The Book of Me, Written by You


If you’re into journaling, writing memoir or genealogy then perhaps this might interest you…

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Good luck to Julie at Anglers Rest with this project. I’ll be taking part when I can πŸ™‚

If you want to join, you’ll need to be quick…it starts today!

How Do You Refer To Your Partner?


A recent post by the lovely Bridget Whelan got me thinking….

Bridget’s post, A Twitter Confession referred back to a post she made last year on how she didn’t follow people who referred to their husbands as “The Hubster”. This recent post was a retraction of her original comments, and honestly Bridget, I didn’t take offence πŸ™‚

You see, those of you who have been following this blog for a while will know that I always refer to my husband as The Hubster. The reason being that when I started this blog I needed something to use in place of “The Husband” because that, to me, sounds too formal, and that’s not how I talk. I always say that I am the same on my Blog and Facebook as I am in real life, so why use a reference that I wouldn’t normally use in my real life, unless I was putting on my posh voice πŸ˜‰

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So what other words used to describe husbands (and equally wives) have I seen/heard? These are the ones that came to mind:

Hubby
Hubster
Significant Other
Him/Her Indoors (usually pronounced ‘im or ‘er)
Hero
DH (Darling/Dear Husband or Designated Hitler)
LOML (Love Of My Life)
My Man
Other Half
BF or GF (Boyfriend/Girlfriend)
The Moose (yes, seriously!)
Mr/The Mrs

And one of my favourites, used by Mills & Boon author Kate Walker The Babe Magnet *sniggers*

Don’t even get me started on the “pet names” I’ve heard people use in public for each other lol. In our house the closest thing to a pet name is “pickle” & “pumpkin” and both are used exclusively for the cats and dog πŸ˜‰

I guess that I could just use his name, but, I don’t feel too comfortable with that, what with this blog being public. It’s not really my right to do that is it?

So Mr Thompson, if you’re reading this, how would you prefer to be referred to?

And how do you refer to your partner (male or female) online? Any good ones I’m likely to steal to use in my fiction πŸ˜‰

Where I Turn Into Agatha Christie


Welcome to my 2nd instalment of the 30 Day Writing Challenge πŸ™‚

Day 2 – Open a book – pick a sentence and use that as the first line in a piece.

Ok, so I picked a book from my shelf, copied out a sentence in my notebook and put the book back. Do you think I can blooming remember which book it was? LMAO!

“The gateman didn’t ask him about the drowsy man with the dark sunglasses who was half asleep on the passenger seat.”

So he drove straight through and into the large enclosed courtyard.

“Good evening Sir.” Yates approached the car and opened the drivers door.

“Good evening Yates. I’m afraid Mr Ramsey is slightly worse for wear.”

Yates peered across at the slouched figure of Ramsey. “Oh dear Sir, did Mr Ramsey consume too much champagne in London?”

Edward Mandrell pulled at the sports cars hand brake, turned off the ignition and released his seat belt. He climbed out of his seat as Yates held the door.

“Ah, you know him well Yates!” Edward slapped the butler on the back as he made his way up the stone steps to the front door, taking two at a time. At the open door he paused and turned. “Is my wife at home Yates?”

“Yes sir, she’s in the library.”

Without even a thank you Edward entered the imposing Victoria mansion.

Edward was born in India to a family who considered themselves Aristocracy. Truth be told, it was only his great grandfather who had made the family’s fortune, prior to that the Mandrells had been farmers in Somerset. But thanks to an unfortunate sinking of a cargo ship and great grandfather George’s opportunistic nature the family estate in Bath now included thousands of acres and a stately home that rivalled Buckingham Palace. Edward was sure he had only ever been in a 3rd of the rooms the house contained. As a small boy he’d become lost in the East Wing, which put an end to his exploring.

He made his way purposefully to the library. It had been several days since he’d seen his wife Daphne and there was much to discuss. He threw open the double oak doors.

“Darling!” He expected to see Daphne sitting in her favourite chair, book in hand, her glasses perched on the tip of her nose, but her chair was empty.

His eyes searched the room for some clue to her location. A lit cigarette in the ashtray or a hot cup of tea on the table beside her chair would indicate she’d just left the room, but neither of these things were present.

But as he entered, the doors creaked as they swayed closed behind him, revealing one of his wife’s navy shoes, sticking out from behind the overstuffed chaise lounge. And then, he noticed the blood…..

I wrote this one morning in the main lounge at Swanwick, inspired by the photos adorning the walls of what the house looked like in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

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Ok, this will probably end up languishing in my notebook, and before you ask, no, I don’t know who Ramsey is, what they were doing in London, or what’s happened to poor Daphne *sniggers*

Be interested to hear your ideas and thoughts πŸ™‚

Still Struggling With Scrivener?


I’ve decided to give myself a little break. I’ve bought a new diary type thing (any excuse to buy a new notebook) and the writing schedule starts “proppa” on Monday 2nd September…and in the meantime…..

If, like me, you’ve downloaded Scrivener but haven’t touched it (it just looks so overwhelming!) then this course could be just what you need.

Gwen Hernandez (author of Scrivener for Dummies ) is running the online course that starts in September, and it really is a reasonable amount of dosh to join πŸ™‚

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I’m very tempted to sign up (I really need to get to grips with it before Nano).

Do you use Scrivener? Have you downloaded it but not had a fiddle yet?

Our Children’s Reading Habits


I don’t normally post on a Saturday, but just had to share this with you all.

I recently did an article/interview with Jane Ayres for

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Check out The Changing Reading Habits of Our Children and please leave a comment…I would love you forever πŸ™‚

Once Upon A Time…


The first prompt on the 30 Day Writing Challenge is Start a piece with…

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Once upon a time, on a dark and stormy night. No, seriously, it was an ordinary day, in an ordinary street where my story begins. An average suburban semi on a tree lined avenue, much like many others. My name is Conscience, but you can call me Connie and this definitely ain’t no fairy tale!

You don’t know my face, my hair colour, what shade of lipstick I wear, but you DO know me, intimately. You see, I’m the one who hovers at your shoulder every time you make a decision. I whisper in your ear, pull at your gut, and try my hardest to help you make the RIGHT choice. It doesn’t always work though. I have my successes, AND my failures. And you humans, you rarely disappoint with the ridiculous predicaments you get yourselves into. But I’ve been in this game so long now that nothing shocks me. I’m not moaning though, if you didn’t, I’d be out of a job.

Standing outside number 26 Newport Avenue I’m struck with how perfect the garden is. How every flower has been planted with care and purpose and the grass looks like someone has been cutting it with a pair of scissors. There is an inviting glow coming from the gothic bay window. Shall we go inside?

This is an experiment….and tied up with my Nano 2013 novel. I’m trying to get Connie’s voice right. She will be the narrator of the story. Your opinions would be much appreciated. πŸ™‚

RNA NWS Feedback


I was absolutely thrilled when I returned home from Swanwick to discover a large envelope had arrived which The Hubster left on my desk. He hadn’t let on during the week that it had arrived, but only because he didn’t realise what it was. I’m glad he didn’t tell me as I would have been begging him to open it lol.

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Sorry, for those of you new to my blog I’m a member of the Romantic Novelists New Writers Scheme. You send them an MS and then an anonymous reader gives you feedback. The readers are all full Romantic Novelist Association Members.

In my cover letter to my anonymous reader I explained that “Tangled” was in first draft form (I haven’t even reread it all the way through since I wrote it) and that I really didn’t have a clue where to start editing. Also, that I needed guidance on whether it was too “thrillery” to be considered “Contemporary Women’s Fiction” and I got my answers on both those questions….

The first sentence of the feedback cheered me up! My reader said “This has an interesting story line with a good twist at the end so that it possibly has the potential to become an exciting novel.” So far so good I think πŸ˜‰

As regarding genre, my reader said “…the opening is exciting and shocking and quickly draws the reader in, leading to the expectation that some kind of thriller will follow. It would be worth considering therefore that the whole book should be developed as more of a thriller, by adding more suspense, intrigue and tension…. Hmmmm, ok, so it’s not a romance lol… I suspected as much.

She went on to write at least 1 paragraph of feedback under each of the following headings:
Genre
Beginning
Setting
Characterisation
Show not Tell
Meaningful Scenes/Dialogue
Pace
Emotional Tension and Suspense
Presentation – Layout/Punctuation
Synopsis
5 pages in all of feedback, mainly consisting of details where I could expand, scenes that don’t work, areas to work on and a good luck message at the end.

There was one thing that my reader said that I’d like your opinion on (I’m going to be asking everyone and his dog about this now lol). She suggested that i get in early details of the ages of my main characters because she thought the names Anna and Tim could suggest much younger characters (in my mind Anna is 48 and Tim 10 years older).What do you think? I don’t know anyone under the age of 50 called Tim. Would love your views.

On the whole I’m really pleased and would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to my anonymous reader. Her feedback will be invaluable when I start editing πŸ™‚

I can highly recommend joining the New Writers Scheme if you’re thinking about writing romance. Perhaps I should find out if there is a “thriller” scheme I could join instead now πŸ˜‰

The 30 Day Writing Challenge


Well, I’m still recovering from Swanwick and have lots to think about over the coming week. What way to go with my novel “Still” and exactly how to go about implementing all the suggestions given to me on “Tangled” by the RNA.

You may remember recently I said I was bored with my blog? Well I did lol….but I’ve stumbled across Chrys Fey’s 30 Day Writing Challenge and I’m going to give it a go πŸ™‚ I won’t be doing the whole thing over 30 Days though, I’ll probably post a couple a week and in the meantime there won’t be a To Do List on Mondays…all say awwww.

Speaking to Kate McCormick last week she was telling me about her daily writing schedule. Kate works on different projects throughout the day and allocates time slots for each one. Even if shes really getting into something and comes to the end of the time slot, she stops.

I’m not sure my weekly to do list is working for me anymore. I think I need to do one every evening, plan what needs to be done the following day, as I’ve been finding that I’m crossing less and less off the list lol.

These are the things I need to do every day and that’s not including the food shopping, laundry, errands and general ‘housey’ stuff!

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Perhaps I’ll have to split the week up and work on the novels on separate days?

Today I’m off up to London to meet a fellow Blogger for lunch (very exciting!) and then I’m off to a Faber group meet. As usual, it’s all go πŸ˜‰

Any tips/suggestions on a daily writing schedule would be much appreciated! I just don’t seem to be able to focus these days.

Reflections on Swanwick #Swanwick65


Well I’m home! Lol

As you can imagine this past week has given me a lot to think about, and when I got home my feedback on “Tangled” from the RNA New Writers scheme was sitting on my desk. I haven’t had time to go through it all yet, so I’ll post about that next week πŸ™‚

So where do I start?

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I love Swanwick, but it’s always nice to get back. I’m a real homebird at heart and I feel incredibly lucky when I hear writers at the school say its so nice to be around people who they can talk to about their writing. The Hubster is very supportive and I realise that there are many writers out there who don’t have someone who is prepared to read their work out loud to them (for example) to help edit it.

I really do value every moment I’m there, but, it is incredibly exhausting and it’s only a couple of days before I start falling asleep in lessons 😦 (my apologies to any tutors who may be reading this who noticed me dropping off). I’m ok if I have to participate, but if I’m listening to a talk, it doesn’t matter how interesting it is, I’m dropping off (this is what happens when you only have 5 hours sleep a night!). I think the only night I was up past 11pm was on the Buskers night! 😦 Even if I do stay up, I’m still up between 5 and 6 so even more nodding goes on the next day *sighs*

Being a Steward the past couple of years I find myself talking to lots of newbies, aka “white badgers” and I was amazed to hear this year the amount of people say they will be back next year but will only do 2 or 3 days, because…..it’s exhausting. One lady said to me that she couldn’t afford Swanwick and a holiday, so this was her holiday this year. She was disappointed that she didn’t get any free time, and felt a complete wreck! Yes, I know we always say…. “you don’t have to do everything on the programme.” But, unfortunately, there is always so much great stuff to do you can’t help yourself.

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See what I mean?

A couple of people suggested to me that dinner should be an hour earlier (at 6) and hence all the evening events an hour earlier. One lady said she was disappointed that she hadn’t been able to take part in the Buskers night because it was just too late after a full days worth of dashing about. I’m wondering if we could just have 1 lesson in the morning and 1 in the afternoon? I know a lot of people want to get the most out of their time there, but, if it means newbies aren’t coming back because they know how rough they will feel for a week afterwards, is it worth it? Another lady said to me she would have liked to see “Time for you” on every single day, for at least an hour. Perhaps getting rid of the 1 hour workshops at 4pm is the answer? Is there only so much information you can take in before you start to go brain dead?

I dunno, I’m not a committee member, so who knows what next year will bring. I just hope all the people I spoke to will write their thoughts on the feedback questionnaire that we hand in at the end of the week. It will be interesting to see what transpires….

As for me, I’m slowly recovering (it usually takes me about a week) and the weekend will be spent unpacking and wading through the washing (mine and the stuff the family didn’t get around to doing) and catching up with your comments, e mails, Twitter and Facebook. I’ll start wading through the backlog of Blogs I need to read starting Monday πŸ™‚

So a HUGE thank you to this years committee, who work tirelessly to make Swanwick – The Writers Summer School what it is. It was great to meet up with people I haven’t seen for a year, and meet others who I hope to see next year. I can’t imagine not attending Swanwick and now begins the 11 month count down *sniggers*

Swanwick Day 6 – #Swanwick65


What can I say about last nights speaker, Curtis Jobling?That guy has so much energy it wore me out just listening to him!

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If you’re into YA and fantasy you have got to check out his Wereworld series of books, but, if you just like to be tickled, perhaps Curious Cow is more up your street πŸ˜‰

Today has been a lovely day….the last part of my novel writing course with Alexa, dregs party on the lawn, tea with friends and some writing πŸ™‚

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Jayne, Lorraine & Maddie.

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Dregs party.

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Me and Rae.

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Curtis drew some of his characters which were auctioned off to raise funds for the school.

And then to top everything off tonight’s speaker was Deborah Moggach who was fabulous!

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One thing Deborah did say was that she has to have a title for a novel before she starts, because she feels that it focuses her. I totally agree! Do you like to have a title before you start?

Right, I’m off to bed….early start tomorrow….back to reality! πŸ™‚