WHAT DO YOU DO?

 

Not a lot of people know this, but I’m a writer.

I know, who’d have thought it?

There is a reason I’m telling you this, but I’ll get to it in a minute.

A couple of weeks ago, Hugo took me on a journey, an eight hour plus journey to the Highlands of Scotland. The thinking behind the trip was that Christine hadn’t had a break from the MAC in a while (I’d begun to believe my characters were real. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when one is a scribbler, but when the characters are Vampyres one’s husband begins to twitch and give one the steely eye.)

Another reason was because the weather (I’m sure I’ve mentioned the weather?) has been vile and he was certain the country was due a break from the rain. But no. We drove for six hours through the worst September storm in thirty years, think pestilence and a flood of biblical proportions and you might get the picture.

The thing about going away in this country is one never knows what to pack because it might be 10 degrees one day and 30 degrees the next, so I was advised by my youngest daughter to ‘layer.’

When we visit the Cairngorm mountains in the national park, see photo below, lovely isn’t it?

We always go on the funicular railway to the very top. Here’s the link if you fancy a trip (you can walk but it takes two hours and it’s 3,000 odd feet above sea level and the paramedics would need resuscitation equipment for Hugo.) The view is usually spectacular as long as there’s no low cloud cover. They don’t allow visitors to step onto the mountain because our footprint might damage the natural habitat. Hmm, I thought it might have had something to do with the sheer drop and a health and safety issue. But no, they’re more worried about damage to the mountain than human beings. Fair enough.

Anyway, Hugo had gone to buy the ticket and I was keeping our place in the  line and noticed two couples standing in front of me who were not British. By the lovely singsongy voices, blonde hair, blue eyes (the older guy looked just like Charlton Heston in his prime 🙂 my intuition told me they were Scandinavian. So we all got on the train and away we went. When you get to the top, the organisers are a crafty lot and make visitors trek through a large gift shop. By this time, although I’d ‘layered’ I was freezing and a fleece top caught my attention. In spite of Hugo’s eye roll (I saw it by the way, just say’in) I bought it and they bagged it up in a swanky big brown paper bag, not plastic (even though it was now raining) because plastic is not biodegradable. Fair enough.

At the top they have a café with huge windows for us to enjoy the view. By the time I’d stood for half an hour for a cup of coffee and a slice of cake, I was too hot. So I took off my quilted coat and duck down gillet and told Hugo I was off to the ladies loo. I’d taken the bag with the new top in it and didn’t think he’d noticed. It is true I was gone for a while, but whatever.

When I returned to the café Hugo was chatting to the two Scandinavian couples who’d joined our table. Actually, to be accurate, one guy was British, a sound engineer with Strictly Come Dancing and he was married to one of the women. I know, I was thrilled because I love Strictly. Somebody who works with the famous is almost as good as speaking to the famous. Anyway the following conversation ensued,

‘See,’ Hugo said. ‘I told you she’d gone to change into her new top.’

My husband, boys and girls, has a big mouth.

I just gave him ‘the look’ and smiled at them.

‘It suits you,’ the younger woman said with a smile and a fabulous accent.

‘Where are you from?’ I asked.

‘Sweden. We’ve brought my sister and her husband up on a tour of Scotland. We live in London.’

 

‘What do you do?’ the sound engineer said to Hugo.

‘I’ve retired,’ Hugo responded. (He’s a LOT older than me, just thought I should mention it.)

‘Lucky you, how do you fill your time?’

‘Well, I do lots of things and I work for Christine.’

The sound engineer nodded, sipped his hot chocolate and whipped cream with marshmallows. ‘What does Christine do?’

‘She’s a writer,’ Hugo said with an evil grin at his loyal and loving wife.

They all turned to look at me and I gave them big eyes.

‘What do you write?’ his wife asked.

‘Romance.’

‘Oooh, you’re not that 50 Shades of Grey lady.’

I get this all the time.

I smiled. ‘No, I wish I was,’ I said. And we all chatted about Christian Grey.

‘I also write a vampire paranormal set in an urban future,’ I added.

‘Oooh, my sister loves vampires. What’s your name?’

‘CC MacKenzie. My first book was Reckless Nights In Rome.’

Her sister from Sweden turned to look at me and said something in Swedish.

‘My sister has heard of you.’

Heart stopped. Blink blink.

I shook my head. ‘Nope. I haven’t been writing for long.’ I took out my business card (always be prepared) and they studied it. Her sister nodded and spoke again in rapid Swedish.

‘Yes, she’s heard of you. Her son’s ex-girlfriend has your book on her kindle. She loved it.’

Blink blink, hot flush rose from my toes as more conversation happened in Swedish.

‘My sister would like your card to give to her son’s ex-girlfriend.’

So I gave her the card and found myself tearing up, how embarrassing was this? Hugo just grinned. I think it’s the hormones – I’m getting to that age – but I’ve never been so emotional in my life.

Who’d have thought it?

I’m famous in Sweden.

I just hope Reckless Nights In Rome didn’t kill her son’s romance with his ex! I sometimes worry that young girls might end up with too high an expectation of their men after reading one of my heroes.

So that’s what I’ve been up to, freezing to death up a Scottish mountain dishing out business cards to lovely ladies from Sweden.

What have you guys been up to?

What do you do for a living?

Come and share it with us – we demand to know. (This should be good.)

 

Christine X

 

 

 

54 thoughts on “WHAT DO YOU DO?

  1. C.C. I’m jealous, both of your holiday in Scotland and of your fame, but mostly your flair for attracting Sweedish girls. Rock on, girl!

  2. Christine, that’s awesome!! If that girl was smart enough to read your book, she’s smart enough to realize books are an escape and not real life. Or she should be! 🙂

    Glad you guys made it through that crazy storm okay and that you enjoyed your trip. Amazing picture up on the mountain.

    • Hi Stacey Joy Netzel,

      I hate moaning about the weather, it’s such a cliche but it was scary with swirling black clouds following us up the three lane highway.

      And that’s true about it being fiction 🙂

  3. How awesome, Christine! What fun to be recognized by a fan?! I think you’ve hit the Big Time! Hang on, Steve Winwood is telling me something… Back. He said i could use his Title, but no lyrics.
    Anyway… Grats! That’s so cool.

    When someone recognizes me, it usually means a fast car chase, or two, some unexplained and unidentified bodies, and a new set of passports…
    I think I’ve said too much.

    • Hi Gregorious,

      Congrats to you too on the Anthology release which will be here on this very blog on Wednesday. Guys, Greg wrote a short for an anthology called Tales of The Mist for Halloween. He wrote about Vampire Rats. Yes, he did and it’s seriously awesomesauce!

      Steve Winwood – isn’t he a bit before your time, baby boy?

      • If you are trying to get on my good side… well, you’re always on my good side, but thanks your sweet words about my not-so-sweet Rat story, and especially for thinking Steve Winwood is before my time. I’m quite sure I remember things that are before Your time, young lady!

        • I can’t wait to have you on here up close and personal, hehehe!

          Nope, the Rat story is definitely not sweet, and we get a snapshot of how your creative brain works, which is scary enough on a daily basis imho 🙂

  4. You’ve hit the big time! What a great experience. (Today Sweden, tomorrow, the world!) I’m unlikely to be recognized by a fan from another country in my line of work (I teach), but I was in a documentary a number of years ago, and for a while I’d occasionally have complete strangers approach me to discuss the film. It was always a disconcerting experience.

    • Hi Delicious,

      She didn’t recognise me as such. It was the name and the book title that made her get big eyed. And here was me thinking no one would ever recognise my name. It was surreal, but lovely.

  5. 10 to 30 degrees? I’d dress the same. Both are freakin’ cold to a Texan. LOL That is so awesome Christine! How cool to be recognized by someone – especially out of your normal environment. Did you sign your card?

    • Hahaha, Rhonda, Kathy’s right. You kill me.

      No I didn’t sign the card, it had the cover on one side and all my contact and where to buy the book deets on the back. My hairdresser has asked me for 4×6″ fliers for their shop. Haven’t done it yet. I’m sort of shy. Stop laughing, Greg, I can hear you from here.

  6. Rhonda, I think she means Celsius, not Fahrenheit, LOL!

    Christine, what a fun story! And I totally get tearing up. IF that ever happens to me, I probably would, too. 😉

  7. I love this story! Traveling and meeting people has always been one of my favorite things to do. How wonderful for you that someone knew you n your work. A retired husband, huh. How’s that? Much time together…grin.
    I’m a nurse, just gone back to work at a plastic surgery out patient clinic. I am doing breast tattoos post reconstruction, pretty cool. But and this is a big but, I’m writing and my novel is being published as we speak. I’m thrilled. Were you with the first book? I can’t wait for people to read it and review or give feedback. I think my genre is more drama w romance and world events. Christine…nice to chat with you. Do you have another job or did you have one before writing?

    • Hello my darling.

      Hugo will tell you himself how hard it is to be together 24/7. I’m in my office and he’s in his and we meet for coffees and food etc. We also make a point to get out and about together too.

      You do tattoos? That’s really interesting because I’ve had a nipple tattooed on my reconstructed bionic breast which now needs further work. Seeing the plastic surgeon in November – I shall be picking you brain.

      Congratulations on the book! No, I’ve never been traditionally published. I wouldn’t say no to anyway to reach readers. However, I enjoy having control, no surprises there. Can you give us the link to your book or is it too early? I’ll feature you on my Wednesday author/book feature on this blog which is just about to start this Wednesday with Tales From The Mist which will be spooky fun.

      I’ve been lots of things. A banker – I did trade finance. Dance/fitness trainer/instructor and interior designer.

      • Yes, I work in that reconstruction post breast cancer. I had it too but will wait to discuss much, like to wait for three years to pass before claiming victory. I’m fine. But I can answer anything I know or can find out for you. I’m so glad to have met you. I’m hoping to make an office in my home next week, the back bedroom. I made one of my characters have breast cancer, you know write what you know…til I get better at writing then I can tackle unknown’s or interests. Here’s the link for my bookshelf page http://gardenlilie.com/book-shelf. It will be available in a few weeks online everywhere. I will be putting up the cover etc. pretty soon. Thanks. I will eventually read one of your books, I’ve made a list. Smiles.

        • Yeah? I’m two years down the line and have been truly blessed by the team looking after me. Once you have an office, it’s easier to write (she says). Reckless Nights In Rome was originally about breast cancer and the BRCA1/2 gene but my publisher wouldn’t touch the theme. Even though my betas loved it. I’ve got a twins story about the subject coming out in twelve months for Breast Cancer awareness month 2013 and proceeds will go towards a digital mammogram for the under thirty fives.

          We’ll talk and I’ll do a blog post for you. email me at ccmackenzie56ATgmailDOTcom.

  8. What do I do? That’s a simple enough question.

    Fifty to sixty hours a week, I labor under the weight of the assumption that it matters if I live deliberately, love intensely, and suffer immensely. I meet people as I travel, some of whom share my sentiments and others who do not. All of those I see come into this world for the very first time.

    They are strong and weak, faithful and faithless, smart and stupid. They are capable of gut-wrenching decisions, either tragic and destructive, or selfless and noble. They have both broken my heart and inspired my soul beyond expression.

    I send the results out onto a flood plain of literary crap, one populated by a clientele that seems to be of the opinion that I should work for a year and a half on 80,000 word novels so that they may either download them for free or pay as much as 99 cents. I do all this hoping that someone, somewhere will find my message in a bottle, and for them my words will become an edifying component of this peculiar experience that we call a life. Once in a while, my writing will do exactly that, proving the nature of working in hope often enough to keep me going.

    Along the way, I have been blessed to discover that I am far from alone, and there are others just like me, Perhaps the commonality of our experience is a subtle sign that something, some day, will indeed come of all this. Long story short … I’m a writer too.

    • Am speechless and that is a first!

      Dale, what a spectacular description of a writer!

      It takes time to find our readers but they do find us eventually. As you say the poor things have to hunt through a lot of stuff to find a writer they love so much that they actually put pen to paper or peck a message to us on the keyboard, text on their phones or leave a message on facebook. But each and every one is a gift and I write for them, as do you.

      Get on with next book and the one after that and the one after that and they’ll find you!

  9. Aw! I love stories like this, CC. I’m so glad you had that experience, thanks to dear Hugo’s big mouth. LOL

    I’m very open and overly enthusiastic about telling people I write for a living. It’ll be more fun when I can tell them I have a book out, than a book an agent’s shopping and a gazillion-plus-two articles. 😉

  10. Cutest story, Christine! Awesomely wicked! Hugo and you make quite a pair. Always make me smile. Me…well, was a secretary with a business degree for the longest time (excuse me, it’s an administrative assistant now). Then dropped that to drive big rig for the last 6 years. Hubby and I are pathetically clingy to each other even though we spend 24/7 together.

    I’ve written stories since I can remember but have always been afraid of failure and never did anything about it, until now. Good and supportive friends (like Katherine Bone and you) have made such a difference in my life. Can never thank you enough. Wub you, CC. 😉

  11. Great story, Christine! 50 Shades as romance? Not quite. Interesting to see how people peg books and writers. Your header with all your books in it is stunning!

    I’m a writer too, but my most interesting past life and the one I still relate to — archaeologist. I still love the field, but couldn’t make a living in it.

    • Ha, Debra,

      I don’t believe they’d read it, just heard about it. I think it’s a romance – a hard one (to coin a phrase) but still a romance at the end of the day.

      Archaeologist!!!! Wow!

      Thank you so much for stopping by.

  12. I love this! Makes me tear up too as I anticipate that moment of “I’m famous” at some point. Plus, your life across the pond sounds so much more interesting than mine on a daily basis.

    Keep on posting . . . love the latest dish.

    • Hello, Denise!

      I don’t think my life is exciting, but you could be right! You know, fame might be a double edged sword. Actually, readers are only interested in when the next book’s out – and quite right too.

  13. Oh, and one more thing: A hubby who takes notes that you’ve been working too much and need a break–and I mean a real one that entails travel to another country–is a good guy. Which I’m sure you already know. I can’t seem to convince anybody I’m “really” working here. Ha!

  14. What a rush! How fantastic that they recognized your name!
    My husband hopes to be in your husband’s position some day. He says that he wants to become Mr. Susie Lindau and be my personal secretary and carry my bags…

  15. Wow, what a cool story! And 60 – 90 degrees in one day (as we’d say in the US)? Sounds like Ohio. 😀 What a lovely trip – and actually having your name recognized… I can’t imagine! Which is why I still do web development “for a living” and live to write after work. Thanks for sharing!

  16. LOL, CC. “Not a lot of people know this, but I’m a writer.”

    Really? You don’t think the odd person is going to twig your profession from the image that is, well, plastered across their screens? 🙂

    I must admit I was expecting some mention of Waterloo when I read Scandinavian and sound engineer. I’m not going to mention my other thoughts when I read “hot chocolate and whipped cream with marshmallows”!

    What do I do? Apart from sarcasm? Engineering. The hours are good, but some of the actual minutes …

    Cheers!

  17. Watchit!

    Are you trying to say what I do is obvious or something?? 😉

    An engineer? I knew that by your blog and the engines that move at warp speed. Plus you’re a logical thinker which makes a good engineer and a good writer.

    I have no idea what you mean by ‘hot chocolate and whipped cream with marshmallows’ and your thoughts which, knowing you, are very naughty.

    Cheers! (You kill me.)

  18. Wow Christine, very provocative comments here. But then again, this is your blog. LOL!

    Well, we all know that Hugo is a doll. I love the way you coerced the purchase of a new top. Ah, but Hugo has your number girl. And of course you are infamous, or should I say famous? You have everything here from tattooed nipples and rings to nature exploration with a little foreign conversation thrown into the mix. Only you Christine! Only you. 🙂

    What do I do? I don’t know what the hell you’d call what I do. A sad attempt to write but life keeps getting in the way. Will it ever end? Meanwhile, I am still pecking away, though I do not have the ear of Mr. Steve Winwood. (I do love his music.)

    I decided with the previous naughty comment from Nigel above, I would try to steer this section back to some form of decorum, yet I think it’s next to impossible. How can one out-do “hot chocolate and whipped cream with marshmallows?” Oh wait, you said that.

    Love ya!

    • Hello, Karen darling,

      Thank you for stopping by. Decorum? You?
      Hugo is a doll – think Chucky.
      He’ll kill me for that one.

      I wish you and your family all the best this week. I’m thinking of you.

  19. Thanks for the feel-good post of the week. When the Swedish woman said, “My sister has heard of you,” my heart stopped, too. How fitting that this happened on a mountaintop–and Hugo was there to witness it.

    About dressing in layers: I do it regularly, but it comes with a major pitfall. Unless all your layers are cute, you’ll spend most of your time in whatever one is stretched out and faded. That’s why there’s a fine line between layering artfully and looking like a Bag Lady. Don’t ask how I know this. And, no, I am not accepting donations at this time.

  20. What a great story. Scotland, no less. Sounds like a great trip.
    I am a factotum for a group of brilliant people who some days have real basic day to day living issues. I have worked for them for 19 years and I have stayed because I realized right at the beginning someone had to take care of these wonderful people.

    I am also a writer of spec fic and very naughty erotica, both hetero and lesbian. Last year at MileHICon, the Rocky Mountain region’s longest running science fiction convention, (which is this weekend by the way, http://www.milehicon.org), a woman came up to me between programs and told me she had read all my work and loved it, just loved it, oh, and also, could she have a picture of the two of us together?

    What a great little ego boost for a writer. Of course, I told her she could have a picture. How fun!

    Enjoy your wonderful husband and your relationship with your characters. How lucky you are for both of them!

    Thea Hutcheson

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