Colette’s Christmas Countdown – Day 9

9 Dec

Waiting is one of those things that can be simultaneously wonderful and awful. There’s anticipation, excitement, dread, fear. When we are kids we know, at least most of us do, that Santa will definitely come. What’s not to love? But will he bring the presents we asked for, and the ones we didn’t, though we’re sure, since he’s magic, that we’ll know about them anyway.

I remember lying in bed one Christmas morning imagining playing with a maze game. It was too early to get up, and besides, the game I played in my imagination was better than anything that could happen in the real world (just think how amazing Mousetrap looked in the ads, and how it never worked). Santa didn’t bring the maze game, which may or may not have been on my list, and I can still feel the disappointment of realising it wasn’t there. But, do you know what: I remember the excitement of anticipation and the fun I had thinking about the game.

In the Scottish writers’ calendar, this time of year also brings the anticipation of the outcome of the New Writers’ Awards and, though it’s been drifting to spring and even summer some years, the contributors list for New Writing Scotland. I try not to get excited about either of these, as I’ve yet to get a ‘yes’ from either, but then I do get excited, because I’ve had lots of ‘oh, you were so close…’ Fingers crossed – I hope that one of these days I’ll wear them down.

My family has also been waiting patiently for an operation to go ahead (I’ll not be more specific, as it’s not my place to be), but alas, for the second time, it’s been cancelled. So, election day won’t be operation day, and the wait goes on. Dread, anticipation, but also the excitement of a pain free new year.

Keep checking back – there’s a Christmas giveaway coming soon. Not too long to wait.

Colette’s Christmas Countdown – Day 8

8 Dec

Ziggurat – Aah. Another of my favourite words, and while we’re at the end of the dictionary, how about zugzwang (no, I’ve never heard it before, but I certainly have experienced it) – it’s a move you’ve got to make in chess even when it’s going to put you at a disadvantage. It sounds like it should be Mandarin, but actually comes from German (which tells you a lot about how good I am at other languages!).

Back to ziggurat – my lovely Concise Oxford Dictionary tells me it is a rectangular stepped tower – but I’ve heard it used to describe any zig-zag stonework. I do have a joke about zig-zag, but I won’t tell it on three fronts – one, it might slightly offend, two, it would take too long and probably wouldn’t work when written down and three, it was my big move when I met my husband (hey, it worked). You’ll just have to content yourself with singing ‘Ziggurat, aah.’ (With insincere apologies to the Spice Girls).

Colette’s Christmas Countdown – Day 7

7 Dec

Time for some music – nothing says Christmas like a flash mob, and nothing makes me cry like the Hallelujah Chorus


Colette’s Christmas Countdown – Day 6

6 Dec

Time for a Present – Free Book – Today Only

Enjoy a free Kindle book by yours truly – Five a Day – it might even make you feel healthy before the Christmas feasting begins. Click on the image for a preview.


Colette’s Christmas Countdown – Day 5

5 Dec

Success and Disappointments – not quite at the end of the year, but I’m Scottish, and if you think I’m blogging on Ne’er Day, you’ve got another thing coming (that, and the fact that I usually do my resolutions in August when the schools go back). So, no resolutions yet, but a little look back on the year: Publications – I was published in Pushing out the Boat, Postbox and the Reflex Anthology and I’ve got another publication pending; Wins – I won the Writing Quarter competition twice in January and July; Success – my proofreading and editing business, Beech Editorial Services started to bear fruit; Disappointments – I had a sniff at a book-sized publication, but unfortunately it didn’t come to fruition. Other Stuff – Pledged money to two crowdfunded literary ventures, one Extra Teeth has just arrived through my letterbox – a new magazine on the block, the other I will let you read about here. Alan Gillespie is an ex-G2 member.

Colette’s Christmas Countdown – Day 4

4 Dec

Enough Words Already – here’s our new elf, looking for a comfy shelf.

Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf with some of my publications

Colette’s Christmas Countdown – Day 3

3 Dec

Tortuous/Torturous – Well, I thought they were the same word, and only found out a couple of weeks ago that they weren’t (although I had a sneaking suspicion that I was pronouncing the word/s wrongly). It just goes to show that no matter how much you read and how much you write, there are always new words to be learned. So, what’s the difference – this is where the etymology comes into it Tortuous is derived from something having lots of twists and turns (tort and contort have the same root); while Torturous is all about the pain of torture.

My geeky brain is also amused by the fact that straightforward pain comes from the Anglo-Norman period, while the more legalistic and complex idea comes from good old Latin.

Colette’s Christmas Countdown – Day 2

2 Dec

Bucolic – I started yesterday with my favourite word, so here is my least favourite – bucolic. I don’t have any problems with its meaning – to do with the rural or pastoral life – lovely, but why does the word have to sound like a cross between someone being sick and having colic – not a good combination. Whenever I hear a landscape described as bucolic, I picture something really horrible, exactly the opposite of what the word is meant to convey.

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Colette’s Christmas Countdown – Day 1

1 Dec
  1. Syllabub – Well, we’ll start the Christmas Countdown with my favourite word. I don’t know if I have ever tasted a syllabub, yes, it is food, but I love the way the word feels in my mouth. Go on, say it out loud. Syllabub. Lovely. Words don’t get much better than that. And when I tell you that it is a whipped cream dessert flavoured with white wine or sherry, hopefully it will get you in the Christmas spirit.


31 Oct

They said that I was too sensitive, thin-skinned, highly strung. Weak was the implication. Too weak to do what I wanted, to follow the career path that was my heart’s desire. I tried not to listen, but the words fed into my soul.

I lost myself in other words, words that took me to other worlds, where I could fight for the freedom of Narnia, solve mysteries with Nancy Drew, explore jungles and far off planets. I stacked the books around me, building a wall to hide behind. I slipped my little pieces of paper in place of mortar, like the faithful at the Wailing Wall.

A wall became a tower, then the tower became a fortress. I worked in a library, built my own at home, added more protection. For I am weak. Like Wilbur, I am the runt of the litter with nothing to commend me.

Cannonballs blasted at my castle, breaching the defences, arrows slipped through cracks, and spears rained over the ramparts. From within I could feel the forces that rocked the very foundations. I had two choices: to hide in a corner, make myself small, close my eyes and let my mind go into the books, never to return; or to come out fighting my foes: fists clenched, armour on, and with a strengthen roar that would silence the world.

This piece was inspired by the writing prompt for 23rd of Oct at Creative Writing Ink


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