Saturday 31 March 2012

Dogs Benefit from Writing Too

When I checked  my emails this morning I found another article of mine had sold at Constant Content. I love it when I get an unexpected sale like this. It was one I had only written and submitted on Thursday so it was doubly gratifying. It had been accepted by the editors there on Friday and I didn’t have to change anything before it went into my portfolio, then it was gone again before the end of the day.

I don’t get much time for CC articles these days as I have so much other client work. It’s funny but now that I am supposed to be retired, I have more work dropping into my lap than ever before. I get a list together at the beginning of each month and work through it to meet all the deadlines.  After that I can write whatever I like, although sometimes, like last month, I choose to research and write for a specific request. That one sold very quickly as well, while the two I managed to submit at the end of January are still sitting in the CC catalogue.

Anyway, my writing income is making life more comfortable for hubby and me in our retirement. And it means it doesn’t matter if my son is out of work, because he lives with us and I can support him. He does agency work on construction sites when it’s available, and there is often a hiatus between assignments.

It also means that Jade can have some treats.  She is going to the dog groomer on Tuesday, although I’m not sure if she will class that as a treat. I have been trying to snip out the knots in her coat when I find them, and to keep the fur around her feet cut short.  Now she will be clipped all over so no more knots for a while. I’ll take some pictures to share when it’s done.

We didn’t have the hassle of so much white fur with our lastdog who can be seen here. He was a gorgeous smooth haired staffie who broke our hearts fifteen or so years ago when he contracted cancer and eventually had to be euthanized at the age of eight. Let’s hope we have many more years than that with Jade.

Monday 26 March 2012

In My Side Bar - Madeira

Its time I wrote a post in here. And now I've got some time, but I don't know what to write about. So I've decided to look at my side bar and wait for the muse.

The first thing I see is me doing some musing in a garden in Funchal, Madeira. This garden is at the Quinta das Cruzes. Click the link to read an earlier blog post about it. I have also written a post about The English Church in Funchal. In my Wordless Wednesday posts I've included some photos I took on the island. This one is of one of the drainage channels covered in netting that flowers ramble over. Here is a pleasant nearby coastal walk. And this one is something that really surprised us as we wandered through the beautiful gardens of the Palace of Monte - a gallery of African art.

We loved our holiday in Madeira in 2007, which was before the dreadful floods that devastated Funchal and surrounding areas. I'd love top go back and see how they have coped with all that. Anyway my first excursion into my sidebar has sent me so far down memory lane that I've no time for more.

Perhaps I'll return to it again.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Monday 19 March 2012

Mornings at Constant Content

What follows is the start of one of the first articles I submitted to Constant Content. Many things have changed since then. For one thing, they no longer accept anything with a first person point of view. The article would have to be written very differently now to be accepted for my portfolio there. This one is still for sale though. 

Some personal things have changed too. We've moved house and my hubby is retired so no longer gets up at the crack of dawn. We also have a new member of the family - our lovely dog, Jade. Taking her out is my first priority in the morning now. My work schedules are different too, as I do quite a bit of commissioned writing and don't have to do so much much ideas generation. But it still takes me a while to get started on everything.


I love the feel of the early mornings.  It’s great to wake up to the freshness of a new day with all those writing hours to fill.  What puts me off getting out of bed is the thought of all the things I have to do first, before I can sit down at the computer and let my fingers twinkle as fast as they can to transfer my thoughts to the screen.  I’m actually quite fond of deadlines if they mean I can allow myself to move directly from bed to keyboard without even getting dressed.

Unfortunately I’m not one of those people who can do this on a normal day.  My mind is distracted by guilt at the thought of all the waiting chores.  And what if someone came to the door after 9 am and found me unwashed and still in my dressing gown?  I can’t write coherently with all these things swishing around in my head.

Well, it’s no good putting it off any longer; off with the duvet and my feet hit the floor.  And it’s no good bathing or showering before exercising, so I’ll get that out of the way first.  Oh heck, I can’t just walk past that laundry basket without taking it to the washing machine, scrubbing the shirt collars and searching for other stains that need treating before I can switch it on.

I’ll get to the bathroom eventually.  And once I’m clean, if it’s a hair wash day, I’ll have to spend at least 10 minutes with the dryer before I can get the bed made and consider what to wear today.  That reminds me, I was going to write a piece for that hair magazine and must find time for that last bit of research.  Then I might as well do my face if I have time before hubby comes in for breakfast.  He’s been out at work since 5 am so the least I can do is cook him something he fancies. 

I’ll sit and eat with him for 20 minutes and perhaps the mail will arrive.  Rejection notices will have me crawling to the fridge to find some little extra delicacy to cheer me up.  I wonder if anyone is looking for an article about comfort eating.  I could certainly write about that.  But if something’s been accepted, it’s not too early for a bucks fizz.  Maybe my “Freelance Market News” has arrived early and I’ll just have a quick browse.  There are one or two markets listed I haven’t thought about before.  I wonder if I could adapt that unsold article about…

Then, before I can head upstairs to the office, there’s the washing to hang up and the kitchen to clear up.  Gosh, I almost forgot – what can we have for supper tonight?  Do I need to get something out of the freezer?  Oops, there’s the phone – it’s my sister who’s recently retired and thinks it would be nice to have a chat.  I tell her a funny story about my little granddaughter and we’re both in hysterics.  That’s a definite for one of those real life letter pages.  I must choose one of those photos for it that I took last week.

Finally I sit down in front of my VDU. 


You can read the rest of this article and buy it at

Saturday 10 March 2012

Harrowing Work and a Wonderful Read

This week, I've been researching and writing about different types of brain injuries and how much money is needed to cope with the aftermath and make life as good as possible. Harrowing stuff. It's amazing and dreadful what can happen to people and I'm certainly counting my blessings.

In my spare time I've read a rather harrowing book, which I found just wonderful and thoroughly recommend. I picked up the The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes at the library, really because I was attracted by the title and the cover picture of a horse and rider silhouette paddling at the seaside. I'm a sucker  for anything with horses in it.

But this book is about so much more than a girl and her horse. I don't want to spoil it for any other reader by giving the story away, so I'll just copy the blurb on the back.

In a hidden corner of London Henri Lapachelle is teaching his granddaughter and her horse to defy gravity, just as he had done in France, fifty years previously. But when disaster strikes, 14 year old Sarah is left to fend for herself. 

Forced to share a house with her charismatic ex-husband, her professional judgement called into question, lawyer Natasha Macauley's life seems to have gone awry. When her path crosses Sarah's, she sees a chance to put things right.

But she doesn't know that Sarah is keeping a secret... one that will change all their lives for ever.

This book kept me reading long into the night. It was one of those un-put-downable gripping reads, where you just have to keep going to find put what happens next.

I'll certainly be looking out for more by Jojo Moyes.

Monday 5 March 2012

Interludes in Busy Days

I'm really busy these days and it's hard to find time to write blog posts and drop on EC cards. As well as being in great demand for paid writing assignments, and having a home to run and two men to cook for, I have to take Jade on her longer walk after lunch.

Usually hubby comes too, but he wasn't here today so I drove to our local beach and let her run around on the sand while I walked. The sun was shining most of the time and the tide was out a lot further than it is in this picture. We had the place to ourselves until we reached the steps that go up to the common, then a couple of little dark terriers came down and scurried over to say hello. We walked a bit further before turning back and this time a large labrador and an alsation came down the steps. The lab kept a distance but the alsation was very interested in Jade and came back to us several times when we let them go ahead. He was so large and playful, Jade was pretty nervous and stayed close to me, but he was a sweetie and paid attention when I petted him and spoke to him.

Soon it was time to go home and get on with some work. At the moment I am researching and writing about head injuries and how people can get compensation for them. It's all new to me so it's quite hard work. It's nice to have a little interlude out with Jade during the day.

Writing Tip

Add this to your site