Monday, 30 June 2008

The Weather...

A very British subject about which to blog.

The month of June was like March or November -- until today. Thank heavens! This afternoon we’ve had sunshine, a slight breeze, and no rain.

I don’t suffer from seasonal affective disorder, but was starting to think the lack of summer was making me SAD. I need summer. Not only because the days are longer, people are happier, the countryside is gorgeous, and it’s nice to wear sandals and sunglasses … but also because it inspires me.

My novels are set in summer. And though I could turn up the heating and dress for the beach, it’s impossible to fake the smell: sunshine on moist soil, sprinkled with freshly cut grass.

However -- and perhaps because of the terrible weather -- I have written my first autumn/winter short story. And submitted it, today! In fact, this is my first short story submission. Appalling, I know. (I might be the world’s worst writer when it comes to sending out stories.)

Thursday, 26 June 2008

More Words, Less Pictures

I’ve felt frustrated these last few weeks because I haven’t had time for writing: Ahhhhh! But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about writing -- which probably made the lack of production even more frustrating.

I knew the balance had been tipped when, two days ago, my face broke out in a rash. This is my exhaustion/stress rash. It is not very pretty, and not how you want to appear when meeting your Mercedes driving neighbour for the very first time. It’s bad enough that my Toyota is parked next to his gorgeously sparkling, top-of-the-range-oozing, sporty vehicle. What does this have to do with writing? Nothing at all. (Well, perhaps there’s a story in there somewhere…)

But, the silver lining of this enforced hiatus is that I’ve stepped back -- and come up with a new title for my YA novel, on which I’ll be resuming submissions, next week. And that title is... Hybrids Taste Delicious. I love it, and can now see how off-track I was with the previous title, which did little to reflect the mood of the story.

Speaking of titles, Conduit, AKA Stuart Neville, has what is possibly the best book trailer, ever, for his well-titled thriller, The Ghosts of Belfast. It can be viewed on his website. Enjoy!

Monday, 23 June 2008

Thirty hours in Edinburgh...

Is not quite enough to appreciate this fabulous city.

Despite high winds and changeable skies, I fell in love with the place -- and am not at all disappointed to have to return next week. :)

Thanks to Travis’s comment on the previous post, I remembered to take my camera. Once I start snapping, it’s impossible to stop; I took 222 pictures. I’ve narrowed things down to what looks like a good cross-section, but -- this remains a very long post!

Hilly terrain and no urban sprawl,
means open views from the city centre

The Glasshouse Hotel:
a wonderful mix of old and new

Public art

Magnificent buildings

St. Andrew Square

Statues and monuments everywhere

A pub

One café...

And another

Sean Connery walked past me, twice, on Shandwick Place. His right arm was in a sling. I smiled, and he smiled back.

I regret not taking his photograph!


EDITED: There were originally twenty photos to this post. Which was a few too many, so I’ve cut it down to ten.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Bonnie Scotland

Edinburgh is a beautiful city. I remember it vividly even though I haven’t visited for years. (It somehow fell off my radar, usurped by Glasgow.) It’s unique features include two extinct volcanoes, one of them right in the city centre onto which Edinburgh Castle is built; a fact I was unaware of until today.

I have a meeting there tomorrow. It’s a trip I could do easily in one day, but I’m going to stay overnight and spend Friday enjoying the city. Fingers-crossed for sunshine and no rain!

Next week, I hope life will be more-or-less back to normal, after the chaos of moving. I’m hungry to get back to writing and catch-up on blog reading. Bet I’ve missed tons of great stuff!

Monday, 16 June 2008


Katie Alender, author of BAD GIRLS DON’T DIE -- a novel I am dying to read as soon as it’s released in April 2009 -- tagged me on May 31st. I know... that was AGES ago! But, with all this moving malarkey... 
Enough excuses; here goes! 

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

I was living a fast-lane fashion life in New York City; designing by day, socialising by night. I’d worked incredibly hard to reach my position -- but, I wasn’t creatively satisfied, and was starting to doubt whether I wanted to remain in the fashion world for the rest of my life.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

Write ‘snagging’ list (I’m in a newly converted apartment). Meet with developer’s site-manager to discuss that list and arrange for snags to be fixed. Unpack another box or two. (It’s never-ending!) Paint toenails with new silvery-brown nail polish. Finish reading Little Brother by Cory Doctorow.

3) Snacks I enjoy:

Black olives are my favourite, although I’m currently addicted to almond, apricot and yoghurt Love Bars, and macadamia nuts. And I’ve had a life-long love affair with XL Cheese Crisps.

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

First thought: I would give a lot to charity. Second thought: How many billions are we talking about? Would it be enough to do something to stop bio-fuel being grown in place of food crops, and to start producing fuel from household waste on a humongous scale? If so, then that’s what I would do.

I’d also buy my parents a bigger bungalow, and pay-off my little sister’s mortgage. I would design and build a modernist/futuristic house in the country, on a plot with some woodland, a stream, and a field for two horses.

5) Places I have lived:

Carlisle, Cumbria; Wetheral, Cumbria; Dundee, Scotland; London, England; New York City, USA.

6) Jobs I have had:

Waitress, shop assistant, factory worker, bar tender, art gallery assistant, extra in music videos, artist in residence, art reviewer, accessories designer, fabric designer, knitwear designer, trend forecaster.

7) This is where I’m meant to tag six others. Instead, I say this: If you would like to do the meme... then YOU are TAGGED!!! :) 

Monday, 9 June 2008

New Horizons

It has happened. Last week was a blur, but, by some small miracle, and the hard work of two fabulous helpers, I have moved!!! The apartment is WONDERFUL. It’s on the top floor of a converted mill and the views are spectacular!

(I'll take more photos, with my real camera, on a less cloudy day.)

Nothing feels strange or unfamiliar -- as if I've lived here much longer than five days. However, the partly unpacked boxes and general disorganisation prove that I’m barely installed. And I can confirm -- as a scientific fact -- unpacking takes ten times longer than packing.

Speaking of which, it took a non-stop, twenty-hour packing marathon to have everything ready to leave the haunted house by last Wednesday’s deadline.

I am now totally, utterly, and completely exhausted. Which is perhaps why the unpacking is such hard work.

This apartment does seem to be ghost-free. All I’m picking up on the ether is my neighbours’ Wi-Fi. Lucky for me, as mine won’t be connected for another week to ten days. :)

Monday, 2 June 2008

Cardboard Boxes

The final countdown: In 36 hours, removal men will cart my worldly possessions out of this haunted house.

Not all my worldly possessions; I have a storage unit that I intended to use for a month or two -- to which I still have the keys after almost two years! After moving into the apartment, I intend to move everything out of storage. It is probably time I started behaving less like a gypsy and more like a settled, grown-up person. (Perish the thought, says the teenage part of my brain.)

I’m navigating an obstacle course of part-packed boxes, semi-organised piles of paraphernalia, disassembled furniture, assorted tools and packing materials. Whenever I move, I imagine a quick and organised process, but in reality, it’s chaotic, slow, and slightly boring.

There are so many more interesting applications for cardboard boxes. Other than stuffing them full of possessions then sealing them with dull brown tape, one could…

Make an attractive lamp

A warm blanket

A car

A rocket

Star Wars costumes!

A kitchen

Or a monster...

to keep life scary, in case the new property does not come with ghosts. :)