Monday, 30 January 2017

Word, Word, where for art thou, Word?

Today my stress levels have been ALL OVER THE PLACE and I’ve barely looked at Twitter to see the latest horrors in the world.  (At the time of writing, it was just the initial reports of May and Trump's meeting.  Far more innocent times.)  No, today just as every day this week, I have been fighting a battle of wills with my laptop. 

I say laptop, but that's not strictly accurate.  In reality, I've been at war with Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, PDFs in general and many online trouble-shooting pages that do not include my specific trouble to shoot.  Also, the jargon! Arghhhh.

I nearly lost it earlier when on top of my file conversion headaches, I appeared to disable every Word document I ever had.  Nothing would open, including the manuscript of the bloody book I am trying to convert.   I involuntarily whimpered, and did some deep breathing.  Then I contemplated the reality of typing the whole thing out again on a different computer. Then I screamed for a bit.  Then I considered walking to the pub and drinking a lot.  Then I turned the laptop off and on again.  Word came back.  

So as my breathing returns to a state of normality, I think I have a bit of a clue about where I have been going wrong, and I have a list of things to try for next time I can face it.  For now, I am moving away from all this unfathomable stuff, and finishing for the weekend.  (It is Friday afternoon!  Remember, that lovely time from few days ago?  Before a million people signed a petition, and prior to nationwide protests being organised to remind the Government about primary school basics such as standing up to bullies and being nice to other people.  It's been quite the weekend.) 

But let’s end on a high note.  Food and its preparation instantly chills me out so let’s go there.

Tonight, Matthew, I will be eating Middle Eastern Lamb Nachos from John Whaite’s Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients book.  It is soooo good.  So good I added additional Os.  And if you are a slave to a Syns/Points based weight loss system, Weight Watchers’ Greek Style Salad Cheese is unbelievably low fat compared to its Feta counterpart.  I realise I am talking to a niche audience here, but I do like to inform where I can.

4 WW Smart Points in a whole block. I KNOW.
John Whaite's version.
Whether you use fake Feta or the real deal, this meal is fit as.   I will always be faithful to Nigella as my go-to kitchen guru, but within a year, Perfect Plates has become the most food-splattered book in my kitchen.  (This is a good thing.)

Here's one I made earlier.
Bond version with added Peroni
    Food-splattered books en masse.
   With added Zumba sticks and Forrest Gump merch

I can't find an official recipe online, but if you shred some toasted bread/pitta over a plate, then add sumac-seasoned lamb mince, crumbled feta, and pomegranate seeds, you're pretty much there.

Happy Monday, one and all.  Power to the people, and booooo to my laptop.    

Monday, 23 January 2017

Blurbs Going Spare

It is high time for a book update.  Ready?  Lovely.  Let’s crack on.

After several attempts by myself, and the cover designer to explain vague artistic visions via Hotmail, we have now met.  I have seen drafts of Carry the Beautiful’s front cover and they are utterly marvellous.  One of them is being worked into the finished product, as I sort out the final details.  Wooo - say it with me - hooooooo.

One such detail is the blurb for the back cover.  This has been one of the hardest parts to box off.  Whilst I feel my story is multi-layered and complex in terms of genre, others may feel it is simply ‘chick lit’.  It is not, as this isn’t a helpful genre or description for any book.  Indeed, the only time the word ‘chick’ is appropriate is when describing baby hens and roosters, but I digress.   The more enlightened phrase of ‘Women’s Fiction’ could feasibly be used, but again, I balk slightly at the gender segregation.  It isn't necessary.  It’s a story, with men and women, about work, relationships, murky pasts, and emotional ties.  Something for everyone, regardless of genitalia.

In the feedback I received from my editor, she explained that at first she’d wondered if it was a psychological thriller, before reading it all.  There is definitely a hint of mystery running through it.  There are unanswered questions that the reader, and indeed Tilda the female protagonist need answering.  Whether as readers, we work it out before Tilda, will depend on how much we allow our minds to search for the clues and hints along the way.  Ultimately it is about someone making sense of their life, revisiting an intense romantic relationship from the past, and finally choosing to be proactive in their own happiness.

However, in the spirit of caring and sharing, I am going to post all my blurbs on here - in reality I only need one.  This means my superfluous pithy paragraphs won’t go to waste.  It should also give a bit of more insight into what Carry the Beautiful is all about.  Enjoy.  I am spoiling you.

"Tilda Rudd sits on a bench and waits.  The sun shines, pedestrians pass by, yet still she waits.  Will she get the answers to the questions she has avoided for so long?  Can any good come from her desire to find out?  Leaving the past behind is no longer an option. Tilda has to confront it, whether she is ready or not."

"Carry the Beautiful is a witty yet emotionally charged story of one woman’s mid-life crisis.  It is the tale of growing up, of loss and the unwitting compromises people make, long before they realise their consequences."

"Tilda Rudd’s ability of controlling her feelings and slapping on a smile is severely tested after reaching her 
fortieth birthday.  Her past must be confronted and she can’t put it off much longer.  Her journey down Memory Lane reveals a young woman open to possibility, and at odds with the tightly wound control-freak she has become.  Is it the alcoholic solicitor or the travelling artist that hold the key to where it all went wrong?  And who is the angry old man with just days left to live?"

"Tilda Rudd's midlife crisis crept up slowly, but since her 40th birthday has been impossible to ignore.  Her past, that she suppresses so carefully, must be confronted.  Tilda's journey takes her back to 1996, to her student days, and to the person she once was, before she let life call the shots."