Friday, 26 December 2008

Boxing Day

Among our Christmas presents, Ian and I received a vegan cookbook, and an apron each. This is a gift from a friend who loves cooking and no doubt thinks (rightly) that we need a bit of encouragement. I'm a vegetarian and Ian is a vegan. But that's not the problem. The problem is that I'm a lazy sod when it comes to cooking.

When I first went veggie, I immediately bought a wonderful cookbook called 'The Junk Food Vegetarian' - start as you mean to go on. Years later and bored with the 'mix a can of this with a can of that' recipes, I began talking about doing some 'proper' cooking, and trying to convince Ian that it would be a 'fun thing' for us to do together. (Actually, Ian is better at cooking than I am, and not half as bone idle, but there's plenty of scope for improvement in both of us).

Now, will this lovely new cookbook join the others on our bookshelves that sit there and do bugger all to earn their keep? (er, well, maybe I expect a little too much of the books - they're not trained to do the cooking for us). No! My new year's resolution is: 'STOP TALKING ABOUT IT AND JUST GET ON WITH IT.' That could apply to so many areas of my life, including my writing. But one thing at once. I'm going to put on my bright-red apron with the tomato image across my bosom, and I'll 'make' Ian put on his bright-green apron with the 'what d'ya call it?' a pepper I think, on the front. And we're going to cook.

On a more analytical note, I'm wondering why I hate cooking when I love eating. Hey, I think I've just figured it out. My old school cookery teacher is to blame! I remember my first attempt at making a casserole in a cookery class at school when I was thirteen. It was for an end-of-term exam, so the teacher had to taste it. I was proud of my offering, and it looked delicious. My teacher swallowed a spoonful and, oh God, I thought I'd poisoned her! She screwed up her face, made strange noises and looked ready to puke. The only clue I got later as to where I'd gone wrong was when she hissed: 'Ugh! It's greasy!' (I think it might have been because the copious amount of fat I'd fried the onions in ended up in the dish). Anyway, the whole class stared in shocked silence and then broke into laughter. Guess who came bottom in the exam.

But, over forty years on, all grown up now and undaunted by past humiliations, I'll don my apron and show 'em all. Not just yet though. Let's have another sherry and get boxing day over first.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Nearly Christmas

The run-up to Christmas seems often to be a time when things go wrong for me or my family. My dear mother-in-law, a lovely woman, aged 91, has fallen and broken her hip and shoulder. She underwent an operation yesterday; a worry in itself at her age.

I will probably not be blogging again until after Christmas. So, if anyone happens to be reading this:


Wednesday, 10 December 2008


I'm getting into a flap thinking that there must be things (what things?) I should be doing (or should have already done) to help with publicity of The Dark Threads. It's due out on 23rd February. Only now am I realising that date is not far away!

The proofreading still needs finishing. I should receive the manuscript back from my publishers this Friday for me to do my final check before it goes for typesetting in January. January? I wonder how that leaves enough time for review copies to be sent out.

I'm naive about all this and I hope I'm worrying unnecessarily, but something is pushing my panic button.

Thursday, 4 December 2008


This blog award was kindly passed on to me by Karen. Thanks Karen. I'll have a think about who to pass it on to. Being eager to post it onto my blog has at last made me learn how to upload images, something I wasn't able to do before.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Taking stock

I've just found out I reached the Final Round (though no further) in the Legend Writing Award. In the past I've been on the shortlist in 'Real Writers' twice, and got through to the final selection for Mslexia's 'New Writing' section. I've never won a short story competition (though to be fair to myself, I've only entered a few), but my tiny blips at the edge of the radar encourage me to write more stories, work hard at improving them, and enter competitions.

I'm taking stock of where I'm at with my writing, where I want to go, and what I might realistically achieve (ah, the latter is uncertain, but I'll get nowhere if I don't try). My main aim for the new year is to get down to finishing my novel, but I'm also going to work on my short stories.

So there it is. Today I'm fired up with enthusiasm for writing. All I have to do now is stop thinking, talking and blogging about it. Just get on with it!