Showing posts with label websites. Show all posts
Showing posts with label websites. Show all posts

Sunday 13 September 2015

History, Books, Cotton Wool and Tights...

If you wonder what cotton wool and tights have to do with books and history then you may be surprised.

But first...

Saturday 12th September was the Heritage open day for Bromley House Library- originally called Nottingham Subscription Library. They take part in the events every year, but previously it's been necessary to book, and I've always missed out; so I was determined to go this year, and was pleased to see that there was no booking this time. The queues to enter started after I arrived...

The house is a Grade II* listed Georgian townhouse, that was built in 1752, and the entrance door is easy to miss bordered by shops on both sides- where originally there would have been rooms. But once inside, and looking at the back of the building from the garden, you can see how large Bromley House once was...

In the garden...
This is one of two Georgian gardens in the city centre- though the other one is not open to the public. There are three huge Plane trees- of six that were originally planted in the late 19th century. As now, they were planted to absorb the pollution in the air- the bark absorbs the toxins and peels off, though these trees were extremely knobbly.

A very old Plane tree...

Considering the amount of traffic that passes in front of the house (all buses going south and west) and a little beyond the back of the garden, one of the main roads, the noise was very muted, protected by the high walls of the buildings alongside.

There were lots of volunteers guiding people and providing information, and who wouldn't enjoy visiting a library that retains the wood and architectural features of the past.

I forget to mention the 40,000+ books... Every available space has bookshelves and lots of book collections- it reassures me that my eight Billy bookcases full, at home, is quite restrained. :D

There's local history, numerous biographies, and they have the library of the British Sundial Society. The sundial that used to be in the garden was stolen many years ago, and all that was left behind was the metal style (the sticking up pointy bit) which was on display in the Neville Hoskins Reading Room - it has a plaster Rococo style ceiling.

Every room I went into- and there were lots of them- I noticed books I'd want to read, and you could see other books awaiting repair and cleaning - they were bound up.

Books in need of repair
So now I'll tell you what cotton wool and tights have to do with old books...

Cleaning cloth-bound book covers.

If you've ever bought old books from the early part of the 20th century then you'll know how dull they have got over time.

Obviously you wouldn't do this to extremely valuable books, but dusting and careful gentle cleaning shouldn't be a problem for standard works.

The tools for cleaning...
A piece of cotton wool placed in a cut up piece of tights or a stocking- gives a slight abrasive effect- dipped into Vaseline, and then dabbed off onto the lid, so there's hardly any left on the pad, and then the cover is gently cleaned, and finally gone over with a cloth- the sort that doesn't shed fibres.

The ladies were all volunteers, and kindly answered my questions about repairing and cleaning the books (writing research, and advice for my own cloth-bound books that need a bit of help).

Saturday's volunteers were one of four sets, so one week a month there will be one day when they are in conserving...

I did make the spiral staircase wobble for a moment when I went down the first turn, which is why people are only allowed to go up or down one person at a time (on Saturday it was the down route from the gallery).

You can see the staircase in one of the rolling home page pictures on their website (link at the top of the post). It was added in 1857, and does not have a supporting column like most spiral staircases,

The library is certainly a delight for any writer and/or reader, and I'm sure that on a warm sunny day the garden is a haven.

I'm seriously considering applying for membership in the future...

(You can now see a couple more images from the day, along with a little more history over on my website at Serena's blog.)

Friday 11 September 2015

Heritage Open Days- This Weekend...

A quick post about a nationwide visiting opportunity this weekend, Heritage Open Days- UK.

I mentioned this to a few writer friends and it was a 50/50 split between those who knew about it and visited place, and those who had not heard about it, so I thought I'd mention it.

In September each year, various museums, private homes and other buildings open their doors to allow the public to visit heritage gems that are not always available to be accessed and seen. Find out how it's brought about.

If you pop along to the website you can search for all the FREE events either by region, county, town or local council, and then print out the details.

Personally I'm hoping to get to see Bromley House Library in Nottingham. It's actually a few doors away from the modern Central Library in the city.

Hopefully I can then get to the places I'd intended to go to last weekend before my plans changed...

I hope to be able to take a few photos for mine and Serena's blog, though they will be different places of course.

So if you get to events near you, have fun...

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Competition- 500 Words for Write for Elle...

Thanks to the Facebook page of the Romantic Novelists Association, I saw the link for the write for Elle competition.

Elle is a glossy monthly magazine you're guaranteed to find on the shelves of your local newsagents and supermarkets. Like many of its competitors it has a strong online and social media presence too.

So for the seventh year of this competition, they want a 500 word piece inspired by the hashtag  #RelationshipGoals so who the relationship is with that matters to you, and what you want from it, all that is up to you.

The competition opened 6th August and closes just before midnight on the 10th September.

Submission is by email and you'll find the link for the address to send it to on the competition information page, here.

Entries will be judged by an editorial team from Elle, and the remainder of the judging panel will be made up by author Jessie Burton (The Miniaturist), and novelist Kate Mosse.

Now to the prizes. The winner's piece will be published in the January 2016 issue of Elle under your own name, and you also win a Smythson monogrammed Dukes manuscript book (worth £135) - as do the remaining four finalists. There's no actual cash involved...

As with any writing competition there are terms and conditions you need to be aware of.

The winning entry may be edited "at the sole discretion of the ELLE editorial team" and "by entering this competition you consent to this and grant Hearst an exclusive licence in and to your work, in perpetuity."

The wordage is a little unclear, and I'd want clarification of whether the exclusivity is just with the winning entry, or every entry submitted (I'd suspect the latter, but I'd like to be surprised).

And whether they're 'in and to your work, in perpetuity' ONLY applies to the 500 word piece, and not any other potential articles for the magazine?

Don't forget to read the full competitions on the blue highlighted link further down the instructions page too.

Finally, you need to be over 18, resident of the UK and Ireland, not had material published by Elle or on and the piece submitted must not have been previously published.

If you enter, good luck...

Monday 27 July 2015

Almost There...

It was a busy weekend, as I was trying to get everything still to do for Serena's website and remaining social media links completed.

Although I published Serena's first proper blog post on Saturday and it could be read via my links, it wasn't showing up on the blog page I'd created. Clearly I hadn't done something I should have and I couldn't see what it was... :(

After consulting fellow writers: Patsy Collins and poet, Liz Brownlee who both have Wordpress sites, I finally found what I needed to do. It did mean changing pages and moving text, but finally this evening everything went where it should- and worked.

Tomorrow I'll start the domain mapping process to apply Serena's domain name - and pay the annual fee for doing so.

Meanwhile, Serena now has a Facebook page to go with the  existing Twitter account...

My pictures from my trip to Bath last year have begun to be helpful. Beside my lady with a fan, you will probably be seeing the dancing figures- these were on the wall in the Fashion Museum and represent the different positions in a dance- sadly I didn't make a note of what the dance was...

All I need now is to get on with the Nottinghamshire novella/potential short novel.

I've probably got another three to four chapters left of my contemporary romance to write, and as soon as that draft is completed, I'll be returning to Hugh and Sarah's historical romance story.

I'm amazed how much I've managed in a little over a week. And now that's done I can concentrate on writing, knowing the support framework is in place and there when I need it...

How to dance...

Thursday 23 July 2015

Sorting Our Serena...

I've been busy this week putting together a website for my pseudonym, Serena Lake.

A few months ago when I bought my domain name, I also bought one for Serena. The intention was to create a website for her in the Autumn, but something has been telling me to get it done now.

I've learnt that it's advisable to listen (and action) those instinct alerts, because when I ignore them I quickly find out that it was the wrong thing to do.

I'm going to continue the Carol's Corner blog covering my writing, research and the news about competitions and other literature related items- that I sometimes venture into talking about. But while I may also talk about history related items here, I'll perhaps give a different slant or more detail on Serena's blog.

Serena's blog on the website will concentrate only the historical romance side of my writing- and reading. I may even share opinions of research books and useful websites.

I'm on the final adjustments now, and as soon as I'm happy I will get my domain transferred, and begin blogging. And of course let everyone know it's officially launched.

Making the website has taken a lot of thought as I had to decide what image I wanted to suggest by my choices of design, colour and pages, as well as their content.

Having learnt a few skills over the years with this blog I could at least create pages without any problem, though learning how to get where I want to is still a bit hit and miss. :-)

Serena's Lady with a Fan...

I'm going to let you have a quick look at the website before it is finalised- still trying to work out the contact options so that's still missing, but otherwise it's 90% there.

I'll be expanding pages when needed, and adding social media links.

So if you want a quick peek, then follow this link.

Thursday 15 May 2014

I'm Off to the City of Bath...

I just have to pack my clothes and my medication for my travels.

My camera battery is charged, ready to take some interesting images- I hope! The weather is meant to be good so I'm dragging out some summer clothes...

I've been making a list with opening times and entry costs, and compared to some places they are not that expensive- especially when they offer saver tickets to get into a combination of museums.

If you want to read about some of the places I'll be visiting- while the rest of the family are left at home- you can find out more here at the Visit Bath website.

There are lots of pictures and videos, just look at the individual website links for each museum/place.

Once I'm back it will be a couple of days before I've got everything sorted, so I may not blog again until mid-week.

Enjoy your weekend, wherever you are...

Friday 24 August 2012

Good News and a Competition...

First the good news, my triplets received their GCSE exam results yesterday (Thursday) and they got the grades they needed for their college courses.

The final lot of paperwork has been done and the last identity pass photo was taken today. Technology has moved on so much that the pictures look much better than they did when I went to college- no digital cameras then.

I looked like a dubious character in a police line-up on my college pass! And during the recent sort out it was rediscovered, and quickly lost again... :-)

As the return to school and college will be occurring in the next two weeks, I thought you might like a challenge to start the autumn term.

Bradt Travel Guides have launched the Bus-Pass Britain Rides Again Competition.

Hot on the success of Bus-Pass Britain: 50 of the Nation’s Favourite Bus Journeys, Bradt is on the hunt to find more bus routes for a follow-up book. Entrants to the competition write a short piece about their personal favourite. Bus-Pass Britain Rides Again
The winners will be invited to write about their chosen route for inclusion in Bus-Pass Britain Rides Again: More of the Nation’s Favourite Bus Journeys to be published in late 2013. Selected entries will also be used in a Daily Express/Sunday Express Travel feature to coincide with publication.
Bradt is looking for long and short journeys, rural and urban rides (and a few quirky routes that defy expectation), as well as a good regional variety across England, Scotland and Wales. The deadline is midnight 15th November 2012. Each winning entrant will be contacted by 25 December 2012 and invited to write up their route, in approximately 1,500 words, for publication in Bradt’s forthcoming book. (Press Release)

Entries can be submitted as a Word document (see the link above for submission details).

You'll find a link to T & C's here.

The route must be in England, Scotland or Wales. And not appeared in the previous book- you can find out which have already been done here in the Contents.

You can submit as many entries as you like, as long as they have not been published elsewhere.

And the prizes: All winners will receive one free copy of the book and a 50% discount on any further copies they purchase (postage free to one UK address). A small fee of £50 will be awarded to winners on publication of their article in the book.

Certainly different from regular competitions. Good luck if you enter.

Friday 23 March 2012

Flash Fiction Competitions...

Did you know that there is a National Flash Fiction Day this year?

Well there is. Don't worry you haven't missed it, it isn't until May the 16th, but you can read more about it here on the website.

You'll find a list of competitions on this page too. Most have a closing date of April, so you have time to get your entries in if you're interested.

There's even a blog where you'll find news and discussions.

As I've done a few pieces of flash fiction before I might have a go at some of the competitions listed.

If you want high profile, the Bridport Prize has a section for flash fiction. Their maximum is 250 words, though there is a £6 entry fee; but Bridport is a prestigious competition and wining would be good for the writing CV. (Do note the slightly earlier closing date for this year.)

Flash fiction takes skill, and just like a longer story, 250 words still need a beginning, middle and end. But that shouldn't be hard for a writer...

So if you enter any of the competitions listed, I wish you luck.

If you've written or read any flash fiction, what do you think of it?

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Carol's News Round-Up: March/1

This is it, the first of my new posts covering interesting writing or book related items.

It was International Women's Day last week (8th March) and writer Linda Grant used her Twitter account to discuss the (continuing) need for feminism. She received a very large numbers of tweets and retweets in response, sharing their experiences of sexual discrimination over the years, that proved why the feminist movement was needed.

They are now available to read on a website called A Thousand Reasons. For anyone interested in social history, or wanting an insight into the lives of women in the 20th century, then read the responses- I thoroughly recommend it.

If you are in the UK and want to hear Linda Grant speaking about this, then listen to (14th March) Radio 4's Woman's Hour on the BBC 's Radio IPlayer. Linda's piece is 24 mins 30 seconds into the programme.


The latest trend in the range of social websites is Pinterest. It enables you to pin a pictures from your computer or elsewhere on the web to a virtual pin board, so you can share an interest with other users.

And just to prove it is book related, you can even show book covers...

Now, it's a great idea, but this is one of those times when you really do need to read every term and condition carefully, rather than just clicking 'I accept'. Their copyright section is based in the USA, and they operate with reference to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act- so if you've not seen it then look here.

In Pinterest's indeminity section by signing up, you are agreeing to pay all costs if someone should take legal action for any infringement (despite there being a system in place for notifying of copyright infringement and removal)- as the other section clearly says you're agreeing not to infringe any third party rights, and you have the right to post the images etc.

So if you intend to use Pinterest, make sure the images are yours, or you have permission to use the images and give credit where it's due. I know most of you reading this already know that, but just in case there's anyone who doesn't...

Two quite hefty subjects to start with, but I promise I'll try for shorter items later this month...