31 March 2012

Burn notice

As some of you are aware Thursday afternoon at my day job I injured myself. It was a 190 degree burn to palm side of my right hand. It only lasted a few seconds. I think I spent more time swearing. Immediately I put it under cold water several times and when I got home it went straight into a bowl of ice. Unfortunately this was my writing hand.
Now two days later after doing a simple pin test it seems the three fingers I burnt are only burnt by a layer or two however my thumb is a little worse off, I still cannot quite bend it and certainly cannot use it for opening bottles or using a pen, even pressing a button on the tv remote hurts. The thumb still throbs and will take time to heal properly. I'll probably end up with a scar by its just another one to add to the list I guess.

All this makes one thankful for computers. If I could have chosen I would have wished it had been my left hand because I can type one handed with only my right hand if need be.

My point today is this, if you cook something don't expect people to know it or the tray it was cooked in/on is hot especially if you arent supposed to be cooking. Leave a sign of some kind, for me at work its putting the gloves on top of the trolley that the hot trays are racked up on; at home I tell people. It doesn't take two seconds to think of safety and it doesn't take two seconds to get burnt. Think first! Think safe!

27 March 2012

Stamp me silly...

Today we Brits recieved some shocking news, the price of a stamp is due to go up by almost 50% to 60 pence per stamp. Granted 60p per stamp for a letter is not too bad but that depends on the number of letters you have to send. For companies this is going to be costly. Sure I hear you saying we live in a world with email and alternate means of communication. So lets look at this from a writers perspective shall we:

Not all publishers accept email queries and submissions, some still prefer the old snail mail.
With this in mind plus the number of submissions and queries writers send out this is going to be costly not to mention that each mailing would have to be weighed meaning use of more than one stamp sending the cost soaring sky high. This would quite possibly limit many writers in how many submissions/queries they can make each month when compared against the current price of living, the state of the economy and the fact that there are over 2 million people in the UK currently out of work.

Is this going to cause problems for writers? I would say quite possibly, though one would hope not. 

25 March 2012

Spring has sprung

Its that time of year again. Spring has sprung and winter seems like a distant memory. The birds are finally leaving their nests, the bee's are back and the blossom is just starting to bloom. The sun is out and the windows are open. That means its time for a clear out.
Yes its time to clean everything, to evaluate what we have and decide what we want to get rid of, whether it be to a charity shop, to sell, or simply toss in the bin. 

For me that also means it is time to turn rooms around, to go through the desk and the books... did I forget to mention that on my last count I had just over 300 books, oh yes I have 2 bookcases full of both fiction and non-fiction reference books and encyclopedias, plus ebooks in my email.
Usually I'll re-assign groupings to my books these are usually wicca/spiritualism, mythology/archaeology, writing/dictionaries, encyclopedias, ancient egypt, freemasonary and fiction.
This is also the time that I re-discover in old note books poems, articles and either story ideas or notes.
Anything to do with writing does not get thrown out, it gets carefully evaluated and either put back in the desk cupboard or on top to be used and worked.
Old photography magazines have been torn apart as I removed any images I liked or found interesting and inspiring. I'll put together a sort of scrap book of inspiration oneday.
Pens get checked...yes pens I do still also write by hand and I have a habit of collecting ones which write well. I'm sure many of you are the same.
Even the laptop gets a clear out too - saving many items to disc or stick and deleting those that are nothing important. And then finally the disc cleanup and defrag.

I'm almost done. Yesterday I cleared the desk and done some bits, re-discovered an article, a story idea and some notes. The laptop was sorted a few days ago. Today I cleaned, found some poetry, looked in some notebooks which made me smile and found a possible story idea and yes tore out the photo's I liked.
Next weekend its the bookcases turn to get raided, cleaned and put back correctly.
Then its back to full working mode.

They do say a clean and tidy room means a clean and tidy mind. I know this to be true, spring is always when I back in the flow of things and get large amounts of work done, but is it the same for you?

18 March 2012

Do I or Dont I...

I'm not sure if its the same for other writers but once in a while I get two or three voices in my head.
One voice says "you know what you've got over 100 poems, what are you afraid of? just publish them already... only you can do this!"
The second voice says "what the hell are you thinking!"
Then a third voice pops up questioning "do I do them as one book, 2 books, 3 books, split into genre, what?"
And then follows that sick feeling in your gut when you just can't decide what to do.
I already know what cover I want, it was a pic I took a couple of years back inside a cathedral of a statue of a scholar reading made of what looks like marble and is just absolutely amazing. I thought it fitted quite well. As for the title I chose, it was quite a long one, after one of the poems I wrote and because in my experience poetry comes from our emotions, from who we are, what we think and what we feel.

I'm sure this sickening feeling is the same thing thats holding me back from actually getting my photography out there and just going ahead and opening my cafepress / zazzle stores. Its not so much a feeling of getting my writing and images out there, because people have seen them back when I avidly posted on myspace, no, my fear has a name and a face, a job and is capable of making you feel like an ant going against a God. My fear is the taxman. In a sense its funny really of all the things to fear and not fear, of all the ones I have, I fear a man and some paperwork.
Its times like this I wish I knew some British authors who've taken the step in the last year or so.
Sometimes as stated above I think I should just go ahead and just do it, others not so much.

17 March 2012

Kitty Wants Fresh Water

Meet Tigger, rescue, approx 7 months old, he has a few quirks one of which is fresh water straight from the tap. This is also my first video and was filmed using my mobile phone.

15 March 2012

To Whom It May Concern

For those of you I have reviewed and those I am currently reviewing or even those just stopping by, here is what you already know about me reviewing:

I accept pdf and paperback copies, I do not own a kindle!

Now heres the update:

I now accept kindle but only on my pc!

I still have no intention of buying a kindle, yes I know you're going to say times are changing and all that, but my intentions eventually are to get a tablet and put kindle on that instead, at least then when I'm out and about or flying between the UK and USA I can still review and probably actually get one done in those 12 hrs of uncomfortable boredom.

A Gift or A Curse?

Hmmm I dont know if it is a gift or a curse. Some days it feels like a gift. Some days the curse. I'm not exactly complaining here though, I love what I do but it just seems like every time I post a review you can guarantee by days end I will have a request for a replacement. So whilst my list gets shorter in fact it doesnt. It stays exactly the same.

At the same time I am getting less of my own writing/editing done (curse) and yet I am still coming up with new story ideas at the drop of a hat (gift). I must have about a dozen ideas now with only two written and ready for editing.

My next review i started today, it reminded or rather the author did of a mental asylum that used to be here in my town, its gone now knocked down and turned into homes. But just being reminded of it has made me come up with an idea for a story that has an insane asylum in it. So I thank that author for her wonderfully macabre ways. I won't share any details about the story but I do have just over a page of 'this happens' then 'that happens' 'this is why' etc etc etc its the basics but it is a start none the less.

Now all I need to do is actually write those stories but first adjust my schedule again so I can actually be more productive. Here I go again...

13 March 2012

Oooo Handy...

Don't you just hate it, you've gone shopping and cannot for the life of you think what it was you needed to buy. What about, you're at work and you completely forget that dentist appointment, ok so thats no big loss unless you loose a tooth.

Scouring through one of my many daily writing newsletters I came across a link for something called Toodledo and having just registered myself (for free) I already love the idea of the site.
Basically this is an interactive calender / alarm / note keeper accessible from computers, mobile phones (cells if you're stateside) and tablets. You can even link to your facebook account and twitter account to update your status when you complete a goal.

As well as shopping lists and appointments this site allows you to set yourself goals, so any projects new / old you can use this site to set yourself goals and completion dates. A handy little tool in a busy world I know a few people who'll love this and find it very useful both in everyday life and writing.

If your life is hectic or you've a project that seems like the end is out of reach then take a look, its costs nothing and if you dont like it you can just delete your account with them and go the traditional route of pen and paper. Just remember, each note was once part of a tree and if you forgot your list / notes then what a waste, at least a mobile or device is with you pretty much all the time these days. Here's the link again incase you missed it the first time: Toodledo

11 March 2012

An interesting discovery, if you love 3d art

As many of us can appreciate software such as photoshop is very expensive and some time ago a friend introduced me to paint.net a free service from the makers of paint.

Two days ago, I discovered DAZ3d, amazing looking 3d software available FREE! yes for a short time this software is free, there are other add-ons and such available for purchasing but I believe this was a very intruguing find especially if you wish to use it for book covers, graphic novels and such.
If any of you are interested or just want to have a look then follow this link http://www.daz3d.com/i/0/0?

If like me you download the standard Daz3d studio4 then go into the store and search through the software freebies and you'll find that Horizon, Bryce 7 and Daz 3d studio pro is all free as well!

You may find that some content takes a few hours to download, mine took about 5 hours (4 hrs downloading and an hour install), make sure you've plenty of room on your computer as well, i need to have a look at mine as my free space is in the red now.

Wondering where your serial numbers are? dont worry they're in your account if you created one and activate automatically.

I wont be staying up until gone midnight downloading the pro version like i did the standard version yesterday, i'll do that tomorrow; i'm going to also hook out some discs and try to download these and other programmes to disc then i have them readily available both on the site and on disc.

Enjoy :)

5 March 2012

My Interview with Brian Feinblum

I am no huge risk taker, but over the years especially when writing is concerned I've taken a couple for instance my book reviews and how I started doing them, social networking, blogging etc I was a complete Newbie and for a shy person its certainly something.

So without any ado, without any blabbering and yabbering and tearing off of ears here it is my interview you'll need to scroll down a little to read it:

Sky + HD Updating System Software Issue

Today at 1pm we rang sky about an issue we had, the person on the other end of the line told us to press some buttons and the following screen would appear 'Updating System Software', this is supposed to take 10 minutes to fix.
3 hours later the message was still on the screen and we made several more phone calls which also did not fix the issue.
So whilst on the phone I hopped online and found the following which helped http://helpforum.sky.com/t5/Sky-HD/Updating-System-Software-Issue/td-p/256305

What I did was this:
On the top of the sky +HD box press and hold for 1 minute the power button until you get one red light.
Release the button for 1 minute.
Press the button again.
You'll get a green light and the screen will say no signal checking
Grab your remote and click tv listings
You're back in business and you've not even wiped your harddrive. Excellent huh.

This isn't the first issue we've had with sky that we were left feeling like we were gonna have to buy a new box and that i've gone online and fixed myself. Next time you have an issue search the net first, its cheaper than endless phonecalls to them that get you down a dead end.
hmmm maybe I should work for sky.

4 March 2012

Best of British...

This morning I caught the first debate on the BBCs The Big Question which discussed the idea of creating a united Britain through uniting identity amongst the people.
As a yearly visitor to the USA I have come to realise its people are independant and passionate.
Having lived in the United Kingdom all my life (almost 30 years) I used to believe England was proud, loyal and respectful. Over the years however I have come to learn our pride is wavering, our loyalty is only strong when we as a country are attacked as a whole. As for respect, that has pretty much died out.
Over the last 15 years or so my own experience has proven that the new generations have little respect for the country. I'm not saying this is everyone but with the state of things right now, the riots and such things seem to be slipping on the way side, far from what they used to be.
After a little thought I for one think we should celebrate one day a year what it is to be British, every other country gets to celebrate and we celebrate their holidays but what about us? Do we not deserve a holiday that could unite the country? I'm not talking a random day like St Georges Day or Valentines where you still have to go to work, hell no, the retail sector alone suffer the worst only allowed Christmas day off each year and no other. No, I'm talking a day when the whole country gets a day off to celebrate everything English no matter what their country of origin. Like the Americans who celebrate Thanksgiving on the forth Thursday of November, I think ours should be similar!
Sure we get to celebrate the Queens birthday but as stated in the programme, there are anti-monarchists and no-one gets the Queens birthday off, not even the Queen herself so come on whose with me in saying we need a Best of British Day!? or Great Britain Day?
So what would we celebrate? how about the English language, tea and scones, street parties. British bulldogs, Old English sheep dogs, canals, countryside, castles, the mini cooper, Shakespear, cadbury chocolate, jaffa cakes, literature, art, everything that says to you Great Britain.
With the riots, the recession and cuts in jobs and budgetting thanks to government proposals, we need something to raise our spirits in this darkened time and remind us why we love our country and what we love, even if we dont love our government.
A day dedicated to our country IS what we need! A day dedicated to the country in which all the cultures which make up England can share can unite the country better than simply trying to get these cultures to agree to get along or else. If we have a day dedicated to England we could see a drop in racist crime and sub-cultures but see a rise in the unity of what we all share and deep down love, being British. Not only this but every Britain throughout the world would have a day they can celebrate no matter where they live. Through all of this I believe pride, loyalty and respect would increase between the people of Great Britain.
As a country, as a people, as a multi-cultural society we need this to unite across all fields.
Proposals have been made by thinktanks and government bodies suggesting days in which to celebrate our national holiday, what all fail to do is actually take the people of Britain into account, every day proposed is already a holiday of some kind and most are either political or about the monarchy. This should be about the people afterall its for them!