Damn Frenchies

Well, France successfully brought out the Daily Mail reader within. After a few days I was stomping around wondering why these Frenchies didn’t speak a proper language (i.e. the same one as me), why the shops were always closed, why all the milk was UHT, why cappucinos were made with whipped cream, why the peasants were so unfriendly (possibly calling them peasants was a bad start) and why the cows were stalking me.

Notable events – Gasps of awe whilst looking at beautiful lake, Lydia getting lost while jogging, group worrying about lost Lydia, cycling up long dark lane searching for Lydia, Lydia rescued by kindly old French couple, finishing Curse of Chalion, reading The Atrocity Archives, playing ball on string with Bruce the dog, worrying Bruce would expire of over excitement after too much ball on string, reading Kafka on the shore, writing scene in Mud and starting next scene, watching the rain, hiding from the sun, walking along infinitely long French lane, joyous sighting of shop after four days of rural imprisonment, realising shop was closed due to ridiculous French opening hours, seeing my first real boulangerie, eating giant Pain au Chocolat, finding French bookshop, eating horrible Croque Mousieur.

Holidays are always great for thinking, and I’ve made a couple of interesting decisions whilst lounging around the luxury abode. More details in days to come.

I’ve stuck some photos up on Facebook here, and here is a little taster…


Time is short…

…I must be brief.

I an typing on a French keyboard (AZERTY rqther than QWERTY) from a youth centre in Nexon. The local youths on mopeds look somewhat annoyed so my time is limited.

Holiday is very sedate. Have read three books and writen a little. Nothing else to report at this time. Photos will be posted on my return. If curious Google Le Race de Limosin.

Naturaly Suspicious of the French

Me and Lydia are off on holiday. Big house in France in a wood next to a lake. I’m told to be thankful if we find running water, so a wireless broadband connection seems unlikely. Hence, no posts until we return to the UK. What will I do without blog, MySpace and Facebook? Heavens, I might even get some writing done!

Should any mischance befall us, I blame Featherstone.

Generation Y

I just missed the boat on Generation X. Perhaps if I’d been a much cooler teenager I would have felt part of it, but I didn’t really do teenage until my twenties and by that point Gen-X had well and truly happened, although most people were still to here of it. Gen-X was the big sulk. The counter culture of the 60’s and 70’s had well and truly failed to deliver and been obliterated by the 80’s. There wasn’t going to be a hippy commune to drop out in, and the love bus was strictly trustafarians only. Gen-X faced Microsurfdom and they weren’t happy about it, and if the only alternative was to flounce out of the cubicle farm and take a McJob then thats what they were going to do.

For a about a week.

Generation Y watched Generation X crawl back to the corporate culture shelters and said hmmm…if you can’t beat them, join them. Or maybe they said, if you can’t drop out of work, make work a drop out. I’m still trying to decide which.

This is the clearest statement of Generation Y philiosophy I’ve found so far. I’m not sure whether its pitifully weak or wonderfully subtle. The revolution has come and we want the right to use Starbucks as our office! My inner hippy screams NO! THERE MUST BE MORE THAN THIS! My inner entrepreneur says reasonably, Yes! Give me a Macbook Pro and a skinny latte and together we will change the world! I still don’t know who’s going to win the argument.

This is a revolution powered by the internet. Its terrifying how quickly new technologies are obliterating history. Web 2.0 only started last year, yet already I find it difficult to remember what life was like without a blog, twitter, GMail, MySpace and the other things I now spend all my time using. I barely even turn my laptop off anymore, it’s as though I’m living my entire life through its 14.1 inch screen. I’m considering spending over ONE THOUSAND POUNDS on a new one, and that doesn’t even seem strange to me now. If you divide cost by usage its probably only 3p a day. But why do I want one? Is it because deep down I believe that the new Macbook Pro can replace the abandoned dreams of hippie nirvana? Its a possibility I’ll have to consider.

Whether I agree with it or not, I can’t really deny I’m part of Generation Y. I’ve had two meetings in coffee shops this week alone. And its only Tuesday. I balance a day job with freelance work. I have ambitions to start my own business. I forego a high income and the luxuries it could provide in favour of more creative pursuits. I’d go mental if I had to spend an entire day in an office.

That sounds like a manifesto.

Transmission Magazine Acceptance

Manchester based magazine Transmission have accepted my short story ‘Chaser’ for issue#9. W00T!

The issue debuts on 28th September this year, excellent timing as it is both a week after my 30th Birthday and a month before  short story ‘Momentum’ is published in Electric Velocipede.

That alone makes my last ‘Submission Sunday’ worth the effort. Out of four subs that’s 1 rejection, 1 acceptance, 2 still outstanding.


Oh dear, that ‘0/ 2500′ is looking seriously embarrassing this week.

I’m facing a quandary. Whilst the book is in word count limbo, I’m ploughing ahead with the short story ‘Mud’ (Now at 5400 words). Its going great. Now one of two things is happening…

ONE – my subconscious is rebelling, and has started producing lots of non-book related material to distract me from the weekly word count. I should ignore it and keep going with the book.

TWO – I’ve stumbled into a really rich seam of material and need to mine it for all its worth for as long as it lasts. I should put the book to one side and come back to it when I’m done.

In either case I’m simultaneously very happy with with the short story and annoyed with myself for getting side tracked from the book. I’ve decided to do number two, but with the proviso that I get through the short story as quickly as possible then return to the book.

Which means enough of the blogging and back to the word mines.

Leopards and Wolves

Just a quick stop by my book pile. If anyone is looking for  a really  exceptional fantasy read I  recommend The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold. If you like the idea of a love story between a wolf and a leopard it might just be for you. I discovered LMB earlier this year and can only say that if you haven’t read her you really should. She’s almost completely unknown here in the UK, which is our loss.

Week 8 Round-Up



I’m trying to remember the word for feeling opposite emotions about the same thing. It begins with an ‘A’ I think. Hmm…suggestions below please.

Right. I’d done 800 words of a new scene, and was planning to churn out the rest on Saturday morning. The scene was going _OK_ but only that. Not great. Not brilliant. I just can’t quite get the psycology of the two chracters to connect, I don’t believe they would actualy ever been in the same room together. This is a bit of a problem.

I took a little look through my ‘Ideas’ file (Yes, I do have such a thing) and stumbled on a story stub titled ‘Mud’ that I started on about 18 months ago. It was only a page of text but reading through it the whole mental map of the story I had been working towards unfolded in my imagination and the next thing I knew three hours had passed and I’d written another 2500 words of the story. Great! Made my wordcount. Bugger, wrong story! More good than bugger though, I’m still really caught up in the story and did another 1000 words on Sunday. You have to go with that kind of flow when it pours out.

So…I’m going to finish this short story which should only take 2-3 weeks max. Clearly this is going to put some pressure on the 2500 a week for the novel, so we’ll have to see how that goes. Really I need to make both happen. I can do that. I mean who needs sleep or a social life when you have an unhealthy writing habit?

Week 7 Round-Up

Well I feel thoroughly ashamed of myself. After missing last weeks word count by 1000 I’ve had the worst imaginable week  and managed no words at all!

I’m going to blame work this week. I had the Leicester Book of the Year award ceremony on Thursday. Not only do I organise the event I’m also the MC, and even on this the fourth year I find it one of the more nerve racking events in the literature development calendar. Well worth it however as it is always excellent.  I then had the Literature  Network away days which effectively destroyed the weekend.  None of this is a worthy excuse however. I did get a few hundred words handwritten but they don’t make it into the count if the haven’t been through the word processor. I’ve decided to use up a days leave tommorow to catch-up. Check back in 48 hours to see how that worked out.

I have managed to think through one of the key relationships in the story this week. I’ve realised there is a redemption plot buried in the story, so I’m quite looking forward to digging it out.