Friday 28 September 2012

Afraid of the dark? Maybe!

Ok, so you know you’re a wimp when you have to stop writing for the evening because you’re scaring yourself! Oh dear. Well, the fiancé has gone out for the evening, the kids are in bed, it’s dark and it’s quiet and so I decide to take the opportunity to do a bit of writing. Problem is, the particular scene I chose to continue with just happens to be one where my character thinks there might be an intruder in her house. So, I’m getting myself in the right frame of mind, imagining the things you’d be listening out for in this situation, imagining the way my character would feel, really trying to create the eerie mood… and then I hear a noise. I’ve just been writing about how my character tries to brush off the noise as nothing, and I do the same. I start overthinking this, and my hands are getting a little clammy on my keyboard. Then I hear another noise and start to really frighten myself. Now, if my fiancé were here, I would tell him to do the checks (he avoids watching horror films with me now because of this annoying habit of mine), but since I’m in the house with only my children I figure I need to get a grip. I walk into the kitchen, where I heard the noise, switch on the light and suddenly there are two glowing eyes watching me in the darkness. I have never screamed so loud in my life! Since you’re reading this post you’ve probably already guessed that I’m fine… yep, it was just the neighbours black cat clawing at the window, wanting to get in out of the rain.
So on the plus side, I suppose I can take comfort from the fact that I successfully managed to write an eerie scene, if I managed to frighten myself with it. Well either that or I have to accept the fact that as an adult and a mother, I might still be a little bit afraid of the dark!

Saturday 22 September 2012

Cupcakes, crafts and word counts

National cupcake week is coming to an end! How sad. It’s probably a good thing though, since my post baby body has been adversely affected by the fact that a whole week has been dedicated to one of my favourite foods! Yes, I have over consumed, but hey, who doesn’t like cupcakes? As I may have mentioned before I’m not the best cook in the world, but although these might not have looked like they came from the hummingbird bakery, they tasted good enough to keep me going back for seconds… and thirds, and… well ok I ate nearly the whole lot.
If you’re a regular visitor to this little blog of mine, you’ll probably be wondering why I haven’t been blogging for a while. Well, apart from over eating, I’ve been testing my creative abilities in other ways than writing this past week. See, I love writing, but sometimes, I spend hours in front of the laptop typing, and hours with my head in a book, and I get a little burnt out. So I have revisited and expanded on my love for crafts this week, I finished a cross stitch that a started when I was pregnant with my first child, thinking I’d hang it up on his wall when he was born. Oops, but better late than never I guess. So now that that little project is finished, I decided to try and teach myself to knit, because I thought it would be sweet to knit a little blanket for my baby daughter. Going by my track record I might finish it in time for the grandchildren. Anyway, I love doing things like this because it’s the type of thing that requires a lot of dexterity and time, but my mind is free to wonder. I try and engage in this kind of activity when I’m suffering with writers block, because I find it helps me think through my plotlines and work out which way to go with them.
So now that we’re back on the subject of writing, I’m currently writing the third instalment of my ‘Rags and Riches’ series (the first of which will be available in December), and these stories were meant to be quite short and sweet, but I am having trouble keeping in my word count for this one, since my characters seem to want to grow and tell readers all about themselves. This isn’t a bad thing I guess, but at this rate, this particular story is going to be far longer than any of the others, which wasn’t the plan. Talking of word counts, as my dreaded exam looms, I’m beginning to realise how much I have come to over depend on my laptop. When I read the exam guidebook that stated I should try and write about 1000 words for each question, I realised that I haven’t actually had to write anything on paper, apart from shopping lists and the like, for years and years. So now I actually have to practise writing, so that I know roughly what that word count looks like when hand written. Thank God for technology!

Monday 10 September 2012

Summer Roundup

Has somebody flicked a switch? Because yesterday it was hot and sunny and I was all flip flops and ice cream…today, it’s raining and chilly, and I’m stuck inside looking after my son who’s come down with a cold. Britain is known for its erratic weather but I was hoping to hold on to summer for a few more weeks. That was wishful thinking, I know. It seems that winter is just around the corner, so while I’ve been wistfully looking out the window at the rain fall, I’ve had time to reflect over all that has happened this summer, and even though I didn’t get to go anywhere on holiday, it certainly has been an eventful couple of months.

As a nation, we have had the honour of enjoying the Olympics held in London this year. A few events even filtered down to our very own Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, so the fiancé got to experience a part of it without having to travel very far. The Paralympics are just finishing today, I do believe, and my only regret is that I didn’t get to go to London myself, as from what I have seen on the television, it certainly looked like the place to be this year.
It was also Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee of course, and the street parties held all over the country were special. I have to admit, the celebrations that took place in London for that kind of went over my head, because everybody seemed to be celebrating in their own way, and I was having such a good time in my town, but I think that makes it all the more memorable.
Of course, this summer was exciting for me and my little family, of course, as we welcomed our daughter into the world in June. Thank god I opted for a home birth, because I went from first twinge of labour to holding my baby in just half an hour! Scary!
I also got a contract with a publisher, which you probably already knew, this would have been the biggest news this summer if my daughter hadn’t stolen the spotlight. I’m so grateful to my publisher, obviously, but I also have to give a little shout out to my wonderful fiancé here, because I only began to send out my stories after he told me that I had nothing to lose, and that he had absolute faith in me, bless him!
So even though I’ve been stuck at home a lot this summer, it’s been pretty busy, and more than a little amazing, I’ll take that over a holiday any day. I’m looking forward to seeing what the winter brings, especially since my first book  'Business and Pleasure' gets released on December 17th, at Beachwalk Press!

Thursday 6 September 2012

Not quite the domestic goddess!

Another thing that I love to do besides writing is cook. Yep, I’m quite the domestic goddess these days, swanning around the kitchen looking glamorous, taking care of the kids, keeping the house spotless and always having dinner on the table for when my lovely fiancé comes home…pfft! Yeah right, as much as I would love this to be the case, sadly it isn’t and as much as I love to cook, I don’t know if many people would agree that I’m very good at it. I am getting better, but my experiments go wrong far more often than not. In fact, just recently I wanted to make my father some vanilla fudge for his birthday, it’s his favourite, and I thought some home-made fudge would be the perfect gift. The recipe said easy, and that was by so many reviewers that I thought, what could possibly go wrong? Turns out, quite a lot, I ruined a perfectly good saucepan by burning the sticky mass to the bottom on my first attempt, my second attempt saw the end result resembling a platter we could have eaten off…but definitely not eaten. I even dropped it on the floor in an attempt to break it up and it still kept its still stayed solid. What a waste of ingredients. I have tried once or twice to make it since then, and have made edible batches, but they’ve always been crunchy rather than soft…and in case you’re wondering, I resorted to making flapjacks for my father for his birthday; even I can manage that easy recipe. Anybody who has any tips for making the perfect fudge, feel free to help me out!

Other culinary disasters have included… the time the handle broke on my frying pan and the fajita’s landed up on the floor, the time I forgot I had scones in the oven and my fiancé asked me about an hour and I half later why there was coal in the oven, another time I made biscuits that were so hard they managed to chip a friend’s tooth. Then of course, there was the dinner party where I forgot to turn the oven on for the casserole. Thank god for take-away! The strangest cooking experience I ever had was when I tried to make a white chocolate truffle cake, sounds heavenly right? Well it was so heavenly in fact that somehow the sponge base rose up through all the layers and when I went back to the fridge later to check it, I had an upside down cake… another dinner party where I was laughed at. Still, my upside down cake still tasted amazing so, can’t complain really.
So, I hope my writing turns out better than my cooking, because I don’t think I’ll be making a career as a chef anytime soon. Still, practise makes perfect and I promise that if and when I discover some amazing new recipes that are actually easy to make, then I’ll share them with you sometime! Thanks for reading and I hope you’re all having a wonderful day.