Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Diagram Result 2010 and The Yellow Room Competition

For those who are waiting with bated breath for an update, The Whinging Tooth is currently on  a stay of execution till next week. I'm currently quite happy to soldier on, on the grounds that a little bit of jumpiness and an inability to put any pressure on it when chewing is tolerable if I can keep the blighter in my jaw and therefore stop my face falling in. My dentist, who's been quite heroic in treating it is definitely of the opinion that we should call it a day and get rid. I think, next week in the dentist's chair, I shall pretend that I can chew perfectly well with it!

Also following up on my earlier post about the Diagram Prize, the results came out last week. I forgot to vote, actually, but you may have noticed a certain dilatoriness in my blogging, the result of too many distractions, too much work, a year, in fact that has spent its first quarter being absolutely manic, absolutely draining. Bottom of the list (ouch) came 'The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, followed by 'Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots' (sorry, Karen, I know you liked that one!), 'Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter' (wouldn't it have been great if the author's name had been Robin), then 'Collectible Spoons of the 3rd Reich' which initially seemed a strong contender. Second place went to 'What Kind of Bean is this Chihuahua?', which never did it for me, so I'm glad it didn't win - first place, then, to 'Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes' by Daina Taimina, which definitely has the requisite mixture of the earnest and the surreal. Wooh!

Now, my apologies to Jo Derrick as this is terribly late, but her latest short story competition for The Yellow Room Magazine closes on the 31st of March. So what are you waiting for? Get over there this instant and find out more!

Finally, a gentle reminder that my May fictionfire courses are imminent: Character Building on the 1st and Essential Editing on the 15th. If you're thinking of coming along, I'd love to see you: check the details at the fictionfire website. I'll keep reminding you, you know: you'll have to give in.

Monday, 8 March 2010

The Lights Are On, But ...

For those who are interested, the dental saga goes on. In spite of my excellent dentist's best efforts, the tooth won't settle down and I can't put any pressure on it, so its days may be numbered. At this rate I'll be mumbling sops of bread in milk - but should end up a champion gurner, so all is not lost.

A couple of weeks ago the entry pack for this year's Bookseller Industry Awards was included in The Bookseller. It's always salutary, as a cree-aytive person, to keep in mind the hard-nosed business we're trying to supply with 'product'. On the page devoted to Children's Bookseller of the Year, previous winners are listed: 2005 Ottakar's, 2006 Ottakar's, 2007 Borders, 2008 Borders, 2009 Borders.

Aye, and where are they now?

I'm really missing Borders. What makes it worse is passing the store in Oxford with its massive floorspace and all the lights on at full blast, it seems, since Christmas. Somebody said to me that this was probably about security but honestly, every single light is on - have they not heard of global warming?

Well done to Kathryn Bigelow for winning those Oscars and with a film that cost $7 million to make, as opposed to Avatar's $185. I was checking out the awards (and the frocks!) this morning and heard an interview with some chap who'd worked with her on Hurt Locker and seemed to be claiming she was so great it wasn't like working with a woman at all! How patronising is that? No wonder it's taken 80 years for a woman to win best director. Strikes me that the film industry is just one big 'who can pee the highest' competition anyway.