Monthly Archives: July 2011

Agatha Christie meets Armistead Maupin (apparently!)

The temperatures here in Malta are soaring. I’m scared to look at the thermometer because it’s almost too hot to cope. At least it seems to have calmed the MMM down a bit – she behaved impeccably when we met to do the weekly housekeeping in Zebbug. Mind you, she’s off to the Costa Brava next week, so is no doubt revving up to hurl herself at the Spanish men.

I was very pleasantly surprised to see WHAT A PERFORMANCE in Amazon’s ‘Movers & Shakers’ list It’s in at 6th place (up 180% from 812 to 290). Along with a favourable review earlier in the week – ‘A great fast-paced read with a clever plot. Funny, sad, gripping and entertaining. In a nutshell, Agatha Christie meets Armistead Maupin’ –  things are looking good for that little tale of murder & intrigue in the West End…

Meanwhile, I’ve finally sorted out the best (I think) order in which to work on my current projects:

1) BEASTWAGON – which is all but complete to my satisfaction (which it damn well should be since I started it twenty years ago, not to mention selling the film rights a decade later) – needs some tweaking at the beginning. I’ve engineered a new prologue (actually, it’s prologue number 4) and at the moment it’s at no.19 on YOUWRITEON.

2) WALKING ON EGGSHELLS (London Legends 3) – notes accumulating by the day. I’ll really get going on it once I’ve got BW done & dusted.

3) WILDE – Emilia Wilde’s character is taking shape, but there’s still a lot of planning & development to do before I can really get going.

In addition, CHASING YOUR TAIL (tv pilot) is finished. Still no word. Should I send it somewhere else? There’s also THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER (series of 4 radio plays), for which all the research is done and characters developed – in fact, 2 plays are almost completed.

So perhaps this means I haven’t in reality sorted out what I’m doing…

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And it all looked better in the morning…

After a blissful night’s sleep, the whole situation didn’t look quite as desperate, so I trundled back to Zebbug to finish off ironing the Egyptian cotton, making the beds & cleaning the pool. The family from Lancashire arrived bang on time and were both delighted with the house and delightful in themselves.

Now I’m working on ‘Wilde’ – my new novel and it’s all coming together nicely (well, it’s coming together) – with Amelia ‘Mel’ Wilde’s character emerging quite stridently – which it needs to as she’s a thwarted ex-DC with a very big grievance.

Soon the sun’ll be over the yard arm & I can relax with a G & T and look at the photos from the trip to Sitges – which I have to say was the best holiday I’ve had in years…

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Heat, dust & some unpleasant surprises in the wastepaper bins…

Landed in Malta (from Barcelona) at some time after 2am yesterday, having spent the (delayed) flight wondering whether anyone else on the flight could smell the alcohol emanating from my exhausted pores. The trouble with having fun is that is is very exhausting…

Having got my luggage – which took nearly an hour – I made my way to the car park to retrieve my trusty Freelander, which had been left there a few days earlier by my (clearly not so trusty) good friend the Millionaire Nightclub Owner, who shall remain nameless. Having forgotten to message me a clue as to which part of the carpark Fanny (Freelander) was in, it took me another 45 minutes to find her.

Then, when I got back to my crumbling (but very well reviewed) abode, couldn’t find a parking space for love nor money – probably because I used up my entire year’s quota of both over the preceding days in Sitges. Finally parked in the shadow of the church, left all my luggage in the car & staggered home to get some sleep. On entering the front courtyard I fell over several large bags of rubbish, then when I got into the house, I couldn’t fail to notice the smell; having known that the MNO had been there I wasn’t altogether surprised. Too tired to do anything immediately, I went to bed & spent a few fitful hours thrashing about because the air conditioning seemed to have been upset by someone (any guesses?). Finally gave up trying to sleep when the screams of the Mad Maltese Maid reached my ears at 8am – she’d arrived to help me get the house ready for a family of eight from Lancashire – as she’d found some very unpleasant surprises in the bathroom bins. Evidently the MNO & his partner had imagined that they were in Greece rather than Malta. Along with sheets that needed to be boiled (twice) and the surfaces of the stone kitchen worktops having been eaten away by some sort of acid (or possibly hub cap cleaner?!), I set to with my best (albeit tired) cleaning head on and went to top up the pool… only to find that the well was empty!

Suffice to say, it was a very long day, during which I eventually persuaded a tanker driver to bring me a tankful of water (who cares whether or not it’s from an illegal bore hole), prevented the MMM from walking out (by promising to go and eat roast pork one day in her father’s pig shed) and gradually got the house back into the state in which it had been left. I love Egyptian cotton, but I don’t like the ironing it entails – and the MMM refuses point blank to do it even on a good day. By the time I’d fetched Oliver (parrot) from my good friend the Artist Turned Writer and got back to the flat, I was ready to drop. My suitcase – which had been getting gradually hotter & hotter locked in Fanny by the church – literally burped when I opened it and the washing machine, if it could have done, would have baulked at the hot pants (not hotpants) spilling out of it. 

There was, however, a silver lining to the cloud as my old desktop computer, which hasn’t worked for weeks, decided to come back to life and I was able to watch the last two episodes in the first series of ‘Scott & Bailey’ as I collapsed on the sofa with a can of cheap lager…