Wednesday 31 October 2012

Birthstone Unicorns Series - Topaz

Happy Halloween 
Well it's the start of a new month tomorrow and time to update you on November's gorgeous birthstone, the topaz. Check out the side bar for some information on this fiery jewel! Perfect for the next big celebration - Bonfire Night!  Here is the verse from the traditional Gregorian Poem.
"Who first comes to this world below
In dreary November's fog and snow
Should prize the topaz amber hue
Emblem of friends and lovers true."
I have also added an extract from my Birthstone Unicorns Series for this month. Click the tab above or HERE to read it.
The lovely chrysanthemum is the flower of the month. Perfect for adding a wonderful splash of colour at this time of year. Happy Birthday to all of you celebrating this month.
 P.S I am planning a small giveaway as a thank you to my followers. I have recently passed that magical 100! I am hoping to have it ready to post details on Sunday.

Thursday 25 October 2012

I've been given a Reader Appreciation Award!

The girls over at The Feather and the Rose have awarded me this lovely Reader Appreciation Award.  Doesn't it look bright and cheerful? A little reminder of warmer days! Thanks for thinking about me, glad you enjoy my blog!
The rules for this award are as follows:

1. Identify and show appreciation to the blogger who nominated you.

2. Add the reward logo to your blog.

3. Tell your readers 7 things about yourself.

4. Nominate some other bloggers.

5. Inform your nominees that you nominated them.
So here we go, thanks again  Tyler-Rose and Susan Francino
It's always tricky to keep coming up with new and interesting things to say for these things, but here's my latest attempt to provide a little amusement!

1) My chocolate of choice is Malteasers. Dangerous having a box to hand when writing though as they seem to magically disappear!! Honestly they really vanish, I can't find them anywhere, not even a sniff!

2) A confession - I like vacuuming! I know, I know I'm weird! I find it strangely relaxing and satisfying to see all the dust whizzing around in the cylinder.

3) What I should be doing now is cleaning the oven. Yuck! HATE that job!

4) Favourite comfort food - beans on toast with cheese sprinkled on top. Darn it, I really want to eat some now!

5) I went for a great walk in the woods yesterday. It was a very inspirational place and I got loads of interesting words and sentences floating into my head. I'll have to revisit soon with a notebook.

6) I'm going to zumba class this evening. It's a great workout!

7) This weekend I'm going to a ball! Yep, just like Cinderella in a coach made out of a pumpkin and white mice to drive and crystal slippers and... OK you got me, not quite like the lovely Cinderella but I am going with my 'prince' and I do get to wear a long dress and sparkly shoes!
I'm going to nominate the following blogs:
Ink in the Book - the lady with the most amazing blog backgrounds! You always have something new and interesting to say and your support is appreciated. Keep up the good work, I don't know how you find the time to do so much :)
Livia at Leave it to Livia - Livia has made a big impact in the writing community and is always ready to offer a word of support. Thanks Livia!
Heather at Random Interruptions - Heather was one of the first bloggers I met in this great community and from the start she has been so supportive.  Massive thanks, Heather.

Monday 22 October 2012

"Letting Go" Kyra Lennon's Blog Hop!

Today I'm participating in the lovely Kyra Lennon's blog hop. The hop is to support the release of her novella, "If I let you go." The theme of the day is post something based on 'letting go.' It can be fact or fiction and about pretty much anything as long as it reflects the theme. My contribution is below. Fact or fiction? Let's just say a little bit of both.

It doesn't feel right. I glance around expecting to see a pile of papers toppling precariously over the edge of the coffee table. A tangle of electrical cables littering the sofa. Arragh, how that annoys me! I mean, how can one person use so many and for what? There's rarely any sign of the ipod, phone, laptop or camera that they actually belong to. If I told you once I've told you a thousand times, "Put them away!"

But today...

Today I look around the living room and it seems empty. Everything is in it's place, neat and tidy as I like it, and yet something is missing. You.

You're all grown up and gone to university. Just as you should. As you deserve. That doesn't make the house feel any less empty or my heart any less heavy. Yesterday you left with a smile, a hug, a fond farewell. I plastered a smile on my face and choked back the tears with a joke. But you felt it too, I know you did. Sadness, fear, excitement the beginning of a whole new chapter in life.

It's time to let go of the familiar and embrace the new. For all of us life will be different from this day on.

It isn't always easy but it's necessary. Change is part of life and nothing stays the same forever. There will be exciting times ahead and new challenges. I let you go freely, with joy and love knowing that it is this that will keep you coming back.


Good luck with the blog hop and your new release, Kyra :)

Friday 19 October 2012


Hi guys, just a short post to highlight a couple of authors and their giveaways that you may not yet have heard of.

Molly Elizabeth Lee Molly is highlighting Jessica Shirvington and her YA series EMBRACE.

Sara Tribble at I am Write Sara is promoting the release of her book 'Beyond The Cell'.

Alexandra Lanc at Words of the Worlds is doing a giveaway to promote her book birthday.

Have a great weekend everyone :)

Sunday 14 October 2012

Liebster Award


I am honoured that ELAdams at From the Writer's Nest has passed this award on to me recently. I haven't done this one before so thought I would give it a go as it looks like fun. Thank you for thinking of me EL.

Here are the Liebster Blog Award rules:

1. Answer the blogger's eleven questions
2. Think of eleven questions of your own
3. Choose eleven worthy bloggers (who have fewer than 200 followers) to interview and pay it forward. I'll follow the trend and nominate less than eleven as I really don't know who has already done this one and has less than 200 followers! If I have missed you off the list and you would like to participate please consider yourself awarded also. If I have nominated you and you have already done this or don't want to pick it up for any reason, apologies.

Anyway, here are my answers to EL's questions;

1) How long have you been writing?
Forever! As a child I remember making up stories as I lay in bed, thinking 'one day I will write a book.' I also used to write poems. Fiction writing took a back seat during my twenties and thirties. I was too busy with setting up home and raising children then I started retraining in early years education and most of my writing was connected to that. I began 'seriously' writing something I hoped might be read as a story about 4 years ago.

2) What genre do you write in?
After some experiementing I seem to be finding my writing home in children's fantasy. I have written adult short stories and enjoy entering them in competitions. I was short listed for Yeovil Prize this year!

3) What would be your ideal day trip?
Ok, day trip suggests close to home so I'd say a walk along the coastal footpath with my family stopping off for a long lunch in a cosy pub. Close second would be some retail therapy!

4) Name one great book you've read?
Just one, there are so many but I'll say 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe' by C.S. Lewis.

5) Which author do you find the most inspiring?
There is so much inspiration out there so difficult to chose just one but I'd probably go for C.S. Lewis as re reading the Narnia Chronicles a few years ago really kick -started me into writing fantasy.

6) Favourite film based on a book?
I often find I enjoy the books better as I get more of a connection but I did quite enjoy 'Hunger Games' recently. This is one where I think having read the book helped me enjoy the movie because I could fill in the gaps.

7) Favourite music to listen to while writing?
I never listen to music while writing I prefer peace and quiet.

8) If you could pick one country to visit, where would it be?
Yikes just one! There are so many places I would love to see but because it is on my bucket list I'll say Niagra Falls. I know that's not a country but it's in a country and I could visit either side.

9) Favourite hobby apart from writing?
Dancing. Ballroom and latin.

10) Favourite time of year?
All seasons have special times but I love the sun so, Summer. I know we don't get that much sun in the UK!!

11) Book you're most looking forward to reading this year?
I'm just finishing up 'Insurgent' by Veronica Roth at the moment and next on my TBR list is, 'Mist' by Kathryn James. I intend to read J.K. Rowling's new book too. The problem is I'm always seeing new things or reading reviews and thinking I must read that. Too many books, too little time!

My eleven questions are;

1) How long have you been blogging?
2) What's the best piece of writerly advice you've ever heard or been given?
3) What's the one thing you can't do without when sitting down to write?
4) Cats or dogs?
5) What is your favourite room in the house?
6) What are you reading at the moment?
7) Where would you like to visit and why?
8) What superpower would you choose?
9) Tell us about your favourite author and/or book?
10)Can you share a favourite quote?
11) Freestyle! Pick your own question you would like to answer.

Have fun and enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Maria at First Draft Cafe
Heather at Random Interruptions
VikLit at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author
Alexandra at Words of the Worlds
Buffy Armstrong at Pixies don't have wings

Sunday 7 October 2012

Writer responsibility!

I recently went on some training for work. The course focused on helping children to read, write and spell. No easy task! Thoughts and advice on the most effective systems and approaches change all the time, but the fact that some children are always going to find it easier to learn these things has probably not changed. There are, of course, many reasons for this and anyone involved in education will know exactly what these are but one thing that strikes me is the importance of the written and spoken word in a child's early development. It is no secret that children learn by example, copying the important adults around them. 

Reading of bedtime stories may well have gone out of fashion of late but children who are introduced to the amazing world of stories from a young age are far more likely to enjoy books as they grow up. Having spent several years working with nursery aged children you can definitely see which children have easy access to books and which don't. They are the ones in the book corner, eagerly turning the pages of picture books and becoming engrossed in the pictures. They may 'read' the story just by looking at the pictures or by retelling a familiar tale. They don't get bored by reading the same book over and over again the familiar is comforting and safe and it is how they learn. Reading to a child also helps promote their listening skills and extends their vocabulary; important skills they will need to be successful in school.

Later, as they learn to read for themselves, they  are gaining invaluable knowledge  that will help them to write and spell. Using phonic knowledge (decoding of letter sounds) to break down words to spell or blend sounds to read. Books both fiction and non-fiction can spark their curiosity and fuel their imagination.

I imagine that pretty much everyone reading this post will already know the importance of books and reading as you are probably a writer yourself! As someone who writes for children this is a sobering thought, we have a responsibility to our young audience to get it right. The stories and characters we create could have a profound effect on a child's early development as well as their future love of reading.

Have you ever felt this responsibility? Are you conscious of the messages you send when you write - whether for adults of children?

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Opal's story

Just a really quick post to let you know I have added an extract from Opal's story Take a look HERE or click the Birthstone Unicorns tab at the top of the page if you would like to read it.

Not much else to tell you all about at the moment but I am busy working on various things so I'll post soon with more details.