23 August 2016

Quotes, quoth I...

Being stuck for something to write about... 


Has anyone noticed that I start my monthly journal, posted on my website, with a quote? (No I didn't think anyone had noticed...heavy sigh...) It also gets put on my homepage which includes a unique graphic designed by the talented Cathy Helms  (go on, take a look, you know you want to! Click Here.)

August home page graphic
I like to choose a quote appropriate to fit in with what I'm rambling on about in my journal, and to a point I guess it doesn't really matter if no one cares to read any of it because one day, when I'm rich and famous, I'll have all these months and years of 'diary entries' to use as my best selling memoirs.
Ok to be practical, they make a nice way for me to recall nice events.

Anyway, I thought I'd share some of the quotes that I jot down. And yes I know, I should have the name of the person quoted, but I haven't, so too bad.



That’s what I do: I drink and I know things.”

Dragons do not do well in captivity


“Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once!” -Stephen King

“A Room without books is like a body without a soul.” -Cicero

“Writing is a time honored moment. When the writer breathes life into the characters and gives them a place in the reader’s heart. Characters capture us in their embrace and we take refuge in their lives in a world of uncertainties.” ~Stephanie M. Hopkins


Time makes us forget some people but there are some people who makes us forget the time.

"Whatever you're most passionate about when you're five is what you should do for the rest of your life,"

50% of marketing works but nobody knows which 50%.

“What? You mean you’ve got a man from Devon in your kitchen!”

“First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

The Universe is either infinite or it isn’t – either way, we’re none the wiser!

Its all very well to be able to write books, but can you waggle your ears?
(J M Barrie to H G Wells)

 Reading brings us unknown friends – Honore de Balzac



never let your fears decide your fate

You never hear about heroes after they marry the princess...



"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."  Albert Einstein.

When the unexpected bumps you off track – maybe it was the only way of getting you off the wrong track on to the right track?

Handle every Stressful situation like a dog.
If you can't eat it or play with it, Pee on it and walk away....!!!!

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read



A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.
~ Carl Sagan

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

Statistically, six out of seven dwarves are not Happy.

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.


Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book.

Save the Earth – it’s the only planet with chocolate

"Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents and everyone is writing a book" Cicero, 43 BC

eyebrows don't take long to grow back  Pepys

it's usually a dirt road that leads to a diamond mine.

What we do in life echoes through eternity



I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.

There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good.

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat
you with experience.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list.

Light travels faster than sound.  This is why some people appear bright
until you hear them speak.

If I agreed with you, we would both be wrong.

War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

Everything you can imagine is real.

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others

Politics is not a bad profession. If you disgrace yourself you can always write a book.

A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory

I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.

You're never too old to learn something stupid

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be

we are halfway out of the dark


Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.

The older I grow, the less important the comma becomes. Let the reader catch his own breath.


The most dangerous strategy is to jump a chasm in two leaps.
  - Benjamin Disraeli

Tyrants win battles. Rebels win hearts.
All become history in time. Not all become legends.

Being published doesn't make me an expert, except possibly in how not to do it.

She had an unequalled gift... of squeezing big mistakes into small opportunities.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.
  - Iris Murdoch

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.

The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.

The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn

I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.

"When it is dark enough, you can see the stars."

*Life is short   Drink the good wine first



I've learned so much from my mistakes; I'm thinking of making a few more

It is so annoying how real life keeps messing up my other life

Here's a tip to avoid death by celebrity: First off, get a life. They can't touch you if you're out doing something interesting.



First you're an unknown, you write one book and then move up to instant obscurity.

We are here on Earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don't know.

Starting something is the best way to get it finished.

Why do writers write? Because it isn't there.

My memory's not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be

THE SENILITY PRAYER :Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, The good fortune to run into the ones I do, and The eyesight to tell the difference.

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.

What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to.


My mind not only wanders, it sometimes leaves complete.

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

Don't take life too seriously; no one gets out alive.

I'm not a complete idiot -- Some parts are missing.

I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.


The cure for writer's cramp is writer's block.
  - Inigo DeLeon

You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.
  - Henry Ford

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made.

Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)



"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate," Nikka - age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka's on this planet)

You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."

The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet.
  - William Gibson

The most overlooked advantage to owning a computer is that if they foul up there's no law against whacking them around a little.
  - Joe Martin

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."· "That depends, Sir," said Disraeli, "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."·

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill·

I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." Clarence Darrow·

 "Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas·


 "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." - Mark Twain·

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.." -Oscar Wilde·

 "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one." - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill· "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second ... if there is one." - Winston Churchill, in response.·

 "I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here." - Stephen Bishop·

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." - Mae West·


"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." - Oscar Wilde·

 "He has Van Gogh's ear for music." - Billy Wilder

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." -Groucho Marx




16 August 2016

Tuesday Talk : My West Country Guest...

from here in Devon: Pam Vass - a talented writer with a welcoming smile ...


Writing Fiction from Fact
The West Country holds a wealth of stories waiting for an author to bring them to life. So how do we go about finding them? For me, there are three irresistible starting points.


Nine year old Paul wakes to find his mother
standing at his bedroom door.

 'I'll just be a minute,' she says.
 And disappears.
The intriguing rumour. 
Some years back I was working in Lynmouth, a small village on the Exmoor coast, when I became aware of a rumour that government experimentation with the weather might have contributed to floods that devastated the village in August 1952. Where did such an off-beat rumour come from? Is it possible to affect the weather? Why would the Government do that? Were they doing it within reach of Lynmouth? I began to delve.

The National Archive at Kew is a treasure-trove for any writer looking to uncover a fact-based story. Under the Thirty Year Rule, government records are made available at The National Archives, unless their release is likely to cause ‘damage to the country's image, national security or foreign relations’. Under the more recent Freedom of Information Act 2000, it’s not even necessary to wait for thirty years. Specific requests can be made for information about much more recent events.

Of course, it’s one thing knowing that documents are available; it’s quite another finding them. My first instinct was to search the Ministry of Agriculture for research on rainfall experiments - something I later discovered was called cloud seeding. After many long, tedious hours I had uncovered precisely … nothing. This is when it’s important to persevere, searching for clues that will lead you deeper into the real story. Eventually, one comment I might easily have missed led me to the real department behind experiments with the weather - the War Office. This was when I knew I had a mystery thriller in my sights, the story that became my first novel, Seeds of Doubt.


Amazon Kindle UK
Newspaper snippets that raise more questions than they answer.
I was a volunteer at the museum in Great Torrington, a small market town in Devon, when a local historian gave me a cutting headed ‘Wooden Computer invented in North Devon’. It was about a self-taught mathematician called Thomas Fowler. I was intrigued. Charles Babbage is known as the ‘father of computing' so who was Thomas Fowler?

Time to play detective again and follow the clues, although initially they were few and far between. Fowler died in 1843 so my only option was to scour original archives looking for documents that hadn’t seen the light of day for almost two centuries. On one occasion I arrived in Cambridge to search an archive that wasn’t indexed. My heart sank as five enormous boxes were wheeled to my desk. I only had three days, but there was no way round it, I had to search every box, document by document.

Persistence is everything in unearthing original stories. Late afternoon on day three I finally arrived at the penultimate piece of paper in the last box and recognised Thomas Fowler’s handwriting. It was pure gold. From this, and other documents, I was able to piece together the heart-breaking story of this self-taught genius for my latest book The Power of Three.


Amazon Paperback UK
Curiosity over how national events play out locally.
The film Suffragette raised the profile of the women who fought, and sometimes died, for something we now take for granted, the vote. It demonstrated the power of storytelling to bring bare facts to life. It was a fact that no woman had a right to her child once they reached seven. The film went beyond the facts, bringing us the absolute agony of a mother unable to prevent her child being given up for adoption.

Most of us are aware that Suffragettes were imprisoned and force-fed in Holloway for demonstrating outside Parliament or that Emily Wilding Davison died after stepping in front of the King’s horse at the Epsom races. But how many know the story in North Devon? Sometimes all it takes is a nagging curiosity and some dogged determination to uncover the story that is already there, waiting to be told.

This time most of my research was done closer to home, searching local papers for clues. The process is a little like Time Team; following hunches about what the story might be and where it is to be found. Some of those hunches prove pure fiction but with perseverance, voices begin to emerge, voices like those of Marie Newby and Nurse Anne Ball from Ilfracombe who had the courage not only to speak out, but to act on their beliefs. A picture emerged of Ilfracombe as a militant hot-spot, with protests spreading down the coast to Lynton where they grabbed the headlines with their biggest outrage. Why there? Who was responsible? The moment I discovered the answers to these questions was when I began to write Fire in the Belly, the Suffragette Story in North Devon, due out next year, a century after Parliament finally granted a limited franchise to women.

What better inspiration for an author, revealing stories everyone has either forgotten or even better, never knew. And there are always more snippets that add twists and turns to the story - a body on the beach; someone living under an alias - that prompt so many possible storylines. All provide suspense, mystery, character development, heightened emotions, jeopardy - the best building blocks for an author, but with writing fiction from fact, based on real lives, real events, real jeopardy.

Amazon UK link
Links to Pamela Vass
Twitter: @pamelavass


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