Red-pen’s Revenge

This week, I have managed to take myself on a short break, just for the week and just across the channel to France, and I am leaving you in the (?)capable hands of my proof-reader, so if you notice any mistakes then please let me know so that I can ask for a refund on her fee! So over to you, Krissi…..

……Thank you Ann, I think…..

Hello everybody! Golly gosh, I really feel as if I have jumped up two grades in school and been put in charge of the pencils and chalk all at once! Ann is taking a well-deserved break, and has asked me if I could fill in (gulp!) blog-wise ….. so here I am.

Red-pen's crew
Proof-reader’s arsenal

First of all, I must admit that I am not totally new to blog writing, I have my own at
but when compared to Ann, I am somewhat of a novice. Well, let’s be honest here, Ann was the inspiration behind me joining the blogosphere, it is entirely her fault!

As Ann said, I am her proof-reader, which means that I get to read her novels before they are published, and aren’t they good? I know some people who think that their work doesn’t need to be proofed, “The spellchecker said it was fine…” they will say to me. Ouch! I really have to bite my tongue when I hear that! There is just so much more to proof-reading than spelling checks, as any of you who may have read a poorly-proofed book or article might agree.

Not being a proper writer like wot**Ann is, I have no experience of the creative side of writing. Ann has tried to describe her creative thought process to me as something akin to watching a film. The film plays in her head and she has to write what she sees and hears to tell the story. I think that is fascinating! Having very limited imagination, as I do, that sounds to me like magic. I like to think that I have a good memory, so I can write about things I have experienced, but summoning them up from thin air….nope, can’t do that.

I’m not sure how much faith I have in astrology, but I am a Virgo, and one of the things that Virgos are supposed to be, is perfectionists, is that a pain, or what! I do so wish that I didn’t get bothered when signs outside shops advertise “coffee’s and tea’s” or “apple’s and banana’s” but I do! (Just between us, apostrophe’s (sic) and their misplacement, are the pebbles in my life’s shoe) but anyway, the point I was trying to get to, is that, as a (sort of) perfectionist, looking for mistakes is easy peasy for me to do because I don’t need to look for them, they jump out of the page right at me! This is a double-edged sword, mind you, inasmuch as all mistakes jump out at me, even when I’m not supposed to be looking for them, however the bottom line is that proof-reading for me is sort of the same as story writing is for Ann, we both do it because it’s what we do!

You may be familiar with the idea that one cannot proof one’s own writing….even proof readers can’t. Very often, as the author of a piece of writing, you know what you mean to say, and when you read it, that’s how you read it, but a different pair of eyes might easily see a mistake, or a repetition, or quite simply where what you’ve written doesn’t actually say what you were trying to say. (Does that make sense?)

Anyway, I think that like so many other areas in life – with creative writing, we have habits, mistakes which we make again and again. Just as a writer has a writing style, so they also have a mistake-making style, and I’m hoping that Ann won’t mind me sharing with you her trademark mistake, so to speak! Hyphens, hyphens hyphens! If I had a pound/dollar/currency unit of choice for every hyphen I had ‘red-penned’ from the first draft of any of Ann’s novels into oblivion, then a rich woman I would be! When going through “The Angel Bug” I even threatened Ann, saying that I was going to remove the hyphen key from her computer keyboard! Conversely, sometimes (albeit quite infrequently) I have to insert a hyphen – and it does tickle my funnybone when that happens. (Sad, moi??)

So, I hope this has given you a little insight into my little corner of the Ann Foweraker world, enough to tide you over until Ann’s return next week, rested and rejuvenated after her recreational respite!

Let us know what your bête noire is, are you an apostrophe nerd like me? Or a hyphenaholic like Ann?

Do you think that correct spelling and punctuation are still relevant in 2013 and the world of the instant message?

We’d love to hear from you, and why not hop over to and take a look at what’s there! Oh, and I’m available for proof-reading commissions, just get in touch!

**whereas I might be a sort of perfectionist, I do like to keep a sense of irony in my writing. Of course I know that “wot” isn’t a word, and that even “what” would be incorrect in this context, but, like the Persian rug weavers who intentionally inserted a ‘mistake’ into their work, my ‘wot’ makes me imperfect, keeps my tongue firmly in my cheek, which in turn keeps my feet firmly on the ground and me firmly in the real world. (I hope)


Does it hurt to use a laptop?


What are you reading this blog on? Is it a laptop? Desk top? Notebook? Tablet?

Demonstrating the Laptop Slouch
Photo courtesy pics

Well, it seems that reading may be  fine on almost any, but writing on laptops is beginning to cause those that use them A LOT, a lot of pain!

Now, up until recently, I have not used mine as much as some authors, but there are reports of authors developing severe neck pain, wrist pain and back pain from typing on their laptops.

I can see why.. the screen is actually too close to the keyboard, attached as it is, so you are always peering down at it. The flat keyboard does not lend itself to the correct wrist stance — or to supporting your wrists as you are typing. Add to that if you use one resting on your lap or other non-desk height surface, it gives you a slouched back, or worse, twisted and slouched.

To be honest – when writing my novels I prefer to work on a desktop with the raked angle of a stand alone keyboard and up to now it has been possible to ‘shut myself away’ in the study and stay on that one. Unfortunately, I now need to be able to work most of the time in the dining room – to be where my mother (sadly suffering from dementia) can see me and yet to be able to work on my novels. This being the case I am looking for solutions before I suffer from the problems caused by bad posture from writing on a laptop.

So far the only problems I have encountered from over-use of a computer have been from using the mouse.. and this was from copy and pasting when writing primary school reports when the idea of ‘standard phrases to be used appropriately’ was being trialled in the school I was then teaching in. After the second whole day of writing reports I began to get a strange tingling in my lips and a numbness down part of my face. It took me a while to work out what was triggering this .. the constant small movements with the mouse!

Even now, if I do a lot of ‘mouse work’, like when I am editing or correcting after proofreading, I am aware that I must not do too much otherwise the numbness starts again.

One famous author has chosen to eliminate sitting at her computer by standing all the time. Lionel Shriver, author of  ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ among 12 other books, is reported as working on her laptop with it standing on two volumes of The Oxford English Dictionary on an ordinary desk. She chose to do this to avoid the problems associated with a sedentary life-style (another writer’s occupational hazard) but it helps with the other problems too.

In one article I read, Anthony Horowitz (of the Alex Rider series) said ‘writing on the computer is so much more painful than writing with a fountain pen ever was.’  Hmm, me thinks he forgets the arm-crushing writer’s cramp from using a pen … I remember this feeling well from exam times – when forced to write for hours on end, until arm, wrist and fingers would all be tied in a painful knot by the exam’s end, with much shaking to allow the blood to flow and the nerves to relax enough to continue within the last hour!

So, I am looking for easy, cheap, good ideas.

Ones I can clear away quickly and easily come meal times too! Not sure I want to stand all the time – though I’m happy to do that for a while. The most popular ideas posted on the internet seem to be to raise the laptop so the screen is correct for looking straight at and have an external plug-in keyboard at the correct height for arm angle and wrist support. This seems almost as cumbersome as having the desk top computer around. I wonder if any of you have tried any of these methods or have good ideas?

Do you use a laptop computer a lot and have you solved this problem?

Have you suffered from bad posture due to long term laptop use?

Do share – whether you can help or not – you know I love to hear from you


Fat Woman Thinning? Proper ‘ansum Week 9

Welcome to week 9 of my fat woman thinning? blog – if you are new to this you need to know that I first just kept this as a log on the pages – to motivate myself and so my ‘cheerleaders’ that is my sons, could see how I was getting on. Then a a number of weeks ago I got brave enough to post it all as a blog

I had to do something, menopause seemed to have changed the way my body dealt with things – my usual way of maintaining my weight no longer worked and the weight crept on… and on until by Jan the first this year I weighed in at 12 stone!  So, now I am using resistance weights as well as some aerobic and stretching, and watching what I eat (writing everything down as well) – but Not Dieting!

Also, I don’t go to a gym.  I don’t have time to spend getting there, nor the inclination to flaunt my lumpy body in front of others, so I have worked out what I can do at home and it doesn’t take long – the weights never more than 15 mins and the aerobics and stretching is worked to follow a strict half hour of music. If you want to know what keeps me so busy visit my website  where you will also find my novels ‘Divining the Line’, ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’ and ‘Some Kind Of Synchrony’ just click HERE to be able to the first 3 chapters in pdf !

Well after last week – you know, no weight loss and only half an inch off waist measurement to console me – and of course no ‘treat’ for reaching my first milestone of 11 st – as I didn’t. I was ready to keep a keen eye on everything – extra carbohydrates that might sneak in and getting the exercises done.

Also, in the middle of the week came the start of a new month and with that the next set of photos to be taken. Ok, I know you can’t see them – perhaps when I work out how they can be on my site but not accessible to the world I will be able to post them. For now, suffice to say, I can see the difference – from the first of Jan to now – MOST noticeable, but even from first of Feb to first of March!

Apart from missing the odd portion of potatoes (like with the Sunday Roast where there is SO much else to eat I really (REALLY) didn’t miss them and the same for the mock-roast on Monday), and a slice of toast I usually have but didn’t this week, most meals were as usual. I shall attempt to photograph all the meals I eat next week for a photo record – in case you are thinking that the portions must be minuscule. Remember I am Not Dieting but I am doing extra weights exercises – you can find all this on the drop-downs on the top bar from FWT?


End of week 9 weigh and measure:

Weight 10 st 12 lbs. (YES! that’s 3 lbs down from last week!) that’s 152 lbs for those of you who think that way or 69.2 kg.

Relaxed waist measurement (level at belly button) 38.5 inches (98cm) Down a whole inch.

Waist pulled in tight – 35.5 inches (90.5cm) Down half an inch!

SO – ’tis proper ‘ansum, as the Cornish say about something good.

And now I can reveal my treat to myself  – I’ve decided on a new stylish wrap-around dressing gown – as a wrap-around it will still fit when I get down to my target, and it will make me feel good on the way!

Don’t you just love it when sticking at something works out to be the right thing to do? Have you ever felt like giving up but then by sticking to your guns it turns out right – I love to hear from you folks – share your experiences 🙂


Welcome to my Blog

I decided it was about time I started a blog… after all I’ve been writing one in my head for ages.

I didn’t realise how tricky finding a title for my blog was going to be, I considered many pithy and wise sounding names, only to find others had the same idea before me. I considered a list, ‘my blog on writing novels, keeping chickens and goats, sand sculpting, body-boarding, slate-ware, belly-dancing , cake-decorating, poetry and life….’ Too long winded I thought, but that’s what its going to be about. My life and my passions within in it…. so welcome to

Ann Foweraker – Publishing my novels and other Passions


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