Still alive and kicking

I have to apologize for my prolonged absence this past autumn and winter. When I came home from my splendid Toronto adventure and the even more splendid conference of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals at Yale U, I fell into a big, fat, black hole, and it’s taken me all these months to crawl out of it. For the most part, I felt like this unfortunate kitty …


… with bouts of self-pity of the locked-into-the-bathroom-and-bawling-one’s-eyes-out variety thrown in for good measure. Assembling the aformentioned unfortunate kitty didn’t help, even if the result was rather pleasing, if I may say so myself …


Not even hosting two tea-parties helped (despite the huge amounts of yummy left-overs) (people went home with doggie bags and I was told I had baked too much cake) (this is not true, btw; it’s just that my friends didn’t eat enough cake!).

And no, buying two more Nordic Ware bundt cake tins didn’t help either. What’s worse, the fir trees surrounding the Fairytale Cottage cake broke off when I attempted to free the cake of the tin. Thus the fir trees became strangely shaped bushes, but thanks to copious amounts of chocolate icing you (almost) couldn’t tell they were supposed to be trees. Ah well …

In the end, it was the writing that did the trick: one day I sat down with my AlphaSmart and took up the threads of a story I started back in … uhm … 2009, I guess. It’s a rather over-the-top story, BUT (and this is really the most important bit) loads of fun to write, and thus I threw myself into it with gusto. Naturally, I once again committed a naming faux pas, yet thanks to my ever watchful, native-speaker friends, they were caught in time (unlike poor Heavens to Murgatroyd! Troy). So my poor, homely, potato-nosed, cousin-to-hero secondary character is NOT nicknamed Flopsy after all (due to the Beatrix Potter connection) (having been reared without Beatrix Potter, I had no idea of the existence of a fluffy rabbit called Flopsy – see that’s one of the dangers of writing in a language not your own: you never perceive the pitfalls until you’ve stumbled straight into them!)
Anyways, I’m having a great time with my still titleless WIP – so far the heroine has managed to shock a carriage-load of strangers, the hero and the hero’s sister (who fainted, poor girl) and I’ve high hopes that she’ll manage to scandalise the hero’s mother in no time at all. The hero surprised ME by suddenly talking dirty about things not to be mentioned in the company of ladies.
Now I only need to find a title for the WIP – must be a title suitable for the first book in a trilogy. “Irresponsible Pleasures”???? Hmmm ….
Must also find suitably silly new nickname for the unfortunate Flopsy. I first thought of Grannie, but alas, my hero’s called Griff, so we wouldn’t want another male Gr-name in the novel. (This just shows you with what kind of difficulties we writers have to deal with. Names! Silly names! Titles! Characters behaving shockingly!)

7 thoughts on “Still alive and kicking

  1. Laura Vivanco

    Hurrah! You’re back!

    Must also find suitably silly new nickname for the unfortunate Flopsy. I first thought of Grannie, but alas, my hero’s called Griff, so we wouldn’t want another male Gr-name in the novel.

    Also “Grannie” is what some people call their grandmother. I suppose it could be amusing to have other characters make comments like “Oh, Grannie, what big teeth you have!” so at least he’d have gone from a rabbit to a wolf.

  2. Laura Vivanco

    And now that I’m on the subject of teeth, I thought I should mention that those cakes look absolutely delicious.

    Maybe if you’d got your friends to move round the table by one place every so often, it would have tricked them into thinking they’d only just arrived at the tea party, and then they’d have eaten more? Or perhaps it would just have made one of them try to crawl inside the tea-pot.

  3. Sandra Schwab

    Laura, I was thinking of the grandmother connection and thought it would be kind of amusing (though not for the poor man himself). Gran / Grannie as short for Granville. But since I’ve already got a Griff, there really shouldn’t be a Granville.

    I used the Lindt chocolate icing for the cakes — but was rather disappointed by it. It’s much too sweet for my liking. So, no Lindt chocolate icing for future cakes.

    I should have mentioned that I also made about 9 litres of pumpkin soup for my birthday tea party (at which the pictures were taken) because of the length of past tea parties of mine. However, this time, most of my guests fled rather early and the remaining people only made away with 2 or 3 litres of the soup.

  4. Laura Vivanco

    “short for Granville”

    Couldn’t they call him something that begins with “vil”? Like vile, villa, village, or villain? Or “frill-y” to rhyme with vil-y? That could be good if he likes lace cravats? I don’t know which period you’ve set it in, though.

    It does sound as though you made a vast amount of soup.

  5. azteclady

    *enthusiastic hugglepounce*

    Oh dear me, you are back!!! *squeeeeeeeeeeeze* So happy to see you–please don’t go away again, okay?

    (and it sucks, living on the other side of the pond, or I’d be the one crashing the tea and taking all the leftovers home)

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