Camp NaNo Day 2

Camp NaNo started very well yesterday with the first brand new story written in ages, and my first target of 1,000 words or 1 hour met. I already know what I’m writing to today, as I copied the prompt out into my notebook while I had a moment. The poet is giving it a go this year as well, so I’m saving today’s for when he gets home so we can work together. I’ll change the little man as soon as I have something to change.

We’ve already had a hectic week. I’ve been plodding through electronic edits while I waited for a new proofread, I wrote the walks report yesterday and submitted it to 7 local newspapers, I pegged 17 jobs this week so far to pitch for later in the week (bearing in mind we have a holiday coming up), caught up with the daily competitions, paid a few bills – with another small debt biting the dust! – changed a hair appointment and, of course, started Camp NaNo.


Another thing we did was change our relationship statuses on Facebook, something that we thought would happen quite quietly but which, in fact, turned into a bit of a fanfare and attracted more than 120 ‘likes’ and over 80 ‘comments’. That took a little time keeping on top of acknowledgements, etc.

And here’s a *** truth alert ***

While we’ve never actually done anything wrong – we were both completely and absolutely single and ‘available’ when we started seeing each other, and there was absolutely no one else involved – we’ve not had an easy year. I’m not going into detail, and it wasn’t our doing, but it’s all behind us now.

We’ve known about it for a while, as we had to book it in advance, but we didn’t want our parents or the kids finding out online. So we told them all first. And, well, we’re getting married next year. And we’re going away to do it, so there. Not everyone will be happy but – this time – it’s not about them. We’re just overwhelmed and delighted with all the warm wishes from our friends and families.

*** end of truth alert ***

So that’s what we’ve been up to this week.

Today I’ve been carrying on with the electronic edits, and the new proofread arrived this afternoon. I’ve also been doing my Widow Twanky impression while the weather’s still nice. My eyes are a bit tired with all the close screen work and have gunked up a little over the past few days.

Tomorrow will just be a day 3 update, then on Friday I’ll be back with plans for the weekend.

Busy month ahead

We had another very busy weekend with 3 birthdays, 2 guests and 1 meal out all celebrated Friday night. We also visited parents in Doncaster twice, went shopping twice, went to 1 gig, and visited parents in Solihull. (Dad says it’s not Birmingham, which it isn’t, so …)

It was quite the mad rush as we had to tidy the house a bit on Friday and sort out additional sleeping arrangements before even going to collect 2 of the poet’s kids. We saw the third while at his parents, and his grandaughter, and took one of them to the station on Saturday to meet his girlfriend. We had a very nice meal and I got to bring home giant cake, so I was very happy. They also put some gammon into a doggy bag for us to bring back for Rufus. He enjoyed that.

On Saturday, when we got the day to ourselves back (at about 3pm), we did a little more shopping, this time for the cats, and we had a chill night in front of the telly, which was lovely.

P1020451Sunday was a very early start for us as the poet was accompanying my dad to the national service memorial day celebrations at the national arboretum in Alrewas. Ian wanted to have a look around and take some pictures before the service, as it was his first time there. Then they took their places in the VIP seats right beside the national servicemen’s memorial.

We haven’t collected the pictures from his camera yet, but here’s one that I took when I was there in June 2011. The wreath says “We Also Served”.

I had a few hours with my mom, then we collected a Chinese on our way home and had another chill evening.

This morning, before going back to work, we moved the spare “bed” out of Abbey Road again, so that I could get to my desk and work.

Today I have electronic edits to finalise, then I hope to start a new proofreading job in the next few days and a new editing job. My old diary finishes today, so tomorrow I’ll be starting a shiny new one.

Tomorrow also sees the start of Camp NaNo (July 2014) – and I’m ready.

We have a very busy month ahead as we’re off on our holidays right in the middle of it. We have lots to do before then too.

Who remembers this little guy?

Well, he’s gonna be back over the next 31 days, so keep an eye out for him. 🙂

We have guests

On Wednesday I started to think about how to make Camp NaNo (July 2014) work for me and I began by selecting one of my daily writing prompt books, Four Seasons of Creative Writing. Since then I’ve selected and bought a few magazines that publish fiction specials, to get a feel for what they’re using right now, and I’ve decided my target month.

Because this is happening in July, advance 6 months to January and that’s what most magazine writers will be thinking about – article and short story/serial writers. So my four seasons of creative writing will start in the winter.

I’m usually a planner. I usually start with a theme or an idea or a topical event, then come up with the title, then think of the storyline, and then think of characters to people my stories. And I plan the story, beginning, middle and end. Lots of other writers start with the character. I’ve tried that, but I really need to use all of the above.

But this time, in the spirit of NaNo, I’m going to write by the seat of my pants – be a pantster. I’m going to see if I can come up with around 1,000 words a day, or write for an hour, whichever is sooner – and I can often write 1,000 words in an hour if I’m on a roll. And, technically, that’s 31 x 1,000-word 1st draft stories for January.

However, we do have a holiday in the middle of July. We’re off to Dent again. But because my Four Seasons books is on Kindle, I just need that and my notepad and pen. And on Wednesday I treated myself to a lovely new notepad … well, the poet treated me to it. 🙂

One of the many beauties of Dent (and there are very many) is that I can’t get a mobile signal on my phone. That means I’ll have no pesky internet to distract me from the matter in hand. And, if the poet’s happy, I’ll still try and do my 1,000 words/1 hour a day. So not only will there be lovely pictures to share on the other side of Dent, there will also be a report on how my NaNo has gone. And, because we’re on holiday, it might also feel like a real camp.

It was always my intention to write short stories for magazines and to graduate onto writing serials and then full-length books. However, I found very early on that not only is there a (much!) bigger market for non-fiction in magazines, but I was also quite good at it. And that’s how my writing career progressed – and from there to sub- and then copy-editing and proofreading.

So July will be all about getting back onto that original treadmill and seeing how I get along. No fillers, no articles, no reader’s letters, no novels. Just short stories. Keep everything crossed for me.

Since Wednesday I started the electronic edits on the current non-fiction. A new one came in this week and I already had another one to start. This morning, the novel I’m proofreading also arrived. I’ve pitched for 7 new editing or proofreading jobs already this week and will see if there are any new ones today to go for. And I’ve chased an invoice that’s now overdue.

Today I’ll be doing more of the same until the poet arrives home. Then we’re tidying the house and off to do a bit of shopping ahead of visitors arriving this evening. He has 3 kids and 2 of them (twins) have birthdays today – they’re 25. The other is 29 on Monday. So we’re taking them for a birthday meal this evening for 2 of them (and partner if she makes it), and at least 2 will be staying over. The other one can’t make it so we’re treating her a different way.

I don’t know yet what we’re doing tomorrow, or how long the kids are staying, but Sunday the poet and I are off to my parents as he’s accompanying my dad to the national arboretum in Alrewas, and I’ll be keeping my mom company.

Y’all have a great weekend.


Happily busy

So last week I disappeared beneath a pile of editing. The pile is starting to go down, but I’m – actually – very happily busy.

I’ve been doing the manual edits on a big non-fiction for a few days, and I took a couple of days off from that last week to pursue other things. The manual edits are now finished, however, and I’ve already started the electronic edits.

Late last week I was asked by a FB friend if I’d like to quote for a proofreading job. So I did, the information was passed on to his client, and his client accepted. I’m expecting this novel to come in over the next few days and I promised to turn it around quite quickly.

I have 2 new non-fiction edits to start and 2 lots of author/proofreader revisions to do. But this week I also finalised the last of the historical novels I’ve edited.

The weekend was as busy as ever, with a gig in Doncaster Saturday night and fishing all day Sunday (the poet, not me). Friday was a chill evening, and Sunday night we went to the pictures to see X-Men 7: Days of Future Past. That was a nice treat and we also had a meal beforehand.

4 seasonsNext week, Camp NaNo starts again, for July. I’ve already started my diary for July – it’s a brand new academic-year diary – and Camp NaNo gets an hour a working day, at least. Here’s my profile.

This is the book I’ll be using. It’s currently free on Kindle, but if it’s any good I may buy the paperback version for the bookshelf.

I may also consider working on Catch the Rainbow, but I feel as if my writing muscle needs exercising and I’d like to complete some short works and get those out in circulation. I’ll see how it goes.

Over the next few days I’ll be browsing the book on my Kindle and getting prepared. I’ll let you know how I’m getting along on Friday.

So much has happened

It’s been an AGE since I posted anything. This is mostly because on the days I usually post (Mon, Wed, Fri) I’ve either been out or doing something away from the pc. This is unacceptable and needs to change. I apologise for being so tardy.

So, what’s happened since 21 Feb …?

Well, we’ve had a few gigs. We’ve been to a few gigs. We’ve been for a few meals. We’ve taken the dog for a few walks. The poet had a new grand child – his first, a girl. He also had a birthday. He had his first fishing trip of the new year. I managed to take some rare photographs of him with his parents, all 3 of his kids and the new addition – some nice 3- and 4-generation pics. We spent a couple of days in Birmingham. The poet’s 2 lads and their friends made it to what is still a local gig for the rest of his band, making it a very special week for him. And we’ve been viewing (and discounting) properties in which to live.

Oh yes, and I picked up loads (LOADS) of work. I currently have 3 non-fictions in to edit and a novel, as well as author and proofreader revisions on 2 more. I’m in the middle of one and have also been surfing for new work. I won a couple of extras last week, as well as 2 writing sales, so I’m happy that things are headed in the right direction.

This weekend is another busy one for us as we’re off to Keswick for a couple of days for my birthday. We’re staying with the lovely Carol and her friend, who are in the area for the Words by the Water festival next week. We’re both currently full of cold at the moment, though, and are hoping we take as little of it as possible with us when we go. We’ll be back on Monday.

I was hoping to rejoin the Leeds write-ins during March, but so far we’ve been doing other things. Perhaps I’ll make it for CampNaNo in April instead.

Whatever you’re up to, have a great weekend. Back next week, hopefully with pictures, perhaps like this one …

Heron at Newmillerdam. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Heron at Newmillerdam. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Stark staring mad – again

campnaon banner

I don’t know. I get a new diary and the first thing I fill it with is this … 45,000 words in 31 days in July, or 1,452 words per day.

On Sunday I picked up some books about steampunk – 1 on writing steampunk, 2 steampunk novels/novellas (they’re quite short), and the complete Sherlock Holmes. Sunday evening I started to read the writing book and the Arthur Conan Doyle – and I fell in love with the Conan Doyle straight away. This is the first time I’ve ever read any Sherlock Holmes, but I think I’m reading it with the current BBC cast in mind, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman – the latter is also a hobbit, of course.

Sunday night was muggy and close, it was difficult to settle, but then my imagination started to go into overdrive. Not only did it overflow with steampunk ideas, it also resolved some plot blockages I’m experiencing with The Beast Within (the 2nd Marcie Craig mystery).

At 1am I was still trying to sleep. At 2am, I was scribbling away. At 3am I was letting a cat out. At 4am I was listening to an owl. At 5am I was fetching in the milk. At 6am I was letting another cat out and the other one in. At 7:30am, I was being woken by next door’s grandson squealing at something as he got into the car outside my bedroom window …

Anyway, I’d started to populate my steampunk world and on Monday morning, when a mate plugged CampNaNo for July, I was hooked and have been looking into it all week. I’ve clearly gone totally and utterly stark staring mad. Again.

On Monday I didn’t get any walk numbers in so I didn’t need to do the walks report for the local papers. I did, however, receive a phone call from the CEO’s office at my telephone and internet provider regarding my interruption to service last Thursday afternoon. Because it’s a residential account and not a commercial one, they were unable to reimburse me for half a day’s loss of wages. As a goodwill gesture, however, they were able to send me a cheque for £50 (apx $75). Result.

Tuesday was a work day, editing the latest historical novel. I also had an appointment in a nearby village, which my nice lady next door neighbour took me to as I was without wheels. I was going to go on the bus and then walk the rest of the way, but once she knew what time I had to be there, and that it was when she was collecting her grandson from school, she said it was no trouble.

After the appointment I walked the 10 minutes to have a look at my car. All the lads were almost ready to go home so we had a nice little group chat around my car while I recovered from the price of the work. At the rate I’m currently going, I’ll have a whole new car built around the shell. It was nice to get my motor back, though, and it’s running nicely again. I’ll have to keep a closer eye on it now it’s 10 years old, until I can afford – or win – a new one.

Wednesday was my do diddle day and while I planned to do diddley squat all day I actually worked.

A while ago I installed my digital transcription kit onto the laptop, but I couldn’t for the life of me get the foot pedal to work. The whole point of audio typing is that the foot controls the tape while the typist concentrates on the typing. I was having to click the PLAY button and then the PAUSE button, sometimes the REWIND button, and so on, and several times at that. And the fact that I couldn’t get my audio foot pedal working was one of the excuses I used for not cracking on with transcribing interviews.

So, as Wednesday was a do diddle day I decided to empty out all the bags in the cupboard under the stairs I’d brought with me from the office when I left work to see if I could find the missing part.

There wasn’t a missing part … but I did find the original installation disks (I think I’d used a copy before) (a back-up copy …).

So I tried to install the program again and it kept saying it was already running. I went into the control panel to delete the original program, but it kept saying it was already running. I couldn’t see it running so I rebooted and it let me remove the program that time. I installed one .exe file and ran it and – voila! My foot pedal works. Result.

I’m blummin good at times, me … and now I have NO EXCUSE other than time (and pathetic excuses) not to get these interviews transcribed and the first sample chapter of the non-fiction book written. And if don’t have the time, I have to make it.

On Thursday it was back to work and back to editing, with a vengeance, as the proofreading boss has decided to send me an editing job this time. That means I’m proofreading non-fiction and editing non-fiction and fiction now for them. Result.

There are also a couple of writing jobs in the pipeline, which I’m quite excited about. I hope they come off because then I’ll be full again. 🙂

I also updated the blog and my ALCS account with a few more books I’ve worked on and carried on with the steampunk research and reading. Thursday is also diary day.

Today it’s raining so I won’t be distracted by hanging washing out or anything. I have a whole day stretching ahead of me in which to work and catch up again. I’m editing today, mostly, but also doing some writing work – planning and prep for CampNaNo.

Have a great weekend – mine’s packed, I’m off to Birmingham tomorrow and the seaside again on Sunday – and let me know if you’re also giving CampNaNo a go.