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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

When you can be too patient

There are many times when I can be very impatient. For instance, when I want something I want it now (note to Gray, as in the Christmas wrapping paper that's hidden somewhere precarious...). I don't like waiting (unless of course it's to finish the h-u-g-e pile of ironing that never seems to go down, even though the kids aren't around anymore :-/).

There are times however, when I have patience in abundance. Like when I finally submitted my manuscript. Now, this never used to be the case - in the old days I used to sit around waiting for the postman for a sign of my stamped addressed postcard acknowledging the safe receipt of my manuscript. Nowadays, of course, (:^P) I'm so busy with other writing projects that I barely notice...(okay, that might be a teeny little fib). I do notice a little bit. BUT, it's only for a second before I get on with my other writing projects.

These past weeks I have learnt the hard way, that you CAN be too patient - even when submitting your manuscript to M&B. Mills & Boon are so helpful to their aspiring yet-to-be published writers that they ALWAYS take the time to acknowledge each submission no matter how inundated they are.

If weeks go by (as they did in my case) and you haven't received an acknowledgement and/or reference no. it's very likely that your manuscript hasn't been received. It took me ages before I contacted M&B to ask if they'd received my ms. I was too scared to bother them knowing how busy they are. It turned out that they never received it and I was asked to email it to them again - which I did. Only I never learnt my lesson - weeks later I still hadn't received confirmation - but did I contact them again? No! I was still too scared believing it was pestering them and their silence was merely a sign of how busy they all were.

WRONG! Once again, filled with a moment's courage, I pushed send on an email to ask the dreaded question...and a reply immediately came back telling me they still never received it. The upshot is that I emailed my manuscript a third time and yesterday finally received the magical letter confirming their receipt of my manuscript with a reference no..!

The moral to this story is (and there sort of is one - for me anyway) I could have saved myself weeks and weeks of waiting - and if I had I might have been halfway through 'the' real wait by now, IF I hadn't let the fear freeze me.

I'm now, once again, HAPPY to be patient. Yes, now the waiting REALLY begins, but that's okay because at least I KNOW my manuscript is sitting on an editor's desk.

How patient/impatient are you?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sharpe's Peril

Sharpe’s Peril (2008)

Genre: Historical/Adventure

Stars: Sean Bean, Daragh O’Malley, Amit Behl, Beatrice Rosen, Michael Cochrane, Steve Speirs, Velibor Topic

The “Plot”

Sharpe and Harper run foul of an opium smuggler in India and must devise a way to beat him.

The Real Story

Sharpe’s Peril follows on from Sharpe’s Challenge. Sharpe and Harper are still trying to find their way out of India, although they keep getting sidetracked. They join up with some soldiers currently escorting a prisoner cross-country, and they soon find themselves caught up in conflict after running foul of an opium smuggler. Action, ranging from swordfights to gun battles and a siege, soon follow. Sharpe’s Peril was broadcast in two separate episodes. The first sets up the action, and is quite talky and heavy on the explanation. The second half is pure action and thoroughly engaging.

The two episodes combine to make this one of the best Sharpe adventures yet. Sean Bean has never been better, here playing a grizzled Colonel who’s seen too much of warfare and just wants to be out of it all. Daragh O’Malley brings a deft comic touch as Harper, while the other, new cast members are superb. Amit Behl turns what could have been a caricature into an affecting portrayal of a wronged man who retains his dignity, while Velibor Topic is a hateful villain. Beatrice Rosen is a particularly appealing love interest, and gets to show greater depth than most. Kudos also to a returning Michael Cochrane, who looks to be having a ball.

With spectacular Indian locations, some excellent stuntwork, colourful costumes, a cast of actors and actresses prepared to give it their all and plenty of emotion to go along with the action, Sharpe’s Peril is the best that television has to offer. A splendid outing that doesn’t suffer in any way from not being based on one of the Bernard Cornwell novels.

Review written by Gray

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Michael Crichton has died

(photo taken from Washington Post)

The award-winning American author, best known for his television series E. R. as well as his blockbuster novel Jurassic Park, has died at the age of 66 after a long, private battle with cancer.

Crichton first hit the literary scene at the beginning of the 1970s with the release of his novel The Andromeda Strain, a science fiction effort written while he was still a medical student. The novel proved enormously successful and a film version followed, cementing the author’s reputation as an enormously intelligent writer who managed to make both science and medicine fun and interesting.

Over the years, the author worked on dozens of novels, many of which were later filmed. Successes include Westworld (he also directed the excellent adaptation with Yul Brynner), The Terminal Man, Rising Sun, Disclosure, Sphere, Congo and Timeline. Two of his most popular works were Jurassic Park and its sequel The Lost World, books and films which dominated the 1990s and which gave dinosaurs a level of popularity they hadn’t enjoyed in the mainstream media since the heyday of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s book, also entitled The Lost World, in 1912.

Crichton also put his medical training to good use. He wrote the screenplay for and directed the 1978 classic Coma, an intense thriller about organ harvesting starring Genevieve Bujold. He also devised the hit television series E. R. in 1994 and served as executive producer up until the time of his death.

With his many books, Crichton helped to bring respect and credibility to the science fiction genre. Some of his books may have been better than others, but they all achieved an important principle: they remained realistic and believable, not matter how outrageous the storyline.

I doubt any other author, living or dead, could have created a frightening, pulse-pounding read about a theme park full of dinosaurs. Rest in peace, Michael.