Sunday, 31 August 2014

New quilling project

I've been so busy with our new dog that I haven't done a lot of quilling, but I recently started a new project.

This is a bit different to my usual technique of using the rolled up strips to make flowers and leaves, this time, I'm leaving the strips rolled into tight coils.

I've made a swirly pattern with white card strips on an A4 canvas, and I'm filling in the gaps between the swirls with different coloured tightly rolled coils of paper.

I like the effect so far

I think it will look quite effective when it's finished.

I recently held a competition on my Facebook page - Quillina

And the lady who won asked for a flower canvas in particular colours. This is what I made her, I think she liked it :)

I think my next project after the swirly coils one above, will be to quill a photo of my greyhound Cherry. I've done a couple of photos now, and they turned out well, so, watch this space, or check out my progress on my Facebook page :)


Saturday, 30 August 2014

I'm a bona fide - or should that be fido - dog owner

We'd just finished a nice long walk across Dartmoor, and as we got in the car, I looked down at my trousers because I had a wet patch where I'd been kneeling in the muddy grass. Or maybe it was cow poo.

I looked at my muddy combat trousers, fleece top and waterproof jacket, and thought, I look like a dog owner, which was great, because that's exactly what we now are :)

I never was one for fancy clothes anyway. I feel a bit out of place in a dress, and never wear high heels - I like my feet to be comfortable, so it's trainers or boots for me in the winter, and my Fitflops in the summer. Mind you, I still won't go out without my mascara on. If my hair's a mess, I can put it up in a ponytail, but nobody is seeing me without my little bit of make up!

The reason I'd been kneeling down, was to wipe the dog's muddy feet before she got in the car. I'm sure there will come a day when I don't care about that, and just let her jump in - mud, cow pats and sheep poo included!

But for now, I haven't completely got over my OCD. I'm surprised I've been able to actually pick up her dog poo, but I've got that down to an art. I know the difference between a wee squat and poo one, so when it's a poo one, I'm ready with a sheet of newspaper. I slide it under her, and hey presto, you can then wrap it up and pop it in the poo bag.

Dog owners reading this will understand, everyone else will think I'm potty. But I don't care.

This last month has changed our lives - for the better. We're getting more exercise, and had more laughs than we've had in a long while.
It hasn't been without its problems, and at times I've wondered if we've done the right thing, but one look at Cherry's lovely face, and I know we have.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Interview with Lynda Renham

My interview this week is with the lovely Lynda Renham, author of several romantic comedies, one hilarious anecdotal novel, and another contemporary novel.

Hi, Lynda, would you like tea or coffee?

Tea with a splash of whisky please, oh and a diet coke chaser. Just in case I doze off. It has been known, but I'm sure I’ll stay awake.

Okay, make yourself comfortable. Now, you have a launch party on Facebook next week - 17th August - for your latest book. Tell me a little about Rory’s Proposal.

Oh, that book, that book! That was how I referred to ‘Rory’s Proposal’ when writing it.
It just didn’t seem to work and then suddenly it came together. It’s the story of twenty-nine-year old Flora. She reverses her car into Tom’s Audi and has no idea who he is. Only after she has started to fall in love with him, does she discover the gorgeous blue-eyed Tom is the man who is trying to close down her hairdressing business. It seems that Tom will stop at nothing to get what he wants, but Flora is not giving in to anyone. Can she win the battle against her multi-millionaire enemy, or will her feelings for him get in the way?

Ooh, sounds intriguing. You've been writing for a long time – what did you write in those early days, and were you successful?

No, I've not always been successful. In fact it was writing romantic comedies that saw my success. I’ve written tons of stuff, from articles to contemporary romance. I have also written a fair bit of poetry.

What make you decide to write romantic comedies? Is that what you enjoy reading? And where do the ideas come from?

No, I don’t read romantic comedies. I don’t want to be influenced. I prefer to read a good psychological thriller. The ideas basically come from life - my life, other people’s lives and from people watching. It all came about because the cat was starving and he was tired of our leftover beans on toast scraps. No, that’s not true as we never had any scraps. Joking aside, the truth is I had a migraine one day and watched a feel good movie and wondered could you create a novel like that. So, I had a go, and I've not looked back.

You also have a novel out under a pseudonym – why the different name, and will we see any more books under this name?
Mmmm. I would like to write more books like ‘The Diary of Rector Byrnes’ but they don’t seem to do so well. I’ve written others, but they are unpublished. Read it, read it, it’s quite gripping. The pseudonym didn't work, as everyone knows it’s me.

I've seen photos of the lovely village where you live – it must be a close knit community as these small villages often are – have you used any of the people as characters in your books?

I love my village and the community, and ‘The Diary of Rector Byrnes’ is set in a similar village, but that’s all that’s the same. I didn’t use any of the people in my village. The closest I have come to using a village person was in ‘It Had to be You’ where I featured my friend Muffy. Well, her name anyway, and I used our milkman Tony as the supermarket delivery man in ‘Rory’s Proposal’ Any more and I’d be lynched!

What’s your writing day like? Do you have a set routine, or are you – like me – more of an ‘I can only write when I'm in the mood’ sort of person?
Oh, no set routine for me. Get up, look at laptop and then potter around the house a bit. Look at laptop again and faff about on Facebook. An hour later, pop to fridge. Back to laptop, faff about on YouTube, then about 1pm back to fridge to see what I can have for lunch. Then an hour later, back to laptop. Force about 500 words out and then back to fridge. About an hour later… Well you can see what the routine is like. It seems to work. I can’t seem to lose weight using this routine though.

Ha ha, I know the feeling. I think it’s the dreaded writers’ bum. I run every day to try to keep fit, but it’s not as effective now I'm getting older.
A question that many writers are thinking about at the moment – traditional publishing or self published, and why?

I self-published my first romantic comedy several years ago, and it was hard. You really have to work hard. It’s so important to make sure your books are proof read and free of typos. But you do have more control. Traditional publishing is getting more difficult. So many people are writing books now. I think self-publishing is the way to go, but I'm no expert.

I agree. I think authors like the fact that they can be in control of their own books – and keep more of the profit too! Things have changed so much for authors in recent years, do you think social media such as Facebook and Twitter are a necessity?

Absolutely, it’s how I stay in touch with all my readers. I love communicating with them, hearing whether they liked the books or not. Years ago writers didn’t have that luxury. It also is a great way to promote your books. Having said all that, I’m not a fan of Facebook. I find it very competitive and can affect your self-confidence I think. But I’ll never come off it. I like the chat.

I know what you mean about the self confidence thing. It can be quite hard when you see someone else having lots of success. But, it’s a great way to stay in touch, and chat with like minded friends.

Thank you, Lynda, it was great to find out a bit more about you – good luck with the launch party.

If you’d like to find out more about Lynda, you can visit her blog -Lynda's blog

You can also attend her Facebook launch party – everyone is invited - and there’ll be some competitions on the day with fab prizes - Rory's Proposal launch party

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Greyhound Rescue - Cherry's Story

I've been at this place for a while now. I hurt my toe when I was a baby and don't have it any more. The people I was with didn't want to race me, so brought me here. It's okay, the people are kind, there are other dogs like me, I get fed, and go for walks, but, there's something missing...

These people came to visit me today, and they looked nice, so when my cage door was open, I ran out and licked the man, to say hello.
They seemed to like me, and even took me for a walk. I was a good girl, I didn't pull and stayed with them.
But then they took me back and went away. I don't suppose they liked me after all.

They are back again. The lady is smiling and talking to me, and the man is opening the door on that big box. The lady has something foody smelling in her hand, so if I get in, she might give it to me.
This feels weird. I'm moving, but not me, this box thing. It's okay though, and I did get the tasty treat.

We've stopped and they've taken me through a gate to some grass. Ah that's better, I needed a wee but didn't want to do it in that box. Now they've taken me inside. I'm not sure I like this. It smells strange, and where are the other dogs? The man and lady are talking to me and stroking my ears, I like that. Maybe this isn't so bad after all.

Ooh, these step things are a bit hard to walk up, but there's a nice big squashy bed at the top, that must be for me - I'm going to jump on it - wheeeee!
The man and lady are laughing and stroking me, but I don't think I'm supposed to be on here really.

Oh, they've gone. I better follow them, I don't feel safe here on my own.

Eek, I don't like this! How do I get back down those step things? Help me, please. Phew, the man came and helped me down.

I like these people, they're kind.

We went for an exciting walk. There were lots of different smells and noises. I got a bit scared when all those boxes - which they said are called cars - went flying past us, but the man and lady stroked me and spoke softly, and I felt better.

We're back indoors and I've got this nice thing to lie on, so I think I'll have a sleep, I'm quite worn out from all this excitement.

They fed me when I woke up. I gobbled it all up really fast because I was so hungry.

It's dark now and they've told me to go to bed. I suppose I better lie down.

Where are they? I'm all on my own, I can't find those people. All the doors are closed and I don't know where they've gone. I don't like this, I'm scared. Maybe if I cry, they'll come back.

Well, that didn't work. Perhaps they didn't hear me. I'll try howling.

They still aren't coming. I'll howl louder and longer, that'll work.

I didn't see him, but the man just told me to 'go to bed'. So they haven't left me. Maybe I'll just go to sleep.

It's light again and...look, my people are back. I'm so excited. They didn't leave me after all!

I just got told to calm down because I was jumping about everywhere. I didn't mean to get so excited, but I'm so pleased they are back.

I don't know how much time has passed, but I've had so much fun. I've been taken to different places, and met lots of people, and some other dogs. I like travelling in what I now know is their car, because we do exciting things when we stop and I get out.

I don't even cry at night now. They've put some bars in the gap in the room where they sleep, but the door is open so I can see them, and I feel much happier.

I think I like it here. It's not so strange any more, and these people are nice. The lady laughs when I follow her everywhere, but I want to let her know I love her already. I think she knows though because she just held my head and looked into my eyes, and I could see in her soul that she loves me too.

I've decided I'm a lucky dog. I've found my forever home.