Thursday, 31 July 2008

Day 2 of Black Boxes Photo shoot......

I was in BIG trouble with my daughter yesterday because she hadn't been included in Caroline's photo competition. So, dodging the rain, I took some photos using her in them. She's happy now. Sorry Caroline - I promise that this is my last entry.









Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Black Boxes Photo competition....

So here are my entries to the Caroline Smailes Black Boxes photo competition. See http://openingblackboxes.blogspot.com for details and other people's entries. I have only posted them in small format and so the badge isn't clear to read however, on the competition blog they should be easier to see.

This was a costly photo shoot........I had to pay my son with chocolate, the monkey with a knitted banana and the parrot with a taste of freedom!

Please note: no animals were harmed in the making of these photos.











Friday, 25 July 2008

Inkheart....bringing characters to life


I've just finished reading 'Inkheart' by Cornelia Funke. (Still having problems with my thumb/hand so using my time to read more)
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Inheart centres around characters who are able to bring written fiction to life when reading aloud. There are a couple of problems with this skill. One: when a fictional character appears in our world, something or someone from our world must disappear to replace it. Another drawback of this talent is that it can be dangerously unpredictable and lets face it there are certain fictional beings that are best kept between the pages of a book. This book cleverly plays on people's love of books, the magic of story, escapism and the joy of being read to. It explores the relationships between reader, author and characters. This is (again) a children's book but if like me you are a nutter for books and story then I suggest you give this book a try. There are plans for Inkheart to be made into a film by the same people who made the Lord of the Rings films.
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So I ask you to consider the following questions:
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1) a) Which of your creations/characters would you most like to see come to life?
b) And what would you say to them?
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2) a) Which character/creation would you least like to see in this world, and why?
b) How would you react to seeing them/it in the flesh?
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If you want to read any more about Inkheart then click here for the review on the Chicken House website or/and visit www.corneliafunkefans.com .

Friday, 18 July 2008

931 words.....and still the fear

I managed to write 931 words today - hoorah! After the setback with my thumb/hand I am pleased to be writing again.
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I was busy carving up my wayward first chapter when Michelle stepped in and offered me some sound advice. This resulted in me writing a new first chapter with the idea of using the original as chapter 2.
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Confused? Can't blame you. I confuse myself!
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So I should be happy. You'd think! But,
I'm worried...
Scared...
Terrified...
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Of what?
Well - let me ask you - how do you know if you're any good at writing stories? I've loved reading and creating stories my whole life. I've finally decided to take it seriously. Every day I continue to write, pouring my heart and soul into this labour of love. I ache to be a published author with my book on a bookshop shelf. Yet, I don't know if I'm any good. What if I'm kidding myself?
But...then I ask myself the question: would you write even if you knew you'd never get published? And the answer would be 'yes'. Strangely enough. Even when I've been unable to write for just a few days, I miss it. I feel like a piece of me is mourning and I become grouchy.
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This writing lark sure is strange - don't you think?
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On a lighter note.....I've just finished reading yet another book 'The Joshua Files: Invisible City' by MG Harris. A very good read. The scholastic website blurb summarises the book like this:
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" An ancient civilization is awakening. An ancient Maya prophecy is unfolding. One boy - Joshua - holds the key. When his archaeologist father goes missing in Mexico, Josh suspects alien abduction. But when he realises his dad was murdered, Josh is caught in a race to find the legendary 'Ix Codex' - a lost Mayan prophecy which predicts the end of the world."
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In fact the book is better than the blurb - which is always great news and often not the case! On http://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk/ they have placed the book in the recommended areas for the 9+ and 11+ age group. But I'm 31+ so yet again age banding is inaccurate :-) Oh and the paperback book comes inside a unique bright orange plastic sleeve which not only looks great, stands out on the shelf (great marketing) but also protects the book!
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M G Harris has an interesting blog of her own at www.mgharris.net which is worth a visit.
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At the moment I'm obsessed with children and young adult fiction - the sense of adventure and fast pace is addictive. I soooooooo want to be as good as some of the writer's I'm reading!
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Off to read more kiddie fiction..........................

Monday, 14 July 2008

Read, read, read....

I am sorry I've not been blogging. Just as my eye gets better I develop a nerve problem in my right hand (all the fun of MS). So I've had to take a few days break from pen and keyboard! Excuses over!

So what have I been doing...............lots and lots of reading. I figure that this is still productive because all writers must read. The advantage is that I love reading.

What have I been reading over the past few days????

"Outcast" by Michelle Paver

"In Search of Adam" by Caroline Smailes

"Give me a Sign" by Shanta Everington

"Midnight for Charlie Bone" by Jenny Nimmo

All very different books, All very good. Check out the links by clicking on the author's names.

Now I'm off to catch up with all of you in blogland.

Monday, 7 July 2008

The Flubbafish family & lack of patience........


'3' things......

FIRSTLY - enough laughing, I know I can't draw. But I thought I'd share my rather 'special' example that I made for the Junior creative writing club at school.

Today, Michelle and I asked them to create characters for an alien family recently arrived on Earth. They decided that the family would be called the 'Flubbafish' family. Mum, Dad, sister, brother and pet Floop (hybrid hamster/seal/....) were created. Their artwork was far superior to mine (not that that's difficult, but it was very good). We had lots of fun drawing, colouring, sticking on post-it notes and creating personalities. Next week we'll create their home planet and write a Flubbafish family diary detailing their first experiences of our world.

Today's session was great fun and I'm looking forward to next week. This colourful way of creating characters is just as useful for us adults (especially if you're like me and have never grown out of colouring and sticking.)

Go on - give it a go!

SECONDLY - I FINISHED my first edit on Friday. Feels good.

THIRDLY - I've only just realised that writing requires a lot of patience.

OH poop! This is not a personality trait I possess!

I wish I'd realised this at seven years old when I set my heart on making writing my career! Or at least considered the 'need for patience' when a year ago I decided to treat my writing as a job and not just a hobby! All this editing, more editing and then waiting to hear back from subs (and I haven't even got to this stage yet)............I feel myself getting tense.........what if I don't live long enough?...... Aghhhh!!!!

I get impatient : at the lack of hours in the day; with not being able to write more; at not getting time for research; that my writing is not improving, my knowledge not growing fast enough and with needing greater energy to write out all the stories in my head. I could go on.... but 'not' has appeared too many times in this paragraph for my liking.

But I do love writing. So......................I guess this a 'life lesson'. I must overcome my impatient nature (and lack of grammatical skill) and be a writer despite my personality faults.

I want to be a published author - Now, now, NOW, NOW, NOW!!!!!!!!!! (stamping my feet, clenching my fists, gnashing my teeth, red in the face...........................and reaching for the Yellow Pages to look for 'Patience Therapists'......P....Pa......)

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Cute excuse........


Minty - my friend's new puppy........

I would have written far more today but I was doing a bit of puppy sitting. Isn't he adorable? You've got to admit he's a pretty good excuse for not working hard. Of course I will transform my puppy sitting experience into a literary masterpiece. Does that mean I can count it as 'research'? Can that few hours of cuddles, play and mopping up be considered part of my writing experience? The thing about having a good imagination is that I use it for bad stuff - like creating far fetched excuses for procrastination!! I promise to go and do some more editing just as soon as I've finished this post - paw on heart!


Ok - Tam tagged me to do this Meme. So you can write to Tam if you fall asleep reading this. Actually, it was the first time I've been personally tagged - thanks Tam - I'm chuffed.

What were you doing ten years ago?

Pre kids. Working as a sweetie rep for Trebor Bassett. Socialising lots more. Sleeping in on Sunday mornings. Amateur musical theatre. Cub scout leader. Part of Melton Mowbray writing club. Having piano lessons with a fascinating and intelligent lady from Brazil. Buying too many shoes. Keeping the local pubs in business!

Five things on my to do list for today

Well day's nearly over but it was:

1) finish doing my first edit of book (also known as making pretty colourful scribbles) - still to do!

2) Do my 100 words (seperate to edit) - still to do!

3) Learn how to use my new dishwasher that hubbie only plumbed in last night. (I am sooooo excited - no more washing-up or moaning about the mess on my sides)

4) Puppy sit.

5) Sort out boring pile of paperwork and finances. (this one is carried over daily)

What are three of your bad habits?

1) Talking too loud and too much (apparently)

2) Worrying

3) Bit grim - but - scratching my scalp when I'm nervous.

Other than this I am damn well perfect! Would I lie to you?


What would you do if you were a billionaire?
Spend lots spoiling the ones I love. Write (and get published - hey I'll have plenty of bribe money). Buy a gorgeous old house with land, sea view and a library. Set up a literacy charity. Travel and learn about as many different cultures and places as I can. More charity - I'd hate to be rolling in it whilst other people aren't.

What are some snacks you enjoy?

Chocolate (I couldn't survive without it). Red Wine (is that a snack? - don't care it is to me). Chilli Heatwave Doritos (oh hell these are the bane of my waistline at the moment). Cashew nuts (unsalted). Oh and loads more but I'm already sounding like an unhealthy bloater!!!

What were the last five books you read?
Wolf Brother (Michelle Paver)

Spirit Walker (Michelle Paver)

The Dream Master (Theresa Breslin)

The Dream Master Nightmare (Theresa Breslin)

The Welsh Girl (Peter Ho Davies)

ALL great books!!

What five jobs have you had?

Natwest - branch customer services (hated it)

Events organiser for Go-Karting track (men in suits fulfilling their dream of F1 success).

Powergen - business customer services

Sales & Law Recruitment (finding jobs for clever people)

Trebor Bassett (part of Cadbury) - Area Sales Representative (busy eating boot full of freebies meant for customers)

Name five places I have lived

Melton Mowbray (pork pie land)

Vale of Belvoir (just up the road from Melton but sounds good)

York (great city)

Canada (Well...in truth I haven't lived there. Haven't even visited. But I needed another to make five and it looks beautiful)

Cornwall (North and West - gorgeous, gorgeous place)

Okay YOU CAN WAKE UP NOW!!!! Stop snoring, it's making me sad! My life will be sooooo much more interesting when I'm a hugely successful author. Think JK Rowling and double the success & opportunities (is that possible?) Anyway.........when that time comes could someone be sure to tag me for a Meme so that I can show off. Thanks :-)

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