Saturday, 31 December 2011

One day left of 2011

Yesterday, my boiler started making strange noises, like rumbling from a very large bear, trapped in a cave. The cupboard the boiler lives in was shaking so much, I had to turn the heating off. Luckily it’s so mild, that wasn’t too much of a problem. I called British Gas who arrived just now to try and fix it.
Woody and Snoopy are here again, just for tonight while their owners go to a New Year party. I spend the whole time smiling when they’re here, they’re so adorable.
I did some work on the book before they arrived. Only five hundred words but that’s OK. I’m still being kind to myself, maybe TOO kind. The plan is to ease myself back into writing once 2012 arrives.
On the 2nd of January my least favourite dog arrives for 17 days.
I first looked after her a year ago. Back then, she came with Milo, the spaniel. I fell for him immediately, but felt no connection to Leah. Sadly, Milo died in July, by which time I’d already promised to look after both dogs this coming January. Obviously I couldn’t let his owner down. Maybe Leah will be different now she’s the only dog. I’ll have to wait and see.
I feel very wicked right now as all I want to do is cuddle Woody and Snoopy and enjoy the rest of today. I will have to keep my fFingers crossed that their owners go to Spain for a month next Summer, then I can look after their dogs for longer.
Not long left of 2011 now. I won't be sorry to see it go. It's been a very hard year and I'm really looking forward to the fresh page that the New Year offers.
Happy New Year to one and all. Let's make it a good one.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

No longer home alone

Yesterday I didn’t even turn the computer on as I wanted a complete break. Instead I I soaked up Christmas, reading dozens of stories and watching Christmassy films., jotting down any possible starting points for ideas for next year’s seasonal stories I ended up with about fifteen which is not at all bad.
For some reason, this morning I decided to remove some of the mould growing on the windows in John’s room before he came home. I’m not sure if the fumes of the cleanser got to me, but whatever happened I felt ill soon afterwards – a mix of indigestion, abdominal pains and bloating, which means I haven’t got as much done as I’d hoped. I managed to send three stories to Australia and that’s about it for today as just after lunch John came home, full of his Christmas break. He seems to have a great time. The crowd he went with (from Spice) sounded like fun. Some nights he got to bed after four a.m. Sadly he didn't meet any ladies he liked the look of.
In many ways it would have been nice to have gone away myself, but, and it’s a very big but, I have now proved that I can cope with being alone without getting depressed. I confess I DID feel a bit down at times, lonely, even a bit sad, but I expected that, it was Christmas after all, but it was nothing like as bad as it used to be.
The experience has shown me that I could cope perfectly well if John moved out so now all I have to do is hope, pray, wish, and wish again that he finds somebody and goes to live with her.
SOON please.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Boxing day

When I woke up, late, after another broken night, I had no idea what I wanted to do with the day. It’s so quiet without John, and knowing I can do whatever I like, is bliss, but very confusing as I’m so used to putting up with his interruptions. I’d intended to push on with the book, but I’ve now decided to enjoy the peace instead. It’s great not having to use the headphones if I want to play my keyboard.
He gave me SNUFF for Christmas (we’re both huge Terry Pratchett fans so he knows he’ll get to read it after me) so I took tea and porridge back to bed and started reading. It’s so good, it was really hard to stop.
Mind you, I do miss having John to play against (i.o.w. thrash) on the Wii tennis. Because I’m so good, the machine keeps giving me the same characters to play against and refuses to let me score get to 2000. It’s very annoying. Don’t worry if this makes no sense to you. You would need to own a Wii.
I think I have decided to work my way through all the magazines I haven’t got round to reading. There are at least 3 Writers Forums, plus 3 Fiction Feasts, then there’s the Christmas papers which I like to go through looking for ideas for next year’s Christmas stories. I might even watch the Wizard of Oz later.
I’m going to turn the computer off now. It’s still got some kind of problem as it’s still sending strange emails but I can’t face another lengthy session on the phone, trying to fix it. I hope everyone enjoys Boxing Day as much as I intend to do.
This is my first full day without Prozac and that has to be worth enjoying.

Boxing Day

When I woke up, late, after another broken night, I had no idea what I wanted to do with the day. It’s so quiet without John, and knowing I can do whatever I like, is bliss, but very confusing as I’m so used to putting up with his interruptions. I’d intended to push on with the book, but I’ve now decided to enjoy the peace instead. It’s great not having to use the headphones if I want to play my keyboard.
He gave me SNUFF for Christmas (we’re both huge Terry Pratchett fans so he knows he’ll get to read it after me) so I took tea and porridge back to bed and started reading. It’s so good, it was really hard to stop.
Mind you, I do miss having John to play against (i.o.w. thrash) on the Wii tennis. Because I’m so good, the machine keeps giving me the same characters to play against and refuses to let me score get to 2000. It’s very annoying. Don’t worry if this makes no sense to you. You would need to own a Wii.
I think I have decided to work my way through all the magazines I haven’t got round to reading. There are at least 3 Writers Forums, plus 3 Fiction Feasts, then there’s the Christmas papers which I like to go through looking for ideas for next year’s Christmas stories. I might even watch the Wizard of Oz later.
I’m going to turn the computer off now. It’s still got some kind of problem as it’s still sending strange emails but I can’t face another lengthy session on the phone, trying to fix it. I hope everyone enjoys Boxing Day as much as I intend to do.
This is my first full day without Prozac and that has to be worth enjoying.

Boxing Day

When I woke up, late, after another broken night, I had no idea what I wanted to do with the day. It’s so quiet without John, and knowing I can do whatever I like, is bliss, but very confusing as I’m so used to putting up with his interruptions. I’d intended to push on with the book, but I’ve now decided to enjoy the peace instead. It’s great not having to use the headphones if I want to play my keyboard.
He gave me SNUFF for Christmas (we’re both huge Terry Pratchett fans so he knows he’ll get to read it after me) so I took tea and porridge back to bed and started reading. It’s so good, it was really hard to stop.
Mind you, I do miss having John to play against (i.o.w. thrash) on the Wii tennis. Because I’m so good, the machine keeps giving me the same characters to play against and refuses to let me score get to 2000. It’s very annoying. Don’t worry if this makes no sense to you. You would need to own a Wii.
I think I have decided to work my way through all the magazines I haven’t got round to reading. There are at least 3 Writers Forums, plus 3 Fiction Feasts, then there’s the Christmas papers which I like to go through looking for ideas for next year’s Christmas stories. I might even watch the Wizard of Oz later.
I’m going to turn the computer off now. It’s still got some kind of problem as it’s still sending strange emails but I can’t face another lengthy session on the phone, trying to fix it. I hope everyone enjoys Boxing Day as much as I intend to do.
This is my first full day without Prozac and that has to be worth enjoying.

Boxing Day

When I woke up, late, after another broken night, I had no idea what I wanted to do with the day. It’s so quiet without John, and knowing I can do whatever I like, is bliss, but very confusing as I’m so used to putting up with his interruptions. I’d intended to push on with the book, but I’ve now decided to enjoy the peace instead. It’s great not having to use the headphones if I want to play my keyboard.
He gave me SNUFF for Christmas (we’re both huge Terry Pratchett fans so he knows he’ll get to read it after me) so I took tea and porridge back to bed and started reading. It’s so good, it was really hard to stop.
Mind you, I do miss having John to play against (i.o.w. thrash) on the Wii tennis. Because I’m so good, the machine keeps giving me the same characters to play against and refuses to let me score get to 2000. It’s very annoying. Don’t worry if this makes no sense to you. You would need to own a Wii.
I think I have decided to work my way through all the magazines I haven’t got round to reading. There are at least 3 Writers Forums, plus 3 Fiction Feasts, then there’s the Christmas papers which I like to go through looking for ideas for next year’s Christmas stories. I might even watch the Wizard of Oz later.
I’m going to turn the computer off now. It’s still got some kind of problem as it’s still sending strange emails but I can’t face another lengthy session on the phone, trying to fix it. I hope everyone enjoys Boxing Day as much as I intend to do.
This is my first full day without Prozac and that has to be worth enjoying.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas Day

I’m spending Christmas on my own – no Mum, no man, no family. I could have gone away but when my lodger decided to go away with Spice, I made up my mind to stay home alone. Living alone has caused me problems in the past. Basically, I simply couldn’t stand it and became depressed and suicidal. Lately, I’ve been feeling so much better, I started to think I might be able to cope now, but there was, to quote Harry Hill, only one way to find out. I figure that if I can get through Christmas day, when so many people are with their families, and even the charity shops are closed, then I’ll be able to cope when ( soon pleases) John tells me he’s moving out.
I took my last dose of Prozac today which is a huge relief as I wanted to make sure I was feeling good due to the therapy, not the drugs. I decreased the dose steadily over two weeks which avoided the withdrawal symptoms. My message to anyone out there who has been on Prozac for longer than they would like, but finds they can’t get off the pills because they start to feel terrible, is simple. Have a word with your GP and tell him what I did and see what he has to say. Please don’t do anything without talking to your doctor in case he doesn’t approve. If Prozac is working for you, that’s a good thing. It wasn’t working for me, that’s all.
I’m having one of Peter Jones’s Boxing Days (as in his book How to do everything and be happy) which basically means doing what I feel like at the time and not making any plans. I got up early, had a nice long soak in the bath, a bacon sandwich for breakfast, then sat in the conservatory, doing a jigsaw while watching Christmassy programmes on TV, including Morecambe and Wise fr0om 1971. My viewing was pleasantly interrupted by a call from Rae, the lovely lady I met at Swanwick. I could have stayed chatting to her for hours, but I had to let her get back to her family! My Christmas dinner was heated up left–overs from yesterday – roasted vegetables of various kinds, with a covering of cheddar, followed by a steamed chocolate pudding (It was meant to be a Christmas one but I opened the wrong packet) with Jersey cream. After that, I went to Good Neighbours where they were putting on Christmas dinner for older people who would otherwise have been alone. I chatted to lots of people then got stuck into the wiping up and putting away. On my way home, I noticed the newsagent/corner shop was open so I went in and treated myself to a Magnum.
I’ve just spent half an hour playing the piano. I had to stop when my arms started aching. I’m having trouble sleeping in that I’m having very strange, very complicated dreams, then waking up at four in the morning. I’m taking the dreams as a good sign as when I was feeling bad, I didn’t seem to have them. That said, they are very peculiar.
Now it’s to see if there’s anything else to watch on TV. At Christmas, I like to watch as many seasonal films as I can bear as that’s one of my favourite ways to get ideas for next year’s Christmas stories.
Thanks to all those of you who have commented on my blog over the past year. Your kind words have been so helpful. I’m eternally grateful for all the advice and encouragement you have given to me.
Have a lovely Christmas!

Saturday, 24 December 2011


I had plans for today.
John was going away and I planned to use the time to get some work done, but you know what they say about plans.
He was meant to go yesterday but due to offering a lift to someone who was working on Friday, he was still here this morning. He finally left at 9.30.
To get into the Christmas spirit I went down the sops, intending to buy myself an Zmas gift. I found a nice white gold ring, secondhand, which fits perfectly, so treated myself to that (it was les than £50. I also bought another jigsaw, an apricot tart and some cream, three CDs, and a bouquet from the florist comprising nothing but blue flowers to symbolise what should be my last lonely Christmas if my plans for next year come to fruition. It cost just under £15 which is the most I’ve ever spent on flowers for myself and as far as I can remember, the most ANYONE has spent on flowers for me.
I got home ten minutes before noon, so didn’t have logn to get ready before going next door for drinks and nibbles. Two rather nice glasses of mulled wine and lots of nibbles later, I came back home, feeling woozy (no idea if that’s how you spell it). A change of plan was called for, so I sat down and had a go at 2 cryptic crosswords, then played Rocket Mania on the computer – a game I love but try to avoid playing as it takes such a long time.
It’s now 4p.m. I’ve decided to give up any thought of work for today and tomorrow and just do what I feel like and enjoy the peace and quiet so it’s back to the crossword, the jigsaw and the Wii machine. After that I’ll think about preparing some veg for dinner. I might even go to the church service tonight, if I can stay awake. I’ll have to wait and see how I feel. .

Friday, 23 December 2011

December 23rd

My Christmas started today with my favourite dogs staying last night. The dachshund, Woody, is so adorable I go all gooey when he’s here, giving him far too many hugs and cuddles which he, literally, laps up.
He and his best friend, Snoopy the Labrador, are coming back for NY Eve too which will give me the best start to 2012 I could hope for. I haven’t got much work done today as I wanted to spend as much time with the dogs as I could, being as they were here for such a short time. I worked on a report for Good Neighbours which they wanted made more reader friendly. All I had to do was make it more personal.
My lodger was meant to be leaving this afternoon for his Christmas away but he’s agreed to give a lift to somebody who had to work today, so he won’t be leaving until tomorrow morning which is disappointing, but so long as he goes, that will do. I’m so looking forward to being on my own which is something I truly never thought I would say. The reason I have John as a lodger in the first place is because when I lived alone, I couldn’t stand it. I became thoroughly depressed and suicidal. Now, I would be quite happy to live alone (or with somebody I loved, of course).
Some neighbours are coming round tonight so I’ve had to out extra chairs in my rather tiny living room. It now looks like a doctor’s waiting area, but it was either that, or sit in the chilly conservatory. I think Christine and Paul will be brining their new dog - another greyhound, which means even less space! I hope nobody falls over anything!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

good news

Both my writing pupils have had successes, just in time for Christmas.
One has had a win in a Writers’ Forum poetry comp, and the other has sold a story to Fiction Feast. I’m so happy for them.
I’m especially happy today as my two favourite dogs are here overnight. It really is such a pleasure having them here, I’d do it for free. That said, it’s quite difficult to type with a dachshund on your lap.
I’m making good progress with Saving the Inner Child now that I’ve made up my mind what to include. I’ve decided to insert much of the previous book I wrote about my life (A MOTHER’S LOVE: HOW I LEARNED TO LIVE WITHOUT IT) as it sums up where I was, and how much difference the new therapy has made. As I’ve been rereading it, I can sense my despair on every page.
Now I’ve added so much content I need to go through the whole book again, before adding more about the therapy itself. The plan is to have it ready to submit to agents by the end of January.
I’ve just been to my last crossword class of the year as there isn’t one next week (boo). It’s become one of the highlights of my week which just goes to show the state of my social life. Room for improvement, as they say.
Now to have a cup of tea and get a few more kisses and cuddles from Woody the best little dog in the whole wide world.
Almost forgot to say - I have a story out in The Weekly News. They've used three this week which is great.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


What a day!
It's the 21st December which is the shortest day, but it hasn't felt like that to me.
Another ‘funny’ email was generated by my PC so I knew I still had a problem. I bought Avast! as it was recommended as the best anti virus programme, ran a scan with it (over an hour) and STILL had a problem so I called their support number. More than four hours later they seem to have fixed it. I haven’t been able to work all day – I’ve had to sit in front of the computer, watching as a man on the other side of the world, operated my pc remotely. I just hope it’s OK now.
Fortunately, Woody the dachshund and Snoopy the Labrador are arriving tomorrow bright and early so that will help put me back into a good mood.
Computers !!%%&^&!%&%!&%&!%&!%&%!&(*&!)(_!^!^(!^”(^!!!!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Decision time.

I’ve been working on the book again today, managing another two thousand words which is great. However, I’m having trouble deciding what to put in and what to leave out. Much of the background is already included in the first book A MOTHER’S LOVE: HOW I LEARNED TO LIVE WITHOUT IT but as I can’t assume that anyone reading this new one will have read that…….
The obvious thing may be to combine them, making this latest book part two of the old one. I will have to give it some thought before I go very much further. If anyone has any thoughts on the matter, I’d be grateful for all and any comments.
It’s my Writers Club Xmas do tonight, but I’m staying home. I decided to give it a miss in case of snow as it’s a longish walk from the station to the venue. Of course, there’s no snow so I could have gone ….
I spent half an hour brainstorming ideas for a crime story competition. The theme is 10 and the prize is two places at the Harrogate Crime Writing Weekend next July. I’d love to go there so it’s definitely worth having a bash at a story. I now have the germ of an idea so I’m going to let it soak for a few days and see if it starts to grow.
Tomorrow is Christmas lunch with the Good Neighbours group. I volunteered there before they switched the days. 140 people are going and I’m really looking forward to it. Of course it means another day when I won’t get much work done. It’s a good job it’s Christmas.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Debugging my computer

Alan, from my writer club, came round this morning to see if he could mend my PC which has been seding emails, I didn't send (!). He found 4 trojans and all kinds of otehr problems which AVG hadn't noticed, let alone fixed. He recommends trying avast, so when I'm in the mood, I might try downloading that.
Before he arrived, I did a hasty back up onto CD just in case. The programmes he ran to fix things took HOURS so from 10 a.m. until now I've benn hanging about, feeling frustrated because I wanted to work. I caught up on my accounts while I was waiting. Now I CAN go back to work, I'm not in the mood which is typical.
I'm going to try and force myself and se what happens. I's say catch up tomorrow but there's a lunch time carol concert (St pauls cahedral choir no less) which I'd like to get to if at all possible.
Although I'm feeling so much better (happier even) than I have done in YEARS, I still worry that I'm not doing enough. I'm going to have to find a way to fix that for next year. I know that I have often worked too hard in the past which didn't work for me either. It's a balance In need to find.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Being a couch potato and loving it.

I lazed around in bed this morning, as I wanted to finish my first read through of How to do everything and be happy (Peter Jones). Now I know what’s involved I can start writing lists of goals and so on and begin the task of working towards them, step by step.
My emails appear to have been hijacked by something nasty despite my using AVG. Luckily a member of my writers group knows about this kind of thing and is coming round tomorrow morning to see what he can do.
I hope he can fix it!
It took me ages to get started as Outlook Express kept trying to open even though I never use it. Eventually I managed to get Word to start and set to work on the book. I’ve just stopped having managed another 1800 words which was nearly double what I had planned to do today.
Now I’m off for a long soak in the bath. It’s the Strictly Come Dancing final tonight and I’m a HUGE fan. Lots of people, up and down the country, are having Strictly parties. I might have done that too, but my living room is on the small side. If I’m honest, I don’t want to have to miss a second, talking to anybody, which is why I’m having my own, private party. Anyone who rings my bell, or calls tonight, will not get a reply! This series has been the best I can remember thanks to the number of really good dancers who have emerged. I’d like Harry to win, but I can live with either of the others taking the crown as they’re all so brilliant.
Of course, the last two parts of THE KILLING are also on tonight. Luckily I’m able to record them so I can watch it tomorrow if need be. The problem is it’s been so good, I’m not sure I can wait, so I may just have to stay up late.

Friday, 16 December 2011

20,000 words and counting

It’s been a busy, but productive day. I’m reading Peter Jones’ book, HOW TO DO EVERYTHING AND BE HAPPY and finding it really inspirational. So much so, it’s hard to stop reading.
I worked on the book for a while, then needed a break so I called my new best friend, Rae. It was a bit daunting, I’m never very good at calling people for the first time. You’re never sure how you’ll get on, over the phone is different to face to face or on line, but it was great. I could have chatted to her all day. I’m so glad I went to Swanwick. I found my inner child there and I met Rae and so many other lovely people. It really CAN change your life.
After lunch, I made up some more capsules. I’ve decided to wean myself off the Prozac by gradually taking less and less every day so that my body doesn’t notice. DO NOT TRY THIS YOURSELF without speaking to your GP first.
What I’m doing might not work for you. All I know is that I wanted to get off the drugs and I didn’t want to suffer the side effects. Cutting down the dose was my way to solve that particular problem. I will be free of them before Christmas which is great. I have to go back and see the doctor in the New Year and will tell him what I have done then.
Feeling in need of some fresh air, I decided to pop out for a tour of the charity shops. I have six or more close by. I also wanted a brand new, special, notebook to put into practice some of the techniques listed in Peter’s book. By the time I came home, had tea and a cookie, almost two hours had gone by. I did some more work on the book, stopping when I went through the 20,000 word barrier.
I’ve been feeling tired lately, for various reasons, so it’s important to stay fresh and not to try to do too much.
I’m signing off now and will wind down by putting a few more pieces into the jigsaw.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Feeling tired

I think I must have worked too hard yesterday because I can’t get back into the groove today. Of course, that might also be down to going out to the SPice Quiz last night and getting home late! My team came 6th out of 9, mainly because we were pretty useless at recognising celebs wearing Santa hats, or posters advertising Xmas films, like Dumber and Dumber, and others I've never seen.
This morning was spent shopping then tidying up and cleaning the house, ready for Jack’s visit. He’s the man who runs the cryptic crossword class. He was on Eggheads recently but because he wasn’t old in advance, missed half the programme, ringing people to tell them to watch. Luckily I had been recording Eggheads every day, hoping to catch him so today he came round to watch the bits he’d missed and write down all the questions his team were asked.
When he left, I played tennis on the Wii, then thought about getting on with the book, but I don’t think I have the energy. I’m self employed which means I can have a day off whenever I want, so maybe I’ll do that and get stuck back in tomorrow.
Worryingly, an email has gone round, seeming to be from me, but it isn’t. If you got one, please ignore it.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Saving my inner child

I’m back on track, getting on with the next book, provisionally entitled Saving my inner child. You could call it a self help guide, designed to complement the wonderful book I found just a few short months ago, RESCUING THE INNER CHILD by Penny Parks. My book is about the therapy I’ve been doing since reading it and the massive changes it’s bringing about.
For the first time since I started writing in 1991, I’m writing something because I have something I think is worth saying, rather than as a way to make money. There must be thousands of people who, like me, had a bad childhood which has turned them into unhappy, unfulfilled adults. I want them to know that they can get better. I’m fifty six. I thought it was too late for me. I’d tried so many other therapies and treatments. I’d given up any hope of finding something that actually worked. Now I have found something, I want to let everybody know how great that feels. I’m starting to look forward to the future instead of wishing I could die.
I wrote 2300 words today. That together with an annoying cut on my right index finger, and having to play the keyboard for at least a few minutes every day, means that my arms are aching so much, I can hardly type!
It’s quiz night at Spice Yorkshire tonight. The weather is TERRIBLE. Cold, biting winds, driving rain. I really don’t fancy going out but know that it will do me good if I do. Time to check the coffers. Maybe I can treat myself to a cab.
Lulu have just paid me £7.67 for book sales so that’s a start. Each time they sell my books, it’s a great feeling because, apart from writing the books, they do all the work.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Christmas is coming!

I took the day off yesterday, not even turning on the computer. I think it’s good to do that every now and then.
This morning, I had to go to Boston Spa with my lodger to pick up some wicker chairs I’d won on eBay. I wanted one of them for my spare bedroom/hideaway. It seemed to make sense to visit the shops on the way home. I bought MORE tinsel and glittery things for the tree, and more cards as I was running out.
The NAWG results were emailed to me erlier today and it was great to see a couple of names I recognised had made the short list. Congratulations, Dan and Simon. Note to Dan, I really loved your story and trust you will be sending it elsewhere.
I squeezed in my half an hour on the keyboard and some time on the Nintendo Wii. I want to be fitter. After dancing for about ten minutes at the Spice do on Saturday, I was creaking all over.
The do was good, but….. Everybody seemed to be in groups, which I guess is normal for a Christmas do. I got ‘adopted’ by a woman who was four sheets to the wind and very loud with it. There were a good mix of people there, but it was impossible to make conversation, unless they were on the same table as once the meal was over, the music started.
I’m going to another Spice event on Wednesday – another quiz, where it will be easier to talk to people.
Tonight, I’m asking the questions for the quiz team. We’re bottom of the first division by quite a long way. I’ve only played twice so they can’t blame me! Privately we’re hoping to be demoted as Division 2 is a lot friendlier. Some teams take the whole thing VERY seriously. The quiz I set for the Mercedes do went down well so if you need any Christmassy questions, get in touch and I can email them to you.
Tomorrow, I’m getting on with the new book. No distractions!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Working well

I feel like I’m making progress again which is great. As planned, I’ve started to wean myself off Prozac by taking a reduced dose every day. I’m happy to say that so far, I don’t seem to be suffering any ill effects.
DO NOT DO AS I’M DOING WITHOUT checking with your GP. What works for me may not work for you.
I have been trying to figure out what I want to write next, and where I want to go with my life, now that it feels worth living again. I’ve decided to get the next book written (about the therapy I did recently) so that other people can find out how to change their lives for the better. No sooner had I made that decision, than I sat down to write a thousand words with little effort.
The critiques from the NAWG competition should have started to arrive. I’ve already heard from the man who came third. He sent me an email saying that he hadn’t been told he’d won yet! I thought NAWG would have done that by now, but they’re probably busy. If anyone paid for a crit, and feels I was harsh, feel free to email your story to me ( I always try to be fair and kind, as well as honest, but as I was suffering from a virus at the time, I may have got the tone wrong. If I did, then I apologise. Writing gives so many people so much pleasure, I wouldn’t want to ruin that for anyone.
Now I have to stop. I have another big party to go to tonight. I didn’t did get in until the early hours yesterday, so I need to make sure I’m relaxed and ready to get the most out of tonight’s do. It’s being run by Spice, the group Helen (thanks again) nagged me to join.

Friday, 9 December 2011

harsh critique

I find blowing my own trumpet not just hard, but well nigh impossible. Everywhere I look, there are other writers, pushing their books for all their might, yet I can’t seem to be able to do that. My confidence still needs work. It only takes one negative comment and I’m upset. For example, a friend of mine asked for a criqitue when they entered the NAWG competition. I did the crits without knowing who the writers were. She has come back to me saying that she thought my critique was harsh. At once I felt bad even though I KNOW I would never say anything hurtful or cruel. If I did say anything harsh, it was probably just an honest appraisal because for me, without honesty, feedback isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. It certainly isn’t worth paying for. Yet I’m still upset. I don’t make friends easily and thanks to my upbringing, have always felt that I needed to try and ‘buy’ friendship, usually by putting myself last, or giving time I didn’t have or gifts I couldn’t afford.
My friend’s comment almost put my off ever doing critiques again. As a writer, I need people to want to read my books, so what do I do? I can be honest and risk upsetting people or be nice and let them carry on making the same mistakes.
All I know is that if somebody (more than one!) hadn’t told me my stories were weak, and frankly rubbish, I would still be writing the same, weak, rubbish stories and getting precisely nowhere. As it is, I’ve sold literally hundreds of stories to magazines, and won competitions too.
Also on the writing front, I’ve written to a few local writing groups to see if I can get any bookings for next year. I’ve also gone back to the book I started a couple of months ago. That’s the trouble with me. I have so many ideas, it’s hard to decide what to do next. I thought of another idea for a book only this afternoon. Sadly, I can only do one thing at a time.
I added some more published works to ALCS today. Now they’re accepting newspaper articles too so I’ve been able to add three of the pieces I did for the Sunday Times Confessions of a Tourist slot.
Tonight I’m off to a ‘do’ where I’m in charge of the quiz. Frankly I’d rather be able to take part as that way I might win a prize (I won last year) but it’s only fair for somebody else to do the hard work. I have an even bigger do on tomorrow – the Christmas party at Spice, so I hope I can find the energy I need.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Wild weather day

I seem to have spent most of the day, apart from crossword class, writing Christmas cards or looking for lost addresses. For some reason, I have a headache. It could be the weather. Just now, I was in the conservatory, finishing a jigsaw, but the wind was howling so much, I gave up. The wind frightens me because it’s so powerful, all we can do is watch and hope it goes away. When I went out, the pavements were more like streams.
I need to get at least a few minutes keyboard practice in so will give up for today, tell myself I can take it easy because I’ve been ill and Christmas is coming, and turn off the pc.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


It’s been another bitty day where I’ve had to do lots of annoying little jobs, without feeling as though I’ve achieved very much.
Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to enter the Writing Magazine comps because I enjoy writing to a set subject and one day, they have to let me win, don’t they???
I suddenly realised I hadn’t done the latest one with a 14/12 deadline.
The theme was sci fi and as I happen to have a sci fi story which I’ve never managed to place anywhere, I decided I might as well send it off. Of course it had to be made to fit the required length. After that, I invoiced my first 2012 dog boarder, designed some flyers to hand out to people, advertising both my talks and the dog holidays. THEN I finally got to finish the NAWG judging when the short–listed entries that had requested crits were posted back to me.
I took a huge bag full of envelopes to the post box earlier today, so people should be getting them back soon.
The most fun I had to day was trying to decant my antidepressants into other capsules so that I can gradually reduce the dose. I ended up with most of the medicine in the bin, but after a bit of trial and error, managed to get the job done. I now have gradually decreasing doses to take for the next three days. After that, I will have make some more. That way, I should be off them well before Christmas, AND avoid the side effects.
Right now, it’s pouring with rain which is trying to become sleet, the wind is howling and it’s properly cold – it seems that winter is definitely here.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Coming off prozac

I went to my first Christmas do today – lunch with my local gardening club. I don’t usually have much to eat at lunch time and even though I chose the lightest things on the menu – melon to start and ice cream as dessert, I still came away feeling like I’d overeaten.
Apart from that, I haven’t done much today apart from designing and printing some score sheets for Friday’s quiz, and my half an hour keyboard practice. I’m missing Heydays again tomorrow so I can spend the day working. I can start going regularly again next term. I’ve put my name down for 2 lunchtime courses – one dance and one music. There are only a limited number of places so it’s wait and see if my name gets pulled out of the hat.
I’m cutting down the anti depressants I’ve been taking as I want to get them out of my system by January 1st, sooner if possible. I was warned this could be difficult – side effects, feeling ill and so on, but as I never wanted to go on them in the first place, I can cope with that. I need to know if feeling so much better is down to me, and my new ways of thinking, or the tablets.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Staying in tonight - thanks snow!

Today, I went to see my CBT therapist, Rachael, which, although it went well and she is happy that I've made great progress after my sessions with Relate, still disrupted my day.
I fully intended to go to the Writers Club tonight, but it's bitterly cold, with snow and rain, and it's an uphill walk to the venue, so I'm going to have to give it a miss and make more of an effort next year (that sounds so weird!). It's a manuscript evening which I seldom enjoy. Much of the work read out is highbrow/literary/ meaningless to me, so I don't feel able to contribute much.
I’ve been on Prozac since mid October. Rachael advised me to consider coming off the pills by slowly cutting down the dose. She doesn't think the doctor should have prescribed them in the first place as they are meant to restore chemical imbalances in the brain, whereas my problem was my childhood and my ‘faulty’ thinking. I didn’t want to take them in the first place, but that was all the doctor offered. Rachael says I could get some nasty symptoms as a reaction to stopping taking them (I had side effects when I started too). At least I’ve been warned. I’d like to be free of the pills for Christmas if I can.
Tonight is the final of Only Connect, my favourite quiz show which is hidden away on BBC3 or 4 at 8.30. If you’ve never heard of it, try and catch an episode. It’s great.
Workwise, I’ve drafted letters to writers and other groups, offering my services as a speaker, workshop leader etc. I’ve also written to the owners of some of the dogs I’ve boarded this year to let them know I’m now going it alone – only the nice dogs of course!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Taking it easier

Now that I’ve recovered from the virus, I’ve been taking it easier than I’ve been doing recently. Surprise surprise, but I’ve discovered that it’s possible to do too much work. Life is about getting the balance right, so from now on, it’s work, rest AND play.
I updated the website with the latest news, then pottered about, reading, tidying, sorting things out.
Tomorrow I’m seeing Rachael to see if any more CBT is on offer and if it is, if she thinks it’s worth pursuing. I’ve more or less lost the negative voice (the parrot) who used to sit on my shoulder telling me that I was old, ugly, fat and stupid which is great, but I still need to learn how to raise my esteem and confidence levels so that I can get out and meet more people and enjoy life.
I confess it makes a change for me to feel optimistic but something tells me that 2012 is going to be a good year (for all of us, I hope).

Saturday, 3 December 2011

More good news

I’m going out to a Christmas do next Friday and because my lodger and I won the quiz last year, this time we get to set the questions. It took a while, but I’ve got everything ready. Setting questions is harder than it looks, believe me.
Before that, I drafted my next column for Writers Forum. I’ll put it to one side until Monday then if it still reads OK, send it off.
I had two nice surprises today. First, Marion Clarke from Yours called, wanting to buy one of my stories. It’s a valentine’s day one which means I get to keep my record intact. Since I began writing fiction seriously, i.e. as a way to make a living, I’ve sold at least one Christmas and one Valentine story every year. As it’s December, I thought I’d lost all chance of achieving that, which just goes to show that while there’s hope….
The other nice thing that happened is that the people whose greyhounds I occasionally look after, recommended my services to other dog owners. I answered the bell to find two ladies and a cute little dog standing there. I’m not sure if the price I quoted put them off, but I hope it doesn’t Molly (the dog) seems like a bit of a sweetheart.
Last night I went to a jazz/rock concert at the church hall only to find the heating had broken down. Luckily I suffer from being too hot most of the time so it was no bother to me, but as the church was planning a meal for some elderly people today, I volunteered to loan them three of my heaters. My next door neighbour is a church warden and is always busy doing something or other. They haven’t brought them back yet….
I’ll be stopping work now as it will soon be time for my Strictly fix. I do love that programme. For me, it’s one of the best things about this time of year. Now to quickly nip upstairs to torture my keyboard for half an hour.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Contract signed and sent

I took some advice from people with more experience than me, and was told the contract terms for my non fiction (writing based) book are OK so I’ve signed it and put it in the post.
I thought I’d feel more excited but I’ve always been a tad cautious. I’ll crack open the champagne when the book comes out and I have a copy in my hand. Meanwhile, thanks to everyone who has sent good wishes.
Soon I will need to figure out how to set up a decent web site without breaking the bank. I’ve been using weebly which is free and easy to use, but the publisher says I will need a web site with a ‘landing page’ so that I can encourage people to visit it to get a freebie of some kind. I find all this techy stuff very wearing and hope he can give me some assistance.

I’ve also taken the plunge and taken out public liability insurance so I can go it alone with the dog boarding. With renewing the licence, I’m already more than £120 down, but it’s either that, or risk never seeing Louis or Woody and Snoopy again. The thing I’ve found with insurance is that if you have it, you don’t need it. If you don’t have it, you need it. I told you I was cautious.
I have a story out in the Summer edition of Fast Fiction, the Australian mag I sometimes sell too. I know because a lovely lady was kidn enough to email me a copy of my story – thanks Glynis.
Tonight I’m going out to a jazz rock concert given by a local youth orchestra. I’ve heard them before and they’re good so I’m looking forward to it. It’s at the local church which is less than ten minutes walk way, so I hope it doesn’t rain.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Good news for advent

Crossword class was great today as Jack was back. He looks a bit tired, and he was a tiny bit tetchy, but I think he’s going to be fine. It wasn’t the same without him there to explain how the solutions were reached.
Now for a fanfare!
I have been sent a contract for my non fiction book offering me a royalty of 20% net receipts which I’m told is good. . Obviously I will need to read it carefully and take some advice, but it’s looking good so far. They’re talking about publishing in three months or so which is excellent.
Since the contract came through, I haven’t done very much, I can’t even think straight. I’m so excited that things seem to be coming together at last.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Technology rules, K.O.

Today I went to Heydays for the first time in over a month. Couldn’t face the creative writing session, so I went to play reading instead. Luckily for me they were reading Blithe Spirit which is one of Noel Coward’s best plays. After that, I had a quick look round the market, buying a new purse and a Christmas card for my lodger. Then it was back home via a couple of shops, trying to find out about e readers. I need one that I can download my own books on to which means I need to be able to download from Kindle, but can I figure out which does what? It’s all gobbledygook. I found one called the Kobo Vox Colour e Reader but nowhere does it say it works with Kindle, it also mentions having to have a contract with Kobo. I’m dazed and confused. I could just get a kindle, but if I can find something that also plays music, accesses apps, and has Wi fi, then I’d obviously prefer that, not having a lap top, a smart phone or a tablet. It’s all very confusing.
I’ve just been amending/approving my first 2 writers guides so that I can get them sold on Amazon. They probably won’t appear until 2012, but better late than never.
The contract from the publisher hasn’t arrived. I chased him and he said he’d been busy, but quite honestly, I won’t really be happy until I see it and KNOW what’s going on. Who’d be a writer????

Monday, 28 November 2011

Wrong size envelopes!!!!

After matching up envelopes and scripts, I found an extra 12 stories that needed critiques that hadn’t been marked with a C. I’ve just finished doing those. Now to stuff envelopes. Unfortunately, many people sent tiny envelopes which means that once I’ve folded the story and the crit, the envelope will be too fat for small letter postage. In case anyone isn’t aware, if an envelope is thicker than 6mm, it has to go as a large letter. Of course I could send the small envelopes, but the writer would probably have to pay extra postage, AND go to the post office to collect their work. I’ll just have to use bigger envelopes and pass the cost on to NAWG. It’s not going to much fun, more fiddly and annoying but it’s all part of being involved in competitions.
I’ve been asked to play in the quiz team tonight. Unless Jack comes out of hospital and wants to go to the pub and watch, I’ll have to get a cab to Garforth. I’d much rather not bother but if I don’t turn up, the team will have to play with one man short.
ALmost forgot, rejections from The People's friend came in the post.

Sunday, 27 November 2011


Last night, I was wrotign out the crits and matching them up with their envelopes, only I ran into a problem. I had more envelopes than stories.
I phoned the woman who was doign the admin and it turns out that she made a few mistakes and missed marking up som,e of the stories with C for crit.
I find I have another 12 critiques to do for the competition so that's what I'm going to do for the rest fo the day.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Working at half speed

Until this virus gives up and goes away, I’ve been taking it easier than usual, working part instead of full time. Today I uploaded my first two writing guides to Lulu with ISBNs so that, once they’re approved, Amazon will sell them. I will only make pennies on each copy sold, but I won’t have to do anything, as they market, and pack and post.
After that, I went to the Christmas Fair at the local church where I found some jigsaws and other bits and pieces, plus I bought a ticket for the jazz Rock concert on Friday week.
Then I put some things up for sale on Ebay as it’s free listing weekend. I found an amazing web site where you can download classical music for free, so I’m selling some of the music I bought as I shall never be able to play most of it and I’ve got the pieces I DO want for free.
Tonight, I get my Strictly fix. I’ve been a massive fan since series one and for me, this is one of the best, as any of the remaining dancers could win. I really wouldn’t like to choose who’s going to come out on top. Jack, my crossword teacher and tame proof reader, phoned to say he should be out of hospital on Monday and that I don’t need to go and visit him as he has plenty of visitors. I said I’d go if he had any gaps, but I’m glad there’s no need as I’d hate to give him my virus. If he comes out on Monday he’s already talking about going to the quiz that night. As I want to welcome him back, that will mean missing the writers club but that’s no big deal.

Friday, 25 November 2011


Please let this stupid cold and cough GO so that I can see whether my self–therapy sessions have worked! It’s hard to judge how you feel when you’ve been bunged up with a virus for weeks and weeks and weeks.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Getting back to work, still coughing though

Today, apart from a break to go to crossword class (which is fun without Jack in charge but not the same) was spent working on the update to the book about my life.
I hope to have it done by the end of the month so that I can try to find a publisher. Anyone with any ideas of who to approach, please get in touch. The themes include abuse, therapy and dementia. I could publish it by myself, and will if I can't find another way, but I think it deserves a wider audience.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Tomorrow is another day

Today will, I hope, turn out to be the day that my life changed its path. I’ve just finished a course of self–therapy which has been very hard but is already making a difference.
Today I also finished correcting the errors in my book about my mother. I now have to upload the new version to Lulu. I’d like to apologise to those people who bought the original, uncorrected version but I wasn’t able to face proof–reading it until now.
The contract from my potential publisher hasn’t arrived yet which is disappointing. I can’t help wondering if I should try to find an agent, but it feels a bit late in the day for that now.
I have the same dilemma with the book about Mum. Now that I have finished the therapy, there’s a whole new second section that I have to write in order to finish it off.
Any advice, gratefully received.
Tonight, to celebrate all kinds of things – books on Amazon, finishing the corrections, reaching the end of the therapy and so on, I bought a bottle of champagne, not the very good stuff, that can wait for the book launch(es) but it will do for now.

Monday, 21 November 2011

A proper writer AT LAST

Today I discovered that my book on writing fillers (prompted by the wonderful reception my workshop on the subject at Swanwick received) is now on sale on Amazon for £5, listed as writing guide no. 3 by Linda Lewis. I’d been expecting some kind of notification! That means I can go ahead and get my other books out there (giving them an ISBN etc). It will have to wait though as I want to get the corrections done on my autobiography so that I can market that more than I have been doing. I’m also working on a second part to it which will cover the do it yourself therapy I’ve been going through.
I feel like a ‘proper’ author now that I have a page on Amazon with several books listed. Overall, I’m feeling far more positive than I have in years which is odd as I haven’t written any fiction for weeks.
I still have this virus, hanging on like grim death. Cough or no cough, I have to go to the writers club tonight as it’s the judging of the story competition. I doubt I will have won a prize. Club competitions tend to favour more literary writing. I need to go to see if I really am feeling better, plus I want to get hold of a copy of the club’s anthology as I haven’t seen it yet.
I’m back using my Nintendo Wii so that I get some exercise. It’s one of the things that quickly goes by the board when I’m depressed so using it again is another positive sign that I’m on the mend.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The publisher said 'Wow'!

I sent the book to the publisher and he’s already come back to say that he likes it and wants to go ahead. Now I have to see what he offers in the contract he’s sending to me.
I thought I’d feel more excited about this, but I don’t. I guess I‘ve been waiting for good things to happen for so long, it’s hard to get very enthusiastic.
I’ve finished working on the NAWG short story competition so I can send the shortlisted stories to the committee tomorrow. I’m glad I don’t have to choose the winner. Often there’s one story that stands out, tight from the start but that didn’t happen this time, so I’m glad the committee have to choose instead.
Now I need to think about the next Club competition. It has to be a memoir so that means having another dig into my past. I could not bother to enter, but there’s a £50 prize on offer.
I’ve gone back to using my Wii this week. I like to do half an hour at least a day as it does get me moving about, but lately I haven’t felt like bothering. Weird when you think about it as I really enjoy playing, especially the bowling and the tennis.
Iv’e just called the hospital to see how Jack, my cryptic crossword guru, is doing. I’d go and see him but he has tons of visitors and I’ve still got this annoying cough and cold. He’s had the op OK but he now has a temperature which is a worry. He’s such a nice man I don’t’ want him to suffer any more than he has to.
Tomorrow, at the writers club, it’s the judging of the short story competition. Last year I came nowhere, which, as I’m by far the most published member of the group, didn’t do anything for my self esteem. I’m hoping that this time, I can be more upbeat, whether I win a prize or not. It’s time to see whether the pills and the do it yourself therapy, are working.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Proof reading - not my favourite job

I’ve spent hours today, going through the book, checking it, and doing all the corrections I found when I was proof reading. It’s a job I really don’t enjoy, but it has to be done. I’ve sent the whole book to the publisher as an attachment. Now it’s time to wait and see what happens.
I took a break and spent half an hour playing my keyboard. I’m really really bad but I have some headphones now so I will be able to play when my lodger is at home, rather than having to wait for him to go out.
I was hoping to get the remaining critiques done today but it’s already gone five. I’ve still got this daft virus which isn’t helping my energy levels but if I want to get anywhere, I need to try and work, even when I really don’t feel like it.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Thursday without Jack

I’ve spent most of today proof reading the book I’ve been working on. That’s done now so all that’s left is to go through it again and make all the corrections. Then it will be time to send it off to the publisher. I hope he likes it.
Last night, I sorted out my final twelve for the NAWG competition which I will send to the committee once I’ve done the critiques for the long listed stories.
I went to my crossword class this afternoon. It was strange without Jack, the man who normally runs the group. He’s in hospital having had an operation. I’ve been wishing him well and it seems to have worked as he’s already called to say he’s through the op and on the mend.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Tuesday 15th November

Tuesday 15th November
I had an appointment with the doctor at 9.20 but when I got there it had been arranged at the other surgery. I’d called the wrong number. On the piece of paper the doctor gave to me were the numbers of both surgeries, I just called the one on the right without even thinking. I felt really fed up. I’m still not well and dragging myself out didn’t help my mood, especially as I was due to go into town later to see Relate. I made another appointment to go back to the doctor at 3.40 and headed home. I was in a grumpy mood and almost managed to talk myself out of going to see Julia, then I remembered the workshop on Saturday and how starting out with negative thoughts could set me up for a disappointing day, so I decided to go and try to make the most of it.
I’m glad I did.
The session was really helpful. On the way home I had to go and collect the shoes I’d ordered, then I went back to Crossgates going straight to the doctor. He gave me two months worth of anti depressants to see me through to 2012. He was concerned that I still had the cough and other symptoms but I told him I definitely did think I was on the mend so it would be best to leave it a bit longer.
By the time I got home, I felt exhausted so I just slumped into a chair and finished a jigsaw then watched TV. I didn't even turn on the computer.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Working hard

It’s been really hard work these past few days as I’ve been doing the critiques for the stories that didn’t make the long list in the NAWG competition. There were 83 of them. The competition attracted 249 entries which was really great. It’s always a bit of a worry the first time you try something new and I was every aware how much NAWG needed the competition to be a success.
I find critiques difficult to do as I’m very aware how hard it can be to accept criticism. I just hope everybody feels the extra £3 they paid was worth it.
I need to get back to the book as soon as possible. I’d hoped to have it ready by now but this b*****d virus ruined that idea. I still have a fearsome cough but I’m sleeping better now so I’ve decided to risk going out and about again. Tonight I’m going out with my quiz team. I have no idea whether I’ll be reading the questions, answering them, or simply offering support, but it will be a nice change to get out of an evening.
Yesterday I discovered that there are web sites where you can download classical music for free so I have taken full advantage. Now all I need is for my lodger to go out so I can have a practice.
Tomorrow morning I have to go into town to see the woman at Relate so the book may have to wait a while longer.

Sunday, 13 November 2011


Saturday 12th November
I spent the day at a workshop called THE POWER OF ATTRACTION. It was touch and go whether I went as I still had a bad cough, but in the end I decided to get a taxi there as that would at least save a long walk in the cold.
The workshop was meant to focus on two books, THE SECRET and THE POWER OF ATTRACTION but the Secret was hardly referred to. The workshop was about positive thinking, how our beliefs get in our way, and the power of language. I didn’t’ get much out of it mainly because when I tried to speak in anything more than a whisper, I started coughing, but what did strike me was how negative many of the people were. I would have thought that, for one day at least, they could have tried to embrace ethos of the workshop.
I went with my lodger, John and was very annoyed when everybody thought he was years younger than he actually is, and that I was older. I know I don’t look well, but….. What I’d really like to do is find a decent hairdresser who can advise me on what hairstyle would suit me best. I have no idea whether I should go short or long, fringe or not, pulled back, or over the ears. I’ve never taken much interest before.
As it was a bright day, we walked back to the train station via the German Christmas market. I love the market. It’s a riot of colours and smells. I bought 3 beeswax candles, two of which I’ll light on Christmas Day. The third, an angel, I will keep.
I decided not to even try and do any work and have the whole day away from the computer for a change. This morning, it was back to working on the critiques for the NAWG short story competition. They seem to be taking ages to do although the pile is going down. I’d rather get them out of the way before tackling anything else.
I had a blip with Facebook on Friday. I couldn’t access my pages. It seems to be OK now.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Friday morning

I don’t seem to be getting far today. I sent two stories to Oz, but then Facebook threw a wobbly. All my friends, photos, groups, posts, gone, like I’m back to square one. I tried to bring everything back but nothing worked. I really can’t face having to build it up again so I might just have to leave it for now. It’s bad timing but what can you do. I have such a lot to do at the moment with the judging and crits for the NAWG competition, plus I need to get the book done so that I can send it to the publisher.
At least I'm not still in bed, which is an improvement.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Kindle launch

I’ve just sent this press release to Writers Forum who said they will publish it, and my local paper who I’m waiting to hear from. I still feel like death only just warmed up so all this excitement is going way over my head. I don’t even own a Kindle.
‘Newcastle based Byker Books are delighted to announce that Linda Lewis – the Queen of 'Womag' fiction – has been signed to produce exclusive Kindle collections of short stories around various themes including Crime and Love. A series of writers’ guides will also be published, aimed at anyone who would like to be published in the competitive world of Women’s Magazines. The books will follow the Byker Books ethos of being available to all pockets and will be priced at just 99p each. Their mission is to expose and promote new authors whilst providing the reading public with quality material at an affordable price.
The first collection, simply called 'Crime' will be available from the Amazon Kindle store from Saturday 12th November 2011.
Linda, who writes the Short Story Success column each month in Writers Forum. She met the publisher at the National Association of Writers Groups Festival back in 2010. ‘That prompted me to submit a story to their 5th Radgepacket short story collection which was accepted. We met again at NAWG in 2011 and this venture is the result. Calling me the Queen of Womag was definitely their idea. There are many writers who deserve that title more than me.’
For all enquiries please contact or visit Linda can be contacted via her web site '

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

fed up feeling bad

I didn’t get up until after 12. The cough is deeper now but I’m hoping that change means I’m reaching the end of this bug. My head isn't aching so much nor is my thorat so fingers crossed.
it's such a struggle - keep tying to work or give in to being ill.
I’ve decided I'm definitely not going anywhere until I feel better which means missing the Spice quiz tonight. I can’t risk making this worse so it’s batten down the hatches time and fingers crossed I’m all right for Saturday.
I’ve read all the competition entries now and have made a long list. Now it’s time to start writing the critiques, then I can go back to the long list and read them again before deciding on the short list.
My new found friend, Rae, told me today that I have a story in the latest Fiction Feast. I've been so down, I hadn't even noticed!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

thanks for all the messages

A big thank you to everyone who sent me messages and tips to try to get rid of this virus/lurge or whatever it is.
I spent the morning in bed having coughed most of the night and have only just forced myself to get up, however, I’m feeling this might not have been such a good idea.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Trying to keep working but feeling dire

I feel a lot worse today. I felt so rough, I took a load of competition entries back to bed and read them there. My head’s bunged up and aching and I’m full of cold. The worse thing is the cough. I’m wondering if my body’s falling apart to try and stop me carrying on with the therapy, but I have no intention of letting that happen.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


I’ve been working my way through the competition entries, taking out any that may go into the short list. It’s going to be quite a long job.
Unbelievably, my virus is back with a vengeance and I feel dire again. It’s as though my body wants me to stay inside and out of everyone’s way while I work things out. The way I feel at the moment, it might just get its way.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

November 5th

Another batch of competition entries arrived this morning (7.30 as usual), and there are still a few more to come. I’m very happy that so many people entered and that NAWG will make some much needed profit. At the same time, I can’t help wondering why I volunteered to judge to shortlist when it’s going to take me AGES. Apart from reading stories, I sent my column to Writers Forum today and two books to Byker books ( which they’re going to put on Kindle.
Tonight, it’s round to a neighbour’s for a drink as it’s her birthday. Christine is the lady with the greyhounds. She and Paul lost one a few weeks ago and they’ve just found a replacement. He’s called Paddy and he’s six. Going round there means I’ll have to record Strictly and watch it later. I’m hopelessly addicted to the show and have been since year one.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Feeling more productive

Quite a productive day all round.
I’m making the spare bedroom into a den/hideaway. The furniture’s been moved and the bed stood on end. I’ve painted a shelf and filled some holes. Next week I’ll look for a comfy chair. I already have a do not disturb sign for the door.
My novel THE MAGIC OF FISHKEEPING arrived from the (German) publisher today, and it’s for sale on Amazon. Sadly the price is ridiculously high so nobody will want to buy it but there’s an ebook version coming soon so with any luck that will sell. Whatever happens, I’m glad to have put the book to bed at last.
My first Kindle book, launched with the help of Byker Books, goes on sale on the eleventh of this month which is exciting. They want to publish more of my collections, and the writers guides so I’m going to give it a try and see what happens.
It was so mild this afternoon, I ventured out into the garden and cut down the beans and peas and did a bit of tidying up. I didn’t do too much as I still have a stubborn cough, but I felt I’d achieved something. Found some sweet peas to pick too as well as some seeds to dry ready for next year.
Tonight, I’m going to read some more competition entries from the NAWG competition. I’ve been very happy with the standard of the stories, that means I have to be think hard about which ones to shortlist. I’m so glad it’s been a success.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Thursday 3rd November

I’m reading Lollipop Shoes by Joanna Harris at the moment. It took a while to pull me in as I had difficulty telling the voices apart. It’s written from three different first person viewpoints.
I managed to get to my crossword class today but the short walk felt like an uphill struggle as I’m still under par. I feel as though I have a tight band round my chest as if I could be on the verge of a panic attack. I’ve decided to stay in again tonight; the last thing I want to do is get worse again.
My non fiction book has now been proofread so I have to go through it again making any changes that are needed. My tame proof reader is down with a heavy cold so I’m going to proof read my next collection of crime stories myself. I figure if I use a ruler under each line that will slow me down and help me to spot any errors. That’s the theory anyway.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

November starts

Tuesday 1st November.
I printed off the book I’ve been working on and gave it my lodger to read through and check, then went to see Julia at Relate and we talked about all kinds of things. I told her that I’d written to the care home saying I wouldn’t be in touch again. I told her how change felt scary, how I’d been lonely, miserable and afraid for so long it felt normal to me, and the thought of being happy and successful was terrifying because it was so unknown. By the time I left Relate I felt tired and rained, but I made myself go to the shoe shop. I have never had decent shoes. Now, with my wide feet, I’ve gone for larger sizes to give me the width, so finding out about this shop that did wide fittings seemed like something I had to do, for me. I found two pairs, both more expensive than any shoes I’d ever bought. One with good solid soles for walking and a plain, simple pair for evenings out. I wasn’t sure size five would fit, but with the extra width, they did.
Getting home felt like an uphill climb of several miles. My chest was hurting as though I was on the edge of a panic attack, and I felt utterly worn out. By the time I got home, all I wanted to do was collapse into a chair, so that’s exactly what I did.

Monday, 31 October 2011


It's October 31st.
I have started work on sorting out my problems and have made an appointment to see somebody tomorrow. I'm not going to talk about this here as this blog is meant to be about writing. I've started a new, anonmymous, blog to give me some space.
I hope I can live two lives. One as a writer, and the other as a woman who needs to sort out so many things.
Now to have something to eat as I'm starving. WHy they bother with chnaging the clocks I'll never know. It takes me days to settle back down again.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Clean up

I’ve just been giving the house a thorough clean now Rocky’s gone home.
I have no more dogs booked in for the rest of the year.
Not much more to say except that I made my favourite lemon ice cream. Back to work tomorrow, I hope.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Writing a letter

The virus that has laid me low is in retreat at last but the general malaise that has been hanging over me for more than a year is still very much alive and kicking.
If you have been following this blog since it started you will know that I have had long term problems with my mother and that she is now living in a home, suffering from severe dementia.

The relationship ending so suddenly ( I was not told she was being moved to a home, nor was I given the opportunity to try to look after her myself) rocked my world, far more than I had realised. Now I see that the problem has not ‘gone away’ and that I need to deal with it, once and for all. This will probably mean more therapy, and more expense but unless I give this one last try, I might as well give up. My writing has been so badly affected, I’m not going to make sales to high paying markets unless I take time to work this through. So today I wrote to the home where my mother now lives.
The following is a shortened version of that letter.

‘I was waiting to see if Mum ever asked to call me. It’s been several months now and that has not happened.

Having my mother put into a home without being consulted, and without having the chance to try and take care of her myself devastated me. I spent my whole life trying to get my mother to show me some love and never succeeded. Now I know that is never going to happen.

Whatever you may think of me is up to you. Only my mother and I can know the truth.
All I can say is this. My mother was not there for me when I was a child. As a result, I have been in and out of therapy for decades. There is no point in me trying to be there for her when it is clear she no longer needs me. It’s time I tried to take care of myself which means staying away.

That said, I am still her daughter and would very much appreciate it if you could let me know if anything happens to her.

Thank you for taking care of her so well.’

I'm going to post it in the morning.

I hope that by sending this letter I can start to move on. I will be keeping a record of my journey but as it’s going to be hard, and very personal, I will not be sharing the details on the blog. Instead I will be keeping a journal on my PC. Having written that letter has already made me feel slightly lighter.

Now to try and get some work done. As my stories aren’t working for me at the moment, I’m going to stick with the non fiction for a while so back to the book.

Friday, 28 October 2011

On the mend

I feel a lot better today, so I’ll take it easy over the weekend, and hopefully be back to full speed on Monday. Rocky goes home tomorrow. I’ve just got used to having him here. Managed to get out this afternoon for a walk round Temple Newsam. Lovely weather, amazing light.

Thursday, 27 October 2011


I have nothing worth saying today apart from I worked on the book and I still feel bad.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Struggling to get well

Yesterday I battled into town for my appointment with Relate, feeling dreadful. My plan was to take a look at the shoe shop I’d found out about via a talk at Heydays (I need wide shoes) but when I got there I felt so bad, I couldn’t be bothered so I wandered around, ending up in the church next to the Relate office. I sat in the chapel for a while then had a chat with a kind man on the desk. They have a drop in service where you can talk to somebody for free so I might give that a go next week. It has the benefit of being free unlike Relate.
In the Relate session, the very nice lady (Julia) suggested that I’ve gone through a bereavement as my relationship with my mother has effectively been terminated, not by her death, but by her going into a home. Julia said that the grieving process has to be gone through and I can’t rush it, so maybe starting on the pills was a good idea. She also suggest getting a book called Rescuing the inner child, so I’ve just ordered that via eBay.
Back to yesterday, I was expecting Rocky, another chocolate Labrador who I’d taken care of back in February, to arrive around five. He turned up at ten which I really didn’t need as I was getting ready to go out. The agency had given me the wrong time. It’s not the first time either. It didn’t matter that much, but if he’d arrived at eleven, nobody would have been home.
Last time Rocky was here, he was as good as gold. This time he’s changed, barking when he wants something which he didn’t do before. This morning he didn’t want his breakfast and his insides were sounding like a broken down cement mixer. Obviously he’s feeling a bit under par, just like me.
I was meant to be going to the Adventure day at Heydays this morning but I’m just not up to it. I was so looking forward to it too. It’s meant to be a chance to get to try new activities and meet people from different classes, but there’s no point going when I feel bad. I’d hate anyone else to catch this virus.
Now to try and get some work done. Not much mind.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Went back to the doctor

I have a virus and feel half dead. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Fed up being ill

I’ve been working, trying to ignore the sore throat and annoying cough that are stubbornly refusing to shift. I’ve achieved 2000 new words on the book, entered the Sunday Times National Short Story Award and started work on my entry for the SWWJ Life Writing Competition. Now I’ve had enough. So many bits of me ache, it’s time to crash. Please let me be better by Tuesday!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Starting to recover, I hope!

I spent the morning in bed, reading another batch of NAWG short stories. The standard is really good, it’s going to make sorting them difficult.
I think (fingers crossed) that whatever it is I have is waning. There’s a saying, three days coming, three days here, three days going, so if that’s true I’ll be fighting fit for Tuesday.
I’m not sure what to do now as I don’t feel up to being creative. I’ll think I’ll go back to the Write Place competition and work on the judging report, then I’ll do some jigsaw and maybe watch a film, it is the weekend after all.

Friday, 21 October 2011


Last night was worse than ever. Not only did lying down make me cough, I felt sick and generally foul. I don’t know if that’s the bug or a reaction to the tablets. I will have to wait and see.
Rather than write the day off, I decided to start reading the NAWG competition entries as it’s going to take me quite a while. Stupidly I’m not getting paid for doing this, apart from any money for critiques (short crit £3 a go). I really need to stop doing so many things that take time but bring no reward but I wanted to help NAWG as they were having problems. The standard is remarkably high which is pleasantly surprising with some really good writing. Unfortunately there are quite a few stories that lack structure and are more like recalled memories or anecdotes than rounded fiction but at least that makes it easier for me to sort out a shortlist.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Pills, waiting list, or go private

My dodgy throat turned into a cough which stopped me sleeping, so I decided not to go to crossword class this afternoon, or evening class tonight.
Instead I made an appointment to see the doctor, not about my cold, but to see if I could get somebody to talk to without having to pay out. He told me that I could go on a waiting list for several months to speak to somebody or he could give me some pills or I could pay to see somebody privately. I took the pills option.
I’m sure if I’d tried to kill myself, I’d get to speak to somebody, but that’s the way it is.
I’m feeling so rough, if I was employed, I’d take a week off (and get paid) but I’m self employed so that option doesn’t apply. I managed a thousand words on the book, then read the Write Place short listed stories which I’m to judge. None of them jumped out as particularly brilliant which was a shame as that always makes choosing the winner much easier. I left them for half a day then read them again. I now have my top three and three highly commendeds. I might leave the report until tomorrow and have a look at some of the entries for the NAWG competition. I was going to leave them until after the closing date but it won’t hurt to do a first sift and it’s something I can manage to do, even when I’m feeling yuk.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

No snging, or playing, today

Last night, I went to a dinner shuffle with Spice Yorkshire, held at Create restaurant in the centre of Leeds. My sore throat made it hard for me to talk, which was annoying but
I was pleasantly surprised by the range of people attending - there was even one rather appealing man. Of course, the shuffle conspired never to let me sit anywhere near him so I will have to hope I see him again at another event. Right now I don’t even know if he’s single. The long and the short of it is that I’ve decided to join the organisation and try to get a place at their Christmas do (thanks again, Helen!).
That will make 5 Christmas dos I’m going to, but in my view you can’t have too many.
Today was my Heydays day. There was no point staying for the singing, thanks to me throat, so I left after lunch. Since then I’ve had a bit of a rest (I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since this bug landed) then tackled some reading. I was asked to judge the short list of the recent Write Place competition so if you entered, now is the time to bribe me! (Don’t worry, I’m joking.)
I’ve just read all the entries. I will go back to them later and the ones that stick in my mind after a second reading, will make the short list.
My new digital keyboard is sitting on a chair, alone and unloved. I’m waiting for a time when my loathsome lodger is out so that I can play it without feeling embarrassed.
For now, it’s back to the book for which the end (of the first draft at least) is in sight.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Treating myself (and some)

This morning I went to Relate, not about my troubled relationship with my lodger, but about my mother. It’s too complicated to put into words, but since she’s been in the home, and I’m having no contact with her, I’ve felt bereaved. I went from talking to her up to three dozen times a day, to nothing at all. She has been the most important person in my life. It has hurt me more than I can ever hope to explain that decisions about her care were taken out of my hands on the basis of lies and misunderstandings.
I need somebody to tell me that what I did was all right, that I tried my hardest to do what was best, and that she is in the best place. More than that, I need somebody to say that I’m not a terrible daughter, that even though her carer, my aunts, her solicitor and social services have found me wanting, they have been deceived.
I have to sort this out soon because my story telling ability is still being adversely affected. I can tell that by the sales I haven’t been getting from my main market, Fiction Feast/TAB. Some people write best when they are under stress or sad. I write best when I’m feeling O.K. Right now, I don’t feel that way, and my stories are coming out flat.
The woman at Relate thinks they might be able to help me, so I’ve booked another session next week.
Afterwards, I felt a bit fraught, so I decided to treat myself. I bought a couple of dresses from TK Max then spotted a music shop. I intended just to have a browse and came out with a Yamaha digital keyboard. Losing my piano was one of my biggest mistakes and I’ve wanted a replacement for a long time now. I had a grotty little keyboard which I found at a boot sale but it didn’t ‘feel’ like a piano and I never played it. I was never much good but bashing out a tune helped me relax. I hope it will again. I bought some really easy music too so that I should be able to play it. It’s been a long long time. …..
Tonight, it’s back into town for a meal with Spice. I wasn’t sure I’d be going anywhere today I was awake at 2, and again at 4 with a terrible sore throat, but it feels a bit better now.
Wish me luck!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Feeling under par

I felt poorly within hours of Louis going home and woke up with a raging sore throat and a cough. I was meant to go to the Writers Club tonight, but decided against. I’m seriously glad I did as the weather has suddenly turned foul – high winds and pelting rain.
I spent most of the day working on my second collection of crime stories. It’s more or less ready. I just need to print it off and take it to my tame proof reader. I also printed out the new book I’ve been working on for the best six weeks to see where the gaps are and to basically go through it. It’s looking quite good and I’m feeling quite pleased about the way it’s going. I only hope my potential publisher feels the same way.
Apart from that, I found 2 stories that might be suitable for the People’s Friend and printed them ready to submit. I spent several hours yesterday analysing six copies of the magazine so hopefully I now have a better idea what they might want to buy.
I’ve also been trying to find another pet agency that I can board dogs through. So far no luck. If I want to go it alone, the insurance costs around £84 a year that together with the licence fee hardly makes it worth doing, but I’d hate not to see Louis again.
Now I’ve had enough. I feel like going to bed, but getting too much sleep doesn’t work for me. Instead, I’m going to watch University Challenge and Only Connect and see how I feel after that.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

My best dog has gone home

I've added 1300 words to the book, said goodbye to Louis, and done a massive clean up. Now I need to make up the bed, sans hairs, and start some serious People's friend research, i.e. read as many o ftheir stories as I can find and analyse them, whilst watching the repeat of the Grand Prix (and trying not to cry).
I know it's daft, but having a dog to talk to is such a help. I can talk to my lodger and get less of a reaction, or, as is often the case, ignored or snapped at. Louis let me talk to him any time I liked and he never once disagreed with me. It was so soothing to wake in the middle of the night and hear him snoring!
If I write any more I'll cry, so I'm going to sign off and get reading.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Book now at 40000 words

I wrote another 1200 words of the book then switched over to my next story collection. Byker books are hoping to publish my first book of crime stories on Kindle before Christmas so I wanted to make a start on the follow up. I’ve chosen the stories and more or less put the book together. All it needs now is checking and laying out properly.
As it was such a nice day, I went out with Louis to Temple Newsam for a long walk. It feels like he’s been here for ever, and I really don’t want him to leave, but I’m sure his owners would have something to say abut that.
I’m going to do my couch potato act now – Strictly, Harry Hill, and the shows I missed during the week due to going out, most notably House.

Friday, 14 October 2011

hard to stay awake

I went to my first evening class in York last night. The course I wanted (Edwardian Children’s Literature) was cancelled so I switched to the Making of Post War Britain. I’m not that interested in history but it turned out to be quite interesting, probably because I hadn’t known much about the period before. The only problem was, I felt so tired, I had to concentrate on staying awake. I’d been out late the night before, and also on Monday. I’m going to see King Lear tonight and feeling very excited about it. I love live entertainment. I’m sure I’ll have no problems staying awake for that. I haven’t been to the theatre by myself since I saw Dave Allen back in the 1980s.
Mind you, Louis did get me up at five this morning which didn’t help. It’s funny how easy it is to forgive animals and how hard it can be to forgive people. Louis could make all kinds of mess, throw up in my slippers, cover me in bruises with his hard and very bony elbows and keep me wake half the night, but I’d still love him.
I wish he wasn’t going home on Sunday.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Writing a book

I’m trying a risky strategy, i.e. working on the new book and leaving the stories for a while. I hope it pays off. I’ve done thirty four thousand words so far, of which two thousand have been written today.
This morning I made an appointment to see somebody at Relate. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to speak to somebody about the way things went with my mother so that I can find some kind of closure. Basically, I need somebody to tell me that the steps I’ve taken, i.e. walking away was an OK thing to do. Right now, my story writing is suffering thanks to my low mood. I can sell to markets like My Weekly and Yours, but the better paying markets (Woman’s Weekly and Take a Break) are, currently eluding me and I’m sure my mental state has a lot to do with that. I’m dreading the day Louis goes home. He’s been such a help, I’m going to miss him so much.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Monday 10th October

I’m seriously worried by my lack of sale to Fiction Feast. I know my writing took a bit of a dip earlier this tear, but I’d hoped I was back on form. I will have to try harder. I managed another 1500 words on the book but didn’t get much else done today. Tomorrow is full of all kinds of distractions, including the local Good Neighbours AGM and lunch and the gardening club so I’ll have to try to squeeze in some writing time somewhere or another. Tonight I’ve been volunteered to take part in the quiz. I usually have the job of asking the questions which I enjoy. We’re playing the best team tonight so we’re not expected to win which does take the pressure off at least.
My mood has turned black again today. Probably not helped by the less than enthusiastic reception my offer to run a workshop received on Saturday.
In one of the talks, a woman listed the six things every writer needs, one of which was support. I wish she hadn’t said it because that’s definitely something I’m not getting enough of at the moment.
I tweaked a story for the People's Friend at the weekend and the fiction editor says it's OK now. Now I have to wait for it to be approved by the editor before I can call it a sale.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Working hard

I’ve spent most of today, apart from when I watched the Grand Prix (recorded, not live. It started at seven a.m.) working on the new book. I’m keeping a graph of my daily output of new words to see how much new writing I’m doing each day so that I can, hopefully, feel a sense of achievement. Plus I’ll be able to see whether or not I’m getting the balance right. Today I managed 2000 words.
I’m aiming for at least 1000 a day average so that’s a good start.
Now to move some furniture.

Saturday in Halifax

I went to my writing day at Halifax yesterday. I’d almost cancelled because I was worried about the dogs and whether my lodger would manage to supervise them effectively. I decided to go when both dogs spent most of Friday evening ignoring each other, most of the time, sleeping.
I had to get up early as I was catching the 8.10 train and had to feed both dogs, separately, before I went – given half a chance Louis would have eaten all Ted’s food too. The journey to Halifax was straightforward apart from the train being eleven minutes late meaning that I arrived at the venue with seconds to spare before the opening talk started and missed out on the tea and coffee. The day was part of the Calderdale Roadshow which puts on all kinds of literary events. I’d wanted to have a look see with the idea of maybe running a workshop or giving a talk. Sadly, that doesn’t seem very likely. The workshops were good but very worthy, with much discussion of books I’ve never heard of let alone read.
In the lunch break, I had a word with the woman who runs the events. I’d emailed her at least twice, asking about taking part but had had no reply. When I told her what I did for a living, she said, and I quote, ‘half the people here wouldn’t be interested.’ So that put me in my place.
I noticed that the tutors didn’t mingle with the rest of us which made me think of standing in the queue at Swanwick next to Ian (M) Banks who was chatting away to all and sundry.
I didn’t want to sit through the talk on how to get published so I went for a walk, after phoning to make sure the dogs were OK.
Having never been to Halifax I wanted to see what the shops were like. Not bad was the answer. It looks like somewhere I’d definitely want to explore especially as the return train fare was less than a fiver. On my way back to the library I passed a charity stall where I bought 8, yes 8, useful books for £1.
In the afternoon session which was talking about using different viewpoints to tell a story, I mentioned that my choice of viewpoint was often governed by which magazine I intended to submit it to. To that the tutor replied that markets were not something she wanted to discuss, they weren’t appropriate to the session.
Oh well, at least I tried.
The sessions were useful though, but rather heavy going and I’m not sure if many people came away with very much.
I was home just after six. Ted’s owners had been to collect him and all was well. I decided to take the rest of the day off as I’d done some writing on the train. Whether I’ll go to any more of those events will remain to be seen.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Good news from The People's Friend.

After a nervous couple of hours, the dogs are getting along well enough, in other words, they’re both half asleep. Ted is on his bed and Louis is cuddled up to whichever human happens to be nearby.
I’ve even managed to get some work done. The new book is up to 100 pages and as I’m aiming for 200, that means I’m half way there which is good. I’ve also had an email from Shirley Blair at The People’s Friend saying she’s passed one of my stories to the editor for approval and wants me to tweak another one (which I did straightaway).
With any luck, I could be about to get my first ever sale to that market which will be great. I have a short listing in Writers News this month, and I’ve just been told that I have a story I the Oct 8th edition of The Weekly News. Nothing in Fiction Feast, again. Those months when I wasn’t writing well are certainly coming back to haunt me now but their effects should soon be wearing off.
Now to get ready for my day in Halifax tomorrow, then I’m going to sit down and hug my favourite Labrador.

Two different dogs

My neighbours’ greyhound arrived half an hour ago.
I’ve been keeping the dogs apart. Now my lodger’s taken Louis out for a walk I thought I could do some work but Ted (the greyhound) is whimpering. I’m guessing he’s missing his companion who died not long ago. I think he’s going to want more company than I can give him typing so I might have to do something else today.
Tomorrow I’m booked on a writing day in Halifax. My lodger is under strict instructions regarding the dogs. I just hope I can trust him, but there’s not much else I can do.
Hopefully by tomorrow, the worst will be over and the dogs will be getting along fine.
Fingers crossed anyway.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Writers Forum column and a long story finished

My first task today was to write my column for Writers Forum. Once that’s was done, I worked on a three thousand word story which I finished this afternoon and will post to Fiction Feast tomorrow.
There were only four at the crossword class today which is not good. I hope a few more drift back soon as I wouldn’t want the class to stop. On my way home I popped into Wilson’s and bought two of their wonderful turkey legs, one to freeze, and one for Saturday. . They make other turkey seem like cardboard.
I’m hoping to get some work done on the book tomorrow but with my neighbour’s greyhound arriving, I’m not sure how. I’m going to have to make sure the two dogs are either supervised or separated as the last thing I want is an accident. Both dogs seem friendly enough but you never really know for sure. I wish I’d been able to say no, but they’re going to a good friend’s funeral all the way down in Kent so they have to stay overnight. They don’t trust anyone else with their dog. It’s either me look after him or they don’t go. Hobson’s choice strikes again.
More positive news – House is back on Sky One tonight! At last something worth watching.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Too busy for a day off

I decided not to go to Heydays today.
I’ve got so much to do, especially as I’m not going to be able to get much done on Friday. I’ll have to watch over the dogs and make sure they don’t decide to eat each other.
More news on the dogs front. A Labrador I looked after a few months ago is coming back for four days at the end of the month. He was zero trouble so he’s more than welcome. Unlike Louis, he doesn’t have to get up at six in the morning!
I sent a new story to TAB this morning, then carried on working on the longer story. It’s about done now and has come out just under 3000 words. I’ll take another look at it tomorrow morning and see if it’s ready to send.
I also sent some Christmas stories to OZ. It might be too late, but it’s worth a try as it doesn’t seem that TAB want to buy any. I also sent my once a month sub to My Weekly.
Tomorrow I want to get my Writers Forum column out of the way THEN I can get back to the book which I’d really like to have finished by the end of October.
I also need to put another story collection together, ready to go on Kindle. Help, I need a cook, bottle washer, cleaner, record keeper, gardener and tea/coffee maker! If I had enough money, I’d gladly pay for one.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

New book ready for sale

I finished another story, Valentine’s Day for a change. Now I’m working on a longer one.
The brown bin (garden rubbish) gets collected tomorrow so I decided I’d better fill it up, that meant spending a couple of hours in the garden, hacking things down. I haven’t been out there for ages which, sadly, shows. Next year will be better, I hope.
My new writers guide on the subject of fillers is now with the powers that be at Lulu and if all’s well, they will help to market it and it will gone on sale on Amazon. See my books page for more information and my web site if you want to buy a copy. I only have a few for sale as I’m waiting for Lulu’s approval before ordering any more.
I thought adding an ISBN number would be difficult but it hasn’t proved to be as complicated as I expected, so I’ll wait and see if I’ve done this one right and think about adding ISBN numbers to my other books too.
I should be going to heydays tomorrow but I have so much to do – my column for Writers Forum, choosing which story to send to My Weekly for my October submission, working on my next, longer, book, finishing stories, and so on, I might give it a miss. I could only go for the morning anyway because Louis’s here. He really is a darling. Even though he does get me out of bed at half past six every morning.
When he wags his tail, his whole body shakes like a jelly.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Last minute call

I had a call a while ago to say the quiz league is starting again tonight and was I free to play or ask the questions. Apparently the man organising the team had forgotten all about it. I was going to work, but I’m so desperate for somebody to talk to now that I’m not going to the writing club anthology launch, so I said OK.
I’ve been working on 2 new stories. One is almost there, the other still needs typing up, but it’s not looking bad. Maybe an evening out will do me good though I must say the weather looks very iffy.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

King Alfred impressions

I intended to spend the day reading, catching up on the writing magazines that have piled up and all the other things (magazines, short story collections) I really should get round to but after a while, the urge to back to working on the book became hard to resist.
So I decided to add another thousand words hoping that will then allow me to stop and do something else.
Half way through I decided to bake some flapjacks. While they were cooking I went back to work and forgot about them. They were so black, they had to go in the bin.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

1st October, hot hot hot

I was up early which was just as well as Louis arrived half an hour earlier than expected. His owner just dropped him and disappeared. As usual, he already looks as though he’s been here for ever. Such a relaxed, happy dog.
I finished another story which I sent to Take a Break, then sent two more to Oz, and 2 to People’s Friend. I’ve never sold to PF so I’d really like to have at least one story published by them.
After that, I finished my pickled onions (4 jars, all for me) then carried on with the book. I’m about a third of the way through the first draft which puts me on target. It’s been so hot today. Such weird weather, it’s hard to know what to do. I’m glad Louis prevented me from going to the Ilkey rehearsal as I don’t think I’d have coped well in the heat.
I’ve just watched Strictly. Not bad for a first week. Now to decide what to do for the rest of the evening. I think I’ll do another half hour then call it a day.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Busy Busy Busy

I’ve been working hard today wishing I could take some time out to catch the wonderfully warm weather!
This morning I drafted another story, which I’ve since put on the computer and edited. I’ll leave it to soak overnight and get it ready to send off tomorrow. After that I went back to the new book. I’m not saying what it’s about at the moment as I may have a publisher interested and I don’t want to rock any boats by counting chickens. The book’s non fiction which is easier to write, for me anyway, so I can type it straight on to the computer.
Now I need to have a bit of a tidy up. I’ve neglected the housework this week as I wanted to get some work done but Louis arrives tomorrow so I need to make a bit of an effort or his owners might not be impressed.
Last night, the owner of the agency I board dogs through told me she was packing in that side of the business at the end of the year. I can either run things myself, which I’m not keen on, pack it in altogether, or carry on boarding the dogs on a ‘friendly’ basis. There’s nothing to stop people looking after their friends’ pets when they go away, and as I’ve met all the owners already, I COULD call them friends, but I hate doing anything that could, in any way, be construed as dishonest.
I’ll need to give it some more thought.
Strictly starts again tonight which means it really will soon be Christmas. I’ve been addicted to the show since it started so that’s my weekends sorted for a while at least.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Stoiy required! Fast.

I was all set to work on the book when I had an email from TAB’s fiction editor asking if I had any New Year stories. I had to drop everything, come up with an idea, and write it straightaway. She doesn’t often ask for specific things so when she does, I always try to reply as fast as I can so that she knows she can rely on me to fill any gaps. Of course, I’m well aware that she’s asked lots of other writers too so will have to wait and see if she buys the story.
Chris Huck called by today to drop off some more competition entry forms for the NAWG competition (see - £250 first prize) and some leaflets about NAWG itself as I’m doing what I can to promote the organisation.
Then it was off to the crossword class. I didn’t enjoy it today It was as though the crosswords were all degree level and I’m still at GSCE.
Now I’m going to do one of the jobs I love to hate – pickling onions. I love onions in every shape and form, but whenever I start preparing them for pickling, I do maybe a dozen then wonder why I started the job. It’s such a drag, plus I’ll be stinking of onions for days.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Deciding what to do

As readers of this blog will know, I suffer from depression and low self esteem. It doesn’t matter how well things go, I can still see the dark side.

Lately I’ve been wondering if I’d ever feel better. I’ve been seeing a CBT therapist for a few months and getting nowhere. Today, I finally think I may be getting somewhere.
For a long time I’ve been trying to be something more than ‘just’ a short story writer. Instead of writing short stories, which I know I can do, I’ve been worrying, wasting time, and working on novels I have little faith in.

It’s time to stop. Go back to writing two or more stories every week until I’m back on track, then, if I want to, I can have a go at other things without stressing myself half to death.

I’ll still be working on my writers; guides as they’re such fun to write, and I can still put short story collections together and write my column for the best writing magazine I know (Writers Forum). Everything else can go until I feel back in control.

Today I’m usually at Heydays but they’re hosting a conference so we had a week off. I had a go at painting a portrait of a friend’s cat but it hasn’t worked out very well. I was trying too hard. Right now I need some more fun in my life and I’m not exactly sure where to find it.

I have just finished uploading my novel to a publisher in Germany. I have no idea what will become of it but I’m glad it’s gone somewhere so that I can forget about it. Once it’s for sale, I’ll be putting the details here but a I have a few doubts abut the process, don’t hold your breath.

Byker books want me to put another story collection together which again is fun as I already have the words. I just need to make the book.

Tomorrow I’m going to ask my tame proof reader if he will work his magic on my autobiography. At the moment, I’ve been selling a (probably) mistake laden version as I was concerned about letting somebody I know well find out all my secrets.
I’ve now had a rethink. After the problems I had with my mother in the past year, the whole idea of the book was to tell the world the truth. If he’s willing to proof read it for me, I can then get it marketed by Lulu using their ISBN number service. I’ve just put Writing Guide 3 together (on writing fillers) with an ISBN so I’m waiting to see how it pans out. Be sure, I’ll let you know what happens.