Friday, March 31, 2006

Yes, I'm avoiding writing again...

Your Personality Is

Idealist (NF)


You are a passionate, caring, and unique person.
You are good at expressing yourself and sharing your ideals.

You are the most compassionate of all types and connect with others easily.
Your heart tends to rule you. You can't make decisions without considering feelings.

You seek out other empathetic people to befriend.
Truth and authenticity matters in your friendships.

In love, you give everything you have to relationships. You fall in love easily.

At work, you crave personal expression and meaning in your career.

With others, you communicate well. You can spend all night talking with someone.

As far as your looks go, you've likely taken the time to develop your own personal style.

On weekends, you like to be with others. Charity work is also a favorite pastime of yours.

I keep telling myself that I'm gonna wean myself off these things. They've become an 'avoid doing what I should be doing' drug. And the thing is, they've also made me realize that I use them as a booster of sorts for when I'm deep in deadline depression! Which can't be a good thing, can it???

This one made me feel quite good about myself. Mostly. Except maybe the bit about falling in love easily. HAHAHA! Not so much as it happens. But then, there is only me and my casting photos and my cat in the deadline cave...

The interpretation kinda depends on whether you're a glass half full/half empty kinda person I think. With blogthings and horoscopes I tend to read the good stuff and ignore the bad. Which would suggest I'm 'glass half full'. However. There are days I'm definately glass half empty. And then there are times; like deadline hell/fell flat on my face and hurt myself weeks (like this one) when I'm 'I don't even have a flipping glass, where's my glass, someone took my glass!' kinda gal...

So, what other ploys do writers use to avoid writing beyond making themselves insane with blogthings I wonder??? Or am I alone in my insanity???

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The pit-falls in trying to be clever

You remember this girl? She's my casting for heroine in Baby Makes Three - my current work in progress...

Well, what I might not have mentioned about her is that as the book starts she's eight and a half months pregnant with another guys baby... And this is what I get for trying to be smart... Its a cow of a book to write!!!

Now I will admit that as a single gal with no kids myself I have had to do a tonne of research on this. (Big shout out to my friends with kids!) And the more I learn the more I not only have a desire to remain cross-legged for the rest of my life, I've also discovered it's difficult to write a romantic, sensual story around it.
Now there are pluses. Hang on while I just repeat that to myself a couple of dozen times...

Okay I'm back. As I was saying, there are pluses. We get the whole glowing, gorgeous, new life coming into the world advantages. But I like to think that the majority of my work is set with real people in real situations, working their way through the same kinds of problems we all have. So that means, me being me, that I have to deal with all the minuses as well. Enter a heroine who, when she meets the man she loved as a teenager, is the size of a house with swollen ankles, mood swings and the associated difficulties of a rat's ass of an ex who has left her broke and alone. Now the latter I can deal with. The others... have caused me some strife...
(Picture me smiling bravely through gritted teeth...)
Now, because she's so far along, if I've managed to deal with the list of problem areas, it does mean I get the pay-off of a sweet little baby to add to my story. I naively thought this would mean I could up the, erm, contact between my hero and heroine. But, oh no, now I have to find a way of dealing with the shape she is sans baby, the fact that she's going to hurt like hell cos she had a difficult birth (large healthy Irish wee un doncha know)which meant stitches, and all the associated icky-ness that my research 'friends' have now given me on breast milk...

I am thinking of becoming a Librarian in my next life. That way I get to be surrounded by books without the stress.

So, the moral of this story is... don't try to be too smart... Or, buy yourself a large shovel to dig the hole you've just started to make for yourself...

Though I did set it on a Stud Farm, 'cos horses are something I can write about. I was duly told not to make them too prominant to the story. Fair enough. So here they are... You can hardly see them from the back... Though I am tempted to have the one thats looking round say 'Does my bum look big to you?'... To which my heroine could safely answer for most of this book; 'You want to compare yours and mine?'

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Il Divo - A research expense?????

Having now seen them in concert I'm wondering if I can off-set the tickets as a research expense??? What do you think ladies???
I mean - LOOK AT THEM! They are each of them a potential hero, in the same line of thinking as the casting of hero's we've been talking about of late. So therefore that means by going to the concert I was doing RESEARCH, right??? Though flying to another concert might be stretching it a bit, huh???

There's such a close link between writing romance and romance in music. Maybe thats why so many of us will pick a particular track to play in the background while we create. From the moment these four guys stepped onto the stage last night the crowd was swept away. When they sing, even if its in Italian or Spanish or French and we English speakers don't understand all the lyrics...the emotion is there and they then matched it with visual images in the background so that for the hour or so, we were all carried away out of our everyday lives and into a world of emotion. It's what we try to do as writers.

(This pick of the Swiss chap - Urs - is especially for my friend & cp Donna Alward... down girl!)

And maybe that's part of the reason I found the concert such an emotional journey. Because for over a year now I have had particular tracks off their two albums that I have used when I need to write a particularly emotional scene. So when they sang those songs I was there in front of my keyboard again, writing those scenes, living with those characters. And I was reminded of why I love what I do.

(And this pic of French chap Sebastien is mine... he he he... All MINE)

If you want to hear the kind of thing I got to hear last night you can listen to brief snippets of their music here with your media player. My two favs for writing are 'Every Time I Look At You' and 'I Believe'... But I don't think it's necessarily the words with these guys but the emotions the music itself can stir up and that can be so important when you're writing...

It's all about the mood. It's mood music plus the right atmosphere for you to write in.(Well that's what works for me...) Whether for you, thats a completely silent room with an amazing view, or like me, the darkness of the middle of the night, with soft music and scented candles and a promise to myself that I will raise my word count. I will. Really. I have to...

So, what do you think? Can I class them as research??? Pretty Please....

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Just as well really...

You Should Be a Romance Novelist

You see the world as it should be, and this goes double for all matters of the heart.
You can find the romance in any situation, and you would make a talented romance story writer...
And while you may be a traditional romantic, you're just as likely to be drawn to quirky or dark love stories.
As long as it deals with infatuation, heartbreak, and soulmates - you could write it.


Saw this over on Kate Hardy's blog and had to have a look see. And NO I didn't cheat. I have this thing about karma...

Taking a bit of a break today to go see Il Divo live in concert.

And they can sing too!!!! Sigh......
So that means no more word count til tomorrow and no more blog til a couple o days time. Try not to miss me too much! Though I may have to come back and have a bit of a gripe about this book. Because its been making me insane!!!

The joys of being a writer Pt2

After hours, days, heck, after weeks and sometimes months of serious drooling, sorry researching, for a Hero. That search for the perfect man. (I'm a single gal - I have the Girl Guide badge for this) - We are now into the second joy. The joy of finding a heroine.

Now, alright, so this search may not seem like as much fun as searching for a hero to cast. But it is. Bear with me here...

Because in many ways this little lady is more important than the hero. I can hear your gasp of outrage from my house but it's true! Remember, you are writing your story for your reader and in the very large part that reader is female. And although she has to love our hero, want him, appreciate him, (look at the man lying next to her at night in real life and nudge him harder when he burps or passes wind). She has to like the heroine even more. Because though she may fall in love with the hero, she has to like the heroine. Has to understand why this gorgeous man of ours fell for him...
And getting a woman to like another woman without ever meeting her can be a tough sell because women are always critical of other women, particularly if they're beautiful or rich or successful already...

Even looking at pictures while casting a heroine can be a test of whether or not we like her enough to tell her story. Remember how we talked about how the picture can ask us questions about the guy (in Pt1)??? It's the same thing here. If we have some woman thrusting her breasts out in the camera we may not immediately take to her. But if she has the look of someone we might know, see on the street, have as a relative... Well, we may emphathize more with her. If she is crying in the picture or has a determined tilt to her chin or a sparkle of mischief in her eyes she seems more human somehow, more real, like she might be a friend we know.

And that's were the real magic kicks in on this one...
We need to create a heroine that the reader wants to take the journey with. A heroine whose shoes she wants to walk in. And whatever conflicts she has or past problems that hold her emotions back from the guy we know is right for her, they need to be real and understandable. It's one heck of a challenge for any writer. To not only make her story believable and real, but to make her someone the reader would like to know, maybe even be for the the space of a couple of hundred odd pages.

So how do we accomplish that?

Well, the simple truth is we keep her real. We give her the same everyday problems and challenges that we all have; whether that's losing that extra five pounds we would love to, or fighting to do well in our work, struggling to balance our lives between work and family, or wading our way through a set of disastrous relationships. We make her think like we do, talk like we do, have the same hopes and fears that we do. But most of all we bequest to her the same hope that every woman has for love. Real, long lasting, toe-curling love. The fact that her path to that isn't always easy makes it all the more real to us. And therefore means we understand, and we cheer her on when it goes well and cry with her when it doesn't. Because we've all been there, haven't we?


It's a real joy to me when people say they love my heroines or that they understood them or how they felt and most of all when they say that they could see this woman as a close friend. It means I've got my casting right. It means I've done my job. I don't think a person can ask for much more than that really...

And for fun, or to get those creative juices flowing... You could try matching my potential heroines to my potential hero's??? Give them a story... go on. You know you want to! And you know I'm already thinking of a few....

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The joys of being a writer Pt1

Having pointed out some of the Things They Don't Tell You about being a writer, it seemed only fair to point out some of the Joys... And I've been a good girl and increased the word count on my current work so it seemed fair to give myself a reward...

So we'll start with one of the absolute best things. Well, in my opinion anyway...

The biggest part of creating your story is casting your hero and heroine. And it's exactly like casting a movie. We have in our minds eye an image of our characters, we know who they are and where the story will take them (in theory) and as the majority of romance writers are women it is only natural that we have some real fun picking the hero out.
And herein lies the first joy... You get to search for hours on the internet for research purposes... for pictures of great looking guys who look like our hero. It's a tough, time consuming job. It involves dedication, patience, a keen eye. And I for one, take it very seriously...

I mean, I take my writing very seriously, I like to do the best job I possibly can. Wouldn't anyone do the same thing??? And it's not just finding the right guy. (Is it ever?) The picture that we're going to keep as a screensaver or clip to a board at our work station or paste to the top of our word doc has to give something in return for the honour of being cast. And this is where the artistry comes in.

There has to be something about him that embodies the essence of our hero; a look in the eyes, an expression, a hint of a smile. Something that hints at the man we have created on the page so that when we look at him, we don't see just a great looking guy in a photo. We see our hero. Is our guy troubled by something? Does he carry some hurt from his past? When he looks off into the distance what does he see, who does he see? When he smiles is he smiling at our heroine? When he gives us that smouldering look, what is about to happen? Who is the person behind the picture? What will he tell us to write as we look at him? So many questions. And all within the short format of a contemporary romance...

It's all part of the joy of writing. Because we get to answer all the questions. And not only that, we get to create a darn near perfect guy. Well, okay, not perfect. Because lets face it, it's a hero with flaws that makes for a more romantic leading man! As, in my personal opinion, does one with a sense of humour. But the thing they all have in common, in both of the lines I write for, is that they are strong men, mature men (well 28 to 34 in my case). They are successful at what they do, be that as a Park Ranger like Ryan in my first book The Bridal Bet or as a Fireman, like Shane in White-Hot!, my first Modern Extra. They are self-assurred, capable men who don't necessarily go into the story looking for the love of a lifetime, but as the journey progresses we see them gradually realizing they've found it and fighting to keep it, no matter what the odds... (You can go awww anytime you want btw) So while we're creating this wonderous hero who never leaves the toilet seat up, never burps or passes wind, never hogs the tv control so we are forced to watch football, always replaces the spent loo roll and puts it in the right way round, it is sooo important to have a strong visual image that matches our imaginations vision.
That's why we simply must trawl through dozens of pictures to find him. It has to be done!

I like to feel I know how to suffer for my art...

Oh, and right this minute, I can make you a story for all these guys...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Deadlines, Celebrations & Topics to Come...

Okay, so the deadline for this latest Romance line title of mine is getting disgustingly close... at speed... so am really gonna have to be a good little girl and think nothing but romance and HEA for this next week or so til you see the little word counter thingie on the left going up... Up... UP...

In the meantime I hope you'll all pop over and say a major CONGRATS to my cp Donna in Canada who has just sold her first manuscript. We've only been working together since late last year and she's been getting closer and closer with each story. I'm like a proud mother hen! And this new one she's currently working on...!!! Well... she's a name to watch out for. Go over and meet her and add a line of congrats at her blog

Next topic of discussion will be 'The Joys Of Being A Writer'...

I love deadlines... I especially love the whooshing sound they make as they go by...

Friday, March 17, 2006

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!!!!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day Guys!!!

It's the day to be seen in green... and to help you celebrate I have a few little presents for you...

First up - An Irish Singalong - To Danny Boy

Then, a little Recipe for Later - A favourite of mine too - Soda Bread

And finally... An e-card from me, to you... here

And whatever you're doing or wherever you are...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Things they dont tell you about being a writer PT5

Ever heard the phrase 'TRYING TO RE-INVENT THE WHEEL'?

That's whats coming your way as a writer. Even before you're officially in print, it's there; that deep-seated, driving, all consuming need to follow a Grail like quest to create a completely original romance plot.

The bad news?

There's no such thing...

Even before glamorous writers were on the planet, or the first time (depending on your beliefs) we have been doing the romance dance. I'm not talking the horizontal mambo; what I'm talking about is that HEA that we all seek in one way or another. But as romance writer's we seek it all the more. But we're always looking for that impossible story, that one out there on the horizon that will see us miraculously plucked from a publishers slush pile and thrown headlong and grinning like an idiot into Glamorous Writer Land. If we can just think of a different take on it, see it from a different angle, think up a plot that no-one ever has...

When what we really need to do is go right back to the beginning, the very very beginning, in movie going terms; Before you even parked your car outside the cinema...
We need to remember its about two people...
Yes, we need to just simplify sometimes. Forget glamorous locations, twists and turns, hugely complicated outside plots and quirky pet mushrooms or goldfish and think boy meets girl.

Because when it comes down to it, thats the crux of any half decent romance. Whether they're old friends, living next door, once married, complete opposites or making a marriage of convenience (the latter almost being a holy grail unto itself these days in my experience so far) they are still just two people. And they are the glue that holds the pages inside the covers
Do we think that way though? Do we heck as like!! What we do is we look for inspiration in almost everything. We become obsessed by what other people are doing and what is selling and why. We read, we study, we tear apart and put things back together. Then we watch romantic comedies, we re-write the endings of classic box office successes in our heads and we watch every facial expression, every touch, every kiss and we try to make a story of our own.

When we need to realize that without the glue it doesn't matter what genius plan we have to dress it up. It's the people that matter. It's what we recognized of ourselves in characters that make us feel they are real. After all, is there anyone amongst us that hasn't had the joy and the heartache of falling in love? The very fact that people still dance that dance, that they find love in a world like ours, is an 'awww' moment in itself...

What it comes down to when we become writers is that we need to understand that once the glue is in place, it's all in the telling; the voice. That's what makes us stand out in the crowd... The very fact that writers are in different countries with different phrasing and different daily routines makes each story individual from the get-go. The glue holds it, the voice makes it individual and sparkling, and everything else holds the same place in the scheme of things as the ingredients of a great cake. What makes that cake different from any other cake on the shelf? Ahhh, you see that's where the magic comes in... That sprinkle of fairy dust on the top...

...when you pull it all together so that a reader picks it up. And thats the real Grail... And any day now, I for one, hope to find it...

And todays thought is from Groucho Marks:
Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

Another Katie Update

Well the latest news is that they ARE sarcoids!!! Which is a definate step in the right direction...

So her results and pics have been forwarded by my Vet to the specialist in Dublin and we now wait to see what he says. It'll be the middle to the tail end of next week. And then we hopefully will have the task of getting her ready to transport. It'll be a long, tough haul for her.

She had a bad few days after her biopsy. I'd imagine it hurt like hell. Which put her off her feed, as it would do, and that meant she wasn't getting her painkiller which meant she got worse. But the last few days she has been eating and the painkiller is kicking in again, so she's a lot happier.

I'll keep you updated...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Things they don't tell you about being a writer Pt4

Have you ever been to a dinner party or a night out where there was one person who seemed to know everything about everything? Every conversation that was started they had something to contribute to it? Even though they looked like a completely normal person and not the least bit like the nerds you had a vision of in your mind thanks to the movies???

PREPARE TO BECOME THAT PERSON....
Because having survived the whole computers/fingerfood/aching RSI's you are now entering the part of your writing career that involves... RESEARCH...
You've done well to avoid it so far. Maybe even as far as three or four books in, due to your many and varied careers as diverse as flipping burgers to Public Relations. And hey, they always told you 'write what you know', right?? But then you start to get ambitious you see, you look for more interesting plots, you delve deeper into your imagination for heros and heroines outside of your comfort zone. And it's at this point that you realize that readers are an educated bunch of people. Not only do they read (and hopefully enjoy) what you write, they are not the least bit shy about coming forward and telling you when you've got something wrong... E-mail is a wonderful invention...

So, you like to get things as right as you can, and realistically with as little as effort as possible... In the olden days, when someone still had to run with a red lamp in front of your car and you still had to bring a lump of coal to school to sit a row closer to the stove (which incidentally is when my neices and nephews honestly think is when I went to school...- nothing like a new generation to remind you that you're not eighteen anymore no matter how you may try to kid yourself...) we still used libraries. You know, big quiet place with tonnes of books in??? And you carried your little ring notebook and a pen that leaked onto your clothes in your pocket. Ahhh, the good old days... And I really do believe on darker days I'd have been hell on legs at going 'Shhhh' really loudly at people with coughs... But nowadays we have... ta-da... the Internet!!!

You like the Irish Google btw?? A favourite of mine for obvious reasons... And I can now tell you that, thanks to my most recent research, Google went 'live' in 1998, but was preceded by earlier search engines that started in Universities as early as 1994... (Yes, we are that old...) And see how useful research can be??? Would I have been able to tell you that if I hadn't needed to know that my heroine was watching my hero's rising career via the internet eight years ago? No, I would not. Why would I? What use would that information have been to me in daily life? Could I have told someone in the queue in the supermarket without them smiling sarcastically at me in answer?? (try it in your own supermarket queue 'til you see. I dare you!)

Nope. What it means is that another thing they don't tell you about being a writer is that you will become a mine of useless information. You will become a nerd. You will be that person at Dinner parties and social gatherings that has something to add to nearly every conversation, even when you don't know everyone else that's talking and therefore enter that minefield where-in someone in that crowd may be an actual expert.... You will end up almost doing the pee-pee dance that kids in primary school do when they *really* need to go, at the very hint of someone knowledgably informing the group of something you know isn't true. And you know because you had to research it for your last book or the book before and the information just kinda stuck...

On the up side, it does make we writers an interesting bunch of people to talk to, on the down side we may humiliate ourselves by trying to ask people directly for information we couldn't Google (is that possible!?). And on the really down side we become known as one of those irritating people at dinner parties. SO BEWARE... Or the glamorous writer image could translate to others as this...


Don't say I didn't warn you... And try to think of this at your next social gathering so you remember my ramblings...

There is nothing so annoying as to have two people talking when you're busy interrupting...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Things they don't tell you about being a writer Pt3

So here we are in glamorous writer land... No-one has run out of the crowd shouting 'Trespasser' or 'Burn her at the stake' so, so far, so good. Things are looking up. That second book is out of the way (We know because we're at least five pounds heavier - See Pt2) and we may even have done book three really quickly 'cos it was such a relief to get book two out of the way...

So now we are writing more, spending more time pouring over research notes, talking on blogs, updating websites, visiting other authors blogs and websites, shopping for other peoples books so we can sit still some more while we see what everyone else is writing. And then it happens!

Your body starts to prematurely age!!!

Now this has to be the case. It can't be that I'm actually getting old. I still watch cartoons, on good days I still have a deep-seated need to skip, but then, I guess, on the flipside I am old enough to remember when those flip over mobile phone thingies were communicators for Captain Kirk. So maybe there is a correlation there, of sorts.

The simple act is, when we sit in one position worrying over whether our conflict is strong enough, how our characters emotional journey is progressing, whether or not we spelt the word correlation right... We are putting a strain on our poor wee bodies... And somethings gonna give...
Just to digress at this point, I have to say that this picture is unrealistic on many levels. I mean, this isn't a writer! Where is the finger food? Where are the physical effects of the finger food? Where are the piles of stuff on the floor - the books to be read so we can feel paranoid about our talent in the face of greater talent, the half read copy edits that were due a week ago, the half open magazine that had a photo of a really hot hero type that we had to keep for research? And look at that desk?! No clutter at all! So either this person is so obsessed with his longer Single Title book that he's forgotten to ever leave his desk or his body has seized in that position...

Which brings me back to the topic at hand... Because we now spend so much time in the one position we are going to get aches and pains in places we've never had aches and pains before. And I for one have had aches and pains. I worked with horses for crying out loud. I know about pain because of that. And the effects of gravity... Mass plus velocity equals pain of hitting ground on impact doncha know... There are, of course, varying solutions to help avoid this RSI kind of injury when writing, various well designed pieces of furniture that we can invest in; that swiss ball of mine that only gets used for twenty minutes a day... But do we use them? And if we do, does it actually stop us from slumping forwards and rounding our shoulders after the second hour at the keyboard? Does it heck!!! And as for eye strain... Well, don't even get me started on that one. I myself am thinking seriously of shares in Optrex...
So one of the other things they don't tell you when you become a writer is that it can cause you pain. I can hear you sniggering in the cheap seats - I didn't mean the emotional angst type that you could put to some good use in a book. I mean the still hurts the next day kind of dull muscular ache and dry eye rubbing that comes from not being able to type fast enough and therefore having to spend hours in the one position. That is, until I can afford a hunky secretary type to take dictation. (Modern Extra readers stop it! That means talking aloud!!)

But for me, sitting still in the one chair for so long also leads to a physical worry of another kind...
I may need a larger chair...

And todays thought;
Never take life too seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyways.

Okay - So what is my other 30%???

You're 70% Irish

You're very Irish, and most likely from Ireland.
(And if you're not, you should be!)

Fair enough... for the most part... But I wonder what in heck my other 30% is then?
Answers on a postcard please...

Friday, March 10, 2006

Things they don't tell you about being a writer Pt.2

So, you've sold that first manuscript - Woo-Hoo!!! You have partied from dusk til dawn, told everyone on the planet, tried not to be smug to all those people who were pessimistic or smirked when you told them you were writing a book and you've overcome the hurdle of a website(see Pt 1).

Now it's down the the nitty gritty. The business end of things. Because when you write that first one you only have your own schedule to deal with. You can write it as quickly or as slowly as you choose. You can take your time to edit and check and delete and add until the thing is so shiny you can see your face in it. Once you've sold that first one you then have a bigger test... Book Two.(feel free to insert scary music and a clap of thunder avec lightning at this point)
Now, maybe you're one of those organized folks who has a spare manuscript just sitting in the wings ready to go. In which case, please leave my blog, you're entirely too efficient to be mixing with the likes of me! But if you're normal you probably then have a small moment of panic and become obsessed with having an even better second book...

Welcome to the self doubt and hair pulling of all glamorous writers...(I'm thinking of investing in some quality wigs myself. Uh-huh. Something chic that will make me look more like Sandra Bullock)

Even if you've been in the business a while the chances are you'll have at least one book that causes you to lose sleep. And once we're here, we want this writing thing to work, of course we do. So we spend more time at the computer... And that means we enter, THE CALORIE ZONE... (insert an echo and more thunder and lightning)

Yes, the calorie zone. This is when you ignore every lesson you've ever learned about nutrition and things like GI, Low carb and Bikini become things that you know somewhere in your mind should be important... But realistically they fade into insignificance in the land of imagination. Because we need simple things. Things that won't involve us having to leave the computer to pick up a knife and fork. We need things we can reach for without thinking while we concentrate on something else. In the same way you do at the cinema when watching a film (though I still maintain that in the dark of the cinema elves jump from row to row and eat at least two thirds of that giant bucket of buttered popcorn. There's no way I could have eaten all that alone in an hour and three quarters!)

We all have our poison of choice. And you may even have a little fun seeing if you can match the vice to the author. (They all write for the Tender/Romance line like I do...) But the one thing theses poisons all have in common is that they require but one hand to reach for them and they can be eaten all too easily! (No prize for guessing the author correctly you understand, but you do get to *out* them in public...)

So, basically the second thing they don't tell you when you become a writer is that unless you're very very good and can cope with deadlines much better than I quite obviously can, you are going to eat more. And combined with sitting down for a good portion of the day. That's b-a-d. Very bad.

At first you don't notice it. Especially in the winter, when c'mon, we need natural insulation, right? But as part of your brand new writing career, at some point you're going to have to meet other authors (the glamorous ones) and Editors (who are all glamorous - and so far, in my experience, no older than twenty five. Sigh.) So at that point you want to look your best, in some semblance of the glamour that should by now, surely, have rubbed off on you. It's then that the long term efects of all that time at the computer with your 'one handed food' becomes apparant. My solution to this thus far? A swiss ball. And yes, there's nothing at all glamorous in working out with one of those. Trust me.

So be warned... be careful... think carrot sticks... And a thought to leave you with...

Can it be a mistake that "STRESSED" is "DESSERTS" spelled backwards???

Quick Katie Update

Just thought I'd update you all on the Katie story. Very briefly...

The Vet was here again today having consulted with a specialist in Dublin. He took photographs and a biopsy to send off and we should know by no later than the end of next week what it is exactly we're dealing with. There are two things it can be. If it *is* definately cancer then there's really nothing more I can do, the decision will be taken out of my hands. 'Cos there's just no way I'll see her suffer.

But there's a small chance it may be sarcoids, which are a particularly virulent form of 'wart-like' growths. If thats what they are then this Dublin specialist has been having a great deal of success with cryo-surgery. Literally freezing them off like you would a wart. She'd have to be boxed down to Dublin but there's no way in hell I wouldn't take her.

So, we should know fairly soon. Thanks again for all your support on this guys; you've been the best!!! And I'll post as soon as I know something...

Thursday, March 9, 2006

The things they don't tell you about being a writer - Pt 1

So, you want to be a writer. It's your dream. You imagine yourself in front of your keyboard/ancient typewriter, living on coffee and creating intricate scenarios of people falling in love; sometimes in glamorous locations, sometimes just with the guy next door. You will pluck these award winning stories from the air, write thousands of words a day and your editor will ring you daily to say how wonderful you are. You will spend your spare time on sunny holidays with guys from aftershave commercials serving you drinks and flirting outrageously. All the little pieces of your life will fall into place... And you'll live happily ever after..

Can you tell I write fiction?

The Internet and using things you would never have to use in everyday life would be my first shock to the system. 'Oh you have to have a website' they say. 'Okay' I say. Then you go and try to see what sites you love from other authors. They *all* look terrific. 'Ooh I want one' I think. Thats what glamorous writers have. They have a website. Now how much are they... they're how much?? Jeepers. Do you have any idea the number of books I'll have to sell to make that? I can't afford that for a few years. And my great great great great grandfather was Scottish (hung for sheep stealing but thats a whole nother blog...) So it pains me to part with money. Unless its for clothes (again a whole nother blog). So, I do what any sane new writer does - I moan about it to other new writers. And low and behold one of them knows how to make one. Woo-Hoo. 'It's easy' she says. 'It would need to be' say I.
IT'S NOT. My friend did a gorgeous job of setting it up for me. All I had to do at the start was buy an address and a place to put it. I could do that. That involved spending money. Now that I can do. And it's tax deductable. Yippee.

But then came the time when I had to look after it myself. My friend was amazing. (And its tough to hate someone for being so very clever and talented when they're doing it on your behalf...) She gave me step by step instructions. Then she gave me step by step instructions I understood. It wasn't her fault I managed to delete half the site first time out...

So, here I am, a year and a half later. I spend more time on the internet and updating things each day than I do writing. Or at least thats what it feels like...
The internet provider kicks me off at least five times a day, I still regularly delete pages of things all over the place and updating my website on a regular basis is a bigger challenge than losing the extra pounds I've put on being sat at the computer (see next edition of Things they dont tell you...) It's all part and parcel of being a modern day writer. And I accept that, even enjoy it immensely when I get it right. But I could have done with being told... So that I could have stocked up on valium...
So if you want to be a writer... beware... and remember this...

If at first you don't succeed... remove all evidence that you were ever trying...