Monday, 31 January 2011

Always Check The Small Print!

I suggest you read THIS ARTICLE HERE Before you tick another of those 'I accept' boxes without reading the clauses!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Sad or Not?

You'll have to tell me what you think, I can't decide.

I've started Christmas shopping!

Okay, okay - I might not have actually started. It's only a bid on something at eBay, a thing I found by chance when I was doing something else. But it was one of those 'oh, that'd be PERFECT' moments, and I couldn't resist.

Perfect for my hubbie, that it, and as his birthday has already gone then it has to be Christmas, doesn't it?

I can't tell you what it is because he might peek at my blog and then he'll know what it is, and that would spoil the whole thing, wouldn't it? But I can tell you that it's a collectible thing that I know he'd just love, though precisely because it is a collectible, it's probably going to go for a lot more money that I'm able to spend right now, in which case I won't get it and the whole thing becomes academic, doesn't it?

But if I do get it, yes, I know what you're thinking - why wait till Christmas? Why not just give it to him now, as a surprise gift? Go all spontaneous for once?

Yes, that would be a good thing to do. But this is my dilemma, because there's this little bit of me, niggling away, that says if I do get it, then I really should keep it for Christmas, because it's special.

But he's special too! Maybe I'll get him some chocolate and a bottle of fizz this weekend.

That way I can pretend I'm not completely anal. :)


Thursday, 27 January 2011

The Untouchables.....?

The TBR pile never seems to get any smaller, does it? For every novel you take off it, you add on another two or three. But the fun of the TBR is the moment when you come across something you've been looking forward to, the novel you kept back as a special treat for the day when you'd finished the several you already had on the go, so you could give it your full, undivided attention. That happened to me the other day when I reached out and found the last book by one of my favourite male authors in the TBRs. Brilliant! get stuck in, because this is going to be great.

Waves of disappointment followed. The book's all but unreadable.

Now, this is a writer whose books I'd normally fight for. Some of his novels are up there in my best-ever-reads list, stories that have made me gasp at their brilliance, cry at their emotion. Real keepers. But this one's a clunker. I'm just over a hundred pages in, and Nothing. Has. Happened.

It's one of those books with a big cast of characters, seemingly disparate individuals whose lives become inextricably connected through one event. You know the sort of thing. But my favourite author has decided, in what I'd normally be happy to describe as his infinite wisdom but not this time, to introduce each character in a chapter - or, gawd help us, chapters - of their own, by liberal use of the dreaded B-word.


Now, just to clarify, I'm not big on rules. They're made to be broken, and a skillful writer can break all the rules s/he wants and I wouldn't notice or care. If you can do it well, you can do what you want. But, this isn't done well. It's page after page of backstory, and it's deadly dull. If acres of character description and background in-fill was what I knew I was going to get, then fair enough, but I was really hoping for the sort of story this guy usually does so brilliantly, and it's just not there.

A quick peek at the Amazon reviews for this one proves I'm not the only disappointed reader out there, either.

Okay, writers sometimes get it wrong, but they're not in a vacuum here, are they? They have agents. They have editors. Where was the editor in this case? Or is it just that this writer has got so big, nobody edits him any more?

Is he now one of that elite band of untouchables?

If that's the case, then more fool him and his publishers, because they've been left with one great big turkey on their hands. I wonder if they care? I wonder if he cares?

A similar thing recently with the hoo-haa over Ricky Gervais and his, shall we say, unique presentation style at the Golden Globe awards, where he took pot-shots at some Hollywood golden geese.

Now, there's some debate about how far he went and what lines he crossed, but I'm not going to get into that here. What is true, though, is just like the bloke who used to whisper in the ear of the homecoming victorious Roman generals that despite all the laurels and ticker-tape they're still mere mortals like the rest of us, Mr. Gervais pointed out to a certain number of the movie-world elite that they're not untouchable.

Because one thing's for sure - if you've been in the movie business for twenty-five years, you surely must be able to spot a turkey coming right at ya. And if you're too dim/arrogant/out of touch to see that for yourself, you certainly pay an awful lot of people around you, from agents to managers to general hangers-on, substantial amounts of dosh to spot those oncoming birds.

So, if you've made more money than the annual GDP of many small nations, and that money's come from the bums-on-seats that went to see your movies and made you such a box-office draw, then when you serve them up with a turkey, they have every right to point that fact out to you. So don't wince and squirm in your seat and act all hurt and hard done by when it happens because, hey, that's the job you're paid to do and this time, you did it very badly.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I dunno. A lot of top writers get away with a lot of stuff, because they're just that, 'top' writers. A lot of 'top' actors get away with indulging themselves with a lot of crap. People will buy the books anyway, and people will still pay to see movies.....up to a point, anyway. I won't be buying that author's next book until I've read a lot of reviews - then I'll decide whether to waste my money or not.

As for the Hollywood elite, there's an awful lot of movies - and a few actors in particular - that won't be seeing my bum on a seat for a while.

Untouchables, my a...erm, my bottom.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Meee - ow!

Cat on stairs, thinking. Human rushing up, down, here, there, everywhere.

Poor Human, never still. Always zooming. Why not sit on sofa, feet up, do nothing? Works for Cat!

Human pats Cat head absent-mindedly on way up stairs. Cat decides. Action called for.

Human scooting back down stairs, in haste, as is wont of human.

Cat moves.

Human side-steps.

So does Cat.

Human misses footing. One Human leg forward, other backward, wrenching noise. Human yells. Human head makes contact with wall.

Human utters mostly unintelligible screeching, though words 'cat,' 'stupid' and 'effing' clearly heard.

Human lands. Enormous thump.

Cat makes self scarce.

Hour later. Human on sofa, feet up, doing nothing, bag frozen peas applied to ankle, gentle moaning. Cat curled on Human lap, purring.

Cat not so effing stupid after all.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Welcome To The New Me!

The new she? 'What's she been and gone and done?' I hear you cry!

Fret not, for what you are looking at is not just the new me - it's the real me.

Yesterday I had the confirmation I'd been expecting for a while, that the rights for my two published works of fiction have been reverted back to me. In other words, they're no longer with a publisher, and no longer for sale.

Am I bothered? No, not a jot! After a bunch of fabulous reviews - and I mean, fabulous - we're talking 5+'s and outstanding or recommended reads here - I cannot complain. I had a blast with those publications, they raised money for my favourite charity, they made me some lifelong friends - and I learned a lot.

Oh, boy, did I learn a lot!

I learned how to write, and I learned how I didn't want to write.

I learned to go along with things I wasn't convinced of in my own mind, and I learned later that no matter what, I'll go with what's in my heart from now on.

I learned what it's like to be categorised, and I learned that I don't want, ever, to be put in another box.

I learned that I AM a good writer, and I learned - thanks to some dear writing friends - that no matter what else is going on in someone's life, the love, the desire and the talent for writing will never, ever go away.

And most of all - I've learned that I'm free to write what I want to write. And that I'll keep doing it.

So here I am. This is the new me. Here I'll say what I want to say, share with you what I want to share, and express myself in all the ways I want. I'm excited beyond belief!

I don't regret a moment of my past adventures in publishing. I have a NEW adventure coming up, with the wonderful Muse It Up Publications who've taken my short story Edinburgh Fog, and I hope I'll have a home there for a while.

But most of all, I have the home in my heart - hence the title of my new blog, which I'll be coming back to in another post. Keep watching for that.

I'm at the start of a new adventure! Come with me, I'd love your company!