Camp Nano Winner 2018 – Things I Learnt

I did it! I completed Camp Nanowrimo, I’m officially a winner.

You can find out more about Camp Nanowrimo here. Reaching my goal, i.e. writing 50k words in one month, was one of the most difficult things I’ve taken part in as a writer.

Camp Nanowrimo learnt

Let me tell you why:
  • I haven’t written more than 10,000 words on one project for nearly two years.
  • I chose to write a YA genre novel – I’ve never written a YA piece before
  • I had a ridiculously busy month in my day job, launching a project I’ve been leading on for 6 months
  • 6 months ago (i.e. when the day job changed) I lost my creativity

 

Why am I telling you this? Because I’ve learnt some things from my first camp experience, things that may help you too:

I can’t write every day

That’s not to say I didn’t but I found it difficult, nearly pushing myself to illness to make sure I was writing my set amount. I’ve read on twitter about how writers should write every day as it helps you create something. It doesn’t help me! I need time to think out the next section I’m going to write. By constantly writing I can’t find the space to think, tease out and then solve the problems. Which brings me to another point.

I need more than writing in my life

Shock, horror, did I say that out loud? I like to formulate plot, work out points, meet up with friends and discuss writing but I also like having a life that isn’t about writing. That’s not to say writing doesn’t filter through to the other parts of my day but the last month I ditched a lot of things to get the novel written; exercise, socialising, sleep. I’ll be spending the next month trying to lose the weight I gained during the month!

I can write more than I thought I could

I asked my boyfriend for his thoughts on what I might have learnt and this was his contribution. It’s easy for me to see the negatives but he’s right. After the first week I didn’t believe I could achieve the 50k goal, after the second week I didn’t believe I could achieve it, even up until a couple of days before I finished I knew it was touch and go. As a writer you might get negative reviews and lack of interest from publishers but ultimately for me no one brings my writing down like I do and I need to remind myself of my strengths and what I’ve achieved instead of what I haven’t.

Never underestimate the importance of chatting with other writers

There was one particular moment when I was sitting on a train, knowing that was my best time to write and yet the motivation had disappeared. I chatted with another writer on twitter, Anne Pyle, about needing to write and she gave me the energy and focus I needed. Within 10 minutes I was back on it. I wrote another 2,000 words that day. I don’t think I would have written another word if it hadn’t been for her.

I love writing

In the last year when my creativity left me I was unsure whether I should focus on my day job rather than writing. But this month reminded me that I do adore writing, even when it’s a struggle to get pen to paper. I love channelling things I see and imagine into writing. It’s a great place to work through my frustrations too.

And a last thing I want to share. The day after I finished my 50k novel an email popped into my inbox. A short story I wrote last year has been accepted into an anthology.  What a way to end the month!

What did you learn from either this or a previous Nanowrimo? Leave your comments here or on my Facebook page or Twitter page.

F is for Fences, Barriers and Baggage (continued)

f is for fencesIn my last post, F is for Fences, I shared my own story of coming up against someone with baggage whose way of dealing with it clashed with my own feelings and experiences.

Everyone has varying sizes of baggage and different heights to the fences they have built, as a result. In my online dating history, I’ve come into contact with former alcoholics, divorcees, single dads who have their kids 24/7, those in their thirties still living with their parents, men with body dysmorphia, guys who’ve been cheated on, guys who’ve done the cheating, those who only want to talk about their exes, people with low self-confidence, men in love with their best friends, and guys who adore Star Wars more than their grandmas.

What is baggage to one person isn’t to another and one day we’ll meet someone who’s more important and bigger than our baggage. A potential who over time will help our fences come down by knocking each panel of wood out, and hopefully we’ll do the same for them. It might be something big or an issue that takes a long time to dissipate, but for us they’ll be worth it. And it’s our prerogative what is worth it. Other people’s judgements aren’t relevant.

F is for Fences

I’ll finish the letter F with a story about my experience with Boris Pecker. I met him on one of the more reputable dating sites. Eventually, after a couple of weeks of messaging, we went on a date. Boris met me at the train station, he seemed a bit tipsy but was understandably nervous. Sadly, by the end of the date he was as drunk as nun on communion wine. But the date was still enjoyable…mostly.

To me the expected chemistry had been lacking but I know, from experience, that people get nervous and sometimes things take time. “I’m torn about a second date but I think it’s worth a go to see if I do like him. Sometimes second dates are needed.” Before I got as far as texting, I got a message from Mr Pecker.

Boris: In the interests of being honest I’m going to say that your height threw me a little and was a bit odd for me. But I had a nice time anyway.

FencesWhat I haven’t told you is that I’m on the short side but I’ve always been very honest about this on my profile. Boris was also one of life’s diminutive people. In fact, the first thing I mentioned when I told my friends about the date was that he was the shortest man I’d ever met. Maybe Boris’ height was his own baggage and therefore he couldn’t look beyond other people’s height. Maybe Mr Pecker was looking for the perfect specimen of a woman. I’m more than just a collection of feet and inches and so when Boris mentioned a second date I politely declined.

I want someone to enjoy spending time with me, not tolerate it in spite of my height. I want someone to see me as a whole package.

Be Mindful of Your Own Baggage

If you do have baggage about particular things, then you can save yourself some trouble and read the potential’s profile. If you don’t want kids then you don’t have to date a potential that does. And if you can’t do long distance relationships then make it easy and set your filter to local. In the long term, you’ll save yourself and someone else a lot of unnecessary heartache.

In the next post, I’ll cover Ghosting and the hurt it can cause – often building those fences even higher! Meanwhile, if you’ve missed any of the previous posts from my A-Z of Online Dating, click on “Select Category” in the right-hand column and select “A-Z Online Dating.” If you’d like to share some of your own dating experiences, add a comment below or visit my Facebook page.

I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)


In the last blog post (Let’s Start at the Very Beginning: A is for…), we were talking about preferences and why I don’t refer to them as fetishes. I mentioned that what turns one person on may be terrifying to another.

One guy told me that he liked to watch his partner have sex with someone else while he wanked himself off. The woman was his “own personal pornstar”. He’d actually acted this preference out with his ex-wife, twice. I was shocked and must have been obvious about it because we didn’t speak much after that.

I’d Do Anything for Love…Maybe?

Depending on who we are and what we’re into, a potential may share a preference that initially freaks us out. But, eventually, after more details are shared, we might start to consider it and not run for the hills while voice dialling the nearest mental health worker.

Let me introduce you to Peter Wang who I dated for a while.

Peter Wang was one of those rare joys that you find in a guy. Games and manipulation weren’t part of his repertoire, and I imagined that he could be a best friend for life. Peter was always there for me. Nights spent apart, he’d ask me to call when I was safely home and he’d phone when he was on his way home too.

But there was a query: was Peter boyfriend material?

Peter Pan Syndrome

Sadly, the answer was a resounding “no”. I struggled with physical and sexual attraction when it came to Peter. Even though we were similar ages he had a concerning level of immaturity. Peter was a loveable geek and I liked that side of him. But there were still things that put me off, including the teen posters still tacked to his wall and the realisation he had more sci-fi toys and merchandise than floor space. Getting to the single bed was quite a struggle. Maybe you’re thinking, “Give the guy a break, living with your parents and dating is hard in your early twenties”. I agree, but this guy was nearly thirty and he lived with friends.

fetishMaybe I’m doing him a disservice, because he really made me laugh and gave me a love and respect that was rare in life. Finally, I felt like a prize that only the best deserved. I felt sexually attractive in a way I’d never felt before. The night we spent just sleeping in bed resulted in him being so permanently hard that he uttered, “Oh my God, if this carries on I think I’m going to need to see a doctor!”

Unfortunately, all he got that night was a giggle.

When you’ve met as many dickheads as I had, Peter seemed special. Sadly it didn’t work out because sometimes it just doesn’t. And I used to wistfully wonder, “Is he still in Neverland refusing to grow up?”

WAM Bam…

WAM sploshingOne of the reasons for the lack of long-term relationship wasn’t his preference. You may have heard of WAM before but, until Peter confessed this fantasy I hadn’t. How people’s minds work and what turns them on left me stunned.

WAM is “wet and messy play.” Before your mind spirals in numerous directions, as mine may have done, stop! We’re not talking urine and faeces in the bedroom. Have you ever watched someone get a custard pie in the face and found yourself getting hard? Maybe the thought of bringing gunge into the bedroom makes you wet with excitement? No? Then you’re not into WAM.

For some it’s the image of gloop running down the face, falling between the breasts. For others, it’s the idea of being covered in a messy, sticky substance that isn’t cum. But then another group of people enjoy the anticipation, the anxiety that goes with the possibility that it might happen, the fear and excitement that accompanies being humiliated in public. Imagine people watching and laughing as you’re gunged with the man or woman of your dreams. That can be a massive preference, one that people aren’t always keen to share.

…Thank You Ma’am

I was never fully sure which aspect of WAM turned Peter on the most. And I didn’t get his preference myself. It wasn’t for me.

With potentials and partners we might be willing to do some things we find unusual. That might include putting all our effort into blow jobs when we don’t enjoy them, sticking something up our arse or dressing up as a superhero, secretary or soldier.

For Peter Wang’s future girlfriend it may mean custard pies and gunge in the shower. I never went there but she might be more willing.

I’ll leave you with this question: how far would you go or how far have you already gone for someone you care about or love?

When Meatloaf said he would “do anything for love but I won’t do that” I wonder if he was talking about WAM or anal?

Tell me how far you’ve gone either here or on the Facebook page. You don’t have to share the gory details – just let us know how far you went out of your comfort zone and if it was worth it.

Sunshine Blogger Award

Gracie Mae DeLunac asked me a few questions for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

Per Gracie Mae’s blogpost: “The Sunshine Blogger Award is a “get to know the writer better” type of blogging exercise, with a couple of rules attached:

  1. Answer all 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Nominate eleven bloggers in return and write eleven (possibly fiendish) questions for them to answer.”

Sunshine Blogger Award Answers

Here are my answers to Grace Mae’s questions:

1. What is your favorite movie/tv show quote? What is it from? Why is it your favorite?

I love the television show Psych and they have some excellent but random quotes, including the title of one of their episodes, “Poker? I Barely Know Her.” But they don’t tend to translate well on paper. However, I do love “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off” from the film The Italian Job. I love that the film is full of charm, good British fun and the escape scenes are incredible. That said nothing beats a night in the pub spent quoting Anchorman quotes. Those nights are endless.

“I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.”

One day I’ll be able to tell people this.

2. What do you like to think about most when plotting (Characters, plotline, plot twists, villainous acts, etc.)?

Plotlines and the secrets that go with them. Why do people do what they do, what is their background and how will that affect the plot.

3. What is your preference of “apocalyptic” groups: zombies, aliens, or mutants?

It may sound foolish but I think the biggest apocalyptic group are humans with all their weird forms and dastardly minds. After that…maybe aliens.

4. What kind of food do you eat to feel decent enough to write?

I tend to binge bad food like chocolate and crisps when writing. But they’re not good for my energy levels and I think I need to find better foods.

5. Do you bring your own personal views (especially political and religious) into your tales?

I tend not to get political in my writing, it’s not the right place for it. However, my knowledge of Christianity, and my experiences of it, falls into my stories in ways even I don’t expect.

6. Would you say you “commune” better with nature when gardening [hands on], lounging outside [kinda near], or viewing it from inside your place [far away]?

I respect nature the most when I’m walking or sitting in it. Nothing like summer rain hitting your bare skin as you smell freshly wet grass, love it.

7. What is the strangest/rudest thing you have ever heard your written characters say?

One of my characters is crude to the point of vomit inducing, she says whatever she wants and mostly she wants to say dirty, liquid based, stomach churning things.

8. Paper or plastic or re-usable?

Re-usable. A close friend is an environmentalist and I’m scared of incurring her wrath.

9. What movie/book/show would you say has made the most impression on you? When? Why/how?

I’m not sure I’m proud to say this but Dawson’s Creek had a profound effect on me. It was the first time I cried at love and unrequited love. I learnt that bad boys aren’t necessarily bad (yep, I fell in love with Pacey) and their imperfections are what make them interesting. It showed me the power of humour in drama too and it helped me to believe that in the end you can “ride” off into the sunset. Sometimes the right guy isn’t the obvious guy, at first anyway, this has impacted my writing too. That was in my mid to late teens.

I also enjoyed things like Cagney and Lacey and X-Files as a child. Strong female leads are inspiring to a young girl.

The most significant books for my writing were those written by Karen Rose. Through her I learnt about building sexual tension. I also saw that sex in books doesn’t limit the characters but opens them up to explore the impact of their past while finding a new future. Also, they can have sex and fall in love, it doesn’t have to be sex just for the sake of it. I started reading these about five years ago and have now read every book she’s written.

10. What is your favorite color? [Monty Python reference? ? ]

Blue. I swear 80% of my clothes seem to be blue without any planning on my part.

11. If you were able to publish one of your tales and go somewhere to showcase it (author tour, opening night for the movie, etc.), where would you go? Why?

If it was my Trying Every Angle series (a sports erotic romance) then I would love to take it to the next location of the Rugby World Cup. In 2019 it will be Japan. Alternatively to America, maybe California, to an erotic writing event.

My Nominations

I nominate bloggers:

R.B. O’Brien Author
CK
Candace Khun, CandyKaBoom
John Dupree
Paul Jameson, Modquokka
R K Hawthorne
Sarah Correia, sarahguestperry
Lady Writer, Eva Deverell
Elia Winters
Kelly Sedinger, Jaquandor
Molly, Mollysdailykiss

My eleven questions are:

  1. What is your favourite song? Do you have a significant memory attached to a time you listened to it?
  2. Where do you love to blog/write the most?
  3. If you could make up a fear of something what would it be of and what would it be called?
  4. Italian or French? (in whatever context you decide)
  5. What do you think killed the dinosaurs? (can be as creative an answer as you like)
  6. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to research for your writing/blogging?
  7. What can you hear right now? What would you prefer to be listening to?
  8. What do you do when you feel you should be writing but are lacking in inspiration?
  9. What is your greatest achievement?
  10. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
  11. Who is your favourite author and why?

What is the A-Z of Dating?

A-Z of DatingMy online dating had to start somewhere…I’ve been doing online dating properly for the last couple of years, on and off. During this time, I’ve met all sorts of potentials; i.e. the people I chat to online, maybe go on a date with. They’re potential partners, conquests, spouses and everything else in between.

It has been a thrill ride at times. I’ve chatted to a lot of men by text, and some lucky bastards have even made it past the screening process and met me! In fact every so often I meet someone special who gives me the hope that I might find what I’m looking for.

A-Z of Dating

This led me to write a book that covers the last two serious years of my dating life as well as some attempts before that when I was completely clueless and pretending to be someone I wasn’t.

Instead of publishing it immediately (something I will probably do in the future), I thought I would share the best bits here on my blog.

It’s a scary world out there but I hope this “book” will be like someone holding your hand as you attempt to discover it for yourself. I’ve been there and I know a lot of the pitfalls.

Answers to Some of Your Online Dating Questions

There’s something for everyone online, a variety of sites, apps, potentials and preferences (also known as fetishes). So, whether you’re looking for a one night stand, love, companionship or anything else then it’s out there.

  • But how do you go about finding what you want?
  • What site do you use?
  • What do you put on your profile?
  • What do you say when you want to chat potentials up?
  • What do you do when they reply?
  • And what do you do when they send you a dick pic/fanny photo?

I’ll be sharing some of the answers to those questions and probably some things that will make you want to cover your eyes and bleach your brain!

In this A-Z you’ll find lots of real life dating experiences from myself and my friends. There’s information about the different potentials in the fish pond and how to approach them. Online dating has changed a lot over the years. These are some things I wish I’d known before I started.

Alternatively, you may already have a partner. Maybe you’re glancing over at them, seething because they didn’t give you the perfect birthday present this year, forgot to get the shopping you asked for three times, or never try different positions while you ache to experiment. For you I say read this and maybe it will help you appreciate what you have.

Keep checking back for updates and please share your own experiences, either here or on my Facebook page.

I Don’t Do Hook Ups… Can’t Say That Anymore (Part 2)

This is the second part of a recent blog post: I Don’t Do Hook Ups… Can’t Say That Anymore (Part 1). Several weeks ago I was horny as hell and not wanting to date some random, unknown guy to get rid of it. Instead I propositioned a previous date. This guy, Rubber Johnny (name changed to protect the innocent/guilty), had no intention of long term because of his own baggage. To find out more about what brought me to contacting him, click the link above.

But moving on.

The day arrived.

Preparation was key.

Best Laid Plans…

hook upsUnfortunately, however much you prepare things go wrong. A mixture of a sore throat and leaving the hair removal cream on for too long sent me into an initial panic. Was that too much information?

I certainly wasn’t feeling the excitement, the nerves were slowly eating away at me, “what if he was a dick about it”, “what if I couldn’t go through with it”, “what if he still looks like a gay pirate?” But I pushed them to one side and drove to his home, mostly undeterred.

On the drive I felt the flourish of excitement that’s familiar before a first date. Usually it’s clouded with nerves because I’m also worrying about the unknown. But then I was yo-yoing emotionally again. Fear and nerves still took over, unsettling my belly like a gone-off yoghurt.

Although I knew we were going to watch a movie and chill out for a bit it was still a hook up. This was completely against character. My sister hadn’t seemed impressed when I told her. What would some of my more overprotective friends think? Would I be okay with their judgements? But that wasn’t the only concern; what if I couldn’t keep it casual and I fell for him again? I didn’t want to spend another evening sobbing over the guy. That had been a shitty Christmas Eve.

Overcoming the Fear

Fears continued to rattle round my head as we met and walked to his lounge. Hearing him grumble about his neighbours, the recycling boxes and the dickheads at work brought my fantasies crashing down. The reality is, when it’s not a date, when you’re, to some extent, a sure thing then there’s no “best behaviour”, the need to impress is unnecessary and while I felt respected I also felt like I was just a hook up. But that’s what I wanted, right?

RJ was awkward in my presence, although now in hindsight I think that’s just who he is, an awkward guy. When he was out of the room and I put my gum in the bin he came rushing back in asking what the noise was. This wasn’t how I’d remembered him.

But, sat in front of the movie, snuggled up together I could tell, unexpectedly, that the chemistry was still there. My body was humming harder than a room full of bees when I felt his hand rest on my bum before he started stroking it with a gentle caress.

The slight touches were exciting, the kissing intense and everything else was… private. But just so you know, the non-sex hook up was kind of glorious. Aspects of our time together will feature in my erotic romance writing, I’m sure of it.

Lessons Learned from my Hook Up

Later, when I was driving home, I realised:

I’m glad I did what I did, no regrets, BUT I’m never doing it again. I enjoyed what we did but there was a coldness to it, it was a little soulless. It meant nothing. It became a series of acts with a guy who was good at kissing and other stuff but I needed more than that. I like the excitement that goes with fancying someone, the uncertainty of a furtive look, the “accidental” brush of hands over dinner, the hope that they might kiss you and the blissful feeling when you realise you had one of those dates that will stay with you for days.

friends with benefitsI like the intimacy that’s accompanied by an attraction of the brain and the body. I’m somewhat reluctant to say I’m a romantic. It was a hook up and I mostly enjoyed it, although I still had to imagine myself with someone else to fully build the excitement. Is that messed up?

  • RJ was still a nice guy. He built up my body confidence and was bloody brilliant at what he did with the rest of me.
  • I’m not happy being single but I want a relationship, not a one off and that can take time. I need to put in the effort rather than expect some dream boyfriend to turn up on my doorstep.
  • I’ve finally got RJ out of my system. I didn’t even realise he was still there, from Christmas, until I walked away. While great in his own way he’d never been worth losing tears over.
  • It was a goodbye for good. Although he treated me with respect and care I don’t want to go back.
  • Hook ups aren’t for me