Wednesday 27 February 2013

Wax on, wax off!

When you first start writing a novel, the goal is to finish it and you many think that finishing is the longest slog, especially when the book is about 100,000 words.
But after the finishing comes the editing. The idea of editing is to polish up the novel so that its the best it can be.
Its also to correct any spelling and grammatical mistakes that have crept in. Which they do, when you are concentrating on the writing and getting the story down.
This is the longest slog for me. The novel is written, now its the polishing.
I feel like the Karate Kid, who has to learn his 'wax on, wax off' routine, until the car is as shiny as it can be. The good thing is, along with the Kid, I'll be learning a skill that stands me in good stead for the next novel.
Will there be a next? Of course! I've already started writing book two and am ten thousand words in!

Now, back to book one. I was playing around with some covers for it too, in case I decide to go the self publish route. At the moment, all options are still open. 

Here are some of the cover options. I would love for you to tell me which, if any, would make you want to pick the book up. Don't be frightened to say 'none' if that is the truthful answer. :)

Thanks in advance for your help!

Monday 25 February 2013

Innovation and another book cover

On Saturday, I watched a reflexology webinar on my computer.

What's a webinar? A web based seminar.
Instead of me travelling to the other end of the country for a reflexology training day, I could sit in the comfort of my own home, watching it live and interacting through a dedicated 'chat' box.

This is a marvellous innovation. It saved me driving for a few hundred miles and stopping overnight in a hotel.
Which means I've polluted the atmosphere less because I didn't use my car.
I also get the benefit of standing up to stretch, rather than sitting all day. I get to use my bathroom without missing great chunks of the lecture.
I even get to have lunch with hubby!
Are there any downsides? Of course. If you are doing a practical, its always helpful to have the lecturer there on the spot to put your hands in the correct position. But, I've been in practice for 16 years, so I should be able to see and understand hand placements.

The webinar lasted from 10am to 5pm, including breaks, so I wasn't really at the computer much for the rest of the weekend.

I did manage just the one book cover, which I did for my writing chum.
We met up at a local theatre for a chat over how we're progressing with our writing.
Here's the cover I designed for her. I hope this one too feels like you'd want to pick it up!

Friday 22 February 2013

Book Covers

Some days, all I feel like doing is 'playing.'

Hubs had sourced a new photo program called DigiKam so I set to, uploading my photos and designing book covers. It was great fun!

Here are a few - do you think I might have a future in design? :)
Or perhaps I ought to write the stories to match the covers.
Which do you prefer of the three? 

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Website and writing

Most of you know me from my painting blog - but did you know I have a painting website?
It is a gallery site that shows all of my paintings.
I created it when we first moved into this house, some four years ago.
It has gallery sections for my dog paintings, my alphabet painting and my cowgirl paintings.
If you'd like to see it, the link is here

I also have a reflexology site.
Reflexology is my working life - and its this life which gives the time and ability to paint and to write.
If you'd like to see my reflexology site, its here

Yesterday I was reading some more of Mary Mackie's Creative Editing.
I want to finish the book and absorb the lessons before I start editing my novel.
However, its so difficult not to write, having got used to doing so daily - that a short story was on the cards. That has been completed and it will sit awhile in a drawer, before I look at it again and make any necessary changes.

Its a funny way of working, but apparently a good one, according to the writing tutor.  It makes you detach from the story and then see it clearly when you return to it.

Do you have any odd little rules for your work?
I'd love to hear them.

this painting 'Almost Home' you can find on my gallery site!

Monday 18 February 2013

Diva - a short story.

I'd like to share a painting with you - and the short story that it inspired. 
I hope you enjoy them both.


Her funeral was scheduled for tomorrow.
She who was famous in life would be famous in death, whilst I, who knew her best, loved her best, would be no more than a bit player in the final scene.
Fools! You would deny me, but I will have my hour. That hour is closer than you think.

I remember with fondness the first day we met.
Her eyes lit up when she saw me. She sashayed her way over to me, politely talking to everyone who was in her path, but never taking her eyes off the prize - me!
How we talked that first meeting, I shamelessly sidled up to her and touched her at every opportunity. She in turn, glowed. This was a match made in heaven.
It wasn't long before we were sharing her house. She had wealth yes, many thought me a gold digger, but honestly, money never came between us. She had what she had and gave what she was capable of. I gave what I was capable of. 

Mostly there was love.

I remember how she'd return from a day's acting work and how her tired eyes would come to life when she saw me. 

I was her world, she was mine. I'd come to her and knead her shoulders, so full of tension from dealing with those who never understood her. I'd kiss her and she would smile. 
'Toots,' she'd say, 'let me have a bath first?'
Toots, the memory makes me smile. That was her pet name for me and mine for her? She was my Cream Puff. Toots and Cream Puff, what a couple we were. Totally in love.
The sycophants never liked me, of course. They saw evil and greed, yet in truth there was only love. They did their best to separate us, but we were stronger than them all. 

Only now she is gone and I am alone.

The television is on and I'm watching her funeral.
The hearse is driving slowly through the crowd and fans are weeping, throwing flowers at her coffin. They loved her too. They knew of her love for me and whilst her studio called it mad, they loved her and called our love eccentric. I love those fans, they accepted me once they saw how happy I made her. Why couldn't the studio do the same? My heart breaks for the loss of my Cream Puff. The staff at the house notice how quiet and depressed I am and they avoid me. My world is shattered. The studio hijacked her funeral and I had no legal right to stop them. According to them we did no more than share a house. She had signed contracts with them. 

My heart hurt.

The coffin is lifted from the car and taken into the church.
There are readings and personal recollections and much singing that the local cats would be proud of. They mourn in their way, I mourn in mine. Mine is retreat, until the moment that our great love will be revealed to the world.
There's the studio manager, extolling her greatness, the way she lit up the screen with her personality. I hate him, he makes me so mad I could spit. I silently promise him, he'll get his comeuppance.
Cream Puff is now being transported to the stars' graveyard. She'll be interred and it hits me suddenly, I shall see her no more. This last act was not a film scene, but reality. I am indeed alone. A panic rises, would she have kept her word to take care of me? Instantly, I am cross with myself. How could I doubt her love?

A small group break away from the graveside and walk toward a waiting car. The television reporters confirm they are off to the solicitors for the reading of the will. How I wish I could be there to see their faces. I can only trust the reporters will be waiting outside for them.
I pace our bedroom, waiting for the outcome. Why is it taking so long? I need to hear our love spoken aloud, craving that validation.
Suddenly the reporters are squealing. I run to the screen. This is my moment, my hour. The time they realise I was everything to her  -as she was everything to me.
There's the studio manager, he has a face like an ice cream vendor sucking on a lemon!
This is great news. A reporter asks him a question and he replies 'no comment' as he roughly pushes by!

The solicitor stands in front of an array of microphones. 

He announces the love which was evident throughout our lives together.
'Miss Oldson has left the entirety of her estate to her beloved cat, Toots, to keep him in the comfort he became accustomed to.'
My darling, my Cream Puff. I love you still.

Sunday 17 February 2013

Forging ahead

Hubs and I are on holiday for a week, we've already been out, buying garden plants for me to make my little haven look as pretty as a picture.
We've bought a beautiful hellebore, a sweet smelling evergreen called sarcococca - or Christmas box. Some allium bulbs, a paeony and a bleeding heart.


I also picked up a book in a second hand store called 'Creative Editing- spot what's wrong with your writing before your editor does'.

Its the most wonderful book -  a little gem. Its already had me looking at certain parts of my book and thinking - this must change! Which in a way is a blessing, because I heard yesterday that I didn't make the winning five to be mentored. Perhaps in this writing journey I am being helped in a different way.
I am half way through the editing book, once I reach the end, I will apply what I've learned to have the best, most polished novel I can have. Once that's done, I'll look at sending out to agents.

Plans for the rest of the week include a rendezvous with a writing friend from my first course, lunch with another friend, another day - and garden haven planting! Whatever you're up to this week, have a fab one! x

Thursday 14 February 2013

Valentine's Day.

Today is the day we all get inundated with hearts and flowers wherever we turn!

Its a special day for me and hubby, because we met on Valentine's Day over twenty years ago. Not at a special Valentine dance, or anything remotely to do with the hearts and flowers brigade.

We met when we were both doing some work for a hospital charity. Hubs had been doing the night shift and I came along to do the day shift. Not the most likely place for love to start, but grow it did.

We've been through a lot, with his accident and the twelve year road back to normality, so he usually buys a present for Valentine's. If its jewellery I fancy, he always tells me to pick it myself and he'll pay for it.

That's what happened this year. One of my friends is a jeweller and she makes the most stunning jewellery in all styles. My preference is for clean, sleek lines, so this is what I chose from her range.

If you'd like to see her site, its Sparkling Jewellery HERE

Happy Valentine's Day to you, however you celebrate.

Tuesday 12 February 2013


Today is Shrove Tuesday and that means pancakes!

Well, it also means  the start of Lent, a preparation time for the coming of Easter.

But for today, its pancakes.

Here's one of my favourites, a painting from a photo of a pancake (crepe style) that I made from a recipe of James Martin's.

I prefer the crepe style of pancake - and the chocolate sauce was delicious.
How about you? Do you prefer thin or thick pancakes - and what is your favourite topping?

Sunday 10 February 2013

A little bit excited...

I'm a little excited..... my novel is finished!

Here on my desk is a completed novel - one hundred thousand words.

The writing of it has consumed me over the last few months, but every moment has been a pleasure and a revelation.

Creating a world populated with people who you've brought to life is a feeling like no other. I can see why people would write series, or sagas. Who would want to let go of these wonderful people, let them sail off to reader land, never to be seen again?

I'm so enamoured of the process, I've started on book two!

Book one will sit until after the selection of the Future Stars (see post below).
If I'm lucky enough to be chosen from the many entries, then I'm hoping the guidance received will help me edit and improve Book One.
If I'm not chosen, then I will look again at what needs to be done.

Until that moment, I'm enjoying the fact that I can see in front of me, twenty folders, each containing a chapter of my book.

It feels like quite an achievement.

Friday 8 February 2013

Calling all Writers - Future Stars

Here's a wonderful opportunity for any writer!

Miranda Dickinson is offering five lucky entrants the chance to be mentored by her for a whole year.

She's calling the mentor programme 'Future Stars'.
To enter you have to fill in an application form and send off one chapter of your work.

Look HERE for details.

the closing date is Valentine's Day and the results come two days after.

Good luck to you should you enter.
Good luck to me too! :)

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Spotty, Missy and Battersea Dogs &Cats Home

I love dogs.
No question of it.
Spotty started it all. Darling, darling Spotty. The most wonderful jack russell ever.
She started her life in an old neighbour's house - we've since moved.
There she was subject to physical violence. One day, her previous owners smacked her across the head with a roofing tile. Her head was split open and they wouldn't take her to the vet, because it meant paying.
So I took her and paid for her treatment.
She slept with me overnight, because the vet thought she only had a 50:50 chance of living.  She lived. She was my dog from that day on.
Her loyalty was amazing. Her intelligence was also amazing. The love she gave was boundless.
She lived, safe in our love, from 18 months old to 18 years old.

When she passed, we were bereft.
Hubs persuaded me to go to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, where we could look at the dogs. I wasn't sure, thinking it disloyal to Spot, but he said another dog might need us and may not have time to wait for my grieving to pass.
Off to Battersea we went.
We had an interview; we showed them pictures of Spotty, pictures of our house and garden and all the local parks.

Battersea's rehomer gave us a choice of jacks to look at.
We decided we'd like to see Missy, because she'd been in the home for two years.

Two years! I can't praise Battersea enough for never giving up on her.
Wonderful organisation that I am proud to support. 

It didn't matter to us she was older, Spotty had lived to 18 - so 8 wasn't really old, more middle aged.
We fell for Missy on the first meeting, but we weren't allowed to take her home immediately. We had a second visit, saw how she behaved around other dogs, took her for a walk in the gorgeous Battersea Park and asked the Home to please let us give her a home. To our everlasting delight, they said we could rehome her. A date was fixed to pick her up, but it had to be put on hold when she developed a tummy bug. Battersea wouldn't let her go until she was healthy. The third visit we had, we took our new darling girl home.

In March she'll have been with us seven years.
Its been a wonderful time, with our love for her growing daily.
She's great fun, enjoys agility, loves to walk around the farm investigating all the smells, adores people and children and greets every patient of mine with a great big wag! Which is incredibly special now, because just on Monday we were told that the cataracts she developed have made her almost blind. You'd never know it if you came to visit. She is so pleased when people arrive, play with her, or feed her a treat. What a special dog!

If you'd like to see the Battersea dogs in need of a home, please go HERE

If you'd like to see the cats too, go here

Monday 4 February 2013

Why I write.

My earlier posts explained why I became a reflexologist and why I became a painter.

Today its the turn of writing.

When hubby was first diagnosed with the bad back, he became very depressed. Not just a blue mood, but full blown depression. Horrid for him, horrid for me.
A good friend who was a GP told me that I must develop some hobbies which would take me out of the house, because time away was precious. If I didn't do it, he predicted I too would be suffering from depression within six months.

Adult education classes were my great help. As I'd said before, friends and family fell by the wayside when hubs became ill. Classes were a great help when friends were few and far between. Classes were regular, once a week.

Even now, when hubs is better, I still browse the prospectus for new classes and if anything takes my fancy, I sign up!
Last year, creative writing short shories grabbed my attention.
In Feb 2012 I took the five week course. I loved it! My mind had free rein to create my own little world, on a page. There's nothing quite like it :)

In Nov 2012 came the Creative Writing Novel Writing course.
It ran for five weeks with the option of an extension if enough were interested. Sadly, only I was, so the extension class never ran.
However, the first had fired me up, the tutor was so complementary about my work, that I carried on writing. My novel writing began.

Making new worlds and fashioning new people is such fun!
Its hard to imagine now a life without writing. I'm not sure I want to :) 
My novel is a work of fiction loosely based on something that really happened. A young lady has her fortune told. The novel charts what happens next. There are funny moments, tearful moments and exciting times! The target word count is 100k.  I have less than ten thousand words to go, before the novel is finished.
Then it will need polishing before the big decision is made to seek an agent or self publish. That's a whole post on its own!

I'm so enamoured of writing, I can promise it won't be first and last - oh no!
Later on in the year, I will share some of my short stories, right here.

Until then, pick up a book and read someone else's imaginary world.