Friday, November 21, 2008
Oh. My. Giddy. Life...
I've just had an email that could, quite possibly, be a breakthrough... It's a notice of initial interest in my book, Coffee At Kowalski's, from a real publisher!
The only slight problem is, they've asked to see the complete manuscript - aaarrgghh!! So, for the past three days (and nights) I've been frantically writing and editing to pull it into some shape. I know it might not lead to anything, but it's an open door nonetheless - I've been in panic mode since I got the email.
So if you see a small, wizened old lady, rocking gently whilst hammering away like a half-crazed loon at her laptop, it's probably me!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This is brilliant...
I've loved The Weepies for ages - they're a brilliant band and you should really check them out if you haven't heard them before. It's quite the most beautiful, chilled-out music you're likely to hear and both their albums, Say I Am You and Hideaway are well worth investing in.
Those of you who know me will know that I am a mahoosive Muppet fan and I was thrilled to find that The Weepies have teamed up with two Muppeteers for their latest video - brilliant music and Muppets: what's not to love?!
Monday, November 10, 2008
I've got a Music Video!
My great chum (and all-round brilliant composer/chill-out artist/producer) Reuben Halsey has produced this video for a song we worked on together called The Meaning of Life, which is being released at www.indiestore.com on 1st December- just in time for Christmas!
You can hear more of Reuben's amazing music here...
Listen and enjoy - and mark the date in your diary for your opportunity to own it!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
My NaNoWriMo novel is going well so far...
I managed to do over 6,000 words on the first day (one good by-product of my current status that I like to call my Redundancy Shed-Head Syndrome - I write to keep myself from thinking too hard about lack of jobs...)
So here, as promised, is the first excerpt from my novel,
Travels With My Teapot.
ONE: Sunday Morning Discovery
From the merchant’s field a portal will come,
Loathed by many and acknowledged by few.
In the midst of ridicule, wisdom is found
And thus the Seer is set on the Journey.
‘Brilliant,’ exclaimed Lottie, even more incredibly pleased with herself than normal. ‘This is exactly what we're looking for.’
‘I fail to see how you can get so excited about a teapot,’ replied Sid, his mind already being beckoned elsewhere by a multitude of more exciting things at the car boot sale.
Travelling at the crack of dawn to a soggy field in the middle of nowhere with no humane toilet facilities and a snack van that could, quite conceivably, speed your early demise, was not Sid’s idea of a perfect Sunday morning jaunt. A nice big coffee, accompanied by a suitably sticky muffin, reading The Sunday Gingko in Clarbucks with a good couple of hours to waste was more like it.
‘This is no teapot!’ Lottie retorted, lifting the disputed item aloft and admiring the unique way the early morning light was reflected on its spout. ‘This is the solution to all our problems.’
For once, Sid struggled to source a suitably sardonic comeback. ‘S-s-sorry?’
Lottie granted him a benevolent smile in spite of his obvious ignorance. ‘Trust me,’ she smoothed, ‘within the visible china confines of this seemingly innocuous object lie the unseen possibilities of time and space.’
It was immediately obvious to Sid that his sister had, finally, succumbed to the madness that had been threatening to accost her sanity for years. ‘It's a teapot,’ he repeated, gently, ‘not a time machine. Maybe we should go back to the car. Do you want to lie down for a bit, perhaps? Have a little rest? You've been working way too hard lately...’
‘Stop fussing!’ his sister snapped, swatting aside his suggestion like an irritating fly around her head. ‘I am perfectly in possession of my faculties, thank you very much. I know what I’m looking at here. And you should learn to have a bit more faith in my Gift.’
Ah, yes. Lottie's Gift. The special skill only referred to in pitying whispers by her closest relatives, foretold by her soon-to-be Grandmother while Lottie was still in the womb, yet never openly discussed after her birth. ‘Young 'un will have skill beyond our brains. Ability to unlock different universes. The Gift will set her apart, attract ridicule and be understood by few. 'Twill be a curse, mark my words, till the time of its relevance dawns.’
‘Seriously, Lotts, I think we should go home now.’
Lottie turned to face her brother, her expression pure exasperated disdain. ‘We are not going home, Sid,’ she replied firmly, digging the heels of her flowered wellies into the soft muddy earth beneath her feet. ‘Everything I’ve been feeling over the past couple of weeks has culminated in me finding this teapot. I knew the time was coming for my Gift to finally find its place. And now it has – and all you can do is stand there with a face like a wet weekend, mocking me. Well thank you for your support, big brother!’
Sid knew the defiant look in Lottie’s eyes all too well. She had been wilful from birth: virtually immovable when she set her mind on something. Grandfather Orrin often joked that it would be easier to shift the Upper Vanyal Mountains than it would be to dissuade Lottie from her chosen course of action. ‘Granite, that lass is, I tell you. Absolute granite.’
You could say many things about Sid (and trust me, people did), but one thing that nobody disputed was his ability to recognise defeat. He let out a large sigh and took the teapot from his sister’s hands, summoning the attention of the slightly bedraggled elderly stallholder, who was wrapped up in so many layers of clothes that she resembled an Arctic Weeble.
‘Good morning. How much for this, please?’
‘Really? How about forty?’
‘How about sixty?’
‘Fifty-five? Can’t say fairer than that, eh?’
‘Sixty, young ‘un, or I’m walkin’ away.’
More than a little miffed, Sid conceded defeat. ‘Fine. OK. Whatever. Sixty clicks.’
The stallholder grinned. ‘Pleasure doing business with you, sir.’
‘Hmm. Don’t suppose you can gift-wrap it for me?’
‘Not for sixty clicks I can’t.’
‘Ah I see. Still, the newspaper-and-carrier-bag combo is strangely becoming in a rustic sense.’
The stallholder’s eyes narrowed. ‘Everyone’s a flippin’ comedian these days. Here. Take your teapot and begger off.’
Despite his concern for Lottie, Sid couldn’t subdue the thrill of pleasure deep within him when he saw his little sister’s smile, once the precious object was cradled safely in her arms. He’d lost count of the number of times his better judgment had been abandoned in favour of pleasing his sibling. For all her undeniable weirdness, Lottie was a darling at heart; even the most hardened realist in their village found difficulty resisting the charms of her optimistic view of life.
The only part of Grandmother’s prophecy that, thankfully, hadn't come true was that Lottie would face ridicule for her Gift. The effervescence of her personality, coupled with her pretty face, laid waste to many objections she may otherwise have encountered. Whilst many people recognised her ‘other-worldliness’, few thought more of it than just an interesting personality trait and, unusually for people never normally averse to superstition, the residents of Sommertyn accepted her wholeheartedly. Nobody, it appeared, was immune to Lottie’s charms – a fact for which she was more grateful than anyone could realise.
‘Sid, you’re an angel,’ she breathed, a squeak of delight playing in her voice.
‘Yeah, yeah, whatever. Now are we going to risk the Snack Van of Doom or would you prefer to live a few years longer?’
©Miranda Dickinson 2008
What happens next? Tune in soon and meet the secret agents of T-CUP...
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I've just won an award!
I am the winner of Best New Artist in the 2008 ISSA Song Contest Awards!
It's come at an amazing time because I've just been made redundant and my confidence had hit an all-time low. The prize includes a cheque for $500 (about £300), which is really going to help with the bills in the coming months. Right now I'm OK till mid-January and then I'll be in the financial equivalent of Wylie Coyote dashing off a cliff and running on thin air...
It's a scary time - not least because everything rests on my having a job. Not only have the wonderful Tories decided to put me out of work just in time for Christmas, but I've also just discovered that the performing arts academy I teach at is ending in December. There are no jobs anywhere it seems right now and I'm not earning anywhere near enough from the few bits of freelance writing I do to pay my rent and bills. I know it's happening right across the country and it's horrible - even though you know it's your job that's redundant, not you, it's impossible to separate the two sometimes. All I can do is to draw heavily on my Optimism Stores to try to tell myself everything will be OK - and just ride out the panic when it arrives.
I've got to keep positive - if for nothing else to show the world that I'm not beaten yet. In the meantime, I've started writing my NaNoWriMo novel, Travels with my Teapot - excerpts will appear here soon, so watch this space!
My sister sent me this YouTube link and it cheered me up no end - you've got to love Dancing Squirrels...
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I'm brilliant at coming up with new ideas.
Seriously - my head is always brimming with fantastic plots, awesome characters and scintillating scenes. I have a trusty Moleskine notebook (natch) that I carry everywhere with me and it's bulging with ideas...
...Like last week when, I swear, I sat next to the Three Witches from Macbeth in my local Starbucks... Or the old man Bob and I met in the hides at Kingsbury Water Park who I just had to write a story about - which you can read on my short story blog, September's...
My novel, Coffee At Kowalski's,is getting fantastic reviews at Authonomy.com - and I only posted it to see if anyone would read it!
The one problem I have is finishing things. Maybe I'm scared. Maybe I'm plain lazy. Maybe I'm worried that if I finish one thing I won't get another idea good enough... And now I've signed up for NaNoWriMo again this year, it about to begin all over again.
It looks like I have to finish writing Coffee At Kowalski's, now that so many people are loving it. I have to finish the final edit of The Mystical Wombat's Guide to Life before I start NaNoWriMo 2008 - just because it needs to go to an agent and for me to stop dithering. The problem is making myself sit down and do it.
I need to learn the Art of Finishing Things. And quick!
Friday, October 3, 2008
I've only gone and done it this time...
I've submitted one of my novel attempts to www.authonomy.com - the new site from publishers HarperCollins, where aspiring authors can submit their work, read other works and, allegedly, 'beat the slush pile' where so many unsolicited manuscripts wind up.
Coffee At Kowalski's was the very first novel that I wrote, started nearly seven years ago while I was still married. It became a real sanctuary for me and was the reason I began taking my writing seriously. It's by no means perfect, but a friend of mine started reading it a couple of months ago and demanded that I finish it. I've been sending her a couple of chapters every few weeks - which she's reading faster than I can write!
Here's the blurb:
Rosie is happy at Kowalski's florists in New York - until her past catches up with her.
What happens when an optimist with a broken heart meets a pessimist who has everything he ever wanted?
Rosie Duncan is happy. Or so she thinks.
Her florist store in New York's Upper West Side, which she took over from the enigmatic Mr Kowalski six years ago, is flourishing. She has a wonderful life in her adopted city, surrounded by friends that love her.
While Rosie refuses to discuss her past - or why she won't consider looking for a relationship - her assistants Ed (the human iceberg) and Marnie (who appears to have dated the whole of Manhattan), together with inimitable New York Times columnist Celia (a one-woman tornado), do their best to convince her to open her heart.
But when hopelessly optimistic Rosie meets self-confessed pessimist Nate, their blossoming friendship over coffee at her store begins to shake her resolve - and unravel the mystery surrounding her arrival in New York. Then a chance meeting brings Rosie face to face with her past – and now she must choose which way her life will go.
Is she falling for Nate? Will she be able to love again? And what is going on with her best friend Ed?
I just wanted to see what reaction there was (if any) - I know that my writing has come on so much since my first, trembling attempts at creating a story, but this one always stuck with me. I think it works as a narrative and, while I don't think for a moment that it will get anywhere near the hallowed heights of the 'Editor's Desk', I'm just interested to see what people think.
One comment so far: Super dialogue, real humour and the kind of wit that would raise FRIENDS to a new high...
So... please, please, please pop over to Authonomy.com and have a read - leave your comments, too! Head to Authonomy and type 'Coffee' into the search box on the top right-hand side of the page.
Am I crazy? Possibly. More loopy than a bowl of Fruit Loops? Probably. But unless you try something, you'll never know...
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I'm getting my own column!
Move aside Carrie Bradshaw - there's a new girl in town...
I've been asked to write a column for Black Country Bunker - a new 'What's On'-style site for the glorious Black Country where I live. Apparently, I get my own page and colour scheme... I'm calling it A Bouquet of Newly-Sharpened Pencils (and if anyone can identify the film where that phrase comes from I'll give them a prize!) and I'm going to be writing an article each week, once the site launches later this month.
Although it's no money (quelle surprise) it's another chance to showcase my writing. They're linking with local radio stations as well, so that could prove interesting!
In the meantime, I'm frantically editing the final chapter of The Mystical Wombat's Guide To Life before daring to send it to an agent. I'm determined to finish it - even if my laptop did decide to convert half the text to Wingdings last night... Aarrggh...
Monday, September 29, 2008
I've signed up for NaNoWriMo again!
The National Novel Writing Month is 30 days of complete madness where people all over the world spend the month of November frantically scribbling an entire novel. I did it last year for the first time and it was manic, scary, exhilarating, tough, crazy - but most of all, fun! My NaNo novel from last year, The Mystical Wombat's Guide to Life, is currently nearing the completion of the Big Final Edit, so it's time to wrap it up and get ready for chaos to begin again on 1st November!
Like last year, I'll be posting excerpts of my new novel here at Coffee and Roses, so please, please, please let me know what you think... Any encouragement, words of wisdom or offers of caffeine will be gratefully received!
Till then, I'm stockpiling coffee and chocolate and grabbing as much rest as I can!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I'm starting to wonder if I've developed a Superhero Power...
It appears that I am now able to become... drumroll, please... invisible!
Let me explain...
For a few months now (well, since last November, to be precise) I've been job-hunting. I'd just like to find a job that is more creative in nature, more writing-centred (my current role is more of a copy-editing/proofreading thingy). I've been a busy girl getting lots of writing experience in addition to my work: doing citizen journalism things for the past two years, maintaining my blogs and, of course, writing short stories along with my novel. About the only other thing I could try in order to add to my already gargantuan writing efforts would be to resort to writing down everything I'd normally say out loud on large sheets of A3 paper, a la Bob Dylan.
Now, nobody would say that job-hunting is easy: I completely understand that. And neither am I over-ambitiously pursuing roles that are stratospherically out of my league. I am so entirely capable of every job I've applied for - and if I could just get to an interview, I'm certain that I could communicate my potential. But, twenty-one job applications later, I'm yet to attain this lofty goal...
Maybe it's my CV, I thought. So, I found a couple of CV-clinic services, where you submit your CV and they, basically, rip it to shreds - before suggesting lots of lovely ideas to make it sparkly and attractive.
"Don't have an Objectives section," they advised, "state your Attributes first to sell your skills."
Brilliant, I thought, and got straight to work.
I was ruthless, I was eloquent, I was... well, quite chuffed with the result, actually. So - just to check - I sent my newly polished CV to a different CV-clinic company and eagerly awaited their reply.
"Attributes sections are quite old-fashioned," came the sombre verdict. "You might consider changing it for an Objectives section, so prospective employers know what you are looking for in a position."
Brilliant. So basically either would work - or not work - brilliantly - or awfully - depending on which way you looked at it.
Undeterred - ever the Eternal Optimist - I made some more tweaks and sent my newly - well, altered CV off to apply for several jobs.
Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Ничто.
So, after considering all the options, I finally came to this earth-shattering conclusion: I am invisible!
How cool is that?!
Then, I started to look at other areas too and found that - yes - my Superhero Power is evident there, too! Take my blogs, for example. To be fair, this one does get lovely comments, all of which completely make my day - but my new blog September's had a few comments initially, then everything went quiet...
Don't get me wrong: I love my blogs and I will keep writing them even if I am the Invisible Woman - but do you ever find you start to wonder if what you do makes a difference to anybody? I think we carry on in the hope that something we do, or say, sing, or write will meet someone at the moment they needed to hear it. Maybe that's the driving force behind all creative people, however they express themselves to the world.
I'm not fishing for jobs, or recognition, or a thousand hits on my blog sites - it's just a rhetorical question I keep finding myself asking - well, myself. Am I invisible or do I make a difference? I'm not sure there's an answer, really. After all, how many people do we pass in the course of our day that we never really take the time to notice?
In the meantime, I'm going to have fun thinking of ways to utilise my newly-found Superhuman Ability... Now, where could I go if nobody can see me....?!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
I've just posted a new story in my September's series - but it's a weepie!
The story follows Bert Mottram, one of Northbridge's most noticeable characters. Read it with a hanky handy - you have been warned!
Pop over to www.septembers-cafe.blogspot.com to read it - and be sure to let me know what you think!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
So, you're enduring yet another life-draining day at the office...
How can you lighten up your day?
Answer: The Great Sticky Note Experiment!
I came across this amazing video on YouTube today and it made me want to buy Post-It notes! This is dedicated to everyone stuck in boring offices waiting for something exciting to happen. Enjoy!
Friday, September 12, 2008
At long last you can now buy my music!
To hear some of my tracks, scroll down to the bottom of this blog to find the player, click to preview and head to my store on indiestore.com to buy four of my songs for only 99p each!
Go on - treat yourself!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
British holidays - don't you just love 'em?
Well, I do - but, of course, in doing so I run the risk of encountering the Great British Weather... So, I've just come back from a week in the gorgeous Lake District and guess whst? Yup, it rained.
Having said that, it's been an incredibly wet year and with people currently facing having their homes flooded, I'm not going to complain about a few soggy days in Cumbria. Despite the frustration of being rained in (albeit in an impossibly lovely Lakeland cottage) I still found enough to do. Catching up on reading, for example - I managed to read a whole book in a week, which is a major achievement for me. In my day job as a Copywriter I've become a 'professional reader' - meaning that I scan text for errors and flow rather than actually reading it. It makes it incredibly difficult to read a book for fun - but I've been making myself do this because I truly believe that my writing suffers if I don't read regularly.
It was also good because I got to do some serious work on my novel, The Mystical Wombat's Guide to Life©. I've completely reworked the ending after finding, during editing, that it lacked pace and resolved too quickly. I'm really pleased with the new ending - even though one of my major characters has suffered as a result. The decision to injure or even kill a major character is always a scary one, but I think it's the right one... Ah well, we'll see soon!
I just need to devote time to complete all the work on the novel - the response from my Wombat Proofing Posse has been incredibly positive so far, so it's all looking promising...
One lovely - if a bit random - thing that happened last week is that the interview I gave to the Stourbridge News was published. It was decidedly odd to be interviewed but a very pleasant experience and the article is fab (even though they got my home town wrong - it's Wollaston, not Wordsley). You can read it online here...
All in all, quite a positive (if soggy) week!
Friday, August 22, 2008
By now, you know I'm an optimist... But sometimes even Eternal Optimists with the Optimism Gene™ firmly in place get scared sometimes.
Now is one of those times.
My health has been a bit odd for the past three months and this week I finally decided to do something about it. Whilst my doctor wasn't overly concerned by my seemingly unrelated smorgasbord of symptoms (dizzyness, heightened emotions, overheating hands, pulsing in my arms and legs and a frustratingly big weight gain in a short period - despite watching what I eat and excercising more) he said he suspected I may have an underactive thyroid.
That in itself is fine - if the blood test results next week confirm this then I know there are pills that can treat it relatively easily - but one thing that's really troubling me is the effect it's currently having on my voice.
As you know, I'm a singer-songwriter and, just recently, I've started to have some success for my songs. MTV have optioned one of my songs - The Man Behind The Smile for their next raft of programming and I just heard today that I'm being considered for the International Award at the National MusicOz Awards in Austrailia (how mad is that?!) Without sounding too showbizzy, singing is incredibly important to me - it's how I interpret my world and whenever I lose my voice I feel like I've had a vital organ disabled.
My voice has been stuggling in its upper register for the past three months. I just assumed it was a flu thing that wouldn't leave me alone. But Bob's mum told me yesterday that a croaky voice is one of the indicators of a thyroid problem. My speaking voice has dropped a semitone and is constantly husky (not a good thing, contrary to popular opinion!) - I'm struggling to sing and it feels horrible. Plus I can't record any of my new songs and I have some wedding gigs fast approaching that I might struggle with.
Though I know this may all be academic when I get my test results next Wednesday, I have to admit that I'm scared. Money problems you can deal with; relationship problems are terribly painful but you can recover; but when it comes to your health it's so important and so beyond your control. If I'm completely honest, I'm petrified that I won't get my voice back. For years I've taken it for granted that I could sing; now I'm scared it's going to disappear for good.
I'm trying to stay positive and I'm sure it will be OK - but facing the scary stuff is the biggest test for even the most hopeless optimist...
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
We've been adopted by a cat.
Well, to be exact, my boyfriend Bob and his housemate Leanne have been adopted by a cat, so I've been adopted by proxy...
Magic (or Madge) turned up in Bob's back garden about two weeks ago, very timid but curious and seemingly never away from the garden for longer than a few minutes. Gradually, she dared to come nearer to us and, by the weekend, was sitting happily on Leanne's lap when she was out in the garden. Of course, Bob and Leanne were adamant that they weren't going to get attached to the moggie and that they were only being friendly. Of course she wasn't going to become a pet, they said.
The first indication of a sea change in their thinking was on Saturday, when a large bag of Kit-e-Kat cat food appeared in the kitchen. Shortly followed by a couple of tins of Whiskas. And 'the cat's bowls', which appeared outside the back door...
By Monday, Bob was taping plastic round the space underneath the barbecue to create a weatherproof hideaway 'in case it rained' and last night we just gave up resisting the inevitability of the situation and Madge officially moved in.
Someone once said that you don't choose a cat; the cat chooses you - and I'm beginning to agree. Madge is quite happy sleeping on anyone who sits down for longer than five seconds and is particularly fond of tummy rubs. It's amazing that, in such a short time, she has established herself as part of the family. We don't know where she came from, or how long she's going to grace us with her presence, but I have to say her arrival has been a pleasant surprise and she has managed to win everyone's hearts already.
**UPDATE: Shortly after posting this, we discovered that Madge was actually a 'he' - so the name was changed to 'Maj' (as in 'His Majesty'). When Bob was worried that the cat's weight might mean a pregnancy, the vet's reply went something along the lines of this:
VET: Well, the good news is that 'she' isn't pregnant. The bad news is that 'she' is a 'he'...
It's taken a while to see the Majster as a boy and we still end up correcting ourselves. Maj, meanwhile, appears to be singularly unfazed by the whole thing. He's enjoying the 'guilt-treats' bestowed on him whenever we accidentally allude to his femininity!
In other areas of life, September's, my short story blog, is doing really well - there are now four stories (Nessa, Blanche, Daniel and PC Minshull) and I've been really thrilled at the response so far. If you haven't popped in for a coffee yet, why not head over there now?
If you like what you read, leave a comment to let me know what you think!
Friday, July 25, 2008
Now, you know me - I can't resist the odd visit to my local coffee shop for a spot of people-watching over the rim of my cappuccino...
I was chatting to my best friend Helen, who works in a coffee shop, and we were discussing how often you see people and wonder what their stories are. This gave me an idea (which can often be dangerous!)... Why not create a fictitious coffee shop and create stories for its customers and staff?
So, I've created a new blog for my coffee shop stories. Called September's, it will feature a new story each week and will give you a unique insight into the characters who visit or work at the small café in Northbridge, a small market town on the River Severn. The tales will cover the whole range of human experience: some sad, some funny, some tragic - there may even be even some fantastical ones every now and again.
Of course, Coffee & Roses and my website are still very much alive - I just wanted to create a home specifically for a series of stories.
If you've got a spare minute, please pop over to September's and be sure to let me know what you think!
Monday, July 14, 2008
Wow - two stories published in a row!
This time, my short story Remember has been published by Authortrek.com , as part of their series of downloadable PDF stories.
Praise for Remember:
'...a chillingly classic short story from a superb writer... an excellent short story... great emotional depths, as well as being supremely spooky. I can foresee 'Remember', like the great Victorian ghost stories, living on for many years to come…'
For the princely sum of 50p, you can download the PDF from Authortrek!
If you're interested, click here
Friday, July 4, 2008
I've had a short story published!
My story, Towards Happiness been accepted by The Hardline Magazine, an online magazine for new writing.
Although it's only one story in a new publication, it feels like an enormous step forwards... After all the rejections just one speck of light is like a 5,000 mega-Watt floodlight!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I just received three rejections for my work.
Three. Count 'em...
Being a writer - I refuse to use the term 'struggling', although poor is probably apt - I am getting used to rejections and I'm determined not to take it personally. Even though each rejection feels a bit like the literary equivalent of someone calling your kid ugly... But even a self-confessed Eternal Optimist like me has to admit that three in one day is a bit much...
Nevertheless, the way I've decided to look at it is like this: each rejection is one less to endure before someone says 'Yes'. Just purely by the Law of Averages, someone, somewhere has to say yes eventually.
I've had some success - visit
One day, I will write something that becomes part of someone else's world. It's not an if, it's a when. Until that day, I'm utilising the Positive Gene™ whenever and wherever possible!!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
As this is the season of hay fever, I thought I'd share these sneezy videos to make fellow sufferers smile. (In between sneezes, that is...) Enjoy!
Panda sneezing fit
Making Mum jump
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Tonight, I encountered a strange creature.
I was running late - something that happens to me with surprising frequency, despite my best attempts to avoid it - so I needed to get to my friend's house in ten minutes flat, or else risk missing the film we were supposed to be seeing. Normally, I can do this easily, traffic lights pending. Tonight, however - as is so often the way of things when you're in a hurry - every light was a red one, making my progress frustratingly slow.
Just when I was starting to wonder if I would ever get there, I encountered a strange creature, as it pulled out cautiously in front of me. It appeared to be too large for its mode of transport; wobbling precariously atop a bright red moped. With a comically big and shiny helmet, the picture was magnificently completed by the gaudy flowers painted on the sides of the moped and a large 'L' plate blowing slightly in the breeze at the back.
I'm not sure what was the most amusing - the extraordinary flash of be-thonged bum cleavage heaving over the top of the driver's too-small jeans, or the fact that she appeared to be incapable of going any faster than 20mph.
At first this too-slow vehicle in front of me was a source of annoyance. But, after a few minutes, I found myself fascinated by the sheer effort this creature had to exert simply to stay upright on her mode of transport. As we approached each hill, I was rooting for the driver: "Come on, you can do it!"
When she managed 25mph on one section I was triumphant on her behalf; when she freewheeled down a long hill and hit 28mph, I was practically euphoric.
I never thought that being stuck behind the Slowest Learner Moped Driver in the West Midlands could turn out to be such a life-affirming experience. But when she finally turned off the road, I found myself strangely deflated.
I hope that, somewhere, that wobbly, overly-cautious owner of the splendidly be-flowered two-wheeler continues her journey towards 30pmh - and that, one day, she will truly discover the joys of attempting speeds beyond her wildest dreams.
"One day, my friend," she will say, patting the shiny red paint of her beloved scooter in the growing dusk of the evening, the look of a wild deamer in her eyes, "one day we'll hit 35mph - hell, 42mph even! One day - maybe not so long from now - we'll push as hard as we can until we reach the Holy Grail of speed - yes, the National Speed Limit will one day be ours and ours alone!"
As for the film, I didn't get to see it after all. But that's another story...
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
I am now the proud webmaster (?!) of my very own swanky writer's website!
Holds up hands to quieten thunderous applause... Why, thank you, thank you. You're too kind...
After several dead-ends and false starts trying to get my work out there (wherever 'there' is...), I finally decided to put my own site together so that I could have an outlet for my writing. Whether or not anyone actually visits it is another thing, but at least I know it's there.
I've called it Coffee & Roses , like this very blog - not because it's going to usurp this one but rather that coffee and roses sums me up quite nicely. So feel free to pop along and have a leisurely stroll through its pages - and let me know what you think!
You can find my site at:
Also, if you have a site, blog, or similar online thingy that you would like me to plug on my site, just ask nicely and I'll see what I can do. Blatant bribes in the form of chocolate or coconut mushrooms will be considered but never officially condoned...
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Something odd just happened...
I was checking my emails (as you do) and realised I had a whole folder of stuff I'd kept from an old boyfriend. I don't know why I'd kept it - I can't remember the last time I even looked at it and, seeing as I was unceremoniously dumped by him over two years ago, there's absolutely no reason I'd want to revisit my past.
That was why it was so strange to find the folder - and realise how much I've moved on since that time.
It was odd to think that I had ever been (a) as naiive as I was; and (b) as completely desperate as I was with him. The poor guy probably didn't know what hit him when I fell for him as hard as I did. Having said that, it wasn't all one-sided; what began as an online correspondance quickly turned into this web of words that caught both of us up in its potency, I think. It's odd how you can feel you know someone through emails and phone calls so quickly - when if you were meeting face to face you would naturally take a lot longer to get to know each other. One minute we were sharing jokes about awful chick-flicks and Ninja Grannies (yep, this was where the genre of geriatric warrior originated) and the next he was declaring undying love for me and I was spending hours at my laptop waiting for him to message me.
Ugh... When I look back on it now, I feel so completely embarassed by the whole thing. It would have been so much better if we had just remained jokey pen-pals and never let our hearts run away with ridiculous romantic notions. I lost a friend because it all got out of hand and it's a shame...
They say you learn from your mistakes; in my case this was definitely true. After this guy I met the gorgeous Bob and took my time getting to know him. I was so scared of being that bunny-boiling FREAK which I'd turned into before that I got a grip of myself and didn't entertain crazy notions beyond what we were capable of. That's why it's working and I'm not panicking about the future.
So, if the email guy in question should happen upon my blog - I'm sorry. I wish you'd just stayed my friend and I wish I hadn't reacted the way I did. Hopefully, lessons learned and all that should count for something...
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Did you know that 2008 has been designated The National Year of Reading?
You can read more about it in my latest article for MyVillage.com, at: http://www.myvillage.com/london/fe-community_year-of-reading.htm
There will be activities and events across the country and they want YOU to be a part of it! :o)
p.s. Editing of the Mystical Wombat is going great - two chapters complete!
Monday, March 17, 2008
It's time. I can put it off no longer. The Wombat must be edited!
You may remember that I completed my NaNoWriMo novel, The Mystical Wombat's Guide to Life , last November and now, after a couple of months' rest, I have to begin the daunting task of editing it!
I printed it out last night (all 193 pages, much to my poor printer's chagrin) and tonight the task begins. I have my crack proofreading team - Mum, the lovely Bob and best mate Helen - all lined up, prepped and ready. So, one chapter at a time, here I go!
It's scary and it's going to be a lot of hard work, but it's going to be worth it. And, it might just change my life!
Bearing in mind that I will, once again, be entering the organised chaos that is novel writing, any messages of hope, inspiration or offers of chocolate will be gratefully received! The plan is to podcast the chapters as I go, so watch out for news on that very soon.
So... takes large breath, rolls up sleeves and adopts stern, determined expression here goes...
Friday, March 7, 2008
A friend on My Writers Circle posted this video about the plight of Orangutans in Borneo.
It just made me sit up and take notice. Sometimes mankind needs to understand what we are doing to our world. There's such a delicate balance in nature, yet our greed and desire for development often ignores this, arrogantly intent on getting what mankind wants, no matter what cost.
Please take a few minutes to watch this. Sorry for the preach, but sometimes we need to sit up and take notice. Thanks for watching.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
As you know, I adore words - which is handy, if you're a writer!
But I have to say that crosswords don't thrill me - unless they're someone else's, in which case I rock ... In fact, word games of all descriptions frustrate me and I'm rubbish at scrabble.
But I have finally found a word game that's amusing - anagrams!
On a random anagram generator I found recently, my name becomes Cinnamon Kid Raid - which I like very much! It sounds like a notorious Wild West happening... Maybe the Cinnamon Kid was so named for her raids on unsuspecting Coffee Houses of the Old West. She'd mosey into town, order a Cinnamon Latté and terrorise the store owners until they surrendered all their finest cakes and pastries. The only clue she'd ever leave behind would be a trail of cinnamon powder, as she rode into the sunset.
So, forget the Milky Bar Kid and Billy the Kid - there's a new Kid in town. Hold onto your pastries, Mother, the Cinnamon Kid's a'coming on a Raid!
Monday, February 11, 2008
Well, it's THAT time again...
The debts are mounting and it's time to find another job... **grimaces**
It is, quite possibly, THE most scary thing right now as I'm aware I could end up absolutely anywhere and I've just got myself comfy in my current job. But the bank won't be too impressed if I carry on losing money, so it's off to the job centre I go...
My CV is sparkly new, I have an impressive new portfolio of stuff - now all I need is someone to give me a better paid job... So, if you know someone who is looking for a creative Copywriter with over seven years' experience, or you're a publisher looking for the next writing sensation, PLEASE get in touch!!
Well, it's worth a try, isn't it?! :o)
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Right, I'm a bit nervous about this, but here goes:
The Official BIG SCARY GOAL List 2008
1. EDIT The Mystical Wombat's Guide to Life and submit to a publisher by July
2. CREATE and post Podcasts of the novel
3. LEARN to speak Italian to conversational level AND record a song in the language
4. COMPLETE my album About Time by the end of the year
5. LOSE 1 stone by the summer
There. Tis done! I'm a great believer in making myself do things, so now I've said it, I have to do it!
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Happy New Year!!
OK, so it's a little late, but hey at least it's still January!
I haven't got resolutions as such this year, just some Big Scary Challenges that I've set myself - one of which is to find a publisher for The Mystical Wombat's Guide to Life. Instead of talking about it, I'm actually going to go ahead and do it (even though just typing that scares the heck out of me!) I'm working on getting the manuscript ready for the first Mystical Wombat Podcast - which is great fun and, I hope, will be a slightly different way to get my words out there into the big wide world. News on that as it happens...
I've put some more articles up at Helium.com - a novel excerpt and a drama script to boot! I'm also still working on the album, so I definitely want to see that put to bed before the end of the year.
Will it all happen? Who knows, but right now I'm feeling positive...