Resting My Eyes – Weekend Coffee Share: 23 April 2016

weekend coffee share

If we were having coffee, I would apologise for my absence last week. It was my birthday, and I was away for the weekend. It was my eldest daughter’s birthday too – the day before mine. She was born at 7.40pm on the 15th of April – the absolute best early birthday present.

It’s hard to believe that she’s seventeen. She has her provisional licence and in the next few weeks she begins learning to drive. How the time flies. I was going to share my photos from last weekend, but there are just too many of them – it was a big family affair. So I decided on a kind of then and now. I cheated a little, the first photograph is actually on my birthday, so she’s a day old. I think I beat her dad over the head with the camera on the 15th (not really), so I seem to be missing shots from the actual day. The second photograph is her birthday this year. I’m so proud of my gorgeous girl (and in case my youngest is reading this, which isn’t likely – I’m proud of you too!)

Lissy 1999 and 2016

If we were having coffee I would let you get a word in so you could catch me up on all your news from the past two weeks. I would tell you I’ve been busy at work, so I’m glad I got the chance to take a break.

I would also tell you that I’m having trouble sleeping again. My patterns are all over the place. I used to have a problem getting to sleep, now the journey into slumber land is not the issue – it’s staying there. I wake up after an hour or two, and eventually give up on sleep. The fatigue is wearing on me, and my processing skills have taken a hit. I’ve been interpreting long enough to have coping strategies in place, but still, I’m glad I haven’t accepted any assignments that require additional brain power, though I did interpret a course on philosophy and the lecturer threw Socrates at me. If I were being paranoid, I’d swear he did it on purpose. It could have been worse, he could have quoted from Plato’s Symposium  – not the easiest text to translate.

If we were having coffee I would therefore add another shot of caffeine to mine, and be quiet for a while, so you could share more of your adventures. And no, that doesn’t mean I’d fall asleep in my cup – I can be a good listener. Sometimes I just listen with my eyes closed.

Afterwards, it would be time to head to Diana’s place – our gracious host for the weekend coffee share.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

 

 

 

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Blood Bath – Weekend Coffee Share 9/4/16

weekend coffee share

If we were having coffee I would tell you that, between interpreting jobs, I had a fun and creative week with my daughters. My eldest has a photography project due, so we set up a few spooky photo sessions (one of the artists she chose, Sarah Thompson, creates haunting images). The original shots are manipulated to create mood and atmosphere, which is an interesting process – especially the layering effect. We have a ghostly image that resembles a scene from the poltergeist movie (spooky doesn’t even begin to cover it); a blood bath;  rainbow tears (okay, so that one’s kind of sweet), and a few others that may just give me nightmares!

Grace3

This might lead to a discussion on photography in general, and hopefully you would share your favourite images with me, or the kind of shots you enjoy to take.

If we were having coffee, you might ask if I enjoyed the movie last weekend, and I would deflect by rambling on about the fun I had with my brother. There’s also the fact I went to the movies twice – my girls chose the second (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) and I enjoyed it more than Batman v Superman, so that would speak volumes.

I would ask if you’ve seen anything at the cinema recently, at which point, if we felt so inclined, we would chat for a while about films or our favourite programmes.

Ponderosa2

If we were having coffee I would tell you I spent the day with my nephew, and as the general theme appears to be photos this week, I would share my snaps from the animal park we visited.

Then we would replenish our mugs and chat about our other adventures, the large and the small that made up our week. I would tell you that next Saturday it’s my birthday, and share that I have absolutely no objections if you want to bring cake to have with our coffee!

After that, I would head over to Diana’s place and check in.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Meet the Barkers – Weekend Coffee Share

 

weekend coffee share.png

If we were having coffee, we would be surrounded by the whole Barker clan! We often get together, but this weekend is a little different, because my brother is here for a visit. We all miss him. Andrew is the life and soul of the party; he is quick to laugh and always manages to lighten my mood. He is my (not so little) little brother.

I would tell you that yesterday we went for a meal, yep, the whole clan. We managed to snag a round table, so the conversation never stopped – neither did the laughter. We can be a little rowdy, but the good kind, not the ‘I’ll get my coat,’ show you to the door kind. There were a dozen conversations happening at once, and it felt great; the kind of atmosphere I try to reflect in my writing because I feel so lucky to have it.

If we were having coffee, I would ask about your weekend plans. We might move to the other room so we could hear above the din! Unless, like me, you can sign, and then we’d wave our hands about instead! I would ask if you’ve seen the new Batman v Superman movie, and tell you we’re going to see it tonight – yes the entire brood…maybe we should call ahead and warn them! I would admit that Superman is my favourite comic book character, and I know I always say I don’t have favourites, and I talk about Marvel characters waaay too much, but my first comic was a DC comic, and then I saw Christopher Reeve in the movie…enough said.

if we were having coffee

I would ask what’s new in your life, like for example, if you’ve chosen a cover for the novel yet *cough*Jacqui *cough.* Then I would refresh our beverages, make everyone else one while I’m at it, and we’d settle down to finish sharing our news.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that a friend I haven’t seen in twenty years is coming to stay with me in July, and I’m really looking forward to it. I met Magali on a school exchange programme when I was sixteen, and my first experience of France was truly inspiring. I loved the country, the culture, the language, and most of all the family. We lost touch for a long time, so I was thrilled when she got back in touch on Facebook. Magali and her family are coming to England, and I’ll finally get to see her again. I’m excited and terrified; the fear stems from the fact I’ve forgotten most of the French I learned in school. Between now and July I won’t be going anywhere without my headphones and a French course running on my phone, so I can try to rectify that.

I would tell you that I’ve missed our weekend chats, it’s been too long since we had a good old fashioned chin wag!

Then I would hop on over to Diana’s place, and catch up with everyone.

Thanks for stopping by

Mel

An announcement or two

collective-headerI got a little impatient, as I am want to be, and released the first episode of The Collective today. I originally said the end of April, but I couldn’t wait, so there you are! There are a number of options for people wanting to access the episode. If you wish, you can go straight to the site and find out more here. I will be releasing the episodes chapter by chapter on a weekly basis, on the (Collective) site, and via other mediums. I’ve also added a pdf version of the full episode, should readers want to access the episode in one go, or download it. If you’re interested in that option, here is a link to the pdf.

On the site I’ve also added character profiles, and a glossary, so readers can familiarise themselves with the main cast and the world itself. Subsequent episodes will be released in a similar way, so episode two will be released at the beginning of May 2016.

saturday book clubNow for my second announcement. I started a Saturday Book Club and though I’m really enjoying this new feature, I’ve realised a weekly post is a little ambitious, given how slow I am at reading this year! So the Saturday Book Club will be once a month from now on – the last Saturday of the month. The remaining Saturdays I’m going to be taking part in the Weekend Coffee Share again, because I miss it, and it’s a great way for me to catch up now that I’m so busy.

I hope you’re having a great week, and I look forward to catching up with you soon.

Thanks for stopping by

Mel

If we were having coffee, I would tell you a story…

weekendcoffeeshareIf we were having coffee we would be relaxing on my sofa, feet up, with our drinks close by as we nattered about our week. Call it what you will, gabbed, chatted, chewed the fat (to throw in an American phrase) – we would set the world to rights. I’d want to know everything you’ve been up to, especially as it feels so long since we last caught up. I missed last week, and almost this week until a friend reminded me how much she enjoyed our little get-togethers.

It’s my own fault. I’ve been writing non-stop, but also waving my arms around quite a lot. By which I mean interpreting. But of course you know that. It always reminds me of a friend, Van, who enjoys to ask ‘what do you call a group of interpreters?’ and the answer, which I’m sure you’ve heard before, is ‘a flap!’ Maybe it’s an in-house joke, and we all have those don’t we?

I would tell you I went to the cinema with my youngest daughter. She decided not to go out with her friends, and I’m not sure if that’s because she wanted to spend time with me, or Dylan O’Brien (an actor in the movie!). I took her to see The Maze Runner, and whatever the reason for her company, we had a great time.

If we were having coffee, you would no doubt ask me how the story a day is coming along, at which point I would groan. Mainly because I’ve been late posting nearly every day this week. I’m really glad I decided to write a continued story, because I’m hard pressed writing something between jobs as it is, let alone something completely new. I’m in these characters’ heads now, and they’re cooperating, which is good. That said, I’m going to have fun in the editing stage!

After we’d caught up, laughed, and had our fill of caffeine, I would share with you my instalment for today. I would do this only because it’s short, and I only just finished it. After that, we would saunter over to Diana’s place to catch up with everyone else – feeling relaxed and itching to learn how our other friends are doing.

Missing Part 16 (Day 19) A Story A Day

Holly couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t think, couldn’t move, couldn’t see. Panic had her in its grip, which only made her lungs tighten further.

She’d been right about the crew moving out. Holly had waited for hours, listening to the sounds of organised chaos outside her box. The prospect of leaving filled her with a fear so sharp and bright she felt it clawing at her insides. Even though she had fought to escape, she knew this prison was safer than what lay ahead.

She sucked in a breath, trying not to breath through her nose. The cloth sack over her head smelled of fear and fruitless tears; a reminder that she was completely at their mercy. Her hands and feet were bound, which was her punishment for fighting back. Still, it had been satisfying to hear the grunt of pain when she’d kneed one of her captors where it hurt. She’d bitten him too.

It’s not over yet.

Holly tried to hold onto the thought. She repeated it over and over in her mind, clinging to hope, praying for an answer. It was working, until a scream pierced the air an instant before she heard the squealing of tyres. Something hit the van they were travelling in. There was no mistaking the shock of impact. Her heart accelerated, hope burning bright, even as her body began to fall and her world was turned upside down. Then her head rapped against something hard and sharp, and darkness engulfed her completely.


Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend.

Mel

If we were having coffee…there would be a lot to discuss.

weekendcoffeeshareIf we were having coffee I might glance over my shoulder from time to time, and be forced to admit that I’m worried about retribution. I pranked my daughter a few days ago and she swore payback – she’s extremely good at it! This would no doubt lead to a conversation about pranks, and I would ask if you’ve ever pulled a prank on your family and friends. It’s not uncommon for our discussions to turn to books, and because there are great examples in literature, I would tell you that my favourite Roald Dahl book is The Twits. The pranks they played on each other were truly hilarious, in a twisted kind of way! My daughter is a fan of Amelia Jane by Enid Blyton, so she has a mean streak! But don’t worry, her beef is with me so you’re safe.

I would refresh our mugs and we would talk about our week. I would share my snaps from my day at the seaside last Saturday, and share my memories. We had a great time.

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If we were having coffee, our discussion would turn to blogging, because there are several great things happening in the blogosphere right now. Part Time Monster has a special month planned for October, which I’m particularly excited about. The Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) are running an anthology contest, which is open until the 1st of November 2015. To find out more, click here. Elizabeth Tyree is running a new feature, interviewing authors and illustrators. To find out more, click here. Charles Yallowitz posed some interesting questions in this week’s round of his new feature: Questions 3. I really enjoy the threads this feature generates, and (as we are having coffee) I thought I would share the questions. You can join the thread on Charles’s site by clicking here.

Q1: If you survived the apocalypse, what would be your first priority?

Finding the rest of my family and friends. My first thought when considering this question was of the new television show Fear the Walking Dead. It’s a great show because it starts from the first outbreak and gives us a glimpse of what our world would be like if a deadly virus destroyed the planet. In reality, and depending on how many people survived; the dangers present, etc. I would try to get to my family. You have to consider that phones lines would be down, and the roads treacherous at best, but I would give it my best shot.

Q2: Would you be a loner or gather a group and why?

I’m probably going to surprise a few people, being an introvert and all. But I would gather a group. I believe in strength in numbers, and you have to build trust early. If I chose to be a loner (with the exception of family, I hope), that trust would be hard earned if forced into a situation beyond my control. I’m sure there would be ample opportunity for me to get some alone time!

Q3: If one object survived the initial chaos, what would you want it to be?

Probably my car. There are things I’d grab from the house, supplies I would take with me (that I assume would survive). But if I’m going on a mission to find my family and other survivors, I’m going to need some wheels!

If we were having coffee, and we were satisfied we’d fully explored Charles’ questions, we would probably head over to Diana’s place – where the conversation would continue. And the coffee, of course.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

If we were having coffee…there would only be time for one cup.

weekendcoffeeshareIf we were having coffee, it would be ridiculously early (sorry). I’m going on a trip to the seaside today – Bridlington to be exact. It’s a place my dad particularly loved and, as it’s his birthday, my sisters and I always take this day to do things to remember him. So, we go to the coast; we eat doughnuts, walk along the harbour, go on the Waltzers (dad’s favourite), and an arcade game or two. Oh, and the beach. Weather permitting, we always sit on the beach and share our memories. In fact, we’ve spent a year or two sitting in the rain. As Peter Kay would say – that fine rain that soaks your through!

dad

I’d ask about your plans for the weekend, catch up on your adventures since the last time we shared coffee. I’d tell you I had two days to myself this week because my girls were away. I could have done anything; caught up on my writing, my emails, done some work, done anything productive, visited people. Instead I had a TV marathon. I would normally feel guilty about that, but I can’t seem to drum up the emotion.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you my work in progress is going well – sort of! All but one character is cooperating. The problem with Andrew is his arrogance, or maybe it’s mine. I had it in my head that he would be kidnapped by a group of hired thugs. But here’s the thing. He’s special forces and there’s no way in hell he was going to let that happen. Every time I wrote him into a corner, he got out of it. He’s slippery that one! It would be nice and easy if, like in the TV show Dexter, someone could stab him with a syringe and knock him out (in seconds no less). But, who am I kidding. They wouldn’t be able to sneak up on him in the first place. Even if they could, Blue (his trusty canine sidekick) would get in their way.

But enough about that. This is the point where I’d have to apologise for not having the time for a refill. I enjoy our chats, and as I haven’t been posting as often as I would like, I thought I’d fit this in before hitting the road. So, if we were having coffee, I’d wish you a wonderful weekend.

Don’t forget to stop by at Diana’s place to catch up with everyone else. I’ll be heading over when I get back home, and my stomach has settled from all the doughnuts and the fast, crazy rides my sisters will no doubt drag me on!

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

If we were having coffee…we would be dicussing strong female role models

weekendcoffeeshareIf we were having coffee I would avoid talking about one job, just so I could prattle on about my other. It’s a beautiful day, so we would be outside in the garden, sitting beneath a large red umbrella with an array of tasty treats between us. Perhaps we would have a cold drink or, more accurately – you might. I’m rarely without a cup of tea, whatever the weather! From our position at the patio table, we’d have a direct line of sight to my glorious daisies. They’re drooping a little in this heat, though, granted, they are exceptionally tall this year.

Being in the garden would prompt a discussion about helping my mum out this past week. Her garden has a low running white wall along the entire boundary, topped with fencing. She got the messy job of painting the fence, I got the arduous job of painting the wall – it was a serious workout! The rest of the family helped too; we listened to music, chatted, and shouted insults for dripping onto each others section! It’s almost done, and just in time for my brother’s visit. He’ll be here for a few days, and we have lots planned during his stay. Most importantly, we’re having a garden party. Yes, it’s been several weeks since he got his promotion, but we haven’t seen him, so there will be banners, balloons, gifts, and a few celebratory toasts.

Zak paining

If we were having coffee I would ask about your week, and your plans for the rest of the day. I would top off our drinks, and we might go inside for a while where it’s cool.

Eventually, the conversation would turn to writing. I’ve been too busy to write this week, and the work in progress is not going well – so I’d probably be avoiding it anyway! After the weekend I will continue with the next book in the Morgan and Fairchild series. I enjoy writing strong female characters, and Ellen Parker, one of the protagonists, is a tough cookie (in more ways than one!) She’s a former Artillery Troop Officer (Royal Artillery); a weapons expert, and skilled in hand to hand combat, so, yeah – she’s fun!

Ellen has similar personality traits to my great-grandmother, which makes her a formidable woman. My great-grandmother, Doris, who was my grandfather’s mother, is one of my role models. Not because she raised four boys single-handed (my great-grandfather died young), but because, no matter what life threw at her, she came out fighting. She had a wicked sense of humour, and that’s one of the things I remember most fondly. She had Parkinson’s disease, and struggled with her health in general when I was a teenager, but she never let it beat her. I once visited her with my sister, just to check in. “What have you being doing today, grandma?” my sister asked. “Nowt but bloody shaking!” Oh, how we laughed…she always made us laugh.

Doris's boys

If we were having coffee, I would thank you for stopping by, and wish you a very happy weekend. I have an editing job to finish, which should be complete by tonight, and then I can make my rounds and catch up with everyone else at Diana’s place. Don’t forget to check in with the others who take part in the Weekend Coffee Share at Part-Time Monster – it’s a lot of fun.

Until next time.

Mel

Three…two…one…and we’re live! Weekend Coffee Share

Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).
Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).

If we were having coffee, I would apologise for the radio silence; loosely translated as a distinct lack of comments due to an incredibly busy week. We would be sat in my garden because the sun is positively beaming, and I have so much energy I can’t deal with confined spaces! You would catch me up on your week as we sipped our drink of choice, and in your company I would begin to relax.

Then, you would ask how I feel about my live interview this afternoon with Jonas Lee, and the nerves would start dancing again, to a very distinct tune. As  an interpreter I’m used to having a conversation over FaceTime, but it’s always in sign language and it’s not about me it’s about the job. So, yes, I’m slightly nervous, not least because I might go into auto pilot and start to sign! I would tell you that my interview is at 3.30pm UK time, so if you would like to ask questions you can leave them here. There will be a YouTube video I can share later, which may or may not need subtitles 🙂

If we were having coffee, I would ask about your week ahead, and what you have in store. Then, we might head on over to Diana’s place, our gracious host, and catch up with our other friends.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mel

Weekend Coffee Share – In which I’m mostly too tired to talk!

Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).
Organised by Diana (Part Time Monster).

If we were having coffee, I’d probably let you do most of the talking. You don’t mind of course, some weeks are like that. I worked more hours than usual and because I can’t give details about the assignments I undertake, it can get a little ambiguous! I would tell you that I worked a full day job in a sea side town and afterwards I went to the beach for an ice-cream with my close friend, Vicci, (we co-worked the job, which was a treat. She’s an exceptional interpreter). Vicci is a born communicator; she’s confident, bubbly and great fun.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I finished my website and I wouldn’t be able to resist showing you the end result. I would listen to your feedback, and this would no doubt lead to a discussion about our recent blogging adventures. Mel’s Writing Menagerie is going well. Sometimes I’m tempted to take part, but as I create the prompts I usually resist and look for other challenges.

I would also share with you the answers to a Bedtime Book Tag that I saw on Callum’s site, and we would have a great discussion about books. I’d start us off by sharing my answers…

A book that kept you up all night reading – Bad Luck And Trouble (Lee Child)

A book that made you scared to go to sleep – Scream For Me (Karen Rose)

A book that made you go to sleep – The Gargoyle (Andrew Davidson) *I was travelling and, to be fair, I suffer from carcolepsy!*

A book that left you tossing and turning all night in anticipation of its release – Shards of Hope (Nalini Singh)

A book that has your dream boyfriend – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain) *I was fascinated by Huck when younger, so answered from memory!*

A book that would be  your worst nightmare to live in – Yesterday’s Gone (Sean Platt & David Wright)

A book that reminds you of the night time – Innocence (Dean Koontz)

A book that had a nightmarish cliffhanger – Pet Sematary (Stephen King)

A book that you actually dreamed about – The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)

A book monster that you would not want to find under your bed – Vampire/Zombie from I Am Legend (Richard Matheson)

Then we might visit our lovely host, Diana, together, and catch up with all our other friends. We’re never short of things to talk about!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Until next time. Thanks for stopping by.

Mel