I hope you all had a very Happy Christmas and that 2012 will be good to you!
Another year over and I have a confession to make. I've had so much going on since Christmas, what with making arrangements to visit my family in Wales, which includes arranging for someone to feed my two horses , and making a last minute cake to take with us, and purchasing and wrapping gifts for my sister's Birthday on the 2nd - not to mention trying to get two on-line interviews finished (I know, excuses, excuses) I almost forgot that it's my turn to post today.
So - I need to make some New Year Resolutions:
1. To be more organised, to structure my day and not leave things until the last minute!
2. To not check email or Facebook until I've written or revised at least 2,000 words per day.
3. To finish the third book in my trilogy by February and to start work on my NaNo with a view to self publishing it.
Only three, I hope I can keep them but No2 is going to be very difficult. I'm always afraid I'll miss an important email, especially since I have a dear on-line author friend in the States, who is in hospital at the moment and I'm relying on her sister's emails to keep me informed on how she is.
How about you? Are you making any New Year's resolutions? If so, what are your chances of keeping them do you think? (I hope your chances are better than mine!)
Yesterday, I spoke with author Bill Kirton about another new experience in the slew of new experiences since lockdown. Over the weekend, my husband and I got tested for Covid-19. Neither of us was symptomatic, but we wanted some assurance that we were not carriers. As we are both fortunate enough to still have our mothers, we wished to see them them without the worry of infecting them. Of course, this goes for all family and friends, but in particular, for our parents.
Initially, the test sites in Toronto, Canada, where I live, were not accepting patients unless they exhibited specific symptoms of Covid or suspected exposure to it.
In June, this changed. First responders and employees of liquor stores were ordered to undergo testing, along with staff at certain adult correctional facilities, hospital personnel, and workers at congregate residential settings. This was followed by “pop-up” testing centres in neighbourhoods hardest hit by the virus. We decided to go on Sunday to one of man…
Twenty years ago - yes, it was twenty years ago, though it doesn't
seem possible - I went on holiday in Northumberland, walked along Hadrian's Wall and bought MacDonald Fraser's book, The Steel Bonnets, about the riding families, or reivers, of the Scottish Borders. As a result, I wrote The Sterkarm Handshake - which tells how a 21st Century multi-national company, FUP, develops a time-machine, and travels back 500 years, to the early 16th Century, in order to exploit the fossil fuels. They intend to bring the coal, oil and gas back through the time tube to their own time, and sell it at huge profit. They come into conflict with the natives, the Sterkarm family. Windsor, the 21st Century executive, makes the mistake of dismissing them as 'peasants armed with sticks.' The 'sticks' are longbows and eight-foot lances and the Sterkarms - shrewd, quick and bolshy to the bone - make him regret his words. The book did very well, in the UK and US, …
Perhaps this is a lockdown experience or perhaps it’s a
reversion to earlier ways of living and working. We, like so many other
families, find ourselves working from home, each in our separate
spaces. Bertie’s in the attic, laying-out books with Indesign; Francis
somewhere downstairs trying to find the right angle of physical endurance for
solid hours of Private Eye deadlines
and me … well, to be honest, I’m most characteristically surrounded by WW2
naval memoirs, copies of Lloyd’s Registers and overflowing scribbled papers … in
bed. Together with my faithful laptop, miraculously fact-checking and emailing,
tweeting and posting. Thus Golden Duck (UK) ltd keeps busy.
One of my favourite Margery Allingham novels Flowers for the Judge (1936) tells the
story of Barnabas and company, publishers since 1810 at the Sign of the Golden
Quiver. It’s a perfect setting for a classic murder mystery: an enclosed location,
limited number of suspects, distinctive atmosphere, range of possible motives…
What is your personal mask policy this summer? The official advice keeps changing, and will probably have changed again by the time you read this, but at the moment masks seem to be compulsory on public transport in England, and also in some shops, cafes and bars should you choose to get a bit closer to people - although you can presumably take yours off to order drinks, devour a quick sandwich and catch up on gossip with the friends you haven't seen since March, or how will anyone ever do what they went to the cafe or pub or shop to do in the first place? And how will you survive a long train journey sitting next to a (masked) stranger? Forget snacks or drinks. Or actual conversation. In fact, why not spend the entire journey staring at covid statistics your phone?
I live in a seaside town and up to now haven't seen many masked people around - let's face it, a mask on the beach would leave you with a serious suntan line. But I have noticed a few older people wearing them…