Friday 29 May 2009

Congratulations & Awards

Many, many congratulations to the lovely Phillipa Ashley . Her wonderful book, Decent Exposure, is to be made into a film by Fox, and is going to be their flagship Christmas movie on the Lifetime Channel this December. It will be called The Twelve Men of Christmas, and Phillipa has just found out who they've cast as their lead actress, so please pop along to her blog to find out.

Thank you to troy for this lovely award. I do like getting awards, and love air display that comes over to Jersey every September, so this is great.

I'm now off to finish my next assignment, and polish up a short story so they can both go in this mornings post. The sun is shining, and although the forecast said it's going to be a little windy, I intend making the most of it, although we all know about good intentions. Dont we?

Monday 25 May 2009

Anniversaries, Short Stories & Carrots

This Thursday saw the 39th anniversary of my father's plane crash. He and his friend flew two pilots to France from Jersey to collect a plane, and on the way back to the island, my father's plane crashed into the sea, just off the coast of France. They were lucky, obviously because they survived fairly intact, and also because the other plane that had just been collected circled the area for as long as possible, enabling them to eventually be picked up. He has been a wonderful father, and every year I thank my lucky stars that we've had another year with him in our lives.

Yesterday, the sun was shining, I was feeling relaxed as I'd just submitted a short story, and had worked through the next module for my assignment, when R got ready to leave for work. "I hope you're going to relax now," he said. "I'm going to lie in the sun and read," said I, intending to do just that.

Two hours later, I did get to sit outside, having moved furniture around in the house, collected J from his Sunday job, and sorted through mountains of paperwork in the shed, in an attempt to gain some sort of control over it all. Now everything (well, pretty much everything) has been placed in a newly labelled file.

Today, I just want to finish editing another short story, then I'm doing nothing, abso-flippin-lutely nothing.

P.S. R has just phoned. He's on his way home and cheerfully looking forward to us planting the carrots in the veg patch. Have you seen how tiny those seeds are? There are millions in a packet. Groan. Maybe I should lock myself back inside the shed?

Friday 22 May 2009

Thanks, Edits & Chasing Buses

Many thanks for all the votes you've so generously given Grumpy's Palace for our entry to Shed of the Year 2009. Having looked at the site, I can't imagine we have a hope of getting anywhere, as there are some fantastic creations included, and ours is just, well, it's just a shed, isn't it? All good fun though.

I've finished the edits (did you hear me cheer from where you are?) and before I start to faff about with it too much (again) I'm now printing it off and will be sending my coursework off for the Caerleon course I'm taking part in with Marina Oliver, and also the whole manuscript to the RNA's New Writers' Scheme. After I've done that, it's on with the subbing, sending out short stories, as I haven't done much at all this year, and then I can get on with my next project, can't wait.

Dropped S at the bus stop today. As we were a little early, she said, "Mum, can we wait at the Parish Hall for a bit." We did, and as two females do when they have a second to spare, we started chatting. "Mum," S shouted several minutes later, "Isn't that my bus?" It was, so off I was again, bus chasing for a few miles, until I managed to get to a road wide enough to overtake and, like Steve McQueen in Bullet, got to the next bus stop just in time to allow S to get out of my car and catch the bus to school.

If you want a bit of displacement activity, you can go here to vote online for the TV Quick & TV Choice Awards 2009.

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Shed of the Year 2009

The voting has started for Shed of the Year 2009. I didn't know about this competition until it was too late last year, but this year 'the shed' is included.

Please go here to vote for 'Grumpy's Palace' to give a miniature schnauzer (and me) a chance to get somewhere in this competition. He's never won anything before, and apart from a box of chocolates, oh yes, and a few trophies at horse shows many moons ago, I haven't won much either.

In fact I've just spotted a dog t-shirt here for Grumps, what do you think? No? Oh, okay then.

Monday 18 May 2009

Loves Me, Loves Me Not

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Romantic Novelists' Association in 2010, an anthology of over 40 stories has been put together in one beautifully covered book, containing stories by such excellent writers as, Joanna Trollope, Katie Flynn, Rosie Harris, Anna Jacobs, Maureen Lee, Carole Matthews, Nicola Cornick, Amanda Grange, and many others.

The hardback is available to order now, and will be in local bookshops, supermarkets etc in the UK in September 2009. The paperback will follow in 2010. The book can be ordered here

Wednesday 13 May 2009

Ten Years Younger

No, not him. Not me either (unfortunately), but the shed is in the middle of being painted. A brand new colour. So flippin' exciting. R phoned whilst I was at work today, told me he was looking at paint for the shed and asked what colours I'd like. If you look here (I'm sure you can't wait) it is the 'seagrass' colour that I chose. Now it's on (half) the shed, it is slightly paler, which is a good thing, as it isn't exactly the colour I was after, but pretty damn near.

Tomorrow, I have to meet S off the bus and race her straight to the dentist. Needless to say, she isn't thrilled. Friday, Grumps is having his booster. It should have been a month ago, but he was ill then and we were told to leave it until he was better. I hate taking him to the vet, but unfortunately R will be working.

On Saturday, my friend Andrea is popping over (from the UK) for the day. Rach, younger sis, is collecting her from the airport at the crack of dawn (well, 8am) and they're coming to my place for lunch. So excited, I can't wait. Though how we'll cope with all three of us talking at once until Andrea flies home later in the afternoon, I don't know.

I'm still editing, but, hey, what's new about that. I envisage a 101 year old, sitting at the laptop, and muttering, "I'll just edit this one more time, then send it off."

Saturday 9 May 2009

Happy Liberation Day

It's Liberation Day today, and 64 years since Jersey (Guernsey was liberated on 8th May) was liberated from being occupied by the German forces.

We always have a holiday on 9th May, and the sun always shines (or so it seems). So it's out with the flags, yes, us too, and various church services, parties, horse shows, etc.

So, to Dan, Ma, Gerry, Garry, Andrea, Chris & Rob, Andrew, Michael,Dom, Stuart and family, and all those unable to be with us to celebrate today, Happy Liberation Day.

Thursday 7 May 2009

Best Intentions

(Photo thanks to Tom Foolery, ages ago)
Last week, I decided to take Friday to catch up with the editing I need to do before the end of the month to send off to Caerleon.

This was the plan:
1. Drop J & S off at the bus stop - 7.15am
2. 7.30am, breakfast
3. 7.50am write, with only short break for lunch, until J & S return after school.

This is what happened:
1. Drop J & S off at the bus stop - 7.20
2. Home - put on washing, make beds, etc, blah, blah, blah
3. 7.45am turn on computer and start going through emails.
4. 8.10am - phone call from J, which went something like this:
J: Mum (in singsong voice that instantly tells me I'm not going to be pleased).
Me: What do you want?
J: I've left my memory stick on my bedroom window.
Me: So? (moments pause) I hope you're not expecting me to drive through rush hour traffic to your school with it?
J: But mum, I need it. I have to print off my ICT A2 module stuff and hand it in.
Me: When do you need it for? (Such a dumn question).
J: As soon as possible.

I daren't repeat what I said after that, but suffice to say, the dog pressed his ears against his head to stop from listening to the worst of it. My day was down hill from there. After dropping off memory stick, went home, R arrived asking how soon we can go to buy the plants (I) need? So that's what happened next. The mole man came, as my garden once again resembles Flanders, and on it went, until...

4.50pm I had a niggling feeling that I needed to check something. Checked letter from Uni telling us J's two choices. First choice is fine, but second choice would take him 6 hours (flying from Jersey to UK, then trains) which is far too long to travel. He was given 14 days to phone UCAS to make any changes to his choices, and it turned out that he had to phone BEFORE 6pm that very day to speak to someone to do it.

5.10- phoned J - no answer - eventually got through, at about 5.30, and told him to phone UCAS, gave him all his ID, phone numbers, etc.

5.40 - J phones back to tell me that he's been on hold for ever and his credit is running low, so can I phone UCAS. I said I would, but doubted they would let me instruct them.

5.53 - having been told by very nice chap that, "No, you can't make any changes, as J didn't put you down on the form to do so", I phoned 100s of times to J, who finally picked up, and said (in near hysterical voice, me that is, not him), "You have four minutes, to get through and make the changes."
6.01pm - J phones back. "Done it," he says. Then adds, "I don't know why you get in such a state mum, it was fine."

Grr. So, this weekend, I'm not speaking to anyone, not picking up the phone, and not doing anything other than my damn editing. Well, that's the plan anyway.

Monday 4 May 2009

9987 by Nik Jones

I recently won a copy of this incredible book by Nik Jones. I was looking forward to reading it, but had no idea what to expect, and it wasn't until I started reading that I even understood the meaning of the title.

Every so often I blog about a book I've enjoyed reading, and will recommend it. However, I don't enjoy all the books I read, and, if I haven't, I don't criticize it, mainly because, a) who am I, as an unpublished writer, to do such a thing to someone who has been successful enough to be published, and, b) now I know how hard it is to write a book in the first place, I don't feel right to say anything negative about anyone elses work. I would rather just say nothing at all.

This book, on the other hand, grabbed me from the first intriguing sentence, dragging me deeper and deeper into the dark, and increasingly chilling world of the protagonist, to the very last words of the final sentence. I felt like I was watching from the shadows, too mesmerised to be able to put it down, as each disturbing scene played out in front of me.

To me, a good book is one that you are unable to stop reading. It makes you want to keep turning each page, and, when you do reach the end, it's a book that haunts you and stays in your mind. This is that book.

Friday 1 May 2009

Caerleon Summer Writers' Holiday

This is a picture of a New York park (can't remember which one, and have to race off to J's school - through rush hour traffic - as he's forgotten his memory stick with his A2 ICT work on it that has to be in today).

I've been very spoilt, as one of my birthday presents, from my generous mother, was to pay for me to go to the Summer Writers' Holiday at Caerleon. There are fourteen courses to choose from, and you can read more about it here.

I've opted for Della Galton's course, How to Write & Sell Short Stories, and Marina Oliver's , Advanced Novel Writing, which is for writers who have completed the first draft of a novel (80,000-100,000 words). I need to forward the exact word count, as well as a synopsis, etc.

The trouble is that before I went on holiday, I was busily editing one novel, and only the other day, I decided to send in a different one. So, I now have four weeks to edit this novel, whilst at the same time bringing up the word count by approximately 20,000 words, as, thanks to my previous editing attempt, it's now way too short. So, I really need to work at it to have everything up to scratch in time to send it out.

Thank heavens it's a long weekend. Guess who won't be making the most of any sun?

I've just finished, 9987 by Nik Jones, and will blog about it in the next couple of days.