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Monday, 18 November 2019

Why you SHOULD NOT vote Tory next month


Let me start by saying that I do not view conservative voters as 'evil', nor do I believe that who one votes for dictates their moral standpoint. That would go against my general rational pragmatic outlook. I have met good-hearted Tory voters and nasty Labour voters. Moreover, we live in a democracy, so obviously no one can tell anyone who they can and can't vote for. This post is simply going to outline why I believe voting for the Conservatives in next month's general election is a bad idea for the United Kingdom. You can read it, scoff at it, ignore it or share it. That's up to you.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Plot vs Character-Driven Stories


Whenever I set out to write a story, I almost always start with the character. There's a person that forms clearly in my mind, usually taken from human characteristics I find fascinating. Introvert vs extrovert, insecure vs relaxed, selfless vs greedy, intense vs carefree. Sometimes I think writers are psychoanalysts; we delve into people's heads and write about them.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Don't Kill Yourself For Success


Danielle Steel is the bestselling author of all time and one of the most prolific authors alive. I've never read a book by her (romance novels aren't my thing, gimme Stephen King or Liane Moriarty instead), but her immense work ethic and creative output is inspiring.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

A Culture of Putting Ourselves Down


Ask a pretty woman if she's attractive and she'll instantly say she isn't, or downplay it, or say you're prettier than her. No one likes a show-off, but a simple acknowledgement of one's looks, talents, and intelligence is not a bad thing.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Review of Anne by Robert Fanshawe


My friend and fellow writer Robert J. Fanshawe kindly wrote this brilliant review of my latest novel. Check out his book The Cellist's Friend available via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Over to Rob...

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Changing the Way I Blog


When I started this blog in 2017, I wanted a space to let out my opinions and converse with others online. A lot of that took place through Google Plus; I would share many of my posts in various groups and have conversations (and debates) with others online about them. I even made friends with someone who commented heavily on my posts and whom I resumed contact with after a misunderstanding. (She and I communicate regularly in private and find our friendship mutually rewarding.)

Saturday, 10 August 2019

A Lesson in Empathy


I was sitting with one of my relatives and casually used a swear word as an adverb. I immediately apologized as I was aware the relative disliked cursing, and then we had a brief talk about language and empathy.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Author Interview with Joey Paul


Supporting fellow authors is important, so I warmly welcome Joey Paul to my blog today with another fabulous interview.

Hello Joey! Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me. Tell me a bit about yourself and your writing background.
Thanks for having me! I'm 37, have been writing seriously since I was 19 and medically retired from the working world. I was facing a life of doing nothing and that terrified me, so I picked up a pen and started on an idea that had been brewing in my head for a very long time. Ten days later it was done and I kept going with that. I'm disabled, if it wasn't obvious from the reasoning for my retirement at so young. I have a myriad of conditions and all of that kinda ganged up on me, but I do manage to write! I have almost sixteen books published and have been doing this for fourteen years!

Thursday, 1 August 2019

An Interview with Christine Fritzen


Today, I welcome the wonderful fantasy author CM Fritzen to my blog. She has reviewed both 'Anne' and 'Every Last Psycho' on her blog so I wanted to happily return the favour by featuring her today. Enjoy!

Hello Christine! Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me. Tell me a bit about yourself and your writing background.

No problem! Thank you for interviewing me. Well, I am currently a math Instructor for a company called Mathnasium and have taught math for the past three years as a public school instructor. I have written stories since as long as I can remember. I loved to read as a kid and it followed that I wanted to create stories. In school, my friends and I created worlds that eventually found their way onto paper.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

How to Spot a Psychopath


It's a shame that Hollywood and pop culture depict psychopaths as stark raving lunatics carrying chainsaws. When writing my novella Psycho Girl I spent a lot of time watching films and reading books with psychopathic characters, as well as reading lots of articles and watching videos by psychologists. The truth is, psychopaths all have similar tendencies and it's simple to catch them out if you know what you're looking for. I think it's important that people are made aware of what a psychopath actually is, and how they are different from a sociopath.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

In Which My Situation Feels Ridiculous


If a person has stage one cancer, no one would dare say 'you're not sick enough to qualify for treatment.' They would be told by the doctor that it's good to catch it early to prevent it from getting worse, and have their illness treated as seriously as someone with stage three or four cancer. Yet if you have a mental illness and are still able to function, you're supposed to 'wait' until you've 'hit rock bottom' or 'can't leave the house without having a panic attack' or 'are so depressed you can't get out of bed.'

Friday, 28 June 2019

I Emailed Liz Jones When I Was Ten


“Writers should read everything.”

So said my father, a Tanzanian columnist for their national paper The Citizen. One would wonder why an egalitarian, Labour-voting humanist would buy one of the UK’s least-loved newspapers: The Daily Mail.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

The Freedom of Adulthood


It's been a whole month since I've posted anything on the blog; longest time I've gone without blogging since starting this thing. As you can imagine, I've been super busy building my literary empire. Articles, contacting bloggers and uploading my book details to Nielsen Title Editor and Goodreads.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

'Jill of all Trades' Author Interview with Kylie Jude


Another interview! Today is with the wonderful musician and author Kylie Jude. She shares life as a 'jill of all trades' trying to balance the arts...

Hello Kylie! Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me. Tell me a bit about yourself and your creative background.

Happily! I'm an author and musician but I also dabble in art and filmmaking, especially video editing. I'm also an INFJ, a Ravenclaw, team Marvel, and a cat person (and proud co-owner of the most interesting cat in the world, as she would call herself, who happens to think she's a dog - but don't tell her I said that).

Friday, 24 May 2019

Author Interview With PD Workman


To celebrate World Schizophrenia Day (yes, it's a thing) I have an interview with fabulous mystery and YA author PD Workman up here today. One of her books, Looking Over Your Shoulder, features a protagonist with schizophrenia (as does my novella Every Last Thought). Here's an interview with the lady herself about her literary triumphs...

Hello PD! Thank you for agreeing to do this interview with me. Tell me a bit about yourself and your writing background.

I have always wanted to write books. Right from the time I was a little girl, stapling together construction paper and dreaming of filling them up with fascinating stories. At that point, I couldn’t read or write, so they were just filled with scribbles. I wrote my first novel (after three attempts) aged 12 and kept going.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Why Game of Thrones Ended Perfectly


So the greatest TV show of all time is finally over, and now we have the books. Many are disappointed and pissed off about the ending as they have been throughout this season. In this post I'm going to explain why I think the ending perfectly summed up the story's main themes and messages. The fact is, you can't please everyone, and a story has to end not by how we would like it to end, but how it ends based on its themes and prior events.
(Long post ahead, will contain spoilers. DO NOT read if you haven't seen the final episode!)

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Reviewing Contemporary Poetry Books


Being a freelance author and poet means I get to network with other poets who have their work readily available to buy or trade. I've had the pleasure of reading some wonderful literary works by some writers in the poetry scene and will be listing them here with short reviews, plus links to their books! (It's always nice to give back; we must help each other in this tough business).

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Game of Thrones' Genius Characterization


The internet is a terrible jungle filled with humans fighting and thrashing points of view at one another. Everyone insists their point of view is best and that anyone who disagrees best meet their end with fire and blood (or the caps lock). Art often reflects real life, and a show like Game of Thrones reflects the truth in humanity; our hypocrisy, fears, weakness and love staring back at us. (Spoilers for Season 8! Also, I've read the first four books so no whingeing here about how the books are better than the show - both are fabulous).

Monday, 6 May 2019

Jon Snow: The Prince Who Was Promised


It's been long foreshadowed that Jon is the one to sit on the Iron Throne. The Season 1 promo video showed several characters sitting on the throne, including Ned Stark, Cersei and Littlefinger. Jon is the only one whom the camera has a wide, central focus on. As explained in this video, having Jon as a contender for the throne (in season one) seems ridiculous. Not only is he a bastard, he joins the Night's Watch which automatically prevents anyone from inheriting lands or titles.  (Contains spoilers for those who are not up to date with Game of Thrones Seasons 7 and 8).

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Sansa Stark: Girl Becomes Woman


If there's one character on GOT I relate to the most (besides Tyrion), it's Sansa. At the start of the show (and books) she annoyed the hell out of me and most fans; she was a spoilt brat who couldn't see what a total arsehole Joffrey was. Her badass sister Arya was way cooler. Eight seasons later and Sansa's become one of my favourite characters, and I seriously hope she will survive to the end and rule the north with Tyrion as her husband. (Post will contain spoilers!)

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Toxic Femininity/Masculinity?


There's a lot of talk on the online sphere about 'toxic masculinity' and now 'toxic femininity.' I would argue that when it comes down to it, toxic behaviour exists regardless of gender. There are some toxic traits more typical of men and some more typical of women (bringing us to that old nature-nurture debate) but in the end, psychological and physical abuse is something we've all been on the receiving end of (and likely guilty of).

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

SMART Recovery vs AA


This post is discussing my personal experiences with AA and its program of sobriety. It does not reflect the views of Alcoholics Anonymous, nor is it in any way affiliated with the core teachings of the program or any other recovery programs. I have written this simply as a message to other addicts in hope that it may be helpful. Also this is a long post as I had a lot to cover!

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Why People Love Game of Thrones


Winter is arriving in a few days and I'm on a Season 7 re-watch. I can't help but wonder; what is it about this incredible show that has captured the hearts of millions? I know, cliche statement. But there are lots of wonderful shows out there that feature captivating and morally ambiguous protagonists and supporting characters and complex storylines. What makes GOT so special?
(Yes, there will be spoilers).

Monday, 8 April 2019

A fool's guide to self-publishing


Writing is wonderful, and being a self-published author is fun in terms of the creative control and freedom you get. Figuring things out along the way can be stressful but fascinating. For anyone interested in self-publishing a novel or looking for advice on where to begin, here are a few things I've picked up on.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Good vs Toxic People


It can be hard sometimes to distinguish between a genuinely good person and a wolf in sheep's clothing. Some people use a mask of feigned kindness or warmth in order to manipulate others, or they are attention-seeking drama queens who think the world revolves around their needs. All of us possess negative and positive traits (relative to a consensus of ethics) but I do believe that there are clear distinctions between genuine loving humans and toxic, unforgiving ones. Hopefully this post will help you sift the shit from the gold!

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Us vs Them


It's very easy in a world full of millions to feel at odds with one another. To stand still and say 'I'm so different, no one understands my struggle' or 'I'm much better than everyone else, I'm special.' In my novellas Every Last Thought and Psycho Girl which comprise my novel Every Last Psycho, I have protagonists that both feature different types of entitlement.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Women vs 'Toxic Masculinity'


Two men, both alike in romantic idealism, in classic and contemporary literature, where sexual scenes are laid. Their names: Mr Rochester and Christian Grey. These male protagonists in literature are often cited as purveyors of romantic desire among women.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Michael Jackson's Paedophilia


I love Michael Jackson's music. I've enjoyed his music since I heard him as a little kid and probably always will. He was an enormously talented man and has brought much joy to people's hearts with his music and dancing. I think it's wrong to ignore that and to stop his music from being played on radios and TV due to whatever kind of man he was. However, I think it's important that we don't ignore the kind of man he was and see Michael: The Artist vs Michael: The Man.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Why don't white feminists campaign against FGM?


Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is one of the most barbaric acts happening against women globally. It disproportionately affects women of colour (for want of a better phrase). And yet western feminist campaigns include: banning the word 'bossy', complaining about a pay gap that has been disproven multiple times, moaning because a guy on the street called them pretty, and saying air conditioners are sexist.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

SECOND NOVEL COMING SOON!


Super pleased to announce that 'Anne', my second contemporary YA fiction novel, will be out around the end of April! This novel has been an on-and-off work in progress for several years, so I am very excited for it to finally be out! It is currently in its final editing stages, and once that is done will be available for pre-order!

Blurb:

‘Are you okay, Mummy? Did Daddy hurt you again?’

Anne Mason’s childhood in Richmond emulates suburban bliss, with a wealthy father and a loving mother. But behind the polished windows, Anne’s father terrorizes her mother, shattering their utopian home life with beatings and beer. Home-schooled on a diet of books and museums, knowledge becomes Anne’s only saviour.

One night her dad comes home with the news that her mother has left them forever. Unable to care for his daughter, Anne is sent to live with her kindly aunt and uncle. Struggling to settle into day school, Anne enrolls in Lakeland Boarding School. She meets and falls for gentle Karen, whose friends torment Anne and her troubled roommate Simone.

Forced to confront her traumatic upbringing, Anne learns the horrors of the past and present. Will love, hope, and inner strength prevail?

‘Anne’ is a powerful and dramatic YA tale about life, family and coming-of-age in and outside of London.

My other two books, 'Every Last Psycho' (fiction) and 'Art is a Waste of Time' (poetry) are available on my Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zarina-Macha/e/B07F4BKP3M

Goodreads profile: http://www.goodreads.com/zarinamacha

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/zarinawriter

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Book Review: Sex, Death and Canapes


'Sex, Death and Canapes' is book one of the 'Sex, Death and Dinner' series by Petrina Binney, a Devon based author. It is a noir comedy about fine dining and murder in a village rife with gossipy neighbours.
(Review does not contain spoilers).

Friday, 1 March 2019

No Victories In The Culture War


These past three years - ever since the presidential campaign of Trump really took off - we've all been enshrined in a massive culture war. That's me just stating the obvious. And it isn't just a case of a few people arguing online anymore - it's something that is weaving itself into advertising campaigns, companies, relationships - all facets of social interaction are being affected by this culture war.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

On Spiritual Oneness


God. Atheist. Agnostic. Higher Power. Believer. Creator. Spiritual. These are all words. As a writer I know the power that words can weave, but I also know that power comes from our interpretation. Without meaning, words are a strew of vowels and consonants.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Advice to would-be artists


Being in the creative arts is one of the most wonderfully rewarding things you can do. We make people happy. People read our books, listen to our music, attend plays and watch poets because it brings them joy. Art is the window that reflects the world.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Why black girls like white boys


This is a satirical post and I am exaggerating to get a point across. Please do not take literally. 

Friday, 8 February 2019

The Joys of Being a Teenager (poem)


So I dug this up out of my vault of words. It's more of a performance poem but I was probably too embarrassed to perform it in public. Wrote it aged seventeen.

Curfews, kissing, cool kids hissing
Down 'on road', don't know what I'm missing
Everybody tellin ya what to do
'No hats inside!'
'Be home by nine!'

Saturday, 2 February 2019

On Belief


Everyone believes in something. Be it a higher being, a superstition, a political party or yourself. We all have faith in something that keeps us going each day. If we didn't wouldn't we just kill ourselves? The reason I get out of bed every morning is because I believe in the people I love, and believe in realizing my full potential.

Monday, 28 January 2019

The Shining: Book vs Film


I first watched The Shining when I was sixteen with a friend. Neither of us adored it - it was an okay movie with some humorous and creepy parts but had a boring slow-moving atmosphere to it. It wasn't a particularly terrifying film. I've seen it a couple times since and while I appreciate it more, it reads like a black comedy to me. (Contains spoilers). 

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

On Character


Martin Luther King once said that he dreamed of a world where we judged people based on the content of their character, not the colour of their skin. Sadly we still have yet to enter that world. But what is character? Character is what makes us who we are inside. When I read a book or watch a movie, what grabs me the most is how well developed the characters are.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Thoughts on the 'Gillette' ad


So I'm blogging about this is because it's a popular circulating topic and it's fun to have opinions on stuff and will get me traffic. Also I do have some emotional ties to this topic because, well, I'm a woman who cares about men and people in general (even when I pretend I don't).

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Time (poem)


Been struggling to sleep over the past week; insomnia has always been an on-and-off problem with me. I was awake all night and wrote this around seven in the morning.

Time continues to fade into itself
Once my friend; now my mocker
She scorns me, laughs at tomfoolery
Questioning; ‘why lie awake and ponder?
Preen at the screen in loathsome hunger and thirst
Aching for a chance to dissolve?’

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

On 'It'


In 2015 I read a book called 'On Writing' by Stephen King, aware that this man was one of the most prolific fiction writers out there. However, I was also aware he wrote horror, and being a scaredy-cat I was too afraid to read any of his books. But I did want to read something by him so began to research his non-scary stories, and later that year purchased 11/22/63, one of the best books I've ever read. Since then I've read a great deal of his works, including some of the alleged 'scariest' like Misery, Carrie, and It, which I just finished.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Why I dislike my species


It's after four in the morning here on this wonderful island of Great Britannia. I'm three-quarters of the way through my next novel, a YA coming-of-age novel that will be my third published book (second fiction book). Simultaneously I've been applying for jobs in retail so I can fund the cost of editing when my book is ready to go through that stage. Here's why I don't like humans.