Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The Insecure Writer's Support Group - Finding Time...

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) stated purpose is to share and encourage. 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 first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Where we can post our thoughts on our own blogs. Talk about our doubts and the fears we have conquered. Discuss our struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling.

Plus, a question is posed, and this month's is: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?

The answer, sadly, is that I don't manage it all of the time, especially if work has been fraught and all I want to do is collapse and sleep when I get home. However, I do try to be bite-size, and I make sure I write at least once a week with The Drabble Cascade, a flash fic challenge that I and my sis, Tasha run over on our erotic romance blog, Fantasy Boys XXX. It only takes 100 words, maybe half an hour a week, so it keeps my writing hat weathered. (I have to admit here that there have been a couple of weeks recently where I totally forgot due to life challenges, but they are rare misses).

My favourite time of the day for creative thought is actually early in the morning, just after I get out of bed, when sleep has gone away, my brain wanders over ideas. Sometimes, when I am really inspired I do write when I'm on my exercise bike (I have a little tray designed for hanging off the back of car seats attached to the bike where I can put my Surface).

I also have my Surface open when I'm watching TV in case the muse strikes. Although with the TV on, that usually leads to notes for when I next sit down and write.

Finally, I work 4 days a week to earn a living, so that means of the working week I have one day when I am a writer. Some of this day is spent with marketing and networking, but I do make sure I have at least a couple of hours for writing (most weeks, that is, because sometimes life gets in the way as it has a tendency to do).

Anyone got any good tips on how to fit it all in?


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I mentioned last month that I don't think  I'm not writing enough and I'm not achieving my goals. And to sort this out, I've given myself a list of goals and I promised to keep everyone up to date, so here it is:

My goals list progress:

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  • Finish Ghost Blood Draft #1 - only 2 out of five scenes left to go, which is pretty crap for a whole month, but I'm getting there and it's better than the previous month!
  • Rewrite the start of Sacrifice of An Angel
  • Finish Bonds of Fire Extended Version
  • Take The Case of the Cursed House plan and turn into Draft #1 

Friday, 2 September 2016

Recipe: Creamy Lasagne

Creamy Lasagne
So, I had to make a lasagne last week and this is what I came up with. My family liked it, so I thought I'd share it with everyone. :)

This recipe makes a large Lasagne of 27x27x5cm, feeds 6-8.

Red Sauce

  • Oil for frying
  • 2 small, or 1 large onion (I used red onion, but you can use whichever onion you prefer)
  •  680g of turkey breast mince
  •  2 beef stock cubes
  • 500g (1 pack) passata
  • 2 large field mushrooms
  • 2 small roasted red peppers
  • 1 courgette
  • 3 crushed cloves/(tspns) garlic (paste) – keep 1 helping separate
  • 1 tspn oregano
  •  A dash of chilli paste
  •  2 tblspns of sweet sherry

White Sauce

I like this shop variety creamy lasagne sauce, of which I purchased 1180g. Yes, I know it's cheating, but I really like it.

However, if you want to make your own, it's just a matter of making a white sauce with butter, flour and milk. Sorry, I have no idea about quantities, except that it's about 1:1 butter to flour.

Lasagne Compilation

  • ~15 Lasagne Sheets - the exact number depends on the shape of your lasagne dish
  • 75g Mozzarella (grated)
  • 75g Cheddar (grated)


  • Frying pan and fish slice
  • 1 large lasagne dish 27x27x5cm, or several small ones
  • Knife and chopping board
  • Small bowl for setting aside ingredients
  • Measuring jug and small measures
  • Spoon
  • Mandolin (for slicing the courgette), but you can use a knife if you don’t have one

Red Sauce

  • Chop the mushroom in bite size pieces and fry on a low heat in a little oil with 2 cloves/tsps of garlic until mushrooms begin to soften, then put in a bowl and leave to the side.
  • While the mushroom is cooking, chop the onion finely and then, in the same unwashed pan that you cooked the mushrooms in, fry over a low heat until soft and translucent

  • Return the mushrooms to the pan and cook for 2 mins
  • Add the turkey mince and cook on medium to high heat until it all goes beige, i.e. it’s cooked through
  • Add the stock cubes to approx. 100ml of cold water and dissolve, then add this to the pan, stirring in and cooking through for a couple of minutes.
  • Chop the red peppers finely. Now you can go about roasting red peppers if you want, but I found a great cheat, buying them in a jar in brine.
  • Add the oregano, remaining garlic, chopped red pepper, passata, a dash of chilli paste to your taste, and the sherry
  • Cook on a medium to high heat for about ten minutes and then taste: add more of the herbs or spices as you see fit.
  • Leave the sauce to reduce on a low heat, and meanwhile, slice the courgette finely and fry in a little oil until it begins to colour (this may sound like a faff, and if you’re like me and only have a little second frying pan, you might have to do it in batches, but OMG, it adds flavour)
  • Add the courgette to the red sauce and cook for a minute or two

Compiling the Lasagne

  • Start by covering the bottom of the dish with lasagne sheets (break one up to fill in the gaps that will undoubtedly be left), I used 4 and a half sheets
  • Put in a layer of half the red sauce about 1cm thick to cover the pasta sheets

  • Put on a layer of white sauce to cover the red, this should be about ⅓ of the white sauce
  • Repeat steps 1 to 3, this should use up all your red sauce.
  • Put on a final layer of lasagne sheets, I used 6 on this layer, because
    • My lasagne dish gets slightly bigger towards the top
    • I filled in the gaps more thoroughly on the last layer, because I like a bit of extra pasta in the top layer
  • Add a final layer of white sauce covering the entire top
  • Sprinkle with the two cheeses
N.B. My family loves creamy lasagne, so this is heavy on the white sauce. If you prefer it tangier, then just reduce the amount of white sauce, perhaps leave out the second layer of white sauce and just put it over the final layer of pasta.

Bake the lasagne in a pre-heated oven (160°C Fan) for 30-40mins, until the top is golden and the lasagne is bubbling.

And finally...
This is a very large lasagne, it will feed 6-8 people depending on what you are serving it with, but it also freezes well. I wait until the lasagne has gone cold and then divide it into portions to suit family size, put it into takeaway containers and then freeze. Just defrost and reheat in the oven, or microwave and it is great (I personally love twice baked lasagne :))

So, I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know how it turns out it you make it.