Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Birthday and end-of-year reflections

Having been duly reminded of my month's absence by various friends and followers here is both a recap of my birthday last week and a looking forward to Christmas at the end of the week.
My birthday lunch was spent in court - yes indeed, the old courthouse that now houses the new Jamie Oliver restaurant in town. How appropriate too to be seated in the press gallery without even a request. Obviously my journalistic reputation had gone before me or else it was just a coincidence but let's assume the former. Thanks Jamie. Really enjoyed the film 'A week with Marilyn' too especially for the great acting of one of my favourite actors, Kenneth Branagh. A rare chance to see him act too now that he is more often in a directors role. Not to be missed if you like him.
Now looking forward to a quiet Christmas and planning for our trip to NZ at the end of January where I hope to research my next novel - proper big one this time - about our first family settlers in the new world. I now have a history online subscription to help with the research too thanks to my sister-in-law, Kate and hope to get full use from it. Only have to work out how to post pictures on here first so as not to miss the travelling glories.
A very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my followers and potential followers.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The ups and downs of life.

Life is hard at present. I wish I were going to the RNA's Winter Party tonight with the other wonderful romantic writers - couldn't however as the last train comes back at about 8pm to the sticks! -but instead am heading up the motorway with Angus to look after his mother. Tomorrow the council comes to install all the various 'gismoes' she needs to survive and someone needs to be there to let them in. Doesn't help that this is at the other end of the country - just short of Scotland however. Then she comes home from the nursing home tomorrow and we just wait... Will life ever be the same for her again? Don't know. Guess somehow with God's help we'll get through. Meanwhile am I writing? Struggling to try and enter a competition which is closing soon and struggling to find time to edit my novella. Try to write everyday? I wish... Still good to look back and remember the good times with her just a month or so ago at Adam's graduation.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

An emotional rollercoaster

What an emotional rollercoaster this last week has been. First, last Wednesday (19th), we had all the thrills and excitement of our Adam's graduation ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall - first class degree from Imperial. Fantastic setting and we had some of the best seats in the house - a box right over the stage no less. What a proud Mum I was too with the best of them I only wish I could have hit the replay button as it was all over so quickly too quickly. Then it was over to his Computing department for Champagne and canapes. Here Adam received the additional prize of best of the year BEng student, a certificate and a cheque.

Then yesterday morning (24th) we were up at 4.30am to drive Adam to Heathrow for his round-the-world trip. What an emotional time that was, worse than when we saw him off to Uni, especially as we knew Bangkok where he was headed in the midst of terrible floods. Hardly a confidence booster. However, on the Internet this morning we could see that his plane had landed, in fact at just after 6am (our time) the very time I had woken to pray for him. Awesome or what?

Next trauma was today lunchtime when we heard that Ruby, my husband's Mum has fallen with suspected hip break and possible operation. She lives in the North East too, so visiting and taking care of her is going to prove difficult... What next or do things only come in threes? Very much hope so.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Find your own voice and follow it...

Find your own voice in writing and follow it, said Julian Fellowes at the Literature Festival last night. What good advice. Sometimes it's tempting to capitulate and try to emulate someone else's style e.g. I can't abide a lot of the 'navel gazing' of modern poetry or it's fairly obtuse expression. My poetry is usually easy to understand and uses no long words for the sake of. Of course I don't win competitions but do we compromise or remain unpublished? There's the dilemma. We were taught in a workshop I attended over the weekend to use the 'Pub test' for our writing i.e. whatever you have to say imagine you had to run into a pub and say what it is in one easy quick sentence. This should incapusulate the best writing - easy to assess and straight to the point. I wonder what modern poets would make of this advice?

Monday, 3 October 2011

A little encouragement can go a long way...

After having felt down for a number of weeks due to writer's block and discouragement, children all leaving the nest on a more permanent basis, age and infirmities etc etc I now see the world in a new light. After a great morning of Bible teaching on Saturday morning learning about women in the past and how they handled their problems I felt freshly encouraged. This followed that evening by a cracking party in the most picturesque manor by the lake house. Realised this morning that not only is it good being encouraged but it's even better to share that encouragement which we all so desperately need - encourage one another and build one another up ( I Thess 5 v 11). Good sound Biblical advice. At the end of the day life isn't about being multi-talented, we can't all be like that but just spreading a little love and encouragement where we can. We can all do that.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

No news seems good news.

Trying to be positive at the moment but finding it difficult in these times of recession and joblessness (personal). It seems there is so much to be doing in the world, so much need but I feel as if my hands are tied. All but lost my writing voice and it seems a waste of time to try anyway when there are so good and competent writers and I wonder I'm wondering if it's a valid thing to do anyway. Just met a friend who's husband has cancer, grandmother just died and uncle committed suicide...and I think I have problems! So much need in the world, where to start? Don't feel I can't play my part in some small way. Perhaps I only feel so bad partly because I'm still not over this nasty cold virus. Also see my youngest off to Uni this Saturday and the oldest on his world travels end of October. Life will seem a little desolate... But on the more positive side just seen a fiction competition where they actually assess the entries and tell you if you're any good. Maybe that's worth a try just to see...

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Domestic bliss but no writing...

Domestic bliss or domestic drudgery? Most Mums are now breathing a sigh of relief, school holidays are over and writing in earnest can begin again, but not this Mum. This isn't school holidays but Uni holidays, or rather pre and post Uni holidays. Don't get me wrong, I love having both my boys home but the increased feeding, shopping, cleaning and washing has been a bit of a shock to this 'empty nester' more used to sorting her life around the demands of one dog and a 'back late each evening' working husband. Now I find it hard to concentrate or even have the time to concentrate. Instead it's 'hang out another line of washing' feed another friend of one of the boys etc etc. Mind you, can't complain, they'll be gone by the end of the month and life will return once again to it's usual routine avec writing. Hmm, perhaps they'll even give me some inspiration fuel... You never know.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Writing blues

I have the writing blues. Don't like what I like and can't see the point anyway. Well, I've been mulling over a friend's misfortune in self-publishing when their book was published prior to the author's agreement and without her permission. She wanted to edit first. She has paid them quite a large sum for just downloading to order and no actual promotion it would seem. But with the major publishers just taking the celebs - largely ghost written at that - or well-established writers what is the place of the newby? Self-publishing now seems to be the only option open and for a large fee and little help anyway. The only hope? That some big established publisher spots you. The market? Open to just about everyone who's now out of work. Difficult and discouraging or what? And such talent out there. I can only write and hope I have a relevant and important message to give and that someone wants to listen.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Tea at Highgrove but no royals.

Yesterday, Angus, his Mother and I headed to Highgrove to 'make good' the Christmas present given to Ruby, his Mother, last year. The sun shined on us and the policeman checked us in, our name being on his published list. The gardens were very beautiful although the no weed sprays, pesticides or beast deterrents used meant a spiralling out of control of the bugs, rabbits and foxes, to say nothing of the copious amounts of bindweed. After a two hours tour of all the various named gardens we then sat down in the dining room and were serenaded by a lady pianist as we drank good quality champagne and feasted on sandwiches, scones and cakes all served on an ornate cake stand on to our bone china plates and dishes. All this was washed down by as much tea as you could manage. Plenty of art on the walls from paintings of the various members of the Prince of Wales family to his own artistic efforts. Inded all evidence of this being his habitation but the Prince himself and his good lady wife, Camilla were nowhere to be seen. Imagine inviting people to tea and then not turning up yourself. Rude or what?

Thursday, 11 August 2011

I am responsible

I am responsible. It is easy to judge others in these riots and call them 'feral rats' or 'sick' but at the end of the day I am responsible before God for what has gone wrong in our society. I am responsible because I haven't loved enough, cared enough or prayed enough. No wonder the world looks at the church as weak and ineffectual. It is. We are fighting a spiritual battle here and God is going to win with or without us. I pray it will be with me. I don't want to spend eternity regretting what I could have done, could have said with tears in my eyes. Help me to change Lord, today.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

What a difference a day makes.

Today all ready to take the dog to the Vet's for his tests and then on to gym. Funny how things work out. He's got an infection so no tests just treatment and walk so didn't return home until nearly lunchtime. Maybe I'll try again with the gym tomorrow. Still, interesting who you meet in the park. The pieces of the jigsaw start to fit together as to who's still with who and who's not. Story in that somewhere.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Edit, Edit...

On a spurt at the moment trying to re-edit my novella after my RNA reader. So many things to put right from the character to the plot to the dialogue but I'm trying not to get disheartened because I believe in this book. The subject matter fills a gap in the market and so I press on. Also reading Sophie Page's 'To Marry a Prince', really scrummy. Hard to put down and to get on with anything writing or otherwise. Angus has even threatened to time my reading slots because he keeps finding me snatching just another moment... Oh to write like that. Still useful exercise to read it - this is what I tell myself - then I can go back and update my dialogue which I'm told is rather archiac. It's not quite along the lines of  'verily, verily I prithee' but there are similarities! Might take up history writing next could be my forte.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Exercise, Exercise

Feeling sore today and so can't do much else but write after swimming 50 lengths - short ones I hasten to add - before breakfast and then 21 miles on my bike in the evening. The latter was supposed to be just a short ride to the pub for a meal but my husband mistook the number of miles! We even passed a couple of good pubs on the way. We arrived at our destination only to find it very busy and consequently had to cycle back in the near dark without lights. Because we were somewhat worried about this my husband made me cycle quickly and we arrived back in half the time. Mind you it was only eight miles on the way back. Think I'll sit quietly today...

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

And I only wanted to write...

Frustrating morning. The dog out of the way having his three monthly wash and brush up and so I thought I would get down to some serious writing. Before I started I thought, stupidly it seems, why not change my desktop setting. Big mistake. Two hours later, dog emerges with me still fighting Microsoft Word for a complete desktop and not just sections of several! I even considered using one of the ones saved in my system but wasn't allowed it seems and had to start and restart computer twice. Don't even feel much like writing now. The muse has all but evaporated. Pen and paper used to be much less complicated.