Friday, March 30, 2007


I’m feeling a bit fraudulent.

Does it say anywhere in the Novel Racer rules that you can’t fish a bit of crap out of the bin and decide it’s not so bad any more?

I’ve explained before that I’ve started writing many, many times but I always stop. I started this story about 8 months ago, and made notes and wrote some scenes but then I abandoned it because I allowed my demon to stop me. I had quite forgotten it was there (or I had blanked it out because I believed it was dreadful). Anyway, I looked at it earlier this week and while it’s not brilliant, it isn’t worth binning. What is also interesting is that I started in a different place with this draft (about a third into the story) and the stuff I’ve done recently is the first quarter, so there’s also no overlap. I wonder if my brain wanted me to find the first draft.

It’s also interesting to note that I chose to deal with the passing of time differently in each of the two drafts. In the first one, the chapters are the months of the year and in the second I didn’t do that. I’m not sure which to use but I’m not going to stop and worry about that now - hark at me! However, other methods might get confusing. The book is set in Thailand where there are three seasons: hot, really hot and really hot and wet (these aren’t the technical terms, you understand?) but it might get confusing for anyone not familiar with those seasons so having a reminder, while still using the reference of the weather might be better. But I haven’t quite worked out if that structure will work for chapters, which may be why I abandoned it.

Anyway, I feel a terrible cheat because there are 9000 words of rediscovered draft. This would put me at around 20k words: omg.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hello. My name’s JJ and I’m a tea-aholic

One of my blog friends sent me a box of teabags in the post. She didn’t want them and I do, and I can’t buy this brand in Thailand. I told her when she got to the post office, if the postage was exorbitant, please don’t send them: STOP, retrace your steps, and save them for when Auntie Maureen comes round for a cuppa. Or maybe let them rot at the back of a cupboard…

I was very over excited to receive them – they’d been on a big postal adventure, all facilitated by a couple of comments while blogging.

I saw that she’d spent a lot of money on postage and had sent them anyway. So, I remembered something that she wished for in her blog once and I went out yesterday and bought it for her.

But then, I felt like a bit anxious, although I couldn’t quite work out why. I thought about it and then I realized. It reminded me, when I first started reading blogs I kept quiet, and never commented. I kept coming back to a few people’s lives and listened, read and enjoyed, but I didn’t say anything.

And this is because it made me feel a little bit like a creepy stalker.

She (and the other few I read) didn’t know I was there and I felt dishonest. I felt like I was peeping through their curtains uninvited.

Now that I’ve joined the novel racers and introduced myself I feel more legitimate. (My mother would be so proud of my good manners). But it interested me that I’d once felt this way. I’d quite forgotten.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


I’ve discovered that I can’t write after a night out. I promise that this isn’t more procrastination. Something about feeling jaded (either from alcohol or by being short of sleep) means I can’t get down to the business of writing.

I’m not talking about getting steaming drunk either – I’m talking about having a night out with some alcohol. Three bottles of beer I had last night, and not only did I wake up with a headache, but I couldn’t concentrate on anything today. I did a bit of research, but I had to have a sleep this afternoon just to get through the day.

What does this mean? That if I want to write a book, alcohol and I have to part company?

In truth I think we should go our different ways: it seems to poison me. It doesn’t matter what I drink, even in small quantities I feel dreadful the next day. Slowly I’m cutting the different poisons off my list. First to go was red wine, years ago (migraine BEFORE I’d finished the glass); Thai beer gives me wild dreams and hangovers; the lovely cream bitter they brew in the Londoner Pub gives me ferocious headaches; all wine is heavily taxed so any white wine I drink is usually on the cheap end of the scale, which results in – yup, you guessed it – a banging headache.

So that leaves me with gin. Gin and I have been good mates for many years, however the week before last I went out with husband and two visiting colleagues, and I horribly, but horribly over-indulged with gin.

So if gin gets knocked off the list I don’t know where that leaves me.

Sober, but 100,000 words richer?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Writers and Readers

A writer must be a voracious reader – is that agreed?

And they must read widely in the genre in which they write. Not gone wrong yet?

Well, I also know from the lists of ‘meme’ books (though being a bit stupid, I’m uncertain what meme means…) doing the blog-rounds that most of us novel racers reads (or has read) widely. Sometimes that’s been while studying and sometimes for pleasure (or book groups AND they really AREN’T always the same thing…)

(Oh dear, I‘m overindulging with parentheses somewhat today.)

What happens then if you are uncertain where your story fits in your pattern of reading? Does that matter? Do you not worry until well and truly established on your book? Wouldn’t you write differently for two different genres? Or do you attempt to write the way you write (find your voice – damn, there I go again) and it finds its way into the right genre?

Or am I just avoiding the writing again?

Saturday, March 17, 2007


I’ve just been into Kinokuniya, an English and Japanese book shop in the Emporium Mall in Bangkok. And there on their ‘recently arrived’ shelves were TEN copies of ‘Any Way You Want Me’ by LUCY DIAMOND!

Now there are only nine copies!

And I tell you something else, they DO look absolutely brilliant on the shelves.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My sister is fab

I’m quite conventional so I was intrigued, though not entirely surprised, by the idea that my sister would get involved in burlesque dancing. She dances with a group who call themselves The Teasemaids. I was preparing to move to Bangkok when my sister started this career so I didn’t have an oportunity to see her doing it until last summer when I was back in the UK.

I went with her to the Volupté Lounge near Chancery Lane for Afternoon Tease. Most of the audience was women. I sat on a table with my sister’s daytime colleagues and we had proper old fashioned English tea: sandwiches and cakes, oh and champagne!

But I was a bit shocked; maybe I’m not just conventional but also a prude? It was very daring of her, but also funny. It made me realise how very, very different we are. I’m a little uncomfortable even taking my bra off even in changing rooms. Was that what shocked me? That my sister could? Although my sister and I of the same genetics she takes after Dad’s side of the family (straight up and down, small tits) I take after Mum’s (curvaceous, tendency to put on weight, big tits.) So taking my bra off in public would probably put lives in danger: maybe only toddlers and dwarves’ lives, but nonetheless…

This Friday she is organising Ooh La La at Bush Hall, in Shepherd’s Bush and I am wishing her all the good fortune from over here in Bangkok.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Shameless Promotion

The premise: On Friday 16th March a new night starts in West London in the form of Ooh La La, a mixed event involving a classic of the silent movie era with live piano accompaniment followed by a burlesque cabaret and finishing with a DJ till late.
The event's production company Smokey Phoenix presents… is run by Miss Burgundy Skies and Miss Murray-Perry both of whom are members of award nominated burlesque dance troupe The Teasemaids. "We wanted to create a vaudeville vibe in keeping with the long and mixed history of the venue which has hosted comedy, film, theatre and music of all kinds from jazz to rock and folk to classical".
The beautiful Bush Hall is the perfect venue for this kind of event – big enough to create a buzzy atmosphere but small enough to still feel intimate.
Friday 16th March - Buster Keaton's "The General" with live piano accompaniment - Burlesque cabaret with our guest Mistress of Ceremonies, Polly Cupcake, featuring - Crimson Skye, Lil' Miss Chievous, Tallulah Mockingbird, and The Teasemaids! Come and enjoy the film, the show and dancing 'til late.
For more information visit

Friday, March 09, 2007

Wine is weepy making

After such a good day on Wednesday (a good day is defined by actually writing, as opposed to thinking, playing Bejeweled, playing Tetris, answering emails, reading and in which numbers of words increase) I was really hoping that I wouldn’t get a last minute ticket to the International Women’s Day Lunch which was being organized by the Australian and New Zealand Women’s Group here in Bangkok.

But a ticket came up so I had to go along. I had to drink all that champagne; and then all the wine. It would have been rude to refuse.

I think International Women’s Day is a good thing to celebrate. I like women. And I like the camaraderie that we women give to each other. The novel race is a great demonstration of that: when we confess to being wobbly, doubting and down in the dumps, we get left comments by fellow racers, reassuring us, cheering us on and generally being lovely.

It’s true that women are also among the nastiest of enemies, and two faced and positively bitchy, but I’m not going to dwell on that because I’m not in that kind of mood.

I think wine makes me weepy. Or maybe voluminous quanities of wine makes me weepy. Gin on the other hand doesn’t appear to do this, which is odd, given its reputation as mother’s ruin and a depressive. I'm going to try to remember wine is bad...

So today, feeling a little hungover, instead of writing I had date with a big packet of Maltesers and The Queen at the cinema.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Morris Gleitzman

There's lots of excitement at home this afternoon.

Morris Gleitzman has been in daughter's school, talking about his writing, and signing the children's books, "G'day Child." Have a look here.

She didn't get chosen to ask him questions in the session, so she went to find him after school, to tell him 'My mum wants to know how you got your first book published?'

She nearly missed her bus for it. She loved him, but it wasn't information worth missing the bus home for!


Oh goodness, I'm writing.

If I write more and word count less, I might even make 10,000 today!

Everytime my brain comes up with something to stop me like 'all your tenses are confused' I decide it doesn't matter and can all be sorted out later. Is this okay? Or will I then have a gargantuan job of sorting on my hands? Well, at least I'll have words to sort...

Won't stop for longer - I have words to count.