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New Chapter Posted at Fan Fiction.Net


I may not have been around much on Livejournal, but I've been working on my story this week and Chapter five of Aurora has now been posted over at FanFiction.Net.



A Halloween party, a vampire and a bottle of vodka. How out of control can things get...?


I'd be really gratful of any feedback you can give.


http://www.fanfiction.net/~racheljlewis

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New Blog at The Mother of Reinvention


I have posted a new blog entry over at WordPress


Excerpt...

Success came at 5.05am on Wednesday 6th July, in my kitchen. I stood on the scales and the number said something quite wonderful. There was no one else up to see it, so I took a picture on my phone and posted it to Facebook and Twitter. They shall be my witnesses.

Success hasn’t been a notable feature of my life, hence the way I’m treating it much as you would by finding a jellyfish on a British beach. Yes, that’s right, get a big stick and poke it. See what it does, see if it moves. See if it turns around and bites you. Right now, all its succeeded in doing is putting a smile on my face and a dose of confidence within. It’s not even made a squeak; although there was a random outbreak of twirling around to a Stevie Nicks song in celebration – although that could just have been me.


Read more at http://racheljlewis.wordpress.com/2011/07/09/not-a-failure-anymore/

 


Sixty Two Minor Miracles


AFK?
Away from Keyboard?
What is that?

I have no idea where all the time goes. I can't believe it's Monday.  The year is zipping by and it's July already, how did *that* happen?

The truth is I am badly and gloriously sidetracked by writing.  Sadly for everyone around me, it's as bad as it was last November when my life got completely subsumed by participating in NaNoWriMo and I'm now effectively disconnected from reality.  I can manage to feed the cats, I can managed to load and unload the dishwasher and the washing machine but advanced housework?  Forget it.  Feeding people?  Haphazard at best.  Can we all have a Cambridge Diet bar?

I really want to see 'Aurora' through to the end, even more so now because people are starting to click the 'subscribe' button at FanFiction.Net, so I have to give them something to read!  It's all planned, I know what I'm going to write but I have to sit down and do it and that's what takes the time.  I am fourteen chapters ahead, but it's important to me that I don't keep people waiting too long - and Simon and DD waiting too long before I can get this story out of my head and return to normal life.

But it's so much fun!  I wish I'd done this decades ago.  It really is about the sheer love of getting the written word on the page and now sharing it with people.  The fact that some of the like it enough to write back and say nice things about it is an unexpected bonus.  I take absolutely no credit for any degree of talent I may possess, it's from God and I hope in time it will be channelled more effectively; but right now I still have my training wheels on and this is very much a learning process.

Of all the 183,000 pieces of Twilight fan fiction over on that site, 62 people read my story in the last six hours.  Considering, that only six months ago I was struggling to allow anyone to read ANYTHING I put out, that small number means to world to me personally.  It says I don't suck big time.  OK, there is a degree of suck involved in writing any kind of FanFiction, but 62 people bothered to read the four chapters I've uploaded so far.  I also have a nice group of people who get it hot off the press and they are keeping me going with encouragement.

My daughter is reading it - heaven knows what she'll make of the next bit - and she asked if I could get it published.  I said no, it's not mine to make any money out of.  Bless her, she thought I should get the original author to read it.  She's 13 and doesn't see why that is a really bad idea!

But seriously; if I'm even more distant than usual, please excuse me. I'm having fun here, typing away at my keyboard and finally doing what I probably should have stuck with at the age of twelve, instead of convincing myself that writing stories in my spare time was silly.

And on that note, it's 4th July and I've forgotten my Aunt's birthday.

I really am no good at birthday cards at the best of times.


Shameless plug time:

Aurora: Now up at FanFiction.Net.  Or you can get what I've got in large, glossy, PDF'd chunks.  Reply with your email address if you want it in that version

http://www.fanfiction.net/~racheljlewis



Aurora: Now Available at FanFiction.Net


Well, if you're going to write a story you might as well let people read it!

Those people who have read Aurora so far have been very kind and given me some encouragement to continue, so I'm going to see this through and write the whole damn thing!

I've signed up to FanFiction.Net to let as many people as possible have the opportunity to read it.  But for those of you on my personal distribution list, no fear - you still get first dibs on everything.

Here's the link.  Chapter One is posted.


http://www.fanfiction.net/~racheljlewis


It's based on someof the characters in the Twilight series, but it's not written with the assumption that you've read it. I hope I have included enough background detail to help you understand what's going on. It goes without saying, that I'm never going to get better at writing if I don't get some feedback at how I'm doing.  So if you have the opportunity to read and comment, I'd really appreciate it :)

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I can haz new job?


Tuesday's over, thank God for that!  I always breathe a huge sigh of relief when it's Wednesday because Tuesday is the most stressful day of the week in our house. A million things to do, six other places to be and it can end up being rather fraught and stressful.

Yesterday was no exception, although it had the distinct advantage of meeting up with one of those people in life who you come away from with your head fizzing; because you can start to see the possibilities in your own as a result.  In them you can see the way things could be, if you would only get those changes you've been wanting to make, out of your head and into your everyday life.

As a result of the last Church Meeting, Liz, my boss is heading up a small group of people to look at the way we administrate our church as a whole and we've started a fact-finding mission to discover how other people run their churches, in order that we can chart a way forward for our own.  We're getting bigger, there's more admin to do, there's more of the day-to-day management that needs to happen behind the scenes, so that we can do what we're here for - getting out there, introducing people to Jesus and helping them to become followers of his.

I like my job.  No, to be honest I love my job, it's a wonderful place to work, but I would be telling a big fat lie if I said I was wholly satisfied with it.  I've been in it four years and the small job I did four years ago is now far too big for the 20 hours a week I'm paid to do it.  I can't fit it all in, people know what I can do now and expectations of me are higher.  Consequently, I spend a lot of time these days feeling sad that I'm having to let more people down than I can help, simply because I can't fit it all in.  We're a bigger church than we were four years ago, we do more things than we did four years ago and I'm a different person than I was four years ago.  

I've developed and grown, and my heart has a yearning to do things that I can't get around to doing because of all the things that need to be done.  I can see where we fall down with gaps in our communications and publicity; shoddy leaflets are a particular bug-bear, our website is a poor imitation of what it could be if only I had the time to overhaul it and the list goes on. An endless list of things I would love to do but simply just don't have enough hours in the day to do.

So to meet someone from a church that is bigger than we are - admittedly, but who has that clearly defined passion and gifting for church admin (don't snigger, it's a genuine calling!), is so refreshing.  It's like I've been given a shot in the arm!  Things can be different, other churches have made changes and survived.  We can do this!  We can have effective church administration, Liz and I are not freaks from planet Zog, there are other people out there who share our vision to be able to release people to do what they can do for God, by making sure everything's in place so they can do it.

I'm not your visionary, I'm your go-to-girl when you want your stuff done.  I said I wasn't strategic yesterday and this person corrected me and said I was.  I am strategic in my own job.  I can see where I want to go.  I can see where I can be of most use to our church.

Now, I just need to get 200 other people to see it, to agree with me and let me do it.

As the meerkats say...Simples!

Yeah, I know.  Cloud cuckoo land...

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Kaiser Chiefs
The Future is Medieval
B-Unique / 2011




Kaiser Chiefs - Things Change - Don't they just!
4 / 5


The Kaiser Chiefs are one of my most favourite bands, so a new album is an anxiously awaited experience.  It's been a few weeks since it was released, first via their website where you could pick the tracks you wanted and make your own album up.  I really don't have time in my life for that sort of caper, so I had to wait until I could click something over at iTunes and download it over breakfast. 

First time through and apart from the lead track, Little Shocks,  it's a real head-scratcher of an album - and I'm a fan of theirs.   Little Shocks provides the only familiarity and link to their past work; after that, throw everything out that you know about the Kaiser Chiefs as it's a case of 'Here be dragons.'  However, don't think for one moment that I don't like what I'm hearing.  It's just unfamiliar, but one that on the second listen through starts to yield its gems - and the kitchen sink. 

This is the album where the Kaiser Chiefs turn all the knobs up to 14 and use every effects pedal going.  I'm getting hints of seventies disco, eighties electronica, film score, opera, Sparks, Madness, The Beatles, Zero 7 and a bit of everything shoved into the drum and stuck on a fast spin.  There are far more wonderful swirly keyboards, harmonies, vocal processing and Nick Hodgson's backing vocals seem to be more in evidence than previous albums.  It almost looks back to psychedelia without thankfully tipping head first into a vat of LSD



Little Shocks - A good album opener if a bit lyrically restricted.  Familiarity with a fresh twist. If you're looking for the Ruby moment than this is as close as you're getting.  Here's the video... 





Things Change
- Do they ever!  This is where the Kaiser Chiefs kick off their new sound with something that sounds almost David Bowie-esque in places with nods to the harmonies on ELO tracks. An absolutely brilliant track, I love this.  I can pretty much dance to it.


Long Way from Celebrating -  Loud and glorious! That pretty much says it all.


Starts with Nothing - Ah here we are, more of that Yorkshire existentialism that we've come to love from them.  Lyrically superb, all swirly guitars and deeply mixed vocals. If Zero 7 did rock music they'd sound like this. Very good indeed.


Out of Focus - This another absolutely brilliant track and possibly my favourite, based on three listens.  I love how it builds, I love the vocals and the keyboards.  I'm getting the impression that Peanut must have got a new keyboard for Christmas and he's just pressing every button on it.  That's fine by me, it sounds awesome! Hints of opera at the end.


Dead or in Serious Trouble - is the only frantic track that links back to what you'd most likely find on Employment, but they've added to kind of keyboard flourishes and swirls that were never part of their early days.


When All is Quiet opens very reminscently of a Madness track with a simple melody that opens out to include the type of lyrical harmonies that you'd find on later Beatles tracks.


Man on Mars
. One of my favourite tracks. Nick's singing lead vocals here.


Child of the Jago
.  This initially very stripped back and feels very seventies-inspired but the guitars and keyboards just take it off somewhere else.  This is a track I know that I'll be playing at ear-splitting volume in my headphones in years to come and will probably result in me going deaf.

Heard it Break - Ooh Peanut's channelling 80's electro-bop disco here, Nick's found a drum machine, there's lashing of electronic steel drums and we have a fantastic example of one of the things I really love the Kaiser Chiefs - their lyrics.  'I feel like I broke my heart again but it's just a sprain.'  This is perhaps the daftest track on the album and excuse me, but I love it!


Coming up for Air
- Sense returns in stripped back straightforward song with only minimal keyboard flourishes.  Gorgeous!


If You Will Have Me - Simple guitar initially and Nick singing, in what sounds like his bedroom.  Peanut given a rest from knob-twiddling duties and instead they opt for violins and woodwind.  I'm not entirely sold on this track, as I prefer Nick Hodgson's drumming to his singing.  He does a better job on Man on Mars.  Untouched, his voice is a little too raw for my tastes.

City - We appear to have fallen into the score for a 1960's thriller here.  This is a bit of a halloween moment with lots of darkness and 'oooh's'  The guitar reminds me of The Shadows - that deep twang you get on their tracks.  The ooohs go a bit all over the place at the end which I'm not wild about.

And to finish Howlaround -  Peanut presses the harpsichord sound button and we get a fabulous instrumental with everything AND the kitchen sink in it.  Brilliant!

Well done.  I've scratched my head and I'm giving it a qualified thumbs up.  More kitchen sinks please!


Kaiser Chiefs: Left to Right:
Nick (Peanut) Bains (Keyboards), Ricky Wilson (Vocals), Nick Hodgson (Drums / Vocals), Andrew White (Guitars), Simon Rix (Bass)
 
 

I'm pretty much convinced that the world spins faster than it did; or that there are fewer hours in the day. Maybe the modern minute is shorter than it used to be (much like a Twix), and seconds have been subtly downgraded to nanoseconds. Either way my life is flashing by at a dizzying rate of knots and I'm not entirely sure I can keep up. At this rate I might have to admit defeat and retreat to 2002 which I'm wholly convinced it was last week.

 

So many things I wanted to get done this week and my list remains as full as at the start of it. Lots of interesting things I could have written about, but just haven't had the time. I can't fit it all in and it's just daft. I still haven't managed to find a place for exercise and cleaning the house for that matter. I've looked at what I can cut out and there's nothing, unless I start to eat into the precious little time that I spend doing the one thing I love to do - writing. I don't sit down and watch the TV at all - unless it's Doctor Who and that's not on right now. I just do not have the time to sit in a chair and watch a programme.

 

If I'm honest, there is one thing I could cut out and it would instantly make me about 75% less busy - which would be ideal. Church!  If I ditched my faith and went secular I'd have plenty of free time! There are days when I seriously consider it. Life's much easier when your life doesn't revolve around someone else ;-)

 

After Monday's nightmare the week’s improved and I've been trying to start pulling together some sort of loose framework for my life going forward. My previous attempts to live just by faffing about in a random general direction didn't actually yield anything, so one or two goals need to be set to give me something to aim for.

 

You know the sort of thing:

 

Will run the London Marathon in two years time. (in an alternate reality)

Will lose weight. Ooh, I can tick that one off then (just 2 lbs to go now!)

 

Sadly, I have been too busy to work on it much, but I do have a brand new pink file. Getting a nice file to put it all in is, I'm sure you'll agree, a very important step forward. *grin*

 

So having a really busy week would possibly not be the best time to release the next book in the series I've taken to, thereby resulting in silly things like taking the book to the loo with me and reading it whilst drying my hair and stirring stuff on the stove (not done together). But how fabulous is having a Kindle?! I woke up this morning at 4.50am and it was there, downloaded and all ready for me to read - which I did. So sorry God, that this morning you got booted in favour of two chapters of Lauren Kate's Passion. Ah teen fiction... Pole-axing mothers left, right and centre...

 

I have done a teensy bit of work on my own fan-fiction, which is coming on well and I'm hoping to get another couple of hours done on it this evening. I'm really enjoying writing it, it's fun and gives me a little bit of escapism from the relentless pace of life right now.

 

And on that note, I'm off to fire up Microsoft Word for a bit.

 

Perhaps you'd like a little taster of what I'm writing?

 

 The story is set six years after the events of Breaking Dawn - the fourth book in the Twilight saga. We have Ness, a 17 year old girl, who; if you have read Breaking Dawn will know that she’s anything but ordinary. She has befriended two British teenagers. There was an incident at a party she attended and now she's having to deal with the consequences of that.  Excuse typo's, punctuation and dodgy formatting

 

 

 

Little Black Riding Hood...Collapse )

 


"One more won't hurt..."



This is going to be quite a personal post and I will write about my struggle with food.  If that's not something you're particularly interested in reading about, then scroll on up :)

_________________


Over the last few months since I have been losing weight, I've had a great number of people comment about how well I've done in losing so much weight and not giving up.  I've seen the questioning in their eyes as I reply that the dieting, the losing 100lbs is the easy bit. The hard bit, the tough bit, the really, really scary bit will come when I'm eating food again.  I know myself, I know what I'm like.  More importantly, I know my food demon and know that she can strike without warning. After seven months dormancy she reared her head last night. 

Imagine you're on a surf board and riding a wave. All of a sudden you're off the board, dumped into the rough and tumble of the surf and then washed up on the beach, wondering what the hell happened. You were doing so well and now you're back to square one. That's pretty much how I felt last night.

Even if everyone around me is giving me praise and plaudits for having done so well at losing weight I'm the one who knows how fleeting this success will be, if I can't find a way to manage the food demon.  I don't think she'll ever go away, so perhaps I'd better introduce her to you.

World, this is my demon and this is how she operates.

She doesn't have a clearly defined name, you can't give her a label like Anorexia or Bulimia, she doesn't manifest that way.  She is of the overeating spectrum and specifically the part that will use eating food as a stick to beat you with.  She operates in secret, she never troubles me when I'm in public; but being on my own leaves me vulnerable to attack.  She has a trigger and if she can get me to that point, then it's only a matter of time before I tip over the event horizon and into the black hole of overeating and self-loathing. Once she's got me in the hole, I can be there for minutes, hours, days, weeks or months and escaping from her grip is the devil's own job.


The trigger is a simple, little everyday thing that you possibly have in your own life and it causes you absolutely no problems whatsoever.  Yet in my life it's like wandering around with a loaded gun pointed at my emotional core.  If I fire the trigger I won't die but I will inflict an awful lot of pain and suffering on myself.  The trigger is so gloriously inoccuous that sometimes I'm tumbling over the side before I know what I'm doing. 

It's picking. 

"One more won't hurt."

Oh yes it bloody well will.


Last night I went over that event horizon and I'm feeling very, very low about it today.  it isn't the picking, it's what can happen afterwards, what the picking leads on to. I didn't fall to the bottom of the black hole, I think I'm clinging to the side somewhat; but I have that dull, worthless, leaden feeling that is the hallmark of her attacks.  This is the battle I have ahead of me, this is why all the diet success in the world is only temporary unless I find some way to manage her.

There's a scene in the film Chocolat, where the Mayor wakes up the next morning in a shop window having gorged himself on chocolate after succumbing to the delight of the merest taste.  That scene is exactly how the picking trigger works for me, wreaking destructive havoc through my life and leaving me feeling exposed and worthless when I finally manage to stop.

I can't say anymore right now, I have a family to see to and a job to go to.  I may be clinging to the side of a black hole within, but I still have to get out there and get on with my life.  I just pray she doesn't swoop by again to try and dislodge my grip, to get me down at the bottom of her pit again.

Somehow I need to find the ability to be kind to myself today to neutralise her effects.  Easier said than done, but all I can do is try.


Good news this morning from Lewis Lodge!

I've finally worked out the answer to one of the 'big ticket' questions of life.  It's up there with Does God exist? (Yes :-P), what am I doing here? (Go back downstairs and see if you can remember) and just what does happen to all those socks that mysteriously disappear in the wash? 

Sadly, the sock question remains unanswered and is still perplexing the world's greatest scientists.  However, they do assure me that they'll get to work and focus the Large Hadron Collider on it, once they've found that pesky particle they're searching for.  They are apparently looking for God with with LHC.  I'll leave it a bit longer before I tell them he turns up in my shower pretty much every morning. No, not like that! Wash your head out with soap!

No, I've finally found the answer to the question that dogs your childhood years and is the opening gambit of any School Careers Advisor: 

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

I want to be a writer.

Of course, this depends on me actually growing up, which, at the age of forty one, there seems to be precious little evidence of. But, should I now run into a School Careers Advisor or even Great Aunt Maud who still thinks I'm 12; I finally have my answer!

"But I thought you wanted to be a librarian dear?"

No, Auntie; I don't want to stamp books I want to write them.  Consider it a minor course correction on the great trajectory of life.

I'm glad I've finally figured that one out, because the whole failure-to-be-a-librarian thing has been a great disappointment, one that's dogged me throughout my life and caused literally nanoseconds of soul-searching.

I really wanted to be a libriarian?  No, I think this was just my Grandma trying to reconcile the fact that I endlessly had my nose in a book, with trying to put it to some good future use.  I didn't seriously want to be a librarian, although I'm sure it's great fun.  I hear the after-work drinking parties are legend and I'm quite into cardigans now. (Warning: Sterotype Alert).

I've never really had any ambition to be anything.  I did a Geology degree but because I was fascinated by the subject, not that I harboured any serious desire to work in the industry.  I dallied with teaching for a while and went to all the effort of getting a PGCE, but depression put paid to my confidence levels on that one.  Since then I've drifted, falling into a ten year spell as a Stay At Home Mum (SAHM) before finally arriving at what I do today: Head of Paperclips at Middle Narnia Baptist Church (mornings only).

But as a career, writing seems ideally suited to me.  I can combine my love of people watching with dicking about on the internet and turn it into something useful.  Hurrah!  See what I did there Mrs Careers Advisor?  I fitted my skills and passions to the job market and picked a match.  Heigh ho, you're out of a job.

So, all that needs to happen now is for me to grow up so I can finally realise my new career.

*Waits for maturity*

*Looks at watch* - new watch by the way, I bought it yesterday on my clothes shopping trip.  Yeah it's a Baby G, so sue me ;-)

Ah... we could be here a while...

Have a lovely day!


New Blog at The Mother of Reinvention


I've had a refocus of my other WordPress Blog.  This one will specifically focus on women's health and emotional issues - causes close to me heart.

I've kicked the new blog off with a piece about a shopping trip to Milton Keynes today as I'm starting work on putting together a replacement wardrobe.



Pitching up on Planet Shop
Having lost seven stone (100lbs) in weight, I’m faced with a difficult task ahead of me: I have to go out and re-stock my entire wardrobe. Me and clothes have a difficult relationship in the past and to be honest I’d rather have a root canal at the dentist than clothes shop. Still, I can’t schlep about in two pairs of jeans for the rest of my life, I’ve got to bite the bullet and buy something else.

So, can I learn to like shopping? Let’s find out…


Read more at...

http://racheljlewis.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/pitching-up-on-planet-shop/


 


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