Thursday, August 27, 2009


I'm eating a bit of humble pie today. Not much, but enough to make me feel a little silly.

On Wednesday my email account got hacked and was used to send 350,000 spam emails. Thankfully my hosting company saw what was happening and prevented any permanent damage.

As a result I spent yesterday doing virus scans on my PC before my account was re-opened with a new password. There were none, so the only answer was that my password for my email account was easy to guess.

I've now spent over two hours deleting the 19,000 returned and blocked emails, whilst trying to make sure that I don't accidentally delete real ones.

Although I work in PC security, I am aware that anyone can get caught and this event is a timely reminder that it could happen to anyone, however secure your PC is.

The most disturbing stat from this is that of the 350,000 spam emails that were sent, most got through to their intended victims.

Still, I've got rid of a third of them now. Only 13000 to go.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dialogue First.

I'm still learning my lines for my part in 'A Doll's House'. Whilst doing so a thought about how I write has come to mind.

When I write scenes with dialogue, which I do a lot of, I tend to write the dialogue first, then fill in the scene around that.

It might explain why I can't write when I have songs playing in the background and need instrumental music instead: other words distract me.

I'm beginning to wonder if I should concentrate on scripts instead of novels and short stories, or if I should try and do both.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Promoting Books

In front of me I have a little booklet that was inserted into the latest issue of Books Quarterly. It contains the opening few pages of two books. Can this be adapted by new authors to get themselves known?

Building up a platform is one of the hardest things a new author can do (ask Cindy Wilson). Short story magazines are a great way to get yourself known to the reading public, but don't have a wide distribution. So how about a website with the first few pages of new books?

Agents may consider this approach viable for authors they are trying to get a contract for.

But what say you oh wise ones?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Good Play

Seen a good play recently? Excellent, as I need your expert opinions.

The drama group are currently considering plays for next May and we want something light, though not necessarily humourous. Something with a happy ending, that is easy to stage.

What do you think would be good?

Friday, August 14, 2009

What Do You.... about yourself?

Here are five things I like about me.

Balding. The less hair I've got, the easier it is to take care of.
Plastic shoulder. I have a very useful plastic shoulder that people can cry on or dump their problems on.
Good with computers. I don't pretend to know everything, but what I do know I can translate into plain English.
Actor. I LOVE being on stage and, although I say so myself, I'm quite good at it.
Creative. Not just writing, but I can come up with odd ideas that if not practical, do lead others down routes that are.

Now its your turn on your blog and NO negativity.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Relaxing Beasts

Do animals help you relax?

I'm considering getting a couple of hamsters, gerbils or guinea pigs to have something else that's alive in the house.

I don't want a cat (don't ask) and a dog would take too much time. Goldfish die on me rather rapidly as I can't seem to get the water or the feeding right. So it has to be one of the above. Unless you have a better idea.

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Online Research

I was recently approached by XXXXXXX, a student at the XXXXXXXXX, to answer a series of questions about being a full or part-time musician or writer.

He got my email address from the writer's group website and I've passed his details onto the group so they can help out and maybe you can too. It only takes a few minutes to fill out as I discovered today when I did it. Here's his blurb.


He's now completed his research...thankyou for your help.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Reading and Dialogue

I'm currently speed-reading through several plays, but not for the purposes of distraction.

As part of my role within the drama group, I'm part of the reading committee that selects the plays we're going to perform in the future. I've skimmed through several by Sean O'Casey, read Tiptoe Through the Tombstones, and have Habeus Corpus and She Stoops to Conquer to go.

What is most interesting about these plays is that because they are all dialogue, it enables me to focus on dialogue for my learning-to-write-reading.

It has shown how important dialogue is in creating characters, more so, I believe, than any other facet of description.

Through a persons words you can discover who they are, what they believe, and it is through dialogue that we see most the old adage 'show don't tell'.

Next time you want a quick read, pick up a play. You'll learn more than you realise.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Ever had one of those days, or weeks, months when there are just TOO many things to distract you from writing? Welcome to my current existence.

"I know, I'll put my clothes away."
"I just have to do the washing today."
"Just one more cup of tea."
"One more chapter and then I'll get started."
"Ooooh, what's that story on the BBC news about?"
"I hate this TV program...what is she doing?"
"Grey T-shirt or green?"
"That looks fun."
"Yes you can have a piece of apple pie."
"I really need to organise my paperclips by size."
"I wonder what's changed on Facebook?"
"I need a bit of fresh air to get me in the mood."

In short, there is more displacement in my life than a harbour full of Battleships. Still, there's always tomorrow....aaarrrrggggghhhhhhhh, there I go again.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Doll's House (1)

The play rehearsals have started up again and last night we a 'run through' of where the play and the characters are going.

Essentially, us actors have been given a free reign to decide how we play the character. Sympathetic or cruel, happy or sad, dizzy or intellectual etc.

A couple of the characters are the same all the way through, but the rest, mine included, change during the course play.

A brief read through indicates that I have at least four attitudes (pompous, defensive, aggressive and happy), sometimes in the same scene. Not only am I looking forward to this as an actor, but also as a writer. Watching the change in the characters over the course of the play will help me build more rounded characters in my writing.

The first proper rehearsal is on September 3rd, but I shall be learning lines and practising the part before then. When I have something interesting about the process I'll blog it.

Monday, August 03, 2009


What a fortnight that's been.

In the midst of trying to organise some housing and spend time with the kids now they're on school holiday, a close friend of mine had the temerity to go into hospital with kidney trouble. The cheek of it. Then she had the gall to stay there for ten days....TEN DAYS! I was driving to and from to Cambridge, bringing kids and a mother...oh the strain.

Still, that's what you do for good friends and I don't regret a moment of it.

She's out of hospital now and recovering at home, (hopefully) being pampered by her teenage children and her mother.

Now, where's my bed and that Valium?