Betty Byers's Blog

November 25, 2013

Well today was a wet Monday at work, cheered up by a rainbow that appeared for 5 minutes then disappeared. Yes I opened the shades on all the windows and made everyone look out at the miraculous rainbow - ok, so I still get a childish delight in nature's display of playfulness, (and yes, everyone looked and everyone smiled at the sight). The day ended with a discussion with a colleague who is looking for love.

I must admit that discussions about love is not an everyday work topic. Perhaps it was because it was rainy, or because Christmas is coming, or because he really, genuinely wants to find a soul mate and is puzzled why it's not happening.

I must say I do believe it is because he wants to find that special person in his life and it's strange because we often think that romance is a 'female' occupation but far from it.

On paper my colleague is very eligible. He's handsome, in his thirties, has a good career, is fit, kind and generous - in fact many of the qualities that women would list on their 'looking for a mate' criteria. It's just not happening for him though.

And that's when I thought of the saying 'love is blind' and what it could also mean beyond the obvious. It could also mean that love doesn't necessarily favour the obvious (those who are good looking, or with a great personality); it could mean that love is as random as winning the lottery (and sometimes as hard to achieve); it could mean that love isn't gender specific, isn't age specific and doesn't care how much you have in your bank account or what your job title is.

It is, as one poet once immortalised, a Wheel of Fortune. That is, it is as random and capricious as a rainbow appearing in the sky - love, when two people meet, is as scientifically as likely as a rainbow appearing when it rains but not always guaranteed. So when your rainbow appears, treasure it and think how lucky you are.
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Published on November 25, 2013 07:07 • 91 views

November 1, 2013

I've just got back from an overseas trip for work, in which I had managed to (a) not book my hotel for enough nights, and (b) missed my flight home and had to book another one in a panic. Then the flight home was mostly turbulence, and I'm not good at that stomach lurching feeling which makes you nervously grip the armrest, with the odd flash of lightening. (I think someone was lighting up the way for the plane - it was a night flight).

I'm actually a seasoned traveler (and have passport stamps to prove it - completely full and we don't even stamp passports from one European country to another), but no matter what, I still manage to accidentally have mishaps on about 1 in 10 journeys and this was one of them.

I've ended up in places a day late, "When does your flight arrive because I'm here already?" [friend]
"Umm, tomorrow." [me]
I've ended up in places a day early, "When does your flight arrive because I'm here already?" [me]
"Umm, tomorrow." [friend]

I've had to share a hotel room with a colleague (male) - he snored and I rose early so I could use the bathroom and save us both the embarrassment. "Sorry there is a banking conference and no hotel rooms available except this twin room. You really should have booked ahead."
"This is a capital city, I didn't think capital cities ran out of hotels?" [me]

I've shown up for a flight From London to New York a day late - "But this is the date here" [me, in the days of printed ticket]
"No I'm sorry that's the booking reference, your flight was yesterday." [check-in assistant]

My suitcase once burst open on the platform of the Gard du Nord in Paris, ejecting my dirty laundry in a trail behind me. Took a little while for anyone to point that out :(

Oh, and did I mention that I was once in a country when the opposition to the government took over the airport and I was stuck until a military airport was opened and every foreigner in the country wanted to leave at once? Learning point: Russians are more pushy than Chinese; could it be because they're bigger?

Let's not forget about the kamikaze driving of Belgian taxi drivers or the fact that in Dehli the cars have no side mirrors because they drive so close to one another there's no room for a side mirror.

I have more mishaps but this is a blog not a novel.

So, my confessions of a seasoned and unlucky traveler now over I just have to say...there's no place like home and for the next two days I'm moving no further than the necessary trip to the bathroom!
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Published on November 01, 2013 10:03 • 62 views

October 9, 2013

Sometimes the panic of ditching something you were working on is a good form of inspiration. I've now finished the first two chapters of the rewrite.

Actually, it's a totally different storyline altogther and I'm going to work out a way to upload the first 5,000 words here.

I'm keeping the title for now but that might change too.

Hope you enjoy it and it makes you want to read more!
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Published on October 09, 2013 09:32 • 126 views

October 8, 2013

Well I've completed 30,000 words or so of Lola's third adventures. Luckily for me it's been quite quick to write it. So what's the problem?

I don't like it. The funny thing is I've heard of writer's block but this is something completely different - and unexpected. I could continue and finish it, but I don't want to because it's not entertaining me writing it.

Trust me, when you work full time, and write for pleasure, it has to be just that - fun to write it. So I've decided to take a plunge and bin it and start again. It's a kind of tough decision really but just has to be done. After all if I'm not enjoying writing this storyline what makes me think people will enjoy reading it?

It's a totally novel experience (pardon the pun) and realisation for me but I think that I'll just file under Lola's 'parallel universe' - one that didn't happen. In this parallel universe Lola lost her mojo and I'm just gonna have to go find it for her again and then she'll be back on track!
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Published on October 08, 2013 07:00 • 79 views

October 3, 2013

A fellow author friend of mine recently mentioned a book she read that has been receiving quite a buzz. It features a woman who plays World of Warcraft and where this person is stereotyped as introverted, socially inept, lonely and not a likable person.

I was put off reading the book because of this, and I must confess part of that is because I play World of Warcraft.
I actually ran a large guild on an American server with over 200 members before it became too much of a real job! The most successful guilds on my server were also run by women - must be our collaborative nature coming out. I am also no spring chicken either (although I won't confess to how old I am).

I wouldn't classify myself as at all introverted or geeky (OK I work in IT but fell into it by accident - I've also worked in book publishing once upon a time too, many years ago). There were many different kinds of people I met playing the game, young, old, male, female - and the one thing we all had in common was that were were very sociable!

I don't believe that people who use social media or play games online are introverted or socially inept. Nor do I like the premise that online media environments are naturally pernicious in nature. Quite the contrary, social media has the tag 'social' for precisely the opposite reasons. It's a way to make friends in locations that real life would never allow you to have. Half of my friends on facebook are ones that I have made online and have never actually met face to face. Yes, it's true! I consider them friends nevertheless, many of several years standing.

I would say though that when people I meet offline learn that I am an active gamer they are shocked - because they too probably believe the hype that is perpetuated by a misconstrued cultural stereotype as mentioned above.

So there, I'll step off my soapbox now, and go log on and say hi to my guildies and catch up with their news!
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Published on October 03, 2013 09:34 • 99 views

October 2, 2013

I've started the third novel of Lola and her adventures. I must admit that one of the challenges of writing a series is to make sure that the characters move on in their lives too. That they mature rather than behave like hamsters going around on a wheel with only the scenery changing.

I think it's especially important when the main character is fairly young too. So in this third novel, Lola needs to grow up a bit more.

It won't be a rites of passage but nevertheless it's quite a challenge for me to work out how I'm going to make this happen without fundamentally changing her character...
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Published on October 02, 2013 07:07 • 65 views

September 17, 2013

Someone asked me the other day if my heroine was like me. I guess as readers we like to know how much of the author is there in the character.

I have to confess there is nothing really that is similar to myself and Lola, except for the fact she likes art. Ok, I confess I do have a tendency to swear quite a bit more than can be considered ladylike - especially out here in South East Asia.

We are not alike in age or looks. I have a far more checkered romantic history than she does, but then again I am that much older. She's a lot more emotional than I am, I only cry at sad movies nowadays (and only if no one is looking). I guess I can have my moments of deep sarcastic remarks but not as much as she does.

I do like Italian food, but my favourite is Indian. I like to cook and bake and am not too shabby at it either. I am definitely a coach potato whilst Lola only aspires to be one. I smoke :(

I'm happily married with a grown up daughter, a respectable career, four dogs, three cats and two parrots. (Ok, I'm over doing it on the pet front). I love shopping and fashion. I wasn't born in London, or even in the UK for that matter.

So to summarise I'm only like my heroine in that I like Italian food, art, swear a lot, am lazy and... oh, yes... have a fondness for sarcastic remarks.
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Published on September 17, 2013 08:21 • 58 views

September 16, 2013

While I'm on the subject of figure hugging elasticised material, I'd like to add that I have absolutely no problem with men wearing it.

In fact anyone who is British may remember an athlete called Linford Christie in the eighties who was well known for his Lycra sprinting gear... it attracted much media attention and earned him the nickname of 'lunchbox'.

A subsequent libel court case between a famous bank robber turned journalist and the athlete, actually had the judge asking for an explanation of the term 'lunchbox'. It eventually went to the European Courts in Strasbourg... I kid you not.

Can't help feeling there's material for a novel in this tale somewhere ;)
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Published on September 16, 2013 06:56 • 54 views
To anyone who has bright pink spandex items of clothing. I just want to make clear that I, personally, have nothing against pink spandex and it's only an abhorrence of the heroine in my novels who is offended by this material :)

As she is a fictitious character I'd like everyone to know that no offence was intended!

I would like to state on record now that I do have spandex exercise shorts, that I have worn at least once, and that were bought for me by my husband.

Right, now I have got that apology out of the way, I feel much better.
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Published on September 16, 2013 06:40 • 49 views

September 13, 2013

It's 1:45am in the early hours of Saturday morning and I've finally finished the second adventures of Lola Hussey. I've submitted it to be published on both Smashwords and Amazon and it should reach most online retailers in the next week.

So I hope you forgive me for not writing my blog - I promise I was writing all along!

This second novel is a lot more gritty than the first I think. But anyway, it's not really important what I think - it's important what you think. So please do let me know!
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Published on September 13, 2013 10:48 • 60 views