Saturday 30 March 2013

Another interview? Me? Oh all right then...

I've been interviewed over at The Dan O'Brien Project. Find out whether I've ever been in trouble with the police, who I'd like to have play me in a film of my life and when my autobiography will be out! The post went up yesterday, so I hope Dan won't mind me linking to it a little bit late.

Dan has a Kickstarter project that he's trying to get off the ground, so once you've popped over for the interview, come back and pop over here as well.

Friday 29 March 2013

Pantsing - the journey of my WIP

At the end of last year, around bloggyland, there was a lot of discussion about plotting versus pantsing; every award/meme contained a question about it. People fall into one camp or the other... and I'm a definitely pantser. The following story of my WIP will make fellow pantsers glad they're not me, and give plotters a good laugh.

In November I wrote a novel for NaNoWriMo. It came in at 150 words over the goal, and I was amazed I'd got so far. I'd been completely ready for a fail.

The aim was to rewrite it over the winter, read and edit and redraft over the spring, and submit by late summer. Yeah, right! Luckily, winter is dragging on so I'm still within my goal, but I'm still firmly in first draft mode because I keep changing my mind over the story I'm telling.

The novel starts with an explosion at a hotel which kills a couple of people. The subsequent stories were interwoven and the characters falling over each other - that was the original way it was written. When that got tough, I sieved out the individual stories, starting each one at the same moment in time - in this case, one week after the explosion and then looking back over the past week.

The trouble with this draft was that one week wasn't enough to tell the story, and I found myself writing in future tense. I thought hey this is wacky and experimental and literary - this is definitely my Booker winner. But, reader, it wasn't easy. Maybe if I'd only been going a couple of days into the future I could have pulled it off, but the original story covered the whole year after the explosion not just the week.

Last night, as I was lulling myself into a restful sleep, I had another idea...

Short stories!

You weren't expecting that, were you? Oh, you were...

Anyway, it doesn't change the main premise of each of the stories I want to tell, but they are now not dependent on a rigid timeline, they will work in isolation without consideration of the other characters. One story is now free to cover the year, while another will take just a few days. I don't have to rush my coma patient into recovery, he can wallow in his subconscious for as long as he needs to.

Am I happy with this decision? Yes, I am... for now!

Monday 25 March 2013

Reality strikes!

The lovely Linda King has passed this award on to me, and I'm very honoured. I especially love that it includes the word Yippee!

So, now I have to answer the following questions and pass the award on to some deserving people. I'll do the questions first, far easier!

If you could change one thing, what would it be? 
Umm, I have no idea. More shelves for my books, being able to apply make-up properly. And - due to constant badgering from my youngest - I wish I had a little bit of extra money at the end of the month to give to charity - he'd love to save all the animals!

If you could repeat an age, what would it be?
17. That was the year I finally figured out who I was, and had fun. But only if I could take all the lessons I've learnt ever since and apply them to that age, because unfortunately I got lost again for most of my twenties.

What one thing really scares you? 
Heights! I'm slowly conquering this  - for years I'd only walked over my local bridge a handful of times, until the year I started walking across it daily to get to work. I thought it would apply to other heights, but it didn't. I'm scared climbing the ladder into my own loft! But worse, I am now really scared watching other people climbing ladders etc. I have to look away!

If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be?
I'd be everyone. It would be the ultimate in people watching, wouldn't it? And I adore people watching!

And now I'm going to pass this award on to...

Julie Luek, Tina and Joanne Faries.

I haven't checked to see if these wonderful ladies have received this award yet, but even if I have I think they deserve it again... they just don't have to answer the questions!  

Saturday 23 March 2013

The ups and downs of writing

By steenslag (P1010533) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
It's been a horrible week. It started on Monday when I got annoyed with the internet, my blog, myself and everything. By Tuesday, I really didn't want to pick up my laptop at all, and instead I went to the gym and did a lot of cleaning. On Wednesday Hubby'd had enough and took me shopping for shoes (very pretty shoes, I posted a pic on Facebook, if you're friends with me over there), but I was still feeling low on Wednesday evening.

However, on Thursday, I woke up with several scenes for my current/partially abandoned WIP running around my head. Yay! Annoyingly, I had to go to work in the morning, but I came home and went straight to my notebook (Reader, I didn't even switch on my laptop to check my emails!) I wrote almost six pages in teeny, tiny handwriting.

You see, I've known for a very long time that I write best when I'm feeling a little bit down, not fully depressed but not singing and dancing in the rain either. Further still, I can't wake up in the morning, feel slightly sad and immediately write a fantastic chapter... No, I have to feel like it for a few days or weeks.

I've done some very basic research on the connection between writers (artists in general?) and depression, and the current theories swerve in the opposite direction - you are happy while the writing is going well, and fall into a fug of depression when it slows down or goes wrong.

It happens when:

  • you start comparing yourself to Stephen King, JK Rowling, Ali Smith, Margaret Atwood, EL James... whoever you consider to be at the pinnacle of your genre
  • you start to feel lonely and hopeless
  • you receive yet another rejection.

I couldn't find - granted, this was very simple first-two-pages-of-Google research - any article which made the case for writers needing to be depressed to write. I'm sure I can't be the only one - although I like to think I'm pretty unique, in a world of 7 billion it's highly unlikely.

Without prying too much, I'd love to hear your opinions.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

The post that keeps changing name

Apologies for being MIA during the Top Ten Movie Countdown Blogfest on Monday. I had my post up, then released no one could see my pictures, then - because I was already... erm, in a less than jolly mood - I pulled the post, sulked and didn't comment on any more posts.

Just so you know, I'm aware how lame that sounds.

I am so sorry. I feel like a teenager. All I needed was a pot of black paint and I'd have been in my element, and Hubby would have been left trying to wipe black paint off our ceilings.

So to make up for it, I'm taking part now. But - and this is REALLY IMPORTANT - I don't want you to comment. Because I sulked and didn't comment on yours - I did read them though! - you shouldn't comment on mine. Deal? In fact, to make sure you don't, I'm turning off comments.

Also, I've learnt my lesson, and I've taken off the pictures I attached the first time around. Without further ado, my films in no order at all are...

Love Actually Hugh Grant dancing, Emma Thompson listening to 'Both Sides Now' by Joni Mitchell, the seen at the wedding when the band start playing - there are so many scenes in this film that I love. It's the perfect Christmas film too - around about September, when I'm feeling Christmassy, I watch this film. And then I watch it on a monthly basis until Christmas, when it gets promoted to twice during Christmas week (it does help that as a gigging musician, Hubby is quite busy at that time of the year!)

Fight Club When I tell people I love this film, they assume it's because of Brad Pitt, but actually... no. Does no one get how awesome an actor Edward Norton is? Does no one love Helena Bonham-Carter as much as I do? This film grabs you from the opening!

Reservoir Dogs My favourite Tarantino film without a doubt. Magnificent soundtrack, brilliant dialogue, and - honestly - who hasn't mimicked the walk at one time or another? I first watched it with a group of friends when we were 17 - I was the only one to get the humour, everyone else sat in shock. They later caught up! While checking out the spelling of Tarantino (one R or two... simple stuff) I found these fun facts: George Clooney, David Dachovny and Samuel L Jackson all auditioned. It was a much bigger hit in the UK than the US, due to almost no promotion in the States.

It's a Wonderful Life Yes, I cry at this one too. I watch it every year. It used to be shown on TV, but one year when it wasn't, I went out and bought a copy. I love James Stewart, simple as that! The one scene that always bristles with me is when we see the spinster Mary - apparently if beautiful women don't marry at the right time, they turn into dowdy librarians who need to wear glasses and are scared when a man merely looks in their direction!

Shallow Grave Two years before Trainspotting, Danny Boyle made this film, a story of three flatmates who interview for a fourth. Any thing more than that would be a spoiler, if you haven't seen it - but I really recommend checking it out. It's very funny and dark. Boyle's father considers this to be his best work, according to a Top Gear interview I saw once (and then several times more, courtesy of Dave!)

The Usual Suspects Kevin Spacey is amazing. That's all. Again, great humour and banter between the characters - dialogue is hard to write well, and that's even more obviously when you find a film where it's so very well done. I'm still completely astounded by people who don't get the ending... apparently, there are quite a few in the UK, and I know most of them. Head. Wall. Bang.

Fiddler on the Roof I think I've written about this film before. Long story short - my maternal grandparent's were Ukrainian - although not Jewish - but would have grown up in a similar village, albeit with less singing. As a result, my mum used to watch this film a lot, which meant I used to watch it a lot, so it's seeped into my psyche. Topol was made for the role of Tevye (fun fact: he was only in his thirties when he played the part).

Sliding Doors This is a film/book/story I wish I'd written. It actually encompasses my beliefs that our destiny is written (within reason), but our journey is our choice. I love John Hannah in this film... oh okay, I love John Hannah in any film.

Dogma Another film with fantastic dialogue, courtesy of Kevin Smith who also plays Silent Bob. Alan Rickman is perfect as the sarcastic voice of God. It's been a while since I watched this, so I can't make a full-on argument for this film. After listening to other people talking about this film, I realise you either love it or hate it.

10 Things I Hate About You There were several contenders for a Heath Ledger film (because he had to be included). My other favourite is A Knight's Tale... but - but - what swings in this film's favour is Ledger singing Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You, and the look in his eye when he's sitting with Kat on the swing. And the awesome soundtrack. And, okay, I cry at the end of this one too.

There. I'm done. I hope we're friends again!
Normal blogging will resume soon.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

The Pasty Tour!

Today I'm interviewing Marjie Myers, a brand new author who's just launched her first book, Twelve Days/Young Eighty.

The Blurb
12 Days

A romantic comedy; a man, a woman, a dog, a challenge, romance, laughter, memories, love & hope.
Young 80 A horror; a young woman, a foggy night, a race home, trapped, scared, confused, crazy, an old woman, an empty room, a lost love and hope.

Welcome to my blog, Marjie. An easy one to start with, tell us a little bit about yourself...
haha! Thats easy?

Marjie Myers is my pen name & my actual name is Kate...well Katy and I have a blog, The Suddenly Kate Show, which is a year old this month. I am often described as 'Bubbly' which I strongly dislike but is a true description and I have a kitten Muse.

Congratulations on your blogaversary! How long have you been writing? Why did you start? 
Thanks. I have been writing for about 6 months and I started on a whim last September. Up until then I had been writing music and travel reviews, two of my other loves, and I think it was a poem that started it all, that became flash fiction and then the rest they say is history.

I'm curious about the book you've just released. The two stories seem very different - what made you put them together?
I'd like to say that I carefully considered the decision and the relationship between stories but in reality I thought it would be nice, a kind of sweet and sour, a pasty if you will and hence the tour name. Reflecting on the choice I can see that both stories have the same key themes running through them of Love and Hope.

Ah, 'pasty', I knew there'd be a reason for the name :-) What inspired these stories? Did you hear or see something, or did you just wake up one day with them running around your head?
12 Days was written because every year I read a romantic comedy at Christmas. I love Christmas and so instead of reading one I decided to write one. I sat down with the idea to write a rom-com at for Christmas and then went from there.

Young 80 was inspired by a Halloween flash fiction challenge which I had wanted to expand on. The idea for that came from my own experience of walking home in the dark combined with some fears.

Generally, I just sit down to write and go from there, my ideas are often inspired by a real life scene, emotion or character. But in these cases it was simply Christmas & Halloween.

Do you have any writing rituals that you've developed over the last 6 months?
I don't know...i've not really thought about it...erm, not yet.

Lol... just wait... every writer has weird rituals eventually! What are you working on next?
I have the NaNoWriMo novel that needs retuning as it were as its still in its very raw stage. But I know I wont be happy with that alone, I still have my weekly series which is ongoing and then there are the music reviews, the flash fiction, the A to Z Challenge and I am keen to work on a sci-fi story that I began as a Write for Ten piece, I want to know where it leads and what happens and....I think you can be sure the list is endless but this is the next few months.

That sounds fantastic. Who are your favourite authors? Are there any you aspire to be compared to?
Currently, Barbara Kingsolver & Gabriel Garcia Marquez & Leon Uris & Phillip M Margolin & Tom Clancy & Robert Kirkman but there are so many good writers, it depends on genre too and what way the wind is blowing! I like Hardy, Dickens, & Conrad.

I like all the above writers for quite different reasons, some its style, some its story, some its combination but to be compared to anyone who writes from the heart is good enough in my book. The first person who came to mind when I read that was Maeve Binchy because she was prolific and also her books are easy to get cosy with and pleasurable.

Some great names there. Finally, is there any advice you wish you'd been given 6 months ago - either writing or blogging related?
Blog related: That lack of comments doesn't mean that no-one is reading it (especially in the case of music reviews) and ultimately you should write what makes you happy. Your blog is for you.

Writing related: That its a drug..Class A.

Thanks for visiting today, Marjie - it's been great talking to you.

Finding Marjie/Kate:

(This post has been scheduled. I'm taking a brief sabbatical - in fact, it'll probably be so brief that you won't even notice, but it means I might not get around to replying to comments on this post for a couple of days. Apologies to anyone who stopped by my blog yesterday for the Movie bloghop and left a message - I took the post down and didn't replace it due to circumstances beyond my control.) 

Saturday 16 March 2013

In defence of the stand-alone novel

I think I'm the only one.

Yes, I'm pretty sure I am.

I love stand-alone novels.

(Oh dear, what have I said?? I'm probably going to need to qualify this because almost all of my blogger friends are in the middle of writing some fantastic series, which I am reading! - Kyra Lennon, Elizabeth Seckman, M Pax, Alex et al, please forgive me.)

When I finish a book, I always spend a little time imagining what happens to those characters next. I enjoy that. My imagination runs wild. I think about where the author is going with the story and where I would go. And I want people to do that with my work. I purposely leave questions. The ending of Cat and The Dreamer has been interpreted in several ways, and I am not going to tell you what I think happens. And that's the fun of it for me, knowing that people may have a different plan for my characters. If I wrote a sequel, I think it would spoil the impact.

Looking at my bookshelves, there are no novels I'd want to have a sequel. (I've been tempted by Pride and Prejudice sequels, and learnt the hard way that I should not read them!) I love each of them for being what they are, and if I find I'm missing the characters then I simply read the book again.

It's not just books either. I'm a one series woman when it comes to major US TV programmes - Fringe, The 4400, some others I can't quite remember now, were really good for the first series and were complete stories that satisfied me. I just wasn't interested in the subsequent series. I was happy with what I'd seen. I love the way some British dramas tend to be short and only maybe two or three series long, six episodes each.

From a writing/professional point of view, I can completely understand the motivation to write a series. You're building your readership, taking them on the journey along with your characters, developing these two-dimensional jottings into rounded people that readers identify with. You're allowing the characters to grow. I get all that, I really do.

But one of the greatest pleasures I have is being enveloped by a story, getting to the end of the book and sighing happily that everything is right with the world. I hold the book in my hands, think over what I've just read, then search out something new and different. I have very few books by the same author - there are five authors who have the honour of being featured on my shelves more than once. I like new voices, new ways of looking at the world, new styles of writing.

The reason this post is defending stand-alone novels is because they seem to be a dying breed. I'm not saying that series are bad or wrong, just that they seem to be on the ascendence.

What do you think? Have I written something highly controversial, or do you agree with me?

Wednesday 13 March 2013

My new-look blog

This is just a quickie to shout out Misha Gericke and The Golden Eagle.

I won the vote for Best Writing/Inspirational Blogger in Misha's inaugural Paying Forward Awards. (Thank you so much to whoever nominated and voted for me.)

My prize was a design from The Golden Eagle, who has - with a lot of patience - provided me with the fantastic banner above.

Thank you both for giving me such a great prize! Please go and check out their blogs - they're both brilliant.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Author Interview - Ailsa Abraham

Today I am excited to introduce Ailsa Abraham to my blog. I met Ailsa quite recently through a Facebook group, and I find her very fascinating. She interviewed me on her blog here, so today it's my turn to provide the tea and biscuits, and a very large box of chocolates that my kids bought me!

Welcome to my blog, Ailsa. Your latest book, Shaman’s Drum has just been released. Congratulations. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Sure thing. It's a pagan-based romance/fantasy. Set in the near future when the mainstream religions of today have been banned in an effort to stamp out terrorism, the “Old Religions” (paganism in all its forms) have taken over.

Iamo is a priest of the Great Mother (equivalent to Wicca) and in a previous adventure he fell in love with Riga, a woman who is a magical assassin, a Black Shaman. The rules forbid them being together so at the beginning of Shaman's Drum they are both in prison.

Iamo is offered a deal that could buy not only their freedom but the chance to marry. To do this they will have to solve a mystery, defeat demons and overthrow rebel cultists who want to take over the world.
In the end they find themselves unsure of who is on their side so they call on a very mixed bunch of helpers including hippies, eclectic pagans, an undercover Christian Granny and three very enthusiastic Goths.

Where did you get your inspiration for that?
That was just completely weird! I have been a pagan all my life, finally ending up as a practising Shaman but I was just sitting in my back garden when the first scene of the book flashed into my head, rather like the trailer to a film.  I saw a woman in a nun's outfit being rescued from a convent cloistered garden by a man in a monk's habit.

Well, wouldn't you want to know more? So when Jessica Macbeth, a dear friend and mentor bullied me into entering NaNo in 2011, that was the obvious story to pursue. I finished it and then after a lot of work and polishing, Stephanie Patterson at Crooked Cat published it.

I suppose the book was very easy for me because my background is purely pagan but I have studied most of the world's major religions too. I'm on nodding terms with Buddhism, Christianity, Druidism etc and so it was good fun for me to put the monotheistic religions out of the scene and see what would happen.

Is it possible to explain paganism and Shamanism to me in a few sentences…?
I'll try. Paganism usually involves the worship of various gods and goddesses. It comes from the Latin “pagani” meaning “of the countryside. Neo-paganism, which is what we see becoming more popular today, has sub-divided into groups that seek back for their roots in various mythologies of the past. Odinists (otherwise known as Heathens or Norse) go back to the Vikings. Druidism, while mainly based on some writings discovered in the eighteenth century and proven to be fake, claim to reach back to antiquity. Isis of the Egyptians, The Roman pantheon, many have been revived. Wicca, which is the most common form of paganism is in fact an invention of the 1950s but has grown at such a rate that many adherents now would defend to the death that this is based on solid fact handed down through generations.

Shamanism has existed throughout history from neolithic times. It is animist and believes that everything has a spirit. There is one great sacred spirit and all other spirits are connected to it. A Shaman learns to journey into the the three worlds – lower, middle and upper. Their constant companions are a power animal and a spirit guide which find them early on in their training. Whatever “magic” a Shaman is going to work is called a “journey” and starts by going to the appropriate world. For example if a friend of mine were ill in THIS (the middle world) I might “journey” to their house to bring spirit healing to them.

Both are fascinating subjects and can be studied endlessly.

This isn’t your first book, is it? And I believe a gentleman called Cameron gets involved too?
Hahahah – no, that's true. I started writing detective fiction where my two heroes are gay. So obviously the books got labelled as “gay erotica” which annoys me more than a little because, for example, the last one, Cancel Christmas, was a thumping good murder mystery where the two investigators hopped into bed together. Had that been on  TV on a Sunday evening and the detectives were heterosexual it would not have raised an eyebrow.

Now, however, as the reading public for the two genres is so different, I write under two names and Cameron Lawton has become my (gay) twin brother and I'm actually very fond of him. We have disagreements on Facebook and he sometimes steals “my” style to write things on our joint blog but I love him really.  The fact is that I did have a twin brother who was still-born and so maybe bringing Cameron into the family has balanced things up a bit. I just wish he wouldn't object to me stealing his expensive aftershave!

How do you balance writing such different genres? Do you alternate, or wait for inspiration to strike whichever genre it wants to?
My real problem is too much inspiration! I never have enough time to write down what I have thought of. Yes, I suppose I do tend to go through phases. It rather depends which characters are kicking me hardest (or which editors)  It just seems that when I am writing “my boys” I have my Cameron head on and when I'm writing magic; then I have my Ailsa head on. I have been known to write both in one day without ever getting the two mixed up.

The thing is that my two detectives are hardly likely to run into my magical characters or vice versa. Problems could arise if I DO ever bring the boys over here. I would find them intruding into my “real” life!

How do you organise your writing day?
Simple answer? I don't! I am possibly the world's most disorganised person. As I no longer go out to work (I'm an invalid) I have all day every day to write. Which, of course, means I don't. I find every reason in the world not to and then I get up at 2am and go like the clappers to get something finished.

I also suffer from Bipolar Condition which means that some of the time I am curled up in a ball and not wanting to come out. That's not very conducive to writing but at other times when I am on a manic high, I can write for 15 hours a day which gives me tendonitis …. I'm a bit of a mess really (laugh).

Some great minds – now and throughout history – have had bipolar/depressive issues. Do you think one breeds from the other?
I discussed this at great length with my psychiatrist and he agreed that it does tend to be a very beneficial side-effect of the condition although, unlike some famous cases (such as Stephen Fry) I have agreed to be medicated without losing my creativity. Some are in such fear of not having the creative highs that they will not take medication. I felt that whatever I lost (and to be honest I do not think I have lost anything) was worth it for the relief my family felt when I stopped trying to commit suicide on a regular basis.

You live in France, does that have a detrimental effect on your writing career, or has it brought lots of benefits?
Oooh that's a hard one! I think being bilingual helps me explore language more. I'm an incurable people-watcher and in my village there isn't much else to do so a lot of that has crept into my writing.

Physically it is really frustrating because I want to join Associations, go to meet-ups and generally get together with other writers, which would be fine if I lived in London but if you add the six hours (plus fuel) it takes me to get to Dunkirk and the ferry fare and all the travelling in Britain, it becomes a non-starter and I have had to limit myself to one or two trips a year by train.

I would absolutely love to write a book based in the village where I live in France, possibly a detective novel. Maybe I will bring my “boys” over here on holiday and Cameron can have fun taking them around the countryside and meeting the local characters … including that funny Scotswoman who rides a motorbike and writes books!!!! Whooo – now I am meeting myself coming back!

You’re bilingual – have you written, or would you consider writing, a book in French?
No! Never! While I can speak French fluently and translate from French to English with no problem, I cannot write in the convoluted past-historic, subjunctives and other grammatical forms that are needed to write in French. All my friends keep saying they wish I would but, to be honest, they would buy the books only because they know the author. Whether they would read them or not.... is another matter.

Which published book(s) do you really wish you’d written?
Any of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books featuring the Witches. I do humour in real life but I just do not seem to be able to do it in prose. Most people who know me say I have a “wicked sense of humour” but that only slightly comes out in Shaman's Drum through little asides that Riga the Black Shaman makes.

I'd really love to have written anything as side-splittingly funny as Witches Abroad and yes, I am Nanny Ogg even though Sir Terry doesn't know me – I have been asked if I were the prototype for her; Unfortunately not!

What are you working on at the moment?
Too much! Like a total twerp I went and wrote Shaman's Drum and then realised that it was Book Two and Book One is now WIP. Everyone wants to know what happened, how the major religions got banned, why Riga and Iamo were in prison etc, so I am working on that very hard.

Cameron is on Book Three of his series in the Military Police which is going to be much more light hearted; The last one was very serious and quite gruesome in places so this time we are going to let the boys have some fun as well as investigating a crime.

There are two more works on the back-burner (including the one set in my village where I might just get to murder my husband fffnnarrrr!!!) The other is an adventure novel featuring a trans-sexual Female to Male which is not a sexual orientation that features very highly. One publisher has expressed an interest but my problem is TIME!!!!

Wow, that’s a lot of work! I won’t keep you much longer. Where can we find you and your books? 
Goodreads: Shaman's Drum, Cancel Christmas, Yours to Command
Website: Ailsa Abraham
Amazon Author's Page

Thanks again, Ailsa, it's been great talking to you!

About Ailsa Abraham
Celt by birth, now living in Eastern France. Has had more jobs than she can remember but retired due to ill health so can now concentrate on writing full time.Having followed a pagan path all her life, Ailsa writes novels that feature this with huge helpings of adventure and romance. What she does NOT write is the usual "dungeons and dragons" or "willowy teenage witches" stories.In her village she is a shaman and healer but finds time to knit, cook and collect an unfeasibly large number of homeless teddy bears. Her pets have included a bat, ferrets, and a raven as well as the more usual domestic ones. Her only ambition is to continue writing and perhaps return to the UK to live one day.

Thursday 7 March 2013

I'm being interviewed

Today I'm over at Elizabeth Seckman's blog, Use Your Words... She asked me some probing questions, and I rambled for a while... That's an interview, right?

But it's tied in to my new book, which is why I've used it as an excuse to put the cover up again!

(I'm still working my way through ISWG posts, so if I haven't been round to yours yet, I'll get there after work!)

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Insecure again...

Oh crumbs... it's that time of the month again.

The time we lay bare our insecurities and fears, and hope that someone out there has felt the same and can offer words of wisdom.

Sometimes my insecurities aren't things that I can explain; sometimes they are pent up gargles of frustration where I want to throw all my notes into the air and walk away.

Don't worry, I'm not quite at that stage at the moment, but I am writing a few paragraphs and then throwing my hands in the air in despair. I'd love to ask for help, but when you don't know what the problem is it's hard for people to offer a solution. In fact, I don't even think it's a WIP problem...

[wait for it, folks, I might just be solving my own insecurity...]

...  it might be a I've-just-published-a-book-and-my-head-thinks-I'm-finished problem.

Whenever I finish a major project, my mind seems to want to take a six-month holiday to celebrate, whereas I realise that I've got two more projects lined up and ready to work on, as well as coming up with some really clever marketing!

Take yesterday as a really timely example. After going to the gym - and wobbling home again on legs that did not want to move - I had a whole four hours of writing time. The dishes seemed particularly in need, so I washed them, obviously. Then I sat down and wrote a paragraph... yes, folks, a whole paragraph. Then I looked at it and realised it was just ordinary. But then I thought it really deserved to be an amazing paragraph, so I rewrote it, made a cup of tea, checked my emails and... erm, not much else. Four hours 'writing' and only one ordinary paragraph to show for it.

So, here's a photo to make my head think I'm on holiday... (which is in no way a flimsy excuse to post yet another picture of a sunny day!) It might work, mightn't it?

Yes, that's me popping up from the bottom of the picture!
I have no idea what I was doing!

This has been an Insecure Writer's Support Group post. To find out more, sign up or view the linky list of participants, please follow this link.

Friday 1 March 2013

Back From The Future Blog Party

If you're here for the Bloghop of Joy click here.

M PaxSuze of Subliminal Coffee and Nicki Elson are teaming up for the Back from the Future Blogfest. 

You're up before dawn on a Saturday when the doorbell rings. You haven't brewed your coffee so you wonder if you imagined the sound. Plonking the half-filled carafe in the sink, you go to the front door and cautiously swing it open. No one there. As you cast your eyes to the ground, you see a parcel addressed to you ... from you.

You scoop it up and haul it inside, sensing something legitimate despite the extreme oddness of the situation. Carefully, you pry it open. Inside is a shoebox -- sent from ten years in the future -- and it's filled with items you have sent yourself.

What's in it?

  • Well, obviously my Booker prize, and the book that won it
  • Proof that the polar ice caps still exist
  • A hoverboard, obviously
  • A Tom-Daley-as-the-15th-Doctor-Who doll
  • A letter from my Martian pen-pal

Okay, after the first two I kind of got stuck... this was harder than I thought it would be. You couldn't tell though, could you? I'm off a-visiting!

Bloghop of Joy

If you're here for the Back From the Future bloghop, click here.

Click here for linky list
Kyra and Clare want us to tell them what makes us happy, those small things that happen in the course of the day and week that make us smile.
  • The smell of cut grass
  • Waving at trains (well, the drivers, and a double thrill if they blast their horn!)
  • Listening to the sound of the sea
  • Curling up with my cat
  • The sun rising before I wake up
  • The sun setting after 5pm
  • Sitting in the garden with a glass of Pimms 
  • Giraffes
  • Fresh sheets
  • Lying in bed after a really busy day and feeling all my bones settling
  • Pride and Prejudice - the book or the BBC DVD, I'm not fussy
  • Watching my kids watching comedy I used to watch and loving it - Fawlty Towers, Dad's Army, The Good Life.
  • Discovering that my list of joys is pretty much endless!

Have you signed up for this bloghop?
What makes you smile?