Monthly Archives: May 2013

Sunshine, hailstones and giggles …

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Well I can’t argue that it’s been a funny old week! Had a lovely gossip filled night with the girls I did my MA with – we try and meet every month and have a natter about our writing and lives in general. It’s inspirational to see Mhairi Ledgerwood forming her own theatre company with a few friends, Meerkat TC which has a facebook page and twitter account under the same name if you’re interested in following. And Vicky Brown who is embracing both her writing world and her online wedding business. It’s great to see that if you believe enough, anything is possible.

Had a wonderful day out with mum this week – every now and then we pack some lunch, make up a flask and head off in the car to destinations unknown. This week we ended up in Richmond and had a mooch about, had a huge cheshire bun, then headed off on the road to Barnard Castle. We paused at a set of traffic lights only to see a well-hidden signpost for Hury Reservoir. Our eyes met mischievously, and next thing we knew we were heading up a single track road. After narrowly missing being hit by the locals who knew the roads well enough to do way faster than 40mph several times, we ended up at the reservoir.

The first thing we both noticed was how quiet it was – the wind was blowing a hoolie but there weren’t many birds singing. We donned our waterproofs and went for a wander to the path that led across the water to a small toilet building on the other side. We were literally about a third of the way across when suddenly, we were hit with an onslaught of rather large hailstones, and the wind intensified to what I’m sure were gale force speeds! Quickly, we untucked our hoods, pulled them tight around our faces and faced the icy shards to make our way across. As suddenly as it had begun though, it stopped and we were faced with blazing sunshine. It was still relatively windy but everything around suddenly took on a new lease of life. The green of the fields and trees shone as if it had been asleep for a hundred years and started waking, the lambs and their mums turned their attention to us instead of munching the grass, and the driftwood took on the appearance of white-washed wood. Reaching the other side, we discovered that the gate had slipped and couldn’t be opened, even with my almost super-human strength (haha). By this time we had been driving for a couple of hours and had both had several cups from the flask – we needed to get to the building – so it was with mild horror that we decided to climb the gate.

Now normally this would be a relatively simple thing to do, but I haven’t climbed gates since I was a kid, and Mum, well I dread to think how long it had been for her! Mum clambers up first, deciding she would navigate onto the wall and manouevre around the gate post to the other side – she got so far, and then got stuck. By this time I was neither use nor ornament as I held her leg and collapsed into a heap of giggles, which caused mum to giggle and almost fall off the gate! Soon enough though, she recovered and clambered over. Next was my turn – I completely misjudged how much upper body strength is required to hoist yourself up a height, so I obviously fell backwards, luckily landing on my feet. Next came the sitting precariously on top of the gate and swinging my leg over, twisting my foot into positions only contortionists should be able to achieve, then promptly slipping as I stepped off landing approx a foot down with a thud. The funniest part of all was that this was all achievable without all the events by just walking round the road we had just driven in on! Anyway suffice to say we had a day full of giggles, sunshine and hailstones! Was fantastic!

Writing wise it’s been a bit of a mute week – I’ve had loads to do at home, hadn’t seen much of my friends the week before so spent time socialising, and I think (after analysing with my writing group) that I have been suffering a little from stress with the new job pending and the issue of finances for the next couple of months whilst things settle down. That’s not to say I haven’t written, I have. I completed the insert scenes for With Deadly Intent and have done around 40 pages of editing. Someone actually asked me at work the other day, with utmost seriousness, ‘Does Albert die?’ – for those who have no idea what this means, I posted a sneaky paragraph on my facebook page where Albert is hit with a hammer. Sadly I replied, ‘Yes, Albert does die.’ Sometimes it’s nice to give little spoilers away – but maybe Albert deserved it, maybe. You’ll all just have to read the book and find out when it’s all done!

I think my deadline of sending to agents the first week in June may have been a little ambitious with how I’ve been full of busy doing other things, but I promise I will not be far behind schedule and will keep you updated on all developments as and when they happen.

I made myself a promise this week that it’s time to stop the stressing and just take each day as it comes til I settle in and everything returns to an even keel – and that’s what I’ve done today. The sunshine has been lovely, and despite being at work all day, I’ve managed to enjoy every minute, to the point I’ve been listening to country music on all my journeys and singing along at the top of my voice and then watching Mamma Mia and doing the same! Music has always been a feel good factor for me. So now it comes to the end of the day, and I’m almost ready to hit the hay with a simple grin that is refusing to budge.

So I bid you all a good night, and as usual, thanks for reading. Hope you all have a fantastic Bank Holiday Monday – stay safe and happy everyone 🙂

Dinner, procrastinating and happiness…

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Can you believe it’s Sunday already? This week has just flown by. I definitely need the above today too after not sleeping much before a 5pm-3am shift at work!

Well the Mexican dinner party went very well – I made chilli, chicken fajita mix and potato wedges and served this with wraps, nachos and salad. Desert was a tart citrus jelly with a lemon posset top, and a lemon shortbread on the side. Thankfully it all went well and everyone seemed to enjoy the food which is always good at this type of event! I’ve decided the next one I do will have to be for my writing group – sounds like an opportunity to try out some more recipes! Definitely something I will try and do more often.

Did you have rain yesterday? My regular followers will know I am a huge fan of the rain, or in fact any extreme weather inclement – the rain always just makes me think of murder scenes and standing in it as the water runs down my face and back. I’m a bit of a romantic at heart too, so I like the thought of the romance behind it. So imagine my joy at two full days of heavy rain – ok so it caused flooding which isn’t ideal, but everything always looks so clean and fresh when the rain stops. The greens of the plants look like they’ve been re-dipped in emulsion, the glass on the windows always seems to sparkle that little bit more, and it always makes me smile.

Writing wise I haven’t gotten a lot done this week – I had a bout of not feeling too good which has lasted several days, and with work and what not it feels a little like time has just flown away from me. This week however, I have 5 whole days off work, so there will be excuses and my editing will get finished so that I can prepare my pitch and send to agents in the first week of June. I will be holing up and turning off the mobile phone for once so I cannot be tempted with the evils that are social media. My lovely hubby has done the housework so I can’t possibly use that as an excuse (at least not for the first few days – the dog is notorious for shedding) and my wonderful Mum is up in Scotland with my Aunt so there will be no trips to Starbucks on the cards. I am determined that I will get this finished this week and get the additional scenes inserted!

It’s such an odd feeling – lots of people love the editing stage, but me, not so much. It’s a necessity but I feel (and hopefully I’m not alone on this) that it takes the time I have to be working on book 2 – my mind cannot simply switch between the two stories and character sets so I need to focus on one at a time. But I want to be working with Ben and Jacob! Alas, Cass and Alex take priority at the present time though – yet another reason to be determined to get finished this week!

It’s only 3 weeks til I start my new job – am very excited but it will be sad to leave my friends at the place I am now. Technically I have 10 shifts left to work – bearing in mind that this year is flying at the speed of light, I’ll blink and be at the new place before I realise it I reckon! I actually go for my uniform fitting tomorrow – what are your thoughts on uniforms for work? Some love them some hate them. For me, a uniform has been pretty standard in one form or another for several years now – it doesn’t bother me wearing one, but it wouldn’t matter if I sorted my own clothes either. I’m pretty indifferent – though I do think law enforcement could improve the staff uniforms somewhat to make it more comfortable and hard wearing.

Ahhh sweet coffee, how I love you so. I’m currently drinking Nescafe Azera Intenso – anyone tried it? It’s lovely and smooth, and just like the coffee you get in posh coffee shops. I am officially a fan – trouble is so is my husband so the jar is dwindling fast – he drinks so much more than me!

Well I think that’s pretty much it for this week – I’ll pop a sneak paragraph of one of the insert scenes on my facebook page this week too – let me know what you think. And as always, thanks for reading! 🙂

 

Writing, achievements and endings …

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Well it’s been a fantasically busy week, but oh such a good one! I went to my first writing retreat on Wednesday, courtesy of Durham Council and NeST. It was arranged in the garden room of the Morritt, at Greta Bridge, near Barnard Castle, and I started the day a nervous wreck. Not only was it my first ever writing retreat, it was also my first networking opportunity in relation to my writing. I don’t know what I thought would happen, but I pushed the nerves aside and arrived over half an hour early (hate being late!). The agenda for the day was split so we had lots of time to write, and also time to socialise and meet people. It was a lovely experience, being in a room with like-minded people and I got so much work done. The second edit of With Deadly Intent was finished on paper, and I wrote over a thousand words of new scenes to be inserted. I also obtained various contacts, and it was lovely to realise that I’m not actually alone in this thing called writing.

I’m just in the process now of transferring the second edit to the screen on my sparkly new laptop (yeay I cry loudly – my poor old one went to the laptop heaven in the sky). As soon as it’s ready I shall be sending to agents and putting feelers out. Still tempted to change the ending though – what to do what to do. How do you guys feel about endings? Is the consensus for a happy ending? Or would you prefer to be left hanging? There isn’t going to be a sequel however the characters will feature in book 2.

Another piece of good news this week is I have finally got a confirmed start date for my new job to start! Exciting stuff! Only 4 weeks to go at current place and then I start pretty much immediately. Honestly can’t wait – don’t get me wrong, the place I work now is ok, but this feels like I’m going home. Yes I’d love to be a writer full-time and earn enough not to have to work, but at the moment that plan is still in the process of becoming a reality so until then I need income to pay the bills! Very excited!

On Monday this week I’m hosting my first proper dinner party too for a few friends – we normally go out for tea but finances being the way they are this month, I already had everything in to make a successful meal (one would hope!) so I invited the girls round and am doing mexican. I’ll let you know how that goes 😉

My good friend, and fellow author Victoria J Brown, has just released her second novel available now on kindle through amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Will-the-CHAOS-end-ebook/dp/B00CPSHC6K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368309397&sr=8-1&keywords=will+the+chaos+end) at a very reasonable price. It’s the sequel to her first book, How my life became Chaos, which is available for a very reasonable price also on amazon. I’ve put a short review on the book page if anyone fancies a quick peek but suffice to say I really enjoyed it.

I’ve made some lovely new friends this week on twitter, and also through my website, so huge shout out and welcome to all the new likers – great to meet you all and please feel free to chat 🙂

Well that’s about it this week – as always, thanks for reading and have a fantastic week.

Smiling, time and endeavors …

Excellent for first thing in the morning

Excellent for first thing in the morning

I saw this today on twitter courtesy of @fascinatingpics – they post lovely pictures throughout the day, but this one caught my eye. We waste so much time throughout our day don’t we? “I’ll do that tomorrow, right now I think I’ll just sit here and do nothing,” or the usual one in my house is “just leave it and I’ll do it myself later.” There’s so much more I can do with just a couple of hours – I’m one of those people constantly on the go, but even I waste a silly amount of time most days. I procrastinate instead of doing, when what I really should be doing is thinking I can procrastinate later! The time I’ve wasted today isn’t too bad. I did my social media things whilst doing other things today (toilet breaks, morning coffee time etc) which is productive as it means I don’t have to put time aside to do it. I do waste an hour on a morning when I have my first coffee – but is that really wasting? That little window of time is what I put aside for me – Peter is never out of bed early so those days when I’m up with the birds, I get to chill and think. I did watch an episode of friends whilst contemplating cleaning the kitchen, so that was a waste. But I’ve also done approximately 30 pages of editing (so far), cleared the yard, done the washing, thought about my blog (is that wasting time?), been to asda, been to mums for dinner, dropped Pete off and picked him back up, made a pan of soup, boiled some eggs, done some more editing whilst listening to the wonderful James Martin tell me how to cook beef stew, trifle, fish with salad and crab risotto and now I’m writing my blog. I make me sound very busy don’t I? That’s actually my account of a relatively quiet day – but the point is that even through that I probably have a couple of hours of wasted time.

So I guess the next question would be, whether I can learn to recognise when I’m wasting time and better utilise it. I believe in having time to oneself, it helps keep you sane and sometimes you just need that bit of time alone, but those times when you sit there bored, thinking of the things you could do but can’t actually be bothered to do, or those times when you get to the end of a quiet day and think “I wish I’d done that now,” when you haven’t done it – those are the times to me, that you could better fill. I remember being a kid and complaining to mum, “I’m bored,” I’d say just two days into the summer holidays. And she would always tell me to go find something to do. That little push of encouragement was often all I needed and I would head out to the park, or the pond, or the fields. I’d grab my bike and a bottle of juice and head out for an impromptu bike ride, or I’d pick up a book and start to read. So next time I find myself sitting there, thinking about what I should be doing, I’m just gonna get up and do it. After all, life’s too short to waste. We only get 18400 seconds per day, and who knows how many days we’ll actually have.

Writing wise, it’s been a jam-packed week of editing – book 2 is still on the back burner as I’m just on the final edit of book 1 which will hopefully be winging its way to agents initially at the end of May/beginning of June and if I fail to pick up an agent, then I’ll be looking into approaching publishing houses directly. I have no doubts my book will be in print one day – the journey there may be hard (may be exceptionally hard in fact after reading several articles this week on how difficult it can be to get noticed) – but I will get there. I have to. Writing’s in my blood – and it would be an immense waste of all the time and effort it’s taken me to get this far if I didn’t. So I refuse to entertain this happening. As the army (I think) says “Failure is not an option.”

With this in mind I also had to smile – it’s been an absolutely glorious day weather wise. The tiny seedlings planted in my windowsill greenhouse the other day have sprouted and will soon be big clumps of herbs and salad. The sun has dried the washing I popped on the line earlier which is lovely – funny how washing always has that smell of fresh air when you put it on the line but when it goes in the dryer it smells of dryer? There’s a soft breeze blowing the branches of the freshly budding trees, and it’s causing the clouds to flurry across the skies onward in their leisurely journey to wherever. And if that wasn’t enough to make you smile, the girls are all wearing sandals, shorts and vest tops – a sure sign that spring has sprung and summer will soon be here! And the best bit – tomorrow is supposed to be a blazing hot one! I’m working of course – but for the people not working there will be a whole lot of smiling and hopefully enjoyment going on.

Like the enjoyment of future endeavors. On Facebook today I saw a clip of the daughter  of a fellow writer, Helen Anderson, biting the bullet and singing while she played guitar – look her up on You Tube – her name’s Georgina Anderson – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73I4-UWSpA0.  She has a beautiful, soulful voice – she will have huge things in her future. So amazing. Another fellow writer, Mhairi Ledgerwood, has set up a theatre company with some of her fellow play-writers, Meercat TC – look up their page on Facebook also – https://www.facebook.com/MeerkatTC. And my good friends over at CSI Training and Events http://csitrainingandevents.co.uk/ are just going from strength to strength as they grow their business. Future endeavors – it all sounds a bit ominous doesn’t it?

But this year is definitely the year for making those ideas lurking in the back of your mind – so stop wasting those precious seconds, get off your butt and do it. No-one’s gonna do it for you!

Thank you as always for reading – have a fantastic bank holiday weekend. X