Holiday, book and weather…in that order

Lots of different thoughts flying round today.  Rang our friends about the holiday only to find they are already packed (well Jan is).  It’s because she feels if she leaves things to the end of the week then she’ll be agonising over what to take and what to leave behind.  This way the case is full, locked and waiting for the journey to the airport.  Well, I can understand that line of thinking.  However, sometimes spontaneous packing works too and that’s what I tend to do.  Every year I promise myself that I’ll be organised and really think about what’s going in the case but every year I tend to take too much and half the clothes I bring back haven’t seen beyond the inside of the villa wardrobe!  This year, I’ve decided, it’s going to be different.  I’ll plan the whole trip meticulously, work out how much of everything I need to carry me through those seven days and then choose what to take and what to leave behind.  Will it work?  Well who knows, probably not.  But I’m up for a challenge anyway!

Today I’ve been writing my character profiles for the new book.  I need to set up a file to take with me on holiday so that I can refer to these while putting the whole storyline together.  Amazing that what started out as just a thread of an idea has now expanded into something much bigger with sub-plots which as in all my other books, will run alongside the main story. Very exciting times, but looking forward even more to getting started on the writing.  This will be the last book in the series, I plan to move onto something completely different in 2013.

Weather – well it’s all over isn’t it?  Summer.  Well that’s what we called it but at times it was anything but.  And now it’s not light till well after 5am and it’s dark by 8.30 in the evening.  After yesterday’s rain it was lovely to see the sun again this morning.  However, on venturing outside there was a distinct dampness in the air and a definite feel of autumn.  And of course, now the stores are beginning to display winter clothing and Christmas cards will be on sale soon, we really are shutting the door on the Summer of 2012.  A summer memorable for all the wrong reasons.  Here’s hoping 2013 is a little better!

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It’s Wednesday So What Am I going to Write?

Cut and colour at the village hairdressers this morning.  All of life is there, especially today.  One woman turned up insisting she had an appointment today and threatening a protest of Greenham Common proportions if she didn’t get what she wanted.  Then we nearly had an A & E moment.  An older lady fell over and cut her head open outside the village shop.  Luckily there was someone to take her down to our local health centre for stitches.

Work was work.  Usual handover, interviews for a new student to start in September, quite a lot to fit into a week reduced to two days including getting the July payroll returns underway.  Have a family funeral on Friday (hence the shorter week)  which has triggered a new bout of indecision for me as I figure out what to wear.  A wedding?  That’s easy.  A funeral?  Well it’s a celebration of someone’s life and I guess knowing my cousin, he’d want us to be cheerful, so I think maybe mixing in some subtle colour with black will do the trick!

Tomorrow have to take cats to vet.  They’ve both been microchipped and now I’ve received a letter from the supplier saying theirs might be part of a faulty batch.  So they have to be scanned and if they are found to have microchips from this faulty batch then they have to be redone.  No cost to us so that’s one good thing!

Dallas is back!  I really loved the eighties series; in fact my triology was probably created with memories of Southfork in mind.  West Somerset isn’t exactly Texas and theres not so much of a whiff of an Oil Barons’ Ball but hey, Mel Carpenter (Ella’s evil mother) could see off JR!  I loved the whole premise of Dallas – of good and evil, although there was something about JR which made you realise that although he did some awful things, it was all about being the eldest, running the show and having the world turn his way.  He just wasn’t fussy about how he achieved those aims, that’s all.  Bobby I wanted to shake; he was just too good, too honest and wide open for JR to run rings around him.  I see Linda Gray is back looking just as glamorous and of course, John Ross and Christopher (I think?), two new gorgeous young men to add to the cast.  Am really looking forward to the first episode, no doubt the ratings will go the roof!

So if you loved Dallas in the eighties and all the devious goings on, you’d enjoy the Behind Blue Eyes trilogy and all the devious goings on there –  each e-book is a snip at £1.75!

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The titles of books have always fascinated me but it wasn’t until I started writing myself that I began to realise how difficult it can sometimes be to find that elusive few words which capture the essence of a novel.

My very first attempt at a full length novel I know now, was to say the least, very unremarkable, but at the time I honestly believed it was brilliant – a true masterpiece.  And when I had eventually finished, I had to find a title.  The story was about a girl who was in love with someone she knew she could never have but her feelings for him were so strong she could not let go.  I was looking for something poetic and dramatic.  In our local library I found a book of love poems and discovered the following from Byron’s Don Juan:

My heart is feminine, nor can forget –

To all, except one image madly blind

So stakes the needle and so stands the pole

As vibrates my fond hear to my fixed soul

The book title was taken from this and became Blind Image.

My second book was about a woman married to a much older man who was using his business to smuggle drugs.  She fell in love with an undercover policeman with disastrous consequences for both of them.  This became All for Leyna the title of a song by Billy Joel.

I found I really liked using song titles so when the trilogy emerged, When Tomorrow Comes by the Eurythmics became the title and I actually incorporated those three words into the text at the end of the book.  The second book was a lot more difficult, I couldn’t find anything I felt was appropriate so looked at the actual content of the story instead and decided on Love Lies and Promises, which I thoughtsummed the story up well.  The final part, The Ghost of You and Me was much easier.  I heard the song by the band BB Mak, which is a really beautiful love song and the lyrics said everything about Matt and Ella’s situation.  My new book which is about to be published is called Between Today and Yesterday.  For this I chose an Alan Price song, and decided on this right at the beginning as a working title.  I then changed it to Behind the Mask and then The Debt but in the end went back to the working title as the book was all about past events coming back into the present and affecting all the characters in one way or another.  Again the words ‘between today and yesterday’ are incorporated into the text of the book.

And what’s next?  I had thought the new book, which I’m planning to start in September, would be called The Other Side of Morning, a slight twist on the Scottish band Del Amitri’s This Side of the Morning.  However, it’s very early days yet and I’ll have to see how the writing progresses before I finally commit.  In the end the most important thing is it’s got to feel right for the book.

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On the Buses

Although I drive, I regularly use the bus for work. Over the years bus travel has changed.  The coming of the deregularisation of public transport in my view wrecked bus travel. Now everything is run on a shoe string to maximise profit.  This means that buses are dirty, expensive and rarely run on time.  Added to that there are some drivers with a serious attitude problem, but conversely there are some passengers who are downright rude so guess it balances itself out.

Buses seats have also got smaller as people have got bigger.  Have you noticed that a two person seat now actually fits one and a half peoplle or an adult and a child.  And believe me, sitting with one buttock hanging in the gangway is not a good look!

But the biggest thing that bugs me are passengers who decide to sit next to you and then bestow on you the great honour of coping with their shopping.  Take this evening.  This forty-something woman gets and and throws herself into the seat beside me.  Instantly I find myself coping with not only someone of Amazonian proportions, I’m crushed against the window as she decides to share a shoulder bag, a large tote and two long handled designer carriers.  Not only that, she keeps moving about.  I think she’s on a bit of a bottom wriggle to see whether she can move me even farther into the bus wall.  I have a tactic to cope with this, it’s called an elbow.  As the bus corners and we’re thrown to the left so she shifts away from me for a few seconds and when it straightens and she brings her weight back against me, she finds my elbow there.  Very effective as it soon made her slip the bags from her sholder and put them on the floor.

Since the arrival of the mobile phone, the once silent bus journey you may have had is no more.  Instead you are treated to the most intimate details of peoples’ lives.  Take today on the first bus of my two bus journey.  A young woman is sitting half way up the bus on her phone.  Everyone gets on, pays fares and settles.  The bus gets underway.  The conversation which we passengers are then privty to consists of this girl repeating everything her friend on the other end is saying.  If this isn’t playing to the gallery I don’t know  what is.  Working at a hospital also means very often you share the bus with passengers who have been there on an outpatients appointment.  The public revelations are amazing!  What goes on between a consultant and patient is to all intents and purposes confidential.  And yet people (again on mobiles) reveal the most intimate details.  One woman spent the whole journey from hospital to bus station going through her gynae appointment.  While another man who complained he’d had to stay there all day and drink gallons of water to undertake kidney tests, was entertaining us all with his personal plumbing problems!

How life has changed since as an eighteen year old newly qualified secretary I travelled to work on a completely silent bus full of people.  And what’s brought about that change?  Why is is that the man or woman in the street is so in your face these days with the sort of information you’d rather not know about?  No one it appears minds making a fool of themselves, shouting inappropriate things down a mobile while in the presence of total strangers.  Like the girl who informed her friend (and the rest of us), that her boyfriend was going to get a loan and hand it over to her to pay her debts because the bank had refused her application.  It also appeared that the boyfriend was going to stump up the monthly payments for this loan because in her own words ‘well I’m just hopeless with money.’  I’m pleased to say, however, I now have a fabulous deterrent against all this verbal intrusion, I’ve bought an iPod which just drowns everything out!