Welcome to my blog!

I am a lefty. I write vertically, cannot use can-openers and was recently foiled by a right handed ladle (I will have my vengeance...) but more than this, I generally seem to approach life from a different angle. I appreciate that this may have nothing to do with being a lefty and may just be my own dysfunctionallity, but after earning the nickname 'Lefty-Flip' after a frustrating game of Guitar Hero, it seemed an appropriate title for this blog.

Monday, 31 December 2012

12 Things I have learnt in 2012...

Well it's New Years Eve, and as I prepare to put on my glad-rags and dance the new year in, I thought I would take a few moments between painting my nails and curling my hair to have a think about some of the things I have learnt this year...

1) There is no such thing as too many pairs of shoes

2) There is such thing as too many dogs...

3) Missing a vital letter from the word 'count' is not the worst typo you can make...

4) ...neither is accidentally putting three 'x's at the end of a message to your boss.

5) Offence is taken, not given.

6) Not all lost cats find there way home.

7) Your best friends are not necessarily the ones you have known the longest.

8) Honey makes an excellent burn remedy.

9) It's all well and good having people support your every move, but sometimes you need someone to remind you of the things you can't (and shouldn't do)

10) Smoked haddock is the devils food.

11) Blood is thicker than water - but so is yogurt

12) If you're too drunk to log onto twitter... you probably shouldn't be on there...

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to 2013!!!

Friday, 30 November 2012

This post has been a long time coming...

At least once I week I end up typing the phrase 'literaty tattoos' into google, more often than not I end up on contrariwise (which you should all go look at after reading this post!) I can't believe it has taken me over a year to get round to doing a tattoo post!

That being said, if I'd done this a year ago I might not have had quite so much to share...



 Henry VIII
The Tempest

Neil Gaiman - Sandman



Harry Potter







Lemony Snicket




So what's with the numbers? Ah well, four of these tats are not from contariwise, but are my very own skin and ink!

Prizes to those who guess which four are mine*!

*Prizes may be virtual

Friday, 16 November 2012

NEVER type Google, into Google...

Okay, aside from the fact that I don't actually work in IT, this is a pretty accurate depiction of my office life...

Yep. I am Jen...

The rest of you know who you are!!!!!

We take our jobs very, very seriously

Sunday, 11 November 2012

We Will Remember Them

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae, May 1915

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Libraries I love

Hogwarts Library

The inspiration behind the Hogwarts Library - Trinity College Library in Dublin

Library in a phone booth...

Which makes me wonder what kind of library you could fit in here...

Which reminds me of this one -

From the Doctor Who episode 'Silence in The Library' Built in the 50th century The Library was a planet-sized library. It contained every book ever written.
It also happened to be swarming with the flesh eating Vashta Nerada, so maybe not the best place to visit...

And from the biggest library to the smallest - The Little Library under the Oak


'After all, a book is not “finished” when we turn the last page. It is finished for us only when we no longer have anything we want to say about it to others. A book has not fulfilled its destiny until it has been read, and shared.'

And last but not least, my local

Swindon Library
Show your libraries some love this weekend!


Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Calling all pumpkin carvers

Gone are the days when a simple scary face would do... is it me or pumpkin carvings getting more and more epic every year?

Here's some good ones...

If you are squeemish then look away now!

It's not big, it's not clever, but this is still the funniest pumpkin carving I have ever seen!!!!

Check out this guy - Artist Ray Villafane whose pumpkin carvings are beyond amazing!!!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Monday, 29 October 2012

You had me at daemon...

A few weeks ago I came across a piece of advice that I think I’d heard before, but never quite so bluntly (and leave it to The Shark to cut through the crap and tell it like it is!)

A good query gets me reading pages and often as not, the novel simply isn't ready to query. Over writing, starting at the wrong place, no world building, too much dialogue, lots of things can make me stop reading those pages and say no.

One of the best ways to train your eye to recognize this is to read good books and copy the first couple paragraphs in your writer's journal.  The act of actually writing the words you're reading helps you see them. It trains your eye and ear for cadence and balance. And if you read 100 books, you can start synthesizing some of the tricks that all authors use to get you into the story

If you’ve read much of this blog you’ll know I am already something of a quote collector so it took no convincing at all for me to spend the next available evening dutifully copying opening paragraphs of my favourite books.
I’ve not hit 100 yet, but it’s already proven a useful task.

Here’s five of my faves:


 (Ok you’re what, surprised? That I’m starting with Harry Potter? Do you know me at all? )

Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much (Edit: slightly embarrassed to say I typed that not from my notebook but entirely from memory – yeah the less said there the better) they were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.
 I love it! You just know something weird and mysterious is coming their way…

Mr Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large moustache. Mrs Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spend so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbours. The Dursleys had a small son called Dudley and in their opinion there was no finer boy anywhere.
They sound utterly charming. We have barely met this family and already I do not like them.
The Dursley’s had everything the wanted, but they also had a secret, and it was there greatest fear that somebody would discover it. They didn’t think they could bear it if anyone found out about the Potters.
Now I am beyond desperate for the Potters to arrive! If they are everything the Dursleys fear, then I want to spend the rest of my life the book with them! Only I can’t. Because the entire family has just been murdered… well, almost the entire family…

And so began my 15+ year obsession with all things Potter.

I find it interesting that we start with the Dursleys, not just for the opening page, but for the whole opening chapter. The Dursleys are (thankfully!) absent from the main body of the story, their appearances tend to bookend each novel – a nasty reminder of where Harry comes from, and where he is returned to each summer – so I guess it’s fitting that the story starts with them.


Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening Hall…
You know what, I’m leaving it there because this is precisely how long it took for me to fall in love with Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Actually, I think it was less. I think it was the first four words
Lyra and her daemon…. I didn’t have a clue what a daemon was, but I desperately wanted one.
For those who haven’t read Northern Lights, the concept of daemons (souls that live outside the human body in animal form) and how they interact, is pretty much the heart of the story, and there it is in the first four words. I love that she is walking with her daemon. Not a daemon. He belongs to her, is of her.
Love it.

 One of the books that came to mind when I thought of this task was Shade’s Children by Garth Nix. I think I’ve only read it the once, and several years ago now, but it’s one that stuck in my mind.
 A razor blade gave me freedom from the Dorms. A small rectangle of steel, incredibly sharp on two sides. It came wrapped in paper, with the words NOT FOR USE BY CHILDREN printed on the side.
I was eleven years old then. Eight years ago, which means I am probably the oldest human alive.
 How’s that for an opening! I mean aside from the morbid curiosity as to what she did with the razor blade, we’re also slapped in the face with the fact that a nineteen year old is the oldest living human?!?!?! More, more, must read more…

There was a hand in the darkness and it held a knife. The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately.
The knife had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet.
Um, so I am aware that this is the second book choice to open with the murder of a family… Sorry about that…
There’s something chilling about the fact that we are introduced to the knife before we are introduced to ‘The man, Jack’, that what little we learn of Jack’s personality is reflected here in this initial description of the knife.
This is another book that had me with the first sentence alone; darknessknife… What is this horror! I must read it instantly!!!!

When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course she did

This is the day of the reaping.
Oh god. The what? Anything called ‘the reaping’ cannot be good…

At the moment I have around 20 opening pages copied, mostly from fantasy books, but a few other genres have crept in (I still love the opening pages of Pride and Prejudice, and I had to sneak a couple of Stephen King pages in there somewhere) but the one thing they all have in common, regardless of genre they are, is the tantalising promise that something is about to happen. Something good, something terrible, something mysterious, something wonderful - something interesting!

Something to keep you turning the pages.

Back into the writing cave I go to check what promises my opening chapter makes…

Friday, 19 October 2012

New pages (new problems!)

After a very frustrating afternoon fighting with blogspot over page layout (which I still haven't cracked by the way!) I am able to bring you a brand new page on Lefty Flip!

From the desk of Lefty Flip is a collection of all the resources I have found useful over the years. Go have a look around (and if you can tell me why the draft layout bears NO RESEMBLANCE WHATSOEVER to the published version, then you win a bag of cookies.)

Have a good weekend!


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Playlists and promises

What's this, blogging in the evening? From the comfort of my sofa? Don't mind if I do! You see I finally have this magical thing called the internet in my home... oh you already know about it? Oh well...
Now that I have finally got organised and committed to living in the 21st century, it's time to kick this blog into gear! I have plans, grand plans, new pages, new posts, possibly pseudo educational ones...
But first I thought I'd exploit the fact that I now have access to you tube!!!! Hoorah! I have missed you these past months!
A while back I blogged about music, and how I use it with my writing. Some songs fit the general theme of what I'm writing (sort of like the soundtrack to a movie trailer in my head!) whereas others remind me more specifically of certain characters.
My current playlist is growing nicely so I thought I'd share some of it with you.
Florence + The Machine No Light, No Light

Would you leave me if I told you what I'd done
And would you leave me If I told you what I've become...

Muse - Take a Bow

Death, you bring death and destruction to all that you touch.
Pay, you must pay
You must pay for your crimes against the earth...*

30 Seconds to Mars - Modern Myth

Save yourself, save yourself, a secret is out...

The Editors - An End has a Start

I won't disappoint you as you fall apart
some things should be simple, even an end has a start

Snow Patrol - Run

Have heart my dear, we're bound to be afraid
Even if it's just for a few days
Making up for all this mess...

Jewel - The Absence of Fear

you're no stranger, you're my gravity...
Editors - Push Your Head Towards The Air
I will run just to be by your side,
Don't you ever bat an eye
Radiohead - Exit Music
Breathe, keep breathing, don't lose your nerve,
breathe, keep breathing, I can't do this alone
Obviously these will mean far more to me as I know the stories behind the songs, but I hope it gives you a little taster, and if nothing else will provide you with some good music while I work away behind the scenes here!
Be back soon!
L xxx
*Yep, this character is pretty...um, unhinged

Friday, 14 September 2012