About Me

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Hi, welcome to my blog, I am a writer of short stories, children's and YA novels . An acceptance from People's Friend finally made me a published writer! Yeah, happy days! I have since had stories published in The Weekly News and The Last Laugh anthology. My main love is writing children's/YA novels...I'm now enduring a fruitless search for an agent... I also draw and paint, I like to draw animals (usually my adorable crazy cats!)Occasionally famous people and motorcycles.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Sorry for the long break...

I have had a rather long break from writing and the internet! (some broadband issues) I mean to catch up with you all soon!

I've just been having a small panic because the present I ordered for my youngest (budding novelist) hasn't arrived. All she asked for this Christmas was a journal and a scrapbook. I was so proud that she wasn't demanding the usual teen stuff (ipods, wii etc)! Of course I wanted to get her a beautiful journal that she can keep but it hasn't arrived yet. Anyway I have also bought her some other things so she won't be gift-less, and I have come to the conclusion that if it doesn't arrive I shall just explain it has been delayed in the post! She's not the type to throw a tantrum (thankfully) so I should just stop worrying.

Christmas shouldn't be so stressful. I was talking to my eldest (21) about gift giving and how recently it is getting way too commercial, I dislike the television adverts forcing us to feel guilty if we haven't spent hundreds and hundreds of pounds.
We both agreed that the value of the gift is irrelevant , it is the thought that someone has put into it, which of course is absolutely true and yet... Later on I found myself doubting whether my gifts were sufficient. Why do I do that? I'd just been preaching about the true spirit of Christmas and suddenly I'm panicking and wondering whether to order a load of stuff on a credit card and have done with it.

Phew, it's ok. Deep breath. Back to reality. Sensible. I have put a lot of thought into what gifts everybody would like and that's that. They aren't hugely expensive, but it doesn't matter.
I hope you are enjoying the run up to Christmas (it's not always easy is it?).

Writing wise I had done absolutely nothing until last week. I saw an advert for the new 'Borrowers' on BBC this Christmas and it reminded me of a story I'd written years ago that I never finished.
So I have written a full plot, chapter breakdown and am over halfway through and I love it! It's my new favourite. It is a chapter book for 7-9 years and I am looking forward to completing it over Christmas. (There's optimism for you)

So that's something to keep me busy besides worrying about gifts and whether we can survive without brandy, cranberry sauce and a yule log.

I will catch up with you all soon xx

Thursday, 18 August 2011

In my notebook ...

...There are lots of little phrases about cats and kittens.
The front cover is a kitten and the words, 'to own a cat is to join a worldwide community of devoted slaves.' Quite so.

Sometimes I think 'I should really tell that cat who's boss!' The cat then looks at me with that knowing stare. Hmm.

Another phrase is 'you can choose, a cat, or furniture.'
My furniture is looking very very sorry for itself.

Anyway, I love my little notebook and every page is full of titles of stories I've written and where I have sent them or intend to send them.
I was flipping through it yesterday to see how many stories are awaiting responses and found that I only have five out and about! Aggh. No wonder it's all gone very quiet.
At least a rejection in the post is proof that I made an effort.
I need to get some more posted out, I need more rejections!

On a positive note, I got my copy of 'Someone has to Die, Volume 4' from Spikethecat with my story in, which is very exciting! I have put it on my shelf so I can see it when I'm feeling deflated.

Sorry about the lack of posts! I blame the school holidays. I don't know why, I just do.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Go away with that camera!

I took about ten pics of Millie Moo today, but this is my favourite, I think it would make a good painting. I'll have a go when I'm in the mood. Procastination for the win!!

Seriously, she purrs the whole time, but has that look on her face that means she's aboout to get me! So basically she wants to kill me, but is happy about it. :/

Hehe, no, she loves me really x

Sunday, 10 July 2011

deleting bit by bit

I have been trawling through the children's novel, looking for blidingly obvious boringness. What I did find, is that a lot of words are just unnecessary. I have been deleting them, ruthlessly.

For a small example, these few lines originally read:

David’s mum nodded and looked at David with a thoughtful expression, as if she was contemplating whether to say something more about the incident. She obviously changed her mind and looked at them with a bemused expression.
“Ooh, have you seen that girl next door?”

After a ruthless word cut,

David's mum nodded thoughtfully, David hoped there would be no more mention of the incident. To his relief, his mum suddenly looked bemused,
"Ooh, have you seen the girl next door?"

Hopefully David's mother's forgiving change of subject is still apparent, in less words.

I don't know, I think I will be at this editing lark for a long long while. What do you think, better or worse?

Interestingly, for anyone writing children's books, there is a competition to write the best opening paragraph in 300 words on 'An Awfully Big Blog Adventure' Thanks to Nicola Morgan's Help I need a publisher for the link.

It looks like fun.

Well, have a great day x

Friday, 24 June 2011

How two sentences can take all day to write.

I have finally finished editing a short story for People's Friend.
I had a nice letter from them asking for just a couple of changes, which
sounded reasonable, I thought, 'I can do that', 'it shouldn't take long'
How wrong I was!
It was just a few small things, but changing one sentence changed the mood of the whole paragraph, then altering the paragraph meant altering something else on the previous page and so on.
I had to stop after several hours of deleting and writing and deleting, as I was on the verge of throwing my laptop out of the window.
Anyway, I have printed off the story ths morning and I'm off to the Post Office, with fingers firmly crossed.
If they don't like it this time, I may well cry. A lot.

Simple changes, there's no such thing is there?

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Sorry it's all been rather quiet...

I don't seem to have had much to say lately. My last post was Easter!
Aggh! I don't know where the time goes, it's rather scary.

Anyway, the main reason for my lack of posts is that there was nothing to say writing wise, I hadn't heard a peep for months.

Just as I was beginning to think all magazine editors had fallen off the face off the earth, I got three rejections. Yeah!

Well any response is better than nothing, I like to see the rejections as proof of my existence as a writer, I can always collect them and perhaps form a collage of all the different ways editors say NO!

I still haven't heard about the children's novel either and it's been about eight months now, so I'm assuming that's unlikely to come to anything.

There is a little ray of sunshine in that my story for Spike the cat's 'Someone has to die vol 4' competition is now released as an E book. Apparently there are free copies for a short time if any one fancies a peek at Spike the cat's blog

Ooh and, 'Hello!' (big cheesy wave) to the new followers, thank you for showing an interest in my little posts. :)
I am going to catch up on everyone's blogs now, Happy June everyone! I hope your writing is going better than mine! x

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter

Just wanted to say 'Happy Easter!'
Another gorgeous day, I'm so tired, lolling about in the sun is hard work!
I feel a little bit sick having eaten a full cadbury egg with mini eggs, a chocolate bunny full of smarties and several creme eggs.(we did an egg hunt for the hidden creme eggs, it wasn't a great idea as it was very hot in the garden. The finds were rather squishy, but still yummy!!)
I was going to make a roast dinner, but forget it, it's too hot. We're having sandwiches!
I hope you're having a great day, do you still want Easter eggs now you're all grown-up? I know I do ;)

Saturday, 9 April 2011

lazy days

This is my Milly moo,

She's just lolling about stretching in the sun, she loves those dried up crunchy leaves! She's so cute when it's nice weather, she loves the family being outdoors, she shows off!
So, HOT HOT today. thought I'd do a bit of writing out on the laptop. Of course life is not that simple and I couldn't see the screen with the glare from the super sunshine. So I threw my cardigan over my head and made a little 'tent' over me and laptop. It was alright for a few minutes, then I got too hot. Then my battery went dead, so I took it as a sign that my laptop doesn't like sunshine and took it inside.
So, all I managed was a comment on one blog. No other writing of any productive style at all.
And...why is it there are never any ice cubes when you need them? Just empty trays in the freezer. Why do people do that? Had to resort to chopping up an ice pop to put in my drink.
Oh well. It's sunny. I'm happy. :)
Has it been a lazy Saturday for you?

Monday, 28 March 2011

It hasn't rained for six days, shh!

I know, don't jinx it!
I love the sunshine, I'd forgotten what it looked like. I really hope we have a good summer, but at the moment I'm happy just to see some sunshine, even if it is still cold. I ventured out in short sleeves on Saturday, gosh I did feel brave. It's weird baring skin after months covering up ( I'm only talking arms here, nothing too outrageous)
I hope the weather's good where you are too!
I should just say Thank you to Gail who has kindly awarded my the Stylish Blogger, I know I should really think of another seven things to reveal about myself, but you'll have to make do with my arms for now (sorry no picture of white arms, you can use your imaginations). I'll have to have a think...
I have done absolutley nothing these last few weeks, except getting a tad obsessed with ebay. I've wasted hours and hours looking for stuff I really don't need. Sigh.
Anyway, have a great day, I'm just going to catch up with you all!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Lovely lovely

Where has the time gone? It's been nearly four weeks :/

Firstly, thanks so much for this lovely award from Teresa Ashby

Isn't it pretty?

I'm supposed to share seven things about me, eek! Err, ok, here goes...

1. I have always loved writing, I remember when I was nine, we had to write a story about what we'd do if we won a million pounds. My teacher praised me, not for my writing skills but because I was the only one in the class who'd 'spent' the money on other people! Aw, it brings a tear to the eye, hehe.

2. I love animals and have always had a cat, a dog or a hamster, sometimes all three. I don't have a dog now as we have two cats and a very small house, but my dog in childhood was Smudge, he was my friend and I still miss him.

3. My first writing hit was a 60 word fiction piece in Chat magazine.

4. I love dancing (with no one around to watch me I hasten to add)

5. I love 80's music.

6. I'm very disorganised, I plan things all the time, but then get distracted. For instance, I've just remembered there's a load of washing in the dryer that's still damp because I turned it off whilst we were having our tea and forgot to put it on again. I do that a lot, damp clothes need washing again after three days sitting in the dryer! No wonder the electric bill is so high!

7. I chipped two teeth on the same day thirteen years ago, but the fillings have held up really well, until yesterday when I chipped one of them again eating Mentos, :( Grrgh, I don't even like Mentos.

Well, there you go!

I'd like to pass the award on to these lovely people.

Suzanne Jones

Old Kitty at Ten lives and second chances

Joanna at Brightwriter60

Joanne Fox at A zigzag road

Aubrie at Flutey words

Karla at The Writing Pad

These are just a few of the fabulous blogs I love, I don't want to miss anyone out, but I know many of you already have this award. I also have a problem with my mobile broadband, I'm running out of megabytes, it's not good. It's causing problems. I shall have to top-up tomorrow!

It's annoying because I really want to catch up with you all!

See you soon x

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Lists in threes...why?

Yesterday I wrote a long shopping list. My terrific budgeting plan is to shop for a fortnight with one week's money. Haha, I know. Still I'm an eternal optomist...

'Tell us more about your shopping lists!' I hear you cry (or is that the click click of mice as you frantically move on to another blog). Is the plural of a computer mouse 'mice'? I feel it should be mouses...anyway that's beside the point.

I wrote a long list of everything I needed and wanted from the supermarket. I also write the amount each item will cost to the nearest 50p (easier to add up). So that was all done.
I totted it all up and it cost twice what I wanted.

I crossed off lots of unecessary items like dishcloths and brocolli. (I left the multipacks of choc bars on)

Well then my nice neat list was all scruffy, so I wrote it out again and added it up, it was a slight improvement.

Ok, so why three?

Several family members wander past me on the way to the kitchen.
"You've forgotten toothpaste" Is the first comment. I sigh and squeeze it on to my neat list (the word not the actual toothpaste).

"Don't forget those nice steak things you got last time."

I sigh and add the steak things. ( I thought they were horrible but what do I know?)
Then, without any help from anyone else I realise I've forgotten to write shampoo and milk. So unless we eat dry cereal and go out greasy-haired, I will have to add those too.

I very much doubt anyone cares where this is going, if you've read this far I thank you for your patience.

There's no room on the paper and my neat list looks scruffy again and that just won't do. So I write list number three and put it on the kitchen table ready for the shopping trip.

Later when I'm in the supermarket, I ignore my lists completely and just go with the flow, buying what is on offer and hoping for the best as usual. Mainly because I've left the list at home. Yet another list will never fulfil its destiny.

I ALWAYS forget to take the damned list with me and... I just realised yesterday, that I ALWAYS write it out three times.

What is wrong with me?

You don't have to answer that, just please tell me, does anyone else have this strange ailment?

Monday, 7 February 2011

Someone Has To Die...

No, no I'm not in a psychotic rage, far from it.

Spikethecat 'Someone has to die vol. 4' Competition results are out! There was a winner, a runner up and ten others to go in an anthology, and my story has been selected as one of those ten. Yay!
Congratulations to all the winners!

In other news, I haven't deleted the old manuscript. I got very cross with it, deleted vast amounts of waffle and have saved it on the old USB stick for another day. Thank you for all your comments, maybe someday the original idea will emerge as a bigger, better, brighter story.

On a completely different note, corned beef. I remember when if money was a bit tight, a tin of corned beef, potatoes, carrots and onions would make a great value family stew. Corned Beef Hash. Suddenly Corned Beef is £2 a tin. I'm sure it was only last year I was buying it for about 80p. It's not fair. Corned Beef Hash is just a hash without the corned beef.

And creme eggs...52p! Agh! Luckily the six pack was half price at Tesco so I congratulated myself on being a savvy shopper and ate them all in celebration.

How many more of the old favourites are getting way too pricey? :(

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Finding a home for the WIP

I decided to have a go at the re-vamp of the fantasy story, it had been waiting for a good editing for a long while.
The first three pages were quite good, I'd re written the beginning a while back, so that bit was OK. Then I spent three hours on it and managed to get to page 8.
Naively I thought I could just have a read through, liven up my characters a wee bit, tighten up the plot, get rid of any unnecessary sentences and job done!
There are so many unnecessary sentences, I've decided best home for this particular novel is in the recycle bin. Talk about drivel.

Be gone you historical fantasy you! Thine tale is dismally dull, thy plot woefully wooly and thine characters be wimsically wooden.

Sometimes you have be brutal. I shall keep the ideas in the form of a few sentences, and perhaps one day it will become the start of a new and intriguing novel.

I am consoling myself that I wrote it a long time ago, so I must have learnt something over the years as I am now able to recognise a load of rubbish when I read it.

On the plus side I have subbed a new story to TWN and have two ready to post off to PF, so I haven't completely wasted the weekend.

It is hard to let go though, I was quite fond of it. How do you cope with brutal editing, does it ever end up in the recycle bin?
'You are about to send 'Useless WIP' to the recycle bin, are you sure?'

Of course I'm not sure...

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

A lovely award

Thank you so much to Rachna for the lovely L'Aussie Fair Dinkum award, I'm so pleased! Rachna has a lovely warm blog, educational too, if you haven't met her yet, I recommend a visit!

Thanks for all your suggestions for 'writing' books, Stephen King seems very popular and sounds like an interesting read.

I was just wondering if anyone is entering the Amazon Breakthrough Novel award contest?
I've just been having a look, but the young adult section is for novels over 50,000 words and I'm not quite there yet and don't suppose I will be by early Feb when the comp closes.
I'm always looking out for places to sub to and then when I find one I get all nervous and daunted by the whole thing. I'm such a wimp :)
Good luck to anyone who is thinking of entering!!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Reading about writing

Has a week gone already? That was quick.

Writing Advice Books
I must admit, I'm not one for reading 'how to write' books, being a tad sceptical about the benefits of doing so. There is such a vast amount of information on the web now, that I haven't felt the need. However, I have just read about half of Louise Jordan's, 'How to write for children', which had been recommended to me a few times and I have to say, I'm finding it all very interesting and I'm feeling quite positive that it will be helpful.
There is lots of advice for writing for all age groups from picture books to teens, so I'd recommend it.
It's also a benefit to me, to have all that information in one place, because I do waste a lot of time looking things up!
I know most writers have read this, and more besides. So maybe I should have read this sooner. Does anyone have a favourite writing advice book?

I'm happy to say I'm 20,000 words into the new 'girl meets ghost' novel and is still going quite well, I'm hoping my new found advice will help me on my way!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Hmm seem to be repeating myself

Yes, well I was just thinking of how I need to get organized, mainly I need to finish one thing at a time, instead of having half a dozen stories on the go.
I thought I might make a list. As I was doing so it all sounded rather familiar. Was this some spooky de-ja-vu? No, I just had a look at last Jan's post with New Year ish type resolution lists.
Rather irritatingly, I don't think I've managed any of those things.

1. Sci fi novel: I did do a serious edit and it's finished but...I'm not 100 percent happy with it yet.

2. Girls supernatural story. I have worked on it but it's not finished. I will make it a priority!

3.Pocket novel. Gave up 10 000 words in. Don't know where I'm going with it.

4. Fantasy novel. Have decided it's a teen book and I still love it, but it's not finished.

5. Children's novel. Needed re write and I started but didn't finish...

6.Another children's book. Still not finished, I think I managed one more chapter.

7. Write something for TAB. Still not managed that one!

8.Find home for favourite short story. Sent to a competition, still there, so not sure about that one.

So that's pretty much what I still have to do, one year on. Perhaps this year I should narrow down the list. Just finish one of those darn novels woman!

Sorry to bore you all with my lists. I'm good at making lists, not so good at completing what's on them, how about you? List writer or List completer?

Friday, 7 January 2011

How long is too short?

Well, YA novel wise. After a grreat deal of trawling through publishers websites, the ones which care to give details of requirements, not just the requirement that they don't require anything at all from you new writer, thank you very much, but actual submission requirements, I have found that word counts can vary between 20,000 and a vague 'around 50,000.
So, at the moment I'm around half way through, meaning I will manage about 30, 000 words, but it seems I will be narrowing down the list of possible places to sub, which is pretty narrow already.
The answer is to just get on with it and worry about where it goes later, I suppose.
Which I should really do, having already accumulated a number of 'nearly finished' novels that have no home to go to :(
Do you write for a target market and therefore a specific word count, or just go with the flow and figure out what to do with your masterpiece afterwards?

Mischa doesn't really care either way.

Monday, 3 January 2011

What happened to 2010?

I am beginning to sound like my gran, 'ooh time flies', 'ooh when I was little...', 'it only seems like yesterday when I was...'

But really, I'm sure it was only a matter of weeks since the beginning of 2010. I even wrote 'best wishes for 2010' in some of my christmas cards last month. I'd sealed them and put on stamps before I realised what I'd been writing. I suppose the recipients may just have assumed I was wishing them all the best for the remaining week and a half of the year, or perhaps more likely they realised I'm just a little bit mad.

Oh well, just wanted to say 'Happy New Year!' to you all. (It's now 2011, by the way in case any of you are having similar problems to myself.)
Yes, I have just hovered the cursor over the date on the bottom right hand side of my laptop screen, just to be certain.Monday 03 Jan 2011!