Saturday, 30 August 2008

Just wondered - is anyone else going to Caroline's signing on 13th September from north eastern regions? Give me a yell if so.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Books books books.

I've been trying to work out which of these to do first. But I can't. So I'll just do a three-pronged post instead.

Everything You Ever Wanted by Rosalind Wyllie

I couldn't stop reading this.

Seriously. It's written in short chapters that race along at a rate of knots. Whenever I tried to stop reading, I would think 'oh, just another chapter'. Three hours later I'd still be there. When I finished, I just wanted there to be more.

It's 1991 and that bloody Bryan Adams song is everywhere. Tiggy and Scarlett both work at Mario's, a hostess club in Mayfair. Scarlett's got a plan; Tiggy's just coasting. Then their paths cross, with results that neither of them would have predicted.

I can't say everything I want to without giving away the ending. You'll have to buy it to find out!

It's a great book. Buy it from amazon, or get it with Being Normal by Stephen Shieber for just £10 direct from Tonto. It's a great deal!

Being Normal by Stephen Shieber

Another fab book (but then, if they weren't, I wouldn't bother telling you about them, would I?). This is a collection of short stories. Publishers say there is no market for short story collections. I say they're wrong. That if they only published short story collections and promoted them properly, they would outsell novels. I mean, why wouldn't they? If people have less and less time for hobbies, including reading, then surely short stories are the perfect answer. Dip in and out, depending on the time you have.

Anyway, I digress.

I tried to do a proper review at amazon. But what I really wanted to say was that I fell a little bit in love with Goth Boy of the title story, Being Normal. My jaw dropped open at A Public Display of Clairvoyance. My heart broke at Solitary Pursuits.

I cried at Don't Try This At Home.

I can't wait to see what either of these two authors come up with next.

Buy it from amazon or from Tonto (link above). But buy it. Buy both of them.

And finally, Disraeli Avenue by Caroline Smailes
I've already reviewed this book. I still think it's every bit as fantastic as I did back then. I have a printed-out copy from the ebook; I'm getting an exciting and incredibly rare paperback version; and I've already pre-ordered the hardback.

I'm not normally this obsessive.

To tell you why I care so much, I'll quote from the author herself.

This novella will be published as a limited edition of 500 hardback books and all 500 books will be signed and numbered."
(Only 500! So don't hang about, OK?)

"The pre-order will be available direct from bluechrome at only £10 and this book will arrive before Christmas, being dispatched on December 01 2008 (the ideal Christmas present!). All books remaining after the pre-order will have an official release on January 15 2009 (the actual RRP will be £12.99).
(And it's cheaper if you order it now, too!)

"Most importantly, all profit from the sale of Disraeli Avenue will go to One in Four the organisation run for and by people who have experienced sexual abuse."

(And at the end of the day, this is the most important reason why you should buy it. And if you buy early, direct from bluechrome, more of the profits will go to One in Four.)

Please buy this excellent book. Please spread the word.

Thanks for reading.

For the writers out there

Have a read of this. Even if it's not helpful now, I bet it will be at some point in the future.

Sunday, 24 August 2008


Since August last year, the running has been going badly. I got a bad cold in mid August and took a few days off, but not as many as I should've, because the Great North Run wasn't far away and I was aware that I was already behind on my training. I did it, but it's taken me until now to realise that I really shouldn't have. That I should have made a decision not to run for a few months afterwards, to do something else instead. To give my body a break.

I've probably been out less than ten times since last October, until this weekend. And the times I have been out I've forced myself to keep on. Done 5k and then been dead on my feet. Not wanted to make the effort. Not been able to get myself back into a routine. I've put on fat around my stomach. Watched as D started an exercise routine and started to get fitter than me for the first time ever.

It only occurred to me a few weeks ago that what I need to do is give myself a break. To get back into the habit of going out three times a week, but just for short runs. To enjoy it. To realise that I need to build a solid base again. I've been out twice this weekend and will be out again tomorrow. And suddenly, I'm enjoying it again. I won't be able to run the whole Cancer Research 10k I'm doing on 7th September at Alnwick Castle, but who cares? I'll run as much as I can and walk the rest. I'll take my time and not make myself ill. I'll build my stamina back up over time.

Writing, though.

The breakthrough in how to make myself write again still eludes me.

Things that might help:
- if we had a cleaner
- and a secretary to deal with all the paperwork
- and someone to list all the things on eBay that we don't want to throw out because 'they might be worth something'. Ha. Not if they're not listed, they're not.
- if i stopped being such a control-freak and got D to deal with some of the house stuff (house insurance, stuff like that)
- a half time job for full time pay
- an extra day a week to read on the books on my TBR list
- someone to sort out all my photos on the computer

I've applied for a nine-day fortnight in work, which might actually help. Full time hours, still, but a day clear every other week in a quiet house. But the rest? I'm drawing a blank.

And I hate myself for it.

I hate myself for being too scared to Just. Do. It.

But the only way around is to Just. Do. It.

So I will.

(I've added a counter-thing to firefox. Tells me how long this session has lasted. 24.50 so far. I really should go to bed. Tomorrow is another day, untainted by failure. I can do this.....)

Sod the hiatus.

I read this before. And while earlier I was suitably shocked by the whole supermarkets-dictating-content-of-novels thing, right now I'm just giggling at the entire hilarity of Jacqueline Wilson not knowing what the word 'twit with an A' means. I mean, fair enough if there's some kind of north-south divide going on, but still. That's pretty darned rude.

Back soon for some book reviews.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

I'm still not really here.

But I just had to drop in and say how much fun I had at Roz and Stephen's launch. As I'm sure everyone is blogland now knows, also there were Nik (and his very lovely boss!), Caroline and Gary Smailes, and my lovely friend V.

I now have another three signed books, another three friends on facebook (hopefully soon to be four), and have even somehow managed to hold onto the memories of the night even through the haze of wine that I ended up inhaling. Damned V making me laugh when I was drinking. I think it was starting on an empty stomach that was my first mistake. And I'm quite surprised that Nik and Christina didn't run away when they had the chance. V and I basically invited ourselves along for tea with them. They had the opportunity to run away when we went to the loo, but didn't. I'm not sure why. I would've.

Anyway. Roz has now been put in charge of planning all launches. If she ever wants to give up writing she'll have a great back-up career as a party planner....

Oh and the books are great too. Watch out for reviews, coming soon!

The other reason I dropped by was to tell my fellow A363-ers that not only is the coursebook now listed on amazon (you didn't hear it from me, OK?), but the course calendar is now available on the OUSA A363 forum. TMA dates! The second one is due in the Friday before Christmas. How sadistic are these people?

Oh well, at least my birthday's clear....

(Give me a few more days. I'm feeling much better now - having such a fab night out Tuesday really helped - but I still need a few more days off.)

Sunday, 17 August 2008

A bit blue.

Not dark blue. Pale blue. Just a little sad.

My youngest sis and her boyfriend came to visit this weekend. I'd only met him
properly once before, but he's lovely, and the pair of them are so cute together. We went to Tynemouth, to the Priory and to Marshalls for fish and chips. Today we went to the Baltic before they left.

Normally I'm happy about where I live - I love it here and I can't imagine living back where I'm from.

Normally I don't feel like I'm missing out, being so far away from my family.

Right now, though, I do. I wish I could be closer to them all without leaving here.

I need a break. The internet is taking too much time and energy. I need a short holiday from it. Ten days or so. There's nothing wrong; I just need some space.

Hope everyone is doing well out there. See you soon.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

My One Book is out!

Click here to read. Then go find the book, somewhere. It's great.


I'm tired and headachey and rather annoyed. I just spent 23 minutes on the phone to O2, trying to move from pay as you go to contract. I knew the phone I wanted and the deal; I just wanted to do it. Turns out the phone's only listed as pay as you go; it is available for contract but it's out of stock so the woman on the phone couldn't see it. I could go into the shop but would only get 125 texts instead of 250. In the end she checked the website's stock and told me it was in stock there so I would be able to either call that store in the morning or order it now. Well I've just been on the website and it's only listed as in stock as pay as you go there, too, and not as a free phone either - just as one you need to pay £49 for on pay bloody monthly. One of the reasons I wanted this sodding phone was because it's free on pay monthly!

For two pins right now I'd move to Orange. Except I don't want to move to Orange, I want to stay with O2.

Bloody mobiles.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


I think that the girl who was murdered with her boyfriend in Newcastle the other day served us in Wagamama last Wednesday night.

Horrible horrible horrible.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Back from leave and back to work now. No more serious time off till Christmas.....

I'm doing the Elswick Cup on Wednesday. Looking at the previous times there is a very good chance I will be last by about 10 minutes. I may decide before then not to bother..........

Will start posting properly again in the next few days.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

The internet thinks I'm 69% male.

Try this out. It guesses at your gender from your browsing history. I'm loving that it thinks I'm male (but I always did love messing with gender expectations).

Likelihood of you being FEMALE is 31%
Likelihood of you being MALE is 69%

SiteMale-Female Ratio

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

So after getting back from our jaunt to Paris, we were only here a short while before nipping over to Cumbria for a few days. It was hot, apart from the torrential rain at night.

Back now, but still on leave for a while yet. It's great. Tea with friends tomorrow, a night in with friends and a hen night over the weekend, and two trips to the cinema to go before we're back at work (Dark Knight and X Files - I'm more looking forward to the X Files but that may change after D makes me watch Batman Begins).

Oh and I got my mark back for the open university creative writing course.

I got a distinction, ie a Level 1 pass.

I do not understand how. A few days before we went to Paris I opened up my ECA (ie the component that is 50% of my final mark) to start writing the next bit. When I reread, I was horrified that I'd submitted it - it was awful, to fresh eyes. I wasn't convinced it hadn't dragged my grade down to a Level 3 pass.

Since I found that out, I am writing again. And not just forcing out my hundred words. Writing, and thinking like a writer again. Letting the ideas raise to the surface. I have ideas galore, once more.

Funny how a little external verification of internal skill can make all the difference.

I have targets for what I want to do before I go back to work. I have targets for what I want to do before the next course starts.

I am good at this. I have the spark of inspiration, and I've been working on improving the technical side. It obviously showed, or I wouldn't have done so well.

I have to follow up with actually making submissions. And persevering when the going gets difficult.

(I've tagged this as 'lucky'. Not that I am lucky in my score. Just that I am lucky to be able to live this life. To be able to write, and have people who support me. To have friends and family who believe in me. And now, back to the writing, while D watches Dexter.)