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Coffee time : late spring detox

Following yesterday’s post, I deciced to do a spring detox on the blog.

I haven’t changed the theme since the creation of the blog and I feel like it’s outdated now.

Also, there are way too many visual elements on the pages.

It needs to be simpler, somehow quieter, and feel like fresh air is blowing through the pages.

What’s going to change ?

You can look forward to a new theme, a new visual identity and a simpler navigation.

I’ll have 3 main categories : inspiration, creation, organization, plus 2 other ones for maintenance  for site updates and social posts.

I really hope you will enjoy all the changes and embrace the new focus of the blog.

❤ always.

Back to blogging

Hi Guys !

I have not written or publish anything in many months. I know I should have informed you about what was going on but the truth is I had a very hard time figuring out in which direction I wanted my blog to evolve.

Besides having a lot to deal with (like everybody, I know…), I encountered technical difficulties and time management challenges with translating my articles.

Bottom line is I lost myself in the process.

Months went by and I did not want to come back to the blog without a clear vision. During these months, I have taken a step back from writing, both non fiction and fiction and I have taken many online classes in drawing, painting and art in general. I loved it. And I have thought of you guys almost everyday.

This experience gave me an idea : expanding the focus of the blog from writing to creativity in general.  At a slower pace. I think I’ll start with one article a week, English only.

I have already thought of some articles I’d like to write : e-courses reviews, book reviews, plan with me (on my arty Bullet Journal).

Don’t hesitate to tell me what subjects would interest you in the comments section below.

2015’s gone, Happy new Year my friends !!!!

 

May this new year bring you love, happiness, comfort and inspiration. Health, peace, liberty are also available in the Wish department 😀 Take what you need !

Bye 2015

This has been an amazing year that helped me find and me dear new friends.

I hope we’ll enjoy each other’s company for a long time.

Cheers my friends ❤

My 2015 complete report

Des changements à venir sur le blog avec la nouvelle année

Oui, c’est à nouveau l’heure d’une pause café ensemble. Asseyons-nous avec des boissons chaudes. Des changements vont se produire sur ce blog.

Vous l’avez peut-être remarqué, ou pas. J’ai modifié le menu principal.

Au revoir les chats

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Vous avez bien compris, les chats ne reviendront pas sur le blog.

Je sais que très peu certains d’entre vous vont hurler à la mort en protestation. Désolée, je ne changerai pas d’avis. Il y a deux raisons à cela. La première : l’événement était ancré sur le week-end, au moment précis où je suis le plus probablement éloignée de mon ordinateur. La seconde raison est que l’événement n’a pas semblé trouver son public parmi les lecteurs du blog. je trouvais moi même que l’événement en lui même n’était pas vraiment à sa place et aussi un peu difficile à comprendre. Un événement photo à propos de l’écriture ? Beaucoup de personnes m’ont demandé ce qu’elles étaient censées faire, ce qui signifiait que le concept était trop cryptique.

Des listes, des listes, des listes.

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Même si Writing Cats disparait, je n’ai pas l’intention de laisser le blog sans événements.

En fait, j’ai déjà une idée : vous proposer de faire des listes avec moi. Il s’agit d’une passion nouvelle que j’aimerais partager avec vous.

Nous écrirons des listes de toutes sortes : des listes de souhaits, des listes impertinentes, des listes drôles, des listes d’inspiration, des listes de personnages, des listes de thèmes, des listes de choses préférées, etc.

Le but est de rassembler toutes ces mines d’information et de les compiler dans votre propre livre de listes, un objet de référence dabs lequel vous pourrez puiser plus tard des tonnes d’informations et de détails pour votre propre plaisir ou dans le cadre d’un projet d’écriture.

Quel genre de liste vous plairait ? ça vous intéresse ? N’hésitez pas à partager votre avis sur le sujet dans la section de commentaires.

Changes are coming on the blog with the new year

Yes, it’s coffee time again, let’s sit together and have some hot drinks. Changes are coming on the blog.
Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe you havn’t : I’ve changed the main menu.

Bye bye kitties

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Yes, Writing Cats won’t come back on the blog. I know very few some of you guys will haul to the moon in protest. I’m sorry but I won’t change my mind.
There are two reasons. First, it was anchored on week end days when I am most likely to be far from my computer most of the time. and second because, it did not seem to appeal to the blogs readers. I, myself, felt they were a bit out of place and a bit difficult for new  bloggers. a picture event about writing ? Many people asked me what they were meant to do which means the basic concept felt a bit like a cypher.

 

List, lists, lists

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Even if Writing Cats is going away, I do not intend to let the blog eventless.

In fact I already have an idea : invite you guys to write lists with me. Lists are a new passion fo mine and I’d like to share it with you.

We’ll write all sorts of lists,  wish lists, silly lists, funny lists, inspiration lists, character lists, theme lists, favorite things lists, aso.

The goal is to gather all these gems of informations and create your own personal book of lists, a piece of information and details you can later dive into for you own pleasure or while doing research for a writing project.

 

You’re interested ? Please share your thoughts in the comments section. Do not hesitate to tell me what kind of list you would be interested in.

Where does Laduchessederat come from ?

I get this question a lot. Last time was just a couple weeks ago. @thinkerv was the curious one. I think I have already told the story many times on this blog but never actually did a specific post about it. So here it is.

It was given to me

Back in the university, I initially wanted to be a lawyer, until the day I understood it meant being broke, overworked and bent under a student status until I was 30 years old. So I moved on to my other passion : books.

I entered a school teaching students how to become professionals in the books industry. It included 3 majors : library, publishing and book selling. My major was publishing, which meant I was trained in both editorial and technical departments.

Students came from all types of backgrounds (maths, literature, sciences) but I was one of the only 2 coming from law school.

One thing did federate us all : Science fiction and Fantasy. They were very popular among the students and many times we would talk with references to SF books. These were the years the Lords of the Rings film trilogy was in the making, Harry Potter films were just hitting theaters and every body discovered the power behind the literary magical worlds.

During these years, I studied typography, editorial strategies, professional softwares (indesign, illustrator, flash, aso) and computer networks. I happened to be quite passionate about the latter and would sometimes let my advocating tendencies take over in group projects sessions when I thought my solution was more elegant.

One day, after championing one of my ideas again, a girl from the back of the classroom said « And that’s how Polgara does it » just loud enough so everyone would hear it. We all burst into laughing.

It was an obvious reference to how I looked then (long black hair with a with a white stroke above the left eye) and to my feisty temper.

I’m a good sport and the reference wasn’t that bad so I decided to go with the nickname and own it. I even thought about buying a long blue dress but never really git the time to do it.

… kind of.

For anyone who does not know who Polgara is, you might want to check David Eddings’s Belgariad and Malloreon. Polgara is one of the main character in all of these books. She’s a powerful (the most powerful) witch and politician  who fought against evil to protect many countries, modernised her government and freed people from slavery. Her work earned her many titles, given to her as token of gratefulness. Among those, Polgara has been made Duchess of Erat.

When I started on the internet, I simply kept the nickname Polgara. I even had an email adress polgara @ provider.com but by the time I changed my provide, hundreds of thousands of Polgaras had created accounts around the web, and I did not want to be one of the Polgaras with a number attached to her name. So I had to find a trick and I chose to use one of her tittles, Duchess of Erat. I’ve been using it for more than a decade now and so far, it has been quite convenient I must admit.

The bright side

I get to be called Duchess, without the responsibilities attached to the tittle (poor Kate Middleton 😉 ).

The down side.

In French the tittle sounds exactly like Duchess of rats. But I have never really minded. Ratatouille is a Rat. 😀

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Now, you know where my Gravatar really comes from. It has never been Hedwig.

That’s a victory rewarded by a week of procrastination

Yes, I know, I know, you guys expected a new post from me a few weeks ago.
That’s the charm of life. It never happens the way we plan it.

As you may already know it, I won NaNoWriMo for the 5th time last week. 5 times in 6 participation. That’s something I wanted to take time to enjoy entirely. So I took time, and quite honestly, enjoying my accomplishment translated into sleeping a lot. Sleeping in and taking naps are two things I had forgotten about since becoming a mother. So much sleep was a real treat.

This last NaNoWriMo is the first that felt really enjoyable. I tried to unplug my control freak brain and let the creative one take over. The result has been quite immediate. I had several 4k words sessions that did not end in creative burn out.  This was sweet.

The sweetest thing of all this adventure was people checking on me : Louise, Anand and Kartik. They made me feel truly privileged and cared. Without support, creative goals are hard to achieve. Their support meant the word to me. So thank you guys sooooo much.

As you might know, Louise is my accomplice in writing mischief. Anand is shedding his love and light on WordPress. He’s a true believer in kindness and a breather. Kartik, beside being a dear friend from the NaNo community, is a film director and a great writer (and a deep POV master). His films are powerful, poetic… real odes to cultural diversity.
Do not hesitate to check their websites and/or social account, they are very inspiring.

What’s coming next now ?

Changes. Important changes. I came up with a draft I Iike dearly, the first one in a long time. I would like to see it published which means it will require time, a lot of it. I won’t be able to keep posting as much as I did before NaNoWriMo, but as I told you guys many times before, this blog and its readers are very very important to me.

Organization is key

I’m still figuring out how to combine daily life, writing, and blogging. My To Do lists don’t do the trick anymore so I’m looking into organizing techniques.

I’d be very grateful if you guys had any tips, insights, leads. I’d really like to find balance between all my activities.

Are any of you in the planner band wagon ?

 

Celery allergy and no kick off for me

It seems like the universe had a plan for me tonight and it  did not include me going to the local NaNoWriMo Kick off party. 

I’m pissed, I’m bummed but I tried to make the best of my situation.

Why is that ? Yesterday, I visited my parents with my daughter and mom had prepared chicken, steam potatoes and celery purée. nothing unusual, nothing too exotic. But a few hours after lunch, I had red and teary yes. Then My nose started to run and, as if it wasn’t enough, my face started swelling. But I had to go back home and I was confident I had ad hoc drugs at home. But I didn’t. My husband had finished the last box of anti allergy drug just a couple days ago. And this drug is on prescription only.

I had to call the 15 (our local 911) to ask for assistance. They were kind enough to understand my situation and send me a doctor at home. He arrived shortly after 9 pm and diagnosed a celery allergy.
I later looked at the symptoms chart, and yes it seems like I’m a perfect school case. What I did not expect is how seriously he took the situation. During the interview, he asked me if I had already gone at the hospital for an allergy, which I have in the beginning of the year, information I had already given to the 15. The doctor started by giving me cortisone and an anti allergy drug I did not know. He also asked me not to move to far from home during 2 days and call 15 if I felt any discomfort. He finally prescribed a 10  days treatment and recommended to evict celery from my alimentation for at least a year. He was pretty concerned the first reaction was so strong, the next one would be a « send ambulance immediately kind of emergency ».

It does not change many things in my daily life because celery isn’t one of my favorite vegetables but it does exclude a lot of processed food like tomato sauce and vegetable bouillon cubes. Hopefully for us, I do cook a lot of fresh products.

But for today, it did stop me from going to NaNoWriMo local kick off party mostly because I’m trying to be responsible but also because I didn’t want to ruin the party in the eventuality I needed more medical attention.

Instead of brooding all day long I decided to make a Halloween diner for my little family. My mother in law has offered me a pumpkin a few days ago and I wanted to test two recipes : pumpkin purée and pumpkin french pie with Italian meringue. We have already finished diner and the pumpkin purée was delicious. The pumpkin pie is still in the making but I’m pretty confident it will become a regular feature on Halloween.

Me staying at home did help us somehow.

Indeed, for the first time, I have noticed Halloween is a becoming a thing in France this year. I saw many disguised kids in the streets today and  I took a clue from it. Since we’re new in our block (Yes new, even if we’ve been living here for several months now. It’s a local thing. It usually takes around 2 years to be integrated around here), I did not want us to become the new morons so I bought candies  to distribute. Kids started showing up around 6 pm.

First, the youngest who were so impressed is was heart melting, then the teenagers who really made an effort of imagination for the occasion. I did see a Bryan May zombie with spiders in his wig.

This trick or treat evening  gave me the opportunity to discuss with neighbors I had not met yet and our daughter met kids she’ll be able to play with . She also looted a candy every time someone showed up at the door. That was a real treat for her : candies are usually not granted a visa to enter our home. Bad dental genes are to be blamed for this policy.

Even if I’m very tired but fine and made myself busy to forget the disappointment, my mind and heart are with the wrimos partying tonight.

I’ll log in the IRC chan and cyber celebrate he beginning of NaNoWriMo but it won’t be the same.

Et 1, et 2, et 3 Awards !

Les pérégrinations d'Eso

Et oui, en moins d’une dizaine de jours, j’ai reçu pas moins de 3 awards pour ce petit blog qui à ouvert ses portes il n’y à même pas 3 mois. Quelle fierté ! ( quelle bande de copine surtout ! ) 

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J’ai été nomée au Blogger recognition awards la première fois par Catherine Loiseau, qui cartonne avec La ligue des ténèbres, des feuilletons steampunk un peu barrés avec des personnages colorés qui valent le détour, et une créativité sans faille qui donne naissance à tellement d’autres projets. Félicitation pour cette réussite largement méritée, et que de bonnes choses à venir ! Merci à toi d’avoir pensé à moi pour ces nominations, ça me fait chaud au coeur. ❤

Ma deuxième nomination vient de La duchesse d’Erat, dont le blog est une réelle source d’inspiration ( je sais je copie un peu Cat, mais ses propos sont…

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