Italy was kind of fun, I must say - the best thing was just getting away and not having to think about all the other stuff, to be honest. Such a treat. I wouldn't say it was our favourite ever holiday, probably not by a long chalk, but there were some great (and some not so great ...) highlights, including:
1. Assisi. It's fabulous - I really loved it, far more than I thought I would. I'd go back tomorrow if asked.
2. Spotting a Common Redstart - a lifetime first, hurrah!
3. Spotting hosts of glorious Swallowtail butterflies on a walk through an olive tree grove, double hurrah.
4. My digital camera refusing to function, so I had to borrow Lord H's if I saw something I liked.
5. And guess what? Yes, you're right, my replacement CoolReader broke on the 2nd day, in the same way as it did before. No, I won't be getting another. I'll replace it myself with a Sony Reader (of which more later). I do feel we should have at least some of Lord H's CoolReader money back though, but I suspect the company aren't going to make it easy for us, deep deep sigh ... Either way, the CoolReader has not in any way covered itself with glory.
Meanwhile at home, the following has occurred, some good and some bad:
1. Meditation Poem 13 is now published here.
2. Toes do furnish a man (another poem) is also published here.
3. My short story, Two Christmases, has been accepted for Dreamspinner Press's upcoming anthology, Mistletoe Madness.
4. Despite sending the final version of Hallsfoot's Battle to the agent before I went on holiday, there's been no acknowledgement. Of any sort. Is he dead or terribly terribly sick, we ask??...
5. The Gifting has now been rejected by every single publisher, both large and small, in the known universe and possibly some in the Delta Quadrant also (but I haven't had their emails yet). So I am planning to self-publish it either later this year or early 2010. Sod the lot of the ruddy publishing world, I say. I am really seriously fed up with them - except of course those lovely small publishers who have seen some kind of merit in what I have previously written, Gawd bless 'em.
6. I have therefore asked my agent to bring our business relationship to an end, as there's no point having a fantasy novel agent if I'm going to self-publish the whole trilogy on my own without bothering the crumbling ivory towers of the so-called mainstream (and not so mainstream) fantasy press - I don't want them to get their hands dirty with good literature, eh, do I, ho ho. As I've had no response to that message from the agent either, I've gone ahead and started the process of getting an independent editor/proofreader for The Gifting anyway. After all, what's the point of waiting for answers that never appear? Plus I've made initial enquiries with a suitable self-publishing company. So, watch this space for a rollicking good adventure read to come ...
7. Lord H has bought me a Sony Reader - which I hope will last longer than the rather more than feeble Coolreader - and I am busy charging it up right now. Again, watch this space.
8. We've spent a very pleasant day at Pulborough Brooks and spotted a wood sandpiper (another lifetime first!), two buzzards, a kestrel and a chiff-chaff, amongst the usual suspects. It's been a relief to get away from the pains of my stumbling literary career (ho ho).
9. I have thoroughly depressed myself by looking at my work emails, of which there are many, most of which are urgent and I will have to do the moment I return to work on Monday. Honestly, I swear that one of the main reasons for me trying to become a successful (pause for rampant laughter) novelist was the stalking fear of being swallowed up whole by meaningless administration, but I see it is likely to happen anyway. Really, work is sometimes so overwhelmingly depressing, and the business of writing is sometimes so shot through with inevitable failure that I just feel like bursting into tears and running away onto a desert island as far away as possible from both of them. With Lord H of course (well, he doesn't like work either). If only one were allowed to be successful in the career one actually wants to have, then life would be so much less dark, I feel. As it is, I am only relatively successful in a field that means almost nothing to me, so it's all something of a bugger really. Ah well. Only another ten years to go and I might be allowed to think about retirement, eh.
10. Sorry about the moaning, but going on holiday only makes things a thousand times worse when you come back. I think that, as I get older, it also gets harder to settle down into the daily round again. I'm dreading Monday already, double sigh.
Anne Brooke - she tried to be a novelist once, you know ...
The Gifting - the novel nobody wants: coming soon to an online provider near you (but don't wait up)