Free Writing In The Lake District


Standing in the grounds of the hotel as there’s nowhere to sit. Everything is covered in a fine layer of rain. The air smells clean, earthy, like a box of button mushrooms and the only sound is the wind rustling the leaves on the trees. Even the birds are fed up with the incessant wetness. They sit huddled on branches and dry stone walls, their feathers puffed up.

Is this really summer? The only animals that seem to like this weather are the Llamas in the field next to the hotel. They lay down on the wet grass and click their tongues at each other. I guess if I had a thick wooly coat like that I wouldn’t mind it so much either!

The Lake District…a place loved by writers, poets. An inspiration to artists so they keep telling me. But is that because it just seems so miserable? A place that suits a tortured soul? Perhaps I’m just not depressed enough to appreciate it. I just want to go home now, back to my concrete town where everyone shops at Icelands and where the Llamas would be well advised to wear a bullet proof vest over that warm wooly coat.

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It’s not really that rough where I live….a slight exaggeration, but only slight πŸ˜‰

No seriously, it’s a beautiful place but I didn’t find it as inspiring as I thought I would, or was told I would. Perhaps it was just too cold and wet? It got me thinking, what place would I find inspiring? And it has to be the beach, no doubt about it πŸ™‚

What kind of place do you find inspiring?

A Lotta Liebsters


Ok, well, due to the A-Z Challenge in April, and my break from Blogging during May, and all the Faber stuff a bit of a backlog has occurred lol….so sincere apologies to anyone who has nominated me for an Award in the last, oooooo, 6 to 8 weeks lol…I will get to them, I promise πŸ™‚

Lin over at The Voices in My Head nominated me for the Liebster Award.

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The rules for this one are:
Post the award on my blog
Thank the blogger who gave me the award and link back to their site
Post 11 random facts about myself (Sorry not doing this one, I can’t come up with that many facts about myself!)
Answer 11 questions that the presenter of the award has asked
Nominate 11 new bloggers with fewer than 200 followers to pass the award on to
Ask my nominees 11 questions of my own

And Lins questions to me are:

What’s your favourite TV program? Recently I’m loving Dexter, Da Vinci’s Demons, The Voice and Dr Who….
If you were buying a book for someone who doesn’t usually read, what would you buy? Thats a hard one and would depend on whether they were male or female. If female I’d give them a copy of Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard, if male, I’d get The Hubster to choose something.
Fiction reading or non-fiction reading? Fiction, but I do like a writing guide and the odd cookery book πŸ˜‰
Do you read more than you write or write more than you read? I write far more than I read 😦
What’s for breakfast? It depends if I’m fasting or feasting πŸ˜‰
Type or handwrite? Handwrite every time!
What was your favourite childhood tv or book character? I loved Bagpuss.
How do you think the world will end? With a Big Bang!
Radio/music or TV in the background? TV definitely, I can’t concentrate when I’m singing along.
Housework: love it or loathe it? LOATHE!
How good are you at doing what you know you should do? Awful lol

Then i got another Liebster from Madeline at Reincarnated As A Writer and the rules on this one are:

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I have to give 11 random facts about me (I’m skipping the facts….see above! Lol)
I have to answer the 11 questions the presenter of the award has asked
I have to nominate 11 new bloggers to receive the award, they must have fewer than 200 followers
I have to ask my nominees 11 new questions of my own

The questions Madeline asked are:
1) How much do you like your steak cooked? (If you don’t eat steak, what is your favourite equivalent?) Medium rare.
2) Tea coffee or something else? Tea, but I’m very partial to a Latte πŸ˜‰
3) How much was your first pay-packet for, and what was the job? Β£25 and it was a YTS Scheme (remember those?) lol
4) Favourite film, and why? My Fair Lady for the dresses, Audrey Hepburn and the songs and Citizen Kane for just sheer quality!
5) How long does it take you to read an average length novel? Ha ha ha, it used to be a week, but nowadays it’s more like 3 to 4 😦
6) Was your school co-educational or single sex, and do you think that was the better option? My primary school was mixed but my secondary school was girls only. I’m not really sure which is better to be honest.
7) Which emotion do you feel the most easily/most often? Do you enjoy it? oh gawd, I dunno….I’ll say happiness πŸ™‚
8) Has anything out-of-the-ordinary wonderful ever happened to you? Can you tell us about it? Not really *thinks* no, not out of the ordinary lol
9) Left or right handed? Right
10) What’s your favourite kind of holiday? Oooooo, a bit of sightseeing and sitting on a balcony with a cup of tea and my notebook πŸ™‚
11) Do you have a pet, what is it, or if not, why not? I have 2 cats. A moggy called Tigzz and a British Short Hair called Treacle.

Then another Liebster from Maggie at ExpatBrazil and the rules for this one are:

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List 11 facts about yourself (Again, I’m skipping!)
Answer the 11 questions given to you
Ask 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award
Choose up to 11 up and coming blogs to nominate
Go to each blogger’s page and let them know about the award
Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog

My questions from Maggie are:
1. Favourite Writer and why? Hmmmm, I have a couple, but I’d have to say Anita Shreve
2. Who is your best friend and why? The Hubster
3. The genie has granted you three wishes, what are they? To own a house by the sea, to live a long and healthy life and to have a bidding war over my first novel he he he!
4. Which historical figures would you love to have dinner with? Oscar Wilde
5. What couldn’t you live without? Lattes and the people I love
6. What do you do for fun? Fine Dining, films, visiting art galleries, museums and historic houses
7. Favourite Quote? Never, Never, Never, Give Up – Winston Churchill
8. If money was no object where would you live and why? By the sea. I’d like to be able to see the beach from my desk.
9. What’s your secret pleasure? Glittery stickers lol
10. Who do you admire and why? Anyone who achieves their dream!
11. What superpower would you like to have? Teleportation πŸ™‚

And last but not least, the final Liebster from The Write Romantics and the rules for that one are:

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Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.
Answer the 11 questions from the nominator.
List 11 random facts about yourself.
Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs (or less) who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen.
Pass on the 11 questions to your nominees (or create new ones).

The Write Romantics questions are:
1. If you could be an animal for a day, what animal would you be and why? A much loved cat lazing in the sun all day πŸ˜‰
2. If you could invent something, what would it be? Some sort of robot where I could feed my manuscript in and it would come out edited and polished *snigger*
3. What advice would you give to novice bloggers? Include at least 1 picture in every post, for visual interest.
4. What motivates you to write your blog? If I didn’t I’d go mad, all this stuff running round my head lol
5. What book would you take to a desert island? A dictionary!
6. Which fictional character would you most like to be? Eliza Doolittle
7. If you could have a super hero power, what would it be and why? Teleportation so I could travel wherever I wanted whenever I wanted πŸ˜‰
8. How would you define your life in ten words? Now? Approaching middle age and determined to not waste what’s left!
9. What makes you cry? Anything sad about animals 😦
10. Who or what is your biggest influence/inspiration? everything around me!
11. What would you put into a time capsule for future generations? One of my notebooks he he he πŸ˜‰

Phew…i think thats it! If you have nominated me for a Leibster and cant see it here please let me know incase ive missed it for some reason.
Ok, so I can’t really nominate 44 bloggers can I….sooooo, I’m going to nominate 11 and let you decide which Liebster you would like to accept….take your pic of the badges. Personally, I like the pink one! The punk and brown ones remind me of jammy dodgers lol

So, I nominate:

Sabrina at Creativity or Crazy
Florence at Fois In The City
Tessa Tangent
Joanne Phillips
Sue Howe
Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge
Pauline Conolly
Lord David Prosser
Alberta Ross
Patsy Collins
Anita at Food My Family And Me

Please take a few moments to check out all these WONDERFUL blogs…you never know, you might find a new one to follow πŸ™‚

And here are my 11 Questions…
1. Whats your most embarrassing moment?
2. When’s the last time you sent or received flowers?
3. Have you ever sought revenge?
4. What’s your greatest personal strength?
5. What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done (has to be different from number 1 lol)?
6. Who’s the most famous person you’ve met?
8. What do you collect?
9. Favourite all time song?
10. Favourite ice cream flavour?
11. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

HAVE FUN! πŸ™‚

Must Do’s 24th to 30th June


Well, I’m back from The Lake District πŸ™‚

Lake District

Everyone said it was a beautiful place, and it is. But, it’s very wet *snigger*

You can sum up the Lake District in 5 words…

  • Wet
  • Green
  • Sheep
  • Hills
  • Lakes

But if you’re looking for a relaxing break with no mobile phone signal and intermittent Internet access (via the hotel) I can highly recommend it!

We did some sightseeing (of course) and the highlights were Beatrix Potters house and Rydal Mount, home to William Wordsworth. In the garden is a summer house where Wordsworth wrote most of his poems (a post coming up about that soon).

So now it’s back to the real word and this weeks to do list. I didn’t do much writing when I was away, and i didn’t do any reading. I was up at 5am most mornings, just wandering the hotel grounds pondering life lol. I didn’t actually come to any conclusions, but, the peace and quiet and time with my thoughts was relaxing.

So this week there is only one item on my to do list…..

1. Get “Tangled” off to the RNA New Writers Scheme for its critique.

I meant to do it last week but my printer has run out of ink, and then The Hubsters (at work) keeled over too so he had to order a new one. As soon as he’s got that set up I’ll be emailing him the MS for him to print.

I also need to send off my first assignment to The Writers Bureau and continue to work on my 2nd, but that’s not a priority… What is though is catching up with about 400 emails, blog comments, Twitter, FaceBook…..

What are your writing plans for the week?

Happy Anniversary!


As you read this I’ll be in the Lake District, and today is my/our 27th Wedding Anniversary πŸ™‚

So I’ll/we’ll be getting some much needed R & R and then it’s back to real life on Sunday lol

So I just wanted to say HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to The Hubster and a HUGE thank you for all the support and running around he’s done this past year. The next couple of months are going to be stressy, so grit teeth honey and it’ll all be worth it in the end, I know it will πŸ™‚

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Wow….that’s a blast from the past! πŸ˜‰ We need a new photo!

I Don’t Remember…


I’m currently reading Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind, which is the 2nd of Ms Goldberg’s books I’ve read/worked with (and I highly recommend them!).

I don’t often share private information on this blog, but, it just goes to show that when you do a writing exercise that’s of a personal nature, it can bring up ideas for fiction writing. Here’s what I wrote in my notebook in response to the prompt “I don’t remember…” πŸ™‚

I don’t remember the last time that I actually woke in the morning feeling refreshed. I’m not sure I ever have!

My first bout of insomnia was when I was 14 and I was taken to the doctors. He prescribed sleeping tablets, but I never took them. I was concerned about how they would affect me at school and the ability to be cohesive at 8.30 every morning.

The problem continued well into my 30’s. I just couldn’t fall asleep and would often still be reading at 2am, willing myself to feel sleepy. I read a lot in those days lol.

But in 2007 the problem changed. We had to move to a rental property (long story about our business that I won’t go into) and within a matter of weeks I found myself waking up every 3 hours, not being able to breath, feeling as though someone was hugging my chest so tightly they were crushing me. Trips to the doctors and an alternative therapist finally diagnosed panic attacks…in my sleep lol. I never had an incident during the day when I was awake lol. Every single night I would go to bed, be up 3 hours later…recover, go back to bed and it would happen 3 hours later again. I was completely exhausted 😦

But that all stopped shortly after we moved into this house 5 years ago, but it left me with a slightly different problem…Sleep Paralysis.

When I initially told people what I had been experiencing they looked at me like I was mad! The most common response is “you must be dreaming” and in the end you stop telling people. But it wasn’t until a couple of months ago when I came across a video on YouTube that I realised what I had been experiencing had a name and I wasn’t alone. Although, after hearing the experiences of others I’m a little more freaked out about it.

Basically, Sleep Paralysis is where you wake up but you are completely paralysed and consumed with this intense fear, terror. For me, I’ve never been entirely sure why I’m so terrified, but many others have seen what it is that terrorises them in the small hours. You try to move, you can’t. You try to scream, you can’t. It can last from several seconds to a few minutes. Many other sufferers believe that the thing terrorising them is of a paranormal nature, but as I’ve never seen my dark shadow/entity (and I really DON’T want to) I’m not sure what I believe. The scientists who have studied it don’t seem to know either.

I’ve discovered a way to avert an attack which seems to work. When I lay down to sleep I have to think hard about nice things. Events of the day, what I’m going to do tomorrow and stories I’m working on. If I forget to do that or any negative thoughts creep in (I think about an advert I’ve seen about animal cruelty, or the blood and violence from a film) it can bring on an attack. It’s funny, because I don’t scare easily. I’m not a fan of horror films but I do love a ghost film, I just can’t watch that kind of stuff just before going to bed now lol.

So now, I consider myself very lucky if I sleep for 7 hours, but it’s usually more like 5 or 6 on an average night and I spend most of the day feeling tired. If I have a nap, I can’t go to sleep later, so it’s a viscous circle. I’ve tried various alternative medicines, read lots of books and tried various techniques, but there is no treatment out there for Sleep Paralysis, although, thankfully, I’ve been able to reduce my attacks to probably about 1 a month, and I know now that I’m not going mad πŸ™‚

When I reread what I wrote I thought, could this be my Nano 2013 novel? A woman who becomes petrified to go to sleep? But hasn’t that been done? Was it Nightmare On Elm Street or something like that? I’m quite fascinated by the whole thing and I’m sure I could turn it into fiction….I feel a mind map/spider graph coming on lol πŸ˜‰

The short video above is part of an hour long programme by Professor David J Hufford, who has been studying Sleep Paralysis for many years. Are there really demons who want to torment us during the night? It doesn’t seem to matter what religious denomination you belong to, sufferers come from all beliefs, and most believe that when they have an attack there is an evil entity in the room *shudders*

Scary huh? Will I freak myself out if I try to turn it into a novel? πŸ˜‰

Time Off From The Must Do’s


There is no To Do list this week, for 2 reasons:

1. I deserve time off!

And

2. I thought you’d all want to hear about my reading at the Faber Event last Friday πŸ˜‰

I was still editing my piece on the train journey up to London!

When i arrived we were offered the chance to have a practice reading with Richard Reeves (who tutored SJ Watson). So after watching a few of my fellow students go up to the podium, read, be timed, and then given tips on how to improve their readings I gave it a go. I was nervous, but it was only to be in front of a dozen students.

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My reading came in at 1.50 seconds (our time slots were for 2 minutes) and Richard said my volume was fine (he could hear me perfectly at the back). He said that I could probably afford to pause for slightly longer in a few places, but other than that it was clear and understandable. When I made my way back to my seat my hands were shaking lol.

By 1.30 the room was packed and we took our seats. The readings were in alphabetical order, so of course, I was 21st out of 23 lol….if I’d had known that I would have changed my name! I managed to take this pic before everyone arrived lol.

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I didnt hear a word the guy before me read, all i could hear was my heart pounding and then when they were clapping i knew i had to get up. I was terrified but, everyone else had done so well overcoming their nerves that i was determined to do it. I went up to the podium and said “Hello, my name is Vikki Thompson and this is the opening scene of my novel Still.” It was the only time I looked around the room until I’d finished reading lol. I wasn’t shaking when I finished, but I felt the practice run had been better lol.

After everyone was thanked for coming we got up and seriously, some of the agents made a bee line for certain students, who’d obviously impressed them. They just had to get in first!

We all congregated in another room for drinks and it was then that agents had the full opportunity to approach the students whose work they were interested in. Five people from my class were approached, two of them by two agents.

My tutor Tim came up to me and said I’d done really well, and at that moment I could have burst into tears, the relief, the build up of 6 months was just so overwhelming. He must have seen my face because he asked if I was ok and all I could do was nod lol

I don’t know exactly which agents were there, although I did see one of my class approached by a lady from Curtis Brown.

I wasn’t disappointed that no one approached me and that i didnt get the opportunity to do my “pitch”. I wasn’t expecting anyone to. My fellow students work was so much better, seriously. The ones who went away Friday with requests to submit truly deserved it….I didn’t, and I accept that.

We were given 2 copies of the Anthology. One, I got all my fellow class mates to sign (so that when they’re famous I can flog it for thousands! Just kidding, I’ll treasure it) and the other I signed and wrote a small thank you note to The Hubster, who, has been very supportive with the course and as a taxi service (Thank You!).

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The Anthology will be available on Kindle soon, so I’ll give you the link to that when I have it….just in case you’d like to download it and see my submission. My reading isn’t in there though….I may share that with you at some stage, when I’ve recovered lol

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So now what? I guess I’ll just plod on, keep learning, keep writing….it wasn’t my time, maybe it never will be (and noooo, this isn’t a self pity post, really, I’m fine about it, I’m not even upset, just proud of myself and relieved its over lol). I learnt a lot, had some great experiences, met some fantastic people and can now put on my CV Faber Graduate πŸ™‚

But now, i deserve a rest, don’t you agree? πŸ˜‰

Inspiring? Moi?


Firstly, a HUGE apology….I’m behind with blog reading (haven’t read any this week. But, at the moment I just can’t focus). Today, as you read this, I’ll be in London, doingl my pitch at Faber & Faber to a room full of agents. I’ve been a nervous wreck all week! Will catch up with what you’ve all been up to over the weekend, I promise πŸ™‚

The lovely Katie over at The Intrinsic Writer has nominated me for the Inspiring Blog Award. Thank you so much honey πŸ™‚

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The rules are:
1. Display award image on your blog page
2. Link back to the person who nominated you
3. State what inspires you
4. Nominate 5 others for this award
5. Notify said bloggers

So what inspires me?
Talking to other writers.
Art galleries & museums.
Sitting on the sand/pebbles at the beach and staring out to sea.
Walking in the woods surrounded by trees.
Using brightly coloured pens in my notebooks.
YouTube!
Visiting historic houses.
Sunny days.
Natalie Goldberg, Judy Reeves & Julia Cameron.
Reading great books/writers.
New experiences.
People watching in coffee shops.
Great cpnversation.

The blogs I nominate for this award are:
Sarah Potter
Linda King
Edith at In A Room Of My Own
Sara Kjeldsen
The Write Romantics

Then the wonderful Rustic Recluse nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award….thank you πŸ™‚

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This one is where I have to state 7 things about myself, but, I’m gunna ask you guys to do the work…..Ask me a question…if there’s more than 7 I’ll still answer, promise πŸ˜‰

And the 7 bloggers I nominate for this one are:

Rose Anderson
Magdalena Vandenberg
Nicky Wells
Karen at Karcherry
Catherine Johnson
Debbie at The Wicked Queens Mirror
Sue at Sassy Speaks

Please take a moment to check out all these wonderful bloggers. Now, who has the first question? Ooooo, I’m nervous lol