The Audrey Hepburn Poetry Challenge: Posted through end of June

This is a fabulous collection of poems dedicated to the glorious Audrey Hepburn.

Fevers of the Mind

Audrey Hepburn, 60'S Icon, Female Face

Audrey Hepburn Challenge!~

(c) Maggs Vibo Wolfpack Contributor Bio: MaggsVibo

Some Things a Lady Just Wears WellWolfpack Contributor Bio: JenniferPatino I am the Audrey with the pink chucks at the party wearing oversized shades at night Scary thin, decked in dazzling cubic zirconia, coming down from a med withdrawal after my last psychotic episode involving a Golden Hollywood delusion & fear of having cancer Some Gregory Peckerhead bums my smokes when he has a full pack in his pocket, but my sweet meter is high, like those fools at the makeshift blackjack table with pixie stick dust on their upper lips & caked between their nasal strips because their vice supplier never bothered showing up It should be Halloween, but it's too warm & there aren't enough demons on the dance floor I let the moochy one lead me there where there's an awkward exchange of one liners His…

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I Remember When…

FRED 2A

Do you ever imagine yourself back in the past? I don’t mean hundreds of years ago. I mean ten or twenty years ago in your own lifetime. Sometimes when I want to remind myself that I’m actually on track and doing well I go back into my headspace and remember how I felt when

When I didn’t have my first book written.

When I stared at a blank page/computer screen and had no idea how to begin writing.

When I sat on Avalon Beach gazing towards a distant shore…America…and wishing I was there where stars and fortunes were made.

When I didn’t have my daughter.

When I wished life would start.

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Me at nineteen

I go back to my younger self and remember the hollow desperation and uncertainty that gnawed at me constantly. I used to imagine all manner of rescue scenarios involving perfect lovers and immaculate looks. I imagined that if I looked like Ava Gardner all of my problems would evaporate. I fantasised that a lover would arrive fully congniscent of my strengths and weaknesses and needs and aspirations and pave the way to happiness and success. I speculated that if I lived in America or England my talent would be celebrated and nurtured and supported.

I imagined that everybody else’s life was easier than mine and I fervently wished I was anybody else but me.

When I didn’t have my daughter.

I am twenty and newly arrived in London. My travelling companion, Jeanette, said I cried in my sleep the night we arrived. It didn’t surprise me. London was so beautiful, so shiny and so full of genius I doubted I would ever find my place in that metropolis. I didn’t have my daughter then and her spirit would have been watching and cheering me on but in those days I was deaf to angelic promptings. That came much later. Within a week of arriving in London, Jeanette got homesick and booked a flight back to Australia. So, I found a flat in Kilburn and set up house with my brother who had started to do extremely well in the world of time-share real estate. I got a job waitressing in a local Greek cafe and went for dozens of auditions. Over the next few months my brother and I seemed to run into Australian friends everywhere we went and many of them spent a night or two on our couch. My industry friends also started arriving, a succession of beautiful girls in the acting, singing and modelling world landed on our doorstep and couch surfed while they explored opportunities in London. My brother was in seventh heaven. I was riddled with even more self-doubt and rage at my inadequacies and the same old mantra looped in my head: If only I had spectacular looks, spectacular talent or a spectacular rescuer.

In the end London was too much for me and after a year I limped home to Australia and the balm of a mother and grandparents whose unflagging faith sustained me through another decade of not much happening.

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This photo was taken a year after I got back from London.

I can still see the hopelessness in my eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I stared at a blank page/computer screen and had no idea how to begin writing.

Fast forward to my daughter.

Still failing at everything else I tried to do, acting, singing, writing, I none-the-less succeeded in giving birth to a Genevra at school aged 7 (2)beautiful child whose enthusiasm for life was infectious and soul-quenching. Throughout the empty years where every avenue terminated in a dead end, my daughter kept me grounded. Her observations – “Mummy, that spider is nervous” “That dog is sad” “Dolphins are clever” – kept me invested in the moment. For her sake I was determined to succeed, show her that a woman could beat the odds. For her sake, I hurdled my self-doubt and developed an attitude of nothing ventured, nothing gained, complete 180 degree turn from the girl who ran away from London. I began to take my writing seriously and as a consequence met that spectre called writers’ block. I spent many agonising hours staring at a blank page or computer screen hoping for inspiration. It took me moving to America to discover that inspiration flows from effort.

But before America…

Naming a demon comes at a cost. But eventually, I had to name the demon. Australia. Many an artist has come to the same conclusion – Australia is no friend to the artistically-inclined. It belittles, exhausts and overlooks its talented sons and daughters. The land of my birth suited me as long as I was filled with self-loathing but when I started to heal I came to loathe Australia and its insatiable appetite for mediocrity in the Arts.

When I sat on Avalon Beach gazing at a distant shore…America…and wishing I was there where stars and fortunes were made.

I remember the day I admitted to myself that I could not stay in Australia, that I had to go back and face the challenge of London or  make the giant leap to America. I felt sick with the realisation that my own country would never give me a chance to shine. It was so difficult because I had a nice life with my daughter. We lived in Sydney’s northern beaches: minimal rent, lots of friends. I had work that paid enough for us to live well, go out with friends and go on holidays. But I had no future and I knew it. I sat on Avalon Beach craving a way to reach that distant shore – America. And then on holiday in Hawaii I met the American dream – tall, stunning, blonde, surfie-musician-builder wearing white jeans and an apple-green silk shirt that matched his eyes. He looked like a cross between Brad Pitt and James Dean. We fell in love and he followed me back to Australia and then promised me America. My daughter and I landed on that longed-for shore in 1993.

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When I didn’t have my first book written.

However back on his own turf my knight in shining armour rusted dramatically. But America glittered and glowed and delivered everything I hoped it would. As my own star rose my marriage fell apart. But in spite of my ragged homelife, opportunities flowed in and my belief in myself grew apace. No longer riddled with self-doubt, America held up a mirror to a woman who was gifted, strong and beautiful and my headspace changed dramatically. But my home-life was deranged and becoming dangerous, the fights escalated to threatened violence and so my daughter and I limped back to Australia, once again to the balm and care of my patient mother. And I sank into another decade of despair in ancient, weather-beaten Australia which provided sanctuary in tandem with spiritual desolation. But in that arid space I wrote Catch the Moon, Mary and produced my first fully-fledged musical, Scheherazade.

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When I wished life would start.

Having at last beaten writers’ block and achieved excellence I believed success would follow as night the day. And so I waited. And waited. And when nothing much happened despair gripped again like winter chill. The space in my head was an icy chamber but in one corner a tiny flame flickered hope.

And then slowly but surely little bursts of applause from people I never dreamed I would meet or get to know. People from all over the world got in touch via Twitter or Facebook and talked about the impact of my book. They told me Catch the Moon, Mary made them think and cry and ultimately restored their faith in themselves just as my leading lady, Mary Granger had. My headspace began to fill with joy that I was able to make a difference through my words. Give hope where there was none, build bridges. The look in my eyes changed from blank to light. Where there had been a reflection of hopelessness now hope shone.

Wendy Waters - Personal Pic 2

When I go back to that mental space.

When I go back into that mental space I feel a cold wind, the familiar breath of hollow despair. I remember seeking a sign or a light or a way through to the promised land of success where I firmly believed happiness resided in fragrant drafts of confidence. The land of success would open up other shores, other opportunities. It always felt out of reach and slipping further away as if I had somehow coralled myself in a tiny boat with no oars, adrift and slave to the currents. I truly felt that powerless. Depression gripped like a vice.

 

 

But that flame…

That tiny flame warmed me enough to attempt my own rescue.

Naming the rescuer is as talismanic as naming the demon.

The rescuer’s name was excellence and excellence does not pursue. Excellence must be pursued and the more diligently you chase excellence the stronger your faith in yourself becomes. Your tiny boat suddenly sprouts oars and you can chart your course. I started charting my course when I gave up hoping for rescue and started focusing on my quest for excellence. sistine-chapel-ceiling-creation-of-adam-1510.jpg!Large

There are days…

But still there are days I fall back into the old ways. The light is dim and the rage is a pervasive gloaming. But I am a long way from the girl who cried in her sleep in London and I don’t ever want to go back to that lonely, faithless place in which I have no power and no oars.

Today I have four souls upon whom I can build my faith: my mother, my daughter, my granddaughter and…

 

mum in London

Mum in London in 2017 when we flew over for the reading of Catch the Moon, Mary and my musical, FRED at Tristan Bates Theatre.

My beautiful daughter, Genevra with the greatest gift of all, my grandaughter, Lily.

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                                                And now finally I have me!

April Showers

APRIL SHOWERS PRAISE ON FIELDS OF GRACE

FOG banner with coffeeWhat an extraordinary month April has been for me and more specifically for my book, Fields of Grace.

Fields of Grace by Wendy Waters

 

 

 

Fields of Grace was turned down by every publisher and agent I submitted it to over a period of ten years between 2010 and 2020 and now it has been voted best book of April by two independent reviewers.

 

 

 

 

 

The first acknowledgement came from London reviewer Rose Auburn who voted Fields of Grace one of two best reads in April.

 rose auburn link

@RoseAuburnBooks

Available from: amzn.to/3gXp4qy

Fields of Grace by Wendy Waters @wa_waters

Girl Tracy by Nerissa Martin  @JustNerissa  

The other reviewer was Peter Donnelly @theReadingDesk Ireland who voted Fields of Grace the best book of April.
The Reading Desk
The Reading Desk

The #BOTM choice for April 2021 by #ReadingDesk reviewers is, #FieldsOfGrace by

Two great runners-up: #TheMaidens by @AlexMichaelides
and #Hyde by @TheCraigRussell
peter donnelly's April book choice
And this is the field my book competed against.
Peter Donelly's April faves 2021
Suffice it to say I am reeling with the revelation that my book beat Where the Crawdads Sing, The Maiden, Hamnet and Hyde, books that have been supported by massive marketing campaigns. My book was self-published, unedited and rejected by publishers and agents for almost a decade. Believe me I am still coming to terms with the impact my book has made on two of the most respected reviewers in the UK. 
If there is a a moral to this story, it’s that you should never give up on yourself even though every avenue appears to be closed. Keep believing and keep persevering. Sometimes the world just has to catch up.
Added to this Sarah Sansom @theBookWhiskers voted Fields of Grace her favourite book of 2020!books-whiskers-logo-march-2021-1

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Sarah was nominated for The Sunshine Bloggers Award.

Q1. What was your favourite and least favourite book of 2020?

Gaarrrrghh!  Pulling out the biggest question first!  I’ve read so many brilliant books this year (which is why it’s taking me a long time to pull together my ‘5* reads of 2020’ blog article).  But I clearly have to give an answer so my favourite would be …

Fields of Grace by Wendy Waters
Fields of Grace by Wendy Waters

It is very emotionally involving, with a cast of characters so vivid and alive they felt like good friends within the first few chapters.  I adore Wendy’s lyrical style of writing; she’s a musician and this delightful talent flows lusciously into her prose.  If you’ve not read this book, I hugely recommend it … you’re in for a treat. If you want to find out more about Fields of Grace, this link will whizz you over to my review.

I am so grateful to Rose, Sarah and Peter for giving this story wings.

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Thank you to my friend Dean Micheal Rochford for an achingly beautiful cover. RIP my friend, gone but not forgotten.

Review by Peter Donnelly

HISTORICAL FICTION LITERARY FICTION

Fields of Grace – Wendy Waters

on
26 April 2021
Fields of Grace Book Cover
Title: Fields of Grace
Author: Wendy Waters
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Independently Published
Release Date: 25 October 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 442

From the author of Catch The Moon, Mary comes this epic drama spanning seven decades. Set against a backdrop of war in 1930s’ Europe, Grace Fieldergill, a starry-eyed young actress from Devon, moves to London to pursue her dream of becoming a star. The lovable boarders of Wyncote House, a ladies-only establishment, take her under their collective wing and share her triumph when she is accepted into the brilliant young John Gielgud’s Company as Peggy Ashcroft’s understudy. When Peggy misses a show one night, Grace gets her chance. Watching her performance that evening are two people who will change her life forever, London’s most famous actress, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, and a man whose love she never thought she could win.

Feu sacré

Fields of Grace is an absorbing novel, epic in its ability to build a compelling story around a leading character, and transport her life through years of adventure, drama and relationships, and arrive at a point on the final day of her life with profound secrets to reveal. Wendy Waters writes with such glorious purpose, she builds a story born from her love of theatre, music and literature, and delivered through her beautifully lyrical writing. She reminds me of the Robert Frost quote, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” The passion in the story is told with such reverent love for the theatre, which prides itself on being a unique community keeping the outside world at the stage door. That’s not to say this is an obsequious account of theatre life that avows integrity and hugely talented actors, agents and producers. In fact, we are treated to the spectrum of machinations that we would expect from an environment where position feeds ego, popularity, envy and money, and also the creative, passionate and emotional side with an affinity towards colleagues.

In the world of the theatre, where everything has its moment and change is inevitable, as one play and cast gives way to the next, the precarious nature of love and relationships is explored with a wonderful quality of observational insight. The array of characters is used brilliantly to provide the depth and variation that relationships embrace, from deeply emotional to frivolous, from genuine love to fleeting infatuation, and from unrequited love to feu sacré (sacred fire – the fire that burns for one true mate).

Grace Fieldergill (pseudonym Grace Fielding) comes from a farm in Devon, she is a Cimbri – a person who believes in Druid lore and in certain lights she can see lost spirits. With a youthful exuberance of becoming a theatre star, she settles in Wyncote House, London, in Miss Dixon’s boarding home for young women, although the rule is already broken for the ageing Major. Georgina, Penelope, Julie and Grace become family, protective of each other, and supportive in times of need. Grace secures a position in John Gielgud’s theatre company as an understudy to Peggy Ashcroft. Grace’s moment comes when Peggy doesn’t make the show one evening and Grace grasps her understudy opportunity and is recognised for her natural talent by England’s leading agent, John Hopkins-Reimer. So beguiled was John that he offers her the chance to become the most popular and famous female actress around. The relationship between Grace and John is fascinating and speaks about love at so many levels.

With an opportunity for John to showcase Grace in more modern productions of plays, he plans a theatrical tour of France and Germany, being strategic with the World’s attention on Berlin for the 1936 Olympics. Although rumours about Germany’s treatment of Jews were starting to make the press and be discussed in many circles of power and influence. The artistic ambition mixed with personal threat finds a wonderful balance in Wendy’s writing and how the change of pace for Grace and Europe continues to grow in the tumultuous period leading up to the Second World War. The attention on them in Berlin was unfortunately not only for artistic reasons.

The narrative is told with an authentic tone that brings Grace’s world to life with the adventure facing her and the stark changes in Europe. Wendy Waters creates an outstanding story that touches on many levels of drama and intrigue. It is fascinating to meet household acting stars such as John Gielgud, Peggy Ashcroft, Alec Guinness, Laurence Olivier, Noel Coward etc. early in their careers, and an amusing moment where they say goodbye to David Niven as he takes the risk of heading to Hollywood to act in the movies. A decision they all think will backfire and have him back in London seeking work in the theatre again. I would highly recommend this book that crosses many genres including historical fiction, literary fiction, romance, and a touch of magical realism.

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https://media.allauthor.com/images/bookbanner/img/36178-61.jpg

This is a #review on Amazon by author of Elephants Never Lie. Such an honour!

Michelle5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully orchestrated story of love and ultimate betrayal

Reviewed in the United States on August 11, 2020

I could not put this book down! Mary’s story of grace that emerges through the cracks of trauma, is written in a unique, musical prose that bound me to the very end.

Mary is a traumatized and shy young woman who feeds the fairies in hopes that they will help her in return, to get through loneliness and the abuse from her father. Instead, she gets an archangel who is drawn to her, seemingly, because she is a musical genius, only to find out that the relationship goes much deeper and much farther back in history. It is a relationship between two souls that creates desperate longing when they are apart and also a rapturous draw toward each other when they are near.

Wendy Waters has done a superb job with this story and with its beautiful prose. Again, it’s a page-turner, and one I couldn’t put down. I highly recommend!

an authorly tribute to mothers & daughters

The extraordinary Sarah Sansom has created this superb Mother’s Day post on her site @TheBook’sWhiskers. Enjoy!!!

The Book's Whiskers

When the idea popped into my head to ask some of my favourite female authors how their mothers inspired their love of books, I had no idea what a fabulous response I’d get. This post is a tribute to my wonderful Mum, and the mothers of ten inspirational writers … in their own words.

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ALEXANDER – THE MUSICAL

A few updates since I first wrote this post.

Catch The Moon, Mary

Alexander square.

Logo Design by Dean Michael Rochford @DigiLuxEU – Art by Deano

NEWSFLASH: ALEXANDER will be featured on New Musicals Monday on 1st February.  Ryan Thornhill @thorhilltheatrespace (14) Thornhill Theatre Space | Facebook and Jean-Paul Yovanoff @MTR (14) Musical Theatre Radio | Facebook are working tirelessly to spotlight musical theatre writers who may be unfamiliar to you. Between them they are bringing brilliant new musicals to the world.

The link to Thornhill TheatreSpace New Musicals Monday is https://open.spotify.com/show/0Txud9SgySsD0iP4qWImzJ…

Thornhill Musical image

I spent a little over a decade writing and rewriting the “book” of my musical ALEXANDER, first from the POV of the soldier/conqueror/King of Macedonia and then from the POV of a tortured visionary whose lust for both power and enlightenment finally drove him to the excesses characteristic of dictators of every stripe and creed.

ALEXANDER‘S physical quest is well-known. In 334 BC, following in the footsteps and mindset…

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Catch the Moon, Mary – the journey

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CATCH THE MOON, MARY the journey from my laptop to the virtual shelves is a journey that reads like Author Interrupted at every turn, pathway blocked, DO NOT ENTER, GO BACK YOU ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY and finally by taking THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED my tome has found its way home…or more precisely into your home.

But authors be warned: If you want to write something original be prepared for plebeian denigration.

CTTM Quote 2

I spent a decade refining Catch the Moon, Mary, the story Mary Granger, an eight-year-old musical genius who leaves dishes of honeyed bread on her windowsill for the elves in the hope they will bring her good luck. To block out the unwanted nocturnal visits of her drunken father, Mary imagines music, not just any music, full-blown symphonies that gateway fantasy worlds into which she escapes his vile attentions.

Her music has a far reach, twining  the glittering pockmarked sky with tendrils of melody. One night a weary angel trapped in endless flight hears her music and flutters to her window. Breathing in her redemptive symphony, his light reignites and he devises a plan to inflame the spaces between the notes with a powerful subliminal message of hope that will awaken the comatose world. Fulfilled at last he will return home, bathed in glory … if the girl accepts his Faustian deal – fame, fortune and protection from her father in exchange for the sole rights to her music … and no questions asked.

CTTM Quote

I began writing Catch the Moon, Mary in 2001. In 2007 I won the Women’s Weekly/Penguin Short Story Contest and had the opportunity to present a completed manuscript to Penguin. Despite having been rejected by every literary agent in Australia the agents started calling me at that point. I offered them Catch the Moon, Mary but not one of them was interested. One very respected Australian Literary Agent who shall remain nameless called it the “oddest book they had ever read” another more optimistically said, “It’s brilliant but I can’t sell such an unusual story in this market.” And Penguin knocked it back.

So, once again, despite winning a major Lit Comp, I was on my own struggling to navigate a seemingly impenetrable market. Thank God for Preditors and Editors, my go-to for publishers open to unsolicited mss. I scoured the columns of P&Es and pitched to hundreds of publishers worldwide over the next seven years. Yes, you read that correctly, SEVEN YEARS. Every day my inbox was brimming with rejections if they bothered to answer at all.

Preditors and Editors – WritingCorner.com

Finally a small publisher in Scotland accepted the manuscript and published it 2015.

A word here about small publishers. Make sure they have a vigorous social-media-savvy intern on staff or your newly-published book will sink like a stone. Mine did. In the end I had to take the book back and self-publish because I realised I’d be better off working alone and pursuing every available avenue for raising awareness of my book as opposed to asking permission. Having said that, the publisher was arguably the most brilliant editor any publishing house could want and if one of the mainstream publishers wants to look at hiring her they’d be doing their authors a huge service.

So, my book was mine again and it fell to me to market it. I made all the rooky mistakes. Paying good money to bad publicists and worse reviewers for no results. And then I stumbled upon the #writingcommunity on Twitter who are remarkably supportive.

Then I had a series of lucky breaks.

I once met an agent in London who told me that everyone deserves two lucky breaks. I’ve had several but chief among them are the following:

  • In 2015 my friend Nigel Lewis, a lighting designer on the West End, gave his friend, Amanda Redman, a copy of my book and she included it in her favourite six books in the Express!

https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/books/779947/Actress-Amanda-Redman-favourite-books

Actress-Amanda-Redman-favourite-books-779947

Book Review: Catch The Moon, Mary – The Book’s Whiskers (wordpress.com)Featured Image -- 1487 cropped-ctmm-cropped2.jpgCatch the Moon, Mary has attracted some extraordinary #5Star #reviews since 2015 and the mean, small-minded part of me takes a certain pleasure in the fact that the books chosen ahead of mine by Penguin and Harper-Collins between 2007-2010 have uniformly garnered only a handful of #5Star reviews and in one case only a few #3Star reviews. What they all lack is STORY and originality. I cannot stress enough the importance of being able to spin a good yarn. Stories endure. Wordsmith ability is essential. Put the two together and you have magic. Write your best story and wrap it up in words that cast a glamour and then do everything in your power to raise awareness of your work and you will succeed.

Failure is a word not a sentence!!

Finally here’s my advice to authors whether you’re traditionally published or self-published.

These Ten Things Will Inspire You
  1. Join Twitter and Instagram and post regularly. Get involved with the #writingcommunityofinstagram and the #writingcommunity on Twitter. They are so supportive!
  2. Approach #reviewers and offer them hard copies or e-copies of your book in exchange for an honest review.
  3. Remind friends & family to leave #reviews on #Amazon and #Goodreads and anywhere else your #book is sold.
  4. Vigorously #support other #writers
  5. Join the larger #bookclubs and post about other authors because most of them won’t allow #selfpromotion
  6. Find marketers like the fabulous Circle of Books – Authors & Readers Group circleofbooks.com and pay the tiny fee Sandro Mestre asks to vigorously promote your #book on social media.
  7. Blog if you’re not doing so already and write interesting articles. Better to write engaging posts infrequently than bore people stupid with trivia.
  8. Seek out #reviewers like The Reading Desk thereadingdesk.com and Sarah Sansom The Book’s Whiskers – Books ✦ Cats ✦ Gin ✦ Life is good! (wordpress.com) and Jules Mortimer littlemissnosleep.wordpress.com and Yecheilyah Books LLC yecheilyahysrayl.com and get yourself on their TBR list.
  9. Do Pods with people like Asha Kumar youtu.be/E5_jEsgIqDE and Vivian Moore facebook.com/vivianemoore. Both ladies are building a fantastic network on Twitter and raising awareness of so many authors. 
  10. Help other people. Every act of kindness will return to you tenfold!fairy