Monday, October 30, 2006

Lunch with Julia and two rejections

God, what a day. Felt really low and depressed. It's so hard to keep going when I'm in this pit. I just feel like giving up entirely and going far away to a place where (a) no-one can contact me and (b) no-one can ask me to do stuff. Basically, I'm just not that interested. Still, the day crawled by somehow. Lunch with Julia was nice, and it was great to get out of the office.

After work, I popped into see Gladys in hospital, but only stayed for twenty minutes as she was very tired. It was good to get away early and get home, where I don't have to pretend any more. I am sick to the stomach of having to do the social thing all the time and be nice, nice, nice. God, it's crap.

Big moan though, as Lord H is out on his theology course tonight, and I could have done with someone in the house. Thank God for the soft toys - at least it's something to hug. And sod how sad that sounds - it's true. Oh, and two rejections for "Maloney's Law", which has made me even more depressed. The first from Gomer Press I could understand as they don't take non-Welsh stuff (even though another Welsh Press recommended I contact them - deep sigh. Bloody hell, don't these people communicate at all?). And a second rejection and a very snooty, condescending letter from Linen Press. B***h. I won't be trying them again. And I don't advise anyone else does either. What a cow.

This evening, I was going to do some more to "The Gifting", but I can't be arsed. I feel too low. And I also think I'm coming down with another cold. God, it must be nice to be healthy.

Anne Brooke

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Church-tasting & golf

Tried a different church today in an attempt to see if there's life in the old church dog yet - All Saints, Woodham, a church which Lord H has been to as part of his theology course, and he also attended a lunchtime service. It was charmingly high - how I love smells & bells, and the hymns & processions were great. But the prayers were certainly too long, and some of the sung responses were a bit same-y. Afterwards, we braved the horrors of the parish room for coffee & tea. Verdict: way too loud (somebody smother the boy with the guitar - please), and not many people took notice of us, apart from the nice PCC Secretary (whose name, sadly, I can't remember now). The biggest horror of all though was being regaled by Father Iain about missionary work and missionaries in New Guinea. Let me say now, people, that I have absolutely zilch interest in missionary work and even less in the people that do it, worthy though I'm sure they are. The fact remains that they are dull, dull, dull. If a missionary was forced on me, hell, I'd certaintly eat them. Besides, if the good Father had any real interest at all in people, then surely he'd ask them about themselves, not tell us everything that's of note to him. He - and the appalling guitar & noise - really put me off, and I certainly won't be visiting again. God forbid. Badly done, All Saints.

Golf at lunchtime with Marian & Siegi made me feel a little better (Lord, but church is so bloody depressing ...), but it wasn't a great game, and Lord H wasn't happy with his play, which got me down too. I think we both need to practise more - a resolution for the winter perhaps! But Marian put on a superb lunch - roast lamb, and apple crumble with ginger & orange - fantastic! The woman's a culinary genius.

Once home, I did my usual weekly call to mother, managing as ever to tell her as little as possible. Hell, it's better that way. And tonight I'm hoping to catch up on some of the backlog of videos we have. There's sod all on "real" TV.

This week's haiku:

I hang on your speech;
your dark words give permission
for darkness in mine.

Today's nice things:

1. Getting out of All Saints
2. Bits of golf (only bits, mind)
3. Marian's lunch.

Anne Brooke

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Patricia Duncker and dinner with friends

A lazy morning, followed by getting the posh crockery out ready for Keith & Brian coming for dinner this evening. I also had a "nice" rejection from Parthian Books for "Maloney's Law" as, although he couldn't include it on his list, he did give me a couple of other publishers who might be interested. So I've sent a partial off to both of those today.

This afternoon, I watched the first of the "Star Trek" triple bill on TV, and then went off to Guildford for the "Modern Fiction" Book Festival ( event, featuring Patricia Duncker. I think PD is absolutely brilliant and always buy all her stuff. Though I'm not so keen on her latest, I do love her evil, dark work so much - and she signed the books I brought with me, which was great! Also she seems a really nice person, and looked very chuffed when I said what a fan I was. Apparently, the next one - which I think is called "The Composer and His Judge" - is going to be evil and dark too. So that's a definite for my book list. Oh, the event was good as well - lots of discussion on childhood and modern literary influences, which was fun and eye-opening too. Nice to find out that PD is a fan of Rider Haggard. You can't go wrong with "She"!

So, tonight it's K&B for dinner here (see above). Lord H, as usual, is doing the cooking, and I'll do the talking. Always play to your strengths is what I say.

Today's nice things:

1. Star Trek
2. Patricia Duncker event
3. Seeing Keith & Brian.

Anne Brooke

Friday, October 27, 2006

Golf and "A Dangerous Man" blurb

Briefly shopped in Godalming this morning, and then spent the rest of the time until lunch writing more of "The Gifting". Another 1000 words done today, and it's flowing a little easier now that I've got a key scene over with. I think I'm coming to the end of the second (of four) main sections too, so it will be nice - a challenge, yikes! - to move onto the next one. But it still takes me an age to get down to typing - I always have to mess around on the computer, surfing and playing Solitaire, before I'm in the right frame of mind. Or is that the write frame of mind? Weird, but it's how it is.

Golf at lunchtime was fun - Marian and I were rubbish, but we laughed a lot. This evening, Lord H is out at a works do, so I've taken the opportunity to buy an Indian takeaway (he can't stand the smell ...). Bliss! Will have to remember not to breathe when he comes back though. A night in front of the TV watching videos is called for, I think.

Ooh, and great news on the "A Dangerous Man" front. Sean from Flame Books ( sent me my blurb yesterday and said that we should know the publication date very soon. It was such a relief to get the message - thank you, Sean! And I was very impressed with his blurb, which is in itself a work of art. The man's a genius. I include it below for your delectation:

"Michael Jones, a young gay artist and part-time prostitute will do anything to stage his first exhibition. When he falls in love with rich financier, Jack Hutchinson, he seems set to achieve his goal. But as Mikey becomes caught between the unforgiving territory of smoky-bar Hackney and the green-garden luxury of upper class London, we witness the intense mindscape of a man obsessed with his dreams as he attempts to free himself of his past. When a net of antagonistic relationships and inner battles encroaches upon him, the consequences of Mikey’s uncompromising pursuit emerge in thrilling tragedy, leaving him having to fight for all he holds dear, and in the only way he knows how.

Within a plot thick with the flesh of individual struggle, a backbone of page-turning tension carries Mikey’s plight through the charcoal grey London which rubs itself so close to his skin, entrapping him in a dark kaleidoscope of sex and crime. As she pushes him to the full expression of his haunting richness, Brooke creates a most contemporary of protagonists, alerting us to the psychological discourse and emotional minefield of a troubled man struggling to establish a sense of self and place in urban England."

Gosh. Coming soon (and frequently) to a street corner near you ... And, hell, I can't remember there being so much in it (down, modest writer, down!), but I'm not complaining ... I kind of like being referred to as "Brooke" too - makes me almost sound like a real writer. I suppose I'll know I've really arrived though when people start calling me by my initials (A.L. if you're interested). Shades of JK ... I wish!

And I've just given up on my latest Booker Prize shortlist - Hisham Matar's "In the Country of Men". Um, dull, dull, dull. Don't bother.

Today's nice things:

1. Writing
2. The ADM blurb (though strictly speaking that was actually late yesterday)
3. Golf.

Anne Brooke

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Clarins treatment and Bridport longlisting

Spent a glorious morning having a Clarins facial and body treatment. Bliss. Hey, I'm worth it ... And when I got home, I discovered a letter telling me that my poem, "Kitchen Lion", had been longlisted in the Bridport Poetry Prize. Now there's some jolly good news - it's really given me a lift. All I need now is for someone (anyone! Please?...) to give me some good news on any of my novels and my literary life will be complete. Pause for hoped-for miracle ... Ah, sadly not. Ho hum. Still, I shouldn't be greedy. We writers are surely only allowed one piece of good news in a day (possibly only one per month) - isn't that a staple requirement of the publishers' handbook?...

Bad news on the friends' front. Poor Gladys has had a fall and a mini-stroke, so is in A&E at the local hospital while they sort her out, and do a million and one tests etc. Her neighbour will let me know how things are progressing tomorrow, and I'll see if I can pop into wherever Gladys might be to visit. And another friend has just been made redundant. Bastard employers! Can't they understand skill and genius when they see it?? I've told him to kick the blighters into touch, get whatever he can out of them and go and get a nice job with nice appreciative people. What a world, eh?

The rest of the day I've spent on "The Gifting" - another 1000 words done and I've finished the key naming ceremony section - hurrah! Lord knows what comes next - we'll have to see when we start typing again. As ever. Tonight I'm planning a crash-out night in front of the TV - once Lord H has got rid of the wasp (another bloody wasp!! Where the hell are they coming from??!) in the bedroom. Mind you, it should be dead by now as I sprayed half a can of fly spray at it. The only good wasp is a dead wasp, in my opinion.

Today's nice things:

1. Clarins treatment
2. Writing "The Gifting".

Anne Brooke

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

University Open Day

Ah the rollercoaster ride of the University Open Day - I covered the afternoon slot, but was on my own most of the time as one of my colleagues was having a work crisis. I'm not at my best at this type of event, but I think I managed the well as I could and sent everyone away happy. Bloody exhausting though!

Shopping this evening, a quick dinner and then the excitement of "Torchwood" on TV. Well, it's looking good, though it isn't a patch on "Dr Who" of course - but you can't go wrong with John Barrowman as Cap'n Jack Harkness. Hmm, serious eye candy ...

Have just finished Nik Perring's "I met a Roman last night, what did you do?" book for children. Very enjoyable and energetic, and a definite one for the young people's Christmas list. And nice to see Beowulf mentioned of course. Good on ya, Nik!

Today's nice things:

1. Surviving Open Day
2. Torchwood
3. Nik's book.

Anne Brooke

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

UniSWriters and Guildford Writers

A day spent writing up minutes today. Felt a bit down, to be honest. Must go back to taking those De-Stress herbal pills - I think they help. Hope the prescription B vitamins kick in soon! Anyway, lunchtime was good - another session of UnisWriters. Though there weren't many there, we had a brilliant in-depth discussion of Julia's synopsis and Alan's pantomime. Both pieces of work sound very exciting to me and I'm looking forward to hearing more about each. (Julia - get those 5 chapters written, or there'll be trouble ...). Can't fuss too much though - Julia has very sweetly just bought "Pink Champagne and Apple Juice" from Amazon, and my rating has rushed up to 22,000-odd - a rare miracle indeed, as normally I'm way down in the six figure zone. Ah well, no doubt, it'll be back down there tomorrow ...

Tonight was Guildford Writers ( - not many of us there, but it meant we had good discussions of the work on offer and ended early, which is something of a blessing tonight, I think.

Today's nice things:

1. UniSWriters
2. Julia buying "Pink Champagne and Apple Juice" (thanks, babe!)
3. Guildford Writers.

Anne Brooke

Monday, October 23, 2006

Morning strop and Goldenford event

Completely lost it this morning prior to work - spilt my whole breakfast tray, fruit juice 'n' all, off the breakfast bar and over myself, and then went on a 10 minute swearing bout whilst Lord H hid in the bath. I was just soooo cross, and all the frustrations of the last month (no news from Flame Books - - on the publication date of "A Dangerous Man"; no news on whether anyone likes "Maloney's Law; no word from my agent - - on publisher responses to "Thorn in the Flesh"; no news on whether Pighog Press - - like my poetry collection; the general feeling of being a failed writer and nothing literary ever working out for me - God) spilt over into a frenzy of rage and tears. Lord, and I hate Mondays anyway. Thank goodness, Lord H and I managed to have some kind of healing conversation before we both had to get out of the flat.

The rest of the day was pretty crap, all in all. We were in a room the temperature of an ice-box for the Steering Group lunchtime meeting, and I just got worse and worse, health-wise. By the time the meeting was over, I felt like lying down and giving up entirely. But necessity meant I struggled through the beginning of the write-up - though my boss took pity on me (thank you, David!) and said I didn't have to minute the last item, which was very confusing and went on for ages, as it would all be changed soon anyway. Lord, I must have looked sick ...

This evening, I was at the Goldenford ( "Crossing the Genre" event at Barclays - part of the Guildford Book Festival ( It went surprisingly well - but how I hate doing these things as I'm not a natural at presentations - and Lord H, Liz & Robin turned up (huge thank you, guys ...) - and we even sold some books, though not "Pink Champagne and Apple Juice unfortunately. Lord H made me feel terribly humble as he turned up with an identical version of the shirt he thought I might have ruined this morning - Lord, he's way too nice for me, which is something I've always known of course!.... But it was great to see him, and our day has ended well. Marriage - where would I be without it, eh? And it was nice that one of the Barclays people said how much she was enjoying "Pink Champagne and Apple Juice" and looking forward to seeing how things went. And - even better news! - they've invited us back for a Christmas reading event at the end of November. Result!

Today's nice things:

1. Lord H's kindness
2. The Goldenford Barclays event

Anne Brooke

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Escape from church and more Booker pain

Actually went to church today to do Sacristan duties - hey, at least I'm showing willing - but couldn't face staying to the service. Too many people - ruddy baptisms, how I hate children and babies!! - which always puts me off, and I didn't think I'd last the course without screaming. Church is really beginning to get me down - but it feels as if there's no point in saying it to anyone there as (a) I don't have an in-depth relationship with anyone, and (b) sometimes they're part of the problem. Why do we do the same things week in, week out, but get no closer to God? I'm fed up with the apparent emptiness of the ritual. I think Lord H and I are going to try another church next week - not that I'm that confident that the solution for me is in church at all. Sometimes I find that services just keep God at bay. And sometimes it feels as if - when I'm brave enough to let myself - I can long for Him so much without any hope of fulfilment. Ye gods, there must be another, better way of trying to relate to the Almighty.

The rest of the morning, I did more work on "The Gifting" with my key naming scene. 71,000 words now, thank the Lord. Though I do always prefer the even numbers ... And I logged in for a while to the Rejesus ( site and did their daily prayer. It helped ease the longing for a while. Do you know, at times I envy people who don't have a faith - it must be a lot easier to live life. But does that emptiness still exist somewhere in everyone? Lord knows.

Have just given up on another Booker Prize shortlisted novel - "Mother's Milk" by Edward St Aubyn was as dry as a desert. I hated Patrick and had no interest in any of the other characters either. That said, there were some funny moments, but not enough to hold me. I think if the child, Robert, had had the viewpoint all the way through then I might have hung on till the end - as he was very surreal (though completely unrealistic) - but no, even then, I think I would have abandoned it. I wonder if literary novelists have forgotten the importance of gripping the reader in their quest for the best sentence - it all seems so bland, with no kick in it. When I read a book, I want to be ravished by it, no matter the flaws - is that too much to ask for? God, I hope not. If Murakami can be a literary novelist, and yet still make you long for the next scene, the next sentence, the next word, why can't others?

I'm planning a lazy day for the rest of today. I've popped downstairs to see Henry, my recuperating neighbour - he's had a minor stroke, but is looking surprisingly well. Later I'll ring mother (yikes!), and then tonight, it's "Wide Sargasso Sea" on TV. I hope it's as ravishing (see above!) as the book.

This week's haiku:

Softened by the day,
I let things rest where they fall.
A slow unlearning.

Today's nice things:

1. Not staying for church
2. Writing
3. Doing the Rejesus prayer.

Anne Brooke

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Poetry breakfast & Goldenford "win"

Attended today's Poetry Breakfast (part of the Book Festival - at the Abbots Hospital in Guildford - marvellous building and a wonderful occasion too. Heard some great poetry, and my input of "Ivy Tree with Robin 2006: M.J. Strang" went down well. Hey it's lovely to have good feedback! And, as an added bonus, one of the people there read a poem from Esme Ashford's "On the Edge", which was of course the first book Goldenford ( produced - such a delight to see it appreciated and out in public! I mentioned I was one of the directors and said how good it was that the lady reading had bought a copy - afterwards she came up and chatted with me. Apparently she's the wife of the former Mayor of Guildford who attended the "On the Edge" launch in 2004, and still loves the book. Now, that's the sort of news publishers like to hear! The lady sitting next to me also joined in the conversation, the upshot being that Lynn (the lady in the next chair) is going to look at the Goldenford website to see the sorts of books we have on offer. Result! Occasionally, even I can do PR ...

Back home, I did some more to "The Gifting" - I'm very much into the scene I'm working on now, and am enjoying it. Hey, writing is fun (though publishing of course is hell ...)! Then a double bill of Star Trek, and I'm videoing "Monk" for later, as Lord H is on a Diocesan course today and he won't want to miss it (the TV, that is - the course sounds like an exercise in dullness, even to him ...).

Tonight, I'm planning a lazy evening, and will be glued to the glorious "Strictly Come Dancing". Mark (Mr Sexy Smile) and Karen get my vote!

Today's nice things:

1. The Poetry Breakfast
2. Writing
3. TV.

Anne Brooke

Friday, October 20, 2006

Golf and shopping

Added a miniscule amount of words to the current scene of "The Gifting" this morning. I'm not getting very far at the moment, so am not too sure how the scene will go. It's a mystery - to me more than anyone ... the joys of writing, eh? Also entered a couple of competitions for this month - one poetry and one story entry - so the mechanics of the trade are ticking along, even if the guts are weak.

Still, I managed a pretty damn good game of golf with Marian today. Not only did I twice chip in from a great distance on a hole (hell, putters are so last century, darling), but Marian did exactly the same on the same holes. Synchronised golfing, here we come! And I parred the sixth - hurrah!

A health-orientated shop in Godalming has rounded off my day, though I've also been pleased by some positive comments from the Writewords ( site about the latest section of "The Gifting". And Lynn Michell from The Linen Press ( has kindly acknowledged my partial MS for "Maloney's Law" and says she sympathises with how difficult it is for good writing to get published nowadays. Well, that's cheered me up - of course, once she's read it, she may not want to see more, but at least she's being nice - which is a huge miracle in today's shit-nasty publishing world. Good Lord, what a fiery bloody furnace it can be.

Have just finished the second in my Booker Prize shortlist - MJ Hyland's "Carry Me Down" - though by "finished", I mean I got so bored a quarter of the way through that I started skipping huge chunks and then gave up entirely. I don't have any issues with unreliable narrators (hell, I write them myself sometimes ...), but does it have to be quite so dull? If you want a classy novel with a main character with mental problems, then my advice is to skip Hyland and read Mark Haddon's "Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" instead. It's a million times better.

Today's nice things:

1. Golf
2. The message from Linen Press Books
3. Writewords' response to my upload.

Anne Brooke

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Doctors and wasps

Had my usual check-up with the doctor today. He asked how I was, so I told him - briefly - about the last few months - including feeling depressed, trying to cut down on busy-ness, the current problems of church and God, and the counselling etc. He's a good listener (as well as being a fellow Christian, though I try not to hold that against him ...) and it felt nice to be able to be honest about the whole damn thing for once. He was really sweet about it all - and the result is he's renewed one of my prescriptions, given me another for a Vitamin B complex, printed out some information on anxiety and depression for me, and suggested contacts for my planned ongoing counselling arrangements. At the end, we prayed together - which was unexpected and not normally something I feel that comfortable doing (hey, praying is really personal so back off, people!...) but it actually felt all right this time. Thank you, Dr J. Anyway, I've got another appointment in a month's time, so I'll see how things are then.

Back at home, I got on with having a go with "The Gifting" again - something of a struggle to get into it, but I expected that as I haven't written anything for a week, what with being ill. It took a while, but I've done another thousand words, and am facing a key scene now - so at least it's something to get my teeth into.

Oh, and David Caldo from Writers Promote ( has written to Harper Perennial Press mentioning a couple of very worthwhile self-published books they might like to consider (as they're in the market for this, apparently) - one of which is "Pink Champagne and Apple Juice". A thousand blessings on you indeed, David - that's really cheered me up!

Tonight I was supposed to go to the Book Festival ( poetry evening, but I don't much feel like it, to be honest. I think I'm better off staying in and watching TV. Sounds like a plan!... Right now though, I'm stuck in the spare room, as there's a wasp in the hall. I've sprayed, but I'm way too terrified to venture out. Bloody hell, how I hate the evil little beasts! We've been suffering from a spate of them over the last couple of days and I am very, very twitchy. Lord only knows where they're coming from, but I wish they'd ruddy well stay put. Anyway, I've emailed Lord H and told him not to go shopping after work, but to come home instead to rescue the fair maid from the dragon. He's promised a speedy arrival - and has also just rung to confirm this, but I can't answer the phone as it's - yes, you've guessed it - in the ruddy hallway!! Ah well.

Today's nice things:

1. The doctor's appointment
2. Writing
3. David's letter to Harper Perennial.

Anne Brooke

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Still not brilliant today, but went to work anyway. Glad I did, actually, as I managed to catch up with the stuff on my desk - hurrah. And prepare myself for the trials and tribulations of next week.

Had my penultimate counselling session with Zoe at lunchtime - we talked about living a fluid rather than a fixed place life, which is something for me to aim for, I think. We also discussed what to do after (yikes!) my last session in a couple of weeks' time. Hell, I'm going to miss it - and her too. Still, I've decided I'm going to look into the whole therapy thing a little more, and Zoe has given me a list of local people to try. That of course fills me with fear - how I hate making direct contact with people. Hell, isn't that why I became a writer?? - but if I'm going to take this seriously, then I'm going to have to hunt around for another therapist, and just get over the blockage.

Lord H is tied up at work this evening, so will have to go for the late dinner option. At least I'm hungry though - I haven't felt like eating for days now! I was supposed to go out to the second part of the Book Festival ( chick lit evening tonight - specifically to cheer Kate Long, whom I know from Writewords ( - but I don't feel up to much so I think I'll give it a miss. If I had the energy, I'd try to do some writing, but frankly m'dear I can't be arsed.

Today's nice things:

1. Getting on with stuff at work
2. Counselling

Anne Brooke

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The further annals of the sick

Hey, two days of feeling rotten - lucky me!

Monday 16 October: Went to work. Damn fool - most definitely shouldn't have, or I should at least have come home in the afternoon after minuting the Student Mental Wellbeing Group. Will I never learn??!!! During the evening, the nasty sinuses thing really came on apace (as it were, Carruthers ...). Lord H reminded me that I had exactly the same attack last year post-New York and during the first week of the Guildford Book Festival (, which this is. Damn and double damn. So I was up all night, finally being able to sleep at about 5am this (Tuesday) morning. Mind you, I tried the castor oil packing on the chest and throat thing that my kinesiologist ( recommended, and it did improve things greatly - but not enough to be able to lie down to sleep without feeling sick, sadly. Still, it was better - and I'm grateful. I shall definitely be doing that again during my next bout ...

Tuesday 17 October: Still feel weak (though on the mend), so took the precaution of having a day off work today. It means missing my Indian Head Massage with Emily, darn it, but there it is. I will have to reschedule. I'll also be missing the Guildford Writers ( Success Stories evening at the Book Festival, but it's safer to stay at home, and I hope - please God! - that I'll be better by the time of the Goldenford ( Crossing the Genre event next Monday. Spent a large part of the day asleep. Hurrah.

Finished the first of my Booker Prize shortlist - Sarah Waters' "The Night Watch" - during the night, appropriately enough. Frankly, m'dear, I didn't give a damn. Most definitely NOT her best. Dull, dull and ... err ... dull. It needed to be cut by about a third and, really, I didn't believe in the very incestuous lesbian circle (surely there had to be other lesbians out there in post-war London!!?), and the affair with a married man and the abortion were frankly just cliche. Wasn't Bette Davis in the film during the 50s??? A shame, as I usually enjoy Waters' stuff, but this isn't worth it.

Some nice things:

1. Um, feeling better? Sort of ...
2. Getting a little bit of sleep.

Anne Brooke

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Recuperation day

Made a brave attempt to get to the 9.30 service today (goodness, how holy I am), but decided I wasn't quite up to it and it would be more sensible to stay in. I do feel a lot better after a decent night's sleep last night (at last!!) though. Lord H represented the household at the service - he didn't bring back much gossip apart from the fact that the church kitchen now has a microwave. Now if only I knew how to use one ...

So this morning, I've pottered around and cleaned, and this afternoon I've watched "Rumour Has It" (romantic comedy) on DVD - not bad actually, and just the ticket when you're not feeling up to much. Just about time for another nap before the evening turns up. And tonight is the final episode of "Jane Eyre" - Reader, I married him ... Yikes, have given away the ending! It won't be a surprise now ...

This week's haiku:

Fired up by Lemsip,
Lucozade and sleeplessness,
my slow night ticks by.

Today's nice things:

1. The film
2. Napping.

Anne Brooke

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Still sick, dammit ...

.... and another rough night in the living room with very little sleep. Which meant I've been too ill to go golfing today. Further damns. And I suspect the cleaning will have to wait. Not to mention any thought of writing!

Still, I did enjoy the double bill of Star Trek this afternoon, along with the new series of Monk. What did sick people do before the age of TV? I dread to think.

Being up all night meant I finished Jodi Picoult's "Perfect Match". Another page turner from the mistress of page turning work, but my goodness what a horrible heroine and an equally horrible heroine's husband. I had no sympathy with either of them. How I wish Nina had gone to jail for twenty years - it would have been justice for her crass stupidity, shallowness and general bitchiness. I felt sorry for the poor priest - no justice for him, obviously ... And why was everyone in love with her? They must have been mad.

Today's nice things:

1. Star Trek
2. Monk.

Anne Brooke

Friday, October 13, 2006

Day of Sickness

A hell of a night last night - a catarrh-filled cold suddenly came upon me (cried the Lady of Shalott) and I spent most of the night in the living room - it's warmer, and my sinuses can't stand the cold in the bedroom ... Some of the time I slept on the sofa, but not much. So it was a very lazy morning, and I finally really surfaced somewhere around midday. Feeling like crap. Tired crap too.

Did a few more words to "The Gifting" - which was really all I was good for, and had another long nap. Lord H and I were supposed to be going out to a play in Guildford tonight, but have decided not to bother. I'll see how I feel in the morning tomorrow before worrying about what to do as regards golf. And, apparently, the artist (Michael Strang) currently exhibiting at the University gallery likes the poem I did about one of his paintings, so that's made me feel better. Hell, in this business, ego is all.

Oh, and last night's "Characters in Conflict" Goldenford ( evening was very good, even though not many people turned up. Those that did seemed to enjoy it, and left smiling at the end. Didn't buy any of our books though, dammit.

Today's nice things:

1. Writing (a little)
2. Michael Strang's comments about my art poem
3. Getting some sleep!!

Anne Brooke

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Characters in Conflict

Struggled to squeeze out some words to "The Gifting" this morning - I was just getting into the zone (as it were) when I had to go and play golf. This is the life, eh?... Still, it wasn't the best round I've ever had - three air shots, dammit, though I made up with a par on the sixth. Honour was satisfied. Never mind, Marian and I still managed to enjoy it.

Popped in to see Gladys after golf - a very vague day, and she seemed very quiet, but that's the way of it sometimes these days. We had the same conversation several times. I didn't stay long, as she looked very tired.

Tonight, Goldenford ( are hosting a creative writing evening in Waterstone's in Godalming. The theme is Characters in Conflict - I've practised my section so many times I could probably do it blindfold while hanging from a lamp-post. Not a pretty thought, all in all. But no doubt I'll still be so nervous that I'll end up going to the loo at least three times before we start. How I hate these public events, but Lord knows they have to be done. I'd really rather just do the writing. But, for Goldenford's sake, let's hope some people actually turn up and we have someone to be creative with - now that would be good ...

Today's nice things:

1. Golf
2. The bit of "The Gifting" I managed to do.

Anne Brooke

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Counselling and Request for "Maloney's Law"!

Finished off the draft mentor manual today and gave it to Carol for checking. Also started typing up a large font format copy of our new fees leaflet - once done I can add it the Student Care Services website.

Had a good counselling session with Zoe today - I think we decided that there were lots of fragments of me floating around, but at least I acknowledged their existence more now - the thing to do is get them into some sort of cohesive whole. Quite a task, eh? And only two more sessions to go with Zoe. We talked a little about what happens afterwards - and I'm beginning to feel that I'd like to explore this more and see what else I can do, so we'll discuss it at next week's session.

Food shopping after work (what joy!) and then this evening I've been doing a few last minute edits to "Maloney's Law" before sending it off by email to US/Canadian publishers, Kunati ( - who, ye gods and little fishes, have actually requested a copy! Please God, I hope they like it. It feels so positive to be at this point after all this time. It makes such a difference. Let's hope something good comes of it ...

Today's nice things:

1. Counselling
2. Finishing off the manual
3. Kunati's request for "Maloney's Law".

Anne Brooke

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Stewarding and Kinesiology

Managed to get all my report proof-reading done today apart from the appendices. Quite a good flow to the day as well, which was nice. Stewarded in the art gallery at lunchtime - finished my book and wrote a poem about one of the pictures whilst there. Jo, who runs the gallery, said she'd put it on display and thought the artist might like to see it. Quite a positive feeling, all in all!

This evening, I had another kinesiology ( appointment with Jane - we've decided to look at Vitamin E tablets and Epsom Salt baths for going through the winter - my grandmother would have been proud!

As mentioned above, I've just finished Andrew Taylor's "The Barred Window" - a slow-burn psychological thriller, which is something of a page turner and which I rather enjoyed, though it's not a patch on the "Requiem for an Angel" trilogy or "The American Boy". And I had worked out who the murderer was by the end - but the journey there was still very worthwhile.

Today's nice things:

1. The poem in the gallery
2. Andrew Taylor's book

Monday, October 09, 2006

Gallery stewarding

Spent most of the day doing my mentor manual project at work - have finally (at last! at last!) got all the text in, and now only have the (huge) task of sorting it out and looking at the style of the thing. Still, it is the more interesting stage now, so I'm not as worried about it as I was before. Famous last words, eh?...

Sat in the art gallery at lunchtime doing my stewarding session. Had more people through today, but no-one wanted to chat. Which is good news as I don't know anything. And it meant I could relax, stare at the picture of the beautiful green tree opposite and read my book for an hour. Bliss. I might do this more often anyway, whether stewarding or not. It's quiet and peaceful, and a break away from it all.

Tonight, Lord H is out at theology class, so I'll try to get more of "The Gifting" done, but I suspect my efforts will be minimal - I'm feeling shattered after the anger-filled weekend, and also rather emotionally sore, so an early night is desperately needed. And nothing on TV, damn it.

Today's nice things:

1. The art gallery stewarding
2. Getting to the editorial stage of the mentor manual project.

Anne Brooke

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Publishing hell and Star Trek

A very low day today - will have to up the dose of my de-stress herbals soon, dammit. Have spent a large part of the day arguing my case on the Writewords ( site that mainstream publishing has its finger too far up its own proverbials to know much about quality as its main focus is sellability (two very different things) and that you have to rely these days on self- and small-publishing a lot of the time too. It's interesting how the support has neatly divided into those who have mainstream deals who say I'm talking stuff and nonsense, and those who write equally good (if not more so) work but aren't lucky enough to have landed a commercial deal, who understand there's a lot of truth in what I say. Have been increasingly annoyed with the attitudes shown throughout the day, I have to say - Lord preserve me from not seeing the "other" side of the street any more if I should ever get a "big name" to take me seriously! I suspect I'm kept fairly grounded from that horror though by the fact that if I ever get a mainstream deal, I believe it'll only be for one or two books anyway, no more, so the self- and small-publishing options are very much going to keep me in business.

Still, all the shennanigans of the discussion have made me feel that for my own sanity I'd like to steer clear of the Writewords forums for a while - at least until people see that we have to give house-room both to mainstream and smallstream authors. This bollocks about "oh it's only ever published if it's good, and anything good always gets published" is nothing but moonshine and arses.

The one good thing about today was the lovely triple bill of "Star Trek" I've watched this afternoon - you can never go wrong with outer space indeed. Would that the world down here was run with honesty and justice - but sadly it's not.

This week's haiku:

Today, I gave up
being the social glue; see
my friends fade away.

Today's nice things:

1. Star Trek.

Anne Brooke

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Lord H and I spent a day in Canterbury today. No particular reason - just because we could. We weren't as impressed as we'd hoped to be. The more I visit Kent, the happier I am to be out of it - except for the valued few residents whom we know, it strikes me as being filled with hard people who get angry and swear a lot. There's a terrible feeling of oppression. Surrey - and indeed Essex - is far nicer all round. Still, the Cathedral was very pleasant - I was particular moved by the shrine to 20th century martyrs. A lesson for us all. And the organ, which happened to be playing for some of the time we were there, was lovely. Oh, and finding the fudge shop - which I remember from my Kentish days - was great too. Naturally, we purchased.

At home, did a mad round of shopping and semi-cleaning, and then it's "Celebrity Come Dancing" with Brucie later on. Bliss.

Or it would be bliss if I wasn't rather depressed and in a "God but I hate the bloody mainstream publishing world" zone. Writing is a world apart, thank God, but the publishing big business is - as far as I can see - pure crap. Run by hard-nosed posh folk for whom the word "commercial" has become a god. Good writing is, unfortunately, a very poor second. I think I want as little to do with it as possible. Thank the Lord for decent small publishers. At least they're keeping some sort of flame alive.

Today's nice things:

1. The organ music
2. The fudge shop
3. Leaving Canterbury.

Anne Brooke

Friday, October 06, 2006


Did more to "The Gifting" today - and I think I may have got over one of the "humps" in the plot I've been worried about. Thank goodness. It does spark off other potential problems, but at least I've gone part-way to surmounting it. And 65,000 words now, so that's good news. I'm aiming for 120,000, I think, as fantasy novels are always longer. So they say.

Should have gone golfing with Marian in the middle of the day, but torrential rain stopped play. So I stumbled on with "The Gifting" for a while, but I'm stopping now to laze around and watch TV. Hell, I have to get my ideas from somewhere.

Still no news on a publication date for "A Dangerous Man", but I know Flame ( must be bloody busy with everything right now, so I'll just have to be patient. If I've learnt any damn thing over the years in this game, it should be patience - but still it doesn't come easily. Ah well. At least I've not been feeling quite as depressed recently as I've grown accustomed to feeling. Which is something of a relief, though I'm not sure how long this "light zone" will last, to be honest.

Oh, and last night's ballet - "The Three Musketeers" as performed by Northern Ballet Theatre - was absolutely stunning. The first few minutes of the Prologue might have been a tad on the camp side of camp, but once they got started, it was bloody marvellous. Great and very exciting dancing, great characters and wonderful swordfights/scene choreography. If you get the chance to see it, then do!

Today's nice things:

1. Writing
2. Not feeling quite so depressed
3. Yesterday's ballet.

Anne Brooke

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Goldenford and ballet

A slow start to the morning - hell, we all need a lie-in sometimes. Typed up the Goldenford ( minutes from Tuesday's meeting, practised my readings for the three Goldenford and Guildford Writers ( events we have coming up in October, and did another thousand words to "The Gifting". It's funny how painfully slow the process of writing is for this particular novel, but how much I'm learning from it. It's as if I'm pulling Simon into the world very very gradually, and the more I see of him, the more I realise he's me. It gives me a lot to think about, but feels real.

Visited Gladys in the afternoon - lively but vague today, I think. At home, I uploaded my two available novels and one poetry book onto the new Writewords ( bookshop site. This is going to be a brilliant idea - there are about 5 or 6 books there at the moment, including mine - and it's going to be so much simpler to have this sort of place where quality work is guaranteed. Of course!

Tonight, Lord H and I are off to the ballet in Woking - "The Three Musketeers". Hope it will be good, but I have to say the new Woking icecream is rubbish. They just don't offer Loseley any more - shame, we cry.

Today's nice things:

1. The writing
2. The new Writewords bookshop
3. The ballet.

Anne Brooke

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


A long day, but not as bad as yesterday as I'm now neck-deep in sorting my current project out (a student mentoring manual). Once I've bashed it all in on the keyboard, I can get down to putting things in the right order, which will (probably) be easier than choosing what actually goes in. I hope ...

Lunchtime was my counselling session with Zoe - in the new Counselling Centre, which is much nicer than the old one. We talked about finding the hidden "me" (which basically feels like a screwed-up male in his twenties/thirties who's not terribly obviously "nice") and bringing it to the surface more - rather than pretending to be a nice, relatively normal woman in her forties - and even as I write that description, it seems like a lie. Hell, sometimes, I feel I'm living a shadow life and somewhere out there this bloke I carry inside me is living his real life in a much fuller and more energetic way. Maybe that's why I write about him all the time. Even in my head, I call him "Michael". The closest book to the way I feel about myself has always been "A Dangerous Man". Now I'm beginning to understand why.

A fairly quiet evening lies ahead - probably a good thing. Sean, my editor at Flame Books (, is just sorting a few bits and pieces out for the printer, so maybe that publication date is soon in the offing. Hope so, anyway! It'll give me something to look forward to, which would be nice.

And we're hoping to mend our leaking toilet soon - Ruth at work has given us lots of ideas - thanks, Ruth - and I really hope one of them solves the problem.

Today's nice things:

1. Counselling
2. Moving forward with the publication of "A Dangerous Man".

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Reflexology and Goldenford

A long and very average day, most of which I spent with my head down doing a university project. A bit dull, but there you go. Thoroughly enjoyed my lunchtime reflexology session though - a bit of balance and grounding does you good. As they say.

And this evening, I minuted the Goldenford meeting - not much happening at the moment, but we have three events coming up in October, so it will be all systems go from next week - click onto (then go to "Events") or (then go to "Programme") to find out more. If you can come along to any of those, you'll be assured of a very warm welcome.

And good news on the "A Dangerous Man" front - it looks like the wonderful artwork done by Nell Grey (aka Penelope Cline) of Writewords ( is all set to go, so that's marvellous. Huge thanks again, Nell! Now all I have to worry about is getting my publication date from Flame ( Talking of the Writewords site, they've just put up a "Sell your Book" field on the profiles page, so have uploaded my 2 novels ("The Hit List" and "Pink Champagne and Apple Juice") and one poetry book ("Tidal") onto there ready for when it goes live. I'm not sure I've got the hang of the front covers and some of the text looks strange - but we'll see.

Today's nice things:

1. Reflexology
2. The artwork being sorted.

Anne Brooke

Monday, October 02, 2006

Writing admin

A long and depressing work day today - I felt shattered throughout. The good news though is that my colleague Ruth's husband, Douglas, isn't seriously ill with his current chest infection, and it's nothing more sinister - hurrah! No, double hurrahs. All round. We celebrated with left-over meeting cake in the afternoon, which was much needed by then.

Spent the lunchtime stewarding in the University gallery - some of the paintings were glorious. I particularly liked the one of Wiltshire poppies - stunning, though you probably needed to stand further away from it than you were allowed to in order to appreciate it fully.

A quick-fire turnround this evening as Lord H had to leave at 7pm to get to his Theology course. So I've been busy doing writing admin - including chasing up Arcadia Books (a recommendation from Maggie Hamand of Maia Press) to see if they'd like a closer look at "Maloney's Law". Please God let them say yes! That would be soooo unbelievable ... I'm also doing last minute chasing of Flame Books ( as Nell (my marvellous cover artist for "A Dangerous Man") is away on holiday from Friday, and the both of us are desperate to get any hitches ironed out before she goes away. Dear God, let that be okay too ...

I also received a very positive comment on "The Gifting" from the Writewords ( site, which has given me a much needed boost - thanks, Tony!

Today's nice things:

1. Coming home from work
2. The Writewords comment
3. Douglas isn't ill! Thank you, God ...

Anne Brooke

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bloody rainy ...

... and it never stopped today. One moment okay-ish and then another half hour or so of torrential downpour. And so it went on. Ye gods. So far we've had three mini-storms (one not so mini) and one short electricity cut. Just like the 70s, as far as I remember them of course!

Haven't been feeling very well today, so have kept warm-ish and dry in the house. Lord H went off to do church stuff, including the grand opening of the new vestry. I'm not great at big parties, so am glad I missed it. Besides, I don't much care about the new room anyway, and am having a big "I don't really care about church so stop asking me about it" moment. Instead, I slept for two hours, watched some TV and did a barrel-load of reading.

Have just finished Susan Hill's "The Various Haunts of Men" which is absolutely stunning - couldn't put it down. Very well structured too, even though there aren't any actual bodies till at least a third of the way through. It was the psychology and characters which made it for me though, not the body count. A darn sight better than the other novel by her which I've read - the one about the second Mrs de Winter - that was dullsville UK until the very end paragraph where it finally took off. Still, this latest one is tempting me to read more.

And no need to phone Mum today either - she's in the Azores, so a week off from being a good daughter. Ha! Not that I'm ever that, not being interested in anything that smacks of family.

Will try to add a word or two to "The Gifting" later on, but it depends how the evening goes. I don't have a great urge to do any, so we'll see.

This week's haiku is:

The week is rain-full;
skies flow endlessly to earth.
I stare at the clouds.

Today's nice things:

1. Not going to church
2. Reading.

Anne Brooke