Monday, 28 November 2011

Fiction Excerpt: The Bully?

The Bully? an excerpt of an (as yet) unwritten story by Abigail Ann

Walking round the playground holding a dinner-lady's hand or standing as near to her as possible was part of my lunchtime routine at primary school. Looking back on it I'm never sure whether it was because I was scared of him, because I was afraid of admitting I wasn't (and thereby feeling left out) or because I was trying to support my best friend who definatly was. Whatever the reason, simply his presence was enough to send shivers down my spine by the end of it all. It was as if everytime I wanted to just be with the other girls I would turn around and there he would be, lurching his was towards me. And then, as he approached, the sudden dash to subtly get away would end our fun and games.

I do remember trying one day (or possibly on more than one ocassion) to talk to him, to persuade him to go away. But then the smell had got to me, overpowering my sensory glands and somehow getting worse as he leaned into me for an attempt on a hug. Then I'd turned and retreated to the side of my protector, knowing that was the only way to avoid his stench.

Maybe if I'd reacted less he wouldn't have been such a problem. The leer that fills my mind when I think if him tells me that it was our screams that he was searching for. What must his life have been like to resort to such actions as stalking two 10 year olds just for a brief reaction? More to the point, what lack of care must there have been to allow him to walk into school with such a reek?

To be honest, that was the problem- ours and his. Everytime I picture him my smell receptors jump into action- and its that which really stands out in my memories. It was as if he had been smoking cigarettes ontop of a garbage heap and had somehow managed to add the smell of burnt toast to the mix. Add half a bucket of marmite, a ton of raw sewage and rotting meat and you'd come somewhere close to the overall effect. It was no wonder we'd alwaus wanted to keep our distance of him.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Fiction Excerpt: "Him"

Him (an excerpt of an, as yet, unwritten story by Abigail Ann)

I hate him! He just gets in the way of everything! 8pm today when I came home; and he had the nerve to tell me I was too late. What right has he to tell me what to do? He's not my father!
It's all his fault anyway! If he wasn't here I wouldn't have to spend all day down the park with that little nuisance. If anyone should be blamed for that 'c' word she uttered then it should be him! Before he came I'd never have felt the need to us it, let alone write it in the playground's shelter. Anyway, I was just trying to follow the doctor's orders- he said I needed to have more chocolate and what better place to do that then with friends. I just couldn't eat with him watching!

I hate him, I hate him, I hate him!
She'd have let me off if it wasn't for him!
Watching TV, looking out of the window.


Went cycling today. There's nothing like freewheeling down onto a dual carriageway to get the adrenaline going.
They spent the day out with their little angel. Went to the zoo or something. Couldn't care less where I was!
But it was all my fault that we'd ended up in the cemetary half a mile away. Said he'd told me to stay on the estate. Well, he says a lot of things- how can I be expected to take them all in?

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Fiction Excerpt: After the event

What follows is a short passage of fiction which I wrote at a writing workshop. As always, I'd love to know what you thnk- what do you like, hw could it be improved, would you like me to write more etc.

After the event

Time slows when you're alone. The mind wanders. The body itches. A tickle on my back- a spider crawling along my spine. I want to look, to flick it away but the muscles stay taught, unresponding. "Incy wincy spider wet up the water-spout" runs around my mind. Now the creature looms in front of me, the curse of my imagination. I close my eyes and it explodes into seemingly millions of smaller images sketched across my eye-balls.

A flicker of light drifts across the canvas of my eye-lids. I open them, just in time to see the nurse scurying past. "Hello", I call, but she doesn't seem to hear. Or maybe she chooses not to.

Here few choose to speak to me. The voices lying just beyond the dividers might as well be on another planet, alien as they are. I strain to make sense of them, to recognise the words that I've overheard in the 'boulangerie' or the local 'inter-marche', to put sounds to the words that I've snatched sight of down at the 'planche de l'eau'.

Outside lies a little piece of my home. My friends are the only ones who understand me- not just the words of my heart, but those that come from my mouth as well. Sure, there's my family, but my daughter seems more of them than me and my parents seem happy to float in their own world. When we moved from 'angleterre' I never thought it would be like this. I never thought I could long so much for the smell of 'Fish and Chips' drifting through our enclave of the French countriside.

Saturday nights mean home to me. Eating good fat chunky chips set next to a slab of battered cod. Popping down the pub for a quick beer. Its easy to forget where you are over a good game of bingo. And everyone understands me, not like here!

The doctor wanders by and I try another tentative "hello". Was that really a glare? Are doctors allowed to look at their patients like that?

He approaches. "Bonjour" he says, before his words dissapate into unintelligable babble. I feel myself beginning to panic as my mind scrambles to get a hold on what its hearing. I watch his mouth move as if it might give me clues to the word's meaning. And then, all of a sudden, the noise ceases.

I stare at the still lips, willing my brain to stop its annoying mumbling. My mind feels as if its about to explode.

But, somehow, it doesn't. And, somehow, I finally manage to realise that he is looking at me. One eyebrow is raised as he stares straight at me. Never before have I known more what the phrase "it felt like he was undressing me" meant. My brow beginning to boil, I struggle to regain some sense of what is happening. So what if he's undressing me, surely he's seen it a million times before. But I know that's not what he's doing- he's simply looking inside my soul!

Looking inside my soul? As if that's any better! Who is he to guesss what I'm thinking, he's not a pyschiatrist, how could he possibly understand?! Or maybe he is! It now occurs to me that I've never really been introduced to this man! Sure they rambled something in the lingo franca, but the bit they spoke in English (so that I might understand) was fragmented and simplistic at best.

The doctor sighs and repeats his question once again- for I now realise it was a question that he was asking all the time. I try to engage my brain in order to fathom his meaningless words, to no avail. Slowly and patiently I tell him "I..... do..... not..... understand...... French". His eyes roll, as if they might come out of his head. My patience finally exhausted I too sigh and lie down to sleep, hoping that by blocking out this world I might return to that of my own.


England is my home, if you believe the old saying 'home is where the heart is'. However, my house has been in France for the last three years. That was a few months after my parents got it into their heads to renevate an old farm out here.

It's not to bad though, the old ex-pat community kept us sane as we made our way through the building work. My daughter safely off at school, friends accompanied us as we scoured the shops for the objects that would make this place ours. By the time Dad had got the walls laid it had become clear that we would have to look back home for the household necessities.

The one plus side was the fish. Every time things got too much, and they regularly did, Dad would make his way out back with his line. I never could stand watching the wriggling worms that he attached to his line, preferring to wait until tthe produce was gutted before looking at his catch. Then it would be down to the fish and chip shop to get Tim to batter it up for dinner- the perfect garden to mouth existence.  Of course when they holiday-makers arrived we'd have to share our catch with th visitors- altough there was the other cottage to look to before then.

It took quite a while to build our little hamlet- removing the unnecessary barns and stacking up the walls. Every little feature had to be carefully converted before the furniture arrived from across the channel. And there was the blasted septic tank- that luxery that would haunt us for years to come.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Approaching the writing process

A few weekends ago I was in Nottingham for the BookCrossing UK UnConvention 2011. During the event we heard three authors speak about their books and their writing. What struck me the most, however, was the enormous differences in the way they approched the writing process.

Eve Makis (author of Eat, Drink and Be Married) told us that she cannot really plan where her books are going. She gets a very vague idea, works her way inside the head of the story-teller character and then writes. She often uses real people as the basis for her characters, as she feels that she knows them, better. She never really knows where her books are going and likes the way that she discovers what is happening along with those she is writing about. She writes what she enjoys.

Stephen Booth (crime novalist) talked a lot about how he visits police stations for ideas. His focus is on the interaction between people and he likes to use quirky incidents from real life.

Catherine Cooper (author of The Golden Acorn) collects ideas in notebooks. She uses other people's images, folk-lore and places as inspiration. Her writing seemed to be more methodical and planned that that of the other two. She stressed the importance of always asking herself questions about her character's motives and what was behind their actions. She was also writing for a clear purpose- to get boys into reading.

So, I wondered, which of these approaches do you most associate with?
Do you think it matters what sort of book you are writing?

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Stopping of Summer Special

Well, the end is here. Thankyou to all who helped out, commented and visited during my month of summer madness. I hope you picked up some tips of things to do, places to see, recipes to try, authors to read and/or blogs to visit. I'd love to hear what you thought- maybe you could leave a comment or make a blog post to tell me. Hopefully this will be the beginning of more events that I'm able to hold.

Just before I leave you to go back to normal broadcasting, I bet you want to know who won what. Well, here you are:

The Winner of Bloody Jack is Mystica
The signed bookmarks were won by Sahina Bibi
The personalised magnetic bookmarks were won by Jade Walker and Janhvi Jagtap
The Winner of the Hairdresser of Harare is Mazz Nixon
And, finally, Anne was the winner of Murder in the Dark.

Congratulations to all the winners. You have been contacted by e-mail and now have 48 hours to respond.

If you didn't win this time, don't despair- you can still win with my 100 followers giveaway (see the sidebar of 'The Story Factory Reading Zone' for more details.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Writing Prompts: The Ten Dos and Donts of Airplanes Etiquette

Hosted by Mama's Losin' It!

In an attempt to kick-start my writing once more, I'm joining in with the 'Writing Prompts' meme for the first time this week. I've chosen option 5, to write about the dos and don'ts of airplane etiquette. Those of you who know me will not be surprised to know that I've written a short fiction piece for this purpose.

Buffetted in the waves, Dave began to taste the tuna that he had mistakenly consumed before boarding. In his drowsy state, he began to imagine the plane falling to meet his stomach way below them. Touching the deep below, a baby screamed out for rescue, as the water crashed against his stiffened back.

As he pulled his sticky eyelids apart, he returned to a fuzzy reality once more. "We apologize for the turbulance" announced a strangeled voice above him, "We have now descended to a lower level, and expect a clear sky for the rest of our journey".

Rising instantly after the words came the noise of a fighter plane approaching Dave's rear. Each shot rocketed his body forwards as it pelted into the small of his back. He turned as took a sly, yet pearcing glance at the child who sat engrossed in his video game. His mother, oblivious of the boy's actions, desperatly attempted to calm his young sister.

Dave sighed and, returning to his aquired position, tried to make himself just a little bit more at home. By leaning forward just an inch he was able to reach the inflight magazine. Just an inch the other direction and he was back at 45 degrees once more. Wishing he was able to lean back, Dave opened the glossy cover and began to read.

Soon he found himself on a tropical island. The sun beat down on him and, in the distance, waves lapped upon a sparkling shoreline. Dave rested his back upon a palm tree, as the birds serenaded him to sleep. A steel-band's gentle melodies assisted him to drift off into what felt like an everlasting rest. That was before they upped their tempo.

The drums began louder, deeper and suddenly gained a bass. The island disappeared, as Dave felt the air stiffle and the heat become stuffy. He put his hands over his ears and tried to curl up, but the grip of his seatbelt forced him back to reality. Dave picked up the magazine and turned the page. He sighed as he searched for another article that might bring back his sanity.

"Would you like a drink sir?" interrupted the flight attendent.
"No thanks" Dave muttered, trying to wish away the real world.
"Chicken or beef?" the attendant continued.
"Neither thanks" he replied.

Silence restored, Dave breathed once more. He was grateful he hadn't bothered with a meal when the seat ifront of him hit his knees. He was not as grateful about the gift he had received- a bruised kneecap! Stuffing the magazine onto his lap, Dave leant forwards as his seat went back. The seatbelt pulled, but finally released him to peep at the muscles of the man infront. Dave meekly leant back once more, noting how he could finally get into some sort of sleeping position. He closed his eyes and tried to return to his dreams.

He awoke suddenly to something, or someone, poking him.
"Duty free sir?" said the attendant, as the men between them looked on impatiently.
It took a little while for Dave to responded. "Ummmm, not today" he yawned, closing his eyes once more.

Dave peacefully drifted down a river, as the wind caressed his face. Either side of him, trees swayed gently in the breeze. On the river bank he spotted a family of beavers, their chewing floating across to him as they worked together to form their new home. He watched as they felled one of the tall trunks and heard the splash as it hit the waters below. It was then that the boat capsized.

It tipped back, as something landed on his stomach. Dave awoke with a start and jumped up from his seat, fighted off the tray infront even as he battled with his restraint.
"What the F****K!" he shouted
The plane turned towards him, but Dave hardly noticed as he threw the magazine from his soaked jeans onto the floor.
"Enough's enough!" he belted, as an attendent approached.
"You!", he turned on those behind, "as if the constant bawling wasn't enough, I have to put up with gun fights as well. Not to mention the kicks I've enjoyed courtesy of your overactive legs!"
"Now sir......" the attendant began.
Ignoring him, Dave turned to the front, "And you! Where did you learn to eat! Do you have some need that I have to hear what you're eating? Do you gain some enjoyment from squashing me against my seat?"
"Now sir, if you don't desist we'll be forced to have you removed....."
Dave turned on the interrupter, "Now you decide to act! I have to tolerate all these rude people and now you have the nerve to tell me to 'desist'" At this point Dave wiggled his fingers in the air, as if physically adding the speech marks around his words. "At what point were you made judge and jury?! You're just as bad, trying to force feed a man, making him spend his money on useless tat!

Dave never got to Alcapolco! As he was escorted off the plane, the man next to him passed down his bags to the attendant. The boy from behind watched, his head hanging down. As he looked up, Dave almost thought he saw a glance of apology.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Author Interview: Joanne Harris

I'm sooooo excited to be able to welcome Joanne Harris to this blog. I enjoyed reading Chocolat well before I started writing this blog. She has written 15 books so far and is still writing. Thanks to Mozette for sending her the questions.
So, without further ado, the interview:

    Please introduce yourself to our readers
I’m a 47-year-old former teacher living in Yorkshire. I have an 18-year-old daughter and a husband I met via graffiti on a school desk when I was just 16. I ‘m addicted to Haribo, Diet Coke and musical theatre.
Oh, yes - and I write a bit.

    What book do you think you are most like?
Parts of me are in all my books and all my characters. I don’t think you can write a convincing fiction unless some of it is supported by experience and emotional investment.

    What sort of books do you write?
I don’t like categorizing what I write. My books are often very different from each other. Loosely speaking, I appear under general fiction, but I’ve written crime novels, fantasy, historical, cookbooks, short stories. Most of my books have an element of suspense, and many of them focus on the senses in some way – often those of scent and taste.

    Can you tell us a bit about your favourite character from your own writing.
It’s hard to choose a favourite character when there are so many to choose from. One of my readers’ favourites is Vianne Rocher, who has appeared in two of my books so far; a mother, a traveller, a reluctant witch and of course, a maker of chocolates. I’m writing another book about her now, because I sense that her journey isn’t done.

    What books/authors have influenced your writing the most?
Ray Bradbury; Jules Verne; Victor Hugo; P.G.Wodehouse; John Mortimer; Mervyn Peake; Vladimir Nabokov.

    Tell us about the place where you write.
I used to write at home, but now I have a shed in the garden. It’s made of stone and it’s quite spare inside, with just the basics; a chair, a desk; a kettle. I don’t like distractions when I’m working, so it’s good to have somewhere to go where I know I won’t be disturbed too often.

    Do you have any techniques that you use if you get writer's block
I’m not sure I believe in writer’s block. The idea presupposes that a writer can always write whenever they feel like it. Some days I can write, others not. On the others I do something else.

    What are your top 5 tips for writing?
Read as much as you can, in as many different areas.
Pay attention to current events. Newspapers are full of ideas.
Talk to as many different kinds of people as you can. Everyone has a story.
Don’t try to copy trends. Be yourself, and be honest.
Enjoy what you do, and keep trying to improve. That in itself is already success.

Thankyou to Joanna Harris for the useful tips. I must say that I for one am very glad to hear an author saying that you don't have to write every day. You can find more tips for writing on Joanne Harris' website.

Over to you:
  What is your favourite Joanne Harris book?

 Tomorrow I'll be interviewing blogger Hilde of 'Turn of The Page' over at 'The Story Factory Reading Zone'.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Autumn Overhaul

Just a quick note to let you know that you may spot a few changes on my blogs over the next few weeks. Don't panc- nothing major's going to change, I just wanted to give the place a makeover whilst I have the chance. The main things that will be happening will be to make the blogs more similar,  so that people can (hopefully) clearly see that they're all run by the same person. I'm also hoping to make them easier to navigate.

If you have any suggestions of anything you think could make this blog better do leave  a comment. I can't promise I'll act on them all, but I certainly seriously consider them!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Author Interview:

Thanks to Mozette of My Reading List (see previous feature), I'm pleased to be able to welcome author Karen Tyrrell to the 'Summer Special'. Karen has kindly answered a few questions for us about her writing, and writing in general.

  1. Please introduce yourself to our readers
My name is Karen Tyrrell and I'm an Australian multi-genre writer with #6 completed books. Memoir. Crime. Super Space Kids series. The Rescue Kids picture book series. Three publishers are considering my books for publishing.
  1. What book do you think you are most like?
I'm a multi-layered mystery book, with intriguing interwoven sub-plots.
  1. What sort of books do you write?
I write fast-paced books which keep adult and children Readers engaged. My stories are based on my intense personal experiences.
  1. Can you tell us a bit about your favourite character from your own writing.
In my memoir, ME AND HER: a Memoir of Madness, my main character, myself, strives to comprehend the shocking cause of her mental illness and how she will recover.
  1. What books/authors have influenced your writing the most?
Jodi Picoult, Jeff Lindsay, Anita Shreve, Katherine Howell.
  1. Tell us about the place where you write.
I write in my office, gazing out to waving palm trees and the blue skies of Brisbane, Australia.
  1. Do you have any techniques that you use if you get writer's block
Keep writing every day on multi-interest writing projects, switching over when you get stuck on one. Then you can easily pick up another.
  1. What are your top 5 tips for writing?
Write every day without excuses. Write what your passionate about. Enlist in writing courses to develop the craft of writing. Join a writer's group that critiques. Turn reject letters around ... RETHINK > REWRITE > RESUBMIT.

Thanks again to Karen, it sounds like you have a beautiful place to write!

Now it's over to you: if you enjoy writing then I'd love to read your answers to my questions. You can answer one or two in the comments, or all of them on your own blog (please provide a link so that we can check them out).

Tomorrow I'll be suggesting another place to visit over at 'Living in A Time Warp', before sharing some of my breadmaking recipes on 'Music Helps The World Go Round

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Summer Sharer: A world of Writing

I guess most of you who visit this blog love writing. Well, you won't be surprised to know that so do I! Yet, I rarely find the time (and sometimes the inclination) to make a start. So, here's a chance to give yourself a reason to write. As usual, do this on your own blog or sociaal networking site and leave us a link, or simply post in the comments. There's a choice of activities today, feel free to do as many (or as few) as you want.

1. Share with us your best piece of writing so far
2. Tell us about what you've been up to this summer
3. Write a short piece of fiction entitled 'A Special Summer'

I can't wait to read your responses!

Tomorrow, check back for an interview with author Karen Tyrell

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Summer Sharer: Holiday Snaps

I'm sure many of you have been enjoying your summer holidays, either at home or by going away. Whether youve been doing some of our 'suggested activities', going to our 'places to visit', trying out our recipes, or simply doing your own thing we'd love to hear from you.

In particular, this post is about sharing our holiday photographs. Why not share some of your snaps on your blog, website, or social network profile and then leave us a link in the comments so that we can check them out. Please make sure you have the permission to post of any people featured in your pics.

Share your photos of what have you've been up to this summer

Tomorrow I'll be hosting an international giveaway over at 'Crafty Creations'

Saturday, 13 August 2011

GIVEAWAY- Assorted signed bookmarks (international)

One lucky winner will be in the for chance to win 5 signed bookmarks as follows:
  • Mocked by Destiny by Michelle Richard
  • Blind Faith by Michael Schneider
  • Pulled by Amy Lichtenhan
  • Convergence by J.D. Watts
  • Wings of Fate by T.M. Hobbs
There's some beautiful artwork on these bookmarks, and if you're a fan of any of the books (or authors) then you'll definatly want to enter. 

The rules
  • If you're under 16 then please ask parental permission before entering
  • Open internationally!
  • Closing date is 31st August 2011
  • Fill in the form to enter

I look forward to welcoming you back to 'The Story Factory Reading Zone' for another giveaway tomorrow

    Friday, 12 August 2011

    Suggested Activity 10: Do some reading

    Do some reading

    Our survey respondants said:
    My favorite form of entertainment is reading. I love reading, and spend a few hours everyday indulging in reading.

    Now, those of you that follow me over at 'The Story Factory Reading Zone' will know that reading is also one of my favourite activities. I particularly enjoy it in the summer, when I can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine, or inside in the cool with the patio doors open. I also love the fact that the holidays mean plenty more time to read.

    Over to you:
    What book(s) would you recommend for the summer?

    Pop over now to 'The Story Factory Reading Zone' to be in for a chance of winning a copy of Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer

    Friday, 5 August 2011

    Suggested Activity 5: Find somewhere different to write

    Find somewhere different to write

    'The Story Factory Reading Zone' readers say that they usually write indoors in the summer, using their laptops, at home or in their van. Personally, I prefer to write outdoors on a park bench where I can absorb the atmosphere of what's going on around me.

    I came across a reading challenge a few months ago, where you had to read in a variety of different places. It sounded like a fantastic idea and the only thing that stopped me doing it was the requirement to read in the toilet (something I didn't really fancy). The benefit? The discovery of new places and making sure that you don't just sit in one place all day. Now, apply the same to your writing. The benefit? See new places, maybe discover a new setting or two for your novel. Why not give it a try?!

    Over to you: 
    Share a photo or story about a new or unusual place where you like to write.

    Tomorrow's 'Suggested Activity' will be posted on 'Crafty Creations'

    Monday, 1 August 2011

    The Week Ahead: Week One

    Welcome to the first of 4 'Week Ahead' posts during my August 'Summer Special'. The aim of these posts is to keep you updated with what will happening each week, including any changes from the published schedule. They may also include my response to the 'It's Monday: What Are You Reading?' meme (I don't do this every week, just when I have new reading to announce).

    WEEK ONE- Welcome To The Summer!
    This week is all about getting the feel for what the 'Summer Special' is about. As well as the launch post, I'll be taking you round all my blogs as I share with you some suggested activities for the summer, one of my favourite recipes and a place to visit. The week ends with the first 'Summer Sharer' and blog feature.
    Click on the blog titles to be taken to their main pages.

    Day One-     Launch Post (all blogs)
                        The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                        Suggested Activity 1 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Two-    Suggested Activity 2 (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Three-  Suggested Activity 3 (Crafty Creations)
                        Recipe Resort: Peach Sorbet (Blog For The Thought)
    Day Four-    Places To Visit 1 (Blog For The Thought)
                        Suggested Activity 4 (Blog For The Thought)
    Day Five-     Suggested Activity 5 (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Six-       Suggested Activity 6 (Crafty Creations)
                        Summer Sharer: Wanderer's Tales (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Seven-  Blog Feature: My Book-Crazy Life (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

    Over to you: What does summer mean to you?

    Summer Special Starts!

    Apologies for the late start to this 'Summer Special'.
    Who knew it would take me over an hour to write this post!?

    Welcome to the first ever 'Summer Special' taking place across various blogs run by Abigail Ann (aka neeuqfonafamai).

    So, what is 'Summer Special'?
    Basically, its a change to our regular schedule where you can hang out during your summer holidays. Or, if they're already over, then you can use the opportunity to imagine them back again and begin planning for next year. Every day in August, I'll be leaving you some ideas of  things that are good to do in hot weather. They'll also be giveaways, blog features, author interview(s), recipes for you to try, and a chance for you to join in during our 'summer sharers'. That's in addition to all my usual book reviews and memes. And, at the end of each post, will be an 'over to you'- something to spark discussion in the comments, or to post about on your own blog (if you want to).
    Let me now tell you some more about the types of posts you may come across during this month:
    • The Week Ahead. At the start of each week in August, I'll be putting up a post saying what's happening that week. This will be an updated post and will include the 'It's Monday: What Are You Reading?' meme. 
    • Suggested Activity. These are posts talking about activities that myself or my blog readers like to do. They contain ideas of things that could be good to do in warm weather. 
    • Places to Visit. These are brief posts telling you about various places that could be good to go and visit. These are specific places that you might want to see if you live nearby, or to go to on holiday in the future.
    • Blog Feature. Telling you all about some of the blogs that our readers run. 
    • Giveaway. Your chance to grab a prize. Thanks to the generousity of our readers most of these are international! Plus, I'll be adding a surprise giveaway if the followers of 'The Story Factory Reading Zone' hit 100 followers during this event!
    • Author Interview. Your chance to find out more about an author that may be new to you. 
    • Blogger Interview. Your chance to learn more about a fellow blogger.
    • Summer Sharer. Essentially a series of one-off memes, these posts are your opportunity to join in by sharing your photos, summer exploits, or writing. Let us know what you're up to this summer on your own blog, or via the comments.
    • Recipe Resort. I'll be sharing some recipes that I've found to be good for the summer.

    Enough of the posts, where do I find them?
    They'll be spread across my blogs. But don't worry, they won't be hard to find as each day I'll leave a note for you of where you can find the next post. Plus, there's a list below of what will be happening when and where, which I'll leave (and update as necessary) on the new 'Summer Special' page of each of my blogs.
    Just to make sure you don't miss anything, here's a list of the blogs participating:

    The Schedule
    These are the posts that I've already got planned for the 'Summer Special' event. Also, look out for all my usual posts, as well as the possible additional giveaway or interview.

    WEEK ONE- Welcome To The Summer!
    Day One-     Launch Post (all blogs)
                        The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                        Suggested Activity 1 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Two-    Suggested Activity 2 (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Three-  Suggested Activity 3 (Craft Creations)
                        Recipe Resort: Peach Sorbet (Blog For The Thought)
    Day Four-    Places To Visit 1 (Blog For The Thought)
                        Suggested Activity 4 (Blog For The Thought)
    Day Five-     Suggested Activity 5 (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Six-       Suggested Activity 6 (Craft Creations)
                        Summer Sharer: Wanderer's Tales (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Seven-  Blog Feature: My Book-Crazy Life (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

    WEEK TWO- Giveaways Galore!
    Day Eight-   The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                        Suggested Activity 7 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                        Summer Sharer: Recipe Resort (Cradt Creation)
    Day Nine-    Suggested Activity 8 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Ten-      Places To Visit 2 (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Eleven-  Suggested Activity 9 (Blog For The Thought)
    Day Twelve- Suggested Activity 10 (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
                         Giveaway 1: Bloody Jack (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                         Blog Feature: Ann's Reading Corner (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
    Day Thirteen-Suggested Activity 11 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                         Giveaway 2: Assorted Signed Bookmarks (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Fourteen-Giveaway 3: The Hairdresser of Harare (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

    WEEK THREE- Sharing the Summer
    Day Fifteen-  The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                         Suggested Activity 12 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Sixteen- Places To Visit 3 (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Seventeen- Suggested Activity 13 (Crafty Creations)
                         Summer Sharer: Crafty Capers (Crafty Creations)
    Day Eighteen-Suggested Activity 14 (Blog For The Thought)
                          Recipe Resort: Beetroot Cake (Living In A Time Warp)
    Day Nineteen-Suggested Activity 15 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
    Day Twenty-  Suggested Activity 16 (Living In A Time Warp)
                          Summer Sharer: Holiday Snaps (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Twenty-One- Giveaway 6: Magnetic Bookmarks (Crafty Creations)

    WEEK FOUR- Writing and Reading the World
    Day Twenty-Two-   The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                                   Places To Visit 4 (Living In A Time Warp)
    Day Twenty-Three- Suggested Activity 17 (Crafty Creations)
    Day Twenty-Four-   Suggested Activity 18 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                                   Summer Sharer: A World of Writing (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Twenty-Five-   Author Interview: Karen Tyrrell (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Twenty-Six-     Places To Visit 5 (Living in A Time Warp)
                                   Recipe Resort: Bread-maker's Bread (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Twenty-Seven- Suggested Activity 19 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Twenty-Eight-  Blogger Interview: Hilde (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

    WEEK FIVE- Reaching the End
    Day Twenty-Nine-  The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                                   Giveaway 7: Murder in the Dark (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
    Day Thirty-              Places To Visit 6 (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Thirty-One-      Wrapping Up The Summer (all blogs)

    I hope you'll be able to join us for some summer fun this month!
    If you want to be certain not to miss anything, please consider following one (or all) of the blogs

    Over to you: What are your plans for August?

    Monday, 25 July 2011

    Countdown To Summer Special

    LESS THAN A WEEK TO GO until our 'Summer Special' event!

    Spead across 6 blogs that I run throughout August, 'Summer Special' will be full of suggestions on how to make your summer just that little bit more fun.

    Look out for:
    • suggested activities
    • book, arts & crafts and other giveaways
    • featured blogs
    • blogger interviews
    • author interviews
    • book reviews
    and more.......

    It's not too late to get involved as well! Simply fill in the form below before next Monday to get your activity suggestions or blog featured, be interviewed, or donate a giveaway item.

    Sunday, 17 July 2011

    The One-Minute Writer: Electronic/ Paper

    Hosted by The One-Minute Writer

    This is a topic that I have given quite a bit of thought to recently. I absolutely love paper books- the feel of them, the smell of them and the fact that they are easy to send onto other people. The only thing that's ever attracted me the idea of an electronic book is the portability. That's not enough for me, I'm afraid! Now, if they had a feature to switch from audio book (complete with human voices) to text and back whilst saving my place in the book- then I might be interested!

    Thursday, 14 July 2011

    The One-Minute Writer: Loss

    This post took me one minute only and is staight out of my head onto the page, therefore please excuse any typos.

    I stood peering out of my swollen eyes at the bird which lay in my open hand. It simply stayed where it was, and I knew it would never move again. I nudged its head, which swayed under my touch and then fell back into my palm.

    Thursday, 30 June 2011

    How Do you Make Your Summer Special?

    I'm hoping to run a series of posts on things to do this summer. But, in order to make this a success I need your help? I want to know if you have any activities, places you enjoy, or things that you do in the summer months. I would especially like to know about where you like to write in sunny weather. Maybe you go to the beach, or sit by the side of a swimming pool. Maybe your kids are at home and you read to them as you write. Whatever it is, I'd love to hear from you.

    Friday, 24 June 2011

    Writer's Block- How Do You Deal With It?

    You may have noticed that, despite all good intentions, I've written very little here since starting this blog. Part of the reason for this is that I've been suffering from a case of writer's block. In the past when I've had writer's block I've sat down and written something using a starter or idea from a book. This has then good my ideas flowing again. Unfortunatly, this time, it doesn't really seem to have worked. You will be glad to know that I have come up with the solution to my problem however- talk to someone who is passionate about writing. It's very hard to not be inspired to write when you sit down with someone who a) enjoys writing and b) wants to encourage you to write as well. So, be assured, I will be doing more writing in the future. You may not see the fruits here straight away (as I will be writing offline as well as on), but hopefully you'll spot some of my writing here and there. I'll be setting up a page on this blog soon where you'll be able to see what writing I've been doing other than on my own personal blogs.

    Do you ever suffer from writer's block? What strategies do you use to overcome it?

    Monday, 13 June 2011

    Meet Me On Monday #12

     Hosted by Never Growing Old

    1.  What is your favorite yogurt flavor?

    My favourite fruit flavoured yoghurt is cherry, but I also love toffee flavour. Not sure which I prefer.

    2.  Ankle or knee socks? and on the same theme, white socks or coloured??
    Ankle. I like socks with the days of the week on them ;)

    3.  How is the weather right now?
    Sunny with cloudy patches.

    4.  Are you a fast typer?
    Yes. I can't remember how many words a minute, but I did a typing test a while ago and they told me that I was faster than needed to be a typing secretary.

    5.  Red or White Wine?
    Red, with meals only

    I post this meme on a different blog every time. See my profile to trace previous posts. 

    Tuesday, 17 May 2011

    One Minute Writer: Give

    Hosted by The One-Minute Writer

    The queue lined up around the block. Many had seen the advert, but few had taken more than a secodn to decide that they were the most deserving. And yet, amongst them one stood out. Dressed in the something that might have been mistaken for sack-cloth, he was there to plead for another.

    One Minute Writer: Fire

    Hosted by The One-Minute Writer

    Sam sat infront of the fire, watching its flickering flames. Entranced by the sparks of colour, his mind emptied and became one with the sensation.

    Turns out this is harder than I thought- 60seconds isn't very long, lol

    Friday, 6 May 2011

    Table Talk

    Hosted by In Good Company

    This is the first time I've had a go at this and, despite good intentions, I've not managed to actually write anything until now. So, this will be another 'off the top of my head' job I'm afraid. 

    This week's gossip:
    Who:  Molly Holden
    What:  luxury car, broken glass, knitting needles, an old brick
    Where:  a mansion
    First line:  The picture in the catalog lied.

    The picture in the catalog lied. Between stitches, Molly Holden glanced out of the window at her brand new luxury car, broken glass scattered around it. It had only been a week since she had spotted the limo advertised in her monthly read and fell in love with it. A sleek black, it had seemed to be the answer to all her problems. Finally, she would be able to leave her home secure in the knowledge that no-one could touch her ever again. The wouldn't even know that she was there in-fact.
    The problem had come when she decided to test the claims. After passing the cash through the letterbox to the delivery man, Molly had slowly undone the security chain and tiptoed outside. Stealing glimpses either side, she had made her way through the twighlight to her waiting saviour. Gleaming in her private driveway, its sleak design had seemed to fulfill her every dream. But could it really change her life?
    Molly had crept round to the back of the mansion, every moment seeming like an eternity. Delving amongst the rose bushes, the thorns digging into her soft skin, she had eventually found the necessary tool. By the time she had returned to the wating vehicle, night had truly fallen. Molly had picked up the brick, feeling its roughness against her fingers, balanced it carefully on her wrist, aimed and then fired. Moments later there had been a crash as her dreams had broken apart.
    Back inside, she checked once more in the catalog. "Reinforced glass" it said, "indestructable". The catalog had lied! Molly returned to her knitting, the needles clattering against one another as they did their work.

    Wednesday, 4 May 2011

    Hello Readers

    Whether you've popped over from 'The Story Factory Zone', via a meme, another of my blogs or are totally new to my writing, let me give you a warm welcome.

    Welcome to the world of my imagination. Welcome to a world in which anything can happen and paper (and computer) comes alive. This is where will be posting my stories and creative writing snippets. At first these will most probably be in the form of memes set my other people, or starters take from some book or other, but I hope that over time this blog will evolve to take on larger extracts of my work.

    I'm always interestedd to receive feedback from my readers. Perhaps you'd like to know more about the background of a place or character, what inspired me to write, or a continuation of an extract I started but never finished. Whatever it is please feel free to leave a comment and Ill respond as best as I can.

    Whilst you're waiting for this blog to begin in ernest, please do check out my previous writing at The Story Factory (please note that these are fan-fictions written when I was younger and not the sort of thing I intend to post on this blog).