Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Creme Egg

Yesterday I had my first creme egg of the season. I love creme eggs. I nibble the top and then lick out the centre and then savour the egg shell itself, especially the thick chocolate bit at the bottom. For some reason I usually get asked a question when I have my mouth full with the last piece, trying to savour that sweet sensation for as long as possible. It seems to work on the same clockwork principle as any mother trying to go to the bathroom on her own.

Creme eggs hold special memories for me--when I was 12 I remember my pregnant sister eating at least 4 creme eggs per day. This is not something I would advise except for people with the metabolism of a rodent or someone who runs marathons :)

Thankfully they are only available for 1/4 of the year, otherwise I'd look like an egg too :)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Half-baked



Phew--haven't been feeling too great so was ordered by DH to not touch the computer yesterday.

"We have been here for a year and a half and you have sat in front of that computer for at least an hour everyday since we got here"

More like 4 hours on average I'd say--but I did have that vacation in Reno, and in Florida it was his old laptop, so not entirely accurate--BUT... it was time for a break.

On Saturday I baked--trying to entertain the kids as DH was at work. Unfortunately being a control freak and baking with a 3 & 5 year old was not conductive to karma. No wonder my mother never baked with us!!! I am the worst mother in the world, it is official and it can go on my gravestone. However, I have to say the baking was pretty darned good :)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Isle of May

This is where some of my action takes place--The May Isle in the Firth of Forth. I went there the summer before last and took a bunch of photos--we were living in Anstruther so I looked at this isle every morning (often as the sun rose behind it in the winter). I'd been trying to get pictures of some of the 20,000 pairs of puffins on the isle, but they move so bloody fast I thought I'd failed. Then looking at some of my photos in close-up I found 2 clear images--one bird is even carrying fish :)



The first photo is the Low Light, where I have bunked my scientists, and the second picture is the South Horn near the Chatterstanes. It can get very foggy in the Firth-even in summer and they need the foghorns for saftey.

The May Isle was incredibly important during the two World Wars, even christened the stone frigate by those people who served on her. I remember being told about a young man from Anstruther, who was eager to see the world and joined the Navy--only to be posted to the May Isle for the duration!

Careful what you wish for :) (which happens to be my heroine's motto)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Country Music Fan


Artist/Band: Nichols Joe
Lyrics for Song:
Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off
Lyrics for Album:
III

SHE SAID i'M GOING OUT WITH MY GIRLFRIENDS
MAGUARITAS AT THE HOLIDAY INN
OH MERCY...MY ONLY THOUGHT
WAS TEQUILA MAKES HER CLOTHES FALL OFF

I TOLD HER PUT AN EXTRA LAYER ON
I KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SHE DRINKS PATRON
HER CLOSETS MISSING HALF THE THINGS SHE BOUGHT
TEQUILA MAKES HER CLOTHES FALL OFF

CH....SHE'LL START BY KICKING OUT OF HER SHOES
LOSE AN EARRING IN HER DRINK
LEAVE HER JACKET IN THE BATH ROOM STALL
DROP A CONTACT DOWN THE SINK

THEM PANTYHOSE AIN'T GONNA LAST TOO LONG
IF THE D J PUTS BON JOVI ON
SHE MIGHT COME HOME IN A TABLECLOTH
TEQUILA MAKES HER CLOTHES FALL OFF

SOLO

SHE CAN HANDLE ANY CHAMPAIGNE BRUNCH
BRIDAL SHOWER WITH BACARDI PUNCH
JELLO SHOOTERS FULL OF SMIRNOFF...
BUT TEQUILA MAKES HER CLOTHES FALL OFF

CHORUS

SHE DON'T MEAN NOTHING
SHE'S JUST HAVING FUN
TOMORROW SHE'LL SAY
OH WHAT HAVE I DONE
HER FRIENDS WILL JOKE ABOUT THE STUFF SHE LOST
CAUSE TEQUILA MAKES HER CLOTHES FALL OFF

Check out Cowboy Lyrics


That song makes me laugh!!! I have been a country music fan since I was about 13 years old. Me and Deb would go hang out and listen to Dolly Parton's Greatest Hits and I also had this compilation album that someone bought me. Anyway it had lots of Glenn Campbell on it and all the other old country favs. Then when I lived in Canada in 95-98 I discovered 'new' country. And I still love it. Hard to admit for a girl who grew up in the UK where the music is so 'hap'nin'.

When we were in Florida, I found a good country station and that's where I heard this song :)
Love it. He's pretty handsome too, especially when he gives a little eyebrow wiggle in the vid.

What's your secret obsession???

A Moon for the Misbegotten


Last night DH and I went to see A Moon for the Misbegotten by Eugene O'Neill. It was the last play he wrote and apparently written as a coda to his most famous work A Long Day's Journey into Night. I believe the works are both based on the life of his alcoholic brother. It was excellently preformed by a cast of four people, and the leading lady was on stage for 2 hours with enough dialogue to confuse a priest.

Anyway, the play got me thinking about theatre as opposed to novels and how theatre relies on nothing but the dialogue (and the odd facial expression) to tell the story.

The props in this play were a chair, stick, pretend rock, and some stairs. Nothing else.

In our books we use descriptive details (maybe too much in some cases, cough), narrative & dialogue to tell our story, but on a stage all the internalization and all the interaction is essentially dialogue. I like to think I'm pretty good at making the dialogue between my characters realistic, but maybe I need to try and add a little more depth to it--see if I can get in another layer of meaning.

Another special thing about last night was it was a gift from our friends Ted & Deanna. Everything from babysitting to tickets, to the leading lady (their daughter Stefanie) was from them and I can't thank them enough. What a great gift :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Happy Burn's Day--wonder if I can find a haggis anywhere around here??


OK here are my new beautiful glasses!! They are so comfortable I don't feel like I'm wearing anything at all :) More Plain Jane than bestselling author, but hopefully Plain Jane with style... :D


And here are all the 'bits' on my desk. Please note that just my word file is open on the computer! No email or internet. And if you zoomed in you could see my messy handwriting, that drives my dad crazy 'cos he can't read it!!!

My desk isn't too bad--there's Suz's book full of stickers marking turning points, and a general accumulation of notes.

Not too bad considering :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tuesday

Usually Tuesday is a writing day (well when Kindergarten kicks in), but today I'm actually entering the fray and have volunteered to be the class helper. My DD is actually excited--which makes a change from her being the only two and a half year old ever to cry because her mother stayed at playgroup.

But I have a cunning plan for the morning. It might involve bribery, coloring, or if I get desperate a movie, but just maybe I can get this scene finished that is driving me nuts. Chapter 10 Storm Warning is about to expand by a good chunk. I need to add action, introduce sympathy for my characters, maybe a little sinister danger too. This is a huge opportunity that I skimmed over when I wrote this story as an intrigue--all that science stuff needs to be introduced in laymans terms. And I need the start of some serious sexual tension.

A difficult chapter to get right--but I bet it is a lot easier than spending the afternoon helping out in Kindergarten :)

Monday, January 23, 2006

I love goldfish


I'm so tired I am going to bed in a few minutes--and it is not even 8 pm yet!

We had a fine evening out and I learned far more about my friends' sex lives than they would have ever wanted me to sober. Very funny.

The temperature is due to go back up to zero-ish tomorrow, a 30 degree swing in 36 hours. It always amazes me when I think about it--the animals outside regulating their body temperature, the trees and plants battening down with their extremities physically frozen one moment, thawed the next. And the poor fish...living beneath the frozen surface of lakes and rivers just ready to explode again next spring.

Now, I have always been a champion for the common goldfish. No one really appreciates their true brilliance. They can survive in water from supercooled to 30 plus. They can survive in anoxic conditions (low oxygen) that would kill most fish species within minutes. They don't freak out when they are stared at, poked, netted, chased and otherwise tortured in millions of homes around the world.

Having been responsible at various times in my life for adult hatchery Atlantic salmon, wild Atlantic salmon, lake sturgeon, catfish and various other nutty, uncontrollably stupid fish, I would like to say goldfish make great pets!!!

I love goldfish.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

-32C

-32C when I got up this morning. Too cold to blog.
Shiver!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

-29C

My dogs aren't happy with me--no walk today. We had to go get my glasses ordered (and they are inbetween BSA and plain Jane), and wash the car and fix the tire pressure (why do I assume my husband does that stuff when he has proved so many times, in so many ways, that he doesn't?).

























Anyway I'm about to leave for my night out (our night out I should say) and it is -29C. Sooo, I know I'd rather be in the house than the garage, but I'm sure DH will be fine. He has some nice Bowmore to keep him warm.

It has been snowing again, but check out the super sexy gear as I helped shovel LOL. That's five layers of clothes on top. Long johns beneath my jeans and the world's best Baffin boots. Just need to find a balaclava and I'll be totally sorted :)

I just couldn't resist!!


Wish me luck--off to buy specs today--with an honest opinion from DH assuming the kids don't wreck the joint in the ten seconds we'll have to evaluate!!!

On page 104 of Storm Warning and killed a prostitute on Thursday. A great way to blow off steam and relieve stress. Seriously, when everything is getting on top of you, take yourself into a corner and murder a fictional stranger on paper. Not only do you feel better, it makes people laugh when they ask you how your afternoon was :)

Friday, January 20, 2006

2 men in a boat--For Children in Need


OK--I know--too many posts today but I just caught this on the BBC website. Always loved Ben Fogel (and his name is remarkably similar to my hero's Ben Foley) and the British rowers.


From the BBC...
Ben Fogle and James Cracknell
The pair arrived in Antigua after almost 50 days at sea Olympic champion James Cracknell and TV presenter Ben Fogle survived a terrifying capsize en route to third place in the Atlantic Rowing Race.

Fogle swam back to the boat after a giant wave threw him overboard, an event he described as "the scariest experience of my life".

The pair finished the 2,931-mile (4,717km) course in 49 days, 19 hours and eight minutes.

The first-placed crew, from Devon and in a boat called All Relative, set a world record time of 39 days and 3.32 hours when they finished on 8 January.

Atlantic 4 finished five hours ahead of Cracknell and Fogle in 49 days, 14 hours and 21 minutes.

Ben Fogle and James Cracknell took part in the race to raise money for BBC Children in Need. To donate see: 2 Men in a Boat

Romance Novel Covers--DIY

This is from Mary's site and too much fun!! I could do this all day :) Link





Stubborn, selfish, shrewd???

I got this from Eve--and I do find it interesting to pick out bits of myself. I have put the traits I think are true in red :)

http://www.rainfall.com/horoscop/chinese.htm



THE MONKEY

No task is too great for the clever Monkeys. They master most anything. They have extremely charming manners that draw others. Monkeys solve difficult problems with ease.They are quick-witted,innovative, and they have total and intense belief in themselves. No one delights in their own accomplishments like the Monkeys. Enjoying themselves immensely, they try anything at least once! Monkeys are intellectual and their memory is phenomenal. They recall the smallest details of everything they have seen,read, and heard. They must depend on that memory since they have an otherwise untidy mind. Monkeys are wizards with money. They are original, shrewd, and when they need to, they can fool anyone.There are a hundred and one fantastic schemes they want to try, and you can bet they make some of them work. Even when they take you in, it is hard to be angry with them, or begrudge them anything. They don't care what opinions others have of them. They know they are lucky, and they also know they have the ability to change things when convenience calls. Monkeys are virtually unsinkable! When the odds are stacked against them, Monkeys know when to quit. Their timing is superb, and they will wait to try another time. If you try to trick Monkeys, they will probably catch you. They never make a move without a plan. They are great strategists. They can spot an opportunity in any form. They never miss a trick!

Monkeys are hard workers once they have a piece of the action. The bigger the piece, the better they do. Monkeys like to travel, and they want to do it first class.They need a certain amount of excitement in their lives.

Since Monkeys get what they want without too much trouble, they may not care about all their conquests. They lose interest quickly and must learn to finish what they start and take care of what they have. People always flock around Monkeys,but Monkeys don't trust very much. They know a select group of friends that they choose carefully. Money is a must for Monkeys, and they usually have it, or will be in the process of getting it.They know nothing is permanent. They improve and try to do better, and often amaze even themselves. Monkeys like facts and they hateto waste time. Always remember, Monkeys don't care if you approve of them or not, and if not careful, you will be eating right out of their hands! They are the ultimate diplomats and slip in and out of difficulties with ease.

Monkeys must be careful in romance, although clear-sighted, they are very critical and lose interest in anyone they can't consider their peer.They are vain and egotistical,but even that is to their advantage.

Monkeys are always out in front!


Taurus

April 20 - May 20

Element: Earth-view the world through sensation.

Stone: Rose quartz, Lapis Iazuli (what happened to Emeralds?)

Colors: All shades of deep blue, deep green

Attractions: Libra, Scorpio, Capricorn (no DH)

Motto: I Have

Notable people born under the sign of Taurus: William Shakespeare, Shirley MacLaine, Fred Astaire, Duke Ellington, Golda Meier, Karl Marx, Ella Fitzgerald, Jack Nicholson

Personality:

They show a great interest in all physical matters,but do not crave constant activity.

They also enjoy repose and comfort. They are acute observers, therefore great advisors.

They like to plan, map out something strategically and wait for the right moment to use it.

They must beware procrastination, for they may lose the impulse for action.

Their dominant urges make it difficult to stay in the role of follower.

They are known to be stubborn.

They may be accused of selfishness, and they will protect their own interests first.

They live for the people they love.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

On the loose

I have been invited for cocktails at a friend's house Saturday night. DH has been invited to a whiskey tasting in the friend's husband's converted garage. Considering it is -20C, I know where I'd rather be :D

So I'm going out...for the first time in...hmmm...well it is the first time we've had a sitter since last April and the second time I've been out on my own since then (not including shopping :). How sad am I????

Not that we don't have a social life, she scrambles to assure everyone she isn't a 'nae mates, sad b*****d' as they are affectionately known in Scotland--it is just our social life usually involves the kids.

Please God don't give me a hangover--I'm too old for that!!

So, we're stepping out, baby.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As an aside I still have poop issues. My bitch (I mean that literally) was eating frozen poop in the garden?? My son emptied his poopy potty down the toilet, but missed??? I found more mouse poop in the spare room. Why am I surrounded by poop??

As an another aside--never leave pear juice on the table where your DH might pick it up and drink a whole pint--not good.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Four eyes.


Today I went to the opticians to check out some new glasses.

I am one of those mousy people who doesn't like to hang out in the limelight--that's why I hated lecturing--all those students staring at me, usually with resentment because I actually expected them to use a tiny portion of their brain? Hated it. Anyway, I was looking at glasses frames and found a very nice pair--a very PLAIN pair--and I was suddenly struck by the thought, 'are these the glasses of a bestselling author?'

I guess if I was a bestselling author I could always buy another pair right? But I am probably too pragmatic (and tight) to do that. I have had my first pair of glasses for 12 years and only need new ones because my prescription has changed, and more importantly, I need sunspecs for the glare of sun on snow.

So there was this other pair there too. Manhatten frames with this marbled effect on the side. My DD liked them--but she liked them all, even the ones I was laughing my head off at, even the diamante ones, :).

So now I am in a quandary--plain glasses, or bestselling author glasses?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Unattainable goals

I set myself something stupid today--the seemingly unattainable goal of editing my prologue and the first 5 chapts of Storm. BUT. As my DS is away in daycare today and my DD away in kindy all afternoon--just maybe I can catch up with myself.

I also reread HOT SHOT by Suzanne Brockmann--my very favoritist author in the whole wide world--and looked at escalating beats of tension. I must be cognisant of the fact that tension has to rise. If I kill somebody in some horrid fashion early on--how do I up the tension after that? It isn't just with the action either. It has to be be escalating tension between the H/h. The stakes have to go up and the ending must resolve the romance and the mystery.

OK--to work.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Susan Elizabeth Phillips advice

Busy trying to reconstruct my story Storm Warning. I'm not happy with the level of conflict or the structure of the end. I also need to write more (about 70 pages more!!) as I'm aiming for single title now. I can develop my characters further and up the tension by making my villain nastier/scarier.


So I have been going over some of my notes from Reno and got caught up in SEP's talk on writing the Bestseller (yes please). Thought I'd share the bones of my notes with you :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Advice from the wonderfully funny and high-energy SEP.


KEEP THE READER IN THE STORY!!!!!

Tip1—Master good craft

  • No long boring paragraphs of description.
  • Boring sentence length/structure.
  • Clunky use of research.
  • Awkward POV shifts.

Tip 2—Dazzling characters.

Love or hate them, they must be sympathetic, but not perfect

  • Flaws, but heart pure—heroes can get away with doing crappy things
  • Larger than life but realistic—need to identify with them
  • Well motivated, no manipulation of characters to move plot—instead play on strengths and weaknesses of characters to move the plot forward—the internal conflict
  • Let characters develop and grow throughout story—let them be capable of doing something at the end they couldn’t have done at the beginning.

Million dollar tip—when bogged down,

  • Read scenes for the hero—look at thoughts, feelings, love story continuity.
  • Then read heroine scenes.
  • Their relationship—fix when they fall in love and get scenes consistent.
  • Character arc throughout book. Scenes consistent throughout book

Tip 3—Plotting

  • Fast moving—leave out boring stuff
  • Flashbacks. Bog a book down
  • Prologues not so great.
  • If you need to insert information don’t start with a flashback—instead keep scenes short and start at point of highest action.
  • Too much internal dialogue bogs down reader.
  • Show don’t tell
  • Lengthy descriptions are not emotions.
  • Make every word count.
  • End chapters in cliffhangers
  • Subplots…don’t leave main plot at point of major action, else reader will skip subplot.

Tip 4—Write to strengths.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

JOHN ANDERSON
COMMENT HERE WITH IMMUNITY.
YOUR DAUGHTER-IN-LAW PROMISES NEVER TO SCARE YOU AWAY AGAIN!!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

ugh--yearly prediction

Taurus: Hire the best psychic you can find. You are missing the boat or at least having a few blind spots in your career. No one else can probably tell you what's passing you by but a seer of good repute. I have recommendations if you need one.

Ah sh1t!!!!!

Eve--I hate you!!!

Mr & Mrs Smith

Last night DH and I watched Mr & Mrs Smith. We should have both been working so it was a blessed relief to find something on the TV we wanted to watch, and something that lived up to our expectations.

I really enjoyed the movie--and yes it is a bit far fetched, but very entertaining. I loved the fact that they threw the neighbors into the mix, and that someone actually called the police to investigate the noise when they shot up the house.

I couldn't decide if you could see the chemistry between Brad and Ang or not, because I think they're both pretty good actors and could warm up to a plank of wood if the script required it, but they suited each other.

I am not a fan of any man leaving his wife. And I like Jennifer Anniston. But all the time they were married I was waiting for them to start having kids, as I remember even when Brad was going out with Gwyneth he said he was keen to start a family. But nothing happened because (if you believe the press) Jen was too busy establishing her career. Now I know that is important (I'm a walking talking example of someone who didn't establish her career before she had kids), but... he always seemed so desperate to be a family man. I find it the ultimate irony that (according to OK mag) Jen is keen to start a family this year. ???

And I love Angelina Jolie. She is the ultimate spunky babe. And even in Wellies she is an incredibly sexy lady with that massive self-confidence that I don’t think you can learn—you’re either born with it or you’re not. But more important than that, to me, is a brain and a social conscience and the integrity to follow through in her beliefs. Few movie stars have given so much time and energy into helping others. And adopting kids, while much more the movie star thing, is a wonderful thing to do. I hope Ang & Brad can cope with all those little ones in one house (of course they can always hire a nanny J).

So, it is none of my business. I know that. And I don’t believe the tabloids (I did grow up in the UK after all). But how can you not have an opinion on these people when we are confronted with their life’s stories every time we open a magazine?


Friday, January 13, 2006

Stats (bleh)

I have been checking out my counter statistics which is approaching 10,000 since June. I can't believe I have visited my own blog 9500 times already :D

My busiest day is a Wednesday and now I'm curious why? Why visit me on a Wednesday??

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Disastrous Day


Ugh. What a day! My son spent ALL last night crying and nobody got much sleep except for my daughter who was as chipper as a chipmunk all day today (grrhhh). A trip to the walk-in clinic diagnosed an ear infection for the wee laddie and hopefully Anti-Bs will sort him out without any more sleepless nights!

Funny, when you have a newborn you spend the first two months (if you're lucky) with almost continuous sleep deprivation, and you learn to function on irregular, sparse, constantly interrupted sleep. Then once you get out of the habit, even one night of broken sleep feels like slow death. I have circles around my eyes, I'm getting double vision and I'm swaying slightly--I do believe this calls for a drink and a dose of ER!!!

Science...

This is my heroine in Storm Warning. Isn't she gorgeous? Sorcha Logan. Scientific researcher and reluctant medium. She looks kind of capable doesn't she? And a little bit haunted? And she was a Surf-Life Saver in Australia, where she did her Masters, so she has to be fit. She looks pretty fit to me (I don't mean that in a British, 'She's fit' sort of way, that sixteen-year-olds' use). I am not a lesbian. But I can appreciate beauty.

This lady's real name is Caroline and she's a model for Boden

I'm lusting for clothes again :)


Back to Sorcha--I need to invent some great MSc project for her to have carried out around Brisbane, and even invent a couple of scientific paper titles that my hero can ponder over in the Journal of Bird poop .

(I have papers--Journal of Fish Biology, Journal of Experimental Biology, Biometry and some others I've forgotten). Hey, I'm a PUBLISHED author *vbg*

Anyway I need something that uses cameras and telemetry, combined with some sort of chemical analysis of poop (that is what they do :)). Actually turtles might work too. Her PhD is looking at puffins so I need technology that goes from land to sea to air. So turtles, while of the outside differing tremendously from puffins, might be close enough for the technology to be a straight switch. (I do realize that turtles don't fly BTW).

Need to think of something interesting and complex to bamboozle Ben (the hero--or Eric as I call him), but that won't bamboozle the intelligent readers--so all this thinking for maybe a paragraph in my novel?

Nuts.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The first day

It is almost the anniversary of my DH and I starting to go out. We'd known each other from working in the lab and he often came upstairs to borrow my pH meter. But until just after Christmas, fifteen years ago, he was forbidden fruit.

My luck changed when his then girlfriend dumped him on his birthday, just before Christmas. They'd been going out for years and I remember being warned about him being on the rebound, and to be careful and take things slow. Yeah. Sure. :D We danced at a ceilidh, DH flinging me around like a ragdoll (somethings never change), and then he asked to walk me home. I don't think he'd bargained for walking six of us girls home, or for the fact I lived about as far out of St Andrews as you could get and still be in St Andrews, but he walked me home.

And I made him coffee, that to be quite honest tasted like cat's pee, and he coped with my flatmate's dog Holly--who was the dumbest dog in history (God rest her unruly soul), and despite all the things that should have put him off me, he wasn't put off at all.

Whatever I may say about him, I'm blessed with lots of love.



I remember all that, but I don't remember the first day we met. Isn't that sad?





The First Day

by Christina Georgina Rossetti
(1830-1894)


I wish I could remember the first day,
First hour, first moment of your meeting me;
If bright or dim the season, it might be
Summer or winter for aught I can say.
So unrecorded did it slip away,
So blind was I to see and to foresee,
So dull to mark the budding of my tree
That would not blossom yet for many a May.
If only I could recollect it! Such
A day of days! I let it come and go
As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow.
It seemed to mean so little, meant so much!
If only now I could recall that touch,
First touch of hand in hand! - Did one but know!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Eve tagged me


What were you doing ten years ago?

January 1996. I was in the throes of my first Canadian winter in Ontario. Enjoying the novel sensation of my nostril hairs freezing together and pulling sharply when I breathed in. Then, when my eyes watered from the pain, the tears would freeze into crystals on my lashes.

What were you doing one year ago?
January 2005. Ha ha ha. If only I'd known that Manitoba was so much freaking colder than Ontario before I agreed to leave my beloved Scotland for the second time and move (again) to Canada. Last year I was trying to cope with a two year old and a four year old in temperatures that would freeze the brassballs off a monkey.


Five snacks you enjoy.

· Choc chip cookies

· Crisps (chips to you guys)

· Digestive biscuits

· Grapes

· Any chocolate (it is so hard to get variety into your diet).


Five songs to which you know all the lyrics.

· Yesterday (The Beatles)

· Ant Rap (Adam Ant)

· 9 to 5 (Dolly Parton)

· Born to Run (Bruce)

· The night Paddy Murphy died (Great Big Sea)


Five things you would do if you were a millionaire

· Buy a beach house in Scotland (not sure which coast)

· Start funds for kids education

· Install Geothermal heating

· Fly my parents over for a visit

· Tour North America (not singing BTW)


Five bad habits

· Not exercising enough

· Nagging DH

· Shouting at kids

· Perfectionism

· You don't want to know the others....


Five things you like doing

· Writing

· Reading

· Walking

· Drawing & painting

· Watching movies


Five things you would never wear or buy again

· High heels

· Drainpipe jeans

· Octopi

· Green pixie boots

· Bikini

Five favorite toys

· Digital camera

· CD player

· Computer

· Whackamole

· Sleds


Five people I’m tagging (5???)
  • Kendra
  • Meretta
  • Peggy
  • Tanya
  • Mary

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Best Bad Guys


I have trouble sleeping before 1 a.m. This wouldn't be a problem except the rest of the family are such morning people.

Anyway--the last 3 nights I've been rereading The Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner because it has this fabulous crisp clear opening that feels so real you can smell the sweat and taste the tequila. Having started reading this story again (for the fourth time) I couldn't stop. I was downstairs, alone with my hairy dogs, with the TV muted in the background and the fire burning low. And I was nervous. I was wondering about the basement windows, the closets. Letting the dogs out for their midnight scratch and sniff sent a shiver down my spine and turning the lights off gave me real pause.

Why?

Because Jim Beckett is the perfect villain. He's super-intelligent, smart and evil.

John Katzenbach has a similarly scary villain in State of Mind, who still gives me a shiver when I think of him. I can't recall his name, but I know he is still alive in that book.

Both are perfect psychopaths.

One of the things these villains have in common is family. They both had a wife and children. Both did unspeakable things, and yet, both felt very real. Very threatening. The books work because we know the threat exists--we know the villain is toying with the heroes in our stories, right from the start. The tension just gets higher and higher until we have that very satisfying conclusion at the end when... well I'm not going to spoil it for you :)

Read the books!! Or don't, if you're a wimp (like me :))

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ill

Everyone in my house is ill except DD--she was ill last week. DS is running a fever and looking very pathetic lying on the sofa. DH is next to him trying to write lectures even though he's come down with a cold/fever/bug. I am struggling manfully on (why is manfully a word?), delivering and picking up from birthday parties and nipping into the shops. I have a headache and a sniffly nose, but I'm still working on Storm Warning.

Adding the prologue means I have completely changed the opening of the book. Without the Prologue, Chapter 1 had a gothic undertone, but now we know the hero is the hero and therefore I need to change the emphasis.

Interesting reworking this--it makes me look at my characters in different ways.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Great Escape Artists go LIVE

OK-- The Great Escape Artists have launched a website and message board site. Masses of work has gone into this (none of it mine I might add). Please feel free to become a member of the boards--it isn't just for writers. Find yourself a cool alter ego and come and hang out.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Prologue


Writing about Scotland brings it all back :) That's Iona, off Mull.

Unfortunately I've been writing a bloodbath scene in Bogata, which required a little more research and imagination. I finished my 7 page prologue--first draft--at 10.40 pm this evening. I'm hoping my Spanish translations don't mean something really rude.

I just killed seven men and sacrificed a rookie DEA agent. I need a drink :D

More rude words

So, this is what I was doing yesterday--inbetween backing up important files and doing Leappad with my eldest

Alternative Spanish dictionary (please do not visit if easily offended)

I started off looking for a Spanish word for idiot and it went down from there! Who knew there were so many words for Penis???

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Yoga

I didn't have any 'lose weight' new year resolutions. At 115lbs I don't feel fat. But I am flabby and the size 8 jeans I bought the other day feel a bit tight (must stop eating cookies now).

Sooo. Tomorrow. First thing in the morning, I am going to get the yoga mat and DVD out and get down to it. My DD loves doing yoga so we can do it together.

If you don't hear from me you'll know it was all too much. It's been nice knowing you :)

PS. I have noticed that despite the official difference between UK clothes and North America clothes being two sizes (i.e. a size 10 in the States should equal a size 12 in the UK). It is bollocks. Sorry but it is. No way am I a size 10 in the UK (wish wish wish). I figure they do it to make all the Americans visiting the UK feel fat--a great marketing ploy, huh? How to turm off all your visitors from buying clothes in the UK. Or they decided as Americans wouldn't pay the price of clothes in the UK, this is a way of 'sticking it back at them' so to speak. Anybody else noticed this or is it just me???? Or--maybe it is North American companies wanting us to all feel slimmer than we really are?

Am I rambling yet? :)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Vagaries of Rejection

I had to laugh this morning. I got a form R from HQN staffers for a book I'd sent them a query about months ago.

But I'd already received an R for the partial of this book--only the last rejection had a VERY nice personal letter from a HQN editor with lots of pertinant information about what didn't work for her and an invitation to submit more work.

So what would have happened if I'd just got the form R?

I think this goes to show how subjective the writing business is. A crap shoot!


NEVER NEVER NEVER QUIT--WINSTON CHURCHILL

(thanks Kathy Altman for my inscribed paperweight that I got for Christmas).

Monday, January 02, 2006

Writing...


Last night and tonight I managed to redo my Chapter 1 of Storm Warning. Some people could write a whole chapter in two evenings, but I'm slow and I am doing some major reworking.

Bath-time involved poop, so I was grateful I wasn't in there with them! DH took on all decontamination duties :D so all is forgiven for any outstanding grudges.

And I want advice... I want to buy my best friend (OK I have a few of them) something for her birthday. What's a good 38th birthday gift? She could do with cheering up so ideas please :)

Bath time

The kids have been going nuts recently--Christmas and cabin fever combined into general hysteria with some sleepless nights and vomit.

Nice image huh?

Anyway, being the selfish, horrid woman I am--I figured I'd go soak in the jacuzzi with some bath salts and a Stephanie Laurens book (I have never read her). So I lit candles, ran the bath, made it seriously hot just the way I like it, set the timer, jumped in and read one paragraph before the door opened. DD. With a big smile on her face she said, "I'm just going to get in with you, mommy."

Well, OK. A bit early for bathtime but only half an hour. I was a bit disappointed, but nothing serious. We discussed the picture on the cover of my book. I explained, that no I wouldn't read it to her.

"I don't mind if it doesn't have pictures, mommy." Thank God!

I was saved by the banging entrance of the wee monster with his trousers around his ankles, raring to go.

Thirty bath toys later, plus one spitting competition, my bath was over.

It wasn't a bad way to start the new year :)

Sunday, January 01, 2006