This week we launched the facebook page for our band Stone Pony.
To great fanfare, let me say. We've invited all of our friends to 'like' us and I hope you will visit and 'like' us too.
This is the picture that features on our page. We were all wearing our seriously cool faces. Left to right is Ants (bass player), Jason (guitar), Jo (lead vocalist) me, and Reon (guitar). Our wonderful photographer, Megan Moss, took a bunch of photos of us a few weeks back. She had us do all sorts of poses and faces - and actually, by the time this pic was taken, we were all getting pretty tired so the grumpy looks are quite genuine!
Thank you to the very talented Megan for lending us her professional expertise for the day.
As my blog title says, you're never too old to give something new a go. I took up drumming about six years ago. I wish I had taken it up earlier in my life because I love it. The Stone Pony band is a lot of fun and we play a mix of original songs, some blues, funk and a bit of rock. It stretches my drumming abilities, to say the least.
Speaking of taking up something new, a lot of people will tell you that they have always wanted to write a book but haven't the time. Or they may say they'd like to, but don't know how, or where to start.
With the drumming, a wise friend had listened to me going on for years about wanting to learn, and one Christmas she gave me a present: drumsticks and a small practice pad to play on. "Get going," she said. That gift gave me the push I needed to get going, find a teacher, and buy a drum kit on Trade Me.
If you've always wanted to write a book, buy a notepad and a pen and start writing ... or if you're in the money, a laptop or iPad. You will never regret the decision and who knows, you might just write a best seller and then we'll all be envious.
Because creativity needs a way out - we need to express it, whether it's through a musical instrument, or paints and brushes, or the simple pen and paper. It will not be denied! And most of all, it's fun.
You can do it. Pick up those drumsticks and start to play.
"I am a completely horizontal author. I can't think unless I'm lying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch, and with a cigarette and coffee handy. I’ve got to be puffing and sipping. As the afternoon wears on, I shift from coffee to mint tea to sherry to martinis."
No, that's not me.
That was how Truman Capote (pictured) wrote such well-known books as Breakfast at Tiffany's and In Cold Blood. Some days though I can see myself following his writing process - the coffee to mint tea to sherry and martinis does sound kind of nice.
My own writing process, especially when I am working on something big, is more like that of Stephen Fry. Here's what he has to say:
"I don’t take another job. I don’t do anything. I go up to my house in the country and pull out all the plugs, virtually.I just do it nonstop until I'm finished. I envy writers who can write on planes and take a break for a week and then get back to it. I have to get into a sort of zone. [...] With writing, I don’t know what it is. I just have to get into a complete world. It has something to do with an inability to concentrate, which is the absolute bottom line of writing."
I've never been able to write on planes either and I do find myself slipping into my little world of writing, that 'zone' he mentions.
We're all different when it comes to how we write, the conditions we work best in, and some of those requirements can be downright zany. But if they work for you, then full speed ahead and carry on regardless of what others might think and say. Phooey on them.
The main thing is to get writing, and whether you camp out at the kitchen table, scribble notes whilst in the bath, recline in bed with plenty of pillows and a notepad, work best on airplanes or sitting in a supportive office chair in front of the computer, makes no difference. It's all about the writing!
Little Boy is a creative cat indeed and he's just finished the final draft of his latest thriller book, Take Time to Paws. He's now having a well deserved rest and a few beers after all of his hard work.
I've been proof reading it for him and I reckon it's pretty good.
It has all the elements for a ripper of a story: good strong plot, engaging characters, appropriate setting (this one takes place on the French Riviera. Although LB has not been there, he is a great armchair traveler - it's amazing how much detail one can glean from the internet), and a steady, relentless pace that carries the reader forward, page by page, chapter by chapter.
And LB has a real formula for his books. This is the fifth in the 'Paws' series - other notables that have scooped the suspense genre awards include Paws and Take a Breath and the insanely popular Push Paws and Stop.
His central character, Detective LB Paws, is seriously flawed by rapacious greed and a no-guilt approach to life but in that way he is attractive, dashing, irresistibly lovable and always captures the bad guys.
LB sets his stories in places that are glitzy, golden, wealthy, and rich with sensual pleasures, reflecting the corruption that often lies at the centre of his plots. The trappings of privilege litter his pages: luxury super yachts, fine champagne, designer brands. Once again .. the internet.
But I have to hand it to LB. He sits at his computer weekdays from 9am - 1pm. He works hard. he churns out the pages. Sometimes it's tough going, especially if he's a bit hungover, or there are days when he just doesn't feel like writing, but he sticks with it.
So what can we learn from a cat who writes and drinks beer?
Probably not a whole lot.
However, I'm sure Little Boy would share the following pearls of wisdom with us: "Eat well, sleep in a warm place, focus your mind on the task, observe people and take inspiration for your characters, get a good strong story line set somewhere interesting, take it page by page and then have a good purr when it's all done."