Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

I can't believe the decade is almost over and another one about to begin... I won't think about that right now, but my writing year ahead. Last year was a good one - rewrote August Rock, rewrote A Cornish House, wrote a rough draft of Penderown and rough 12,500 words of Pilgrimage. I took a few courses and attended some workshops so all and all I think my writing moved up another notch.

So for 2010 I hope to complete Pilgrimage, rewrite Penderown and polish A Cornish House as well as at least plotting if not drafting the next book bubbling. I am thinking of attending a few more workshops...I think that is enough to be getting on with, don't you? What are your New Year's goals?
For the curious I have blogged about our Dubai Christmas Tree over on the RNA Blog here.
Wishing a wonderful 2010.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Paradise - The Reethi Rah in the Maldives

I know you will hate me as I write, but I have to share. At the moment I am sitting with my little lappy in the hammock with sound of the breeze moving the palm fronds so that they click in gentle contrast to the waves shushing their way on to the sand. White hermit crabs are chasing each other on the long stretch of beach. The sun has risen just high enough that the turquoise is beginning to colour the sea from the outside edges.

Yes, I am in paradise for the second time and to be honest it only gets better. Many times things do not live up to what we create in our heads but I have to say our return visit to the One and Only Reethi Rah has excelled my expectations. The resort itself is perfect the setting beyond compare, but to be honest it would be nothing more the exquisitely beautiful without the staff who are so kind thoughtful not to mentioned well trained. Nothing seems to much for them. There is one member of staff who unbelievably remembered us from our last stay. He would make dd a teddy bear from her napkin every morning at he is training to be a villa host...she found a beautiful 'puppy' on her bed made from a towel and last night DH and had our bed covered in orchids and circling a heart .......... It is the little things that make it all so much more special.

The boys who were not with us last time have at points been stunned to silence - and it's not just the swimming with sharks and turtles it is the kindness of all the people they meet. I have probably ruined my kids for life by sharing this all with them, but I hope that this holiday which is a special treat for us all will teach them that service with a smile means nothing if it isn't from the heart and that their father has worked very hard indeed for us to be here to have this family time.

So that I won't be in breach of my banning of 'puters (except mine) I will sign off but I wanted to share a few of the images of paradise with you.

P.S. It's very hard to believe that Christmas is around the corner despite the carols playing on my ipod.
P.P.S. Ben Johncock - the photo of me is there so that you know these are not photos pinched from the Internet! :-)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ebook Rant and Tweetmas....

I thought I would be doing a post on dragging DH to a twitter meet but events have overtaken us. Ebooks...

For DH's birthday we gave him a Sony ereader. He had been sniffing around them for a while as several colleagues have them and love them. We purchased the ereader from Waterstones in the UK and it came with Dan Brown's latest offering. He also bought Paul Torday's Girl on the Landing. DH then went off on an investment road trip and the ereader was as huge success. It fit in his suit pocket and was perfect for travel (only drawback is having to shut off for take off and landing). He breezed through the Torday book enjoying the book and the ereader experience.

Now we are in December and he has finally finished the Dan Brown and we are about to escape for a few days avec les enfants to Maldives for a few days of pre Christmas bonding. Last night we spent the most frustrating time trying to buy ebooks. Early in the day we had been a Magrudys (the local bookshop and one sponsor of the Emirates Airlines International Festial of Literature) and he decided he liked the look of Robert Harris's latest Lustrum and Sue Townends Adrian Mole, The Prostate Years. So he sat with 'puter and tried the Waterstones site. They had neither book. After much searching he found the Adrian Mole book on Penquin's own site. Robert Harris's book was not to be had in eformat. The next step was a scrabble around to find out what he hadn't yet read and would like. Here is the failing of ebooks and why nothing beats a book shop and where I think there could be massive link up. The only thing you have to go on at this point is reader reviews and at the moment I think book buying is still done on the touch, see, and read selection process.

Digital books are still fairly new and the general populous in the UK and many other places has yet to truly embrace them. There is good reason for this - it doesn't feel or smell like a book to begin with but there are many reasons to embrace this technology (see the RNA Blog's latest post). The uptake will continue to be so slow if the ease of use, download and selection isn't improved in a major way.

In the end DH downloaded from direct from Penquin, from Waterstones and from Smiths. He had to register with each site and learn their particular download procedure (he said he found Waterstones easiest). He bought four books in total - the Adrian Mole, Peter James' Dead Tomorrow,The Neighbor by L Gardener and Malice in Cornwall (by an author he knew nothing of but it was set in Cornwall and carried a reasonable price tag).

Now to the suggestion which DH mentioned himself when he was first looking at ereaders. What he wants to do, especially when traveling, is to walk into a book shop and browse (pick the actual physical book up, read the blurb etc) and then go to check out, put his ereader in a docking station and download his selected books. Then his choices are not made in the dark quite as much as last night's. Mind you all of last night's selections weren't random as he loves Peter James' books.

Two positive things hit me from this misadventure aside from the fact it would be brilliant to be able to download in a book store (which would I think help to bridge the two markets). Ebooks are perfect for travel - size weight etc and the only hitch is take off and landing, and if you finish your books before the end of the break there is no problem as long as you have Internet connection. Less books in suitcase would mean more room for shopping.... Also here is the market for new writers - less financial risk to the consumer and to the publisher. If DH was willing to spend three pounds on an unknown....

DH wants to convert me to ebooks as he wants to de-clutter the house of so many books (yes, my To Be Read pile is stashed all over the house so that he doesn't know how big it actually is) and he feels it's more environmentally friendly. I would concede to both those points and add he wouldn't know the size of the TBR pile at all if it was in a tiny little ereader. So I might be tempted, but I think for me publishers will have to wither reduce the cost of ebooks or give them to me at a small additional cost when I buy the paper book so that I can have both. That way I could read it in any format that suited me at the time....or based on my shopping plans!

Now briefly about my first Twitter meet when I was in London and believe it or not this does sort of tie in with the rant above as many of the people who attend Tweetmas had been at digi conference earlier in the day. I will confess to be being a bit nervous about attending an event with people I, in most cases, had only met on Twitter. However I didn't let DH know as I was dragging him along and he may not have come...The event took place at Bar Choc in Soho and was the brainchild of Ben Johncock and what a blast it turned out to be. In the end I lost count of how many publishing type people were there but I had a ball. A whole evening drinking wine and talking books and publishing was bliss plus I meant so many new people...How did DH fair? Well, he had a great time and was dubbed Twidow by one of the publisher there....

Sunday, December 06, 2009

There and Back Again plus the Dubai Rugby 7s

Well this post is long on photos and short on words. The trip to the UK seems a life time ago after two days spent at Dubai Rugby 7's. However the UK trip was packed with great stuff from the Hyde Park Christmas Fair to #tweetmas, which was a twitter meet up, and deserves its own blog post.
So please enjoy the photos - the 7s were as always brilliant from the rugby to the social. What can I say except I love Dubai...