Friday, 30 November 2012

A Queer kind of day

Today was the first day in a month that I haven't sat at the PC and ploughed through a couple of thousand words, and strange that has felt too.

The characters are still so alive in my head, and still twittering away. 'The sisters' whom you shall meet if you stick your head into the pages of my latest offering are asking that their story be told too. Whilst the cousins are still pumped up and full of energy ready for their next adventure.
The other day whilst chatting with John, a fellow NaNoWriMO, we spoke about how the book and characters take on a life of their own, and that if you try to pull them in the wrong direction your story stalls. Well they are the ones doing the pulling now, for sure, but as for me I need a little bit of a break from daily keyboard addiction. 

This morning I shopped without that nagging thought at the back of my head 'gotta get back, 1700 words  to write'! The morning was more or less my own. OF course there were the usual daily chores, especially since Sussi arrives on Sunday, so I had to do  bit of cleaning up here and there. Still we've shared Albergues that were so much more grubby, and less comfortable than our luxurious guest room quite!

Have I missed the writing? Well you could surmise from my ramblings here that I have, and to be truthful I really have. I've loved the race of the chase to send the cousins on the next step of their adventure. I've loved the challenge of coming up with the all important verses that flow through the story, and I've missed the rush that I get when I close the document seeing I've written far more words that I could have dreamed of in the short time allowed for my passion.

So what's next, aside form the editing and proofing? Happily there's another Camino book in my head and in my heart that needs writing. Pulling together my two passions writing and the Camino is such a pleasure that I am looking forward to telling the story of My Camino Primitivo.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Search for the Magic Key

Today was the day I finally finished writing my very first children's novel.  I was so thrilled. The story has had some twists and turns that I hadn't foreseen. My characters, as is often the case when I write, carried the plot along for me, and pushed, pulled or ragged me in the direction that they wanted to go. I loved being there with them.

Today I wrote 2,346 words, and ended with an average of 2,043 words a day. My total number of words being 59,256. This may change slightly as I edit and proof, but will be more or less the same.

I'm putting it all aside for a few days then will pick it up and run with it again. BUt for now my new baby is born, and I am sooooooooooooo happy.

Advance orders being accepted!!

BTW - this is not a true depiction of the key - It's so much more incredible than this. As is the whole book!!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Done, but not dusted

As a quick explanation of where I've been the last few days: (just over 52 000 words)

SO the challenge of writing 50,000 word is completed. Now I just have to hunker down to finish the novel. Give me a few days and I'll be there...

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Sunday in VnG

Today we had a lunch engagement in town. We were saying goodbye to Christine, who is leaving Supernova where she has worked for the last 'forever' as the French (and English) teacher.
WE met up in a place that has been renovated this year. It was originally an OAP haven, but has been spruced up and is the perfect venue for meet ups like this having plenty of space, good food- even as the token veggies we were happy, and reasonable prices.

On returning home I took up my 'November position' at the PC and typed a few words in the story that is going to smash the book charts. A new character popped up today, and I feel she may be a regular, in what could be a series of books. I say series as the ideas that are popping up for adventures would mean an epic tale if I put them all in this one.

So far I have written 37589 words, which puts me just over 75% of the total needed to fulfil the challenge. Will I make it to 50,000 -oh yes, and then some. Will I do it before the 30th of November -oh yes, and then the editing and proofing will begin.

MY main concern now is to find an illustrator to collaborate and throw together a few pictures to bring the book alive even more. SO if you can draw, or know someone who can please let me know, or put them in touch with me. I'm looking for 'basic' pencil /pen drawings- less is more?!

Photo Challenge catch up 15 - 18

15 - In my bag -well the bag from the shop which has a veggie fruit, nuts and seeds mix - Yummy!

16 - The view from my window

17 - The last thing I bought - a crunchy apple

18 - Happened this weekend - Christine's leaving party

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Hard times

Yesterday I didn't get much writing done; under a thousand, in fact, which was the lowest count since I started. Life threw a few heavy ones my way and I was buckling under the weight. I felt emotional and vulnerable. I was not feeling very creative, my muse went into hiding and my plot line stuck.

I've always had a plot outline, but this changes from day to day as the plot develops. Yesterday I wasn't sure where the next chapter was going, nor where it was coming from.

This morning whilst walking with Cuddy and Xali I asked the universe for a bit of inspiration.- Zap-Pow- a rhyme bounced into my head that fit exactly where my story was, and as I walked the current chapter started to fall into place. I have a beautiful new character, and a plot that's back on track. Today I've been working and needed siesta this afternoon, but when I woke up I sat here and typed a few words, those few words turned into over 1700 in no time.. I'm back on tracks and this train is running well....

The photo challenge has suffered as well... tomorrow I shall catch up on that one.But for now here's one I've stolen off the web....

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Today's photo challenge - Man made:  The Bishop's Palace in Astorga, as designed by Gaudi -Mad made doesn't have to mean bad or ugly!

Oh and BTW writing total toady - 30,401 words - over 60% of the challenge done, but less than 60% of the book. I feel it will be a wee bit longer than 50,000 words, and have a sense that it's my best work yet. Not only that it's filling me with childlike glee as I 'pen' the incredible antics of the cousins.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Typical Tuesday.

A typical Tuesday in November in Casa TulStig. (If there really is such a thing)

07.00 wake up to cat purrs in my ear.
07.05 Shave , Shower Teeth.
07.30 Dress.
07.40 Feed cats.
07.50 Take Xali and Cuddy for a walk.
08.30 Hang leads back up and feed dogs. Pop toast in toaster.
08.45 Eat breakfast and fire up the PC
08.50 Check e-mails and Facebook posts, replying as necesasry. Maybe aquick game of something on facebook.
09.00 Leave for school
09.15 Arrive at 'Eurobar' for preschool chat with Andy
09.30 Teach First Certificate class
11.15 Kick students out
11.16 Meet Sue and Lily for a walk down the Rambla and a Coffee somewhere.
12.30 Home again - make soup for lunch.
13.00 Eat lunch
13.30 Back at the PC - check the internet for any important updates. Write.... Tony goes off for a Siesta at some point now.
15.00 Time for a break - juice
15.10 More writing - (today reach 28,351 words)
16.30 Time for a drink and a biscuit. Pick up book and read some.
17.00 Tony reappears from his siesta. Chat and stuff.
18.00 Get ready and head off to school.
18.20 Do photocopying etc.
19.00 Teach Pre-First Certificate class.
20.15 Kick students out.
20.18 Walk home
21.00 Dinner at home - Thanks to the week's daily chef- Mr Tone.
21.30 More PC stuff -Blog, check facebook, e-mails etc
22.30 Settle down in front of TV after giving cats and dogs their supper biscuits.
24.00 Bedtime.....

And as for today's photo challenge - 'Where you slept'
ON the first night of my first Camino -in a dorm with over 100 others - for more details read the excellent 'Magic of the Camino' available on  (unashamed self plug over!)

Monday, 12 November 2012

Half way; plus...

I started the morning off with a Skype call with Michelle in Australia, who is also doing the NaNoWriMo challenge.  We had a great chat about our writing projects and other things , and I felt even more than inspired by the time we had finished. 

I had set myself a goal to have at least 25,00 words written before turning the computer off tonight, well I am happy to say I have now written 26.066 words and had done by five thirty this afternoon despite:

  • Having to go to the supermarket to get a new microwave as ours had started 'sparking'.
  • Wrangle with our neighbour who had crashed into our car while reversing in the road, then lied about it- lucky the boys in the bar were watching and called him on it.
  • Then had to spend nearly two hours talking with the insurance company and copying and sending them documents by e-mail.
  • Had a 'long' interruption when two women came from the electric company to check our bill, and wanted me to sign something without reading it.
  • Had to prepare lessons, and actually teach some English (can you believe the inconvenience of it all) 
SO I'm signing off for now to go give myself another pat on the back.  Oh and BTW I am having such a great time travelling with my characters. 

Today's Photo Challenge:
 Drink... A Bailey's bananacolada -just one of the delicious cocktails we had whilst cruising the Adriatic back in September. Mm could do with one of those now! 

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Fira de Noviembre

OK so first things first - Not much writing down today, but I am at 22,291 words and the story's going well.

So why not much writing today- because it's been a relaxing day enjoying the Vilanova November Fair. We did intend to pop out for a couple of hours, but then bumped into some of the Supernova teachers and ended up joining in the wine tasting, and enjoying a few glasses of the red stuff.

Interestingly whilst we were drinking a man came up to me and said "Shouldn't you be at home writing?" -it was a fellow NanoWriMo writer who had recognised me from my profile picture on the site. We chatted a while and agreed to meet up again during the week, or next weekend.

Anyway we ended up back home around five , and I promptly fell asleep on the sofa. 'The best laid plans of mice and men' ... as they say!

I set myself a challenge to get to the halfway mark (25,000) by shut down of PC time tomorrow evening, and am still feeling confident. 2,700 words (just over) - I think I can do that, even with the Monday to-do list I have.

And Today's photo challenge : night - and here's R2 (or is it Erasmus??) in his favourite night place, well at least until he joins us in bed when the lights go out.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Early morning magic

"Just how much does this writing take over your life?" someone asked me the other day. "Oh I manage it okay" I replied, so do I? I wonder? .. just read on... 

This morning (last night) I woke at around 4.30am. Something had interrupted my sleep and for a while I lie there waiting for sleep to return. Then my author head engaged and I started thinking about where I had got to in my story, and in the still of the night four important lines for my story bounced into and around in my head.

To start with I relayed the words over and over so I wouldn't forget the. I then realised that really wasn't going to work, so crept out of bed an wrote the all important four lines down in my notebook.

I used to keep the notebook beside the bed but realised it was too invasive as I needed light to write (turn on the beside lamp, or fumble round for a torch) , not to mention my glasses. (more fumbling around) and then where did that pen go.... By the time I sorted myself out to write down my thoughts I could have woken the whole house, so now find it easier to make a quick and quiet trip to my desk to make notes.

Thank goodness I did make a note of those four lines for in the morning they were no longer in my head, but there they were on the desk in black and white, and they have moved the story along considerably.

Today I have written on and off, around the daily tasks and things that usually fill our Saturdays. I am happy with today's progress, and am giving myself a goal of getting halfway thourgh the challenge by Monday... so that's 25,000 words before I turn off the PC no Monday night. With any luck I'll be there long before that, but let's wait and see .....

A for today's photo challenge:
Day Ten - something you can't (or won't) do without:

Friday, 9 November 2012

Friday, ready for the weekend.

Today's photo challenge prompt - small:
                                                   From little acorns.... 

It's been a wet day here in VnG today, so I've been working towards my goal of hitting a total of 20,000 word in the Nanowrimo challenge.  There have been uncountable interruptions to stop me getting there, and I've just missed out by around 500 words, but I am consoling myself that,a as I have written a couple of e-mails, some posts in e-mail and this blog I have actually written over that amount, but just not as part of the challenge. Still being ahead of the number of words necessary a day I am happy with my progress. I have also had some very positive feedback about the first three chapters, so am feeling quietly confident. 

Yesterday we had our gas revision (check up) and today a technician came back to change the hose on our cooker, costing 150 euros for ten minutes work -nice job if you can get it.  Not only that he left all his rubbish in the kitchen for us to tidy up, and he wasn't even cute -some days things just don't run your way... but no matter I've a couple of classes in a little while, then we have the Vilanova November Fair... The weekend beckons....

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Isn't it amazing...

Yesterday I started the morning with a little bit of writing, which I happily interrupted for a Skype video-call with a great friend from down under. Despite a few technological problems (the call dropped out on and off) we had a great chat and catch up.  Isn't it amazing.... to be able to talk to someone the other side of the world and see each other at the same time.

At about 10am we found out that we had no water. There had been some kind of problem down the road and the water mains had been turned off.  Fortunately we had plenty of bottled water, but the number of times we went to the tap to run some water direct was incredible.... isn't it amazing how we (I) can take something so necessary to life for granted.

Having just seen an 'advert' for a charity that digs wells in Africa I think it's time I put my hand in my pocket again. Isn't it amazing how synchronicty works, and amazing how adverts can affect us deeply, and for me especially when it's about animals or young kids.

This morning I had a bout twenty minutes before setting off to school, so set myself a quick writing challenge. I pushed myself into a 'sprint-write. I gave myself 10 minute to type as much of my story as I could, without worrying about typos, and happily I wrote 496 words, with only a few typos, and moved the story along... isn't it amazing how we can when we try.

And so to my story... it's running along really well, I'm well on my way to the 20,000 milestone, which I hope to achieve tomorrow.  I'm still enjoying the character and the story immensely. I even gave up sitting in the sun to write some more this afternoon to make sure I'm reaching the daily goal. I have a couple of concerns about the writing - primarily is it the right register? (ie aimed at the right level for kids) and a couple of other more specific thoughts so if anyone fancies reading the first three chapters and giving me some constructive feedback I'd be most grateful.  Isn't it amazing how at this stage in my writing (just under halfway through) I always get the collywobbles and worry if I'm on the right track.

And the photo challenge.

Day 7 - Reflection. 
Now the nights are drawing n the french doors are reflecting back in the living room, often causing the animals to stop and ponder either the reflection, or just themselves reflected.

Day 8 - something I do every day...
Well at least at the moment. I take a few minutes out each afternoon for a cuppa (tea, coffee or juice), a biscuit and read a few pages of whatever book I'm currently into. And what I'm currently reading is 'The Moonstone Inn' a book edited by Alan Hayes, a very distant cousin who does the cover designs for my books. Also available on

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Tuesday's story

After an early morning class- well 10.00 - 11.15 I rushed home to drop Tony off at the dentists, whilst I did some of the weekly shop. This afternoon I wrote. I have now reached the quarter way point -25% written, well just over in fact with 12,957 words. I'm enjoying seeing the graph on the NaNoWriMo site creep up bit by bit.

Whilst I was writing I was thinking that I'd love to be in my book - well in all honesty I am in my book -in fact in some shape or form I am in all my books. I'd love to be part of the gang chasing up clues and having adventures, which of course I am as I write. I'm on the outside looking in as the story develops, which also puts me on the inside.

This morning whilst walking the dogs I had a twenty minute (or so) brainstorming session about the plot and a couple of 'stick'-ish points I had been pondering. Out in the fresh air my brain was working well and the ideas flowed, adding in some important factors that already were in the plot but that needed clarifying. Now they are clarified and things are swimming along just as nicely as before. Just one sticky-ish point to be resolved in this sector and tomorrow I shall ask my muse to join me on my walk and stump up the answer...

And today's photo...... Day SIX: a favourite thing....

This is 'Blue baby' and is one of Cuddy's favourite toys, and yes she even knows his name. If we tell her to go get him by name, she does just that- Intelligent my daughter!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Monday at Casa TulStig

Another busy day her eat the PC face, and indeed in Casa TulStig itself.

Tone had a morning down town, whilst I prepared classes for today and tomorrow, did two loads of washing, changed the bed, walked the dogs, swept through and even showered Xali (much to his chagrin!). Then at some point during the day I managed to write another just under , word in my children's fantasy adventure. I am loving how the story is coming together- it's great fun and even making me laugh out loud. At this rate I should have my novel completed before the end of the month without too many problems. although I know life can, and will, most likely interfere at some point.

And today's photo challenge - Five O'clock: no more needs to be said.... except I think I was just a few seconds late.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sunday goal acheived...

Sunday writing has gone well today. I've written over 3200 words (well more than my goal), and all that in just a few hours. I am so enjoying the process again, and get so into the story. Today I had to phone Janey and tease her a little about what is going on with 'the cousins'. The story has started to warm up nicely and the plot is thickening (I think that's what we say). This week I am going to try and write 2000 a day, but as I havea couple of busy days may not quite manage that. I love the NaNoWriMO page that let's me keep a check on my progress- it's so motivating:

ANd as for today's photo challenge:

Day 4 - TV ... The X-Factor's Dermot (or is it Russell from Pop Sensation?)...

Saturday, 3 November 2012

And life.......

...... kinda got in the way.....

Today I've only written a couple of hundred words as it's been a bit of a bust day in other ways.

This morning I was working, so no writing there, then I went to lunch with some of the other teachers, where one of them announced she was leaving, which is really sad. Needless to say we had a few bottles of the red stuff, and when I got home I had to relax a while on the sofa before I was much use for anything. I did write a few words, as I want to keep in touch with my story and my characters, but haven't been in the right head-space to write much more. I am now taking it easy for the rest of the day. I'm well ahead of the game at the moment, and tomorrow I'll be pushing myself a bit more to write.

Incidentally I'm actually watching X-Factor, and still have the attachment to my Winner and Take Two characters strong enough to expect to see them on the stage at any minute- scary how I get so deeply into my stories. 

I did take today's photo challenge though:

Day 3 - Breakfast.. which we actually had for dinner tonight... Scrambled eggs and grilled tomatoes on toast...

Friday, 2 November 2012

November day Two..

I have decided (found out?) that when I am out under a little pressure I usually up my game and get on with it.

SO my goal for today, as it is for every day during November, is to write at least 1667 word to push my novel along towards completion. Today I've managed just over 2,000 so far, and that probably will be today's total as I am going to break for lunch. Then this afternoon I have classes until 21.45.

Before settling down to write this morning I had other jobs that needed doing.

Job one was to take the car in for it's annual road-worthiness check- The ITV (MOT). IT was booked for 09.30 this morning. Before that I walked the dogs, and having a bit of time on my hands afterwards planned a couple of lessons. Happily the car passed, with a few suggested revisions, so I don't have to go trawling around to the garage to get anything done urgently.

Getting back from the ITV job two was to do some washing, being a nice day, and get it out on the line. No problem there. After this I sat down to job three -more lesson planning. Again no problem and I'm pretty much sorted for this weekend- it's my Saturday to work!

And the next job was to do the weekend's chopping, so back in the car to Lidl, shop, home, unpack, and now for some writing.

Looking at the clock I was amazed to see all this was done before 10.30.

The writing has continued to flow again this morning, and the story is moving forward. My characters are settling into their roles. I can hear their voices clearly, and am getting well acquainted with them. This morning I even woke with another plot line to add- just as well I have that notebook always handy.

And so to today's photo challenge:

Day Two -Colour:
A late blooming (self seeded) sunflower that's adding a touch of summer colour to our autumn, and just look at the blue of that sky -magical! 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

November and challenges

  • This month I have started my second NaNoWriMo challenge- as if you didn't already know. This morning I completed all the usual things that I have to do in the morning -walk the dogs, put on some washing, sweep through etc etc, then settled down to a bit of writing. About an hour or so later I had written almost 3,500 words and have a story forming very nicely thank you. Once again I have immersed myself in the plot so deeply. I was writing about a storm, then got up to do something outside and was slightly surprised it was a sunny day.
  • Once again I am doing the photo a day challenge, which I really enjoy. Last month I posted seperate blog entry for this, but have decided to go back to plan A and include it in a daily blog entry, or if there's no blog entry for the day, as a stand alone one.  Today's prompt was 'something beginning with 'C'' so armed with my camera I went round and about taking shots of anything that fit and came up with this. How many can you name (and don't forget some of the words might be Spanish). There are at least 35...(you can click on the photo to enlarge it if you need help)

  •  An additional challenge this month is to get the car through its ITV (MOT in the UK). It's a bit of an old banger, but every year so far it has passed with no problems. This year I have my fingers crossed for the same, but am  a little worried I may have to spend a few bob to get it through this time... well that's tomorrow morning at 08.30 -so positive vibes everyone please!
This month isn't shaping up to be too busy at the moment (Challenges aside). We have the November Trade Fair in a couple of weeks, but aside from that no big events. This weekend we are having lunch out with some of the other teachers, and to kick off the month tonight Denise and Paolo are popping in for dinner, so I'd best step away from the PC for a while and tie myself to the cooker to get some good grub on the go.... LATERS. XX