Sunday 30 January 2011

Lump Found on Dogs Ear.

On Friday evening I was fussing my much loved springer spaniel Bob, when I found a very pronounced lump under her ear. She has those floppy hang down and get in your dinner ears.

I was fussing her and rubbing her around her ears when I spotted it. Now it's not just a small pea size lump under her skin, and thinking about it, maybe those reading with weak stomachs might want to stop reading, whilst I go on to describe.

It's just by her ear canal hidden in the masses of fur she has round there but this protruded and was instantly noticeable due to its size, poking out the fur in this bald growth looking way. It's the size of a small plum. I washed and blow dried her two weeks ago so know it wasn't there then which goes on to worry me because of the speed of growth.

The visit to the vet was inconclusive, but pretty much as I expected. They can't tell what it is by looking at it, whether it's benign or malignant but what she could say is that it's not fatty and it's not fluid filled (as an infection) it is actually tissue. This doesn't fill me with much in the way hope.

She is now going to have it surgically removed and the lump tested. Whilst they have her sedated they're going to spay her. Won't she wake up a happy puppy!

I'm worried, but keeping the angst for, as and when I'm told I can start freaking. For now, my dog needs an op. She'll be home the same day. All is fine

Saturday 22 January 2011

Published on Ether Books

I have recently had some of my short stories published by Ether Books
Ether books is a free to download iphone/ipod touch and ipad app from the app store. It is full of short stories from already established authors and as they put it, “Up and coming authors” It's simple to download onto your phone/pad or touch and means you can read with your coffee or whilst travelling on public transport. You can even read a quick one whilst standing in a queue somewhere.
There are stories on the app which you can download free and if you like the work from that particular author, you can download a longer piece for only a few pence.

I was thrilled to be accepted by Ether Books for publication on their app, in fact, the emails I sent to Mike of Ether Books were a little on the giddy side.
Two of my “flash fiction” sized pieces were on there first and are free to download and this week a longer piece was added into the Urban Horror section at a cost of 59p. I have an author bio on their website here, which wow, got me all giddy again seeing the word author and my name in the same sentence!

I have only just started writing so this is a big thing for me. I would love your support if you could check out the app (Again – it's free to download) It's been an amazing experience for me and one I have thoroughly enjoyed.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Fun Writing Prompts

I was listening to the the Scott Mills Show on Radio 1 on the way home from work this afternoon and the presenters were playing this random game of choosing album names for a pretend band you would form. It was mildly amusing, but then it became genius.

I listened to the names that were coming up and thought it would be a really great way to come up with writing prompts if you were struggling to get going.

The idea is, you go to any quote website (Not car insurance quote sites, but sayings type quotes!) go to the bottom quote and take the last five words. Now use this as your writing prompt. (They were obviously taking it as their make believe album name) I have done just this and my five word prompt is - begin with a single step.

What a great prompt! 

Try it. What five words do you get? Can you start writing with those in mind now?

Monday 17 January 2011

Big City Vibe

This weekend I visited London with my husband and youngest child. The reason for this visit was my little boys seventh birthday. When asked whether he wanted a party in one of these organised play centres or a trip to London to see the Natural History Museum, he chose the museum.

I booked a cheap and cheerful hotel and we travelled down Saturday morning. The hotel allowed us to book in early and the man at the counter was very helpful in explaining which bus we needed and then which tube line for the museums.

So we set off. It is at this point that I have to say, I started to love the weekend, London and the ease of travelling about. A bus was arriving at the bus stop just as we were and the tube was sat waiting for us when we got to the tube station. I absolutely loved the whole feel of the big city busy. Transport is regular and often. People are moving about rapidly knowing where they are going. Public transport is used as the mode of transport. People use it to go to work. It's a must have. Really, I know this may sound mad, but buses here run irregularly and I have an hours drive to work each day. I'm contributing heavily to global warming yet here is a city where most people don't drive!

The promptness with which we boarded the bus and tube train wasn't just luck either. It was as equally simple on the return journey, even though I'm loath to admit, we got on the wrong train twice! But due to an all day tube pass and my thorough enjoyment of the experience, it really wasn't an issue. We even did it all again on Sunday with the same outcome. No hanging about waiting. If public transport was that good up here then I would use it.

I really soaked up the whole big city vibe. I loved people watching. The tube is positively aglow with advertisements for technology. People with earphones plugged into their heads and everyone with a phone in their hand. People reading books. I even saw an oriental book being read with the writing going the wrong way down the page! I loved watching the similarities and the differences between people. I loved the buskers in the tube walking tunnel areas (I'm unsure what they're called) I loved the architecture of the buildings. As my husband said, you see it on the television, its strange to be walking in it.

The Natural History museum was simply stunning. Outside and in. The science museum was brilliant. I spent the weekend feeling.... Well just feeling. Soaking it all in. My son loved the museums and the tube and we are planning on doing it all again but going down earlier, Friday night instead of Saturday morning.

I think there's a secret city girl hiding in here somewhere.

Friday 14 January 2011

Losing Written Documents

For some reason I quite like writing short pieces on a document app on my iPhone, be they blog posts, short fiction or chapters for my novel. This probably works for me as I tend to get ideas just as I'm about to go to sleep which ends in me sitting bolt upright and switching lights on, much to the annoyance of my other half who now just grunts at me and rolls over. 

I recently got onto a bit of a roll and had several blog posts written up and ready to be posted at regular intervals. I also wrote five chapters for my book this way and put some ideas down for shorts. 

For some strange reason I sent the novel chapters to google docs so I still had them if anything happened to my phone, but I didn't do the same for my blog posts. Then something did happen to my phone, I happened to my phone! 

I decided to buy the paid document app that I was using for writing. After I did this, I got a little giddy and tidied up my apps and deleted the free version as I didn't need two versions of the same app clogging up my phone. 

It wasn't until a couple of days later when I looked to post a blog post that I realised I'd deleted it! A week later and I'm still so furious with myself. Ive synched the app back onto my phone, but all that was on it is lost forever. 

It now feels as though I have to write on my blog from scratch and it feels mountainous. I know I will get in my stride again, but that's why the blog has been quiet for a week. 

One lesson I have now learnt, along with putting enough postage on competition entry envelopes, is store written work in more than one place! (It would seem this blog is a list of what not to do's) 

What have you done that you have completely given yourself a hard time over?

Sunday 9 January 2011

New Connections

This blog post is part of a blog fest created by Patti Larson over at her blog here Details are also posted on the Facebook group "Fellow Writers". I thought I would take part and see what happens. Its my first blog fest so I'm not sure if I'm doing it right, but I'm sure someone will let me know pretty promptly if I'm screwing it up.

The theme for the fest is connections. It can be connections of any description including but not restricted to real life connections, virtual connections and connections between fictual characters you have been writing about. I thought about this and decided to write a post on the very real connections I have been making on the social networking sites, twitter, here the blogging network, and more recently on facebook.

Surprisingly to some, who just don't get "twitter", that is actually the place I've made the most connections and we're not talking random meaningless follows. I'm talking about connecting with people you have things in common with, whatever that may be and actually having conversations about those things with real people with real and valid opinions on things.

On twitter I have connected with people and exchanged email addresses. We've talked serious issues such as health relative to my children and I and also those I talk to. Ive connected with fellow slimming worlders, people who struggle to maintain an ideal weight as I do and the support around this group of people is amazing. I've virtually met people who have an interest in learning as I do, having registered with the Open University and ive also come across and connected with those who have a passion for writing. A craft you sit at your desk, in a coffee shop, on your bed, but invariably on your own and you write. For me connecting with people is important and important for every single reason I've identified.

People need people and in such a technologically advanced age as ours, making those important connections online is a simple and obvious step and one not to be sniffed at by those who haven't yet quite embraced the world out there through the technology available.

I love my connections and I hope to nurture them so they grow.

What are your new connections?

I'm looking forward to reading other blogs in the blog fest to see others take on the theme of connections.

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Perception of Beauty

Over the Christmas period my little boy has been ill with chicken pox. He started being unwell with a temperature on Christmas day, continuing into Boxing day, with the spots breaking out, the day after Boxing day. From then on, he was, as were we, confined to house. He was great about it. He didn't moan about staying inside and not being able to play with friends and we spent some lovely quality time together.

One day we sat and watched a documentary on tigers. He loves documentary's, his favourite being on dinosaurs, but he does like wild animals.

The programme was about three sibling tigers. We missed the beginning so I'm unsure where parents were, but as they grew older one of the tigers had to exert her strength and power and throw the other two off the land as it wouldn't have managed to sustain all three. Later in the programme a beautiful camera shot of her relaxing came on.

"Isn't she beautiful" I said to my little boy

"No" he replied. "She was mean to her sister, she's not beautiful"

"Very good point" I responded as I swelled with pride.

Monday 3 January 2011

Writing; Fun or Dedication

Ive been reading blogs, facebook groups, twitter comments and writing magazines and there seems to be a lot of words bandied about like, determination and dedication, in relation to writing, with suggestions that we should be writing every day without fail, making ourselves sit down and write even when we don't want to or are simply too tired. 

For me, this takes the fun out of writing. I don't want to make it a chore, something I detest and do through gritted teeth like I would when the bathroom needs cleaning. 

For me writing is fun. It's exciting seeing the words bring something to life and seeing that it's me sitting there actually creating them. Its an amazing feeling. I don't want to turn that off because it would put me in the category of not dedicated or disciplined.   

Yes I'm writing a novel and I'm fully determined to complete it and push for publication ( I know that not an easy journey but that's off point) Just because I'm slower at it does not make me any less talented. (I'm not banging my own drum here but if I were talented) Just because I don't make myself do it when I don't feel like it, doesn't mean my words don't make a person on the page come alive and be believable. (obviously my talent isn't set in stone that I'm any good, but if I was, how long it's taking me to write it, won't detract from my greatness. ) 

Writing doesn't pay the bills. In fact I haven't seen a single penny. I have a full time job, which, to be honest is pretty exhausting at the minute (health issues) then I have a husband, house and kids to come home to as do many writers. Even when I get published, I know I'm still going to have to do both jobs and at that point I may have writing deadlines to keep. But now, now writing is fun, it's exciting and it's done when I feel I want to or when I feel well enough to push myself even if I don't want to but thats few and far between. 

Writing isn't something I must do or I shrivel up and turn into a spineless jellyfish. I wasn't born to write. It's not in my genes. It's not what I was made to do. Lots of phrases I hear thrown about quite freely to be honest. Writing is what I enjoy doing. 

I will write my novel in full and complete it this year, but I will not take the joy out of it by thinking I couldn't possibly be a real writer if I don't write every day. I am a real writer. I write. I can be published even if I'm slow. 

I know this goes against the grain of a lot of writers and how writing should be approached, but it's how I feel about it and I'm writing and having fun when I do it, even if its not everyday.

What do you think is needed to be a writer? Do you feel you have to do it even when you don't want to and if so, is any of the joy removed?