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Sunday, 25 October 2015

I am inundated and I need a plastic bin to hide in.

There is only one creature on this planet that even the thought of makes me go all shivery and 'urgh' and want to run away or set about myself with a can of 'Everything killer' whilst making little squeaky noises of disgust and unpleasantness.  And no, it's not Michael Macintyre.
a man I know annoys many, but I think it's mostly his poshness and wobbly hair they find irritating, and, as someone who was once accused of being 'posh' (ha!) and who has, on occasion, been the possessor of wobbly hair, I feel for him.

Actually, it's cockroaches.  Blurgh.  Even typing the word makes me want to go and have a shower, then spray myself with flykiller, then have another shower. I'm not sure what difference the flykiller will make, but it's the only anti-bug stuff I've got.  I could spray myself with Pledge, on the grounds that any attack-cockroaches would just slide off me, but then I'd have to spend hours buffing myself up and, since I can't be bothered to polish the furniture, the chances of being sufficiently arsed to polish myself, are remote.

Anyway. Cockroaches. Blurgh.

But, coming in a close second on the 'things that I am going to eradicate from the surface of the planet and I don't care how bloody much that affects the food chain thank-you-very-much'.... slugs. Now, I've always been fairly amibivalent towards slugs, never had a particular problem with them, wouldn't want any of my daughters to marry one mind you, but since none of my daughters are invertebrates that's probably not going to happen anyway.  Until. The day I opened the dog biscuit cupboard and found....
this. Gah. You have, I put it to you, never known true horror until you shove your arm into a sack of dog biscuits, only to retrieve said arm with a handful of sluggy biscuits and your arm covered in slugs.  AND DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG IT TAKES TO GET THE SLIPPERY STUFF OFF?  DO YOU??  They could market slug slime as a non-water-soluble lubricant, is all I'm saying.  I scrubbed, people! I scrubbed with scourers, with Fairy Liquid, with hot water...and still the slime stuck.  It took days before I could pull my sleeves down without my cardigan sliding off my arms.

And yes, this is indoors.  Yes, it is in my kitchen. I don't use poison because I have a stupid terrier who would only eat it. But these things are in my house...

I'm now hunting for a bin to keep the dog biscuits in. But I'm afraid that, deprived of their usual diet of dog-food, the slugs will come looking for a new target, and. given the slime, they will be able to slide me out of bed and transport me to some sluggy backwater without me even waking up!  One day, I'm just going to open my eyes and find myself face-to-eyestalk with some kind of sluggy Godfather figure, and then it's a very short hop to one of those horror films you see on late night telly...
'Don't call me 'slugface''...

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Snow-Globe blindness and non-weeing characters in latest book shock!

Oh it's been a busy old week, what with the metal cages trying to kill me, writing a book during which I suddenly realised that a scene was in completely the wrong place, and doing a workshop...

The workshop, it must be said, was lovely.  Rhoda Baxter had found a fantastic place in mid York (when I say she found it I don't mean that she fell over it while out walking, she actually went looking first), and it was in a little attic room in Millers Yard, where we all sat around a table and Rhoda and I talked about Character-building (in novels, obviously, we didn't make our participants hang from trees over lakes full of crocodiles whilst shouting up at them that it was good for them.  That would have been expensive and probably not allowed - damn you Health and Safety!), Three-Act structure, Show Don't Tell ( we were quite forcible on this point, I believe) and Point Of View.  There were, for those of you concerned about such things, HobNobs.

In other news, my latest book 'I Don't Want to Talk About It' is still only 99 of your earth pence, it's a Kindle Monthly Deal (which I always think sounds suspiciously like the world's slowest card player), and it's selling really well.  So, you know, if you fancy a cheap read with a lovely cover, then go on over and buy it.  And, as if that weren't enough excitement for one person, my Christmas Novella will soon be available for pre-order!

It's a snow-globe.  I have to keep reminding myself that it's a snow globe.  For some reason known only to me and a few chosen friends, I suffer from snow globe blindness. I am physically unable to recognise a snow globe when I see one.  Others will see a snow globe when they look at the beautiful cover of my novella - me, I see a crystal ball with an inexplicable christmas tree inside it.  There are no crystal balls in the novella.  To be fair, there aren't any snow globes either, but snow globes are far more in the spirit of the story.  And there are christmas trees aplenty.  So why do I persist in being unable to see it as a snow globe?

Also in the story are (in no particular order), a man in tatty socks, artwork (some of it very valuable), snow, mince pies, and a dog called Frodo who looks a bit like this..
and whose main contribution to the story is to wee up a stairwell.

And now I must go back to the WIP, where nobody wees at all... well, obviously they must do, or they would explode, but there is no graphic weeing anywhere. *thinks*.  Although there may be a small case of pooh to take into consideration...Not a case of pooh, that's quite a lot of pooh, like, nearly a crateful, but...yes. Definitely some pooh.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

The Co Op and the Killer Cages of Doom

I'm sorry, this post is a bit late.  Weekend working and writing are not compatible it seems...

I know, I know, you like to imaging me lounging in a negligible on a chaise longee eating grapes peeled by my own personal..err...grape peeler, or Tony Robinson, whoever's turn it is to pander to my whims...
but, in reality, yours truly has to put her shoulder to the wheel of commerce and give it a hearty shove every now and then.  For which, read manning the tills at the local Co Op for between sixteen and twenty five hours a week.

I've no idea where this image of writers as 'loungers on loungers' comes from. Most of the writers I know have day jobs, whilst writing novels is extremely fulfilling in a creative kind of way, it does not in any way at all pay the bills to run a household.  So, there I was today, striving for National Minimum Wage by wrangling metal carts that want to kill me up and down narrow aisles, or being trapped in the milk chiller by other metal carts which also want to kill me.

The Co Op has sentient shelf stacking equipment, you see. Vendables (those things we are about to vend, and not to be confused with Venables..

...because there are almost no points of contact between the Co Op and upper echalon football) are placed in metal cages and pushed around the shop floor to be decanted elegantly onto their appointed shelves.  Only in my case, the cages gang up, circle around and pin me to the Ambient Produce, from where I have to be rescued by patient co workers, armed with stun guns and whips.
A cage in its natural state, before loading commences.  They also bite.
You know how badly behaved the average supermarket trolley is?  Well, these cages are like shopping trolleys that have been extended, had what little element of steerability they once had removed, and then they have been given toothache and the general temperament of a wasp.  AND they have access to freezers, chillers and the horrors of Ambient Produce, so I think you can imagine the terrifying nature of my job.

It's a wonder this blog gets written at all, quite honestly.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

An Author's Bits. With pictures.

This week I have found myself thinking about authors' bits.

Not like Neil Gaiman's dangly parts or J K Rowling's sit-upon, because that would be strange, and what possible reason could I have for such musings other than a strange sexual preoccupation, which I quite clearly don't have and no I don't need any more approaches from men on Facebook, thank you very much.

Anyway.  No.  The authors' bits that I was thinking about, are the bits that go in the back of books (or sometimes the front), where you get that heading that says 'About The Author'.  This is where the author (or, if they are a rich and successful author, their 'people') try to make up something that makes the author in question sound approachable and fun, yet wacky and interesting enough to have come up with a book that you might want to read.
Yes, it's a wetsuit.  For 'weekend pursuits'.
I'd guess, if you're the sort of author who has 'people', that you'd need to be quite nice to those 'people', just in case you suddenly find your books out there on the shelves bearing an 'About the Author' that says something like 'Blah is an author of inadequate comprehension, who spends his/her weekend at Interational Bitchathons and is regularly to be found naked and drunk in local gutters.'  Of course, since nobody reads the Authors' Bits, it's quite possible that my books already have this in, but I like to think that someone would have told me by now.

Right.  So my Author's Bits, mostly mention my animals, so I thought, what with 'I Don't Want to Talk About It' being on 99p Kindle Monthly Deal and my Christmas Novella coming soon, you may want a little insider peek at my bits.
Teal, the puppy, Cal, the stripey cat, and Zach the black and white one

Quentin, Helga and Helga...
Ignore the 'author in her slippers'.  Corvo the black and white cat, Abraxus the black cat, Big Dog Dylan, and yes, Teal the puppy again. She's photogenic, what can I say?
Tiggy, the terrier of such unmitigated scruffiness and grump that she rarely features in family photos. From her expression you can tell that she knows this.

So, there you have it. My bits.  And next time you pick up one of my books and read 'Jane has four cats, three hens and three dogs', now you know what they look like.  I'll be asking questions later, so I'll leave you to memorise these...

Oh, and anyone who came here for pictures of an author' know...bits... I'll see you later. Just have the money in used readies....