Showing posts from October, 2010

A Writerly Hallowe'en

I've been reading a lot of Hallowe'en related blog posts about everything scary recently - carved pumpkins (that's ours on the left), costumes, recipes and films - but I was surprised how few mentioned books.

So I've put together a short list of reading suitable for this night of ghosts and ghouls.

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

This is the fourth Pratchett novel about Tiffany Aching, reluctant witch and the noisy but loyal Wee Free Men. Tiffany is just settling into her new home and witchly community duties. She's doing her best but things get complicated when an evil ghost fixes its eerie sights on Tiffany.

The Witches by Roald Dahl

My children love books by Dahl but I've kept this one back for now as I find it quite frightening myself. The High Witch plans to rid the country of children by turning them into mice (and if that isn't bad enough, she's placed a large order for mousetraps). Thankfully one young boy …

Pan's Labyrinth

Image via Wikipedia Hallowe'en films don't all have to be about gore and zombies. Sometimes they can be more subtle in their terror.

Like the best gothic fairytale, there is something both frightening and enchanting about the award winning film, Pan's Labyrinth. Directed and written by Guillermo del Toro, it tells the story of the stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer who escapes from her miserable life to a terrifying but magical fantasy world. The film is set in the fascist Spain of Franco and balances the cruel family life of Ofelia and her mother with the often disturbing but ultimately preferable world of the labyrinth. The mythical cast includes a caustic faun and a monster who sees through his hands.

I'm still undecided whether the ending is sad or not. Watch it and make up your own mind.

Lucky lucky me

I consider myself to be a lucky person. I have a wonderful husband, two lively, loving children, my health, good friends, so many things to be thankful for. However, I don't generally win competitions, of any kind. It's not that I think 'oh, I'll never win'. It just doesn't generally happen. In fact, I can count the number of times I've won anything on one hand, until this month.

October has been my extra lucky month. Firstly, I won this beautiful jewellery from Aspire Style. They've just opened a new store in Solihull, but you can also find their shops in Warwick, Oxford and Stratford on Avon. Or you can shop online through their delightful website.

My second win was of a Hallowe'en competition run by Retro Chick for a spider web shawl, umbrella, wallet and compact mirror also from Aspire. In addition to selling retro and vintage clothing and accessories, Retro Chick runs competitions on a regular basis with some lovely prizes.

Both of these websit…

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Photo Inspiration

Here's your monthly photographic inspiration. Enjoy!

On your marks...

get set... We're almost there. In just under three weeks, National Novel Writing Month starts. For NaNoWriMo virgins, here is their press release.

Novel fever takes the world by storm.
Symptoms include flashes of brilliance, questionable plotlines, and blatant use of mixed metaphors.
Berkeley, California (Oct 1, 2010) - At midnight on November 1, armed only with their wits, the vague outline of a story, and a ridiculous deadline, more than 200,000 people around the world will set out to become novelists.

Why? Because November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, the world’s largest writing challenge and nonprofit literary crusade. Participants pledge to write 50,000 words in a month, starting from scratch and reaching “The End” by November 30. There are no judges, no prizes, and entries are deleted from the server before anyone even reads them.

So what’s the point? “The 50,000-word challenge has a wonderful way of opening up your imagination and unleashing creativity,” sa…

Remembering Charlie

Monday was the birthday of my late father, Charlie. He would have been 88 years old. That's him in the photo, standing in a street in York with my mum.

He was an ever supportive influence in my life, softly spoken, strong, thoughtful and eternally optimistic. He was probably better thought of and more kindly remembered that he realised.

He was a hard worker, my dad. He was also a dreamer, full of ideas and thoughts. He did his best to improve himself so that he could support his family which often meant we only saw him at weekends, a treasured forty eight hours when family time was spent out walking, maybe driving in the countryside, or in the garden. A country lad at heart, my father usually found a way to drag us out into nature.

When he retired, my father decided to research his family history. I can remember the trips he took to London and Edinburgh (sometimes with my mum and on other occasions alone) and holidays spent traipsing through overgrown graveyards in Scotland. One o…