Monday, 29 September 2008

I Like My Postman

I phoned R from work today (anything to stop bookkeeping for a moment) and asked if the postman had been.
"Yeeeessss," he said.
"Was there anything for me?"
"Ooh, what?"

Well, I knew that it couldn't be a DVD, as Mamma Mia isn't due out yet, so it had to be a book. It was my copy of Cafe Au Lait, Liane Spicer's gorgeous looking book, for more info please go to her site here. I've had a quick peek, as I do, and it looks a great read. I can't wait to get started.

I arrived home to J & S having a row (honestly, teenagers, they always have enough energy for arguing) about bringing the bin in. It is ONE bin, that needs to be pulled up the drive ONCE a week and it has wheels for heaven's sake. How hard can that be?

S is in a bad mood as she has a badly grazed knee (father's Rhodesian Ridgeback pulled her over yesterday), mind you, it hasn't stopped her being chosen for the school football team to play tomorrow after school. She's delighted, I'm not quite so thrilled as it'll mean driving through the school traffic and then the later rush hour to go and collect her.

It's my brother's 40th birthday tomorrow, so Happy Birthday, Jx

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Sunflowers, Crazy Daisy & DVDs

Yesterday afternoon, I was feeling rather miserable with this damn head cold, when my sister arrived with my little neice, G (yes, she of the tree climbing drama).

"Look what I got you," shouted G as she made her way carefully around a bouncing, yapping miniature schnauzer.

As luck would have it, R had just arrived home with a Crazy Daisy for G and her brother, and she was delighted to be given the water squirting flower.

I love flowers and particularly adore Sunflowers. They cheered me up so much that as soon as they'd left I went to the shed and increased my wip by 1,185 words.

Today, the postman bought me my copy of Lost in Austen. Unfortunately, R got to the letterbox before me and when I ripped the envelope open and he saw the DVD inside, he said, "You've taped every episode, why do you need the DVD too?"

Honestly, what a question?

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Before, After & Release Dates

This was my fir tree yesterday morning - I promise I shall shut up ranting on about my trees (or lack of) after this post. I have to say that the garden looks rather strange with all the work that was done yesterday, by two men who must have worked like demons. R kept them hydrated with copious amount of coffee (he did offer juice etc, but was only too happy to keep them in constant supply as they were doing so well).

This is my fir tree after they'd done their 'thing'. Logs. I shall be brave and now do as promised and shut the hell up about it.

The very lovely Christina Phillips has a digital release date of 24 October for her paranormal Scarlet Rosette from The Wild Rose Press, Foretaste of Forever, a dark erotic romance between a beautiful witch and her deeply tortured lover. You can read an adult rated excerpt on her blog.

S is feeling much better but thanks to her and sitting in an office with approximately 80 other people, half of whom have spent the week sneezing, coughing and no doubt breathing the same recycled air as me, I now have an onslaught of the dreaded lurgy (sp?). Nevermind, I didn't have too much planned for the weekend anyway and will be only too happy for an excuse to wrap up, dose up, lock self away in the shed and boost that flagging word count.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Miraculous Recoveries, More Books & the Tree Man

S went to bed last night with a stinking headcold and woke in a foul mood this morning. After much contemplation I agreed that she could have a day in bed. I phoned at 9.45 to see if she was coping. (R was at home but asleep as he'd worked until late last night and needed to catch up). "Yes, I'm fine thanks," she replied. "Well, you're obviously downstairs and not in bed," said I. "Yup, and I've made out my birthday and Christmas present lists too," she said, obviously forgetting who she was talking to and that she was supposed to be in a state of near collapse. Guess who'll be back at school first thing tomorrow?

Whilst in London last week we visited the National Gallery. I could have happily wandered from room to room for days and thought how lucky the small gatherings of children that were there with teachers were, to be able to go on such a fabulous outing. Mind you, I probably would have rather gone to a petting zoo when I was ten years old. I bought a book about Klimt. It's only a small one but filled with glorious paintings.

I also bought this book (not from the National Gallery. I don't know the author but I think it's going to be a good read. She's also written two other novels that also look interesting.

I've just received a phone call from the tree man. He seems very nice and sounds like an over excited puppy, but unfortunately he'll be coming tomorrow to cut down the leaning fir tree, and my poor cherry tree that's half dead with some sort of honeyfungus disease - gulp, sob. They're the biggest trees in my garden and have obviously been here years. I'll hate coming home from work tomorrow and seeing two large gaps where they once stood. R is rather philosophical and said that at least we'll have enough logs for the winter. You know, sometimes we really see things quite differently.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Displacement Activities & Half Way Mark

Whilst at Gatwick the other day, I popped in to WH Smith and bought this fab book, Strictly Love, by Julia Williams. I've had a sneak peak inside and it looks wonderful, so now I can't wait to get reading. I'm also intending watching Strictly Come Dancing from the beginning this year, as usually I don't bother until near the end of the series.

I'm now seriously addicted to the Black Box Widget and have registered to take part in Slingink, thanks to Calistro posting about it. I've also found this delightful scene on You Tube for any of you that may wish to see Elliot Cowan as Darcy with his wet shirt on (sigh). I was so surprised (and not a little delighted) when this happened and thought it very clever of them (writer/director/producer?) to put it in to the series. Apparently the poor chap filmed this scene in November.

However, despite spending so much time on all these displacement activities, I've now managed to reach the half way mark on my present WIP. What I haven't done is get on with Assignment Five of my course, and shall now go, armed with a packet of Midget Gems to the peace and quiet of the shed, far, far away (well, down the path) from the distraction of the internet.

Friday, 19 September 2008

I'm Back, Tired But Happy

I'm sorry about the pic, but I just couldn't help myself. I arrived home yesterday afternoon and eventually managed to catch up with Lost in Austen and laughed (in delight and surprise) at the Darcy water scene (bliss). Sorry, I shall now engage my brain and get on with my post.

Essentially I popped over to London to attend the RNA talk given by Penny Vincenzi, although I also made the most of the time by meeting up with my good friend Andrea. I haven't seen her for a while, so we spent an exhausting day shopping, chatting (sis and Ma were there too) in a lovely little pub and then Rach (sis), Ma and I bade fairwell once more to our pal and we tootled off for an evening of merriment at my step-brother Alan's new house, where my step-father was waiting for us to return (probably enjoying a bit of peace, I should think). Great fun, but I'm still getting over it all.

What a lovely person Penny Vincenzi is. She entertained us all for an hour telling us anecdotes on how each book was written. Basically, Penny doesn't plot in detail but starts every book with a 'what if' in her mind. For example, what if someone came into a huge amount of money, what would happen and how would they deal with it. In 'Windfall', she tells the story of a doctor's wife and the repercussions of this happening to her.

In her present book, An Absolute Scandal, she writes about 'what if' you lost everything. This book, which I've started and am loving, is about the Lloyds scandal in the 1980s, the devastation it caused when people involved lost their fortune.

Most of us find that at some point in writing our books, we get to a part where the story seems to stop and doesn't somehow work. Penny was asked if this ever happens to her and if so, what does she do in this situation. She answered that she doesn't stop writing and go shopping, what she does do is go back to where the story was working, delete the part that didn't and then go forward again. She once deleted 20,000 words and although it was painful, at least she knew what didn't work and then continued with what did.

She said that her characters tell her what they will and won't do and at times they surprise her. She describes how she killed off one character and although she hadn't expected to do so, knew that it had to happen. Mind you, she did receive hate mail when the book was read as the character was loved by so many.

Someone asked how she edited her work and she said that she starts by reading what she'd written the previous day and edits this as she goes through it and then when she reaches the end, she keeps writing.

Penny was also asked if she sets out to write a certain word count each day. She said that she didn't, but does write for a certain amount of time each day and has even written as many as 7,000 words in one day. It takes her one year to write each book, and given that her present book is 881 pages long, I think that's pretty good going.

At the end of the talk, she was kind enough to sign my book. I thoroughly enjoyed her talk and found it not only interesting to learn how she works but also enjoyed her anecdotes. More than anything I learned that despite having written (I believe) fourteen wonderful books, she is very disciplined and doesn't use a difficult days writing as an excuse to take a break from her work. She sits down and works through it and keeps going until it's finished.

Oh no, I've just realized that the dog is due to be clipped in 25 minutes and I'm not dressed yet. Opps.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Spirit of the Dance, An Absolute Scandal & Dramas

Last night several of us went to see Spirit of the Dance at the Opera House, which was incredible. Suffice to say I needed a rest after all that clapping and how they manage nearly two hours of constant dancing is completely beyond me. I've never seen such enthusiasm and their sheer fitness put me to shame. We all had a great evening, I'm so glad that I went and have to admit that getting me to go out anywhere on a Monday night really takes some doing.

Tomorrow I'm going to London to the Romantic Novelists Association meeting where Penny Vincenzi will be giving a talk and I can't wait. So tonight I have to get cracking with the packing. R finds it amusing that it takes so long for me to decide what to take for one night away. It's not as if I have that many clothes to choose from (he disagrees with me here, again) and usually end up choosing the same things each time. I've set the tape for Lost in Austen because I'm pretty sure that R won't remember to record it. "Not another period drama," is the oft received comment.

On Sunday, I met some family members for lunch at St Catherine's cafe for breakfast (having walked Grumpy along the breakwater first - it's nearly a mile or something) and just as we were leaving, my mother noticed that the first aid kit was out and B (my uncle) was breveting (sp?) about for something in it. "What's she done?" asked my mother.
B replied, with a heavenward roll of his eyes. "She's broken a nail."

Now, before you think me fickle, I feel the need to explain that I'd snagged my nail and it had torn low down and hurt like hell, and he was actually looking for a pair of scissors so that I could trim it. It's fine, unless I type and then it's rather sore.

Better dash, packing, nagging and feeding to be getting on with.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Black Boxes & Yellow Ball in the Sky

I've just started reading this book and am thoroughly enjoying it.

I was wanting to post Caroline Smailes' Black Boxes link here as it's great fun, but couldn't manage to, so please click on the widget to the right of this post. You'll be asked various questions and given a link to another site. Loving it. Wish I had the self-control to stop playing on it and get on with some writing, but I'm just having too much fun.

I think I'll give myself five more minutes then I'd better get outside and make the most of the heat radiating from that big yellow ball in the sky. I'm sure I know what it's called, hang on, oh yes, it's the sun.

Have a great day.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

The Air Display, 9/11 and Seagull

The air display was incredible, as usual, and as much as I would like to show you photos but my useless camera (not me, of course) didn't manage to get close enough to the planes to be worth posting.

We also walked Grumpy on the beach and took a photo of this unusual art deco house called, Seagull. It is right on the seafront at St Ouen's Bay and can be rented by anyone that wishes to stay there.

Here's a picture of the view from Seagull today, as you can see the weather was overcast and we were lucky not to get wet.

I can't believe it's already seven years since that dreadful day that we were all so horrified by the scenes of devastation in New York. I'm sure everyone remembers where they were on that day and I can't imagine that any one of us will ever forget the abject horror and disbelief we all felt.

I have tomorrow off work, so for me it's the weekend, such a relief. I have so much writing that I need to get on with, but will be meeting a good friend and her husband for lunch and then helping pack our Parish magazine later on. I help with this every quarter and really enjoy being involved.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Christmas & Battle of Britain Air Display

Today has been one of those blurgh days where I don't really know what I'm doing or even the actual day of the week (never mind the flippin' date, that would be asking far too much of me).

I was working my way through an endless form this morning, having sent a sneaky email to a friend, when at lunch time as I checked my personal emails, I realized that I'd sent it to my home email, rather than to her. Duh. No wonder she hadn't replied.

To make matters worse, no one celebrated a birthday/leaving/getting married/engaged/babies etc and so there was a complete lack of sustenance in the chocolate/cake/goodie department.

Just to make sure all of us were completely fed up, our manager sent an email checking which ones of us wanted time off over Christmas. CHRISTMAS. We haven't had a damn summer yet. Well, if we did, then I certainly missed it.

I shouldn't moan, I've got half day on Thursday as it's Battle of Britain day and we have an excellent air display along the south coast. Mind you, it's so small here that wherever you are you'll certainly see something of the Red Arrows, B52, B17 or various others. I love watching it and you can't help feeling at least a little nostalgic.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Competitions, Gerry Butler & RocknRolla

I recently entered a competition to write for children aged 7 to 11 years and had an email today letting me know that my entry hasn't been chosen as a winner. Quelle surprise. I think that some rejections/failures aren't as upsetting as others and wasn't too fazed by this one as it was my first attempt to write anything for this age group.

I cheered myself up with a pic of the breath-taking Gerard Butler, who I've used as my muse for the hero, Fin, in my present WIP. I'm loving him and despite having a rather lax week, word count wise due to family visiting, I've had a constructive few hours in the shed and am now passed the 30k mark. I think that I'll have to make time to go and see GB do his thing in RocknRolla as soon as it comes over here.

So tell me, who have you based your heros on? Hope you all have a great weekend, despite the revolting weather.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Little Darlings & Best Intentions

My neice, G (2 yrs) and nephew J (4 yrs old) came to the house to play for a bit whilst their mum finished moving into their new home (uninterrupted views of sunsets across the bay every night - I may move in with them too). J & G were being very good and having taken three small lights (in the shape of balls, that keep changing colour) into my downstairs loo in order to watch the colours change in the dark, eaten their weight in chocolate buttons and collected windfalls from underneath the apple tree, they then decided that it would be fun to climb the tree to shake down more fruit.

Unfortunately, two things happened. One, they climbed the lilac tree instead of the apple and didn't managed to knock down any apples that way, secondly, G got stuck and I had to rescue her. Mind you, as R pointed out, I still took a photo of the poor mite before going to lift her down from the tree.

This is what I had planned on doing today:
- Dropping J & S at bus stop, returning home and going to shed to: work on current WIP/work on edits on HH&S/work on next assignment.

This is what I ended up doing:
- Taking S to the orthodontist. She had a brace fitted yesterday and one of the bits of metal had come away from the tooth. I phoned and told them that it needed regluing and the receptionist said, "Sorry, Mr P isn't working today." I replied, "And?". To which she said, "Well the dentists like to keep to their own patients." I told her that I didn't care who did the work, but that surely they couldn't expect a youngster to spend from Friday until Monday with a piece of metal moving about in her mouth.

Needless to say, I ended up waiting for the appointment, going in with her (the dentist was actually very nice), taking her to school (despite her assurances that she needn't go), sorting out a new washing machine to be delivered on monday as ours has decided to die.

Amount of words typed (apart from this post) - None.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Elliot Cowan, Awards & Windfalls

I can't wait to watch 'Lost in Austen' tonight as I'm sure it'll be fun. I'm also looking forward to seeing the divine Elliot Cowan as Mr Darcy. I recently noticed him in an old Poirot where he played an evil Irish murderer. Now I don't know how perfect his accent was, but it sounded heavenly to me. Hercule said, "Ah, so this is the face of evil." (or some such thing) and I thought, I couldn't care what he's the face of just keep that damn camera pointed at him for as long as possible.

First day of term today and having lectured J & S about being prepared for school, focusing on their work and doing their best. Last night J got up from watching tv in the lounge and said, "Right, I'm off to my room." Bless, thought I, what a dedicated chap, he's listened to everything I've told him. "Going to bed already?" asked R, who obviously doesn't have rose-tinted glasses. "Nah," J replied. "Got eight pages of History notes to write up before tomorrow." I shall be calm. I shall be calm. I shall be calm.

Tonight they are at their father's and by 4.30 I'd received two phone calls. S has PE tomorrow and needs her kit dropping off tonight, J has dress-down day (what, on the second damn day of school?) and needs jeans, trainers, etc. R kindly dropped them off for me. J then phoned back (I shall be honest here and admit that I wasn't as friendly as perhaps I could have been to my firstborn) to tell me that I have a Parents Evening tomorrow night. Tomorrow night? Why, I ask you, why so soon. They haven't done anything yet?

Thank you to the lovely Annie Bright for my beautiful 'A Perfect Blend of Friendship Award'. Isn't it fab? I would like to award it to the following bloggers please. The very talented and fun Ray-Anne, who got 'the call' from HMB who want both this book and her next one (way to go!), the lovely motherx,, chrish because she's going on her hols soon and I covet the paintings on her blog, CC Devine because she made me giggle and realize that I'm not the only one who can be dizzy sometimes and Karen because her posts always make me laugh.

Right, I'd better get out and pick some of those windfalls before R comes back and moans - that was the deal, he would drop off the children's clothes and I would pick up a few apples. Can't really not keep to my side of the bargain, can I?

Monday, 1 September 2008

Congratulations, Relaxation & My Weekly

Congratulations to the clever and talented, Calistro on her wonderful news, which you can read about here as she now has an agent.

Having seen that the forecast promised a glorious day on Saturday, I decided that nothing would stop me from making the most of the sun. I spent several hours chatting with my mother, who had brought my niece and nephew to see me, whilst my sister moved house.

However, what I hadn't foreseen was that on Friday afternoon, after posting on my blog, my phone rang and a lovely lady from My Weekly advised me that the editor had loved a piece I'd sent in and could they have an extra 150 words and a photo. Naturally, I said, of course they could and spent Saturday afternoon reworking what I'd sent them and making sure that they had the desired word count.

So, though I had already posted about having such a great day on friday, I still had this surprise to come. Even going to work this morning couldn't put the dampers on my mood. Long may it last.