North and South . . .

Perhaps I was under a stone, or on another planet or at the very least in solitary confinement (something I do enjoy, actually), when the BBC’s adaptation of Elisabeth Gaskell’s North and South was released.  Amazingly I was not all that familiar with Elisabeth Gaskell’s writings.  At secondary school and university it had been Dickens, the Brontes, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Xavier Herbert, Joseph Conrad and Thomas Hardy among many others.  Heavy, dour books to be reading when one was in the spring, nay, the summer of one’s life.  Hardy’s brooding rural settings, Bronte’s even more stormy settings and Dickens who portrayed it as it was so to speak, was enough to drive a young, fancy-free student far from the serious and into the positively tacky.

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Beaches, books and book-trailers . . .

Rheban Beach

I’m back at the shack, staggered in with a supply of the cooking from the other day, with a supply of wine (naturally), with the computer and some files, with the dogs and with my overnight bag.  The overnight bag is never for overnight, I am rarely here overnight . . . days at a time usually and thus the bag contains underwear and a sponge bag.  Shack clothes are left here . . . you know, the faded denim shorts and jeans, the old polo-shirts, the beaten-up boat shoes, the white wind-cheater that is so loved that it’s worn at the neck and wrists.  So why then does the overnight bag weigh a tonne?

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A light-bulb moment . . .

“Often, a suggestion by the editor is a light-bulb moment, when you suddenly realise what’s wrong with the book. A light-bulb moment is a wonderful thing and even if the publisher later turns you down, you will have improved your book.

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Bakers’ dozen . . .

Cooking today, no time to blog, let alone to pursue the actual craft of writing a book.  Coffee slice, chocolate cupcakes, zucchini tart, chocolate cookies. And homemade pasta sauce for the freezer.

Have to go, the oven timer is beeping . . . talk tomorrow, byeeeeee!!!!!

Reading corner . . .

I was reading Book Blogs today and came across a list that a blogger had written: 10 Places to Read. I was staggered.  I love reading but there’s no way I could make a list of ten places in which I read.

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Dark and dangerous . . .

This week, Feb 10, on Writer Unboxed, Anne Aguirre discussed the hero vs. the anti-hero.  And it fitted in with my thoughts when I saw how many people had visited my blog after mentioning Richard Armitage and including a shot of him as Guy of Gisborne. Patently the anti-hero is alive and well.

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A flash of inspiration . . .

Inspiration is, to an artist, the air we breathe.  It sustains us, suffusing us with ideas.  I’ve talked before about the things that inspire me to write a story . . . a piece of stitching, a paperweight, a length of cloth, a pocket globe.  Once in the distant past it was a tiny brass ball I found in my grandfather’s tool shed (which I’ve since lost, but imagine the quidditch snitch and you can see what I mean). Heavens’ knows what Pa’s little brass ball was.  Whatever it was, more than anything it was inspiration.

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Images . . .

Sometimes the thought of working on the WIP is really hard.  You know why?  The novel I’ve just finished, the one that is being assessed right now, had the perfect protagonist.  In a literary sense that may be a moot point, but in the physical sense, after watching Robin Hood for various seasons and Spooks most recently, I had no choice but to cast Richard Armitage as my protagonist.

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Its a good day, halloo, hallay!

Some days are meant to be good.

From Facebook Fairy Tales

Woke this morning with a blooded eye, wondering why I chose to punch myself in my sleep.  This later developed to a migraine . . . I have no pain, no nausea, just visual disturbance  . . . split images, venetian blind effects, sometimes barely any vision at all.  But half an hour later, with some treatment, it was all gone and I was able to sit at the computer and read emails, blogs and even do some writing.  The blogs, chiefly Nathan Bransford’s ( of the last three days were damned good reading giving a succinct rundown of the most recent Amazon/Macmillan problems, also a fabulous blog on the future of the e-book, digital publishing and self-publishing which I found fascinating, especially the comments from readers. I experienced some sort of vindication for flying with the independent with my first two novels.  Mr. Bransford implied that those outside the maintream, who have had to pedal harder under water (my words), may, together with a knock your socks off ms, have the edge in this e-book battle and may indeed make an impression with the mainstream publishers. I really loved this because an agent last year basically called me out over my decision to POD with  My confidence took a hell of a hiding, despite the fact that the year has been exciting, inspiring, full of growth in both writing and marketing.

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Mapping a world . . .

Fantasy map from Wikimedia Commons.

I visited my tiny local library today and came across a giant book (one that just fitted into my bike basket), called The Map Book edited by Peter Barber.  Published in GB in 2005, it is the quintessential history of maps and their making and has the most extraordinary collection illustrated in its pages.

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