Fossend Publishing

Fossend Publishing

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Hibiscus Tea and Temples

I have a passion for ancient history especially when it relates to Egypt.  I try to impart to people what an amazing place it is, but words never seem to wholly do it justice, I always say, the only way to learn about a country is to go and see it for yourself. 

Egypt is currently suffering due to the continued knock on effect of the toppling of Mubarak and change of Government, and the threat to foreigners in Sinai.  Recently the Foreign and Commonwealth Office changed the guidance for travel to Sinai and it’s environs.  Sadly the media has mis-reported that change of guidance stating that traveling to Egypt as a whole is unsafe.  This is not true, the restrictions are in place for the Sinai Peninsula with a note to check advice before traveling to the rest of the Country, which is standard FCO advice.

When I talk about Egypt I’m aware of its struggles as a country and of the challenges it faces every day, but I’m more aware of what a truly amazing place it is to visit.  Tourism makes up a large percentage of its income and at present tourist numbers are desperately low, and don’t seem to be picking up as quickly as people hoped.  It’s a shame people choose not to visit and explore the country, due to continued mis-reporting. 

Egypt is filled with culture and history.  Modern day life sits neatly alongside ancient monuments that are thousands of years old.  Contrary to some reports Egyptians are friendly accommodating people who will welcome you with open arms and make you feel at home, and now couldn’t be a better time to visit.  Due to the low tourist numbers, sites that are usually crowded and sometimes difficult to see, are relatively quiet, giving visitors the chance to spend more time there and really absorb their surroundings, making them feel they’re the first people to have stepped into that temple or tomb for generations.

We all know about the famous sites such as the Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza, but there are many more magical places to see in Egypt.  There’s the fantastic mortuary temple at Medinet Habu in Luxor that has some of the best coloured reliefs, and accounts of Egyptian life I’ve ever seen.  Or there’s the temple of Isis at Philae, a beautiful temple that only stands today thanks to rescue work undertaken many years ago by UNESCO to save it from flooding and being lost forever.  If you have the time you could journey to the edge of Egypt itself to gaze upon the awe inspiring Abu Simbel, a sight that just takes your breath away and leaves you wanting more.  The list is endless, with so many temples, tombs and other ancient sites spread throughout the Country, you’re spoilt for choice.

Egypt also has many museums to house it’s collection of treasures. The largest is the Egyptian Museum in Cairo which contains artefacts from Tutankhamun’s tomb, as well as items belonging to the heretic King Akenaten, and if you have a penchant for the more gory side of life you can gaze upon a well preserved collection of mummified bodies of Royalty past.  In Luxor there are two museums, the aptly named Luxor Museum housing treasures found during excavations in Luxor and Karnak, and the Mummification Museum, where every item is dedicated to the ancient art of preserving the dead for the afterlife.

If you get bored with the history, and I promise you, you won’t, you could meander your way through the many shopping streets and bazaars bartering for some interesting souvenirs, or beautiful hand crafted goods, whilst accepting a friendly stallholders hospitality of a glass of hibiscus tea.  If this isn’t to your taste the luxurious Winter Palace Hotel in Luxor is an ideal place to have a break for a relaxing lunch overlooking the Nile.

I could go on. There are so many incredible things to see and do in Egypt, whether you choose to visit Cairo, Luxor, or venture further south to Aswan.  You could even combine all three by leisurely cruising down the Nile on a Dahabiyya.

So when considering your next holiday, why not try Egypt? It’s safe, there’s more to see and do than you could ever fit into one visit, and you’ll be welcomed with open arms and feel at home in a country that was just made to be discovered. If that hasn’t persuaded you then just imagine stepping onto a felucca, and relaxing as you sail serenely along the Nile, watching the beauty of Egyptian life passes you by, as the sun slowly sets leaving you with a bright shining moon and twinkling stars to guide you gently back to shore.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Writing from the heart

Over the years the expression 'Write about what you know' has passed my ears on many occasions, and generally my writing revolves around subjects that I enjoy.  History, archaeology and travel to name a few.

Lately my mind has nagged at me, often at the most inconvenient times, telling me that I have a story to tell.  A story that is highly charged and emotional, that will take all of the strength I have to write it.  A story that needs to be told, not for my sake but for the sake of others, so that others can feel they are not alone, so that others can see that there is hope and so that I can try and help break taboo and stigma.

I have wrestled with the idea for a while now.  I was reluctant and also embarrassed, it would mean bearing my soul completely, it would mean others knowing the full extent of my life, it would mean asking friends and family to recall details they may rather forget.  I would be opening myself up and laying myself bare.  A scary thought.

After much consideration I finally made the decision.  I finally began writing last week and am already ten thousand words in.  I have already been on an emotional roller coaster that has been hard to stomach and had conversations with people I love and who love me that have brought situations flooding back, some of which I'd rather forget.  It has been hard and at one point I asked myself if I was really making the right decision.  But I know now that I am and I'm determined to continue.

The story I am talking about is a hard one but I need to tell it, you see I have Epilepsy. A condition that is incredibly mis-understood.  I am not alone and there are many others like me, but I am fortunate to have been supported by a wonderful group of people over the years.  My story may take a while to write, it may be hard, and at times upsetting, but I am determined to do it.  I'm determined to publish it, and get it out there for people to read.  It is important that people who have the condition know they are not alone, and that is my sole purpose.

When writers write, they write about what they know.  I am doing that, but on this occasion I am also writing from the heart, and it's the hardest thing I have ever done.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

My writing Assistants

This is a cheeky/fun post today.  I thought I'd introduce you to my two gorgeous writing assistants.  Every day they assist me with their own particular style of 'helping' and I love having them around.


Luna is named after the Roman Goddess of the Moon.  Her favourite duties are sleeping nestled against the back of the laptop, or sleeping on top of the keyboard adding her own brand of typing to whatever it is I'm working on!

Flora is named after the Roman Goddess of Spring and Flowers. Her favourite duties are sleeping.  She is also excellent at cuddles and often interrupts work to nuzzle my hand, sit on my lap and cuddle whilst purring loudly.

I highly recommend getting a couple of assistants, they make you smile and make the day a worthwhile one!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Why do you write?

Many people always ask me why I write and it's such a difficult question to answer.  

I could just leave it at 'I write because I love it,' but that never seems like a good enough answer.  Writing is hard, many people think that writers just sit down, let the words flow and Hey presto! you have an instant book.  

It's not quite that simple.

For me writing is about an idea that buzzes around my brain, pestering me like an annoying fly, it takes hold and threatens to overwhelm.  I have this happen at the most inopportune times, whilst I'm talking on the phone, as I'm trying to go to sleep or whilst out with friends.  I spend hours wondering what I can possibly do with this one little idea, how can I even begin to make an entire book out of it?

Suddenly when I least expect it the story blossoms, I scribble in my notebook or send my fingers flying across the keyboard, and all of a sudden the characters come alive and take on a will of their own, the plot shows itself and begins to grow and a (long) while later, I finally have a story. 

It doesn't just stop there though.  I write about specific places, with historic themes and archaeological facts running through the story, I have to fact check and research like mad.  Once I've a completed draft, I then have to re-write, check, edit, and repeat a number of times before it gets to my editor who will then repeat the whole process.

All of this can take months of hard work, and determination.  At times (like today) your motivation leaves you for dust and you spend the day feeling annoyed because you should be working but can't.  There are other days where you sit at your desk and nine hours later you have to literally tear yourself away from the keyboard.

So, I hear you ask.  Why do you write Chrissie?

Well the answer is simple.  I do write because I love it, but I also write because I'm a creative person that needs to get all the ideas that buzz around my head out of my system.  I write because because I enjoy being immersed in what I write about, the history, being absorbed in another Country and it's culture or being part of an archaeological site.  My characters become like friends, I get mad at them when they don't do the right thing, I get sad when something bad happens to them, and share their joy when good things happen.

Most of all though, I just feel I need to share.  I want to entertain and despite it sometimes being a long drawn out process I love what I do every single day, even the non motivated ones like today!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Juggling with words

When people hear that I write, the reaction is often "Cool that must be amazing!" and I agree, it is.

What they are unaware of though is how intensive writing is and how at times, it can seem a lot like juggling. 

I am currently in the process of what will hopefully be a final edit of my Novella Integrate, the cover is almost signed off and then, once the final tweaks are done, it will be published.

In the meantime, whilst Integrate is with my editor, I am working on my full length novel (with working title of 'Thebes'), the full draft is now complete and I have started editing.  It is a long process of being critical, fact checking, re-writing where necessary, all in preparation for it to then go to my editor who will do the same. Then we will more than likely repeat the process a few times...

I have also started researching the next novel 'Elena's Island' which will involve both historical research as well as research about the Island on which it is set (Zakynthos).  This can be grueling as I need to ensure that the facts are 100% right, I don't want any mistakes. 

In the background I am also working on my branding, my tagline, overhauling my website and book cover ideas for 'Thebes' and 'Elena's Island'.  I also have a Facebook author page, twitter and this blog to keep up to date.  It is true when they say a writer's work is never done!

Despite the above I enjoy what I do and am grateful to have support from family, friends, fellow authors, and my followers.  I love my characters and enjoy delving into the interesting lives they lead and seeing the fantastic places they visit.  So yes what I do is amazing, and I am thankful that I am able to do what I love, despite occasionally having to juggle.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

100 Women - International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day. Women around the world are celebrating, and being celebrated for their achievements, however large or small.

Today one of my friends Deena Lees, a talented actress and voiceover artist, performed my poem 'Maisie' from my Collection of Poems and Short story book, at the 100 Women event at the Bath International Literature Festival.

I am very proud to have 'Maisie' read there as it is my favourite from the book, but even prouder that my friend chose to use a piece of my work, at such a renowned Literary Festival, I can't begin to thank her enough. 

If you have a spare five minutes today, take the time to help Women around the world celebrate, it is after all their day!