PILLOW TALK
Chick Lit

Ever been talking to Mr Gorgeous into the late hours of the night? Uh-huh! 
Ever had a booty-call and shut it down or followed it through?¬†Eurgh, who hasn’t!

Pillow Talk is a new and exciting chick-lit series about love on the line, whether that be on-line or on the phone.

But wait there’s more, this is where you come in!¬†Yes, ooh!

If you are a chick-lit author or just love the genre and want to have a go at writing then we want to hear from you!

All you have to do is write a story of up to 10,000 words (easy peasy), edit it and email it to me at¬†jord.ashleyann@gmail.com. Don’t worry! All copyright stays with you and you get all the credit on the blog for your work!

Sound good? 
Then I look forward to hearing from you! x

Standard
Book Club, Events

A Night with Maya Angelou

A Night with Maya Angelou.

maya-angelou-reading

At a glance the night was a wonderful mix of a warming and magical ambience, beaming with a friendship of joy, honesty, knowledge and love. I cannot recall ever having to recover from a relaxing night out, so when I woke up this morning (having not touched a drop of alcohol last night) feeling as if I had drunk my own body weight of rum I needed to collect my thoughts and feelings of last night and get them down for everyone to see! Friday night we added to the new chapter to the life of Maya Angelou that opened after her passing in June – her legacy. Her legacy and lasting imprint that she has made through her lessons of kindness – her lessons were always kind, no matter how harrowing the story, her openness, the platform she has built to allow other women to raise their voices and her ability to make others feel as if they knew her personally. We opened the night with a speech from Maya Angelou – from the Glamour Women of the Year Awards in 2009 and set the night up for a whirlwind affair with an abundance of inspiration.

From her own works to pieces that were inspired by her, the night took form in a range of incredible performances that celebrated Maya’s work and her life. We opened the night with a beautiful young lady named Lauren Williams who is currently Birmingham’s Young Poet, her poem that was inspired by Maya’s poem ‘Still I Rise’, coloured the night with fresh hope – the perfect beginning to an illustrious night.

South African poet Tessa Lowe carried the night on with a deliciously wise section from Maya Angelou’s biography. Hearing a voice filled with knowledge tell a part of someone’s story that is in turn, filled with knowledge created the perfect mixture.

As the night took a turn – for the better – the guests were treated to an acoustic delight by multi-talented musician Alisha Kadir (who is also a talented poet). Who dished up with a blend of original songs and an incorporation of ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’ into ‘If I Had A Boat’ by James Vincent McMorrow. Alisha set a relaxing tone with her alluring vocals and beautiful guitar chords.

After the break we were welcomed back by Nina Lewis, a poet who had just returned to the poetry scene, but you never would have thought that she had left! Her anthology of poems inspired by Maya Angelou captivated the guests. It was a pure joy to watch a creative in her element, reading her work, executed so delicately you couldn’t help but be moved.

And when we say the night had it all, it had it all. Dramatist Marlene McKenzie who is from the Shakti Women tribe but also runs a women’s theatre group, gave us a treat of reflection. She allowed us to explore our personal growth through a ten minute piece and a character that engaged and encouraged the audience to question their relationships with people who are producing negativity and self-doubt within our lives, the answers from the guests were inspiring to say the least!

Next former Birmingham Poet Laureate and a personal favourite, eloquent poet and play writer Jan Watts read two original poems, two insights to two personal lives inspired by Maya and how she had given women a platform to use their voices, Jan ended her section with a reading of Phenomenal Woman, the sparking, self-loving poem by the late Dr. Maya Angelou.

Before the night ended we asked Lauren to join us again and perform another poem, it was the the perfect end to the perfect night. A night that was shared by so many guests who all had the same thing in common, not just the love for a great woman but the experience of her, the ability to share their stories and raise their voices and this is the effect that Maya Angelou has reaped all over the world, in so many countries and in so many different women (and mens) lives.

 

Standard
My Lab

Something New – Progress & Thank you!

2014-06-18 19.30.28-2

This year has been the start of a lot of new things, relationships, businesses and much more; including discovering that I’m actually capable of more than I believed that I was, I never believed the people that told me that I had the smarts and the strength, I just always lacked in confidence, but now I can actually say how proud I am from where I started to where I’ve arrived with much more adventures to be had and this time I’m not afraid of the adventure – I’m quite excited about it. If someone had told me last three years ago that I’d be doing an Eng Lit & Creative Writing degree and starting my career in writing I would have laughed at them. Only luck could determine whether I made it as a writer right? Well I’ve started to think that luck is a state of mind, if there is something reachable and achievable that you want, why not grab it? ¬†And I can honestly say that making your dream you own reality is a crazy but fabulous feeling of warm and glowiness – even on the hard days – I look around and see all of my progress and smile.

Since I’m self employed I don’t have a manager to give me ¬†progress report, I do however have a supportive boyfriend and network of friends, family and associates that will, without a doubt in their hearts (or minds), tell me how good¬†and¬†bad I’m doing which is important when it’s only you managing your business (work and life wise). So I have learnt one big important lesson – “A part of your life is only as good as the people your surround yourself with” – especially when you don’t have a great social life because your career side has become the biggest aspect of your life, you do begin to realise; ‘Who is there for me? Even if I haven’t seen so and so¬†in two months and I didn’t reply to their ¬†text until two in the morning because that’s the time that I finished working.’. They are still there because they understand the chasm between the two facets in your life¬†and¬†everything is most definitely a grey area. But funnily enough people who don’t have your best interests or just don’t understand that you are busy, not ignoring them; seem just flutter away, and that is fine because it’s their choice and life is full of them. So maybe we are better off without that extra bit around the edges, your group, your people become smaller but it doesn’t make you any less you, if not just a bit better, in fact you might not have noticed them pick up their coat, tip-toe out the door and silently shut it behind them. I want to thank everyone that has supported me and stuck by me; even when I haven’t been around they sure let me know about it and I appreciate that!

Today as this goes out into the inter-web void is my little (not so little) sister’s prom. Four years ago it was me leaving school with all of these plans and ideas of what I was going to go, what college and adult life was going to be and really, none of those plans, went¬†to¬†plan,¬†BUT, adult life has been good to me (so far). I just hope that my sister takes her time to really enjoy today, look beautiful (which she will of course), dance and have bundles of fun. And then the real fun begins, but she has a vast support network as I do and she has me for every day that isn’t a good one. So for now Jess… have fun tonight!

J x

 

Standard
The Bookroom

The Bookroom

10152000_10152384364439225_691636785_n

 

This is my trunk, currently, it holds over fifty books – last time I counted (last year) it was around fifty-odd – I kept losing count.

My collection of books just keeps growing and growing and I think that maybe I’m a hoarder, or book materialistic, or simply just a book lover who refuses to buy an e-Reader and so will have to find space for books like in the good old days with book shelves, cases and units. But for now, I have my trunk. And I do actually dream about having a lovely home with this beautiful room in it, my own paradise, my own book room. My book room should assume the position of my favourite place in the world, which for the last six years has been Waterstones, and anyone that knows me can honestly agree that I am a book-a-holic, I will smell the pages of a book before I buy and read it, I’m not weird, I just love books in that way. So until the dream of all four walls and trunks, chests and tables being filled with books materialises I have this… my own book room on my blog where I get to share all the books and stories that I love (and the more than occasional poem).

I have a lot of favourite authors, books, poems and stories and a lot of them have inspired me in many different ways because of course, as a writer books and stories are, for me; a huge deal in what I do and what I love. But it’s not just us writers and authors that are inspired by books and stories. Everyone around the world will have read or been told a story as a child, and usually these stories stay with them for the rest of their life, whether they loved them or not, they remember them and refer back to them later on in life. The magic of stories are that they are everlasting and easy to fall in love with. Not because of the words, many stories are retold over the years, the words may have been changed but the message, the essence and point always remains; the pith of a good story always translates, a bit like love.

Welcome to The Bookroom…

J x

Standard
Other Bits

Er no, chocolate is not a sin.

Yummy! It’s pancake day, an excuse to make as many pancakes as we can fill our bellies with and more. However, we know that with Shrove Tuesday comes Ash Wednesday which marks the start of lent, where we try and give up something (usually chocolate) taking us up to Easter Sunday so that we have the excuse of rewarding ourselves with bundles of Easter egg’s, more than we can consume in one day. Now this is brilliant, of course it is, it’s chocolate all on one day! But should we really give up chocolate for lent?

We all know what lent is about, Jesus died on the cross for our sins and so we should give up something that forecasts a sin etc etc… yes we get that. And well, chocolate is not a sin, obviously, but greed is. The problem here though is; isn’t it greedy to shove our faces with chocolate the day after forty days of giving it up for the reason of giving up greed? I wonder if there are other things, deeper things that we can give up rather than chocolate or cake and sweets or even this that we can do. What about the other sins, and what about the other commandments. If we take out the religious context and you realise that these things are simple common decency, things that we should or should not do as human beings, like (obvious example) ‘thou shalt not kill’. I’m not a believer in the big man myself, but I am a believer in doing good, feeling good and loving well.

Why not instead of giving up chocolate, do we give up negative people and negative thoughts about others? Or do something good between now and Easter such as donating things we don’t need or want anymore to charities, volunteering or simply show someone an act of kindness everyday – smiling at someone or giving someone a compliment may be the smallest thing but can mean the biggest of things to some. And it’s really good karma – if you believe in it!

Plus this way we get to enjoy sweet stuff all through Easter!

The message of lent (in my view) is about doing something positive, feeling positive and feeding each other a positive vibe. Easter Sunday is about the reawakening of Christ, so don’t we reawaken some good wholesome energy in our lives, be selfless to ourselves ¬†(yes this is possible, by starving our own mind and body of positiveness) and others.

And not give up chocolate.

Jx

Standard
Last Day

Last Day of the Month of Love!

 

 

Image courtesy of Ayesha Jones (AMO) at Love Is... campaign event 15/02/14

Image courtesy of Ayesha Jones (AMO) at Love Is… campaign event 15/02/14

It’s the last day of the month! So I wanted to write a reflective piece, which makes me feel like I’m writing a uni assignment, but this is much more fun¬†and meaningful. And I had better write quick because my laptop is dying…

February is¬†always a weird month, it’s the shortest, it’s usually the indicator of whether we’re going to have a smooth transition into the fresh beginning of (a rainy – we cannot deceive ourselves here) Spring or a freakish snow storm that brings nearly all of England to a stand still. It’s the month we see lurrrrve everywhere, shops, restaurants – the couple tonguing their food in each other’s mouths over dinner. Ew! And that V Day test of mans ability to buy cards and gifts at last minute – card shops probably¬†see their most intake of male customers (at one time) on this day!¬†

And whilst I am blissfully happy – celebrating Valentines Day with my lovely boyfriend, really it was fab! There are bits of life that fill around this month that have been for me, the start of my year and are taking me into a new month feeling wholesome. I have, launched a business, been to some amazing events filled with talent and the support of others so strong its meshes a family unit of love, I have met and spoken to some great people who have given me tools of inspiration that has lead me to here… The last day of February with a weekend ahead that marks the start of March with a huge BANG! (Which you will have to watch out for, nothing will be revealed yet!)

I should probably start March off with buying a new charger for my constant companion – Sony Vaio.¬†But the biggest and most fabulous thing I take with me into March and hopefully the rest of the year is, self love. This month more than any I have felt the love for myself that has allowed me to feel like I can go anywhere, I can do anything – I believe in myself more and the realisation is, it’s always been there, I just had to believe it! And we all should believe it in ourselves.

It’s the last day, which means, a new month, another new beginning.

Love yourself! 

J x

 

 

Standard