Monday, July 31, 2006

The Break-up

I've become addicted to Caramel Coffee Frappuccinos from Starbucks. They're really tasty. If you've not tried one, give yourself a treat.I've been living off them for the past few weeks.

Tonight, after having my fix of Frapuccino, I went to the cinema and ended up seeing The Break-up.

It was a spur of the moment thing and we had initially hoped to see The Lake House but that wasn't on, so we opted for The Break-up. It was okay. The on screen chemistry between Aniston and Vaughn wasn't great, at first, but they warmed up. There were some funny moments and quite a lot of realism, but overall I'd say okay.

On the other hand, yesterday, I saw a fantastic film on Sky called Dear Frankie.

It was heart warming and touching, but then I'm a big old softie. Highly recommended if you're into tear jerkers.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


I'm in Wales at the moment visiting some family members, my two nieces and nephew amongst them who are adorable incidently. My one niece is a tiny three and is the cutest and funniest but then I am biased. She certainly makes up for her small stature with her personality and voice which is LOUD. Of course I am trying to spoil them as any aunt should and have already bought them gifts, and you'll be glad to hear I've got rid of those awful nails. I've also been conned into buying a manicure set to improve my existing nails and am generally being frivolous for once.

Writing wise I'm working on a resource which is due in September, after which I can get back to The View From My Window.

If you've never been to Wales, I highly recommend it. South and especially Mid, West and North Wales are beautiful when it's sunny! If you're looking for seclusion, peace, tranquility and a bit of a retreat it's perfect, and Welsh folk are a friendly lot!

I've used this company before for a cottage and it was really lovely. Highly recommended for writers' retreats!

In fact, Anita Loughrey posted on her blog about the Caerleon Writers' Holiday which, up till then, I'd not known about, and I may opt for this next year. Have a look. It looks action packed.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Never again

Sorry- this has nothing to do with writing:

Okay, these nails were a big MISTAKE. They're really irritating and I want them off. That's what happens when you're impulsive! The thing is I've just looked into removing them and found all these horror stories- LOOK
I don't want to go back to the vicious woman at the nail place so I've found some advice on how to remove them at home. I'm going to give it a go. My advice: never get yours done.

This is about writing:

Wylie Merrick has some good suggestions about what's hot in writing at the moment and Skint Writer has some useful information about self publishing on his blog.

I'm off to buy some acetone.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Well, the manuscript for One of a kind is in the hands of Royal Mail now.... I do hope the agent is happy with it. I think it's pretty polished now, although I'm never 100% satisfied with anything I do. There's always room for improvement.

As a treat for all my hard work I had my hair done today. Now this may sound trivial and un-noteworthy but it's a real biggie for me. I don't spend much money on myself and today I went wild. I got my hair highlighted and styled and for the first time ever I got a professional set of nails put on. They look really real. I was mightily impressed, if a little terrified of the Vietnamese lady who was just a tad rough with the electric file and glue.

I'm sure they'll drop off at some inconvenient moment and they make typing or doing anything with my hands a bit awkward but I'm sure I'll get used to them and in any case, I'm not about to let vanity stand in the way of my writing, now am I? Sorry no pics... yet!!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Published works

Hello everyone. I'm still developing and editing One of a Kind like mad, and it's going well, I'm glad to say. Once it's all done, I'll send the manuscript off to the agent again and keep my fingers crossed.

My GCSE York Notes on Journey's End have the front cover image showing on Amazon. I've copied it here for you and provided a link to Pearson's, for anyone who needs the notes?!!

As is standard with the new look York notes, my name's not on the cover but my name is inside on the front page. I should be receiving my copies in August and I'm really looking forward to that! Yay.

Other educational writing news- I've agreed to supply two resources to a small educational publisher called Classroom Resources with whom I've already published a couple of resources.

One of my resources is on Much Ado About Nothing and the other is on A Midsummer Night's Dream. They're the resources with codes of 5149 and 5150, in the English Shakespeare section.

Even more news- I received the last of my advance for the Hodder Year 7 Resource which is due out in January, I think. I 'll have to confirm this and once I have a link or image I'll definitely tell you all.

And finally, I noticed that the OCR examination board has paid me for marking 326 GCSE scripts, so I'm a pretty happy bunny today. Sorry if I sound overjoyed. It's because I am!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Editing and developing

This is a very quick post to say I am in the middle of reworking sections of One of a Kind and have set myself a pretty tough deadline which is why I won't post for a while.

So far, I'm happy with what I've done, but I still want to develop sections some more.

I can see why the agent made the comments he did and it's really helped me focus on what's important. I'm beginning to like and feel fired up about my novel again and that's really good news for me!

On a more sombre note, I hope the present escalation of problems in the world settles down soon. It's really sad when innocent civilians pay for the politics of others.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sunny days and late nights

Today, I had dinner on my newly acquired garden table. I bought it as an impulse buy along with a parasol and chairs which were part of a six piece set. It cost me a fraction of the price I was going to pay for similar elsewhere. I've posted a picture of something similar on here! I paid £50 for my set and I am pretty chuffed with that bargain, I can tell you.

I felt like I was abroad this evening dining Al Fresco! It made me think about what life would be like abroad.

Recently, I've been staying up late watching my new SKY movies - there's so much choice it's fantastic!! Beats terrestrial TV that's for sure. And with CNN and Euronews I feel quite spoilt:-) I'm trying to make the most of the movies as they're free for 6 months then I'll have to decide whether I can live without them or not!

I know, I know- what about the writing?

Well, actually, tonight I'm up late because I've been gathering some pictures to help me make my novel One of a Kind more visual. The agent, I sent it to, said I needed more description, in places, so that's what I'll be working on tomorrow, as well as a few edits and developments.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Circus time

I've just been to The Chinese State Circus and it was really good. I've posted a picture from their site which shows one of the acts- The Human Chandelier which was scarier to see than The Omen

I'm starting a new job in September and having spoken to a colleague today I feel really encouraged about it. I have a good feeling about next term, but for now it's time to enjoy the summer.... and the World Cup final! As of tomorrow my writing will start in earnest.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Celebration time! My work is done and I break for the summer on Friday!

Can you tell I am just a bit excited? :-)

I am looking forward to getting down to some serious writing - revising One of a Kind being number one priority and, of course, my work for Philip Allan which has a deadline.

Other than that, I've signed up to Sky- mainly for the movies but also the Discovery and knowledge channels. I've resisted till now but have finally succumbed. I'll try not to turn into a couch potato.

If you're thinking of going to the cinema, let me tell you, in my opinion, the choice of films at the moment (in the UK) isn't great. In the end it was a choice between The Lake House, Hard Candy and The Omen for me. I was tempted to watch The Lake House simply because of Keanu Reeves who I once had a thing for, alongside Denzel Washington, who I still have a thing for, but the plot, whilst interesting looked pointless. Hard Candy looked really interesting and a twist on the normal but the review described it as sadistic and violent and that put me off.

In case you were even remotely interested in my reasoning!

In the end The Omen won. I read the book as a teenager and it stayed with me for some time. I found it gruesome and scary back then. I think I saw the original 1976 film also when I was younger, and I remember that too being scary, but this time around, I really wasn't scared- not at all. Perhaps it's because I'm older and less easily shocked, or, perhaps it was the film itself. Maybe it just wasn't very good?

I've been through a lot in my life time and I think there are so many horror and violent films made nowadays that I have become desensitised. To be honest, rather than the film, my lack of fear, is what I found scary. I guess I've changed and that is a scary thing to realise.

Or maybe I just went to the wrong film?!!!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Information Technology

I am fully functional once more- as far as the internet is concerned! It was scary not having proper access to the big old WWW for over a week. Just goes to show how dependent we have all become.(Well, I certainly have) It is so convenient isn't it?

In fact one of the questions on the paper I'm currently examining put forward the suggestion that advances in Information Technology remove the need for schools... What do you imagine 325 teeneagers thought, in response? You might be surprised!

On the news front... Steve, my editor for the Philip Allan Units (now Hodder), recently told me that the Year 7 project is in production so that's good. I've just got to tidy up a few details on my section of the Year 8 one and then do my bit of the Year 9 one for the September deadline and that's that project sorted. It'll be good to see the finished product. I'll keep you all posted on that.

Well, this is my official break from work- alongside a bowl of soup and Eva Cassidy, so I'd better get back to it. Still have 53 scripts left.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


My broadband internet connection is down and has been for quite a few days now. I'm getting quite annoyed and am seriously considering changing providers, as the customer services department of my provider has also been unavailable recently. This , alongside my marking, explains my lack of blogging! Today I am using a dial up and VERY slow internet connection.

But, I had to tell you my news so I have struggled here! The York Notes which I told you about a while ago are now due out in September. My editor said they'd gone to print earlier this month. She sent a copy of the cover to me but my email account swallowed it so I can't post it, not that I'd even try with this connection. I'm not having much luck with computers nowadays!

I also heard back from the agent regarding my teen/ crossover novel One of a Kind. The book had improved, they said, but they want more to be done and they've suggested some more revisions. I'm taking this all to mean a positive thing as they intimated that it had potential and they wanted it to be as good as possible.

I will get to that after my marking. Hope you are all enjoying this glorious sunshine. I'm indoors marking.....