Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fancy a three book deal?

This arrived in my in-box the other day. I'm passing it on in case anyone's interested.

Win a three-book publishing deal!Contact Publishing (www.contact-publishing.com) is a boutique of independent publishers, with a mission to nurture fresh writing talent; bring fresh ideas and news format of books to the readers. The Page Turner Prize is our annual competition to invite budding authors to submit their work to be considered for publication. We would like to invite your group to take part in this competition. Further details of the competition are below and on our web-site www.pageturnerprize.com

Monday, December 13, 2010

I said I'd help. Can you?

Raj Lal has asked me for help and now I’m asking you. Raj is doing an MA in Writing at Warwick University where the students want to continue the tradition of producing an anthology of their writing. In order to do this they need to fundraise and have come up with the idea of asking writers and publishers if they would be willing to donate books, and if possible, signed books. These will be used as raffle prizes and/or auctioned during fundraising and launch events.
Could you donate a signed book? Do you have any writer/publisher friends who might be willing to donate? Raj needs as many donations as possible! Perhaps you could pass the word along together with Raj’s email address? Rajklal1@aol.com She will then give you an address to send books to.

If you would like to authenticate this fundraising venture and student anthology, please contact the MA in Writing course leader Maureen Freely at maureen.freely@warwick.ac.uk

Raj says to thank you all and send warmest greetings for a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Winner Takes All

That's what it says. A story competition where the winner recieves all of the entry fees as their prize. This is being run by FLAIR for Words, see http://www.flair4words.co.uk/
and go to the News page (I think, if not have a look around) for a competition entry form. It's an open theme so no need to write anything new. You've probably got some really good stories lying around and are wondering what to do with them. Now you know.
Give it a go. Good luck.

I entered a competition to win a copy of Catherine King's new saga and heard a couple of days ago that I was a winner. I found the competition on http://patsy-collins.blogspot.com/ where Patsy gives lots of information about competitions.

Friday, December 03, 2010

A treat

It's perfect writing weather with all this snow. Who would want to go out in it? (Don't answer that, Simon.)
I was sent this link instead of a Christmas card and it's so good I wanted to share it with all of you. Do take a look and, if you are like me or Teresa Ashby, have some tissues at the ready.
Enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE

Friday, November 12, 2010

Do you know what it is yet?


'I've got a present for you,' said the LSO. He'd been for a walk and he could have passed shops but this wasn't from any shop.


It was a tentacle. I can't call it a branch because it doesn't look like one. Tentacle is far more suitable and it had been blown off a monkey puzzle tree.


Here's a close up. Brush it one way and it's quite smooth. Try in the opposite direction and you know why it's the only tree a monkey can't climb!

It's the best present I've had in a long time. I love it. Now all I need is a monkey.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Feeding the habit

I've done it. Finished the book and sent it off, only one day late. As Simon said, I should have expected problems when the deadline for a book about ghostwriting was Halloween!
While I was working on it I wrote every day, even weekends, and now I've got into the habit of writing every day. I took one day off after completion and tidied my writing room. That's when I found a children's book that needed revision. So that's what I'm returning to every day now. I don't want to lose the habit so I must keep feeding it.
By the way, the book, Ghostwriting, is out in February, can be ordered from Amazon and gives loads of way for writers to ghostwrite and make extra money. It's not all about celebrities and their life stories.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

thoughts from my golden notebook

As we approach home, in the dark and in torrential rain, the Malvern Hills are hidden but I feel them like a loving arm around me.

The Universe sends me the perfect message - Visualise, Show up, Happy dance. Lynne, you can do this. (That arrived on the day I was so nervous about having the MRI scan.) You too can receive messages from the Universe by signing up at www.tut.com

A duck sits on the tree stump sticking out of the water. Her feet are huge and dayglo orange.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Three beautiful things

1. Colin (LSO) tiptoes into my writing room and leaves me a cup of tea and a big glass of raspberry and cranberry juice.
2. The mist outside lifts and the sun comes out just as I start printing out the pages of my book.
3. The tightness in my shoulders disappears, like the mist, as the printer churns out the final page. It's going to be all right.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Why did I do that?

Almost every day, I try to go out for a walk. I've not been very mobile this year so every walk is an achievement.
Yesterday I found myself in the park, tip-toeing past the pond because the ducks were all fast asleep, heads tucked under wings, and I didnt want to disturb them.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sweet Friends Award


Thanks to Teresa Ashby for awarding me this - the Sweet Friends Award. Now, as part of the package I have to tell you six things about my writing. Ooo-er!
1. As a child I always had my head in a book, reading one or writing one. My mother thought I should be running around and always told me I was lazy. I grew to believe it. Now I fight against that belief but still don't think I work hard enough or write enough.
2. When I began writing, back in 1080 (that was meant to be 1980 but who knows? I could have been writing in previous existences), I used lots of different names, now I'm comfortable with my own.
3. I have a Hit List of people who have annoyed me during my lives and am bumping them off in stories. I'd recomment this. It helps disperse anger and resentment. It is also the reason I am the only member of my entire family who does not suffer from high blood pressure.
4. I found a sister through writing. Glynis Scrivens contacted me about writing short stories and later adopted me and allowed me to adopt her as a sister. I'd always wanted one.
5. I keep a golden notebook filled with beautiful things. It's where I write about the good things that happen in life and is somewhere to turn to when I feel low. Actually I can't remember the last time I felt low.
6. I am so glad I'm a writer and not a writer's partner. Sometimes I feel sorry for the LSO having to put up with me but he's had lots of practice. We've been together since 1067. For this time around read 1967.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

SWWJ weekend in Cambridge



Frances, me, Pat and Ivy, from left to right. New friends made over the weekend spent at the Lucy Cavendish college, Cambridge. While I was there I led two sessions on 'Using Personal Experience in your writing' which is what my book Writing From Life is all about. And now I'm off to Titchfield in Hampshire, followed by Hastings for more workshops.

Next week I get my MRI scan and I'm not looking forward to it but the doctors need to know why my back won't hold me up for more than a few minutes. 'Then we'll know what to do with you,' I was told. For my many friends who have wondered the same thing, watch this space.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On the bright side

I had difficulty putting on my Pollyanna head lately so I can't say with real enthusiasm that I'm glad my email packed up allowing me more time to write. I found it very hard to smile when the memory failed on the computer and then, three weeks later, the hard drive conked out. I didn't exactly suppress a giggle when I discovered that the book I'm writing wasn't on my memory stick, even though I'd copied it there and the computer had confirmed this. It was telling lies at the time, just before dying completely.
Now I am smiling. I'm back online. There are hard working and reliable new innards in my computer and I've rewritten everything I had lost. Now it's over to you. One fatality was my address book so if you think you were on it before, or want to be on it now, email me so I can keep you. Please!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Help in naming characters

Do you have trouble when naming characters? How about names for folk living over 100 years ago?
Fear no more. I have great news for you.
At Writers' Holiday a lovely young lady called Katey was selling spreadsheets of the most popular names through the years since about 1860 (I think), right until present day. She was asking the astronomical sum of £2 for these and the money was to go to a charity to help young Ethiopian girls. These girls are married at 12, have children and because they're not fully formed themselves they sometimes become doubly incontinent and are then thrown out by their husbands. £400 pays for an operation for one girl. £400 gives them their life back. Katey was hoping to make enough money for one operation but has now decided to aim higher so spread the word.
If you want all those names, and I don't see how any writer can not want them, then go to
http://justgiving.com/ipreferhappyendings
It takes you through to a justgiving donation page. When you donate (and do you really think £2 is enough?) it automatically sends you an email with the download link.
This is a great tool for all writers. Spread the word.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

And the winner is...



Jayne Hall! A copy of Writing From Life together with a Handy Little Book for Writers will be packed and posted to Jayne.
If you'd like to buy either (because you didn't win or you'd love to read me) then contact me and we'll arrange it.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Competition news

After a week at Writers' Holiday I returned home to discover a message on my computer - 'All physical memory dumped!' it said, on a cheerful blue screen. The techie who came to the rescue told me the cheerful blue is actually called The Screen Of Death.
The good news is that he managed to rescue all my files. The bad news is that all my email files disappeared, apart from the address book. This means that the sub-folder labelled Competition Entries no longer exists. The LSO cannot pick a winner today as planned. I am going to have to ask you all to resend your emails to me so we can pick a winner in a week's time. Next Sunday, 8th August. No need to go through the rigmarole of going to the website to discover my pen-names. You've already done that. Just send me an email or leave a comment here saying you want to re-enter. It's Sod's Law, isn't it, that the file I most wanted has disappeared?
Sorry for the inconvenience. I was intending to reply to any questions you'd asked or comments you'd made in your emails so do try again now my 18 month old pc has a new memory.
And if you didn't enter last time Fate has given you another chance to win a copy of the second edition of Writing From Life together with a copy of the Handy Little Book For Writers.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Three Big Sleeps

Only three Big Sleeps and I'll be setting off for my favourite week of the year.
Writers' Holiday at Caerleon, near Newport, South Wales. (www.writersholiday.net) There's still time for a last minute booking if you want to join me. Gaynor Davies, from Woman's Weekly, is going to be there. Plus Simon Whaley, Catherine King, Irene Yates, Alison Chisolm, Stephen Wade, Jane Pollard, Marina Oliver, Brad Ashton, Janet Laurence, Susan Moody, Kate Walker, Myra Kersner, Simon Hall (tvdetective), James Nash, Trisha Ashley, Hugo Summerson, Elizabeth Hawksley and Lionel Fanthorpe. Sorry if I've missed anyone. Andrew Earney is there too, being very patient with people who want to paint or draw so you could drag a partner along and send them to him to be creative.
I am soooo looking forward to it. And don't forget that, while I'm gone, you can still enter my simple competition to win my book. (see previous post)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Writing from Life - The New Edition

Here's the new cover for the second edition of my How To book, Writing From Life. A sort of stripy cover was sent to me and, just as I was getting used to it, it changed. This one is remarkably similar to my Handy Little Book for Writers. Maybe all my books will end up with
purple covers!?
Several people have been waiting for this to come out - it wasn't due until December, but tomorrow a boxful should arrive here and I'll be posting them out to those who requested copies. I'll also have a load to take to talks and workshops. Coming up is Writers' Holiday, Caerleon where I'm tutoring the short story class (replacing Adele Ramet who can't make it). Then there's the SWWJ weekend conference in Cambridge, followed by a day with a group in Titchfield, then Hastings, then Dartford and, in December, Wolverhampton.
I've never had a second edition of anything before. Thanks to everyone who bought the first edition and, if you didn't, here's your chance to get a copy of the second.
Go to my website www.lynnehackles.com and discover what other names I write under. Email me your answers - you can email direct from the website - and I'll get the LSO to pick one name out on August 1st and they'll get a free copy of Writing From Life with a copy of Handy Little Book thrown in.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Tanabata

It's Tanabata today. A Japanese tradition when people write their wishes on coloured paper and hang them on bamboo branches outside their house.
No bamboo here. There are trees and various shrubs in the communal gardens but the neighbours might get concerned if I start pegging multi-coloured scraps covered in writing on them and I don't want the neighbours reading my wishes, or the birds using them for target practice. So I've customised Tanabata to suit me.
There's a palm plant in the dining room. That's my bamboo. It looks very pretty today. The splashes of colour give it an extra beauty.
Will my wishes come true? Of course they will - if I believe enough.

Friday, June 25, 2010

You Gotta Get A Glory

I'm missing my books. We had to temporarily leave most of our collection at the house in Wales. I thought that was all I missed but yesterday I looked at the wall above my desk and the words were missing. You see, I used to have a postcard with some uplifting words from an old Negro song, stuck above my computer. I remembered them well but wanted to 'see' them so wrote them out and then thought I'd share them with you. I changed one word - write was originally tell.

Oh, you gotta get a glory in the work you do.
A Hallelujah chorus in the heart of you.
Paint, or write a story, sing or shovel coal
but you gotta get a glory or the job lacks soul.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Escape from the screen



I've discovered since moving back to Malvern that there is life other than staring at the computer screen. In the last place it was all I had to do. Here, I write in the mornings, play in the afternoons and I get more work done than when I worked all day.


On Tuesday our power supply was going to be intermittent so I took the day off and we visited Ledbury. Good choice. Some of the crew of HMS Ledbury were there to lay a wreath to honour the war dead. Their ship is named, not after the town, but after the Ledbury fox hunt. This is because it belongs to the Minesweeper class, or Hunter.


The Town-Crier was there too. He's called Bill The Bell and I asked if I could have my photo taken with him.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Three cheers for my cyber-sister, Glynis Scrivens


I'd always wanted a sister and then Glynis, who lives in Australia, found me via my website and we adopted each other.
Today Glynis gets the distinction of being my first (and maybe only) guest blogger. Over to Glynis -
THINKING OUTSIDE THE SQUARE
Writers need to learn to see things from different angles. We can be in a situation that stresses us but need to rise above this if we're to use these feelings and experiences in a story.
Here's an example.
A few months ago our dog, Benny, kept getting on my nerves. He's a lovable mongrel, don't get me wrong, but one day I said to a friend, "Icould kill that dog today."
"Do it," said Bruce. He's a writer too and knew I was dabbling in whodunits.
"No editor is going to use a story about a dog getting murdered," I said.
"Then make him a man," said Bruce.
And I did. I gave him the qualities that'd been bugging me about Benny - and I gave him his name so my feelings would come across in my writing.
It worked.
Woman's Day bought the story last week.
Next time something or someone bugs you, tap into those feelings. But do it from a perspective that works for you. Step outside the experience, don't be limited by it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

End of an Era

This morning we waved goodbye to Win. Here's her picture. Over the past three years we've had so many adventures in her and I started to write a book about them. The beginning was about how I won the money on Deal Or No Deal, after Colin's multiple heart attacks so I've cut that and gone on to the next bit. You can see it here.

TWO OLD CODGERS IN A CAMPERVAN
The whole winter lay ahead of us, plenty of time to plan our dream journey and search catalogues and websites for motor-homes which had everything we wanted in them. Now the money was in our bank account it was getting a bit scary.
Our only previous experience of camping had been when the kids were little. We’d borrowed a tent from neighbours and set off to Cornwall.

‘There’s always a Know-All around to give advice,’ the tent-owner had assured us, ‘so, if you’re stuck, don’t panic.’
We got stuck. Practising tent erecting on a flat lawn in the shelter of our back garden was slightly different to coaxing canvas into a recognisable structure in the middle of a sloping field in a Force 8 gale - until the Know-All turned up all togged out in green cagoule and matching wellies and a beard, which wasn’t green.
‘Easy,’ he announced as he kicked at a tent-peg. ‘My wife and I camped for years.’
‘Is she with you now?’ I remember asking, as I searched the field for a woman in matching gear.
‘Oh, no. We got divorced.’
It sounded like an omen to me.
Things got worse once the tent was up and we began organising dinner. We weren’t about to experiment with the camping stove because I’d sensibly brought salad, cold potatoes and a cooked chicken with us. Doing my Pollyanna stuff I announced brightly that dinner was imminent. A red gingham cloth had been placed over the dandelions and thistles. It looked really pretty with the white plates on it and the food laid out enticingly. (This was around the time I’d been reading Superwoman by Shirley Conran. The Waltons, a happy family who always seemed to be sitting around a large table covered in gingham, eating loads of interesting food, had also affected me.)
A solitary crow swaggered by. It reminded me of a tramp in top hat and tails. I smiled at it and, wishing I was the owner of a dinner gong, turned to shout the family.
‘Dinner!’
One second with my back to the feast. Maybe less. When I turned it was to see the ragged tramp hobbling along its grassy runway, trying to achieve take-off with our chicken in its beak. Like a Hercules transporter, one of those huge impossible flying machines, it finally left the ground and sailed into the sky. Twice the chicken attempted to escape and parachute down to the red gingham landing pad but the zealous crow pounced and retrieved it.
We ate salad and potatoes, filled up on bread and went to bed to discover that our son had a snoring problem. A full bladder woke me in the middle of the night. The toilets were miles away and Colin was called upon to do his dutiful husband bit and wait by the open tent flap, waving a lantern, so that I could find my way back to the right tent in the dark.
The next morning we packed up and set off in search of a caravan. It had to be an improvement. It was school holidays and the only cheap accommodation available was two delapidated caravans in a field. ‘The bedrooms,’ the farmer’s wife proclaimed before leading us, as she probably led lambs to the slaughter, into a dilapidated outbuilding housing a sink, an ancient cooker and a sagging sofa. ‘Living room cum kitchen. Three pounds, ten shillings for the week. All in.’
I wondered if that included the spiders dangling from the dusty beams, and the snails who were dawdling along a gulley which ran from the sink to the door and which was the only way for the water to escape once the plug was pulled.
Surely things had changed since then, I told myself. But even if they hadn’t we were committed. Colin had announced our intentions on television in front of millions of witnesses.
We had to do it.
And here endeth the first taster. More may follow depending on whether I can paste text into my blog. Thank you to Anita Loughrey for pasting this in for me and trying to explain, over the telephone, how she did it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Did you miss me?

Apologies for being quiet for such a long time but I've been having fun. Now I'm back in Malvern I remember what life is all about. There's always so much going on and having stimulation makes me want to write. Take this caterpillar for example. It tells me I should be writing children's books.



On May Day there was a theme in the Winter Gardens. Alice. The LSO (Long Suffering One aka husband) was accosted by a white rabbit. And this wonderful caterpillar was reading from a book whilst smoking some dubious substance from a pipe.



On the same day the wells around Malvern were dressed. There are too many of them to count but the best known were allocated to different groups and individuals who dressed them and then they were blessed. You've all heard of Malvern water, haven't you? Apparently Madge has her cars washed in nothing else!


We drove around some of the wells and springs and spouts and took pictures. Next year I'll be organised and do them properly. This tells me I should be writing articles.



To the left is the spout in Malvern Link. And here's the one depicting Florence Nightingale. She used to come here for the water cure. This tells me I should be researching history.
And this is where we collect our drinking water. It's a spring on the West side of the hills, just above the Schweppes factory. They bottle the stuff and flog it. Locals know where to get it for free.
The girl guides did an amazing job dressing this one.
Now I've got almost used to having shops within walking distance, seeing lots of people, having a proper library and a theatre I must knuckle down to some work. Got a contract the other day so now I have to write a book on ghostwriting.
And for the ladies - I went to a play starring the wonderful Tom Conti. This tells me I should be writing erotica. Now to tell the LSO I'm only joking.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fancy a Spring Break?







How about a week or a few days in beautiful unspoiled North Pembrokeshire in a unique house which is completely private and not overlooked by, or attached to, any neighbours?
I'm renting my house out as a holiday let while I'm living away and it's at half price (£300 per week or £50 per night) for anyone who wants it if you come via my blog or website. Go to http://www.lynnehackles.com/ and email me via the link.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Can you spare 2p?

My friend, Lamin, runs a charity to help children in the Gambia - www.fsfgambia.org He tells me that 2p is what it costs to feed one child one school meal a day.
Lamin went to school there but now lives in Worcester. He wants other children to have the opportunities he has had so he began his Fresh Start Foundation. His latest newsletter had a section on school meals. I'll quote -

'FSF's first school meal appeal has been a success with all children at Kwinella Lower Basic School guaranteed a meal until the end of the summer term. As a result of the appeal the school has seen an increase in its enrollment figures which means more children learning and less working on the streets. Now FSF want to feed more children. We are appealing for support to feed 770 hungry bellies and the funds will be allocated between 3 schools and 1 nursery. Schools and nurseries charge 2p as a contribution for a school meal. However, for some families living in abject poverty this amount is simply too much to pay. As a result some children go the whole day without food.'

What's 2p to us? Could you tip all your tuppences out of your wallet/purse into a jar and collect them for FSF? Could you ask your family to do the same?
If you've got this far perhaps you'd like to direct readers of your blog to this one. Perhaps blogland could help Lamin feed his 770 children.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lift Up Thine Eyes


This is a view from the window of our new place in Malvern. Between those trees and those hills is Great Malvern with its shops, cafes, theatre, cinema and people.
We moved in, in a little way, last Wednesday. The move proper is this weekend so I have to decided what to take and what to leave here as we'll be returning one week each month so that Lord Hackles can see to his reflexology clients. (Yes, he got a title too.)
As well as moving I have my regular columns to write, got to finish a proofing/copy-editing job, have an article consisting of half a dozen interviews to write up and now I've heard that the proofs of the second edition of Writing From Life should be arriving today - and could I check them please and return them before April 12th?
It's going to be all go but I know now that if I feel lethargic I need only look at the hills and the magic of them fills me. It always has.
When I was a little girl, living in Kidderminster, my Grandad would lift me up to look over the garden wall and there in the distance were the Malverns. I vowed to live there when I grew up and, eventually, I did for many happy years. Then circumstances meant a move to rural Wales and I've done eight years of exile here. Now I am going home.
Malvern's motto is 'Lift up thine eyes unto the hills'.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Maybe it was the mookaite


A few weeks ago this piece of mookaite called to me from hundreds of crystals in a shop. Since then I've held it every day and keep it on my desk. I've also been using lots of positive thought. The reason is I'm a townie and living in the country is simply not for me. The house is still for sale and nothing's happening so the LSO came up with the idea of renting a place in Malvern. That was Friday. Saturday we checked the internet and booked to see six places. Monday we went to Malvern. Tuesday we looked at a few places and the third agent we met took us to something we hadn't considered. We fell in love, signed up and we get the keys next week.
The plan is to divide our time between (now Lady Hackles is about to speak. If you don't know about the title see previous post) our town house and our country house. The LSO, as a reflexologist, has lots of clients here. I can work anywhere if writing non-fiction. To write short stories I need a constant supply of ideas and I don't get them here. I need people to watch and to listen to.
In order to finance this move we are going to sell Win, our American motorhome. Details will be appearing soon on my website so if you know anyone who is looking for a 2 berth, rare breed, left-hand drive recreational vehicle with many extras please steer them in this direction.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Post-Fishguard weekend


The weekend for Writers & Artists at the Fishguard Bay Hotel was intensive. I was tutoring the short story course and had some very talented writers there. As well as the six one-hour sessions we had a rather long introduction on the Friday evening (an hour and a half and that was my fault as I was so excited to have people to talk to) and another extra when we went through stories the delegates had sent in for me to read.

I was so hyped up that I couldn't sleep well at the hotel so I've been spending extra time in my bed since getting home.

Now I am being very brave and posting a picture of me, in bed and with no slap on! The tiara is because I am now a Lady. My daughter bought me the title for my big birthday. No need to curtsey but please let's have a little respect if you post a comment here. (This means you Whaley!)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Job application

Yes, the LSO has found a job he fancies. It's advertised in our local freebie and says, 'Cleaner wanted for young female. 2 days a week.'
He reckons he could see himself rubbing down a young female.
We both love reading the small ads. There are so many weirdly worded ones around. How about ' Pensioner wants someone to cut parrot's toenails.' Or our all-time favourite, under For Sale. 'Very old black lady's bicycle.' We were tempted to phone and see how the old lady was.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Milking it!


Oh no, not Deal Or No Deal again!
Yes, it is but possibly for the final time. I've milked this experience for as much as possible and this week an article on it appears in the Real Life section in My Weekly (wk ending Feb 6 which date just happens to be a BIG birthday for me). There's also a horrible picture of me on the front cover, in the top corner. One consolation is that Noel doesn't look too good either.
I sent the above picture, along with several others, to accompany the feature. I call it tip-toeing through the tulips. It was taken last Spring at Osborne House when we took Win (our motorhome) to the Isle of Wight.
This feature is proof that you can use Writing From Life, get published and get paid.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Quiet but busy

I've been quiet lately because I've been busy. My year began with a rejection. I sent a story off one day (email) and it came back the next. My mistake? It was sent when the moon was on the wane. That's what I reckon so, in future, I shall only send out work when the moon is waxing. It's a full moon tonight - good for performing spells. Perhaps the key spell should be refreshed so this house sells.
Busy? I decided to clear all the paperwork that's been waiting for attention. I've ploughed through it all this week, at the same time as interviewing authors for a forthcoming article. Life is going to get busier as the new book is getting started on Monday. Not sure when the deadline is yet but I want to get well ahead in case we get a buyer and move house in the middle of writing.
Now the decks are clear I actually feel like working. That paper wasn't just clogging up my office. It was clogging up my brain.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

death of a snowman



I loved him for a while and then he got boring. It wasn't that my affection towards him cooled, rather that it got too warm. His epitaph has possibly been heard before but here goes -

Now he's dead and gone away

Let's hope the bugger's there to stay.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hills of green

Here it is! The new cover for my book. This will be what it looks like in its second edition which should be out around June. (buy from amazon or www.howtobooks.co.uk)
I'd grown used to the first cover with its blue sky with little white clouds, like ideas, sailing in it. This one is beginning to grow on me now. Change is always hard for me. Jane Wenham-Jones and I once got quite faint because the table in our kitchen at Writers' Holiday, Caerleon, had been moved so that it faced North to South instead of East to West. (www.writersholiday.net)
There is another change going on and this is one that I've looked forward to. The THAW!
Green looks really strange now. Instead of staring out of my window at white hills, white valley, white garden, there are now patches of green and they look very very bright. The snow has made me lethargic. Hibernation was appealing. Perhaps with the return of green my brain will re-awaken.
Here's hoping.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Mr Freeze




This is a cheat really. It's not a snowman. It's only a head. Why? Because my back seizes up when it's cold so I had limited time outside, and because my back is bad it's difficult to bend. But I so wanted to make a snowman that I compromised. This head is sitting on the picnic table and Mr Freeze is looking through the kitchen windown at me - he was quick to build and involved no bending as the snow was already on the table.
The top picture is the front garden and all that white behind is not sky. It's snowy hills. It all looks very lovely but I don't want to be out there. Perfect writing weather.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The LSO here

Hi! This is Colin, Lynne's husband, also known as the LSO - Long Suffering One. A title well deserved. You see, I didn't marry a writer. She became one. No-one said 'for better or worse, when writing or making your life a misery when not writing'.
Over the years I've got used to rejections, celebrations, tears and wails and all those calls of 'Colin, Colin, I've forgotten the word I want, can't find the disk with the photo, lost the file, can can you read this, check that, do you know this, that and the other.' And the one most often used - 'Are you putting the kettle on?' Apparently this is Venusian for 'I want a cup of tea.' Lynne once gave me Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus to read. It didn't tell me where writers came from.
I also didn't reckon on becoming sort of famous. Apart from being on telly when I was in the audience while Lynne played Deal Or No Deal, I have become a character both factual and fictional. I've made an appearance in a children's book, many short stories, and an unpublished novel (Hell, the stress that one caused me). She's told all and sundry about my parents, my jobs and even my heart attacks. Is nothing sacred? Thankfully, so far, she's not got involved in erotic writing.
And what does she say if I complain. 'But darling, no interesting woman is easy to live with.'