Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!!

Just a quickie to wish you a Happy New Year, and I hope your hopes and dreams and goals move ever closer throughout 2013.

Thank you for reading this blog over the past year, and I look forward to lots of new posts next year.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Did I meet my goals?

After all that preparation, it's over... There are piles of toys all over my house, lots of chocolates and biscuits that will last until at least mid-February, and my mum hasn't even delivered my Christmas cake yet!

I hope you had a great Christmas.

Back in August, I wrote this post and made a few resolutions. And I promised I'd admit how well I did!

1) I am going to get a grip of my sugar - say no to cake/stop buying chocolate with the excuse that I've got writers block/make better post-gym snack choices. This made me laugh because I made this same statement at least twice since August, completely forgetting about the previous ones. I'm definitely trying to cut down, although Christmas hasn't helped. I am making better snack choices and buying less chocolate, so I'm happy with the progress.

2) Further to the above goal, I'm going to get myself back into a proper programme at the gym - after an injury I've been slacking, but my shoulder is better and I really need to do it. I'm certain that by the end of the year I can have a semi-Olympic body (Hehehe, I actually said that!!)
  • Reducing body fat by 5% Nope, not at all. 
  • Lifting 100kg on the leg press (previous PB was 115kg, so definitely achievable, with practise) Again, no, but I have added new leg exercises like straight-legged deadlifts and squats, and I do the leg press at the end of my workout when my legs are tired - I lift 85kg x 10 reps x 3 sets, so I probably could lift 100kg if I did it first - I'll try next leg day.
  • Complete 30 minutes on the stepper I got to 15 minutes, but there's only one stepper and people queue for it. There will be new equipment before Easter, so I'll work up to 30 minutes over the summer.
  • Achieve 1 pull-up (although that's been a goal for the past two years, so don't hold your breath!) Nope, but I hung for a moment the other day. It's a silly thing to do anyway!
  • Run 5k at a 5% incline in less than 30 minutes I got a injured, and I can only run for about 10 minutes without searing pain through my ankle. I think this would be a stretch even if I wasn't injured though.
3) I'm going to try to have two complete days away from the internet every week - and write longhand on those days so I'm not tempted to to stray onto the web The only days I've managed to be internet-free are the days I've been out of the house. Although, taking part in NaNoWriMo made me realise how much time I can waste time on the internet, so I am getting better at knowing when I should turn it off. That's worth at least half a point, isn't it?

4) I'm going to make sure I have at least half an hour after I come in from work before I turn on my laptop Erm, next...

5) I'm going to write at least two drafts of a brand new novella, the idea for which is lurking in my mind, but annoyingly not quite fully formed It's taken me a while to remember what the idea was... However, I wrote one draft, which I finished just before November. I'm looking forward to going back to it. It took longer than I thought, because I needed to do some research. 

So, overall, I didn't do too well...
What about you? Do you make resolutions? New Year's ones, birthday ones,
random ones in August or March?
Have you made any for the New Year? 
I'd love to hear about them!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

2012 has been a great year for me - seeing Cat and The Dreamer, a book I'd worked on and loved for several years (and thought might not ever get published) brought to life was amazing. I'm hoping to be able to announce my next project sometime in the new year.

I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who's visited my blog this year and for your continued friendship. I appreciate how many of you stop by to comment. I've made some really good friends, and met a heavy metal band! (Eek and squee, Kyra Lennon!!)

This is my last post before Christmas, but I'm hoping to squeeze one more in before New Year - I seem to remember I made a few resolutions earlier on this year, so I have to come clean and share how I did.

I hop you have a warm, safe, fun, music-filled and very Merry Christmas !!

(edited to make sense 2pm 20/12/12)

Monday, 17 December 2012

It's the end of the world, apparently

The world is going to end on Friday, 21st December 2012, apparently. I was going to link to an article, but you're probably already aware of this. In fact, you're probably all reading this from your prepared bunkers surrounded by tins of food and cartons of long life milk...

Wait... you're not?!

Actually, neither am I.

My overriding feeling about Friday is annoyance. Why are you annoyed, strange woman, you ask?

Because about eighteen months ago, before I was fully aware of the Mayan prophecy/non prophecy (delete as applicable), I had the idea for an apocalyptic novel. I spent a year writing and re-writing, finishing just before the April A-Z Blogging Challenge when I set it aside to come back to in May. But I didn't get back to it.

I had some great readers for it - who all gave positive feedback - but I wasn't happy with the ending. I'm still not happy with the ending. I know it could be something amazing, if I was able to do it properly, but at the moment my skills are lacking - it's there, this perfect idea, but just out of reach. Argh... so annoying.

So I moved on to the next novel.

And then everyone started talking about the end of the world, which is even more annoying because a book that tied it with that would have been great.

Now, I'm expecting 2013 to be full of apocalyptic novels. I know it's not a new genre, and these trends go around in circles, but it would have been great to have been just slightly ahead of the trend.

Have you ever missed out? Have you ever struggled to find the perfect ending?

Monday, 10 December 2012

U Got the Look - NaNoWriMo special

The lovely Allison at Geek Banter has tagged me in the 'U Got the Look' meme that's been circling blogland. I did this back in August with my then current WIP - but this time Allison has mentioned that she'd like me to use my NaNo project, which I think is a great idea.

If you haven't seen this meme yet, you track down the first mention of the word 'look' in your WIP and then post the paragraph(s) surrounding it. Please bear in mind that this is exactly as I wrote it on 1st November (I haven't yet started re-writing it) although I'm pretty sure that even though these are currently the first two paragraphs, they won't be soon!

One moment The Sea View Hotel was standing proud on Grand Parade, dominating the sky line, alongside a terrace of similar buildings; the next, one whole side had blasted out across the promenade. The huge explosion was heard several miles, several towns, away.

At first, no one moved. There were small groups of people just looking up at the space left behind. The rubble created a cloud of dust. Someone somewhere shouted “Fire!” and that’s what got people moving. They ran forward, then ran away when a secondary explosion from somewhere deep inside the building made the walls shake.

And now I'm going to tag some people - I don't always tag forward, because it's so hard to choose, but I love Allison's sub-clause of using the NaNo project that I'm going to stipulate the same thing.

Kate, Julie, Jennie and Kyra you've been tagged!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Kyra Lennon's Blindsided Tour

I'm really excited to host Kyra Lennon here today. She's been on her blog tour to celebrate the release of Blindsided, the second novel in the Game On series. This is the last stop on her tour, and she's sharing her plans for the future! Take it away, Kyra...

For those of you who have followed my Game On journey from the beginning, you’ll know I didn’t always have a series planned. The idea sprouted from wise words given to me by my CPs, and I ran with it. Fast. Two books in a year!

I didn’t always know where each character’s story would go, but they live inside my head, and now again, they pop out and whisper something in my ear. The next book in the series will be from the POV of Bree Collinson. She doesn’t feature in Blindsided, but many of you will remember as the ditzy wife of the Westberg Warriors goalkeeper, Jude.

Bree was a ray of sunshine in Game On. Her enthusiasm for life kept Leah from falling apart on several occasions, and that sunny persona is what makes everyone love her so much. Okay, to some the endless bubbliness might be annoying, but the girl has the kindest heart you can imagine, so in spite of her dizziness, it’s hard not to be charmed by her!

Bree’s story (tentatively named Sidelined) shows a whole different side to her. Her life wasn’t always picture perfect, and you’ll learn a lot about her backstory, including how she met Jude. Bree goes through some huge changes during her story, as she struggles to make sense of the things she’s experienced. She also faces some inner turmoil about her life with Jude, and what she wants for her future.

Seriousness aside, Bree won’t lose all of her sparkle. But there are tough times ahead for her and the rest of the characters when two unexpected events rock their worlds. 

Blindsided Synopsis:
After a successful first soccer season in L.A, Jesse Shaw heads to London with his best buddy, Hunter, but his world is turned upside down when a dangerous prank threatens his career and his blossoming relationship with Hunter’s cousin, Isabelle. 

Isabelle Mills lives in Notting Hill with her parents and her twin sister, Georgia. When she finds out her cousin is coming to stay, along with his famous soccer player friend, her first instinct is to hibernate until they’ve gone. However, once she meets Jesse, everything changes. He’s everything she ever wanted, but with so many obstacles in their path, can she really risk putting her heart on the line?

Author Bio:
Kyra Lennon was born on the South coast of England, and to this day, still lives by the sea. After years spent working in retail, where she met enough versatile characters to write hundreds of books, she finally took the plunge and quit her day job. Kyra's debut novel, Game On, was released in July 2012. While fiction writing has always been her passion, she also has numerous articles on a variety of topics published on prolific websites. 

Buy Here: 
Kyra Lennon on
Kyra Lennon on

Find Kyra Here:

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

IWSG - Thank you

Trust me to take part in two blog-hops in the week that I'm very busy and not able to spend much time at my computer! As a result, I'm way behind on visiting the 'And you are...?' participants, but I'm planning a pyjama day on Thursday when I will read posts for that blog-hop and for this one!

I'm actually writing this post on Monday morning this week and scheduling it, because on Wednesday morning I'm probably be going to be very tired after an epic evening with Kyra Lennon!

Kyra is a wonderful person to know, and I love having her as a friend. She phoned me up and couple of months ago and said 'Let's have an epic evening at a Fozzy concert' and I said yes.

It occurred to me, that if it hadn't been for my blog I'd never have met such a great person, and she definitely wouldn't be sleeping in my dining room right now (or - as I'm writing this on Monday and don't really know - we may already be drinking our first cuppa and talking about how epic our evening was).

Isn't that the weirdest thing to think about? Just think for a moment of all the things that may not have happened if you'd chosen to stay in one evening, popped to the shop before work one morning, fallen over on the ice one winter, not fallen over on the ice.

All the things that happen in our lives are connected to other things that at the time seemed completely innocuous.

If I hadn't created my blog, a couple of years ago, I'd never have met Kyra or a host of other supportive people. Until that point, I'd never had any writer friends. I had friends who like to read, and would read my work - and they would normally read it as though it was the end product and declare it brilliant (note: I love comments like that, by the way!) - and I have friends who don't read at all, and I'm sure they think I'm a bit weird. Having people around that I can talk about the writing process, about problems with my characters or the choice between first and third person has been a god-send for me.

So this post is a huge thank you to everyone who follows this blog and takes their time to comment. I'd like to highlight a few people who were my earliest followers and the ones who've been the most supportive:

LindaC at Excuse Me While I Note That Down...
Gwen Tolios at Fulfilling Dreams
Suze at Subliminal Coffee.
J.A. Bennett
Patsy Collins
Melissa Ann Goodwin, Storyteller
Elizabeth Seckman at Use Your Words...
Misha Gericke at My First Book
Marta Szemik
Kate N at The Suddenly Kate Show
Teresa F Morgan at The Wittering Woman ...
Rebecca Bradley 

The only problem I have with listing people is I'm sure I forget people, but - like I said - these are some of the people who have been with me the longest and/or comment regularly. Thanks to everyone reading this, you're all awesome - and please take the time to check out the blogs above, if you don't already know them!

You can find all the other participants to the IWSG listed on Alex's blog here.

Monday, 3 December 2012

"And you are...?" bloghop

Tammy and Emily are hosting a bloghop!

To find out what the dickens this is all about, click this link here and all will be revealed. I signed up a long time ago and I have turned my brain to jelly taking part in NaNoWriMo, but basically - I think - I have to answer the questions below. There might be more to it, but one step at a time...

1. How many speeding tickets have you gotten? None, I can't drive, and I'd have to run pretty fast to get a ticket!

2. Can you pitch a tent? No, but I can watch one being put up, usually whilst entertaining kids who've been cooped up in a car for hours. I play Frisbee instead.

3. What was your worst vacation ever? That would have to be camping holiday in the rain... I can't choose which one, because there have been several, but we keep going back for more...

4. What was the last thing you bought over $100? As I'm in the UK, I'm going to change that to £100... but actually, I can't think of the last thing I bought for that amount - I imagine the water bill doesn't count?

5. We're handing you the keys to what? My new house - it's detached, about 100 years old, large fireplaces, large rooms, a modern kitchen and a view of the sea. Thank you very much!

6. What was the last meal cooked that made even you sick? About 7 years ago I gave myself full-on food poisoning by cooking some fish I found in the freezer. Usually Hubby cooks, but he was out - I was cooking sausages for the kids, but there weren't enough for me so I had the fish... BIG mistake!

7. Fill in the blank: Oh my gosh! Becky, look at her butt! It is so big. She looks like _____? Sorry, I can't answer this, I wouldn't say anything like that.

8. What was your first car? Although my answer to question 1 was I can't drive, I did buy myself a car when I was attempting to learn. It was a Ford Fiesta, I owned it for about six months. I even bought it a Manchester City air freshener tag.

9. Your best friend falls and gets hurt. Do you ask if he/she's okay or laugh first? I'd always check she was okay first, then laugh.

10. What's the worst song ever? Far, far too many to list... currently, Gangnam Style and Candy by Robbie Williams. I usually don't remember bad songs, my head is too full of great songs.

Monday, 26 November 2012

I'm not here...

I'm peering over the top of my NaNoWriMo project to say I'm over at Livia's blog - Leave it to Livia -today, talking about my love of films.

I'm still pretty much on target for 50k, although I've run out of words and the ending is rubbish. Maybe if I figured out the ending, I'd have enough words...

Hope you pop over and see me at Livia's.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Bang on target

Because I am deep in NaNoWriMo, this is another post about it. Feel free to stop reading now - normal service will be resumed in December...
Oh, you're still here - good!

Last night, for the first time, I hit the target. On day 18 the target was 30k. I sort of wanted to go a bit over, even an extra word or two would have be great - but the scene ended perfectly at 30k, so I saved the document and closed it down. It's waiting for me now, I can hear it calling.

As you know, I started November with a title "The Day Nothing Happened" and a first line "Yesterday something happened". Then it turned out, as I started writing, that quite a lot was happening, and I changed tense - half-way through - to past tense. So the first line no longer fits. Argh! I've never had to rewrite a first line before, it's usually the one fixed thing. Anyway, that's something to think about in December - I'm not going to bother changing the present tense at the moment, I need to push on and finish.

From the initial idea of having an explosion in a hotel, I've managed to get five separate story lines - the survivors of the incident all have their own stories to tell. One woman who was trapped has post-traumatic stress, another woman used the chaos to run away and pretend she was dead, another kidnapped a coma patient. Then I've also got a pregnant widow, and a man who's trolling Facebook - although that story line isn't fully fleshed out yet.

It's been fascinating seeing these stories coming to life, and my characters having their own thoughts about their situations. None of them are related at the moment, and I'm unsure whether to force them together, or to leave them separate and just passing each other randomly in the street. I know, as a novel, they should be connected by more than just the explosion because at the moment they read as intertwined short stories.

But again, that's a question I'll be able to answer in December. The first thing I plan to do is print out the MS and cut it up, putting all parts of the same story lines together to make sure they are complete and don't have huge gaps. Then I'll be able to see if they can slot together. There is a precedent of leaving them separate - eg. Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk, and probably lots of others I can't think of at the moment. But whatever happens, I'm definitely hoping this book will turn into something and not be left in a drawer.

Is your NaNo project something long term, or just a collection of words?

PS. I am still reading blogs, but commenting on all of them is too time consuming at the moment. I hope you understand. 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Is it time for a chocolate break?

Despite my plans to buy myself a big box of Thornton's to bribe treat myself after a hard day's NaNo-ing, I haven't had any... Yep, 11 days without chocolate... I'm breaking out into a cold sweat just thinking about it. Tomorrow... I'll definitely be going out to buy myself something yummy, tomorrow.

I wasn't planning to post very much during November, but that goes hand-in-hand with not managing to visit many blogs - and the ones I have read, I haven't had time to comment on. Currently my blog post queue stands at 880!

Today I've reached another slump. I've got to about 13,000 words, and all my characters have started receiving the anonymous Facebook troll messages that they're supposed to - but I can't find an uncontrived way of getting all these characters together to talk about the fact they're receiving them.

Instead of staring at a blank page, I thought I'd say hello, and read lots of posts. I might not get around to commenting on many, but at least I'll have a fair idea of what's going on in bloggyland!

Tomorrow evening, after my huge box of chocolates, I'll start writing again... although by that time, I'll need to write about 7000 just to stay on track... No problem... easy peasy...

Today's question: what's your favourite Thornton's chocolate?
And if you haven't heard of Thornton's, what's your favourite luxury chocolate?

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Insecure? Yes, yes I am...

Welcome to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group. If you want to know more, click on the logo in the side-bar and you'll discover a world of people just as insecure as you!!

I think this month I'm going to just sit quietly in the corner and nibble on the Custard Creams. Not because I'm not feeling insecure, but because I'm not sure there are any new ways to express this month's insecurities - I'm taking part in NaNoWriMo, which explains everything (especially if you read my last post here)

So I'm eating Custard Creams which I'm dunking into my tea and making a sludgy mess in the bottom of my mug, and trying not to think about writing.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't wanted to be a writer:

  • I'd have a super-clean house
  • I'd read more
  • I'd be able to sit down with a cup of tea and relax with a magazine, rather than feeling the need to check email, send email, keep my Facebook page updated
  • I'd have time to get hooked on soaps
  • I'd be able to watch any TV programme without my laptop on my lap
  • I'd be able to see my friends more often... and my parents!
  • I'd probably have a full-time job, and money
  • But I'm sure I'd feel like something was missing...

What would you do if you didn't write?

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Can you fail #NaNoWriMo on the third day?

Maybe, fail is too strong a word, after all, it is only the third day, but my mind has gone blank.

As a self-confessed pantser, it was always going to be a tough challenge, but I thought I had an idea - I had an explosion in the first scene (that's dramatic enough to last several thousand words, isn't it?) and I had an array of characters either trapped or watching the drama unfold.

I thought that after a few hours of writing random scenes the characters would take over and show me their stories.

Except, they haven't jumped off the page yet, They are staying resolutely flat and half of them don't even have names. They are the bride, the guy in a coma, the nurse, the housekeeper. 

So, after a moment of utter panic, here's my list of things to do:

  • Eat chocolate (of course! I haven't eaten any so far - that's obviously the reason!!)
  • Encourage my muse to appear - my muse is my three-year-old self, she likes to play hide-and-seek, and she doesn't eat her greens.
  • Relax and read something - I have a stack of books waiting.
  • Dress up as a witch! (Seems random, but I'm going to a Halloween party later!)
How are you doing so far? Any tips for a first-timer? How was your Halloween?

Monday, 29 October 2012

Celebrating independent bookshops, and an award

My small town has an independent bookshop. It's always had a bookshop, and yet I didn't fully appreciate it until last week.

I've always tried to support my local shops. Our high street currently has a wonderful selection of shops (it goes in weird phases of great shops, great shops failing, empty shops, great shops again) and I use them as well as my local big-city shops. I can buy myself croissant and a cup of tea for breakfast, treat myself to a massage and manicure, and buy myself a painting of my local landmark. I can have lunch at an Italian cafe, read a magazine down on the river, then wander back up and have afternoon tea in the bookshop's tea room. And all of this within a ten minute walk of my house.

So, yes, my town is pretty cool. But this bookshop is the coolest thing of all.

To understand this post, you have to know that the day before my revelation I went into Waterstones. Now, I actually like this shop - whenever I'm meeting friends I'll always duck in and have a quick look around. But this particular day, when I walked in, I was confronted by a whole table of celebrity autobiographies... some of whom I didn't realise were celebrities. And on another table there was a display of 50 Shades of Grey-style erotica.

I felt my heart sink a little. I know that's a cliche, but that's how hard my heart sank!

Twenty-four hours later, I was stood in my local independent. Okay, so the choice wasn't as vast, by a long shot, but I was browsing for about ten minutes before I finally chose the book I wanted - and, best of all, there were about ten different self-published local authors on the shelves. How brilliant to have them side by side the traditionally published books. In an age where publishing is a state of flux, to put it mildly, I hope this shop and all the others like it continue to thrive, because we need them!


The wonderful Patsy has given me this lovely Top Commenters award. Thank you so much, Patsy!

I am so grateful to everyone who reads my blog and comments - it means I'm not wasting my time by sharing my ramblings with you. I'm going to pass this award on to some of my most regular commenters:

Kyra Lennon at Write Here, Write Now
Linda at Excuse Me While I Note That Down...
Elizabeth Seckman at Use Your Words...
lizy-expat-writer at lizy-expat-writer
Allison at Geek Banter
Suze at Analog Breakfast
Joanne at Word Splash - Joanne Faries

I know I've missed loads of people, and I apologise whole-heartedly for that. You guys are all awesome!!
(Oh, and due to the fact that there are loads of people on my list, and I'm not feeling well, I'm going to test their commenting awesomeness and see how long it takes for them to notice they've been awarded... *cue Dr Evil laugh*)

[edited: 30/10/12 to include a link to Patsy's blog - sorry for forgetting to do it Patsy!]

Saturday, 27 October 2012

NaNoWriMo Eve

As I've already mentioned on this blog, I'm participating in my first ever NaNoWriMo, and what's fantastic is so many of my blogger friends are doing it too - some for the first time, some have done it before and still signed up again! Most of these wonderful people are more prepared than me, so I thought I'd have a little run down of the progress I've made so far.

1) The Soundtrack. Yep, the first thing that happened after I decided to sign up was I listened to the album Tales of Grime and Grit by Ruarri Joseph, and suddenly my head was filled with a feeling. If you've followed my blog for a while, you'll be aware that I usually have a sense of my project before I have any of the details. This is the title track:

2) I came up with the title, which is... (drumroll)...

The Day That Nothing Happened

3) Then I woke up with the first line running around my head... (2nd drumroll)... Yesterday, something happened. (See what I did there?)

4) There's a man in a coma, somewhere - not sure who he is, or why he's in a coma, or what is going to happened to him, but he exists!

5) Erm, there is no 5. That's all I've got. But I'm not worried. I'm looking forward to it. Really.

This is my profile: please feel free to buddy me!

How are your preparations going?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The pitfalls of being a pantser

So, it's probably time for another post. I've been trying to think of a topic for a while, but nothing's coming to mind. My publisher offered me the chance to guest post on their blog - and I can't think of a topic for that either!

The reason is: I'm working on a story (possibly a short story, probably a novella, maybe a novel), and it was going really well until two of my characters walked off in different directions, and I'm not sure how to get them back together again. For the next part of the story they need to be in the same room, in agreement.

I know this is the curse of being a pantser, instead of a plotter, because if I was the latter the father would not have walked out of the house - he'd have stood in the garden having a sneaky cigarette and his son would have come out to offer him a bottle of cider... (ooh, now I think about it, that might work...)

Ahem, where was I? Oh yes... I suppose having these two characters in completely different places builds the tension. I occasionally conclude a story too quickly, too easily. Most of my tension and conflict is internal due to the nature of who and what I write about. If I plotted, I'd see where that conflict needed to be heightened; I'd have known how to stop the characters walking away from each other.

But whenever I've attempted to plot, I've felt trapped and constrained, In fact, I tend to rebel against the plan at the first chance I get. So I know it's not for me. And equally I know that if I don't have a topic, I can't pluck one out of thin air... hehehe

So, that's my inflated excuse for not posting since last week.
Do you ever find your characters run off and start having ideas of their own too?

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Bits and pieces, and the Man Booker Prize 2012

Today I'm really excited to be featured on The Writing Nut, answering Nutschell's great questions and sharing what I look like in a bridesmaid's dress! Please pop over and take a look - at the interview, not just the dress.

I've also got a couple of new stories up on the Alfie Dog Fiction site from today, if you fancy popping along there too.

The Man Booker Prize
It was the Man Booker Prize last night. Hilary Mantel won for a second time - the first British author to win twice - so it was a great achievement for her. I haven't read either of her winning novels, and I actually had my fingers crossed for Alison Moore. In general I'm not overly keen on historical fiction, because I spend far too much time wondering which bits are fact and which bits have been made up. I know I should just read the story as I would any other novel, but I can't. Maybe it's time to give historical fiction another chance?

What do you think of the winner? Have you read the book? Who were you hoping to win?

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Super Sweet Blogging Award, and some Sunday music

The wonderful Rachel at Writing on the Wall passed this yummy award to me recently, and once I stopped looking at the picture, I realised I should answer the questions!

1. Cookies or cake? Cake.

2. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate.

3. What is your favourite sweet treat? Chocolate cheesecake.

4. When do you crave sweet things most? After I've eaten something savoury.

5. If you had a sweet nickname what would it be? I'm sure there used to be a kid's character called Chocky - I'd love that one. My actual nicknames are not sweet.

Once again, this is one of those pass-it-on deals, but once again (again) I've seen this award on so many blogs and I think everyone has had their cake, eaten it, washed up and put the dishes away. So, feel free to grab this award if you haven't done it yet - and enjoy the cake... or cookies!


A couple of weeks ago Hubby released his first music video (made by Hole in the Wall Media), so as it's Sunday, I thought I'd I share it! This is the link to Peter Crawford's website, where you can check out his latest gigs and buy his CD!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


At half past eight this morning I wrote #579,495 on my Twitter feed. You might have seen it and thought "Eh?"

Right now - two hours later - it would be #579,643.

What am I talking about? have helpfully included author ranking on their Author Central pages - you know, those pages you go to to see how well/badly your books are performing. Well, now there's something else to make you feel all warm and snuggling and secure.

Except, losing 150 places in two hours hasn't made me feel any of those things.

Amazon say: This list makes it easy for readers to discover the best-selling authors on overall and within a selection of major genres.

Only the top 100 authors will be on lists visible by buyers. Sorry, Mr 101, you've lost out!

But, if you are the best selling author in your genre, your readers probably know this. It's your books that pop up in the advertising, in the lists, first in the searches. It's your books that have the marketing budget so everyone knows your book is arriving weeks or months before the publishing date. It's your books that can have half a million pre-orders.

What about everyone else? The mid-listers, the self publishers, the small press/ebook exclusive writers (ahem...) What if you happen to be the very bottom author, the very last person in the list, will anyone at all buy your book? I, for one, really don't need to see any more graphs on a gradually downhill trajectory.

Amazon are big. It would have been a lovely thought if someone could have said, in one of their big meetings, "Why don't we flip the list and have that bottom person at the top? Wouldn't that be a warm and lovely thing for us to do?"

Because, to be fair, the best sellers don't really need help. It's everyone else - the people who sell one or two books a week, rather than an hour!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

A couple of tags

Elizabeth at Use Your Words... tagged me in the Next Big Thing thing a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I'd give it a go:

1. Working Title? Our Beautiful Child and other stories

2. Where did idea come from for the book? There are three novella length stories in the collection. The first one I wrote is The Traveller, which contains my most favourite character ever. The second one Ella's Story wasn't supposed to be connected to The Traveller, but I noticed I'd set the story in a similar town, with similar landmarks. And then, eventually, I decided to write a a third based in the same town, because the idea of a trilogy felt right by then. Although some of the characters overlap a little bit, they are completely separate and can be read as individual stories.

3. What genre does it fall under? Contemporary alternative paranormal-ish romance!

4. One sentence synopsis? (Cheating: one sentence for each story!!)
  • Ella's Story - a recurring dream about her own death sends Ella into turmoil, especially when elements of her dream start to come true.
  • The Traveller - a stranger in town captivates most of the women, but he has his eyes on just one.
  • Our Beautiful Child - Rona is chosen by the local ghosts as a channel between their two worlds when a fake medium tries to hold a seance in the local pub.
5.Self-published or agented or what? Hopefully published by Vagabondage Press, my publisher for Cat and The Dreamer.

6. How long did it take to write first draft? The Traveller - the first story - started life in 1999 I think, but there were big gaps between writing stories. The final story took the longest, because I just couldn't grasp all the elements of the story - I was thinking about it for a couple of years - and now it's my favourite.

7. What actors would you choose to play your characters? Erm... I'm going to pass on this one because I can't think of anyone who could play them. My favourite character is based on two real people, so only they could play him - but I don't think either of them are actors!


Next, Teresa at The Wittering Woman tagged me in Seven Things About Me. I've done a lot of tags where I've had to share seven, or more, things so I'm not sure I can come up with anything new. I'll give it a go...

  1. I had two imaginary friends when I was little, called Iccance and Occance. (The spelling might not be entirely right!)
  2. I got so nervous on my wedding day that I couldn't eat until about nine o'clock in the evening. I hated being the centre of attention! (It was a long time ago, I'm much better now.)
  3. I've just sat here for five minutes thinking of a number 3, and I'll probably take the same length of time to think of a number 4.
  4. I'm very bad at singing, playing Trivial Pursuit and playing any kind of sport which involves hitting a ball with something.
  5. But I'm quite good at making omelette!
  6. I wave at train drivers.
  7. I own the DangerMouse complete box set.
Phew, I did it! 

I'm not going to pass this on to anyone specifically, but if you'd like to take part, especially with the Next Big Thing if you have something to talk about, then consider yourself tagged!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

IWSG - My NaNoWriMo announcement

A couple of weeks ago, Kate from The Suddenly Kate Show and I were discussing chocolate on Twitter, when the conversation took a turn and we were suddenly agreeing to enter this year's NaNoWriMo. Isn't it weird how things like that happen?

National Novel Wrtiting Month (NaNoWriMo) started life in 1999, which makes this year the 13th year (which happens to be my lucky number). It challenges people to write a 50,000 novel within the month. 1999 had 21 participants, 6 of whom managed to complete the challenge. Last year there were 256,618 participants and 36,843 winners (14%, if you're interested in figures).

There's a reason why I've watched other people taking part, year after year, and settled down contently not taking part. Actually, there are several:
  • the only novel I've ever written that was more than 50,000 words took me more than ten years to write
  • my mind goes blank when I'm given a deadline, and my procrastination gene kicks in to overdrive
  • I'm not keen on first drafts, I don't plan and I don't write in chapter order
  • I tried something similar in the past and did badly.
I have a whole month to panic!
And now for the reasons I'm doing it this year:
  • I've been bumbling along with small projects this summer, but haven't started anything big since Cat and The Dreamer was published
  • I want to know if I can do it... after all it's only 1666 words a day, how hard can that be?
  • if I can get a new idea written, I can spend the rest of the winter re-drafting and try to have something ready to submit next summer
  • it will give me a really good excuse to eat chocolate... brain food, don't you know???

But, I'm feeling a teeny bit insecure... what if I fail? What if I write rubbish? What if I end up writing the same chapter over and over again? What if I won't ever be able to string another sentence together, let alone have the strength in my hands to write out my Christmas cards? What if I eat so much chocolate I actually start to hate it?

Okay, that's enough insecurity! People have been doing this for years now, so I can definitely try!
What about you? Are you taking part? Have you done it before, or is this your first year too?

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Thank you!

Random picture - Looe, Cornwall - March 2012
I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. And it got me thinking...

When I first started this blog, that was the direction I assumed I'd take. I'd have an opinion about something, and then lots of people would have their opinions too - agreeing and disagreeing, and generally having a solid debate.

But I got a bit distracted by blogfests and tags and hops.

These blogfests and tags go in waves, so that there are weeks when that's all I seem to be posting. Although I love taking part in them, it feels as though I'm losing the roots of the blog. They are a great way of keeping in touch with those bloggers I follow, but don't necessarily visit regularly. The more blogs I follow, the less I can keep up with them... which is such a lame excuse when I look at the numbers of people some of you follow!

The A-Z Challenge in April was a great experience, but I found I could barely string two written words together for about a month afterwards. It was my first time, though, so perhaps I just didn't plan it properly.

I don't think too many things will change, but just be prepared for some more opinions!

Has your blog morphed since it began?
Have you embraced the change?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Thoughts about Twitter

I resisted Twitter for a long time, I didn't think anything could usurp Facebook for me, but if you're my friend on Facebook, you'll know I'm not there as much as I used to be. I love Twitter for the fact I can interact with famous people, whether they want me to or not... (That makes me sound like some kind of crazed stalker, but I'm not, I'm completely normal... honest!)

After watching other people raving about it, I joined. And it is great - especially during big events like the Olympics when there was so much information coming from the athletes and commentators.

But... (ah, you knew there was a but didn't you??) whilst I think I'm playing the game well, others are starting to annoy me.

Yes, I am an author.

Yes, I have a book available.

Yes, I would like everyone who reads about my book to buy it (Cat and The Dreamer, links on the left-hand bar...)

BUT... on Twitter I talk about other things. Yes, funnily enough, I have a 'real' life - I have housework to do, a job to go to, I love going to the gym and watching Homes Under the Hammer. All of this you'll have probably read about on Twitter and Facebook. Every so often, when I've garnered enough new followers, I'll mention my novella - a brief link, a did you know this about me kind of tweet.

Those others I mentioned above, some of them talk their book in every tweet... that seems to be the sole purpose for them having a Twitter account. They aren't real people, they are quotes from their book. Or perhaps they are the book. Perhaps these (mostly) self-published books are rising up, locking their authors in a cupboard, and creating their own accounts. This I could forgive. I mean, how many books do you know that enjoy an evening jog or coffee with a friend?

I am on the verge of culling people solely for this reason. I did unfollow someone who during the Olympic opening ceremony who, while everyone else seemed to be talking about what they were watching, tweeted THREE times about his book. Nope, wrong, gone.

What do you think? Does this annoy you as much as it annoys me?
Am I being unreasonable? Have you culled people for the same reason?
Are you going to cull me because of this post??

Friday, 21 September 2012

Kyra's Cover Reveal

By now, you've probably seen Kyra's novella cover everywhere - she's so good at infiltrating blogs... but just in case you've been under a rock here it is...

Title: If I Let You Go (Novella)
Category: New Adult (NA)
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Release Date: October 22nd 2012

Madison Connor is about to lose it. Her job, that is. For three years, she’s taken care of Dominic Hartley’s five year old daughter, Tilly, but her world is flipped on its head when Dominic tells her his latest promotion is taking him to New York. With Tilly having a meltdown over the move, Madison and Dominic get into a fight that changes the entire nature of their relationship, causing Madison to ask herself a big question. Can she let him go?

Kyra Lennon was born on the South coast of England, and to this day, still lives by the sea. Fiction writing has always been her passion, but she also has numerous articles on a variety of topics published on prolific websites.

Kyra’s debut novel, Game On, was released in July 2012 and the second book in the series, Blindsided, is due for release in November 2012. 

Where to find Kyra:

Monday, 17 September 2012

Genre Favourites?

It's just occurred to me that I haven't posted all week - I've just moved from one blogfest to another - and I really hadn't noticed! I'll try hard to rectify this over the next few weeks, and hopefully visit a lot more of your blogs than I've managed recently. I've been using my marketing head on Cat and The Dreamer, and getting a couple more short stories ready for submission, and (still) decorating. 

From the curious mind of Alex J Cavanaugh comes:

One blogfest, four favourites!
List your favorite genre of:
And a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories!

So here goes:

Movie Genre: So hard,because I tend to watch films by who's in them. Favourite actors include Johnny Depp, Brad Bitt, Morgan Freeman, Adam Sandler, Tim Roth, Samuel L Jackson (apart from Snakes on a Plane). These are actors that span different genres, and I'm pretty happy to follow them anywhere they want to go.
Special Mention: British films. I know it's not a genre, but I love the variety of films that we produce, and I try hard to see them preferably in the cinema - although that hasn't been possible recently.

Music Genre: Rock/heavy rock/stadium rock... I'm not going to name them, because my choices are pretty old now, and it would date me and seem very lame!
Special Mention: Glam Rock... I know, I know... but think how many incredible acts were spawned from the glam period.... T Rex, David Bowie, Queen... they were all on the cusp of that genre and they should be proud.

Book Genre: Literary fiction. Stories that don't follow a formula, that surprise, that make you think. I'm not keen on literary fiction that's trying to be literary (and those books and authors are so obvious), but I like the ones that simply don't conform to other genres, and whose prose takes the story to another level.

Guilty Pleasure: Rom Coms, including 10 Things I Hate About You, 50 First Dates, The Wedding Singer - all those films you can curl up with on a lonely Saturday night (and as the wife of a gigging musician, I have plenty of those) and guarantee a tear or two by the end.

Click here for the list of participants. Are you taking part? If so, I'll be popping along later!

Monday, 10 September 2012

What's Your Chocolate? blogfest

When someone asks me a question about chocolate, I can't help but reply!

M Pax, Laura, Brinda and Ciara obviously have chocolate on the brain even more than me, because I'd never have considered a chocolate-based blogfest, but these lovely ladies did.

This is the story of my first taste of chocolate.

I was born on a pretty unique day: the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This is unique because although my birthday has and will continue to fall on Saturdays, I will be 73 the next time my birthday falls on an Easter Saturday (Western calendar).

Pretty cool, I think!

So, the day after I was born it was Easter Sunday, and at the age of about 12 hours, my dad put a tiny speck of Cadbury's Creme Egg on the tip of his finger and let me have my first taste of chocolate. I couldn't tell you what it tasted like, I was far too busy being cuddled and drifting off to sleep, but I'm sure there was a brief insight of all the wonderful things I could look forward to when I got bigger and was able to do things like roll over and sit up all by myself!

I've been slightly obsessive about chocolate ever since - and especially about Easter Eggs. There's something so lovely about the shape and the size, and the smaller eggs or bars hidden inside. As a grown-up, I've learnt to live with having just one egg (sigh), but I make sure it's a good one!

I really, really love those eggs which have full-sized chocolate box chocolates inside them!

Actually it's been a very long time since I've had a Creme Egg - and I'm fairly sure we Brits stick to having them as Easter treats (by which I mean, they go on sale on Boxing Day). But just in case, I think I'll pop to the shop...

The question has to be, was I the youngest chocolate-eater?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

I'm sure something special happened on the 5th September one year... a sort of IWSG post

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another insecure post. You know the drill by now, and if you don't click the logo in the right-hand side-bar to find out all about the wonderful Alex J Cavanaugh and his fantastic blogfest.

Except, once again, I'm not feeling overly insecure. This has happened about three times since the very first post almost a year ago (we're two days short of a full year). That's not bad, is it, three secure moments in a year! (Well, I hope there have been more than that, or else I'm in BIG TROUBLE!)

The reason this time is because I'm writing a new novella, rewriting some old stories to keep my submission levels up (I've been very bad at submitting this last year or so), I have a short story online at Alfie Dog Fiction and... it's my wedding anniversary today!

14 years!

I know, I'm not old enough to have been married for 14 years, right?? LOL!

I would post pictures, but this was before digital photography so the photos are actually in a big box stored in a big inaccessible cupboard. Just so you know: I look fifteen and very scared, and Hubby is wearing big round 1990s glasses which makes it look as though I'm marrying Harry Potter. There, that's enough description to help you imagine the scene.

Anyway, I'm probably not going to be around much today, but I'll try my best to visit insecure writers tomorrow.

Is anyone else celebrating today?

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Look!! And a short story announcement

The lovely Kyra Lennon tagged me in this meme, so I thought I'd give it a go. To take part, you need to search your WIP for the first usage of the word Look and post the surrounding paragraph. Firstly, working out which WIP to use was difficult - I have several projects on the go, one of which isn't on my computer yet (so I discounted that one). I've decided to use the MS that I found out will be my next-to-be-published-book... but sorry, no details yet, I don't want to jinx it by announcing too early. 

In this excerpt, the MC is three, or maybe four...

I cry out by accident, then hold my hands over my mouth and wait for the monster to crawl out. Almost straight away Mummy and Daddy are standing over me; the light from the landing pours in and makes my bedroom look almost normal again, like it does in the day time.

As usual, I'm being lazy and not tagging people - consider yourself tagged, if you want to take part. And if anyone knows why the word look was used, I'd love to know. I occurred to me that any word could work... although maybe not the or antidisestablishmentarianism!

In other news:
I'm hugely excited by the following blogfests. Have you heard of these? Have you signed up? I've got the chocolate one sorted, but - boy! - am I finding my favourite genres difficult... I like everything! 

Click here to sign up!

Click here to sign up!

And finally:
My short story Jacob's Wife is now available at Alfie Dog Fiction!

Sally is trapped in her marriage after marrying too young and for the wrong reasons. She's let her true love slip through her fingers once - but when Tom arrives back in her life stirring up old memories, will she let him leave again?

So, what's your news on this lovely Wednesday?

Friday, 24 August 2012

My new WIP

I didn't mean to go AWOL from my blog, but my time and real time seem to have diverged somewhere along the line. I can't even think what I've done this week!

I know I started seriously on my new WIP - I've written down words and everything. This is a big step for me because I didn't have a first line. Without the first line I have no idea who's narrating, what tense I'm working with, or the tone I'm going to achieve. I know... the life of a pantser is a strange and exciting one!

As it is, I've ended up changing the POV. I started from the sensible POV of the guy who's still definitely going to be alive at the end of the story. But his voice wasn't quite right, and I really wanted to know more about another character, who may not be alive at the end of the story, although that's still up in the air at the moment. But she has more of a story - she's left her home town, got married, got divorced and returned to her home town. While the guy has always just been there. You can see that her story is much more interesting. 

But unfortunately it will leave me with some problems later on - either I'll have to switch POV for the last parts, or have outer body experiences. (Though, I some of you can probably guess which way I'm swaying at the moment!)

Other things I've done this week have included:
  • the Back to School shop
  • buying the paint for our hall (but not having the courage to start - it's a BIG hall)
  • taking the dog for a walk, getting drenched after 5 minutes and ending up having our clothes tumble-dried at my in-laws house
  • working
  • seeing Hubby play at a great venue in Exeter
Hmm, okay, so I do seem to have done quite a lot - no wonder I haven't had time to blog!

Also, this week, I won a £10 Amazon voucher as part of Kyra Lennon's Game On Tour Finale - which was such a lovely surprise because usually I don't win anything. I checked through my TBB (to be bought) list, and can't decide what I want - they all look so good. I'd love to hear some suggestions please!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Dear Diary...

So, this week has been a great week! Do you ever get weeks like that?

On Monday and Tuesday, I rewrote a story and submitted it while Hubby pulled up the hallway carpet and broke my vacuum cleaner - and bought me a new one.

On Wednesday, I met up with my sister for her belated birthday lunch. Great food, a walk along Plymouth Hoe watching the waves crash across the road. Unfortunately, I was wearing a skirt, which needed to be held down because of the gusty wind! I can't explain - without sounding very sarcastic - how much I love the wind.

We walked to the Barbican, I took my sister's picture on the Mayflower Steps (not shown, because I haven't asked her), and went to The Merchant's House - one of the oldest buildings in Plymouth, now a museum. (I don't remember it being on a slant, it might just have been me! I'd had lunch, remember, along with half a bottle of wine!)

At the moment it's got a great Plymouth Blitz display, and we spent ages working out where our grandparents were living. (They got bombed out of three houses, apparently). The Blitz in Plymouth is not so well-known as some of the others around the country - because, if I remember correctly, the Government decided to keep it quiet for propaganda reasons, and so Plymouth didn't get as much help as other cities - but we had 50-something raids over the course of a couple of years and at least 50% of the city was completely destroyed. Old houses, like The Merchant's House are very rare in Plymouth.

Kyra's on the left,
I'm on the right... lol
On Thursday, I met the amazing Kyra Lennon. I've never met another author before, and it was so cool because through our blogs we know all the same people, and could talk about how great you guys are! 

Once again, I walked along a windy seafront and saw lots of trains! We had lunch, we walked, we talked, we had drinks... In short we spent five hours talking, and it really didn't seem that long. And Kyra offered to be my new - and very first - critique partner. I've avoided them in the past, because I'm not overly convinced about my own critiquing talents, but I'm learning lots from Kyra!

So, that was my week. How was yours? How was the weather for you?