Sunday, April 29, 2007

Thinking Blogger Awards

Rene has awarded me a thinking blogger award. Thank you, Rene. :)

In truth I don't feel like I've been thinking very much lately.

My excuse is I only sleep through the night one or twice a month, and I think I'm slowly going downhill. LOL. The joys of having young children who have nightmares and wet the bed. I'm not one of those strong, silent types; I am grouchy and crabbit and I fair enjoy moaning. I don't function properly without a solid seven hours sleep and I haven't been getting that for the last five years. Maybe I'll adjust...

So my brain is slowly atrophying into mush. Lucky me--lucky you :)

Another thing I would like to say is I don't like complaining in my blog. I don't like exposing the world to my little personal prejudices and I don't like bitching. So some days I'm quiet because otherwise I might say something I'll regret down the line. Some people might think that's wimpy. In all honesty, I don't care :)

So, I'm very grateful Rene has honored me in this way and now have to think very carefully about my list of nominees... And can I just say I really enjoy all the blogs I have on my sidebars and my other regular visitors who I haven't listed yet. I'm trying to avoid those who have already been nominated, so here goes...


Ames I had the pleasure of meeting Amy recently and she writes some excellent reviews over at Thrifty Reader and has a very cute dog!

Stacy~ is always upbeat and lots of fun to visit. We also have almost exactly the same taste in books and music--a little scary really :)

Laurie Wood puts a lot of thought into her blogs and I always find something of interest to read.

Loreth Anne White has beautiful pictures and some positive philosophical comments on life as a runner and a writer.

Meretta Pater--please don't judge Meretta right now :) The woman is a bloody miracle worker and busy doing her house up so she can move to Yellow Knife (which is just as remote as it sounds). Loved her American Title journey and eager to see what she does next.


Now... what you guys have to do...
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote.



Friday, April 27, 2007

RIP Gran

Susie Mepham.
19th April 1921--April 27th 1997

Ten years seems like a few beats of my heart.



PS. Has anyone seen the crazy Richard Gere news story? Link

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Alan Johnston

Check out the button, top right hand corner. You can sign a petition to try and help free Alan Johnston who's believed to have been taken hostage in Gaza.

I'm curious as to whether many North Americans ever heard of Terry Waite or John McCarthy and Brian Keenan? They were all held hostage for years in Lebanon.

I distinctly remember seeing Terry Waite speak at my brother's graduation ceremony when I was 18. Six months later Terry Waite was taken hostage (he was trying to negotiate the release of other hostages) and he wasn't released until I was half way through my Ph.D.

That makes me sad. I was busy growing up, getting drunk, falling in love while he sat in a tiny, dark, silent cell, day after day. We didn't forget about them, but we carried on with our lives.

John McCarthy's story was similar but he had a cellmate, and back home in the UK Jill Morrell was keeping his face in the news and the public awareness high. In the normal way of things John and Jill would have got married and lived a long and normal life, but being kidnapped, not knowing if John was alive or dead for five years, was hell on the relationship. They didn't get their happy ending.

Read their book, it is an incredible story.

Despite my love of the ridiculous (and predilection toward pictures of handsome men) I'm a pretty serious person. Knowing about people hurting and suffering in real life takes a toll. This is why I read romance novels. The real world is so bloody sad sometimes that losing myself in a good novel where you know everyone will be alright in the end, is the only reason I'm not on prozac :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Argh

Ever go through those stages when life is just crazy busy? I have barely been visiting anyone on blogs, I haven't looked at MySpace for God knows how long. I don't remember the last time I cleaned and I haven't even practised letters with my son for a couple of days.

On the plus side my page count in 101 pages (25,250 words), the story is flowing like the best Bordeaux. You can tell I'm back in my comfort zone of killing people. True love is much, much harder to pull off than bashing someone over the head with a ball-peen hammer.

I judged the Daphne for my Kiss of Death writing group, I've started a bunch of seeds indoors, the washing is being hung outside in the fresh above-zero wind, we're cycling to school and the kids are dirty happy from playing outside. I've spent the last 2 months doing fabulous courses on Syn(opses) and sex (ual tension) and am loving what Mary Buckham has to teach.

Unfortunately I still have tonnes to do. Enter the PASIC book-of-my-heart contest, follow up some submissions, file my taxes (LOL), make a book trailer for Blade Hunter and promo my up coming release in June, but I'm still waiting on cover art for that project.

What I'm trying to say--badly--is I'm sorry for not getting around much. I know other people are very busy right now too .

What about you? Busy? Bored?


PS. Happy Birthday Janny :)

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Funny


Dear Tech Support:

Last year I upgraded from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0. I soon noticed that the new program began unexpected child processing that took up a lot of space and valuable resources.

In addition, Wife 1.0 installed itself into all other programs and now monitors all other system activity. Applications such as Poker Night 10.3,Football 5.0 , Hunting and Fishing 7.5, and Golfing 3.6.

I can't seem to keep Wife 1.0 in the background while attempting to run my favorite applications. I'm thinking about going back to Girlfriend 7.0 , but the uninstall doesn't work on Wife 1.0 . Please help!

Thanks,
Troubled User.....

_________________________
REPLY:
Dear Troubled User:

This is a very common problem that men complain about.

Many people upgrade from Girlfriend 7.0 to Wife 1.0, thinking that it is just a Utilities and Entertainment program. Wife 1.0 is an OPERATING SYSTEM and is designed by its Creator to run EVERYTHING!!! It is also impossible to delete Wife 1.0 and to return to Girlfriend 7.0 . It is impossible to uninstall, or purge the program files from the system once installed.

You cannot go back to Girlfriend 7.0 because Wife 1.0 is designed to not allow this. Look in your Wife 1.0 manual under Warnings-Alimony/Child Support . I recommend that you keep Wife 1.0 and work on improving the situation. I suggest installing the background application "Yes Dear" to alleviate software augmentation.

The best course of action is to enter the command C:\APOLOGIZE! because ultimately you will have to give the APOLOGIZE command before the system will return to normal anyway.

Wife 1.0 is a great program, but it tends to be very high maintenance . Wife 1.0 comes with several support programs, such as Clean and Sweep 3.0 , Cook It 1.5 and Do Bills 4.2 .

However, be very careful how you use these programs. Improper use will cause the system to launch the program Nag Nag 9.5 . Once this happens, the only way to improve the performance of Wife 1.0 is to purchase additional software. I recommend Flowers 2.1 and Diamonds 5.0 !

WARNING!!! DO NOT, under any circumstances, install Secretary With Short Skirt 3.3 . This application is not supported by Wife 1.0 and will cause irreversible damage to the operating system!

Best of luck,

Tech Support

Friday, April 20, 2007

PRIDE

I picked up this movie for the kids--mainly because I was ordering everything Sean Bean from the library (for a hero research you understand). Anyway, this movie is amazing. They filmed real lions, but somehow managed to make it look like they were talking. My kids loved it even though there were scary bits--and a small reference to mating, and killing animals for meat and then eating them, but I think eventually children need some basic introduction to the way the world works.

The cast--check it out here. I'm assuming this was a British production because they have some of the finest thespians of the British stage/screen. If you like voices you should listen to this movie. Gorgeous. And then there's good old Robbie Coltrane--did I ever tell you about me and DH trying to first-foot Robbie?


Writing (and why I've been so quiet in cyberspace)

In other news I remembered I have completely forgotten how to format LOL.
Although my electronic word count is 14,582 words, I'd forgotten I was targeting a ST publisher for this WIP (Out of Tears), so in page terms I'm at 67 pages (courier 12, makes that 250 words per page) 16,750 words.

Some people think this doesn't matter--Just write, I hear them say--but in fact it really does matter to me. I need my first major plot point to occur around the 20,000 word mark. Before I was a little worried about premature plot points, now, I'm right on track.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ten years of wedded bliss

DH and I got married ten years ago today. I can not believe how quickly that time has gone by. We've accomplished some serious stuff. Lived in three different countries, bought two houses, moved four times, DH did two post-docs and got a permanent position at U of M. I wrote 5 books, sold two. We got a dog, had puppies (6) and we were gifted with two wonderful children.
Sometimes when you stop and think about what you have achieved and what you have built, life seems pretty amazing.

Today would also have been my granny's 87th birthday, but she died a week after we got married. Here' a happy smiley 70's shot from when my grandparents were holidaying in Butlins at Pwllheli (North Wales). My grandad is still around, still great.

When I look at this photo I see love.

And that folks is what life is all about.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Who's your favorite?

Well, I love American Idol.

Some of these people can actually sing. But not Sanjaya Malakar. It really irritates me that he's still on the show when so many better singers have been booted off. Enough all ready! Get off!!!

My favorites. Melinda Doolittle and Jordan Sparks and Lakisha. Those ladies can really sing. And I like Phil too.

So do you watch the show? Who's your American Idol?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Snow Blind

I love discovering new authors.

This is an excellent read and I must go back and read the previous three novels about the monkeewrench people.

PJ Tracy is a mother and daughter team (how on earth do they manage to write together?), and this is straight mystery with a smidgen of potential romance.

Wonderful fresh writing that I was first clued into by Margie Lawson (teacher extraordinaire).

The weather in Minnesota is obviously pretty close to that of Manitoba (except we're somehow colder?) and they share our mosquito summers.

Hiding dead bodies in snowmen wouldn't work up here, thinking about it though--because the snow is so cold it doesn't stick together, just falls like sand through your mitts.

Great book. Fresh writing. Wonderful characters. good plot.


PS. Happy Birthday Dad!!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Definitions

Well life as a writer is a little slow right now. Still waiting for cover art for Blade Hunter which comes out in June. I'm working happily on my wip, editing what I wrote last week trying to weave the threads together and it struck me I might need to start my story eleven years ago, ARGH!!

It's a toss up. Start with the crime? Start with the characters? It's a romantic suspense story, but I'm hoping it is more along the lines of a crime solving/police procedural series where the romance evolves over a three book arc. But each book will focus on a specific crime.

Sometimes I get totally confused by definitions and trying to fit my writing in a box. It's a bit like trying to sort out the difference between single title and mainstream. Is ST 'romance' and mainstream 'not'?

Not in my reading experience.

On the home front I spent the day in the garden (it has almost defrosted) and then DH and I tried to fix the TV/DVD player in the playroom. The DVD cradle is stuck open. We managed to get the casing apart, pried out an unknown DVD disc, eventually put it back together again, but still the stupid thing won't work. Talk about frustration and taming the desire to throw something through a window.

My fiery Celtic nature and DH's viking roots were showing ;)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Location Location Location.

Sorry for the most boring blog in history. I am busy busy busy. Kid stuff. And yes, physically dizzy although the mental aspect occasionally comes into play ;)

This is my location for my next book. St. Andrews, Fife. I studied here from 1989-1993 and I lived in nearby Anstruther from 1999-2004. St Andrews University was founded around 1410 A.D., making it the third oldest uni in the English speaking world. Oxford and Cambridge being the oldest.

You wouldn't believe the ridiculous snobbery that still goes on. It might have changed now, but when a friend of mine's husband started work in Cambridge after finishing his PhD in St Andrews they put 'Mr' on his name plaque (not recognising Ph.D.s from other institutions).
If you try really hard, you can piss off even the most even-tempered of men.


Just for the record I've never played golf, but I'm the only person I know to be beaned by a golf ball. A stupid yank who teed off and hooked his drive straight into my stomach. It hurt.


Below is St. Marys Quad--where Mary, Queen of Scots is said to have planted a Hawthorn bush.
Have a wonderful weekend. I have a big writing day planned for today.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dizzy


Okay, having a dizzy day. Hopefully back up to non-dizzy tomorrow. I do have a question though.

Do you believe in UFOs?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Natural Born Charmer

Sniff. I love SEP. Now I've finished this one I'll have to wait about a year for the next one. Sniff. Maybe I'll hunt down the ones I foolishly lent out to people and have a big indulgent reread.


Can you believe there are people out there who haven't read Susan Elizabeth Phillips???

Monday, April 09, 2007

Hi there, hope you had a lovely Easter. I hadn't planned to blog today, but I remembered I was supposed to blog at Killer Passion so join me there if you can :)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Happy Easter



Aren't they gorgeous? Easter eggs, crafted for the Romanovs by Peter Carl Faberge--you won't find these babies in Walmart ;)

The tradition began in 1884, as a celebration of Easter (the most important feast of the Russian Orthodox church). The first was a gift to Czar Alexander III, but his wife (Czarina Maria) liked it so much it became a traditional present for her (which seems to be perfectly logical to me :)

The eggs always had a surprise tucked inside--like a miniature crown or a ruby. And quite a few of the imperial eggs are still unaccounted for, twelve or so I think.

My mother's dream would be to unearth one of these babies and sell it on ebay for a million ;)

Can anyone remember who wrote a bunch of great historical romances based in Imperial Russia? Was it Julie Garwood? Must investigate.

Anyway, Happy Easter if you celebrate it, I'm taking a few days off blogging, although I hope to pop around and visit. Have fun. Don't let me forget to get the turkey out of the freezer on Friday ;)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Bachelor 4

I have a sinful confession to make... DH is away and I have complete control over the remote. It was Monday night and I couldn't find anything on, so I started watching THE BACHELOR 4. LOL. And now I'm hooked, so for once DH is going to have to suck up a reality TV show that I want to watch :)

One of the reasons I'm hooked is I just started an online course on Sexual Tension with Mary Buckham (who is awesome), so it was kind of fun to watch this whole crazy platform of a TV show.

The guy is cute. And a naval officer. And a doctor (not always a plus in my book). And he seems so bloody nice. And if I hadn't met Americans like that, I wouldn't have believed in him for a second.

There was this awful girl on the show who didn't get picked--and she was a total b*tch, but it still made me sad when she cried, the poor misguided soul. Just reminded me 'everyone is the hero of their own story' even if they're completely delusional.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Out of Tears

I'm starting a new wip. This is something I've had in mind for about a year--maybe more and I've been building up the courage to write it. I'm planning three books, although obviously I'm concentrating on the first book to see if the characters and storyline will fly. These are going to be romantic mysteries/suspense with an American heroine, marine biologist Susie Cooper and a British detective, Nick Archer.

Sound okay so far?

And I know I go on a bit sometimes about having visuals for appearances and knowing what their houses look like and what they drive etc, but maybe I've never pointed out that these things all click into place after I have a clear internal image of my characters. I know their backgrounds, I know what they're hiding. I know my heroine is running from her past. And I know my hero doesn't like other people keeping secrets even though his own are so safely guarded not even his best friend knows the truth.

One of the main themes of this story is that nothing is quite the way it seems on the surface--and did I mention octopi? Boy, good job I love research :) And I'm using a lot of my personal knowledge in this book, the location (East Fife, University of St Andrews, Gatty Marine Lab), and for the police work I have a wonderful contact in St Andrews, although I'm bending the truth deliberately, as they don't have detectives based in St Andrews. So now I just have to make sure I don't accidentally write one of my former colleagues into a role they wouldn't like--and believe me truth is stranger than fiction. And I need to make sure there's plenty of ice cream, ask anyone who's ever been to St Andrews about the ice cream :) And diving, there's going to some serious diving (cough). And check out the transportation... Boy, I wish I was my characters. Except for that dead body that turns up, and the attempt on my heroine's life, and the lecturing, *shudder*.

There is plenty of stuff I don't know about though--American Presidential campaigns. The Secret Service. Exactly how I'm going to kill my first victim...

Can you tell I'm excited?






Monday, April 02, 2007

The Falklands War

Tomorrow is the 25th Anniversary of the Argentine invasion of the Falklands.

Thus for us began, the Falklands War. I was thirteen at the time and this was already a period of great personal upheaval in my life. Not to mention growing up in the era with the threat of nuclear war which made the conflict seem so much more sinister and frightening than it actually was (for those of us lucky enough to be sitting at home and watching it on the telly).

Although this was a little war by many standards, more than 900 people died in just 74 days. I'm not going to comment on the right or wrong of it. I do think the Argentinians were foolish to take on Margret Thatcher and not to expect her to retaliate (which is apparently the
case), but I have no love for Margret Thatcher and very little respect for her policies. I do know that had my dad still been in the army it would have been his regiment, 2 para, marching over peat bogs carrying 120lb packs before attacking and taking Goose Green on May 28th 1982. I feel that sense of pride in the British army, mixed with senseless loss. And a huge irony--if only you know my dad :)

Although we're all friends again now, there is still a sense of rivalry, especially on the soccer pitch or during other sporting events. Pity that all disputes couldn't be settled in some more humane way. Rest in Peace all those who died.

One thing is funny. There are always jobs for fishery/fish biologists coming up on the Islands, I guess it is a hard place to live though the locals seem to love it and I wouldn't mind visiting, although the climate puts my in mind of a Billy Connolly sketch. To paraphrase a genius, 'Not cold or damp enough yet laddies? let's keep going.'



Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Departed


Last weekend DH and I watched THE DEPARTED. What a fantastic film. The star-studded cast adds a sense of humongous scale to the movie. There's Jack Nicholson playing the role many say he was born to play. Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon, both of whom acted brilliantly and were thoroughly convincing. Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen and a host of recognisable faces in the background. The plot was fast-paced and twisted enough to keep it interesting without throwing any stupid out-of-the-blue revelations that hit you from nowhere and make no sense to the plot. I loved it and I enjoyed the love interest although the woman made a few choices that I wouldn't have made (Matt:Leo/Leo:Matt?). Even so, that made it interesting. A great movie, I thoroughly recommend it for people who like mob movies or crime thrillers.