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

Write or Wrong: Taking Advice

lucy-advice-boothHealth is very much on my mind at the moment. The past four years have catalogued a number of health issues, mum, dad, Simon and myself. I’m a little weary of the ill health cloud that follows me around so have been looking at taking some changes to our diet. Simon’s blood pressure is misbehaving and with his familial history we can’t take any chances. I’ve never followed a ‘diet’ in my life. I’ve skipped meals often not eating until dinner when I was younger and dependant on tobacco. I’ve looked at several sources of advice, many of them extreme – for example cutting calories to 800 per day. Take a look at what you eat. That’s not a lot of calories, despite what the advice says. One of the issues I have is that we already have a fairly well balanced diet. Living with a diabetic means we have to watch the carb intake . And I’m not a believer in becoming obsessive with what we eat, all things in moderation is my mantra. So we’ll be cutting down on the starchy foods , mainly bread and reducing our red wine intake (a little) and of course lots of exercise with naughty Nell.

You know how advice is. You only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyway.

John Steinbeck

Advice is widely available on the writing front. Yesterday I got myself in a bit of a pickle with the micro edits on my next project, due to be published at the end of the month. Again, the obsessiveness got in the way and I began to sense I was losing the essence of the story. It didn’t feel good and I almost gave up. A couple of words were giving me (well the editing check list I use) a problem but it didn’t seem right to remove it. However, ten minutes of chatting to Simon (who is helping with the edits) helped. He was talking as a reader and that he preferred the words to flow. The things that annoyed him in a book (not mine of course!) was where the words jarred or didn’t keep him interested. Something that pulled him up and out of the story. An ‘aha’ moment that I shall keep in mind. Today I’m going to sort out the basics, listen to the story and make sure it flows.

Advice is great, as long as it helps and you can maintain it. As a new writer it can be equally helpful as overwhelming. As my Grandma use to say ‘everything with a pinch of salt.’ But that’s not good for the diet either, is it?

Ciao x

Family Matters

It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Not particularly for writing, though that has taken a nudge to the side. My dad’s been seriously ill and I’ve been back to the UK helping out with my other four brothers and sisters. We’ve had to make some tough decisions and at times I just wanted to bury my head in the sand and hope it would all go away. But it hasn’t of course. As an ex-nurse I’m familiar with illness. A bit different when it’s a member of your own family, mind you. I’m fine looking after someone else’s brother, sister, son, daughter, mum, or dad. I loved nursing, it was in the ‘genes’ as they say. My grandmother and mother were both well respected nurses in their day. I followed my mother into District Nursing in Cheshire where we lived and could never live up her reputation; Sister Lamb never did it that way…’ was the usual retort. Nursing and caring is one of the toughest jobs on the planet and I believe it’s a vocation. But I shan’t get on my soap box. Not now anyway, maybe another time.

Anyway, what struck me during this time (and when my mother was ill) is the importance of family. All five us have forged a different path in life and that means many of us don’t live close to dad. And of course at times there is a little friction for one reason or another, that’s how families ‘run’. However, when it mattered most, we all pulled together . And my wonderful, generous son who lives and works in the South West, gave up his weekend, a week of work (he’s self employed) and the company of his lovely family to come and support me. My husband, Simon who’d stayed behind to look after our menagerie of animals even spent his birthday on his own, the first ever since we’ve been together. Watching him open cards over Skype just simply wasn’t  the same.  But family matters.

And now I’m back home,  it’s nose to the grindstone. I’ve made a mental note to think more about the families of my characters and how it has shaped them particularly in the story they are telling. And, I have a deadline to meet, a book to publish at the end of this month and I’m running a little behind 😉

Ciao

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