Saturday, 29 November 2008

NaNoWriMo.... I made it!!!

Fifty thousand words, heaven alone knows how many headaches and an eleventh hour revelation as to how I could fix the bits that weren't working...... But. I made it. Now comes the real work, editing, refining, sorting into chapters, adding in bits, taking out bits, shifting stuff around.... But I am quietly confident that this is one of the best things I have ever written.

Then there is Cats, Custard and Consequences to finish..... and three more forming a nice disorderly queue behind Cats....

Finally, I've got a chance to concentrate on my writing, and actually organise a realistic attempt to get published.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Simply Irresistable....

It's one of those days. I have spent hours pounding away at my Nanowrimo entry with the vague feeling that this is all getting a bit down and dirty. I mean...... they met three years ago when the copper, Dominic, arrested Simon for being the son of a very nasty toerag...... Si's lover Charlie was done away with by Si's nasty dad..... and our boy is broken hearted and confused. Fast forward three years, Si is out of jail and making it as a Private Investigator, he's back in Dominic's world on the right side of the law this time, they meet, they connect and they make it....... absolutely everywhere. It's a force of nature..... they get their kit off at every available opportunity. I should take out shares in YKK for the sheer number of times zips have magically slid down.

There's the vague sense that all this passion is just staving off the inevitable...... the moment when all hell breaks loose. I find myself strangely reluctant to write it. Write the moment when I'm planning on breaking both their hearts, and almost killing one..... So I'm staving off the inevitable here...... My half breed demon wants his shot at love and redemption, but my gay ex gangster doesn't know the role his current lover had in his former lover's demise..... nor the fate that awaits his current lover if he doesn't deliver on his latest victim.

In between all of it is a mysterious drug of choice..... a mind bending rage enhancer made for the half light world where demons walk amongst the people.

I know what's on my last page........ I know what Si's choice is......... now all I have to do is write it...

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The Pursuit of the Indigestible...and Other Matters.

Or my further adventures in culinary incompetence and domestic discord......

Seriously, I have no idea what that was last night. It had shape..... sausage...... okay identified the shape, but the taste and texture were something hitherto unknown to man. Heckscher women, at least in my branch of the family, are legendary bad cooks. My aunt and my mother, bless them, try....... but don't quite succeed, and I am probably the worst of the lot.

It isn't for the lack of trying...... I am just very bad at two things essential to successful cookery, timing...... and seasoning. Season to taste...... I hate that particular three word combination. I then under season out of fear or over season out of forgetfulness. And that's another problem. I forget what I am doing. I write things down.... then I just need to pop back to the laptop for another couple of sentences, returning usually just before the smoke alarm starts beeping. Thank god for non stick or we would be in an expensive world of trouble.

You would think from my size and shape that I was a great cook..... trust me looks can be deceiving. I don't even particularly like food, unless it's sushi, which brings me to the most recent of my issues. Sharing a living space with my mother. I love my mother. But she drives me round the bend. It's the whole madness/wrath/one we love thing. My parent and I are best separated by at least a bus ride, probably two (for safety). We fight. We have very different feelings, and very very different politics. And very, very, very different palates.

Which brings me neatly to a point. To successfully share a living space, you have to have at least some common goals. I spend a great deal of time writing. It's what I do. And what I want to do a lot more of in the future. My mother spends a great deal of time yelling about some domestic disaster or other and expecting me to wail along with her, I don't.

We've been through the crux of the problem so many times that I am hoarse, and cross eyed with disbelief. The house is too big to manage, I have neither the time, nor the inclination, and my mother is too elderly to cope. Then we go and look at houses. Until I can no longer cope. Then the whole thing gets shelved again. Three and a half years this has been going on. We have seen every configuration of human dwelling space known to man, and some which aren't and aside from the very nice, posh and exceptionally expensive luxury flats at Kew, right on the river, which would leave her broke inside a year, we haven't actually seen anything that she likes.

It has to be chintzy (for that read McKinley stinker! for explanation of this phenomenon please see Bette Davis in June Bride....... explains it all far more succinctly and with less stress than I ever could), it has to have an upstairs (because people peer in the windows (......and then run away screaming!!)) but should still be on all one level. It must be a flat with low maintenance, but still have a private outside space for Dan to dig big holes in. It must have privacy but still be surrounded by people. And so forth and so on. I think she thinks that she is going to lull me into a state whereby I am going to give in, and we can go back to daily rows. Not a chance.

I crave modern surroundings. And a hygienic kitchen..... I may hate to cook, but I crave a modern, hygienic kitchen. And modern furnishings...... lots and lots of twenty first century furnishings. Good quality too.... not that flat pack crap that comes apart if you sneeze at it. But most of all I crave walls that do not have Sanderson William Morris wallpaper on them. In fact. If I never see wallpaper again it will be too soon.

Some years ago, my aunt (my mother's cousin) and my mother were taking a stroll around my aunt's enormous property near Hatfield when they chanced upon the bonfire already up for fireworks night. There were some rolls of wallpaper added to this fire. My aunt and my mother decided that this wallpaper was too good to waste, so they retrieved it. All of it. All one hundred and eighty seven rolls of it. And guess what. That's not 187 assorted rolls, that's 187 rolls of exactly the same paper. My aunt then gave it to my mother.

So far it is has infested the downstairs hallway, the dining room, the downstairs wc, the stairwell, the upstairs hallway and my old bedroom. It's green. Inescapably green. And it fulfills all the attributes of the McKinley stinker to perfection. And there are still at least one hundred and fifty rolls left. In some of my wilder nightmares I see the thing taking over........*shudders*...

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Literary Snobs.....

You find them everywhere. Now, I've been on Authonomy for two months now. I freely admit that my book isn't in the Literary Fiction category. I would never, on pain of a slow death, write a work of literary fiction. That is not the way my mind works. It does not, however, mean that I don't like to read such books from time to time, nor does it mean that I would not wish to express in warm terms to the author of such a book, my admiration at their talent. Unfortunately, this brings me into the range of the Literary Snob.

The Literary Snob never loses him or herself in a book, they're always on the outside looking in, they read books because their "friend" has read it and it is "simply wonderful". They don't express themselves in simple statements. Why would five words do when ten paragraphs of dense and obtuse prose, showing off their own prowess, is so much better.

So this morning, I wake up and go and check my page to see if anything has happened overnight. It has, I have a spiteful message, couched in the "friendliest" terms telling me that my lowbrow post on a Literary Fiction thread doesn't met their exacting literary standards, oh dearie me no, and would I therefore mind removing it. No problem mate. Offending post removed.

Word of warning, literary snobs, especially the ones on Authonomy. Positive and negative word of mouth are two of the most powerful marketing tools known to man. People may remember positive experiences with a warm fuzzy feeling, but they will definitely remember negative experiences in hideous clarity and they will revisit them over and over and over again, sometimes to any one who will listen.

I have a high IQ, and I am extremely well educated and well travelled. I do not however choose to express myself in long winded and snobby paragraphs when talking about a book on Authonomy. I like it, I say so...... and it doesn't take many words to say that.

Sunday, 16 November 2008


Okay. Everybody has those. Being the daughter of an actress, mine come quite naturally from the television and movies, with the occasional wander along the dark corridors that is the arcane world of the comic. And I don't mean the girly cuddly stuff.

My taste in movies tends to head for the dark side. The very dark side. I sneaked into the cinema to see Alien, even though in those days it was an 18 certificate and I wasn't. 18 that is. I have loved the Alien "franchise" ever since, even though the storyline of Alien 3 was pretty darned pathetic and not where I would have taken it. The whole AVP could have been so much hotter too. I like dark worlds where slaughter and creepiness take place. No surprise then that I'm a fan of the Resident Evil movies. I'm quite keen on things with Zombies in, Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, and the arcane, Constantine, Hellboy, the creepy, Silent Hill, John Carpenter's Vampires, the whole end of the world thing 28 Days Later, The End of Days etc

Perversely, (and to be frank lest ye think that I am a total ghoul, which I'm not) I also love romantic comedies...... Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama, cute cuddly fluffy stuff...... a bit of an antidote to the ol' stress thing.

Moving on to the TV, well.......Dr Who goes without saying...... I doubt there is a person alive my age who doesn't have a touch of nostalgia for the old ways....... and Tom Baker! Then there is The Bill. I've been watching TB since Woodentop. There. That dates me. I don't care. I've seen it through all its adaptations, heck, I've even dropped off and collected my parent from working on it more times than I care to mention. The Bill has been a big influence on my writing, well actually, certain characters in TB are kind of responsible for some of the stuff that rattles around in my extremely over fertile and tangent ridden brain, and definitely not in the way that the producers intended, that's for certain. We are 99% certain that Sally is a robot from the future!! And the things that some of the guys get up to in the shower could never be shown before the watershed (see Fanfiction blog for explanation of this phenomenon!)

Books. Of course I've been influenced by books. I've been reading Agatha Christie since I was about 9. I have obsessively collected the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich, most of my books have dark sinister covers which promise a doom laden and corpse strewn interior (and they don't disappoint on that front I can tell you) and a smattering of romantic comedies when I am tired of the slaughter.

Comic books. Witchblade, Lara Croft, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen etc..... I've got a few of those too.

Okay, my deep hot dark soul is a little odd. I like the kinds of things that women are not supposed to like....... so I'm a tomboy at heart......

Saturday, 15 November 2008

The Insanity that is NaNoWriMo

And no... nanowrimo is not a new form of brain disease (although it can make you feel a bit certifiable). National Novel Writing Month. Sounds warm and friendly doesn't it. A bunch of people getting together and writing things. Fuzzy and cute even.

Forget it. Fuzzy and cute it ain't. It is all about writing 50,000 words in thirty days. To win, you have to upload to the word count checker in excess of 50,000 words. So you announce this feat to all your friends before you start. Just to keep you honest and on track. You fail..... public humiliation and the jokes of all your mates is just the start.

Now if you have a mind like mine, you tend to shoot off at an awful lot of tangents. Look up procrastination in the dictionary, I swear my photo's beside it...... or would have been if I hadn't put off turning up for the photo shoot!

So.... I hear you say.... that's 1667 words per day for thirty days. Not so tough. I could do that. You could? Well do it then...... as of today, 15 November, I am on 22,381.... or thereabouts. Just short of my midway total. But better than I expected to be doing. It's getting towards big push time. Some of my amazing buddies are way out in front of me, some of them have already crossed the finish line and are heading on and upwards into the stratosphere.

Me, I'm thrashing around with my novel, Half Light, getting tangled up in the lives of my characters, trying to inject a freshness into the whole thing while still keeping it recognisable in terms of reality...... a tale of every day folk and a half demon who wants redemption and a shot at happiness. Well a demon can dream?!

Heading off into the unknown again...... craziness guaranteed, and the satisfaction of finishing what I started...... unbeatable!!

Thursday, 13 November 2008


I can hear the purists twitching from here. But. And it's a big but. Fanfiction is a place where two things can happen. All the more improbable stuff you wish would happen, can (And yes, Sally is a Skynet Robot from the future.....), You can make it happen! And you get the chance to try out some of your plot lines and writing style with a ready made and often critical audience in place.

On one hand, you can really push the boat out...... write stuff that would never ever cross the screen, particularly if your favourite show goes out before the legendary and largely (as far as I can see) mythical watershed. You can also write unlikely love stories between extremely unlikely lovers. Which brings me neatly to the subject of Slash.

To the unitiated, Slash is a same sex pairing within the context of the story that you're telling. Your pairing can get up to all sorts of stuff. For instance, I am quite partial to shower scenes, things that have happened in the showers at a certain well known "Police Station".... well, let's just say if the actors knew what their characters got up to...... they'd never go in the Gent's Locker Room again!! Strangely, the fanfiction audience loves Slash. There's a lot of it about.

So, there you have it. Wildly improbable pairings, danger, death and destruction around every corner, hot water, soap........ what more could you possibly want to play with.... and it's all free. The only real limit is your imagination (and basic decency!). Ready made characters, some idea of back story without the effort of creating it. And it is quite hard work trying to write it true to character. That is one of the points of the whole thing. No good writing it, if everything you make the character do is so wildly out of character that your audience won't believe. Fanfiction has its uses, it's a good exercise in consistency, it's great fun and you meet the nicest people!

Greetings.... A Book's Tale

I have been writing for years. Then, foolishly, my mother suggested that I should have something to fall back on in case my intended career didn't work out. Foolishly, because in my experience having something to fall back on means that you do exactly that, and since the something was secretarial...... and opened up a whole new world of writing possibility to me...... in the form of typing..... and computers..... I can honestly say that my mother (who complains bitterly about it) is wholly and solely responsible for my techno-geekishness. Thanks Mum!

Anyway. Training to type professionally means that I can type at speed, some 70 words per minute... much faster than writing long hand. Sometimes it's quite difficult to get my fingers to shut up. They've never been at a loss for words, my fingers. Yet.... I am the champion of starting things, and not quite finishing. Which is why, after ten years, I have a couple of million written words, but as yet nothing publishable that is complete.

So we come to Zero Hour. People who know me well had reached the stage of being completely fed up with hearing me moan about writing and books and other related stuff. I joined a forum last April. Which led to me joining Facebook. Which led to a blog created by a Creative Director who decided to blog the process of attempting to get his book published. Which led me to Authonomy. A curious den of the mostly unpublished, all striving towards that great nirvana....... a published book.

The point being, that actions have consequences. And the consequence is (I say is, because my first attempt is still up there) that with a bit of a struggle, I pulled together four chapters (some 11,000 words) of my romantic comedy novel, and punted them onto Authonomy. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, crossed as many digits as it is possible to do and waited. Nothing lethal happened. The storms of vitriol and scorn were not unleashed. People actually liked it. I was stunned. Still am really.