Saturday, August 27, 2005

End of the honeymoon...

Word Count (Book 4): 0

OK, the lovely lightness of my Vaio is a given. And the fact the fan doesn't make a noise like a tractor. But the way the wireless keeps dropping out for no apparent reason is irritating. As is the way that the software on it - Outlook versus Norton Antivirus - means that 2 out of 3 times, Outlook crashes after an annoying message about 'a program trying to access my address book' or some such. It is true what they say about Microsoft: we wouldn't put up with this level of inefficiency from any other product...

Oh, the joys of changing computer.

On the plus side - it's a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK. I plan to view some more houses, spend quality time with cat and boyf, do my accounts AND work on my TV script. This is really exciting - I am doing some work with a documentary team in my department on a drama-doc, which is a first for me. I've been writing a draft script for the last few days and it's very challenging but also fascinating - trying to turn a truly dramatic storyline into something compelling but not sensationalist, using a variety of news and court sources. It's also a complete change from novel-writing. I'd love to do more of it - though for now I am just hoping I am getting it right...

A writer's work is never done.

Lovely Link of the Day:
I've been scouring my bookshelves for scripts to read, to give me a sense of how TV drama works at its best. My favourite has to be the scripts for Queer as Folk, written by the supremely talented Russell T. Davies, who is also responsible for the revival of Doctor Who. The scripts are a wonderful real in themselves: very funny and wry, you get such a sense not only of the drama but also of the mind of the writer...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The return

I'm back - anyone missed me? (asked the author in a rather needy way)

A whole 10 days without the web at home... and I have survived. Actually, it's been rather nice without a laptop permanently in front of me. I've read Towelhead and The Art of Falling and The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets: what is it with these titles with Art in them? Towelhead was my favourite: an unusual coming of age tale, with lots of unsatisfactory sex and plenty to say about racism and prejudice. The Art of Falling had a great story at its heart and I am sure will be enjoyed by lots of readers, though it wasn't really my cup of tea, and The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets was sweetly evocative and enjoyable, like a nice Mr Kipling French Fancy.

I've found more junk to take to the charity shop. I've researched a new computer on the web (in my lunch-hour) and had it delivered by I've even managed to get horrible Wanadoo wireless box to connect to my new Centrino Vaio laptop (which I like a lot so far - so light, and doesn't sound like a tractor as my old HP one did). The fact this set me back 800 smackers is something I am trying not to think about...

Also helped boyf move house to swanky new riverside apartment (he is going through a Hugh Grant in About A Boy phase and wanted to live somewhere with a balcony overlooking the Thames). He's renting, to give him time to think of where he wants to live. Meanwhile, my place is all but sold - though who knows what might happen between now and exchange of contracts - but I have not found a place I like yet...

People keep asking R and I if we're going to move in together, but although it seems a logical step, I am not quite sure... we may do for a short while, rather than me end up homeless, but I like my own space. My ideal would be a huge house where I could have a floor, he could have a floor, and we'd share a floor... but in London, that's a daft idea. When I told someone this at a party the other week they clearly thought I was mad, but I think I am an independent (ie bloody awkward) kinda girl and that's just the way I am.

On the work front, the whole BBC redundancy thing is kicking in and we're all waiting to see how soon people - probably including me, I suspect - will move. Scary and it seems to have crept up on us. But I am sure it'll be fine when it happens...

As for writing. Ah, I knew there was something I'd forgotten!

Lovely Link of the Day:
I also read The Paradise Room during my laptopless period, a gorgeous luxurious holiday book, and the author Belinda Jones has set up a suitably sun-drenched website to indulge in.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Laptop Meltdown


Just a quick update from work as my laptop screen is kaput. It was fine last night when I switched it off, and then this morning ALL WHITE except for a tiny little corner that looked normal.

It is still under guarantee to John Lewis - by TWO weeks - and the whole reason for buying from them is they are meant to be reliable, so hopefully they will mend it and it will all be fine. But how will I cope while it's away? Eeek.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible - I hope...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Good things, bad things

Word Count: Big fat zero. Marvellous...

Good things about today:
  • Discovered Sainsbury's Sea Salt, lemon and coriander luxury nut collection. More addictive than crack (though, to be fair, I haven't done a scientific trial comparing the two). Therefore, possibly not entirely a good thing. But more nutritious than crisps, eh?
  • Nice emails from both my editor in the UK and in the US.
  • Because I was getting my car serviced (see bad things), I got to walk through the park to work. The parks are THE best thing about London. Even the one I walked through, a diddy little one compared to Hyde Park, or Holland Park. Really put extra-springy spring in my step.
  • Have nearly finished the radio play.

Bad things about today:

  • Having my car (Ka) serviced cost me £135. Now actually that's probably a bargain, esp in London - the mechanic is a really wry bloke who takes everything in his stride - including the fact that his garage was shut for four days due to the bombing attempt, as his workshop is directly opposite where the bomb would have gone off.
  • I still have a to do list as long as my arm including such gems as: decide where to live, decide whether to volunteer for redundancy or wait for them to decide it for me, call in the gas meter reading which I know will mean a massive bill (as they've been undercharging me for years because no-one can be bothered to come and read the meter), do more tedious paperwork about selling the house.

Overall, a surplus of goodness today. Hoorah.

Lovely link of the day:

Now this might seem a cheat but after posting the info about Jenny Crusie's blog yesterday, I checked out her main website, and it's amazing. A brilliant resource. My favourite part is where she talks about making collages to inspire her novels. I am now itching to get my hands on scissors and glue... though mine would look truly amateur compared to her creations.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Word Count: 136,013

Tonight, I am watching the BBC's Hiroshima drama (very powerful indeed), finishing off my latest draft of Brown Owl (I hope it's the FINAL draft), and sending lots of work/social emails. I often wonder whether multi-tasking means I achieve less, but I have such a short attention span that it's the only way I keep going...

As usual, the blog has taken second place. To what else?

- Having my organic veg box delivered and trying to work out what to make with mushrooms, aubergine, onions, peppers and little gem lettuce. Not sure the veg box thing IS for me as I ended up tonight eating way too much, just so I didn't have to put lots of rotting produce on the compost heap. And given that the reason I signed up was because I watched a documentary, Supermarket Secrets, which explained how much is thrown away by supermarkets desperate for the unblemished apple and the eye-less potato, I don't feel very good about throwing stuff away myself...

- Having a row with the water board contractors who want to close our entire road (one of the biggest in my area) for 26 days, rather than do it in stages. It's going to be a NIGHTMARE as about 250 cars park in the road every night and I don't know where everyone's going to go. I can't really afford 26 parking tickets, but no-one seems to have thought of this... I am Victor Meldrew. I don't BELIEVE it!

- Social stuff of various sorts, including a horrible tapas session in Putney, a wonderful bhel poori and an OK curry in Marylebone, and a much tastier curry in Twickenham.

- Neglecting my friends.

- Finishing off my first radio play, for a competition.

- Fleshing out the characters for my new book idea.

According to a columnist on Romancing the Blog, it's a mistake to focus just on writing matters if you're an author, as the only people to read your blog will be authors and would-be authors... I'm intrigued by who reads my blog, or in fact, any blogs. It is a weird business, especially when I look at how mundane most of what I write is. But I love reading other people's blogs, and relish the little details, so I suppose it's horses for courses.

Oh and my biggest news - how could I forget - is that The Starter Marriage has been reviewed in the New York Times Review of Books (you have to register to see it). I was VERY nervous about reading it, as a book like mine would never be reviewed in a serious British newspaper... the piece gives a good flavour of the book, though some of the quotes are a little unrepresentative and the critic preferred The Starter Wife, which was reviewed alongside my book. But my rating's gone right up, so hopefully it's done no harm. And there's an excerpt online so hopefully readers will judge for themselves whether what the critic sees as rather downbeat realism, will appeal to them.

Lovely link of the day:

American author Jennifer Crusie has a great take on the controversy around the Awards Ceremony for the Romance Writers of America... it's a new blog and I am sure it will soon earn a place on your favourites list (apologies if you looked earlier and couldn't see the link, have fixed it now!).