Monday, 30 June 2008

A meme

Thanks for this Spiral Skies and Karen. I've not been able to focus on blogging for days but I can just about manage a meme

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Same job, same town, same man. I'm not a big one for change, although daughter is a wonderful addition. This week ten years ago my feet were covered in blisters and I was half way along the Coast to Coast walk. Feet covered in blisters again today, this time from overexcited barefoot dancing at party on Saturday night

Five things on your to-do list for today:
Pamper feet and wear comfy shoes
Watch lots of Blake's 7 episodes back to back (this is one of the days when I love my job)
Print out latest three chapters of the novel and see if they make sense
Make Victorian outfit for daughter in time for school trip to museum
Ring swimming pool and rant about, I mean discuss, their proposed timetable changes

What are three of your bad habits?
Arguing for the sake of it (usually after drinking too much coffee - watch out Mr Swimming Pool man I've just had a large cappuccino)
Leaving clothes, books, dirty crockery lying round all over the place and then nagging my daughter about the state of her bedroom
Never being able to say no to free alcohol (or even the stuff you have to pay for)

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
Buy a ginormous house with lots of separate 'wings' and acres of land. My little family would have one wing and I'd invite my friends and their families to move into the others. There would be a big party room in the middle. I'd write all morning and grow chickens and herd cabbages in the afternoon, and go horse-riding with hubby and daughter and any one else who wanted to join us of an evening. It would be like a commune but without actually having to live with other people, which I've always thought was a bit of a drawback.

What are some snacks you enjoy?
Salt and Pepper cashews
Green and Black's Butterscotch choc (Spiral snap!)
Olives of all shapes and sizes

What were the last five books you read?
Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler - Just started it but I've loved all of her other books so am expecting to enjoy it
Talking to the Dead by Helen Dunmore - can't quite make up my mind about this one, looking forward to discussing it at book club
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood - amazing, one of those 'I might as well give up writing now' books
Watch Me Disappear by Jill Dawson - excellent writing but I preferred her Trick of the Light
Tracy Beaker trilogy - moving, funny, brilliantly written, wish Jacqueline Wilson had been writing when I was a kid.

What are five jobs you have had?
Sausage packer
Education officer in a cemetery
Gardener/Decorator/Child minder/General Handyperson in Tuscany
TV Researcher

Five places that you have lived?
Tuscany (it seemed then and still does now, like a garden of Eden - stuff just grew and grew, unlike here where apart from the spuds everything has to be mollycoddled from seed to harvest (sorry to sound grumpy but the allotment is looking a bit sad this year))
York (gorgeous, I'd happily live there again)
Manchester (as a penniless student, the best way to do it I reckon)
Harrow (my missed opportunity to live in London!)
Redcar (where they filmed Atonement)

That's me! Anyone else not done this? Go on, you know you want to :o)

Friday, 20 June 2008

My novel wandering as a word cloud

I couldn't resist pinching this from Calistro's blog. It's my novel (or at least the first 40,000 words) as a word cloud

My main character is obviously grabbing all the attention but I'm a bit alarmed about the size of 'said' - maybe my characters talk too much. Also interesting to see 'back' so huge as it was big on Cal's cloud too - what are they all doing 'looking back'? thinking back'? 'lying on their back'?- I'm going to check it out and maybe do a bit of search and replace.

If you want to submit your writing to the same go to: Wordle where there are also lots of example of stories that are much more balanced word wise than mine :o)

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Buy this Book

It's fab, it really is. And Lovely Leigh is in it and so is Spiral Skies. I love it even though it has already made me cry. It's not all sad, or even mostly, there are lots of uplifting heartwarming stories too.

If you buy the £12.50 paperback £6-7 goes to the charity WarChild - an international charity that works with children affected by war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. They work with former child soldiers, children in prison and children living and working on the streets to give them support, protection and opportunities.
If you go for the download they get a whole £10 ('fraid I opted for the pb as I have yet to read any book that I have downloaded except of course for Disraeli Avenue which somehow worked that way (buy that too!))

Short post but it is Thursday and I was on Woodcraft Folk duty tonight. Helping to supervise twelve children as they leapt shrieking into the murky pools of a woodland river seems to have exhausted me for some reason.
They did look lovely and carefree though - I wanted to photograph them and send the picture to those Grumpy Olds who say children don't know how to have fun anymore. But my phone memory was full because of the videos hubby took of him and daughter faking skateboarding accidents for You've Been Framed. If I had the right sort of brain I would upload said vids here and you could rate their chances of ever making it on to the show. Let's just saying I'm not making plans for spending the £250

Saturday, 7 June 2008


Have I got too many in the Novel?

If I feel like I have then maybe it's true. I've just introduced a couple more and I'm feeling that I have to really justify their presence. Maybe it's nothing to worry about too much at this point though (half way through first draft) I'm still just trying to write the story down and see what comes.

I had a lovely conversation with another writer this weekend (he's written two novels, unpublished, and ghost written several others, published). When I said that I had reached the half way point and felt that the rest of the novel was, if not writing itself (I wish!) then at least letting itself be seen - he said he remembered that moment exactly with his most recent novel and had the good fortune for it to happen at a time when he was doing nothing but writing and could easily clock up 6-8,000 words a day! I was very jealous, knowing that I will have to do my best with my two hours / 1,000 words each morning (no let up in work for the forseeable future - financially good news, creatively a bit of a bummer). It did inspire me though.

Is it really June already? Blog has been neglected partly because of work (which recently included a week of fourteen hour days made bearable only by the company of lovely people and a plentiful supply of tasty treats, and I suppose the fact that I love my job really :@))

And then a much needed holiday in Italy visiting family and friends. A gorgeously relaxing week with lots of splashing in the pool, eating amazing food, and meeting several new people with connections both in my present and my past. The latter filled my head with ideas for stories which between the sunshine and the wine I somehow failed to write down. I really must try to make some sense of in the next couple of days before the intensity of it fades.

Holiday included one of those 'perfect moments' that keeps you glowing through the tougher times - cycling round the walls of Lucca, hubby and daughter just ahead on a tandem, the air filled with the scent of jasmine and the sound of church bells. That should keep me going through the next couple of months of work madness at least.