Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Milestones and mortgages

Life News:

A slightly earlier mid-week blog than usual as I'm fiddling around with my days this week, so am working tomorrow and then straight out to London to see a friend. As a result today has been hugely busy and I appear to have driven at least 75 miles in the pursuit of health and happiness.

Had my appointment with the lovely gynae consultant at the hospital today, who is cautiously pleased with my progress thus far but is altering the doses of my HRT in order to take the St John's Wort happy pills into account - so I'm a bit concerned about how that will affect things, but once again we'll have to see. I'm also being referred to another gynae expert in Guildford to see whether I might at some stage need another op or not. I hope not, but you never can tell. Such is the exciting health life of we middle-aged Surrey women. Hey ho.

Immediately after that I drove across to near where Lord H works in order to sort out, with him, the conveyancing on our new flat purchase, so we've now instructed a conveyancer and a mortgage company, so I'm not sure there are any other orders we need to give anyone. Not yet anyway. So far, there are only a couple of issues that need sorting out - so I will I suspect feel calmer when they're out of the way. All this unfamiliar stuff is making me terribly jittery - which doesn't surprise me.

Thank goodness for tonight, when we're out to see The Importance of Being Oscar at the Guildford Theatre, so an opportunity to relax and enjoy definitely beckons. How I need it!

Other life excitements this week so far have been the redoing of the tarmac at the University car park which means everyone is desperately juggling for spaces and we all have to get in early in order to find one. Not too much of a problem, and these things have to be done - my only difficulty has been attempting to find where the heck I've put the car at the end of the day as it's not in my usual place and, being me and a creature of routine, I end up staring soulfully through the fencing at where I usually park and wondering why I can't get there, and why indeed the car isn't there at all. Really, how people live lives of adventure and change is beyond me - I like structure and for things to be the same. Lordy, what a wimp, eh.

Book News:

The Delaneys and Me continues its whistle-stop tour round the Amazon Kindle Gay Fiction charts, and was up as high as Number 20 earlier this week. Many thanks to those people who are buying - it's very much appreciated.

I'm also very happy to say that I've reached the 40,000 word marker in my blogged novella, The Prayer Seeker, and you can read the latest episode here. I reckon it might end up being 45-50,000 words, but certainly no more.

Not only that, but I've reached my 400th meditation poem, hurrah! Here are the latest two:

Meditation 399
Through all the bustle
and clamour,

the demands, the dreams
and the night-waking fears,

the greatest desire of all
is simply to be heard.

Meditation 400
When all is done –
the words, the tears

and the hard-won hope –
what counts

above all
is mercy.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker's Journal

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Haikus, houses and Holmes

Book News:

I'm happy to say that my latest poetry collection, Sunday Haiku, has already received two 4-star reviews at Goodreads, one from Kim and one from Lisa, who says amongst other comments that she "felt captured within the calm of the poetry" which is precisely the feeling I was trying to attain. Thank you very much, both. And you can now also find Sunday Haiku on sale in PDF version at Rainbow Ebooks, so I hope that covers all buying possibilities. Enjoy!

In addition, I'm getting towards writing the final few scenes of The Prayer Seeker's Journal, where you can now find the latest episode. There's a time lag between writing them and actually uploading them, but I hope to finish the first draft by the autumn or thereabouts, though I suspect the last few chapters will be fairly long.

Other books news includes the following: Creative Accountancy for Beginners found itself in the Smashwords Top 10 Humour Bestsellers list, which has been a lovely boost; Painting from Life gained a 4-star review at Goodreads; and The Bones of Summer also had a 4-star Goodreads review - many thanks, Nene, for reading! Meanwhile The Delaneys and Me, continues its rise and fall through the Amazon Kindle Gay Fiction charts, rising as high as No 32 this week.

Recent meditations are:

Meditation 396
No matter
how many lists you make –

table, lampstand,
flowers, cups, bowls

and all the paraphernalia
of fire and hope –

you cannot keep God
contained by your


Meditation 397
A cloudy day
and a simple ritual,

wood and stone
and silent angels,

but when the light
arrives, it dazzles you

to the eternal changeability
of prayer.

Meditation 398
The slow history
of stone

wraps you round
in memory

and truth,
helps you

pray again.

And here's a poem I've also written this week:


These eastern winds
are an icy layer
leaving you
and me

too close
for comfort

and too far away
to see.

This week's haiku:

Two blue bicycles
energise the road, piercing
the day's warm silence.

Life News:

The very big news this week which is both exciting and terrifying is that we and our deceased neighbour's nephews have agreed on a price for his old flat (below ours) - it's at the upper limit of our budget but we think that with a bit of scraping around and with the wind in the right direction we can do it, hurrah! So we're now plunged into the process of conveyancing and soliciting (as it were) and mortgaging, and we hope to have contracts exchanged - all things being equal - by the end of August. I hope it all goes to plan, as it would be great to have more space, not to mention a part of the house garden and a garage. And two floors, well gosh. Whatever next? We won't be able to eat or go on holiday for the next five years, but what the heck, eh. Who needs food or aeroplanes? We do so love the house, which has got an NVQ Level 5 in Character, though those old Victorian pipes can be a tad dodgy (don't ask, but never ever put anything at all if you can possibly help it down the loo in a Victorian house - a piece of Life Advice you can have for free ...!), so it would be lovely to have more of it. So watch this space, and wish us luck.

Marian and I had a good round of golf on Friday, though we can tell that the schools are ready to break up, as it took a lot longer to go round. I started off with two pretty damn glorious pars (hurrah!) but rapidly faded, so only just managed to scrape victory from the certain jaws of defeat. Yesterday, I was briefly (on a Saturday, how dreadful!) back at work to help out in the afternoon at the University's open day - which I must say was the busiest I've ever known, so I did a heck of a lot of smiling, and was utterly shattered when I got home. So much so that I nearly fell asleep in front of our recorded episode of Midsomer Murders and had to go to bed at 9.30pm, which is really unheard of.

I'm still tired today as well, but this might have been a good thing as they sprang a cunning double christening at church on us today, so there was a lot of water and gurgling, not all of which was me. I'm not a great fan of christenings to be honest - too child-centred for my tastes, but I did a lot of smiling and trying to look normal, so I think people were fooled. Mind you, the family had dressed up to the nines, which was nice to see, and all looked very glam. We're not used to that in the Sunday crowd ...

Ooh, and tonight I and Lord H are hugely looking forward to the new updated version of Sherlock Holmes, which I'm sure will be well worth catching - 9pm on BBC. Don't miss it! Must dash and get my violin and deerstalker hat ready, if only for old times' sake.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker's Journal

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Free books and Sunday Haikus

Book News:

Am blogging a little earlier than usual today as there's a competition at Jessewave Reviews to win a FREE copy of Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle for today only, so hurry on over and comment on the post to enter - good luck!

I am also absolutely and incredibly delighted that I have a new poetry collection out! Yes, my collection of haikus for 2009, called simply Sunday Haiku, is now available as an eBook direct from the publisher, Seventh Window, and also at Amazon Kindle. Here's the publisher's blurb:

Since 2002 Anne Brooke has written a haiku or two every Sunday. This book contains her haikus written in the year 2009. These short poems are Anne Brooke’s meditations on life, publishing, nature and herself. They are simply brilliant and beautiful.

And I'm sure you'll all agree that the cover is lovely. All this has been a complete surprise to me as the lovely Ken Harrison of Seventh Window Publications only contacted me this week as he's been enjoying my Sunday haikus on Facebook, and so it's been a rollercoaster ride since Monday! I gather he's even managed to sell some copies, so thank you to those of you who've taken a chance and I do hope you enjoy the read. Thank you, Ken! Goodness, how refreshingly different the world of ebooks can be.

I also continue to be bemused but happy at the fact that The Delaneys and Me continues to float around the Amazon Kindle Gay Fiction charts and was apparently at one stage at the dizzy heights of No 16, well gosh. It's fallen rather since then though, but I think the excitement might have been too much for the twins. Meanwhile, Martin and The Wolf recovered its dignity somewhat since its beating last week, with a 5-star Amazon review, so thank you, Amos, for that. Lucas sends love ... fiercely, of course. And there's been a nice round-up of my Untreed Reads fiction, including the latest offering, so thank you for those kind words also, Jay - though I'm not really sure that I move seamlessly anywhere in any part of my life, to be honest! I am from Essex after all, and we don't do seamless.

Moving on to other people's books, may I recommend this marvellous and very readable fantasy, which frankly is the best book I've read all year. Including my own, dammit. The good news is that I gather it's shortly to be published by Untreed Reads in ebook version, so will be cheaper, and at that stage I intend to review it thoroughly for Vulpes Libris, so you'll have to wait for that a while longer. But it's definitely worth a read, and some.

Today, however, my review of Geoffrey Best's Churchill, a Study in Greatness is at Vulpes instead, so you can admire The Great Man in a great and inspirational biography while you're waiting. Never say I'm not good to you.

This week's meditations:

Meditation 393
The fragility
of the lily

encased in the glory
of bronze

shines its delicacy
on your slow path.

Meditation 394
Metal and water
and the lily’s slow bloom:

strength made perfect
where delicacy dwells.

Meditation 395
If you possess

lions, bulls,
winged creatures

and palm trees,
then you’ll always need

a cart to put them in,
in bronze, of course.

Life News:

It's been a very muddly and difficult week, work-wise, and really I seem to have been often at odds with the universe and the world around me. Does anyone else get weeks like that?? Or is it just me? I feel very much like I'm only just holding on to the sense of what's going on in the office and how the heck to deal with it, and everything seems to have been a real effort. I suspect I'm simply overtired, and am not coping well and obsessing about the slightest thing - hmm, sounds of Lord H muttering that it doesn't appear to be any different from usual really, but you know what I mean. I hope.

Mind you, all the angst and trauma has been rather mitigated by the success of last night's work quiz at a local pub (which Ruth and I arranged) - though it has been causing some of the issues this week, not least because the pub's phone has been out of order for a week so getting hold of them to sort things out has been ... um ... a challenge, though they are very nice. Anyway, it all went well in the end and our quizmaster was absolutely excellent, so everyone had a good time, phew. Including me.

Still, I was looking forward to a wonderful Clarins massage this afternoon at the House of Fraser Guildford to ease out the tensions of it all, but there's been a mix-up, and they and I had different days down for my appointment, dammit. Not sure whose fault it is, but frankly I think they could have at least offered some sort of apology rather than sounding as if I was wasting their time by even existing, sigh. I've been a customer of theirs for seventeen years after all, and I think I've always been a very reliable and easy-to-deal-with one. It would be nice if I felt I was getting something back. Maybe I should go elsewhere? So if anyone knows another Clarins treatments provider in the Surrey area, please do let me know! I'm open to offers (as it were).

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker's Journal

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle

Book News:

I'm happy to say that my gay time travel short story, Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle, is now published by Amber Allure Press, and you can also read an extract here. Which at the very least proves that administrators are always needed, even in space.

I'm also pleased to say that my gay romantic short story, Tommy's Blind Date, has just been accepted for publication by Amber Allure for 12 September. That's the one I had to beat with twigs in order to make it work, but I got there in the end, thank goodness. Cover art to come.

Further news is that The Delaneys and Me is, astonishingly, still lurking about in the Amazon Gay Fiction charts, and has now actually made it to the dizzy heights of Number 52, well gosh. I was also pleased that my fantasy short short, Creative Accountancy for Beginners, gained a 4-star review at Goodreads, many thanks, Andy!

However, as always in a writer's life, not all reviews are good ones (sob!), and I've had two bad ones this week. Shaz at Rainbow Reviews really didn't like Martin and The Wolf at all, calling it shaky and poor, though thankfully quick and relatively painless. Sorry, Shaz! I am sneaking away into the forest with my tail between my legs, howling, and will endeavour to do better for you next time. Neither is Shaz on her own in her despair: the unfortunate Nixie at Ebook Addict Reviews found the taste of How to Eat Fruit deeply dissastifying and bizarre. Which, funnily enough, is I think roughly what appeared on my Geography report in my third year of secondary school. Ah happy days. Anyway, sorry to you too, Nixie, but at least it was short!

The good news is that now you can have even more of these relatively painless, yet bizarre experiences as my ebooks are now to be found in a whole new variety of locations, including Borders, and W H Smith's in the UK, via Untreed Reads, thank you, Jay! World domination will soon be mine (cue evil laughter) ...

This week's meditations are:

Meditation 391
After the temple
the palace:

from the arms
of God

to the desires
of man

where cedar trees
are torn

from their roots

to split the sky

Meditation 392
The simple fact
of bronze

shines a slow gleam
from his eye

connecting the strange
possibility of God

with the metal’s
intricate dance.

And this week's haiku is:

History arrives
through the feet; we walk engraved
with grit, soil, water.

Life News:

I must say I've really been enjoying the Open Golf championship, though the strong winds and rain in Scotland have been playing havoc with the game, even the putting, which has been a bit off. Says she, eh - when I'm lucky if I can hole out (as it were) in 4 on the green! Anyway, I had my moment of golfing glory on Friday when I was playing with Marian as usual and was doing absolutely ruddy brilliantly, getting a whole series of fours, until the last hole when I threw it all away with an appalling seven - however, I like to think I'm following in the footsteps of poor Jean Van de Velde, who dramatically threw away the 1999 Open championship with a little paddle in the water on the 18th hole, alas. Which just goes to show that golf is indeed a totally insane game, full of insane people. No wonder I feel so at home.

And I've had my whole opinion about Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte (which I've always hated since seeing the dreadfully dull, grey and badly acted Glyndebourne Armani version a few years back) totally altered with yesterday's marvellously new, fresh, fun and vibrant version at Glyndebourne. A revelation, my dears - I finally get it, hurrah. I also loved the challenging ending - where one couple is on the way to forgiveness and the other most certainly isn't. Great stuff. And Don Alfonso was pretty damn hot too. Lovely.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker's Journal

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Creative Accountancy for Beginners

Book News:

I'm delighted to say that my comic fantasy short story, Creative Accountancy for Beginners, is now published at Untreed Reads, and you can also read an extract to whet your appetite. Enjoy.

At the same time, my biblical short story about Moses' wife, Little Bird, has been published by Pages of Stories webzine, so I'm pleased about that too. I must write another biblical tale at some point really, though I suppose biblical reinterpretation would be more accurate.

There have been some more nice reviews and chart listings this week too. The Delaneys and Me gained a lovely and very funny 4-star review at Goodreads, and was for a while at No 80 in the Amazon Kindle Gay Fiction charts. Not to be outdone, Give and Take received a 4-star review at Goodreads, but this week's outright winner has definitely been Martin and The Wolf, which gained a 5-star review at Goodreads, and a 4-star review at Amazon Kindle where it was also briefly at No 89 in their Gay Fiction charts, hurrah.

Meanwhile, I'm also pleased to see that Thorn in the Flesh is available at a discount and with free worldwide delivery at The Book Depository and is, of course, always available as an Ebook in a variety of formats at All Romance Ebooks, where you can also read a fairly substantial extract to add spice and darkness to your Thursday ...

And, finally or nearly finally in this section, you can find a good supply of my Ebooks at new Irish Ebookshop, DirectEbooks. Happy shopping!

This week's meditation poems:

Meditation 388
is a river

flowing silently
between people

and bearing
on its bright back

the things that are needed:
cedar, pine, wheat.

Meditation 389
The mercies of God
are so deep

and immeasurable
that no measures

are enough
to contain them.

Meditation 390
Everything leads
to the centre:

this slow, hard journey
to God

and how he remembers
the cutting, measurement,

placement of stone
and smoothed wood,

the blood, sweat,
scars and striving

constantly as if none of it
would ever be complete

and then, suddenly,
that one cool morning

when the rock-dove sang
and the air sparkled

just for a moment
at the edge of his eye

the arrival
at the heart of it all:

a room protected
by angels

and a quiet realisation
of God.

Life News:

Hell, what can I say ... May I refer you to the title of this blog and ask you to sit comfortably, as (sigh ...) we're about to begin:

About 10 days ago, I made the (quickly foolish) decision to try to transfer my current account from my old bank to Lloyds as Lloyds offered interest on it and I thought that might be a good idea. Dear reader, I filled in the online new account/transfer request form on 6 July and sent it off. Into the void apparently, as I received no email notification that they'd got my form and indeed no acknowledgement whatsoever. Time, as it tends to do, ticked by and I wondered vaguely what might be happening to it, though I do understand that finances take time. I'm married to an accountant, so I really do understand that. On 12 July, I decided to ring them up to see when my new account might be ready (ah, the innocence of it ...). I found a phone number and rang it. When I pressed "2" for the non-account holders' option, I was taken to a voicemail message which told me I had to ring an entirely different number. More sighing. So I put the phone down and rang the new number instead. It told me I would have to wait 10 minutes, which being a 21st century customer I expected, so I settled down at the table with my paperwork and reference numbers to wait. After one minute (hurrah!) the phone was answered by a lady called Kate who didn't really seem to grasp what I was trying to tell her and kept asking where my money was in Lloyds and what sort of account I had. I admit I was not at my best, so perhaps I was just being confusing. However, eventually, she understood what I'd done and looked up the online records. She then told me there was a problem on my account request and I would have to go in and speak to my local Godalming branch of Lloyds to sort it out. I enquired, as a matter of interest, how long it would have taken them to contact me to tell me that, or were they simply expecting me to chase them up to find that out. She responded by starting to tell me about what happened six months ago when she opened her own account. I cut her off by telling her I had no interest in her life story (yes, I really can be that bitchy, but occasionally I think I'm entitled ...) and could she simply answer the question about when Lloyds had intended to contact me about this. She responded to that by carrying on with her obviously more interesting personal account-opening tale, and I simply then put the phone down. Whereupon I spent some time fuming and pacing the flat, revisiting my rather wide-ranging knowledge of swear-words. Poor Lord H ...

The following day, I walked into Guildford at lunchtime from work and spoke to my current bank to make sure that if/when Lloyds contacted them they would be sure to ignore them as I had no intention of becoming a Lloyds bank customer at any point as the blessed Kate had entirely put me off. They very sweetly made a note of it, but then later rang me at home that day to say that I would also need to tell Lloyds not to go ahead with the transfer. Understandably enough. So I then spent some time attempting to do this online with Lloyds, and discovered that it's simply not possible. So I gathered my courage in both hands, such as it is, and rang the helpline (ha!) again. Thankfully, Kate must have been out or lying down in a darkened room or something. Good, say I ... Anyway I spoke to an equally callow young man who said that I would still have to go in and see the Godalming branch to sort it out as he couldn't do anything over the phone or online. I said that seemed like a pretty poor customer service to me really and as he launched into what would no doubt prove to be a long and equally pointless explanation, I decided I simply didn't want to hear any of it and put the phone down on him too. Perhaps he's now also in that darkened room.

So, yesterday, I went in to work early to allow extra time at lunchtime to drive into Godalming to sort it out. I duly walked into Lloyds bank in the High Street and began telling my tale of woe to the first man I saw, who turned out to be the manager. His (really rather glorious though it didn't feel it at the time) response was (and I quote):

I'm too important to deal with you and you'll have to go away and come back at another time.

Marvellous. Customer service is alive and kicking and (not) living in Godalming. Naturally, dear reader, I expressed my opinion forcefully and with dedication in the public foyer - though I'm proud of the fact that I didn't shout. I simply said that I had no intention of leaving and would stay here communicating my dissatisfaction with their service for as long as it took until my issue was sorted. The manager attempted to talk over me and tell me he couldn't help and I still had to go away, but frankly by that stage I didn't care if he was God, I expected him to sort out the problem even if he found a completely unimportant person to deal with it. Luckily, at that point, the really lovely and utterly efficient Karen Stenning whisked me away to her table, apologised profusely on the bank's behalf (the first apology I've received all week, so thank you, Karen), listened with growing horror to my tale of woe, and then sorted it all out for me with style and finesse, and in a matter of minutes. Karen - you are truly marvellous and if you left and started your own bank, I would most certainly be your first and proudest customer. Thank you. It was a pleasure doing business with you - though I suppose that should be not doing business with you. Still, it was nice.

So, there you have it. Interestingly, today, I have received a package through the post from Lloyds thanking me for applying online and saying how much they were looking forward to having me as a customer. Lord preserve us. I am ignoring it, and hoping for the best. But if you do hear tell of a crazed woman venting her wrath on a Surrey bank manager, then it's likely to be me ...

Anyway, back to more spiritual matters. Bible study group last night was good (and good God, how I needed it, eh!). We were looking at St Paul's letter to one of his underlings, Titus (you see, even St Paul wasn't too important to write a letter when it was needed and, hell, he was a busy chap too ...). It did amuse me though that the associate vicar's husband walked in a little late and without his good lady wife, but with this glorious excuse for her absence: Sorry. Paul couldn't come; he sends Titus ... Which sums up the letter itself, really. Anyway, it's the last group meeting before the summer and we've decided to look at the Book of Daniel in October, followed by Revelation after Christmas. Never say we don't challenge ourselves here in the shires. It did worry me however that the vicar was muttering something about having an exam once we've finished the whole bible. I just hope it isn't in Greek, God forbid. Do you think it'll be multiple choice?

I must also say, on an entirely different matter but my brain is like a gazelle on a rock today sorry, that I've been deeply disappointed by the Prime Minister's statements in Parliament about the Moat affair. His opinions seem mean and uncalled-for to me - far better surely to acknowledge the horror of the events and the terrible complexity of it all, to ask for a reasoned response from the public as far as that is possible, and to pray for all the victims involved. That was all that was needed - but making bitter personal comments about a dead man in public, however difficult and dangerous that man was, is beyond the pale and must be totally appalling for the family. Badly done, Mr Cameron. Very badly done. You should have taken a lesson from the open-hearted response of the policeman victim.

Finally (at last!), I've visited the dental hygienist today so my teeth are all gleaming and white, and even now planes are landing when I smile, hurrah. And, whilst there, I had a lovely chat with the dental nurse (hello, Margaret!) who, rather worryingly for her, has my blog on her i-phone as one of her favourite sites. Well, gosh! I'm deeply touched and it really made my day, but have you ever thought you might need help, Margaret?!? I can offer you the name of a very good therapist, you know .... Great to catch up with you though!

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker's Journal

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hit Lists, holidays and haikus

Book News:

A big thank you to Andy Frankham for his lovely 5-star review of The Hit List - it's much appreciated, especially as I think The Hit List is a book and indeed a main character that you either love or hate, so nice to know Jamie's story might not be as bad as once feared, ho ho. I'm also pleased to say that The Delaneys and Me was briefly up at No 44 in the Amazon Kindle Gay Fiction charts, and that Martin and The Wolf is now a bestseller at All Romance Ebooks, along with The Bones of Summer, so they can keep each other company, hurrah!

In other writing news, The Boilerman and The Bride is now available at All Romance Ebooks where it looks as if people might actually be buying it, so that's nice, thank you! I've sent the final galleys for Tuluscan Six and The Time Circle back to Amber Allure Press ready for publication on 18 July. But before that, I'm happy to announce that my comic fantasy story, Creative Accountancy for Beginners, will be published by Untreed Reads on 14 July - that's this Wednesday, so it's going to be an action-packed week indeed.

Some of my ebooks are also now available at a new ebook seller, EntourageeDGe, in EPub and PDF versions, so that's definitely worth a browse ... And, finally, in the news section, five of my meditation poems now appear in the first edition of Thirty First Bird Review, which is available in paperback and ebook versions, and you can find out more about this new magazine here. And, of course, the final part of Chapter Thirteen is now uploaded at The Prayer Seeker's Journal.

Meditation poems this week are:

Meditation 385
Fighting over the ownership
of a baby
isn’t my idea
of a fun day out

and, unlike Solomon,
I might have been tempted
to finish the bloody job
and leave the mothers with nowt.

Meditation 386
In the list
of meaningless cities
and men
owned by the king

an ancient poetry
rises like unseen dust
stretching all the way
from then

to now
and holding me
in its strange
and glittering spell.

Meditation 387
A thousand songs
whisper their magic
through the cedars
of Lebanon,

drifting like gold shadows
through wheat,
waiting for a wise man
to catch them.

And there are two haikus this week, as I've been rather inspired by this hot spell:

The scent of roses
carves dark glory into air,
enriches my skin.

Scented we walk through
a chorus of lavender.
Like the bees, we hum.

Life News:

I have been deeply pleased by the fact that the ridiculous attempt at a compromise over women bishops in the UK (bring 'em on, and soon!) has been rejected, an item of news which you can find out about here. I mean, really, just let women, and indeed gay men, be bishops where they ought to be, and ruddy well get on with it, I say. If the C of E splits because of it, well, so what, says she radically - frankly I don't give a damn and perhaps we even ought to let it happen - it's increasingly obvious that we as a church simply don't fit in any more with the people inside or outside us and we need to create something else more fitting. Now there's a thought ...

On a less radical note, Lord H and I had an absolutely wonderful day out at Polesdon Lacey yesterday, admiring the lovely rose garden and really appreciating the new approach of opening more rooms and letting people try things out, hurrah! I loved seeing the bathrooms and toilets (how I love bathrooms & toilets!) which we haven't been able to see before - and how Lord H and I especially loved the fact we could sit on the comfy chairs in the Billiard Room and read the old 1930s newspapers. I was amused to see that the English football team in 1936 were having a spot of bother, and the manager had decided that to cheer them all up he would take them out to the theatre. What a good idea! Perhaps we need to bring those old ways back again? Surely a night out at Les Miserables might put the oomph back into the England team today? You never know. Lord H was equally impressed to see in the 1938 Daily Chronicle that the good Neville Chamberlain has promised us peace in our time. I replied that it would never last, to which Lord H's response was that surely I wasn't saying we couldn't trust the German leadership?? What frightfully bad show to think that a man's word wasn't his bond ... Ah well, hindsight's a wonderful thing.

I must end however, with an appreciative nod to the wonderful article in yesterday's Daily Telegraph magazine about the worst and best holidays taken by children. It's fantastic and so honest, and hell I don't even like children. But who couldn't warm to 4-year old Birdie who says "the best moment of my holiday was me, in the swimming-pool looking very beautiful." Ah, Birdie, your character is already set in stone and you're a woman after my own heart, you know. Apart from the swimming thing. And I also thought there was a hell of a lot of fascinating stuff going on in the mind of 11-year old Valdis, who would most like to go to Greece, because he really wanted to see the origins of all those brilliant myths, and who, bizarrely, most wanted to go on holiday with John the Baptist. Ah, a writer in the making, I see ... though whether Valdis wanted John the Baptist with or without his head remains uncertain ...  Time will tell.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker's Journal

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Lions, Wolves and Angels

Book News:

I'm interviewed today about Dancing with Lions, so many thanks, Jenna, for that - much appreciated! I also think the whole concept of a 30-second "Drive Thru" interview is utterly grand.

I'm also happy to say that Maloney's Law found itself at No 24 in the Amazon UK Gay Fiction charts, but has slipped down somewhat since then. A brief burst of glory is always nice though. Talking of which, The Delaneys and Me is lurking secretively at No 40 in the Amazon Kindle Gay Books chart, well gosh. People are obviously taking a shine to gay twins and off-beat humour - for which I am very grateful, thank you.

I'm also thrilled that Martin and The Wolf received a lovely review at Jessewave Reviews, so thank you, Jenre - glad you enjoyed the read. Not to be outdone, Angels and Airheads received a 4-star review at Goodreads (thank you, Ami!). Is the paranormal coming into its own? Who can tell ...

Finally, in terms of news in this section, I'm delighted that the lovely Anders at Queer Magazine Online has published my article, entitled Things I've Learnt from my Fictional Gay Men, a subject which actually made me think fairly deeply about the eclectic mix of characters living somewhere in my head, Gawd bless them. If only I could take on board the good things about them all, then surely I might be a better, more together kind of person. I wish, eh.

Anyway, here's a poem about bananas:

Banana Road

One lone banana
waits on an English road
for a banana tree

to rise up
out of English tarmac.

This week's meditations:

Meditation 381
In matters of the heart
it’s true that mothers
may know best

as vengeance
and death
bring their men no rest.

Meditation 382
For a man
soon to be known

as the wisest
in the land

his first acts
are bathed

in blood and fear
proving that God

does indeed work
from the dark.

Meditation 383
You can vanish
in the city,

unnoticed by kings
or killers.

It is only when
the expansive skies

swallow you up
that your hours

are numbered.

Meditation 384
Finally he thinks
of asking
for wisdom –

a gift
willingly granted –
but many deaths

might have been avoided
if he’d only thought
of asking before.

Life News:

Bit of a difficult day today, as people seem to be proving tricky here and there, goddammit. So it's very much a "retire to the nearest cave and wait for the storms to pass" sort of a day, sigh. Still, I had a great time earlier in the week seeing Jane & Ang (hello, both!) for dinner at our local Italian - which was fabulous on all fronts, hurrah! And I've had a lovely time visiting the neighbour today and catching up so that's been nice too. I suppose we all have to hang on to the good bits of the week and let the tricksy bits go hang - sometimes easier said than done though. I just get cross!

Talking of which, I'm very angry and deeply disappointed that once again the Church of England has taken an historic opportunity and trashed it - a story which you can read here. When, oh when will gay people (not to mention women) be seen as equal in the church's eyes? Honestly, surely this injustice and inequality is enough already. It does deeply sadden me that the church leadership fails every time to see things as most of us actual churchgoers do. When will we have leaders who really represent us, or who have the courage simply to stand up for what is right and just and generous? I do feel very let down by this. I'd like to see an openly gay bishop in my lifetime, and a female one too, but I wonder if that's too much to hope for?...

Still, there are some things which remain good nonetheless: I must absolutely refer you to the totally stunning Rock Choir who are well worth your visit and who have produced a rollickingly good first album with some utterly toe-tapping tunes. I know this as I've just listened to the whole thing in the car and it's sing-a-long city! I'm thrilled with this on two counts: first off, my friend Marian from golf and also the lovely lady, Alison, who does my reflexology are both in the choir, so it's their first album - well done to both! And, secondly, if you buy a copy, profits from one of the tracks go to the UK charity, Refuge, which supports victims of domestic violence. A marvellous cause, I'm sure you'll agree, so please do consider buying the album - it's great!

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker's Journal