Thursday, December 22

The Beauty of...

  1. Broadband. We have *finally* achieved broadband status in my office, after having to deal with a no-name ISP that umm-ed and aah-ed every day on whether it would allow us to connect or not. We are now ADSL'd to the hilt and my Outlook Express polls all 12 email accounts in under 3 seconds. It also means that uploading to my blog from work takes a hell of a lot less time with a lot less keyboard-slamming on my behalf. Passers-by on the high street beneath my window now enjoy a highly reduced likelihood of having my computer flying out and landing on their head.
  2. Critique partners. I have never met Nell, my CP, even though we've been working together for about three years. In that time we've shared illnesses (of both ourselves and our loved ones), hospitalizations (ditto), submissions of work, crises of faith (mine), rejections of work, job dramas, requests for work (Nell's), and even a few wonderful sales (1 of mine, 2 of Nell's). We share moans, happiness, hopes, wishes, gripes, ideas, plans, stories of woe, and dreams, and on a number of occasions I have been known to seek solace in her knowledge of relationships. This week I bought and sent her a romance by one of her favourite authors because all her local outlets were sold out, and as thanks she sent me by return another romance (signed!) with one of her gorgeous new author notecards. We've already got each other's Christmas presents under our respective trees, and flowers have been sent and received by both of us on numerous occasions in recognition of birthdays and book sales. Nell, I frequently thank God (and the eHarlequin bulletin boards) for you!
  3. iTunes. So easy. So quick. So hip! The other night I browsed for and bought a bunch of songs than I had lost over the years. They were on cassette tapes I listened to repeatedly in the late nineties (or thereabouts -- essentially, my teen years) on my battered 'mega bass' Sony walkman that I hand-decorated with glittery nail varnish. The songs had usually been recorded off CDs I'd borrowed from friends or taped straight off the radio (I became an expert at hitting the pause button before the DJ could resume speaking -- if you hit pause instead of stop you didn't get loud click-off noises). As there is no godly way I know of getting something off a cassette and on to a CD, let alone an iPod, I bought almost all these songs off iTunes this week. Some were quite random and probably quite hard to come by in the shops, but for a beauteous £8.69 (or thereabouts) I managed to create for myself a no-skipping-required playlist that I would never have found on any compilation CD: "Naked" by Reef / "Runaground" by James / "If You Tolerate This, Then Your Children Will Be Next" by Manic Street Preachers / "One Headlight" by The Wallflowers / "If God Will Send His Angels" by U2 / "Kiss the Rain" by Billie Myers / "One Week" by Barenaked Ladies / "Higher Than Reason" by Unbelievable Truth / "Secret Smile" by Semisonic / "Driftwood" by Travis / "Sometimes" by James / "Don't Give Up" by Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush... *However*-- iTunes is still missing a lot of tracks (lots of notable exceptions in the movie score section), and among those I am waiting for to complete my walkmanesque playlist are "Come Back To What You Know" by Embrace and "Drinking in LA" by Bran Van 3000 (the former of which could quite possibly become the title for an idea I have been brewing on recently...). Apple -- you still have some work to do!
  4. Sainsburys. Every one of their own brand products in the health and beauty department is guaranteed fully cruelty-free by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection. So when we stopped off at a moosive Sainsburys in Oxford the other night, I stocked up on shampoo, body wash, hand soap, bubble bath, etc. I especially couldn't resist the Cookie Dough shower gel. Yes, it's from the kids range, but *you* try smelling it and then putting it back on the shelf.

So... there. I know I'm about a month late for Thanksgiving, but I felt like showing my gratitude for a few things, whatever they may be. Obviously I'm grateful for other things too, but do you *really* want me to continue...?

Monday, December 19

Moving Goalposts // Moving Lyrics

I found out yesterday that there's been a reshuffle at Harlequin-Silhouette and the line I am targetting now requires a lower word count. I'm heading towards the original target (80,000), so I will have to cut quite a bit when I get round to the editing stage. I don't imagine that this will be too much of a problem, though, because I do tend to be wordy and go on a bit! Isn't that right, Nell! : )

I wrapped most of my presents yesterday. Managed to catch a couple of James Blunt videos yesterday, but thankfully not the one for "You're Beautiful"; yes, he has his top off in it, but I can't really bear the song because it was so overplayed.

Have come to a decision that I can't listen to his new song, "Goodbye My Lover", without welling up. This happened while I was sitting in traffic on my way to work this morning and they played it on the Chris Moyles show on Radio 1. Thankfully I recovered my composure when Chris pronounced the title in country-bumpkin-speak: "Good-boy Moy Loh-verr", which made me laugh and, I admit, is difficult not to hear in your head when you think about it.

The song's so gut-wrenching, though! Lines like "I know you well / I know your smell / I'd spend a lifetime with you / I've watched you sleeping for a while / I'd be the father of your child / And I still hold your hand in mine in my sleep" have me practically clutching at my heart with my lower lip wobbling. (Luckily I have plenty of Kleenex pocket-packs on hand at the moment because of my cold, in case the floodgates really do open.) What makes it worse is that as I listen to it I try to imagine the story behind the song, because he loves this girl *so* much, so why does he have to say goodbye to her??

Still -- those eyes and that mouth make it hard for a girl to stop watching Mr Blunt's videos:

Sunday, December 18

Fun with the Foos: Earls Court 17 December 2005


They were *great*.

Last night the Foo Fighters were supported by, er, Eagles of Death Metal (never heard of, probably won't remember... sorry) and the Futureheads (of whom I recognized a couple of songs). Most people were still walking about, getting beers, etc while these two bands were on. Our seats were actually very good -- literally the second row from the top of the arena, but right at the front. Unfortunately we had some nuthouse people in front of us, though -- 3 guys and a girl. The guy in front of me was about seven foot tall and had really bouffant hair so when he stood up I couldn't see bugger all. He also kept holding his head in his hands and moaning as if the music was so good he couldn't take it. Hmm... Another of the guys looked pretty sleazy and reminded me of Richard the slimy hotel-owner from Sex and the City. The third bloke was an old boy with a greasy grey ponytail and an unsteady gait. He smelt heavily of pot, was swigging from a bottle of vodka inside his fleece, and kept looking like he was going to keel over. The girl of the group actually looked quite staid but didn't behave like it, and my friend Kit and I had a hard time working out just which of the guys she was actually 'with'. We decided by the end of it that it could quite possibly be all of them!

So anyway. The place literally came alive when the Foos came on and launched into "In Your Honor", the title track from their new album. The crowd filling the mosh-pit was writhing and swelling like a river and it did look like fun, but I'm actually quite glad I wasn't down there: there was a bunch of guys a few metres from the front who constantly had a large circle of empty space around them because they spent the whole time cannonballing into one another. At first we thought they were having a fight, and I was quite surprised that nobody got hurt.

Dave Grohl talked to the crowd a lot and during "Stacked Actors" he actually came off the stage and ran through the crowd to play from the little lighting booth in the middle. As he was on his way there was some confusion as to what was happening, then the spotlight came down on him and the crowd went mental. Suddenly everybody swarmed back from the stage to the middle of the arena and Dave and Chris Shiflett (second guitarist) played a guitar duel which *rocked*. It was weird because from where we were up at the top you could see all these tiny lights around Dave, which we realized were people recording the event on their mobiles. Then, while Dave made his way back to the stage Taylor Hawkins (drummer) did an amazing drum solo. Here was where my only complaint lies -- all I could see of Taylor was his hands, because there was a big cable hanging down from the lighting rig which, from my viewpoint, ran right across the drum-kit. Luckily, however, they had video screens on either side of the stage and I was just about able to see him on that. (Also, because I didn't mention him, the fourth member of the band is Nate Mendel -- bass player.)

I had a bit of a moment when it came to the time for "Everlong" -- my favourite Foos song. Dave sang it alone with just his guitar for company, and he did it really softly and gently. For some reason, not many people sang along, but those who did (including me), did it really quietly. It's such a beautiful song... smoke had drifted out over the crowd and got caught in a bunch of laser beams and the whole thing was really ethereal and quite moving. The rest of the band came in and launched into the full version only for the last chorus.

They only played a couple of songs off the new album, and surprisingly "Resolve", their current UK single release, wasn't one of them. Most of the set was a really good bunch of stuff off all their previous albums -- Big Me, Monkey Wrench, All My Life, Up in Arms, My Hero, Have it All, Generator, Learn to Fly, Breakout, This is a Call, The One... All my favourites were there with only one exception ("Aurora").

There was a strange contrast for me, seeing the Foo Fighters in this kind of arena. I saw them play once before, almost exactly 8 years ago in 1997. That was at the Shepherds Bush Empire, a considerably smaller venue. The stage was pretty small, Taylor's drum kit was up on what looked like school stage-blocks, and there was a not-very-impressive silvery curtain hanging at the back of the stage. Well... this time around? A proper huge arena full of people, a huge stage, floor to ceiling banners with band logos on them, smoke effects, lasers, video screens... What a difference 8 years makes.

There's a rumour that next year they will tour again, but in smaller venues and playing acoustically only (I stress this is a rumour -- I read it on a message board somewhere and I can't remember where). If this does happen, I will *so* be there.


I started to get a really horrid cold yesterday, so I am going nowhere today. I'm going to wrap my Christmas presents and if I can get into the right frame of mind then I'll get on with chapter fifteen. I may also casually browse MTV for James Blunt videos...


I had a dream about him last night. Mr Blunt is a *very* good kisser.

Friday, December 16


So tomorrow night I go to see the Foo Fighters play one of only two London gigs in their tour at Earls Court. I am v. excited! Haven't been to a good gig in a long while.

No more writing yet, but I'm still hoping to finish before Christmas so I can leave the book to brew.

My decorations are now up at home and the tree looks so cute! My new living room is cream/beige/chocolate brown so we decided to go with just gold and cream on the tree. This is what it looks like:

In another piece of randomness, today a book I bought on eBay arrived in the post. I flicked through it and what should fall out from page 87? A sticker of Martin Prince, the over-achieving teacher's pet from The Simpsons. Random indeed.

I'll maybe post again over the weekend with a mini-review of the Foos concert.

Just finished reading: Everybody's Hero by Karen Templeton

Tuesday, December 6

Pepsi, Pogues and Publicity

As I write this rather hotchpotch post, I am drinking Pepsi from a paper cup bought at Burger King. I've been a staunch Coca-Cola girl for a long time. Proper fat-style, too -- 'Diet', 'Caffeine-Free', 'Lemon', or 'Lime' have never managed to sway me, though I do like a 'Cherry' every now and then. But it seems the tide is turning, as Pepsi is tasting increasingly better to me. The only downer about the one I'm drinking now is that it has "Kong My Whopper" emblazoned on the side, which I find somewhat dubious. (And before anybody points it out, I know it's for King Kong.)

On to something else. Today I heard my favourite Christmas song -- Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl -- for the first time this festive season. Kirsty MacColl was killed by a speeding powerboat while diving with her sons in Mexico a few years ago. I watched a documentary last year in which her mother went to Mexico to try and uncover the truth. While she was there she met Kirsty's diving instructor, who was there when the accident happened. It was such a sad programme, and it's such a terrible story. They never really brought anybody to justice for her death, and the person whom the authorities believed to be driving the boat at the time was, as far as I can recall, fined roughly £60.

Nothing else happened.

You may know that The Pogues are re-releasing Fairytale of New York this Christmas, and the proceeds from sales will be split between homeless charities and the Justice for Kirsty campaign. Please think about buying the song -- you can visit to find out more.

On a separate and lighter note, I meant to post last week to say that my critique partner Nell's website has now gone live! She has extracts of her books on there, as well as a newsletter, tips on writing, and two great contests. Please visit at!

Sunday, December 4

The Penultimate


I've finished chapter fourteen now. See updated word count across the page. Took some work, though! For various reasons it was a couple of weeks before today before I managed to get back to writing, and it took me almost half the day to get back into the right frame of mind -- I just had to spent time re-reading my last chapter and my plans. And listening to my character's songs again. But it worked! And now the chapter is done.

So next up is chapter fifteen -- the penultimate. And after that, it's The End. I will be so outrageously happy when I've finished this book.

I Will Have Finished A Book. (Maybe I'll make myself a t-shirt that says so...)

There's a saying or something, along the lines of "everybody has a book inside them, but hardly any of them will ever actually write it". All the How-To books I've read on writing say -- almost always in the first chapter -- that thinking you want to write a book and sitting down and doing it are two very different things. Lots of people think about it, some of them even start it, but not many people actually finish it.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I haven't actually finished yet. But it's so close!!!

Friday, December 2

All These Things That I've (Not) Done

Just about to go to bed as I have to get up early tomorrow to shower and set off for Christmas shopping. But earlier this evening I was thinking about my age. I'm 25. It hardly seems like that long ago that I was 20, which therefore probably means that before I know it I will be 30. There are things I'd like to achieve before I get there.

Five Things I Want To Do Before I'm Thirty:

  1. Have a book published.
  2. Be able to pluck up the courage to get on a plane so I can go to New York.
  3. Learn to play the drums.
  4. Actually take up jogging, rather than just talk about taking up jogging, and buying the accessories.
  5. Be patient enough to let my hair grow past my shoulders.

Just finished reading: The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

Tuesday, November 29

Saving It For the Weekend

I'm saving writing until the weekend now -- I'm just not going to have the energy this week. We have a big rush on at work on a psychology dictionary and I worked late tonight and will be doing so again. I've just had a nice long bath and am now drinking a hot chocolate with some baked potatoes in the oven. Aah, relaxation bliss...

P.S. Nell -- my PC is now marginally okay and emails are working. However, as yet I have no software, e.g. Word etc, and so although your last two chapters are sitting safely in my Inbox, I have nothing to open them with! Hopefully this will be sorted in the next couple of days... hopefully even tomorrow. Sorry!

Just finished reading: Still Thinking of You (Even Though I Shouldn't Be) by Adele Parks

Sunday, November 27

A Visitor at Midnight

Power came back on yesterday after about an hour. However, was so addicted to my latest book (which I have now finished and will name at the end of this entry -- a new thing I've decided to do every time I've finished one) and random internet trawlings (curse the Amazon wish list), I didn't get any writing done. Have a feeling it wouldn't have been that great anyway as I wasn't really in the mood.

On a separate topic, when I created my blog my critique partner Nell told me about the "statcounter", whereby I can see who visits my blog and when. Well, not who, really -- there aren't names or anything -- mainly just country, time, ISP and computer platform.

For some time I have been receiving regular daily visits from somebody and all I know is that they are on Pipex and are in the UK. No town given. Maybe this is you as you read this -- I know you tend to come here somewhere around midnight or even later. Yet you remain silent, making no comment. Do I know you?

No pressure. Just curious.

Just finished reading: Daydream Girl by Bella Pollen

Saturday, November 26

All Apologies

So I know my entries have been rather sporadic of late, but my mind has been completely on other things for the last week or two. Including the fact that we have had no heat in the office for the last week (but was finally fixed yesterday afternoon) and -- oh yes -- that when I got in on Monday morning, my PC was bust and had to be taken off to be repaired. It came back yesterday afternoon too, but reloading software etc was taking so long that I never even got to sit in front of it. I have spent the last week living a nomadic existence at work, carrying a pile of notebook, pens, copyholder, file log etc around and nicking people's PCs when they disappear, like an office cuckoo.

Hopefully though, I'll be able to get back on to my PC on Monday.

Then I woke up this morning to discover we have no power in the house. That was over an hour ago, and we still have no power. Luckily my laptop was charged and broadband seems to be able to connect without using the electrics. I am starting to worry, in the style of my mother, about the freezer defrosting.

Concerning my writing, I'm hoping to get on with the last three chapters of the haunted house book this weekend, presuming the power comes back on and I can recharge my laptop at some point. I had a busy weekend last weekend so for this one I have nothing planned except a roast chicken dinner tomorrow night at my sister's... mmm...

I kep having lines pop into my head for my next story -- the thriller-ish one. I've also had another idea, for a book not related to romance. Well, not as strictly so. It's something I think I might work on here and there once I go part-time in January.

Wish me power.

Tuesday, November 15

A Revelation.... and What The Cookie Said

Just had a revelation on chapter thirteen, which I still haven't written. And now I know why I just couldn't get myself to do it. It wasn't because I was nervous, really, it was because I'd put it in the wrong place! It's too early for them (despite the fact that I am three-quarters of the way through the book), so I've adjusted the scene and am now going to carry on with my original plan, which still fits, with the sex scene coming in one or two chapters' time instead. *I breathe with relief*

Had lunch with my Mum at the noodle bar today. My fortune cookie said "Your heart is a place to draw true happiness". I'm not really sure what this means -- it could be one of several things. That when I'm feeling down, I can just look into my heart to feel better? That I can only be happy inside my heart? That others can find happiness in my heart? I know fortune cookies are deliberately ambiguous (apart from the one on The Simpsons that told Homer to cheat on Marge or some-such), but it's still confusing.

P.S. Who are you, Pipex? I can't help wondering when I see that you're reading my blog at 3 in the morning...

Sunday, November 13


Finished chapter twelve. This is hard work! My characters are not even undressed yet and I'm still nervous as hell. I plugged my earphones into my laptop and was listening to Massive Attack's "Mezzanine" album through iTunes to try and help me, because I always think that album sounds really sexual. It helped a bit.


I am now, however, just a little short of the three-quarters mark, which is pretty cool. I am hoping to finish the first draft of the book by Christmas, when I'll take a couple of weeks' break and not look at any of the work I've done. Then in January, when my working week at the office decreases from 5 days down to 4 (arranged specifically so that I can try and take my writing seriously), I can start all my editing. God knows how long that's going to take.

Saturday, November 12


Saturday. My "alone" day, where I get to shop, meet friends, sleep in, chase the dog around the house, eat toast and read books, or write. The whole day's schedule is of my choosing.

I left it empty today, planning on finishing up chapter twelve. It's now half-past four and I am just getting round to that. I have unconsciously been putting it off, by staying in bed til 10 am, having tea with my Mum until 12 noon, sorting laundry, showering, lounging around on the unmade bed finishing a romance, and doing some food shopping that wasn't really that necessary.

Why? you ask, since I seem to have been doing so well recently. Well... I'm nervous. I'm about a third of the way through chapter twelve, and the end of it will be the start of the love scene. Not just kissing -- we had that in two previous chapters -- but the whole enchilada.

And I'm nervous as hell! I have never really written a love scene before, apart from a very wordy one I did a couple of years back. But that's when I wasn't as immersed in my writing and my characters as I am now, and it was merely then about putting words together. Now, I have to do justice to my characters, their feelings, their story, and bring all the sexual tension to one amazing culmination of passion. No pressure, then....


Wednesday, November 9

I Don't Believe Myself

I've just finished chapter eleven. I've even written out my detailed summaries for chapters twelve and thirteen, which came to me while I was...

...can you guess?...

...washing my hair in the bathroom. *rolls eyes* My bathroom is obviously a literary hotbed.

Anyway, must stop now. Have read back through the chapter and it looks OK, and besides, Lost is on.

Uh, Hang On...


It turns out that I have been doing my word count all wrong! I've been using the Word Count tool in Microsoft Word, whereas there is a different way of doing it that involves the number of words per line and per page, multiplied by the number of pages per chapter. Actually, that's not a very good way of describing it. But anyway, I was given the correct formula by the lovely ladies in the community, and have just worked out my 'real' word count.

It's actually 49,125. This means I unknowingly passed the halfway mark some time around chapter eight, and I'm actually now about 61% of the way through the book! Which is kind of good, because as I mentioned previously, I was starting to worry about running out of story, as I'd got a fair way through the story arc but seemed to have many more words still to go to reach the elusive 80,000. Turns not there's not as many more to do now, though!

Tuesday, November 8

Broken Barrier

I've done it.

Finished chapter ten (don't worry, Nell, I'm holding it back for now!) and my total word count is now 40,485. I am henceforth on the home stretch! Kinda...

If I could buy myself a present to celebrate, it would be this:

'Tis pity, however, that I cannot pop into Tesco to pick up a Sawyer for my very own... : )

Teetering on the Brink

Got some more of chapter ten done this morning, since I've been quiet at work. I've just stopped so I can go out and get lunch and my total word count now stands at...

*drum roll*

39,261 words. I am so close to halfway I can taste it!

Monday, November 7

Tickets // Ten

Got home today to find that my Foo Fighters tickets had arrived in the post! *Grin* Our seats are OK -- we are in the top tier, but our block is right next to the stage, so although we'll be looking down on Dave Grohl et al, at least we won't be needing binoculars.

I made a start on chapter ten this evening. I am just under 1,500 words into it and it's going alright so far. I've started to worry a little bit that I might actually not have quite enough story for 80,000 words seeing as I've got quite a fair way through the storyline I'd planned but am only just about halfway through word-count-wise. However, I am going to do a lot of re-editing when my first draft is finished and I'm sure I can fit in some extra scenes if need be as I'm certain I haven't explored certain things in as much detail as I should have.

Stopping for the night now. Was up until practically midnight writing last night and I don't really want to do that two nights in a row. I need to catch up on a bit of sleep!

Sunday, November 6


Why... why when I'm always in the bathroom?!

So after I did my last post I went to have a bath and not long after I'd got in I thought of where to go next in my chapter. Obviously, I knew where my chapter was headed, but I wasn't sure how I was going to get there. Then the answer came to me as I was soaking in the tub.

So I got out, got dried, threw on my nightrobe and turned the laptop back on. Nine is now complete, and as the heroine acknowledges in the last paragraph... there's a storm coming.


It's Sunday evening. I'm tired for no reason, really. My weekend wasn't particularly busy, but it wasn't lazy either. I think it's just winter coming on.

I got a few thousand more words done on chapter nine. It's a bit of a difficult chapter as I'm trying to fit in a bit of backstory without clobbering the reader over the head with it, and it's quite hard to find a balance.

I've also had an idea for what could possibly be my next work. It's a lot more thriller-ish and I've already got some motivations for the hero and the heroine. He's bloody hot, as well! I've written some scant notes down when things occur to me, but I'm not working on it too much because I want to concentrate on finishing the haunted house story first.

The halfway point is in my sights...

Friday, November 4

Morning Sickness


Got to work this morning to find that somebody had thrown up right outside the front door. (There's a bar next to our office.) After managing to unlock the door without stepping in it -- difficult to do at a 90-degree angle -- I took numerous trips up and down the stairs with a bottle of water to try and wash it away before everyone else got in.


Good thing is, though, I didn't retch once. Quite unlike me.

Thursday, November 3

Lyrics and Nine

This morning I sent chapter eight to the wonderful Nell for a critique, and am now over 1,000 words into chapter nine already. I wondered this morning if my progress has anything to do with the money I dropped into the wishing pond at Jamaica Inn (of Daphne du Maurier fame) when the sis and I went to Cornwall in September. Ever since I got back from there I've been steaming through my chapters...

Here are some lyrics from the Foo Fighters song "Generator". It's been a favourite of mine for a while now but I've only really listened to the lyrics properly recently. They remind me a little bit of my characters. (Oh yes, and it's now just over one month to go until the concert!)

Lately I'm getting better
Wish I could stay sick with you
But there's too many egos left to bruise
Call it sin, you can call it whatever
Eating deep inside of you
Well, if it were me it's all I'd ever do
Steal me now and forever
I'll steal something good for you
The criminal in me is no-one new
'Till you find something better
When there's nothing left to use
And everything starts going down on you
I'm the Generator, firing whenever you quit
Yeah, whatever it is -- you go out and it's on
Yeah, can't you hear my motored heart?
You're the one that started it

Wednesday, November 2

And Relax

Because chapter eight is finished! I feel a bit better about it now. I think that when I was working on it yesterday I wasn't in the right frame of mind. A lot of other thoughts were crammed into my head at the time and I think that was my problem -- I couldn't concentrate properly on my characters.

Anyway -- I've broken another barrier, and am now past the 30,000 mark. I can't believe that 50% is looming ever closer on my tally bar (as it stands at the time of writing). Once I get past that point, I'll start thinking of myself as being on the home stretch. That's when it'll get scary and I'll have to start thinking about things like the last sentence. Oh yes, and something else that would help -- a proper title.

Tuesday, November 1


Well, I've got a few pages further with chapter eight. It's going a little sticky, though. I think I excited myself so much with chapter seven that this one now seems a bit... anti-climactic. I have a feeling this one's going to need considerable re-editing when my first draft is done. However -- you can't edit something that hasn't been written, so I'm going to plod on.

Want a sample?

"Her pulse began to race. The mere vision of his half-naked body made her recall every plane, every muscle, every movement, and every heartbeat she’d felt when she’d been wrapped in his arms."


Pieces of Eight

I've now started chapter eight and, at the start of today, am just under 1,000 words into it (have updated word count bar accordingly). Hopefully I'll get more done today though -- it's been a few days now since I finished seven and I'm scared of letting the story go stagnant.

It's still weird for me to realize that I'm on chapter eight -- it seems so far! Soon I'll be approaching the halfway mark, and that will truly be weird.

Monday, October 31

Tagged by Nell

I've been tagged by Nell for a "Threes" list, so here goes...

Three screen names that you've had: jess0910, jesswriter, jessica.mary

Three things you like about yourself: my blue eyes, my neverending yearning to learn stuff, my small feet

Three things you don't like about yourself: my over-analyzing, my square butt and my boobs that don't fit my frame

Three parts of your heritage: Irish, South London and original Romany Gypsy (it's far back, but it's there!)

Three things that scare you: panic attacks, seeing real violence, not knowing how people I love really feel about me

Three of your everyday essentials: moisturiser, something -- anything -- to read, some time to myself

Three things you are wearing right now: black lacy PJ bottoms, white cross-back vest, knickers

Three of your favorite songs: D'Ya Know What I Mean (Oasis), Everlong (Foo Fighters), Anna Begins (Counting Crows)

Three things you want in a relationship: feeling safe, sexiness, a sense of humour

Two truths and a lie: I'm twenty-three, I don't have a spleen, I re-heat egg fried rice the night after I have a Chinese

Three things you can't live without: air, love, moisturiser

Three places you want to go on vacation: New York, Italy, Vermont

Three things you just can't do: division without a calculator, reaching the top shelf in the supermarket, to stop daydreaming

Three kids names: Isobelle, Gracie, Carlos

Three things you want to do before you die: see a book I've written for sale in a bookshop, be rescued by gorgeous SWAT-style hero in style of romance novel, go to New York

Three celeb crushes: Chris Evans (not the UK one! Johnny Storm from the Fantastic Four), Jason Statham, Josh Holloway (Sawyer from Lost)

Three of your favorite musicians: Dave Grohl, Sarah McLachlan, Jack Johnson

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeals to you: big capable hands, gorgeous eyes, wearing a dress shirt with the collar open and a tie pulled loose {cut to me melting on to the floor like a gibbering wreck}

Three of your favorite hobbies: reading, writing, gossiping

Three things you really want to do badly right now: vow to go to sports shop tomorrow to buy new trainers so I can start my jogging program, get an email back from a friend, have the team on Most Haunted Live capture a ghost on camera

Three careers you're considering/you've considered: physiotherapist for England Rugby Team, receptionist at film studio, writer (aaah -- which one really happened??)

Three ways that you are stereotypically a boy: I'm not a boy, but if I was -- pretend not to hear what girls say until they repeat it for the second time, think moisturising is for sissies, be incapable of thinking 'hmm, maybe I'll change the bed linen'

Three ways that you are stereotypically a girl: always feel better when my hair looks good, not being shy about telling people my feelings for them (most of the time), appreciating prettily decorated rooms

Oh, And.....

P.S. " Happy Halloween !


Quiet day at work today. I brought in my iPod because I burnt about 70 new songs on to it last night and was dying to listen to them all (Hello 'Sinnerman Remix' by Nina Simone and 'Aurora' by Foo Fighters). Luckily nobody minds me listening to it while I work. I don't turn it up too loud so I can still hear the phone. I've been playing it since about 9.30 this morning apart from an hour when I went out for lunch, and I'm only on song 66 of 165 ('All Along the Watchtower' by Jimi Hendrix, should you be interested, fact-fans).

Yesterday I found some poems I wrote about eight years ago. I'm thinking about posting them on here but am unsure. I've never really been one for poetry, though I have a notebook with favourites in (including song lyrics). Saying that, though, I've not added any new ones to it for God knows how long. I think this is to do with an earlier post I made about not finding magic in stuff much any more now that I'm a "grown-up". Poetry, music, movies, letters, clipped-out pictures, and feelings were how I expressed myself when I was sixteen or seventeen, hence I used to copy out great poems into said notebook, but I'd never do that now. *Sigh* Where did the Me from Then go?

Anyway, I'm going to think about the poetry. When I wrote the poems they were very personal to me, so you might get to read them, you might not!

Sunday, October 30

Songs for My Characters

... I mentioned in a previous post how I was getting hyped up by music while I was writing chapter seven the other night. Bearing this in mind, I thought I'd make a list of songs for my characters. You know how you have certain songs that remind you of certain people in your life, times in your life, relationships, things that happened, etc? Well, these are the songs that represent my characters (all of which are on my iPod "Writing Mix") :

  • Saltwater by Chicane
  • Everlong by Foo Fighters
  • Seven Cities by Solar Stone
  • Angela Undress by Thomas Newman (from American Beauty, the original score)
  • Finished Symphony by Hybrid
  • Tubular Bells by Michele Simone
  • In The Arms of Sleep by Smashing Pumpkins
  • Evenstar by Howard Shore (from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers original score)

I don't think that's all of them yet, so I'll probably add more in at later dates.

Rain and Contemplation

Though we've lived in the new house for just over two months now, today -- Sunday -- is my first full day at home on my own. You see, my sister was staying with us for a while until her property chain pulled itself together, and she moved out yesterday. Bloke's at work, so I'm at home with Popple, running the washing machine and tumble dryer, writing, listening to music, and watching the rain.

It's really coming down outside. From where I'm sitting I can see right out the French doors that lead into the back garden. The raindrops are falling down so hard that they're bouncing back off the path to the back gate. I also haven't mowed the lawn in a couple of weeks so it's a bit longer than normal and the wind's picking up, rippling the blades of grass every now and then. I feel cozy inside with my cup of tea and laptop.

Today I voted for Everlong by Foo Fighters on the Kerrang music channel's "select your song" thing. I love the song but have never seen the video. I rang up at about half past ten and they finally played it at two o'clock! I didn't like the video that much. I find the song quite emotional, but the video was kind of jokey, but not as good as some of their other funny videos, either (like Learn to Fly or Breakout). And talking of Everlong brings me on to my next post of the day...

Saturday, October 29

Time For a Change

It's about time I put a new picture on my profile as the one I currently have on there was taken about three years ago (though, to be honest, I haven't changed that much). So I'm in the process of trying to remember how to upload an image and at some point you should get to see what I look like now...

Thursday, October 27

Emotional Exhaustion...

...and bad news for Helen, because I have just now completed Chapter 7 -- my third chapter in less than 10 days! I'm not even going to guess at what's making things go so well, because if I know I'll only tempt fate.

So we've just had the first kiss and I am D.R.A.I.N.E.D! I had my iPod on, as per usual when writing at home in the evenings, and was listening to a lot of songs that were inspiring me and hyping me up. I wonder if tomorrow, in the cold light of daylight when I re-read the chapter with no music, it'll be awful and OTT. But when I was reading it back over just now to correct misspellings etc, my eyes watered a little...

Is that normal?

These Are My Characters

I almost cried when I read this...!

“She is so full of love and loveliness, that it really does seem as though bells ring when he is in her presence. Her bells are deep, like the chimes you hear at Easter Sunday sunrise. It’s all part of the music of Venus, and you can just imagine the effect it has on his sentimental heart and sensitive, finely-tuned awareness.

To add to the dreamlike quality of the experience, the girl who has enchanted him looks an awful lot like an angel. Venus never fails to bestow upon those who are her children a haunting beauty of feature… if not that, a smile that can gladden the weariest soul. She may be fortunate enough to have received both of these Venus blessings, and if so, he doesn’t stand much of a chance.

He has a sensational sense of humour, so the first thing he’ll do to impress her, shortly after they’ve met, is tell her a funny story. She will laugh… not an ordinary laugh, but a laugh very much like the one Peter Pan told Wendy about, that breaks into a thousand pieces and creates the birth of fairies… and he will hear those chiming bells again. Not only is her laughter musical, but her smile is a symphony, and she has the good taste to appreciate his humour.

Not long after this he’ll learn that, in addition to being beautiful and witty, softly fragrant and feminine, and overflowing with the velvet mystery of woman, she’s also extremely intelligent and can match his own cleverness in anything from chess to charades. She’s certainly smarter that all those dunderheads he’s used to dealing with who don’t laugh at his jokes and have to be told a dozen times how to accomplish the most simple tasks.

And here is this charming man, whose eyes are alive with intelligence and humour, whose manner is so warm and affectionate, who is so reflective and sensitive. He makes her feel so feminine, yet he admires and encourages her intellect. He makes her feel that he truly needs her, and somehow, she feels so safe and secure with him, as though he would never allow anything ugly or gross or upsetting to trouble the new tranquillity they’ve found. There’s something just a little old-fashioned and gallant about him, and it lifts her spirits in a strange way, making her feel pleasantly protected.

His mother once told him it’s more sensible to be safe than sorry, and that smartness succeeds better than softness in this cold, harsh world. So he’s always tried to be safe and sensible and smart. And now here is this beautiful, intelligent woman trying to make him be careless and impulsive and free. He’ll fret privately over her extravagant nature. She’ll tell him he’s smothering her very soul and refuse to answer his calls.

But she misses him, she needs him, so she’ll try to see it his way… again. He panics when they’ve quarrelled, because the moment they’re apart, her air of happy optimism and the sheer loveliness of life when they’re laughing and loving together haunts him. Will there ever be such beauty again with anyone else? He fears there won’t.

When they’re making love, they’ll say silently to one another, “Let’s don’t think, let’s just feel.” And so their physical intimacy makes their troubles fade. When he submits to pure emotion and feeling, he’s being his true self, free of the restrictions of his fears and worries. He brings her peace and contentment as a lover because of the deep waters of his emotional nature. Sometimes, when they make love, she’s reminded of a cool stream, and she’s a leaf, floating on its surface. The tenderness and imagination she brings to their union has the same quieting effect on him, and he relaxes, allowing love to fill his whole being, so there’s no room for anything but joy. The way she makes him feel at these moments is not something he’ll ever want to lose.

Their divergent viewpoints aren’t easy to overcome. But if he uses his tenaciousness to pull their differences together, and if she uses her fairness to comprehend his caution with more compassion for his feelings and less concern for her own, they just might try again… and maybe this time, they’ll make their poem rhyme. His need to hear those Easter Sunday chimes again may cause him to take another chance, and her need to be loved by a man who both cherishes her and respects her may bring her back in his arms to be told once again how beautiful she is.

While she’s gone, it’s funny how he still feels her head against his shoulder, now and then, in his dreams… and last night, he was sure he heard her speak, but her voice was sad. He thought her heard her say to him, gently, “You have so much to learn, and I hope you never learn it, because it will bring pain as learning always does, and I can’t bear for you to be hurt any more.” The Moon both curses and blesses him with a vivid memory, nearly photographic, sometimes, in its clarity. When he wakes, there are tears in his eyes, because her presence had been so real, he almost heard the music he’ll never quite forget.

These two can find their way back home to each other if their need and their patience are both strong enough. But if not, even after the song between them has ended, his vivid Lunar memory will return to him… haunting fragments of the lyric. Then he’ll regret certain things he didn’t say when she was near… so he’ll just think about them sometimes when he’s alone… and hope she hears them, wherever she is…”

Paraphrased from "Love Signs" by Linda Goodman, Pan Macmillan (1980)

Wednesday, October 26

Late Night Inspiration

And it's nothing salacious!

I've simply had a very successful writing night. After being roughly 1,000 words into C6 for the last few days, I popped on my iPod while the bloke was watching CSI, hoping to snatch maybe an hour of writing time. 3 hours later, it's now past midnight and I've finished the chapter. 4,549 words (check out the new running total across the page) and we're building up to the first kiss!

I am so excited, and I want to carry on, but I've got to go to sleep because I have work tomorrow!

And I thought today was going to be crap...

Tuesday, October 25

Cheating at Tests

I wondered about something today. Why is it, when you take one of those magazine quizzes -- you know the kind: Who's Your Type? Is It Love or Lust? What's Your Star Career? etc. -- you never answer honestly? You always pick the answers you know will lead to the answer you want to hear. Which is weird, and kind of defeatist. I did it with a test today. I was looking for some reassurance on something but I answered with rose-tinted glasses on, so the answer I got didn't help me whatsover. *Rolls eyes*

In other news, C6 is going well -- check out my new word count bar to the right!

Wednesday, October 19

My Milestone

This afternoon I completed chapter five of my book. (By the way, I just want to let you know I feel quite pretentious when I say "my book".) As I think I mentioned previously, this is now the furthest I have ever managed to get! I also ran a total word count after I'd finished, and I've broken 20,000 words -- my official total progress so far is 20,075. So I feel like I've broken two barriers today.

It feels really good! But I'm not going to wallow in my pride too much -- in fact I will probably write the first couple of sentences of chapter six after I've finished this post, and will likely carry it on tomorrow. But for tonight, I'm having a mini-celebration. I bought myelf a 1lb box of chocolates (though I promise you -- I don't eat that much chocolate so they'll probably last me at least a month!) and am having a nice glass of whisky and coke. Then, later, I'll drool over Sawyer from 'Lost' for an hour.

It's fun to wallow, but what feels even better is that I'm kind of eager for the wallowing to end so I can get started on the next bit...

Wednesday, October 5

Et Voila -- Le Petit Chien Lunatique

I've decided I haven't made enough use of the picture facility on my blog, other than putting a picture of myself in the profile (which I hope to update sometime soon). So here, for your enjoyment, are a few pictures of my dog, Popple.

Popple is a 5-year-old Jack Russell. She is also a freak. Among other things, she:

  • Loves drinking tea
  • Burps a lot
  • Hates football on TV but is quite partial to the live-action 101 Dalmatians film
  • Sneezes more than any dog I've ever known
  • Smiles when you scratch her chin and behind her ears
  • Occasionally freaks out for no reason and starts running in circles or up and down the stairs at high speed, tail tucked under her bum like a greyhound
  • Sometimes gets hiccups

I got her when she was six months old, from a family who didn't want her any more. Her name was Scampi then, but I changed it to Popple, which I thought suited her. A Popple was a kind of toy my sister and I had when we were a young -- a fluffy bear-type thing that could turn itself into a ball. Funnily enough, the name suits Popple quite well because when it's cold she will curl herself up into a little ball right next to you and keep you warm. We call this the "Doughnut Dog".

I have a terrible habit of improvising on names, so some of the other things she gets called are:

  • Pupa
  • Buttmunch
  • Pickle
  • Piggle T.
  • Piglettina
  • Little Shemille
  • Mini-Freak
  • The Cuteness
  • Pupini
  • Poplington
  • Popplino
  • Minnie Mouse Head (because of the pattern of her fur)
  • Foxface
  • Applebutt
  • Pigsville
  • Mini-Minx
  • Little Ribena
  • Pork Chop
  • Monchichi

She is indeed a freak, but I love her very much!

Tuesday, October 4

Four Down, Five Next!

Yay! I *love* how my writing is going at the moment! I thought I was going to be busy doing something else this evening, but plans changed and as the bloke volunteered to cook dinner, I've been sitting in the armchair -- iPod on playing my non-intrusive chillout/classical "Writing" mix -- tapping away.

I've finished chapter 4 --another 2,000 words, making the total for this chapter 4,250!

Yay me, yay me!

I wonder if my new house has been built on some great writer-vibe site? Like a less skeletal and more bookish version of Poltergeist?

So next up is chapter five: the point I have never reached beyond. If I can complete chapter 5, I am going to celebrate. It seems like an odd point to throw a self-congratulatory party, but for me, 5 is a big milestone. Hmm, I'll have to start thinking of something to treat myself with. If only I had Jason Statham's telephone number...


And not the song by Boyzone.

Chapter three is finished, and I actually went over my original estimate, ending on just over 4,200! I was a very good girl and started chapter four straight away, and it currently stands at 2,250. I'm hoping I might finish it by this weekend.

There's a lot of sexual tension in this chapter so far. I'm not sure if it's too soon. Can you have too much sexual tension in a romance novel? I don't know, but knowing my luck you can, and I've overstepped the mark by about 1,500 shuddery breaths and skin prickles. I have to say though, I do love a romance with great sexual tension in it. Especially when they don't even kiss until, like, chapter 14! The build-up is so great. Diana Duncan's "Bulletproof Bride" has the characters kiss quite a bit before chapter 14, but the, er, "main event" doesn't happen until quite a long while after and it was great! Talk about feverishly turning the pages... I hope mine reads as good.

Saturday, October 1

Almost 10,000...!

It's 10 a.m. on Saturday. Yesterday I did about 1,800 more words of chapter three -- the last couple of hundred of which I did while... sitting on the toilet. You see, my boyfriend was busy watching late night comedy on Channel 4 and having got home, folded laundry, put more washing in the machine, washed dishes, and cooked and ate chilli con carne, I was itching to write. So I departed upstairs with my laptop and immersed myself in chapter three.

Then about an hour later he arrived upstairs, ready for bed. At a crucial juncture, I continued tapping away. Then while I paused to think of a word, I realized my bloke was lying in bed next to me, a cushion on in his face to hide the light, trying to go to sleep. It was ten to midnight and he had work today. So I got up and padded into the bathroom, where I continued tapping for another twenty minutes until my battery started blinking. Then I returned to bed with a Diana Duncan book and went to sleep.

And now I've plugged my laptop back in, and am hovering on the edge of 10,000 words. So what the hell am I doing on my blog? I need to finish my chapter!

Monday, September 19

Don't Jinx It!

So Nell has told me she's critiqued my second chapter over the weekend; I should be seeing that in a day or two, Royal Mail willing. I've been very good and started chapter three already, which I am over 1000 words into already. I am always really tempted to show someone what I've written -- even if it's a couple of paragraphs -- just to see what they think. Probably some low-writer-esteem in which I demand to be validated, but I am restraining myself from doing it, as I am scared I'll stem the flow. I wasn't even sure I should post on here to say what I've just said, in case my mind goes to pot and I can't think of anything else to do in chapter three (even though I have my plan).

Makes me wonder about writers' habits and routines. I bought a good book called "The Courage To Write" from Amazon... I think it was by a man called Ralph Keyes, but I can't check because it's in one of the boxes for which I still don't have room to unpack. Anyway -- it has a chapter on "totems" -- things writers believe they need in order to write well. For some it's a fountain pen, another is coffee in a certain mug, maybe a particular pair of jeans/pyjamas, a desk, even a certain brand of notepad in a certain colour. When I first started out seriously trying to write a romance I really believed I had to have a routine. To begin with I'd be at the kitchen table with a mandarin candle, my slippers (as in, wearing them -- not just having them on the table), and a cup of coffee. I don't drink coffee, but I thought it was more writer-ish and I liked the smell. Then I read in Stephen King's "On Writing" that for him, nothing compared with a proper fountain pen, so off I went to Smiths and bought one. Decided I didn't like it after one page because the ink drained through the paper to the next page. On second though, maybe I should've just bought better paper...

Anyway, I did learn something from trying on various writers' habits: that I didn't have one. Actually, forget that -- I DO have one. The thing I have to have, otherwise I can't write properly, is mood. I have to be in the mood to write. I know there is a camp of writers who believe you should write regardless, whether you're in the mood or not (I believe this applies to many full-time writers who make their living from their words -- understandably so), but I can't do it. Occasionally I can push myself. For example, if I'm not in the mood I will open up Word and start typing something, even if it's crap, and then find that something comes to me, but it doesn't happen too often. However, I DO find that if I do that, especially if it's for the start of a new chapter, I'll give up and close down, then later while I'm in the bath or pushing a trolley round Tesco, I'll suddenly know how to start my chapter. So I guess all I need to do is train my mood. Any tips?

Thursday, September 15

Relocation, Relocation

No, I didn't die during my move! I just lost all time for thinking constructively about my writing or managing to get anything creative done. Creative for the last month has been deciding where to hang clocks and pictures, and rearranging my candles on the coffee table to see which arrangement looks more homely.

But we're in, we're settled, we're happy, though we're not all unpacked. I hate it that people keep asking about unpacking -- I keep thinking that when I say we still have some boxes around they think I'm a lazy pig who can't be arsed. But that's not the truth! My sister's staying with us until she gets the go-ahead for her moving date, and until her share of boxes (which there's no point in her unpacking) and her 3-foot fish tank leave us, we can't do much more than we already have. So that's the reason, okay?!

However, today I am feeling v. positive and energized because this morning I finished chapter two of my haunted house story and emailed it off to Nell, my wonderful (and twice-sold) critique partner. Currently I'm critiquing chapter eighteen of her latest book -- I'm hoping someday she'll be critiquing a chapter of such a number that I've written! Five is the maximum number I've reached before. I may be cheating by leaving my chapters slightly shorter than usual in the haunted house book, but the higher the number gets the more excited I feel. If I ever manage to reach The End I'll edit and make them bigger.

In other news, my sister and I went to Falmouth (Cornwall) a couple of weeks ago. I bought her a voucher for a dolphin-watching trip and though the weather was good, the sea wasn't rough (thank God), and Falmouth was lovely.... we didn't see any dolphins. Which deflated us a bit. Instead we saw various sea birds and a puffin a few miles out to sea. But it was a lovely experience all the same, and return customers get a discount, so we've decided we'll simply keep going back until we see the elusive Flipper!

Friday, August 12

Foos and Friends

I'm feeling good today:

1. It's the end of the week.

2. My hair did exactly what I wanted it to on the first go this morning.

3. I secured tickets to the Foo Fighters' one-night-only concert at Earls Court in London in December, after repeatedly punching the hang-up and redial buttons for 40 minutes.

4. Tomorrow I'm meeting my best friend from school, who I haven't seen for about two years. We're meeting in the town I used to work in, most likely in the pub where I had my 18th birthday party. I am so excited!

Thursday, August 11

I Heart My Bloke

... for lots of reasons, but yesterday he bought me an iPod! A cute silver mini one, which I love already. I am now officially cool. I downloaded my first song (My Doorbell by White Stripes, incidentally -- see earlier post) while watching the pilot episode of Lost, which premiered here in the UK last night. Looks like it's going to be good!

In writing news, I've altered the relations of the two main female characters of my new idea. Literally just a page of scribble (once again, while I was in the bathroom -- what is it with me?). So far all of this is just idea and scribble. I don't think I'll actually start writing anything for at least the next couple of weeks, when I'll (hopefully) be settled in the new house.

We signed our contract yesterday. No going back now, unless I want to pay a hefty penalty! Guess that means I am stuck with the guy who buys me an iPod for no reason. Dammit... :)

Tuesday, August 9


So I've had another idea. I think it's a good one, too. At least, I feel like it could be. Obviously I don't know until I start it!

At the moment it doesn't seem to have a defined plot, but I have four solid characters, all of whom I am seeing pretty clearly. I know my plot will develop out of what they decide to do, and I do have a vague idea of how the book will start and how it will finish, so I guess it's a case of letting them tell their stories.

Now if only I had more time and energy to start it!

Sunday, August 7

Oh Daddy...

So, we went to MK. I bought a couple of things, but not much. I'm trying to be frugal, but at least I got an idea of what's available where and for how much.

Moving is now a day closer, and we did more packing today. China, glasses, the rest of the CDs and DVDs. We also spent the better part of two or three hours splitting up all the photographs. Tough job. It made me think about my Dad a lot this afternoon and evening. He passed away just over 4 years ago now.

Life is weird. You're born, you do things, then one day it ends. I remember occasionally thinking, "Then what's the point of ever doing anything?" -- not because I was depressed, but simply because sometimes the whole cycle didn't seen to make sense. (This usually happened when I was quite young.) I guess all any of us are doing is passing time.

But I've realized that you should still think carefully about how you want to pass your time. It could last quite a long time. And by the end, it would be nice to have something to show for your time, something you've left behind, people that remember you, memories that you could replay and be fond of, if there were some sort of retrospective of your life in a theatre up in the clouds.

"Life is too short" is a trite and over-used phrase, but is it ever true. It's entirely possible to receive a phone call one day and find that someone -- a whole part of your life -- will be no more. Why bother passing your time sitting on the sofa watching repeats of TV shows you never liked that much anyway, when you could write words that will last after you're gone, write music that will play without you, leave wisdom with people who'll remember your name (if not your face), leave behind people you made who would never have existed if you'd never felt a heated connection with someone at some point, and give friends, family, partners, and past loves memories and moments that they'll use to lighten their darker moments.

Life is short, and life is tough, but life is worth it.

Saturday, August 6

I'm thinkin' about my doorbell

Well, I'm not really. I just get the 'Doorbell' song by the White Stripes stuck in my head every time I hear it!

But I suppose I will be thinking about my doorbell in less than 2 weeks: we've received our moving date, and it's the Thursday after next. We've packed some things already, and are going to get more done this weekend. Today we're going to Milton Keynes (my sister has to get a present for a friend, we both want new clothes...) where I'm looking forward to browsing the homewares sections of the department stores.

As such, writing time is few and far between at the moment, but the enthusiasm is thankfully still bubbling away. Hopefully it still will be when I get some time to spend on it.

Monday, August 1

A Weird Day

Mondays are weird. I felt fine this morning but was on the edge of moody up until about 5pm. My computer was too slow, my trousers were too black, the pavement was too rough, people were too annoying... Then all of a sudden I felt better.

Not quite sure why this was. But am glad I'm not feeling as moody now. I got down some more notes on my new idea last night, and think I've figured out the crux of the drama. This story is more of a thriller than anything I've thought of before, and I do love to read thrillers, so I'm hoping that writing it will be fun.

In other news, we've heard that we could be moving by next weekend. Not sure this is quite possible, but I'm not complaining. I'll be relieved when it's all over!

Been thinking about the past lots today. I wonder if that's why I've been in such an odd mood. There are a lot of things I miss about being a teenager, but equally (and obviously) a lot that I don't. Family life for me was pretty rocky back then, and there's a lot of stuff I'd rather never happened, but I sometimes wish I could grab back a bit of who I used to be back then. I used to sit up at night just looking at the stars. I'd find beauty in a single daisy on the lawn. Every feeling I had was immense and important and life-changing and movie-like. Sometimes I wish I could still be like that. Is it me or does adulthood make you cynical?

Saturday, July 30

Simmering Nicely

Well, I was right. It's been a good day! I revised the whole first half of Chapter Two of the haunted house story (while listening to the Foo Fighters' There Is Nothing Left To Lose, which made me quite productive), then while I was in the shower I had a new idea. Sweet!

It's something that's been vaguely shimmering in my mind for the last week or two. I could see who the characters were, but I couldn't quite make out their story. But it came to me today (I find they always arrive in the most inconvenient places) and I got to scribble down 4 pages of notes while sitting on the bed in a towel with wet hair.

I love getting ideas. Whether I manage to end up doing something with them is another matter, but the feeling of energy and excitement I get while my pen races across the page, with ideas, situations, conversations, characters, and scenes running through my head, is incomparable. I guess seeing your book on the shelves is something similar. One day I hope I'll find out.

Oh, and yes, I know I'm writing this on a Saturday night. Such is my life at the moment -- I am staying at home because I'm trying to spend the least possible amount of money thanks to stamp duty, solicitor fees, estate agent fees, search fees, survey fees, and -- I don't know, fees for living -- looming in the very near future. (Now I know why they say selling a house is one of the most stressful things you can ever do.) That, and I have cramps. So it's a baked potato, some Dairy Milk, and Assault on Precinct 13 (courtesy of Blockbuster at around £3) for me tonight...

It's Cooking

Today's going to be a good day for writing. I have nothing planned, and I'm alone in the house, so it's down to business -- chapter two, or perhaps something else if I suddenly get taken over (it's happened before). Love days like this.

Watched a cooking programme this morning. They always make me wish I'd be more adventurous with cooking; I always end up making the same few meals. Although I have taught myself how to make risottos, which are actually a lot easier than everyone says. You just have to keep a constant eye on them.

Sometimes I wonder if I've become too domesticated...

Friday, July 29

In the beginning...

Well, since everyone else is blogging, I thought I would too. I've read in a million books about writing that the more you do it, the easier it becomes, so this can only do good, I suppose. I'll try and find a way of linking my blog to that of Nell Dixon, who is my critique partner and an extremely talented writer.

So here's a quick summary of where I stand with my writing. Last year I sold a short story to a national women's magazine, which was printed in January of this year. I have stacks of copies in my attic (so does my Mum...). I've stopped and started numerous stories since then, but at the moment I am working on a romance that I first conceived of two years ago. It's set in a haunted country mansion in the English countryside (Buckinghamshire, to be precise -- where I live), owned by the guy the girl was in love with when she was sixteen. Chapter One is done so far, and Chapter Two is halfway.

I'll also mention that I am at the moment in the middle of moving house, so it's likely that future posts may contain moans about the conveyancing process...