Friday, April 30, 2010

How I Got Here

Since I've moved on now to stressing about the next step (talk about not living in the moment) in my publication journey, I thought I'd write this blog post mainly as a way of reminding myself how I should enjoy where I'm at now.

Like pretty much all writers, I've been writing all my life. My first 'novel', written around age 12, was about a girl who had one arm. She triumphed over her disability -- and the death of her best friend -- and won a gold medal in the Olympics. Of course she had to die (you know, to maximise the drama), so I killed her off in a epilogue. I printed the whole thing off on my Commodore 64 and sent it away to publishers. Unsurprisingly they weren't that interested, but I did receive one nice letter suggesting a few tips to make it better.

Over the next few years, I got tied up with the business of being a teen and although I still loved writing, I put it on the backburner. It was only in grad school, where I was doing a Masters of Journalism, that I became interested in writing again. But fame beckoned (or so I thought), and I decided to become a TV reporter. That didn't work -- nor did editing, PR, teaching or recruitment!

It was only when I was really desperate to leave a job (and I mean desperate -- my Blackberry, which I'd left unlocked, conveniently dialled one of my bosses and recorded a 10-minute rant of me venting to a friend about that boss -- well, you can only imagine the atmosphere that created), that I made the leap to trying to be a full-time novelist. I knew I could write, but I didn't even know if I could produce a novel.

So I sat at my desk that first day and wrote a line. And I kept writing, until a few months later I had my first full-length novel. I was so happy -- I was a writer! I'd done it! I made some edits, then sent it off to agents. Rejections came in. I sent it to more agents. More rejections. I put my head down and wrote Novel Number 2. This was going to be it! But no -- more and more rejections rolled in. So... Novel Number 3 came along. And guess what? More rejections! Novel Number 4 -- rejections! Number 5 -- rejections (well, one big rejection. I honestly couldn't bring myself to even work on it after that).

In the midst of Novel Number 2 rejections, I'd met with an editor and pitched her my novel. And surprise! She rejected it. But she liked my writing, and if we could come up with some non-fiction ideas she would be interested in working with me. I waffled for awhile. I didn't want to do non-fiction, I whined to my husband. It wasn't my passion! After rolling his eyes out of his sockets, he put them back in and gave me a hard look. I was lucky, he said. This was an opportunity. A chance to get in the door, to learn how publishing worked and go through the process.

So I sucked it up and pitched a few ideas, and finally we hit on a travel series idea. I wrote one book, then another, all the while working away on my fiction and hoping, praying, that all the energy I was investing would pay off in the end.

And you know what?

It has!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

So You're a Writer?

Thank you so, so much, for all of the lovely comments yesterday! It was so great to share my big news with all of you. I'm sorry I didn't get around to everyone's blog last night -- ahem, there was a bit of wine involved -- but I will try to catch up soon!

I first saw this video on Nicola Morgan's site (she gives such great publishing advice, you have to check it out!); it comes from Strictly Writing. It's SO hilarious it made me blow crumbs over my keyboard with laughter!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm Going to Have a Novel Published!

Yay! Prospera Publishing announced yesterday in their newsletter (sign up for some great tips!) that my novel The Hating Game is going to be published!

The editor has been working with me to let me know all the great things we're going to do to make it even better, and I'm super excited to get going. Right now, we're planning for a release date of early 2011.

To celebrate, I'll be planning a giveaway shortly once I get my head back down from the clouds! And a giant thank you to everyone who has read and followed this blog. You've really helped make the waiting bearable. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Here are some notes (scroll down) from last night's agent talk at the London Writers' Club.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

As Luck Would Have It

Just a short one as I'm off tonight to the London Writers' Club to see agent Lucy Luck (what a great name -- and sorry, I couldn't resist the title!) discuss that burning topic: How to Get an Agent. I've been to a few such events and it's always interesting to hear what people in the industry have to say, but this time I'm also looking forward to meeting a few of the writers I've stalked (ahem - followed) on Twitter.

Of course this means I do need to squeeze into my rarely worn 'normal' clothes (read: not stretch fabric) and comb my hair, but I'm hoping it will be worth it in the end!

I'll unload any pearls of wisdom I can glean later tonight or tomorrow morning.

And... there's news in the air! I'll share all tomorrow!

UPDATE: Lucy's Pearls of Wisdom

After actually painting my toenails and shimmying into my now-too-tight jeans, I managed to do the near-impossible and leave the flat! The group was a good size -- about 30, maybe -- and over a few drinks we all settled in to hear Lucy talk about what she looks for and how she got to be an agent. She's a friendly and bubbly speaker and it was a pleasure to listen to her.

Some of her points (keep in mind this is from a UK perspective):
  • The publishing industry has always been tough; it hasn't really got any tougher
  • Writers generally sign with the agent, not the agency
  • Translation rights, American rights and film rights are the most important things for writers to hang onto, to maximise later
  • There is a real disparity between the 'branded' authors and new authors in terms of what publishers are prepared to take risks on
  • What makes her commit to a book? If she reads the first bit, then puts it away and still remembers it after a few weeks and wants to read more, then she'll take another look
  • For her, it's all about cadence and voice
  • She works closely with authors to edit their MS but will usually only do three rounds of MS edits with them
  • DON'T begin your MS with a character waking up from a hang-over -- clichéd and she sees this loads of times
  • First person and present tense are incredibly hard to pull off
  • You have to practise writing. You wouldn't expect a concert pianist etc to be great right away.
  • You must write because you enjoy it, not just to get published.
  • Personalise your approach to agents. Do research on their websites.
  • Online presence and promotional skills are good (like the icing on the cake), but what's really important is the writing!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Space Invaders

I have a problem. (And no, it doesn't involve alcohol.)

What do you do, when you work from home, and you have house-guests? House guests who are lovely, but don't really seem to understand that even though you may not leave the house to work, you still have things you need to get done?

Living in London, a hub for so many international flights, means I get lots of visitors. Now, I love seeing old friends and spending time with people, but it also means a.) I lose my office space as the guests take over the room; and b.) I feel bad turning down invitations to spend weekdays with them as they shop/ tour/ eat/ drink. I've nothing against any of these activities but when it means I'm giving up my dedicated staring-out-the-window (aka writing) time, I get a bit antsy.

So tell me: How can I politely make it clear that I do have work to do, while still being the hostess with the mostess?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Salty Sunday: Chips

I've done a slew of Sweet Sunday posts so I thought I'd do a salty one!

Ah, chips. Best when they're steaming hot, with a hint of potato peel and a sprinkle of vinegar. When it's a cold winter's day and you duck into the warmth of a pub, they're the perfect before-dinner treat.

Chunky with some garlic mayo on the side... heaven.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Something for Saturday

It's yet another gorgeous day here in London (I can scarcely believe this weather!), reminding me of a beautiful weekend I spent in the Cotwolds around this time a few years ago.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Writer's Arse

It's a lovely sunny Spring day here and a wonderful end to a week which has basically seen me puttering about doing nothing, so I figured I'd strive to hit an all-time low and discuss writer's arse.

You know: that spread you get when you sit for too long in one spot, without moving. In the past two years since I've been writing full-time, I've noticed my arse has spread AT LEAST an inch on either side.

Of course that could be down to the extra cupcake and wine consumption, but it's also due to the fact that I rarely move. I get up, walk from my bed to the kitchen, make coffee, then go to my office. Sometimes I even have to convince myself that no, I really don't need to pee, because the loo (a mere 30 metres) is too far away. And there's times at the end of the day I can barely stand because I've been sitting for too long -- and no, I'm not a 90-year-old woman.

Do you have writer's arse (yet)? And if not, how do you stop it?!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Where are the Brits?

In my recent explorations through the blogosphere I've noticed one thing: the number of British writing blogs compared to North American ones is severely lacking.

I could be wrong, but I have tried to find British writers who blog -- writers who, like me, aspire to have their fiction published. And I've found some great ones, but for the most part the majority of blogs I've encountered have been from across the Pond.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course, but reading Karen Jones Gowen's post about demographics made me wonder if I should seek out more Brits (if you haven't read her post, hop over - it's great food for thought). After all, I am based in London, this is where I have the most influence with bookshops should I ever be so lucky, and even though it is a global marketplace and all that, it makes sense to target my own geographical location.

But it's been a tough task! Have aspiring British writers not fully hopped on board the blogging bus?

And if they have, then where the bl**dy hell are they?

**If anyone reading this is a writer, from the UK, with a blog, please leave a comment so I can follow you!**

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Does Length Matter?

After yesterday's hate-filled missive it's time for something a little more light. Alright, a lot more light.

It's time to talk about nails.

Yes, nails. Fingernails, to be more precise -- and the challenge they pose to all good writers of the world. Now, men, unless you are guitar players, this post likely doesn't concern you. But for women who like even a hint of nail, finding just the right length without inhibiting keyboard mobility is a very, very hard thing to do. It's a serious issue that must be addressed.

Too long, and they clank and click against the keys, resulting in numerous typos and deletions. Too short, and, well, they just don't look that pretty, do they? I'm not a person prone to excessive nail painting, but I do like some colour from time to time. And when that occasion arises, I like to have a bit of nail to play with.

Surprisingly, this isn't a topic I've seen addressed in the plethora of writing books I've consulted. Stephen King -- nothing. Anne Lamott -- nada!

So tell me, women (and men of the metrosexual persuasion) writers of the world: how do you cope with this burning issue?

**(Erm, I do apologise for the content of this post. I'm seriously braindead.)**

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ten for Tuesday: Words I Hate

It's easy to wax lyrical about the lovely English language, but there are some damn ugly words lurking beneath the surface.

Here are my top 10 hated words:

1. Smear. If you're a woman, this word takes on an additional horror (sorry, men), but even without such intrusions it is a pretty awful word. There's something about the combination of 'sm' with 'ear' that just makes me grimace.

2. Schedule. I don't care how you say it, it's a terrible word. Whoever came up with it should be tethered to a desk and made to copy endless secondary school timetables.

3. Confectionery. I mean, really! What a dreadful, bland, corporate name for such a lovely category of food.

4. Sweetheart. I keep getting caught in the 'th' here.

5. Chortle. You want to chortle? How about I throttle?

6. Detritus. No matter how many times I try, I just can't pronounce this properly.

7. Uncouth. Just plain U-G-L-Y! Nothing more need be said.

8. Peripatetic. Defined as 'a person who walks from one place to another'. Duh! Don't most people do this? Do we really need a word for it?

9. Bulge. Blech.

10. Alot. I'm cheating with this one. It's not a word and that's why it's SO annoying - it seems to creep into text everywhere. Begone, alot!

What are your most hated words?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Life in the Fast Lane

Once I've accomplished a goal, I'm always looking ahead to the next. When I graduated from secondary school, I worried about what I'd do after university. And when I got my first promotion, I was already thinking about the next job title.

It's the same with writing. I'd be half-way finished my MS and feeling anxious about querying, running through pitch lines in my head and thinking about which agents to target.

Slow down, I'd tell myself as my mind skipped ahead to the next challenge to be met. Enjoy the moment, for once. Lift your head from your computer and breath in!

There's nothing wrong with now. Rejections, frustrations, food and wine cravings... they're all part of the process. And what's to say the process can't be as enjoyable as accomplishing the goal?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sweet Sunday: Creme Brulée

I think this one is a 'love it or leave it' kind of dessert, but I happen to love it! If it's done properly, there's paradise to be found under the crispy sugary coating.

Tap your way through the top and ladle a spoonful of smooth creamy goodness into your mouth.

I always tunnel through the surface, eat the cream, then finish it off with a blast of sweetness sticking to my teeth.

Thank you to everyone who gave me an award this week! I'll pass them on shortly!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Something for Saturday

A gorgeous day today! And even rarer, no planes in the sky overhead (thanks, volcanic ash!).

The view from the South Bank.

Crossing the Millennium Bridge to St Paul's.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Novel Fixation

Funny, I had to take a small blog breather yesterday as I struggled to meet a non-fiction deadline. And you know what? I missed you! Yes, yes, it's true (sounds like a cheese-ball love-song lyric but don't worry -- I'm not about to break into song unless someone gives me Bon Jovi).

It's been a little over a month now since I started this blog, and in that time I feel like you're a vital part of my fiction-writing world! Thank you so much for all the lovely comments on my last post and your great suggestions on how to endure the wonderful thing called waiting. They made me laugh and definitely helped.

Since all I can think about these days is The Hating Game, I thought I'd give you a little blurb about the story.

When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy.

Then, on the first night of the show -- in front of a live audience -- Mattie discovers the other contestants aren't just anonymous strangers. They're her exes, and they're far from happy.

Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And can she overcome the ambitious producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

Who will win The Hating Game?

Duh-Duh-DUHHH! (That was music, in case you didn't hear it). I'm obsessed with this! I even dreamed about the game-show last night.

Right, where's my wine again? It's almost 11 am - that's not too early, right?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pins. Needles. Drink!

Awhile back I pitched a London-based publisher the idea for my novel, The Hating Game. They liked it. I wrote the first three chapters and a synopsis. They liked that, too.

So I wrote the whole thing. And now I've sent it off -- again. And I'm waiting, biting my nails to the quick and jiggling my leg until its about to fall off, to see what they might say back to me.

I'm terrible at waiting. Who isn't? I don't know anyone who's ever said, Actually I like waiting! The uncertainty, the limbo state where your mind frantically scrolls through every possibility... it's great!

I've already cleaned the kitchen (and the loo, I'm desperate!). I've Hoovered the flat to within an inch of its life... I'm even doing laundry (sh, don't tell my husband or he might think I'll do it again).

Please help: what are your coping strategies for waiting?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Writing Rituals

When I was an athlete, I had a lot of pre-race rituals. I had to tie my shoe-lace like that, or make sure to wear my lucky hair-band. Now, as a writer, I find myself having rituals, too.

I like the curtains arranged just so (yes, I am slightly OCD, I admit it!), and I must be wearing my fluffy slippers at all costs.

There must be no music playing, my preferred pencil has to nearby and my glass of water must be half-full.

Now that I've made myself look a complete freak, please tell me I'm not alone!

What are your writing rituals?

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Winners!

It's time to draw for prizes in my Great 1-1-2 Mate Giveaway! Thanks to everyone who mentioned the contest and to all the new followers for dropping by.

We're all winners, right? But sadly, in this case, there are only three prizes to give away -- I offer the rest of you a choice of virtual cupcake, sticky toffee pudding, Cadbury's Creme Egg or banoffee pie. Enjoy your feast!

To recap the prizes:

1. Your choice of unique paraphernalia purchased from the infamous Portobello Market, worth around £10 OR an Amazon gift certificate worth £10 (or approx $20 US/ Cdn).

2. Whatever gift the first winner didn't choose OR a copy of the wonderfully funny chick-lit romp Naked in Knightsbridge by Nicky Schmidt, generously donated by Prospera Publishing.

3. Whatever prize is left! :)

So, without further ado, chosen completely at random...

Winner Number 1 is Mel Chesley! Mel, please tell me what your choice is!

Winner Number 2 is Julie Dao! Julie, I'll let you know what your choice is once Mel has chosen.

Winner Number 3 is Old Kitty!

If the winners could email me at talliroland AT to let me know their addresses, that would be great.

Thanks to everyone for following!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sweet Sunday: Banoffee Pie

Yeah, baby. BANOFFEE PIE! Juicy bananas, cream and a crumbly toffee base! If you don't love banoffee pie then you've clearly burned each and every single taste bud in your mouth -- or you're dead.

It's so popular it was even featured in one of my all-time favourite films, Love Actually, when Juliet (the wife of Mark's best friend and the woman of Mark's dreams), goes round to ask for his video of her wedding day.

Juliet: Banoffee pie?
Mark: No, thanks.
Juliet: Thank God. You would've broken my heart if you'd said yes.
Mark: Oh, right. Well, lucky you.
Life just wouldn't be the same without it.

And on other sweet notes, I got some awards this week! Yay!

Thanks to the lovely Amy Saia, who gave me the Bold Faced Liar award. Since I've already had great fun at lying, I'm going to pass this on to:

Office Girl from Tired but Writing
Aubrie from Flutey Words (check out her 100 followers contest!)

Jaydee Morgan and Jon Paul of Sky Meets Ground were so kind as to give me the Prolific Blogger award. Thanks, Jaydee and John Paul! I'm going to give this one to:

Alexandra from the Publication Follies of Alexandra Shostak
Alyson from MayDay Writer

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Working for the Weekend

I remember the days when leaving the office on a Friday afternoon was akin to being set free from a prison. I'm free! I'd sing in my head as I minced along the corridors and out into the sunshine of a brave new weekend world.

Now that I don't have an office job, the days blur into one. Friday afternoon is pretty much the same as every other day -- and I love it! The weekends aren't a time when I desperately try to jam all my chores into two days, along with catching up on sleep and somehow trying to be creative. Now, I carry on with my MS or whatever projects I've got on the go, maybe stopping a little earlier than normal or hanging out with my husband when he's not working (he's slightly obsessive when it comes to his own creative endeavors).

So, do you 'work' on the weekends too? Or are they so crazy it's hard to get stuff done?

(PS - I'll be drawing for prizes in my Great 1-1-2 Mate Giveaway on Monday!)

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Admit it: It's *boring* sometimes

'Oh, you're a writer?' Dinner-Party Woman looks up from the prawn she's dismantling one leg at a time. That must be so exciting.'

'Um, yeah.' I toy with my drink, wondering if I should dispel yet another romantic notion. Tonight, though, I just don't have the energy.

I muster a limp smile. Images of all those days sitting at my desk -- my butt-cheeks slowly turning numb -- dance through my head.

'Yeah, it's great.'

I know, I know, it's hard to feel sorry for someone who has all the time in world to write. But as with any task -- even if it is your dream job -- it's sometimes (*lowers voice*) a little... boring.

It's terrific when things are flowing. It's not so terrific when your brain feels like mushy peas. And editing? Can anyone actually tell me they like line-editing 300+ pages of work? Examining full-stops ad nauseum and scouring text in case find and replace didn't work so well?

So, there. I've said it. Writing, my love, sometimes you are just plain

Am I the only one who feels this way?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Bookshop of My Dreams

Whoop, whoop! I've over 112 followers. Thanks to Suzannewrites for bringing me up to the magic number. In fact, I'm at 117! Thank you so much, everyone. I will draw for prizes this Monday. I can't wait to hit the market this weekend and pick some fab trinkets!

Something Jen wrote about yesterday made me remember the best best beeeeest bookshop ever, and I'm dying to share it with you!

The first time I walked into this shop, my mouth dropped open. Really. I couldn't believe shops like this actually existed -- it was the bookshop of my dreams. Dark wood, squeaky panelled floors and a high glass ceiling gave the whole place a church-like feel. It was perfect location to engage in a little book worship.

Just off Marylebone High Street in Central London, Daunt Books is located an original Edwardian bookshop. Honestly, I just want to bring a blanket, curl up and stay there forever!

Where's your favourite bookshop?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Ten for Tuesday: Jobs!

A giant cupcake-stuffed welcome to all the new followers! I'm almost at 112!And thank you so much to everyone for posted about my Great 1-1-2 Mate Giveaway, and my last Creme Egg to Karen for her lovely words yesterday about my fledgling blog.

Since this is Tuesday and I've already started drinking, I'm sorting to my fall-back meme: Ten for Tuesday. Last week it was books; this week it's... jobs! Now, I know that doesn't sound very exciting but I always love hearing what writers do in their day jobs, or what they did in the past.

So here are 10 jobs I've held in the past, in no particular order.

1. McDonald's cashier. When I was 16 my parents insisted I get a job. I balked for awhile and then, with all the antipathy of a teen, went for the easiest and only place I got an interview: McDonald's! I was terrible. All that racing around, back and forth, scooping up fries and grabbing burgers... not my thing. The best bit, though, was the free food! Apple Pies, um um good!

2. Cold caller. In what must have been the most boring job on the face of the earth, I worked for a portrait studio ringing up past clients and asking them if they wanted their photos redone. I don't know how old the records were, but a good 20 per cent of the time, the client was DEAD! Much hilarity ensured, as you can imagine.

3. TV reporter. Sounds glamorous, doesn't it? This job involved trekking though the wilds of the southern US in swampy heat, lugging a camera and tripod. I will never forget the day I was told to put my hand in a fire ant's nest to show just how ferocious they could be. Or when I resorted to filming a tree that had clearly been fallen over for the past decade because I had to 'get some damn pictures' of the morning's wind storm.

4. Medical editor. Looking at photos of DREs (and you don't want to know what that stands for - let's just say it involves the nether regions) and waxing lyrical about pediatric burns, this was the job where I perfected the art of looking busy whilst doing absolutely nothing. An invaluable skill!

5. Painter. Working for about £1 an hour, I scraped and painted houses whilst perched on a rusty, knackered ladder. I lasted for about two weeks before quitting.

6. Educational recruiter. Come teach in the UK! It's not bad! Really! That's why I'm recruiting, not teaching, haha!

7. Spa receptionist in a very wealthy part of London. You want Botox? Hyaluronic acid injections? £1000 please. Oh, you have it in cash?

8. Shoe salesperson. Oh, the shoes, the shoes! This was a brilliant job. I could stare at the shoes for hours and not look demented!

9. Account Executive at a PR agency. Yes, that was my title. What did that mean? That I could charge my clients an exorbitant fee to flog their product.

10. Teacher. Since I'm starting to run out of jobs, I'll throw this into the mix even though I've mentioned it before. My most valuable implement? A staple gun, to keep them in their seats whilst ramming Shakespeare into their brains.

Tell me your crazy/ horrible/ funny jobs!

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Great 1-1-2 Mate Giveaway!

I can hardly believe I'm almost at 100 followers! A giant thank you to everyone who's hopped on board my relatively new blog and made me feel so, so welcome.

To express a bit of my thanks, I'm super thrilled to be holding a contest. Just to be different -- and 'cause I like to be ornery and optimistic at the same time -- I'm going to call it the Great 1-1-2 Mate Giveaway. Prizes will be awarded once I exceed 112 followers -- entries will close one week from today if I do manage to top that number in the next few days (just to give everyone a chance to enter... yes, I'm being optimistic again!).

And without further ado, the prizes are:

1. Your choice of a grab bag full of unique paraphernalia purchased from the infamous Portobello Market, worth around £10 OR an Amazon gift certificate worth £10 (or approx $20 US/ Cdn).

2. Whatever gift the first winner didn't choose OR a copy of the wonderfully funny chick-lit romp Naked in Knightsbridge by Nicky Schmidt, generously donated by Prospera Publishing.

3. Whatever prize is left! :)

To enter:

All you need to do is be a follower! Once I exceed 112, I'll enter all your names in a cupcake box, then draw. The first name I pick gets Prize 1 and so on. Easy peasy!

And another contest for you to enter: Susan Fields is holding one to celebrate reaching 100 Followers. Click the link to enter. Congratulations, Susan!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Sweet Sunday: Cadbury's Creme Eggs

Happy Easter Sunday! I started the day by making pancakes for my husband, a task even more difficult than scraping glumpy noodles from the bottom of a pot. The challenge, you see, is that we own no measuring implements to speak of (seriously - not even a measuring cup). We clearly love to cook, ha!

So, as I approximated the flour and the milk, I crossed my fingers they would come out all right. They tasted delicious, but as I said on my Twitter: If they were in a pancake pageant, they'd only win Miss Congeniality. (Are pancakes female? Hmmm...)

We topped off the pancake meal the only acceptable way on Easter: with a Cadbury's Creme Egg. Can it get more sugary than this? Thick chocolate, with gloopy faux-egg filling just oozing from inside. One bite and you're up to your teeth in rich creamy goodness.

What's your favourite Easter treat?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Awards and Contests, Oh My!

It's Saturday (and not raining - that's for you, Tamara, because really you are dying to know!) and time for some awards! Thank you so much to everyone who's given me an award this week. I really appreciate it! I'm sorry that some of award photos are missing; my computer kept crashing when I tried to upload them. I'm going to stir its noodle in a second, grr!

I won the Silver Lining Award from the lovely Ann Elle. This goes out to:

Straight From Hel - love her great advice.

The Alliterative Allomorph - new to me but I can't wait to read more!

Craziness, College, and a Little Creativity - really enjoyed her recent poem.

Michelle Teacress - another new one to me.

Thanks so much to Christine for the Blog Buddie Award! She's recently reached 100 followers and I think she's now over 120! Yay Christine.

Thanks, too, to Nicole at One Significant Moment at a Time, who also gave me the Blog Buddie Award. I love the very title of Nicole's blog, and her posts are filled with great tips and advice.

This one goes out to:

Just Jemi - She seems so lovely and friendly.

Pink Tea and Paper - I love the title of her blog - it just makes me feel good - as do her comments and posts!

Coming Down the Mountain: From Reclusive Writer to Published Author - Karen's generous with her comments and I really looking forward to her posts.

...And This Time, Concentrate! - Because I don't like looking at saggy body parts at Wal-Mart either!

Unedited - Jen's friendliness and enthusiasm just leaps off the page. And she just finished her first draft! Yay!

The hilarious Lindsey at Dangerous with a Pen recently gave me the Soulmates award. The rules:1. Choose five followers/commenters that 'get' you. 2. Write something fake (preferably not too mean) about them. 3. Link to them, and link back to this post to comment your receipt of the award.

This one goes to:
Aubrie at Flutey Words, who really wanted to play the tuba but didn't have enough wind.
Patricia Stoltey, who is secretly Alfred Hitchcock's long-lost daughter.
Anne of Piedmont Writer, who lives solely on pine nuts and Tang.
Tamara Hart Heiner, whose coming baby will be the next president of the US.
Kim Franklin, who wants to move to Fiji and live in a beach hut with her pet chicken (sorry Kim, my brain is in slow-gear today!).

Giant thanks to Aching Hope who gave me the Creative Writer award. You must tell six lies about you, and one truth. This is a great one to do and since I've already had the pleasure, I'm going to toss it out to anyone who fancies giving it a go! Go on, you know you want to.

The lovely Mia at Literary Jam and Toast gave me the sunshine award (much needed; thank you!). And speaking of sunshine, I got a very nice sunshine award for supportive comments from Tara of Feel of Something New. Thanks, Tara!

I'm going to take a short-cut here and pass these both on to the following bloggers, because supportive comments give me sunshine inside! So these go to:

Old Kitty

E Elle

Joanne - click to see the cutest photo of Easter chicks!

Last week I also got the Prolific Blogger Award from the wonderful Sarah Jayne Smythe. I just love her pithy comments and her posts! Thank you!

This goes to:

Patrick Tillett
Crazy Jane
musings of amber murphy
Inkpots n’Quills
Southern Princess

Phew! Thank you SO much for all the awards this week; I am loving it!

And a quick recap and shout-out to for the following amazing contests:

Roxy at A Woman's Write is celebrating 200 followers. Head over to enter the Blogging Buddies Give-Away Contest. Way to go, Roxy!

Christine Danek at Christine's Journey has reached 100 followers - enter her contest to help her celebrate!

Laurel at Laurels Leaves is holding an eleventy one contest (writing contest), ending soon!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Stir the Noodle(s)!

(In case anyone's interested, it's still raining!)

Last night, it was my turn to cook dinner. With my domestic menu severely limited, it usually comes down to chicken, chicken, pasta or chicken. Last night I decided to go crazy and mix pasta with chicken!

I was so busy dealing with the errant chicken that I forget to give my bubbling penne a little stir. When it came time to drain the water, the liquid whooshed out leaving... about 70 per cent of the penne clumped together to the bottom of the pot. Not good.

Naturally, whilst scraping glumpy pasta off the pot, my thoughts turned to writing. Do my thoughts stick together when I forget to stir things up? Sitting in my chair, day after day, am I getting... stale? (Um, YES!) What can I do to mix things up a bit, besides streaking to Harrods and spending my £10 on one luxury biscuit?

Usually, when I find my own noodle is getting glumpy (not a word, I know, but it's just so descriptive!), I go for a walk or a run. Fresh air just makes me feel alive again, and getting out into the real world puts everything else in perspective. And there's always coffee to get me stimulated.

How do you stir your noodle?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Teaching and Writing: What's the Connection?

Would you believe it? It's raining again. This is what I get for living in London, I suppose.

Just a quick question today; something I've been wondering about for awhile:

Why are so many writers teachers?

What's the connection? Now, I know it's not because of all of the free time teachers have (*ducks*). How do I know that? Because I used to be a teacher, too.

So is it... teachers are creative people who don't want to take the corporate path? Teachers are more empathetic, which also makes for good writers? Teachers really want to be writers but need a day job? Personally, I never thought of writing as a 'job', and I decided I couldn't do the corporate thing any longer. Teaching was something I'd always wanted to do -- besides writing -- so I thought I'd give it a go. It's a long and circuitous route to where I am today.

I'm keen to know why you think so many teachers are writers, and vice versa.