Last Day of Nanowrimo…

I am a Nanowrimo loser… But I am not worried as I have the beginning of the book fleshed out and the story is straight in my head. To all those that have managed – Congratulations!

And to those that haven’t – don’t worry! You are further than you would have been if you hadn’t taken part. Me included. So smile and be happy at your achievement. I know I am one step closer to having a finished book, so you must be too! 🙂


dog1I am moving into illustrating as well as writing… But I am scared. I know that sounds daft but somehow drawing as well as writing terrifies me. I think my style suggests that I could do it…

But it is still scary. I am working on a picture book about the moon, but do you know how much I’ve completed…


My page is blank.

I’ve written it but the illustrations have stalled. I sit down to do it and… I freeze. I am going to have to get past this. I have to. Mainly because I really want to be able to illustrate my own work.

The trouble is that I haven’t picked up a paint-brush in five years. I’ve done the odd pet portrait but that has been about it. Now, suddenly I’m trying to throw myself back into illustration as if I had never stopped. Maybe I ought to start small first. Perhaps I shall just draw some concept sketches of the characters and then see how it develops.

I hadn’t realised this would be so hard…


Emotional Baggage

I was writing a story the other day and realised that I needed to put a huge amount of emotion in. I needed to build tension and make the reader feel my characters fear…

But how do you write fear?

There are the physical manifestations – sweaty palms, wide eyes, racing heart – but there are also the mental issues – the rambling, brain freeze and random thoughts. On top of that you also have to give a plausible back story… Why is the character afraid? Is it a plausible fear or an irrational one?

So I built tension in the story. I shortened sentences and used imagery to make the ‘fear’ stand out, but do the reader feel fear or do they feel the characters fear?

It is difficult to know. And who can tell which reader will feel fear and which will just empathise with the character? So I thought I’d let you decide…

This is a section from a ghost story I am working on:

…I stepped back into the light of the lamp-post, looking up to make sure I was directly under it.

For a moment the light blinded me and, as I began to see again, what I could see was strangely green and faded, like an old photograph. As before the squeaks sounded at regular intervals. They didn’t speed up or slow down, they were constant and slow. It really did sound like a record, something going around and around. Then I realised what I could hear was a wheel, a squeaky wheel. As if in answer to my revelation the squeaks began to get louder. I squinted my hazy vision toward the marsh but I couldn’t see anyone. Still, they were getting closer. I could hear them, but saw no one. I moved closer to the lamp-post, in fact I put my arms around the rough concrete, giving it a bear hug, as if the large oblivious pole would somehow protect me, its light not only physical but also spiritual.

The noise told me that the person, the thing, was almost here. I closed my eyes but that was worse. At least with them open I could see no one, with them closed my imagination filled in the blanks. The squeaks were next to me, only a few feet away. Involuntarily my eyes sprang open and I looked and saw someone. Where before there was no one, there was now a man in tweed. He was sitting rigidly upright on an old-fashioned bicycle, wearing a flat cap and jacket. Although I couldn’t see I knew that his jacket hid a waistcoat to match the tweed. I knew because I recognised him.

“Mr Lewis?” I asked in a small voice. In answer the man turned and looked at me. I wished he hadn’t. His eyes were gone. Instead, they were black nothings. As I looked into them I felt so very sad that all that kept me from falling was my concrete partner. Mr Lewis smiled and I felt my heart-break. I couldn’t look away. Then he turned back to the road, his legs turning so slowly that I didn’t know how he stayed upright…

This blog post is based on the Daily Prompt – Fear Factor.

Truly Scrumptious

I don’t have food that I love. I mean I’ve tried masses, from fresh pasta to sushi, but there is nothing that I can’t live without… Maybe chocolate is my worst must-have, although that one I ought to live without. 🙂

But my puppy does have food that she has to have. Not for medical reasons but because she loves it. I was skeptical at first but I reached into my pocket and paid too much money for something that I used to clean up. I was once a conservation warden and there were masses, all lying around, discarded.

“What is it?” you cry.

Well, here is a clue –

Follow the link to see more. Taken by David Barnes.


No – it isn’t venison or jerky but the antlers. My pup has part of an antler – about 20cm long and she can’t do without it.

According to the blurb that came with the antler piece it contains minerals and calcium… All I know is that it is clean and she will sit for hours just chewing and wagging her tail.

This is from the daily prompt – Simply Irresistible 


Below are some other food related posts:

  1. Temptation | The Magic Black Book
  2. Temptation | Momma Said There’d Be Days Like This
  3. Medicine | Bullet holes in the wall
  4. Candy Temptation | It’s a wonderful F’N life
  5. 27/11 Daily Prompt: Simply Irresistible | Family, Photos, Food & Craft
  6. Daily Prompt: Simply Irresistible | Insanitree
  7. Daily Prompt: So Cheesy and Simply Irresistible | Under the Monkey Tree
  9. Simply Irristible! (Daily Post) « Overcoming to Becoming
  10. Nothing can beat this……… | મન ની વાત
  11. thoughtsofrkh
  12. Home Cooked Meals | sayanything
  13. Redheads, Brown Cows, and Sister Char | The Jittery Goat
  14. Chocolate Turkeys | Prayers and Promises
  15. Daily Prompt: Simply Irresistibe ~ NaBloPoMo ~ #25 « Mama Bear Musings
  17. Dish of Mortality | alienorajt
  18. The paradox | Historiefortelling
  19. Simply Irresistible | Finale to an Entrance
  20. DP: Temptation | 3 Nish on a Journey

Close as a close thing

Okay, that is a bad title and I hold my hands up. This is a short story from the daily prompt – Close Call.

A Close Call

He was the one. Mel had met his mother and even got on with her. He had to be the one. they were so right together. Everything worked. They were like two pieces of a puzzle, when they were together you couldn’t tell where one started and the other ended. He had to be the one.

Mel had met him through a dating site and yes she’d been aware of the danger so when he’d written back she had been wary. The advert  said he was kind and had a GSOH but she’d no idea what that really meant or if he’d been lying. So they met in a pub.

Surrounded my couples and booze they had shaken hands and then hugged, laughing at their awkwardness. She said, “I work in a library.”

And he had countered with, “Studying to be an engineer.” Inside she smiled. He was meeting all her criteria for the perfect man.

“Are you religious?” he asked.

“No, but I have no problem with it,” she said with a smile.

His frown made her worry and hastily she added. “I am a lapsed catholic.”

His smile warmed her toes. “That’s good.”

On the next date they went to the cinema and after he kissed her. It was a chaste kiss, closed mouthed and sweet.

“You are beautiful,” he said and left her wanting more on the steps of her house.

On the next date he took her to another bar. “This one is great, done out just like an American diner.”

“Okay,” she said. But when he turned up in fake leathers and quiff she felt apprehension. But she was game, so scraping her hair up into a high ponytail she bounced out with him.

Halfway through the night he wandered over and she could see that he had drunk too much. He leant forward and kissed her. Gone was the sweet kiss of before, now it was sloppy and over-enthusiastic. Pulling back he breathed alcohol fumes over her and she recoiled at the stale sweetness of his breath.

Pushing him away did nothing. He moved close and into her ear said, “I love you and you would be perfect if you would lose some weight.”

Mel stepped back and looked at the man in front of her. She had ignored the fact his teeth were crooked, that his hair smelt of oil and that he was far to skinny with white blonde hair that stuck up at odd angles. She had overlooked them because no one is perfect. And yet he judged her.

“I understand,” Mel told him.

“What?” he slurred.

“Why you were advertising.”

He held out a hand.

Mel shook her head and turned. Outside she hailed a cab and settled into the backseat. She gave a huge sigh of relief.

“Close call, love?” the driver asked.

“Like you wouldn’t believe,” Mel replied.

Believe in yourself

I am bad with self-doubt… Everyday I can question what I am doing and if it is right. It is my black voice and when I hear it I imagine a warped creature all twisted and spindly with a mutation of my own face. This is my doubt and at the worst times its loud voice can cut through all the others and make me feel smaller than a particle of dirt.

Because the business is in a state of flux and everything is changing, my doubt has a loud voice. I don’t like change and at the moment everything is changing. I have other voices that advise me but they are small. The problem is that it is those voices I ought to listen to. The confidence voice – the one that tells me I know what I am doing and not to worry, everything will turn out fine, that is the quietest of them all.

But have you ever seen an un-confident writer? Truly? The answer has to be no. Because if you aren’t confident then you never get your work out. If you don’t believe in yourself you never push the boundary because you are too afraid. The advise my small voice says to me is – try, what is the worst that can happen? The worst is that no one will like my writing.

I have submitted 30 pieces since this time last year. Nine are published or going to be published. But if I hadn’t submitted the 30 I would never have got the 9 in print. So I try to ignore that loud voice of doubt and instead listen to the small confident voice.

Lately I’ve noticed something as well, the confident voice is getting louder and the doubt quieter. It is getting easier to submit work and easier to shrug and say – that piece wasn’t for them when I get a rejection letter. It isn’t that it is bad writing, just that it wasn’t right. So try. Go on…

What have you got to lose and you never know it might work. 🙂

This is from the Daily Prompt – I Have Confidence in Me