28 February 2012

A Good Deed Indeed

I don't know about you but I'm someone who has to keep busy. If even for the smallest of moments I become bored or stop that is it and I am lost spiralling down a deep dark hole. This is why besides my day job I have so many projects that keep me busy. I hate being bored, I hate stopping, granted I am no where near someone who works in a big city running around to someone elses tune, but I am still busy enough that I get zero rest.
Which brings me to a new project. This one however is a little different.

Some time ago (December 2009) I reviewed for author Diane Wright and her book The Alfar's Gift. Unfortunately as is the case sometimes in this industry Diane is facing a drop in sales and does not know much about self publishing, websites and such, and is getting no help from her publisher.
So after a long discussion with Diane this afternoon I will be creating for her a website and blog while she creates herself a new page on facebook and continues on her next book.
It will be a little while until I have it all set up perfectly with some details and such like links to the book however I will post another blog once this is complete so you yourselves can go have a look, befriend Diane who by the way is one of the nicest people you could know and perhaps even purchase a copy of her book, The Alfar's Gift. If you would like to read the review you can find it here.

26 February 2012

Endorsements Vs Chocolate

I think we can all agree that endoresments are beautiful things. If I were to describe how one can make you feel I'd have to say it is like spring at the end of winter, like achieving something immeasureable, and the pride you feel for recieving one for work you've done... well, no amount of blackholes in the universe can swallow how happy they make you feel.

Endorsements aren't simply backing thank you's from people that you have helped out, it is a force that drives you onward in what you do, giving you both recognition and a name in your field.
Personally I love endorsements! Waking up in the morning and reading your email to find there amongst all the junk and newsletters a teeny ray of hope that has to capability of bursting into bloom and spreading. Its a wonderful feeling and if I could have one everyday I would certainly be a happy person. But we all know life is not like that so when I need a pick me up or a kick up the backside to get back writing I go read my endorsements.

Endorsements can do many things you can post them on your websites and other sites and places like Linkedin offer you to collect them. Its because of sites like Linkedin which offer this service that my reviewing has increased in the last year. So as well as raising spirits, endorsements are actually good for business and getting your name passed around between, in my case authors and publishers.

In turn I hope this will have done me some good when it comes to publishing my own novels and poems because, whose going to pay attention to the nobody without a name?..

Endorsements can change your world, how you behave and how you act. And if I had a choice between them and chocolate I'm afraid the endorsements would win hands down. While chocolate can give you that sugar high, it only lasts a short while. Endorsements are eau natural and they can last a life time and they are worth every moment of it.

And yes, today is one of those days it both looks and feels like spring at the end of winter and I awoke to another beautiful force that is an endorsement. Happy Days ;)  

25 February 2012

To Doggy Bag or Not to Doggy Bag ???

This year will be my forth trip to the United States to see my guy and as per usual many meals will be taken in restaurants. Though I was amazed at some of the sizes of the meals presented before me I was relieved and quite happy as well as shocked that practically ALL restaurants offered a take home service. It appears quite normal for waiters and waitresses to offer you a box for your leftovers no matter how much or how little.
Since we 'the eater' have purchased the food it only seems right that whatever is left is yours to take home. However here in the United Kingdom we do not have such a service, in fact it appears more so that restaurants in an aid to reduce wastage simply offer a nationwide standard size plate. Surely if this service were available more customers would be likely to attend said restaurants and therefore increase their sales enabling them to increase plate sizes and in turn do good for the suppliers of their fresh and frozen goods by creating more business for them.
I've said this ever since my first visit to the USA almost 4 years ago and finally today on BBC Breakfast a morning show on BBC 1 here in the UK the question has finally been brought up and gladly many people see as I do that this would be good all round.
So to doggy bag or not to doggy bag or rather box like our American friends. Let us in the UK hope this idea catches on and very soon.

24 February 2012

Hey Mr Taxman!

So its taken almost an entire month for me to recieve a reply to my letter I sent to HMRC back in January, granted apparantly or at least by the looks of things I sent my letter to the wrong office but then the website was not exactly clear on which office I should be sending enquiries.
So I explained my situation and got told exactly what I already knew that I would need to fill out a self assessment tax return every April along with the foreign income page. What I did not get told was whether I have to still pay NI as I'm paying it through my employer. Now to send off yet another letter.
This stuff should be made easier as should the website be easier to navigate, there is nothing much on it about online employment through POD sites its very daunting stuff enough to put people off and I've wasted the best part of a year researching this watching dozens of videos and reading at least 100 pages of information. I'm not giving up on this but it seems like no-one has any info that can help and the only info that can help is confusing and takes forever to decipher. Not to mention I still don't know whether I should do the returns alone or get an accountant or would be able to afford one in the first place. I guess I need to contact one also.

21 February 2012

The Pancake Day Massacre

Oh joyous, its my fave time of year again, Pancake Day.
I love pancakes, well scotch pancakes and american pancakes though I'm sure their nationality doesn't actually come into it, they're pancakes. The ones I love are spongy, I hate those crepe ones that are slimey looking things and I certainly don't buy mine ready made. I use a recipe.
Last weekends magazine in the paper had a recipe for pancakes which I thought I would follow. What a mistake! The mixture came out very liquidy that the flour and everything settled in the bottom of the jug and the first one I made came out all thin and crepe like. This batch went in the bin and the mixture poured away.
Batch 2 came out slightly similar and went out the same way too.
Batch 3, success, wonderful yummy pancakes with a good mixture and thickness that made them spongy.
Let me state I had to go dig out a recipe book for batch 3 which had a recipe for american pancakes, I did alter slightly by downing the salt as it seemed high and served with maple syrup and fresh strawberries.
They were YUM but only after the massacre that was the first two batches. Also I religously always throw out the first pancake because it always soaks up all the butter used in the pan and tastes horrid.
Last year I missed out on pancake day completely and I was disappointed on my visit to the States when I learned my pancakes I had the year before at Bob Evans were removed from the menu. I hope that later this year this is not the case but for now I am happy enough with my own pancakes.
Happy Pancake Day everyone.

16 February 2012


Ever since I was a child I have been somewhat quite or shy and my parents always described me as such and I always felt as if I were being made into a freakshow because people looked at me strangely.
Gladly things changed as I grew up, having a job which was customer focussed helped immensely though I must admit I still obtain a few of those tendancies from childhood, there are still things I refuse to share, conversations I will not enter into and such.
But, it was a few years ago that I actually understood this 'quietness', when a neighbour was round one day he described me as being a listener, that I am on the outside but I hear everything. Makes me feel like a spy lol
Anyway, it was this that got me thinking about my writing and helped in my decision to come back to writing. So what did I ask myself :
Do you prefer people or books? Books, they hurt much less than people.
Reading or speaking? Reading, the people you read aren't likely to abuse you back.
Writing or doing? Writing, I'm not a big risk taker and the risks I have taken took a lot of thought.

And so I decided to write.
It is rare for my mind to be quiet its always thinking of something and sometimes random subjects throw me and I'm off with an idea or theory. I think my muse the last year or so has been musical because I've been getting random songs in my head whilst at my day job and these can be songs I've not heard for years and yet I still know the lyrics and such. Unfortunately my muse apparantly likes music from the era of which I was born however I love rock, and for writing or reading I usually use meditation / classical music or Nightwish's Imaginaerum disc 2 instrumental since that is what I have on my laptop.

Currently I am editing 2 novels, reviewing 1 novel with 3 to do, I have 4 books to read to do with learning to drive and I have several story ideas started or in some form or another that I want to get round to. Lets hope my muse and my mind can agree on something to get all this done. Time for a new schedule me thinks.

14 February 2012


Its that time of year again, you know the one where cheap tat is sold in shops (just like the one I work in) and people are expected to go buy it for their loved ones. Let me also state that it is also the time of year to have our wallets ransacked, seriously the price of this tat is unbelieveable I could find something so much better for the same money if not cheaper; it is also the time for those without a partner to go seeking the ice cream tub for comfort. Yes its valentines day! A day dedicated to celebrate being together er hold on isnt that what anniversaries are for? and shouldn't couples be celebrating being together every day?
All valentines day has ever done is make people miserable and spend their money.
A recent survey I took showed results that out of 8,000 people at least a third would celebrate the day while almost two thirds would not celebrate at all.
I am all up for recieveing gifts but then who wouldnt be?...and quite frankly why does it have to be a specific day, you shouldnt have to hold off, everyday is special while you're together and you shouldnt let something like the card companies tell you to.
For those like me who live thosands of miles from the one they love valentines is not an easy holiday, sure things like skype help but its not the same and for those who've lost those they love it is even harder to watch everyone else celebrating.
Perhaps it is time a vote was taken whether to keep or be rid of this hallmark holiday... what would you vote for?

Another holiday I could do without is Easter, I mean come on I work in a shop there is temptation enough without bringing out the chocolate eggs!

11 February 2012

One thing that really annoys me (English language)

Ok what is it with people's need to abuse the English language?
It's not so bad those that do it by mistake, hell I have issues with grammar and I'm dyslexic but come on to do it purpose...
At least a third / maybe a half of the world are capable of speaking the English language but it's not the foreigners I'm annoyed about here, I get that say for example a Polish guy cannot decipher how something should be said in his language and ours.
But for those homegrown... that is a complete and utter, I can't even find the word to describe it, it should be treason!
I had this issue with my niece some time back and I've had it recently too elsewhere and quite frankly I refuse to learn this language. Damn it it's not even a language its a mismatch of letters to make it sound like a word and I cannot believe for the life of me how they are filtering some of this into the English dictionary, before we know it the English language will be obsolete.
Wherever you look now texting, email, social networks someone is doing exactly this and in my eyes it goes against everything English and for some reason everytime I see someone writing it, all I can think of is Essex, some parts of London, a few other locations and 'chavs'.
What is my country coming to?
Please note I will accept the 'lol' 'wtf' and 'omg' but that is it, nothing more.
We pride ourselves on our language and sure some foreign countries take the hm hm about the accent, obviously these people have never been to England but I don't care what people think, for me the English language is something that is ours, written or spoken, it's homegrown that is why it is called English, and is something that England should be fighting to keep especially here at home not allowing others to change it and as for being in the English dictionary, go create your own don't poison the one we have.
If anything everytime I read or see people writing like this I think, how immature are they?
Sometimes I really hate what my country is coming to and what is allowed to spread like a virus, but the English language is something that should not be touched, it should be saved!

10 February 2012

Strange Noises

Ever wonder why some things create weird and freaky noises? Me too! and right now the washing machine sounds exactly like a child playing a recorder, it sounds a little like this
- --- --- --- - --- --- --- - --- --- --- (your gonna have to think the dashes are the recorder here) and it just continues on and on.
I swear there is only washing in the washing machine! but it sounds soooo convincing lol  

9 February 2012

I'm going to my mind palace

Since first hearing those words a few weeks back in Sherlock : series 2 episode 3 Hound of the Baskervilles I really have to say I love that saying and totally get it. Everytime my mind wanders now as well as that vague look in my mind palace I see myself running round opening as many doors as possible looking for that hidden one hiding the secret that I'm looking for. It even reminds me of my copy of The Dictionary of Symbols which I absolutely love and use as often as possible one subject takes you to another and so on and so forth and before you know it your ten light years away from the first subject you picked up.
I loved the way they also showed it in the episode how one thought can lead to another and it just goes to show, I am not crazy! because that is how my mind works, just ask my sister or my guy and they will tell you I can be talking one minute or listening then I have a vague look and then I'm having to make a grab for a pen or laptop because some weird connection has been made in my head. My only issue is my head works too fast for my hands sometimes.

So for all writers and people with vague looks I have to say that I am not ashamed to say that I Love my Mind Palace. hmmm I wonder if there are Do Not Disturb signs I can put up... oh thats just given me an idea!

A creative mind needs...

Music! And I believe I have finally found THE music that inspires me most.
Give me anything for meditation and I can fly through a book review drowning out the rest of the world.

However I am highly impressed by the magnificence that is Nightwish's Imaginaerum special edition disc 2 instrumental, I can listen to it again and again and not get bored. No seriously its on my computer once all 13 songs have played I start again and again and again and I can go on like this for hours, days even but the really great thing is how much work I can get done by simply getting lost in the music. Its actually thanks to this one CD I managed to finish my 2009 Nanowrimo novel. Who'd of thought I had to wait just over 2 years to find the right piece of music to get my head to be in the right setting to finish but then they do say music is stimulating.

8 February 2012

I need a Gibbs!

Not too sure how many of you have watched NCIS but I definately need a Gibbs. My mind has a habit of wondering off for what seems like a split second but apparantly can be much longer. I get this vague look on my face and people either think I'm ill or something is wrong, but its not. I just need a Gibbs to walk up and slap me on the back of my head and get me back into the flow of things.
But to actually avoid headaches and possible lawsuits should someone actually do that to me I think I may have to mentally have this thing where should my mind wander, Gibbs pops up and slaps me on the back of my head in my head... I just hope he doesnt start doing it when I am actually thinking.

Past, Present and New Beginnings

Well this is it blog #1 or is it? actually no because I have blogged before on myspace and I also run a bookreviewing blog so I think I'm somewhat seasoned in this. In fact I just finished a book review yesterday which I absolutely loved called Painted Jezebel by Jolie Pethel you can read the review here.

So I suppose I had best share a little about myself before we delve into real blogging.

My name is Rachel and in two days I will be 29 years of age and I just realised that being 2012, if the world really does end this year as some believe I will not be 30 but my friend will. haha. I always like digging that she'll be in a zimmer frame before me but now, if the world does end I'll be the one still in my twenties. lol

Currently I am employed part-time for a well known company here in the UK, I enjoy my job especially on good days, on bad days it can be a challenge and sometimes I have to bite my tongue and just walk away. I have to get up very early for my job at 4am my shift starts at 5:30am so if I'm not there on time there is hell to pay because the place cannot open without me, when it does I am either off sick or on holiday, like I am now. I always take the week of my birthday as holiday just to get away and do me stuff.

So what is this me stuff you ask... as stated above I write book reviews but that is not all. I also write poems of which I have just over 100 most of which were written in a year and 3 of which were published in the October 2010 edition of Worlds Within Worlds Beyond Magazine.
As well as this I have just completed my first draft of a novel I started back in November 2009 when I took part in Nanowrimo and yes I did get to 50k words within a month. Not bad for a first attempt. This story is currently at around 72k word count and I am already working through editing it.
But this was not the first story I wrote, I've dibbled and dabbled as we all do, wrote down ideas and notes (I have quite a few note books, its a thing, like pens I kind of collect them for use).
Anyway, I also have another novel which I've completed the first draft this one is part of a series. Hopefully when I have tidied them up a bit more, I can tell you more. For now they are being edited and I still love them as much as when I wrote them.

I suppose by now you are wondering when the 'New Beginnings' part of this blog will start...
On top of all this I also enjoy photography, one of my quirks is taking a picture of something you normally would not even think taking a picture of and changing it until you come out with something quite pretty and or useful like a background for a website, sadly this one is not mine but I do hope to change it at a later date.
The New Beginnings part of this is more of a wish and hope, I shouldn't say wish because there are too many out there clogging up that universal postbox. Anywho, I hope to in the future, hopefully sometime soon, if I had my way it'd be right now, I hope to open a few shops through POD (print on demand) websites such as Zazzle and Cafepress. I have everything planned out, four shops in total and what will go into them, two of which if my writing goes anywhere * fingers crossed*. I do believe I have most of the info for Zazzle, I think Cafepress is going to start the confusion process all over again but it looks like my biggest fall is having to do tax returns. ARG tax, seriously this stuff could kill a person and how is it even possible that there is so many businesses and shops when its so confusing, and kids, how do kids get to open shops? surely they arent following things legally. I want this nightmare to end and just be posting stuff for sale and it sucks that I can't until I have everything in place. Maybe it's just me wanting to play things safe and not face the fury of the tax man plus a heafty fine. But surely there has to be a light at the end of this tunnel. Right?     

Rant over. This is quite probably the first of many though, so be warned!
Ok we've covered writing, reviews, poems, photography...I think thats probably enough for one blog I promise though these blogs will be varied anything from thoughts, articles, recipes and yes the odd rant. Whatever it is it will be posted right here because this is now my personal blog of me as I write, work and go slowly crazy.

Ok forget that last part, the craziness settled a long time ago.