Back to the 80s: T is for Tears for Fears.

Once again we’re jumping back into my Back to the 80s Challenge and we’re moving ever so closer to the finish line.

For this part of the challenge we’ve come to a band that I introduced to my kids a couple of years ago, and my daughter seemed to appreciate them at the time (yes, you have to introduce your kids to good music from an early age. 😉 )

Tears For Fears were formed in England in 1981 and had success with their third single ‘Mad World’ in 1982. Their first album was released a year later, reaching platinum status and became successful in other countries. It wasn’t until the release of the single ‘Shout’ from their second album Songs From the Big Chair in 1984, that the band reached international fame. The album also included the hits ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ and ‘Head over Heels’. Their third album The Seeds of Love was released in 1989 and was another world-wide hit. The band split in 1991 where they pursued solo careers, only to reform in 2000.

‘Shout’ was the song that my daughter favoured the most (as do I). So did a lot of people in fact, as the song went on to become one of the most recognisable songs of the 1980s.

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter T include:- Talking Heads, Thompson Twins, The The, The Clash, The Triffods, TISM.

What is one of most recognisable songs of the 1980s for you? Have you introduced music from your childhood down to your own children? What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter T can you think of?

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Walk Away From Toxic People.

As writers, we need to develop a thick skin when it comes to rejection. The more we expose our writing to others, the more we learn to ‘toughen up’, realising that it is in fact, our writing and not ourselves that is being judged. However, there is also the rejection on a more personal level that we need to be aware of; being surrounded by people who are negative when it comes to our writing goals or just us in general.

Recently, I had such a wake-up call. Unfortunately, I’ve been down this road before once too often, even a long time ago (and is the spark of one of my works in progress) and once again, involves people closest to me. I’ve taken hit after hit for so long that I am reminded of this famous quote:-

It is because they are so close, that we endure their negativity, their bullying and even their desire to ignore us. No matter how hard we may try, sometimes people cannot change what they don’t acknowledge. However, there comes a time where we can only take so much and tell ourselves enough is enough. We need to do this in order to gain some level of self-respect. Sometimes we have to walk away from the negatives in our lives, and that can include certain people. It’s not always easy, but it is necessary for our own happiness and peace of mind.

So how do you overcome the pain of rejection? Focus on the positive; surround yourself with like-minded people and those who encourage you, do things that make you happy, listen to music, exercise. Use such negative experiences and turn them into positives by focusing on what you can do to improve your writing goals and/or yourself as a person. Enrol in courses, join the gym, find ways to further your employment prospects.

Perhaps it goes down to that old saying ‘nice guys finish last’ because it always seems to be the nice guys that get walked on – or perhaps it’s just that I’m not a narcissist. 😉 Unfortunately, rejection is a part of life. How we deal with it is one of the many ways we learn to grow and such blows can make us stronger when facing that next challenge.

Have you experienced rejection at a personal level? How do you overcome rejection? Have you had to pull away from friends and/or family for your own peace of mind?

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Do You Use Personal Information in Your Stories?

It’s the start of another month, so it’s time once again for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG), a blog hop to share and encourage other writers.

When it comes to writing stories, we tend to put a little bit of ourselves in our characters as well as certain situations. For example, at some point in our lives we have all experienced love, anger, happiness and pain. These things we can write about and readers can relate to such emotions. There can be other events and emotions we have experienced that can make such a profound effect upon us that whether consciously or unconsciously, can turn up within our own stories.

One of my stories in particular is based upon a situation that took place during my teenage years and all these years later, I still feel the need to write about it. In fact, this particular novel has been written, but is currently undergoing extensive re-writes (be it ever so slowly). The event is used as the trigger for a bigger plot, but it helps my main character evolve and help her find her own path to redeeming herself.

My characters can sometimes be a part of me, which can cause problems as I’m too close; however if we put too much of other people we know into our fictional characters, we could end up in all sorts of trouble. The novel that I am currently re-writing may have originated from a personal experience, yet I don’t want the main character to become a mirror image of myself; adding some quirks and putting her into some difficult situations creates distance for myself as a writer and makes the character less ‘Mary Sue’. It’s a matter of mixing things up and finding that right balance.

Writing is the way I express myself; I’m more comfortable expressing my thoughts and feelings in written form rather than in the spoken word. This is why I am a writer. I believe that writing what we are passionate about makes for better writing. Anything I feel strongly about will show up in my writing one way or another, and that includes personal situations; for example, hurt feelings can manifest themselves into stories that involve revenge (Warning: I have a tendency to ‘bleed upon the page’ so that I can do away with you as a character). 😉

Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters or stories, either by accident or purpose? Do you find that writing what you are passionate about makes for better writing? Have you found a common theme in your stories? How do you create distance with some of your characters/stories?

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

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Back to the 80s: S is for Simple Minds.

Another week and it’s time once again for my Back to the 80s challenge. We’ve made it down the the letter S and I can’t believe I’ve made it this far (it’s been a long challenge), but the end is almost in sight.

I’m back to another band that was a favourite of mine back in the 80s and listened to quite a bit – and even saw them live in concert.

Simple Minds were formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1978 and released their first album in 1979. By 1981, they released four more albums and the single ‘Love Song’ became an international hit. The single ‘Promised You a Miracle’, hit the UK Top 20 and the Australian Top 10. Their album New Gold Dream was released in 1982 and became a commercial success. Despite their popularity, it wasn’t until the single ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ appeared in the film ‘The Breakfast Club’ in 1985 that they broke into the US market.

Simple Minds performed at Live Aid in 1985 and in the same year released the album Once Upon a Time, resulting in four world wide hit singles. The band would go on to undergo line-up changes, became more political in their lyrics, produce more albums and perform world tours. In 2007, the band marked their 30th anniversary. They continue to release albums and tour to this day.

I couldn’t quite decide which music video to put up for this one, as two songs in particular stand out as favourites. ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ was the other contender and is great live. Even to this day, I still can’t remember if I ever saw The Breakfast Club (yes, I know, shame)! But yeah, Alive and Kicking is my favourite – never get tired of this one. 🙂

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter S include:- Spandau Ballet, Spy vs Spy, Simply Red, Style Council, Sunnyboys, Split Enz, Stray Cats.

Have you seen ‘The Breakfast Club’? What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter S can you think of?

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Do You Dislike Clowns?

Why do some people dislike clowns? Clowns are supposed to make people laugh, yet in others (myself included) they can provide the opposite effect. A fear of clowns has been termed coulrophobia and as recently as 2016, there was a creepy clown epidemic, where some cities in the United States experienced menacing looking clowns, and eventually would become sighted world-wide.

With the remake of Stephen King’s ‘It’, I wonder if this was the reason behind last year’s clown epidemic. I read the book back in the 1980s and naturally, the only part that stayed in my mind was Pennywise. How could you not be afraid of a clown carrying red balloons and trying to lure small children down sewers? Watching the telemovie only heightened my dislike. I’m still debating whether to go see this new version.

Recently I read an article that Nevada’s Haunted Clown Motel is for sale. A haunted clown motel situated on a deserted highway, next to a cemetery and I instantly had images of ‘Psycho’ in my head, amongst other things. My muse turned to overdrive with the possibilities and I wondered why on earth anyone would want to own a clown motel. Each to their own, I guess, but despite the possibility of it being haunted, I’ll keep my distance thanks! 😉

A dislike of clowns are only heightened (as least for me) when it comes to John Wayne Gacy. It wasn’t until the 1980s that I learned about him, and perhaps he was Stephen King’s inspiration for Pennywise, but either way, he only cemented my dislike of clowns ever since. Dressing up as ‘Pogo the Clown’, performing at parties, charitable events and children’s hospitals was all part of his act in being a valuable member of society. This would eventually earn him the name the ‘Killer Clown’. In the telemovie ‘To Catch a Killer’, Brian Dennehy did such a wonderful job as John Wayne Gacy, that I will always picture him in that role. It was so creepy; I’m not surprised he was nominated for an award for his performance.

I can only speak for myself, but I think one of the reasons for my dislike of clowns is their faces. With their entire faces painted, one cannot see the real person behind them and in the cases of John Wayne Gacy and Pennywise, what lies behind is not good. It can be the same with people wearing masks and why they tend to appear in horror movies. Such things can either frighten or deceive. For me, that’s what makes clowns so scary.

Do you dislike clowns or do you rather like them? Are you going to watch ‘It’? If you’ve already seen ‘It’, what did you think? Would you stay in a haunted clown motel? Did John Wayne Gacy make you dislike clowns or was it Pennywise or perhaps another clown entirely? What do you think makes clowns so scary?

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Do Ghosts Move with Dwellings?

During a recent visit to Sydney, I took a tour of The Australian Pioneer Village. Opened in 1970, it was established in an effort to preserve some of the history of the Hawkesbury area, about an hour outside of the city. An enormous undertaking; about two dozen dwellings were relocated and their buildings kept structurally intact. Apart from dwellings, shops were also relocated, along with a bank, post office, school, church and police station. By day, it’s a journey into the country’s colonial past, however at night; it could be the most haunted street in the country.

On an episode of Haunting Australia, the team visited the Pioneer Village to find any evidence that ghosts moved with buildings. Both visitors and workers alike have experienced unexplained phenomena at the village and ghost tours are regularly conducted. A young stable boy has been sighted outside the sulky shed, the ghost of a horse has even been sighted and numerous orbs have been caught on film.

Marsden Park Public School, Mitchell Cottage, Case Cottage and Perry House are among some of the better known buildings for paranormal activity. Case Cottage is a centre of spirit activity and a male and female presence has been known to reside in the tiny space of Mitchell Cottage. Perry House is known to have had a checkered past, which includes a saddlery, grocery store and a ‘house of Shady Ladies’. As a result, it is said there is much activity here.

Inside Perry House, once a ‘house of Shady Ladies’. Spirit activity has been known to occur here.

During their investigations, the Haunting Australia team encountered a female apparition, a moving curtain, a knock in response and an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon). There was even a partial apparition sighted at the school house. Psychics reported sadness and requests for privacy from the spirit world.

With such a positive conclusion, this may warrant further study amongst paranormal investigators. Their findings only strengthen the belief that spirits move with dwellings; after all, people do become so attached to their homes that they may not wish to leave them after death.

Do you believe it’s possible for spirits to move with dwellings? Have you ever experienced any unexplained phenomena? Do you enjoy taking a step back into the past?

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Back to the 80s: R is for Roxy Music.

With my Back to the 80s challenge, I’m enjoying re-discovering certain bands and discovering new ones. As some of my stories are set during the 1980s, I’m enjoying the research and looking into the music that was popular at the time. This certainly helps with my character’s taste in music and therefore, learning more about their personalities.

This week, I couldn’t resist going past another band that is a personal favourite. And why not? My challenge, my rules. 😉

Formed in England in 1971, Roxy Music released their first album a year later, reaching No.10 in the album charts. It was not until they released their fifth album in 1975, that they had their first U.S. hit with ‘Love Is The Drug’. They disbanded in 1976, but reunited two years later and released two more albums. The album Flesh + Blood was highly successful in the U.K and reached No.1 in the charts. In 1981, they recorded their own version of John Lennon’s ‘Jealous Guy’ as a tribute and became the band’s only No.1 single. They released their final album Avalon in a year later and disbanded in 1983.

Sorry to all you John Lennon fans out there (hey, I’m one too), but personally, I prefer Roxy Music’s version of Jealous Guy. It’s beautifully done and a fitting tribute. This version usually brings a tear to my eye!

Other bands formed or who had hits in the 1980s starting with the letter R include:- Roxette, Re-flex, The Rockmelons, Real Life, Redgum.

Which version of Jealous Guy do you prefer? For writers, do you use music as a way of finding out more about your characters? What other bands of the 1980s that begin with the letter R can you think of?

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