Friday, 30 December 2011

New Year, New Resolutions!

If I looked back over my blog posts, I think I'd be unsurprised to find that many of them are a whinge of some kind.  It's so easy to fall into that trap, perhaps, knowing that there are sympathetic souls who are fellow writers reading them, but it's probably not a good mind-set to have as default!
I'm not making a New Year's resolution to stop whingeing, because it's quite fun, but I am resolving to stop putting myself into a situation where I feel the need to whinge... quite so often.

After a few weeks off from writing, I realise that I have been putting myself under a lot of pressure. 

Having had some success with short stories in the past year, I've been feeling a real horror of 'failing' and not having any more/as many accepted.   Also, having decided to keep everything 'up front', I've engaged an accountant and submitted my tax return - but that has made me extra determined to keep the money coming in so that I have something to put on subsequent tax returns... don't want to be paying my accountant more than I'm earning!  Also, as I've mentioned before, I've been bowing to other people's expectation that the next step is to write a novel and have tried in vain to fit this into my life (which is already quite full to be honest!)

It's time to take a step back!

My resolution is to write for profit and PLEASURE.  I will write at my own speed, as and when I have time.  I will try not to fret if I can't write for a few days.  I may decide to write for three months and then have a month off to recharge.  I'm setting no hard and fast rules, just some sensible guidelines.

This year has been a writiing rollercoaster ride, thrilling and depressing in turn.  I aim for 2012's ride to be a little smoother. 

Best of luck to those who are doing Sally Quilford's 100K in 100 Days.  I'm probably opting out of that, but I'll be cheering you on and writing from the sidelines!

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year xx

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Just Like a Bus...

No, I'm not talking about the size of my bum...

Having had no opportunity to write my blog until this evening, I've now written two posts.  See?  Wait ages for one (not that you were) and then two come along!

This is to wish all of you a prematurely MERRY CHRISTMAS! as it's unlikely that I'll have time for blogging in the next three weeks, what with shopping, presents to wrap, cards to write, baking to do, people to visit, visitors to entertain... well, you all know how it is - or should I say how lovely it is?  Because it is! 

My writing has been pretty much knocked on the head until January - and I am really looking forward to Sally Quilford's 100k in 100 days challenge - find it and Sally at  I already have a list of things I want to write, and although I know I won't have the time to write 1000 words every day, it's so much more fun to write alongside others and cheer each other on!

Just for good measure, here's another snowy picture - it's nearly Christmas after all!

Two Awards, Thank you!

My award from the wonderful Rebecca Bradley at Life in Clarity

My award from the lovely Annalisa Crawford at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep
 Hello everyone!

I'd like to thank Annalisa and Rebecca for the awards - and it is now my pleasure to pass them both on to the following people!

In accepting the Liebster Blog Award, the recipient agrees to:

- Thank the person who gave them the award and link back to that person's blog

- Copy and paste the award to their blog
- Reveal the 5 blogs they have chosen to award, commenting on their blog to break the news!
- Hope those people in turn pay it forward by accepting and awarding "The Liebster Blog Award" to bloggers they would like to honour

This award is for anyone with fewer than 200 followers. :)
And the 'One Lovely Blog' award, I have to award to 15 people!  I don't know whether I know that many bloggers!  I'm afraid I'm going to have to be a maverick and award it to less!

I'd like to award BOTH awards to the following bloggers whose blogs I really enjoy reading!

Jenny at
Nancy Thompson at
Catherine at

I would like to also award the One Lovely Blog award to Rebecca and would, of course, like to send it back to Annalisa!  Annalisa, I am pretty sure, has already received the Liebster award, but I'm awarding it to you again, anyway!

The One Lovely Blog Award also goes to

Kitty Howard at
Peggy Eddleman at

who both have lots of followers, but their blogs really are lovely!
Goodness, I'm all awarded out!

I'm really sorry if I've not done this awarding thing correctly - I'm not even sure how to link back to people's blogs, so I hope I've done that right! 

Anyway, enjoy your awards, everyone!  Hugs all round!

Linda x

Friday, 18 November 2011

A Twist in the Tale

My main problem when writing is to find an original twist for the tale.  Not for every tale - they don't all need one as we all know - but sometimes that little zesty twist is really needed to give the story some zing.

I don't know whether I have a lazy brain or am just plain unimaginative, but I have to say I find it really hard to dredge up something unexpected from the sludgy depths of the stagnant canal that my mind often turns into when faced with this...

I'd be really grateful for any tips, please!

Friday, 11 November 2011

A Decision Reached

Writing my blog entry for the Insecure Writer's Support Group last Wednesday got me thinking.

My insecure moan was about sometimes wishing I'd never started writing because it's stressful fitting it into a busy life, but is impossible to stop once you've started.

Having spent a week feeling horribly stressed about not having enough time to do any writing, I have decided to stop beating myself up.

My ambition, just over a year ago, was to get a short story published in a women's magazine.
Once my first story was accepted, I decided I'd aim to have three published.  Once the third was accepted, I decided six was a good number...

Writing short stories is great!  Although at least two thirds of what I submit is sent back to me with a polite rejection message, I'm having some success and have now had seven accepted, all in the space of a year.  I AM SO THRILLED WITH THIS! 


People keep telling me I should write a novel and then follow that up by asking me how I'm getting on with it.  I've tried several times to get started on one, but I find the thought of taking on a long project that I can only write in drips and drabs without a guarantee that I'll even have time to write every day (I have a day job and a family, after all!) really stressful.  Some people can do it but I can't; it's just the way I am!

I felt horribly jealous when NaNoWriMo started - I felt so resentful that I had to go to work when what I really wanted to do was sit home with the phone unplugged and WRITE WRITE WRITE!


I've arrived at the decision to forget the novel for now.  I have ideas - many - and they are all safely stored in notepads and on my memory stick.  They will keep and will, I hope, mature like a fine wine or a  rich fruit cake.

I am not putting myself under pressure any more.  I absolutely love writing and have no intention of stopping, but I am going to keep writing stories.  This fits in with my life as it is now.  In the future I have no doubt this will change.  When the time is right, I will do it - but because I WANT TO and MUST, not because I'm feeling I should.

Sorry to waffle on... I'm just so relieved to have tidied up my head and made a decision!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's that day again!
Wow - how does the first Wednesday in every month come around so quickly?!

Do you ever wish, even just for a moment, that you'd never started this writing lark?

I sometimes look back to days when my evenings and weekends were just filled with... well, ordinary things like reading, cooking, watching tv, the odd bit of housework... and feel a little pang of nostalgia.

I always wanted to be a writer.  I wrote voraciously through my teens, confident that one day it would be my 'proper' job.  However, life doesn't go according to plan, as we all know, and I was 39 before I found myself with (almost!) enough time on my hands to consider giving it a go.  I'd never stopped writing - in my head.  I'd scribble notes on the back of receipts - anything - when out or on holiday and an idea or a line of dialogue struck me; I just never had time to use them.

Now, I am so, so grateful to have had my short stories accepted and published, but the pressure I'm feeling is sometimes so huge I feel the need to hide.  I'm the one applying this pressure, of course, but the stress of finding enough time to write around my day job, of waiting for acceptance or rejection, of wanting to write and having to sit and make small talk with the MiL instead, sometimes makes me feel like tearing my hair out.

I know that I won't give up.  I tried to a couple of years ago and came slinking back to the laptop eventually.   If you're a writer, it's just there, inside you.  Convincing others that you're a writer with something to say that's worth reading is the hard part, and sometimes, with the novel that I want to write but am yet afraid to start looming over me, I wonder if I can really do it.

I've come to the conclusion that it's fine to feel insecure and beaten at times - it's probably much healthier than rolling along on a calm, confident sea and becoming complacent.  There's much further to fall from there!

:)  Linda

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Oh Blogger!

Yet again, Blogger won't let me comment on my own blog!

Here are the comments I was trying to add:

Jenny - I'm glad it's not only me who finds Greek hard! I'd love to try a worksheet (or two)  if you find them! ;)

Catherine - I quite often forget I've got a blog and therefore forget to add to it!  So glad to know you like reading it - I'll try harder!  Merci bien!

Sarah - Err... yeah, confession time - I have dyed my whole head before now but don't do it any more (just the roots) as it's so GREY under the dye my hair has gone wiry and out of conditon!  Yikes!

Caitlin - I think you're a lot younger than me so it makes me feel much better to know you don't like being moshed either!

Peggy - who cares about housework, eh? Boring boring boring! We perfectionists have more lofty things to obsess about...

Annalisa - thanks again for the award!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Thank you Annalisa Crawford!

I've been nominated for The Versatile Blogger award (isn't it pretty?) by Annalisa Crawford at Wake up, Eat, Write, Sleep.  Annalisa's a versatile and interesting blogger herself, so check out her blog if you haven't already!

Now, apparently, I have to tell you seven things about myself and then nominate fifteen other blogs (do I even know that many bloggers?!).  I'll do my best...

Ok, get ready to be fascinated:

1.  I colour my roots (let's get that one out of the way)

2.  In my teens I wrote a poem about a middle aged man who picks up a young girl on a bus. She turns     out to be a serial killer and murders him, post-coital.  It all rhymed but unfortunately I can't find it.  Or maybe that's a good thing...

3.  I love Jilly Cooper books and am also a huge fan of Rose Tremain.

4.  The song that makes me go all goose-bumpy is 'Pretty in Pink' by the Psychedelic Furs, especially the intro.  Not sure why, but it never fails!

5.  I want to learn Greek but am feeling defeated before I've begun.  It looks so hard...

6.  I'm a bit of a perfectionist apart from when it comes to housework... 

7.  I got moshed at a gig for the first time aged 42.  Yes, it hurt and I didn't like it!

And now for the blogs I'm nominating:
I have to apologise if these blogs have received the award before as I'm a fairly new follower to some of them!

Catherine Breton at  Catherine blogs in French, but I'm all for a bit of variety and her blog is one of my favourites.

Rebecca Bradley at  Rebecca's blog is a great mix of writing stuff, book reviews and life.

Jenny at Fulfilling Dreams - an amusing and supportive blogger

Sarah Pearson at  A generously supportive blogger and an entertaining read. - Kittie Howard is new to me but her blog is easy on the eye and lots of fun. - another blog that's new to me but is well-written and Nancy's a very friendly blogger!

HOW AM I DOING?  I'VE NEARLY RUN OUT!  Peggy Eddleman is also new to me and I've been thoroughly enjoying her blogs and all the photos of mouthwatering cookies...  Cherie Writes.  Another friendly and supportive blogger and her blog is really well put together - I wish I knew how to make mine look like that!  another blog I'm new to - have a look if you're not already a follower!  another supportive fellow-writer, Barbara Kloss  another new blog to me, but well-written and interesting to read!

And now for something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT...  I thought I'd go quirky for my last one.  Nothing to do with writing, a bit off the wall, but certainly entertaining!

That's all folks!  I don't know anyone else!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

To Kindle or not to Kindle?

I have yet to invest in one of these new-fangled(ish) electronic reading devices.  The thing, is, I've never been able to decide whether they're a GOOD THING or a STEP IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!  

I know that Kindle is a boon in one way to us writers as we can now publish for Kindle in the absence of a 'paper' publishing contract, but I was wondering whether it's going to be the death of books as some suggest.  I certainly don't want to play a part in the death of books as I love everything about having a 'proper' copy of a book and then there's all the joy to be experienced in the process of lending it out and sharing the love.  Not quite the same with a Kindle.  And, of course, I do one day hope to have a novel out in paperback myself!

What do you think?  I know a lot of writers who have Kindles and I'm really tempted to put one on my Christmas list, especially as they're now £90. 
I have also been telling myself that you can't halt 'progress' and that millions will be buying Kindles even if I don't, so will it really make any difference?

I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this subject!  (Please forgive me if I don't reply to your comment as Blogger has taken against me and won't let me comment on my own blog for some reason!)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Response to comments!

Blogger won't let me respond - something to do with cookies! So...

Thank you so much everyone for your encouraging words!
Catherine, I am touched that you have actually tracked down the magazine so you can read my story! I would have been happy to email you scanned copies from the magazine (and still would be.  I'm looking forward to the challenge of reading Le Secret des Roslands (sorry if that's not right) en francais!

Thanks to everyone for coming by - I will be seeking out your blogs if I haven't already and having a read!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!  :-)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Insecure Writer's Support Group

It's true, I have been feeling insecure lately.

Before going on holiday I submitted quite a few stories and came back to find that none of them had been accepted.
I then got up, brushed myself down and started writing some more only to have them rejected for various reasons (mostly to do with having received a lot of stories on that subject already etc).  Although it wasn't a direct dig at my ability, I still felt stupid for not noticing (I have been reading the mags for over a year so should be pretty 'up' on what's being covered!)
Determined not to give up, I have written some more and - finally- had one accepted today.  So, to be honest I'm not feeling as insecure as I was yesterday, but still...
I've got this novel to start.  The enormity of it is what's stopping me, I think.  I've had some great advice about just tackling a chapter at a time, which I intend to take, but I'm so afraid my story will peter-out and I'll be left feeling as though I didn't think it through and have written a load of mindless rubbish.
I'm not saying that's what I'm going to write, but my fear is that I will feel like that about it!  While it's just here in my head it's a lovely, atmospheric story... on paper it may be hollow trash.
I wouldn't normally wallow in defeat before I've even tried, but as this is the day for writing the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog, I feel it's ok!
Glad to have got all that off my chest, anyway!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Feeling the Flow!

~After a summer of having a head full of clouds, I'm starting to see the light again!
I'm pretty sure I've sent poor Clare at Woman's Weekly some fairly uninteresting and contrived stories during my 'cloud' period, so I won't be surprised or disappointed when they ping back to me.  The good news for me is that my mind has been freed from the clouds - strangely enough with a very low dose of HRT!  If I'd realised what the problem was, I'd have gone and sorted it out months ago!

So, my brain is once again as active as my fingers.  In fact, it's so active that I actually remembered that I have a blog and should put something on it once in a while!

While I'm here, can I please apologise to anyone who's left me comments that I haven't replied to?  Most of the time Blogger won't let me comment on my blog - I don't know why, but if anyone else does, please let me know!  Apparently I haven't got the right sort of account...???  So I message people where I can find a way to or try and comment on their blog if it will let me! 

I'm currently writing one last long-short story before settling down to write the first draft of my novel.  I'm hatching some plot ideas and character traits while I wait and think, so I'm not just putting it off, honest! 

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Contemplating that first draft...

I have the idea, I have some characters (and am expecting a few more!), I have the location... but I don't seem to have the rocket under me to make a start!

I think the problem is that I've been writing short stories for over a year now (and have had 5 published in Woman's Weekly) (she says smugly) and there's a part of me (my ego) that can't let go of that desire to get more published.  Having had a few rejected over the summer, I'm finding it really hard to admit that maybe I've run out of original ideas for now and should admit temporary defeat and start on the novel.  I keep thinking "Just one more..." 

A novel is also terrifyingly long and I have a tendency to get bored quickly... However, I don't want to be limited to writing only short stories, especially as the market seems to be shrinking and becoming so much more competitive.

I'm a great believer in things happening when the time is right.  I guess the time isn't right tonight, but it might be right tomorrow night or next week.  I'll let you know when the rocket takes off!

Hope you're all happy and well.  Thanks for stopping by! :-)

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Time to get serious!

Well, having come back from my holiday with an idea for a novel and a determination to have written the first draft before I go back to Zakynthos next year, I've decided to knock the short stories on the head for now (unless one is bursting to be told) and dedicate the next few months to the novel.

I must admit to feeling a bit daunted - I have only a moderate amount of faith in my staying-power.  Having the attention span of a flea, I tend to get bored before I ever get to finish a first draft, hence my predilection for writing short stories.

Having attempted the 80K in 80 Days challenge this year and having observed other writers' progress with said challenge, I think I have a much better idea of how to write a first draft now than I did before.

Watch this space!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Feeling the Love

I am so so happy to have received this award from Jenny at Fulfilling Dreams.  Thank you, Jenny for being an extremely supportive fellow writer!

The Liebster Award (meaning “friend” in German) is meant to connect us even more and spotlight new bloggers who have less than 200 followers – but hopefully not for long. The rules are:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the Internet – other writers.
5. And best of all – have fun and spread
the karma! 

It's going to be hard to pick 5 fellow bloggers - especially as I'm new to blogging and don't have that many contacts at the moment! I think everyone's got more followers than me!


(Jenny, I'd send it back to you if I could...)

Catherine at Plume Dansante who was chatty, involved and supportive during MYWYN gets the award first of all from me.

Now I will have to go and look for some fellow bloggers who need the love and followers! 

Jenny, you made my day!

15/08/11 AND A BIG THANK YOU TOO, TO Annalisa Crawford at Wake up, Eat, Write, Sleep who has also given me the Liebster Award!  :-)

Monday, 8 August 2011

Oh POO! And some GOOD STUFF too!

Back from two wonderful weeks in Zakynthos to find three short story rejections in my inbox.  That's the POO part, by the way.  I admit to feeling a little deflated, but to be honest I was half expecting two of them to come pinging back at me and I think I'm getting a little more inured to rejection now.  Easier to cope with if it's tempered with a touch of occasional success (I have a story in Woman's Weekly this week) but still a bit of a kick for the old self-belief!

On the GOOD STUFF side, I have a new idea for a novel - inspired by my holiday - and lots of notes and photos and am feeling fairly excited (and daunted) about getting that started.  Should be able to get a fair bit done over the summer holidays as long as the MIL isn't too much of a drain on my time and emotions (think leech crossed with a deflated balloon and you're about there).  Shouldn't be too hard on her, I suppose, but she refuses to go out and find herself something to pass the time and just relies on us to pay visits and sit staring at the wall while she complains.  Not the stuff most inducive to feeling creative!  And, yes, she will end up in a novel sooner or later. 

If anyone reads this, I hope you're having a good summer so far!  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Waiting for the Writing Juices to Flow...

One night away in a hotel (for my husband's birthday) and after weeks of a head jammed full of life and day-job the story ideas are creeping in again - hooray!
I was beginning to wonder if my imagination had packed up and retreated into the back of my skull to hide from everything pressing in on it - I wouldn't have blamed it at all - but, no, it still seems to be there.  I have already packed my pad and pen to take on holiday with me in anticipation of my poor brain making up for lost time and  spouting plots and characters at me once everything else has receded and been replaced with huge decisions like which cocktail to choose.  Bliss!
The trouble is, my husband and friends keep asking me when I'm going to finish/write my novel and the answer seems to be that there's not much chance of being able to do it while I'm working full time.  I'm afraid that for me to write anything other than short stories, life needs to be less frenetic - and I don't see that happening!  At least I get the school holidays off, which I know is more than many of my writer friends have.  It will just have to be written in drips and drabs and I'll be about 70 when I finally get it finished... :-)
Have a good few weeks, everyone - no more from me until August now!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Life, the universe and everything... GETTING IN THE WAY!

It's that time of year again when the days and weeks accelerate and I stand by in mute helplessness as my life whizzes past me with a cheery wave.  I'm talking about THE END OF TERM.  A time for winding down, you might think, but NO!  So much to do and so little time to do it in!  Shows to assist with, trips to go on, special projects to bring to fruition... and in the middle of all that a novel to write.

Basically, it ain't getting writ.  There, I've admitted it.  It's here in my head, nudging at me now and then as if to say "Don't forget me, Mummy!", but it's not making it onto the screen right now.

It IS going to get writ, though - just in very small quantities.  What I am really looking forward to is lying on the beach in Zakynthos in a few weeks time with a notebook and all the time in the world.  Bring it on!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Poorly Writer Puts Unfinished Novel in Danger

And yes, the headline above (well, title really) refers to me and my WIP (Work in Progress to my lovely non-writing followers.)

Everybody except me probably knows about the dangers associated with reading what you've written after suffering from a chronic headache for four days and having to deal with a hypochondriac/needy MIL (Mother in Law to you lucky people without one...).

Let's just say it was a close thing.  I read it in disgust, wrote critical, blunt notes to self all over it and planned to abandon it.  I don't even know what stopped me deleting it then and there.

I'm glad to say it's survived and has been added to this weekend.  It's not exactly literature, but it just might be readable after a couple of years of working on it...  ;-)

Saturday, 4 June 2011

First Person?

My mum always said she didn't like novels written in the first person - she didn't elaborate and now I wish I'd asked her why.

Obviously, there are pros and cons if you are writing in the first person:

The main pro is probably that it's much easier to 'show' rather than 'tell' as you are inside the character's mind...
and the main con is probably that, as the author, you are restricted to that one character's viewpoint, unless you break the rules - my teenage daughter has mentioned that one or two of the gothic teen-type novels she's read recently have...

I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on breaking the 'rule' on this!

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Finger-Freezing Fear

Other writers will probably know what I mean by this... those frequent moments when the self-belief-sapping gremlins creep into the room and then into your head and whisper in your ear (from the inside, obviously) that you are rubbish and are just kidding yourself IN A BIG WAY.  Mean, nasty little things - they deserve to be stamped on but it is just so easy to listen to their poisonous little voices.

I am sure I am not the only one who has read a published novel and thought "Golly gosh, how on earth did that get published?  I can jolly well do much better than that"?  But then you read back what you've written (I know, I know, DON'T DO IT!) and the gremlins tell you that:

a) you haven't done any better than the novel you scorned
b) you're a big-head and suffering from delusion if you happen to be pleased with what you've written.

Your fingers freeze on the keys in fear and your brain launches into a fast spin.

DO NOT LET THE GREMLINS WIN!  Envisage blowing them out of your nose (well, they are in your head) into a big hanky, scrunching it hard and stamping on it.  Imagine their pathetic little screams and the writhing inside the hanky.  Put it in the dustbin and clamp on the lid.

And also remember that if you don't try you will never know!

That's better - I'm off to take my own advice now!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Oh Cripes!

I think being changeable and unpredictable is all to do with being an Aquarian, which is fine and dandy until it spills over into my work...
I was trolling along with my WIP, sometimes flying and sometimes slogging my way through treacle, but fairly happy until... BAM!
Yesterday morning I woke up with a completely different vision of it in my head, planted there ethereally by some all-seeing literary critic from another realm, with a whole new starting point and unfolding of the story required.  Not so much a Eureka! moment as FFS! moment, I'm afraid.
With a deep sigh, I have re-started it today.  I was SO looking forward to going on holiday this year with a first draft under my belt, but it ain't gonna happen now.  Neither will I be typing THE END on 19th July at the end of the MYWYN challenge. 
I seriously hope we will keep the FB page going as I am going to need some support, please, for quite a while longer!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Instant gratification vs. in it for the long-haul...

Before I started writing short stories, everything I produced was a potential first draft of a novel.  I would plough on with it for weeks or months and finally get bored with it.  Working on the assumption that if I, the writer, am bored then there isn't much chance of anyone enjoying reading it, I have ditched project after project.  MYWYN - - has given me a reason to continue.  I can't emphasise enough how reassuring and simply companionable it is to rub (virtual) shoulders with other writers and aspiring writers and cheer each other on and up!  Through other writers I have come to realise that everyone struggles at times and that the first draft is a useful framework to model the next draft on, but not a perfect, carved in stone work of art.  It's ok to get bored with what I'm writing because when the draft is finished it can all be changed.  I have also learned not to edit as I go along (or 'Addit' - )  because I get so embroiled that I go round and round in circles and lose sight of what I was meant to be doing - e.g. finishing the darned story!

I have to say, though, that even though I am persevering better than ever before with writing my novel, I get the occasional ache to write a short story and feel the heady satisfaction that creating something complete in the space of a few hours brings. 

Maybe I don't have the patience to be a writer of novels - I think I'm a bit of a quick-fix junkie - but we'll see!