Tuesday, July 31, 2007

And the Winner Is...

In the end there were so many wonderful entries in my 'First' contest that I chose quite randomly.

And the winner is...Patricia Nieh!

Congratulations, Patricia! You've won an advanced reading copy of Scandal's Daughter and a Christiana bookmark.

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Congratulations, Trish Milburn!

Fellow Romance Bandit, Trish Milburn has just sold two Young Adult titles to Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin. Congratulations, Trish!

Contest! Last Days...

My June/July contest will soon draw to a close. I'm giving away a signed advanced reading copy of Scandal's Daughter and a Christiana bookmark studded with Austrian crystals.

It's the only advanced reading copy of Scandal's Daughter I'm giving away and the bookmark is simply gorgeous! Don't miss your chance to win!

On 31 July, I'll post the name of the winner here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Off at a Tangent

Do you ever start the day with a 'to do' list, only to find at the end of it, you haven't even accomplished the first task?

I'm sure mothers will identify with this phenomenon--little people can throw your plans out of whack without even trying--but in a professional sense, this happens most often to me on the internet. All those diverging paths--links, comments, interesting points to google, words to look up on etymonline (ok, that's just me, not many people care that much!) And this is all publishing or writing-related. I'm not even talking about fun stuff.

For instance, this morning I came to do a blog post (I forget what it was about now, but no doubt it was hugely entertaining) and the question popped up--Do you want to customize your blog? Hmm, I thought. I just had a new publicity photo done. Oh, and there's that gorgeous Romance Bandits logo that I'd like to add. Oh, and I've had my website refurbished so the blog could do with one, too...

And before I knew it, I was upgrading my blog and fiddling with templates, fonts, pictures and colours.

Sadly, and much to my webmistress's torment, I'm the sort of person who knows what they like when they see it, but can't envision the result before it's done. This means it takes me a loooong time to decide on a colour scheme. And of course, you can't change all the things you want to in a blogger template. I ended up going for a fairly simple variation. People think I'm conservative. I think I'm just indecisive.

So something that was supposed to take twenty minutes ended up taking 2 hours (in between various household chores). Lucky I got up at 4.30am.

What are your big time-wasters--internet or otherwise? Or are you one of those superwomen who accomplishes everything she sets out to achieve? And if you are, would you like to share some hints on how you do it?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Knitting and Networking

I write in cafes during the week because I get so little done when I'm at home. Even if I have a babysitter, I find it difficult to concentrate with the noise of screaming baby and the Wiggles' Big Red Car in the background. So I go out.

There's a new place opened near us that has great coffee, which is always a winner with me. It's attached to a store that sells threads and yarns, a concept I haven't seen before, though the bookstore/cafe thing is very common now.

Lots of women come in, buy their yarn, pore over patterns, and then gossip over a chai latte in the cafe next door. There's something about the juxtaposition of all the colour of the yarn and the creative vibe that really appeals to me as a great atmosphere to write in. I'll definitely be back.

So the cafe is a warm, cosy chocolate brown with a vertical band of rainbow stripes here and there to brighten it. A huge wooden table with about 12 chairs all around dominates the centre of the space and a bench with a teapot (knitted) cup and saucer (knitted) and plate of fancy cakes (also, sadly, knitted) and stools with colourful seats runs along one wall. Big picture windows let in light and a view of the street outside.

When you order, you take a number and on the back it has a quote. Did you know knitting is the new networking? According to Vogue (said my table number), that's what the modern young professional woman is doing instead of drinks and flirting at the bar after a hard day's work. If so, things have changed markedly since I was a solicitor at a city firm. The motto was work hard, play hard and I don't think anyone mentioned knitting. Maybe it's one of those covert things women have always done and are just now admitting it. But if it's a new trend, it's one I won't be joining in a hurry. If I have both hands free of babies and basketballs, I'm writing. When they invent a way to knit while throwing baskets with 4yo or feeding baby, I'm there.

With reservations. I remember well my last attempt at knitting. I was 8 years old, sick, bed-ridden and had read all 14 books I'd borrowed from the library. It was a red scarf and the start was narrow and tight while the end was about twice as wide, with loose, loopy, lacksadaisical stitches. Goodness knows what happened to it. I never learned how to cast off, so it could well be still on the needle where it began. Still, the creative part of the brain can be stimulated by keeping the hands busy in mindless activity like knitting or gardening. If only I had the time...

So, is knitting among the younger set a secret that's been kept for decades, or is it a new phenomenon? What sort of busy work do you do?