Thursday, 31 March 2016

Back at Last - The Computer Saga...

Apologies for the lack of new posts, but the computer began slowing down at the weekend and then Wednesday morning it finally stopped working.

I've had numerous crashes, and the blue screen of death has appeared half a dozen times since last month (when I first mentioned it), but by Sunday it kept looping whenever I logged off, so the only way to shut down was turn it off at the tower. :(

Knowing it was going I had been looking around, but with so much choice online it's difficult to comprehend how it will look actually on my desk. I had specific requirements for capacity, but the position of the USB ports and the DVD drive was essential- I hated the vertical DVD drives!

I've done the basic set-up, and am now creating the recovery memory stick- it takes some time...

Of course before I could remove the old tower I had to clear everything off my desk (actually it's an old scarred dining table) and the area of the floor beside it.

So out with the hoover and the extendable attachment to the hose, so the dust-webs could be sucked up, and the floor cleaned. Once that was done I was able to move the table back and access the office book shelves.

There's still a lot to do before I'll be totally satisfied.

I don't have Office at the moment, which I really do miss. as much as Windows 7.. :(

Anyway, I'm back and aiming for my first post-Windows 10 blog post on Sunday.

So keep your fingers crossed I survive it all... :D

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Novel Competitions and the Oddest Book Title...

The oddest book title was announced last week and the Winner was 'Too Naked for the Nazis'. It was nominated by the author himself, Alan Stafford, so it clearly was a good publicity move.

Though the subject of the book is quite ordinary in fact- a vaudevillian trio, Wilson, Keppel & Betty-  that anyone born early in the 20th century would have heard of, and perhaps seen black & white film of them performing.

You can find out the percentage each book achieved in the Bookseller article link above.

*   *   *

Unpublished novelists have two opportunities to get a publishing deal courtesy of two high profile competitions.

There's the recent Richard &Judy competition, and earlier this week the news about the competition being run between the Daily Mail and Penguin Random House.

They both offer a cash advance, an agent, and publication of the winning manuscript.

Find out more about the Daily Mail/PRH competition via this article.

(EDITED TO ADD: this is the URL they have given for the full terms & conditions and it displays a pdf: )

Note you can't have had a novel published before-even self-published (so that will exclude lots of writers to start with); you can't currently be represented by a literary agent, and you must be over 16 years old, resident in the UK or Republic of Ireland.

The Richard & Judy 'Search for a Bestseller 2016' is supported by WH Smith, and the publishing deal is with Bonnier Zaffre.

Generally the terms are similar to the Daily Mail one, but the R&J competition terms specify that the partial novel hasn't been previously submitted to an agent, publisher, or entered into previous R&J competitions, or "released into the public domain in any format"- so bloggers beware.

So those will probably take quite a few entries out.

Sadly it does mean they're going to have to wade through entries from people who think writing a novel is easy.

They will find hidden talent in the end, but it's sad that they are excluding so many talented writers because they have self-published.

If you qualify and enter, then well done and I hope your entry is successful.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Guest Posting Today...

The computer is still struggling on and my search for a replacement has begun.

Fortunately it's kept running meanwhile, so I can tell you about my guest slot over on writing buddy Patsy Collins' blog, Words about writing and writing about words.

Last year I was tasked with finding a good judge for the 2016 Nottingham Writers' Club national short story competition, and I approached Patsy about the possibility.

I'm glad to say she accepted, and it was this that led to our discussion about writers' groups, and my guest post today.

So I do hope you'll pop over, leave a comment and share what you feel is good about writers' groups.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Nursing the Computer Along...

After a couple of stable days I'm getting the occasional issues again.

Nothing major, more annoying than anything. So I've made sure that all my photos and documents are backed up so I don't lose anything if it should suddenly conk out.

I just realised that I have a lot of bookmarked websites that it will be useful to save too, as I lost a few useful saved sites when my previous computer finally went...

So this week I will be researching what's available to replace my desktop.

Which to choose?
I'm also going into a busy spell for the next six weeks.

While everything is still working I intend to get back to the chapter two rewrite, having taken a break to get a couple of short stories out and on the way- and to get to know a minor character that needs to appear at chapter two or early on in chapter three.

I have a stack of competition entries to read for the writers' club national competition - I'm one of five readers; and while the Chairman is away I'm in charge too, so there's lots to do before the AGM next month.

There will be an online item later in the week too, but more about that on Thursday.

Any recommendations on the best computer brands? And what's your experience of Windows 10?

Image courtesy of Ventrilock &

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Computer Gremlins...

It's been a busy few months and apart from getting the short story finished and sent off, I've not had time to make any progress on the Nottinghamshire story- though I have been doing needed bits of research (highlighted when I read the first chapter of draft 1 through).

Sometimes I can't imagine ever finishing it, but I know that's not true, it will get done.

Unlike the first draft I haven't found it as easy to do a bit, then stop, then do a bit more. That's the hard part at the moment, finding how to work with the second draft.

There has been other writing/editing going on though.

A factual piece that I wrote last month that required a final edit was rewritten with a different slant, and will appear this month.

There's an entry for the writers' club quarterly prose that needs finishing off. I started it twice and wasn't happy so put it aside. Then last week everything clicked together and I started again. It's working much better this time...

Sadly my desktop PC is showing early signs of future failure, and I'll need to replace it this year. I like Windows 7, but will have to move up to Windows 10 when I do change. :(

So I've been tidying up the programs, taking off those that are no longer needed, and avoiding putting the PC under any potential stress.

Glad to say it seems to be helping.

So if I suddenly stop posting you'll know what's happened... :D

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles &