Friday, 10 March 2017

Birthstones revisited (March) & Celebrate the small things

I have been re-posting my series of Birthstone posts from a couple of years ago so as we are into March here is this month's offering on the sea-inspired Aquamarine. Hope you enjoy.


The word Aquamarine is derived from the Latin words, 'aqua' meaning water and 'marina' meaning sea. Hence the translation 'Sea Water.' The colour of this lovely gem reflects its name perfectly as it is usually found in a transparent blue or sea green. One legend suggests they are found in the treasure chest of mermaids. 

The connections with the sea are obvious and legend suggests that sailors would wear an aquamarine to protect them and keep them safe at sea.

Here are some other facts and myths surrounding the lovely aquamarine, not surprisingly a lot of stories feature connections with water:


  • Archaeologists have found the stone carved in statues of the god Poseidon. 
  • Romans thought the stone capable of absorbing young love. 
  • Another Roman legend said that carving the image of a frog onto an aquamarine would reconcile enemies and indeed make them friends.
  • In Medieval times, aquamarines were believed to reawaken the love of married couples. 
  • Worn as an amulet aquamarines have been said to bring relief of pain, make the wearer friendlier and cure laziness!
  • Aquamarines have long been prized by sailors as a prevention for seasickness and as protection at sea.  Having such powers as warding off sea monsters, storms and other perils of the sea. Egyptians, Romans and Greeks believed the gem conjured the good spirits of the water.
  • The largest aquamarine was found in Brazil in 1910, it weighed around 243 pounds.
  • Aquamarine is suggested as a gem to give on the 16th and 19th wedding anniversaries. 
  • The gem has been thought to have magical healing powers for ailments relating to the stomach, liver, throat and jaw. It has even been used as an antidote against poison.
  • Fortune tellers have used aquamarines to help them look into the future and make predictions.

The verse from the traditional Gregorian Poem for this month is one of the nicest I think.

"A March born shall always be
soothed by Aqua, gem of sea
This mermaids' treasured stone you wear
Will bring happiness, love, affection and care."

Happy Birthday to all celebrating this month.

And on the topic of celebrations ...

This week I'm celebrating a couple of good writing sessions, getting over a cold and the restorative benefits of chamomile tea!

        Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
           L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
   Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

IWSG (March)

Welcome to this month's gathering of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. The chance to share our own writing insecurities and help and encourage our fellow writers.

So, what am I particularly insecure about this month? Well, to be honest, it sort of relates to this month's question too!

I started off the year full of enthusiasm for my new story. I wrote 10,000 words and generally I was humming along quite nicely thank you very much. 

BUT, then I started reading through an old manuscript . . . one I hadn't worked on for a few years. And I fell in love with it all over again! A good thing right? I liked the characters, the plot was fundamentally sound and I got sucked right back into it. It does need a good edit and a bit of re-working. I feel my writing has improved so much in the interim time that I can see where I can improve things. Anyway, I liked it so much that I have spent my last few writing sessions working on it.

The only problem is, I'm feeling a bit guilty about my other newer manuscript. I have sort of left it hanging! Does anyone else do this? I suppose I can go back and work on it again later, but I think I owe it to the older one to give it a go. 

This month's group question is: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Well, I think I have answered the first part of that question . . . you may have to wait a while before I can answer the second!



Thanks to Alex. J. Cavanaugh 

                                                              And this months Co-Hosts:
                                                                        Tamara Narayan
                                                                           Patsy Collins
                                                                             M.J. Fifield
                                                                 Nicohle Christopherson



Friday, 24 February 2017

Celebrate the small things

Well, somehow we find ourselves racing towards the end of the month again! Time to reflect and post a few small celebrations.

Since I last posted I have managed to add about 6,000 words to my current MS. Quite pleased with that progress.

I also 'rediscovered' an old MS and have done some editing on it with a view to possibly re-submitting it. I wrote it a few years ago and going back to it made me realise how much I have improved as a writer. It needs some work but the characters and plot are solid and I think it definitely deserve a second chance!

I went to London for a couple of days. Exhausting but fun time was had.

I am still managing to read quite a lot. It is my favourite way to unwind and get to sleep at night. Recent reads include;
  • Lying About Last Summer (YA)  - Sue Wallman
  • The One Memory of Flora Banks (YA)  - Emily Barr
  • A Girl Called Owl (MG)  - Amy Wilson
Three quite different stories but I enjoyed them all.

Looking forward to a quiet weekend and some more writing.



Happy weekend

                                                     Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
   Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Friday, 10 February 2017

February Birthstone - Amethyst + #CTST

Following on from last month I am revisiting a series I ran a while ago highlighting birthstones and looking at some of the myths and legends surrounding them. Birthstones are something I have researched a lot over the last few years for my chapter book series The Birthstone Unicorns. So, if you or someone you know is celebrating this month, I hope you enjoy reading about the Amethyst. Obviously, one of my favourites due to it's colour!

Amethyst is the traditional birthstone of those people born in the month of February. It is usually lilac or purple in colour and symbolizes stability, peace, courage, inner strength and a calm disposition.

Amethysts can also be known as the ‘sobriety stone.’ Believed to prevent drunkenness and other forms of addiction! However, you may prefer to use to treat headaches, insomnia, arthritis or for general pain relief.

"The February born shall find
Sincerity and peace of mind,
Freedom from passion and from care,
If they, the amethyst will wear."

(taken from the Gregorian Poem - author unknown)

In ancient times a true purple dye was costly and quite rare (see I always knew I had expensive tastes!) it is a colour often reserved for royalty and many crowns have amethysts on them. Through history they have been found everywhere from the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs to soldiers graves in Europe.

The word amethyst comes from the Greek 'amethystos' meaning not drunken. It was sacred to the God of wine and overindulgence, Dionysus. According to Greek mythology Amethyst was a young virgin who upset Dionysus when he became drunk on red wine. Amethyst sought the help of the Goddess Diana who turned the young girl into a white, shimming stone. Feeling remorse for his actions Dionysus's tears fell into his goblet of red wine, it overturned, spilling the red wine over the white rock and saturating it until it became purple.

In ancient times the amethyst has been more prized than sapphires and rubies

Amethysts have been used to adorn the rings of Bishops.

Saint Valentine was thought to wear a ring set with an amethyst in the shape of cupid.

In Medieval times soldiers often wore purple as they went into battle.They considered the amethyst an aid to healing in case of injury.

In the Chinese philosophy  of Feng Shui amethysts enhance the wealth corner, focusing on giving and receiving of material wealth.



                                                     Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
   Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

This week I am celebrating the start of a weeks half-term holiday in the UK. I am hoping to get some serious writing done! 

Happy weekend everyone!


Friday, 3 February 2017

Celebrate the small things


Another busy week and somehow we seem to have crept into February!

This week I'm celebrating completing another chapter in my current manuscript. Would have liked to do more, but as I said busy week all round and I have been really tired by the evening!

Time Travelling with a Hamster by [Welford, Ross]I read another MG book this week  ~Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford.

On his twelfth  birthday Al receives a letter from his dead father. He learns his father built a time machine and he wants Al to find it and travel back in time to save him. 

Al soon discovers that time travel requires bravery and imagination. It also requires lies, bending the rules and avoiding bumping into yourself! His is accompanied on his daring adventures by his pet hamster, Alan Shearer.

I found this a touching tale of dealing with heartache and grief but told with humour. I also learnt a lot about the potential scientific issues involved in time travel!



Happy weekend

                                                     Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
   Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Friday, 27 January 2017

Celebrate the small things

Hi everyone, sorry I haven't posted on this hop for a while. If you read my short post last week you will no doubt be aware of my computer issues! Which leads nicely onto my first celebration of the week . . . getting to grips with my new computer. I had a few teething problems to begin with but computer and I seem to be developing a close friendship and hopefully it will last a good while! I had my previous laptop for a number of years so I can't really complain.

Last week was my birthday . . . yes 21 again! Although I was working I had a good day and a nice meal with family in the evening. Apart from the aforementioned computer I was lucky enough to receive a beautiful, sparkly, unicorn cover for my phone!

  
So very me!

My reading for the year has got off to an excellent start and I have already read some great books for adults, YA and MG

I'd particularly like to mention an MG read The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson.

The story follows twelve year old Matthew Corbin. Matthew is funny, kind and very likeable but he has an overwhelming fear of germs which is making his life very difficult. His anxieties cause him to spend much of his life indoors, watching the world go by from his window. All until a toddler disappears in his street and Matthew was the last to see him from his window. Matthew has to confront his own fears and obsessive behaviour to help unravel the mystery. As the story unfolds we learn more about Matthew and the events that have led to his OCD.

Moving, funny and well-researched.


This reminded me of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon in many ways.
  




In my own writing I have completed the first few chapters of my new manuscript. A long way to go but progress is being made which is the most important thing.

Happy weekend

                                                     Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
   Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Quick little update ... I am still here!

I know I disappeared from my blog for while. It wasn't planned! My computer was getting slower and slower and getting on and off took so long I ran out of time to actually blog!

BUT then I had my birthday last week and guess what? Hubby bought me a new laptop! Yay! I wasn't expecting it so it was an even nicer surprise. It is different to my last one (It turns on instantly!!) seriously, though I am getting used to it. I am not the most tech savvy gal so bear with me! I normally pride myself on being an excellent typist but the new keyboard 'feels' different and it seems to be aligned slightly differently to my previous one which is making for some interesting spelling errors while I get used to it all. Also, of course, it has Windows 10 which I am still exploring.

However, these are all interesting issues to have and I am so happy to have the new computer. Now, if it only came with some software that could knock out a best seller in six weeks it would be just perfect!

Hoping to get a proper post up later in the week, until then best wishes all.