Sunday, March 30, 2014

Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin and the Concious Uncoupling

I'm going to have to jump into the affray with the ridiculous terminology Gwyneth has assigned to her separation from Coldplay's Chris Martin.

You just know when you've heard an expression like concious uncoupling that it's been coined after a minimum of twelve weeks counselling. Most likely in a room overflowing with scented candles and where all the furniture faces east. You can also be pretty darn sure that when the terms of the conscious uncoupling have been agreed, the concious couple will have wound down with a "fun" yoga session and a dinner of spinach parcels and deep-fried Quorn.

Tasty. In a sort of bland vegetarian way.

Now, when I was vigorously researching this post (Daily Mail) I also stumbled upon this article at The New York Times. Apparently, the term concious uncoupling was not coined by Gwyneth but by a psychotherapist called Katherine Woodward Thomas who, at the time of being interviewed about her terminology, was hanging out at a spa and yoga resort.

Now there's a surprise.

No, I'm not being cynical. I am genuinely surprised. I thought it would be a kibbutz.

The thing is the term concious uncoupling reminds me of all those other daft politically correct terms we have here in the UK like Accessible Toilet (Formerly a toilet for disabled persons)  and transparent (used to mean something you could see through but now means the exact opposite. (Ho hum)

Anyway, language is a funny old thing. We all carry associations with certain words. For example:

 With the word divorce I associate:

1. Two people annulling their marriage. 
2. Tammy Wynette's 1968 hit D.I.V.O.R.C.E
3 Joan Collins, Elizabeth Taylor and Zsa Zsa Gabor.


With the word  separation I associate:

1. Two people living apart who will probably get a divorce.
2.  An unwrapped packet of Rolos awaiting consumption by my good self
3. Mr T opening his wallet to pay for my B-day present.

Unfortunately, with the words concious uncoupling all I can associate is:

I am quite interested to know if Galapagos giant turtles practise yoga. I may undertake some further research into this matter when I have consciously precipitated our nutriment. (Cooked tea.)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Classic Mrs T Moment

Yesterday, I had one of my "moments".

So the boys were nagging me for a McDonald's on the way back from a late-night tennis practice. So being a kind mother, we pulled into the drive-thru, ordered shakes and burgers, paid at the cash desk and pulled up at the delivery hatch. Whereupon, Master Ben requested that I asked for a sheet for him to stick on some stamps for a competition McDonald's are running to win various goodies. The assistant duly handed the sheet to me with the shakes and I hand them to Master Jacob who was sitting in the front seat.

Big mistake. Because Master Jacob has Master Ben's sheet and Master Ben has the stickers. They started to argue over who was going to stick on the stamps to win the Mini Cooper.  I closed the window, regretting I ever had children, and drove-off. After a while, Master Jacob finally relented and gave Master Ben his sheet. This is what happened next:

Master Jacob: Where's the burgers?

Mrs T: In your lap.

Master Jacob:(searches around seat) They're not.

Mrs T: I gave them to you.

Master Jacob: No, you didn't.

Mrs T: You must have dropped the bag in the footwell.

Master Jacob: (searches in the mess that is the footwell) They're not here.

Mrs T: I definitely gave them to you.

Master Jacob: No, you didn't.

Mrs T: Did I toss them over to you, Ben?

Master Ben: (searches frantically in the mess that is the rear seat) They're not here!

Mrs T: They must be. I definitely gave them to someone!

*Both boys search frantically in the dark*

Master Jacob: They're not here!

Master Ben: They're not here!

* Mrs T pulls up in the road *

Mrs T: DOES ANYONE HAVE THE BURGERS?

Master Jacob: No!

Master Ben: No!

At which point, I turn the car around we go back to the drive-thru. I park-up and go in. I go to the counter and:

Mrs T: I was at the drive-thru just now...

*All the staff turn around and look at me*

Assistant: Are you the lady with the burgers?

Mrs T: Yes

*All the staff look at me with big cheesy grins*

Mrs T (shrugs nonchalantly) That's what happens when you hit the menopause.

WARNING: Do not let you kids collect stamps. Not even to win a Mini-Cooper.


McDonald's should install exit signs which read:
 "Have you remembered your meal?"  It would help. It really would.
(Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Friday, March 28, 2014

What is a Janerism?

So here's a question - what is a Janerism?

I'm not entirely sure. I'm somewhat confused. But apparently it's something I do a lot.

Now this description has been assigned to me by author, Karen Wyld, from my writer's group on Google +.

I'm slightly worried because the term reminds me of a Malapropism. Now if you've not heard of the term Malapropism before -basically it's derived from this mad old bag who was in Richard Sheridan's 1775 comedy The Rivals.

Again, I'm slightly worried.

Now, because I am a discreet and subtle person, there's not many pictures of me on the net. But I have this awful feeling that people think I look like this:
Well the hat's not far off the truth. On a cold day and with a hangover.

Or maybe they think I look like this:
Well she's a cheery looking lady. In a sort of weird stalker way.

Or maybe even this:

Hmm...maybe we're getting closer to the truth here.

Okay, I want to be entirely honest with you folks. Because that's the way I am. And currently there's the big rush of people doing selfies for breast cancer. So I figure it's time I gave you an up to date photo of me. So here I am:




As I said, I am nothing but scrupulously honest.




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I am an author!

So I was "kind of" an author before, but now I'm on Amazon it's official isn't it?


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Modern-Life-sweet-salty-stories-ebook/dp/B00J876WVM/
I am an author!
If any of you good folks are tempted to buy and review - remember be generous in your praise - you don't want Mrs T turning into one of those depressed writerly types. That would be so not good - I've only just got over finding a hole in my tights.

At present, A Modern Life is only available on Kindle but don't forget if you have a computer, tablet or mobile you can download a Kindle App and read it that way. It will be available on other e-readers and in paperback in due course.

Enjoy!

A Modern Life on Amazon.co.uk

A Modern Life on Amazon.com



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Countdown to Publication


So recently, my ISBN (international standard book numbers) finally arrived. These are the numerical codes that identify individual books and generate the barcode that you see on the back of books. By assigning ISBN numbers to my books, it means they will appear in industry catalogues and be available for retailers to purchase. It's taken much longer to get this point than I imagined. However, it does mean that the publication of A Modern Life on Kindle is days rather than weeks away. It will follow shortly after on other e-readers and then in paperback in early April.

In between all the preparations (which being a bit brainless I had not thought through - like tax requirements, setting up a business, blah, blah, blah) I have written a new story which I am going to include as a last minute addition to my short story collection. It's called Pork Chops and Promiscuity and is about a lesbian called Judith who has a fondness for pork. Sounds daft, I know. And that's because it is daft. Still, if there's one thing I can say about my story collection - there's a lot of variety in it.  I'm hoping that amongst the thirteen stories and the opening chapter to The Changing Room there will be at least one that will appeal to individuals and which will save me from a rush of one stars on Amazon.


 I thought this was a collection of literary stories but the first story is about a lesbian with a penchant for pork chops. Are you sure it's not an article for The Daily Mail?
Unfortunately, I am starting to have nightmares about the potential reaction to my short stories. Yikes. If things get worse, I may have to see a counsellor - although I am slightly unnerved by the fact that the other night I dreamt I went to a counsellor and when he put down the copy of A Modern Life covering his face I saw he was Stephen King. It was a pretty bad nightmare - especially when I was forced to admit I'd only skimmed-read his writing guide On Writing. Luckily, I woke up just as he was about to stab me with his fountain pen.

I tried to read this book, I really, really did.  But when I got to the story about the floater in the toilet I couldn't take anymore.

This book is really disturbing. I give it one star.

This book is really, really disturbing - and there's a typo.
Look, I don't care what people's reactions are. So long as there is a reaction. As a humorist and a reviewer I am already prepared for mixed reviews.The worst thing that could possibly happen is this:

video

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Happy In Luton

I live fairly near Luton, in fact some of my most embarrassing car-parking moments have been in Luton, nevertheless when I saw this on Facebook it brought a big, big, smile to my face. Enjoy!


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Monster Images

I made the mistake a while ago of syncing the boys ipads with my computer using the icloud.

So, for anyone not familiar with Apple products, this means instead of plugging in the ipads to my computer to transfer songs, films and pictures it does it automatically. I've no idea how but it's genius. It also means I get to keep an eye on what the boys are doing in a Big Brother type of way.

Or maybe that's a Big Mother type of way.

*Looks at thighs*

Yeah, okay. It's a Big Mother type of way.

Now initially, I turned on the icloud because I was fed up of updating all our gadgets with our shared music which is stored on itunes. The Big Mother aspect only dawned on me when I started to get notifications of new photographs arriving on my computer.

These photographs were kinda shocking. (It's not what you're thinking.)

You know, I thought my Master Jacob was a handsome fella until he sent me this:

 I warned Master Jacob plenty of times about not eating his vegs and now look what's happened.

But not to out-done by his brother, Master Benedict sent me these:


Master Ben is thinking of giving up tennis and taking up Rugby Union.


 Master Ben is now available for hire in any forthcoming Disney releases
 Master Ben was hoping this picture would inspire feelings of maternal affection. It didn't work.

 Now this is actually what Master Ben looks like:




Now don't be fooled, readers. He may look innocent but he isn't. That is the expression he normally wears when he's about to deliver one of his infamous one-liners. At the moment, they tend to start with the word "Mother...."

"Mother, do you know this a 30 mph zone?"

"Mother, there is a car parked behind us."

"Mother, where are my school trousers, shirt, socks...."

"Mother, this toast is burnt."

"Mother, have you seen The Omen?"



Monday, March 3, 2014

Patience, Impatience and a Mission Statement

Now, I am sure you folks out there know how patient we Brits are about standing in queues. I'm not sure where all this patience originates from because personally I'd like to club some of the people standing in front of me in the supermarket queue. You know the ones - you've been standing in the queue for twenty minutes and the person in front of you announces they've forgotten something and heads off to the meat counter and doesn't return for ten minutes. Meanwhile, you're still standing in the queue watching the hands of your watch tick away like an unexploded bomb knowing that you've got pack, pay and repack the groceries into your car and drive across town pick up your kids in less than ten minutes.

Then, of course, when the customer finally returns from their sojourn they forlornly announce that the turkey mince they wanted for their cat wasn't supplied in a small enough quantities.

It is at this point that you grip the stick of French bread your holding so tight it starts to crumble as you imagine clubbing the customer with it before strangling them with a string of sausages.

Hmm...I wonder if they need a new script writer for CSI?

 Episode 24: The Serial Sausage Killer.

Works for me.

I think I need to write more murderous fiction. I need to let out all my pent-up frustrations with supermarkets.

And quite a few other things. My weighing scales for starters. Those things are jinxed. I have to keep buying new ones as there is no way I weigh that much. There's a lot of faulty manufacturing going on out there in the world of bathroom scales and someone needs to sort it out.

Episode 25: The Revenge of Womanhood

Yeah, so murderous writing could be good therapy for me. Instead of verging on my usual mania, I'd probably end up really chilled-out, performing yoga and floating votive candles in the bath. I might even start wearing crochet multi-coloured jumpers.

By the way, do people really float candles in the bath? Or is that just in the movies? Maybe it's what incredibly rich people who live in LA do - I suppose they're the only ones who can afford the plastic surgery if they accidentally set their pubic hair alight.

So anyway, I expect you've all heard the phrase "patience is a virtue."

Some phrases just annoy the hell out of you. "Patience is a virtue" is one of them. I mean, having patience is plain boring isn't it? You know what I am talking about -you're stuck in a traffic jam on the motorway and whilst you exchange empathetic grimaces with the driver in the next lane and glance at your watch trying not to look too concerned, what you really want to do is leap out off your car, march to the front of the queue and rant and rave (and possibly kill) whoever is holding up the traffic.

Except no one will be there, of course. They'll be just a load of cones which seem to have no purpose whatsoever. They'll just be rows and rows of cones which have descended on the motorway like a fleet of Daleks, determined to screw up your life for all eternity.

Episode 26: The Cone Exterminator.

Anyway, what I am getting around to saying is that I think I am getting less patient as I get older. I have feeling this is not how it is meant to be. Aren't people meant to become more patient and wiser as they age? Aren't I supposed to sit patiently for hours, chewing tobacco like one of those Indian Chieftains, before dispensing some profound statement like "Man who is impatient will get speeding fine," or "Woman who makes haste will catch her heel in pavement."

Now unfortunately, having patience is something a writer needs lots of. It takes a long time and a lot of self motivation to write a full-length novel. However, the amount of patience required to write a book is nothing compared to the amount of patience a writer must have when dealing with literary agents.

You see, literary agents are the key to a traditional publishing contract. You can't get anywhere without one unless you hit the seriously big time as a self-published author like E L James did with Fifty Shades or Hugh Howey did will Wool.

Now imagine being stuck on the traffic lights on AMBER for four whole months. Every now and then you rev your engine and think any minute now I'm gonna GO and then just for a moment you think it flicks to green but before you can put the car into gear it flicks back to orange and then finally onto red.

STOP!

Yep, so that's Mrs T's story. A leading UK agent had my full manuscript for four months before finally rejecting it. Some pretty good stuff was said and some other agents have said some pretty good stuff too like "funny," "engaging" and "well written."

Hey, don't blame for getting some good stuff in amongst the rejections. Do you want poor Mrs T to become depressed? A gal's gotta keep her ego up somehow.

So anyway, as yet, no one wants to take a chance on a comedy novel that isn't a romance or by some big cheese author.

What the hell more do they want? I mean isn't "funny", "engaging", "well-written" and "entertaining on all levels" good enough?

Do these agents want my blood spread over their desks or what?

Maybe they want my super seductive 48-year old body as well? Is that it? Maybe I should dress up in a low cut dress and sing "Hello, Mr Agent" all gooey like Marilyn Monroe did for JFK?

What? What? What is they want? 

(Apart from a sure-fire bestseller written by a celebrity obviously.)

Now I could work my way through all the UK agents but I can't be bothered my engine has burnt out with all the revving.

So I've come to the conclusion, you can't always wait for things to happen, you have to make them happen. After all, I could get run-over tomorrow and The Changing Room would never see the light of day and I have worked too hard to get to this stage to let it die with me and the bus.

So I have ordered my ISBN numbers and I now anticipate A Modern Life will be published later this month when the ISBN numbers arrive in my inbox.  A Modern Life will also contain the opening chapter of  The Changing Room which, if you haven't worked it out by now, is a rip-roaring roller-coaster of a comedy. The first chapter will give you a good flavour - but you'll have to pay to read the telephone sex chapters. But they're good. Worth every penny of the extortionate amount I'm going to charge.

Okay, it not going to be that expensive. Just a fair price.

Anyway get ready, folks, Mrs T is finally going into the unknown. Accordingly, I've put together a mission statement. It goes like this:

Publishing: the final frontier. These are the ramblings of the Housewife Extraordinaire. Her seven-year mission: to explore strange new words, to seek out new characters and new genres, to boldly go where no writer has gone before.

Obviously, I spent a lot of time thinking about that mission statement.

Well - at least thirty seconds.

Anyway, you know what that kind of mission statement and ambition does to a woman like me? It does this: