Category Archives: About me

When I have time…

It’s Monday again, bringing that busy beginning of the week feeling with so much to achieve and only five (six?) (seven?) days to do it in.

Last evening I went through my to-do list. I don’t know about you but I probably need a whole month to get through my average week and, in order to make things look a bit more doable, I relegated a few of the not-so-urgent items  to dates a little further along in my diary. These range from things that definitely need to be done in the next week to those that must be done by the end of the month and a few that will be okay this side of Easter. They are mostly to do with writing/blogging.

But I was also reflecting on my ‘When I Have Time’ list and realised this one is quite a mixed bag. So, forthwith, (and in no particular order) here are some of the things I would like to fit in over the next few months:-

  • Wax  the car – properly.
  • Knit some fancy hot water bottle covers (fun gifts)
  • Sow my seeds, Amongst other things, I am planning to grow bananas and papyrus from seed this year
  • Get fit – I ran a half marathon in May 2016 and since then everything in the body department has gone to seed!
  • Maybe get a kitten?  (Cleo would like a playmate)
  • Make marmalade
  • Spend time with my children/grandchildren
  • Learn Portuguese
  • Make a bed quilt
  • Read everything
  • Move house
  • Take up Tai Chi

……….. But at the moment, I’m writing 🙂

Children’s Books and What They Mean to Me

img_1990Books. When I was a child, I couldn’t get enough of them. Picture books, children’s encyclopaedia’s especially the sections on Volcanoes, tropical islands and exotic animals! I loved Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven and Famous Five series, because those kids had such adventures. Also, just William by Richmal Crompton and Jennings and Derbyshire by Anthony Buckeridge for their downright naughtiness. Later I loved the Nancy Drew mysteries.

When my children were small I began to discover children’s books all over again, old favourites and bright, new books. Parents are so lucky, moving through a few short years of The Hungry Caterpillar and Dear Zoo to The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Mog and Winnie the Witch and on to longer stories. When we read together (long after the children could read for themselves) The Animals of Farthing Wood, Terry Pratchett’s Bromeliad Series, Diggers, Truckers and Wings, and of course Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox and others I couldn’t wait for the next chapter any more than the children. I never got to read the Harry Potter books to my children as they came a little too late but I’m looking forward to that pleasure with my grandchildren.

At the time that I finished writing my first novel, The Palaver Tree, we also happened to be moving house and I came across an old box file of my writing from way back when I used a typewriter. In there was the outline for a children’s book that I had long ago imagined and named Kelly at Come-alive Cottage. I was excited by the story that I had forgotten and decided there and then that I would next produce a children’s book. After all, I told myself,  the process of writing a novel is a long and sometimes arduous task. I thought my little fifty page chapter book would be a breeze.

Wrong

It  was hard, just like any writing project, but it was fun and different and also gave me a new respect for children’s writers.

My blog is all about my love of and experience with books and, for a while I have wanted to separately feature some of the best children’s books, both old and new.  This is what Fridays will look like on the blog.

I started last Friday with a brand new and lovely book by Cat Michaels, The Magical Aquarium.

Which  children’s books have you loved and remembered? If you can recommend a favourite old or new or have written a children’s book please contact me with ideas for this feature. I will be choosy, I want to feature those that I would love to share with the next generation of readers (and parents!) I will be reading and reviewing each book, so please, none longer than about fifty pages. There  are still a lot of novels out there to read too!

Children are the next generation of readers. Who knows what publishing will look like by the time they grow up? Let’s give them all the encouragement we can with great books to start their reading journey.

My Come-alive Cottage Series

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Happy New Year, Everyone!

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It’s the eve of a new year and judging from many of the wonderful blogs I have had the privilege to read in 2016 quite a number of us will greet it gladly with anticipation of some better times in 2017.

So, to everyone, I want to wish all the very best. Here’s to hard work, strong relationships and a little luck to help us along the way, in 2017!

Happy New Year!

 

It’s Almost Here!

img_1950Christmas, it’s almost here!

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to drop in and like or comment on my posts over the last few months. Every, single one is appreciated. Thank you also to those generous bloggers who take the time to write informative posts and share their experiences and expertise.

A break, a time to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends is very important, especially as writing is such a solitary task.

I have just a few, fun, Christmas books left to review now before the end of the year and so would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy holiday season and I look forward to sharing more, learning more and creating more in the writing year to come.

Best wishes!

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Making Good Things Happen

Image source - Pixabay

Image source – Pixabay

This time last year I was determined the New Year would be a better one. An ongoing, family-health situation meant that the whole year had been swallowed up by it. When I say the whole year, I don’t mean that nothing was done at all but what I am talking about is creative energy and time to laugh and have fun.

Nothing changed at the beginning of this year and around April time it seemed like this situation might go on forever. And then I saw a way to make things happen. I finally realised that while I could not change things around me I could change me: my attitude, my outlook, my way of dealing with things.

Writing and, of course that essential partner, reading, have always been a part of me and what Individual Me really wants to do most. I am not talking here about Wife Me or Mother Me or even Grandma Me;  those roles are also vital to my wellbeing, but when something goes beyond your control you have to protect all the Me’s in order to protect the whole.

That’s why somewhere back before the summer started I decided that I needed to get back to writing and reading. I had never really left; it was just whenever I did those things there was no real focus. No matter whether I was reading it or writing it I was never lost in a book the way I used to be.

I’ve been trying to make up for lost time. I am writing almost every day and I have re-read books  that I didn’t give enough attention to first time around. A little while ago I promised myself I would not fail my Goodreads Challenge this year. I am still not too sure if I will make it but I am giving it a good try.

This week I will be posting reviews every day, if I can, as well as my usual Wednesday slot, as I still have quite a few to do if I am going to cross the finishing line in time. Twenty two reviews to go!

Christmas is coming, the season of good cheer. If there is some huge issue clouding your life I want to say, hard as it is, try to compartmentalise, try to give a little time to each and every part of your life that is important to you. I hope you can reap the benefits of that little bit of control, I know I have.

Image source - Pixabay

Image source – Pixabay

The Business of Writing

img_1910As I have mentioned a few days ago here my mind is awash with plans and resolutions. I have a lot I want to do in the New Year and I don’t want to arrive at the start line unprepared.

For ten years I worked for an adult training company. It was all about system management. Virtually all of our courses were run ‘off site’ many in the company offices of our clients who had employed us to train their staff in health and safety or first aid. Even more of our courses took place in woodlands and muddy fields; Tree surgery, tractor driving and the art of dry stonewall construction. These courses were potentially dangerous for our attendees; proper pre-course instruction, suitability of the site and personal protective clothing were paramount. So too was making sure the candidates were fit for the course and the right instructor was selected.img_1908

It all boiled down to meticulous and timely planning. I loved it.

Writing was always in the background, always has been; a luxurious guilty- pleasure, an escape and a desire to create.

When I finished my first novel, in that rush of excitement that I had actually done it, I knew that this wasn’t just it. I wanted more. But I still hadn’t latched on to the idea of writing as a business. I uploaded the book to Amazon and look around with a glorious feeling of, ‘Ah, what next?’

The many books and posts ( thank you fellow bloggers!’) I have read on the various aspects of producing and marketing books have made me realise just how much work there is to do. My Systems Management Brain has finally kicked in. There has to be a plan. Any time is a good time for a plan but the beginning of a New Year is an especially good time.

Resolution No1 – Make A Plan

I believe a lot of writers will agree, this is not an easy thing to do. Following a plan is hard, but even devising and making a plan that can work for you, as an individual, is no piece of cake. So I am breaking it down into digestible chunks, just like I would when planning a training course.

  • writing
  • Blogging
  • Marketing
  • social media
  • Reading

… and I will be breaking down these topics much further as I go into them.

As a new blogger, I am still looking for ways that I can add something to the blogging community. When I very first started this I knew there were already many experienced people out there who can speak with much more authority than I. What could I add to all that expertise? It seemed a bit daunting.

But there are many people starting too, so I want to document what works and what doesn’t for me, what I enjoy and what is just hard slog! I want to share what I have learned about writing andmaybe ask a few questions too

Talk to you soon… Back to the plan!

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I’m a Little Behind…

img_1882As I have mentioned quite  a few times I am behind (not a little but a lot) with my Goodreads review challenge this year.

Having been wrapped up with so many other things at the beginning of this year it has only been in the later months that I revised what I could achieve in 2016. I set new goals but, amongst them,  I still hoped to complete my promised reviews – I still do!

Today already has lots of demands on my time but I am also going to try to post at least six reviews for great books I have read this year. The challenge goes on!