Monday, 24 July 2017

Stargazing Across the Universe

In August we'll be spending a week on the Isle of Skye, Northern Scotland. The crofters cottage we've chosen is literally in the most northern part of the island, with the road ending right outside. There were a number of reasons for our choice, but the most important for me was a lack of light pollution. We live in a town, and I'd have to go some way before being able to get a decent view of the planets and Milky Way. The chance to do some real stargazing couldn't be turned down.

At the weekend, Mr PS went to an auction and came back with this telescope. I don't know too much about it, other than it's a 1967 Japanese Greenkat. It has a 40mm zoom lens, which I believe is tiny compared to modern telescopes. It only cost him £15, so hardly a great loss if it's not powerful enough. I'll be testing it out tonight, weather permitting.

For the astronomers out there, what would be the best budget telescope or minimum specifications for me to take to Skye?

Talking of stargazing, did you the latest Star Trek Discovery trailer? Apart from having the usual fangirl moment when I watched it for the first time, I was overjoyed when one of the characters said his name. Do you know who I mean and why I was so excited to hear it? Watch it to find out, and let me know what you think.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Balm for the Soul

Nothing recharges those batteries faster than a weekend away, which is what Mr PS and I did the weekend before last. We left home early Saturday morning and returned Sunday evening. We felt so relaxed, it felt like we'd been away for a week. New surroundings, fresh air, and sunshine is balm for the soul.

On the Sunday we went to an annual classic car show called the Rally of the Giants. It was a new experience for me. You have to use the word rally loosely in this context - no racing of cars took place. Instead owners brought their classic cars and parked up in designated spots according to the age of their vehicle. Members of the public could walk around, take pictures, and generally fantasize about the car they'd like to own - a silver corvette for me and a 1972 Lincoln continental for Mr PS. There were far too many beauties for me to include in this post, but here's a few.

The day before the Rally we visited Waddesdon Manor, a National Trust property near Oxford. This is by far the grandest National Trust property I've visited. The architecture and gardens were stunning and beautifully kept. The inside of the manor was, as Mr PS put it, so over-the-top in its grandeur it bordered on obscene and arrogant. It was a statement of wealth. Given its French ancestry, we could easily see what prompted the French Revolution. 

Mr PS loves his tea, and we were pleasantly surprised when it was served in this cast iron teapot at the Manor. When we returned home, I did some research. Renowned for distributing heat evenly to create a more flavourful cup of tea, it's Japanese in origin and called a Tetsubin. A quick search on Amazon and I was able to order one for home. Mr PS is happy!

All pictures © Eleanor Garratt 2017

What recharges your batteries and/or soothes your soul? 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

IWSG: A Lesson Learned, Anthology, & Twitter Pitch

Founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG's purpose is to share and encourage. A place where writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. 

The co-hosts for July's post are Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan. Please drop by and thank them.

Now for this month's IWSG question:

What is one valuable lesson you learned since you started writing?

Not to compare myself to other writers. Whilst it's encouraging and motivating to follow other writers on their journey - often gleaming invaluable advice - you shouldn't compare yourself to them. As a writer, your voice and style is unique. It therefore follows that your journey as a writer will also be unique. Making comparisons can act to discourage you if you've not managed to write or sell as many books as they have. Trying to achieve their success by writing for their market could stifle your own creativity. Write for yourself and your readers.

On to other IWSG news. Submissions are still open for the IWSG Guide to Writing for Profit anthology.

All members of the IWSG blog hop, IWSG Facebook group and/or members of the IWSG Goodreads Book Club are eligible to submit. Submission closes on July 31st. Full details can be found here.

On July 27th, IWSG will be holding its first Twitter Pitch Party! #IWSGPIT will be running from 8am - 8pm Eastern time. Many writers have gone on to see their books published following a pitch, so this a must-do for writers. For full details on how to take part, click here

That's it for this month's IWSG post. What valuable lessons have you learned? Are you submitting an entry for the Guide to Writing for Profit anthology? Have you ever pitched via Twitter? What were your experiences of submitting that way?