Monday 27 December 2010


Did a spell check by the way and yes, I know. Inspecified. How did that slip through? I'll tell you how. Easy peasily.

yule blog

Happy Christmas to all who may be reading. I can hear the echoes. Which means empty chambers and cavernous rooms with no-one inside. Ah well. I'm patience personified, I will not swallow an easterly wind but will just plod on regardless. As is the habit of a lifetime. Someone out there will say hello. Apropos that, been getting some very weird email messages via my website, thank you, weirdos, but I just delete them, and have you no life whatsoever?
Meanwhile, doing the math, doing the puzzle, getting the pieces in the right order so that I can send Megan back to the agent. Doing my head in is an understatement and Christmas cometh in the middle of all things to get in the way. Ah well. I did get a very nice piece of handmade pottery, a clarinet and some enormous knitting needles (not that I knit) amongst all the other fab pressies. So in exchange did turducken, had day-after and boxing day walks to digest the calories and slumped in front of new DVDs. Spending eleven weeks teaching at uni, some inspecified time at a school and what with the rest of life and all that sails in it, so going to be busy busy come New Year. But New Year it is and I must make myself some promises. They won't involve chocolate or wine. Apparently these things are good for me. I'll say.

Thursday 9 December 2010

Let's hear it for the French

A big thank you to Alice who's blogging away over in France while I blog away over here but has taken a bit of time to say hello. Not sure how I answer her, mind you, that is, where my answer goes etc though I have written it and it involves lots of snow, such is my understanding of the cyber world.

Having a conference with my agent this evening over Megan's refit. Heck. I don't know if that means he loves it or hates it, wants to applaud me or tick me off for being too hasty, fight me or hug me. So this is necessarily short, but hey I've written so many in the last few days you must all think I've got nothing whatsoever to do. I have. Nail biting takes a lot of time and effort.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

bag lady

Don't. Don't say a word . Hah, as if! You're a pretty silent lot.
Anyway I am sitting in my bay window, which in conditions like this is shear madness, and encrusted in layers, from base to outer and a few more in between. I am surrounded by supermarket bags-for-life which are great for heaving around project work. But winter's shadowy fingers (thanks Alan) have a way of caressing without permission and when you think you've got every conceivable place covered, somehow they get in. So stick on another layer. OK I do have my desk and chair in the coldest place in the house, bar the back toilet. Madness I know. It's the bay window in the room that is laughingly called the office. I have tidied myself into that space to lessen the impact of the rest of me, those bits which will not be denied, the towers and turrets, of important things which can't be chucked, though Colin would possibly disagree on that. He has his own towers and turrets mind you, so let's not pretend he's mister tidy or anything. The only thing different is that they're smaller and alphabetised....we still have to step lightly over and around things. CD cases are the main casualties if we don't step lightly enough.
I need a secretary. I need someone to tell me to answer letters and rearrange shelves, so that the contents can actually be seen; to sift through and file (into the bin if necessary) those things from five years ago, that school project from three months ago, the stuff from a course I went on a hundred years ago, and a thousand words from a thousand songs which lie like plates on the floor. I need someone to tell me that what I do is worthwhile. That all these other things I do to keep the wolf from my door whilst waiting for a break which may never come, are indeed worthwhile. Pah! Put on another layer and stop moaning, woman. It's the cold talking. My day will come. My break. Wag wag, thump thump. I have a dog who is loyal and faithful and loves me unconditionally, loves my work, hangs on my every word and knows that one day, one day...
OK I haven't got a dog. He's just this Labrador that I once took out walking and wished he was mine. He snuffed it some time ago, actually. But if he was, if that dog was mine, that's what he'd say, because, of course I would understand everything and we'd commune over a skinny latte in the kitchen which I believe I am envied for (it has a different colour on each wall and a red fridge and oven.) I think I'm losing it now. Another layer on. And hey, another snowflake twirling down
Don't you just love all this? Answers on a post card. In your own time. Of course. But Christmas is just around the corner. A big pressie for me would be a little hello from you.

Megan has gone

A turn up for the books this, I know, two blogs in as many days. However, for those who are vaguely interested in the trials and tribs of a would-be children's writer, Megan has been sent to my agent. Finished the redraft quickly (which may or may not be a good idea) because it was bugging me and I needed to know if it's on the right track. That is, will she-who-shall-not-be-named like this version, having been so positive about the previous incarnation even with the ghost strand? Just got to suck it and see, I suppose, but Lord, it's like jumping off a cliff and expecting a bouncy castle at the bottom. Anyway, the ghost has gone, which I'm growing to accept and the end result with some additions, some subtractions and some hinkypinky stuff... the final length is 5 thou. shorter than it was. Will this get any easier I wonder?

Sunday 5 December 2010

blue moon?

So I've checked the moon every night and on no occasion did it look blue. Icy yes. But then everything has been looking a tad icy. Just the weather to hole up and re draft though, next to an open fire heaped up to sweltering. Two more publishers now sniffing around with some suggestions. Biggies. They know what they're doing. Won't mention names for fear of jinxing. Anyway, Megan's not going to know herself once I've finished this draft and what I take out will be the bones of another novel. For sure. I hope. So I haven't been idle though this blog may suggest otherwise. Halted the research for the new book to finish Megan and hopefully can send it to agent quicky-quick and he'll love it, and so will she-who-must-not-be-named and roll, roll, roll. Have a wonderful winter season whoever you support. Gods. Football. Cricket. Just keep warm and healthy, keep peaceful, and keep your fingers crossed for Megan and hope she gets through the next very tight hoop. Croquet has nothing on this. Feel free to contact me guys and gals. It's a lonely old world.

Monday 18 October 2010

not waving

Just to say, to avoid confusion, I am still here. Life's busy, full of spinning circles and things that go bump when you least expect it, and oh that blue moon's calling to me. But as with all things, I must be patient. And there seems to be a publishing person who likes my writing a bit and who wants more. So Agent and I mulling over pits and falls. Meanwhile drowning in research for novel number three. Oh I love getting my teeth into a new subject. Brilliant. Clip clop and hey ho. And only a week or so to go before I take out my songs and feed them to the masses in Porter's. Let's hope they're kind. Let's hope they appreciate how hard it is. Let's hope they turn up.

Thursday 2 September 2010

waiting is a test of patience

August is now just a sigh in the wind. Hello September. I'm looking forward to a blue moon in November (they don't happen very often, next one's in 2013) and so there it is. Still publisherless. But not worrying. Not counting seconds minutes or days. Not at all. Never. Who me? Just, well, you know, I'm here. Trying to write, trying not to get a case of the blanks.

Did a writing session on the moon yesterday. Well not actually on moon (just shows you how careful we need to be when we claim things!) though it would have been nice, I'm sure. Nothing like getting into the subject, researching thoroughly. Anyway, it was with a lovely group of people who don't normally write and who gather together in a fab Day Centre which is so up for the arts it's heaven. And I've been delighted with the results of our weekly efforts so far. Thought I'd share yesterday with the ether and you. Whoever you are. Wherever you are. So it goes: 'Sweeping slowly across the sky, the moon, the moon, like a silvery eye, gazes as we kiss and sigh.' I like that. Romance was not in the air at the beginning of the session, but hey, what with the moon and all and pics and discussion and moonshine and moon dust and you saw me standing alone, blue moon, well it sort of drifted. Nothing wrong in it. Writing's like that.

So here I am drifting once again.

Monday 23 August 2010

old guitars and

For no reason at all, it was old guitars yesterday. Now, those who know me will realise that I mean something from Woolworth's or some body's garage, rather than anything notable or priceless, like a Stradivarius equivalent. We were having breakfast with my friend and fellow singer and guitarist, Michael, and spun back to when we were young (took a lot of spinning) and remembered our very first guitars. Mine was donated to me by some well-wisher with a sense of humour, a friend of one of my brothers, who may (no may about it) have used it for cricket practice at one time. A battered twelve string, it was, with only six strings, which, if I'd known anything about guitars or had any money (more to the point) I might have replaced. But they weren't rusty, they didn't jangle too much, they seemed to be in the right place and tuned up OK, so they stayed with that guitar for some time. It didn't have a case. I constructed one out of a black plastic bag which was easy, you just bung the thing in and throttle the neck with an elastic band so that it doesn't let in the rain. It didn't protect it from the bus journey to practices, of course, the thrusts and jolts, the wheelies round corners, nor did it protect from the slings and arrows, the mockery from fellow passengers. But when the rain fell, boy, that plastic bag was something else. That guitar saw me through years of songs. It was the colour of dog-do which probably matched my playing, so it suited me down to the ground.

Monday 16 August 2010

all to pot

You know sometimes I amaze myself. My last post wasn't in July at all. Grief! This month is being peppered with posts. If there's a chance that you are reading any of this, then it would be good to hear from you.


So here's the thing

Yes, I realise mid-August and my last post was whenever ago in July. But, I'm the only one reading this so, hey, gimme a break...know what I'm saying? This august month is when, rumour has it, I may get a publisher. Not from my horoscope, by the way (which I'm sure if I read it in a certain way would tell me exactly that, and in any other way, that my dog was about to die) but from my agent, who is as keen as I am to get Megan published, to get her out there on a shelf for a week or so in some well known bookshop. If that ever happens, by the way, then I want you all to promise to at least have a look at it. Buy it even. Move it about on the shelf so it looks as if people are intrigued by it. That sort of thing. If it ever gets on a shelf, I'll be doing that...or should I really stoop that low?

Yes. Low as it takes.

The twinlets are bursting out of their minuscule-tot baby wear I'm happy to say, so now I want them on a bus with their suitcases to come down for a visit. Is that too much to ask? Oh right. Feeding tubes. Well. maybe next month. Come on girls, you can do it!

Done the spell check, but if it's missed any, sorry.

Tuesday 3 August 2010


So now I have pictures of the twinlets from when they were all tubes and beating-machines to the twin cot they now inhabit, with only the basic equipment to keep them from harm, like doll sized hats and mitts and a nice warm quilt. Their limbs look less like pink pipe-cleaners than they did and more like the real thing. I trust that the wide-eyed, tube-clutching twinlet is the aforementioned Jessica, who seems to seize everything she can and give it a tug, so watch out everyone...hope there are no cats in the place...and the sleepy one is Ailsa who seems to doze through everything, storing up her energy for later, I imagine, for when they're scrapping over a fluffy dinosaur, or the computer, because, of course, they'll be utter whizzes at absolutely everything, though Jessica may simply want to pull the plugs out or something, to see how it works, rather like someone else I know... Anyway, can't wait to see them. There you go! How happy I was just to want to see the pics. Now it's gimme the real thing!! Never satisfied.

All this makes the rejection of a story seem like nothing at all. And it really is nothing at all, in the scheme of such wonders as twinlets and parents and things that go lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub, all on their own. However, I shall diagnose this story's faults. I shall tube feed it, monitor it and then send it back. Besides, the pennies could come in handy, what with dinosaurs to buy. Not without a struggle will I bin this one. I like it. So, stethoscope on...
If I had that editing eye I was rabbitting on about, earlier, I could just whizz it over this and publish. As it is, Ihave only my own, limited version. So pelase exusce eerros.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

drowning in froglets

Just come in from the garden. It's hopping with frogs. After all the rain fall, which has filled trays full of herb pots, and weighed down the sweet peas, I've been rescuing plants in that ham-fisted way of mine, i.e tipping out the water from the trays, moving one or other from here to there whilst a thousand more freckles emerge on my pale but interesting skin. Yes. The sun is out again, as is the washing. And five minutes later it's cloudy. Ah well. That's England. Maybe it wasn't just rain yesterday. Maybe it was plague of frogs. Maybe I should be worried that next it'll be locusts. Mind you, they're lovely little things. Frogs. Not locusts. And if baby toads are lumpy then maybe these aren't all froglets. Which makes me think, I don't know why, about Jessica (the tube puller) and Ailsa (the forgiver of all things done to her). Why aren't they called twinlets? Like triplets and quadruplets etc? In fact they're more twinlets than anything. They were born at exactly the same time, in the same lift-out. No 'I'm the oldest', or 'I'm the youngest' tousle here. Twinlets. Yes. I like that name. Or twoplets. Tuplets even. That would do. Twins is so...what is it? Dated? I don't know what's got into me. Yesterday I was grumping about this and that and today I'm championing froglets and twinlets. if there's anyone out there remotely interested, I need diagnosing I think.

Tuesday 20 July 2010


Look at this! Two posts in one day! Unheard of. Wouldn't it be nice to have an editorial eye secreted about the desk which you can plug in, switch on and say, fix that? I think it would. Imagine time saved, the angst avoided, the...well just imagine! Mind you, my desk wouldn't be the safest place for it, nontheless, what an addition to my tiny writing world, which no-one in particular is interested in, unless, of course, I get a publishing deal and everyone and their granny (at least those who write) might flicker a little and those who don't might mutter something about how long it all takes, and do real writers take so very long to get established...?It's a funny old thing. If I was a stone wall builder would it be any different? Or a chef? Or still a nurse. Who knows? Are we all just nothings in the scheme of things. Writers, I mean. No matter what we do or write. We might change a few things along the way, along a tiny thread-like path, but does anybody actually use that path? When people ask, how's the writing going, I wonder if they really want to hear or if it's just something they think they ought to ask, because well, that's what I do. Write. And maybe once the question's asked they can move on to what they really want to talk about. Grump, grump. I know. But then. Do I ask them about their work? No. So why am I complaining? It must be the rain. It must be wanting to get going on another big thing and I can't, a publisher might want me to go in a certain direction. Apparently. So hang fire for now. And all that. Anyway, that editorial eye. I wonder what colour it should be.

busy busy busy

So I'm now related to twins, not just married into a family of them. Jessica and Ailsa, weighing as much as a bag of sugar and a white loaf each, according to my brother, who likes to work things out. He once prised open his leather football (Christmas present, only hours old) to see how it functioned, delivering it of its bladder and wrecking it, basically. Rather like a C. section without the gore. I sincerely hope he doesn't try to work out how breathing tubes, feeding tubes, incubators and respirators tick because those girls need them right now.

I seem to remember that football Christmas being a fractious one, once it was discovered that you can't get the bladder back in...

Fingers crossed that the girls don't need the tubes for long, and they lay down lots of lovely protective fat pearls to keep them warm and safe and allow their mother to hold them.

Bursting with hope, can't wait to see the pictures and to meet them.
Go girls, go!

Friday 2 July 2010

oh woe, woe, woe, woe

So I have been glued to my yearly accounts, the tennis (well it is June), some rather benign football, and my computer, and find that it's weeks, nay almost a month since I updated. That's a disgrace. But my accounts are finished, a fat envelope consisting of an aga-saga of receipts for outgoings and a slim volume of incomings, which is always the way. England were truly terrible - no surprises there. Why do people continue to be surprised by the ineptitude of our footballers? Murray's out, doing a Henman on us. Again, why are we surprised? And I haven't got a publisher yet. But then I have learned not to expect things, merely just to hope. And if I do get a surprise, great, be it tennis, football, publishing contract. That way, the disappointment can be controlled, embraced even, used for the betterment of my soul and other weary parts, though I don't have to haul in a red and white flag, cos I didn't hang one out in the first place. Instead I've been scattering myself about, in schools, youth groups and day centres, either singing at people or writing with them, and have started a story for young readers, while I wait for news from my agent re: publishers. Plenty of other material for him to look at in the meantime. I#d hate him to be twiddling thumbs on my account. Hopefully he's not been too fixated on bad football to forget to read it, but not wishing to be idle myself, I've just got on with writing. No point in brooding about what might be, might have been or will be. We'd all be in a sorry state, wouldn't we?

Monday 7 June 2010

Is is a sackable offence

So this morning, I did my usual Monday thing which is leading a group of ladies in song, me and my guitar. I left my car, as usual, on the street outside where an awful lot of work seemed to be going on. Wagons everywhere, from graffiti busters to tree fellers and everything in between, or so it seemed. Towards the end of the session a man came in looking worried. 'Whose is the silver car, parked outside?' Well that would be mine. 'The tree people have left it in a bit of a mess.' I imagined a great oak or something languishing on my bonnet and prepared myself. 'I've got to go,' he said, 'but I can give it a clean if you want.' He sounded quite doleful, as if the weight of the world were on his shoulders, and my car, but, I was hopeful, not a badly felled tree. 'I'll come out and see if it's mine, but...' I couldn't finish before he was out the door. So off I toddled after him. 'You see...' I tried again, 'I park my car under trees at home and it's probably that...' His hand shot to his mouth in dismay and apologies. 'So it's probably just my car,' I said, trying to ease the man's embarrassment. 'Well I can spray it anyway, if you want. Will I?' he said
'...lovely...thanks...' Singing over, and back at my car, what a shining, beautiful, specimen, as if a team of people had been at it, instead of one graffiti buster. Someone then said I should have given him the keys to do the inside too. I'm not sure what she was referring to. The inside of my car is as tidy as my office and desk. But I must thank the guy for his worry and kindness, though I daren't say who he worked for, he might be sacked for being nice. Hope he's there next week...

Friday 4 June 2010

too hot

So, I'm not a sun worshipper and this weather drives me crazy, but I realise it drives everyone else to the beach and BBQ pits and wearing clothes they should take advice on. That bit is me by the way. Only, I don't trust advisers. Either they're shop assistants wanting to make a fast buck or kindly friends and relations who want to make the world and everyone in it feel good. Which isn't a bad philosophy, granted, but hopeless when you want the truth and all its carbuncles.

Anyway, it feels like I'm addressing an empty universe, but hello, just in case you're the one star twinkling up there in some nearby galaxy. And if you are twinkling, you might like to know that I have a number of stories with the agent (see how quickly he just becomes the agent and not My Agent or even He) who's very kindly going to trawl through them and find where the next novel might be itching to get out. I've come to the conclusion that running ideas past him might be the best way forward, so though lots of research already done, I may well end up developing something entirely different. So there's a thing!

Meanwhile (still waiting to hear something on the publisher front) I'm writing and sending out to the commercial end of the market, to keep my eye in and to keep the pennies rolling in too and with the aforementioned projects (see last post) life is becoming busy. Like buses, these things all come at once and you can't turn them down.

And don't get me on about gigging! I'm singing so much I've probably got vocal chords like Popeye's biceps.

So excuse the gaps.
I haven't any right now
Good luck to you and to me in all our merry ventures.

Sunday 16 May 2010

the new novel

So He says, time to go round the publishers with Megan (real title's a secret, so keep your eyes peeled). Anyway, with a hey and a ho, the first one fell off her bike and is still recovering, though, I hasten to add, she wasn't reading Megan at the time, and in deference to her health He may have thought better of it, as half the book is set in hospital... So one down, and however many to go. Let' s hope they all don't have mishaps. In the meantime, He says, because it's a bit of a waiting game, I should get going on the next, trickier novel. Which in fact could be a new one if he doesn't go for the second, which is probably sitting under a pile of other attachments. And what about the picture book I hear you ask (as if there's anyone actually reading this and remembers...) Well, who knows. I do know that the injured publisher covers a whole range of age groups so maybe if she gets to know and love me (hm mm) she'll be kind enough to read about P&F. So here I am, at the research point for book number three, which was in fact a radio play of mine which I've always thought could be just bigger. So I'm looking for areas to make it bigger, hence the research. Obviously not right now. Right now I'm writing this because I've been SO busy. Won't bore you with details. And will be getting busier. Got a few extra things to do over the next couple of weeks, two new writing workshops, a school visit to have a nice time with fairy tales, storytelling and songs, and a lecture to give on Singing for the Brain. That's the 57 varieties of me. I'll have to brush up on the old anatomy and at least give an impression that I know something about the brain. I do know about singing, and how it's better than chocolate, which is a start anyway. So lots to do. People to see. Time's money, and all that. Where do these sayings come from?

Wednesday 28 April 2010

up to date

Answered all comments. So now that I know how to do this, please, all of you out there, say hello, and I promise it won't take months to respond. And if you post a comment to my most recent blog, I'm more likely to find it.

You younger folk might be interested to know that there's a writing competition out there. The age categories are: 5-7, 8-10, 11-13, and 14-16; and a separate one for 16-25. Now I know some of you will fit into these categories, you know who you are, I've read your work, and it's worth having a go! Closing date July 23. So have a look at for more details. Michael Murpurgo, who we all know is just a great writer, has launched it. I read about it yesterday and had to share the news with you, just in case your school doesn't know about it yet. Perhaps you can show the website address to your teacher...

Happy writing.

the mist clears

I will never claim to know about computers. I will never claim that I can help other people know about computers, but I have made a discovery, and it's only taken since...well...since September, possibly October...It means that when someone posts a comment, I can actually post one back. No it isn't rocket science; it's probably a no brainer (I hate these hackneyed phrases) and a three year old could have told me this. Yes, well a three year old didn't. OK?

So those of you who've commented (you're a small, select group, right now, and can always say that you were one of the first) can look forward to a posting of mine to answers yours and though a few months late, remember patience is a virtue and greatness, or something, comes to those who wait, and well you must know what I mean.
What I haven't yet ascertained, is this: when I post a return comment, does it show up anywhere else, other than my blog. That's still a mystery. Yet life would be boring if such mysteries didn't exist.

By the by, Megan is about to be trawled around the publishers. He-who-shall-not-be-named quite-yet asked me if I had any preferences. Silly man. Preferences! Well of course I have preferences! Six to be exact. I gave him the list (one that's been prepared for some time now, rather like the funeral arrangements for a Royal), all highly reputed publishing houses, with reasons why I like them (I won't bore you with names, anyone who knows anything will know who I mean ) and I expect he's out there right now. I also added that, probably, my preference would lie with the publisher who agrees to take me on, but it was in small letters, he'd hardly have noticed it. Think big, think wild, in these circumstances, and imagine that it's their loss, not mine, when they say no. That's my motto. Though if that was in Latin it might not flow so well.
Any translators out there, please feel free.

And now, back to answering comments.

Monday 26 April 2010


So at last, down to one paragraph needing attention in Megan's story. Consider it attended to, and on its way back to... My Agent. As you can see the gloss of actually having an agent still hasn't worn off, but I promise it's the last time I use that epithet.

The thrill of working with someone who has a fine editing brain will never rub off, I reckon. It's just too important. I can't be all things to my writing. A second pair of eyes, an objective examination, someone who can think outside the box I'm writing in, is so important to me. To those out there who know they're good editors of their own work, stand up and be counted. I'd like to meet you and learn how to do that.

Now, I'm on hope's knife edge, waiting to see if he (who-shall-not-be-named-till-he's-sold-the idea) engages a publisher, and does what is required with rights and contracts, (longing to find out!) so that at last I can reveal the name, and figure on the website, and other exciting things like that. Small pearls, but pearls none the less, to me.

I'll keep you posted on developments.

I ought to be thinking about the next project. There's still the seal novel, but as it's sitting between two stools, i.e. nine year olds and young adults, then there's a lot to do to make it fit one or the other. There's also the picture book. Both are being pondered upon by you know who, and here's hoping that his fine editing brain can come up with some ideas I can agree with!

Wednesday 21 April 2010

typo apology

They're the bane of everyone's life, I know. Typos. So, sorry. But as I've said before you could write a book in typo-speak, because I'm sure the smae ones turn up allthe time.

See what I eman?

I won't insult by translating. You can guess what I mean. But isn't that part of the problem? We can read typos, and get the gist of things anyway. So why bother correcting?

Beucas it looks wrong. Desn't it?


Tuesday 20 April 2010


So here I am, with My Agent (it'll wear off this need to call him that, but while it's still aglow, allow me, please) almost as happy with Megan's story as he can be. Just sent him the redraft, the little quick fixes, the slightly larger fixes, all done, hopefully to his satisfaction. And you know, it still makes me cry just a bit, after this long time slogging away at it.
So what does that mean exactly? That I'm an emotionally hopeless baggage, and let's face it Bambi still make me cry, or that I haven't lost my abiity to feel inte the editorial cut and thrust? Who knows.

Thinking of other projects now. So many stories to tell. And apparently the picture
book market is breathing again. The phoenix has risen, the resuscitation was successful. At least that's the rumour. I'm watching the space, thinking in pictures and rewrites.

Thursday 8 April 2010


I know, I know. It's been some time. I have in fact been busy, busy, busy, and away again, and writing like mad and well any number of excuses. Here I am, though, and the happy client of an agent. I can almost say My Agent, only my acceptance hasn't actually gone into the post (as soon as I'm done here, it's in the box), so I'm holding back until I'm sure they've got me filed into their system.

So we're working on Megan's story which is enticingly close to being almost finished, possibly, that is the agent seems to be happy with the last piece I sent him, so it's on to the next and frustratingly my computer isplaying up, as if it just knows I want to get finished. So this is my breathing time, my winding down time after the wind-up that computer jargon always manages to achieve in my brain.

Computer playing up again. I'm dodging out before it blows.

Monday 1 March 2010

what's in a title?

So my cold's better, thanks for asking... and I've been beavering away at Megan's story which used to have a very long title and now I've cut it down to size. The agent (who I so long to call My Agent but as I haven't signed anything, I won't, so he will remain nameless) thought the working title was a bit long and he's right, so I've sent him the new title which is only two words. Waiting to hear.

He seems happy, dare I say excited, about the new ideas he's managed to winkle out of me. He's such a good winkler and he's achieved this by asking umpteen questions, via email, which are mainly about what I'm trying to say in the novel - do you mean this, do you mean that, and if you do won't this happens? kind of thingy. He's had me reaching much further into my head, (which is so full of stories, that sometimes I'm slightly flaky and don't care if the world stops turning) and work it out. And I think I have.

The result is a radical restructuring, and it's so much better. It really is. And the good thing is the story itself hasn't changed. I've just changed around a few bits. I've sent Libby the first three chapters and asked her to be brutally honest and tell me what she thinks. On this blog. So watch this space folks and if you're interested in getting involved, you can reach me through my website, details to the left of the blogs.

If you want to read reviews on the beginning of the second novel, then see the comments under Jan 20. My faithful reviewers have worked hard to do this and it's been so useful.

So I'm back to work. Snappily.

Wednesday 17 February 2010

full of cold

So here I am full of cold, my head ready to explode and all I want to do is sleep. Let's hear some suitable noises of sympathy, folks...come on...Hmmm. No takers.

Never mind, I'll sympathise with myself. So there. A couple of paracetamol, cup of tea and a bit of shut eye, now that I can, now that the competition work is completed. Off to a spa on Friday, with Lucy and Kate. A full day of massage, sauna, swimming, pampering etc. Can't wait. Christmas present from Colin, good man that he is. Obviously knows how to keep us sweet. Obviously also knows that I need to get back into the swing of the novel rewrite after a whole month of reading and writing critiques of other people's writing, and a spa day is the answer. Equally I could just lie in the bath for a bit, after a spell at the gym and walk along the beach. Only that's not half so exotic or flamboyant.

Speaking of flamboyant, my office is a tip. Must try to clear a space on the floor so that I can actually get to my desk to do the rewrite. Being freelance is a true joy, but it does mean a different bag or box for each thing I do, and I'm always doing something. Naturally they have to be stowed somewhere accessible, and that place is the floor. Everything sits like stepping stones, but somehow I can't get to my desk. Actually I can. How could I be writing this otherwise? Yes, sir. It's a classic case of writerly procrastination. The rewrite has to be done. I have to do it. Simple equation. So here I go. Right now. When my headache subsides, that is, and after another cup of tea. Or should that be coffee?

Thanks to Libby, by the way, who sent me some comments on novel number two. I've asked her to put them on this blog, so hopefully that's going to happen soon.

Thursday 4 February 2010

writing in pencil

You can write anywhere with a pencil it's true and I'm never without one, somewhere about my person or in my bag. Great for travelling. They never run out, but of course you do need a sharpener and they irritate me. Cheap pencil sharpeners suck. They sharpen the pencil OK, sometimes, but so often they break off the lead (yes, I know it's not real lead any more) and hang on to it, so then it's stuck inside, and you have to get something to gouge it out with, so that you can try to sharpen the pencil again without decapitating it, and then you've lost the will to live, let alone write, and so today I ordered myself an un-cheap sharpener, grey metal, one with a handle you turn, one you can clamp to the desk if you want to, one you could press flowers with, one you could use as a paper weight, or something to stop you flying away in the wind, and I bought a little plastic version, to take in my bag, a blue miniature of the grey one, with little suckers so you can stick it anywhere, in any room, in any street, any city, any country. I've just tried it. And I want to sharpen everything in sight, it's so good. Oh, I am so happy. It's a treat actually, to myself. I've finished reading all the competition stories; I've chosen those to go though to the next round, and I'll soon be getting back to my own writing. Can't wait. The pencils are all ready, sharpened, beautiful.

Tuesday 2 February 2010

Great young reviewers and critics

And thanks to Jenny, for her comments. A bit of confusion over names and who people are. That's such a good point. If the reader isn't sure who's who then they aren't going to be too bothered about what happens to them, I suppose. Though, happily, Jenny does want to know what's happened to Luke. Hmmm, so do I, and I wrote it!

Anyway, I'll check that out. If anyone else wants to read reviews by Hollie and Jenny then just look for comments under my most recent postings and if you want to join in, just let me know. Find me on my website.

Monday 25 January 2010

More mystery?

Thanks to Hollie for being the first to write down her thoughts on the beginning chapters of my novel, and for posting them. Hollie would like more mystery (and you can see the rest of her thoughts by clicking on the comments under my last post).

For those of you reading it too, perhaps you can suggest how to inject more mystery into it. Or maybe there's enough in it for you. Let me know. I'd be really delighted to know what you think.

Hollie also mentioned that some of the words were a bit hard. Probably they are. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe they make the reader have to think. On the other hand they might get in the way of the story. I hope not.

Getting the balance right is key to this, but the reading group holds the answer I'm sure, so keep posting, keep letting me know.

And if after reading and commenting on these chapters you want to read something completely different then let me know and I'll send it out to you.

Wednesday 20 January 2010

other people writing

I'm buried in stories, not snow (for a change) but it feels much the same. Holed up for the winter, sifting through hundreds for a competition. So other stuff on hold for now, including redraft of novel. Not long to go. Boggle eyed, boggle brained. Hanging on in.

Sent out to another bunch of young readers and writers the first few chapters of novel number two, encouraging a kind of virtual reading group. Might take off. Might not. Same initiative in local high school under negotiation. Watch this space.

Chatted with someone who knows about radio. Feel more than enthused to get back in the saddle. More on that later. I can feel an adaptation coming on.

Wednesday 6 January 2010

the sky at night

Don't know why I should spend hour upon hour awake when I'd rather be asleep, but I have noticed that while the snow lies on the ground the night sky glows yellow. Has anyone else seen that? Is the snow reflecting off the sky, or the sky reflecting off the snow? Either way, it's yellow. Come the dawn, blue sky nudges its way through, just normal everyday blue sky, and I breathe a sigh of relief.

I haven't seen a dark night in weeks.

And soon a very brave school-based readers group are about to take on the first three chapters of both novels and report back on this blog. Young reviewers, who, I have no doubt, will be brutally honest, I applaud you and await my fate.

Sunday 3 January 2010

Happy twenty ten

So here it is, a new year and a crisp new calendar on the wall. I'm going to wish everyone good luck in their ventures over this next year, and if I'm allowed to wish myself good luck then consider it done. Two novels and a picture book text now sitting with an agent who, after he's finished eating leftovers, might give them a look. Good luck, little old me.

Just had a thought, if we didn't correct typos, what sort of new language would develop. I'm pretty certain that many of the same errors crop up with everyone who types.

What say you?