Tuesday, 19 January 2016

How many blog posts does it take to make a book?

When I reviewed my 2015 goal list I gave myself a little pat on the back. I hadn’t managed to achieve all my targets, but some unexpected successes more than made up for the failures.

But one statistic flummoxed me. I’d signed up to the Goodreads reading challenge and pledged to read 12 books over the year. I was certain I could get through one book a month, and secretly expected to read a lot more. And my grand total?
Only four books? That had to be a mistake. I checked the notebook I use as a reading record and decided I must have forgotten to enter some of my read books. I checked my bookshelves. They were crammed with books I’d read, but my notebook confirmed I’d read all but four in previous years. I remembered giving a bag of books to a charity shop. What were their titles? When had I read them?

It didn’t make sense. I’m reading all the time. Only that morning I’d read a couple of stories in Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special and …

Of course! I’d only counted fiction I’d read in book form. I hadn’t included any non-fiction, individual short stories I’d found in magazines and online, books I’d dipped into but hadn’t read from cover to cover, not to mention all those interesting articles in newspapers and on websites. And as for blogs …! How many thousands, millions, of words had I read on blogs? I’m sure if I’d added them all up they’d be the equivalent of reading War and Peace – at least!

I’ve signed up to the 2016 reading challenge, and have again chosen the modest target of twelve books, but I won’t be surprised or disappointed if I don’t make it. There are just too many reading distractions out there!

Here are two books (both Christmas presents) that I doubt I’ll get through by the end of the year. The last Writers’ & Artists’Yearbook I bought for myself was the 2012 edition, so I’ll be reading the new articles in this year’s edition very carefully, but the listings of publishers, agents, magazines etc. will be dipped into as and when I need them.

The other book, Photocrafty by Sue Venables, offers hours of distracting fun with suggestions for 75 photography projects. Can’t wait to get started on some of them. (Except I’m supposed to be writing – and reading!)      

Have you given yourself any reading challenges this year?

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Here we go again

Every day is the first day of the rest of your life. Any day could be the day when everything changes. Any day might be the one on which a new idea, an unexpected opportunity or a chance meeting makes your dreams come true.

So why is the first day of January extra special?

For me, it’s the day when I look back over the previous year, remind myself of the good things that happened, and decide that the not-so-good things were really only minor disappointments and problems that can now be forgotten. It’s the day I stop feeling I’ve failed because I haven’t ticked off every item on my to-do list. I take great pleasure in ripping it up and writing a smaller, more manageable one. It’s the day I open up my new diary and flick through all those lovely, blank pages.

In 2016 there are 366 days of new possibilities!

Ready, steady, go!

Happy New Year!


Sunday, 20 December 2015

Season’s Greetings!

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

I’m off on my Christmas break now. See you all in the New Year.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

It’s (nearly) Christmas!

Have you got that tingly Christmas feeling yet? Or are you muttering ‘Bah, humbug!’ every time you hear a Christmas song? Are you eagerly counting off the days on your advent calendar? Or already wishing it was over, stressed out with all the preparations?

Whatever your state of Christmas readiness, here’s the perfect remedy to cheer you up, calm you down, and get you in exactly the right mood.

Hang a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door, prepare your favourite tea, coffee, hot chocolate (or perhaps a glass of something stronger?), and enjoy ten minutes of ‘me’ time while you settle down with a Christmas short story from Alfie Dog Fiction. There are lots to choose from this year: some to make you laugh, some to make you sigh, many to remind you what this festive season should be about.

Oh yes, and there’s this one.


Ebook stories also make inexpensive stocking fillers, perfect for anyone you know who’s hoping Father Christmas will bring them a new tablet, laptop or iphone.

And for those who prefer ‘real’ books, Alfie Dog offers paperback editions of its anthologies, short story collections and novels.    

How many days is it now?

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Funny how they turn out

Once upon a time, I had a stroppy teenage daughter who refused to learn how to cook.

‘But it’s important you know how to make a few, simple dishes,’ I said. 'How else will you feed yourself when you leave home?’

She just tutted and shrugged. ‘I’m going to be a famous TV presenter. I’ll be eating out in restaurants most of the time.’

And I tutted and shrugged back. ‘Well don’t expect me to send you food parcels!’

Just look at her now. Not only cooking, but blogging about it too!

Monday, 30 November 2015

Lost for words

I was surprised, but very pleased, when my story 'Forever' was longlisted for the

I was amazed and delighted when it appeared in the shortlist.

But when I heard it had been awarded 1st prize – that’s right, it WON – I couldn’t think how to describe my feelings. At least, not in plain English words that made any sense.

When I come back down to earth I’ll have a good look through my thesaurus.

Until then ...


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Something different (2)

In my last post, I said I don’t ‘do’ poetry, but when I woke up to fighter planes roaring overhead, a passing muse was so alarmed that she dropped some jumbled words into my brain. That’s my explanation anyway. The result is here.