Friday, December 30, 2016

New Year Resolutions?

Here we are once more, at the entrance gate for another year. So what do we all plan to do or not do in 2017? For myself, I plan to continue my weight loss journey. I'd love to lose another 2 stones in 2017 to match my loss in 2016. I have writing targets to achieve too after being on hold for some 12 months or so. I want to sort out some financial affairs this year - nothing major, just those small things that get put off for some unspecified future time. I intend to spend more time in the places I love. How about you? What are you planning for 2017?

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Christmas Beetle

Every Year I write a story especially for my niece, Sophia as her Christmas gift. I'd like to share this one with all of you. It's the first one I wrote for her in 2010. The Christmas Beetle Bertie, the small black beetle was tired. He’d flown around all day long in the sun until his wings ached. All he wanted was to find a nice dark, safe place where he could settle down for a good nights sleep. Then he saw the perfect spot, a beautiful hat made of soft purple fabric. Just the right bed for a small, tired insect. He snuggled in and closed his weary eyes. When the sun rose the next morning Bertie discovered he was in a strange new place. He stretched his wings and left his bed to see where he was. The ground below him was hot and dusty and the sky a bright cloudless blue. The only green things he could see were a small group of palm trees. The human whose hat had provided him with a bed for the night sat with his friends and their camels resting in the shade. Bertie had a nice day flying around in the sunshine before creeping back into his warm safe bed. That night he couldn’t sleep. His bed in the hat rocked and moved as its owner travelled through the darkness following a big bright star that lit up the sky. Bertie held on tight as they approached a small but busy town. He took a peep over the brim of the hat when his bed stopped moving and saw the humans talking to a group of shepherds who had come down from the hills. He quickly hid again when one of the lambs saw him and bleated hello. He didn’t want the owner of the hat to throw him out of his bed. After a few minutes his bed started rocking once more as the people moved on. Bertie could hear the lambs still bleating and wondered where the owner of the hat and the shepherds could be going. He heard lots of noise, people talking and the clatter and bustle of the streets. Overhead the huge star shone down as bright as the sun filling the town with its light. He was almost thrown from his perch when the owner of the hat climbed down from his camel. I wonder where we are? Thought Bertie. The noise had stopped and everything was silent except for the sounds of beautiful music. He crept to the brim of the hat and holding tight with his pincers he peered out. In front of him was an amazing sight. Golden winged humans stood at the back of a small room which had straw on the floor. They were the makers of the music. A man and a woman knelt next to a small basket made of wood filled with straw. The woman looked happy but tired as she looked at the manger. Bertie glanced around the room and saw the donkey and the ox kneeling and looking at the manger. He was almost thrown to the floor again when the owner of the hat also knelt down on the stone cobbles amongst the straw. The shepherds had filed in behind the owner of the hat and his two friends. Now the lambs were also kneeling and had stopped their bleating. The owner of the hat and his friends gave the man and the woman gifts, strange boxes filled with scented special and expensive things. Bertie could resist no longer. He had to know what was in the manger that was causing this strange behaviour. He stretched his little black wings and took off from his perch landing carefully on the edge of the crib hoping the humans wouldn’t notice him. He looked inside and found the source of the wonder. A tiny human baby wrapped in cloth lying amongst the straw. Bertie looked at the baby and the baby looked at Bertie. The baby gave a tiny smile and Bertie felt a strange warm glow spreading throughout his tiny body and he knew this was a very special baby. He bowed his head before spreading his wings once more and retreating back to his bed in the hat before any of the other humans saw him. After a while the owner of the hat and his friends left the stable and went back out onto the street. By then the sun had begun to rise once more for the start of a new day. Bertie decided he would fly and get a drink of water before the day grew too hot. He saw a bucket of water beside a well and flew down to take a drink. As he leaned forward he saw his reflection in the water. What he saw surprised him so much he almost fell in. He was no longer Bertie the small black beetle, instead he glowed with a rich yellow-green colour. He had become Bertie the Christmas Beetle. © Nell Dixon 2010

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Prepping for Christmas

The tree is up and turkey is sorted. Youngest belle is home from Uni. We're looking forward to our annual trip into Birmingham for the panto. Christmas for me isn't Christmas without panto. We've the Christingle service on Christmas Eve to look forward to. Thankfully, I'm off for Christmas eve and Christmas day although I have 2 fourteen hour shifts for New Years eve and day and shifts in between.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Card or not to card? That is the question

Every year I see people saying they aren't sending cards this year and are giving the money to charity. Which is lovely, but, it also raises a dilemna. For those people, some of them elderly who look forward to getting a card, with a bit of a note in, every year who aren't online savvy, it can be sad when they don't hear from old friends, family etc. Christmas is a time for people, for catching up on news. It's a human time. Giving to charity is wonderful but there can be a balance. I buy charity cards and make donations - a percentage of all my book sales goes to various charities that I support all year round. The RNLI, my local hospice and the air ambulance service are my main ones. What do you all think?

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

What's been happening?

Well, as I said, long time no see. I've had a bit of an hiatus for the last 18 months or so. Health issues, a birthmark on my arm turning rogue needed 2 lots of surgery and then some correctional work on my left hip. Work, I was promoted in my day job and I work long hours. Family life, one daughter graduated and moved back home, one daughter left for university and the middle one qualified as a hairdresser and also left home to live with her long term boyfriend. Add this in to 2 major renovation projects on the house - we rebuilt most of the downstairs and you can see where my time went. I do have several projects in the pipeline however and you will be seeing new books from me in 2017. That is if my office assistant ever allows me to do any work.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Tap, tap, is this thing on?

Yes, peeps, I'm back. Look out for new regular blogs from me over the next 12 months. There will be freebies, book news and guest blogs from some of my lovely author friends as well as news from Brierley Rose Press.