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An Ode To The Writer With Too Little Time To Write by A A Miller Here on Rock Paper Spirit, we like to welcome guest writers, particularly if they are other authors. Today we welcome A A Miller! Contact details for this author are at the bottom of this post, where you can check out her website and social channels. Today she’s going to talk a little bit about our most precious assets as writers; time! A few years ago, just months into my still new-ish adventure of writing a novel, I recall reading an article that had came to my email entitled ‘Tips to Writing a Manuscript’. I had clicked on the link, hoping to find tips I wasn’t taking into account. Number one on the list: Set aside 45-60 minutes every day to writing your manuscript. Sounds semi-reasonable most of the time. I had been, after all, a full-time working mother—still am. I needed to be realistic about the whole ‘every day’ bit. I’d continued to read as the article went on to elaborate: If you can’t do this, you’re not serious about writing a manuscript. Period. My cheeks had flushed as a rush of blood flooded my face. But why the sudden surge of anger, you ask? I had taken this piece of advice—and the declared consequence of failing to follow through—incredibly personally. When I started this endeavor of writing a novel with Anne, my co-author and another busy mom, I quickly learned that time was my most precious asset. Not my creativity. Not my average grammar skills. Not even my computer. I have a job, a husband, and two children; my time doesn’t belong to me. And if you finish your project to the glare of a resentful spouse or awash in the apathetic attention of children used to being ignored, can you really call that a win? I’m not saying I don’t spend my share of Saturdays without showering while the kids binge-watch nonsense. I’m not saying I don’t think about all the things I could be doing as I read to my littles. I do, however, attempt to remain vigilant of the time suck factor when my attention is dragged away. I know I need to be aware when my million-miles-away thoughts are going to negatively affect my family. When your time isn’t your own, you need compromise, understanding, support, and communication, and that needs to come from both sides. Ask for the time you need from the people in your life, but be willing to read the signs that point to ‘no’ when you haven’t been doing your part. So what do you do about your limited amount of time when you have a huge goal in mind like writing a novel? Try out a few different methods to boost your productivity. Test out your most efficient time of day. Set your alarm for an hour before everyone else gets up. Establish 1 or 2 nights a week that your spouse is “in charge” of the household. And once all parties have agreed on your time, make sure you own it. And don’t beat yourself up if you just can’t commit to every day. You’re not alone. So how do I (attempt) to do it? Here are a few tricks I’ve picked up to boost my productivity: Dedicated blocks of time focused on predetermined goals, scheduled in advanced This method has benefited my time management more than a daily 45-60 minute window ever could. Think about taking a day off from work when the kids are in school. Use that leave for yourself. You know you want to. Go somewhere that’s not home, where you won’t be distracted by the things you “should” be doing. Using my daily commute There are several ways I’ve found to use my daily two-hour commute. The first is using a text-to-speech app. I will admit, this method takes an acquired taste, but I personally rely on it heavily. If you’ve ever tried one, you’ve probably given up on it pretty quickly. They’re robotic, they make goofy pronunciation mistakes, and they just don’t have any heart. I managed to find a British accent named Daniel on my Natural Reader app, and was able to stomach his voice long enough to get used to the sound. Daniel has read my manuscript to me dozens of times. Multiple dozens of times, helping me keep fresh on my details and sort out quite a few problems in my writing. I also use the speech-to-text feature on my phone to make notes on what to fix later as I listen. It also comes in handy to get the words out when inspiration strikes. Hands-free, of course. I’m not a maniac. Another important use of my commute is listening to audiobooks. Reading is a fundamental building block of writing. Never stop reading. And yes, I consider listening to an audiobook reading, so deal with it. Grasping at mere moments as they arise This last method may toe the line of the whole “being present” goal—I did mention my lack of perfection, right? I use the power of my Google Drive and Google Docs connected smartphone to take advantage of random moments as they arise. How did authors do this before technology? Those moments can pop up when I least expect them. They may be just minutes, or if I’m lucky, they may add up to a bit more. I’m grasping right now, in fact, waiting on spaghetti to boil. Eight extra minutes of productivity, check. I do run the risk of being that parent with their nose buried in their phone with that last method, so I have to watch myself. But now I wonder if those parents are just trying to do the same, stretching their productivity in any way they can. Nah, they’re just playing Candy Crush. So, that’s what has worked for me. You need to figure out what works for you, and just as importantly, those around you. Know when to give and when to take. And make sure you do take, because dammit, you deserve time for yourself! We’ve admitted we can’t commit to writing every day. Because of that, you may still question whether Anne and I are 100% serious about writing. You bet we are, but we’ve also accepted life doesn’t stop for our novel. Life just gets more complicated because of it. We’re faced with challenges. We’re limited on time and resources. We’ve made mistakes and slipped up on priorities. But somehow through this process, we’re growing smarter with our time yet. Whatever venture you’re in the midst of, or about to take on, just remember that accomplishing your goal will be a trial-and-error process. Life is not one-size-fits-all. We all have our own distractions and obligations, and balance is an art that takes practice. So don’t get discouraged when obstacles are thrown into your path! You may have to push your project aside here and there, but at least you won’t have missed out on what’s important, damaged a relationship, or created a negative stigma. If it takes you five years to write a book, build a business, or finish a project, but you feel good about how you chose to spend your time, then your venture was a success. And don’t let anyone calling themselves an expert tell you differently. Time is your most precious asset. And in the words of Albus Dumbledore—or more accurately, JK Rowling: “Use it Well.” Happy writing! Crystal “Alise” Miller of AA Miller www.guardianlightsbook.com/ourjourney/blog Twitter: @guardianlights Facebook @guardianlights Email: guardianlightsbook@gmail.com

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AD/GIFTED – This post is an advertisement for Carrot Productions and the Wallace and Gromit Musical Marvels Tour 2019. I have been promised tickets to one of the shows in exchange for writing about the tour and promoting it on my blog and social channels. All opinions are my own and anecdotes in this post are based on my real experience. I have not received any monetary compensation for this campaign. Wallace and Gromit have been a favourite of mine since I was a teenager. I remember when I was around 14 or 15 years old, I had the Wallace and Gromit game for Windows 95 based on The Wrong Trousers, complete with Gromit in a sou’wester screensaver. My Dad, who reads all my blogs, will remember this. Various actions on the desktop promoted Wallace’s voice to either congratulate me or berate me. Safe to say I’m a fan! One of the great things about blogging is that it throws opportunities to work with brands into my path that I never thought would happen and this week, I’m pleased to say that I have been accepted by Carrot Productions to help them promote their Wallace and Gromit Musical Marvels Tour, which is going to be in theatres all over Britain this spring/summer. What Is This Wallce and Gromit Tour? It’s a 38 date tour complete with a live orchestral accompaniment. The orchestra a professionals from, to name just two, members of the BBC Philharmonic and Hallé orchestras. Musical Marvels was first screened at the BBC Proms in 2012, presented by Matthew Sharp and the Picture House Orchestra. What I’m most excited about is that there’s going to be a screening in the second half of The Wrong Trousers with a live orchestral accompaniment. You might have already guessed that The Wrong Trousers is my favourite. Is this suitable for families? Yes! This is a great way to introduce your children to classical music. The closest my son has come to that so far is Bohemian Rhapsody! I’m sure that living in our house, he thinks all music comes with a thrumming guitar and horn sections are just for ska bands. There’s also going to be a model making workshop in some venues either before or after the show. This is a fantastic way to learn directly from Aardman’s model builders about how they produce the Wallace and Gromit animations and they could get to take home their own Gromit! Step aside children… Who are Carrot Productions? They are the company who have been given exclusive rights to tour the musical production. They’ve got six years of experience behind them, including a live production of The Snowman. Wish I’d caught that! I love The Snowman. When and where is this happening? The premier is on the 15th May 2019 at the National Film and Television School. Nick Park created A Grand Day Out there! Also, at the premier, Nick Park and the composer of the Wallace and Gromit scores, Julian Nott are doing to be doing a Q & A with fans. You can book tickets on the Carrot Productions website. 6/05/2019 1:30pm – Buxton – Coming Soon 16/05/2019 6:30pm – Buxton Opera House 17/05/2019 1:30pm – Blackpool Pleasure Beach 17/05/2019 6:30pm – Blackpool Pleasure Beach 18/05/2019 2:00pm – Blackpool Pleasure Beach 18/05/2019 6:00pm – Blackpool Pleasure Beach 19/05/2019 1:00pm – Sheffield City Hall 19/05/2019 4:00pm – Sheffield City Hall 20/05/2019 7:00pm – Stoke Victoria Hall 23/05/2019 1:30pm – Leicester​ De Monfort Hall 23/05/2019 6:30pm – Leicester​ De Monfort Hall 25/05/2019 4:00pm – Liverpool Arena Auditorium 25/05/2019 7:00pm – Liverpool Arena Auditorium 26/05/2019 1:00pm – Manchester Lowry 26/05/2019 4:00pm – Manchester Lowry 27/05/2019 1:00pm – London Barbican Hall 27/05/2019 4:00pm – London Barbican Hall 29/05/2019 2:00pm – Birmingham Symphony Hall 29/05/2019 6:30pm – Birmingham Symphony Hall 31/05/2019 2:00pm – Bath The Forum 31/05/2019 6:30pm – Bath The Forum 01/06/2019 1:30pm – Cardiff St. David’s Hall 01/06/2019 6:00pm – Cardiff St. David’s Hall 02/06/2019 1:00pm – Reading The Hexagon 02/06/2019 4:00pm – Reading The Hexagon 06/06/2019 1:30pm – Gateshead Sage 06/06/2019 6:30pm – Gateshead Sage 08/06/2019 2:00pm – Edinburgh Usher Hall 08/06/2019 6:00pm – Edinburgh Usher Hall 09/06/2019 2:00pm – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall 09/06/2019 6:00pm – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

The post Wallace and Gromit Musical Marvels Tour 2019 Preview appeared first on Rock Paper Spirit Daily.

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If you have a writer in your family, there’s a good chance that when it’s Christmas or their birthday, you get them a book as a gift. That’s not a bad thing, because you know they’ll love it and treasure that gift, but what if there was something else you could get them, that showed you understand them? Well, I’ve been given the opportunity to review a pair of writing gloves and my first thought when I heard about their existence is, “How many times have I wished that these exist?” Honestly, I have. It’s true. I received a free pair to enable me to write this review, but all opinions are my own. Firstly, I want to say that these writing gloves wouldn’t just suit writers. They’re also going to come in useful for readers, smartphone users or anyone who uses their fingers when outdoors or working in a cold environment. But let’s not stop there, because we all know it’s a good idea to protect your skin from the sun and gloves are a great way to do that. Perhaps I wouldn’t wear these particular gloves in summer though because they are cashmere and that luxurious material is way too cosy to wear in the heat. They’re also good to wear – just because! That brings me to talking about the quality of these gloves. It’s excellent. I’ve never owned a pair of cashmere gloves before but always wanted to and I’m not disappointed. It feels soft next to my skin and doesn’t irritate at all, like some cheaper materials can. The shape of the gloves is interesting. Unlike fingerless gloves, that separate the fingers into individual finger-holes, these gloves are more like a mitten shape. This gives you freedom to hold a pen without chaffing between your fingers. There’s also a small hole for your thumb. They come in a variety of colours including: White Black Heather Grey Charcoal Heather Navy Blue Violet Heather Purple Dark Green Light Heather Grey Electric Blue Wine Red Heather Coffee Brown Blush Pink I chose the black gloves, because black goes with everything, but I was also really keen on the heather purple ones because I’m re-branding with grey and lilac as my theme colours. They’d look great on Instagram for all my writing selfies. The great thing about these is that they come in so many colours to suit all tastes. They don’t come in different sizes but my own hands are petite and they fit well. There’s quiet a lot of give in the material so I would say they would easily fit larger hands too. These writing gloves cost $52 from Literary Book Gifts. They have a charge of $5 for shipping in the USA or $10 for shipping internationally. They arrived at my home in Scotland around three weeks after ordering. Literary Book Gifts also offer other products like t-shirts and tote bags, but I think the writing gloves were my favourite thing on the site. Overall, I’d give these two very enthusiastic thumbs up and would definitely recommend them. And if any of my family are reading this and want to buy me a purple pair, that’d be super. I like them because of how functional they will be come next winter but also because they just felt cool. There’s something very classy about a pair of cashmere gloves and I really liked them. You can read more about Literary Book Gifts and their product range on their website.

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Today I’m writing about U and this is the post I’ve been desperate to write about since the challenge started. As soon as I started thinking about what I wanted each letter to represent, I made a list of things starting with each letter of the alphabet that are on my wish list and this was at the top. Although, obviously, because it begins with U I had to shift it to near the bottom. Anyway, I digress. U is for Unicorn and I don’t actually want a unicorn because that would just be silly but there is a story behind this. My son Luke is at that age when he wants a lot of things. I, as his mother, have to find an appropriate way to respond to these requests and show him that although he can work hard and achieve what he wants in life, he can’t instantly have everything he wants and he just has to accept it. That’s how I was brought up and that’s how I’m bringing him up too. So, the conversation usually went like this: Luke: Mum, I want *insert toy or game or activity here* Me: No Luke: Mum, but I want *whatever he wanted*! Me: Aye, and I want a unicorn, but it’s not going to happen So, that became a theme for us. Whenever he wanted something that he wasn’t going to get, my response was always, “Aye, and I want a unicorn, but it’s not going to happen.” This used to confuse him and he would go quiet but then he started to look pensive whenever I said it. Then, my 37th birthday happened and when I walked downstairs that morning and saw Luke’s present, I almost cried. He got me a unicorn. Of course, it wasn’t a real unicorn. It’s an inflatable £10 unicorn from Primark, but isn’t it awesome that I always used to say I wanted a unicorn and it wasn’t going to happen, so Luke made it happen? We take the unicorn with us whenever we go on holiday now. Luke has named it David after my Dad. The only problem is that now I can’t use that response when I’m telling him no. I have to just give a straight no, which prompts questions and requests for explanations and logic (because autism). Sometimes I find myself trying to use the old unicorn justification for him not getting what he wants, but he just laughs at me. Tomorrow I’m writing about V for Very Irresistible. I know we’re not supposed to write about brands or products in the A to Z Blogging Challenge because it’s classed as advertising but I’m not being paid for this, it’s not sponsored and I’m not putting any affiliate links in, so I think this will ok. Over on my author site today I’m writing U is for Underwear. You might think that has no connection to Nanowrimo, but I assure you, I tried my best to create a link between the two, no matter how tenuous it might be.

The post The A To Z Blogging Challenge: U is for Unicorn appeared first on Rock Paper Spirit Daily.

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I still haven’t caught up with my A to Z Blogging Challenge posts but hopefully by the end of the month I will. Once again, I’m going to write today’s post and leave the two that I’ve missed until I have got time to write them. So long as I get them done by midnight on the 30th of April, I will have completed the challenge. So, today is T and T is for Torquay, which is a town on the south-west coast of England and is one of the towns on the English Riviera. When I was growing up, we went to Torquay every summer. That would be from 1989 until 2000, because even when I grew up, I still took holidays with my parents. I know that makes me unusual. I was always very family-oriented and never really into the whole Club 18-30 holiday scene. I was happy to keep taking a summer break with the family and when I moved out I continued to take holidays with them for quite a while. When I was living through my post-natal depression, I was looking for an anchor and Torquay was that anchor for me. I went to there with Luke when he was four months old and it became his first holiday, although he’ll have no memory of it. Whenever I feel chaotic, I still think of Torquay as my anchor and if I had the chance, I would go there again in a heartbeat. I miss the palm trees and the hills and the salty air. I’ve added Torquay to my wish list because I turn 40 next year and it would be lovely to visit again for that birthday. For those who don’t know, I have a birthday curse. Milestone birthdays tend to be the worst. My 18th, 21st and 30th were among the most horrific days of my life. On my 18th, a “friend” phoned me to let me know the person I thought was my boyfriend was seeing someone else. On my 21st, I had the worst hangover of my life despite only having a couple of mouthfuls of wine (I’ve since realised I am one of those people whose body cannot process alcohol) and my 30th is so awful I don’t even want to write about it. On my 40th birthday, I want to have a quite day in Torquay, eating fish and chips by the sea, playing games in the arcade and cuddling my dog. A few years ago, I wanted to go to Hawaii for my next big birthday. Things have changed a lot. Hawaii might as well be the moon because I don’t think I’ll ever get there (note that H was not for Hawaii on my wish list posts). I’d honestly rather be in Torquay next year. Tomorrow U is for Unicorn and over on my author site today, in my A to Z of Nanowrimo, T is for Time. I’ve given up on the social aspect of this challenge because I wasn’t getting any return visits, but if anyone drops by, please remember to leave the link to your site so I can return the visit.

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Here on Rock Paper Spirit, we love to welcome contributions from other writers and bloggers. Today we welcome blogger Kim Hogg for this special guest appearance, where she will be sharing which books are her favourites for encouraging speech in toddlers. My eldest son is 3 and while he is now seen to speak, it hasn’t always been this way. He was over 18 months old before he finally said “mum”, and he was nearly 3 before we could start to have a vaguely sensible conversation with him. I have spent a lot of time working on his speech at home, and have found a variety of activities that work well for him and don’t seem like “work”. His favourite one is reading books. I have always been a bookworm, so a love for stories is something I am keen to encourage in both my children. I have found repetition is key to encouraging speech, making the words easily recognisable as they have been heard hundreds of times before, and so I tend to read the same 2 or 3 books repeatedly for a few weeks and then move on to the next set. For us, I have found the best books for encouraging speech in toddlers to be books that rhyme. The slightly rhythmic way they are read, plus the anticipation of the rhyming word at the end of the line means that eventually they feel compelled to say it. After I have read a book a few times (over a couple of days – it doesn’t have to be all at once) I then start to pause towards the end of a sentence, allowing him the space to say the word if he would like. He often doesn’t, and that’s ok, it’s all about giving him the option. Using that method Piglet can now recite whole chunks of text from his favourite books with no prompting at all. It’s perhaps not as useful as being able to tell me when he would like a drink or what he wants to play with, but it goes a long way in building his confidence in speaking out loud. We have built up quite a collection of rhyming books over the last 3 years, but these are our favourites: Never Touch A Dinosaur This book is doubly fun, as it not only rhymes but also has different textured pages for them to touch too. We used to have the Never Touch A Monster version but it was so well used that it started to fall apart! We got this one at Christmas and it is read most days. It is on the shorter side, which makes it perfect if you’re just getting started. There’s no need to try and hold their attention for an extended period, and for my dinosaur mad boy the characters are perfect. Dinos On Deck Sticking with the dinosaur theme, Dinos On Deck is another favourite. As well as the rhyming pattern, each page comes with a sound to help keep children engaged with the story. Again, it is a shorter story but it is one we read 3 or 4 times in a row regularly. Hide And Seek Pig This is one of our all time favourites, and the repetition in the story meant that it was one of the first ones that Piglet started voluntarily speaking in. At one stage I was reading it every night before bed, for around 6 or 7 months. No matter how many times it’s been read the lift the flaps never seem to get boring! A Squash And A Squeeze Similar to Hide And Seek Pig, A Squash And A Squeeze follows a similar format per page – that familiarity is key! The inclusion of common farmyard animals always helps, and often sparks other ideas such as singing Old Macdonald Had A Farm. There are quite a few Julia Donaldson books that have the same effect, like the Gruffalo, Zog and Monkey Puzzle. Stick Man More recently we have been reading longer books with less repetition, but still following the rhyming patterns that I find so effective. They are no less popular, and now that reading is a habit we are both in to Piglet regularly asks to read Stick Man. Santa does make a little cameo – but that doesn’t stop us reading it all year round. If you’d like to read more of Kim Hogg’s posts, you can check out her own blog and social channels below. Blog: Oddhogg Twitter Instagram Facebook YouTube

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Welcome back to my A to Z Blogging Challenge posts. I’ve fallen a little behind, but instead of trying to do the posts that I’ve missed, I’m writing the post that I was meant to write today anyway, which is S, and I’ll catch up later when I have time. So, today is S for Selfie With A Giraffe, which is one of the items close to the top of my wish list. If you’d like to read the rest of my posts, you can catch up by clicking on my index post, which is right here. I’ve always been a short person. I’m 4ft 10 (and a half) and it’s the one thing I can’t change about myself. I mean, you can dye your hair, go on a diet, get a whole new set of teeth and wear coloured contact lenses. But no matter how high my heels are, I’m still going to be a short person. Even with the 4 inch stilettos I used to wear to my old office job, I was still classed as petite and much smaller than everyone else in the office. I am forever going to be “Wee Sharon.” Now, there’s two ways I could look at this. I could be really annoyed about it and wish that I was taller. There are so many people my height and even taller who wish they could be tall, or at least a few inches bigger than they are, and I think that’s a real shame. Then there are people like me, who absolutely love being small. It’s my USP. It makes me different from the majority of people around me and I can still fit into clothes from the teen department. As for shoes, I’m a UK size 3 (sometimes a 2, depending on the shop I go to) and that means I also get to buy shoes from the kids’ department. You know what that means? I don’t pay VAT on my shoes. So, I think it would be really funny to take a selfie with a giraffe, because I’m so short. I love giraffes. I have giraffe print clothes in my wardrobe, giraffe pyjamas (more than one pair actually) and whenever I go to a zoo, the giraffes are always the first animals I look for. Last time I met a giraffe, I don’t think selfies were a big thing. It wouldn’t matter if the selfie showed me with a giraffe’s legs, to show how short I am or if it showed me with a giraffe bending down to my height – which is my preference. I just think it would be cute to get that selfie. What is the one selfie that you wish you could take? Tomorrow I’m planning to write about T for Torquay, but who knows if that will happen on the day it’s supposed to?! I’m snowed under with other stuff and might not get a chance until later, but if it does happen on another day rather than tomorrow, it will still be dated 23rd April. I’m also writing about S for Stress over on my A to Z of Nanowrimo on my author site.

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This is another backdated post because I fell a little bit behind over the Easter holiday weekend. What can I say? It’s just more fun to sunbathe and eat chocolate than it is to work! However, I’m back to working hard on this blog and others and back to writing my A to Z Blogging Challenge posts. Today is R for Raikkonen and if you’re at all interested in motor sport, you’ll know that name. It’s about Kimi Raikkonen, my current favourite driver. I have a kind of complicated admiration for Kimi Raikkonen. I’ve been a fan of his since he joined Formula 1 and imagine how delighted I was when he joined McLaren all those years ago. Him and David Coulthard, my two favourite drivers at that time, both driving for my favourite team. That’s probably my favourite era of Formula 1. There are things I like about him and things I just shake my head about. Like the way he speaks to journalists sometimes. But, his attitude makes him who he is and if possible, makes him even more likeable? I don’t even know how that is possible, but it seems to be because I know I’m not alone in thinking he is the most interesting driver in Formula 1. The reason I’ve put him on my wish list is because I’d love to see him win one last grand prix before he retires, which could be soon, given that he’s older than I am. In an Alfa Romeo, I don’t think that’s a realistic wish to have, but I still wish for it all the same. I feel ok about hoping he does well now too because he’s in an Alfa Romeo. When he was driving for Ferrari, I wasn’t really comfortable with cheering him on. I don’t have a big issue with Ferrari, but I’m a McLaren fan and if it’s not them doing well, I’d rather it was another underdog team. (By the way, I know the picture below isn’t his car but there is a shockingly small number of royalty free images you can use relating to Formula 1 and this was the only good one!) I’ve written before about my love for Formula 1, a few years ago when I made a guest appearance on The Silo. Remember that website? Yeah, I haven’t been there in a while but I went back today to look for the link to that article I wrote. The reason I don’t write about Formula 1 is because, as the years have passed and social networks become polluted with trolls, being a female F1 fan made me a target. I couldn’t have an opinion, I couldn’t discuss races and I couldn’t feel happy about my favourite drivers’ successes without my intelligence or appearance being criticised. As I’m typing this blog I’m wondering what’s ahead of me. Will I become a target again? Will I be ridiculed for writing a blog about being a fan of a driver but not using lots of complex terminology that non-F1 fans won’t understand? I wonder… Perhaps the thing I should be putting on my wish list is the opportunity to write about my favourite sport and discuss it with fellow fans again without fear of being trolled. That would be kinda cool. Today over on the A to Z of Nanowrimo over on my author site, I’ve written about R for Region and next here on Rock Paper Spirit I’m writing S for Selfie With A Giraffe. Just a bit of fun!

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Unfortunately, I’m too late to wish my readers a happy Easter. Although it’s the post meant for Good Friday, I’m writing this a little bit late and backdating it. Today is Q and that’s a letter that could potentially be quite difficult but this was one of the first that I managed to allocate a subject to. Q is for Queen of Stars and Smoke. If that sounds bizarre and you don’t have a clue what it is, then you’re not alone. I don’t know either. So, how can I make this a topic for my wish list? Read on to find out. A few months ago, I did one of those quizzes you find on Facebook called a Fantasy Book Name Generator. I’m sure you’ve seen things like this online. There’s a list of options next to months of the year, initials of your first name, initials of your last name etc. So, my result came up with the fantasy book name Queen of Stars and Smoke. I thought it was quite an interesting name and might make quite a good short story one day, so I made a note of it on my phone and left the name of the story to simmer. It’s now quite a few months down the line. Maybe a year or two? I don’t know. But every so often I open the list on my iPhone that is titled “Ideas” and see The Queen of Stars and Smoke waiting there for me. It’s a story that is waiting to be written and one day it will become a reality, but not at the moment. I’m still trying to figure out what the story is and how to write it. I don’t know if I’ve even met the characters yet. I haven’t spoken about it publicly, but at the end of last year, I started writing adult romances under another pseudonym. One of them was an erotic fantasy and it did quite well on its release day so I think The Queen of Stars and Smoke might potentially be another erotic fantasy short story. Writing adult fiction is something I might like to go back to doing in the near future, once I’ve caught up with all the Leger stories I have planned for this year and established all the websites I have been working on. I’ve found that erotic fantasy is one of the most difficult genres to write which is why it appeals to me. I like a challenge! What do you think the Queen of Stars and Smoke should be about? Today over on my author site, I’m still writing about the A to Z of Nanowrimo and today the topic is Q for Quickies while tomorrow, here on Rock Paper Spirit, I’m writing about R for Raikkonen. As this post is backdated, it’s unlikely I’ll get any comments on it but if I do, please remember to leave your blog’s link so I can return the visit and read your posts too.

The post A to Z Blogging Challenge: Q is for Queen of Stars and Smoke appeared first on Rock Paper Spirit Daily.

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You know how you look at a word for too long and it just doesn’t look like it should even be a word any more? As luck would have it, the word I have chosen for today’s topic is prosperity and I am now questioning whether this is a real word or if I’ve made it up. Yes, I’m that tired. So, for the purposes of my A to Z Blogging Challenge, P is for Prosperity, which is something that is definitely at the top of my wish list. How can it not be? Doesn’t everyone want to prosper? Prosperity means different things to different people but I’m not going to lie to you. To me, it’s financial. It’s funny, because prosperity would have meant something quite different to me ten years ago. Over the last decade, it’s fair to say that I have not experienced much in the way of prosperity. The bills have been piling up, my books aren’t selling, my blog was making zero, my little kitchen-table perfumery died on its arse and the only freelance work I could get was by offering my skills dirt cheap. I can’t tell you how much that affected my confidence, in a way that I had never experienced before. In my teens, I was broke but I was young and naive enough to believe that it didn’t matter if I had a job or not at that point in time because I was going to get one and then be a millionaire by the time I was 30. I don’t know how I thought I was going to do it, but I believed it would happen. I’m now in my 30s. I am obviously not a millionaire and being broke has been a much harsher experience. However, I am still naive enough to believe that I’ll be a millionaire by the time I’m 50! Ha! I work my arse off, so there’s not reason why I can’t at least prosper. To me, prosperity doesn’t really mean making millions, but it does mean making enough to get off Carer’s Allowance and stop relying on government handouts to make ends meet. On my 30th birthday, I never imagined that I would end up losing so much in the decade that followed, but here I am. I guarantee you that I’m going to get it all back, and then some. Again, I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but I believe it will. As a carer, my options for work are limited, which is why I am building an online business, studying for a distance learning degree and writing in every spare second I get. It hasn’t paid off yet. Nothing has paid off yet, but it will. I just have to keep working and believing. Both blogging and writing can be a bit like mining. You work and work and work and you feel like you’re getting nowhere then suddenly, one day, there’s a diamond. I think business is a bit like that too. You build it for a long time but you don’t see the benefits instantly. However, I’ve never been successful enough in any business venture to say if that is absolutely true, but I think it is. Once I have financial comfort again, maybe prosperity will start to mean something different, like creative fulfilment or something like that. What does prosperity mean to you? I’m a bit late in posting this today because I ran out of scheduled posts and I was working in the shop but over on my A to Z of Nanowrimo, there’s a post about P for Pep Talks. Tomorrow on Rock Paper Spirit, if I can get my arse in gear, I’ll be writing about Q for Queen of Stars and Smoke. If you have no idea what that means, you’re not alone because I don’t either. So, why am I writing about this? You’ll have to visit to find out!

The post A to Z Blogging Challenge: P is for Prosperity appeared first on Rock Paper Spirit Daily.

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