Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Monday Coffee

Hello! I am so happy to see you back here in the coffee house. It is great to see the decor has changed: the new paintwork and art lifts the atmosphere as does the new furniture. Dibs on the bright pink patchwork sofa near the bookshelves housing our resident authors’ books. If you’ve ordered your beverage, why not join me on the sofa. Tonight, we have the singers from This Is Jinsy entertaining us.

The first two weeks of studying have passed swiftly and I am thoroughly enjoying it. My love of history is growing with every assignment and meeting the other students and my tutor have secured my confidence in the course. What have you been up to over the time I’ve been away? I have been trying to keep up with bloggers and authors, dipping in and out of their blog pages and FB. If I haven’t managed to visit you or say hi, please forgive me. You are definitely not forgotten – I will get to you as soon as I can.

With us sailing swiftly towards November, my Writer’s Club at school is brimming with excitement. We have spent the month of October preparing for our exciting new novels and I am happy to say we have new children attempting the great feat of writing their own stories over the next month. Many are now veterans and are so helpful in prompting the younger ones (my youngest member is 7!) and have such a mature attitude to the writing process. Many have won prizes over the past year through different competitions run by the Young Writers. The challenge this year is going to be to reach 5000 words which is a lot to ask for any junior child. I have great confidence in them all and wish them the best of luck. Unfortunately, this year I will not be competing as it will be too much with assignments, work and the clubs.  Don’t think I could push for more things to do. Plus, it will be my birthday month!

Are you planning on challenging yourself over the month of November? What genre story do you plan on writing? Does your mind stumble and you find yourself stuck with only one idea? Well, there have been so many good ideas floating around the net about how to write and Robyn Paterson has shared great formulas on crime fiction. The best advice I can offer, if you feel some trepidation, is to enjoy yourself. Pace yourself and try not to fall too far back on your word count each day. If you do, don’t worry. Find the time to make up the word count but don’t leave it to the last week or the last few days! Try to give yourself enough time to load your story and verify your word count at the end and hey presto – you’ll be a Nanowrimo champion!

Now, let’s sit back and enjoy the last song of the evening before we have to return to our normal lives. Thanks for joining me and I’ll catch up with you soon.


Sunday, December 2016


I’m so glad I have an opportunity to write to you after a manic November. As successful as it was, the pace made me question whether I would make it to the end. I did though and am pleased to announce that a high number of the children taking part in the NaNoWriMo Challenge for 2016 met their word targets and surpassed them considerably.  Students that participated last year took it upon themselves to really challenge their abilities and their stories have shown what one year’s education can do for them. The plans were stronger and more efficient, their writing was of a higher standard and I’m pleased to say they are actually looking at their edits and correcting them, compared to the tears and tantrums I had to deal with this time last year.

For the younger students, it was a baptism by fire! Some thought it was just another fairy story without a strong middle or a relevant end. After making them sit down and read their stories out to their friends at Library Club, they soon realised that a storyteller has to have much more than pretty pink dresses and matching pink sparkly shoes to make his or her story interesting.  It was a fantastic way for them to work on their stories too, as one child found out that her story had a huge gap and mixed characters, a flaw her audience refused to accept.  After looking at me with woeful eyes, I suggested she ask her friends to help her fill in the gaps and they gladly skipped off to work the story map again and find a solution to the problem.  Hopefully, this will give them the tools to use in class to finish their work in the same way. Check your work, edit out the mistakes and check it again, just in case.  They’ll probably detest the sight of me by the end of January next year as I am determined to make them have more responsibility over the stories they submit for the Children’s Anthology.

My youngest writers surprised me. Their determination to finish and be a part of the process was amazing and I’m incredibly proud of them. Once all the stories are edited and checked again for improvements, I will be busy putting them together into the anthology which will be available for the parents to purchase and of course, I will keep a book or two in our school library for the children to read.

The proudest moment I had out of this whole process was when I read a story written by a year 5 student and was blown away by the style and structure of the story.  It was a typical zombie story but the style was similar to the horror genre on the market at the moment.  I started to get the feeling that maybe, just maybe, she had copied that style and even the storyline.  So, I decided to question said writer about how she managed to get such a good script written and who was her inspiration. She shocked me by telling me it came from a story she had read in the Children’s Anthology I created from last year’s writers! Of course, I wracked my brain trying to think of who had written a decent tale of zombies to inspire another writer to such an extent.  The real surprise was when she pointed out it was a story written by my daughter called Live or Die! That pretty much made my day. She is currently looking over her story and working ways of improving the end part which wasn’t as strong as the start, but still very good.

From aliens, to many many visits to Candy Land, from princesses with Gobbins under bridges to foxes and witches, the children have created their own special worlds where readers can lose themselves and go on a magical ride, thanks to their hard work and perseverance.

A special thank you to all the parents who take an interest in their children’s writing – you don’t know what a huge impact you are making on your children just by listening to their stories or sparing a moment to help them overcome the monsters and find solutions to how the princess will find her shoes again.  These children will have more confidence because of your time and energy in helping them, so thank you.

Making waves into oceans

Setting dreams into motion.



Here is a little taster of what I’ve been writing for the past month. It’s still in its rough draft format, so apologies for any grammar goblins or typos rearing their ugly heads.

The story is called, There’s Something About Harry, and it follows the story of a woman who has had a pretty rough life. She’s in a relationship with a man who has the power to make her life hell or heaven and after a terrible accident, is left alone to survive the cruel world. The hero who saves her from the accident sticks around long enough to fall in love with her which opens a snake’s nest of problems for a woman who is scared of her own shadow. Whether she is strong enough to choose him is the question, with the safety of her past drawing her back to a life in a bubble where she is a prisoner but also safe from the world.  Who does she choose?

There’s Something About Harry

Seb drew her away from him, staring into her upturned face. “Harry, what are we doing here? God knows I keep asking myself that question every time I enter this hospital,” he confessed.
Her silent stare didn’t help. He needed to know how she felt. Life had become a misery, obsessing over a woman that belonged to someone else. Was all this a lie? Did she feel nothing for him, but couldn’t say anything because he constantly bombarded her with his presence? Could she possibly feel the attraction he felt towards her? He needed to know.
“You have to let me know – what are we doing here, Harriet?”
She smiled, reaching up to touch his hair, his cheek, his lips. “I don’t know, Seb, but I don’t want it to stop.”
That was enough for him. He closed the distance between them and kissed her, long and deep. The longing inside him flared to life, drowning out his voice of sanity shouting, think Seb, think! She belongs to another!
Across the hospital, three men in scruffy overalls and work boots crossed the open area to the nurses station in front of the Women’s Ward.
“We are here to visit Harriet Fielding, please.”
The nurse behind the counter smiled and pointed to the open door behind them. “She’s right through there. I think she has a visitor at the moment, but you’re welcome to pop in as there aren’t any other patients in at the moment. I’m sure she will be happy to see more friends as she’s only had one visitor these past few months.”
The men shared a look between them and the older, more weathered one asked, “D’ya mind me asking who has been so kind as to visit her? You see, we are close family friends and we only found out that she ‘n Joe had been in an accident. It was such a shock, we came ri’ over.”
The nurse felt sorry for the three. They looked so tired. “Oh, it’s the gentlemen that saved them both – Detective Inspector Sebastian Turner from the Rembrant Police Department.”
The shock on the three men’s faces made her laugh out loud. “I know, it’s crazy, right? But he has been such a hero and absolute angel to her and her husband. We are glad to know him.”
“Of course. We need to thank him, personal like for tha’,” agreed the older man. The other two nodded in unison. Their bodies were already turning towards the open door across the station. “Well, we’ll go and say hello now. Thank you, miss!” The old man turned and escorted the two younger men towards the Women’s Ward, closing in on the welcoming door.
Sebastian held Harriet close to him, whispering sweet endearments to her as he ran his hand through her hair. She sat up in her bed, head leaning against his hard chest, enjoying the feeling of his heartbeat under her fingers and the timbre tones of his voice reverberating through his chest. His back was towards the door and he didn’t notice the three men enter the ward. They advanced quietly on the couple, looking at each other with questioning glances as they came closer and closer to the couple at the end of the room.
“Ahem! We’re lookin’ for Harry Fielding. Could you help us?”
The couple jumped, Sebastian turning to see who had addressed them. Harriet’s faced dropped at the sight of the three men, their outfits very familiar. They were dressed exactly as Joe had, every day for work. These must be his workmates. The blood drained from her face as her hands dove under the covers, as far away from Seb as possible. He frowned, looking down at her to see what was wrong. Her face said it all. Without a word, he released her from his embrace and felt her move away, scooting to the middle of bed, adrift in the white coverlet and sheets.
“And you are?” he asked, stretching up to his full height and puffing out his chest.
The three sized him up and jagged smiles pulled their worn faces into grimacing smiles. “We are her husband’s closest friends. You must be the hero!”
Sebastian blanched. There was no turning back now.

Writing: There’s Something About Harry

Being the month of writing and completing stories, I thought I’d get out a little post about my new story. So far, I’ve managed to record a car accident, introduce my main characters (MCs) with a dormant character waiting to throw a spanner in the works, create a love interest, formalise a back story for the MCs and move the story to a hospital.

Now all I need is time to get a catalyst brewing for the love triangle, mixed in the secrets and add a sprinkle of lies! 

Cooking up a great story takes time and effort, which is in short supply. So, with that in mind, this will have to be a first draft. If I wanted to challenge myself and get more grey hairs, I would declare that I could have this juicy story ready by Christmas. But that would just be silly…utterly ridiculous.

Or would it?

Watch this space!

Monday Coffee

  It’s dinner tonight at our favourite coffe house and everyone has turned up in their finery.  This might just constitute our version of a Christmas Party, but I do believe we will be having a few more of these in the near future!

My table is packed with authors, singers, artists and musicians.  Everyone has something to say and I must admit the noise levels are beyond comparison.  I built a bookshelf today, a beautiful white one with six shelves big enough to fit the majority of the children’s books. It might seem like a small achievement, compared to rebuilding my patio, but I’m so pleased with the end result. Everyone is cheering and congratulating me.  I feel silly even mentioning it – I guess it’s my way of compensating for failing at NaNoWriMo this year.  The Hubble pointed out to me that even at the start, I didn’t have a solid idea of a book and was grasping at straws, desperate for an idea.

I can see Lance raising an eyebrow at me.  He was kind enough to suggest a fantastic story, but I knew he had passion for the story, something I didn’t have. Lance is celebrating St Andrews day and has brought some lovely treats for us to try at this special dinner. Even the loudest person at the table shuts up long enough to sample the treats and we can’t resist going in for seconds.  

Suddenly, Rob breaks out into song and we all join in the chorus of Beautiful by Christina Aguillera. The other tables join in and the place is rocking with the voices of people from around the world. Suzie, Cindy and Jason shush us as Hugh takes the stage to make a speech and announcements about the year gone by and the lovely summer bash.  We are all excited to hear that there might be another summer meet up next year. He makes us laugh with the different signs that have been sent into his blog from his lates post and ends off his speech with a lovely rendition of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

I hope you’re having as much fun as I am and don’t forget to leave a comment to let me know your favourite part of the evening.

Book Tuesday – A Quiet Reflection

Do you ever feel your first draft of a post is so boring, readers might fall asleep trying to dredge their way through your mundane words?  I do.  I find it happening more often these days.  Finding a voice that is exciting and acceptable is like searching for chocolate chips in a brownie, totally rewarding and worth the battle through the cakey rubbish!  

In my first draft I was going to drone on about writing styles and the moving pictures in my head that turn into books.  Boring.  Next I was going to mention my focus of the week, Lance Greenfield and his new book, Knitting Can Walk.  Well, without an excerpt to tantalise your tastebuds, there’s no point really.  Of course it’s my fault the little draft is not ready.  I’ve been scratching away at the keyboard trying to tally up my word count on NaNoWriMo.  That’s my excuse anyway!

Before you drift off into a coma reading this drivel, let me update you on my project involving my dog and his baby teeth.  With some inspiration from fellow bloggers, namely Trent and Hugh, and my niece Freya, who brainstormed with me at a party, the name of the story will be The Dogfairy! To add some excitement to what might turn into another children’s snore factory, I’ve decided to illustrate the book myself (much to the amusement of my family).  Here is my first attempt at capturing my little doggy heroine… 

 At some point I have to contact the Police.  With all good stories, getting the structure and protocol of organisations correctly helps the flow.  That’s what is missing from The Iron Pendulum.  Once more research is done, I think it will be a better book – something I can be proud of distributing to you, my fellow writers/readers.

Moving on, I have to mention that my blog might get a bit sporadic again with its posts falling on incorrect days.  My apologies in advance.  Due to laziness and a lack of organisational skills, I will probably fail to prepare blogs in advance and will post as and when I get a chance.  I’m mentioning this because I missed my Monday Coffee yesterday.  Terrible to think I didn’t meet up with my regulars for a quick cuppa and catch up. Let’s just call it exciting November madness!  I will find another excuse next month as it draws closer to Christmas. 😊

Thanks for reading!

Birthdays and Books

A pinch and a punch for the first of the month!  I’m pretty psyched because this is my birthday month and I have officially sign up for NaNoWriMo!  It’s not going to be easy with writing, working, watching over eleven children writing their own books and handling the laundry, but somebody has to do it!  

Good luck to all my fellow writers out there challenging this lovely month with their perfect prose of 50,000 words or more.  Last year was my first time doing NaNoWriMo and I was really pleased to complete The Iron Pendulum.  With any luck, my new work-in-progress, The Cure, will be just as much fun.  The book will be targeted at the young adult audience and has built up a storyline in my mind over the past few weeks thanks to the Book Tuesday blog.  If you haven’t read the excerpts I posted, here is the link…


Celebrating a year more in a lifetime of dreams can’t be so bad when things you enjoy surround you and attract more of the same.  I can’t say it’s all roses.  Life is tough and this has been a hard year.  But, in the grand scheme of things, it’s better to point out the good bits than overwhelm myself in sorrow.  There’s plenty of time for tears…and apparently sleep.

Right, I can’t dilly-dally.  Word counts don’t increase on their own and I have some work to do.

Have a lovely evening folks.

Monday Coffee

  Phew! I made it!  There was so much to do today  and I’ve only just settled the sprogs in the last hour, which is really late for them.  

I see Chris is here with Todd and everyone is giving a round of applause to AMommasView for her Liebster Award Nomination. Congratulations! 

Whilst everyone is chatting, shall we order? Have you had something already?  What’s the favourite of the day?  I heard the ginger and cinnamon drink is quite nice.  I can’t say I’m brave enough to try it. Tonight calls for a lovely hazel nut hot chocolate.  Will you join me?  

How was your weekend?  Mine went really well and I did wear the dress!  If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, I’ll remind you here whilst we wait for our drinks.  As promised, here is a pic of me in the dress.  I’ve chosen one with the Hubble whilst we were dancing.

  The things I had to do to get into that dress will remain a secret! It was a lovely event and it was wonderful to catch up with family and friends after so long.

How is the hot chocolate?  While you sip yours, tell me, how was your weekend?  What did you get up to?

Oh, before I forget, I’m really excited about an event happening at my school this week. I’ve organised a visit from Rob Lewis, a fantastic children’s author. He is doing what I hope to do one day – visiting schools and sharing his work with the students. Are you brave enough to face a hall full of children waiting for you to entertain them with your stories? I think it would be a wonderful experience.

On the writing front, are you prepping for the final push before NaNoWriMo and the end of the year?  I’m so glad to see more of my blogging friends joining up.  I haven’t as yet, but I’m not too concerned as I joined in a week late last year and still managed to finish.  It’s finding the right storyline that concerns me.  

Is anyone trying to finish their novel in time for the Christmas rush?  I have given up on putting a time limit on my projects as life keeps interrupting my work.  Once things settle I am going to get stricter with my timing on other things to keep more focused on my writing. Wait…where have I heard that before?  Oh right…me – a couple of months ago!  There’s no hope!

How do you keep up with work, life, children and extra activities plus writing?  Please, tips would be welcome!

Right, it looks like more customers are coming in and I have to run home now.  Thanks for the chat and sharing a hazel nut hot chocolate with me.  Same time next week?  I’ll see you then. 😀

Monday Coffee

It’s a beautiful Monday night and after catching up with all the coffee posts over the weekend, I feel as though I have no special news to share!

What shall we drink tonight?  Coffee, tea or does anyone have an inkling towards a creamy hot chocolate?  I would offer you a slice of my son’s chocolate cake since we are sitting at home today, but there’s none left.  Chocolate cake doesn’t last long over weekends!  It is a bit of a change of pace sitting in front of the fire, relaxing on my sofa rather than the bustle of the normal Monday’s crowd.  I quite like it – it feels more intimate.

After a very long, dry spell, I am moving forward with my work.  Cecil had a special editing session again today and I managed to fix my Scrivener account which has been a nightmare over the past month or so.  I’ve found another few pages from my story, The Cure and I shall post them earlier tomorrow as a second instalment.  I do hope you get a chance to read it and leave some feedback as I’m still unsure about the story line.  Tomorrow, I have a special guest coming to visit my Book Tuesday post and I’m pretty excited to hear what you have to say about him.  He is a friend of Howard Loring and contacted me after reading my post featuring Howard a few weeks back.  So, please, show him some love and leave some feedback on his work.  Every author appreciates feedback.

I’ve hogged the conversation!  How was your weekend?  Have you started prepping for NaNoWriMo?  There are quite a few projects on the go – how is yours going?  Whilst you fill me in on your news, I’ll go pop the kettle back on again. 😊

Monday Coffee

IMG_4110-0Hi!  It’s great to see you again.  Grab a stool as the coffee house is buzzing tonight.  Must be the weather and the anticipation for NaNoWriMo starting in a month’s time.

I’ve been reading through so many excellent blogs and have to point out Sue Vincent at the Daily Echo.  She wrote a beautiful piece this weekend.  

Friends are on the move again, Colleen from Silver Threading being one of them. Others have suffered losses, had a family crisis or some upheaval and it is in moments like this when I wish I really could send out big hugs instead of Ethernet hugs.

Now that you’re seated and sipping your drink, I have to ask, are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?  I’m still not sure as I haven’t completed the books I have written over the past year.  It sounds silly, but there are moments when I feel the overwhelming loss of my mum and I hit a brick wall in my writing.  Silly excuse but a sad reality.  It has only been five months I guess.

Anyway, back to our beverages. Have you been following Trent’s story, The Halley Branch?  I would highly recommend it.  There are other bloggers working hard through their awesome stories, many of whom I have followed since starting on WordPress. I will try to mention them the next time we have coffee together, but I really wanted to focus on these lovely bloggers today.  

Before we leave, don’t forget to visit Hugh and give him the biggest hug ever as he returns to us after a break.  

I have to get back to my messy writing world so I will bid you farewell till we meet up again. Enjoy your drink!