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.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Birthstones revisited - January (Garnet)

If you have followed my blog for a while you will no doubt have read some of my posts on birthstones. I have been fascinated by gems and the various legends that surround them for years. Indeed, it was combining my interest with them and my obsession fondness for unicorns that was the inspiration for my Birthstone Unicorn early reader series.

It has been a couple of years since I wrote about birthstones on my blog so I thought it might be fun to revisit some of my earlier posts. 

If you, or someone you know, is celebrating a birthday during January then let me tell you a little more about the lovely Garnet, this month's birthstone. My birthday is this month so it is a particular favourite of mine! Here is my own little birthstone unicorn . . . 

The traditional birthstone for January, the garnet is normally thought of as deep red in colour but they can actually be found in many other colours such as orange, yellow, green, purple, brown and black. Associated with purity, truth, faithfulness and friendship they are also thought to remove negativity in the wearer. I'm definitely going to be wearing my garnet this month to ensure I start the the year with lots of positive thoughts!

There are lots of stories and legends surrounding the garnet below are just a few!

* Legend suggests that the garnet originated with Persephone, the Greek goddess of sunshine. Persephone was captured by Hades, the god of the underworld. Hades gave Persephone some pomegranate seeds to ensure her return. Take a look at the seeds next time you eat a pomegranate!

* The word garnet comes from the Latin 'granatus' which  means seed. 

* Garnet is said to prevent bloodshed between enemies.

* Garnets have been found in burial sites dating back to 3000 BC. It is thought they were placed there to protect the dead on their journey to the afterlife.

* Stories from the Bible say that Noah hung a garnet on the ark to help light the way through the flood.

* Native American tribes decorated dream catchers with garnets and used them on their hunting shields.

* Many cultures have suggested the wearing of a garnet would help calm a fever, protect from poison, reduce swelling and stop bleeding.

* Some Eastern  Legend says that dragon's eyes were garnets.

There are two very different flowers for the month of January the showy carnation and the simple elegance of the snowdrop. 

Traditionally birthstones represent a month of the year based on the Gregorian calendar. There is a poem about the associated birthstones and below is the verse for January. The poem was first published in 1870 by Tiffany & Co. The original author is unknown.

By her who in this month was born
No gem save garnets shall be worn
They will ensure her constancy
True friendship and fidelity

Happy birthday if you are celebrating this month! Stop by the blog next month to read about the February birthstone, Amethyst.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Insecure Writer's Support Group (Jan 2017)

Happy New Year everyone and welcome to the first IWSG posting of 2017. I hope you are set for a great writing year ahead.

I've decided to banish insecurities for January . . . in fact I'm hoping the positive feelings will continue way past this month. I have been researching and making notes on a new story idea and I'm keen to throw myself into this while I wait to hear back from other submissions from last year. 

I've carved myself a new writing space at home and equipped it with the necessary notebooks, pens, post-its and other artefacts designed to stimulate my writing muscles!

This month's optional question is; What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard? 

This is a tricky one to for me as I'm not a big fan of writing rules in general! I think the real writing magic occurs when we break some of the conventionally held rules. Of course, I follow the mechanics of spelling, punctuation and grammar but otherwise I think it is fine to experiment. 

I also have to say I'm not a fan of the mantra 'write every day' or 'write 1000, 2000 words (or whatever) every day.'  I think this can be setting yourself up for failure and putting too much pressure on yourself can be counter-productive.  I appreciate it probably works admirably for many, and that's great, but for me it's not helpful. I think the creative process is a very personal thing and it is about finding what works for you and, more importantly, what makes you happy. 

Happy writer = productive writer! 

Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and this month's team of co-hosts;

                                                                   Eva @ Lillicasplace
                                                                       Crystal Collier
                                                                    Sheena-kay Graham
                                                                         Chemist Ken
                                                                          LG Keltner
                                                                     Heather Gardner

Friday, 16 December 2016

Time to celebrate Christmas . . .

The Christmas tree is up, the wreath is hanging on the front door, most of the presents bought and hidden safely away, yougest home from university and now with the end of the school term today, it is really starting to feel like Christmas is begininng! 

Actually, the celebrations started last weekend as I went for a meal out with folks from work and then the following evening we invited friends and neighbours around for drinks and food so it was a busy couple of days! 

Also this week I managed a trip to the cinema to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I really enjoyed it and it was nice to sit for a couple of hours and relax in front of a movie. It's been busy at school with Christmas lunches, parties, special assemblies and all the other Christmassy activities so already my brain feels overloaded!

I LOVE this tree decoration my eldest daughter surprised me with this week. I mean it's purple, it's a unicorn . . . what's not to love! 

There is no doubt Christmas can be stressful. All that anticipation, the throwing together of people, the expectation that everything should be perfect and all should be well. Personally, I have found this time of year difficult for several years now, but I am trying to stay calm and enjoy it as much as possible. 

Whatever you are doing for the holidays I wish you a happy and peaceful time. 

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

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group (Dec)

It's time for the final IWSG posting of 2016! Where did it go? I hope it's been a good writing year for you - not too many insecurities! However, if you're anything like me there have been plenty of bouts of insecurity and some gigantic dollops of self-doubt to keep you company over the last twelve months! Good job we've got the wonderful Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group to keep us going.

I'll be honest, I've been struggling to stay focused with my writing this last couple of months. I was so excited to complete my last manuscript. I invested so much in it, emotionally and financially that I really thought it was my time. Everything seemed to be falling into place and feedback from my lovely editor and a couple of agents who read the full manuscript was encouraging . . . that was back in the early summer. A few weeks later I was delighted to hear my manuscript had been long listed for the Mslexia Children's Book Award, a huge achievement and another boast of encouragement that I was on the right track with this story. Sadly it didn't make the recent short list and now I'm left feeling like I'm no further forward. The illusive next step just out of reach.

I know, I know . . . patience is something writer's need in bucket loads. Along with thick skins and the ability to bounce back higher than one of those snazzy powerballs! Maybe I'm just feeling sorry for myself, but then maybe I'm allowed to - for a while at least. The thing is, I really want to shift this cloud that is hanging over me and I'm hoping the new year will give me renewed energy and the inspiration to push ahead with my new WIP.

All of which leads me nicely onto this month's question - in terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what's your plan to get there?

Well, I'd really, really like to be a published author! The plan to get there? Keep going and don't allow myself to give up I guess!

Keep calm and write on!

Please note, due to work commitments today, I will be unable to respond or return comments today. I will catch up asap. 

Friday, 2 December 2016

Celebrate the small things

Well, I'm sorry I kind of 'disappeared' online again . . . it wasn't planned, it just sort of happened! I have been spending a lot of my free time over the last couple of weeks decorating and up-cycling a few pieces of furniture. I have to say I am very pleased with the results too!

Then, last weekend, we suddenly decided it would be a great idea to paint the kitchen. The cream paintwork was looking a bit tired and in real need of a refresh. So, did we simply dig out the old tin of paint from the shed and slap it on? Nope. We headed for the DIY store and chose . . . . a vibrant raspberry. Quite a change and I was unsure to start with but now I love it! It is warm and cosing and if nothing else, quite festive! What do you think?

This weekend I am going to try and get a bit of Christmas shopping done and probably the only writing that will happen is in some Christmas cards! How are your Christmas preparations going? Can you believe it's December already?

Happy weekend everyone.

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

Friday, 4 November 2016

Celebrate the small things

I haven't managed to join the Friday celebrations for a couple of weeks and I have missed it. I think it is a great idea to reflect on the positives. I  am often amazed at how much I have forgotten, or merely overlooked, in all the daily business of life until I sit down to write my Friday posting! 

I've got a gorgeous hydrangea bush in the front garden. When I drove into the drive the other afternoon the colour of the flower heads really made me smile. I went straight out and picked a bunch to put in the living room. Such autumnal shades, I love them.

Had a lovely walk on Porthkidney Beach last Sunday with some friends.

The clocks have gone back which means darker evenings . . . not my favourite . . . however, it means I can close the curtains and light some scented candles. Love the cosy feeling.

Off to a firework display this evening. Hope the weather stays dry.

Happy weekend everyone.

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