Friday, 19 December 2008

Party time

I am going to the work's Christmas party tonight and looking forward to having a good time. It's about time I went and enjoyed myself as it's been a bad year for me and my family health wise. Also here at work I have had a confrontation with a colleague (who wasn't in today) and her attitude to certain areas of work have really stressed me out or wound me up in the recent past. It is people like her that makes me feel that I so want to give up work and write full-time, but I know I can't afford to do that just yet. I shall have to grin and bear it for now and see how it goes. My supervisor has emailed her a long reply to an email she was sent, which I have read, and I am not looking forward to seeing and hearing her reaction when she reads it on Monday. Never mind. I shall try and forget about it all at the party and over the weekend.

Well, must go and get ready for the party now.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

First draft finished

I finished writing the first draft of Allie yesterday and it was a good feeling. All I have to do now is to type up the rest of it (a chapter and a bit), print that off then start editing from the beginning. I know I have a lot to cut out because so far I have typed it up as 58,000 words and I want it to be only 45,000. I more or less know what I want or need to cut so that's a start. I might start doing that next week and have a break the rest of this week from writing.

I have decided that come the new year I want to write more stories and letters than I did this year. I have ideas for one of the magazines I subscribe to for stories, one of which is already written and probably will send that off in the new year. I also want to work on a story I had previously entered for a competition which didn't get anywhere and enter that for another competition, oh, that is as well as working on my novella Checkmate. Seems I am going to be busy writing over the holiday, but I don't mind because that is what I want to do.

Well, must get back to work now. See you soon.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

What a day!

It's been an odd day. It started off badly when the train I got on this morning to work developed a fault at the next station and the driver terminated the train and chucked us all off. I ended up 15 minutes late in and had to phone work to cover for me until I got in. Then at lunch time the fire alarm went off just as I'd got into writing Allie, so that was disturbed. Thankfully I managed to write some more when we finally were allowed back in. Then whilst my colleague was at lunch, my mum phoned me to say that the placement office dealing with my dad's care home plan had phoned to say that the hospital wants all patients in Dad's ward out for Christmas so we had to find another care home. She gave Mum the name of one right near us which Mum went to see and quite liked. The home that we liked hasn't got back to us yet. The officer said that she has now been told the rooms won't be ready until after Christmas and maybe not until Jan or Feb. I tell you, what are they playing at? I just hope that this home will take Dad and he gets in there before Christmas. Then we can declutter the house ready for Christmas as all the rest of Dad's belongings we have in our house, including his armchair which is taking up space in our living room. Watch this space.

Let's hope tomorrow is a good day with better news.

Monday, 1 December 2008

On the last chapter

I started the last chapter of Allie today and have to confess that I've forgotten some of the names of her team in the book. I will have to browse through all the chapters I've printed so far to find the names. I can remember her first 2 helpers but not the other 2. Ho hum. I will need these to continue the chapter tomorrow because I am writing Allie presenting her team with their awards. Then I have to think of names for the main award winners and their prizes. What fun writing for children is. You can think of names and incidences and more or less get away with it.

My weekend went quickly. Saturday I had my hair cut, then straight after I got home Mum said "What do you think about getting Dad a digitial tv for Xmas between us? Could we got to Comet today?" I said, "OK," got changed and tidied up then off we went in my car to Comet. I was pleasantly surprised at how cheap they were and we picked one out for Dad which will be delivered this Wednesday and they will take the old one away. In the afternoon I typed up some of Allie. In the evening we went for a meal. The food was quite nice but the atmosphere of the place and staff seemed disorganised and rushed after a while, especially as they took Mum's glass then dessert dish away before I'd finished mine, which we both thought was rathre rude. Unlike the staff to do that.
Sunday was Sainsbury's in the morning and in the afternoon I finally got to working on my novella Checkmate again. I had to read the last chapter I'd worked on to remember what I'd written and what was going on. I know now. All in all a very busy weekend for me.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Good news

I had good news at the hospital yesterday, which is just what I needed on my birthday. I first saw a registrar who felt my feet for a pulse beat with his hands, then with a mini ultrasound scanner, and both times he couldn't find a beat. So he said he was going to chat with the consultant and left my mum and I in the room waiting for 20 minutes, before the consultant came along. He also felt my feet and couldn't find a beat either and asked me to describe the symptoms of the foot pain I had been having. I did. He then told me that it was probably muscular which would've gone in time, nothing to do with my heart and that most women hadn't got a beat in their feet. He also said that if it had been vascular then the compression socks I'd been wearing would've made it worse not better, then he left. I had to knock on another door to find out if that was it and he said yes, was writing to my gp. So, I have nothing to worry about. No idea what caused the foot pain or why I haven't got a pulse beat in my feet, but at least I don't have to wear the compression socks anymore, well for the time being anyway. Will leave them off for a while and see if I get pains again. Although I was very happy with the result we weren't happy with the way we were treated. Thankfully I don't have to go back there again.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

It's my birthday

It's my birthday today, as a talking doll I once had used to say to me. I am at work this morning but have a hospital appointment this afternoon. I know. I wonderful birthday present for me. I had yesterday off as my treat. Didn't do much in the morning, just fiddled around at home, did a bit of emailing and a bit of typing. Then in the afternoon my mum and I went to a Spa hotel and had a facial and manicure each, which was so relaxing and calming. I now have bright pink nails, which make me feel as though I should type daintily.

Well, will get back to work now seeing as I'm leaving straight after lunch.

Friday, 21 November 2008

New author talks

After a very nice, and fulfilling, dinner of ribeye steak, saute potatoes (of which there were so many I couldn't eat them all) and peas, last night I went to the British SCBWI talk given by 3 new authors, who have just had their first children's books published this year. They were Gemma Malley, Chris Bradford and BR Collins. Gemma has published The Declaration and The Resistance, both of which I bought, Chris has written the start of Young Samurai series again I bought that and BR (Bridget) wrote The Traitor Game. They all talked about their writing journeys and what they learnt and what they could have done differently. Chris had with him his samurai sword which he takes to his talks. I didn't see it properly but it looked impressive and I can imagine the reaction of what school boys would be on seeing that. I always find it interesting to read or hear other authors talk about their writing life and really enjoyed it last night. I even got talking to Gemma Malley about me being published next year and she wrote a message to me in both of the books, which I will read over the weekend.

My next writing do is the SE/London RNA Xmas buffet on 6th December which I look forward to each year, catching up with everyone and also eating good food.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Writing Update November

I have finally finished proofreading the first proofs of Rosie, and they will be posted back to Pegasus tomorrow. I wanted to photocopy them, which I did at work last Friday but the copier kept jamming and messed the pages up. Somehow it missed 4 pages so I had to do those today. Meanwhile, I've nearly finished Chapter 9 of Allie then one more chapter to write before I've finished the first draft. One thing that I've found is good from proofreading Rosie is that I can now see where I have gone wrong both text wise and grammar wise, esp grammar wise, so that I can put it right in Allie and hopefully not have so many grammar mistakes to correct next time. I have just written that Allie's enemy, Julia, has finally given in and seeing the error of her ways, and she will apologise to Allie by the end of the book.

I had a very busy weekend. Saturday I went Xmas shopping in Bromley and bought quite a few presents for my mum and brother and his partner. I also bought 2 zipped cardigans for myself, one pink and one cream, which should go with most colours (the cream one that is). Then in the afternoon my mum and I did the weekly food shopping and by that time it was mid-afternoon. Sunday morning we went to Dad's flat and did a final clearance and clean so that it's nice and clean for someone else to move into. Dad is still in hospital at the moment waiting for someone to assess for a care home, which hopefully will be this week as he's been told by someone that he will be discharged this Thursday. Fingers crossed. Mum doesn't want it going into next week because next Monday is my day off when we are going to the spa hotel in the afternoon, which we both deserve after the last couple of months, and Tuesday is my birthday.

Well, back to work now. Keep you posted.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

I hate coughs and colds

I have got this horrible cold and cough going around at the moment. It started last week with a cold and on Friday I also got a bad nose bleed, which spoilt my day. I had paid to go to the talk by Neil Gaiman at the LSE but decided to cancel at the last minute, which was a shame because it sounded very good. It's now turned into a cough, which I do hope doesn't last for weeks on end like my usual ones do. It's already getting on my nerves here at work as I can't concentrate properly.

Meantime, I am busy working on Allie still. Just started the penultimate chapter today. Might do so proof reading of Rosie tonight as there isn't anything on tv apart from Home and Away. That's if I can concentrate on it properly with this cough.

Must get back to some work.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


I am busy proofreading my first proofs of Rosie and am enjoying it. I have already come across a couple words that they have changed and I disagree with. The first one was 'lie' and they put 'lay' but they are right, the second is mum after the word my. They have capitalised it and I am right on that one, another is aunt, which again they have capitalised and I am sure I am right again. I have asked another author about this so wait to see her reply. There aren't many major changes at all so far, only minor ones like the above and changing wording and adding commas etc, which is good as the structure of the story stays the same. While I am proofreading it I am seeing what I have written and it is making me realise what I have done wrong with Allie. I can now see that I have made Allie more complex and deeper and need to make it simpler. So when I revise it I will take out a lot of the deeper stuff like what happens in the lessons and a bit about Georgina, and concentrate on the magic and entertaining side of it. I won't be doing any proofreading tonight, the next session is Friday afternoon when I am on leave. I am going to Neil Gaiman's talk at the LSE that evening and really looking forward to it.

Well, this is all for now. Back to work.

Friday, 24 October 2008

My First Proofs

I got home yesterday from work to find a big white jiffy bag on my chair. I looked at the back to see whom it was from and it was from Pegasus (my publisher) and knew immediately what it was. I opened it up with anticipation and inside first proofs. I was so excited because to me this means that I am an author and a proper writer. According to my contract I have 21 days to proof read and change anything in the book and return it to them. This I will double check with my editor this morning. I will get cracking on it tomorrow afternoon. I haven't read it properly but what I have seen it seems not a lot of dramatic changes, more grammar and wording which seems OK to me. Will read it thoroughly tomorrow.

Have a busy weekend ahead of me. Tomorrow morning Mum and I are doing our weekly shop at Sainsbury's instead of Sunday because on Sunday Mum and I are going to Dad's flat to clear out a lot of his odds and ends. It has been decided that he won't be returning to his flat from hospital and will be going into a care home, so he will be getting more care than he has been getting which is a good thing. He wants to go to the care home he usually goes away on holiday to in Kent we shall have to wait and see. Then after Sainsbury's hopefully we will have time to go and visit Dad in hospital. Mum said that if he does get to go to Kent then I won't see him again this year as it's so far away.

Well, must get back to work now.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Allie progress

I am very busy with Allie right now after having a week off not doing anything with it. I have just started chapter 9, half way through her second week of magical experiences, and have made things rather difficult for her, as well as helpful. I have made her enemy try to get helpers to beat Allie but she isn't having any luck due to some of the teachers casting their own spells on her which affects the other girls, so Allie appears to win. And I have made more teachers have powers to help Allie and her battle. It now appears that there could be a new enemy on the arizon, who will turn out to be the father of the current enemy, and whom will appear in the third and final book of this set. He will be more powerful than his daughter, the current enemy, so therefore I will make the teachers more powerful to help the next candidate for the next book. I am really enjoying writing these books and am getting a buzz out of it, making me love writing even more than I usually do. I even came up with a brill idea on how to promote the books more if and when I get to do book signing for Rosie next year. I had the idea of creating a competition based on questions about the book with prizes of things mentioned in the book plus bits of my own promo products ie bookmarks, if I get those to use.

Well, this is my news for now. Must get back to proper work here.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A horrible week

You know the Queen had an annus horriblis one year, well last week was my weekus horriblis. I had a rotten cold at the start of the week so was off work, then on Tuesday my dad who is in hospital after having falls, choked on his dinner there and had to be put under to have a tube put in his throat because he couldn't breathe on his own. Then his heart stopped and they had to resuscitate him and he caught pneumonia. After all that the drs didn't expect him to live but....he did. Just as mum and my brother were leaving he opened an eye and just under a week later he has beaten everything. The only problem now is his eating. He has to have supervision whilst eating his meals and I don't think his carers at his flats can provide that. They prepare and cook his meals then leave him to it after that. So we don't know if he can go back there or not now, or if he has to go into a home where they can provide that care. He was all set to go home yesterday but then Mum told the nurses that his place had told her they can't offer any more help than they have been doing, so it went up in the air. It is all down to the speech therapist who has said that Dad needs supervision. We shall see.

Meantime, I didn't do much writing last week and have only just started writing this week.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

I hate blood tests!

Yesterday I had to have 2 medical tests, including a blood test. I hate needles but now hate them even more (if that's possible). The nurse first tried my left arm and the blood flowed slowly out then dried up, so she had to try my left hand, and as there isn't as much flesh on the hand it was very painful, and the blood dried up again. I now have bruises on my arm and hand and thankfully they don't ache as much as they did yesterday. The other test was a Doppler ultrasound to find out the pulse rate in my feet as I'd been getting sharp pains in my left foot when I walked fast. They had trouble getting a good pulse in both of my feet and it turns out that I have poor circulation and I have to wear compression stockings during the day now for up to 6 months, when I have to have the scan done again. As if I don't have enough medical problems to cope with, I get one more. Oh well. Just have to keep writing to take my mind off these problems.

Friday, 26 September 2008

A Depressing Thought

This year I have enrolled and typed letters for a few new students who weren't even born when I started here at work. OMG, I thought when I did these. I started way back in November 1989 and these students were born the year after that. I am starting to feel old now.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

More exciting times

I got some more forms through the post on Saturday from my publisher. I got the contract payment form, which I completed and sent off already, and an author questionnaire. The questionnaire is quite long and asks for lots of personal details as well as details about my book and ideas for promotion and a sample press release. I have been asking around to see who is willing to quote my book but have been told that this isn't that important, what is is to think of lots of ideas for promotion in the way of specialist magazines for reviews and interviews, esp local ones. I do already have ideas for magazines and papers that the publisher could approach and am still investigating some more ideas. Someone did suggest Jamie Oliver, and I might just do that later on, as I am a fan of his tv programmes and have his garden book at home. Thankfully my publisher says there is no hurry for this questionnaire so I have time to think about it, esp about the press release. Have to think of how to sell my book and myself.

Well, must go now.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Exciting Times

I got a letter from the production team on Wednesday asking me for a few things which go inside the book eg acknowledgements, dedications, blurb and my biog, plus I have to put ideas for the cover on a form, and ideas for marketing posters (already have that one in mind), oh yes, and a couple of photos of myself for the cover. I got my mum to take some of me at home last Sunday and will probably ask her to do so again tomorrow. So I will be working on the paperwork for Rosie on Sunday and typing up more of Allie tomorrow. They also wanted confirmation of author and book name which I phoned up with yesterday because they wanted them immediately. The rest of the things they want within a month but I will get them done as soon as I can because I do like to be professional and efficient with these things and create a good impression to people. I will have to leave revisions of Checkmate for another week until I get the Rosie papers finished and sent, on a CD.

I went to a British SCBWI talk last night and it was quite interesting. The talk was by 2 men who originate from the US and started up a company in 2006 who work as book packagers, consultants and agents. Basically, if I've got it right, you submit your ms to them like you would to a publisher/agent, if they like the writing they will work with you to get it right, then do all the work, with you the author, to get it packaged right, then once the book is complete, they will approach publishers like an agent does. If you're happy to have them as your agents then so be it but they don't mind you looking elsewhere. Also, they might have book ideas themselves and you can send them sample texts of your work and if they have an idea that matches your type of work then they can contact you to work on their concept, splitting royalties. They are very knowledgable about the publishing side of writing as both of them have worked in publishing and selling books over a lot of years. They seem very nice people and I have made a note of their names in case I might like to contact them in the future.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Winning Letter

I forgot to say that I had a letter printed in the Daily Mirror the other week. I did originally write at least 3 sentences in the letter but the paper edited to just 1. It sorted of read in the end what I wanted to say about Jimmy Doherty's Farming Heroes programme but not quite. Not that I am really complaining because I got £5 for it, which came in the post yesterday. I now await a parcel of organic Trevarno goodies worth £20, which was my prize for the letter in ecohomeandgarden magazine.

Meantime, I am busy working hard on Allie still. Nearly finished Chapter 6 where Allie and her team have come up with ideas to involve the whole school in her campaign, and hopefully beat her enemy. Allie is a computer whiz and ideas person, and is based on the person I'd like to be, oh and the enemy is called Julia. I wanted to put someone in there like me. Should finish Chapter 6 today and then want to work out what will happen in Chapter 7.

Back to work now.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Another prize!

I've won another prize. I checked my emails the other day to find an email from the editor of the on-line magazine I sent a letter to and it seems that my email about battery recycling was the favourite email of the month and I had won some organic products. Should get them in the post in a couple of weeks because that was how long it took the other prize from them to get to me.

Meanwhile I have finished Chapter 5 of Allie, where so far she has beaten, with the help of her teachers, her fellow pupil enemy. Now she has to work out more competitions to get the school involved so they are on her side not her enemy's. I've started Chapter 6 and will continue it next week, but only half an hour at a time because I'm back to work tomorrow after 2 weeks at home relaxing. Oh well.

Well, this is my news for now.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008


Well, I received the contract from the publisher a week and a half ago, I then photocopied one and sent it to the Society of Authors for checking. I got an email response the end of last week and it wasn't a good one. Basically, I don't think they like the idea of author funding contracts. Anyway, I phoned the publisher and discussed their response with them and they weren't happy by the sound of it and asked me to email them the Society's email. I did and got a response yesterday which basically said that they didn't like the Society's reply to me and maybe it was best to put my work elsewhere. I wasn't happy about that so phoned the editor up and chatted to him about it and he reassured me that they were happy with me but didn't think I was happy with them. I reassured him it wasn't that but it was all new to me. To cut a long story short the editor told me to seriously think about it and I have and today I will sign the contract and post it to them tomorrow. I am officially now an author!

Meantime I am still hard at work on Allie. Hoping today to finish Chapter 5 so can start no 6 on Friday. I'm on holiday at the moment so have done a routine where I write one day and type it up the next, which I would do if I was a full time writer.

Well, this is my news for now. Off to an agent's party tonight, which I'm looking forward to.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Chapter 4 is finished

I have just finished writing Chapter 4 of Allie, and made it an interesting day for her. As well as giving her a new helper, she had to cope with another teacher being manipulated by her unknown enemy, which made the Head decide to hold a power meeting between her teachers, so she now has teachers on her side. She has just worked out who her mystery emailer is and has vowed to beat her new enemy come what may. Oh yes, and to get the school involved in her campaign to help the enviroment she has planned a food swapping scheme and 2 competitions, which she will announce to everyone in Chapter 5. I am enjoying writing this book very much but realise I will have to tighten some of it up as Chapters 2 - 4 are over 20 pages long each and that is too long for one chapter and teen's to read, if I want to keep them reading the book. I also think I can make it more entertaining and have ideas how to put that in when I get round to revising it.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008


Have you ever felt disspleased with service you've got from staff in a shop but was afraid to complain? Well, if you feel so angry about it then do so, as it might get results. My mum did and this is what happened.
My mum and I usually buy fresh roast turkey from our local Sainsbury's every Sunday and over the last month the deli staff have been coming out to serve customers a few minutes after 11am, when they are meant to start at 11. Anyway, 2 Sundays ago, they outdid themselves and came out at 11.08 and we were served at 11.10. My mum asked the main deli woman why she was out so late and the woman said that she's always out on time and didn't apologise to us. Mum was outraged as she knew that was a lie. So in the end, after we had got home and unpacked, she phoned the store and spoke to the manager and complained about the member of staff. He said he would check the clock in times of all the deli staff and speak to them. It worked. Last Sunday we went to the deli counter at 10.55am and the woman who we complained about was there already and she served a customer at 11am on the dot without a smile. So it must've worked. We shall see if she is on time again this week.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008


I don't normally take much notice of the my stars in the papers but the last week I have because they have been so appropriate for my recent circumstances with my writing. Most of them have read that I have a decision to make and I will work it out and it will be good for me. One star said that I was turning away a choice which would be easier and more successful for me than the one I was thinking of. At first I thought it could mean I was ignoring the choice of self publishing so I started looking into that and seriously thinking of that but now I think it probably meant I was ignoring the choice I had already been offered, which I will probably go with in the end. Yesterdays stars in the London Lite said that other people were advising me to not go with my decision but I was looking at it in all angles (or something to that effect) and gathering information as I proceed. That was so right. People have been advising me not to go ahead with a choice I have agreed to and I have been investigating websites and links about this choice. And I will say that what I have read I am satisfied with enough to go ahead with my decision, just as long as the Society of Authors are fine with the contract.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

My good news

Yesterday I put a message up on all 3 email writer’s loops I belong to about my good news regarding accepting a publisher’s agreement, and made the mistake of revealing that I had agreed to pay them. I got a backlash of replies to this and this is my response.


I appreciate your concern about my message that I’ve agreed to pay the publisher and understand that you might have thought I didn’t know what I was getting into. I can assure you that I do know and have put a lot of thought into it (esp at 2.45am Wednesday morning). I did seriously think about the money side of it and I know that I shouldn’t have to pay to get my book published but I feel that, as the person I am it’s the way forward for me. I did win some money on the lottery in June, and I work full-time, am still at home, don’t drink or smoke and don’t go out that much. My only vice being is buying books and more books, and if I was someone who had a house and family to support it’d be different but that’s not me.

I can assure you that the publisher is not a vanity publisher, as some of you may have thought and told me, but they are an independent and traditional publisher. To me vanity publishers are people who ask for you to pay and nothing else. They praise your work, don’t ask for edits, don’t register it with anyone and don’t do anything else to help you sell it and you don’t get royalties, but this publisher has asked for revisions, and have said in their letter they will print, bind, register, market it and help you promote it and provide royalties. I have asked the editor lots of questions about what they do and am very happy with the answers.

I read everyone’s responses and at first I was angry, then being who I am, got very upset by it all, but know as a writer that I do have to take criticism on the head and people have different opinions. I was upset at first but now all I feel is challenged. In the end, it’s down to me. It’s my money and my decision, and I feel that if it’s what is right for me at this time, which I do, then I might go ahead with it, aware that I don’t have to sign anything yet. I will assure that I have already decided when I get the contract I will read it thoroughly and get it vetted by the Society of Authors for professional advice.
All your responses have made me feel that I want to go ahead and prove to you all that I can do it, be it the wrong way as some of you think.


Friday, 15 August 2008

Sad and happy news

Today is a sad day for me as it is my nan's funeral. None of my family are going. My dad didn't want to go in the end probably because that in the last week he had been admitted to hospital twice, once for a mini stroke (which he believed was brought on by worry about the funeral) and the second he had a fall, and I don't think my brother would have managed to get time off work today to take us anyway. My mum phoned my aunt and wished her all the best and that we were thinking of her.

Happy news is that my quandary is over. After a phone call from a self-publishing company on Wednesday, a lot of thought contact with another Pegasus author and 2 phone calls to Pegasus themselves I have decided that even if I have to pay I will go ahead with their agreement. And I am now waiting to reeceive a contract, which I will get checked out by the Society of Authors. Apparently according to the other author, he says that in recent publishing magazines it reads that authors paying for contribution towards publication is most likely the way forward in the future. I think what made me decide to go ahead was although it is a considerable amount I have to pay, I can pay it over a period of 10 months, which to me doesn't sound too bad when you think about it like that. So watch this space, this time next year I could have a children's book in the shops. Yay!

Monday, 11 August 2008

In a quandary

I am in a quandary now what to do about Rosie. I received a letter from the publisher on Saturday and it has got me rather confused what to do. They say that they like my book but not enough to offer me a normal (non-contributory) contract but one with certain considerations. These considerations are that they are willing to offer me an agreement whereby they do all the work, apart from revisions (I think) but with a financial commitment from me. I have emailed them to ask does it mean they expect me to pay something, how much and what for. I am going to wait to hear from them then decide what to do. Meantime, I have also emailed the other publisher who I emailed back in May querying Rosie as I haven't heard from them. The letter I got has really got me thinking what I want to do and I started looking up self-publishing companies but have decided that I want to try my damnedest to get it accepted by a conventional publisher and I don't get any joy then I will seriously think about the self publishing route, although I do have to pay for some of that.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Agent rejection

I got a rejection from the agent I pitched at the conference. I did wonder if I might because the other woman who pitched her just before I did that day also got one. Mine read very similar to hers in that it read she "liked a lot about it but because of the tough market she had to be bowled over to take it on," and she wasn't. Oh well. I am not giving up on Rosie. I am still waiting to hear from the publisher who has the whole ms, and I have the agents party in September so something might happen there, as I am taking the query with me there. Meantime I am working hard on Allie's story and have just finished writing Chapter 3. Chapter 4 is going to be interesting as she will find out why she is being tested and what she has to do to become a fully fledged member of the school, oh and she has another enemy.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

I've won a competition!

I have just checked my home emails and found that I have won a recycle bag from an internet eco magazine. I discovered the magazine through Writing Magazine and checked the website out a couple of weeks ago and found a couple of contests that had good prizes. I entered them the other day and now have won a recycle bag. It will be sent to me by the company who produces them in due course. Wahey! Things are looking up for me still.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

My Nan Ginn

This blog entry is dedicated to my nan Ginn who died on Sunday night. I found out yesterday morning when I went downstairs for breakfast and my mum told me. She shed a few tears saying she had been OK until then, and then I cried a bit over my toast. I couldn't go to work so took the day as compassionate leave. My nan Ginn reached the grand old age of 101 in February this year, so had a good life. She'd been in a home the last few years and the last couple of weeks she was hospitalised as she wasn't eating or drinking and was hanging on to her life. I last saw my nan maybe 4-5 years ago when my aunt, who then lived in Surrey, drove her and my other aunt to see us after seeing my dad. At the time, nan was hard of hearing but could still see and was having trouble walking. My dad cried also yesterday, thankfully he was among other people when he did and not alone. I don't know if I'll be going to the funeral because it's up in Cambridgeshire and will have to rely on my brother to drive us there (I haven't driven long distance in years) and he doesn't know if he'll be allowed the time off. So will have to see. Would like to go though just to say goodbye and see my relatives as it might be the last time I see any of them as they all live far away from me.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Allie and her dreams

You remember I said that for the first few chapters Allie was going to have dream which would forewarn her about the day ahead's events. Well, I thought I would share something with you. A few weeks ago I bought a new bed and with it came a free sleeping kit which included a book about understanding dreams. I browsed through it and was amazed that the first dream I gave Allie matched what she is about to feel. Her first dream is all about mess sticking to the walls outside making her find it difficult to breathe and she needs air. The book says this about air 'To be aware of air in a dream means freedom at last. It also offers inspirational ideas to solve problems.' How about that for coincidence. She does feel freedom at what she should do and the dream offers her ideas to solve the day's problems. Her 2nd dream is all about darkness when there is no electricity. The book says that darkness can represent that you are being kept in the proverbial dark about something, which is certainly true for Allie. For electricity the books says be aware of those around you who could make sparks fly, which Allie is finding with some of her teachers. And for the 2nd part of the dream about water, the book says that it symbolises the unconscious self. Heartfelt emotions and feelings which run deepare expressed through this element. And I think that is what I am giving Allie, feelings about her self. It all reads rather coincidental to me and rather weird. I shall have to read up what it says about food and waste, which is the theme of the next chapter I have to write.

Well, this is all for now. I am going to print out a letter and article for a magazine in the hope they like it.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Chapter 2 is typed up

I have now typed up Chapter 2 (finished at work on floppy) and copied it over to the proper document at home. I did a word count and it already comes to 11,500 words, a bit too much I think so far. I feel that Chapter 2 is too long, so might divide it into 2 chapters - morning and afternoon once I've done the whole book. I have already started writing Chapter 3. Most of what happens to Allie depends on what lessons she has that particular day, and I thought yes let her learn that in English and that in Citizenship. To be sure that I was teaching her the right lessons, I have searched on the net for the national curriculum and hey, what I thought to teach her is about right for her year, so will go ahead and put it in the book. She has one member of her team at home so far, and will have 4 more I think to help, plus one at school. Things are about to get tougher for her in this chapter, to come to a climax in Chapter 4 when realisation what is happening dawns on her and she confronts Mrs Zabberwol. I can't wait to write this. I have decided that after writing this one, I will in fact finish the set and write the 3rd book which is Georgia's story. Then I will rewrite Forgotten Memories as a RS and try to target an e publisher.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

A tasty surprise

You remember that I said I'd won a prize of some organic wine for my star letter in Healthy and Organic Living mag? Well, I was wrong. I didn't win that prize at all but I organic hamper bag full of tasty goodies.
I got home on Thursday to my mum saying that I'd received a parcel which had intrigued her all afternoon. Anyway, I opened it to find the organic hamper bag, which contained poppy seed dressing, honey, Fairtrade tea, crystallized seville orange slices dipped in dark choc (I thought it was dark kirsch cherries but have just found out differently), cider mustard, giant milk choc buttons and clotted cream fudge. The milk choc buttons my mum and I ate that night and were very tasty, the mustard and fudge I gave to our next door neighbours, and the dark seville slices, well, that are more than tasty. It was a much better prize for me than I thought, and to prove I did get it, here is a picture of some of the goodies and its bag.

Don't you think they look tasty? The dark seville slices are the ones in the black and orange tub at the front next to the honey. I didn't put them at the front like that on purpose, honestly.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Chapter 2 is finished!

I have just finished writing Chapter 2 of Allie. It has taken less time that I thought it would because it is very quiet here at work with most of the students either on their summer holidays or away abroad as part of their course, and yesterday and today I have been on my own because my supervisor is off sick and not giving me back letters I have given her to check and sign. So being on my own in the quiet has proven useful to me. I have also been typing Chapter 2 up then saving it on a disc, as the work has slowed down here now, until my supervisor is back tomorrow (I hope). I was thinking of starting Chapter 3 next week but if it's quiet again tomorrow then I might start work on it then as I know how it will start.

Also this morning I got some information for an article I want to send to an organic magazine I regularly read. I just needed addresses and websites to put on it which I managed to find and wrote them down, so I can complete it at the weekend and send off, with my photo, next week.

Well, this is all for now. Must look like I'm doing some proper work.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Allie - Chapter 2

Well, have nearly finished Chapter 2. Allie is getting even more suspicious of her head, Mrs Zabberwol, sure that she has powers of sense of nearness. Allie is starting to get her team of helpers now, with one girl who throws cans etc away and one who throws paper away. There will come helpers who waste water and electricity, food and its packaging, plus Rosie and a couple of others from Rosie's team. I mentioned before that there will be a twist in this book, with enemies. I have already created one enemy from one of her teachers, but will create one that comes from outside and nothing to do with the school, might be one of the school girls who is new. I am debating in book 3 whether to include another enemy from outside and mention he is an enemy from the previous head's reign, who I am thinking of making the person in charge of another series I have in mind. I am quite excited about this idea.

Well, must get on with some work. Have a bbg here at work to go to shortly and looking forward to that. Have never had bbq food before, and am wary of it in case it's not cooked properly. I don't want food poisoning tomorrow. I shall live.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Allie - so far

I am now up to a third through Chapter 2 of Allie, and so far I have made her dream of being in a dark room which sucks air out of her, which I made into reality for her during a lesson. She suspects that some of her teachers and the head have powers, especially now that I have given her one of her own, and she also suspects that her best mate Rosie knows what is happening to her and why. By the end of the chapter I think I will give her another magical power that can help the school, and more by the end of the book. I have decided that for the next few chapters, Allie will have a dream to warn her of what is about to happen so she can figure what she has to do to solve the problem. I am having fun writing this book, like I did Rosie, making up all these powers and magic for my girls. I didn't do any writing today because I didn't feel like it but will get back to Chapter 2 tomorrow for some more fun with Allie.

Well, must get back to work now.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Conference - Sunday

The first session was a PR round up and it was rather impressive what PR the RNA had got over the year.
Then came a talk by Jane Wenham-Jones, who was very funny talking about how she wrote her how-to book, and ended telling us about her yogurt and cucumber spa incident in Egypt, which had us in fits of laughter.
All these talks were in the chapel, which had glass windows..
After break was a session on how to get your website to help promote you by Kate Walker, with added briefs by Julie Cohen on why she changed her website design and why she chose that design, and by Anna Scamans about why she chose her website design (because it reflected the mood of her book and also the cover of her book). It got me thinking about possibly having a website of my own in the very near future. We shall see.
Then finally came the talk from the agent, Caroline Sheldon. She talked first about the loss of the NBA and what it has meant to the publishing world. Then talked about what she and her agency does and how they operated, followed by a Q&A session. It was during this bit that my ears pricked up when I heard her say she also represents children’s writers and I made a note of this. I also made a note that she liked bright coloured folders.
Then it was lunch and fate took over when Caroline sat next to me. It was during lunch that I heard another writer who was sitting diagonally from me say that she had pitched Caroline, and I began to think why can’t I then. So my heart beating loudly whilst I waited for the right moment, I plucked up courage and finally pitched Rosie to her and she said, yes, send me a letter telling me all about it.
So whilst I waited for Angela to do her packing and get back to me, I drafted a letter to Caroline, which I added to on the train home.
So, the conference ended for me on a high, and I got home very happy. And I can't believe all that was a week ago now.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Conference - Saturday

Breakfast was OK. I had cornflakes with the chocolate flavoured Oatly I’d brought with me, but was hungry by the first break so had a rich tea, again which I’d brought with me. The first talk was called Arresting the Editor by Diane Pearson, the President of the RNA. She talked about arresting the editor with your first line, which should set the tone, mood and scene of the book. This made me think that I wasn’t sure if my novella did this. She also mentioned that most editors prefer a short synopsis, which doesn’t tell the whole story but gives a hint of where the ending is going. This was conflicting advice that most of us heard already been told by agents etc, who had said that they wanted to know the whole story including the ending.
The 2nd talk was all about networking at parties and how to approach editors and how not to. It was really funny. It was taken by Eileen Ramsay and Liz Bailey and I have to say they are a great team. First they told us how to network then they showed us by pretending to be horrific writers then nice ones. Then they got us to team up in 4s and one of us has to be the writer approaching the editors and guess who got first go at being the writer…yes, me. I was teamed up with authors, Ivy Lord, Catherine King and Dee Williams, who were very helpful to me and gave me advice on what to say etc. I have to say that this session and my team was very helpful for me and it was what I did in that session that helped me do what I did the next day at lunch.
The 3rd talk was Sense of Place by Anna Scamans, who writes RS for Medallion Press and keeps her English sense of place in her books. She got us writing pieces on photos she gave us about making a character comfortable in one place, then out of their zone in another. I found this very good and the pieces I wrote I might make into novels later on.
The 4th talk was by Midas about PR, which wasn’t that helpful for me as an aspiring author. This was where my lack of sleep and warmth overcame me and I had to leave the room for some air. The lady next to me, Marjorie (Hi Marjorie) was very kind and came with me and gave me some water to drink. Of course, others had seen me leave the room and during the day and the next people were asking after me. That is the RNA members for you. They are so kind and warm to you.
Then was lunch which I wasn’t too impressed with, esp after having to queue up for it. I had samosas, brown bread roll with sunflower spread and new potatoes (cold). Then after lunch was Sue Moorcroft’s talk on writing commercial short stories. I found this very helpful as I have tried these before without luck and now might give it a go again. Then was the talk by rom-com writer Jill Mansell and how she writes. She writes like me in longhand but then gets someone else to type it up. What amazed me is that she doesn’t write in chapters, just writes the book then divides it into chapters. She does do a time line for her books, which she showed us sellotaped together pages of paper. Jill was very nice and sat opposite me at dinner
She sat next to Sarah Duncan, who writes women’s fiction, who sat next to Jane Wenham-Jones (rom-com) and Kate Harrison (chick lit) who was opposite Katie Fforde.

I then went back to my room to relax but couldn’t and ended up reading and sorting things out in my bag.
The dinner wasn’t that impressive either for me. It was a starter of ryvitas with salad and pate. I ate the ryvitas and tomato bits but nothing else. Then was the main of roast duck, new potatoes, green beans and carrots. I don’t normally eat duck because it usually tastes fatty but this didn’t. The dessert for me was fresh fruit consisting of pineapple and grapes. The others had a lemon cheesecaky thing which looked delicious.
After dinner was the awarding of the Elizabeth Goudge trophy, and this year was won by Imogen with another fairy story. It was Imogen’s first conference and she was in tears of surprise at winning.
We then went onto the bar for a drink and chat and I met another writer called Alison whose sister actually lives in Forest Hill, near where I live.
I tried to get to sleep and have a restful night but it wasn’t to be again. My home bed was starting to call for me.

I have tried to put pictures in here but they appear in the wrong place, so it's an account without pictures for this day.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Conference - Friday

Well, Angela and I got to Chichester in time. The first talk was just a welcome, then we had Celebrations, clapping anyone who was mentioned who'd had a book accepted/deal done, and then it was the author panel. They talked about why they write what they do and how they got to do it, what they would like to write other than what they currently write, what they thought the next trend in their sub genre was. It was interesting to hear why they write what they do. I agreed with Cat Marsters who said that she writes paranormal contemporary cos she doesn't want to do the research, and I feel the same, and Anna Jacobs bemused me when she said that she resented having to sleep 8 hours, she just wants to write. That is one dedicated writer. I love my writing too but I also need my sleep. After that it was time to relax in your room or go to the bar and I chose to rest in my room but couldn't rest that much and ended up getting up and doing bits and pieces. 7pm was dinner and I wasn't that impressed with my non dairy alternative of savoury mince and white rice. The mince was okay apart from the mushrooms which I took out, but I don't usually eat white rice cos of it being simple carbs and the fact that white rice has a certain affect on me, which it did that night, thankfully whilst I was in my room. I didn't sleep that well either. I woke up in the early hours and stayed awake for a couple of hours, and I think read a bit, ate a bit etc before I went to sleep again.

I was tired the next morning and it affected me badly as I will tell you next time, once I have my notes on me.

Must get on with some more work now.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Conference News

Well, I am now back from the RNA Conference and am pleased I have today off work. I will blog later about everything I did at the conference but for now I just want to tell everyone my news from yesterday. The last talk I went to yesterday was by an agent who mentioned she also represented children's writers. I took note of this, in capitals, and thought I'd write to her later on about Rosie. But then came lunch and who should end up sitting next to me...yes, the agent. During lunch I heard another writer say that she pitched to the agent and I decided that I would have a go. So just before everyone left to go home or leave for the afternoon talk I plucked up courage and pitched Rosie to this agent, and guess what, she invited me to send in a partial to her to have a look at. Was I excited and on a high. I still can't believe I did that. So that is what I plan to do today. Get the partial ready to send off to her this week.

As if I wasn't already on a high, when I got home yesterday in the post was the latest issue of Healthy and Organic Living magazine and guess who's letter was the star letter. Yes, mine! I win a prize of some organic wines, which due to taking medication, neither my mum nor I can drink them, so will be saving some for my brother and giving one to next door, showing them the letter at the same time. The prize is worth £35 and I can't believe it. The letter was all about my feelings on fluoride after reading their truth about it article and then going to the dentist. What an end to the week.

Well, that's my exciting news for now. Back to work tomorrow.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

More small successes

I have had 2 more small successes this week. Yesterday I got the latest copy of Writing Magazine and have a letter in that, and also the latest copy of Crystal, and have a story in that. Have registered them both with the ALCS so don't know if I get any more money for them.

That's all for now. Hope to finish Chapter 1 of Allie later and finish packing for the conference tomorrow.

See you soon.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Green Parenting Show and letters

I went to a small show called the Green Parenting Show in Dulwich, se London last Saturday. Wasn't sure what I was really expecting but it wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I was thinking about a mini Vitality Show of different companies with their different green and organic products but it turned out to be local companies with their products mainly aimed at young mothers and their children (not my mum and I). I suppose it was quite encouraging to see local people using and buying organic stuff, as it is good for the own health as well as their children. I did see there a team from So Organic shop and had a little chat with them, and mum showed them my letter in the newconsumer magazine (mention more later), and they were enthusiastic about it, and the man (owner's husband) told me that they are planning to do an on line newsletter where people could blog and contribute. I sounded pleased, as it could be a springboard for me and my passions. One thing we did buy there and that was slices of organic home made cake, which didn't have milk, soya or egg in. We had chocolate, lemon and pumpkin seed and ginger and they were all nice. We filled in a feedback form and got a goody bag which had eco washing powder in, cereal packs, cereal bars and fairtrade teabags in, all which have either been eaten already or will be put to use soon.

I mentioned letters. Well June was a good month for me and letters. I had one published in Writers News, one in Healthy and Organic Living and one newconsumer magazine. The one in newconsumer was all about converting my dad to using organics but that is no longer true as he has suddenly changed his mind and told my mum in no uncertain terms that he doesn't like them and doesn't want them. That was that convert turned, and I don't know why. That is all I will say on the matter because he has upset me about it after I gave them to him for Father's Day.

The next time I will be here I should be blogging about the RNA Conference this coming weekend.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Comments and Allie

I've just been checking my blog and I've got comments for the last 2 entries. I am excited because they are from people I know and are the first ones here for me. How sad am I, eh?

I started writing Chapter 1 of my second children's book Allie today and am very excited about writing it. This one is all about helping the environment, another of my passions so hopefully I shall enjoy working on this one as I did Rosie, and it will show in the finished project. I have already written a brief chapter summary so will work with that as I go along but probably end up jotting notes down as I write the book. Can't wait. I was actually meant to start writing it yesterday but ended up not because I was at home after yet another bad night (even worse than before) and was extremely tired. But happy to say I'm now on track. So if (a big IF) I get good news with Rosie I can say that I am working on my second book in the series I have in mind. Fingers crossed. I have received a lot of well wishes for my news on Rosie (I put a message on all 3 loops I belong to) and have been very sad in that I have cut and pasted them all onto word to put in my novel folder at home.

Well, must look like I am working. See you soon, and thank you all who have commented here so far.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

It's Gone!

Well, I managed to print the rest of Rosie off on Saturday and it's now either on its way to Cambridge, where the publisher is based, or they have got it already today. It says on their website they take 3-6 weeks to read the ms once they have requested it so a while longer before I know the verdict. Fingers and everything else crossed in the meantime. While I wait to hear about Rosie, I will be starting Allie's story this week. I was going to start it today but had a bad night's sleep last night and now very tired, with sore throat and possible slight hay fever. Will start it tomorrow. I have already done preliminary work on Allie. On Sunday I wrote out her timetable so I could work out what can happen in what lesson. Have decided that things will start happening in her maths lesson. It will have an extra twist to this story because I have decided that as well as a teacher enemy, who won't be a proper enemy as such, there will be a proper enemy who tries to undermine Allie and her powers.

Well, all is very quiet here at work and I have been getting on with filing, which suits me just fine today the way I am feeling.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Good news and bad news

The bad news is that I got home last night only for my mum to tell me that our next door neighbours' van had been stolen. That is really horrible. Our neighbours are a really nice family. The parents both have jobs and work hard for their money. Their 3 girls are lovely and well-behaved and they didn't deserve to have this done to them. What is worse is that they had their van all equipped ready to take on holiday to France later on, and their van was their only transport. Now they have to find another van either to rent or buy. Aren't some people awful?

Good news! Had a letter from one of the publishers yesterday asking me to submit the rest of my teen novel Rosie. It's the next step to being published and the first one to ask me for this. So this weekend, as well as completing Checkmate, I will concentrating on printing up the rest of the book and getting it ready to post to them next week. Fingers crossed, eh?

Now back to work.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Chemical, colours and cornflakes

If you have been reading my blog you will know that I am trying to avoid man-made chemicals. Well, there are some cases that I can't avoid and one is being prescribed tablets from the dr, which is what happened yesterday. I had been having pain in my right shin, and went to the dr who said it was probably muscle strain and gave me ibuprofen. I looked at the ingredients and it said that the coating, which is bright pink, has both talc and propylene glycol and the colour in. The 2 chemicals I have been avoiding and the colour, well, I tried to find it in my health books but doesn't mention it. It leaves a bright pink stain on my tongue after I've taken it. I am only going to take them for 2 days (inc today) then see how my leg is, because I don't want to take more than I have to with those chemicals in.

I have been eating cornflakes again for a quick breakfast, now that we are going to open at 9am in the near future. I have been eating Sainsbury's cornflakes which are lower in salt than Kellog's but higher in sugar (slightly). I can't win with either. We did buy Sainsbury's because we thought they were lower in both salt and sugar than Kellog's but appears not, and Sainsbury's I think tasted better and were crunchier. We shall see because Mum had to buy some Kellog's the other day when we had to go to Lewisham for our weekly shop and they didn't have their own ones there. Let you know.

Well, must look like I'm working now. Back soon.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Checkmate and my Dad

I typed up the amendments to Checkmate at the weekend and it now comes to just over 34,000 words. I would like to get it up to 35,000. I am now up to checking Chapter 7 and hope to get it all finished by the end of this week. I am to start printing it all up the week I am off in 2 weeks time, so that I can send it to the RNA the week after the conference. I guess they will be far too busy with sorting out the conference next week to send it on.

As it was Father's Day yesterday I went to see my dad. My mum and I had a field day sorting out all his cupboards. He has so many clothes, we're sure that he doesn't know what he's got there. More clothes than I've got, I know. I bought him some organic toiletries, which he started using this morning. He phoned me to thank me and say the he's using them because his skin was dry and itchy. I asked him to keep using the stuff as his skin will prefer it. I just hope that I am able to convert him totally to use organic products. I threw away some of his toiletries which had SLS in, and hope that he doesn't phone to say where is this, where is that.

Well, must get back to work now.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Electricity and Checkmate

Well, Sunday morning was fun, not. My house was one of hundreds within several boroughs that was affected by a fire at a electricity sub-station in the area, which consequently stopped electricity. So we had no video, no washing machine, no cooker etc. We had gas, so my mum struck a match so I could heat my porridge. Her washing was on its last cycle when the electricity went, so it was still soaking wet. It affected 8 Sainsbury's, including the one we usually shop at that morning, so we ended up going to the one at Lewisham which wasn't affected. Thankfully by the time we got home a few hours later, the electricity was back on and we had to set all the timers again.

Checkmate - have now finished the last draft of the whole book and am now reading it all through again to make sure there's nothing I want to add or delete. I added something extra to Chapter One. Put my hero and heroine on the first page. I don't think there is much more I want to add, as I've already added in the bits I had jotted down before. I aim to get it all done by the week of the conference so I can print it all off and get it ready for posting the following week. I think I have a bit of work to do on the synopsis though. At the moment it's just over 2 pages (double line spacing) and it needs to be only 2, so that it can go into 1 page when I change it to single line spacing for the RNA's scheme. We will see at the weekend when I type up the amendments.

Must go, phone's ringing.

Monday, 2 June 2008

May SCBWI Talk and Checkmate

I now have time to write about the SCBWI talk I went to in May. It was called Masterclass in Editing and presented by Pamela Johnson, who apparently had done the talk before. She was talking about editing an ms using the macro and micro level. Basically it involves reading your work aloud (which I do already) but highlighting all verbs and nouns in different colours and then reading it again to see what stands out. This way you can work out what is weak in the writing and amend it. Micro level is doing this either with the first paragraph or perhaps 1000 words, macro level is doing it for the whole book. I learnt a lot at the talk and was very pleased to go to it. I didn't get the time to chat to anyone because I left the restaurant at 6.50pm with 10 min's to spare before the talk was due to start. Thankfully it started at 7.15pm so I had time to buy a drink.

Checkmate - I typed up the amendments to the last 2 chapters over the weekend and read them aloud at lunch time today. Only a few slight amendments to them. From tomorrow I will go back to Chapter 1 and start revising that again. Hopefully I should get it all sorted out in time for the deadline. Then once that is in the post, I will start on my 2nd teen novel which I've called Allie and the cluttered school. I am still waiting to hear about my first book but will carry on with my series of 3 books about health and helping the environment.

Well, not long to go before I leave for home.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Work changes and Checkmate

Well, I was busy at the weekend then went down with a cold so didn't get the chance to tell you what had been decided. My colleague who is religious appreciated our supervisor's dilemma with her daughter so has decided that she will get in for 9am, possibly 8.45am so that 2 people can be here at 9am when we open, which we have to do very soon. That was that decided and we will be having a meeting with our line manager next week to discuss all what was said between us.

Checkmate - thought I'd finished rewriting the last chapter but decided to give my hero and heroine some conflict and get them arguing right near the end of the book. Will do that today then back to rewriting Chapter 1. Should be ready to print and send off to the RNA by the end of August, the deadline. I am hoping to get it to them by the time I go to the conference or at least the week after that. Talking of the conference, I got my timetable for it on Wednesday, and ever the keen person I am I have already chosen the talks I want to attend and emailed them to the organiser Jan. All I have to do now is to book my train tickets, that I'll do at the weekend, now that I now what time it starts and what time it ends. I can't wait.

Well, must look like I'm working now. Back soon.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Changes at work

There are going to be changes at work here soon as regards to our opening hours to staff and students. At the moment, we open Monday - Thursdays from 10am to 5pm and Fridays from 10am to 4pm but now that our dept has merged with the one downstairs we have to go with their hours which is 9-5 all week. This doesn't affect me much as I try to get here for 9am as it is but it's my 2 colleagues whom it will affect the most. Both have children but one of them has religious routines to do each morning and the other has a teenage daughter who is at the vulnerable age that things can go wrong and can be wrongly influenced by her peers and she wants to be there for her going to school in the morning. We are going to have an informal meeting in 10 mins or so to discuss this and how we can accommodate these changes.

Tell you at the weekend what was suggested.

Back to work now.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Sugar or Sweeteners

Which is the worst evil, do you think? Well, I thought it was sugar, which is why I swapped eating tictacs with Smints but now I'm not too sure. I recently discovered that aspartame, which is in Smints, isn't good for people with high blood pressure (me) so I decided to swap those for another mint which has another sweetener called Sorbitol in. Ever since I started to eat those mints, they seemed to have a laxative effect on me, so I read about sorbitol in my Diet Dr's book, and what did it say were the side effects of sorbitol? Diarrhoea, flatulence and laxative. All 3 which I have been suffering from this last week or so, and especially the last few days at home. So I am now stopping eating those mints and am going back to eating tictacs, although in affect they are just lumps of sugar. I did read in the book that some sweeteners are even sweeter than sugar so people eat more of it, which is bad for them. You just can't win, can you with these things?

Must go back to work.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Composting last day

Yesterday was the last day of National Composting Week and I'm a day late. Well, here I am again. What do you need to start composting? Either a compost caddy with compostable caddy bags or if you can't afford those then maybe an empty ice cream tub with the caddy bags or even if you can't afford those bags then next best thing is normal plastic bags (although these aren't very good for the environment as they take 1000 years to rot down). And you need a compost bin or two. You can put your scraps in the caddy box/tub and once it's full then empty it into the bin in your garden. Note: don't put whole potatoes in the compost bin, cut them up then put them in as my mum did this and has found that the potato has sprouted inside the bin. Ho hum. After a while the tub will smell so you have to throw it away. The beauty of using compost caddies with their compostable bags is that you can use the bags time and again and then compost it and it doesn't make the caddy smell.

Well, that was my talk on composting for the week. I shall go back to writing about my writing and health issues.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Composting Day 4

So what else can you compost. Egg shells, which are crushed. Although mum has tried this and they don't break down that well, so she is now using them to put round plants to ward off slugs. Apparently slugs don't like/can't crawl over crunchy things, which is why shells deter them.

The other thing I found out, which is good for compost is urine. Yes, don't laugh. I saw this on a tv programme last year about a reporter and his family who were reducing their carbon footprint over a year and they were told that urine can help compost become better. The reporter actually went down to his compost at night and peed on it but afterwards we thought what he could've done was to pee in a pot then take that to the compost. Much more convenient. Not that you will get me putting my urine on the compost. Be rather smelly, although would probably save flushing water a lot of the time. The reporter and his family did manage to reduce their carbon footprint over the year a hell of a lot, mainly by giving up their car for the period, and ended up not wanting it back. They used bikes and walking for transport, which is much environmentally friendly.

Well, I shall finish these compost talks tomorrow or Sunday at home. I do hope that someone has read these and learnt something from them. Please let me know if you have.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Composting Day 3

I forgot to say that you can also compost teabags and tissues, but with tissues that mustn't be contaminated with oil or disease (eg used to blow noses). I have also read that you shouldn't compost potatoes either although my mum does, and I think she has just found out why. She has recently discovered shoots growing up in one of the compost bins and has to find out what is the cause. She thinks it could be the potatoes/peelings she's put in there.

You don't need to keep running up to your garden every time you have something for the compost, you need to have a compost caddy in your kitchen to put the scraps in every day and once it fills up then empty it to the compost bin. Sainsbury's do a compost caddy with biodegradable compost bags for this purpose, but if you can't afford to buy one of these then the cheaper version is what my mum used to use and that's an empty ice cream tub. You will need to wash it out after a while because it will smell but it is handy to use. If you can afford to buy a proper caddy and bags then it is all better for the environment.

So that is my compost talk for today. Shall try to think up something to say tomorrow and rest of the week.

Back to work now.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Composting Day 2

Here I am again. So what can you compost? Well, basically they fall into 2 categories - greens and browns. I can't remember all that you can but greens covers fruit and veg peelings, and browns covers papers, card. Somewhere in there you can put in leaves, branches etc from the garden, and you can also compost any cotton things such as cotton undies (this I found out from an interview with Bob Flowerdew in a recent New Consumer Guide). So I might try that when my next pair of undies go to the wall. You need a good mix of greens and browns to make a good compost otherwise the compost won't turn out that good. You can buy compost bins at your local garden centre. We have 2 in our garden so whilst one composts down during the colder weather we can fill the other one up and vice versa.

I shall tell you another ridiculous story I read in the paper last week. A woman had lost her allotment because she wanted to use natural compost instead of weedkiller which probably has lots of toxic chemicals in, which in turn probably would ruin the plants as well as the weeds. I ask you. The Government wants people to try to help the climate by advertising a Climate change website yet councils are urging people to do the opposite and put fruit and veg on the landfill and pollute the air with toxic chemicals. What do we do, eh?

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

National Compost Week

It's National Compost Week this week. If you have a garden and are a keen gardener, you should have a compost bin or two to put all those fruit and veg peelings you use at home. If not, don't delay and get one today. One of my passions is helping the environment and composting is basically recycling any food scraps to use in your garden.

I want to blog here each day about composting this week and today I'm starting with a ridiculous story I read in the paper last week. I can't remember which borough it what is but a grocer was doing what he thought was the right thing and was putting all his old rotten fruit and veg on his own compost bin. His council didn't like that and has told him that he has to put it in with the rest of his rubbish, which then goes onto landfill. I ask you. The government wants us to recycle and not fill up landfills so quickly, yet one person who I believe was doing the right thing, gets told the opposite. It made me wonder how on earth that council found out about what the grocer was doing in the first place. Mm....

Shall blog tomorrow about what you can and cannot compost.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Another rejection

I got a rejection from Chicken House on Wednesday. Which was strange because on Monday I emailed them to ask if they'd received my ms as it had been 3 months since I'd sent it. They had got it but due to an influx of mss they were still reading their December submissions and hadn't got round to mine yet (submitted in Jan). 2 days later I got my ms rejected. It made me wonder if the chase up email I sent prompted the rejection. Never mind. It's still with one more publisher, and I have 2 others in mind. Also I have decided that I might try to submit it to educational publishers since the book is based in school. I shall look at those in the Yearbook at the weekend.

In the meantime, I am still working hard on Checkmate and have been revising chapters 3 and 4 this week. I will type them up tomorrow and read through them later in the weekend. I am also writing/emailing letters to magazines about things that interest me in them. So far nothing published yet but I live in hope this year. I am going to draft a letter to one mag today and also start an article about my organic trials so far in diary format. Not decided which mag I might submit it to yet.

Well, must look like I am working now.

Will write here about my organic and healthy living experiences at the weekend.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

SCBWI talk and weekend disaster

Well, I really enjoyed the SCBWI talk last Thursday by Ruth Louise Symes. She talked about her diverse career. She has had published teen novels to picture books, basically written for all children's ages. She started out not knowing anything about how to write and just wrote and wrote until she went to a talk by the then new Writers Advice Centre and sent a ms into them and learnt from that. She has also written radio/tv scripts for a couple of books and has written scripts for the Hoobs on tv, which she said was the most lucrative money she's earnt so far. The talk went on for just over an hour and I was tired the next day.

Then came the weekend and disaster. Mum and I had been to Crystal Palace and found a new organic shop there, which was a disappointment, had come back to Forest Hill and gone to WHS and the craft fair there. We were walking home and 2 mins away from home, disaster struck and mum tripped (we think) over a drain cover and fell to the ground. She badly hurt her left knee and right hand and has now lots of colourful bruises over her body and she believes the pulled something in her right thumb. She keeps telling me that she will be fine in time and to put it to the back of my mind but I keep seeing that image of her falling forwards again, just like last time. I did have a little cry at home whilst she was in bed as it all got to me and still does now and then.

Well, must go now and do my washing up before I leave for home. Yay.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Return of fruit spread

No, it's not a title for a spoof horror book or film. I've decided to go back to having fruit spread with my porridges during the week and have raspberries at the weekend. As much as I loved having the raspberries, I was finding that I became bloated with stomach pains at times afterwards and felt maybe combining the 2 foods wasn't a good idea after all. So I had fruit spread this morning. I had a bit of a bad stomach but didn't last long, but no bloatedness which was the main thing.

Writing - have now revised Chapter 3 of Checkmate, which I will type up tomorrow. At the last word count it came to just over 30,000 which possibly means it could be too long for My Weekly pocket novel but enough for People's Friend. We shall see. Still have quite a bit of work to do on it.

I will post later about the SCBWI talk I went to last night, which I enjoyed. The talker was funny and a bit scatterbrained but very nice.

Have a good weekend.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Good and bad foods

I shall start with the good foods. I have recently discovered courtesy of the Vitality Show, where I originally sampled it and bought it, the 9 Bar Pumpkin Bar by Wholebake foods. They are a mixture of different seeds with honey and taste really nice. Even my mum who normally doesn't like seeds likes them. I usually don't like pumpkin seeds but mixed with other seeds they taste OK. The other foods I like is banana chips, but unfortunately they have now turned into a bad food. After eating some each day I found that they were giving me an IBS symptom so have now stopped eating them. Maybe I will try them again some other time but not each them each day. I bought them because bananas contain tryptophan which makes serotonin, which as mentioned in the last blog here I believe I am low in. The other bad food is aspartame, which is a sweetener put in things instead of sugar. I have been sucking/chewing Smints a lot these last couple of years and recently read something alarming in a health magazine. A reader wrote up asking how they could help their high blood pressure and was told to avoid eating a variety of foods, and one of those was aspartame. As I too have high bp, I was alarmed at this news. So, I am going to try to look for something else to suck which is refreshing and doesn't contain too much sugar and sweeteners, esp aspartame. Watch this space.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Ups and Downs

This week has been another up and downer for me. It started off all right then on Tuesday I had my hospital appointment for the test results. They came out low which meant that my problem probably has nothing to do with cortisol levels or hormonal levels, so that ruled those out (I had thought of PMS because I'd worked out that the exhaustion was happening the same time each month). The consultant said that my symptoms sound like anxiety and depression. I have now been reading up on depression and found that low serotonin levels can cause that so am now trying to help myself by taking multivitamins and minerals plus eating more bananas and dates. We shall see how that goes over the next couple of months. That was a bit of a high. Then on Wednesday I reached the train station and got a bad stomach upset and had to go back home so had the day off sick. Not good as I've already had several days off sick so far this year and it doesn't make my record look good. I am now better and hope to get better even more soon. Watch this space.

Writing. Apart from emailing letters to healthy magazines I finished amened Chapter 3 of Checkmate today and will type it up tomorrow. At the same time I will listen to one of my CDs about stress which I bought today at So Organic in Greenwich. Being keen on organics now needless to say I spent a whole lot of money in there. Never mind. They do say retail therapy is good for your mood. That's my excuse anyway.

Well, that's all for now. Catch up later with more news soon.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Here is the proof that I actually saw and met the 2 original Diet Doctors, Vicky Edgson (on left) and Dr Wendy Denning (on right). They were very friendly and helpful ladies and am was so pleased I decided to go to the show in the end. I am now blogging to expand on their talk entitled Beyond Calories in, Calories out.

Dr Wendy first talked about factors that can help you put on the weight and asked the audience if we thought hormones, stress, exercise, thoughts factor in keeping weight off. I put my hand up to all but thoughts. I was interested to hear what she had to say about hormones, as my problem I believe all lies with the stress hormone, cortisol. Then Vicky mentioned 6 points and I can only remember about 5 of them. They are 1. always eat breakfast, 2. include protein with each meal 3. eat no more than 3 hours each time a day 4. eat little and often, 5, eat a variety of foods. She mentioned that if you were on her programme she'd make you eat at least 20 different foods a day and over 100 a week. Made me think about what I eat. I eat different breakfasts every 3 days but my lunch doesn't vary that much at all each day, and dinner does. I am trying to think off what I can eat that makes it variable.
Then it was a Q&A session and when to drink water was asked. Answer. Sip with meals not drinks glasses with meals as it intterupts the digestion system, which I knew anyway. Also soya was mentioned. It now makes me think if it is hard for us people in the western world to digest soya properly because we are not used it then why do people tend to put it in everything, esp bread. My mum reckons it could be a cheap product that is why. I also read that soya is a main culprit why the rainforests are being destroyed so quickly, for the production of soya for animal feed and other foods.

Well, my health went downhill earlier in the week. I suffered from a bout of exhaustion again on Wednesday and Thursday. I believe it was a combination of being very tired after a bad night's sleep and my body not coping with only being 2 of us instead of 3 in our team at work. I managed 2 hours at work on Weds before having to cry off (literally) and go home. Was better on Friday but tired again on Saturday after another bad night, all down to sugar I think. So from now on I am going to try not to eat sugary foods esp chocolate stuff. I am going to see my endocrine consultant again on Tuesday for the test results so will ask him about if sugar affects the cortisol levels and sleep patterns. When I mentioned it last time he didn't say a word. Watch this space to find out the answeres.

Well, this is all for now. No more to say on the Vitality Show apart from will definitely go again next year, and possibly to the Real Food Festival that I 've seen advertised. Sounds interesting and up my street.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

A tiring but amazing day

Well, my mum and I went to the Vitality Show on Friday and it was fantastic. If you are into healthy living then I recommend to go. It's over for this year but there should be one next year, which I hope to go to again. After 1 train ride and 3 tube rides, we got to the show in Olympia about 11.15am and the first thing I had to do was go to the toilet. After that we found the stage where we planned to listen to a talk that afternoon (more about that later), then we wandered round. It is as big as I first thought with 2 floors. One of the first things we came across was a Rosemary Conley fitness stall where we had our Body Fat measured for free. Both our BMI and Body Fat rates came out excellent and I was told that I don't need to lose weight. What a good start to the day. More wandering round, we picked up a couple of freebie bags and bought ourselves each a crystal emery board, which we were told lasts much longer than normal ones. Then at lunch time we went up to the gallery where we sat and ate our lunch, then wandered round upstairs. The Bupa centre was booked up for the day so that was out and there wasn't much else to see there so we went back downstairs. We picked up more freebies and bought several healthy bars and drinks, then went to the talk by Dr Wendy Denning and Vicky Edgson, the original 2 tv Diet Doctors. Their talk was called Beyond Calories in, Calories Out and all about how to keep the weight off after losing it and the factors that count ie stress and thoughts. I was interested to hear Dr Denning mention about hormones esp high cortisol levels and that in turn can lay fat round your middle. This made me think is that why I can't lose weight now because my cortisol levels are high. Then Vicky talked about food and a vegetarian asked about protein for diets and she talked about soya and that we should ease it into our diets because the western world isn't used to eating it like the eastern world. This got me thinking again. Was that why I ended up becoming intolerant to soya because I went straight into eating/drinking soya once I found out I was intolerant to milk. Probably. All in all it was a very interesting talk and they are very friendly ladies. After I heard Dr D talk about stress I was prompted to ask a question about advice for raised cortisol levels. She answered about keeping a check on your blood sugar levels and stress levels, incase I was sensitive to that. After the talk, I took a photo of them together (to come later to prove I did see them) and talked to Vicky who suggested to eat as much fresh foods as possible, inc meat. So next week I will start to eat meat from the deli counter and not packed as usual. We had a brilliant time there, bought lots of goodies inc a bag each on the way out, and picked up lots of freebies, inc the biggie of a water filter fridge jug, which happens to be too big for our current fridge. I learnt one important thing from the day. Not to stress about my weight. One person tells me I am OK, another says that high cortisol can lay down fat.

There was one more thing I learnt from what I had been given on Friday. My body is definitely intolerant to milk. Of the foods that were freebies were a KitKat Sensation and Alpen bars, all containing milk. I ate the KitKat on Friday night, and 2 Alpen bars yesterday and ended up with diarrhoea. From now on I won't be eating anything which has any kind of milk in it or anything with soya in, but esp milk as I know that was the cause of my problems this weekend and I was a fool to even eat one Alpen bar let alone 2. I've learnt my lesson, so to speak. I also want to avoid anything with added sugar in to control my blood sugar levels as Dr D said in her reply to me. We came home tired but happy that we went and my mum says that she'd love to go next year. Roll on the next one, I say.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Tap water

You probably have read in the papers recently that health authorities/bodies are urging people to use tap water instead of bottled mineral water to help the environment. Well, I would agree with them as I took this bold step myself last Thursday when my mum and I went out for a meal at our favourite Chinese restaurant. We both asked for a glass of cold tap water and got it, free. I think they anticipate customers asking this because one of the staff, who are very friendly, came up later with a jug of water asking us if we wanted more. So, next time you go out for a meal, ask for tap water and not bottled. Not only is it cheaper on your pocket because it's free, but you will be helping the environment by not buying bottled water that has probably been transported from miles away polluting the air, and using plastic. I actually asked for cold tap water at my hairdresser's too and she said, "I note that you mention cold tap water." It doesn't hurt to ask, so go ahead and try it.

Now that Easter is over, I am going to try to cut down the sugar in my diet, not that I have too much anyway. The main one is in the fruit spread I have with my porridge in the morning, which says on the jar it's 36g of sugar per 100g, and even if that is with natural sugar that is very high, so am cutting it out and instead will have frozen raspberries. I might still have honey on ryvita at the weekends. I want to not have any sweets or biccies until my next holiday in June/July, except on Friday when I go to the Vitality Show. I will be taking an energy bar and sunbites then as they are convenient and easy to pack and carry with you.

I did some work on Checkmate over the break and am now on Chapter 3, and have done over 25,000 words so far. Have a bit more to work on as I need to put some romance into it, which should add to it. My Weekly pocket novels are 30,000 words, so that is what I am aiming to get to. I don't have that much to go to reach it. I typed up a short story for a competition as well and that ended up nearly 1000 words too long so have had to cut some out. Have worked out some to cut out but not sure if it's enough, will work on that at the weekened.

Must get on with work now.

Monday, 17 March 2008

A busy weekend

I had a very busy and productive weekend. Saturday, in between going to the hairdressers, I managed to transfer the rest of my clothes from my old bedroom to my new one (my mum's old bedroom). I can't see me moving back into my old room anytime soon because over the weekend we found several live ladybirds, and as long as they are still coming in then I won't, and the window needs fixing because it's all rotten on the outside. The man is due to come the end of this month, fingers crossed. In the afternoon I typed up all that I'd written of Chapter 8 of Checkmate. Yesterday was food shopping in the morning and in the afternoon I wrote the end of Chapter 8 plus amended the reference pages for Rosie, and whilst reading my writing magazine on an article about writing for health and beauty, I had an idea for a letter to the magazine and an idea for a small view piece for the health magazine I subscribe to, which I jotted down. I'll probably type those up over Easter.

Well, phones are ringing here so must go.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Trial and error

Well, going organic with beauty products has really been trial and error. I have finally decided to stop using Essential Care facial products and chuck them away. Not only were they making my face tight and red but now my face has started to itch. I must have extremely sensitive skin because the cleanser says on the bottle that it's for dry/sensitive skin. So as of tonight, I will use the replenishing cream for my neck only, the cleanser I will chuck away and recycle the bottle, and instead I will use Green People day solution in the morning and Barefoot Botanical SOS face and body cream at night. We shall see what happens then. I do like the BB SOS body lotion but I don't particularly like the BB Rosafina body lotion which I am using at the moment. I think I will stick to the SOS body lotion.

Must get on with some work now and look as though I am doing some.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Tests and more tests

Well, I saw the consultant yesterday and he wasn't sure what was causing my raised cortisol. He first said it could be nothing, then he said that oestrogen can cause high cortisol and said that he would look into it further, and give me tests. He mentioned having a 24 hour screening test which meant me to have onging blood tests during the day, which I didn't like. Anyway, it ended with me having a blood test there and then, which was brave of me considering I hate needles and had to travel back home on a train. I also have to do a 24 hour wee test at home on Sunday and take it back to the dept on Monday. Then I have to go back in 4 weeks, when he should have the results of both tests and depending on what they say, I might have to have another blood test. He mentioned about taking a steroid tablet last thing at night which suppresses cortisol then having a test done first thing the next morning, then he said that just to go with the blood test and the wee test first and go from there.

Well, must get on with some work this last half hour before going home.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Another small success

When I got home last night I had through the post one of the 2 small press mag's I subscribe to, and when I opened it there was a £2 coin stuck to it. I looked at the index inside but couldn't find a story by me and then I read on the editor's page that my story was separate in a little booklet. Yay. Success. Not only that, but I looked on the front of the magazine and saw that it too had an ISSN number, so when I become a member of the ALCS I can register all the stories I had published from 2004 to present with them. I sent off the membership form and the ISSN forms with it yesterday so they might get it today. I feel that I am now becoming a professional writer ie taking my writing professionally as a business. My mum wants to read my story so I will let her as she likes to read what I have written. A fan.

Health - I haven't been eating that healthily recently because mum has been buying chocolate and biccies, oh and I had some natural organic tortilla chips at the weekend, which were really nice. I hope today to get some answers about my raised cortisol levels as I am seeing my Endocrine consultant this afternoon, and he deals with hormone issues. Fingers crossed he says something that I like to hear. I still get exhausted and stressed. I had a couple of days off 2 weeks ago with it and felt useless and frustrated. I hate feeling that way and want it to end, so that's why I can't wait for my appointment today. Let you know sometime this week what he says.

Well, must get on with work. See you soon.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

I'm excited!

Why? Well, I went to a Writers' Day on Saturday in Oxford Circus and found out some interesting information. One of the speakers mentioned that if you write for a magazine with an ISSN number you can register it with the ALCS (Authors' Licensing Collection Society, I think it is) and if your article/story you have registered with them is read and copied over the years then you can get royalties which they send you yearly I think. This I didn't know. I got excited because one of the small press magazines I write for has an ISSN number. Anyway, after doubting if this was true I emailed the membership dept of ALCS this morning and got back a reply. Yes, it's true and they attached various forms for me to become a member and register any works I've done with a magazine with ISSN numbers. I just so happens that I have recently had a story published in the magazine which has an ISSN number so I shall register it at the weekend and let what happens happen. Royalties here I am. The talks on Saturday were really interesting with main ones by Lee Weatherly and Diana Kimpson, and a few brief ones, inc the one on the ALCS. The journeys to and from Oxford Circus were a nightmare as the Northern Line was shut and I had to walk to Bank station from London Bridge and vice versa. I got really confused coming out of Bank coming home and got rather frustrated but found my way back to London Bridge in the end, after asking for directions. Apart from that I did enjoy the day.

Other exciting news. I discovered today that some of my colleagues here at work do read my blog. Yay, I have readers I know. So folks, if you read this, please could you let me know by adding comments.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Novella update

I finished Chapter 6 of Checkmate my novella yesterday and added romance in. I now know who my heroine is going to meet the hero via her grandfather. He will be his neighbour who has worked near her neighbours, if that makes sense. Of course, he will have seen her before and thinks about her, and when they meet up after she visits her grandfather (not that she will know that at the time) she recognises her boyfriend to be. Then things go from there, as they plan to reunite her mother and grandfather, with her grandfather having his plans too. I am really enjoying this writing and often get ideas for different scenes for either the next chapter or early ones. I am currently buying My Weekly pocket novels as I definitely want to target that market for Checkmate, so I am reading what sort of stories they accept and so far, albeit it has only been one I've read, it mainly featured drama, mystery with a tad romance, which is similar to what I am writing.

I haven't been eating that healthily recently as I was at home on leave from work last week and yesterday and today fancied a treat as I felt a bit stressed out here at work. I have decided that I might go to the Vitality show in Olympia next month. I have seen it advertised the last couple of years and thought about going, then saw it advertised in the Metro yesterday and asked my mum what she thought about going to it. She was dubious about how to get there and how long it would take, as she's not very good now with long train journeys, but after reading what it was all about she told me this morning that she liked the look of it. So, fingers crossed we will go. If we do, I can't wait as it looks very interesting with different stalls about health, food and exercise. Well up my street.

I am still sleeping in what was my mum's bedroom, and am getting used to it despite hearing the traffic more, hearing people talk outside and the lamplights coming through the curtains. The other thing I have to hear is the rain dripping on the pipes or somewhere. Still, I am away from the ladybirds. Mum found a few live ones in my bedroom the other day but don't think we've found any more after that. Let's hope that they have died out now and won't come back at all.

Not long now for the weekend and I can't wait. Hope to buy some more pocket novels tomorrow and jiffy bags to send my children's book in. I had another reject the other day, not the one I thought it was, so it still is with one publisher. I have another in mind. We shall see what happens.

See you soon...

Monday, 11 February 2008

A plan for my novella

I have now come up with a probable market for my novella, which is called Checkmate. On Saturday I went to the local RNA meeting in Holborn and met with another woman called Pia who had just had a novella accepted by a publisher. I got chatting to her, asking her how long her novella was (30,000 words). She suggested to try People's Friend and that perhaps I could add some romance into the novella, say the grandfather knows someone and meets the granddaughter. I had already thought of that but wasn't sure if it was what I truly wanted in the story or not but Pia got me thinking, and during the meeting I ended up jotting down a couple of notes, and also in the evening about ideas to add to it. So that is what I am going to do. I shall write up the draft I am working on now which doesn't have romance in then go back to the beginning and add romance in. Once finished I shall submit it to the RNA's writing scheme with the intention of targeting My Weekly Pocket Novel and go from there. If I am unsuccessful in that target I have a couple of e-publishers in mind. There is always a market somewhere and I am determined to get published this year so that Jean (the RNA's membership sec) can promote me to a full member instead of staying a probationery one.

On a different note. I went to Specsavers this morning and was impressed, despite having to wait 15 minutes before being called in after my appointed time. They were doing a special BOGOF offer on glasses, so I ended up getting 2 for the price of one. I will have one especially for driving with tints to keep out any sun glares, and one for everyday use indoors with a tough non-scratch surface on. Much cheaper then the usual private company I go to and well worth it, I think. I go back maybe this coming Saturday to collect them if they are ready, if not then it will have to be the following Saturday as I am back at work next week.