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