Wednesday, 31 December 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE SHED - HERE'S TO 2009

I'd like to wish all my wonderful blogger friends a very Happy New Year and hope that 2009 is all that you would like it to be.

Thanks to all of you, I've been thoroughly entertained, continually supported, and learned so much more (mostly about writing) than I did at the beginning of 2008.

This year has been a good year for the most part, and hopefully 2009 will be a year filled with good health, good fun, and some writing success for all of us. x

Enjoy.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Back to Work

Waking at 6am this morning, and then having to get up and go to work was a bit of a shock to the system. I was so looking forward to having ten days off work, but they've flown by - as all holidays seem to - and to by 7.30 this morning, I was sitting at my desk, working my way through countless emails and preparing to concentrate on something other than writing.

We all had a great Christmas and were thorougly spoilt with loads of presents, too much food, and alcohol. Grumpy adores his new bed (can you see where the bed ends and he begins?) which is faux fur and higher at the sides than his others (two!). I've even managed (she says, crossing fingers/holding thumbs and hoping for the best) to sort out my drama with the wip, and am now rewriting the last third of the book.

Yesterday, I finished reading The House at Riverton, and have to say it's one of the best books I've ever read. I loved it, and putting it down to speak to people/write, etc was incredibly hard. I've now started, The Kissing Gates by Mackenzie Ford (bought for me by S) and it's excellent. J bought me, Devil May Care, by Sebastian Faulks, which he borrowed from a friend whilst on his trek and loved it so much, he insists that I will too. So that will be the next book on my tbr list.

The shed is so cold, despite the fan heater, that I had to buy these from Accessorize. I told R that I needed some and he went and found me a pair of itchy woollen, steel grey ones, bless him.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone

A & S have now iced the Christmas cake - note the deliberate mistake, not enough icing for the snowman, so we have a very yellow marzipan snowman on top.

I'd like to wish all my lovely blogging friends a wonderful, healthy, happy and fun Christmas, and all that you wish yourselves for 2009.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

The Good & The Downright *&^*&%^!!!

THE GOOD: I've been given this fun award by Mummy Scrap = bits & pieces, fragments, discarded material, such as truth and honesty. People who write need to tell it like it is. There are two guidelines for receiving this award. One, to list 10 honest things about yourself, & two, present the award to 7 other bloggers. However, as it is a busy time of year, I'll give it to any blogger that would like it.

Ten (interesting?) things about me:
1. My brother says he always knows where to find me in a church (funeral, wedding, etc) as I'm the one with the shaking shoulders - such a wuss.
2. I can ride side-saddle (when the need arises!)
3. I had three cats, and called them all Smokey-Joe (& I call myself a writer?)
4. I think I'm shy, but those around me find it hilarious when I say so.
5. I can speak a little Zulu (very little, I can ask the time, find out where the dog is, etc).
6. I love lizards, but am terrified of spiders (though I can pick up those Crane fly ones).
7. I can spend hours in a bath (it's the only place where no one disturbs my reading).
8. I have many pet names for the dog, and he answers to every one of them (probably because he thinks I'm offering him food).
9. I adore antiques.
10. I've lost 19lbs since seeing my horrible photos in September.

THE DOWNRIGHT *&^*&%^: I started working on the corrections to HH&S in August after receiving my NWS report. When I hit a brick wall, and couldn't think how to change the ending, I left it for a couple of months (whilst mulling it over) and started novel 4. Berk that I am, I then returned to HH&S, having figured out where I wanted to go with it, and carried on with the rewrite.

THIS MORNING I discovered that back in August, I was working from one draft, and in October, continued with the rewrite using another version. SO, being that complete dunderhead that I am, I now have some corrections on one draft, and the others on another. ARGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I am so stupid, I could slap myself!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Jingle All The Way?




Your Christmas is Most Like: A Very Brady Christmas


For you, it's all about sharing times with family.

Even if you all get a bit cheesy at times.

That says it all!

My two have broken up, S-S#4 arrives early tomorrow, S-S#1 arrives on Monday, I've now broken up from work until 29th (YAY!) and I have brother, sis-in-law, and their two children, three parents, my brother, his girlfriend, oh yes, and R, self and of course the dog for Christmas Day.

All shopping done, apart from perishables, and the things that I'm bound to have forgotten and no doubt won't remember until Christmas Day itself. Cards sent (today), and on Sunday S and A will ice the Christmas cake they made a couple of months ago.

In fact, the only thing that I appear to be behind on is my flipping writing, which is so frustrating. I've achieved so little this week that I'm determined to spend some time tomorrow and Sunday (famous last words) trying to catch up with myself a bit. I was hoping to have submitted HH&S by now, but that's not going to happen for weeks yet.

My nephew, J, played Donkey in his Reception Nativity Play the other day. At the end of the show, the headmaster announced, that he had been the most entertaining Donkey they'd ever seen. This could have been due to his attention slipping half way through his words when he noticed his shadow at the back of the stage, and started making shapes, oblivious to the audience waiting for him to continue.

G is still fairly miserable, but appears to be a little better, though the physio/spa lady hasn't got back to me yet, so I presume the spa is still broken. Such a blessed relief. Hope you're all getting into the Christmas spirit.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Physio, Acupuncture & That's Just The Dog

When Grumpy was little, he ran through some low branches after a cat and put his back out. Since then, every so often his back gives him pain and he starts shaking.

I took him to the vet on Friday. He'd been a little shaky lately, and I thought I'd ask for some more Metacam to ensure we had enough, should we need it, over the Christmas/New Year period. I was greeted by a new, younger vet, who announced that, "He's been receiving the wrong treatment for the past four years."

"Really?" I asked, bemused and trying my best to keep a crying Schnauzer on the examination table. "What should he have had instead of the medicine?"

"He still needs the medicine, but should be having some physiotherapy. Unfortunately, the practice therapist left today to go and work in Guernsey."

Phew, thought I. "Oh," is what I said.

"Never mind," he said. "We have someone else he can go to, and I think he should have physio in a spa pool once a week, and if that doesnt work then acupuncture might do the trick."

Thankfully, the spa was broken, and as the vet said, "It'll probably take an age to fix because nothing gets done quickly over here."

So, G has had an apprieve for now. R laughed when I told him, and said. "So, he still needs the same medicine, but now needs to go in a spa pool every week too. Will you have to go in the water with him?"

Surely not.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Special Badges, Tired Elbows & Christmas Cards

I'm thrilled to have been included in East Anglian Troy's Special Gang of Eight, and to have been given this wonderful badge. Isn't it great?

I'm slowly working through the Christmas list (painfully slowly) and forced myself to walk the length and breadth of the town today buying various bits for S, R and J. It never occurred to me to think about the weight of these items when I chose them, and by the time I'd paid for them, and lugged (is that actually a word?) them back passed hoards of other irritable shoppers, I thought my elbows were going to break. At least I can now cross a few presents off my list.

I'm still working on HH&S and think that I may be doing so for the next twenty years at this rate. I also haven't managed to write my Christmas cards either, and bearing in mind that some have to go to South Africa, I'd better get a flippin move on. So I absolutely must do them this weekend, without fail - groan! Happy shopping/card writing all of you.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Super Awards & Christmas Decorations

Thank you to the lovely DJ Kirkby for my fab Superior Scribbler Award, it's much appreciated, and rather gorgeous too.

The Rules that go with this award are as follows:
1. Every superior scribbler must name other super scribblers, although with so many brilliant ones to choose from, it's almost impossible to do. So without further ado, I'd like to nominate Kat, Christina, Pat P, Flowerpot, Melissa Marsh, JJ, Fionnuala, Mummy & Carol
2. Link back to the name of the blog that gave you the award, Chez Aspie.
3. Display the award and link to this post, which explains the award.
4. Add your name to the Mr Linky List, some way down the page, as a record of who the superest scribblers are.

S insisted that we put up the Christmas tree on Saturday, and not having the energy to argue, and to be honest, having someone so enthusiastic to assist, I did as she asked and we (well it was her really) dragged boxes and bags down from the loft. So now the tree is up, and covered in copious amounts of baubles, including red-painted wooden soldiers, two angels (?) amongst other things, and hundreds of twinkling lights. The wreath is glistening on the front door, but I've still to dress the banisters with the rather lovely garland that my father gave us a couple of years ago.

So despite my lack of enthusiasm, I'm slowly getting prepared for 25th, only just over two weeks away. Groan! Double groan, I've just realized it's the last one of Spooks tonight, blimey, that went by rather fast, but then most good things tend to, don't they?

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Great Fun, Sore Feet & A Wonderful Book


Friday night was great fun, and everyone looked fabulous. One girl did come as Shirley Eaton Painted gold from head to foot, and wearing a gold top and skirt, she looked utterly amazing.

Each table was named after a Bond movie, mine was 'Diamonds Are Forever' and had hellium balloons above each one. We had a massive red heart, with smaller card balloons, others had clubs, spades, large card ones, diamonds, etc, with tiny bottles of bubbles that could be blown, dice scattered on the tables and a large screen showing Casino Royale in the background.

The food was good, and we were given a gold card/chip thing, to play either Roulette or Black Jack on two tables. My shoes were great to dance in, but were a bit of a pain to walk in, as they slipped off a bit at the back every so often. You can't tell in the photo, but they're covered in tiny sequins. This morning my feet are encased in soft slippers, such bliss. They're slowly recovering.

I'm relieved to say that I left just after 1am, when R kindly collected me and two friends and delivered us home, but a friend phoned and told me that a crowd of them ended up going to someone's flat to carry on partying, and she left at 4am, with the party still in full swing.

I had intended spending the day working on HH&S (especially as I'd been so good and not overdone the boozy part of the evening), but what actually happened was that I picked up Susie Vereker's book, 'An Old-Fashioned Arrangement' and just kept reading. I'm loving it, and her next book, Paris Imperfect, came out a couple of days ago, so I'll have to order that too.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Award, Best Intentions & Posh Frocks


It's our Christmas Party tomorrow night at the Royal Yacht Hotel here. The dress code is usually eveningwear, but this year we have a Bond theme. So, much as I'd like to treat everyone to my bod sprayed gold a la Shirley Eaton, I'm actually wearing a gorgeous black velvet dress.


I'm teaming my dress with the most delicious black sequined peep-toe shoes. They're high, (I can run in heels as well as trainers, though why I'd need to run, unless it's raining, I'm not entirely sure. This should also tell you how dreadfully unsporty I am). I'm wearing large fake (unfortunately) diamonds, and intending (yes, I know I do this every year) to take it easy, and remain relatively sober, but as Les Girls will be there too, I'll probably have one sniff of bubbles and that'll be the end of my resolve.

Unfortunately he's not coming, and let's just hope that none of the chaps decide to dress in this get-up, after all, isn't it always the one who really can't get away with dressing in so few clothes that assumes he looks perfect that way?




Thanks to the lovely DJ Kirkby for my Wordless Wednesday award, judged by her very own soon-to-be-published crime author, Chopper. I love it, thanks.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Three Weeks & Three Days To Go

Thank heavens for Lemsip capsules & Benylin cough mixture, because as I'm not one to suffer unnecessarily, these concoctions have kept me going for the past couple of days. I woke this morning, a little confused, as I'd dreamt that I was at work - how cruel is that, to have to be at work when awake, and asleep - only to find that I was a shivering wreck and even moving my eyeballs hurt like hell. So I phoned my line manager, croaked down the phone and went back to sleep until 1pm! This coming from someone that barely needs five or six hours of sleep most nights too.

Having realized that it's only three weeks and three days until 16 (yes, that's 16) people come to the house for Christmas lunch, and I've bought...well, let's have a think...yes, I've bought a box of turkish delight! Big wow. I think it's about time I got a little more into the spirit of the whole thing and at least started to shop for some presents. It must be lovely to be a Beckham, or Rooney and not have to think about the cost of all these festivities, but I suppose I'll just have to get on with it and see how it goes.

I'm not doing Christmas cards this year - I say this every year, and still end up doing the damn things. Bah Humbug.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Richard Armitage, Flu & Bright Ideas

Sorry about the gratuitous photo of Richard Armitage (looking rather divine, I think) but I thought I should tell you about a new five part series exploring the incredible impact that costume dramas have had on tv history over the past fifty years, called "The Story of the Costume Drama". It starts on Monday 1st December on ITV3 at 8pm and is on each evening this week. The third programme called "Affairs of the Heart" (on 3rd December) includes an interview with Richard (though apparently it's possible he might turn up in any of the other episodes). Thanks to Annette, I would have missed the first two episodes if she hadn't left her comment.

R is feeling much better - thanks to all of you who wished him well - and has generously passed his germs on to me. I shivered until 3.30am this morning before being able to get off to sleep, and for most of today, thought that I wouldn't be able to make it for dinner with 'les girls' tonight. However, never one to be put off by a bit of a shivery cold/cough, I've dosed myself up and am going to get going soon, leaving R with Grumpy to have charge of the remote control, for once.

I've been struggling with how to change the last few chapters of HH&S, as apparently most of the book was great, but the last 30 pages seriously let it down. I've been wracking my brains for a way to bring everything together, and wasn't getting very far for ages, then yesterday, it hit me (BAM!) I started writing notes, and now know where I'm going with it. The relief is great, I'm a happy bunny, and no cold (nor hangover, no doubt tomorrow) will dampen my mood. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Bubbles, Cake & Man Flu

After a bleak start to the week, I arrived at my desk yesterday to find these sitting waiting for me. It took a little prompting before I worked out that it was one year since our company moved to our new premises. In the past year, four companies have been brought together and although it's been stressful at times, we've all integrated rather well. I thought it was a lovely gesture to have these waiting on each member of staff's desk.

I've achieved very little on the writing front this week, though I have managed some research, and now that a big lunch that I was supposed to be going to on Saturday has been postponed, I should have more time for writing than I'd expected. Mind you, I'm out that evening for a girly get-together, which will entail bubbles, and a sore head for most of Sunday, if past experience is anything to go by.

It's poor R's turn to be ill now, and unfortunately for the rest of us, he's suffering from man-flu. To be honest, he really isn't well, and has a ghastly cough as well as all the other symptoms. I'm hoping he gets better very soon, for both our sakes :)

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Headaches, Hell & Parent's Evening

Well, after my earnest intentions to spend the weekend working on HH&S, I ended doing far less than I'd expected to. On Thursday, my head started pounding and my back hurt, it was worse by Friday and by Saturday, I felt like a cross between someone having gone several rounds with that Hatton chappy who was fighting the other night, and enduring a humdinger of a hangover. I did do some work on it, but not nearly enough, and even ended up sitting in front of the fire on Saturday, watching Henry V with Kenneth Branagh, and taking intermittent looks at Della Galton's wonderfully helpful book.

I felt fine on Monday morning - to typical of my timing - but the first two days of this week have been hellish. T, one of our hard-working filing team - said today, "It's watching you lot, that convinces me that I'd never want to do your job." She asked me how I was, and when I muttered, "I really hate my job." T replied: "That's what I love about you, Debs, your consistency." I obviously moan more than I'd realized.

Anyway, after a sleepless night (pretty much) last night, and waking up in a state, I've managed to sort out and courier out the documents that were stressing me out, and tonight, despite having to go to (yet another parent's evening), I'm in a jolly mood. Coming home to one of R's delicious chicken curry's has helped too.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Jeff Rivera, Protecting Your Work & Happy B/d

I recently won a book on Liane Spicer's wordtryst blog, by (the very handsome) Jeff Rivera called, Forever My Lady, which was, as you can imagine, very exciting. Today, I received my copy in the post, and would have started reading it immediately, if I hadn't just begun Just Say Yes, by Phillipa Ashley, and I adore Phillipa's books, so won't be able to put it down to start something else, but will be reading this soooo soon. So thank you Liane, very much, for my book.

If you've ever worried about protecting your work - and let's face it, who hasn't - Kaye Manro has an extremely helpful guest blogger today, Rhonda Dove, who knows all about this. Why not pop over and have a look.

It's my neice's third birthday today, she is a delight, and R & I will be going to her house to take her presents and wish her Happy Birthday. Here's a pic of G, she's such a cupcake, and adored by us all, and typical of all the women in my family, very strong-minded.

For the rest of the weekend - as I've worked out that it will probably be my only quiet weekend until the New Year (frightening thought) - I have decided (through necessity) that I have to put the WIP on the back-burner (I won't enjoy doing this as I'm loving writing it) and concentrate on finishing redrafting High Heels & Scandals, because I need to send it out to do the rounds.

I'm never going to get anywhere near my publishing goal, if I don't at least send the darn manuscripts out! So, having given myself a stern talking to, I've now prioritized - I don't know why this was so difficult, I do it all the flipping time at work - and will focus on this until I'm happy with it. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

My Weekly & Memorable People

I'm in My Weekly this week (so exciting). I bought my copy, as usual, and as I flicked through the pages, I came to Page 43 and thought, 'I know her from somewhere", I then noticed the picture of my shed next to the one of the woman's face, and realized (duh) that it was me. Only I can recognize my shed, before a picture of me. There's also a photo of Grumpy, and one of me sitting in the shed (I didn't realize my paperwork was so untidy).

This week started off with tragic news of the death of the youngest Funeral Director in the Island, Alex de Gruchy. He was only in his mid-twenties, when the plane he was piloting on Sunday evening, crashed in the sea off the coast of France (something that happened to my father thirty years ago, but happily, he survived). This wonderful young man was in charge of my grandmother's funeral, four years ago (when he was only 21) he had such a presence and great dignity, especially for one so young, that I couldn't believe his young age.

There are people that make their mark on others lives, and he certainly made his. I can't imagine how many devastated families he helped by making the funeral of a loved one so special. My condolences go to his family and colleagues. He'll be sorely missed by so many in Jersey, but especially by them.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

17th Lancers, Mug of Tea, & Lovely Scarf

After spending six hours on Sunday desperately trying to find a photo of my great-grandfather, who was in the 17 Lancers, I needed a strong cup of tea, and a good sleep.

I've spent several years searching for a picture of him, but to no avail. He was in the Boer War, then India (where my grandmother was born), then in 1914 was deployed to the western front as part of the 1st Indian Cavalry Division, spending the following three years taking his turn in the trenches and at the end of the war was posted to Liege in Belgium and from there to Cologne.

It's so frustrating finding various pieces of information, but no photo. The reason the family don't have any, is because my great-grandmother burnt all his photos when he died! Why? Who knows. She could have kept one surely.

At work yesterday, I was told that my portfolio of clients was to be increased (today) from 39 to 69, however, I was soon cheered up when I arrived home, by finding a brown puffy envelope at home, containing my lovely scarf in various shades of green, from the very talented, and kind Yvonne. So thank you very much Yvonne, my scarf is much appreciated.

Right, I'd better go and save the supper from burning. Have just gone to get sweet corn from the freezer in the garage, and a humumgous great black spider climbed up the side, so no veg for them then! EUGH!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Poppy, Bubblecow & Christmas Presents

I couldn't believe it when I found this in the garden earlier today, doesn't it realize it's mid-November? So pretty though and cheerful in a border with little other colour on display.

Thank you to everyone who wished S a Happy Birthday. I'm relieved to report that the sleepover went well. I can't believe how much these (skinny) teenage girls can eat.

They came home by bus, stuffed their faced with various nibbles that I'd bought and several cartons of fruit juice, changed, ate three courses at Pizza Express in St Brelade's Bay (my sister, Rach and I sat well away on a table of our own, which was great fun), then we came home and they ate more food, and settled down for the night. Well, they were up half the night, of course, but all enjoyed it.

I haven't done nearly as much writing as I'd like to this weekend, but I have entered a brilliant competition on Caroline's site for a 'free in-depth edit and report' at Bubblecow, well worth having a look.

If you're looking for ideas for Christmas presents, or simply want to spoil yourself - like me - then why not buy a copy of DJ Kirkby 'From Zaftig to Aspie'. You can look here to read more about this fascinating book. DJ writes about, "Growing up in Canada during the 60’s and 70’s, with a hippie mother and an undiagnosed Autistic spectrum 'disability'". Somehow I know this is going to be a fascinating read.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday & More Books

It's S's 14th birthday today, and I can't believe that this longed for child that I never thought I'd be lucky enough to have, has grown up to be so lovely, and tall! Happy Birthday, S x

I have to admit that I'm looking forward to tomorrow morning, when her friends (who will be out for a meal with her tonight, then home for a sleepover) will have been collected, and I can start restoring the house to it's former state.

My second, Happy Birthday, is for Christina Jones' fab book, which as you probably know, I loved.

This week saw Happy Birthday's launch party, and if you'd like to read Christina's hilarious post about how her day went and see photos, please go here to her blog. It sounds like a truly fun day all round.





My copy of Della Galton's, How To Write & Sell Short Stories, arrived the other day. I've started reading it, and just hope that everything, or at least, something, registers in my brain. I need all the help I can get when writing short stories (if my attempts for Slingink are anything to go by).



I've read the blurb on Christmas Wishes, Mistletoe Kisses by the lovely Fiona Harper - poor thing was at my first RNA Awards Lunch a couple of years ago, and kindly chatted to me, which was such a relief as I had no idea what to talk about (books, one would assume) or who to, and pretty much must have looked as terrified and gormless as I felt.

So, as well as being a kind and thoughtful person, she also writes great books.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

A Winter's Tale & Harrowing Research

I seem to be going round in circles at work at the moment, so this morning, as soon as I'd escaped from a meeting, I pulled on my coat and went in search of books. Okay, so I know I keep promising not to buy any more until my tbr piles are reduced significantly, but I couldn't help myself today, when I spotted this, A Winter's Tale by Trisha Ashley.

If you do see this, or any of her other books, treat yourself, because I've loved every book of Trisha's that I've read and only wished that I could write characters that were half as good.

I've been making notes on Novel 5 recently. I know, I haven't finished writing #4 yet, but pretty much the entire plot came to me, like some sort of dawning, and I just had to go with it. This book will be more like my first one, still with a romance through it, but far more harrowing and indepth than my other books. It will also entail a lot of research, which I've begun in earnest, but I'm slowly building everything up, so that as soon as I'm able to, I can get going with it. I can't wait.

Better get on, have been redecorating S's bedroom this weekend, and now have to make sure everything is back where it should be for her sleepover on friday night - 6 teenage girls, arggghh. Grumpy will hate every second.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Lest We Forget

I've tried to think what to write today, but have come to the conclusion that we probably all have relatives who fought and suffered due to war.

I'm sure we'll never forget them.

I certainly never shall.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Lovely Books & Embarrassing Moments

A couple of weeks ago, Susie Vereker gave away ten free copies of her book, An Old-Fashioned Arrangement, and I was lucky enough to be one of those ten people to receive one. Mine arrived in the post today, thanks Susie, I can't wait to read it.

Susie's next book, Paris Imperfect, is out on 1st December, but available to order now. I love the cover.



Whilst working through High Heels & Scandals earlier today, I reached the point where my hero and heroine spent the night together. I'd forgotten that I'd let my mother and sister read the manuscript a couple of months ago (my mother writes too, and both she and my sister enjoy the same genres that I do) however, apart from NWS, they were the first people to read the novel.

Anyway, I digress, there I was deep in contemplation, making notes on my pink flashcards, when I noticed (couldn't miss it really) a pencilled note (by mother) saying, "Excellent, sex scene great. Well done." I have to admit that it brought home to me that people (I know) will be reading this. Rather a surreal moment, and one that gave my sister an enormous amount of amusement when picturing me reading the note.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Celebrations, Giggles & Relief

videoWork has been a struggle this week, but despite nearly going mad, I only partook of two Celebrations yesterday, and today. One colleague, another Debs, sent me this. I think it was an attempt to get a smile on my sulky face, it worked too.

Last night, Grumpy spent most of the evening in hysterics, barking at anything and everything each time a firework exploded. When I let him out to carry out his ablutions before going to bed, he didn't know quite which way to go as fireworks were going off in pretty much all directions around the house. I think there'll be more on Saturday, so shall have to take extra care of him then too.

I was supposed to go out to collect J later this evening from some school thingy (??), but he's just txt me and told me that he's getting a lift from a friend, such a relief. Now, I can light the fire (it's flipping freezing) and catch up on my word count, as I haven't added to it for a couple of days (I've been editing, so I haven't been not writing, as it were).

I shall stop waffling now and let you have a look at the AA advert above. I'm still giggling.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

One Night Stand, Chocolate & Eggheads

The only areas of my life that lack self-control are my need to indulge in chocolate, and having to buy new books. So far this week, I've had three deliveries from Amazon. I daren't tell R that I've just received another email announcing that my order has been despatched, what another one?

Yesterday, my copy of Julie Cohen's, One Night Stand arrived. I'm already about a third of the way through another book - and loving it too, but decided to have a 'quick peak' inside the delicious black covers of One Night Stand. Needless to say, I'm now half way through, and as with all Julie's other books, I'm loving it.

I'm happy that I've now reached 75% of the way through S&S, although, to be honest, I think I'm going to end up with a higher word count, and may have to change the counter thingy.

Work has been a massive effort the past few days and not being able to comfort myself by stuffing my face with the usual chocolates hasn't helped, especially as a member of my team has bought (and opened) a tin of Celebrations. Okay, I'll admit it, I did have two, but for an out-and-out chocoholic that really is very restrained.

I thought the Romantic Novelists, Melanie, Catherine, Julie, Judy and Phillipa did marvellously well against the Eggheads on TV yesterday. Well done ladies.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Birthday, Happy Halloween & Quantum of Solace



I'd like to wish my good friend, Andrea, a very Happy Birthday. I hope you have a lovely day and that the Divine Miss M behaves herself.



Happy Halloween to everyone.

When the children were smaller, I used to spend the week leading up to Halloween preparing witches and ghosts outfits, decorating the house, carving pumpkins, and getting ready for the party we inevitably had. This year, it will be a case of settling down in front of the fire, whilst making notes on novel 3 before finishing any redrafts.

Last night, R, S-S#4, J, S and self dressed up (boys in their DJs, looking very dapper) to go to the Charity Premiere of Quantum of Solace at the New Forum in Jersey. Here's a pic of the invitation.

An Aston Martin was parked by the front doors and incredibly strong Martinis served as you walked in. After chatting with friends, we all took to our seats, and given warnings that the security guards from Sony would be wearing night vision glasses to ensure that no-one taped or filmed any part of the film, and anyone caught doing so would be instantly removed from the building.

Needless to say we all behaved impeccibly, the film was as action-packed as it should be, and Daniel Craig was excellent. Looking at the stunts, it isn't surprising that the poor chap has had to have an operation on his shoulder. Judy Dench was superb as M - I loved the picture of her 007 pink diamante tattoo that she wore at the premiere the night before. I loved QoS, and we all agreed that we'll want to go and see it again.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Cafe Au Lait, Spooks & Grumpy

I was doing wonderfully well with my word count on Saturday and Sunday and was raring to go yesterday, until I decided to take a few minutes to start reading a new book. I picked up Liane's book, Cafe Au Lait and am loving it so much that I haven't written a word since. Her hero, Michael is to die for. I was thoroughly irritated that I had to return to work today, but now I'm back and once I've finished blogging, doing a bit of ironing (I wouldn't bother but it's clothes that are needed for tomorrow), I shall get right back to it again.

Did anyone watch Spooks last night? I thought it was excellent (as usual), but was horrified when Adam (the heavenly RPJ) was blown up. Noooooooooooooo! S-S#1 txt his father and asked, "Is D watching?" (He knows me too well). I knew RPJ would be going, but thought they'd give us a bit of time before he got the chop. Mind you, the ever perfect, Richard Armitage (wasn't he yummy on This Morning?) was fab as the complex Lucas North. I have to admit that not being one for patience, I then turned to BBC 3 and watched tonight's episode, which I shall no doubt watch again on terrestrial later (I admit I'm sad, so what) and then on again to BBC 3 for next weeks episode.

This morning, Grumpy was taken to the lady in the valley, who clips him and cuts his nails, to have his dewclaw cut (she forgot to do it last time and it needed a trim). Poor R drew the short straw (the only good thing about me having to go to work today) and had to take him. The entire procedure took seconds and R didn't leave Grumps at all, but apparently he was so excited to be leaving so soon and without the usual bath & blow dry. Poor thing, he doesn't realize his next appointment is in two weeks, when I'll have to take him and deal with the crying, shaking and hysteria, and that's just me!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Pumpkins, Clocks & Word Count




What Your Jack-o-Lantern Says



You are a gleeful, exuberant person.
You enjoy a good party, and you even enjoy a good brawl.

This Halloween, there is no question what you should be... a pirate!
The candy you should give out: peanut butter cups

As Halloween is almost upon us, I thought I would post this fun Blog quiz.

Yesterday morning, I woke up, relieved to see that it was after 9am and that I'd slept in late for once. I went to join R downstairs who had just arrived home with the papers and have a chat over a cup of tea. After a short while he suggested we went out to the garden and finished planting the plants and trees (yes, more of the damn things) before the forecast rain made an appearance. So we did.

Later that afternoon, after increasing my word count by a couple of thousand words to over 50,000 (yay!), I put on the supper and shouted to R that the oven clock was wrong and needed changing. "No, it's fine," he said.
"But my watch says it's five to seven and the cooker only says five to six."
R said. "Have you put your watch back an hour yet?"

Needless to say, I'd forgotten all about the clocks going back, although it had occurred to me that the day seemed to last longer than normal. I'd forgotten to change my watch or the clock by my bed and so was on a different time to the rest of the family. Mind you, that doesn't sound very unusual, I'm usually on a different planet.

Friday, 24 October 2008

TFX 2008 Writing Competition & A Book Launch

I am the winner of the "Home from Home" Beach Hut Award, so very kindly designed by the very talented Tom Foolery who awarded all entrants to the TFX 2008 Writing Competition with their very own bespoke awards. Isn't it wonderful.

To read our entries and see the other winners and their awards, please go to TF's brilliant site. Thanks, TF, much appreciated.

Many congratulations to the lovely Christina Phillips who has the book launch today of her "dark erotic romance with paranormal elements", Foretaste of Forever. I just love the dark, rich cover.

To read an interview with Christina, please go to Kay Manro's brilliant site where you can find out more about Foretaste of Forever's release and where you can also read a tantalising excerpt.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Gorgeous Henry Cavill & Spooks Link

Next week, R, J, S & I are off to the Charity Premier of the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace and so I was supposed to go to town and buy something for S to wear (well, give it my best shot anyway).

When I say, 'go to town', I actually mean, step out of the office, cross the road and walk about 20 steps and I'm bang in the middle, so it's hardly exhausting work. However, work has been so busy that the last thing I wanted to do was schlepp through the hoards of people and go shopping (especially as it wasn't for me). Anyhow, the sun was out and I have a conscience, not to mention I would have to come up with some believable excuse for not bothering, so off I went just before noon, armed with worn credit card and my mack.

I was just passing Accessorize, when I spotted this apparation of beauty striding down the street towards me. Wow, thought I, he's gorgeous. Then it dawned on me that I recognized him, so I did a double-take and realized it was Henry Cavill, he of The Tudors fame (or if it wasn't then he has a divine brother). Now ladies, I thought he was rather handsome on tv and in photos, but I have to say that he looked far taller, more exquisite and basically breathtaking as he strode passed me. King Street will never be the same again. {{Sigh}}

I now have my hero for novel #5 ready, all I have to do is summon up that vision, I even have the storyline - it came into my head as I drove home. I just wish I could get on with it, but I'll have to contend with making some notes and hope I can keep up this enthusiasm for a couple more months.

Spooks - I just thought I'd add this link for Lane.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Phantom Apple Picker

Can you spot the camouflaged apple picker?

As I left work this afternoon, I breathed a sigh of relief and couldn't wait to get home, kick off my shoes and relax. Well, so far, I've argued with J (nasty toe again) and phoned to book an appointment for him at the doctor tomorrow afternoon, discovered he can't possibly make it as he has History (J, not the doctor) cancelled and rebooked another appointment for Thursday and then told him that he WILL make that one.

So, as soon as I've finished making pasta and tuna bake for J & S, I'm going to go and get on with my second submission for the Slingink Competition. I've made a start and have to admit that I'm enjoying it more than I expected to. I just hope that I can write something worth sending in.

The WIP is slowly moving forward, but I desperately need to make my edits to HH&S and send it out and although I'm pretty sure of the amendments I need to make, I know I'll need time - without interruptions - to be able to concentrate and do them. There just never seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything. Oh well, time to stop moaning and get on with it.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

1st Blog Anniversary & Richard Armitage

It's one year today that I posted my first blog and the first three people to comment, and therefore give me the confidence to carry on, were Leigh, Phillipa and then Lane. It's thanks to them and all the wonderful blog friends I've made since that I've gained confidence and learned so much more about writing than I did before. So, thank you.

It's a little colder today and winter looms ever closer, but at least that means that the next series of Spooks does too. Here's a great interview by Kevin Maher of the Times Online with Richard Armitage today about his new role as Lucas North, yay I can't wait, although he does say that he wants to play characters that "...are disgusting and look ugly and crap". Nevermind, I shall have to make the most of him looking gorgeous for the time being then. The new series starts the week of 27 October.

R and I have just arrived home from buying a Hydrangea (pink), two Camellias (one pink and one red), an Olive tree (love it) and a Metasequoia (Dawn Redwood). This is all well and good, but now they'll need to be planted, so I'm going to have to get the wellies back on again.

After much contemplation, it doesn't help having so many to choose from, I eventually chose a book from my tbr pile(s) and have started reading Movie Girl, by Kate Lace . I'm thoroughly enjoying it and will get back to it as soon as I've finished posting this.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Get That Friday Feeling

It's Friday. What a relief, I was beginning to think that the weekend would never get here.

I'm right near the end of this gripping book by Penny Vincenzi and although I don't want it to end, I can't wait to see what happens to the characters. I now have to choose what to read next and love doing this, sad as I am. Gazing blissfully at my tbr pile and choosing what book I want to read is just so thrilling. Can I hear the words, 'get a life' out there in the ether?

Poor S was at the dentist yesterday having a new metal band put into her brace. Taking it out was fine (though I did think he'd pulled out half her teeth, he gave it such a pull) and putting it in was okay. It was when he was clicking the band into place, I could see his hand shaking at the pressure and poor S had her jaw between his one hand holding her jaw in place and the other pushing the band into the brace. Needless to say, she is rather sore this morning and has also woken with a stinking great cold. Not the happiest bunny around!

I have so much writing to do over the weekend and can't wait to get started, mind you I do have to go and choose a couple of trees with R, take S for a haircut and venture out to be a little sociable over the next couple of days, but I also intend locking myself away as much as possible too.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A Beautiful Award & Getting A Grip

Lovely Mummy gave me this wonderful award, thank you so much I love it.

The winners of this award have to answer these questions, in one word per question.... so here we go:

1. Where is your cell phone? Bag
2. Where is your significant other? Driving
3. Your hair color? Blond (!)
4. Your mother? South Africa (!)
5. Your father? Jersey
6. Your favorite thing? Laptop
7. Your dream last night? Forgotten
8. Your dream/goal? Published
9. The room you're in? Utility
10. Your hobby? Gardening
11. Your fear? Illness
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here
13. Where were you last night? Here
14. What you're not? Published!
15. One of your wish-list items? Laptop
16. Where you grew up? Jersey
17. The last thing you did? Cook
18. What are you wearing? PJs
19. Your TV? On
20. Your pets? Sleeping
21. Your computer? On
22. Your mood? Chilled
23. Missing someone? Grandmother
24. Your car? Blue
25. Something you're not wearing? Shoes
26. Favorite store? Book
27. Your summer? Relaxing
28. Love someone? Definately
29. Your favorite color? Red
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Saturday

I can now pass this award onto another 5 blogs that I love - now this is the hard part as I love all the blogs that I've listed on the thingy on the right of the screen and more that I haven't got round to adding. Mummy has passed it on to a couple of my favourite blogs, so that helped a bit, but I'm going to pass it on to: Lane (who was one of the first people to comment on my blog and was so lovely that it gave me the confidence to keep posting), Karen (because she never fails to make me laugh, Chris (loving the paintings, as well as the words of course on her blog), Tam (because she's so clever and I want to wish her luck for her auditions, and Helen (because those prompts are so clever and I can't seem to figure out how to do them as well as she does).

Just a quick PS, I've managed to get a grip and am now in a much happier mood!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Bad Mood

I've treated myself to the Love for Lydia series (R commented that I'm always treating myself. He's not wrong). I posted my sixth assignment yesterday evening and the word counter says that I've reached 62% on my wip. I was even chirpy at work today and believe me that took some doing, so why am I now in such a grumpy mood?

It's not like I'm bored. I've just finished making a cottage pie, ironing (that I had forgotten to do over the weekend) and stocked up the cupboards/fridge with a mountainous shop.

I even popped into WHS at lunchtime and bought more flashcards (different coloured ones for each book), Writer's Forum mag (Sally Quilford's column makes great reading) and a stash of Whispers that I've put away for when I can allow myself one. Oh yes, and I've also lost half a stone.

So what the hell is wrong with me today? I'm getting on my own nerves, so I think I'll go off to the shed and get on with some writing, who knows, maybe that will put a smile on my miserable face.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Fiona's Book, Margaret's Guernsey Gache, & Envy

The lovely Fiona has a great new book out, How
to Start & Run a Petsitting Business. I love the cover of this and knowing a couple of people at work I think will be interested in this, I shall definately be recommending it to them.

Sorry to those of you on diets (I'm on one too - please see pic below to understand why) but Pat wanted to know a little more about my mother-in-law's Guernsey Gache Melee recipe (sorry, I spelt it wrong yesterday), so here it is.

You need: 1lb apples, 1/2lb Self-raising flour, 4oz suet, 4oz sugar, 1 cup milk, sprinkling of light brown sugar.

Mix the flour, suet, sugar and milk together, add the finely chopped apples and stir them in, pour the mixture into a greased bowl (I use a shallow one that's about 2 inches deep and sprinkle the light brown sugar over the top. Place into a pre-heated oven (170 degrees) and leave for about an hour, or at least until golden brown on top. To feed my crew and get rid of as many apples as possible, I double the amounts. Here is the traditional recipe for you, which includes eggs & cinnamon.

Just before I trot off to the shed, I thought I should share JJ's post. To say that I'm green with envy at her sister's incredible good fortune would be a drastic understatement. Have a great weekend.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Strapping Dockers, Garden Centres & Apples

It's a good thing I'm married to a strapping docker, and one who finds me amusing rather than irritating.

Unfortunately for him, removing the hedge along one side of the garden (a decision he now regrets bitterly after today) has meant that I now need countless shrubs/trees/plants to replace said hedge and soften the wall that stands there. So R has been dragged around two garden centres and then had to dig up and move several palms and a rather large tree fern for me to plant (with his help as they really were rather big).

Needless to say I've been doing the rest of the planting, thankfully I was in the mood today and the glorious weather certainly helped my raging enthusiasm. He however has left, insisting that he needed to get to work. I believe him, this time.

We still have so many apples that need eating and the children are starting to rebel as they've had apples in their lunchbox (a usual daily occurrence, so not such a bad thing), then apple crumbles, apple Gosh (sp? - apparently it's a Guernsey recipe) and are getting sick of the sight of the damn things.

I haven't done any writing today, but intend doing a bit when it gets dark and I can't do any more planting.

Right, I'd better get back out there and get a move on, I think I still have about 20 or so still to do.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Camouflaged Shed, Great Raffle & Writing


Yesterday I received a Google Alert and so went to have a look to see what it was all about. This is what I found, isn't it fun? Today they've posted about beach huts, sigh, I've always yearned for one of those. To be honest I originally told R that I wanted a beach hut - er, but in the garden, so not really a beach hut - and after a few months of me swooning over pictures of them he suggested that I moved all my writing parapernalia into the shed. I think the thought of getting rid of all my paperwork and having some peace was too good an opportunity to miss.

Having read Paige's excellent post yesterday, encouraging us to do our bit for Sarah G's wonderful fund raising raffle, I thought I should play my part and mention it today. Sarah's raising funds for Kidney Research UK by running the London Marathon as her little daughter, Katie has one normal kidney and one Multicystic Dysplastic kidney. If you haven't already done so, please pop over and have a look at all the wonderful prizes she has collected and maybe make a donation to this thoroughly deserving cause.

Last night was quite productive on the writing front, I managed to get half way through Assignment 6, my word count on Sp&Sp has risen to over 41,000 and I'm half way through the short story for my first Slinkink entry. I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing with Slingink, as I know I've registered but don't remember paying, so will probably end up not being able to take part or something. I'm useless with rules of any kind and usually get something wrong when I try and follow them.

Ah well, my Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2009 arrived today, so guess what I'll be doing tonight. Yay.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Rain + Wind = Shed Time

I had to post today to put something ahead of that moon-face from the previous post.
This is what his lordship is doing today (and also yesterday), removing four skips of topsoil from a raised bed 6ft 4in deep and about 50 foot long (could be more, could be less, I have no idea) where we used to have a hedge. He is one of those clever gardeners who can picture how he wants a garden to look and has turned our patch from what used to look like a house sitting in a car park into a beautiful garden with beautiful plants and different areas to sit in and relax.

So while he's doing that, in the driving rain poor soul, I'm in here catching up on all the work that I need to get finished by the end of the weekend (or I shall go completely mad with frustration).

Mind you, I did have a lovely surprise this morning when I checked my emails. My mother wrote to let me know that she's bought me a copy of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2009 and it's now on it's merry way to me. So in no time at all there will be pages ringed, post-its showing particular agents etc that I need to submit to. So thrilling. I can't wait for it to get here.

I can't believe that this time last week I was sunbathing in the garden, although to be honest the gale force winds and constant rain that we're experiencing today is the best weather to keep me inside the shed and doing what I really need to be doing, writing something.