Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Galloway run:walk method

Over the last couple of years, every time I've tried to run longer than 5 miles, I've ended up injured, however carefully I've tried to take it and however gradually I've built up the mileage. But, I still want to run a marathon before I'm 50, so being able to stay injury free over much longer runs than 5 miles is needed!

I turn 50 next year. 😳

I was talking to one of my running friends the other day and telling her that I'd got up to 5 miles as my long run, but that I was worried that my Achilles would inevitably flare up again. She suggested the Galloway method and said that she uses it for any distance above half-marathon (I should point out here that she runs marathons and ultras and barely thinks twice about a 20-mile run!)

I knew nothing about what the Galloway method involved, so Googled it. The method is named after Jeff Galloway, and there's a wealth of information on his website, http://www.jeffgalloway.com/

Essentially, the idea is that you intersperse short periods of walking into your runs. How much you run to how much you walk is essentially up to you, but there is a guide that suggests ratios, based on how fast you could run a fast mile (the "magic mile").

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Sarah Fine - Guards of The Shadowlands

I don't know if any of you have read any of these books (if not, click on the images above to go to their Amazon pages), but although I've read a fair amount of fantasy in my past, this trilogy was the one that made me start writing fantasy. After reading these, I wished I could write something even half as good. They aren't aimed at my age group (though I don't really hold with age-assigned genres really. A good story is a good story) but I absolutely inhaled them. The characters leapt off the page at me and the settings and set-up were incredibly unusual and innovative.

In Sanctum, the heroine's best friend kills herself and ends up in a place beyond the Suicide Gates. The heroine (Lela) ends up dying and chooses to go to this awful place, to try and rescue her friend and the book follows her journey as she tries to survive and free her friend. This is the blurb:
A week ago, seventeen-year-old Lela Santos’s best friend, Nadia, killed herself. Today, thanks to a farewell ritual gone awry, Lela is standing in paradise, looking upon a vast gated city in the distance – hell. No one willingly walks through the Suicide Gates, into a place smothered in darkness and infested with depraved creatures. But Lela isn’t just anyone – she’s determined to save her best friend’s soul, even if it means sacrificing her eternal afterlife.

As Lela struggles to find Nadia, she’s captured by the Guards, enormous, not-quite-human creatures that patrol the dark city’s endless streets. Their all-too human leader, Malachi, is unlike them in every way except one: his deadly efficiency. When he meets Lela, Malachi forms his own plan: get her out of the city, even if it means she must leave Nadia behind. Malachi knows something Lela doesn’t – the dark city isn’t the worst place Lela could end up, and he will stop at nothing to keep her from that fate.
I was hooked from the first few lines and as soon as I finished it, I bought the other two books in the series, hoping they would be as good. They were.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Some news!!

Logo of a black dog with a monocle and the name Nero's Notes

Those of you who've followed me for a while (bless you!) will know that as well as writing books, I also have somewhat of a stationery addiction! Well... I'm now managing to combine both loves as Stuart Lennon has asked me to write for the blog on Nero's Notes.

I first 'met' Stu a couple of years ago. There are quotation marks, because in fact, Stu and I haven't ever met in real life (though I hope we will one day). We were both part of a #writingchat chat on Twitter (where various writers come together via Twitter on a Wednesday night from 8-9 pm UK time, to talk about a range of topics relating to writing) and the topic for the night was writing buddies. Neither Stu nor I had a writing buddy, nor were we in any writing groups. To cut a long story short, Stu and I swapped a small chunk of writing, gave feedback to each other and have ended up good buddies ever since!

Stu is now one of my beta readers - a very select group who read my books when I'm happy enough with them I can bear the thought of someone else seeing them, but with still some work to do on them. He also shares my love of good stationery. In fact, so much so that he bought a pocket notebook company! It was originally called Pocket Notebooks, but under Stu's guidance, has become Nero's Notes.

Picture of pen, paper, envelopes and ink bottle, for letter writing
Stu is also one of the friends that I write to. Yes, I still write proper letters to people, on proper paper and put them in proper envelopes, add a stamp and post them. In fact, my very first blog post for Stu is on writing letters and it comes out tomorrow. Please pop over to the blog and check it out? It should be up after 2 pm.

For those of you who share my love of good stationery, go and have a rummage through the Nero's Notes site. There are notebooks, pens, pencils, accessories and some excellent subscription boxes to feed your habit. There's some amazing stuff on there, including some things you won't be able to get anywhere else in the UK. Hopefully see you all over there!

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

In praise of some simple notebooks!

B5 notebooks by Green World
I've started editing "book 8" (a.k.a. "Guardians of The Realm 3: Chaos" - the third book in the trilogy) and have just started my third notebook for it!

I used to use Clairefontaine Age Bag A4 notebooks and I do still have a small stock of them to use up, but over the last year or so, I've shifted to B5 as a preferred size. It's halfway (roughly) between A5 and A4 (179mm x 252mm or ~7x10"), so big enough to get a decent space to write in but not so large that it takes up too much real estate on my desk.

The only problem is that B5 isn't a very common size to buy in the UK.

So far with the current book, I've used a Stalogy 016 notebook (used for general plot ideas and structure) and a Leuchtturm dot grid (used for scene planning and 'thinking' - noodling about, trying to work out things). The Leuchtturm is now full and I've moved into a Green World B5 notebook for notes.

I bought the four-pack of these from Amazon last year. I just found them again on Amazon and they're currently much more than I paid for them. Maybe they're one of those products where the price varies quite a bit. Considering that they weren't terribly expensive (at least, not when I bought them) they have some really nice features, though fountain pen friendliness isn't high on that list!