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.

Friday 3 October 2008

Procrastination, Flash Cards & Hideous Photos

Did you know that on this day in 1952 it was announced that tea rationing would be stopped. Tea had been rationed for twelve long years. I can't imagine not being able to consume the copious amounts that I get through each day. Also on this day, but in 1959, postcodes were introduced in Britain. Right, that's enough procrastination for me for the time being. I've put off writing for long enough and need to get on with it.

Today, I need to finally sub a short story that I've been working on and faffing about with rather a lot, then I have to finish my fifth assignment that I intended sending out last Saturday. After all that I need to go through HH&S and write up a flash card for each chapter in order to figure out exactly what I need to rework. This little project has been on my mind for the past couple of weeks and although I've made notes and thought about it many times, I haven't actually sat my bum down on the chair and DONE anything about it.

I've been an entire week without crisps and Midget Gems (replaced by almonds, not quite the same, but healthier). I've only had the odd cube of Bourneville chocolate to stop any sweet craving for the milkier sort that passes my lips far too often and I'm building a good relationship with Ryvita Muesli crispbreads.

All this virtuous eating is thanks to my mother and sister who recently sent me hideous photos of me that they'd taken this summer, well photos that they took with me looking pretty hideous in them, they didn't intentionally take ghastly ones of me, it just couldn't be helped. Now unless the camera puts on several stones in a photo and ages your face, then I'm looking pretty shocking. So it was definately time to take action.

Much as I love my husband (and I do, he's wonderful) it doesn't help being married to someone who thinks you're 'gorgeous' despite the fact that I weigh ???? stones more than when we first dated nine years ago. Well ???? stones, less the three pounds that I've lost this week.