Monday, June 23, 2008

Tagged by JJ

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Loads of things. Not married. No kids. Nuff said.

Five things on your to-do list for today:
Finish reading one of Jane's shorties
Finish writing letter of complaint to dentist
Unpack stuff from weekend stay at my Dad's
Sort the washing
Write something

What are three of your bad habits?
Always being in a hurry, even when I'm running to schedule.
Spending an hour making just-a-little change to a story when I should be sorting the washing.

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

What are some snacks you enjoy?

What were the last five books you read?
You're Not the Only One, Sarah J. Peach, Ed. (in progress)
Daphne, Justine Picardie (in progress)
A Talent to Deceive, Robert Barnard - a biography of Agatha Christie (in progress)
On Edge, Dick Francis
Shattered, Dick Francis

What are five jobs you have had?
Electronic-component assembler

Five places that you have lived?
Hertfordshire (hated it)
Yorkshire (loved it)
Hampshire (bearable)
Surrey (unbearable)
Australia (er, hot)

Tags: Maddie, Helenmh, Womag, Karen, and Lucy (cos she's got nothing better to do at the moment).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

No Time

I've realised where all my time has gone, but I'm not quite sure why it has taken me this long to work it out (perhaps because I have a Brain of Mush), but at least I have worked it out.

This time last year I had a 4yo, a 2yo, and a 3mo baby, and I was writing a shorty a week. Now that the small boy is at school, and the small girl at playgroup every day, you'd think I'd be managing a shorty every day, but no...the baby has given up her morning nap.

Sounds trivial, doesn't it. Not exactly world-stopping news. Rather boring coffee-morning-type news, in fact (and I'm talking here about mothers' coffee mornings, rather than the somewhat more interesting Novel Racers' coffee mornings).

But a year ago, when both the baby and the small girl were napping, I had ten hours a week in which I could reckon to write effectively (my brain doesn't work in the evenings). This dropped to about six hours a week, and, now, I have none.
And that's it, until the baby starts playgroup in fifteen months time.

But, you know what? In fifteen years time, I want to look back on this pre-school bit and remember it as a time I enjoyed with the kids. So often, in teashops and such places, older women come up to me (with my children) and say, 'make the most of them, they grow up so quickly', and I think, yeah, yeah, you've forgotten how hard it is; but they haven't. They just know that this is a really good bit. So, despite the six hours a day I'll get in a few years time, I'm not in a hurry for my kids to trot off to school.

Not even when I wish I could write more.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Firm Foundations

And so, whilst trying to make space for my laptop, amongst all the stuff that has crept back onto my desk, I realised that my tidying-up dominoes were all still lying along the same path, still leading to the loft.

To that end, I went back to the DIY store, and came home laden with twelve packs of tongue and groove boarding - weighing 14kg each - yes, I weighed them, after carrying the first eleven from the car to the loft - and a box of 100x no.6, 40mm wood screws (I just love dazzling you with the technicalities).

Some days later (I don't know how many; I lost all sense of time) I clambered back down the loft ladder with a painful case of housemaid's knee, builder's back, and a rather wild stare; but a loft you could walk across with your eyes closed.

--Take Your Life in Your Hands--------------Boarded!

And so, I ticked another one off the list of...
Jobs to be Done in the Loft:
1. Put lights up
2. Put boards down

3. Tidy up
4. Contact builder/electricians/window people/carpet people to quote for work
5. Plasterboard loft
6. Watch builder/electrician/window people/carpet people do their jobs
7. Struggle up ladder with furniture
8. Relax with nice view over the Sussex weald, and a large glass of Merlot
9. Get writing!

Easy, I thought, on to number three. Ahem...I've been having a bit of trouble with number three. It has developed a number of sub-clauses, not apparent when I originally wrote the list:
3a. Open loft hatch
3b. Pull down ladder
3c. Climb ladder, and stick head into loft space
3d. Switch on lights
3e. Survey loft, and decide upon Tidying Order-of-Events
3f. Switch off lights
3g. Remove head from loft space, and climb back down ladder
3h. Push ladder up
3i. Close loft hatch
3j. Walk away quickly, hoping that there have been no witnesses
3k. Tell lies about how much time has been occupied by children/work/domestic chores all day
3l. Add 'Tidy Loft' to tomorrow's list of jobs

Monday, June 09, 2008

You're Not the Only One

Ah, just what I needed: A hit!

My contribution to the You're Not the Only One anthology has been included! This book has been produced by Peach, and Bloggers for Charity, for the benefit of War Child, a charity helping children in war zones.

I have done so little writing in the last six weeks, that I was beginning to wonder if I would simply drift away from it. I have not been able even to shoehorn writing time into my life recently, so full has it been with work (interesting enough) and children (marvellous) and, well, other stuff (...[insert your chosen adjective here]...). This hit has given me a tremendous boost, just as I am beginning to drag myself out of the mire.

What unusual timing...

You can buy You're Not the Only One from Lulu, by clicking on the button. (It'll offer you two copies to begin with, for print and/or download copies, so be careful when deleting one of them.)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Return to Planet Real Life

Thanks, folks, for your nice emails and comments.

The main reason for my silence has been a massive website-redesign job (100 pages + 244 supporting files), which has occupied all but three of my evenings (7pm - midnight) for the last five weeks.

Of those three evenings off, I spent one critting a short story for Jane (remember 'short' in Jane's world equals a full-length novel for the rest of us). Another evening I spent in the pub, having completely freaked out after a too-long day of rain and grumpy children. The third evening I spent in the company of Harrison Ford (oh, and about three-hundred cinema-goers, sadly).

I have also boarded the loft in the quest for a room of my own (photos to follow), and written a shorty.

Now, I'm knackered, and I need a lie down. Excuse me. I'll be back again soon.