Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sweeney Todd 2

Pam’s comment on Sweeney Todd made me realize that I didn’t say anything about the actual plot.

Without giving too much away. Sweeney Todd is happily married to a beautiful woman, and they have a little girl. An evil judge, played by Alan Rickman, has designs on Todd’s wife, and trumps up a charge against him, the result being Todd is transported to Australia for 15 years. When he gets back to England, he finds out his wife is dead and he vows to get his revenge on the judge.

Todd returns to his old lodgings in Fleet Street, above Mrs. Lovett’s (Bonham Carter) pie shop. Here he works his revenge, and in the process provides Mrs. Lovett with meat for her pies.

There is also a sub plot in which a young man Todd meets on his return trip from Australia, falls in love with Todd’s daughter, who is now the judge’s ward.

And there is a very neat twist in the tail at the end.

Sweeney Todd

I like Brit Gal in the USA’s movie reviews so I hope she doesn’t mind that I’ve half inched (pinched) her idea. The thing is, I don’t watch a lot of films, (as you can probably tell, this one has been out a bit), but it was so good I felt I had to comment on it.

I first saw Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street performed on stage in England, back in the mid-80’s, and I loved it. When I heard it had been made into a movie I was curious to see how the stage musical would transfer to film. Obviously, Stephen Sondheim’s music and lyrics are magnificent, but would Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter be up to the job of performing them?

I needn’t have worried. Depp once again proved what a wonderfully versatile actor he is. With the exception of the pirate movies, I love all his films. Helena Bonham Carter was equally magnificent as Mrs. Lovett, the pie shop owner. In fact, the whole cast was so superb I can’t heap enough praise on them.

Mick and I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and highly recommend it. Don’t let the fact that it is a musical put you off. Though I must say, if you don’t like the sight of blood, don’t watch it, as there’s an awful lot of it about.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Two big thumbs down

A few weeks back, I told you I sent my book proposal out to seven publishers, this week I got three rejections on consecutive days, so that’s three down and four to go. Fortunately, rejection no longer fazes me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like it, I just don’t let it upset me any more. Three years ago, when I first began trying to get my writing published, I used to take rejections really personally, and I’d get totally disheartened when those SASE’s kept turning up in my mail box. It was as though they were saying that my work wasn’t up to scratch, and didn’t meet that publications high standards.

I now know this is not so. Getting a piece of work published is a very hit and miss affair, and frequently more miss than hit. It’s often just a case of being in the right place at the right time. Publishers and editors almost always say in their rejection letters, that your article, story, book, or what ever, doesn’t meet their needs at that time, and there can be any number of reasons for this.

That's why it’s very difficult for beginning writers to break into new markets, or any markets. No matter how well you write, the competition out there is fierce. Once you do manage to break into a market though, that editor is usually more than happy to work with you again. In some cases, they will even ask you to come up with ideas for the following year’s editorial calendar. But getting into that position is very tough.

Over the past few years, I’ve had to develop a very thick skin, and a dogged persistence. Sometimes that persistence pays off, more often than not it doesn’t, then you just have to cut your losses, and move on. But I always keep everything I’ve ever written, because I may be able to use it again one day.

As regards the three rejections, I’ll dust off my proposal, pick another three publishers from my list, and send them out again. Hopefully, one of them will end up in the right place at the right time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Everything in the garden's looking lovely

We have actually managed to get through a whole week without rain, a first this spring and summer. The bad news, however, although we have had no rain it is still very humid, and hotter than a camel's armpit. The temperature yesterday was 92°F, but when you factor in the humidity, the heat index made it 105°F. Today, it’s 94°F, but really it’s 107°F. And it’s set to get even hotter next week! I’m just thankful that we had a new heat and air conditioning system installed in the spring, as our old one was forever conking out.

Anyway, the garden has been loving all the heat and rain we’ve had, even though we’re now back to watering regularly. Mick usually takes care of all the veggies around here, and I take care of the flowers, and herbs. Here are a few of the flowers I’m growing this year.


I've forgotten what this is called

Lucky Pot of Gold Lantana

More Petunias. This area is overgrown as it's a place the toads like to hang-out.

This is a weed, but it looked so pretty

Dreamland Yellow

Dreamland Coral, which are almost at the deadheading stage.

This Verbena is taking over.

Imperial Blue Plumbago

Skyscraper Sunflower, this will flower any day now, and is living up to its name. That is the roof of our shed in the background!

Black-Eyed Susans. I know these grow wild everywhere around here, but I like them. She's cozying up with basil. The stones on the right are Toad Hall.

White Begonia. Either side of her, out of the picture are two Flowering Dogwood saplings.

Red Begonia, with her friend Basil in the background. In the pot with the mesh around it is an Eastern Redbud sapling.

White Geranium

Pink Geranium

Anyway, I must dash as I need to bathe in bug spray, and get the hosepipe out.

Toodle pip.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Weird Weather

Alvin can't help but wonder...

Oh, I almost forgot. Since moving to Oklahoma in 2004, I’ve seen a lot of strange weather phenomena, and last Saturday night was no exception.

It was dark, and the sky was clear except for one large cloud that hovered over the town, and within this one cloud was what I can only describe as a lightning show. It wasn’t raining, (for once), there was no thunder, just lightning in that one cloud, and the show lasted for about 2 hours.

Funnily enough, the cloud was located in exactly the same position as the previous night’s firework display had been. I think Nature was giving us her very own firework display, and I have to admit it far surpassed the town’s 4th of July exhibit.

Unfortunately, we didn’t take a photo, but even if we had I don’t think it would have done justice to this amazing spectacle.

Computer Injury, Reading, and The Coleman Theatre

The Coleman Theatre, Miami, Oklahoma -Photograph by Gary Crow

My neck and shoulders are much better now, but I have to limit the time I spend on the computer as it still gets achy if I overdo things. I certainly don’t want to have a repeat of all that pain; it was so bad that Mick took me to the emergency room. I think if it recurs I will have to see a chiropractor. Anyway, enough of the whining.

But it has been damned inconvenient as regards the book. I was unable to work on it for over a week! And this is one I can’t write with pen and paper, as all my research is on the computer.

On the plus side, I did get some reading done. I read James Michener’s Alaska which I thoroughly enjoyed. This is historical fiction at its best. The book covers the history of this amazing state from the arrival of the Mastodons and Wooly Mammoths in prehistoric times, right up to the mid-80’s. I will definitely be reading more of Michener’s books.

I’ve also started reading Michael Palin’s Diaries 1969 –1979, which covers the Monty Python years, up to now it has been pretty interesting.

My latest article appeared in the July edition of Oklahoma Living Magazine, it’s about the restoration of the Coleman Theatre (yes, they prefer the English spelling) in Miami, (pronounced Miamuh, for some obscure reason) in NE Oklahoma. If you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods, I highly recommend a visit to the Coleman. The volunteers have done an amazing job of restoring the place to its former glory, I was mighty impressed. If you would like to read my article you’ll find it on Oklahoma Living’s web site at:


It’s under the heading "The new old Coleman."

The Coleman Theatre - Photograph by Gary Crow

Thursday, July 3, 2008

More time out

I am under doctor’s orders to stay off the computer for a few days. Between researching and writing my book, and all the blogging I’ve been doing, I have trapped a nerve in my neck which is very, very painful.

I hope to be back real soon.