Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom

Yay!

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So, get on your way!”

~Dr Seuss

Earthquakes: Fight or Flight?

mother-natureI just want the earth to stop moving beneath my feet but it doesn’t look like it’s going to. If I was to choose a favourite element, it would probably be water but now as it seems like I’m constantly walking on ripples I’m not so sure.

So what does it feel like to experience not one, but more than four significant earthquakes in around two months and hundreds – no, probably thousands – of aftershocks? I’m grateful that I’m not on my own in all of this. The initial reaction is one of flight. And if the quake happens during the night that reaction is muted by a sense of disorientation, as if blindfolded and turned around and around so you don’t know where you are going. Our house is made of stone, thick stone walls and it shakes like a leaf caught in a strong breeze. Pictures, cupboards and wardrobes rattle, ceiling lights and cups hanging from a shelf swing and the floor undulates beneath our feet. Only seconds… but seems like forever. Once outside, when the ground is still trembling but the violence has stopped, a moment of disbelief and sheer terror fills our minds as we look back at our house; anticipating the worse. Then the shaking begins again, but it’s not the earth, it’s inside ourselves as we realise that we’re safe, that it could have been worse. Our family of cats and dogs pick up on our fear and gather round, wanting reassurance and we oblige with lots of cuddles.

The trembling sensation reappears with every aftershock as our hypersensitivity to any movement triggers a brief moment of fear and this goes on minutes after minutes, hours after hours, days after days; fuelled by reports from friends on social media and the constant checking of the earthquake list. It takes a gulp of courage to return back inside and luckily the weather has been kind enough to allow us some space to be warmed by the autumn sunshine. Life is literally thrown up in the air and dropped back down again, yet it never feels it lands in the right place. The constant checking of tiny hair line disruptions and the ever widening img_15941

Crack in our wall - middle and top

Crack in our wall – middle and top

crack in our bedroom wall has become a ritual that seems so natural, as has the checking of the emergency bag we keep by the door every night. A constant reminder of the fear and terror. And as for the sleep deprivation, it’s almost as if we hold our breath from the moment that night falls until the dawn.

But we must fight after the flight. Our own personal battle with ourselves and our anxiety for the ‘what if’.  We are thankful that we are still alive, have a roof above our heads and families and friends who check in regularly to see how we are. We are thankful that we’re not in the throes of a war or threatened by terrorism. We are thankful for every moment that passes when a distant rumble or mumble doesn’t have us eyeing our one and only exit. Mother Nature is one angry lady, and unfortunately earthquakes are the one natural disaster that is almost impossible to predict. Life is to0 precious to live constantly on the edge and we have to return to some kind of normality, if only for our peace of mind. Whether we’ll every feel that kind of tranquil safety we took for granted when we moved here 9 years ago, I’m not sure. We’re actively looking for a second hand motor home to provide us with a safe haven. It may seem extreme but it’s a medium term plan which has just moved up the list. On the positive side, at last I’ll have the office space I’ve always dreamed of.

 

 

 

Distraction Therapy

I’ve been keeping myself busy with other stuff as my writing muse seems to be lying down in a dark room and refuses to come out. But I’m trying to be kind to her, she needs some time out and that’s fine. So pottering about in the garden (Dad would have loved wandering about the … Continue reading

Spring has Sprung?

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Early one Morning!

Words: I’m not sure that counting words represents my productivity watch out for blog over at Louise Charles
Carbs and Cals: A week in the UK, too much wine but very emotional. Trousers are loose. 🙂
Workout: Mowing the lawn, fence building and re-siting trees
Reading: Shift by Hugh Howey
Weather: Hot and sunny to foggy and thunderstorms *see pic
Watched: Star Wars (at Stansted Airport)and Pan
Word of the Week: Majuscule:adjective, large, as either capital or uncial letters
International Day of the Week: April 13th is Bookmobile day

I had a week in the UK with my lovely Dad celebrating his 82nd birthday. Although he couldn’t participate he insisted on cake and champagne for everyone. Most of the family were there but we sadly missed, Sam, Toby and my lovely husband, Simon. I am blessed also with my wonderful son, Ben and his family who stayed with me all week.

As my flight back home to Italy was very early on Saturday morning I spent the Friday night at Stansted Airport. Although I wasn’t looking forward to it, it was quite interesting and lots of action for a serial people watcher to store for future use in my writing. It passed pretty quickly thought I did spend most of the weekend catching up on my sleep.

The garden beckons as Spring takes hold. The daisies in the garden though, I believe are very good for the bees so I was careful to leave some behind when mowing. Simon thinks I just missed them ;). And today we’ve been protecting our vegetable garden from animal pests: dogs and chickens. For some reason Freya thinks the onion patch is a place for her to chill out and Naughty Nell has been digging holes, chasing lizards in the peas! We like to let the chickens free roam but they also like the lovely worms from our compost. We’ve had some lovely warm weather and the stereotypical expat Brits are already talking about BBQ’s but I prefer to wait until summer has arrived properly and enjoy each season for it’s uniqueness. Contrary to popular belief, living abroad does not mean wall to wall sunshine, no matter what you wish!

Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

The latest blog is up over at Louise Charles about creating a Story Bible to store all the information about my individual projects. It’s not quite the same as a paper system but our tiny house can’t take any more folders, so it’s a necessity. It also makes it more accessible from wherever I maybe as long as I have access to a computer. What’s not to like?

My latest WiP is skipping along nicely. Simon finished a read through and I went through his notes and will make the changes next week. Then on to the cover and blurb. Feeling good.

Ciao

Peace is the Path

Words: Approx 3k new plus edited around 15kimage
Carbs and Cals: Fell of the track a bit this week, I blame the weather
Workout:  Walked the dogs most days, even in rain and fog
Reading: Lamentation by CJ Sansome
Weather: Wash out Wednesday… grey and miserable
Watched: Not a lot
Word of the Week: KENSPECKLE Adjective: 1. Scot. and North England. conspicuous; easily seen or recognized.
International Day of the Week: Got to be Puppy Day on 23rd March

I’ll bedove-41260_640 in the UK when this is posted having hastily scribbled and scheduled it on Thursday evening before I left, so it shall be a short entry.
The horrors of Belgium are still filling my head. I don’t understand why one human being would want to slaughter others in such a violent and senseless way. I don’t often air my personal views on these matters but it chills me to the bone. I’m at a loss for words to be honest.

There is no path to peace. Peace is the path. Ghandi

We saw a heron (twice) on the same road and virtually the same spot we saw the hare last week. Despite their size they seem to glide off with such grace and ease. Lago San Ruffino, one of our local favourite works has quite an extensive heron community, including the smaller white egrets. Walking has been something of a washout this week. On Wednesday it rained continuously hard all day, so it was designated a PJ day.

The second draft of All Will Be Well is now printed off for Simon to revisit while I’m away. I managed to complete most of the major revisions, sort out the timeline and reset some of the scenes. It feels in my head as if it’s right, but who knows?

My plans this week in the UK? Well perhaps a bit of Easter Egg hunting, celebrating my Dad’s 82nd birthday, maybe a visit to the cinema and catching up with my lovely family. Oh, and editing a few short stories, a bit of a break from the big stuff.

Buona Pasqua!

Ciao

March Madness

Words: 830 new words and edited 6 scenes (10k)image
Carbs and Cals: Malteser’s cracked open last night
Workout: A morning in the garden, and plenty of walks
Reading: The Crow’s Nest by Ann Cleeve :/ still but getting better
Weather: After grey, wet start beautiful Spring sunshine this morning
Watched: No films but loved Happy Valley
Word of the Week: Wordmonger noun 1. a writer or speaker who uses words pretentiously or with careless disregard for meaning

Tomorrow is International Day of Happiness apparently. Are we only allowed one day? With this lovely Spring sunshine the smiles are bountiful today and we have enjoyed a morning in the garden with all the lovely new shoots, promises of life to come.

Happiness is a journey, not a destination. Ben Sweetland

Last week a large, very large, hare bounded out in front of the car, its ears were huge! Reminded me of the time we watched some boxing hares on a walk with our three Springer Spaniels – and yes, they really do box. It was fascinating.

hare

This week has been a great week for my writing. On Monday I received an email to say that my short story, Mad Hattie will be published on Story Shack in May. Story Shack publish stories of up to 1000 words online but also include an illustration. Can’t wait to see what it will be for this story. I really enjoyed writing it and it all began with the Antiques Roadshow of all things! IMG_1097

Secondly, I published my first book under my imprint of White Wolf Books. The Morning Gift was a project I started some years back  and it’s been a long time in the making. I received my copy
this week and I’m really chuffed with the cover which I designed myself. I really am enjoying the whole process of self publishing in its entirety and it gives me an enormous amount of satisfaction.

Next week, I return to the UK for my Dad’s 82nd birthday. He’s still not well and all of us (I have four siblings) are hoping to make it as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren. It’s very supportive at these time,
being part of a big family. And on Monday I have my first Mrs Mop duty of the season. To supplement our very meagre income I clean holiday homes in between bookings. It’s a job that needs doing and it gives me plenty of thinking space as I wield my mop and duster!

Ciao for Now

 

 

A Mixed Bag

Words: 2000 words and muse submitted to Writers Abroad, Yay! Lots of research.    image
Carbs and Cals: I’ve lost 3kgs! About 61bs… encouraging
Workout: A walk at Monastero see later
Reading: The Crow’s Nest by Ann Cleeve :/
Weather: Wet and grey, reminds me of the UK 🙁 Grass is growing long!
Watched: The Martian 🙂 and The Danish Girl :'(  – hedonistic for us.
k: ISONOMY noun 1. equality of political rights. Origin – Isonomy derives from the Greek terms ísos meaning “equal” and nómos meaning “law.” It entered English around 1600.

My mum would have been 80 this week, had she lived. But she’s better off now, Alzheimer’s robbed her long before she died. On a more uplifting note, our two granddaughters celebrated their birthdays on the 8th. International Women’s day and we’re convinced one day they will honour that title. Can’t believe my little Caitlin is now eleven and has her own phone no less. Still I can text her when I want to now. I do still write a proper letter every month, but this isn’t her preferred form of communication. A little sad really.

Here’s to Good Women May we know them, May we be them, May we Raise them.

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Monastero Walk Washed Away

Every year we promise ourselves a day a month to go for a ‘big’ walk. That means going out in the car and doing one of the few guided walks in our area. There is nothing like the IOS maps we had in the UK and loved to explore with our Springer’s. Still can’t have everything. Monastero is a lovely, but tough walk, near the Sibillini mountains. One path takes you to a monks retreat high in the mountains, well not that high but you feel your calves pulling. I’ve actually used part of this walk for the setting in my fantasy novel, Wolf Moon. However, this time we decided to take the second path , along the river. We’d walked about two thirds when the path ran out. It had been washed away. Big problems with landslides around her. So we had an early lunch of soup and sandwich and made our way back up and up and up to the car. Naughty Nell loved it and ran after smells about three times, disappearing for what worryingly. seemed like an age.

neil gaiman rules of writing

Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules of Writing

A little tired of writing advice. I’ve come to the conclusion there is no right or wrong way. And I’m deleting my subscriptions to any newsletters or emails which use the words ‘awesome’ or ‘rock your boat’ (or words to that effect). Watch your language, it comes across as very flippant and so not what I want to hear. Neil Gaiman’s Rules of Writing made me smile and are now pinned on my cork board. I’ve finalised digital and print copies of The Morning Gift after a few irritating problems with embedding fonts, but soon sorted. Chuffed I’m ahead of the game and have now started on my next project, All Will Be Well. Found a fantastic timeline template which has really helped me ground my story and get the facts right, it’s set in World War Two and I don’t want a load of history bods telling me I got things wrong. But I will take a little bit of ‘artistic licence’ in some areas. I write fiction after all.

And of course, the Rugby Six Nations continues this afternoon.We support three teams, Simon was brought up in Ireland and learnt to play rugby there so we always cheer on the greens. Then of course our home team, England and finally our adoptive fellas in Italy. So the odds of winning are pretty high one way or another. It’s the only sport I enjoy watching, apart from the Wimbledon finals.

Ciao for Now

Farewell Feline Freind

  • Words: 1400 words but finished proofing and formatting current project :image
  • Carbs and Cals: The scales must be wrong, I’ve definitely lost half an inch or so
  • WorkoutIt’s that garden time of the year again… 
  • On My Beside Table: Lamentation by C J Sansom  & Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Woods
  • Weather: Very variable, cold but no snow
  • Word of the Week:  BISSEXTUS -noun February 29th: the extra day added to the Julian calendar every fourth year (except those evenly divisible by 400) to compensate for the approximately six hours a year by which the common year of 365 days falls short of the solar year.

Found poor Tigsy dead on the step earlier this week. She’d been alright the day before. Never a demanding cat and so quiet that we named her ‘Ghost’. One of  the first of fourteen (probably more) rescue kitties since we moved here. And not that old either. Couldn’t see any sign of injury or anything. I shall miss her just being there. Now buried in the garden where I shall sprinkle some wild flowers in the Spring.

Simon’s blood sugars just keep reducing. Got an ‘ottimo‘ from the doctor at the Diabetic clinic – hurrah! Though I though she might have done a little dance or showed a bit more emotion. His need for insulin is reducing day by day and I’m convinced we can wean him off it and wonder whether he should have ever been on it! Our favourite new food is Cauliflower Rice – fantastic substitute for rice without much less carbs and cals.

Had a great week at the ‘office’ and probably managed to get more done this week than in the last three or four! On the production stage of The Morning Gift, so proofed, formatted and uploaded to Createspace and just waiting approval. Having a few minor problems formatting for KDP ebook because of a fancy font I’ve used for scene separators but will find a way round. Running 5 days late on my planned publication date and almost there. That’s not a bad result, can live with that.

Started a new Morning Journal this morning, that’s my fourth..and one hell of a lot of words and angst. It’s one of the best things I’ve started – well re-started – it really helps my writing. And I did 900 words this morning to a writing prompt:

She gripped the rim of the porcelain sink and tried to steady her hands. “One last time,” she whispered to herself. One. Last. Time.

Intriguing, huh?

And the onions are now planted. All 100 of them. Let’s hope I can keep Freya off them. Daft dog, the size of a donkey and likes to like amongst our eating vegetation. A day in the garden is good for my muse, weeding the herb patch gave me plenty of head space for my next project!

Ciao

Birthdays, Beach and Blood Sugars

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  • Words: Finished the micro edit on Monday with a massive 11,998 words 🙂 Now just a last proof and ready to hit publish!
  • Carbs and Cals: Still maintaining the 5:2, the results on Si’s blood sugar continues to astound
  • Workout: Most days out with Nell and a morning in the garden, helping…not
  • Bedside Table: Just finished Desecration by JF Penn. Wow.

Spent the morning in the garden this morning preparing the orto (vegetable patch) for potatoes and onions. Lots of lovely wormy compost now being dug in by the chickens. Have to keep Nell away as she keeps nicking the stuff they pick up! Little muppet. Also pruned our huge Persimmon tree, which is beautiful but we hate the fruit (known also as Sharon fruit). Chicks and Nell don’t mind it though.

Naughty Nell

Naughty Nell

Had a weekend off last week, well it was my birthday. It’s the only time of the year i remember how old I am!  Had a lovely walk along the coast at Porto San Giorgio. A stunning sunny, blue-sky day but a mean cold breeze. Simon spoilt me rotten and cooked  a lovely Beef Stroganoff for supper and no rugby!  Bit of a change this weekend. Had a movie date last night as our Spectre (James Bond) DVD arrived. Fire lit at 4pm, animals fed and watered and a large bowl of popcorn completed the set up. Fantastic movie. My dream job would be a Bond Girl. 😉

Much as we love our animals they can be a pain at times. Having three dogs, six cats and three chickens does not make on the spur decisions very easy.  Carol and Phil (friends who inspired partly The Good Expat Life) have booked a week in Venice during mid April and have asked us to join them for a couple of nights. It would be sooo lovely to go and catch up with them. They’re the kind of friends who you may not see for months or years but when you do get together you just pick up where you left off.

Good friends are like stars…You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there.

The technical problems persist with yet another bucketful of hours spent online with several Microsoft technicians. And after all that, the problems persist. And would you believe it you can’t email Microsoft Customer Service to complain? I wonder why…

Hoping next week will be more productive, I’m gagging to write some new stuff so am going to pencil in a couple of sessions.

Perseverance Persists

imageFollowing all the bugs (not health related but technical) I wondered if I’d ever catch up on catching up! Had a marathon session today, editing almost 10,000 words! Easy when you get your head down and ignore everything else, but to be honest mainly down to my wonderful husband, Simon.

 

Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.
Julie Andrews

Word Count Total:  A whopping 35,658 – in five days. Not bad going, I definitely picked up speed as the week went on. The temptation is to keep meddling so I’ve tried to focus on the micro edit I planned rather than tweak again. I’m not sure I’ll ever be happy. Good enough will have to do.

Carbs and Cals: Thank goodness it’s Friday! Time for treats and nibbles after a week of denial. It’s paying off though; Simon has started to reduce his insulin and I’ve lost half an inch around my waist. So moving forwards.

Activity and Stuff: Today I flunked on the walk. Naughty Nell has been out with Simon in the garden, and has ran herself ragged. She’s in bad books though, after digging up the mole hills and making a hell of a mess. Off for a walk on the beach tomorrow. And a day off from editing.

And spoke with my father on the phone we’ve had installed in his room. Having a quick chat has made my day…

Ciao x

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