Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Launch

A few days have passed and I'm still overwhelmed by how fantastically well it went.

For once I got ready in plenty of time. I changed my mind about the make-up and was quite pleased with the results. The dress just slid on; the month of cornflakes and soup had definitely been worth it. Boy kept me company during my preparation, for which I'm extremely grateful. He distracted me to the extent I didn't notice the time. Which was probably just as well, The Director called me in transit from Stansted to reassure me he was still coming, but the conditions were foul: driving rain and idiots en masse.

When he arrived, I was applying the finishing touches on my nail polish. He declined a shower and changed straight into smarter clothers. Bless him. Boy was my hands as I flapped my nails and squeezed my laptop, purse and smoking accoutrements into my back-pack. He then scurried around getting the other bits and pieces and even managed to get me into my coat, without destroying my nail polish. Boy's future partner will be one lucky person. He was calm, controlled and hurried without taking any notice of my stress and squeaks. He is indeed a star!

We parked up and walked to the venue, which in pouring rain, over cobbles, wearing red suede shoes, was not a lot of fun. How I didn't break my ankles I'll never know. The Goddess truly does watch over her own. Even with the Director running late, I still had time to set up my laptop, get the float ready and sell a book before people started turning up.

The room looked fantastic with tables laid out with white linen and candles. DN, our Technical God, figured out the lighting system and dimmed the lights to make things friendly, but not too dark. At 7.25, there were 7 people in the room, by 7.35, I had to gently pat people out the way so I could meet and greet. The turnout was fantastic. My posse turned up as well. Many thanks to Gee, JD, the Great Ursus and his lovely. That people braved a horrid night to support and celebrate our venture was just amazing. AS was on instruction to turn up later. He later said it helped no end with hs nerves as he was just able to swan in, say hi to a few people and then move to prime position.

RJ, our Chief gave a brief introduction and then handed the floor over to AS. The reading was went really well. The audience smirked, chuckled and snorted throughout. Gee said afterwards, how well he'd done. Authors are notoriously bad at reading their own work, but AS totally rocked the crowd.

It all becomes a bit of a blur after that, I'm left with impressions and small flashes of memory. There were lots of smiles and genuine pleasure at our accomplishment. I took money, handed out business cards, took details for people signing up to our mailing list. I'm surprised AS's hands weren't aching at the end, after all the books he signed. My hands were freezing from sheer terror and the cold terrace where I sheltered under a brolly, smoking. Goddess bless the Great Ursus; from the depths of his coat he brought out a hand warmer which I huddled round. Pretty clothing and shoes may look fantastic, but damn they're not half cold and uncomfortable. My feet were screaming by the time people started shuffling off home.

I crept out of bed Friday morning, with just enough time to make the World Domination de-briefing meeting. I was more than a little bit fragile, due mainly to the half-hundred weight of tobacco I'd smoked on the run up to the event and the cider I'd drunk. Note to Self: when one needs to think coherently the next day, one should not consume that much alcohol the night before. Mind you, given what a lightweight I am, it only takes a half of cider too many to push me into the green zone.

We sold some books, schmoozed and strutted our stuff. All in all, not bad for a night's work. I must apologise for the lack of pictures. It was just one thing too many for me to manage. Take my word for it though, I do scrub up just fine.

I'm looking forward to more of the same. More readings, more events, more books, more fun. Hell, just MORE! Bring on the World Domination!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Launch of TOUCHING THE STARFISH

Just set up the room. The books are all laid out, the PA is ready to go. There are posters up. We're now on the count-down.

I should eat something sooner rather than later. I should put my head down for an hour.

Instead, I'm blogging.

It's not my book. I didn't write it. It's sits next to me and I still reach out to stroke it. I came to the party late, but I still have this sense of wonder.

I have the dress, the shoes and the new make-up to play with.

I think about the coming event with a mixture of pure terror (what if no-one comes, or no-one likes it) and pure elation (OMG! Look what we did!)

Dear Goddess, please let it go well. Please, don't let them down.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Totally Blissed Out

This afternoon, the 100 copies of TOUCHING THE STARFISH arrived, ahead of Thursday's launch do. How excited am I?

In case you haven't been keeping up, the Launch is Thursday! OMG! I have a fabulous Karen Millen dress which I've starved myself to get into and new shoes. I'm overly excited and being a bit of a Stress Bunny. Of course, I'm also doing the 'no-one will come'.

After we lugged the boxes of books in, we had to look. I swear, I was shaking. I still can't believe it. We did it. People are now starting to read it and the feedback we're getting is so positive. It's so heartening. I have my very own, signed copy sitting beside me, I stop typing every now and then to give it a quick stroke. You have no idea how fantastic it is to work with people who don't think it strange that I have to fondle the cover, sniff the pages, touch the words. People who get that books are a tactile experience, as well as cerebral. I feel like I'm home.

For someone with creative yearnings, this is the perfect project for World Domination for me. AS was my creative writing tutor from the start and I often joke that I hold him responsible for the life I have now. If he hadn't opened the door and showed me this fabulous creative world, I'd have still had a proper job...Actually, I'd have been in prison, for taking an axe to my co-workers; or in the local mental hospital; or taking valium by the handful. He's written a book that is laugh out loud funny and poignant and clever...I'll shut up now. Yes, I do know I'm biased (with good reason). I can use the skills gained from my 'proper job', and my creative skills and be a business mid-wife...I am one lucky woman.

I celebrated by going for a drive in my shiny car. The feeling as I bombed around winedy Norfolk roads, listening to the Chemical Bros up loud, with the boxes of books in the boot...totally blissed, dude. And on the return journey, there were fireman.

There is a God, and She is good!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Soloman Kane

The Great Ursus and his lovely invited Gee and myself to the movies tonight to see Soloman Kane. I'm rather fond of sci-fi/fantasy films and was up to be entertained. However, I'm now home again and I had to share my experience with you. Hopefully, you'll learn and won't feel the need to part with your hard earned cash or precious time for this particular pile of poo.

Solomon Kane, the nasty piece of work has a bit of a problem. His soul is damned because of his evil ways with the sword, knife and gun (I thought the scriptwriters had read David Gemmel's White Wolf. Shame they didn't use it to their best advantage). He runs off to a monastry for a year, finds God, etches religious symbols on his body to ward off the evil he's brought upon himself. He's thrown out and told to go home. We have a flashback to tell us he's a second son, his older brother and an even nastier piece of work, than he was in his good-old-bad days. Anyway, he meets up with a family of nice Pilgrims off to the New World and they travel awhile. To cut a long story short, most of the family have a sharp introduction to the wrong side of a sword and the girl (Meredith) is taken off by a mysterious warrior in a skin mask. In order to redeem his soul, he makes a promise to save the girl. I won't spoil the surprise and tell you more. Truthfully, I just can't bear to write about it anymore.

How may I mock thee (Soloman Kane)? Let me count the ways.

Firstly, make sure the scriptwriters are paid enough to write actual dialogue, not cliches. When I first began down creative writing classes, my tutor spent many an hour crossing out the cliches I'd painstakingly reproduced. After much mockery, he broke me of that particular, nasty habit. I would suggest that any budding scriptwriters avail themselves of his services; it's worth it, if only to avoid the public humiliation of having to own lines like 'the only Devil in here is me.'

Secondly, as Gee pointed out, they couldn't come up with their own imagery/plot for themselves and shamelessly nicked it from at least 6 films including: Willow, Beastmaster, Lord of the Rings, I am Legend and Never Ending Story.

Thirdly, it always helps if the characters are English and from Cornwall area that they should sound as if they actually come from that region. I know this is a huge bag of worms for many films. Take Sean Connery's Spanish accent in Highlander, pretty much the same as his English James Bond. However, using a mostly British cast, it should be fairly straight forward to employ a dialogue coach to at least make sure the accents don't become a mashup of Scottish/Norfolk/Welsh and Queen's English.

Fourthly, I understand that the intention was to have the location in the rain, to show the blight on the land. However, 2 hours worth of rain and mud has not convinced me that this strategy works at all. The director was a touch heavy-handed. I kinda got it after the first half hour of rain and mud; it just got a bit dull very quickly thereafter. There are better, more subtle ways of getting the point across. I kept thinking the poor actors must have had a good dose of athelete's foot after the filming.

Fifthly, with that amount of rain James Purefroy's hair shouldn't have been that lank and greasy. Ewwww...

Sixthly, just because it's a fantasy, there is no excuse for lazy plotting. Any action was preceeded by much flag waving. There was gore, but not a huge amount; but no thrills and certainly, no surprises. Towards the end of the film, the twist in the tail might have come as a bit of a surprise to Solomon Kane, but it certainly wasn't to those of us in the cinema. If anything, we're wondering why it took him so long to catch up. Thick is not sexy in your male lead.

Seventhly, if you're going to tell a tale based around Christian beliefs of redemtion, why have a random Pagan woman healing the lead after he'd been crucified (along with two other unfortunates)? Also, what was with the random witch/hag? And by the way, I knew the girl was the witch from the get-go. What was her infecting Meredith, for it to go.....nowhere? There was no point to that event, and the editor should have stuck to his/her guns and axed that whole sub-plot.

The only surprise worth noting is that he and the girl, don't get it together in the end. The only bit of control exercised throughout this whole project.

I don't count it as a complete waste of time. I got to hang out with some of my favourite people, take the piss and be entertained by their piss takes. Plus, I got a blog post out of it. If I were you, I'd save the money, have a coffee and a panini instead of wasting the money on a cinema ticket. Wait until it hits the Sci-fi Channel.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Even if I wanted to ignore it, the shops filled with bright red hearts, cuddly toys and balloons, would have made it impossible not to know that Valentine's Day is upon us. Needless to say, there are no boxes of chocolates, balloons, cards or cuddly toys resting on my doorstep. Thank the Goddess.

Any man appearing with cuddly toys, balloons or a box of Cadbury's Milk Tray for me, would need a trip to A&E to remove them from his rear end. I'm not partial to the Forever Friends bears, cards with cutesy doggerel or milk chocolates.

I usually dread Valentine's Day. It's the day when the world rubs my nose into the fact I'm single.

However, this Valentine's Day is slightly different. No, my status hasn't changed. Robert Downey Jr is still very much married and in ignorance of my fabulousness.

For me, life is about connections. The connections I keep, the solid gifts of friendship that supported me through my ups and downs. The connections that keep going through the years despite my best efforts to fuck things up. I might not have a man, but I have many, many people who are committed to me (who occasionally think I need to be committed), who love me, just for being me.

I had a stark reminder today; life is too short to fuck about. Today, is as good as any to tell you, how much I appreciate you being here with me. If I were you, I'd grab your significant other, your children, your parents, give them a big hug, tell them you love them. Don't waste the precious time on games, on fears, on the small stuff.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010