Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dundalk 10k Road Race

This year, on the 9th May, I will be running the Dundalk 10k Road Race. Today, I started training. I left Beth to crèche in record time and jogged most of the way home. The distance is about 1.5k and I made it home in about 10 minutes. Not great time but I'm quite happy as I did manage to keep jogging the majority of the time.

Last year I was a stone heavier than I am now and I watched my sister cross the finish line. I promised myself I would do it this year when I had gotten to my ideal weight and could do it properly.

I'm hoping my new runners will not look so shiny when May rolls around. Incidentally, these would be my first ever branded runners. Will they really make a difference?

At least training for the 10k will take my mind off the ABNA contest. I have started editing Bleeker Avenue again but know I'm too close to the book to see all the typos and inconsistencies. So, a fellow writer friend and I have decided to meet once a week to review and critique each others work. I'm a little nervous but know it will be the best thing for Bleeker.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Still There

So I'm still in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. My pitch got through the first round of cuts. I'm still in shock.

Here's the pitch I entered:

Rathmara seems like an ordinary coastal town in the north east of Ireland but it is holding a deep, dark secret. Rachael Dunn, who has lived in the town all of her life is about to discover more than she wanted to know.

Rachael is 26 and likes to keep her days busy. Even when she has time off she spends it drinking to blot out the hollow place inside. In fact, Rachael does not even know it’s there until a chance acquaintance with the local shop guy, Chris.

Chris is not the ordinary shop assistant Rachael thinks he is. He is a quantum physicist from the past and he needs help to get back to 1949. He is determined to continue his life with his pretty wife of 3 months and save the life of his best friend. As Rachael helps she discovers if Chris goes back to his own time it will destroy her life as well as those of her mother and sister.

Unsure what to do next Rachael decides to follow Chris back to the past. Using her knowledge of physics Rachael helps Chris repair the damage to the gravity generator and they create the wormhole to travel back. Chris has no idea about Rachael’s plans and is shocked when she falls out of the time machine into 1949 a few minutes after him. However, the past is not as safe as it first seems.

THE SECRET BENEATH BLEEKER AVENUE is the start of Rachael’s journey into the dangerous world of time travel, true love and kismet dreams.

Now to celebrate with a little bottle of vino! Wonderful!

Roll on the 20th March :-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day isn't easy for the single people out there but to be completely honest I never liked the holiday when in a relationship either. It makes me so angry when I see the extortionist prices in flower shops. Red roses seem to triple in price around this holiday. Thankfully, with the recession, big brand stores are doing some really good deals!

I agree it is nice to have a day where you spoil your partner and be spoiled in return. However, in a good relationship, these kind of days should come more often than once a year. At least then you can avoid the crazy prices.

This year I am single again but I'm not too bothered. Yes, there are times when I would like to have someone around but this is not one of those times (too expensive!). At the moment I am quite content to be a mother first and a writer second. I am not looking for a relationship and honestly do not think I need one right now. That may sound weird to settled couples out there but looking for a man to share my life is not a priority.

Although, after saying that, I am not closing myself off to the possibility of finding love. I believe whatever is meant for us will not pass us by. If I am to go out today and run into some tall, dark and handsome man I will not be saying "Thanks, but no thanks" should he ask me out for coffee. I believe in God's grand design. All I have to do is look at Beth to know that. I know I am truly blessed with her so whether I meet the man of my dreams today or 20 years from now so be it.

And what would Valentine's Day be without a bit of poetry?

How Do I Love Thee? By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rainy Mondays

It is a rainy, miserable Monday here in Ireland. Beth is at crèche while I sit here on my laptop. There has been no writing done this morning as I have been trying to upload my manuscript to www.authonomy.com but having no luck! I have also been dabbling in book covers and have come to the conclusion I need help. I cannot design a nice cover.
We are to have visitors from Blackpool this weekend. Beth has already started calling her Grandad her best friend. They have only met once before now when she was 8 months old so I thought it best to start talking about him before he comes to stay. The spare room is in dire need of cleaning out. I will also need to relocate my desk for the weekend. There is not enough room to swing a cat in there (should you feel the need to swing a cat, I, of course, don’t!).

Beth went to the circus with her Dad on Saturday. I have not seen the photos yet. Her favourite parts were the clowns. She was very disappointed there were no elephants. My Mum had told her there would be some….woops!
Beth chillin'....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Earth mothers and baking

They always have a way of making me feel inadequate. You know the ones I’m talking about. They are the ones with the slings, babies attached to them with a shawl effortlessly draped over the shoulder. The one and only time I tried to breastfeed in public I was so nervous even though no one gave a hoot. The strategically placed muslin cloth kept sliding down revealing too much breast for a mid morning coffee shop.
I am absurdly proud of the fact that I breastfed my little one for almost a year. Although, I know the best thing I could have done was to bring her into contact with all the germs the breastfeeding was supposed to protect against.

Sitting in the coffee shop two years on, my little daughter in pre-school, I watch these earth mother types congregate. Their group is full of skirts that trail along the floor. From their bags emerge Tupperware containers of homemade treats. Not a jar of store bought mush in sight. How I wish I had never succumbed to the convenience of those jars. However, Beth did get enough homemade mush to keep her going. She is none the worse off for having had a few handy jars and now she has a great appetite (well, the majority of the time she does!)

We love to bake, Beth and I. We will bake at least once a week together. She tends to make more mess rather than help but I wouldn’t change it. In the last week we have made scones, banana muffins and a cake.

Scones: makes 12 at 3 pro points each

8oz self raising white flour
Pinch of salt
5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder
1.5oz butter
150ml semi skimmed milk (you might not need the whole lot)
Beaten egg to glaze (optional)

  1. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in enough milk to give a fairly soft, light dough.
  2. On a lightly, floured surface, lightly roll out the dough to a 2cm thickness and cut into rounds with a small cutter, about 4cm in diameter.
  3. Place on a greased baking sheet and brush the tops with the beaten egg. Bake at 220°C (425°F) gas mark 7 for about 10 minutes until golden brown and well risen. Cool on a wire rack.
They are quite nice with jam and cream or with just a little butter.