Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Writer Wednesday: Claudette Anne Pearson

People ask me all the time where do the ideas for my stories come from and I always answer that a

good idea can come from anywhere, take a random conversation for instance.

Last year, while I was chatting with different people and getting a hang on interacting with others on Twitter, I came across a fascinating young artist/writer and our random conversation was so epic I told her I’d make a short story series based on our musings. Now that I will be releasing the physical version of the Daydreams on the Sherbet Shore, I wanted to let readers meet the incomparable Claudette from those stories.

1. Hi Claudette, so happy to have you here in Raelity for a change. To start things off, why don’t you tell us who you are and what you do?

Hello and thank you for having me :) Well I'm Claudette and my official title is mum and domestic engineer by day and then I write and draw a lot by night (but never stop being a mum though, that's 24/7).

2. I’ve read some of your work and love your Instagram feed, where do you get your inspiration from?

Thank you :) inspiration for me comes from all sources. Wherever I may be in the moment. I could catch a glimpse of something, even something run-of-the-mill and get an idea from it. You have to have your inspiration antenna in tune because who knows what signals you might get?

3. What do you think about the Daydreams of the Sherbet Shore and where would you like for us to visit in the future?

I think they’re wonderful. Thanks for writing them :) It’s fantastical, zany and fun, love them! It would be great to sip some extra bubbly curiosity cola at the Parched Pumpkin and then travel in a candy floss zeppelin maybe further north and visit some more intriguing characters.

4. How would you describe your style?

Comic strip chic.  >.<

5. What are you currently working on?

A stop-motion short about marrying a lycanthrope, which I wrote a rhyme about initially. Also revisiting a rhyme book with illustrations and then I’d love to make a space opera graphic novel or possibly invent a machine that gives you extra hours in the day to fit everything in :)

6. If you had your own planet, what would you call it and what would it be like?

Love it! I think a disco ball planet named "Neon". The atmosphere changes colour with each orbit of its sun and every continent is a giant fun fair. Seas of pop with giant geysers that erupt but that's because of the mega ring pulls on the seabed you see. Underground fizz :)

7. You are told you have a £50 M budget for a film, what would you like to create?

Remake "Space Odyssey" but go to the actual locations and construct a time machine and go to Moonwatcher's neighbourhood. But that's cheating isn't it? Are remakes allowed with this budget?

8. Who are your influences?

There's so many so here's the short version :) They're in all kinds of places, far and wide.

Spike Milligan, Edward Gorey, Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl. I love their worlds of nonsense and magic. Films too and I like filmmakers such as Tim Burton, Stanley Kubrick, Ridley Scott, Ken Russell, Pixar! I only recently became aware of Mary Blair (shame) who did art for Disney.

Intelligent conversations, oldskool music, astronomy, ideas from books, Keith Moon! ;) I've been reading the book "Dear Boy". He started as a mental drummer before he had a kit which made me think you have to believe and know you're something first, then you become that thing; be it an artist or whatever.

9. What does the Crayon Parlour look like and smell like?

Currently, it has the interior of the Millennium Falcon but pastel pink with chandeliers. It smells of courageous hope baked in a chocolate cake.

10. What works do you have available and where can people find and follow you for more things awesome?

I have a few books on Amazon one of those is called "Loretta's Got Her Monster Balloons" which is nonsense really. And I have two websites:

And sometimes you can find me on Twitter as well @crayonparlour for more ridiculousness :)

(If I'm not at any of those locations you might find me in a rocket on the way to Planet Neon for a dance).


So there you have it friends, be sure to check her out on all social media and her websites. You won’t be disappointed and more than likely a lot surprised, though in the good, crazy, zany and random way we could all use a little bit more of every day.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

El cielo le da la bienvenida a un ángel eléctrico

Gustavo Cerati es un astro… aún fallecido, continuará siendo relevante a quien tuvo la dicha de escucharlo. El músico transcendió los típicos tropiezos de comercialismo de muchísimas bandas latinoamericanas o hispano parlantes. En corto, gracias a Gustavo y Soda, fanáticos del rock tenían múltiples canciones y álbumes dignos de ser nombrados entre lo mejor que ofrece la música en cualquier idioma. 

De lo que me enseñó Cerati en lo personal es que un hombre puede ser bello. Lo escuchas y cantaba precioso, lees la letra y era bella, lo mirabas a él y aún sin tendencias de deseo, tenías que aceptar que el hombre se cargaba con estilo, con elegancia, con confianza y con belleza. En un mundo tan homofóbico como el que vivimos, aceptar este detalle le cuesta a mucha gente… a mí no. Cerati era hermoso y me enseñó que se puede ser hombre y sensible, guapo y bello, artístico e íntegro. 

Hoy pudiese sentir que una parte mía murió, el detalle es que recuerdo un poco el sentimiento a cuando mi padre falleció aunque obviamente a una escala muchísima menor e infinitamente menos íntima. Siento alivio y hasta felicidad que él sea libre. 

Aunque lo extrañe, escucharé su música y sonreiré, porque soy fanático, porque encontré un amigo anónimo en la música y porque queda demostrado que gracias al arte, se puede ser inmortal. 

Ciao Gustavo, 

Gracias Totales

* * * * 

Gustavo Cerati is a star… even after he’s passed away, he will continue being relevant to whomever has been lucky enough to hear his music. As an artist, he transcended the typical pitfalls of commercial music which many Spanish rock bands fall into. In short, thanks to Gustavo and Soda, rock fans the world over have multiple songs that stand out in music of any language.

From what Cerati taught me on a personal level it’s that a man can be beautiful. When you heard him sing, he did so beautifully. You read the lyrics? Beautiful. You looked at the man and without desire of any type, you had to recognize that the man carried himself with style, elegance, confidence and yeah, beauty. In a world that is so ludicrously homophobic as the one we live in, accepting this fact isn’t that easy for a lot of people… I don’t have an issue with it. Cerati was beautiful and taught me that a man can be manly, sensible, handsome and beautiful, artistic and maintain his integrity.

The day he passed I could feel that a part of me died, the detail is that I remember a bit the feeling of when my dad passed away although obviously on a much lesser scale. I felt relief and even joy that he was finally free.

Although I may miss him, I will listen to his music and smile, because I’m a fan, because I found an anonymous friend through his music and because it is a fact that thanks to art, we can become immortal.

Ciao Gustavo, 

Gracias Totales

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Investing in kindness

Every day people are appalled by what they see in the news. A new horrible story about a shooting, the economy, Ebola, fear, panic, famine, destruction and countless other things. The news often becomes this maelstrom of negativity and it’s easy to get swept up in it and think that you can’t do anything about anything.

I just helped a woman with three grocery bags. I was walking past the store and I see her clearly struggling and I ask if she needs help and she gasps, “yes please.” I help her with three bags. This took very little effort on my behalf and it was something Herculean on her behalf.

She thanks me generously and mentions a news story from yesterday where a family was gunned down in cold blood. She says, “Yesterday showed that senseless things unfortunately happen in this country. I’ve been struggling with these groceries for about ten minutes. Men who are twice your size, didn’t look twice at me. I swear maybe twenty people or more passed and no one offered any help. But still, here you are to prove to me that there are still kind people. Thank you for the reminder and God bless you.”

I helped a lady with three bags and I honestly don’t deserve the kindness she has given me with her words. Still, I appreciate them, I cherish them and I wanted to share them with anyone who chances on this blog to invite you to be the best possible reminder you can be and to not pass up one single opportunity to help people out.

There is good news out there waiting to be written.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Method to Madness: Those thieving words

Sometimes in the search for the perfect description, we fall prey to using more words than we might have needed to. 

Make no mistake, lush descriptions are amazing and as a writer, I love giving an accurate picture of the worlds within my mind. But if poetry has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes you need a little less words to get a lot more emotion.

Here are three reasons of why this is:

  1. You give the reader the power to create and describe. Some of the best stories I’ve read ask me to fill in some blanks to make the story in my mind. This engages the reader making the story that much more active for them.
  2. Tighter writing. When your story dominates the words on the page rather than long descriptions, it makes it that much harder for a reader to let go of your story.
  3. Your style will flow better and your instinct will take over, dictating when to go hog wild with a description and when to play coy.

As humans, we all communicate and you don’t need to be a writer to know the power of words when you’re communicating a story OR a message.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The need to believe in yourself

Sometimes goals can seem like a mountain, borderline impossible. Some people can offer you support, though in the end, either you believe you can climb that mountain or you won’t get anywhere. 

We all have our mountain, it could be a job promotion, it could be losing weight, it could be learning a new language or skill, it could be winning a prize, it could be writing an entire first draft during a month (go NaNo go NaNo go!) or it could just be to finally do something you’ve been putting off for years. I’ve only been alive for 34 years, and in that time I’ve learned that although having someone believe in you can give you that extra push, the main propulsion comes from within.

If you say you want it mean it.

Show that you want it.

No excuses.

No fears.

Do it.

Only Human took me over 7 years to complete. That’s more than a Bachelor’s Degree and a short Master’s. That’s well over 2,500 days. Some moments it was fast, others it was slow, editing was torture, transcribing took me months… still, I never doubted for one single second I was going to finish and publish it. I wasn’t worried about the how or the specifics. I just knew it was going to get done.

There was no other option.

There was no exit route.

There was only the mountain and once I started writing, I promised myself I wouldn’t stop until I reached the summit.

Throughout this process, there have been voices of support and voices of criticism. That’s the nature of when you want to do something that matters. You will hear both sides of the story, the good and the bad. People who believe in you, people who will question your methods, people who will wonder how you can do that and congratulate you and people who wonder why you want to do that and consider it a waste of time.

This applies to anything you set your heart to.

You will be offered support, reasons to quit, escape routes, and countless other paths.

Stay on course. Listen, learn and accept criticism, support, questioning and love equally. In the end, it may influence but it shouldn’t matter.

Be deaf and blind and dumb to everything that might distract you. The mountain is still there. It isn’t going anywhere and you will always have two choices, keep climbing up or go back down.

I never looked back or questioned my path. I’ve been called brilliant and ballsy and have also been tossed to the side as someone who self published with a vanity print.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, as am I, as are you.

My opinion has never changed. I have a story. I want to share it. I want to share it on my terms. I am willing to invest time, money, effort and put my name on something I believe in. It might have been quicker at sometimes more so than others… still. I always climbed up. The fingers of my patience might have hurt, but they never faltered.

Seven years is a long time… that is until you conquer your goal it seems like only yesterday you started.

So here’s to listening to the good and bad, to appreciating the support and the naysayers and to always climbing.

After all, it’s just a mountain.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The many faces of help

As an independent writer, there are many questions I get asked though surprisingly, a very common one is: how can I help you? It takes me by surprise each time because there is no limit to the generosity of people who want to do their part to genuinely help me out of the kindness of their heart.

So I gave this some thought and I think that during this initial phase as a writer, there are actually several things people can do to help.

  1. If you like something you read, tell someone about it. That’s the most basic thing I can tell you and though it sounds obvious, it isn’t. Most of the books I have sold have come from me interacting with people and they being kind enough to refer my work to other people. One good review can do endlessly more than one BS ad.
  2. Reviews. The more reviews a book has, the more serious it’ll be taken by passersby. Out of all the reviews of my books, I’ve asked for NONE of them and I want to keep it that way. If someone has enjoyed reading me and they have a spare couple of minutes, one review makes one hell of a difference. By the way, honesty is always paramount and if you think my book sucks, I may be disappointed I didn’t please, but I’ll be forever grateful for any feedback. It might just be what I need to read to become a better writer.
  3. Talk about me on social media. Every retweet, every google plus, every share on Facebook helps me reach more people. It’s as simple as that. I am not opulent, I do not have the luxury of a huge advertising budget. I rely on my writing and people being kind enough to refer me to reach people. So a hashtag like #JDEstradawriter, #OnlyHuman or #theHumanCycle goes a long way to help. I have also made a conscious decision to not spam any of my accounts. An occasional post will be shared and lots of other content because coming from a background in advertising, I know how much it sucks for you to be bombarded with ten reasons to buy my book.
  4. Ask for my book in a bookstore. Although I make FAR less money this way, it puts me on the radar and gives me a chance to participate in more events and to even be called for more books.
  5. Interact. A like is nice. When you interact and allow us to have a human connection, THAT’S when magic happens.

My thanks for all the people who have asked me how to help. Thank you for your support, your love, your time and for believing in this human’s path.