Monday, 16 December 2019

Merry Christmas!

Hello again readers!

We are fast approaching Christmas and it's going to be a very different one for us. Not only do we have a different dog in the house ( one who despite all her nervousness and strangeness, is weirdly indifferent to the Christmas tree and decorations) but I'm feeling as if we are a little thin on the ground.

As you may know from reading my blog, we have had lots of losses over the past two years, and with my eldest now away at Uni, I feel somewhat diminished, smaller in myself. Having taken my third child to some college interviews recently, and with the middle one starting to think about universities, it's clear I'll soon have to face 'empty nest syndrome'.

It doesn't seem that long ago that I was dropping my youngest at nursery, and I wonder what happened to all the intervening years. Inside my head I'm still a young woman. The exterior of me tells a different story, I'm afraid.

So I've made some major decisions. I'm the sort of person who likes to take stock of their lives and I've come to realise that I need make a move towards vegetarianism. I was veggie for two whole years about 28 years ago. I'll admit I found it hard going.

But back then there wasn't the choice of vegetarian foods there is today. Back then it was soya mince or nothing. The other problem was and still is, that I don't like potatoes and I actually don't like many vegetables, other than salad leaves and broccoli... kinda makes it difficult to have any variety.

Nevertheless I'm going to cut down on meat with a view to becoming totally vegetarian in time. So - wish me luck. I think it's the right thing to do, especially as my body gets older and needs more nutrition and less rubbish, and from a moral viewpoint.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

A time to heal...

I haven't blogged for a few months. To be honest I've been  too raw. 

The last time I posted on here, things were looking great. One of my latest films had garnered BFI Network support, and we were just about to go on holiday to Crete for a family wedding. The future seemed rosy...

But like all things in life, there were events lurking around the corner - things I wasn't yet aware of. One of them was that my beloved Rottweiler had terminal cancer. 

She'd had a limp for a few weeks before I had it investigated. Earlier in the year she'd tripped over her own paws when chasing a squirrel, and had limped for a week or so. Second time around, I assumed the previous injury had flared up, even though I hadn't witnessed her doing anything to cause it. 

But the x-ray told a different story. There was a huge tumour on her left shoulder and shadows in her lungs, indicating that the cancer had already metastasised. My shock and horror on hearing this was profound. I couldn't believe that my sweet dog was so bravely and uncomplainingly suffering through this horrific disease. 

The vet was right when she said the particular type of cancer she had was aggressive - within the week we were making another visit to the vet's to give Roxie a dignified end to her life. I held her and comforted her,  and knew that she had loved me just as enormously as I had loved her.  

We entered a period of grieving. I couldn't look at her beds, her toys and bowls... but I couldn't get rid of them either. To have lost my dad and both dogs within just less than 18 months, seemed too cruel. 

I came through the front door and there was no lolling tongue, no wagging tail to greet me. Just silence and too-clean floors. 

I came to hate the way the floors stayed clean when I vacuumed; to be repelled by the echoing silence in the kitchen when I entered first thing in the morning; to be heartbroken that I no longer got to kiss her goodnight before I headed up to bed. My heart was broken. 

And then something happened. 

I decided to foster. Not to adopt, but to take on and try to heal a dog that was as broken as me, one whose spirit had been crushed by the sheer force of its former bad luck. 

So I contacted a rescue centre. After the home check, I explained that I would take the dog that cowered in the corner of its kennel, the dog that would greet no-one, the one that no-one wanted because it was just too broken...

They gave me Beauty. A street dog from Bosnia that's terrified of people and who refused to come anywhere near me or anyone else. 

With only one eye and a large scar on her side that looks like a burn mark, it's easy to imagine that she lost her eye through some deliberate act of cruelty. But she can't say and I'll never know. 

What I do know is that she has a lot of love to give, now that she's becoming so used to us. And I think that as much as I'm helping her, she's helping me too. 

Who knows, maybe we'll both emerge stronger from this experience. Whether we do or not, I know one thing. There's a happy face and a wagging tail in the house again, and my heart is filled with hope. 

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Big news, medium news.

I'm aware I haven't told you my big news... my latest film is being supported by BFI NETWORK. If you're not sure what that means, here is the logo, which I'm sure you'll have seen elsewhere.

I'm obviously thrilled about this development and can't wait for you to see it. But there's a lot of hard work to do in the meantime. 

In addition to this, I have several other films in development, as well as a couple of TV series, but since it's all hush-hush, I can't disclose any more than that. 

So what can I tell you? I can tell you that the BFI NETWORK only fund and support films they truly believe in, so to have them behind one of my films is incredible. And thrilling.

I've also been involved in top-notch discussions regarding a new TV series. I even had to sign a non-disclosure agreement in front of a witness. 

Although cloak and dagger stuff is fairly commonplace within this industry, which is worth billions in viewing figures, I've never had a situation which was so tightly sewn up. Let's just say MI5 has nothing on this lot!

I'm aware too that you've all been waiting patiently for a new book... well there are several on the way, but I'm sorry to say the wait will be a little longer. And hey, it's not like I've been sitting around doing nothing. I'm working flat-out!

In the meantime, if you want to catch up with me for a chat, I will be at the Space Day at The Hive in Worcester on October 5th. It's something I've been involved with for the past six or seven years, as a writer of science-fiction as well as thrillers, psychological and otherwise. 

So until I can actually reveal more, happy reading and have a great summer. x

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

LYV - a short film, coming soon

Goodness me, we're halfway through the year - how did that happen? 

I'm aware that I haven't posted in absolutely ages... but there is good reason for that. I have been working on several very different film and TV scripts, so much so, that I haven't had a moment to myself. 

So, here's how you can help me get back on track. On Twitter, search for @Lyv_shortfilm. If you follow it you'll be able to see how things are progressing on this short, written by yours truly. 

I'll be filling you in on all the details as soon as I can. 

Happy reading! 

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Yes, but what's your real job..?

In my experience most people automatically assume that being a writer isn't actually a real job. Even when I tell them I write every day, for at least six hours a day, more than half the people I talk to, will still ask what my real job is. 

In fact the reaction is often akin to what it would be, if instead of saying I was a writer, I claimed to be a fairy charmer or a dietician for frogs. On the whole, people just don't get it. Perhaps because of the fantasy (excuse the pun) surrounding the concept of being a writer (see previous post) or perhaps because it seems a tenuous way to make money...

And in truth they're not far wrong. With royalties literally only pennies on every book sold, it takes thousands of sales to be able to buy a round at the pub, and yet, there is money to be made. 

One of the ways is in ghost writing, or in writing commissioned articles for magazines, either online or in print. There are well paid jobs in copy writing and/or editing, so if you're not fussed whether you write about a new-to-market car, or the latest restaurant, or how to rid yourself of the misery of piles, or any number of things that magazines publish, you can have a job for life. 

The trouble with this sort of writing however, is that it's all slanted towards making the average consumer lust after the subject of your article. This sort of writing is rich in flashy adjectives which often imply that a person will be sexier, more beautiful, richer in life, thinner, sleeker, more intelligent, if only he or she will buy/use/spend /try/give,  etc., etc., etc... And come on, we all know the reality of that, don't we? 

Another problem that writers can face is in connecting with others. It's a dog-eat-dog world in writing, so chatting to another author can become a bit of a competition. They tell you how many books they've written and how successful they are, and you reciprocate. 

You're both cautious when discussing your WIP (work in progress) because there's a chance that 1. this person might steal your idea, 2. this person might ridicule your idea, 3. this person might suggest there is no value in your idea, since the concept has already been written about in a book they will name by an author you've never heard of, and 4. this person might actually like your idea and therefore tell others about it, leading to numbers 1-3 above. 

So connecting with other authors has to be done carefully. 

Quite recently I found myself in one such scenario, and on exiting the building where we had met, I let out a huge sigh of relief ,and then allowed my self to laugh at how silly I felt at having to skirt around the topic of my WIP, whilst she did exactly the same thing. 

We were like boxers in a ring who never landed a single punch. 

But funny as it seems, it's deadly serious too. I know of two production companies who are adamant that their productions have been ripped off by another company. Easily done, when agents, publishers, film directors, producers and TV companies insist that they want to see a whole script before making a decision. 

Of course you can pay for copyright and registration of your work, but like everything in life, that requires money. Whilst relatively inexpensive per script, try doing it with thirty books or scripts. And of course, should you be plagiarised even so, it takes seriously big bucks to drive these cases through court. 

So remember, as they used to say in the war - "Loose lips sink ships," and keep those great ideas to yourself!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

The Pros and Cons Of Being A Writer - Part One

The reality of being a writer is usually far from what people expect.

Generally, people assume that it's a glamorous job, that my days are filled with excitement, my evenings star-studded. 

It's seldom like that. For me, anyway.

The path to being published or produced is a hard and rocky one. There is more rejection than acceptance, and there are times when you will want to quit, and times when the idea of quitting seems impossible. The publishing industry is a hard nut to crack and the TV and film industry is a daunting thing to attempt to infiltrate.

And I choose my words carefully. There are helpful people in  these industries but there are also many who will rip you or your idea off, at the slightest opportunity. 

Most days, you will tread the slim line between quitting and persevering at least forty or fifty times... depending on what your latest review has come back saying; whether your agent is free to take your call or not; and generally, whichever way the wind is blowing...

From this, I think you will get my point. In an up and down world, being a writer is one of the most fragile of mindsets you can possible hold and not go totally insane (if you're lucky, and if you have people at your side to hold your feet on the ground).

So let's take each point one at a time. 

DREAM  - well you'll have plenty of those. Both in the sense of actual sleeping dreams and hopes and aspirations. 

Of the actual sleeping dreams, expect these to be peppered with all your fears and anxieties, not only about your own life, but about everything and everyone you encountered that particular day. 

My dreams are so vivid that often I wake up, convinced that the world really has been taken over by aliens; that I can fly; that I did win the lottery; that I've entered another reality… etcetera, etcetera...

These dreams have to be taken with a pinch of salt, and unfortunately, although they might have seemed riveting when your unconscious brain was rolling them out on the widescreen of your sleeping inner mind, they will be so riddled with plot holes and weird inconsistencies, that there's no way they will make interesting books or films. 

So dreams are not the lazy way into writing. 

As for the sorts of dreams that are hopes and aspirations… well these can also be problematic. 

It's possible that you will be  a billionaire upon the launch of your first book. Possible - but highly unlikely. 

What you might be, is a few pounds better or worse off, depending on your publishing situation. 

Readers will not flock to your door, demanding more of the same... indeed your readers many not even leave you a review, even if they loved your book. 

That is of course, assuming that any readers manage to stumble upon your book in the first place. There are now millions of books for sale on Amazon, with the growing popularity of the idea  that everyone has at least one book in them. 

You can call me a pessimist if you like, but I stand by my belief that there are many people who don't even have one book in them, let alone more. 

And why should they? We are all different and  our experiences within life are all different, ergo why should we all  have the same story telling skill?

So when it comes to hopes and aspirations, being grounded is the key. 

If you want to write, you must ask yourself why. And you must be truthful in your answer. 

If it's to get famous, then forget it. If it's to give yourself enjoyment and perhaps spread that enjoyment to others, then maybe test the waters. But don't ask your family's opinion of anything you write. They love you, so can't be objective. 

If, on the other hand, stories and characters burn bright inside your mind, then you really have no choice but to write and let them out. 

So, before you put pen to paper, think hard - it may just save your sanity!

Next time we'll cover Not A Real Job, and Connecting With Others. 

Happy reading! x

Thursday, 10 January 2019

2019 already!

Hello again readers. 

Hasn't it been a long Christmas and New Year period? My children didn't go back to school until January 8th, and by then we were all so far removed from our routine, that it kind of came as a shock when it arrived. 

That said, I'm well into the three films I was planning to get started on. The truth is that I couldn't wait until January, and started them around Christmas. 

So far I'm loving them. You may remember me telling you that they are very different and I think that's half the fun, having so many different characters in my head, all offering their opinions on any given subject at one time. I swear, some days they have a party in there and don't even invite me!

Today I woke up to a wonderful message which was sent to me by a reader. 

" I have just finished reading your book, began and finished in one night! Incredibly hooking story and very well written, definitely hope you write more! Thank you for such a great read!"

Needless to say, I'm absolutely delighted. I do hope she leaves a review on Amazon. 

And yes, there are more books coming. To date, I have written 20 books and around 8 films, the first of which will be coming out this year. 

So if you haven't yet read any of my published books, you really should. 

Happy reading! x