Sunday, 25 July 2010

Moths don't eat mice. And neither does my hero.

Enigmatic.

That's my word of this week.  It means 'congested with blood'.  Oh, no hang on, the pages are stuck together again... I knew I shouldn't leave a dictionary so close to the soup; 'riddle, puzzling person or thing'.

did briefly contemplate writing this whole blog in an enigmatic style.  I'd got as far as 'Enigma, mystery, dumpling, placoid, bison' before they stopped me. It comes from wanting to be enigmatic myself, you see, but in fact I'm the opposite. I'm totally nigmatic and scruitable.  I'm so easily scruited that just about anyone who's ever met me knows my entire life history, because I just can't get the hang of being secretive and  puzzling and all that jazz.  I do wear a lot of black, but only because it means I can spill several cups of coffee down my front before anyone notices, and people laugh when I try answering questions with a mysterious smile.  In fact, I just checked my mysterious smile in the mirror and it makes me look like a hamster trying to work a peanut into a particularly full cheek-pouch, so I shan't be doing that again.

Honestly.  This is exactly what I look like.  But less cute, obviously.








This has all arisen  because I've been writing my blurb for 'Please Don't Stop the Music', and the word that describes my hero is 'enigmatic'  It conjures an image of someone all dark and mysterious, who moves through the night like a..hold on. What moves through the night in an enigmatic way?  Owls?  No, they're a bit twit-twooey, mysterious but not enigmatic and besides they eat mice.  I can't really come to terms with an enigma who eats mice.  Same goes for cats, who work really hard to appear enigmatic but smell surprisingly fishy close-up, and there's still the whole mouse-eating thing to consider.

Moths.  Quite enigmatic, in that they come from absolutely no-where and flap around your cheeks in the middle of the night causing sudden eruption from the bed of sleep and shouts of 'get the bastard out of my nose' and are therefore creatures I do not want associated with my hero, about whom no-one shouts anything of the kind.

This is a big, bastard moth that broke into our house last night, using a pickaxe and plastic explosive.  It flew around long enough for my daughter to photograph it.  She's off to post this picture on Crimewatch now.

Do YOU know this moth?






I did briefly consider likening Ben (my hero.  That's as in my hero in the book, not as in 'oh, my hero!'  Although he is.  If you see what I mean)  to a hedgehog, because they move through the dark and are prickly and a bit awkward (like him) but they eat slugs and make a peculiar snuffling noise, and have really really short legs. And fleas.


Oh, look, he's just enigmatic, but not like owls, cats, moths and hedgehogs.  

Now I come to think of it, the above sentence isn't much of a blurb, is it?

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Turn away if you're even a little bit squeamish. Honestly. It just gets worse, you know.

Earlier today I found myself on the horns of a dilemma.  Either that or I had toast crumbs in my knickers again.  Anyhow, my little cherubs, I was forced to make a choice... (it would help me immeasurably if you would do the 'dum dum duuuuuumm' noises in there yourselves. Thank you.)

Bounty ice-cream, or Maxibon?

Now, although you may find this hard to believe, my gullible little friends, I have a big problem in choosing.  Face me with a single item (perhaps the shop has sold out of all shoes but hand-made deerskin trainers) and I shall convince myself that the item available for purchase is the very thing that my little cardiac-muscle desires.  Actually, now I come to think of it, why should my heart desire anything particular?  Why not, oh, my bladder?  Or my spleen, which can be quite demanding at times?  Or my colon?

Anyway.  Where was I?  Ah yes.  My chronic inability to choose things.  Yes.  You see, had the shop in question offered only a solitary ice-cream, I should have been fine.  Just as long as that ice cream wasn't something like those horrible fruit lollies that are all ice and no cream and taste like someone has deep-frozen  one of my mother's less-successful kitchen efforts - her blackberry and ham whirl leaves quite a lot to be desired, and this is from someone who fancies Tony Robinson!

But no.  They offered me a choice.

On the one hand -Bounty ice cream, which can sometimes remind me of soap on a stick, and the little bits of coconut get jammed in all sorts of places.  On the other, Maxibon, which have an interesting covering but no stick and therefore have to be pushed wholesale into the face.

 This is what I mean.  Paralyse me with indecision, why don't you.

Okay.  So the Bounty can be eaten decorously, but I will be picking bits of coconut out of almost every orifice for the rest of the night.  Seriously, how does it get in there?  I sneezed after eating one once and I thought my brain had exploded.  But then, I like coconut, so repeat coconut is a bonus, unless I should find myself snogging some desirable creature later.  Having to explain that I'm not really disintegrating, it's just the left-overs from a Bounty is demeaning for us both.

Maxibons are interestingly cookie-like.  But is cookie something I am looking for?  Shut up that person who said that I'd found it.... They are squishy and have little lumps of chocolate in, it's like eating a medical condition.  

And that noise there is all the people who didn't believe my title, slamming the door on their way to the bathroom. 

So I teetered on the edge of decision for some while, until the lady in the shop told me to close the freezer lid, or she'd lose her cryogenics license, and then I plumped for the Bounty.

Three hours later I'm still finding coconut.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Sex, shoes, and shameless self-promotion

Well.  Here I am, my little blogilicious ones, a day or so late but what's a day or so between friends except twenty four meaningless, pointless little hours ticking away one by one?  You may have marked my absence, possibly with a small black cross on your calendar or a small, poignant note in your diary, but here I am, returned unto you my dear ones!

My absence was caused by my laptop issuing forth commands with which I could not comply.  First it dictated that I should only start it up in Safe mode - with which I reluctantly concurred, and from then on its demands became more and more extreme.  Running only Google Chrome was how it continued.  The next request was that I ran naked around a local field and from then on relations between man and machine (I really mean woman, obviously, I was only in Greenwich for three days, not nearly long enough to have gender reassignment or anything) became strained.  When I found that I could only use my laptop if I first made a sacrifice of a plate of uncooked bacon to the god of chaffinches, I considered things had gone far enough and unplugged my hard drive.

However. I am now back in all my post-conference glory (which is considerable - look - and if I turn around it's even bigger) and here to tell you all about the RNA Conference at Greenwich.

Eee, it were lovely.

For example.

This is a place near the place where we were having our conference.  I think you will agree that it looks wonderful, and I really thought I'd taken a picture of the actual place where we had our conference but now it appears that I was facing the wrong way, so you'll have to take it from me.  Wonderful.

And the people.

These are some of them.  I hasten to add that we didn't spend the whole weekend eating and drink...oh, now wait a minute...let me think... no I'm sure there were whole minutes that went past without me pushing some kind of comestible into my mouth.  During some of those minutes I attended some talks by lustrous people, such as Susanna Kearsley and Joanna Trollope.

I even did some speaking myself.


I honestly was talking here, not on the point of revealing my boobs to the assembled throng, whatever it might look like.  I was talking on behalf of the lovely Choc Lit about my hero, the equally lovely Ben Davies.  Yes, all right, Tony Robinson might have got a wee mention and a large Power Point... but mostly myself and my three equally equally lovely co-Choccers (Sue Moorcroft, Chris Stovell and Christina Courtney) were talking about our heroes.  And eating chocolate, but that was because some minutes had passed since our last meal.

So.  That was what happened.  And there was a Gala Dinner and a barbecue, and we all got glammed up (well, obviously I had to turn my inner glamour down a notch) and wore our fantastic shoes and there was considerable prancing, particularly by Kate Johnson when her heels refused to co-operate with the pavement and she had to be caught by a man.  But he was a nice man that we knew, so that was all right.

And now, my sentient ones, I must go and catch up with a week's worth of e-mails and stuff before my computer starts insisting that I make obeisance to the deity in charge of sleeping bags and overdue library fines.  Farewell!

What, you're still waiting for the sex that you were promised in the title?  Have you never heard of advertising?

Monday, 5 July 2010

RNA Conference - I'm packing heat, chat and hello.

 I'm packing for the Romantic Novelists' Conference, which takes place in the salubrious surroundings of Greenwich this year.  At least, I assume Greenwich is salubrious, or at least it is until I get there.  I can lower the tone of an entire city, just by getting off a train.  So.  Me and my packing.  Normally I'm a kind of anti-woman when it comes to packing.  I'll just take a plastic carrier containing one spare pair of knickers (in case I get over-excited) and a toothbrush which will, on arrival, turn out to be the dog's.  I've been known to brazen it out in quite posh company, changing my outfit by the expedient means of taking off my cardigan.  There!  Look!  Completely different!

However.  There is a dark and competitive side to Romantic Novelists. Look, here's mine.  See?  It's where I fell asleep in the sun reading 'Turning the Tide' and got burned all along the top edge.  I bet it's worse than your sunburn.

 And also, we like to compete with shoes.

Not like Stiletto-Wars, you understand, there's no actual fighting, well, not much, well, only a bit and no-one really gets hurt, well... only bystanders.  Generally.  But shoes are of the utmost importance to us Romantic Novelists.  We take our shoes seriously.  As opposed to sniggering at them, which, I understand, is the Sci-Fi Novelists approach.  So. I must pack shoes.  And you can't get shoes in a plastic carrier, despite what the bag-lady down the road might say.  They poke out and kick people when you're walking along.  So I must find a bag.  And, since I am going to all the trouble of taking a proper bag simply to restrain my shoes, I might as well take some other clothes too.

What?  Surely not, I hear you cry!  Take more than one outfit to a Conference where there will be a Gala Dinner??  What's wrong with taking off your cardigan and slipping into your spare (dry) pants?  I know, I know... but since this year the RNA is undergoing its fiftieth birthday celebrations (quite unlike your own dear blogger, my sweetings, who is but a youngling in comparison, for what do I know of fiftieth birthday celebrations - nothing, that is what!), one feels the need not only to push out the boat but also to launch the life-raft and drag the dinghy.  And so, this is what I shall do.


                              You could have someone's eye out with one of those - if I aim right.

For this year I shall be taking not only the dog's toothbrush, but also my Quite Posh Frock, my Lesser Frock and two pairs of Plebian Trousers.  Those of you reading this who were expecting to be able to track my progress through the Conference merely by smell will, this year, be disappointed.  You will, however, be able to follow me by keeping one eye on the ground for discarded sequins and an ear open for the sound of snapping ankles.

If all else fails, head for the screaming.

Hope to see you there!