Saturday, August 30, 2008
At which point the plumber called. 'Received your message. How urgent?'
Urgent! I cried down the phone.
The plumber came and managed to reconnect pipe without draining the whole system. And I learnt that there was a seperate tank for the heating system with a vale one can turn off. Then all that drains is the water in there, instead of everything.
Things are less soggy now.
And I might actually get the wip finished this weekend...
Umm, no more. The leak has turned into a flood. Duct tape has not worked. I have rigged up something with sponges to channel the water into a collection tin (old Texas fruitcake tin) on the basis that water runs down hill. Why are leaks always low down? Or in relatively inaccessible places?
Hopefully I will be able to get hold of the plumber soon.
However, I suspect the water is just the water in the radiator rather than in the whole system. Again, this is because the central heating is not on and water can not run up hill without some sort of force...or at least it is my theory.
Friday, August 29, 2008
I find the podcasts incredibly useful. It is really interesting to learn what the editors want and how they view series v single title. For example, Harlequin Intrigue is mystery for the series romance reader.
Anyway, it helped clarify my thinking on my latest one, and then I spoke with my editor's assistant and that helped even more. Powerful and poignant is preferable to simple solutions. My dd lost the arguement here. Now I just need to finish the wip.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Speaking of Fun, Mamma Mia was brilliant. Go see it, if you haven't already.
It has been a long time since I have to a film where there was such a buzz of anticipation in the crowd. People were dressed in smart casual and many were greeting each other. It was more like going to the theatre than the cinema. I saw several neighbours and people that I had not seen for years. There were a few men in the audience, mostly in their fifties and sixties.
When the film started, there was the quiet hush and sounds of enjoyment. The whole atmosphere sparkled. Helped no doubt by the fun and enjoyment that the actors appeared to be having. I was delighted to see various elderly women, clapping and singing along.
Julie Walters held the film together and while I think Colin Firth was wasted, it was feel good entertainment. I am very tempted to see it again and will be getting the dvd. Oh and you have to stay for the credits. The Lycra suits are just not to be missed.
I can now understand why the film is so popular. The current run at the Hexham Forum is completely SOLD OUT and they are talking about bring it back yet again. I heard various plans from people to see it there if it does happen. it is a movie that people want to see again and again.
And the Forum has been completely renovated. They have a lovely coffee bar and the seats are now very comfortable. I plan to try to see more films there rather than driving into Newcastle. BUT I will make sure that I book before I go to avoid disappointment.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
One opened bottle of cava later to obtain the cork and a decision to use hands instead of cigar boxes, and we were away. No books as I was not sure about the lift.
It is best if the champagne cork is hit off a bare table rather than one with a cloth.
Champagne corks bounce erratically.
Because my youngest plays table tennis at youth club, he proved to have a good eye and was thus an eventual winner.
It will never replace a conventional table tennis table, paddles and ball, but it can prove to be great impromptu sport, particularly for people stuck inside on account of the mouldy weather.
Mamma Mia is tonight and I happened to speak to a former next door neighbour. She is going as well, having pre-booked with her cousin. Part of the reason they are going is because if the film has had to be brought back three times, it must be good. Also it has given her a chance to play ABBA Gold again. She agreed with me that something like this has not happened in Tyne Valley since Shirley Valentine... Which I suppose is better than saying that something like hasn't happen since the Great Bell Ringing Feud of 1989.
Monday, August 25, 2008
According to various sources, ping pong or table tennis originates in after dinner entertainment during the late Victorian period. Best guess sometime in the early 1880s. It was cigar boxes, champagne corks, a line of books across a card table. I also suspect rather a lot was drunk in order to get the proper supply of champagne corks. The Drones club approach to sport as it were... But look what it has evolved into.
And it is interesting to speculate if the early pioneers of table tennis ever imagined that it would become an Olympic sport. Equally if any of the horrified Aunts and other onlookers of tender sensibilities thought it would.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
It is a different sort of parenting -- more the it is the duckling's responsibility to stay with the mother, rather the parental responsibility to look for them if they go wandering off and get in trouble. If trouble happens when she is near by, she will defend the ducklings. I have seen her charge other ducks and hens, for example.
I am currently in my last one hundred pages of the wip. It is getting better and I do know the ending. Once the first draft is done, then the fun bit begins -- namely the editing and revising. My editor has said that her thoughts about my other one -- the third Viking -- will be back sometime after the August Bank Holiday.
Tomorrow is the August Bank Holiday. This means summer is coming to an end. The plums on ripening nicely on the Victoria plum tree, but we do not have many pears or damsons. Apparently there are not many sloes this year either. I suspect a bad frost at blossom time. The bees appear to be busy. A beekeeper up the road lost three out of his five hives earlier this year. This is worrying. But for the moment, our hives are fine and producing honey.
I think I will be harvesting in mid September...
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
To be fair to my eldest, he works as a waiter at the local castle hotel as his after school job. Apparently, at nearly every wedding, ABBA is played. He says that people come in, looking normal and sober, perfectly respectable but once ABBA comes on, they flock to the dance floor, performing all sorts of werid contortions. The songs are consistently the most played at weddings, and the ones most likely to send the dance floor overflowing.
It is all sort of amazing when you think about it. I happened to read the cd's notes. ABBA until the early 90s was consigned to the bargain basement. Their compliation album did far better than the albums/individual songs' orginal release. ABBA is certainly not barbain basement now.
Anyway, my daughter is now even more excited about going to see this movie. I suspect that she would like to go to the sing along version as she trying to learn the lyrics...
My eldest on the other hand is looking forward to seeing Hellboy 2, a movie which will not have an ABBA soundtrack.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The FEEL THE HEAT writing competition!
Do you have a fresh, vibrant, sassy voice and a passion for sexy alpha heroes? Can you write sparky dialogue, create great sensual tension and hot love-scenes?
If so, then we want to hear from you!
Email your first chapter and synopsis of a Modern Heat novel to: firstname.lastname@example.org by 15th September 2008
The WINNER receives an editor for a year!
TWO RUNNERS-UP will be given critiques of their first chapter entries and an editorial telephone consultation!
The winner will be announced October 1st 2008
The Modern Heat guidelines can be found here Writing Contest: Mills & Boon Modern Heat Writing Guidelines and I have asked some of our existing Modern Heat authors to blog throughout this period to share writing tips and their experiences.
If you look through the I Heart Presents archives (particularly for November and December 2007) you will find many useful tips and guidelines that are relevant for this competition.
And now for the serious part!
Your entry must be aimed at Modern Heat
Your entry must NOT have been submitted previously to Harlequin Mills & Boon
Only ONE entry per person
Submissions received after the closing date will NOT be assessed!
More detailed legal rules will be posted at a later date.
We look forward to hearing from you soon and I will be back to give you updates!
Updated to add: official rules are now available here.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
They are delighted at the movie theatre and have not seen anything quite like the response before ( or at least for a very long time). The lad who was working there said that the movie has proved popular up and down the country with all ages.
Anyway, I was glad that I pre-booked. But I remain shocked that so many other people have done the same thing...
Still fun movies are always good to see, particularly when the rain is bucketing down.
The new rowing machine should arrive today, and then my fitness campaign starts. The Olympics have inspired me! My dh also convinced me...Watch this space.
Monday, August 18, 2008
I am hopeful that this means that the bat box we put up a few years ago is in use.
The mother duck had gone into the middle duck house, the one without steps. Her attitude appears to be -- if you do not follow me, and run into difficulties, you are on your own. The 3 ducklings were running around the pen peeping and calling.
My youngest demanded help.
Eventually I caught all three ducklings and put them in the oldest duck house -- but not before falling into thick mud. Chasing duckings and wearing too large sandals do not mix, particularly after torrential rain.
Then as the mother duck refused to leave the middle duck house, I retrieved the fishing net from the basement and a torch. Holding the torch between my teeth, so I could see into the middle duck house, I managed to capture the mother duck. she was then deposited into the old house. Much happy peeping from the ducklings at having their mother restored. The mother duck merely opened her wings for the ducklings to shelter under.
The bats remained flying about the house, much to my youngest's delight. He has now named one Stellaluna after a picture book that he loved as a little boy. The other one is called Gabriel.
I have reached the last one hundred pages of my current wip. It will get there.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
3 ducklings were in the thier house last night. They are all dark, two have yellow bibs. I will try for pictures...
The stream remains in full spate, but they do not appear to have any trouble crossing the bridge. Or rather I have not seen any more whitewater rafting ducklings. One of the remaining duckings is the onewith the penchant for whitewater.
Mamma Mia! will be back in Hexham next Friday for a week's run. My daughter has already demanded that I call up for tickets. She does not want any more missteps. I shall do so today! Third time lucky.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
There are a number of reasons why there are too many jackdaws, but until people put the nets on their chimneys... We have already lost at least two full broods this year. I am not worried as we have too many ducks, but...
Anyway, yesterday, even there was a great deal of high pitched quacking as one duckling became separated by the stream. Due to the high rainfall, the normally placid stream is raging.
My youngest went to rescue it, slipping and sliding on the muddy bank. I directed traffic from the bridge.
The duckling jumped into the stream and was washed over the dam. A white water rafter could not have done better as it twisted and turned. Head up and wings back. Full marks on style.
Of course, it then went and hid in a patch of nettles. My dh fished it out, back the intrepid adventuring duckling to me and I walked across the bridge to be reunite with the mother and its more sensible siblings who were huddle under a thorn bush.
By the time we returned to the house, we were soaked to the skin.
Last week, I forgot to pick a courgette and it turned into a marrow. We used it in moussaka last night. Courgettes work well in this dish, instead of aubergine/eggplant.
And the rain continues. I am praying the duckling has learnt its lesson...
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Argh. I think it is The Dark Knight next week, so I think Hexham is out. We could go into Newcastle or more likely wait for the dvd.
At some point, we will see this film! But it does appear to be a word of mouth success. Lots of older middle couples were there as were groups of older middle aged women. The sort of people you do not generally see going to films, but when they go, boy do they go...
I suspect the film is very good and if it does get held over in Hexham, we will go to see it...
My cp has been cracking her whip and her words have made me see things in a different light. It is basically the same question that an old editor of mine told me to keep in mind -- how does he feel about her -- beginning, middle and end and why do the changes happen? Still it is better to think now than have to revise later.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Friday, August 08, 2008
Yesterday, Chile went to the vet. All is fine, but because I was using the small car, he struggled to get in the back. My dd and I worked together to lift him in. Got home, and the rear license plate was missing.
Quick call to the vets -- no license plate.
What to do?And how do you get a replacement?
I called the DVLA -- basically, you need to take your registration documents to someone like the garage who sold you the car or other retailer who makes license plates and they will make you one.
I had that in hand, when the vet called. The plate had been found -- under another car.
Relief as I had thought up all sorts of scenarios where the plate was used on a stolen car...There are problems with having a vivid imagination.
The plate had been held on by foam tape, rather than screws. This is very common. But it is not good, if you have an arthritic Labrador who kicks it...
While all this was going on, I also cleaned the gutters. Luckily, my youngest has taken the camera to the Lakes and so you are not being treated to me -- covered in muck from head to toe. Suffice it to say that we no longer have a second garden growing at roof level and when it rains, they actually perform their function. But what a messy job, it is.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Basically, if you have the opportunity to write some exciting action in real time, do so. Swash buckling is good.
For example, John Hale gave Kate Allen and me this advice about the start of The Lady Soldier. We had originally started at what is now the second chapter -- during the aftermath of the battle where Jem encounters Tony for the first time. Mr Hale suggested that we write about the battle and how she struggles to survive etc. It puts the reader straight into the middle of the action.
With my current wip, I had started with the heroine sitting in a field, reading. But really, I needed to start with the hero getting attacked and escaping. Far more exciting and even if it is slight bridging conflict, it does ultimately have change the hero's life.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Last week, the Hexham Courant reported that they had found a perpetual portable calender, or at least part of one in the granaries. Such a thing has not been found in Britain before... Most towns and cities had massive calenders on the walls of buildings, but this is a handheld one, complete with holes where pegs could be placed. Once it is cleaned up, it will go on display at Vindolanda in the autumn.
They have also found a little finger ring inscribed matri/patri as well as an altar to the goddess of Syria. The Syrian connection is interesting and intriguing. Of course, one of the big graves in Corbridge was a merchant from Syria. His wife, Regina's grave stone is in the Newcastle Museum of Antiquities. Syria played a major role in Septimus Severus's reign. His wife, Julia Domina came from Syria...but really it is the first time that they discovered a link to the country at Vindolanda. I am secretly thrill as the thriller that I wrote but never sold had to do with the Syrian influence on the Wall.
You can read more about the ring and the statue here. The excavations are ongoing until the beginning of September. Also in September they are doing several lectures including the horse through the ages.
Monday, August 04, 2008
This is one of the sayings that is somewhat engraved on my brain, EXCEPT when I forget.
Early Sunday morning, I sat bolt upright in bed and realised that the reason the first part of my current wip feels static is that I started in the wrong place. There is an opportunity for a short scene of good narrative action that will set up the story. And I had forgotten to write it. ARGH! Easily solved, but you would think by this time that I could remember and think about such things before I reach chapter 8!!!!
My proofs are going well and I really like how Impoverished Miss, Convenient Wife turned out. I need to get this finished.
In other news:
Chile is wearing an Elizabethan ruff as he keeps worrying the stitches, but he is now taking his pills much better.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
It is August and Mills & Boon have revamped their website. It is now easier to navigate and they have made it very simple to add covers to blogs etc. They also have online reads, and contests. Still no word about the UK ebooks.
An Impulsive Debutante is available for purchase there, and this is the quickest way to get the book. It goes on general release in the UK on 5 September (the date coincidentally is the 20th anniversary of me arriving to live permanently in the UK, plus being my eldest's 18th)
Speaking of ebooks, the guidelines for the new Harlequin Historical exclusive ebook series -- Undone are on eharlequin. It debuts in November 2009 with short stories (10-15k) from Nicola Cornick, Amanda McCade and others.
Tonight is the Rita/Golden Heart award ceremony at the RWA Nationals. My finger are firmly crossed for so many people. I do not envy the final judges at all.
The postman has just been and the proofs for Impoverished Miss, Convenient Wife have landed. So it is time to grab the ruler, the reporter style moleskine and a pen. The ruler helps me to focus on the individual line. I have 14 fourteen days to do it but like to get it over and done with as quickly as possible.
Friday, August 01, 2008
Regular readers of this blog will know that this is the book that I convinced Donna to totally rewrite after she received a form rejection. She had orginally set the book in London, rather than setting it in Canada among other things. In between getting the rejection, and rewriting it, she wrote several other books. But the characters would not go away. They kept calling to her.
When she did rewrite, it was a total rewrite. And it became a very lovely book.
I am so very proud to have played a tiny role in Donna's success!!!
As luck would have it, she is away at a family wedding.