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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Language. 'Tis a funny old thing, in't it?

This week I must start with an apology to all native Yorkshire speakers.  This is not a reflection on anything other than one particular incident and positively no kind of comment on dialect in general, all right?  I mean, I can drop into Devonshire parlance (and have been known to), and can explain the particular inflection on the sentence 'where'm she going to?' like nobody's business.

But still.  The Tin-Tin incident requires explanation.

My son was at school talking to a friend.  Yes, he has friends, thank you very much you at the back.  Now, despite having lived in Yorkshire since he was six week's old, my son lacks a certain...shall we say, fluency in the Yorkshire dialect.  So, he was asked where his rubber was, for a friend to borrow, told her it was in his pencil tin, to be confronted by the phrase ''t' in't in tin.'  This puzzled him and he had to ask for a translation from another friend, who explained that his friend had indicated to him that the said rubber wasn't in the tin (this is where it all gets a bit like my favourite scene in Hot Fuzz, the triple-translation, where Nick Angel has to talk to a local farmer, so has to take along the dog handler (who is mildly broad West Country) to interpret the (very broad West Country) accent, which then has to be translated by his mate.  Makes me laugh every time.  Anyone who needs to get me to giggle on cue merely has to say 'yeah, oi s'pose' and I will chuckle like a loon for half an hour.

 I shall wait while you go and look at the clip.  If it does not make you laugh then I despair of you, quite frankly, and you need read no further...

Have they gone?  Good.

To continue.  When my son explained the Yorkshire Paradox to me, we postulated a story.  Follow me...

A family, who are mad, avid collectors of all memorabilia related to Herge's fine young detective, have a metal-cast model of said detective, which is kept in a metal box.  The family, being so mad about this character, also have a dog named after him.  One day, the metal model disappears!  The dog is suspected of having ingested the model, but that turns out not to be the case.  One puzzled member of the family puts the matter thusly:

Tin Tin-Tin, 't in't in Tin-Tin; 't in't in tin Tin-Tin tin!

Well, it amused us.  But we don't get out much.
This is for those who bemoaned last week's lack of kittens. 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Writing is telepathic alchemy. With kittens.

When you think about it, writing books, or writing of any kind I suppose, is a kind of telepathic alchemy.

I think of a scene.  Let us say, for argument's sake (because you know I love a good argument), that I am thinking of a scene where a woman is sitting reading.  Are we all settled on that image?

So I write, 'I sat down and opened my book'.  You see in your mind
because you are a romantic soul who secretly really wants a big puffy chair, and who likes frocks.  I might see
because I really want to look all slim and lovely in beige, and be able to hold a book up to read it without having to do the squinty thing, where you have to move the book in and out until it's in focus and then read at arm's length because you won't give in and admit you need glasses.  Someone else may see
because that his how they like to read, although I have to question whether that fire is real, I mean, doesn't that look a bit suspiciously tidy for a real fire?  And those logs aren't even burning, are they?

But if you sit and think about it, writing is putting little symbols on the page, which the reader then decodes in their own brain (because you are not allowed to go round and act it out for them, I've tried) into scenes and actions.  So whatever we writers see in our heads as we write, it is never going to be the same as the reader sees when they read.  And yet, somehow, the stories manage to make sense!  Which is why it's important, as writers, to properly build the scene as we go along.  I mean, if you write 'Steve lay in the grass' and they see
and the following line is 'and slowly took off his headphones', they have to retcon what they have imagined to include said headphones.
But if you write 'Steve lay back in the grass, Bach playing through his headphones', then they have the right idea all along!

And all because of those little squiggles we call words.

I lied about the kittens.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Temporary Fangirlhood, I appear as just a voice, Cabaret viewing and general overstimulation

So much has happened this week, I cannot tell you!  But first, in major news, my little crystal owl has just fallen over... I KNOW!!!!!

Sorry, I have spent rather a lot of time mixing on Twitter with OneDirection fangirls and it has brought me out in !!!! and SQUEEEEE. Bless them. But it is causing me to rather OVERREACT OMG!!!! at fairly ordinary events like my small crystal owl...I KNOW, RIGHT!! falling over.  I'm sorry, I now have to go and Tweet four thousand pictures of my fallen owl.  Back in a mo...


My Twitter fan girl experiment is linked to writing, so that's all right and completely allowed, although it does cause me much despair about things like spelling and writing and grammar and things, but I'm sure it's all fine and will work out over the next twenty years or so, when eventually everyone realises that they can't ALL marry Harry. Although, on present evidence, they CAN all shag Harry.
Yes, I'd have a job picking him out of a line up too.  But maybe it's my age.  Give me Tony Robinson any day.

Now, where was I?  Oh yes, the many things I have come to report about my busy week.  Firstly, there was last weekend, when I was on an Agency Day where many things happened, including the launch of Falling Apart in paperback.  We took the book out for a few cocktails and...well, the events of the night are chronicled in Lucie Wheeler's blog.

The book behaved appallingly, I shall tell you that much.

Next of all, was Monday night, where I appeared (if one can appear where one is merely an invisible voice) on Russell Watson's show on Radio Leeds, where I talked about rocking, marshmallows and..umm... well, I'm not sure actually, but it was probably very good.  And I discovered that Leeds is a very funny place and also very hard to get to.  Well, not so much 'to' as 'around'.  There are roads, and other cars, and I was unprepared for this.

Then, after a quietish week, where I am sure other things happened that I have no memory of because of the happening of the previous things causing me a headache and temporary deafness, on Friday I went to see my youngest daughter, who is at York College (only not right this very minute, because it's Sunday, I just mean that she's there as a sort of generality, you see).  She was performing in her Final Show, which was Cabaret, in which she played the MC.  Here she is...

The flowers are real but those are stunt legs.

As a consequence of all this I have become overexcited, and am having to spend the next few days lying down in a darkened room.  And on Twitter, where I am mixing with the fan girls. YOLO, you know.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

A Writing Process Blog Post. Because I volunteered...

I appear to have volunteered for something.  Yes, I know, it came as a surprise to me too - but there was this Bloggy Writing Processy thing going on and everyone seemed to be doing it, so... I put my hand up and said I'd have a go.

Now, I'm supposed to tag three people with this, but unfortunately I am so late to the party that not only has everyone else gone home, but the people holding the party have actually moved, so I'm letting it die with me.  Sad, but that's the way we roll up here in darkest Yorkshire; the Place Memes Go To Die.

So, without further ado because I don't know what ado is... here it is.

My Writing Process Blog Tour Meme Post List thingie.

I was tagged to do this by Berni Stevens, the very nice person who designs the Choc Lit covers and incidentally writes vampire books.  Dance Until Dawn is published by Choc Lit, I'll wait while you go and look.

Back now?  Good.  Right.  Here is where Berni can be found:  
and her blog
I have no idea why, but that won't hyperlink. So I did it the other way.  Now, where were we?  Ah.

Questions, questions.  First up is 'What am I Working on?'

To which the answer is, inevitably, 'my bed'. Oh, you want details of content?  Gosh. Well, I've just finished I Don't Want to Talk About It, which I'm sure you've heard quite enough about already, being peopled with hobby horses and eight year old girls, men who stammer and the tattooed Editor-From-Hell.  I'm about to start another contemp, called Crush, set in a tea shop attached to an Historic House,

Which looks a bit like this. Nunnington Hall, near where I live.
  but in the meantime I'm resting my brain by working on a novella called 'Corinthia and the Bear', which revolves around a woman's discovery of a graphic novel...


Next question.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Oh dear.  First define the genre I am working in... Some call it chick lit, purely, I suspect, based on the fact that a lot of it is first person from the heroine's point of view - in which case my entire life is chick lit and I want my money back because of the lack of shoes and growly men.  I call what I write 'dark psychological romance - with jokes' and it differs from others of its genre by...I dunno.  I haven't really read many others in that genre.  But I'd probably say, if forced at gunpoint, that my books are about real people.  Some books within the romance genre seem to be written about plastic people, who pose as required by the author.  If you ask my characters to pose for you, you'll get punched.
Good luck forgetting this image. Three o clock in the morning, I guarantee...

Gosh, this is easy.  What's next?  Why do I write what I do?

Because these are the stories that the people who live in my head are telling me.  Next...

How does my writing process work?

The people who live in my head tell me stories and I write them down. Fuelled by tea and biscuits.  I learned to touch-type a long time ago, which was one of the best things I ever did, and now I sit and wait for the stories to be enacted on the screen inside my head.  Sometimes there are delays, when it seems as though the people themselves don't know what they are meant to be doing, but if I give them a while they normally sort themselves out.  I'm very glad about this, because I'd hate to come up with actual, you know, ideas.  

The people in my head seem to have very complicated lives, that's all I'll say.  Sometimes I frown at them quite hard.
Exactly what I look like as I write my books.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Dog table decorations; a sunny morning chez Lovering, with added chaos

It's the first of June and the sun is shining!  To celebrate these two rare events - or, at least, the rarity of their coinciding - I sat outside today to eat my breakfast.

Makes it sound so simple, doesn't it?  As though I merely strolled down the garden to a small 'eatery' area, where I sat to take in the view and a couple of slices of toast, maybe also to sip upon a dainty cup of Breakfast Tea, while the breeze played merrily through my hair.  But you are forgetting, this is the house of mayhem!  We may even have a poltergeist, but the general level of background mayhem is such that we haven't found out yet.  So, in order to breakfast outside, first there was an amount of hacking back of the undergrowth, followed by a judicious degree of pooh-sweeping.  There followed a short while of shooing, and clearance of the area, and a final installance of the breakfast comestibles.

Then this happened.
Obviously the table looked too large and too unadorned, so we were forced to add a centrepiece, in the form of a large black Labrador, and no Labrador table decoration is complete without the tabby cat additional element.  Next time I think I might just try candles.  And, yes, I do drink my tea out of a pint mug, thank you for asking.  The reason I am wearing walking gear is because I was just returned from a brisk forty minutes with all the dogs.

Yes, it is the same black Labrador in all the pictures, I haven't got a troop of them, she just moves about a lot. 
In other news, this week saw the ceremonial Sending Off of the latest completed manuscript, and the concomitant Drinking of the Bottle of Fizz.  The fizz did a sort of double-duty, because we were also celebrating in a somewhat delayed fashion the release of Falling Apart for Kindle.  Apparently the double duty meant that I had to spend Saturday with a headache, but that was all right because I had to hoover the car, and that's the sort of job that's best done when you're already in a bad mood.  So, yes, the book provisionally titled 'I Don't Want to Talk About It' has left the building!  It's the one with the hobby horse called Light Bulb, and the graveyards and the man with the tattoo of chaos on his wrist.  Which looks, I think, a bit like this...
Picture by ppunker at DeviantART.  Isn't it fab?

Right, I'm off now to enjoy what's left of the sunshine, while it's still there.  It's a bit like an endangered animal, you have to be quick to see it in its natural habitat...