Blogger Award and My Last WIPpet Wednesday (for a While)

sisterhood-of-world-blogger-awardIt’s true, this is going to be my last WIPpet Wednesday, in fact my last blog post for a while. How long a while is all depends on when our baby decides to arrive and when I’m next awake enough/have any time (you get the idea) to even think about blogging. Apart from taking the time to relax over these next couple of weeks I also want to concentrate on writing A Long Way From Home while I have the chance. It has stalled at around a third of the way in and I’d like to get a good chunk written before our baby arrives. A little scare over the weekend when I was admitted to hospital for 24 hours to be monitored made me realise how soon our little baby could actually make an appearance. All is fine and baby’s heart was monitored and he/she was moving around like a crazy thing so I was discharged on Monday. Feet up, laptop and writing – that’s my plan.

I’ve also been meaning to do a post about a blogger award I received way back in November from my friend and fellow author, Jade Reyner, who’s not only a prolific blogger but about to launch her second novel in the coming weeks. She nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! and so I thought it was about time that I officially thanked her and passed the award on. As blogger awards go this is a simple one:

Rules:

  1. Provide a link and thank the blogger who nominated you for this award.
  2. Answer 10 questions.
  3. Nominate 10-12 blogs that you find a joy to read.
  4. Provide links to these nominated blogs and kindly let the recipients know that they have been nominated.
  5. Include the award logo within your blog post.

Questions:

  1. Your favourite colour? – Blue
  2. Your favourite animal? – Dog, specifically our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
  3. Your favourite non-alcoholic drink? – Rhubarb & Custard drink from M&S that tastes just like the sweets I had when I was a kid.
  4. Facebook or Twitter? – Twitter, although I’m getting in to Facebook more now.
  5. Your favourite pattern? – Stripes
  6. Do you prefer getting or giving presents? – Giving, particularly when you know you’ve got something that person will really love.
  7. Your favourite number? – 2 and 7
  8. Your favourite day of the week? – Sunday
  9. Your favourite flower? – Colourful, sweet smelling ones!
  10. What is your passion? – Writing stories of course.

There’s absolutely no pressure to take part but I’d like to pass the award on to all my fellow WIPpeteers as I love reading your novel extracts each week and receiving your comments on mine. You’re a great and supportive bunch, so thank you.

Now, for my WIPpet. What to give you today… hum, it’s really getting tricky now without having written any new stuff recently. I think, because it’s my last WIPpet for a while, I will give you five paragraphs for the 5th February 2014 from the last chapter I’ve written, which just so happens to be chapter 14. For those of you who didn’t beta read book one this extract will probably be quite confusing. All I will say is by this point in the book Lizzie has been found and she’s with Maisie in a house in 1940s London with a future version of Danny. Oh, and to be really mean I’ve cut the last paragraph short because it gives away a huge plot spoiler.

“What are we not going to like?” I asked.

“My suggestion of what I think you should do.” Future Danny looked directly at me.

I pointed to the top of my chest. “What I should do?”

“Why Maisie?” Lizzie asked, folding her arms and huffing.

“Because,” future Danny said. “Maisie is the only one of us that can time-shift to…”

Make of that what you will! We’re a very welcoming bunch headed up by the fabulous KL Schwengel, so if you fancy joining in with WIPpet Wednesday simply choose an extract from your WIP that corresponds with the date (creativity is encouraged) and add your link here over on My Random Muse. Take the time to read the other WIPpet offerings too – we’re a diverse bunch.

I don’t know when I’ll be blogging again, but I will be back, that’s a promise. Until then happy writing and reading everyone!

The Rather Fabulous TaDa Award!

ta-daIt’s the beginning of award season with the Bafta nominations recently being announced and the Oscars just around the corner. In the blogging world the talented ReGi McClain decided to kick off 2014 with the TaDa Award and I was one of the lucky recipients.

ReGi is a writer of fantasy and has recently been posting chronological snippets of her latest work in progress Queen of Bears on Wednesdays over on her fabulous blog, ReGi McClain’s Fortnight Stories. It’s well worth checking out. ReGi has also posted her own answers to the TaDa Award which you can read here.

So without further ado here are my answers to ReGi’s questions:

1. What was the best experience you had on purpose last year?

Finding out at our 12-week scan that I had a wriggly little baby on board with a good strong heart-beat.

2. What was the best experience you stumbled into last year?

Teaching at Bath Spa University (where I did my Creative Writing MA). I’d never taught before and it was completely unexpected. Emma Hooper, who I knew from the MA, had been teaching the course but ended up moving to the music department and so they needed someone to replace her in the middle of the year and she suggested me. I happened to know and had worked with the course leader previously and so thought I’d be in with a chance of getting an interview but was simply offered the job over the phone. Cue a huge amount of nerves – I can’t tell you how ridiculously nervous I was before the first class – but it was too good an experience to turn down (see question eight).

3. What was your greatest intentional accomplishment last year?

Finally publishing my novel, The Butterfly Storm. It had taken nine-years from first starting to write it to launching the book on the 12th June and I couldn’t be happier with how things have gone and how the book on the whole has been received over the past seven months.

4. What was your greatest unplanned accomplishment last year?

My greatest unplanned accomplishment was finding out I was pregnant. Although this was something we’d most definitely planned, these things don’t always happen when you want them to, and so became hope rather than a plan. For us it’s been a very long and difficult journey to reach this point. We decided in 2008 that we wanted a family and so started trying in 2009 only to be referred for fertility treatment two years later when we’d had no success. By May last year we had three failed cycles and one early miscarriage behind us and to be perfectly honest I knew the chances of cycle number four being a success were slim. But against all odds the pregnancy test on the 18th June was positive and that wriggly little thing that we saw at the 12-week scan is now a kicky and ever-growing baby who’s due in less than six-weeks time.

5. Did you spend time with someone you adore last year?

Yes, my lovely husband Nik.

6. Were you nice to someone you don’t like last year?

To be honest I can’t think of anyone I know that I don’t like.

7. What was the most amazing thing you learned last year?

That self-publishing is a viable and very satisfying option to being published traditionally. That first 5-star review for The Butterfly Storm from someone I didn’t know was truly amazing.

8. Who did you teach last year and what (G-rated thing) did you teach them?

Between January and May I taught the Lifewriting course at Bath Spa University to Creative Writing undergraduates. It was my first experience of teaching and it was both terrifying and exciting. There was a group of 20 or so students ranging from the age of 19 up to someone in their 50s and apart from a varied reading list the classes focused on teaching interview techniques, doing creative writing and work shopping each other’s work. Oh, and marking 40+ creative writing papers.

9. What events did you attend last year?

In March I went with my Mum to see author Hilary Mantel give a talk during the Bath Literature Festival and I also attended a fantastic day-long workshop called New to Teaching Creative Writing. In June I went to local author Lucienne Boyce’s book launch and then later in the summer, along with Elaine Jeremiah we headed to Bath for a talk about self-publishing. At the beginning of August there was a surprise 80th birthday party for my Great Aunt and finally in December a Christmas meal with work colleagues.

10. Did you travel anywhere? Even just downtown?  

There was no travel abroad this year but Nik and I did eventually get away to Norfolk for a few days (after the nightmare of our car breaking down), and we also visited my brother, his girlfriend and our little nephew at their beautiful home in Wales, once in the summer and the second time at the beginning of December.

*       *      *

I won’t nominate anyone in particular but I will instead pass on the TaDa Award to anyone who follows my blog and fancies writing about their year in review – or simply let me know what you got up to in 2013 in the comments below.

Tagging Thyme Meme: 11 Random Questions…

I was intending to publish a Writing Workshop post today but when Raewyn Hewitt’s Tagging Thyme post dropped in my inbox yesterday I thought answering some very random questions might be more fun. (It being Sunday yesterday I was also having a very lazy day so this seemed like the easier option!) So, on with the randomness…

1. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten in public?

Kokoretsi, a Greek delicacy (although I have to say that’s a matter of opinion). It was during one of my first visits to Greece with Nik and we were at a fair where this withered old man and his wife were grilling skewers of kokoretsi – basically liver-filled intestines. The smell was intense and the taste of liver was even stronger mixed with the chewy texture of the intestine. I’m glad I tried it once but never again.

2. If you had to go on an adventure, with elves, dwarves, or hobbits, who would you take and why?

I’m team hobbit all the way! Apart from the fact that hobbits live in hobbit-holes, which in themselves are cosy and homely and very appealing (and lovely to return to after the adventure), my dog, Frodo, with his big furry hobbity feet is named after the one and only Frodo Baggins. So although I’d probably have more chance of survival on an adventure with an axe-wielding dwarf or the magic of elves, I’d opt for a hobbit every time.

3. You are at a rural retreat lodge somewhere deep in Wisconsin or Canada. You are approached by a taxidermist who hands you a stuffed badger and asks you to put it in your lap. What do you do next?

There’s a taxidermist in my family history on my mother’s side so I hope I would react calmly and with interest at the taxidermist’s skill with the badger. However, given the circumstances and the remoteness of the location and the fact that having a stuffed badger randomly handed to me is a little creepy, I think I may freak out, chuck it back at him and leg it into the woods (which in itself is probably not a wise idea).

4. If you were given biscotti, would you prefer it with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?

Ooh, biscotti dipped in a mug of coffee (prefably a caramel latte) until it goes soggy.

5. In your opinion, who is the funniest man or woman alive today (comedian)?

Michael McIntyre is always very funny, and Eddie Izzard is always clever with his humour.

6. If you were given thirty seconds on television to say something, what would it be?

First of all I’d go bright red and look flustered and unless I’d had time to prepare I’d probably mumble something inaudible… otherwise I’d suggest that all the lovely viewers read my novel The Butterfly Storm when it’s published in the summer…

7. What is your idea of the most romantic date setting ever?

Somewhere with a view: by the ocean, a mountain, or a lake.

8. If you could go on one date with a movie or television star, who would it be and why?

Russell Crowe but only if he was in character as Maximus from Gladiator.

9. What is the worst song you have ever heard?

Mr Blobby or anything by Jedward.

10. If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?

I’d be happy living anywhere by the sea, probably in Greece where there’s the bonus of sunshine and Mediterranean cuisine.

11. Who – in your opinion – was the greatest person to ever live?

Shakespeare.

If anyone fancies continuing the randomness and taking a break from what you should really be doing with your day, then copy the questions and have a bit of fun answering them. Oh, and let me know of course so I can have a read.