I confess that for all my good intentions, I didn't add to my story by as much as a word yesterday. Life just got in the way.
I'm off to Blackpool for a couple of days with my 17 year old tomorrow so decided I'd finish off all the little bits and pieces that would need doing before I went and get them sent off to their relevant owners. A few articles went out as did a few invoices. Unfortunately, the bits and pieces took me longer than I'd anticipated because I ended up writing an article that could have waited until next week but I was in the mood for the subject (pollution from cigarette butts) so decided to go with it while the muse was with me. I also wrote a post on my memoirs blog.
By the time I'd finished that, it was time to get myself off my pump and start preparing dinner. Just a lasagne but it still doesn't make itself, does it? Dinner made and eaten, I decided that the time was right to start painting that 1m x 1.5m room that has the audacity to call itself a hall. Only I had to watch 'Springwatch' first. I'd been looking forward to it for days so no paintbrush on earth would have made me miss it.
Then my friend phoned to say she'd run out of medication and was in agony. As I'm on the same medication, I was duty bound to nip over with some of mine. She's only about 200 meters down the road but you know what it's like - you can't just stick your head round the door, throw the pills on the table and go again, can you? I stayed for about twenty minutes before heading back out into the pouring rain and home again.
By 1am this morning I'd finished half the porch. No, not even that. I'd done 2 1/2 coats of the top half (which is cream) but it still needs another 1 1/2 coats. I just couldn't keep going any longer, though. I lack energy at the best of times so I'm not even sure how I managed to get that far when I got started so late, but I did. And I have to say it's looking a lot brighter. The bottom half will be red because I want to tie it in with the lounge which has three red walls and one cream, with dark blue and cream accessories (you really wanted to know that, didn't you?)
Today? Who knows. I'm not planning anything. Que sera sera, as Doris Day would have said. If I write, I write. If I don't, I don't. Although I have to say, Sherry's getting very impatient. She's been sat in her kitchen, waiting for her next move for way too long and there's a limit to how many cups of tea a person can have at any one sitting, isn't there?
It's good to hear that others have been dragging their feet (fingers?) when it comes to writing these days; it makes me feel better knowing that it isn't just me.
I think a lot of the problem is the time of the year. I don't know about everybody else, but because I sit in front of my PC to earn a living, when I've done what I have to do, I find it difficult to spend more time here when life has so much more to tempt me with. The garden desperately needs work (believe me, although it's a vast improvement on what was here when I first moved in, it still isn't a place for pleasant relaxation on a lounger and tranquil evenings spent with friends around the table. No, there's a long way to go yet I'm afraid and sitting in front of the PC doesn't get it done.
Then there's the house. I'm more inclined to want to decorate during summer. I realise I lot of people tend to make that a winter activity but I'm not everybody else; I like to do it during summer. I definitely want to paint the hall this afternoon. It's just a tiny porch so won't take long, but even so, it won't get done if I sit here writing all day. Then there's the bedroom. I'm trying to figure out ways to bring in more storage space (I have HUGE amounts of medical supplies that have to be kept in there and that DO NOT look attractive) and generally de-clutter it. Not easy when you have about 12 sq.mtrs to work with.
And, of course, the kitchen. That really is going to be a major job. If only I could believe it'd go as painlessly as Jeanne's. We do have to paint the walls, and lay new flooring, though. No two ways about it. We're also going to have to give the ceiling several coats as there was once a leak from the bathroom which brought the part of kitchen ceiling down, leaving it with a 2 x 2 meter area of unpainted plaster. The doors will also need painting as I'm not having dark wood doors in my nice fresh kitchen. No way, Jose. I'm fussy about these things. If a job's gonna be done, it's gonna be done properly.
Apart from the "round the house" jobs that need doing, this time of the years also tempts me out of the house and into the countryside. I can't stand being cooped up more than I have to be so when the weather's nice, I try to wangle things so that I can have at least half the day off so that I can get out and about and enjoy our green and pleasant land. Even a wander around a local garden centre for an hour is better than sitting in front of the PC for longer than I have to.
But today it's raining. So being as it's bank holiday and I'm not 'working', I shall try to write some words to add to my book. You never know, it may just happen.
Of course, there's always the lasagne to make for dinner and the breakfast buns I promised my daughter I'd make more of (the last batch disappeared awfully quickly!)
Ok, shoot me now if you're going to. I know it's ages since I promised I'd post but this is real life and things don't always go as planned. If only I could steer my own relationships the way I can steer Leo and Sherry's!
So what have I been up to? Not a whole lot, would you believe? Well, that's not strictly true but what I mean is not a lot that you'd be interested in. Work, work and more work. You don't want to hear about that, do you? No, I didn't think so. We'll drop that one, then.
What else? Well we've been planning a new kitchen. Not entirely new because we'll be using some of the existing cupboards with new doors, but there will be a lot of changes. New floor, paint walls, many more cupboards. At the moment we don't even have enough storage space to keep serving dishes or anything other than what's considered an absolute necessity. Drives us all batty, it does. But that will change.
Richard thinks I ought to poodle off abroad for a week in July so that he can get on with it alone; I'm not so sure about that, though. The control freak in me wants to stick around and make sure everything's done properly. I mean, when we built our house (no, not this one - I would never have built anything even remotely like this one), the kitchen fitters put the sink in the wrong way round, just because I wasn't there to keep my beady eye on things. And the carpenters put the pine ceiling up the wrong way round (planks going across the room rather than along the room) so that had to come down. And as if that isn't enough, they put a wall in the wrong place so one of the bedrooms became the size of a cupboard! No, I definitely think I'd be happier here, making sure the kitchen ends up the way we've planned it.
What's that I hear you asking? What about the book? Do you really have to ask about that? It hasn't moved, ok? Not a word. I'm sorry if that disappoints but I just haven't had the time. Earning money has to be a priority, and quite honestly, sometimes I'm so damned sick of looking at this computer screen that when I've finished my paid writing, I just can't bear to open the book and work on that.
There's a limit to how many hours a day I can spend stuck in my bedroom with my laptop balanced on my lap! 12 is generally my limit but lately I've been trying to cut that back to 10 maximum because I noticed I was starting to get depressed by being stuck in here too much. There's a life away from the computer, after all.
I'm not going to be doing a lot of paid work today so I might (note that I said might, not that I definitely would) work on the book. On the other hand, if the weather stays dry, I might go outside and plant up my hanging baskets. The plants have been sitting on the patio table for a week now so it's about time I did something about them.
The strange thing is, I do feel guilty for not working on the book. It's not as if I have a deadline with it. It's not even as if anybody's actually waiting for it, but I feel I'm letting myself down. Why's that? Perhaps because my expectations of myself have always been high and I'm just not moving along as quickly as I feel I ought to. I must stop that. The book will be finished when it's finished and until then, life will go on.
I had an appointment at the hospital for a lineogram. A what? A test where they shoot dye down my feeding line to check whether there are any blockages. I've been having some trouble with pumps telling me I have an occlusion so my doctor thought it best to get it checked out. Great. Except that a lorry went through the central reservation on the M6 leading to massive tailbacks and the eventual closure of the motorway at the junction where we'd need to get off. With no hope of arriving in time for the appointment I phoned the hospital and asked if I would be ok if I came anyway. No, they were very busy but I'd be sent another appointment as a priority being as I'd taken the trouble to call.
One wasted journey.
Back in Crewe, I decided to go to town and get a glasses case. I usually carry one in my handbag because the top-flip type are handy for storing little things like scissors, a needle, a couple of pens, a crochet hook and other little bits that come in handy from time to time. Could I find one? Could I heck!
Second wasted journey.
Home again and I decided to hang some new curtains in the bedroom. I'd bought them a while back but because I wanted a new pole for them, hadn't hung them. In the car again, this time heading for Dunelm Mill. One bed sheet, one bath mat, one bunch of silk flowers and some ribbon later, I emerged from the store having spent £28 but without a pole.
Third wasted journey. Well, semi-wasted. At least I got the ribbon to use as tiebacks. It looks nice because the curtains are ivory lace. I've hung them on the old black metal pole anyway, just because I was determined to get them up yesterday, but I'd really like a brass one. Maybe I'll just look on the Net.
Oh, and the silk flowers are standing on the windowsill between the lace swags and even if I do say so myself, the window looks very pretty. I'm into cottage quaint rather than modern interiors, y'see.
The book? What's that? Oh... the manuscript I've been working on? Well, it's erm... coming along? No, as far as word count goes it isn't moving at all, but I'm giving it lots of thought and solving a dilemma I had. In fact, Richard and I spent the evening in the beer garden at our local water hole the other night, just so's we could brain storm ideas as to how I can solve things. I think I've got it now.
Actually, I have written words. My note book's full of new words. I even whipped it out whilst at a gig in Leicester the other night! I probably looked totally foolish, sitting there scribbling down thoughts while everybody else was singing along to some of Rory Gallagher's most known tunes (anthems to his fans). But you know what it's like when an important idea pops up!
The graphic's are back but I haven't got the rest of the NWG website sorted yet. These things take time, especially as I have 6 sites to move, most of them involving scripts and mySQL databases. Headaches! NWG should be up and running again tomorrow.
Richard's just come in with KFC for me. Naughty but nice :-)
I'll be back later with a proper post but wanted to say that The Nantwich Writers' Group site is down at the moment because I'm moving it over to a new server. Should be up and running again during the course of the day. That's also the reason why my graphics have gone walkies.
No, not that kind of quickie; this is a note type quickie.
Just wanted to say I haven't been deliberately ignoring anybody even though I haven't visited many blogs for the past couple of days. I've been really busy, that's all.
We're off to Leicester now and will be staying overnight but when we get back, I'll try to post something worth reading.
Why Leicester? It's not the sort of place you just visit for the scenery so there has to be a reason. We're going to see Sinner Boy play. Not sure where they're playing tonight (Richard deals with tickets and booking hotels, etc) but if you ever play near you, go see them. I didn't even like their kind of music before I saw them first time but have been hooked ever since.
My apologies for not posting earlier but I've been inundated with work and when the bills need paying, turning work away is not a good idea.
Anyway, I did it and here's the proof:
It's pretty, isn't it? It's the tattoo you're meant to be looking at, not the leg that looks like a plucked chicken. It isn't that blurred in real life, it's just that my camera doesn't like close-ups too much and trying to hold it and twist my ankle in order to get a picture was a nightmare!
I have to admit that I did consider calling to say I wasn't coming but figured if other people were brave enough to have it done then so would I be. And quite honestly, those of you who said it hurts were either winding me up or you're a bunch of whuzzes. Uncomfortable? Yes. Sore? Yes. Painful? No, not really.
My idea of pain is far worse than the sensation caused by a tattoo needle and if I had to describe it, I'd say it was more like being scratched by a pin than anything else. Richard asked if it was maybe like being touched on a burn but no, not that bad. Scratched, that's all.
In fact, I was so relieved that it wasn't worse than I'm now considering going back to have the spider put on my shoulder! Not just yet, though.
As for writing, nothing much has happened. No, that's not strictly true because I've spent quite a bit of time working out some plot changes that I need and which haven't come easy. I think I'm there now though and can get on with the actual writing. If there's one thing that's certain, writing consists of far more than just putting words on paper.
It's for that reason that I don't really understand those who can have "word competitions" because... well... does it really matter how many words you've written on any given day? One person may have written 3,000 words while the other spent her time researching or working on the plot. Oh well, each to their own and if it helps them get on with their work then it can't be a bad thing.
My daughter and I went to town after the tattoo was finished and I was very good. We went in Ottaker's to buy her a book but I didn't buy any for myself. I have to admit that I almost did but she reminded me of the fifty that are on the "waiting to be read" shelf and steered me away from the Val McDermid I'd dipped into.
I wasn't quite as good at the library today, though. I swore I would only loan research books that were pertinent to the series of articles I'm writing, but there in the nice hessian bag that was bought from the library a few months back was an M.C. Beaton novel. Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet, to be precise. Will I get time to read it before it has to go back? I'm blowed if I know but online renewals are a wonderful thing :-)
PS: Just noticed that Ally Blake has written something about the word competition she has with Natasha Oakley. It's a response to a comment I made on her blog and is quite interesting. It certainly proves that what works for one doesn't necessarily work for another.
I know it's a while since we were in Llangollen but I've never been the fastest button in the box when it comes to getting my photos out of the camera. Anyway, better late than never and being as it's such an incredibly pretty area, I thought I'd share a few photos with you. They're not brilliant; all I have is an ordinary little snapshop camera, but at least they give you an idea of the kind of beauty that can be found in this part of the world.
And finally, this...
I already have a story in mind for this place and can't wait to start writing it! It'll also give me an excuse to go back and have another look. You can click on the photo (any of them, actually) to make it bigger and get a better look.
Ok, enough of the pretty pictures, I have work to do. That's assuming I can concentrate while worrying about the tattoo this afternoon. Please, please, please make it not hurt! I'm such a wimp!
Watch out for the next post. If I go through with it, there will be a photo of my ankle adorned with either a flower or a spider.
I'm happy to say that the book's now flowing along nicely, although I'm not entirely sure how Leo is going to tackle his daughter yet. He's convinced that she, and her witch of a mother, are behind Sherry's sudden departure, and is trying to get to the bottom of things. But, typical of his sex, he's got it wrong. Although both daughter and ex-wife wanted Sherry out of Leo's life, he only has himself to blame for her leaving.
Somehow I have to get him to admit that she's gone because he was hurting her. After all, until he admits that, he's not going to do much of a job of getting her back, is he?
But not to worry. I have some marketing copy to write today, and the first of a series of articles about making money on eBay, so focusing on those will no doubt help loosen up the knots so that by the time I can get back to working on the book, Leo will be falling over himself to admit his faults. Even the ex wife's threats aren't going to stop him!
Tattoos I'm all a jitter today because tomorrow I'm going to get a tattoo. I've never had one before and as I'm having it put on my ankle, people keep telling me it's going to "hammer me". It's just a tiny flower so surely it can't hurt that much? Oh well, if it does I'll just have to put up with it because there's no way I'm backing out half way through and spending the rest of my life with half a tattoo on my foot!
I say it's going to be a flower, but I'm also rather keen on the idea of having a little spider crawling on my ankle. And just because I've booked the flower doesn't mean I can't change my mind, does it?
Dilemma. Too many choices, too little time.
PS: Minx wrote a poem for me. Wasn't that nice of her? Just ignore the fact that she insulted me in the comments.
I'm curious about everything that has something to do with books. Always have been. Books, knitting and gardening, but being as this blog's about writing, I'll forget the yarn and flowers.
Amazon's list of most sold romance novels is a list I regularly look at as it gives a good indication of what's popular at the moment. The only problem with looking at it is that I usually end up ordering something but today I was good and ordered nothing.
Unsurprisingly, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice -- a bargain at £1.50 -- is at 22nd place, but what really surprised me is the book at 15th place: House of Decadence by Lucia Cubelli. It's an x-rated erotic romance a la Black Lace, and for some reason I wouldn't have imagined that kind of book reaching the Top 25 list any more than I'd have expected to see a HMB cataromance there. Which I didn't.
Just another of my time-wasting operations.
I've finally started working on the book again after 10 days without a word being written. I was dead tired last night but decided that come what may, I had to write something or I'd never get started again. I'd made lots of notes while we were away last weekend so out came a couple of scenes and a few new ones so although the word count has only increased by 522, I actually wrote more than that.
It feels good to be back in the swing again, though. Sherry and Leo weren't even upset with me as I'd left them at a very emotionally trying time in their relationship so they were glad for some breathing space themselves while they decided where to go from here. All in all, the break was good for everybody but I have some serious catching up to do.
We'll begin with box, the plural is boxes, but the plural of ox is oxen not oxes. One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese, but the plural of moose is never meese. You find a lone mouse, or a whole nest of mice, but the plural of house is houses not hice. The plural of man is always men, but shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen? If I speak of a foot and you show me two feet, but I give you a boot, should a pair be called beet? The singular's this and the plural is these, but should the plural of kiss ever be keese? We speak of a brother and also of brethren, but though we say mother, we never say methren. The masculine pronouns are he, his and him, but imagine the feminine she, shis and shim. I can't take credit for the above and have no idea who wrote it. If you know, drop me a line and I'll add a credit for it.
I've come to the conclusion that Kate Hardy must be one very popular author. Why? Because whenever I check my stats, the link to her blog has always had more outclicks (that's the way in which visitors leave this blog) than any other link. Maybe it's appropriate that I've just started reading her first Modern Extra, "The Cinderella Project".
PS: Don't forget that if you do decide to buy a book after clicking on any of the links on this blog, the commission will go to helping the Nantwich Writers' Group save up to invite guest speakers along to our meetings, arrange outings, etc. And as the mouse said as he stood pee-ing in the ocean, "every little counts".
I've just been discussing romantic fiction with somebody who thinks that romantic fiction clearly portrays reality, whereas I believe it generally portrays a fantasy.
Unfortunately, this particular person feels that her own relationship isn't up to scratch because it isn't anything like those you read about in books. Sadly, I wasn't able to change her mind about this.
I really don't see most chick lit, HMB romance, or other types of romantic fiction as being anything more than modern takes on Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and all the other fairy tales were listened to as children, and certainly don't write my stories from a realistic angle. For me, romantic fiction is a way of escaping reality.
If statistics are anything to go by (and yes, I know they can be misleading), for romantic fiction to portray reality, a fair number of heroines should find themselves at the hands of a terrifying partner who seemed perfectly nice when she first met him; should have their feelings torn apart when they discover that even early on in their relationship, their chosen beau is playing away from home; should meet a man who spends his nights surfing porn sites, calling chat lines and generally being anything but the perfect partner.
Sure, the heroine may well have had those kind of experiences in her past, and the fact that she almost always (remove "almost" when talking about HMB) meets Mr Right in the story brings hope to the rest of us, but I've a feeling that if women really believe these stories portray real life they may well be in for a surprise.
Or is it just me who's too much of a sceptic?
Don't misunderstand me; I'm not sceptical to romance -- I wouldn't be interested in writing about it if I were -- but I am sceptical towards the chances of so many finding the happy ending and wouldn't like to think that there may be women out there living in perfectly good relationships but who are troubled because they aren't living the Cinderella story. Because their "happily ever after" hasn't been quite what they expected.
How much responsibility do authors have, if any? Can we be blamed for giving women the wrong impression of life or must people accept that we're simply offering them an escape from the reality of life?
I hope my absence this week hasn't left anybody thinking we'd fallen foul to killer sheep or been swept off the edge of the Pontcysyllte aqueduct, but if you have been a tidgy bit worried, let me assure you that we're safe and well and had a wonderful time in beautiful Llangollen.
If any of you live within reasonable hitting distance of North Wales and have yet to visit Llangollen, I suggest you remedy that as quickly as your car will carry you.
I'd suggest the train as an alternative, but the only train from the local station is a steam train running an 8 mile length of track to Carrog, a tiny village where stepping onto the station is like stepping back into the Victorian era. What a wonderful place for a writer!
I can honestly say that, so far, of all the places I've visited in the UK the area around Llangollen has to be the prettiest yet! One day, when I'm a disgustingly wealthy author of several best sellers, we'll buy a house there.
We were sad to have to come home on Tuesday, another day at least would have been nice, especially with the weather being so good, but knowing we had the NWG meeting to look forward to in the evening helped.
Iona and Penny had both arranged to surprise us with champagne. What lovely ladies! Iona hasn't actually started blogging on her NWG blog yet but if you nip over to Scribe's Sanctuary you'll find her posting as Imogen (her pen name).
I usually have smoke coming out of my fingers during the days immediately following a writers' group meeting but this time I've written the grand total of zero words. Yepp 'Tis true. Nothing. Zilch. Absolutely jack all! Not a single word.
Disgraceful, isn't it?
I've been busy with my accounts, y'see. I'm one of those people who puts off doing the boring stuff and then regrets it when she's bogged down with it at a later date. Three solid days I've been at it. Downloading and printing out bank statements and online invoices, printing my local invoices, finding all those old till receipts, and getting it all into some kind of order and putting the numbers into the spread sheet! And I'm still not finished!
It's all gotta go to the accountant next week because my daughter's EMA rides on my being below the £35,000 income threshold and I'm blowed if I'm going to have her miss out on that. The state give me a piddling £45.70 a week for looking after my adult son 24/7 so I'm taking what I can get elsewhere! Call me a money-grabber if you like; I don't care, but I'm tired of being taken the piss out of by this government!