Friday, February 29, 2008

Pumpkins and Business Time

In other news I'd like also to report that my pumpkin fertilization efforts have borne fruit. Yes, only days after my cupid impression, my girl flowers have stopped rotting away and are now swelling, in pumpkiny abundance. Oh Joy.


My boss who shall remain nameless put me onto the song below. Yes we are very busy at work, no really we are.

Who knew New Zealanders could be so funny.

Oh What is the Universe Trying to Tell Me??

I had a grim afternoon today. The kids behavior is going from bad to worse, and on the way home in the car they alternated tantrums for forty minutes straight. And I am talking screaming so hard you gag tantrums here. I am at a complete loss as to what the problem is. Nothing, but nothing I do seems to be right.

Then I read Jane Porters Blog. She's not having the most wonderful time at the moment either, and when I got to the sentence where she said
“I’ve done my best,” I said. “I’ve given you everything. I don’t know how to be less, or do anything different.”

I burst into tears. She's referring to her publisher here, but for me, it could have been how I feel about my kids right now. I just don't know how to make everyone better and happy. I don't know what else to try.


So anyway, after much cajoling (mostly on hubbys part) the kids are finally asleep and I plug myself into iTunes and get down to finishing Chapter 3 of the Bunker. Then, all of a sudden Hubby calls me, and I follow him outside and there, like a silver ghost is Eddie.

"Eddie" I shriek and the poor animal takes off over the fence in terror.


He reappears a few minutes later. He's fine. Much, much thinner but in good condition. So we think he must have been trapped in someones shed or similar, as the weather has been horrible and he definitely hadn't been outside for five days, and he must have had access to water as he wasn't thirsty, just hungry.

I'm walking on air. Can't describe the joy. My prodigal pussycat has returned. Yes, am so overwhelmed am getting biblical.

I was however plunged rapidly back to earth.

Took Ella out for a walk, and as I'm powering along oblivious to anything except my iPod a dark shape streaks towards us. Its a Blue Heeler and it went, teeth bared, straight for poor Ella. I didn't actually think how to react. I just started shrieking 'get away, get away,' at the top of my voice and kicking the dog whenever it got near Ella. Its very portly owner came sprinting up the road yelling "Don't worry, I'm coming, I'm coming..." The dog had a lead on and from the looks of it, it'd just made a break when it saw Ella and the owner accidentally let it go. It took him a few seconds, but he grabbed his dog and then Ella and I made a run for it.

No damage done to me or her.

But still. It seems that all my small creatures, dogs, cats and children, are in turmoil. Lost, then returned, endlessly screaming in frustrated rage, and nearly savaged. You can understand when I wonder what on earth the universe is trying to tell me.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Feeling Glum

Well, Eddie the cat has been offically declared Missing. We haven't seen him since Monday, and I'm starting to accept that we won't be seeing him again. Am spending a lot of time peering out windows at his favorite sunbathing spots, just in case. Pepper, our other cat and his sister is a bit bewildered. But she's getting lots of TLC and spending much time napping on our bed and getting cuddles. SIGH.

And the small screamies are still poorly. Everyone has ear infections, which usually follow on from colds at our house. Ear infections invariably make everyone very very crabby, so the last few days at our house have been fraught with fights and hair pulling (them not me) and being sent to bedrooms for time out (them not me worst luck).

I do have some respite. Once they've made the long and painful decision over which DVD to watch then I can organise some peace, but ONLY if I remain in the room and do not move a muscle or draw attention to myself in any way (if I see Ice Age, Angelina Ballerina or Shreck one more time I'll be sick).

What with them and the cat am feeling slightly inadequate as a parent. Not to mention the house. Did I say we found mushrooms growing in the bathroom?? Yes, mushrooms. Hubby sprayed them with Exit Mould, bless him. The whole place is a tip, I found Miss Bugalugs doing colouring-in on a pile of bills I'd forgotten about, and there are THINGS lurking in the fruit&veg drawer in the Fridge. THINGS.
The poor vege garden is suffering from crappy weather, the lettuces are bolting to seed and the snails are getting first pick of everything. AND my potatoes that I declared dissapeared have come to life, all exactly underneath the tomatos I planted. Another possum has moved into the roof, and one has taken up climbing the flyscreen of our bedroom at around 4.30am. AND we had a blackout last night so I have to reset all the bloody clocks.

But I have been very good with my diet and lost a kilo.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Fertilising Pumpkins, Haunted House webcams and an AWOL Cat

As you can probably tell its been a busy day here today. I found out why my pumpkins may be kicking the bucket - lack of fertilisation. Yes it appears its not all pink hearts and bows out in the vege garden. So have taken it upon myself to improve their love life and hopefully get some pumpkins out of it.

To this end I've been flitting from boy flower to girl flower, cotton bud in hand, like an overgrown cupid. There's all sorts of advice about this on the net (we gardeners don't just chat about manure you know), apparently I should fertilise in the early morning and tape the flower shut afterwards (to stop the pollen from escaping perhaps?) Hmm. Taping the flowers shut is a bit kinky I reckon, I'll just let them take their chances.

Yes, that was how I spent my kidless morning.

I was going to take more photos, but after this one I walked into a spider web and nearly fell in the very green pool. Then the camera battery's went flat and I decided to take a hint.

After all this twoo wuv amongst the veges it was time to settle down and do some actual writing type work. Hmm. So, my current MS is set near Dover in Kent (southeast England). So in the interest of research I was surfing the web for webcams in the area. Well, first I found the Dover weather webcam. V. exciting especially as it was night. But then what caught my attention was the Haunted House webcam. All over the UK the BBC have set up webcams in haunted houses. How cool is that? The Kent one wasn't working, but I did find one in Lincolnshire, and have spent most of the day ghost hunting. When I got bored with that (it only refreshes every 10 minutes) I found a Loch Ness Monster cam (another one that works best in daylight).

Needless to say I've only written 503 words, seen no ghosts, or the Loch Ness monster, but DID see a ferry arrive in Dover just now. So it wasn't all a waste.

Our wedding cammelia has just got its first blooms of the year. I know its a dangerous thing to put sentimental value in a plant, it invariably leads to sudden and inexplicable death. However, I always feel a bit awww when it gets flowers. Its really early this year, we were married in May after all, but I think it must be the incredibly cool summer we are having - they're predicting a top of 19 on Thursday. 19! That's practically winter.

And Eddie, one of my cats has gone walk-about. He does this from time to time, but didn't turn up for dinner either yesterday or today. Can't help but worry. My two cats, Eddie and Pepper, have been around for forever, moved house numerous times, coped beautifully with divorce, but still haven't forgiven me for having noisy, messy children that chase them. Hubby has been prowling around the cul-de-sac shaking packets of cat food and calling "Eddie, Eddie" in a very high voice. Which, no doubt makes a change from the horrible-teenagers doing circle work in their boofed up cars, for the neighbours.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cabin Fever

Pshaw, what a week. Everyone has been sick, I won't say again... its more like as usual. Sigh. I think this bout of colds/tummy upsets, simply merged with the virus of the week before last. Needless to say I've STILL got two kids with high temps. Forcryingoutloud. We haven't left the house for days, and I feel like I've done nothing but cook and clean. Am considering starting blogging about what evening meal we have every day, that's about as interesting as its getting!

Still, currently all is at peace. Okay, so I'm ignoring the shrieking from the other end of the house, but its the Biggest Loser any minute now and I've declared it MUMMY TIME. The kind of Mummy time that is not even interrupted for amputations, okay well maybe amputation... actually I might just go and check...

Have spent a couple of hours today fossicking about in the vege garden and making the most of the stunning weather. The pumpkins are not doing at all well, infested with whitefly and the fruit is rotting off. Hmm. The rest of the veges are looking good though. We made a pasta sauce the other day and everything in it had been grown here. I planted purple heirloom carrots too, and they've gone nuts, outgrowing the orange ones about ten to one. The kids love them.

Have been finding it hard to get motivated in the writing department of late. The new MS, The Bunker is coming along, but slowly and I'm finding enthusiasm hard to summon. So, I've enrolled on a course. Its called The Care and Nurturing of the Girls in the Basement, and is run by Barbara Samuels. Its all about nuturing your creative spirit and I think I'm overdue for a bit of nurturing. Jenny Cruise often refers to it and is quite a fan, and I've been checking Barbara's blog over the last few weeks and I like her style, so am quite excited.

I also think I'm feeling unmotivated because as far as books are concerned I'm kind-of sitting in no-mans-land. Secret Intentions e-book version isn't out until September, and I'm sitting on several complete manuscripts waiting to hear back from publishers. One, At the Diplomat's Bidding has had a partial with Mills and Boon for six months. I gave in and emailed them about it last week, but haven't heard back yet. I'm at the point where I don't care if its a rejection, I've got another publisher in mind for it anyway, I just want to get a move on and do something with all this writing I've been doing.


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Feeling the Lurve

I stayed up last night until 11pm. This is late for me, usually I'm crashed out by 9pm (oh the joy of children). But what kept me up? Pride and Prejudice. Yes, the 2005 version with Keira Knightly. It was fabulous, I loved it. Pure and un-adulterated romance, that swept me away.

After being firmly in the dumps for the last week, it blew away the fug and reminded me what romance really is. Showed me what I should be aiming for in my books. I'd forgotten, I think. Especially with Drive Me To Distraction (formerly High Speed, yes, finally decided on the new name). I'd been so busy focussing on the sexist attitudes in the car racing industry that I'd forgotten all about the love story part. This is now fixed as well. I finished the re-write earlier today and have sent it off to my agenty-type person to see what she thinks.

Hubby and I were discussing romance at home as well. I was rather stunned when he apologised for not getting me flowers for Valentine's Day or our anniversary of meeting (15 Feb). But I don't think flowers on Valentine's Day is romantic. Sure, you can show them off to everyone at home or in the office, but it seems so contrived. What is romantic to me is when he gives me time to write, when I can hear the kids howling at the other end of the house and he's clearly having a hard time of it, but instead of complaining he just brings me a cup of tea. This, to me, is romance.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Oh the Romance

Valentine's Day today and the anniversary of the day I met hubby tomorrow. Yes we are brimming with romance in the Caitlyn Nicholas household.

Sorry, did that sound a wee bit churlish?? Its been a week of colds and upset tummies at my house, and as a result I'm not really feeling the romance. Yes, a bit grim for a writer whose aim in life is to write about wuv, twoo wuv.

Actually am doubting my romance writing abilities at the moment. It was a bit of a shock to re-read High Speed (no I haven't decided on another name yet), and discover that whilst the central love story was watertight, the rest of the book contained elements that sucked all the romance out of the story. I have discovered that writing romance is not just about a love story between two people, but everything in the book has to be romantic. In previous stories I've done this automatically, but I think the combination of the fact High Speed is set in a world brimming with machismo, and I was writing it at an incredibly difficult time (when my Grandmother passed away) I lost the plot (no pun intended!).

I enjoy re-writing, and I am enjoying injecting the romance back into High Speed. Its not that its gone entirely, it just needs digging out from underneath all the swear words and car crashes. But what's got me a bit uneasy is that with Boys of Summer I was making the same mistake. I'd just gone so overboard with a drug addled heroine and a lost hero that there wasn't a skerrick of romance to be found.

And, I must admit, I forgot all about Valentine's Day.


I think a weekend of Chick Flicks is in order. Might try to commandeer the dvd player and hide the Angelina Ballerina dvds. I think Love Actually will be first. Maybe? Oh who am I kidding! But I can dream.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Today is our first Sorry Day. The day which we remember and apologise to the Aboriginal people for the generation of children that were stolen from their families during the sixties.

It's a complex issue. Many believed that the children were being saved from a life of squalor, and that they were given an education that set them up for a better life. However there was also a deep seated streak of racism that believed the Indigenous people were incapable of looking after their own children.

Regardless of the pros and cons, my heart aches for those stolen children and their parents. I could not imagine what it might be like living with the threat that one day I might wake up and someone at the door would remove Miss Beanie and Miss Bugalugs, never to be seen again. The very thought makes me queasy with terror.

I'm glad that the Australian Governement has finally, officially apologised, it is a new beginning in an atmosphere of acknowledgement and so much hope.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

High Speed (or Driving Her To Distraction - or something)

Am loving rewriting the soon-to-be-renamed High Speed. Alex is my favourite heroine so far, she's just so full on. Here's a reminder of the story...

Alex Trulove, a Formula One racing driver, is determined to make it in a man’s world - no matter what the cost to herself or anyone around her. After she makes a deal with the evil Hamish McClod she is propelled to stardom, but it quickly becomes clear she is nothing but a pawn in more sinister high stakes game.

Rob Dryden, owner of the Prometheus race team that Alex drives for, isn’t shy about his feelings for Alex. But she has a nasty secret, one that prevents her from having a relationship with any man, one that no one must ever know about. Which is a pity, especially when it’s leaked to the tabloids and she winds up being the star of an extremely popular YouTube video. Of course Hamish McClod is responsible, and she vows to strangle him with her bare hands. Unfortunately for Hamish, someone has already taken care of it for her and she’s top suspect on the list with Rob Dryden close behind.

Monday, February 04, 2008

This is you Mummy, part II

Name the darn book...

I've made no secret of the fact that I detest the title of High Speed. But despite racking my brain I simply haven't been able to come up with a better one.

So now I've made a list. Yes, its got that serious.

So far the front runner is Drive Me To Distraction.

However, assorted friends and family have suggested...
  • Drive Me Insane
  • Fast Woman
  • Fast Lane
  • The Quick and the ... (something, but not dead)
  • Driving Her Insane
  • Driving Alex Mad (the heroine is Alex)
  • Setting Her Limits
  • Setting Limits
  • No Limits
  • There's No Limit
  • Danger Girl or Dngr Grrl
  • Priceless
  • Limitless


Friday, February 01, 2008

Bursting To Do List

Phew! A week ago my writing to-do list consisted of two things, write Boys of Summer and write All that Glitters.

How things change.

A couple of days ago I had two emails, both from agenty-type people regarding High Speed. A long, long time ago, when High Speed was in its infancy (okay, last June) I agonised long and hard about my heroine prostituting herself in order to get a contract and save herself from destitution. Eventually I followed my heart and had her commit this terrible act.

Turns out it was a BIG mistake. Huge, in fact. It propelled High Speed out of the Romance Category and into Literary Fiction. And a couple of agents have been kind enough to point that out. So re-writing it is. In actual fact I've come up with a fairly simple solution, but still, there's a lot of changes to be made.

Then there's Boys of Summer. The book was making me miserable so I've ditched it. It can wait for another year. Instead I've turned my attention to The Bunker, a romance between a mad donkey lady and a man who lives in a nuclear fallout shelter, plus the usual hi-tech conspiracy. I'm really excited about it. Have been researching donkey shelters, and I think we'll be adopting one in the near future (not an actual donkey although the idea appeals especially when I think of the reaction of the neighbours). Have also been researching nuclear shelters. My, oh my, Do you have ANY idea how many paranoid people there are with internet access? Its deeply scary.


Not to mention All That Glitters, which I've promised to finish by May, and The Bunker by August, and High Speed (soon to be renamed, god how I hate that name) to be finished asap. Plus, ahem, the finishing touches to my nano novel, The Millionaire's Fake Fiancee, which also need to be done asap.

Plus the usual Mum duties (feeding, cleaning, speaking), AND part time work.

Okay, if I stop sleeping, then it'll be fine. Just fine.