I have a new toy!

I am the extremely excited and proud owner of a brand new Acer Aspire E1-572P touchscreen laptop!

It has been a long time since I owned a laptop. I literally cannot remember when mine died, that’s how long it has been. So having written mostly in notebooks, on the iPad/iPhone or using one of my daughters tiny netbooks I was so glad that we were able to buy this.

It was really difficult choice too, I’m sure if you are a parent you will understand where I am coming from. All your money goes on your children, whether it be for basic essentials such as food, clothes and shoes or for special treats like presents and day trips. Trying to justify spending a few hundred pounds on something for myself was really hard! My husband was telling me to. Even the kids were trying to persuade me, although I’m sure they had ulterior motives 😉 But in the end I managed to justify it to myself that there is no way am I ever going to get seriously back into writing properly without one. That is the one thing I really want to do. Also we had the money, in a few months time we probably wouldn’t have the money as I would have used it for something mundane like food, or bills so it had to be now or pretty much never.

I have had a really hectic week with my eldest two turning 13 yesterday so I haven’t really had chance to sit and figure out everything about this new windows 8.1. But I’m hoping it won’t take me long to find my way around. Hey I managed to get online and write this post so it can’t be all that difficult!

I’m loving the touchscreen, I was going to buy the same spec laptop without it and for less money. But hubby suggested I would probably regret not getting as I am so used to using the iPad and iPhone now. For once he was right, but shhh don’t tell him that! The only thing that is bugging me is the onscreen keyboard. I’m hoping there is a way to turn that off. I have a perfectly good keyboard why would I need another one that is awkward to use?

Apart from the keyboard the only downside I can really see is that the case seems quite cheap looking. It is just a basic plastic case. I know there are much more expensive laptops than this one, but for almost ÂŁ500 I would like to think you get something a bit…well, prettier?

It has an Intel i5 processor and If I ever need to, I can expand the memory from 4gb to 8gb which is a nice option to have. All in all I am quite happy with my new toy and I hope it makes me a more productive person.

Have you bought anything new for yourself recently? Or do you have windows 8, how do you get along with it? I know some hate it and some (well a few) love it, which camp are you in?

A sparkly new idea

Being as the only thing my brain has room for at the moment is baby things I had a new idea today about writing a new book. I’m still tapping away occasionally at my first novel, but my heart is just not feeling it at the moment. It’s too full of baby secretions to think about blood and bones.  Plus I have always had an issue with writing some of the awful things I have, all while a sweet little child is grinning at me from the floor.  I don’t want to somehow poison my child with my horrid imagination.

So I have been trying to post regularly over on my other blog just to keep up the writing and I am really enjoying it. But I guess that is because it’s what is relevant to me and my life at the moment. So just this morning I realised that over the last 13 years, I have had many exasperating, funny, and even scary things happen all while trying to keep these five little beings alive, fed and mostly clean.  Surely there is a story there? I mean I was married young and we’re still together. We had 4 children in 5 years, then left it another 6 before having our last. I’ve had twins (one who was born with teeth), a child with mild additional needs physically who can lick her elbow, a colourblind boy who insisted Barney was blue until he was five and a baby who was early, needed special care and had a tongue tie. Not to mention all of the funny incidents like when the twins emptied an entire bottle of talc over their bedroom, or the time I thought I’d lost a child during naptime but she had destroyed her bedroom and was asleep under the mattress on the floor. Or when I stood on the street chatting to one 2 year old for almost 10 minutes while the other one screamed and kicked on the floor until she got bored, then we carried on with our walk without even mentioning it.  I think you get the picture!

I’m still very much in the ideas stage so I’m not sure if I want to write a fictional piece or a sort of autobiographical humorous guide to surviving kids, kind of thingy.  I have a good group of followers on twitter so I’m sure I could get some extra kids from hell stories or tips and tricks if I asked.

So I’m sure none of this will come together anytime soon as I’m still being woken every few hours by a little booby monster so my waking hours are usually survived in a state exhaustion but slowly I’m sure things will come together 🙂

 

So what do you think, fiction or not? Let me know below

My favourite place as a child

I was a lucky child, at least in my eyes. Why was I so lucky do you ask? Well, I grew up in a house that was only one street away from the local library. Some children may think the park or the playing fields would be the best thing to live near but not me!

The first time my mother took me to this dilapidated old workmen’s institute, that housed the library in the back room, I was won over by this new world full of learning and imagination that was now mine. I loved everything from the smell of the books as you walked through the door, to the hidden world behind each colourful spine peeking out at me from their home on the shelves.

At six years old I was finally allowed to visit the library alone. Times were different then and children had more freedom at a younger age plus there were no main roads to cross and less cars in the valley. It also meant I didn’t have to pester my mother to keep taking me!

At least once, but often two or three times a week I would wander down our hill with my last six books and step into that cool musty building. There I would be greeted by Jill, the librarian. She always seemed to be there. I honestly cannot remember a time before I was an older teenager that she wasn’t there! I would hand over my books and start my journey around the shelves. If I had plenty if time to spare Jill would pull out the old maps and other documents that were written on huge sheets of parchment containing ancient local events. I could pore over those documents for hours, it helped that I had my own real life dictionary to explain some of the dated language and jargon!

When I tried to choose my next set of books I always wished I could take out more than six at a time. The hardest part was choosing which ones to leave behind. That was until I stepped out if the front door and faced the steep hill that would take me home rising before me. Halfway home I would be grateful that I couldn’t borrow more, especially if I had taken out a large one!

By the time I was 10 I had read all of the children, teen and non fiction books, including many Jill had ordered in for me. It was at this time she started to handpick books from the adult selection for me. After I had finished all the books from ones she had read I think that she may have struggled choosing appropriate titles, don’t get me wrong, I would read anything and fully comprehend and understand every word, but Virginia Andrews isn’t necessarily the author that jumps to mind when I’m considering books for my own prepubescent daughters. Although I still read them over again now.

Being a small library in a small village there were rarely new releases unless they were ordered in. It also meant we were more likely to get the books that were the least popular in the main branch. Which was a 40 minute bus journey away. But I believe that my need to pick up and read pretty much anything has come from that little back room library and it’s odd assortment of titles. I can think of only two books ever, that I was unable to get into and gave up after the first few chapters. Those books and documents made me who I am today, someone who can appreciate the written word for what it is, not just because it is the newest, has the prettiest cover or comes from the popular author of the moment.

I really loved that library. Where was your favourite place as a child? Did it make you the person you are today? Let me know.

Forever a nap-time writer?

Since my last post I have still been trying to edit my handful of short stories and research all the self-publishing options available.  Trying to fit this in around a baby is harder than I expected it to be! I want to be able to fully share the process, information and decision making with you and so have decided, so that this blog doesn’t lay dormant for another few months to have some smaller more personal posts. Preferably ones that I can fit in during a nap time, just like any writing I manage to do at the moment. Thank goodness for flash fiction!

On the subject of babies I have also started another blog, one about my family. You know the kind, the typical parenting blog that is filled with anecdotes about my kids as they grow up. It’s a nice place to share my stories of the chaos that is our house. I’d be happy if you all stopped by sometime, it’s still a little baby blog and needs all the love it can get 🙂

Anywho if you have anything you would like me post about in particular or any questions feel free to throw them in my direction 🙂

Self publishing short stories

So in a bid to clear up all my folders in folders in folders ( that are mostly still called “new folder”) I have been going through all the odds and ends of short stories I have amassed over the last 5 years. Most are unfinished or very rough drafts, some are merely paragraphs that I just couldn’t get to go anywhere.

In amongst all the “new folders” I found a lonely little one entitled “finished” I was beginning to doubt that I had ever actually finished anything in my life but here was a small selection of stories, albeit in desperate need of revision, but ones that I actually liked enough to complete!

So what do I do with them now? I have printed 5 of them out to go over with my red pen ( this bit makes me feel like a teacher and a failing student all at the same time) but after that what then?

Should I start searching for a literary journal or magazine to send them to? Most of these don’t allow simultaneous admissions and often take months to reply, so I could sit around for the next year sending these stories out time and again only to be faced with rejection because, let’s be honest here for each space a publication has there could be hundreds, thousands even, of writers with stories to fill it. Good stories too.
Very few writers, who are unknown manage to get there foot in the door that easily. Especially those of us who have never had anything published at all.

This is the traditional route for short story writers. But now it seems that there is a new, different way. A way to guarantee your story will get published! There’s no guarantee anyone will read it, or like it for that matter. But it could be out there for anyone to stumble upon.

With the advent of ereaders and ebooks, self publishing has taken on a whole new persona. Gone are the days of writers paying huge amounts of money for a garage full of printed books which they would then spend even more huge amounts of money trying to publicise and sell for pennies of profit per unit, if their lucky.

Now I’m still learning about all this but it seems like companies such as Amazon and Kobo let you directly publish your books through them in the form of ebooks.
Smashwords is site a that can distribute your ebook to Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Nook etc. From what little research I have done they seem to hold your hand the entire way through the process, which for a beginner like me is great!

I am still doing my homework on this one and I will let you know my findings when I have made sense of them but I am beginning to think that this is a route I might like to take. I wouldn’t be alone either, over 70,000 authors use Smashwords to distribute their books. They can’t all be making a mistake can they?

But now i have a myriad of questions running through my head. Is 5 stories enough, should it be 7 or 10? How much should I sell it for? Would anybody actually buy a selection of short stories anyway? I guess I’ll have to figure out the answers along the way. Any suggestions?

The sound of silence

Okay so obviously I’m very slowly easing myself back into this, I mean, a post a month isn’t too bad is it? Not when you have a 3 month old baby who still breastfeeds every two to three hours it isn’t!

So I haven’t really done much writing, I did print off the first three chapters of my book hoping maybe by doing a bit of half-arsed editing I will feel compelled to carry on with the actual writing of it. But unfortunately it has just been gathering dust-along with the rest of my house!

One thing I have found lovely in all those hours in the day that I am sitting on my backside, apart from doting on my gorgeous little man of course, is that I just get to sit in silence. I can’t write because I’m holding my son, but even when I’m gazing into his eyes or stroking his sleeping head I get to think. Not even think really, more empty my head of everything.

Apart from people watching sitting in the silence has to be one of my favourite pastimes. Getting to go over conversations I’ve had previous and make them go the way I thought they should (read that as winning an argument)including those with myself. Chatting to people I haven’t seen in years or will be seeing soon. Okay I’ll stop with the examples as they are making me sound a little bit kooky but you get what I mean right? Just generally sorting things out in my brain ready to be filed away into my subconscious. But after all that I just get to enjoy the silence, not be caught up in my thoughts anymore, just enjoying the almost meditative state.

I know soon, when things are more back to normal, during these quiet times is when I’ll start to get ideas again. Without really trying to sound like I’m off my head but I’ll start to get some whispering at the back of my mind, not like voices telling me what to do, but more voices of characters I have yet to meet telling me their stories.

But for now I just relish the peaceful times and listening to the sound of silence. How about you, are you one who enjoys nothing more than sitting in the quiet or do you like to always be surrounded by busyness and noise?

Let’s Try This Again

So it has been a while (almost 2 years!) since I wrote on this blog. I considered just starting afresh, out with the old and in with the new so to speak, but in the end I decided to carry on regardless. Let’s just dust off the cobwebs and pick up where we left off.

So where was I?

Back then I was trying to scrape my way through my first novel, bring up four children and work(albeit for only 2 hours a day). I started this blog to write down my musings as I went about my mundane little life.

Where am I now?

So lot’s of things have changed. I set my book down, around 40,000 words in, about a year ago and haven’t picked it up since. I had just fallen out of love with it. It has been sat, unopened, on my portable hard drive. I did write some short stories and flash fiction but then apart from the odd burst of creativity stopped altogether.

I do have an excuse for the last year(not the previous one though, but maybe we’ll just forget
about that one) I now have 5 children, we welcomed our second son into the world after a very difficult pregnancy and traumatic birth-wasn’t it supposed to get easier the more you have?

After nine weeks I don’t really have much time to sit down, plus I usually fall asleep when i do. But I am starting to feel my creative juices starting to flow again. I feel the need to write again, my book finally got copied to my pc and then to my iPad via Dropbox. I haven’t done more than browse through yet but one day…

I have also been looking at what other writing I can try my hand at. I have never written web content or SEO articles but maybe now I’m at home till bubs goes to school in 3 years I might be able to make a little bit of extra cash doing such things. It will take me a while to figure out how it all works and I’m not dillusional in thinking I will get much, if any money doing this but it might be good just to get me writing again.

Given that I do have 5 children including preteen twin girls, who are trying at the best of times, as well as a newborn. I can’t guarantee these posts will be as regular as they should be but hey at least I finally got back on the bandwagon!

Any advice on web content and SEO article writing would be appreciated 🙂