Stormy weather

We’ve had scorchio weather lately, but yesterday afternoon, around 3.45pm, the weather broke, and we were treated to the most spectacular lightning show while thunder rumbled loudly all around. It continued, off and on, till the wee small hours – it was still raging after 2am when I finally managed to drag myself away from the window where I had been mesmerized by the frequency of flashes (every few seconds, the sky lit up!).

Today was baking hot again, and like a flower, I tend to wilt in the heat, but the stormy weather last night had brought out all manner of little creatures – the lawn was wriggling with worms, and we found a very large frog who hopped off to hide behind the shed before I could get a photograph of him (he was very cute though!), so after finding the newt last week too, our garden is becoming quite the little wildlife sanctuary!

Here’s a little video I shot capturing the beginning of the storm yesterday afternoon. We were all standing in the back garden, gazing at the sky, unable to tear our eyes away! I’m so pleased neither Tadpole or Choochie are scared by storms – they seem to love them as much as Hubby and I do!

Allotment progress…

I’m still working on the allotment. We’ve built my shed, and Hubby is building my fences for me. I’m still working over the soil, then I need to build my beds and fertilize them before I can plant there. However, we’ve been busy at home, with our first foray into food plants! I now have these all off my kitchen windowsill and into outdoor planters. By the time I have a few beds ready at the allotment, these should be nicely ready to move in there. Tadpole helped me re-pot these, and I thin khe’s looking forward to getting things planted at the allotment as much as I am!

Let the music play!

Blyth has loads of free events all year round. Today there was a live music festival down at the beach, so I took the boys down to see the bands play, and have a little fun. We packed a nice little picnic for us all, and headed down to the beach.

We had a fabulous time – the boys both had a go on a couple of rides that had been put on for the kids (I tell you what, those people know how to make money – it costs a fortune to have a go on a bouncy castle or a teacup ride these days!) – and the atmosphere was great. We didn’t stay all day, but we did stay long enough to hear Driven Serious play (they’re a folk punk band from the north east who wear pirate costumes and are seriously awesome!).

We met some minions and some very friendly pirates (not Driven Serious – these were different guys dressed as pirates), who were definitely not looking for their lost treasure and definitely not stealing anything, honest guv!

The sun was shining and it was scorchio – perfect weather to be out of doors and having fun!

Tadpole and the newt

26.06.15 - With Fred the newt 2Yesterday, hubby spent one of his holiday days laying turf in our back garden. He’d ordered too much, so he listed the excess for sale on a local social media group, and the buyer came to collect it this evening.

Sitting in the rolls of turf was the cutest little newt!

Tadpole was absolutely delighted with him, and was overjoyed to have the newt, whom he named Fred, walking over his hands. He’s always loved animals, and he’s always so gentle with them – this was the first time he’d ever seen a newt and I think he fell more than a little in love with the adorable little creature.

Of course, we didn’t keep Fred – Tadpole released him in the garden after a few minutes, but I think we’re all a little sad to see him go!


It’s Tooth Fairy Time!

25.06.15 - First wobbly tooth out!
One tiny, but perfect, white tooth, ready for the Tooth Fairy! (And one slightly gappy smile from Tadpole!)

Tonight I get to play the Tooth Fairy for the first time – as, after many weeks of tentative, and then more robust, wiggling, Tadpole’s first wobbly tooth finally came out this morning!

He’s chuffed to bits that his tooth has finally come out – I think it makes him feel very grown up (and rightly so – it won’t be long now before his new, big teeth start coming through!).

So we’ve popped the tiny tooth in the special Tooth Fairy box (a lovely little hinged wooden box with “Tooth Fairy” etched into the lid – makes finding the tooth under the pillow a whole lot easier!), ready for Tadpole to put under his pillow tonight.

He may be some time going to sleep tonight, but I doubt we’ll have much trouble getting him to actually go up to bed – he’s super-excited to see how much money the Tooth Fairy will leave him for his very special first tooth!

Book review: Drawn by Chris Ledbetter

drawn by chris ledbetterTitle: Drawn
Author: Chris Ledbetter
ISBN: 978-1772333763
Publisher: Evernight Teen
First Published: 5 June 2015 (Kindle) / 3 June 2015 (paperback)
No .of pages: 282

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron hopes he can win her heart through art. After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request. To impress Farrah, Cameron sketches her portrait into a mysterious sketchbook. He nearly jumps from his skin when the sketch moves and communicates with him. Farrah is now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her sucked her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book. If he fails… they both die.

I don’t read an awful lot of teen fiction, but when I do, I only enjoy it if the premise is original and daring and grabs me from the get-go.

Let’s just say, I enjoyed this book!

Chris Ledbetter has done something few have done, and that is to write a teenaged boy with whom I, as a woman (and once, a teenaged girl) can relate. I felt for Cameron, I felt for him deeply, and was able to sink into his emotions and passion for art quite effortlessly. Farrah wasn’t quite so well, ahem, drawn as Cameron, but as she was not the main character, only the focus for Cameron’s growing affections, this was understandable – she was attractive, but as a reader I knew little about her, which was pitched very well, as Cameron didn’t really know all that much about her beyond the basics and his attraction for her.

The premise for the story was cleverly thought out and written with a light touch that lifted it above the ordinary – a heavier hand would have thrown everything out of balance and crushed the plot entirely. Its an unusual take on a Pygmalian-type of fantasy, where an artist brings his work of art to life, and falls in love with her, only Cameron is already falling for Farrah before he creates her Echo.

There was a tinge of sadness about the tale too – Ledbetter doesn’t shy away from the darker and more upsetting trials of teen and family life, and the complications inherent in relationships, whether familial, platonic, or romantic – and that’s refreshing. Yet, it never becomes maudlin – that lightness of touch and tone keeps things buoyant and ensures the reader doesn’t sink into depression while turning the pages. It’s a fine line, but Ledbetter walks it well.

Even if you don’t read young adult/teen fiction, don’t discount this book – it’s worth the effort and may just change your mind!

Blog Tour: An Interview with Chris Ledbetter

chris ledbetterI am happy to share this little interview with Chris Ledbetter, author of the book, Drawn. Thank you, Chris, for sharing your time and thoughts with us!

What advice would you give budding writers?
Read in the genre in which you wish to write. Read to discover the accepted norms and the rule breakers. Read to find out what you like and what you don’t. Read to discover what you can offer that will be distinct from the current voices. The worst thing is thinking you have this uber original story only to find out it’s been run through and no editors will ever buy it again. But then, also read craft books and articles. I hate to say it, but you could get an MFA’s worth of craft information on Pinterest. You really can’t read enough craft posts. And join supportive organizations like SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) or an appropriate group to your genre. And go to conferences. I’m constantly learning about worldbuilding, dialogue, structure, etc. And find a good group of critique partners who don’t hold punches. It may hurt to get your work torn apart by your critiquers, but as long as it’s leveled constructively, you’ll learn and grow… and be closer to the brass ring.

 Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?
I typically don’t have writer’s block per se because I know pretty much where the story is going. The only time the process slows for me is when I’m really trying to dig the deeper level emotions out of a character.

 Do you have another profession besides writing?
I am the assistant manager at a Vitamin World. Health is a passion of mine.

 What is your next project?
I have a few projects on the horizon. The one I’m am most excited about involves research about the history of Stradivarius violins. That’s all I can say about that project at the moment.

 Name a quirky thing you like to do.
I like to worship and make wishes upon the full moon. I mean, who doesn’t?