Warning - Some posts may cause choking, spitting of beverage and /or a severe giggle fit. This advice brought to you by regular reader Louisa.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011


Some of you may remember that the other day I stated I would unofficially take part in the April A-Z Challenge. Some of you may also note that my blog now has the rather unmissable A-Z Challenge icon displayed on the right.


OK, so I gave into temptation and committed myself after all.

Anyway, I have decided that I needed a theme, and that the theme had to be amenable to short posts (this being not a rule as such, but a guideline, seeing as those taking part also have to read as many participating blogs as possible during the challenge). First I thought, 'Aha! Drabbles!', but that is something that I do pretty regularly for The Burrow, and I fancied a change. So I will be limericking (not a word, but I like the sound of it, so there *nods*) for the duration of the month of April.

And that's all I have to say today!

Image permission.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Blog #195

"Blog  #195". A catchy title, that. I have a love/hate relationship with titles. Well, it's more a sort of I can Think Of A Title Really Easily/ I Can't Think OF A Title For Love Nor Money kind of thing, actually. The thing with titles is that they need to be short and snappy, and also allude somehow to the story/blog post etc that they are heading.

I have no fixed pattern for deciding on titles when it comes to blogging. Sometimes I have a title worked out before I sit down to type, while other times I finish writing the piece, check for typos etc, find pictures if I need them, then spend x amount of time trying to think of a header.

When it comes to stories, however, I have two solid habits. When writing a longer length story - my two attempts at novels and my novel and novella length fan fictions fall into this category - I need my title right from the off. Generally I have a good idea where the story is going, and what the most important theme or aspect is going to be, and having my title fixed firmly in my mind helps me to stick to my theme.

Shorter stories, however, are a different kettle of fish. I don't think I've ever written a short story with the title already worked out. Usually I finish writing, then read through it to see if I can think of something snazzy to call it. I think short stories are more in my comfort zone because they are, to a certain extent, unplanned. All of my short stories tend to be written in one sitting, and usually I have no idea how they will end, I just wait and see where the muse takes me. Hence the No Title Until Finished habit.

But what I want to know is, does having a title up front make any difference to the story? Does it make you more focused? Are you more likely to stick to a plan if you have a title? Or do you feel the story needs to be finished before it can be given a name?

I think with blogs, it doesn't really matter so much, but if you are naming your book - something you have spent months, or even years, working on - it matters a great deal. Like naming a baby, naming your novel is a personal thing. I had the names for my children settled long before I gave birth to them, just as I named my longer stories/novels long before they were finished (or even written, for that matter). Some people might feel they can't name their baby (or book) until they see them face to face. Everyone's different, and one way is no better than another.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on titles...

Image permission.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Ooh, Shiny!

So I popped by to answer any comments from my last post (which I still haven't done *shifty*), and was very surprised to see that Deirdra of A Storybook World had given me the Powerful Woman Writer award for this blog. I'm not quite sure how I 'qualified' for this award - what with my rambling, my Taffing, and my general nuttiness -  but I'm not going to quibble over it as it is a beautiful award and it made me smile when I saw it.

When I looked into it a bit further, I discovered that there are a number of awards that Deirdra hands out, each of them beautifully illustrated pieces on their own, as well as lovely ideas for awards. Inspiring, magical, creative... these are just three of the awards that the lovely Deirdra could bestow on you. I recommend visiting her site, which is not only beautiful to look at, but  is very writer-friendly too. Deirdra also encourages you to nominate other bloggers that you feel are worthy of one of her stunning awards. I've already discovered some new blogs (and saw some familiar ones too) on her awards roll, and will no doubt be adding several to my already too long reading list.

So a big 'Thank You' to Deirdra for the award, and for also helping me to discover some fabulous new blogs. And also for reminding me that one of these days I need to go through all my posts and dig out the other awards that were given to me, but had no idea at the time how to go about displaying them....*shifty*

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Making Plans... Sort Of.

Anyone who knows me well will know that I don't 'do' plans. Really, they're just not happening. It's not the making of them that is hard - I've made countless plans over the years - it's the executing part that I have trouble with. *shifty*

I'm in the process of following a plan at the moment, and so far I'm not doing too bad with it. In order to have a finished manuscript by the end of the first week of June, I decided that one chapter per week in my 'polishing and tweaking' schedule should do it. I've been leaving it till the weekends, but so far I'm good. I should be going through chapter three this week, and I am on target. Whether I stick it out for another ten weeks is another thing, but we shall see.

I'm also doing better with this blogging malarkey. I haven't been blogging every day, but that was never something that I intended anyway. Realistically, I'm hoping for between 150 and 200 blog posts per year, that way I am blogging for around half of the 365 days. I've amassed 41 (including this one) posts for this blog this year, and four on my Cardiffella blog, and we are nigh on three months into 2011. If I stick to this pace, I reckon I should do it. But in order to keep at this pace, I will need to blog every day for at least one month out of every three.

So, with this in mind, I'm not officially joining next month's A-Z blog challenge (I seem to do better with these things if I don't formally commit), but I am going to have a go. There is the NaBloWriMo in October to cover my post-a-day for the last quarter of the year, so that's good. I predict a request for, er, requests, that month, obviously. And as for the month of blogging daily in the July/August/September section of the year... well, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. Hopefully I'll have some exciting news to post on my other blog that will fill up some posts, but I'm not counting any chickens just yet.

As for this blog, I am nearing my 200th post (yay!), and am beginning to think about what I will do to mark the occasion. It may not seem like a big deal to most people, but for a procrastinator, 200 blog posts is huge. Not to mention the fact that I have been blogging off and on now for eighteen months, itself an achievement for someone who usually 'forgets' about writing commitments.

And there we have it, my 'sort of' plans for the near future. It's a ramble to be sure, but I'm pretty sure I haven't surprised anyone there...

Image Permission

Friday, 18 March 2011

What's Wrong With These People??

The picture is poor quality, so you can't really see how bad the welt is, but this is the state of my son's leg at the moment. He also has a large welt around his ankle area on the same leg.


Because about an hour and a half ago,  some 16 year old kid thought it would be fun to attack my son with a large tree branch. The little ****** came from nowhere, attacked my son, tackled him to the ground (with another friend to help him), and all the while another sadistic little sh*t recorded the whole incident on his mobile phone.

You know, I'm so angry right now that I can't even compose my thoughts properly. What the hell is going on in this world??

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Cardiff Mourns A Daughter *

Hello everyone, Ima Nutcase here, intrepid reporter for The Daily Ramble. Usually I cover the human interest stories, with the odd bit of insanity thrown in here and there, but today I have some sad news for my regular readers.

You will probably remember several of my more popular interviews with Tara Smith (23), a young author-in-waiting who was embarking on the daunting journey of writing and publishing a novel. The youthful Cardiffian had written a chick lit novel set in her home city of Cardiff, and after more than a year of procrastinating, had been on the brink of finally polishing her final draft.

You will no doubt remember her trials and tribulations as she initially began writing about her modern day Cinderella and her talking pussy (cat). There were endless computer problems, boken keboas, lack of time issues, lack of inspiration issues, and, perhaps the most drastic problem of all,overcoming her procrastination urges. We will, perhaps, forget about the time when her despair drove her to drink several large bottles of vodka. Or if not forget, then smile with remembered fondness.

Of course, she eventually overcame her obstacles and finished her first draft. All of Cardiff rejoiced as a daughter of the city took her first steps to Authorsville. You will remember that there was a long period of idleness just after this, when our youthful author did not even look at her flawed manuscript. It was, in fact, another 16 months before Tara Smith (still 23, of course) decided she could not put it off any longer. It was when the eternally 23 year old finally pulled her butt into gear and started polishing her mass of typos and spelling errors, that tragedy struck. Yes, our favoured (young) daughter of Cardiff has passed on, forever sleeping in her 23 year old body.

But how did she die? Ah, my faithful readers, that is perhaps the most tragic part of this woeful report.

Our perky author-to-be was sat down happily tapping away at her working keboa, when she heard a strange voice. This hitherto unknown voice was apparently giving her pointers on how to edit her novel, and, to put it bluntly, was being quite helpful. At first the doomed young woman thought it was her Inner Voice - Ms Smith had always put great stock into these types of things you understand - but then she was struck by rather an absurd idea. The voice sounded suspiciously like how she'd imagined her talking pussy would sound from her novel. In fact, the original Muse behind her Muse (said pussy's name) was her very own feline friend, the beautiful Belle, and Belle appeared to be moving her mouth in time with the unknown voice.

Ms Smith (23, in case you forgot), was struck dumb (itself a most unusual feat) as she prepared to accept the strange fact that her cat had begun to talk to her. In her haste to prove the seemingly impossible, Ms Smith decided to put her laptop to one side,  pick up her pussy (who was still moving her mouth in a most alarming fashion), and begin a conversation.

And this is where tragedy struck our ill-fated friend. On rising from her chair, Ms Smith performed one of her famous Tara-Trips (though this time she at least managed to keep her boobage firmly within her jumper). She in fact tripped over her cat, skidded across her shiny laminate flooring, hit her head on the side of her solid pine coffee table, which, upon collision, began to wobble and thus spill the half cup of coffee that was perched on the edge.

All this, and perhaps our young author might still have survived. Unfortunately, the up-ended cup of coffee landed on poor Belle, who immediately shook the offending liquid from her beautiful silver-tabbied fur. Again, Ms Smith was still breathing, but with the typical unfortunate timing of these tragic accidents, a stroke of lightening managed to hit the aerial outside the house, shooting its electrical current straight through to the TV which was situated right next to the coffee table, and also, alas, next to the poor dripping pussy.

Poor Belle shook and quivered as she was struck by the current, the force of which hurtled the poor feline through the air, landing with unerring accuracy upon Ms Smith's face. Both cat and owner perished. Yes, dear readers, it is sad to report it, but it is true. One of the most promising young authors to come out of Cardiff since... well, since last year at the very least... has died, killed by the Muse who originally inspired her.

And so today, we remember Tara Smith (23). Wife, mother, writer of occasional blogs, and author of one unpublished novel. We remember her annoying habit of putting things off until the last minute; we remember her fondness for vodka, her overuse of innuendo, and her unfortunate habit of tripping over fresh air.

Mostly we will remember her for the way she died; smothered to death by a dripping and shaking pussy.


*Just in case anyone was worried, Tara Smith (23, oh alright 34 *grumbles*), is in fact alive and well. Which should be obvious as she is (or rather, I am) typing this post.  This post being, by the way, my effort for The Watery Tart's Delusional Doom Blogfest.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

What A Swizz!!!

Remember how I posted a picture every day last month? I have a contract phone, and my monthly subscription includes so many minutes, texts and internet usage. Up until January, I was able to send pictures and it was included in my bill, so when I decided to post a picture every day it wasn't a problem.

However, after having my bill drop through my letterbox this morning, with a whopping extra twelve quid added to it for my picture messaging, I think it's safe to say I won't be posting self-taken images again any time soon. Back to trusty Wikimedia Commons and Public Domain Image sites from now on methinks...

And after almost a week without a real post, that's all you're getting. A moan, no picture, and two and a bit paragraphs.

*is not impressed*

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Passing Through

Psst! Tara's not here today as she's been busy cleaning up her manuscript. She did, however, take ten minutes to write an update post for her Cardiffella Blog. I have to say, it's about time she did something on that manuscript. It's all very well being a Fairy Godmother, but it's no good if people don't know about me, is it?

Friday, 4 March 2011

A Quick One

I wasn't going to put up a post today as I couldn't think of anything to say, but as I was going through some photos on my Facebook profile, I came across this one and remembered how much I loved it.

The hat you can see (you could hardly miss it!) was perched on my mother's head, and I am beaming at her. In my one hand is my bouquet, and clasped in my other hand are the fingers of my then not-quite-three-year-old. The beam on her face for her mother echoes the beam on my own for mine.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Topsy Turvy

It's been a mixed week so far. I have surprised myself by doing lots of different things on the computer that should have been done yonks ago for a start. *nods* I got around to cleaning the forum I am in charge of over at HPANA, finished posting the end of a fanfic on the same site, and updated two others (2k words each) that hadn't been touched for eighteen months (the eighteen months is a perfect example of how bad my procrastinating can get).

Speaking of which....

... this is pretty much the only thing I have done on the computer today. Playing the slots on one of the Facebook applications is about the only thing I can do to get my computer fix on a Thursday seeing as I usually work from 6am until 10am, then my sister visits from 11am until 10pm .

But on the other hand, I think I deserved a day of shirking, as not only did I do a lot for my HPANA needs, I also created a brand new blog page too. *nods again* Of course, I didn't create it with the intention of using it a great deal (not that anyone who knows me well would think that *snort*), it's more for the purpose of getting the word out about my novel which - wonder of wonders! - I am finally getting around to fixing up. If you have a spare minute, please pop along to Cardiffella, where over the next six months I will be giving updates on how my editing, polishing, and eventual submission process is going. *crosses fingers*

And that's all I have to say today. *nods one final time*

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Shocked & Stunned

Cardiffella cover draft, courtesy of my personal illustrator (and all round fabulous friend), Ana     

 So, fifteen months after I wrote the darn thing, today I finally read the entire manuscript for Cardiffella. And do you know what? It's not bad. I'd even go as far as saying that it's actually quite good. It's certainly a lot better than what I remembered. Don't get me wrong, I knew it wasn't complete tripe because I've had several people read it (including one family member), and everyone gave me positive feedback, but I'd put off reading it through because I was worried that I would find it completely un-fixable. Oh, it needs work, obviously, but it definitely wasn't a complete waste of a month writing it.

I managed to correct most of the typing and spelling errors (I would say all of them, but I know I will have missed some), and I altered a few mistakes that I made with character names and what not. The biggest job is adding the extra ten thousand words that it needs in order to be long enough for submitting to a publisher. I wrote a prologue last year which sits at just under two thousand words, but those other eight thousand or so need to be incorporated into the main body of text, and that's going to be tricky.

Oh, I can see areas that need a little elaboration, sure, but the problem that I have is that I actually really like large sections of it, and don't want to mess with it too much. I figure this is the bane of any writer who is going through the awful burden of editing their work. Despite putting off reading and editing it, I am really attached to my modern little fairy tale, and am fighting the Editing Monster with all my might.

One thing that I am determined not to change are the pussy jokes. Okay, I may have overdone them slightly (er, probably more than slightly), but with one of my primary characters being a talking cat, that was always going to be the case anyway.

Actually, there are two things that I won't change. My main character, Ella, spends a good deal of her time cursing, and usually that's not the norm for a chick lit novel. But my modern day Cinderella needs to swear, it's part of who she is, and quite frankly the story would lose a lot of its humour if I took out the cursing.

So as I go through it again in a more severe editing round, my copious pussy jokes and wide selection of curses will definitely be safe from that pesky backspace button. *nods*

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Mixed Up March

Ha! I bet you thought that after a whole month of blogging (albeit mostly pictures), there wouldn't be anything new on here until at least July. But nope, for some reason I have been really good lately and mostly kept to my newly non-procrastinating ways. Not only did I blog all of last month, but in the last few days I have finished posting up the end of one of my fanfictions, and written updates for two others. I'm pretty sure that it won't last forever, but I'm taking advantage while I can.

Seeing as the whole 'theme for a month' thing worked so well last month, I thought I'd make a new label and call it 'Mixed Up March'. This is both good and bad. It's good because I have a new label, which means posts need to be written to justify having it. *nods* It's bad because the actual 'theme' isn't really a theme at all. You see, this month's posts are going to be about anything and everything. You may get a picture, you may not. You may get a serious post, you may get a silly post, or maybe even a Taff post. I can guarantee that you'll be getting some rambling posts, but other than that I have no idea what's going to go up.

See what I mean about there being no theme in my 'themed' month? I'm pretty much going to be posting what I have always posted, so really this month didn't need a label at all. I'm hoping that having this label will trick me into thinking I have to write blog posts for the whole month. It's not likely, but you never know - after all, I'm not the brightest star in the sky, but trickery has been known to work in the past.

Anyway, I'll end this by posting a picture of my daughter in the rugby shirt that I blogged about yesterday...