Monday, 27 October 2014

CDI

It's been a very long time since my last blog, but if you've been to the Côte d'Azur you'd understand. When you come home from work and it is hot and sunny, you don't want to crawl behind a computer and write, but go to the beach instead. I have still been plodding on with the follow up to language in the blood, but it is a slow process.

If I can give writers one tip it is this; try and write as much in one sitting. It can be hard finding the time to dedicate a whole day to writing, but I think it is worth doing. Clear the decks, switch off the phones and just sit yourself down for the day. A lot of Litb2 was written on the train to Monaco and initialy I was pleased I made so much progress by doing a bit every day. The place was inspiring and ideas entered the book as time went on. Now both my editor and I find a lot of the story disjointed and not running smoothly. there are quite a few passages that have been rewritten a number of times. Finding time to sit a whole day just looking at the pages is a struggle, but slowly it is getting there. I'm now hoping for a spring release.

Work here on the Côte is very seasonal. You often find contracts running from March to November. They are called CDD (contrat a durée determinée) I've done these for the last 3 years, leaving the winter to do other things like writing a book and visiting family. However, the battle to find work each season is stressful, so when I got offered a CDI (contrat a durée indéterminé)I jumped at the chance. It does involve working the winter and moving to terminal 1 and a new group of colleagues, but job security is worth giving a few things up for. 

I hope to keep blogging and writing short stories but a 3rd novel is going to be put of for a few years. I'm definitely going to keep writing, but even though I like my work at the airport and it is a interesting place, I'm not finding much inspiration there just now. My cat Clicquot is giving me more ideas, so the next lot of stories will probably feature a ginger tom.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H60B50x0no

Friday, 25 July 2014

Confused

Learning a new language is never easy and French certainly has its challenges. After living here for 3 years I now understand most of what is being said, but some people talk faster than others and especially little jokes and asides are cracked at speed. I mostly nod or smile politely, not wanting people to repeat themselves, but totally clueless as to what was just said.

Then there are the faux amis or false friends; you think you know a word as it is similar to the English, but it means something else in French. Like the word déception, it means disappointment in french. Also some English has taken on a new meaning, par example K.O. We know it to mean a knock-out, but here it is used to say that something is not OK. The one that had me really confused is the expression 'pas terrible' which translates as not bad/terrible but actually means it is terrible???

I've not been blogging as regularly as previous and I apologise for that. Work has been busy and when I'm off I just want to lie on the beach and enjoy the fine summer weather. In a few months when it cools I hope to pick up the pace again.

Elspeth and I received the first royalty cheque for Something Short and the money has been donated. We could always do with more sales as support in mind Scotland is still short of its target. You can of course also donate directly:
https://www.justgiving.com/volunteering-Belarus/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socspondesktop&utm_content=volunteering-Belarus&utm_campaign=post-sponsorship-donation-desktop

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Patriotism



The world cup football is in full swing, but until yesterday there was not much evidence that France was taking part. In countries like Holland you would have seen many buildings and businesses festooned in orange and in England you would've seen many flags of st.George. I can't speak for the rest of France, but here on the Côte d'Azur things are different.

The Côte d'Azurians care about appearances. A baggy t-shirt and jeans just won't do. So when it comes to supporting Football, you don't want to look silly. I can feel for the many England supporters who are having to put all their flags of st.George away until the next big sporting event. Here in the south they wouldn't risk looking that embarrassed, non Monsieur, here they waited until France had convincingly won their first two matches and are safely out of their qualifying group.

I was rather amused when I walked into the village today and suddenly spotted a number of tricolours outside businesses and hanging from balconies. They haven't gone completely over the top yet with their decorations, I think they will wait with that until France has reached the final. Yes we're getting right behind our national team, but côte d'Azur style, we wait until it is fashionable to do so.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Ethics

One of the things I like about being a writer is that it is a fairly ethical job. It doesn't exploit people in the third world, has a low carbon footprint and it doesn't torture animals. As far as I'm aware, my computer is the only thing that has a carbon footprint, my books are only available in e-format so no trees were cut down to print my scribblings and the only animal that was tortured was my cat as he claims I'm starving him of both food and attention. But unfortunately my writing doesn't bring home the vegetarian bacon, I need another source of income.

I do like my day job, the day goes quickly and I meet a lot of interesting people, but you probably don't get a more massive carbon foot print than an airport! Then there is the cosmetics. There are some brands we sell that are ethical but I do realise the majority of them do use animal testing. A practice that is horrible and has no place in the modern world. I'm far more comfortable selling cigarettes and alcohol, neither of them are good for the human health and they cause a lot of suffering, but humans have a choice about what they put in their bodies and these days, cigarette packaging leaves no doubt as to how damaging smoking is to your health. Maybe cosmetics should come with pictures of cute bunnies that had to endure horrific experiments, that might stop the practice.

This month I've been enjoying my work even more, my employer has decided that in June we collect for l'action contre la faim (action against hunger) an orginisation that hopes to combat world hunger and it is nice to not only be there to sell things. So if you're passing through a French airport, pop into the duty free and make sure that next to buying some cheap booze, you donate something to this great cause too.

As regards to the writing job; I've been busy with editing Language in the blood 2, again with the guidance of my editor Penny Hunter. We are nearly done and I need to get busy with my camera and design a front cover, but it should be on the virtual shelves soon.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Something Short

The new bundle of short stories I've co-written with my friend Elspeth Morrison is selling slowly but steadily. It is amazing how hard it is to get family, friends and acquaintances to part with 77p ($1.29) even when it is for a good cause. We are trying to plug the book at every opportunity so  I thought I devote another blog post to the charity we are hoping to help. The Stafford centre in Edinburgh is fundraising to send 4 volunteers plus a staff member to the family centre at Vileyka in Belarus.

This is what the Stafford centre says:

Vilejka has a population of about 26000 with a further population of 24000 living in the surrounding rural area. Within the town around 50% of families have heating and water however within the surrounding rural area most families do not have these commodities. Around 25% of the total population are elderly and struggle to survive on the state pension.
The family centre is run by the local municipal but is severely restricted in its work due to financial restraints. As a result only a very small percentage of those living in poverty have any support from outwith their family.  After finding out about stand international our service users had no hesitation in volunteering for this worthwhile cause.  

We need to raise £2000 to help us get there by donating as little as a £1 you will not only be helping our volunteers you will be helping the people in Belarus where the family centre means so much to so many people.  

So if you can, donate via the following link 

 https://www.justgiving.com/volunteering-belarus

or buy the book!

http://www.amazon.com/Something-Short-Elspeth-Morrison-ebook/dp/B00K74XHZO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1401545726&sr=1-1&keywords=elspeth+morrison 

Thanks
Angela

Friday, 23 May 2014

Airport life

Certain situations bring either the worst or the best out of people, the airport brings out the stupid. Maybe all the braincells were used in packing all the necessary clothes, toiletries and documents and getting to the airport in time. They clear security and some proceed to relax so much that the brain is switched off. The other day I was talking to a very nice German customer, he told me all about his stay in the South of France; he was relaxed as he had arrived at the airport very early and had time for some shopping. He went off with his colleague to enjoy a beveridge. The next time I saw the man he was shouting at the Easyjet staff as they wouldn't let him on the flight to Hamburg. They had requested him to board three times via the tannoy, now they had closed the gate and were off loading his luggage. No matter how much he raised his voice, they would not let him on the plane; Easyjet does not wait for stupid people.

The other thing people shout about is not so much stupidity but a failure to read and being ill informed; if you read through all the information about flying you will know that the maximum amount off liquid allowed in hand luggage is 100ml. We have had this regulation for a very long time now and the frequent flyer knows the drill. So it is often an older passenger that doesn't fly that often that gets their liquids confiscated. They come into the shop and lament about that lovely bottle of champagne, wine or olive oil that they thought would be saver in hand luggage that got confiscated. At night I see the security people walking back with big bags of confiscated good that have to be destroyed.Call me cynical but I think the traders at the airport love these security measures. It's a fine excuse to sell water at extortionate prices and it has done duty free shopping no harm either.

Then there is the whinging Poms. Again it falls probably under the heading of being ill informed rather than stupid but it is a close call. The UK has been part of the European union since the 1970's so you pay European union prices not tax free prices. With every purchase I have to explain this and in 50% of the cases, they didn't know. Then usually a very unpleasant diatribe against Europe follows. The Fins who only joint recently seem to be all aware how it works and are perfectly pleasant about paying the EU prices. I have to say that the UK citizens aren't the only ill informed passengers, and all European governments could do better at informing their citizens about what it means to be in Europe including its many benefits. I said it before but I think every whinger who complained about his booze and cigarettes being more expensive than they wanted voted for UKIP in yesterdays election. All I can do is shrug my shoulders and continue to enjoy the benefits of the European union. A stable peaceful place to live and the right to live and work in a different country without permits, free movement within Schengen etc etc etc... 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Belarus

It has been a while since my last post, but some times you just need to prioritise and I'm afraid the blog fell by the way side. I have been busy editing and getting a bundle of short stories ready for publication. I'm so pleased that Something short is now available from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Something-Short-Elspeth-Morrison-ebook/dp/B00K74XHZO/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1400057792&sr=8-4&keywords=something+short

So why Belarus I hear you ask? Elspeth my friend and co-author has a friend that is trying to raise £500 to go out to Belarus and help build a play park at an orphanage. We hope to help this wonderful charity; stand international with the proceeds of this book. This charity works with children that have been affected by the Chernobyl fall-out.

http://standinternational.org/where-we-work/belarus

We are selling the book at $1.30 which means after tax and Amazon deduct we have royalties of $0.30 so we need to sell a lot of books to make any impact. I would like to call on my followers to share this post, buy the book (its only $1.30!!) or do a review.

Many thanks for helping out!
Angelax