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Showing posts from May, 2008

Granny complex

It seems I have an affinity with old folk. In a rejection from a magazine yesterday, I was told that I "write well for a mature audience." My theme was a little familiar, but they'd like to see more of my writing.

When the initial glow wore off, I felt a bit miffed. I mean, for heaven's sake. My writing appeals to Elderlies. I'd guessed this already to a certain extent as I have a story with Yours magazine, awaiting publication. And thrilled to bits I am too!! (In the unlikely event the editor's reading this.)

Then I realised that there is a theme in my writing. My First-Ever Novel involved a mad, ageing mother-in-law and hi-jinks in an old folks home. My current one features a funny grandma. I've also written stories over the years about winsome children reaching out to grumpy grandparents, and elderly folk having a final shot at Happiness. Hmmmmmmm. (Strokes chin thoughtfully.) What's going on here? Admittedly, I was closer to my grandma than anyone e…

Eliminate the negative?

I was having a declutter today, with a view to moving Stuff back into the room with the shiny new floorboards and almost completed fireplace. I didn't mean to. I was searching for an orthodontic appointment letter and got carried away.

In the midst of a ton of paperwork I came across some rejection letters from my First-Ever Novel. Curious, I read through them thinking, bloody hell, I don't even remember some of these. They were oddly positive. One agent wrote a good two pages suggesting possible changes and suggested I re-submit when I'd done them. Trouble was, at the time (nearly five years ago) all I saw in those letters was Get Lost, You're Not Good Enough. I wasn't experienced enough to know that receiving anything but a standard reply-slip from an agent was a Good Thing. I simply thought bloody charming that is, had a cry, went all negative, deleted (yes, deleted) the manuscript from my PC, stuck the letters in a drawer and didn't do much else for a whi…

Out in the Sticks

No car today. That's okay, I thought. I'll get bus to work. Bus service not running during week any more. Live out in sticks. 'S'alright, I thought. I'll walk.

Set off at brisk pace. Lots of up-and-downy, winding roads. No pavements. Teeming with boy-racers. (Note to self: will adhere rigidly to 30ph limit in future). Start panting.

Half hour in. Thought I'd be there by now. Only takes ten minutes in car. Can feel blisters hatching. Face takes on unattractive sheen. Cheeks glowing like beacons. Lorry full of builder-types pass shouting 'Oy-oy!' Give me lift, I plead silently. Won't mention bum-cracks and Language.

Have to keep weaving to avoid being flung in ditch.

An hour in, try to phone ahead. No signal. Live in sticks. Try to phone taxi. No signal. Live in sticks. Plod on. Consider hitchhiking in seventies-retro style - tugging skirt up, revealing toned, tanned leg. Reconsider. Legs not tanned or toned. Plus, wearing trousers. Also, Psycho Jim prob…

Teething troubles

It's safe to say that, so far, the new library system has gone down like a lead balloon.
Actually, it's not safe to say. The Powers That Be would be very angry if they knew I was dissing it. Weirdly, I was very positive initially. Apart from the demise of the date-stamp of course. I could see how the catalogue was going to look better (like Amazon) and that sending emails to let customers know their books were in, and being able to easily re-new and make reservations online at home was a great idea.
And it is. In theory. In an office, or in the computer-based Study Centre upstairs, the new system is Grand. Trouble is, a large portion of our customers are elderly and don't have a computer. They don't like the new receipt system. I'm not being ageist. I know lots of elderlies CAN work computers perfectly well -I'm just relating my experience on Saturday.
Customers couldn't understand why we had to change things. They got cross. The system seems much slower th…


Has anybody else joined HarperCollins' new community for readers, writers and publishers? They're not fully launched yet, but if you signed up to their newsletter months ago you'll have received a Special Invitation today. The idea is to set up your profile, build a page for your manuscript or book, and start showcasing your work. You get to read other members' chapters online and leave your opinion, search out the best of the books on the site and use space on your personal 'bookshelf' to tip them for success. The idea is that writers should be judged on the quality of the work they produce, not on their ability to pitch, market or publicise themselves and that personal recommendations are the most effective way of building support for a book.

It sounds interesting, and a good way to get your novel noticed by a reputable publisher, but in the blog section comments Lee makes a good point when he says :-

"...long-term I'm not sure whether this sort of ap…

Busy, busy

It's funny how, now I'm working overtime at the library, as well as doing my weekly book review and writing a story a fortnight for my other blog -set up by the lovely Calistro - I'm actually doing more writing than when I had less to do. If that makes sense, which it doesn't. Actually, it does. If that makes sense. Which it doesn't. Etc.
When I have lots of time to write, I seem to fill it with fluff. Washing, faffing, baking, gardening, cleaning fluff. Expecially cleaning fluff. Literally. There's tons of the stuff. I blame Molly. She sheds fur like we need it to live on.
I suppose having less time focuses the mind. I've had two more novel ideas for a start, this week. One is another romantic comedy and the other a psychological thriller, and I've made a start on both while they were fresh in my mind. I miss writing when I'm at work and figure if I don't make time, I'll never get anything finished. Dur - as the Teens would say. When I have

Putty face

Oh my God, this is so wrong and yet so....addictive.

Try it if you dare.

Putty Face

Upload a mugshot and start modifying their face as if it were putty!

Play this free game now!!

RIP datestamp

Yesterday was the last day we shall ever use the datestamp in the library. Oh little datestamp, how I love thee. T'is the end of an era. I tried to save you, my friend.

"What will we do if the Brand New System goes off-line?" I said.
"It won't," they said. (Yeah, right).
"There might be a power-cut," I said.
"We'll write it down," they said. Quite heartlessly, I thought.
"We can put one in a drawer," I said. "Just in case."
"We'll be chucking them away," they said. With a hint of glee.

So, it's with a heavy heart little datestamp, that I bid you farewell. You gave me minutes of innocent fun. I enjoyed smashing your little head down. Especially when I was in a Mood. No offence.


Desert Island doings

"Our last phone call and you've renewed your
subscription to a writing magazine?"

The Terrifyingly Talented Tommo has tagged me for a Desert Island Discs-type extravaganza. Which is nice. Especially as the sun has disappeared this morning, so here goes...

"So my lovely castaways, as a treat YOU are being sent to that Desert Island. (An exciting prospect yes! or maybe no!) To add a quirky twist to the journey, before you leave you're going to be granted a final three course dinner to include drinks of your choice to be cooked by a world class chef.

So tell me what you want to have for your:

1. First course
I don't do first courses. They fill me up and leave me no room for pudding
2. Main Course Spam, cheesey mash and baked beans (no-one said it had to be classy)
3. Sweet Sticky-toffee pudding with custard (mmmmmmmmmmm...)
4. Drink Tonic water with a little bit of ice and lemon (bit 1970s, but I like it)

Whilst your dinner is being carefully prepared, all you now have …

I AM a writer, goddammit!

Now that things are back on track in the DIY department (thank you for asking) it's time to get back to the important stuff. Having barely touched a keyboard in three days, I realised how much I missed writing. Typing? Whatever. Maybe I really am a writer after all, I thought and promptly came up with the following list. Well, not promptly. I had some serious cake-eating to catch up on, plus half a day's work at the library and some blog visits, but THEN I came up with the list.

You know you're a writer, when...
you see a story in every situation - even cleaning up dog poo (or draining radiators)
you're still in your jim-jams when the children are due home from school
your Google searches include words like 'how to join the circus' and 'arable farming'
you dream about writing

you check film credits to see who the writer was
you devour 'how-to-write' books like they're about to be banned
you always see the 'angle' in family dramas
in conversa…

I may be some time...

Deep in DIY mayhem. Sanding, painting and plastering like decorating drone. Tearing hair out, optional. No time for anything else. Not even cake.

If I'm not back soon, send search party...

**********************************************************Update - radiator has sprung several leaks. It's officially Not Going Well.

Title role

Every now and then I dream up what I imagine will be a SUPER title for a novel or short story, and write it down in a lovely notebook. It tends to happen after I've popped a paracetamol, oddly enough. For a headache or a cold. Or, if I have the remnants of a song swishing about in my brain. Which could explain things.

I was skimming through said notebook earlier, looking for the number of a handy-man (it's not all observations and whimsy you know. Sometimes I write shopping lists), and on various pages came across the following ...

Poss. novel title -

Marmalade Days
Whistling for Lettuce (??)
Elephant Moon
Truth for the Jellyfish
Radio Happy (ahem)
Harriet Gets a Life
Glitterballs and Gladrags (hangs head in shame)

Good SS Title (Short Story, not German combat unit)

Under the Gumbo Tree
Office Politics
Old Faithful
End of Season
Hats off to Harry
Over the Rainbow
Silly Season

As far as I know I haven't used any of them myself so, please. Feel free to help yourself...