Tag Archives: Writing

The Blue Unicorn Print Dress

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

 

My little girl has always been good at putting things back in shops.  She’ll find things she wants or likes and I tell her no so she puts them back on the shelf and we move on.  I’ve never had a lot of money as a parent, and I’ve always been cautious with money, so she’s never become accustomed to getting treats.

I’m proud of that quality in her.  I’m proud that she doesn’t mind that most of her clothes are second hand, that she doesn’t tantrum for toys in shops, that she doesn’t feel entitled.  It’s a good quality in her and it makes parenting her easier, because she throws plenty of challenges at me in other places.

Walking into town recently we passed a little boutiquey dress shop.  In the window was a simple blue tea dress with a small print of unicorns with rainbow hair.  Miss Rose adores anything rainbow.  She’s obsessed with rainbows.  Se wants everything to be rainbow colours.  Her next biggest obsession is My Little Ponies and unicorns.  She spotted this dress and fell in love.

J.J. Barnes, Rose And Mum And More, Lilly Prospero And The Magic Rabbit, Lilly Prospero, Mummy Blog, Parenting Blog, Writer, WRiting blog

Photo Credit Kaboom Pics

Obviously I told her no.  I’ve not shopped in a boutique in my life and I certainly can’t afford to right now.  Plus she doesn’t need a new dress.  Plus it was teenager sized not four year old sized.  With her usual good grace she accepted it and we continued.  She didn’t cry or tantrum, she didn’t fuss, but she didn’t forget.  She has talked about the blue unicorn print dress every day since.

I work really hard.  I put as many hours as I physically and mentally can into my work.  I write, I blog, I promote, I network.  I take hours out from my family so I can work and my daughters have to accept that quite often mummy is there but not there.  I’m with them but I’m working.  I carry a lot of guilt for that but I know it’s for them.  They’re my motivation.

If I succeed and I sell enough books and I am able to financially support us properly, I want them to have a home with their own bedrooms.  And I want to decorate Rose’s with rainbows.  I don’t want to worry about the bills coming out, I don’t want to cry if the lawn mower breaks.  I want to buy cheese off the counter not in Value plastic wrap.

I want to buy Rose the blue unicorn print dress.

Not because I want her to lose her humility.  I wouldn’t ever raise her to be spoiled and entitled, to feel she gets everything she wants the moment she wants it, because I don’t believe in that kind of parenting anyway.  But because she’s a good girl.  She’s a good girl and her mummy works hard and she never complains.  And sometimes it’s nice to get a treat.

Jonathan told me yesterday I’m the most determined person he’s ever met and I understand what he means.  I’ve been working towards this goal, writing and making a living from that writing, for my entire life.  I’ve been discouraged and disheartened, I’ve felt like a failure, I’ve been told to give up but I’ve never stopped.  Some say determined, others say pig headed.

Why do I do it?  Partly because I love it with all my heart.  It’s everything I’ve ever wanted to do and it’s all I’m really good at.  I want it intensely and I’m willing to work for it.

J.J. Barnes, Lilly Prospero And The Magic Rabbit, Lilly Prospero, Sirens Launch, Siren Stories

J.J. Barnes

But mostly now it’s because of my children.  Because they deserve it.  They deserve to be inspired by my achievements, to benefit from the stability and comfort that could come from the money I earn, and because dammit my little girl deserves that dress.

By the time she’s grown enough that it will fit I want to be earning enough that I can go into that boutique and buy it for her.  Wrap it up in tissue paper, put it in a rainbow bag, and give it to her for a gift.  To tell her thank you for being so good, thank you for not fussing or whinging about how much I work, thank you for believing in me.  Thank you for being my reason to live when I felt so low, thank you for being my strength when I was afraid, thank you for loving me with such intense purity.

Thank you, Miss Rose, thank you.  You deserve that blue unicorn print dress for all that you are, all that you do.  And I promise you mummy is working every day as hard as I can to learn and improve and achieve until finally I’ll be able to buy it for you.  To prove that it’s all been worth it.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

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Rose’s Blod

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

My work is almost all done at a computer.  I write my blog and my books, work on marketing and promotion, from my laptop at home whilst I am raising my children.  I work between activities with my children and jobs around the house, starting whenever I get up, usually around 5.   Because of this Miss Rose is used to seeing me sitting at the computer.

“What are you writing?” she’ll ask me.

When she turns on her Kindle and sees my books on the bookshelf she gets thrilled, often opening them and looking at the words and telling me I wrote it.  When I tell her I’m writing a blog she asks what it’s about, always grinning ear to ear if I say it’s one about her.

She started “writing” in her My Little Pony notebook.  Scribbled swirls and spikes with different coloured pens she declares are chapters of her book or articles in her “blod”.  I love it.  She’s emulating me, which is adorable, but mostly because this is where it starts.  This is where the love of storytelling and words begins and she’s discovering it now.

Today she told me she wants to write a real blog.  She wanted a blog on the computer like my blog.  She wanted to write “Rose’s Blod”.

Whilst she was at nursery I set it up.  She loves rainbows more than anything so I made her a logo with rainbow coloured roses.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, Rose's Blod,, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Rose’s Blod

I named it Rose’s Blod for her because that’s what she wanted to call it.  Her little speech impediment is so much part of how she speaks that it made sense that if she’s going to be speaking through the computer then that should be shown.  Plus it’s bloody adorable.  I set it up through my own website and made an “About” page to explain what would be going on.

Then I waited until she got home and I showed her.  She was ecstatic.

The first post I typed and she dictated.  She told a story about butterflies.  We added photos and then posted it.  Her very first blog post.  A story she shared with the world.

Almost immediately a friend posted a comment, complimenting her words.

That was it.  She was bitten by the bug.

I am so happy for her.  Writing, both fiction and non fiction, gives me so much happiness and a purpose in life like no other.  If she gets that, feels that, finds that, then she has found joy.  A writer’s life is special.  Miss Rose is special.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

A Storyteller’s Heart

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

When I was a little girl I favoured my own company, much as I do now.  I would spend hours constructing elaborate stories in my head, also much as I do now.  Only then I would act these tales out with my My Little Ponies, Sylvanian Families or Barbies, and now as an adult I write them down and pretend I’m a grown up by selling them as books.

I could play with anything, and I would always tell stories.  My grandmother on my father’s side had a set of plastic farm animals and I would be left to play with them whilst she pottered about the house.  And play I would, for as long as I was left.  My grandmother on my mother’s side was less well equipped for the intrusion of children and when she wanted to have a nap I was simply left sitting in her living room.  Whilst I am sure many children would cause havoc, raid the biscuit barrel and turn out the cupboards, I played with her pin cushion.  She would sleep through the afternoon whilst I quietly acted out scenarios with the pins, distinguishing them by the different shapes and colours of the glass pin heads.

Stories have, for as long as I remember, been intrinsic to my identity.  They shaped my life.  I learned from the stories of others; decided my take on moral issues, learned about my sense of self identity, and worked through fears reading the words of others.  I wrote them as soon as I was capable, tale after tale, pestering my mother to read yet another scribbled down story and tell me what she thought.  I have a storyteller’s heart.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Lilly Prospero, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Photo Credit Pexels

When we watched our children as tiny ones, we assumed that my step son Z would be the storyteller in the family.  Whereas Miss Rose’s attention span is fairly small when it comes to films, Z will sit and watch a film in it’s entirety without moving.  If we put on Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Z would pull up his little Batman chair, sit himself down, and stare in captivated silence.  Miss Rose would amble about watching it half heartedly, then declare she was bored and seek alternative stimulation in the form of building blocks, colouring or cars.  Z’s natural inclination towards fiction made us believe that if one of them were going to love stories, it would be him.

However, as they’ve grown something has happened.  Miss Rose has started telling stories.

She tips out her box of My Little Ponies and begins.  For ages she’ll sit on the floor chattering away to herself, using different voices, and tell tales of adventure and drama between the characters she’s created.  When she gets the blocks out she builds houses and palaces, then begins acting out disagreements between who gets to live in which house.  In the bath, which she has a collection of dinosaurs and plastic animals in, she will be happily occupied for two hours or more telling excited tales of adventures on the high sea.  She is completely absorbed by creating stories, completely dedicated to what happens.

Whilst she won’t sit for an entire movie, she loves episodes of her favourite TV shows to be on in the background of her games.  She absorbs story telling styles, learns about the characters and how they relate to one another, and then recreates unique tales of her own from what she’s taken on.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More Blog, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Photo Credit Pezibear

Watching her last night, lying on her tummy and playing out stories with her My Little Ponies whilst Z sat quietly and watched a Batman cartoon, I realised how much like me as a child she was.  I never sat and watched a film without moving, I always had something on the go.  Sometimes it was drawing, sometimes it was crafting, but often it was story telling myself.  The films or TV shows were backgrounds to the tales I was telling myself, and now Miss Rose is doing the same thing.

I discounted her as having the storyteller’s heart because she is too busy to watch the stories of others.  But that was foolish.  The story’s of others interest her enough for inspiration and entertainment, but not enough to be the focus of her life.  Telling her own stories, though, that will captivate her attention entirely.

How they love stories in their own unique, but equally dedicated way, is truly fascinating.  Z can quote films to absolute perfection.  He learns the songs and will perform them word perfectly.  He likes any role play games with the toys to be completely accurate and true to the original.  It is, I am told in fact, very similar to how his father was as a child.  Miss Rose makes up her own versions of songs, uses stories as inspiration but not script, and goes off book whenever it suits her story.  Both love stories, but, as ever, in completely different ways.

Will either follow us into the family business?  Will we see new stories coming out in the Augmented Universe with Rose or Z in the author’s name space?  Will Emily the Master Enchantress or Lilly Prospero one day meet one of their creations?

J.J. Barnes, The Lilly Prospero Series, Siren Stories, Lilly Prospero, Rose And Mum And More Blog, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Photo credit Pexels

One thing’s for sure, if either does ever want to learn about writing stories they’ve got parents behind them who will show them the ropes with love and enthusiasm… we just have to try not to be obnoxiously pushy in that stage mum kinda way…

I’ve got to learn to say, “Yes darling, of course you can go into the sciences.  That’s a fantastically stable option that should guarantee you a lifetime of job security.”

And not add on, “But your heart will yearn for a life you could have had.  You will forever feel hollow for not creating new worlds to run through and explore.  You will feel alone because you won’t have created the most fascinating friends you could ever hope to meet.  And you will feel lost because you have not followed your heart down a path so full of amazement that you are surrounded each day with adventure and joy.  Become a storyteller, my love, and learn to feel a happiness that you’ve never before known, and that you never possibly could if you don’t.  Become a storyteller because it’s who you are.  Become a storyteller because it’s in your heart.”

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

Barnes Classics – Little Red Riding Hood

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Once upon a time, in a land far away from here, a little girl named Rebecca lived with her mother in a cottage at the edge of a forest.  Rebecca loved her mother very much, but she had a special place in her heart for her grandmother, who lived in a house on the other side of the forest.

One day, Rebecca’s grandmother came to visit and brought with her the most beautiful scarlet red riding cloak that Rebecca had ever seen.

“Is this for me?” Rebecca asked, gently stroking the thick, soft fabric.

“It is,” said her grandmother.  “I made it for you.”

Bending down, Rebecca’s grandmother wrapped the cloak around Rebecca’s shoulders, fixed the heavy brass clasp at her neck, then pulled the hood up over her head.  It was the most beautiful and warm thing Rebecca had ever owned.

Rebecca loved the cloak so much she wore it every single day, and soon the people in her village gave her the nickname ‘Little Red Riding Hood’.

One day Rebecca asked her mother if she could bake some cookies to take to her grandmother to say thank you for the cloak.

“Now Rebecca,” said her mother seriously as they loaded the freshly baked cookies into a large wicker basket.  “If you’re going to walk through the forest all alone you have to make me two promises.”

“Yes?” asked Rebecca as she pulled on her cloak and fastened the brass clasp at her neck.

Photo credit Dark Souls 1

Photo credit Dark Souls 1

“You must promise me that you won’t stray off the path,” said her mother.  “And you will not speak to any strangers.”

“I promise,” said Rebecca, pulling up her hood and picking up the wicker basket.  “I won’t leave the path and I won’t speak to any strangers.”

As Rebecca set off into the forest, her mother stood in the doorway of their cottage and waved goodbye.

The forest was beautiful.  The sunlight made the leaves overhead glow and the light breeze made the flowers on the side of the path dance.  Noticing the pinks and blues of the dancing flowers gave Rebecca an idea.  Her grandmother loved flowers; a big bunch would be the perfect thing to complete her thank you gift.

Stepping off the path, Rebecca went in search of the prettiest flowers in the forest to make the perfect gift for her grandmother.

As she walked she gathered flowers as she went, and soon she started to hear a chop, chop, chop noise coming from deeper in the forest.  Being curious by nature, Rebecca went in search of where the sound was coming from and soon came across the village woodsman, chopping logs with a big, heavy axe.

“Hello there, Little Red Riding Hood,” he greeted her.  “And what are you doing alone in the forest?”

“I’m taking cookies to my grandmother,” explained Rebecca, holding the wicker basket up.  “And I wanted to take her a bunch of flowers as well.”

“Do you have far to go?” asked the woodsman, setting his axe down and leaning on it.

“No,” said Rebecca.  “She lives in the house at the end of the path.  I’ll be there soon.”

 

***

What Rebecca and the woodsman didn’t know was that the Big, Bad Wolf was listening to their conversation.

The Big, Bad Wolf was terrified of the woodsman and his big, heavy axe, so liked to keep an eye on him from the trees to make sure he couldn’t sneak up on him when he wasn’t expecting it.

The Big, Bad, Wolf was hungry and when he saw Little Red Riding Hood he licked his lips.

Photo credit Coco Parisienne

Photo credit Coco Parisienne

“The house at the end of the path, eh?” he said to himself thoughtfully.  The woodsman might make it impossible for him to safely hunt in the forest, but the little girl gave him an idea and he hurried away, a wicked grin on his face.

When he reached the house at the end of the path, with a wicked grin on his face, the Big, Bad Wolf knocked with a rat-a-tat-tat on the door with his paw.

“Is that you, Little Red Riding Hood?” came a voice, and a grey haired woman pulled the door open.

“No!” barked the wolf,  and before the she could push the door closed again, the Big, Bad Wolf barged his way in, opened his huge mouth, and swallowed the woman whole with a big gulp.

After burping as loudly as he could, the Big, Bad Wolf took in his surroundings, then headed for the bedroom with a wicked plan forming in his mind.

 

***

 

After she had gathered a beautiful bunch of flowers, Rebecca waved goodbye to the woodsman who had returned to chopping, and set off down the path towards her grandmother’s house.

When she reached the house she knocked on the door with a soft rat-a-tat-tat and waited.

When there was no answer she tried the door and found it unlocked, then pushing it open she called out, “Granny?  Are you home?”

“I’m in my bedroom, my dear,” came a voice from upstairs, but it sounded strange.

“Are you alright, Granny?” Rebecca called out anxiously.  “You don’t sound very well.”

“I have a bit of a sore throat so I’ve put myself to bed,” came the voice.  “Why don’t you come up and see me?  I’ve missed you terribly.”

Stepping into the house, Rebecca closed the door behind her.  She looked around and noticed one of her grandmother’s solid wooden chairs at the kitchen table had been tipped over.  Frowning, Rebecca carefully set it upright.

“Shall I bring up tea?” Rebecca called out, setting the basket of cookies and flowers down on the kitchen table as she noticed an empty mug and clean teaspoon next to the kettle.

“No, no,” came the voice from upstairs.  “Just come up here, Little Red Riding Hood.  I’m looking forward to… seeing you.”

Nervously, though she didn’t know why, Rebecca started to climb the stairs.  When she got to her grandmother’s bedroom she pushed the door open with a long, slow, creak.

The whole room was dark, the shutters on the window closed, and the curtains drawn.  In the bed she could see her grandmother lying with the duvet pulled up high and a nightcap pulled down low.

“Come closer,” came the hoarse voice.

Rebecca stepped closer, sniffing slightly as a funny smell crept to her nose.

“Closer,” said the voice.  “Closer.”

Rebecca stepped closer, and cautiously sat down in a chair beside the bed.

“Granny,” said Rebecca, squinting through the darkness, surprised by the huge, yellow eyes that were staring at her.  “What big eyes you have.”

“All the better to see you with, my dear.”

“And Granny,” said Rebecca, startled as she looked at her grandmother’s head.  “What big ears you have!”

“All the better to hear you with, my darling.”

As she leaned closer, peering through the darkness, Rebecca saw that the duvet had fallen slightly from her grandmother’s face.

“Granny,” she said, staring in horror as the hairs on her neck started to stand on end and her heart started to race.  “What big teeth you have…”

“All the better to EAT you with!” roared the Big, Bad Wolf, leaping up.

Rebecca screamed a loud, piercing scream and tried to run from the room, but the Big, Bad Wolf grabbed her, opened his mouth, and swallowed her whole.

 

***

 

As he was headed home for the day, the woodsman heard a terrified scream bursting from the house at the end of the path.

“Little Red Riding Hood!” he cried out, remembering that the little girl had been headed there.  “I’m coming!”

The woodsman burst through the unlocked door and noticed the basket of cookies and flowers sitting on the kitchen table.  His nose prickled; he recognised that smell.  The Big, Bad Wolf was here.

Racing up the stairs, his axe raised, the woodsman burst into the bedroom and saw the Big, Bad Wolf lying on the bed with a huge, full stomach.

Without hesitation, the woodsman swung his big, heavy axe and chopped off the wolf’s head before he could escape.

“Little Red Riding Hood!” he called out, are you in there?”

“Yes!” came the little girl’s voice as she climbed out of the wolf’s tummy.  “And so is my Granny!”

The woodsman set down his axe and helped the little girl and her grandmother climb out, then smiled as the two hugged one another tightly.

 

***

 

Downstairs, Rebecca’s granny turned on the kettle and set two more mugs out on the side.  “Tea?” she offered.

“Yes please, Granny,” said Rebecca,  “It’ll go perfectly with the cookies I made you.”

“Tea and cookies sounds wonderful,” said the woodsman.  “And may I just say, this new wolfskin rug really does finish this place off beautifully!”

 

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

 

Barnes Classics

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Part of my job as a mother is bedtime stories.  I love this job because I love stories, both reading and writing them, and everything they can mean to us, everything they can teach us about both ourselves and the world.

Quite often Miss Rose asks me not to read her a story but to tell her one, classic fairytales but not from words, from my memory.  Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks And The Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs… she loves them.  And she loves them more when they’re my versions.

Photo credit Jill1111

Photo credit Jill1111

I don’t get the time I need to write.  I’m working on my third novel and it’s a challenging one.  It is a complex story set in both the past and the present with a cast of diverse and rich characters.  It needs time and dedication to focus on it and write this tale to the best of my abilities and in the run up to Christmas with the kids and everything going on, I’m just not getting the hours of quiet brain space I need.  And I miss it.  I miss being creative.

Because of this I have decided to use that need to create in writing out the stories I tell to my children.  The classics.  Telling these old favourites in my words, partly because I love to create, partly because you might enjoy reading them to your own children, and partly because it’s good practice for me to keep writing fiction even when it’s not the fiction I need to be writing for my book.

Photo credit PeziBear

Photo credit PeziBear

So look out for them.  The Barnes Classics.  Favourite fairytales in the words of me, J.J. Barnes.

If you love them, read them to your own children.  They’re a big hit with mine, especially anything with a big, bad wolf in it.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

The Little Novelist

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Writing is in my daughter’s blood.  I have written stories since I could write.  Before I could write I drew comic books to tell the stories in my head.  I acted out stories with my toys, I told stories to my brother that I made up as I went along, and I obsessed over stories that I read or watched.  But writing them… writing stories is where I found my home.

When you ask what Miss Rose wants to be when she grows up she usually says she wants to be “a doctor like nanny”.  She wants to heal people who feel poorly, and very proudly carries around her toy doctor’s kit, complete with boy toys and real equipment acquired from various places, including blood vials from the nurses when I was pregnant and a stethoscope from nanny herself.

Miss Rose is not yet 4, so I don’t take anything in stone, but if she were to become a doctor I would obviously be incredibly proud as it is one of the noblest and most generous professions you could have.  I’ve cheered her on.

However…

Tonight Miss Rose, aged three years and eleven months, decided it was time to write her first novel.  After a few efforts by herself, and a swift realisation that she actually hasn’t quite got this writing thing down yet, it was left to myself and her aunty Katie to write down her stories whilst she narrated.

We wrote them, we read them aloud, and we all clapped.  She was thrilled.  We took the book up to bed and I read them aloud to her again for her bedtime story.  She told me “I like the bit with the trousers on their heads” and “this is the best bit with the PowerPuff Girls”.

I understand her joy.  She hears Jonathan McKinney and I discussing our work every day.  We talk about our characters and our stories with passion, with an earnest intensity, and serious desire to move them in the right direction for our long term goals.   I understand her being drunk on creating a world with her words because Jonathan McKinney and I are regularly intoxicated.

Should she decide she loves writing I will OF COURSE encourage her.  Not because it’s a financially rewarding career… I dream of the day it is but right now I still camp myself firmly in the struggling artist category, but because it’s fulfilling in a way nothing else is.  It gives you opportunities to change lives through words, to inspire people, to make people think, to drive people to achieve their dreams and do better with the lives they have.

She may well never seek to make a career from writing.  Indeed, I wouldn’t push her towards it because it is not a life filled with stability and financial reward.  But if nothing else, if she learns to tell stories and write for pleasure, she’s opening up a world of excitement and creativity to herself that could bring endless joy to her life.

The following are excerpts from the first novel by Miss Rose.

“Dinosaurs try and catch the people.  Take the little bit of tape out of the dinosaurs hands.  They like coloured ice lollies and coloured ice creams.  They make the dinosaurs bigger than everyone and too big!”

“Rainbow Dash can fly everywhere and the PowerPuff Girls can fly very fast and get very far, but they don’t know where is Rainbow Dash.  Rainbow Dash is a very awesome My Little Pony and she flies very fast over the other My Little Ponies.”

Will she one day be writing for Siren Stories and creating action adventures within our magical world?  Maybe… watch this space…

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

Rainbow Dash

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Miss Rose, at age three years and nine months, has discovered her true love.  She’s got other loves that have lasted years, Peter Rabbit, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, but none of them are as true and devoted as her love for Rainbow Dash.

For those of you not in the know, which is probably everyone without a child between the age of two and ten, Rainbow Dash is a My Little Pony.  She is a blue pegasus with a rainbow lightning bolt cutie mark (that’s a thing…) and rainbow striped mane and tail.  She is feisty, confident, and ferociously loyal.   She’s smart, she’s sporty, she’s competitive and driven.  She isn’t a girly girl but she’s still feminine.  She’s very like Miss Rose, which no other character in television is.  She makes Miss Rose feel like it’s okay to be like her, which no other character in television does.

Miss Rose is obsessed.

I’m used to kiddy obsessions.  To a lesser extent Rose has done it, as I say we have lots of Peter Rabbit, Wonder Woman and Spiderman things because she loves them, and she’s always enjoyed those things but she flits between them and mixes them with a dose of Peppa Pig here, a splash of Bing Bunny there.   Young Z is usually king of obsessions, for a long time he was fixated on Thor, currently he’s devoted to Batman, but Miss Rose has now caught up to him in her levels of devotion.

We have Rainbow Dash toys, Rainbow Dash clothes, Rainbow Dash stickers.  I use hair chalks to put rainbow stripes in her hair, her mane, to match and she asks for everything to be coloured like a rainbow.  When she wasn’t drinking enough in hot weather and had to be constantly nagged, I ordered her a Rainbow Dash cup so she could drink “Rainbow Dash juice” (dodgy as I realise that sounds) and voila, problem solved.

Of course, as well as this, we watch LOTS of My Little Pony TV Shows and Equestria Girls (they’re the humanoid versions of the My Little Ponies don’t you know).

You know what’s cool?  My Little Pony is awesome.

The mane 6 (mane, haha) are Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, Apple Jack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie and, of course, Rainbow Dash.  They are six strong, different female characters who emphasise the importance of generosity, honesty, kindness, funniness and loyalty.  They do not emphasise that you need to look pretty or thin.  They’re not motivated by the male characters, though plenty of male characters have strong roles both good and bad.  They’re motivated by friendships with one another, and the adventures they go on.

The stories have everything ranging from wanting to organise a party to welcome a stranger to their town, to saving the world from flying demons.  They’re tough and strong and smart, they fight monsters, they explore new worlds, and they use their smarts and strength to save the day.  They don’t expect boys to save them, they’re not trying to make boys fall in love with them.  When love interests do happen, such as Flash Sentry in the first Equestria Girls movie, it’s a side note.  It’s not what drives Twilight Sparkle to do what she’s doing, it’s not her main focus.  It’s purely one aspect of the story.

Am I overthinking this?  Possibly… but I don’t think so.  Because this is something I value in my own stories.

My books have strong female characters who are motivated by their friendships with one another, and in saving the day.  They use their smarts, their strengths, to go on adventures and face dangers and challenges.  There are male characters, both good and bad, and they’re valuable parts of the story but they’re just part of the story not the focal point.  The female characters stand in their own right, diverse and interesting, not just motivated by boys and not just there to provide motivation for boys.

Miss Rose’s devotion to the My Little Ponies is something I am happy to celebrate.  It teaches her valuable lessons in females roles in stories, and that female driven stories do not have to be about getting your hair done and going to prom to meet the boy you love.  That female characters should be diverse and strong and are capable to driving the plot forward for their own stories not the story of others.  And they will teach her to expect that and accept nothing less.

Rainbow Dash is here to stay.  I embrace her.  When my daughter is running around the park, kicking a football (Rainbow Dash is a soccer star), with her short, spiky, multicoloured hair blowing in the breeze, I’m thrilled.  She’s that kind of girl and she’s got a female role model who’s that kind of girl.  If she was smart and bookish she’d love Twilight.  If she was outdoorsy she’d love Apple Jack.

Welcome to my life Rainbow Dash.  I will paint everything she owns with Rainbows if she gets to grow up with a character like you to aspire to.  Thank you for showing her she’s not a “weird girl”.  She’s a Rainbow girl.