Friday 28 June 2013


We've survived another week and now it's time to Celebrate The Small Things.

I have quite a big thing to celebrate this week, and that is ... I have a website!  I've been umm-ing and aah-ing about it for ages, and I've been 'building' websites on those free providers, but I finally got around to finishing one off and paying for it.  The free options are good, but they give you an awful web address, like (ha!  I made that up, but you get the idea).  So now I am the proud owner of da-da-da

It's quite exciting to have one of those website thingies.  I know I have a blog, but a website properly advertises me as an author, and my books.

I'm also celebrating Book Group this week.  Last month we read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows.  I read this book a few years ago, so was glad to read it again.  I really enjoyed it both times.  It's a fairly easy read, and the story drags you in pretty much straight away.  It's about recovering from the Nazi occupation of Guernsey, which is obviously a horrible subject, but it's really worth reading.

I can still touch my toes, which has really made me happy.  My Pilates teacher has put together a little instruction booklet for stretching the legs, and is going to sell that along with a stretchy band, so next time I see her I'm going to buy one, just to keep myself fit and flexible.

I've found another blog hop to get involved in.  I've joined up to What's Up Wednesday, which encourages readers and writers to note down their progress.  I think three blog hops per week is enough to keep me busy - Express Yourself on Monday, What's Up Wednesday on Wednesday, and Celebrate The Small Things on Friday.  Other bloggers are very friendly and supportive, which is great, and I also really enjoy reading about what other people are getting up to.  This blogosphere is an interesting place.

Work is still good.  I love my job; some of the people aren't particularly agreeable, but the job is enjoyable.  I took it upon myself to organise a very messy book display this week, and it looks so much better after a bit of time and care.  It's kind of hidden away at the back of the library, but it frustrated me every time I tried to find a book and couldn't because all the books were shelved in a random order.  It now looks very pretty, and it's so much easier to find things.  

And of course I'm celebrating my Lily and my parents.  They brought her to meet me from my book group, and Lily was so excited to see me.  Whatever has upset me (if anything) during the day, seeing her smiling face always makes me smile.  I don't know what I'd do without her.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday 26 June 2013

LLBG - June

Yesterday, Lowestoft Library Book Group met to discuss The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

I read this book a few years ago, so was pleased to read it again.  It's a story about an author living in London during and after World War II.  She finds out about a literary society in Guernsey, and writes letters to the members in order to find out about their group and their life on the island during the Nazi occupation.  The book is the collection of her correspondence.

Initially, it can get a bit confusing as you're not always sure who is the voice of each letter (there's no real distinction between the characters), but once you immerse yourself in the story, it doesn't really matter who's 'speaking'.  The ending does seem a bit rushed and a bit twee, and there are a couple of elements throughout the book which seem unnecessary in the greater scheme of things.  But these things can be forgiven.

Most people enjoyed the book, even though there were a few niggly bits.  But those who enjoyed it hadn't wanted the book to end, and were contemplating what the sequel could be about.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 30th July and we will be discussing A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a nifty little blog hop, over at Jaime's blog.

What I'm Reading

A few months ago I took part in World Book Night.  This night celebrates everything to do with, well, books!  The lovely organisers at World Book Night put together a list of great books, which people can give away for free.  I chose to give away The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fford at an event hosted by Lowestoft Library.  At the event, other 'givers' were giving away different books.  I picked up The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness because it looked like something I could enjoy.  It has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of months, but I decided to finally pick it up last week and start reading it.  So far, I'm really enjoying it.

What I'm Writing

My WIP is plodding along quite nicely.  At the moment I'm only managing to find time to write on Sundays.  At my last word count I was up to 44,000 words, which is half a novel, so I really need to get a shimmy on! I'm happy with what I've written so far, but I stepped out of my normal writing routine with this one.  I usually write a complete story from beginning to end, and then edit.  But this time I've written the beginning and the end, and have to go back to fill in the gaps.  I just hope I can make them match!

What Inspires Me Right Now

I think work is inspiring me at the moment.  Working in a library and being around all those lovely books really gives me the urge to get on and write so that I can share the shelves with those great authors.

What Else I've Been Up To

This week has mainly consisted of me working (which I still love), organising the Lowestoft Library Literary Festival (which will be taking place on Saturday 28th September), and going to Book Group.

Oh, and I also set myself up a website ...

What's going on in your life this week?

Monday 24 June 2013

Press Play

This week's prompt for Dani and Jackie's Express Yourself blog hop is ...

What band, singer, or group would be featured most in your WIP or life?

I love music.  I always have to have music on in the background.  Silence freaks me out.  I collect and collate my music with the help of, and every week, month, or year I can see a list of what I've listened to.  I tend to put my music on shuffle so that I'm always surprised by what comes on next.  If you're interested in my profile, you can have a looksee here. has been tracking my music since 24th May 2006, which is quite a helluva long time.  According to this list (which obviously isn't exclusive, as I listen to the radio, watch music television, and spend a lot of time on youtube) my most played artistes are ...

1 = Buck 65
(2,342 plays)

2 = Placebo
(2,228 plays)

(1,854 plays)

(1,195 plays)

(965 plays)

This list does not encompass my taste in music, but it's a bit of a start, and all of them are worth listening to.

And as for my WIP (currently untitled) ... it's the sequel to my first novel, Lexa Wright's Dating Sights, and Lexa, the main character, is a big fan of 90s brit pop, so while she's going about her life there's no doubt that she's listening to ...

Friday 21 June 2013

I Can Touch My Toes

Why, hello Friday, we meet again.  Would you like to hear about the good things that happened to me over the past week?  Oh you would?  Well it's a good thing that I'm Celebrating The Small Things.
  • The first thing that I'm celebrating is a pretty big thing.  I've been going to Pilates classes for just under a year.  I wanted to start going as I was extremely inflexible.  My body didn't like moving normally, let alone any sort of extension.  And then today, after a grueling hour of stretching I folded myself in half and I touched my toes for the very first time!!  My legs were straight.  My knees weren't bent.  My fingers were on my toes.  I couldn't believe it.  I just screamed out in front of the whole class; I was so excited!!  In fact, I'm still excited.   I can't contort myself, but it's a start.
  • I've not got myself back into a writing routine, so my second novel (currently untitled) is taking a while to write.  However, on Sunday I sat down at my computer and decided to get my word count to 40,000.  I started off having previously written just over 38,000 words, and when I finished at the end of the day I had just over 42,000 words.  
  • I finished reading my Book Group book well before our meeting.  We meet on the last Tuesday of the month (which will be next Tuesday), and I normally finish the book the day of the meeting.  It's not that I don't enjoy reading the books.  I'm just a slow reader.  This month we had to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  I read it a few years ago and I'm glad I read it again.  It's a really good read. 
  • On Wednesday I went down to London to see Charlie And The Chocolate Factory musical at the theatre.  It was so good.  I can't find any of the songs on YouTube yet, but my favourite was Mike Teevee's "exit" song.  I had wanted to share it with you but I guess that will just have to wait.  

  • We had another meeting for the Lowestoft Library Literary Festival.  It will be on Saturday 28th September, and we have 8 local authors who are coming to speak about their books.  It's very exciting.  So if you're interested in seeing Jayne-Marie Barker, Terry Tarbox, Suzan Collins, Ruth Dugdall, Patricia van Stratum, Rebeccah Giltrow, Ian Robb, and Elly Griffiths then keep your eyes peeled and I'll let you know when and where you can get tickets.
  • And of course, work, dog, parents, but that's a given now!
What are you celebrating this week?

Monday 17 June 2013

Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

This week's prompt for Dani and Jackie's Express Yourself blog hop is ...

What are some questions that you get asked time and time again?

  • Have you been sunbathing under a sieve?
  • What's the weather like up there?
  • Do you sleep with your feet in a grow bag?
  • (at work) Do you have any bus timetables?
  • (upon finding out that I studied literature at university) Do you want to be a teacher?
  • (looking at my dog who wears a pink collar and has a pink lead) What's his name?
  • (at work) Have you got any books on *insert obscure topic here*?
  • Can you read through this for me and check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation?
  • What sort of things do you write?
  • What's your book about?
  • (upon finding out that I taught English as a foreign language) How many foreign languages can you speak?

Friday 14 June 2013

Happy Friday

Happy Friday, and Happy Celebrate The Small Things Day!  Here's what has been floating my boat this past week.
  • After being ill last week, I thought I would treat myself to something at the supermarket.  I was browsing the cereal aisle and saw Poptarts.  I used to eat these when I was little, but not so much as an adult.  But as a treat, I picked up a box.  And for some reason a box of 12 was cheaper than a box of 8!  I checked and double checked, but a box of 12 was £2.50, and a box of 8 was £2.64.  Cheap treats are the best!
  • Over this last fortnight, my shifts fall so that I have 7 days off in a row.  Last week I worked Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and this week I'm working Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
  • This week I had my writing group and my teen writing group.  Whenever my creative juices start to dry up, writing groups always give me a bit of inspiration.
  • I had lunch with a friend who I hadn't seen in months.  It was nice to have a catch up and find out what she'd been getting up to.  We've arranged to go to London in a month to an open air book festival in Trafalgar Square which should be exciting.
  • The sun has been shining.  Not all the time and not every day.  But it's lovely to drive home from work with the car window open.
  • And of course work is good, my dog is still lovely and gets super excited when I get home (which always cheers me up), and my parents are still being great by taking care of Lily while I'm at work.
What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday 12 June 2013

LLWG - June

Yesterday was the June meeting of Lowestoft Library Writers' Group.  We had a full house plus the return of a member who left about a year ago, which was a lovely surprise (although I didn't recognise her at first from a distance as her hair had grown a lot!)

Homework from last month was to write a piece which included the line "The strange noises got louder."  We also had to show the meaning of the cliche 'a bundle of nerves' without actually using the cliche.

I'm afraid that I left my homework until the last minute, so only wrote a very short piece.

Jim heard a low growl.  He slowly turned his head to look behind him but no-one was there.  He shrugged his shoulders and returned to reading his book.  The growl turned into a louder rumble.  Jim put his book down and walked over to the window.  The street was empty.  He sat on the windowsill with his back to the world and looked towards the door.  The rumble became a grumble, followed by a louder growl.  Jim picked up a remote control from the coffee table and crept towards the door.  He switched off the light and peered into the hall, holding the remote control in front of him.  The strange noises got louder.  He squinted through the darkness, and tip-toed along the hallway, keeping close to the wall.  He held his breath as the grumbles and rumbles and growls filled his ears.  Jim slid down the wall and clutched the remote control to his chest.  His eyes widened and his heart thumped.  He began to rock back and forth, mumbling to himself.  The sounds got louder and louder, and Jim couldn't take it any longer.  After counting to three in his head he jumped up, wielding the remote control like a knife.  He took a deep breath in, opened his mouth to scream, and let out the loudest burp he had ever heard.


Di brought along a play she had written a while back.  It was a Victorian melodrama with a dastardly villain and a swooning heroine.  We all took a part and read the play aloud; some even slipped into lovely accents when reading their part.

Following on from that, Di asked us to write our own play.  Mine is currently untitled.

Amelia Lovecrest
George Lovecrest (Amelia's father)
Dirk Stronghold (Amelia's love interest)
Nanny Goodchild (Amelia's grandmother)
William Fibmerchant (Amelia's betrothed)

Scene 1

Amelia sits at her window gazing out into the night.  She hears a rustling outside.

DIRK:  Amelia!  Amelia, my love!

AMELIA:  Dirk!  What are you doing down there?

DIRK:  I just had to see you, my love.  My life is empty without you.

AMELIA:  Are you crazy?  What if my dad hears you?

DIRK:  I don't care.  I want the world to know that I love you!

A dog barks and the porch light goes on.  George opens the front door.  Dirk hurries into the shadows.

GEORGE:  Nanny, get my gun.  We have an intruder.

NANNY:  Not now George.  It's probably just birds or badgers or something.

George mumbles to himself.

GEORGE:  If you want a job done properly you have to do it yourself.

George goes back inside the house.  Dirk hoists himself up onto the porch rood and shimmies up into Amelia's bedroom.

AMELIA:  What are you doing?  My dad will kill you if he catches you up here.

DIRK:  I won't let him catch me then.

Suddenly, Amelia's bedroom door flies open.

AMELIA:  Nanny!

NANNY:  And what's going on here?

AMELIA:  Please don't tell Daddy.

NANNY:  Don't tell him what?

DIRK:  Please, Mrs. Goodchild.

NANNY:  Any why ever not?

DIRK:  Because I love your granddaughter and I want her to be my wife.

NANNY:  But you know she is betrothed to William Fibmerchant.  She will be his wife within the fortnight.

Amelia falls onto her bed.

GEORGE:  Nanny!  What's going on up there?

AMELIA:  Nanny, please.


It's obviously unfinished, but it was quite fun to write so I'm going to keep at it and see what I can come up with.

Our next meeting is Tuesday 9th July, 7 - 9pm, in The Navigator room at Lowestoft Library.  Our homework is to collect together 3 pieces of our best work which will be displayed on a board in the library.

Monday 10 June 2013

LLTW - June

Today was the June meeting for the Lowestoft Library Teen Writers writing group.  Numbers were low again, but I'm putting that down to exams.  So we were just two strong (plus me); one 'oldie' and one new person.  She contacted me via an advert about the group I'd put up on Streetlife, so I guess it pays to put yourself out there.  I'd just like a few more so that we can be called a group and not a duo!

Anyway, homework from last session was to write something from your pet's perspective.

Hey, hey, hello, hellooooooo?!  Wake up.  I'm awake, you need to be awake too.  Come on.  If you don't get up now I'm going to get you up.  No?  Ok, you asked for it.  One, two, three, and stretch, and push.  Have you put on weight?  Don't you dare roll over.  Well this calls for drastic measures.  Your head looks lovely and comfortable.  I think I'll just sit there until you decide to move.  Don't mind me.  I've got all day.  Oi.  No need to be like that.  There you go, that wasn't too difficult now was it?  I'll let you get dressed, but don't take too long about it.  I'll be waiting by the front door when you're ready.
Hello?  Come on.  I know I said I had all day, but if you take any longer you'll end up with a puddle right here where I'm sitting, and you know how much you hate indoor puddles.  There you go.  Don't forget the poo bags.  Wow it's cold.  How about we stay inside for a bit, just until it warms up?  No?  Alright then.  Off we go.  Hello!  Hello!  Where is everyone?  Wake up, it's me, Lily.  Hello!  What's that smell?  Hang on.  Wait a minute.  It's that wall.  I said wait.  *sniff sniff*  Hmm, it smells familiar but I don't know who it is.  Hmm never mind, I'll just cover it up with my smell.  Ah, that's better.  Ok, I'm done.  Let's go.  Where are we going?  Down to the beach?  Really?  Aw, I love the beach.  It's this way, come on.  Come.  On.  We're nearly there.  Let's have a race.  I bet you I get there before you.  I'm going to win.  Ha ha.  I knew it.  Unclip that lead from my collar.  That's better.  Freedom!  What have you got there?  What's that?  A stone?  Can I have it?  No?  Why did you throw it away?  I'll go and get it for you.  Found it!  What have you got there?  What's that?  A stone?  Can I have it?  No?  Why did you throw it away?  I'll go and get it for you.


In the session I thought it would be a good idea to introduce some various poetic forms.  I used to love writing poetry, but I haven't properly written any in a while.

Abecedarian - a poem/story consisting of 26 words, with each word beginning with a different letter of the alphabet.  There is a little 'cheat' here, where the X word can begin with X or it can be an 'eX' word (such as 'eXpress' or 'eXcited').

A boy called Derek entered fashion groups, hollering, "I just know liposuction makes necks oblong, perhaps quite rectangular.  Square torsos, undoubtedly vex women, except young zoners.

Cinquain - a five line poem following a set pattern - 
line 1 = 1 word (noun/subject)
line 2 = 2 words (adjectives relating to line 1)
line 3 = 3 words (action/-ing verbs relating to line 1)
line 4 = 4 word sentence (feelings relating to line 1)
line 5 = 1 word synonym (of the word used in line 1)
fluffy, fuzzy
barking, sleeping, eating
welcomed heart-warming cuddles

Limerick - a five line poem (usually funny) with an aabba rhyme scheme.

There once was a woman called Becka
Who stole a London red double decker
She drove through the wall
Of the central town hall
And became known as the building bus wrecker

Etheree - a ten line poem, where each line contains the same amount of syllables as the number of the line.

it flies
it stands still
it floats around
yet gets trapped by man
behind small glass windows
on wrists and on walls in rooms
where no-one goes and no-one cares
but people chase it and they want more
they should just enjoy it while they have it


Our next meeting will be on Monday 8th July, 5-6pm, in Lowestoft Library cafe.  Our homework is to write a review of something (a book, song, film, place).

Yay For Netflix

This week's prompt for Jackie and Dani's Express Yourself bloghop is ...

What are the last two movies you saw?

I think there's a semantic difference between 'seeing films' and 'watching films'.  For me, 'seeing' a film takes place at the cinema, and 'watching' a film takes place at home.

As I haven't been to the cinema in absolutely ages, I can't remember the last films I 'saw', so I'm going to write about the last films I watched at home.

This past week or so, I've been nursing a cold.  I know a cold isn't life threatening, but I haven't been unwell in a very long time, so it's a bit of a shock to the system.  Whenever I have a cold, I curl up under the duvet on the sofa and watch films.  And when I say 'watch', I mean that I start the film, watch the first few minutes, and then fall asleep!

So here's a selection of films that I've watched (fallen asleep to) over the past week.

I don't have a particular taste in films.  I give pretty much anything a go, apart from really gruesome, bloody, violent things.  I've never watched any of the Hostel or Saw films, and I don't think I ever will.  Sometimes I want something silly and other times I want something scary.  But when I'm ill, I do tend to veer towards children's films as it reminds me of when I was little and was suffering with all of those horrible childhood illnesses.  I'd have time off school and spend the whole time off in my pyjamas, on the sofa, under the duvet, with an unlimited supply of Lucozade.  Mum would go to the video shop and pick up a variety of films to keep my company during my period of debilitation.

And now, thanks to Netflix, I have a video shop in my living room!

Friday 7 June 2013

Cough Sneeze Splutter

Hello Friday.  So good to make your acquaintance again.  Let's look back over the past week and Celebrate The Small Things.

This week hasn't been particularly great.  I've been nursing a cold since Sunday.  I know it's not a life threatening illness, but I've not been poorly in a long time, so it came as quite a shock to the system.  But it doesn't stop be celebrating a few little things.
  • Work.  Yes, I know I've said it a hundred times before, but I still can't believe that I have a job that I enjoy.  This week has been a bit tough because of the cold, as I nearly lost my voice on Wednesday which isn't particularly helpful when trying to talk to customers.  But apart from that, I am still looking forward to going to work, and I do have a good time when I'm there.  Plus, my shift pattern is great.  This week I worked Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and I don't go back to work until next Thursday.
  • My parents.  They take care of Lily when I'm at work, and especially this week when I've been too ill to do much apart from hide under the duvet and watch films.
  • Lily.  I love coming home from work to be greeted by an excited little dog.  No matter how crappy I feel from being ill, she always makes everything better.
  • The weather.  We have been inundated with sunshine over the past week.  I've not been able to enjoy it *cough sneeze splutter* but it's lovely to look at the window and see the blue sky and fluffy white clouds.
  • The olden days.  My parents have been clearing out the loft, and they have found loads of my old books from when I was little, so I've been reminiscing and reading stories that take me back to my childhood.  I love that "I'd completely forgotten about that" feeling you get when you pull another book out of the box.
  • Blog hop.  I really look forward to writing this post for this blog hop, and reading about what other people are celebrating.  And I've found another weekly blog hop to get my writerly juices flowing.  Express Yourself is the brainchild of Jackie @ Bouquet of Books and Dani @ Entertaining Interests.  Each month they come up with 4 different writing topics.  If you like blogging and making connections with other bloggers, it's worth checking out.

Tuesday 4 June 2013


This week's prompt for Jackie and Dani's Express Yourself bloghop is ...

What could you eat every day & not grow tired of?

I used to think that I could eat McDonald's every day and never get tired of it.  That was until I had a job at McDonald's and I was eating it every day.  We got a food allowance there, for food to eat on our break.  We didn't have to eat it, but it was free so who am I to pass up on free food?  But there are only so many times you can make your way through that menu before you get bored.  It wasn't long before I started taking my own lunch, and passing on the Big Macs.

Now I have a new food love.  And I honestly think I could eat it every day because there is such a great variety.  I can't remember when I first had sushi, but I know it wasn't the real deal.  It was a tray of supermarket sushi.  But it was nice.  And from that moment on I knew I had to eat the proper stuff.

My favourite restaurant is called Yo! Sushi.  If it wasn't so expensive, and so far away, I would certainly eat all of my meals there.  The food goes around a conveyor belt, and you just help yourself to whatever catches your eye.  Most of it catches my eye!

A couple of years ago I went to Japan on holiday.  Being able to eat the real deal was awesome.  I tried things that I never thought I'd try.  And it was all delicious.  The raw fish thing has never bothered me.  I just have issues if food has eyes.