Friday, 24 February 2017

Celebrate the small things

Well, somehow we find ourselves racing towards the end of the month again! Time to reflect and post a few small celebrations.

Since I last posted I have managed to add about 6,000 words to my current MS. Quite pleased with that progress.

I also 'rediscovered' an old MS and have done some editing on it with a view to possibly re-submitting it. I wrote it a few years ago and going back to it made me realise how much I have improved as a writer. It needs some work but the characters and plot are solid and I think it definitely deserve a second chance!

I went to London for a couple of days. Exhausting but fun time was had.

I am still managing to read quite a lot. It is my favourite way to unwind and get to sleep at night. Recent reads include;
  • Lying About Last Summer (YA)  - Sue Wallman
  • The One Memory of Flora Banks (YA)  - Emily Barr
  • A Girl Called Owl (MG)  - Amy Wilson
Three quite different stories but I enjoyed them all.

Looking forward to a quiet weekend and some more writing.

Happy weekend

                                                     Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
   Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Friday, 10 February 2017

February Birthstone - Amethyst + #CTST

Following on from last month I am revisiting a series I ran a while ago highlighting birthstones and looking at some of the myths and legends surrounding them. Birthstones are something I have researched a lot over the last few years for my chapter book series The Birthstone Unicorns. So, if you or someone you know is celebrating this month, I hope you enjoy reading about the Amethyst. Obviously, one of my favourites due to it's colour!

Amethyst is the traditional birthstone of those people born in the month of February. It is usually lilac or purple in colour and symbolizes stability, peace, courage, inner strength and a calm disposition.

Amethysts can also be known as the ‘sobriety stone.’ Believed to prevent drunkenness and other forms of addiction! However, you may prefer to use to treat headaches, insomnia, arthritis or for general pain relief.

"The February born shall find
Sincerity and peace of mind,
Freedom from passion and from care,
If they, the amethyst will wear."

(taken from the Gregorian Poem - author unknown)

In ancient times a true purple dye was costly and quite rare (see I always knew I had expensive tastes!) it is a colour often reserved for royalty and many crowns have amethysts on them. Through history they have been found everywhere from the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs to soldiers graves in Europe.

The word amethyst comes from the Greek 'amethystos' meaning not drunken. It was sacred to the God of wine and overindulgence, Dionysus. According to Greek mythology Amethyst was a young virgin who upset Dionysus when he became drunk on red wine. Amethyst sought the help of the Goddess Diana who turned the young girl into a white, shimming stone. Feeling remorse for his actions Dionysus's tears fell into his goblet of red wine, it overturned, spilling the red wine over the white rock and saturating it until it became purple.

In ancient times the amethyst has been more prized than sapphires and rubies

Amethysts have been used to adorn the rings of Bishops.

Saint Valentine was thought to wear a ring set with an amethyst in the shape of cupid.

In Medieval times soldiers often wore purple as they went into battle.They considered the amethyst an aid to healing in case of injury.

In the Chinese philosophy  of Feng Shui amethysts enhance the wealth corner, focusing on giving and receiving of material wealth.

                                                     Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
   Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

This week I am celebrating the start of a weeks half-term holiday in the UK. I am hoping to get some serious writing done! 

Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Celebrate the small things

Another busy week and somehow we seem to have crept into February!

This week I'm celebrating completing another chapter in my current manuscript. Would have liked to do more, but as I said busy week all round and I have been really tired by the evening!

Time Travelling with a Hamster by [Welford, Ross]I read another MG book this week  ~Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford.

On his twelfth  birthday Al receives a letter from his dead father. He learns his father built a time machine and he wants Al to find it and travel back in time to save him. 

Al soon discovers that time travel requires bravery and imagination. It also requires lies, bending the rules and avoiding bumping into yourself! His is accompanied on his daring adventures by his pet hamster, Alan Shearer.

I found this a touching tale of dealing with heartache and grief but told with humour. I also learnt a lot about the potential scientific issues involved in time travel!

Happy weekend

                                                     Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
   Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Friday, 27 January 2017

Celebrate the small things

Hi everyone, sorry I haven't posted on this hop for a while. If you read my short post last week you will no doubt be aware of my computer issues! Which leads nicely onto my first celebration of the week . . . getting to grips with my new computer. I had a few teething problems to begin with but computer and I seem to be developing a close friendship and hopefully it will last a good while! I had my previous laptop for a number of years so I can't really complain.

Last week was my birthday . . . yes 21 again! Although I was working I had a good day and a nice meal with family in the evening. Apart from the aforementioned computer I was lucky enough to receive a beautiful, sparkly, unicorn cover for my phone!

So very me!

My reading for the year has got off to an excellent start and I have already read some great books for adults, YA and MG

I'd particularly like to mention an MG read The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson.

The story follows twelve year old Matthew Corbin. Matthew is funny, kind and very likeable but he has an overwhelming fear of germs which is making his life very difficult. His anxieties cause him to spend much of his life indoors, watching the world go by from his window. All until a toddler disappears in his street and Matthew was the last to see him from his window. Matthew has to confront his own fears and obsessive behaviour to help unravel the mystery. As the story unfolds we learn more about Matthew and the events that have led to his OCD.

Moving, funny and well-researched.

This reminded me of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon in many ways.

In my own writing I have completed the first few chapters of my new manuscript. A long way to go but progress is being made which is the most important thing.

Happy weekend

                                                     Thanks to Lexa and her lovely co-hosts
            L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge 
   Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Quick little update ... I am still here!

I know I disappeared from my blog for while. It wasn't planned! My computer was getting slower and slower and getting on and off took so long I ran out of time to actually blog!

BUT then I had my birthday last week and guess what? Hubby bought me a new laptop! Yay! I wasn't expecting it so it was an even nicer surprise. It is different to my last one (It turns on instantly!!) seriously, though I am getting used to it. I am not the most tech savvy gal so bear with me! I normally pride myself on being an excellent typist but the new keyboard 'feels' different and it seems to be aligned slightly differently to my previous one which is making for some interesting spelling errors while I get used to it all. Also, of course, it has Windows 10 which I am still exploring.

However, these are all interesting issues to have and I am so happy to have the new computer. Now, if it only came with some software that could knock out a best seller in six weeks it would be just perfect!

Hoping to get a proper post up later in the week, until then best wishes all.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Birthstones revisited - January (Garnet)

If you have followed my blog for a while you will no doubt have read some of my posts on birthstones. I have been fascinated by gems and the various legends that surround them for years. Indeed, it was combining my interest with them and my obsession fondness for unicorns that was the inspiration for my Birthstone Unicorn early reader series.

It has been a couple of years since I wrote about birthstones on my blog so I thought it might be fun to revisit some of my earlier posts. 

If you, or someone you know, is celebrating a birthday during January then let me tell you a little more about the lovely Garnet, this month's birthstone. My birthday is this month so it is a particular favourite of mine! Here is my own little birthstone unicorn . . . 

The traditional birthstone for January, the garnet is normally thought of as deep red in colour but they can actually be found in many other colours such as orange, yellow, green, purple, brown and black. Associated with purity, truth, faithfulness and friendship they are also thought to remove negativity in the wearer. I'm definitely going to be wearing my garnet this month to ensure I start the the year with lots of positive thoughts!

There are lots of stories and legends surrounding the garnet below are just a few!

* Legend suggests that the garnet originated with Persephone, the Greek goddess of sunshine. Persephone was captured by Hades, the god of the underworld. Hades gave Persephone some pomegranate seeds to ensure her return. Take a look at the seeds next time you eat a pomegranate!

* The word garnet comes from the Latin 'granatus' which  means seed. 

* Garnet is said to prevent bloodshed between enemies.

* Garnets have been found in burial sites dating back to 3000 BC. It is thought they were placed there to protect the dead on their journey to the afterlife.

* Stories from the Bible say that Noah hung a garnet on the ark to help light the way through the flood.

* Native American tribes decorated dream catchers with garnets and used them on their hunting shields.

* Many cultures have suggested the wearing of a garnet would help calm a fever, protect from poison, reduce swelling and stop bleeding.

* Some Eastern  Legend says that dragon's eyes were garnets.

There are two very different flowers for the month of January the showy carnation and the simple elegance of the snowdrop. 

Traditionally birthstones represent a month of the year based on the Gregorian calendar. There is a poem about the associated birthstones and below is the verse for January. The poem was first published in 1870 by Tiffany & Co. The original author is unknown.

By her who in this month was born
No gem save garnets shall be worn
They will ensure her constancy
True friendship and fidelity

Happy birthday if you are celebrating this month! Stop by the blog next month to read about the February birthstone, Amethyst.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Insecure Writer's Support Group (Jan 2017)

Happy New Year everyone and welcome to the first IWSG posting of 2017. I hope you are set for a great writing year ahead.

I've decided to banish insecurities for January . . . in fact I'm hoping the positive feelings will continue way past this month. I have been researching and making notes on a new story idea and I'm keen to throw myself into this while I wait to hear back from other submissions from last year. 

I've carved myself a new writing space at home and equipped it with the necessary notebooks, pens, post-its and other artefacts designed to stimulate my writing muscles!

This month's optional question is; What writing rule do you wish you'd never heard? 

This is a tricky one to for me as I'm not a big fan of writing rules in general! I think the real writing magic occurs when we break some of the conventionally held rules. Of course, I follow the mechanics of spelling, punctuation and grammar but otherwise I think it is fine to experiment. 

I also have to say I'm not a fan of the mantra 'write every day' or 'write 1000, 2000 words (or whatever) every day.'  I think this can be setting yourself up for failure and putting too much pressure on yourself can be counter-productive.  I appreciate it probably works admirably for many, and that's great, but for me it's not helpful. I think the creative process is a very personal thing and it is about finding what works for you and, more importantly, what makes you happy. 

Happy writer = productive writer! 

Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and this month's team of co-hosts;

                                                                   Eva @ Lillicasplace
                                                                       Crystal Collier
                                                                    Sheena-kay Graham
                                                                         Chemist Ken
                                                                          LG Keltner
                                                                     Heather Gardner