100% K.J Chapman

Friday Fun: Gifts of a Writer and Geek

Last Saturday, I entered into the last year of my twenties. I literally woke up and thought, ‘how the hell did that happen?’ I remember celebrating my eighteenth just last year… surely… no, eleven years ago… WOW.

I quickly got over the shock of my disappearing youth when I opened my gifts. I was truly spoilt throughout the day, but I think this picture captures the writer and geek in me. My friends and family know me too well.

Dr Who and Potter fans will appreciate my excitement at opening these beauties. My love of notebooks has now meshed with my love of Potter thanks to Mr O and my daughter. They can also be thanked for the snitch necklace (it is quite heavy, so we plan on turning it into a Christmas tree ornament), and the coolest alarm clock EVER! I get woken by the sound of the Tardis, and I can press a little button and have the time illuminated on my ceiling… <I’m like a pig in shit>.

My Tardis salt and pepper shakers are NOT to be used, and have pride of place on my kitchen window sill beside my chicken calendar. Other people may shake their heads, or call me immature, but I say, ‘my house, my stuff, my life, my business.’

If you have an inner geek, let it loose! It’s more fun that way, I promise.

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100% K.J Chapman

Friday Fun: Quick Glimpse

I shall dub today’s Friday fun post as a ‘quick glimpse’ post. Today’s glimpse is of the contents of my handbag. Most women have a hand bag, and most women fill their handbag with weird and wonderful things.

As a mother, my handbag is full of practical items, and plain, old junk:

  • Mobile phone
  • Car/house keys
  • Notebooks
  • Pencil case
  • Purse
  • Change of clothes for my daughter
  • Plastic food bag with antiseptic wipes and plasters inside- (a basic first aid kit for  the common grazed knee)
  • Body spray
  • SPF spray
  • My daughter’s snap bracelet and loom band- as you do…
  • Loose change

Yes, all of that was crammed into my poor handbag. I’m a little surprised, and relieved, that there wasn’t a gooey toffee or sweet stuck to the bottom of my bag. Or an Opal Fruit… yes, I’m old enough to remember when they were called Opal Fruits!

Writing and Me, Writing Exercises

Allergic to the Letter ‘E’ Challenge

A week ago, I saw an ‘Allergic to the letter ‘E’ challenge’ over at Art and Soul. The challenge was extended to anyone who wanted to take part, and I definitely wanted a shot at it for my ‘Friday Fun’ post.

Basically, the letter ‘E’ is the most commonly used letter in the English language, so writing a paragraph/ excerpt without it is quite a challenge. I’m up for that challenge.

Here it goes:

Sitting on my own on bus forty two is not what I had in mind. Obviously, Layla isn’t coming, but a call isn’t too much to ask, right? Now, I’m stuck on a hour long bus trip with a drunk who stinks of body odour.

I dial six unfamiliar digits from a napkin Rowan hid in my rucksack for just such occasions.

It rings.

“What’s up?” Rowan sounds anxious.

“Layla’s a no show,” I say.

“What?” Rowan sighs. “Christ, Coram. I told you to go tactfully with that girl. I shouldn’t ask you to do big boy’s work.”

“Your narcissism is simply inspiring,” I hiss at him.

“I know. Why do you think I’m boss of Program Nightfall? It ain’t for my cross-stitch skills.”

I swallow back my irritation. “I don’t know why I had to bring Layla in anyway. You always said that I was a liability.”

Rowan half laughs. “Don’t act a sap, bro. And don’t worry, I won’t ask you again. Can’t you do anything right?”

My fury soars. “Shut your mouth. This isn’t my fault. I won’t kidnap Layla for you.”

Thankfully, body odour guy is in a world of his own. I catch him looking, but I doubt his mind is on anything but holding in his sick.

“Damn, Coram. You hold a torch for that girl, don’t you?” Rowan asks. “If so, you should bring Layla in. You know I will sort transport straight to HQ. If Roma and that gang find Layla first-“

“I know. I know.” I cut him off. My stomach churns with worry for Layla, and hurt that I was stood up. “Don’t say it out loud. I will talk to Layla, okay?”

“This is your last shot. If you don’t bring Layla to HQ in thirty hours, I will cut you from Program Nightfall. Layla is important, and right now, you ain’t.”

I hang up on him, pushing my hands through my hair in frustration. This sucks.

As bus forty two slows at traffic lights, I spot a hand waving from a black car. A girl with familiar pink hair starts running toward us. It’s Layla.

I jump into busy traffic, narrowly avoiding a limo.

Layla grabs my hand. “Coram, hurry. That guy is from Roma’s gang.”

Drunk, body odour guy sprints at us. His lips twist into thin, angry strips. Layla holds out a hand and a flash shoots out. Body odour guy bursts into a million shards, turning to dust around us. Cars skid in a mad confusion.

I stand in shock. Layla is a fully casting witch. Oh crap, Layla works for Kraft.

“Don’t play dumb , Coram. You know what I am. Why didn’t you say that you work for Rowan?” Layla looks hurt.

“I didn’t know you could cast! Anyway, you didn’t say that you work for Kraft,” I say, just as hurt. “Rowan will go crazy. You know that, right?”

“That’s just it. Kraft isn’t what you think, Coram. Rowan isn’t who you think. You and I must kill him.”

“No! Rowan isn’t a bad guy. You know what Roma’s gang can do. Rowan will transport you to Nightfall HQ, but Roma will kill you, Layla!” 

Layla snorts. “Rowan is just as bad as Roma. Don’t you know who I am?”

“Don’t you know who I am? Rowan isn’t just my boss. I won’t kill my family.”

Layla drops my hand as if it is burning hot. “Rowan Cantrall is your family?”


Wow, that was such a fun exercise. I could have gone on and on.

Seeing as I partook in the challenge via an open invitation, I shall extend and open invite of my own. Anyone who wants a go for a bit of Friday Fun is welcome. I look forward to seeing your challenges.


The excerpts in this post are the works of K.J.Chapman

100% K.J Chapman

Getting to Know Me – Pointless Questions

It’s that time again – ‘Friday Fun’ post time!

Today, I am giving my answers to twenty of the all time most pointless questions. Feel free to join in. Let’s get to know (pointless) things about each other.

  1. What’s your favourite colour? Green.
  2. What’s meal could you eat for the rest of your life? A Sunday roast (cooked by someone else).
  3. What Hogwarts house would you be in? Hufflepuff.
  4. If you had a super power, what would it be? To create literary characters who come to life.
  5. Coke or Pepsi? Neither.
  6. Daytime or Night time? Daytime.
  7. What sound annoys you? People hiccupping when they’re trying to talk to me.
  8. What is your karaoke song? Depends on the mood. Black Velvet or the Shoop Shoop song.
  9. Craziest Purchase? Spice Girls silver platforms boots.
  10. Who would play you in a film of your life? Helena Bonham Carter. I think she is amazing, and she’d be able to portray my level of crazy.
  11. Your job during school/college? I worked in a chippy (fish and chip shop).
  12. What is your guilty pleasure? A bar of galaxy dipped in a cup of hot tea.
  13. Is the glass half full or half empty? Half full.
  14. How old were you when you learned Santa wasn’t real? About 8 or 9.
  15. What is the first memory you recall? I was being pushed in my buggy by my Mum, and my Dad broke off a piece of my Milky Bar and ate it. I was distraught.
  16. Biggest pet peeve? Bad manners/ rudeness.
  17. How would your friends describe you? As Monica from ‘Friends’ mixed with a touch of Phoebe.
  18. What is your fear/ phobia? Fear: Losing a loved one. Phobia: Moths.
  19. Dog or cat person? Dog, although, I don’t have either.
  20. What unusual item do you have in your handbag right now? A bubble wand.

So, there you have it. Twenty pointless question and answers. I don’t believe that knowing someone’s favourite colour can tell you anything about them as a person, but it’s all in the name of fun.

100% K.J Chapman, Writing and Me

My Most Important Tool As A Writer

This is another Friday Fun post. I might make these posts a habit for a Friday morning. Feel free to join in!

What is my most important tool as a writer?

Of course, I could say notebooks, paper, pens, blah blah blah, but I wanted to share with you a naming book I have had for many years- Dictionary of First Names by Geddes & Grosset. I purchased this book in a charity shop for fifty pence many moons ago, long before I had my daughter.

It has always been my tool for picking character names and understanding the meanings behind them. It was bizarre to actually use it to pick out a name for a real life human. In case you are wondering, I named my daughter Sophie. She just didn’t suit Princess Consuela Banana Hammock (if you get this reference let’s be ‘Friends’).

Here is my treasured baby/ character name book:

As you can see it is a tad tatty, and some pages are loose, but it has been lovingly adorned with Frozen stickers by my daughter. (I think she put Hans on there to represent Team Antagonist). It is also full to bursting with post-it notes. Each one is for a name that took my fancy. I use post-its for easy reference, and because I have an obsession with stationery.

If I ever have to dispose of this book it will be a solemn day indeed. I feel a little sick at the thought of it. I’ve had it for many years, and although it seems crazy to say it, it holds sentiment.

100% K.J Chapman

Things I have Done Once…And Will Not Do Again!

Over the next few months I plan on adding some personal blog posts in amongst my writing blog posts. A little insight into the life and experiences of K.J.

This post is a bit of fun. I have chosen five experiences from my life that I can tick off my checklist, but I will most definitely NOT be doing again.

Rock Climbing/ Cliff Climbing

I’m not sure of the exact name of this activity, but it involved a cliff face, an obstacle course built into the cliff face, a rope threaded over and under said obstacles, and me attached to the end of it. I went into this activity full of confidence after having a blast on a zip wire that stretched from one cliff face to another. The cliff course, however, got the better of me.

My legs turned to jelly, and I had never realised how exhausting it is being physically petrified. Half way up the course I froze for at least two minutes. Other climbers had made it to the top in less than one minute. Then, once I had finally got myself going again, I slipped and ended up with bloody elbows, and the poor instructor had to pull my dead weight up the cliff face. When I asked him what my time was, he simply replied, “I have no idea, Sweetheart. I stopped the timer after seven minutes”…oops.

Paintballing

When I say I will never do paintballing again, I must clarify that I mean I will never do ‘Free For All’ paintballing again.

I was a bad shot and a lousy hider, so I pretty much sucked at paintballing, and I was left with a lot of ammo at the end of the game. The martials suggested we use up what ammo we had left in a ‘free for all’ match. Each man/woman for themselves, and no rules apply (except no deliberate head shots).

My naïve self, a paintball virgin before that day, joined in. I was shot at point blank range in the back of my thigh and ankle. Wow- the pain was unreal. I literally crawled, ‘Saving Private Ryan’ style behind a barrel and stayed there until the final klaxon.

It wasn’t until I got in the shower that I noticed the biggest bruise I have ever had. This was eight years ago, and I have still not topped that bruise. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was the size of a side plate, with a perfect circle in the middle of it. It took weeks for it to fade.

Smoking

As all teens do (or at least did when I was at school), I tried my first cigarette. One word to describe the experience- vile. I didn’t inhale properly, more like swallowed the smoke, which resulted in me gagging my guts up.

Even brushing my teeth after didn’t take the ash tray taste away. I can remember thinking to myself, ‘Scientists say it takes more than one cigarette to get someone addicted. Why are people forcing themselves to endure more than one of these disgusting things?’

I still don’t understand it.

PanoraMagique Balloon Experience- Disney Land.

Yes, I mean the air balloon on an electric winch. I can tell you right now that a real one is out of the question!

Again, I thought I’d enjoy it, so I gave it a bash, but no, it was terrifying. I spent the whole time clinging so tightly to the side that my knuckles turned white. My other half got some cracking pictures of Disney land, but otherwise, I was traumatised.

Do It Yourself Eye Brow Waxing

When I was fourteen I decided that it was time to shape my eyebrows properly. To be honest they did look like they were about to crawl off my face, but I was young and stupid, and thought waxing my own eyebrows would be a piece of cake.

Back in 2000… (cough). It seemed to be the rage for teenage girls to shape their eyebrows into thin lines with a rounded bit where they meet the nose. I call it the sperm effect eyebrow because that is basically what they looked like.

For reasons I can not fathom now, I too wanted that eyebrow style. So, I bought a wax set and set about it. The more I waxed one eyebrow the more I had to do the other to make it match. It was a vicious circle. I was left with insanely thin, sperm effect eyebrows and a constant look of surprise.

My advice to anyone looking to wax their own eyebrows- GO PRO!

I’d be interested to hear other blogger’s top five experiences they’ll never repeat again…