Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Alfie Dog frustration

On Sunday, I checked the Alfie Dog website and read that it was opening for submissions again that very day, so I spent some considerable time putting together a package of three stories for their consideration. Well, I've just had an email from the inappropriately named MD Rosemary Kind:

"It is with regret that I need to inform you we have closed to submissions. I apologise for the wasted effort you have put in to submitting and wish you well with your writing."
 
Lordy, that's annoying - almost as annoying as the steaming heap of dog mess that has been deposited by my front gate. I know it's not the animal's fault, it's the owner's; but that makes two piles of poo from dogs today!

Friday, 29 April 2016

Celebrating another Bank Holiday

I'm sorry if this doesn't apply to you, but in England we have a long weekend on the horizon. Monday is another Bank Holiday to mark May Day. It is also linked with International Workers' Day, so no doubt my shop steward husband will be singing 'The Red Flag'. He's been at a union conference all week, so is full of comradely fervour at present.

Not that the weather is looking brilliant. I think we shall need snow shoes, snorkels and sun cream in equal measure. It's going to be a weekend to be properly British: by which I mean obsessing about the weather, but carrying on regardless of wind and rain. It's what we do. You can bet your life that some tabloid journalist will take a photo of a bikini-clad lovely posing on a beach, while in the background other determined holiday-makers sit huddled behind windbreaks and stoically eating fish and chips.

I'm out with my uke again tonight. We're performing a small but perfectly formed set at the Raunds Music Festival . It's a ceilidh, so I expect we'll be stripping the willow at some point.

Have a good weekend, folks. 

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop. Visit Lexa's Blog for the rules, and then post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week. Originated by VikLit) and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog.   

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Notes from the past

Scratting about in my drawers for a notebook, I found one lurking at the back from years ago that I'd never filled. Incredibly, it seems to be about 20 years old, because there are notes in it I made when I worked for the Adult Learning Service. And I reckon I'm not a hoarder...

When I did my secretarial training back in the days of manual typewriters, we were taught only to draw a single line through old notes on our shorthand pads, just in case we needed to refer to them, a habit I still have. This means that I can look back and see what I was up to in the last century.

Some of the notes still make sense - for instance, there is what is clearly a list for my son's birthday party, including the names of now forgotten friends who needed invitations, together with party bags, balloons and cake, the latter being underlined twice.

Others are more unfathomable. This list looks like one of the 'random words' writing challenges:
  • Doc Martin
  • JCB
  • John Timpson (who?)
  • Weetabix
No idea!

Then there are quite extensive notes that seem to have been made on a time management course, including this gem:

'Look in any mirror and you'll see your biggest time-waster.'

There's also a couple of pages of ideas for a short story set in a pub that I don't remember at all, alongside the detail that a Cheeky Vimto is made from equal parts of port and Blue WKD! I'd better get writing.



Friday, 22 April 2016

Not much to celebrate today

As we've lost more celebs this week, does any of us feel like celebrating? Nevertheless, we must. So:

I have an article in the new issue of Picture Postcard Monthly. They spelt my name wrong, but hey.

I've met all but one of my work targets for the week, and I can finish that last job tomorrow. I'm only behind because I suddenly had to write an article about sweetcorn and turn it round in 24 hours (which I did), so I reckon that's a pretty good excuse.

It seems a long time ago now, but I'm also celebrating a successful yoga workshop that I ran last Sunday with my good friend and fellow teacher Penny. Today I've been looking at possible venues for the next one, which I think will be in July. 
 
Off to see son Joe and Ivory Yardsale play this evening. Well, actually it's tonight. When we walked  back from the comedy club last Saturday at just gone 11, we remarked how strange it was to see so many people heading in to town when we were going home. We shall be on the other side later on, because my boy's not due to play until half-eleven. Headlining, don't you know. I might need a lie-in tomorrow.

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop. Visit Lexa's Blog for the rules, and then post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week. Originated by VikLit) and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog.  

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Editorial decisions

One of the joys of being a jobbing wordsmith is that I never know what is going to turn up next. At the moment, I'm working on two children's fiction books, which is a bit of a departure for me. I have, though, made it clear to both authors that I shall be reading with a sub's eye, and am not equipped to input anything regarding structure and so on that a 'proper' fiction editor might, beyond elements that any mother or reader would notice.

This is an important distinction. When clients come to me with a project and they ask me to proofread it, I always ask them to clarify what they think that means. Do they want me to mark only spelling mistakes and punctuation slips, or would they like me to look for consistency, syntax howlers and plain old mistakes? My hourly rate is the same, whatever they want. I'm using the same brain, after all. The brief needs to be clear, though, or I could waste my time or overstep the mark - and the bill could be much higher than expected.

Likewise, if I'm asked to edit something. Does this mean spelling, grammar, consistency, formatting to style, fact-checking: how far am I to go? The best customers are those who give me free rein to fix anything I notice: the worst are those who assure me the text is 'pretty much OK', only for me to discover it's actually a bit of a nightmare.

Back to the children's books. The one I'm working on today has been read by many of the author's supportive friends and relatives who have all made (mostly encouraging) suggestions. It has also been shown to a librarian and I have seen the comments she has made, which are very incisive, as might be expected. What interests me is that she has only remarked on the story and not the writing, which is where I come in, I suppose.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Crisis averted

I parked in Morrisons car park yesterday lunchtime while I popped in for a few bits and pieces. I was in there less than half an hour, but nevertheless it was time enough for some wazzock to scrape all down the side of my car. I wasn't best pleased. There is CCTV on site, but needless to say it didn't cover the spot I was in.

It was lucky that my son was home to make me a soothing cuppa when I got in, or I might have gone into serious meltdown mode (don't tell my yoga students). Once I was calm, I took the poor thing to the workshop where I've had other work done and they managed to sort me out. It's all fixed now and I didn't bust a blood vessel.

Good as new
So as my contribution to Celebrate the Small Things, I'm celebrating excellent customer service. Thank you, Feakins of Kettering, for not only doing the repairs, but also chauffeuring me home, then picking me up again when my car was ready for collection.

 Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop. Visit Lexa's Blog for the rules, and then post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week. Originated by VikLit) and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog.  

Friday, 8 April 2016

Twelve drummers drumming

Well, it was thirteen, actually, in the drumming circle I attended last night. I know it sounds a bit hippy and to be honest it was - when we went around the room introducing ourselves, one woman described herself as a witch! - but it was a great fun. There was a nominal leader, but there was no pressure to be in time with anyone else. I didn't experience any trance state or euphoria, but there's nothing like hitting some really hard to relieve tension!  So my first celebration for today is making new friends.

Elsewhere this week, I met a lovely local author who wants me to read a children's book she self-published a few years ago, with a view to doing something with it. As coincidence would have it, another writer has contacted me about a similar project.

Finally, I received a £25 National Garden Gift Voucher through the post. There was no note with it, but the sender seems to be a media company, so I can only assume it is a reward for a letter I sent to Gardener's World magazine. I'll go and have a look in WHSmith.

Have a lovely weekend, folks.

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop. Visit Lexa's Blog for the rules, and then post every Friday about something you're grateful  for that week. Originated by VikLit) and co-hosted by L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog.