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31 August 2009


Current Work: Catchup and plan for September
Listening to: The sound of My Man Friday strimming
Reading: A Minette Walters novel I think just finished When Good Friends Go Bad by Ellie Campbell

All Good Writing Plans...
As usual I set my self an inordinate amount of actions to complete and now at the end of the month I'm sitting here with my red pen. I feel a little bit like Jean Brodie, sour face, tut tutting all over the place and shaking my head. But I must have done something? Of course I have -
  • 3 Queries (not enormous) but I have several outlined and ready to go - what with the silly month nearly out everyone should be back at their desk. Good planning or what?
  • 4 Suite 101 articles (my original target of one a week) but back on track for two per week - they are good starters for longer articles.
  • Two Short stories submitted and another one ready for submission
  • Sort of maintained my blog
  • Entertained my lovely son and partner, two very active grandchildren, 1 dog, four kittens and now have successfully persuaded the 3 degrees to lay some eggs! (Must have been the words 'Sunday and Roast' which did it.
And sadly a rejection for All Will Be Well but onto the next two agents for contacting.

Happy September Writings!!

26 August 2009


My Tuesday blog should be a book review but as I haven't finished my book yet that's a bit difficult! Though I could give you a pretty good run down on the Book of Princesses from around the world written for girls aged 4 who dream of being kissed by a toad. Better not.

What's on My Mind?
I read somewhere that writers should write everyday (in fact I read it mostly on a daily basis) and I don't think that's bad advice. However, I do think that writers should have a holiday like all other people, what makes us think we are so special that we don't need any down time? As I try to catch up with the energy levels of a dead tortoise I find myself anxiously trying to live up to this ethic. Can I truly be a writer if I don't write something every day? Well I looked back at the days of my holiday, there isn't a single one where I haven't written something. It might be a shopping list (well there could be room for some inspiration there!). It might be a diary entry or a snippet of converstation or a 'must do'. All of these things might morph themselves into some witty prose or a dashing character or an emotional scene. One day. Anyway thats my thought for the day. What's yours?

24 August 2009


Current Work: Catch up after time out
Listening to: Kittens squeaking (do they squeak?)
Reading: When Good Friends Go Bad by Ellie Campbell

Holiday time
Is great, but there is always a price to pay and I'm paying it today. Have just had my son and family over for ten days which has been fantastic, but my writing has been non-existent. Oh I tell a lie, I have managed to keep up with my daily journal, ramblings about my life but that is all. So now I'm catching up with all the things I should have done before - though I had tried to get myself organised. Have even had to postpone our Writers Group because I haven't come up with the goods. But I shan't be too hard on myself, even the best and most brilliant writers (and anyone else for that matter) needs to take a break, spend some time building relationships which are long distance and just recoup. Though it feels like I've been on a rollercoaster today and have just reached the bottom. I always feel very low when they have gone so... will be back on track on Wednesday. Promise...

12 August 2009

Current Work: Still trying to get ahead
Listening to: The squeak of four young kittens wanting something to eat
Reading: A novel for my critique partner

The first full week of the new format and that means a book review. Still trying out new genres under the encouragement of My Man Friday. Since living here, I have read books I would never have considered before. We are also still enjoying our morning chapter translation of Geronimo Stilton which is helping (albeit slowly) our language progress.

Gone to Ground by John Harvey

Genre: Crime
Characters: A policeman, policewoman (and their relevant others) a dead guy and his sister
Plot: A gay lecturer is found beaten to death and the quest is 'whodunnit?'. His ex-lover or the family of a dead woman whose biography he'd been researching.
Setting: Up North, UK
Quick Summary: We read about the struggles of Will the career policeman with two small kids and a wife who wants to go back to work. Then there is Helen, his partner and with whom there is a kind of underlying history which is never spoken about out loud but you hear it nonetheless. Helen gets badly injured whilst going to the rescue of two gay guys being beaten up which leads the investigation into the murder of Stephen up all kinds of path. We learn about Stephens cruel dismissal of his lover who doesn't appear he could hurt a fly, until you learn what others know. Then there is Stephens sister, who is trying to keep it all together and builds a kind of wierd friendship with the neice of the woman that Stephen was researching. Its full of twists and turns and its great to read something which is set in the North of England. Has a homey feel. It's well written from all the characters POV and Harvey writes with a genuine insight. I've not read any of his before, but he's written loads.

Recommendation: Definitely and will try some more...

10 August 2009


Current Work: Editing a short story and non-fiction article for submission, preparing queries for the next two weeks and critiqueing a novel (not mine)
Listening to: The rumbling of thunder - storms are on the way
Reading: When Good Friends Go Bad by Ellie Campbell

So it's Monday and we are busy preparing ourselves for family visit on Friday. Its a very welcome visit as I haven't seen my granddaughter and grandson since last December, so I'm very excited. But that also means that I won't get chance to get my writing tasks completed. So this weeks aim is to get as much prepared as I can so I can just hit the 'send' button and voila! (or eccola! in Italian) it will only take a second. Hmm, things never seem to go that well to plan.

The Power of Image
We are watching the series Band of Brothers - which most of you may know is set in World War II and told from the many perspectives of an American parachute troop. Its been fascinating, entertaining, thrilling (as you know, I'm a bit of a World WarII nerd) but last night was shocking and the most thought provoking of all. The soldiers came across some POW camps as the war ended and the Germans fled. The scenes were... indescribable. It made me think about how you could write down those sort of images. Images which are not sweet, or funny or full of action, nor full of dialogue. You didn't need any of those trimmings. The images were enough and I haven't got them out of my mind all day. So powerful - words can say so much but never as much as an when writing we need to think image first, then words.

Confucius Says (Words of Advice on Writing by Writers)

'Words need to be crafted not sprayed. They need to be fitted together with infinite care.' Norman Cousins
(and I have to admit, I did not know who Norman Cousins was so I Googled him. Cousins was an American journalist and author who advocated for world peace, so very apt considering my blog. Serendipity is a word that comes to mind.)

7 August 2009


Blog Layout
Well as you can see, I'm changing (yet again) the way I set out my blog. Its to keep you all on your toes (if there is anyone out there that is)...

So Friday is going to be 'Hooray!' day where I chart the weeks successes (yes, that is plural). I might also add a few lessons learnt (or failures as we used to call them) because there has to be a reason to carry on.

Monday will be the usual format of current work and what is making my creative muse happy this week maybe a writing tip or two and Wednesday will be the book review. So with that out of the way, on to the good bits...

Three Cheers For! (and remember - its 'slumbering August')

  • Short Story Through The Looking Glass edited and finalised and submitted to Writers News Last Line Competition (1700 words)

  • Manuscript All Will Be Well sent to my critique partner Nancy - I'm reviewing hers which is set in the same time and has some surprising connections with mine!

  • Renewed subscription to Write Link - a forum for writers and I now have two 'friends'

  • The second and third article (of four)submitted to Suite 101 on using MBTI for character Development

  • Three blog entries and reviw of layout

  • Three queries submitted and thought given to the next six as I have my wonderful family coming to stay next week

  • Writers Abroad meeting, challenge set and advert submitted for additional members

  • Went to the open air Opera of Madame Butterfly - fantastic - what has it got to do with writing? Potenial non-fiction article, character observations, story lines... need I say more?

5 August 2009


Current Work: Blogging, critiquing, editing
Listening to: My Man Friday stringing onions (very satisfying..)
Reading: Gone to Ground by John Harvey (an english author)

To Blog or not to Blog?
I've changed my blog days again, thought I'd revert back to Monday, Wednesday, Friday and do shorter posts. I have been reading about how to make the best of your blog, so am going to put it into action. Though I know I should be slumbering. The trouble is the heat has dissipated, we've had a day and a bit of rain (which is great for the veggies) and I'm in auto mode as I prepare for my lovely son and his family who arrive on the 14th. So I will blog, it may be short but a blog it will be...

Book Worm

Characters: Told mainly from the view point of slave Floren and the household of Jacob and Rebekka including two servants Lina and Sorrow.

Plot: Floren is a young intelligent girl who tells the story of their life and how things are never what they may seem

Setting: North America in the seventeeth century

Quick Summary: Toni Morrisson has a gift for telling it how it is. The use of words and description are powerfully weaved together in this short story which tells a sorrow tale about slavery, about greed and about power but mostly about love. Its quite a difficult read as there is little dialogue which is written in the patouis of the time. I enjoyed it, but it took a long time for me to get into it.

Recommendation: I would if only for the words and how to construct beautiful descriptions. As a story, I'm not sure. I think if you have read Beloved or Jazz or any other of Toni Morrisons work you might find this a little tame.

3 August 2009


Additional Blog... it's Monday...

What do I mean slumber?...Writers can't slumber. Brains are always on the go.. anytime of the night or day. And since I wrote that last blog entry my writing 'friends' in my head have been having a party... either the heat is seriously affecting my mental health or its nurturing all this stuff into something - so I can't just let it disappear, can I? I mean , I need to 'write it down, write it out' and maybe a nugget of something will happen and then...?
Mmm... feeling sleepy...