Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Writer Wednesday Blog Hop - 26th March Edition

This week, the WWBH is being hosted by the lovely Tena Carr at Jottings and Writings

Tena, it's over to you ...

The WWBH continues.... (For those that don't know, WWBH stands for Writer Wednesday Blog Hop).


There are 2 ways this can be played, depending on what the week's host decides to do (This week that's me ;-) ):
1) 1 picture/5 words
2) 2 pictures
Before I go any further, I want to Welcome newcomer Heather (Reading, Writing, and Everything In Between) into the host circle. Heather will have the reigns next week.  

Stories From Last Week
A Table For 1, A Flight For 3 by LeAnne Sype
Not So Bad After All by Scott Taylor
Wine and Cheese by Sally
Big News by Tena Carr
Heaven on Earth by Debb Stanton
A Welcome Revenge by H J Musk
Those Blasted Rules But don't stress too much - they're really not all that bad
1) Try to keep your word count down to around 500 - no worries, we're not counting. Just try to keep from getting to lengthy.
2) You must use the 2 pictures OR the 1 picture/5 words in your story (depending on what the host decides to use - I'll be revealing mine in just a bit, I promise).
3) Link your story up using linky tool below. Stories submited will be announced in next week's blog hop kick-off
4) This is most important... Have fun with this and let those creativejuices flow
This week I thought I'd continue with the "retro" idea that LeAnne did last week (a little blast from the past so to speak)

This picture comes from the "Back The Blue" Bash, put on by Arlington Police Foundation to support Arlington Police Officers and I want to thank Arlington PD for permission to use.

And Your 5 Words

Again, have fun with this... Can't wait to read those wonderful creative stories!!;

Friday, 21 March 2014

Celebrating the A-Z Challenge Theme Reveal blogfest!

So today I'm rolling two blogfests into one post, which some may call cheating, but I call it economical.

Friday Celebrations 

It's Friday, which means time to celebrate something with VikLit at Scribblings of an Aspiring Author and all the lovelies currently on her linky list.

It can be anything you like, as small or significant as you like. Everything counts, and it all helps to spread the joy of whatever we've all been up to.

Today my celebrations are all about the countdown to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. With only 10 days left to get posts prepared (eek!) I know plenty of us are working hard at getting all our posts together and ready for scheduling. Well, the sensible and organised ones among us are anyway :-)

For those still scratching their heads about this whole thing, the A-Z Blogging Challenge is all about posting something every day in April, except Sundays, and using the letters of the alphabet as starting points. By taking Sundays out, that's 26 days for 26 letters.

To check out the full details and of course to sign up yourself, head on over to the website. There are over 1300 signed up so far!

Today's other blogfest is the big A-Z Challenge Theme Reveal. Many of us pick a central theme to base all our challenge posts on, and today's the day we kick start the celebrations and reveal our plans for the month.

A to Challenge Theme reveal blogfest 

This blogfest is being co-hosted by Vidya Sury, alongside her buddies Anna Tan, Csenge Zalka, Guilie Castillo Oriard and Samantha Geary. They're all carrying on the mantle from Mina Lobo who started the Theme Reveal last year.

There are over 300 bloggers signed up to reveal their theme so it's well worth heading over to see what everyone's planning.

As for me, I'm planning on a Daily Haiku for each letter of the alphabet. A Haiku is a short, unrhyming poem of 17 syllables across three lines following structure: 5, 7, 5.

I thought it'd be perfect for the Challenge, all posts will be short and sweet taking the pressure off getting them prepared and scheduled (I hope!).

A daily haiku is one of the exercises given to us as part of my creative writing course, one that was totally new to me and I found I really enjoyed it once I got started. It seemed the perfect choice for this Challenge, and I hope you enjoy my offerings.

So, are you taking part in the A-Z Challenge this year? What's your theme going to be? 


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Blog hop announcement! - Writer Wednesday blog hop

Hello everybodies!

So, who recalls the Writer Wednesday blog hop that I used to regularly join in on? Well, I'm still doing it but over on my fiction blog. Have you checked that out by the way? My link is right over there in the side bar ;-).

There have been some changes over at WWBH HQ, and I have joined them to help co-host and keep this wonderful little hop going.

So to introduce the changes, I hand over to Leanne at Writings and Ruminations ...


Alright friends. Huddle up! As you probably noticed, last week's Writer Wednesday Blog Hop Photo Reveal (WWBH) was blank and silent. I apologize! We were in the throes of change... Our two blog hop founders/co-hostesses, Nicole Pyles and Carrie Sorensen, have resigned from the blog hop. Sometimes life and passion and goals take a turn for a brand new direction, and that's what happened for our dear sister-bloggers.

While Carrie is taking some time off from blogging, Nicole's blog (World of My Imagination) has experienced a snazzy new makeover, and she's trying out some new inspirational content. I encourage you to keep her on your blogroll and stay in touch!

As for the WWBH? Tena and I are taking the torch and carrying the Blog Hop forward! I am not ready for the Blog Hop to go away... in fact I'd love to see this community grow. Writing is hard. Writing is lonely. Writing is necessary! This is a solitary craft that needs camaraderie in its madness. :) While the prompts are inspiring, I think what truly moves us to keep writing is each other... so I want us to stick together, practice together, and inspire one another because it's through our stories we connect. Even through the most fantastical fictional stories!

As Tena and I navigate some new ideas, you'll notice our prompts begin to "mixup" a bit to keep your imagination piqued and complacently and boredom at bay.  Oh... as for the featured monthly bloggers, we'll announce the changes and a new winner on April 2. Sound good?

Well alright then! Let's move on to this week's prompt.

We're going to throw back a bit to one of our "vintage"-style prompts... one photo, five words.

Here is how to do it:

1) Compose a story using the photo and five mandatory words.
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
4) Submit your link via  inLinkz froggy below  by next Tuesday! (If you need some help, let us know in the comment section.)
5) Have fun, don't be shy, don’t stress... let those creative juices flow!
6) Invite a friend. This is about community, so feel free to invite, greet, and encourage new writers!

Next Wednesday we will post all your stories in the Writer Wednesday reveal so the community can hop around and visit each of you!

Here is your photo: 


Your five (randomly generated) words:






Friday, 14 March 2014

Celebrating study time!


Today's the day when we all celebrate even the smallest things going on in our lives. Thanks to VikLit, we have the opportunity to share in each others victories and positivities every week, spreading a little joy as we go. 
To check out what everyone else is celebrating head on over to her linky list.


Today I'd like to celebrate the Open University. It's become such a regular part of my life now that I almost take it for granted that it's there.

I started studying with the OU in 2003, and studied for a BSc (Hons) degree in science. I took a year off to have my daughter and finally graduated in 2011.

I find studying is like an addiction for me though, and it wasn't long before I'd signed up to study something else, this time English Literature and Creative Writing. 

If I'm honest with myself, this is what I should have studied in the first place as it's what I enjoy the most. I chose science because I thought it would give me a better chance of finding a good job. It wasn't in vain either, my studies helped me get the job I'm in now, working for a world-leading scientific research institute. I shouldn't grumble really :-)

Having tried studying at a conventional university, the distance learning method of the OU certainly suited me better. I was able to work full time, which meant having money in my pocket to do other things in my life too, buying a house, having a nice car, starting a family. And the best bit by far was that I wasn't in any debt at the end of it!

There are plenty of courses on offer, ranging from short, taster courses to 60 point modules, which can all be counted towards a certificate, diploma or even a degree if you fancy it.

The OU is quite well established in the UK now, and is in the top 5 of all universities across the country. They have also recently launched their website for people outside of the UK and Ireland, so they are spreading their reach to include more people in their teaching methods.

To check out this website head on over - Degrees and courses for international students

And for those in the UK that may be interested - The Open University

For anyone, of any age and interest, I would recommend the Open University as an option if you fancy taking up a new subject, no matter if it's for professional or personal development.

What are you celebrating this week?


Monday, 10 March 2014

Sayings and catchphrases - Express Yourself

Express Yourself Meme
The Express Yourself meme is a weekly jaunt brought to you by Dani at Entertaining Interests and Jackie at Bouquet of Books. At the beginning of the month the girls will post a gadget with a list of topics, something different for each week. Make sure to head on over to either of these blogs to check out the details more fully and see who else is taking part.      

This weeks topic: What saying or catchphrase do you say ALL the time?

I found this quite tricky to think of something myself, so I asked some of my friends instead. I thought they'd probably be the ones that would know best.

It turns out, apparently, that something I say quite a lot is 'Good luck with that', but not in a sincere or hopeful way. 
It's usually in response to someone else's suggestion to try or do something which I know is a pointless activity. More often than not I've already tried to explain the difficulties involved and when they don't listen my response is simple:

'Well, good luck with that.'

I'm sure the level of sarcasm injected varies depending on the person and the task, but I've no doubt it's there in some way.

How about you? Do you have a saying you're known for saying a lot?


Friday, 7 March 2014

Celebrating the A-Z Blogging Challenge! Have you signed up yet?

That time of year has come around again when bloggers all over the world are preparing for the A-Z Blogging Challenge throughout the month of April. The sheer mention of the Challenge is a celebration in itself!

For those who may be new to this, it's now in it's fourth year and was set up by Arlee Bird to challenge himself and fellow bloggers to post something every day through the month of April. As an added hurdle, you need to choose topics thematically from A-Z.

So, on day one you post about something beginning with A, day two is a topic beginning with B, and so on. You get to skip Sundays for good behaviour, which leaves 26 days of posting for the 26 letters of the alphabet.

To get the full lowdown on how it all works you can visit the Blogging from A-Z Challenge webpage which will give a much more thorough breakdown of whats involved.

This will be my third year doing the Challenge and I've learnt many things from the first two:
  • Try and pick a theme for your posts. It can make it a bit less daunting to concentrate on one overall theme covering each letter rather than scrabbling about for something to write about each day.
  • Planning can be crucial! It can be tiring and stressful keeping up if you are writing each post the day before or even (gulp!) on the day itself. I wouldn't recommend it! Try and make a schedule for your posts that you can tick off when you write and schedule each one. It'll feel good to see those posts disappearing.
  • Keep your posts short. As I write this there are over 1000 participants taking part in the challenge. If you're visiting others on the list it makes it easier if you don't have to scroll through reams of words every day. It also increases the likelihood that people will return to read further posts.
  • Have fun! It's all abut discovering new blogs, meeting new people and expanding your blogosphere. You'll be surprised at how much you'll learn.

Before April itself kicks off though, there are a few people having a little A-Z Theme Reveal party on 21st March.  

A to Challenge Theme reveal blogfest

There's a sign up list for this too, where everybody will have a grand unveiling of their intended theme for the Challenge. Make sure you head on over to check this out too, and bring the A-Z fun to your blog early!


This post is brought to you as part of the Celebrate the Small Things blogfest, a weekly adventure courtesy of VikLit. Why don't you head on over to her blog to check out what everyone else is celebrating?


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

That age old question, to plan or not to plan ... - An IWSG post

It's the first Wednesday of March (already??!!) which can mean only one thing ...

it's IWSG Day!

IWSG Badge 

The brainchild of the Ninja Captain, Alex J Cavanaugh, this wonderful community now has it's very own website. Make sure you check it out for plenty of useful tips about all things writerly, as well as the sign-up list where you can check out everyone else's insecurities and join in with your own.

For the past few weeks I'm been contemplating the question we all must have asked ourselves at some point on our writing journey, should I plan or just go with the flow? It's not the first time I've had a worry about it either, and it's just possible it could have been a topic for a previous IWSG post.
There is a certain beauty about the thought of simply sitting down and letting the entire story flow through my fingers and out onto the page, the story unfolding itself before my eyes so it's as much of a surprise to me as to anyone else.
Unfortunately, I only get so far with this method. The initial enthusiasm I have for the idea soon begins to wane, I start floundering with where it could possibly go and then abandon the project altogether.

So, I'm going to have to try plotting, and given the kind of person I am I think this is probably the best approach for me anyway. I used to feel that perhaps this doesn't make me a 'proper' writer (whatever that means), that I should just produce everything from the heart in one wonderful stream, but I'm now beginning to realise this isn't quite how it works in the real world.

Writing isn't just the initial draft, the first labour of love. It's numerous edits and redrafting and polishing to get it right. And if I need some kind of plan, an outline and structure to keep me focused, then so be it. I shan't be shamed of that fact anymore.

How do you write? Plotting or not? If not, how do you keep your focus and strategy?


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Can I have your autograph? - Express Yourself

The Express Yourself meme is a weekly jaunt brought to you by Dani at Entertaining Interests and Jackie at Bouquet of Books. At the beginning of the month the girls will post a gadget with a list of topics, something different for each week. Make sure to head on over to either of these blogs to check out the details more fully and see who else is taking part.      

This weeks topic: Do you have any autographs? If not, whose would you love to have?

There used to be a cool shop in my local city called Kulture Shock, and they used to organise loads of events with actors from Star Trek, Buffy, Babylon 5 and plenty of others. I collected quite a few autographs from these events, including:

George Takei
Walter Koenig
Robert Beltran
Alexander Siddig
Garrett Wang
and others ...

By far my favourites though were Andy Hallett and Mark Lutz, who were Lorne and the Groosalugg from Angel.

It was frustrating at the time because they were an hour and a half late, but they were totally worth it when they got there. 

I was very sad to hear of Andy Hallett's death in 2009, in fact it will be the fifth anniversary at the end of this month. I will treasure this autograph, he was such a lovely guy and it was such a shock that he died at the age of only 33.

Have you any autographs that you treasure? Who's would you like to have?