Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009, hello 2010

Mixed feelings today at the last gasp of 2009. I've been rather upset about yet another rejection of The Gifting, this time from an e-publisher with quite a high profile. Bummer, really. They loved the writing, but hated the multiple viewpoints. Sigh. If anyone out there is keeping count (apart from me, and I have the score lines engraved on my heart like Calais, dammit), that's been a full two years of rejections for that novel, including: 11 mainstream publishers who have never had the simple decency to respond at all, not even to my ex-agent; 24 actual rejections; 3 waiting rejections. Understandably, I am now gearing up to go with Lulu as a self-publishing option next year. I just can't take the knocks. It's too damn agonising. And for that reason, I'm certainly not submitting any of the Gathandrian series to anyone else. Ever again. Best stay in a literary no-go area, self-publish quietly and have done with the damn thing. Ah well.

Anyway, thank God (who I'm not really talking to at the moment, in case anyone - or even the Good Lord himself - is interested), it's not all been weeping and wailing and OCD chocolate eating here in downtown Surrey. There has been some nice book news too this week, hurrah. The Bones of Summer was awarded Mystery Book of the Year 2009 at the Well Read Book Blog. It was also, along with A Dangerous Man, mentioned in the Guest Reviewers' 2009 choices at the Jessewave Book Blog - so many thanks, everyone, for that. In addition, Maloney's Law briefly hit the dizzy heights of Number 18 in the Amazon UK gay fiction charts - well, gosh! - and also gained a very kind 4-star review at the Goodreads site from Feliz. Thank you, Feliz - much appreciated.

And, on the birding front, we've reached the grand total of 159 birds this year - which is one more than we spotted for 2008, hurrah. I'm pleased to be able to say that our last bird spotted was the glorious Red Crested Pochard - which gave me a big thrill as, of course, you can always rely on a redhead to up the ante. Every time.

Anyway, I hope you all have a Happy New Year, and that 2010 brings as many good things to you as it possibly can. Hell, I think we all deserve it.

Anne's website - hoping 2010 will be more of a gifting (ho ho) than 2009 has been

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas List

Hope you've all had a fabulous Christmas - or as near to fabulous as possible! Lord H and I had a very relaxing day on the day itself - we paid our respects at church, ate guinea fowl and mince pies, quaffed a suitable amount of champagne, listened to the Queen (not as good as last year, I fear) and were puzzled by Doctor Who - a horrendously clunky and laughable start, but thankfully it got a bit better. Too much David T (thank goodness he's going!) and John Sims and not enough Catherine Tate is my opinion. Ah well.

Anyway, I'm thrilled to be able to present you with the cover for The Hit List which will be published in eBook version on 28 February 2010 with the paperback following about two or three weeks later by Amber Allure Press. Such a gripping cover - I really love it. The more I look at it, the more it grows on me, which can only be a good thing.

For the rest of the weekend, Lord H and I have been doing a mammoth birdwatching session. Yesterday we spent the day in the London Wetland Centre and upped our bird total by ... er ... one - the common gull, if you're interested. And, yes, we were hugely excited by that. Sad people that we are. Today we have been out to Worthing, Shoreham-by-Sea and Brighton Marina. Though I'm afraid that at no time did I look anything like those 2 blondes in that photo. Thank the Lord. They would never have survived in the weather we're having. Some wildly dramatic seas indeed - we walked along the Eastern wall between the marina and the sea and had to keep dodging the waves that crashed over our heads. Wonderful - such drama. But not enough to sweep us away entirely, which explains this blog. No definite birds, alas - though it's possible we spotted a Mediterranean gull and a shag (as it were). But, weather conditions being what they were, it was jolly hard to say.

This week's haiku:

A swan umbrella
is perfect rain equipment.
White feathers and style.

Anne's website - a veritable Christmas hit

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas!

Here's a nice hot picture to warm you up in this chilly weather - consider it my virtual Christmas present! Not that it's that bad, weather-wise, here at the moment. Thank the Lord. I do so hate ice. At least today, we've just got the rain - though other parts of the country are still having horrendous difficulties.

And it's great to finally be on holiday as the University doesn't open again till 4 January. Is it just me or has December lasted at least 3 months by now? At least the general slowness of time has meant I've been able to get on with writing stuff fairly well. I've now gone through all the minor edits for The Gifting and have only the more major items and a good read-through to tackle. Something to get my teeth into soon, I hope. Other fun writing news is that for a while The Bones of Summer was No 5 in the Amazon UK gay romance charts and I was so astonished that I nearly fell over my own jaw. Or would have done but really my head was way too huge anyway by that time. I'm also happy to say that I've received the final version of A Stranger's Touch from the publisher and I'm really happy with the way it is now. Good editors are utter gold dust, I can tell you.

Meanwhile, I've picked up my new glasses. Um, I don't really like them. Sadly. And it's been making me rather tearful today - though that may be to do with the fact of Christmas as well. I get very shaky at Christmas. I need to put the whole concept out of my head and just think of it as a nice holiday with Lord H and all manner of thing shall be well. As Julian of Norwich would put it. Gawd bless her. Anyway, the glasses are weird - they're variefocal, like my old ones, but the reading gap seems excessively small so I have to keep moving my head or the book to fit all the words on a normal sized page in. Plus the area at the right of my right lens is really rather hazy. Should it be like that?? Plus they're hopeless for the computer, as the distance is too far away for the reading area of the lens (and anyway it's not in the right position), and too near for the distance area to kick in. I'm wearing my old glasses to type this. I think I'll give the new ones a week at home to see if anything changes, plus a week at work and then book another optician's appointment to see if anything can be done. But the thought of spending even more money on them is making me very cross and upset, sigh. I asked Lord H earlier what he'd do if I couldn't see to read or write any more - and he very sweetly said he'd read to me and would take dictation, though he'd have to shut his eyes when it came to typing up my rude stuff. Could be interesting ... Especially as he doesn't touch-type. Ah well. Still, he remains, as always, this year's super-hero.

Anyway, enough moaning from me. I hope you all have a very happy Christmas, and I'll catch up with you soon. Though you might look a bit fuzzy, depending on my specs. Happy Christmas!

Anne's website - going for the impressionistic look ...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Gifts

I'm really chuffed with the title of today's blog, I must say. And for a whole variety of reasons. First off, I'm happy to say that Two Christmases has gained another four-star rating at the Goodreads site - so thank you, Devon, for that.

I'm also equally happy to see that Salt and Gold is finally up at Amazon UK and a very reasonable price it is too. Ideal Christmas reading and, astonishingly, it can actually still be with you for Christmas if you purchase today! What could be nicer?...

And, finally on the writing front, I now have the edits back for The Gifting so I'm preparing to get my teeth into those as soon as I can. Funny how I can meander along fairly happily for ages when I'm writing, but edits have to be taken by the scruff of the neck and shaken till they give in as far as I'm concerned. Good to have something to focus on and worry away at over Christmas and New Year.

Meanwhile, goodness me but it's been jolly cold here in the shires. I went up to London after work yesterday to see Jane S-D for dinner & chat (there would have been more of us, but Jane M was snookered by a severe lack of trains from the south, and poor Anne F was ill ...), and had much fun with travel arrangements. Guildford and London seem to be the only places that didn't grind to a halt completely last night - so I was lucky to make it at all! Though I was rather started to hear, as I stood on Guildford station, that Reading was cut off from civilisation in terms of trains, and no buses or taxis were running either. Then later (much later ...), as I waited on the Northern Line platform at Waterloo, the rather charming platform announcer told us that the Northern line northbound trains would run as far as they could and then stop but he couldn't tell where that might be due to adverse weather conditions, and he therefore wished us good luck and God speed. How very courteous indeed. I certainly needed all the God speed I could muster as I slid my way across Trafalgar Square, which appeared to have turned into an ice rink. And I was wearing trainers, so goodness knows how the ladies in high heels were managing. At the end of the night, I came back via the Piccadilly Line - which was lucky as the Northern Line was apparently closed by then. And, strangely, there was once again no snow in Guildford. Perhaps we have become the eye of the storm?

As a final thought for today, Lord H and I have been much amused by a recent cartoon showing the Three Wise Men at the nativity scene. One of them is saying to the other: "Yes, I do happen to think that our journey is absolutely necessary ..." How very apt, on so many levels.

Anne's website: feeling gifted

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Changing Attitude and the last dance

Have been surprised and pleased this morning to see that Maloney's Law was floating around at Number 36 in the Amazon UK gay fiction charts. It's now dropped of course, but it was lovely while it lasted.

I'm also pleased to say that Two Christmases gained another five-star rating at the Goodreads site, which has been another boost. Much-needed as I do find this last run-up to Christmas rather depressing. Echoes of the year is nearly over and what the heck have I done with it?? are flying round my head, dammit. Ah well.

However, keeping on the writing front, I was thrilled to receive a lovely email from my independent editor, Sarah Abel, who is currently editing The Gifting for me ready for self-publication next year. She wrote: "I've read through your manuscript twice now and I just wanted to tell you that I think your story is Amazing! A real page-turner, I didn't want to put it down (the second time through as well!) and I want to know what happens next!! This is a grand tale, richly embroidered with tons of action. Plenty of material for the reader's imagination to work with."

Well, gosh, honestly those few kind words have been making me cry, I have to say. I know I do joke about it to anyone (very few!) who asks, both face to face and online, but that novel and the whole fantasy series I'm currently writing still that stem from it has given me some of my worst and best moments of the last couple of years. There have been moments of writing when I've really been enjoying the whole process of it, but on the other hand the unanimous rejections or complete blanking I've received from both the mainstream fantasy press and the small independent press in the UK and US has been absolutely killing. It's been that, really, which prompted me to give up my agent and to give up any hopes of attempting to get it published in paperback commercially (though there are 2 small epublishers who have as yet not rejected it). I simply couldn't take the knock-backs any more. Especially as I'd hoped all along that this novel might just be the one to bring me somewhere in the orbits of the mainstream press. Well, it hasn't been and that's been an excruciatingly hard lesson to take in. And, yes, I am bitter about it. Very bitter. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. When I started writing fiction in 2000, I gave myself 10 years to try to make some kind of career out of it, and that hasn't happened. Or at least, not in the manner or to the extent I'd hoped for. A bitter pill to swallow indeed. And, in the end, it's been that which has set me back on the self-publication route again. Honestly, it's been as if I'm the only person in the universe who felt there was some glimmer of good writing and good story in The Gifting, and it's lovely that now someone else has bothered to write and tell me it's not crap after all. Thank you, Sarah. It's much appreciated.

Anyway, enough existential sobbing from this particular failing writer - other things in life are just as important as me and my career issues (no! surely not, we cry!). So I've finally had enough with the whole Ugandan anti-LGBT people nightmare and have joined Changing Attitude, a group that exists to support LBGT members of the Anglican church. They are also being proactive in condemning the new Ugandan bill - and it was interesting to see last week the Church Times (a better paper than one would ever expect) in one of their articles liken the Ugandan rhetoric used to support the new anti-homosexuality bill and condemn LGBT people as similar to the language Hitler used to condemn the Jews. They're right too. It's all very worrying. Just because one may not agree with someone's lifestyle or attitude is surely no excuse to sentence them to death or fling them in jail. It's bloody ridiculous. Sigh.

Still, on a less political and serious note, I'm utterly thrilled to see that the lovely Chris & Ola won Strictly Come Dancing. Fab-u-lous, as Craig R-H might say. Double huzzahs and hang out the bunting! I recorded it last night as we were out for dinner with friends (and had a fantastic time, thank you, Liz & John!), so will look forward to basking in the glory later. It will, I hope, ease the incredible pain of losing Terry Wogan on the radio, who broadcast his final breakfast programme on Friday, sob! I'll really, really miss his ease and wit in the mornings. I will, in the interests of fairness, give Chris Evans a try, but I don't think I'm going to like him at all - I never have before ... A lighter sigh.

However, the good news is that the very kind Elly from our poetry course sent me the sound of the closing/opening doors in Star Trek - after I'd said that when I hear them it never fails to make me smile. What a star, thank you, Elly! Here they are. Lovely - what could be nicer?

This week's haiku:

In the snowy wood
a deer carves a graceful way
through mist and bare trees.

Anne's website - let's face the music and dance ...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Snow and the mysteries of teeth

A flurry of terror and dread arrived with the flurry of snow this week. How I hate snow. Ye gods, it's what I moved to the south to avoid, isn't it? It was made rather worse yesterday as we had to walk into town in the snow and slush in order to partake of our office Christmas lunch - which was very nice indeed, but I could have done without the chilly journey. And that sense of doom and misery when one's foot starts to slip. And I was the only one wearing trainers too, dammit. Not only that but it was soooo cold when we started the cars in the morning - and foolishly I'd only worn my fingerless gloves so got a telling-off from Lord H - that I lost all sensation in my fingers when I came to finish the ice scraping and actually drive off. Which was fine once I'd worked out how to put on my seatbelt using my teeth and my elbow, but it did mean that every time I tried to put the radio up I just ended up punching the knob with my fist (as it were) and switching it off, as I couldn't make my fingers turn the dial. Double dammit.

Keeping to the subject (sort of) of work, I had a lovely surprise in my last ever session of the University Writers' Group when they presented me with an anthology of their work over the year dedicated to me. I was so touched that I felt quite tearful. It's a great booklet and I think they've all done amazingly well. Hindered and held back by me, that is. So thank you, gang, for that - really appreciated. You've been a wonderful group. Next year, I'm taking a well-earned break and they're sharing the chairing duties between them. I think the shake-up in the format for them all will be fabulous, but I'll still be in the background if they do need any help. Which, I suspect, they won't.

Other exciting writing news is that The Bones of Summer seems to have had a small boost from its recent Rainbow Fiction award placing and gained a rating on Amazon UK for a while. Which was very nice. At the same time, Maloney's Law had a brief flirtation with an Amazon rating, so I'm glad to see the first Paul Maloney book venturing out of its cave, albeit temporarily. And on the subject of Amazon, I complained to them once more this morning about the lack of stock of A Dangerous Man, which has been going on for two months now, and this time I queried whether they're not stocking it because it has gay characters in it, along the lines of the GLBT Amazon PR disaster earlier in the year. This time, I received a nice email back (which for once wasn't the standard response) saying it should be in stock shortly, so we wait and see, eh. I live in hope, but faint hope.

Ooh and I had my first reader response from the lovely Elly from my online poetry group saying she'd read Salt and Gold and had really enjoyed it - so that absolutely made my day. Thank you, Elly! It's lovely to have sold a copy and therefore have a 100% enjoyment response. What could be nicer? And I'm also greatly heartened by the growing number of good reviews and ratings for Two Christmases, both on the Goodreads and the Well Read Bookblog sites. That's been nice too.

Meanwhile I mustn't forget the glorious good news from my online writing friend, Vicki Tyley, whose wonderful novel, Thin Blood, was rated as being a Top 10 E-read recently. Well done, Vicki! It is indeed a great mystery/thriller and I can thoroughly recommend it to you all.

In non-writing news this week, I have - sad to say - finally collected my mouth guard from the dentist, an act that ages me indefinitely (am I really turning into my grandmother? God forbid ...), I fear. I have to wear it at night to stop me from grinding my teeth down to the point of non-existence. Well, I never said I was a relaxed person ... Dentist's classic comment: Anne, you have the strongest jaw I've ever had to treat - which is good news in one way as if you ever fall off a cliff you'll be able to hang onto the rope with your teeth and wait for the helicopter to arrive. Hmm, I'll try to remember that if I'm ever in that position. Anyway, I was hugely embarrassed when I got it home, opened it up and attempted for some considerable time to put the mould in my mouth. Nobody told me I should in fact be wearing the plastic thing that's on the mould - I nearly threw it away!! And at £85, that would be some throw, I can tell you. Lordy, I'm in the wrong job. Anyway, after much tears and grief, I finally resorted to the Internet thingy and realised I should be wearing the plastic, NOT the mould. Doh!! I am so definitely in the running for Idjit of the Year 2009. Sigh. And, yes, the plastic fits perfectly. Slinks away in shame ...

Oh and I only have 3 working days left until the holidays, hurrah, hurrah!

Anne's website - biting off more than she can safely chew, every damn time

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Slow Sunday

Not much to report this weekend, I must say. I've spent the whole time indoors, attempting to get well. I think I feel marginally better today, so that's something, hurrah. I've spent a lot of the afternoons over the last three days asleep. Obviously the team awayday on Thursday was rather more traumatic than I'd anticipated, ah well - I blame it for everything, you know ...

However, the good news is that I've reached the 10,000 word marker in The Executioner's Cane and vaguely know where I might be heading in the scene I'm in. Vaguely.

I enjoyed Strictly Come Dancing yesterday - lovely to see Chris & Ola in the final, though I have to admit that actually for the first time I did vote for Ricky & Natalie. On the grounds that it would be supremely unfair if Ricky didn't make the final. I am indeed a Voting Tart.

Apart from that, there's been a hell of a lot of snorting and groaning, and a hell of a lot of Lemsips, Sudafed, Beecham's Flu Plus and my anti-allergy range of tablets have been taken. Shake me and I'd rattle.

Only six more days of work before the Christmas break, hey ho.

Here's this week's haiku:

The dull threat of snow
fills my throat with heaviness.
Winter in the skin.

Anne's website - down but not quite out ...

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Bones of Summer - prize winning news!

Sorry, it's very rare for me to post two blogs in one day, but I just have to pop in with the news that The Bones of Summer has just been awarded third prize in the Rainbow Mystery Fiction 2009 awards. Well, gosh! That's really made my day - and a big thank you to organiser, Elisa Rolle, and all the judges. Who can probably hear the sound of exciting screaming all the way from Surrey ...

Anne's website - extraordinarily happy today!

Christmas fizz!

I'm really pleased to say that the new version of Pink Champagne and Apple Juice, with its totally lovely new cover (thanks, Nell!), is now available at Amazon UK.

You can also find it at Amazon US and - if you're so inclined - in Kindle version also.

What could be nicer? Enjoy!

Anne's website - totally in the pink

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Intermittent torch mysteries and the joys of Sky

Having another rough day, my dears - where the hell are those smelling salts?? I think half the world's catarrh is actually living in my throat, dammit (sorry, too much information. Way, way too much ...). Sorry. Suffice it to say that I am smearing my throat with castor oil and snorting for Britain. Mmm, lovely.

All of which probably isn't helped by having spent today at the departmental away day. I was dreading it, I have to admit, but it wasn't so bad really. Such events always make me feel exceptionally bitter and twisted, and I snipe bitterly at anyone who endeavours to drag me kicking and screaming to the Waters of Strategic Thinking - in fact I probably over-sniped at the start of the day and secretly wrote myself out a big yellow post-it saying Remember: Keep My Mouth Shut, which I stuck to the front of my file. I don't think anyone noticed. And it's better than being sacked, ho hum. However, I think I did actually manage to say a couple of things that sounded vaguely strategic and might even have been useful - the boss looked quite impressed at one point - so I had a chocolate cake at teatime to reward myself. Plus I've probably infected the whole of the student care team with my current disease, so apologies in advance ... And I seem to have come away with a hell of a lot of post-it notes and marker pens, so my evening will no doubt fly by.

Yesterday's excitement, mind you, has been the highlight of our week - a nice little man came by and installed a satellite dish on our flat roof that you actually can't see (thank the Lord), so we now have digital channels, non-fuzzy TV and Channel 5. Channel 5, my dears - the thrill of it all! And we appear to be able to watch one thing and record another, and we also have the ability to stop time by turning back real-life TV. How the hell does that work, eh???! It's all too much for us really, but is making us feel wonderfully modern. Though Lord H did say that, now we have everything in super-sharp focus, he did notice that the cast of Friends weren't quite as gorgeous as we've all been thinking they were. Ah well - perhaps a little impressionism is good for us all.

Talking of technology, we are having great trouble with our new torch, which we bought at the weekend. We couldn't make the dang thing work, so I took it back to the shop yesterday and of course the bloke behind the services desk switches it on and it all works perfectly. So I rush home in acute embarrassment at my complete failure to make a torch work and ... yes, you've guessed it ... it doesn't work any more. Deep deep sigh. Perhaps it doesn't like our new satellite dish? Or it doesn't work in blocks of flats which have more than three floors?? The mystery thickens, and we are indeed still in the dark. Or we would be if Lord H hadn't found the old torch we thought we'd lost (are you keeping up with this?) in the car yesterday. That's working. Or maybe we'll just switch a light on. There's a solution.

Oh, and I've had my first reflexology session with a new therapist in Godalming as unfortunately the University aren't providing that any more (shame, we cry!) - however, Alison (the new girl) seems to be lovely and I've booked another appointment for the New Year. I was so relaxed at yesterday's session that I even fell asleep. Bliss.

In terms of writing news, my review of Damon Galgut's magnificent novel, The Impostor, is now up at Vulpes Libris - I can thoroughly recommend anything that Galgut writes really. If he published his shopping list, I'd probably buy it. I'm also very happy to say that Two Christmases is getting good ratings and reviews at the Goodreads site, so thank you for that. It's really cheering me up in between snorting sessions.

And I've sent back the first round of edits for A Stranger's Touch to the editor and am waiting for the second round to come back. It's all go here in the shires, you know!

Anne's website - getting the Christmas illness over with now, I hope ...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Free short story - Two Christmases!

Just popping in to say that you can win a free copy of my m/m short story Two Christmases here as long as you make a comment in the comments field today! Go for it ... and may the best man or woman win!

Anne's website - full of surprises

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Book of the Year and Sick Sunday

Once again a busy few days to catch up on. I'm pleased to say that I'm now at the 8,000 word marker in The Executioner's Cane, and already in the middle of a death scene (whose, I'm not saying) - though I must admit I'm not writing in linear order. Linear writing is so last year, ho ho ...

In other writing news, I'm pleased to say that my first reader for short story, Two Christmases, has enjoyed it (thank you, Sarah!) and particularly commented on the voice of my main character, Danny. I fear Danny's voice is still echoing in my head so there may be more to come from him. You never know. It's also great that Elly, one of my poetry course colleagues, has bought the first copy of Salt and Gold, so I'm hugely grateful for that. Thank you, Elly! I was starting to worry that the sum total of my sales for that one would be zero. Arrgghh!! Now, only another 10 copies to sell and I'll have beaten my run for previous poetry book, A Stranger's Table - though I fear if I get to double figures a second time in my poetry sales, my place as Worst Selling Poet in the History of Time will, alas, be irretrievably lost. Ah well.

And Amazon US are finally selling copies of Pink Champagne and Apple Juice in its brand-new cover, which you can find here. And I was equally happy to see The Bones of Summer was for a short time at Number 82 in the Amazon US gay fiction charts this morning (sadly, now no more ...), well gosh. Thank you, kind buyer, whoever you are - and I do hope you enjoy the read!

Finally, to cap all this literary excitement, you can find my personal Book of the Year choice here. It's a damn classy read, so do pop in, find out what it is and give it a go. I can thoroughly recommend it!

Ooh and I mustn't forget that the lovely Shanta Everington has an article on the pleasures and pains of writing (with some input from me - thanks, Shanta - but let's hope none of my church contacts are reading this!) which you can find here. Another read I'm sure you'll enjoy.

In the non-writing world (which still exists somewhere in my head, I'm sure), I played some rather chilly and very bad golf on Friday - so bad that Marian actually won, shock horror! The only high point for me was chipping in from off the green on the 4th. Result! Sadly downhill from there, I fear - my attempts at second shots were just shameful. Still, at least while I was playing, the boys from the club cleaned my car inside and out so I am now wonderfully sparkly and new, hurrah.

Yesterday, we spent a wonderful day with Peter & Sue - a surprise visitation for Peter's birthday - happy birthday, Peter! - and had a lovely time wandering around Polesdon Lacey, plus an excellent lunch. We also managed to squeeze in a smidgeon of birdwatching and caught sight of a fieldfare - our first of this year, double hurrahs. I was starting to wonder if we'd see any at all, so am glad to be proved wrong.

Sadly though, Lord H was as sick as a dog yesterday, and has passed on the marital illness to me today, so we are all snorting like dying horses and and quaffing the Lemsips and Lucozade. What a jolly Sunday indeed - I just hope we didn't infect anyone yesterday ... Not a birthday gift anyone would want, I fear. Keep taking the Vitamin C is what I advise.

This week's haiku is:

Grey heron rises,
legs trailing slow promises
and one dancing fish.

Anne Brooke - where books are guaranteed infection-free

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Herons and poetry

Having something of a down day today, so bear with me. I've taken two calming pills and am hoping it's the hormones. I keep getting all tearful for no real reason, sigh ... Ah well, no change there then. I blame it on the flow writing I started doing today - which is basically when you start writing and just jot down whatever comes up without thinking about it. Actually I found the whole exercise quite upsetting really - perhaps you have to be strong to do this kind of thing? Or maybe it just needs getting used to. I'm doing it as preparation that's been suggested in my new online poetry course that starts in January. They've also given us a sneak preview of the homework for Weeks 1 and 2, so I've been fiddling around with surreal poetry games and childhood memories. Something of a tricksy combination then ...

Oh, and here's the poem I've been discussing in this week's poetry group. It's a series of linked haikus:


First of all, seek this:
absence in your outward breath,
a folded wingtip

waiting for the sun.
The silken silence of air
dances on your skin

and you fall, dreaming,
into soft pathway shadows.
Stars and still music.

On the plus side, I've been contacted by my editor for A Stranger's Touch so I'm looking forward to working with her to get that story ready for publication. At the same time - deep, deep sigh - the contract for The Hit List that I sent off on Monday has been delivered back to me as the ruddy UK post office can't understand the concept of "To" and "From" on the address label. When I've stopped being upset and tearful about it, I imagine I'll find it funny. I'm just odd about contracts - once I've signed them, I want them to wing their way back to the publisher, not come limping home to me. I shall ask Lord H to take it in tomorrow and see if they'll try delivering it to the correct people this time. Hey ho.

Yesterday, I walked round campus and was treated to the magical sight of a grey heron on the side of the pond. Quite close too. As it was raining, I was the only person there, which was great. I watched it for a while and, after it flew off, a rather large fish began to jump out of the pond almost as if it was dancing. All very strange. There are sharks in them thar waters, you know.

Meanwhile, today I've had a glorious Clarins massage from the stand-in therapist (my usual one is off sick, poor thing). All incredibly relaxing. I even tried to do some clothes shopping afterwards, but just couldn't bear it once I'd walked into a shop. So had to walk out again. I don't know what it is - but I can't seem to buy any new clothes at the moment. Every time I try, I am overcome by despair and panic. Lord knows what's going on in my head - but if you see a spaced-out woman wandering round the streets looking distinctly threadbare, that'll be me. Please offer me a blanket and send me home.

Anne's website - envious of fish and herons who don't need clothes ...

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Two Christmases

I'm very pleased to say that my GLBT short story, Two Christmases is now published and can be purchased at Dreamspinner Press. You can find out more and even view a brief slideshow at my website.

I hope you enjoy the read!

Other good news today is that at work the Personal Tutors' Handbooks (now renamed to be Supporting Students: a Handbook for Staff) have finally been delivered, hurrah! So we are living surrounded by boxes and the only job I have left to do is send them out. Anyone got any envelopes?

Anne's website - where one Christmas may well be enough ...