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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Competition winners!

There have been some great answers to the competition question about favourite books and authors. A real mix of genres and I will have to write up about them at some point. More importantly I need to announce the winners. The winners were selected by random.org.

The first winner is: @lauracymft

The second winner is: @onions1

Congratulations to you both. Please can you contact me with your address details by either DM on twitter or email me at catherine@katylittlelady.com

You have one week to contact me otherwise the prizes will be redrawn. Thank you to everyone who took part and I hope to do another competition in the near future so keep your eyes peeled.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Shoes - how do you choose?



A little later than planned but it's about time I told you about which shoes I picked from rubber soles! As I said before they have a really great navigation tool making it very easy to navigate their site and find just what you are looking for.

The navigation tool meant I didn't waste lots of time searching round the site and then discovering they didn't have my size. So all the shoes I looked at I knew they had my size in stock. There is an excellent range of branded shoes on the site and my favourites were these:

Iron Fist Shoes Digiskull Platform Black Sequin Shoes
I have to admit to loving the quirkiness of the Iron Fist range although this particular pair are a little more subtle than some of the others. This particular pair are £39.99 and if you add 'katylittle' into the code box you will get a 10% discount! When I do actually have some money this is the kind of thing I will be going for. Sadly although they were my favourite this was all about finding some new work shoes after my last pair disintegrated. So I went with the Skechers Bikers Goldmine Black Shoes

Skechers Bikers Goldmine Black Shoes


They are also £39.99 and I have to say so far I have been very impressed but I will do a full review after I have been wearing them for another week or so and they have been exposed to wet weather conditions (no fear of that not happening at the moment!)

Sanuk Smile Zori White Flip-Flop
I also got some lovely flip-flops which are a bargain £9.99! I love these ones as the smiley face goes all the way through so will leave imprints but the weather hasn't been nice enough to test them out yet.

I will post a full review of both these products over the next couple of weeks. Don't forget when you head over to Rubber Sole that you can get a 10% discount using the code 'katylittle' and any order includes FREE DELIVERY. 


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The glamorous side of writing and the admin of life!

The last few days have been rather frustrating in that I have got little writing work done. This has been due to a combination of factors which can't be avoided but annoying all the same. So I'm glad to report I have the next three days off work and the ability to engage completely in my writing work.

I need to finally finish an application and get it sent off today and then get on with starting a book proposal. I have spent some of the past few days reading up on everything I need to include. I really have no idea as to whether this will result in anything but just doing it will be really good practice.

As for the glamorous side of writing I don't think I can represent it at the moment! Sadly I am too broke to get my hair dyed at the salon and my collection of white hairs is becoming more obvious. At 29 I don't feel like I should have any white hairs but I found the first on my 21st birthday! So I have conceded to dying it at home although I am too broke until pay day to even buy a pack. So I went in with my Boots advantage card with adequate points to get the dye and they refused to sell it to me! Why? Because I have changed my name (to my married name) and apparently they sent me out a new card. I wouldn't mind but I put the card in the points checker and all the information came up on screen including my married name! So I left Boots and the hair dye on the counter. I could have paid somehow but I don't see why I should when I have the points stored up!

Anyway to add to my glamour status today I am sat here with a white alice band on to control my wild hair and to hide the white ones and my Primark tracksuit bottoms for comfort! It is not a good look but you can't see me so I'm not worried! I think at some point I may have to address my fashion sense before I venture out into the world again. I wonder what the awards ceremonies would look like if writers turned up in what they wrote in!  


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Week one of the challenge

Last week I set myself the challenge of writing 6000 - 8000 words a week. It's a pretty good way to stay motivated and focused on writing as it is very easy to not bother or get distracted.

I have kept up with it over this first week but have not done any over the last two days. This has mainly been with finishing an application form and entering some competitions.

Although I am working on my fiction this is an area I am continuing to try and improve on. The recent article that was accepted has made me realise the potential in some of my non-fiction work.  This has put some other project ideas into motion so I am going to get them outlined over the next couple of weeks and this will be included in the word count challenge.

Overall this first week has showed me the level of work involved and that I am perfectly capable of it if I put my mind to it. Now I just need to carry on with the same level of commitment.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rubber Soles

A while back the wonderful peeps at Rubber Sole requested bloggers to review their shoes. This timed in very well for me as my work shoes had just disintegrated. (I was leaving a trail behind it was that bad!) So I jumped at the chance and offered to blog for them.

I have to say thank you to them for selecting me as since the disintegration incident I have been wearing some work shoes that are slightly too small and are pinching my toes.

I love on-line shopping as I hate the crowds you end up facing when shopping on the high street. The only thing that's frustrates me tends to be badly designed websites. Rubber Sole has to be one of the easiest shopping websites I have navigated for a while. You can use the easy search option to look at particular products, brand names, Gender, Shoe size and prince range. This made it so easy to look through without the disappointment of finding the type of shoe you are looking for only to discover they don't have your size.

I was also delighted to discover that all orders include FREE DELIVERY. This is fantastic as sometimes the price of postage can put me off ordering if I only want one item.

I ordered my shoes last Friday and I was very impressed to get a confirmation at 9.22 and then a further email from the packing team to let me know my parcel had been packed at 9:28!

My parcel arrived on Monday and I have to say the delivery service was very impressive especially as you are not charged extra for this service.

I will show you what shoes I picked in another post but I am taking them out for there first test drive today!

Rubber Sole have also offered an extra 10% off to any of my readers who decide to purchase from the website. To get this discount you need to enter the code 'katylittle' to get your 10% discount!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Some great news!

I've had some great news today (well two bits of great news!). The first was a phone call from Ask Jeeves informing me I had won a handbag worth £220! This is from one of the many competitions I enter. I enter them for fun in the hope I may win something I would otherwise have to go without in my current situation. I have been very lucky over time but enter less now to allow more time for writing. So it was a great surprise to find out I had won such a great prize!

There are not many things that could have topped this news but even better than that I had an email informing me my article 'How to twitter: the basics' has been accepted for publication on howto.co.uk. This came about after writing some notes for the writing buddies as it can be difficult to get to grips with. When I saw How to were looking for articles I decided to do a re-write and submit it to them. I am so pleased it has been accepted and it was just the boost I needed and was on about the other day.

Like I said the other day I was hoping to see at least one thing out of the number of article/pieces I have done over the past two months published and it is so satisfying to know this has happened. Just a shame I can't bottle this feeling up for everyday life. The article is not live on the website yet but when it is I will put the link here. With any luck it will lead to more articles published on the site at a later date.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Starting in the middle

So my challenge started on Friday and so far so good with keeping up with 1000 words a day. If anyone is interested on keeping track on my progress then I have added a word count at the bottom of the information about me. It shows how many words I have done against whereabouts I should be (based on 1000 words a day between now and the end of the year).

I have started in a slightly unorthodox manner, not at the beginning where you would imagine but in the middle. There are parts of the story that are very clear in my mind so these are the parts I am doing first. I have never approached a story like this and am in fact finding it a rather useful method. I couldn't decide how to begin it but by starting in the middle it is filling in some of the facts for the beginning and end. When it comes to sorting the storyline out later I am not sure how much I will appreciate this approach but for now it is working for me.

I am already enjoying this (as I always do with writing) but the effect on normal life is already apparent. Squeezing in full time writing with a part-time job will be a challenge but it's one I believe I can manage. It's just the housework and marital bliss that worries me! I will keep you posted on them all!

Friday, August 13, 2010

My 20 week challenge

Today it is twenty weeks until the end of the year. The original plan I set out at the beginning of this blog has been going well with all the small projects completed and 1 and a half large projects completed. Which leaves me with 1 and a half large projects to complete. I set out for the larger projects to be more than 3000 words and it will not take much more for me to finish the one act playwright. For my final task of the year I have decided to undertake a much larger project nearer to 150,000 words! I hope to at least have the first rough draft done by the end of this year.

This will be my largest writing project to date and I know it is going to be a massive undertaking but I am also quite sure I can do it. I have had the project in mind for some weeks now and have thought about it enough now so need to get going.

I am going to set my self goals for the twenty weeks to help focus my mind. I'm sorry if they are tedious to read but they are the kind of thing that really help motivate me. This will be alongside some other things I need to get done before the year is out. So here is the list, if I get behind please feel free to nag me!

  • Aim for a word count of 6000 - 8000 words a week. This would mean by the end of the year the word count would be between 120,000 - 160,000. I will include any other smaller project word counts in the total. I will keep a tally of my total somewhere on the blog so you can keep an eye on this to see how I am getting on.
  • Aim for 1000 words daily.
  • Add myself to the #amwriting directory of writers.
  • Join the Society for Woman Writer's and Journalists.
  • Continue looking for 3 day job.
So the challenge is set and I need to see how well I keep up with it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The waiting game

Waiting is painful! I have got waiting down to an art in some areas of life. My experience of hospital waiting rooms amounts to numerous hours. In a typically British way I never grumble at this as it is something I am used to and I have been the emergency case that jumped the queue on previous occasions. So instead I settle down with a good book and except I'm investing time in my health.

Waiting to hear back about writing projects is a different ball game. No novel is long enough to cover the kind of periods you have to wait and very soon creeping doubts begin to set in. I have no less than 8 writing projects being considered or judged at the moment. I should hear back about most of them by the end of this month/beginning of September. The creeping fear is the prospect that none of these will be picked. There is a very real chance for writer's that this will be the case when submitting work to a flooded market. Knowing that provides little comfort when your hard work and idea's are being rejected. As some of these projects are local (thus less entries) I hold out a little more hope than usual. I will be very happy with just one of these projects being selected but the waiting produces the butterflies in your stomach feeling.

My remedy to this feeling is a similar tactic to the one I use when hanging around in NHS waiting rooms. It's generally to keep my brain occupied. So I am setting myself a task. I work better when I have specific deadlines to aim for so I am setting myself some for the rest of the year. The next three weeks will see me getting into the swing of it and hopefully stop any anxieties I have about other projects. I'll lay out my challenge in my next blog.

Do you get the same anxieties and what is your remedy?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another writing competition!

Just a quick blog to add another short story competition this time from fabulous magazine.

The prize is a netbook and your story published in fab mag. They are asking for a summer bonkbuster with a word limit of 2500. Another great opportunity but not long for this as the deadline is 21st August so you'll need to be quick!

Good luck if you decide to enter!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Writing competitions!

Whilst I am spending a few days entertaining relatives I thought I would do a quick blog about some writing competitions I have spotted.

The Writer's Bureau competition continues and this month they are asking you to write a short book pitch in the hope of winning a Fiction Writing course. Again another great competition, quick to enter and a great prize if you were lucky enough to win.

Mills and Boon have a New Voices competition. You need to upload a first chapter for them for the first stage. This is not until later in the year but gives you time to prepare. There are further stages if you get through.

The Telegraph have an on-going travel writing competition entitled 'Just back.' See the link for details.

Another fun competition I have discovered is on The Arvon Foundation website. They want six word stories (yes just six) and this runs until the 1st September. This is much harder than you may think! The best I have come up with so far is seven words. I will definitely enter this one as soon as I come up with something.

Good luck with entering any of these competitions. I'll be back to normal blogging by the end of the week but until then I'll be back entertaining my Mum, Nan and Granddad! Must have entertained them well enough today as they are asleep on the sofa!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Procrastination!

I've had a few days of doing very little of anything. It has been nice to have a few days break I think mentally I have been gearing up for my week off but I find it very difficult to switch off for any length of time. For my few days without writing I feel very frustrated with myself. I have become sadly addicted to bejewelled blitz in this short time.

I have a mass of social dates between now and Wednesday but in my spare time I will be sorting out my writing CV and continuing my job hunt.

I will get some alternative blogs up this week not all on writing but don't worry I'll be back on the writing projects ASAP! I'll make sure I do an update on writing competitions I have come across as well as there are a few about at the moment! But in the meantime I'm going to enjoy some R&R this weekend especially as hubby and me are celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Up the garden path!

Or clearing up the garden path rather! Since the weekend I have actually been doing something other than writing or working. I have to admit to not being a fan of gardening normally but at the moment it is like therapy. You may remember at the beginning of this blog I showed you my big list of Things To Do for 2010.
I'm glad to say I am plodding through it nicely. Section 4 (Writing) is well under way as you may have realised but some sections have been sadly neglected and the garden is Section 6. It is going well (mostly thanks to my husband and our lodger, Ed) but still some way to get it finished. So whilst having some respite from writing and work I have been getting on with some.

We managed to borrow a pressure washer from our friends and the patio area has come up really well almost like we laid a new one! Used it on half the path today and clearing the laid slabs which are covered almost entirely by lawn. I have before photos somewhere so will show you how it is all progressing.

For now I am enjoying being outside, having some space to think and for the first time in some while, nothing to worry about!

Monday, August 2, 2010

And Relax....

June and July have been full of deadlines and it was nice to spend some time relaxing at Penny Legg's book launch yesterday.

The launch of 'Folklore of Hampshire'was held at The Brushmakers Arms in Upton. The pub features in Penny's book as it is famous for it's resident ghost. Fortunately the ghost lives upstairs and the picturesque pub was the perfect venue with lovely weather. I'm looking forward to reading my copy but the snippets I've tucked into have been very interesting so far!

It dawned on me whilst at the launch this is the first time over the past couple of months I have had no deadline's looming. Last month I managed to complete no less than six projects and get them all in on time. How well they will do is another matter but at least they arrived on time. This was alongside lots of reading, normal work and job hunting. There is a temptation now to spend some time relaxing (and I will a bit I promise!) but I am certain most writer's never relax! I have now completed the small projects I set out to do this year and now have the two large projects to complete. I am going to try and dedicate most of my time to these in order to make sure they get done. The first is to finally complete the one-act play, 'The White China at Rose Cottage'. As there are no deadlines for this and I am doing it more for my own pleasure it would be very easy to not get it done. This is the reason it has taken a back seat on more than one occasion this year. I hope to have it done by the end of this month. I had originally just hoped to get this shown by a local amateur dramatics group but over the past weeks and months I have come across lots of other opportunities for one act plays so will explore these once this is finished.

Alongside the one-act play I am continuing my textbook studies and the job hunt. I have decided that I would like my paid work to also be within the area of writing so am hunting in that area. I have found one job opportunity I will be applying to so I need to make sure my CV is all up to scratch. So no time to relax just yet, maybe next week when I'm on annual leave!