Archive | November 2014

The panic is on: top things to do before you publish your first novel

I like the way this author thinks. We all need help in this direction.
Evelyn

An author's Life

‘Six Months to Get a Life’ is being released on 21st January.  How exciting. The countdown has started!

Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that my countdown has started. My challenge over the next 50-odd days is to get others in on the act too. To quote the modern vernacular, I need to create a buzz, to get the chattering classes chattering, the blogosphere blogging, the commentators commenting and the twits tweeting.

For your amusement, but mainly for my own project planning processes (once a project manager, always a project manager), I have jotted down a bunch of things I need to do over the next six weeks to get my book noticed.

This may sound strange, and isn’t something I am ever heard to say in my day job, but if you think there is something I should add to my to do list, then…

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Tenth (and last). November Blog

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Tenth November Blog -one day to go before December rears its head!

First poem this week, – last poem for November, 2014

The Search.

I searched for love, but love left me bleeding.
How much can I take, without any heeding.
Love found a way, then senses went reeling.
Love why leave me behind?

I journeyed abroad where sense did not matter.
Left all the harshness and all the bad chatter.
I wanted to follow you, when my heart went pitter patter.
Love why were you unkind?

Far reaches of Earth, my travelling was endless.
I searched for a truth, and I wound up friendless.
No matter my search, each one I sought, souless.
Love get out of my mind.

And yet, in the end, the fruits of my labour
Were suddenly enriched, I found you, my saviour.
Just when I thought you were only a neighbour.
Love came back in on rewind.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. November, 2014

The first poem this week. Well, it has been a busy and somewhat traumatic week. I had no time, no inclination, to write. A poem, I thought, for a project. But the poem I have written here is not what I thought I would write. This is how it happens. I tinker with a word or two, or three until something triggers a spark that moves me along the first line. I have no idea, beforehand, what rhyming pattern I will use, if it will rhyme at all, that is!

Four thirty eight a.m. this morning, I awoke, and could not get back to sleep for over an hour. What did I do? Lying there?
Words came to me.
“She stared at the crystal chalice. It was carved centuries ago by some forgotten artisan. It was a treasure, an heirloom of her Family, down aeons of time, it had served her people well. Gentu glided towards the glass cabinet that held the chalice. Her fingers touched the cold crystal box, wound seductively around its five sides, like a passionless serpent.”

OK, so I only got the first two sentences, the rest I have just this minute added to give the tiny piece some dimension in my mind. What say you, my friends? Any good? Worth trying further?

Be good.

Evelyn

This entry was posted on November 29, 2014. 5 Comments

Ninth November Blog

Lights, lights!

Lights, lights!

Ninth November Blog. 28-11-14

Under the Wire!

Almost December! But not quite. Christmas savings are gearing up, re the US’s great/horrendous/infamous. BLACK FRIDAY. Have you succumbed? I have not, as such.

There is going to be a 25% discount in one of the stores for clothing. Not going mad. Just one item interests me, if I can get the day down pat. But not really anything else.

Have a couple of cards, or three to send abroad. Should be more but the addresses are in the defunct computer!!! So I do the lazy thing and wait for people to send cards to me. Big problem there is that many of those sending to me, also leave it late. Guess many of my cards will arrive after Christmas. Cannot do much about it.

I have all the addresses for friends and family in this country. No worries. So guess I should use time to write them all and get them ready to go to the post next weekend, possibly?

I had intended to do at least two different themed blogs, but, I deliberate, cogitate and whatever else, so, for various reasons, you are getting me whittering about little except that Christmas does now loom large in our minds. Have we purchased the gifts we want to give, and at a price we can afford. Are we sure that what we give will be received with joy, wonder, horror? One never can tell!

Then there is the food. Christmas Day, being on a Thursday ( it is on a Thursday, isn’t it?), then we have to think, how much food will we need? Do we buy for the whole weekend as well, or just the two main days, then go out again and buy provisions on the Saturday? Decisions, decisions!

There are some who also have to purchase new clothes because they have been asked out to events, new family, dinners etc. this is the time to look around ( unless you do not care for discounts. Can happen!). Anyhoo, there are lots of discounts around, or so I see.

Daughter got a box of good body products. One was a small tube of hand cream. It brings back memories of times when dad grew roses. Large ones, half open; a bush full of flowers. I would rifle through the blooms, enjoying the aroma that lifted from the bush. The hand cream is exactly the scent of those roses, and so many lovely memories exude from the cap of that tube. Rubbed gently into the back of my hands, that scent lasts. They do not make that crem separately, it would seem?

So, this morning has seen us purchasing tiny and small trees, that fit our space. Bought lights, thought they were LED. When we checked at home, ordinary plug ins, Durn it!

Have a great weekend,

Evelyn

This entry was posted on November 29, 2014. 8 Comments

Eigth November Blog

I am very old.

I am very old.

Eighth November Blog. 26-11-14

Going to have to rush this blog out, sorry friends.

Been a rather stressful weekend! One way and another!

So much so, that, I am sorry to say, I have been in tears. Not really like me!!! I can cope with most things in my life. No, really, I can. Mostly, I come back and fight my corner. Not this weekend. Until Monday evening, daughter mentioned my new medication.

Light bulb went on! Room illuminated!

Of course! That was the answer. That night, I cut the dose from two a day to half a tablet at night only. Much better today. Back to old self. Just shows. You have no idea what you are being prescribed. This was for a very painful neck. I did nothing but sleep and be very depressed. I suppose I should go back to my GP, but honestly, I cannot be bothered. I will be in the area soon and will state my case at that time. Of course, on the off chance that I can actually get through to the surgery by telephone, Hmmh!! Then I might mention it. It will only be to a receptionist though.

I will be honest, my equipment slipped from my hand more than once. This worried me more than the sleeping. I went out like a light from midnight last night until 3. 50 a.m. but not much after that. Can understand why!

Had to wait at hospital to get home, nearly two hours. Long time. The day went pretty fast from then on. I think I shall be glad to ser the back of these few days.

Be good to each other.

Be kind to yourselves,

Evelyn

Seventh November Blog

November, bright or drear?

November, bright or drear?

Seventh November Blog. 18-11-14

The weather always confounds us. Grey and drizzly one day, bright and sunshiny the next. Of course, in southern England, at this time of year, the sun rises much further to the east and south. Looking face on at a clock, in high summer, the sun rises at the 9 on the clock. Whereas at this time of year, not quite mid-winter, it riises about 5 to 12. Conversely, it sets around the 4 mark. ( Solstice on 21st December, it will set at nearer the 3 mark. Whereas in summer, the sun sets much closer to the 6 on the dial. We get more summer light due to how high up on the globe we are, The Meridians. Much nearer the Arctic Circle than you might think.

Bright November.

November sun comes for a visit,
Clouds have rolled back for a while,
Brightening the dreary city,
Making everybody smile.

Autumn breezes dropping slowly,
Feel the warmth, unseasonably,
Raindrops drying on the branches,
No shiny surface, reflectively.

It’s one p.m. The sun dips gently
Fading down to evening glow,
Northern Hemisphere, winter sunshine,
Seldom puts on such a show.

I can’t believe the weathermen,
They told us cloud and rain today.
Instead, rejoicing in the balmy
Unexpected warmth, we play.

Taking doggies out for walkies,
Sitting, lunching in the park,
As we used to do in summer.
Very soon it will be dark.

Then we say to Mr Sunshine,
Thank you for a lovely day.
Please come back and heat us gaily,
For soon your light will be far away.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. November, 2014

I like ‘on the spur’ poetry. Getting in the mood via weather or well, any topic really. This sun is really joyous, for the time of year.

It is now 4. 30 p.m. and almost fully dark. Gets dark early in my neck of the woods. As I mentioned, the nearer we are to the Winter Solstice, the earlier the darkness comes. Like, around 3 p.m., but we have a little longer to wait yet. Of course, right up in the Arctic Circle, there is not much daylight at all in winter.

We are already having a mince pie between us. A really nice one from Waitrose. There are good nice mince pies, and not so nice mince pies. Of course, it all depends on personal taste buds. I like them rich, not too sweet, a little alcohol like brandy, cherries, nuts and, moist. Not too much sugar on the pastry either. I only get half of one, and even that I have to watch. The tiny pies, I could have a whole one. Depends what make they are.

The chocolate log, we usually get from Tescos. The chocolate is good and crisp, the sponge is moist enough. Just a thin slice not evey day. Either half a pie or a sixth of a log. We have not gotten around to sausage rolls yet. I can have more of those if I do not eat the pastry, or very little of the pastry.

Tradition is always to the fore at Christmas. I guess, here in England, that is the time when people get together most with family and friends. In the US, I am assuming that Thanksgiving is the day for getogethers, more than Christmas. It means more to them than Christmastime. So many films portray Thanksgiving. One or two really stand out. “Broadway Danny Rose” and “Trains, Planes and Automobiles”. There probably are more but those are the titles that are in my head right now.

So I guess winter is the time when there was little to do outside in the cold weather. Indoors, work was done on horse harness, mending tools, for the women, making new clothing to replace worn out accoutrements for husbands and sons, making food that would last, be ready at a moments notice. The Christmas pudding and later, the Christmas cake, were things that were made and kept for weeks. If they had the wherewithall to make them.

You only have to read some Charles Dickens to see what the poor had at Christmas in those days. Yes, I know writers often exaggerate, but I think he was not far off the mark, most of the time. Does anyone read “A Christmas Carol” these days. The film versions are plentiful in December, but the book, where it all began, and gave a few people a lot of cash, because of the writing.

Ah, I knew you would be wondering when I would get back to writing and writers. Well, you cannot say I have dipped in with a nonentity! I have just been told that “The Cricket in the Hearth ” was set at Christmas. Never read it. Am also told it was a short. So, anyone have any ideas about more of Dickens’ work set around the Christmas Season?

Tea getting cold. I do so hate cold tea. Must have it, and coffee, hot. Of course, we can find no end of films set in the Season of Goodwill. Most famous I would say is “It’s a Wonderful Life”. More modern times, and even that is old now, “Home Alone”. Don’t you just love that one? All the different nuances, the robbers, so well portrayed, the old neighbour, seeming nasty, but was only lonely. The arachnid let loose! So much in it. There are lots more that I cannot name but you have to admit, that “Elf” was funny! Then I just remembered “The Santa Clause”. So, it’s a t.v. set holiday, …. so what?

Santa Delivery.

Jingling on the hearth rug,
Whoever has a hearth?
Living in a tower block,
It really is a laugh.
How can Santa hike his sack,
Without a chimney breast?
And reindeer down in Gunnersbury?
Not quite the Yuletide Fest.
But kiddies still believe
In the magic that we spread
Of reindeer flying, oh,so high,
And presents on the bed.
So that is where he lays them!
Or under the Christmas tree,
Wherever he can find room,
So the kids will have some glee.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. November, 2014.

A tad early, perhaps? Oh well, happy days.

Be careful out there everyone.

Evelyn

Sixth November Blog.

Christmas Baubles for the Tree, or ME!

Christmas Baubles for the Tree, or ME!

Sixth November Blog. 14-11-14

It’s Getting Closer Folks!

The Winter Festival.

There Must Be Something In It?
The Season growing nigh.
The kind of dizzy feeling
That makes your mouth all dry.
Is it that days are shorter?
The winter months roll on.
And colder weather greets us,
We shiver all day long.
But in that dim and darktide,
That hides from us, the day,
We long to send it running
By acting light and gay.
It used to be The Green Man,
Worshiped in the woods,
Now it is a Christian God,
With rich wine and good foods.
Rituals have changed some
As centuries go by,
People now give presents
As snow clouds fill the sky.
So kneel beside the fire,
Exchanging gifts that were brought,
And thank whoever gave them.
For the dear and kindly thought.
The feast prepared so lovingly,
And blessed by friends around,
To wish each other joyiousness,
Sing carols, hear the sound.
Their voices ringing loud and clear
All on a Christmas night.
You bless the reindeer legend,
And imagine them in flight.
Thinking of tomorow,
Brings hope and joy in part,
Rejoice the Day that’s coming
And keep Love in every heart.

Copyright. Evelyn. J. Steward. November, 2014

OK, Tescos have their famous Chocolate Logs instore. Been waiting for these to start rolling in. They do not stay long! YUM! Yes, still a diabetic, but Christmas IS a’coming, lovely people.

November is belting away ‘faster than a speeding….’, well, you all know the saying. Seems to be running away. The days pass so quickly. More and more turkeys are finding their way into supermarkets. Wrapping paper, ribbons, bows and stickers are in ‘full flow’ ( ‘take’ on ‘A Christmas Carol’ ). Maybe that might be more pertinent as this and other years go by. Banks and Credit Card Companies taking more and more. Produce in shops costing much more than ever. Heating fuel going up and up. But say, it will soon be Christmas, everyone wants to be able to enjoy the Holiday as much as possible.

Doesn’t always work out that way!

The rent or mortgage has to be paid. Many other items must be dealt with before we can think about food or gifts. These are not simple items any more. Of course, there are plenty to whom the Season is great when it comes around, money no real object. Lucky people. Others save up all year for a ‘blowout’. Well done.

I remember when I was a kid. The War had ended and a few years on, things were now more plentiful. Meats and richness not available for years during and after WW2, were getting into the shops. Then we could and did buy, an H Bone of beef, turkey, pork joint. I remember also that winters were a bit colder. Ice, in wonderful patterns on the inside of the landing window.

Dad did not work on Christmas Eve. He and I set off early Christmas Eve to a market a bit closer into London. W5, no less!

Stallkeepers, like that of the greengrocer, urging us to buy their fruit. Freezing cold, we both had a quarter of an orange or tangerine pressed into our hands, juice dripping down our coats. We would come back loaded with bags full of apples, citrus fruits, loose nuts like walnuts, cob nuts, Brazils, chestnuts for the turkey stuffing, and so on. Any other last minute items were also purchased. Dad and I would struggle back loaded, our bags full to bursting with Christmas cheer. This is a part of what memories lurk in my mind. It brings mum and dad back so close!!!!!

Then there were the parties. Aunts, Uncles and cousins all coming round for short or long stays. We danced, raucously, often breakiing the gas mantle. Dad always got in a small store of them, knowing they would often be broken by arms flailing in the air.

When we were all tired or departed, the rest settled down to games and drinks, cold turkey and ham, mince pies and Christmas Pudding flaming with brandy and doused with double cream. We rarely got to bed ( or in some cases, fell asleep on the floor, totally whacked) before 3 or 4 a.m. Boxing Day morning.

Breakfast, then out to walk along the canal to the football game in the next town. Quite often, the dim winter sun shone on us as we happily trudged beside the freezing water. Whether our team won or not, was immaterial. Our appetites were jostled into action by the walk, the yelling for our team, the laughing and talking on the way back to where mum and the other sisters, our Auntie or mum, depending, were getting the meal ready. One Aunt came to the match with us.

The afternoon was for the men, nap time, the kids playing with games or gifts, mum and her two sisters sat in the kitchen drinking tea and talking for hours. A glass of sherry often was consumed too. None of the sisters were much good when drinking alcohol, it going to their heads fast. But it was fun to listen to them.

These are my happy, happy memories of Christmas.

They will not be your memories. You will have your own, good, bad or indifferent. They are for you to remember. Christmas is a time for remembering, especially family members we hold dear. Sadly, all of mine are now gone. So, with tears in my eyes, I bid you farewell for now.

Take care of yourselves.

Evelyn

Fifth November Blog

Christmas lighted ribbon.

Christmas lighted ribbon.

Fifth November Blog. 13-11-14

Who likes the Run Up to Christmas?

Well, this house does.

Currently watching a shopping channel, urging us to buy a famous name packages of chocolates. Mmmmm ! Delicious!

I love GOOD chocolates. But, I am a diabetic, so watching them on t.v., my mouth salivating with all the gorgeous flavours presented for our edification and delight is the best I can do for now. (Over the Christmas holiday, I will indulge a bit).

I am totally hooked on all the boxes presented. They CUT the chocolates in half, to show you how delicious each one really is. And to add to the delight, there is NO POSTAGE to pay. What more can one ask?

Lots of truffles, good coffee, lemons, really good DARK chocolates 70% cocoa butter, better for carbs. Nutty ones, cherry ones, crisp outer shells, soft inners that melt on your taste buds. Remembering that dark chocolate is good for your heart, brain; has flavinoids, antioxidents.

Quote-

“One theory why we love chocolate so much is that a brain-active chemical called phenylethylamine in cocoa allegedly stimulates the same reaction that we experience when we’re falling in love.” I quote from The Daily Mirror newspaper.

Another Quote-

“Effects on the Mind
Noted sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer says of this “wicked pleasure” that “the taste of chocolate is a sensual pleasure in itself, existing in the same world as sex.” The reason? Chocolate stimulates the release of endorphins, natural hormones produced by the brain, that generates feelings of pleasure and promotes a sense of well being. Chocolate may also make a person feel better by directly interacting with the brain. One of the ingredients in chocolate is tryptophan, an essential amino acid needed by the brain to produce serotonin. Serotonin is a mood-modulating neurotransmitter, the brain’s “happy chemical.” High levels of serotonin can give rise to feelings of happiness. (1,3)”

So, is it bad to eat chocolate, especially good chocolate and dark chocolate to be precise?

Well this person thinks not. In moderation, of course! Eating a whole box would be the way to gain weight quickly, one would assume. I know lots of people buy the cheaper kind, which does contain, amongst other things, a lot more sugar. Which is not good for anyone.

Other than chocolate, we like to watch cookery programs, especially those that show Christmas recipes. Lots of lovely turkey, hams, roast pork, well-filled sausage rolls. Mince pies ( ok not supposed to but half?) , Christmas Pudding for some ( we now like Panatone). Christmas cake. Well, anything in the food line. Cannot be bad?

Enjoy yourselves,
Take care,

Evelyn