Thursday, 27 October 2011

Re-routing you

Ambitious plans to run two blogs have been scuppered by a tragic paucity of time. It is possible I may one day get this blog up and running again, but in the meantime, if you have come here looking for news about Entanglement, my reviews or other bookly goodness, you could do a lot worse than meander over to MY OTHER BLOG where things are still ticking over nicely.

Hopefully, normal service will be resumed here as soon as possible. And if all else fails, there's always the option to...

Thank you kindly for your patience.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Still alive.

It’s been awhile.

And I have been writing, surprisingly. Well, not writing exactly, planning, researching, trying to sort the minutiae of what looks like it’s going to be a long and terribly involved work of fiction.

The Thing With No Name As Yet, revolves around a chain of parables from a holy book which frame the plot and are proving rather hard to write. It's all taking a lot of time and is dreadfully wearing on the brane, my dears. I do swear, most days, I am most fatig’ed. I may post something about the process in the near future – or not. I make no promises because I’m a lazy sod.

I'm also trying not to get too depressed and dispirited about the total lack of progress on Entanglement. Of the nine agents and one publisher I sent it to, I’ve had six rejections - assuming six months of silence from the agent who requested the full ms back in September 2009, also equals a ‘no’. Another agent – my most favoured - has had my three chapters since the start of December and still no response and I’m fighting the impulse to fire off a gently querying email because experience has taught me that that tends to annoy and lead to ultimate rejection, but…


You just can’t help but wonder if you’ve been lost/forgotten and why it’s taking so damn long. What about you, dear readers (I know you're out there!) What's your experience of dealing with the wait?

Friday, 12 March 2010

Tricky, thinky, angsty, decisiony thoughts

AKA: Embarrassing post is Embarrassing.

It seems I made a mistake when I decided to write Shed. I'm not even entirely sure why I decided to go with it when I had another plot bunny all primped perfumed and ready for the show. I think I may have become distracted by the shiny-sparkly new!-baby in my ideas draw but actually trying to write it...? Way premature. It's really not happening, I have the ideas and I think they're good but terribly embryonic. The brew needs to steep a little longer, it needs more work, more prep, more thought and I think, maybe it'd be better to put the whole caboodle back on the shelf while I write a more complete idea that's been long-brewing in what I laughingly think of as my 'brane'.

On Wednesday, I finally gave in and started making notes for a new project, working-title 'i Window'  (really, don't ask, the reasons are strange and embarrassing). It's a story I've had on my mind, off and on, for years. The minute I decided to switch, everything fell into place, I wrote more in a morning on Window than I had on Shed in 2 months and, loathe though I am to switch horses this early in the race,  it just feels right, must be something to do with Mars being retrograde or... something.

Tbh, I don't understand, now, why I set myself the challenge of writing something entirely new when this story has been nestling in a cosy corner of my mind for at least 10 years, for as long - maybe longer - than Entanglement. There's no accounting for it, none at all, whatever strange and convolute reasons I had back in January when I embarked on the decision to write Shed first, they're lost to me now. But - oh, the relief! Like having a boil lanced or a splinter removed, only a whole lot less painful.

And dangit all to Hades and back, I suppose I ought to change the title of this blog again, too. 

Meanwhile, I have a father to feed and a house to clean. Life huh, so far from perfect yet, what's the alternative? Send your answers on a postcard. In the meantime, I'll be the one rocking in the dark and dusty corner, sucking my thumb with spiral-eyes, like a cartoon.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

In my inbox...

Another rejection for Entanglement. The Annette Green Authors’ Agency do not want me.

Hey ho the nonny, we lift our heads high, look life in the eye, burst into tears  make tea, carry on.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Gordon's making tea in his shed.

It's chapter three. I have no idea where this is going, none whatsoever.

Whatever made me think I could write a book this way? This is insane.

Saturday, 27 February 2010


...The mural above the terracotta arches of the former cinema proclaimed in pinks and purples, lapiz and gold: ‘Leave your mind behind! Evolve! £3.20 adults, £1.75 children, pensioners and the unemployed. Tea room and book shop.’

Yes, I’ve finally started writing Shed, and not before time. It’s been really, really, really (unbelievably!) hard to get started on a new project when the old one is so newly complete and out there, and still very much on my mind. Maybe I should have written the sequel next after all…

But let’s not go there, that way lies madness.

He turned back to the window, resumed his meditations. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a sherbet lemon and crammed it into his mouth, crunching it to powder, swallowing it down, eating another, then another. He was consuming sugar at an extraordinary rate; the changing-time would soon be upon him. It couldn’t have come at a worse time, with the altered-ones such a hot item in the news - He had been over-eager, impatient, careless,  it wouldn’t be long before journalists started to piece the story together and what then? He would have to shut down the show and lay low while he sat out the Time of Shed and then move on, somewhere far away this time, but where? Somewhere with warmer oceans, with white sands and turquoise seas, somewhere that would feel closer to home than this cold, grey northern shore…

I'm resolved to put in 1000 words a day* and currently sailing without a compass - which is a pretty pretentious way (and I do apologise) to say, I haven’t worked out much of a plot. I have a passing acquaintance with Gordon and Chris, the two main characters, I know when stuff is supposed to happen, to whom and more or less when, but that’s pretty much it.

I’ve always written to my characters. Once I get to know them well, they take me to the most surprising places, in directions I never could have imagined if I sat down and put the work in on a plot. I’ve wasted enough of my life weaving artfully crafted scenarios that always end up getting binned. Shed is my experiment in pantless plotting, writing commando, an attempt to see if I can write something that, from the very start, has been dictated by the characters.

And it’s hard – as you’d expect, here at the very start, because I don’t really know Chris and Gordon yet, we’ve barely been introduced. I’m having to push them to talk to me, dragging the words out of them, which is proving extremely tiring, but already, only three days in, strange new things are happening that I had no idea of before I put finger to keyboard. I mean, who would have thought fanfiction was due to play such an important role in the opening chapters?

By all the Gods, Hermes40 was a dreadful writer. Gordon right clicked to save the hideous document; he'd read it later, perhaps in the morning, when he'd regained sufficient strength. He ran a palm over his face, wiped away the sweat that was running down his cheeks, feeling the wetness at his lip, tasting blood, another nose bleed -  maybe his brain was attempting to escape the horrors of Hermes40’s fanfiction, fleeing his body by the nearest exit.

*Let's see how long that lasts.

Thursday, 4 February 2010


I always do it, do rather too much of it if I'm being honest. Right now I’m researching Ancient Sumerian Gods - Not an arbitrary decision, they are of  relevance to the novel but their allure is great and altogether too fascinating.

What research really = is, of course, PREVARICATION in its purest and most elemental form. That, and blogging about it.

To an undisciplined sort like myself, research always gets out of hand, becomes an end in itself so I end up with page upon page of repetitive, confusing notes with little or no relevance to the novel, which serve only to muddle and confuse.

What I should be doing is WRITING; diving into the cool blue waters of my first chapter, poking around the coral reef of my setting, making friends with the colourful life forms who inhabit it, stretching metaphors like elastic bands, to the very limits of their endurance and the reader's patience. Research should occur only when required for the purposes of the story.

That’s how it should be done and I know this, the way I know I'm going to need more coffee and a buttered crumpet in about twenty minutes, so why am I reading ancient religious texts I'll know I'll never need? Why is there an irresistably lovely clicky-link on every damn page? And look where they take me! Ooh, shiny! See how brightly the pretty clicky sparkles, and look at this! This page has pictures and more links and exciting text I can cut and paste into a document I’ll later lose and my digi-guide says The Goons are starting on BBC7 and can has coffee nao…?