Tag Archives: Writing

Does your face match your genre?

Are authors and their novels comparable with dog owners and their dogs? Do writers look like what they write? If you’re not sure what your genre is could you simply check in the mirror? Would there be a certain look in your eyes that told you what to write? Does the way you smile give you away?

Do authors look like their genres?

Do romantic fiction writers look romantic? Are thriller writers thrilling? What can you say about the way horror writers present themselves? Do they look horrible?

Some of the authors I’ve read.

Here are some famous faces. I’ve read all of them. Not always everything they’ve written, but the following faces have played their part in my growing up with reading for entertainment. I make the distinction here between reading for pleasure and other reading. I have therefore excluded all the authors I’ve read for study and the many classics I’ve enjoyed.

Enid Blyton

when I was a child I read everything she wrote

Does this lady look friendly? Would she be a lovely mummy? Does she look as if she adored children and loved to entertain them with her stories? Or does that strong jaw speak of something heavier than nodding toys and goblins with large ears?

I know more about her now than I did when I was a child, but I think I would have been in awe of a lady who wore that kind of jewellery.

Daphne du Maurier

my teenage favourite

As a teenager I read everything I could get my hands on from the second author in my gallery. Maybe you’ve read a previous post where I explain what I loved so much about this author and the power of her characters.

Only recently have I gone back to catch up with short stories of hers which I missed when I was young.

(Edit 26/04.2014)

I can’t imagine what she’d think about a recent BBC television production of one of her novels where we couldn’t see what was happening in the dark and we couldn’t hear what was being said.

John Wyndham Sci-Fi genre

he introduced me to Sci-Fi

At school we read one of this next author’s books. I loved it and went on to read everything else he’d written too.

His works of science fiction appealed to me because they were about how extraordinary circumstances affected ordinary people. I think they’d feel out of place and dated now, but at the time it was fascinating reading about alien children or plants that captured and ate people.

A new genre had found its way into my reading. I wanted more. I looked for even darker stories and found them with the next author on my list.

Dennis Wheatley horror genre

dark tales of devilish horror

I was hooked. If my mother had realised what I was reading, I think she might have banned this author’s books. I couldn’t get enough. I think I became a Goth before Goths were invented.

His words thrilled me to bits, I suppose much in the same way a different generation of teenagers thrilled at Edward Cullen.

Eric van Lustbader thriller genre

high octane dramas

Here’s where I went next.

I had a husband by now and we had started a family. This author’s books were primarily written for a male audience, but I lapped them up. Well, haven’t I always said how much I love variety in my life? I continued reading action thrillers, horror and science fiction for several years, interspersed with books by the following author.

Harold Robbins

sexier stories

His books were best sellers. I tried books in a similar genre by female writers of the time, but didn’t rate them as highly.

It was a long time before I trusted female writers again. I discovered a woman who, although she was way before my time, spoke to me in a voice I knew well.

Dorothy Parker

sharp as bitter almonds

Oh boy, I loved her wit, her sarcasm, her pain, her fury. I devoured her short stories.  She was clever and scathing and thoroughly magnificent and I wondered what she would have written had she been born in my generation.

John Grisham thriller genre

a new kind of thriller

I can’t include every author I’ve ever read in this post – I’m sticking to the ones I read most. It’s interesting that there are more male authors than female. Maybe that means something: maybe it doesn’t. But I read everything the man on the right put out until the one about an American football team in Italy. And don’t say I objected to him changing genre. He’d already done that before and I loved A Painted House. I would never object to an author writing in a different genre.

Dan Brown thriller genre

I’ve read them all . . .

This is the man who took over. He’s the only author I’ve ever bought in hard back because I didn’t want to wait for the paperback.

I’ve read them ALL.

Does his face say ‘best-seller’?

Oh, yes.

And now it’s time to hear from the girls. Do they look like the kind of books they write?

Martina Cole crime genre

would you argue with her?

I tried reading the woman on the right. I’m including her in my list because I really did want to like her. I wanted to understand what makes her a best-seller. Really, I did. But, I can’t read her. Sorry. I couldn’t ever read J.K.Rowling either, for different reasons. Sometimes you just don’t get on with the way a writer writes. That’s okay. You can’t please everybody and I’m sure Martina isn’t the least bothered that Celia Micklefield doesn’t get on with her books. In this photo, though, she looks like what she writes. Wouldn’t you say?

Jodi Picoult

Earth mother?

I found characters to really get behind in this author’s books. She’s great. Love her to bits.

Just bought her latest.

Wouldn’t you want this lady for your sister?

I would.

Val McDermid crime genre

hard as nails?

Another face you wouldn’t want to argue with. If she didn’t write crime fiction, she’d be a butcher. Or a wrestler.

Joanne Harris




This author’s magic has bewitched many a reader. She probably had her fingers forked behind her back when the photographer took this, though.

Anne Tyler

my favourite female author

My current favourite female writer. Look at her face, those eyes. You just know she’s holding back.

And my current male author?

Lee Child

creator of Jack Reacher

Ah, Jack Reacher. Say no more.

So where would I fit in with all this?


what genre?


what genre?


what genre?

Three pictures – all me – all different. Which genre do these faces belong to?

I don’t know.

If you do, let me know.


Authors in order of appearance:

Enid Blyton, Daphne du Maurier, John Wyndham, Denis Wheatley, Eric van Lustbader, Harold Robbins, Dorothy Parker, John Grisham, Dan Brown, Martina Cole, Jodi Picoult, Val McDermid, Joanne Harris, Anne Tyler, Lee Child, Celia Micklefield x3.

Feel free to comment. Maybe add your own suggestions to the list. Do you look like what you write?

Till next time,

Getting on the writing piste. Talking to myself.

I’ve wandered off my writing piste. The weather’s fine, but I’m lost in heavy going.

Maybe I’m on the wrong horse. No point in riding a fast sprinter when you’re in it for the long haul. Sprinters are for short stories, writer in Languedoc, but you have something else in mind now, don’t you?

writing piste direction

which way?

I do.

But which way to go?

There’s no worn track to follow. I’m going to have to make my own way.

See, the thing is, it doesn’t matter how many times you read how other people do their thing, how they organise their time for writing, whether they pants it first and sort it afterwards. Some of them will tell you get your outline, plot your scenes, follow this rule, follow that one. Get the backbone straight before you give it legs. It’s got to have a sound skeleton (structure) before it can run (be good enough to publish).

Yes, yes. I know, I know. And I’m grateful to all the wonderful writers out there who freely give of their experience and time to help others. Well, maybe they do want you to buy their How To book, and why not? What they have to say has helped other writers find some measure of success in this fiercely competitive world we want to break into.

However, dammit, it doesn’t matter how successful all these other writers are at following their path, because when it comes right down to it –


You are on YOURS.

Let me take stock of my writing journey. It’s September and through my year so far I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.

1. New Year’s Resolution – get a website. Check.

2. Blog regularly on said website. Check.

3. Learn about SEO and other wizardry. Check.

4. Tweet regularly and support other authors without always peddling your own stuff. Check.

writing missions

on target so far

5. Get Mick’s collection of short stories out on Kindle. Check.

6. Prepare Arse(d) Ends for paperback version. Check.

7. Finish that Airport short story and submit it. Check. Sold it.

8. Keep up to date with new ideas for more short stories. Check.

9. Have another go at writing something for serialisation. Half-check.

10. I didn’t have a tenth thing on my must-do list.

So, what’s the problem, Writer in Languedoc? It sounds to me like you’ve been busy.

writing maze

which way?

Oh, I’ve been very busy. But, I’m in a maze. That’s the problem. I have a decision to make about which way to go now.

I have three novels ready for final edit.

I’m going to choose one of them and get it out there.

But which one?

The family saga – an epic 140,000 words spanning 1934 to 2010? The psychological drama? The one with the theme that hides itself?


I’ll probably write a few more short stories while I’m thinking.

keep writing


Another baby on submission

I’ve been sitting on this baby since May. Out of the blue, as seems to be the way with most of my ideas for new stories, a set of characters presented themselves to me as I was waiting for a plane.

Conception of latest idea

baby story conceived here

baby of a story conceived here

Now, I’ve heard of the five mile high club and often thought what an uncomfortable proposition that would be on the kind of budget airlines servicing our local airports. Toilet spaces are minimal to say the least. And if a child was somehow conceived during such a short hop at 36,000 feet, would it have to be called Sky or Cloud or Cramp?

Why Montpellier?

So, writer in Languedoc, what were you doing in Montpellier airport when Béziers is closer to home?

Languedoc airports

my choice of airports

I have a good choice of airports. This map doesn’t show all of them. To the west of Béziers, I also have Carcassonne, Perpignan and, at a  desperate push, Toulouse at my disposal. It all depends on where I’m going.

Last May, I was going to Leeds/Bradford airport, back to my home county for a much longed-for family visit. You can’t fly to Leeds from Béziers, not yet anyway, so Montpellier was the next best choice for my journey.

I like the Leeds/Bradford flights. They’re full of people who sound like me. It does me so much good to hear a nay, lass spoken with feeling. I love those old Yorkshire sayings such as you make a better door than a window, when somebody’s blocking your view. Tha can allus tell a Yorkshireman, but you can’t tell ‘im much and when somebody’s left the door open, were you born in a barn?

long lollikers

Yorkshire wit

Eee, lass, you can’t beat ’em. So, last May while I was waiting in Airport Departures, I noticed a little French girl with her Yorkshire father. Dad’s French came with very pronounced Yorkshire vowel sounds. We never lose them and, anyway, why would we want to? Mademoiselle’s French, on the other hand, was perfect. However, when she spoke in English, she spoke it like her father with his pronunciation. Mother was conspicuous by her absence.

I was fascinated. Out came my notebook.

Regular readers of my Random Thoughts blog will know I always carry my notebook and camera with me. I do a lot of people watching, and listening. You never know what you’re going to find that might be the inspiration for a new idea. This time, I didn’t need a photograph. It would have been too intrusive and you can get into a lot of trouble taking photographs of other people’s children. Fortunately for me the pair of them made such an impression on me the words flowed so fast my wrist ached.

Nobody could see what I was writing. Nobody would have been able to work out I was making detailed notes about this handsome father and his little French daughter. Before we boarded the plane, I had an outline.

But no ending.

This is unusual for me.

I always know what the ending is going to be before I begin to write in detail.

And that’s why I’d been sitting on the baby since May.

Ideas mulled in and mulled out again. I wasn’t satisfied with any of them. But, I make it a rule NOT to beat myself up about tricksy stories that won’t end themselves. I leave them alone. If it isn’t happening there’s a good reason for that. So, I wait. Something will happen. There’s always something else I can write instead.

This morning, I submitted the finished story. I hope the editor enjoys it. I hope the editor decides to pay me for it.

And if she does, and it goes into that very popular Fiction Special, I owe a plane load of thanks to the little Mademoiselle and her father on that flight to Leeds/Bradford last May.

I wonder if they would recognise themselves? I can’t tell you any more about the ending. That would be a spoiler.

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Thank you for visiting. Send me a message. I love to hear from readers.

Edit: 5th September. Airport Departures sold today. Look out for it in Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special

First dark humour collection published on Kindle.

Mick Alec Idlelife. Writer of dark humour. MICK ALEC IDLELIFE. Who?

He’s just an anagram- that’s all he is. So what if he got a book published first? He couldn’t have done it without me.

Here’s the cover.

dark humour

dark humour for upgrowns

The title is as irreverent as his surname. That’s how he likes it. He doesn’t want to be categorised in a genre. The closest he will come to assigning a category of literature to this, his first collection, is to call it dark humour.

But, some of it is quite shocking. Endings can be quite a surprise. Other tales have an underlying sadness beneath the brash exterior. That’s life, according to Mick. There are no clear boundaries on feelings, he believes. It is quite possible to experience many conflicting emotions all at the same time, so why shouldn’t fiction reflect this?

There are six stories in this book, 48,000 words in total. As long as a novella. 140 pages or thereabouts depending on how large you like your font on Kindle. Mick would say it’s excellent value for money. He’s just paid £2 for something 12 pages long.

The title is wordplay in itself. There aren’t many words in the English language ending in a.r.s.e. Enough for this and a possible second collection. That’s going to depend upon the success of the first, of course.

So, it’s over to you now, people. One day I hope to be able to call you fans. Download fingers at the ready?

Here’s the page on


-and here’s a link to my Amazon author page.

I hope you enjoy the characters and situations in Arse(d) Ends. I don’t think you’ll forget them!





People watching in the market. Inspiration for a story?

People watching is a favourite pastime of mine.

We’d been to the Wednesday market and sat at the same café as my previous French market post on a terrace overlooking the crowd where I like to do my people watching. I snapped a few more nice shots of people passing by.

no cicadas here

every picture tells a story

This would make a lively practice piece for character development. Who are the main characters? What is their relationship to one another? What is their background? Are they wealthy? Are they visitors to this area, or do they live here? And so on and so on.

You could use the secondary characters in the background, too. Who looks happy? Who doesn’t? Why? Is there a face that looks apprehensive? Why might that be?

Before you realise, you’re writing a short story.

Maybe you’ll follow some of these characters home to develop their story further. What would their home be like?

Here’s another people picture.

melon people

giant basket of melons

Opportunities for creating setting and character development are staring you in the face.

You can let your imagine run riot. You can write down lots of ideas. You don’t have to keep them all. Keep the ones that work best.

What are these children thinking? Why do they put their fingers to their mouths?

After every visit to the market, I come home with new characters to think about. Maybe they’ll find their way into a new short story. Perhaps I’ll keep them for something longer.

It doesn’t matter whether you write romance, fantasy, mystery, horror, sic-fi or thriller. Whatever genre you write in, or avoid becoming labelled as, most stories have one thing in common: people.

Go people watching and take a notebook. Your camera should be with you at all times, too. You never know what you might find around the corner.

People watching must be popular. There’s even a WikiHow to page about it. So, if you’re not sure how to begin, here’s a link with some ideas.


Guest Post by author Luke Murphy

Luke Murphy

Luke Murphy – author of Dead Man’s Hand

Author Luke Murphy is my guest today. He’s celebrating great reviews for his novel Dead Man’s Hand. I love the chance to share in other people’s celebrations.

July 14th is a day of high rejoicing here in France, where I live. We’ve already had a week of firework displays, live music and street parties in town squares from north to south and east to west. Tonight, French people celebrate becoming citizens of a Republic. There’ll be a procession through the streets of our village. Children will carry the flame of truth (lanterns) to the main square to remind us how in 1789 the principals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity underpinned the movement for change. No longer were ordinary people prepared to accept the hand they had been dealt by an unfair society.

It’s probably fair to say that the French have been ornery ever since, but . . .

. . . What better day to celebrate author Luke Murphy’s debut novel Dead Man’s Hand.

I follow Luke Murphy on Twitter. I like to see how other writers are doing. Share the good news.

Luke lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, three daughters and pug.

He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).

Dead Man`s Hand was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.

Luke has received excellent reviews. Here are just a few from Amazon.

Make sure you have a few days free if you start this book because once you start reading, you won’t want to put the book down! 

S.Dox  |  8 reviewers made a similar statement.
So, I’m thrilled to bits to have this talented writer as my first guest post.


It’s a great title isn’t it? I’m not a card player so the phrase wasn’t familiar to me. I didn’t know the history behind it.

Historically, the phrase, Dead Man’s Hand was given to the last poker hand that Wild Bill Hickok had been dealt when he was murdered during a game of five-card-draw. Although there is  controversy over what those five cards were or even if there actually were five cards when the infamous Hickok was slain, there appears to be a general consensus that he was holding a pair of 8s and a pair of Aces. However, the most controversial aspect about the poker hand in question, was the the number and suit of the fifth card.

Here’s Luke’s tantalising introduction to his novel:

Luke Murphy - his novel

a must read!

What happens when the deck is stacked against you…

From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

…and the cards don’t fall your way? 

When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.

What if you’re dealt a Dead Man’s Hand? 

Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.

Wow! A real thriller writer on my website. Isn’t that something? I asked Luke to tell us a little about where he finds his inspiration.



 What Inspired my Fiction?

I never thought much about writing when I was growing up.

But I was always an avid reader, which I owe to my mother. She was a librarian, and although I lost her when I was young, I will always remember a stack on Danielle Steele books on her bedside table, and a lot of books lying around the house at my disposal.

My first chapter books were the Hardy Boys titles, so they are the reason I love mysteries. As an adult, some of my favorite authors are Harlan Coben, Michael Connelly and Greg Iles, so naturally I write what I love to read – mystery/suspense novels. DEAD MAN`S HAND has been compared to James Patterson books, which to me is an honour. Maybe in style (short chapters, a quick read), as I have read many of his books.

Plot: I get my ideas from stories I hear about, whether through reading (newspapers, magazines, etc.), what I hear (radio) or what I see (TV, movies, internet, etc.). The plot is completely fictional. I wouldn`t say that one thing or person influences my writing, but a variety of my life experiences all have led to my passion in the written word. There is not a single moment in time when this idea came to be, but circumstances over the years that led to this story: my hockey injuries, frequent visits to Las Vegas, my love of football, crime books and movies. Dead Man’s Hand became real from mixing these events, taking advantage of experts in their field, and adding my wild imagination. The internet also provides a wealth of information, available at our fingertips with a click of the mouse.

Setting: I usually set my stories in cities I`ve visited and fell in love with. Las Vegas was the perfect backdrop for this story, glitz and glamour as well as an untapped underground.

Characters: I have never been involved in a homicide investigation, LOL. Although I am not a 6’5”, 220 pound African-American, I’ve used much of my athletic background when creating my protagonist Calvin Watters. Watters past as an athlete, and his emotional rollercoaster brought on by injuries were drawn from my experiences. His mother died of cancer when he was young, as mine was. There are certainly elements of myself in Calvin, but overall, this is a work of fiction. I did not base the characters or plot on any real people or events. Any familiarities are strictly coincidence.

I’ve always been a self-motivated person, and my harshest critic. Whether it was in school, hockey or writing, I’ve been the one to put the most pressure on myself to succeed, to be the best in everything I try.

I made my decision in 2005. I enjoyed writing so much as a hobby, I decided I wanted to take my interest one step further – write a story with the intention of being published and making it available for friends, family, and readers around the world to enjoy.

I`m not one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft. I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. I continually researched on the internet, reading up on the industry and process. I made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions, learning what it took to become successful.

Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2006, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND. It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of the novel.

I then worked with editors and joined a critique group, doing anything I could to learn, to improve my writing and my novel to point where I could create the best possible work.

My years of hard work finally paid off. With my dream still in mind and my manuscript ready, I hired the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency to represent DEAD MAN`S HAND. My dream became reality in 2012 when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books.

Writing allows me, for a short time, the freedom to leave my everyday world and explore new avenues, to be in another place and time. It allows me to get inside the head of characters—to think, do, and say whatever I want with no rules or restrictions. It means liberty and freedom to express myself.

That’s great, Luke. Thanks for sharing that with us. I wish you all the very best for this and future novels.

And isn’t it nice that the principals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity somehow found their way into this post?

Alien in my garden? Don’t look if you’re squeamish.

There was an alien invader on my garden wall. Coincidentally, I’d just written the post about cicadas and their life cycle. It’s certainly an alien concept, living alone underground for all those years. The video clip I linked explained why we’d been finding holes in the soil and we’d found empty nymph cases which we assume had fallen from the trees and shrubs.
So, when I saw the nymph attached to the rear wall of our house, I assumed it was empty.

alien cicada

I didn’t want to get too close

But it moved. And it split. I thought this transformation would be over in seconds, but, no. It takes a while. You have to be patient. And the longer I stood there with my camera, so close to this alien on my wall, the jumpier I got.

Can you bear to continue?

alien cicada on the move

it’s coming out!

I switched to video and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Nothing was happening. This video clip would use up all my Coolpix memory and take hours to upload to YouTube with our crappy Broadband speed. I’d no choice but rely on stills.

alien cicada

feeling squeamish yet?

Ah, Jeez, it’s like a blob of green snot. With eyes.

Can I hold on? Dare I stay here? What’s going to happen next?

cicada alien

getting really spooked now

Is that thing looking at me? Look out! It’s moving again.

cicada alien

I’m willing it onward.

Oh, help. I don’t know if I can stand much more. Its legs look slimy and its eyes are weird. If its wings come out in a hurry, will it fly straight at me?

cicada alien

a face only its mother could love

At this point, I can hear an alarm. It’s the bread machine which lives in the utility room. This is a coincidence. Only the other day, I recorded a short clip of dough going around. I called it alien bread because it looked so weird.


I have to go and take out the loaf. Normally, I love the smell of freshly baked bread. Now? After getting so close to green snotty insect life?

But, I have witnessed something wonderful, haven’ t I? How many people get to see the birth of an adult cicada? I dash back with my camera at the ready.

There’s a fluttering noise. Have I missed the final stage? Have I missed the chance to take a photograph of brand new, shimmering wings.

I round the corner.

The wall is empty.

But the nymph case is gone, too.

fat sparrow ate the alien

fat bastard!

I am bereft.

After all that? That poor little blob of green snot had lived all by itself in the dark, underground, waiting for its chance to emerge as a new creature with wings, to rise into the tree tops and sing its little heart out (if it’s a boy), only to get picked off the wall by Captain Fat Jack Sparrow.

I want to cry.

Its struggle for life is unbearable.

I’d never make a wild life photographer.

But you can see why I like writing stories where strange things happen.

I’m on iCloud 9. Lovin’ my Mac. Am I an iAngel now?


Lovin’ the cloud

Writer in Languedoc has got herself on the iCloud with a shining, brand new Apple ID and email address. Does that make her an iAngel? No, iAngel is the Trade name of a certain body sling for carrying babies. Weird, that.


Never mind, Writer in Languedoc will be able to access her documents from anywhere in the world on her iPhone or iPad. She’ll be able to edit her drafts from far flung corners of the planet. All her Apple products will be talking to each other to share what they know and make it available, anywhere, any place, any time. Oh, that phrase has already been used too. Anybody remember Martini? I’m showing my age now.

Martini by iCloud?

any time, any place, anywhere

But anyway, back to the magic of Apple and the amazing iCloud. What else will I be able to do with it? I’ll be able to take pictures on my iPhone, for example and they’ll be automatically sent to my computer and iPad.

This would be a very useful feature for writer in Languedoc’s weekly Vinewatch reports. Images would be ready to incorporate into text without having to upload them manually.

So, now I’ve a new logo in my repertoire. A shiny, new button to press. Oh, I’m leaving my old self behind now that I’m bang up to date with my sparkling new iMac.


my new button

Wow, Grandma! What next?

Best get yourself an iPhone and an iPad then, so you can use all these extra gizmos.

Here’s a cunning plan. First, sell more short stories to pay for the new gizmos.

No, first, WRITE more stories for selling. It’s all well and good having followers on your blog and on Twitter et al, but all these new gadgets are going to cost. Right?

Okay, then. Open up Pages. Start writing. What, no Word for Mac on this shiny new iMac?

No Madam, that doesn’t come as part of the package. However, Pages can do everything you will require. Uh-oh! There’s another big learning curve ahead.

Thank goodness for people like Alexander Anichkin. What he can’t do in Pages isn’t worth knowing. Follow the link to visit his blog. Be careful, you could spend hours on there marvelling at the man and never get anything done at all.

Oh, so much to learn, so much to learn . . .


iCloud at the centre of my new world

iMac on order

The Dog’s Doodahs. New Mac on order.


My new baby

My new computer will soon be on its way.

Isn’t he going to be the dog’s doodahs?

Why have I chosen a desktop?

I like to have a fixed workplace. When I sit in my workroom, I know I’m at work. I’m not going to get distracted by that pile of ironing or the view of the garden that needs weeding, or get up to put the kettle on. I don’t need to be able to pick up my machine and take it somewhere else.

The people at the other end of the Apple helpline in Ireland were really helpful. They wanted to make sure I was making the right choice for me and the way I prefer to work. They also talked me through other requirements and answered my questions about guarantees. Because my home address is in France, my purchase had to go through Apple France. That’s the way it works.

Ah but, says I, I want a qwerty key board please, not a French one with all those extra letter ‘e’s and everything else in a different place. No problem says the delightful Irish Ray, we can do that for you. So, I tell him how I first fell in love with the iMac on a pre-Christmas shopping trip with my sister and niece in Bristol. They were busy looking at clothes and cosmetics but the sexiest thing I saw that day was the iMac in the Apple store. He was standing there looking so beautiful I just had to go in the store and play with him.

At the moment I’m using my old Eee PC – a cute very girly white pearl shell thingummy bob with a tiny screen and miniscule keyboard. But, it’s doing the job okay so far.

My old machine died a protracted death. It was sad to witness. Much choking and switching itself off and me getting very annoyed and frustrated.

But I’m sad at his demise. It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend. Worse, before he goes, I’m going to rip his guts out.

Apologies to my followers. My posts are likely to be fewer and further between until I get my new setup organized.

Write from the heart. A cry from mine.

Easy to say. Write from the heart. Four words. That’s all. They take less than a second to say. writefromtheheart

Oh, but the questions they plant in my thinking. I’ve already spent years looking for answers.

How does what’s in your heart fit all those preconceived ideas about genre? Will your heart find its place on the bookshelves among other people’s writings from their hearts?

What if you’ve got a heart that keeps changing its mind? What if your heart wants to swim with dolphins one day and the next wants to stuff its face with clotted cream? And aren’t you just so jaded anyway with other people’s definitions about what kind of literature belongs where?

Matt Haig is. I follow his blog. I suggest you do too if, like us, you wonder why we limit ourselves with these outdated ways of classifying literature.

Matt’s not afraid to sell himself. He makes no excuses for promoting his work. His book THE HUMANS is out now and I can’t wait to get a copy. I love his take on the world of publishing and the naughty way he encourages us to break the rules. I admire his focus.

My focus changes. All the time. I write short stories that women’s magazines love. I also get a lot of rejections from the same magazines when my stories are too downbeat, too odd, too sad.

The January Girl who always feels short changed.

Not Rodgers and Hammerstein – an unconventional love story

The End of the World Party – relationships crumble at the dinner table

The Meter Man – living with someone’s annoying habits.

There’s a list as long as your arm of these stories which don’t seem to fit.

This is what I mean by swimming with dolphins one day etc. I want to write sad stories. I also want to write stories that make people laugh out loud. I see magic hiding in the vineyards around my home and I see danger lurking in the same places when the weather turns. I want to write ALL these things. Not something that neatly fits a place in somebody else’s categories.

I demand the right to write from my changeable heart. No, that’s probably too strong a word. I assert the right to write from my changeable heart. There, that doesn’t sound so angry. It’s nobody’s fault I crave so much variety, that my heart goes off in all these different directions. Maybe I should have been an octopus. They’ve got three. The extra arms would be useful, too. Do octopi sing, I wonder?

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