Thursday, May 29, 2008


I've done some more background work on Contraband (as was - I'm still calling it that for the moment, but I think that will change as it gets longer. So much for keeping it under 3K!) As my rather gruesome request in an earlier post showed I'm going into more detail for this - it's coming along tickety-boo.

I'm working this Saturday, so I thought that on my way home I would stop off at Kedleston Hall, a National Trust property. Well, I'm not that interested in the house to be honest. I'm looking forward to walking through the grounds which are, apparently, very nice. I will try and remember to take my camera so that I can capture the pastoral bliss. (I only hope that the weather doesn't follow its recent pattern of lashing it down at every opportunity!)

Broad beans in the allotment are growing at a mutant rate, but the runner beans got too much sun a couple of weeks ago and all but two got scorched leaves. I've got two sturdy pumpkin plants almost ready to go in and the potatoes are chitting in a mutant fashion, reminding me that although they are not earlies, neither are they that late! Ooops. My garlic is also doing well and I will have it mainly to myself as my housemate can only eat it if she doesn't smell it cooking - she used to be green in the face allergic, so this is an improvement. (She doesn't like the sun either, but we didn't mention that when we visited the Transylvanian Alps - just in case!)

I shall make bread this weekend, I think. I made some lovely sun-dried tomato bread to go with my spaghetti sauce while I was on holiday and it reminded me how much I love fresh, home-made bread. I went to Asda on Sunday and asked the baker for some fresh yeast and she gave me about 100g, so much baking will ensue. I didn't make any bread over the bank holiday, but I did cook the salmon dish my housemate likes. All you need are:
salmon steaks
5 slices of pancetta per steak
enough Roquefort to put a thick slice on top of each.

Lay out the pancetta, overlapping the long edges slightly. Place salmon steak on top, put roquefort on top of salmon. Wrap pancetta round the whole thing. Lightly oil a baking dish and cook for 20 minutes at 175 degrees celsius. (If you have a psychotic oven, put tin foil over the dish for the first 15 minutes, then take off to let the pancetta crisp up.)

Complement with salad & a balsamic vinegar dressing/ steamed veg.

Lovely! nom nom nom. (Unfortunately there are no pictures of this culinary delight because, unlike my friend Steve, I don't photograph my successes.) (Although I did take a picture of a particularly lovely baby bear pumpkin that I grew last year - right before I stuck it into a pot of soup - so I suppose I can't say anything!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tax, and the British author selling to the US

[info]alex_beecroft has just written a post over on the Britwriters blog on how British authors, who sell to US publishers, can get an ITIN number that means they're exempt from US tax and therefore only pay it in the UK. Read the post here.

Handy information to have, and there are links to the relevant forms included in the post.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Update & a Question

The Bank Holiday's over, the car passed its MOT and I'm back at work. Yay.

Haven't finished the second draft of 3's Company yet. My housemate is finishing off her Master's thesis and we've had to go turn and turn about on the pc so we're both chugging along, just not as quickly as if we had a computer each. So far, I've added just over 8k in new words (same point in the first draft was c.15k as opposed to 23k in 2nd) so that's part of the reason it's taking so long.

Had an idea for Contraband, which raised a question that I hope someone will have an answer to: if you can use vegetable oil for biofuel (after conversion) could you use human fat in the same way? i.e. after liposuction, could you take the removed fat, turn it into liquid and then convert it into a biofuel? Does anyone know?

Cheers :D

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday, Monday

Okay, my week off is over and I am back at work...nope, no cheering from the stands; I could quite happily have had another two (or three, or-) weeks without coming back.

I got a minimal amount of writing done. Transcribed more of 3's Company; wrote more on Contraband v.3 and am now pausing that to do some worldbuilding that I should have done before I started. There's nothing like doing it all backwards, eh?

On the plus side, I did get a huge amount of gardening done and some allotmenteering, so that should be more maintainable now (i.e. the odd half hour here an there when I get back from work rather than an entire day on the weekend).

I'm trying to avoid starting the new novella until I'm done with the second draft of 3's Company otherwise it'll just sit and fester, unloved, on the hard-drive. In light of this, I've set myself a personal challenge to have the whole of the second draft done by Sunday 25th at the latest. So friends & family will have to put up with me being anti-social in the extreme for a week


There's a new British Writers blog & Yahoo Group starting up, initiated by Alex Beecroft, among other authors:

'After envying all the writers on my list who always seemed to be going to RWA meetings or RT conventions, I thought that it would be nice if we UK writers could get together and do something en masse :) Strength in numbers, and all that - not to mention that if there's a con in Newcastle it's easier to post some stuff to a local who is going anyway, than it is to book flights and hotels to go yourself. (And, of course, the same at the other end of the country.'

Click here to read the full post at Alex's blog.

Edited to correct some appalling spelling.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I'm on day three (or day 5, if you count the weekend) of my week's holiday. I've been up at six every morning to take the dogs for a walk, which has been amazing(!) and I've done a fair amount of work in the garden weeding, re-potting etc.
This afternoon I will have to repeat it (with more digging) on the allotment and get the rest of my runner beans in, as well as potatoes. I've updated the file for the novella (3's Company) and will be working on that today.

So far, I'm having a great time and it's just a shame that I'll have to go back to the Day Job on Monday. ::phbbbt::

When I get round to it I shall post pictures of the wilderness that is my allotment, I'm gaining ground what appears to be an inch at a time.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Progress XXXII

Okay, quick updates.

Typing up/ editing of 3's Company is going well and I'm at 15,542 words on that.

Version 3 of Contraband is also cracking on, that currently stands at 2050 words so there's still a bit more to go. I may also have a go at writing this as a screenplay - someone I met at Alt.Fiction (hello Robert! ::waves::) suggested that, as it was a short story and I had been having problems, doing it as a screenplay would pare it down to the absolute essentials and could help with the stop-start problems I've been having. So, even though the story has picked up I think I shall have a bash at it anyway, because--why not?

I'm on holiday next week (yay!) so will do more during the day then, but for now, evenings are the key times (because I am really not a morning person!)
Late night at work for me tonight, finishing at 21:00hrs! But, hopefully the sun will still be shining then (doubt it). It has been a most glorious day, around 20 deg. C and tomorrow and Friday are supposed to be hotter. And I'm at work! How wrong is that, I ask you? 'Od's fish. ^O_O^

Friday, May 02, 2008

Three day weekend coming up!

Yes, there is a Bank Holiday on Monday! Yay!
I know I'm on holiday in another week anyway, so it may seem a bit bizarre crowing over a day off when I've got a whole week coming up four days later, but in my defence it has been a mad couple of weeks and I'm very tired ::smiles::

If the weather is nice I will no doubt be on the allotment for some of the time, but I will also make the effort to (a) do some writing, (b) tidy up my bedroom and (finally) get the additional shelving up that I need - must get the books out of the boxes & towers and onto shelves and (c) catch up on reading new books/ watching some films that I got for Christmas/ birthday and still haven't seen!

And update the blog of course, while interacting on various groups/ reading my feed reader etc. and so on ::blink::

The surveys at work went very well, we had a goodly number of respondents and we're keeping everything open until mid-May, at which point I and a colleague step back in to collate all of the quantitative and qualitative responses. Quantitative is quite easy as the program we used will do that for us, qualitative will mean drilling down into the results a way and putting them in a presentable form for discussion.

I still haven't given an update on Alt.Fiction which was a week ago tomorrow - I will get round to it (although there's nothing profound I have to say on it!) but likely not this afternoon as I am working in the first half (facing the public!) and being defoliated in the second so will be rather busy.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Struck a cord...

Got this from Karen Miller's blog. It's quite a long post and referring to the F&SF/ spec fic genre but I think it could also be applied to the Romance genre (and all it's associated sub-genres) because similar attitudes do seem to prevail (and explode across the blogosphere from time to time).
See Lauren Dane's site for a re-hash of a cyclical argument in the romance world (and RWR) and her response (heads up for the link came from Gennita Low's blog.)

To quote (or with my memory, more likely mis-quote) Jack Nicholson (and I've no recollection of which character he was playing at the time): 'why can't we all just get along?'


What Is Your Animal Personality?

Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Pity about the your rather than you're, but nice picture!