Thursday, 16 December 2010

The World of The Tiger Princess Presents... Paul Trembling!

Sexy Deep Voiced Announcer: Welcome to the legendary literary land lead by the Lady herself, the one, the Only… Tiger Princess!


Tiger Princess: Mr. Announcer, I do believe you are starting to repeat yourself!


Sexy Deep Voiced Announcer: I’ll ask the writer for some more opening lines for the next series then.

Tiger Princess: Good idea. TURNS TO FACE THE AUDIENCE. As Mr. Announcer said, this is the last show in this series of The World of the Tiger Princess presents.


Tiger Princess: Well it’s nearly Christmas and I need some downtime with my family and friends… presents to open, food to eat, alcohol to drink, you know the score!


Tiger Princess: The last Flash Story Showcase contest was a really tough one. I’d like to thank Renaissance Man Award winner, Gereg Jones Muller for his prompt.


Tiger Princess: On to today’s guest star. This gentleman has won the Flash Story Showcase Contest twice. Once in the distinguished company of John Booth and Suzannah Burke, and again in November 2010, all by himself this time!


Tiger Princess: Please welcome the writer of “The Deed” – Paul Trembling!

Paul is the one on the right


Tiger Princess: Welcome to the show, Paul.

Paul: Thank you for having me here.

Tiger Princess: We’ll get straight on with the questions…

Paul: Fire away!

Tiger Princess: When, Where  & Why did you start writing?

Paul: I was making up stories in my head before I even learned to write! And actually, I’ve never stopped – the number of stories I have in my head far exceeds the number I’ve written down!

Actually writing stories (as apposed to just day-dreaming!) probably started at school. To the frustration of my teachers! They’d ask the class to write a short story in one lesson – several weeks later I’d finally hand in my massive epic, complete with illustrations! Flash stories hadn’t been invented then!

As for why – I’d love to know! Perhaps because my Dad always read to me when I was little, and I never wanted the stories to end. (In my head, they never have). Perhaps because I’m basically dissatisfied with the real world, and want to live somewhere else!

Tiger Princess: How much writing do you do on a daily basis?

Paul: My writing schedule is too erratic to describe it as being ‘on a daily basis’! In between juggling my various other commitments – family, work, church, etc. – and a certain degree of natural laziness (which gets in the way of doing what I want to do, let alone what I ought to do!), the end result is that I don’t do as much as I’d like to do.

If something inspires me, though, I make time to write it! And as many writers will know, when you get in that perfect place where the story unfolds in front of you and the words just flow – then there’s no sense of time at all! (Of course, you still have to go back and edit the thing, which isn’t as much fun!).

Having a deadline is good for me. The FSS competition has been good for me, in that it provided both inspiration (thanks to everyone who set the prompts) and a deadline.

Still, it’s probably a good thing I’m not a professional writer. I doubt if I’d have the self discipline to stick with it.

Tiger Princess: If you could meet any writer (living or dead), who would it be and why?

Paul: This is a tough one, because there’s a great many candidates – and it would be good to be able to sit and talk to almost any writer, just to find out their perspective on things.

However, thinking about it, one writer I’d particularly like to have met is C. S. Lewis. Not only was he a brilliant fantasy and SF writer, he was one of the deepest and most original thinkers of his time. And, even more importantly, he could communicate his thinking effectively, which is a rare talent.

Though not his level intellectually, I’ve often felt in reading Lewis that I’ve made a connection with him, that we are on the same wavelength. It would have been nice to have found out if it’s true.

Tiger Princess: What is your favourite music to write to and why?

Paul: I don’t write to music. It’s a distraction, and when I’m writing, I don’t want distractions!

I tend to listen to music when I’m doing something else that doesn’t need 100% concentration. It used to be washing up, before we got a dishwasher! Now I mostly listen when I’m driving. Since I’ve got a 50 mile commute at present (each way!) that gives me plenty of time for listening, and I listen to a wide variety of music. I keep thinking that there must be some inspiration in there, but so far I’ve never developed a story from listening to music.

Tiger Princess: Just out of interest, why did you choose that piece of music as your theme tune?

Paul: I was thinking that my theme tune should be something grand and inspiring – the 1812 overture, perhaps, or maybe something from Handel. But I made the mistake of asking the family, and they said ‘the theme tune from Monty Python’ (i.e. Liberty Bell)! Well, that’s probably more me!

Tiger Princess: Which do you prefer – Paper & Ink or Computer & Keyboard and Why?

Paul: Definitely computer and keyboard! My handwriting is terrible – so bad that they gave me a laptop at work to do my reports on, as no one could read them otherwise!

Tiger Princess: And Finally – if you won the Booker Prize, how would you celebrate?

Paul: Hey – I won the FSS, who needs the Booker?!


Paul:To be honest, I’ve no idea how I’d celebrate. Such dizzy heights of literary stardom aren’t even on my horizon!

(And with sentences like that, they never will be!)

Tiger Princess: I hope you’ll be entering the new competition in January?

Paul: Wouldn’t miss it for the world!


Tiger Princess: Thank you to everyone who has ever entered the FSS Contest and answered my inane questions in this studio. The World of the Tiger Princess Presents... will return in January 2011 with a brand new contest and more guests to interrogate… I mean interview!


More stories and poetry from Paul Trembling can be found here -

Go look!!!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Christmas is coming...

 Warning: Gentlemen this is an article aimed at the Ladies. You may get bored...

It's the fifteenth today. There are officially ten days left until Christmas Day!

From what I can see of other people (hey, I like watching people - it's one of my favourite hobbies) this is about the time when everyone starts to panic. Have I got all the presents? I haven't sent my cards yet. Oh, my word, I forgot to get a beef joint for the Christmas Eve Dinner Party... You know, things like that.

It's also the start of the Office Christmas Party Season. So people start worrying about their outfits and hair / makeup. It's this that I was thinking about as I walked home from dropping the kids off at school this morning.

I can understand wanting to look your best, but why buy a new dress unless you need to? I thought. (Maria K, stop shaking your head at me - you can tell me off later) I understand the need for new makeup; after all it does have a shelf life and can cause skin problems if you use out of date makeup (been there done that). I can understand getting your hair done; I never feel right when my hair is terrible, in fact you can pretty much gauge my mood by the state of my hair.

Freshly washed = Happy
Messy = Content
Greasy = Stay as far away from me as possible.

Nails are things that get in my way, so I don't understand them or bother with them. Shoes - well, they are a weakness with me; if I like the shoes, I will buy the shoes: it doesn't matter if I have an occasion to wear them to or not...

But all this fuss over a dress for an office party? And it's not fussing over the material or the design (that's what I look for in clothes) or even the comfort. Everyone is obsessed with what size they are! They go on crash diets which make them cranky and unfriendly, just so they can get into a size 12 when they know that straight after the party they'll be a 14 again!

So, here are my tips for dress shopping. Please bear in mind that I know nothing about fashion - go see my friend Maria Kuroshchepova if you want fashion advice - but I do know a couple of things you might want to take into account:

1) Make sure you are wearing the right size bra.

Get yourself measured (wearing the right size will make your clothes hang properly) and buy new underwear to go with the dress. Why? Because if you are going to get drunk and dance on the tables, you do not want your boss or the CEO seeing your comfy, grey, granny pants as you fall off and your skirt flies over your head. It will also make you feel better about yourself.

2) For Goddess' sake, don't worry about the size of the dress!

Sizes are defunct. Many manufacturers are still using the same sizes that they used in the 50's and haven't changed them. There are a few more factors that you need to take into account than just size:
  • Shape - if the dress is the wrong shape for your body it will not look right and you will not feel right.
  • Colour - Some colours will suit your skin, eyes and hair colouration. Some won't do not pick a colour that doesn't suit you. Get a second opinion if you need to. I cannot wear colours that are too light, but jewel colours suit me down to the ground. Black doesn't always suit everyone, white, when used in the wrong way can make you feel fat.
  • Material - certain material drape better over bulges. If you have sexy curves (like me) then you need to go for a material that drapes over them rather than clings.
  • Comfort - If the dress is too tight, go for a bigger size. Cut the label out if you have to, but being comfortable in what you are wearing makes you confident. Confidence is empowering.
 3) Make sure when you look in the mirror before you go shopping you tell yourself. "I am Beautiful. I am Sexy. I am Confident".

Stay that three times. Say it out loud at home and whenever you look into a mirror in the changing room, repeat it in your head. Make yourself believe it. Especially when you find a dress you like and your shopping partner (mine is TOH, yours might be your BFF) says something inadvertently nasty like "Your bum looks huge in that."

4)  Don't believe everything you are told - even by your shopping partner!

I bought the most gorgeous summer dress last summer, swingy and sexy and just the right colours. I bought it because TOH said I looked great in it. When we went through my wardrobe in the autumn, I tried it on again and we realised it was the wrong shape for me. It's empire line and I need a bodice that hits the edge of my ribs before it flares out in a summer dress. I still have it though - I'm going find a decent seamstress and get it re-tailored to suit me.

5) ABOVE ALL - When you wear the dress it must make you feel good!

Feeling good in what you are wearing makes you confident, feeling confident makes you stand tall. Self Confidence + Good Posture = Looking Good in the Mirror which makes you look and feel damn Sexy!

What is important when you are in a stressful situation like an Office Party, isn't how much wine you can drink, but how in control and confident you can be. If you feel sexy inside, you'll be able to network that much better and possibly even impress the boss! So that third glass of wine before you eat or before you even go to the party probably isn't a good idea...

I hope that has gone some small way to helping you choose this year's Party Dress. I haven't got any parties to go to, so I will stick with wearing what I am comfortable in... *grins*

Monday, 13 December 2010

High, Creep and Uselessness

I’m apologising now.  I swore, several months ago that I would look at everything positively, but today I can’t – for more than one reason.  If you don’t want to read further, then go away and come back tomorrow.

Physically, I am feeling ill.  Why?  Well, this poem I wrote this morning should explain it a little better than I can articulate at the moment…


Head spinning, stomach churning,
I try my best to walk upstairs.
Is this really preferable to being blue?
To wondering what I should do?

Prescription in, just have to wait,
Breakfast gurgles in my tummy.
Will I really be this sick?
If I stop the tablets quick?

I remember the feeling of High,
Staring at the stars and trees.
Colours melding, sounds so thrilling,
I could listen for hours to dentists drilling.

I wish my tablets would take me there,
I wish they could be nice, not nasty.
When I came down from being free,
I felt good from what I'd seen.

But Anti-depressants just even you out,
They take you from black to grey.
They don't let you see the world,
In the way it was first unfurled.

Tears come easily when I'm down,
The lack of drug making me iller.
Why can't they at least try,
to make the come down feel like a High?

I hate taking the anti-depressants; sadly they are the only thing that is keeping me sane (I think) and when I don’t take them, I feel like I have a hangover.  A proper, three-whole-bottles-of–white–wine hangover, you know how that feels; the room spins, you feel like throwing up, you can’t walk straight and your eyes blur and seem to cross of their own accord.  I get the shivers as well and a headache – and it doesn’t go away until you take a tablet. My own fault for forgetting to put the prescription in, I suppose…

Add to that, the pain in my lower abdomen that won’t go away and the Doctors can’t find a reason for.

They’re blaming IBS. I have had IBS for eight years, I know what it feels like and the pain is there, even when I am not having a spasm, but because they can’t see anything inside my bowel, they still blame the IBS. I've got to have blood tests next...

*sighs painfully*

Mentally, I am having a terrible day. I went for a job interview on Friday. It was one of those jobs that the Government made up to get people off benefit and the funding has been cut to the programme, so that was my last chance for those jobs.

I heard from the department I went to, this morning.  They have taken on someone more suitable for the job.

Never mind it wasn’t the job that I went for in the first place, or that I could have walked out when I realised that fact and stayed because it sounded like an interesting job to do.  I did my best to win them over and left the interview thinking that I was unlikely to get it, but hoping I did.

I hope that the person that did get it was an IT trained professional at least. That way I would be happy that someone deserving got it.  If some teenager with no proper experience in IT, other than playing games and mucking around on the net, got it , then I would be incredibly angry.

*Sighs unhappily*

I feel useless. In fact there is one song that pretty much sums me up today –

Creep by Radiohead

When you were here before
Couldn't look you in the eye
You're just like an angel
Your skin makes me cry
You float like a feather
In a beautiful world
I wish I was special
You're so fucking special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here

I don't care if it hurts
I want to have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul
I want you to notice when I'm not around
You're so fucking special
I wish I was special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell I'm doing here?
I don't belong here

She's running out again
She's running out
She runs runs, runs

Whatever makes you happy
Whatever you want
You're so fucking special
I wish I was special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here
I don't belong here

I feel like I don’t deserve to be on this planet. I’m useless as a teacher (according to my references from the last school I worked in), I can’t even get a simple admin or retail position and my writing has lost its sparkle.

On that last point, I feel like I can’t write anything. I started a rhyming children's story about Christmas last week.  It isn’t going anywhere. I left it alone and did some crafting.  When I tried again, it still didn’t work, so I went back to my knitting.

Yes, before you point it out, I know I am writing this – I’m talking about writing fiction not feelings…

Currently there doesn’t seem to be much hope for any of my careers at the moment. I can’t write, so I won’t get published.  My webzine is obviously so stupid that no one wants to submit anything unless I badger them (and I hate nagging anyone), so I might as well get rid of it.  I can’t Teach or get any job.  All I can really do is whinge and moan… 


By tomorrow I should be feeling better (I’ll get the tablets this afternoon and take one as soon as I can) and I hope everything will be back to normal.  So if you managed to get to the end of this pity-fest, this lack-of-self-confidence party, this depressing and stupid waste of megabytes, I applaud you for your tenacity and thank you for your friendship.  ‘Coz only a true friend would even read past the poem.

Excuse me, I’m going to go and lie down…

*Walks away in a wobbly fashion, in search of chocolate.*

Edit:  Same day; 9pm...

I've had my tablet and the world has lightened to a dull grey. I've managed to get some sort of stomach bug that is making me feel really yuck. I do hope that I feel better tomorrow...

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Christmas Present List - Part Three

Yes, it's the final part of my recommendations for your gift buying this Christmas. You'll have noticed that a few of the books are available on digital format. If you have a gadget mad member of the family, why not buy an e-reader for them and download some of these books onto it?

That will keep them quiet for a few hours...

* * * *

Christmas is the time for fun and laughter and I can guarantee that “Banana’s Bumper Xmas Book” by Michele Brenton will provide plenty of both.

“Banana’s Bumper Xmas Book” comprises over 200 poems from Banana’s first three Alternative Poetry Books plus a preview of the fourth edition due in spring 2011. Michele also shows off her prose prowess with a Christmas themed story and an anecdote of how she and her family towed a boat across Europe, with pictures no less!

Michele’s poetry reminds me of Pam Ayres with a little Roger McGough mixed in. Her stories are hilarious and this is one book sure to cheer up anyone’s Christmas. But don’t take my word for it, pick up a copy for your friend’s Kindle and enjoy it together!

Available in digital form from Endaxi Press
* * * *

Yes, I know, this the second book I have reviewed by Poppet, but believe me, her writing is worth it! “Seithe” is the story of what can happen when you allow your emotions to get the better of you.

Storming out of her boyfriend’s house one evening, Phoebe finds her way into Pravus, seemingly a gothic nightclub inhabited by various strange looking individuals. One of them, Seithe, is seemingly obsessed with the senses. One date after another, Seithe leads Phoebe from her incredibly blind human existence into a world of sensation and danger.

Poppet’s writing is highly erotic and massively sensuous, taking the reader in an intellectual and emotional roller coaster through the reality we live in. “Seithe” is a book to be devoured over and over again, it’s beauty and power drawing you back for more… This comes on the highly recommended list, so go forth and buy it!

Available in Digital format from Sony and Barnes and Noble,

* * * *

That's it for now - if I come across any more books that I think are worth shouting about, I will be posting them on a Tuesday...

So, if you want me to review your book, drop me a line!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Christmas Present Book List - Part Two...

Time for the next set of books on my Father Christmas list... oops, I mean my recommendations for your gift buying...

looks around to see if anyone has noticed...


Poking a gentle stick in the eye of traditional fantasy, “The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire” by Raven Dane, is a hilarious romp around the stereotypes.

Morven, the Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire, is the on duty seer.  She’s been on duty since Angharad, the Extremely Knowledgeable Unless it was Questions about the Weather, retired from the trade to go and live with her sister.  Then the feast of St. Epiligia, patron saint of pointless journeys and voles dawns and Morven finds herself inundated with pilgrims.  Demonica, daughter of the ruler of distant Darkness and Despair, is bored and looking to cause some hellish Havoc. Can Morven assemble a team to stop her?

“The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire” is one of the funniest books I have read recently. Its gentle satiric humour and stunning writing remind me of Tom Holt and Terry Pratchett. Suitable for adults and older teenagers, this is one book that is on my Christmas wish list… um, I mean, my highly recommended gift choice list...

Available in Print from Endaxi Press


Do you like Dragons? There have been plenty of films and books about dragons recently (How to Train your Dragon immediately pops into mind) but none of them are quite likeDragon Academy by Diane Nelson.

The last greywings on the planet have been sent to New Jersey, along with Nick in an effort to conserve them. Nick has to contend with the other trainers Keith and Maxie as well as the female students of his aunt and uncle’s riding academy, not to mention the overwhelming egos of the dragons themselves. Nikita and Michael are not going to make things easy.

Diane has a smooth writing style that blends fantasy and reality into a believable story. By the end of Chapter One, you really do believe that dragons exist and are flying around the countryside.  Dialogue, descriptions, and humour all bound into the story making it highly entertaining, funny and action packed.

Dragon Academy would make a great film. It would also make a wonderful present for anyone who likes Harry Potter or Eragon… like me... Did I say that out loud?

Available in Digital Format at ireadiwrite Publishing and Amazon. Soon to be available in Print


Matty and the Computer Crooks by Annabelle Page is a wonderfully fun book that makes the reader feel that you are really there with Matty and his friends, as they work their way through the adventure that ensues after Matty overhears two crooks discussing how to steal the computer’s from Matty’s school.

Aimed at children from the ages of seven and up, Annabelle’s writing style doesn’t talk down to kids, but “Matty and the Computer Crooks” is easy to read and highly enjoyable. A perfect present to encourage your younger gift receivers to read!

Available in Print from Endaxi Press


Well, that's the end of part two... part three will be around later I should imagine... Toodles!

Christmas Present Book List - Part One...

I've got a lot of writing friends around the internet, (some of whom are even nice enough to say that my writing is pretty good) and they all seem to have had a seriously amazing amount of success this year.

No, I'm not jealous... well, yes okay, I am. But my time shall come...

Anyway - For those of you who are hunting for presents to buy for various members of family and friends, I am going to edify you and possibly even inspire you, by presenting my best Christmas Present Picks..


First up is Wizards by John Booth.

John’s style of writing is highly entertaining and Wizards would make the perfect present for the older teenager in your life. In fact I will go so far as to say that you will probably be fighting over who gets to read it first!

Jake is a kid when he discovers that he can use Hopscotch to jump to different worlds. And that he can use the same power to find people. So, when at eighteen, he is asked to find Jenny, he agrees reluctantly. Within a few months all hell has broken loose and not just because of his unusual pet!

“Wizards” is an entertaining, funny, light-hearted and serious look at growing up into your own powers, be it magic or muscle, something that many teenagers will be able to empathise with.

Currently only available for Kindle - Soon to be available in Print


Exploits by the highly talented author, Poppet is very definitely for the adult reader only.

Written from the point of view of Stef, you are taken on a graphic exploration of her descent from Good-Girl to Love Slave. All of this is in pursuit of the goal of a man.  The story is so engrossing, it doesn’t matter if you’re reading an electronic copy or a print copy, you’ll be sucked in and carried along for the emotional rollercoaster ride.

Perfect for any female friends you might have, reading “Exploits” is just like having a bottle of wine accompanied, in-depth talk with a friend you haven’t seen for ages; and like one of those conversations, “Exploits” leaves you with a happy smile on your face.

This is book is highly recommendable – I had an electronic copy and I had to drag myself out of it to write this review…

Currently only available for Kindle


I shall return shortly with my next two scorching reads - Happy Shopping!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Time for a catch up!

What have I been up to all month? Well, of course it's been NaNoWriMo and I've been writing my fingertips off in an attempt to make the finish line...

... so you'll be glad to know that I slipped in under the tape with seconds to go! The first draft of the second book of The Secret of Arking Down Series is finished! I'll leave it alone until Easter and then I will go back and start editing and retouching it.

What else happened?

We had a sad couple of weeks in the middle of the month. TOH's Grandfather died in his sleep and we had to attend a funeral. I'm pleased to say that PT and NOS behaved themselves impeccably almost all day. I was very proud of the way they handled it and although Granddad will be missed dreadfully, we remember him with happiness.

I had some good news this month. An anthology that I had submitted to several months ago have confirmed that I am in the book! The money from any royalties will be going to various charities and I will give out more details about the anthology and  where you can pick it up closer to the time of publication.

I also slipped a story into a House of Horror anthology called "A Woman Scorned". I say slipped, because I submitted the story late and I wasn't sure if it was going to get in. I am glad that it did get in though - "Red Riding Hood Bites" is a good story and fits the title perfectly!

I've done a few crafty things this month.

I finished a couple of presents for friends and family - a knitted glasses case and neck strap, some fleece lined mittens, a beaded hairband to name a few. I have a pair of Pinnies on the go (and before you say anything, I still don't get on well with thread!) blue with white butterflies ... very pretty and hopefully just what the recipient would like.

Most importantly, this site is now my official Author site. Anything to do with writing (and a few things not to do with writing) will be appearing here. The weebly site was getting too cumbersome and I needed to streamline my operations.

"Welcome to Wherever..." is my foray into the world of publishing. The November edition went out on time and although I haven't yet had the chance to check the stats, seems to be well received. The December edition... alas... shall be slightly late. Mostly because I have been so busy this month - I haven't had time to start putting it together... *looks sheepish* I'll post again when it is live on the net, just so you can check it out!

Most of the pages on the site here are now up and running. You'll find the winner of November's FSS Contest on the Competition Time Page and the runners up are available to read on the Flash Story Fun Page - I'm sure you'll agree that the stories are all worth reading, so please do enjoy!



Sunday, 28 November 2010

Three Things you may or may not know about me...

You might know these, you might not...

1) I don't like giving up on a challenge - I view every anthology entry as a competition and if I really want to be in that anthology, I will not give up without a damn good fight. The same goes for NaNoWriMo

2) I'm not the best seamstress in the world - Thread and I don't get on. It has this irritating habit of tangling and knotting in my hands, making certain parts of my many hobbies very frustrating.

3) When I hit a problem, I sit back and think at it - Doesn't matter what the problem is, it could be to do with writing, it could be to do with knitting or earning money. Either way. I think about it.

I'm doing  NaNoWriMo at the moment. I'm using the second book of the "The Secret of Arking Down" Series for it and last night I finished the storyline. That's right. I got to the end of the main story. In 38 thousand words and change. I was not best pleased. So I thought about it and decided that my best bet was to go back over what I have written and rewrite each chapter, making sure it was the absolute best it could be. I've got time - the validator doesn't close until midnight on Tuesday.

This morning I started my quest. I sat down in my writing corner...

Anyone disturbing me when I am in here,
had better have a good reason...

Don't get me wrong, I love my writing corner, it's safely out of the way and I can often be overlooked by the kids when they come downstairs. The one flaw is behind the radiator you can see on the wall.

It's an air brick.

When I first moved to this corner, it was summer. The air brick provided a cooling flow past my feet and hands. However, now it's winter. We've had the first snowfall of the year (the earliest for 17 years apparently) and at night the temperature outside is a soothing -5. Urk!

As I was writing this morning, my toes (inside their slippers) and fingers were turning into icicles. It became difficult to type. Why didn't I just put the central heating on? Well, we're on a PAYG gas meter and I haven't the money available to use it willi-nilli. So I soldiered on, bumping my word count up to a solid 40k.

Then I had a thought. I have some white micro-fleece, why don't I make some gloves? I could finish them in a couple of hours. It can't be that hard, draw around my hands to make the size pattern. Cut them out. Sew them together. Easy, right?

And here's where my difficulties with thread come into play. I'm not going into detail, but blood was drawn, thread was snapped and tempers were frayed. So I put it to one side. I need to think about how to do the gloves some more, or I will not come out of it sane...

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Saga of NaNoWriMo.

It's November.

Anyone who has a writer for a partner or is a writer themselves will know what that means. Yup - it's NaNoWriMo time.

What? I didn't quite catch that... What is NaNoWriMo?

Ah, so you're one of them... okay, I'll explain.

NaNoWriMo stands for - National Novel Writing Month. It originally started in the U.S, but the madness has spread out internationally and now, in the thirty days of November, the writing world is put on hold while a horde of writers attempt to write 50,000 words.

And yes, I am participating. More fool me...

My word count stands at 23,183. I have over 26,000 words to go yet and eight days left to go. That means, I need to write 3.5K words a day to hit the finish tape. Why am I so behind? A little matter of Life, I'm afraid. A close relative died and between the children, consoling TOH and losing my muse a couple of times, I fell behind.

Several of my writing friends have finished already; one has reached the end of her story - and it's turned out to be a novella... Another couple have hit the 50K and are still going.

I'm determined to finsih the storyline to what I'm writing, but as far as hitting 50K on the 30th November is concerned, it's going to be a struggle...

Right then - time to get moving again! Wish me luck... I need it!

Monday, 15 November 2010

'Ullo, there's somethin' goin' on around 'ere...

You may have noticed that I've added a few pages. Don't bother going to look - they're empty at the moment.

I decided that I needed to streamline my online world. You see, when I log on in the morning, I spend a good hour or so trying to cover all the websites I'm on, adjusting my own websites, chatting... excuse me... NETWORKING on Facebook and so on.

It's one of the reasons that I rarely updated this blog - I'd designated it as my personal blog, but as my writing life is a major part of my 'normal' life, it never got updated... a fact of which I feel rather ashamed.

Anyway. I'm doing two things:

#1 - I am moving my writing website to this site - that way I don't have to adjust two different places!

#2 - I am going to transform the old weebly website into a competition website, with the prize being publication in my webzine.

It's going to take me a while to do, I have to shift all sorts of things around and adjust stuff on my computer... you know the sort of thing!

Then I should be able to blog more regularly. It's hopefully going to make my life much easier!

((hugs to all who pass through))


Saturday, 11 September 2010

A new view on things...

I've just been woken up. Not literally - it's only just 10pm and I haven't been to bed yet - but my mind has been woken up to the way I have been acting recently.

It's strange, but it often takes the view of someone outside looking in to do that. And this is why women need friends. People to talk to who understand the essential problem isn't the problem you are obsessing about, but the fact that you are obsessed. A woman's female friends aren't just there to get drunk with and gossip with, they're also necessary when you need a kick up the butt to get over something.

I'm lucky enough to know a number of such women. I've not met them face to face (yet) and it's doubtful if it will ever happen with a couple of them who live overseas, but when I need support, it's there. When I need a butt kicking, it arrives right on on cue.

Of course I'd love to be able to do the gossip and get drunk thing with them as well - I have no doubt at all in my mind that they'd all be great fun to be with.

Anyway, back to my subject...

I have been acting like the most selfish person. I've been bathing in my self pity, ignoring all the attempts to drag me out of my tub. Well tonight, one of my female friends (who also happens to be a superb writer - funny, we're all excellent writers... I wonder how that happened?)grabbed me by the scruff of my neck, dragged me out of the self pity sea I was wallowing in and slapped me around the face with the Truth.

The List of Truth

1)I am a clever person - I can write and write damn well.

2)I am a nice person.

3)I have a gorgeous guy with a massively bad sense of humour, who is devoted to me.

4)I have two stunning children, who are actually fairly well behaved.

5)I have a pair of beautiful cats who can calm me and cuddle me (well one anyway - when I'm not trying to hoover him!)

6)I am rich in Time and Love - the money is only important when it is necessary and can be got as and when.

7)I have been allowing what has happened in the past control who I am. It is not who I am, Who I am is #1 to 6 above.

8) It is time for me to let go of the things that have happened to me.

#8 is the important one at the moment... I must let go.

Just talking to my friend tonight has lifted a weight from me. I feel lighter and less stressed and fraught. I feel like I can get on with living now.

She gave me a new view on things. I just hope that I can do the same for her or another of my friends one day - pass the good Karma around.

You are more than what has happened to you. Don't let it define you.

She knows who she is.


Wednesday, 1 September 2010

I don't believe this...

Life is a nasty woman sometimes. She holds you and cuddles you, but as soon as you make a mistake or disappoint her in some way, she slaps you across the face and swears at you...

Sound familiar?

If you know me, you'll know I've had a bad couple of years with depression and illness. I've been painstakingly hauling myself out of the latest abyss - PND associated with losing a baby a year and a half ago. It's been hard, but for every foot I slip down, I pull myself back up another five.

I thought I was getting somewhere. *sighs*

I'm a Teacher. It's a hard job, difficult and stressful and that's just dealing with the kids and the actual teaching. Add into that, the politicking and paperwork and it's no wonder that Teachers have a high rate of stress related illness, nervous breakdowns and alcoholism. (I know very few teachers who don't have a drink or two at the weekend in an effort to relax properly)


I hauled myself out of the Abyss back in July and thought "Getting working again is going to help me with this. I'll sign up with a couple of Supply Agencies."

I just called them to find out how soon I was likely to get work. One agency said they were happy to start looking for me. Happily, I called the other one... and no, I am not going to tell you who - it's not their fault.... asked them the same question.

"Sorry, we won''t be able to use you."

"Pardon? Why?"

"Head Office have decided that you aren't reliable enough."

I blinked. I could feel tears welling (automatic reaction, a bit like comfort eating) and I had to take a couple of deep breaths. "Excuse me?"

"In your last three references, the schools have said that reliability and sickness were major issues with your work."

I explained what I had gone through in the first two jobs I had - Living away from home for my NQT year, Losing a baby and PND in the first real job I had.

"Sorry, but there isn't anything I can do. We can't use you until they say otherwise. Bye."

So there you have it.

That is the reason I can't get a job - I'm being penalised for being Ill.

Now you can shake your head and say "It isn't like that, they don't really do that."

I have the proof - The Agency woman told me straight - "You've had too much time off sick and you are not reliable enough for us."

It's not her fault - I'm glad she told me, at least I know now...

I am angry though.

I am angry with the bitchy, uncaring HR bastards that have written my references without thinking about their wording. Without thinking "Oh, this might make her depression much much worse if she doesn't get a job, I'd better reword it."

The stupid thing, is that it doesn't matter who I go for a job with - Schools or normal business - they're going to get the same references and come to the same conclusions!

You have no idea how angry I am. I want to march into the schools involved (Cheltenham and Bristol are the main culprits) and shout at them, to punch their lights out and force them at blade point to rewrite my references...


I wouldn't do that though. I'm not vindictive, nasty or even mean. I'm going to take a deep breath, have a cry, have a stiff drink or two to relax (I told you that's how teachers do it) and then I am going to painfully and slowly drag myself out of the mire I find myself in, before I sink through and back into the abyss.

I forgive them their wrongs against me. I even apologise to them for making their lives and jobs harder by being such an awful employee.

I assure you, should I manage to get any Teaching work, I will force myself to work when I am ill, when I am dizzy with vertigo and a possible danger in a workshop. I shall push myself to go into work when I am so deep in despair that I will burst into tears if the most mild eleven year old laughs at me or looks at me in the wrong way.

I will do all my marking late into the night, I will work myself into an early grave if that is what I have to do to mend my reputation and prove that I am not useless.

Excuse me, I need chocolate....

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Warning - Moaning Person alert, avoid if you want to...

It's strange how self confidence can suddenly drop out or speed up, especially when you're depressed.

For the last couple of weeks, I'd been feeling a little better about myself. I have a job (well sort of - Freelance Copywriting) and my writing was going well - I've had stories published in three different anthologies recently... (see my website for details!)

I was feeling fairly confident.

Then tonight, I watched "How to Look Good Naked". Don't get me wrong, I adore Gok Wan, his advice has helped no end when I've decided to sort out my wardrobe - I consult his books all the time.

Tonight, it was about a lady who thought she looked thin and boyish, so she hid herself in her clothes. As usual, Gok persuaded her to see herself in a different light by the end of the (5 weeks) show and even though I was happy for her, glad that the lady felt happy with her body... it depressed me no end.

I don't look at myself in the mirror anymore. If I do, I have to be stood up or my mood hits the bottom of the trough really quickly. It doesn't matter how much I follow what Gok says, I look at myself and see a dumpy, fat woman.

A while back, I'd lost a fair bit of weight. I was just under thirteen stone at the beginning of the year.

Well I've put it all back on.

I stopped going to Slimming World because I couldn't afford to pay £5 per week. I didn't stop watching what I ate though and I was still exercising, so the weight pretty much stayed off. Then in April, TOH lost his job. He started junk stuffering because he was depressed and I followed along with him - I'm not sure why.

I stopped walking the kids to school; he would drive us every day. I stopped doing my exercise because I don't like being watched - Normally I exercise on my own or I go to a Gym, or the Pool or a class (other people are too busy with themselves to watch you) - I hate it when someone sits there and watches me exercise (I wouldn't get a personal trainer either) it makes me feel so self conscious.

The weight crept back. My stomach started having problems again (the pain has never totally left, but it was bearable) all of a sudden, I can't eat anything healthy without having really painful gut problems. I went to the doctor and he sent me for tests...

I'm hiding again. I hide behind my physical problems, I hide behind TOH's problems, I hide behind the title of "Mummy"... Most of all, I hide in my Writing. I hide because I can't bear to look at myself, I can't look myself in the eye.

I know that most of this is in my mind. It's my lack of self confidence, lack of will power, whatever you call it, I don't have it. It's the root of my depression. I feel useless and fall into the cycle of thinking "It would all be better if..."

I've read all the things about how to defeat depression. I know what I am supposed to do to lose weight, to look good for myself and my family. Yet I can't do them...

I'm so far down the depression scale, I might as well be underground.

Normally when I'm depressed, I stuff chocolate, cake... anything that usually makes me feel better. But at the moment? I look at the packet of Choc Digestives in the cupboard and feel ill. The flapjacks and carrot cake just doesn't draw me. Nothing tastes right, I eat because I have to - I don't enjoy it. I don't want to eat.

Where can I go from here?

Well, I can go further down. That way lies death - not an option. I might be depressed, but that would mean I wouldn't care about anything or anyone and I still care for my children and TOH.

I can sit here and wallow for a bit. It won't make me feel better - it never does when I am this far into the dark. But I have to wait... wait for the rope to come dangling down the tunnel to pull me out. What it'll be, I don't know. When it'll happen... well, picture me shrugging, coz I have no idea.

I'll wait - help is out there and will be coming for me, I just have to hold onto that hope.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Gasp! The House is tidy!

I'm currently in shock...

We've spent the last week sorting, shredding and filing the buildup of paper that had occurred in the house. Five large boxes crammed with fifteen years worth of paper. That created one black sack of shredded paper for each year we've been together and two boxes of things we have to keep...

I tell ya, the recycling men had a shock and a half on Friday when we put out the first eight bags. We had to reassure them that it wasn't a wind up!

But it's not just that.

We've moved the computer down to the end of our "Dining Room", shifted the bookcases around, got rid of a lot of stuff and essentially cleared a lot of stuff away. I cleaned the kitchen (you'll need shades to go in there) and did the washing up (we'll have a fixed dishwasher by Tuesday)... I even managed to clean the cooker!
It means that my writing has suffered a little - I haven't done as much as I should have done, but when Life happens, you can't just ignore it!

I do feel a lot better for it though. It's a useful exercise - I got rid of a lot of physical and emotional baggage while I was shredding. The house is clean, my psyche has been cleaned up a little as well.

Now I am ready to get moving on my own work - writing and crafting. I have a novel to get ready for December and a whole slew of Christmas presents to do.

Wish me luck!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Funny what you find on Amazon...

One of my friends from Webook - MJ Heiser has recently achieved the state which so many of us are struggling / longing to reach - she has become a PUBLISHED Author!

*pauses for Cheers and Applause*

Her book, Corona, is a stunning Fantasy set on the world of Jaenrye. It is one that I am desperate to own, but I had thought it would only be on the US version of Amazon. I did a little digging and found this on the UK version of Amazon -

Corona by MJ Heiser

I immediately put it on my wish list, so that ANY FAMILY that might read this can ACCESS and BUY it for me... (hint, hint)

Then I noticed the line "2 new from £10.12 ; 1 used from £14.61 ". This shocked me. Corona has only been out since May - it hasn't quite cooled from the press yet, how could someone buy the book, read it and sell it again as a used copy?!!!?!!!!?

But there it is - being sold for nearly fifteen quid! You could have knocked me down with a feather...

Okay, now we get to the real reason I am yapping about this. If anyone from the UK wants to read Corona (and believe me, it's worth buying!) please buy the proper copy! MJ Deserves your support!

Besides - a brand new copy will cost you less than the second hand one! *grins*

Friday, 2 July 2010

Drumroll Please... And the Blog Award goes to...

ME! Apparently... well, okay, I'm getting a little carried away there. Sorry.

Actually I did get the Blog Award (See the nice piccies under my mugshot?) from two of my fellow writers and bloggers - Noelle Pierce and T.L. Tyson !

Thank you for that, Ladies!

I’m not entirely sure why they did it (possibly an attempt to bribe me for the next FSS Contest…*grins*) but I am grateful they enjoy my writing and my Contest that much!

Now according to the Rules of the Awards I have to do a couple of things...

"Rules? What Rules?"

These Ones:

Here are the rules of the awards:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order…)

4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award.

So what's up next? Ah, yes, Seven things about me... Hmm - tricky! How do I avoid being boring?

1) I’m a Map Writer – no, not a Map Reader, a Map Writer…

Every story I write longer than 1000 words will get a map drawn for it. They help me understand the place and the people my characters interact with. The maps also allow me to go back to that world to write different stories.

2) I’m a simple person at heart, almost a child in my ability to trust and love people.

Be nice to me and you’ll get nice back. Be nasty and I will ignore you forever… I mean it.

3) I love Dragons.

I'm not joking when I say this. I love reading about them, drawing them, collecting them. I do believe that they are real - they've just gone into hiding so Humans won't hunt them anymore, like the Unicorns and Fae.

4) I like to write Speculative Fiction.

Speculative Fiction, for those who don't know is Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal, Horror... anything that is the product of a fertile imagination - which I have in an over abundance!

5) I have a Rainbow and a Cub in my house.

That's right - The Princess Terrorist became an Official Rainbow this week (despite having been on the list since she was eight months old and attending since she was old enough to walk.) and will be parading in the Arena at the Scout and Guide Fair on Saturday... as will Number One Son, who has joined Cubs recently and will also be parading.

6) I have been engaged for fifteen years.

Pick your jaws up off the floor - The Other Half and I have known each other since University. We got engaged in 1995 (he proposed in the pub) and I have been planning the festivities ever since. However, due to a number of events (both happy and sad) in the intervening years, we've been unable to get enough money together for even a tiny wedding. So we're still engaged...

7) I have been writing seriously for two years.

And in that time, I have made so many friends, all over the world that it would be impossible to thank them all on any acknowledgments page I could put into a book.

They have all had an impact on my writing, be it through refining my work; encouraging me to carry on writing when life got tough; cheering for me when I manage to get stories published or commiserating when I got rejected.

Thank you to everyone!

Now I get to have a bit of fun and award some genuinely brilliant blogs, a very well deserved award!

Poppet's Imagination Captivation - This is the blog of a superb writer, a knowledgeable and wonderful person and someone who has inspired and encouraged me for a long time.

Uphill Writing - Rik Scott is one of my favourite bloggers. He has helped and encouraged my writing from day one of knowing him on Webook. He is a brilliant creative writing teacher and a good friend.

Spirit Lights the Way - Nancy has a unique blog, one that is calming for the soul and thought provoking for the mind. This is a blog for first thing in the morning, to prepare yourself for the day ahead.

The Right Brain Ramblings - Okay, so she gave me the award in the first place, but T. L. has so many blogs, I sometimes wonder how she remembers which one she is supposed to be writing that day! *grins* This particular one brightens and entertains...

Angels and Demons and Portals. Oh My! - J.A.Souders is another of my favourite bloggers. She is direct and honest - but is kind and caring with it. An agented writer, she fully deserves to be published and yet she spends her time helping the rest of us get an agent!

Tel's Talk - Terri Nixon is one of the first writers I met when I started out on the net. She's had some tough times, but has kept writing all the way through. I admire her as a person and love her work.

The Inimitable M - A hard working writer and publisher, Maggie is someone that I admire for being so strong and capable. We also share a cat (name) - my favourite orange and white moggie is named Gizmo. Maggie's little Cabana boy is nameed Gizmo - coincidence nes pas?

The Pat Black Experience - is just that - an experience not to be missed. Pat is an entertaining writer with an intelligence and dark comedy that begs to be published.

Godchecker GodBlog - is my absolute favourite website. I can spend hours on there researching different gods, demons, saints, angels etc... So when they announced the creation of the GodBlog, it quickly became another stop on my weekly Blog Run.

Grumbles and Grins by Karen Bessey Pease - This is a relatively new Blog Run Stop for me, as I have only just met her via Slush Pile Reader. I can however recommend her Maine humour and charm as a damn good reason to read her blog!

The Writing of Dean Wesley Smith - Another new stop on my Blog Run, it's one of the best and most informative places I have been so far. Well worth a read!

Simon's Writing - I am... - Okay, it's not strictly a blog, but Simon Betterton is a fascinating person. He's off to Hong Kong (I think) soon and I hope he has a good time, because boy, am I jealous!

Joanne Ellis - Another Writer's website but one I think that regular Blog Runners would like. Read and enjoy!

Children's Circle - Here you can find stories that have been written by the Genius that is Sir Terry Pratchett and compiled by Steve Cohen, the editor of Bucks Free Press. I'll leave you to explore and enjoy the site, it's a fun one!

M.J. Heiser - One of several people who I would like to claim as a friend in person, she has encouraged my writing ambitions since we met on Webook and she was undiscovered. Of course, she's been discovered now, so she's slightly ahead of me - but never fear, I will catch her up!

And that's about it - I'm going to post this on my Website Blog as well; Noelle gave me the award for my website, T.L. gave it to me for this blog, so I have to answer both!

*grins insanely and shakes her head*

The things I have to do to make myself and my friends feel good - are worth doing well!