Saturday, September 22, 2012

A bit of a ramble

I realise it’s a week or more since my last post and I’m slacking. So I shall have a bit of a burble about things because I’m in the middle of cooking for a party I’m going to tonight (the theme is chicken and my Coq au Vin is finally in the oven).

Last night, instead of writing a post as I had intended, I had to spend hours removing a virus from my computer. Well, I didn’t spend hours doing it, more like hours trying in vain to get rid of the thing. I finally gave up at nearly two o’clock this morning after the software I was trying to install stubbornly refused to be installed. After a restless night, I switched on the computer this morning, tried once more to install, and hey presto! So finally the computer is clean again. But I’m feeling worn out and stressed.

Stress is not helped when I’m trying to cook something special – like real Coq au Vin without resorting to a cook-in sauce. Nor is the situation improved when the phone rings at a crucial moment, when I’m trying to slowly add stock and wine to a paste of oil, butter and flour. Resulting in my dumping all the wine in in one go and having to spend some considerable time later sieving the sauce to get out the lumps. Then after the big dish was finally in the oven I had to clean up spatters of red wine sauce not only from the hob (I hate ceramic hobs. They look lovely when they’re clean, but they’re such a pain to get clean) but from the tiles behind the oven and even splashed down one of the kitchen cupboards. The kitchen currently smells strongly of garlic and red wine.

One of the beauties of writing is that the characters you create can be anything you want. You need someone who is a technical whizz and can sort that computer problem out? There he or she is at the tip of the fingers. A brilliant cook who can produce any dish you want without resorting to a recipe book or making an almighty mess doing it? Just write. And of course, for the terminally untidy like myself, a neat freak is there or not at will. For every tricky situation the characters get into, there can be a solution, as well. Not like real life! I love making my characters up.

My romantic novels are all written in the third person, so I can get into the heads of those characters I wish to lead the action. My short story, Suspicion, has a first person narrator so one sees an entirely different perspective as the reader sees the views of only one person. I like experimenting, and Suspicion was an experiment. I know it’s relatively expensive buying one short story, even when it is a long one and I priced it as low as Amazon would let me, so I was happy to use the option Amazon gives me to offer the story for free last weekend. I shall do so again in the not too distant future and shall of course post here when it is planned. I have had only one review so far, but since it’s a nice one I’m quite happy! The reviewer suggested she wanted to learn more about the characters in my story, so I’m thinking over ideas for making a collection featuring the people in the village I made up. Perhaps I shall write them in spaces when I get a bit stuck with the full length books, or just need a short break from whatever I’m writing. It is really good when readers give me pointers like this, telling me what they want to read. It means I’m not just doing it all for myself, and it’s so nice to know that.

Since I’m not a work of fiction, I have to go back to my food now. There will be twenty or thirty people gathered later, all bringing their own contributions, either chicken things or side dishes. I hope they like my Coq au Vin as much as my fictional dinner guests would if my brilliant cook character had made it!

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