Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm done

Circe Surfs the Web, after John William Waterhouse
Some rights reserved by Mike Licht
I wrote 50,000 words and now I'm done.

Well, I'm not really done. I've started reading through the story and trying to work out what the plot is. I'm not correcting typos (well, all right I am but I'm trying not to), I'm trying to make the story make sense.

I expected to feel pleased but I mostly feel tired and relieved.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Days!

Some rights reserved by Lawrence OP
Happy Thanksgiving to all my US friends! And Happy Thursday to all the rest of us!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Happy thoughts

jjdebenedictis has had a wonderful idea: to post a song from your childhood that makes you happy. Hers is here. I immediately thought of this song:

Meanwhile, some friends who met in the blogosphere in 2008 are posting voice posts from that time, or new ones in honour of that time.

I know I've missed some, so please comment and I'll add you to the list.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I know I just posted a cuteness overload from BoingBoing but I couldn't resist posting this one too. The original is here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cuddling Cats

Not a great day for me, not a good time of year. But cats always cheer me up.

It's worth waiting for the 20 second mark on the video.

Found via BoingBoing

Monday, November 15, 2010

Remembrance of times past

At Pacatrue's suggestion, as explained on Robin's blog, a number of us are taking a time machine back to 2008.

My blog really only started in March of that year and took off after I discovered Evil Editor and his minions. So here's one of my early posts where I show a great disdain for the real meaning of Deus Ex Machina so that I can get to a terrible punchline. The post first appeared on 17th March 2008 here.

Evil EditorI found Evil Editor's blog and I think I'm hooked. He offers advice to struggling writers on query letters and there's a whole community of his Evil Minions.

He also offers writing exercises, and I had a go at the latest one: to write a short (300 word) story with a Deus Ex Machina. So here it is:

Jason braced himself against a bulkhead and wrenched at the lever but it was stuck. He looked across at Emily imploringly and she added her strength. Her biceps bulged but the lever stood firm and the door remained firmly closed. Water swirled around their ankles. It was rising fast and would reach the ceiling in less than a minute.

Jason clutched at Emily. "We're going to die!"

She held him in her arms and gazed into his eyes. "There's only one thing we can do."

She reached into her enormous handbag and pulled out a can of WD40. One squirt and the lever came free. They opened the door and scrambled through, then pushed the door shut against the weight of the water.

Now the lever was hanging loose and they could not get the door to stay shut. Water poured through and Jason was shivering with cold and shock.

"If we don't stop the water coming through we're dead," he said.

"Don't panic." Emily reached into her bag and brought out a huge reel of duct tape, then bit off a long strip and handed it to Jason. Between them, they taped the door shut and the flow of water ceased. They slumped down against the sealed door to await rescue.

"How come you had the right stuff in your bag?" Jason asked.

"Everyone knows," Emily replied. "If it doesn't move and it should, you use WD40, and if it moves and it shouldn't, you use duct tape."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cat in the box

I found this at BoingBoing.

The Insanity Virus

Richard found a fascinating article that suggests that schizophrenia may be the result of a retrovirus that hides permanently in our genes and is set off by an infection around the time of birth.

I find this idea particularly exciting as schizophrenia is just one of a number of illnesses that have in the past been blamed on dysfunctional families, especially mothers. When my son first came down with what was then called ME, I was told by more than one person, "I think it's all in the mind, you know." (So is anorexia, apparently, but that doesn't make it trivial.)

A similar viral cause is being suggested for Multiple Sclerosis and I can't help wondering about the CFS/ME connection. What is so hopeful is that if the scientists find a genuine cause for these illnesses then they are on the way to finding a cure.

The article is here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christmas has come early!

You may remember that I asked for help in choosing a laptop, and I'm very grateful for all the suggestions I received.

I finally went for a business laptop with a matte screen, which is excellent for reading and writing (thanks, Richard). It's a very nice little machine.

I had an initial moment of panic: going down from an 18" to a 13" screen is quite a change! But it's small and light and the keyboard is adequate (although I'd expected a better keyboard from the reviews). I've got most of my regular programs set up and now I have no excuse for not writing!

It barely weighs more than a hardback book!

Just one niggle and that's about the Kindle. I have Kindle for pc but because the book I'm reading is on my Beloved's laptop, I would need to buy it again to read it on here. Naughty amazon! I've a couple of ePub books and they are no problem to transfer at all.

(Edited to add: thanks to Sylvia for setting me straight on this. I now have my Kindle books available on this laptop too.)

Anyway, thanks for your help and support!

(In case anyone is interested, it's an .Aspire Timeline 8371 - 944G32N / Core 2 Duo SU9400 1.4GHz / 4GB / 320GB / 13.3 inch / Vista Business / Laptop / Notebook (LX.TTK0Z.001).)

Monday, November 08, 2010

Why didn't you buy that book?

Used Book Buying area - Third Place Books

There's a new website called Lost Book Sales where readers can explain why they didn't buy a particular book and what they did instead. There are many cases of "It wasn't available digitally in my region so I got a copy from the library/bought a second-hand copy instead".

Wouldn't it be nice if publishers took notice?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Free book

Simon Kewin, of #1 Writing Tip fame, is making one of his stories available free for this month. Just pop over to his blog and read all about it.

I got my ePub copy on Smashwords and it is only $0.99 full price but if you use the code Simon gives on his blog, you can get it free. I've read other of his short stories and enjoyed them so it's definitely worth a look.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

A blog post a day

Two Bloggers, after Norman Rockwell

I've posted before about Tim Hallinan. He has a Finish Your Novel section on his website that I highly recommend. It's inspired me many a time.

Now he's started The Stupid 365 Project. He's going to post on his blog every single day for a year, at least 300 words. He's up to day 35 so far and we've read about Hell; disposable razors; Hepburn; Olivier (both of whom he met); short stories; and iPods; to name just a few of the topics he's covered. How on earth does he find something to write about every day? If you pop over to his blog you might find out.

Friday, November 05, 2010

#1 Writing Tip

Simon Kewin is still on a roll with his writing: he had news of four pieces accepted for publication yesterday! You can see his post here.

After a bit of discussion in the comments, he came up with his #1 writing tip and I share it with you here:
you do actually have to write something!

That may be where I've been going wrong.

Mind you, I am writing every day now but not for publication: my nanonovel is slowly emerging. I'm checking the word count every two hundred words, which is a bad sign, but I'm having fun with it all the same. The only problem is the plot holes which are piling up, if holes can pile up. Well, these ones are.

How is your writing coming along, presuming you do any? Or if you want to, just pop in and say "hi"!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


fumacinha 02
The Daily Mail has posted a sensible, balanced and thoughtful article. I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked!

It's arguing that
Making cannabis legal would save police time, police priorities, the courts’ time and it would raise money. It is a commonsense and ‘liberal’ solution.
If even the Daily Mail can see this, what's wrong with the government? Oh, I forgot. They sacked one of their scientists for finding that alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis. Why should they listen to Professor Nutt now when his Independent Scientific Committe on Drugs finds the same thing?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

This looks interesting

Gay Pride New York 2008 / 20080629.10D.49816 / SML
Photo by See-Ming Lee

The BBC has opened its archives to chart the gay rights movement in the UK. It's a bit of a shock to be reminded of how far we've had to come.

Pacing myself

Romeo, Romeo, WTF Romeo?, after William Powell Frith
I'm pacing myself today. After overdoing it yesterday morning and leaving myself a crumpled heap for the rest of the day, I've decided on half hour stints only. That's 700 words at a time, give or take a few.

It's very satisfying to see the word count go up and it's great fun being self-indulgent and writing exactly what I want to write even if no one will ever want to read it! I'm currently describing alien food and it reminds me a bit of Enid Blyton, and the the Tooth Fairy stories I used to tell my kids when they were little.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Two thousand words

It's half past eight on 1st November and I have my first two thousand words.

So far so good.

I may go back to bed now!
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