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How to Make an Eco-Christmas Tree

eterni-treeSimon and I are second-time arounders and have only been together for a handful of Christmases.

The ex’s got possession of the festive malarkey we’d amassed over the years, so for our first one, we bought a little rooted Christmas tree grown a handful of miles down the road in Devon.

It grew slowly and surely but sadly, didn’t fare too well during the weird summer we’ve just had and to be honest, she entered winter looking a little threadbare.

Eco sits in both of our bellies and we didn’t want to buy a cut tree and knew we definitely didn’t want an artificial one either.

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21 Quite Useful Things to Do With a Book; aside from read it…

The Book of KnowledgeI confess to being guilty of Twitter wilfing in search of witty literary articles and am now completely fascinated by the mish mash of quality reading and utter dross that resides there.

I’ve seen (not read) 10 Inspirational Tracks to Write to, 5 Unorthodox Things to do with Your Characters, Top 10 Bad Author Pseudonyms, need I go on?

They say if you can’t beat them, join them, so here’s my stab at making you giggle with 21 Useful Things to Do With a Book; aside from read it.

Paperback purists, please proceed directly to the end of the article, whistle for a few minutes and forget you ever started reading this article…

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Our New Titles: The Resilience Handbook

Elizabeth Walker author of The Resilience HandbookIf you are turned on by simple green living, one of our forthcoming titles, The Resilience Handbook, by Elizabeth Walker is going to set your head in a slow, green spin.

Imagine melding  the best concepts from the Transition Handbook and Polly Ghazi’s Downshifting with John Seymour’s guides to self-sufficiency, then adding a splash of necessary survival and you’ll find yourself in the right ball park for this incredibly practical and well penned handbook, set for publication in April 2015.

This inspirational, problem solving and sobering manuscript is currently tucked away with our eco-editor at the moment and we cannot give too much away at this stage, except to say we are incredibly proud to be publishing this crucial and timely solution to many of our modern day problems.

Hop onto Elizabeth’s website to find out more about The Resilience Handbook and don’t you worry, we’ll be keeping you up to date right here. Subscribe to our blog to be one of the first to find out.

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Is Social Media Important for Authors? Ask Anthony

Anthony RavenwoodWe have a prolific writer and talented musician in our stable of amazing authors, Mr Anthony Ravenwood.

He penned The Breathing Wheel, a children’s fantasy fiction book with wonderful illustrations by Stephen Bayliss and it landed on bookshelves at the tail end of last year.

He is now fully immersed writing a soundtrack to accompany his story and will be giving live performances in the not too distant future. If I had to pick a couple of artists to give you a sense of his musical style, I would say Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Alan Parsons; I’m sure you get the idea…

Anyway, this was meant to be about how social media can elevate your status and spread your message but I suspect I may also have piqued your interest for this enigmatic author.

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Top Advice For Entering Writing Competitions

TortoiseBelieve me, I know how it feels to be a writing competition addict.

You wake up with a burning urge to flip the computer on and sniff through your email to see if news of any fresh ones have surfaced.

Your mental traffic lights flash from amber to green with ideas and you find yourself people watching as you stand in the queue for the bus, scrutinising fellow passengers for their quirky mannerisms.

But what happens if your excitement gets the better of you and you upload or post your entry and fee, only to find out after the event that you forgot a crucial, silly, tiny, eenie, weenie detail that could have invalidated all of your hard work?

Arrrggghh, comes to mind!

So, what’s the magical advice?

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Can You Pot Your Summer into a Short Story or Poem?

front_loresIf it’s quirky and has entertaining read-back value, why not sling it in as an entry to the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize!

We’ve had a marvellous response to the launch of our inaugural writing competition and received some fabulously diverse entries already.

We’ve had sad, funny, criminal, quirky, romantic, saucy and more than a modicum of bizarre; all in all, a perfect blend.

A handful of this week’s entries have sprinklings of sunshine and adventure in them and I suspect the delightful UK summer (rarer than a lesser spotted twitchernit) inspired a few of our entrants to grab a pen and party.

How about you?

Mark Twain knew precisely what he was talking about when he said, Write what you know!’

So, dear creative and excitable writers everywhere, it’s time to ask yourself the following questions.

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Explore the Dark and Find the Light

Statue with head in handsNB: Depression is a clinical condition and can be treated in many ways. If you think this might be affecting you, make an appointment with your doctor as a matter of urgency, then put the kettle on and find a pen.


We have been very lucky to work with authors who have had their fair share of difficult times…they shall remain nameless, except for Tracey West.

I say lucky, not in response to them having had a slice of darkness, but in respect of working with people who have come to realise that being depressed or deeply sad can evoke some incredibly powerful pieces of writing.

 


Poetry of Divorce and Diary of Divorce are two cases in point, both penned by Tracey West during and after her tumultuous divorce. Tracey hoped it would lift the spirits of readers who were struggling with their own divorce and also encourage them to tap into their darkness and write from the heart when they felt the clouds were closing in.

There are no prescriptive methods to exploring this line of advice. You don’t need to be a writer, a poet or a crafter of jaw-dropping prose, you just need to know how to hold a pen or find a keyboard.

Tracey advises you to get a cup of your favourite brew, find a reliable source of tissues and something nice to nibble if the need arises, then sit quietly (or immerse yourself in loud rock music if you prefer) then pour your heart out through your fingers.

When a spot of hindsight kicks in at some point in the future, you might look back on your piece of writing and be entirely shocked and surprised by what you produced. If your mental health and well being are back on an even keel, you might not even recognise the author!

Think of the piece as a snapshot of your life at that time, a readable photograph with a splash of creativity that you never thought you had in you.

The strange thing is it might sit in a dusty drawer for years, then it’ll suddenly surface and if you choose to share it, the words might be able to help a friend who is blighted by the same clouds that you were.

Sending love and light to all.

The Team

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Our Poet in Residence: Tracey West

Tracey West, author of Diary of Divorce: for women & menI do believe you have to have a bit of a quirky angle these days to get people to sit up and notice you on Twitter and Facebook.

It’s all very well if you just want to natter to friends and random strangers about what’s happening in the land of Dr Who and the like, but if you have a business message you want to spread across the globe, you need to do something slightly more edgy than pen a witty 149 characters of key blurb.

So, we thought we’d appoint a Poet in Residence to scrawl a few catchy lines on our Twitter feed and who better to anoint than our very own Tracey West, author of the successful Poetry of Divorce: for Women and performance poet of the same.

Unfortunately, we think she may have set the bar a bit high. Since she started Tweeting on the 26th March – just a week ago – she’s written 86 of the little chaps!

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Our Author Posts: a new one by Mark James

Magic Oxygen Publishing playwright, Mark JamesMark James is a powerhouse of an actor and playwright and we’re very proud to be publishing his inaugural play, Dear Mother.

Incidentally and just as an aside, if you read our note yesterday about Rob Windsor’s latest post, you might be interested to know that Mark has played the lead role in many of Rob’s Facing Tides Theatre productions, including Off Her Facebook!

Anyway, there is clearly an element of literary glitter in the air this week, as both of our talented playwrights have knocked out stupendous postings on their websites.

Mark site can be found at MarkJamesPlays.co.uk and he has just penned a piece filled to the gills with advice for anyone thinking about putting on a performance of Dear Mother. However, even if you’re not considering doing so, it does offer a wonderful insight to the mind of a creative writer as he imparts top tips on how to put visual polish onto a performance.

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How to Present Your Manuscript in 10 Easy Steps

An Untidy ManuscriptWe get an interesting variety of calls at Magic Oxygen from budding authors who want to talk about their manuscripts, some of which are sitting under virtual lock and key and others have been sitting on top of the wardrobe gathering dust and dead spiders, patiently waiting for the perfect moment to burst forth.

We love it when that timely event combines with finding Magic Oxygen’s contact details, because only a few things come close to talking to somebody about making their literary dreams come true.

Assuming (a) the writer can string an entertaining sentence or two together and (b) the initial discussions go well, step (c) will be to look at the practical steps that need to take place to turn the manuscript into a paperback, graphic novel, play, e-book etc.

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