Must Do’s 5th to 11th


Firstly, I’ve had about 10 comments that ended up in my Spam folder (that definitely shouldn’t have been there!) I’ve approved them, but now I’ve lost them! so if you’ve recently commented to one if my posts and I didn’t reply could you point me to which day? Thanks πŸ™‚

Have you noticed my To Do Lists seem to be getting shorter and shorter? Lol

I’m still writing every day (morning pages – The Artists Way and using Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind) but I’m not feeling very focused. I’m ok with that though, I’ve got a lot on my mind at the moment (you’ll see what I mean when you read Wednesdays IWSG post) and I’ve also been planning (mentally) my Nano 13 novel, which I’m actually quite excited about!

So last weeks ridiculously simple list ended up like this:

1. Sort out rewards Blog Post Ummmm, nope, I looked at it a few times, but, it’s still sitting in my draft folder. If you nominated me for an award recently, I haven’t forgotten, it’s just that I’m not gunna be able to post it live this week or next anyway 😦
2. Do Artist Way stuff Done, although there was one task, “Visit a sacred place” that I didn’t do, and I know just the place I want to visit πŸ™‚
3. Start indexing my notebooks Ahhhh, well I did up to number 3, which I was quite pleased about πŸ™‚ It’s blooming hard work…but interesting.

On Saturday I’m off to Swanwick The Writers Summer School. My 3rd year and I’m really looking forward to it πŸ™‚ More about that on Friday, and suffice to say, the To Do List this week reflects that πŸ™‚

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I’ve also got a book launch to attend and then of course, Friday I’ll be packing!

So have a good week guys….mine will be a little frantic, and now, I’m off to make packing lists lol

What are your plans for the week?

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Writing Blogger Challenge Day 9


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Today’s prompt is:

Post either a setting or character profile from your latest fiction project, a chapter summary of your non-fiction book, or a discussion of the theme or object inspiring a poem, article, or other writing project.

Hmmmmmm *thinks* Well, I’ve shared the character profiles of my first novel (Still) but I’m afraid the characters in Tangled and Sorrento Sunrise are somewhere, within the pages of my 41 notebooks (and at this stage I’m thinking I really should have some kind of indexing system!). So rather than try to trawl through all my notebooks I’ll give you a new one πŸ™‚

Last night I wrote the beginnings of yet another story (prompted by something in Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind). Ms Goldberg suggested making a list…

A Colour Blue (the sky over London on a September morning)
A City London
A Street Charlotte Street (where I meet the Faber gang and the location of my story)
A Fruit Mango (what my character finds in his lunch box lol)
A Month September
A Job Newsagent (newspaper seller)

And then to write a piece containing all of them…. So this character profile is from the story I came up with last night.

Bill Taylor is 62 years old. Born and bred in East London he is proud of his roots and his first job at 14 was on a market stall in Petticoat Lane, selling “bits and bobs” to local housewives.

Short and stocky, he is now balding, what little hair he has left is white but he still has the cheeky blue eyes and dimpled chin that made him so popular in the 1960’s.

Married to Marjorie since the 1970’s they have 2 sons who both live overseas, and 2 grand daughters they rarely see. On his left arm he has Marjorie’s name tattooed and on his right arm, the names of his sons.

Bill runs a newsagents in London selling to the commuters as they make their way to the tube station. Business has taken a dip these past couple of years due to the digital age (everyone getting the news on their phones) so Marjorie is trying to persuade him to retire and buy a little flat by the sea. Bill couldn’t think of anything worse! Since his heart attack last year, Marjorie has been filling his lunch box with what he terms as “rabbit food” and insists that he stick to the diet recommended by the doctor.

A very proud man, he is a traditionalist with high morals and strong views of what is right and wrong. A Royalist, his proudest moment was meeting Princess Diana when she stopped at his shop to buy a bottle of water and a pack of sweets for Wills and Harry.

In his spare time (what little there is as he has to be at the shop for 4.30 every morning) he enjoys football (but sadly doesn’t go to the matches anymore…he used to take his sons) and likes to keep up to date with current affairs. He often says “what’s the point of selling newspapers if you don’t know what’s going on in the world” and can often be found reading the papers behind his counter when the shop is empty.

He drives a small old white van that’s constantly breaking down and although he owns his shop (he inherited it from an uncle back in the 1980’s) which is prime London real estate, he has no intention of selling and is adamant that they will have to “cart him out in a box” which causes tension and arguments with Marjorie.

I think that’s it πŸ™‚ I don’t know what’s going to happen to old Bill, I haven’t got that far in the story yet lol, but, you know me, Bill will probably end up getting his wish of being carted out in a box πŸ˜‰

if you try Ms Goldberg’s list idea, do let me know, I’d be interested to hear what you come up with.

Writing Blogger Challenge Day 4


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Day 4’s prompt is:

Profile 3 to 5 top writing craft books

Ok, I’m going to talk about the ones I’ve read.

My favourite all time writing book is The Writers Book Of Days by Judy Reeves. What can I say about this book that I haven’t already said (see my prompt a day 2012 tab above). This book is an excellent companion for any writer, but especially for those just starting out who need practice. I’m a big believer in the the more you write the better you write. This book helped me improve my writing ten fold πŸ™‚

The 5 Minute Writer by Margret Geraghty was the first writing book I ever read. I loved this because it showed me that there is no such thing as “I don’t have time to write” πŸ˜‰ The exercises are thought provoking and can be done in 5 minutes.

And lastly, no writers collection would be complete without at least one book by Natalie Goldberg. I have read Writing Down The Bones and then recently Wild Mind which were both inspiring. Ms Goldberg is a huge believer in writing practice (as are the other 2 writers above) and her books tell of her personal writing journey interspersed with exercises.

I’m a journal writer, it’s what started me on my writing journey (thanks Julia Cameron), so at the moment I’m reading A Voice of Her Own (Women and the journal writing journey) by Marlene A. Schiwy which is absolutely fascinating, and includes extracts from famous female authors journals/diaries. I think it’s important to keep writing, even if you’re not in the mood to write fiction, even if you’re suffering from writers block. Forming the habit of writing every single day is the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given πŸ™‚

So tell me, what is your favourite writing book? Do you tend to go for a certain type, like I do?

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˜‰

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

Must Do’s Monday 27th to 2nd June


I’ve had a hectic week, not helped by a few days of feeling rough. But I didn’t do too badly all told on the ‘To Do List’ which was…

1. Work on the synopsis for Tangled Ummm, ok, well this didn’t happen lol. I have a rough one that I did a couple of weeks ago, but it sounds like a blurb at the moment.
2. Edit first two chapters of Tangled Ok, I did the first chapter, but as I need to submit the whole novel to the RNA New Writers Scheme before the end of July I really need to step up a gear lol
3. Start planning some blog posts Done πŸ™‚
4. Start going to the gym Didn’t happen, but as The Hubster’s chess is winding down now we’ve agreed to start going next week.
5. Plan my week every Sunday Yep, did that last week and used my new Paperchase pad. Really useful having my whole week on one sheet divided into AM’s and PM’s. I’ll be doing next weeks one after I finish this post.
6. Do at least 1 writing exercise every day Ahhhh, now this has been great, I’ve really enjoyed it! And at the moment I’m using Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind πŸ™‚

So next weeks another busy one, but I’m looking forward to writing (thank gawd!). I’ve got a couple of opportunities for writing in coffee shops and then there’s Happy Club. The sun has been shining today and I’m feeling pretty goddam good πŸ™‚

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I’m loving filling in my ‘Experiences’ book, but I think I need to carry it around with me because I keep remembering things when I’m out and forgetting them by the time I get home lol.

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What are your plans for the week?

Beautiful Blogger = Beautiful Books


Happy Halloween by the way πŸ™‚

I’ve been nominated by Pat Wood and by Marina at Writing is Hard Work for the Beautiful Blogger Award πŸ™‚ Thank you both, so much! πŸ™‚

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So the rules are that I share 7 things about myself and then pass this award on…. Ok, well, you know me, I do like to break the rules, so, I’m going to recommend 7 books that I think should be on every writers book shelf πŸ™‚

I apologise now that all these links are for the UK.

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The Artists Way by Julia Cameron is the book that started me on my writing journey.

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The Writers Book of Days has been brilliant. I can’t tell you how much I’ve loved this book! It’s been my bible and constant companion since the 1st January of this year. It has encouraged me to write every single day and I will feel bereft without it come the 1st January 2013

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The 5 Minute Writer by Margaret Geraghty was the first ever “writing” book I used. I loved all the exercises, and the concept that you only need 5 minutes.

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The Writers Treasury of Ideas by Linda Lewis is fabulous for generating story ideas. Trust me, if you have this book, you will never be stumped for a story idea, ever again!

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Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I’m reading it now and loving it! Actually, any Natalie Goldberg you can get your hands on is a great investment.

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If you’re into writing romance you can’t go far wrong with Mary Wibberly’s To Writers With Love which, unfortunately is out of print now. It’s a little bit dated, but still very valuable. I love it! We said to Mary at Swanwick in August that she should urge the publishers to republish it. We’ll work on her next year πŸ˜‰

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Last, but by no means least (and for all you Kindle lovers) The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi. What can I say about this book….BRILLIANT! I am almost tempted to tell you to buy a Kindle for this book alone! But it’s fine on an iPad, or PC/Laptop. An invaluable guide for all fiction writers πŸ™‚

So there we have it. My top 7 writing books πŸ™‚ I’m sure there are many other great books out there, but these are the ones I own and love πŸ™‚ If you have a favourite writing book that’s not on my list please let me know, I’m always open to recommendations. *whispers* I can hear hubby grinding his teeth and thinking more books…more money he he he πŸ˜‰

Now, onto the nominations! πŸ™‚

I’m going to nominate…..
Heather James
Marina at Finding Time To Write
Bridget Whelan
Bel Anderson
Debbie at The Wicked Queens Mirror
Katherine at The Intrinsic Writer
Lanise at The Timekeepers Journal

Please check out all these lovely bloggers πŸ™‚

Sooooo, tomorrow is the 1st of November *gulp* and the start of Nano!!!!! Good luck to everyone who’s participating! πŸ™‚