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Showing posts from June, 2008


I got to thinking when I woke up, about the highlights of my writing - can't call it a career, so let's say journey - to date. First off was the poem I had published in Judy comic aged 11. I was thrilled and stunned in equal measure, as were my family. I'm sure Mum started thinking thank God, one of them can keep me in my dotage. WRONG!! I can't even remember what it was about. The poem. Ballerinas probably. I was desperate to be one at the time, despite having no discernible talent. Hell, I'd never even had a lesson. I performed an arabesque in my bedroom once and toppled into the wardrobe. Mum bawled, 'what the hell's going on up there?' and that was that.
Next highlight was meeting author Valerie Blumenthal. For a small fee you could book a one-to-one writing workshop at her gorgeous farmhouse in Oxfordshire, with lunch and chit-chat thrown in. Off I trotted, a few years ago, clutching a short story for her to critique, as nervous as anything. She gre…

I love a good MEME

I've been tagged by lovely Leigh, which is just as well as I haven't done one for a while. I like a good meme.

What were you doing 10 years ago?

Being a divorced, single mum living on a council estate wondering how the hell I got there. I was writing (tentatively) and juggling a part-time job with a college course and doing occasional Internet Dating. Ooh, the tales I could tell!

Five things on your to-do list for today:

1) Go to work and Be Nice In Face of Continuing Complaints
2) Buy something designed to remove tango-tan from knees
3) Put the ruddy mirror back on the wall in the front room
4) Try new flapjack recipe
5) Take son to his Prom-night and refrain from kissing his cheeks in front of his friends.

What are three of your bad habits?
Bad habits? What bad habits? Tut.

1) Tutting
2) Forgetting what I’m doing half-way upstairs
3) Hanging the washing out when I should be setting off to work

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
The usual.
Invent a time machine so I could visit oth…


Cor, what with ferrying Teenagers to and from A levels and GCSEs and work, and tearing around hiring prom suits and helping choose a dress for a leaving ball and extravagantly high wedges for a music festival, plus working overtime at t'library and occasionally flinging bleach down the loo, I haven't written more than my piece for the Story a Fortnight blog, and m' book review (Love Falls, by Esther Freud...vair good. Made me want to visit Italy and I don't even like travelling.)
As if to reproach me, I came home to find Molly-dog protecting a copy of Writers' Forum. She even growled when I approached. Either she's taken up reading it on the sly, or she's writing a novel of her own and is looking for tips. (Ask me love. Talk about knowing everything there is to know. In theory.)
Perhaps she's looking to give her own spin on an old classic.
A Tail of Two Cities, anyone? Pride & Pedigree Chum? Moby Stick? Molly Flanders?
Is that a Tumbleweed I see befo…

Tomorrow's World

Any idea what this bad boy is?

Could it be a cloning machine? That would be handy. I could send one of me out to work while the other gets on with the novel. Maybe a third me could do a spot of dusting. It's dog-hair hell over here.Maybe it's a Star Trek/Dr Who style transporter? I could go back in time and tell my younger self to stop watching Dallas and start blithering well writing of an evening. At this rate, by the time I get published I'll be too decrepit to read what I've written.Is it an Innovative laundry device? One that presses sheets, sorts socks into matching pairs and spits anything unfashionable into the bin. I hope not. We've no room for it.An orthopaedic bed, with Futuristic side-table and, um, massaging device thingy? Okay, I'm being silly. If you read the papers yesterday you'll know it's Blackwell's new Book Espresso, due to be launched this autumn. They'll be the first UK retailer to install the machine, which prints books on…

Too silly for words

Things that happened today that I couldn't put in my novel because they'd sound Far-Fetched.1) Misunderstood cockney customer, who said he'd reserved a book in the name of "Takka." Spent minutes flipping through the shelf thinking, that's funny he doesn't look Japanese (it sounded Japanese to me, okay?) what with the tufty white nostril hair and shovel-like hands. 'What was the name again?' 'TAKKA' he said slowly, as if dealing with a simpleton. 'Can you spell it?' I asked desperately. Imagine the humiliation when he roared, 'T-U-C-K-E-R,' rolling his eyes in a what's-the-world-coming-to-when-even-librarians-can't-spell manner. 2) Held a conversation behind the counter with a colleague who was down on her knees rummaging through a box, prompting a child to say to his mum 'why's that lady talking to herself?'3) Went to the local supermarket where a checkout assistant made me hold out my hand so he could b…


Ooh, look at this little beauty. I feel a notebook buying spree coming on. They're available at Bloomsbury and come in different classic titles. They also have the advantage of looking like a real book, so I can whip it out in public public and feel Worthy.

Although that reminds me of the time I stupidly pretended I'd read Moby Dick, because I happened to know the first line was "Call me Ishmael." I soon fell apart under close interrogation and confessed it was actually the film I'd seen. Which wasn't true either.

On second thoughts, maybe I'll save my money.


There's an interesting post on lovely literascribe's blog about the decision by some publishers to provide an age rating guidance system for children's books this autumn. Book covers will have a sign stating that they are intended for readers aged 5+, 7+, 9+, 11+ and 13+/teen.
This is considered a Bad Thing for all the reason's Lorna has eloquently stated and I tend to agree. In the Telegraph, Phillip Pullman said "... I don't want to see my book declaring officially, as if with my approval, that it is for readers of 11 and upwards or whatever. I write books for whoever is interested. When I write a book I don't have an age group in mind."
However, being a librarian and busybody, I decided (all by myself - you probably heard my brain whirring into action) to conduct a discreet study at work today, and asked some mums what they thought about the proposal while pretending to shelve the children's books. (I did do SOME shelving, in case The Boss is re…

100th Post!

100 posts! This time last year I was a Blogging Virgin. Now I’m a bit of a slag. It’s become the highlight of my week, both reading yours and writing mine. Which means either:

a) I don’t get out much
b) I don’t get out much, or
c) I don’t get out much

(I think it's C)

This was my first ever post. Not a single comment did it receive. I dry-heaved into my hanky for an hour and considered leaving the country. Then I cottoned on to leaving comments in order to entice readers over.

Anticipating disappointment, outrage or (worse) apathy, I was pleasantly surprised to trap some lovely Readers in my cage of blathery nonsense. I nearly threw a Comments Party, but daren't push my luck.

It’s been a real journey, as they say on bad reality TV (is there any other sort?) On the way, I’ve been given some fantastic advice from you lot, as well as from a Real Published Author and more importantly I've learned that…

Mugs CAN live without kettles
The price of gravy changes with the wind
You can live i…

Anger management

I’ve worked in three different branches now, and it’s official. The library staff hate the New System nearly as much as the customers do. The trouble is, we’re fed-up now of fielding the same complaints day after day. Minute after minute, actually. To the point where I’ve developed an Inner Dialogue that goes something like this…

Customer 1: I couldn’t find my receipt, so I couldn’t remember when my DVDs were due back. I’m not paying the fine, it wasn’t my fault.
Me : Don’t worry, Madam. It’s a common problem at the moment. You won’t be charged this time.
Thinks…Tell you what, love. Why don’t you take all the bloody DVDs out and just don’t bother bringing them back ever, and we’ll give you a medal. Does that sound fair?

Customer 2 : I’ve written the date inside my library books even though we’re not supposed to, because I wouldn’t have remembered when to bring them back otherwise.
Me:That’s okay. It’ll be a bit confusing for the next customer though. Maybe you could write the…

Odd language

It's been brought to my attention what a strange critter the English Language is. This week I've been asked what the difference is between inflammable and flammable and valuable and invaluable. Ummm. (Strums lips thoughtfully). Call me daft - I've been called worse - but don't they mean the same thing? Like slim chance and fat chance?
It got me wondering. I mean, what are the opposites of ruthless and gormless, for instance? Ruth? Gorm? I don't think so.

My grandma used to ask tricky questions like that when we were youngsters. (She knew how to show us a good time.) Why do we chop trees DOWN, but chop UP wood? We never could give her a satisfactory answer. Probably because there isn't one. Why do we get IN a car, but ON a bus, train, plane or ferry?

I had a look online, but even Google couldn't help. I did discover that “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick” is the toughest tongue twister in English, though, and that Donald Duck's middle name was Fau…

Granny complex - the sequel

I've got Carrie Bradshaw Envy. After swooning over the Sex and the City film yesterday afternoon, it hit home that there's a world of difference between Carrie's writing style and mine.
For instance :-
CB - Slips between expensive looking sheets wearing tiny knickers and a silk camisole, and cuddles up to Big with a weighty looking book about famous poets, as research for her next book.
Me - Slithers under grubby duvet wearing faded jim-jams and a frown and tries to think about Chapter Seven, before getting distracted by the growing certainty that I've forgotten to buy dog food. Again.
CB - Sits at a pristine desk under glowing lamplight, lightly fingering her expensive keyboard and Musing.
Me - Stands at a crowded desk in the half-light, rummaging around in overflowing drawers for a memory stick and Swearing.
CB - Narrows her steely-gray eyes and stares out at snowy, New York skyline while she thinks about Love.
Me - Squints through sleep-sticky eyelids at the garden thinkin…