Thursday, June 28, 2012

Was Noah a writer?

I love opening the bedroom curtains each morning to a view of the Malvern Hills. The only time I can’t see them is when the weather is going to be bad all day. They are hidden in cloud. There’s a saying here that if Malvern has its hat on (cloud) the whole day will be wet. It fooled me this morning. The Hills were visible at 8. Invisible by 9. So what do you do call the weather when the rain is falling in Biblical torrents?

Perfect writing weather!
Now, while you're here, will you please take a look at my previous post and perhaps sign the petition?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


How can America prosecute a UK citizen for an alleged crime which took place in the UK? How can Theresa May sign his extradition order when there are so many real criminals who need sending to the US for justice?
What follows is a plea from Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia -

Two years ago, Richard O'Dwyer was studying for a multimedia degree at Sheffield Hallam University. In his spare time he ran a website that acted as a search engine for users to find links to watch TV and films online.
He respected the rules -- deleting content when he received requests to remove it. But despite this, he’s now been accused of copyright violation and could face 10 years in a US prison, after the British Home Secretary, Theresa May, signed an extradition order in March.

Richard is not a US citizen, he's lived in the UK all his life, his site was not hosted there, and most of his users were not from the US. America is trying to prosecute a UK citizen for an alleged crime which took place on UK soil.
Given the thin case against him, it is an outrage that he is being extradited to the US to face charges. That's why I've just launched a petition on to stop his extradition -- and why I hope you will sign it today. Click here to sign the petition.

When I met Richard, he struck me as a clean-cut, geeky kid. Still a student, he reminds me of many great entrepreneurs and the kind of person I can imagine launching the next Wikipedia or YouTube.
Copyright matters but from the beginning of the internet, we have seen a struggle between the interests of the "content industry" and the general public.

Richard is the human face of that battle, and if he's extradited and convicted, he will bear the very real human cost.
The internet as a whole must not tolerate censorship as a response to mere allegations of copyright infringement. As citizens we must stand up for our rights online.

Together, the public won the battle against SOPA and PIPA. We proved that when we work together we can protect freedom on the internet. Together, I know we can win this battle too.

- Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia Founder

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Vis Ses Snart

A question for all you writers. When you go on holiday do you take your laptop with you? Do you expect to work while you are away?
Now, what if that holiday was called a Writers’ Holiday? Does this mean a lot of writers on holiday together or a holiday away from writing?
I think I’ll take my laptop, not to work but so that I can pick up emails. It’s only 29 Big Sleeps until Writers’ Holiday. Vis ses snart?

(Vis ses snart is Swedish for see you soon. Who says a trip to IKEA can’t be educational!)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Favourite Things

This is today’s message from the Universe. You too can receive one each weekday by going to
“Rainbows and butterflies, cattails and dandelions, waterfalls and rainforests, puppy dogs and dragonflies, sea foam and orcas, sunshine and comets, snowflakes and icicles, wildflowers and Lynne Hackles... Did I think of everything, or what?
Crazy, sexy, cool,
The Universe

And now, Lynne , you get to think of whatever you like... no pressure.

So, here’s mine.

Full moons and twinkling stars, good friends and email, chocolate and dried apricots, cuddles and sunshine, woolly jumpers and spider plants, chocolate and good books.
Oh, and did I mention chocolate?

Now you try.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

39 Big Sleeps

39 Big Sleeps until Writers' Holiday at Caerleon. And the bad news is that this may be the last. The college where it is held keep putting up their prices and the organisers of the Holiday are with it and are saying this might be the last. So, if you've never been you should really grab the chance now. Great tutors, great food (I once ate 27 profiteroles), fantastic atmosphere and a male voice choir to end the week. I always rave about this week. It's one of the biggest highlights of my year and I am one of those fabulous tutors, talking this year about Butterfly Writing. That's when you are not a dedicated romantic novelist or crime writer and instead flit from one subject to another. It's a good course for new writers as they can sample many types of writing, and a good one for anyone who is jaded with their work and would like to try something new. We'll all be there. Me, Jane Wenham-Jones, Kate Walker, Elaine Everest, Simon Whaley, James Nash and many more. Take a look at the website and sign up now. You'll make your money back by the end of the year because, unlike a 'normal' holiday where you get home, unpack, do the washing and then feel like you've never been away, the spirit, enthusiasm and inspiration you get at Caerleon stays with you and makes you write more for those months afterwards than anything else can.
See you there?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

UFO sighting?

Last night we, along with hundreds of others, were watching the bonfire (Jubilee Beacon) being lit on the Malvern Hills. All eyes were on it, except mine. Ninety degrees to the East I saw a small red orb rise slowly from the ground until it disappeared into a dark cloud. A minute later another orb started to rise and this time I grabbed the binoculars. What I saw made me shout, ‘Wow! Wow!’ What looked like an orb to my eyes turned into something incredible when watched through binoculars. The shape disappeared and I watched as whatever it was scribbled little symbols in the sky.

Yes, there were fireworks going off but who’d pay for one that looked like a tiny red ball, unless watched through magnifying lenses?  And no, I hadn’t been drinking or taken any other mind altering substances.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Three more good things

Darjeeling and chocolate fudge cake in Lady Foley’s Tea Room. This is an old Victorian place on Great Malvern station. Many years ago there was also a superb vegetarian restaurant there, called Brief Encounter. The photos of stills from the film used to hang on the walls and I was delighted to see them in Lady Foley’s.
The LSO and I chat to my brother and his wife and over-emphasise the lip and arm movements each time a train rumbles by.

Our daughter makes it official and announces on FaceBook that she is in love. We love her new man too.