Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Happy Leap Day!

Sring has sprung
I don't know about you, but I like to think of leap year day as a gift, a whole, extra day to make the most of.
It was a lovely day over here, the sun was shining and it was uncharacteristically warm for the time of year. Spring had really sprung, and we took advantage of it. 

In the car we put on music and sung.
The radio was filled with romantic stories about ladies proposing to the love of their life... (apart from one woman who said she was "cheesed off" with the whole leap year fiasco because she had to wait another day for pay day... sheesh!)

I spent the afternoon out in the glorious sunshine, with my curious boys, exploring the garden. And when my two year old had had enough of inspecting the dirt and playing with his little plastic mower (with the tiny green beads that move around inside to make it look like grass clippings), he was content to run through the bedding hanging out to dry. In fact he thought it was hilarious and his laughter was infectious.

Sometimes it's the most 'normal' of moments that are the most special.

What did you guys do with your extra day?! What ever you did today, I hope it was one to remember.

Friday, 24 February 2012

E Petition For More Midwives in England

Wanting to make a difference...

I don't usually post things like this; but this is close to my heart. It was in my inbox sent by Bounty (

After having two children in Somerset, England I was absolutely disgusted with the volume of women each of my midwives had on their books...

The care both these women gave and the rest of the team was incredible considering the pressure. In a discussion with my midwife in my second pregnancy; I couldn't help but ask why she had such a large number of women under her care.
Her reply was, "We need more midwives and there are lots of newly qualified midwives waiting in the wing but the government just won't employ them because of cuts"

It seems to be a running story...

Better care in  pregnancy will come with the recruitment of more midwives, so if you have five minutes please go to: and sign the petition.

Thank you!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

General Writing Update


I haven't added any more to my "What I'm Writing" page, simply because I am more or less at the same stage as when you read last.

  • I've sent in my poem for the local competition, the closing date is the 29th of this month. I have received my confirmation of receipt, so it's just a waiting game now.I only entered initially to practise a writing style.. but to win would be fantastic as the prize includes vouchers for a course. If I win it would mean I could put it towards a writing course.

  • I have had a rejection letter this week but I have sent out three more submission letters... (I get knocked down, I get up again...) I'm getting much better at handling the rejection slips. It doesn't seem to get me quite so disheartened as it did before. I'm enjoying where I am at the moment and I am learning to have more faith/confidence in my work so I just dust myself off and keep going...

  • I have had an twinkling of an idea for a fantasy, I think it would be geared towards teens... I'm making up plans and idea maps to see where this idea will go...

  • One of my favourite blogs at the moment is Layers Of Thought . I love the reviews and I also manages to win one of their giveaways. If you are book mad, check out the link.One of the other useful sites I have come across is "Write It Sideways". It's packed with useful articles and tips for aspiring authors.

Read, Write, Blog!
Check out what I'm currently reading on my "What I'm Reading" page.
If you are reading or have read the same book, please do share your thoughts. They would be great!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Should Writers Give Their Readers A Choice Of Ending?

Did you have a game book as a child?
Go to page four...

How many times have you got to the end of a story, only to be bitterly disappointed by the character's fate/the story's end?

Earlier in the week; I caught a news report about how novelist Caroline Smailes had come up with 11 endings for her digital novel: 99 Reasons

It raises the question; should writers provide their readers with a multitude of endings to cater for individual tastes?

For me personally the ending of a book is final. I accept the author's vision; it makes for great discussion as to whether it should have ended in that way; but I can see how choosing an ending can be satisfying.

It takes me back to the experience of being a given a game book (pictured) as a child. You had various items and choices that determined the characters story. The aim was to get the characters to the end without meeting an ill-fated end.
I've heard of many children's stories being done in this way and I think it is great way to get kids engaged in the story. It works. There have been many series of books done in this way; including the ever popular "Goose Bumps - Give Yourself Goosebumps"

I've not heard of adult fiction being done this way however.

I think with the increase of digital fiction we will see more and more stories offering it's readers more control of what they want to see happen.

Friday, 17 February 2012

The Compulsion: My Reading Tower

Does this picture look familiar?!
This is my very own, ever growing, "to read" pile.

 "Why is there never enough time to read?!!" I hear myself cry for the hundredth time this week.

It's been a frustrating time this week for both my reading and writing opportunities. I've been thwarted at every turn; resulting in snatched moments to scribble down ideas as they pass; in hopes to save them from just disappearing into thin air.

And although I know that my reading time is limited; it still doesn't stop me from browsing the bookshelves for a good read. For example:

Last week, I took my children to the library, and for the first time in years I borrowed a book for myself. "Flowers in the Attic" by Virginia Andrews. (This will also be the first book I have read by this author. The blurb on the back was enough to convince me to take it up to the counter, so we shall see!) I also have a wish list of books waiting for me to purchase; reviews of books that have resulted in me adding more to that wish list and I have received three more books this week as gifts: "The End of the Line", "Terror Tales of the Lake District" (both a collection of short horror tales) and "The Woman in Black", a short story by Susan Hill.

With the weekend approaching, I've promised myself some well earned reading time. I'm really looking forward to it but I can't help looking at the pile and thinking: Will I ever conquer that reading tower?!

I bet you are now looking at your own and thinking the same...

How is your reading pile looking?! Any books that you reckon I should add to mine?! (You see?! I just can't help it!)

“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall.”

 - Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Sunday, 12 February 2012

*UPDATED* Bloggin' February

Valentine's isn't all about romance; it's also an opportunity to remind yourself of the people in your life that matter such as friends and family.

Check out my Valentine post on "Bloggin' February" page for thoughts, ideas and some links.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Tick Tock

A challenge that I face when it comes to writing is time. That is; there's never enough of it...

Through the day I'm a busy mum with two children under two and the day is jammed packed. I barely get a pit stop. I do most of my writing at night but this can present problems. By the time the children are in bed, I am absolutely shattered, so I don't feel that I have enough head space or flow to get anything of interest or substance down.

It's not just my writing that suffers under a busy schedule, it's the opportunity to read. This all leads to a good amount of frustration

I was just wondering how other writers cope with the frustration of time, getting a balance whilst juggling  the demands of the roles we have assigned to us.

How do you get the balance right?!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Tips for Authors...

From a young author...

I was searching for tips and advice on writing and came across this chappy's video. It made me smile so couldn't resist sharing it...
I wonder if he sorted out his illustrator...

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Writing Is Like Sitting On Eggs

At last. I have finished my attempt at a poem for a local competition. The theme was to write a poem, no more than 250 words, about the things that I like about the area.
Like an egg?
The closing date is the end of the month. I'm pleased to have got the poem done now; it means it has a chance to erm, incubate as I like to think of it.

If there is one piece of advice I would pass on to other writers; is a piece of advice I keep stumbling on by other writers blogs, and from a published author himself, would be: "Write it, then sit on it".

When I first decided that I would take a stab at writing to be published, I was so excited and motivated by my dream, that when I completed an idea for a children's picture book, I went ahead and sent it to to publishers and agents. I convinced myself that my work was at the very best it could be and that the publishers would be impressed.

The bubble soon burst.

Months passed and still no takers.
I continued to write and my original manuscript was left.

I was sorting through my files on the computer and came across the manuscript. I read it.

And groaned inwardly, wishing I could take it all back. The truth was that the manuscript was a hideous idea. Well... not hideous exactly, it just did not work. I couldn't believe that I had actually thought that this manuscript would have got the attention of publishers. No way. I wouldn't have published it myself.
I learnt a hard lesson.
Write it. Sit on it. Look at it again. Rewrite. Repeat the process.

Writng is like sitting on eggs. An idea needs an incubation period to fully develop. Wait until the idea has fully "hatched" and you know for sure what you are sending to agents and publishers.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Hello February!

Well. well... February snuck on in there!
I've been out and about looking for the signs of Spring with my children. I was also delighted to find that two of my snowdrops have emerged.

I've kicked off my "Bloggin' February" page with "8 things to do in February"; continuing from my 10 things to do in January... I confess, I tried to think of 10 for this month but I failed. Can you help me out?!

What I Am Up To This Month
  • Writing a short story for a competition. (It was supposed to be a story for my "What I'm Writing" page but then it developed so much that I thought I would enter it in the comp, I will write something fresh for page!)
  • Writing a poem for local competition ( I NEVER write poetry... I'm absolutely useless. But it's a chance to flex the creative muscles... why not?!)
  • Collecting ideas for the blog (as usual)
  • "Constructing" cover letters to send with submissions to agents/publishers
  • Finishing Adam Neville's The Ritual so I can write and post a review on my "What I'm Reading" page.
Hope February is a good one!

Below are a few pictures of the early signs of Spring that we collected.

Two perfect Snowdrops...

First green shoots, Probably soon to be Daffodils.

A splash of colour with Crocuses...

... and Winter Pansies.