Thursday, 17 January 2019

Cover notes

Back in 2012, I published a small e-book on Amazon, partly because I had something to say, but partly because I wanted to see how easy/difficult it was. The Little Guide to Teaching Yoga in a Gym served the purpose and sold reasonably well, too, so it was a useful exercise.

At time time, because I didn't know any better, I designed - and I use the word loosely - the cover myself, thus:

Now, I've revised and updated the content and republished it, again as an e-book, but this time I've used the services of Shar at She also did the cover for Nine Lives and she is really quick and great to work with. I'm sure you'll agree that what she has produced is much better than my humble effort:

So that's it: I'm not a cover designer, but fortunately I know someone who is, and it's worth paying for a job well done.

The Little Guide to Teaching Yoga in a Gym is available from Amazon for just 99p.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Making up my mind

I've spent a lot of time this week reading other people's short stories in my role as a competition judge. I've done this before and it's always a privilege, but it's also very difficult.

How do I compare, sci-fi with romance, humour with horror? How do I stop myself choosing a story that is to my taste, but not necessarily the best written? Indeed, should I?

Then there is the question of entries that are beautifully written, but not, to my mind, stories: that is to say, they read more like extracts from a bigger piece of work. Am I judging the quality of the writing from a technical point of view or is the tale itself the most important element?

The answer to all these questions is, of course, that it's up to me. I've been asked to judge, but that only means to give my opinion; and this is the case with all competitions. So if you're slogging away submitting entries and rarely or never walking away with the prize, this doesn't mean you're not a good writer. Judging is subjective. Another panel might have picked you - and may well do so next time.

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Best foot forward

Inspired by my fellow blogger Maria over at First Draft Cafe and my real-life friend Debs, I have signed up to walk 1,000 miles this year. Not all in one go, obviously. It averages out at just under 3 miles a day, which is an hour-ish. It should be feasible, shouldn't it?

Should you wish to join me, there's lots of information on the website here. The project is in association with Country Walking magazine and is, of course, a nifty way to get us all reading it (though you don't have to buy a copy to join in).

I see, too, that the adverts have started to encourage us to whip out our binoculars and join in the Big Garden Birdwatch at the end of the month;  I've started a 30-day online yoga programme, too. There really is no excuse for sitting about.

Well, I don't know about you, but I could do with some of these motivational opportunities at the end of February, after I've endured all those cold winter days when it barely seems to get light and it's as much as I can do to get out of bed! If you'd all be kind enough to make a note in your diaries to give me a virtual kick up the backside in eight weeks' time it would be much appreciated.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

A puzzling time

Well, it's New Year's Day, so, in keeping with Thorley tradition, the decorations are down and the hostess trolley has gone back in the loft for another year. Order has been restored, so that can only mean one thing: it's time to start the new jigsaw.

Guidelines for successful and harmonious jigsaw completing

  1. Measure the table before you start, and allow generous margins all round for elbows.
  2. No dangly sleeves allowed. Woe betide he who lifts an interlocking section from the table with his cuff.
  3. No food or drink allowed on the table.
  4. On opening the box, any pieces that are already joined together must be separated and returned to the pool to be rediscovered individually at the appropriate time.There are those people who celebrate pre-connected pieces. These people are wrong. These same delinquents will pause the TV to give themselves longer to solve the Countdown Conundrum and Google the answers to a cryptic crossword.
  5. The search for pieces must begin with edges and, especially, corners. Note that Rule 4 applies. 
  6. Only the owner of the puzzle may insert the final piece. NB It is never funny to hide this and then reveal it with feigned surprise at its discovery after everyone else has spent an hour on their hands and knees looking for it.
 Have fun!

Monday, 24 December 2018

Merry Christmas

Thank you for reading my blog this year and for all your comments and engagement.
I hope Christmas is everything you want it to be. 

Namaste, Julia

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Why don't I look on the outside like I feel on the inside?

Copyright unknown
The Bookcave Limited launch on Saturday went really well; lots of people came along and quite a few bought books. I really hope this early success continues into the New Year and beyond. I did my readings and to my relief people laughed in all the right places. One person said he enjoyed my artistry!

However, I was horrified when I saw the photos. I didn't realise I looked so like The Big Bang Theory's Amy Farrah Fowler (pictured). A makeover is needed.

My next public appearance is with my ukulele group this afternoon when we play in an assisted living home. I shall hide behind the tinsel when the photographer comes round.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Retirement: a six-month review

Real ale in the making
When Mr Thorley retired at the end of May, we decided we would give it six months and then review - by which I mean have a discussion about what each of us is doing that annoys the other. In the event, I couldn't wait that long before pointing out a few things, but by and large it's not been too bad. This is only my opinion, of course. For all I know, Mr T has spent weeks quietly seething, but has decided not to make a fuss.

Certainly there have been a few sticky moments - let's not dwell on the Vegetable Biryani incident, for example - and many a time the air has been filled with the stench of burning martyr. On the plus side, the allotment could win prizes and the homebrewing is coming on a treat. The house has never been tidier or the freezer better stocked. We've both put on weight, but this is a small price to pay.

We've also had lots of trips out, even though I'm still working. The joy of freelancing is that I can timeshift and if I fancy a Friday afternoon off I can take it, even if that means catching up during what we used to call the weekend.

There are still adjustments to be made. I need to stop harrumphing when he is 'sitting about'; he needs to stop hovering around me when I'm working. On the whole, however, it's all good. I shall let him stay a bit longer.