Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Well it's been quite a stretch. The revision is done and the manuscript wending its way toward a small UK publishing company, on angels' wings. Let's hope.
Plus the big summer party has come and gone, involving much garden and food preparation, and many many mojitos under the disco lights. Tremendous amount of foolish dancing until dawn, and the music cranking out the next day while the BBQ sizzled..

Now I am utterly ready for summer laziness. Hate this computer.

Sunday, 13 June 2010


Still revising chapters. Tis endless. I don't even laugh anymore. I have also diverged back to short stories where there is a harder punch and a more direct conduit to publication. Every chapter I finish with thedivorcedlady'scompaniontoitaly/Marilyn I know there are 18 more, or 15, or 12. And grammar slips and typos. Just can't afford those. So I am printing up chapters - again - to step back and feel the page.

Other than that have just put my story collection on authonomy and am amazed by how racy it is and what a volume of author trafficking! It is entirely belittling when your book is ranked 2222! I don't know that I can buy into the tit for tat thing either - you back me and I'll back you. Especially as there is so little writing that is alluring.

I would hate to be a publisher.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

summer riffs

Summer out the window, already steaming hot. This divorcée needs to water her veggie plot and get into marmellata. But back to the book. Reviews are coming in on the youwriteon site but I am amazed when somebody who can't spell makes bland sweeping and idiotic criticism. I am unable to take it when somebody says I should give Marilyn more character, or refract Italy through some birds singing in the trees. Flabbergasted. But I want to reach the top of that chart. And will review and review until it sends me to sleep. So far none - dare I? should I say this? - of the excerpts have made me wild with envy or filled with the desire to plough on. Nothing shocking or overturning. And of course my silly bits are not going to shake anyone to the core, but I still stand by my woman. Marilyn is fit to be read, even though she has big Hungarian cheekbones and tits and no notion of where she will be drawn next. And her fellow characters - clairvoyant tattooed Pamela, the top model hunter Arnaud, the bi-sexual internet cruiser Brett who looks like a Hong Kong cop. Nothing unusual here. Just your usual meandering wimmin's ting, set to the swish of a Venetian canal.

Tell me you want more. The book is gooood.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

So why blog? A friend asked over the weekend. I'm not quite sure either. All I know is that I want to keep my project simmering, and that having an imagined audience makes me commit more efficiently to the awful, endless revising currently going on. I'd like to introduce Marilyn, my English protagonist (the novel is called The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy and can one imagine what it is about?) who has relocated to Milan. Give her some back-up. Give myself some fuel.

Where on earth did Marilyn come from? Especially as I have published literary short stories for an age, but never succeeded in publishing an entire book of my own. Well I wrote another book (and another and another) which was a heavy-duty West African thing, whose characters I still look back upon with untethered fondness (I haven't finished there), which I gave to a friend to read. Emily said Hey, why don't you lighten up, write something local? I'd also just had my agent's pooh-poohing of an excerpt (ok, I should have edited harder and given more context) so that summer Marilyn came about in my head on the long drive back from Treviso, and I hacked away all winter.

It's been done a while now, it's about 280pp and more than a laugh. I am just pulling it into line in spurts. It's on youwriteon.com and so far the reviews are encouraging.

Oh dear this almost-divorcée must water the vegetable garden.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

the ark of triumph

What does the aching divorcée writer living in Italy do on a public holiday? She provides sunny weather, a good humous (What is this made of again? Did you say chick peas?), cherries from the tree, comfortable woven plastic IKEA chairs.. and feeds her ex-husband's siblings and offspring. Very extended family.

Yesterday being La giornata della Repubblica all activity (except my neighour on a tractor spraying copper sulphate on his vineyards in anticipation of further rain dammit) ground to a halt and our President Sig. Giorgio Napolitano (whose dishes I washed while a skinny unmarried au pair on the island of Stromboli and don't expect this to be the only reference to my only political experience in Italy) gave his regular speech which I listened to while out buying petrol.

But back to publishing. While my lovely book waits for further attention and my life eddies on into springtime - love and shoes, or shoes and love? - I have had a short story accepted by TheViewFromHere (seems bursting with good energy) and another to be cropped for a prestigious magazine I can't mention until it's in the bag.

I am blooming.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

heading out

June 1st 2010

I've been told I must publicise my unpublished novel online to make my effort more viable! As if pounding away at the computer is not enough.
And I've had years of it. The writing was in pencil in first, in carefully chosen exercise books preferably of the old schoolbook type, preferably printed in Africa, preferably with queer jagged patterns on the front and line that did not match up.
But now. Now it's the keyboard with a wristguard, an office chair, a view of the wind jostling the nut and willow trees by the fence, a field with green unformed things, pesticide-induced, looking out for the sun. Hours of it.

So I have a book to publish. The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy. Which is not about me. I'm not even divorced yet! And - unlike most ladies out there - my real story is far worse than what this book is about. This is calm comedy with no recipes and only a couple of shopping scenes. Some good outlooks and jolly sex. Italy is here for something.