvious.....
     He holds his breath. He waits. He hopes. He crosses his fingers. He would cross his toes, but his shoes are too tight.
     She grins wryly.  She sees the bus. It's a block away.
     She stands.
     He sweats. He waits….
     She smiles and turns to him.
     "Yes, if it's not too much trouble. The bus is usually on time. I don't understand what's keeping it…."