Soon, my pretty, soon

I feel dreamy today.

I have a ton of work on my desk (not literally, that would be bad), a mundane really-must-do list, and the WIP is batting its eyelashes at me, but I’m not really here. My mind certainly isn’t, anyway. It’s floating on the tide to this magical place…

Soon. Soon I get to step inside the 1821 Venetian house that we’ll be calling home for seven delicious days.

Happy sigh.

Sad news: Diana Wynne Jones

I heard some sad news (via Neil Gaiman’s Twitter feed) on the weekend. The wonderful writer Diana Wynne Jones passed away, aged 76.

Where I grew up we had a very small library. I was a voracious reader and by the time I had finished primary school I’d exhausted the children’s section and re-read my favourites many, many times. One of my repeatedly borrowed books was Charmed Life. The library also had The Lives of Christopher Chant, but it was only recently (while introducing them to my daughter) that I read the rest of the Chrestomanci series. She loves them as much as I did.

I can’t think of anything nicer to say about a writer than that. The vast, colourful, imaginative worlds that she created were ones that I returned to enthusiastically time and time again.

Thank you, Diana Wynne Jones, for Charmed Life, for Howl’s Moving Castle, and for making my life that little bit more magical.

For a personal account of Diana, see Neil Gaiman’s post Being Alive. Mostly about Diana.

Yoda knows best

YodaI spent last weekend with two people who have an enviable ‘just do it’ attitude to… Well, to everything, really. Personally, I have hours like that – sometimes even a whole day – and then I slip back to my default mode. A mode which is described so beautifully in this video from Tales of Mere Existence.

However, every time I say “I’m going to try to write today” or “I’m trying to finish the book” I think of Yoda teaching Luke Skywalker: “Do or do not, there is no ‘try’.”

So, right now I’m going to ‘do’. Care to join me?

Frome Festival short story competition

The Frome Festival is running a short story competition. Emma Darwin, whom I ‘know’ online via a writing forum, is one of the judges. She’s an excellent and successful writer, and incredibly kind and insightful to boot.

The first prize is £300, second £150 and third £75. Plus, the winning stories will be read by a ‘top London agent’ and broadcast on radio.

It costs £5 to enter, but for another £35 you can receive a critique of your story.

I particularly like that there is no theme or genre restriction for the entries. The word count is between 1000 and 2,200 and entries must be received by 31st May. See the website for further details, then crack open your notebooks!

Sleep when we’re dead

I’m lucky; I love my job so I don’t get the Monday morning blues. However, weekends still fly past in the blink of an eye, often leaving me with a bewildered ‘where’d it go?’ expression.

Not so with this one. I feel as if I’ve been on holiday for a week.  Some clues to activities enjoyed (some more accurate than others):

Family and fun and food = good times.

Also, it turns out that spring has sprung in England. Who knew?

Happy Monday, all.

Authors for Japan

My lovely friend, YA author Keris Stainton, has done a very good thing indeed.

In order to raise money for the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal, she has set up an online auction for book-related goodies.

A host of generous authors responded immediately to Keris’s idea (overwhelming her slightly, I think!), offering brilliant prizes – including signed books, first editions, manuscript critiques, mentoring, and the chance to have a character named after you.

Bidding begins at 8am (GMT) tomorrow at Authors for Japan.