Thursday 28 February 2008

Clumsiness, Changing Your Life & Hypnotism

A couple of weeks ago a friend told me he was clearing his bookcases and asked if I wanted any of his books. Naturally I beamed myself up almost instantaneously and one of the books that I brought home was Paul McKenna's Change Your Life in 7 Days. I haven't ever read any of his work before and have only seen him in the odd tv programme but as it had a CD at the back and talked of relaxation techniques and hypnotism, I thought it worth a look.

Dd found a Walkman for me to use and a comfortable pair of earphones and I took to my bed, only remembering an hour or so later that I wanted to listen to the CD. Not wanting to wake dh who had to be up early in the morning, I spent an age faffing about trying to figure out how to turn the darn thing on in the dark and finally lay back, eyes closed to be hypnotised. It was wonderful, I zoned out dreamily and relaxed listening to PMcK speaking in one ear phone the the next, then both at the same time (a little confusing but I went with it anyway). Dh then started snoring and desperate not to miss anything, I nudged him, only for him to make even more noise. The dog growled from his bed and I ended up more wound up than I had at the start. The next night, I made sure that I went to bed earlier than dh and gave him strict instructions not to disturb me and this time zoned out completely.

I don't expect or in fact really want to change much in my life but it would be great to stop stressing about work related issues and feel more positive and self-confident with regard to my writing - one can only try.

I woke up this morning refreshed (having gone to bed by 9pm and listened to the CD) but unfortunately my clumsiness is always worse when I'm feeling under the weather and before 8 this morning, I managed to:

Knock over several photo frames whilst opening the lounge curtains, though thankfully saving my toast and jam from hitting the new carpet at the last minute
Nearly re-pierced my ear when trying to insert an earring
Stabbed myself in the eye with a make-up brush making me look like I was crying from one eye only.

That was before I left the house for work.

Work was better than I had feared mainly due to the fact that I spent from 11 - noon in a meeting, followed by a retirement lunch from 12.30 - 2pm, so I wasn't at my desk for too much of the day, although I did have to stay and extra 2 hours late to make sure that something I have a deadline for was sorted out today.

I feel thoroughly washed out now as well as rather sore so shall not try and edit anything tonight but will carry on reading Mr McKenna's brilliant book and hope for the best.

Tuesday 26 February 2008

Bleary Eyed & Still Editing

As I relaxed in my bath last night enjoying my Jude Deveraux book (I'm completely absorbed by it) ds announced through the door that he needed my help. Naturally I told him that I would be five minutes - where does the time go when either reading a good book or involved in attempting to write one - half an hour later my cooling bath was interrupted once more.

"Mum, I need you to come and help me now," he said as politely as he could manage.

I dressed, Grumpy growled as he was firmly ensconced in his bed and together we ambled downstairs and I ended up faffing about helping J with his CV (some school project) and a covering letter. That done I was about to go to bed (bearing in mind this is now midnight) when J announced that he also needs a passport size photo of himself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Yes, I know I've now used up my quota of exclamation marks.

"What now?"
"Yes, I need it now. I have to give it in at school tomorrow."

Now I don't know about you but by 11pm my brain is closing down and at midnight I really am not in the best frame of mind to start trying to think where I might have put passport photos. Needless to say, I did find one - thanks to the fact that I only reapplied for new passports two months ago for J & S - and told him in no uncertain terms to get more organised. I wouldn't mind so much but he's had NINE days off. NINE DAYS.

This morning I look worse than I have been recently and believe me when I tell you that I look as rough as I feel. However, I have to gather myself as I am due back at work on Thursday and fully intend to be there.

I'm still editing and believe that I'm tightening and polishing T&OL and even though I'm reading it for the umpteenth time I'm enjoying meeting the characters again. Only another 180 pages to work through.

Monday 25 February 2008

Editing & Becoming Jane

After a quiet weekend of doing very little, I spent this morning editing and then the postman very thoughtfully dropped off a little package from Amazon. "What another one," said husband arriving home for a spot of lunch at the same time. "Surely you've bought everything they have on offer."

I didn't like point out that I still have many items either pre-ordered or simply in my head waiting for a time when I shall no doubt give in and buy them too. What he doesn't know won't hurt him and the fact that my tbr piles are growing faster than I can read the books is surely a relatively harmless vice and one that I have no intention of giving up.

Anyhow, I digress. I spent a pleasant afternoon becoming absorbed in this lovely film. I don't care how accurate it may be, I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and will no doubt watch it again at some point.

Right, I have to go now and watch the edited version of the Oscars on Sky One with dd.

Saturday 23 February 2008

London Book Fair

I'm looking forward to the London Book Fair Masterclass on 'How To Get Published' on 12 April (only seven weeks to go). The Chair is Danuta Kean and Panel of Speakers are Harriet Evans, Editorial Director for Fiction at Headline Publishers and brilliant author - I loved both her novels, Going Home and the more recent, A Hopeless Romantic, together with authors: Joanna Trollope, Gareth Sibson, Adele Parks and Jonny Geller, Literary Agent and Managing Director of Curtis Brown books division.

I can't wait to attend the session and pick up as much advice as possible and just hope that enough sinks in to my brain for me to put it to good use afterwards. I must remember to listen as well as take notes for the entire two hours.

Now it's time to make a mug of tea and be on my way with Grumpy to the shed to carry on with the editing.

Friday 22 February 2008

Freezing, Faltering & Feeling More Cheerful

I'm thoroughly (oh no, an adverb) enjoying Freezing with the rather lovely Hugh Bonneville. He's an excellent actor who was equally brilliant in Five Days and so many other parts and I don't think that we see nearly enough of him.

I'm still achy and sore but feeling much better after my faltering of the past few days, thanks mainly to your kind comments and Andrea's help yesterday spending an age helping me download SmartScript on to my computer. I am such a technofool when it comes to computers. My poor b-i-l kindly came and rescued my computer the other day when it refused to connect to the internet. Apparently, I had so much rubbish downloaded that the poor system was having a hard time coping. I blamed the teenagers, of course, but when he showed me the listing of all the unnecessary bits and pieces I have to admit that my name was in most of them!!!

I'm going to make a strong cup of tea and carry on with the editing because once that's finished I can then focus on finishing the script (barely started, final date for entry 1 April...) and then my re-draft has to be contended with.

Thursday 21 February 2008

Stress & The Hero

Feeling ghastly yesterday and knowing that I was due back to work today, I thought that I should attempt to clear my head (am feeling more dizzy than usual) and pull myself together.

So, why not choose the healthy option and enjoy a short leisurely stroll along Greve de Lecq beach. This can be done in five minutes, a long beach it is not! As this is Grumpy's favourite place he raced to the nearest rock and I gently ambled down to the beach, slipped, almost doing the splits (but not quite, thankfully) and landed heavily on my bottom wetting the seat of my tracksuit and causing myself great humiliation and not a little pain.

Twenty or so heads instantly turned the other way and pretended not to have seen anything but dear Grumpy immediately raced back to check that I was ok. Thankfully, apart from a seaweed covered bottom and loss of dignity, I was relatively unscathed.

Needless to say this little adventure didn't help me feel any better and this morning the doctor told me off for stressing so much about missing work and insisted that I relax and let my body fight off this nasty virus. At least I can take it easy and slowly get on with my editing. I have so far done 110 pages but still have 223 to do and am enjoying making the corrections.

Wednesday 20 February 2008

The Scream, Reviews & Bonfires

Okay, this is officially a crappy day! I hurt all over and have to return to work tomorrow as the other people in my team are on holiday as from today - half term - so I really need to be there.

Also, I've just read my latest review from You Write On and it made depressing reading to say the least. I have to be honest though and say that my reviewer wasn't wrong and I can see what he is saying, the problem is that when you've re-written something so many times what you really want reviewers to say is that they love it. Knickers!

One half of me wants to grab everything I've ever written and make a lovely warming bonfire, burn the lot and never write another word. Unfortunately, the other part of me knows that I'm only having a tantrum and that it was easier to give up smoking than it would be to stop writing and so I shall just have to take on board all that he has said, rethink what I've written and improve it.

Tuesday 19 February 2008

Disraeli Avenue

Caroline Smailes, author of the beautifully written but heart wrenching, In Search of Adam here has written Disraeli Avenue, a novella that you are welcome to download and if you wish donate to One In Four, a charity that helps people who make up the one in four of children under the age of 18 who will experience sexual abuse. One In Four offers a voice to and support for these people and is a Registered Charity (Charity Number 1081726).

Please visit here to read all about Disraeli Avenue and how you too can donate to One In Four. Thank you.

Monday 18 February 2008

Legend, Mind maps & being dizzy

Last week at work, a colleague and I were discussing our favourite authors (we only had a minute or two so I could only rattle off a couple) and she told me about a writer whose books she simply adores. I hadn't heard of Jude Deveraux (I have now, of course) and so I've put her novel, Legend right to the top of my three tbr piles and will start reading it sometime today. I think I'm going to enjoy it too.

I spent as much time yesterday as my dizziness would allow (yes, I'm feeling more dizzy than usual thanks to this ghastly bout of Shingles) editing T&OL and am gradually getting there. I love the characters in it (I probably shouldn't say that but they're so real to me) and am quite happy to be editing it yet again. I have sent the first three chapters out and know that I have to cut the apron strings eventually either because an agent actually likes it enough (one can dream) or simply because no one does and I need to forget about it altogether (this will be hard as it's my first born - book-wise that is).

I've also been working on mind maps for each novel and writing them out by hand, unfortunately they end up being a complete mess as my handwriting isn't the best and I keep remembering different things I want to add in, or take out. This morning, as I was blogging I was thrilled to find a great piece of software here, Yvonne and have now downloaded this and shall give it a go and see how well I do. It can only help.

Saturday 16 February 2008


Grumpy is five today and as you can see from the photo taken earlier today, he looks as miserable as he usually does. At 14 inches tall, he is the bossiest member of the family and the loudest but despite his expression is in fact a very happy chap although doesn't like strangers and lets them know it. Dd is away with her father today and was fed up that she wouldn't see His Grumpiness on his birthday, so I hope she likes the photo.

My keyboard is playing up and I will either have to buy a new one soon or have a major temper tantrum. Thankfully, I do most of my writing on my laptop but email and post using this keyboard and to have letters missed out of words as you type is frustrating to say the least.

If you haven't read my previous post on War Child, please have a quick look. It's for a very good cause and for those of us who write why not send in a submission. I had no idea what to write but gave it my best shot and shall look forward to reading the book whether I'm in it or not. Have a look at the website here

Thursday 14 February 2008

Debs - War Child

peach: You're Not The Only One Peach and her team are putting together a book for WARCHILD written by bloggers and if you would like to submit (to them at a written piece about something you've been through from any aspect of your life that you want to share. It can literally be about anything: your relationships, your past, a road not taken, being a parent, an illness or your regrets etc. They've called it "You're Not The Only One" to reflect the camaraderie of blogging. Proceeds will go to WARCHILD.

I have submitted a piece but whether I'm chosen to be included in the book or not, I shall definately buy a copy as not only is it for a wonderful cause but I'm sure it will be a great read.

Valentine Day Wanted & Unwanted Gifts

Here's a picture of the dark pink orchid that dh bought for me together with a lovely card. He is such a thoughtful chap and knows that I adore orchids and found it most amusing that I had signed my card "?". I told him that Valentine Day cards are supposed to be anonymous but he said, "But don't you think it's pretty obvious who it's from if on the front it has 'To my husband'?" Point taken.

Unfortunately, I also woke up feeling like an invisible mule had kicked my side/back and am experiencing a not so delightful bout of Shingles. As dh said, "Most people get flowers for Valentine's Day." So typical of me though. However, at least I have the second episode of the excellent Ashes to Ashes to look forward to tonight with the much adored Philip Glenister doing his thing so brilliantly.

Even though I have a real life valentine at home, there's no harm in having a fantasy valentine. No guesses for who mine would be, here's a big clue: Yes, of course it is the divine, Richard Armitage. Doesn't he look handsome? So, who would you choose?

Wednesday 13 February 2008

Romantic Novelists' Heart Throb List

Yay, I actually have an excuse for posting yet another photo of the divine Richard Armitage

Johnny Depp and Pierce Brosnan make Romantic Novelists’ hearts throb

Members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association have voted Johnny Depp as the
Number One Perfect Romantic Hero in a poll to mark Valentine’s Day.
According to these authors, a romantic hero should be gorgeous, deliciously
sexy, intensely masculine and have a commanding presence.

‘We should be qualified to judge,’ one writer commented. ‘After all, we
create these heroes on paper every day.’

The top ten male celebrities voted the Perfect Romantic Hero were:

1. Johnny Depp

2. Daniel Craig

3. Sean Bean

4. Richard Armitage

5. Hugh Jackman

6. Colin Firth

7. Alan Rickman

8. Pierce Brosnan

9. George Clooney

10. David Tennant

A second poll, taken by members of the RNA bravely admitting to being ‘over
a certain age’, voted for male celebrities over fifty who’ve ‘still got it’.
Remarkable for his appearance on both polls, Pierce Brosnan took the crown
for the over fifties by a huge margin.

The top ten Over-Fifty Perfect Romantic Heroes were:

1. Pierce Brosnan

2. Harrison Ford

3. Ranulph Fiennes

4. Bill Nighy

5. Liam Neeson

6. Sam Neill

7. Sean Connery

8. Peter O’Toole

9. Clint Eastwood

10. Omar Sharif

Personally, I would have Richard Armitage at No 1 as he is so heavenly and is (unsurprisingly) my muse for Luke in Bea Stings. I would have also had to add Philip Glenister to the Top Ten and Gerry Butler, ooh and Rupert Penry Jones as I do have a weakness for these chaps.

Off to a Parent's Evening now...........................yawn! Personally, I think that if the teacher/school has a problem with the pupil or the pupil has a problem at school then have a meeting to sort it out. But it is such a drag to have to go to the school and spending an age queuing to speak to various teachers about maths, english, french and science (the subjects dd has suggested I discuss). I suppose it could be worse - I could be a teacher having to find interesting things to say to a number of bored parents.

Tuesday 12 February 2008

I'm in the middle of reading Julie Cohen's Spirit Willing Flesh Weak and loving it. I've also read Featured Attraction too and totally adored Oz - glorious hunk on a bike (the type with a motor, not the pedalling kind, I don't think bicycle clips have quite the same je ne sais quois as leathers).

As Philip Glenister was to be a guest on The Chris Moyles Show this morning, I agreed to drive the youngsters to school - yes, the dreaded school run - so that they could listen to the radio. Sitting through the traffic I had to endure questions such as, "Are you sure he was supposed to be on this morning?" and "Aww I bet we've missed him." Unfortunately for them PG was held up in traffic and only arrived in the studio as both teenagers were stepping out of the car. "Never mind," said I doing my utmost to cheer them up. "You can always listen to it later on iTube." They found this hysterically funny and both ambled off up their hills to school in hysterics.

It's the last one of Mistresses tonight, so I shall sit back with a glass of rose and enjoy that. I'm not quite sure where they all get their energy from to be honest, but it's fun to watch.

Monday 11 February 2008

Beach, Baftas & Brainstorming

Yesterday, whilst dh planted more potatoes (thank heavens I haven't given them up, although I doubt we shall have any to eat until after Lent) I took dd and Grumpy down to Greve de Lecq to give him a trot along the beach whilst dd went and bought the Sunday papers from Colleen's Cafe (great food, especially the fish and chips).

It was a glorious day and there were a few families settled for the day with children digging moats and playing with dogs whilst others boogie boarded in the sea. Then it was home to help with some gardening. My sort of helping is to cut back all the hydrangeas (quite a few) and pull up weeds and dead things whilst a very huffy teenage daughter follows behind picking up all my cuttings etc. At least it was warm enough to eat lunch outside and I then much to everyone's relief and left them to do homework (dd) and clear up after me (dh) and retired to my shed.

Later on, determined to get an early night, I went to bed to watch Larkrise to Candleford (still loving it) and the Baftas. I love a good awards ceremony and although this one was rather spectacular and the awards spread evenly around (according to the chap on Sky), I did find it a little boring although I was thrilled to see Marion Cotillard winning Best Actress for her part in La Vie en Rose. I thought I'd seen her somewhere before then it dawned on me that she had been in, A Good Year with Russell Crowe and I'd only watched that the night before.

I was just dozing off when I glanced at the Pukkapad on my bedside table and saw my notes for the script that I was supposed to be writing and so spent the next hour brainstorming and plotting until I was reasonably happy with the bare bones of what I'd come up with. Poor dh crept in at midnight having just finished work and said, "Why are you still awake?" I rarely go to sleep before 1am, so I don't know why he bothered to ask this, but the poor soul hates it when he comes home, tired and wanting to sleep and I'm still wide awake as I usually start talking. Needless to say, I did ask him what he thought of my plot and he assured me it was great but whether that was because he was desperate for me to shut up and let him sleep or because he actually did like it, I'm not quite sure.

Friday 8 February 2008

Busy doing nothing

I was sent this pic today with an email saying, "I will be unable to return emails today as something has crashed on my keyboard." So adorable.

As it's Friday (thank heaven's for that) everyone at work was talking about what they are doing over the weekend and when I was asked I replied, "Nothing really." It was only on the way home in the car - stuck in an endless queue of traffic - it occurred to me that my idea of nothing is:

Tonight: Collect J & S from the bus, take J for a haircut and S to the shop for birthday card for friend and food etc, meet J and go home. Cook supper, then drop J off at his job. Write for a bit and put a wash in the machine, collect J then relax and watch tv.

Saturday: Shops for papers, take S to buy her friend a present, home & write for a bit, take Grumpy for a walk, drop S at friend's house, home to write and do more washing etc then collect S later in the evening.

Sunday: Help dh in the garden for a couple of hours, re-pot other plants that haven't got round to doing as yet, bellow at least 3 times to wake J and then drop him off at his job, home to write or whatever then collect J and in between make lunch, supper etc.

That is my idea (like most parents, I should think) of a weekend doing absolutely nothing! Hey, I'm not complaining, I would rather do this that be at work any day of the week.

Thursday 7 February 2008

Gung Hay Fat Choy

Happy Chinese New Year. If you were born in 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 - you were born under the sign of the rat. Apparently, you are always busily pursuing a personal goal or ambition, and one of the hardest-working signs in the Chinese zodiac. 2008 is a year for Rats to overcome any recent setbacks and a year in which they can shine, either personally or professionally. What a brilliant year for Rats to look forward to. What a pity that I'm an Ox.

Thanks to Lane for sending me my lovely award the other day (apologies for taking so long to pass it on - thanks again to Lane for her help here too). So here goes: Helen Motherx Phillipa Casdok Ray-Anne L-Plate Author Fiona Chris

I came up with the idea of my next novel a few weeks ago and then was delighted to have one of those 'dawning' moments last night regarding the plot, so shall start working on it. I haven't thought of a name as yet but that will come no doubt.

Happy New Year once again.

Tuesday 5 February 2008

Awards, Pancake Day & Being Useless

The lovely Lane forwarded this award to me - my very first award and I think it's great. I'm supposed to forward it on to 10 people and although I've tried - for the past 40 minutes - I know, I know, I am totally hopeless and can't seem to figure out how to link/tag/not sure what it is called, the 10 people's names. So if anyone can help me as obviously I must be having an even blonder day than usual, I would be most grateful.

Thankfully it's Pancake Day and dd and I made up our batter last night and put it in the fridge. I have no idea why I should do that but my grandmother told me years ago that I should and I never thought to ask why, I just do it. So in a minute I shall don my pink polkadot apron and get pancake tossing! We have some glorious maple syrup kindly donated by a Canadian legal firm that I deal with through work and the children have been desperate to try it out. I think more because they like the bottle than anything else.

Monday 4 February 2008

Groundhog Day...

Monday AGAIN! Oh well, at least work is over with for the day, thankfully. I shouldn't really moan as I had a most productive day today and managed to finish something that I expected would take longer than it did (thanks so someone else's help). The mirrors in the Ladies still disturb me horribly though. I never knew I was so fat or so short. Dh insists that I'm not but he's always been such a kind chap that I wouldn't expect him to say anything else really.

The weekend was great and I sent off two submissions, I shan't hold my breath but I have to start somewhere and at least attempt to get out there. This week I have to seriously move forward with my next assignment for my course as I haven't done nearly as much with that as I should and am seriously behind as I've been concentrating on my books.

Talking of writing, when do you know that your work is good enough to send out? It doesn't matter how many times I redraft a m/s, I'm never sure whether I should do it one more time just to make sure that it's as good as it can possibly be?

Friday 1 February 2008

My favourite evening of the week!

I'm so excited - as I inevitably am on a Friday evening - I can't wait to slump, glass of rose in hand and guffaw at Jam & Jerusalem, followed by Moving Wallpaper and Echo Beach. I've just returned from dropping ds off for training at his part-time job and could see the lights from both Guernsey (from where I dropped him off) and France (when nearly at home). You can usually see them clearer before bad weather (I think that's right, though probably a load of old cobblers, I'll believe anything).

It's so damn cold here (although I appreciate that it is probably warmer than most places in the UK) and our oil is dangerously low. Dh did order a delivery, as no doubt did 95% of the rest of the population once seeing the weather forecast and they told him that they can't deliver until Tuesday. TUESDAY! I only hope that we don't run out before then. I don't do cold/wind/rain/diets...

Talking of diets, I had an extremely unsettling shock this morning when entering the small corridor where the two ladies loos are at work. Strolling in, minding my own business only to be greeted by an aging hag who turned out to be me. Who the hell decided that it would be a good idea to put a full length mirror on the wall facing you as you walked in, especially without giving prior warning that it was there.

On the way out though, I couldn't help having a sneaky peak at how I looked from behind...well, if that isn't a writer's bum then I don't know what is? When did I get to look like this? WHEN! To be honest, I think I've been this way for a while but it's only since moving offices and merging with three other companies, two of which seem to only employ 18 year old, six foot, size 6 model types... SO damned depressing. That's it, I'm off to the fridge to find the wine.