Welcome to my blog - a collection of thoughts and musings on the world of writing, books and all those wordy type things.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Competition Entries update

As you may remember, I had hoped to enter both the Good Housekeeping novel competition, and the Novelicious chick lit competition. Well, it's been pretty mad here for the last month especially and something had to give. It turns out to be the Novelicious entry.

I decided it would be better to concentrate on getting one, hopefully decent, entry out there rather than two rather half baked ones. In the circumstances, I sealed up my manuscript, synopsis and entry form and lovely hubby took it to the post office for me in lieu of me being unable to get there - or anywhere very far at the moment, thanks to some more ankle surgery last week. I must say a word of thanks at this point to Carol who reminded me on her blog that the entry for this one did actually have to go in the post, and couldn't be emailed. Had I not read that and had my memory jogged, I probably would have fiddled and tweaked until the last minute before trying to email it and thereby missing the deadline. So, thank you, Carol!

So, I have wished it well and can only keep my fingers crossed now. I don't really expect to place anywhere, although of course I'd absolutely love to. I mean, that's the whole point, isn't it? But my goal was to actually enter the competition. Which is what I have achieved. So, I'm pretty please with that.

It's a shame I couldn't get to do the Novelicious one but there are times you just can't get to do everything, and we have to accept that occasionally. So, I just have to let that one go...unless, of course, I get incredibly inspired and knock out another 2000 words tomorrow...you never know ;)

Has anyone else entered this, or another competition recently? And what do you do if there are things you want to write but just cannot feasibly get to?

Friday, 23 March 2012


Apparently we are due temperatures of over 20 degrees this weekend, which, when you consider it's March, is a little strange. The last few days have been very Spring-y indeed, in fact, almost Summery. I'm currently sitting here with the patio door wide open, the awning is wound out, and the birdies are chirping happily, occasionally interrupted by a far less tuneful group of seagulls. The latter, for the most part though, must be soaking up the sunshine on the beach a few miles down the road as their squawks are far less often today than on stormier days.

And what am I doing? Well, I'm having a bit of a catch up on my reading, thanks to being a little incapacitated following some ankle surgery. My Google Reader was spilling over and I thought it would be a good opportunity to actually get to read some of the blogs I enjoy (and if the broadband behaved, it would be so much quicker!). I'm also reading some of my Writing mags that have built up, and the latest novel I have on the go, PD James; 'Death Comes To Pemberley'.

I've got some writing to do, but with remnants of general anaesthetuc plus the painkillers, my head's not the unfuzziest of places at the moment. Hubby read the synopsis for the GH entry whilst I was under the knife and has a couple of queries, so hopefully we'll get to look at those tonight and I can rectify what I need to and get that sent off this weekend. Assuming the painkillers haven't kicked in and I nod off again....

Monday, 12 March 2012

What is it about libraries that we love?

I've been thinking about libraries a fair bit lately and they are also in the news, as they struggle against cutbacks. This in itself seems a strange thing. Why are such places being targeted when the level of literacy in the UK is falling? Politicians talk about slashing illiteracy rates and yet with the other hand take away the very places that could help them, but that rant aside, I've also been thinking about what it is that appeals to us about libraries. What makes them special?

For me, I think part of it is happy memories. The town where I grew up had a small library housed in a temporary building, but they'd squeezed in plenty of books and it was always busy. Of course, back then, we were still in the era of the 'Sssssh! libraries. But I have always loved peace and quiet so it never worried me. Perhaps, psychologically, that was another part of the appeal!

My mum would take us to the library regularly when we could stock up on books. I would choose four and happily hand over my library card, feeling very important and grown up. 'Stamp Stamp' would go the librarian, adding the return date to the flap of paper stuck to the front page, and then off I would go, eager to find a comfy spot at home to sit down with my 'new' books! I was a voracious reader, and it's probably just as well that the lending limit at the time was only four, or I'd have been after getting a lot more! When I signed up to to my nearest City library a while ago, I was told the lending limit was 40 books. 40! I did enquire as to whether there was anywhere to back the car up to!

I loved going to the library after school. I couldn't wait to get through the two sets of double doors and enter that hushed little building, and veer off right into the children's section where I would look through the books and, more often than not, find one of the little red moulded seats that had a round hand hold in the back of it, and read another whilst I was waiting.

There was a particular book of fairy tales that I often used to get out. It was this big, thick orange covered book and I seem to remember there being one story about some mice and one of them comes to a sticky end. It makes me think that they were more along the lines of the Grimm brothers' tales but I can't remember if they were all like that. I don't think so, but I do remember that book came home with us a lot. Looking back now, I expect my Mum's face fell when she saw that we'd chosen the same book again. She didn't drive and we lived at the top of a hill! But she never said a word. The pros of us reading outweighed her discomfort at lugging books up the hill, at least in her eyes. Thanks, Mum x

I still love going to the library. The days of shooshing have gone, but a lot of libraries still have a quiet reverence about them. Of course, they've also had to diversify, offering computer equipment for use, dvds and audio books for hire and holding sessions for mother and toddler groups, and so on. Our local City library also screens Indie films. Books have become just one of the many things offered by these wonderful places.

I've been on a bit of a library book kick recently and I still get excited now when I know I'm going to library, 30 odd years later! If I see or hear of a book I think I'd like to read I go and find it on Amazon and put it in my wish list. That way I have a constant reference. Once I've read them (from the library), I just delete it off the wish list. Of course, when books are popular, you may have to reserve them but 50p to reserve a new release hardback is a lot better than the 10 pounds upwards you'd be paying to buy it. The excitement of a 'library notification' email dropping into my inbox is quite tangible! It seems that, when it comes to books, I am quite easily pleased.

Of course there are still books I'd like to buy. I'm a total book addict but finances and space often mean you have to compromise. It's also a great way to try new genres, and authors without worrying as to whether you are wasting your money. And, of course, the most important issue is that if we don't use these wonderful resources, we are going to lose them. That cannot happen. It mustn't happen. Libraries make people happy. They educate people, and provide a sanctuary from the noise of the outside world, mobile phones and all the other extraneous noise that it's sometimes good to shut out for a time. Don't let them disappear.

So, am I the only one who gets excited at library notification emails? Do you have happy memories of your early visits (or later ones!)?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Read a (free!) Ebook week

As some of you may know, Smashwords are doing a 'Read an Ebook' week promotion this week, and I just wanted to let you know that I'm taking part!

My novel, 'No Place Like Home' is, for this week only, absolutely FREE!

When Ellie Laing goes out to Kansas to be bridesmaid to her best friend, Sandy, she’s absolutely sworn off men. Having suffered abuse at the hands of one boyfriend, and absolute boredom with another, she’s had it with men. She’s just going to enjoy three weeks of relaxation with her friend, Kate, house sitting at Sandy’s brother’s ranch doing nothing but swimming, reading and enjoying the open air.

But what Sandy’s forgotten to tell her is that her brother’s plans have changed and Ben’s now going to be in town for the entire time. With suggestions of finding a hotel dismissed, Ellie agrees to stay at the ranch.

As soon as Ben sees Ellie again, he knows the feelings he’d shut away after their past encounters were going to be harder to contain than he thought. But with one broken marriage behind him, he’s not about to let anyone else in and run the risk of another broken heart.

But as their feelings begin to overwhelm them, will either of them be prepared to let down their guards or will their past prevent them from ever finding real love?

Click here and download it now for free!

The promotion ends at midnight on the 10th March, but bear in mind that is Pacific Standard Time, so you'll need to convert that to whichever time zone you're in.

I'd love as many as possible for you to download it and, hopefully, leave me some lovely comments on the review pages, and/or here!

Thanks very much for your support, and happy reading!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Writing For Magazines by Need2Know books

I recently read 'Writing for Magazines', written by Diana Cambridge and published by Need2Know books, and thought I'd do a mini-review.

Last year I read, and reviewed, one of Diana's previous books on a similar subject, 'How to write for magazines in one weekend'. You can read that review here. It was a great book, and had a look of good ideas. The best thing about this author is that she really makes you believe that you can do it. There's plenty of encouragement, aswell as an understanding of the disappointments inevitably experienced in writing, such as rejection.

The Need2Know book is pretty much a pared down, slightly updated version of the 'weekend' book. There's a section on e-zines which have increased as a market since the publication of the original book, but many of the hints and tips given prior are reiterated in the book for this series.

I think it's a great book to get you started on the subject, perhaps if it's something you are just considering doing at the moment, it will really give you a good basic knowledge. There's also suggested reference books mentioned throughout. I was about to go back through in order to list Diana's suggestions, but no need! There's a handy list of reference material in the back, including the aforementioned books, aswell as writing retreats, holidays, magazines and courses.

The very talented Diana Cambridge has her own website here. Whenever I have contacted her, she has always been very helpful, and encouraging. She also runs courses from her home in Bath, details of which are on the website.

So, all in all, this is yet another good title to add to both Diana Cambridge's repertoire, and the series itself.

If magazine writing isn't your thing, there are several other writing subjects covered by Need2Know books which can be found on their website here.

Have you read this book, or any of the others in the series? If so, what did you think?