Sunday, October 31, 2010

Back and over at The Heroine Addicts

Tanzania and the safari were divine and my first post about it is at the Heroine Addicts. I promise I will tell you all, but right now I'm still trying to narrow down the 3500 photos to 20 so that we can enter the photo competition for the lodge we stayed at Beho might take a while....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gone on Safari

I don't think we will have much internet connection in the middle of Tanzania so I will be out of touch, but I promise I will tell you all about it when we return in a few days!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Divine Denver

I'm not feeling on top form this morning which I put down to the altitude and not the quantity of wine consumed last night...

Woke this morning to another glorious day here and to see the marathon runners dashing past the big blue bear...yesterday was to spent walking the city in glorious sunshine and shopping....great shopping. In fact the only disappointment so far has been the food which has surprised me but hopefully today's offerings will be better.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Birthday RNA

The lunch yesterday was divine and all my pics are up over at the RNA Blog, but if you want to see the best pic of my mum's here.

I have to say it was quite the experience to be walking through London at lunch time dressed up to the nines...had some very funny looks.

Right now must finish packing for Denver...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Packing and the 1960s - or an ode to my mother of sorts

It will be no surprise to regular readers that I'm packing again...this time it's a little more complicated as I will in London briefly attending the lunch for the launch of  FABULOUS AT FIFTY and well you know me I can't let an opportunity to dress up go by....and then onto Denver....

So in honour of the RNA's fifty years I thought it would be fun to pick a decade and focus on that style. This of course is just an excuse to wear one of my favourite items of clothing of all time - my mothers black fur trimmed Lilli Ann Knit (here's more on Lilli Ann) jacket, which was part of suit that had both a mini dress and trousers. Unfortunately they have long since been lost, but over the years I have held tight to the coat - even when I was too big to fit it comfortably even now when it's a bit too big. This summer shopping in Truro, as one does, I stumbled on a fabulous dress in TK Max that fits the bill for the 1960s beautifully (in fact I tried it on and then put it back- crazy I know as it was only £28, but I thought I don't need another little black dress. Thankfully I came to my senses and bought it two days later).

So here's a picture of my mother's beautiful coat...can't show you the dress yet as it's in London.

This whole thing had me thinking as I dug in drawers to find gloves - because the outfit wouldn't be complete without gloves (and Mum if you are reading this of course only silk lined gloves - nothing thicker, by the way, I never knew why you insisted on this but you'll be pleased to know it has stuck) and a hat (unfortunately the perfect little mink one is in Cornwall) about my mother.

During the sixties and seventies my mother had some of the most beautiful clothes from a shop called Gordons of Malden.  I just have to say that my mother was one of the most elegant women, still is but it's those pictures in my mind of her with fabulous suits gloves and hats that has probably had the most lasting impression on my sense of fashion. I have scanned the only picture I have of her here in the Dubai from the 1960s which doesn't really do her justice...wouldn't mind the suit though....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Clean Up

I finished the big rewrite of A CORNISH HOUSE and at the moment I'm still pretty happy with it - this of course will morph into it is total rubbish soon, but I will enjoy the 'it's okay' sensation while it lasts. When doing the sort of rewrite I have just completed, the focus was totally into the emotion and motivation and the plot I didn't look at the small stuff, the niggly stuff which leaves me with a whole lot of cleaning to do....especially as I added nearly 15,000 words to the story.

So I have been cleaning and I thought I'd share with you what that has meant thus far. When I did the last rewrite I did an index card for each scene. On it I list the basics:

scene number (this is continuous through the book 1-115 in ACH's case)
page numbers
Location or locations
Who is in the scene
Basic point of the scene

These cards have been handy for referring back to - for example I wanted to know when I introduced a character or another thread of the story.

Now in my cleaning up process (aside from crossing the Ts and dotting the Is) I am adding two more things to the cards:

First line of scene
Last line of scene

This is so I make sure that they all don't open with my heroine sitting drinking coffee or something etc (thank you Anita Burgh for this suggestion)

I am looking very closely at dialogue and dialogue tags...thank you to Nicola Morgan for her timely post on the subject here.

Also, now that the story is truly in place I reread a post by Cath Bore reporting on a workshop she attended with Joe Finder entitled A Sense of Suspense which is helping me makes sure that I keep the mystery going....

I am keeping a time line to make sure that it is chronological (as it is important to the story) and as I have chopped and changed things along the way I have found some real humdingers on the time front...

Finally I'm looking hard at each scene again and asking if it really needs to be that the story is totally in place I feel I can be even harder on those scenes I quite liked but....

The last stage will be listening to the story ears are better at spotting awkward phrases and missing words than my eyes will ever be...What do you do when you 'clean up' a manuscript?

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I have blogged about poetry today over at the The Heroine Addicts. In it I foolishly present another challenge and as I never posted the result of the last one on Frenchman's Creek (turned out to be too painful for posting) I feel I can't shirk out of this one...however the problem is that I haven't written poetry in a very long time. Poetry was the medium of my tormented was way to express what I couldn't utter in any other was navel gazing for me that is...

But as I haven't written any in at least two decades I have no choice, but to inflict on you a work from that angst riddled time...warning - weak of stomach read no further - normal service will resume shortly.....

The Orient expressed
By others
others explaining others
the orient repressed
knowledge incomplete
Not in but out
Out looking in
looking not being
Others can't be others
Others can barely be themselves
They know only others
What others are to them
Defines what they themselves are
they think
The Orient expressed
Expressing others as not them


And if that last one wasn't cringe making enough...

unfinished time
muses speak
language incomprehensible
Apollo plays a lute unheard
bodies decay uncaressed
moulding in their lust
catacombs filled with forbidden thoughts
Calvary stares at earth with living crosses

Anonymous is a Woman

Anonymous is a woman
Her beauty grows that way
Sweetly unsung she rise
To each break of day

Anonymous is a woman
Her beauty is rarely seen
The clouds on the horizon
Makes the world's 'clear' vision a distorted dream

Anonymous is a woman
Her beauty always forgotten
Among the numerous weeds
Where true brilliance is lost among the rotten

And with that I will go and douse myself in cold water and leave writing poetry back where it belongs in my university years...back to the mundane clean up of A Cornish House....

Thursday, October 07, 2010

An Unusual Review for a Compelling Book - WITHOUT ALICE

Life as usual has been crazy and provided its own set of guidelines which don’t always match mine... 

The lovely DJ Kirby whose book WITHOUT ALICE came out this week is on a blog tour. She knows from Twitter that I'm a blogger (bad one at the moment) and a reader as well as a writer. So the brave woman asked if I would be part of it. I was honoured to be asked and terrified at the same time.

DJ is a delightful woman that I have met in person once briefly and we should have spoken more, but alas on that night it was not meant to be. Nor was it on Monday night when she held her book launch in London. There was a tube strike and on top of that DS2’s delayed train and his forgotten coat with wallet in it (another story altogether), which prevented me from attending.

This has all left me in a quandary. I read WITHOUT ALICE – in one sitting and I loved it. However that doesn’t make a book review does it? I had planned to sneakily interview DJ during the launch and wrap it all nicely up with photos of the event…

Can’t do that now and as I write this on Wednesday afternoon and my blog post is due up tomorrow. I feel it is a bit late to fire off a bunch of questions. I know I would find it more than inconvenient if someone emailed me and wanted a response asap.

So I’m back to a book review…In desperation I dug through the recycling to considered the weekend papers’ book reviews where they all but tell you the whole book which is fine in a way (many times you don’t need or want to buy the book afterwards – both good and bad). But that is not the type of review I wanted to write nor is it 'me'. So here goes my review…

As I mentioned above – I read WITHOUT ALICE in one sitting. It is compulsive. I needed to know how it was going to work out. I needed to know how I was going to move from thinking the ‘hero’ a complete and utter ***** to wanting him to succeed. I won’t tell you the answers, but I will tell that it happened and all the while exploring the theme of birth and rebirth. DJ is a natural story teller – she had me hooked.

So that’s my review….an utterly compelling story that gives hope (and oh should mention – I wept too – have a hankie ready you’ll need it)

Monday, October 04, 2010


I can't believe I am writing this from and iPad but dh needed one for a conference coming up so I get to play with it. Thus far I am impressed. It is fast, bright, and not to tough to type on. It makes reading on screen very easy. I have found a few problems...I can't seem to scoll through my blogs list but over all I am loving it.

I will buy a book today and check out the reading experience and let you know.

Write wise...I am finally over the half mark of the rework of A CORNISH HOUSE and it feels like it is coming together.