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GuestBooker 2.1

September 28, 2011

Going blog-quiet...for a while

I've been putting this off. Hoping I could do it all. Burning the candle at both ends and then some.

Unfortunately, my writing's been suffering. Writing? What writing? And this has become the online journal of an unproductive procrastinator, which is not what I want to be.

September 16, 2011

On following the writer's dream, with a hop, skip, jump...

Image by Etsy/RochePapierCiseaux

Who started your writing dream? Was it a book you read, a particular author, or an influential person in your life?

My MG/YA group of Campaigners are holding a blog hop for the next week on this very topic, with some fabulous prizes on offer (as befits such a fabulous group of bloggers). You have one week to comment, and every comment you make increases your chance to win a prize. The prize pool includes query critiques, manuscript critiques and several free books...

August 27, 2011

Campaign #3 - My commitment to you, fellow Campaigners

 Have I bitten off more than I can chew?

This is my third time as a participant in the Platform-Building Campaign. I've been there since the beginning. I think the essence of the idea is great, and through my past participation I've met some wonderful bloggers and have felt really touched by the posts some of those people have written, and the personal way they've responded to comments and posts.

Writing is a very lonely undertaking, and anything we can do to foster a sense of community is valuable. The way the Campaign is now organised into sub-groups with similar writing interests or geographic locations is also great. I see this as an invaluable networking opportunity, and I love meeting new like-minded types and talking writing.

August 23, 2011

Writer's Repast: Rhubarb 'n Lemon Cake + Campaign News

image from etsy/SweetiePaint
I can't stick to a recipe. I've tried. It's not just because when the urge to bake overcomes me I may find the pantry short of essentials like eggs, sugar or milk...though that's sometimes the reason! But I think I am, at heart, a tweaker.

This is a recipe for the cake I made when my mother brought me rhubarb from her garden last week. We enjoyed slices of it warmed, with whipped cream.

August 20, 2011

Haven't blogged for a month. Just joined Twitter. Am I mad???

So, I have a new baby and a groaning to-do list. I'm already strapped for time to get done the things that need doing on a daily basis. Good time to sign up to Twitter, right?

Image by Michal Marcol
Crazy or not, I've done it, and you'll see a new little follow button on my sidebar. Anyone who is really good with Twitter, feel free to head over and show me the ropes, 'cos it's a whole new medium for me. And if you're not so good with Twitter, come and say hi and commiserate.

Yeah okay, the basics aren't too hard. Type stuff and press the 'Tweet' button. But I don't get this hashtag thing. Are we meant to use existing ones (apart from those currently 'trending' is there a list somewhere??) or do we just make them up? And is making up funny hashtags to end your tweet with considered a joke in itself? A satirical take on the art of indexing?

I'm sure it will all make more sense in a week or two, but at the moment I'm #lostinthewoods, #confused, and feeling like a #luddite. Sigh.

July 20, 2011

Maternity leave for writers? Say whaaaat?!

 I had a baby recently - number two - and only a month or so later, despite the sleepless nights, I was chafing at the bit, wanting to get back to writing. I didn't actually have time to do any writing, mind you, but I was wanting to.

It got me to thinking. Most normal jobs give us new mothers maternity leave for at least a little while. I mean, normal jobs which pay money. But how much leave do we mummy writers take from writing? You know, the 'non-job' which pays squat-diddly?

Doesn't make sense, does it?

May 11, 2011

The Joy of Creation

Sometimes good things really do come in nice small packages...

Baby boy born a month early, weighing 2.83kg and 47cm long. And yes, he does have an older sister who bequeathed the wrap in this picture...but for the record, it isn't pink, it's apricot!

Very glad to be out of hospital after a stay of five weeks. But I can truly say this Mothers' Day present was worth waiting for.


April 25, 2011

Is your writing overblown and verbose...or succinct to the point of being scanty?

I'm pretty sure nobody's going to admit to being overblown OR verbose. And let's face it, word limits touted by many publishers for their new acquisitions have a great deal more to do with the commercial realities of the industry than they do with reader preferences or literary quality.

Still - there are those of us who write long, and those who write short. And those who despite the best of intentions, and a wonderful art display on their hospital wall (forgive the poor quality iPhone picture)

...don't write very much of anything at all. (Any NaNoWriMo participant worth their salt would be horrified by my less-than-stellar writing progress this month. On the other hand I've completed some beautiful Swarovski crystal, pearl, and sterling silver wire-wrapped jewelry for my friend to wear at her wedding in July. Does that count?)

April 4, 2011

How to complete the A-Z Challenge in one day from a hospital bed...

I'm not a daily blogger and probably never will be as I'm too respectful of my blog followers to torture them that way; so I'm not officially participating in the A-Z blogging Challenge...but couldn't resist my own hospital-inspired A-Z post seeing as I'm in here for another four weeks. Yes I DID get to go home but went back by ambulance 13 hours later. Long story.

If you know anyone in hospital, THIS

...will cheer them up. Trust me. (big thank you to my baby sister for this)

Anyway, without further ado...

March 29, 2011

Blogging from hospital 102 - the Ultimate IT Guide

Okay, the title of this post is a little misleading - this isn't really a guide or a how-to. Basically I'm just going to share my fabulous portable setup with you...but as to how it's all configured? Well, I'm very lucky to have IT Man to deal with all the messy details. :-)

So...basically, this is what I'm working with.

iPad (with nifty case which flips around so you can stand it up) and wireless keyboard. No, it's not one of the new-generation iPads (people keep asking me that) but it's doing a great job.

And what runs the whole shebang?

March 27, 2011

Blogging from hospital 101 - food, glorious food

When you're desperate for some quiet writing time...get yourself hospitalized.

Okay, I know it sounds extreme, but hear me out.

Firstly, let me assure you that I'm not just spouting random theory based on something I read on Wikipedia. No, I'm actually trialling this approach myself...blogging from a hospital bed. And you all know hospital beds are not easy to come by, much like those coveted places in writers' retreats...so I see the fact I've managed to score one as quite a coup.

I'll be the first to admit there are some less than desirable features associated with my chosen method of getting some peace and quiet. I mean, firstly, you have to have some kind of illness, or a moderately serious health issue at the very least. They won't take just anyone.

And then there's the IV cannula thing. Also not so nice. I'm not going to post a picture of the one sticking out of my arm. If you really want to know what one looks like, feel free to google it.

But then there are the positives.

March 21, 2011

A word on Write Hope - raising funds for the children of Japan

Mount Fuji, Japan.
We often hear about disasters on the news, and wonder if there's any practical way we can help. Sometimes, the bigger the disaster, the more powerless we feel about doing something which will actually make a difference.

Pretty much everyone will have heard by now about the critical situation Japan finds itself in; its eastern coastline ravaged by an earthquake and a huge tsunami, with entire towns washed away and thousands upon thousands dead, missing, injured or homeless. Now they're battling the additional threat of nuclear meltdown at a nuclear power station damaged by the quake.

A group of bloggers with ties to Japan have decided to take action in their own special way, and they're calling for involvement from us all, in a series of charity auctions to be held online at the website they've created: http://write-hope.blogspot.com/

All funds raised will go to their chosen charity, Save the Children, which is actively working to help Japan's youngest citizens through this terrible crisis.

So if you've been looking for a practical way to help, visit Write Hope, donate a book to their mystery box or bid in the auction.

March 20, 2011

Second Crusader Challenge post

I'm fulfilling a challenge in this post - to write a piece of flash fiction, 100 words or less, beginning with "The goldfish bowl teetered..."

Okay, this was much harder than I thought it would be and I'm very impressed by anyone who can encapsulate a complete idea with such a limited amount of words...because I really can't! Still, here is my short, short story - exactly one hundred words.

Ruin and Restoration

The goldfish bowl teetered on the edge of the mahogany table and fell.

Aurelie watched wide-eyed as it smashed on the parquetry floor.

Lord Black released her arm, and took a step backwards. His mouth crooked up in an unpleasant smile as he looked down at the mess of glass shards and squashed fish and lace doily.  "I will enjoy hearing you explain that to the Dowager Countess."

"Easily done," came a light voice from the doorway. "She was protecting her virtue from the unwanted advances of an unprincipled, lecherous toad."

Aurelie shuddered. The Viscount. Why him, of all people?

February 28, 2011

The Great Sunflower Destruction - a saga in photos

Well, all you northern hemisphere types who are buried deep in snow and dreaming of warmer climes no longer need to be jealous of the sunflower I have on my blog sidebar (shortly to be removed).

Sadly, that sunflower - and its cohorts - are no longer.

Witness the destruction wreaked by a wild flock of sulphur-crested cockatoos one overcast afternoon.

The advance guard.

February 25, 2011

Procrastinating with style - jewellery pics

I like to call it down time. Recharge time. Time to get the hands busy and allow the mind wander where it will, and rest a little.

So this is what you might find me making when I'm not writing, which seems to be fairly often lately.
Sterling silver, cultured pearls and lapis lazuli

Among those who value the meaning of crystals and gemstones, lapis lazuli is reputed to enhance intuition, awareness, and psychic ability.

February 23, 2011

Crusaders present arms! First challenge post

Being a literary construct,
I don't have any interesting quirks
or annoying habits...
and bloviate I will not,
save to reveal here what few know;
I save even the tiniest pieces
of aluminium foil
until I am near a recycling bin
which can properly house them,
thinking this will really help
protect my beloved Earth,
from its watery depths
to fuliguline shallows,
from soaring mountain tops
to the humblest blade of grass
on a single isolated plain,
and the rabbit which eats it.

I have told a single lie.
Can you guess it?
If not, then be patient,
For next post I'll confess it.

What challenge? What the $#%^?
If confused click here.

February 4, 2011

Sound trumpets, rally horses...the Second Crusade is here...

Blogging HeroesImage via Wikipedia
Yes, soon you, too, could be one
of the world's great bloggers...
Most of you will have already heard of the Crusade, but for those in the dark, click on the link above, or on the link at the bottom of this post.

This is a special kind of Crusade, a Writers' Platform-Building Crusade - one to help interested blogging writers form new connections within the blogging community.

I was involved last year and as someone new to the blogosphere, it was the perfect way to get my feet wet.

Click here for more information and to join the Crusade!

And to all those who've found their way here - hello and welcome!

January 31, 2011

If your story has legs, let it stand!

Hopefully this post will be useful to others, even though I've actually written it as advice to myself, mostly, because I've been going in circles with my latest project. Let's call it Project P. The problem? Too much thinking and not enough writing.

Don't get me wrong. Thinking is good. It's necessary. But too much of it, like anything, can be paralysing.

Project P (a novel) started with the idea for a basic scenario. And with two characters, two very different characters; I thought starting out that there'd be plenty of built in opportunity for conflict based on their differences alone. And conflict - in novel-writing - makes the world go 'round, right?

January 19, 2011

An ooops! moment

I'd been waiting a while for feedback from one of my beta readers, and was a little nervous about what he'd say as

a) I'm writing primarily for women and he's most definitely male
b) said beta reader has been writing professionally since before I was born
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