Sunday, 26 August 2012

Four Short Stories for September

I had so many blogs to catch up with this morning; it's amazing how they all accumulate over just a couple of days.  When I get so many it occasionally crosses my mind to just 'Mark All as Read', but amongst all those posts if there is only one that inspires me it's worth the trawl.

And that's what I have found today, one post out of many that has spurred me on for the month of September. 
The idea comes from Ana over at The Artistry Collective who, like me (and I suspect many others too), have plenty of ideas jotted down all over the place for stories, both short and otherwise, but have yet to turn even half of them into anything more substantial.  So for September, Ana has set herself the challenge of writing one short story for each week in September, and by the end of the month there will be four shiny new stories just crying out to be edited and submitted.

This seems like a fairly sensible idea to me, but we all know how easily the rest of life gets in the way of the creative process.  I now have a week to prepare myself for this, sort out my calendar and pencil in writing windows.  I'm hoping that it will be something that will stick even after September, but one step at a time.

After all, it can be a lot of trial and error when it comes to writing strategies.

I hope to keep you posted with my progress, so watch this space ...

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Editor's Pick of the Day!

So it started off being an ok day today, nothing too stressful to deal with and I've got a story revision I'm mulling over in my mind.

Lunch was quiet, just me and one other, neither of us were up to being too social.  I've just sat down to my emails and found a lovely surprise in my inbox.  I have been selected as one of the Editors Picks of the Day over at!  Needless to say my mood has perked up 100-fold.

I joined up at the end of last year as a way to try and get my blog out there to a wider audience, and had almost forgotten about it until recently.  I've been getting some steady traffic over the last few weeks, nice comments and some new followers.  To be selected for a Pick of the Day has increased this even more in the short time I've been featured.

I'd like to say a huge thanks to the Editor, whoever you are, and to all those who have now discovered me through this exposure.  I hope you like what I've been posting and stick around to see what else may come.

I'll try to make it good!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Wednesday Blog Hop - Like mother, like daughter

So here I am again, for the Wednesday Blog Hop.  I think that one week I may actually manage to post a story on the Wednesday that it's set, but I'm not doing too badly with it for now.  We do get a week after all.

As we all know now (or not if you're new, hello!) the Wednesday prompt is set with a picture and five random words, all of which need to feature in a story that is no longer than 500 words.  There is a week to write it, and have it posted before the following Wednesday.

Link it up to either of the brilliant blogs at The World of my Imagination or Chasing Revery and wait for the next prompts.

This week the prompts are:

creation, mime, balcony, kidnap, loaf

Like mother, like daughter 

Celeste knew that sooner or later, her daughter would be drawn to the same dark powers that had once seduced her. She had tried to put it off, but Emma was as strong minded as her mother. She'd hoped that by escaping, Emma would never be involved, never be tempted into that other world. But Emma was of her creation, and there was always this risk. It was out of her hands now though, Emma had chosen her path and all Celeste could do was wait and see if she survived.
She sat nervously in the balcony, not wanting to watch any of it but drawn nonetheless. She used all her power to send encouragement and help, but the invisible barrier surrounding them sent it all straight back at her. Emma was on her own. She couldn't even mime any instructions to her, the viewing balconies completely hidden in the arena. The poor souls didn't even know they had an audience.
There were three of them down there, strangers to one another, all competing for the single prize of freedom. Celeste knew the other parents were somewhere near, watching to see if their only daughter was going to make it. It was a rite of passage into the unknown world, and you either made it, or you perished. There was no opting out. Once you walked through the doors, marked either side with the sacred symbol, there was no going back. All who entered did so of their own free will, much to their parents distress, willing participants in their own kidnap.
The three girls headed in different directions, towards doors that only they could see, Emma's directly beneath where her mother sat watching. Celeste crossed to the other side of the balcony to see her daughter enter her own personal challenge. She couldn't see Emma's reaction as she approached a table with two chairs facing each other. She sat down as a dark figure approached and sat opposite. There was bread at the table and they each took a bite of loaf, neither taking their eyes from the other. Celeste could barely contain herself, wanting to dive in and help. She didn't hear the people come from behind to grab her.
Emma stared into the eyes of her father and could sense his fury at her being there. She had managed to deceive her mother, taking her place for this challenge. Emma knew she would never have survived, she didn't have the strength in her anymore. It was her mother that he wanted though. To take his revenge. She couldn't allow it, it was his own fault that she'd left, his own fault he'd never seen his daughter.
A door creaked open in the shadows, she saw two figures carrying a third in against their struggles. She looked into her mothers eyes and then she knew. It was over for both of them.
Word count:  485

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Wednesday Blog Hop - Climb for Victory

I've missed the last couple of Wednesday Blog Hops, brought to you courtesy of Nicola Pyles at The World of My Imagination and Carrie Sorensen at Chasing Revery.

But life is slowly getting back to normal and I'm back in the writing groove again.  I'm so happy about that!

So, as usual the rules are to include a picture prompt, five random words and a word limit of 500 words.
The story needs to be submitted before the following Wednesday, and linked up to one of the hosts above.

This week the prompts are as follows:

                                           skyscraper, bet, reform, balcony, surface

So here it is:

Climb for Victory

'I bet you I can make it to the top,' proclaimed Leonard, as he and Rosemary stood at the base of the Summoning Tree.
'Don't be silly,' said Rosemary, 'it's a skyscraper. Besides, it's not for climbing is it?'
'Something that big is made for climbing,' and with that he marched towards the base of the lush green tower. He knew if he could manage this, Rosemary would be so impressed she couldn't help but fall for him.
She raced up behind him, grabbing one of his furry arms. 'Please don't do this Leonard, it won't matter if you back out now.'
'It will matter to me.' With new determination he grabbed the lowest fronds and started climbing. It was easy to begin with, the leaves were shorter nearer the bottom, but as he ascended they began to get much longer and sleeker. In some places he only just managed to hang on to the silky surface. He stopped halfway to rest, and as he glanced down towards the ground, towards Rosemary, his resolve to complete his mission began to waver.
He turned to the tree again, clinging on tight, barely able to move. A rush of panic coursed through him, making him dizzy. He needed to get control of himself or he would surely fall. Looking up to the sky he knew he could make himself go just a little further. He took deep breaths, desperately trying to reform his equilibrium to could carry on.
Finally he set off again, forcing himself to concentrate on where he was going and trying so hard not to look down. He knew Rosemary was down there, she wouldn't leave until she knew he was safe. She was such a worrier. He saw the top now, the blue sky opening up above, clear and never ending.
The next thing he knew he was on the top of the tree. There were a few flattened fronds, enough to stand on, and he gazed around him. He could see more from here than he ever could from the castle's balcony, supposedly the highest point in the village. The sky went on forever, blue and clear and cool. He closed his eyes, breathing in the freshness.
He wasn't ready for the sudden gust of wind, and found himself off balance and falling through the air. The ground raced up to meet him and there was nothing he could do he realised. He closed his eyes to meet his fate.
His fate turned out to be Rosemary. He opened his eyes and her face filled his view, he could hear the beating of her wings as she glided down holding him tightly.
'Are you ok Leonard?' she gasped, checking him over.
'I'm fine. Thank you,' he mumbled, embarrassed. 'I guess this means you don't want me now?'
'What? You mean that was for me? Men!' she exclaimed and stalked off.
Leonard couldn't help a grin as he watched her go.

Word count:  493

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Film Challenge Extra - The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black is not strictly a part of my Film Challenge list, but thought I should review it anyway as part of this section.
The Film Challenge list has been put together for me by friends who just couldn't believe the amount of films I've never seen.  For the complete list go to my Film Challenge tab.

WARNING:  SPOILER ALERT!  If you haven't seen this film yet and don't want to ruin the experience then please do not read any further.  I will not be offended, I'd much rather you enjoy the film properly.
If you have seen it, then do read on ...
My first mistake as I settled down to watch this film was in expecting it to be just like the book. I really enjoyed the book, I whizzed through it in just two sittings it had me enthralled so much. 

However, the very first scene of the film was completely absent from the book, a totally new feature. I was already disappointed then and it had only been on a few minutes. It was my own fault really, how often is the book true to the film anyway?

Once I got past the added story line and the character differences (namely Kipps's son in this, which he didn't have in the book) I began to enjoy it for what it was, just another spooky ghost story.
And from this point of view it certainly delivers. Particularly when Kipps was trapped at the house by the marsh, I found myself constantly looking behind him, trying to work out where the woman in black was going to appear. Sometimes I was right, others not so much, but either way she was extremely creepy, making my skin crawl a little whenever she appeared. This is what I like from a spooky film.
They then stepped it up a notch with the introduction of her son, rising from the marsh where he drowned years before. He, too, had the desired effect for a ghost film. You didn't get a very good view of him, at least not to begin with, he crept around and once all he left were footprints.

The film was doing so well up until this point, but then Kipps decided he had to reunite the pair to rid the town of her wrath forever. My disappointment began to return. Seeing the two ghosts up close now completely removed (for me anyway) the sense of mystery and fear they originally evoked. I felt a bit cheated at the end if I'm honest. The ending of the book was far superior to this, I really don't know why things are changed so much as to be almost unrecognisable.

At least the next time I see a film version of something I'll be much more prepared.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I've been away from my blog for a while now, far too long really, but it was a nice surprise to see I've been awarded the Liebster Award by Carrie Sorensen over at Chasing Revery .  Thanks very much for this Carrie, it's rewarding to know that people are regularly reading whatever rambles I'm posting.

I've seen this award on other blogs before but I like the twist that Carrie has added to this one. Instead of awarding only 5 other blogs she has chosen 11. I'm going to follow suit with this, it's nice to give something back to as many of my own followers as I can.

First of all though I'm to give 11 facts about myself that may not be evident from my blog, so here we go:

  1. One of my proudest moments was four years ago when I spent just over two days giving birth to my beautiful daughter. I managed the whole process without any pain relief whatsoever, and the reward was wonderful.
  1. I'm car crazy. My car is like my other baby and I'm very protective over it. I'll quite happily drive around a car park three or four times before finding a suitably safe spot.
  1. My husband and I have a dream to one day design and build our own home. He can design most of it but I have some stipulations: my own bathroom, a walk in wardrobe and at least three garages.
  2. I did a charity skydive for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. It was truly amazing and I think I was only scared for about 2 seconds just before we leapt. The guy I was attached to was so tall he could stand up to full height and my feet didn't touch the ground!
  3. I suffered greatly with anxiety and panic attacks the year after I had my daughter. I had an aversion to large crowds of people in enclosed spaces so going to the cinema and busy pubs were not fun. I haven't had one for about 2 years now and thought I would on my wedding day, but I came through triumphant and hopefully have control of myself again.
  4. Every now and again I become totally obsessed with The Sims 3. I'll spend two weeks playing it all the time until eventually I realise what a total waste of time it is, and become cross with myself for not doing something more productive (like writing!)
  5. I used to love watching Thundercats when I was little, but would always get scared of Mum-Ra when he went all big and scary. I think it was the drool hanging from his mouth.
  6. I used to keep a worm farm in my bedroom. I wasn't allowed ants in case they escaped, and I had to move it out of my room when my aunt came to stay and she had my room.
  7. When at school I completed the Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburghs Awards. It was a lot of fun spending four days wandering the Lake District, although I was glad for the showers when we got home!
  8. I have struggled for a long time to find what I really want to do with my life. It was a bit of a disappointment to realise that what I've spent the last ten years doing isn't necessarily what I want to do now. Still, it's all experience I suppose and I can use it in my writing, which is what I really want to do.
  9. I have some odd (apparently) food likes. I love tuna mayo sandwiches with pickle and beetroot, or salad cream on toast. Ooh, and bacon and banana toasties.

In her post Carrie set 11 questions for her nominees to answer and here are my answers to hers:

1) What is your favorite movie from the 1950's or before?  
     Hmm, I haven't actually seen any pre 1950 movies, but I'm putting some on my list now.

2) Which band do you most wish would come back after 'disappearing' or retiring?    
     The Eagles (although they may still be knocking about somewhere.)

3) What is your favorite book that you don't think many people would know?  
     Under an English Heaven by Robert Radcliffe. It's about American bomber pilots based in England during World War 2.

4) What song is stuck in your head right now? (Because you know I just put one there – sorry.) 
Someone Like You by Adele
5) How many animals do you have? How many do you wish you had?  
     One hamster called Mrs Bloom. Mr Bloom's Nursery is one of my daughters favourite programs, but the hamster is a girl so … I'd love to have a couple of dogs but we just don't have the room at the moment. Maybe a cat. And a pot-bellied pig.

6) What is your favorite type of cookie?  
     A whole one! 

7) What place do you never want to go back to because it's so perfect in your mind   
     you don't want to ruin it? 

8) How many paces from your computer place to the fridge? 9

9) Did you actually have to count, or did you already know?
     I had to count, although I'm quite surprised I didn't know!

10) How old were you when you no longer believed in Santa Claus?  
       About 10 years old.

11) Did someone spill the beans or did you figure it out on your own?  
       My brother and I were bouncing on my parents bed one day and I noticed one of the wardrobe doors were open a little, inside were all the presents. I closed it quickly so my brother didn't notice, I think he believed for longer.

And finally, here are my own 11 questions for my nominees to answer:

  1. What has been your favourite sport at the 2012 London Olympics?
  2. Who was the first Doctor Who that you remember seeing on the television?
  3. What would be the first thing you'd think to save (other than family) if you're house were hit by fire or flood?
  4. Do you have a writing routine? Do you stick to it?
  5. Do you prefer tea or coffee?
  6. Have you achieved your ambition(s) yet?
  7. When writing, can you cope with noise (children, television) or do you need absolute quiet?
  8. How many people know about your writing?
  9. Is your glass half full or half empty?
  10. Darts – is it a sport or just a pub game?
  11. Are you happy with your lot?

So, here are the 11 of the blogs that I follow that I want to pass on the award to:

Remember guys, to give 11 facts about yourself, answer the 11 questions above, set your own 11 questions and most importantly, nominate more blogs and pass on the joy!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

A new chapter ...

 A big hello to everyone!  I have been absent from my blog for the past two weeks, for which I apologise. Last weekend I finally got married to my boyfriend of 11 years, and it really was one of the best days of my life.  The week leading up to the wedding my mind was filled with wedding things, there was no room at all to concentrate on any writing.  This week, we have been in Bath on our honeymoon which was just fabulous.  It was so nice to be away from everything for a few days and just unwind and be ourselves again.
We are back now though and tomorrow will be the first proper day of normality.  I'm looking forward to getting the house back in order and getting on with some writing and blogging.  Watch this space for some overdue film and book reviews, as well as a blog award and some writing pieces.

I'm now off to catch up with my blog reader, all 250+ of them!