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Saturday, June 30, 2012

It's easy for a girl to love cake on Paragraph Planet

The 75 word story I submitted to Paragraph Planet is being featured on their website today. The title is included as part of the word count and this one is called, 'It's easy for a girl to love cake.' Well it is, isn't it? Please pop over and have a read if you get the chance.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's in!

Months of work wrapped up in one envelope. Today I've sent my manuscript off to the New Writers' Scheme for assessment. Last year I received a report on the same manuscript and with the advice that gave me it has undergone a major rewrite.

I think I've done the advice I received justice. The story is much better and I've learned a lot in the process. Next week I will chat more about what mistakes I made on the way over on The Romaniacs.

For now I can sit back, relax, and start planning the next one!

Monday, June 25, 2012

#Take10Challenge - Number One - Paragraph Planet



As the first of my ten new short pieces, I've written and submitted a 75 word piece to Paragraph Planet. If you've never tried to write a piece of flash fiction, it's great fun and a good writing exercise. There are lots of great examples on the website and they publish a new piece every day. So go on - have a go!

Friday, June 22, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: The Silent Touch of Shadows by Christina Courtenay

It's rare that I look forward to a book in the same way I might a film, but as soon as I read the blurb for The Silent Touch of Shadows the premise intrigued me. I'm glad to say it's lived up to my expectations. It's based in Ashleigh Manor, Kent and when Melissa moves in with her aunt, she starts to experience vivid dreams and is haunted by visions. The problem is a ghost called Roger and in order to rid herself of his presence she sets out to find out more about Ashleigh Manor and its history.

The story offers a perfect weaving between past and present in its time-slip style. For reader's of Christina Courtenay it's a departure from her historical novels, but still offers you the same quality. It's the kind of story I've always wanted to read and don't find enough of. A must-read.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Take 10 Challenge

My head has been stuck in one project for so long that I've decided to have a bit of a stop gap before starting the next novel. I've decided to write 10 new short pieces and enter them into competitions. It's the writers' equvilant to taking a break (Take 5 - hence the loosely themed title) and if anyone wants to join me then please comment below. I will add a list below of what I have completed and the competitions I've entered.

  • Set your own time limit. I'm aiming for the end of July.
  • Both fiction/non-fiction count towards the total. 

  1. Paragraph Planet - a 75 word story. 
  2. A short story
  3. Paragraph Planet
  4. A short story 
  5. Flash Fiction  
  6. First Chapter

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Clearing flower beds and finding someone else's marbles

Project 1: The Garden


Before
After husband's hard work at the weekend
I'm clearing the patch by the shed
My efforts over past couple of days
The marbles I unearthed. Wonder if it's lucky to find someone else's marbles?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A tribute to Randolph Harris Austen

Randolph Harris Austen 

22nd September1923 - 20th May 2012

Twice I've tried to sit down and write a tribute to my Grandad and both times I've got too emotional to come up with adequate words. It's fortunate then that I don't have to come up with new words to tell him how I feel now he's passed away. Instead I'm adding this letter I wrote to him in 2008:

Dear Grandad,

For many years you have been trully what a father should be in the abscense of my own. I have probably never said how thankful I am for that, but I hope it is something you have always known.

So really there is no other person more suitable to walk me down the aisle and I am hoping you will do me that honour?

Yours lovingly always,

Cat xxxxxx



After he passed away my mum and nan found the letter tucked away in his special draw. It was a rare sentimental moment as most of the time we would be winding each other up in humour that we both shared. In the photo above I think he was saying something about gladly getting rid of me. I called him Grandad Gorilla Features and I was his cheeky monkey. Don't ask me how it started, but as normal it was a bit of a wind-up and his presents continued on a theme...
Dan dishing out a thank you gift.
A gorilla ornament to join all the cuddly ones and my nan saying, 'Not another one!'
And this is how I will always remember him:
On our trip to Monkey World where I insisted we take him.

I will always miss you, Grandad, but I'm so happy that you were part of my life.

Your Catherine xxxxxxx

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Project 2: The Big Spring Clean

OK, so it's not spring strictly speaking, but you'd hardly be able to tell going by the weather. I hate to mention how much dust has gathered whilst I've been busy with the work in progress, but it's there and needs attacking. We've already started with the big clean up. I've cleared out the larder cupboard, we've been through all the paperwork, but there's still so much to do I'm going to treat you to delightful pictures of the various stages! A lot of this we're doing in preparation for decorating which is why we're giving the whole house an overhaul Plus we're getting rid of the lodger which I'm delighted by!

Today's excitement, having finished my synopsis, has involved sticking some items on eBay. Something I haven't done for ages and I forgot how technically challenging it can be.
Anyone for some underwater camera housing?
As part of our clear out we've sent several bags to charity shops, but as our lodger is leaving any extra will help so the items that are worth something I'm listing to try and sell. If you fancy checking out the items I'm also katylittlelay on eBay. Obviously this is a temporary measure until my big writing contract comes through, but seen as that may take years! Two items on there so far, not sure I'll make my millions this way either!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Project 1: The Garden



Whilst I've been busy writing a novel there are parts of our house that have been sadly neglected. My husband, Dan has also been away with business a lot so between us we've been doing the bare minimum to keep things presentable. Now we're finally getting round to some DIY projects at home.

First up we're sorting out the garden. Dan has already been hard at work and cleared a lot at the back of the garden.





Today, I've started to tackle the pathway that's become somewhat overgrown. Not a bad improvement for two hours' work. There's still lots to do though and I'll be taking pictures of how we're getting on. It'll make quite a change after spending the past six months in front of the laptop!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A dose of happiness for my poor, neglected blog...

This year, for various reasons, I've hardly blogged at all, but having just finished the checks on my manuscript it's about time to show my blog some love.
Love for the blog
Along with blogs on writing, I'm going to be adding some on afternoon projects as over the next couple of months I will be doing slightly less writing and getting the house in order after neglecting it for too long. So even the house is getting some love!