Virtual Hugs All Round!

Sometimes we all need a hug, but there’s no one there to give us one. Sometimes we all struggle, and we don’t even know why. Sometimes we just have to be honest and say “Look, I was wrong. I’m sorry.” Sometimes things hurt and life is hard.

Sometimes it just takes a little gesture of friendship to light a spark of hope and draw a smile on your face.

Here’s a virtual hug for everyone that needs one right now and, if you don’t, please pass it on! Let’s make a difference. Anyone can be a light in the darkness if they try.

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Introducing A Light In The Darkness: My New Novel

Hello People!

There comes a time in a writer’s life when they know that they are ready to take on something bigger. When they know that they have an idea that is deserving of a whole novel, not just a short story. A time when you know that your inspiration won’t run out suddenly, leaving you in frustrated fits of bitter writer’s block.

My time has come. That sounded so dramatic. 

This time I know​ I will succeed. So did that. 

So, I would like to introduce you to my novel: Light In The Darkness.

Basically, the whole idea is to use people to symbolise the battle between Light and Darkness. The storyline/plot sort of takes place inside a metaphor, if you get what I mean. Yup, complicated.

Anyhow, here is a brief overview:

Faith White wants to change the world. Witty and smart, she is an active campaigner for human rights all over the planet. She is internationally recognised as one of the youngest and most talented activists in the world.

But however much she thinks she may know, there are many things that will shock her. When she goes on a team building holiday/camping trip with her friends and fellow wannabe change-makers, she certainly doesn’t expect to be  shown a whole new world by a strange guy who seems to know a surprising amount about her, and her future. Suddenly she is stepping out of the light she has always known and into the realms where darkness rules. What truths will she discover lurking there? 

I’m better at writing actual stories than descriptions, as you’ve probably guessed. Nope, definitely guessed. Proven, in fact.

So please don’t judge. Please?

Now, I hope you’re intrigued ’cause I have a real treat for you guys coming right up. I’m actually really excited about this. I really want to know what you all think.

Here is an exclusive scene from Gracie Chick’s  brand spanking new novel, I hope you enjoy it! Hint: There’s a BIG twist at the end so keep reading on, and on, and on, and on. Ok, here goes:

You’re not the first kid to want to change the world.” he muttered “Really?” I asked, conversationally. “Really.” he seemed to stare straight past me, his amber eyes glowing in the gloom beyond the dimly lit campfire circle.

I glanced around coolly, fighting to keep my calm and sarcastic demeanour whilst this unnervingly smart and perhaps a little too ‘deadly serious’ stranger told me about my own life and future.

I stuck up my nose and stared right back at his face. “I didn’t know that.” I said loudly, half hoping that someone would come to my rescue. “Come to think of it, I guess Superman probably did when he was fourteen too.”

The guy gritted his teeth. “Look girl, I don’t think you get what I’m saying. Let me show you something.”

Before I could abruptly object, he had seized my hand and was yanking me away from the light and safety of the camp and away into the darkness of the forest.

His hair was black and thick and I could see the moonlight glinting on it as he dragged me forcefully along behind him. I used my free hand to try and release his grip. It was no use. He stopped and turned to hiss angrily at me. He sighed in frustration. “I’m trying to help you!” he exclaimed. “How!?” I stamped my foot in annoyance. “You’ve kidnapped me,  lost me in a woodland at midnight, my friends​ have no idea where I am, I have no idea who you are or where you’re taking me.” My voice rose into a panicky sort of screech.

He seemed to soften suddenly and his firm grasp on my hand loosened. “I promise that no harm will befall you,” he whispered gently “but you have to trust me. Now, do you want to come with me or not?”

I was shaking all over as I considered my options. I was sure he’d leave me here if I didn’t agree to go with him, but perhaps he’d lead me into an even greater danger? Then, he did promise, didn’t he? Do I trust him?

Finally I looked up at his haunting face. “Ok,” I regained my composure and swallowed hard. “Let’s go.” My voice was steely and cold. “I don’t know why I’m trusting you, but it seems I have no other choice.”

“Good.” he turned briskly away and headed off into the shadows. “Wait!” I stumbled after him, arms stretched tentatively out in front of me like a deluded zombie. “Your eyes will adjust.” he said shortly, with stopping nor turning around.

“Actually,” he stood still suddenly and spun round, his eyes burning into me. “you’ll need to change out of those clothes.” “What!?” I looked down at my white skinny jeans and pale grey hoodie in disbelief. My light blue converse glowed comfortingly in the moonlight. “Trust me.” he snapped. “Alright! Alright!” I growled back before disappearing into the dense thorny shrubbery that crept along the forest floor.

I pulled off my shirt, wondering what I was supposed to change into, when a long, black garment came flying through the air and landed softly on the ground before me.

I picked it up, it was smooth and stretchy and smelt like musty leaves. I slipped it on and it clung to my body like heavy, dark shadow, cold and damp.

“Hurry up.” he appeared beside me, making me jump. “May I ask a question?” I said hesitantly. “Go ahead.” he kept walking, silent as a wolf in its wilderness. “Where are we going and why?” “Two questions, if I’m not mistaken.” he seemed to find himself amusing. “You said you’d answer and I’m waiting.” I stood up for myself like I knew how, in my fiercest​ and most commanding tone.

“We are going to the realms of darkness.” he said simply. “Ha! Now I know you’re crazy.” I scoffed, starting to feel crazy myself. He looked at me unblinkingly. “No. I’m not. We are going there.” “Not possible.” I laughed uneasily, trying to reassure myself. “There’s no such place.”

“You’d be surprised.” he muttered. I was growing more anxious by the minute and suddenly burst out with a torrent of words that even I was slightly taken aback by. “Look, I don’t care who you think you are, you must explain yourself before we go any further. It is completely and utterly unfair of you to do all this without any explanation. I won’t continue unless you tell me who you are, where we’re really going, why you took me, how you know so much about me and why you’re so totally arrogant and rude and weird.”

He sighed and smiled ruefully. When he spoke there was a hint of sadness in his melodious voice. “It’s difficult. You’ll never believe me. It’s easier for you to see it with your own eyes first.”

“Please?” I replied softly, sinking down onto my knees amongst the leaves. He paused. “Ok,” he answered “but we must keep moving to arrive before morning.”

“Go ahead then.” I wearily rose back to my feet.

“Every now and then, throughout the history of time, there is a child who wants to change the world, make a difference, save the people. The believe they are well equipped, strong, able and capable.” the boy began his story, gliding across the leafy ground with hardly a rustle.

“Your ways are all the same. So hopeful, so optimistic, so sure.” he emphasised the last word, almost spitefully. “There are two sides to this world, though both tend to merge and hide within each other until it becomes impossible to distinguish the truth from the fakes and frauds. Unless you know where to look, of course.” he grinned at me as if there was something I didn’t know. I reached up to finger my hair nervously.

I almost screamed. It was jet black. “What is happening to me? I was blonde. I AM blonde.” I tried to control my confused anger. “Shhh!” he soothed “Listen to the story.”

“The sides have names: Dark and Light, Good and Evil.” “I know.” I told him. “ I fight for the Good and Light. That’s what I do. I try to be A Light In The Darkness.”

“You all say that.” he shrugged. “How do you know?” I asked. A faraway look came into his bright and alert eyes. “I know you all.” he whispered. “All of you. It is my job, as the Dark side’s ambassador to show you the truth, to show you the enemy. Because how can you fight us when you don’t know anything about us?”

And with that he bowed low, his shining hair brushing the floor. “Welcome to the realms of darkness, Faith.”

I screamed.  

Da da da!!! The drama! Even I’m getting scared and I know what happens next!

 Did you enjoy that? What did you think of the idea? Any feedback is absolutely welcome and appreciated. Would you like to read more snippets and scenes? Please let me know. Does anyone else have any novel-ish news to share so that we can compare notes and experiences? 

See you all later!

Gracie

 

 

 

 

The Sunshine Blogger Award: Filled With Light

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When someone says The Sunshine Blogger Award, what words spring to mind? For me it’s Light. Hope. Happiness. Laughter. Fun. I want this blog to be filled with all of those things and I hope that I already create a sense of some of them here on A Light In The Darkness.

So I want to begin by saying a big thank you to the wonderful May for nominating me for this award and giving me the opportunity to share with you one of my passions besides writing and trying to change the world: Books!

So let’s start with the rules:

  • Thank the person/persons that nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions your nominator has given you.
  • Nominate 11 other people and give them 11 new questions to answer.
  • List the rules and display the award.

If you could be an author, who would you be?

Probably Sita Brahmachari, not only does she pen the most incredible books about subjects like grief, war, bullying, friendship, poverty and love, she is also a full-time campaigner for Amnesty International, a human rights organisation. She works with refugees and allows them how to express themselves through writing. She blogs at this blog here. She is an extremely down-to-earth and inspirational person and I’d love to be like her. To read my book review of three of Sita’s books, click here.

If I could be another author, it would be Michael Morpurgo, he writes with such strong feeling and emotion about real things that happen in the world. He is a master storyteller and he really wants to make a difference. The way he gets inspiration for his books is amazing, it’s all through experiences he has and chance conversations with random people. He inspires me a lot.

What book(s) do you wish you wrote?

Moon Bear by Gill Lewis, the story line is so complex and touching. A girl sacrifices her life for the sake of doing the right thing. The author creates beautiful characters that you feel so connected with. The dialog is convincing and realistic (something I struggle with when writing my own novels). Her art of describing is also incredible. I highly recommend it.

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdshall. The main reason I wish I wrote this book is the way the author is so clever with the characters. It is a sort of modern version of Little Women, following the crazy lives of four sisters, but Jeanne makes it totally her own. She manages to keep up the unique personalities of each sister throughout the whole series.

Here are each of their profiles, starting with the oldest, I thought you might find it fun to read:

Rosalind: The responsible and sensible, kind and caring eldest sister. She is practical and loves to bake, but can sometimes be taken to romantic notions! She is looked up to by all her younger siblings. 

Sky: Stubborn, smart and out-spoken Sky is the second Penderwick sister. She wants to be an astrophysicist when she grows up and believes in science and fact. She finds her sisters extremely annoying, but is never afraid to be brave and stand up for them in an emergency. 

Jane: Jane is the crazy, dreamy third sister who spends each and every moment of her day with her head stuck in one of her books. She hopes to become an author one day and practices writing poetry and stories all the time. She has a habit of using long words.

Batty: Her name is short for Elizabeth, she’s named after her late Mother. She is quiet and sensitive and loves to try and help others. She also seems to understand animals in a way none of her sisters can. 

How fast of a reader are you?

Um, very very fast. I literally DEVOUR books! I read the average book in two days.

Which book character would you totally want to meet, but fear might kill you?

The fearsome Nancy Blackett from Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. She is my absolute idol. I have walked around in a red bobble hat and black cowboy boots since I first read the book aged about seven. I want to meet her and be her so much!  She is a young female pirate, who resides over Lake Coniston in The Lake district, UK.  She’s captain of a boat called Amazon whom she sails with her sister, Peggy. They live off grog (ginger beer) and great hunks of fruitcake.  It’s just good old-fashioned adventure and some of it is actually quite exciting.

What books have you cried over (if any)?

The Child’s Elephant by Rachel Campbell-Johnston. It is quite a serious book about child soldiers in Rwanda and it really shocked me. I had no idea that this sort of thing went on in the world and I found it deeply moving. To read my book review that I wrote two years ago click here.

What do you do besides reading?

Well, obviously writing. And blogging. I really enjoy to swim too. I am a total water baby and rejoice in the freedom that being in the water grants me. Out of the pool, I am not agile at all, so it’s liberating for me. I also love baking and creating new recipes to share with my family and friends. I am learning about foraging, wild food and herbal medicine too, I find that so interesting. My other hobbies include skiing, sailing and hanging out with friends.

How would you react if all the books suddenly disappeared from the world?

I cannot possibly imagine that and I’d rather not, if you don’t mind. Ha ha!

Book-to-movie adaptations: Like or hate?

It depends. I guess some are great and others aren’t. I don’t like it when they change the story too much,

What book have you been dying to read, but haven’t gotten the chance to?

One by Sarah Crossan. It’s about conjoined twins who’ve been home educated all their lives and then go to school. I find the concept of being physically joined to your twin incredible and being home schooled myself, I am curious as to how the author writes about their experiences. It’s also written in poetry form, which I feel would enhance the story.

Would you rather get paid to read books, review books, or blog about books?

The first one and the last one. But, if I had to choose, I would say ‘get paid to read books’ as I’m not the hugest fan of writing book reviews and I could still blog about other things.

WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT ONE OF YOU FAVORITE AUTHORS IS STANDING ACROSS THE STREET FROM YOU WHAT DO YOU DO???

I’M GOING TO WRITE THIS IN CAPS TOO ‘CAUSE IT’S SO EXCITING!!! Okay, I’ll stop now. I would tell myself that now is no time to be shy and that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Then I would walk across the street and say “Excuse me, can I take a picture with you?” If they said yes, which they would because I only like kind authors, I would be posting it on this blog as soon as I had an internet connection! I would ask them a few questions about writing and then thank them profusely before happily skipping away.

Now for my nominees:

Grace: From The Tip Of Grace’s Pen

Aqsa: Aqsa Says What

MintieFreshie

Elsie L.M.C

Thoughts In Life

RubixCube: Singing To The Sea

Tiana: The Book Raven

Rainbow Girl: Born To Be Me

Loren: Blue Eyes, Grey Eyes

Emma: Book Emma

https://itssimplyme3.wordpress.com/

If I’ve nominated you and you’d rather not do this award, that’s fine! I totally understand. If I haven’t nominated you, please don’t be offended, instead feel free to take part.

My Questions:

What words do you live your life by?

How do you think that you personally can change the world?

What do the words ‘A Light In The Darkness’ mean to you? (How do you interpret them?)

What do you want more than anything else in the world?

Who do you aspire to be like?

What is the story behind your blog name?

What book left you speechless?

Describe one memory that you would never want to lose?

What song could you sing for eternity?

Which blogger in the blogosphere can you relate to the most?

What in life challenges you the most?

Okay, enjoy and let me know how you get on!

Bye for now,

Gracie

 

Sunrise In The Middle East

I wrote this story about girl’s rights in the Middle East. Hope you enjoy, but any constructive criticism is welcome! I have entered this short story into the Wicked Young Writer’s Awards so wish me luck!

Sunrise In The Middle East

“Greetings People. It’s me, Sunrise, and I’m back with the latest progress on the Girl’s Rights In The Middle East front. As you know…..”

I pause to blow away some of the dust that’s trapped in the gaps between the letters on my keyboard. I smile as the tiny particles are momentarily suspended in a ray of sunlight that’s disturbing my writing session, in a good way. I cup my hands around it and watch them glow with golden light. It reminds me of myself.

“On the morning of your birth, the sun seemed larger than ever before.” my Mother’s sweet, quiet voice echoes in my ears. “ I saw it coming up on the horizon, huge and round and blood-red. It spread its life-giving light all over the earth and eventually it reached you. It seeped in through my window and into the shadowy room. Then it touched your head and you awoke. So I named you Sunrise and hoped you’d be full of life, laughter and most of all, light.”

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I sigh as I pull off a floral-printed headscarf and a cascade of knotty, tangled brown hair tumbles down my back. My amber streaked, hazel eyes that are usually full of humour and curiosity sparkle as my big flashing smile makes an appearance on my smooth olive-skinned face.

I sit back down to read my emails and idly click the first one that pops up.

Dear Sunrise

My name is Aaminah and I am 11 years old. I wanted to tell you how much you inspire me and how, because of you, I go to school and learn how to write beautifully, like you do. Thank you.

You are the Middle East’s best female activist, that is what we say at my school. All the girls are pleased that you spoke up for their education so I write to you on their behalf too.

You are very brave and you have said what our people have all been too scared to say.

Thank you again and may you be blessed.

Every time a child sends me an email like this is warms my heart so much that I click Reply immediately and begin to type.

Dearest Aaminah

I am so glad that you are able to go to school now, I am certain that one day you will be an amazing writer. It was not just me who helped you, there are many girls like myself campaigning for education. When you are a little older perhaps you will be one of them. Perhaps we will even meet one day. I would like that. Say hi to your classmates for me!

Keep safe and may you also be blessed.

Sunrise

I hover over the send button and press it down. I imagine her delight as she reads my message of hope and shows it to her friends. It makes this risky and sometimes dangerous role that I have taken on all worth it. With a contented smile on my playing at my lips, I prepare to read the next piece of mail.

Sunrise Abdullah

This is a warning. Stop your campaigning or you will suffer the consequences. What you are doing is forbidden. We will stop you because you are a disgrace to us all. How could you abandon our ancient ways for the ways of the West? Empowering women is wrong.

I sit back, my face shocked and expressionless, and stare at the screen. I take a deep breath and scroll down to see the sender. Nothing. Email address? Security protected. “Arrghhhh!” my mood changes to angry and confused.

How can people say that? How can they not see that all people should be equal? Education is a chance that all people should have. A chance to escape poverty and oppression. When you’re educated it makes it easier to change the world. And believe me, there are a lot of things that need changing. In my frenzy of mad and blind rage, I hit Reply once again.

To Whom It May Concern

You are wrong.  A rule might be ancient, but that doesn’t make it right. If you truly believe that empowering women is wrong then tell me why. Now. I demand an answer. Because I am, like you, passionate. I won’t give up without a fight. I don’t care for your threats and promises, I am a peace-maker and I make peace through education.

Sunrise Abdullah

Writer and Girl’s Rights Activist