The Post Where I Feel Like A Dumb Ass


I didn’t make it to class yesterday as I’m feeling proppa poorly. Have a stinking cold, spent the day drinking tea in my jim jams *sob* So no class means no cake either! :(

So instead, lets talk about, as we’d say here, what a “dumb arse” I am ;)

I’ve been reading Fred White’s The Daily Writer and recently he talked about re-writing. A good entry in the book, but, he mentioned a few abbreviations, the scribbled red words that teachers would add to our homework. Now, these particular abbreviations have had me scratching my head. Even a Google search didn’t give me great answers. So I can only conclude that there are 3 possible reasons why I don’t know what he’s on about.

1. I never did any homework.
2. Teachers in the UK never used these.
3. My homework was so goddam good that my teacher never needed the red pen! Yeah right ;)

These are the abbreviations:

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Ok so I think I’ve worked out:

GR means grammar (that’s simple)
DICT means dictionary (spelling?)
SP means specific, or starting point, or security police or swimming pool (I would have thought it was used to mean spelling personally, but apparently not lol)
MECH means mechanism?
FRAG means fragment?
AWK means awkward (ahhhhh, another easy one!)
WEAK well this one is either The Water & Enviromental Agency in Kansas or, and I think much more plausible, just the word “weak” written in capitals lol

Help me out guys….do you know what these mean and were they written on your homework in red pen?

Now I have an acronym for Mr White…. WTF? ;)

Must Do’s 25th Feb to 3rd March


Apologies to those of you who have already seen this post. They’ve changed the way the WordPress App works on my iPad, so when I asked this post to be scheduled, oh no, WordPress decided to post it instead :(

After my mini melt down, last week was a bit more productive :)

1. Catch up with 100K. Sort of lol…I’m still ahead of schedule, but have missed a few days. I’m really missing my daily prompts that’s for sure ;)
2. Faber homework. Yep! lots of reading for the critiques and editing my submission. I sent that over yesterday afternoon.
3. Catch up with Blogs and e mails etc. I did, lol, but it’s so easy to get behind again :( What I’ve decided to do is allocate two half days a week. I think that might work lol
4. Tidy desk. Done!
5. Finish book. Done and I’ve started a new one.
6. Do some studying. I did, but I need to get into a regular routine. I still have so much to learn ;)

So what am I up to this week?

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I’ve also got to send my payment off to the RNA Conference and sort out my application for Swanwick. Hubby is out at a chess match all day Saturday so I’m planning a Mini Retreat :)

What are your writing plans for the week?

Faber Session 22 – Linda Grant


Good evening :)

Wow, this is weird posting at 7.30 at night lol

Today’s class was with author Linda Grant who’s work has won the Booker prize and been nominated several times.

Linda had some great words of advice, so here are a few of my notes:

Reading is your apprenticeship to becoming a writer. Read indiscriminately, a wide variety of different books.

The thing about writing a book is that you’ve just got to get on with it!

Sometimes, the plot has to be dumped. If the characters are good then just put them somewhere else.

The first novel she wrote was just for fun. the more novels she’s written, the more like pulling teeth it’s become.

Most writers would die before they let anyone see their first draft.

Edit, revise, rewrite, until you are completely sick of it.

If a novel you’re writing just isn’t working, and you’re boring yourself, just abandon it!

She loses faith in a WIP if she has a break from it, so tends to work on one project at a time.

The book is finished when you have exhausted every possibility to make it better.

When asked what motivates her to write, she replied “A determination to write a better novel than the last one.”

This made me think about my own motivation, why do I write? I guess it’s because I love it, and to improve my skills.

Oh, and of course, there was cake involved ;) Two mini cupcakes to be precise!

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So what motivates you?

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday


Or rather hello Ruby Morgan ;)

I’ve always loved the name Ruby, so it was a no brainer that one of the main characters in my novel would end up with that name ;) And as The Stones released Ruby Tuesday in 1967 it fits perfectly :)

Ruby was born in 1972 to single mum Laura who still lived at home with her parents above a café in Blackheath, South East London. A happy pretty child with chestnut curls and deep brown eyes she was adored by her grandfather until his death when she was two years old.

When she is a little over one her mother marries her stepfather and all 3 move into a flat a stones throw from her grandparents. She is registered with her mother’s maiden name as her own surname.

Ruby doesn’t remember much of her early childhood, apart from the arguments between her mother and stepfather Daniel. Her stepfather virtually ignored her unless she was naughty, then he would take off his belt. Her mother came between them and always saved Ruby from receiving a beating.

A bubbly talkative child she was made to spend her time in her bedroom when Daniel was about. She had an imaginary friend at home and although popular at school, she was never allowed friends round for dinner. She becomes a rebellious teenager, staying out all hours and getting drunk.

She spends lots of time with her grandmother, preferring to go there after school than to her own home. As a small child she didn’t really notice that she hadn’t got a father like the other children at school and when she asked her grandmother she was told, “Ask your mother”. When she was 14 her mother had a nervous break down and ended up in hospital. Ruby goes to live with her grandmother and refuses to go back home when her mother is well again. She realised that her mother was in no fit state to be asked about her father.

When she is 18 her grandmother dies and she managed to persuade her mother to leave her stepfather. The two move in together but her stepfather convinces her mother to go back to him. Ruby refuses to go back to her stepfather’s house and her relationship with her mother deteriorates. They have a huge argument and Ruby walks away from her mother, travelling to Kent where she makes a new life for herself. With the money her grandmother left her she is able to rent a flat and gets a job at a local restaurant as a waitress. Whilst working one evening she meets Sam Townsend and they start dating.

As an adult Ruby has turned into a beautiful young woman with a clear English Rose complexion. Full of energy and always smiling, deep down she is insecure and finds it hard to accept love. She gave Sam a hard time for the first year of their relationship. But now, once shes accepted Sam does actually love her, what she wants more than anything, is to get a nice little house and have a family. Determined that her child will have a loving upbringing.

When they are engaged and organising the wedding Sam can’t understand why Ruby wants to go away and get married abroad on their own. She tells him about her mother and stepfather but Sam thinks she should get in touch with her mother. Ruby can’t stand the thought of going through the hurt and disappointment again. She realises that she has no one to give her away at the altar, but knows, to contact her father, whoever he may be, will mean having to speak to her mother. Who, she is convinced, doesn’t care about her.

Out of the blue she receives a large Jiffy bag. Inside is a letter from her mother and a notebook. She reads through the notebook, which tells her all about her father. After much soul searching and with Sam’s support she contacts her mother and visits her in hospital.

She decides to find her father and after much searching finally tracks him down. He denies knowing of her existence but is thrilled. They arrange to meet and get on well. Her father would like to arrange a meeting with her mother, but her mother refuses.

Ruby plots to bring her parents together.

Next time I’ll tell you about Ronnie :)

Tomorrows post will be a bit later than usual, as I’m off to Faber. Tell you all about it tomorrow evening :)

A Guest, A Give-Away and A Recipe!


You lucky lucky people :)

I don’t normally post on Wednesdays (apart from the IWSG) but, today, I have a very special guest for you :)

Nicky Wells writes fun and glamorous contemporary romance featuring a rock star and the girl next door. A signed author with U.S. publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, Nicky is in the throes of publishing her Rock Star Romance Trilogy. Nicky loves rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, Nicky is a wife, mother, and occasional teaching assistant.

Originally born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993, and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C.

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Visit Nicky on her blog where you can find articles, interviews, radio interviews and, of course, an ongoing update on her work in progress. You can also follow Nicky on Twitter and find her on Facebook. Nicky is a featured author on the innovative reader/author project, loveahappyending.com and has joined the Romantic Novelists Association. Nicky also has author pages at Sapphire, Amazon and, of course, Goodreads.

Her newest publication, Sophie’s Run was published earlier this month, the follow up to Sophie’s Turn which was published last September.

Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…
Who says that the road towards true love is straight and even? Sophie is certainly discovering that it is anything but.

So she has finally found the man of her dreams! Well… she knows who he is, even though she hasn’t actually quite met him yet. But she misses her opportunity, and then her life goes crazy. Rock star and ex-fiancé, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful. A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life. Then, just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal.

Sophie has had enough. Confused and distraught, she decides that it is time for radical change. Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret journey and eventually gets her life back on track.

Sophie’s Run is now available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk You can also get the paperback at Barnes & Noble, or download Sophie’s Run onto your Nook (coming soon).

Come dine with Sophie and Dan: Today’s treat is… Fabulous Drunken Prawn Pasta!
Sophie’s Run Blogtour 2013

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Hey, you! My name is Sophie, and I’m so excited you’re visiting me here today at Vikki’s blog. I’m the heroine (God, that sounds weird—I still blush when I say that) in the Rock Star Romance Trilogy by Nicky Wells. Nicky and I, we’re currently taking her second book, Sophie’s Run, on tour, and we’re taking you to all the places and sharing all the food that features in the books. My love of seafood is legendary ever since Sophie’s Turn hit the shelves…

“And for mains,” Dan announced, “Sophie will have the seafood platter.” He winked at me over his menu.
“I will?” I said, astonished.
“She will?” Jack and Mick asked at the same time, also astonished.
Dan hesitated for only a second. “Sure.

(Excerpt from Sophie’s Turn)

… See? I had so many people commenting on my seafood consumption in the first book that Nicky toned the seafood references down just a little in Sophie’s Run, the second book… lest people think I’m obsessed. However, my essential shopping list remains the same:

At some point, I got hungry and did a mercy-dash to the supermarket by the Tube station, stocking up only on essentials for now. Milk, bread, butter, honey, chocolate, crisps, wine, a bottle of cava, pizzas, prawns, pasta…

(Excerpt from Sophie’s Run)

Prawns and pasta… oooh, a favourite combination and one that only takes minutes to make! Plus, it can be a healthy dish too—if you go easy on the crème fraiche and the wine, LOL!

For Fabulous Drunken Prawn Pasta (for two) you need…

~200 grams Spaghetti or Linguine
~200 grams of King prawns (raw or cooked)
~200 grams of white fish (cod, haddock, coley)
~1 garlic clove, crushed or chopped
~1 small onion, finely chopped
~a tablespoon of butter
~a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley
~a big glass of white wine
~a couple of spoonfuls of half-fat crème fraiche
~salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste
~a handful of rocket (arugula) to serve (optional)

And here’s what you do. It’s quick and 100 percent foolproof!

Cook the pasta. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add salt, put your pasta in, make sure it all submerges, and add a glug of olive oil (this may help stop the pan from boiling over). Follow packet instructions regarding cooking time!

While the pasta is boiling, fry the onion in a big frying pan in a knob of butter until it turns glassy. Add the fish (fresh or frozen; if frozen, fry until fish is just starting to flake). Add the prawns and cook until they turn pink (if cooking from frozen) or warm through (if pre-cooked). Don’t forget to keep an eye on your pasta pan!

When the fish and prawns are about ready, add the white wine, parsley and crème fraiche. Season with salt, pepper and a dash of lemon juice to taste. Turn down the heat but leave on stove until ready to serve.

If desired, shred some rocket (arugula) and distribute over two plates. Drain the pasta, then put it back in the pan and pour the prawn sauce over it. Stir through until the pasta is coated in the lovely, gooey, creamy, drunken sauce and spoon out over the two plates. (If you’re me, you’ll have to count out the prawns to ensure there’s fair shares!).

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And now you’re all dribbling, here’s the giveaway!

Sophie’s Run GIVEAWAYS

1) Standard Giveaway
Nicky Wells is giving away one delicious chocolate gift to a lucky winner in the UK or North America!

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The small print: This Gift prize is a product of Unique Chocolate. The Gift prize is subject to availability in your country. If the Gift prize is not available in your country, Nicky Wells reserves the right to offer a substitute gift prize of a similar nature at her discretion. Nicky Wells will require the winner’s postal address for shipping purposes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2. Bonus Giveaway
Nicky Wells offers a giveaway of one Amazon gift voucher worth $20/£15 for one lucky winner. To enter, simply share your thoughts on Sophie’s Run with Nicky. Email your comment to nickywells@sapphirestarpublishing.com and your name will be entered into the draw. Competition closes 1 May 2013.

CONGRATULATIONS Nicky! :)

I’m looking forward to reading it! Do enter Nickys free giveaway….you never know, you might just win!

Faber Session 21 – Voice


Ok, so lets get the cake porn out of the way first ;)

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This is Orange & Almond cake with Creme Fraiche at The London Review Cakeshop. It had a tiny hint of ginger….mmmmm ;)

Ok, tonight’s session was about Voice….some snippets from my notebook:

Voice is the personality of the narrator, how the narrator (authorial voice) sounds.

The ‘voice’ of a character is different to the ‘voice’ of the author.

New writers worry too much about their voice. If you write with passion, believe what you’re writing and it comes from the heart, your voice will shine through.

Don’t try to imitate other writers, be yourself.

Think about what you’re saying and why you’re saying it.

Voice is difficult to define….but think Roth, Amis and Anne Tyler.

Your voice echoes through everything you write.

Voice is fairly easy to recognise in others work….it’s when you pick up a book and think this is different to anything I’ve ever read.

A very good example of a distinct voice in a new writer is The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. I’ve only read the first page of the piece we were given but immediately I was struck by the unique voice used. Check out the free Kindle sample if you’ve not read it and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m not sure that I’ve developed my voice yet. I can see that most of my 1st person characters all sound like me though lol ;) Do you feel that you have developed your voice?

Homework for next week: *gulp*
What is the theme of my book?
What is it really about?
What am I trying to say?

Must Do’s 18th to 24th Feb


I’ve had a pretty bad week :( Not much writing, feeling a bit uninspired to be honest, or am I just tired? Focusing seems to be an issue.

So last weeks Must Do’s were a bit if a disaster :(

1. Faber homework. No class = no homework.
2. Edit first 5000 words of Still. I did some of it, but my critique has now been put back until March so I’ve been very lazy and left it :(
3. Submit to Faber. See above!
4. Keep up with 1000 words a day. A complete wash out! *sighs*
5. Catch up with other blogs. I was up to date but I’ve fallen behind again.
6. Tidy desk (again!). Nope and now it’s worse lol

Well, I haven’t had a week that bad in ages! I’m even behind replying to your comments on my blog! I’ve really gotta pull myself together, somebody kick me up the arse ;)

This weeks list looks like this:

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But I’ve got a really busy week…..

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Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can pull myself out of the mood I’ve found myself in.

What are your writing plans for the week?