Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blogoversary Day!

How different things were when I wittered writted my first blog post in September last year. I felt very isolated in my study, but at the same time bemoaned the advice that I should 'get out there and meet other writers'. With three little children (the youngest only six months at the time) the only place I get out to was the playground, and there aren't many other writers there.

Now, a year on, I have made some very special friends - many of whom I hope to know for life. I have been on two writing courses, two Novel Racers' meets, and I am heading up to London on [edited to read...] Thursday for my second book-launch (though not actually my book, you understand). I make time for myself now, because these are things I really want to do... for myself. Thus blogging, and the world to which it has introduced me, has changed the way I live.

I used to think that blogging was an idle/frivolous pastime of absolutely no value; but, I've changed my mind. I have learned that with the right motivation and support (which might not be available locally), one can find new energy and inspiration.

I would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to all you, who read and comment on my posts. I have also generated a new award (see right) to say an extra big thank you to some of those who made me so welcome in my first few days (and who have stayed with me): SallyQ, Calistro, Helenmh, JJ, Spiral Jen and Womagwriter.

Do you have blogmates who supported your early blogging? Please feel free to give them this award.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Warning: Rant Alert

The baby has been playing with the hoover switch this morning, while I've been trying to hoover - thus I am in ranting mood. However, toddlers are just having fun, whereas this lot have no excuses:
1. People parking on the pavement (thus blocking it), because they're too damn lazy to walk the extra 50 yards from the carpark.
2. People parking in parent/disabled spaces because they're too damn lazy to walk the extra 50 yards, etc.
3. Call-centre morons telling you that you'll have to 'put that in writing', because although they're happy to take your order (and your money) over the phone, they're completely incapable of taking your cancellation over the phone. Probably can't spell cancellation.
4. Teenagers on supermarket checkouts who zap your shopping through at 100-items a second, and hold their hands out for the money while you still have the European food mountain in front of you. And then, they put on this face that says: "Would you like help with your packing now?"
5. The dog-owner who says "Oh, he won't hurt you," as his fat labrador knocks your small child flying into a bed of nettles/brambles.

What gets your goat?

And a big thank you to all my widget visitors, many of whom I've been magicked to already. I'll be popping by to say hello to everyone else soon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Widget Visitors

Hello to all widget visitors! It would be great if you'd leave a comment to say that you came by, and if you can remember, I'd love to know what choices you made to get here!

(For widget addicts - there is one just below in the sidebar - happy deciding.)

Edit: I can't believe someone made me choose between Daniel Craig and Colin Firth!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Location Location

Some of my settings are based on real places, but sometimes I change the names. In two cases, I wanted authentic croft names, but not actual croft names (i.e. houses in which people might actually be living).

The solution manifested itself by luck when I happened upon an old parish map hanging on the wall of a local pub. From that I was able to identify a number of derelict crofts, and thus select genuine-sounding names (for they were indeed genuine) without fear of upsetting anyone.

For villages and towns and cities, I generally use real names, except in the case of one particular town – which had absolutely nothing to recommend it – for which I fabricated a name, although I don't really know why.

Do you pluck your setting(s) out of your imagination, or use real places? Or both? Do you use real names too? If not, how do you go about making them up?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Six Glorious Weeks

I am suffering from shock. In the space of two days, I went

from this.

Arrived home from Scotland yesterday, after six glorious weeks; but, less than twenty-four hours later, I don't feel as though I've been away at all. Thus, I am in a somewhat downbeat and reflective mood:

Things I missed while I was away
My induction hob and thick-bottomed pans
Functional broadband
My dictionary
Virgin Radio

Things I loved about where I was
Islay beef mince
Islay Ales (Angus Og in particular)
Everyone waving at everyone
Water so soft you could cuddle it
Big skies and big landscapes
Popping to the shop (every village has one)

Things I didn't miss
The sheer weight of traffic
Being hassled by other drivers
All the mess on my desk at home
The noisy builders working over the road
Rude people
Dead animals in the road
Chlorine in the water
Any fine weather (from what I heard)

Things I didn't love
Having to come home.

Have you been away this summer?
What did you like/dislike about your holiday?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Awards & Away No More

JJ, that lovely lady over in Bangkok, has not only sent me some fabby flavoured lip balms (cola cola and lemon soda), she has given me a friendship award too! Thank you JJ! This is just what I need to cheer me up, as we leave for the south this morning. It's bye bye to the mountains, and hello to the M25...oh joy. At least I'll get to say hello to my sister and Helenmh on the way, so it's not all bad.

I need to pass on this award, but I am leaving now (this minute), so I'll post again when I get home.
I hope you can stand the suspense.