Thoughts for UCL (and perhaps other) students about the pension strikes at universities

SellaTheChemist's Occasional Blog

Amid the continuing universities/USS strike I thought I should write a few reflections on what is going on to help you understand what this is all about, and why it is that some of us have sacrificed 6 days pay so far – with more to come. This is money which goes into UCL’s hardship fund.

These are, in case you’re wondering, personal views and I may be wrong about things so by all means post corrections in the comments section.

Pensions are something that most of us don’t think about. After all, old age is a long way away, and we have much more important things to spend our money on now, especially given the price of housing, transport and everything else. What is more, if you read the press there is a sense that pensions are a kind of unaffordable perk that only extravagant employers can afford…

View original post 2,756 more words


It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

...AKA, the longest time before more Christmas. I'm rather sick of the commercialism and meaninglessness that surrounds the festive season nowadays. I worked Christmas this year and had a grand time. I don't quite understand what all the hubbub is with people working during Christmas Day. Especially since I prefer the religious side of Christmas to … Continue reading It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Engaging Characters: Their Likability & The Longevity of Their Novels

It’s always interesting coming across studies like these, that combine psychology with the interest in reading. After all, the best characters are the most complicated, the ones we, secretly, love to psychoanalysise.

The Misfortune Of Knowing

What attributes help a writer develop engaging characters?

To explore this question, researchers at McMaster University, York University, and the University of Toronto designed a preliminary study in which subjects (students enrolled in an intro psych course, obviously) wrote brief character sketches based on a head-and-shoulders photograph of a man.* Then, a second set of students rated how interesting, likeable, and complex the characters were.

In the results, published last month in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, the researchers found — unsurprisingly— that character sketches written by people who expressed an inclination to write fiction were more interesting and complex than the sketches written by people who didn’t express an inclination to write. While the characters produced by self-described creative writers were more interesting and complex, they were not more likable, causing the researchers to conclude:

[L]ikability of characters was distinct from other aspects of an engaging…

View original post 549 more words

Cover Reveal: OLD HAUNTS by Craig Hallam

Today on the blog, I'm welcoming British writer, Craig Hallam, whose fantasy and steampunk writings are as varied as they are brilliant - which is to say: muchly. I've had the absolute pleasure of chin-wagging with Craig in person on multiple occasions, since we met in Leeds about two years ago. His newest novel Old Haunts … Continue reading Cover Reveal: OLD HAUNTS by Craig Hallam

Book Tour with Ellen Gable

Today on the blog, I'm talking virtual book tour newness as Catholic writer Ellen Gable's novel Julia's Gifts is out now. Julia's Gifts, a World War I romance, is Ellen Gable's 8th book and I am delighted to be part of her virtual book tour! I've enjoyed the straightforward prose of her O'Donovan books that … Continue reading Book Tour with Ellen Gable

Review of These Savage Bones

I’ve followed Kaitlin Hillerich at her writing tips blog Ink and Quills for a while now, so I was delighted to learn that she was releasing her debut novella (and had done as of last October – I’m just so slow when it comes to keeping up with a single book, especially on Kindle. Sorry!) I … Continue reading Review of These Savage Bones

Going Back to My Novel

I look at the first lines of, well, it must be about chapter twenty-four but the chapter numbers have been so muddled about lately as I started almost completely rewriting that I can no longer discuss the novel in chapter numbers. I look at those first lines of this chapter I've set myself to reframe … Continue reading Going Back to My Novel

Cover Reveal: SIX PLUS ONE by Yawatta Hosby

Today on the blog, I’m hosting Yawatta Hosby, horror/suspense and woman’s fiction writer, for the cover reveal of her upcoming new novel. I’ve known Yawatta for a few years now, and had the privilege of assisting on her novella TWISTED OBSESSION. Here you see [an old photo of] me with my copy of ONE BY … Continue reading Cover Reveal: SIX PLUS ONE by Yawatta Hosby

Advice For Brides About Photography

You can find a whole bunch of advice about choosing your photographer and getting the most out of them online – but in actuality, I myself did not realise the kind of advice I needed about being a bride making decisions about wedding photography. Some of the harder things to decide when it comes down … Continue reading Advice For Brides About Photography