Wednesday, 26 May 2010


I have just started reading 'A Curious Incident...' by Mark Haddon, and yes, I know it's years after everyone else has probably read it but there is a reason why I am reading it now. The reason is that the character in the book has Asperger's (a type of autism) and I wasn't originally going to broadcast this but thought it might help people I am in contact with understand me better - it is that I believe I have Asperger's too. It all came about following the failed interview I had a few weeks ago and the feedback I got as to why I failed it. It was down to communication, lack of understanding questions, quickness to get information and these all relate to Asperger's. I read a few articles that my mum had taken out of magazines before the interview, and those were mentioned plus difficulty to make eye contact, social interaction, tone of voice (saying something that other people think is rude but it's not meant to). Well, following this, I saw my gp, who wasn't that helpful at the time, then I saw here at work a disability officer, whom after talking to her said that I definitely had signs of Asperger's and I had to get my gp to give me a referral for an assessment. So back I went to the gp, and saw a different one this time, who was more helpful asking me various questions. Having had these chats, it has made me realise that there was definitely something different about me during my childhoold. I definitely had difficulty fitting in with other children, I still do with adults, which again is related to Asperger's. I have mentioned this to work, esp HR, who will pass the message on to people who might offer me jobs in the near future (I am being made redundant from the job I've been doing for 20 years). So if you meet me and I appear shy and wont' talk then you can understand me and who I am.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Writing Update May

I went to a talk last night organised by British SCBWI and it was great. I always love to hear how other authors write and hear what advice they can give to us other authors. Last night's talk was by Sophie McKenzie who writes teen thrillers. She has had published Girl, Missing, whcih is all about a girl who discovers that she might have been abducted as a child and goes to find the truth, putting herself in danger. I got this book for Xmas and it was good. She has just started a series called the Medusa Project about 4 teenagers with psychic abilities. This really interested me because of the powers I am giving my characters. So I bought the first book in the series, signed. Sophie gave us tips on how to write for teens, and I can't recall all she said except it spelt out as DISCIPLINE, which she said was the word Malorie Blackman gave her as the difference between her last book that was rejected and the first that was taken on.

Other news. I hope to type up the rest of the amendments for Allie this weekend and start printing it out to send to the publisher. Meantime, I have already started revising Georgina and continuing typing up the first draft.

I had a school turn me down for a visit the other day as they said they had one author already give a talk, for free. Disappointed I was but then the next day I got an email from another school who are interested in me visiting them. They did want me to visit next month but I said I can't due to ongoing things happening with me but could do from Sept onwards, even though I don't know if I'll be working or not then, and were they still interested. They said yes and will get back to me in a few weeks time. I might suggest the first full week in October as that is National Book Week so would be a good thing for both of us. Watch this space...

Back to work now..

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Rubbish Diet Week 7

Well, this week is an on-going week for me at the moment. Week 7 is all about decluttering and clearing things out and I have been doing that on and off since the new year. Over the last couple of weeks I have started to sort out one cupboard of all my things, which has most of my writerly things in such as folders with research in from mags and papers. I have so far sorted out 3 drawers and have chucked out lots of papers I didn't know I had but now don't want, so they went for recycling. Have also found 2 big scrap books (one half used and one new), and tore out the used pages and put those for recycling. The books are now upstairs in another cupboard where I keep my spare writers pads and pens. I also found a pen that I didn't know I had so will use that very soon. I have one more drawer and the cupboard space to sort out, then I want to do the other cupboard and my little cabinet by my computer desk.

So you see what I mean about it being on-going.

Week 8 won't be for a while yet because it is no waste week and that is impossible at the moment due to a health problem I'm experiencing and the hay fever season (I think my mum might have it too).

Back to work now.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Rubbish Diet Week 6

Well, Mum and I learnt some things we can compost from week 5 - Mum uses latex gloves in the garden but then throws them away after using both sides, but now she can compost them. I now compost hair from when I've washed mine. Week 6 was all about what you use in the bathroom. I now and then flush wipes down the toilet but it says not to so I won't. Also I have decided to now use bars of soap instead of soap pumps in bathroom, esp soaps in boxes and not in plastic. That way I won't be putting things in the landfill, whereas I can only recycle the bottle part and not the pumps. Mum has written down the amount and cost of the pumps compared to the soaps and written down when we started using one, to see how long it lasts, then will probably do the same with the soap to see which lasts longer. Cost wise though, soaps are cheaper than the pumps, and that is something we need to look at now considering that I am facing redundancy.

Well, this is my rubbish news for this week. I shall write it in more depth for the rubbish diet blog later on when I've finished the challenge.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Another writing update

Well, I had my second Chatterbooks session on Thursday and it was more successful than the first one. We all sat round tables, and I gave my talk, answered questions, then did my new workshop. I call it my alphabetical name game, where I get the children to pick out a bit of paper from an envelope with a letter on it, and they have to name as many fruit and veg they can think of within 5 minutes. Then I ask them to think of magical powers of that fruit and veg to help sick people. The answers I got from that one were very interesting and imaginative. The librarian and parents all either made it into a food that helped cure things such as stomach ulcers, and the children used their imagination to make weird magic powers. We really enjoyed ourselves and I ended up selling three books. One of the parents, whose children were too young for Rosie, said she'd buy it when her children were old enough. A great time was had by all. The librarian said she would talk to the other librarians about the session, so maybe I'd get something more from it. I will definitely do more of these sessions in future and am thinking of contacting other boroughs to see if they are interested in me doing their sessions.

On Friday, after a very bad day at work (another story), I came home to a bit of a surprise. I had received a cheque for £25 from Chat magazines for a letter I had published a couple of weeks ago, and I didn't know. So now I have to phone them up to ask if I can have a copy of that issue.

Allie is well on her way to her target word count. I have it now down to 30,024 words, so not that far to go now. I need to cut more than 24 words because I want to include a letter to readers at the end of the book. I hope to get it done by end of next week as I only have 2 more chapters to reread and amend.

Well, this is all for now. Now to eat some fresh strawberries and jelly.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Writing Part 2

I have been reading a reference book called, Yes! You can learn to write for children, be published and build a successful career (or something like that) by Nancy I Sanders. If you really want to make a career out of your writing then this is the book you need to read. I particularly like her Triple Crown of Success which is the following: Write for Personal Fulfillment, Write to be published and write earn an income. This really got me thinking about how I write. The first one I realise is writing my reader's letter, my blog and writing for other people's blogs, the second is writing for the small press magazines as it's all about writing for no pay/low pay magazines, and the getting that contract. I write 3 days my novel which is the third one, the fourth day I usually either write for publication or personal fulfillment, but mostly the second one. I have just read a chapter on writing for periodicals and it has given me the idea to try to write for magazines (children's) on quizzes. It is worth a go, as my workshops are all about questions. So watch this space.

Allie - I have now got the book down to 30,390 words. Only 390 to go, although I want to add a page at the end of the book to readers about the book, so make that 490. I feel that I can do it now and won't be long before I can reprint it all and send it off to the publisher in mind. Again, watch this space.

Now to have a look at a children's magazine website to see if I can find their guidelines.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Writing - Part 1

Yesterday I had my first Chatterbooks talk and even though I didn't sell any books, I think it went very well and I enjoyed it. I got to the library early and watched the librarians set it up for me with a flip chart. After a few minutes a little boy came up to me and asked for my autograph. I said 'I'm famous' and duly wrote a message to him on a bit of paper. At 4pm I began with a talk about how I wrote Rosie and got it published, also giving them a copy of my winning story 'Red Shoes'. I then got the children to ask me questions, one of which was how long did it take me to get published. Then I did the workshop, where I wrote on the flip chart the first question and got the children and their mums to come up with ideas, which I then wrote down. Then I asked them another question and got them thinking about what magic they'd use. It didn't last as long as I'd planned due to the workshop not turning out like I had planned it. Then I gave out pens and bookmarks to the children and their mums, which the librarian gave out. Whilst she did that, I wrote down the answers to the questions in a notepad of mine for future use. And while I was doing that, some of the children came up to me and asked me to sign their bookmarks, which I did. I then got up and went to find the librarians, whom I gave a card to. One of them asked me if I'd mind giving it to her sister who is also a librarian but in Pett's Wood saying that they always want ideas for things to happen there, and I said fine with me. She is giving my details to her sister so maybe I will get a booking there now. All in all a very enjoyable time I had and look forward to the next one next Thursday.

Part 2 will come tomorrow about a reference book I am reading about writing and how to make a career from it.