Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Goal List Week Commencing 26th February 2012

Squirrel - Maria A Smith
Yikes! Where has the last month gone? This week will see us into March, and I'm feeling this year is going way too fast.

Last week then.

Blogging from A to Z  - I listed ideas for almost all of the twenty-six posts I'm going to write.

Draft 2 - Reworked a chapter, got some good feedback at the critique group on Saturday too. Further changes need to be made.

100 Word Flash Fiction - Allowed myself the luxury of fifteen minutes over breakfast on Saturday to write something different, more comic than killing. I've been pigeon-holed as a cold bloodied killer, and we can't have that, can we. It went down well with the group.

Make plans  -  I'll be Chairing at Phoenix Writers for March, so I mapped out a few ideas to try out on the group.

Eat cake - What do you think? You know me now. It was a very good week for cake! I really should write a book on cake, or tea rooms at the very least. Now, that's an idea. Perhaps a murder? No, no...!

Offer assistance - Yes, one down, one to go. Over tea and cake, ideas were hashed out, and we achieved the aim of the meeting. One satisfied writer, one new blog in the making. One writing buddy still in need of my help. Not forgotten.

Walk - Oh yes, it had to be done. Two lovely walks, I want to do many more. I got acquainted with my new camera too. See above. (Nothing to do with goals, to-do-lists, or writing whatsoever, but he's cute, so who cares!)

What's next?.

Blogs - Write a post for someone else's blog. Move forward with A to Z planning, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, look here, and read my take on it here. It's going to be good folks!

Draft 2 - Continue hacking away at it!

200 word flash fiction - Saturday challenge piece

London - Here I come! Special treat, going to see the David Hockney Exhibition with friends. I can't wait, its going to be so good.

That is about as much as I can handle, hopefully achievable and attainable. Big words! Let me know what you are up to this week? Together we can reach our goals, put ticks on the list, and enjoy cake!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Goal List Week Commencing 19th February 2012

The last week has flown, I lost it somewhere along the way. So, what did I do?

Writing Magazine - Didn't have time to read any of the magazine, it was full on with other stuff all week. Very little reading of any description done this last week.

Competition - Nope! Major fail folks.

100 Word Flash Fiction - Yes! Written on the hoof, in Waterstones, on route to the critique group. I'm very last minute.

Draft 2 - Darlings have been murdered. The synopsis needs work!

Not my best week for following the list, however, I've blogged, and signed up for the A to Z Blog Challenge starting in April. More information on that here. I also met up with my critique group at the weekend.

Work has been busy. Draft 2 is proving tiring, I'm taking small steps. Sometimes, only fifteen minutes a day, sometimes an hour or more. I work better if I do something else at the same time. Which is why the 100 word flash fiction is a good exercise, and of course, I enjoy blogging too!

Onwards then.

Blogging from A to Z -  Write out a draft list of blog topics and ideas for April

Draft 2 - Continue

100 Word Flash Fiction - Write one in advance of Saturday if possible.

Make plans - I'm taking over the position of Chair at Phoenix Writers' for the month of March, and I'd like to come up with some ideas for the sessions.

Eat cake! - Indulge myself

Offer assistance - Help two writing buddies who want to start blogs.

Walk - Get out, breathe in the air, and use it as 'thinking' time for the re-write on draft 2.

Enough. Hope you've made plans and have goals, and you're  achieving some of them?

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sunday Stroll

Wasn’t today fabulous? I don’t know about you but I’m ready for some Spring sunshine. I decided it was most definitely a day to get out and about, and the housework could wait a little while longer.

Calke parkland isn’t a million miles away, part of Calke Abbey, and somewhere I really enjoy going. This National Trust property is well worth a visit. The house is closed at the moment, but the parkland is there for all to enjoy.

My walk started at a gentle pace, and to be fair it was more of a stroll if I’m honest, after all Sunday, is the last day before I’m back at the grindstone for another five days. Chance of me getting out for a decent walk in the week is slim at present, so I wanted to make the most of being out in the wide open spaces.

The large parkland has lots of trees scattered about, some of the oaks are hundreds of years old, and on past walks I’ve seen fungi growing in abundance on their ancient bark. Today, I wanted to breathe in the fresh air – nothing more. I prepared well, wore a warm jacket, scarf, hat and my walking shoes. I work on the principle I can always take something off – better than being too cold. It was pleasant in the afternoon sunshine, although the air was cool on my face.

Deer roam freely in certain areas of the park, and could be quite clearly seen today, although they kept their distance. The herd numbers over one hundred red and fallow deer, and in the past I’ve managed to take some great shots with my camera.

A lot of the park is a National Nature Reserve, and there was no shortage of wildlife around today. I went into the bird hide, and for the first time, was lucky enough to see the Great Spotted Woodpecker, I was amazed, I expected it to be much bigger, but they are only the size of a blackbird! I really need to hone up on my bird knowledge. It was quite a striking bird, black and white, with a red patch on the back of its head. 

Apparently, all three species of the British Woodpeckers can be found on the park. There were lots of other birds feeding off the ground, as well as from the special nut feeders. I saw several great tits, blue tits, robins, blackbirds, a nuthatch, as well as two cheeky rats, and a squirrel on the ground below the feeders who were tucking into anything dropped by the birds in their foraging frenzy.

As I left the bird hide, I spotted some photographers had set up outside, their scopes and cameras pointed on something I’d clearly missed. They were a friendly bunch, and only too happy to let me look through their lens at a little owl some metres away, sitting on a fallen tree. I didn’t realise you could find these owls out during the day, however it seems they are more than happy to perch in hedges and copses, as well as on fallen tree trunks.
I enjoyed my walk in Calke, and I’ll be going back again, there’s so much to see and enjoy throughout the changing seasons.

Next time, I must go further, and discover more. 

P.S. The picture is one I took back in September 2010, I forgot my camera today! 

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Happy Saturday - Bob Marley - Three Little Birds

I love this song. When things have gone wrong in my life, I've listened to this tune, and things have never quite looked as bad. Happy Saturday.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Blogging from A to Z Challenge April 2012

Okay, I'm crazy. But then I reckon you already knew that. I've signed up for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge April 2012.

The idea is simple, I have to blog everyday in April, I get Sunday off for good behaviour, except on the first Sunday, April 1st, when the challenge begins.

Each post must match the letter of the alphabet for that day. I can blog about any topic I choose. Write flash fiction, or a poem, share a picture, or write an article. I'm limited only by my imagination.

Its called a Blog Hop, and on the first day I'm advised to visit the blog immediately after my own on the list of fellow bloggers. And I should try to visit five blogs a day thereafter to leave comments and make new friends.

Why am I doing this? I want to grow as a blogger, and I love networking with liked minded folk.

The A to Z list is open, here why not join me? Its going to be fun!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Goal List - Week Commencing 12th February 2012

Wow! What a busy seven days I've had. Sunday 5th, I met up with fellow writers over a glass of champagne. Yes, you read right there. We know how to party. Seriously, a good writing buddy had a gathering of friends at her house, on probably the worst weather day of the year so far round these parts. We'd had lots of snowfall the night before, the roads were not easy to negotiate, but us hardened folk, lured by the memory of the fizzy chilled champagne on the tongue, made the effort! There was much writerly (think I just made that word up) talk.

Goes without saying I ploughed into my writing later on that evening, Sunday evening is always very productive,  because I have a set time in which I sit down and write. I also believe networking with like-minded others goes a very long way to motivate me. What do you think?

Draft 2 - Synopsis done, and I rewrote a chapter. Yay to that! Having the synopsis done will now help steer me through the re-write of the book.

Writing Magazine - I read what I could, enjoyed many of the articles so far.

Celebrate my birthday - Yes, I started on Wednesday, with an evening meal with friends, and went out to lunch with another friend on Friday for lunch. We did some girlfriend stuff in the city. It was good to catch up. My birthday fell on Saturday, which happened to be the Get Writing 2012 conference. So the rest of the celebrations happened on Sunday, and were lovely. I have been spoilt.

Get Writing 2012 - A two-hundred and fifty mile round trip in -13 temperatures, with freezing fog one way, and -5 coming home. However, well worth it. I went to two very good workshops, mingled with lots of other writers, and pitched my novel in three minutes to an Editor. A very scary experience. I also met two of my twitter buddies for the first time, which was lovely.

And so to this week.

Writing Magazine - Continue reading

Competition - Enter one!

100 Word Flash Fiction - For Phoenix Writers' meeting on Saturday

Draft 2 - I need to 'Kill my Darlings' in earnest this week

What are you going to do? Do share.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Happy Saturday, on a Monday - Kasabian - Goodbye Kiss.

The 'Happy Saturday' music post hasn't moved to Monday. Honest, it hasn't, its just I've been doing loads of other stuff this weekend.

Anyway, I wanted to share this with you.

I love the sound of Kasabian, a Leicestershire band formed in 1997, they have had much deserved success. This song is taken from their fourth album, Velociraptor! Its fabulous...

Sunday, 12 February 2012

I'm a Kreativ Blogger

I've been given the above award by my friend Patsy Collins - how very lovely of her, and now, I must tell you half a dozen random facts about myself. I don't mind, after all we are all friends together here. 

Lets get started.

  1. Writing is my first love, but photography is second. I love getting out and about with my camera. There is so much to see if we only look deep enough.
  2. I don't like riding a bike. No idea why, but I really can't be doing with them.
  3. I'm rather fond of porridge.
  4. Secretly, I would like to go back in time, and visit English life in Victorian England for a day. History is amazing.
  5. I get bored very easily, my attention span is about fifteen minutes, making meetings rather tedious. This is probably why I can't remember anything!
  6. Sleep evades me. I can only dream what its like, to get a good nights rest.
And now I must pass the award forward. So Stuart Ayris,  Maggie MayMal Dewhirst, and Angela C. Hansen please take the award, and share your randomness with us. Apologies if you've received it before, or if you do not wish to take it forward, do not feel obliged to share again, or at all. Unless you want to of course. If you do take part, then please, do let me know when you have posted so I can catch up with you.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Goal List - Week Commencing 5th February 2012

Last week flew by, ending January, and beginning February. This is what I managed to get done.

Reading and reviewing novel draft - Painful! I need a different plan.
Arrange dates to meet up with writers - Managed to get my diary organised for next few months.
Send a piece of work out - Fail!
Read Writing Magazine - I made a start, lots of interesting stuff.

Last week wasn't too productive, although I blogged, checked out some markets, and competitions, met up with some lovely new, and known writing friends from the RNA (Romantic Novelists Association) Leicester Chapter group on Friday. And, I researched Scrivener, read up on stuff, and ate cake again!

I felt very tired last week, the day job is mentally exhausting, and that didn't help the writing.

Up and onwards then!

Goals for this week. And I'm keeping it simple.

  • Draft 2 - Attack!
  • Get Writing 2012 - Visit, make new friends, and enjoy!
  • Celebrate my birthday
  • Read Writing magazine

Anyone with good ideas on how to attack a second novel draft, please do comment, or for that matter, anyone who wants to say anything Goal related is also more than welcome to give me their tips and tricks.
I'm waiting...

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Happy Sunday - Robbie Williams - Mr. Bojangles

Happy Saturday, becomes Happy Sunday.
Due to adverse weather conditions dropping my broadband connection out, I couldn't post yesterday. We had hours of snowfall, and when I could have been relaxing with a book, or settled down writing. Actually, I was fretting about getting this video uploaded.

I chose this song because I remembered how blown away I'd been when I first heard Robbie Williams singing Swing. It was like nothing else he had done before. The concert was live at the Royal Albert Hall in 2001, and this particular song I loved! As soon as I heard it, I felt quite moved. Having once seen footage of Sammy Davis Jr, performing this song many years ago.

I went straight out and brought the CD/DVD 'Swing When You're Winning' special edition copy, as soon as it became available. Now, and again I watch it, and feel all nostalgic, and I think how wonderful it must have been to have seen Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin at the dawn of the 1960's performing together. They were known as the 'The Rat Pack' in their handmade suits. Sinatra sang, Davis danced and Martin boozed. They were very much loved for their easy on stage banter and Tom foolery, as well as their unique voices. 

2001 doesn't seem nearly as long ago as it actually was when Robbie performed 'Mr Bojangles'. Ah...how quickly time flies. I hope you enjoy it.

Have a Happy Sunday!

Making Things Happen

Bluebells in the grounds of Chatsworth, Derbyshire - Maria A Smith Nearly two months ago I made this list of goals - See how I've g...