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Showing posts from April, 2013

On the whole, writers talking about writing sucks

Yes, I know I wrote a post about my writing yesterday. But to be fair, Readers, I don't write about writing that much and I wanted to keep you in the loop. In fact, I've hardly written about writing at all when you consider I've been blogging since 2007. Mainly, I just write about random stuff like ducks, cupcakes and anything that else that happens to cross my mind. Anyway, I decided it was about time I investigated social networking and linking with writers etc etc etc. I discovered lots of groups and websites for writers on the net. Great, I thought.

Only then I discovered lots of them have rules.

Yes, rules. I hate rules.

Now I like meaningful societal rules like Thou Shalt Not Kill and Thou Shalt Not Put Potato Peelings in the Recycling Bin but generally I'm not good with other kind of rules. Especially rules enforced by by the I Know Your Mother and You Used To Wet Your Bed types. Ugh.

I joined one group on Google+ but in truth I am shit scared (and coming from m…

Where Am I At?

So it's seven weeks today that I finished the first draft to my novel. I've been trying to hold back from editing as long as possible in order that I can get the best perspective on it but I am not sure that I can hold out much longer. In the meantime, I've made some preparations:

1. I've studied all the literary agents. That was pretty disheartening as there's no one really looking for comedy, other than the coffee-table Christmas book type. I get the impression that subtle humour - the type that could pass unnoticed without detriment if you didn't get the joke - is about as much as will be tolerated.This has really confirmed an idea that was growing whilst I was writing my novel that it might actually work better as a screenplay as it has very visual aspects to it. That's something to think about in the long term. So it's been tough trying to make a list of possible agents but I've now, at last, settled on my first choice and written a covering le…

The Birds are out to get me

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Birds. I've had enough of them. Yesterday, I reported on some errant ducks and now this morning just as I was sleeping heavily the chickens started clucking and crowing at 5.45am. I staggered out of bed, precariously negotiated the stairs, filled up a bowl of grain, a tub of fresh water and stomped out into the garden cursing my chickens and wondering what would be the chances of passing off six dead chickens to Master Ben as a mild case of Bird Flu which didn't need reporting to the Health Authorities.

So I was grumpy after my interrupted sleep and annoyed with myself that I'd arranged an 8.20 am dentists appointment for the boys. I'm not sure why I do these things to myself - I should be like most other mothers and just take them out of school at a more acceptable time. Perhaps after I've had my elevenses and I've woken up. I think I do these things to myself as I'm a really diligent mother and I don't like to take the boys out of school when they cou…

Me and the errant ducks

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Yesterday I went swimming while my boys were playing tennis. The indoor pool was full of children and parents with babies so I decide to brave the cold and sprint to the outdoor pool. (When I say "sprint" I actually mean  "fast waddle" but since I'm on a diet hopefully it will be less of a waddle in due course.)

Anyway, it was no surprise as it was freezing outside that the pool was empty except for two ducks: I think they got confused trying to find their way to a nearby lake and decided to check in at the sports centre for refreshments. Now I rather like swimming by myself in the pool which is where I ponder the meaning of life and other vitally important issue like the cost of chocolate, whether there's a two for one on offer on the Slimfast bars and whether or not the Looney Left will actually cause a scene at Mrs Thatcher funeral (no prizes for guessing the answer to that one) so I was rather perturbed that once I recovered from mild hypothermia and st…

Disgusted with the Daily Mail

I don't think I have ever been more disgusted with The Daily Mail. Yesterday, three people, including a child, lost their lives due to bombs exploding during the Boston Marathon. Today, above their main news headline about this tragic event they are running a moving banner that reads "Breaking News...Attack on The White House" It is part of an advert for the film Olympus Has Fallen. If you happen to focus on that moving banner as I did when I first opened the Daily Mail website it looks very much like another awful tragedy has occurred.

I really think this sort of mindless, insensitive and aggressive marketing is totally unacceptable. Factor in the ridiculous articles by self promoting female journalists in their Femail section willing to sell their souls and their families for cash, the bigoted writing of the likes of Richard Littlejohn and Jan Moir and the general twisted reporting and homage to celebrity culture The Daily Mail isn't worth reading anymore. In fact,…

Thoughts on the other Mrs T, Mrs Thatcher

Yesterday the news broke that Mrs Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1979 to November 1990 had died from a stroke. Her death unleashed some unpleasant vitriol: students celebrated on the streets, offensive remarks delighting in her death were posted on Facebook, left-wing politicians queued up to slate her, an e-petition was started to prevent her from having a state funeral.

Subsequently, I have thought back over the life of Mrs Thatcher,who was in power for most of  the years when I was forming my own political opinions, and I've wondered if she deserves the vitriol or whether, in fact, she deserves the accolades that those with more respect for her passing have shown.  Was she truly a"great" leader and, if so, what are the qualities that distinguish a "great" leader from any other leader? What sets her apart from any other British twentieth century peace-time politician to the extent that she warrants an expensive and elaborate funeral? 

More annoying emails and some soothing music

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I just got another email from the author I referred to in my last post. How very, very annoying. How many times is he going to e-bomb me?

I've press "send" on the draft email in my last post.

I'm sorry but he deserved it. I can just about overlook one hideous self promotional email but two? I'm afraid not. I had to send my reply: it was my duty for my Queen and country and for all hard-working, honest writers and bloggers the world over who don't do that kind of annoying bullshit. Sorry.

Ugh, the youth of today - what it must be like to have so much confidence in your abilities that you'd happily spam a whole load of strangers to promote yourself. I wish there was an X Factor for authors. I'd love to see this guy on it. I can just see him on his knees before Simon Cowell pleading to not to be kicked off the next episode:

 Adam: "But people always told me I was brilliant at writing! My gran said I should travel the world and write about my experie…

A Letter to a Young American

This morning I received an an email from a young American requesting help with publicity for his forthcoming novel. I've copied it below with a few pertinent details changed. Below is my reply. I haven't pressed "send" yet. What do you readers think? Should I send it to him? 

Oh before you start reading, I'd  just like to say first to my American readers and friends: please remember I have a sense of humour and note that I was bored when the email arrived in my inbox at 7 am this morning. I'm afraid it's never a good idea to email me at that time of the day. And I love you. Okay? Right, here we go:


Heyyyy Jane,
Through a series of links, I just came upon your blog, and I have an idea.
My new book, (Deleted title) is coming out on April 22nd. It is the narrative of my one year trip around the world. I mustered cattle. I volunteered with children. I went scuba diving. I grew a mullet. I fought bulls.I made love on a beach. Etcetera.
A few years ago, for my first…

Goodbye, Mr Banks

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It is with great sadness that I read today that the author, Iain Banks, has only a few months to live. Not long ago I went to Luton Central Library to listen to him talk about his career in writing. He was thoroughly engaging, charming and wonderfully funny and I subsequently purchased a copy of The Wasp Factory which he signed for me. From what I have read, Iain is approaching his early demise with great courage and humour. I hope, as no doubt we all do, that his remaining months are as pain free and happy as possible.