Thursday, 31 January 2013

January closes

Well that was January (pretty much) and it seems like only the other day I was lamenting the end of the year, and here we are thirty one days through it already. How many days to Christmas? It'll be here before we 're ready again!

So this month:

  • I've had a visit back to Blighty and met up with a load of wonderful friends. It was great to see everyone.
  • I've started to consider my eating, and eating sensibly. There's so much more fruit in the house, and I'm not loading up the plate so much, nor going back for seconds or thirds. No crisps and minimal chocolate. All sounds a little boring really, but not at all. Do I feel any better. Not sure yet.  I guess you'd not really know it from tonight's dinner- a patented TulStig Burger with chips and mushy peas!

  •  Planning is under-way for Camino 2013 - and it looks like Janey, Kerri and I will be walking the English way (hand on hip that is- JOKE!)and then going on to Finisterre- all planing for the last half of June, beginning of July.
  •  I'm managing to keep up reading. Already read 4 books this month and reviewed them -check out at GoodReads 
  • 'La Magia del Camino' -  The Spanish copy of 'The Magic of the Camino' is due out any day. - my fourth book (from my first) -If it does only half as well as the English version I'll be more than happy.
In February I'll be pushing on with 'The search for the Magic Key' and planning my second Camino book. Not only that we have Carnaval starting next week and of course Cuddy's birthday.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Writing still....

I'm sorry to my dear blog devotees, but I've been unfaithful, writing elsewhere. a little while ago I admitted to writing on a facebook group, and I'm ashamed (or is it proud) to say that I am spending my time creating on there, following the writing prompts. So just as a quick catch up here are a couple of the recent ones. I'd love to hear what you think of them.

List 10 things you would buy with your last $20 ... and put the list into a paragraph/short story.
Armed with my last twenty dollars of Christmas money I set out for the sales. That jumper in the outlet store had my name on it, and would leave me enough to get a coffee on the way back too.
Stepping outside I pulled my collar up against the cold, pulled my woolly hat down over my ears and headed into town.
On the way I passed the young lad in the stairwell with his dog. He looked as grubby as ever. 'Why doesn't he just pull himself together and get a life?' I thought to myself as I breezed past, ignoring his pitiful glances as best I could.
As I arrived at the shop I stopped, seeing my reflection in the shop window, all cosy and bundled up against the cold while the lad in the stairwell and his dog were shivering. My conscience was pricking. I passed the shop. I didn't really need another jumper. Instead I went into the one-dollar-store next door and bought a list of twenty or so other essentials, including a two dollar lottery card. Giving them to the young lad salved my conscience, especially when I saw the look on his dog's face as he got a new ball. Walking away I had my fingers crossed that the lottery ticket I had given him would be lucky too...
 Begin with: "I thought I saw ... "
I thought I saw Kevin again today. I see him most weeks. At times its a comfort kidding myself that he's still around, but most of the time it just rips the scab off the wound that I pretend is healing.
It's over ten years now since he died. Ten years in which everyone told me it would get easier. Well it hasn't.
Linking previous prompts:
How many times had he passed by me today and ignored me. Occasionally he stopped to give Preacher a quick tickle under his chin, but I might as well have been invisible.
Now here he came again, all wrapped up against the cold. Comfortable in his easy life I was sure. This time I moved forward as he passed and watched where he went.
First of all he went into the clothes shop all full of himself, but in no time had come out again as if he had forgotten something. Turning quickly he went into the bargain basement store next door. Oh to have his money and be able to shop just how I wanted.
I settled back in my stairwell and hugged Preacher to me. My thin clothes did nothing to stave off the freezing weather. I tried to drift away again but couldnt.
A moment or two later I heard footsteps which stopped at the entrance to our stairwell. Preacher leapt forward and came back with a chew in his mouth, wagging his tail furiously. Looking up I saw that guy again. He was holding something out to me. A bag of goodies from the bargain store, and in his hand a lottery card.
"For me?" I asked. He nodded. Behind his scarf I felt there was probably a smile. OH how easy it is to misjudge people.
I took the proffered bag, and the lottery scratch card, grabbed the coin I'd been given that morning and rubbed... would I be lucky? ...
You're in a room full of people and you are the only blind person there. Describe the room and the people in your mind.
I cannot see them, but I can feel and smell all of them. They are trying to be quiet but I can still hear them. One moves closer again taunting. He thinks I don't know he's there but his smell is ripe and he moves the air around him and me. He backs away only to be replaced by another. I hear the bottle open and drops are applied to my eyes again. The pain is almost unbearable, but I cannot move my head It has been held in this position now for as long as I can remember. Suddenly the quietness of the air is torn by the sound of a phone ringing... "Hello, cosmetics testing lab four, uh, huh, all is well..."
And to this picture prompt:
The old barn may have been a bit battered and need of repair, but it as a great place for a secret, and possibly, dangerous liaison.
Ned and I had been looking for somewhere to liaise for the past few days after that first secret kiss at Johnny's 21st
birthday party. I suggested the old barn as no one would ever dream of going there, although I had.
Walking towards the barn just before the allotted time my heart was racing and my adrenaline kicking in.
Rounding the corner of the barn as surreptitiously as I could I spotted Ned already comfortable on a bale of hay. If I wasn't mistaken he was already in a state of some arousal. I felt my face flush slightly at the thought of what we were about to do.
Ned was going to be my first time. I moved closer and he stood up grabbing my hands, pulling me into his bear-like embrace. His lips covered mine in an instant. I could feel the stubble on his chin rubbing against mine. And much lower I could feel his urgency pressing me towards greater lust.


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Healthy eating

Having watched 'Supersize - Superskinny' last night i have been evaluating my relationship with food. 

If you don't know what the programme is about it looks at two people's eating habits as they sped a few days living each others' diets. 

I am well aware that I love food, as many of you are probably also aware - It's one of my favourite blog & talking subjects. 

Something that I am struggling with is me deeply seated need to clear my plate. I find it impossible to leave anything, even if I am full. The thought of leaving anything on my plate in a restaurant almost fills me with horror. I know this comes from the admonishments from my childhood to 'eat everything or you're not getting down' but cannot believe how it is still a factor in my eating habits now. 

With high cholesterol and high BP I know I need to eat carefully and most of the time I eat healthily, but often just too much. 

At the moment our cupboards are still hoarding goodies from Christmas, but within a few days they'll all be gone. at this point I shall be considering my diet - not a slimming one - but a healthier lifestyle one- smaller portion size and less of the choccies etc. 

But for now here's a pic of one of this weeks dinners - a veggie and noodle curry - Yes this was just my plate (see what I mean about portion size) and yes I did finish it! 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


... a summer Camino

I've been considering the Camino Ingles this year:

Day 1 – 25kms          Ferrol  - Pontedeume
Day 2 – 20kms          P – Betnazos
Day 3 – 29 kms         B – Hospital de Bruma
Day 4  - 24kms          HdB – Siguero
Day 5 – 16kms          S - Santiago  

 Not an easy one, but manageable.

Jane has said she wants to join me this year, and Kerri has said she'd like to come along too. Dependant on these two ladies I'll carry on the plotting and plan further once I hear back from them. 

 On arrival in Santiago I'd like to carry on to Finisterre . the end of the earth... Vamos a ver...

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Getting jobs done

Over the past few days I've been busy doing this and that, that and this...

  • I have today finished the first edit of 'The search for the Magic Key' on paper. For he past few days I have been sitting at the dining table with a ruler, pencil and highlighter. Now I have to update the file on the PC. Then I will go through it again with an even finer tooth comb to make it as perfect as possible. Next job to nag my illustrator a little more so we can be sure of an Easter-time release. 
  • Following receipt of 'La Magia del Camino' proof books I have carried out a couple of changes and have updated the file. I am now waiting for the second proof before releasing the book for general sale.

  • I've also been updating computer files, having bought a new printer after the last one popped its clogs. And posted my most recent photos to Picassa,  click the link and check out my most recent additions. 
  • Oh and I've had little time for lying around with a few of the family:  (Just a regular Sunday night at Casa TulStig) Me, Sprout, Xali, Tommy and Cuddy.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Passion being sated...

I am back in the zone and dedicating some of my time to the thing that I love and am truly passionate about.

Firstly I am well into editing 'The search (quest?) for the magic key. Any comments on a favourite title happily accepted. I love the characters, the way they interact and the story-lines. It is my favourite work so far, and will, I think, do really well when published, especially with the help of Tash's illustrations. I am taking the editing really seriously and a, as suggested by another writing friend, am using a ruler checking each line word by word. Hopefully it'll pay dividends!

Secondly I am enjoying a facebook group challenge to write daily according to a prompt. So far these are my efforts - Thank you Michelle for facilitating this- I am loving it if you couldn't have guessed!

Creative Writing Prompts #200 ... Create a paragraph based on this plot: "... gets trapped in the bathroom on Valentine's Day"
"Who on earth gets trapped in the bathroom on St Valentine's Day?" I mused as I sat there bemoaning my lot. I'd popped in to put on my lucky underwear before heading off to the new club in town. Slamming the door behind me I had completely forgotten for that crucial moment that the lock was busted. MY flatmates had already left, so I was alone. Now here I was still on my own three hours later as the clock ticked its way towards midnight, all dressed up and nowhere to go. It would be at least another five hours before any of my flatmates made it home, and that was only if I was lucky.
Ah well; alone for St Valentine's night again. It could have been worse I tried to tell myself. I could have arrived at the club and still ended up alone, or even worse than that come home with a desperate pick-up that I would have had to shoo out during the early hours and then spent the following day in remorse...

Creative Writing Prompt #263 ... Give 8 good reasons why it's ok for me to lie.
 "But you lied to her," Bob said, looking at me with that serious face of his.
"A white lie," I lied again.
"No way was that a white lie, man." Bob was still looking at me expecting answers.
"I don't want to upset her. At least not until we know for sur
e." I gave my basic reasoning.
"So it's OK to lie , then?" Bob wasn't letting go this time.
"In this instance it is." I was adamant.
"I think you're wrong." Bob was seriously trying to guilt me.
"And I know I'm not, and I could give you at least... eight good reasons why it's ok for me to lie." And for now that was an end to it.

Creative Writing Prompt #240 ... Use all these words in a paragraph or poem: preacher - coin - stairwell - comb.
 It wasn't much of a home, but it was my stairwell, and one I fiercely and jealously guarded. I shared it with no-one except preacher; my dog. He may have needed a good brush and comb job, as I maybe did too, but I loved him with my whole being. Whenever a passer-by kindly donated to our well-being with even the smallest coin, half of the funds always went on his upkeep too.

I am pondering a short stories book with these bits included in longer stories. So go on give me a challenge -write me an interesting prompt and I'll write you a paragraph or two..... 

And to the other challenge that I've been a little remiss in posting lately: An ordinary moment (Like I really have any of those!)

Sun breaking through the clouds (metaphorical or what?!)

Saturday, 12 January 2013

I'm so excited...

.. and I just can't hide it... (who's singing a song now?)

Why I hear you ask, well even if I don't I'm going to tell you...

Her are my three main reasons to be cheerful... (and another song?)

  1. The Spanish edition of the Magic of the Camino is coming to fruition, and already I have been asked when someone can buy a copy. Let's hope sales are good. Not only that the English version is still selling - still in the US and Australia mostly, which is really exciting. I'm planning a revision, and thereby a second edition, which will pick up some of the typos, and am looking into improving the picture quality. 
  2. I am at the moment, or have just I should say, been 'discussing' illustration' possibilities with my illustrator back in Blighty. Just e-mailing details of the story and characters has brought them back to the fore of my mind and made me feel better connected to them again. I have great aspirations for this book.  I just know it's going to sell well, and be a House of TulStig Triumph. 
  3. Tonight we are going out for a curry in Sitges. There is a new restaurant there that is supposed to be good. Fingers crossed it is as good as reports, then we'll have another place to eat out, and even better enjoy a curry. 

Jane and Andrew's Lola. No ordinary chicken!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Starting a roll....

After yesterday's self-pep talk I was up and at 'em this morning.  I was out of bed in a flash and walking the dogs before the sun had popped over the horizon. I followed this by attacking a load of household chores that I could list, but shan't bore you with them. I replied to a load of e-mails and did some HoT promotion.

The big news of the week is that the Spanish version of 'The Magic of the Camino' is now at the publishers, and hopefully will be on general sale by the end of the month. In order to promote this successfully I've roped Victoria in for a bit more translating so that I can send out 'reminders' in both English and Spanish. IF you're a FaceBook user you'll already be aware of this- at least I should hope you are.

The cover for 'La Magia del Camino' is basically the same, but with 'edicion español' added and of course credits Victoria with the translating.

I am now going off to do a bit of reading before starting classes this afternoon. Next week the editing of 'The search for the Magic Key' will begin in earnest, no more of this dipping in and out!

Whey Hey - HoT is on a roll....

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Excuses begone...

After having returned from the UK on Sunday I have found myself in a state of torpor this week.  Well more or less. I have been 'going through the motions, albeit happily so.

Travelling always leaves me a little tired, and the whirlwind time I tend to spend in the UK always bashes my sensibilities a little, and this time has been no different.

After having the day out with Judith and Tenelle, Jennie and Michael , I followed that up the next day with a day out with Andrea at Wesfield's and the Olympic park area. We had a brilliant day out and talked loads.

That evening Carla, Nick and I caught up with Tracy at Bollywood an Indian restaurant local to them.

Saturday Nick drove us down to Andrew and Jane's place where we had a mini King's day party, which turned out not to be quite so mini, lasting all afternoon and late into the night where I caught up with even more friends and family.

Sunday I was up early and flew home. Since then I have been recovering from the fall out of my time there. Being back at school straight away on Monday meant I had little 'me-time', but like I said I have been happily running through fog. THis doesn't mean I have been stationary for I most definitely have not:

  •  The Magic of the Camino in Spanish is now at the publishers and should hopefully be on general sale alter this month.
  • I am plotting for the illustrations of ' The Search for the Magic Key'.
  • Plans are being laid for my next Camino book.
  • And I'm promoting, editing and goodness knows what else at the moment too.
Despite all this I didn't really feel I was getting anywhere. I found myself a host of excuses for this, but at the end of the day decided that they just didn't cut the ice. Dr Wayne Dyer's book: Excuses Begone has found its way to my bedside table and I'm moving forward...

Today I gave myself a kick up the Jacksi and wrote myself a list. Talked myself into a more pro-active state of mind and well here I am again blogging and putting steps in place to reconquer the world.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Who needs friends...

I DO!!

Well here I am in dear old Blighty, or to be more precise in Chingford E4, currently residing with Carla and Nick (and Frankie).

Yesterday evening I arrived into Stansted to  a wet and windy, yet mild welcome from the British weather, and a much better one from Nick, and Carla thank goodness.

Today I've been out and about on the town, and by town I mean Central London, the Big Smoke. My first shock of the morning was the price of the ticket into central London. It was just after nine and the ticket clerk advised me that the price of the ticket was something around £16, she was kind enough to suggest, however, when I was clearly taken aback by the price, that I could wait just fifteen minutes and get a ticket for just £9.80 which would take me all over London until Midnight.

My first appointment of the day was with Judith, and daughter Tenelle. We met at Oxford Circus, where I received another shock. This being the way in which Oxford Circus had dramatically changed. On meeting we dived into a Costa coffee shop for refreshments. This was my first meeting with Tenelle, and I have to say she was a delight. We enjoyed our drinks and then took a short wander around Regent Street and Carnaby Street. AS we left the coffee shop Tenelle slipped her hand in mine and held it until she and Judith left on the tube later. I was touched and honoured that she had so readily accepted me on first meeting.

12.30 and time to meet up with Jennie at Green park. We used to work together in some of the best hotels in London. Having Birthdays just a day apart has meant that we have always got along well, and meeting up today, despite a long gap since our last meeting, was just like always and we fell into easy chatter catching up with each others' news. Jennie works at The Palace - Yes THE palace, and had brought her Jubilee Medal along to show me.

After lunching with Jennie I headed to Regents park tube for my final meeting of the day with Michael. We went to yet another coffee shop, not far from the BBC on Portland Place, where we caught up on each others' news too. I last saw Michael much more recently, at Tony's birthday surprise, and as always we were well at ease in each others' company, chatting and giggling as per normal.

So three reunions later I had drunk too much bad tea, yet had some wonderful catch ups with some great people. BTW I only drink tea in coffee shops in England as the coffee they make here cannot compare to the good stuff I get back home.

I had intended to round the day in town off with a bit of shopping. However all the shops were sale crazy and so full I gave up after a couple of forays into one or two. Instead I headed to one of our old haunts - The kings Arms on Poland Street - for a quick pint before returning to Chez Brennan.

Strangely wandering around central London where a lot of 'Winner' is staged I herd echoes of my characters an remembered various conversations they had in some of the places I passed or visited.

This evening Carla cooked a delicious soup for dinner. I had bought Cream slices for dessert which went down well too. Over dinner (and indeed all evening) I/we enjoyed more comfortable conversation. Conversation without taboo I am happy to say.

All in all a great day. Great friends, great conversation, great times - even though the tea was rubbish (all except the one Nick made a little while ago after dinner!)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Day ONE, 2013

A nice quiet day today as the diary shows:

Which was good enough as we were woken at various points during the night by revellers up and down our street.

I finished my cat-sitting duties today with the carinoso Loli:

Victoria's neighbour will be back from Madrid tomorrow and will take over, as I'm off to Blighty until the weekend visiting friends and family.

2013 is definitely off to a great start, relaxing and now a little break in the homeland.