Am I the only writer who does this?

 

freeimage-852138-web (2)

1/ Uses every excuse going not to sit down and write, from cat cuddles to Googling to ‘I’ll just make another cup of coffee first’, but then when I do start writing, sometimes get so caught up I forget to stop for dinner.

2/ Has characters living and breathing in my head before I can commit them to paper. Sometimes I will hang out with these people for months beforehand. Their name has to be right, I have to be familiar with their look and mannerisms, know their history and what makes them tick.

3/ Likes to people watch.

4/ Gets irrationally mad if someone disturbs me when I’m in the zone.

‘Do you want a cup of tea, Keri?’

‘Fuck off!’

5/ Has such an overactive imagination I suspect everyone of everything. My neighbours are doing a bit of DIY: Well actually they might be having a fight with a chainsaw. The guy in the white van: He’s a serial killer on the lookout for a new victim. The posh guy at work: He keeps his mother’s corpse in the attic and has a fridge full of eyeballs and brains. Seriously, when my cat went missing, I managed to convince myself that a giant eagle had swooped down out of the sky and grabbed her from the garden.

6/ Obsessively watches my Amazon rankings. When they are good, so is my mood. When they slip, I get a full on black cloud over my head.

7/ Sometimes writes drunk.

8/ Test reads bits of the book to my pets.

9/ Lies in bed at night having whole conversations between my characters in my head, which I then have to try and commit to memory or get up and write down.

10/ Gets over excited every time someone says something nice about my book.

 

 

A writer needs companions. Meet mine.

Ellie and Lola raiding the fridge

Ellie and Lola raiding the fridge

I was tricked into these two by a crafty rescue centre person. I had just moved into my bachelorette pad and wanted a cat for company, so rang a local shelter to enquire about a sweet little three year old tabby who’d had a traumatic life, thinking I was doing a good thing by wanting to home an adult cat.

‘Oh no’ said the lady, having never met me. ‘I don’t think she’s right for you. However, I have two five month old kittens here who I think would be perfect.’

So off I go to meet Tiger and Angel (as they were originally called), “sucker” written on my forehead, and yes, they were super cute little balls of fun, so I foolishly handed over a donation and brought them home.

Two days.

Yes, two days is how long it took for those fluffy little bastards to destroy my house.

Favourite vase – Crash!

New sofa – Scraaatccchh.

Carpet – ‘Well hello new litter tray’.

They had to go back, I knew they had to. But then they looked at me with their big dark eyes and I realised in that moment that I was stuck with them for good.

So we have learnt to live together with a little compromise.

Lola jumps on to the kitchen worktop, I shout at her and put her on the floor, turn my back and she gets straight back up there. I buy a new rug, Ellie pisses on it. I shout at her and she defiantly pisses on it some more. The rug moves out.

My clothes are a magnet for cat hair and have holes from their claws, the towels are shredded and my glass dining room table has become their race track. Ellie on top of the table, Lola underneath as they chase each other round in circles.

And when they’re done playing they eat me out of house and home.

Whiskas say eight out of ten cats prefer their food. Well, mine are apparently the two who don’t. In fact, cat food goes out of the window the second human food comes into play and I have had to lock myself in the bathroom before just to get away from the little vultures so I can eat my dinner in peace.

Ellie is a weirdo who runs to the car to greet me each night I arrive home, chattering about her day so loudly that sometimes the neighbours stare. She wakes me up every morning at 6am by meowing the house down, is obsessed with Austrian smoked cheese and hiding my hairbands and thinks the hoover is an evil monster that is out to gobble her up.

Lola is a weirdo who like to get on top of my wardrobe and jump Indiana Jones style on to the bed. She spends much of the day hanging half out of the cat flap, much to the amusement of the people in my cul-de-sac, likes to have a five minute snuggle under the duvet with me the second I wake up and insists on drinking the glass of water I take to bed rather than the stuff in her own bowl.

We have been together for six years now and would I change my monkeys?

Never in a million years.

Want to have a character named after you in my next book?

freeimage-3771871-web (2)

Fancy seeing your name in print?

I am hard at work on the Dead Letter Day sequel and offering one reader the chance to have a character named after them.

The competition is on Facebook, so if you want to enter please head on over to my page www.facebook.com/allaboutbeev and follow the instructions.

Closing date is Sunday 5th May.

Good luck!

Because nothing stays buried forever

freeimage-1365773-web (2)

Once upon a time there was a naïve and slightly foolish young girl. She loved to write and would lock herself away for hours, living in her fantasy world and creating tales of terror. She desperately wanted to be an author and routinely submitted her tales to both agents and publishers, but had no more than a polite response.

Her father was particularly proud of her efforts and one day when boasting about her, a business colleague asked if he could read one of the books. He did so and called straight away, raving about how wonderful the story was and how he felt sure the girl could be the next big thing. Although not a writer himself, he had done some work with a publishing firm and promised to pass the book on to them, as he felt sure they would be interested.

A few weeks passed and the publishing firm made contact. They too loved the book and were interested in signing the girl in a three book deal. Contracts were signed and the girl was over the moon. All her efforts had paid off and she was going to be a published writer.

Not long after signing the contract, the girl was at her day job when she received a call from the publisher. The local paper is on the way to your office to interview you. They are interested in running a story on your publishing deal and your advance. The word ‘advance’ confused the girl. She didn’t remember anything being agreed about an advance. She questioned this and was reassured all was okay. The publishing company felt she had a bright future and they were prepared to invest in her.

The girl was still hesitant, but believed everything to be legit. She met with the press and they took photos of her looking very happy and holding a mock-up copy of the book. They started to ask her questions, but they weren’t interested in the book itself. All they wanted to know about was how she intended to spend the huge advance she was getting; a record amount of money for a first time author.

Now the girl was very confused. Nothing had been said that she was going to be receiving a huge sum of money. The publisher had said she was worth investing in though. Did this mean she was rich? Unsure how to answer the reporter’s questions, she muddled her way through as best as possible, excited about the prospect of earning lots of money, disappointed that this was all the press were interested in, but also feeling a little bit wary that something wasn’t quite right.

The next morning the girl was woken at 6am by a photographer waiting outside the house. He said if the girl would allow him to take a few pictures for the press he would be on his way, so she agreed. She went to work, but the phones were going crazy with reporters trying to get hold of her. Her boss wasn’t best pleased and sent her home. At home things were worse. As well as the phones ringing, reporters and film crews kept turning up. They all kept asking the same thing, wanting to know about the advance. The girl tried to answer their questions as best she could, not wanting to make herself look foolish by saying that she didn’t really understand what was going on, as she couldn’t get hold of anyone at the publishing firm.

The next morning she was in every national newspaper – all of them focusing on the size of the advance. She was carted off to London and paraded out on various daytime chat shows. People were telling her movie rights were being discussed and Jack Nicholson had shown an interest. This was all news to her, so she just smiled naively, not sure what to say.

By this point, one of the national papers was questioning how a small publishing firm could afford to invest so much money in a new author. They questioned if the girl was playing a very clever publicity stunt. The girl felt sick to her stomach. Money was great, but all she had ever really wanted was to have her novels published. She had no idea if this advance was real or if she was being played and set up to look a fool.

Eventually the publishing firm made contact. They told the girl it was in their best interests that she quit her day job and concentrate on her writing full time. They gave assurances she would start receiving her advance in weekly chunks.

The girl felt a little happier now she had some concrete evidence they were being true to their word. She handed in her notice and a month later quit her job. Except there was a problem, as the promised money from her advance never materialised. After a struggle to get hold of anyone at the publishing firm, a cheque for a few hundred pounds arrived. This was the only money she would ever see from them.

The publisher was also being cagey about the book, telling the press it was now being indefinitely delayed. They buried themselves away, trying to distance themselves from the media storm they had created and solicitors became involved. By now the national newspaper had figured out the girl was an unwitting pawn in an attempt to make money off the back of all the publicity. No one could even be sure if the publisher had even read the girl’s books. The newspaper tried to expose the publisher and the girl went back to her former boss and asked for her day job back. Eventually the media frenzy died down and she got to go back to being anonymous.

And the moral of this story is – if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Should the girl have told the media she wasn’t sure what was happening? Perhaps she would have been wise to dig her heels in until she had been shown physical proof of the advance. She was young and naïve and thought all of her dreams had just come true. Put yourself in her shoes and question how you would have dealt with the situation.

The girl has now grown up and finally plucked up the courage to try again. This time there were no big rewards being dangled in front of her and her book is getting to do the talking.

She prefers it that way.

Do I look like a writer?

Can you guess which one of us is a writer?

Can you guess which one of us is a writer?

When it was announced I had won a contract to have my first novel published, a colleague at the day job informed me he wasn’t surprised, as I “looked” like a writer.

Now this colleague did work in our finance department and accountant types do tend to be a strange breed. It got me thinking though, what exactly is a writer supposed to look like? I did ask him to elaborate, but he was a bit vague, muttering something illegible under his breath in that way accountant types do.

Was it my clothing? I tend to mostly go for comfort when getting dressed. Maxi dresses, flip flop type sandals, pretty little cardigans… I can do glam, but walking in heels is an art and when I do it, I look a little like I’ve crapped myself, so I tend to reserve this kind of outfit for special occasions. Was my casual hippy chick image one of a writer?

Perhaps it was my physical appearance. I am tallish, blonde (from a bottle), with brown eyes and a continually expanding chest. Seriously, I think my boobs are on a mission to take over the world. Was this it? Did all writers have big boobs? Was writing somehow synonymous with blond hair? I thought of Stephen King. He was a successful author and yet he had neither.

By now I was truly flummoxed. I guessed it could be my expressions. Is there a special writer face? Given that I pretty much have three expressions; the deep in thought frown, which tends to scare most people away, even though I am usually thinking about something as inane as what I want for dinner, the dozy, far away, half smile, where yet again I am usually thinking about dinner, and the goofy over excited grin, which is an expression I am normally wearing when it is dinner, I discounted this idea.

Maybe it was in the way I move. I have two left feet, routinely trip over stuff that isn’t there and have the grace, co-ordination and rhythm of a drunk hippopotamus. No, it wasn’t in the way I moved.

So that pretty much left accessories. What accessories come to mind when people think of me? Cats? I tend to be covered in a layer of their fluff even when they’re not present. Glass of red wine in one hand? Are these the trappings of a true writer?

 

Cat bottoms, expensive toilet rolls and a beaver called Alan

S/W Ver: 85.97.F1P

I am not gonna lie to you; there are times when I get totally distracted from writing. Some days I am caught in the zone and can churn out page after page, but there are other days where stuff just gets in the way. These are five things that distract me.

1/ Cat bums. Usually my kitties can be found snuggled up against my feet, far too exhausted to move after their busy days eating, watching moths, eating, sleeping, eating, walking round in circles meowing, trying to break into the fridge and plucking the sofa, but you can guarantee the second I start typing (including right now) there is one swanning about in front of me, tail ramrod straight, purring and kneading at the computer keys – I blame them for all my typos – going ‘look at my lovely bum’.

2/ Rightmove. Well, okay, Facebook, Twitter and Sporcle can also be quite distracting, but Rightmove offers us the chance to see inside other people’s houses and rate how bad their taste in home décor is on a scale of one to ten. It doesn’t matter that I’m not in the market for a new house; the temptation to snoop is too great.

3/ Phone calls from my mum. Now it’s a universal fact that mums like to chat, and I swear that my mum has a magic telephone in her house that recognizes when I am mid-sentence working on a blog or book and automatically dials my number. Now I love talking to my mum, having a gossip about stuff, venting our frustration about how Sainsbury’s have put up the price of loo rolls by a whole 12 pence and listening to how she walked round the golf course and could barely put one foot in front of the other, but it is not conducive to my writing.

4/ My OCD need to know pointless stuff. I blame my dad for this one, as he was the king of useless trivia and I appear to have inherited from him the need to know everything. Now, as you can imagine, “everything” is a lot to take in, but I can’t stop myself. So far my compulsion has led me to have to know every single country in the world, what the capital city is of every country in the world, the national flag for every country in the world and the entire periodic table, among other things. Why do I have to know this stuff? And to make it worse, as I get older my memory gets worse, so I have to keep testing myself to make sure I don’t forget. Yes, Beev is a full on geek. Don’t hold it against me and please still buy my book. I promise you it is more fun than I am.

5/ Watching cute videos on Youtube. Oh come on, we all do it. Personal favourites are Christian the lion, the dog being teased with stuff in the fridge and the talking animals video with the beaver calling Alan. http://youtu.be/RFhNJ8ozDBk

 

 

If Beev is cooking, go pick your gravestone

I am th579211_10151522120531411_487521630_n (2)e world’s worst cook. Do not think I am kidding when I say that. I am, after all, the girl famous for making buns that tasted of perfume (even though there was no perfume present and only standard bun type ingredients had been used). I also once called my sister at university to ask her how to make mashed potato, accidentally fed a vegetarian friend with bacon and have on several occasions forgotten to turn the oven on to cook my pizza. Five star cuisine to me is nuking a ready meal in my microwave, and sometimes I have even managed to mess that up. Seriously, I have considered death by my cooking to be an acceptable form of murder in one of my future books.

Luckily I have more satisfying results when blending ingredients for a story, which is pretty fortunate for you guys, as I wouldn’t want my books giving you food poisoning, and for my very first blog I am going to share with you my recipe for creating a good novel.

Firstly, I take the seeds of an idea. This can come from anything, a song I have just heard, a scene I have just witnessed, something I have just read in the news or an idea that has just popped into my head whilst sitting on the loo. (Yes, perhaps I should be ashamed to admit that I have occasionally had really good ideas while peeing). I throw those seeds into a pan; add a little thought processing oil, stir them for a bit as they cook, then chop up some characters. Now the characters have to taste good or they will ruin the final result. They have to be colourful and full of flavour and I will let them ripen for a while before throwing them into the mix. Once they are in, I season the pan with some twists and turns, add in a generous splash of red wine – just because it’s red wine and should be added to everything – then let everything simmer and the concoction develop its own taste.

Voila! We are done and hopefully I have created a satisfyingly tasty novel. Now Chef Keri suggests that you give her dinners a wide berth and focus on the books instead. If you are feeling peckish then check out the fantastic Dead Letter Day cupcakes my friend, Ness, made to celebrate the book’s launch. You will be pleased to know that I did not have a hand in baking them.