Friday, 1 August 2014

Now it can begin...

The day I never thought would happen has finally arrived. I have actually typed the words ‘the end’ on the last page of my manuscript.
I have never written a book before, just short stories and the odd poem; but this one idea for Nine Lives would not let me be and I just knew I had to write it down.
It is nowhere near ready to publish, I know that; but I am so pleased to have arrived at this day. They say this was the easy bit, but I am not so sure about that. Some days were very hard going and I nearly quit so many times, but when you put something on your bucket list, you feel obliged to finish it if you possibly can, don’t you?
So now I have to put it away for a few days before the process of proofreading and editing can begin.
For the best part of a year I have tried to learn how to write a book, how to construct a style sheet and create a workable plot with likeable characters.

I did this...

I thought taking part in CampNanoWriMo this year would be a good way of knocking  Nine Lives into some sort of shape, for up until now it has consisted of a huge unruly pile of scribblings. Never thought it would be so hard, despite many people telling me it would be and I nearly gave up on several occasions, but now it is finished, I'm glad I stuck with it.  Now I have to learn how to polish and groom what I already suspect will not amount to a hill of beans.

I have been a proof reader/editor for my sister Anita’s books over the years, and consider myself to be reasonably adept, but none of this prepared me for the joy (and sometimes not) of creating my own book. It was so hard, at times quite impossible and you will never know how many times I nearly quit. How did Anita make it look so easy?

Editing is one of the most interesting and valuable parts of writing. It gives you so many opportunities to change, remove or enhance what you have just spent months putting down on paper. Some people say that good editing can take longer than the initial writing and I can agree with that.
Just when you think it will be easy, it gets more and more complicated. There are so many points to go over, far too many typo’s or missing words to find. However, you only get one shot at turning a good book into a great one and I will not be one of those writers who do not even bother with the spell check!

See you all soon,


Friday, 25 July 2014

Southsea Rock Gardens...

Living as I do, quite near to the coast in the south of England, I have visited several places of interest during my time here.

One of my favourite places is the Southsea Rock Garden, which is just a short way from Portsmouth and on the sea front so it is very easy to find. Access is easy and free, and if you like gardens you’ll love this one. Calling it a rock garden makes it sound small, but it is over 12.000 square metres. You can wander around and lose yourself in the peaceful tranquility that is always there, no matter what time of year you visit.
I was surprised to discover that it was built in the early 1920’s by unskilled labourers, set to work by the government during the years of depression after the First World War

The garden is designed on several levels with paths and steps leading you to many areas of natural beauty filled with an impressive array of plants. Huge rocks and boulders were brought down from Cumberland to create magnificent rockeries and a huge fountain and waterfall occupy the centre stage, with a goldfish pond at the bottom. I never could find out who actually designed this garden all those years ago, but if I ever come into any money, I would have this garden replicated in my own back yard. I would need a very big back yard and lot of money though, for this place is huge!


Nearly a hundred years later, we can still enjoy the layout and beauty of the unusual planting, despite its being badly flooded on several occasions whenever a fierce enough storm arrives. The last time this happened was just a few months ago, and I worried that the damage would be so severe the garden would be ruined.
But when I went there last week it was as if nothing had happened. The voluntary organisation, The Friends of the Garden had done a magnificent job, pumping out all the sea water as quickly as possible to prevent the salt damage and there were flowers in bloom everywhere I looked.


I expected to find desolation and ruin and be saddened by the loss of a beautiful thing, only to have my heart gladdened by the display of care and attention that I did find there. To say I was pleased does not begin to describe my joy as I walked around and enjoyed the sense of peace and serenity the garden has always given me.

See you all soon…

Friday, 18 July 2014

The Old Abandoned House...

If you didn’t know it was there you could have driven right past it. Totally hidden behind an effective screen of overgrown hedges and trees was the saddest house I had ever seen. It must have been deserted for years if the extent of the undergrowth was anything to go by.


It was a lovely sunny afternoon and it felt as though I had walked through a magical portal into a fairy tale world. The air was hot and eerily still; the whole place had a timeless air about it, as if it had been this way for a very long time. 

As I walked about, I had to be careful where I put my feet as it was hard to make out any paths or garden boundaries.
Everything seemed to be on the verge of falling down under the weight of Natures finest. She was doing her best to take back what was once hers and hers alone. It was a large house and must have been lovely once, now it seemed to be apologising for being there in the first place.

As I walked slowly around the impressively large garden, I was rendered speechless by the spread of vegetation that climbed, crawled and invaded everything in sight. Here and there were plants I vaguely recognised, like the overgrown Jasmine and Wisteria that were doing their level best to cover the house.


The garden sprawled all around the house and for some distance behind it. Everything I looked at was green, so many wonderful shades of green I felt privileged to be there. I was not invited but felt welcomed, much as an old pensioner would welcome a rare visitor.


I didn’t intend to look through any of the windows as that can sometimes be just too sad for words. I didn’t need to see a forgotten toy or piece of furniture to remind me of the life that once happened there. I didn’t want to see but felt compelled to look anyway. But the house was completely empty; nothing had been left behind and in a way that was sadder still.

As I took all of these photographs, I thought I caught sight of an old grey haired woman looking out of one of the windows at me. It was only later that I realised the woman was me, but for a moment there it felt as though I was in a magical place, and it was with a great deal of reverence that I walked away, leaving Mother Nature to her own devices…

Hope you enjoy the visit to this old house....
See you all next week...