Month: June 2014

Mondays! Ouch!


I went to the library today and picked up a couple of books but they couldn’t help me with my strange request:












The joy of Mondays. Where would we be without them? How has your Monday been? Mine could have been better so hence all the silly pictures to jolly things along a bit. Tomorrow’s Tuesday, Hoorah!


The copy-editing experience

Reblogged from Sandra Danby. Very informative and detailed advice for writers about editing, writing, submitting.

sandra danby

This is an unusually long post from me today, as I want to write about copy-editing. One thing I wasn’t prepared for when preparing the manuscript (MS) of Ignoring Gravity for the Britain’s Next Bestseller launch was copy-editing. One of the conditions of the contract was that the MS had to be professionally copy-edited. This was something I just hadn’t got around to organising. Cue: last-minute panic. New Hart's Rules 7-6-14It wasn’t that I didn’t know it would have to be edited, but I hadn’t factored in the time needed. The novel has been read so many times, in its many forms and with its different titles, by so many different people, surely copy-editing is just picking up bad punctuation? Wrong.

I am so thankful that a journalist colleague now runs a copy-editing business. Dea Parkin [below] and I go back a long way, I trust her. Fiction Feedback gave me a brilliant…

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What is a short story?

Reblogged from Bridget Whelan. I struggle with writing short stories. When I came across this I just had to reblog.


short story is a hot air balloonSomeone asked me recently to define a short story. I could understand her difficulty because it’s much easier to say what’s it’s not.

It’s not an idea that could have been developed into a novel had the writer the energy or inclination to go on a 80,000 word journey.

It seems to me that you have to write for the length of the idea. Some need the sharpness of flash fiction; some require the fine detail that’s achievable in 5000 words while other ideas want the expanse of a full length novel to grow and reach maturity. The great Irish writer Seán Ó Faoláin said a short story is to a novel as a hot air balloon is to a passenger jet. I guess the point he was making is that while they may both rise above the clouds they do it in very different ways.

William Boyd writing in…

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Sleepovers – A Teenage Bonding Ritual


The Sleepover makes me laugh. What has sleep got to do with it? I reckon teenagers should rename the sleepover, The Stay Up All Nighter! The adults have to stay calm while the teenagers let loose!

download (1)

What is the ‘Sleepover’ all about?

Well from a teenager’s point of view there is nothing quite like it. Where else can you eat vast quantities of pizza, garlic bread, ice cream, popcorn and sweets and stay up into the ‘wee’ hours talking to your besties? When I say talking I don’t mean hushed whispers, I mean loud giggles, screams, and lots and lots of shrieks. Oh and compulsory jumping or running about. Mustn’t forget to include those ones!


No doubt they gossip about boys, bitch about girls and rant about teachers. The sleepover is a bonding session. A way to forge those all important sisterhood ties between girls.

So why blog about this today? Well this is the morning after, the night before. Last nights sleepover went pretty well. The girls started their night by going to see A Fault in our Stars. A perfect start, lots of sobbing to draw them together in this bonding ritual. (I’m just jealous, I want to see this myself, I must go soon!!!)

Now I don’t have any sons but I expect the male sleepover ritual is probably fairly similiar except for the makeup shenanigans, and the chit-chat is probably more focused on football than fashion!

All sorts of things happen at sleepovers. Kids do sometimes fall out and end up crying in the middle of the night. Air beds get punctured. There are weird noises in the middle of the night. On one occasion I heard the sound of constant running water at 2 o’clock in the morning to find three girls trying to remove a heavy-duty face pack! There are coughing fits, even the odd bout of sickness. We even had a power cut once. So they’re always eventful, especially if they are to celebrate a birthday. Then the excitement levels hop onto a rapidly moving escalator and don’t stop!  Let’s just say that there is never a dull moment when you’re a parent!

Without doubt one of the funniest memories I have is a fairly recent occasion when my husband and I went out and left the sleepovers too it. Well, they were in the capable hands of my eighteen year old daughter. She was in charge! We escaped, scooting out the door for a pub dinner promising that we wouldn’t be out too late.


There was a barbeque at the pub but we just didn’t feel in the mood for a bbq, odd really, but anyway, we had to find somewhere else to eat. So by the time we did that and had a few drinks, and mellowed into the evening, we just forgot the time. When we got back home, the house was still standing, and my youngest daughter greeted me with an amusing tale. The three sleepover girls were worried that WE were ok! We had stayed out longer than they expected and the 13/14-year-old girls thought some terrible fate had befallen us! Role reversal or what? This is interesting. Shows a depth of maturity, oh my god, my youngest is growing up!

Sleepovers are here to stay whether we like them or not. They are a fabric of teenage life. When the sleepover invitees wake up in the morning, two things can happen. They can greet you with a guilty smile and say how much they enjoyed the sleepover and thank you enthusiastically, or they can fail to do so. If they remember this part of the ritual then you know that your son or daughter has found the right friends. The ones that respect and appreciate what we as parents do for them. Luckily both my daughters have made this spectacular leap and now have friends that pass the ritual!

So, the Sleepover is challenging, but super important and that is why one just had to feature in the novel I am currently editing. Compulsory. Though this fictional sleepover is not like any you’ve ever been to. Well not unless you’ve magic powers that you’re hiding! Ok, there are elements that are the same, the chit-chat, the bonding, but this is fantasy. I just LOVE writing fantasy, and sleepovers deserve a brush with fantasy I reckon.

What do you think? Have you any funny sleepover stories you would like to share? Please do, I would love to hear them.

Photo credit – Free google pictures and

Nature’s Tonic~

This is so beautiful I just had to reblog from

Water is a healing balm,
bringing those who contemplate calm.
Essence of life.
Absence of strife.
Water is wine,
for the soul.
Cheers to you with water’s natural high~
“While men believe in the infinite some ponds will be thought to be bottomless.” Thoreau

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Black Sheep

A poem about Black Sheep. We all have at least one in a family! Had to reblog this, from thebonnyblog.

The Bonny Blog

I drift into a metaphor
feet first
a breech
you turn and tar me
let me in
no longer white
but black
it is decidedly more fun
this way

family beware

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Poetry – Infinity

Reblogging this from The World According To Me. Lovely poem.

The World According to Me

The stars are shining bright tonight

Twinkling and crystal clear

The wind is ever so slight

Rustling the leaves

Your hand reaches for mine

A gentle touch

Lips so soft and a kiss so tender

Takes me to a place I’ve never known

A love that will last for Infinity

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Get A Romance-Filled Bedroom With Feng Shui

Reblogging this from D.Dominik Wicklesromance. Fascinated by Feng Shui.

D. Dominik Wickles, Romance Author

Chinese lettering for feng shui

Feng means wind and shui means water and in Chinese cultures, wind and water are associated with good health. The Chinese people have been using the ancient art of feng shui to balance energies to ensure health and good fortune for over 3,000 years.There are early recordings from the Tang Dynasty of employing feng shui masters to select auspicious sites and feng shui texts as required reading for those taking Imperial exams.

Master Yang Yun Sang was considered the founder of the landscape school of feng shui which focuses on the importance of selecting an auspicious site that has the Dragon’s energy. This involves very careful examination of the shape of land formations, such as mountains, hills, valleys and even water formations.

Feng Shui Master Yang Yun Sang

About 100 years later during the Song Dynasty, Master Wang Chih’s Compass School of feng shui gained popularity. This school is based on using compass directions and the eight I-Ching…

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Center for Fiction announces longlist for first novel prize

Reblogging this from Read Her Like an Open Book. Great list of books nominated for their longlist – the Centre for Fiction’s Prize in New York.

Read Her Like an Open Book

The Center for Fiction in New York City today announced the longlist of nominees for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. Seventeen of the 26 nominees were written by female authors, reflecting their dominance in the area of literary fiction in recent years, especially 2013-2014. The author of the winning book will receive $10,000 and each shortlisted author will receive $1,000. The 2014 Short List will be announced in September and the winner will be announced on December 9 at The Center for Fiction’s Annual Benefit and Awards Dinner at the New York Athletic Club. Recent winners include Margaret Wrinkle in 2013 for Wash, Ben Fountain in 2012 for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Bonnie Nadzam in 2011 for Lamb, and Karl Marlantes in 2010 for Matterhorn.

The Center for Fiction, founded in 1820 as the Mercantile Library, is the only organization in the United States devoted…

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Racial Diversity in Children’s Books: The Pros & Cons of Subtlety

Reblogging this from The Misfortune of Knowing. Great blog post about cultural diversity in books. I come from a culturally diverse background my father is half Scottish, half English, my mother is Eurasian (Malaysian with a Scottish father). So I do believe depicting people of different nationalities in books is important. I hope to write a novel, or a shorter piece of work, along these lines in the future.

The Misfortune Of Knowing

Redheaded Sri Lankan ReaderI want my daughters to read books that feature characters from diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Back in May, as part of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, I wrote:

My daughters need to know that everyone has a story to tell, and that stories written by or featuring people of another race, ethnicity, or gender aren’t just stories for that demographic. They need to know that people of all races, ethnicities, and genders are able to attain success in the world (including in the literary world!). It’s not enough for me to tell them these messages; they need to see it for themselves in real life and in the books they read.

But how should authors convey this diversity in their books?

It’s difficult to write about race or ethnicity in a clearly recognizable way without over-emphasizing the stereotypical differences between racial groups that are the easiest to describe, such…

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