Friday, 30 December 2011

Books and bookings

Yes I'm back to talking about two of my favourite subjects:

ONE - I'm really pleased to see some reviews appearing on the Lulu sight, and even happier that they are all praising' The Magic'. I'm also happy that sales of 'Winner' are tarting to filter through too. I've just ordered some copies so if anyone is after a signed copy they'll be available early in the New Year. And as for the Sequel it's coming along nicely. How happy am I to be back in with my characters.

TWO - The Camino. It's a little under six month's before Nick and I set off on 'El Primitivo'. (Sorry to remind you Janey- I know you long to be walking with us!) -and as I was surfing the net today I decided to book us a hotel in Oviedo so that we have a comfortable night before setting off on our Way. It's called the Husa Gran Hotel and is right near the Cathedral (which is the official starting point) and is part of a group Tony & I have stayed in elsewhere in Spain. There are great room-sales going on at the moment so I got a good bargain. As the cogs of the year start to grind over I am readying for another wonderful adventure. Already I can feel the excitement and butterflies for what we are planning... Whey Hey- here I go again!!!

Back in the Office....

Today I received my first royalties payment from They pay a month in arrears, so I've been paid for the books (The Magic of the Camino sales) sold up to the end of November.  It wasn't a fortune- I can buy a few glasses of Cava!! but it makes the experience all the more real.

Incidentally The Magic is now available on too - but there it is only available at full price. For discounts is always the best place to go. The 20% discount I organised when it was first published still stands and from time to time Lulu offer other discounts that can make the actual price even cheaper.

I've also been at the PC today for an hour or so, reworking the first couple of chapters of the new book. I want it to be a sequel to 'Winner' but also want it to be a stand alone. In the first draft I had introduced characters without them being properly introduced - if that makes sense. Anyone who reads Winner will recognise them, but otherwise you'd be saying so who is 'Josh' for instance, so I had to add a bit in to clarify what's what and who some of the cahracters are. 
I've really enjoyed gettng back with the process and the characters, and although I was worried the story might not flow after a break so far so good.
I was also unhappy with my original title, so this afternoon Tony and I brainstormed a few ideas, when he came up with the one I think I will be using, but for now that's under wraps - I want to be completely happy with it before revealing what it will definitively be called.

So I think today we can say House of TulStig Publishing is well and truly back in the office!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011


Yesterday being a pretty lazy day I found myself sitting at the PC playing time-wasting games on Facebook, when I suddenly thought ' Hang on boyo - you've more important projects to get off the ground'. So I opened a new folder, opened a word document and started writing the sequel to Winner... I've completed the first chapter- easy, and started on the second. Doubts have dropped by, but I'm pushing them aside. I've not written today, and have rather too many ideas banging around in my head- I need to sort some out and get on, but for now I'm allowing my head to bubble away and see what brews.....

Today we've been down to Julie's for lunch. Tony popped down town this morning whilst I changed the bed, did some washing, dismantled the table and stored it away, tidied through and answered e-mails and messages.  Julie's food was delicious and watching the sea through her windows whilst we ate was magic. All her cats came out to see us too, so we were well honoured. Seeing 'The Magic' on her coffee table was a little surreal- it seems that book is getting everywhere!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas at Casa TulStig TWO


This morning we had a walk along the beach with the dogs. We normally do this on Christmas day, but as we were busy cooking we didn't mange it yesterday so treated Cuddy and Xali today. It was a lovely sunny morning and the dogs really enjoyed running mad on the sand, even making friends with a couple of other pups running about. Cuddy found the deepest part of the storm drain and jumped in. She was soaked and then got herself all covered in sand. So we had stop at one of the seafront cafés to have a coffee, before letting her back in the car.

For lunch we had a delicious cauliflower and blue cheese soup (cauli left over from yesterday). In a bit Tony's making bubble and squeak for dinner, after we've finished watching 'The Wizard of Oz' again. Yes I've been welling up- well Somewhere over the rainbow has been our song for so long now, and 'There's no place like home' -I know this and don't even need to click red slippers (which is just as well as I don't have any).

I/We have had a wonderful couple of days, and a most wonderful year. 
For Christmas I got some lovely gifts - my favourite -a Parker pen from Tony- he got it for me as he said all authors need a quality pen !

Christmas at Casa TulStig ONE

What a wonderful couple of days we've had here at CasaTulStig. Here's the first installment: CHRISTMAS DAY

Yesterday we had Denise and Paolo round for dinner.  We started the proceedings with Snowballs (advocaat and lemonade) -well us boys did. Denise was on water and lemon as part of her diet regime- cooking for us all and her this year was quite a challenge. She can't eat gluten, nor most fruits, dairy, vinegars, sugars... and so on. However being the consummate professional in the kitchen that I am I came up with a menu that delighted both us lads and Ms Tibbey herself too.

We started lunch with Avocado - horseradish and tomato sauce dressing for us, and a soft goat's cheese dressing for Denise.
 Main course. Paolo had supplied a duck for himself and the animals. The rest of us had: roast potatoes, roast sweet potatoes, roast parsnips, roast turnip; Sage and onion stuffing (special gluten free home-made sausages for Desnise) & Yorkshire puddings (well risen I might add!), a host of veggies(Brussel sprouts, leeks, broad beans, Bobbie beans, carrots, espigalls, cauliflower, mashed potato, swede, peas) with an onion and mushroom red wine gravy for the lads, and a  gluten free (Garam Masala) onion gravy for Denise.

After this feast we needed a little recovery period before we tackled the pudding.  So we opened presents:

And Cuddy collapsed after all the exertions of the day
After relaxing a while I brought in the pudding- a frozen Christmas pudding - Jamie Oliver Recipe (Panetone spread with raspberry jam around ice-cream with a layer of brandy soaked dried fruit in the middle and a drizzle of warm chocolate on the top) -a bit like a cross between an Arctic roll and a summer pudding in the shaped of a Christmas pud:

During the afternoon we played a game of QI and snacked on other goodies, before Denise and Paolo had to return home to Sitges. However, before leaving we loaded them up with some of the veggies, and the rest of Denise's special sausages, then sent them on thier way.
We then spent the evening in front of the box- And if you've not seen Downton Abbey, but liked 'Upstairs Downstairs' may I suggest you get the boxed set in the January sales!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Eve

It's been a lovely day today.

This morning we tidied round a bit and did very little else. Tony did do some ironing and I caught up on e-mails (again).

I did a bit of cooking - I made some sausages and froze them then we then had a delicious pea and cabbage soup (with a hint of mint) for lunch.
After lunch I settled down to do a bit of reading while Tony had his siesta.

This afternoon we watched a DVD I bought recently  -The girl with the Dragon Tattoo (in Swedish). I had been told it is a superior version to the one which is about to hit the screens from Hollywood. Having just read the book I was keen to see if it stayed true to the original story.  Although I enjoyed the film I have to say that it started out well, but soon changed the story from the book and even missed some of the important details (in my opinion).

This evening I've been baking again- sausage rolls, mushroom vol-au-vents and cheese slices. meanwhile Tony was wrapping his presents for me.

We're now witting in front of the telly - enjoying an old Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special - I have to say the old ones really are the best! Later on we've got a Les Dawson special too. Whilst watching we've been chowing down on the delicious cheeses Julie dropped round yesterday with the bottle of red wine she also gifted us for Christmas.

So all that remains before I sign off is to wish all my dear friends and family a Wonderful Christmas . Enjoy the day - we intend to, and I'll tell you all about it soon.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Friends and Celebrations

Last night was the Christmas Dinner for the teachers and secretaries from Supernova, the academy I work at.  Some of us finished a little earlier than others so we met in the local Sidreria (Cider bar) for a drink before going to the restaurant next door.  Now for those of you that don't know Cider is one of my favourite drinks - a nice dry scrumpy type cider- which is exactly what this bar sells and all for just €4 a bottle.

Dinner in the restaurant next door was a refined affair- yeah who are we kidding. We ate drank and made plenty of noise and enjoyed sensible (one or two) and silly conversations. I so love being part of a team,especially when I can say that I know that for the most part they are all supportive and right there when you need them. I might even go as far as to say I love my colleagues! Enough of the mushy we had a great time and I was a little sorry when it was home-time.

This morning I felt slightly fragile- half a bottle of cider and half a bottle of wine is not my usual alcohol consumption of an evening, but I drank a load of water and got on with the day. And when I say I got on with it.- I really mean that. I swept through the house and mopped. Tidying things away or throwing them away as I went. I then did the same in the garden and on the roof terrace. I planted out some pansies, put out three lines of washing, wrapped some presents, replied to pile of e-mails and all this before lunch.

Tony made a delicious pumpkin soup for lunch- I'll pop the recipe in a newsletter soon, and then he went off for a siesta, just as the doorbell went- it as Inter-flora. The lovely Michelle had sent me a bunch of winter tulips in a delightful bouquet. Now I know they hadn't come all the way from Australia, but the thoughts with them had, and I was really touched - A big thank you to Michelle for whenever you read this. Now I'm guessing some of you may be thinking I've had a change of principles as I don't usually have cut flowers in the house, but no I haven't - these have been sent graciously with love and I am happy to have received them.

This afternoon I made our Christmas pudding - it's a frozen one- Jamie Oliver's recipe -a bit like a cross between summer pudding and an Arctic roll. IT has candied fruit inside that I soaked in brandy.  I'd soaked a  little too much fruit so Cuddy and I shared the leftovers, but I think she had a little too much as she then took herself off to her basket for most of the evening until....

.......D&P dropped in to drop off Paolo's Christmas Duck for Sunday - another thing I don't normally have in the house. However it's in a tin and all I've got to do is reheat it so I'll manage that. All other preparations are well under way. Tony's going to the market tomorrow for the last minute fresh veggies whilst I whip up a few selcet items for our starters and we'll be set. On Saturday we'll be able to relax a little and enjoy some 'Us' time, and then Christmas day morning it'll be all systems go....

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Six Months

 In exactly six months Nick and I will be setting out from Oviedo on the Camino Primitivo headed for Santiago . We will have spent the previous day and night in Oviedo, and with a bit of luck will be setting off early on a sunny morning.

The Primitivo is perhaps the hardest of the Camino's and said to be the most beautiful and one of the most friendly. What with everything else I hadn't thought much of next year's walkies, but today have been net-surfing checking out pictures, blogs and the suchlike. I am really looking forward to another Camino, and also to introducing Nick to the experience.

And this will be our starting point: The Cathedral in Oviedo:

Monday, 19 December 2011

What a Weekend.

What a great weekend, that left me a little out of sorts, this the delay in this post.

 On Saturday I was working in the morning- my last Saturday class before Christmas, so we celebrated a little in the classes too. In the evening we went into Sitges. Drinks in Montroig and dinner in the Wok- delicious and in the company of my old man - wonderful.

Yesterday we went to a Mulled wine and Mince pies party at Deirdre and Alex's in Casteldelfells. IT was a great craic (as they say in Deirdre's part of the world). Halfway through the evening we sang Christmas songs and carols - I was in fine voice and even got a compliment on my deep voiced singing. I was a little surprised as I can hardly hold a note but do sing loudly like nobody's listening!!

Today Tony and I have been shopping, separately, getting those little things in for Christmas. I've had one class, and since then have been getting caught up with internet stuff. Tomorrow I plan to make more mince pies for my older students to try- they'll never have had them before and I'm not sure they'll like them, they are part of my plans for festive classes - so we shall see. 

For now I'm off to my cosy bed. It's colder here now- yesterday night it went down to 9º -the first time it's gone into single figures this winter.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Some 'Magic' feedback...

I've decided to use today's blog with a bit of 'own-trumpet blowing'. I've now sold so many more copies of 'The Magic of the Camino' than I thought I would and continue to have orders coming in.

Today I also see that I've sold my first copy of 'Winner' - I'm assuming that it was Nick who bought it as he was considering it as a Christmas present for a friend, but have no way of knowing, unless he 'fesses up later.

Anyway back to the own trumpet blowing.  Just check these out - Comment received about 'The Magic' so far:

Just got your book today, many thanks, read the first page and a half and felt emotional..............looking forward to getting stuck into it soon - Brian (Eire)

Absolutely delighted to receive my copy of the book this morning. It looks good and I’m looking forward to giving it a read. - Alan (UK)

 I received your book today. It looks so beautiful - even more wonderful 'in person' than it looks as an image 'electronically'! I read the back cover and felt tingles go down my spine! I can tell already I am going to love it. Thank you so much for writing it, and thank you also for signing it for me and for your beautiful inscription.  - Andrea (Australia)

Hiya Mark, just to say that I am enjoying "The Magic of the Camino" very much. What an experience! I even get a mention!! - James (Spain)

Just going to text you to say got it (the book) yesterday and just started to read it today! And I'm already going... I didn't know that! (you & Jane not getting on). Feels really weird to be reading a book and actually hear the author's voice in my head! So quite cool too! - Anna (Eire)

I'm really enjoying The Magic of the Camino (Jane gave me a copy love her). I've taken to reading before I go to sleep at night again and take it to work to read in spare time :)  - Kerri (UK)

I'm really enjoying the book and am up to page 254 so far. It's a cross between a rough guide and a journal which is great. I'd have liked a few more details of some of the incidences you mention, but wll in all the balance is just right- Paolo (Spain)
To say I am really pleased with the way it's been received is an under statement. If anyone's anything further to add I'd love to hear it....

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Waterworks n stuff

This morning I planned to get so much done before picking Tony up at the airport, but was slightly thwarted when I got to the bathroom to find we had no water. I had already turned the washing machine on wondering why it was making a whining noise, so rushed back and turned that off, then after a couple of choice expletives I calmed down and got on with it.

I gradually worked through most of the jobs I'd set myself for the morning, amazed that I instinctively went to the tap so many times for water, even though I was well aware there was none. I was struck by the realisation of how much I for one take having water on tap for granted. I managed for most of the day without it, but it wasn't a normal day. I can hardly imagine what it is like for those without water on a daily basis.

Tony's flight was slightly delayed, and I was so pleased to see him when he walked through the doors at arrivals in BCN. I always find airports emotional, even if I'm not saying goodbye. I think the buildings must store up the emotions that people exhibit whilst there, and being a sensitive soul I pick up on that every time- yes I did shed a tear when I picked up Tone!

It was great to hear news from Yorkshire and the in-laws. I haven't been back to that part of the world for at least eight years. He even managed to take a selection of good photos this year, so I have an even better idea of how everyone is doing. It was great to see his mum lookinmg well and enjoying herself (left with Tone's nephew, Andrew), and seeing Jools n Lynne's new Labradoodle balanced on Jool's lap is hilarious (below) Their other dog is a black Labrador, and looks just like Cuddy- she even has a similar collar to her!(also below)

This afternoon I've been working on the PC, before classes and was brought to tears again- One of Tony's cousins in the UK posted a 'Flash mob' video to Facebook of some carollers singing in a shopping centre.  It really doesn't take much to set me off!!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Missing Him

For the first time in ages Tony has spent a whole week at his Mum's in Yorkshire. Normally he goes for a long weekend, but due to Easyjet changing their schedules he has had to travel with another airline and could only travel over 7days. He left last Thursday, and thank goodness is back tomorrow.

I enjoy time on my own, getting a chance to push myself and do things without worrying about leaving Tony out, but boy do I miss him. An ever present ear to listen to my ramblings, whether he really is listening is another matter.  A sounding board for my ideas, even if he doesn't always give the reply I'm after. We don't always get on 100% (some of you may be surprised to hear) but we do so get on. When he's here I complain he doesn't do enough, when he's not here I miss his contributions. And that's one of the reasons why my blog has been sporadic this week. A lot has been going on, but I've been lacking in passing on my great news.

First of all. My novel - WINNER - is now available in print on the Lulu site.  Or from my author's page. (That still makes me chuckle- authors page!!) I will soon put a link on our personal website too, but haven't really had time to do so over the past few days.  I love the cover which was again designed by Alan Hayes, a distant relative of mine. Writing the story was all absorbing, and at the end I felt a little bereft, until the characters started to tell me what is happening with them now. I could almost say I was missing my lead character Joey, and all the friends I made between the book's covers. If that feeling gets over to anyone else of making friends with the characters I'll be thrilled. The sequel is in my head and sometime during the Christmas break I will start putting it on paper. I feel I have many journeys to share with these guys!
If you want to buy 'Winner' I've agreed  20% discount with Lulu again. If you want a signed  copy - let me know and I'll sort it out for the New year. 

The Magic of the Camino sales have done so much better than I could ever have imagined. Michelle has done a great job of promoting me down in Australia, and has sold all the books sent over a couple of weeks back. Janey's doing a sterling job in England, and even has her hairdresser promoting it in her salon!  I've also set it up as an E-book, but apparently something doesn't conform to the required specifications, so I am in the process of revising it again before it will be passed to outlets other than Lulu.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Christmas and stuff

This morning's first task, which I really love, was to cook up the Christmas cake. It's a special last minute, easy and fast recipe, that I really enjoyed last year, and have loved filling the house with Christmassy cooking smells by baking again today.
If things work out like last year I'll be eating most of it myself, but hey ho I think I'll manage, especially if Tone brings home a little strong cheddar to go with it, an of course the obligatory glass of port!

While the cake was baking I grabbed the pressies I bought yesterday and the wrapping paper and wrapped some goodies up  and put them under the tree. The cats and Cuddy were really interested in what was going on and a couple of times tired to unwrap my wrapping. After chiding them severely (not) I balled up the wrapping they'd ruined and they spent the next five or so minutes chasing that and each other around the room. We was having fun!!!

The next task was to finish printing off the Christmas cards. Tone took a load back to the UK to post, but one of the printer cartridges ran out, another arrived on Friday so I could get back to the task. All done now, and tomorrow after a trip to the post office they will all be wending their way to greet family and friends all over.

This afternoon after a short siesta- much needed as I twisted my back again whilst mopping the yard - I watched a teleworkshop. I found the intro a little long, but stuck with it. Then there was a visualisation- I've never managed to go there - but the suggestions and energy work I really got, and was moved enough to tear up a past life-script adn am in the process of throwing that in the rubbish for good. I am good enough!!

One of the blogs (Marc and Angel Hack Life) I watch had an update today of 30 things to stop doing to yourself.  I think the Universe was consolidating my message from the teleworkshop with this. Whilst the suggestions were almost all starting with 'Stop doing....' and I would have preferred 'Start doing...' I took the message on board.

Here's to Christmas, stuff, and new beginnings!! ....

As an aside I've just seen that 'The Help' is out now -a great book and I so want to see the film (so if you're reading this dear husband of mine.. well you get the message). And I've just seen an advert for 'The girl with a dragon tattoo' film coming out this month too. I even liked the trailers for both films -fingers crossed the film is as good  as the book. Looks like a trip to the BCN English language cinema could be on the cards this Christmas holidays.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

A Day out in BCN

After walking the dogs today I planned for a day out in Barcelona to do a little bit of Christmas Shopping.
MY first task was to drop Julie's glasses off at school, as she left them here yesterday evening. She popped in after work so I could help her set up an XL spreadsheet and we shared a pizza and jacket tatties. A lovely way to spend a Friday evening. 
 Getting off the train in Passeo de Gracia I walked down to Plaça Catalunya where there was a huge marquee. Inside there was an Ice-rink. I've never seen that here before and the joy emanating from inside was almost palpable. IT drew me close and I stayed a while watching people doing laps around the rink. It was really uplifting.

  Next stop was the Boqueria, the large  municipal fruit and veg market just off the Ramblas. I love it in here. The only things I can't handle are the meat and fish stalls so I generally negotiate a path around to avoid these as much as possible.  The colours are so vibrant and the people on the stall so friendly. This time of year mushrooms of various types are filling the stalls and adding their own richness to the place. I usually buy some fruit to munch on while I wander, as it's so fresh and almost impossible to resist.

Afterwards I headed for the Christmas Market beside the Cathedral. The stalls here we re just as interesting and colourful, and the Christmas spirit was so much in evidence. However the crowds were all a little too much for me so I headed off down the side streets to check out some of the smaller shops. There are so many interesting shops in this area that I completely lost track of time, and still I'd only bought the fruit to eat -no Christmas shopping done as yet. 

In one of the shops there was a splendid Christmas Tree that I couldn't resist photographing. However it was packed with people and although I'd have loved to buy some things in there the queues for the tills were too overwhelming so I have left that treat for another day.

I eventually found a  couple of my favourite shops and inside some items that were just the kind of things I was looking for, and some things that I didn't even realise I was looking for them. SO for the first time in the day my credit card saw the light of day. Ker- ching...

Tomorrow I'm planning a festive day indoors- Christmas cake to bake and other Christmassy things to sort out too.....

Thursday, 8 December 2011


Yesterday evening I had one class- one student turned up so it wasn't a difficult class. Then we went for a quick drink in the Pupot bar, before moving on to Oganquit for dinner. It was a great evening. Good food (although I was a little disappointed with my pizza- they are usually excellent, but we can all have off days so no worries), good wine, and great friends.  These aid great friends showered me in gifts- all unexpected, and all wonderful.

Not only were these friends thinking of me I also had 52 birthday messages on Facebook,  22 birthday text messages, 12 birthday e-mail messages and a selection  of phone calls and face to face good wishes. How wonderful taht so many people were wishing me well. I feel so lucky.

Today I dropped Tony off at the airport in BCN first thing for his flight to Hull to visit his mum and family for a week of Christmas celebrations.  I've just spoken to him and the weather is atrocious- wet and windy, and ultra cold. His flight was pretty much uneventful, despite having to pay €22.00 for his boarding pass to be reprinted (did I say rip-off?!!) and he's comfortably ensconced at his mum's. 

I then drove down to Cubelles to meet up with Julie, Christine and Jordi, where we were catching the train (already aboard were Bill, June and Ian) for  Cambrills. On arrival in Cambrills, and after a frotifyi8ng coffee, we walked back to Salou (about an hour and a half's walk) where June's brother has a bar and had laid on a Christmas lunch for us. The walk in the warm winter sunshine was a treat, along the seafront and into Salou Town.

Lunch was really wonderful. A full Christmas roast. Starting with Leek and Potato Soup, Roast dinner (without the Turkey or gravy for me) and ending with Apple Crumble. We all had a great time as you can see from the photos.At the end of the meal they even brought out a plate of mince-pies (the fruity ones) with a couple of candles in and sang happy birthday again.

Have I mentioned how lucky I am to be surrounded by so many wonderful souls, both here and around the world.

And talking of friends around the world. Steve from Canada whop bought a copy of my book has had a case made especially for it by a friend of his. How cool is that? MY writing preserved for posterity across the other side of the Atlantic. I am really amazed and thrilled how well my book has been received. At dinner last night Paolo was telling me how far he has got (page 254 I think) and how he was enjoying it and even gave some more detailed feedback which was really great to get. I am truly humbled by the way 'The Magic' is 'flying off the shelves' and being accepted and talked about.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A day for finishing...

First I finished the conversion process for 'The Magic of  The Camino' into an E-book. It wasn't too difficult a process, but the instructions weren't too clear and meant I had to carry out the same process a few times over. I now have both the paperback and the e-book on my Lulu 'Author Spotlight' page. How cool is that - I, yes little old Mark T from Staples Barn, Henfield, has an AUTHOR PAGE- yup I am shouting it (an author page!!!! indeed). I amaze myself sometimes!! And now I've made myself giggle. Life is great and oh so funny how things work out sometimes.

Next I finished the book I've been reading- The girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I really enjoyed the book, and am looking forward to reading the sequel soon. But for now I'm starting 'Angels in my hair' as recommended by Janey and others.

And finally I'm finishing my year at age 50. In less than an hour I shall enter my birthday -not quite 51 yet as I wasn't born till around 8.00am. Amazingly I've already had some good wishes from Michelle and Kerry in Australia, where it i already tomorrow. Isn't that just too cool too.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Christmas Preparations

A bit of a christmassy day today.

First of all, after walking the dogs of course, we went of to Splau, for a bit of retail therapy. It was supposed to be a  day out including lunch, but Tony had had enough afetr an hour- well he'd got what he wanted- and we came home. Me disappointed - yeah of course, but I got over it! We did get a good look around Primark (or course) and I even found a waistcoat -which up until now have been rare here in BCN.
I spent the afternoon printing Christmas Cards, then we did the cutting to size and the signing and addressing the envelopes, then one of the printer cartridges ran out, so that stopped that little game.
I did manage to get R2 a new hair-band in Primark and we spent a goo half hour playing fetch. By which time I'd had enough of the game, even though he was ready to carry on indefinitely.

Then a little 'ME' time. I made myself a hot chocolate and settled down with my book The girl with the dragon tattoo. It's a great red, and I'm pleased that even though I'm near the end of the book I haven't sussed out the plot, which is what I often do when reading.  The number of times I've said to Tony "I could write one of these"- Oops now I have.

And on to books- I've been busy today trying to convert 'The Magic' into an E-book. I thought it would be a few clicks and viola, but no I have to re-jig the whole manuscript, so it'll take a while longer than I thought. Still it's not an impossible task, and one I shall achieve before Santa pops down the chimney. Ho Ho Ho....

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Ups and Downs

Well the trees up, but I'm down.  I've hit my insomnia cycle again, and am getting only a few hours sleep, waking at four at the latest. Fortunately the next couple of days are holidays so I can take it easy, just like Vinnie is here on top of the chocolate chest (not made of but full of!). 

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Book two goes to press

Today I finally finished the process of uploading 'WINNER' to the publisher's site and can confirm I now have published my second book. Alan sent me the final copy of the cover, which I love again, I finished the proofing and everything else that was necessary. I am now waiting for a proof copy in the post, after which I will release the book for general sale.

I am now getting into the Christmas preparation mode. Today I finished the Newsletter and sent that out.  Then spent a few hours printing off Christmas cards. As Tony's off to Yorkshire next week we need to be ready. Sunday we will be putting up the tree, and then we'll really be in the mood....for Christmas that is.

I think Xali's had enough already...

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

NaNoWriMo Winner

 A few more milestones were passed in the TulStig Camp today:

First of all I wrote my first Poem -which you can find on a previous blog. All a bit of a surprise really, as so much of this writing process does seem to be to me.

Secondly the 50th copy of "The Magic" was sold. Janey may be sick in bed at the moment but she's been doing her bit at the UK headquarters!

I also completed the proofing of "Winner" and had it verified by the NaNoWriMo Site, and am a 2011 winner!!

I have started the process by which 'Winner' will be published also. This morning I received a proof copy of the cover from Alan, and am thrilled again. He really captures the tone of the book without even having read it. It is amazing and I look forward to sharing it with you all in the next few days once the publishing process is completed.

Hopefully now my life will settle back into a more normal rhythm. I'm looking forward to starting the sequel to 'Winner' but for now I have a few more projects to sort out.

I Believe!

After saying I can’t write poetry I awoke this morning at 4am with this running through my head, so got up and scribbled it down.I eventually got back to sleep at about seven and then got up half an hour later, ah well when the muse is upon me!!

I believe

I believe there are Magical Days
I believe in my Spiritual Ways
I believe my life is on track
I don’t believe it’s always good to look back.

I believe that true love is strong
I believe true love can Never be Wrong
MY beliefs are deep founded and True
My beliefs are exciting and New

I believe I am here for good reasons
I believe in the tides and the seasons
I believe that the day follows night
I believe that at the last everything’s right.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Done and dusted and yet still doing ..

Last night we had a real blast in Sitges at The Cafe Montroig where I was signing copies of 'The Magic'. It really was great fun sitting around playing at being 'The Author' as friends popped by to pick up copies and have them signed as well as chat about the book, hear about my new one, and have photos taken.

Afterwards Tony and I enjoyed  slap up dinner at the Chinese restaurant just round the corner, before driving home.

My other big news of the day is that I have today finished the writing of 'Winner'.  Altogether around 64,000 words written in 27 days. Not bad for fledgling writer. I've loved writing it so much. This evening after penning the last line I sat on the sofa and said that after the proofing which I have already started I will take a break. At which pint a voice said but here's the first chapter of the sequel. It was so attention grabbing that I grabbed a pen and wrote it down by hand. Tony even assisted adding detail to the sketched idea. I daren't open a new file on the PC just yet or December will be full of me writing instead of taking care of business, such as preparing for Christmas. So tomorrow I shall continue the proof-reading, and in my spare time when not preparing lessons and doing the other usual Monday stuff I shall be designing and preparing the TulStig Christmas card too. Tony has suggested a design I just need to work it out.

It seems creativity is abundant in the TulStig household at the moment, just as requested from the Universe .... this law of attraction is something else!!

Thursday, 24 November 2011


The usual busy day here in VnG and at Casa TulStig.

Spent the morning shopping with Sue- supermarket stuff, so nothing of any real excitement. Did a bit of washing and prepared a delicious pea soup for lunch.Then an hour's siesta- ahh how I love my way of life here.

Followed that with a bit of writing. Then school for a few classes. Tony's not been feeling too good so took himself off to bed early. This meant I have been sitting here at TulStig Comms central writing for the last hour instead of watching the usual same old TV programmes. And yes I've reached that magic number, well surpassed it in fact. My total number of words for the novel is now 50,731.

I've still a bit of the story to finish -another half a dozen chapters, but hopefully I'll manage this by the end of the weekend allowing time for proofing and tidying up before submitting the whole story on November 30th.

So I've made the number, but not yet finished the story... onwards and upwards, but for now I'm off to bed.

Night all.....

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

New -Right wing- Government

After Sunday's elections in Spain we now have a right wing government. The Tories are in power, and already they're flexing their muscles. The new Prime Minister, Mario Rajoy, has petitioned for the reversal of Gay marriage laws. To say I am incensed is just abut right. One of the reasons we feel so comfortable here is because of the equality we have so far been afforded. We married in 2007 in a ceremony equivalent to any other citizen of Spain. IT seems that our new PM is against equality. I can't imagine he will be well supported here in Catalonia, and has already ensured we will not support him in Casa TulStig. If these are the first rights to be eroded ho much further will the new government go. They were elected to improve the economy - how does reversing our rights do this? It'll be quite the opposite- No Gay marriage = no Gay celebration of gay marriage = less money going to hotels, venues etc etc etc.
Watch this space for further news.....

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Just Flow...

Life is amazing isn't it?!

Today I received an Oracle Card reading from Michelle, which basically told me to accept myself in full and allow the flow.

Today I started an on-line course with Sonia Choquette - it's a free course so if you want to sign up click on her name. What was the message for the course today- Basically to acknowledge your spirit and let things flow.

I chose an oracle card for myself- yup you've guessed it I have been advised to step up and allow things (the universe) to flow through me.

So what have I been doing today - I've been allowing the writing of 'Winner' to flow and flow it has. I've been allowing this process for the past few days, and it's working well. I'm throwing out over 2000 words a day. I'm at over 43,300 now. To start with I was worried if I'd be able to write enough in the month to get to the 50,000 challenge total. Now I'm almost at the minimum requirement and I've still, or rather my characters still, have a lot to say and do. Now I'm worrying if I'll get to the end of the story by the end of the month. Worry not I am telling myself of course I will get there. As to what the ending is I'm still in the dark. Today a development caught me off guard, and I love it

Sunday, 20 November 2011

A 'Winner' day

No prizes for guessing what I've been up to today. 'Winner' is coming along nicely, flowing like a novel even, and I really don't know where the words are coming from. Characters appear in the story almost of their own bidding, and almost as soon as I've scribed their name I know all about them: their pasts, their family history, their desires and more. The only thing I don't know is where they are going in this story. . It really is uncanny. I'm almost an onlooker as I type. The story is coming from a part of my brain hitherto untapped , and a part that is unconnected, disconnected from the rest of me. AND ... as you may be able to tell I am loving it.

Today I wrote almost 4,000 words and have about 11,500 to write. This story, however, will not confine itself to just the 50,000 prescribed by the challenge. I know there are more words than that I need to write to tell Joey's story, but I'm just leaving it to the other part of me to decided what happens, when and how and just where and what the ending will be, which incidentally I still have no idea about.

For now I'm off to my bed to dream my dreams of success. For last night I did just that. I dreamt I went into a shop here in VnG and asked if they would stock my book. They agreed without question and wanted nothing in return except friendship from the author. The Universe is working on my behalf, even in my night dreams to make my day dreams come true.....

Saturday, 19 November 2011


Lunch with friends.
Writing and TV.

My Saturday in a nutshell.

A great end to a wonderful week.
It seems my star is in the ascendant at the moment. 
The sales (and pre-orders) of the Magic are currently at 47 - I just need to sell three more to make my target.
The writing is going great guns. The story is pretty much writing itself, although I'm still a little unhappy with a few chapters or bits of chapters which need improving, I am more than happy with the way it's all falling into place.

I have loads to be grateful for, and that's just what I am. Who wouldn't be?!

Friday, 18 November 2011

43 - 33414

Drama at the TulStig Household this morning. During the washing machine spin-cycle the kitchen started to flood and we had a bit of clearing up to do. All the cupboards under and next to the sink had to be emptied, dried out, the things from inside washed and dried and put back. Now that wasn't on our agenda, but did mean that the cupboards got a good clean out and everything was cleaned.

Leaving Tony to get on with the job, once it was started I set about packaging up some of the 'The Magic' books ready for onward delivery. Afterwards I dropped in at the Post Office on the way to school. Books are now winging their way off to Canada, Ireland, the UK, Finland and Sweden. One slight error on my part, or the post office's, the postage turned out to be more than they had originally said meaning I have only made 10 cents on some of the books! But hey ho it's all a learning curve. Prices have today been revised. The good news is that the total I have now sold (and/or have confirmed orders for ) is at 43 - not too far off my Christmas goal.

And so to 'The Winner' - today's word total is 33414 .-I have written just over 2,000 words today and am still very happy with the way things are going. I am still amazed at how real the characters feel to me. A couple I have taken a disliking to, even though it's me typing the words it's their characters coming through- how weird is that. Fortunately though they have brought it on themselves and they wont be lasting much longer in the contest!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Grateful of VnG

This morning whilst walking the dogs in the fields I threw my arms open wide and shouted "I am ready for whatever the Universe has in store for me". At just that moment two magpies flew over - Two for JOY!

Arriving back home the UPS man had been and delivered 25 copies of 'The Magic' for onward distribution. The morning I had mapped out was instantly changed from working on one book to the promotion and distribution of the last one.  I spent the morning sending e-mails and advising prospective buyers of payments amounts and methods. I then spent some time packaging up some of the books ready for delivery.  It was during this process that the enormity of what I've done hit me. Seeing all those books with my name on, sending info and dealing with the 'business side' of writing a book brought it all home. I took a breath (as advised in an e-mail from Nick) and shouted out thanks to the Universe for helping me to realise this dream come true. At last I really felt like a writer.

This evening I took some copies along the school and sold them all to the other teachers, as well as picking up a couple more orders.

During all this Joey's story had another 1000 or so words added and is moving along fantastically. Over the weekend, although I'm working Saturday, I want to spend more time pushing it forward. I'm loving writing his tale, and have even realised that some of the other characters have their own stories to tell -Thanks to Janey for pointing that out.

Walking home from work along the quieter stretches of road I was telling the Universe out loud how grateful I am for helping me, when a voice spoke up and said "Did you think I had deserted you, Do you think I'd ever desert you?" It may have been in my head but I know just who it was, and who it still is. I am lucky enough to be aware of my guardian Angel, and lucky enough to benefit so much from his help. THANK YOU.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Decisions need to be made

Life goes on as normal here in the TulStig household, whatever that really means.

It's been a wet day here today, I've done some shopping, Tony's done some ironing (Whooo hooo!) we've both had a siesta and some good food, I've been to school and then of course during a couple of hours this afternoon I was writing, but I'll get to that in  a minute.

Each day I get a sales report from Lulu (The wholesale book printers) and today they sent me an advice that I have now sold ten books on-line. I have a list for another 23 copies on order here which are on order and will be sent worldwide once They arrive. That's a total of 33 books towards my goal of 50 before Christmas. I've also just had an e-mail from a friend in Brazil saying he would like some signed copies... things are looking good for the Magic.

So, The Winner... As I write this blog my hero is jetting off to a secret location for the next part of the competition, and here's where my decisions are afoot. I've created some really likeable characters, and soon will have to eliminate them from the competition. I know they're just names on paper, but to me they are all real, and I'm worrying who to eliminate and when. I've even weighing up the pros and cons of each persons ability within the competition. Tomorrow the axe may have to fall. Will it be Dion, or maybe Stan that has to go, or have the Ladeez plus one gone as far as they can go in this contest? Well I'm giving it over to the universe for the night, and am making sure my notebook and pen are beside the bed for any night-time revelations.

And do you know the best thing about this story? - well it's the support I'm getting from each of you my dear friends. Thank you. It's not just the writing that makes me feel like a writer it's all of you too.

Monday, 14 November 2011


Where do I begin? This writing lark is such a blast. I'm still enjoying the typing part of the writing and then there's the promotion and sales which is going great guns. This afternoon I had a class in an organisation in town. I told them about my book and they've agreed to stock and sell it for me too. What a result. The stories going really well and the characters are developing, and I'm still spotting resonances of friends or parts thereof in them. I'm also pleased that I've now got 26493 words of the necessary 50000. But I think the story could be a bit longer than that.

Watching TV this evening. How on earth have I found time to do that too? Tony's been enjoying his soaps and I've been watching on from the Pc desk - living in tow or more worlds at a time is something I'm getting used to.

Did anyone see Eastenders. Phil (one of the characters in the soap for non-English readers) was freaked out by a photo he found- when we saw the photo we were close to convinced it wa me- it was taken in the 70s and looked juts like a photo we have of me in the garden at home with one of my rabbits. I even had the same jumper as the boy in the photo was wearing!

Then Corrie- what a tearjerker that was. One of the characters was facing having to have his sick dog put to sleep. The vet came in and said 'you can cradle him if you like'- Ouch. I was thrown back to Brockley as Chasca died in my arms. I've been bawling like a newborn again. How much that hurts! 

So now I'm off to bed to cuddle up with Xali and Cuddy now, oh and Tony of course!, but before I go I shall leave you with a little more of Joey's story:

This is a continuation where I left off yesterday....

I’m given number 12791, which I take to be a lucky sign as it’s my date of birth. I answer all the questions that are thrown at me and fill in a form, signing some disclaimer or other, and I’m sent to the much shorter queue to get inside. My nerves are now fired up another gear.

The last time I was at the O2 centre was to see ‘Think-on’ in concert. I must have been one of the only guys there. The place was full to brimming with screaming teenies who knew nothing of the group’s previous incarnation, and swaying oldies who knew all the songs from years ago.  Of course I wasn’t the only guy there, and amongst the others was that cute hairy-bear-type who was probably about thirty, but as sexy as hell and got us into an almost compromising situation when we exchanged intimate handshakes at the urinals. He blue-toothed me his details, so I soon had his name, and a few days later shared much more with him at his place in Kensington, where I am now living. It was him who encouraged me to come here today, so here I am.

Joey Fischer
Born on the wrong side of the tracks, according to some, Joey Fischer was actually born in a local hospital, but soon after moved to the council estate referred to as the wrong side of the tracks by judgemental villagers with too much money and time on their hands.  Joey’s mother Doreen, idolised her son from the first moment she saw him, and transferred all her love from the other man in her life, Patrick, to her new bundle of joy. Joey’s birth was a pretty routine one, if any birth can really be called that, but it was also a fairly sterile one. Joey’s father did not attend, preferring to await the imminent arrival with a few of his mates down the ‘Red Lion’ – his local pub.  Doreen had asked him to be there but he claimed squeamishness and cried off. He hadn’t even gone with her for any of the pre-natal scans.  All along the way it had been Joey’s Nan, his mum’s mum, who had been there for her daughter and then to take hold of her first grandson as he screamed the maternity ward down making his entrance into the world.

Joey wasn’t an immediately pretty baby, but within a couple of weeks he had filled out and soon the neighbours that had referred to him as Doreen’s monkey were calling him ‘Doreen’s handsome young man’.  As a baby Doreen had an inkling that her son was different to all the others and that greatness awaited him, but if she ever shared this thought with any of her friends she was always told: ‘all mothers think that, Dee’.  It was only her mother, who shared Doreen’s thoughts about her blue-eyed boy.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Friends and writing...

A day spent with friends, real , online and in a book is always a day well spent in my opinion.
I started off the day at the PC with friends on-line, answering e-mails, facebooking and promoting my book amongst other things. I am pleased to say that sales are going well at just over thirty copies on order or sold directly from the website.

Returning to my other favourite place in the house - the kitchen I baked a few muffins, and made some spicy lime pickle.

Liam called as he was at the sports field down the road watching Rugby so we invited him to drop in for a cuppa and a muffin. A few minutes later he was on the doorstep. We spent the afternoon in the garden talking about angels, energy and experiences. Liam recently had a serious car accident so we were really pleased to see him, almost back to fighting fit, and spend some time with him.  A little later Denise popped in with Pilar, for more chatting and Oracle card moments in the garden.

After they'd all gone I returned to  my virtual friend Joey in London, and his quest for stardom.  I'd got a bit behind with my writing what with celebrating 'The Magic' yesterday and working etc, but am now back on target with a word count of 25,555. Have you noticed Janey how those numbers 5 are back! 

So, you wanna sneak preview of Joey's story? I have been asked to give an insight into the story by giving a bit of the tale out now so here's the first couple of paragraphs. All comments gratefully received... but please be kind!

ONE - Waiting

It feels like I’ve been standing in this queue for ages, but I guess it’s only an hour or so in reality. Besides I’m the one who decided, with a little encouragement, to come here and join the snake of a thousand, and then some, hopefuls. At least the queue has been gradually moving forward, although so slowly it’s almost unnoticeable.  The noise the crowd is making is incredible and at times deafening. At times  I’m wondering what on earth I’m doing here, and at least twice I’ve almost jumped the barriers and run off to the closest pub.  It’s baking hot under the midday sun and a pint seems infinitely more enticing that standing in this queue for the next hour or so. If I gave up now though I’d never forgive myself and I'd never know just what I really am capable of. What a way to spend a day off!

The front of the queue and the registration desks are now in sight as I stand here in my best, and I must say arse-huggingly sexy jeans. I’m sure they show my packet off to my advantage too, judging by the number of times I got cruised on the tube on the way here. I took my time choosing what to wear this morning, not sure whether to play the little-boy-lost card, or to go for the stud with attitude look. I think I’ve settled somewhere in between, anyway I’ve never quite managed ‘attitude’ without looking dumb, and as for stud that’s a story for a whole different time, and probably age-group, but I guess I’ll get round to it before my story’s told.

So here I am, as I said in my best and remarkably creaseless jeans, a polo shirt that hugs my pecs as well as the jeans do the job downstairs and I’m as nervous as hell, but I have a good feeling that things will go right. It’s that gentle buzzing sensation down there that usually comes before a special night out that’s making me feel on a pre-show high.

Okay, now I am at the front, just a couple of over-blond Essex girls in front and I’ll be there, registering.  Hang on a minute: just before I move forward I’m stopped by the delectable Russell, The Pop-Sensation presenter, who asks if I’ll have a chat with him on camera.  He’s as good looking up close and personal as he is on the box, and he wants to talk to me. Of course I agree to chat with him. He tells me to relax and just be myself, then the cameras are rolling and we’re chatting like we were the best of buddies. He asks me why I’m here, “Duh” I think but say “Because I’ve got the voice, the looks and the talent to win this competition”. His reply is along the lines of how confident or cocky, which as he says it I’m sure, or do I mean hoping,  he’s checking me out, well my trouser-shape anyway. I’d heard a rumour or two that he batted for the other side that I can only hope is true. He ends our on-camera chat by wishing me good luck, and as the camera pans away to the crowd- he gives me a hug. Now I know he’s not really interested as the hug is at arm’s length only –no body touching just the way many straight guys try to impersonate intimacy with their gay friends. Once again the crowd is shouting the inane chant they’ve been shouting on and off for the last few hours and Russell is off to chat to a leggy brunette in the tightest black dress you can imagine. I’d take a bet now that she won’t get the arms-length hug. Despite my nerves I feel that old familiar stirring as I watch Russell moving away, and have to quickly think of crossword solutions, or nuns in prayer to prevent anything embarrassing being apparent as I approach the crotch-level registration desk.................................................

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Celebrations as sales lift off...

After a short night's sleep, I got to bed around midnight, and was awake at five, I got through my morning's classes without too much effort. My second class is a proficiency (Highest level of English) class all wanted to know where I was with 'The Magic' -I had the copy in my bag (as they'd asked before) so showed them, and they all want a copy.

After school Tony and I met up in town. It's the November Trade fair here, so there was a lot to do and see in town.  Then we had lunch on the seafront, and celebrated a little more- well maybe a little too much, as I was definitely headed towards tipsy as we made our way home. No matter it's the first time in an age since I've drunk hardly anything.

When I got home I checked my mails and messages, and on adding up all the book requests and sales on the Internet so far  am pleased that they have 'flown off the shelves' so far- 24 copies ordered and /or sold, and not only that across the globe- Canada, USA, UK, Finland, Ireland, Spain and Australia. Frankly I am one happy bunny!

This evening I've even managed to write a few more words for 'Winner' which is panning out really well.

Friday, 11 November 2011

A day to remember

On so many levels today was a day to remember.

First there was the obvious- Armistice Day remembrance going on.

Second. For us it has always been a sad day. This was the day a few years ago that we had to ahve our first dog (as a couple) put to sleep. She had a malignant tumour and nothing could be done for her. The vet came to our house and she died in my arms. That was perhaps the worst day of my life. She as our (my) baby and I still knw that I haven't fully got over her loss.

Today we are lucky enough to have been able to add good memories too. This morning whilst I was at a meeting at school my book arrived. When I got in it was there on the table waiting for me with a pair of scissors with which to open the package, and a bottle of wine with which to toast its arrival. The celebration was a little tinged with sadness- How I'd have loved for mum and dad to have been around to see my achievements.

Then just as I had opened it the phone rang. It was Janey to tell me that everything had gone through for the settlement of Dad's estate, finally, and she had put my share of the money into our account. WOnderful news. To at last ahve closure on such a sad and difficult ending.

Sitting in the garden Tony and I toasted: First: Our darling Chasca. Second: The magic of the Camino and my entry into the world of writing. Third: Mum and dad for adding to our financial security, and of course to my wonderful sister in law for telling us the news and her hubby my wonderful brother.

Those of you who know me well will know that I didn't get through any of this dry eyed. But at least now this day has more balance to it- sad and Happy memories.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Out with the old, in with ....

the new windows.

Today we had all our old windows replaced with lovely warmth retaining new ones.  The guys doing it were so efficient it only took them a few hours to do the 4 windows and the French doors.  Our old doors were all traditionally Spanis, wooden with shutters and had gaps that let the cold draughts in, but we have loved them for the last twenty or so years, but knew it was time to change. We placed the order about a month ago and over the past few days I've been having dates about removing the traditional and replacing with new. I was worried that they wouldn't look right ion our old-fashioned home. Almost as soon as they were in though they looked perfect, and what's more no draughts!! The French windows used to have wooden panels halfway up so the animals couldn't see in. The new doors have glass all the way to the floor, and they are finding this very strange. Just a  couple of minutes ago Cuddy was standing outside in the dark peering through the doors at me here typing. How I love our animals and the way they entertain us!

Here are the before and after shots. (For the life of me I'm not able to move things around to make it look any better.) 
Kitchen windows:
                    BEFORE                                                                        AFTER

 French Doors to the living room:
                   BEFORE                                                                        AFTER

And so to the writing.  In between keeping the cats and Cuddy out of the workmen's ways I did manage to get a bit of writing donw, and then have done a littel mroe since arriving back from school.
I've now got 21,460 words- am whizzing along to the halfway number.
Today a new character appeared from Joey's past that I hadn't even considered before, but there he was ready to help out when Joey and his friends started to get into a tricky situation in the Plaza on Oxford Street.IN the same scene another friend cropped up. This time much closer to me than to Joey. Ah the intrigue of it all!
Yesterday Tony said that joey had a lot of me in him. Today I was asking Tony what he thought of a plot line and suddenly realised I was referring to Joey as I- wow a Freudian slip- Is Joey me? Hmm I can see some similarities, but we are NOT one and the same.