Friday, May 23, 2008

Hallsfoot online, golf and a small competition!

Have finally managed to put Hallsfoot's Battle on the website and you can find it here. Oh, and the photograph with the novel entry is Madeira. In case you're wondering ... While The Gifting one is of Egypt. A free book to the first person who leaves a comment attached to this journal entry telling me - correctly! - which photo was taken by Lord H and which was taken by me. Give reasons for your choice! Hell, never say I'm not nice on occasion. I'll even waive postage. Mind you, the free book has to be one of mine, aha! Though you can't have it until I'm back from my hols, sadly. If you've already got all of my current books, thank you, thank you a thousand times and you can have the next one instead. As well as my undying affection - which is probably in itself enough to terrify you all ...

Have now reached the heady heights of 3000 or so words in Hallsfoot's Battle and I know what's happening in the next scene. Ha! That's a bloody first then, Carruthers. However, I shall make it easier for myself by not writing that particular episode until I'm back from Portugal at the end of next week. That way, it should be easier to get into. Famous last words, eh.

Anyway, I must also say that I've had an utterly wonderful game of golf with Marian today. It was my best game ever, in fact. I couldn't put a foot wrong, even if I tried, triple huzzahs! My tee-shots were spectacular and I could have putted for Britain and not put the country to shame. I think it must be to do with yesterday's massage - my shoulders are still so relaxed that my swing felt different. As it were. I would plan a massage before every golf game I play now, but I fear the money would soon run out. Sigh.

I've also had a haircut - even though I'm growing it - so now look quite acceptable for my holidays. Although of course when I wash it tomorrow morning, all attempts at style (I have a style? Ye gods and little fishes ...) will be lost.

So, tonight I will be making a feeble attempt at cleaning and a concerted attempt at packing. And hoping that the rain in Spain (or rather Portugal) is not as torrential as the forecast indicates. Oh hell, it's a holiday - what do I care? Foreign rain is nicer!

I hope you all have a a fabulous bank holiday and a glorious week ahead, and I'll catch up next weekend when I'm back.


Today's nice things:

1. Getting Hallsfoot online
2. Golf
3. Haircut
4. And holidays!!

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Writers' Forum mention and continuing the Battle

Had a lovely Clarins facial and massage today - utter bliss. Charlotte (the therapist) had to struggle to make some kind of inroad into my stiff-as-a-wall back though. And as she's on the petite side of petite, it was quite a struggle. But I do feel better now and my shoulders have come down - if temporarily - from my ears. Phew! Bad backs are the Writers' Curse, you know. One of them at least. I really have to go back to my daily relaxation exercises - they do make such a difference.

I also managed to pick up a copy of June's Writers' Forum magazine, which contains a very challenging article about print-on-demand writer-publishing and the current Amazon (shame on you, Amazon ...) nightmare by the wonderful Siobhan Curham. This includes several mentions of Goldenford (what a fabulous publisher!) and some quotes from me. Plus a picture. Gosh, thanks, Siobhan! Fabulous article, and I nearly look human too - how do you do that?!?

For the rest of the day, I have been pulling out words, slowly slowly, from the deep dark pit to add to Hallsfoot's Battle. Lordy, but it's an agonising process today. I've managed to finish off Johan's small first section, plus put the finishing touches to the Snow Raven's initial part (yes, I am bringing the Snow Raven more centre stage this time - he deserves it - but hell it's hard writing bird-speak!). But the main voices of this first chapter belong to Annyeke and, of course, Simon, and I need to focus on those more. Or at all really. The first chapter won't be done without them - the ideas are floating around but I'm too tired to grab them and make them concrete. Hey ho.

So I've taken a break and had a much-needed nap. Double bliss. I might do some more to it this evening, but we'll see. Not much TV on really - I haven't actually got round to committing to "Heroes" at all - but I might watch "Earl".

Today's nice things:

1. Clarins treatments
2. Siobhan's article in Writers' Forum magazine
3. Wrestling that damn Snow Raven down and getting something vaguely sensible out of it.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thorn review, alien birds and preparing for holidays

Woke up to a gloriously kind review of Thorn in the Flesh today from the utterly lovely Sarah Watts on the Writewords site, which I include below:

“I’ve been meaning to write a review of Thorn in the Flesh for some time. It’s taken a while partly because I haven’t known quite what to say. It’s like a discovery you look forward to sharing with someone special - but you don’t want to tell them too much and spoil the surprise. Surprising it certainly is. Having read three of Anne’s novels now one might expect to see a certain pattern emerging – qualities in the writing that makes you think – ah yes, this is typical; this is similar to what she did before. Many of us are happy to read our favourite authors confident that they will deliver more of the same ingredients that worked so well before. No – think again. Each of Anne’s books is gloriously individual – each builds on the strength of what has gone before to deliver something new – a fresh experience for the reader. When I read Thorn in the Flesh I literally could not put it down. Anne delivers a compelling story that keeps you turning the pages. I found her strong central character Kate entirely believable. She is depicted with searing honesty and the character is fearless in her refusal to compromise – to conform to expectation. I imagine that because of this Kate is a character the reader will love – or love to hate. Here is a woman who is attacked in the sanctuary of her own home – whose certainties and securities are torn away – what happens next? Where does she go from here? Thorn in the Flesh is not a comfortable read, it provides no cosy solutions and ultimately it gives no easy answers. It gets under the skin of the reader and causes you to look into the void – to imagine the unimaginable. It is to the credit of the author that the character’s journey is so believable. To me there is truth in the story and integrity in the writing. The story taps into the resonance of ancient myth delivered with the pace and assurance of a modern thriller. Read and enjoy.”

Gosh, thanks hugely, Sarah – that’s really made my day! I particularly liked the phrase “taps into the resonance of ancient myth delivered with the pace and assurance of a modern thriller”. I think I might put that on my Christmas cards this year. And Lord H also says that it’s a strapline that could well be used for Student Care Services here at the University. Heck, he might well be right … Your degree? A mix of ancient myth and modern thriller - you know you want one: we’ll make sure you get one … Cue evil laughter.

This morning, I finally (finally!) have managed, with IT’s help, to get my printers working. So I have indulged in a veritable orgy of printing – gosh, that’s another phrase I’ll use again, I’m sure. And I’m finishing off my minutes of yesterday and generally getting organised before next week’s holiday – as today is my last day in the office before then. Hurrah!

Oh, and there was a wonderful article in this month’s Birds Magazine which raised concerns about the falling numbers of UFO/Alien sightings and asked whether this might be due to the environmental damage we’re causing to the earth. This was of particular interest to birders as crop circles make very good nesting sites and there should be more of them. Fabulous. Good to see that Birds Mag remains, as ever, on the cutting edge of science.

I managed a walk round campus at lunchtime – I’m making the most of the glorious sunshine here as at the moment Portugal is a rain-drenched land. Sigh. And tonight, I’ll pop into see Gladys on the way home. Am also planning to do a few more sentences to Hallsfoot’s Battle, as I have some ideas in my head about where Johan is going which I’d like to get down.

Today’s nice things:

1. The Thorn review
2. Lunchtime sunshine
3. Writing.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Writers and Meetings City

Carried on typing up yesterday’s minutes this morning and attempting to sort out the teething troubles on my new computer, ie no printing facilities, emails that go through copious spellchecks before being sent and my missing screensaves. After all, how am I supposed to get through the day without seeing the front covers of all my books drifting before my eyes??... I can’t survive without at least some ego massage, you know.

Anyway, this lunchtime, I have had the University Writers Group – very enjoyable as always. I think it’s best if I take my calming pills beforehand though, not being a natural leader. And I have stolen an idea from the adorable Nik Perring for the homework, so thanks for that, Nik!

This afternoon, I have minuted the Nursery Management Group, even though most people didn’t seem to be there. Which means we’ve had a heck of a lot of biscuits to eat up. Ah it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. I brought back a secret supply of them for the office and have already demolished the chocolate chip cookie option. Mmm …

And tonight, to crown my Meetings Extravaganza Day, I will be minuting the Goldenford meeting. Upcoming Goldenford things to look forward to: the event in Woking Library on 28 May, the talk in Freiburg in Germany on 12 June and our stall at the Writers Conference at the end of June. Ye gods, it’s all go over the summer! It’s astonishing we have time to write books at all.

Ooh, and I’m interested to see that, following the agent’s submission of The Gifting to the Powers That Be yesterday, Penguin in the States have been looking at my website. In shock and amazement, no doubt. However, the balance of the writing universe requires that for one vaguely hopeful thing offered, another crueller one is given. And so I am not entirely surprised to see that the latest critique of Thorn in the Flesh on the as yet unenterable Authonomy site seriously doesn't like it. Hey ho. Mind you, I'm always rather chuffed to be called "muddled, fragmented and confusing". Dahlings, it's so me!

Today’s nice things:

1. University Writers Group
2. Goldenford
3. Putting the words “Penguin” and “looking at my website” in the same sentence – heck, I’m all for (very) short-lived bursts of hope and glory!

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Monday, May 19, 2008

Meetings, cakes and shopping

Good grief. Monday again – funny how quickly the darn day comes round. Also annoying that I feel fine today, having felt like a squeezed-out sponge all Saturday and Sunday. Typical!

Anyway, today, I have caught up with my emails and it looks like nothing too drastic happened while I’ve been away. Thank goodness. I’ve had to get my Focus Hat on this lunchtime though, as I’ve had to minute the Steering Group meeting. And I’m not convinced that particular hat is entirely uncrumpled today really.

And Ruth tells me that she and Douglas drove to a car show over the weekend in their old campervan, but the organisers got the wrong end of the stick and they ended up in the showing arena, where people had to give them points for presentation. It would have been hugely embarrassing if they’d won, as they hadn’t actually entered – but in the end Ruth thinks they only achieved a couple of sympathy votes anyway. Next time, she’ll try to remember to wash the van before they go anywhere in it …

But joy! My new computer has finally arrived and been installed – it’s wonderfully fast. I can get into all my folders in less than a minute from start-up now, instead of the usual ten minutes it’s been taking each morning. What will I do with that spare ten minutes now though?...

We’ve also celebrated the Special Birthday (capitals deliberate, and, no, I’m not saying which it is!) of Beryl in Student Advice with teatime cakes. Mmm … Makes Monday suddenly worthwhile, you know.

Still, back to reality – have had to trog round Tesco after work, dammit, before experiencing the existential bliss of being back at home. And I’m not intending to do very much at all tonight – too much excitement in one day is bad for me after all.

Today’s nice things:

1. Cakes
2. Ruth’s campervan
3. An evening in – eventually

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A quiet day

Really, nothing much has happened today. Though I have been feeling a sight better than yesterday, thank the Lord. I just feel utterly and permanently exhausted. Thus explaining this morning's gloriously long lie-in - no chance of my planned visit to the Quakers then - and this afternoon's two-hour (or thereabouts) nap. Days can be so tiring, you know. It's astonishing I get through them at all.

So instead of holiness or the creative effort of writing, I've been catching up with my TV viewing and sudokus. I'm pleased I have finally managed to see "Miss Austen Regrets" which I videoed about five hundred years ago and which has been lurking in the To Be Watched pile ever since. I quite enjoyed it really - but it was all very sad. If clever.

I did also manage to do a few more words to Hallsfoot's Battle yesterday. I'm starting off with Duncan Gelahn, the baddie, this time. It's about time he got a voice of his own in Book 2 of the Gathandrian Trilogy (as I'm calling it in my head) - he's only talked about and encountered (to hopefully scary effect) in The Gifting. Once I've got a decent looking Chapter One extract to Hallsfoot, I'll upload that onto my website too, but not yet awhile.

Oh, and the cuckoo is back, but later on a Sunday - not till 2.30pm. Dirty little stop-out. Also, I've just finished the next in Joseph Hansen's Brandstetter (gay PI) series, Troublemaker. Very enjoyable as ever - they're so sharply written you could scratch yourself on the pages and bleed to death, but I did get confused about the plot in this one. And Dave Brandstetter's boyfriend is an arse. Sorry, but he is. Thank God later in the series, Dave ditches him and takes up with the glorious Cecil. Actually, reading the whole twelve Brandstetter books is more of a re-read as I first encountered them all in my early teenage years. Which possibly explains a lot about my writing style and indeed my characters. Colchester Library has a lot to answer for, don't you know.

Tonight, I'm going to flop like a gutted salmon on the sofa and take in the delights of the third Indiana Jones offering. Yes, yes, I know "Brokeback Mountain" is on the other side, but really, dahlings, naturally I already have the DVD of that one, and anyway the book is a damn sight better. And even more so now I can read it and imagine the glorious Jake Gyllenhaal.

And this week's haiku is:

On this summer night
I wear the skin of the past.
It hangs looser now.

Today's nice things:

1. Napping
2. Reading
3. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Websites, review lists and the languishing author

A very quiet day today, people. This ruddy cold has really wiped me out all day and I've been languishing all over the flat making faint groaning sounds. So, a normal weekend then, here in the deep south. At least I am keeping Mr Lucozade in business. Not to mention Mr Kleenex. If there was ever an Olympic sport in snorting like an old horse, the gold medal would already have my name on it. As it were.

I have not been entirely useless though. I have revamped the Goldenford site book pages so each book in the main listing has a thumbnail picture of the front cover next to it, which you can see here. Though I say it myself, we do some shit-hot covers here in Goldenford country.

I've also been thrilled to discover that the lovely and hugely talentedLisa Glass has very kindly added A Dangerous Man to her Book Depository Top Ten List, calling it An erotic page-turner about a violent artist and his stockbroker lover. Gripping plot and sharp characterisation. Gosh, thanks, Lisa - much appreciated indeed!

Ooh, and we have a cuckoo in the street. Joy! We're hearing it every morning at about 10.30 at the moment - it's obviously a late riser, though I suppose it doesn't have the children to take care of so can probably party all night, the little goer. You never see the damn thing of course, but it's a wonderful sound.

Tonight, I'm collapsing in front of "Dr Who", which has a marvellous-sounding Agatha Christie plot. And of course there's "Pushing Daisies". And, I hope, an early night and a more energetic day tomorrow.

Today's nice things:

1. Updating the Goldenford site
2. Lisa's review of A Dangerous Man
3. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers - with pictures!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Gifting, doctors and a surprise beginning

First off, I do have to say that actually last night in London wasn't as strange and scary as I'd feared. I did still feel that I was putting on a costume that no longer suited me, but it was okay. Perhaps it's everyone else that's normal and just me who's strange? Lordy, no, don't answer me on that one. I also felt pleased as a couple of times, I did say something honest during the conversation - not in an over-the-top way, but I just said a sentence or two about (a) mutual friends I no longer see, and (b) church stuff, and then moved on. Ye gods, even I can be real during social interaction sometimes - well, it has been known ...

Anyway, to today. There is good news and some not-so-good news. I am incredibly pleased that the agent has got back to me about The Gifting and has said the magic words: It reads wonderfully well, the characterisation works and the writing and story flows. You know, that makes me feel so damn good that I'm going to type it again: It reads wonderfully well, the characterisation works and the writing and story flows. High-five, captain - it looks like I can on occasion turn dross into something a tad shinier then. Yes. As a result, he's going to send it out to five UK fantasy publishers and six US fantasy publishers on Monday. Ah, I feel good now, Carruthers, but alas soon the rejections will start to roll in, you know. Still, I'm hanging onto the moment for as long as I damn well can.

Also today, I have gone for my dreaded smear test (groan) - it's so hard to make jolly conversation with the nurse if you're in that position really, but we did our best. There's something to be said for the Empire Spirit after all. So that's one doctorly act done. The other isn't quite so straightforward, I fear. I've finally (after a chasing telephone call last week) had the results of my ultrasound scan & hormonal blood tests back. The good news is that I am happily trogging on with my oestrogen fix without any horrendous side-effects, hurrah! The less good news is that they're not that happy about the non-standard cyst on my left ovary and I have to go back in July for a chat and a recommended ovarian tumour marker test. The words "tiny" and "for reassurance only" crop up in the letter, but this naturally doesn't make that glorious swoop of terror that comes upon one when reading such things any the less. (Hell, there's a phrase I should be able to use sometime.) Naturally, because I have never been able to resist temptation, I have Googled the damn thing, which hasn't made it any better either. Damn you for an Internet-aware idiot, madam! You'll be pleased to hear however that I didn't stay on that particular site for long - even I know that sometimes less is more.

Galvanised by this into abnormality, I have at least regrouted the bathroom tiles in a cheat's way so everything looks cleaner and shinier. Goodness me, that grouting pen is a marvel! Lord H will be pleased. Mind you, he is still streets ahead of me in the Spouse Awards running at the moment - while I was in London last night, he cleaned the whole flat, hoovered, swept the floors and washed all the windows down. Oh, and he also did my ironing. Whilst saving the universe and brokering World Peace as well. Perhaps I should go out more often? I fear, alas, that now my Wife Points will never be enough!

The news about The Gifting also seems to have opened some kind of door to a decision. I've started the next in the fantasy trilogy, Hallsfoot's Battle. Good Lord! So I now have a character list, a note of themes and the grand total of 463 words scattered over the first and final chapters. Hell, it's a start. And yes, I have written the end, which might even remain the end when I arrive at it. Who knows? Only another 139,500 words to go and I'm there then. Hey ho.

And I've read Harlan Coben's The Woods. Bloody superb. Best thing he's bloody done for years. I loved it! In spite of the fact that he does use some of my basic scenarios and death scene ideas from both Maloney's Law and The Bones of Summer, dammit. Ah, great writing minds think alike, you know - I wish!! Or perhaps there are only three crime novels plots after all?... Anyway, it's a wonderful book and you should all rush out and buy it. Goddammit.

Oh, and I've got a cold. Bugger, eh.

Today's nice things:

1. The agent's response to The Gifting - hell, I'll type it again just in case you missed it: It reads wonderfully well, the characterisation works and the writing and story flows.
2. The Coben book
3. Starting the next novel.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Goldenford and the reluctant socialiser

Have spent this morning updating the Goldenford website with information on Irene Black's upcoming novel, Darshan - which is a gripping and literary tale of a young Indian woman's search for her UK roots. You can read the beginning here. We're hoping to publish it over the summer, so watch this space!

I've also updated the News section with the details of Goldenford's June visit to Germany - a Surrey publisher goes international, so all exciting stuff!

For the rest of the day ... well, quite frankly, I've napped. And chilled. Lordy but I need it. Haven't even faced the ironing yet, but hell these things can wait. We will just have to be crumpled for a while. A state of being we should be used to, after all.

I've also decided that - bearing in mind all my editing is done and that's the promise I made, at least to myself - that I will go up to London tonight (reluctantly) to see the old University girls. Actually I was originally intending simply not to go and not say anything, as I assumed my editing wouldn't be finished. Lord H did suggest earlier in the week (when, yes, I've been agonising) that the answer would be to work more slowly, but I can't do that. The editing speed is the editing speed; it's either "on" or "off". So I can't say I'm looking forward to my night out. Sorry, as I do know that probably makes me some kind of bitch with no idea of the value of "friendship" (inverted commas are deliberate), but I'm just not. Ah well. Unwillingly to school is the feeling here. And I'm very, very twitchy. None of us seem to see each other as we really are any more - nor do we want to, in my opinion - so it feels like flogging the dead horse (apologies for the cliche) of friendship when it's been down and mouldering for some years now. It's just that nobody's noticed it. Or perhaps we've just ignored it is the more accurate statement. Anyway, ye gods, what an image. Sorry.

And, hell, it's London. I don't much like going to London. God, sorry about the moaning too. I'd slap myself into some sense if I could summon the energy.

One thing though - I've moved on in my "next novel thoughts" to thinking I don't want to do a comedy after all. At least not today. Dark grittiness, angst and pain are more the thing. Hell, it's just so much more me, dahhlings.

Today's nice things:

1. Updating the Goldenford site
2. Napping
3. Um, um, coming home later!

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Maloney done and the Golden Girls' Roadshow

Success! I've finished the final run-through of Maloney's Law and have sent it off to PD Publishing. I'm happy and I think they're happy, so that's a relief! It feels so damn wonderful to be at this stage, I have to say. It's come at the right time for me too - what with a holiday booked for the end of May, it's going to be lovely to have a break.

This afternoon, the Goldenford Girls and I have been at the Guildford Institute giving our "Writing from our Roots" talk. Sans Irene sadly, as she needed to be elsewhere, but I read her talk out for her and, really, the whole event went astonishingly well. The audience seemed to love it (hurrah!), we had loads of questions at the end and people bought books. Double hurrah! I even sold four copies of Thorn in the Flesh which filled me with joy. And an arts organiser from Farnham took our cards as she'd like us to come and give a talk to them as well. Gosh indeed! Also lovely to catch up with Peter, our retired University registrar (and the very kind man who actually gave me my job, against all the odds, I'm sure!), who was there. And who also bought a copy of Thorn. Thank you, Peter!

Tonight, I'm going to chill out. Lord knows I deserve it. Though I do fear the ironing pile is calling out to me, dammit ... Back, back, you beast, back!...

Today's nice things:

1. Finishing Maloney and thinking yes
2. The Goldenford talks
3. Selling some copies of Thorn.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers - giving you the hottest books around, don't you know!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Presents, Bones and Maloney

Was rushing to get to work today, and I’m a little late, dammit, so will have to make up the time over lunch. Or possibly tonight. Depending. I have managed to post my stepfather’s birthday card and present though – but it’s not the present I sent off for, double dammit. I’ve had to improvise so, as and when the other one finally arrives, I’ll have to save that up for Father’s Day. I’m also not entirely convinced the package I’ve made up will get there – my present wrapping skills are pants, so most of the sellotape ends up in my hair and on my nose, and there’s an awful lot of swearing. Still, one can only hope, eh.

I’ve also sent off the whole of The Bones of Summer to The Literary Consultancy and so now I’ll have to wait and see what they make of it. Goodness, what a busy morning I’ve had already!

And I’ve taken my medical questions about Bones to the wonderful Steph in the Health Centre once more to get some understanding of what would really happen in my various scary scenarios throughout the novel. I do think my questions, and indeed my plots, are getting stranger – goodness only knows what the poor woman thinks, but she does keep smiling bravely. Equally interestingly, we postponed our meeting a little as she emailed me to say she was at home waiting for a log cabin to arrive – really, there are some things one daren’t ask. UPDATE: Thanks, Steph – you were wonderful and I now know what’s supposed to happen when. You’re a star!

Back in the office, we are now all really concerned about Carol – last year she went to Cuba and when she came back Castro died. This week she’s just come back from China – and now we have a substantially more terrible event. I don’t think we’re going to allow her to go abroad again – the Carol Effect is more far-reaching than even we had anticipated … Or at least in places beginning with “C”. Croydon had better beware then. Seriously though, a terrible thing – we really don’t want any more disasters this year. The world has had its fill of them.

And I’ve been doing bucket-loads of work to the Project Welcome website so that people can know roughly how Freshers’ Week is going to be. It always takes at least six months planning and we’re already well into that period. I think it will be a lot better this year – I hope so anyway!

At lunchtime, I wandered round the campus, but not too quickly bearing in mind the heat, and watched some ducklings. Here’s an untitled poem about them:

Three Japanese girls
pause by the lake

take snaps on their mobiles
of a family of ducklings.

I wonder what they'd think
if the ducklings

took snaps back.

This afternoon I’ve been flicking through the Faiths in Higher Education Chaplaincy report – good to get up to speed on this sort of thing, you know. Could have done with more pictures however.

Tonight, I should have been going to Guildford Writers, even though I’ve got nothing to read out – but instead I’m dedicating the evening to more of the Maloney’s Law edit, as I’m in the zone now. Sort of. I managed six chapters last night, so will be starting from Chapter 12 tonight.

Today’s nice things:

1. Sending off Bones for its first editorial
2. Getting the medical know-how from Steph
3. Editing Maloney.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Monday, May 12, 2008

Reflexology, Maloney and the Dean’s trousers …

Not so bad at work today, for a Monday anyway. There’s been a queue a mile long (at least) outside our window for the Students’ Union end-of-term parties and they’re all very loud and excited about it. Can’t say I blame them! Though by the end of the morning, they were mostly all sorted and peace – of a kind – has descended.

The rather worrying thing about this morning though has been the discovery of the Dean’s trousers and jacket placed carefully over his chair in the office. Hmm, Andrea and I are now concerned that a naked Dean is wandering round the campus terrorising the students, but we are too afraid to go looking for him. That would be far more than the call of duty should expect, I feel. We can only hope that he did have something to change into …

Meanwhile, to calm my shattered nerves (dahlings, the heat, the concept of Monday, etc etc …), I rely on this lunchtime’s reflexology session. Where would I be without it? And the walk to and from the therapy centre was extremely pleasant too. Always good to have time to dream. And to think what the heck I’m going to write next. No decisions made yet though. I’m tempted by my dabblings into the comedy crime take-off story I started a while back, but then again I do like the dark side too. Ah, choices, choices.

Tonight, I will pop into see Gladys on my way home, and then I’m set in for the night carrying on with the edit for Maloney’s Law. I managed to get to the start of Chapter Six yesterday, so I’m hoping to have done at least another couple more chapters by the end of the evening. For the moment, my focus just has to be there. Funny how I always find the edit far more intensive than the actual writing of the thing, on the whole. And more thrilling too.

Oh and the Dean came back, fully-clothed thank the Lord. It’s a spare suit apparently. That’s saved the University’s blushes, for sure.

Today’s nice things:

1. Pondering on the Mystery of the Dean’s Trousers
2. Reflexology
3. Editing Maloney.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Reviews, birds and back to Maloney

Have had a lovely review from Irene for Thorn in the Flesh which she's kindly put on Amazon and which I reproduce below:

"Another winner from Anne Brooke. Thorn in the Flesh demonstrates once again Brooke's versatility and literary dexterity as she takes us through the complex, disturbed world of Kate Harris, traumatised by violence and haunted by the past. Don't expect a comfortable read, but do expect a gripping one. Thoroughly recommended."

Thanks, Irene - much appreciated!

For today, Lord H and I have made the most of the glorious sunshine - gazing at birds at The Weir Wood Reserve. This included watching two sets of great crested grebes perform their mating dance - a wonderful and very balletic sight indeed - and gazing open-mouthed at the aerial dynamics of little terns (a first for us). What incredibly graceful birds they are too. Ooh, and we spotted an orange tip butterfly - another first! And very beautiful it was.

After that, we visited Nymans National Trust Gardens - which were lovely, but damned hot, Carruthers. Two-and-a-half miles of walking almost defeated me, I fear. I was also nabbed by the room stewards again, double dammit, who insisted on telling me everything about the family who used to live there when I'd actually only asked if that was Queen Mary in the photographs (it was). Anyway, I now know that the Messel family were terribly terribly posh, and terribly terribly polite and never under any circumstances raised their voices above a whisper. My response (which wasn't appreciated) was to say that was probably because they had servants so didn't need to, as well as having no drama in their lives. The room steward became somewhat snippety after that, so I left before I was overcome with the giggles. Really though, I can't imagine anything worse than being trapped at the dining table with a family of whisperers. It all sounds very suspicious to me - though Lord H did look rather misty-eyed at the thought ...

Back home, I have started the final technical edit to Maloney's Law and am also giving it a final read-through as I go. The technical editor, Nancy, is a whizz on commas and US styling and I am obeying her every command. As well as acting on the very helpful suggestions she has on non-technical matters - thanks, Nancy! I must also admit that I'm really bloody enjoying it too. Maloney rocks - I love him. And his story. If I can say that myself at all. Actually I think I even love this book more than I do A Dangerous Man and, hell, that's saying something.

And I've now finished Philip Gross's poetry collection, Mappa Mundi. Some truly wonderful and punchy poems in there but, in truth, for me it just doesn't work as a collection. The main theme is the relationship of people and things - and in my view he lets the "things" get in the way of the people a lot of the time. Worse, he lets them get in the way of the poem. So you read some of the work, and it's as if you've been beaten to death by a list of objects which have no emotional significance or which have lost it somewhere. This is such a shame as he's usually such a bloody good poet, and I've been so looking forward to reading this one. I think it would have been a lot better - and the truly shit-hot poems could have shone more easily - if it had either been cut in terms of the number of poems or there'd been some judicious editing of stuff. The overall feeling it's left me with is exhaustion. Not what I was expecting at all.

Anyway, I will ease my fevered brow tonight by watching "Midsomer Murders" whilst drinking cocoa. That should do the trick.

And here's this week's haiku - as promised yesterday:

In the singing tree
nightingales quiver. Twilight
drifts through deep music.

Today's nice things:

1. Irene's review of Thorn
2. Weir Woods and Nymans
3. The Maloney edit.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bones edited and the Publicity Slapper

Double huzzahs! I have now finished the edit of The Bones of Summer and am making enquiries with The Literary Consultancy as to the the price of one of their worth-their-weight-in-gold critiques. Lordy, but I never leave the starting blocks without them. No matter how ruddy painful that process is - and believe me it's painful.

In the meantime, I have joined in with the Harper Collins-based showcasing website, Authonomy and uploaded the first 10,000 words or so of all my books, except the best forgotten Hit List , on site for people to run screaming to the hills from. Lordy, but my grasp of grammar is in a class of its own. As is my grasp of cliche. Obviously. Mind you, as the site is still in Beta stage, it's only open to guests at the moment, so the hordes of screaming people aren't as loud as they may yet become. My advice is buy your earplugs now. It will be interesting to see how long the great HC will allow a self- and small publisher slapper like myself to remain on board for sure - but you know me: any chance of a bit of book publicity and I'm there, waving my pom-poms around and shouting for the Quality Unknowns. Interesting too how much, even at this early stage, Thorn in the Flesh is dividing opinion. People either love it - and Kate - or hate it. And her. Ah, the difficult novel. One always has one, you know. Though, that said, nobody's commented on my gay stuff yet ...

Lord H has also been away today on an OU course in Croydon (of all places!), so it's been quiet here in the Surrey outback. But I have managed at last to grab my neighbour and have a chat with him. He's looking a little better, but I think it's going to take a while.

Tonight, we'll be glued to "Dr Who" and then I must find out the latest on "Pushing Daisies". Now there's another thing people either love or hate. Lord H can't stand it, but I'm utterly hooked. Be warned: in the future all programmes will be made this way.

Ooh and last night's nightingale watch was fabulous. We even saw a couple of them singing. Lordy, but they're sooo small and the sound is utterly glorious. I've written a haiku about it but, due to being completely obsessed with my writing routines, I will save it for tomorrow.

Today's nice things:

1. Finishing the Bones edit
2. Playing around on the Authonomy site
3. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Friday, May 09, 2008

Golf, Bones and Books

Have managed to edit another couple of chapters of The Bones of Summer today and am now on Chapter 21, p201. It's the start of the end phase, if you see what I mean, so I'll leave it till tomorrow now.

I've also played golf with Marian - Lordy, but we were rubbish. Goodness alone knows what the hell I was doing on the 8th hole, but Marian had to crawl into a bush twice in order to rescue my ball. And I was at that point still on the damn tee. Bloody hell eh!!! Believe me, 5 off the tee is not my best moment ever ...

After that disaster, I popped into Godalming and managed to get all my shopping without irritating people or smashing anything. Makes a change from last week then. I even had quite a jolly conversation with the scary man in Boot's, who now realises I'm insane and handled it accordingly. Probably the best way really.

I've also watched, as per the recommendation of Bill on MySpace, the gay comedy "Bedrooms and Hallways". Thoroughly enjoyed it, so thanks for the tip-off, Bill! And yes, I did love the flatmate. And you can't really go wrong with James Purefroy and Kevin McKidd, can you? It's "Rome" all over again, but with comedy. And without the death, blood and gore. Though there's nothing wrong with death, blood and gore, I have to say ...

Tonight, Lord H and I are off to Pulborough Brooks to their Nightingale Festival, so best keep my ears open. There might even be a few nightjars too - you never know your luck.

And I've just finished reading a glorious short story collection - Laura Solomon's Alternative Medicine. A cracking collection, with emotional acuity (hell, I like that phrase - it sounds like I know something!), humanity and depth. Well worth a read for sure.

Today's nice things:

1. Editing
2. Books
3. Nightingales - I hope!

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Bones, Short Review and a slice or two of drama

Have managed to edit three chapters of The Bones of Summer today - hurrah! - and am now onto Chapter 18, Page 173. Well, gosh. And the more I read, the more I like Craig. Bloody hell, that's a good thing, isn't it? Would have been a ruddy disaster if I hadn't. After all, I have to be in love with my main character if I'm to write anything worthwhile at all. And as they're all (probably) aspects of me, that surely makes me the ultimate narcissist. No surprises there then. I suspect all writers would say the same too.

Meanwhile, the lovely Tania Hershman at The Short Review has turned her attention today to the possibility of reviewing self-published short story collections. Well, naturally, I'm all for it! Why miss out on quality after all? But you can read and join in with the discussion here. And thanks for raising the issue, Tania, and even mentioning my name - much appreciated!

This afternoon, I have visited my sick Guildford friend and had a great deal of fun attempting to round up a prescription for her. We got there in the end, thank goodness but, ye gods, the Burpham (that's with an "f", people - this is Surrey after all!) Sainsbury's is extraordinarily large and scary. I don't think I've ever been there on my own before. I do tend to hyperventilate in shops where I can't see the exit. Hell, doesn't everyone? Or maybe it is just me who's the weird one ... Sigh.

I also tried to call in on my neighbour who's not very well at the moment, but he must have seen me coming and escaped. Not to worry - I shall try again tomorrow. He won't get away that easily, you know.

Tonight, Lord H and I are off to the theatre to see two short plays under the heading of Footprints in the Sand at the Mill Studio. We've booked more at the Mill this season as the main theatre seems to have been given over almost entirely to plays that don't really take our fancy at the moment. Which sometimes happens in a season. The main theatre is obviously ignoring my suggestions - as ever!

Today's nice things:

1. The continuing edit
2. Tania's self-publishing discussions
3. The theatre.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tee-shirts, toilet cleaner and Maloney revisited

Have managed to book the away day for our work team on 1 July – which appears to be a date when most people can make it, hurrah! And goodness me but that took some doing. However, the venue keep saying they’ve sent me the contract to sign, but there’s nothing remotely in the email which looks like a contract. When I ring them up about it, I’m not sure they believe me. Sigh. Why would I hassle them about a thing like that if it weren’t true?? Just send me the contract, people!

In the meantime, we are planning on updating the Student Advice section of the website – but I feel that whilst the ideas are good, our current web system might not quite be up to handling them. Or possibly it’s just that I’m not up to it. Who can tell? In any case, roll on the new web provider is what I say – and soon. It will be a brave new world, I’m sure.

This lunchtime, I have nipped into town to stock up on suncream and tee-shirts for our upcoming holiday – can’t wait! Ruddy hot walking in though. Thank goodness I keep emergency deodorant at work – I don’t want to traumatise the office after all.

Oh, and good news on the Maloney’s Law front. I’ve been contacted by PD Publishing and they’re doing the second edit now, so I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into that very soon. Hurrah! I’m so excited about seeing Paul’s story in print later this year – it’s really making my day knowing that it’s in the system somewhere, as well as giving me more incentive to get the edits done to The Bones of Summer. Where I’m now onto Chapter 14 of 27, you’ll be pleased to hear.

Talking of books, I’ve just finished Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale. A very impressive novel indeed and I can highly recommend it. It’s stuffed full of literary references and manages to work books into a novel in a way that’s rarely done well, I think. A fantastic start and a humdinger (and very clever) ending, which made me smile – though I did think it rather sagged in the middle and could have done with some judicial cutting at points. It’s so well written though that you can forgive both that and the rather wonderfully over-the-top storyline. However, even that works in terms of what the book is though. I’ll be looking out with interest for her next.

I'm also pleased to see that the Surrey Advertiser now has our Goldenford book event on 14 May listed here - though you'll need to scroll down to 14 May on the list to see the Golden Girls' names in print, hurrah!

Tonight, I shall pop into see Gladys on my way home. And then it’s an evening in. Wonderful. Ooh, and I am much amused by the instructions on the toilet cleaner I bought yesterday: Number One: Lift the toilet seat. Well, hello – what the hell do they think I’m going to do??? Spray it in my hair?? Honestly, words fail me …

Today’s nice things:

1. The news about Maloney’s Law
2. Laughing at toilet cleaner instructions
3. Editing.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Back to school ...

Ah there’s always a payback to bank holidays – the fact that after a glorious stretch of fun, you have to damn well go back to work. Dammit. Which means Tuesday becomes Monday and Tuesday rolled into one. Huge and heartfelt groaning … Oh well, at least the weather is nice. And I managed to catch up on my emails fairly quickly, thank goodness. There’s nothing worse than a complicated and undoable email request first thing in the week. Or indeed at any time.

Mind you, the boss has landed a whole load of work on me – typical! – which I wasn’t really looking to do. Extra groaning. Best struggle through the piles then. Really it’s way too hot to work. Roll on retirement – oh, sometimes it would just be soooo nice to escape! Or at least be allowed to look somewhat less than enthused once in a while without having to justify it. It's the curse of working for the care services – they pick up on everything, dammit.

This afternoon, I have minuted the Student Induction Implementation Group (AKA Project Welcome). All very worthwhile, but really it’s too hot for meetings as well. I’ve then struggled through the rest of the afternoon attempting to write up the stuff. Plus keep on top of the morning load. My (paid) working life is so fulfilled, you know.

Tonight, on a day when I am utterly desperate to get home and at least do the odd line or two of editing to The Bones of Summer, I have to go shopping. Double groan. And there seems to be huge amounts of things to get. I strongly suspect that our neighbours are breaking in while we’re at work and stealing all our food. It’s the only explanation, I feel.

Thank the Lord that it’s a short week indeed.

Today’s nice things:

1. Good weather
2. Getting home – eventually
3. The thought of a short week.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Monday, May 05, 2008

Food fairs, birds and Bones

Ah, the bliss of Bank Holiday Monday - no work, hurrah!!! And even more shocking - a nice, non-rainy day to enjoy it in. Anyway, Lord H and I have taken advantage of the weather and spent most of the day at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in Sussex, sampling the delights of the Sussex Food and Farming Fair. And very delightful it was too. There's really nothing like pork-in-a-roll for lunch, complete with stuffing and apple sauce. Wonderful. We also came home laden with purchases, including apple juice, beer, a rabbit pie for dinner, hand-made cards (I'm a real sucker for hand-made cards), ginger beer and home-made jam. I can never resist jam, and the odder the better. This time I opted for rhubard jam and blackberry curd, though I was hugely tempted by the tea-tree jelly too. I might get that next time. I'm a jam tart really (sorry - couldn't resist ...). And in so many ways!

Ooh, and whilst at the Fair, we actually spotted two buzzards a long long way up (which was hugely exciting) and some swallows. Summer is really on its way then.

On the journey home, we stopped off at Ebernoe Common and took a short walk through the woods to admire the pond. Where - joy of joys! - we spotted a male mandarin. Wonderful! A new bird, hurrah, and such a colourful one at that. The perfect Bank Holiday moment indeed.

Back on the ranch, I've managed to edit Chapter Eleven of The Bones of Summer, which brings me to the end of Part One of the novel. Double hurrah! A bloody good chapter too, if I say it myself - and bloody hell, why not, eh! I've managed to detonate two virtual bombs at once - (a) a moment of high drama & angst between Paul & Craig, which leads to (b) Craig's confession about his past. Whoops - that'll put the proverbial amongst the birds then. I do so love to end a chapter on a cliff-hanger. Well, you have to have something to make the reader turn the page, you know.

Anyway, enough for now. I'll open the gate to Part Two tomorrow, if I get a chance. As for tonight, there's sod-all on TV (whatever happened to Bank Holiday scheduling???) - so Lord H and I will be forced to watch a video to soothe our path into the working week. Best get that rabbit pie on soon then.

Today's nice things:

1. Food fairs
2. Birds
3. Editing Bones.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Sunday, May 04, 2008

DIY and the church serial killer

Lord H and I put in an appearance at Shackleford Church today - not many of us there but some rousing traditional hymns, which I always love. There's something about singing which raises the spirits indeed. In the best possible way of course. It does make me smile though that the man with the wine cup holds onto his responsibilities with grim-faced determination - so you always have to grapple with him in order to get a taste of wine at all. I suspect that the Good Lord Himself would prefer one to have a rather larger swig of the goodies. After all, that's His job. Ah well. Other church amusements: the preacher got her robe caught on the pulpit steps so we nearly didn't get a sermon at all. Which would have been a shame as it was bloody good. And quoted poetry, which naturally I approve of. And in our post-service vicarly chat, the vicar hoped that our DIY phase wouldn't cause the usual stresses and strains between husband and wife. On the contrary, I told him, I'm extremely supportive of Lord H's DIY skills, as I'm actually very sweet even though I do look like a kick-ass serial killer. The vicar found this all very amusing - evidently not realising I meant it.

Anyway, we have ordered our terracotta curtains for the living room - which we're told will arrive in seven days. Much like the earth in its original form then. The woman who sold us the curtains in Homebase may not have been the best customer-friendly person in the world but, ye gods, she knew her stuff and was super-efficient. (Again, much like God, I suppose.) And really that was all we wanted. And the bathroom is finished! Thanks to Lord H's and my painting skills - though mainly Lord H's, I have to say. And it's all put back together again. It looks fabulous, hurrah! We're both extremely pleased with our efforts, and are already planning what we might do in the kitchen. Careful, people, careful ...

In the midst of all this, I have edited a couple more chapters of The Bones of Summer and am now at the start of Chapter Eleven, page 107. Once Chapter Eleven is done, that's Part One of Two out of the way. And I must say I seem to be packing a hell of a lot in. Rediscovering the story is always a surprise - it's funny how you do forget what the hell it is you wrote until you rerun it again at the edit. Still, if it's a surprise to me, one hopes it will be a surprise to the reader too.

Tonight, I am worshipping at the altar of Harrison Ford, as "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is on - and even though we've seen it countless times before, it's such a class act that we're looking forward to running through it just one more time.

This week's haiku (understandably) is:

Walls scrubbed clean, fresh paint
and white spirit: the real signs
of Spring's arrival.

Today's nice things:

1. Church
2. Editing
3. DIY
4. Harrison Ford!

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Tainted Tree launch and DIY corner

Have spent most of the day having a wonderful time at the launch party for Jackie's new novel, Tainted Tree. A humdinger of a read, if you haven't realised that before, and well worth the purchase! The food was wonderful, the guests lovely and, pleasingly, we sold £400-worth of books, so that was a serious result, hurrah! Many thanks, Jackie, for putting on such a great party.

Talking of books etc, I seem to have had huge numbers of people visit either this blog or my website over the last couple of days, with a massive 123 hits to the site yesterday. Well, gosh. Can't imagine what's suddenly made me quite so popular, but welcome anyway - it's lovely to see you all. Even if only virtually. And if any of you out there do feel inclined to browse my highly exciting book page, please do - you can find it here. Um, not that I'm desperate. Hell, what am I saying?? I am desperate. We should all know that by now! Alternatively, if my mother has suddenly gone into some kind of repeat hit loop on her machine, welcome, Mother x123.

On the way back home from the launch, Lord H and I have hit the DIY store with a vengeance. We've come back with a whole length of different curtain samples, three tins of paint, a set of paintbrushes and a light fitting. I think we've now decided on the terracotta velvet curtains for the living room, but without the tie-backs and the valance - too fussy and the room doesn't need it. And my goodness, our bathroom is going to be bursting with new life come next weekend. We hope. Already, I have de-moulded the place - and, ye gods, the new zappy mould remover gets rid of everything in 4 minutes. Including us, if we're not careful. Lord H is now washing the walls and ceilings, and I am washing the bathroom curtains, the bathroom door and anything else I can find within my reach. As it were. Do you think this is our version of a midlife crisis? Cheaper than a mistress or two for sure.

Tonight of course, everything must stop for "Doctor Who" on TV, and I mustn't forget "Pushing Daisies". In the midst of all this, I have managed to edit Chapter Seven of The Bones of Summer and I might even squeeze in some more before the end of the day. After all, anything can happen here in DIY Corner ...

Today's nice things:

1. The Tainted Tree launch
2. The energy of DIY.
3. TV.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Friday, May 02, 2008

Smooth balls and spiky streets

Played golf with Marian this morning - in an unexpected burst of sunshine too, which was lovely. I think also that other people must have feared rain and stayed away, as there was virtually nobody on the course but us. Bliss. Mind you, my game was rather up and down. Some great shots and some horrors. But I was hugely pleased with my enormously long one putt at the 4th. Now that's golf. I can wear a smug smile all day.

Or I could have done, if Godalming hadn't been packed with obstacles. Most of them other people, dammit. Though that said, the incident in Between The Lines was entirely of my own making. I was attempting to get some more eucalyptus oil (wonderful for my breathing difficulties, m'dears) off the shelf when the tester version fell off and bounced onto the lovely piece of pottery beneath. Which promptly fell to the floor and broke. Oh Lordy. Anyway, the two assistants were very sweet about it and refused my offers of payment. But I was so traumatised by my own clumsiness that I bought some more De-Stress oil (my, how I could have used it right then), which I knew I needed to stock up on - but when I got home I realised I'd got the wrong version, double dammit. So I shall have to go back next week and run the whole scenario again. Perhaps I shall go in disguise ...

After that, the High Street seemed to become incredibly spiky and determined to undermine me even further - the man in Boots pointed out that if I spent an extra 20 pence and bought something else to go with my sushi, then I could also have a free smoothie and a bag of crisps. Goddammit, I don't want a free smoothie and a bag of crisps - why don't the ruddy shop people ever get this!?! I just want to buy my bloody sushi and Nurofen pills without conversation and be left alone. Is that so hard?? Anyway, I told him it was too complicated and I just wanted the sushi. He parried that by saying under his breath that on the contrary it wasn't complicated at all. Bloody hell, I am the bloody customer - please do not question my opinions, people!!! Worse, do not question my opinions when I am a clumsy dyspraxic red-head with period pains and a desperate desire for lunch. Without smoothie or crisps. I counterattacked by saying that actually I had thought I was entitled to my opinions and could he please just sell me the ruddy sushi before we all died of hunger here, and no I don't have a Boots card so please don't ask me that either. He sold me the sushi. He didn't ask about the card. Wise moves, both.

On the way back to the car, I then decided to get some money out and stood a respectful distance behind the woman at the cashpoint, as you do. Thus forming my own small but perfectly proportioned queue. Without getting in anyone's way. A few moments later, a man came up and told me to move forward as he wanted to get in the queue. There was plenty of room behind me. Ye gods and little fishes! Is everyone in Godalming (apart from the Between The Lines people) on Stroppy Pills today? Mind you, I joined them - I told the man I was quite happy with the part of the street I was standing in and he would just have to get behind me and wait. Which he did. Again, probably a wise move. Any more hassling from the Godalming squires, and I might just have grappled the poor bugger to the ground and torn him limb from limb. Now that would surely have made it into the Surrey Ad ...

Back home, I have attempted to regain my inner calm with some hard-won sushi and a nice hot water bottle on the stomach and struggled away with editing the next two chapters of The Bones of Summer. I really wasn't as engaged with it as I was yesterday, to be honest, and in the middle of the afternoon I gave up entirely and fell asleep on the sofa cuddling up to my fluffy owl, my pink dressing gown, a squidgy pillow and a reheated hot water bottle. Bliss. Still, I'm now at the start of Chapter 7, page 67, so I'm getting there. Slowly. And I redid a sex scene too - and that always makes me feel better. Which I suppose somehow echoes the title of this entry (as it were)!

Tonight, Lord H and I have done the cleaning, and I'm getting ready for an evening's comedy TV viewing. Though I have to do the ironing as well, so I can't collapse entirely. Dammit.

Today's nice things:

1. Golf
2. The Between The Lines girls
3. Rewriting sex scenes.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Bones, curtains and paint

Have spent a large part of the day working on the edit to The Bones of Summer. Bloody hard work, by George, but I'm enjoying it. I've done - or redone - four chapters now so am leaving it for today. Yes, that may not sound much, I know, but during this part of the game I spend a lot of time thinking and working out what I need to foreshadow and if so how much. Then there's the ditching of repetition, the changing of facts and events which clash with what happens later in the novel (when I'm more in my stride - or should be ...) and the alteration of the viewpoint from first person to third person. And no, much though I'd love it to be, that isn't unfortunately as simple as changing everything from "I" to "he". Dammit! Changing viewpoints changes everything - the look, feel and even the smell of the thing. But it's better in third person. It gels more. And of course, in a gay novel, there's the curse of the pronouns: which "he" is really "he" and which is the other "him"?? A little quirk the straight novel writers amongst us don't get to play with indeed! Ah, the joy of it all.

I've also nipped out and collected a parcel for Lord H, and - wait for it! - I've gone to Homebase and looked at curtains and paint. Ye gods!!! Have I been swopped for somebody normal?? Or am I finally succumbing to the Curse of the Bank Holiday? The plot thickens, Carruthers ... I just have a desperate urge to change our living room curtains (or the African Room, as we like to call it. Pretentious Gits 'R' Us ...), which have been slowly falling down for years due to their own weight. So it's time for something new, I feel. I am getting desperate urges for tie-backs and valances too, but will try to suppress them. And in case you're wondering, the curtains are currently a colour somewhere between terracotta and gold. And I'm hoping they'll stay in that vicinity too. To go with our terracotta and gold room. Though I do pay court to the concept of lightness with the cream leather sofa and chairs. My, how I do hate pastel shades for old houses. Funny how people (if they're ever allowed in at all) enter our living room and either love it or hate it instantly. Nothing in between. It's probably much the same reaction as they have to us really.

I'm also planning on repainting the bathroom in our 15-year battle to minimise the mould which also lives there. Ah, old Edwardian (or are we Victorian? I forget!...) houses, you know - it's a constant fight against history and time. But I do wonder where all this DIY keenness is coming from - and where indeed it's going to - as we've done nothing at all for fourteen years, preferring to spend our time (a) writing or (b) studying. Perhaps it's marking the completion (apart from the editing) of my seventh novel after all this time, and the space before I embark on my eighth. It's hard to say, but I'd best make the most of it before the feeling evaporates. I'm sure the flat will appreciate the temporary attention.

Anyway, tonight, if I can drag myself away from my curtain shades and paint quandaries, Lord H and I are off to the Guildford theatre to see Spies by Michael Frayn. Should be good - the man's a ruddy genius. Though I have to admit I've never read this novel. And hey after tonight I won't need to! God, but I'm cheap. And should be ashamed, yes I know.

Finally, don't forget that today is the first day of publication for Jackie's wonderful romantic saga, Tainted Tree. Well worth a look!

Today's nice things:

1. Starting the Bones edit
2. DIY dreams
3. The theatre.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website
Goldenford Publishers