Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Marmalade Shore

My wonderful friend Katherine Quevedo, who became my editor and general source of encouragement throughout the writing process, has been kind enough to pen these words which could one day appear as the blurb on the back of "The Marmalade Shore", should it ever come to be printed properly, that is...

Unlike the majority of his kind, who delight in cruelty and idle torture, Orange finds solace amongst the animals. So when his monkey goes missing, he sets off to find him with his wayward uncle Bryan. Their journey leads them to encounter a conspiracy, a window to another world, and some very fancy mice. Journey with them from the tranquility of the Sussex Downs, through the streets of Paris and Monte Carlo to the deserts of Africa. A prophecy is about to be fulfilled, but only if Orange can learn to unlock his mysterious ginger powers.

I only have a handful of printed copes (care of Kinkos), but if you are at all interested in reading my manuscript, drop me an email and I can send you a pdf version. Or you can wait for the hardback edition, of course...

I now intend to return my attention fully to drinking and computer games, at least until the muse next visits and I have another ten months to kill. Must dash, as I have but recently learned that Christmas is once more upon us. God bless us, one and all.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Good news: Rachel's tests for MS all came back either negative or inconclusive. The specialists have no immediate concerns, so I guess we shouldn't either. They'll repeat next year to compare unless anything extraordinary happens in the interim. Thanks to everyone for their positive messages and support!

Now back to my usual level of inanity...

Thanksgiving. One can't quibble with four days out of the office and I don't intend to. The night before had ended in a bar crawl with the chaps from the office and a few too many drinks at Dante's, a semi-conscious apprehension of Storm Large and the Balls and a drunken ramble home to "sober myself up". It's hard to imagine just how much worse I would have felt the next morning had I not done so, and was glad that Linda had planned Thanksgiving dinner for 5pm. Although it was by far the nicest turkey I've ever eaten, I have finally come to the conclusion that I don't actually like turkey very much. I suppose I'll be sharing Rachel's tofurkey next time around (that's turkey made from tofu, by the way, you knew that).

On Friday Leon, Jeanne, Johnny and myself toured wine country, which is always fun despite the dismal weather. Saturday topped the weekend's entertainment however as I took to the slopes for the first time. Yes, that's right: skiing. You force your feet into a pair of gigantic heavyweight moonboots and clip these into a couple of plank-like things, then attempt to get from the top of the hill to the bottom without dying. Of course the hill in question was an essentially flat "bunny slope" so the chances of actually dying were fairly minimal, unless you were also trying to get down the slope and I ran into you, of course. Turning neatly still eludes me, but basic speeding up, slowing down and stopping are more or less OK and I managed to get back down to the rope-tow without falling over most of the time. The biggest surprise was that I remained largely upright and the second biggest surprise was how much fun I had and then the third biggest surprise was how much easier it was without the silly sticks/poles.

I will endeavour to return to the piste several times this winter in an attempt to pick up the very basics. Mount Hood is only about 50 miles from Portland, so there's not much excuse not to, only I need to rely on transport from Leon / Linda as I'm not used to driving on ice and don't really fancy mastering the art of getting chains onto my tires and of course I am too cheap to buy a set of snow tires and swap them in/out every winter. Hang about - what's all this driving on ice nonsense, you ask? Don't they salt the roads? Well, no, they don't actually. Apparently it's not good for the environment. So they just plough and grit instead. Anyway why risk the Mazda when you can get a qualified chauffeur / ski instructor for free?

Yes I'm cheap, cheap, cheap. And with christmas on the horizon too...