Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Conf 53 Emotional Mapping

No. of e-mails from agent: 0
No. of words: 25,735

It's Big Push Forward time. I don't believe in writer's block, it's not allowed. But have had several bad days now. Managed 1,700 words this morning, not good words, though. Little more than a frame, this happened, then that, then that. It's my Way Forward when writing isn't going well. Dump the critic for the moment and keep on going until things start to flow again.

All this waiting for the call isn't helping. I get distracted all the time, clicking on e-mail, clicking on blog stuff, the blog stuff a really bad distraction at the moment. It used to be a few games of cards, now it's a full-blown endless mine of other people's minds. Not sure it's too healthy. It's hard to disconnect from it all. For other, very serious, reasons, petiteanglaise, in a beautifully-written, thoughtful entry, is wondering about her blogging too.

What I have done, away from the computer, is an emotional map of the rest of the novel. From the detailed synopsis I have charted a chapter list right to the end of the book. At the top of each page I note the emotional state of all the characters involved. At the end of each page I note the emotional state of all the characters involved. At least one has to have changed. Reading Anne Tyler at the moment, studying her. Shapes. She's good at shapes. And her characters are very visual.

It's half-term this week, so writing-time is grabbed time. Get up early and Do It, before anyone else is up. Yesterday we were official photographers at a charity cricket match. It was fun to be a photographer again, I have great hopes for a pic of vicar with actress. I never want to see a cricket match again, though. We had to be there at the start for the kids' games, right through to the prize-giving in the evening.

Off to Folkestone in a while, to visit my mother. She's 94 and in a nursing home. Folkestone's a run-down place near the port of Dover with some very interesting corners & curiosities. Not least, The Grand, a cranky old apartment block for which the phrase 'faded elegance' could have been invented. We'll meet my sister there later for tea in the Palm Court. It oozes history, this place. Not least, because Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express here.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Conf 52 Tag

I have been tagged by chicklitworkinprogress

Total Number of Books Owned:

Going by recent house move, thousands. Am not very possessive about books, once read they can go, most of them, & the best have, lent onwards and beyond. Am fastidious about returning books, though, and get cross when very special books aren't returned to me.

Last book bought:

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler.

Last book read:

The Games People Play by Louise Voss.

Five books that have meant a lot:

Five On a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton.

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda.

Smallcreep's Day by Peter Currell-Brown.

Silence by John Cage.

Jigsaw by Sybille Bedford.

Now I'm supposed to tag someone.

I'll go for:

the lovely musings lady.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.





Friday, May 27, 2005

Conf 51 Another (Crap) Day in Life of Jobseeking Writer

No. of e-mails from agent: 0
No. of e-mails from mag editors: 4


OK, yesterday nothing looked good. Another day of bad writing & worrying about the future. Action was needed so I got the list of mag/news editors from the non-fiction PR and did an e-mail circular, (though individually to each editor):


Dear....,

I have recently published.... US Amazon Editorial describes my book as 'this unmatched book' and 'absolutely the only guide you'll ever need.'

The June issue of... magazine has a page based on my book which describes me as a cleaning guru. I am now looking for openings for related articles and/or a column to hopefully up my guru status whilst the going is good.

If you'd like to know more......, Publicity & Marketing Executive, would be happy to send you a copy of the book and article.

Thanks for your time.

All best wishes,

First response from Telegraph magazine:

thank you - i'm afraid I can't think of the right slot here, but your book sounds intriguing and I will look out for it.
best,
annabel

Which is really nice of her to bother. Asked PR to send her a book anyway, you never know.

Then, from HOME:

Dear Amanda,

Thank you for getting in contact. Our mag is not practical enough for large amounts of cleaning questions etc. but it is certainly useful to bear in mind for the future.
Kind regards
Ben

Then from another woman's weekly mag:

Hi Amanda, thanks for this. Unfortunately we have our very own guru with a tips column in the mag every week.However, I wish you well - if you ever have a real life story that would suit, do let us know.Best wishes,

Then, finally:

Hi, I'd love to receive a copy. How about writing a column for a future issue of our mag and we can plug the book too? Regards Helen

EUREKA!

(Have you guessed yet?)

I replied:

Dear Helen,

That's terrific.

I'll nip out and buy a copy of the magazine & will forward you a selection of possible angles in the next few days.

Could you let me know the number of words you would require and your rates? I've asked PR to send you a copy of the book.

Many thanks,

To this reply:

Hi I didn't have a fee in mind as I was going to plug your book and view this as free publicity? Our mag has an ABC circulation of 130,000 - readership of 300,000 per month. I look forward to receiving a review copy. Do you have a good pic of yourself? Regards Helen

This is all very normal, author supplies copy, gets publicity, promotion, mustn't turn it down etc. etc. But I'm disappointed. I'm running on empty. Should I accept this? I get no royalties on the book. If my sub to the Author's Society hadn't run out I could ask them and they'd reply by return. But I'm not a member any more. I haven't replied. Will ask partner tonight what he thinks, & writing friends.

I forwarded request to PR to send the books anyway. And she said she'd had an independent request from The Guardian, so all is not lost yet.

Meantime it's an INSET day here, which means daughter off school. It's a heatwave & we've just returned from the local outdoor pool. It didn't open till 4 (still winter opening hours), we were early so got in at the head of the queue, had a quick swim before it started filling & left. Not before hearing first of the local yobs (get in you f....ing c.... etc.), resident in every swimming pool in the land.

Excellent advice in on magazine dilemma from author/life coach pal (link to her website coming soon):

Hi Amanda, My instinct would be to explain politely that you were looking for journalism work, as in fact you get no royalties on the book - unfortunately you can't work for no fee. But you would love to further the relationship by suggesting other feature article unrelated to the book. See what she comes back with. Don't get into working for nothing; there are people out there who will pay you. That's my opinion! Love,J x

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Conf 50 I Give Up

No of calls from agent: 0
No of nasties in post: 0
No of nice things in post: 2


Day 3 of rubbish writing day.

Feel like giving up. Am rubbish and crap.

Some good people instead:

musings, petiteanglaise, meanwhilehereinfrance.


At least the post was kind. Invite to a party and U2 tickets. Partner says we shld be selling them as so broke, this REALLY winds me up as I've always wanted to see them live (How often do I get to go to anything etc. etc.). He doesn't want to go but doesn't want to be left behind either. So will come and complain all the time about how much it's costing. Grrr.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Conf 49 Proof Reading Rejection

No. of calls from agent: 0


Proofs for the next non-fiction arrived yesterday. The excitement at seeing such an enormous book, 405 pages, tempered by the realisation corrections were needed by Thursday.

First I met author friend J for a coffee at a little bistro on the Green. We talked about mapping out rest of novel, which I think I'll be starting on tomorrow, with each chapter's emotional story-map laid out to save wasting time writing too much. J considering this too. We both like leaving things open & having plenty of space for story to develop as it develops, but I guess that can still happen, will see...

Proofs an excuse to avoid novel when I returned. Finding it difficult to move forwards with C13 so distractions very welcome. However proofs were real enough. Worked on the first 100 pages and e-mailed in my corrections. There were quite a few. Some content: details had been added which weren't relevant (and daft in some places like this on Noel Coward: 'He epitomized 'Englishness' and despite his camp appearance became an idol for many men) or made a nonsense of what had been written before; some grammar ('her and her mother' is one I remember). This was a job I took over. Rewriting the previous (rubbish) author's entries had to be left to the editor as all my time was spent trying to write the rest of the 405 pages in 6 weeks (it actually took 3 months). Now I see them and realise it hasn't been done at all properly. Anyway, after spending all day on this I get this:

Dear Amanda,

Thanks for checking the proofs so thoroughly but unfortunately I won't be able to make all these changes. At colour proof stage we only correct things that are factually incorrect or glaring spelling errors. I haven't had a chance to go through all your corrections but I know I won't be allowed to make all of these.There are 2 which I feel have to be made: your name change and the contents page numbers are incorrect. Apart from that I'll be allowed another 8 or so max. Best wishes...

So that's me. Illiterate homophobe.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Conf 48 The Insanity of Insecurity

No. of e-mails from agent: 0


8.10am log onto computer

No. of e-mails in IN box: 2

1 from J on success of her
Arvon writing course ('almost a religious experience'). Can't wait to hear about it.

1 from K

Check Amazon. Novel 1 at 9,775. Gosh. Someone must have bought one, or even two.

10.51 Check e-mail again. No new messages. Check Amazon again, novel 1 now 39,687.

11.45 E-mail PINGS! Great excitement.

From non-fiction publisher about proofs for new non-f coming out in August. Sent by special delivery today, politely asks if I can get comments back to them by Thursday. Says my author credit is on the title page - but it's the wrong name. They've used my real name instead of my pen name, e mail straight back to get it changed.

12.03 E-mail confirming they'll change name.

12.20 - 13.20 Sit in car outside pressing the break pedal whilst partner fixes break lights.

14.04 IN box pings again. From S replying to mine, sorry we missed each other on Fri...

etc etc.

It's daft to expect a response so soon, but it doesn't stop the jitters.

Delighted to see an interview with
http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/books/interviews/story.jsp?story=523617 Sybille Bedford in Telegraph this weekend. Jigsaw, her Booker-nominated semi-autobiographical novel is one of my favourites. I've read it 3 times. My friend J, who introduced it to me, used to read it once a year. Strangely, the 3 friends I've introduced it to all hated it. A few years ago we dropped into Sanary-sur-Mer, a small town at the unfashionable end of the Cote d'Azur, the setting for much of the book, and were charmed. I'd read the place was a spoilt, horrid tourist destination. Sure, it starts off as a nasty big car-park, but from there you walk into the loveliest, unspoilt little seaside town. St Tropez without the posers and traffic jams is how we found it. When we got back I wrote to her, the first fan letter to an author I'd ever written, via her publisher. I wanted to know if her house, Les Cyprés, was still there, as we intended returning to Sanary the following year for a holiday. The next thing, blow me, if there's not a message on my answer machine one day. I rang J, 'guess who's left me a message!' I squeaked like it was David Bowie or someone. FULL of nerves, she's a formidably intelligent woman, I called her back. She was so lovely. She explained she found it hard to write these days, she was already in her 90s, so she was phoning me. She confirmed Les Cyprés was still there, on the Rue Bandol. She followed up her call with a letter shakily written on green paper (apparently she can only write on green paper which doesn't reflect the light) wishing me luck with my writing. We went back the following year and stayed at the Hotel de la Tour, the first place Sybille stayed when she arrived with her mother in the 1920s. I left partner and daughter gasping under air conditioner as France's worst heatwave raged and went off trekking round Sanary on my Jigsaw trail. I found the villa, Les Cyprés, just as it was, and La Pacifique, the Corbusier-style house she visited all the time, as a bonus. The old 1920s cinema, just as it was, and the Café Marine on the harbourfront, just as it was. It was thrilling.

Next month, her long-awaited follow-up to Jigsaw ">Quicksands comes out. My holiday reading taken care of this year.

http://www.sanary-hoteldelatour.com/indexa.html

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Conf 47 Getting the links sorted

Wonderful BBC Radio 4 Archive Hour this week.
Based on the Book is about adapting the classic serial. It not only explores the history and technical side of adapting Hardy et al but is full of priceless archive extracts.

Shopping for moisturiser is one of the only times I ever feel like shoplifting. The Independent's "50 best" series recently did summer beauty products, and Superdrug's
">Vitamin E moisturiser came out top. I bought some today - delicious, and, at £1.99, even I can have some.


Friday, May 20, 2005

Conf 46 Life after Submission

No. of e-mails from agent: 1
No. of new cheques in post: 1

Definite end of term feeling today.

Posted the MS yesterday and e-mailed agent to let him know it was on its way. He e-mailed by return, within a few minutes, saying how much he was looking forward to reading it.

Had an awayday from computer. First, running a three miler with Debbie & Frankie along the towpaths of Chiswick and Kew. It was raining hard first thing but cleared just as we set off. I can't keep up with them but made a good effort for a distance so much further than I'm used to. The trees and flowers were wonderful, & lots of smells because of the rain.

Then we had delicious coffee, chat and banana bread at Frankie's. It was lovely to be out in the world again. I helped at daughter's school in the afternoon, smothering kids' faces with modrock (the white moulding stuff they use to fix legs and arms when you break them) for Venetian masks.

Got paid for the inspiring quotes job today. That's the last cheque due in. Serious. An e mail from the PR lady at the non-fiction publisher tells me a list of newspaper and magazine editor contacts is in the post. I shall be using this to try and maximise my 'cleaning guru' status and go for a column or one-off articles. The problem is not knowing how much effort to put into this. Cold pitching to newspapers and mags is so disheartening.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Conf 45 The Wisdom of Insecurity

'One cannot act creatively except on the basis of stillness.' Alan Watts.

It's all very quiet around here. Partner is downstairs at this moment, reading final instalment of the first 20,000 words.

Up here I've been tidying the office a bit, listening to Alan Watts.

I'd forgotten all about Alan Watts, www.alanwatts.com. Used to have The Wisdom of Insecurity and loved it, it made a big impact on me in my teens. But, exactly like Tim Lott in his article, I was ashamed of owning this book. Now I intend to catch up again with Watts' online speeches and talks. Zen philosophy is exactly what I need right now.

Ah the verdict is in. 'It's a hoot.' 'I want to know what happens next.' There's also a physics lesson. I'd written 'her centrifugal energy is so overwhelming that, for a powerful fraction of a second, the poles reverse and everybody's repelled...' Beneath this I've been given little diagrams explaining that unlike poles attract, but if poles are reversed unlike poles still attract. Then, I'm told, centrifugal force/energy does not exist. And I get a diagram of a stone and a piece of string - if string breaks, stone flies off at a tangent, not away from the centre. Centripetal force exists - the force in the string towards the centre. Damn. I can't write centripetal force. That's what comes of having an astro-physicist read your stuff.

Last night fine tuned the final text. Put the following words I keep on using over and over into the edit search to get rid of them:

You know
Just
Well
As soon as

Just is the worst.

Right, final corrections now and print followed by exciting excursion to the post office.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.







Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Conf 44 The First Response

No. of words: 20,186
No. of new reviews: 1


It is one of the big saids that you don't take comments on your writing from close relatives too seriously. Of course they are going to be kind to you, they are not going to say 'sorry you spent the last six months doing this, darling, instead of getting out there and earning some crust, because it's crap.' Not unless they have some secret scheme to dump you in the near future anyway. So you have to have all antennae up when they come in with the verdict, looking for tell-tale rises or lowerings of voice-pitch, etc etc.

Nevertheless, I was pleased with partner's response. He didn't do too much of the comma stuff, in fact in one spot he took two commas OUT. He came up with big smile on face, said it was funny, and then, as an afterthought, moving. I'm glad it was that way round. Then he said there were some Joycean turns of phrasing he liked very much. Ha ha. Then last night over dinner he repeated how much he enjoyed it. (Now, that he didn't have to do.) Or maybe I was looking miserable, as was probably anyone else watching paint drying celebs on the Love Island. Can't believe I ever thought Fran was attractive.

I've run out of paper now, and what's betting the ink will go when it comes to the Big Print. It's now all on one document, with a couple of chapters left to correct, and then it'll be off to the agent. This is my Big Push now, if this doesn't work then I'm screwed. As soon as it's gone, despite my earlier rants, I'm going to have to try and find some more non-fiction work to tide me over, or stop the flood morelike at this stage. It's pretty desperate.

The non-fiction got a great editorial review on US Amazon. 'This unmatched book..' '..absolutely the only book on this subject you'll ever need.' Should I transfer it to the UK site?

To Croydon on Sunday for daughter's first sporting event. Big excitement in our house as she's never taken to any sport at all, apart from swimming and badminton at home and on holiday. We'd resigned to the fact she's just not sporty but hey, lo and presto she comes home RAVING about this sport they're playing at school called Korfball
which is a Dutch version of basketball. It's the sporting equivalent of Esperanto. The rules mean boys and girls, tall and short, can all play together, and this, from her point of view, is brilliant. The other plus is for her is that no-one's played before so they're all learning together and she's being picked for teams which has never happened before.

The tournament was in a south London suburb called Croydon. I grew up in an outer suburb of Croydon called Coulsdon. The Crap Towns listing in The Idler link to the side is how I remember Croydon (I've tried to link it here but getting in a twist again). But I found myself very excited at being there again. Everyone with me had to listen whilst I pointed out the first pub I had alcohol in (Drift Bridge, Banstead: vodka and lime); my old school; the long walk I had to take to school was driven down in demonstration; the house ("Look at THAT!! will you? It's the same privet hedge!!"); the field my pony ate at the top of my road ("WHAT'S that school doing in Dusky's field??") etc etc. Funnily enough the most nostalgic was the bus route ("WAAGH there's a 166!!"), my earliest escape route out of the place. I duly dreamt of it that night, waiting at the 166 bus stop with a pouffe (not a gay person, one of those funny foot cushions). I decided not to wait for the bus but bounce along to my destination on my pouffe, this would be ideal, my dream logic said, because whenever I wanted to stop I'd have somewhere to sit.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Conf. 43 Nearly There

No. of words: 19,307


Today was more tightening and expanding of existing chapters. Almost ready to read through (final?) from beginning. Am dreading this. Partner showed surprising interest this morning, offering to read it through before I send it off. He's very good at proper grammar, I ignore much of his advice, crazy Oxford commas, but some of his uncomma-like comments are highly useful.

Have been trying to get to grips with the links. 'Linking on blogger is easy peasy,' K sends me kind note, 'you just highlight the word you want to link from - then open a new window, find the webpage, copy the link, and then back on blogger clock the icon that looks like a link in a chain - a dialogue box opens up and you paste the link in there. Bingo.'

This is k's lovely website.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Conf 42 Character & Litblog News

So, finally got to grips with the 2 new main characters.

Resorted to this very comprehensive character chart: http://www.eclectics.com/articles/character.html. I don't usually bother with these too much, but this one did help in some areas. Once they'd got birthdates, I also used an astrology book, The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider and Joost Elffers, which I was given to use for one of my non-fiction jobs. It has a very handy 3 character strengths and 3 character weaknesses for every day of the year. When I began the new chapter, one of the weaknesses led to a whole new thread, which links in with the future story. I also use daily astrology charts sometimes when I'm stuck with a character or want a bit of random life coming in.

THINK I'm on the final run with the chapters. I'm putting in the speech patterns now. They must have each gone through about 20 drafts at least. I'll put it to one side for a few days before sending it off and must concentrate on doing something about fat butt which is what comes from doing nothing but writing and chauffering all day.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Conf. 42 Slog, Slog and Celebrations

No. of words 17,726

Having clocked up a decent number of words am now deleting as many as possible. Read Chapter 4 last night at writing group. As reading it out realised how over-written it was. Even though it's had cull after cull. Today managed to get rid of 400 words without much pain. Must keep this up. Mustn't send it out before every single sentence is working.

An unusual flurry of domesticity today though. Could be avoidance tactics kicking in big time after a day of working on the bigger picture over eight chapters at once. Not very satisfying as you can't even count words up or down and what progress is made is invisible. Could be because it's daughter's SATs exams week, so am cooking wholesome casseroles and planting things in the garden. Would enjoy it if not so frozen in fear about future.

Writing group was a good one, though. I took pink cava but L brought the real thing to toast her deal. It's going to be soo exciting over the next few years watching her trilogy go out into the world.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Conf. 41 Royalty Reality

No. of new Royalty Statements in Post: 2

Oops, time for a reality check. Forget the Amazon rankings that suddenly zoom up to 2,000 then back down to 50,000 in the next hour, forget the monitoring of books out of local bookshop and checking the library computer for stock movement, this is the bottom line.

The royalty statement: the authorly dream of the twice-yearly summing-up with cheque attached for doing bugger all except 'having written' isn't such a bunch of cherries.

Under the Amount Due column my bottom lines are:

£-1,069.07 for book 1

and

£-1,926.90 for book 2

sounds a bit like my bank statement. My editor's long, long silence begins to make sense.

The sales of book 1 in year 1 were 5,300
In year 2 20,080

Total: 25,380

The sales of book 2 in year 1 were 3,084
In year 2, 1,692

Total: 3,392

Was book 2 THAT bad??

Well, no, it wasn't that. Whilst I could go around (as I just did there) and say my first novel sold over 25,000 copies and be legal, the truth is the huge difference in numbers is because 20,000 of Book 1 were sold to a remainders store. This isn't as depressing as it first sounded to me when my agent rang me with the cheery news that the publishers wanted to remainder my first novel. Surely the phone call every author dreads (and, for sure, I did go around for a few days going I'm pulp). This is because there weren't 20,000 copies festering away in the warehouse. The first print run was for 7,500 copies. Finito. What happens is those cheapie bookstores you see in the high street selling books at big discounts do a reprint deal with the publisher. They do a reprint at bargain basement price (I see I earned £440.00 for those 20,000 copies). And, as my agent explained, this early on in my career (ha!) another 20,000 books out there was no bad thing. I also got another 20 free copies and noted they'd changed the lettering from red embossed to gold embossed.

So, that's it. Book 2 had 1 export sale this year (earning £0.36) (that must have been D in Tenerife, then, thanks D). And I haven't given up hope on them entirely, the first foreign editions come out in Russia this August, and so am waiting eagerly by the letterbox for those.

Actually, these figures aren't too bad for first novels with zero promotion budgets. It's really, really hard to get facts and figures out of authors, they're more cagey about print runs than advances. From what I can gather the average paperback first print run for a new author is 4,000 - 5,000. These zoom up considerably if you get the supermarket endorsement; which, with this type of fiction, is what my publishers were hoping for and sadly didn't happen. As with everything else these days, Tesco rules.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Confession 40 Agent Gives the Wider Perspective

No. of new responses from agent: 1
No. of words: 17,840


Have had my head down, finishing the sit com ("only ten minutes" hah!). It took longer than I thought to tidy it up and present it properly and it took ages to submit online as I wasn't sure it had gone, via some funny electronic insert, so sent it twice.

It was fun to do, a change from novel writing. I also had to go shopping yesterday morning, to buy things for daughter, which, except for the mirrors, was a pleasant few hours out in the world of shops. Bought the cutest pyjamas in Primark, I shouldn't be buying self anything but they were irresistible. Don't intend wearing them in bed, in fact still wearing them now and will be going out to collect daughter in them in a moment. Wonder if anyone will say 'why are you wearing pyjamas at 7 at night?'

And then heard from agent yesterday, back from US and has moved to new agency now. 'This is definitely shaping up' he says. He had a couple of points I've been working on all day. He wants to see it again with the next three chapters when I've done the changes. I am doubtful he'll send it out before it's finished, which means a marathonload of work coming up before the summer, but once I get onto the new text I'm sure I'll be able to busk it through to the end, so long as the first 20,000 words are fine-tuned I think that will do. Or should I be fine tuning the whole thing and not sending it out until it's completely perfect? Then it can still be rejected. As it's commercial fiction I do think that if the idea is liked and they can see the writing is there it will go, and if they don't like the idea or they think it's been done to bits enough already, it's a scarily emerging trend I'm on, they'll reject it anyway.

Had fun with www.meettheauthor.com looking for K's entry but it's not up yet. She's going to be popping up on supermarket screens talking about her book! Could spend hours here, I checked Marian Keyes and Judy Astley. It's a brilliant way to hear how the pros plot as they have to summarise their storylines in a couple of minutes.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Confession 39 Guru Part II

No. of new guru statuses: 1
No. of new book deal celebrations: 1
No. of words: 14,560


On the same day that my non-fiction-related interview hit the news stands as YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING CLEANING QUESTIONS ANSWERED and I was elevated in the word of print as a 'cleaning guru', (opening words of wisdom on cleaning toilet brushes, from there on you don't want to know), L from our writing group announced her first book deal. It's no ordinary book deal, in fact it's so extraordinary I can't write about it, it wouldn't be right as it's not my story.

I WISH!

We went over to raise a glass to her on Saturday, a lovely occasion with her husband as gobsmacked as anyone and wondering why people kept on going up to him and saying 'well done' when, he said, he'd done precisely nothing. In fact, having a supportive partner is one of the biggest plusses you can have if you're trying to get on the authorly ladder. A stable emotional background enables you to wreak havok with your characters without personal anxt, not to mention the roof over head business. I've been very fortunate, the only problem is we're both broke now. Oh well, something will give. Hopefully. Didn't make for a great bank holiday Monday. I hate hot bank holidays. Unless something's been planned (which means rain without a doubt) the roads will be clogged, horrible public swimming pools swarming etc etc. All I wanted was to be with lots of trees. Managed eventually to drag family on bike ride but it was hard going.

Have also done script for BBC Last Laugh comp. in 'spare' time. I.E. Should be doing it NOW! It closes on Friday but just ten minutes' worth of text needed.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.