Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

Real fantasy

​Believe it or not, this still feels like a dream. No, feels as if it is happening to somebody else and I am on the side, watching and waiting. 

Waiting for what, you may ask. I truly do not know. Waiting to see if this was just an experiment, an attempt, or perhaps something more. Waiting to see if indeed I would persevere and turn it into something more. Waiting to see if readers would see it as something more, I guess. Waiting for more stories to come.

It was never about numbers, never about money. Still isn’t. Trust me, those who know how indie publishing works and what we actually make, know very well how it goes. Suffice it to say, the accountant I confered with for advice on taxes had a good, mighty laugh when he heard the figures. 

And still I am not planning to give up. 

You know what I miss most of all? Not the promoting, not the royalties, not the reviews, not the publishing. I miss writing when I am not writing. I miss creating worlds when I am not. I miss empathizing with my characters when I am not. I miss having that unique part of myself gain power as I write, that wonderful feeling of being there with and for everyone, and yet also strong and on my own, with my stories, plots, scenery and characters, completely oblivious of MYSELF. 

It’s a unique feeling when you are creating – you are more yourself than at any other moment, and yet YOU, to your own self, are completely irrelevant. And amazingly enough, it spends so much of my energy, I can eat like a horse or not at all, sleep like a log or not at all, and yet I am more alive, vibrant, energetic and happy than ever, and I share that positive energy with everyone, without even being aware of it. I love better, help better, feel better and look better than ever.
That is what I miss, no matter how much I still love teaching, which I do as my day job. And I do love it. Sometimes, even teaching gives me that feeling.

But creating, writing… Oh yes.

#amwriting #amteaching #amlearning

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ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE: POETRY TO CELEBRATE LIFE by Tracy Miller – my review

Writing poetry is a sort of therapy in its own right, but when you are able to dedicate each poem to someone who matters to you in life, someone close, someone you admire, that makes it a unique gift to them. 

It is difficult to review poetry, seeing as it is so personal to the poet and, in this case, the muses, and yet – I find poets to be truly brave for baring their souls and intimacy, and it is a shame not to leave a review. Formatting a poetry ebook is a tough task, especially when you write poetry without punctuation, but the author made breaks using asterisks, which helps. 

As each poem is dedicated to a friend, one might think only they will find meaning, but you may all recognize similar people you know in all walks of life or sides of the world – people who inspire and uplift us, even when they are not at their best. You may just find yourself appreciating them more as you read through the lines. The poet’s style and rhythm are consistent, and the poems don’t lend themselves to rushing through. My favourite was When Sorrow Becomes Victory.

If you like poetry which is simple, though by no means simplistic; poetry that is unencumbered by complicated wording or robotic rhyme; poetry about people’s strengths and weaknesses, you may well enjoy reading and/or even gifting this book. Oh, a piece of advice – although poetry is intimate, you might try reading it out loud somewhere, be it in the privacy of your room or the boundless freedom of the woods. It adds dimension.

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ETHEL’S NEW HOME by Kathy Rogo – my review

What a lovely children’s book! Author Kathy Rogo has created a charming story about a little hamster running away from her numerous family so she wouldn’t have to wait her turn every single time. Plenty of siblings in large families will identify with Ethel. 

The illustrations are simply adorable, although the layout (exchange of text and images) is better in the first half of the book. The writer’s narration finds the right balance between simplicity and complexity. The children might appreciate a bit more dialogue, especially between the siblings, because they usually relish in acting, and the story lends itself to role play so easily. The scene when Ethel runs into the cat offers an excellent role-playing opportunity.

The ending is gratifying, as Ethel is safely back home with her loving family, and the pets even get a bigger home. I believe parents will enjoy reading and discussing this with their children, learning and teaching about sharing, patience and appreciating the safety of home.

This review will also appear at Readers Review Room.

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The perfect gift?

​So I’m playing Christmas word games with my English learners, and we start playing a version of the 5-second rule (thank you, Ellen DeGeneres:). One of them gets this question: If you were Santa Claus, what would you give me?

She’s suposed to say 3 things in 5 seconds. She goes:”Ahem… ahem… a… marker?” 

And time is up! The class are laughing their hearts out at my slouched shoulders and pouting lips.

I say:”Really? A marker? After so many years?”

She:”Well, you ARE  a teacher!”

And I say:”And true, I like markers.”

She: “There you go!” (Class still laughing.)

I shrug it off:”But couldn’t you at least say – red marker, blue marker, black marker? I’d have three at least!”

Kids laugh and we play on. I decide not to continue seeming so self-sufficient to them in the future. Perhaps I should whine a bit more;).

#loveteaching 

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THE OLYMPUS PROJECT – The Phoenix Series Book 1 by Ted Tayler – my review

If you are into thrillers about current terrorist attacks and you are also hoping for some sense of justice gratified, The Olympus Project is definitely your kind of book. Well, book series, to be more precise.

With fully developed histories for each character, the author introduces us to a secret organisation bringing punishment upon those who avoid the usual legal punishment. In an old-style elegance in narration and action, reminisicent at first of Roger Moore’s James Bond movies, gaining pace and action as the plot develops, we are led beyond the scenes of hidden, condoned, imminent and past crimes, and we are offered gratification to know they will be wiped out from the face of the earth. 

The thriller offers this enticing concept – vigilante organisation getting at those who elude the justice, sort of like the Avengers, minus the superhero stuff. Would YOU like to be drafted? However, where does one draw the line? Who decides what is right or not? I always wonder. Here is a quote which drew my attention to the issue: “the collateral damage is unavoidable. We have to think of the greater good.” The greater good is the phrase that always creeps me out. The author does not dwell on this or preach; he provides a cool account of events, no mushy emotional stuff, simply intense action, plots and execution. As the interaction between characters deepens, you get lured into guessing what will happen with the mysterious Athena, how long Colin the Phoenix can keep his cool about her, as well as about the assasinations and missions he is sent on, no matter how well justified they seem.

The Olympus Project is bound to have its readers’ following and I am glad there is an entire series available. Fans of secret agents, spy matters and action have a full meal served here.

Note: This review will also appear at Readers Review Room  Do drop by there for a reading recommendation, or join as a reviewer if you will. 

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A teacher’s weekend

Not complaining, 

just explaining.

Lesson planning,

image scanning,

paper grading,

vision fading,

props making,

tea taking,

song learning,

sleep yearning…

Not complaining,

just explaining.

😉

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There is no such thing as too much Love actually…

Just finished watching Love Actually. Again.

Pure perfection every single time I watch it! I can’t help but wonder if all the members of the cast and crew were aware at the time that they were creating a classic masterpiece! And just seeing all those actors pull off their parts, and seeing them from today’s perspective… A single extra touching moment – seeing Alan Rickman. 

This is and will always be my Christmas movie destination, for the humour, the music, the ‘cheesy’ stuff we all yearn for, the love of the story Richard Curtis and his colleagues have poured into every single moment of this film. Even when I am 80, I hope my family is around to ask me if I can really still watch this movie. You know what I will reply, right?

Always.

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YIELD by B.J.Tiernan – my review

Having read Standing on a Whale by this author, and enjoying the writing of B. J. Tiernan, which posesses elegance and grace, modesty and strength, I rejoyced at her new book.

Yield has surpassed my initial expectations. It retains all the qualities of Tiernan’s first novel, but is also profused with intimacy, warmth, and finds such instances beauty in the overall ugliness in life, contrasting history with fiction, the Vietnam war with an average woman’s search for love.

Marley is a strong leading female character, a fighter, an imperfect woman in an imperfect world, trying to make her life as perfect as possible. She has no superpowers, does nothing spectacular, makes mistakes, but manages to preserve love in what she does. Marley Cover can teach girls and women a lot about yielding to the fact that life is imperfect, but it doesn’t mean we have to give up; that choices may be wrong, but they are ours and if we make them, we need to accept them for the sake of our peace of mind. 

Only when we have a peace of mind can we truly love ourselves and be a positive influence on the people around us. Nothing has to be perfect – it just needs to be the way we choose to make it. The writing shows the author’s remarkable strength of being able to teach so much by not preaching at all. 

All the plots and subplots, leading characters and the smallest details, from the intro quotes to the news and scenery, have been woven together into a wonderfully told life story. This is the kind of book that will not change the world, but it may change at least one person’s life, and one person’s life is that person’s world. And each person matters.

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Geoff Nelder on Creativity & Writing

​This post touches on so many things that I often wonder about, quotes some of my favourite instances, and has an overall insightful and slightly humourous appeal I found irresistible! Thank you, Geoff Nelder!

http://geoffnelder.com/writing-is-bad-for-you/

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