Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pluses and minuses

Minus - We're snowed in again, just as we were this time last year. It's knee-deep out there, and STILL Molly expects to be walked twice a day.

Plus - Our kitchen is ... drumroll ... finally finished. Only four months late. I hardly know what to do with all that space. Which is why I'm typing this instead of moving everything back in there.

Minus - We intended having a massive celebratory roast today (if I can remember how to cook)but only managed to buy a chicken before vehicles were abandoned to the snow yesterday - so that will be our dinner. Ah well, who needs veggies?

Plus - Am churning out a good amount for words for Novel 2 most days.

Minus - I'm still not going to meet my end-of-December deadline. Succumbed to a cold/cough/flu type virus a couple of weeks ago and, coupled with a last ditch attempt to find an available kitchen-fitter who wouldn't run screaming when he saw what a mess the last guy had left behind, I got sidetracked.

Plus - Finally had a story accepted by People's Friend. It became a personal challenge this year (I need to get out more) as they're quite fussy.

Minus - They can hang on to stories for years, so it may appear posthumously.

Plus - Finally wrestled the Christmas tree up, quite a bit later than usual.

Minus - Still haven't finished shopping. Or started, in some cases. What do you buy a 19-year old male who wants a million pounds and a Porsche?

Plus - I still have a lovely agent - it's been just over a year now - fighting my corner in the publishing world and trying to sell my novel.

Minus - It's been a huge learning curve. I now know that having an agent doesn't guarantee my novel will find a publisher.

Plus - There IS the German deal though. Better than nowt as my mum would say. And has said, several times.

And on that note ... have a wonderful Christmas if I don't see you before, and thank you for reading and commenting and being so supportive this year.

You're all marvellous.

Friday, December 3, 2010


We're all a bit jittery at work. Meetings abound and it's not good news.

Smaller branches of the library will probably close next year, and even if they do stay open - run by volunteers as proposed - the existing staff will be out of work, at a time when unemployment is already high and rising.

We've tried many strategies to tempt in new users (is that the right word? Sounds a bit addict-y) but the truth is libraries aren't *cool*. Add to that terrible faux-pas the fact that books are cheap and everyone has knowledge at their fingertips in the form of the Internet and you may well ask, "What's the point of libraries?"

In fact somebody did - huddled at the back of the village hall in his puffa jacket. Words like 'community' and 'public service' were bandied about in response, but he didn't look convinced.

In the interests of answering this question I asked around friends and family and discovered that out of everyone, only my Mum uses her local library up in Scarborough. One friend worries about 'germs' so would no more borrow a book than run her hands round the rim of a public loo.

Another belongs to a book-swapping scheme, so doesn't need the library for reading purposes, and pays a small monthly fee to Love Film, which means she gets sent DVDs through the post that she can return at her leisure - "without paying a fine," she added pointedly.

My own children (sob) claim libraries are "a bit smelly and for old people" although I do bring home books and films for them every week whether they like it or not, which they do read and watch. But they no longer venture inside of their own free will.

In fact a lot of people I spoke to said they have fond memories of libraries; that they used to go a lot when they were younger, but don't any more - they just never think about it.

Somebody said they're not "relevant" in the modern world.

One or two said they're good for using the computer and printing stuff out, but they don't bother looking at the books.

Doesn't bode well does it?

What am I going to do with all my cardigans when I no longer work in a library??

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Splashy Web-Thing

I'm happy to do my bit today in helping fellow blogger and writer Talli Roland's debut novel THE HATING GAME hit the Kindle bestseller list at and

If you don't have a Kindle you can download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.


When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

It's coming soon in paperback and you can keep up with the latest at

I'm looking forward to reading my copy, and if I'm ever lucky enough to be published (*cough* in the UK *cough*) no doubt I'll be splashing about on the web too.

Good luck Talli.