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Sunday, 24 April 2011

Bonkers Blog Birthday Bash.

I am going to be an audio book.  Well, not me, personally, because they'd never squeeze me into the CD cases and I am far too pretty to be reduced to an Mp3 file, and my nose would stick out and everyone would be all embarrassed when they came to try to close the thing down with bits of me poking all over the place.  No.  Specifically my books are going to be audio books.  All three books.  And no, I have no idea who will be reading them, hopefully it won't be someone with a lisp, there's an awful lot of 'ssss' in my books, or someone who persists in reading in a dodgy Lithuanian accent or (and please take notes here) no-one who pronounces the word 'scone' as 'scon'. I'm not even sure if there are any scones in any of the books, but it's the principle of the thing.

Repeat after me 'this is not a scon.'

I'd also like readers who don't eat crisps during the recording (it holds up a romantic scene something chronic if someone has to break off to search their bag of Sensations Thai Red Chili flavour for a really big one) and no-one needs their suspensful prose to be punctuated by the sound of Walkers Cheese and Onion belches. Or anyone who smells of pork scratchings, which doesn't affect their reading at all but makes me uneasy.

Anyway.  My wants are small and simple (all right, shut up laughing now.  My wants are small and simple, it was only that one time with the diamonds and the mansion, and the whole racehorse thing is so yesterday), and these are they.  So any audio recorders reading this, please take note, because I won't be responsible for my actions if the whole 'scone' thing raises its head, all right?

Now, to other news.  This blog, quite unremarked by local TV, news and any passing skywriting planes, has passed its first birthday!  Yes, now it's got teeth and it can walk and say simple sentences!  And, I am also pleased to report, the number of kind people who pass through and make nice remarks is growing by the day.  Yes, this blog is quite the place to be seen now, as long as you don't mind being seen in just your underwear or running frivolously through a large meadow with daisies in your hair and a kind of blissfully vacant look in your eyes.  BEHIND THE KEYBOARD is an up and coming place.  Or at least, this blog is.  Being behind the keyboard usually brings me out in anxious hives, and my knees sweat.

So.  Yes.  Happy Birthday to this Blog.  You'll have to imagine the sad little squeaker sound and the pathetic noise of a single balloon deflating because sound effects are expensive.  You will also have to imagine the taste of birthday cake, and the tortured squeals of anyone who tried to slip a scon past me.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Nyer-nyer ner ner ner...

Well, you can't say I didn't tell you.  Go on, try, because I think you'll find that your tongue cleaves unto the roof of your mouth know that thing where you try to stuff as many marshmallows into your mouth as you can, and then say 'Chubby Bunnies', and you end up 'Floffffing' and have to go and spit into the nearest potted plant?  Oh come on, we all went to those parties, didn't we?  Anyway.  Like that.

For it was many moons ago, and actually, when you consider that there's a moon every day (or night, as it were), it was exactly the same number of moons ago as it was days.  Anyway. Have I lost any of you yet?  If anyone needs a break to go to the toilet, or to enable them to get a good headstart, then do go now.  I'll wait.  I have your names....

So.  A long while ago (it will have been about 2007) I sold my first novel to Samhain in the States.  It was called Reversing Over Liberace. As indeed it still is.  It was published as an e-book, so, prior to its publication, I attempted to interest the local populace in e-books in general.  Well, specifically mine, but you know what I mean. Ah, those heady days of 2007!  When the Royal Wedding was but a misty-eyed dream for the souvenir manufacturers and when the word 'Kindle' meant to set fire to something, which was a mistake and anyway nothing was ever proven and that petrol was planted on me and I never actually intended to cause criminal damage..ahem.  And when, try as I might, persuading people to buy books to download and read on their computer screens was like trying to sell twelve tonnes of slightly-gone-off Gorgonzola to a set of cheese-intolerants.

Of course, when the book came out in paperback it was a different story, as though people needed to be able to handle the book for it to be real.  Which is strange, I've never handled David Tennant, yet I firmly believe him to be a real person, even though I have my doubts about his hair.  But still I championed the e-book, despite all those slightly curled noses and the cries of 'read on a screen?' which you have to imagine to have been intoned in Lady Bracknellesque fashion.

And now look at us. Well, not at me, obviously, because I am shy and have a tendency to frizzy hair in the mornings and anyway I'm wearing my horrible cardigan, but look at people in general.  Go on.  I'll wait.

There.  I bet that somewhere within your circle, unless your circle is very small, or you're on retreat at a monastery in rural Cork with no walls and where you have to sleep on a donkey, someone will have a Kindle.  Even I have a Kindle, and you all know what I'm like with electrical objects.

Mine looks a bit like this. Only without the weird slug-balancing dude.  We're all at it.  Reading e-books.  Just like I predicted FOUR YEARS AGO.  So, just remember that, when I'm trying to get you to put your life-savings onto a horse called Jam Factory in the 4.30 from Plumpton.  I know what I'm talking about.


Sunday, 10 April 2011

This year I might not get ryegrass staggers, if I'm lucky and if I drink all my haddock cocktail.

I love Pimms.  It's all right, it's a purely legal and not at all indecent form of love (not, in other words, the same emotion I feel when confronted with, say, Tony Robinson).  There's something so essentially Summery about drinking strong liquor laced only with lemonade.  I know, traditionally, one drinks it with cucumber and strawberries but we didn't have any in the fridge, so I thought I'd experiment with some alternative additives...Anyone else for a haddock, cheese and Pimms cocktail?  .  Apparently you're also supposed to have mint in it, but, let's face it, if my fridge doesn't have cucumber then it's not going to have mint, is it?  Mint sauce is nearly as good though.  For reference.

I always know that summer has truly arrived when the local Co-Op starts stocking Pimms, just as I know that the new school year has started by the way they fill the shelves with Christmas puddings, and that Christmas is truly on the way when the Easter Eggs hit the stockroom. 

You'll have to imagine the haddock.  I can't find a picture of a Pimms-and-haddock cocktail. 

So, here I sit, in my garden surrounded by hopeful cats, sipping at my fish-and-fruit cup and gazing around me at those tell-tale signs that summer has arrived - the annual underwear-wash hanging (somewhat stiffly) from the line, the phallic rhubarb sprouts protruding through the soil like underground flashers, and the annual Lawnmower wars breaking out elsewhere in the village.  And, since we are not going on summer holidays this year but are, instead, going to crouch behind the sofa for a fortnight, we need all the sunshine we can get. Last year was so unsunny that I actually caught several sheep-diseases and the vet was up all night with me.

So I shall release you, my dears, into the sunshine where you may skip and play like unto young gazelle.  But don't knock over the Pimms, I'm not made of Stilton...

Sunday, 3 April 2011

...and then there was a big bang and the end fell off.

I should never be allowed within a mile of technology.  I realise this would prove restrictive, eg, this blog would have to be delivered via me shouting individually through your letterboxes which would probably curtail my social life quite severely and also be expensive.  But it would mean that my chances of pressing the wrong button and deleting the whole post would be less.  Although I suppose I could commit the technology-free equivalent, of shouting through the wrong person's letterbox, thus ensuring that my words of wisdomish never actually reached your ears...

And why, I hear you cry, for your voices are loud and, truth be told, really rather penentrating particularly this early in the day when I had half a bottle of wine the night before, so if you could keep it down I would be very grateful?  I shall tell you.  Lean close, my dears, for this is a tale that begins one dark and stormy night...

Pretty much like this, only a bit more gothic...  For I found myself in the streets of York, wandering carelessly over the cobbles like a windblown McDonalds wrapper only a bit less greasy.  And, it goes without saying, without a giant yellow M all over me.  Anyway.  I was inexplicably drawn to the doors of Waterstones bookshop, pulled as though by a giant, invisible elastic of those thick ones, not those stupid thin ones that snap and ping back to hit you on the cheek leaving a little red mark that you spend the day explaining away...  Propelled by same elastic force, and also just a little bit by my own legs, I was flung through the doors and into the comfortable and luxurious inside!  Yes!  I will pause here for you to draw breath, suck your teeth and shake your head at the folly of my being allowed out of doors unattended by my usual care-force.

This is how I picture you right now...

So, I wend..err..wended...went my way inside and towards the back of the shop, where bookshelves are arraigned.  The books upon them are not just wiggled into place higgledy-piggeldy you know!  They are alphabeticised!  And lo, I found myself crouched, sheltering from the storm which raged outside (see above) right next to the 'L''s.  And, just as a particularly arcane and indeed eldritch crash of thunder boomed out overhead, my eyes fell upon ... MY OWN BOOK!  Yes, well may ye gather your skirts around you and draw closer to the fire, for I had foreseen the coming of the shelving!  And, and this is the important bit that relates back to the beginning of this post, I attempted to photograph, for posterity, this positioning of both cover and words in such form that the passing public may be tempted to peruse, nay, purchase, said book.

I took three shots of my own thumb, two of my own face (the camera was on a phone and facing the wrong way, but it's not my phone and, quite frankly, I think it's a bloody miracle that I managed not to call everyone in the address book) and finally.... a shot of Please Don't Stop the Music, resting amid other novels of its ilk.

But I can't work out how to get it a) off the phone and b) onto this blog.  So you'll just have to believe me.
This is what it looked like, though.  Only there were more of them.  And bigger.  And other books too.