General wittering …

A quick one this week as I am currently in the thoes of trying to locate my W8BN form. Gads! I have decided to open a Barnes&Noble publisher account to sell my books direct. Why in the name of Pete I decided that would be a good idea now I do not know. These days, Amazon and the like ask you to fill in tax information and giving a UK tax number is enough for them not to withhold 30% of my earnings.

Unfortunately, unlike every other US based company I deal with nowadays, Barnes&Noble still require you to do the whole get the form from the IRS and fill it in yourself malarky, which I can do but … just not anywhere I can track it down without about five days of rigorous searching. Worse, I suspect that what I have is an EIN number which may mean that for the sake of about three quid a month I would have to spend 40 minutes on hold to the IRS to have an ITIN assigned to me, and I have a feeling that this involves affadavits and sending my passport off to the IRS in America which is not an appealing prospect.

Naturally, there is no question that I should just do this when I have time. No, I have to do it all within 30 days of opening my account. Except they don’t tell you that until after you’ve opened one at the beginning of the holidays, like a moron, when, frankly, you haven’t a cat in hell’s chance of writing that 1,000 words you need to write to finish your next book.

So we’ll have to chalk that one up to experience. Gah except now I am worrying about it so I will have to go through all my stupid bits of paper because, naturally, the W section in my filing case, which I thought was the location for my Withholding/W8bN information, is missing. Jeepers. Head. Desk. With any luck it’ll be in the folder for special urgent things at the front. There isn’t time to look and do this so I’ll have to check when I’m done. Sorry to leave you in suspense. Fingers crossed.

On the up side, it seems I have grown a triffid. OK it’s not strictly a triffid, it calls itself an epiphillium. There’s a guy who sells plants from his front garden for charity – you know, take one and put the money through the door. One Sunday a few years ago, on the way home from church, I found this in his tray of for sale plants. It was quite small and it was labelled, ‘epiphillium/moon flower’. It was only 50p so I bought it.

On a side note, this is the guy who put a big wooden trunk outside with ‘free to a good home’ on it once. I carried it a little way home and then two kind gentlemen took it for me, which was jolly splendid of them. It became the box for McMini’s lego. Turns out this fellow’s father was a seaman and that the box was the trunk in which he kept all his possessions. It has travelled all over the world.

Back to the plant. What does it look like? Well … imagine a Christmas Cactus on steroids. It’s getting a bit big. The two segmented um … bits … in a pot have become a large … thing. Every now and again it sends out an enormous long shoot which turns in to a long spindly branch. It has little hairy bits that grow out of it occasionally, leading me to suspect that normally it would climb things. This one doesn’t. It sits in our conservatory. A couple of times in the last four years, it has produced a flower bud. My life being what it is, we are usually away when this bud opens up so I have never seen a flower until now.

Note my hand in the left bottom corner for size reference.

This year it’s gone a bit mad. It started off with sixteen buds but a few died off and we were left with nine. One day this week, as we were eating supper, I noticed the first flower was opening. It opened so fast it was almost possible to detect the movement with the naked eye.

Each day this week it has treated us to a nightly display of gargantuan triffid like flowers which are really rather splendid. Weirdly, they don’t smell of much close up but the part of the house in which they are situated ends up smelling strongly of vanilla. Which is lovely. They last the night and are wilted by morning.

Naturally, in a spirit of scientific enquiry, I have set about them with a paint brush to see if I can pollinate them and make seeds. Why I do not know. I mean, if I want to grow more of these all I have to do is pick a leaf and plant it in some compost and it will grow. But I want to see the weird triffid fruit I guess.

Yeh. Okaaaaay.

I wonder what these things are pollinated by in the wild. I’m not sure but I’d guess it is something like an actual bird, a humming bird? Either that or the biggest fuck off moth imaginable. Hang on … OK I’ve just had a quick google and it is, indeed, a big fuck off moth. A sphinx moth – which, as far as I can make out, is a variant, or possibly another name for, the humming bird hawk moth or the like – and Bats. Yes actual bats. Fuck me.

Hmm … Well … these flowers are enormous. Clearly despite being an old bat I am not a bat – or a moth – and my pollination efforts may not work. Also what with it being flowers on the same plant it may not work for reasons of floral incest but then again … they might.

Before and after, spiffy new case for my kindle although it hurts my eyes in the morning.

Other news, my kindle broke a couple of weeks ago. There was a crack in the screen, NB do not let fat cat walk across screen of kindle while it is left in dodgy old case on bed. Yes that is how it cracked. Not the front but behind it. Head Desk. After looking at the price of a new kindle I wondered about buying a KoboGlo. But I wasn’t sure how much of a ball ache getting amazon books onto Kobo hardware would be. I reckoned impulse buys on holiday would be right out as I tend to leave the lap top at home. There’s the remarkable, that does ebooks but not very well to be honest. I use both for editing, making notes with the keyboard on the kindle and scribbling all over it on the remarkable but the remarkable displays it in a very strange way so I prefer the kindle.

After a bit of thought, I decided I’d see if I could get a new screen. God bless the internet for making these sorts of endeavours possible. So I sent off for a new screen from China which was, apparently delivered yesterday. But not here ‘to PO Box’. Hopefully that means it’ll be actually delivered on Monday.

Luckily having mentioned it in passing, a dear lady on one of the Goodreads groups I visit mentioned she had the same model as mine but doesn’t use it any more. She warned me that the battery no longer works and the on off switch is a bit shonky so she’s bought herself a new one. She asked if I’d like her to send it to me. I said that yes, I would and bless her, it arrived way before the official new one I’m expecting. A couple of weeks ago, on Monday, I sat down and took both kindles to bits, swapped the screen from hers into mine and … wahooo … it works again. I was so excited by this development that I treated myself to a spiffy new case from Caseable – the state of my old one was part of the problem, the elastic had gone soggy and it was knackered. Now that the print version of Close Enough has arrived I can send the lovely lady who helped me out the first three Hamgeean Misfit books to compensate.

Talking about books … it looks like there might be a gap in Gareth’s schedule for another audio book in week or two – aaaah be still my beating heart! I know but this is still such a massive novelty. Squee! Shiny thing! More on that story as it unfolds.

It seems that my ridiculous, childish excitement at hearing my books in audio is not going to abate. I’ve been listening back to them recently, kind of by mistake because I set my phone to shuffle and it keeps playing me chapters in among the music. But bizarre as this sounds I have loved hearing the odd one when it crops up and then there is the whole, is the next song going to fit in with what I’ve heard? thing. I’m amazed how often it does. This is probably very egocentric of me but it also amuses me, although when I get McMini’s grade three drum pieces it’s not quite so splendid. Can’t win ’em all.

This week at casa McGuire, there has been a lot of furniture moving going on. McMini has requested an office swap. I am delighted about this as my office is upstairs next to his bedroom. I love it up there when the house is quiet and it’s just me but with e-school and all day gaming it’s a) not quiet and b) understandably, McMini doesn’t want his McMother lurking within earshot all the time. Since it’s two rooms and a bathroom up there, it makes sense to have his ‘office’ up there too. It also means that when he has cousins or friends to stay they can stay in that room, all kids together on the same floor, rather than having a room next to his that I’d rather no kids went into!

The room downstairs, which was his playroom, is near to the kitchen and other areas where I might normally be doing things. It worked brilliantly for him as a nipper as I was able to whizz through when he called but now he’s older it makes more sense if it’s an office for me.  We have been setting everything up in there including my music system, which has not been in operation for twelve years. I’d forgotten how good actual vinyl records sound. Although mine are all a bit dusty and need fixing. Anyway, so far, the room looks like this. The wooden things in front of the shelves are a pair of 1930s (I think) skis which came with Mum and Dad’s house. Nobody wants them and I was going to sell them but now I think they’re too cool. This happens when I think I might be able to sell something. The blue oar is part of the escape dinghy set which came set into the wings of a B15. It’s from the rubber dinghy Mum and Uncle had when they were kids. It was yellow, apparently. Grandpa sourced it from army surplus me thinks! I’m pretty sure I mentioned that in another post somewhere. If I was any good at this blogging thing, I’d link but it will take me too long to find it if I want to publish this by the correct time.

McMini has also, finally, managed to procure all the items he needs for his ‘army costume’ and I thought I’d share the slightly sinister results. He’s now on the search for a thermo nuclear war suit. Hmm.

McMini talks a good army/sport but left to his own devices he is such a complete couch potato that I suspect he would dislike the army intensely. Frankly, I see him more as a Bletchley Park kind of guy. But I thought I’d share the completed kit. Most comes from car boots but the odd bits come from t’interweb. The bizarre four way goggles are pretend night vision glasses. They are fitted with blue lenses which look very impressive but render him completely blind when they are in use! He is so going to be doing cosplay at conventions.

We are starting to do social stuff again. Hoping to make a quick trip to Scotland to see the in laws for McDad’s birthday, which should be lovely. McMini and I are heading down to Sussex to see Mum next week and spend the night as the cousins are in residence so that should be a gas and we are seeing friends again too, for appropriately socially distanced gatherings, obviously. My writers groups are still suspended or on line because we have members who are shielding. But the local restaurant we always visit is opening this week which is very exciting. And the sun’s out today … woot.

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Smashing K’Barthan Mug Competition

Perhaps you can ameliorate the total mundanity of this post by making me give you a cup. You can do this by winning my competition and evincing extreme mug envy from your friends and family. Or if you’re feeling outrageous, you could use it to hold your hot beverage of choice. Or cuppa soup if that’s your thing.

Because yes. That’s right! I’m giving away another mug like this one in the picture. You have until Sunday 20th July 2020 to enter.

All you have to do is read Close Enough answer the easy question and fill in your email you can find out more here: https://forms.gle/6dDGpnQU23bdMpwT7.

12 Comments

Filed under General Wittering

12 responses to “General wittering …

  1. I must confess to also loving to read my own stuff – when I get an audio version made that will be part of the fun.

    We’ve watched the last season of Marcella (and it appears it will be the last for various plot reasons), and it was set in Belfast. I love the actors Irish accents – and realize that I will have to give Andrew’s scenes a bit of that lilt in audio. Now to find someone with a County Galway accent who, after laughing until blue in the face, will then advise me on how to improve mine.

    • I think you can get voice coaches who help with this kind of stuff. 🙂 I see then mentioned in audio groups I’m in. 🙂

      • If there’s a FB group you like, would you shoot me a recommendation? I’ll put a note up in mine, too. I can’t handle – and don’t want in the ‘as read by author’ version – a REAL County Galway accent, but a little bit would make a nice variation.

        I’m already planning on how to give my two other main characters, both California gals by birth, some distinguishing verbal characteristics.

        Which makes it interesting, too, when one person is telling the story in their pov, and other people are speaking.

        I may just end up reading it straight in my own voice, and hoping the reader can sort it out. Which is something I can try.

        Since I’ve already added Indians and Czechs to the mix…

        ‘As read by author’ is not supposed to be the same as ‘performed by.’ I’ll have to listen to how your narrator does it.

      • The group I lurk on is this one https://www.facebook.com/groups/ACXNarratorsProducers/

        I reckon it’s better to read it straight than to do accents that don’t quite work. Gareth sets a pretty high bar as far as I can tell. My only point of reference is performances and readings on BBC radio 4. He is easily the same level as those. Here chapter 37 from Few Are Chosen is you want a listen. https://m.soundcloud.com/user-981396934/few-are-chosen-kbarthan-series-part-1-chapter-37

        I hope that helps.

        Enjoy. 🙂🙃

      • Thanks. I’ve put in a request to join the FB group, but didn’t see the requirement for an ACX profile until I had clicked post, so they may deny me, request I get a profile, or send me a message first. I shall humbly accept correction.

        Very interesting listening to your Gareth. All kinds of questions come to mind; it’s a nice clean recording.

        Is that the usual speed? It seems slow, but it is also something easier to think of imitating than I would have thought, because having to read a bit faster would be more work.

        Lots of work for me to tackle before publishing an audiobook, I’m afraid.

      • I don’t have an ACX profile or at least if I do I didn’t put it in. that may be new or knowing my form filling price I probably didn’t notice it.

        The Gareth chapter comes from the first book in the series. He was quite uncomfortable actually charging me for this which is why we did a royalty split (on our own rather than off ACX/Findaway) because, as he put it, ‘I’m learning on these books.’ The stuff he has done for me lately is a bit faster (I think) or maybe it flows more smoothly. He’s a very fast learner and I suspect he’s still improving. He’s also highly intelligent, and he completely gets K’Barth, and me, so now he’s got that down we do the voices together, which is always a bit of a giggle and then I’ll do a take of the difficult it controversial pronunciations. After that I tend to do back and leave him to do his thing. I’ve never needed to give him close direction and as I said before I think part of the delight is seeing what he does. It’s usually very similar to what I have in my head, with the occasional difference in emphasis but those differences usually works. I played his sample on an author forum I am on and he got two commissions before he even finished my first book. 🤣🤣🤣 So I think he’s probably quite good.

      • That makes sense. I’m glad you’re also finding him work.

      • Yeh. I think it’s the least I can do.

  2. Diana

    Great post! But after about 5 minutes in I had to sit amazed at your version of “a quick one.” How can you write any of that quickly, never mind ALL of it quickly? I guess that comes from writing lots, and simply being good at it.
    So many great things in here! Including the story of McMini’s trunk — and those gorgeous flowers! How big are they? — Oops, never mind — I was wishing you had held your hand in the photo for size reference, but just now looked back and actually read the captions, and found the hand 🙂 The plant must be massive, then!
    Enjoy your new freedoms and visits! And may any forms you need be found quickly. Be well!

    • Thanks. I did find the form which was handy. 🙂 The post took 4 hours so not quick … not really. But faster than some of them though. 🤣🤣

      Cheers

      MTM

      Cheers

      MTM

  3. Dealing with bureaucracy, on any level sucks, so you have my condolences … congrats on the room-swap, sounds like you both won there. 🙂 … definitely a triffid! 😀

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