Thursday, 10 March 2016

Sefuty Snippets: Ellen's Tale & ROW80

Because I am hoping to bring the fourth In The Sefuty Chronicles out this year I have begun a new meme here. Sefuty Snippets. Hopefully here with ROW80 weekly(but I no longer promise things like that)I will post a snippet from one of the three already published.

Ellen’s Tale,The Storyteller’s Tale and Jack’s Tale

a) to remind those who have read them and having waited so long for this fourth need a reminder of the characters and
b) for those who do not know the Chronicles a taster of what they are about.

Ellen’s Tale: A series of interviews of the main characters involved in the unprecedented events of 2111. Bix Sefune charged with Ellen’s trip Outside the City to fulfil a dying wish of an honoured member of the elderly community is asked to relate his version of events on that first significant trip.

She was stiff with terror, that first morning. She reminded me of a rabbit just before it dies,transfixed by a light in it’s eye. What were you all thinking of, to let her go outside? Didn’t you check her Space Safety Limits? 
Well, of course I thought she would be nervous the first time Outside, bound to be. She wasn’t nervous; she was terrified.
 If I’d known, would I still have taken her along? I don’t know. It’s an added risk having someone who’s immobilised with fear. They can’t react swiftly. I may have reconsidered if I’d had any idea of the extent of her fear. I do know you should have taken better care of her and not let her take the risk.


Had a weekend workshop on mixed media with the embroidery group I belong to.I enjoyed it even if my wrists didn’t and I missed the second day as they hurt too much to be safe driving. But it has possibilities especially for journal covers. Will have to go easy on using stamps (think that is what wrecked the wrists. Too much pressure)


March is NaNoEdMo a whole month of editing - 50 hours is the challenge.Not words because of course editing can take a few moments or a few days /weeks to sort out a chapter/paragraph. It is hard work and needs great concentration and patience. It really needs an outsiders mind on it but us authors like to be in charge of those few edits and drafts. They are our words born of struggle and optimism. We cherish the words , hate killing any of them although we know we must - it is a kindness to the whole cut out the rot. It is hard though it is hard.

So I am editing this month - determined to get The Children’s Tale to publication this year after a few years of health driven writing blocks and confusions. 2026 is the year - well I hope it is I did say 2015 was and 2014 and. . . well you know!:)

I am doing well, although bit discouraged to find I use some words far far too often, thought I had knocked that one on the head:(

I have managed to put in 18 hours this last few days which is a good start. I have also written a missing chapter and managed to track down another, written way back, which in the frequent clean outs had gone astray. So good there as well.

Blogging: Wasn’t so good I kept forgetting to put them up and due to my ongoing problems with software lost a lot of time. However before the software began it’s shenanigans I drafted three posts for A-Z. Unfortunately one was for W I need inspiration for A!:)

Networking: not brilliant but again time lost to the software problem. I don’t have as many hours for concentrated work as I did before illness started dictating my workload!

Reading: Yes. Had a reading group book to tackle, all 1000 pages of it!

Others: Just software.

So not a disaster but think I will write at the bottom - could do better:)

Hope everyone is doing well:)

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Brainstorming letters and words & ROW80

Had my friend from forever/editor up here these last few days and apart from hours of conversations and laughter we have been brainstorming a bit not only on my A-Z subjects - mainly the titles and which bit goes with which letter but also on a challenge set up by one of the members of my writing group down here on earth. The police alphabet- Alpha Beta etc all the way to Zulu, write a piece which includes all the words in whatever order one likes. At least I have a month to think of something, not like the last one where we only had a few days to write about fruit and or nuts!

Am preparing to write as many of the A-Z as I can before April 1st, at least in draft form. I’m doing my adventures with food and cooking throughout my life. It will take me from suburban post war London to my old age on the windswept shores of the East coat, via places such as Russia, Africa, Antarctica and the Hindu Kush.

March, supposedly the beginning of spring -can’t you just tell from the tone of my voice that I am cynical about that statement, is also the beginning of NaNoEdMo (National novel editing month) where the challenge to self is 50 hours of editing in the 31 days of March. It is tied up November's Nano but this month is editing, not the writing. 

I sign up every year because it helps to focus my mind. I won’t be adding any new chapters to The Children’s Tale that month, simply working through the words I still have to edit and working on those to make them as polished as possible.

What I will be writing is the draft of those A-Z blogs.

I have been having a concentrated few hours on updating my two twitter accounts, the first is sailing along nicely but the second is still low on followers, if anyone here would like to follow @al_berta_ross would be much appreciated:)

On the twitter accounts does anyone have a favourite on the software to manage accounts? I cannot decide which if any would be worth having to allow me more time for writing.


So what have I managed this last week:

Writing: wrote two new chapters for The Children's Tale and edited two.

Blogs:I have had a reasonable week on the blogging front

On alberta reads there has been three posts

A rant on identity theft in fiction writing on Musing Monday
A muse on YA over 60+ years
And yet again proof I am hopeless near a bookshop on Friday Finds

On didyoueverkissafrog there has been two

Another in my I love my garden but. . Series on planning and bad weather.
And a Something New Every Day on coral reefs unpinning the Peak District.

A short piece on John Milton and his invented words

Networking: Not bad at all.
Others: not much really. Reading yes. Gardening no, but have bought some lighter weight tools for when the weather is better and i can get out there!:)

Here's hoping everyone is still enjoying a writing life - keep smiling.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Time may have a chat with me later:

I do like sunshine - blue skies and light all around. As a youngster I would spend hours baking and relishing in the sunshine. Unfortunately although I still like sunshine and blue skies at this time of the year both are normally a sign of low temperatures. I no longer revel outside in this bitter cold - I hibernate and watch the light from indoors. In the summer sun and blue indicate rising temperatures . I no longer revel outdoors when the temperature rise to what, in the old days, I would have been soaking it up. A temperamental heart dissuades me, in cahoots with my lungs they check me, bar my way in fact behave as if they and they alone are the rulers of my life!:)

Ah well, old age only creeps at the start, after a couple of years it races up snapping at one’s heels

I have sidled out for the snatched odd moments this last week to enjoy the spring flowers, foolhardy enough to raise their heads before winter is passed. I can observe many of them from the various windows - oh what is this independent soul reduced to:(

I console myself with books and I have read a whole raft of interesting books lately. So not all doom and gloom.


I seem to be back on track for writing this year after Life took me away from it all.

Time, ah well, time will have a chat with me later if I am wrong!

Because of all the problems I have had writing The Children’s Tale over the past few years there is a tangle which would defeat Younger Cat from making any worse. It is the teasing out of these tangles and knots which occupies me at the moment.

This has meant destroying thousands of words - kill your darlings is what it is called but I found this time around I have slain them with so little compunction I decided they must have been total rubbish to begin with!! - that is better than admitting I have become a callous killer:)

So while I kill my darlings, I am busy writing new words to replace them. I tried doing them both the same day, however that doesn’t work so well, I end up split mentally  ‘somat’ rotten’. So one or two days chapters, one or two days red penning.

It’s working out pretty well so far.

I am also, in the evenings, working on the last corrections of my memoirs - that sounds grand! - not sure they are for publication though:) However, between covers I wish them to be and before the summer ends.

So The Children’s Tale and memoirs are the most urgent. Hopefully when May gets here I will be the right place to finish the short stories, started last May!

In between times I have been writing about historical fiction I read as a child, confessing to obtaining yet more books. Trying to work out what appealed to me about a poem penned back in the early 1800s and singing the praises of the National Health Service in the UK from the point of view of one who has frequently had to use the service.

It has been a reasonably good week and I hope this coming week will produce the same feeling - all the best to everyone else struggling to produce their masterpieces:)

Friday, 9 January 2015

They have to part


I am not quite back in the routine this new year - am working on it honest but so the page does not remain empty for too long I am leaving a quote.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

AS some of you know I'm indulging in NaNoWrMo again this year, in the last fling to finish The Children’s Tale - I hope! This month long challenge to write 50,000 words of fiction in the four weeks is designed to focus the mind and to cast procrastination into the gloomy corners of a cave.

Does it work?
It has in the past, for myself and thousands of others, but the pace is frenetic and relentlessness. Ordinary life vanishes. Layers of dust taunt, overgrown gardens laugh and as for family life, well, it is difficult.

It shouldn’t be. The word count needed each day to succeed is not huge. Not really. The prose is not required to be polished, indeed the organizers tell us it is better to ignore the editing mind whilst engaging with the challenge.

 All that’s required is the word count. 
The first draft. 
The rough uncut diamond. 

In theory the harder work comes after NaNo has finished.

Of course it isn't that easy as life does have to be lived. Many who participate are working full time, others are parents, college students, carers. That they manage to finish continuously amazes me. Myself, I battle low energy levels due to illness and a carers role.

So far so good I am keeping up. This year instead of starting a brand new novel the challenge allows us to finish one. Which is why The Children’s Tale is being entered. The previous three in the series have been relatively easy writing. This one though. . .this one has had its fair share of problems. Two years now in the execution it has, as any who follow the blog will know, been through many incarnations.

It began as one book, morphed into two-in-one, had to be separated to two separate identities and then had to be begun again. In the meantime I developed heart failure and then a year long depression. Heigh ho as they say.

I have written a further 30,000 words since the month began and with a couple of clear weeks (of social events) ahead more will appear. I am not actually sure I need 50,000 more - we will see.  The book will end when it ends.  I have learnt this from past experience:)  

At the moment I have slowed a little, as I am writing some harrowing scenes and they are difficult.  Images of present day conflicts step between my mind and the page.

The Children will not be put away, they clamour to be heard and so we tussle our way, hopefully, to a conclusion this year. I have grown fond of the children. They deserve a voice I think. NaNo will help them of this I am sure - well pretty sure:)

Do not forget that during the months of November and December the first two parts of The Sefuty Chronicles are free on smashwords

Ellen's Tale    free coupon number BW88X

The Storyteller's Tale      free coupon number LY76W

I celebration of National Short Story week here in UK I am offering my short story collections free on smashwords until the end of November see this page for details