A Man With a Tattoo – WIPpet Wednesday

Swollen feetI’ve been putting my poor swollen feet up this week but instead of being idle I took the opportunity to catch up on emails and lots of blog posts that I’d missed. Elaine Jeremiah interviewed debut indie author, Chloe Corin on her blog, while queen of the WIPpeteers, K L Schwengel continued her fabulous WIPterviews with Ruth Nestvold and Adrian J. Smith. Jade Reyner wrote an interesting post asking the question ‘Should we speculate to accumulate?‘ and Joanne Phillips shared news on her blog about a brand new service from Kim Nash helping authors market their book. Last but not least I loved L. Marie’s ‘If I lived in Middle-Earth…’ post – go check it out and decide who you’d be: hobbit, wizard, human, dwarf or elf?

In recent weeks I’ve been jumping around all over the place trying to find suitable extracts from my WIP for WIPpet Wednesday and today is no exception. This scene takes place much earlier on in A Long Way From Home than recent WIPpets but it’s one that I’m happy to share and the WIPpet maths works out nicely. So for the 22/01/14 I give you 22 sentences from page 22. Simple. Maisie and Danny are in ancient Rome after time-shifting from Danny’s bedroom (they initially ended up in the Coliseum watching Gladiators fight). They’re trying to find somewhere safe when this happens…

“Which way do you think we need to go?” Streets on either side of the Forum bustled with people. I glanced to the left and caught the eye of a man watching us. I turned away but there was something about him. I looked back but he’d disappeared, probably into the crowd of people that streamed between the square and the street.

“That was odd.”

“What was?” Danny turned to me.

“Nothing. Probably just my imagination.” I scanned the mass of people behind us in the square. There he was again. A big-built man wearing a loose toga, no different to the majority of people we’d seen so far. Except this man’s head was shaved and as he turned to say something to another man I noticed what looked like a tattoo on the side of his neck. Much like the one I’d half seen on the rider who’d tried to capture us on London Bridge in 1730.

I grabbed Danny’s arm. “I’m not imagining things. We’re being followed.”

“Seriously? You’re sounding just like a paranoid Lizzie in 1730.”

“Yeah but Lizzie wasn’t being paranoid, was she.” I looked back to where I’d seen the two men but they’d disappeared again. “We need to keep moving.”

Ancient Rome really hasn’t been much fun for Maisie and Danny so far…

Anyone can join in with WIPpet Wednesday. All you need to do is choose an extract from your WIP that has a connection to the date and add your link here. Many thanks to K L Schwengel for hosting!

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

In the acting world, February is the climax of the award season – but let’s forget about the Golden Globes and the Oscars, because in the blogging world it’s the turn of the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! OK, so the Very Inspiring Blogger Award may not be quite as glamorous as the Oscars – I’m writing this post and accepting the award whilst wearing comfy Superdry jogging bottoms rather than a Valentino dress – but I’m chuffed to bits all the same.

The very lovely and talented Raewyn Hewitt was kind enough to nominate my blog for the award last Sunday. Raewyn writes fantasy, is working on her first novel and has a wonderful and inspiring blog, Dreaming of Other Realms, where you can follow her journey.

As with all awards there must be an acceptance speech, but unlike the Oscars I won’t ‘do a Gwyneth’ and get all emotional on you, instead, as stipulated by the Very Inspiring Blogger Award rules, I’ll tell you seven things about myself.

  1. During one of my first visits to my husband Nik’s family in Greece, I asked Nik’s younger brother what the word for lovely was. Instead of complimenting my mother-in-law-to-be on the lovely salad she’d made, I ended up referring to it as a ‘stupid salad’. Younger brothers, eh?
  2. When I was a kid I took a bite out of all the nectarines in the fruit bowl and didn’t own up when mum dragged me and my younger brother into the dining room, showed us the bowl and demanded who had ruined the fruit. We were made to sit there for so long that in the end my brother owned up. Older sisters really aren’t much better…
  3. I’m currently reading Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, a true story about one man’s experience in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck. It’s one of the books on the reading list for the lifewriting course I’m teaching.
  4. I was born in 1977 – the year of Star Wars.
  5. During our wedding reception in Greece the Greek dancing started before we’d even sat down to eat dinner and I was made to attempt the traditional ‘Bride’s Dance’. (I had no idea what I was doing.)
  6. If I had the choice of either traveling back in time or into the future, I’d opt for going back in time, specifically to the Restoration period where I’d hang out with King Charles II, avoid catching the plague and then watch London go up in smoke in 1666.
  7. The most romantic meal I’ve ever had was on Makunudu Island in the Maldives in 2007 when Nik proposed after a seafood dinner on a deserted beach.

Now on with my nominations for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

Elaine’s Stories – follow Elaine Jeremiah on her journey to publication.

Off the Shelf Book Promotions – great advice and inspiration for writers from the ‘blog of tips’.

The Write Spark – motivational posts about writing.

Sooz’s Journal – successful indie published author, Susan Buchanan, shares book reviews and interviews.

My Name is Not Bob – fantastic and inspirational posts about writing.

I would also have added Joanne Phillips and Debbie Young’s blogs to the list but they’ve both recently, and deservedly so, been nominated for the award.

What blogs inspire you?

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The rules of the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

  1. Display the award logo on your blog
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you
  3. State 7 things about yourself
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them



A New Beginning

Although it’s the 2nd January 2013 and it’s a rather damp and grey morning compared to the beautiful sunshine we had yesterday, for me today actually feels like the true beginning of 2013. I love Christmas, all the festivities, the Christmas tree, decorations, the over-indulgence of good food and spending time with my family but in some ways I’m quite glad it’s all over and I can get back to work, not to mention eating a little healthier.

When I say work I mean writing work – articles, blog posts, my novels. I did work at my other job at NHS Direct on Christmas Eve evening and New Year’s Day (which probably explains why I feel like celebrating the start of the New Year today) but it’s writing where my heart is and what I want to fully concentrate on this year. With NHS Direct disbanding and the new 111 service taking over there’s a chance that I could be made redundant later in the year. Maybe that’s the push I need to go full time as a freelance writer. It’s a scary but exciting prospect.

So, I woke up this morning feeling motivated about getting on with writing and building on what I achieved with my writing and blogs during 2012. There’s a lot I want to do this year. I’ve not made New Year’s resolutions as such but I am going to set myself these goals:

  • Self-publish my novel, The Butterfly Storm
  • Launch Ketula’s Kitchen, a new blog all about food
  • Finish editing my children’s novel, Time Shifters, and decide what to do with it – self-publish or try and get an agent.
  • Regularly update my own blogs and make time to read other people’s
  • Find more freelance writing markets with the aim to be able to support myself solely as a writer by the end of the year.

Those are my aims and hopefully with hard work and perseverance they will be achievable. If only I could bottle the optimism, motivation and excitement I’m feeling about the year ahead as I’m writing this.

What are you hoping to achieve in 2013?

Man’s Best Friend

I’ve neglected Twitter and this blog over the past couple of weeks because I’ve been looking after our poorly dog. At the beginning of last week Frodo went to the vet’s to be neutered but he ended up having a bad reaction to the post-op medication. He had diarrhoea and vomiting with blood in it, plus he refused to eat and drink – he loves his food so we knew he was really unwell. Another trip to the vet resulted in five different medications to be given every few hours, and the next three days were spent enticing Frodo to eat tiny meals of boiled chicken and rice and taking his tablets wrapped up in cheese.

Despite neglecting this blog, not updating Twitter and spending last week sitting in our living room with Frodo asleep on my lap, I wasn’t idle. It was warm and cosy on the sofa (beats sitting at a desk) and armed with my iPad I wrote articles on hotels in Santorini, Crete and Barbados that I’d been commissioned to write. With Frodo sleeping for hours at a time I got a lot of writing done, including working on a new food blog that I hope to launch before Christmas.

Frodo has now recovered and is back to his usual mischievous self trying to lick the dirty cutlery in the dishwasher and eat everything out in the garden. I even caught him dragging the bath mat along the landing to our bedroom yesterday. It’s good to have him back to normal, although I quite fancy writing in the comfort of our living room more often.