I’ve been away all weekend, with my mum, on a coach trip to see the Spanish Riding School and then to Stratford on Sunday. We had a good weekend apart from spending more time on the coach than we anticipated. The Spanish Riding school was excellent and we also saw 3 of our Olympian dressage riders as a curtain raiser for the show. I am in awe of Lee Pearson our paralympian dressage rider who was able to do an impromptu master class while riding, because they had a problem with the music, he was incredibly eloquent and informative and then went on to perform to the music. When you see him ride you would not realise just how impaired he is. I have full use of all my limbs and at best I can point a horse in the right direction and hope it does what I want it to! Lee Pearson really is a legend.
I have also fallen in love with the Lipizzaner stallions they are just so beautiful as well as the skill of their riders who study for years and actually grow up and train with their horses. Just amazing.
All in all a great evening until we tried to leave the venue after the show. We were at the National Indoor Arena (NIA) in Birmingham by the way. I have no idea when this venue was built but it is in the middle of Birmingham and has nowhere to allow the coaches to park and let their passengers on and off. I am sure that modern planners should have thought about this. On Saturday our company alone had over 30 coaches. We managed by some fluke to find our coach but of course it was stuck behind all the other coaches, as well as the cars leaving the venue at the same time. The event ended at about 11pm but we didn’t get moving until around 12am at which point overnight road works, (sorry road improvements), had meant that all roads out of Birmingham had been closed. (We were staying at Leicester about 1 hour away). There were diversions in place but none of them seemed to be in the direction we wanted to go! In the end we eventually found our way to the motorway and I realised that we were actually heading in the opposite direction towards the South West. We eventually found the junction to turn round and got back to the Hotel at about 1:40am. All in all not a good experience!
On the Sunday we had a trip to Stratford were they cater for the many coach trips that head in their direction and they allow the coaches to park in the leisure centre. We were able to return to the coach in the same place we had left it and we were able to leave in without incident. I know Birmingham is not as touristy as Stratford but come on if you are going to have a venue such as the NIA you need to sort this out.
We had a great day in Stratford which tends to make me think of a comedian, (I am sorry I am not sure who it was), who said of course Stratford is where Shakespeare was born….. but they don’t like to make a big thing about it!
Anyway some Christmas shopping done but still recovering from the coach journey! All the world’s a coach park!
I am afraid that I’m have not been keeping up with my blog. We have been away for a week and we had a good time. We spent most of the week exploring National Trust properties in the Devon area and we certainly got our money’s worth out of the membership. It is a while since I had been to a National trust property and I have to say that things have very much changed for the better. Previously I got the impression that visitors were tolerated rather than welcomed and also there was the constant badgering for you to join the trust, both things that had lead us to avoid their properties. However things have changed not least with the fact that they have a much more hand’s on approached allowing visitors to play some of the instruments and also to take photos, (providing you don’t use a flash). It was a great joy for Chris to play a pipe organ, a Beckstien and a Steinway although the only tune he could remember was Bach’s Minuet in C and so this got an airing at 3 different venues! He is now inspired to improve his repertoire. Chris is also cultivating a moustache for Movember he thinks he looks like Sean Connery however both myself and Hannah think Bond villain!!
Hannah has now settled on her new novel called Starlet, she is busily researching movie stars of the studio era. Most of them seem to have issues not least with their mothers, Hannah says that it is a good thing for me that she wants to write rather than be a movie star!
With Christmas looming I will do my best to keep up with the blog and also promise to post a picture of the bond villain when the month of Movember ends!
- Dandino (Looking for the fillies)
We’ve had a good weekend as Hannah has managed to get one of her poems in the next Poetry Rivals book for this year. She also manged to get in last year with a poem called “Old books”. If her poem gets into the top fifty she will be invited to perform the poem at a competition and possibly win a laptop, so we will have to see. I am quite pleased because Hannah writes poems when she is in the mood and I nagged her for weeks to write something for the competition, so I feel as though the nagging is worth it. I am not sure if the competition in a cunning ploy by the publishers to sell copies of the poem books as any parents with kids who have a poem published will surely buy the book, I am not complaining though because we can say she is a “published author” because of it!
We also had some good news when, Elite Racing Club’s best horse Dandino raced in Canada coming a close second, it was a great run and netted a lot of prize money, (this is distributed among about 20000 other members so it will knock about a £10 off next year’s subscription!). I don’t know why, but when one of our horses are running I feel the need to shout at the television! Can the horse hear me in Canada, I wonder? I’ve been a member of Elite for I think about 7 years now and I’d recommend it to any racing fan. Dandino is a home-bred horse so I have seen him grow up from a foal to compete in Grade 1 races such as the one on Saturday. Shame he didn’t win though, as a win in a grade one would set him up for a future career in the paddocks with lots of fillies awaiting him!
Just some of the many notebooks all ideas for books
Hannah is currently in what I call the “Interregnum period”, she is between books! I have posted this picture to show some of the many note books she has. These all have starts of new novels, some of them have quite complex plans in, some have only a page or a paragraph or two, some have more than one book start in. In her interregnum period she will flit from one idea to another until she finally settles on one idea. I find this period to be someone confusing because she will often ask me, about what I think of an idea or storyline and I will give my opinion only to find I am infact at least two books behind what I thought she was considering. I always look forward to the time when she has chosen the story she wants to run with, until of course we hit the dreaded writer’s block, I then have a very grumpy teenager to deal with, still there are worst kinds of grumpy teenager!
On Friday we got a turn down from a publishing agent, we’ve read a lot about agents and how to put proposals to them. There are many of these on the internet if you want to have a look. They give great advice about chosing the right agent, what the agent is looking for how to make your proposal all that kind of thing, and believe me we put a lot of effort into chosing the right one for the type of book we have. However despite the effort we put in,in this respect, not every agent seems to put the same effort into looking at your proposal. We always send a SAE to ensure we get a reply. What you find is that some agents look at your proposal properly and you get a very nice “beetle” letter, (I’ll explain this concept in a later post), saying that your book is simply not the type of book for them, or that they do not have a space in their list. Sometimes you even get some actual feedback about your book which is often a “wow they actually read it moment”!. However sometimes all you get is a complement slip or a very short terse letter which implies you have wasted their time. For this we have the “Black book of doom”. This is actually a folder where we place the worst turn downs we’ve had. Yes agents and publishers we are keeping a record and should Hannah ever be in a position that means she is being chased by agents we will point to the Black book of Doom and say, “not a chance mate!” I would like to make one plea to all you agents and publishers out there, we don’t mind being turned down in fact we expect it and we know you get hundreds of books sent to you, but please, please, please give the impression that you have at least had a cursory glance at the manuscript we send you…. or it’s the Black book of Doom for you.
My name is Liz and I am Hannah Hobson’s mum. Hannah is fifteen and has been writing seriously since she was about 11. She’s written a number of novels and I hope on this blog to give you a flavour of her work, (with her permission of course!) Unfortunately despite the fact that we have sent some of her books to publishers and publishing agents none of her books have yet been published. Now I think she is good but I am not exactly unbiased when it comes to her work. I often think of X factor mums here, you know the ones who think their kids are the new Mariah Carey despite the fact their kids cannot carry a note and have a voice to stun a goat at 9 paces! I hope that I don’t sound like that sort of mum and Hannah will tell you that I often am critical of her work, (sometimes she actually listens to me!) One of the reasons for starting this blog is to put some of her work in the public domain to see what others think and also to tell you about her trials and tribulations as well as mine!