I is for insane – #AtoZChallenge

insane

[in-seyn]
adjective

1.

not sane; not of sound mind; mentally deranged.

2.

of, relating to, or characteristic of a person who is mentally deranged:

insane actions; an insane asylum.

3.

utterly senseless:

an insane plan.
And the timer begins…
I think I am insane for taking one this challenge every April, don’t get me wrong I love it but is always seems that things crop up when I try, this is probably why I don’t try doing Nano in November. Insanity is a perfect subject for me I remember first seeing this info-graphic which I am going to insert here…
now you can obviously see why this made me stop and contemplate so many of the things you could be committed for let’s start with the first, being kicked by a horse! I totally get that if you are kicked in the head by the horse it could cause some form of brain damage but what if the horse kicked you and broke your leg, then clipped your head as you fell down but did not actually do any damage to your head do you still get locked up? Does it make a difference what you were doing to the horse when it kicks you? You can imagine for the writer side of me the endless possibilities each of the ‘reasons’ above. Many of them of course were aimed at women but I imagine that a few young men may have also ended up confined should they fail to live up to their families wishes.
My ex’s mum worked in an asylum a few years ago, a place which is now closed down, but she always said it was so sad that there were women there who were institutionalised by their years spent shut away, usually on the orders of their families for falling in love with the wrong people, getting caught having sex outside marriage and having children out of wedlock. I have an idea in my head for a story involving an asylum and a rich family which I would love to write at some point.
What is surprising is how many of the reasons that a man could probably be committed involve trauma, I know your normal hospital would not have been equipped to deal with brain damage or mental illness but you wonder how shutting someone away with depression or shell shock, in an institution full of people with serious mental illness (though of course many would not have the sort of diagnosed conditions we know of today) could eve hope to lead to their recovery.
Personally I would have been committed on numerous counts, let’s just mention the novel reading and as the timer is going leave you to imagine the others lol.
Leave a comment below for which you are most likely to be committed for is you dare!

Lazy Sunday #38

It is lunchtime I have been productive, well sort of, I have washing out on the line and I have planted a load of veg seeds, not guaranteed anything will grow but we can but try. Am just about to go take the second lot of washing out of the washer and go put that out but I still feel lazy. Yes, it is that one day of the year that I feel guilty having a lie in, it is marathon day! I have never been one for running long distances in fact I hated stamina days when I did athletics as a teen but after make back surgery I realised that my chances of ever running one were more or less gone, it is on my bucket list so I have not given up on the idea completely but the one thing I love is not only watching the excitement of the elite races but watching all those running for charities, joining in the atmosphere on the course, they may not get records but they will have achieved something truly incredible. So between housework and writing today I shall be watching the unicorns, firemen, nurses and a hundred other fancy dress outfits cross the finish line.

  1. the first blog post I am sharing is one that made me jealous, would love the chance to attend events like this, it just seems that time wise it never quite works out for me https://isleofbooks.com/2017/04/10/an-evening-with-neil-gaiman-in-review/
  2. As mentioned above it has been school holidays here and sometimes you just need a good laugh https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/04/10/when-saying-oops-is-not-enough/
  3. If you are scared of spiders you might need to skip this one but other wise it is an inspiring post about how you can look death in the face and say not today thank you https://accidentalspacegirl.com/2017/04/17/the-tarantula-who-saved-my-life/
  4. My final two blog for today are both A -Z posts, I am doing so badly and will take a few extra posts to catch up and make the finish date, I haven’t quite given up but we shall see, I picked this first one because it hit a nerve with me as we all have that point where we have to decide at what point we class ourselves as writer, authors or still make excuses for doing the thing we love, https://lindaghill.com/2017/04/20/qualification-atozchallenge/
  5. The final one is just because it’s Doctor Who themed and well why not https://nerdygirlconfession.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/s-is-for-im-so-so-sorry/

H is for – #AtoZChallenge

hoard

[hawrd, hohrd]
noun

1.

a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation, future use, etc.:

a vast hoard of silver.
verb (used with object)

2.

to accumulate for preservation, future use, etc., in a hidden or carefully guarded place:

to hoard food during a shortage.
verb (used without object)

3.

to accumulate money, food, or the like, in a hidden or carefully guarded place for preservation, future use, etc.
Starting the timer now…
It is strange when you read a definition yet the most commonly thought of use of the word is not included, once upon a time to hoard things was seen as a positive but these days because of certain types of Tv programmes we thing of hoarding in negative terms, you think of houses piled with newspapers, a labyrinth of junk to squeeze between. I guess the question that I am pondering is where is the line between positive and negative hoarding?
My dad has shed in the garden full of what my mother classes as junk, broken electronics, motor parts, things he intended fixing or things he thought would come in useful, my son thinks it is a treasure trove, he wants to be an engineer at the minute (palaeontologist has been replaced at the top of his career choices for now) so he sees a hoard of treasures he could create fantastical inventions from. On the other hand my mum is a crafter, she has reams of paper, card, jars of glitter, paints and a million other items for creating cards, doing cross stitch, all of which my dad thinks are junk and take up too much space in the house. In my house I have too much stuff for the size of my house, I know this, but the majority of what is packed in boxes were gifts, my collection of elephants packed away so the cats, and, let’s just say, people that blamed the cats, could not damage any more of them, my Pop Funko’s which I love but are patiently waiting for a bigger house with an office where they can live and the biggest hoard, books!
I know there are books I should probably get rid of, I have so many still to read that re-reading others makes no sense yet I still do it, I do not just keep sets by my favourite authors, I pretty much keep all the books I buy, the only I clear out are kids books as they become to babyish for them though again classics such as the Enid Blyton Magic Faraway Tree books remain. My ex frequently threatened a trip to a car boot sale with my books but then to be honest he frequently saw things by their monetary value rather than the pleasure they could give, even checking to see if the oil paintings I possessed were worth anything, the are of course worth only what someone would pay for them the Ebay going rate for the is between £50 – 200 to me they are priceless they are not just paintings they are the story behind their acquisition, books are the same, they are not the paper upon which they are printed, they are the worlds created within the cover.
Am I a book hoarder? Maybe! Am I a collector of stories, a traveller to a thousand lands? Hell yeah!
The timer has gone so tell me what could you be accused of hoarding?

G is for gloom – #AtoZChallenge

gloom

[gloom]
noun

1.

total or partial darkness; dimness.

2.

a state of melancholy or depression; low spirits.

3.

a despondent or depressed look or expression.
verb (used without object)

4.

to appear or become dark, dim, or somber.

5.

to look sad, dismal, or dejected; frown.
verb (used with object)

6.

to fill with gloom; make gloomy or sad; sadden.

7.

to make dark or somber.
Timer started…
Until last week I always thought of gloom in terms of fog and dark, dingy days, the sort of evening where the serial killer lurks in an alley way ready to leap out and attack, it makes you think of doom and gloom, things being depressing and a sense of hopelessness and that does still tie in ever so slightly with what I think now.
I love board games and I watch Wil Wheaton’s youtube channel where it shows him and a group of friends playing board games, not monopoly but some of the other more obscure games that you see on Amazon but don’t consider buying because they can be quite expensive without knowing you can definitely play it, the other day they were playing Gloom (I will put in a link at the end if I can find it). It is a card game, but one for those with imagination and a sense of humour.
Each player has a family, the objective is to make them as depressed as possible before killing them off and to make your opponents family happy, what makes this game fun is that in order to achieve this you have modifier cards , you can use two per turn and must weave a story to do so, the whole family adds to the overall story and it means that the game can never be played the same way twice. Of course, the quality of the story depends on the people you have sat round the table with you, those with crazy, quirky imaginations will provide the best playing partners and the ability to remember what people have said previously is an advantage, you know a little like the shopping memory game.
The timer has gone so I will go try to find the Youtube video

E is for espionage – #AtoZChallenge

espionage

[es-pee-uh-nahzh, -nij, es-pee-uhnahzh]
noun

1.

the act or practice of spying.

2.

the use of spies by a government to discover the military and political secrets of other nations.

3.

the use of spies by a corporation or the like to acquire the plans, technical knowledge, etc., of a competitor:

industrial espionage.
I am afraid you will definitely be getting a couple of days for the next few weeks until I catch up on my blog posts so without further ado lets start the timer…
When I think of a spy I automatically think James Bond, technically when you think about it he is rather crap as a spy, everyone knows who he is. The idea of the spy is that he is supposed to perform covert operations not walk in announcing his presence with a calling card, but then again the bad guys may as well be walking round with flashing arrows above their heads advertising walking evil. That does not mean I don’t love watching Bond films for all their failings, I love the gadgets as well the pens that double as hypodermic needles, briefcases where the blade sticks out if you push one lock one way but gases everyone if the push the other.  I love the film the Kingsman for similar reasons though that has the added advantage of Colin Firth.
Now Colin Firth’s character is easier to see as a spy in some ways charming, a quintessential English eccentric who it would be impossible to believe actually capable of fooling anyone. Another E word there eccentric, it always seems to be linked to English or British people, usually of a certain class, but why is it the we Brits affectionately label our stranger countrymen as eccentric rather than freaks or weirdo’s? do other countries have eccentrics or are they more damning? Is it the potential for harming others that turn the eccentric into a threat and therefore something more sinister?
When you think of the films that portray what it is to be British over the last few decades they tend to be grimy violent films filled with drugs and violence or filled with middle and upper class ‘characters’ usually loveable failures, think Bridget Jones, Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and one of my favourites, which brings us back to Colin Firth again, Love Actually. I was going to post a link here but had to come back and alter it when I realised I couldn’t find one. I love the fact that mainly they were happy endings to the stories but can’t help wondering if the Emma Thompson/Alan Rickman story would have had a happy ending, because in my head at the end of the first film they didn’t, they were the one couple who did not make it and the sad passing of Rickman left a gap that could not be filled. Any way time is more or less up mainly as I got distracted once again, in comments tell me do you think the Thompson/Rickman Love Actually marriage could have had a happy ending in the sequel?

D is for discotheque – #AtoZChallenge

discotheque

or discothèque

[dis-kuh-tek, dis-kuhtek]
noun

1.

a nightclub for dancing to live or recorded music and often featuring sophisticated sound systems, elaborate lighting, and other effects.
And the timer is go…
When I think of discos I have to confess I am transported back in time, these days we have clubs, places that are about being seen and looking good, somewhere in the late eighties disco’s turned into clubs where ravers met to dance the night away that morphed into the clubs we have now, more about drinking and looking good than the actual dancing.
For me disco means dancing, not just John Travolta in a white suit but school disco’s where we all copied the dance moves from the videos that were just starting to appear, copying the moves from Top of the pops dancers or the set routines for songs such as the Time Warp, Wigwam Bam and the Locomotion. The boys would go mad at Adam Ant, girls fled the dance floor as they leapt and whirled slapping their thighs in their best highwayman impression.  Of course looking back, although I claim it was not about being seen we all know the fashions, well let’s just say the neon colours did not really flatter anyone neither did Ra-Ra skirts, and the less said about the lyrca well enough said. I recently remarked to a friend that I was so glad that smart phones did not exist when I was younger, as a teen in the 80’s your camera was generally to clunky to carry round, and the fact you only had twelve or twenty four exposures meant that you didn’t take a lot of photos, most of those well orchestrated group shots as you attempted to feature as many people in one picture as possible. I am so glad no evidence exists of the fishtail skirt I made especially to match my bright yellow jacket and the silk shirt that trailed down behind my knees at the back, actually I take that back I would happily have one in that style today, just not a white one with luminous yellow velvet tiger style stripes on it. I have to confess I thought I looked cool but then we all did.
The other miracle of surviving the 80’s is of course that more of us did not do a Michael Jackson and have our hair go up in flames do the the amount of hair stray we used during the attempts to make our hair bigger and more voluminous that anyone else’s, Even before I ever put the first dye on my hair I hate to think of the damage inflicted by the hair-drying, back-combing then the blasting with a can of Insette, a hairspray that was so powerful nothing could move your hair once you had fixed it but that you had to hold your breath while spraying. If someone had wanted to blow up the High School all the would have needed to do was throw a couple of lit matches onto the dance floor at the Youth Club Disco. Ah the Youth club, discos, table tennis and trampolines but that will have to wait for another day the timer has just gone…

A is for air letter – #AtoZChallenge

air letter
noun
noun: air letter; plural noun: air letters
  1. a sheet of light paper folded and sealed to form a letter for sending by airmail.
    Set the timer and let 30 minutes commence…

I like writing letters, even today in the digital age there is something so much more personal in sitting with a pen and paper, and letting the words, flow from the heart. I have written letters I have never sent, cathartic, vitriol filled rants at those who have done me wrong, well in my eyes anyway but I have written just as many love letters filled with words I cannot say, that I could never allow to spill from my lips.

As a child I used to write to my grandma once she moved away, I have some of those now, returned to me before the dementia took hold, such innocent lines of nothing but they had meant enough for her to have kept them for over 25 years. I think of the letters I wish I could write now, that it is too late for, to give her news of my books, my first grand child impending, so much more information than those lines she saved on the floral notelets that you unfolded to give you more writing space. I need to write to my great uncle, I have not been in touch with him for a while, at one point we rung every week but then my grandma passed away and the contact got less, not from a desire to lose contact but laziness, he probably feels I do not want to hear from him and I know he struggles with the phone so writing is better for him but I put it off so often. My great aunt is on Facebook so I keep in touch there with a series of likes, comments and tags, but my great uncle is not as tech savvy and I know he had trouble accessing the emails I sent him with stuff about the family tree.  U have photos of him and my great aunt as children, I know in theory the idea of digital albums people tagged and shared should mean they last forever but you have to wonder whether with the accidental hit of the delete button will entire sections of history disappear.  there is of course another reason the letter is so much more personal, the writing. In the family tree research we came across an uncle of my grandma’s repatriated to Australia after the first world war, in this cache of records there was a letter, scanned into the computer but a request for his army records, it seems so silly, the least personal type of letter you could imagine but as I sat staring at the screen I thought about the fact this man, dead before I was born, on the other side of the world had written those words. It had an address and though I am pretty sure the area had chanced I could put it in Google Maps and look at the address he had written that letter from, the street he would have walked down to post it. I love the idea that history is passed on in something tangible, that you can smell perfume on the letters, just the faintest smell of what the writer might have been wearing, that you can look at their choice of paper, pen and even in my case wax seal to tell you even more about them, I love the idea of something that though it will not last forever will, if passed on tell far more than an email ever could.

Resolutions 2017 – February

Another month gone and I feel I have not been particularly productive this month but we shall see

01)  Lose weight, yup this old chestnut again, I lost a stone and a half in the second half of last year so just set up a fresh spread sheet and new targets, while I know I have a lot more weight to lose than my target weight I am simply being realistic about losing weight in a healthy way.

No change or should I say no weigh, I have had a really weird month and I have avoided getting on the scales, I have changed a couple of things in terms of routine and with half term everything has been up in the air, I have a feeling I may have put weight back on as I feel really bloated but I will get my backside on the scales for a fresh start on Sunday then really need to get a move on with shifting some weight for Darker I need to get into that dress lol

2017-02-01-2

02) Publish the remaining two parts of the Queen of Ages trilogy

I am still down on where I want to be but I know that by focusing and getting stuck in I can get back on track next month, I just need to get my time managed better and get my focus back.

03) Exercise more

I have managed a couple of trips to the pool this month though still not as much as I should have. My average step count over the 28 days is actually down as last months was 6,740 however in my defence you will notice a whole day missing there on the Thursday of week 19th Feb – 25th which was as a result of me heading off for a day out without checking it was sufficiently charged, also that whole week is down overall with the fact it was half term and therefore no school run.

2017-03-01

04) Blog at least four times a week

Failed terribly again but now feeling much more positive about what I want to do with both the Vlog and the blogs, it can be quite difficult sometimes thinking what to write but I also have the A – Z to start thinking about and planning.

05) Get out more

Nope not been anywhere though I am guaranteed to have at least one for next month, and the following month. I blame the fact I am single and the big event this month was Valentines!

06) Write every day

As you can see I have had a terrible start to the year in terms of productivity/word count but I have done some plotting in on paper a lot of mental brain storming and plotting now just to get back to getting it all on paper.

07) Work on my self belief

I know this month I have fallen short of my goals but carrying on from last month I am not getting stressed, instead I am looking more at what I can do to change my own actions to achieve what I want and to accept some things are beyond my control and I just have to deal with that.

08)  Time management

I just reinstalled my Pomodoro app to help me focus on set tasks for periods of time and set my Freedom app back up, both these help with focus and productivity so fingers crossed next moth you will start to see results.

09) Update my wardrobe

Because my weight has not changed I have not really thought much about this, other than drooling over clothes in the Joe Browns leaflet that fell out of the paper if you are unaware of this company you can take a peek here, I love the books and tweed type jackets.

10)  Publish the newsletter each month

Two weeks into March and I am ashamed to say that the newsletter has not gone out yet however it is on my list of things to do in the next 48 hours so do not despair also need to try to contact last months prize winners again as they have not responded to the email.

11) Work out what I want in my personal life

My personal life is still stalled but I think it will be a case of if/when it happens it happens. I have so much going on, so many exciting things coming up with signings, new books etc and of course would love to have someone to share them with but it is not the end of the world, would rather wait for the right person than settle for just anyone.

12) Keep my website up to date

As I write this need to post two updates, to be fair I had done one of them and saved it but because I didn’t hit publish for some reason it did not save properly and it wiped it, lesson definitely learnt, if I am not ready to publish then write the post in word and copy and paste at the appropriate time.

Lazy Sunday #34

Apologies for missing last week but as I had a busy weekend I had been trying to catch up on housework when my daughter rung to take me out for dinner, you can see what I ate over on instagram and if you don’t follow me there and have an account that look me up here hopefully over the next few months I will have far more to share there.

Today is the first day of the year where I have been able to get some washing out on the line with the hope of it drying and I want to get some extra washing caught up with today so forgive me if this ends up being posted late as I am back and forth between writing and house work.

So what do I have to share today…

  1. Last week at the Leeds ticket launch I met the lovely Nadia and it gives me great pleasure to introduce her blog here through this very heartfelt post about self published authors https://nadiaworldsite.wordpress.com/2017/03/05/online-writing-authors-commitment/
  2. As Saint Patrick’s  day is just around the corner I thought it would be cool to hare this, not that I think you really need a recipe to make stew but because the recipe featured is over a hundred years old and also because despite my Irish heritage it is one I will never make, the truth is I don’t like lamb in fact if I ever have to eat it the only way I can get it down is to drown it in mint sauce https://marthareynoldswrites.com/2017/03/12/irish-stew-1908/
  3. The wonderfully talented Lucy has a new facebook page so visit her post like her poem then head over to her facebook page and give her a like you won’t regret it https://lucywilliamspoetry.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/poetry-69/
  4. I love it when people I have been lucky enough to get acquainted with are successful, not only is it obviously fantastic from them but it also allows you hope that one day it might happen for you too https://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/i-love-dubai-dubailitfest/
  5. A final link for today but it is mainly the link within the link you need because we all like to read a good story especially if it is a freebie https://janerisdon.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/under-cover-free-to-read-in-the-indie-publishing-newsletter-issue-10/

I hope you enjoyed these, I really should go outside and do a little gardening while the weather is good but to be honest I am not really in a the gardening mood, instead I think I might sit and write a little more.