Monday, June 30, 2008
And I have been writing like mad - all of a sudden back in the groove. I am now half way through the first draft of the second book, Stormshifter (working title). The final book will probably be around 180,000, but I aim to get the first draft to 170,000 because I always like - and invariably need - about 5,000 words more before I complete the second draft, and then another 5,000 between second draft and publication. So here it stands at the moment on picometer halfway to the end of the first draft:
And Hrugaar has pointed out that Interaction Glasgow was 2005, of course (see last post). Plus the fact that the book I was thinking of was Anne McCaffrey's two Dinosaur Planet books. (And he says he has a bad memory. Huh.)
Today was a spend-the-time-at-hospital-clinic day, all re my 2 numb fingers. The good news is that they are SO much better. Not normal, but at least they don't have the feeling of two bananas struck on the end of my hand any more. It has taken 10 months to get to this point.
And the other good news was an email out of the blue from someone I had not heard from in 25 years. I love search engines.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I have been once before,
I will be arriving in Denver on 5th August around lunchtime and leaving on the morning of the 11th. I'll be staying at the Hyatt Regency. So look me up if you are going too!
- Writing in Spite of Your Environment
- A World Made of Birds:
What would the Earth be like if the Dinosaurs Had Lived?
- Using Myths to Kick Off a Fantasy World
Saturday, June 28, 2008
*Just to cover all bases, let's replace the word "Church" with "Religion"...
Friday, June 27, 2008
What I want to know is this: do the majority of women have things that they don't read because the subject matter is perceived as "a male thing"?
Thursday, June 26, 2008
So here he is, Donna. Well, his cottage anyway, first pix below. No, not the church, the other one, to the left.
And then there's Richard Branson's cottage ...
And another one that was the set of several movies, including Casino Royale...
And then there was the place where the meeting was being held that my husband was attending. Note the lunch tables under the tree...
And the view they had when they looked out of the windows.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Recently Kathleen was asking her mystery-reviewer husband what earns a poor review out of him, and he remarked: "Cats. If you have to put a cat in your book, be aware that most men will not read it."
Okay, you guys out there. I want to know - is this really true? And if so, in heaven's name, why?? Ladies, ask your spouses, partners, brothers, fathers, sons: do they read cats?
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Recently my daughter Nashii (pictured near the top of Mount Kinabalu last year) was asked to compose and record some music for the sound track of a soon to be released Hollywood movie starring Dakota Fanning. Given the way things work in Hollywood, she won't be sure if they actually used it until the film is released...
Anyway, take a look and listen here for what she and Eric Holden have been working on with some friends as a continuation of the music done for the film. Expect an EP release in the Fall...
There are 2 tracks up on the link above, "Teenage Spaceship" and "Ocean". Just push the button on the music player.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
It may have cost the earth (even though I only paid for half of it), but you can't say I didn't do it in style.
And the bathroom was marble from floor to ceiling. Hell, even the fire escape stairs were made of marble.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
"Give us RM 100,000 annually or we chop down all the trees near the water catchment areas in the state." This was the threat Menteri Besar* Azizan Abdul Razak issued to the Federal Government.
He said the state government was losing millions in revenue because they could not chop down the trees for timber. "We know it is prohibited to cut down trees near water catchment areas, but the state is losing a lot in terms of revenue."
You know what words sprang into my mind as I read that?
Blackmail and extortion.
A man who doesn't worry about future generations.
A man who doesn't care if even his own constituents have clean water and clean air.
A man who has never heard of global warming.
A man who has never heard of the value of the biodiversity of the rainforest.
A man who doesn't care if he commits a crime even though he knows what the law says.
A man who doesn't have the faintest idea of how to govern.
The guy is from PAS, a party which is supposed to uphold religious values. Yet his idea of good governance is to threaten to trash his state?
*Translation: Chief Minister - i.e. State Premier or State Governor, in this case, of Kedah State.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
2. There's a Plaintive Cuckoo calling in the garden and a Koel (another cuckoo species) trying to drown it out.
3. I sweat sitting under the fan reading.
4. There are loads of bills sitting on the cupboard at the front door, all waiting to be paid.
5. My internet connection is FAST and doesn't cost RM84 cents a minute (79 US cents or 13p a minute) for a connection so slow it made me want to weep.
6. Petrol (gas for you Americans) costs at least one third less, in spite of recent price increases here.
How I know I have been somewhere else:
1. I wake at 2 a.m. and want to get up and start the day.
2. Many of the bills are for astronomical sums of money.
3. I feel guilty because I hardly wrote a word all week.
And did you know that the seat space on KLM is so tight that you can't open a laptop to work on?
I shall continue to post Como photos...
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
It was obvious from the first that the weather was going to be co-operative. The first pic was taken from the boat as they steamed up Lake Como...
To the town of Argenio...(second pic)
Where they took a cable car almost vertically up to a town called Pigra (third and fourth pix).
In Pigra those ladies looked into the distance at a town called San Fidele, nestling in a valley and surrounded by hills ...
and decided to walk there.
They didn't actually make it, but along the way were views to die for, and another delightful town called Blessagno...
where the pizza was delicious...
the red wine tangy...
and the home-made tiramisu melted on the tongue into a glorious mix of delicate flavours.
And because one of those ladies (me) is intrigued by the tiny, you also have photos of a few small things along the way...a religious statue set into the wall of a house, some old building techniques and
... the rare and protected Dark Columbine Aquilegia atrata.
And then we returned to Argenio to take the ferry back to our hotel near Como
...with lots of memories.
So, here's to Doris (whose idea it was), Carter, Liz, Elena, Sandy ... and thanks for a lovely day.
Monday, June 16, 2008
The Telegraph talks about Amazon.co.uk sanctions here, in an article published on 13 June 08, that starts like this:
Amazon, the online book seller, could face a strike by authors and publishers in an increasingly bitter battle over book profits. The UK's biggest publisher, Hachette Livre UK, is leading the charge against Amazon, which it claims is squeezing the market and demanding too great a share of sales.
In a very public fallout Amazon stopped selling new copies of about 50 Hachette titles, including books by Kate Mosse, Alexander McCall Smith, James Patterson, Stephen King and Dan Cruickshank, on its British website.
People are still able to buy and sell the books second hand through Amazon but the publishers make no money out of those sales.Here are some facts, supplied by my UK publisher, Hachette Livre:
- Larger British book retailers already receive the most generous terms in the English-language world from publishers.
- Major retailers, including Amazon, generally already receive on average well over 50% of the recommended retail price.
- Amazon now makes some 16% of all book sales in
- At its present rate of growth Amazon could be the largest bookseller in
in about three years. Britain
- Amazon seems each year to go from one publisher to another making increasing demands.
Hachette Livre has decided to make a stand and resist these demands, and I am right behind them all the way.
Meanwhile, should you have trouble buying any Hachette-Livre titles in UK, uncluding my own (Orbit) books, they are easily available online from, Waterstones.com, Play.com (UK) and other retailers, as well of course as from bookshops.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
§ A man scrubbing a window sill;
§ The Basilica of San Fidele, just a street or two away from the cathedral – started in the 6th century and redone in the 11th, and still, apparently not enough for this small town, as they then went on to build the cathedral.
§ A mime standing outside the old Town Hall
§ A shop window – the shop itself had enough different types of pasta to supply a different sort for every day of the year: coloured, plaited, round, flat, shell-shaped, thin, wide, twisted, patterned, long, short, curled, black, flavoured, plain, huge, tiny, utterly humongous – one piece enough for a one-person meal. You name it, they had it.
§ The place with the zig-zag brickwork, projecting out on huge hand-hewn wooden beams, didn’t even rate a mention in the main tourist brochure…
Saturday, June 14, 2008
In the meantime, here is the cathedral in Como – a huge edifice, considering how small the town is. The striped building next door is the old town hall, that dates back to 1214 and was partially demolished in 1477 to make way for the cathedral, which was started in 1397 and finished around 1740. So it started as medieval and ended up baroque. Dates like those are completely unreal to an Australian, as you can imagine.
We sat at the café opposite (see second last pic) and had a lunch and gelato, while devouring (in a different fashion) the confectionary decorating the façade…
And I have decided that the way to cope with prices is to look at the price on the menu and decide they are actually talking about Malaysian ringgit, not Euros.
The last pic of the cathedral from above was taken from the funicular railway above the town.