Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good Clean Fun

Trevarno UK Certified Organic Skincare and Soap | Handmade Natural Soap | Beauty Skin care Products from Cornwall | Organic Cosmetics & Beauty

Since I am snowed in and stuck ... time for online Christmas shopping.

As a product abuser and a natural soap addict, I can highly recommend the link above. One word of warning; once bought you will forever after be spoiled. My faves are cedarwood and coconut soap and the lavender and jojoba one. They're deliciously good and the TLC cream is fab. Even my mum agrees.

Order now for Christmas! (And they're not even sponsoring me, I just adore them!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

White Stuff

School closed.
Nursery closed.
Milkman can't get here.
Can't get car out of drive.
No trains.
Thankfully NaNo is done.
Snow day ahoy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Snow Is Falling ...

Snow is falling - all around me.

My garden looks like a Christmas cake and it just keeps falling. Today I finally hammered my NaNo into submission - so here's a track to celebrate (!) amid the blizzards.

Normally I'm the last person in the street to put up the tree, so posting a video is uncharacteristic Christmassy behaviour for November. But last weekend we did the whole Xmas lights parade thing so it feels okay to indulge. (I hasten to add that my tree does not appear until we are at least double figures into December and this will remain!)

So, to the video. Am I the only person who feels sorry for the woman on the sleigh dressed up as an elf? Is it having to sit next to Shaky that's making her quaky? Or his threat of mistletoe kisses? She really does look like she's saying bad things about him in her head. Personally I'd jump and make a getaway.

I adore this video. If only for Shaky's taste in Christmas jumpers and his finger-clicking dancing. Then there's the pudding-basin haircut children destroying their toys with hammers.

It doesn't get better than this. Or should that be worse?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gaspworthy Cover

Well. All I can say is those people at Embrace Books know what they're doing.

Very naughty. But very nice.

The NaNo Slump And Bouncing Back

The mentors for NaNo warned us - you might dry up, hit a wall. Great if it doesn't happen but if it does and every word is laboured that's okay, push through. At the time of reading these words I was gaily marching ahead. Whistling a chirpy song as I typed.

Then SLUMP hit. Oh boy, with a thump.

Last week I had missed days. Days where I didn't even want to go there such was my disgust. Times when what I was writing was so far into the pits it was down in the corner of the castle dungeon (the one where the tide washes in for extra punishment). Yep. Bad week. But yesterday I forced myself not to play hookie or think about it and just go for gusto writing (like I did on day one).

And slowly I'm getting back in the saddle of the daily try. Of course I know this story is not just a dog's dinner draft. It's a dire dirty dismal dirge and it will need lots of rewrite and much work. But that's NaNo. It's good to have a start. It's good to go back and refine and polish and rethink.

This is what happened with Nanny.

I rewrote. I started right back on page one and made it much better. It can be done.

So if you're on this NaNo journey and you've just hit a wall or pushed through with all you have. Or even if you've given up the ghost - well done. Writing is hard. But it's worth going ahead and doing it anyway! It's all about having the conviction to try and that is very BRAVE indeed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Not Everyone Gets One Like This

It's only a very special couple who get this treatment - a special Mills and Boon cover made in their honour. But then William and Kate are very special! And they're living the dream.

While I'm not quite sure why I was sent a copy by MnBs PR people (who me?!) I won't look a gift horse in the mouth and will just celebrate anyway and post it up because it's a beauty.

Shame we can't read the book now too.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Pinnacle of Brilliant

Since I'm NaNoFlagging, I took a break by reading Graham Linehan's blog (he brilliantly writes The IT Crowd). Read his excellent blog here. Anyway - I've pinched this clip because it was too good not to. Laugh out loud funny. Especially if you are bizarrely addicted to Masterchef *like me*. Can't explain the Greg and John addiction but I never miss an episode (especially if I have a tube of Pringles).
The IT Crowd will be on E4 on Monday at 10pm.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Write Or Die

Yes I've resorted to Write Or Die to keep me at Nano.

The thing is I am loving this story and I know it's working out. I JUST WANT TO STOP for a bit and get my breath back. I yearn for a few leisurely daydreams about these characters instead of  frog-marching them onwards with their arms up their backs. Though I am giving them a hard time which is good.

The trouble is I get guilt pangs and I think but the faster I go now the quicker it's over! And I keep adding a bit more.

The Write Or Die concept works a treat. For those who don't know about it, you enter how many words you want to achieve or how long you want to write for and then you hit WRITE. The computer will give you a telling off if you stop. The aim is just to keep writing ... keep it going. You can choose modes depending on your mood. But I find the screen slowly changing from pink to scarlet is a good one for me. If you hold off too long it will GOBBLE UP the words already written word by word. And when I use Write Or Die it makes me type furiously (reminds me of WPM tests in secretarial agencies when trying to get summer jobs) to see if I can keep on without causing the computer to tell me off. Go try it, it's fun!

Anyway, it's a great way to whip my behind when I'm grouchy about writing. Especially when you use the tough mode that eats your words up if you loiter! Who wants pacman gobbling up hard-won sentences? Not I!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Suddenly ...

Amazing what a week can do. My (at first uptight and nerdy) hero is now warming nicely. The heroine's a bit trickier but ... gimme time. I might even write more later just to torture him at a vital stage. He's about to make a big mistake and get into a lot of trouble.

Well, it's cold outside. Who needs to go out when you can annoy your characters instead?

Happily I'm also reading Trish Wylie's Charmed By The Billionaire Bad Boy. So I'm feeling very blessed with hotboy totty. Such trials!

You keeping out of trouble ... or causing some yourself? Or are you reading any heroes I need to know about?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Noodle Nano

Yey. I'm at 13k.

BUT. And it's a big but (notice capitals) I'm pretty sure it's about to go noodles up. Surely it must says Ms Pesky Pessimist inside me. I've stormed ahead and now it's all going to go dangly.

So at this point here's my top tips (prior to going noodly and losing it):
1 Just write it. Don't worry, be happy. Write whatever strikes.

2 If it's pants, don't panic, write it. Don't expect it to be good. Don't panic if its big yaboodire-as-a-dodo chow mein to go. It's good for the fingers and the pong of joie de vivre reeks large.

3 Sling in a corpse through the roof (this is my favourite). Surprising myself every day with a fresh twist. Ah well, a gal's gotta get kicks somehow when she's churning out 2k a day. Especially when it's pants filled with noodles.

4 Don't moan. Don't stress it. Just write a bit more. Take solace in the soaring word graph and ignore the conscience that's screaming that it's pants. Pants can be fixed and turned into hot pants (with enough natty snips and restitching). And obviously after ditching all the dried noodles.

Righto. Best go not think about it some more. Back to just doing it again tomorrow.

P.S. I must at this point clarify that a book wot I have written that is very close to my heart was rewritten in full several times. It can be done! Nano - we salute you!

Friday, November 05, 2010

My NaNo Strategy

I won't complain because I vowed to just keep on trucking with NaNo this week and although I have thought 'ugh' before I start each day it's turned out okay.

Sad confession time - I really, really wanted to hit 10k today.

Foolish, greedy - maybe? But I just figured if I'd gotten 2k down daily during weekdays then I could ease at weekends to give me some headspace before Monday. I'm a hundred under so I'm resisting complaining. I'm almost there but I am going to stop.

It's Bonfire Night plus a busy afternoon of being Mum Taxi. I'm going to quit at just under 10k today. But tomorrow I'm going to try for 3k. The Saturday 3k challenge. The aim of this being that I can then maybe take Sunday off and just chill.  A chill day is good for the soul.

Am I turning NaNo OCD bore? Should I just shut up now and stop the obsessing?

Or do you have a strategy too? Are you NaNo NUTSO yet too ? Discuss (!)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

'As if by magic ... the shopkeeper appeared.'

Once upon a time ...

I found myself doing spur of the moment NaNoWriMo.

It's all happened in a Mr Benn-type way (one minute I was minding my business walking down Festive Road and then yank - the fancy dress shop of NaNo pulled me in and I signed up!) I suddenly find myself in a new world of pantster wonder that's both thrilling and slightly perplexing at the same time.

Well it would be crazy to start writing a new book on 1 November without joining in the madness. So here I am (the last time I did it was 2004 and my but that's a while back). So bring on the safari suit, I'm ready. Or shall I be an astronaut?

Whispers lest Editor should crack whip - s'okay, revisions are almost pucker and coming your way!

Oh what a heady whirl (but I luvit). jx

Mr Benn images are copyright David McKee.
No infringement intended. I LOVE Mr Benn and always will.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Join Phillipa's Fun

My lovely writer pal Phillipa Ashley is kicking off celebrating a very special launch today!

Her book, Dating Mr December, the US edition of Decent Exposure (her truly fab LBD debut and Joan Hessayon Award winner in 2007) is out now! NOW! Go here to see it - amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and the Book Depository.

And (cough), ex-squeeze-me, how lush is that cover?!?

If you need more incentive then you'll be desperately excited to learn the book was made into a US TV movie (featuring some rather hot men) and you can buy the US DVD of the movie too...if you need any Xmas wish-list help!

So hussle along. Lots to see and do! Go find out more about Dating Mr December on Phillipa's fabby blog and website.

Will is well worth the effort. He's sitting on my keeper shelf as I write.