Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Apologies for everything - It's clearly all my fault

Oh my word, it does appear that I have been rather lax in my blogging. In other words, in been over a week since I posted anything. Shocking. The main reason is that so much over the past few weeks has annoyed me, every time I’ve sat down to write I’ve been unable to. I mean, do I really have to apologise for the slave trade? Something that happened in a different country, 170 years before I was born? Apparently I do, according to our esteemed leaders. So while I’m on, I think I’d better apologise for a few other things too. Firstly, I’d like to say sorry to prostitutes the world over for the crimes of jack the ripper. I’d also like to apologise for both world wars, the British Empire, the Roman empire, and the crucifixion of Jesus.

Okay, I’m being sarcastic, but I do I look bovvered? Is my face bovvered?

And don’t even get me started on Global Warming.

Anyway – to business. I’ve been doing a bit of work on my Lulu store. I’ve updated the books I had there, and I’ve added a few more. I’ve also put together a new anthology, which includes all the stories I had published at Ruthie’s last year. I’m calling it “Breakfast at Ruthie’s” and I’m really proud of the cover I’ve knocked together for it. It won’t be out for a while yet – I need to proof it and I an issue with the back cover that I need to resolve. I’ll keep you posted.

I’ve finished the first of two, ro should that be the second of two, or even the third of three, stories that I’d like to submit to Ruthie’s as a story group. These two new stories feature the same characters as “Would Twins do this” which was in the Ruthie’s valentines issue. One of the stories happens before “Twins” and the other occurs sometime after. It’s the one that occurs after that I’ve finished. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to run either of them through the tank.

Anyway – back to work, mustn’t slack off, we have a VAT inspection due next month. That should be fun.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Shagging in the Bog

I’ve been busy doing my actual job the past few days—the one I get paid to do. I suppose if I’m going to ask these people for a reference if I get the other job I’m after, I’d better do some work so they make it a good one.

But I have found time to do a little bit of writing. Not on “Moviestar”, I need a short break from that to get some energy back—I’ll come to that in a sec—but instead I’ve been scribbling on a story inspired by this very blog. Actually, it was this entry and in particular, Virgo/Ram’s response in which she suggested a story based on point number 4. So that’s what I’ve written, a story based on true events—although obviously embellished a little bit. I’ve used the same characters as for my “Would Twins do this?” story, and I plan to pen a companion story to it and see if Ruthie’s will run them as a group. Watch this space. There’s a very short extract below.

Okay, back to “Moviestar”. Last night, as I was lying in bed and between bouts of coughing so violent and painful I thought my lungs were trying to escape through my mouth (I’ll kill whoever’s given me this cold if the cold doesn’t kill me first) I realised I may have written myself into a corner with this story. Okay, not a corner exactly, but I do have a problem. A POV problem. Let me explain.

So far, I’ve written the whole story in 3rd person limited, from the male lead’s point of view. But (and trying not to give the plot away too much here), I’ve realised that perhaps the most important event in the resolution of the story, he won’t be present for. Do I really want the second (okay, maybe third) big turning point in my female lead’s story/character to happen ‘off stage’?

Ideally, I’d write the scene from her POV, but that would mean a sudden shift in the final stages of the story—not good.

I don’t want to write the story again entirely from her POV, because I’ll lose the mystery that surrounds her and her motives. I’ll need to have a good old think about this.

Kenny went back into the club but couldn’t face going back into the packed dance hall where everyone would be staring at him. He went instead back into the gents toilet. As nightclub toilets went, it wasn’t that bad, but the floor was still wet and muddy, and it still reeked of stale urine. He went into the nearest unoccupied cubicle. The smell hit him like a hammer. He looked in the bowl—someone had forgotten to flush. He did the job for them and abandoned the cubicle for one at the other end of the row. At least whoever used this one last had the decency to clean up after themselves.

He locked the cubicle door, put the toilet seat down and sat with his head in his hands, trying to gather his thoughts. He was more than a little drunk, and it was hard to concentrate.

“Hey lady, what are you doing in here? This is the gents.” The agitated voice was coming from the direction of the urinals on the far wall. Whoever the man was talking to must have ignored him. “Didn’t you hear me? You shouldn’t be in here.”

“Oh, shut up. It’s not like I’ve never seen a cock before. Even if yours is a little on the small side.” It was Jessica. She knocked on the nearest locked door. “Kenny?”

“Who?” answered the occupant.

“Never mind.”

She knocked on the next door but before she could say anything the occupant said, “No. I’m not.”

Kenny’s door was next. She knocked. He didn’t answer. She knocked again. “Kenny? Baby?”

“Go away, Jess.”

“Let me in, Kenny. Please. I’m getting stared at.”

“You’re in the gent’s bog, what the fuck do you expect?”

“I don’t think they like me here.”

“Funny that. Probably best if you leave then, don’t you think?”

“I’m not goin anywhere until you hear me out. So you can either let me and we can do it quietly, or I can stand here and everyone can listen it.”

Kenny thought for a moment, then said, “Hang on.” He stood and opened the door. Jessica slid into the cubicle with him.

She smiled sheepishly at him. It was her ‘naughty school-girl’ smile. “Thanks.”

Monday, 12 March 2007

What I've been up to

I did very little in the way of ‘creative’ writing last week, by which I mean that I didn’t write any new fiction. There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, at the start of last week I saw a job advertised which is not only perfect for me, but which I would be perfect for (at least, that’s what I need to make them think). It’s essentially the same thing I’m doing now, but it’s a step up the ladder – more money for more responsibility. So obviously, I spent some time working on my CV. It’s going off today, and if they haven’t already filled the post, I’m confident of getting an interview. Getting the job is a different matter – I’ll just have to blag it.

The second reason is a little longer story. “Little Miss Movie Star” (still hate the title, but nothing else comes to mind yet so I’m sort of stuck with it until it does) is now over 30000 words and a little over half way, maybe two thirds, complete. Given the size, I haven’t made my mind up if I’m going to submit it to Ruthie’s or not. I probably will, but I’ve been exploring other options just in case. One of those options is to go straight to e-pub. I’d looked at a few, and while looking at “Phaze” I spotted an anthology that was open to submissions of not more than 15000 words.

I read the blurb, and figured that “Charlotte’s Secret” would fit in nicely, but it is (was) 15750 words and I was worried it might be rejected out of hand for being too big. I shot off a couple of e-mails to make sure I wasn’t wasting my time or stepping on anybody’s toes by subbing, and then spent the rest of the week reformatting the story, because naturally, they require a totally different format for submissions to Ruthie’s.

Anyway, long and short of it is that while formatting I took the opportunity to do some tweaking (couldn’t resist), then subbed the damn thing. I don’t expect them to pick it up, but it would be nice if they do. The anthology is “Coming together for the Cure” and the royalties (after a one off author payment) go to Breast Cancer research, so that’d give me a nice warm glow inside.

So it’s back to a bit of creativity this week (hopefully). I think I need a break from “Moviestar” so I might work on a couple of flashers or a short. Just to keep things fresh. Then again, I might not.

Friday, 9 March 2007

A Few Funnies

Here are a few funnies that found thier way into my inbox this morning.


A married man went into the confessional and said to his priest, "I almost had an affair with another woman."
The priest said, "What do you mean, almost?"
The man said, "Well, we got undressed and rubbed together, but then I stopped."
The priest said, "Rubbing together is the same as putting it in.
You're not to see that woman again. For your penance, say five Hail Mary's and put £50 in the poor box."
The man left the confessional, said his prayers, and then walked over to the poor box. He paused for a moment and then started to leave.
The priest, who was watching, quickly ran over to him saying, "I saw that, you didn't put any money in the poor box!"
The man replied, "Yeah, but I rubbed the £50 on the box, and according to you, that's the same as putting it in!"
There once was a religious young woman who went to Confession.
Upon entering the confessional, she said, "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.
"The priest said, "Confess your sins and be forgiven."
The young woman said, "Last night my boyfriend made mad passionate love to me seven times."
The priest thought long and hard and then said, "Squeeze seven lemons into a glass and then drink the juice."
The young woman asked, "Will this cleanse me of my sins?"
The priest said, "No, but it will wipe that smile off of your face."
Muldoon lived alone in the countryside with only a pet dog for company.
One day the dog died, and Muldoon went to the parish priest and asked, "Father, my dog is dead. Could ya' be saying' a mass for the poor creature?"
Father Patrick replied, "I'm afraid not; we cannot have services for an animal in the church. But there are some Baptists down the lane, and there's no tellin' what they believe. Maybe they'll do something for the creature."
Muldoon said, "I'll go right away Father. Do ya 'think $5,000 is enough to donate to them for the service?"
Father Patrick exclaimed, "Sweet Mary, Mother of Jesus! Why didn't ya tell me the dog was Catholic?
An elderly man walks into a confessional.
The following conversation ensues:
Man: "I am 92 years old, have a wonderful wife of 70 years, many children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Yesterday, I picked up two college girls, hitchhiking. We went to a motel, where I had sex with each of them three times."
Priest: "Are you sorry for your sins?"
Man: "What sins?"
Priest: "What kind of a Catholic are you?"
Man: "I'm Jewish."
Priest: "Why are you telling me all this?"
Man: "I'm 92 years old .... I'm telling everybody."

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

GoogleDocs update and new Extract

I’ve been writing in GoogleDocs for a couple of weeks now and I still can’t make up my mind about it. I do like the convenience of having the document stored in one place and not having to transport it back and forth between work and home on a USBclip. I also like that other can look at the doc with the same ease.

However, I do think that the advantages outweigh the benefits. As a WP app it’s pretty basic, and I really miss the advanced features of the likes of MS Word and OpenOffice. I’m thinking in particular of things like the ‘as-you-type’ spell check and auto correct, which I use heavily being both a terrible speller and poor typist. I know that I’m going to have to use one of the big two apps to edit the story when it’s finished – which sort of defeats the object. I’ve also had a fair few problems with formatting.

Now, GoogleDocs is still a beta, and I’m willing to give it another go when it comes out of beta, but for now, I’m switching back to OOo. I’ve also signed up to the Xdrive service, which is a bit like an online hard drive. I can access it from home and work, and share files if I want to – so all the advantages that I saw in GoogleDocs then plus I can store pics and videos on it to post to my blog and MySpace profile.

I spent some time yesterday reformatting and tweaking a story that I want to submit to an upcoming anthology. I don’t want to say any more about the submission just yet because I’ve got a couple of things I need to clear up first, but imagine my horror when I realised that I may not have formatted the most up to date version of the story. If I owned a gun I’d have shot someone. But I don’t so I didn’t. What I will have to do though is try and compare what I know is the most up to date version with the one I reformatted to see what, if anything, I need to change.

Finally for today, here’s a very short extract of my latest story – which I’m sure you’re all sick of by now. I do feel that I should point out that this story takes place in a fictional universe and that “The Queen” mentioned here is not Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II or indeed, Dame Helen Mirren playing QEII, and that “Prince Harold (Hal)” is not based on any of Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren at all, in any way, honest guv.

The movie ended on a high note and received a standing ovation. Someone at the front of the theatre called for 'three cheers for Her Majesty' before the Queen left the auditorium along with her grandson and the rest of her party. The official man from earlier and hurried Adam, Chloe, the other actors , the director and the producers out into the foyer to meet the monarch. Adam and Chloe were at the end of the line and it seemed to take the Queen hours to reach them. The director, Bobby Everett, was conducting the introductions.
"Chloe Goodman, your Majesty."
"Ah, yes. we've met before, haven't we?"
"Yes, Ma'am." Chloe gently shook the Queen's hand and curtsied.
"Although, you were much shorter then, as I recall."
"Well, it was nearly six years ago, your Majesty. I was only twelve."
The Queen nodded. "Has it really been that long? My, how time does fly. You played a young witch at a magical school, didn't you?"
"That's right, your Majesty. Sally Trotter."
"I remember thinking that you were destined for great things. And how right I was. I thought yours was the best performance in this film. Very emotional. I very much enjoyed it."
"Thank you, your Majesty."
The Queen smiled and nodded. "You know, Miss Goodman, my grandson does rather like you. Young Harold. I know it would make his evening if he could get a little kiss."
"Certainly, your Majesty."
The Queen turned to Adam and before the director could introduce him, she said, "You must be the young man in the newspapers with Miss Goodman. I don't normally take much notice of the tabloids, but that edition somehow passed across my desk. I do feel sorry for you, to be thrust into the limelight like that. Still, very nice to meet you." She turned to her aide before Adam could reply, and was led out to the waiting car.
"Bloody hell," Adam whispered. "I can't believe she saw those pictures. Have I gone all red?"
"Just a bit," said Chloe. "Shhsh, here come the prince."
"My dear Chloe," said Prince Harold, holding out his hand. "It's so good to see you again. It was a shame you couldn't come to my birthday party. Do I get a kiss?"
"Of course, your Highness." She leant forward and kissed the young prince on the cheek. A barrage of flashes went off as the pressmen saw a bundle of money in their not too distant future.
"How many times do I have to tell you to call me Hal? All my friends do."
"A great many more your Highness. If I were to call you that, I'd get severely told off and I think I've been in enough trouble the past few months."
"Yes, quite. They are bastards, aren't they the press. I can't count the number of times that Daddy has had to stop some rag from printing an embarrassing photograph of me. I do wish they would just butt out. Still, it's all good fun." He turned to Adam. "And this must be the lucky chap. Good show, old boy. I must say, I wished I was in your shoes when I saw that paper. Tell me, is she as good as I dream that she is? As a girlfriend I mean, nothing unseemly, obviously." The prince winked as he shook Adam's hand.
"Your Highness, I can safely say, that Chloe is the very best girlfriend I've ever had. Or could wish to have."
The prince laughed heartily. "That's what I thought. Well, you hang to her and treat her well. You're a lucky son of gun." He addressed Chloe again. "And if it doesn't work out between you two, remember, my shoulder to cry on is just a telephone call away. Call the palace, they have a standing instruction to put you striaght through. Enjoy the rest of your evening." He winked again and then joined his grandmother in the car. He was the last member of the party to leave and everyone in the line-up breathed a sigh of relief.
"My god," said Adam. "He's a dirty perv. I don't believe it."
"Oh, he was tame tonight," said Chloe. "He's normally a lot worse. That thing he said about his father stopping the photos--he's shown me some of them himself. Some of the stuff he gets up to would curl your hair. The public only know a small fraction of it. I guess it's the privilage that comes with being second in line to the throne."


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