Thursday, January 31, 2008

Editing city and the joys of being selfish

Have spent all day editing The Gifting and feel a lot happier now. Which means I have rewritten the grand total of 28 pages and I am now on Chapter Ten, page 203 of 450. Bloody good going, Carruthers, we cry! I know it may not seem much but, bearing in mind I'm adding in three extra voices and turning Simon's first person view point to a third person one, I'm pretty damn pleased. And at least it gets me out of the first stage of his journey and just about to cross over into the second. One stage down and three to go, eh. So, I feel exhausted but satisfied.

All this means that I have completely failed to even start on any of the other tasks I was planning to do: typing up the Goldenford minutes; and visiting poor Gladys in hospital (for which rampant neglect I am, yes I know it, in line for the Bitch of the Day award). However, I am sopping my guilt by factoring it in for tomorrow. Which is surely going to prove an all-in pastoral day, as I also need to pop into my other sick friend who's feeling rather down. I did have a brief phone call with her today while I was pondering on lunch and trying not to worry about Simon, and I think she's keen for a Friday visit. There's been something of a setback but, bloody hell, we'll get there. In the end.

And I must - sneakily - admit to a glorious sense of freedom in that, for the first time in a long time, I've done what I wanted to do rather than what is expected of me. Maybe the Inner Bitch calendar is bearing fruit already? Still have to catch up with the rest of it tomorrow though. Ah well. Oh to be a man, eh - typing minutes and visiting the sick are mainly done by women (hush my mouth!). Whatever happened to equality?

Tonight, Lord H and I are off to see The Vortex with the adorable Felicity Kendal. Honestly, you can't go wrong with a Felicity. Even if it's awful, she'll be perfect of course. She's like Marilyn Monroe in the sense that everyone's in love with her. One just can't help it.

Talking of theatres, I'm devastated to hear that the Yvonne Arnaud in Guildford is suffering hugely and facing the loss of its all-important grant next year. I couldn't live without the local theatres and I was greatly riled by the no-brain idjits that burbled on in the Surrey Advertiser last week about not really caring one way or the other as London is so close. Tossers! Travelling to London is Crap City and a Huge Effort - we need a theatre in Guildford and I personally feel like chaining myself to the stage door if they dare to threaten it. It - and the Woking Theatre - is one of the main reasons we chose to live here in the first place. Really (and I know everyone will start shouting at me for this, but it's true), I care far more about that than I ever did about the possibility of losing the Royal Surrey Hospital. And at a far deeper level. Ye gods, I may well die in an ambulance on the way to nowhere, but at least it will be a drama, darlings. The life blood of the soul, you know.

Today's nice things:

1. Editing
2. The theatre
3. Being selfish about priorities - hey, it's just for one day!...

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Stories and pork pie mysteries

Was delighted to see last night that my piece of flash fiction, “A vegetable year”, is now on the Storytellers’ CafĂ© site – hope you enjoy the read. I was obviously in feminist mood … The site itself is great and well worth a browse – some marvellous stories and excerpts on there from some top-notch writers. I particularly loved the FAQs section. Now if only someone would tell us the answers, eh.

This morning, I am still neck-deep in marketing projects, some of which involve copy typing (hurrah!) which I love. It’s the ideal opportunity to look busy whilst not having to think. My perfect job indeed. Now if only I can get through the whole day like that.

This lunchtime, I’ve had a wonderfully relaxing time in my Pilates class – bliss! – and then tonight it’s Scottish country dancing. Which will sadly be the last time I can go for about three weeks, what with holiday, two launch parties (one being mine) and half-term coming up. Goodness me, by the time I come back I shall have forgotten everything entirely. Hmm, that’ll please our tutor for sure.

And later on it’s the joys of “Torchwood”. I am so excited I can hardly wait! Sadly … Lord H is excited too, as the focus is on Tosh (ah, in so many ways …) tonight and he’s rather fond of her.

Ooh and, talking of Lord H, I am now officially Shocked of Godalming: having been married for 15 years (15 years, mind you!!), the man of my dreams has finally summoned up enough courage to tell me he doesn’t like pork pies. This in spite of the fact that I have been regularly getting them for him as a treat for all this time!!! Men!! What is it about them?! Why won’t they communicate? Am I such an ogre? No, don’t answer that … But I am definitely going to upload all these questions onto my own personal website FAQs section, just as soon as I can work out how to put the darn thing up. Sigh!

Today’s nice things:

1. The Storytellers’ Cafe
2. Dancing
3. Torchwood.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Unwillingly to school … but a nice review!

Goodness me, but it was an effort to drag myself out of bed and force myself into work today. That in spite of two extra calming pills, a double shot of my happiness-enducing oestrogen gel and an evening primrose/starflower oil pill. Do you think I’m too reliant on my new age herbals? I’m planning for the Rescue Remedy spray later …

And I don’t think any of this has been made easier by the fact that last night’s editing of The Gifting felt completely uninspired. Much like battling through a sea of treacle armed only with a teaspoon. I’m very twitchy about tackling it in more detail later in the week. Ho hum.

Meanwhile, this morning I’ve been trudging through writing up yesterday’s minutes and trying to ignore the complexities of the actions points I seem to have been lumbered with from it. Groan. Mind you, I think the boss is cheering me up by coming to his own solutions, unaided by me, so there may well be a light at the end of the proverbial. You never know. Either that or my pills are kicking in. Mind you, in the research I’ve been doing, I did find this marvellous bit of PR by one software provider in their attempt to persuade you to invest in their product: “Imagine leaving for home in the evening and returning the following morning to the pleasant sight of a busy calendar, without you having to lift a finger. With our web bookings system this dream can become a reality.” Lordy, I can imagine my colleagues’ reactions! Has the person who dreamt up this bit of nonsense ever actually worked in an office?? M’dears, we spend 90% of our time attempting to keep our diaries free and seeing no-one …

Oh and last night’s moment of comedy was when Lord H changed the battery in the kitchen clock (which has been showing a quarter-to-four for a while now and making occasional bids to reach the dizzy heights of four), but didn’t think to finish the job by changing the time to what it actually should be. Ah now, his mind is obviously on higher things. So when I came in to check on the sausages, it was still only showing four-thirty, when I’d timed it from seven. We are obviously on Godalming hours. And the sausages were most peculiar. Oh well.

Went for a walk about campus at lunchtime – which was nice. I think it helped me shrug off the Monday depression at last, but slowly, slowly – ye gods but the older I get the longer Monday lasts! At least it set me up for the two meetings with marketing I scheduled in for this afternoon. Leaflets and templates: it’s all beginning to seem such a lot of effort for not very much – or nothing at all! – to happen. I know how that man feels in the play, “The dog it was that died …” – when he goes through a whole life of spying and counter-spying and then at the end nothing at all has changed, so he needn’t have bothered in the first place. It’s a comedy …

Ooh, but to cheer me up entirely, the lovely Val of Obsidian Bookshelf has added a review of A Dangerous Man to the Amazon entry. Thanks, Val – much appreciated!

Tonight, I’m out taking minutes for Goldenford, which will be okay as long as I don’t have to contribute anything remotely intellectual. I am so not up for that! But before setting off, I've done the final edits for Maloney's Law and sent them back to the editor post-haste. The next stage is the line editor, I think, who is a different person. It's all very exciting for sure!

Today’s nice things:

1. Lunchtime walk
2. Kitchen clock moments
3. An Amazon review!

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Monday, January 28, 2008

Meeting terror and a late Christmas lunch

Got myself in a flat spin today about the online booking system meeting - I was supposed to know something about it but really didn’t have a clue. And it seemed to be sprung upon me at the last minute last week so I was rather peed off about it. To say the least. My Mondays are bad enough without having to cope with things I know nothing about! Anyway, it was all pretty traumatic and I was so pleased when it ended. As well as being terrorised by the fact that I have another lot of stuff to research into because of it, and once again it’s stuff I know nothing about. Double groan!

We also seemed to go over the same information we’d already in fact talked about last year before we got to the heart of the meeting in the last fifteen minutes of our allotted time. Still, it’s possible that some progress has been made – I need to look at my notes, weep for a while and then maybe it will all become clear.

Anyway, this lunchtime, we’ve been for our delayed office Christmas lunch so that was a very welcome break for sure! The restaurant was a mix of Indian, Chinese and Malaysian food, so spicy but not too terrifying. The loos were okay too, with a lovely bird-of-paradise orchid in the Ladies, so that cheered me up. Hurrah!

This afternoon, I’ve been trying to understand my emails and write up the minutes from this morning. Gosh, what an excellent multi-tasker I am. I shall worry about my booking project tomorrow. I might feel strong enough to cope with it then! At the moment, I am so gripped with existential terror and the feeling of being completely and utterly overwhelmed and weepy that I am scarcely able to function at all. There do seem to be times in the month when I (a) simply can't communicate anything, and (b) am unable to cope with more than one simple task at a time. Even now, at home, I am having to think: yes, chop the leeks; then boil the potatoes; then think about the ironing. Oh Lord, it all seems too beyond me ...

Tonight, I’m hoping to be carrying on with the marathon Gifting edit, that is if I can even string two sentences together, and then there’s “The Palace” on TV. Bloody hell but today I deserve some good tosh.

Today’s nice things:

1. Surviving the meeting from hell
2. Lunch out
3. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Swans, sparrows and surrealism

A nice, leisurely start to the morning today and then Lord H and I had a wander along the River Wey at Stoke Park to admire the birds. Which included swans, great crested grebes just coming into their spring plumage, a crowd of long-tailed tits and a host of house sparrows. I do have to admit to having a soft spot for the humble house sparrow - I did a project on them when I was at primary school and my poor father sat for hours outside the house trying to get a photograph of one. Needless to say, he failed, but I always admired the determination. These days of course, we'd just download a picture from the web. Not really the Empire Spirit, but there you go ...

I've also been extremely organised and domesticated by (a) making a nectarine and plum crumble for dinner (actually it was a sprinkle-on crumble mix, but hey it's still impressive) and (b) washing the car - at last! My application for domestic sainthood is already filled out and ready for posting.

For the remainder of the afternoon, I've been trogging on with the edits to The Gifting. The first hour or so was an experience much like putting my own head through a particularly large mangle as I struggled to work out just what the hell I was supposed to be doing. During that hour, I edited precisely three-quarters of a page and played a hell of a lot of online solitaire. 'Tis ever thus. But then something - as it tends to do, thank the Lord - eased up and I was able to spin through a few pages of Simon's first major story-telling session. Well, the Whitelanders are a narrative people, you know. Anyway, it got the engine cranking up into first again for a while, so I'm hoping that when I restart again tomorrow it won't take quite as long to warm up. Though you can never tell with this game.

Tonight, I'm planning a chill-out session in front of "Lark Rise to Candleford" and then we absolutely have to watch Monty Don's tour through gardens of the world. It's only in my forties that I've fallen in love with gardens - and how much more thrilling they are if they're Japanese (ah the rocks! the gravel!) - so it's something of a shame that we don't actually have one. But there you go - the choices of youth, eh. I do think that I make major life choices every decade which I then hang on to. In my twenties, I fell in love with my husband; in my thirties, it was Dutch flower paintings; and now it's gardens. Who knows what the fifties will bring.

Anyway, I've finished Murakami's latest, After Dark. It's Murakami so I love it - totally surreal and nothing makes any sense but you have to keep reading, though it does take a while to warm up. Hell, these days don't we all? But I must admit that I don't think it had the energy and commitment of his other novels, and the main character wasn't quite as gripping as usual. Perhaps that was because there were essentially two main characters who shared the glory? I don't know. Maybe he should just have concentrated on the musician, as I had the sense that he could run with his own novel, if given the chance.

And this week's haiku (picked from this week's blogs!) is:

It all comes to this:
a hospital bed; rustle
of nurses; silence.

Today's nice things:

1. Birds
2. Battling my way through to an edit - of sorts
3. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mighty editing done and the new social division

Have finished editing The Canal for Mighty Erudite and sent the completed text back to Juli. I really loved it - so dark and such a powerful and strangely uplifting ending. Fab. I've always loved Wagstaff's stuff and this is a cracker.

I've also - shock! horror! - actually had to go into work today to help for an hour or so with the International Open Day. Groan. It was a bit of a pain - no, I lie, it was a huge pain! - having to go in on a Saturday, but at least it wasn't for too long. We didn't have a great deal of enquiries either, but it is the first time the University has held an open day with an international emphasis, so slackness of trade is only to be expected. Still, I'm not great at these meet & smile events, so I was glad to get out into the sun and be home again.

Where I've been reading the paper and discovering that the new social division is not between the rich and the poor, but between celebrities and the unknown. Well, I suppose we've realised that for a while - but now the Tax Office tells us that we can only fill out our tax returns online if we're not a celebrity as the security for unknowns isn't as important, then maybe it's becoming official. Hmm. Something is rotten in the State of Denmark, I fear. But, hey, at least I'll know when I've made it when Her Majesty's Government asks me to do returns by hard copy ... Paper is the new Badge of Fame.

Tonight, I'll be glued to "Primeval" for my weekly fix of dinosaurs and Saturday TV totty. Oh, and Lord H and I have completed the next part of our "Torchwood" mission, hurrah! Ianto isn't quite as impressed with the information we've dredged up this time, but he's going to do his best with it. No promises of snoggage yet, but then again he may simply be preparing the ground ...

I also suppose that Writers' Guilt (that well-known literary disease) means that I should be looking at the next part of The Gifting edit, but actually I think I'll have a break and read the papers instead. Hell, I deserve it. And my head is still full of The Canal. As it were.

Today's nice things:

1. Wagstaff's novel
2. Tax Office social stupidities
3. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mighty fine edit and the strangeness of Godalming

Have spent most of the day editing Mark Wagstaff's The Canal for Mighty Erudite. He's a really wonderful writer - so dark and bitter, and so very "London". I love it. And he's polished it so much that the edit is delightful. I'm about halfway through now, so should get it finished by early next week. Then it'll be back to The Gifting Part Two of Four.

This afternoon, I popped into see my recuperating friend and stayed for chat and tea. She's got follow-up tests next week, so here's hoping all is well. On the way home, I decided to get some shopping done in Godalming - which is obviously having a funny five minutes and deep, deep within the twilight zone. I was walking innocently down the High Street on my way to Waitrose (well, I'd got my posh accent on, so I thought they wouldn't chuck me out ...) when some idiot driver ploughed his car into the pavement barrier and instead of stopping he just kept on driving. He ended up knocking the whole barrier down, managing to turn the car just enough to keep on the road rather than mowing us all down on the pavement, bursting his front tyre and yet still dragging the barrier posts along the High Street. M'dear, it was wonderfully dramatic for a Friday in downtown Surrey! And so loud! A brave shopkeeper flagged him down, even though he wasn't really going very fast - not with that tyre - at which point there was a bit of argy-bargy before the driver agreed to wait for some kind of officialdom to turn up.

Deciding that the five or six people getting involved near the car was probably enough for the poor bloke, I continued on my way to Waitrose. Once I'd purchased the required posh item (which I can't talk about as it's a gift for Lord H's upcoming birthday - sorry), I stood in the queue at the till and a lady with a large trolley and a very small pink baby came and stood behind me. She loaded her stuff up behind me, then tutted and ... um ... walked off. Leaving the baby still in the shopping trolley. On its own. There was nobody behind her in the queue and nobody else with her. The cashier and I couldn't believe it. We stared at each other and then at the baby. The woman was gone for about four minutes. Isn't it lucky I'm not an evil childnapper prepared to act on the astonishing opportunity provided to sell the pink baby into the white slave trade?!? Eventually the woman came back, totally unfazed, with her forgotten item and just carried on. It was on the tip of my tongue to say something sharp yet fair but, dahlings, this is Surrey, and Waitrose, and we don't do that kind of thing. But heck I'm not a mother and I can't stand children, but even I would have picked up the child and carried it with me if I'd forgotten something! I don't know - do people not read the news at all?...

As a final flourish to my day, on the way home, I was passed by two frantic police cars hot-footing it to Godalming, all sirens blaring. Hmm, were they after Barrier Destruction Man or Pink Baby Woman? The plot thickens ... Perhaps indeed the two incidents are linked and Barrier Man was in fact the baby's father desperately trying to get to Waitrose, no matter what obstacles stood in his way, in order to retrieve his child stolen by an obsessive shopper with a penchant for pink? I fear I might be in the middle of a particularly surreal episode of "Midsomer Murders". I shall wait for Inspector Barnaby to come knocking.

Tonight, I shall do the cleaning and perhaps a little more editing. And it's pizza, garlic bread and ice cream night. What could be nicer?

Today's nice things:

1. Editing
2. Chatting to friends
3. Godalming peculiarities.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Thursday, January 24, 2008

One quarter done and a bloody nice briefcase

Had a blissful couple of hours having a Clarins facial and back massage today. Really enjoyed it. People's lives are always more than you think though - my new Clarins therapist was telling me her boyfriend is in the army and has been in Iraq, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. Horrific. I can't imagine it - I don't think I could handle it if it were me. Either being there (obviously) or being the one left waiting. Apparently the unit he was with was blown up at one stage and the therapist was driving somewhere when she heard the news and had to stop and ring his family just in case. Apparently, they always tell the family before it's on the news anyway, so she knew he must be okay, but still, the shock of it. I was glad to hear he's coming out into civilian life this year - a relief for both of them.

Anyway, deep breath - from the serious to the trivial. You won't be surprised to hear that the utterly marvellous Hydra-care Moisture Quenching Clarins cream that I couldn't ever be without has been ... um ... discontinued. With no replacement. Well, quelle surprise and bugger it. No, double bugger it. As I've said before, I am indeed the Voice of Doom for Commerce. I hesitate to confess any kind of liking for anything at all these days, in case the Government (well, they must be to blame ..) are listening in and rush to take whatever I've sworn undying affection for off the shelves. Sigh.

Oh but there is great joy in the midst of all this. I've found a bloody briefcase! Hurrah! I popped upstairs in the House of Fraser and found the perfect replacement, in glorious black leather (oo-err, missus), in their very wide-ranging and classy briefcase section. Bliss. Not only that but the woman who sold it to me was incredibly lovely and said that if it wasn't quite large enough to hold all my essential medicines (well, I didn't actually tell her why I needed the space, but you know what I mean), then I could bring it back and she'd replace it with a more suitable one. What a star. However, I love it already, and will have to squeeze my pills together. It makes me look almost executive. And yes I do keep stroking it. Wouldn't you?

After all that, I visited Gladys in hospital on my way home. The moment I stepped into the ward, she fell out of bed, presumably in a desperate attempt to escape my ministrations, and it took four nurses and an orderly to put her back. Mind you, she was fighting them bravely. You can only admire her pluck. When she was finally back in the bed and open to visitors, she was tired enough to be more her usual self. And we actually ended up having a nice hour together, consisting of some chat, a few smiles and lots of napping. It's odd though, isn't it. While she was sleeping, I was thinking it all comes down to this: a hospital bed, quiet breathing and the background swish of nurses. Funny how everything slowly slips away.

And I've finally written the first real poem of 2008. It's not to do with Gladys as I wrote it yesterday, but it seems to fit.


I make my pact with time.
Let the hours
shadow me
and the small seconds
be the sun to me.

May the minutes drift over me
like the wings
of tiny colourful birds.
May they nest
in the apple trees.

I take no note of the days.
They are too long for me.
I wish only
for the slow tick-tick
and the scent of evening.

Back home, I've finished the first quarter of The Gifting edit. So I've stopped for a while and sent that quarter to John in the hope for some constructive advice. Well, you never know. Now, I must turn my editing attention to Mark Wagstaff's book for Mighty Erudite. He's a great writer, so I'm looking forward to it.

And I've just finished Suzanne Brockman's Hot Target. An American-based crime novel, with some great characters in. The plot was fine, but a tad slow, but really it was the characters who mattered. I loved Robin and Jules as the secondary leads, together with the various teams, but must admit I was less enamoured of Cosmo & Jane. They were rather melodramatic and unrealistic. Funny how their first sex scene was ridiculously full of talk and emoting and rather laughable - for goodness sake, people, get on with it as I want my tea! - but the couple of kisses between Jules and the do-you-think-I'm-gay-oh-no-surely-not Robin were far more real and gripping, even though they never actually got any further. Well, not with each other anyway. However, now I'm desperate to know what happens to R&J so I've ordered the next two books in the series.

More exciting news from the Torchwood team too - Ianto has sent me an email with the second part of my mission on, so I must rush and get my torch, hold it in the correct position and see if I can help Captain Jack & co. Hmm, do you think I need help?

Today's nice things:

1. Clarins treatments
2. Finding a briefcase
3. Having a decent talk with Gladys.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Reviews and Interviews

First, I must say thank you to Jane, Ang & Jane’s mother for a wonderful evening out last night. I think we put Godalming to rights and we talked a great deal about vomit. My ideal evening really. Jane’s mother also managed to dissuade me from breaking into the (naturally shut – but it was evening so I forgive them, this time …) briefcase shop which is opposite the restaurant. Probably a wise move. Even I can see it might have been tricky explaining it to the police …

Had a very nice review of A Dangerous Man today on the Obsidian review site. Many thanks, Val - and I’m glad you liked the book.

And the lovely Lisa Glass, author of the marvellous Prince Rupert’s Teardrop, has interviewed me today for the Vulpes Libris site and you can find the interview here under today’s date. I nearly sound normal too – which is an achievement! Many thanks, Lisa – I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Back at the coal face, Carol is back and unable to get into her computer. I fear it is the amount of comings and goings to do with keyboard changes, but we hope she’ll be able to use the machine soon. I have confessed however, and she is still smiling at me. Phew! And it’s the boss’s birthday, so we are celebrating with cakes and strawberries. As you do.

This lunchtime, I have the first of my beginners’ Pilates classes – so I’m hoping it will be less scary than the super-scary open class. I’m going to quiver at the back and look sad. Well, it’s a life plan. UPDATE: The beginners’ class is fab – and the woman who takes it is really, really lovely. I felt soooo incredibly chilled and relaxed when we finished. Not a feeling I have very often, I can tell you. More please!

And I’m busy hacking my way through the system to try to produce enough leaflets for students to have – we’re running rather low, and I’m making a bid to have access to my own template, rather than sending stuff off to other people all the time. Heck, I am becoming the Marketing Queen after all. Sigh!

Tonight, I’m off to Scottish Country Dancing, and then I must dash back to catch “Torchwood”. I really need to know what my next online mission will be soon, so I can practise holding the torch. Lord, but I am so sad.

Today’s nice things:

1. The Obsidian review
2. The Vulpes Libris interview
3. Pilates.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Writing and eating

Hey, my two favourite things. Well two of my favourite things anyway. And sound the trumpets but I’m having a good day today. Hurrah! I managed to get the first draft of the Nursery Group minutes done and the Acting Chair is happy with it. Actually, he said he was more than happy – he went so far as to say they were excellent. Ye gods! It’s not often the Head of HR says that to anyone, believe me. Naturally I took the opportunity to ask if now was a good time to enquire after a pay rise – to which he replied that I’d be more than welcome to do so, but to bear in mind that HR knew at least 100 ways of saying no. Ah well, that’s me told then. But hey, it was classy. I might well use that line later …

And, double hurrah, my new keyboard has finally been delivered, so I can now actually type things without the keyboard talking back at me and putting spurious letters in – usually b or k or #. It got to the point where the only one in the office which worked was Carol’s old clackety keyboard so I’ve been using that (Carol’s been away, in case you think I truly am the office bitch …) and irritating the hell out of everyone with my noise levels – my job involves more typing than Carol’s does, you see (in case you think Carol is lazy, which she isn’t – poor Carol …). Though actually I do usually irritate the hell out of everyone with my noise levels, keyboard or no keyboard. Anyway, my lovely sleek black typing machine is here and I love it. So soft and classy – ooo-err, missus.

Oh, and tomorrow’s meeting has been cancelled, so the minutes crisis is easing, here in the shires. Sound those trumpets again indeed. Took the Writers’ Group at lunchtime and really enjoyed that too (ye gods, what is wrong with me? Is it something Lord H has put in my tea??). We had a lot of new people due to Jo’s clever advertising, and had some great manuscripts to look at. And I think they got something out of the very brief writing game I gave them too. At least, some of them have asked when the next meeting is, so that can’t be bad. I was mean though and asked them to write something on “obsession” for homework. Hmm, that should be interesting.

Tonight, Jane, Ang & I are out at Prezzo’s in Godalming for dinner and catch-up. And Jane’s mother is coming too, so that will be great – haven’t seen her for ages. I’ve already been super-sad and looked at the online menu – I’m leaning towards the risotto. As you do.

Today’s nice things:

1. Writers’ Group
2. My new keyboard
3. Dinner with the gals.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Monday, January 21, 2008

Meetings galore and the Tesco run

Got into work today to find a load of emails I had to do something about, dammit. And speedily. Isn’t that just the way? Oh for a pleasant slide into the working week. How lovely that would be. Still, I think I know what they’re all about now – so I have been busy collating information into nice little tables for management to look at later. And no doubt ignore. Heck, it gives us all a sense of purpose, you know.

The joyful news is that the meeting I thought I had at lunchtime has been cancelled as there’s nobody about to attend it, so I’m bringing the sandwiches I ordered back to the office so we can gorge on them till our stomachs explode. Hmm, that will be after two bites then – University sandwiches aren’t exactly haute cuisine. We’ve invited the meeting people who are left to pop in, but I hope to goodness they don’t say anything I have to minute. M’dears, I just can’t take the pace. UPDATE: they didn’t say anything vital, hurrah. We just chatted. Phew, what a relief - another thing to tick off my list!

This afternoon, I’ll be attempting to finish the Freshers’ awareness minutes I started to write up last week, plus tackling the Nursery Group minutes. And there’s the Student Induction Group papers for this Wednesday to worry about – where the heck are they, I cry?

Tonight, I shall drag myself round Tesco, and then collapse in a heap at home for a while. No chance of any editing getting done, I fear. Though there’s “The Palace” on TV later, so I shall be glued. Go, King Richard, go!

Today’s nice things:

1. Not having a meeting
2. Surviving the day – always assuming I do …
3. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A mysterious dearth of birds and the joys of Chapter Eight

Bloody hell, that's a long title. Still, you should never be afraid of a long title - it shows commitment and pizzazz, ho ho. Today Lord H and I have been to Frensham Common and walked round the Great Pond. We also attempted to walk round the Little Pond but frankly, m'dears, we were totally exhausted by then and just came home. Well, it's ruddy difficult walking on sand in Wellington boots. Not many birds either - a shed-load of ducks, coots & moorhens, with one or two tits (as it were) and a grebe. A tad disappointing then but it's still nice to be out.

Back home, Lord H cooked a fabulous lunch to which I contributed by eating it. And then tearing the remainder of the chicken limb from limb so we have enough for tomorrow too. The latter is definitely my job, as a country girl. I don't mind as long as the damn thing's dead. Otherwise, I really can't abide the squawking.

I've been doing a spot of editing too and am now definitely on Chapter Eight, hurrah! Ye gods, by the time I've finished, the damn thing's going to be longer than War and Peace. Gayer too. Only one sex scene though and that in flashback - well you can't get much in real time if you're fleeing over mountains being pursued by a madman. There really isn't the opportunity.

Talking of madness, Lord H and I have succumbed and have been participating in the online Torchwood mission game. Sad, I know, but utterly addictive! Thanks to concerted teamwork and Lord H's handy knowledge of how to move the virtual CCTV cameras in Cardiff, we have solved Part One of the mission and Ianto is pleased with us. Hurrah! Does that mean we can be kissed by Captain Jack? Hmm, Lord H not so keen at that point, but is happy to do the honours with Toshiko. She's just his type ... Anyway, we now await our next mission as the new Torchwood operatives and have indeed started to hold our torches in that distinctively peculiar Torchwood way. Does anyone know why they do that?? It's the worst possible way to hold a torch and, believe me, Lord H and I have tested it.

Ooh, and I've just finished reading Helen Farish's poetry collection, Intimates. Very enjoyable indeed, and some wonderful pieces about her father, religion and the things we leave behind. Food for thought in more ways than one. I can definitely recommend it.

Tonight, I shall be glued to "Lark Rise to Candleford", if only to see what the glorious Julia Sawalha can get up to next, and then I am attempting an early night. Well, we have to be fresh for our next mission, you know ...

This week's haiku:

I climb the same hill.
Now the colours are deeper:
purple, green and gold.

Today's nice things:

1. Lunch
2. Torchwood games
3. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Haircuts, Legal Fictions and the struggling author

Lynda came bright and early today to cut my hair - we only just had time for baths before she arrived. Mind you, knowing how efficient she is, she's probably been sitting outside all night as she does so hate being late. Anyway, I now have a chic new cut which will last until I wash it tomorrow, dammit - so no bugger at all will notice when I go into work on Monday. They never do.

I've also been struggling with the edits to The Gifting - certainly not as enjoyable as yesterday, but I should know by now that it's par for the course for any kind of writing. Some days it's the best thing ever (or almost!) and some days nothing makes sense. So, I have done seven pages. Most of which involved taking a section from a later chapter and inserting it earlier in the chapter I'm actually looking at. Well, it makes some kind of sense - I hope. But I do really have to get out of Chapter Seven soon or my brain will implode. Either that or make the whole ruddy thing two chapters. We'll see.

This afternoon, Lord H and I have been to see "Legal Fiction" at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre - a John Mortimer double bill. Edward Fox was fab, as indeed were the other two actors. Two nice classy plays with a dash of wit and stardust. We preferred the second one as there was more visual action involved - though both had originally been radio plays. Well worth a look if they come your way.

Tonight, I shall be struggling womanfully on through the hells of Chapter Seven and hoping I can see Chapter Eight in the distance, somewhere ... And of course "Primeval" is on TV, so I can't miss that. Still the bloody ironing to do though. Damn.

Today's nice things:

1. Haircuts
2. Theatre
3. Primeval.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Friday, January 18, 2008

Gifting, visiting and a locked door

I attempted to power my way through more edits to The Gifting today and am indeed on Page 100 (of c440) - hurrah! - but still on ruddy Chapter 7 - groan ... Why are my chapters so long?? Can I not find the page break on my keyboard? I don't know, the plot thickens, m'dears. As indeed it does for the book - I can't imagine what Isabella is up to now, but I think it is definitely No Good. Or at least no good for poor Simon. Poor lad - such an innocent. Mind you, her brother's not much better either. Sigh. I now feel that all my balls (as it were) are fairly high in the air and Lord alone knows what havoc they will create when they land.

Anyway, enough writerly moaning already. I've also been out (out? There's a world beyond Anne's keyboard?? Good God, Carruthers, who would have thought it?...) visiting my sick friend at home, with Ruth from work. Said friend is now both up and dressed, so double hurrahs for that! We all had a great chat - and it was certainly much easier than yesterday's visitation.

On the way back, I popped into Godalming, determined to take Jackie's advice on how to be nice and civilised to briefcase shops who don't open on time and who therefore can't sell me the briefcase I so desperately need. This time, I played it clever, turning up at 2.30pm instead of 9.30am. Hah! They'll have to be in and open for custom then, surely, I thought ... Alas no. I trotted up to the shop, saw the lights were on and the baskets lined up outside (as is their wont) and attempted to push open the door. It was locked. Bloody hell, are the buggers avoiding me deliberately? I even pressed my nose to the window to see if anything was happening inside. It wasn't, in spite of the lights being on. Perhaps they were hiding behind the counter and waiting for me to go? Frankly, I feel my supply of social goodwill is now utterly drained and if they can't be bothered to be open even at 2.30pm, then I'll buy a bloody briefcase in Guildford. Ten percent discount or no ten percent discount! Harrumph.

Had a lovely chat with Juli of Mighty Erudite who has lots of exciting projects coming up, plus some work for me to edit. Which I should have time for, now that two of my major January editing projects are done. It might also be interesting to mix & match with my own editing - rather than getting too mired down in one. I'll have a look at it next week anyway, by which time the first quarter of The Gifting should be edited. Heck, it might even be fun to do it that way. I am, at the very least, an expert in compartmentalisation. And, hey, it's a plan.

Tonight, it's pizza, garlic bread & ice cream night - hurrah! Sod all on TV though. I'll have to do the ruddy ironing. Dammit.

Today's nice things:

1. Editing
2. Visiting
3. Chatting to Juli.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Editing, visiting and the panto season

Have spent most of the day editing Chapter Five of The Gifting and I think I'm just about ready for another scene in Gathandria now. It's going off in some unexpected directions and I'm not sure I'm entirely in control of the beast, but hell that's always the case. I'm never entirely in control of the beast. At least it's giving me a lot of food for thought. Sometimes, I just have to let my obsessive need for control go and rely on instinct. I can sort the spiky bits out later. I hope.

Anyway, as is often the case when I edit (but not at all when I'm doing original writing), I completely forgot about lunch until 2pm, so had to grab some salad and cheese before rushing off to visit Gladys in hospital. Lord, but that was tough. The good news is she's actually sitting up in a wheelchair and no longer trapped in the bed. But she's very confused and angry. Bloody hell though, anyone would be - being in hospital is crap. But it's difficult to try to talk to someone who doesn't understand where they are, who thinks everyone has deserted her, who believes the nurses are starving her and that the best option is to die. Plus the fact that she thinks I'm smug, nasty and heartless. Well, I ain't giving anyone any argument over that assessment. One can only agree. Still, at the end of my half-hour visit, I was beginning to think death would be the better option. For both of us! I left hospital feeling very shaky (and yet knowing I was the lucky one simply to be able to leave ...) and I'm still feeling the same way now.

Back home, I'll try to do a little more editing, if only as I know it will focus me, and then tonight it's panto time. Oh yes it is, oh no it isn't!... Ruth's husband, Douglas (who's also doing the food for the Thorn in the Flesh launch) is playing Sir Rupert Rottweiller in "Hansel and Gretel", and Lord H and I are going along to cheer him on. Douglas is a bloody good actor though. Great delivery. So it should be fun.

And I've just finished reading Jeremy Dyson's short story collection, Never Trust a Rabbit. Great stuff - I loved it, though some of the stories were a little too literary for me. That didn't stop my enjoyment of some excellent characters and some completely spaced-out plotting though. Marvellous. I'd definitely buy his next.

Today's nice things:

1. Getting caught up in the editing process
2. Coming home from hospital
3. Panto time!

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Meetings, dance and ooh more totty

Back to the grindstone today. That’s the trouble with having a day off in the middle of my working week – it makes going back deeply confusing. And it’s as if I’ve never been away – we’re still in meeting muddle and I am juggling minutes, bids and yet more meetings with increasingly desperate intensity. I really have no idea what’s supposed to be happening and I’m not convinced anyone else does either. Sigh. Even those who might – if I shine a light in their eyes – have some inkling of what’s going on have fled to the hills. Ah well. We struggle on.

This lunchtime I am also confused: am I supposed to be going to scary Pilates, or am I having lunch with Julia? I really don’t know. I’d prefer lunch with Julia by far, to be honest, but I can’t get hold of her. If she too has vanished, I’m not sure I have the emotional energy for Pilates. I might just wimp out anyway and wait for the Beginners’ class to start next week. I’m not sure I can face the humiliation otherwise. UPDATE: In the end, I went for a walk round the campus, and popped into the photographic exhibition on the way, which was very relaxing. Honestly, I’d forgotten how much I love just walking round the place by myself with no need to talk to anyone, as it’s ages since I had the chance. It’s bliss. I swear I can feel myself unfolding by the second. Also lovely to see the daffodil shoots already out and to sit by the lake and stare at the birds for a while.

This afternoon, I have yet another meeting – oh joy! This time, it’s the Nursery Group, so at least they’re less spaced-out, and I have some chance of knowing what they’re talking about. I swear I am slowly drowning in unwritten minutes and eventually they will destroy me entirely. Still, I did know January was going to be touch, work-wise – I just hadn’t realised quite how tough.

Tonight, it’s Scottish Country Dancing – hurrah! – and then – double hurrahs! – the joys of “Torchwood” and yet more hot totty. Thank goodness for something to look forward to, eh.

Today’s nice things:

1. The lunchtime walk
2. Dance
3. Torchwood.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thorns, doctors and hot totty barmen

A double Thorn in the Flesh delight today! First of all, I popped into Godalming Museum where the launch will be held at the end of February, and met the utterly delightful Diane, who helped me plan the evening, fill out the form and generally mopped my fevered brow. Which needed a fair amount of mopping, I can tell you, after yesterday's traumas. Anyway, it's all sorted and all I have to do is turn up and bring some books to sell. Or as near as anyway.

Talking of which, the proof copy of Thorn has arrived from the printer - hurrah! - and I have picked it up from Goldenford and checked it. I think it looks fab, so Jackie has ordered 100 copies, plus copies of other Goldenford books we need to restock, and with any luck they'll actually be here for the launch. God willing!

Naturally enough, I can't bear to be parted from my precious proof copy and am taking it everywhere I go. This proved to be a blessing at the Surrey Park Clinic as I appear to have made at least one pre-sale - as both the nurse and the doctor were keen to buy and took (ye gods, how quasi-professional I sound!) my card - and we talked generally about writing and books etc for ages. So that was a thrill, the glow from which will no doubt see me through another week of University anxiety ... We did talk about health too though, so the invoice will be worth paying when it comes. The doctor's pleased with my progress so far, and even thinks I might not have to go onto the next step of HRT, as long as we keep a careful eye on what's happening and I come back for regular check-ups. If things do go terribly wrong, we can send in the Progestogen (or whatever it's called!) cavalry and wait for them to do their work. After which the oestrogen gel can come back and clear up the bodies. Hmm, it's funny how medical matters make so much more sense if I dramatise them.

After that, it was a girly lunch with Robin, which was wonderful. We talked for ages, and the barman at the White Hart was seriously hot. With a voice like honey over a rock. Honestly, m'dears, I swear we were both swooning. I came over all giggly at one point when he was handing me my napkin. Lord, the social embarrassment ... Giggling isn't really seemly in a woman of 43. Do you think it's my hormones? Maybe I need the Progestogen cavalry now??

Back home, I have tacked Chapter Four of The Gifting edit and am ready to add in another new character section before Chapter Five. I think it's about time we had a quick fix of Annyeke again, Gawd bless her. I might do some more tonight too, as there's sod all on TV.

Ooh, and I must say that I thought "The Palace" last night was utterly fabulous! I was hooked and am already in love with King Richard IV. Honestly, the Hot Totty quota on TV this week is beyond a girl's wildest dreams. More please.

Today's nice things:

1. Getting the proof copy of Thorn
2. Lunch with Robin (and hot barmen!)
3. Totty TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Monday, January 14, 2008

Meeting traumas and a Minute too far

Lordy, what a day. No sooner do I get in than people are coming from all quarters with requests to add extra papers to the Bid Meeting today and wondering when the deadline was. Um, the deadline was last Wednesday, and yes they do know that!! So I am now setting a marital date with the photocopier as we are spending so much time in each other's company. It's the decent thing to do. Not only that but the Chair realised he couldn't even make the meeting, or at least he could be present only for the first half hour - which left poor David in the role of Acting Chair and frantically reading through the paperwork in an effort to understand what was going on. And as there is now officially more paperwork than War & Peace, that was one hell of a task.

Still, we managed it, but it was a hugely muddly meeting until the very end when we suddenly sorted out what we were actually going to do. But it's left me with a completely spaced-out meeting to minute. Goodness knows what I'm going to do with it really. I think the best solution is a stiff G&T and a long lie-down.

And there's no rest for the wicked either. My first meeting ended at 12.30 and my next one started at 12.31pm. So I had to switch hats with only a swift loo break to change them in before putting my more caring Student Care Services face on. I was so psyched up from the first meeting that I'm not sure anyone believed me either really ... Sigh.

So, come 2pm, I was completely meetinged out and would like to lie at rest on a desert island for a long, long time. No chance of that, I fear. Ah well.

Back home, and I have tackled some more of The Gifting edit and am now halfway through Chapter Three. I've introduced ballsy redhead, Annyeke Hallsfoot, and she's going to stir them all up for sure. Shame Simon doesn't - in my vague mental plan - actually meet her until Book Two. It's certainly interesting to plunge into my first ever multi-viewpoint novel. So far I'm enjoying the editorial ride.

Tonight, I'm hoping to watch "The Palace" on TV, but I see it's already started. Bugger eh. I am just soooo ten minutes behind my own life. At least.

Oh, and did my proof copy of Thorn in the Flesh arrive from the printer?? Did it hell!!...

Today's nice things:

1. Getting to the end of the bloody day really!
2. Editing
3. TV - in some percentage or other.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Speedy birdwatchers and the Mad Woman in the Attic

Have spent most of the day attempting to keep up with the local RSPB group on their trip to the Staines reservoirs. My goodness, they move at the speed of sound. I just stopped for a couple of minutes to peer at an interesting-looking bird (which turned out to be yet another coot, dammit) and when I looked round they were already five miles up the path. And it's bloody hard to run in wellington boots, you know.

And talking of wellingtons, I was jolly glad I wore them - at several points, we were literally wading through water in order to reach the path again. Bloody wet, Staines ... I'm also pleased that I was the only one (including Lord H) who has boots that aren't green. Surreydom does not have me fully in its grasp yet, you know. Still, being from Essex and therefore having no taste, I do secretly hanker after wellington boots with flowers on them, but at the moment I have to make do with plain black.

So, birds spotted today - long-tailed tits, goldeneyes, tufted ducks, smew - in flight, which is stunning! And a wonderful kestrel which managed to stay perfectly still even though it was hovering in a force 9 gale. Amazing stuff. Today's new bird - the goosander. Hurrah!

Back home, I have edited another chapter of The Gifting and am now ready to start Chapter Three. Hell but I'm really enjoying it. I'm even going to bring in a fourth character - a ballsy woman with long red hair, who takes no prisoners. Well, every novel needs one of those really.

Which brings me to Lord H's latest revelation - he's been reading Jane Eyre, and I asked him what he thought of the mad woman in the attic concept. His reply was that, bearing in mind we live in the very top of a Victorian house divided into flats, it just seemed like everyday life to him. Doesn't every marriage have a mad woman in the attic who screams a lot and gets cross?? Not much you can say to that, I feel!

Tonight, I shall be watching "Lark Rise to Candleford" - a glorious book which is one of those I studied for A Level, so I hope the TV series does it justice. And of course there's Part Three of "Sense & Sensibility". Already I am swooning over Colonel Brandon. But what is that Marianne like?? If somebody fought any sort of duel over me, I would fling myself at his feet and offer appropriate soldiers' comforts without even a second thought. Well, it would be the polite thing to do under those circumstances, m'dears, surely ...! (Sound of Lord H grumbling in background ...)

This week's haiku is writing-inspired:

Facing the rewrite
For this trip, I need:
pens; paper; courage; faith; hope;
and someone cheering.

Today's nice things:

1. Birds
2. Editing
3. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A lovely surprise and some confident decisions

The post arrived this morning and contained two lovely surprises, hurrah! The first being a packet filled with sweets, chocolates and pens from PD Publishing and a note saying it was a late Christmas gift wishing me all the best for the year. Thank you very much indeed, Linda & Barb - a lovely thought! And it's really cheered me up - hey, I must be a real writer; my publisher buys me gifts ... A lesson also in how to get the best out of your writer which I suspect both Flame and my agent might do well to learn from ... Because I now feel very much that PD are working with me, rather than against or at me, and I'm all fired up to give them the best book I possibly can. What better writer management can there be?

The other nice package in the post was the Open Day form from Glyndebourne, which we have now filled in and posted straight back. We even get to do a singing option from "Carmen", double hurrah! Already, I am reaching for the cigarettes and attempting to look sultry, ho ho.

And I've made a few confident decisions about The Gifting - which I honestly think have been encouraged purely by today's chocolates surprise. I would never have had the confidence for this otherwise, I can tell you.

Firstly, I have edited John's report on it and removed the sarcastic comments, irrelevant details and hurtful - rather than helpful - remarks. I have also added in one or two supportive and encouraging phrases at the end which I believe he, as an agent, should have included. Nothing too over-the-top - I'm not a fool - but just enough to give a decent writer (ie me) the chance to regroup and tackle the mountain. Interestingly, what I found myself left with when I'd completed this assignment was a fairly exciting (and of course challenging) set of steps to take to make the novel into what I believe it could be. It makes me want to do it. It gives me the tools to do so.

The fact does remain however that I shouldn't have had to take this step to get to a good working report. I should simply have had a good working report sent to me, by my agent, without the need for this stage in the process. In the edits I do for others, both at Goldenford and Mighty Erudite Press, I like to think I produce good working reports that people can use to change things and I give the necessary encouragement that will allow them where necessary to improve their novels or poetry collections without falling into despair. That is what I believe my job to be. That is what I understand by professionalism. Naturally, I'm only human and there are times I fall short of that standard - for which I'm sorry - but it's the approach to editing I try to offer and the one I expect in return.

That done, I have sent the revised report back to John, asking him to check that he approves of the content and if he wishes anything else to be added. I've also asked for facts, communicated in a reasonable fashion, that I can work with, rather than "digs" I can't. After all, I've had more than enough of undermining sarcasm from my previous agent (She Who Must Remain Nameless ...) and I don't wish to go through that experience again. As John seems, in all other respects, to be a nice human being who's thought of as being a genuine "Good Egg", I'm hoping this is just a one-off, as I do think that in the not-too-distant future we can still do decent business together. I work best if the stick is laid down and the carrot positioned just out of reach. And, hey, sending me some chocolates is bloody good too!

For the remainder of today, I have therefore been working on The Gifting. I have rewritten the prologue, lengthening it and adding within it a hell of a lot more action and tension. I have also begun (a) writing scenes for two other major voices to broaden the focus, (b) turning Simon from a 1st person voice to a 3rd person voice and balancing his scenes with the others, (c) upping the plot twists, (d) considering further characters for the journey and (e) dramatically increasing the number of direct battle scenes. Bloody hell, I think that's enough to be getting on with, don't you?

So tonight, I'm planning to watch the video of last week's "Sense and Sensibility" before Part Three comes upon me tomorrow. And naturally, I will be glued to "Primeval" with no interruptions allowed. There's nothing like dino-bunnies to get you going on a Saturday night.

Today's nice things:

1. Gifts from PD Publishing
2. Feeling confident enough to turn an unhelpful encounter into something I believe I can work with and, I hope, stating my case firmly but fairly
3. TV - as ever!

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Friday, January 11, 2008

Maloney done and a brief search

Have managed to finish the first pass through the edits for Maloney's Law and sent it off to PD Publishing for their comments. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience too. It's also been hugely useful to go through it now, particularly bearing in mind its close relationship to The Bones of Summer. Which I probably won't be able to do any work on till at least February at this editing rate, but at least the memory of it is there! I hope.

I also popped into Godalming this morning to get some shopping done, and attempted to buy a briefcase - my old one has broken now and where else do I store my travelling medicine chest, eh? Actually I always find it amusing that whenever I start a new job, everyone laughs at how many pills and potions I carry around with me - but the moment they're sick, guess who they come to ... They're grateful then for sure! Anyway, my search for a briefcase was thwarted as the bag shop wasn't open at the time they said they'd be open. I waited around for ten minutes but nobody turned up, and I was itching to get back to my editing so I buggered off. Mind you, being the Bitch Queen of 2008 (in the running anyway), I wrote a short but pointed note to them and slipped it through the door. By the time I got home, a very nice young man had already left a message for me, apologising profusely and offering me 10% off if I came back and bought something. Naturally, I am now wracked with female guilt (which doesn't help my B.Q. entry) and will probably be too embarrassed to go back next week. Bloody hell though, I do need a briefcase so perhaps I'll go and not admit to being me? After all, I should be used to that by now.

I've also visited my friend who was at hospital and who's now at home (thank goodness!) with Ruth from work. She's much better now, though it will probably take a couple of months or so before she can do any serious getting out & about - and we had a great time. Talked for ages. Hell, there's a surprise then.

Tonight, I've got the cleaning to do. Roll on the self-cleaning house is what I say. I wish. And I'm hoping to take up the editing of Jay Margrave's Luther's Ambassadors for Goldenford from where I left off to deal with Maloney. I am indeed the Editing Queen once more.

Today's nice things:

1. Finishing the initial edits for Maloney's Law
2. Visiting friends
3. Goldenford editing.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Thorny day and getting reacquainted with Paul

Up early this morning, dammit, as I had a doctor's appointment at 8.40am. 8.40am!! Why do I do this to myself? Am I insane?? No, don't answer that. It might incriminate me ... Anyway, I picked another doctor this time rather than the souped-up bitch queen I saw before, as I vaguely remembered he might have been nice from when I saw him a couple of years ago. He was too. In spite of being only 9 years old, he actually listened, agreed to write out a prescription for my oh-God-make-me-normal oestrogen dose, and told me that my blood pressure was fine. He also thought that the HRT might not be affecting my teeth after all, but I should ask the specialist when I see her next week. So, thank you, Dr B! I have now marked him down as one of the nice ones at the surgery and I will make sure to ask for him next time I have to go.

Back home, I have been tackling the edits for Maloney's Law and reacquainting myself with Paul. Bloody hell though, I'm really enjoying it. I've forgotten how nice he is. If screwed-up. My gay male MCs are always screwed up. But he's possibly the most accessible male character I have, at least in a lead role. I must have been feeling astonishingly normal when I wrote him. And, God, but I've made some of the sections terribly sad. Honestly, but I was crying myself and I wrote the bloody stuff. Hugely embarrassing for a writer to have to admit! And not exactly professional either - if I ever knew the meaning of that word of course.

Talking of my lack of professionalism, I have had deep and terrible traumas with Thorn in the Flesh today. Antony Rowe are as usual doing the printing for us and the proof copy was due shortly after Christmas. Well, here we are on the 10 January and no sign of it. As you can imagine, I'm beginning to get twitchy, particularly with the launch coming up in February. Jackie has already chased on my behalf with no success, so I rang the company today to see what was going on. I spoke to two different people at some length, neither of whom could find any record of my book, or of having anything outstanding for either me or Goldenford. Oh God, horrors! After finishing the calls, I lay down on the carpet, weeping and gnashing my teeth, whilst screaming. Well, I'm a woman with extra oestrogen now, so I can multi-task. Indeed I always like to keep a professional veneer in the face of appalling disasters. As you can tell. And God alone knows what the neighbour thought ... Anyway, before I could jump out of a window and end it all, our contact at Rowe rang back to tell me that the proof copy of Thorn will be posted tomorrow and should be with us by Monday. Oh Lord, the relief! My dears, you can't imagine!

It had better arrive on Monday though - or I may not be responsible for my actions ... Watch this space, eh.

I have also rung the completely lovely and very sweet people at Glyndebourne as Lord H and I are keen to book an open day event in March. Such lovely people to deal with - it made a pleasant change from the slings and arrows of other phone calls today for sure!

Tonight, I'm doing more edits - on Chapter Fourteen now so I feel as if I've worked like a dog today. A happy dog though and one who's looking forward to doing more chewing. Oh Lordy, I think I may have lost control over this analogy, so I'd better stop before my teeth fall out. After all, what would the doctor say then?

Today's nice things:

1. Editing Maloney's Law
2. Rediscovering Thorn
3. Ringing Glyndebourne.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Back to the dance and an alien keyboard

Gosh, some nice news to start the day – the lovely Verda – my editor for Maloney’s Law at PD Publishing – has now completed her edit and emailed me with changes and a covering note to say what a wonderful story it is and how much she loved it. Gosh, thanks, Verda! I can honestly say that’s the first time that’s happened with a commercial publisher – it’s so nice to be treated as if I’m a real person rather than a number in a very long list. My experience with PD is certainly proving very pleasant indeed. They make me feel like a worthwhile person – shock, horror!

This morning, I have deeply confused the day by opening the bathroom cabinet and realising that in the general rush and frantic busyness of last night (um, I didn’t get to bed till nearly midnight, in spite of resolutions to the contrary …), I had failed to put my make-up back in its customary place. Everything was totally mixed up and my usual sadly anal routine shot to pieces! I had to think before 9am. Whatever next?? I can only hope that this strange concept of original thought doesn’t pop up during the remainder of the day – I’m wiped out already and don’t have the energy for it, darlings …

This lunchtime, I’m off to my first Pilates class of the year, so I’m hoping I don’t have to speak to anyone and can just lie there and do odd things with my inner core. Or whatever it is. Mind you, if I ever find my inner core, the rest of me will be so shocked that I might disappear entirely. It’s the flabbiness that’s keeping me together, you know. UPDATE: ye gods but she’s worked us hard. I am obviously the class dunce! Even the retired people do it better than me. It was bizarrely relaxing though, so I’ll definitely keep going. Depending on work commitments and the threat of Wednesday lunchtime meetings of course.

I am also waiting for the last of my sets of papers to come through for Monday’s meeting and then I can send them off into the ether, lie down and have a snooze, ho ho. The whole thing of course is somewhat complicated by the fact that I have two back-to-back meetings on Monday about entirely different things (which idiot arranged that then? Oh. I did …) and have to be alert for both. Hmm, I don’t hold out much hope for that then.

And, bizarrely, I’ve had to change my keyboard as this morning my usual one started adding in extra letters even when I wasn’t typing them. Do you think I am at last being contacted by aliens and this is their chosen method of communication?? Really, m’dears, it wouldn’t surprise me. If my keyboard comes up with an actual sentence on its own, I shall lie down and wait for the Mother Ship to arrive. Again.

Tonight, it’s back to Scottish country dancing, hurrah! Even though I can’t remember any of the steps. I’m hoping it will all come flooding back though, as my dancing brain is an utter blank right now. Mind you, it’s really never been anything else. I’m also being brave and taking along a copy of Pink Champagne and Apple Juice as at our last class my dancing partner, Jackie, said she’d like one. I’m hoping she’s remembered. Or I’ll look like a really pushy sad author with no life. No – say nothing! I know – it describes me perfectly.

Today’s nice things:

1. Verda’s lovely comments
2. Pilates
3. Scottish country dancing.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Papers, Books and Writers

This morning, I am inundated with paperwork. Hmm, the academic staff must be back then. And raring to go, darn it. Anyway, I have now printed out everything there is to print in the entire universe ready for Monday’s meeting, with the knowledge that at least three people are taking it to the wire (as it were) in terms of tomorrow’s deadline. Which – for once – is completely and utterly unmovable. Mainly because I won’t be here to do any further photocopying on Thursday and Friday, hurrah! Honestly, I think I am actually engaged to the photocopying machine, and hope to set a date shortly.

Ooh, and talking about marriage, the vicar that married Lord H and me (no, he wasn't bribed, before you ask!) has asked for a copy of Pink Champagne and Apple Juice so I am sending him one. Goodness alone knows what he’s going to think, poor man, as he’s such a sweetie. Hope it doesn’t send him over the edge into the great beyond, but if I don’t get our Christmas card and annual note next year I shall know the reason why …

Walked into town at lunchtime – mainly in order to pay in said vicar’s cheque, but also to get some exercise and some fresh (if chilly) air. Oh, and I’ve finally written my first poem of 2008 – an attempt at a cautionary tale for the next Writing Magazine competition. Not entirely sure about my rhyming scheme, but heck I did my best. I’m surprised I can function at all in view of the brickbats coming at me from all “official” directions, m’dears! And, with that in mind, a huge thank you for all the messages of support coming my way also – all very much appreciated. Give yourselves a very big pat on the back indeed. Plus a group hug!

I’ve spent a large part of this afternoon dealing with student queries, so have got loads of information to tell them, but can’t get hold of them to do so. Ah well. So near and yet so far! Ooh, and I’ve sold another copy of Champers plus one of A Dangerous Man, hurrah! Not only that but Sean from Flame Books tells me that last quarter I sold a grand total of 13 copies. May not sound much to you, good people, but hey it's one more than the quarter before! Still nowhere near getting any royalties though. Michael - he's such a chancer ... Oh, and I’ve been asked to write a short article on last year’s AUA conference by our local Rep for the University. Yikes! Maybe I should have a man coming through the door with a gun at the plenary session? That would have ’em rolling in the aisles …

And, hot off the press, I gather that the generous-hearted Tony at MySpace has also just ordered a copy of Champers from Goldenford. Gosh, thanks, Tony - you are an officer and a gentleman. Uncle John is already opening a bottle to drink your good health.

I've also just finished reading Reginald Hill's The Death of Dalziel. What can I say? Another Hill winner. I do so love that series and am even now salivating for the next one. It might have - for me - become a tiny bit too convoluted at the end, but as I read it mainly for the wonderful characters, it didn't bother me. I also suspect it was just my simple head, ho ho. Hill is, after all, a master plotter.

Tonight, I’m off to Guildford Writers and will be taking the next section of my skit novel. Well, you’ve got to have a laugh somewhere along the line, eh!

Today’s nice things:

1. Finding a way through the mound of papers on my desk – I think I can see the light, Carruthers!
2. Selling some books – hurrah!
3. Guildford Writers.

Anne Brooke
Anne's zappy new website!
Goldenford Publishers

Monday, January 07, 2008

Wonderful new website!

Bloody hell, but my new website has actually gone live. Sound the trumpets and begin general huzzahing!! You can see it here. I’d be delighted if you felt able to pop in and leave me a message via the contact form! And while you’re there don’t forget to admire Lord H’s stunning nature photography, which appears with some of the poems and on pages of novels with no front cover. Yet. So huge thanks to Lord H for designing and inputting it all – though I did work out how to do changes towards the end of the process, you’ll be relieved to hear … - and a thank you to Zen too for finally getting it live. (Of UK Hosts, we will of course say no more).

This very exciting news has also come at the right time as it’s stopped me mulling over the horrors of the first Monday of the year – Mondays are bad enough without having a whole year-full of them to look forward to after all. To cap it all, I was late in – no excuses; I simply couldn’t get myself organised to leave the flat on time. But this morning I have been making up for this cardinal sin by clearing out my emails and preparing more papers for the glut of January meetings ahead.

At lunch, I popped into see Gladys in hospital – she’s looking physically better, thank goodness, but still very confused and unhappy – old age is a terrible thing when you’re ill. Or maybe it's just a terrible thing full-stop. Sigh. And I shall no doubt spend this afternoon getting twitchy about what changes John will be asking me to do to The Gifting.

UPDATE on this: actually he hated it. And I have to say he didn't say it in a particularly pleasant way either. Though bizarrely for the first time ever, I don't mind on either count. Perhaps my writerly confidence is somehow growing after all?? Oo-err, missus! His main complaints were that it's not commercial enough, he doesn't like the MC (well, I didn't write it for him, to be honest, so I'm not terribly traumatised by that) and it's too romantic. Um, I feel - if I dare say it! - that the proverbial plot has been well and truly missed, as I've never been commercial. That is the whole point of me and my stuff!! I am not commercial. I don't write sympathetic men and there's nowt wrong with romance either. Still, it's not an entirely unhelpful critique, as he has at least made some suggestions for improving other aspects, which I am happy to do, and he did admit it was well-written. But it's a relief that this time I'll be able to have responsibility for The Gifting myself, whether it ends up self-published or taken on by a small publisher - I feel more at ease that way, to be honest. And the other good thing is that it takes away the hanging deadline of having to get it back to him for further mauling, ho ho! It took him long enough the first time round really, hush my mouth ... Ooh, isn't it time to mention my new website again? – it's here - still!

Tonight, I am trudging round Tesco’s stocking up on supplies – I swear that there is absolutely no food in the flat. How did that happen??? I have obviously taken my eye off the domestic ball and am hereby (hereby? hereby??) reaping the whirlwind. My, how I love a clichĂ© glut – it does so cleanse the system. And (did I mention my new website? Ah yes, I thought so …) I have sent flowers to Lord H at work today to thank him for all the slog he’s put into designing and setting the site up. So I hope they arrive before he leaves! You can usually rely on Interflora, mind you. UPDATE - they did, hurrah!

Tonight, I’m planning to smile in a sad obsessive person way at the website (in case you’ve forgotten it by now) and maybe watch some TV. Possibly. If there’s time ...

And I've just finished reading J Philip Newell's Echo of the Soul. It was something of a trudge really. I think it could have been cut by at least half - maybe I'm just not spiritual enough but it did feel as if he were saying the same things over and over again until my brain seized up. And, though I surprised myself for thinking this, the constant quoting of poetry didn't help - it just didn't fit the points being made. Or perhaps it was all too deep for me??

Today’s nice things:

1. Hey, guess!!
2. Feeling strangely relieved that I can now deal with The Gifting myself
3. Lord H!

Anne Brooke
My wonderful new website - here!
Goldenford Publishers

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The mythical hoopoe and the other route home

Managed to act like normal citizens of Surrey today and actually went to the Epiphany service at Shackleford. Which had rather more people than usual due to the terribly unfortunate incident of the sister church in Peper Harow experiencing a rather large fire on Christmas Eve. They're apparently looking for people who left quickly after the Carol Service on the Sunday. Um, that would be Lord H and myself then ... We're hoping that Shackleford Church isn't a shadow of its former self by this time tomorrow, or we may indeed have to flee the country. You heard it here first.

That said, I am actually quite sad about Peper Harow Church. It's a lovely old building, but it's going to take about two years to get it back to anything like it was before. Such a shame, whether or not one is religious - these buildings are part of our culture and history, more than anything. Still, there is a part of me that's keeping a distance from the whole thing; I really don't want to get involved in the way I was before.

Anyway, back to the Epiphany service at Shackleford - which was very enjoyable indeed. Once I'd found the right pitch, I was fine from the second hymn onwards. But I missed my note in the first hymn and after that, m'dears, there's really no hope of finding it again until the next attempt. In that respect, my hymn singing is much like my parking abilities; if I fail first time, I simply must move on. If only for the sake of those around me. The sermon wasn't bad either - the vicar took the story of the wise men returning home "by another route" and made it a plea for us all to be prepared to be changed by our experiences and be more open to what they might be trying to tell us. Wise words, I thought.

And taking them at face value, Lord H and I did indeed return home by another route, though more in the practical than the spiritual sense; we had a quick detour to Alton in search of the mythical hoopoe which is currently living there, hoping that at Epiphany it might manifest itself at last. Ho ho. It didn't. Though we did find a fair amount of weeping birdwatchers peering hopefully through bushes and groaning. And there were some nice chaffinches, blue tits, great tits, coal tits and some lapwings. But my attempts to point these lesser birds out to the general populace didn't go down too well with the hoopoe-obsessed brigade. I fear I may well wake tonight with a lapwing head on my pillow. Still, at least it'll save making breakfast.

For the rest of the day, I've been editing Luther's Ambassadors for Goldenford. Some great twists and links in there - I really love it. If you're a fan of the historical novel (with just a breath of fantasy), then don't miss out. It's a gem.

Tonight, I shall ring Mother and attempt to sound normal. After which, I'm planning to video "Sense & Sensibility Part Two" and watch "Foyle's War" on TV with Lord H. Ideal Sunday viewing really.

Oh, and I've actually been contacted again by my agent telling me that he's hoping to get the edits of The Gifting to me sometime tomorrow. Tomorrow! Ye gods! What the hell do I do now?? I've been waiting for it for so long (since August - though to be fair the poor chap has been sick) that I think somewhere within I've actually discounted the whole thing. I can't even remember what the ruddy book is about now. It's almost as if I never wrote it at all, sigh. I'm also suffering from the inevitable Writers' Panic at the fact that the agent has called it "enjoyable" and "interesting", but nothing more. Which, to me, equates roughly to "bland" and "oh God, what word can I dredge up to make my client feel better without causing her to jump off the nearest cliff?" I fear the worst, people. Perhaps I should rewrite my 125,000 words of gay fantasy into a nice snippy little romantic comedy? Or even a haiku? Further deep sighing, not unmixed with a few panicky tears ...

Talking of haikus, this week's effort(recycled from yesterday's blog but, hey, nobody's perfect ...):

Farlington Marshes:
Salt spices my tongue;
the cry of wild birds, keening;
The smell of the sea.

Today's nice things:

1. Church - unusually
2. Not seeing a hoopoe - hell it was fun even to get out
3. Haikus - even if they come from novels ...

Anne Brooke
Some website or other - hell, who knows ...
Goldenford Publishers

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A mind sadly deranged ...

Was delighted to see my poem, Beyond the Stars, published in this month's Writing Magazine as the third prize winner of the space travel poetry competition. Hurrah! And even more delighted to see the adorable Alison Chisholm (who really is very adorable and just the sort of person you want to cuddle and have a lovely cup of tea and a long chat with) describe the poem as the product of a "sadly deranged mind", but one laced with the essential "glow of wry humour". Lord H almost choked over his porridge this morning when he read that - and actually thought it summed me up fairly accurately. He claims he's been trying to tell Spouse Line this for years. Hmm, I must check the phone bills more often ...

And talking of sadly deranged minds, A Dangerous Man is one of the nominations in the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2007, so if you do feel able to vote for sadly deranged but essentially larger-than-life Michael, he and I would be most grateful indeed! Many thanks.

Lord H and I have spend a truly wonderful day in Farlington Marshes and Hayling Island watching all sorts of glorious birds, including curlews, oyster catchers, dunlin, Brent geese, redshanks, little egrets, godwits of both types and a kestrel, amongst others. New birds for today were the ringed plover and the incredible black-necked grebe. Marvellous! And it was such a gloriously crisp day - well, I had my thermals on, so I couldn't feel the cold quite as much, ho ho. I do so love walking around salt marshes too - something about the combination of salt on your tongue, the smell of the sea and the cry of the birds. Magic really. Oh hell, I feel a poem coming on, but don't panic - I shall have to work on it first. If I'm really lazy, I can just stuff it all into tomorrow's haiku - we'll see.

And I've just finished reading Philip Gross's amazing poetry collection, The Egg of Zero. At last! - I've found a poet I can really connect to and his stuff is just the kind that I love, so I can thoroughly recommend it. The collection included so many stinglingly good poems that a list of those which hit home would take way too long. But if you want a poet who's a master of emotional dissection, grace and humanity, go for Gross. I'm certainly going to be getting his backlist. Pretty damn quickly too.

Oh, and there's news on the ongoing painful saga of the website. I had an email last night from a company bizarrely known as TuCows (or perhaps that's a name they've made up just for me as I'm kicking up so much of a stink about this?) with yet another transfer acceptance form. This time, it appears to have worked so that both Zen and UK Hosts admit something is at last going through their systems. Possibly. Apparently TuCows (or whatever the damn thing is called) have some kind of higher power over the mysteries of IT and can step in if things get difficult. Much like God really. Still, I have gone back to UK Hosts and asked how long it will take from this point, so I'm not letting them off the hook yet. No answer from them though. Surprise, surprise, eh.

Tonight, I'm hoping to get more editing done for Goldenford, and we have a Chinese takeaway and ice cream (Ben & Jerry - who else, m'dears?...) to look forward to. So, bloody hell and pass the smelling salts, but I might actually have had an enjoyable day. Who'd have thought it?

Today's nice things:

1. Farlington Marshes & Hayling Island
2. Philip Gross's poetry
3. My sadly deranged yet wryly humoured mind (ho ho)!

Anne Brooke
Anne's Deux ex Machina website - ah, the plot thickens, Carruthers ...
Goldenford Publishers

Friday, January 04, 2008

Of Luther, teeth and web hosts

Now there's a title you don't get very often. Would be a great set of ideas for a short story, I'm sure. Would probably have to involve time travel though. Anyway, I've spent some of the day - not as much as I intended - editing more of Luther's Ambassadors for Goldenford, but have only managed to get to Chapter 15 on page 82. Still, about halfway through now, so that's something.

I've also been struggling with web hosts - again. Deep deep sigh ... Now neither Zen nor UK Hosts appear to be talking to each other, and so I have written a severely stroppy email to everyone asking why I, as the customer, have to be running around like a demented postgirl (virtually) delivering messages when they could just as well simply pick themselves off their arses and speak to each other to sort it out. And yes, I did put it something like that - but that's the polite version. I've also asked them to put my complaint to management (whatever that means in a virtual business ...) and will wait to see if that might put the touch paper up where the sun don't shine. Hell, I'm happy to light it. Oh yes, my Inner Bitch is really strutting her stuff today. Even Lord H has got involved, and now Nick from Zen (welcome to the Twilight Zone, Nick ...) has promised to ring him every day at work next week until it's sorted out. So the Zen people continue to be very sweet - just totally ineffectual. And apparently they're the best in the ruddy business. Gawd help us all then!!

I've also popped into Godalming on the offchance of finding a parking space - I set off late - and found there were actually zillions of spaces. So many that it became hard to choose one ... Is everyone still on holiday? Anyway, that cheered me as I wasn't hopeful, so I did manage to get a spot of shopping done. Which amounted to the Surrey Advertiser and a bottle of De-Stress Bath Oil. Lord, how I need the latter ...

This afternoon, I dragged myself unwillingly to the dentist - who was on fine form and even more scarily like my mother (arrggh!) - and have had four fillings. Four!! It's astonishing I can shut my mouth at all now, and I don't think there'll be much talking done tonight. Lord H breathes a cliched sigh of relief then ... And I have to go back in six months' time instead of my usual year to see if the fillings have worked. Worked? Worked!?? Ye gods, if they haven't worked I shall demand my £160 back. Plus ruddy interest! Honestly, £160 for one hour's work. I'm in the wrong bloody business for sure.

Tonight, I have a domestic schedule long enough to terrify even a Victorian servant. Serious cleaning, washing and ironing. Whatever happened to Friday night on the razzle, eh?

Today's nice things:

1. Getting a parking space
2. Sending rude emails (oh so satisfying ...)
3. Surviving the dentist without crying.

Anne Brooke
I don't know - this may be my website, but I've given up caring enough to check ...
Goldenford Publishers

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Luther's Ambassadors and where be my new site??

Have spent a very enjoyable day editing Jay Margrave's Luther's Ambassadors for Goldenford. Heck, but Jay is certainly the queen of the dark historical novel - am loving it so far! Can't wait for it to be published later in the year. All those twists and turns in the life of Anne Boleyn - fabulous. I am now up to Page 52 of 162, and the start of Chapter Eleven. Not bad going in editing terms. It's far, far easier using Track Changes, which I have decided to do from now on.

I've also been brave and phoned the Deli in North Camp (Surrey, m'dears, for those of you not in the area!) who might - or might not - want Goldenford to do another book reading over the next month or so. The man who answered the phone was terribly scary and I nearly burst into tears, but once he put me through to the woman, she was a lot more welcoming. As well as being very sweet. She might well send me an email over the next week or so, so we'll have to see. God, but I do so hate phoning people up about book events/publicity. It's a nightmare and I always feel a fraud.

Due to general busyness and the perishing cold (though, thankfully, no snow as yet - I hate snow to the point of obsession), I have been very bad and selfish and not nipped out to visit my hospital friend. Bad, bad me. Yes, I know. However, the good news is that Hospital Friend is actually going home tomorrow to begin recuperation, so I hope Ruth and I will be able to visit sometime next week, as she's not too far from the University.

Am beginning to struggle a little on Thorn in the Flesh launch acceptances - up to 17 now, but I'm still disappointed with the reactions of University people who I hoped would come. The triumph of hope over experience, really. Apart from my immediate team of course who are hugely supportive, and even buy the books! I suspect that some of those who keep saying no don't think I or my work are worth it because I'm not published by well-known publishers, and therefore I'm just "playing" at being a writer. Huge sigh. Well, bloody hell, I'm not just playing - it means a hell of a lot more than my University job, for sure.

And I'm also still struggling with attempting to get my new website off the ground. For God's sake, UK Hosts, Melbourne IT and Zen, just how long does it take you to make a simple transfer??? It's incredibly frustrating and I'm beginning to send rude emails in an attempt to break the deadlock between the three of them. And even phone people, ye gods. After all, I'm the ruddy customer - I want some service! Mind you, that said, Gary at Zen is being very nice and trying to be helpful - he's the only one that is, really. So thank you, Gary. I only hope we get it sorted out before retirement arrives ... Ooh, Update on this: Gary has managed to approve the transfer, so maybe I will have a new website before February!! Great stuff and thank you. I now wish to marry Gary and have his children - a statement surely frightening enough to make the poor guy flee to the hills, never to be seen again. No, come back - I need you!!....

Tonight, I might do some more editing but my main plan is to watch the video of "Speed" which I recorded over Christmas. If I do watch it, this will be a miracle indeed - as usually we video Christmas TV and never watch it later ... We will see. Oh, and I have to do the ironing. Bugger.

Today's nice things:

1. Editing Luther's Ambassadors
2. Gary from Zen (look, there he goes, still running in fear ...)
3. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website - but whether old or new, who can tell?
Goldenford - the best ruddy publishers in Surrey

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Unwillingly to school …

Groan. First day back at work today, so such a trauma getting myself out of bed when the alarm went off. The alarm! Imagine, my dears – what an intrusion!... Mind you, at least it’s a Wednesday so I have only one day to do before I can get back into my essential snooze routine tomorrow. Yes, I know you all hate me. Having read the last few sentences back, I hate myself. If it makes it any better, I can reassure you that next Monday when the working week really starts will be hell.

Anyway, this morning I’ve managed to deal with the emails which have drifted in over the Christmas holidays – goodness me, what a lot of spam the Student Care Services inbox gets. Everyone wants to be our friend – how nice. And we’ve done a heck of a lot of catching up too on the social front, which has been good. Ruth got lost on a mountain somewhere over the holidays – which was hugely embarrassing as it was the same mountain she got lost on before and even she admitted she should have known the route. Carol bought most of Guildford in the sales, Colin survived his New Years’ Eve party (in spite of photographic evidence to the contrary) and David managed to get a whole five hours sleep during one night (they have a new daughter …). No news from Andrea, as she’s not back till next week. My, what excitement she’s missing! Not that there’s anyone else apart from us and the cleaner on campus right now.

I’ve also been brave and sent out the invitations for the Thorn in the Flesh launch party in February – so far nine people are coming, so at least it’s not going to be just me and Lord H, hurrah! I already know which section of the novel I’ll be doing as a reading. All I have to do now is to start practising the darn thing. If I don’t, my stammer (nerves, plus family genes, you know – we all do it!) gets a little lively. Especially with “p” words. And I’m a little wary around the “s” ones as well.

This lunchtime, I am putting on my emotional body armour and going to visit Gladys in hospital again. Well, we’re just next door here at work, so it makes sense. And at least it means I can have a free evening. But I shall be on the look-out for anything she might throw at me in response to my inherently evil nature and hope for the best! UPDATE: actually in the event she was asleep most of the time and only surfaced now and again to say things which didn’t make any sense. Heck that sounds just like a normal day for me. Anyway, I didn’t stay long. I feel we might be coming to the end of a road somewhere along the line – she certainly looked terribly frail, which adds weight to my theory that hospitals are not very good for you. Unless of course she manages to rally – we’ll have to see.

During the afternoon, I attempted to read a Higher Education article entitled “Managing the Experience? How Outsourcing is Driving Changes in Stakeholder Experience.” No, I didn’t understand that either. I made several bold efforts to maintain my interest levels throughout the first paragraph, but my brain kept imploding. Sigh. Who the hell writes these ridiculous articles anyway?? Really, they should get a life. Any life.

Tonight, I’m planning not very much, though I must watch Part Two of “Three Men in Another Boat” – it was wonderful last night! Such a great comedy combination – I really hope they do more.

And so far, I’ve failed miserably in my New Year resolutions – yesterday no meditation of any sort happened and I was late to bed. Well, one does have to watch “Midsomer Murders” – it’s an English tradition, you know …

Mind you, January looks like being busy. I have the edits to do for Jay Margrave's Luther's Ambassadors (for Goldenford). And today, in my home inbox I find (a) an email from John Jarrold saying that he'll be sending me the edits for The Gifting by the weekend - thanks, John! I shall look forward to changing everything. He did say it was an "interesting novel", but really, m'dears, that could mean anything, yikes ...; (b) an email from PD Publishing telling me the name of my editor for Maloney's Law and that they'd be in touch with me shortly; (c) an email from Juli at Mighty Erudite Publishers asking if I could do more editing for her. Am happy to do whatever I can - honest! - but I've let her know about the sudden editing influx and asked her what the timescales are. I don't want to lose paid work (paid work - goodness me!! Whatever next?), but I really have to put at least my two to-be-published novels first in the queue. Ah, dahlings, what it is to be popular, eh. But hey it won't last!...

Today’s nice things:

1. Surviving Day One in the office
2. Getting some launch party acceptances
3. An astonishing editing influx!

Anne Brooke
Anne's soon-disappearing website
Goldenford Publishers