Church turned out to be okay today. I quite liked the 1662 service rehashed, with hymns. Not bad. Though I'm sure that either the organ is pitched too high or (surely not ...) my voice is pitched too low. No comments on that one, please - or not many anyway! After the service, people had obviously decided that they would make an effort at talking to us again - which is quite brave, bearing in mind that post-service coffee sessions are a social nightmare and everybody hates them. So I was seized by a lady telling me all about her house and its wicked lodgers (ah the war years, you know - such fun!), whilst Lord H got the vicar's wife. Who is, we discover, utterly glamorous, knows how to wear red and used to be a radio producer. May still be one for all we know. Which is something of a shame as I was so convinced that the lady I met with the vicar in Waitrose yesterday was too well turned-out to be a vicar's wife, and must therefore surely be the mistress. Apparently not. So spiritual honour is salvaged, though it's rather a blow to the drama queens amongst us.
I have also flung myself with a strange and (I must admit) unfamiliar sense of excitement into the Simon section of Hallsfoot's Battle once more and have come up with another 1000 words. It now stands at just over 47,000 words. Will I get to 50,000 by the end of the month? Whisper it in the dark corners, but it may well be a possibility, Carruthers ... Miracles can happen. I have also suddenly written in another character, who I don't think is going to be major, but will be important in terms of setting Simon on the right road. Well, somebody has to, poor boy, and neither the mind-cane nor the snow-raven are helping much at the moment. This new character is a sculptress and lives in one of the poor districts of the city. I think she's going to turn out to be one of the Elders' wives, but I haven't named her yet, or decided whose wife she is. If you have any ideas for names out there, please let me know. I do find them tricky.
Talking of books, I have today given up waiting for the agent to reply to my email about The Bones of Summer which I sent three weeks ago, so have assumed that - in the silence - he's happy for me to try to find publishers myself. This is much the same scenario when I came to decide about self-publishing Thorn in the Flesh - when I sent him an email to ask if that was acceptable, I never got a reply (still haven't actually ...) so went ahead and did it anyway. No-one's ever complained. So, thanks to tip-offs from Vicki and Susie Nott-Bower (much appreciated, both!), I have sent a query email about Bones to Insomniac Press who publish gay mysteries, amongst other genres, and will wait to see what happens. Probably a rejection, but hey at least I've tried. Meanwhile If anyone else knows anyone on the look-out for a kick-ass top-notch gay mystery novel, please do let me know - acknowledgements guaranteed if it gets published, and a free copy too of course! But don't wait up - as it usually takes me 2 years from first query to getting accepted. Hell, this writing game is a hard one.
In the midst of all this excitement, I have taken the "What's My Mental Age?" test which is floating around on Facebook at the moment, and discovered that my mental age is ... um ... yes, it is embarrassing ... well here goes anyway ... 6 months. Yes, people, all that you suspected is true and I have a mental age of 6 months. Officially. Gulp. The further explanation tells me that my main sources of delight are (a) being pampered; (b) napping; and (c) vast quantities of mashed banana (optional). All true actually, even the mashed banana fetish. Nicest with brown sugar, I find, mmmm ... To save my blushes, the additional explanatory note seeks to reassure me that there's nothing wrong with seeking constant comfort and wanting to be close to those I love, but I feel the humiliation is most definitely in the open now. I'll never live this one down, Carruthers, for sure. Still at least it gives Lord H a focus as to what to buy me for Christmas.
Whilst firmly in the Internet test-taking mood, I have also worked through the Strengthsfinder 2.0 questions which are part of Tom Rath's book of the same name (but you have to buy the book in order to get the code to take the test - sorry!...), and apparently of the 34 key strength possibilities, my Top 5 are: Empathy; Achiever; Consistency; Discipline; Positivity. Hmm, yes well, I was surprised too. With those under my proverbial, why on earth aren't I heading up the latest bestseller lists in the TLS or at the very least being the Vice-Chancellor's Executive Assistant? Ah, it's a mystery indeed. Anyway, I shall work through the action plans for those 5 strengths and let you all know when I'm set for the big-time. Ho ho.
Before I do all that however, I have to watch the Strictly Come Dancing results programme (Hmm, is it possible my Glitz TV Fetish is holding me back? No, don't answer that one either ...) to find out who's out and who's in. I must say I thought Jodie & Ian, and Tom & Camilla were both stunning last night (in fact I think they were the only ones who were actually dancing in a show full of unfortunate clunkiness, but don't ever say I'm turning into the Blessed Craig R-H, please!) - so in a Brooke First, I actually voted for them both. Well, they deserved it. After that, there's the glorious Frost, which has to be the classiest drama on the box - and has ever been so. Boy, I'll miss it when this last woefully short series is over.
Ooh, and I almost forgot! This week's haiku is:
Sharp winter morning.
Lemon pepper narcissi
Today's nice things:
2. Writing Hallsfoot
3. Sending my first Bones query out
4. Internet tests
Anne's website - it's got a mental age of 6 months, you know ...