Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006


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Writing Distractions

Just so you know what’s keeping me out of the cellar:

1. The World Cup

I used to pooh-pooh soccer, now I’m obsessed. I think it’s less to do with the game itself and more to do with the fact that it’s taking place in my homeland. South Africa is proving itself to be a great host and not only is the World Cup running smoothly and well, but tourists are having a fabulous time. Our team may not have been the best, but South Africa is a world champion host country. Here’s Shari Cohen of the Huffington Post on what the World Cup has meant to her. It made this expat wipe away a tear of pride. Also, I’m loving the sound of vuvuzelas in the Burg. A little bit of Africa floating to me on the night air.

2. Work

I have a great part-time position as an in-house journalist for the next three months. I am really looking forward to being in the working world again.

3. Marketing

The time to start marketing Balthasar’s Gift, a 75,000 word murder mystery set in South Africa at the height of AIDS denialism, is upon me. I am researching agents, writing query letters and synopses and thinking about the  best way to sell my book.

4. Summer

We are going to the pool a lot. It is a mere five minutes’ walk from our house, so we are there as often as possible. I have two-and-a-half swimmers, so the experience is more relaxing than it used to be. I can now read my book and do some lengths if I want to.

5. Parties

Loads of parties! Summer parties, farewell parties, got-a-degree parties, soccer parties, work parties. We are up for a party chez Otter, we love a bit of music and dancing and chatting to people we know and don’t know.

Hope summer is turning out just as lovely for you. Here’s the World Cup Waka Waka to put you in the mood:


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Journey’s End

So I’m back from my journey. We took a 12-hour drive to the Dordogne Valley for a week’s glamping at the unequivocally fabulous Camping les Ormes. This is a camping site that actually lives up to its website – it is that beautiful. While strong design values don’t make an iota of difference to my kids’ holiday, or for that matter, my husband’s, they do to mine. I loved sleeping in a tent with a chandelier and an antique piano, having crystal tea light holders and fresh roses on the white kitchen table. Pictures and a full report to follow.

However, we came home to the news that France is the world’s most expensive destination. So we may not be going back for a while.

Today is South Africa’s big day, and we are off shortly to celebrate the start of the World Cup with all the South Africans who live in Germany. Since there are only 14 of us, some Germans have also been invited and we are looking forward to teaching them how to blow the vuvuzela. Though I hold with good design values, I may break from those for today and wear my green Bafana Bafana t-shirt. Because, the boys, you know, we want them to win.

I watched some of the concert last night and cried in the dark in front of the telly. The atmosphere was amazing, the musicians outstanding and I felt proud, patriotic and very far away. Still get a lump in my throat when I think about it.

My novel is progressing well. I am close to the finish line of draft four and have promised myself and my husband to start approaching agents by July at the latest. I wrote a car chase scene last night that included references to BMW model numbers and felt like James Bond, just for the day.

This was our family theme song for the holiday. Yes, we do allow our children to sing songs about ‘blowing the bad guys away’. We also let them play ‘I kissed a girl and I liked it’ on their recorders.

Hooray for Barbara Kingsolver winning the Orange Prize! I ordered The Lacuna from my DH who flew in from London last night, and as I wiped my tears and read the first pages at midnight, I discovered that Kingsolver has stolen a phrase of mine. Goddammit, don’t these published authors have any respect for great unpublished? It’s a phrase I’m proud of, that my beta readers have all circled and given me a gold star for. Now I have to decide whether to get rid of it, or let it slip in there.

Which is all grist to the finishing mill, so I’ll bid you another farewell. See you at the end of Draft Four!