Wearing My Tag With Pride


Hello Everyone

My fellow blogger Alastair from kattermonran.com has tagged me. This means he has taken the time to ask 11 questions to some bloggers and I am am one of his chosen few. I feel so privileged. It is great when other bloggers choose to want to know more about me because I feel special and appreciated. Thanks so much Alastair, I will wear my tag with pride.

I need to answer the 11 questions set by him and then ask 11 more questions to 11 others.

tagged

My answers to the Alastair’s questions are here:

1. Do you prefer ridged crisps (potato chips) or flat ones? I can only eat plain salted crisps because of my various food allergies but I don’t mind either plain or ridged as I enjoy both. The last ones I ate were ridged.

2. What was the last music band you went to see live? I haven’t see one particular band. The last time I saw various bands was at a party in the park, it was years ago. One of the groups were Steps and although a lot of people may find their music a bit too poppy or cheesy, I thought in real life they were great, at both singing and at getting the audience jumping and dancing on the spot.

3. Do you prefer tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger? None of those as I don’t drink alcohol and I only drink herbal tea, peppermint is my favourite.

4. How many siblings do you have? None. I am an only child.

5. What was the last film you saw at the movies? A Thriller called Side Effects on Saturday 30th of March. It was slow to begin with but had a couple of great twists at the end.

6. Is there any sports that you like to participate in? None. I don’t like sports. There is an exception, I like finger pumping. This consists of clenching the fingers of my hand into a fist shape and releasing them with a flicking motion, back and forth quickly. I love it because it symbolises that I have written so much my hand needs to be exercised. (Oh! And if writing is a sport, then I love, love, love it.)

7. What is your favourite flower? A red rose. I am a romantic.

8. Is there anything you like to collect? Besides collecting erasers I like collecting Eeyore things from Winnie The Pooh.

9. Have you visited another country? I have visited Spain, Jersey and France but hated flying.

10. Do you have any pets? Yes, 4 guinea pigs. Snuggles, Peaches, Daisy and Cinnamon. They are all one year old but Cinnamon and Daisy are just under 3 months younger as Snuggles was pregnant with them when she came from the pet shop and I couldn’t give them up.

11. What is your favourite food? I have lots of food allergies. My favourite snack food is sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, yeast free chocolate from the health shop. I have to be very careful what I eat out but I like Thai food, a Chinese meal or Nandos.

Now to announce my 11 questions:

  1. Have you ever been made redundant from your job and how did you feel about it?
  2. If you were interviewing someone for a writing job, what 3 qualities would you look for and why?
  3. What is your favourite board game and why?
  4. When you look at the stars, what do you see?
  5. When you look at the ocean, what does it remind you of?
  6. How do you overcome writer’s block?
  7. If you could say 3 encouraging things to another person, what would they be?
  8. Do you prefer to write your stories/books/poetry/prose/articles on paper first, then type them up and edit them, or do you like to type them straight into your computer to edit?
  9. Do you like writing in one genre or more?
  10. As a writer, do you think actions speak louder than words?
  11. What is your favourite quote and why?

My nominations are:

  1. whistlingpassion.wordpress.com
  2. ladylovelyblogger.wordpress.com
  3. sheridegrom.wordpress.com
  4. bbanublog.wordpress.com
  5. globalunison.wordpress.com
  6. helpwithyourlife.wordpress.com
  7. terry1954.wordpress.com
  8. darlenecraviotto.com
  9. marthareynoldswrites.com
  10. mikesfilmtalk.com
  11. landoffun.wordpress.com

To all of my 11 chosen ones, I look forward to learning more about you.

I am fortunate enough to have been awarded a second Best Moment Award so I will post my nominations for that soon.

Write soon

Sandra

BLOG HOPPING FUN


Hi Everyone

It’s a Blog Hop Egg-travaganza-elleganza!

I was tagged in a blog hop by the awesome Casey Roach. You can read her amazing blog here: http://caseyroach.blogspot.co.uk.  Incidentally, Casey was one of our Write-A-Thon book giveaway winners.

It is now my turn to answer the blog hop questions and pass this on to some hopping good blogs.

What is the working title of your book?

Break Through The Barriers Of Redundancy, To Get Back Into Work (A-Z How to guide)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I have been made redundant twice and being a bit quirky, I decided to see if I could could up with a way to break through the barriers that redundancy can cause, using each letter of the alphabet to create a solution.

What genre does your book fall under?

How to and self-help.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

As this is a non-fiction book, I would not expect a movie to be made of it. If however, a movie was made from a future biography about my life, including redundancy and how it changed my life, then I would have to research what actors/actresses would play what roles at the time. I like Kylie Minogue, although she is more famous for singing than acting and not sure if she would fit the role. Maybe I would use a lesser known actor/actress so the audience could get into the mind of an ordinary person who went on to do extra-ordinary things.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

This book explains how to break through the barriers of redundancy to get back into work.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It will be a self-published book as I enjoy the freedom of creative expression and can choose my own cover design but I am open to other offers.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About 3 months to write it but I am still editing the draft and adding to it.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

None in the sense that it is different because it is an A-Z How to guide. The closest books I can think of would be :

  • Overcoming Redundancy by Gordon Adams
  • Rebuilding your life after Redundancy by Janet Davies

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I was inspired by my own life story. I have been made redundant twice, the second time was in 2009 when I decided from that moment onwards that I was 100% born to be a writer and to help others who have been made redundant to get back into work.

I have worked in retail for over 15 years, 7 of those years were in management roles. Part of my role as a Manager was to interview, recruit, train and coach staff. I have seen the recruitment process from an interviewer’s point of view and whilst redundant from the point of view of an interviewee. It is from these experiences that I can help others.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Being a bit of quirky book – The Letter Z is for Zebra – Now what does that have to do with redundancy? I wonder!

Now I’m passing this along to…drum roll please…

bbanublog.wordpress.com

whistlingpassion.wordpress.com

rohan7things.wordpress.com

lanternpost2012.wordpress.com

marthareynoldswrites.com

jenowenby.wordpress.com

diedreblake.wordpress.com

Casey passed this blog hop to 5 others, including me but as I am a curious sort of person who enjoys reading about what others like to write, I wanted to give it to the above 7 people.

I look forward to reading more about your writing.

Write soon

Sandra

Never take your writing for granted


Hi Everyone

My apologies for not blogging for a while. I have been very poorly and although I did make it to London for Valentine’s Day, I had to cut my holiday short due to illness.

I have to say that this has been one of the worst periods of illness in my life to date and I have been so weak that at the worst peak of my infection I couldn’t:

  • Write many texts
  • Write any Facebook messages
  • Write any LinkedIn updates
  • Write any tweets
  • Write any blog posts
  • Write any web content
  • Write any of my book content
  • Write any notes
  • Read my emails
  • Respond to emails
  • Read any books

Sometimes it’s hard to realise just how much of my life is spent writing and doing things related to my writing, such as reading books. I have learnt during this time to always count my writing blessings twice and to never take my writing for granted.

Although I am still off work sick I am able to write again and it is a fantastic feeling.

I would encourage you all to make a list of the writing activities that you do and take time out to appreciate each one of them. Think what your life would be like without writing in it and never take your writing for granted.

Until next time, keep writing and enjoying it.

Write soon

Sandra

 

 

Writing Resolutions


Hi Everyone

Happy New Year.

As the new year has just begun, it’s time to reflect on your writing journey throughout 2012 and think about how you can improve your writing or how you can make more time for your writing, or both. You need to consider:

  • How much you write?
  • When you write?
  • What you write about?
  • How long it takes you to write?
  • What things you could give up or do less of to spend more time writing?
  • How can you find ‘spare’ moments to write?

If you are writing vast amounts but not seeing an outcome, in other words you are not seeing a story forming, it could be that quantity has taken over quality and you need to have a re-think and focus on practicing writing shorter pieces in order to develop the quality of your work.

If on the other hand, you found it hard to get started on your writing and you hadn’t written much in 2012, then it’s time to get creative.

Grab a pen and ten sheets of paper. On each sheet write one of the following category titles:

  1. Animals
  2. Birds
  3. People
  4. Family
  5. Jobs
  6. Hobbies
  7. Locations
  8. Foods
  9. Objects
  10. Magic

You should have a total of ten pages, each with a title from the above list.

Next, you need to write anything that springs to mind under each title. For example, for animals you may write dog, cat, horse, pig or sheep.

For Birds you could write, emu, peacock, sparrow, finch, duck, chicken.

For family you could write, mum, dad, sister, brother, uncle, cousin.

For people you could write anything from a detective to a boy called Peter.

Write whatever comes to your mind for each title. Go crazy if you want to, the more absurd and weird the better. This exercise is not only good for unleashing your creativity and to get you thinking differently but when you get writer’s block or just crave for fresh story ideas, you can get inspiration from these pieces of paper and can make a story out of one or more of the things you have listed for each category or from just a few categories. This means you will have no excuses for not having a new year’s resolution to either write more or to improve the quality of your writing.

My new year’s resolution is to change my quirkybooks.net site into a much more sophisticated and attractive design, incorporating an e-Book store, so watch this space for future details.

Whatever your writing resolution ensure you have one because without setting any goals you won’t take action and nothing will be achieved. If you want to progress with your writing, you need a resolution. Good luck and let me know how you get on.

Write soon

Sandra

 

Quirky Shine On Award


Hi Everyone

I was recently nominated for the Shine On award by Sharla from http://catnipoflife.wordpress.com

As always, with any award, there are rules to follow, so here they are:

1.) Show appreciation of the blogger who nominated you and link back to them in your post.  Done.

2.) Add the award logo to your blog. Done.

3.) Share 7 things about yourself.

  1. Besides writing, I love going to the cinema.
  2. My favourite type of movies are dance, action or thriller. I also like Disney/Pixar movies.
  3. I prefer writing to reading.
  4. I have an Apple Imac computer that I use loads and I adore.
  5. I hold a PTTLS Level 4 Teacher/Trainer qualification that I got this year.
  6. I have an IAG Diploma (Information, Advice and Guidance) Level 4 that I achieved this year.
  7. I believe dreams can come true.

4.) Nominate 5 – 10 or so bloggers you admire. Here I go:

http://ohshineon.com

http://liveblissful.wordpress.com

http://kattermonran.com

http://utesmile.wordpress.com

http://inspire1life.com

http://motivatingdaily.com

http://russelrayphotos2.com

http://searchingforthehappiness.wordpress.com

http://hutchagoodlife.wordpress.com

http://hamsterdiaries.wordpress.com

5.) Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know. Will do.

6.) Optional questions – Here are my 7.

  1. Do you prefer art or literature?
  2. What is your favourite film and why?
  3. Would you prefer to read to a child or for them to read to you?
  4. What makes you happy?
  5. What are your wisest words?
  6. What is your favourite insect and why?
  7. If you could choose any words to be your last, what would they be?

I look forward to reading the answers to my 7 questions from the above nominees. Congratulations to all of you and may your blogs continue to Shine On.

Write soon

Sandra

Shine On Award

 

Celebrating Two Year Blogging Anniversary


Hi Everyone

I recently received a message from WordPress to say congratulations on my two year old blog. Wow! Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun!

In celebration of this wonderful achievement and all of the people who have contributed to make this blog so successful, I have decided to list below, some of the most popular blogs posts for you to browse in case you missed them before.

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/the-liebster-award-thanks-and-nominations

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/the-beginners-guide-to-succeeding-at-national-novel-writing-month

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/whose-birthday-is-it-today

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/own-your-niche-book-review

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/researching-what-your-reader-wants-to-read

I also want to share with you, some posts that I think you may enjoy.

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/10-reasons-why-writers-should-retreat

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/super-8-ideas-for-stories

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/top-five-tips-for-how-to-stay-focused-on-your-writing

quirkybooks.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/seven-ways-to-write-and-excite-your-valentine

To top off all of the fun, I have been nominated for two more awards, The Shine On Award and the Reality Blog Award from http://catnipoflife.wordpress.com These will soon be displayed on my blog and nominations will be given.

Happy celebrating and thanks to all of you for making this possible.

Write soon

Sandra

Harry Potter Studios – A Writer’s Dream Come True


Hi Everyone

I recently visited the Harry Potter Studios, that is home to the original sets, costumes and props.

Here are some photos for you to experience the magic.

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Hope you can feel the Potter experience and enjoyed it as
much as me.

Write soon
Sandra

Have Fun with National Novel Writing Month


Hi Everyone

In order to keep the momentum of NaNoWriMo to a peak, I asked Author and Writing Coach Rochelle Melander, if she could do a guest blog post on how to stay motivated during this event and this is what she wrote.

I rocked NaNoWriMo on November 1. By the end of my first writing session, I had nearly twice the amount of words I needed. When I woke up on November 2—a Friday—I felt a sense of foreboding, “You mean I have to do this again?” By the end of that first busy weekend in November, I was thousands of words behind and worried about catching up. And I wasn’t enjoying creating scenes. Instead, I was worrying about whether the scene was realistic, thinking about how this should be easier, and wondering how long it was going to take me to revise this quickly drafted book. All the time, I had my eye on the counter: how many words had I written. (And I’m a professional writer!)

But recently, I’ve had a brilliant, game-changing aha moment: oh yeah, National Novel Writing Month is supposed to be fun. That tiny thought was all I needed to jump back into NaNoWriMo project with some joy. If you’re struggling with NaNoWriMo and need to add a little fun to your work, here are five ways to rock your story:

1.   Add a pop of color. I hear that advice a lot on clothing shows (as well as in nearly every magazine I read). In order to make an outfit compatible with the season, we can add a pop of color with our nails, shoes, or jewelry. Well, why not add a pop of color to our novels? A few weeks ago, I heard a story on the radio about a guy who had invented a working gun that could be printed on plastic using a 3-dimensional printer. My mind went right to fiction: imagine what would happen if a character could print a gun? Now that would add a pop and maybe even a pop of color. Try it: give your character a printable gun or some other unusual 3-dimensional prop to make and use. See what happens next.

2.  Take a page from fan fiction. Many of the students I am working with during NaNoWriMo this year write fan fiction. They borrow the best elements from their favorite novels and television shows, add new characters and plots, and write forward. When they talk about writing their NaNoWriMo book, they get all giddy because it gives them an opportunity to spend the month with characters they are curious about in a setting they have long admired. Try it: list 5-10 elements you like from your favorite television shows and novels. Don’t limit yourself—write down characters, setting, plot points, props, and anything else you can think of. Once you have your list, add one or more element to your NaNoWriMo project.

3.  Make worry work for you. I’ve been a worrier my whole life. Even happy events leave me worrying about what might go wrong. On the other hand, if you’re a worrier, you can harness your imagination and make it work for your writing. In Josip Novakovich’s Fiction Writer’s Workshop, he invites readers to make use of their worries by listing events that could have happened but didn’t (p. 23). These could be events you feared or hoped might happened. Try it: Make a list of at least five of these events and use one or more in your novel.

4.  Phone a friend. On the popular television quiz show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, participants could get help by reaching for three lifelines: 50-50, ask the audience, or phone a friend. Often both the audience and the friend were not just wrong, they were wildly wrong. In NaNoWriMo, we might get some interesting answers if we ask a friend or acquaintance for help with our novel. And in the world of NaNo, interesting means more fun for us. Try this: ask your friends on Facebook to give you a fun character or situation to add into your novel. Then do it—put in the zombie librarian or the flying pig, even if they have nothing to do with what you are writing about. Trying to add a unique element to your book will puzzle your brain in the best possible way.

5.  Use Found Passages. I’m enamored of artists who can take old materials and shape them into new items. In Paper Made: 101 Exceptional Projects to Make Out of Everyday Paper, author Kayte Terry teaches readers how to make purses out of old book covers and bracelets out of scraps of paper. As a writer, you can take found passages of writing and incorporate them into your book as well. Jonathan Safran Foer created his book Tree of Codes by cutting into his favorite book, The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz. What emerged is a novel that is part story, part sculpture. Try this: review favorite books, journal entries, magazine articles, and your old drafts of articles and novels for snippets to mix and match and revise into a part of your book.

Your turn: What tools and techniques do you suggest for letting go and having fun? Comment below! We need your advice!

Rochelle Melander is an author, speaker, and certified professional coach. She is the author of ten books, including the National Novel Writing Month guide—Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell About It) Rochelle teaches professionals how to write good books fast, use writing to transform their lives, navigate the publishing world, and get published! For more tips and a complementary download of the first two chapters of Write-A-Thon, visit her online at www.writenowcoach.com

Rochelle Y. Melander 
Author and Writing Coach 
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Author of the book,
Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days 
(And Live to Tell About It)
(Writers Digest Books, October 2011)
A 2011 ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist
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http://www.writenowcoach.com
http://www.writenowmastermind.com
rochelle@WriteNowCoach.com

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