Monday, 30 July 2012

Life imitates art

My next book, ‘At her boss’s command’, opens with a storm scene. I know, Snoopy has done it already, but he sold books with it, didn’t he. In my book, I describe a huge thunderstorm with so many flashes of lightning that they illuminate an office darkened by a power cut. I had to imagine it though, because while I have witnessed many a thunderstorm in my time, I have never seen one with that much lightning – we don’t exactly have extreme weather conditions around here.

That changed last night. At midnight, a storm rolled in from the sea, waking me up, and stayed in place for over an hour. The lightning was exactly the kind I had tried to describe in my book, a constant flashing that made the night sky as bright as a day. I sat on my balcony, watching in awe as Mother Nature demonstrated her power, unable to go back to sleep. And as I sat there, I tried to rewrite the storm scene in my book in my mind, hoping to make it as dramatic as the one I was witnessing.

Needless to say, I couldn’t find the words. I wasn’t depressed by it though. It wasn’t so much about life imitating art as it was the other way round, and for a storm like that, there are no words. I will make do with the ones I have and if they are not enough, I can always borrow from Snoopy. It was a dark and stormy night…

© Peanuts Worldwide

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Sic Transit

I cleaned up my home, top to bottom. You might think it isn’t all that great an achievement, but I’m not a household goddess. I don’t like cleaning up and I find it a chore to even think of vacuuming. So, whenever I manage the deed – and I do manage it – I think there should be fanfares and a commemorative medal awarded for the occasion. There never is, for some reason. Apparently, household work is something we should just get done, but for me there always are more interesting things I could be doing instead, like writing. So, I thought to write about my feat in this blog. Let that be my fanfare.

However, before I started to write this entry, I checked how my book, the Wolf's Call, was doing and learned to my utter delight that its ranking had shot up overnight at It had even made it into a top 100 in one category, something I thought would never happen. The overnight sales (for me, as I’m based in Europe) weren’t that massive, but they were the best for one day period I’ve had so far, so I thought the rise was justified. I rushed in to announce the news to the world – well, to my family, but I mentioned it on my webpages too – my domestic accomplishment all forgotten. Surely, this would be the start of a steady rise to bestsellers’ list.

Alas, no. It didn’t take long for the author forums to start questioning this miracle. Everyone’s rankings had either skyrocketed or disappeared completely and they thought a malfunction in software was to blame. They were right. By the end of the day, my ranking had returned to normal. What a disappointment.

So, the worldly glory is indeed passing. Having had a taste of it though, I didn’t feel like telling the world about my other achievement. What is a clean house compared to good book sales? Then again, the sales fluctuate on daily bases even in normal conditions, but my house is still clean. And I can clean it up again and again and again… Sigh.

<![endif]--> Cartoon Network.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Seaside Rendezvous

I spent yesterday at a seaside resort. Fled there, to be more precise. A rock festival is being held practically next door to where I live, and while the festival itself doesn’t bother me, the hordes of revellers wandering through my neighbourhood and camping in my backyard do. So, we try to be elsewhere for it every year.

The resort is an ideal refuge, as it is a small town that only comes alive during the summer months, its heydays long in the past. As a reminder of those days there is a casino (now a restaurant bearing that name), a Marina (many times larger than the original), tennis courts, and picturesque seafront villas that offer accommodation to tourists. Most importantly, there are long stretches of white beaches with their white wooden beach huts and the endless roar of sea that always remind me of Jaques Tati’s M. Hulot's Holiday.

Our escape wasn’t as perfect as usually though. The weather forecast promised hot and humid, so naturally it was raining the whole day, but at least it was warm. On top of that, it was the Regatta weekend, the only time of the year that the town truly comes alive. The Marina was overflowing with sailing boats and every restaurant was full of their exhausted crews who had spent the day struggling with gusty winds that had broken more than one mast. Still, if you are into sailing – and my husband very much is – the atmosphere was exciting. Even in the rain. Then, finally, in the evening, the sun came out and we could have a nice seaside picnic at one of the quieter beaches, a rainbow colouring the horizon.

Today, as the last gigs begin at the rock festival – Snoop Dogg, whom I wouldn’t mind seeing, if it weren't raining again – I can watch the photos we took yesterday and listen to Seaside Rendezvous by Queen, or the same song performed by the King's Singers, which I think is actually better. Or, since I'm keeping the windows open, I can listen to Snoop Dogg rousing the audience. It is not such a bad summer soundtrack either.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Think of a plot. Any plot.

It’s already July and the book I thought I would publish this month isn’t halfway finished yet. I know I said I had it written already, but when I started revising it, I did it more thoroughly than I intended. Meaning, I have pretty much rewritten the thing. Now, midway through, I’m struggling to steer the plot towards the original story, wavering between writing everything anew and sticking to my publishing schedule. The month is still young, you might say, but this is actually the month my husband starts his summer vacation and I can’t spend it by the computer, now can I. So I would like to finish the manuscript before that.

I would be more worried if this hadn’t happened to me before. Getting stuck in the middle of the book, that is. Looking for inspiration, I got help from a wonderful comic strip I read every day, Get Fuzzy by Darby Conley. It didn’t make me have a breakthrough with my own plot, but it made me realise others struggle with the same problem too. Even if it is just a small, fuzzy cat. Enjoy.

If you would like to see the strip in its original context, here is the link: Get Fuzzy