Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 and All That

This weekend I’ve been sussing out which newspapers seem to have the best Review of the Year Supplements. And of course it’s time to review my own year.

Good stuff:
- Fulfilled what for years seemed a crazy dream, and became a full-time author;
- Finished writing The Self-Preservation Society;
- Brown Owl's Guide to Life was published and seems to be selling well;
- Sorted out my hearing at last;
- Had a couple of lovely holidays;
- Flew without being in an utter flap, due to hypnotherapy tapes;
- Did more cooking of yummy things for fun;
- Had some great days and nights out;
- Taught Creative Writing in a university for the first time;
- Had my first TV drama-doc script broadcast;
- Bought a house with the boyf (in process making a cat very happy);
- Everyone I care about stayed safe and well

Bad stuff:
- Put back some of the weight I’d lost;
- Missed some birthdays and missed catching up with some people I like due to the house, the chaos and my general disorganisation;
- procrastinated rather a lot and worried about things I can’t control.

Overall, that feels pretty good and makes me realise how lucky I am (if that doesn’t sound too smug or irritating). If I have this same fortune in 2007 I will feel very lucky…

Happy New Year, everyone. Back with resolutions in 2007!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Seeking Heat

We managed to flee the country before the fog descended and I am now online courtesy of my hotel's wireless connection in Lanzarote. Very exciting...

The sun is there, though hiding behind clouds today, but I am liking the island very much. And the chance to do some serious reading.

But am not just seeking heat in the Canaries - I'm also in the Bookseller's Heat-Seeker chart, at number 4. Now, I'm not entirely sure what this means but thanks for Lucy Diamond for pointing it out to me! It's always nice to be in the charts. Hope that doesn't sound too showy-offy...

Right, off to chase clouds away...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Compliments of the season

That's my edits done (including clarification of that thorny question, 'what is a t-zone?), my arm feeling slightly less useless (though no use lifting items into over-head lockers), and my bags packed...And a phone call this afternoon revealing that they're reprinting Brown Owl's Guide to Life again, so if you were one of the people who bought it, THANK YOU!

Have a lovely Christmas, everyone, and if you haven't yet done this, then you must...

Merry wotsit and see you soon,

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dodgy arm, dodgy info

Limited blogging for the next few days, as I seem to have hurt my arm (possibly lugging around boxes of old Jackie annuals from the early 1980s). And I have to use what little movement I've got to finish my edits. Feeling rather decrepit, though.

PS sorry about duff info regarding One Word. Maybe next week?

Friday, December 15, 2006

On the radio tomorrow...

Very briefly, mid-copy edits, present-wrapping and card-writing, I will be on the One Word Countdown tomorrow talking about Brown Owl's Guide to Life (including my one change your life seasonal tip) . On digital radio or online:

It was quite a philosophical interview, actually, with some very intriguing but unexpected questions, so not sure how it will come across but fingers crossed...

Mind you, having just checked the site, it doesn't mention any of the people I met earlier in the week so maybe I have the week wrong!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Beeping hell

We have a mains smoke alarm, which works fine when tested, but keeps chirruping at the most annoying times. Like the middle of the night. And now. And I don't have a clue what to do about it...The boyf wants to disconnect it (after cutting the power, don't worry!) but I am worried we'll die of smoke inhalation in our sleep.

I have also had my first EVER cooking disaster. I tried to make the Parmesan biscuits as demonstrated at the Caldesi cookery school but they didn't give an oven temperature. I put them in a hot oven and they spread into a horrid, gunky, greasy mess, a bit like the topping you get on a cauliflower cheese (which is usually yummy) but far too much of it to be enjoyable. Quite cross, actually, imagine giving a printed recipe with no oven temp: we only got to make a few of the dishes each, of course, (in my case, lemon curd and fig paste) and were too busy to check what everyone else was up to. I think I needed a lower temperature but it's an awful waste of good cheese!

But these are minor niggles in the great scheme of life. It's a gorgeous day today, I've just sent my first assignment for my Open University Start Writing Plays course (completely different experience, writing plays, the actual WRITING of words to be spoken is the very end of the planning process) and shortly I will tackle my copy edits for The Self Preservation Society....

Oh, and the jacket is up on Amazon and Waterstones and here too in fact (ignore the blurb if you click through, that's ages out of date: i.e. it's now set around Greenham Common and Wiltshire rather than Bristol, and the character is younger, though the themes of fear etc are the same):

What do you think? It's my girliest cover yet, but I hope quite sophisticated - the girl is supposed to be wrapped in cotton wool, hence the 'shoutline' reading 'you can't always wrap yourself in cotton wool.' But we've been debating whether it might read better as 'are you afraid of everything?' Opinions, anyone?

Lovely Link of the Day:

Via Miss Snark, here's a good, straightforward guide to the process of getting published from author Laura Lippman.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cooking and teaching and so on...

Oooh, it's been a busy few days, hence lack of posts.

I have:
  • learned to make Italian hamper treats at the Caldesi cookery school. This is, of course, research! And then catching Giancarlo himself on the BBC2 series, currently being repeated.
  • finally seen the latest Bond. My favourite review so far says he has the body of a weightlifter and the face of a Nik Nak (a rather knobbly corn snack). Spot on! But surprisingly sexy, eh?
  • been to a PAWS (Public Awareness of Science) session which gave me some ideas for including scientists in fiction (though I do take issue with the idea of putting in 'token' women physicists, which is what could result from a heavy-handed approach).
  • eaten out FAR too much.
  • been to a writerly Christmas party and exchanged writerly gossip.
  • been back to the Beeb to train some more people in my old job (actually, it was more fun than it sounds, as I was listening to programme ideas and working with the rest of the group to improve them, always my favourite part of the job. If I'd only had the heels - and the sassiness - I'd have made a great commissioner)
  • wondered why my amazon sales had gone up a little (even though they STILL have the wrong date) and discovered - thanks to Shirl in a comment here - that it's probably because of SHE magazine recommending Brown Owl in their new copy. Hoorah for SHE! I loved that magazine back in the 70s when my Mum read it and I learned way too much about women's bodies in the Dr David Delvin (horribly appropriate, made-up sounding name, given that he was a gynaecologist?) column?
  • and finally, had the first sighting of the paperback of Brown Owl's Guide to Life. It was in the tiny Smith's next to Richmond railway station. Slight anti-climax really as it was on the shelf, spine-out, a full 10 days ahead of official publication date. And the shop was way too small for me to be able to put it face out in a prominent position.

Anyone else spotted it? Even if you have no intention of buying, I'd love to know if it's gone on sale elsewhere.

Lovely Link of the Day:

The Bookseller to the Stars, Mark Farley, has been printing a fab set of book recommendations, including some by yours truly. And he also has a new kitten. Utterly gratuitous pussy porn but sooo cute.