Writers and their Patrons

Well, it’s been a very long time since my last post. Not because I didn’t have anything to write about but somehow time was never on my side. I’ve been focusing on my latest novel, (I like to think of it as a historical fantasy fiction) and writing reviews on TripAdvisor. The good news is I am in the top 10% of reviewers from Melbourne on TripAdvisor but the bad news is I haven’t finished my novel. See, university work keeps getting in the way.

What I would really love is to have more time to write and in between submitting assessments and working on my novel, I write short stories to amuse myself. As of yesterday, I decided to share these short stories with you on Patreon.

https://www.patreon.com/NoorDeOlinad

I heard about Patreon a while ago and have been thinking about starting my own creator’s page for some time but putting it off. Yesterday I finally decided I had procrastinated enough and to try it out. For those of you who are not familiar with Patreon,read on.

What is Patreon?
Patreon is a funding platform that lets fans support their favorite creators by becoming patrons. Unlike other fundraising services, which raise for a single big event, Patreon is for creators who create a stream of smaller works.

No obligations and you can cancel at anytime and if you have a budget to stick to, you can set a maximum monthly amount for your pledges.

I really liked the idea of having creating something that people enjoy so much, they voluntarily choose to support me through donations. While I may not make millions from it (and that is not my aim), I greatly value the encouragement from Patrons who like my writing. It is a wonderful feeling knowing that what you write not only brings enjoyment to yourself but to other people too.

I hope you enjoy my short stories as I work to finish my novel (in between submitting assessments)

Happy Reading

Travel tales and tips – Christmas in Toledo, Madrid and Seville

You may be thinking that it’s a bit late to post a blog about Christmas as the 25th of December has passed. Well, I am very happy to report that Christmas in Spain is far from over and doesn’t officially end until after the 6 of January. This is my little heaven, when every day is Christmas until January!

Let me stat by describing Christmas in Toledo where I spent Christmas eve and day. I stayed in a charming and characteristically old hotel called Enrico which I was happy to discover was practically next door to the majestic Cathedral of Toledo. I loved lying awake at night listening to the sounds of the cathedral bells ringing. I’m not sure how other people feel having the time told by a cathedral ringing bells for every stroke of the hour but I love it! For some reason I find it delightful and soothing. Christmas eve in Toledo is magical. They have the prettiest Christmas lights I have ever seen, including one sea of golden lights above your head that drapes gently down and continues all the way down the long windy narrow paved street. It was fun following the sea of lights above my head just to see where they led and I was not disappointed. The narrow ancient street lined with shops opened up to a large square full of hundreds and hundreds of locals and tourists enjoying the hundreds of Christmas lights. The trees were covered in lights and if you looked long enough they had hidden little lights that illuminated like little stars dropping from the heavens. It was a wonderful atmosphere, children wrapped snugly against the cold running around laughing, adults singing and dancing and one old man ad his grandson walking around singing and playing drums. Now that is how you celebrate Christmas! Be prepared though for a different approach to Christmas. Unlike Melbourne in Australia where shops stay open until midnight to accommodate last minute Christmas shopping frenzy, in Toledo all the shops and food places close at 4 pm. You might get lucky finding a MacDonald’s in the main square but who wants that when in Spain?? Christmas day is even more quiet as everyone is celebrating at home. That’s why we had to eat in a Chinese restaurant on Christmas day. Plan ahead and visit the small supermarket in Toledo . It has all your basic needs covered and you can even find gluten free chips. A couple of tuna cans and toasted Crips breads and you won’t starve.

Madrid prepares for an annual large parade for the 5th of January so even tough 25 December has passed, Christmas lights are still turned on every night and the festive spirit is very much alive. You may notice that some streets have more elaborate and prettier lights than others; that is because in Spain neighbourhoods pay for the Christmas decorations and some can afford to spend more than others. In Toledo, one street used recycled plastic bottles to create star shapes to decorate the strew. Budget cuts result in an ingenious idea and the  Christmas spirit continues to live despite lack of money.

Seville – for the first time in my life I saw a black man sitting on a throne with little children lining up to sit on his lap and ask for presents. It took me a minute to realise that he is supposed to be one of the three wise men who bring gifts at Christmas. In Spain Santa Claus is a relatively new tradition and the main gifts are delivered by the three wise men. So the lucky little children get two sets of Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToledo

Toledo

A sea of Christmas lights in Toledo with the majestic Cathedral illuminated in the background

Cathedral of Toledo a beacon of light in the foggy winter nights

Cathedral of Toledo a beacon of light in the foggy winter nights

Born in the wrong era…

Call me old-fashioned but I do so enjoy making eye contact with other humans and engaging in a stimulating conversation. Alas, the art of conversation (and it is an art form which takes skill) is slowly but surely disappearing. But forget conversation, even the basic skill of making eye contact with other people is on its way to extinction. In 50 years we may be watching documentaries about how people used to look at each other and talk instead of texting/messaging/emailing/facebooking/tweeting each other.

You may be wondering what has brought on my lament. Well, it was actually a car with those mini tvs in the back of the driver and passenger seats. And the car with the tv that comes down from the roof. Also, seeing toddlers playing with their parents iphones and unable to engage with people around them using basic and vital communication skills. Not to mention people on trams/trains and buses with their headphones plugged in or watching or playing things on their ipads. If you chance to ask them a question like ‘Excuse me, is the next stop Fictional Station?’ you’ll be lucky if they make eye contact at all. And don’t get me started on the teenagers who sit next to each other having a conversation (without looking at their friend) while listening to music on their ipods in one ear.

Have we really come to this? We have become victims of our own technological advancements. Can we really not go anywhere in a car without watching tv? Can we not talk to another person without listening to music at the same time? What happened to playing games of i-spy looking out the window of a car or train?

You might be thinking I am a grumpy old woman with 30 cats complaining about today’s youth. Well, not quite although I do have a cat..and a dog. I am 26 and find myself bewildered by the extent of technology taking over our lives. Perhaps I am the only person under 50 lamenting the good old days? I was probably born in the wrong era…

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