Mrs. Claus Fixes Christmas

An old post to get you in the Christmas mood, just one of three adventures with the better half in Santa’s life

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Christmas Eve –  two am – Constance Claus decided it was time. She tiptoed through the snow filled square. Though the sound of the elves snoring was reassuring Constance was being extra careful. She knew Enda could hear a feather drop in snow.

“I wish I could snore in harmony like them.” She paused, mid step to listen. “Ahh. I know the name of this tune. Let’s get this party started.'” Bending down to rub her white cat, she murmured, “we agree, don’t we Summer?”

The cat shook her paws before continuing on to the doorway of the workshop.

Constance believed her idea was brilliant. She was tired of listening to the elves moaning about the amount of snow. They are getting themselves in such a state that they are catching cold. She shivered at the thought of catching such a dreadful thing.

With her hand on the door…

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Nanowrimo – Progress of sorts

Nanowrimo is on us , well we are half-way to the finish line and I am finding that squeezing in the hours to write is difficult for some reason this year.  I think I have taken too much on and with too many ideas and with not much time on my hands I find though the words are flowing (31,000 is my tally to-date) I fear it will take much editing. I keep wondering how is everyone else managing to find the time?

Bob, as you can see is not impressed because he would much prefer if I was cooking Christmas cakes or puddings. And to make matters worse I put a picture of both of them on the header for the blog site.may-2013-022

I still do not know if this is his version of the evil eye or is he falling asleep?

Your opinions do count with me, him – I really don’t know.

 

The down side to being an outdoor dog

Ellie had a surprise new experience. A visit to the doggy hairdresser. The results speak for themselves she was glowing and feeling good but Bob wasn’t so sure. He seemed to be suspicious of this perfumed version of his mad cap companion as you can see from these photos he is staying away.

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When time jumps back…

bob pmpkin 1It is the time of year when every Irish person tries to be optimistic. The clock goes back on Saturday 29th October which means we get a brighter morning for a few weeks and a darker evening. When this happens Bob takes to the indoors, and tries to hide from fireworks and costumes.

Ellie hovers about waiting for a phone call to go training or to work.ipp

And as Irish people try not to dwell on the darkness which lingers so we look to Christmas.

Except me. I hate to admit it I am becoming a bah humbug sort of person. It is only one day but already the Irish companies are pushing for buying, tinsel, food, drink, more gadgets and most of us give in and go with the flow. But we have changed the glitz and glamour of it in this house a bit and we try to focus on friends and family. We were very lucky to be included in a Christmas barbeque breakfast, given by friends on the last few Christmas mornings and this means that the dinner is a somewhat haphazard lengthy affair (as the cook is a little tipsy) but it usually adds to the atmosphere as everyone is in such good humour.  On the last two Christmas’ day’s we have had our parents come over for dinner. And this year we look forward to it once more so our planning is all around food.

If anyone has any great ideas for starters or deserts please send them this way.

Bob’s Favorite cake at Halloween: Barmbrack

This is a pretty foolproof cake to make and we love it in our house

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Ingredients

  • 375 g (13oz) packet of mixed dried fruit
  • 250 ml (9fl oz) cold tea
  • butter, for greasing
  • 225 g (8oz) plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 125 g (4½oz) soft light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 large egg
  • a ring, to place inside (optional)

Method

  • Place the mixed dried fruit in a bowl and pour over the cold tea. Allow to soak overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F/Gas 3). Grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and mixed spice in a mixing bowl. Make a well and break in the egg, then use a wooden spoon to mix it with the dry ingredients. Add a little bit of the liquid from the mixed fruit and mix it through. You may not need all the liquid,but the mixture should be wet rather than dry.
  • Stir in the mixed fruit until everything is thoroughly combined. Add the ring and stir through. Spoon the wet dough into the lined loaf tin, place on the middle shelf in the oven and bake for 1 hour.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the loaf tin and placing on wire rack.
  • This is the tricky bit; Cover in cling film and foil and allow to sit for 1–2 days before cutting into it.
  • But in our house it is eaten as soon as it is cold enough to put butter on it.

10 Rules for Dogs

I could have sworn Bob was smiling as I read this to him…

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  1. Never give up. If your owner (master, mommy/daddy) doesn’t get that you want to go out the first time you bring the leash, try and try again.  And if he (or she) still ignores you, begin dancing around like a bee providing GPS directions for the hive.  This will show him that it’s “high time” for a trip to the outside washroom.  Remember you know the right “time”.  You’re a watch dog.
  2. If another dog goes near your dish, growl (practise this with the family cat). However, if a dog urinates on your owner’s leg, pretend you didn’t see a thing.
  3.  If you have had a disagreement with a dog bigger than you, hide behind your owner when you see that dog coming. If, like Bean, you actually nipped the dog because he stood over you and pretended to be in love, hide behind your bigger brother who will be…

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So ..I have written a book for kids, what next?

The simple answer would or should be, write another one. And there are five or six books written but not edited sitting in a neat queue somewhere in my desk.

However, I am stuck on the marketing and shouting about the first one.

If I constantly blog about it, – am I seeming too pushy? I dither on this question. But you guys are truthfully the only ones who read my ramblings, and for that I am extremely grateful.  So please let me know if I am pushing it a bit.

Blogging, twittering, FB and G+ are very time-consuming events. Which limits time for other important stuff. The only one in my house who loves to see me head for the computer is – Bob.

He assumes his best-loved position. Sorry there are two:

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Everyone else groans, (including Ellie) as they know I will be superglued to the seat until I have set up x amount of promotional posts.

And lastly for today my promotional push is:

The Runaway Schoolhouse is on Kindle for €0.99 ($0.99) for the next week, in the hope that a few reviews will float or clunk (be thrown) my way.

The purpose of the reviews for me is to help discover the fate of the other books gathering dust in my desk. Do I continue to publish or simply to blog?

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A learning curve – being published.

As some of you know, The Runaway Schoolhouse is in print and on kindle for the past few months. (The first few pages are here on this site for you to read, if you like).runaway_schoolhouse_cover_Latest_151031

I believed, foolishly, that this achievement was 9/10’s of the job done.

I was wrong. It is the first step.

I have received much help, thanks to all who have offered advice and support to me. And I have learnt that in today’s world. a writer has to become a Jack-of-all-trades. The greatest hurdle is Marketing and in this I thank Emu Ink.ie and Laurence O’Bryan, the founder of BooksGoSocial.com

But I still have to spend time, marketing the book. I have also been told that book reviews are gold to writers. Hence the Giveaways and the pleading or requests for reviews on Goodreads and Amazon etc.

I have given away 15 books, in the hope reviews will result.  But I am curious as to how other children’s writers find book reviews. So any help, or advice will definitely be appreciated by me.

Blogging delights me and writing is a passion. I consider myself lucky if one or two people read a post and am amazed if the stats alert me that a post is doing well and 15 + readers have been on my site.

Life is funny isn’t it, some of us dream of winning the lottery but bloggers simply dream of being acknowledged and read.

Do books shape our lives?

It is a strange question with a million varied answers but I will be brief.

If books help shape our lives does this mean that our choice dictates the type of person we are… light weight romance – dreamer and not grounded?

Horror stories – hard skinned and insensitive?

I don’t think fiction shapes our lives but that is my opinion. However, non-fiction is a different story and I think it plays a bigger part.

What do you think?

And what is the one book from your childhood you remember most?

I read avidly and I loved re reading Roald Dahl to my kids – The Twits remaining a favorite of mine.a-roald-dahl-childrens-book-called-the-twits-on-a-white-background-dfxea2