Tag Archives: blogging

Lurning too use a spelcheker

DuncePhil: A news story that Brits rely on spellcheckers to stop them from making embarrassing mistakes!caught my eye this week.

In part, this was because of the line “Phil Parker vowed never to sign off his emails with “regards” after mistakenly writing “retards Phil” in an email to his boss.”. It’s not me, but I have been frustrated by autocorrection when posting from my phone or tablet in the past.

I’ll admit that I do like a spellchecker though. Yes, I should be able to spell perfectly and know my grammar inside out, but even if you are perfect (and if you are, you’re probably so smug people want to slap you) then you still make typos. I know I do when my brain is working faster than my fingers can rattle away on the keyboard.

Some words seem especially prone to problems – snadpaper and sodlering (sandpaper and soldering) are particular  bete noires of mine, along with obvioulsy. The wiggly red line appears time and time again, not because I’m stupid (mostly) but simply slow fingers.

Of course, not everything has a spellchecker. There are a couple of forums I frequent for work that don’t. This leaves me with a choice to either risk typo time, read everything to death, or write in a tool that does check spelling and then paste it into the forum. It kind of ruins the spontaneity (interesting that WordPress checker was happy with spontanayity), although sometimes that’s no bad thing!

Spurred on by adverts on YouTube, I’m now trying Grammarly which sits on my computer and checks stuff. The basic version is free for the moment, which probably means it’s reading everything I write and spiriting it away for a master criminal to read in his volcano lair. Sadly for him, I counter this by writing a lot about nerdy subjects, any master plan revolving around rather more juicy information!

So far, this is all pretty good. It doesn’t always switch itself on when I want it but that’s not too bad. The thing I hadn’t expected was a weekly results e-mail.  Apparently, I’m more productive than 95% of users with 12504 words written in the last week. Sadly, I’m only more accurate than 37% of users, and that score has gone up a little bit. I blame my prodigious output.

Did I say “prodigious”? Yes I did. That’s because, with 2734 different words used, I use more words than 98% of users.

Smug face on!

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Shut up and write something

Writers blockPhil: When you blog, it’s important (so I’m told) to do so regularly. That way you keep your readers interested.

Good advice, but sometimes finding a topic isn’t easy. Perhaps this should be called “Bloggers Block”.

BB is a syndrome similar to the sort of block affecting proper journalists. There is a deadline, I have to make a post today, but the screen is blank and so is my brain. Real journalists will have the same issue when the deadline for publication draws near. An editor will be hovering, wanting to know where the copy is. All I have is the Nolan nagging me – but she’s on holiday and unlikely to be reading this on the sun lounger.

I suppose I could give you another status report on Kate vs the Navy – the copy edited manuscript arrived this morning but I need more tea before I open that one up. Hopefully, this will all look good but it raises another issue – laying out the pages. In theory, I have the tools to do this properly now, let’s hope it’s quick and easy…

First, there is some work with glue’n’stuff in today’s programme of events as there is another editor waiting for my copy for work.  The stuff I get paid for, so I better do it.

And the sun is shining so I’d like to go out for a walk.

Oh well, perhaps another cup of tea will help. They say the solution to Writers Block is just to write something, anything. It seems that this also cures Bloggers Block, or at least fills up a little bit of the Internet.

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We Heart Writing



We’re guest posting over on the We Heart Writing blog along with dozens of really excellent authors. Head over there and see what we’ve been up to.

And if you’ve come from WHW, then welcome. Please dig around our ramblings. Best of all, please order a copy of our book, you’ll be pleased you did!

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What do I do now?



Candice: Its my turn to write the blog post after the big launch.  And I don’t know what to say.

We’ve done what we wanted to do – published a book.  Phil even has physical copies for me to fondle later this week. So that’s it then…

I suppose the next step is to make sure we do some serious marketing to get people to buy it.  I’ve done an unashamed plug at work and sent an email round the whole department – so that should get some bought.  I’ve plugged on Facebook and Twitter as has Phil.  Now we need to ramp up the next bit – local press.  Time for a cheesy photo when we meet on Friday to send out to the press.

And then its more plugging over the next few months until the next book comes out.  I gave Phil a scare as I put in that Book 2 would be out in the summer, well we all love a deadline, but I think that is achievable as we have made a good dent in it and I have 5 days holiday to use by the end of March so I think some of them can be writing days.

I think the big build up is why I feel crap today – I’ve come down with a cold and nasty cough.  I just wish I was enjoying the fruits of my labour on a beach like my sister (not jealous at all).

So, plug time, don’t forget to buy Kate vs the Dirtboffins, now available on Amazon!


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Kate vs The Dirtboffins – On Sale Now!

A nice cup of tea, chocolate teacake and an excellent read.

Today is the day. After a longer than expected gestation period, our first book, Kate vs The Dirtboffins is on sale today!

We are both properly excited about this. Sitting in an office bashing ideas around for want of something better to do, this day seemed a very long way away. Now our story is released out into the wild where we hope it finds plenty of friends.

You can buy the e-book from Amazon here – £1.99

Printed copies are available from Lulu – £5.99 plus postage

Thank you to everyone who helped along the way:

  • Those who read early versions and provided opinions, even when they weren’t quite what we wanted to hear.
  • Kari for the wonderful cover design.
  • Michael Gove for making us redundant and inspiring the whole thing.
  • And everyone who reads this blog for keeping us on track when life got in the way of writing.

So, don’t just sit there, get your copy today!

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Filed under Candice, Phil, Publishing, Writing

By sheer force of will

Henley LunchCandice: People (women mainly, to be honest) often ask me ‘how do you fit it all in?’

By that they mean: working full time, training for a half marathon, writing a blog and a book, etc etc.

My answer is ‘Its a balancing act’. Well, that’s the diplomatic answer to be honest its mainly by sheer force of will!

I’m running my post baby half marathon on Sunday. I was supposed to be running it last October, it was all part of my post Erin recovery plan: have baby, train for half marathon, get back to work. However, after a slow start due to a C Section and then my early return to work, I was starting to get in to the training.

Then I fell over. Short slip up, I thought, but oh no, they found I’d fractured a bone in my leg and all running went out the window. So I picked myself up, literally, and started again in January.

This time though its been another battle: cold weather, sports massages for dodgy quad muscles, chiropractor sessions for misalignment, flu and then this last weekend a bought of stomach bug which meant my last big run went out the window. Add to that the usual issues of new job, more travelling and balancing the child care then even just fitting in all the runs has been hard work. A lot of people would have given up and called it quits.

Then Phil and I decide to ramp it up and write another book.

Now this, more than the running at the moment, is light relief from the day to day, but just trying to fit that in is hard work. Once baby has gone to bed and you have tided up, all you want to do is collapse on the sofa. But then you have all these ideas buzzing around your head which you need to get down on paper.

Phil and I enjoyed a catch up over tea and cakes yesterday in the picturesque town of Henley in Arden, local to both of us. Ideas where discussed, plans drawn up and freckles gained in the lovely sunshine. But in the back of the mind there is always more to do to keep the house ticking over.

So why do I do it?

I could just ditch the book, the running or both and just get on with being a working mom.

Well, sometimes I wish it was that easy. But I can’t. If I don’t exercise I feel stodgy and loose my motivation in other areas (I had to do a turn round the block after the chocolate tiffin and apple strudel we shared) and the book is just something that excites me. Without those things I’d wouldn’t feel like I real existed.

The down side, always chasing my tail and feeling a bit frazzled.

Well at least, to quote Daisy Waugh’s book ‘I don’t know why she does it’, I’m not up to midnight baking cakes for class too as that would just be a step too far.


Filed under Candice, Writing

When Blogs Die

Blog booksPhil: I was listening to the radio a few days ago and there was a piece on biscuits. Obviously my ears pricked up as it’s one of my favourite subjects.

The surprise was that the interviewee was Stuart Payne the owner of the website “A Nice Cup Of Tea And A Sit Down“.

Years ago, I was a big fan of this site. It is, as the name suggested, all about having a nice cup of tea and a sit down – with a biscuit. Confectionary based websites are A Good Thing as far as I am concerned. I used to sit at work and electronically wander over there occasionally for light relief from whatever I was supposed to be doing.

The site gained a cult following which lead to a book based on it. As you can see, I bought a copy as soon as it was released and it is full of fascinating biscuit-based information. Sadly, this was the beginning of the end. Look at the site now and you’ll see that the left hand sidebar includes a survey on olympic biscuit choices which you might think makes it a year out of date. It doesn’t. The sidebar refers to the 2008 olympics. The Wifey’s column is even deader with a last update in 2007.

It’s not the only one. Suzi Brent’s Blog “Nee Naw“, the observations of life in an ambulance control room also produced a book and then closed in 2010. The reasons for this are mysterious. In a final post Brent says, “my fifteen minutes of fame also had its downside, and without going into detail, in the end I felt I had no alternative but to bring Nee Naw to its end”. At least the blog is archived for new readers to enjoy.

Random Acts of Reality” by Brian Kellett spawned two books (Blood, Sweat and Tea and More , Blood, Sweat and Tea) but a change of employment from the paramedic role that provided content for the blog left him with less “newsworthy” content. If keen, you can still find him raging against things on Twitter.

It’s always sad when a blog you have been following dies. The writer will have become a sort of friend. You’ll look forward to reading their writing and feel a slight connection to them. When, all of a sudden, the posts stop, it is both frustrating and worrying. Are they OK? What happened?

Interestingly, all these blogs were written under pseudonyms – Nicey, Mark Myers and Tom Reynolds respectively. Maybe there reaches a point where the real person feels they have to emerge from the shadows? Does this restrict the writing, especially on a work-based blog when your colleagues work out that they may be characters in your stories?

Rest assured that neither Candice or I have any intentions of shutting up anytime soon. The blog both keeps us plugging away at this writing dream and is an integral part of our long-term marketing strategy. As soon as we have something to announce about progress, you’ll be the first to know. In the meantime we’ll be rambling away, hopefully in an entertaining way,  even when we are massively succesful and sitting on the set of the Hollywood production of The Book.

By the way, those are our real names.


Filed under Phil, Writing