Monday, 31 December 2012

Wednesday Blog Hop catchup 1 - Unknown World

This is the first catchup for the December Blog Hops that I missed. I hope you all enjoyed yesterdays, and that this one lives up to the same standard.

Here is the picture for this one:

Ajar by Gavin Turk

and the five words:

parking meter, stomach, magazine, chart, olive

Unknown World

Stumbling in the darkness, I had no idea where I'd come out. I sat on the floor in the wet grass while I tried to recover my senses, as well as my stomach. Walking through the door in the park had been more of a rush than I'd anticipated. I hadn't expected it, all the times people had tried it during the day and they'd just walked through an empty door.
I tried to get a sense of my surroundings but it was dark here too. The feel of the place was different though. Colder. My eyes adjusted and I scouted around for some cover. Keeping low I scurried behind a bush with a good view of the door. It took longer than I expected but I watched as the door opened slowly, a uniformed officer peering in. He glanced around, trying to get a good look but decided his courage wasn't up to much and retreated. I'd got away with it this time.
I didn't want to take any chances though so I decided to stay here until morning, I didn't want to go back through to an ambush.
I woke stiffly with the morning sun blazing down, warming my skin. A stark contrast to the weather yesterday, but then I had to remember where I was. Suddenly frightened, I looked to see if the door was still there, and sighed with relief as it's frame glinted in the sunlight. I stood up slowly, glad for my olive green jacket, helping me blend into the background for a while. I stepped out of my hiding place and surveyed the area. In so many ways it was like being at home, but there were subtle differences. The street wasn't paved here, just a dirt track, and there wern't any parking meters cluttering up the view. On the corner where Ray ran his magazine stand there was nothing. In fact, there were no people to be seen at all.
It was still early so I walked a little way up the road to see what else might be different. It felt at once familiar, but at the same time I had the sense of walking into unchartered territory. The place seemed completely alien to me.
Suddenly, the silence was broken by an almighty roar coming from behind the buildings. I stopped in my tracks, glancing back to see how far I'd wandered from the door. As I contemplated the distance a huge scaly creature lumbered into view, sniffing the air. I was already running as it swung it's head around to face me.
I reached the door with distance to spare but my heart sank as I opened it. Home was not on the other side as I'd hoped. There was nothing but a brick wall now …

Word count: 473


Sunday, 30 December 2012

Wednesday Blog Hop - Drifting

My, oh my! What a December it has been! I was delighted at the beginning of the month to see the news that I'd won the Wednesday Blog Hop ad contest, and I want to say a huge thank you to Nicole Pyles for designing an excellent button for my blog. The hosts for this hop have displayed my button throughout this month, and I'm afraid to say that the postings have been pretty thin on the ground since.
Never mind that though, it's a busy month all round so a few things are bound to slip by. (Look at me, I'm growing!)

So, I was very grateful for the extension last week of the current Wednesday Blog Hop offering, which means apart from this one I'm only behind by two. Whoopee!

I have knocked something together for the previous two and I will share those with you over the next couple of days. Then I'll be all caught up ready for the first one of the new year, bring it on!

So, you should all be familiar with the concept of this blog hop by now, but for those of you that have just joined the rules are thus:

1. Look at the photo prompt on offer for inspiration, there's a different one each week. Incorporate this into the story somehow.

2. There are five words that also have to appear in the story.

3. The word limit is 500 words.

4. Link up your post with one of the wonderful hosts and then check out the others that have also contributed.

The picture for this week is:

And the five words: 

Lobster, remote control, luggage, ears, exam

My offering:


Where does the time go? It only seemed a few months ago that we were bringing Mary home in her car seat, she barely filled it she was so tiny. Wrapped up in her little snow suit, just a pink face peeping out. And now she was standing in front of me, as tall as me, tapping her foot impatiently while I rooted through all of my old things. This was the most time I'd spent with her for quite a while I realised, and it was only because she wanted some of my old records to play round her friends house. She seemed amazed that I'd kept the records but not any kind of player.
I gazed at her now as she concentrated on her mobile phone. I didn't see her as the teenager before me though. My memory conjured up a different image, of a boisterous four year old waiting impatiently for me to get my boots on. Waving her little yellow umbrella in the air, laughing as the rain dripped in her ears. She couldn't wait to go off running and splashing through the puddles, holding my hand as we enjoyed even the bleakest of weather.
As she got older our time was spent in different ways. Wrestling over the remote control on a Friday evening, helping prepare for her music exams, listening to her cry over boys she thought she loved. Those days were drifting further behind us, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
In a few days she would be leaving us to go to university, her mountain of luggage already parked at the top of the stairs. So little time and she wanted to spend it with her friends. I felt a pang of jealousy at this decision, but she was leaving them behind as much as she was leaving us. I had to remember that it was no slight against her family, but it was hard to see her going off again, knowing her time was limited.
Going back into the house I sat down with the old family photo albums, smiling at the memories. So many of when she was a baby, growing fewer as she got older. The last few years have been holiday pictures, when we still used to go as a family. My favourite was of Mary looking red as a lobster. No amount of warning would make her put on cream, too much street cred for that.
Looking out the window I decided that whatever time she chose to spend with us this weekend I was going to make the most of it. Besides, there was always the holidays …

Word count: 453


Saturday, 22 December 2012

1302 The Alpha cover reveal!

I discovered the blog of Christine Rains a few months ago and have enjoyed her first novel Fearless, which I will be posting a short review of soon.

I have been following her, along with many others, as she builds up to the release of her new novella series called The 13th Floor.

The first in this series is 1301 The Marquis, and I am itching to get started on reading it.

Yesterday saw the cover reveal for the second installment of this series, 1302 The Alpha, and I'm excited to be a part of this unveiling.

1302 The Alpha is going to be launched on 13th January 2013 and there will be a blog tour 13th-17th January, of which I am going to be a part. Check this space on the launch day for an interview with the author herself. 1302 – The Alpha
Author: Christine Rains
Genre: paranormal romance
Release date: January 13th, 2013

Having been cooped up in her apartment for months, Stefanie Porter didn't think one run in the woods would matter. The wolf within her needed to stretch her legs, but obviously she didn't have very good instincts. Her former pack found her, and they almost catch her too, but a mysterious lone wolf jumps in to help Stefanie escape.

The pack is driven by their cruel Alpha, Wyatt. He refuses to give Stefanie her freedom even after she lost the challenge to lead them and left their territory. She can hide in her apartment, or the lone wolf can teach her some of his unusual urban survival tricks. James Roberts might be a bit geeky, but he's smart and looks hot when the argyle sweater comes off. He has a ridiculous ambition to become a superhero, and it might be admirable if Wyatt couldn't rip him limb from limb.

With the pack scouring the city for her, Stefanie must convince James to teach her, or fight not only for her life, but his as well.

Author Bio:
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not writing or reading, she having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She also has three novellas and eighteen short stories published.


Thursday, 20 December 2012

Missing in action ...


My oh my, the last couple of weeks have been so busy I've completely fallen off all of my radars.

My four year old is just finishing her first term at school and her social calendar has been at least twice as full as my own. What with school trips, nativities, Christmas lunches, walks to the post office to post  letters to Santa, Books at Bedtime back at the school, Christmas shopping, baking, planning ... Phew! There's just not enough time to do everything!

On top of all that I've been trying to finish off my next assignment for my Open University course which is almost a week overdue now. I'll get that pesky blighter finished tonight I hope.

Everything seems to be coming in a huge mad rush now, and it's all careering towards the one day next week. I just have to get through today and tomorrow at work then that'll be one less obstacle to deal with. The plan is to have all of my to do's checked off by the end of Sunday then I can chill out on Christmas Eve and properly enjoy the holidays.

Then life can get back to normal again I hope!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Cheers, Cavanaugh Blogfest!

I know I'm a day late with this, but we bloggers have the chance to show our thanks and appreciation for the wonderful Alex J Cavanaugh for all he has done for the online writing community.
I only came across his blog and the Insecure Writers Support Group four months ago, but I wanted to show my thanks for what is a lovely and friendly place for all the writers traveling on the same journey together. I for one get great encouragement from the posts each and every month.

So for this hop there are four questions to answer:

1. In +/- 20 words, what does Alex look like?
2. In +/- 20 words, who could play Alex in a documentary? (Living or dead.)
3. In +/- 20 words, who does Alex remind you of?
4. In +/- 100 words, (excluding the title) write flash fiction using all these prompts:

                                                 • Cavanaugh
                                                 • Ninja
                                                 • IWSG
                                                 • Cosbolt
                                                 • Guitar For

Bonus Points:  In+/- 40 words, leave a comment for Mrs. Cavanaugh - thanking her for sharing

Rules:        • Join the Linky List
                   • Be a follower.
                   • Post your 200 (total) word contribution Monday, Dec. 10.
                   • Have Fun!

Two winners – chosen by Alex – will each win one prize:
FIRST PLACE: A signed copy of CassaStar.
GRAND PRIZE: A picture of Alex and a download of him playing the guitar. (*One caveat: Alex asks the picture or download NOT be shared online.)

I'm going to have a go at these questions but I think my limited exposure may restrict me a little in my answers. Here goes:

1. In my mind, Alex is dark haired, very laid back and more than at home in some jeans and a hoodie, probably with a university logo on it.

2. When I try and picture him, all I see is Josh Radnor from How I Met Your Mother.

3. This is a tricky one. I guess my dad, no matter how much he's got going on, he still has time to help others out.

4.  Short and sweet:

Alex Cavanaugh, super NinjaSelflessly coming to the rescue of writers everywhere, asking nothing in return other than the success of said writers. Armed with Cosbalt and Guitar, the leader of the IWSG battles fearlessly for the virtue of the written word. Giving a voice and platform for undiscovered talents and tales, he truly is a hero for all of us.

Thanks Alex for starting this for all of us! 

Saturday, 8 December 2012

2013, the challenges ahead

Reading though my blog feed this week there have been a lot of people talking about the reading challenges they plan to take on next year. The end of this year looms ever closer (as does the end of the world apparently, but I'll believe that when I see it) and I'm starting to think about what I'd like to achieve when I start planning in my fresh new diary. (Note to self: buy a fresh new diary.)

One that I've had my eye on has come up a few times now, and that is the 2013 Paranormal Reading Challenge.

It is hosted by Megan Talks Book and Auntie Spinelli Reads and you can go to either of these to sign up for yourself.

The goal is to read at least one book a month featuring each of the following paranormal creatures:

            January ~ Vampires
            February ~ Angels/Nephilim
            March ~ Fey
            April ~ Demons
            May ~ Aliens
            June ~ Zombies
            July ~ Witches and Wizards
            August ~ Mermaids
            September ~ Dragons
            October ~ Ghosts
            November ~ Werewolves/Shape-shifters
            December ~ Other

The rules for this challenge are:

1. This challenge runs from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013.
2. You must have a blog to able to participate, since reviews must be added to the host linky.
3. When you sign up with the linky, please put the link to your post about joining the Paranormal Reading Challenge.
4. You're welcome to list your books beforehand or just add as you go.
5. Sign-ups are open until December 1, 2013
6. At the beginning of each month, the hosts will post a kick-start post, each month featuring a different category of paranormal creature. This post will also include a linky to include your reviews from that month.
7. Each review you link will qualify you for an entry into the monthly giveaway and if your review includes the feature paranormal creature of that month, you get a bonus entry.
8. Each book can only count for one category, even if it contains more than one paranormal creature. For example, Twilight contains both vampires and werewolves, but you can't use it for both the vampires and werewolves/shifters categories.
9. Everyone who completes the challenge will be entered into a grand prize giveaway at the end of the year.
10. If you read multiple books from one category, feel free to add them to the linkies. Don't stop at just one!
11. Books can count for other challenges.

I'm currently reading the Twilight saga, which I hope to finish over Christmas and I have the Anne Rice novels lined up next so that will fit in nicely with January's vampire category.
Having looked through the rest of the list there aren't many books that spring to mind, but I'm looking forward to discovering them as the year progresses.
I'm going to put a new page for this challenge at the top of my blog so it's easier for you (and me!) to keep track of my reads.

What reading/writing challenges are you taking on next year?


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Everything at a stand still

This week I haven't been able to get much done in the evenings. After picking up the little one from school I'm home by 3.30pm, which theoretically gives me more time than I used to have to get all the house chores done so I can sit down and write or study.

However, this is one of those weeks. Everything for me just stops, I can't concentrate on much of anything. We're now over half way through this one and I've just come to realise the effect.
It only happens for four weeks in every year, but I just get completely sucked in and the other things just have to suffer. I have even been known to take two weeks holiday to accommodate it.

I realise now that I've made quite a build up to this thing and I'm afraid you're all going to be a bit disappointed when you find out what it is.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit to it now.

Oh well, I might as well.

The thing that has me so engrossed is the snooker.

Ok, you can stop laughing now.

If I'd said this at the beginning of the post would you have continued reading this far?

I realise it's not a sport that everyone gets, but it produces as much edge-of-the-seat stuff as any other sport does. Right now I can't believe that Mark Selby is 3-0 down. The jester from Leicester. He's the world number 2!

Anyway, I'm hoping that after the weekend I'll be able to catch up with all the things I'm now behind with. It's a good job the Christmas holidays are coming up really.

Don't worry, normal posts will resume shortly ...


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Who's keeping score? - An IWSG post

It's that time again folks, so who's ready for the next meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group?

For those of you unfamiliar with IWSG, it's a great way for writers to get any writing worries off their chest and realise they aren't the only ones with these woes. Whether you want to offer words of encouragement or just use it to vent some frustrations, it's great for meeting new people and discovering new blogs. Once again, huge thanks go to Alex J Cavanaugh. To check out more contributions to IWSG or to join yourself just click here and all will become clear.

A couple of weeks ago I decided that I was going to try and post something every day on my blog. I've done alright with it, posting most days, but I have missed one or two.
Yesterday I didn't post anything, I'd had quite a tough day at work and I just needed a rest once I got home. My brain was too full to concentrate on anything properly.
I started off feeling guilty about this, I hadn't lived up to my own statement of posting every day. But then I stopped and thought about it, and actually I think I said I would try and post something every day. I've posted most days so a miss or two isn't that bad, surely.
I also felt bad that I was letting you guys down, my lovely followers. Here I was, saying that I was going to do something and I wasn't quite delivering. But it's absurd to think that each one of you is keeping a daily count of when I make my posts. At least, I hope it is anyway :-) It's not like anyone is keeping a score, and I'm sure I won't have to have a signed letter justifying my absence.

The truth is, I'm keeping up when I can and recently I've been able to make the time to do it. We all deserve a little rest from things now and again, and the key is to make sure I go back to it eventually. The only person keeping track is myself, and if I'm happy with how the blog's going then I've no real reason to complain.

How many of you are your own worst enemy with this sort of thing?


Monday, 3 December 2012

'And you are ..?' Blog Hop

This is a fun little blog hop that I came across today, several of the blogs I follow are participating so I thought I'd put in my tuppence's worth.

The hop is hosted by Emily King and Tammy Theriault and if you fancy it you can have a go at answering the questions too.  Don't forget to head on over to these guys and link up, you can have a look at what other people have done and get some new viewers too.

So, here goes:

1. How many speeding tickets have you got?
Surprisingly, none. If you ask any of my friends they'll probably all describe me as some kind of speed demon behind the wheel, a reputation which I think is wholly undeserved. I'm really a bit of an old granny with my driving nowadays.

2. Can you pitch a tent?
Of course! My Duke of Edinburgh instructor would be most dismayed if I couldn't manage a tent after four years of practicing. Although now I think about it that was over ten years ago, tent technology can't have changed that much. Can it?

3. What was your worst vacation ever?
It would have to be when my parents took my brother and me for a weekend to a Pontins holiday camp.  It was really cold, the room was damp and the entertainment was dire. The only real memory I have is all of us in sleeping bags watching Robocop on a tiny television.

4. What was the last thing you bought over $100?
Our new tumble dryer. I get very depressed in the winter because I cannot get any washing done, we have piles of clothes all over the place. When I came home one afternoon it was all set up ready to go, I had much fun doing the washing that weekend! 

5. We're handing you the keys to what?
Hmm, this is a tricky one. There are so many things I'd like the keys to. At this moment in time I'd have to say a Toyota GT86. The guy across the road has been bringing one home lately and it just sounds soooooo nice. 

6. What was the last meal you cooked that made even you sick?
I can't remember the meal in detail, all I remember was that it had butter beans in it. It was while I was pregnant and I had funny aversions to tastes and textures. My daughter is now four years old and the thought of butter beans still makes me sick.

7. Fill in the blank: Oh my gosh! Becky, look at her butt! It is so big, it looks like ...
Two badly parked Volkswagens. (One of my favourite quotes from Red Dwarf, I'm laughing a lot as I type this)


8. What was your first car?
A 1983 Ford Fiesta. This was the transition year between the MkI and MkII models. I was so proud to have one of the first MkII's!

9. Your best friend falls and gets hurt. Do you ask if they're ok or laugh first?
I would try my best to help them up while we both tried to stop ourselves laughing in hysterics.

10. What's the worst song ever?
Definitely the Mr Blobby song!


Saturday, 1 December 2012

Blogging on the go

I've finally discovered how to blog using my mobile, after having it for a couple of months now.
I was very excited to get my new phone, I knew it had a lot of features that I wanted to keep up with blogging and various social networking stuff.
It's been great for keeping up with the blogs I'm following, but now I can finally blog on the go.

I was glancing through my box sets the other day and there's a few things that I haven't watched for so long. I've almost finished the first series of Friends, which I can't quite believe is now 18 years old; I can still remember when it first started on Channel 4.
Even though I pretty much know every episode line for line, it still makes me laugh out loud.
I'm looking forward to rewatching the rest of them.

Enjoy your Saturday night everybodies!

Friday, 30 November 2012

Reading Challenge #5 - Secret Smile by Nicci French

This book is part of my current reading challenge, which is to get through a rather large to read list. To check out what else I've still got to read go to my Reading Challenge tab at the top of the page.

WARNING:  SPOILER ALERT!  If you haven't read this book yet and don't want to ruin the experience then please do not read any further. I will not be offended, I'd much rather you enjoy the it properly.
If you have read it, then do read on ...

You have an affair. You finish it. You think it's over. You're dead wrong . . .

Miranda Cotton thinks she's put boyfriend Brendan out of her life for good. But two weeks later, he's intimately involved with her sister.

Soon what began as an embarrassment becomes threatening - then even more terrifying than a girl's worst nightmare.

Because this time Brendan will stop at nothing to be part of Miranda's life - even if it means taking it from her . . .


I really enjoyed this book, I was drawn in to the world of the main character, Miranda, from the beginning.
The character was well portrayed and it was easy to sympathise with her situation throughout the book. I felt all the emotions with her as she battled against the evil man who had seemingly set out to take her life apart one piece at a time.
As for the antagonist, Brendan, he was another well presented character, although for different reasons. From the very first time we meet him, something comes across in his character that is unsettling. In my mind he is very slimy, worming his way into every facet of Miranda's life in the subtlest way he can. There were many times when I just wanted to climb into the scene with them and slap his smarmy face.
In the closing pages I was worried at first that he may have one the day as Miranda was attacked and the police officer told her about Brendan's alibi.
When her final coup was revealed, and she'd finally gained the upperhand I felt a sense of relief and satisfaction that she'd come out on top.
I was impressed with the writing in Secret Smile, and the way it drew these emotions out of me, I am definitely interested in reading more by this author and perhaps studying further how she manages to achieve this through her words. It was a quick and easy read, but this was more down to the story and flow of the plot rather than being a simple read.

Rating: 4/5


Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Fifty Shades effect - again

I apologise in advance but I can feel a bit of a rant coming on.

As I was driving into work this morning I heard a little snippet on the radio about the Fifty Shades author EL James. She has made a comment that when she was writing the trilogy she actually had no idea what she was doing, wasn't really working to any kind of plan and was basically just winging it.
I think if anyone could have seen me in my car they may have seen steam coming out of my ears. To be that successful at your first go and earn all those royalties? Well, lucky for her I guess.

I think the main reason it annoyed me was that it makes a bit of a mockery of the rest of us, slaving away every day to make our writing the best it can be. We plan and plot and edit and think constantly about every step of the story as we go along.
I'm not saying that she didn't do any of these things, but it certainly comes across like that. Why do we even bother to go to all this effort if it's as easy as knocking something up off the bat and seeing what happens?

Honestly, I bother because I want to be proud of what I have written and feel I have earned whatever praise I may get for it. I don't just want to churn out any old story just to make a few pence.

Ok, rant over for now. I can carry on with my day now in peace xxx


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Wednesday Blog Hop - Hard to Let Go

It's Wednesday once again, and after a brief rest the blog hop is back. I hope that everyone across the Atlantic had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. I'd say you should feel rested but after hearing some stories about peoples holiday weekends I'm sure you're probably having the rest now!

So for those unfamiliar with this blog hop the rules are as follows:
  • There is one photo and five words, all of which need to be included in your story
  • There is a maximum limit of 500 words
  • You have until the following Wednesday to complete your post
  • When you have finished and posted, link up with one of the blog hosts and let them know you're joining in
  • The main rule is to not take it too seriously, but as the hosts admit it's unlikely that any writers will not take it seriously. As long as you don't fret/panic/pass out/hyperventilate/lose sleep/run in fear over it, then they are happy
The hosts for this blog hop are Nicole Pyles at The World of My Imagination and Carrie Sorenson at Chasing Revery

This weeks photo is:


The words are:                iron, moon, university, bee, bench

And here is my contribution:

Hard to Let Go
I let Jackson get a little way ahead of me with Chester, I didn't want him to see the tears in my eyes. This was one of our favourite places to walk, at this time of year the leaves crunched noisily beneath our boots. I'd let him get as far as the bench up ahead and then I'd have to sit down with him and explain. I wasn't sure if I could keep myself together for long enough but I was going to have to try. I had to stay strong for him, it would only make things harder otherwise.
I'd been looking after Jackson for just over a year, the longest resident that I'd had since entering into the fostering programme. They'd warned me that sometimes it could be hard to let go once a more permanent home had been found for them. The last two children I'd looked after were only babies, and I was surprised how easy it was to hand them over, knowing they were going to a loving family. But with Jackson he was quite a bit older, we could actually talk and get to know each other. He'd been very quiet when he first came to me and had terrible trouble sleeping. Quite often I'd check on him in the evening when he'd gone to bed, and he'd be sat at the window inside the curtains staring up at the moon. I tried not to think too much about what had happened to the children before they came to me, I just had to concentrate on helping them to feel safe.
He settled in nicely after a few weeks, and we established a nice routine that worked for both of us. He'd hit it straight off with Chester, the pair were inseparable now. Something else that would only make this process harder.
I hadn't even thought about how I'd approach the subject with him. I needed to be careful, I didn't want to undo all the good progress we'd made. He'd told me about his dreams, of growing up in a loving home, eventually going off to university so he could get a good job and look after his own family properly. He was already sure he didn't want his own children to grow up like him. Listening to him melted my heart, and in this business that wasn't always a good thing. You were expected to lock your emotions away in an iron vault.
As we reached the bench I called for him to sit down with me, my mind trying to calm before I started. In the trees behind me I noticed a lone bee rustling in the leaves and I thought to myself what a simple life they must lead.

Word count: 459

Why don't you have a go?

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Teaser Tuesday - 27th Nov

Teaser Tuesday is a new meme I have discovered, brought to you by MizB at Should Be Reading.

It is all about books on this one and anyone can join in.

All you have to do is:

1.  Grab your current read
2.  Open to a random page
3.  Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
     Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!
5.  Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Then you can hop on over to MizB's blog and add a link to yours in her comments, and check out some other new blogs while you're there!

My teaser for today is:

'And it was almost warm, his usually icy skin.  But I barely noticed, for I was touching his face, something I'd dreamed of constantly since the first day I'd seen him.'

                                                   - p242, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer


Monday, 26 November 2012

Congratulations NaNoers!

I've just been catching up with my blogs after spending the whole weekend without viewing a single one. I won't be doing that again I can tell you, it's taken me more than a little time going through them all. 

I'm really pleased to see that so many of you that started the NaNoWriMo challenge this year have already finished their 50k word target, and I want to say a huge congratulations to you all! I admire your hard work and dedication in achieving such a target, especially as many of you have a lot more than just writing going on in your lives.

Once again I contemplated doing NaNo this year, and after a tentative start couldn't keep going after the first week.  Too many other things conspired against me and I fell too far behind to catch up. I realise this isn't much of an excuse and I really have to make the time for it, but I've been going through a period of contemplation and growth lately with my writing and I'm sure I'll be much more mentally prepared for it next year.  And I can always have a go at CampNaNoWriMo too if I fancy it sooner.

For those of you still going with your NaNo experience, keep at it, the end is in sight!

I'll have to put my own challenge attempt on next years to-do list.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Breaking Dawn 2 - Not too bad at all ...

Photo courtesy of

So, the new Twilight movie? I'd have to say that it is actually pretty good.

The feelings of discomfort that I was worried about were certainly there, but for reasons I wasn't anticipating.  There were a lot of teenagers there, as well as younger children, which I was surprised at as the film is rated a 12A. There was a particular sex scene that, although not very graphic for an adult, I felt was quite inappropriate for some of the youngsters in there.  Then later on there was quite a lot of head removal and body tearing. I'm not sure if this is an age thing, maybe I'm starting to get a little too old, but I certainly don't remember seeing such things when I was so young.
Apart from that though I really enjoyed the film. I went through a range of emotions, including annoyance at Kristen Stewart.  I don't rate her very highly as an actress but the focus in this film was less on her so she couldn't be too whiney about everything. I loved the whole coming together of the vampire community, as well as the werewolves, to go up against the might of the strongest vampires, all to protect one little girl.
I'm not sure about the whole Edward/Jacob debate, but I would definitely be on Team Carlisle.  He's such a cool vampire, taking things in his stride, and he's not too bad on the eye either :-)
It's been a long while since I've read the books for this series, and seeing the film has now compelled me to dig them out and read them again.  In fact, that may be my next stop after signing off.

After making a nice cup of tea that is ...

Friday, 23 November 2012

Team Jake or Edward ...

A couple of friends are dragging me off to see the new Twilight film tomorrow, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it.

I've been to see all the ones before, and I've read all of the books but I still can't make my mind up whether I like them or not.

When I read the books it didn't take very long, I was drawn in and felt compelled to get to the end.  The ending was a fairly satisfying one, no loose ends or the feeling of 'oh, is that it?' But I still can't say for certain if they were good or not.  I think that throughout I had a niggling in the back of my mind that it's target market is more teenagers, and I'm not sure if I'm getting to be a bit too old to be enjoying these books. I suppose at the end of the day it doesn't really matter, you like what you like.  Overall I did enjoy them, but it's safe to say I'm not an ecstatic fanatic.

The same thinking goes for the films. They are not as good as the books (I find films rarely are) but they were enjoyable nonetheless. I do get a little bit conscious however when there are lots of teenage girls going in to the cinema, proudly declaring which camp they are in, Jake or Edward. When asked the same question I feel I can't even consider it without feeling a little squirm inside. Even though the
 actors may be a bit older, the characters are essentially teens themselves (well, I know they're vampires and so older than everyone, but the facade they're carrying off is that of teens).  To me that's just a little too weird.

I'm sure that I'm probably over thinking all of this and should just go along to the film and see what it's like.  After that I may revisit the books to see if I can fathom what makes them so compelling.

I'll let you know how I get on tomorrow ...

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Thanks for the inspiration

There is a blog that I follow called Scotty Watty Doodle All the Day and he posts something to his blog every single day without fail.  The only time that I have managed to do blogging like this was during the A-Z Challenge back in April, and I think I just about managed to post something every day.

Since then I've been trying to go for a couple of times a week, but I have a tendency to forget that I'm supposed to do it and two weeks can go by without anything from me. 
The last post I read from this guy, Hygge Man, struck a chord within me somewhere and I'm wondering to myself if I could manage to keep going with a post every day.  He admits that if he doesn't post something every day then he finds it harder to stick to a schedule to do it each week. 

A little voice within me was trying to whisper something to me 'I wonder if I could do a post every day.  maybe I'll put it in my diary to try it in the new year'.
But then a louder voice shouted back 'The new year!? Why wait? Get started on it today!'

I sat and listened to this second voice and though how right it was.  Why on earth should I wait a few weeks to get started on something like this? I'll probably forget anyway, and then feel disappointed with myself for not following through on yet another idea. 

So this is my first post in what I hope will remain a daily habit.  I want to say a massive thanks to Hygge Man, you're inspiration today has pushed me on to the next step in this writing journey.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Expanding onto pastures new ...

I hadn’t realised it until now but I’ve had this blog going for just over a year.  I’ve been quite absorbed in other things lately and the first anniversary on 3rd October completely passed me by.
So here I am saying a belated Happy 1st Birthday to my lovely blog!  

I had one before this but I didn’t manage to keep it going for one reason or another.  It was along the same kind of lines as this one when it started out, but after a whole year of posting this one has evolved into something a bit different.

It was originally intended as a means of chronicling my first tentative steps into the world of writing, but I have found writing to be a tricky business to get into.  I don’t just mean that from a publishing point of view either.  I'm not far enough along yet to know anything about that side of it!   

The very act of coming up with stories and then sitting down to turn them into something readable is a lot harder than I thought it would be.  Needless to say I haven’t given up, but I don’t want to say too much about that now; I’m saving it for the next IWSG post.

I’m pleased that my blog covers all three aspects of my title: book reviews (although these have been lacking lately) for Reading, blog hops and short pieces for Writing, and I think my film challenge is qualifying in the Everything in Between section.

Doing the A-Z challenge back in April certainly helped to boost my blogging confidence and I’m looking forward to it again next year.  I’ll probably work more to a theme next time around.
The focus of my blog seems to have moved a little way away from the art of writing over the last few months, and this has prompted me to think about starting up a second blog to focus solely on writing.  I fully intend to keep this blog going, it’s a lot of fun to do and I still have my challenges to get through!

I think for the new one though, I want to try and keep a journal of my writing practices and have a regular spot to post short stories and at this stage I’m thinking of themes for each month to write stories about.  It’s still in the very early planning stages but I will keep you updated as to its progress.  Ideally I’d like a launch date of 1st January, and now that I’ve made this semi-announcement about it I should have more impetus to get it moving.  Watch this space for more news!