Wednesday, 23 April 2008

All went well

Still not a perfect picture, but we've not had any real sun for days. Our old stone sink is now home to many free-swimming tadpoles. I seem to remember from school days that big tadpoles eat little tadpoles which seems sad. This lot don't seem to have any natural predators, so we'll just have to see what happens.

We've had a hectic few days with family but all went smoothly and we've now waved them off to Barcelona. Tomorrow we set off for Cornwall for a day or two and we're hoping for good weather. The forecast for tomorrow is rain all the way down the country - typical. Let's hope we can dodge the showers!

I finished the second draft of my wip. Took out all the unnecessary bits even if I loved them to make room for more drama at the end. Now I think I only need to fiffle with the last chapter, unless my cp takes me to task!

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Frogspawn, Oz, Marks & Spencer, M&B

You'll all be happy to know the taddies are swimming free now but I'll wait until tomorrow for a photograph as the sun is not shining and it wouldn't be a good pic. I was going to give you another picture, but blogger seems to be unwilling to participate in the exercise right now, so all things seem to point to tomorrow.

We've had a busy few days with family visiting from Oz and I have to confess I am retail-therapied out! My daughter-in-law is as bright and breezy as ever after a day and a half's shopping whereas I am wilting badly, but I'm happy knowing that d-i-l got what she wanted and still loves Marks & Spencer. Oz is one place where M&S have yet to take over, and there seems to be no equivalent - so if any M&S managers are reading this - hey guys - you'd have quite a following in Sydney!

I sent off a partial for HD to M&B on the 16th, and received acknowledgment today. They're always very good at swift acknowledgements, but they still have my Viking story...and the months are clocking up. Jan 07 for the partial, August sent in the full ms, and still waiting. Perhaps I'd better enquire again.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

It's cold outside

No picture of the frogspawn as it is too cold and dismal, but the taddies are starting to break free. One or two are out and about on their own. I hope they survive. I am longing for warm weather, not so I can rush out and photograph them, but just simply to be out and about in the garden and not freezing to death while I'm doing it. I have some sweet peas to plant out any day soon.

Second draft of my wip going apace, and WsB is on the last chapter with the critique group. I've had my eye off the writing ball this last week because I've done a little promoting for DARK POOL on 14 different groups. Let's hope it does some good.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Cornwall and cream teas



Amazing what 8 days can do. It won't be long now. And so far, our tadpoles seem predator free.

I am now the proud owner of Swain's Creating Characters. I'll start reading tonight. (I've been editing and honing the first three chapters of my wip in the hope that I'll get it sent off today, but I'm still not through with Chapter 3, so it will be Monday. However, I console myself with the thought that it will be great when it's done. Ha Ha. )

'What matters is he cares about it.' Those are words taken from chapter One and you'd think it wouldn't be necessary to say that. Every major character has to care about something or else there would be no story. But I'm sure I'll find out a lot more as I delve into the book, and probably find things I never considered. I won't have much time for writing over the rest of the month as the social side of things takes over. Son number one returns from Oz for a holiday and immediately after that dh and I are off to Cornwall for a few days as I think it is high time he got to know Cornwall. Fancy reaching the age of ----- and never having been to Cornwall! I expect I'll find it has changed a good deal since I spent a series of holidays there in the sixties...will they still have scrumpy and cream teas? Will the Old Inn in Mullion still be there, and the Admiral Benbow in Penzance?

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Frogspawn, lean-tos and North Shields

How things change and grow! Just look at those little tails forming! The sun wasn't shining when I took the pic, so perhaps I'll get a better one tomorrow.



As well as having a study all to myself I now have a lean-to greenhouse tucked against the side of the house. It catches the sun most of the day and though it was hell to put up (they said erection was a two man job*, but hey - you needed as many hands as an octopus!) now it is up and correctly anchored it is an amazing little room for all things gardening. I might become a "shedder" and take the box of red wine and a book with me, though I'm not sure true shedders would have me. Tomorrow I'm going to plant seed for coriander, basil and lettuce. Tomato plants on Friday. Whey-hey!



*No sniggers, please. I can't be bothered to think up another way of saying it.



My wonderful critique partners have given me some great advice on my wip, so I have a good day's work tomorrow to sort things out. I do so want to get a partial off by Saturday, but I suppose - sigh - it is better to take an extra week and get it right. Might pay off in the end.




This is me down at the ferry landing stage at North Shields. Remember you can click on the pic to see a larger version.
The background is interesting, if not yours truly.


Monday, 7 April 2008

Frogspawn and seagulls


Life is hard if you are a seagull - it's smash and grab time whenever there's food on the go. This picture was taken on our little trip down to North Shields on the 31st March.
The picture below is from our own little garden pond - its actually in an old stone sink! - frogspawn! Some enterprising frog has decided it is just the perfect place for a brood so every day we sneak out a take a peek.

We first noticed it around the end of March. The blob was neat and clean, looked very new, somehow. Now it looks different. Looser, the jelly is no longer clear and some of the little black blobs have tails. I'll take another pic tomorrow just for contrast. Heaven knows how many will survive to froghood -but it probably spells doom for any slugs in our garden!

As for my writing, I now have a real grip of my female character and it is all coming much easier. I had advice from Michelle on writing the right kind of synopsis for M&B and can now see where I was going wrong. Isn't it strange how you can know something is wrong and though you wrestle and kick it as much as you like you just can't see how to get it right? Then someone with nice clear thought processes comes along and says - do this, do that - and it all comes clear. A lightbulb moment! Thank you Michelle!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Fantastic review!

“Ms.Black is a first-rate author—one of the best that the internet has ever produced—so you won’t want to pass her up. Treat yourself to both books in the series; I highly recommend them.” Margaret Marr

See the whole review: http://nightsandweekends.com/articles/08/NW0800153.php

Blurb: Obliged to leave Alba unprotected while he tracks a young ward stolen by raiders, Finlay of Alba is not in the best of tempers when he walks into Lord Sitric’s stronghold of Dublin and finds everyone denies knowledge of the girl. Eba, alone in Dublin and facing a forced marriage or the slave market, makes a desperate bid to escape when Sitric’s enemies ravage and burn Dublin but it lands her in even more trouble…

Extract:
Eba stirred in a brief, incoherent way and then woke with a jerk. She was naked beneath the wool blanket and a man she did not know stood within the cubicle; thankfully his back was to her, but he was so close she could have touched him.
Beyond him, a crowd of men laughed and talked round the long hearth out in the open hall. Her wet clothes hung from a peg in the wall, well out of her reach. The man ran a wad of straw gently up and down the blade of his sword, stripping it of dried mud, and took no notice of her. With her gaze fixed on his broad back, Eba gripped the edge of the blanket, pulled it tight around her and shuffled cautiously across the bed platform until she got her back against the wall. The straw mattress squeaked and rustled beneath her, but his own work masked the sound and he did not turn.
Eba curled her knees in close to her belly and looked at the man. He was tall and broad across the shoulders. A memory of his rain drenched, mud splattered face filled her mind, and she remembered he had dragged her to a ruined shed of some kind. He would have raped her if she had not fainted.
Her heart leapt in her chest, and the air vanished from her lungs as the thought struck her that he would probably do it now.
He hung the sword belt on a convenient wall peg, jerked a rough leather curtain across the front of the cubicle and laughed softly when the simple act provoked a roar of outrage from men deprived of their entertainment. The sickening realization struck Eba that most likely they had already had a fine view of her when he had removed her clothes.
She watched him hitch his sodden linen tunic up and over his head and toss it onto a small wooden chest. He toweled his hair, face and throat, and Eba's gaze flicked nervously over the shadowed ridges of his chest and stomach. He half turned, noticed she was awake and smiled. He tossed the rough cloth to her.
Eba ignored it, and huddled so far back into the corner of the bed space that the wattle wall pressed into her back. Fear rose through her in spiralling waves. Torquil had captured her, but he had commanded his crew and kept them away from her. He had kept her safe until she met Kimi. Even then, Annikki and Conn had kept a careful eye on her. Now there was no one at all. She was alone in a hall filled with rough men.
Fear magnified her senses. She registered the rumble of conversation outside in the big hall, and the mixed and jumbled smells of pine, wet wool and smoke in the air around her head. She thought she might be sick.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Peerages

This might possibly be my 4th post on peerages. I'm really getting obsessed with the topic, but it fascinates me. Today I did a small piece over on the Authors and Books blog in which I mentioned that Your Majesty came into use at a certain date. Henry VIII introduced it, copying the Kings of France, but it did not become standard form until James I. So all those early medieval romances should not use the address Your Majesty but Your Grace.
There's a great post on this blog here if anyone wants to learn more.