Tuesday 31 January 2012

A Writer's Life

It was bitterly cold this morning. When I went out with Jade first thing, half a dozen of my neighbours were scraping ice off their cars. One woman said she was wondering if it would snow, but I think it’s too cold for that. We might see some if the temperature lifts a little. Here’s what our back yard looked like when it snowed last year.

It seemed just as cold when we took Jade for a longer walk along the side of Holes Bay after lunch. It’s part of our routine to take her out then before we run errands, and then I can get back to work. We separated with me walking Jade and hubby going to the shops to keep it really short today,  as I was pushed for time and it was so cold. I looked like an eskimo with my coat’s fur edged hood up over a woolly cap with a small brim that stops the hood falling down into my eyes.

Jade doesn’t seem to mind the cold at all. I’ve been thinking of getting her clipped because her coat has got so ragged and lots of mud comes indoors on her fur. But I won’t do it in this weather. I think I need to buy a coat for her anyway.

I spent this morning finding out everything I could about Floriade 2012 before I could start writing. I found  huge amount of information on the official website which I transferred in my own words to four mind maps as there was far too much for just one. I find this is the best way to take notes and then I cross them off as I fit them into the jigsaw of a unique article. When I finished writing this afternoon, I had 200 words too many so I had to do some significant pruning. But I got it submitted at roughly the right length before it was time to cook our supper. I hope the editors at Constant Content accept it straight away as they did the last one. Lately they’ve been getting very pernickety and some of my pieces have come back for changes to be made. I suppose we authors shouldn’t complain as they should ultimately make our work more saleable.

Friday 27 January 2012

The Dutch Bulbfields

This weekend I'll be writing about flowers in the Netherlands, having claimed two articles from a Constant Content writer pool. This is a fairly new feature at CC, for which they have set some categories for groups (or pools) of authors to be involved in. Authors have to meet certain criteria to be eligible to apply for them, and submit some content to be vetted before they are accepted. I applied for a few categories and was accepted for all of them. It means that, along with the other writers in each of my pools, I am fed the article requests in those categories. As soon as an author claims an article, the request is taken down, and the author must submit the article to meet the deadline. We can claim up to three articles at a time. Good idea, don't you think?

You have to be quick to claim them though. I was lucky that some interesting ones were available when I was close to finishing my commissioned work for this month. Although I'll have to work the weekend, I'm hoping to be able to take a couple of days off writing before I start my February jobs next week.

This article research reminds me of the very first holiday I took with the man who was eventually to become my second husband. We took a coach tour of the bulbfields and some of the other sights of the country in April. There weren't many bulbfields left in evidence on the roadside, but we chose to abandon the coach in Amsterdam one day, as I wanted to visit the Rijksmuseum. After that we had to take a train to Leiden and a bus back to Noordvijk and out hotel. From the train we had an endless vista of unharvested bulbfields, so we did better than our companions on the coach.

Pic is by Deepak from Wikimedia Commons

Monday 23 January 2012

Another Book Launch

Today I'm taking part in a web splash for another author. I'm actually writing this ahead of time and unfortunately won't be able to join in the celebrations because I'll be on my way north for a funeral that takes place fairly early tomorrow morning.

Today is the date of the official publication by Grimoire Books of New Beginnings by Rebecca Emin.

Join her and her friends over on Rebecca’s blog Ramblings of a Rusty Writer to find all of the details of how she is planning to celebrate today, or you can read some reviews of the book itself on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

You may like to visit some of the other blogs helping Rebecca to celebrate today too.

About New Beginnings

Sam Hendry is not looking forward to starting at her new school. Things go from bad to worse as the day of truth arrives and all of her fears come true... and then some.

When Sam meets a different group of people who immediately accept her as a friend, she begins to feel more positive.

With her new friends and interests, will Sam finally feel able to face the bully who taunts her, and to summon up the courage to perform on stage?

About Rebecca

Rebecca Emin lives in Oxfordshire, with her husband and three small children. New Beginnings is her debut novel, but she has finished writing her second novel When Dreams Come True, which is also for older children.

Rebecca also enjoys writing flash fiction and short stories and has had several flash fiction stories included in fundraising anthologies. A Knowing Look and Other Stories is a collection of her short stories which was published in November 2011.

She is also an author for Ether Books who publish short stories and essays to mobile devices via the Ether app.

Friday 20 January 2012

Trevor Belshaw's Books

I've just bought my copy of Tracy's Hotmail.  I've read snippets of it before and know it's good for a laugh. These grey days we need something to cheer us up. 

I've been meaning to buy it for ages as it's by Trevor Belshaw, one of the authors I met at Writelink, and a brilliant writer to boot. Today is a good day top buy it though, because it was recently snapped up by the Crooked Cat publishing company, and the book launch is today. You can read Trevor's hilarious take on that in his blog, and judge his writing ability from that. I bet you'll want to read his book.

If you're quick, you could win a copy from the publishers, who are holding a competition. Get an entry in before midnight UK time and you could be one of three lucky winners. Go to the Crooked Cat site for the details.

Incidentally, Trevor also writes children's books under the nom de plume, Trevor Forest. I recently got three signed copies for my grandaughter and I'm going to visit her next week, so she'll get them then. I read them all to make sure they'd be right for her, and I'm sure she's going to love them. No doubt you'll read more about them here when I get her reactions.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

George Clooney for President?

Some Wednesday mornings I take time off for a cheap visit to the local senior screen at Tower Park's cinema. It only costs £3 and we oldies get a hot drink and a biscuit before the film. I usually meet a friend or two there and we go somewhere for lunch before heading home, so it almost makes a complete day off for me.

The film today was The Ides of March, in which George Clooney is campaigning to become the American Democrat's Presidential candidate. he also co-wrote and directed this great film about the backsniping and winners and losers of such a campaign, with small but tragic personal stories fitting into an enormous jigsaw with an overall theme of disillusionment.

The gorgeous Clooney appears whiter than white, while his flunkies (mostly less than gorgeous, although his deputy campaign manager, Stephen Meyers, is played by a younger and very personable Ryan Gosling) sort out the dirty tricks that will get him into pole position without harming his image. I won't tell you all the story as it would spoil it for anyone who wants to see it, but for anyone wondering, the female interest is played by Evan Rachel Wood.

Go and see it if you have the opportunity. It's very well done.

Monday 16 January 2012

MLK Day Today

Today is Martin Luther King Day and a holiday in the US. If I wasn’t a blogger, I probably wouldn’t have known about this, since I am not a resident of that country.  But I do know about MLK and the importance of his life works, the results of which have permeated around the world, as well as making a difference to the lives of people in America.  Although I am British and white, I have the most delightful mixed-race granddaughter who is the light of my life, so it seems appropriate to mark the day here.

The pic shows MLK on the left, with civil rights leaders Whitney Young and James Farmer at a meeting with President Lyndon Johnson on 18 January 1964, four years and three months before MLK was brutally assassinated.

Sunday 15 January 2012

Haiku Diary for Today

Wind pushes us on
along the noisy shoreline,
as waves crash and splash.

We find some shelter
up the steps to Ham Common
and walk back that way.

Friday 13 January 2012

My Life by Jade - 3

 I love playing tag with birds. It's great fun, but I can't understand why they never let me catch them. They always fly off just before I get to them.

I don't think mummy told you about the adventure I had before Christmas. We were walking by Poole harbour in Hamworthy Park, right past the spot where you can see Eryn and her Uncle Sye in the picture. They weren't there on that day though, but I saw some birds sitting at the endof the little stone pier. So I ran out there to play tag with them. I was concentrating so hard, honestly, I didn't hear mummy calling me to come back.

When I got near, those silly birds flew off, and I saw I was getting close to the end, but I was going so fast I wasn't sure I could stop. I sat down and tried to dig my paws in but I just kept skidding on, and I was right - I couldn't stop. I skidded right over the end and into the cold water.  I've never swum before, but I learnt how to do it that day. The trouble was, I couldn't get out as the pier was too high and the waves kept pushing me about. I did catch a glimpse of mummy looking very frightened, then I realised that daddy had run after me and he got right down on the ground so his arm would reach my collar and he pulled me up onto the pier.

I was so happy I ran right back to mummy before I shook most of that water out of my hair. I think daddy was bit cross as he told mummy to put me on the lead, but she said I had to keep running around to get warm again  until we got back to the car.

Anyway it was quite an adventure, don't you agree? But I don't think I'll run out on that pier again as long as I remember it.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Tuesday 10 January 2012

A Versatile Blogger

I have to thank Marc Latham for nominating this blog for a Versatile Blog award.  Marc’s blog is about a style or kind of poetry that he invented – Folding Mirror Poetry.  I first met Marc at Writelink. In the past he has been kind enough to publish a couple of my own attempts at the folding mirror poetry structure, and he includes a link to this blog in his side bar.   I love visiting his blog to read his poems, and the explanations of how they came about. I’m delighted that he received The Versatile Blog award for his own site, and really honoured that he selected mine as another recipient. Thanks a million, Marc. 

According to the requirements of the award I should now:

• Nominate 15 other bloggers
• Inform my nominees
• Share 7 random facts about myself
• Thank those who nominated me
• Add a picture of the award to this post.

Now I know that some bloggers find responding to awards a chore that they just can’t find time for. So I don’t want anyone to feel they have to accept and comply.  Here are the 15 other bloggers I’ve chosen just to let them know that I really appreciate and recommend their blogs.

http://apostcardaday.blogspot.com/ - I learn a lot from this blog. The author gives fascinating facts about the views on the postcards. Sometimes I recognise them and am able to supplement her comments, and they can bring back lovely memories from down the years.

http://www.buckrob.com/ - life as seen by an old timer like me, but living very differently in another country. I particularly enjoy reading about his generous sponsorship of children in South America, and the holidays he takes to visit them.

http://myqualityday.blogspot.com/ - another writer’s blog that I really enjoy. It’s so versatile, you never know what you’re likely to be reading about. Great photos too. She has other blogs as well, and I can thoroughly recommend her e-book, News from Dead Mule Swamp, as a darn good read.

http://annasadornments.blogspot.com/ - a very versatile blogger, writer and maker of delightful jewellery.

http://www.rvcruisinglifestyle.blogspot.com/ - the versatility here is visiting so many different places.  It’s the story of a wonderful life on the road, catching up with family and friends on the way, and getting to see so many wonderful places to share on the blog.

http://eastcoastlife.blogspot.com/ - a blog about many aspects of Singapore, where I lived for a couple of years in the dim and distant past.  It’s great to get glimpses of familiar sights and to see how much it has changed, with yet another view of lif3e in a distant part of the world.

http://photographybykml.blogspot.com/ - another must visit blog for me, with a new photo and explanation each time it is updated.

http://livingthegourmet.blogspot.com/ - mmm, those gorgeous food pics accompanying easy to follow recipes: a versatile cook indeed.

http://fullet-secretforest.blogspot.com/ - this one is based in Spain, Catalan in fact. But I can’t fault the bloggers English, and I’m green with envy over his holiday break in Paris.

http://john-sealander.blogspot.com/ - another of my favourites who updates daily, so I often have to read several posts to catch up. And it’s always a pleasure. John has a knack for making the mundane aspects of  life seem riveting.

http://jean-livingsimple.blogspot.com/ - another Jean, who writes about the birds that visit her garden, and captures the most fantastic photos of them.

http://poeticshutterbug.blogspot.com/ - another great photographer, and traveller based in San Fransisco.

http://writingnag.blogspot.com/ - this is where I go sometimes when I’m looking for inspiration. I always find something here that will set my mind off and wake up the muse.

http://bobscotney.blogspot.com/ - Bob’s Home for Writing is as versatile as a writer’s blog should be. Lots of research goes into it, and there is always something fascinating to read.

Here are the seven facts I choose to reveal about myself.

1                     I started blogging here nearly four years ago.

2                     I also have another blog over at Writelink.

3                     I think more people read my blogs than anything else I write.

4                     I have quite a large portfolio of articles at Constant Content.

5                     I was born in Torquay, the Queen of the English Riviera.

6                     When I was 34, I went back to education for five years and got my degree as a mature student when my own children were 16 and 10.

7                     As a teenager, my passions were horses and writing. I still love horses although I don’t ride these days, and the writing goes on for ever.

Friday 6 January 2012

Problems Solved

It’s been a strange few weeks. I’ve had so many problems with my equipment here that in the end I’ve had to fork out for something new. So I’m now the proud owner of a Compaq laptop and my PC has gone to the computer heaven in the sky. I can just imagine a heap of them idling away in peaceful rest together with a warm sun shining and a cool breeze fanning them to the most comfortable temperature.
I had some help with the transfer and think I’ve kept everything I need from the hard drive. Hope so anyway, but my techie genius said he will keep the hard drive for a couple of months just in case, before it gets bashed to a pulp and sent to the scrap metal merchant. (Not such a nice mind picture on that one).

There is still plenty to do, like downloading Firefox, Picasa and sorting out my online backup again. Also I can’t print anything until I either find my drivers CD or download some drivers to get the printer working again. I lost so much time over all this that I’m not sure where to start catching up. The housekeeping has gone to pot, but I’m a hopping, happy bunny with my new system up and running.

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