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A Fetish for Stationery

All year I’ve been a very good girl and have resisted the urge to buy stationery – my not so secret addiction. In an effort to de-clutter I’ve been using old notebooks and work diaries for my writing.   I do have a particular thing about notebooks – all those lovely blank pages on which to imprint my handwriting. There’s something rather romantic about writing longhand into a special notebook; something about the connection between mind and hand. Although I am a touch typist and writing straight to my laptop would be so much more efficient, I always prefer this old fashioned method. Maybe it’s because it’s slower so that it allows the words on the page to be more considered which appeals to me. Or the fact that you can write anywhere with pen and paper (not that there have been many places to go for the last eighteen months). No need for power, charging cables or wi-fi to distract you. All you have to do is pick up pen and paper and you can carry yourself away into the world you’re cre

Covid and My Work In Progress

Despite still being in lockdown, 2021 seems to be rushing along at a breakneck speed. I can’t believe that this weekend the clocks went forward and the nights are lighter. (Let’s hope the weather continues to improve).     I’ve been working hard on my writing so far this year and one of my goals was to get one of my long standing works in progress to a stage where I can submit it to agents. But I’ve realised there’s a major snag in my plot – and it’s all thanks to Covid – the gift that keeps on giving.   My work is a contemporary novel based around a professional woman who is desperately trying to balance her marriage, being a mother to young children and her career.    My heroine is the breadwinner of the family as her husband has recently become a full-time student to retrain. On her return to work from maternity leave after having her second child, she finds that her lovely boss has been replaced with the boss from hell. He’s a bully and seems intent on pushing her out of her job, s

21 Years Today

  Today is my 21st wedding anniversary. I can't believe I've been married so long! Like any marriage, we've had our ups and downs and life hasn't always been easy, but thankfully the hard times have brought us even closer together and we are still very much happily married. This is our second wedding anniversary in lockdown, so a takeaway meal and not having to cook will be the biggest part of our celebration! But hopefully these strange times will all be over soon and we will all be able to go out and celebrate everything we've missed in the last year. We also missed celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary but by some kind of strange premonition we went all out for our 19th and spent a lovely weekend in London. We'd done the same for our 10th anniversary and were looking to repeat it for our 20th, but after my illness I decided that life was short and we wouldn't wait for the next year. So spooky! Although only March I remember having a mini spring heatwav

Book Review - Shiver – Allie Reynolds

Before I review this book I’ll come clean. I 'met' Allie several years ago through an online writing group, writing short stories for womags. The group grew to be very large and we drifted off to a smaller groups. The group I stayed in touch with, and am still part of today, currently has five members including myself.   Finding the right writers’ group is not an easy task. I have been to a couple of physical groups but never found other writers who were on the same wavelength as myself and my writing until I met these girls.  Over the years we have come to know each other really well and provide constructive criticism and support. I know that I wouldn’t have had the stories published that I have without their help and advice. It’s just a pity that we can’t meet up in the flesh as geographically we are just too far apart, especially as Allie lives in Australia.    Allie has recently had her first novel, Shiver, published in hardback and on Kindle.  Right from the beginning of h

It's Been Three Years

       Three years ago today I suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage, more commonly known as a brain haemorrhage. It came completely without warning and for nearly twenty-four hours I didn’t even realise what had happened to me. It felt like the worst headache I’d ever experienced and being a previous migraine sufferer, extreme headaches were something I was familiar with. I took painkillers and went to bed, little realising that this was the absolute worst thing I could do. I was told later I should have called the emergency services straight away. But who dials 999 when they have a headache?  It was a Saturday evening and I was going out with my husband to celebrate his birthday which would be on the following Monday. I was feeling tired but didn’t want to disappoint him. We went to our local pub and had booked a table at our favourite Italian restaurant. As we were walking across the road from the pub I felt a sharp, sudden cramp in the back of my neck. Mike asked me what was wrong bu

Goals and Hibernation

January was good month for me writing-wise helped by the fact that my social calendar isn’t exactly bursting at the seams at the moment and the cold weather always makes me want to hibernate.     For the new year, I set myself my goals for the twelve months ahead, as I do every year. I’ve realised that it’s not enough just to set these goals but that I also need to make a plan of how I’m going to achieve them, otherwise, the time drifts and I before I know it, it’s the end of the year and my goals have slipped through my fingers.   So I wrote down everything I wanted to achieve this year and then I broke them down into smaller sections. I read somewhere about breaking tasks down into seasons. In reality this is the same as quarterly but somehow the idea of working with the seasons seems much more romantic. Also it means that I can plan everything that needs little or no input with the outside world into the winter months. (That’s assuming we ever get out of lockdown!)   I then broke do

Reading During Lockdown

  I’m just wondering if the kind of books you read changed during lockdown? I think mine did.   For Christmas I received the book, Just My Luck by Adele Parks, which was a book I very much wanted to read after listening to Adele Parks’ interview on the Richard and Judy Podcast.   However, when I did sit down, looking forward to a satisfying read, I’m afraid I was disappointed.    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Adele Parks and the book was well written, as to be expected, but I actually found the subject matter to be quite uncomfortable.   The story centres around three couples who have known each other since their children, now teenagers, were born. They were part of a syndicate, buying a Lottery ticket using the same numbers each week, and gathering at each other’s houses on a Saturday night to see if they had won.   However, the week before the story begins the friends fell out and two couples dropped out of the syndicate. The woman who had always been responsible for buying th

Its Life Jim But Not As We Know It

First of all, a belated happy New Year to everyone, and let’s hope that it does turn out to be a happier year than the one we’ve just left behind. Although as we’re back in lockdown again, it hasn’t exactly got off to a promising start.   Don’t get me wrong, this new lockdown is certainly necessary, it just seems such a shame that nine months on, and despite the fact that we now have a vaccine, we don’t seem to be much further forward than we were last March.   2020 was a difficult year for all of us and whilst we can hope that things will be very different in the not too distant future, we still have many challenges ahead of us.   I’ve never been a fan of the dark winter months at the beginning of the year and usually wish I could hibernate. So trying to see some positives to this awful situation, lockdown is probably the nearest I’ll ever get to that.   Since March I have largely been working from home and whilst it took some adjustment at first – especially with a house full of peop